COVID-19 situation: 4 June 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 4 June 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 135 by 3 June 2020

       Data as received by WHO from national authorities by 10:00 CEST, 03June2020
More info here
Links to the COVID-19 dashboards for most up-to-date figures:
Global 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 4 June 2020
As of 4 June 2020, 1 417 220 cases have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: United Kingdom (279 856), Spain (240 326), Italy (233 836), Germany (182 764), France (151 677), Belgium (58 685), Netherlands (46 733), Sweden (40 803), Portugal (33 261), Ireland (25 111), Poland (24 395), Romania (19 669), Austria (16 705), Denmark (11 771), Czechia (9 438), Norway (8 446), Finland (6 911), Luxembourg (4 020), Hungary (3 931), Greece (2 937), Bulgaria (2 585), Croatia (2 246), Estonia (1 880), Iceland (1 806), Lithuania (1 684), Slovakia (1 525), Slovenia (1 477), Latvia (1 079), Cyprus (958), Malta (622) and Liechtenstein (83).
As of 4 June 2020, 167 940 deaths have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: United Kingdom (39 728), Italy (33 601), France (29 021), Spain (27 940), Belgium (9 522), Germany (8 581), Netherlands (5 977), Sweden (4 542), Ireland (1 659), Portugal (1 447), Romania (1 288), Poland (1 092), Austria (670), Denmark (580), Hungary (534), Czechia (324), Finland (321), Norway (237), Greece (179), Bulgaria (147), Luxembourg (110), Slovenia (108), Croatia (103), Lithuania (71), Estonia (69), Slovakia (28), Latvia (24), Cyprus (17), Iceland (10), Malta (9) and Liechtenstein (1).
NOTE: on 29/05/2020, the increase reported by France is due to the implementation of a new laboratory-based surveillance system of COVID-19 (SI-DEP) since 13 May with a significant increase of the laboratory coverage, allowing the inclusion of retrospective cases diagnosed since that date.
Situation dashboard: latest available data

Global COVID-19 total nears 6.5 million as WHO lifts pause on drug trial
The WHO is worried about accelerating epidemics, especially in Central and South America.
More »
Brazil reported 28,936 new cases, its second highest daily total to date. Brazil is #1 in the world in terms of daily incidence, and it appears to still be increasing.
Peru and Chile continue to exhibit concerning trends as well, both currently reporting more than 3 times the per capita daily incidence as the United States. Additionally, Peru is #5 globally in terms of total daily incidence.
Panama is also exhibiting elevated incidence over the past week or so. After remaining relatively consistent throughout April and most of May, reporting approximately 150-225 new cases per day, Panama’s daily incidence jumped to more than 400 new cases since May 23. Panama’s per capita incidence is now on par with Brazil.
Control Measures

China delayed release of coronavirus data
China kept the World Health Organization (WHO) in the dark during the crucial early period of the coronavirus outbreak, according to an investigation by The Associated Press. The lack of transparency, and the WHO’s frustration, are detailed in newly revealed documents. The upshot was a delay of a week or more in releasing important information, such as the virus’s genome sequence and epidemiological data necessary to understand its spread. The information reveals that the WHO was “urgently trying to solicit more data despite limited authority”, reports The Associated Press.
Associated Press | 18 min read

Nondrug measures slowed COVID-19 spread without lockdown, analysis finds
Physical distancing, enhanced screening, and quarantining of people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19—without a lockdown—reduced the spread of the novel coronavirus outside of a hard-hit South Korean province by up to 34%, results of a study published yesterday in Emerging Infectious Diseases suggest.
Jun 2 Emerg Infect Dis study
Estimating the number of infections and the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in 11 European countries
Following the emergence of a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and its spread outside of China, Europe is now experiencing large epidemics. In response, many European countries have implemented unprecedented non-pharmaceutical interventions including case isolation, the closure of schools and universities, banning of mass gatherings and/or public events, and most recently, widescale social distancing including local and national lockdowns.
Lockdowns aren't one size fits all.
Some health experts question the suitability of nationwide lockdowns in places with weak health systems and fragile economies.
The right to health must guide responses to COVID-19
Travel restrictions are enhancing the role of local aid workers, but many say they are still not receiving the support they need, according to Devex's latest COVID-19 Trends Tracker survey. Most regions are using higher numbers of local staff, survey respondents report, but respondents have different opinions on how this will affect the sector.
Here's what the aid community is saying.
Countries Measures
How could the US withdraw from WHO?
U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement that the United States would terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization has raised multiple questions. Among them: Can the president unilaterally do that? And if so, what is the procedure?
The U.S. wouldn't be the first country with the intention to leave WHO. Several countries notified the organization of their intention to cease membership in 1949.
Here's a look at the history and the U.S. unique withdrawal conditions as we ask how and if the U.S. can withdraw from WHO.

