COVID-19 news: 2021 may see famines due to pandemic, says UN official
The COVID-19 pandemic has now seen millions of people infected and hundreds of thousands dead all over the world. As it has now marked the first year since the first infection, a United Nations official warns that the pandemic may lead to people going hungry in 2021.
United Nations World Food Program official David Beasley warned of a possible famine in 2021 brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic unless the program receives the necessary funding. The pandemic has resulted in an economic collapse around the world, and Beasley said that the program would need $15 billion in funds to be able to make ends meet for many people. Around $10 billion would be used to feed malnourished children around the world, while the remaining amount would be to prevent a global famine from happening. Beasley also noted that there could have been a global famine this year if it were not for leaders taking action by providing money.
Unfortunately, over the months, the funds have also been exhausted, and the crisis may return in 2021 until a vaccine or cure is developed. “There’s about three dozen countries that could possibly enter the famine conditions if we don’t have the money we need,” said Beasley.
Countries such as Yemen, South Sudan, northern Nigeria, and Burkina Faso have been classified as having reached “a critical hunger situation due to years of conflict or other factors.” Beasley warned that if the situations in these countries decline any further, they could be at risk of suffering famine. Other countries that would also need immediate action are Afghanistan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Lebanon, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Sierra Leone, Somali, Sudan, Syria, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.
As of now, a COVID-19 vaccine is still on its way to being developed, but there has been some progress in some pharmaceutical companies as of late during their trial periods. As Pfizer recently reported its COVID-19 vaccine having 90 percent potency, many now believe that the pandemic may be reaching its end. According to one company, employees in the United States may be back in their workplace by January now that progress has been made towards a vaccine.
WorkCare Chief Innovation Officer and Associate Medical Director Dr. Anthony Harris said that returning to work by January is possible, paired with vaccinations and adherence to social distancing measures and mask mandates. “Both of these things together will go a long way in fighting COVID.”