| |

"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 7th Sep 2020

News Highlights

Covid-19 fuelling India's malnutrition crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic is worsening the pre-existing malnutrition crisis in India. The southeast Asian nation - now having confirmed more than four million Covid-19 cases thus far - risks as many as 12,000 deaths due to starvation, according to Oxfam. The government says it is spending U.S.$2 billion to provide rice, lentils and wheat to 800,000 of its 1.3 billion+ citizens.

Brazil cases at four million and rising, but tests go unused

Brazil confirmed more than four million cases of Covid-19 towards the end of last week. Despite the surge in cases, fewer than one-third of tests available are used, alleges one newspaper. President Jair Bolsonaro has been critiqued for his response to the pandemic - including a recent statement opposing compulsory Covid-19 vaccination

Promising results in early Russian vaccine trials

Amidst the global race for a Covid-19 vaccine, early-phase trials in Russia have reportedly yielded positive results. The Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Sputnik-V, became the centre of controversy when it was first announced last month, due to a lack of Phase 3 trials before its efficacy was touted. However, two smaller trials suggest a double protection through T-cell responses within 42 days according to findings published in The Lancet.

Without masks, the U.S. could lose more than 400,000 lives in the months to come

The next four months could see a surge in U.S. deaths due to Covid-19 should there be a decline in mask use. The wearing of facemasks has been encouraged as a preventative measure against the virus. Yet by January 1st, an ease in restrictions including reduced wearing of face masks could mean more than 410,000 deaths health experts have warned. A herd immunity strategy could mean 620,000 deaths, they add.

Lockdown Exit
Tiny village offers window into India's surging COVID-19 caseload
The quaint, sugarcane growing village of Rajewadi in India's west did not have a single case of confirmed coronavirus until mid-August. Now one in every four people there is positive for the virus, with police blaming a local religious event for the spread.
COVID-19 outbreak is worsening malnutrition in India
There are warnings the world is on the brink of a "hunger pandemic". Charity Oxfam says up to 12,000 people could starve to death each day because of coronavirus-related restrictions. In India, malnutrition is already a threat to life - and the United Nations says the pandemic is making that worse.
Under the cloak of Covid, the government is rushing ill-considered changes to Australia's environment laws
It seems our leaders don’t want tricky environmental matters elevated to them, so they plan to flick responsibility to the states
Brazil's coronavirus cases pass the four million mark: ministry
Brazil has recorded more than 4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 43,773 new cases and 834 deaths from the disease caused by the virus reported in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday.
India crosses four million coronavirus cases with record surge
India's total coronavirus cases surged beyond 4 million with a record rise on Saturday, making it the third country in the world to surpass that mark, following the United States and Brazil. India added 86,432 cases of the new virus on Saturday, a global daily record, according to data from the federal health ministry.
Hundreds of students in quarantine after university in U.S. finds COVID-19 in wastewater
While schools and universities across the U.S. monitor coronavirus outbreaks with human testing, Utah State University officials announced they've discovered evidence of the virus a different way. The school found elevated amounts of COVID-19 in wastewater samples collected from four residence halls on campus. Officials issued a safety alert on Sunday calling for mandatory testing and quarantine of all 287 students living in Rich, Jones, Morgan and Davis on-campus residence halls.
Indiana University sees 'alarming' spike in COVID-19 at frat, sorority houses
Indiana University at Bloomington on Thursday urged students living in fraternity and sorority houses to move out, citing an alaraming rate of positive Covid-19 tests that marked the latest outbreak in the U.S. Midwest and at college campus.
