Worst-Case Scenarios Unfolding in Poor Countries

Globally, more than half a million people have lost their lives to COVID-19, and cases shot past the 10 million mark Sunday—grim milestones marked by Johns Hopkins University’s pandemic tracker.

A whopping 25% of those cases are in the US. But many are in some of the most vulnerable spots—the world’s poorest and war-ravaged countries, the AP reports.

In Yemen, hospitals are turning patients away and health workers are abandoning their posts for a lack of protective equipment. In Sudan’s Darfur region, an unnamed disease that looks a lot like COVID-19 is spreading through camps for displaced people.

Even South Africa, lauded for its health system and early testing, is reporting overwhelmed hospitals. A similar story is unfolding in Latin America, where countries that deployed strict lockdowns early on—like Peru—are seeing hospitals on the brink of collapse.

And the global numbers likely undercount the true toll, given limited testing and uncounted mild cases. According to new data released by  the CDC Friday, infections are more than 10 times higher than the reported rate in many parts of the US, The New York Times reports.

Many of us are “sitting ducks who are still susceptible to second waves,”says Scott Hensley, a University of Pennsylvania viral immunologist.

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