"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 14th Aug 2020

Isolation Tips
Home-based care tips for sick to go online
The Ministry of Health plans to roll out an online home-based care programme to guide caregivers in the fight against Covid-19. This as health officials commended the positive impact of home-based care in the fight against the pandemic.
The pandemic has affected millions with other illnesses – here's how it affected a health professor's struggle with bulimia
Control. What does it mean to lose control? For someone who has spent nearly half their life battling an eating disorder, losing control is about an extremely heightened awareness of numbers. Numbers I believe I can control. Because I have an acute need for control, this pandemic drove me to focus on numbers that I spent years in therapy training my brain not to obsess over. What is my weight? How many minutes have I exercised today? When is the next time I can eat? How many calories have I consumed? These are numbers that I believe I can control when other aspects of life seem unmanageable. As a public health expert focusing on food and nutrition policy, I assumed that the coronavirus would impact our country heavily. But I was not mentally prepared for the level of destruction that would suffocate our communities. And I was not prepared for how it would affect me.
Hygiene Helpers
WHO urges the public to avoid routine dental work amid the coronavirus pandemic
With the cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) skyrocketing globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) is now warning the public to avoid routine dental procedures to reduce the risk of infection. In a new interim guidance released by the World Health Organization (WHO), the health agency advises that routine non-essential oral health care, which includes dental check-ups, oral prophylaxis, and preventive care, should be delayed until there has been sufficient reduction in SARS-CoV-2 transmission rates from community transmission to cluster cases.
Finland recommends use of facemasks on public transport
Finland recommended the use of face masks in public for the first time on Thursday as the number of coronavirus cases rises. Prime Minister Sanna Marin said masks should be worn in situations where social distancing is not possible, such as on public transport. People aged 15 or over who will stay for more than 15 minutes in crowded places should wear them, excluding regions where no new cases have been found in two weeks, the public health authority also recommended. Prior to Thursday, Finland had not officially backed the use of masks. Health authorities reported 41 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a daily record since the end of May, bringing the total to 7,683 since the beginning of the pandemic. A total of 333 people have died.
CDC warns US faces 'worst fall' ever if Americans ignore COVID-19 guidelines
A top CDC official has warned that the US must brace for the “worst fall” ever in the history of public health disasters if Americans don’t follow coronavirus guidelines. “For your country right now and for the war that we’re in against COVID, I’m asking you to do four simple things: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and be smart about crowds,” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told WebMD. “I’m not asking some of America to do it. We all gotta do it.” If people fail to follow those tips, next season could be “the worst fall, from a public health perspective, we’ve ever had,” he said.
South Korea installs anti-virus bus shelters with temperature sensors and UV lamps
South Korea has opened a high-tech new front in the battle against coronavirus, fortifying bus shelters in the capital with temperature-checking doors and ultraviolet disinfection lamps. To enter, passengers must stand in front of an automated thermal-imaging camera, and the door will slide open only if their temperature is below 37.5C. A separate camera is installed lower down to test children. Inside the glass-walled booths – which cost about 100m won ($84,000) each – the air-conditioning systems have ultraviolet lamps installed to kill viruses at the same time as cooling the air. Free wifi is also included.
20 offices turned into 2,000 individual pods for post-Covid working
Welcome to cube city. Xu Weiping, a Chinese multimillionaire, has a vision for the future of office work in the post-Covid-19 pandemic world: thousands of office pods where each person works in their own self-contained 3m x 3m cube. Xu reckons the coronavirus pandemic will have such a fundamental impact on the way people work that he is converting 20 newly constructed office buildings in east London into 2,000 of the individual cube offices. If the cubes, which feature a kettle, fridge, microwave, videoscreen and fold-down bed as well as a chair and desk, prove popular Xu plans to convert all of his £1.7bn 35-acre regeneration project in east London into more than 10,000 of the individual cubes.
Local lockdowns can be successful—here's what we need to make them work
Since then, there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases following the lowest recorded estimate in June, as well as spikes in transmission in certain areas. In response, rather than locking down the whole country again, the government has brought in local lockdowns in affected areas.
