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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 21st Jul 2020

News Highlights

New York on verge of full reopening while Los Angeles on brink of new lockdown

New York, once the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak in North America, is now in the final stage of its reopening plan, with zoos and botanical gardens being allowed to operate at 33% capacity. However, several other states in the U.S. are seeing increased cases with California reporting a record number of new cases and hospitalisations and one local mayor stating that a lockdown may be reimposed soon.

Hong Kong reports biggest one-day rise of Covid-19

Hong Kong, once mentioned in the same breath as Taiwan, Singapore and Vietnam as an example of successful virus control, recorded its highest one-day increase in cases since the beginning of the pandemic and now seems to be in the midst of a worsening outbreak. Authorities have informed that wearing face masks will be made compulsory in indoor public spaces and non-essential civil servants will have to work from home.

Covid-19 on the rise in Spain weeks after easing lockdown

Weeks after lockdown restrictions were lifted, Spain has recorded a three-fold increase in Covid-19, with fresh clusters mainly in the Catalonia and Aragon regions. Spain had managed to curb the spread of the virus after registering thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths a day during the peak of its pandemic in April. However, with the easing of the lockdown at the end of June, cases have risen significantly.

Abiding by rules help keep Europe's cases low post reopening

Months after many European nations eased lockdown restrictions and reopened bars, restaurants and beaches, the surge in coronavirus cases many experts predicted has not happened yet. This seems to be because of marked changes in behaviour in people, including maintaining social distancing, wearing masks and improving hygiene practices.

Lockdown Exit
'It makes sense': French shoppers take compulsory masks in their stride
From Monday, shoppers entering the bakery in Paris where Kalil Gaci works are required by law to wear a mask, but his customers are taking the new rule in their stride. “There’s no problem in wearing one, I’m completely for it,” said Elina Outh, a 22-year-old business student who called in to buy some of Gaci’s pastries. “What’s happening makes sense and I think it should have happened a long time ago.” Government edicts about wearing face coverings to curb the spread of COVID-19 have touched off fierce debate in the United States and elsewhere about civil liberties. On France, most people accept them as a necessary tool to fight the epidemic.
Egyptians struggle to return to work even as lockdown lifts
“[Thinking] of everything we’ve been through since coronavirus began until bringing things back and putting them away in storage feels very heavy ... the psychological impact has been intense,” Galal added. In mid-March Egypt imposed lockdown measures including a night curfew, bans on large public gatherings and the closure of restaurants and theatres. Restrictions were eventually lifted in June, with theatres allowed to operate at 25% capacity. But with several hundred new COVID-19 cases being reported daily, the Sitara decided to stay closed. “We actually closed before the government closed everything because it just felt wrong having children come in and then a whole load of new children come in and also schools were panicking and parents were panicking,” said Emma Davies, the artistic director of the theatre.
Tunisia welcomes back tourists after pandemic lockdown
Tourists are back on Tunisia's beaches after charter flights resumed to the North African country following a break of more than three months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some 155 mask-clad holiday makers from France, Germany and Luxembourg were greeted late last week on the resort island of Djerba with temperature checks -- but also by hostesses offering them bouquets of jasmine. "We can't save the whole season, but we will do everything we can to save part of it," said Tourism Minister Mohamed Ali Toumi, who was at the airport to welcome the Luxair flight.
What does life in a 'post-lockdown' world look like?
After months of imposing strict restrictions or lockdown rules, many countries across the world have started easing these control measures. What has this meant at a global level?
Coronavirus fast-tracked plans to reform NZ healthcare
Covid-19 fast-tracked plans for health workers to do “virtual home visits” by telephone or video link, and is speeding-up initiatives to help people stay well in the community – such as an app to help slow the decline into frailty among elderly. “A key learning from the Covid situation is that we can successfully do remotely a lot of consultations we thought we should do face-to-face,” says Dr Ben Hudson,​ head of general practice at Te Papa Hauora​ partner, the University of Otago, Christchurch. “Phone consulting will become a more well-established way of accessing care, and video consults to a lesser extent,” he says. “There are potentially significant benefits in this more flexible way of working because patients won’t have to always travel to the practice or take time off work or find childcare.”
Russia reports almost 6,000 new coronavirus cases
Russia reported 5,940 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, pushing its total infection tally to 777,486, the fourth largest in the world. In a daily readout, officials said 85 people had died in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 12,427.
Exit Strategies
NYC enters final reopening stage; LA on 'brink' of new lockdown
New York City, which was at one time the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, entered the fourth and final phase of the state's reopening plan on Monday. The city entering the last stage means low-risk outdoor facilities, like zoos and botanical gardens, can open at 33% capacity. The rest of New York state has already begun the fourth phase of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's reopening plan.
People in Bristol 'must act now to prevent a local lockdown'
People in Bristol have been told they must "act now" to prevent a local coronavirus lockdown. Bristol City Council shared a video on social media forum Nextdoor on Friday, July 17, giving residents instructions to help avoid tougher restrictions coming back in. The post read: "We’re asking everyone in Bristol to help keep the city safe and prevent a local lockdown by following these guidelines." And the video told residents: "People in Bristol are testing positive for Covid-19. There is no vaccine and no cure. "We must act now to prevent a local lockdown."
