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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 10th Aug 2020

News Highlights

Close to 100,000 children test positive in two weeks as Covid-19 tally now exceeds five million

According to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, over 97,000 children tested positive for the coronavirus from July 16 to July 30, adding fuel to the raging debate of whether schools should be reopened or not. The U.S. crossed the grim tally of five million coronavirus cases over the weekend, with more than 338,000 children testing positive.

Havana reimposes lockdown as coronavirus surges in Cuba

When Latin America emerged as a major hotspot for Covid-19, Cuba won praise for its effective handling and containment of the coronavirus pandemic. However, authorities have now reimposed a strict lockdown on the capital, Havana, after a surge in cases, since restrictions eased more than a month ago. Restaurants, bars and pools will close once again, public transportation has been restricted and access to the beach has been banned.

Pubs perfect breeding ground for coronavirus, say experts

Experts are suggesting that pubs provide the perfect conditions for spreading coronavirus and carry even more risk than planes. As people have continuous, loud conversations in the closed environment of a pub, infected droplets have a greater chance of circulating amidst the poor ventilation, say the experts.

Dogs could hold key to speed up testing for coronavirus

Scientists are asking volunteers in northwest England to participate in a trial that seeks to investigate if dogs, and their powerful sense of smell, can hold the key to mass testing for the coronavirus, especially in airports and hotspots. Researchers have already observed that dogs are able to preemptively spot illnesses such as cancer in sick people and are hoping that the same skill can be developed to speed up mass testing for Covid-19.

Lockdown Exit
Hong Kong to Offer Free Virus Tests to Entire City, Lam Says
The mainland-sponsored testing push has fanned suspicions that authorities will collect DNA samples from residents, as local law enforcement recently did with protesters who were arrested. The tactic is also deployed frequently by police in Xinjiang and elsewhere on the mainland. The Hong Kong government denied that there are plans to harvest DNA, saying that the claims are unfounded and that test samples will not be transported to the mainland. “We are talking about lives here,” Lam said. “So I hope people will bear in mind scientific evidence and facts, and not resort to conspiracy theories, and smear every effort indiscriminately.” Local media Ming Pao reported Monday that China wanted Hong Kong to conduct mandatory testing of the entire population but the city’s government and experts blocked the proposal, citing unidentified sources. Some local District Council members had led demonstrations outside the hotel where the mainland testing support team is staying and at the locations of their site visits this week. The Hong Kong government said that this disregarded “public interest, health and safety” in a statement on Wednesday.
Coronavirus cases top five million in United States
Nearly 100,000 children tested positive for the coronavirus in the last two weeks of July, a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics finds. Just over 97,000 children tested positive for the coronavirus from July 16 to July 30, according to the association. Out of almost 5 million reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S., CBS News' Michael George reports that the group found that more than 338,000 were children. Vanderbilt University's Dr. Tina Hartert hopes increased testing of children will help determine what role they play in transmission, as school districts around the country return to some form of school. She is leading a government-funded study that saw DIY testing kits sent to some 2,000 families.
Sweden’s pandemic no longer stands out
Sweden is no longer the outlier it used to be on coronavirus. It no longer has the least restrictive approach to the pandemic in Europe and it has lost its briefly held status as the country with the highest number of deaths per capita after its number of Covid-19 cases decreased over the summer. Its economy has suffered less than the European average in recent months, but at least as much and possibly more than its Nordic neighbours. “We get a second chance. We don’t want this to take off again. We now have the chance to learn and do additional things to avoid things taking off,” said Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér, a critic of Sweden’s approach and a professor of cell and molecular immunology at Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm.
WHO reports one-day surge in coronavirus cases by over 284,000
More than 284,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus infection were registered worldwide in the past day, exceeding 19.18 million, while the coronavirus-related fatalities increased by over 6,000 to surpass 716,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its daily bulletin on Saturday. As of 11.00 Moscow time on August 8, as many as 19,187,943 novel coronavirus cases and 716,075 coronavirus-associated deaths were registered across the globe. The number of confirmed cases grew by 284,441 in the past 24 hours and the number of fatalities increased by 6,565. The day before, 278,291 new cases and 6,815 fatalities were documented throughout the world. The WHO statistics are based on officially confirmed data provided by countries.
