Covid-19 is frightening and the human toll of Covid-19 already is staggering: 134,000 people around the world succumb to the disease. They died alone generally unable to breath. How high the death toll goes is uncertain. Almost every country in the world lost lives to this virus.
What could be worse? Every medical professional standing next to Trump knows the answer. The CDC knows the answer. Tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria, really in that order. Tuberculosis accounts for 1.2 to 1.4 million deaths in 2018. It is present in urban areas of developing countries. The 2018 estimate of HIV related deaths is 770,000. For Malaria, in 2018, it is 405,000 deaths. Malaria is deadly to children under 5 years old, as 262,000 children died of malaria (67% of the total). In Africa, they say that average life expectancy is meaningless as the big trick in life is getting past age 5. Incredibly sad.
So, infectious diseases are ravaging the lives of the youngest and oldest in our society. If one survives to age 5, the next challenge will be getting past 60. Particularly bad in parts of the world where health services are just not available.
The World Health Organization allies with other countries to fight against infectious diseases, and public health issues regardless of politics. It recognizes that the African countries, like Nigeria, where malaria is rampant, already was in a health crisis before the arrival of Covid-19. World Health Organization is uniting efforts to find cures and vaccines for these infectious diseases.
And the World Health Organization is making progress, particularly against tuberculosis which is generally curable and preventable. There are new challenges with drug resistant strains.
The current preventative measures, such as social distancing, closing schools and businesses and blocking international travel are only temporary measures. And trying to isolate the US from the rest of the world is impossible without extreme economic consequences.
We absolutely need foundations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organizations working with health organizations in making our planet healthier. We need cures and vaccines developed through scientific cooperation. Trump’s defunding WHO, I hope, will last only until November 2020, when we have a new president. The WHO isn’t perfect, but he is using it as a distraction and scapegoat to the US problems with mess created when the CDC test kit debacle. See NYT article.
We are “stronger together” and we need to restore our real leadership in the world. It is time to increase global awareness- not isolate ourselves from the rest of the world.
Covid-19 is not a US problem. It is a global problem.
A healthier planet = a healthier US.
Stay tuned and stay safe,
New York Times Opinion
World Health Organization