Tag: sick

 

Venezuelans brave COVID wing to bathe, feed sick loved ones

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Leaning against a hospital wall for balance, Elena Suazo wiggled each foot into blue protective pants. Then she slipped her arms into a surgical gown and snapped on white rubber gloves, finally ready to enter the COVID-19 wing.

Suazo is not a nurse. She is a cafeteria worker at a kindergarten in Venezuela’s capital.

But she is also a loving daughter; her 76-year-old father, sick with the virus, waited inside. And in this ruined country, the only way to ensure that he received the care he needed was to do it herself — regardless of the dangers to her own health.

“You do everything you can in the name of love,” said Suazo, 47. “If that person is your blood relative, you don’t even hesitate.”

Hospitals across the once wealthy South American nation lack enough doctors and nurses to confront the coronavirus pandemic. As thousands of trained health care workers emigrated in recent years, some hospital wings have closed. Others keep operating, but with high caseloads.


The shortage leaves families rushing to fill the void at facilities that treat the poor, like José Gregorio Hernández Hospital, which sits in the middle of a sweeping Caracas barrio. They feed patients, bathe them and change their bedsheets — tasks normally done by trained medical professionals.

Relatives of elderly and weak patients are allowed short visits up to three times daily and are responsible for providing their own protective clothing.

Suazo finished dressing at a table near the COVID-19 entrance and looked over to a security guard. He gave her a nod of approval. Suazo tucked her bags of hot chicken soup, fresh bedsheets and cleaning supplies under her arm and ducked past the heavy sliding gate.

“I take care of him quickly, changing his clothes, feeding him, and then I leave,” Suazo said. “You can’t stay inside there long.”

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This kind of thing has long been common in poor nations, places like South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo in sub-Saharan Africa, health experts say. But it’s only now come to Venezuela, which was once a wealthy nation, sitting atop the world’s largest oil reserves.

Critics blame 20 years of a socialist revolution launched by the late President Hugo Chávez for destroying oil production, leading to an unrelenting economic crisis. A recent round of financial sanctions exacted by Washington against President Nicolás Maduro has made life even harder.

In recent years, an estimated 5 million Venezuelans have fled the nation of 30 million. Among them are roughly 33,000 doctors — 30% of Venezuela’s physicians, according to Dr. Douglas León Natera, president of the Federation of Venezuelan Doctors.

Care is augmented by nearly 2,000 specialists sent by socialist ally Cuba to help battle the pandemic, and by several thousand less-skilled Cuban doctors who already were here. But it’s not enough.

At least 6,000 nurses also abandoned Venezuela, said Ana Rosario Contreras, president of the Caracas Nurses College, citing a 2018 survey by the organization. The number has only

Pregnant Sadie Robertson Says She Was ‘Very Sick’ with COVID-19 but ‘Baby Huff Is Doing Great’

Sadie Robertson is on the mend after contracting the coronavirus.

On Monday, the Duck Dynasty alum, 23, shared a photo from her hospital bed, revealing in her caption that “one of the most challenging things” she has faced as of late has been her battle with COVID-19, which made her “very sick.”

“I know everyone experiences covid differently, but wow these symptoms are wild. I’ve definitely struggled through this one!” she wrote. “Thankfully baby Huff is doing great and healthy, and I am now healing as well. I’m no longer in the hospital (this pic was not from today) and I have just about fully recovered.”

Robertson, who is currently expecting her first child with husband Christian Huff, was diagnosed with coronavirus earlier this month.

“I’ve learned a lot and I have been challenged in a lot of new ways,” she said. “I will say my dependency on Jesus has never felt greater in some of the hardest moment of this sickness. I’m thankful I serve a savior who is with me in these moments that feel rather lonely. My heart and my [family’s] heart goes out to everyone suffering with Covid.”

Related: Sadie Robertson expecting first child with husband

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RELATED: Pregnant Women Seem Unlikely to Pass Coronavirus to Their Babies, Early Studies Show

As the coronavirus continues to spread in the United States, many pregnant women are wondering what they can do to stay as safe as possible and limit their potential for exposure.

In an advisory on their website, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends expectant mothers to be extra vigilant about following existing precautions, as “available data suggest that pregnant women with COVID-19 may be at increased risk for more severe illness compared with nonpregnant peers.”

While “No increase in the rate of mortality has been noted,” the group says that “these data indicate an elevated risk of [intensive care unit] admissions and mechanical ventilation.”

“Pregnant patients with comorbidities such as obesity and gestational diabetes may be at an even higher risk for severe illness consistent with the general population with similar comorbidities,” the ACOG adds.

Huff and Robertson shared their pregnancy news Oct. 4, on their respective Instagram accounts. “SCREAMING WITH EXCITEMENT TO SHARE THIS NEWS! Baby we already adore you,” the mom-to-be captioned a photo of the pair cuddled up on the couch and showcasing their sonogram, in part.

The couple opened up Wednesday on Robertson’s WHOA That’s Good Podcast about learning the good news, with Huff, 22, saying they weren’t “not trying.”  Noted Robertson, “I guess we shouldn’t have been that surprised, but we were super surprised and so I didn’t think I was pregnant at all.”