The bleak Covid winter? America still not on course to beat back the virus
The US is closed for many outside its borders, and many within are too scared to fly as Covid continues its deadly sweep across the country. The rate of infection has eased in Florida and elsewhere and Pesquera, president of the marketing group Discover the Palm Beaches, is hopeful business is improving. But it comes in a year of catastrophic collapse for Florida’s tourism. “Nobody has seen anything like this in a couple of generations,” said Pesquera. As the US enters its first coronavirus winter, economists and epidemiologists see a pivotal moment – a hinge whose swing will determine the direction of the economy and the course of the disease into 2021 and for years – potentially generations – to come
US university workers fight a return to campus as COVID-19 cases grow
A wave of activism is sweeping US campuses that have reopened after their summer break amid the COVID-19 crisis. Across the country, university workers — including faculty members and staff who teach in classrooms and laboratories, and housekeeping staff who clean dormitories — are pushing back against requirements that they show up on campus alongside undergraduates, thereby, they say, risking their own health. One group has filed a lawsuit against the University of North Carolina (UNC) system, which includes 16 institutions across the state, claiming that the system has not provided a safe workplace for its staff. Others have staged protests — including ‘die-ins’, in which demonstrators have simulated coronavirus deaths — to demand remote classes and more COVID-19 testing. In one case, university faculty members passed a ‘no confidence’ vote to indicate that their chancellor had neglected their concerns and botched the institution’s reopening.
U.S. CDC reports 186,173 deaths from coronavirus
The CDC on Friday said the number of deaths die to the cornoavirus has risen by 1,081 to 186, 173 and there were 6,132, 074 reported cases, an increase of 44,671 cases from the previous count.
Exit Strategies
China and India vie for clout in Bangladesh with COVID vaccines
China and India are competing to deliver coronavirus vaccines to Bangladesh in a diplomatic offensive carefully choreographed to expand their influence in the densely populated South Asian nation. Last month, Bangladesh cleared the way for privately owned Chinese company Sinovac Biotech to conduct a stage three clinical trial of its CoronaVac vaccine. Dhaka-based clinical research institute icddr,b will conduct the trial and said Wednesday that a conditional deal is in place for the vaccine to be produced locally. "If the CoronaVac vaccine is successful, it has been agreed with Sinovac that a local competent vaccine manufacturer in Bangladesh will be selected and enabled through a license from Sinovac to manufacture the vaccine in Bangladesh," they told the Nikkei Asian Review in a written response to questions.
'Worst is yet to come': India coronavirus cases top four million
India became the third country to cross four million coronavirus cases on Saturday, also setting a new global record for a daily surge in infections and closing in on Brazil's total as the second-highest in the world. The 86,432 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India's total to 4,023,179. Brazil has confirmed 4,091,801 infections while the United States has 6,200,186 people infected, according to Johns Hopkins University
Global Covid-19 death tally crosses 875,000
Researchers in Costa Rica are due to begin trials of an inexpensive coronavirus treatment based on antibodies taken from horses injected with the SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to scientists. Developed by University of Costa Rica's Clodomiro Picado Institute (ICP), the equine antibodies medication is to be tested on 26 patients from mid-September, Roman Macaya, president of the Social Security Fund that manages public health centers, told Reuters. Costa Rican authorities hope to be able to begin applying the treatment more widely in hospitals if the results from the phase 2 study are encouraging. There are 471 hospitalized coronavirus patients in Costa Rica.
Depression triples in US adults amid COVID-19 stressors
COVID-19 has tripled the rate of depression in US adults in all demographic groups—especially in those with financial worries—and the rise is much higher than after previous major traumatic events, according to a study published yesterday in JAMA Network Open. Led by researchers from Boston University, the study involved data from 1,441 respondents to a COVID-19 Life Stressors Impact on Mental Health and Well-Being survey, which was conducted Mar 31 to Apr 13, when 96% of the country was under coronavirus-related lockdowns.
Lack of staff, funds and tools: health officials worry the US isn’t ready for Covid vaccines
“We haven’t gotten a lot of information about how this is going to roll out,” said Umair Shah, executive director of Texas’ Harris county public health department, which includes Houston. In a four-page memo this summer, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told health departments across the country to draft vaccination plans by 1 October “to coincide with the earliest possible release of Covid-19 vaccine”.
Hospitalisations rise as France's daily COVID-19 cases hit record
French health authorities reported 8,975 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, setting an all-time high of daily additional infections since the disease started to spread in the country at the end of the winter. The number of people hospitalised for the disease, while still well below its April 14 peak of 32,292, has gone up for the sixth day running, at 4,671. The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections stood at 30,686 and the cumulative number of cases now totals 309,156.
