We reflect on the global response to the pandemic and Biden’s call to dispel some signs of trouble for the Chinese economy.
Biden urges world to “grow” with Covid
President Biden called on leaders, pharmaceutical officials and civil society organizations to come up with a global plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
At a virtual COVID-19 summit with the United Nations, Biden outlined two pressing goals: immunizing the world and solving the oxygen supply crisis. “We are not going to solve this crisis by halves or halfway ambition – we have to go far,” the president said. “This is a widespread crisis.”
Several leaders at the meeting sent pre-recorded videos, making direct debate and consensus on the plan impossible. Pfizer on Wednesday announced a deal with the Biden administration to sell 500 million cans to the United States to donate to understaffed countries.
Earlier this week, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist called on countries to work together to distribute the vaccine and share additional supplies. dr. Soumya Swaminathan said, “A country-by-country approach, a nationalist approach, will not get us out of this pandemic.”
Vaccination differences: Less than 10 percent of the population in poor countries – and less than 4 percent of Africa’s population – are fully vaccinated against COVID. Covax, the international vaccine initiative, is behind schedule to send photos to the low- and middle-income countries that need them most.
Here are the latest updates and a map of the pandemic.
Global markets are watching Chinese property giant Evergrande flirt with default and investors are worried any collapse could ripple through the international financial system. Some market watchers say the Evergrande may be China’s “Lehman moment”, referring to the 2008 collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment bank.
But the wider threat to Beijing is that China’s growth is slowing, and the government may have to work harder to revive it.
Indicators: Retail sales last month were weaker than expected due to slower car sales. Industrial production slowed down. Investment in infrastructure, which Beijing has counted for growth, is still keeping the economy afloat. But it may not be sustainable for long.
Predictions: Bank of America on Tuesday slashed China’s economic growth forecast for next year to 5.3 percent from 6.2 percent.
Latest: Evergrande said it has struck a deal with investors that gives it some relief, but it’s not clear what will happen on Thursday, when the bond-interest payment is due.