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With worst to come, 3 in 4 hospitals already facing COVID-19

With worst to come, 3 in 4 hospitals already facing COVID-19Three out of four U.S. hospitals surveyed are already treating patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, according to a federal report that finds hospitals expect to be overwhelmed as cases rocket toward their projected peak. Such problems include insufficient tests, slow results, scarcity of protective gear, the shortage of breathing machines for seriously ill patients and burned-out staffs anxious for their own safety. “There's this sort of domino effect,” said Ann Maxwell, an assistant inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Posted on 6 April 2020 | 11:00 am

Spencon: Inside the collapse of an African construction giant

Spencon: Inside the collapse of an African construction giantAn Africa Eye investigation uncovers the chaotic final months of a once-great construction firm.

Posted on 6 April 2020 | 9:57 am

South Africa's TB, HIV history prepares it for virus testing

South Africa's TB, HIV history prepares it for virus testing“We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization and a former Ethiopian health minister, said recently. Clad in protective gear, medical workers operate a mobile testing unit in Johannesburg’s poor Yeoville area.

Posted on 6 April 2020 | 9:36 am

Europe’s Virus Outbreak Shows Signs of Slowing on Lockdowns

Posted on 6 April 2020 | 9:27 am

AP PHOTOS: Virus outbreak hurts Italian fishermen's business

AP PHOTOS: Virus outbreak hurts Italian fishermen's businessItaly’s fishermen still go out to sea at night, but not as frequently in recent weeks since demand is down amid the country's devastating coronavirus outbreak. An elderly fisherman sits on the dock in the harbor at Fiumicino, a Rome suburb. For one night, an Associated Press photographer accompanied fisherman Pasquale Di Bartolomeo and his two-man crew on their trawler, the Marianna.

Posted on 6 April 2020 | 9:00 am

Merkel aide: Chancellor's plans not to run for fifth term haven't changed

Posted on 6 April 2020 | 8:57 am

US, UK brace for soaring death tolls as pandemic bears down

US, UK brace for soaring death tolls as pandemic bears downThe United States and Britain braced for one of their darkest weeks in living memory on Monday as the social and financial toll of the coronavirus pandemic deepened. Italy, Spain and France saw signs that they are flattening the pandemic curve, but still reported hundreds of people dying each day. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was infected last month, was hospitalized overnight in what his office described as a “precautionary step,” after persistent symptoms.

Posted on 6 April 2020 | 8:41 am

Coronavirus is revealing how broken America’s economy really is

Coronavirus is revealing how broken America’s economy really isWe are told by everyone from the United Nations to Donald Trump that the US is a ‘developed’ economy. The statistics suggest otherwiseWhen Susan Finley developed flu-like symptoms, she didn’t go to the doctor because she was frightened about the cost. Finley’s grandparents later found her dead in her apartment. She was 53.Finley did not die as a result of Covid-19. She died in 2016 as a result of America’s healthcare system – a system that led her to avoid treatment for the common flu in order to avoid debt. It is that same system that is currently creaking under the pressure of a pandemic that experts warned was coming but governments failed to prepare for. It is a system that does not qualify for the term “developed”.The United States of America, we are told by everyone from the president to the United Nations, is a developed economy. That term, “developed economy”, sounds like an endpoint, like man standing upright after a series of hunched and hairy iterations. It’s the contrast that makes the definition – developed economies can only really exist if they are compared to their poorer “developing” counterparts. Covid-19 has merely shown the cracks in a very successful marketing campaign about which category the US falls into.There are 2.9 hospital beds for every 1,000 people in the United States. That’s fewer than Turkmenistan (7.4 beds per 1,000), Mongolia (7.0), Argentina (5.0) and Libya (3.7). In fact, the US ranks 69th out of 182 countries analyzed by the World Health Organization. This lack of hospital beds is forcing doctors across the country to ration care under Covid-19, pushing up the number of preventable deaths.America’s numbers are similarly unimpressive when it comes to medical doctors. The United States has 2.6 doctors per 1,000 people, placing it behind Trinidad & Tobago (2.7), and Russia (4.0 doctors per 1,000, for a country that is described as being “in transition”). Life expectancies at birth are lower in the US than they are in Chile or China. The US has a higher maternal mortality rate than Iran or Saudi Arabia.It’s not just health. Access to the internet is better in Bahrain and Brunei (two countries the UN does not consider developed economies) than it is in the US. Inequality scores are higher in America than they are in Mali and Yemen. A closer country to America in inequality is Israel, a country which functions as an apartheid state.And the US ranks 81st in the world in terms of women’s political representation. So, you’ve got a better chance of making it into office as a woman if you live in Vietnam, or Albania. Sub-Saharan Africa is most comparable to America - 24% of seats in the region’s parliaments are held by women, the same figure as in the US.In the United States, 83% of students graduate high school. That figure is higher in Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Barbados, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Montenegro. None of those countries are considered “developed economies” by the United Nations.So why does the United Nations consider the US as a developed economy when its own statistics so clearly suggest otherwise? One might argue that it’s about simple wealth, or gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of the economy, per capita.But if that were the measure of development then European countries such as Romania, Hungary and Slovakia should not qualify for the term “developed economy” while Bermuda, Qatar, Singapore and China should all make the list. Besides, GDP per capita is no reliable measure of wellbeing in a country like the US where the richest 5% of people own two-thirds of the national wealth.The facts are as exhaustive as they are exhausting. There’s one simple conclusion from all of this. We’ve been tricked. We’ve been told that America, like most other majority-white countries, deserves the title “developed economy”. It does not. You can not charge a woman $39.95 to hold the baby that she has just given birth to. You can not constantly operate hospitals at close to capacity in order to maximize profits. The pursuit of private money in systems built for public good has not worked ethically or practically.Why does it matter whether a country is defined as developing or not? Because it means that policymakers here can distract voters into thinking that crises are constantly diplomatic, military or trade based when actually the problems that America needs to fix most urgently are right here – they’re the crises of health and education. Had those problems been better addressed, the nation would not be struggling as desperately as it is right now.

Posted on 6 April 2020 | 8:00 am

From Iran's hot zone, Afghans flee home, spreading virus

From Iran's hot zone, Afghans flee home, spreading virusMahdi Noori, a young Afghan refugee in Iran, was left jobless when the factory where he’d worked cutting stone was shut down because of the coronavirus outbreak. Iran has already barred entry from Afghanistan, preventing any who left from coming back.

Posted on 6 April 2020 | 7:12 am

Trump sees limits of presidency in avoiding blame for virus

Trump sees limits of presidency in avoiding blame for virusPresident Donald Trump is confronting the most dangerous crisis a U.S. leader has faced this century as the coronavirus spreads and a once-vibrant economy falters. In the White House’s best-case scenario, more than 100,000 Americans will die and millions more will be sickened. Trump appears acutely aware that his political fortunes will be inextricably linked to his handling of the pandemic, alternating between putting himself at the center of the crisis with lengthy daily briefings and distancing himself from the crisis by pinning the blame for inadequate preparedness on the states.

Posted on 6 April 2020 | 5:46 am

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