When Covid-19 Hit, Many Elderly Were Left to Die
Of all the missteps by governments during the coronavirus pandemic, few have had such an immediate and devastating impact as the failure to protect nursing homes. Tens of thousands of older people died — casualties not only of the virus, but of more than a decade of ignored warnings that nursing homes were vulnerable. Public health officials around the world excluded nursing homes from their pandemic preparedness plans and omitted residents from the mathematical models used to guide their responses. In recent months, the coronavirus outbreak in the United States has dominated global attention, as the world’s richest nation blundered its way into the world’s largest death toll. Some 40 percent of those fatalities have been linked to long-term-care facilities. But even now, European countries lead the world in per capita deaths, in part because of what happened inside their nursing homes.
Two Countries, 232,851 Cases and One Big Problem
A lot of things were going right in Southeast Asia’s two great archipelago nations before the coronavirus came around. Indonesia and the Philippines had relatively robust economies tended by well-regarded policy makers, and the benefit of young, educated populations. Both countries were poised to become bigger regional forces in the decades to come. Indonesia and the Philippines took different approaches to battling Covid-19, but the outcome has been the same: deep growth contractions and signs that recoveries — when they do come — will be shallow. These countries were always going to take a hit, given the way global growth has incinerated. Yet they also suffer from home-grown missteps and submerged logs that made a terrible situation worse.
Ukraine closes checkpoints at Crimean border to control coronavirus
Ukraine’s government said on Saturday it had temporarily closed its border with Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014, to prevent further spread of coronavirus. All three crossing points between the mainland and Crimea, which is defined by Ukraine as an occupied territory, will be closed from Aug. 9 to Aug. 30, a government statement said. Only Crimean residents with Ukrainian citizenship will be allowed to enter Crimea.
Poland reports 843 new coronavirus cases
Poland reported 843 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, according to the health ministry’s Twitter account, the seventh daily record in two weeks. Poland has reported 51,167 cases of the new coronavirus in all, and 1,800 deaths.
Boy, 7, becomes youngest to die with COVID-19 in Georgia
A 7-year-old boy with COVID-19 has become the youngest known person to die in Georgia since the coronavirus pandemic began, state health officials reported. The boy had no other chronic health conditions, according to data released by the state. The case is from Chatham County, which includes Savannah, the Georgia Department of Public Health reported. The child is Black, but state data lists no other details about him or the death. The boy’s death comes amid nationwide debate about the risks that children face in getting infected or spreading the coronavirus, particularly as the school year begins. There is no indication in the health department’s reports about where or when the child contracted the virus.
Exit Strategies
Coronavirus: Only half of Britons say they would get a vaccine, poll reveals
Just over half of the UK would definitely get a coronavirus vaccine, with "damaging misperceptions" affecting potential uptake, a poll has revealed. Only 53% of Britons would be certain or very likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19, researchers at King's College London (KCL) and Ipsos Mori found. One in six (16%) said they would definitely not get a vaccine or it would be very unlikely, the poll of 2,237 people between 16 and 75 showed. The study found that people were more likely to reject the vaccine because of their attitudes and beliefs about science and authority than reasons related to coronavirus itself.
India's biggest slum has so far nailed coronavirus. Here's how they did it
With its narrow streets, congested housing, underfunded health care and poor sanitation, many thought India's largest slum would be devastated by COVID-19. In fact, Dharavi — located in India's financial capital Mumbai — was often heralded as a prime example of why the country was ill-prepared to deal with the coronavirus. Stigma associated with the disease spread deep into the neighbourhood. "Everyone was scared and locked themselves in their homes," local resident and asthma sufferer Sameer Vhatkar told the ABC. "When corona was spreading in our local areas, we felt that Dharavi was going to be finished." Mr Vhatkar tested positive for the virus in May after he took a neighbour, who had contracted COVID-19, to hospital.
