Although many Southeast Asian countries have benefitted from China’s Sinovac vaccine, recent outbreaks have raised doubts on the vaccine’s efficacy, as the countries struggle to strike vaccine deals with Europe and the US. Economists believe that the world community needs to do much better to reduce global vaccine inequity and increase testing capacities in low- and middle-income countries.

Mark Weisbrot

Mark Weisbrot, an economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, D.C., retweeted a CEPR article on how Southeast Asian countries are struggling to battle a third wave of the Covid-19 crisis due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant in the region. Countries such as Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, and Indonesia are reporting record levels of infections and deaths.

Indonesia and Myanmar, for instance, are not only battling with low vaccination rates and overcrowded hospitals, but limited oxygen supplies. Health officials claim that both countries are in the brink of collapse, citing that the high levels of infections have been a result of low testing capacity and low and slow vaccination rates in these countries.

Indonesia is now a global leader of Covid-19 infections, surpassing India and Brazil numbers. The country reported 73,582 coronavirus deaths and more than 2.8 million positive cases since start of the pandemic.

Economists are stressing on the importance of equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, especially in lower- and middle-income countries, with a greater allocation of special drawing rights (SDRs) as part of the global Covid-19 response.

Michael Krieger

Michael Krieger, creator and editor of Liberty Blitzkrieg, an alternative financial and cultural voice, shared an article on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warning of a fresh wave of Covid-19 lockdowns if people did not wise up and get themselves vaccinated against the Covid-19 disease in the US. He added that it was not complicated, and if people did not get themselves the experimental injection, they would have to be locked up in their houses again.

The White House is taking proactive steps in seeking the trust of people in Covid-19 vaccines, to counter recent disinformation about them on social media and other media outlets. McConnell also got on Twitter to promote his pro-vaccination remarks, urging the public to get vaccinated.

A recent Axios Ipsos poll suggested that government officials are struggling to convince a particular segment of the American population, which is totally against taking the Covid-19 jab. The emergence of the Delta variant has led to a recent surge in Covid-19 cases across the US, with data suggesting 97% of the currently hospitalised cases to be unvaccinated.

Constantin Gurdgiev

Constantin Gurdgiev, an economist, professor and former editor of the Business & Finance magazine, retweeted a Monterey Herald article on California’s pandemic unemployment insurance (UI) claims rising despite the reopening of the economy, suggesting signs of a shaky recovery.

According to the US Labour Department, California workers filed 58,259 pandemic unemployment claims during the week that ended on 17 July, an increase of 1,334 from the 56,925 claims that were filed the week before. The effect was the same nationwide, as unemployment claims jumped to 419,000 for the week ending on 17 July, an increase of 51,000 from the 368,000 claims filed during the previous week.

In total, the latest unemployment claims are reportedly 30% higher than it was before the Covid-19 public health restrictions and business lockdowns were imposed in the state to curb the virus spread.