‘Which death do they choose?’: Many Black men fear wearing a mask more than the coronavirus
Many Black men feel wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus puts them at risk of being targeted by police.
Read More
“Public health is about minimizing risks, and there are other risks we are thinking about minimizing with these protests, beyond COVID.”
Global-health legal scholar Alexandra Phelan addresses concerns that people gathering across the United States to protest against police brutality are at higher risk of COVID-19.
(The Atlantic | 7 min read)

With emergency visits down 42%, US hospitals reeling from COVID-19
Americans could be at risk of worse outcomes for non-COVID emergencies.
More »
Anonymised & aggregated crowd level mobility data from mobile phones suggests initial compliance with COVID19 social distancing interventions was high & geographically consistent across UK
Since early March 2020, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic across the United Kingdom has led to a range of social distancing policies, which have resulted in reduced mobility across different regions. Crowd level data on mobile phone usage can be used as a proxy for actual population mobility patterns and provide a way of quantifying the impact of social distancing measures on changes in mobility.
Evidence of initial success for China exiting COVID-19 social distancing policy after achieving containment
The COVID-19 epidemic was declared a Global Pandemic by WHO on 11 March 2020. The outbreak began in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. For the first time since the outbreak began, there have been no new confirmed cases caused by local transmission in China reported for five consecutive days up to 23 March 2020. This is an indication that the social distancing measures enacted in China have led to control of COVID-19 in China.
Scientific Publications, Reports and News

When did the coronavirus start spreading in the U.S.? Likely in January, CDC analysis suggests
How early did local transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus begin in the United States? For the second time this week, scientists have proposed a new estimate.
Read More
Covid-19 Notes: Opening Up New Supply Chains
COVID-19 testing delays and pathology services in the UK

Adaptations and Lessons in the Province of Bergamo
Two major lessons can be learned from Bergamo’s experience. First, all health care workers in hospitals, nursing homes, and the community should have been tested for Covid-19, and those testing positive should have been isolated, even if they were asymptomatic. Clinicians were initially overlooked during attempts to identify and isolate infected people, which were focused on sick patients. For this reason, and because complete personal protective equipment was not made immediately available, especially to family physicians, 19 doctors in the Bergamo province (all between 62 and 74 years of age) have died. They were all involved in the care of patients with Covid-19, though none worked at ASST–Papa Giovanni XXIII. The second, even more important lesson is that an urgent and decisive regionwide lockdown should have been implemented to contain the epidemic. This step could have reduced the number of Covid-19 cases, prevented hospitals from being overwhelmed, and potentially limited the number of deaths in the province.
Minimise, manage, and modify: the UK must create and use time
A view from UK public health registrars on the challenges of COVID-19
Mortality and pulmonary complications in patients undergoing surgery with perioperative SARS-CoV-2 infection: an international cohort study
COVID-19 mortality in patients with cancer on chemotherapy or other anticancer treatments: a prospective cohort study
Clinical impact of COVID-19 on patients with cancer (CCC19): a cohort study
Cancer and COVID-19: what do we really know?
Revisiting the 1957 and 1968 influenza pandemics
COVID-19-associated hyperviscosity: a link between inflammation and thrombophilia?
Assistance Publique–Hôpitaux de Paris' response to the COVID-19 pandemic
Excess mortality in men and women in Massachusetts during the COVID-19 pandemic
Mitigating the risks of surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 preparedness in nursing homes in the midst of the pandemic
Nursing homes (NHs) are considered hotspots for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), given their residential environments and patient vulnerabilities. This study describes the COVID-19 preparedness of NHs across the US. Its results indicate the need for NHs to continue refining their preparedness strategies in response to local virus prevalence, resident population, and local regulations, including state policies on accepting COVID‐19 patients discharged...

