Belgium, Ecuador, Marco Werman discussed on PRI's The World

PRI's The World
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Did you feel it? The touch of another human. It's absence has been the hardest parts of life under lockdown. Nice to able to go out and hang out with someone and hold their hand. You know something as simple as that. We've also missed going to the movies and South Korea. They've come up with few work arounds at this no contact theatre the ticket. Takers are two roving. Robots the snack bar is automated too and Richard Branson and his virgin empire a business that grew in tandem with a high flying. Charismatic risk taker. The public is sixty nine. Now he's not gonNA stop jumping up in balloons and going around the world and for a business built around. Tourism Francis Empire is now in trouble. I'm Marco Werman those stories and more today on the world depending where you are. It was another weekend of no restaurants. No shops social distancing in the park. Maybe if it felt kind of normal it means we're getting used to this. It's hard to believe but it's been nearly two months since the World Health Organization officially declared that we are living in a pandemic looking at a world map. It seems like no part of the globe has been spared. We're up to three and a half million cases worldwide. The world's Alana Gordon covers global health for the show. So just what is the state today covered nineteen in its reach across global on Marco? As you said this virus seems to have really made its mark across the globe the US is at the top of the list in terms of cases and reported deaths. And then there's also places like Spain Italy UK But some of those places are now easing restrictions after these strict lockdowns. That's all beginning this week as cases decline but the thing is what public health researchers tell me when I ask where are we out in this pandemic. They all stressed that like? We're in the beginning of this thing. Bill is an epidemiologist at Harvard. I think people people are wishful. I really do think people. I wish people want to be over there. Is this wrong thoughts that people have. Which is that you get through this period of whatever accounts for lockdown wherever you are because a lot of different things that are calling themselves lockdown you got through this and then we'll just open the doors and everything will go back to normal so Ilana. We shouldn't get overly optimistic for sure. But why is it that two months into this pandemic were still in what we call the beginning of it? What bill and others mean is that a lot of the world still hasn't been infected and that makes them really susceptible and vulnerable to the virus basically to later stage in a pandemic. You need to have something like sixty percent of the population exposer over it or of course have a vaccine but we're just not there yet and so even in places that have been hit the hardest whether that's New York or elsewhere and even with the highest projections those percentages just still. Don't add up to having that level of people exposed and that's why health leaders are also on high alert when you have the easing of lockdowns about whether there could be more cases and how to contain that and then at the same time they're still learning still don't quite know what it means to be exposed whether you have like a long term immunity. There's some diseases like dengue gay. That if you get infected again it's actually worse so there's just a lot still to be understood about this virus and also how this might play out in waves in the future. Yeh also occurs to me that the corona virus seems to be playing out so differently in so many different places like what is happening. What is the spectrum of the infection? How intense it is. Yeah I mean the main thing is that even though this is one pandemic it's many many different outbreaks around the globe. Depending on where you are so you have places in Asia where they were hit. I where they had these peaks now. They're on alert for resurgences and on the other hand places like in Africa that appear to be just at the beginning of early reporting of cases. And why is there this variation there's a lot of factors that can contribute to that whether that's like how a government's control strategy is playing out in the community like with the testing and the tracing and the containment but some of it also has to do with the timing and the way it spreads so. I talked to just metcalf. She's a demographer and evolutionary biologist at Princeton also seems to be the fact that there's a lot of super spreading events associated with this virus so super spreading events Marco think about like small percentages of people that seem to be spreading it to lots of other people. Maybe they were at a gathering like was reported on the show in Las Vegas. How people from all over the world came and then that can kind of set forth something on the other hand. There's these other details about a population like aging populations like in Italy seemed to be more susceptible and then even without there. Are these outliers that still have researchers wondering about so just gave me this example? That's really close to her heart My parents in Bangkok in Thailand Thailand is relatively aging population relative to much of the rest of Southeast Asia. And yet they just don't seem to be that many cases so she still has all these questions but what is becoming clear is that this virus will be with us for some time. The world's Alana Gordon. Thanks very much for getting started today. You welcome among the countries hardest hit by the corona virus is Ecuador on a per capita basis. Ecuador's rate of infection is way higher than any other country in South America. Things have been especially bad in the crowded. Coastal city of Kiel Public Hospitals have been so overwhelmed. Bodies have been left in bags on the street. As the World Jorges Valencia reports funeral homes are only now starting to catch up with the sun demand for their services over the last week or so ed got read up has just started to spend time with family if your mother when the reach him. He asks his three-year-old Daughter to be quiet. So he can speak at out. Runs the stakes. If you home and Ecuador's coastal city of Kiel. The city of about three million people has been reeling from Cova. Nineteen for weeks. You're the Hotel Tower Mirror. I I would start taking. Phone calls at eight in the morning and work