The pace of COVID-19 infection and casualties is accelerating. As of publication, the virus has claimed 1,267,780 lives and infected 51,211,972 people worldwide. Far from losing speed, this is an increase of 50% in casualties and more than 100% in infections in the last 3 months alone. The U.S. continues to top the list of most impacted countries, followed by India, Russia, Brazil, France, Spain, Argentina and the U.K. As expected, with a relaxation of lockdowns during the summer, global economic activity recovered from its double-digit Q2 contraction to a current consensus of between -4.5% to -7.0% year-over-year GDP decline for 2020. The extent of new lockdowns, the success of vaccine trials and the efficacy of vaccine distribution will determine when the pace of economic recovery in 2021, with consensus pointing to Q3 or Q4 2020 as rounding the corner out of the pandemic part of the recession. However, economic activity will not heal and recover until well into 2021 and early 2022. On the downside, global premium growth is being depressed by contracting economic activity but on the upside is experiencing increases in pricing and market hardening, pointing to flat-to-increasing premium growth going into 2021.
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