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The COVID-19 Global Pandemic

Last Page Update: 1.26.22 at 8:50 a.m. ET

Status

Active Emergency

Date

January 30, 2020

Region

Global

Globally, as COVID-19 deaths reach staggering levels with infection rates declining in some countries and exploding in many more, Americares is using every resource to fight the pandemic – providing access to protective supplies, skills, and other critical support for our staff and partners here at home and around the world. Although the Omicron variant is spreading at an alarming rate, the fact remains that the vaccines work, and preventive measures are more important than ever. Even if you are fully vaccinated (including a booster) – Mask up. Wash up. Step back. And get the shot if you have not. COVID is not done with us. (source: JHU)

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Health Workers Have Died

In the global pandemic

We focus on frontline health workers (more than 115,000 (est. from WHO) have died and possibly many more in the global pandemic – est. 3,600 in the U.S., and at least 1,000 doctors in India), keeping them safe so they can continue to do life-saving work for low-income patients with COVID-19 and those in need of other essential health services and ongoing care for life-threatening conditions. Many at risk live in communities that are vulnerable to a daily and deadly inequality, especially in access to health care. In addition to PPE and other critical supplies, we are providing mental health support for health workers pushed to their limits with each new wave of the Pandemic. And we all can help health workers who are putting their lives on the line to keep us safe by getting vaccinated and wearing a mask.

Crisis Logo

The Crisis

The Facts

The coronavirus outbreak, first reported in Wuhan China in December 2019 exploded into a Global Pandemic within weeks. COVID-19, the name of the disease caused by the virus (SARS-CoV-2), continues its deadly spread with new waves of infection from new virus variants threatening regions even as authorities work to increase vaccine availability while facing unequal access and an alarming level of vaccine hesitancy. Two years into the Pandemic, the struggle continues. The science keeps learning more, but at the same time, so does the virus.

Latest on COVID-19 Pandemic

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Million

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in 192 countries and regions

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deaths

have been reported worldwide

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infections

have been reported in the U.S.

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deaths

have been reported in the U.S.

The Pandemic Today

Even as more than 251 million people have received a first shot of vaccine in the U.S. and as states and countries work to re-open, COVI9-19 rolls on, with the Omicron variant now infecting and killing more people globally every day. Although more than 75% of the total U.S. population has received at least the first dose of vaccine (87% of adults), the rate of vaccine hesitancy in some areas severely hampers efforts to stop the spread of the fast moving Omicron variant, as infections have exploded especially in states and communities with low vaccination rates. With the Omicron variant expanding with alarming speed on a global scale as the winter drives more people indoors, authorities are implementing preventive measures to confront another global wave of infections. Many communities and organizations have recommended and/or mandated the return of mask-wearing indoors along with vaccine, testing and safety protocol mandates to curb the continued spike in infections.

The school year has presented formidable challenges even as the Pfizer vaccine received emergency authorization for children 5-11 years old. Now children from the ages of 5-17 are eligible for the vaccine. Currently, Puerto Rico, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, Hawaii and Rhode Island lead the way in vaccination rates in the U.S. with more than 70% of people fully vaccinated. Alabama is at the other end of the scale with only 49% of the population fully vaccinated.

This highly contagious and continuously evolving virus kills some and spares others, presenting symptoms that are unprecedented and unpredictable. More than 23 months into the pandemic, masking, handwashing and social distancing continue to be important in combating the relentless advance of COVID-19. And while the CDC has once again advised mask-wearing indoors even by those who are fully vaccinated (currently 63% of the U.S. population), it is more important then ever for those who are not yet vaccinated to stay vigilant, continue to observe basic safety measures and get vaccinated in the race against the Omicron variant which is much more contagious than the Delta variant. Some authorities are comparing Omicron to the measles virus as reaching the highest level of transmissibility. Authorities are also recommending that higher quality masks (N95 or KN95) or double masking are more effective against Omicron. Simple cloth masks alone are no longer sufficient.

