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‘How COVID-19 caused global loss of $3.8 trn food items, others’

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WHO, allies make 1b people quit tobacco
Scientists have revealed how the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in global loss of food items worth $3.8 trillion, 147 million full-time jobs as well as $2.1 trillion in wages and salaries.

According to a study published July 10, 2020 in the open-access journal, PLOS ONE, as a silver lining, COVID-19, however, caused decrease in production and air travel, resulting in environmental benefits in terms of reductions in air pollution.

Manfred Lenzen of the University of Sydney, Australia, and colleagues concluded that beyond its health effects, the pandemic and associated lockdowns resulted in major social and economic losses worldwide. While some regions, such as China and the U.S., have experienced greater direct economic effects than others, the entire world economy has been impacted through international trade links.

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To help clarify the global socio-economic impact of COVID-19, Lenzen and colleagues applied an economic modeling approach known as multi-region input-output (MRIO) analysis to data on losses experienced by businesses as a direct consequence of the pandemic. The approach enabled the researchers to account for how losses in individual countries impact the entire global economy through international supply chains.

The authors noted that decisions made in response to the pandemic could shape the future of humanity. They outlined a choice between returning to “business as usual,” which could leave humanity vulnerable to additional crises, or altering the global economy with an eye towards sustainability and resiliency.

Co-author, Arunima Malik summarised: “Our study highlights the interconnected nature of international supply chains, with observable global spillover effects across a range of industry sectors, such as manufacturing, tourism and transport.”

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has initiated “Access Initiative for Quitting Tobacco” aims at helping the world’s 1.3 billion tobacco users quit.

In a statement yesterday, the global health body said stopping smoking was more important than ever as evidence revealed that smokers were more likely than non-smokers to have severe outcomes from COVID-19.

The project gives people free access to nicotine replacement therapy just as it does to Florence, a digital health worker, based on artificial intelligence that dispels myths around COVID-19 and tobacco and helps people develop a personalized plan to quit tobacco.

Director of Health Promotion, WHO, Dr. Ruediger Krech, said: “We welcome the support of pharmaceutical and tech companies to improve people’s health and save lives during COVID-19. The partnership highlights what we can achieve when we work together both to end the pandemic and, moving forward, to build back better.”

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