Sweden Reports Extraordinary Jump In Deaths; Hospital Beds Hard To Find In Brazil
Global pandemic developments are reported out of Sweden, Brazil, Iraq, Somalia, Greece, Canada, Spain, Germany, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Egypt, India, Bangladesh, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
The New York Times:
Sweden Stayed Open. A Deadly Month Shows The Risks.
By late March, nearly every country in Europe had closed schools and businesses, restricted travel and ordered citizens to stay home. But one country stood out for its decision to stay open: Sweden. The country’s moderated response to the coronavirus outbreak has drawn praise from some American politicians, who see Sweden as a possible model for the United States as it begins to reopen. ... But while Sweden has avoided the devastating tolls of outbreaks in Italy, Spain and Britain, it also has seen an extraordinary increase in deaths, mortality data show. (Leatherby and McCann, 5/15)
The Washington Post:
In Brazil’s Hard-Hit Manaus, A Coronavirus Patient Searches For An Open Bed
As the rain picked up, the ambulance sped across the largest city in the Amazon. In the back, a 78-year-old man lay disoriented, unable to say who he was, slipping in and out of consciousness. The coronavirus had reached his brain, emergency physician Alessandra Said realized. He was in danger of dying. They didn’t have much time. But in a city isolated by geography and overwhelmed by disease, Said didn’t know of a single hospital with space left for coronavirus patients. The hunt for a bed could take hours, and some patients didn’t survive to see its conclusion. She looked down at the man — bald and frail, writhing on his stretcher — and hoped that this one would. (McCoy and Traiano, 5/14)
The Associated Press:
Iraqi Doctor's Fight With Virus Lays Bare A Battered System
Dr. Marwa al-Khafaji’s homecoming after 20 days in a hospital isolation ward was met by spite. Someone had barricaded her family home’s gate with a concrete block. The message from the neighbors was clear: She had survived coronavirus, but the stigma surrounding the disease would be a more pernicious fight. The young physician was catapulted into the front lines of Iraq’s battle with the virus in early March. (Kullab, 5/15)
The Associated Press:
Years Of Conflict Leave Somalia Ill-Equipped To Fight Virus
Years of conflict, instability and poverty have left Somalia ill-equipped to handle a health crisis like the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, no one really knows how many cases of COVID-19 it has. The uncertainty has led to fear, confusion and panic even after authorities have tried to keep the public informed about the outbreak. The official count of cases is now above 1,200, with 53 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. (Guled and Nor, 5/15)
The Associated Press:
Outside US, Top Scientists Steer Debate Away From Politics
President Donald Trump is never far from a public spat with his government’s top expert on the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the most recent flare-up occurring this week over the pace of reopening schools. Among U.S. allies, however, many leaders are happy to step away from the spotlight to leverage experts’ ability to counter misleading information and appeal across political boundaries to gain public compliance for health restrictions. (Gatopoulos, 5/15)
Russia Defends Its Tally Of Coronavirus Deaths After Reports Of Undercounting
As Russia's coronavirus infections have surged, observers have puzzled over a mystery: How is it that a country with over 250,000 suspected cases, and a shaky health care system, has had relatively few deaths? The answer appears to be the Russian approach to pathology — an approach that has the Kremlin and government health officials in a bitter feud with media organizations over how Moscow interprets, or possibly manipulates, its data. (Maynes, 5/14)
The Washington Post:
Taiwan Beat The Coronavirus And Won Friends. At The WHO, It's Still Fighting For A Seat At The Table.
With just 440 covid-19 cases and seven deaths, Taiwan looks to have conquered the coronavirus. Its 24 million residents have not faced a lockdown; schools, shops and offices have remained open, and the capital's sidewalks, subways and shopping areas are bustling. Taiwan has won praise for its effective response and donations of medical equipment, including millions of face masks — the fruits of a campaign to combine health diplomacy and relief with an effort to bolster Taiwan's international image. (Aspinwall and Rauhala, 5/15)
See Which Countries Are Closing Borders Due To Coronavirus. But Is It Doing Any Good?
If you want to visit the Great Pyramids or the Great Wall or the Taj Mahal, forget it. Egypt, China and India are just a few of the dozens of countries that have imposed strict travel restrictions to keep visitors, and the coronavirus, out. An analysis by NPR based on data from the International Air Transport Association found that more than three quarters of the world's nations and territories have suspended travel from at least one other place. (Brumfiel and Wilburn, 5/15)
COVID-19 Has Arrived In Rohingya Refugee Camps And Aid Workers Fear The Worst
It's the moment international aid groups have been dreading for months—the coronavirus has reached the sprawling refugee camps in the Cox's Bazar district of southern Bangladesh, home to roughly a million Rohingya refugees. Bangladesh officials said on Thursday that at least two people living in or adjacent to the camps have tested positive for the coronavirus and have now been quarantined amid fears of a humanitarian disaster if the virus spreads unchecked. (Sullivan, 5/15)
Asia-Pacific Drug Trade Thrives Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic
Illicit drug markets in the Asia-Pacific continue to expand and diversify and appear to be largely unaffected by the coronavirus outbreak, the United Nations said on Friday. (Allard and Wongcha-um, 5/14)
Baltics Open Europe's First Pandemic 'Travel Bubble' As Curbs Ease
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia opened their borders to each other at the stroke of midnight, creating the first “travel bubble” within the European Union in a bid to jump-start economies broken down by the coronavirus pandemic. (5/14)
Chinese Official Hails 'Incomparable' Improvement In Air Quality As Virus Hits Industry
China’s air quality saw “incomparable” improvements in the first quarter of this year as a coronavirus outbreak led to rapid declines in industrial activity and transportation, an environment ministry official said on Friday. (Xu and Stanway, 5/15)