COVID-19 situation: 12 May 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 12 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 112 by 10 May 2020

  • WHO has published new guidance on Surveillance strategies for COVID-19 human infection. The document provides an overview of surveillance strategies that Member States should consider as part of comprehensive national surveillance for COVID-19. It also emphasise the need to adapt and reinforce existing national systems where appropriate and to scale-up surveillance capacities as needed
  • In today’s ‘Subject in Focus’, WHO provides an update on the work of the Emergency Medical Teams, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, and Risk Communication and Community Engagement
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 11 May 2020
As of 11 May 2020, 1 248 033 cases have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: Spain (224 390), United Kingdom (219 183), Italy (219 070), Germany (169 575), France (139 063), Belgium (53 081), Netherlands (42 627), Portugal (27 581), Sweden (26 322), Ireland (22 996), Poland (15 996), Austria (15 787), Romania (15 362), Denmark (10 429), Czechia (8 123), Norway (8 099), Finland (5 962), Luxembourg (3 886), Hungary (3 284), Greece (2 716), Croatia (2 187), Bulgaria (1 965), Iceland (1 801), Estonia (1 739), Lithuania (1 479), Slovakia (1 457), Slovenia (1 457), Latvia (939), Cyprus (898), Malta (496) and Liechtenstein (83).
As of 11 May 2020, 147 558 deaths have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: United Kingdom (31 855), Italy (30 560), Spain (26 621), France (26 380), Belgium (8 656), Germany (7 417), Netherlands (5 440), Sweden (3 225), Ireland (1 458), Portugal (1 135), Romania (952), Poland (800), Austria (618), Denmark (529), Hungary (421), Czechia (280), Finland (267), Norway (217), Greece (151), Slovenia (102), Luxembourg (101), Bulgaria (91), Croatia (90), Estonia (60), Lithuania (50), Slovakia (26), Cyprus (22), Latvia (18), Iceland (10), Malta (5) and Liechtenstein (1).
Situation dashboard: latest available data
Control Measures

Framework for Reopening Schools
From UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank and the World Food Programme
How WHO is re-imagining and fixing the links in the supply chains during COVID-19

Two potential therapies for covid-19 have some effect
Hope rears its head, but more information is needed

Study finds no hydroxychloroquine effect on death, severe COVID-19
The drug was not tied to lower rates of intubation or death in COVID-19 patients.
More »

7 questions about Covid-19 testing and what it means for reopening the country
Pressure to perform widespread Covid-19 testing is growing as public health experts and ordinary citizens question the safety of reopening the country.
Diagnostic Test EUA
The US FDA granted an EUA for the first CRISPR-based diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2. CRISPR technologies have been developed for a wide variety of uses, including gene editing and gene drives. TheSherlock CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 test kit works by programming a CRISPR molecule to detect specific parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Once the CRISPR system binds to its target site, a signal is released that can then be detected by researchers running the test. Sherlock stands for “Specific High-sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unLOCKing.” With the appropriate, corresponding instrumentation, this test kit could be used at the point of care, and results can be reported within minutes.
The FDA also authorized the use of a saliva-based diagnostic developed by Rutgers University. The test costs approximately US$100 each and enables individuals to collect specimens in their own home. The test kits must be sent back to Rutgers for processing, which can provide results in 48 hours (completing 20,000 tests per day). The test is aimed at individuals who are currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Countries measures

Vietnam and the Indian state of Kerala curbed covid-19 on the cheap
Their secret is quick and efficient public-health systems
Japan's government has dropped fever from its COVID-19 testing criteria in an effort to cast a wider net for the disease, Reuters reported.
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison today described a three-step plan to ease social distancing that would remove most measures by July and get about 1 million people back to work, Reuters reported.

South Africa said it would parole 19,000 low-risk prisoners to help curb the spread of the virus at correctional facilities, Reuters said in a separate report.
Kuwait today announced a curfew to begin on May 10 and last through the end of the month, Kuwait News Agency People will only be allowed outside for exercise for 2 hours a day in their residential areas. The country has seen a steady rise in daily cases, with 641 reported today.
Sweden still hasn't locked down. But normal life is a luxury for only a few
In Sweden's prosperous neighborhoods, many residents parade around without masks and not maintaining recommended distancing. But in working-class neighborhoods, masks, self-quarantines, and social distancing abounds.
Report: CDC COVID-19 Reopening Guidelines Shelved
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) crafted a detailed document to guide states on the reopening of retail, daycares, schools, and religious services, among other things, but that report was quickly shelved by the White House, the Associated Press reported.
Scientific publications and reports and news

