Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Stock Markets and the History Chart of the End of the World (With Presidential Cycles) - 28th Aug 20
2.Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook... AI Tech Stocks Buying Levels and Valuations Q3 2020 - 31st Aug 20
3.The Inflation Mega-trend is Going Hyper! - 11th Sep 20
4.Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
5.What's Driving Gold, Silver and What's Next? - 3rd Sep 20
6.QE4EVER! - 9th Sep 20
7.Gold Price Trend Forecast Analysis - Part1 - 7th Sep 20
8.The Fed May “Cause” The Next Stock Market Crash - 3rd Sep 20
9.Bitcoin Price Crash - You Will be Suprised What Happens Next - 7th Sep 20
10.NVIDIA Stock Price Soars on RTX 3000 Cornering the GPU Market for next 2 years! - 3rd Sep 20
Last 7 days
US Stocks Climb A “Wall Of Worry” To New Highs - 16th Apr 21
Gold’s Singular Role - 16th Apr 21
See what Anatomy of a Bursting Market Bubble looks like - 16th Apr 21
Many Stock Market Sectors Are Primed For Another Breakout Rally – Are You? - 16th Apr 21
What Skyrocketing US Home Prices Say About Inflation - 16th Apr 21
Still a Bullish Fever in Stocks? - 16th Apr 21
Trying to Buy Coinbase Stock on IPO Day - Institutional Investors Freeze out Retail Investors - 15th Apr 21
Stocks or Gold – Which Is in the Catbird Seat? - 15th Apr 21
Time For A Stock Market Melt-Up - 15th Apr 21
Stocks Bull Market Progression Now Shows Base Metal Strength - 15th Apr 21
AI Tech Stocks Buy Ratings, Levels and Valuations - 14th Apr 21
Easy 10% to 15% Overclock for 5600x, 5900x, 5950x Using AMD Ryzen Master Precision Boost Overdrive - 14th Apr 21
The Current Cannabis Sector Rally Is Pointing To Another Breakout - 14th Apr 21
U.S. Dollar Junk Bond Market The Easiest Money in History - 14th Apr 21
The SPY Is Nearing Resistance @ $410… What Is Next? - 14th Apr 21
The Curious Stock Market Staircase Rally - 14th Apr 21
Stocks are Heating Up - 14th Apr 21
Two Methods in Calculating For R&D Tax Credits - 14th Apr 21
Stock Market Minor Correction Due - 13th Apr 21
How to Feed Budgies Cucumbers - Best Vegetables Feeding for the First Time, Parakeet Care UK - 13th Apr 21
Biggest Inflation Threat in 40 Years Looms over Markets - 13th Apr 21
How to Get Rich with the Pareto Distribution - Tesco Example - 13th Apr 21
Litecoin and Bitcoin-Which Is Better? - 13th Apr 21
The Major Advantages Of Getting Your PhD Online - 12th Apr 21
Covid-19 Pandemic Current State for UK, US, Europe, Brazil Vaccinations vs Lockdown's Third Wave - 12th Apr 21
Why These Stock Market Indicators Should Grab Your Full Attention - 12th Apr 21
Rising Debt Means a Weaker US Dollar - 12th Apr 21
Another Gold Stocks Upleg - 12th Apr 21
AMD The ZEN Tech Stock - 12th Apr 21
Overclockers UK Build Quality - Why Glue Fan to CPU Heat sink Instead of Using Supplied Clips? - 12th Apr 21 -
What are the Key Capabilities You Should Look for in Fleet Management Software? - 12th Apr 21
What Is Bitcoin Gold? - 12th Apr 21
UK Covd-19 FREE Lateral Flow Self Testing Kits How Use for the First Time at Home - 10th Apr 21
NVIDIA Stock ARMED and Dangeorus! - 10th Apr 21
The History of Bitcoin Hard Forks - 10th Apr 21
Gold Mining Stocks: A House Built on Shaky Ground - 9th Apr 21
Stock Market On the Verge of a Pullback - 9th Apr 21
What Is Bitcoin Unlimited? - 9th Apr 21
Most Money Managers Gamble With Your Money - 9th Apr 21
Top 5 Evolving Trends For Mobile Casinos - 9th Apr 21
Top 5 AI Tech Stocks Investing 2021 Analysis - 8th Apr 21
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast 2021 - Crash or Continuing Bull Run? - 8th Apr 21
Don’t Be Fooled by the Stock Market Rally - 8th Apr 21
Gold and Latin: Twin Pillars of Western Rejuvenation - 8th Apr 21
Stronger US Dollar Reacts To Global Market Concerns – Which ETFs Will Benefit? Part II - 8th Apr 21
You're invited: Spot the Next BIG Move in Oil, Gas, Energy ETFs - 8th Apr 21
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr US Dollar is Back - 8th Apr 21
Stock Market New S&P 500 Highs or Metals Rising? - 8th Apr 21
Microsoft AI Azure Cloud Computing Driving Tech Giant Profits - 7th Apr 21
Amazon Tech Stock PRIMEDAY SALE- 7th Apr 21
The US has Metals Problem - Lithium, Graphite, Copper, Nickel Supplies - 7th Apr 21
Yes, the Fed Will Cover Biden’s $4 Trillion Deficit - 7th Apr 21
S&P 500 Fireworks and Gold Going Stronger - 7th Apr 21
Stock Market Perceived Vs. Actual Risks: The Key To Success - 7th Apr 21
Investing in Google Deep Mind AI 2021 (Alphabet) - 6th Apr 21
Which ETFs Will Benefit As A Stronger US Dollar Reacts To Global Market Concerns - 6th Apr 21
Staying Out of the Red: Financial Tips for Kent Homeowners - 6th Apr 21
Stock Market Pushing Higher - 6th Apr 21
Inflation Fears Rise on Biden’s $3.9 TRILLION in Deficit Spending - 6th Apr 21
Editing and Rendering Videos Whilst Background Crypto Mining Bitcoins with NiceHash, Davinci Resolve - 5th Apr 21
Why the Financial Gurus Are WRONG About Gold - 5th Apr 21
Will Biden’s Infrastructure Plan Rebuild Gold? - 5th Apr 21
Stocks All Time Highs and Gold Double Bottom - 5th Apr 21
All Tech Stocks Revolve Around This Disruptor - 5th Apr 21
Silver $100 Price Ahead - 4th Apr 21
Is Astra Zeneca Vaccine Safe? Risk of Blood Clots and What Side Effects During 8 Days After Jab - 4th Apr 21
Are Premium Bonds A Good Investment in 2021 vs Savings, AI Stocks and Housing Alternatives - 4th Apr 21
Penny Stocks Hit $2 Trillion - The Real Story Behind This "Road to Riches" Scheme - 4th Apr 21
Should Stock Markets Fear Inflation or Deflation? - 4th Apr 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