France closes 22 schools days after reopening due to Covid-19 outbreaks
The French government has shut 22 schools in metropolitan France and the overseas territory of Réunion due to fresh cases of Covid-19. Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer insisted that back-to-school had gone smoothly for the vast majority, but parent associations are concerned that too much is being left up to families to manage. "The health protocol is working," assured Blanquer, speaking to Europe 1 radio on Friday morning, marking the end of the first week since the new school year began. "There are 22 establishments which have had to close due to cases or suspected cases of Covid-19," he said, "Twelve of those were in mainland France and 10 in the overseas territory of Reunion Island."
French parents: school's back and already we have COVID cases
Covid-19 has forced the closure of a dozen schools in France just days into the new academic year, the government said on Friday, as coronavirus cases surge in parts of the country
Long waits for covid tests cause tension in France
France is now testing over 1 million people per week for Covid-19, but around the country there are reports of long waits and rising tensions between medical staff and patients.
Coronavirus: Even limited use of contact-tracing apps has effects, says study
Contact-tracing apps reduce transmissions and deaths even at very low levels of adoption, according to a new study from the University of Oxford and Google. The study provides reassurance regarding the value of coronavirus contact-tracing apps, which some had suggested would need to be used by 60% of the population to be effective. But the research emphasises that digital notifications to people who may have been exposed to the virus still work best when complemented by manual contact tracing, when researchers take histories from patients to find out who they had been in close contact with.
Australia should attempt to drive coronavirus cases to ZERO, former health boss says
Australia should drive new COVID-19 cases to zero, public policy think tank says The Grattan Institute report said 'short-term pain' will pay off on the other side Zero cases means Australia can avoid reimposed lockdowns and more deaths
Partisan Exits
No, there will be no COVID-19 vaccine before Election Day — and it’ll take two years to vaccinate the US: doctor
According to Dr. Jonathan Reiner, George Washington University professor of Medicine, don’t hold your breath on Trump’s claims. “First of all, no vaccine will be distributed before Election Day,” he said frankly. “Even if we identify a vaccine, which looks both safe and effective, the distribution plan will be really complex. First of all, these vaccines require subzero storage. So, you need a supply chain that can do that. We’ll have to pick who gets the vaccine first. Health care workers, the elderly, nursing homes, people at risk. There is an elaborate plan that will go into this. So, it’s will take a while to get the vaccine into people, and vaccination will take probably two years to vaccinate the country.”
‘PM must explain why India failed’: Chidambaram targets govt on Covid-19, economy
“PM Modi who promised that we will defeat coronavirus in 21 days must explain why India failed when other countries seem to have succeeded,” Chidambaram said in a tweet.
Lockdown protesters defy police as Australia COVID-19 cases ease
Protesters against a COVID-19 lockdown defied police in Australia's hotspot on Saturday (Sep 5), prompting over a dozen arrests, even as the state of Victoria continued its gradual improvement in stemming new cases due to the nearly five weeks of restrictions. Ignoring official warnings and public health orders, several hundred people gathered at an illegal protest - promoted by several virus related conspiracy theory groups online - calling for an end to lockdown measures. "It is not safe, it is not smart, it is not lawful. In fact, it is absolutely selfish for people to be out there protesting," state Premier Daniel Andrews told a news conference.
Brazil leader rapped for stirring doubt on COVID-19 vaccine
Critics of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro are again speaking out against the leader’s stance on the coronavirus pandemic, this time rejecting his view that vaccination for the virus shouldn’t be mandatory.
U.S. will not 'cut corners' in developing coronavirus vaccine, Pence says
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday that the Trump administration would not cut corners in making a vaccine for the coronavirus available, although it wants to move as fast as possible to deliver something that is safe and effective.
French professor faces being struck off over his claims of coronavirus 'cure'
The controversial French professor who vigorously defended the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to help beat coronavirus has been targeted by an ethics complaint that could see him face sanctions or barred from practising, a medical association said on Thursday. The Marseille-based Didier Raoult is accused in the complaint by medical peers of spreading false information about the benefits of hydroxychloroquine. US and Brazilian presidents Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro seized upon Raoult's promotion of hydroxychloroquine and have trumpeted its benefits since the pandemic erupted. But the method and conclusions of Raoult's studies were challenged from the start by critics and other scientists who said they had not been peer reviewed and were observational, not controlled.
