One thought on COVID 19

Today I was in a phone call with a friend from South Africa which opened my perspective on the impact of the crisis that we currently face. With rising numbers in Europe and more and more people dying it is a grim reality that we currently face. One drop in fatalities in Italy is enough to give a glimpse of hope but the rising percentages increase in many European countries reveal that we are far away from breaking the overall bad development. When thinking about the impact in South Africa and also in sub-Saharan Africa -which is of course very different in many aspects- I considered first the lower nutrition that the diet of many people has in South Africa. The overall health, resulting from low nutritional diet that is high in sugar and carbs, comes to mind. Of course it is also an issue of a different medical system. However, then it dawned on me that this year a disaster can be expected. It is known that a compromised immune system is a severe risk when it comes to this terrible disease. COVID 19 patients with compromised immune system have a much higher mortality. A large proportion of South Africans face such a risk as 19% of the people that are 15 to 49 years old are HIV-positive. Quite often the horrible HIV epidemic occurs in a deadly combination with cases of tuberculosis. Having a compromised immune system as well as a severe lung disease makes these people very prone to COVID 19.  While South Africa tried to restrict the currently known number of cases with strong measures, other African countries are likewise at risk. In fact, many countries of the Global South are currently showing low but increasing numbers, and it’s worrying that many countries already have mortalities, which might highlight a low detection rate of cases. The WHO has warned for a long time for the pandemic reaching these states. While in Europe we may have businesses going bankrupt or other economic problems, the vast majority will have food on the table. Many of the poor in the Global South never had toilet paper, so food production may be a real issue among many other severe problems.  While in a few months the situation in Europe might look different, and case numbers might have gone down, what will the Global South do?  Their healthcare systems are vastly different, and the luxury of a respirator is often rare. Due to the different and in quality and quantity lower nutrition the health of the people can often be lower, which is also combined with other infectious diseases and medical conditions. This may pose a third wave of infection, when – after China and then Europe – the global South will be devastated by this pandemic. A lot of people discuss the death rates right now, comparing numbers from China, Korea, Italy, Germany and so on, and we are vermouth focused on our problems at our doorstep or our neighbouring countries. While this is a tragedy for all people who are affected right now, how will the numbers look like in South Africa, Venezuela, Algeria, Indonesia, and Ecuador? How will their economies cope with the problem of a severe lockdown, and how will these societies endure such a devastating crisis?  The suffering and tragedy of Europe and the US right now is undeniable, but our wrongdoing now will not only affect us. We should never forget that this is a global crisis.

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