COVID-19 situation: 8 May 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 8 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  

Wishing you useful reading!

COVID-19 Outbreak Situation 

Situation updates:

WHO situation report by 8 May 2020

  • More than 3.5 million cases of COVID-19 and 250,000 deaths have now been reported to WHO.
  • At yesterday’s media briefing, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, referring to the fact that crises can exacerbate existing inequalities, reiterated that ‘We cannot end the pandemic until we address the inequalities that are fueling it.’ He also highlighted six criteria that WHO recommends countries should take into account when considering the easing of lockdown restrictions.


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)

Situation update for the EU/EEA and the UK as of 8 May 2020
As of 08 May 2020, 1 216 901 cases have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: Spain (221 447), Italy (215 858), United Kingdom (206 715), Germany (167 300), France (137 779), Belgium (51 420), Netherlands (41 774), Portugal (26 715), Sweden (24 623), Ireland (22 385), Austria (15 673), Poland (15 047), Romania (14 499), Denmark (10 083), Czechia (8 031), Norway (7 995), Finland (5 673), Luxembourg (3 859), Hungary (3 178), Greece (2 678), Croatia (2 125), Bulgaria (1 829), Iceland (1 801), Estonia (1 720), Slovenia (1 449), Slovakia (1 445), Lithuania (1 433), Latvia (909), Cyprus (889), Malta (486) and Liechtenstein (83).
As of 08 May 2020, 143 730 deaths have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: United Kingdom (30 615), Italy (29 958), Spain (26 070), France (25 987), Belgium (8 415), Germany (7 266), Netherlands (5 288), Sweden (3 040), Ireland (1 403), Portugal (1 105), Romania (876), Poland (755), Austria (609), Denmark (514), Hungary (392), Czechia (270), Finland (255), Norway (209), Greece (148), Luxembourg (100), Slovenia (99), Croatia (86), Bulgaria (84), Estonia (56), Lithuania (49), Slovakia (26), Cyprus (21), Latvia (18), Iceland (10), Malta (5) and Liechtenstein (1).
Situation dashboard: latest available data
Focus on Africa
New WHO estimates: Up to 190 000 people could die of COVID-19 in Africa if not controlled
Brazzaville, 7 May 2020 – Eighty-three thousand to 190 000 people in Africa could die of COVID-19 and 29 million to 44 million could get infected in the first year of the pandemic if containment measures fail, a new study by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa finds. The research, which is based on prediction modelling, looks at 47 countries in the WHO African Region with a total population of one billion.
Audio file:
Dr Moeti’s opening remarks:
Africa is woefully ill-equipped to cope with covid-19
People cannot stay away from work if they have no money         
The Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) reportedly denied allegations from the Tanzanian government that the coronavirus tests it supplied are faulty. The tests provided by Africa CDC were donated by the Jack Ma Foundation, but last weekend, Tanzanian President John Magufuli reportedly stated that attempts to validate the tests showed them to be unreliable. Testing capacity among African countries has increased over time, but gaps remain in testing and healthcare system capacity, such as ventilator and medical personnel availability.
Responding to COVID-19 in Africa: Using Data to Find a Balance
The report assessed perceived risk among surveyed African populations, including the proportion of the population who support various social distancing measures. The report highlighted that half of respondents estimated that they could run out of money or food within a week and that food insecurity was a driving force in decisions to break “stay at home” orders.

Access to lifesaving medical resources for African countries: COVID-19 testing and response, ethics, and politics
Although health system weakness remains acute in many places, investments by national governments, the African Union, and international initiatives to tackle AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, polio, and post-Ebola global health security have built important public health capacities. Global leaders have an ethical obligation to avoid needless loss of life due to the foreseeable prospect of slow and inadequate access to supplies in Africa.

