COVID-19 situation: 20 Aug 2020

To view images in this newsletter, please allow images and html options. 

View this email in your browser

Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 20 Aug 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  

Wishing you useful reading!

COVID-19 Outbreak Situation 

Situation updates:
WHO Weekly Epidemiological Update 1-17 August 2020
COVID-19 dashboards for most up-to-date figures:
Global dashboard
Updates from WHO regional offices
All information about COVID- 19 can be found here:
Latest updates - Live press conference (Geneva)
Situation updates in the Region of the Americas
August 19th, 2020 15:00 (EST)
An additional 129,218 cases and 4,186 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, representing a 1.10% relative increase in cases and a 0.99% relative increase in deaths, compared to the previous day.
According to media reports, Brazil approved human clinical trials for a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson on 18 August, the fourth candidate to trial in Brazil.
Situation in Africa Region
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in the WHO African Region has continued to slow down, as seen in the past two weeks. Since last External Situation Report 24issuedon 12 August 2020, a total of56 508 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2 071 new deaths were reported from 45countriesbetween12and 18 August 2020, resulting into a cumulative total of 962 290confirmed COVID-19 cases with 19 225deaths. This is a 25% decrease in cases as compared to75 326 cases registered during the previous reporting period (5-11 August 2020). Although South Africa reported majority of the new cases, 46% (26 035), it also continues to record a remarkable downward trajectory in trend. There was also reduction in incidence cases in some of the previous hot spots countries, including, Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria and Kenya in the past week. While these indicators are encouraging, the figures should be cautiously interpreted as they may be affected by many factors, including the current testing capacity, strategy and delays in reporting
Control Measures
WHO Progress Report, February-June 2020
COVID-19 Preparedness and Response
Covering February to June 2020, the report highlights progress under the three objectives of the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan: scaling up international coordination and support; scaling up country preparedness and response; and accelerating research and innovation. It provides an update on the resource requirements for the next phase of WHO’s response, as part of a UN-wide response to COVID-19.

Mask or no mask? This simple ethical approach can help with your pandemic etiquette
Worried about being accused of virtue signalling or getting funny looks for wearing a mask? Here's how to test your ethics and come to the right decision.
Countries Measures
US pandemic proposal.
The White House National Security Council met last week to discuss a controversial proposal for the international pandemic response, which sources say could go to President Donald Trump for approval as soon as this week.
Coronavirus now third leading cause of death in U.S.: former CDC official
Daily News
South Korea could be facing another COVID-19 crisis, with 1,000 new cases in the past 5 days, including 400 traced to a church in Seoul.
The Guardian

India's invisible catastrophe: fears over spread of Covid-19 into poor rural areas
The Guardian
How Mongolia has kept the coronavirus at bay
MIT Technology Review
US government scientists have kick-started efforts to make a strain of the SARS-CoV-2 for potential “human challenge” trials—a controversial process which involves vaccinating and then intentionally infecting participants with the virus.

Malaysia and the Philippines have detected the mutated coronavirus strain that has been predominant Europe and the US—researchers are still investigating whether the strain is more infectious, but there is no evidence that it leads to more severe illness.
New Zealand has delayed its September election by 4 weeks as a new COVID-19 outbreak ended a 102-day streak of no community transmission.
France 24
Scientific Publications, Reports and News

Seven months later, what we know about Covid-19 — and the pressing questions that remainHere are some of the things we have learned about Covid-19, and some of the pressing questions that we still need answered.
Read More
Weighing up the risks: School closure and reopening under COVID-19
In an effort to prevent the transmission of Covid-19, governments around the world have closed schools. School closures are negatively impacting the well-being of children and young people and, in some contexts, might not be effectively reducing transmission

US COVID-19 cases drop, but schools, nursing homes still a problem
US nursing homes saw an almost 80% increase in cases since the week of Jun 21.
More »
How climate change could expose new epidemics
The Japan Times

What’s At Risk: An 18-Month View of a Post-COVID World

Study: COVID-19 inflammatory syndrome in kids not Kawasaki disease
The multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19 appears to be an abnormal immune response to the novel coronavirus, similar to but distinct from Kawasaki disease, according to a research letter published today in Nature Medicine.
Aug 18 Nature Med research letter
Seeding of outbreaks of COVID-19by contaminated fresh and frozen food

How many Covid-19 deaths is India missing?

In Victoria, whether you get an ICU bed could depend on the hospital
In the event COVID-19 sees ICU resources stretched too thin, Victoria doesn't have clear, uniform or transparent guidelines outlining who should be prioritised for care.

Fake COVID-19 testing kits and lockdown puppy scams: how to protect yourself from fraud in a pandemic
There has been a dramatic spike in identity theft and online shopping scams this year as fraudsters try to take advantage of people's vulnerability during uncertain times.

