COVID-19 situation: 23 March 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 23 March 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 situation report by 21 March 2020
Four new countries/territories/areas from the African Region have reported cases of COVID-19.
•As COVID-19 cases continue to increase, many countries are requesting individuals to stay at home in self-quarantine. WHO EURO has released a guide on how to stay physically active during self-quarantine.
•There has been a rise in criminals disguising themselves as WHO to steal money or sensitive information. WHO urges individuals to stay alert and to verify the authenticity of the request. Information on protecting yourselves against scams as well as reporting the scam to WHO can be found here.
Situation in Numbers

  • Globally 292 142 confirmed (26 069) 12 784 deaths (1600)
  • Western Pacific Region 94 787confirmed (750) 3438 deaths (12)
  • European Region151 293 confirmed (22 752) 7426 deaths (1426)
  • South-East Asia Region1257 confirmed (278) 45 deaths (7)
  • Eastern Mediterranean Region 23 669 confirmed (1314) 1596 deaths (130)
  • Region of the Americas 19 685 confirmed (808) 252 deaths (17)
  • African Region 739 confirmed (167) 20 deaths (8)


WHO Health Alert brings COVID-19 facts to billions via WhatsApp
WHO Risk Assessment
Global Level    Very High
All information about COVID- 19 can be found here:


Situation update for the EU/EEA and the UK as of 23 March 2020
Situation dashboard: latest available data

Italy reported 793 virus deaths, the most in one day. The country’s missteps have underscored the importance of early, strict isolation measures.
Italy now has more than 53,000 recorded infections and more than 4,800 dead. The rate of increase keeps growing, with more than half the cases and fatalities coming in the past week. Italy has surpassed China as the country with the highest death toll, becoming the epicenter of a shifting pandemic.
Read the latest

Coronavirus weekly: expert analysis from The Conversation global network

Global COVID-19 total tops 300,000; FDA OKs rapid test
The FDA authorizes an emergency use authorization for the first point-of-care rapid test.
More »

Understanding what works: How some countries are beating back the coronavirus
Control Measures
Conserving Supply of Personal Protective Equipment—A Call for Ideas
JAMA seeks creative immediate solutions for how to maximize the use of PPE, conserve the supply of PPE, and identify new sources of PPE.

Hospitals scramble to keep up with CDC N95, mask guidance
As supplies of equipment dwindle, healthcare workers are likely at increased risk.
More »
Large-scale lockdowns aren’t enough to stem the spread of COVID-19—efforts must focus on finding and isolating the sick, the WHO’s Mike Ryan warns,
The Hill reports.
‘A Storm Is Coming’: Fears of an Inmate Epidemic as the Virus Spreads in the Jails –
The New York Times

US scientists develop crucial blood test for coronavirus antibodies

Trump limits travel to Mexico, says no to national COVID-19 lockdown
Governors in New, California, and Illinois announced new restrictions.
More »

Coronavirus forces states to order nearly one in three Americans to stay home

Exclusive: U.S. axed CDC expert job in China months before virus outbreak

Tokyo 2020 Games delay looms as Canada, Australia quit

Indians breathe easier as lockdowns to halt coronavirus clear smog

'No limits' to euro zone's coronavirus response, Eurogroup chief says

Merkel is well, awaiting coronavirus test result - spokesman

UK calls in army and warns people to stay home or face lockdown
Scientific publications and reports and news
British ear, nose and throat doctors issued a warning Friday that COVID-19 may be accompanied by the loss of smell after hearing anecdotal reports of anosmia.
The New York Times

I fought Ebola. Here’s my advice for health workers fighting Covid-19
Courage alone isn't enough for health care workers to get through the Covid-19 pandemic, Adam Levine writes in a First Opinion. He speaks from experience: He fought Ebola in 2014.
People who are 50 and older face a 2.5X increased risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19, according to a medRxiv preprint of a study. NPR
WHO has announced the SOLIDARITY combo drug trial to test the effectiveness of a suite of medications against SARS-CoV-2.
Do You Get Immunity After Recovering From A Case Of Coronavirus?
NPR Goats and Soda
Global Poverty Could Spike
A 1 percent reduction in global economic growth would translate into an increase in the global extreme poverty rate of 1.7%- 3%, with different regions experiencing varied impacts, according to a simulation by Rob Vos, Will Martin, and David Laborde.
(Read Blog)

Coronavirus pandemic could last over 18 months, according to a federal plan
The next year and a half could include "multiple waves of illness."

We don’t send soldiers to fight a war without weapons. Give doctors what they need to fight Covid-19

Gilead pauses access to experimental Covid-19 drug due to ‘overwhelming demand’
It will make exceptions for pregnant women and children under 18 years of age with confirmed Covid-19 and “severe manifestations” of the disease.
The company said in its statement that “enrollment in clinical trials is the primary way to access remdesivir to generate critical data that inform the appropriate use of this investigational medicine.”
I’m pregnant during the coronavirus pandemic, and I’m terrified.
Boston Globe
Millions of older Americans live in counties with no ICU beds as pandemic intensifies.
Kaiser Health News

Strategies to Inform Allocation of Stockpiled Ventilators to Healthcare Facilities During a Pandemic
During a pandemic caused by respiratory pathogens, such as influenza or SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19), large numbers of people in the United States may require critical care that includes mechanical ventilation, resulting in a surge on hospitals and increased demand for ventilation equipment. Although the current supply of approximately 62,000* ventilators in US acute-care hospitals would likely be adequate to support patient care needs during a pandemic with mild to moderate severity (similar to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic), a pandemic with greater severity would probably result in many more patients requiring ventilatory support.1 In this severe scenario, there will likely be insufficient capacity to ventilate all those who need this treatment.