Coronavirus: Social distancing for the visually impaired in Italy
Italian photographer Stefano Sbrulli documented the difficulties of blind and visually impaired people as they adapt to a world of social distancing. Italy faced one of the strictest and longest-running Covid-19 lockdowns in Europe. Those with visual disabilities often need companions or assistance services to go about their day-to-day lives, which can make social distancing a challenge. Here are some of Sbrulli's portraits and stories, gathered between March and June.
Spain began welcoming UK visitors in June – but what are the new rules in place for travellers?
The Spanish Government updated its rules to allow British visitors to enter the country in June. Meanwhile in the UK, tourism resumed in July as holiday parks, campsites and hotels in the country reopened. But with the Foreign Office still advising Britons against all but essential travel to many countries, is it likely that UK tourists will be going on holiday to Spain this summer? Here’s what you need to know.
Coronavirus: Masks mandatory in France amid fresh outbreaks
France has made face masks compulsory in all enclosed public spaces amid a fresh bout of Covid-19 outbreaks. Masks were already mandatory on public transport, but from Monday they must also be worn in places like shops. Health Minister Oliver Véran warned that France had between "400 and 500 active clusters" of the virus. President Emmanuel Macron declared a "first victory" over the virus in June and has ended the national state of emergency, but local outbreaks remain. There are a rising number of cases in the north-west and in eastern regions, in particular in the north-western department of Mayenne. France, one of Europe's hardest-hit countries, has recorded more than 200,000 infections and over 30,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
How Europe Kept Coronavirus Cases Low Even After Reopening
When Western European countries began phasing out their lockdowns this spring, a surge of coronavirus cases was widely expected to follow. Months on—even as Europeans mingle in bars, restaurants and crowded beaches—that still hasn’t happened. As a surge in cases forces a number of U.S. states to reimpose restrictions, Europe’s reopening is for the most part going according to plan. That is largely because of marked changes in social behavior across much of Europe, following widespread efforts by policy makers to drill the public to follow a simple, three-pronged approach: Keep a distance when possible, enhance hygiene and wear a mask when necessary. Older people, who are more vulnerable, are especially careful. “People in Europe understood what they need to do. They take it seriously,” says Ilaria Capua, an Italian virologist at the University of Florida. “The crisis has been handled differently in different countries, but nobody in Europe is saying this is a nothing crisis.”
Mask-wearing could prevent a return to lockdown
People in France must now wear masks in public spaces or risk a 135 euro fine. Christian Blasberg, professor in contemporary history at LUISS Guido Carli University, says wearing masks are necessary to prevent people catching as well as spreading the virus, and could prevent a return to lockdown.
Davao City gov't lifts lockdown on 18000 residents
The city government of Davao lifted the hard lockdown imposed on a densely populated barangay here effective 12 noon, Monday, July 20, or 16 days after the entire area was placed under the most restrictive quarantine measure to cut the transmission of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). But the local government said hard lockdown will continue to be imposed in some puroks and households in Barangay 23-C after the results of a series of reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, conducted from July 15 to July 17, showed that these were the areas where most of positive cases were found. The results of the three-day RT-PCR tests have yet to be released as of 10 a.m. on Monday. The city government has yet to announce the number of households and puroks in the barangay that would remain under hard lockdown. The Barangay 23-C is composed of seven puroks, with an estimated population of 18,000.
The Welsh Government ''would not be afraid'' to issue another coronavirus lockdown, Health Minister Vaughan Gething says
The Welsh Government, Health Minister Vaughan Gething has said. Speaking to ITV Wales, he said: ''I certainly wouldn't be afraid to make a decision with the first minister and the Welsh Government to lockdown if we thought that was the right thing to do to save lives.
Catalonia urges thousands of people to stay home as coronavirus cases rise
People sunbathed and played in the sea along Barcelona’s beaches on Sunday, ignoring pleas from Catalan authorities for area residents to stay at home as coronavirus cases continued to rise in one of Spain’s worst-hit regions. As police patrolled in masks to ensure social distancing, Barceloneta beach, a favourite with tourists, reached capacity and had to be closed to new bathers on Sunday afternoon. People were queueing to access the beach. Earlier in the day, authorities urged the more than 96,000 residents of three Catalan towns to stay home as part of a toughened response to the crisis. On Friday, some four million people, including in Barcelona, were advised to leave their home only for essential trips. “Staying at home in the summer is stifling and stressful,” said Felipe, when asked why he had come to the beach despite the advice.
Chile eyes gradual reopening after coronavirus infections slow in some areas
Chilean government officials presented a plan on Sunday to gradually relax lockdown restrictions after the coronavirus infection rate improved in some regions of the country. The plan, called “Step by Step,” includes five stages that range from total quarantine to advanced opening and will be applied according to epidemiological criteria, the capacity of the healthcare system and the ability to trace cases, officials said. “These five weeks of improvement allow us to start a new stage today ... This plan, which will be step by step, cautiously, prudently, will be applied gradually and flexibly,” said President Sebastian Pinera in the announcement, adding that 12 regions in the country had improved in recent weeks.
