Latest on COVID-19 Pandemic
in 188 countries and regions
have been reported worldwide
have been reported in the U.S.
have been reported in the U.S.
Even as over 40 million people have received a first shot of vaccine and some states and countries try to re-open, COVI9-19 rolls on, infecting millions of people globally and killing hundreds of thousands. The pandemic intensifies its onslaught in some countries amid progress in regions that emerge from lock-downs. India, Brazil, Russian and the United Kingdom follow the U.S. as the countries leading in infection rates. The situation worsened in Europe as a “second wave” emerged with France, Italy and the UK leading the way. The “third wave” in the U.S nearly overwhelmed some health systems and has seen an added threat with the appearance of variants of the virus. This highly contagious virus kills some and spares others, presenting symptoms that are unprecedented and unpredictable. Masking, handwashing and social distancing continue to be critical in combating COVID-19.
The total number of those infected in the U.S. accounts for nearly one fourth of all cases reported worldwide. States in the Northeast achieved success in fighting the spread by applying stringent mandates, while a number of states recorded sharp increases as they relaxed control measures and prematurely opened businesses and activities. Texas (with more than 20,000 dead) became the first state to surpass one million cases; California and Florida soon followed, and California, the first state to hit two million, has reached an infection level of 3.2 million. While lockdowns and restrictions continue, California is now reporting a decline in infection rate.
The re-opening of some schools and other efforts to resume normal activities presented new challenges to local authorities navigating uncharted waters. The U.S. has averaged nearly 108,000 new infections every day in the past week, after approaching 300,000 to establish a new daily record in January – according to the CDC COVID data tracker. A U.S. daily record for deaths has also been set at 4,000, and 95,000 died in the month of January. After hospitals across the country reported a hospitalization level of more than 100,000 patients each day for January, the infection rate has leveled off in recent days and is now in decline in all 50 states. But the death toll still climbs.
With the first two successfully tested vaccines receiving emergency approval from the FDAin the U.S. and with more in development, the rollout of a vaccine continues. It is a complex and lengthy process that faces logistical and supply challenges but progress is evident as reports of declining infection rates emerge. There can be no doubt that the wearing of masks, proper hand washing and social distancing remain the best weapons against infection. The science is clear. They work. And consider “double masking” as an extra layer of protection. Continuing the 3 steps of prevention and getting vaccinated at the earliest opportunity are both necessary to stop COVID. Please click on the arrow in the image below and see the video of one of our health workers in Colombia teaching a very young fellow proper hand-washing skills.
To learn more about the vaccines, open the ” Trusted Resources” below and view a weekly COVID-19 vaccine Q&A with Americares Senior Pharmacist Erin Briggs.
The pandemic has proven especially lethal in predominantly Black and other neighborhoods of color that face systemic inequality including lack of access to quality health care. According to the COVID Racial Data Tracker, COVID has had a particularly deadly impact on Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other people of color with Black people dying at twice the rate of white people. As it rages in poor communities, it also threatens catastrophic growth in countries with large concentrations of urban poverty or with the most fragile health systems. In both rich and poor countries, the virus exposes and exploits every weak point in the health infrastructure. Where you live may determine whether you live or die. And that is why the COVAX pillar of access is critical as the only global effort to ensure that people in all corners of the world will get access to COVID-19 vaccines when they are available, regardless of their wealth. The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought new attention to the health inequity crisis on a national and global scale.
Video of one of our health workers in Colombia teaching a very young fellow proper hand-washing skills