Welcome to the newsletter highlighting The Economist’s best pandemic coverage. We have two covers this week. In our Asian and European editions, we look at how no fewer than 84 governments have taken extra powers since covid-19 began to spread. In some cases these are necessary and will be relinquished when the crisis is over. But in others they are not, and won’t be.
In our American and British editions we analyse the looming problem of government debt. As the economy falls into ruins, governments are writing millions of cheques to households and firms and tax revenues are collapsing. Long after the covid-19 wards have emptied, countries will be living with the consequences. What should they do?Our coverage of the disease this week is led by Bill Gates, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who has written for us on how to get out of the pandemic. We also look at how to do mass-testing and the worrying vulnerability to covid-19 of the southern United States. We report on an enigma surrounding the Spanish flu, how New Zealand has avoided the worst of the disease and why Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, which claim to be covid-free, are probably living in denial.You can also see our mortality tracker, which estimates how many deaths from covid-19 the official statistics are failing to detect. It goes about this using the gap between the total number of people who died from any cause and the historical average for the time of year. The results, broken down by country and region, show that the virus is more lethal than many had feared.
And we have also been focusing on the pandemic in Economist Radio and Economist Films. This week we produced a film analysing what lies behind the death toll in America, which has suffered more fatalities than any other country.As the epidemiological curves flatten and the easing of lockdowns beckons, I hope that you enjoy our coverage.
Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief by The Economist