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  • The Low Down

What the pre-COVID world looked like

The Editor,

Amidst the present crisis there is a great desire amongst many to return to normal as quickly as possible, and understandably so. However we should pause and take the time to reflect on what that world looked like and if we really should be aspiring to return to business as usual.

A pre-coronavirus world was a world of inequality where, according to UNICEF, 22,000 children died each day due to poverty, while 26 individuals owned as much wealth as half the world’s population, as reported by Oxfam in 2019. In Canada, the story is not much better, with 87 families owning the same wealth as 12 million Canadians. In a 2020 report, Campaign 2000, a non-partisan network of organizations focused on ending childhood and family poverty, found that one in five children live in poverty in Canada. A pre-coronavirus world included seven million premature deaths per year due to air pollution, and “around 93 per cent of the world’s children under the age of 15 years (1.8 billion children) breathing air so polluted it puts their health and development at serious risk," according to the World Health Organization in 2018.

A pre-coronavirus world saw regular headlines like, “Humans are speeding extinction and altering the natural world at an unprecedented pace” and increasingly dire warnings from climate scientists about a world dangerously close to climate tipping points and irreversible climate catastrophe. In a pre-coronavirus world driven by greed and planetary destruction, it should come as no surprise that, according to WHO in 2019, globally 450 million people suffered mental health disorders and mental illness affected 6.7 million Canadians, as reported by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.