Global COVID Snapshot

World deaths from COVID have officially surpassed 5.6 million (with experts estimating a much higher toll). India, United Kingdom, Brazil, Iran, France, Italy, Turkey, Germany and Russia have followed the U.S. as among the countries leading in infection rates. The European Union overall is experiencing a substantial increase in infection rate and individual countries are responding with different levels of preventive measures. During the late spring and early summer months the infection rate in India exploded, overwhelming the health system as a second wave created a record daily number of infections before subsiding. For a report on Americares response to the second wave in India, read this report. Countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America have seen alarming increases in infection rates and deaths with the spread of more virulent variants. As Germany experienced a sudden rise in infections and deaths, the country placed restrictions on the unvaccinated in an attempt to reverse the surge. Austria became the first EU nation to impose a nationwide vaccine mandate. The Philippines on the other hand had seen a successful vaccine initiative lead to the vaccination of over 7 million people in a short time frame – progress that is threatened by the impact of Super Typhoon Rai. As the U.S. and other countries in the West struggle to manage the latest wave from the pandemic, countries and communities with limited access to vaccines are facing new threats as more health systems are overwhelmed by rising infection rates. Resistance to vaccine and mask mandates continues to challenge progress in defeating this highly contagious virus.

U.S. Resurgence

On September 20, 2021, the US marked another grim milestone in the fight against COVID-19 recording more American deaths from COVID-19 than the Spanish flu in 1918 – making COVID-19 the most deadly pandemic in American History. More than 860,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19 (the near equivalent of the entire population of the city of Seattle, WA). The re-opening of schools and other efforts to resume normal activities added new complications for local authorities. The U.S. has averaged more than 690,000 new infections every day in the past week, according to the CDC COVID data tracker and set a new global daily record this month, with over 1 million cases. Hospitalization numbers have also reached a new record level. Rates have risen sharply for several weeks as the Delta and Omicron variants strike the unvaccinated who represent the large majority of new cases and deaths. While infection rates in some states appear to have peaked, others continue to rise. The sudden spike in hospitalizations among the unvaccinated has caused authorities in several states to mobilize emergency measures to meet the surge. Currently 3 states have vaccinated less than 50% of their population and many more are below 60%. Although the death toll had slowed as the country emerged from the Pandemic, it has risen again, recording more than 2,100 deaths per day and threatening to pass even more grim milestones of lives lost to COVID-19. To put that number in perspective, if 1000 people die per day in the next 9 months, the fatality total in the U.S. from COVID-19 would surpass 1 million. Currently, the U.S. leads the world in number of infections and deaths and is 51st in the percentage of population totally vaccinated.

Vaccine Hesitancy

Although three successfully tested, safe and free vaccines are in widespread use in the United States after receiving emergency approval, the rate of vaccination has slowed. One of the three has now received full approval. There are at least 22 COVID-19 vaccines authorized and being administered across the world and over 90 in development. Health authorities are addressing vaccine hesitancy as a significant barrier to community immunization. There can be no doubt, however, that the wearing of masks, proper hand washing and social distancing remain critical weapons against infection for those who have not received the vaccine and with the explosion of Omicron, mask wearing is important for those who have received the vaccine as well.  The science is clear. They work. Continuing the 3 steps of prevention and getting vaccinated at the earliest opportunity are both necessary to stop COVID-19. In addition, the booster shot is another important level of protection. To learn more the global story of the pandemic, open the ” Trusted Resources” below and view COVID-19 Updates. Read the COVID-19 2020 report on our global work during the first year of the Pandemic.

Health Inequity

The pandemic has proven especially lethal in predominantly Black and other neighborhoods of color that face systemic inequality including lack of access to quality health care combined with a shrinking safety net for critical public services. According to the COVID Racial Data Tracker, COVID has had a particularly deadly impact on Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other people of color with Black people dying at twice the rate of white people. Authorities also are seeing significant disparities in vaccination rates from zip code to zip code within communities, often reflecting economic and social inequities in those same populations. As it attacks poor communities in the U.S. and globally, it also exhibits catastrophic growth in countries with large concentrations of urban poverty or with the most fragile health systems. In both rich and poor countries, the virus exposes and exploits every weak point in the health infrastructure. Where you live may determine whether you live or die.

Health inequity retains its deadly potential in communities of color with poor health care access as vaccine distribution lags dangerously behind better-resourced neighbors. And that was why the COVAX pillar of access was considered so critical at the beginning as the only global effort to ensure that people in all corners of the world got access to COVID-19 vaccines when they were available, regardless of their wealth. The COVAX initiative, however, faced serious challenges of supply, logistics, and bureaucracies, as many under-resourced countries initially made little progress with vaccinations because the manufacture and distribution of vaccines still had not met their growing need. Vaccine hesitancy is also playing a significant role in countries and in communities in the U.S. where in the past the public health system has failed the people, leading to a historic mistrust of authorities. This lack of trust also highlights the importance of robust information and public education campaigns to promote vaccination. The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought new attention to the health equity crisis on a national and global scale and the complexity of building solutions.