COVID panel expert says local lockdowns may be needed - English
Agostino Miozzo, the coordinator of the CTS panel of experts advising the government on the coronavirus emergency, on Thursday warned that local lockdowns "may become inevitable if the situation gets out of hand". Italy has seen an increase in COVID-19 contagion in recent weeks, with the number of new cases registered each day going from around 200-300 to 400-500. Miozzo said the danger exists because "there is always a party to dance at, a barbecue to have or a funeral to hold". "400 cases a day are neither many nor few," he added. "It tells us that the virus is here and it is present all over the country. "We still have a manageable situation. But it is a precarious situation and the quantum leap can be very fast and that is the real risk". He also said that Italy's night clubs and discos "must stay closed". "Mass gatherings are devastating, impossible to manage" he said. Miozzo also stressed, on the other hand, that another national lockdown was "decidedly improbable".
New powers to tackle coronavirus mask refusers as England’s lockdown eases
Fines for repeatedly refusing to wear a mask could soar to £3,200 and organisers of illegal raves could face a £10,000 penalty, Boris Johnson announced ahead of further easing of England’s lockdown. At present, people who refuse to wear a face covering where it is required face a £100 fine, which can be reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days. Under the new measures, that penalty will double for subsequent offences, up to a maximum of £3,200.
Covid-19: New trial for England's revamped NHS contact-tracing app
England’s new look NHS contact-tracing app is set to begin public trials today, after months of setbacks. The app will be based on Apple and Google’s decentralised model. NHSX has been working with the tech giants to develop a new version of the app after abandoning its original model in June. Both versions of the app used Bluetooth to track time and distance between smartphone devices, but Apple and Google’s version was hailed as more privacy-centric as it only sends alerts between devices when Covid-19 is detected, rather than large quantities of data being stored on a central database. The trial, beginning on August 13, will again involve the Isle of Wight as well as NHS volunteer respondents in the UK. Then from next week, residents in the London borough of Newham will start trialing the app.
Coronavirus: Vaping teens and young adults up to seven times more likely to contract COVID-19, study finds
Teenagers and young adults who vape may be up to seven times more likely to catch coronavirus, a study has found. Researchers, who surveyed 4,351 Americans aged 13-24 years in May, found those who had used both e-cigarettes and cigarettes were seven times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19. Those who had used both cigarettes and e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days were 4.7 times more likely to experience symptoms of the illness compared with those who never smoked or vaped. Among people tested for coronavirus, those who used just e-cigarettes were five times more likely to test positive for the disease.
People should not fear spread of COVID-19 in food, packaging: WHO
The World Health Organization said on Thursday it saw no evidence of coronavirus being spread by food or packaging and urged people not to be afraid of the virus entering the food chain. Two cities in China said they had found traces of the coronavirus in imported frozen chicken wings from Brazil and on outer packaging of frozen Ecuadorian shrimp, raising fears that contaminated food shipments might cause a new outbreak. “People should not fear food, or food packaging or processing or delivery of food,” WHO head of emergencies programme Mike Ryan told a briefing in Geneva. “There is no evidence that food or the food chain is participating in transmission of this virus. And people should feel comfortable and safe.” WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said China had tested hundreds of thousands of packages and “found very, very few, less than 10” proving positive for the virus.
Spain's Canary Islands curb smoking amid COVID-19 worries
The Canary Islands became Spain’s second region to all but ban smoking in the streets on Thursday as part of measures to stop a resurgence of coronavirus infections, and other regions considered a similar ban. Smoking will be banned when people cannot maintain a 2-metre (6.5-foot) distance between each other on the islands, which are popular with tourists. Authorities also imposed new restrictions including the use of masks in public at all times, a limit of 10 people in gatherings and restrictions on nightclub capacity. “The last few days point to an increase in positive cases ... We will increase checks to make sure people follow the rules because otherwise it will be our health and economy paying the price,” regional leader Angel Victor Torres said.
Community Activities
Internet use in Auckland spikes after move to alert level 3
Internet traffic has spiked in Auckland thanks to the “Zoom effect” of homebound workers holding virtual meetings online, and school children attending lessons in virtual classrooms. Chorus, the country’s largest broadband infrastructure provider, said Auckland internet traffic on Wednesday was 67 per cent higher than it was on Monday. The rise internet traffic in the rest of New Zealand was 7 per cent, Chorus said. Chorus spokeswoman Holly Cushen said much of the extra traffic was the result of meetings that would have been held face-to-face in offices and other workplaces, but which were instead held through online video-conferencing platforms.