Sun-seekers crowd Barcelona beaches, defying coronavirus stay-at-home advice
People sunbathed and played in the sea along Barcelona’s beaches on Sunday, ignoring pleas from Catalan authorities for area residents to stay at home as coronavirus cases continued to rise in one of Spain’s worst-hit regions. As police patrolled in masks to ensure social distancing, Barceloneta beach, a favourite with tourists, reached capacity and had to be closed to new bathers on Sunday afternoon. People were queueing to access the beach. Earlier in the day, authorities urged the more than 96,000 residents of three Catalan towns to stay home as part of a toughened response to the crisis. On Friday, some four million people, including in Barcelona, were advised to leave their home only for essential trips
EU struggles to agree virus recovery deal as global deaths surge
EU leaders battled to save a beleaguered 750 million euro ($860 million) virus recovery package at a summit on Sunday, as global deaths soared past 600,000 and Hong Kong raised the alarm about its growing outbreak. The United States -- the worst-affected country by far -- ended a week in which it registered its highest figures for new cases for three days running, taking its total towards 3.7 million infections and 140,00 deaths. The virus has now infected more than 14 million people worldwide.
Coronavirus: Germany eyes tougher lockdown measures during local outbreaks
Germany's federal and regional governments have agreed to pursue stricter and more targeted lockdown measures to contain localized outbreaks of the novel coronavirus
Partisan Exits
Brazil's Bolsonaro says coronavirus restrictions kill economy
Bolsonaro insists that the virus lockdown measures “kill” and have “suffocated” the economyMercoPressBrazil's Bolsonaro Says Lockdown 'Kills' and 'Suffocated' the EconomyNewsweekBrazil`s Bolsonaro slams lockdown, says it `kills` country`s economyWIONWhat's Common to Three Covid Kings -- India, US & BrazilNewsClickView Full coverage on Google News
Brazil's Bolsonaro Says Lockdown 'Kills' and 'Suffocated' the Economy
Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro said that lockdowns implemented by some states and cities across the country during the pandemic have "suffocated" the country's economy. The president also said on Saturday that "Lockdown kills," Reuters reported. "Without salaries and jobs, people die." Brazil is suffering the second-worst coronavirus outbreak in the world after the United States with more than 2 million confirmed cases and over 78,000 deaths.
England's chief nurse dropped from Covid-19 briefing after refusing to back Cummings
England’s chief nurse has confirmed she was dropped from the Downing Street daily coronavirus briefing after refusing to back Dominic Cummings. Ruth May said that in a trial run for the 1 June briefing, she was asked about Boris Johnson’s chief adviser’s decision to drive his family from London to Durham during lockdown while his wife had suspected Covid-19. After she failed to back Cummings, she said, she was told she was no longer needed for the televised press conference taking place later that day, and she was never given an explanation why. Ministers and No 10 have denied reports that May was stood down over Cummings. Aides to the prime minister briefed journalists at the time that she may not have made it to the briefing because she could have been stuck in traffic.
Two thirds of readers think lockdown is being eased too soon, M.E.N. survey finds
Two thirds of people think the coronavirus lockdown in England is being eased too soon, according to the M.E.N's Lockdown survey. We asked our readers how they feel about the changes set to happen in the coming weeks and months after the Prime Minister's announcement on Friday. Speaking from Downing Street, Boris Johnson revealed a four-month plan for a “significant return to normality” from as early as November. On August 1, most remaining leisure venues, including casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks, will be allowed to reopen, and close-contact beauty services permitted. Indoor performances with live audiences will also resume, with trials beginning for larger events at sports and football stadiums “with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn”. And it's good news for engaged couples as wedding receptions of up to 30 guests can also resume next month. But how do the people of Greater Manchester really feel about the easing of measures? More than 2,200 readers responded to our lockdown changes survey, this is what they think:
Coronavirus: Boris Johnson insists he can avoid second England-wide lockdown
Boris Johnson has insisted he can avoid imposing another England-wide lockdown this winter, describing it as a “nuclear deterrent” that he hopes never to use. Despite chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance saying “national measures” might be necessary if there are fresh waves of the virus in the coming months, the prime minister said he “certainly” did not want to have to order the public to “stay at home” again. “I can’t abandon that tool any more than I would abandon a nuclear deterrent. But it is like a nuclear deterrent – I certainly don’t want to use it.
Dominic Raab Accuses Russia Of 'Reprehensible' Attempt To Hack Coronavirus Research
The UK will ensure the world knows the nature of the “reprehensible behaviour” that Russia is engaged in, according Dominic Raab. It follows accusations that Russia’s intelligence services tried to steal details of research into coronavirus vaccines. Russia’s ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin rejected the claims and said there was “no sense” in the allegations made by Britain, the United States and Canada. Speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, Raab said it was “outrageous and reprehensible” that the Russian government is engaged in such activity. The foreign secretary said: “We’re absolutely confident that the Russian intelligence agencies were engaged in a cyber attack on research and development efforts and organisations in this country and internationally with a view either to sabotage or to profit from the R&D that was taking place.
Russian Elite Given Experimental Covid-19 Vaccine Since April
Scores of Russia’s business and political elite have been given early access to an experimental vaccine against Covid-19, according to people familiar with the effort, as the country races to be among the first to develop an inoculation. Top executives at companies including aluminum giant United Co. Rusal, as well as billionaire tycoons and government officials began getting shots developed by the state-run Gamaleya Institute in Moscow as early as April, the people said. They declined to be identified as the information isn’t public.
