EM Covid-19 update:  Some progress, numerous setbacks

Today, our aging Planet will report its first 100 million cases from Covid-19, with over 2.1 mn dead.  While the virus is striking indiscriminately  across the world, the top 20 are full of large developing nations, according to Worldometers.info.  These are led by India, Brazil, Russia and Turkey.  However, the new hot spots seem to be Brazil and Mexico, with China coming back to the stage, as Turkey passed the dubious benchmark of 25K casualties on Sunday.

 

It is likely to get worse for Developing Nations, which lag their rich peers in terms of financial means and well-functioning health service in many instances.  According to preliminary research coming from UK, the new strains are deadliner.  A Turkish medical authority claimed on Saturday that these will require new rounds of vaccinations to cut infection rates.

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According to FT, “Nervtag scientists         considered several studies from different academic teams comparing mortality data between people with B.1.1.7 and other forms of coronavirus. Their conclusions varied — one team put the increase in fatality rate as high as 91 per cent — but most estimates were in the 30 to 40 per cent range. The increases were consistent across age groups.

Matt Hancock, health secretary, warned in an online webinar that the South African strain could make existing vaccines 50 per cent less effective”.

 

Reuters reports that China recorded a climb in new COVID-19 cases driven by a spike in infections among previously symptomless patients in northeastern Jilin province, official data showed on Monday. Total number of confirmed cases in the mainland rose to 124 on Jan. 24 from 80 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said in a statement, amid the worst wave of new infections China has seen since March 2020.  The outbreak in China is small, but is worrying because it emerged just before the Chinese New Year vacation, which is peak travel time for the country.  New local outbreaks are a strong possibility.

 

As Mexico enters the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, its vaccination plan takes a hit

Nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Mexico is entering its darkest phase yet.

Hospitals in many states are near capacity, ventilators and oxygen tanks are in scarce supply and more people are dying than ever before.

At a medical center erected on a Mexico City military base, the morgue has run out of space.

“In the end you’re just stacking people in piles,” said Dr. Giorgio Alberto Franyuti Kelly, chief of biosecurity for the military, who treats patients at the makeshift hospital.

Large-scale vaccination is widely seen as the clearest way out. Yet this last week the government announced that its inoculation program — one of the most ambitious in Latin America — had essentially come to a standstill.

 

‘A complete massacre, a horror film’: inside Brazil’s Covid disaster

It took just 60 minutes at daybreak for the seven patients to die, asphyxiated as coronavirus swept back into the Brazilian Amazon with nightmarish force.

“Today was one of the hardest days in all my years of public service. You feel so impotent,” sobbed Francisnalva Mendes, the health chief in the river town of Coari, as she remembered the moment on Tuesday when its hospital’s oxygen supply ran out.

“We need to get back to the fight – to carry on saving lives,” Mendes insisted as she digested losing a third of her town’s 22 Covid-19 patients in one fell swoop – four of them in their 50s. “But we all feel broken. It was such a hard day.”

Coari was at the centre of Latin America’s latest coronavirus catastrophe last week after a surge in infections linked to a new and seemingly more contagious variant overwhelmed hospitals in Brazil’s Amazonas state, leaving many without even the most basic supplies. Circumstances were so bleak oxygen tankers were rushed over the border from Venezuela, the economically collapsed nation next door, with its leader, Nicolás Maduro, decrying what he called “Jair Bolsonaro’s public health disaster”.

India is doing relatively well, considering its huge population, with 14,849 fresh Covid-19 cases, 155 more fatalities as of Sunday. “India’s confirmed COVID-19 cases have plummeted. Scientists are trying to figure out why. They’re studying the country’s demographics, heat & humidity, and mask mandates”, writes NPR.

 

Turkey’s vaccination programme teetering on failure – ex-AKP lawmaker Özdalga

Turkey’s campaign to vaccinate its citizens has been struggling to keep up with the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

The vaccination programme, which only began mid-January, has fueled a certain amount of frustration from Turks who wonder why Turkey has fallen behind other countries on distributing doses. Right now, Turkey’s vaccination rate per capita is lower than its counterparts in the West at 1.4 per 100 people of a population of 82 million. Meanwhile, total deaths in Turkey have passed 25K and cases stand at over 2 million.

Haluk Özdalga, a former member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), described how the Turkish vaccination has been the victim of government mismanagement.

“The coronavirus vaccine program has been a complete failure in Turkey,” Özdalga told Ahval in a recent podcast. “There are not enough doses, delivery time for these doses is too late, and they only have one single company supplying it which has raised many risks.”

 

Russia’s Covid-19 cases up 21,127 to 37,19,400; Moscow remains worst-hit

Russia has registered 21,127 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking its total to 37,19,400, the country’s Covid-19 response centre said in a statement on Sunday.

It said that 491 new deaths were reported, taking the nationwide count to 69,462, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Russia’s battle against the virus is complicated nationwide protest over dissident Navalny’s arrest. The Russian civil rights portal OVD-Info said Sunday that among its count of 3,400 arrested during rallies in 100 cities, at least 1,360 of those had been made in Moscow.

In St. Petersburg, another 523 detentions took place, said OVD. A video showing a police officer kicking a woman in St. Petersburg prompted outrage on social networks. These protests could mutate into super-spreader events.

“The resurgence of COVID-19 cases and new lockdowns may hinder the emerging markets’ recovery in early 2021. Adverse economic conditions in the first quarter will be especially stressful for EM governments with high debt and little room for additional policy response and for corporations with depressed revenues and limited room to further cut expenses. Therefore, more downgrades and defaults among lower rated entities are likely”, concludes S&P’s  monthly EM report.

 

 

Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.