Russia's rise prompts lockdown extension in Moscow
Russia reported another record-high daily total, with the 11,231 new cases pushing its total to 177,160, moving the country ahead of France and Germany. However, Russia's fatality count, which can be a lagging indicator, is at 1,652, well behind many other countries.
Moscow is the country's hot spot, reporting about half of Russia's cases. The city's mayor today extended the lockdown until May 31, though industries and construction companies will be able to reopen on May 12, Reuters reported.
The number of confirmed coronavirus deaths in the United Kingdom — now surpassing Italy as the most coronavirus deaths in Europe. There are many caveats: the UK population is about 10% larger than Italy’s, and Italy has done more testing. (BBC | 6 min read)

Brazil hits record for coronavirus deaths, raising chances of lockdownsBrazil reported its highest number of daily cases yesterday, with the 10,503 new infections raising the country's total to 126,611, leading the health minister to consider strict lockdowns for the country's hot spots

Control Measures
$15 billion has been allocated to the pandemic response in the global south.
interactive visualization

Countries are using apps and data networks to keep tabs on the pandemic
And also, in the process, their citizens
Digital technologies are vital tools for helping people cope with stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). But digital requires access to affordable and reliable internet connections.

Calling for a COVID-19 One Health Research Coalition

Mounting promises on Covid-19 vaccines are fueling false expectations, experts say
Encouraging news about vaccine development is being wrongly interpreted to mean a product could be available for the masses by the fall. It won't be.

Doctors lambaste federal process for distributing Covid-19 drug remdesivir
Hospitals and physicians around the country are sharply criticizing the federal government for the uneven and opaque way it is distributing its supply of the Covid-19 drug remdesivir.

Giving blood thinners to severely ill Covid-19 patients is gaining ground
Treating Covid-19 patients with medicines to prevent blood clots might help reduce deaths in patients on ventilators, based on new observational data.
Interpreting Diagnostic Test for SARS-CoV-2
The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to affect much of the world. Knowledge of diagnostic tests for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is still evolving, and a clear understanding of the nature of the tests and interpretation of their findings is important.
The US Has No Idea How to Manage All the Testing Data it’s Collecting
In the US, each state decides how it reports findings from covid-19 tests. The result is a chaotic system that’s hurting our response to the pandemic.
Countries measures
Report: CDC COVID-19 reopening guidelines shelved
Also, new models predict a spike in cases in late May after states reopen from lockdowns.
More »
USAID humanitarian leader to resign.
Tim Ziemer, who oversees USAID's humanitarian efforts — including coronavirus response programs — informed the White House that he plans to resign effective June 5. The retired Navy admiral previously led the White House pandemic office that the Trump administration disbanded in 2018.
PAHO Director Calls on Each Country to Analyze Trends of the Pandemic Before Relaxing Social Distancing Measures
The Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa F. Etienne, asked countries to analyze specific trends in the COVID-19 pandemic according to their unique contexts, and warned that reducing social distancing measures “too soon could accelerate the spread of the virus and open the door for a dramatic upsurge or for spread to adjacent areas.”

Chile plans controversial COVID-19 certificates

New Zealand eliminates COVID-19
An aggressive approach has enabled New Zealand to end community transmission of SARS-CoV-2. New Zealand recorded its first day of no new cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) early this week, more than a month after its strict lockdown began.
Scientific publications and reports and news

Children and the spread of COVID-19
Children represent a small fraction of confirmed COVID-19 cases, but researchers are divided on how susceptible they are to infection and how much they contribute to the disease’s spread. Some scientists point to a growing body of evidence suggesting that children are at lower risk of infection and are not responsible for the majority of transmission — and thus we can reopen schools. Others argue that the incidence of infection in children is lower than in adults partly because they haven’t been exposed to the virus as much — especially with many schools closed. Children are also not getting tested as often because they have mild or no symptoms. If this is the case, we’ll see infections spike in places where kids return to class.
Settling the debate will require large, high-quality population studies — some of which are already under way — that include antibody tests for previous infection. Scientists are also seeking answers to why children seem to suffer less from the infection, and how it might help the rest of us.
Nature | 4 min read

One strain is enough to worry about
Despite some news reports, it’s too soon to say whether there is more than one strain of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus — let alone one that’s more dangerous or more contagious. The virus does mutate, and tracking how it changes helps to trace its spread — which is beautifully visualized on Nextstrain. But scientists generally consider these variations to be the same strain because there is no strong evidence of significant differences, such as in how easily they spread.
The Atlantic | 9 min read

Coronavirus found in infected men's semen
It's still unclear whether the virus can be sexually transmitted through contact with semen.

Clinical Characteristics and Results of Semen Tests Among Men with Coronavirus Disease 2019

A Trial of Lopinavir–Ritonavir in Adults Hospitalized with Severe Covid-19

Gilead signals steps to widen global access to remdesivir for Covid-19 patients
Gilead said it is pursuing several steps to ensure global access to remdesivir for Covid-19 patients, including licensing agreements to supply the drug to countries beyond the U.S.