Creating community in the virtual classroom
As students prepare for an academic year that will be entirely virtual, many Harvard faculty members have, like Carpenter, reconceived and redesigned their courses to offer students ways to find community in the absence of in-person learning. Michelle Rosen and her teaching team will organize informal study groups, host small group meetings, and assign large- and small-scale team projects that mimic the camaraderie of a lab setting in her introductory SEAS course, “Computer-Aided Machine Design.” Without access to labs, lecture halls, and the campus machine shop, Rosen’s team looked for ways to foster collaboration among the group of mostly first-year students. “These opportunities for them to get together when they aren’t being graded are important because they can talk and really express their ideas,” said the lecturer in mechanical engineering design. “The plan is to create some spaces for the students to have that kind of organic interaction.”
Bill Gates On Covid Vaccine Timing, Hydroxychloroquine, and That 5G Conspiracy Theory
Bill Gates, the Microsoft Corp. co-founder and billionaire philanthropist, has become, for better and worse, a central character in the story of Covid-19. The good news: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged more than $350 million to fight the disease, including funds for vaccine manufacturing efforts at AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax. The bad news: Gates has been vilified by anti-vaxxers and other conspiracy theorists who claim he seeded the virus for his own nefarious purposes. Gates says he’s optimistic about the world’s chances of seeing through the wilder theories and of beating the coronavirus, too. His remarks have been condensed and edited for clarity.
Covid-19 lockdown means 115 million Indian children risk malnutrition
A staggering 115 million children in India are at risk of malnutrition, as the world’s largest school lunch programme has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. When India went under a strict lockdown on 24 March to reduce the spread of the virus, 12-year-old Kavi’s life changed. His mother, a roadside tailor, was no longer able to work and his father doesn’t have a job due to health problems. With schools closed, Kavi began selling fruit and vegetables from a sparsely stocked cart. The cart is now their primary source of income, but isn’t enough for a family of four. “Some days, we just eat rice or chapati with salt,” says Kavi. Before lockdown, Kavi was guaranteed a nutritious meal of rice, lentils and vegetables under India’s state-run school lunch programme. As many as 115 million children between the ages of 6 and 14 were dependent on these school lunches for their daily dietary requirements, which aimed to address India’s chronic malnutrition problem. Of the 1 million deaths of children under 5 in India in 2017, around 700,000 were attributed to malnutrition.
Working Remotely
Real-life learning, remotely: adapting internships during Covid-19
A 2018 Institute of Student Employers survey in the UK found that 94% of employers encourage interns to return as employees. The reason for this is simple, ISE chief executive Stephen Isherwood indicates. “Interns make better hires. Former interns are more likely to accept job offers, stay longer and often outperform their peers,” he says. Around 70% of students leaving the US in 2016/17 engaged in learning overseas without their programs requiring them to do so, statistics from IIE reveal.
Working at home has led to longer hours
‘Enforced’ working at home has allowed those working remotely on a permanent basis to better connect with their colleagues, but those who normally work in the office report a loss of creative and problem-solving discussions, and many are working for longer than usual. Several studies published over the past few days have highlighted how widespread home working during the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way office workers interact with each other and schedule their day. According to one study by academic institutions in the UK and New Zealand including the University of East Anglia and Auckland University of Technology, the “unequal social distributions” that previously existed between office and home workers were removed during the lockdown, as an increase in discussions and social activities being held over Zoom or Microsoft Teams enabled previously “marginalised” home workers to feel closer to their colleagues.
Council staff to be given contracts to work from home
Herefordshire Council workers will be given the opportunity to work from home until December 2021. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March this year, most council staff have been working remotely. Speaking at the employment panel meeting on August 12, assistant director for people Tracey Sampson said it has worked very well for the council and they have been able to deliver services effectively and efficiently. “We’ve saved on travel costs and travel time and some of our data shows we can perform as well or better in some cases when working from home than being based in the office,” she said.
Walmart corporate employees will continue working remote until January 2021
Walmart will continue having corporate office employees working remotely through Jan. 31, 2021. The retail giant just marked 20 weeks of remote working amid the COVID-19 pandemic and said it has accomplished much during the unprecedented time. “Teams across the business are working with increased speed, productivity and a focus on innovation,” Donna Morris, chief people officer at Walmart, noted in an internal email to employees on Wednesday (Aug. 12). “For those of you with children at home, you are in the process of adapting to your kids returning to school. The status of the pandemic across the country remains dynamic, and we are continuing to actively monitor developments to slow the spread of the virus.”
