“Anytime you disrupt society like this and put literally millions of people on the move, then infectious diseases will exploit that,” Dr. Mike Ryan, director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said last week. “People are packed together, they’re stressed, and they’re not eating, they’re not sleeping properly. They’re highly susceptible to the impacts… And it’s much more likely that disease will spread.”
Russian strikes are increasingly targeting urban areas and Covid-19, understandably, is not a priority as civilians try to keep themselves and their families safe. “People are not seeking care because they’re afraid of the security situation; health care workers are not able to reach their places of work, because they’re concerned about their own security and (are) taking incredible risks,” Smallwood added.
As refugees move into neighboring countries, public health officials are imploring those nations to serve the complex health needs of fleeing Ukrainians, which range from mental health services to protection from infectious diseases like Covid-19. The health ministries of those neighboring countries “reassured me there is no shortage of Covid-19 vaccines,” Kluge said.
Overall, Kluge said, Covid-19 cases are declining in Europe, but the war is changing the picture. “It is my deepest sorrow to see my region emerging from two terrible pandemic years being now confronted with the devastating impact of military hostilities on dozens of millions of its people in Ukraine and beyond,” he added.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q: Should people be taking off their masks now they’re not required to wear them?
“It’s still a good idea to mask, especially if you are in crowded, poorly ventilated locations. This is particularly important if you are immunocompromised or otherwise have chronic medical conditions that could make you more likely to have severe outcomes if you became infected with Covid-19,” Wen added. “Others should decide based on how much they want to avoid contracting Covid-19 and the importance of being unmasked.”
READS OF THE WEEK
Women in the world’s richest nations feel let down by their governments following the pandemic
An average of more than 60% of women in G7 countries whose lives were changed by the Covid-19 pandemic say their governments did not provide them with much support to deal with those changes, according to a far-reaching new poll by CNN.
CNN’s survey finds that although both men and women in G7 countries who experienced disruption to their lives from the pandemic felt they were largely unsupported by their governments, the sentiment is more pronounced among women.
In none of these seven countries did a majority of women say they received a good amount or more of the support that they needed.
Hong Kong faces a ‘preventable disaster’ after betting on zero Covid. In Europe, Austria drops vaccine mandate
As cases rose this year, with locally transmitted cases surging past 312,000 in the past two weeks, the government reimposed its strictest rules, limiting public gatherings to two, closing restaurants and bars after 6 p.m., and roping off public playgrounds.
But it hasn’t been enough. With few other levers to pull, the government plans to launch a mandatory mass-testing drive, in an attempt to purge the city of Covid.
Study links even mild Covid-19 to changes in the brain
People who have even a mild case of Covid-19 may have accelerated aging of the brain and other changes to it, according to a new study.
It is normal for people to lose 0.2% to 0.3% of gray matter every year in the memory-related areas of the brain as they age, but the study showed that people who had been infected with the coronavirus lost an additional 0.2% to 2% of tissue compared with those who hadn’t.
Here’s how to get free antiviral medicine if you test positive for Covid-19
The rollout of the US government’s Covid-19 test-to-treat program is underway, with in-pharmacy clinics ordering shipments of Covid-19 antiviral medications and some locations expecting to offer the service within days.
The Covid-19 antiviral pills Paxlovid and molnupiravir are already available free of charge in the United States, but quick access can be challenging for some people.