COVID-19 situation: 7 April 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 7 April 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-77 by 6 April 2020

  • One new country/territory/area reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours: South Sudan.
  • At a joint press conference and in aco-authored opinion piece, the WHO Director-General and IMF Managing Director reiterated the importance of saving lives and saving livelihoods and made it clear that the trade-off between saving lives or jobs is a false dilemma. The press conference remarks are here, and the op-ed here.
  • Almost 90 per cent of the world’s students are now affected by nationwide school closures –that’s more than 1.5 billion children and young people. Together with UNICEF and the International Publishers Association, the World Health Organization has launched the 'Read the World' children’s reading initiative. More information on this initiative can be found here. WHO has also published advice for parenting during the COVID-19pandemic, available here.

Situation in Numbers
Total (new) cases in last 24 hours

  • Globally 1210956 confirmed (77200) 67594 deaths (4810)
  • Western Pacific Region 112522 confirmed (1126) 3861 deaths (23)
  • European Region 655339 confirmed (33932) 49479 deaths (3063)
  • South-East Asia Region 8828 confirmed (1012) 344 deaths (42)
  • Eastern Mediterranean Region 74347 confirmed (4054) 3976 deaths (182)
  • Region of the Americas 352592 confirmed (36878) 9680 deaths (1493)
  • African Region 6616confirmed (198) 243 deaths (7)

WHO Risk Assessment
Global Level    Very High
Links to the COVID-19 dashboards for most up-to-date figures:
WHO COVID-19 situation dashboard
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:
Latest updates - Live press conference (Geneva)
China reported local transmission (1 case) in Wuhan on April 4, the first in that city since March 24. The news of this case comes as China prepares to relax travel restrictions to the city, where the SARS-CoV-2 first emerged, on April 8.

Situation update for the EU/EEA and the UK as of 7 April 2020
As of 7 April 2020, 608 500 cases have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: Spain (135 032), Italy (132 547), Germany (99 225), France (74 390), United Kingdom (51 608), Belgium (20 814), Netherlands (18 803), Austria (12 297), Portugal (11 730), Sweden (7 206), Norway (5 755), Ireland (5 364), Czechia (4 822), Denmark (4 681), Poland (4 413), Romania (4 057), Luxembourg (2 843), Finland (2 176), Greece (1 755), Iceland (1 562), Croatia (1 222), Estonia (1 108), Slovenia (1 021), Lithuania (843), Hungary (817), Bulgaria (549), Latvia (542), Slovakia (534), Cyprus (465), Malta (241) and Liechtenstein (78).
As of 7 April 2020, 51 059 deaths have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: Italy (16 525), Spain (13 055), France (8 911), United Kingdom (5 373), Netherlands (1 867), Belgium (1 632), Germany (1 607), Sweden (477), Portugal (311), Austria (220), Denmark (187), Ireland (174), Romania (157), Poland (107), Greece (79), Czechia (78), Norway (59), Hungary (47), Luxembourg (41), Slovenia (30), Finland (27), Bulgaria (22), Estonia (19), Croatia (16), Cyprus (14), Lithuania (14), Iceland (6), Slovakia (2), Latvia (1) and Liechtenstein (1).
Situation dashboard: latest available data

Control Measures

3M Response to Defense Production Act Order
The Administration also requested that 3M cease exporting respirators that we currently manufacture in the United States to the Canadian and Latin American markets. There are, however, significant humanitarian implications of ceasing respirator supplies to healthcare workers in Canada and Latin America, where we are a critical supplier of respirators. In addition, ceasing all export of respirators produced in the United States would likely cause other countries to retaliate and do the same, as some have already done. If that were to occur, the net number of respirators being made available to the United States would actually decrease. That is the opposite of what we and the Administration, on behalf of the American people, both seek.
We also continue to act on reports of price gouging and unauthorized reselling related to 3M respirators. This activity is unethical and illegal. We are working with the U.S. Attorney General and attorneys general of every state, making it clear that 3M has not and will not raise prices for respirators and offering our assistance in the fight.