Brazil’s Bolsonaro under fire for not pushing mandatory coronavirus vaccine
Critics of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro are again speaking out against the leader’s stance on the coronavirus pandemic, this time rejecting his view that vaccination for the virus shouldn’t be mandatory. Bolsonaro’s first such comments came Monday, when he told a supporter, “No one can force anyone to get a vaccine.” He repeated it Thursday night during a live broadcast on Facebook, adding his opposition to administering vaccines that are yet to be proven on Brazilian soil.
Continued Lockdown
Covid-19 impact on personal hygiene industry and its future in India
In an ideal world, people should be able to do the right things and focus on the right areas as a default approach. However, the reality is quite different. Despite there being ample emphasis on personal hygiene and no lack of medical as well as scientific evidence to highlight its importance, hygiene practices failed to make a major impact in India. Eventually, a pandemic of the magnitude of Covid-19 made people notice this need and take steps to adopt personal hygiene practices. This realization and the importance of basic hygiene practices such as washing hands dawned suddenly. Hand sanitizers, face masks, disinfectants etc. are crucial components of our defense against the virus until a vaccine is found.
Lockdown protesters defy police as Australia coronavirus cases ease
Protestors against a Covid-19 lockdown defied police in Australia's hotpsot on Saturday, prompting 15 arrests, even as the state of Victoria continued its gradual improvement in stemming new cases due to the nearly five weeks of restrictions
Coronavirus: Australia extends ban on people leaving the country until December
A ban on Australians leaving the country because of the coronavirus pandemic has been extended until mid-December. The "Human Biosecurity Emergency Period" has been in place since March and prevents Australian citizens or permanent residents from leaving the nation's shores. It can only be circumvented with permission from the government, which must be approved beforehand. Residents of other countries, offshore freights and boats, essential workers and government officials are excluded from the measure, which also prevents international cruise ships with 100 or more passengers from docking on the country's ports.
Brazil Hands Out So Much Covid Cash That Poverty Nears a Low
Brazil, which has suffered one of the world’s worst pandemic tolls, has responded to the crisis by distributing so much cash directly to citizens that poverty and inequality are approaching national historic lows. Some 66 million people, 30% of the population, have been getting 600 reais ($110) a month, making it the most ambitious social program ever undertaken in Brazil, a shocking shift under President Jair Bolsonaro who railed against welfare, dismissed the virus -- and now finds himself newly popular.
In the Amazon, the coronavirus fuels an illegal gold rush — and an environmental crisis
Alessandro Souza is a gold hunter. He chases it deep into protected Indigenous lands in the Amazon rainforest, traveling days by foot and canoe, and doesn't emerge until his pockets are full. Sometimes he's gone two months. Sometimes six. The only certainty is that he'll be back, because hunting gold is his business, and business is booming. “Today’s market quote,” Souza messaged his WhatsApp group, Goldminers Without Borders, one recent day: Gold was going for nearly $1,800 an ounce. Souza posted an arrow pointing skyward.
Indigenous communities in Brazil equipped with a “Covid-19 Alert” to keep track of the pandemic
Indigenous and environmental organizations in Brazil launched an app on Friday aimed at alerting indigenous communities to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in their lands. “The application maps and periodically updates the situation regarding the pandemic in cities within a 100 kilometer radius of indigenous lands,” said the Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB) and the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) in a joint statement. The app, called “Covid-19 Indigenous Alert” aims to help indigenous people identify areas with high infection rates. Provided free on the Android system, the app uses data from Brazil's health ministry, people working in the indigenous health system, leaders from indigenous organizations and the COIAB network.
Scientific Viewpoint
Covid: Australia hopes to roll out almost 85 million vaccine doses
Australia says it will secure almost 85 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine if two promising trials prove successful. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the country had struck two deals that would allow free doses to be rolled out in 2021 if they were approved for use. Mr Morrison estimated the cost to be A$1.7bn (£0.9bn; $1.24bn). Australia's 25 million people could begin receiving doses from January but there were "no guarantees", he said. "However the agreement puts Australia at the top of the queue, if our medical experts give the vaccines the green light," the prime minister said. One vaccine is from Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, while the other is a local one from the University of Queensland and CSL
India to Make Covid-19 Vaccine Available to Friendly Neighbors
Indian pharmaceutical companies will be among the largest producers of a coronavirus vaccine once it is available and will ensure supplies to friendly nations in the neighborhood, said Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla. India’s relations with Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have never been better “contrary to impressions,” Shringla said Friday at a foreign policy seminar in New Delhi. The South Asian nation, which is engaged in a border confrontation with China since early May, continues to remain open to dialog with Beijing, he said.
