The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said the coronavirus pandemic is likely to trigger the worst global economic growth fallout since the Great Depression of the 1930s as more than 170 nations may suffer negative per capita income growth. Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, has infected 15,03,900 people in the world and claimed 89,931 lives so far.

“Today, the world is confronted with a crisis like no other,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said during an address on “Confronting the Crisis: Priorities for the Global Economy” in Washington, before next week’s annual meeting of the IMF and the World Bank. “It is already clear, however, that global growth will turn sharply negative in 2020, as you will see in our World Economic Outlook next week. In fact, we anticipate the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression.”

The Great Depression was the worst global economic downturn that went on for 10 years from 1929, starting in the United States when the New York Stock Exchange crashed wiping out millions of investors.

The IMF chief said that three months back the prediction was for a positive per capita income growth in over 160 member nations. However, that number has fallen. “Today, that number has been turned on its head: we now project that over 170 countries will experience negative per capita income growth this year,” she added.

Georgieva said there was no doubt that the ongoing crisis will be subside, but added that the world “must act decisively and act together to protect lives and livelihoods” as the actions will determine the “speed and strength of our recovery”.

The IMF chief also added that the international body had projected a partial recovery in 2021 if the pandemic fades in the second half of the year. “But let me stress there is tremendous uncertainty around the outlook as there are many variable factors, including the duration of the pandemic,” she added.