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A health worker performs a COVID-19 test in New Delhi. Photo: Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The Rockefeller Foundation announced on Monday that it will allocate $1 billion over the next three years to address the pandemic and its aftermath.

Why it matters: The mishandled pandemic and the effects of climate change threaten to reverse global progress and push more than 100 million people into poverty around the world. Governments and big NGOs need to ensure that the COVID-19 recovery reaches everyone who needs it.

By the numbers: The Rockefeller Foundation's $1 billion commitment is the largest in its 107-year history, and will primarily focus on expanding access to COVID-19 tests and vaccines, as well as investing in distributed green power sources for the more than 800 million people stuck in energy poverty.

  • The Foundation will leverage both its own endowment and the proceeds from its first-ever bond offering for charitable purposes, and aims to catalyze billions more in private investments.

What they're saying: "This crisis has unwound two to two-and-a-half decades of progress against basic human development goals," says Rajiv Shah, the president of the Rockefeller Foundation. "You can imagine a future characterized by extreme inequity on a global scale, or you can imagine a future where sometimes steps up with a Marshall Plan for building back post-crisis."

How it works: Shah argues that increasing access to energy is an under-appreciated part of any kind of recovery, especially since the pandemic has led to more than 100 million having their electricity cut because of unpaid bills.

  • "If you don't have reliable industrial power, you can't run businesses," says Shah, who led the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under President Obama. "If you can't run businesses, you don't create jobs."
  • Funding will also go to expanding Rockefeller's National Covid-19 Testing & Tracing Action Plan, with a particular focus on vulnerable communities in the U.S.

Background: The Rockefeller Foundation has long been involved in public health, including funding the work that led to the yellow fever vaccine.

  • During his time at USAID, Shah was a key figure in the global response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The catch: As big as a billion dollars is for a charity, it's little more than 0.006% of the $16 trillion that the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to cost the U.S. alone.

The bottom line: The pandemic will be an inflection point for the future of the world, and it's vital to begin preparing for that future now.

Go deeper

What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, but some experts fear the accelerated regulatory process could interfere with ongoing research about the vaccines.

Why it matters: Even after the first COVID-19 vaccines are deployed, scientific questions will remain about how they are working and how to improve them.

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
Dec 3, 2020 - Health

WSJ: Pfizer expects to ship half as many COVID vaccines as planned in 2020

A Pfizer factory in Puurs, Belgiam on Dec. 3. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech have halved their original estimates for how many coronavirus vaccines would be shipped globally by the end of this year, citing supply-chain issues, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Why it matters: The U.K. government has ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine — enough to inoculate some 20 million people. The companies now expect to ship 50 million vaccines by the end of 2020, per WSJ.