Tue, 26 May 2020

China Pauses to Honor Coronavirus Victims, Frontline Medics

Voice of America
04 Apr 2020, 23:35 GMT+10

China observed a national moment of mourning for three minutes Saturday morning, as flags flew at half-staff, and air sirens sounded to remember its COVID-19 victims and the "martyrs" or frontline medical workers who died in the Asian nation's fight to save the sick.

The coronavirus first emerged late last year in China's Hubei province, killing more than 3,300 people, according to official Chinese numbers.

There has been some controversy about whether China has been completely honest about its medical statistics on the virus and the date when the virus first emerged.

While China appears to be in a recovery period from the effects of the virus, the contagion has been unleashed on the rest of the world, spreading misery and death.

The number of COVID cases continues to rise with more than a million confirmed cases globally and almost 60,000 deaths. Medical workers and governments continue to struggle in the battle against the disease

The United States is the world hotspot for the disease with more than 278,000 cases, but its government remains reluctant to mount a unified approach to the fight. Instead, President Donald Trump has told states they are on their own in figuring out how to best deal with the overwhelming public health crisis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people wear non-medical cloth face masks to prevent spreading the coronavirus, after weeks of assuring the public that masks were not necessary. Trump, however, said he would not wear a mask.

Trump said he did not see himself sitting behind his desk in the Oval Office while wearing a face mask. "Wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens - I just don't see it."

The Associated Press reported that some supplies that the federal government sent to some states were unusable for a number of reasons, including dry rot on masks and ventilators that were broken.

The U.S and other countries have turned to the open market to source medical equipment and medicine for the sick and supplies to protect medical workers, bidding against each other and driving prices up.

A French politician told AP that the competition for supplies is a "worldwide treasure hunt."

Social agencies have warned that with the almost global shutdown that the coronavirus has prompted in an effort to halt its spread, other issues are emerging.

The shutdown can sequester domestic violence victims with their perpetrators. School systems are moving to online classes, but not all students have the technology they need to participate, revealing a digital divide among communities. Observers say the suicide rate is likely to rise with the social isolation and the loss of jobs and money caused by the fight against the coronavirus.

The head of the World Health Organization said Friday the coronavirus pandemic has sparked a global crisis that is causing an array of problems beyond rising infections and mounting death tolls.

"We know this is much more than a health crisis," said WHO Director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a regularly scheduled media briefing in Geneva. "We are all aware of the profound social and economic consequences of the pandemic."

Tedros said more than one million cases worldwide have been reported to the WHO.

But Australian chief medical officer Brendan Murphy told reporters in Sydney Friday the global coronavirus rate is up to 10 times higher.

"Worldwide we have passed one million infections. But we believe the true number is five or 10 times as much," Murphy said. He said the under-reporting of cases is due to a shortage of testing for the virus in some countries.

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