Why the corona side-effects will kill even more people

Uups - in a highly interconnected world a dramatic event like Corona will have its side-effects. unsplash-logoJohn Middelkoop

In the military “collateral damage” is a well-known phenomenon. The corona crisis also causes these kind of side effects, which are sometimes far worse than the pandemics itself.

We reported on the dramatic economic consequences of the pandemic. It still seems strange that politicians react more strongly and create so-called “safe zones” that affect everyone. Instead of protecting those who are really at risk, the elderly and the sick, the entire population is being taken into custody. A supermarket employee is no longer allowed to work in a supermarket, even though the illness here is likely to be mild, just like any other normal flu, no one cares in usual times.

However, keeping people of this kind away from working is a very short-sighted protective measure. These people produce important goods or provide important services. They drive trains and trucks, they assemble products on assembly lines, or they provide people with food and medicines. All this collapses when politicians impose these extensive bans on working environments. This has a dramatic impact on health care. Experts from the pharmaceutical industry expect dramatic bottlenecks in the supply of medicines, which will become noticeable with a delay because warehouses are not yet empty. But they will be. 

And this is not about such things as cancelled deliveries of Apple iPhones or sneakers for Walmart. Chinese companies, for example, supply the USA with a considerable amount of medicines. The New York Times reports: “Chinese pharmaceutical companies have supplied more than 90 percent of U.S. antibiotics, vitamin C, ibuprofen and hydrocortisone, as well as 70 percent of acetaminophen and 40 to 45 percent of heparin in recent years, according to Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.”

If it now also hits India, another pillar of pharmaceuticals production in the world will break away. According to official figures, there are currently only 73 confirmed illnesses in India. Only one person there has died of Corona. So even Florida, with its two deaths to date, has twice as many cases as the huge India? This is hardly comprehensible. While in China there are more than 80,000 confirmed cases and in Iran 9,000 cases are officially listed, less than one hundred cases are said to have occurred in India, which lies between these regions. This low number can only be explained by the notoriously poor conditions of the health system there. Where there are no tests, no corona patient stands out. 

But we should hope, that India will not close down entirely as other countries do. Because all this super-safe cautious measures lead to life-threatening bottlenecks in the supply of medicines. The pharmaceutical companies are obliged to report foreseeable bottlenecks in the supply of drugs to the authorities six months in advance. A helpless rule. If the two major procurement markets for drugs worldwide collapse, Europe and the USA will soon have virtually no more drugs. Same with Europe which is also dependent from drugs from India and China. And this in view of the ageing population with complex drug therapies. 

A paradise for counterfeiters. While the official companies have to close their factory gates due to political measures, production continues in the illegal factories. The immense increase in demand pressure and simultaneous supply bottlenecks open up numerous opportunities for counterfeiters to bring their illegal products onto the market. And they are going to be traded via online platforms like Amazon, ebay and Alibaba. Also Facebook and other social networks have a role in here, too. It is not without any reason why these portals and networks stood up in fighting relentlessly against the popping up fake anti-coronavirus medicines and products. 

Currently, around 126,000 people have died of Corona. It takes little imagination to imagine that in a few weeks and months even more people will die because they lack important active substances in therapy due to supply bottlenecks or by using counterfeit drugs. This is no longer a side effect of treatment it is a collateral damage in high numbers.