“This is good for oil exporting countries like Nigeria: the forecast for oil price has risen to $66 per barrel from an (average of) $60 widely assumed late last year. Nigeria’s budget is based on an oil price benchmark of $40. But Nigeria has been unable to invest the additional income in social or economic infrastructure that would enhance the capacity for increased economic output and development as it is consumed by the subsidy on petroleum”.
The United States of America was one of the world’s poorest performing nations in combating the novel coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, out of a total number of 159 million cases of coronavirus infections and 3.3 million deaths, the USA accounted for 32.8 million infections and 582,000 deaths. Former President Donald Trump, who himself fell briefly ill with Covid-19, busied himself spreading misinformation from the White House about the novel coronavirus. But America’s vaccine game has been the envy of the world and has led to a turnaround in infection and death rates.
The United States of America grasped early that rolling out vaccination is key to controlling the spread of the new coronavirus and thus opening the economy. Operation Warp Speed was launched under former President Donald Trump to coordinate American Government agencies collaboration with the private sector to accelerate vaccine research and development and manufacturing. Trump was much more enthusiastic about keeping the economy open than advocating restrictions which hurt the economy.
President Joe Biden immediately announced combating the virus as a key part of his economic strategy on assuming office, announcing a slew of initiatives such as the one which increased the number of places Americans could get vaccinated. He also announced an ambitious target to get all adult Americans vaccinated by May 1, 2021.
There has been a debate over whether a second term Trump administration, attended by the usual drama and division, would have achieved the focus with which the Biden has rolled out the vaccination campaign. But both Trump’s and Biden’s anti-Covid 19 strategies have been united on thing- the exploitation of a 70-year law to ban the export of vaccines produced in America.
The effort has paid off handsomely. Cases of infection and death have continued to tumble in the USA. New infections have dropped to the lowest level in 11 months. On Sunday, May 9, 2021, the US recorded 24,080 new infections, the fewest since June last year (2020), according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. Over the past week, the US averaged 38,678 infections a day, the lowest level since mid-September last year and an 85 per cent drop from a peak in early January of about 250,000 a day.
There seems to be no looking back. More than 105 Americans have completed the anti-Covid vaccine dose and more than 56% of American adults, i.e., 147 million people have gotten at least one shot of the vaccine. About 34.8 per cent of the total population have been fully vaccinated. This looks very good compared to the French rate of only 12.7 %. President Biden announced this week that 70% of American adults would have received at least one vaccine shot by July 4.
Andy Slavitt, a senior White House Coronavirus Adviser, commented on America’s successful vaccination campaign: “We are [on] the verge of having Covid on the run in the US thanks to Americans getting vaccinated.”
Impact on American and the World Economy
Going by the US mass inoculation programme, states are likely to reopen their economies in the coming weeks and months, including lifting restrictions on businesses, most activities and, in some cases, mask mandates.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that the American economy will grow in 2021 by 6.5% as a result of the fiscal stimulus package and the roll-out of vaccination rather than the 3.2 % expansion predicted in December, 2020.
Laurence Boone, the O.E.C.D.’s chief economist commented on the forecast, “Stimulus without vaccinations won’t be as effective because consumers won’t go out doing normal things”.
The USA accounts for 24.6% of global economic output. China, which accounts for 16.34% of global production, recorded only 14 confirmed new cases of coronavirus infections on 11 May, 2021 and reported a very robust Q1 2021 GDP growth of 18.3 %.
The fact that the world’s two biggest economies have the new coronavirus under control and one is ramping up output while the other is confident about steadily reopening business and lifting restrictions on movement has boosted sentiment and together with that stock and commodity prices.
This is good for oil exporting countries like Nigeria: the forecast for oil price has risen to $66 per barrel from an (average of) $60 widely assumed late last year. Nigeria’s budget is based on an oil price benchmark of $40. But Nigeria has been unable to invest the additional income in social or economic infrastructure that would enhance the capacity for increased economic output and development as it is consumed by the subsidy on petroleum.