Boris Johnson claims UK won't need another national lockdown despite experts warning of second wave
Boris Johnson has said the UK will not need another nationwide lockdown despite expert warnings of up to 120,000 extra deaths during a second wave this winter. The prime minister described the coronavirus restrictions he imposed on 23 March as a “nuclear deterrent” that he did not think he would ever have to use again. However his attempt to rule out a further UK lockdown in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph is likely to bring him into conflict with the government’s scientific advisors.
Continued Lockdown
Starving and sleeping on the streets: The reality of life for women seeking asylum in lockdown Britain
Women who have sought asylum in the UK have been forced to go without food and sleep outside or on buses during the coronavirus crisis, a report has found. The study, carried out by a coalition of women’s organisations, warned that the public health emergency has made asylum-seeking women more at risk of hunger and ill health. The coalition Sisters Not Strangers, which includes organisations working with refugee women around the UK, found that three-quarters of women seeking asylum went hungry during the Covid-19 crisis, including mothers who found it difficult to find food to give their children.
Scientific Viewpoint
Quest coronavirus test becomes 1st with FDA OK for sample pooling
A Quest Diagnostics coronavirus test is the first authorized by FDA for sample pooling, a method meant to screen more people using fewer resources, the agency announced Saturday. The product OK'd for use with the technique, Quest's SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR test, first got emergency use authorization by FDA on March 17. The company said it will begin leveraging the method at labs near Washington, D.C. and Boston by the end of this week, planning to expand it to other sites later. Although the pooling technique may help stretch testing resources, "it is not a magic bullet," Quest's chief medical officer Jay Wohlgemuth said in a statement Saturday, adding that "testing times will continue to be strained as long as soaring COVID-19 test demand outpaces capacity."
Flu vaccines could be delivered at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine, government says
The government is exploring the possibility of co-administering the flu vaccination with a COVID-19 vaccine during the 2020/2021 flu season.
Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University 'safe and induces an immune reaction'
The Covid-19 vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford is safe and induces an immune reaction, findings of the first phases of the study suggest. Scientists and medical researchers across the UK have welcomed the results, with tests revealing the jab could provide double protection against Covid-19. The tests have shown the vaccine induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system – provoking a T cell response within 14 days of vaccination, and an antibody response within 28 days. It did cause minor side effects more frequently compared with the control group of those given a meningitis vaccine, according to the study, but researchers added that there were no serious adverse events from the vaccine. Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford vaccine group said the results were "very encouraging" but cautioned that much work lies ahead.
Immunosuppressant drug shows promise for Covid-19 patients
An initial trial showing that an immunosuppressant drug can significantly increase the likelihood of recovery among patients hospitalised by Covid-19 sent the share price of biotech company Synairgen soaring on Monday. In a study involving 101 patients from nine UK hospitals, those who were given interferon beta — which is commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis and thyroid dysfunction — were more than twice as likely to recover and were 79 per cent less likely to develop a more severe version of the disease. Their breathlessness was also “markedly reduced”, the company said.
‘Game changer’ protein treatment 'cuts severe Covid-19 symptoms by nearly 80%'
A “groundbreaking” new coronavirus treatment dramatically reduces the number of patients suffering severe symptoms, according to preliminary trial results. The treatment, developed by Southampton-based biotech Synairgen, uses a protein called interferon beta which the body produces when it contracts a viral infection. Covid-19 patients inhale the protein into the lungs using a nebuliser, with the aim of stimulating an immune response. Initial findings, published on Monday, suggest the treatment cuts the chances of a hospitalised coronavirus patient developing severe symptoms of the disease by 79 per cent.
Over a million doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine possible by September - researcher
Early estimates of the production a million doses of the University of Oxford’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine by September could be an underestimate depending on how quickly late-stage trials can be completed, a researcher said on Monday. “There might be a million doses manufactured by September: that now seems like a remarkable underestimate, given the scale of what’s going on,” Adrian Hill of University of Oxford said, referring to the manufacturing capability of partner AstraZeneca. “Certainly there’ll be a million doses around in September. What’s less predictable than the manufacturing scale-up is the incidence of disease, so when there’ll be an endpoint.” He added it was possible that there would be vaccines available by the end of the year
How Long Does COVID-19 Immunity Last?
A new study from King’s College London inspired a raft of headlines suggesting that immunity might vanish in months. The truth is a lot more complicated—and, thankfully, less dire.
Spanish study concludes herd immunity is not feasible to stop COVID-19
Herd immunity is not feasible to control the spread of COVID-19, according to a study thought to be the largest in Europe. The Spanish trial involved more than 60,000 people and it is thought only 5 per cent of the country’s population has developed the coronavirus antibodies. Herd immunity occurs when enough people become infected and so the spread is stopped. In order to protect the uninfected, between 70 to 90 per cent of the population must be immune. The authors wrote: “Despite the high impact of COVID-19 in Spain, prevalence estimates remain low and are clearly insufficient to provide herd immunity.“This cannot be achieved without accepting the collateral damage of many deaths in the susceptible population and overburdening of health systems.
