In 2019, the world experienced its lowest crude death rate ever – at 7.525 deaths per 1,000 persons, according to the World Bank. This figure is estimated to have increased for the first time this century to at least 7.6 in 2020.
While 1,813,188 COVID-19 deaths were reported in 2020, recent WHO estimates suggest an excess mortality of at least 3 million persons. Globally, as of 11:37am CEST, 19 July 2021, there have been 189,921,964 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 4,088,281 deaths (reported to the World Health Organization). As if the pandemic itself was not enough to be worried about from a survival standpoint, we have seen vibrant manifestations of various perennial ills, such as underreported death and infection rates globally, vaccine inequality, undisclosed vaccine sources and uses, unclear and ever-changing reported vaccine efficacy rates and risks, and vaccine passport discrimination, for example.
These and other pandemic-related mishaps only add to the simmering sense of confusion and chaos, causing many a (buried) seed of suspicion to spring green shoots of mistrust, and spread its roots. The irony is that in a world that has grown to almost expect fake news, truth, transparency, and their offspring – trust – are probably at once, more priceless but more elusive than ever before.
And then there is the perennial issue of money.