COVID-19 situation: 14 May 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 14 May 2020

Welcome to this special issue of the newsletter where we highlight latest research and policy news and literature on COVID-19 situation

Please send your feedback, articles and reports, or questions you would like to share to Dr. Chadia Wannous via email  cwannous@yahoo.com  

Wishing you useful reading!
Chadia

COVID-19 Outbreak Situation 

 
Situation updates:

WHO situation report  by 14 May 2020

  • WHO has published an annex to the guidance on considerations on adjusting public health and social measures (PHSM). The new annex provides a pragmatic decision process to help countries through adapting PHSM based on epidemiological and public health criteria.
  • According to the 2020 World Health Statistics published by WHO today, the COVID-19 pandemic is causing significant loss of life, disrupting livelihoods, and threatening the recent advances in health and progress towards global sustainable development goals.
  • WHO has joined forces with the United Kingdom to run an awareness campaign named “Stop The Spread” about the risks of inaccurate and false information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Regional Director for the WHO Regional Office for the Americas, Dr. Carissa F. Etiennecalled on countries to “support their economies while building strong social protection networks and embracing evidence-based public health measures that are essential to saving lives”.
  • In the ‘Subject in Focus’ discuss newly released WHO guidelines for school-related public health measures.

 
https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200513-covid-19-sitrep-114.pdf
 
Links to the COVID-19 dashboards for most up-to-date figures:
Global dashboard https://covid19.who.int/
WHO COVID-19 alerts in African Region
WHO COVID-19 readiness dashboard in African Region
WHO COVID-19 situation dashboard in European Region
WHO COVID-19 weekly surveillance dashboard in European Region
WHO COVID-19 situation dashboard in the Eastern Mediterranean Region
PAHO COVID-19 alerts in the Region of the Americas
 
All information about COVID- 19 can be found here:https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
 
Latest updates - Live press conference (Geneva)
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
 
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Situation update for the EU/EEA and the UK as of 14 May 2020
As of 14 May 2020, 1 277 188 cases have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: United Kingdom (229 705), Spain (228 691), Italy (222 104), Germany (172 239), France (140 734), Belgium (53 981), Netherlands (43 211), Portugal (28 132), Sweden (27 909), Ireland (23 401), Poland (17 204), Romania (16 002), Austria (15 964), Denmark (10 667), Czechia (8 269), Norway (8 158), Finland (6 054), Luxembourg (3 904), Hungary (3 380), Greece (2 760), Croatia (2 213), Bulgaria (2 069), Iceland (1 802), Estonia (1 751), Lithuania (1 505), Slovakia (1 469), Slovenia (1 463), Latvia (951), Cyprus (905), Malta (508) and Liechtenstein (83).
As of 14 May 2020, 151 749 deaths have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: United Kingdom (33 186), Italy (31 106), Spain (27 104), France (27 074), Belgium (8 843), Germany (7 723), Netherlands (5 562), Sweden (3 460), Ireland (1 497), Portugal (1 175), Romania (1 016), Poland (861), Austria (624), Denmark (533), Hungary (436), Czechia (290), Finland (284), Norway (229), Greece (155), Luxembourg (103), Slovenia (103), Bulgaria (96), Croatia (94), Estonia (61), Lithuania (54), Slovakia (27), Latvia (19), Cyprus (17), Iceland (10), Malta (6) and Liechtenstein (1).
https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/cases-2019-ncov-eueea
 
Situation dashboard: latest available data
https://qap.ecdc.europa.eu/public/extensions/COVID-19/COVID-19.html
 
Russia reported more than 10,000 new cases, continuing its recent trend of elevated incidence.
 
=====================

Africa cases rise steadily, with much community spread
COVID-19 activity in Africa continues its rapid rise, with cases last week increasing by 56% and deaths increasing by 30%, compared with the 41% and 25% respective rises reported the week before. In its latest weekly update, the World Health Organization African regional office said as of May 10, 43,074 cases and 1,404 deaths had been reported across 46 countries.
 