Covid-19 impact on ethnic minorities linked to housing and air pollution
The severe impact of Covid-19 on people from minority ethnic groups has been linked to air pollution and overcrowded and poor-standard homes by a study of 400 hospital patients. It found patients from ethnic minorities were twice as likely as white patients to live in areas of environmental and housing deprivation, and that people from these areas were twice as likely to arrive at hospital with more severe coronavirus symptoms and to be admitted to intensive care units (ITU). Minority ethnic groups were known to be disproportionately affected by Covid-19: they account for 34% of critically ill Covid-19 patients in the UK despite constituting 14% of the population. But the reasons for the disparity remain unclear.
Healthy 13-year-old boy dies after experiencing Covid-19 symptoms
Maxx Cheng, from Claremont, California, began feeling unwell on July 4. Maxx tested negative for coronavirus but self-isolated in his bedroom. His family found him passed out in his bedroom on Thursday night
Why those most at risk of COVID-19 are least likely to respond to a vaccine
A July 17 analysis of more than 50,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. found that 80 percent were people 65 or older. Second, the ageing thymus may also complicate vaccine development for the pandemic. Vaccines provide instructions for our immune system, which T-cells help pass along. By age 40 or 50, the thymus has exhausted most of its reserve of the kind of T-cells that can learn to recognise unfamiliar pathogens—and ‘train’ other immune cells to fight them. Many vaccines rely on such T-cells. Because of COVID-19, researchers are having to pay more attention than ever to how vaccines perform in older people. Moderna Therapeutics, for example, which published the first results this week from the phase-one trial of its novel mRNA vaccine, is running a phase two trial specifically for adults aged 55 and older.
COVID-19: BAME communities need targeted health messaging, scientists warn
Academics at the University of Leicester found that COVID-19 cases continued to rise in BAME groups in certain parts of Leicester in the three weeks after the announcement was made, while rates in white groups “dropped off very sharply”. They said the findings, published recently in the journal EClinicalMedicine by The Lancet, raise “serious questions” on whether lockdown on its own is effective for a diverse population.
What happens when flu meets Covid-19?
Optimists had hoped Covid-19 might not withstand the blistering heat of a British summer. However those hopes have faded: the virus staged a recent resurgence in Iran amid actual blistering temperatures, and has had no trouble persisting in sultry Singapore. But what happens to Covid-19, and us, when the rain and chill – and flu and sniffles – of autumn set in? Especially, how will the annual winter flu epidemic play out amid a Covid-19 pandemic? One thing is a given. “We can expect waves of Covid in the fall,” says virologist Ab Osterhaus of the Research Centre for Emerging Infections and Zoonoses in Hanover. By then, he hopes, we might be better at treating severe cases, and more countries might be able to test, trace and quarantine all cases and their contacts, and contain the virus, better than they can now.
Britain secures 90 million possible COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer/BioNTech, Valneva
Britain has signed deals to secure 90 million doses of two possible COVID-19 vaccines from an alliance of Pfizer Inc and BioNTech and French group Valneva the business ministry said on Monday. Britain secured 30 million doses of the experimental BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, and a deal in principle for 60 million doses of the Valneva vaccine, with an option of 40 million more doses if it was proven to be safe, effective and suitable, the ministry said. With no working vaccine against COVID-19 yet developed, Britain now has three different types of vaccine under order and a total of 230 million doses potentially available. “This new partnership with some of the world’s foremost pharmaceutical and vaccine companies will ensure the UK has the best chance possible of securing a vaccine that protects those most at risk,” business minister Alok Sharma said.
Some Covid-19 patients are struggling to get doctors to listen. Here's why
This spring, I wrote an essay for the New York Times about my experience as a young, apparently healthy person hospitalized by a brutal attack of Covid-19. After my essay came out, I was contacted by media outlets all over the world. In many ways, I was the perfect person to raise awareness about the virus: my initial symptoms neatly fit the CDC description; I was young and lacked pre-existing conditions; and I could prove my diagnosis via a positive Covid-19 test.
Coronavirus: Protein treatment trial 'a breakthrough'
The preliminary results of a clinical trial suggest a new treatment for Covid-19 reduces the number of patients needing intensive care, according to the UK company that developed it. The treatment from Southampton-based biotech Synairgen uses a protein called interferon beta which the body produces when it gets a viral infection. The protein is inhaled directly into the lungs of patients with coronavirus, using a nebuliser, in the hope that it will stimulate an immune response. The initial findings suggest the treatment cut the odds of a Covid-19 patient in hospital developing severe disease - such as requiring ventilation - by 79%. Patients were two to three times more likely to recover to the point where everyday activities were not compromised by their illness, Synairgen claims.
Impact of UK coronavirus lockdown may cause 200,000 extra deaths, report finds
Coronavirus lockdown could kill more than 200,000 Brits due to delays to healthcare and an impending recession, a government report shows. Experts from the Department of Health, the Office for National Statistics, the Actuary's Department and the Home Office fear one million years of life lost in the long term. They calculated up to 25,000 could die from delays to treatment in the first six months since March 23 and another 185,000 in the medium to long-term. Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance revealed the existence of the report - published in April - at a science and technology select committee last week.
Lockdowns could have long-term effects on children’s health
This may seem a foolish time to stage a gigantic volleyball tournament in Florida, a covid-19 hotspot. Yet this week several thousand young athletes turned up in Orlando to smash balls back and forth over a net. At least they will get some exercise. Many of their peers will not. The pandemic is harming children’s health. Not that they are dying in large numbers of the virus itself, which seems to affect them only mildly. And not only because of a growing body of evidence suggesting that lockdowns harm their mental health. It is also because life under confinement in rich countries has been making children fatter and more sedentary. These effects may well last much longer than the restrictions designed to curb the disease.