The coronavirus doesn’t exist in isolation — it feeds on other diseases, crises

COVID-19 and the difficulty of inferring epidemiological parameters from clinical data
COVID-19 human challenge studies: ethical issues

Scientists probe risk from infected animals
Researchers are calling for extensive sampling of pets, livestock and wildlife to improve understanding of the risk that infected animals might spark new outbreaks. Roughly a dozen animals are known to be susceptible to the virus, but there have been only two reported cases of animals — both of which were minks — passing it to people. SARS-CoV-2 most likely originated in bats, and we don’t yet know whether other animals were involved in its journey to people.
Nature | 5 min read
People with COVID-19 are unlikely to spread the new coronavirus if more than eight days have passed since their symptoms began.
Researchers cultured monkey cells with 90 human samples that had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Samples collected more than eight days after a person’s symptoms began did not infect the cells — suggesting that people who test positive for viral RNA are not necessarily infectious.
Reference: Clinical Infectious Diseases paper

The nose could be the body’s entry point for COVID-19 infections.
Researchers tracked the ease with which the coronavirus infects various cell types in the respiratory tract. They found a gradient of infectivity that decreases from the upper to the lower respiratory tract: the most easily infected cells are in the nasal cavity, and the least easily infected are deep in the lungs.
Reference: Cell paper

Huge cohort studies pivot to COVID-19
Cohort studies set up before the coronavirus crisis are switching tracks to look at the pandemic’s long-term effects. Cohort studies collect genetic and lifestyle data on thousands of people in an effort to untangle the complex web of factors that lead to some disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. But scientists are now repurposing those massive data sets to understand the epidemiology of the COVID-19, its impact on physical and mental health and its socioeconomic consequences. “We are all different and these larger pre-existing cohorts will be very valuable in helping us understand which of our biological or lifestyle factors put us at risk,” says epidemiologist Ralf Reintjes.
Nature | 6 min read

Is this scientific publishing’s new normal?
The COVID-19 crisis has underlined just how fast and open science publishing can be. Preprint servers are overflowing with preliminary results, peer review is proceeding in record time and many journals have made relevant research free to read. The question is whether these changes are here to stay.
Nature | 6 min read

The risk to China’s race to the top of science
When COVID-19 hit, China was close to surpassing the United States as the leading science funder, two years after it took top place as the biggest producer of scientific articles. The pandemic could slow that momentum by shrinking funding for scientific research in China, cooling international cooperation and squeezing the pipeline of Chinese students to other countries. But an influx of money from the private sector — and the irrepressible desire for scientific collaboration — could prevent lasting harm to Chinese science.
Nature | 5 min read
The report discusses contact tracing principles and considerations and emphasizes that a “one-size-fits-all” system across all state and local jurisdictions is likely not an ideal approach. While the overall purpose and concept remain the same, each jurisdiction will need to develop and implement a plan that makes the most efficient use of its available resources and considers its current COVID-19 situation and surveillance needs. The authors pose a variety of questions to help the United States work through challenges associated with contact tracing, including the relative costs and benefits of various types of contact tracing (eg, widespread vs targeted), the role of quarantine and isolation, the use of technological solutions (eg, smartphone apps), and potential adverse effects.
The book, Digital Contact Tracing for Pandemic Response: Ethics and Governance Guidance, draws on a broad scope of expertise—“bioethics, health security, public health, technology development, engineering, public policy, and law”— to provide guidance and recommendations for “technology companies, policymakers, institutions, employers, and the public” regarding the development and implementation of technological solutions to supplement traditional contract tracing capabilities and capacity in the context of a pandemic response.
The COVID-19 MS Coalition—accelerating diagnostics, prognostics, and treatment

Gilead’s remdesivir shows some benefit in patients with moderate Covid-19, new data show
The drug helped patients with “moderate” disease recover faster when they received it for five days; the benefit when given for 10 days was unclear.
Read More

Hydroxychloroquine does not prevent Covid-19 infection if exposed, study says
Despite a lack of evidence, many people began taking the medicine to try to prevent infection early in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Read More

