Tuesday 26 September 2023

WHO: The pandemic is “far from over”

While some countries are reporting more and more new COVID-19 cases every day, others are adapting to a "new normal." Data for the global picture shows that the pandemic is far from over.

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QCOSTARICA – COVID-19 “is far from over,” warned Maria Van Kerkhove, responsible for managing the pandemic at the World Health Organization (WHO).

In an interview with AFP in Geneva, the American scientist urged people to be “mentally prepared”, because the coronavirus “will be with us for a while.”

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She also warned that “disagreements” in science and politics make it “even more difficult” to fight the virus, which leaves 1.09 million dead and more than 38.5 million infections in the world, according to the AFP count.

The director of the Europe section at the WHO, Hans Kluge, announced that “the number of daily cases increases, the hospital admissions also. Covid is already the fifth leading cause of death and the level of 1,000 deaths per day has been reached ”.

And, based on projections, the WHO warned that a level of mortality could be reached “four or five times higher than in April” if the restrictions are lifted prematurely.

But countries are desperate because of the recession caused by the pandemic and the way it affects social and cultural life, sports, the world of work, health systems and even electoral campaigns.

Museums, recession, elections and poverty

Latin America and the Caribbean is the most mourning region in the world with more than 373,000 deaths and 10 million infections.

Peru, which began a gradual reopening of museums and archaeological sites, announced this Thursday that its economy contracted 9.8% in August compared to the same month in 2019, while GDP fell 15.66% in the first eight months of the year.

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And yet this is the smallest monthly drop since the country declared a health emergency in March.

Meanwhile, Costa Rica reported that poverty (with a monthly income of less than US$80) reached 26.2% of households, the highest level in almost three decades. Extreme poverty reached 7% of households.

The increase coincides with a strong increase in unemployment, which went from 12.3% before March to 23.2% in the June-August quarter.

Chile, whose economy fell 11.3% in August, announced for its part that it will not lift the quarantine that governs some areas of the country during the constitutional plebiscite on October 25, although it will allow people to go to the polls without restrictions.

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And Bolivians, who next Sunday elect a new president, are experiencing a tense electoral campaign marked by polarization, economic deterioration and the pandemic.

The United States, meanwhile, which goes to the polls on November 3, is experiencing a campaign marked by the coronavirus, which has wreaked havoc in the White House, infecting the presidential family, and throughout the country, being the most affected in absolute terms, with about 217,000 deaths and almost 8 million infections.

Re-election President Donald Trump, criticized for his handling of the health crisis and lagging far behind his Democratic rival Joe Biden, said he was willing to increase the government’s offer to unlock negotiations with Democrats on a new package. financial aid.

And Kamala Harris, who second to Biden in the Democratic presidential formula, announced the suspension of her trips due to cases of covid-19 in her environment.

“Avoid widespread confinement”

Europe, with 6.8 million cases and more than 245,000 deaths, is suffering a resurgence of proportions, with a significant spread of the coronavirus even in countries that had managed to defeat the first wave, such as Germany.

The European Health Commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, asked the EU countries to do “what is necessary” to avoid a generalized lockdown.

“Time is short and everyone must do what it takes to avoid the devastating social, economic and health effects of widespread lockdown,” he said.

The possibility of new total confinement is something that Europe cannot afford, according to the WHO.

“We cannot sustainably maintain confinement like the one in March, which was a stoppage. The pressure and collateral damage on the people was too high, ”Kluge said.

But Poland, which declared Warsaw and other cities in the country a “red zone”, announced a lockdown due to the outbreak of the virus, by asking the population to “stay at home” and “telework”.

In London, the nine million inhabitants of the city will not be able to meet with family and friends in closed spaces from Saturday, announced the government, which put the capital on a “high” alert level.

And France surpassed 30,000 new cases of covid-19 in 24 hours on Thursday, for the first time since the launch of the mass tests, the public health agency reported.

In Spain, where the government imposed a state of alarm in Madrid last week, the central executive and regional authorities are waging a real war of numbers to the astonishment of a large part of the population.

What’s the current global trend?

The number of newly reported cases highly depends on a country’s ability to conduct tests and its strategy for administering tests. Additionally, some countries have been criticized for not accurately reporting case numbers.

More than twice as many new cases:

  • Asia: Armenia, Cambodia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka
  • Africa: Botswana, Eritrea, Kenya, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe
  • Americas: Barbados, Cayman Islands
  • Europe: Andorra, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Malta, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom
  • Oceania: French Polynesia

More new cases:

  • Asia: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Georgia, Iran, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Myanmar, Oman, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
  • Africa: Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Libya, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Tunisia, Zimbabwe
  • Americas: Argentina, Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Canada, Colombia, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Greenland, Grenada, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Saint Lucia, United States of America, Uruguay
  • Europe: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Ukraine
  • Oceania: Guam, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands

About the same number of new cases (no change or plus/minus 2%): 

  • Asia: Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Timor Leste, Turkey, Vietnam
  • Africa: South Sudan, Zambia
  • Americas: Costa Rica, Paraguay

Fewer new cases: 

  • Asia: Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Iraq, Israel, Maldives, Pakistan, Palestinian territories, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
  • Africa: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eswatini, Gambia, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Uganda
  • Americas: Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sint Maarten (Dutch part), Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela
  • Europe: Denmark, Estonia, Guernsey, Kosovo, Spain
  • Oceania: Australia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Northern Mariana Islands

Less than half as many new cases:

  • Asia: Singapore
  • Africa: Mauritania, Sudan
  • Americas: Aruba, Dominica, Turks and Caicos islands, US Virgin Islands
  • Europe: Faroe Islands

Zero new cases four weeks in a row:

  • Asia: Laos
  • Africa: Tanzania, Western Sahara
  • Americas: Anguilla, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Montserrat, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Oceania: Fiji
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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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