Coronavirus: Face covering use expanded in England and Scotland
Face coverings have become mandatory in more indoor settings in England and Scotland following a recent spike in coronavirus cases. Places where coverings must now be worn in both countries include museums, places of worship and aquariums. Other new settings in England include cinemas and funeral homes, and in Scotland, banks and beauty salons. Coverings will also become compulsory in all public enclosed spaces in Northern Ireland from Monday.
Algeria eases more coronavirus restrictions, including travel curbs and curfew
Algeria said on Saturday it will further ease its coronavirus lockdown, including shortening an overnight curfew and lifting some travel curbs. In addition, large mosques will be allowed to reopen, along with beaches, entertainment venues, hotels, restaurants and cafes. The North African country has recorded 34,155 coronavirus infections, with 1,282 deaths. The new measures include lifting a travel ban on 29 provinces from Aug. 9 until the end of the month. During that period, a curfew will be shortened and will run from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. from the current 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., the government said. Mosques with a capacity of more than 1,000 worshipers can reopen from August 15, though Friday prayers, which attract larger numbers of people, will remain banned throughout the country. The use of air conditioners in mosques also remain banned, as does a prohibition of access for women, vulnerable people and children under 15 years.
Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 555 to 215,891 - RKI
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 555 to 215,891, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll rose by one to 9,196, the tally showed.
Gaza children return to school despite virus fears
Hundreds of thousands of children returned to school in Gaza Saturday after a five-month suspension aimed at reining in the spread of the novel coronavirus in the crowded Palestinian territory. Ziyad Thabit, undersecretary of the education ministry in the Islamist Hamas-ruled enclave, said pupils would follow a remedial curriculum throughout August and classes would be limited to four a day. "The ministry has prepared a plan based on various scenarios for dealing with the school year," he said.
Covid-19 infection rates soar in Italy
The number of daily new coronavirus infections in Italy jumped 38% higher Friday, with 552 confirmed cases registered compared to the previous day, the highest daily new caseload since late May. Two weeks ago, Italy had been registering roughly 200 new cases a day. The northeastern region of Veneto, which performed nearly 16,500 swab tests in a day, registered roughly a third of those new cases. Veneto Governor Luca Zaia said the new infections were found in residents who recently returned home from Spain, Peru, Malta, Croatia and Greece. “Vacations are a risk,” he said in his daily briefing. “Everyone must decide where they want to go on vacation, but it’s also true, that by us, for a couple of weeks now, we’re seeing a concentration of patients who were infected on vacation.″ Northern Italy is where Italy’s outbreak began in February, and which registered the highest number of cases and deaths throughout the pandemic.
Two schools in north east Germany close due to new Covid cases amid fears of second wave
Two schools in German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania have closed. One high school closed after a teacher tested positive for coronavirus on Friday. Student at elementary school also closed after student tested positive for virus. The news of the fresh cases in an area of low infection rates comes as a blow as officials are poised to send children back to school in regions across the country
Power Up: Anthony Fauci cautiously supports sending kids back to school
In an interview with Power Up, Anthony S. Fauci cautiously supported the Trump administration's push to reopen elementary and secondary schools — and in some cases, college campuses — this fall. But he leavened his advice by explaining sending kids back into classrooms depends on how bad the virus is in various places. “The default principle should be to try as best you can to get the children back to school,” Fauci told us. “The big, however, and qualifier in there is that you have to have a degree of flexibility. The flexibility means if you look at the map of our country, we are not unidimensional with regard to the level of infection.”
Princeton Scraps Plan to Return Undergraduates to Campus
Princeton University reversed its plan to bring some of its students back on campus for the next term, saying undergraduate classes won’t be held in person because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision means undergraduates from the classes of 2022 and 2024 will not come to campus in late August as previously planned, the school said. “In light of the diminished benefits and increased risks currently associated with residential education amid New Jersey’s battle against the pandemic, we have decided that our undergraduate program should be fully remote in the fall semester of 2020,” Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber said in a letter to the university community.