India will supply coronavirus vaccines to the world — will its people benefit?
As scientists edge closer to creating a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, Indian pharmaceutical companies are front and centre in the race to supply the world with an effective product. But researchers worry that, even with India’s experience as a vaccine manufacturer, its companies will struggle to produce enough doses sufficiently fast to bring its own huge outbreak under control. On top of that, it will be an immense logistical challenge to distribute the doses to people in rural and remote regions. Indian drug companies are major manufacturers of vaccines distributed worldwide, particularly those for low-income countries, supplying more than 60% of vaccines supplied to the developing world. Because of this, they are likely to gain early access to any COVID-19 vaccine that works, says Sahil Deo, co-founder of India’s CPC Analytics in Pune, which is studying vaccine distribution in the country.
Is India missing COVID-19 deaths?
Experts have questioned shortcomings and lack of clarity in vital registration, testing practices, and classification of COVID-19 deaths. Patralekha Chatterjee reports from New Delhi. India has had 3·6 million cases of COVID-19, the third most in the world after the USA and Brazil, with 65 288 officially confirmed deaths from the disease as of Sept 1, 2020. The Indian Government says that the national recovery rate has reached 77% and the case fatality rate is down to 1·8%, due to “timely and effective clinical management of the patients in critical care” according to an official statement on Aug 30. However, experts who spoke with The Lancet have pointed to several sources of uncertainty in India's COVID-19 mortality data.
Nine-year-old boy becomes first Australian to be struck by 'rare COVID-related illness'
A nine-year-old boy has been admitted to Monash Hospital with a rare disease. PIMS-TS is a potentially deadly COVID-related illness which effects children The young boy is the first patient in Australia to contract the mysterious illness
Children's inflammatory illness associated with coronavirus emerges in Australia. Here's what we know about it
A rare inflammatory condition found in children and associated with COVID-19 has emerged in Australia, with one case confirmed so far. The illness, known as Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome (PIMS-TS), was first recorded in areas with large coronavirus outbreaks overseas earlier this year. The condition is mentioned alongside Kawasaki disease, which is also rare and potentially severe, because it has similar symptoms. Experts stress the illness is very rare but the emergence of the condition earlier this year, and the deaths of children overseas, has prompted concerns.
Coronavirus found in South Australia's sewage as the state records first case in 12 days
Wastewater testing has found traces of coronavirus in South Australia's sewage. The state recorded one new case for the first time in 12 days on Saturday. Victorian woman tried to travel through Adelaide Airport to Alice Springs. She tested positive to coronavirus in hotel quarantine late on Friday evening
COVID-19 - Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency (ANVISA) authorizes Dompé's REPAVID-19, a Phase 2 Clinical Trial for Treatment of Severe Patients
Reparixin inhibits the action of interleukin 8 (IL-8), one of the inflammatory signaling proteins that is thought to be associated with the lung injury seen in patients with SARS-CoV2 infection. Consequently, this action is aimed to be useful in the treatment of COVID-19 pneumonia patients. The treatment is based on Reparixin oral tablets 1200 mg TID till 21 days, in case of confirmed improvement after 7 days. REPAVID-19 will enroll 48 for Phase 2, 111 for Phase 3 with severe COVID-19 pneumonia randomized 2:1 in the Phase 2, and the results will inform the study design for the Phase 3. The study involves a minimum of 10 Brazilian centers. Following successful completion of Phase 2, Dompé has prepared a rapid transition into a Phase 3 program, to begin once data from Phase 2 are positively evaluated, and to be extended to multiple US centers.