CDC Updates – Unmask the Facts

Update on Masks

CDC has recently clarified that some types of masks and respirators provide more protection to the wearer against COVID-19 than others. Loosely woven cloth products provide the least protection, layered finely woven products offer more protection, well-fitting disposable surgical masks and KN95s offer even more protection, and well-fitting NIOSH approved respirators (including N95s) offer the highest level of protection. Overall, CDC recommends wearing the most protective mask that you can, ensuring that the mask fits
well, and finding one that can be worn consistently. READ MORE…

Changing Isolation Guidelines

People with a positive COVID-19 test (regardless of vaccination status) should isolate for at least 5 days. If they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours) after 5 days, then they can leave isolation if they wear a mask around others for the next 5 days. People who are unvaccinated or are more than 6 months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months out from their J&J vaccine) and are not yet boosted should quarantine for 5 days after exposure followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days. Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine after exposure but should wear a mask for 10 days after exposure. Read More

Child Hospitalizations

In the U.S., more children are in the hospital with COVID-19 than ever before. Compared to January 2021, five times as many children under five years old are currently hospitalized with the virus. At the same time, CDC is recommending that moderately or severely immunocompromised 5–11-year-olds receive an additional primary dose of an mRNA vaccine 28 days after their second shot. At this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech
COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for children aged 5-11. No COVID-19 vaccine is currently authorized for children under five years old. READ MORE…

Vaccine Update

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine booster has been approved for 16-17 year-olds.

In addition, new CDC guidelines allow people to “mix and match” which COVID-19 vaccine they take as a booster. A booster for Pfizer and Moderna recipients is now recommended 5 months after the second dose for people 65 and up and some younger adults. A booster for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for people 18 and older at least two months after their initial dose. READ MORE...

The FDA updated the Emergency Use Authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include children 5-11 years old. This pediatric vaccine is administered as a two-dose primary series, 3 weeks apart, but uses a lower dose (10 micrograms) than that one for individuals over the age of 12 (30 micrograms). As of 11/2, CDC formally recommended this vaccine to children 5-11 years old. READ MORE

New Antiviral Pills

FDA regulators have authorized two antiviral medications to treat covid-19, one from Pfizer and a second from Merck. Both the Paxlovid pill from Pfizer and Merck’s Molnupiravir are considered useful tools in the fight against the coronavirus. In order to be effective, however, they must be given very early in an infection.

Free Test Kits

The U.S. government launched an initiative that allows all citizens to order free at-home COVID-19 test kits. Every household, regardless of size, can receive up to 4 test kits by ordering through https://www.covidtests.gov/ or going directly to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) order form here. Additionally, most Americans with private insurance can buy home tests online or in stores and have them paid for at the time of purchase or get reimbursed by submitting a claim to their insurer. This program launched on 1/15, and only tests bought from that date on are eligible. READ MORE…

Disclaimer: This project was funded in part by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant number 1 NU50CK000588-01-00. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this resource center do not necessarily represent the policy of CDC or HHS and should not be considered an endorsement by the Federal Government.

Video of one of our health workers in Colombia teaching a very young fellow proper hand-washing skills

Additional Information

Get Facts from Trusted Resources – on the Pandemic and COVID-19 Vaccines

Information you can trust

You have questions about COVID-19 vaccines? We have answers.

Americares is combating the spread of disinformation and promoting science and healthy behaviors that can help stem the spread of the virus. The first and most important response to a disease outbreak is to get good information. Get the facts, not fear and fight the “infodemic”.  Understand the complexity of assembling data from a vast variety of global sources and consider using more than one source (and make sure it is a trusted source) to get a broader picture of what is happening day to day in the Pandemic.