FIRST ACCESS to Nadeem Walayat’s Analysis and Trend Forecasts

Vaccine inequality: A new beginning or another missed opportunity?

Politics / Coronavirus 2021 Feb 25, 2021 - 06:01 PM GMT

By: Dan_Steinbock


Last year, four major opportunities to battle COVID-19 were missed. If vaccine inequality will prevail in the coming months, that would represent the fifth missed opportunity – with prohibitive human costs and economic damage.

Recently, I was virtually at the prestigious Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue (Vienna, Austria) and had a conversation with Ambassador Irene Giner-Reichl (for the video, see ). The focus was on the missed opportunities and the future of the global pandemic future.

Recently, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sharply criticized the “wildly uneven and unfair” distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Addressing the Security Council, Guterres noted that just 10 countries have administered 75% of all vaccinations. Meanwhile, 130 countries had not received a single dose.

In two reports – The Tragedy of Missed Opportunities (April 2020) and The Tragedy of More Missed Opportunities (August 2020) – I documented four missed opportunities in the mobilization against the global pandemic last year.

Without vaccination equity, the ongoing year could represent the fifth missed opportunity and even more challenging long-term prospects.

Failure of early mobilization (January 2020)

The first opportunity emerged around the first recorded case (Dec 30, 2019), and the WHO’s announcement of the international emergency (Jan 30, 2020). Then, the epicenter of the outbreak was still in Wuhan, Hubei.

After mid-January, China introduced social distancing and launched a historical quarantine, which soon began to flatten the curve. Mobilization was also initiated in Hong Kong, Singapore and regional proximity.

The Trump White House was informed about the virus on January 3, 2020, and the European CDC began its risk assessments only days later. But neither resulted in a phased mobilization.

United States had the institutions to battle the virus, but the Trump administration chose not to use them, presumably to “protect the economy and the markets.”

In Europe, many countries were willing to fight the virus, but lacked the common institutions needed for effective regional containment.

Ineffective and late mobilization (January-March 2020)

The second critical opportunity to contain the virus covers the 1st quarter of 2020. On March 10, the WHO declared it a pandemic. Although the epicenter had already moved to Europe and then to the U.S., full mobilization in both ensued only weeks after the pandemic warning - almost 3 months later than mobilization in proactive Asian locations.

Worse, until early February, most WHO members failed to provide WHO full country reports, which penalized international cooperation at a critical moment.

