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Focus Friday: Top COVID-19 (coronavirus) news this week

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Take a deep breath. Oxygen is a life-saving medicine – however, the COVID-19 response has largely overlooked the importance of medical oxygen supplies for the most vulnerable.  In parallel, governments are also trying to address smoking as it is a major risk factor for COVID-19. Meanwhile, health workers’ mental health needs are going largely unmet as part of the pandemic response. As governments face the question of when to safely reopen their economies, the answer may lie in using data to first gauge health sector readiness. Afghan health workers are raising awareness in their communities as misinformation about COVID-19 is also spreading fast.


Oxygen for all, during COVID-19 (coronavirus) and beyond | Blog

Medical oxygen has been recognized as an essential medicine for well over a century and is the primary treatment for the majority of patients who are suffering severe COVID-19 symptoms. Yet it remains beyond the reach of desperately vulnerable children. Pneumonia that is now the biggest infectious killer of children, claiming over 800,000 young lives every year. We have an opportunity now to turn the spotlight on medical oxygen as one of the defining health equity issues of our time.


Tobacco use and coronavirus (COVID-19): A deadly but preventable association | Blog

Initial evidence suggests smoking is a risk factor for COVID-19, with smokers having 1.91 times the odds of progression in COVID-19 severity compared to non-smokers. Besides monitoring smoking and e-cigarette use, governments have an obligation to address smoking in their strategies to contain and mitigate the impact of COVID-19.


Supporting mental health and resilience in frontline COVID-19 health care workers | Blog

Since the magnitude of COVID-19 is unprecedented, there are concerns that its mental health impact may be unprecedented as well. A few recent studies on mental health among COVID-19 health care personnel highlight this largely unmet need. Ensuring the mental health of frontline health care workers is a critical factor in sustaining COVID-19 preparedness, response, and resilience.


When and how to safely reopen the economy: How better data can help | Blog

Despite large gaps in knowledge about preventing and treating COVID-19, reliable data can help decision makers understand the conditions necessary to safely reopen economies and keep the spread of the virus at bay while a vaccine remains unavailable. The World Bank and the Colombian government is developing a dashboard to help policy makers gauge the interplay of virus spread, health sector readiness to address new clusters of infections, and the readiness of economic sectors to operate safely.


In Afghanistan, health workers fight misinformation to curb COVID-19 | Feature Story

With less than half of the population literate, disseminating COVID-19 advisories and prevention messages in Afghanistan is difficult. Misinformation about COVID-19 has spread faster than the disease itself. To raise awareness and dispel myths about the pandemic, health workers are disseminating public health messages and vital medical information to communities and are encouraging villagers to use latex gloves or disposable masks only once.


Priyanka Ripley

External Affairs Consultant with the Health, Nutrition and Population communications team

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