Virtual Classrooms
Georgia school with photos of packed hallways will curb in-person classes after coronavirus outbreak
About half the students at the Georgia high school, where a crowded hallway filled with maskless teens was captured on images and video that went viral, will return to classes next Monday under a new plan to mitigate crowding amid a growing count of novel coronavirus cases. The Paulding County School District announced Wednesday that students will return to North Paulding High School classrooms next week for in-person instruction, even though the school has reached 35 positive cases since students returned to class, according to a letter sent to parents and guardians obtained by a WXIA-TV reporter. The school in the Atlanta suburb of Dallas was shoved onto the national stage last week when at least two students shared pictures and video of a crowded hallway filled with their mostly maskless peers. The students were suspended for posting the images, a decision that was later reversed. The school shuttered its doors this week cleaning after six students and at least three staff members tested positive for the novel coronavirus over the weekend.
Coronavirus: What will going to university be like during a pandemic?
With results for A-level students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland published today, thousands of teenagers will find out if they’ve received a spot at a university. But with the continuing coronavirus pandemic, university is likely to be a bit different this year. There are many challenges facing UK universities - student and staff health and welfare, living arrangements, and how to do a socially distanced Freshers week. Here are just some of the ways university might change
Grand Blanc parents react to new virtual learning plan
COVID-19 is reshaping back to school plans across the region, for many there won't be an early morning bell or a bus ride with friends. That's the reality for families in Grand Blanc after the district voted unanimously to postpone in-person classes causing mixed emotions in the community on social media.
Audit slams Michigan oversight of remote learning as districts embrace it
As hundreds of thousands of Michigan schoolchildren gear up for “all virtual” classes amid the coronavirus pandemic, an audit released Thursday found the state can’t guarantee their effectiveness. The report from the Michigan Office of the Inspector General sharply criticized the state’s handling of existing online courses, saying education officials don’t have enough information on student performance and attendance of virtual classes. Without changes, auditors said there is a “potential negative impact that the absence of a well-developed evaluation strategy could have on advancing the achievement of virtual learners in traditional public schools.”
Grandmother and educator believes virtual learning will help teach students about responsibilities
A former educator said she’s prepared to help navigate her three grandchildren through the virtual classroom. COVID-19 created a strange world for us all, especially for those in education. “No, I haven’t had to deal with anything like this,” said Dr. Oneida Wade Ingram. Ingram spent around 30 years of her life as an educator in Dooley County. She has many other titles under her belt which includes being listed as a substitute teacher now in Sumter County.
Half of Pentagon's schools in US will do virtual learning
Despite President Donald Trump's push to open all schools, half of the Defense Department's schools in America will not open for in-person learning as the country struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic. In stark contrast, only two of the department's 68 schools in Europe will be operating remotely, underscoring the dramatic difference between the widespread outbreak in the U.S. and the success other countries have had in bringing it under control. Defense Department schools in the Pacific region will also be split, with 26 of the 45 facilities open for in-person learning. Trump on Wednesday repeated his call to reopen schools, and again pushed Congress to steer future coronavirus funding away from schools that don't open this fall. Most of the nation’s largest school districts, however, are planning to start the year with remote instruction.
Oldham County Schools to heed Beshear's request and start upcoming year virtually
Oldham County Schools will heed Gov. Andy Beshear's request and start the upcoming academic year with virtual learning instead of in-person classes. Superintendent Greg Schultz told OCS parents in a message Tuesday afternoon that students who were planning start the 2020-21 school year on Aug. 24 with in-person classes will instead begin from home with nontraditional instruction, or NTI. Students who had planned on enrolling in the district's Virtual Learning Academy, or VLA, will also start Aug. 24, while preschoolers begin Aug. 31, Schultz said. VLA students must stick with the option until the end of the trimester on Nov. 12, when they could can to switch to in-person learning or continue on with virtual learning.
Public Policies
Coronavirus: UK secures early access to 90 million doses of two more COVID-19 vaccine candidates
The UK has secured early access to 90 million doses of two promising vaccine candidates. Support and infrastructure will be given to Novavax during its Phase 3 clinical trial in the UK, with plans to manufacture the vaccine in the country and gain access to 60 million doses. The UK will also co-fund a global clinical trial with the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson which will account for the other 30 million doses. If the vaccines are proven to be safe and effective they could be delivered to the UK in the middle of next year.