Temperature, humidity, latitude not tied to COVID-19 growth
To measure whether the epidemic growth of the coronavirus, as with influenza, is slowed by higher temperatures and higher humidity, which are associated with geographic latitude, the researchers performed a prospective cohort study of all 144 countries with at least 10 COVID-19 cases and local transmission by Mar 10. China, Italy, South Korea, and Iran were excluded from the analysis.
"Taken together, these findings suggest that seasonality is likely to play only a minor role in the epidemiology of COVID-19, while public health interventions (school closures, restricting mass gatherings, social distancing) appear to have a major impact,"
Autopsy Slowdown Hinders Quest to Determine How Coronavirus Kills Researchers around the world have flocked to study COVID-19, a disease that mainly attacks the lungs, but also has bewildering effects on the heart, kidneys and brain. The raging pandemic and accompanying lockdowns have complicated efforts to collect the tissue samples that researchers need to understand how the new coronavirus wreaks such havoc. Now, pathologists are looking for ways to collect such samples systematically and share the results.
Fauci: 'Shame on us if we don't have enough tests' when the virus re-emerges
In an exclusive interview, the face of America’s COVID-19 response cautions against the rush for states to reopen, offers his tips for handling the pandemic's information deluge, and weighs in on whether the virus originated in a lab.
One topic in the news lately has been the origins of SAR-CoV-2. Do you believe or is there evidence that the virus was made in the lab in China or accidentally released from a lab in China?
If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats, and what's out there now is very, very strongly leaning toward this [virus] could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated—the way the mutations have naturally evolved. A number of very qualified evolutionary biologists have said that everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that it evolved in nature and then jumped species.
Millions of animals legally enter the U.S. each year—without being screened for diseases
And that leaves us vulnerable to another outbreak like coronavirus, which may have jumped from bats to humans through an intermediary animal. An estimated 60 percent of known human diseases originated in animals.
How quieting 'blood storms' could be key to treating severe COVID-19
In some coronavirus patients, the body turns its attacks on itself. Anti-inflammatory drugs may be able to help stop this friendly fire.

Randomized Clinical Trials and COVID-19Managing Expectations

Privileges and Immunity Certification During the COVID-19 Pandemic
an immunity certificate program for COVID-19 would be unparalleled in several ways. First, because COVID-19 is not (yet) vaccine-preventable, inoculation must come entirely from prior infection. Second, the program likely would apply more broadly than to only a handful of selected professions or activities. Third, the conditioned “privileges” could include a greater range of fundamental civil liberties and opportunities, like freedom of association, worship, work, education, and travel. In addition, scientific understanding of SARS-CoV-2 immunity is still fairly rudimentary. How much immunity infection confers, and for how long, is unknown, as is the level and type of antibodies that indicate immunity.

The Ethics of COVID-19 Immunity-Based Licenses (“Immunity Passports”)

The Equitable Distribution of COVID-19 Therapeutics and Vaccines

Cancer and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)—Facing the “C Words”

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

What the world learned in eradicating smallpox: Unity mattered
Forty years ago, the world celebrated the vanquishing of a formidable foe, smallpox, which had maimed and killed millions for centuries.
COVID-19 & Children
The role that children play in transmission of COVID-19 is still unclear. While evidence suggests that children are at lower risk for severe disease and death, the extent to which they are a source of transmission among close contacts or the community remains uncertain. Children have been subject to stay-at-home measures in many countries, some with more lenient provisions for children than for adults. Children in Spain have only recently been allowed to leave their homes for one hour of supervised play, but only those under 14 years old and only within one kilometer of their home. In the United States, state and local governments are currently making decisions regarding whether or not to resume school for this academic year. States such as Maryland, New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey have all closed schools for the remainder of the academic year, while the governor of Montana is allowing local school boards to begin in-person classes at their discretion. More research is needed to understand the role of children as sources of spread in this pandemic.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding in the Context of Ebola: a Systematic Review  
Nearly all women with Ebola virus disease had adverse pregnancy outcomes. Among survivors, Ebola virus RNA was detected by RT-PCR in amniotic fluid up to 32 days after maternal clearance of Ebola virus from the blood and in breastmilk 26 days after symptom onset. A risk of transmission of Ebola virus from pregnancy-related fluids and breastmilk probably exists, and precautions should be taken.

Pangolins—considered a potential SARS-CoV-2 transmitter
may be able to tolerate the virus because they lack 2 virus-detecting genes, an evolutionary advantage that may inform future treatments, new research found.
Courthouse News Service

The U.N. is tripling its appeal to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the world's poorest countries, asking for $6.7 billion in an updated global plan that requires "extraordinary response," says U.N. Emergency Coordinator Mark Lowcock.

