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COVID-19 Situation Report #17, May 19, 2020

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• According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which consolidates data from a range of sources, as of May 19, there have been 4,829,232 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in 188 countries and regions.

• In the US, we are supporting more than 20 health facilities in Los Angeles, New York City, Puerto Rico,
Chicago and Detroit with emergency medical field units, equipment, supplies and volunteer staff.

• We have screened more than 250,000 individuals for COVID-19 at our global missions and have distributed more than 2.5 million pieces of personal protective equipment and infection prevention and control items to supported health facilities.

• We have trained more than 8,400 frontline healthcare professionals on COVID-19 prevention and control measures.


Across the globe, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has grown to more than 4.8 million, with more than 319,000 deaths. The number of confirmed new cases this week, roughly 620,000, was almost precisely the same as the previous week, with a difference of only 1,000 cases. Though this week’s numbers are the highest yet seen for COVID-19, we continue to observe a plateau in the overall growth of the virus. Thorough and adequate testing remains a concern for many countries across the globe. Brazil, India, Mexico and Pakistan all rank in the top 20 countries with the most cases, and yet they are not in the top 100 countries when ranked in order of tests conducted per capita. This lack of testing creates a large hole in the COVID-19 data, given that these countries combined house more than one-quarter of the world’s population.

In Africa, there are more than 90,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and more than 2,800 deaths. Testing remains an issue across the continent, which is likely a strong contributor to the lower overall numbers in Africa. International Medical Corps staff were recently informed that many hospitals in East Africa are deciding on treatment methods based on symptoms instead of testing, which will keep confirmed case numbers low in the region. To highlight the lack of testing in Africa, South Africa has conducted by far the most tests on the continent—yet they rank 95th in the world when comparing tests conducted per capita.

Across Europe, there are more than 1.8 million confirmed cases and more than 163,000 deaths. Russia is still experiencing high levels of new cases but appears to have peaked with an average of more than 10,000 cases per day over the previous week. The United Kingdom—with the most deaths on the continent, at almost 35,000—continues to see a slowly receding amount of new cases. Plans are underway among many Western European nations to begin to reopen their borders. This weekend, Switzerland, Germany and Austria temporarily relaxed restrictions on border crossings for the first time since March. In addition to opening the border to each other, government officials within the three countries also have agreed to reopen borders between themselves and with France in June.

In the United States, where there are more than 1.5 million confirmed cases and more than 92,000 deaths, the number of new cases continues to decline slowly. Last week, there was an average of more than 22,000 cases per day, which is a bit more than two-thirds of what the country experienced during peak growth of transmission, in early April. Though the number of new cases remains the highest in the world, the US continues to reopen, as only Massachusetts, Connecticut and Washington, DC, have statewide stay-at-home orders in place.

Around the globe, new concerns are arising around the pandemic. In multiple COVID-19 outbreak hotspots, doctors have noted an unusual number of children with an illness similar to Kawasaki Syndrome. In the past month, doctors in Bergamo, Italy, have diagnosed 10 children with the disease—30 times the number diagnosed in a typical month.
Doctors also diagnosed nearly 100 children with the syndrome in the United Kingdom, and another 82 in New York City, with five deaths. Additionally, there is great concern about the pandemic’s effect on child and maternal mortality in developing countries. A new study estimates that even a small disruption in healthcare systems and decreased access to food would lead to more than 250,000 additional deaths for mothers and children under five-years-old.