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Why holiday-makers should be ready for misery this summer

Also: The pandemic’s disastrous effect on education

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Also: The pandemic’s disastrous effect on education
The Economist

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July 9th 2022

The Economist this week

A special edition on our coronavirus coverage

Welcome to our weekly newsletter highlighting the best of The Economist’s coverage of the covid-19 pandemic and its effects.
When covid-19 began to spread, pausing lessons in schools was a sensible precaution. Yet disruptions continued long after evidence emerged that the risks to children were minimal. As our correspondents report this week, during the first two years of the pandemic national school closures lasted an average of 29 weeks in Europe, 63 weeks in Latin America and 73 weeks in South Asia. Nearly 153m children missed more than half of all in-person education during the period. Even today, disruption continues in countries such as the Philippines.
As our leader argues, this is a disaster. The share of ten-year-olds in middle- and low-income countries who cannot read and understand a simple story has risen from 57% in 2019 to roughly 70%. The World Bank estimates the disruption could cost children $21trn in future earnings. Schools need to open everywhere and teachers must do all they can to help pupils catch up.
A less serious problem, but a problem nonetheless, is the travel chaos hitting Europeans. The main issue is a mismatch between traveller demand, which rebounded unexpectedly fast, and staffing levels, which have not. Things are particularly bad in Britain, where many laid-off workers left the industry or retired altogether. The problem spreads beyond aviation, too. Britain’s labour market as a whole is straining to recover from the pandemic.
There is, however, some good news this week. A new study estimates that covid vaccines saved 20m lives during their first year, cutting the death toll by some 63%. That is a scientific triumph.

Zanny Minton Beddoes

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