South Sudan: Coronavirus cases confirmed inside UN civilian protection site
The South Sudanese Government has confirmed that two cases of COVID-19 have been identified inside a Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in the capital, Juba, although the world’s youngest nation has been relatively unscathed by the pandemic, with 74 cases recorded so far.
https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/05/1064012
 
Brazil’s COVID-19 epidemic is accelerating considerably.
Since approximately mid-March, Brazil’s weekly incidence has increased steadily. Last week, Brazilreported 59,380 new cases, nearly 60% greater than the previous week’s total. Additionally, Brazil reported its highest daily incidence last week on May 9: 10,611 new cases. Peru and Chile are also reporting elevated and increasing COVID-19 incidence, and they both report higher per capita incidence than Brazil.
 
Russia, South America emerge as major COVID-19 hot spots
Brazil reports 881 new COVID-19 deaths, its highest daily fatality count.
More »
 
Wuhan Confirms New COVID-19 Cases
For the first time in more than 30 days, Wuhan, China, the former epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, reported a cluster of new cases. The new cluster includes at least 6 new cases, the majority of which were tied to a husband and wife and their surrounding residential community. Wuhan, which reported tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases earlier this year, began relaxing highly restrictive social distancing measures approximately a month ago, including travel to other parts of the country, after 2 months of “lockdown.”
 
The Chinese government will reportedly implement a plan to test all 11 million Wuhan residents in an effort to prevent further spread of the disease. China’s National Health Commission also sent a team of experts to investigate a cluster of cases in Shulan, in northeast China, where at least 11 local cases have been reported. 
 
Meat Processing Facilities
An investigation conducted by Business Insider identified more than 4,500 COVID-19 cases associated with meat processing facilities linked to the Tyson company, including 18 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.
 
The Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Tennessee (US) highlights the elevated transmission risk in such facilities.
Over the past few weeks, the prison has reported approximately 600 COVID-19 cases, including both incarcerated individuals and facility staff. Policy and logistical barriers to implementing social distancing, disinfection, and other infection control mechanisms allowed the disease to spread rapidly within the facility. The conditions resulted in several facility personnel to take voluntary leave. Once the facility initiated widespread testing, health officials identified several hundred COVID-19 cases.
 
==========================
Control Measures

Physical distancing may extend to 2022, COVID-19 study finds
Mathematical modeling explores several scenarios, including a resurgence as late as 2024.
The latest mathematical COVID-19 model released by Harvard University researchers predicts that recurrent winter outbreaks will probably occur after the first, most severe pandemic wave; prolonged or intermittent physical distancing may be necessary into 2022; and a resurgence is possible as late as 2024.
More »

Again, no COVID-19 benefit found from hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin
A retrospective study of COVID-19 patients in New York City hospitals found that treatment with the antimalaria drug hydroxychloroquine, the antibiotic azithromycin, or both was not significantly associated with differences in in-hospital mortality compared with patients who received neither drug. But cardiac arrest was more frequent in patients treated with both drugs, according to the findings published yesterday in JAMA.
May 11 JAMA study
 
Zinc might boost effectiveness of malaria drug against COVID-19, experts say
 UPI 

The Five Criteria Low-income Countries Must Have in Place for Lockdowns to Work
Rather than strictly duplicating lockdown policies from higher income contexts, developing countries will need to adapt their COVID-19 response to local socio-economic circumstances. 

READ MORE »
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Countries Measures

Plans to Relax Social Distancing
Governments around the world, both at the national and sub-national levels, continue to announce plans to relax social distancing. The phased approach—ie, gradually and incrementally easing restrictions over time—appears to be favored. On Sunday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the national COVID-19 recovery plan. The UK plan proceeds in 3 steps, the first of which is set to begin on May 13. The first step keeps many existing restrictions in place and encourages continued remote work to the extent possible; however, some measures will ease. Step 2, which the UK government tentatively aims to begin implementing on June 1, will permit some non-essential retail businesses and schools to resume operations. The exact date will depend on when the country meets its self-prescribed metrics to demonstrate control over the epidemic. Step 3 will expand the operation of non-essential businesses, to include “hairdressers and beauty salons” and pubs, although “some venues which are, by design, crowded...may prove difficult to enact distancing [and] may still not be able to re-open safely at this point.” Step 3 will not commence any earlier than July 4.

