Spike in COVID-19 cases in Latin American, African countries could be disastrous
Updated: 2020-04-01 04:59:52 KST
Let's begin a discussion with experts from around the world.
The coronavirus outbreak has, so far, caused a massive impact in China, Central and Southern Europe and the U.S.
Countries in Latin America and Africa have generally received less global attention as they've experienced fewer infections, but now they are seeing numbers grow.
If the pandemic spirals out of control in these countries, experts are warning it could be catastrophic.
Today we connect with Dr. Osman Dar, Director of the One Health Project at the Chatham House in the UK, who was recently in Zambia, and Manuela Parrino, a journalist based in Brazil.
Manuela: Most governments are urging the public to stay indoors, practice social distancing and go to work only if necessary.
But in Brazil's case, it seems President Bolsonaro is doing the opposite..
He's been the subject of much international criticism, but within Brazil, how is the COVID-19 situation how has it impacted daily life?
Dr. Dar: The number of infections and deaths in African countries are also fluid.
You were in Zambia in March, training medical officials and personnel from the African Union, which represents 46 states on the continent.
How are health authorities bracing themselves? is there enough testing going on and are they ready to deal with a sudden surge in cases?
Manuela: Leadership is important in times of crisis. Facebook and Twitter removed posts by President Bolsonaro, after he claimed some medical substances are working against COVID-19 and also called for an end to social distancing. But at the regional level, officials are trying to take more stringent measures to curb the spread. How are people reacting to these mixed signals?
Dr. Dar: What do you think about this, Dr. Dar? In countries like those in South America where the public health system is already precarious, or countries like Botswana where one in four people are HIV positive, how would a surge of COVID-19 complicate or worsen challenges in public health? (Which countries would be the hardest hit in Africa?)
Manuela: What about the medical system in Brazil? Does it have the capacity to deal with the rising numbers possibly hundreds of thousands if infections surge in the country?
Dr. Dar: Western African countries have already experienced Ebola. What are some lessons these nations and the rest of the world can take away from the epidemic and apply to COVID-19 (especially in terms of dealing with the shortage of medical facilities and preventing infections within the household?)
What are the dangers of this virus spiking on the African continent and in central and South American countries while cases in other countries subside? How would it impact the world?
Thank you, Dr. Osman Dar and Manuela Parrino for joining us from London and Rio de Janeiro.