Brazil's COVID-19 total tops 4 million; global vaccine plan gains steam
In global COVID-19 developments, Brazil passed the 4-million-case mark, and World Health Organization (WHO) officials said more developed countries have joined the COVAX initiative, a promising sign for a tool designed to support vaccine development and allocate doses fairly. The global total today climbed to 26,427,137 cases, and 870,948 people have died from their infections, according to the Johns Hopkins online dashboard.
Brazil uses less than a third of available coronavirus tests, newspaper says
Seven months after Brazil declared a state of emergency because of the new coronavirus pandemic, the country's Health Ministry has distributed less than a third of the 22.9 million available RT-PCR test kits, O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper reported on Friday.
COVID-19: Singapore to prioritise vaccination of higher-risk groups, those more likely exposed to virus
Once COVID-19 vaccines become available, Singapore's approach will be to protect those at higher risk or people who may be more likely to be exposed to infection, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Friday (Sep 4). He was responding to a question from Member of Parliament Murali Pillai on what the Government's strategy is for vaccinating Singaporeans and residents. MP Ang Wei Neng had also asked what the country's COVID-19 vaccine plans are. In his written reply, Mr Gan said: "Our vaccination approach aims to protect individuals who are more vulnerable or at higher risk from the disease, as well as those who may be more likely exposed to infection, while progressively expanding the coverage of vaccination to our population." Mr Gan noted that the vaccination strategy and schedule would depend on several factors, including the suitability of different vaccines for different groups, as well as the quantity of vaccines available.
Russian Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Yields Promising Early Results
Two early-phase Russian coronavirus vaccine trials have produced promising results, with participants experiencing no serious adverse effects and evidence of an antibody response. Controversy greeted the announcement last month that Russia had approved the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine – before it had completed final “phase 3” clinical trials.
Pfizer sees COVID-19 vaccine data in thick of U.S. election fight
U.S. drugmaker Pfizer should know in October if a Covid-19 vaccine it is developing works, CEO Albert Bourla said on Thursday, Potentially placing it at the centre of a bitter U.S. presidential politics dispute ahead of the Nov 3 election.
Explained: What a study from China tells us about airborne transmission in public transport
A new study published in the journal JAMA Network suggests airborne transmission in a bus in China led to one infected individual spreading of COVID-19 to 23 other fellow passengers. Analysing community transmission in China’s Zhejiang province, the study reports that 128 individuals took two buses on January 19, 2020 — 60 in bus 1 and 68 in bus 2 — on a 100 minute round trip to attend a 150-minute worship event. The source patient was a passenger on bus 2 and both the buses had central air conditioners functioning in indoor recirculation mode. Among these 128 individuals, 15 were men, 113 were women with a mean age of 58.6 years. On bus 2, 24 individuals turned out to be positive after the event, while none of the individuals in bus 1 were affected. Seven others who turned positive after the outdoor event had all come close to the index patient.
Covid-19: CDC says vaccine is coming before November US election
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has told public health departments in all 50 US states and five large cities to get ready to distribute a covid-19 vaccine by 1 November, two days before the US presidential election on 3 November. President Donald Trump said on 27 August during the Republican convention that a vaccine might well be ready by the end of October. On the same day Robert Redfield, head of the CDC, sent the letter alerting public health departments.Health and human services secretary Alex Azar said in a television interview, “It has nothing to do with elections. This has to do with delivering safe, effective vaccines to the American people as quickly as possible and saving people’s lives." Several public health experts, including Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, previously said that it was more likely that a vaccine would be available in 2021. However, Fauci said on 1 September that a vaccine might be available earlier if the independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board decides that the ongoing clinical trials show overwhelmingly positive results. On 3 September Moncef Slaoui, the White House’s chief vaccine programme adviser, said it was “extremely unlikely but not impossible” that a vaccine would be available by late October.
US backs Roche's Covid-19-flu differentiation test
Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche said Friday (September 4)it had received the green light in the United States for emergency use of a diagnostic test differentiating between coronavirus and influenza. Amid fears the flu season will place additional burdens on health system, authorities are keen to see tests which can distinguish coronavirus from other seasonal illnesses, notably flu.
