The world is engulfed in a pandemic coronavirus infection. But despite the number of deaths from COVID-19, according to experts, most people do not die from coronavirus, and other illnesses. Edition of the BBC explained why.
Two-year-old Emile Wamono loved playing in the hollow tree near his home in the village Melindo — the heart of the Guinean jungle.
But it is a great cozy hollow not only he had like, were there other inhabitants: bats. Children sometimes catching them to fry for dinner.
And then Emile got sick. Dec 28, 2013, his life took an unknown serious illness. After the boy died, his sister, and her mother and grandmother.
Since then, the disease began gradually to gain momentum.
To Mar 23, 2014 49 patients and 29 deaths. The doctors confirmed that the reason for the defeat of the Ebola virus.
Following three and a half years the world watched in horror as the disease took more than 11.3 thousand of lives.
At the same time in the background of one of the tragedy unfolded the other.
The Ebola outbreak has seriously impressed by local health services — died infected doctors, many hospitals have closed, and those that worked themselves struggled with the virus.
In the three most affected countries — Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea — people started to avoid medical care.
They were afraid of a mysterious new disease, and was also afraid of doctors, whose white protective jumpsuits inspired terror and was associated with sudden death.
2017 analysis found that the pandemic has led to a sharp drop in the popularity of medicine.
The number of pregnant women who approached doctors during childbirth has decreased by 80%, plummeting vaccination rates and the number of children hospitalised with malaria fell by 40%.
Ironically, after intense international efforts in the fight against the pandemic, sorry but this side was worse than the disease itself.
And in 2020 the world is again exposed to a similar scenario.
A common enemy does not exist
At the beginning of this pandemic, many countries sought to convince people that the fight against COVID-19 requires immediate attention. For the purchase of medical ventilators and hospital beds were allocated additional funding, thousands of physicians have redirected in intensive care.
The world threw all their efforts to overcome the coronavirus, and everything that was considered non-urgent, postponed until better times. This, in particular, some types of transactions, measures in the field of sexual and mental health, a program of tobacco dependence treatment, dental, vaccination, cancer screening and regular check-UPS.
However, it turned out that all these things are very important. Concepts such as “extra” doctor or “extra” medical care, in the end, simply does not exist.
For example, in the Balkans, women resort to self-abortion. And in Britain, cases of dental treatment by your own hands — with the help of chewing gum, pliers and superglue.
And, as is usually the case with all crises, the current pandemic, it seems, would hit poorer countries.
Scientists warn that in some countries, failures in the treatment of diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, can lead to losses in the same scale as the losses caused directly by the virus.
Experts also fear that the death rate from diseases such as cholera can be far greater than the death rate from COVID-19.
Mostly concerned about the situation with vaccines. The world health organization (who) has estimated that at least 80 million children under the age of one at risk of Contracting diphtheria, polio and measles, once the pandemic is at least 68 countries have suspended the immunization programme.
COVID-19 can also jeopardize the many years and billions of dollars in the fight against polio. Thanks to the efforts of doctors, the disease has virtually disappeared.
However, the coronavirus suspended mass vaccination against polio, and the infection can return where it had long been forgotten.
Side effects of the pandemic
Executive Director of the world food programme (WFP) David Beazley warned that the world is on the brink of starvation “biblical” scale — 130 million people at risk of hunger, and another 135 million are already on the verge of starvation.
In addition, it is believed that the global quarantine and further economic shocks can lead to an increase in the number of deaths from despair, as some people seek refuge in alcohol or resorted to suicide.
Epidemiologist Timothy Roberton and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins University became concerned side effects of a pandemic still in early stages.
“We watched the reaction of the world to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa 2014, so we understand how events can develop,” he says.
In particular, scientists are interested in how COVID-19 can affect women and children in countries with low income levels. They have modeled several possible crisis scenarios and identified two main reasons for the growth in the number of victims.
The first is the disruption in the health system. “The reason may be fear of people to go to the doctors. That is, the problem of demand,” says Mr. Roberton.
There is also the problem of the proposal — the doctors themselves can get sick, they can be redirected for the treatment of patients with Covid-19, you may also experience a shortage of medicines.
But that’s not all. Scientists predict a rise in malnutrition. Children in families without access to adequate nutrition are more vulnerable to infectious diseases.
So, the worst case scenario — if medical care will be reduced by 50%, and the rate of malnutrition will increase by the same 50% will die over a million children and mothers 56700.
Most children die from pneumonia and dehydration due to diarrhoea, while the mortality of women is likely to be associated with complications during pregnancy or childbirth.
Add to that those facing hunger, and get quite a significant number.
The world food programme assists almost 100 million people every day, and about 30 million — that’s the only way to survive.
According to the organization, without support from hunger on a daily basis would die of 300 thousand people. And that’s not counting those who have only recently become poor due to the pandemic.
Moreover, because of the coronavirus on the verge of starvation were 130 million people, it jeopardizes the donations of donor countries, which support the world food programme.
“If countries fail to provide the anticipated financing, we are waiting for a really big crisis,” says Jane Howard, head of communications at WFP.
Howard explains that contrary to stereotypes about the hungry, the ones charity movies of the 90s years and lived in the most remote parts of Africa South of the Sahara, today the hunger just gets in major cities — and it is here that a pandemic could hit people harder.
“The inhabitants of the villages may be a city or a cow that can give milk, she says. — They have a small food supply. While citizens are entirely dependent on the prices in the market.”
Now in the zone of greatest risk were unskilled workers, rickshaw drivers and construction workers.
Age and not only
There is another reason why in many countries, collateral damage can die more people than the virus itself. This is the age. It is known that most vulnerable to coronavirus disease are elderly. Among them, the highest percentage of mortality.
On the other hand, in countries with low income, typically young population. In the youngest country in the world — Niger, in West Africa, the average age is only 15.2 years. And from COVID-19 died only 254 people.
In Italy, on the contrary, the average age is 45 years. There is one of the highest death rates from coronavirus.
As for the high mortality rate from coronavirus, it is still a matter of debate. Some scientists believe that the virus is not the direct cause of the current mass deaths.
For example, it is known that the new virus often kills the elderly. But the elderly have the highest percentage of deaths from seasonal or other respiratory diseases, such as norovirus or pneumonia.
It is believed that even in rich countries, the number of indirect deaths from COVID-19 may in the long run exceed the number of direct.
Take, for example, cancer. The pandemic put on pause most of the work aimed at reducing cancer related morbidity and mortality from cervical smear for breast screening. For some people this will have fatal consequences.
“Cancer can wait, says Sarah Hiom, Director for early diagnosis and cancer research at Cancer Research UK, the British charity that funds scientific research on cancer. — The effectiveness of cancer treatment depends on timely diagnostics.”
In some countries, cancer screening programmes have been temporarily stopped from the beginning of the quarantine. As a result, those patients who were already diagnosed with cancer, at risk of start treatment late.
Economists argue that a recession is coming, and as expected, it will be the largest since the great depression.
Therefore, many health organizations, large and small, rely on donations from private donors and the public — as the weakening economy could drop their work and research for many years.
So, what can you do to minimize indirect effects Covid-19?
Jane Howard called the steps offered by the economist resident of the runway.
They cover a wide range of initiatives — from assisting governments in social protection of the population (for example, free meals for students even when the schools are closed) to support the supply chain and the elimination of trade barriers.
“Little things can have a big impact, she says. For example, if the truck drivers who carry out international transport, must undergo quarantine, the supply chain is completely destroyed. We therefore ask the governments of South Africa to support their drivers, guaranteeing them the right to transportation”.