Uh-Oh: Chinavirus Lockdowns Are Pushing The Growth Of Other Serious Diseases

Written by Wes Walker on August 4, 2020

They keep telling us how this is whole Chinavirus insanity is all about ‘saving lives’. But what about all those EXTRA people these extreme measures will kill?

Chinavirus has a survival rate in the high 90% range. But there are OTHER illnesses with a far more serious lethality than this one. And they are running rampant while the world is preoccupied with its shutdown.

It begins with a mild fever and malaise, followed by a painful cough and shortness of breath. The infection prospers in crowds, spreading to people in close reach. Containing an outbreak requires contact tracing, as well as isolation and treatment of the sick for weeks or months.

This insidious disease has touched every part of the globe. It is tuberculosis, the biggest infectious-disease killer worldwide, claiming 1.5 million lives each year.

Until this year, TB and its deadly allies, H.I.V. and malaria, were on the run. The toll from each disease over the previous decade was at its nadir in 2018, the last year for which data are available.

Yet now, as the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world, consuming global health resources, these perennially neglected adversaries are making a comeback.

“Covid-19 risks derailing all our efforts and taking us back to where we were 20 years ago,” said Dr. Pedro L. Alonso, the director of the World Health Organization’s global malaria program.

It’s not just that the coronavirus has diverted scientific attention from TB, H.I.V. and malaria. The lockdowns, particularly across parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America, have raised insurmountable barriers to patients who must travel to obtain diagnoses or drugs, according to interviews with more than two dozen public health officials, doctors and patients worldwide. NYT

Travel restrictions have made it hard for sick people to seek treatment, especially if they need to go a long way to get it. They have also disrupted supply chains, making it harder for clinics to keep their supplies.

About 80 percent of tuberculosis, H.I.V. and malaria programs worldwide have reported disruptions in services, and one in four people living with H.I.V. have reported problems with gaining access to medications, according to U.N. AIDS. Interruptions or delays in treatment may lead to drug resistance, already a formidable problem in many countries.

…Malaria season has begun in West Africa, which has 90 percent of malaria deaths in the world, but the normal strategies for prevention — distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets and spraying with pesticides — have been curtailed because of lockdowns.

According to one estimate, a three-month lockdown across different parts of the world and a gradual return to normal over 10 months could result in an additional 6.3 million cases of tuberculosis and 1.4 million deaths from it. –NYT

I suppose that ‘if it saves just one life’ line doesn’t extend to people in the developing world.