(CNN) — The covid-19 pandemic has halted, and in many cases reversed, progress toward meeting the United Nations’ sustainable development goals, according to the Fourth Annual Goalkeepers Report, released Monday by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“The first three years, we were able to report steady and gradual progress toward those goals,” Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and co-chair of the foundation, told reporters. “Each and every goal was moving in the right direction,” he added.
“Of course this year is different. It’s unique. The covid-19 pandemic not only stopped progress, it pushed us back and that varied quite a bit by area, “he said.
The Goalkeepers 2020 report looks at the damage the pandemic has done and is causing to health, economies “and just about everything else,” and argues that the world must work together to overcome it.
Coronavirus pandemic affects vaccination
Vaccines reached more than 80% of the world’s children and prevented more than 2 million deaths in 2019. Due to covid-19, vaccine coverage in 2020 is falling to levels last seen in the 1990s says the report.
“In other words, we have gone back about 25 years in about 25 weeks,” he says.
Coronavirus vaccines will not end the pandemic unless they are equitably allocated. A Northeastern University model, included in the report, shows that 61% of deaths could be prevented if a vaccine were distributed to all countries in proportion to the population. If vaccines go to high-income countries first, deaths will be reduced by only 33%.
Mired in poverty
The pandemic has pushed nearly 37 million people below the extreme poverty line in 2020, and the extreme poverty rate increased 7% in just a few months, according to the report. Some 68 million people have fallen below the poverty line in lower-middle-income countries, the report says.