Six months into Covid, England's quarantine programme is still a mess
On 13 February, 83 British citizens left Arrowe Park hospital, Wirral, after 14 days of isolation, following their evacuation from Wuhan at the end of January. Two weeks was the appropriate quarantine response to potential contacts of a deadly new virus. On the same day, a nurse in Brighton was asked to self-isolate by Public Health England. She had Covid-19 symptoms, and was astonished at PHE’s response: she was sent home wearing a facemask, in a taxi with a driver without a mask. No advice was given about how to stop the spread of the virus. When she called NHS 111, she had to wait 15 hours to get a test. As she later told the Argus newspaper: “I thought there would be a plan in place for something like this, but in my case, I know there wasn’t one.” Six months later, in England, little has changed. People with mild cases of coronavirus and people they have contacted are told, over the phone, to self-isolate. But we have no data about whether they follow these instructions, or comply with the full 14-day period. Many of them will live with others, in crowded accommodation or multigenerational households. Some will be working in the gig economy, where 14 days without pay means a family without income.
Partisan Exits
UK to plunge into deepest slump on record with worst GDP drop of G7
Britain’s economy will be officially declared in recession this week for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, as the coronavirus outbreak plunges the country into the deepest slump on record. Figures from the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday are expected to show that gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic prosperity, fell in the three months to June by 21%.
SLR: Covid-19 withers global sympathy for the ANC
If our acerbic columnist’s cogent argument that the ANC is fast running out of credible international friends to lean on is correct, it might ironically spur on the rampant feeding at the SA trough, now filled with Covid-19 funds. The pandemic has focused the minds of politicians at the helm of formerly friendly countries away from the ANC, whose decrepit behaviour has them at the end of their tether – even China. That leaves the ruling party to lean only on countries whose regimes, Simon Lincoln Reader suggests, are equally decrepit.
NZ PM Ardern launches 'COVID election' campaign promising jobs
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Saturday launched her re-election campaign promising a “laser-like” focus on boosting jobs and economic growth hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The charismatic 40-year-old leader is on track for a comfortable victory in the Sept. 19 election, according to opinion polls, having won global praise for her leadership during the coronavirus pandemic. It has been 99 days since New Zealand had any domestic transmission of COVID-19, a rare achievement as the pandemic rages globally, and it has re-opened the economy after undergoing a complete shutdown to eradicate the coronavirus. “When people ask, is this a COVID election, my answer is yes, it is,” Ardern told her supporters gathered in Auckland for the launch of her Labour Party’s re-election campaign. In her first campaign speech, Ardern pledged a NZ$311 million ($205.32 million) scheme aimed at getting 40,000 Kiwis back in work, if her party wins the Sept 19 polls.
'Your time is up': Thousands protest against Netanyahu over COVID-19 and alleged corruption
Thousands of Israelis rallied outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem on Saturday as anger mounted over corruption allegations and his handling of the coronavirus crisis. “Your time is up”, read the giant letters projected on to a building at the protest site, as demonstrators waved Israeli flags and called on Netanyahu to resign over what they say is his failure to protect jobs and businesses affected by the pandemic. The protest movement has intensified in recent weeks, with critics accusing Netanyahu of being distracted by a corruption case against him. He denies wrongdoing. Netanyahu, who was sworn in for a fifth term in May after a closely fought election, has accused the protesters of trampling democracy and the Israeli media of encouraging dissent.