until midnight says while he and many others are still in emergency response mode the beginning to cast breath. I'm open the equality is reporting more than twenty seven thousand corona virus cases. But it's hard to say just how many people have died from covered nineteen because there's limited testing we've got mafikeng. Soloviev tells me. His city was bearing more than five hundred people a day. In mid April for comparison. He says a busy day last year would have seen something like fifty mental in Europe. There was one case that will never let us. Workers arrived at a dead man's home. They found his body had been decomposing for five days owner clear hours ago because at that says one of his employees got what he calls the white death in other words he turned Pale white and almost fainted. It's not so uncommon for people to die outside of hospitals in Guam says Jaime Garcia Cheese with the National Institute of Demographic Studies in France and studies mortality patterns across Latin America. This is not unusual in Ecuador around forty percent of that of outside the health system. But what's not clear is why. Ecuador and in particular has been hit so much harder than the rest of South America got says cities across the continent or similarly vulnerable with dense populations and many people living in poverty. He's not just a virus that is happening in America. We have the worst thing crisis. Historically in this more men we have problems of all kinds if the healthiest in our collapse we are going to have an increase of data other courses to. Ecuador's Public Health Ministry says more than thirteen hundred people have died from the corona virus. That is probably a severe undercount if you ask any funeral home director in the country. I mean that's quite a hip pro labor. Yana runs another funeral home for came on and see me see. Kiev hatred examined says many people were dying appear to have not been tested. She says that's tickets. We'll give causes. That seem related such as respiratory problems. Not Deporting difficulty. Shaq Kobe guessing but she says the death certificates won't say anything directly about Kobe. Nineteen at got from sakes funeral home. Says he's not all that interested in a precise figure in fact. He says he stopped paying attention to the news. Altogether lengthy dental union says he's been doing whatever you can't take care of his mental as well as his physical health. The independence is a client recently. Gave thanks an offer to shake his hand that says he replied that when all this over they can give each other a hug instead but for now. Let's keep a safe distance for the world. I'm able to you today. Belgium gradually lifting some restrictions on its lockdown. Belgium has the world's highest mortality rate from the corona virus. Not what you think. Belgium isn't necessarily doing a bad job handling the pandemic. It's just counting things differently Steven van. Gupta Varela Gist and government spokesman in Belgium so recently president trump pointed to a graph showing that in terms of population size. Us ranks number seven in mortality rates while Belgium ranked number one or mortality rate is far lower than other nations of western Europe with the lone exception of possibly Germany this includes the UK Switzerland Belgium the Netherlands Italy France. You say this is an inaccurate comparison. Why is that? It's highly inaccurate. The Way Belgium is counting our debts is different than the way other countries are doing this. Actually we are not only counting the deaths in the hospital which are confirmed with a laboratory test whether or not they have been infected by the virus but we also count probable cases which occur outside of the hospital and a lot of these cases haven't necessarily been tested so suspect based on the clinical symptoms and the possibility of exposure that these are also related. That's an athlete's more than half of the death count in Belgium. So if you want to compare the Belgian cigarettes with figures from other countries you almost have to defy our number by two so. It's difficult at this moment to just compare to figures but that doesn't take away that Belgium indeed has been ferry heart by defiance. We saw our peak somewhere in the beginning of April. And now in the meantime the numbers have gone down and believe that it is possible now to lift some of the measures but very prudently very cautiously. I mean it may be a transparent way of counting mortality. But there's some people who look at those numbers in Belgium and say well maybe. The country isn't handling the pandemic so well so this method politically unpopular. What do you say to that? Well we don't do it for political reasons. It's to protect the health of Belgium's and for that purpose this is the best way of counting and the best way of reporting we saw there was a problem emerging in nursing homes. That's the strategies. Were epithets and we needed to do much more than we were doing at the time. It's also the epidemiologically the correct way of measuring the impact of an epidemic. If you talk with people from W.H. Show or CD CD will say one hundred percents rights. That's your cannot only rely on laboratory confirmed cases you also look at the probable cases especially in a setting where you know. Tests capacity is insufficient and this is almost the case everywhere in the world. So it's really good practice so counting differently in Belgium. What does that mean in terms of icy us in hospitals and getting the right p. p. e. has the government able to better prepare for that already in peacetime we are one of the country's with the highest number of ICU intensive care units in the world or especially in Europe and we increase the capacity drastically at the beginning of the epidemic so even at the peak of the which again was summer beginning of April we only reached fifty eight percent of occupancy in the ICU unit so there was still a lot of buffer left We still had space to accept new patients on the nation scale. We never had a problem with ICU. Capacity or other bets in the hospital for this way Of course in the future if we might get hit a second time. And maybe if it's a bigger WAIF might become more difficult but now we managed quite well Steven Van Gupta Veroljub and government spokesman in Belgium. Thank you very much for being with US okay. My pleasure have a good day if you've got questions about.

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