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

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Fast Facts

  • According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which consolidates data from a range of sources, as of June 17 there have been 8,204,947 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, Boston and Detroit with emergency medical field units, equipment, supplies and volunteer staff.

  • We have screened more than 495,000 individuals for COVID-19 at our global missions and have distributed more than 9.5 million pieces of personal protective equipment and infection prevention and control items to supported health facilities.

  • We have trained more than 9,700 frontline healthcare professionals on COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

Situation Update

Globally, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise. The past week saw the most significant increase in cases yet seen, with an average of more than 130,000 identified cases per day. In total, there have been more than 8.2 million confirmed cases, along with more than 444,000 deaths. Recently, burgeoning outbreaks in South America and South Asia have fueled the increase in new cases.

In the United States, there is a fear that states with previously low case numbers, or that have begun to re-open, are experiencing increases again. At least seven states have daily confirmed case numbers that are at least 100% higher than they were two weeks ago. Meantime, China is battling an outbreak in Beijing that is igniting fears of a second wave in that country. The Chinese government has taken drastic measures in recent days to control the outbreak, including fencing off neighborhoods, creating security checkpoints outside residential compounds, banning travel for close contacts of infected individuals and enforcing quarantine for those leaving the area.

The global humanitarian community remains vigilant concerning outbreaks in refugee camps. These densely populated, low-resource communities create an ideal environment for a massive and fast-paced eruption in cases. Of particular concern is the largest refugee camp in the world: over the past week, sections of Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh, were placed on lockdown, as the number of cases in the district continues to increase3 . Thus far, the government in Bangladesh has confirmed more than 90,000 cases across the country, with more than 1,400 cases in Cox’s Bazar and 38 cases confirmed in the refugee camp. Adding to the situation is a general lack of masks, clean water and soap.

Cox’s Bazar is far from the only refugee camp in the world that is on high alert. In Darfur, Sudan, camp leaders have observed an uptick of unexplained deaths in refugee camps. The government has officially confirmed only 54 cases of COVID-19 in Darfur. However, Gamal Abdulkarim Abdullah, the director of Zam Zam camp, recently said in response to reports of 70 deaths in the camp in the past week, “We’re losing a whole generation.” 6 The lack of sufficient testing across Africa has contributed to what appears to be an invisible spread of the disease. In response, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention announced that they would support the testing of 10 million individuals over the next four months.