The World Bank warned Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic could push 60 million people into extreme poverty, another startling statistic aiming to quantify the massive human suffering the virus has wrought globally.
“The pandemic and shutdown of advanced economies could push as many as 60 million people into extreme poverty — erasing much of the recent progress made in poverty alleviation,” World Bank Group President David Malpass said in a statement. “To return to growth, our goal must be rapid, flexible responses to tackle the health emergency, provide cash and other expandable support to protect the poor, maintain the private sector, and strengthen economic resilience and recovery.”
In a report issued a month ago, the World Bank estimated that 49 million people would probably be pushed into extreme poverty, based on the pandemic’s trajectory then, though it set a possible range of 40 million to 60 million people depending on how developments unfolded.
At that time, the global financial organization also warned that sub-Saharan Africa could be the world’s hardest-hit region in terms of economic decline.