coronavirus 2

On Friday, according to AFP, the number of people who have lost their lives to the COVID-19, passed 190,000 and continues to rise. There is some cause for hope that the tide may be about to turn as testing capabilities grow worldwide and human trials for a vaccine get underway.

The AFP reports that a total of 190,089 people passed away and 2,698,733 have been infected. Europe has recorded the highest number of fatalities with 116,221 people dying across the continent.

More than 1.2 million Europeans have been diagnosed with the disease, putting the mortality rate around 8.9%.

The country with the highest recorded death toll has been the U.S. followed by Italy, France and Britain.

The UK, Germany and Israel have all reported early progress with vaccine trials, the biggest hope for stemming and eventually eradicating the virus.

Testing is also being ramped up around the world in the hope better data will allow countries to ease the lockdown measures that have battered the global economy.

Countries are slowing allowing more “non-essential” businesses to re-open after many confined the bulk of their populations to their homes. This week Germany began to ease its lockdown measures along with Norway and the worst hit Italy.

The U.S. has more than 856,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 47,000 deaths attributed to the virus.

Another 4.427 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to data from the U.S. Labor Department. More than 26 million Americans have filed unemployment in the past 5 weeks.

The first U.S. coronavirus death occurred weeks earlier than originally thought, with medical officials in California now attributing two deaths on February 6 and 17 to COVID-19.

Trump floats treating coronavirus patients with light and disinfectants

At an unusually contentious briefing Thursday of the coronavirus task force, President Trump floated the idea that people infected with COVID-19 might be treated using injections of disinfectant and applications of ultraviolet light.

Trump brought up those theories in the context of a presentation by William Bryan, a scientist at the Department of Homeland Security, about research indicating that the virus can be killed on surfaces and in aerosols by heat, humidity, sunlight and disinfectants, specifically bleach and isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. None of the medical experts at the briefing suggested that these were plausible treatments for people already infected.

“Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful light. And I think you said that hasn’t been checked, but we’re going to test it,” Trump said. “And then I said supposing you brought the light inside the body, either through the skin or some other way.”

Lysol maker urges people not to inject disinfectants after Trump remarks

Lysol and Dettol maker Reckitt Benckiser warned people against using disinfectants to treat the coronavirus, after Trump suggested researchers try putting disinfectants into patients’ bodies.

“Under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” the company said.

Reckitt said due to recent speculation and social media activity, it had been asked whether internal usage of disinfectants may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus.

Twitter names Trump the ‘Tide Pods’ president after he suggests disinfectant injections

After Trump wondered Thursday about possibly injecting disinfectants into people infected with the coronavirus, “Tide Pods” and other household cleaners began trending on Twitter. But many doctors also tweeted stern warnings against taking the president’s medical advice.

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, tweeted: “UV light? Injecting disinfectant? Here is an idea, Mr. President: more tests. Now. And protective equipment for actual medical professionals.”

The Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division pleaded, “Please don’t eat tide pods or inject yourself with any kind of disinfectant” and to not “make a bad situation worse.”

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn was asked about such methods during a CNN town hall following Trump’s comments. He responded, “I certainly wouldn’t recommend the internal ingestion of a disinfectant.”

The FDA warns against ingesting disinfectants, saying consumption of “products can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration.”

Two drugs touted by Trump fail in preliminary studies

Two drugs touted by President Trump as potential game changers in the fight against the coronavirus have shown no benefit for infected patients who take them.

A clinical trial conducted in China appears to show that the antiviral drug remdesivir does not help patients with COVID-19 recover from the disease, or keep them from dying, STAT reported, after viewing a preliminary report on the research.

The findings of the clinical trial for remdisivir, which is manufactured by Gilead Sciences, were inadvertently posted Thursday on the World Health Organization’s website before quickly being taken down.

At a March 19 briefing of the coronavirus task force, Trump singled out remdesivir as one of two drugs he believed might be used as a weapon in his war with what he calls “the invisible enemy.”

Trump also regularly promoted the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, telling doctors to prescribe it to their COVID-19 patients despite a lack of clinical trials or FDA approve of the medication for that purpose.

“I hope they use it, because I’ll tell you what, what do you have to lose?” Trump said on April 5.

A nationwide study conducted conducted at U.S. Veterans hospitals and posted online this week found that more COVID-19 patients died after being treated with hydroxychloroquine than among a control group.

Germany gears up for second virus wave

Berlin’s exhibition centre Messe is getting a makeover with the help of German soldiers – to reemerge as a hospital in a few weeks’ time. Even as Germany begins easing curbs on public life to halt contagion of the virus, authorities are busy ramping up their capacity to deal with a second wave of infections.

Italy to get exit plan details

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte promises to reveal by the weekend the steps he will take to loosen restrictions and reopen the economy.

“I would like to be able to say, let’s open everything. Right away,” Conte writes on Facebook. “But such a decision would be irresponsible.”

‘Too soon’ to end UK lockdown

British health secretary Matt Hancock has told Sky News it is still too soon for UK lockdown measures to be relaxed, but that he is “comfortable” with some businesses reopening.