France is leaving lockdown. Now the trouble begins
The process is hampered by adversarial labour relations and distrust of government
After eight weeks of confinement, France was supposed to resume work this week. Permission forms to leave home locally have been binned. Public transport was running at 75% of normal in Paris, with masks compulsory. Hairdressers, clothes shops, bookstores and all other commerce—except restaurants and cafés—were allowed to reopen. Some primary-school pupils returned to class. It was “essential” for the economy to get going again, said Bruno Le Maire, the finance minister.
https://www.economist.com/europe/2020/05/13/france-is-leaving-lockdown-now-the-trouble-begins
 
In the United States, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state’s plan to begin relaxing social distancing measures, following continued declines in COVID-19 incidence and increases in testing capacity. The New York plan will operate on a regional level, enabling some parts of the state to resume activities before others, if they meet the designated criteria. Specific metrics for determining the ability to progress to the next phase address COVID-19 incidence and mortality, health system capacity, and contact tracing and testing capacity. The plan also includes guidance for businesses, schools, and individuals regarding the protective measures they can and should take as social distancing restrictions are eased.
 
In advance of his Senate testimony, Dr. Anthony Fauci emphasized that relaxing social distancing measures prematurely could “result in needless suffering and death” and could “actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.”
===========================
 
Scientific Publications, Reports and News

73rd World Health Assembly
The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board. This year, due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the 73rd World Health Assembly will be virtual. The agenda has been reduced to fit into two days, starting on Monday 18 May and concluding no later than on Tuesday 19 May.
See the programme

'This virus may never go away,' WHO says
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could become endemic like HIV, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, warning against any attempt to predict how long it would keep circulating and calling for a “massive effort” to counter it. Ryan said “very significant control” of the virus was required in order to lower the assessment of risk, which he said remained high at the “national, regional and global levels”.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-who-briefing/this-virus-may-never-go-away-who-says-idUSKBN22P2IJ

Scientists: 'Exactly zero' evidence COVID-19 came from a lab Researchers says there's no question the novel virus originated in nature.
More »
 
SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) announced additional funding to support a promising candidate vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine, developed by Novavax, aims to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial later this month. The new funding will include US$384 million to support Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials as well as “large-scale manufacture” of the vaccine. CEPI previously provided US$4 million to support the vaccine’s development and initial testing, but the recent announcement is orders of magnitude greater than that. Additionally, the funding will support efforts to provide manufacturing partners around the world with the necessary technology to facilitate globally distributed production, if the vaccine proves to be safe and effective.

Experts: We must cooperate to develop, deploy COVID-19 vaccines
Vaccine development hinges on "unprecedented" and transparent efforts, top US experts say.
More »

Fauci: COVID-19 vaccine, treatment by autumn 'a bridge too far'
Fauci warns senators that states risk new and worsening COVID-19 outbreaks if they move too fast.
More »

Projecting the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 through the postpandemic period
https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/05/11/science.abb5793/tab-pdf
 
Smoking significantly worsens COVID-19
according to UC San Francisco researchers who conducted a meta-analysis of smoking and disease progression published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.
 
More than a third of hospitalized COVID-19 patients had kidney injuries and nearly 15% required dialysis, Reuters reports, citing a New York state study published in Kidney International.
 
A new study from Italy’s epicenter published yesterday in The Lancet made the strongest connection to date that SARS-CoV-2 might cause a severe form of Kawasaki-like disease in children; they observed a 30-fold increase in cases of the syndrome after COVID-19 began spreading in Bergamo, The New York Times reports.

Choir practice in Washington state showed high COVID-19 attack rate
In a study yesterday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), researchers describe a COVID-19 super-spreading event at a Washington state choir practice in March, which was attended by a symptomatic index patient and produced an attack rate of 53.3% to 86.7%.
May 12 MMWR study
 
Counterfeit medical supplies are reaching frontline health workers in the US—including millions of face masks and gloves shipped by the planeload.
AP

Rapid COVID-19 test shows low sensitivity in NY hospital study
A rapid coronavirus test that's being used in hospitals around the country, as well as in the White House, missed between a third and nearly a half of positive coronavirus samples at a New York City hospital.
May 12 bioRxiv study

