As the US crosses the grim milestone of 1 million deaths from Covid-19, US billionaires have seen their combined wealth rise over US$1.7 trillion, a gain of over 58 percent during the pandemic.
This troubling juxtaposition underscores the story of unequal loss and sacrifice during the worst pandemic in a century. While billionaires have seen their wealth surge, millions have lost their lives and livelihoods.
On 18 March 2020, at the beginning of the formal lockdown, US billionaires held a combined $2.947 trillion. On 4 May 2022, as the US crossed the 1 million death mark, according to an analysis by NBC, 727 US billionaires were worth US$1.71 trillion more, according to Forbes.
Elon Musk, who had wealth valued just under US$25 billion on 18 March 2020, has seen his wealth increase to US$255 billion as of 4 May 2022.
Between 18 March 2020 and 4 May 2022, the following increases in wealth have occurred:
- Jeff Bezos saw his wealth rise from US$113 billion to US$150 billion.
- Bill Gates experienced a wealth increase from US$98 billion to US$129.8 billion.
- Three members of the Walton family — Jim, Alicem and Rob — have seen their combined assets rise from US$163.1 billion to US$207.7 billion. – Inequality.org