UK medics protest, seeking pay raise after pandemic struggle
Hundreds of health care workers have rallied in British cities, demanding the government acknowledge their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic with a hefty pay increase
Continued Lockdown
97,000 children reportedly test positive for COVID-19 as schools gear up for instruction
Nearly 100,000 children tested positive for the coronavirus in the last two weeks of July, a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics finds. Just over 97,000 children tested positive for the coronavirus from July 16 to July 30, according to the association. Out of almost 5 million reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S., CBS News' Michael George reports that the group found that more than 338,000 were children. Vanderbilt University's Dr. Tina Hartert hopes increased testing of children will help determine what role they play in transmission, as school districts around the country return to some form of school. She is leading a government-funded study that saw DIY testing kits sent to some 2,000 families.
Whitmer extends coronavirus emergency through Sept. 4
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday extended Michigan’s coronavirus emergency through Sept. 4, enabling her to keep in place restrictions designed to curb the spread of COVID-19. The governor, whose administration earlier this week said new cases had recently plateaued, noted that they still remain higher than nearly two months ago and that many students will return to in-person instruction over the next month. The seven-day statewide average is up six-fold since June 10, to about 700 cases per day, according to an Associated Press analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. The rate of tests coming back positive also has trended higher since early June.
El Salvador supreme court rebukes president's decree to reopen economy
The constitutional chamber of El Salvador’s Supreme Court of Justice on Friday declared an executive decree that would establish protocols for the gradual reopening of the economy as unconstitutional. President Nayib Bukele and Congress have clashed over how to manage the pandemic and the country’s gradual reopening. Bukele had released an executive decree on July 29 that set out a calendar for a gradual reopening of the poor Central American economy. But in its ruling, the court stated that the new measures “contradict constitutional parameters established” earlier to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Eerie sight of thousands of freshly dug graves in Johannesburg cemetery
Fresh graves were photographed at Olifantsveil Cemetery outside Johannesburg. South Africa is not coping with its high amount of coronavirus cases and deaths. Experts believe there are many more cases and deaths going unreported in SA
Scientific Viewpoint
Coronavirus: Face masks reduce severity of symptoms in wearer, scientists find
Earlier this year, researchers in China used hamsters to test the theory, The New York Times reported. They housed coronavirus-infected and healthy animals in adjoining cages, some of which were separated by partitions made of surgical masks. Many of the healthy hamsters behind the partitions were not infected. And those animals that did get the virus became less sick than their “maskless” neighbours. The experts say their findings suggest masks are even more important than previously thought, as they both reduce the virual dose – the amount hitting the face – and the viral load, the amount of infection in the body.
Most Recovered COVID-19 Patients Left With Heart Damage, Study Shows
A new study published Monday in the JAMA Cardiology Journal found that 78 percent of recovered COVID-19 patients had permanent heart damage. The study from the University Hospital Frankfurt examined the cardiovascular MRIs of 100 people who had recovered from the coronavirus. The heart images showed that almost 80 percent of recovered COVID-19 patients had structural changes to their hearts. Sixty percent of patients had ongoing myocardial (heart muscle) inflammation even after recovery. The majority of the patients were not hospitalized and recovered at home, with symptoms ranging from none to moderate.
German-Chinese coronavirus vaccine trial begins
Clinical trials on humans have begun in China for a potential coronavirus vaccine developed by German pharmaceutical group BioNTech with Chinese company Fosun Pharma, the companies said Wednesday. Seventy-two participants have already received their first dose following approval for the phase 1 trial from Chinese regulatory authorities, Mainz-based BioNTech and Fosun Pharma said in a statement. The vaccine candidate, known as BNT162b1, is one of four based on BioNTech's proprietary mRNA technology.
Anakinra for severe forms of COVID-19
There is an urgent need to seek new therapeutic approaches to combat the infective and post-infective stages of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. The Article by Thomas Huet and colleagues1 on the clinical use of the interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor antagonist, anakinra, to treat patients with COVID-19 is very interesting. The main hypothesis of the study was based on hyperinflammation caused by an increase in proinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1β, IL-6, and tumour necrosis factor (TNF), triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection. The recruited participants in this study did not have any other infection, but what if the patients did have another proinflammatory condition, such as obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disease?
Many COVID-19 patients lost their sense of smell. Will they get it back?
