Body piles up as vaccine campaigns splatter and COVID-19 variants spread

A COVID-19 patient sits in a car and breathes on Saturday, April 24, 2021 with the help of oxygen provided by Gurdwara, a Sikh place of worship in New Delhi, India. Medical oxygen deficiency in India was so disastrous that Gurdwara began offering free breathing sessions using shared tanks to COVID-19 patients waiting for hospital beds. They arrive by car, on foot, or by three-wheeled taxi and are desperately seeking masks and tubes attached to valuable oxygen tanks outside Gurdwara, outside New Delhi.  (AP photo / Alterf Kadori)

COVID-19 patients breathe in New Delhi with the help of an oxygen mask. Oxygen was provided by the Sikh place of worship, Gurdwara. Medical oxygen deficiency in India became so severe that Gurdwara began offering free breathing sessions using shared tanks to COVID-19 patients waiting for hospital beds. (Alterf Kadori / Associated Press)

In India, the bodies of COVID-19 victims are piled up so quickly that families need to be cremated in the parking lot.

In Brazil, grave digger works all night.

And in Germany, once Poster child Due to its pandemic response, the death toll has tripled in recent months and the federal government has imposed the strictest blockade to date.

Even as Optimism As the number of cases declines sharply in the United States and vaccine supply begins to outpace demand, the COVID-19 pandemic continues as global vaccine campaigns surge and new, more rapidly prevalent variants take root. , Reached one of the darkest points.

Last week, a record 5.7 million new cases were reported worldwide, almost doubling the seven-day average in late February. The death toll, which is currently approaching 3.1 million, has increased by more than 87,000.

These numbers, along with other wealthy nations, are putting pressure on the United States. Devour Most of the supply is to speed up the production and distribution of vaccines around the world.

The global surge also raised fears that the worst of the pandemic might not have come yet.

Only two months ago, India seemed to support COVID-19. As millions of pilgrims descended onto the sacred Ganges and Yamuna rivers, the city began allowing people to regroup at weddings, cricket games, religious festivals such as Kumbh Mela.

Deregulation turned out to be disastrously premature, as the number of cases increased explosively and the healthcare system, which could not meet the needs of the country even in peacetime, collapsed.

Last week, nearly half of the world’s infectious diseases and 15% of their deaths occurred in India. In India, people awaiting medical treatment died outside the hospital, forcing families, including 35-year-old housewife Faiza Khan, to make strict choices.

Just days after Khan gave birth to a healthy baby girl in New Delhi, she began to feel short of breath.

Her family desperately sought medical care, but hospitals were flooded and oxygen cylinders were sold in the black market for $ 660. That’s $ 260 more than Khan’s husband earns in a month.

The family pooled resources to buy tanks and made a desperate decision. They planned to travel about 700 miles to a private hospital where their friends worked, hoping that Kahn could be treated there.

Ramanan Lakshmi Narayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economy and Policy in Mumbai, said: “It’s just terrible.

“There was a government sense that COVID was dealt with, but the nature of the virus is that it loves people nearby,” he said.

Ambulances carrying COVID-19 patients are lined up.

Ambulances carrying COVID-19 patients are lined up outside the COVID Public Hospital in Ahmedabad, India. (Ajit Solanki / Associated Press)

mutation It is also causing a surge in infections in India and elsewhere.

Research on a new variant known as B.1.617 is still in its infancy, but experts say it may be contributing to the devastation of India as it appears to be more contagious and resistant to vaccines. I believe.

In Latin America, doctors have blamed the recent outbreak of infection for variant P.1 that emerged in the Brazilian city of Manaus before clearing the rest of the continent.

This mutant appears to be ill for people who have already been infected with the coronavirus and have recovered. That is, it can resist antibodies developed in response to previous strains.

It also claims the life of a healthy young report According to the Brazilian biomedical institution, the number of COVID-19 deaths among people between the ages of 20 and 29 has skyrocketed by more than 1,000% since the beginning of the year.

“We are treating so many young patients and we see them dying,” said Dr. Pedro Carvalho, who works in a crowded hospital in the northeastern city of Petrolina. “They are patients with small children who are just beginning their lives.

“As soon as the bed opens, it fills up again,” he said. It’s constant and relentless. “

In a recent shift in the hospital, Carvalho worked straight for 16 hours without eating or drinking water.

Vaccines have proven to be primarily effective against coronavirus and its mutations. But experts say that a lack of vaccines increases the likelihood of the emergence of even more dangerous mutants.

