The South African Paediatric Association (SAPA) supports the government’s position that children should return to school on 1 June 2020. There is uncertainty about the future trajectory of COVID-19 in South Africa, with more infections and a long duration being predicted. Children biologically contain SARS-CoV- 2 better than adults, are less likely to get sick if infected, have milder disease, are unlikely to die from COVID-19, and are probably less infectious than adults. Although children are at higher risk of being infected once at school, this additional risk to themselves and others is outweighed by the benefits of them returning to school.
Facing the coronavirus pandemic, Australia has achieved national consensus on policies that were unprecedented for the past century. New South Wales (which has 8 million residents) and other jurisdictions appear to have successfully suppressed Covid-19 transmission after a rapid escalation of cases in March 2020. The first four cases, all linked to the Wuhan outbreak, were identified in Sydney in late January. The New South Wales Ministry of Health (NSW Health) followed its new Covid-19 protocols to isolate infected people and quarantine their contacts. No transmission resulting from these cases was detected. The Australian government restricted entry for travelers from China on February 1. No further cases were identified in New South Wales until late February, when several travelers from Iran and their contacts tested positive. As Covid-19 continued its international spread, people who had traveled overseas, particularly those returning from the United States and Western Europe, accounted for most Australian cases. In late March, there was another upswing in new cases, this time resulting from infections acquired on cruise ships. Images from Europe of coffins and overflowing intensive care units made things look grim.
COVID-19 has placed doctors under unimaginable pressure, with many reporting heightened stress, finds a BMA survey. Tim Tonkin reports from the front line ‘I don’t think I realised how stressful it was directly until I wasn’t sleeping, and bursting into tears in the car and when saying goodbye to my kids on the way to work.’ ‘I feel I have aged over the past three months, with variable levels of anxiety and stress, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions, whilst trying to run a practice and protect my staff.’ ‘I have never experienced this much stress in my whole career of 15 years.’ These heartfelt and brutally honest confessions as to the physical and mental demands being borne by doctors leading the fight against COVID-19, reveal the extent to which the pandemic has tested the mental resilience and wellbeing of NHS staff throughout the UK.
This short paper sets out the key health financing actions countries in Europe can take to reduce the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a broader health system response. It focuses on three policy objectives – removing financial barriers to access, mobilizing additional public funds for health and giving health service providers flexibility to respond – and illustrates them using country examples from the COVID-19 Health System Response Monitor. The primary aim of the paper is to support health financing responses to COVID-19 in countries that rely heavily on out-of-pocket payments, but the paper’s recommendations are relevant to all countries in Europe.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the health care challenges that have long plagued rural communities, and underscores why recent recommendations from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Rural Health Task Force are now more important than ever. Today, rural America faces the dual problems of caring for the recent influx of sick patients while figuring out how to cope with massive revenue losses that began early in the pandemic when they had to cancel elective procedures. Even before the pandemic, rural hospitals were struggling. Indeed, 128 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, including 10 so far this year. And according to the 2020 rural hospital sustainability index, an additional 354 rural hospitals across 40 states are at risk of closing with 81% of those considered highly essential to the health and economic well-being of their communities.