After coronavirus we should be ready for an uncertainty pandemic

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A post-pandemic expansion – if there is one – may take years to meet the definition of recovery

The next few months will tell us a lot about the shape of the coming global recovery. Despite ebullient stock markets, uncertainty about Covid-19 remains pervasive. Regardless of the pandemic’s course, therefore, the world’s struggle with the virus so far is likely to affect growth, employment and politics for a very long time.

Let’s start with the possible good news. In an optimistic scenario, regulators will have approved at least two leading first-generation Covid-19 vaccines by the end of this year. Thanks to extraordinary government regulatory and financial support, these vaccines are going into production even before the conclusion of human clinical trials. Assuming they are effective, biotech firms will already have some 200m doses on hand by the end of 2020, and will be on track to produce billions more. Distributing them will be a huge undertaking in itself, in part because the public will need to be convinced that a fast-tracked vaccine is safe.

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