How were COVID-19 vaccines made so quickly?
COVID-19 vaccines were developed in record time because scientists built from decades of research; they were given a lot of resources; and regulators prioritized reviewing COVID-19 vaccine applications.
Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?
No. These vaccines teach your cells to look like the virus. You might feel symptoms as your immune system responds to new proteins, but your body is just training to fight a real virus if it’s ever exposed.
What does FDA Emergency Authorization (EUA) mean?
An EUA is a way for the FDA to speed up how we mass produce vaccines and approve paperwork during an emergency. It doesn’t affect vaccine safety because it doesn’t change how we research and develop vaccines.
Do the COVID-19 vaccines affect DNA?
No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change DNA. They deliver instructions that make your cells look like the virus. These cells then act as “models” to help train your immune system against COVID-19.
Does the vaccine have a magnetic effect?
No. COVID-19 vaccines to not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of the injection. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals and will not make you magnetic.
Does the vaccine have a microchip?
No. The vaccine does not contain a microchip. The ingredients of the vaccine are safe and were evaluated in clinical trials.
Do I need to get the vaccine if I’ve already had COVID-19?
Yes. It’s recommended that you get a COVID-19 vaccine even after you’ve recovered from COVID-19. Some studies have shown that vaccination strongly boosts protection in people who’ve previously contracted COVID-19.
Should I get vaccinated against COVID-19 if I am young and healthy?
Yes. Young and healthy people can still experience serious illness or death from COVID-19. Even if some people experience mild effects from COVID-19, they can still pass the virus along to people who could become seriously ill.
Is the vaccine safe for adolescents and children?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for their authorized age groups: 16 and up for Moderna and J&J, and 12 and up for Pfizer.
Can pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. If you are pregnant, it’s recommended that you receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can lower the risk.
Can women who are breastfeeding get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. Lactating people can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines have not been studied extensively on lactating people, but there are no safety concerns.
Can I get the vaccine if I want to have children someday?
Yes. If you want to get pregnant now or in the future, you can still get a COVID-19 vaccine. There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy or fertility.

Disclaimer: This project was funded in part by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant number 1 NU50CK000588-01-00. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this resource center do not necessarily represent the policy of CDC or HHS and should not be considered an endorsement by the Federal Government.

To find answers to more of your questions about vaccines visit the WHO vaccine tracker.

To track information on the various vaccines being developed for COVID-19 visit the New York Times vaccine tracker.

Getting the Facts by the Numbers

Johns Hopkins interactive map tracking the disease spread globally. Visit this excellent resource.

Another important daily data source can be found at CDC COVID data tracker.

And a “homemade” aggregator website put together by a single enterprising programmer that has become a valued, accessible data source.

The COVID Racial Data Tracker is a collaboration between the COVID Tracking Project and the Antiracist Research & Policy Center. Click here for the most complete race and ethnicity data on COVID-19 in the United States.

Researchers and Public Health Experts unite to bring clarity to key metrics guiding coronavirus response. This is a new resource about COVID risk levels in different locations to help guide personal decision-making. Click here to access this new information.

NPR: Tracking the global spread of the outbreak – follow this regularly updated map and timeline.

Washington Post: How Do We Build Herd Immunity? Click here to learn how it happens>

Expert Sources

Resources for Health Centers

Americares also offers this useful resource for health workers and our health center partners around the country who serve the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit our clinic resource page.

Read a Brief COVID Global Pandemic History

A Global Crisis

Global Pandemic

The coronavirus outbreak that was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan China exploded into a Global Pandemic – spreading like flood waters finding any and every opening to infect and kill

According to an NPR virus tracker COVID-19, the official name of the disease caused by the virus (SARS-CoV-2) registered its first confirmed cases outside China on Jan. 20, in Japan, Thailand and South Korea.  On Jan. 21, the first case in the U.S. was identified in Washington state. On Jan. 24, the first two European cases were confirmed in France. By Feb. 1, eight European nations had confirmed cases of COVID-19, and a month later that count had risen to 24 countries with at least 2,200 cases, most of them in Italy. On March 11 as Italy surpassed 10,000 cases, China, the original epicenter, reported a drop in cases of infection.  March also saw a rapid spread of the virus throughout the U.S., with all 50 states reporting cases by March 17.  The world took three months to reach the mark of 100,000 reported infections. The second 100,000 were added in just 12 days.

The danger to health systems is a central concern, particularly the vulnerability of health workers; thousands of health workers have been infected and many have died as health facilities became overwhelmed by the numbers of patients. Of the more that 7,000 health worker deaths that have been officially recorded, the largest number have occurred in Mexico and the U.S. (more than 2,900 in the U.S.). A lack of consistent data on health workers has hampered efforts to report on the exact toll COVID-19 is having on health workers globally and in the U.S.

