Topline: During a World Health Organization press conference on Friday, Kristalina Georgieva, director of the International Monetary Fund, warned the economic fallout from coronavirus is already “way worse than the global financial crisis of 2008.”
- With over half the globe—roughly four billion people—currently on lockdown or under some form of stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus pandemic, the dive in business activity has created an economic crisis “like no other,” the IMF director warned on Friday.
- “Never in the history of the IMF have we witnessed the world economy come to a standstill,” Georgieva said. During the 2008 financial crisis, the global economy lost more than $2 trillion in value, a drop of nearly 4% from where it was before, according to Moody’s Analytics.
- She described the current crisis as “humanity’s darkest hour” in her lifetime, as it poses a “big threat to the whole world and it requires us to stand united.”
- The IMF has a $1 trillion war chest and is “determined to use as much of it as necessary,” she described. So far, more than 90 countries have applied for financial assistance.
- “We have never seen ever such a growing demand for emergency financing,” Georgieva said, while also urging countries who receive financing to use that money to support their healthcare systems.
- Developing economies are the most affected by the outbreak, as they have fewer resources to deal with the economic fallout from the pandemic, she said. “We know that in many countries health systems are weak,” she added.
Crucial quote: “I do believe that bringing together epidemiology and economics is absolutely crucial,” Georgieva said on Friday. “My closing message is that we will get through this, but how fast and how effectively will depend a lot upon the actions we take.”
Crucial statistics: There are now more than 1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world, resulting in at least 56,767 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Tangent: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also advised on Friday against rushing to lift coronavirus quarantines, saying that it would risk an “even more severe and prolonged” economic downturn. Similar to his comments from earlier this week, he warned that without government lockdowns, the coronavirus would kill even more people. Also in the WHO press conference, top officials warned that “more and more” young people are becoming sick and dying from coronavirus, data shows.