Robin Dewa, Bodi svetloba NGO, Slovenia
(26 August 2020)
According to the data published on the Guardian website on August 26, from the Johns Hopkins University, there were 815,707 deaths from Covid-19 worldwide and 23,775,142 cases of Covid 19 worldwide.
As of August 26, 133 deaths were reported due to Covid 19 in Slovenia.
How did Covid-19 develop in Slovenia? On 12 March 2020, an epidemic was declared in Slovenia including suspension of all educational activities. Soon, distance learning took place. Kindergartens, primary schools (the first triad), upper secondary schools (for final-year students, including apprentices) reopened on 18 May, while the rest of the primary school students returned on 3 June. Secondary students continued with distance education until the end of the school year with the exception of final-year students which were allowed to undertake final and matura exams.
The new school year in Slovenia begins on September 1, in a normal way, unless the next stage of pandemic happens.
Due to interruption of our work with students from the Gymnasium Jože Plečnik, our NGO has taken up the research on consequences of Covid-19.
Besides deaths of Covid-19, the pandemic has had devastated impact on economies. If we focus only on Slovenia, according to the article by Slovenian economist Jože Damijan from July 25, Slovenia borrowed 6 billion EUR by July 2020. OECD (Organisation For Economic Cooperation And Development) predicts Gross National Income ( GNI) in Slovenia will contract between 7.8-9.1% in 2020 due to Covid 19.
This economic collapse in Europe and in the world due to sometimes extreme measures is by some experts considered unreasonable.
What are other negative effects of Covid-19 in relation to Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGS) and to the topic of our Leave No One Behind?
There is a focus only on Covid-19, though there are many more deaths from other diseases in Europe and especially in the world. Deaths are increasing from causes such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes as Covid-19 cases have priority. Malaria, yellow fever and diseases from malnutrition in developing countries are almost forgotten in the media and are no longer taken care of by donors.
Covid-19 has also become an excuse for some governments to curtail civic freedom according to Civic Space Watch . Many people also fear they will be subject to mandatory vaccination in future.
Covid-19 has brought about rising nationalism, isolationism, xenophobia and racism; every man for himself mentality. There are lots of fake news as well. For example, according to the survey of Slovenian Valicon agency from August 25, only 44% of Slovenian participants in the survey believe the virus is of natural origin, while 36% of Slovenian participants in the survey believe the virus has been artificially created in the lab and intentionally released and 12% of Slovenian participants in the survey don't believe in Covid-19 at all. The WHO has also warned of vaccine nationalism as the distribution of vaccines is mostly given to citizens of rich countries, which are pouring billions of dollars into this research.
Covid-19 has greatly heightened economic and social inequalities. Lockdown policies imposed by many governments to combat Covid-19 have particularly hurt the working class people in both developed and especially in developing countries as the inability to travel to the places of work has led to a significant loss of earnings by this group. . Female-headed households, persons with lower levels of education and the informal sector are hit hardest in the digital divide while those well-educated with digital skills who have been able to work from home with access to the internet have even gained.
Covid-19 has had a devastating impact also on more than 476 million indigenous people around the world. Throughout history, indigenous peoples have been decimated by genocidal warfare and diseases brought from elsewhere. Prior to Covid-19, indigenous peoples already faced extreme inequalities and discrimination such as inadequate access to health care, clean water and sanitation. As indigenous peoples have worked primarily in subsistence economies and in the informal sector, they have been particularly hard hit, especially indigenous women. In Brazil, for example, some indigenous reserves have also been illegally invaded by miners, loggers, and land grabbers who introduced Covid-19 there.
On the other hand, the super rich have become a whole lot richer during Covid-19. The article by Hiatt Woods at the Business Insider website, dated 3 August (https://www.businessinsider.com/billionaires-net-worth-increases-coronavirus-pandemic-2020-7), says that in the USA alone, billionaires such as Bezos, Musk, and Zuckerberg have increased their total net worth $637 billion during the Covid-19, while more than 40 million Americans filed for unemployment.
And what are negative effects of our combat against Covid-19 for nature? An extreme rise of using disposable single-use face masks with antibacterial effects and protection from droplet infections and other protective gear such as gloves and hand sanitizers has already had negative effects on soil, rivers and oceans contributing to greater amounts of plastic waste.
The U.N. estimates that global sales of such face masks will increase 200 times from a year ago to $160 billion this year, and around 75% of the used masks and other pandemic-related plastic waste will end up in landfills or floating on the seas.
To cut the long story short, it seems Covid-19 has so far left almost everyone behind on the road towards the SDGs. Now it depends on the actions of ordinary people, whether we will reorient to address sustainability again or we'll just let Covid-19 reverse decades of progress towards sustainability and more just world for everyone.
The Covid-19 health crisis will not end until it ends for everyone.
All blog posts are written by our project partners.