COVID-19: The Global Shutdown

In the first months of 2020, a pandemic overwhelmed the world. COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, spread from China and created a severe public health emergency across countries. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the global GDP growth rate for 2020 was expected to be close to 2.3%. As of April 2020, multilateral organizations estimated that GDP would contract by 3% - way worse than the 0.1% contraction of 2009, and the deepest dive since the Great Depression. What policy options existed to mitigate the financial and economic distress of containment, and what factors did different countries weigh in deciding which paths to choose? Was there a terrible choice - either damage livelihoods through extended lockdowns, or sacrifice thousands or even millions of lives to the virus - or were policies reinforcing?

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