COMMENTARY: Respirators can be reused, but decontamination not well studied
In a pandemic, using the same respirator for 5 days, as long as it is not removed multiple times per shift, can help stretch supplies, but data are sparse on decontamination.
More »
Bill Gates is funding new factories for 7 potential coronavirus vaccines, even though it will waste billions of dollars
Bill Gates is plugging money into building factories for seven promising coronavirus vaccine candidates, even though it will mean wasting billions of dollars. On Thursday's episode of "The Daily Show," the Microsoft billionaire told the host Trevor Noah that his philanthropic organization, the Gates Foundation, could mobilize faster than governments to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
U.N. biodiversity acting chief calls for a ban on wildlife markets to prevent future pandemics caused by the spread of zoonotic diseases.
[The Guardian]

GlaxoSmithKline and Vir aim to take on Covid-19 with antibodies and CRISPR  

A $30 billion gamble: Pandemic expert calls for making Covid-19 vaccines before we know they work

Coronavirus: what might more hand washing mean in countries with water shortages?

COVID-19 studies focus on whether sentinel surveillance, school closings work
One study suggests that health worker absenteeism due to school closures could lead to more deaths than they prevent.
More »

Impact of school closures for COVID-19 on the US health-care workforce and net mortality: a modelling study
We estimated that, combined with reasonable parameters for COVID-19 such as a 15·0% case reduction from school closings and 2·0% baseline mortality rate, a 15·0% decrease in the health-care labour force would need to decrease the survival probability per percent health-care worker lost by 17·6% for a school closure to increase cumulative mortality. Our model estimates that if the infection mortality rate of COVID-19 increases from 2·00% to 2·35% when the health-care workforce declines by 15·0%, school closures could lead to a greater number of deaths than they prevent.
Countries measures

CDC launches studies to get more precise count of undetected Covid-19 cases
The effort will consist of 3 studies covering several high-transmission areas in the United States, an expanded effort to include other areas of the country, and targeted populations, including healthcare workers. The serological studies will provide indications of prior SARS-CoV-2 infections that were not detected through existing surveillance systems that rely on diagnostic tests. COVID-19 cases, and asymptomatic infections, that did not seek care or were unable to obtain a diagnostic test will have antibodies that can be detected by serological tests, which will allow health officials to better understand how widespread the disease actually is in the community and inform our understanding of COVID-19’s severity. The study in US "hot spots" has already commenced, and the other 2 studies will begin in the coming months.
More than 200 groups, including the American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and patient advocacy and other medical organizations sent a letter to the Trump administration urging action on the shortage of personal protective equipment for heath care workers.

An interview with the CDC director on coronavirus, masks, and an agency gone quiet
The Iranian government announced that it will establish an emergency COVID-19 hospital at the Iran Mall. The treatment center will provide 3,000 beds, and it will be fully equipped with the facilities and equipment necessary to treat COVID-19 patients, including mechanical ventilators. Iranian officials noted that they are hopeful that this capacity will not be necessary, as the national incidence has recently begun to decline, but it will be available if necessary.
Scientific publications and reports and news

Malaria and the COVID-19 pandemic-Q&A
This Q&A will be updated as more is known about the novel coronavirus, how it spreads and how it is affecting malaria responses worldwide.
What is WHO’s position on the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in the context of the COVID-19 response?
Chloroquine is currently recommended by WHO for the treatment of P. vivax malaria. In the context of the COVID-19 response, the dosage and treatment schedules for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine that are currently under consideration do not reflect those used for treating patients with malaria. The ingestion of high doses of these medicines may be associated with adverse or seriously adverse health outcomes.
Susceptibility of ferrets, cats, dogs, and different domestic animals to SARS-coronavirus-2

USDA Statement on the Confirmation of COVID-19 in a Tiger in New York
Public health officials believe these large cats became sick after being exposed to a zoo employee who was actively shedding virus. The zoo has been closed to the public since mid-March, and the first tiger began showing signs of sickness on March 27. All of these large cats are expected to recover. There is no evidence that other animals in other areas of the zoo are showing symptoms.

A world first at the Bronx Zoo

A better answer to the ventilator shortage as the pandemic rages on
Last year, 77,000 new ventilators were enough to meet the market demand of the entire planet. In April, New York City alone forecasts a need for 30,000 additional machines;
Some ventilator manufacturers have already boosted their production by 30-50% but, by themselves, can’t deliver the 500 or 1000% growth in production required;
Expanding Ventilator Capacity—The Need for State and Regional Planning
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, policy makers are seeking to expand ventilator capacity to address the anticipated surge in patients with severe respiratory failure. Without enough ventilators, rationing measures that triage ventilators in order to save the most lives could be necessary.

Why Germany’s death rate is so low

Read the latest coronavirus news, continuously updated on Nature.

