“According to the World Health Organization, as of 31 August 2020 COVID-19 had infected a confirmed total of 25,118,689 people worldwide and contributed to at least 844,312 deaths. International news and social media sources, to be sure, have conveyed some of the devastating impacts of COVID-19 in some of the hardest hit areas at different stages, including in China, the United States, the European continent, Brazil and South Africa. However, the overall global impact of the pandemic is less well documented, seldom presented as a composite picture, and infrequently evaluated against the legal obligations of States, individually and collectively, to respect, protect and fulfill the right to health of people under their jurisdiction.
As the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has aptly noted, the devastation and “suffering” wrought by COVID-19 has not been equally distributed amongst all people.2 Global statistics, as chilling as they are, cannot reveal the individual impacts and experiences of either persons who have died of COVID-19, or those who suffer the personal, social, economic and political consequences of the pandemic. “