US officials assure COVID vaccine decisions won't be political
After news broke earlier this week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked states to prepare for vaccine distribution as early as the end of October, many skeptics feared the vaccine was being rushed as part of Trump's re-election campaign. "There is a very, very low chance that the trials that are running as we speak could read before the end of October, and therefore there could be—if all other conditions required for an emergency use authorization are met and approved," said Moncef Slaoui, PhD, chief adviser for Operation Warp Speed, in an interview with National Public Radio. "I think it's extremely unlikely but not impossible, and therefore it's the right thing to do to be prepared in case."
US university workers fight a return to campus as COVID-19 cases grow
A wave of activism is sweeping US campuses that have reopened after their summer break amid the COVID-19 crisis. Across the country, university workers — including faculty members and staff who teach in classrooms and laboratories, and housekeeping staff who clean dormitories — are pushing back against requirements that they show up on campus alongside undergraduates, thereby, they say, risking their own health. One group has filed a lawsuit against the University of North Carolina (UNC) system, which includes 16 institutions across the state, claiming that the system has not provided a safe workplace for its staff. Others have staged protests — including ‘die-ins’, in which demonstrators have simulated coronavirus deaths — to demand remote classes and more COVID-19 testing. In one case, university faculty members passed a ‘no confidence’ vote to indicate that their chancellor had neglected their concerns and botched the institution’s reopening.
Sanofi France chief: future COVID-19 vaccine seen below 10 euros
A coronavirus vaccine that Sanofi is developing with GlaxoSmithKline is likely to be priced at less than 10 euros per shot if it is approved for use, Sanofi's chief in France said on Saturday. "the price is not totally set...We are assessing production costs for the coming months...We will be below 10 euros," Olivier Bogillot told France Inter radio
US Surgeon General, vaccine czar, say covid shot by election 'improbable'
US Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams said it is 'not probable' that a COVID-19 vaccine will be ready by November 1 - two days before the election. He said CDC guidance telling states to prepare for vaccinations to arrive by the end of October were sent so they are ready 'in case' of an early approval. Vaccine czar Dr Moncef Slaoui told NPR there is a 'very very low chance' of a shot being ready by Halloween and promised to resign if there is 'undue interference'
This is the state of COVID-19 vaccine development now
There are 321 confirmed COVID-19 vaccine candidates, 32 of which have already entered clinical trials. Plus, India’s vaccine production paradox
Glaxo and Sanofi start human trials in the US of coronavirus vaccine
A coronavirus vaccine being developed by a partnership involving one of Britain’s biggest drug companies has begun human trials. Glaxosmithkline and Sanofi, of France, are enrolling 440 healthy adults in the trial at 11 locations in the United States to test the safety, immune response and tolerability of the treatment. The results are expected as soon as early December, which would be the cue for a larger, late-stage trial before the end of the year. If the trials are successful, the companies plan to seek regulatory approval for the vaccine in the first half of next year.
COVID-19 Heart Problems: What Is the Pandemic Doing to Us?
The stairs have become my daily Everest. Just six months ago, the steep climb to my fourth-floor walk-up in Brooklyn was a nuisance only when I was carrying bags of groceries. Now, every time I mount those 53 steps, no matter how slowly, even if I’m empty-handed, my heart rate shoots up to marathon-level. I can actually feel the thud-thud in my throat. Sometimes I have to pause between landings to lie on the floor and stick my feet up in the air to avoid passing out.
Brazil's Tecpar to test Russian COVID-19 vaccine on 10,000 people in early 2021
The technology institute fo the Brazilian state of Parana, which has signed an agreement to produce Russia's Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, said on Friday it plans to conduct Phase III trials on 10,000 volunteers in Brazil at the start of next year
Coronavirus Resurgence
COVID-19: 'India Witnessing Second Wave in Some Regions', Claims AIIMS Chief; Says Pandemic Will Not End Any Time Soon
As India’s tally of coronavirus cases crossed 4 million, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr Randeep Guleria asserted that the daily cases will continue to rise for some more months since the country is witnessing a second wave of Covid-19 in some of the regions.
Coronavirus India highlights: Centre to deploy medical teams in DR Congo, South Sudan to help combat Covid-19
With over 80,000 cases and more than 1,000 deaths for yet another day, the Covid-19 tally in India on Friday rose to 3,936,747 with 68.472 fatalities, latest data by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare showed.