Scientists have turned the structure of the coronavirus into music  
‘The pandemic is a portal’
Who can use the term “gone viral” now without shuddering a little? Who can look at anything any more — a door handle, a cardboard carton, a bag of vegetables — without imagining it swarming with those unseeable, undead, unliving blobs dotted with suction pads waiting to fasten themselves on to our lungs?
Barrier Enclosure during Endotracheal Intubation
Clinicians with inadequate access to standard personal protective equipment (PPE) have been compelled to improvise protective barrier enclosures for use during endotracheal intubation.
Recommendations for a Metropolitan COVID-19 Response
This strategy aims to slow transmission of the novel coronavirus and interrupt its spread. In metropolitan areas where cases are increasing, this strategy should delay and reduce the peak number of cases. In metropolitan areas where case numbers may be stable or declining, this strategy should accelerate the decline, creating more opportunities for decisions to relax social distancing policies.
Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19
CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.
A deficit of more than 250,000 public health workers is no way to fight Covid-19
That happens when a nation systematically cuts or underfunds its public health workforce? We are seeing an answer to that in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping across the United States.
News Feature: Avoiding pitfalls in the pursuit of a COVID-19 vaccine
The teams of researchers scrambling to develop a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine clearly face some big challenges, both scientific and logistical. One of the most pressing: understanding how the immune system interacts not only with the pathogen but with the vaccine itself—crucial insights when attempting to develop a safe and effective vaccine.
Bad News Wrapped in Protein: Inside the Coronavirus Genome
A virus is “simply a piece of bad news wrapped up in protein,” the biologists Jean and Peter Medawar wrote in 1977. In January, scientists deciphered a piece of very bad news: the genome of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The sample came from a 41-year-old man who worked at the seafood market in Wuhan where the first cluster of cases appeared.

Preventing the next pandemic: We can make this a 'never again’ moment

Coronavirus outbreak shows the risk in ignoring human activity’s impact on nature
Will the coronavirus have a lasting impact on carbon emissions?
 Will the coronavirus outbreak permanently alter people’s work habits and global supply chains? Research reveals that some of the technologies now being widely deployed to help the world shelter in place hold promise in building a future global economy with lower fossil fuel use.
Read more.

Coronavirus seems to mutate much slower than seasonal flu
Can a smartphone app help us turn the coronavirus corner and go outside again?
Other countries have tamed their COVID-19 outbreaks better than the United States has, in part by a broad use of "contact tracing," the technique used to map out whom an infected person may have been in contact with. For this pandemic, the use of digital location tracking may be by necessity.
Read more.
Epidemic intelligence from open sources (EIOS): Saving lives through early detection
How can the world counter COVID-19 online? UN issues hackers’ challenge to CodeTheCurve
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is inviting young innovators, data scientists and designers throughout the world – especially those whose schools have closed due to COVID-19 - to join a month-long hackathon to come up with digital solutions to the global pandemic.

Fact-checking Trump’s claims about hydroxychloroquine, the antimalarial drug he’s touting as a coronavirus treatment

Head lice drug Ivermectin is being tested as a possible coronavirus treatment, but that’s no reason to buy it
The head lice drug Ivermectin has stopped SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from replicating in lab tests. But we don't know if it will work as a treatment for people with coronavirus.
The dark side of ventilators: Those hooked up for long periods face difficult recoveries
The Washington Post
How New York City’s emergency ventilator stockpile ended up on the auction block.

OPINION: Power in a pandemic - why energy access matters during coronavirus
Consequences of the Outbreak on society and Economy

Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity: Responding to the Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19

Read Full Report

Global Response to COVID-19 Must Include Migrants, IDPs, Refugees, Stateless People: UN Secretary General's Spokesperson
Read More
Aid workers are bracing for a possible outbreak of the coronavirus in one of the world's largest refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Associated Press 
COVID-19 and the displaced: Addressing the threat of the novel coronavirus in humanitarian emergencies
The world is gripped by a truly global public health emergency. From New York to Wuhan, attention and resources are being directed to fight the spread of COVID-19, a disease caused by the novel coronavirus (officially, SARS-CoV-2). On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the situation a pandemic. Healthcare systems in even the most advanced countries are being overwhelmed.
Public mental health crisis during COVID-19 pandemic, China