COVID-19-associated nephritis: early warning for disease severity and complications?
Observational Study of Hydroxychloroquine in Hospitalized Patients with Covid-19
In this observational study involving patients with Covid-19 who had been admitted to the hospital, hydroxychloroquine administration was not associated with either a greatly lowered or an increased risk of the composite end point of intubation or death. Randomized, controlled trials of hydroxychloroquine in patients with Covid-19 are needed.
The Urgency of Care during the Covid-19 Pandemic — Learning as We Go

CPR in the Covid-19 Era — An Ethical Framework

Autopsies of COVID-19 patients reveal clotting concerns
Several patients had deep vein thrombosis, suggesting the virus may cause abnormal blood clotting.
More »

The key role of palliative care in response to the COVID-19 tsunami of suffering

Study: Wuhan-like COVID-19 scenario could crush US hospitals
Resources may be especially taxed in some US cities with vulnerable populations.
More »
ICN Calls for Data on Healthcare Worker Infection Rates and Deaths
ICN has gathered further information from its member National Nursing Associations (NNAs, some official government figures and media reports), which suggest that at least 90,000 healthcare workers have been infected, and more than 260 nurses have died.

UN cuts extra pay for health workers in Yemen just as COVID-19 hits
‘The timing couldn’t be worse.’
Enabling positive birth experiences in the time of COVID-19 - 5 May 2020
Origin of the COVI-19 Virus

China says it backs WHO in tracing COVID-19, denounces U.S. 'lies'
China said today that it supports the World Health Organization (WHO) in determining the source of the COVID-19 pandemic, Reuters reported, based on comments from a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman. At a briefing yesterday, WHO officials reiterated that they do not have the authority to launch an investigation in China, but said one of their joint mission's recommendations to China in February was to look for the zoonotic source. The officials also said that they have been in discussions with China about another joint mission to tackle the zoonotic source questions. The source of the virus has been a flash point in US-China relations, and the WHO has said it's important to find the source of the virus to prevent future outbreaks.
COVID-19: Q&A with China WHO Representative Dr Gauden Galea - 6 May 2020
How do bats carry a coronavirus and remain unscathed?
A new study details how the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) enters a ­­­­“long-term relationship” with bats’ supercharged immune systems.  
University of Saskatchewan via ScienceDaily
Consequences of the Outbreak on society and Economy
Gender data resources on COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic is causing unimaginable human suffering and is likely to heighten gender-based inequalities around the world. UN Women has been closely following the political and economic response to COVID-19 and how it is impacting women and girls. We are working with partners to bridge the gender data gap and deliver a more accurate picture of the gender dimension to the response so that it can be more effective for women and girls.
UN Women is also rolling out rapid assessment surveys to quickly capture the gendered consequences of COVID-19. Preliminary results from the Asia-Pacific region are now available on the Women Count Data Hub.

Gender-sensitive social protection: A critical component of the COVID-19 response in low- and middle-income countries
COVID-19 Food Trade Policy Tracker- Regressive Restrictions 
In the face of COVID-19, some national governments have begun restricting food exports. This behavior can have dire unintended consequences for vulnerable people in food-importing countries by increasing prices and exacerbating food insecurity. David Laborde, Abdullah Mamun, and Marie Parent have been monitoring these activities using the COVID-19 Food Trade Policy Tracker, which shows the percentage of each country’s imported calories that are impacted by export restrictions. Currently, 19 countries have implemented or announced export restrictions, which affect 5 percent of globally-traded calories.
(View Tracker)
Monitoring Market Stress
The Food Security Portal’s COVID-19 Food Price Monitor for South Asia and Africa south of the Sahara, a project led by Manuel Hernandez, Soonho Kim, Brendan Rice and Rob Vos, tracks changes in food prices since the start of social distancing measures. The Monitor is already raising a number of red flags. Prices of various commodities in Uganda have spiked compared to pre-COVID levels, while other countries such as Burundi have seen moderate increases. Still other countries, such as Rwanda, have seen minimal movement. 
(View Monitor)

How to feed the planet
The global food supply chain is passing a severe test
Promoting health equity, gender and ethnic equality, and human rights in COVID­19 responses: Key considerations
Rationale: The COVID-19 pandemic affects diverse groups of women and men differently. The risks and consequences are disproportionately felt by certain groups, especially those living in situations of vulnerability and those who experience discrimination. It is vital that country responses to COVID-19 consider equity, gender, ethnicity, and human rights perspectives to: - prevent the expansion of inequalities; - account for the everyday lived realities of different groups that may affect the success of measures. Objectives: - To function as a “first port of call” for national health policy makers to support their efforts to integrate and enhance equity, gender, ethnicity and human rights considerations and approaches into measures responding to COVID-19; - To complement PAHO’s technical documents on COVID-19, and provide links to sources of related information and guidelines.