Coronavirus Shatters India's Economy
The hit that India’s dreams have taken from the coronavirus pandemic can be found in the hushed streets of Surat’s industrial zone. You can see it in textile mills that took generations to build but are now sputtering, eking out about a tenth of the fabric they used to make. You can see it in the lean faces of the families who used to sew the finishing touches on saris but, with so little business, are now cutting back on vegetables and milk. You can see it in the empty barbershops and mobile phone stores, which shoppers have deserted as their meager savings dwindle to nothing.
Indonesia reports higher COVID-19 death rate among children than United States
The percentage of child deaths per total COVID-19 deaths is also high in Indonesia. Children accounted for 1.9 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in which victims’ age were provided. Given the high share of children among COVID-19 fatalities in the country, concerns have been raised over the government’s plan to allow more schools in low-risk areas to reopen
Will Labor Day weekend in US mean another coronavirus spike?
As people across the United States head into the Labor Day long weekend on Friday, public health officials are warning not to make the same mistakes they did on previous holidays. The fear is that backyard parties, crowded bars and other gatherings could lead to a surge in coronavirus cases across the country, which has reported almost 6.2 million cases of the virus and about 187,000 related deaths since the pandemic began. "I look upon the Labor Day weekend really as a critical point," said Dr Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious disease expert.
The US coronavirus death toll is projected to reach 410,000 in the next 4 months if mask use wanes
More than 410,000 people in the US could die from the coronavirus by January 1, more than doubling the current death toll, a new model often cited by top health officials predicted Friday. That would mean 224,000 more lives lost in the US over the next four months.
UK concern at rising Covid-19 hospital cases in France
The British government is “worried” about a rise in Covid-19 hospital admissions in France and Spain, concerned that young people could be infecting the more vulnerable. However, health secretary Matt Hancock argued that the implementation of a “package” of protective measures such as social distancing could prevent a similar surge in cases from occurring in the UK.
France sees rise in Covid-19 deaths and hospital admission numbers
The number of Covid-19 patients being admitted to hospital intensive care units and dying are on the rise in France after another 7,157 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours. The number of new cases of the virus reported in France has been rising 'exponentially' for several weeks now, from around 500 cases per day in mid July to 7,000 a day in recent days. However until last week although case numbers were rising sharply, the number of people getting seriously ill or dying with the virus stayed stable, prompting some to hope that the virus had weakened and become milder. But over the last week France has reported a small but steady growth in two key areas; the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care and the number of people dying with the virus.
Coronavirus: France closes schools due to COVID-19 as country records Europe's highest daily infection rate
Twenty-two schools have been shut down in France and the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion due to coronavirus as cases soar in the country. More than 12 million pupils returned to classrooms in France on Tuesday but some parents and teachers' unions have expressed concern over the reopening of schools as the spread of COVID-19 accelerates.
France sets daily record of 9,000 new coronavirus cases
France recorded almost 9,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, setting a record since the beginning of the pandemic, while more people were also hospitalised as a result of the disease. Health authorities said in a statement that there had been 8,975 new confirmed cases, almost 1,500 higher than the previous March 31 daily peak of 7,578, when France was in one of Europe’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns. The surge in parts of France, which is partially due to increased testing, has meant a dozen schools have been forced to close just days into the new academic year.
Iraqis protest as hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients
Medical school graduates and health workers have protested in Iraq's capital over a shortage of equipment to tackle COVID-19 - and also a lack of jobs. Coronavirus cases have risen with a record 5,000 new infections on Friday. The health ministry says hospitals are overwhelmed with rising numbers.
New Lockdown
Victoria reports 76 coronavirus cases and 11 deaths as Daniel Andrews says roadmap not yet 'finalised'
Daniel Andrews says Victoria’s roadmap out of coronavirus lockdown has “not been finalised” as government and health experts meet before the unveiling of the plan on Sunday. At his press conference on Saturday, the Victorian premier announced 76 new coronavirus cases and 11 deaths, five of which were historical cases from recent days. In New South Wales, five further cases were announced on Saturday, as the Sydney CBD cluster grew to 61, while one additional case was recorded in Queensland and one in South Australia, the state’s first case in 12 days.