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Opinion
Mohamed A. El-Erian

Delta’s Unknowns Complicate Medical and Economic Responses

The uncertainty can be countered only by accelerating both medical initiatives and monetary and fiscal policy pivots.

Progress on the medical front is needed to clear the way for effective economic measures.

Progress on the medical front is needed to clear the way for effective economic measures.

Photographer: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

The surge in the Covid-19 delta variant worldwide is raising concerns about the robustness of what has already been an uneven and uncertain global economic recovery. The extent of this worry speaks to medical and economic policy issues, dealing both with factors that we seem to know a lot about and others that remain unknown 18 months into the pandemic. Only by making faster progress on what we know can we reduce dangerous exposure to what we don’t.

Let’s start with the two things that most people agree on: First, that the delta variant is much more infectious than earlier iterations; and second, that the link from infections to hospitalizations and deaths has fortunately been weakened, though only for countries that have made significant progress in vaccinating their populations.