BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

COVID-19: The Health, Social and Economic Implications of Tightening or Lifting Restrictions



For many decades, the world had not witnessed or experienced anything like the COVID-19 outbreak. This pandemic is the first of its kind; a global health crisis resulting in significant human suffering and loss of lives. All aspects of human life were affected by the pandemic, particularly health, social and economic aspects. More so, every section of the population- especially the most vulnerable groups, continue to feel the highest impact of the pandemic. This is because these groups, which include  people living in poverty, seniors, displaced persons, people living in homelessness or with addictions as well as persons with disability, may have decreased immunity, fewer opportunities, lack of access to vaccines and appropriate health services.

The impacts of COVID-19 on health and healthcare are numerous. According to Canadian Institute for Health information (CIHI),  healthcare in Canada has seen unprecedented evolution and adaptation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare sectors such as emergency services, hospital services including intensive care units, longterm care and physician services suffer the most interruption as several appointments and surgeries were either postponed or cancelled due to limited hospital and human resources. Long-term health  effects of COVID-19 are predicted to follow  in forms of depression, anxiety, decreased energy and  economic downturn due to the extended lockdown.

Socially, COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the world in significant ways. More specifically, the effects of measures to control the pandemic- including lockdowns and closure of essential offices, such as schools and businesses, have been felt by all and sundry. Additionally, social distrusts and crisis created by tightening restrictions, physical distancing and wearing of masks may potentially  increase inequality, exclusion, discrimination and global unemployment in the long term. At such, extensive and protective recovery systems are needed to play essential  roles in rebuilding trust, stabilizing the economy, managing social expectations, preventing  discrimination, alleviating poverty and  improving people‚Äôs ability to manage and overcome shocks.

The effects of COVID-19 pandemic on economic and financial sectors of the world are staggering. In most countries, economic growth declined suddenly and significantly in 2020. Global trade was estimated to decline by about 5.3% in the same year. Thankfully, these declines and setbacks were temporary, as most of the affected economies rebounded rather quickly, and have remained positive since. The continued lockdowns have not only disrupted social activities but have also halted some economic advancements. According to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), global economic recovery has advanced better  than predicted when COVID-19 first began. However, lower-income countries which have lower vaccination rates find it difficult  to recover, especially in  GDP and the labor market.

Furthermore, limited supplies and increased demands of products as well as high energy prices and fuel shortages remain significant economic challenges which invariably raise the cost of food. These factors affect low-income households particularly, especially in countries without necessary regulations. 

As a continuous measure to reduce the long term effects of COVID-19, governments need to lift current restrictions, invest in  sustainable recovery practices aimed at effectively restoring the economy, and alleviating poverty.

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