More now on the Global Fund’s report:
The impact of the pandemic on the fight against TB worldwide had similarly been “catastrophic”, the report said.
The number of people treated for drug-resistant TB in the countries where the Global Fund invests dropped by “a staggering” 19%, with those on treatment for extensively drug-resistant TB registering an even bigger drop of 37%, it said.
The fund calculated that around 4.7 million people were treated for TB in 2020, around one million fewer than in 2019.
Interventions to combat malaria “appear to have been less badly affected by Covid-19 than the other two diseases,” the report found.
“Thanks to adaptation measures and the diligence and innovation of community health workers, prevention activities remained stable or increased compared to 2019.”
The number of mosquito nets distributed increased by 17% to 188 million and structures covered by indoor residual spraying increased by 3%.
Pandemic has had ‘devastating’ impact on fight against HIV, TB and malaria
The pandemic had a “devastating” impact on the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in 2020, according to a report released by the Global Fund on Wednesday.
“To mark our 20th anniversary, we had hoped to focus this year’s report on the extraordinary stories of courage and resilience that made possible the progress we have achieved against HIV, TB and malaria over the last two decades,” said Peter Sands, the Global Fund’s executive director.
“But the 2020 numbers force a different focus. They confirm what we feared might happen when Covid-19 struck,” he said.
“The impact of Covid-19 on the fight against HIV, TB and malaria and the communities we support has been devastating. For the first time in the history of the global fund, key programmatic results have gone backwards.”
There were “significant” declines in HIV testing and prevention services, the fund said. Compared with 2019, the number of people reached with HIV prevention and treatment dropped by 11% last year, while HIV testing dropped by 22%, holding back new treatment in most countries.
Nevertheless, the number of people who received life-saving antiretroviral therapy for HIV in 2020, rose by 8.8% to 21.9 million “despite Covid-19”.
Idaho rationing healthcare
Idaho public health leaders announced Tuesday that they activated “crisis standards of care” allowing health care rationing for the state’s northern hospitals because there are more coronavirus patients than the institutions can handle, the Associated Press reports.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare quietly enacted the move Monday and publicly announced it in a statement Tuesday morning — warning residents that they may not get the care they would normally expect if they need to be hospitalised.
The move came as the state’s confirmed coronavirus cases skyrocketed in recent weeks. Idaho has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the US.
The state health agency cited “a severe shortage of staffing and available beds in the northern area of the state caused by a massive increase in patients with Covid who require hospitalisation.”
The designation includes 10 hospitals and healthcare systems in the Idaho panhandle and in north-central Idaho. The agency said its goal is to extend care to as many patients as possible and to save as many lives as possible.
The move allows hospitals to allot scarce resources like intensive care unit rooms to patients most likely to survive and make other dramatic changes to the way they treat patients. Other patients will still receive care, but they may be placed in hospital classrooms or conference rooms rather than traditional hospital rooms or go without some life-saving medical equipment.
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Idaho public health leaders announced Tuesday that they activated “crisis standards of care” allowing health care rationing for the state’s northern hospitals because there are more coronavirus patients than the institutions can handle.
And the pandemic had a “devastating” impact on the fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria in 2020, according to a report released by the Global Fund on Wednesday.
More on these stories shortly. In the meantime, here are the other key recent developments:
- Four in five over-16s in Britain have been fully vaccinated according to the latest data, with 43,535,098 second doses delivered since vaccinations began. Meanwhile, Britain recorded 209 Covid deaths on Tuesday, the highest number since March.
- Italy’s health minister, Roberto Speranza, has announced that third doses of Covid-19 will be made available to groups of “clinically vulnerable” people this month. “We have the third dose in Italy,” Speranza said. “We’ll start in September with fragile patients like oncology and transplant patients.”
- A coalition of environmental groups have called for this year’s Cop26 climate summit to be postponed, arguing that too little has been done to ensure the safety of participants amid the continuing threat from Covid-19.
- Indonesia’s daily coronavirus positivity rate dropped below the World Health Organization’s (WHO) benchmark standard of 5%, an indicator the country’s second wave could be easing.
- The Philippines backtracked on easing lockdown in the capital Manila, deciding to delay a move to localised lockdowns for another week. The change was due to start on Wednesday.
- Sweden will remove virtually all coronavirus restrictions on 29 September with the pandemic under control and the vaccination rollout well-advanced, the government said.
- UK vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said he is not aware of any planning for an “October firebreak” if case numbers in England begin to rise following the return of schools but the government has refused to rule it out.
- Saffron Cordery, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents NHS trusts, said the NHS in the UK needs £10bn next year to make inroads into the backlog of care and keep up with the costs associated with Covid-19.
- Singapore recorded its highest number of cases in a year, with 328 reported on Tuesday. Worryingly for authorities, the number of cases they could not track back to a source has tripled compared with a week ago.
- Experts in India are calling for schools to reopen, warning that the benefits would outweigh the risk of infection spreading. According a recent survey, only 8% of children in rural areas regularly studied online.
- Health authorities in Chile have approved the use of the Sinovac vaccine for children six and older. Heriberto García, director of Chile’s Public Health Institute, said the institution approved the new measure by five votes in favour and one against.
- A study from China looking at mixing Covid-19 vaccines showed that receiving a booster shot of CanSino Biologics’ vaccine after one or two doses of Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine yielded a much stronger antibody response than using the Sinovac shot as a booster.