The blow inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic on the world’s largest economies has been significantly worse than the 2009 financial crisis, according to a new report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Nations in the Group of 20 — which includes China, Brazil, India, the United States and the European Union — saw an unprecedented 6.9 percent decline in growth between April and June of this year. By contrast, the same economies took a dip of 1.9 percent during the first quarter of 2009, which marked the apex of the global financial crisis.

India witnessed the most dramatic contraction in the second quarter of 2020, with a 25.2 percent drop in gross domestic product. Other countries reporting the worst declines were also among those logging the highest tallies of infections, including Britain, Mexico, South Africa and France. The only G-20 nation reporting growth during the same time period was China, where the economy expanded by 11.5 percent as lockdown restrictions were lifted.

The OECD released its findings on the same day that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation issued its annual global development report, which concluded that the pandemic has stalled 20 years of progress and resulted in a 7 percent increase in extreme poverty. Long-standing inequalities have been made worse by the pandemic, while marginal gains in alleviating issues such as hunger have been swiftly undone, the foundation found.

The pandemic “not only stopped progress, it kicked it backward,” Bill Gates told reporters on Monday, according to Reuters.

The Asian Development Bank similarly said Tuesday that the region’s developing economies have entered a recession, with Southeast Asia and tourism-dependent islands such as Fiji and the Maldives hit particularly hard. According to the BBC, the bank also optimistically predicted a rebound in 2021 and anticipates that Asia’s economy will grow by 6.8 percent next year as China and India recover.

The Washington Post

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