While complacency and inadequate preparedness contributed to shortages and challenges, sensational media coverage was high on hype, but short on facts. That caused an “infodemic” contributing in the West to anti-Chinese and anti-Asian hate crimes (which still prevail).

Even worse, many international observers began an odd battle against the WHO, its chief Dr Tedros and China in which effective containment was paving the way to the rebounding of the economy.

Failed mobilization (1st half of 2020)

In cumulative terms, the period of the third missed opportunity covers the first half of 2020. It could be dated from the WHO’s pandemic declaration, yet broader responses in the U.S. and Europe only began around late March and early April.

As escalation continued in Europe, the COVID-19 epicenter moved from the West Coast to the East Coast in the U.S. while quarantines and lockdowns diffused worldwide.

It was only now that the social distancing measures first initiated in China in January were more fully introduced in the West, but with widespread enforcement failures.

As late mobilization proved less effective, the epidemic curve was not flattened, but fattened; in many countries for weeks, in some for months. As a result, soaring cases began to foster increasing numbers of new mutations.

In countries where quarantines and restrictions were initially shunned, particularly the UK and Sweden, the number of cases and deaths soared alarmingly.

Furthermore, outbreaks spread to poorer economies, particularly across South America, India and the rest of South and Southeast Asia, with weaker healthcare systems. Though the diffusion of the pandemic started in the 1st quarter, the quarantine escalation followed in the 2nd quarter.

Meanwhile, massive economic damage spread rapidly around the world.

 Unwarranted and resource failures (year 2020)

In the course of the fourth missed opportunity, the outbreak epicenter stayed in or returned to the major advanced economies, particularly the United States and the Americas, several countries in Europe, and Japan.

In the US, the Trump administration’s politicized and grossly ineffective mobilization resulted in new waves already in the summer. In Europe, institutional failures led to such waves in the fall.

Many failures were unwarranted in the sense that public health policies based on science and international multilateral cooperation could have avoided much of the damage.

Although many poor countries tried to fight the outbreak, most lacked adequate resources. In due time, these public health failures in the developing economies are likely to have adverse feedback effects elsewhere.

More importantly, due to limited testing and inadequate data, a great number of cases and deaths continue to go undetected in many economies, particularly in the poorer ones. As a result, official estimates downplay the true pandemic damage.

Thanks to these four major failures, the human costs of the pandemic have soared from 7,800 cases over a year ago to some 112 million; and deaths from about 260 to 2.5 million (see Figure). Of course, the number of real cases – as opposed to confirmed ones – is likely to be significantly higher.

Figure          Human Costs of Four Missed Opportunities

Cumulative Confirmed Cases and Deaths

Source: WHO, WHO Europe, Difference Group

Vaccine inequality: Toward the fifth missed opportunity?

By early February, two months into the global rollout of coronavirus vaccines, 150 million doses of vaccines had been administered in fewer than 70 countries.

Early vaccine administration has favored only a few nations, which have hoarded 80% of the doses used so far. In contrast, 130 countries with 2.5 billion people have not administered a single dose.

The countries that have been favored the most in the early vaccine rollout have been mainly high-income economies, especially the G7 countries. The Biden administration is doing what it can to reverse the Trump administration’s policy mistakes, but more than a year have been missed.

Due to the gross failure of multilateral cooperation, the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths is now far, far higher than initially anticipated. At the same time, the huge spread of the global pandemic has ensured a rapidly-rising number of mutations.

In recent months, new variants of the original virus, which may be more contagious and damaging, have been spotted in the UK, Brazil, South Africa, and the US. Worse, a recombination of the variants detected in the UK and California may have caused a wave of cases in Los Angeles.

With more than 112 million infected people verifiably creating antibodies against the virus, still other versions are likely to emerge that could evade the immune system, reinfect even recovered persons and become more widespread.

The longer the crisis lingers, the greater remains the probability for potentially malignant outcomes – and, by the same token, for new pandemic waves, new restrictions and lockdowns, more economic damage, lost years, even lost decades.

Only decisive multilateral action across political differences – including WHO’s containment plan and UN’s global vaccination plan - can try to overcome still another failure of multilateralism that’s looming ahead.

It’s time to do the math: These plans could cost a few billion dollars, whereas pandemic relief spending, according to Bank of America, amounted to $20 trillion already last August. 

What on earth are we waiting for?

Dr. Dan Steinbock is the founder of Difference Group and has served at the India, China and America Institute (US), Shanghai Institute for International Studies (China) and the EU Center (Singapore). For more, see  

© 2021 Copyright Dan Steinbock - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Dan Steinbock Archive

© 2005-2019 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules