The head of the World Health Organization said that as the pandemic accelerates in developing countries, officials are particularly worried about the coronavirus' disproportionate toll on certain populations, including women at "heightened risk" of dying in childbirth.
Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing on Friday that WHO is especially concerned about "the impact on people who struggle to access health services...women, children and adolescents." Tedros said the pandemic has overwhelmed health systems in many countries and warned many women have a "heightened risk" of dying in childbirth.
Tedros said the UN health agency recently investigated the risk of mothers spreading the coronavirus to their newborns and concluded that the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the risks of transmitting the virus, including among women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
He says WHO is also concerned about young people who may be vulnerable to anxiety and depression, noting that in some countries, more than one-third of teens receive mental health help exclusively at school.