The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern for the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) on January 30, 2020. Since the disease was first recognized in December of 2019, it has spread to almost every country, infected millions of people and killed hundreds of thousands. But this pandemic is much more than a public health crisis. In addition to causing the greatest global economic downturn in almost a century, it is threatening to reverse decades of development gains. It is pushing hundreds of millions of people into a state of food insecurity, magnifying national and regional instability, disrupting global supply chains, and much more (Sly, 2020). United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called COVID-19 a 'human crisis,' stressing that, “its unprecedented scale demands an unprecedented response” (United Nations, 2020a).
The global community must confront this “new normal” of social and economic disruption collectively and collaboratively (Mohammad, 2020). The capacity of traditional support mechanisms to address compounding impacts at the community, country, regional, and global levels is insufficient. While examination of past regional and global disease outbreaks does offer a wealth of information and recovery best practices, the unprecedented nature of the current disaster mandates consideration of novel approaches.
Although response to the COVID-19 crisis remains active and dynamic, the time to initiate recovery is now. There is a diverse range of recovery needs that extend far beyond that of human health. While maintaining a steady state of transmission control and the capacity to sustain intermittent spikes in case numbers are both foundational to long-term COVID-19 recovery, the wider recovery effort will require multisectoral participation to address a range of issues that are typical of many other disaster types (e.g. , infrastructure, education, governance, commerce).
This brief is offered to define the COVID-19 recovery context and to supplement existing guidance with key principles and practices to guide recovery planning. The audience includes recovery decision makers and policy makers, development organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and corporate and private philanthropy.