German health minister: 'Certainly' a coronavirus vaccine 'in the next year'
Germany's health minister says there will "certainly" be a coronavirus vaccine "in the next year." Jens Spahn said he was "optimistic" that a vaccine would be developed in the coming months. He did not specify which vaccine he believed would prove safe and effective and added that it was not yet possible to know how long any such treatment would offer immunity against Covid-19 for. More than 100 vaccines around the world are currently in development.
Coronavirus: Fines for refusing to wear face mask to increase to £3,200 as Boris Johnson announces new lockdown easing
Theatres and music venues to be allowed to hold socially distanced performances, bowling alleys and casinos can reopen, and spectators to be trialled at sports in latest loosening of restrictions
UK coronavirus LIVE: Five more countries added to UK quarantine list as death toll rises by 18
France has been added to the UK's travel quarantine list, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced. The Netherlands, Monaco, Malta, Turks & Caicos & Aruba have also been added to the list and travellers must quarantine for 14 days if they arrive in the UK from these countries after 4am on Saturday. Announcing the move late on Thursday night, the Foreign Office has now warned against all but essential travel to France due to coronavirus fears. It comes as the Covid-19 death toll in the UK rose by 18. The latest figures showed a total of 313,798 people had tested positive for the virus, a rise of 1,009 on the previous day.
Biden calls for mask mandates nationwide for 3 months, targeting Trump's pandemic response
Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday called for immediate mask mandates nationwide for the next three months, keeping the focus on drawing a stark contrast between how he would respond to the pandemic crisis compared to how he says it's been mishandled by President Donald Trump. Trump fired back at an evening news conference, saying, "We want to have a certain freedom, that's what we’re about."
How many COVID-19 cases will it take to close a school? NC officials answer question.
With North Carolina public schools reopening next week, state health officials say it will likely take multiple COVID-19 cases before a school is ordered to be closed. While most public schools are starting with only online courses, hundreds of thousands of students will report for face-to-face classes next week for the first time in five months. State health officials said Wednesday that school leaders will work with county health departments to determine what level of closure and cleaning is needed if there’s a positive COVID-19 result.
France's COVID-19 cases at four-month high, health system holding up
France reported more than 2,500 new COVID-19 infections for the second day in a row on Thursday, levels last seen in mid-April when the country was in the middle of one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns. Despite the rise in cases, which could prompt Britain to remove France from its list of safe travel destinations, the number of people hospitalised due to the disease continued to fall, having dipped below 5,000 for the first time since mid-March on Wednesday. Experts say this is because more young people are being infected, who are less likely to need hospital care. The total official tally of cases now stands at 209,365.
Covid-19 lockdown extension likely - disease modelling expert
As health officials race to track the the origins of the community outbreak of Covid-19 as the cluster hits 17 cases, disease modeller Shaun Hendy says a lockdown extension is likely. Since four members of the same Auckland family tested positive, a student at Mount Albert Grammar is confirmed to have the coronavirus, as well as three workers from a cool store, a finance company worker and one of their family members. There are also seven family members of already infected people. The Director General of Health says all the new positive cases will be moved to managed quarantine facilities. And all staff working at the borders, including our ports and managed isolation facilities are in the process of being tested. Prior to this latest outbreak, physics professor and disease modeller Shaun Hendy was calling for all those front line workers to be routinely tested once a week. "Everything is still linked to the cold store facility, and that's good news in some ways, because we haven't seen other clusters out there in the community.
Russia's top doctor quits over 'gross violations' of ethics that rushed through Covid-19 'vaccine'
Professor Alexander Chucalin resigned from the health ministry's ethics council It appears Chucalin sought and failed to block its registration on 'safety' grounds He accused two leading medics involved in the drug of flouting medical ethics
Philippines to begin Russian Covid-19 vaccine trials in October
The Philippines has said it will launch clinical trials of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine after the country endorsed the contentious jab, as President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to be one of the first injected with it. Mr Duterte’s spokesman said on Thursday that trials would begin in October and, if they were successful, the Sputnik V vaccine would be registered for public use by April 2021. The president would be administered with the vaccine by May 1 at the earliest, said spokesman Harry Roque, confirming the Philippine leader’s vow earlier this week that he would be “the first to be injected on.” “It’s not a metaphorical statement,” said Mr Roque in an online briefing with journalists. “He is willing to undergo it.”
