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Seizing the Health Opportunity

Confronting the COVID-19 pandemic gives us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take the steps needed to advance broad-based health and prosperity in the long term. Few investments enhance wellbeing and reduce inequity so effectively, while also delivering such high economic returns.

SAN FRANCISCO – The COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions have devastated communities and economies around the world. Barely six months old, COVID-19 now looks set to become the most expensive malady in history, costing the global economy an estimated 3-8% of GDP this year alone.

But the chronic cost of poor health, though less obvious, is far higher. In a new McKinsey Global Institute report, we estimate that poor health reduces global GDP by 15% each year – about twice the pandemic’s likely negative impact in 2020 – as a result of premature deaths and health conditions that leave people unable to participate fully in society and the economy.

The good news is that the tools we need to tackle this problem are within reach. Our report therefore proposes a path forward to promote both better health and faster economic growth, at little or no extra cost.

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