Virus was direct cause of death for 89% of Italian COVID-19 victims
The new coronavirus has directly caused the death of 9 out of 10 of Italian COVID-19 victims, a study released on Thursday said, shedding new light on the epidemic which mainly struck the country's northern regions. Since discovering its first infections in February, Italy has reported some 35,000 COVID-19 fatalities. However, health authorities said many of those who died were also affected by other ailments and this provoked a fierce debate on whether the virus was the actual cause of death.
Large analysis of 170 countries shows that lockdown measures did reduce Covid-19 mortality
New research from the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh suggests that, in the absence of a vaccine, early, strict government measures and non-pharmaceutical interventions may have resulted in significantly fewer Covid-19 deaths. The aim of this study, published on medRxiv as a pre-print version, was to create a comprehensive database to track the response of 170 governments to the coronavirus, stretching from the period 1 January to 27 May 2020.
Europe Said It Was Pandemic-Ready. Pride Was Its Downfall.
Held in high esteem for its scientific expertise, Europe, especially Britain, has long educated many of the best medical students from Asia, Africa and Latin America. On a visit to South Korea after a 2015 outbreak of the coronavirus MERS, Dame Sally Davies, then England’s chief medical officer, was revered as an expert. Upon her return home, she assured colleagues that such an outbreak could not happen in Britain’s public health system. Now South Korea, with a death toll below 300, is a paragon of success against the pandemic. Many epidemiologists there are dumbfounded at the mess made by their mentors. “It has come as a bit of a shock to a number of Koreans,” said Prof. Seo Yong-seok of Seoul National University, suggesting that perhaps British policymakers “thought that an epidemic is a disease that only occurs in developing countries.”
Fears of HIV spike in Jamaica as pandemic hits prevention efforts
For about a month, John was woken by bad dreams, a side effect of missing his antiretroviral medication from late May, when he was unable to collect his prescription drugs due to COVID-19. John, 32, works in the liquor industry and has lived with HIV for 14 years. This has compromised his immune system, so he went into self-isolation after the coronavirus emerged in Jamaica in March. “During the nights, it makes you jump out of your sleep with nightmares ... (but) you have to isolate yourself,” said John - not his real name - who ran out of medicine because he could not afford private transport to take him to the pharmacy. Clarence did not miss any treatment, but sometimes struggled to get the medication that he has used for many years after contracting HIV 25 years ago.
Oxford coronavirus vaccine safe and promising, according to early human trial results published in the Lancet
A University of Oxford group and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca reported Monday that their coronavirus vaccine candidate, on which the U.S. and European governments have placed substantial bets, was shown in early-stage human trials to be safe and to stimulate a strong immune response. The study, published in the British medical journal the Lancet and involving 1,077 volunteers, was described as promising. A second report in the same publication on a Chinese vaccine showed what researchers not involved in the study described as modest positive results.
Coronavirus: Oxford vaccine triggers immune response
A coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford appears safe and triggers an immune response. Trials involving 1,077 people showed the injection led to them making antibodies and T-cells that can fight coronavirus. The findings are hugely promising, but it is still too soon to know if this is enough to offer protection and larger trials are under way. The UK has already ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine.
AIIMS to start human trials of Covaxin today
The AIIMS Ethics Committee on Saturday gave its nod for a human clinical trial of the indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine candidate Covaxin following which the premier hospital to begin the exercise by enrolling healthy volunteers from Monday. AIIMS-Delhi is among the 12 sites selected by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting phase I and II human trials of Covaxin. In phase I, the vaccine would be tested on 375 volunteers and the maximum of 100 of them would be from AIIMS.
Coronavirus | Seven Indian pharma players in race to develop COVID-19 vaccine
At least seven Indian pharma companies are working to develop a vaccine against coronavirus as they join global efforts to find a preventive to check the spread of the virus that has already infected more than 14 million globally. Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute, Zydus Cadila, Panacea Biotec, Indian Immunologicals, Mynvax and Biological E are among the domestic pharma firms working on the coronavirus vaccines in India. Vaccines normally require years of testing and additional time to produce at scale, but scientists are hoping to develop a coronavirus vaccine within months because of the pandemic.
Opaganib, a Sphingosine Kinase-2 (SK2) Inhibitor in COVID-19 Pneumonia
This is a phase 2/3 multi-center randomized, double-blind, parallel arm, placebo- controlled study with an adaptive design that will utilize a futility assessment. The study is planned be performed in Italy, other EU countries, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and the US in up to approximately 40 clinical sites. After informed consent is obtained, patients will enter a screening phase for no more than 3 days, to determine eligibility. Approximately 270 eligible patients will be randomized and receive either opaganib added to standard of care, or matching placebo added to standard of care, in a randomization ratio of 1:1. Treatment assignments will remain blinded to the patient, investigator and hospital staff, as well as the sponsor. As the approval and/or guidance for treating COVID-19 are evolving, for this protocol, standard of care will be defined by the recommended schemes of treatment according to the severity of the disease based on local diagnostic and guideline documents such as the Temporary Methodic Recommendations: Prophylactic, Diagnostics and Treatment of New Corona Virus Infection (COVID-19) (Appendix 10); the EU Commission, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Heads of Medicines Agency (HMA) and FDA, and as updated to the most current version of the recommendations.
