Two pandemics: as we ease up, virus sweeps the world’s poor


Sumary of Two pandemics: as we ease up, virus sweeps the world’s poor:

  • World leaders have been warned that unless they act with extreme urgency, the Covid-19 pandemic will overwhelm health services in many nations in South America, Asia, and Africa over the next few weeks..
  • They fear that the terrible scenes now unfolding in India – where people are dying in hospital corridors, on roads and in their homes, while car parks are being turned into cremation grounds – could be repeated in many other economically fragile nations..
  • Their fates now contrast sharply with those of well vaccinated countries such as the UK and the US where lockdowns are being lifted..
  • In the UK, the prime minister, Boris Johnson, has come in for particular criticism over his recent decision to cut overseas aid during the pandemic..
  • India surging death rate is driving a record shift in the burden of global Covid-19 deaths to poor and lower-middle income countries, according to Observer analysis, in what may be the start of a longer-term shift towards a greater concentration of virus deaths in the global south as wealthier nations begin to vaccinate their way out of the crisis..
  • Nearly one in three (30.7%) recorded deaths from Covid-19 worldwide are now occurring in poor and lower-middle income countries – a month ago they accounted for only 9.3% of global deaths..
  • But India is not alone in driving the shift, with higher Covid-19 death rates in countries such as Kenya (where mortality is up 674% since the end of January), Djibouti (550%) and Bangladesh (489%) also contributing to the highest proportion of recorded Covid-19 mortality in the global south since the emergence of the novel coronavirus in December 2019..
  • As host of next month G7 meeting, Johnson is now under intense pressure to ensure rescue packages, vaccines and drugs are dispatched from rich nations to halt the spiralling rates of Covid deaths in developing countries..
  • On Saturday, Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, urged world leaders to make sure vaccine supplies are sent to vulnerable countries as a matter of urgency..
  • Meanwhile, health experts in Africa warned that the crisis in India would soon be replicated across their continent..
  • It is among the lower-middle income band of countries where deaths have surged most in recent months, growing by 400%, according to Observer analysis of seven-day averages..
  • The figures in some of these countries are likely to be worse than what is being reported due to less developed health surveillance systems, said Krutika Kuppalli, an assistant professor in infectious diseases at the Medical University of South Carolina..
  • “Some of these resource-limited countries don’t have the capacity to test and report as well, so there been this narrative that countries in the global south haven’t been hit as hard, but there always been some scepticism about their surveillance and recorded rates,”.
  • Murad Banaji, a mathematician who has extensively modelled India Covid-19 pandemic, said India death toll was probably at least three times higher than official figures…

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