Dr. Tim Shacker, an infectious disease expert and vice dean of research at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, said:

In the United States, where people are planning face-to-face school and return to work and spending a lot of money on travel, almost a quarter of the population is fully vaccinated.

This figure is less than 5% in Brazil and 0.17% in Iran, which is the center of another large outbreak. Infections are skyrocketing in other countries with low vaccination rates, such as Peru, Colombia and the Philippines.

Volunteers spray the alleys with disinfectants.

Volunteers spray alleys with disinfectants to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday. (Bruna Prado / Associated Press)

In India, where less than 2% of the population is fully vaccinated, health professionals will fully vaccinate 70% of the country at the current rate, or enough people to start approaching herd immunity. Is estimated to take until the end of 2022.

Looking at the positive effects of vaccination, “it is encouraging for vaccinated countries, but for most unvaccinated countries it is a source of further frustration and despair,” Geneva said. International Development Research Graduate School.

She says that the United States and other wealthy countries not only have moral imperatives, but also have a responsibility to their people to increase their global vaccine supply.

If a pandemic continues to kill people around the world for years, it will slow the recovery of the world economy, and even countries that have succeeded in controlling it through vaccination will eventually be revived by new mutations. There is a possibility.

“This is a clear example of epidemiological, economic and ethical interests, which means we have to do everything we can to get the vaccine to the world,” Moon said. It was.

For the poorest countries in the world, the best chance to get a large amount of vaccine is through an initiative called COVAX.

Launched by the World Health Organization and several nonprofits, vaccine fairness by negotiating favorable pricing with pharmaceutical companies and providing equal access to all countries, rich or poor. The purpose is to promote good distribution.

Still, of the approximately 900 million vaccine doses shipped worldwide, only 0.3% went to poor countries, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a Friday report.

And in the midst of a potential setback in efforts, India has recently moved to suspend exports from one of the world’s leading vaccine makers, the Serum Institute, in order to increase its domestic supply.

Global health advocates are promoting urgent measures to allow poor countries to manufacture and import generic versions of the COVID-19 vaccine.

In October, India and South Africa urged the World Trade Organization to abandon the intellectual property protection of these vaccines. At the time, the proposal was opposed by the United States along with other wealthy WTO members, but health advocates want President Biden to turn around.

The United States recently rejoined the WHO abandoned by President Trump Pledge $ 4 billion to COVAX funding agencies.

“If we don’t act too fast, it could just be the beginning of this pandemic,” said Nico Luciani, senior adviser to Oxfam America.

As they wait for the vaccine, many countries have been fed up with other only effective options: blockade and social distance measures.

Shacker, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, said: ..

That’s what it looks like it happened in Germany.

Europe’s wealthiest and most populous country was praised for its fight against the virus and had one of the lowest mortality rates in the world. Over the past four months, deaths have risen from 23,000 to more than 81,000, and Chancellor Angela Merkel has accused the governor of being reluctant to implement the blockade.

“We were too hesitant,” she said in January when numbers soared out of control. “Then we didn’t pay enough attention and it wasn’t fast enough.”

The government has long resisted imposing a strict curfew because of the miserable memories of communist East Germany and the restrictions on freedom during the Nazi era.

But as of Saturday, the Germans had to stay home from 10 pm to 5 am. All shops, clubs, cafes, restaurants and gyms are closed and only grocery stores are open.

In Ecuador, which was hit by the world’s worst COVID-19 outbreak last spring and is now on the verge of another outbreak, Maria Jose Cisneros accuses her father of death for fatigue over social distance. I am.

Marcelo Cisneros, 58, was a civil servant responsible for closing parties and other rallies that violated the blockade. He coughed down, especially after breaking up the crowded party.

The family postponed taking him to the hospital, even when his blood oxygen levels dropped and his temperature soared.

“I know people who have lost relatives and have been left with more than $ 30,000 in hospital debt,” said Maria Jose. “It’s a disease that not only kills families, but also goes bankrupt.”

But in the end, he ended up in the intensive care unit, where he spent eight days. Just before being intubated, Marcelo sent a video message to her family, her daughter said.

“We have never seen him alive again.”

Linsicum was reported from Mexico City, Pearson from Singapore, and Baum Gartner from Los Angeles. ParthMN in Mumbai, Ana Ionova in Rio de Janeiro, Erik Kirschbaum in Berlin, and Pablo Jaramillo Viteri in Quito, Ecuador contributed to this report.

This story was originally Los Angeles Times..

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