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World Coronavirus Dispatch: Zambia default raises fears of debt tsunami

Zambia default raises fears of African debt tsunami As countries count the economic costs of the coronavirus and international agencies like the IMF and G20 look the other way, Zambia has become the first African country to default on its debts after missing payments in October and November. Neighboring countries are shaken by this development and fear that they too will default on their debts. Global agencies have criticized the country for taking on more debt than it can handle. The coronavirus outbreak has forced Zambia to divert scarce resources to the fragile health system. Officials are now wondering if it is time to spend more on servicing debt repayments. Experts warn that the potential wave of defaults could have catastrophic effects on already fragile healthcare facilities. Read more…

Let’s look at the global statistics

Global infections: 60 997 052

Change compared to yesterday: 576,697

Deaths around the world: 1,432,299

Nations with most cases: United States (12,883,847), India (9,309,787), Brazil (6,204,220), France (2,235,537), Russia (2,169,424)

Source: John Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Pandemic puts AIDS gains at risk Comprehensive attention to the pandemic has distracted the world from other pressing health concerns like HIV-AIDS infections. Although there has been progress in eradicating AIDS, it still falls short of what is required. A senior UN director has warned that progress towards ending AIDS by 2031 could be in jeopardy due to disruption of medical and health services. Data shows that an additional 500,000 HIV-related deaths could be reported in sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2021. Nearly 38 million people are now living with HIV, 25.4 million of whom are on medication, according to a report. . Read more… Covid could roll back women’s equality by 25 years According to United Nations data, more women have been performing unpaid domestic work since the start of the pandemic than before. Gains made over the years in gender equality could be hampered by at least 25 years. The trends are similar for middle income countries and industrialized countries. Experts fear that employment and education opportunities will be lost for women. Even more alarming, women may actually emerge from the pandemic with more mental health scars. The story, through three women, examines the impact of the pandemic on the amount of work they do. Read here … Many Swedes don’t think their healthcare system can cope with the virus Most Swedes are wondering if the country’s healthcare system can cope with the rampant virus, an investigation has found. Almost 82 percent of those polled said they were worried about their health care system. As daily cases increase and hospitals fill up, confidence in the authorities’ ability to fight the virus is collapsing. According to the latest data, just over 70% of Swedish intensive care beds were occupied. Sweden is one of the hardest-hit countries with high death rates in Europe, as its controversial decision to avoid a lockdown appears to have backfired. Read more… Museum of London asks Londoners to share Covid dreams The Museum of London is asking Londoners to come forward and share their dreams during the pandemic. Together with the Museum of Dreams at Western University in Canada, officials say the project is part of the museum’s efforts to tell the story of London through the pandemic.

The Guardians of Sleep project will capture dreams without interpretation or analysis, but the testimonies will be made available for research. Many researchers around the world are also working on projects to materialize how the pandemic is affecting our thoughts while we sleep. Read here …

Promotions ICU view: the American Midwest is exhausted Hospitals in Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Dakota and Iowa fear rising infections could overwhelm already strained health systems. Consider this: As of mid-November, the Midwest accounted for half of all new nursing home cases in America. In addition, in Iowa, 80% of intensive care beds are now occupied. In North Dakota it’s over 90%. Some hospitals operate over 100% of intensive care beds. The rapid rise in infections could force doctors to stop accepting patients. If the progression of the second wave continues, smaller rural clinics, with only a handful of beds and a single doctor, can be easily overrun. Sometimes frontline staff suffer moral wounds — the trauma of caring for slowly dying patients and listening to the last words of loved ones. Read more… Long read: Pandemic reignites debate over value of high-stakes exams The pandemic has disrupted education systems around the world and reignited the debate over the value of high-level school and university exams, where the future of students is at stake. While some countries have canceled testing, most of between them carried out great examinations. Others asked teachers to help determine student grades. The story examines how countries conducted important in-person exams during the pandemic and how students prepared, especially after many switched to online learning, and also highlights the merits of the exams. to assess a candidate’s intelligence. Read here … How Trump’s Administrator Delivered on the Vaccines Front Developing coronavirus vaccines at record speed must be one of the strengths of the Trump administration. With so many unknowns about the virus, critics denied a breakthrough at the end of the year and said it was nearly impossible. The head of the country’s vaccination program, Moncef Slaoui, now feels justified. Operation Warp Speed, with an investment of $ 10 billion, was set up to fund several candidate vaccines and therapies such as antibody treatments. The focus was on sourcing manufacturers and helping them overcome regulatory hurdles. Moderna, currently a loss-making company, received nearly $ 2.5 billion in funding. In addition to the funding, ‘Warp Speed’ secured pre-orders from other vaccine manufacturers. Pfizer, which has stayed away from direct investment, received a $ 2 billion pre-order. Read more…

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