San Francisco COVID-19 testing reveals stark burden on the poor and marginalized

Coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths by ethnic group, England and Wales: 2 March 2020 to 10 April 2020
The British government's statistics office today reported that black people and men who are from Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups are about twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as white people, even when adjusting for income. The findings that some racial groups are at higher risk of death are similar to what other countries, such as the United States, have found. Those from Chinese and mixed ethnic backgrounds had risks similar to whites, and the report said some of the difference is due to socioeconomic factors, but there may be other yet-identified factors.
The COVID-19 Response Is Failing Communities of Color
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted millions of Americans. As cities and states provide data on those directly ill, it has become clearer that communities of color carry an unequal burden of the disease. The emerging disparities have prompted community advocates to tailor prevention messages to the public in innovative ways.

WHO: COVID-19 could further destabilize Haiti, other fragile nations
WHO officials urge nations to take extra care in relaxing their distancing measures.
More »

COVID-19 to cost US hospitals $200 billion through June
COVID-19 "has created the greatest financial crisis in history for hospitals and health systems."
More »

Experts warn COVID-19 lockdowns could have dire impact on TB
A modest lockdown could add 1.8 million TB cases and 342,000 deaths globally over 5 years.
More »

USD 499 Million Needed to Provide Life-saving Services in COVID-19 Response 
Read more
Nurses in COVID19 unit
Despite the direct and personal care that nurses provide, they are not valued as they should be. That's a shame, and maybe even a deadly shame.
For microfinance lenders, covid-19 is an existential threat
Yet, in the post-pandemic world, the world’s poor will need them more than ever

Will employers still shell out for health tech benefits in an unemployment crisis? The industry is about to find out
As businesses cut costs and lay off workers, health tech companies that target the employer market face a crucial question about their strategy.
The European Commission announced that it predicts the European economy will contract by more than 7% this year, indicating one of the worst recessions in history.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was expected that the region’s economy would grow by more than 1% in 2020. While the recession is expected to impact all European countries, the degree varies, ranging from a 4.5% decrease in Poland to a 9.75% decrease in Germany. The shrinking economy affects key trading partners like the US and China as well as lower-income countries in Sub Saharan Africa, where European countries are the largest foreign investors.

Imagine the post-pandemic misery of business travel
The public announcements could be worrying, at the least
Transport and COVID-19
In just a few weeks, the pandemic has profoundly transformed the way we move people and goods. Could this help reinvent the future of transport?
Keeping Displaced Communities Safe and Healthy As COVID-19 Pandemic Takes Hold
Read more

Scientific research on the coronavirus is being released in a torrent
Will that change how science is published?
Death of the office
The coronavirus pandemic has sped up a revolution in home working, leaving offices around the world empty. But what was the point of them anyway?
Risk Communication
Updated WHO Myth buster

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?
UNESCO mythbusting
Effective COVID-19 crisis communication
WHO Technical guidance
Key criteria for the ethical acceptability of COVID-19 human challenge studies -- WHO Working Group for Guidance on Human Challenge Studies in COVID-19
Community-based health care, including outreach and campaigns,in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic -- Interim Guidance

Interim Guidance on Public Health and Social Measures for COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Operations in Low Capacity and Humanitarian Settings
Updated WHO Information Note: Ensuring continuity of TB services during the COVID-19 pandemic - 4 May 2020
The CDC published new guidance on COVID-19

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

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:
WHO training
PAHO / WHO provides virtual courses on COVID-19 in Portuguese for health professionals -

ECDC COVID-19 Micro learning
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 


Research and Development

Global research on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Database of publications on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

R&D Blueprint and COVID-19

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

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.

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 theCOVID-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 email  


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