WHO: COVID-19 pandemic drain on health systems leaves women’s health at risk
The COVID-19 pandemic drain on health systems has left few resources for anything else.
As a result, World Health Organization Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday, women may face a “heightened risk of dying from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.”
Dr. Natalia Kanem, executive director of the U.N. Population Fund, said: “Even before the emergence of COVID-19, for millions of women timely high-quality maternal health care was unavailable, it was inaccessible, or it was not affordable. And now, with the pandemic, we’re seeing exacerbation of already limited access to care, putting women’s health and lives at risk.”
The agency is encouraging new mothers, however, to nurse their babies. “So far, we have not been able to detect live virus in breast milk,” said Dr. Anshu Banerjee, director for WHO’S Department of Maternal, Newborn and Child and Adolescent Health and Ageing.
India reported its largest surge in new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period Saturday. The 11,458 new infections surpassed the previous record of 10,956 cases reported Friday.
The surge comes as India has reopened stores, shopping malls, manufacturing plants and places of worship. The country’s two-month lockdown that began in March has been eased, with restrictions remaining largely intact in high-risk areas.
India’s record surge of new cases propels the massive South Asian nation to fourth place worldwide, surpassed only by the U.S., Brazil and Russia.
China’s National Health Commission reported 11 new cases Saturday. The agency said five of the new infections were detected in people who had traveled overseas, while the remaining six were locally transmitted in Beijing. The coronavirus emerged in China late last year.
U.S. President Donald Trump is delivering the commencement address at the West Point Military Academy Saturday.
The graduation ceremonies will be held on the academy’s parade grounds instead of the football stadium so the cadets can be seated six feet apart, in keeping with COVID-19 distancing guidlines. Family and friends will not be allowed to attend.
The cadets may remove their masks, if they want, once they are seated. Trump does not like to wear a mask.
Norway said Friday it would maintain travel restrictions for visitors from Sweden. Unlike other European countries, Sweden did not impose lockdown measures, opting only to advise social distancing and banning gatherings of more than 50 people.
While new infections are slowing in most of Europe, the European Union’s health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, said Friday that countries should be prepared to reimpose restrictions if they see a rise in infections.
A major study forecasts millions sinking into extreme poverty because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A report by the United Nations University says the economic fallout could plunge 395 million people into conditions in which they are forced to live on $1.90 a day or less – the definition of extreme poverty.
A separate World Bank report this week put that number between 70 million and 100 million people.
“The outlook for the world’s poorest looks grim unless governments do more and do it quickly and make up the daily loss of income the poor face,” one of the U.N. report’s authors, Andy Sumner, said.
“The result is progress on poverty reduction could be set back 20-30 years and making the UN goal of ending poverty look like a pipe dream.”
The U.N. report says South Asia – India in particular – will see the largest number of people sinking into extreme poverty, followed by sub-Saharan Africa.
Experts are appealing to economically powerful nations, such as the United States, to forgive the debts of developing countries that take a strong hit from the pandemic.