This is the fifth issue of COVID-19Report. We point you to the latest quality science on the pandemic. If you come across unfamiliar terms, there is a glossary at the bottom of the article. The Medical Research Council (MRC) has been publishing weekly updates of the number of registered deaths. This is vital to see the effect of the pandemic because deaths officially assigned to COVID-19 will be an underestimate. Throughout the lockdown actual deaths have been lower than expected deaths because of a decline in homicides and vehicle accidents.
COVID-19 is the type of disruptive event we don’t often see in health. New Zealanders recently learnt that the first COVID-19 patient death occurred in Greymouth Hospital. What has been most revealing for local clinicians is the effect on our workforce.
Nursing manager Tyler Smith reflects on his experience managing a small rural hospital in Hardisty, Alberta during the COVID crisis. “The last few weeks have been focused on the changing world as it unfolds — the first on opportunity through constriction, and another on transparency in crisis. To put it bluntly, there is a lot of fear on the frontline — and a lot of courage.
With declaration of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as a pandemic on 11 March 2020 by World Health Organization, India came to alert for its being at next potential risk. It reached alert Level 2, i.e. local transmission for virus spread in early March 2020 and soon thereafter alert Level 3, i.e. community transmission. With on-going rise in COVID-19 cases in country, Government of India (GoI) has been taking multiple intense measures in coordination with the state governments, such as urban lockdown, active airport screening, quarantining, aggressive calls for ‘work from home’, public awareness, and active case detection with contact tracing in most places. Feedback from other countries exhibits COVID-19 transmission levels to have shown within country variations. With two-third of Indian population living in rural areas, present editorial hypothesizes that if India enters Level 3, rural hinterland would also be at risk importation (at least Level 1). Hence, we have to call for stringent containment on rural-urban and inter-state fringes. This along with other on-going measures can result in flattening curve and also in staggering ‘lockdowns’, and thus, helping sustain national economy.
The World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) is a not-for-profit organization and was founded in 1972 by member organizations in 18 countries. WONCA now has 118 Member Organizations in 131 countries and territories with a membership of about 500,000 family doctors and more than 90 percent of the world’s population. WONCA has seven regions, each of which has its own regional Council and run their own regional activities including conferences. WONCA South Asia Region is constituted by the national academies and colleges and academic member organizations of this region namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the Maldives. In the background of the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, the office bearers, academic leaders, practitioners, and researchers of primary care from the South Asia Region have issued a solidarity statement articulating the role of primary care physicians.
While modelling predictions1 suggest that uncontrolled or even partially mitigated COVID-19 epidemics in high-income countries could lead to substantial excess mortality, the virus’ impact on people living in low-income settings or affected by humanitarian crises could potentially be even more severe.
We know that many rural communities and regions are grappling with the immediate, near-term and long-term ramifications of COVID-19. And we know that your organizations and partners are working hard to respond. Read a beginning selection of quotes from rural practitioners.