Maintaining Services
Instead of lockdowns, teach people how to socialize safely
In response to the rising Covid-19 death toll and case counts in the U.S., calls for a national lockdown have been escalating. In an open letter to America’s decision-makers, more than 150 medical professionals urge them to “shut it down now, and start over.” In the letter, they argue that people should “stay home, going out only to get food and medicine or to exercise and get fresh air.” I empathize with the urgency in their plea for people to stay home. I felt helpless watching patient after patient die from Covid-19 while working in a New York hospital in April. In the Northern California Covid-19 clinic I work in, I continue to see patients infected with and harmed by the virus. I, too, am desperate for this pandemic to end.
Coronavirus: Socially-distanced indoor performances given the go-ahead | ITV News
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has given the go-ahead to delayed plans to resume socially-distanced indoor performances in England. The Government had previously given the green light for performance spaces to welcome back audiences last month, however the move was delayed amid a rise in the prevalence of coronavirus in the community. Indoor performances can now take place from Saturday, except in locations such as Manchester where additional restrictions have already been imposed.
Coronavirus: Juries to hear trials remotely from cinemas
Juries will hear trials remotely from cinemas under plans to stop a growing backlog of criminal cases. The move will see the most serious criminal trials go ahead in courtrooms while a socially-distanced jury watches a video-link in a cinema. The Lord Justice General Lord Carloway described the plan as "bold and imaginative". But he warned of a "long term project" to clear the backlog of cases postponed due to Covid-19. Lord Carloway said there were about 750 outstanding High Court and 1,800 Sheriff Court cases as a result of the courts being closed by the pandemic earlier this year. He told BBC Scotland this "illustrates the seriousness of the position" and added that the "remote jury approach is the only practical way which has been identified to reduce that backlog."
Serum Institute of India Is Ready to Produce a Coronavirus Vaccine
As chief executive officer of the Serum Institute of India, the largest manufacturer of vaccines in the world, Adar Poonawalla can produce about 1.5 billion doses a year of almost any inoculation. He has machines that fill 500 glass vials every minute, and gleaming steel bioreactors almost two stories high that can make more than 10 million shots a month. He can claim, credibly, that he helps inoculate 65% of the world’s children, in more than 100 countries, against diseases such as measles and tuberculosis. And deep inside Serum’s lushly landscaped, 50-acre campus, about three hours inland from Mumbai, he’s already brewing the raw materials to make one of the leading experimental vaccines for the novel coronavirus at a scale that could make a serious difference to ending the pandemic.
Healthcare Innovations
Remote control for COVID-19 patient ventilators | Hub
A new robotic system designed by Johns Hopkins researchers may help hospitals preserve protective gear, limit staff exposure to COVID-19, and provide more time for clinical work
Using the COVID-19 to influenza ratio to estimate early pandemic spread in Wuhan, China and Seattle, US
In Wuhan, there were an estimated 1386 [95% CrI: 420-3793] symptomatic cases over 30 of COVID-19 between December 30, 2019 and January 12, 2020. In Seattle, we estimate that 2268 [95% CrI: 498, 6069] children under 18 and 4367 [95% CrI: 2776, 6526] adults were symptomatically infected between February 24 and March 9, 2020. We also find that the initial pandemic wave in Wuhan likely originated with a single infected case who developed symptoms sometime between October 26 and December 13, 2019; in Seattle, the seeding likely occurred between December 25, 2019 and January 15, 2020. The spread of COVID-19 in Wuhan and Seattle was far more extensive than initially reported. The virus likely spread for months in Wuhan before the lockdown. Given that COVID-19 appears to be overwhelmingly mild in children, our high estimate for symptomatic pediatric cases in Seattle suggests that there may have been thousands more mild cases at the time.
Russia's fast-track vaccine is a lesson in ethics, human exploitation
Russia recently announced that it has developed an effective vaccine against the COVID-19 virus despite less than two months of testing on humans. A billion doses of the evocatively Cold War-named Sputnik V, Russian officials claim, will be available worldwide by early 2021 at the latest. Given that safe and successful vaccines are often a decade in the making, what did the Russians do to score this victory? Simple, they truncated and skipped the usual trials that preface the release of any new pharmaceutical, and that help ensures its safety.