Intravenous Aviptadil for Critical COVID-19 With Respiratory Failure (COVID-AIV)
Novel Corona Virus (SARS-CoV-2) is known to cause Respiratory Failure, which is the hallmark of Acute COVID-19, as defined by the new NIH/FDA classification. Approximately 50% of those who develop Critical COVID-19 die, despite intensive care and mechanical ventilation. Patients with Critical COVID-19 and respiratory failure, currently treated with high flow nasal oxygen, non-invasive ventilation or mechanical ventilation will be treated with Aviptadil, a synthetic form of Human Vasoactive Intestinal Polypeptide (VIP) plus maximal intensive care vs. placebo + maximal intensive care. Patients will be randomized to intravenous Aviptadil will receive escalating doses from 50 -150 pmol/kg/hr over 12 hours.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Spain's coronavirus rate triples in three weeks after lockdown easing
The prevalence of the novel coronavirus in Spain has risen three-fold over the last three weeks as authorities struggle to contain a rash of fresh clusters, mainly in the Catalonia and Aragon regions, Health Ministry data showed on Monday. After registering thousands of cases and hundreds of deaths per day during an early April peak, Spain succeeded in slowing the number of new infections to a trickle. But since restrictions on movement were lifted and Spaniards relaxed back into daily life, some 201 new clusters have appeared, with heavy concentrations in and around the Catalan cities of Barcelona and Lleida. The occurrence of the novel coronavirus has jumped from eight cases per 100,000 inhabitants at the end of June, when the country’s state of emergency ended, to 27 per 100,000, deputy health emergency chief Maria Sierra told a news conference on Monday.
Coronavirus: Scotland sees second daily jump in Covid-19 cases
More than 20 new cases of Covid-19 have been detected in Scotland for the second day in a row. Saturday saw the biggest rise in nearly a month with 21 new cases - the largest daily increase since 21 June. A further 23 confirmed cases were reported on Sunday. However, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was still a low number of cases and fluctuation was "to be expected". The proportion of positive tests remains well below 1%. No new deaths were registered in Scotland following a positive test for the virus, meaning that only one death in the last 11 days has been recorded using this measure.
Hong Kong ponders lockdown amid latest coronavirus outbreak
Once named in the same breath as Taiwan and Singapore as an early example of successful virus control, Hong Kong is now in the midst of a worsening outbreak of the coronavirus, with no sign of it slowing down. Hong Kong residents had been living with reduced pandemic-related restrictions in recent months. But in the past two weeks the region has recorded more than 500 new cases, over 400 of them local. About 40% have an unknown source and the majority are not imported – a stark inverse in the proportions seen the last time Hong Kong experienced a sudden rise in cases. On Monday, more than a third of the 73 new cases reported came from an unknown source. It followed a record 108 new cases – 83 local transmissions – reported by the centre for health protection on Saturday.
Is Britain's Covid-19 outbreak GROWING? Average daily cases rise for FOURTH day in a row for first time since April as UK records just 11 more deaths with none in Scotland ...
Department of Health posted 580 more cases — taking the rolling seven-day mean of infections to 628. The last time the average rose for at least four days in a row was on April 11, according to government data. And hospital admissions — another indicator tracking the crisis — have yet to spike despite fears of a surge. Number 10's scientific advisory panel last week admitted the outbreak is shrinking at a slightly slower speed. Despite the concerning data released today, just 11 laboratory-confirmed coronavirus deaths were recorded. No new victims were recorded in several parts of England or the whole of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
Coronavirus: Local lockdown in Blackburn 'a last resort'
A local lockdown in Blackburn with Darwen is "the very last resort" in tackling the area's rise in coronavirus cases, its public health boss has said. The Lancashire borough is overtaking Leicester as England's coronavirus hotspot, according to official figures. It recorded the highest infection rate, with 82.6 cases per 100,000 people, in the week to 17 July, Public Health England data showed. Prof Dominic Harrison said he would be "reluctant" to impose a local lockdown. The number of cases in the borough nearly doubled to 123 in the past week, compared with 63 the week before. The latest figures are subject to daily revision, but they reflect the position reported on Monday afternoon.
Will there be a second wave of coronavirus? If cases of Covid-19 could surge again in UK as Leicester lockdown extended
As lockdown restrictions ease across the UK, concerns amongst experts are growing in regards to the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus cases if social distancing guidelines are not adhered to
Italy’s capital Rome facing possibility of return to lockdown as COVID cases rise
The Italian region of Lazio, which includes the capital Rome, has warned residents that local lockdowns may have to be reimposed if there continue to be new clusters of coronavirus cases. Lazio’s Health Commissioner Alessio D’Amato reported 17 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, 10 of which were foreign residents who had returned to Italy from abroad. Rome has recently seen clusters of coronavirus infections among its Bangladeshi residents who have been returning from working in Bangladesh. Italy has banned arrivals from 13 at-risk countries, including Bangladesh, after the rise in cases.