In early March, Peter Quagge began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, such as chills and a low-grade fever. As he cut pieces of raw chicken to cook for dinner one night, he noticed he couldn’t smell the meat. “Must be really fresh,” he remembers thinking. But the next morning he couldn’t smell the Dial soap in the shower or the bleach he used to clean the house. “It sounds crazy, but I thought the bleach had gone bad,” he says. When Quagge stuck his head into the bottle and took a long whiff, the bleach burned his eyes and nose, but he couldn’t smell a thing. The inability to smell, or anosmia, has emerged as a common symptom of COVID-19. Quagge was diagnosed with COVID-19, though he was not tested, since tests were not widely available at the time. He sought anosmia treatment with multiple specialists and still has not fully recovered his sense of smell.
Japan, AstraZeneca agree on 120 mil. COVID-19 vaccine dose supply
The Japanese government has reached an agreement with British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc to receive a supply of 120 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine being developed with the University of Oxford, health minister Katsunobu Kato said Friday. The vaccine will be supplied to Japan from next year if put into practical use, with 30 million doses to be received by March. The drugmaker, which has been conducting a final-stage clinical trial of its experimental AZD1222 vaccine, has not yet decided whether it is necessary to inoculate a person once or twice. "We want to reach a final contract as quickly as possible, as well as proceed with negotiating with other vaccine developers," Kato told reporters. Japan has already agreed to receive a supply of 120 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine for 60 million people by the end of June next year from U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech SE, if they succeed in developing it.
New clues on virus reproduction mystery; non-Covid vaccines may help
Scientists already knew that once the virus breaks into a cell, it forms double-membrane sacs, or vesicles, in which it makes copies of its genetic material. But the sacs appeared to be closed and it was previously unclear how the genetic material moved from the sac into the fluid in the cell, where new virus particles assembled themselves.
Wrexham Pharma Base Wins Race to Start Manufacturing Covid-19 Vaccines
A grey little factory in North Wales may be about to play a key part in rescuing us from the tedium of social network face mask shaming, as Wrexham's CP Pharmaceuticals is clearing the decks and preparing to take on the job of manufacturing mass doses of any covid-19 vaccine that aces trials and is deemed safe for the population. CP Pharmaceuticals is a subsidiary of Wockhardt, a multinational responsible for making many generic medical products. Most importantly for the UK's vaccine developers, the deal includes the rights to make millions of doses of the University of Oxford's world-leading attempt at a covid-19 vaccine underway in cooperation with AstraZeneca, known as AZD1222.
Covid-19: lack of diversity threatens to undermine vaccine trials, experts warn
The remarkably fast progress of two leading contenders for an effective coronavirus vaccine has raised hopes the pandemic may be speedily tamed. But some experts have warned the vaccine trials risk being undermined by a lack of diversity among their participants. Last month, the University of Oxford reported a vaccine it is developing with AstraZeneca from a chimpanzee virus elicited a “strong immune response” in people involved in an initial trial. A separate vaccine project, overseen by the US biotech company Moderna, also saw encouraging results from an early small-scale trial. The two research trials, striving to charge ahead of a pack of more than 140 different teams racing to find a vaccine to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, have sparked a rare burst of optimism during the crisis. But the trials are striking not only for their rapid pace but also their overwhelming whiteness.
Anthony Fauci says COVID-19 vaccine may be partially effective
An approved coronavirus vaccine could end up being effective only 50 to 60 percent of the time, meaning public health measures will still be needed to keep the pandemic under control, Dr Anthony Fauci, the top United States infectious diseases expert, said on Friday. "We don't know yet what the efficacy might be. We don't know if it will be 50 percent or 60 percent. I'd like it to be 75 percent or more," Fauci said in a webinar hosted by Brown University. "But the chances of it being 98 percent effective is not great, which means you must never abandon the public health approach."
Rare syndrome linked to COVID-19 found in nearly 600 US ...
