Pandemic Two Years Later: Red Cross is Helping

03/20/2022 8:35 AM | Anonymous

As reported at redcross.org

It’s been two years since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, acknowledging the virus would likely spread to all countries around the globe. Since then, more than 220 countries and territories around the world have reported almost 447 million confirmed cases of the virus and more than 6 million have died. The U.S. has seen more than 79 million cases of coronavirus as of March 7 and more than 960,000 deaths due to the virus.

THE BEGINNING On January 19, 2020, the first person in the U.S. diagnosed with COVID-19 was a resident of Washington state who had recently returned from a trip to China. In February 2020, the U.S. declared COVID-19 a public health emergency, followed by a national emergency declaration on March 13, 2020.

VACCINES DEVELOPED In 2020 as the virus spread around the world, scientists began working to produce safe and effective coronavirus vaccines. Since December 2020 ,  more than 4.99 billion people worldwide have received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine or about 65% of the world population. In the U.S., more than 553 million vaccine doses have been administered and 65% of the entire population is fully vaccinated.

PRESENT STATEAll 50 states have done away with mandates on wearing masks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 90% of the U.S. population now reside in areas where masks are not necessary indoors.

RED CROSS ROLE COVID-19 has not changed the American Red Cross mission — we provided the same support throughout the first two years of the pandemic as we always have. While the pandemic has weighed heavily on the nation and throughout the world, the Red Cross continues to offer support and care during a difficult time, bringing comfort, hope and light when individuals and families needed it most. A Virtual Family Assistance Center is available to assist anyone who has lost a loved one. 

BIOMEDICAL SERVICES For a limited time, the Red Cross has resumed testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies. With the surge of new variants, hospitals began to seek out more treatments for their most vulnerable patients, and new clinical trial data has shown that convalescent plasma may benefit immunocompromised patients. The Red Cross is resuming this program to ensure doctors have every tool available to support treatment. 

DISASTER RELIEF During two very active disaster years, the Red Cross provided the same types of support we always do after emergencies.To help keep our workforce and the people we serve safe, we are used strong safety precautions including masks, health screenings, enhanced cleaning procedures and encouraging social distancing regardless of vaccine status. In addition, many Red Cross volunteers worked closely with partners to help support vaccination efforts in communities across the country during 2021. 

TRAINING SERVICES The Red Cross continues to provide lifesaving training as the pandemic continues. Essential courses have been modified to include social distancing, face masks, virtual training and certification extensions. Online courses include new COVID-19 ones for safe work practices and psychological first aid. We’ve also provided responder guidance for companies and hospitals to adjust their training during COVID-19 to maintain their ability to save lives.

SERVICE TO THE ARMED FORCES (SAF) While some services are now virtual, the Red Cross Hero Care Network  offers confidential assistance to veterans and their families by connecting them with local, state and national resources worldwide. The Red Cross Military Veteran Caregiver Network (MCVN) is also available for veterans and their caregivers to offer support for the country’s approximately 5.5 million caregivers of military and veteran wounded, ill or injured.

INTERNATIONAL SERVICES COVID-19 knows no borders, and while each Red Cross society’s response to this pandemic has been different, coordinated efforts by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have largely supported community-based health and hygiene promotion, access to basic services, support for containment and treatment, and fighting rumors and stigma with accurate information.  The American Red Cross has “virtually deployed” specialists with skills in mental health, communications, information management, assessment and planning and helped fund health and hygiene promotion, case detection, surveillance and contact tracing in the global fight against the coronavirus.

Click here to read more at redcross.org

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