Posted: Thursday, June 4, 2020. 3:12 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Belize is in something of an “eye” in the COVID-19 storm, with the last of 18 cases countrywide recovered as of nearly two months ago, save two deaths.
Some are chafing under the slightly relaxed conditions of the State of Emergency, which is expected to last another month, including social distancing, wearing of masks in public and a nationwide curfew.
But even as we watch other countries struggle to bring down their caseloads and navigate “the new normal,” it is worth noting that cases world-wide are under-represented, because some do not report to hospital or do so only when it is too late. While we have no active cases in Belize, illegal border crossings are still happening from countries with active cases, and soon the airport will open. While testing before flights will help to reduce the risk of importing new cases, false negatives do happen, so risk still exists of a second, potentially far larger wave. It only takes one case to start the spread to thousands of people.
A reader directed us to a graphical illustration of deaths worldwide since the start of the year. While we know that cases may have existed from as early as November last year, the first death linked to COVID-19 came on January 10, at a time when the leading causes of death were malaria, malnutrition, homicide, Parkinson’s disease and drowning, in that order.
Sometime on February 8, COVID-19 over took natural disasters on the cause of death list, and by March 16 had overtaken terrorism. With over 46 thousand deaths by the end of March, it was tenth on the list, but still more than 5 thousand cases behind deaths from other forms of influenza.
By this time Belize had reported its first cases, and on April 2 – the date of the start of Belize’s State of Emergency, COVID-19 deaths had surpassed deaths from influenza, maternal deaths, deaths related to misuse of alcohol and drugs, etc. It passed drowning to become a top-5 cause of death on April 7, and by mid-month it trailed only malaria.
On April 25, COVID-19 became the leading cause of death in the world in 2020, and as of May 24, its 345 thousand deaths was nearly a hundred thousand more than malaria and 4.2 times as many as deaths from regular influenza.
Among the top countries in terms of deaths are the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Italy and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from which the virus originated.
Our reader commented, “As we begin to go back to work and resume our normal lives, it’s critically important for both the health of Belizeans throughout the country and the economy that we keep social distancing, hand-washing and wearing our masks (covering both the nose and mouth), as well as that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms (even mild) contact their doctor. To everyone doing their part: keep up the good work!”
To see the chart for yourself, go here.
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