Nearly 600 children were admitted to U.S. hospitals with a rare inflammatory syndrome associated with the novel coronavirus over four months during the peak of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a report on Friday. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) is a rare but severe condition that shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, including fever, rashes, swollen glands and, in severe cases, heart inflammation. It has been reported in children and adolescent patients about two to four weeks after the onset of COVID-19. With rising COVID-19 cases, there could be an increased occurrence of MIS-C, but this might not be apparent immediately because of the delay in development of symptoms, said the report's authors, including those from the CDC's COVID-19 response team.
Dogs could sniff out Covid and speed up testing
In the dogged search for mass testing, maybe dogs are the solution. Scientists are calling for volunteers in northwest England to take part in a trial to identify the smells that are unique to Covid-19 infection and then see if dogs can sniff them out. The hope is their sensitive noses will be able to spot the signs of coronavirus without the need for laboratory testing. Dogs could then offer another means of mass screening at airports and in hot spots. In the past decade researchers have found that dogs are able to spot illness before it is even apparent to the people who are sick. This ability was first noticed by owners who claimed that their dogs had spotted they had cancer.
Coronavirus: Chances of COVID vaccine being 98% effective are 'not great', expert warns
An approved coronavirus vaccine may only end up being effective 50% of the time, the top US infectious diseases expert has warned. The chances of a COVID-19 vaccine being almost 100% effective are "not great", Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said on Friday. "We don't know yet what the efficacy might be. We don't know if it will be 50% or 60%. I'd like it to be 75% or more," he told a Brown University webinar.
UK 'heading back into lockdown next month', says government's ex-chief scientist
Britain could be heading for full lockdown again by the end of the month. And the PM must act NOW to prevent it, a former government chief scientific adviser warns today. Sir David King said: “We need a proper test and trace system by September. Otherwise full school opening will put us right back.” Sir David says we are “nowhere near” the safe reopening of schools. He is urging Boris Johnson to “get it right” in August – or face a second wave of coronavirus infections. And he blasted the Government’s track and trace policy as “disastrous”.
Coronavirus: Pubs ‘the perfect storm’ for spreading disease, experts warn
Pubs create the “perfect storm” for spreading coronavirus and carry more risk than planes, experts have found. Indoor pub drinkers are potentially subjecting themselves to a build-up of infected droplets caused by poor ventilation and people having continuous conversations, often speaking more loudly to be heard over the din of a noisy bar, the academics warn. Households mixing in pubs and homes has been blamed for a rise in Covid-19 cases in Preston, leading to lockdown restrictions being reimposed there.
Bill Gates Says U.S. Virus Testing Has ‘Mind-Blowing’ Problems
Microsoft Corp. founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said it’s “mind-blowing” that the U.S. government hasn’t improved Covid-19 testing that he described as slow and lacking fair access. “You’re paying billions of dollars in this very inequitable way to get the most worthless test results of any country in the world,” Gates said on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on Sunday. “No other country has this testing insanity.” “A variety of early missteps by the U.S. and then the political atmosphere meant that we didn’t get our testing going,” he said.
Pfizer agrees to manufacture Gilead's coronavirus drug remdesivir
Pfizer has agreed to manufacture and supply Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug remdesivir. The multiyear agreement will support efforts to scale up the supply of the intravenous drug. Pfizer will manufacture the drug at its McPherson, Kansas, facility.
Fatigue plagues thousands suffering post-coronavirus symptoms
In early March, as angst about Covid-19 was growing, Layth Hishmeh remained unconcerned. At 26, having never been seriously unwell, he felt pretty confident this new virus would barely affect him and would even joke about it with colleagues. Then he caught it. After recovering from the initial fortnight of coughing and fever, he collapsed on the street while out shopping. For the next four months he has been ambushed by a baffling array of symptoms, including extreme fatigue, a foggy brain, a raised heartbeat and diarrhoea. “I couldn’t sit up for about one month, and then I couldn’t get myself to the bathroom for another month,” he said. “I’m not doing so well on the mental front at the moment, it’s traumatising” Mr Hishmeh, who lives in Camberley, Surrey, is one of tens of thousands of people worldwide who have reported severe fatigue and other, apparently uncorrelated, symptoms for months after contracting Covid-19.