GI symptoms part of early COVID-19 illness in kids
Nonrespiratory symptoms such as diarrhea can be the first symptoms of COVID-19 in children, according to a case series of five patients treated in a Wuhan hospital during China's epidemic. Li added that the GI symptoms may be related to the distribution of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors—located in both the lungs and the intestines—that the virus uses to enter cells.
May 12 Front Pediatr abstract
May 12 Frontiers press release

Tool can help identify COVID-19 patients likely to need critical care
Chinese doctors have developed a clinical risk score and calculator that may help predict which hospitalized COVID-19 patients will become critically ill or die, according to a retrospective cohort study published yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine study.
May 12 JAMA Intern Med study
 
Cats can pass the coronavirus to each other
according to new research. It's still unclear whether felines can pass the virus to humans, but researchers are nonetheless suggesting that pet owners keep cats away from those sick with Covid-19. 
 
23andMe announced that it was expanding a large study it launched last month to investigate the role of genetics in Covid-19 infections. The company will partner with hospitals around the country to recruit up to 10,000 new people. 

Where’s the data? In a pandemic, now is no time to sit on Covid-19 trial results
NIH should immediately release the full data from its big remdesivir trial and supplement the preliminary analysis that has been available. "until the data are released, doctors are left with a mix of facts and assumptions" with which to make decisions for their patients.
https://www.statnews.com/2020/05/13/wheres-the-data-in-a-pandemic-now-is-no-time-to-sit-on-covid-19-trial-results
 
Effective transmission across the globe: the role of climate in COVID-19 mitigation strategies
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196(20)30106-6/fulltext

How Do You Self-isolate in a Refugee Camp?
Social and physical living conditions in refugee camps and informal settlements can make their inhabitants particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus and its impacts.

READ MORE »

Who Gets to Work from Home?
While COVID-19 has induced a shift towards working from home, this remains largely a privilege of people with high education and income levels who reside in countries with advanced technological infrastructure.

READ MORE »

A multi-hazards earth science perspective on the COVID-19 1 pandemic: the potential for concurrent and cascading crises
A simple epidemic phenomenological 36 model with a concurrent disaster event predicts a greater infection rate following events 37 during the pre-infection rate peak period compared with post-peak events, highlighting the 38 need for enacting COVID-19 counter measures in advance of seasonal increases in natural 39 hazards. Inclusion of natural hazard inputs into COVID-19 epidemiological models could 40 enhance the evidence base for: informing contemporary policy across diverse multi-hazard 41 scenarios, defining and addressing gaps in disaster preparedness strategies and resourcing, 42 and implementing a future-planning systems approach into contemporary COVID-19 43 mitigation strategies. Our recommendations may assist governments and their advisors to 44 develop risk reduction strategies for natural and cascading hazards during the COVID-19 45 pandemic.
https://www.essoar.org/pdfjs/10.1002/essoar.10502915.2

The dual risks of natural disasters and COVID-19
How would people and systems cope if a major earthquake or cyclone occurs while the COVID-19 pandemic continues? The answer is – preparation is key
https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/the-dual-risks-of-natural-disasters-and-covid-19
 
Preventing a Parallel Pandemic — A National Strategy to Protect Clinicians’ Well-Being
https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2011027
 
Facing Covid-19 in Italy — Ethics, Logistics, and Therapeutics on the Epidemic’s Front Line
https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2005492

All about antibody tests
Antibody tests — which indicate whether a person has already been infected with the virus — offer the tantalizing promise of revealing who might be immune. But inaccurate tests and a dearth of knowledge about how the coronavirus leaves its mark on the immune system mean that the promise is still far from being fulfilled. Vox attempts to answer pretty much every question you might have about the tests, along with an animation that explains how antibodies work.
(Vox | 17 min read)

Commuters and New York infection hotspots
Researchers compiled coronavirus test results from about 1,700 women who gave birth in New York City hospitals. The neighbourhoods that were home to more infected women correlate with those with the highest number of commuters over the past three months. Many of the commuters are probably ‘essential workers’, who should be protected to prevent the virus’s spread, the researchers say.
Reference: Harvard preprint (not yet peer reviewed)