Q&A: UN Women envisions a more gender-equal post-pandemic society
UN backs global action to end violence against women and girls amid COVID-19 crisis
The United Nations is advocating immediate global action to end all forms of violence against women and girls in the midst of a global upsurge related to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world.
Rights experts warn against discrimination in COVID-19 response
Fearing a needless increase in COVID-19 deaths due to discrimination, UN independent human rights experts on Monday called for Governments to commit to racial equity and equality in their response to the pandemic.
African Americans seem to be disproportionately affected by Covid-19, according to emerging statistics. Black people make up around 15% of the population in states such as Michigan and Illinois, but also around 40% of the deaths from Covid-19.
more here

Evaluating the initial impact of COVID-19 containment measures on economic activity
This note provides illustrative estimates of the initial direct impact of shutdowns, based on an analysis of sectoral output and consumption patterns across countries and an assumption of common effects within each sector and spending category in all countries.
Remittance downturn.
The COVID-19 outbreak is expected to cause a drastic decrease in remittances sent to Latin America and the Caribbean, but could play a role in increasing digitization of money transfer and banking services in the region.

Coronavirus support packages will reshape the future economy, and that presents an opportunity
Many countries are spending record amounts to support people and businesses affected by COVID-19, but we need to scrutinise fiscal support because it's money we're borrowing from future generations.

Africa faces grave risks as COVID-19 emerges
US dairy farmers are reportedly being forced to dispose of milk as national supply chain disruptions interrupt the ability to deliver products where they are needed. The interruption to restaurant operations, both domestically and internationally, and increased demand at grocery stores have necessitated major changes to how highly perishable products—including milk, cheese, and butter—are shipped.
Risk Communication
Updated WHO Myth buster
WHO WhatsApp health alert launches in Arabic, French and Spanish

Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19
This document provides advice on the use of masks in communities, during home care, and in health care settings in areas that have reported cases of COVID-19. It is intended for individuals in the community, public health and infection prevention and control (IPC) professionals, health care managers, health care workers (HCWs), and community health workers. This updated version includes a section on Advice to decision makers on the use of masks for healthy people in community settings.

How do viruses mutate and jump species? And why are ‘spillovers’ becoming more common?

The bar necessities: 5 ways to understand coronavirus graphs

Misinformation about an outbreak like Covid-19 is important public health data
WHO Technical guidance
New guidance
Rational use of personal protective equipment for COVID-19 and considerations during severe shortages
This document summarizes WHO’s recommendations on the rational use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in health care and community settings, as well as during the handling of cargo. It also provides appraisal of the current situation of disruption of the global supply chain and considerations for decision-making processes during severe shortages of PPE.
COVID-19: Operational guidance for maintaining essential health services during an outbreak 
Handbook for public health capacity-building at ground crossings and cross-border collaboration
Operational considerations for managing COVID-19 cases/outbreak on board ships
A practical manual about how to set up and manage a severe acute respiratory infections treatment centre and a screening facility in health care facilities
The First Few X cases and contacts (FFX) investigation protocol for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19:

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 CDC published new guidance on COVID-19
The US CDC published updated versions a broad scope of COVID-19 guidance and information, including interim guidance for collecting and processing clinical specimens, handling the bodies of deceased persons under investigation (PUIs), operating schools and childcare centers, and infection control for COVID-19 patients.
The CDC also published updated information for vulnerable populations, including individuals with asthma and pregnant women, as well as updated information on caring for COVID-19 patients at home.
The CDC also made substantial updates to guidance regarding how to optimize the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).

IASC Guidance on COVID-19 outbreak readiness and response - Food distribution
A series of short country response reports (in Europe) are daily being published, with reference to capacity, workforce, implications for ‘normal’ care, and reflections on socio-economic impacts.  There are now about 10 country reports available and new ones are posted each day. The first one was published last Friday April 3, and can be found here:

What are countries doing to contain the spread of the coronavirus? How are countries helping people, small businesses and the economy to weather the crisis and beyond?
This Country Policy Tracker helps you to navigate the global response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, recently developed Novel Coronavirus Resources Page.

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 CenterCIDRAP 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

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

Supporting coronavirus research with FREE access to over 17,000 Global Health records 
CABI’s Global Health – the go-to bibliographic database for the study and practice of national, regional and international public health – has made relevant content available for free to support the international effort to fight the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). You can access the free open access content by following this link:

Training courses:
Introductory Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) training module on Open WHO.
This course provides information on what facilities should be doing to be prepared to respond to a case of an emerging respiratory virus such as the novel coronavirus, how to identify a case once it occurs, and how to properly implement IPC measures to ensure there is no further transmission to HCW or to other patients and others in the healthcare facility.
This training is intended for healthcare workers and public health professionals, as it is focused on infection prevention and control.
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


Research and Development

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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