Coronavirus Resurgence
Hawaii reinstates coronavirus restrictions: 'There's no question that the virus is surging'
Hawaii Gov. David Ige will reinstate restrictions to curb the spread of the coronvirus as cases in the state continue to grow. Ige said he will reinstate inter-island travel restrictions beginning on Tuesday, ordering travelers arriving in Kauai, Hawaii, Maui and Kalawao counties to quarantine for 14 days. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the almost 300 city and county parks on the island of Oahu will close beginning Friday through Sept. 5, including the beaches.
The Philippines government could use COVID-19 outbreak to crack down on dissent, critics warn
The Philippines became the Southeast Asian country with the highest number of coronavirus cases on Thursday, the same week it reimposed strict lockdown measures to try to curb its surging outbreak. The measures came after the government passed sweeping new anti-terror legislation that rights groups say is so vague it could be used to silence critics of its pandemic response. The Philippines now has at least 122,754 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,168 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. On Saturday, 80 medical associations called for another lockdown, saying health care workers needed a "time out" as hospitals struggled to handle a five-fold increase in infections. "If you want to resign or if you're too lazy, government personnel will help you and they will work," President Rodrigo Duterte said, lashing out at medical personnel. "I can ask my soldiers and police officers to work 28 hours a day," he said.
Coronavirus Vietnam: The mysterious resurgence of Covid-19
Hawaii Gov. David Ige will reinstate restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus as cases in the state continue to climb and state health officials predict more deaths and hospitalizations in the weeks to come. “There is no question that the virus is surging in our state, and I know that many are worried about their health,” Ige said at a press briefing Thursday. “As we reopened our community, people let their guard down. It’s been very disappointing.”
Austria the latest country to issue a travel alert for Spain amid Covid-19 resurgence
The Austrian government has advised against all non-essential travel to Spain over coronavirus fears. The travel alert will come into effect Monday and will be applied to continental Spain
New Lockdown
Australian state records 466 cases, 12 deaths
The Australian state of Victoria recorded 466 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths, including another man in his 30s. The figures were released as the city of Melbourne remained in lockdown and under an overnight curfew. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said that six of the deaths were connected to outbreaks at aged care facilities. On Friday, when the state reported 450 new cases and 11 deaths, the chief health officer said the coronavirus infection rate in the hard-hit state had been “relatively flat” in the past week. That was down from a record 725 infections reported a week earlier
Havana back on lockdown as coronavirus rebounds
Cuba placed Havana back on a strict lockdown on Saturday following a rebound in coronavirus cases, ordering restaurants, bars and pools once more to close, suspending public transportation and banning access to the beach. Cuba, which has been hailed as a rare success story in Latin America for its textbook handling and containment of its coronavirus outbreak, had eased lockdown restrictions last month after cases dwindled to but a handful per day. But they have risen back to April levels over the past two weeks, with the health ministry reporting 59 cases on Saturday and saying the situation could become “uncontrollable” if authorities did not act fast. “We are witnessing a new epidemiological outbreak that puts our entire population at risk,” Cuban Health Minister José Angel Portal said during a daily coronavirus briefing on Saturday.
Coronavirus: Stricter measures introduced in Preston
Lockdown measures have been reintroduced in Preston after a rise in Covid-19 cases. Residents in the Lancashire city face stricter restrictions, which include banning separate households from meeting each other at home. The council had already asked residents to follow extra precautions in a bid to halt the spread of the virus. The move brings Preston in line with measures in east Lancashire, Greater Manchester and parts of west Yorkshire. Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the restrictions in these areas would remain in place "as the data does not yet show a decrease in the transmission of this terrible virus". Any changes to the measures will be announced by 14 August following a review next week, he added. He said the decision to extend the restrictions to Preston was "at the request of the local area".