Updated: 29th April, 2021

No, the pandemic is not over.

And, yes — 2021 is looking a lot like 2020 for most of the world.

Banner image: Vaccination illustration by Antonio Rodriguez

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Headlines and news stories blare dire warnings about COVID-19 patients being turned away from hospitals that were already filled. Case counts are increasing. Supplies are needed urgently to protect healthcare workers. Is this 2020 or 2021? It is in fact the last week of April 2021 — just over a year into the pandemic. We are reading and seeing horrifying accounts from India. In Iraq, a hospital fire killed more than 80 people after an oxygen tank exploded. Argentina is experiencing its highest daily cases and hospitalizations since the pandemic began.

COVID pandemic signage in the Site B area of Khayalitsha, outside Cape Town, South Africa on February 18, 2021.

The battle is not yet won

While the United States and much of Europe continue to see a decline in cases and the roll-out of vaccines to eligible adults and much of Asia holds steady on cases, other countries are seeing rapid spread of the virus — and do not have the basic supplies, emergency medicines, and in some cases, the hospital capacity, to respond. And, the arrival of vaccines, which have been proven to be safe and effective, will not arrive for weeks or months in many countries.

For those of us who are fortunate to live in a country where vaccines are available, it is perhaps easy to start thinking about a “return to normal.” While the United States has a persistently high case count of more than 40,000 per day, there is a glimmer of summer vacation plans on the horizon — or maybe just a trip to the grocery store and haircut.

But as Melinda Gates said and so many experts have echoed: “COVID-19 anywhere is COVID-19 everywhere.”

Even as we may be tired from lockdowns and headlines about case counts, we have not yet won this battle. As long as the virus continues to circulate, it is a threat to millions of people. And, it is provided opportunities to mutate — potentially outwitting our immune systems and setting us back in our ability to fight COVID-19.

Is this 2020 or 2021? It is in fact the last week of April 2021 — just over a year into the pandemic.

A call to action

The headlines from India and South America call our attention to the urgent needs for resources around the world. Those of us in the US and in so many countries know what this feels like — to be told that healthcare workers do not have enough protective equipment, that deaths will increase, and that more people are at risk for losing a job or not having enough food to eat.

And, so, this post is a call to action — whether it’s in your own community or in a community across the world. There are so many tremendous organizations that have proven their resilience during these challenging times. This list is not exhaustive, but it is a reminder to give, whether of your time or resources because there is still so much that must be done to bring this pandemic under control.

A sampling team collects swab samples at a location with COVID-19 positive cases, and is visited by a surveillance team in Puraniya slum in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India on September 18, 2020.

Philanthropy is saving lives

  • GiveIndia, is India’s largest and most trusted platform for giving, and is getting funds on the ground immediately.
  • Join Global Citizen on Saturday, May 8th for their Vax Live concert raising awareness about the need for vaccines around the world.
  • The ACT Together Fund hosted by the UN Foundation provides opportunities to support the global work of procuring and delivering vaccines, testing, and treatments to low- and middle-income countries.
  • Oxygen is a critical need in many countries and is in short supply. Leading organizations, PATH and CHAI, together with the Every Breath Counts coalition, have partnered on the COVID-19 Respiratory Care Response Coordination project to address the lack of oxygen access in several countries from Cambodia to Zambia.
  • Resolve to Save Lives is working with governments to build skills and coordinate emergency response plans for this pandemic — and thinking ahead for how to prevent future pandemics.
  • Gates Philanthropy Partners Combating COVID-19 Fund launched in March 2020 and continues to provide donors with opportunities to give alongside the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. To date, we have granted more than $100 million to grantee partners working to research new diagnostic tools, treatments, and vaccines — and those who are supporting communities on the frontlines in Africa and South Asia.
  • Finally, a reminder that food banks and shelters need supplies all year — not just around the holidays. World Central Kitchen and Feeding America can help you find resources in your community.

We are still in this together

As members of the global community, we have the opportunity to demonstrate our humanity everyday — whether to a neighbor or to someone in a country who will benefit from our generosity. Let’s take action to support those who need us most right now.

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