COVID-19 is fuelling a resurgence of AIDS, malaria and TB
More than three months of lockdowns have prevented many people from accessing treatments for non-COVID infectious diseases; at the same time, new cases of these illnesses will have gone undetected. Although lockdowns are easing, it will take some time for health care to get back to normal, as authorities continue to prioritize COVID-19. Taken together, this is resulting in a surge of cases. That’s why there needs to be a step change in funding for AIDS, malaria and TB prevention, treatment and research, and greater public awareness of the rising threat posed by infectious diseases. And researchers — particularly epidemiologists — must continue to refine the models that are alerting the world to this approaching catastrophe.
Coronavirus: Antibody study gives 'clearest insight yet' into number of people who've had COVID-19 in England
More than three million people in England have already been infected with coronavirus, a new study suggests. A major testing programme, led by Imperial College London, found that just under 6% of England's population - an estimated 3.4 million people - had antibodies to COVID-19 and were likely to have previously had the virus prior to the end of June. This is more than 12 times the number of cases shown by the government's official figures, which state a total of 270,971 people in England had a positive coronavirus test confirmed by a laboratory as of 4pm on Wednesday.
EU wraps up talks with Johnson & Johnson to buy potential COVID-19 vaccine
The European Commission said on Thursday it had concluded preliminary talks with U.S. pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson for an advance purchase deal of a potential COVID-19 vaccine the company is developing. The EU executive arm said this could pave the way for the signing of a contract that would allow EU countries to buy the vaccines or donate to developing countries.
Israel develops fast saliva test for COVID-19
Israel's largest hospital says it has developed a coronavirus test which takes less than a second to deliver a result. Patients rinse their mouth with saline wash and spit into a vial. It is then examined by a device which shines light and analyses the reaction of the sample. An algorithm then determines whether the reaction is consistent with COVID-19. The team at the Sheba Medical Centre, near Tel Aviv, said hundreds of patients were tested in an initial clinical trial. And the new technique had a 95 per cent success rate. Eli Schwartz is from the Centre for Geographic Medicine and Tropical Diseases at the center.
Novavax ties up with SK bioscience to boost supply of potential COVID-19 vaccine
Novavax Inc said on Thursday South Korea’s SK bioscience would manufacture a component of the U.S. drug developer’s experimental coronavirus vaccine in a bid to boost its supply. Shares of Maryland-based Novavax rose nearly 7% in morning trade. Novavax has received $2 billion in funding so far for its coronavirus vaccine, including $384 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). As part of that deal, Novavax has committed to supply its vaccine to COVAX, a scheme that aims to provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines across the globe. The deal with SK bioscience would help it increase the supply to meet those commitments, Novavax said.
AstraZeneca set to start making 400 million COVID-19 vaccines for Latam early in 2021
Production of 400 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for Latin America could begin early next year, an executive for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) said on Thursday, as the region’s coronavirus death toll stands at nearly 230,000. In partnership with the Mexican and Argentinean governments, AstraZeneca plans to initially produce 150 million doses, and eventually make at least 400 million for distribution throughout the region, said Sylvia Varela, head of AstraZeneca Mexico. Home to some 650 million people, Latin America has registered the world’s highest tallies for coronavirus cases and deaths, with Brazil and Mexico trailing only the United States in record numbers of fatalities. “We’ll be prioritizing the vulnerable populations,” Varela said at the Mexican president’s daily news conference, noting that the pricing, while still not final, was not expected to exceed $4 per dose. That could bring the cost of the first 150 million doses to $600 million.
Seven African countries to start testing for COVID-19 antibodies
Seven African countries will start administering coronavirus antibody tests from next week, a regional body said on Thursday, as part of efforts to understand the extent of the outbreak on the continent. "Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Nigeria, Morocco are the first set of countries that committed to it," said John Nkengasong, head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Addis Ababa. Western governments are using antibody tests to find out how many of their citizens have been infected, in the hope that will help them reopen their economies.
EXCLUSIVE: What are risks of rushing a COVID-19 vaccine? Former FDA chief scientist talks transparency, safety
ABC7 spoke exclusively with the Food and Drug Administration's former Chief Scientist, Dr. Jesse Goodman, to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of the process. "One thing I always say is expect the unexpected. When you're starting something new in vaccine development. Things occur," said Dr. Goodman, an infectious disease physician and professor at Georgetown University. Goodman led the FDA's response to the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009. "This is a bigger challenge than we had in 2009 because we could build on proven vaccines," Goodman said. "We had pretty high confidence in manufacturing quality and in their safety and performance." To put in perspective, it took eight years for an effective Ebola vaccine. It took six months for a safe H1N1 vaccine -- made possible with decades of prior research on influenza.