Speedy technique churns out synthetic viruses
Researchers have used yeast cells to create a synthetic version of the SARS-CoV-2 genome in just a week — much more quickly than other methods. The technique could be used to assemble viruses rapidly to study the biological effects of new mutations, the researchers say.
Reference: Nature paper

Strong and sweeping antibody response to coronavirus
Nearly everyone who recovers from COVID-19 makes antibodies against the new coronavirus. A study of more than 1,300 people who had symptoms of the disease found that more than 99% of them eventually developed antibodies — though some didn’t produce detectable antibodies until one month after they first started feeling ill.
Reference: medRxiv preprint (not yet peer reviewed)

A separate study found that people infected by the new coronavirus make antibodies against several of the virus’s proteins. Much of the effort to develop vaccines and diagnostic tests has focused on a viral protein called Spike. But these results, which have not yet been peer-reviewed, suggest that other proteins might also be important determinants of immunity against SARS-CoV-2.
Reference: medRxiv preprint (not yet peer reviewed)
 
Vyriad, in partnership with Regeneron, developed a neutralizing antibody test that can be performed at a lower biosafety level in CLIA-certified laboratories.
Neutralization assays usually must be performed at high biosafety levels due to the need to work with live pathogens. The results for these tests typically take 1 week, so a safer and more rapid approach is needed to determine protective immunity for recovered COVID-19 patients. Vyriad is currently applying for FDA Emergency Use Authorization for this test.  
Get more of Nature’s continuously updated selection of the must-read papers and preprints on COVID-19.
 
COVID-19 Mortality Models
Several high-profile models of expected COVID-19 deaths used by government officials appear to be converging on similar mortality projections for the next several months. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst evaluated these models and merged them into a single “ensemble” model based on a technique typically used for annual seasonal influenza models—which has demonstrated the utility of ensemble models. As more data become available, the various models appear to be coming into closer agreement. Notably, the difference between the highest and lowest COVID-19 mortality projections decreased from 36,000 deaths to 17,000 deaths over the past 2 weeks. The ensemble model projects approximately 110,000 cumulative COVID-19 deaths in the United States by June 6, but this total “will unquestionably rise much higher” after that point.
 
Early estimates of the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal and child mortality in low-income and middle-income countries: a modelling study
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(20)30229-1/fulltext
 
Avoiding indirect effects of COVID-19 on maternal and child health
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(20)30239-4/fulltext

The Problem with Propofol
Demand for propofol—the ubiquitous intravenous anesthetic—has skyrocketed since the drug became key to ventilating ICU patients with COVID-19. But hospitals have seen stressful shortages. Why?
 An investigation tracking propofol’s notoriously opaque journey from production to patient care underscores the vulnerabilities of a supply chain that relies on a few countries for production—and now faces a global crisis.
Bureau of Investigative Journalism
 
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Consequences of the Outbreak on Society and Economy
 
Health workers become unexpected targets during covid-19
The toll on them may last long after the pandemic has abated. World Health Organisation estimates that as many as 38% of physicians worldwide have suffered physical violence at some point in their careers.
https://www.economist.com/international/2020/05/11/health-workers-become-unexpected-targets-during-covid-19

Inequity in Crisis Standards of Care
https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp2011359
 
A wake-up call: COVID-19 and its impact on children's health and wellbeing
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(20)30238-2/fulltext

Opinion: Wearing a face mask helps protect me against Covid-19, but not against racism
Wearing a face mask when out in public is a no-brainer for many. But as a tall Black man, systemic racism means I have to think twice about doing that.
Read More

Gender-based violence and COVID-19
This briefing note provides concrete actions and strategies that UNDP, UN agencies and other development partners can take to prevent and address GBV in the context of COVID-19. It includes recommendations for adapting dedicated GBV services and support to the crisis context, and for mainstreaming GBV prevention and response in 'non-GBV specific' interventions. 
https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/womens-empowerment/gender-based-violence-and-covid-19.html
 
Social Distancing & Violence
Reports of violence associated with physical distancing policies continue, in the United States and elsewhere, as countries develop and implement plans to ease these restrictions while mitigating the risk of a resurgence in transmission. In addition to high-profile protests over state social distancing requirements in the US, there have also been a number of incidents involving law enforcement or members of the public violating or trying to enforce social distancing measures. One major point of contention as state and local governments adjust social distancing measures is the use of face masks or coverings.
Confrontations between employees and patrons over mask requirements have resulted in multiple physical altercations and at least one shooting in the United States.
Other incidents involving violence related to enforcing physical distancing have been reported in other countries as well, including the United Kingdom and Germany.