The minister said that while the daily number of UK deaths due to coronavirus meant the country was not yet ready to start diluting some social-distancing rules, he was not opposed to building sites and hardware stores resuming work.
Companies including hardware chain B&Q, house builders Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon, and car makers Jaguar, Nissan, Aston and Bentley have announced plans to begin asking staff to return to work.

UK retail sales fall by most on record as coronavirus lockdown hits

British retail sales fell by the most on record in March, official figures showed on Friday, reflecting the hit from the coronavirus shutdown which closed many businesses in the second half of the month. Sales volumes fell 5.1% in March from February, a bigger fall than a median forecast for a drop of 4.0% in a Reuters poll of economists.

Russia’s coronavirus case tally nears 70,000

Russia on Friday reported 5,849 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, pushing its nationwide tally to 68,622. Sixty people with the virus died overnight, pushing the death toll to 615, Russia’s official crisis response centre said.

COVID-19 could trigger ‘secondary’ global health crisis

Diverting the scarce healthcare resources of developing countries to the rapidly expanding COVID-19 pandemic could see a 45 per cent jump in child and maternal mortality before the end of the year, an international health consortium warned Thursday.

Unless poorer nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America get a rapid infusion of drugs, medical oxygen, protective equipment and on-the-ground assistance, the global South is likely see 1.2 million children and 57,000 mothers die over the next six months, according to a study under review by The Lancet Global Health.

The new coronavirus outbreak “could reverse decades of progress,” said Muhammad Ali Pate, global director for health, nutrition and population at the World Bank and director of the Global Financing Facility.

“If routine healthcare is disrupted – as a result of unavoidable shocks, health system collapse, or intentional choices in response to the pandemic – the increase in child and maternal deaths will be devastating,” the authors said in a draft submitted for peer review.

Vaccine rates drop dangerously as parents avoid doctor’s visits

A New York Times report said:

As parents around the country cancel well-child checkups to avoid coronavirus exposure, public health experts fear they are inadvertently sowing the seeds of another health crisis. Immunizations are dropping at a dangerous rate, putting millions of children at risk for measles, whooping cough and other infections.

No bulls in Pamplona

Spain’s best-known bull-running festival in the northern city of Pamplona, held each year between July 6 and 14 and attracting hundreds of thousands of people, is cancelled.

Indonesia to ban air, sea travel to end-May

Indonesia will temporarily ban domestic and international air and sea travel, with some exceptions, starting this week to prevent a further spread of the coronavirus, the transport ministry said in a statement on Friday. The announcement came as the holy month of Ramadan began in the world’s largest Muslim majority country, and the government has already banned citizens’ traditional annual exodus from the cities to the provinces during the holiday period.

Coronavirus tally rises to 91 on Italian cruise ship in Japan

As many as 91 crew members on an Italian cruise ship docked in Japan’s southwestern port of Nagasaki are infected with coronavirus, officials said on Friday, as questions persist over how and when they will return to their home countries.

Philippines extends capital’s coronavirus lockdown to May 15

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has extended until May 15 a lockdown in the capital Manila, his spokesman said on Friday, stretching to eight weeks one of the world’s strictest community quarantines to curb coronavirus infections.

Coronavirus and its social effects fueling extremist violence, says U.S. government report

Citing a new intelligence report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security a report by NBC News said:

The coronavirus pandemic and its social repercussions are fueling violence by both frustrated individuals and domestic terrorists,.

The unclassified report by a Florida field office cites two incidents involving suspected domestic extremists, and two incidents in Florida that DHS labeled non-ideological.

New York Public Library CEO: ‘We may need to quarantine our books’

To reduce the spread of novel coronavirus, Americans may continue social distancing for many more months — but such precautions could last even longer for books kept at the nation’s libraries, said Tony Marx, the chief executive of the New York Public Library, the largest public library system in the country.

Concerned that the disease can survive on surfaces like paper and transmit from one book borrower to the next, libraries once they reopen may impose a quarantine period on books that lasts as long as scientists determine the coronavirus can survive on the materials, said Marx, whose library system serves more than 17 million people each year.

“We may need to quarantine our books for that long to make sure that we’re not passing germs from one person to another,” Marx says. “That’s something that you know, the experts in the world of libraries and science — they’re going to have to tell us.”

First antibody study shows 13.9 percent infection rate in New York state

At his daily press briefing in Albany Thursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the results of a preliminary study conducted to determine the COVID-19 infection rate in the state. Cuomo said that out of 3,000 people who were tested for coronavirus antibodies, 13.9 percent were positive. In New York City, more than 21 percent tested positive.

The governor stressed that more testing would be needed to confirm the actual infection rate, and noted that the tests were conducted at grocery stores and shopping centers, meaning they were out of the home and likely did not believe they were infected or at risk.

He said that the results, which show there were far more cases than previously thought, also suggest the fatality rate is likely lower than expected. But Cuomo also said that the state’s official death toll, which stands at more than 15,000, does not include at-home deaths, which will ultimately increase the overall fatality rate.

Virgin Australia collapses

Cash-strapped Virgin Australia goes into administration, making it the largest carrier to buckle under the strain of the pandemic.


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