Pandemic a Crisis for Two Years; How the Red Cross is Helping

It’s been two years because the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a world pandemic, acknowledging the virus would possible unfold to all international locations across the globe. Since then, greater than 220 international locations and territories all over the world have reported virtually 447 million confirmed instances of the virus and greater than 6 million have died. The U.S. has seen greater than 79 million instances of coronavirus as of March 7 and greater than 960,000 deaths because of the virus.

THE BEGINNING On January 19, 2020, the primary individual within the U.S. identified with COVID-19 was a resident of Washington state who had just lately returned from a visit to China. In February 2020, the U.S. declared COVID-19 a public well being emergency, adopted by a nationwide emergency declaration on March 13, 2020.

Soon many states issued stay-at-home orders, mandating folks stay at residence aside from important causes resembling employment or needing medical assist. Masks grew to become the norm and all of us realized learn how to social distance and commenced washing our palms with a vengeance. Those of us who had been ready started to do business from home as workplaces throughout the nation closed. Schools and faculties closed, and college students started to be taught nearly. Unemployment numbers soared, affecting each state, trade and main demographic group within the U.S.

VACCINES DEVELOPED In 2020 because the virus unfold all over the world, scientists started working to supply secure and efficient coronavirus vaccines. In December of that 12 months, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization for each the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Since then, greater than 4.99 billion folks worldwide have obtained a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine or about 65% of the world inhabitants. In the U.S., greater than 553 million vaccine doses have been administered and 65% of all the inhabitants is totally vaccinated.

PRESENT STATE After sturdy surges of the Delta and Omicron variants earlier this 12 months, coronavirus exercise is down throughout the nation. Hospitalizations have additionally fallen. All 50 states have carried out away with mandates on sporting masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviews greater than 90% of the U.S. inhabitants now reside in areas the place masks usually are not crucial indoors.

RED CROSS ROLE COVID-19 has not modified the American Red Cross mission — we offered the identical assist all through the primary two years of the pandemic as we at all times have. While the pandemic has weighed closely on the nation and all through the world, the Red Cross continues to supply assist and care throughout a tough time, bringing consolation, hope and light-weight when people and households wanted it most. A Virtual Family Assistance Center is offered to help anybody who has misplaced a liked one. 

BIOMEDICAL SERVICES For a restricted time, the Red Cross has resumed testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. Plasma from routine donations which have excessive ranges of COVID-19 antibodies could also be used as convalescent plasma to assist meet the wants of COVID-19 sufferers with a weakened immune system.

The Red Cross first examined donations for COVID-19 antibodies earlier within the pandemic to supply convalescent plasma for sufferers. When an infection charges decreased and new therapy choices grew to become out there, the Red Cross discontinued this system. With the surge of recent variants, hospitals started to hunt out extra therapies for his or her most weak sufferers, and new medical trial knowledge has proven that convalescent plasma could profit immunocompromised sufferers. The Red Cross is resuming this program to make sure medical doctors have each device out there to assist therapy. 

DISASTER RELIEF During two very lively disaster years, the Red Cross offered the identical forms of assist we at all times do after emergencies. We helped households after disasters of all sizes by ensuring that they had a secure place to remain, meals to eat and sources to assist them get better. To assist maintain our workforce and the folks we serve secure, we’re used sturdy security precautions together with masks, well being screenings, enhanced cleansing procedures and inspiring social distancing no matter vaccine standing. In addition, many Red Cross volunteers labored carefully with companions to assist assist vaccination efforts in communities throughout the nation throughout 2021. When requested by native officers, this assist included serving to to arrange vaccination websites, amassing info from folks being vaccinated, and offering water and snacks for medical employees and folks ready to be vaccinated. 

TRAINING SERVICES The Red Cross continues to supply lifesaving coaching because the pandemic continues. Essential programs have been modified to incorporate social distancing, face masks, digital coaching and certification extensions. Online programs embrace new COVID-19 ones for secure work practices and psychological first help. We’ve additionally offered responder steering for corporations and hospitals to regulate their coaching throughout COVID-19 to keep up their capacity to save lots of lives.

SERVICE TO THE ARMED FORCES (SAF) In the face of emergencies, together with COVID-19, the Red Cross continues to assist the U.S. navy service members, veterans, caregivers and their households each domestically and abroad. While some companies at the moment are digital, the Red Cross Hero Care Network permits us to supply vital companies to navy households all around the world. The Hero Care Network provides confidential help to veterans and their households by connecting them with native, state and nationwide sources worldwide. The Red Cross Military Veteran Caregiver Network (MCVN) can also be out there for veterans and their caregivers to supply assist for the nation’s roughly 5.5 million caregivers of navy and veteran wounded, unwell or injured.

INTERNATIONAL SERVICES COVID-19 is aware of no borders, and whereas every Red Cross society’s response to this pandemic has been completely different, coordinated efforts by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have largely supported community-based well being and hygiene promotion, entry to fundamental companies, assist for containment and therapy, and preventing rumors and stigma with correct info. As international locations have elevated entry to vaccines, Red Cross groups are coordinating carefully with authorities authorities to assist vaccination efforts. To strengthen this significant work, the American Red Cross has “virtually deployed” specialists with abilities in psychological well being, communications, info administration, evaluation and planning. We additionally funded actions like well being and hygiene promotion, case detection, surveillance and call tracing within the world battle in opposition to the coronavirus.

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