After she found herself “ravenous” all day and had a vivid dream about being pregnant (with a son!),

Trump isn’t contagious now. But his administration will still get people sick.

While Trump’s speedy return to large public events was alarming, it’s unlikely he exposed many of his supporters at his first rallies after his diagnosis this month to the virus. The distance the Secret Service tends to require between presidents and big crowds alone should have protected most of his voters. What’s more disturbing to epidemiologists like me is that Trump continues to act in ways — and model behavior — that run directly counter to best practices for controlling infections. Even after becoming the world’s most famous covid-19 patient, Trump demonstrates an utter lack of seriousness or willingness to manage the virus.

The president’s diagnosis last month was not a surprise to infectious-disease experts, as the White House approach to prevention had been focused on testing, which is a secondary form of prevention. Use of testing as the only strategy is highly imperfect, especially with rapid tests, as what we gain in speed often costs us accuracy. Data on accuracy is based on samples from sick or exposed people, not necessarily on a healthy population using this frequently as a mechanism to avoid masking and distancing. The administration’s lackluster adherence to masking, distancing and overall risk reduction measures meant an outbreak centered on the White House was not particularly shocking, but it was nonetheless disappointing.

Trump held his first post-hospital rally in Sanford, Fla., last Monday. The White House still hadn’t been particularly transparent about his illness or the timeline for infection and contagiousness, but Sean P. Conley, Trump’s physician, released a memo stating vaguely that multiple tests had shown the president was negative for the disease. That memo, emphasizing the use of rapid testing, raised concerns for several reasons. The Abbott rapid tests being used by the White House have been shown to have higher rates of false negatives. But the public still didn’t know if the president experienced severe disease, which would require a longer isolation period. From an epidemiological and infection prevention perspective, this knowledge is critical: Understanding when his symptoms began and when he tested negative and then positive helps us gauge when he was probably infectious (guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends we start contact tracing on the two days before symptom onset or a positive test). These pieces not only allow us to identify potential cases moving forward, but they would also shed light on whether Trump was infectious during the presidential debate with former vice president Joe Biden last month and at events just before his diagnosis. As the White House has opted not to engage in contact tracing, this has left much to crowdsourcing in an attempt to get a handle on what many are calling a superspreader event stemming from the Sept. 26 Supreme Court nomination event for Amy Coney Barrett in the Rose Garden.

Now recovered, Trump has continued to tout his newfound immunity to the virus. With knowledge of immunity and things like re-infection evolving as our knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 and covid-19 develops, two

Alarming new data shows the UK was the ‘sick man’ of Europe even before Covid

Our health is determined by far more than a single virus. This week, a team of scientists in Seattle, together with thousands of contributors around the world, assembled 3.5bn pieces of data to construct what they are calling the Global Burden of Disease. The story this data tells us about Britain is alarming. On some of the most important measures of health, the four nations of the United Kingdom perform worse than our nearest neighbours. Even with coronavirus out of the picture, Britain is the sick man, woman and child of Europe.



a person talking on a cell phone screen with text: Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

The headline findings from the report are clear. In 2019, life expectancy at birth in the UK was 82.9 years for a woman and 79.2 years for a man (the average for both was 81.1 years). These numbers look good, especially when compared with historical figures. In 1950, for example, the average life expectancy at birth for a UK citizen was 68.9 years. The combined effects of economic growth, better education and an improved NHS have delivered an extra 12 years of life. Impressive.

That is until you start comparing the UK with other European countries. When you do this, you find we have seen smaller increases in life expectancy than the western European average – 5.3 years compared with 5.7 years. Spain and Italy, for example, both had an average life expectancy at birth of 83.1 years in 2019. In France, it was 82.9 years, Sweden 82.8 years and Germany 81.2. The western European average life expectancy was a whole one year longer than in the UK.

Another important measure is what’s known as healthy life expectancy – the years of life we spend in good health. The average healthy life expectancy for the UK in 2019 was 68.9 years, meaning that people in the UK spend an average 12.2 years living with some kind of illness. And again, when one compares the UK with other European nations, we perform poorly.

In fact, Britain has the worst healthy life expectancy of any other European country. We come bottom of the league table, alongside Monaco. We’ve seen a slower improvement in healthy life expectancy (3.6 years) than the western European average (5.8 years). And the situation for children is equally bad: the under-five mortality rate in the UK in 2019 was 4.1 deaths per 1,000 live births – one of the worst performances in western Europe, second only to Malta. Whatever metric one chooses, the UK’s health performs worse than comparable European nations.



a person talking on a cell phone screen with text: I’t’s no accident that Liverpool, which scores high on the list of the UK’s most deprived places, was the first region to be classified as very high risk.’


© Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters
I’t’s no accident that Liverpool, which scores high on the list of the UK’s most deprived places, was the first region to be classified as very high risk.’

There’s a similar pattern at play across the four nations. Scotland has the lowest life expectancy (79.1 years), followed by Northern Ireland (80.3 years), Wales (80.5 years), and England (81.4 years). What’s going on?

Related: Liverpool Covid admissions will ‘devastate’ other hospital care

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