Fearing mandatory lockdown, Barcelona residents head for Costa Brava
Tourists from the Catalan capital filled the coastal town of Platja d'Aro over the weekend, despite recommendations to avoid travel due to the rising number of coronavirus cases
Spanish tourist hotspot shuts down its nightclubs after coronavirus cases spike
A Spanish tourist hotspot has shut down its nightclubs after a surge in coronavirus cases. The city of Gandia, near Valencia on the Costa Blanca, has closed its clubs following an outbreak, El Pais reported. The number of COVID-19 cases in the coastal city increased to 70 on Saturday, a rise of 21 from Friday. Regional health chief Ana Barcelo said most of the 20 outbreaks in the region are linked to nightclubs, bars, parties and young people. She said: “We are enormously worried that more cases could continue appearing due to night-life activities.” Nightclubs in Gandia must remain closed until at least August, authorities said, while bars must shut at 10pm. Separately, an end-of-school event on 10 July at a nightclub in Cordoba, in the southern region of Andalusia, has been blamed for a rise in infections.
France makes plans to reconfine at local level if required
Plans for possible future localised "re-confinements" are being developed, as Prime Minister Jean Castex says the current rate of Covid-19 circulation in France is not “serious” but does require “more vigilance”. The Prime Minister was speaking on TV channel France 2 on Friday evening (July 17). Mr Castex was also questioned on how numbers in France compare to those in Barcelona, Spain - which has recently gone back into lockdown after Covid-19 cases almost tripled in a week.He said the situation in the Spanish city was “much further deteriorated” than in France, but also acknowledged that “we don’t know where we will be in three weeks”.
As Cases Rise, France Contemplates Second Wave of COVID-19
The southern French cities of Nice and Marseille have higher rates of COVID-19 spread than other parts of the country. The spread of infection is measured by the scientific R0, pronounced “R not.” R0 measures, on average, how many new people one person carrying the virus will infect. “We must remain vigilant,” Veran said. On Monday, France also made masks mandatory in all public spaces, including restaurants, shops, and other businesses. Previously, business owners could decide whether their patrons were required to wear face coverings.
New South Wales records 20 new cases of coronavirus, sparking fears of another lockdown
New South Wales recorded 20 new coronavirus cases after a spike on Sunday Experts have warned harsher restrictions including lockdown may be needed Premier Gladys Berejiklian previously said she would avoid a second lockdown
Coronavirus: Hong Kong reports biggest one-day rise in cases
Hong Kong has recorded its highest one-day increase in cases since the pandemic began, the territory's Chief Executive Carrie Lam has said. At a Sunday press conference, Ms Lam said there had been more than 100 new infections, and announced new restrictions to contain the spread. She described the situation as "really critical" and said there was "no sign" it was coming under control. Non-essential civil servants must work from home and testing will increase. The chief executive promised that authorities would carry out 10,000 tests a day, and also made wearing face masks compulsory in indoor public spaces. Face coverings were already mandatory on public transport. There were 108 new cases, 83 of them local and 25 imported, the health authorities said.
New South Wales is bracing for lockdown
NSW on Sunday recorded 18 new cases of coronavirus, most since April 29. Doherty Institute estimates the disease's reproduction number in NSW is 1.28. Experts have warned harsher restrictions including lockdown may be needed
'Victim of our success': Australia's unique second COVID-19 wave
On Monday, NSW recorded 20 new cases, while Victoria registered 275. There were 296 new cases nationwide. "We're not alone and it's definitely a sign in some countries that they shouldn't have taken their foot off the brake, if you look at Israel you can readily identify an easing of restrictions before the decks were cleared," emeritus professor of public health at the University of Sydney Stephen Leeder said.
Australia warns coronavirus outbreak will take weeks to tame
A surge in COVID-19 cases in Australia’s second-biggest city could take weeks to subside despite a lockdown and orders to wear masks, Australia’s acting chief medical officer said on Monday as the country braces for a second wave of infection. Authorities in the state of Victoria, whose capital Melbourne is in partial lockdown amid a new outbreak, reported 275 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, down from a daily record of 438 three days earlier. Australia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said it would take “weeks” to slow the outbreak to levels seen as recently as June, when Victoria and the rest of Australia reported single or double-digit daily infections.
New Lockdown
Xinjiang capital in 'wartime' lockdown over spike in coronavirus cases
A "wartime" state has been declared in the capital of Xinjiang, home to China's persecuted Muslim-majority Uyghur ethnic group, as authorities implement strict and sweeping measures to stem a spike in coronavirus cases. The city of Urumqi reported 17 local infections Sunday, meaning that 47 cases have been identified since last Wednesday. Before that, it had not recorded a single case in nearly five months, according to the Xinjiang health authorities.
Hong Kong ponders lockdown amid latest coronavirus outbreak
Panic spreads after more than 500 new cases recorded in past two weeks, most of them local. Once named in the same breath as Taiwan and Singapore as an early example of successful virus control, Hong Kong is now in the midst of a worsening outbreak of the coronavirus, with no sign of it slowing down. Hong Kong residents had been living with reduced pandemic-related restrictions in recent months. But in the past two weeks the region has recorded more than 500 new cases, over 400 of them local. About 40% have an unknown source and the majority are not imported – a stark inverse in the proportions seen the last time Hong Kong experienced a sudden rise in cases. On Monday, more than a third of the 73 new cases reported came from an unknown source. It followed a record 108 new cases – 83 local transmissions – reported by the centre for health protection on Saturday.