The worst year for the world in a lifetime ends with brighter and more optimistic prospects for 2021, according to the latest McKinsey Global Survey on the economy.

The crucial question is whether such happy prospects are for all. “Respondents’ expectations for their home economies are increasingly positive,” the New York-based McKinsey reported in its Global Survey released on 18 December.

“63 per cent say economic conditions in their countries will be better six months from now, up from 54 per cent who said the same in mid-October. Meanwhile, the global outlook has bounced back.”

While top executives earning upwards of Rs 56 lakh a year might look optimistically ahead to 2021, honest governments will need to ensure millions of people who lost their livelihood and life-savings are helped backed to their feet – now.

Fortune magazine quoted a study from business networking site “Yelp” reporting that 163,735 businesses have closed during the year by August in the USA ~ and the number of permanent closures reached 97,966, or about 60 per cent of closed businesses that will not reopen.

That number increased since with small retail establishments, restaurants, neighbourhood shops, street vendors continuing to suffer their worst year in business. At the other extreme of the pain spectrum, online behemoths and mega corporations profited from the pandemic to the extent that it is being called the biggest wealth transfer or “heist” in history.

While the world’s richest got dramatically richer, millions of small businesses worldwide shut down or face closure ~ pushing the global economy further into the fists of the few. “(Amazon owner) Jeff Bezos alone could give everyone in America one million dollars each and still show an obscene profit from the $72.3 billion his wealth rose during the first six months of the pandemic,” said a Twitter user.

Bezos in December is worth $182 billion (Rs 13 lakh crore), staggeringly more than the GDP of 139 countries. As crime investigators say, “Follow the money”.

Following the money about who benefited most feeds concrete suspicions about the entire Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown process to deal with it.

Answers are long overdue about: a) how exactly was the Covid-19 virus released; b) how much was the Covid-19 death toll mixed with annual deaths from disease, including pneumonia and the ordinary flu? c) Was such a complete, economy-shattering lockdown absolutely necessary? The most crucial question of all: How accurate is the RT-PCR test ~ the foundation for the lifesaving or crippling lockdown ~ when an Austrian parliamentarian earlier this month said he proved that a glass of cola tested Covid-19 positive? The UK-based Principia Scientific International reported on 17 December: “In a statement released on 14 December 2020 the World Health Organization finally owned up to what 100,000’s of doctors and medical professionals have been saying for months: the PCR test used to diagnose Covid-19 is a hit and miss process with way too many false positives.”

The UN body is now clearly looking to distance itself from the fatally flawed test, the PSI journal declared (https://principia-scientific.com/whofinally-admits-covid19-pcrtest-has-a-problem/), “as a growing number of lawsuits are processing through the courts exposing the insanity of relying on a test that even the inventor, Professor Kary B. Mullis said was never designed to diagnose diseases.”

Prof Mullis “coincidentally” died before the pandemic began.

Earlier, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk had said he did four Covid-19 tests the same day and came out with two positive and two negative tests. Given the frequent flipflops over a devastating pandemic, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus needs to be arrested and prosecuted. Remember those who ordered and implemented the lockdown have not economically suffered.

Have elected politicians, bureaucrats, government workers worldwide lost a single month’s salary during the continuing lockdown? Has there been any discussion of government workers at mid and senior levels taking a pay cut ~ and the money saved directed to help people needing it the most?