Keeping a human face on staff member at Magdlena clinic in Colombia
Keeping a human face on staff member at Magdalena clinic in Colombia

Of the 192 countries/regions infected, the U.S. faced the largest outbreak. Spain and Italy in the early stages of the pandemic had a much higher death rate, reflecting an aging population – the virus is most deadly to the elderly and those with underlying health issues. Countries taking an early systematic approach to stemming the outbreak saw a leveling off and decline in reported cases, highlighting the impact of prevention and protection programs while other countries such as Brazil and Russia that had been slower to respond continued to see the infection rate accelerate. Italy and Spain shut down as the outbreak intensified and other countries closed their borders, steps that slowed the spread and offered a cautious path toward reopening. Countries such as New Zealand, Vietnam and Senegal have set a standard for controlling the outbreak early by quickly establishing and following strict disease control protocols.

Pandemic in the U.S.

Impact on Vulnerable Communities

Pandemic in the U.S.

Soon after one of the first U.S. cases was reported in Washington State on January 21, another significant outbreak followed in Westchester County NY where a “containment zone” was established – a hot spot that began with one infected person. The swift decision to implement more stringent measures, including closing businesses and all but essential services, self-quarantines, masks, testing, tracing, social distancing and strong shelter-in-place recommendations in both Washington State and the Westchester communities slowed the rate of infection in those early outbreaks.

New York City soon became the major national hot zone and New York state the epicenter of the outbreak with more reported infections than any country. As the rate of infection and death toll increased in the U.S., many states including California, New York, Illinois, Ohio and Louisiana issued the “shelter-in- place” order. Communities throughout the country restricted all gatherings and encouraged people to limit social interaction and stay home to slow the progression of the pandemic. States and cities cancelled major events, conferences and other large gatherings while closing all businesses deemed non-essential and banning most events.

Decisions by some state and local leaders to keep strong measures in place to contain the virus for an extended period led to a leveling off and a significant decline in the infection and death rates in a handful of states. New York state implemented a phased reopening in regions that achieved certain benchmarks of lowered infection and fatality rates, while at the same time new hot spots emerge in many states as the pandemic continues its deadly spread. The new outbreaks led to travel restrictions into states that have achieved a sharp decline in infection and death rates.

Loading shipment of masks for health workers
Loading shipment of masks for health workers

One of the most disturbing aspects of the pandemic is its disproportionate impact on predominantly Black, Indigenous and Latinx neighborhoods where social and economic inequality, a greater incidence of underlying health conditions and lack of access to health care have contributed to an alarming disparity in infection rates and deaths. The continued nationwide protests against systemic racism have given the entire issue a major role in the pandemic narrative.

Medical experts had cautioned that a premature reopening and lack of government mandates could lead to a resurgence of infections which has happened in some states. The disease remains relentless, striking government leaders, top athletes and celebrities right along with health and other essential workers on the front lines of the service economy. The death of more than 2,900 health workers in the U.S., brutally underlines the critical importance of adequate supplies of protective equipment and infection prevention supplies, as well as training in their use.

Americares Logo

Our Response

What are we doing?

01 | Delivering Critical Supplies

Americares is delivering protective supplies – masks, gowns, gloves and disinfectants – as well as leading support groups and skill-building workshops for health workers in COVID-19 hot spots. Our global distribution network has provided more than 15 million units of protective equipment and infection-prevention supplies to health facilities in 33 countries, including the United States. These supplies helped protect health workers and patients from infection and ensure facilities could stay open and provide essential health services that low-income communities depend on. For some, Americares deliveries were their only source of items like gloves and masks; for others, the donations were critical budget relief during a time of instability. To see a fuller view of our programs in the first year, read our COVID-19 2020 report on our global work during the Pandemic.

Infographic on the COVID-19 Response

In the U.S. alone, Americares has delivered nearly 340 tons of protective supplies to health facilities in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Northern Mariana Islands. We provided 4.5 million protective supplies to U.S. health workers including masks gloves, disinfectants and other critical supplies. Our support also includes 35 tons of personal protective equipment, infection-control supplies and hygiene products for Native American communities devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about the shipments of critically needed supplies to the Hopi Tribe and Navajo Nation.

More international and domestic shipments are planned. Click here for the most recent list of our U.S. partners who have received supplies.

Americares global network of health care partners depends on the continuity of regular shipments of medicine and supplies from our distribution center. The most vulnerable in these communities have no other access to care. To that end our distribution center staff continue their efforts to maintain the critical lifeline while keeping the staff safe.

