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Active Emergency Responses

Find resources and situation updates here along with information specific to medical outreach. Resources include general guidelines for humanitarian response in emergencies as well as tools with information on current emergencies. Access information provided by US and international sources, such as the CDC, NIH and WHO and learn how you can help.

The COVID-19 Global Pandemic

Situation Overview

The coronavirus outbreak that was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan China exploded into a Global Pandemic – spreading like flood waters finding any and every opening to infect and kill

According to an NPR virus tracker COVID-19, the official name of the disease caused by the virus (SARS-CoV-2) registered its first confirmed cases outside China on Jan. 20, in Japan, Thailand and South Korea.  On Jan. 21, the first case in the U.S. was identified in Washington state. On Jan. 24, the first two European cases were confirmed in France. By Feb. 1, eight European nations had confirmed cases of COVID-19, and a month later that count had risen to 24 countries with at least 2,200 cases, most of them in Italy. On March 11 as Italy surpassed 10,000 cases, China, the original epicenter, began to see a drop in cases of infection.  March also saw a rapid spread of the virus throughout the U.S., with all 50 states reporting cases by March 17.  The world took three months to reach the mark of 100,000 reported infections. The second 100,000 were added in just 12 days.

The danger to health systems is a central concern, particularly the vulnerability of health workers; thousands of health workers have been infected and many have died as health facilities become overwhelmed by the numbers of patients. Of the more that 7,000 health worker deaths that have been officially recorded, the largest number have occurred in Mexico and the U.S. (more than 1,200 in each country). A lack of consistent data on health workers has hampered efforts to report on the exact toll COVID-19 is having on health workers globally and in the U.S.

Of the 188 countries/regions infected, the U.S. faces the largest outbreak. Spain and Italy in the early stages of the pandemic had a much higher death rate, reflecting an aging population – the virus is most deadly to the elderly and those with underlying health issues. Countries taking an early systematic approach to stemming the outbreak saw a leveling off and decline in reported cases, highlighting the impact of prevention and protection programs while other countries such as Brazil and Russia that have been slower to respond continue to see the infection rate accelerate. Italy and Spain shut down as the outbreak intensified and other countries closed their borders, steps that slowed the spread and offered a cautious path toward reopening. Countries such as New Zealand, Vietnam and Senegal have set a standard for controlling the outbreak early by quickly establishing and following strict disease control protocols.

https://www.americares.org/emergency-program/coronavirus-global-health-emergency/

General Resources:
CDC COVID-19 General Fact Sheet
CDC COVID-19 Infection Fact Sheet
CDC PPE Sequencing Guide
CDC Risk Assessment-Public Health Management Guide
CDC Germ Prevention Poster
WHO Module: COVID-19 Preparedness, Readiness and IPC
WHO Module: COVID-19 Epidemiology, Risk factors, Definitions and Symptomology
WHO Module: IPC in context of COVID-19
WHO Advice on the Use of Masks
WHO Home Care for Suspected Patients
“What we do when a COVID-19 patient needs an operation: operating room preparation and guidance.” Ti, L.K., Ang, L.S., Foong, T.W. et al. Canadian Journal of Anesthesia

Surgical Resources:
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland COVID-19 (coronavirus) Surgical Practice
From Advances in Surgery and the Johnson & Johnson Institute
American College of Surgeons COVID-19 and Surgery: Resources for the surgical community
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists “Anesthesia Care of the Patient with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”
American Society of Anesthesiologists “COVID-19 Information”
Ti, L.K., Ang, L.S., Foong, T.W. et al. What we do when a COVID-19 patient needs an operation: operating room preparation and guidance. Can J Anesth/J Can Anesth (2020).
Managing COVID-19 in Surgical Systems, Accepted for Publication in Annals of Surgery 
Yu, N. et al. Clinical features and obstetric and neonatal outcomes of pregnant patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective, single-centre, descriptive study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020; 0(0)  


Health Crisis at Colombia-Venezuela Border

Situation Overview

Migration: More than 4 million people have fled Venezuela since 2014 to escape extreme food and medicine shortages, violence and political instability. More than half of the people fleeing have gone to Colombia, which has received more than 1.4 million people from Venezuela since 2014, according to the Colombian Government.

Health Care: Pharmacies and hospitals in Venezuela have severe shortages of medicine and supplies and inadequate staffing as medical professionals leave the country. Even in locations where medical services are available in Venezuela, falling wages and hyperinflation have put medical care out of reach for many families. The collapse of the health care system has exacerbated health conditions for the migrant population with many going months without care.

Response: Americares has set up clinics in towns near the border or where Venezuelans have settled to meet the primary health care needs of migrants who may arrive with dangerous health conditions such as high blood pressure that has gone untreated.

For more information, click here: https://www.americares.org/emergency-program/ep-colombia-venezuela-border-crisis/

 


Hurricane Dorian

Situation Overview

Hurricane Dorian, the second most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record, smashed into the Bahamas and for 40 hours lashed Grand Bahama, the Abacos and other smaller northern islands with winds of 180 mph and more, 40 inches of rain and 20 foot storm surge. This catastrophic Category 5 storm left at least 50 confirmed dead with hundreds of people missing, many thousands are homeless with thousands of homes and other buildings including medical facilities seriously damaged or completely destroyed.

For more information, click here: https://www.americares.org/emergency-program/hurricane-dorian/

 


2017 Atlantic Hurricanes: Harvey, Irma, Maria

Situation Overview

The historic 2017 Atlantic hurricane season produced 17 named storms, most notably Harvey, Irma, and Maria that left hundreds dead, destroyed communities across the southern U.S. and Caribbean and caused an estimated $265 billion in damage – the most expensive hurricane season on record. Hurricane Harvey set a new mark for the most rainfall from a U.S. tropical storm. Hurricane Irma became one of the strongest Atlantic Ocean hurricanes ever recorded. Hurricane Maria was the most powerful hurricane to make landfall on the main island of Puerto Rico in 85 years.

For more information, click here: https://www.americares.org/emergency-program/ep-hurricanes2017/