While more than 2 million people worldwide have died and many others have lost jobs as a result of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, many of the world’s richest people have profited, according to a report by international humanitarian group Oxfam.
The Oxfam report released on Tuesday titled “The Inequality Virus,” warned that the pandemic has the potential to lead to and increase in almost every country at once, and has “exposed, fed off and increased” existing inequalities of wealth, gender and race.
“The crisis has exposed our collective frailty and the inability of our deeply unequal economy to work for all,” an overview of the report stated. “Yet it has also shown us the vital importance of government action to protect our health and livelihoods.”
According to the report, it took just nine months for the fortunes of the world’s top 1,000 billionaires to return to their pre-pandemic highs while recovery for the world’s poorest could take more than a decade.
Worldwide, billionaires’ wealth increased by $3.9 trillion between March 18 and Dec. 31 2020, placing their total wealth at nearly $12 trillion.
Additionally, the world’s 10 richest billionaires have collectively seen their wealth increase by $540 billion over that period, which Oxfam calculates is more than enough to ensure that no one on earth falls into poverty due to the virus and to pay for a Covid-19 vaccine for all.
“It simply makes no common, moral or economic sense to allow billionaires to profit from the crisis in the face of such suffering,” the report states. “Their increasing wealth should be used instead to confront this crisis, to save millions of lives, and billions of livelihoods.”