Scarce medical oxygen worldwide leaves many gasping for life

CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — The spread of coronavirus is prompting soaring demand for oxygen. But in much of the world, medical oxygen is expensive and hard to get — a basic marker of inequality both between and within countries. Former CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden says oxygen is needed to treat coronavirus patients but it’s in short supply from Peru to Bangladesh. Across Africa, only a handful of hospitals have direct oxygen hookups, as is standard across Europe and the United States. And most medical facilities lack even the most basic equipment needed to help patients breathe.