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Oxfam report: Corona exacerbates social inequality

picture alliance / NurPhoto | Artur Widak

The corona pandemic has plunged the global economy into a serious crisis. However, not everyone is equally affected. On the one hand, there are companies, above all technology giants like Amazon, that are benefiting from the crisis. “The poorest, on the other hand, are being left behind,” writes the Oxfam aid organization in its new report.

According to the activists, the crisis threatens to worsen the situation in several countries. For its report, the aid organization interviewed 295 economists from 79 countries. The authors assume that the 1,000 richest billionaires were able to equalize within nine months of the outbreak of the pandemic. The world’s poorest people, on the other hand, could take more than a decade to overcome the consequences of the pandemic.

“As if under a magnifying glass, the pandemic shows the various forms of oppression and marginalization to which people are exposed due to their gender, sexuality, age, disability and in the course of racism and classism,” it says at the end January report published.

According to the aid organization, 87 percent of the surveyed scientists expect income inequality in their country to increase or to increase sharply as a result of the pandemic. More than half believe that gender inequality is likely or very likely to increase and more than two-thirds believe that inequality between whites and BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) will increase.

“The virus doesn’t hit everyone alike.”

People in poverty are most exposed to the corona virus. This is due to the fact that they often live in cramped conditions, sometimes without water and sanitary facilities. Many could not work from home. In many countries, migrants in particular were often employed in hospitality, healthcare, and other areas where infection is more likely. These people also suffered more often from previous illnesses, which increase the risk of serious disease courses. “The virus doesn’t hit everyone alike.”

The aid organization fears that the inequality will be particularly pronounced in the global provision of corona vaccines. A small group of wealthy nations, representing only 14 percent of the world’s population, bought more than half of the supplies of the leading Covid-19 vaccine candidates. If there were no price caps, people living in poverty would not have a chance of vaccination, while pharmaceutical companies continued to make high profits.

The corona pandemic must be a wake-up call to “finally get to the roots of extreme inequality and poverty,” said Oxfam. Among other things, this requires social security systems that are accessible to everyone and a greater focus on the common good of the economy. “Corporations and the super-rich now have to make their fair contribution to overcoming the crisis,” says Tobias Hauschild from Oxfam Germany.

With material from the DPA / tel

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