Thursday, February 04, 2021

The Oxygen of Life

 The media attention has been on  the vaccine and the speed of the roll-out to inoculate the population. Some coverage has included the shortage of syringes and the needles in the supply lines.

But less discussed is the lack of oxygen for hospitalised patients. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) one in five Covid-19 patients will require oxygen. In severe cases, this rises to three in five. The organisation says some hospitals have seen demand for oxygen increase between five and seven times above normal levels because of the influx of patients.  Fears of the  lack of oxygen supplies are unfolding, particularly in those poorer countries who have always suffered problems with acquiring medical resources.

In Brazil which has the world's second-highest Covid death toll with more than 221,000 entire emergency units have simply run out of oxygen. Often, it's down to whether you get oxygen or not, whether you live or die. A lot of people are needlessly dying.

In Peru, some hospitals have been unable to meet the demand brought by a steep rise in cases in recent weeks. As a result, patients' relatives have had to hunt for oxygen in the black market. 

A similar black market is also thriving in Mexico, where more than 155,000 have died in the pandemic. To make things worse, there have been reports of thieves taking oxygen cylinders from hospitals and clinics.

Coronavirus: What's behind Latin America's oxygen shortages? - BBC News

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