Oxygen Shortage Causes Panic in South America, Africa

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A young man waits for an oxygen refill shop to open in Peru. Nations in South America and Africa have been experiencing mass shortages of oxygen due to the COVID-19 pandemic (photo courtesy AP News).

Hannah Smith, Copy Editor

On Feb. 25 the World Health Organization and the Global Bank announced the formalization of a task force meant to deal with the scarcity of medical oxygen in the developing world. Specifically, this issue has increased on the African continent and in South America as COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

While the World Bank has set aside $50 billion dollars to help the poorest countries through the pandemic, without formal request from the government only $30.8 billion of it has been used so far. And even less of it has gone towards the mounting oxygen crisis as many leaders of these countries view the oxygen as an industrial product. And they aren’t wrong. Oxygen manufacturing plants do require technicians, good infrastructure and electricity, all things developing nations were struggling with before the crisis. However, as the numbers of people dying due to lack of medical oxygen mount leaders are beginning to deal with the issue.

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