From school closures to devasted industries and millions of jobs lost–the social and economic costs of the pandemic are many and varied. Covid-19 is threatening to widen inequalities everywhere, undermine progress on global poverty and clean energy, and more.

The best solution is to stop this damage from happening, through the use of tests, treatments, and vaccines everywhere they're needed. This will cost only a fraction of the huge economic loss the pandemic is causing every week.

To slow the spread of the virus, schools closed across the world. One year into the pandemic, almost half of the world’s students are still affected by school closures. Millions of girls in some countries might not be going back at all, putting them at risk of adolescent pregnancy, child marriage, and violence.

Businesses closed too, leading to the equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs lost, in terms of working hours, in 2020. Among the worst hit are workers in the informal economy, young people, and women. Any economic recovery will likely be uneven, leading to greater inequality in the coming years.

Women have been harder hit economically by the pandemic because they are a large proportion of the workers in sectors severely affected by Covid-19, including accommodation and food services, and in front-line occupations, such as the health and social care sectors.

With the closures of schools, they have also had to take on more care responsibilities at home. Whether through job losses or school closures, the pandemic threatens to undo decades of progress on gender equality.

Read the full article about the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 at Wellcome.