How Climate Change Is Contributing to Skyrocketing Rates of Infectious Disease
A catastrophic loss in biodiversity, reckless destruction of wildland and warming temperatures have allowed disease to explode. Ignoring the connection between climate change and pandemics would be “dangerous delusion,” one scientist said.
Recent preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv
Smoking Prevalence is Low in Symptomatic Patients Admitted for COVID-19.
Mobility Reduction and Covid-19 Transmission Rates
Perceived Stress and Psychological (Dis)Stress among Indian Endodontists During COVID19 Pandemic Lock down
Who can go back to work when the COVID-19 pandemic remits?
Immunity Passports for SARS-CoV-2: an online experimental study of the impact of antibody test terminology on perceived risk and behaviour
Using the term Immunity (vs Antibody) to describe antibody tests for SARS-CoV-2 increases the proportion of people believing that an antibody-positive result means they have no risk of catching coronavirus in the future, a perception that may be associated with less frequent hand washing. The way antibody testing is described may have implications for the likely impact of testing on transmission rates.
Taming Covid-19 Epidemic In Sao Paulo With Alogistic Model And Non-Pharmaceutical Measures
Sensitivity and specificity of a rapid test for assessment of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in a community-based setting in Brazil
Metapopulation modeling of COVID-19 advancing into the countryside: an analysis of mitigation strategies for Brazil
Bidirectional contact tracing is required for reliable COVID-19 control
Mathematical Modeling & the Transmission Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in Cali, Colombia: Implications to a 2020 Outbreak & public health preparedness
Suppression of Groups Intermingling as Appealing Option For Flattening and Delaying the Epidemiologic Curve While Allowing Economic and Social Life at Bearable Level During COVID-19 Pandemic
A simple arithmetic rationale for crushing the epidemic curve of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) instead of flattening it
Here is presented a simple set of arithmetic modelling analyses that explain why preferable crush the curve strategies, to eliminate transmission within months, would require only a modest amount of additional containment effort when compared to flatten the curvestrategies that allow epidemics to persist at a steady, supposedly manageable level for years, decades or even indefinitely
A simple model to fit the time evolution of the daily death rate of Covid-19 in European Union countries
The disease-induced herd immunity level for Covid-19 is substantially lower than the classical herd immunity level
The RBD Of The Spike Protein Of SARS-Group Coronaviruses Is A Highly Specific Target Of SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies But Not Other Pathogenic Human and Animal Coronavirus Antibodies
Neutrophil calprotectin identifies severe pulmonary disease in COVID-19
Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitors and Angiotensin Receptor Blockers and Outcome of COVID-19 : A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Age-adjusted associations between comorbidity and outcomes of COVID-19: a review of the evidence
The emerging evidence base mostly indicates that after adjustment for age (and in some cases other potential confounders), obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive airways disease (COPD), and cancer are all associated with worse outcomes. The largest study, using a large nationwide sample of COVID-19 patients in China, found that those with multiple comorbidities had more than twice the risk of a severe outcome or death compared with patients with no comorbidities, after adjusting for age and smoking (HR=2.59, 95% CI 1.61, 4.17).
Recurrence of SARS-CoV-2 PCR positivity in COVID-19 patients: a single center experience and potential implications
This case series provides clinical characteristics of COVID-19 patients with recurrent PCR positivity, despite strict quarantine, at a 16.7% rate. Use of a recurrence prediction algorithm may identify patients at high risk of PCR retest positivity of SARS-CoV-2 and help modify COVID-19 case management and health policy approaches.
Associations between ambient air pollutants exposure and case fatality rate of COVID-19: a multi-city ecological study in China.
Findings suggest ambient PM2.5, PM10 and NO2 exposure, especially at 28 lag days, positively associated with the case fatality rate of COVID-19 in China. For city-level analysis in Hubei, significant associations were only found between cumulative ambient NO2 exposure and average CFR (r=0.693 for Lag0-14, r=0.697 for Lag0-28,respectively)during the same period
Consequences of the Outbreak on society and Economy
Statement – During COVID-19 pandemic, violence remains preventable, not inevitable,-violence-remains-preventable,-not-inevitable

Uncounted, unseen: Many COVID deaths in care homes are unrecorded
Governments are waking up to a hidden calamity

The Disproportionate Burden of COVID-19 for Immigrants in the Bronx, New York

Covid-19 has given most world leaders a temporary rise in popularity
The cost of inaction: COVID-19-related service disruptions could cause hundreds of thousands of extra deaths from HIV
As Hospitals Lose Revenue, More Than A Million Health Care Workers Lose Jobs
It's an ironic twist as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the nation: The very workers tasked with treating those afflicted with the virus are losing work in droves. Emergency room visits are down. Non-urgent surgical procedures have largely been put on hold. Health care spending fell 18% in the first three months of the year.

Routine vaccinations for U.S. children have plummeted during the Covid-19 pandemic
Routine vaccination of children in the United States appeared to have declined dramatically in March and April, according to a new study.
Nursing ranks are filled with Filipino Americans. The pandemic is taking an outsized toll on them
75,000 Americans at risk of dying from overdose or suicide due to coronavirus despair, group warns

The world’s food system has so far weathered the challenge of covid-19
But things could still go awry
Risk Communication
Tips for Engaging Communities during COVID-19 in Low-Resource Settings, Remotely and In-Person
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
PAHO and UNOPS present publication with measures to prevent COVID-19 for construction workers - 8 May 2020
Surveillance strategies for COVID-19 human infection

Contact tracing in the context of COVID-19
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

COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv

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 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 email  


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