United Church of Christ – Wider Church Ministries
Humanitarian Development Team
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Daily Briefing
Barbara T. Baylor, MPH – Temporary Health Liaison
Glimpses of Global Impact of COVID-19
While cases and deaths due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to grow here in the United States, the pandemic is also threatening to decimate countries in Africa, South America and Asia. The pandemic demands a global, collective response.
Unfortunately the United States, Europe and China have less capacity now to assist these countries due to the fact they are dealing with their own epidemics, with rich countries even pushing poor countries aside in the scramble for COVID-19 supplies.
Much of the world is facing challenges that include:
- low-capacity governments;
- lack of healthcare facilities, supplies, and personnel;
- poverty, weak economies, slowing economic growth, and high unemployment;
- inability to enforce social distancing;
- armed conflict;
- disruptions in trade and reductions in tourism and leisure-related industries;
- misinformation, and/or
- widespread hunger - to name a few.
Global Ministries (United Church of Christ and and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)) is working to help mitigate effects of the rapidly growing COVID-19 pandemic in:
- East Asia & the Pacific
- Latin America & the Caribbean
- Middle East & Europe
- Southern Asia
Area executives, mission co-workers, and global partners are doing their best to contribute to the health and safety of our fellow global citizens while remaining committed to our mission of presence.
- COVID-19 cases in Africa are more than 10,000, with South Africa leading the continent with more than 2,000 cases.
- Countries in sub-Saharan Africa carry some of the world's heaviest burdens of serious underlying conditions such as HIV, which limits immune function, and tuberculosis, which often scars the lungs. Malnutrition compromises the health of more than 50 million children in the region.
- China continues to lead this region with more than 81,000 cases, followed by North Korea, Australia, Japan and Philippines.
- With the spread of COVID-19 and increased financial volatility, the growth outlook for the region in 2020 has been sharply downgraded.
- In the Pacific Island countries, the outlook for 2020 is subject to substantial risks due to their economies’ reliance on grants and tourism. Currently Pacific Islands have low numbers of COVID-19 cases.
- Latin America and the Caribbean account for 2.6 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University (roughly 33,000 people as of April 5).
- Brazil is the country that has been affected the most, followed by Chile, Panama and Costa Rica. In total, the region has registered nearly 45,000 infected patients, with a growing number of fatal cases.
- Ecuador has emerged as the hotspot for this region.
- Testing is low in this region.
- Many countries there have a poor healthcare system and a high prevalence of chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension that increase the risk of death from COVID-19. A large informal economy and persistent income inequality make social lockdown measures difficult to enforce for extended periods of time.
Where is the Coronavirus in Latin America?
Number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Latin America and the Caribbean as of April 9, 2020, by country
Middle East and Europe
- As of this week, Iran leads this region with over 65,000 cases.
- Syria has no way to test for the virus. Water has been cut off to 460,000 people even though they are urged to stay at home. With millions of displaced people and refugee camps, it’s unclear how Syria could manage a pandemic.
- Middle East may be particularly affected given the simultaneous fall in oil prices.
The Ministry of National Health Services has reported that India has approximately 5,374 cases of COVID-19, followed by Pakistan’s 4,072.
In a region where more than 600 million people already live in poverty, the numbers are rising sharply on a daily basis and are estimated to be significantly higher than reported given the paucity of testing.
India’s population has high rates of tuberculosis and respiratory issues and pneumonia, smoking and air pollution. About a third of the country’s adults are hypertensive, and about one-tenth of them are diabetic.
- Every one of South Asia’s eight countries has one of the lowest numbers of physicians per capita, according to the World Bank. It ranges from 0.3 physicians per 1,000 people (Afghanistan) to just one physician per 1,000 people (Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). At the best of times, there are too few healthcare workers with too few resources.
How COVID-19 will hit India
South Asia: As COVID-19 spreads, fears rise for people at higher risk
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