With the pandemic finishing its second year, Americares continues to address the gaps that most affect disadvantaged communities. This includes continuity of quality health services, access to essential medicine, education for health workers and community members, and support for mental health and vaccine readiness. We will also continue public education campaigns around safety, including masks. This work becomes more complex and even more important as we respond to extreme weather events from tornadoes in the U.S. South and Midwest to a Super Typhoon in Philippines.

Staff of the Americares global distribution center in Stamford, Conn., prepare a series of aid shipments for Armenia. Photo by Juan Santana/Americares

Watch the video of our Distribution Center in action!

02 | Providing Clinical Care

The Latest

Americares continues to be on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response in the US. Most recently, in response to an urgent request from FEMA, Americares mobilized three medical professionals to support Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) Health Services’ COVID-19 response. CPN Health Services is located in Oklahoma and services patients who are either Native American, have a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CBID), or are a CPN service provider.  Americares three medical professionals helped to administer COVID-19 vaccinations, COVID-19 booster shots to eligible populations, COVID-19 testing, and flu vaccinations. The two health clinics operated by CPN Health Services (East and West) provide health care services, including COVID-19 vaccination and testing, to Native populations including but not limited to Potawatomi, Cherokee Nation, Chickasaw Nation and the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma.

Americares response team of medical professionals provided daily , allowing tribal leadership and FEMA to identify a longer term staffing plan.

Nurse preparing to administer a vaccine at tribal health center
Nurse preparing to administer a vaccine at a Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) Health Center

Continued Care

Americares is continuing to provide primary care services at its clinics in Connecticut, Colombia, El Salvador and through its mobile health centers in India. The Americares clinics are on the frontlines of the pandemic; health workers are identifying suspected COVID-19 infections and referring patients for testing.  

The COVID-19 pandemic increased the barriers to care that low-income uninsured people experience every day. With clinics closed or on reduced hours, patients who already struggled to access care risked complications and even death from untreated chronic diseases and other health problems. Americares COVID-19 response helped ensure that patients at both Americares-own clinics and those of our partners had safe access to health services.

In Colombia, India and the United States, Americares clinics quickly pivoted from in-person appointments to telehealth services in response to government restrictions, opening when rules allowed. Americares clinics in Colombia, and El Salvador closed temporarily and now provide in-person care, adhering to strict safety protocols for staff and patients.  Our Free Clinics staff in Connecticut have been seeing patients directly since August with careful attention to the protection of patient and staff with PPE and protocols. Americares India, which normally operates seven mobile health centers in the slum communities of Mumbai, is currently facing an extraordinary surge in the Pandemic across the country and has expanded its support for hospitals overwhelmed by the surge. Learn more about the Americares India response.

Supporting Health Centers and Health Workers

Our top concern is the capacity of under-resourced health centers to respond to the pandemic. Americares is training health workers in infection prevention and control, disaster preparedness and mental health and psychosocial support. To date, Americares has hosted 508 training sessions attended by nearly 35,900 participants. We are developing and utilizing COVID-19 specific support modules to ensure health workers treating critically ill patients are equipped to manage their own stress and anxiety, as well as support patients and caregivers who rely on them. Americares has trained more than 26,000 participants in psychological first aid and coping skills to handle fear, stress and anxiety.

To reinforce vaccine confidence among health care personnel, and in turn the patients and communities they serve, Americares is supporting and will continue to promote a range of efforts to build COVID-19 vaccine confidence among our health center networks and the broader public. Vaccine confidence training and education sessions continue to be provided to health workers and key stakeholders across Africa and the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the United States. The CDC Reinforcing COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence project has been launched to build and reinforce COVID-19 vaccine confidence among healthcare personnel in the safety net sector in the U.S. and in turn the patients they serve. In addition, the “Wear A Mask” campaign officially came to a close in May after more than 2 million engagements on Social Media and 42,000 streams of the Wear A Mask song.

The Importance of WASH

Without running water, it’s nearly impossible for staff and patients to follow safety protocols so, in 10 countries, Americares collaborated with local health partners to improve water infrastructure. We have provided communities with 542 water infrastructure improvements, including hand-washing and hand-sanitizing stations. In every location where Americares has provided hand-washing stations, we have also done community education and outreach on hygiene.

In Peru, Americares provided surge medical support in Peru from June 2020 through March 2021 to support health facilities overwhelmed by the pandemic. Americares relief workers also provided rapid COVID-19 testing in partnership with VIDA Peru, at mobile clinics in communities with high rates of COVID-19 in Lambayeque, Lima and Piura and reached over 200,000 people with COVID-19 health education throughout the duration of the project. Additionally, Americares psychologists provided mental health consultations.

