CNN 12 Oct 2020

Feel like a drunk driver who killed their family: Man on gathering that spread Covid-19


Tony Green tells to CNN's Anderson Cooper that he and multiple people in his family came down with coronavirus after he and his partner hosted a small gathering. He is dealing with guilt after two family members have passed.

It's hard to believe, but the driver who can be seen stumbling around after slamming into three cars in Los Angeles, California was allowed to stagger off as if nothing happened. When police arrived on the scene, the expectation of many onlookers was that they'd surely take the man who seemed heavily intoxicated into custody, or at least have him take a breathalyzer. Instead, police appeared to let him stroll off - with his car keys in hand - even though he can barely stay upright.
Marking World Patient Safety Day, the World Health Organization released a ‘Health Worker Safety Charter' calling on governments and healthcare leaders to take action to better protect health workers and patients.

Speaking today (17 Sep) at a press conference in Geneva, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said, "One of the keys to keeping patients safe is keeping health workers safe. The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded all of us of the vital role health workers play to relieve suffering and save lives. We all owe health workers an enormous debt - not just because they have cared for the sick. But because they risk their own lives in the line of duty."

The ‘Health Worker Safety Charter' calls on governments and those running health services at local levels to take five actions to better protect health workers. These include steps to protect health workers from violence; to improve their mental health; to protect them from physical and biological hazards; to advance national programmes for health worker safety; and to connect health worker safety policies to existing patient safety policies.

WHO said COVID-19 has exposed health workers and their families to unprecedented levels of risk. Although not representative, data from many countries across WHO regions indicate that COVID-19 infections among health workers are far greater than those in the general population.

SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"Globally, around 14 per cent of COVID-19 cases reported to WHO are among health workers, and in some countries it's as much as 35 per cent; although data are limited and it's hard to know whether health workers are infected in their workplaces or communities. It's not just the risk of infection. Every day, health workers are exposed to stress, burnout, stigma, discrimination and even violence."

In addition to physical risks, the pandemic has placed extraordinary levels of psychological stress on health workers exposed to high-demand settings for long hours, living in constant fear of disease exposure while separated from family and facing social stigmatization. Before COVID-19 hit, medical professionals were already at higher risk of suicide in all parts of the world. A recent review of health care professionals found one in four reported depression and anxiety, and one in three suffered insomnia during COVID-19[1]. WHO recently highlighted an alarming rise in reports of verbal harassment, discrimination and physical violence among health workers in the wake of COVID-19.

SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Ryan, Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization (WHO):
"Frontline workers are working under immense pressure, under immense strain and they're extremely courageous. The least we can do is give them the tools, the training and the environments in which they can do that work at the safest possible level. Because when you feel safe, you do better. When you feel safe, your performance increases. That's what we want, highly performant, highly skilled health workers, operating in an environment where they can turn all of their knowledge into solutions for their patients. If they're concerned about their safety, if they're worried about that, they will not perform as well."

In addition to the ‘Health Worker Safety Charter', WHO also outlined specific World Patient Safety Day 2020 Goals for health care leaders to invest in, measure, and improve health worker safety over the next year. The goals are intended for health care facilities to address five areas: preventing sharps injuries; reducing work-related stress and burnout; improving the use of personal protective equipment; promoting zero tolerance to violence against health workers; and analyzing serious safety related incidents.
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus reiterated his call to "stop the politicization of COVID-19. A pandemic is not a political football. Wishful thinking or deliberate diversion will not prevent transmissions or save lives."

Speaking at the regular COVID-19 press briefing in Geneva on Monday (26 Oct), the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said "over the weekend, a number of leaders critically evaluated their situation and took action to limit the spread of the virus. We understand the pandemic fatigue that people are feeling. It takes a mental and physical toll on everyone. Working from home, children being schooled remotely, not being able to celebrate milestones with friends and family or not being there to mourn loved ones - it's tough and the fatigue is real."

"But we cannot give up. We must not give up," he underlined.

"No one wants more so-called lockdowns," Dr Tedros said. "But if we want to avoid them, we all have to play our part. The fight against this pandemic is everybody's business. We cannot have the economic recovery we want and live our lives the way we did before the pandemic. We can keep our kids in school, we can keep businesses open, we can preserve lives and livelihoods. We can do it. But we must all make trade-offs, compromises and sacrifices."

He also said "where there has been political division at the national level; where there has been blatant disrespect for science and health professionals, confusion has spread and cases and deaths have mounted. This is why I have said repeatedly: stop the politicization of COVID-19. A pandemic is not a political football. Wishful thinking or deliberate diversion will not prevent transmissions or save lives."

"We can avoid national lockdowns, we can avoid massive restrictive movements if everyone plays their part," said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, COVID-19 Technical lead of the WHO's Health Emergencies Programme. " This does mean as the director-general has said, as we have said, it means individual sacrifices. And, in many parts of Europe and in North America in particular, there are many things that each of us can do. The decisions that we make every day about avoiding crowded spaces, about avoiding enclosed settings for prolonged periods of time, about postponing some of those gatherings that we may want to have. And, it's sacrifices that we all have to make."

"We're well behind this virus in Europe. So, getting ahead of it is going to take some serious acceleration in what we do and maybe a much more comprehensive nature of measures that are going to be needed to catch up with and get ahead of this virus," said Dr Mike Ryan Executive Director of the WHO's Health Emergencies Programme. "Testing tells you what your status is today, this hour, it tells you nothing about what your status will be tonight or tomorrow or the next day. And to base your activities or your behavior on that is frankly a dangerous thing to do."
President Donald Trump on Friday praised the federal agents who killed the man suspected of killing a right-wing protester in Portland, Oregon. Michael Forest Reinoehl died in a hail of police gunfire Thursday night, officials said. (Sept. 4)

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