How setting aside some ‘worry time’ can help reduce anxiety over COVID-19 lockdowns
During uncertain times, feelings of anxiety and even anger are normal responses. If left unchecked, these emotions can affect how we behave, but acknowledging them can ease their intensity.
An analysis suggests a link between COVID-19 and new type 1 diabetes cases in children, according to a small research study during the peak of the pandemic in the UK.
Delays in mail delivery of prescription medicines concerns the American College of Physicians, which, in a statement, points out that the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more people to obtain prescriptions by mail.
American College of Physicians
Even people with mild COVID-19 cases showed “strong, lasting immunity,” according to several studies that have not yet completed peer review.
The New York Times

FDA flags accuracy issue with widely used coronavirus test
We could control the coronavirus by winter if we start using rapid tests
Washington Post (commentary)

FDA clears saliva test for Covid-19, opening door to wider testing
The new test, which is called SalivaDirect and was developed by researchers at the Yale School of Public Health, allows saliva samples to be collected in any sterile container. It is a much less invasive process than the nasal swabs currently used to test for the virus that causes Covid-19, but one that has so far yielded highly sensitive and similar results. The test, which also avoids a key step that has caused shortages of chemical reagents used in other tests, can run approximately 90 samples in fewer than three hours in a lab, although the number can be greater in big labs with automation.

Ivermectin is still not a miracle cure for COVID-19, despite what you may have read
The head lice drug ivermectin is being touted as a coronavirus killer. But studies suggest it would need to be taken in mega-doses far higher than those currently used, with unknown side-effects.

ICU capacity is more about the clinicians than the number of beds
WHO: Herd immunity requires effective vaccine

WHO urges global coordination of vaccine rollout, notes COVID in Caribbean
The head of the WHO warns about "vaccine nationalism" and previews a basic strategy for deploying vaccine.
More »

Will Covid-19 vaccines be safe for children and pregnant women? The data, so far, are lacking
The Case for a Coronavirus-Vaccine Bond
The New Yorker (commentary)
Consequences of the Outbreak on Society and Economy

New data underscore Covid-19's disproportionate impact on minority groups
People from racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. are continuing to face the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic, new research shows. In a study of Covid-19 hospitalizations in 12 states between the end of April and end of June, researchers found that in all the states, the percent of hospitalized patients who were Black exceeded the percent of the state's residents who were Black. Black people account for only 10% of Indiana residents, for example, but 28% of its hospitalized Covid-19 patients. The same held true for Hispanic patients in 10 of the 12 states studied.

Racial and Ethnic Disparities Among COVID-19 Cases in Workplace Outbreaks by Industry Sector — Utah, March 6–June 5, 2020
The study looking at data on workplace outbreaks in Utah between March and June, researchers found that non-white people accounted for nearly 75% of Covid-19 cases tied to workplace outbreaks, despite making up only one-quarter of the working population. Manufacturing, construction and wholesale trade workers were among those most affected.

Indigenous land intrusions help drive higher virus death toll in the Amazon
The rate of COVID-19 deaths among indigenous people in Brazil's Amazon is nearly 250% higher than in the general population, new data shows

Businesses working with slavery survivors in India seek ways to offset COVID
Social enterprises employing trafficking survivors in India rethink product lines to pay salaries
Gender focus

Coronavirus banishes female inmates to far-flung jails in Malawi
No family, no sanitary pads for women locked in crowded cells far from home

COVID generation' risks child marriage, forced labour, ex-leaders warn
Ex-world leaders warn of impact coronavirus could have on millions of deprived children, with fears of forced marriage and labour on the rise

The number of pregnant Latinas with covid-19 is staggering. And a warning sign
Nationwide, Hispanic or Latina mothers make up nearly half of the coronavirus cases among pregnant women, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventioncollected from Jan. 22 until last week.

Coronavirus speeds up push for congestion charge in cities
The coronavirus pandemic could see more cities implement congestion charges
'What if I die?': Coronavirus hits India's tuberculosis care
India faces double-hit as coronavirus siphons off resources for tuberculosis care
Risk Communication

Reading levels of US, global COVID-19 websites too high for many
A review of 18 US and international public health and governmental websites with COVID-19 information for the public—including those of the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—has found that all exceeded the recommended reading level and used sentence structures and technical terminology that would hinder understanding.
Aug 18 JAMA Netw Open research letter
Updated WHO Myth buster
UNESCO mythbusting
EPI-WIN: tailored informationfor individuals, organizations and communities
WHO Technical Guidance
Home care and COVID-19
What do I need to know when taking care of someone with COVID-19 at home? 

The CDC published new guidance on COVID-19

Sex, gender and COVID-19: overview and resources

Lancet Coronavirus Resource Centre
This resource brings together new 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) content from across The Lancet journals as it is published. All content listed on this page is free to access.
Elsevier’s free health and medical research on novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

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

Training Courses:
WHO training
PAHO sources and materials on COVID19

ECDC COVID-19 Micro learning

Research and Development
Global research on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Database of publications on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
“Solidarity” clinical trial for COVID-19 treatments
“Solidarity II” global serologic study for COVID-19
Accelerating a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 technology access pool
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



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  


unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences