‘Price of a Pandemic’

The work entitled ‘Price of a Pandemic’ has been awarded the prize of Minorities and Human Rights (Print). The work was published in National Geographic (USA) and part of the team behind the piece shares with us some of what went in to creating the piece and the challenges they faced.


Could you briefly explain the idea of the story?
After two decades of falling, the global poverty rate is once again on the rise by the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts had predicted that by the end of 2020 some 28 million people would have fall below the $1.90 extreme poverty line; now it appears at least will be 88 million people. If COVID-19 forces more extended lockdowns that figure could swell even higher, leaving more than 700 million people in the world’s lowest-income nations in extreme poverty. Even in middle-income nations nearly 450 million more people could be pushed below their poverty standard of $3.20 or $5.50 per day. The situation looks grim for 2021 as well. Poorer countries, with fewer safety nets to protect the vulnerable, will likely be slower to recover, and the long-term consequences of extreme poverty—from lack of education to malnutrition—will land heavily on children.

The devastating effects of COVID-19, combined with other natural and economic disasters, play out differently in each country. Many wealthier nations have been relatively insulated; some of the world’s poorest countries are struggling the most. In this visualization, the longer the colored bars, the bigger a country’s projected jump in poverty rates from early 2019 (pre-pandemic) to late 2020.
The pandemic has further exacerbated the inequality that exists among the peoples of the world. This infographic was intended to shed light on the critical situation that some countries are going through. Critical situations unknown to the majority of us because they do not receive the attention they should receive from the media. Here are a few examples included in the project:

  • In Yemen COVID-19 travel restrictions raised the number of malnourished children by 20 percent; the number is expected to reach 2.4 million this year.
  • From 2000 to 2019 Liberia made progress providing safe water, education, and electricity to the poor. Those gains are now in danger.
  • Pacific island nations such as Timor-Leste or Samoa, have low rates of infection. But without tourism and trade, over a million islanders may fall into extreme poverty.
  • In the Philippines, millions depend on remittances from workers outside the country. In May lockdowns cut those lifelines by 19 percent, compared to 2019.

Alberto Lucas-López

What do you think?