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Covid's Next Challenge: The Growing Divide Between Rich and Poor Economies

The U.S., U.K. and China are roaring ahead, while most lower income nations are struggling, reversing decades of progress in alleviating global poverty. ‘This has become the inequality virus.’

Covid-19 is reopening a rift between economies in the world’s richest and poorest nations, driven by growth rates that are moving firmly in opposite directions.

In the U.S., economists are forecasting a return to boomtime growth levels of the “roaring 20s”; China’s economy expanded at a record 18.3% in the first quarter; and the U.K. is growing faster than at any time since the end of World War II.

Yet across the developing world, where people are largely unvaccinated and governments are unable to afford sustained stimulus measures, economies are falling further behind, struggling to rebound from last year’s record contraction.

The middle class in developing countries, a key engine of economic, educational and political development, is contracting rapidly,