Public Lecture: Economic Effects of COVID-19 in Low and Middle-Income Countries
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A public lecture was conducted by Dr. Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, Professor of Economics at Yale University, on the topic “Economic Effects of COVID-19 in Low and Middle-Income Countries.” Dr Mobarak gave a brief overview of his work during the pandemic and stated that in most countries COVID-19 will soon turn into an economic crisis from a public-health crisis and this will have a severe impact on the global structure. He mentioned that epidemiological models and their connections with economic factors have played a significant role in his work and emphasised on the use of existing data to ensure social protection.
Dr Mobarak discussed in detail about the Econ-Epi modelling and the research thought process. When the idea of flattening the curve came in from the Imperial College Model, developed countries like the US tried to minimize the case fatality rate by social distancing and providing reliefs based on tax returns. However, it was inapplicable for developing countries like Bangladesh and Indonesia where only 2-4% of the population are taxpayers. Thus, he urged to incorporate economic factors and data from low-income countries to the existing model instead of developed countries.
Y-RISE, an initiative founded by Dr Mobarak, and a2i collaborated in data mapping at the regional level to develop comprehensive COVID-19 socio-economic data. By doing so, it was revealed that migrant families as a whole are suffering from lack of food security and are earning 36% less than non-migrant households. The income of non-migrant households also declined by 31% due to the pandemic.
Dr Mobarak concluded his lecture by showing that even though the rate of mask purchasing has increased, only 11% of Bangladeshi people are currently wearing them properly. He urged the government to take stern actions to implement consistent use of masks in Bangladesh.
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