Americares knows from a long history of disaster response that maintaining primary care services during crisis is critical to saving lives and restoring health.

Two women at a reception desk with one holding a phone to her ear.

Watch the video with Nurse Practitioner Mary Beth Fessler on treating patients at Americares Free Clinics during the pandemic.

Additional Information

Providing Training and Resources

Resources for Health Centers

Americares offers this useful resource for health workers and our health center partners around the country who serve the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit our clinic resource page.

Institutional partners supporting our COVID-19 response

Americares thanks you

Americares Thanks You

Thank you to the following institutional partners for their support of Americares COVID-19 response:

Americares Emergency Response Partners

AbbVie
Aetna Foundation
The Alexion Charitable Foundation
The AmerisourceBergen Foundation
Avangrid Foundation
Baxter International Foundation
Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation
Cisco
Dutch Bros Coffee
Emergen-C
FirstRespondersFirst
GE
Global Impact
Kyowa Kirin
Legg Mason Global Asset Management
Medtronic
Peacock
New York Football Giants
Novartis
Novo Nordisk
P&G
Rural India Supporting Trust
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
UBS Optimus
Xylem Watermark
Your Response logo

Your Response

What can you do?

Head nurse interviewing patient sitting at a table in Colombia clinic

We work with a dedicated and experienced staff, a global network of health care partners, corporate partners and donors. The success of this unprecedented fight against a global pandemic relies on the coordinated efforts of federal, state and local authorities, global and local non-profits, community action and most of all you.

You have the greatest power to change the course of this global disaster: Get the vaccine, wear a mask, keep social distancing (remember the 6-foot rule), and wash your hands thoroughly and properly (for 20 seconds). And double masking offers even more protection. It will help to keep you, your family and your community safe.

And you can do one other important thing: Fight the “infodemic” by getting the facts, sharing the facts and following the science (which means following the steps just mentioned). We can do this.

Next

02 | Protect Yourself

A patient with respiratory symptoms is examined at the Americares Family Clinic in Santiago de Maria as part of Americares expanded COVID-19 response supported by USAID. Photo courtesy of Americares.

Prevention and protection come down to individual actions to keep everyone safer. Those actions are the key to controlling the pandemic. Remember to be vigilant even as more and more people receive the vaccines. We still have a long way to go before most people around the world receive the required doses. Some treatments for COVID show promise but none offer a cure. The virus is not going away. In fact, it has returned in second and third waves with a vengeance along with new variants of the virus (Delta being dominant). It remains highly contagious, and it seizes any opportunity. Don’t give it one. Be relentless. Masks, social distance and hand washing/sanitizing remain as important as ever and perhaps more so even after receiving the vaccine.

Download a useful guide on proper hand washing and other preventive tips right now. It might be a lifesaver.

Haga clic aquí por un guía de lavado de manos—podría salvar su vida. Hag clic aquí.

“Because public health measures are really only as good as the public using them and implementing them, or at least the majority. I’d say that especially with this outbreak, this is something that we’re all in on together. It’s not just about my risk or my family’s risk, you know, and that kind of individual piece, this is something where we’re working as a community.”

Dr. Julie Varughese 
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03 | Protect Your Mental Health

photo of an elderly person's hand being comforted by the hands of an Americares team member.

A third of Americans report signs of clinical anxiety or depression in a US Census Bureau poll, documenting COVID-19’s alarming impact on mental health.

Watch mental health experts discuss and share mental health issues that arise during a crisis along with tips from Mental Health professional Lisa LaDue about relieving stress in difficult times. vimeo.com/showcase/mentalhealthindisasters

Join Us

Want to help? Join us in spreading awareness on social media of how to properly protect your family, your community and yourself. To help you share the life-saving information, check out the new “Wear a Mask” campaign complete with some great new tools.

A woman in a face masks gets her temperature taken by two medical workers in full PPE gear.

Our History Responding to Disease Outbreaks.

Americares has extensive experience with outbreaks including in response to Ebola in West Africa and DRCZika in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as recent outbreaks of Measles and Dengue so we are ready to respond as the situation evolves. The organization has professional relief workers ready to respond to disasters at a moment’s notice and stocks emergency medicine and supplies in warehouses in the United States, Europe and India that can be delivered quickly in times of crisis.