Socialist Worker

Governments’ failures mean coronavirus accelerates across the world

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2716

Covid-19 diagnostic equipment arrives at a Bolivian hospital

Covid-19 diagnostic equipment arrives at a Bolivian hospital (Pic: La Dra. Miriam Barrientos, Hospital San Juan de Dios, Oruro, Bolivia)


There are further signs that transmission of coronavirus is accelerating. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recorded the highest daily number of new cases worldwide on Saturday. 

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said, "The pandemic is a once-in-a-century health crisis, the effects of which will be felt for decades to come.

"Many countries that believed they were past the worst are now grappling with new outbreaks. Some that were less affected in the earliest weeks are now seeing escalating numbers of cases and deaths.

Across the globe, health workers are battling an avalanche of severely ill people. Yet governments are refusing to listen to their pleas to put the battle against Covid-19 at the top of the political agenda. 

In Mexico, Covid-19 infections continue to climb, and health officials announced a new daily high of 9,556 cases and 748 deaths.

The country has suffered some 47,472 confirmed coronavirus deaths and has surpassed Britain as the third highest death toll in the world. 

In the Philippines, doctors are urging the government to reimpose a lockdown in Manila as the virus begins to rage out of control. 

“Our health workers are suffering burnout with seemingly endless numbers of patients trooping to our hospitals for emergency care and admission,” said Jose Santiago, president of doctors’ group Philippine Medical Association. “We are waging a losing battle against Covid-19 and we need to draw up a consolidated and definitive plan of action.”

Dumped

And in Bolivia, where a right wing coup took place at the end of last year, the daily number of new cases continues to rise.

Over 3,000 bodies have been collected from their homes or from where they were dumped in the streets. Some 80 percent are estimated to be coronavirus victims. 

“Obviously I feel very, very angry with the health system,” said Paolo Medina, who lost her husband to the disease last week, 

“They have made it so hard—and there are many people like me who didn’t know where to turn.”

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Norma, a nurse in La Paz, said health workers were overwhelmed with the sheer number of cases.

“Sometime the patients are already dead when they arrive. We feel powerless—we can’t give them oxygen because there are so many who need it. To see them die like that is just awful.”

Across the globe, hospitals are unable to keep up with the funding and staffing levels needed to keep people safe of a pandemic. 

In the Indian state of Bihar, people are battling not only Covid-19 but a devastating monsoon that displaced at least 300,000 on Friday. 

Rivers from neighbouring Nepal flood the state every year, but now the danger is worsened by the spread of coronavirus. 

Bihar, which has reported 48,197 cases so far, has one doctor for every 17,000 people. The World Health Organisation recommends a ratio for one doctor per 1,000 people. 

And many countries are seeing a dramatic rise as presidents and prime ministers end lockdowns in an attempt to get the economy re-started. 

Over 500,000 cases have been confirmed in South Africa, which accounts for more than half of diagnosed infections across Africa. 

The country has been battling a rising tide of infections since the gradual easing of one of the world’s strictest lockdowns.  

And France has seen its seven-day average of new cases reach over 1,000 for the first time since it eased its lockdown in early May. 

In an effort to stem the tide of rising infections, Victoria in Australia has declared a state of disaster and placed Melbourne—the country’s second biggest city—under night time curfew. 

The state government has announced this new tough lockdown for six weeks. 

People must stay within 5 kilometres of their home, only do an hour of exercise and stay indoors  or in their gardens between 8pm and 5am.

Daniel Andrews, premier of Victoria, said the cops were ready to enforce the new measures. 

“We can suspend various acts of the parliament and make sure that we get the job done and there’s no question about the enforceability and the way in which the new rules will operate.”

Banned

In the US, all media have been barred from attending the Republican national convention from 21 August, because organisers claim to be worried about spreading Covid-19. 

Top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci argued that the country is suffering such high rates of infection because lockdowns were imposed too slowly. 

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There are currently 4.5 million cases in the US, and 17.8 million confirmed cases across the globe. Just over 685,000 deaths have been confirmed so far. 

Coronavirus shows no sign of slowing down its deadly march across the US, yet many school students are being forced back into the classroom. 

On the very first day of term, Greenfield high school in Indiana was already forced to quarantine a “large group” of students after one tested positive for Covid-19.

Meanwhile England was confirmed this week as having the most excess deaths in Europe. 

Politicians want us to believe that this is simply the “new normal”. 

But their version of normality means ignoring the health needs of billions of people while the rich have access to tests, quarantine and the best treatment. 

Instead we need to fight for decent public health care worldwide, and all the funding needed to end the threat of Covid-19. 


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