Press Release: Gender equality experts recommend key actions for COVID-19 response and recovery for G7 leaders
https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2020/5/press-release-key-actions-for-covid-19-response-and-recovery-for-g7-leaders
 
Opportunity to Tackle Gender Inequality
describe how COVID-19 is affecting gender relations, and why attention to gender in implementing expanded social protection programs is critical. 
(Read Blog
 
A Feminist Perspective on COVID-19 and the Value of Care Work Globally
The shared response to the COVID-19 crisis demonstrates that the vast majority of society
believes human well-being - not economic growth - should be at the center of policy.
COVID-19 exposes the foundational role of care work, both paid and unpaid, to functioning
societies and economies. Focusing on "production" instead of the sustainable reproduction of human life devalues care work and those who perform it. Women’s physical and mental
health, and the societies that rely on them, are at stake. When these policies are formulated,
the field of feminist economics has valuable lessons for mitigating hardships as countries
navigate the related economic fallout. A comprehensive response to the COVID-19 crisis
must recognize this gendered work as an integral part of the economic system that promotes human well-being for all
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/gwao.12459
 
COVID-19: a public health approach to manage domestic violence is needed
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(20)30112-2/fulltext

How Do Safety Nets Stack up?
The global pandemic has exposed stark differences in the safety nets wealthy economies have built for emergencies. In Europe, wage support programs protect millions of people who also have access to nationalized health systems. Americans rely on Congress—as in the Great Recession—to take emergency actions such as the recent round of stimulus checks.
But Europe’s safety nets come at a cost: higher taxes. Which system is better?
AP
 
Risk for minority ethnic groups is a troubling mystery
People who are not white face a substantially higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than do white people — and pre-existing health conditions and socioeconomic factors explain only a small part of the higher risk. Researchers examined the medical records of more than 17 million people in England and found that there must be something more to the grim inequality than health conditions or social disadvantages.
Reference: medRxiv preprint (not yet peer reviewed)

Substantial investment needed to avert mental health crisis
13 May 2020--The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the need to urgently increase investment in services for mental health or risk a massive increase in mental health conditions in the coming months, according to a policy brief on COVID-19 and mental health issued by the United Nations today. 
 
Policy Brief: COVID-19 and the Need for Action on Mental Health
https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/un_policy_brief-covid_and_mental_health_final.pdf
 
WHO: Mental health and COVID-19
https://www.who.int/teams/mental-health-and-substance-use/covid-19

The Social and Economic Impact of Covid-19 in the Asia-Pacific Region
The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic crisis are posing huge challenges, raising many unknowns and imposing wrenching trade-offs. Both crises are global, but their impacts are deeply local. The policy response to both crises needs to be rapid, even if it is rough around the edges. But countries cannot pull this off on their own—the global crises require global solidarity and coordination.
https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/crisis-prevention-and-recovery/the-social-and-economic-impact-of-covid-19-in-asia-pacific.html
 
Downstream Impact
WHO and UNAIDS jointly warned about the impacts of disruptions to the supply chain and health services on excess deaths from HIV/AIDS, particularly in the sub-Saharan African region.  A modeling group convened by WHO and UNAIDS estimated that a 6-month disruption in antiretroviral therapy could result in 500,000 excess deaths from AIDS-related illnesses in sub-Saharan Africa in the coming year. Disrupted services could reverse hard-fought gains in the region, where 25.7 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. In response to this study, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, called on countries to maintain critical health services and support for vulnerable countries and populations in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
WHO: People living longer and healthier lives but COVID-19 threatens to throw progress off track
https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/13-05-2020-people-living-longer-and-healthier-lives-but-covid-19-threatens-to-throw-progress-off-track
 