Which Country Has Flattened the Curve for the Coronavirus?

The Coronavirus Is a Disaster for Feminism
Pandemics affect men and women differently.
A pandemic magnifies all existing inequalities (even as politicians insist this is not the time to talk about anything other than the immediate crisis). Working from home in a white-collar job is easier; employees with salaries and benefits will be better protected; self-isolation is less taxing in a spacious house than a cramped apartment. But one of the most striking effects of the coronavirus will be to send many couples back to the 1950s. Across the world, women’s independence will be a silent victim of the pandemic.

COVID-19: protecting health-care workers

A Different Way to Chart the Spread of Coronavirus
Those skyrocketing curves tell an alarming story. But logarithmic graphs can help reveal when the pandemic begins to slow.

They Fled Coronavirus in Europe. Border Agents Asked if They’d Visited China or Iran.
Americans returning from Italy and Spain say border control officials didn’t screen them or tell them to isolate themselves.

Why the Coronavirus Has Been So Successful
We’ve known about SARS-CoV-2 for only three months, but scientists can make some educated guesses about where it came from and why it’s behaving in such an extreme way.
WHO launched a new Health Alert messaging service via WhatsApp.
This service will provide the latest news & information on COVID19, including details on symptoms and how to protect yourself. To subscribe, click here

Coronavirus crisis exposes years of failure

The covert cases unwittingly infecting others

Read the latest coronavirus news, continuously updated on Nature.

The lockdown goes viral

Covid-19 is exposing America’s resilience—and vulnerability
Governors, mayors and sheriffs will not let a hopeless president stop them from doing what they need to do

COVID-19 and Climate: Multifaceted Impacts

Considerations relating to social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 epidemic

Guidance for health system contingency planning during widespread transmission of SARS-CoV-2 with high impact on healthcare services

Scientists are still searching for the source of COVID-19: why it matters

Coronavirus: seven ways collective intelligence is tackling the pandemic

Low-cost & Open-Source Covid19 Detection kits

Could the anti-malarial drug chloroquine treat COVID-19?

Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Schools

Behavioural strategies for reducing covid-19 transmission in the general population

Slowing down the covid-19 outbreak: changing behaviour by understanding it
Consequences of the Outbreak on society and Economy

How to prevent a covid-19 slump, and protect the recovery
Governments need to be able to dial financial support up and down for people and firms
In just two months the world economy has been turned upside down. Stockmarkets have collapsed by a third and in many countries factories, airports, offices, schools and shops have been closed to try to contain the virus. Workers are worried about their jobs and investors fear companies will default on their debts. All this points to one of the sharpest economic contractions in modern times. China’s GDP probably shrank by 10-20% in January and February compared with a year earlier. For as long as the virus rages, similar drops are likely in America and Europe, which could trigger a further downward lurch in Asia. Massive government intervention is required to ensure that this shock does not spiral into depression.

Policy vs Pandemic: Contagion outpaces consensus on response

Central banks deploy record sums to break financial logjam, but may need more

African finance ministers call for $100 billion stimulus, debt holiday
Updated WHO Myth buster
WHO Technical guidance
List of WHO guidance by topic  


New guide: Critical preparedness, readiness and response actions for COVID-19
Responding to community spread of COVID-19
This document provides technical guidance for government authorities, health workers, and other key stakeholders to guide response to community spread. It will be updated as new information or technical guidance become available. For countries that are already preparing or responding, this document can also serve as a checklist to identify any remaining gaps.
- Access the document
Critical preparedness, readiness and response actions
WHO has defined four transmission scenarios for COVID-19:
1. Countries with no cases (No cases);
2. Countries with 1 or more cases, imported or locally detected (Sporadic cases);
3. Countries experiencing cases clusters in time, geographic location and/or common exposure (Clusters of cases);
4. Countries experiencing larger outbreaks of local transmission (Community transmission).
This document describes the preparedness, readiness and response actions for COVID-19 for each transmission scenario.
- Access the document

The Coronavirus Papers unlocked:
5,352 scientific articles covering the coronavirus - fully searchable and free.
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

Training course:
Emerging respiratory viruses, including COVID-19: methods for detection, prevention, response and control
Simplified Chinese course
The English version of this course is available here:
La versión en español de este curso está disponible aquí :
La version française de ce cours est disponible sur :

COVID-19 Micro learning 
ECDC has produced series of micro learning activities (5-30 minutes) related to COVID-19.
The short e-learning courses provide guidance on the application of non-pharmaceutical countermeasures and include the following:
1. Introduction to COVID-19 NPC
2. Personal protective equipment against COVID-19
3. Environmental countermeasures against COVID-19
4. Social distancing countermeasures against COVID-19
5. Travel related countermeasures against COVID-19


Global research on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Database of publications on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)



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 email  


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