New Analysis on COVID-19 Impacts in South Asia
IFPRI’s South Asia Regional Office has launched a new blog series analyzing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on food and nutrition security, poverty, and development in the region. IFPRI’s global coverage also continues, with analysis of impacts on African economies, a new tool tracking food prices, and insights on the need to consider gender in social protection schemes.
(Visit South Asia COVID Webpage / Visit IFPRI COVID Webpage)
 
NODC, WHO, UNAIDS and OHCHR joint statement on COVID-19 in prisons and other closed settings
https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/13-05-2020-unodc-who-unaids-and-ohchr-joint-statement-on-covid-19-in-prisons-and-other-closed-settings
 
Coronavirus ‘grim reality’: World economy to shrink by 3.2 per cent, new UN report projects
Against the backdrop of the raging COVID-19 pandemic, the world economy in 2020 is projected to shrink by 3.2 per cent, racking up some $8.5 trillion in overall losses – wiping out nearly four years of output gains, according to a mid-year economic analysis by the United Nations.
https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/05/1064032

The Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on EU Trade Policy
This new policy brief presents a five-point analysis of the coronavirus pandemic's impact on trade in the European Union and its implications for the future of globalisation.

READ MORE »
 
UK Economic Impact
The UK Office for National Statistics published economic data for the first quarter of 2020, including a 2% decrease in the gross domestic product. The first quarter only included 1 week of “lockdown,” and the second quarter is expected to be worse due to the prolonged implementation of national physical distancing measures. Like the United States and many other countries, the United Kingdom is forecasting a severe recession as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bank of England reportedly projected that the UK economy could shrink by 30% for the first half of 2020, followed by a recovery in the second half of the year—potentially resulting in a 14% decrease over the course of the year.
 
Border Controls and African Trade
Many countries in Africa have shut down their land borders in an attempt to curb disease, despite the impact on food waste and loss, pastoral livelihoods, and the future of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
(Read Blog
 
Collapse in Earnings in South Africa
highlight results from modeling the potential impacts of stringent lockdowns related to the pandemic in South Africa, with especially dire implications for poorly-educated households which depend on wage earnings.
(Read Blog
 
Local Market Stress: 
unveil the new COVID-19 Food Price Monitor, which tracks daily commodity prices around the world to give researchers and policymakers a sense of which markets are experiencing stress in the form of high food prices.
(Read Blog
 
COVID-19 could help turn the tide on ocean health in Asia-Pacific
The COVID-19 pandemic could help turn the tide on the well-being of oceans in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a UN report published on Wednesday.
https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/05/1063832

The pandemic will recast America’s health-care industrial complex
https://www.economist.com/business/2020/05/09/the-pandemic-will-recast-americas-health-care-industrial-complex
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Risk Communication
 
Launch of the WHO Academy and the WHO Info mobile applications
The application is available for free download from both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store in Arabic Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
You can also learn more about the WHO Academy here: http://academy.who.int
https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/13-05-2020-launch-of-the-who-academy-and-the-who-info-mobile-applications
 
IOM Toolkit for strengthening the design, delivery and evaluation of migration communications campaigns
https://publications.iom.int/books/iom-public-communication-campaign-toolkit

United Nations guidance to address COVID-19 related hate speech
offering recommendations to UN entities, Member States, technology companies, media and civil society.
https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/documents/Guidance%20on%20COVID-19%20related%20Hate%20Speech.pdf
 
Tips for Engaging Communities during COVID-19 in Low-Resource Settings, Remotely and In-Person
https://communityengagementhub.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/05/CE-low-resource-settings-distance-April-2020.pdf
 
Updated WHO Myth buster
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

Q&A on Climate Change and COVID-19
Where can I find the latest information on COVID-19?
Do weather and climate determine where COVID-19 occurs?
Will climate change make COVID-19 worse?
Have measures to contain COVID-19 reduced air pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases?
How does water scarcity affect infectious diseases like COVID-19?
What can the global response to COVID-19 teach us about our response to climate change?
https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-climate-change-and-covid-19
 
UNESCO mythbusting
https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/disinfodemic_deciphering_covid19_disinformation.pdf
 
Effective COVID-19 crisis communication
https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/sites/default/files/public/downloads/cidrap-covid19-viewpoint-part2.pdf
 
YouTube as a source of information on COVID-19: a pandemic of misinformation?
The videos had a combined nearly 260 million views, and scientists found that around 28% of them contained inaccurate information, including conspiracy theories about the pandemic, the (false) belief that pharmaceutical companies already had a cure for the infection and were refusing to sell it, and racist or other discriminatory remarks about the crisis.
https://gh.bmj.com/content/5/5/e002604

An infodemic of misinformation
What makes coronavirus misinformation and conspiracy theories so potent — and how might they be stopped? A Nature video explores how researchers are studying the viral power of fake news and its impact on the spread of COVID-19.
(Nature (on YouTube) | 6 min video)
 
Traditional indigenous beliefs are a powerful tool for understanding the pandemic
National Geographic
 
---------------------------------
WHO Technical Guidance
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance
 
New
 
PAHO and UNOPS present publication with measures to prevent COVID-19 for construction workers - 8 May 2020
https://www.paho.org/en/news/8-5-2020-paho-and-unops-present-publication-measures-prevent-covid-19-construction-workers
 
Surveillance strategies for COVID-19 human infection
https://www.who.int/publications-detail/surveillance-strategies-for-covid-19-human-infection

Contact tracing in the context of COVID-19
https://www.who.int/publications-detail/contact-tracing-in-the-context-of-covid-19
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The CDC published new guidance on COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/whats-new-all.html
 
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Resources
 
Lancet Coronavirus Resource Centre
This resource brings together new 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) content from across The Lancetjournals as it is published. All content listed on this page is free to access.

https://www.thelancet.com/coronavirus

Elsevier’s free health and medical research on novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
https://www.elsevier.com/connect/coronavirus-information-center

CIDRAP COVID-19 Resource Center
CIDRAP has created a one-stop comprehensive compilation of the most current, authorititive information available on the novel coronavirus. Visit the Resource Center often, as the outbreak is constantly evolving

COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv
https://connect.medrxiv.org/relate/content/181
==============

Training Courses:
WHO training
https://openwho.org/courses
 
PAHO / WHO provides virtual courses on COVID-19 in Portuguese for health professionals -https://www.paho.org/bra/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6160:opas-oms-disponibiliza-cursos-virtuais-sobre-covid-19-em-portugues-para-profissionais-de-saude&Itemid=875

ECDC COVID-19 Micro learning 
https://eva.ecdc.europa.eu/mod/forum/discuss.php
 
New  "Mother-infant health in the context of COVID-19"
This Micro-learning has been developed in a collaboration of ECDC with Italian National Institute of Health - Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Italy. 
Go to the course

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Research and Development

·      Global research on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

·      Database of publications on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/global-research-on-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov

R&D Blueprint and COVID-19
https://www.who.int/teams/blueprint/covid-19

Draft landscape of COVID 19 candidate vaccines
https://www.who.int/who-documents-detail/draft-landscape-of-covid-19-candidate-vaccines

How long will a vaccine take
Scientists are breaking new ground with the speed and ambition of vaccine development for the coronavirus, but no one knows for sure how long it will take to succeed. The New York Times offers interactive graphics, informed by expert advice, to demonstrate how desperate measures might shorten the timeline — and at what risk.
The New York Times | 15 min read
 
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COVID-19 Call to Action: Short – Term Assignments with the WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN)
Your expertise is needed to address COVID-19
The One Health Commission (OHC), the One Health European Joint Programme (OHEJP), and other groups are partnering with the World Health Organization’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) to share this call. The GOARN, a collaboration of over 200 institutions and networks that identifies experts willing and able to assist during an outbreak or pandemic, is seeking experts with a minimum of 5-yrs experience in relevant disciplines to help build capacity for the global COVID-19 pandemic response. https://conta.cc/2VPQ0xk
================================
 
Help Fight Coronavirus- Donate Now
Everyone can now support directly the response coordinated by WHO. People and organizations who want to help fight the pandemic and support WHO and partners can now donate through the COVID-Solidarity Response Fund for WHO at www.COVID19ResponseFund.org.
 

 

 

Knowledge Sharing

Thank you for reading. If you have thoughts, feedback, story ideas, or questions you would like to share or interested in partnering with us on a special event coverage, please send a note to Chadia Wannous via emailcwannous@yahoo.com  

 

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