WHO resumes hydroxychloroquine study for Covid-19, after reviewing safety concerns
The World Health Organization is resuming a clinical trial exploring whether the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine can effectively treat Covid-19.
Read More

Controversy over data in hydroxychloroquine COVID-19 study grows
Lancet editors issue a statement acknowledging the criticism of a recent study.
More »

Obesity, atypical immune response in some kids with COVID-19
One study found that obese patients were likely to require mechanical ventilation.
More »
Caution against corticosteroid-based COVID-19 treatment

Large-Vessel Stroke as a Presenting Feature of Covid-19 in the Young

Transforming ORs into ICUs
The starting line for COVID-19 vaccine development
Treatments and avaccinefor COVID-19: the need for coordinating policies on R&D, manufacturingand access

First vaccine results offer muted hope
Last week, Chinese biotechnology firm CanSino Biologics became the first to publish the peer-reviewed results from the phase 1 trial of its COVID-19 vaccine. In their phase 1 study, the vaccine elicited an immune response in 108 people. But the level of response was underwhelming. “It is not great, but it is better than nothing,” says vaccine researcher Hildegund Ertl.
The results follow an announcement by US biotechnology company Moderna that claimed its vaccine has shown tentatively positive results. The vaccines are strikingly different: Moderna’s is a messenger-RNA vaccine based on unproven technology, whereas CanSino’s uses a genetically engineered adenovirus, with better-understood characteristics (and well-known drawbacks). The companies have taken very different approaches when announcing their results to an expectant world: Moderna has not shared its data and it made its results public in a press release.
Chemical & Engineering News | 5 min read
Go deeper into how the two vaccines work, and their hopeful but cautious reception, in Nature Biotechnology. (6 min read)
Reference: The Lancet paper
Consequences of the Pandemic on Society and Economy

Why coronavirus hits men harder: sex hormones offer clues
scientists investigating how the virus does its deadly work have zeroed in on a possible reason: Androgens—male hormones such as testosterone—appear to boost the virus’ ability to get inside cells. Researchers are rushing to test already approved drugs that block androgens’ effects, deploying them early in infection in hopes of slowing the virus and buying time for the immune system to beat it back.  

World leaders warn coronavirus could roll back progress for women
The United Nations estimates that the pandemic could cause 7 million unwanted pregnancies over the next six months as women lose access to contraception and reproductive healthcare
UN chief underlines need to protect refugees and migrants in COVID-19 pandemic
The UN Secretary-General has expressed hope that the COVID-19 crisis will lead to a rethinking of how the world supports refugees, migrants and internally displaced people.

Refugees at increased risk of coronavirus due to barriers to healthcare

When hard data are ‘heartbreaking’: Testing blitz in San Francisco shows Covid-19 struck mostly low-wage workers
The testing project is proving to be a national model, because of the challenges the organizers overcame and what it showed about the spread of Covid-19.
Read More
UK Covid-19 Disparities
Public Health England (PHE) published findings from its analysis of various disparities related to COVID-19 morbidity and mortality in the United Kingdom. The study found that older individuals are at elevated risk of severe COVID-19 disease and death, which was the largest disparity identified by the researchers. The data indicated increased risk of infection for Black ethnic groups and elevated risk of death among Black and Asian ethnic groups. Broken down further, individuals of Bangladeshi ethnicity had twice the risk of death compared to those of White British ethnicity, and individuals of “Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Other Asian, Caribbean and Other Black ethnicity had between 10 and 50% higher risk of death when compared to White British.” Much like the United States, PHE identified elevated COVID-19 risk among nursing homes, which represented 27% of COVID-19 deaths. The study found more than double the all-cause mortality in nursing homes compared to previous years, more than 20,000 excess deaths.
Decolonising COVID-19: delaying external debt repayments
Risk Communication
Risk communication and community engagement guidance for physical and social distancing
Physical and social distancing measures are associated with limiting contact between people during disease outbreaks. These measures when applied are often enhanced by lockdowns or shutdowns as part of broader risk communication and community engagement strategies to halt the transmission of disease outbreaks.
Updated WHO Myth buster
UNESCO mythbusting
Corona Diaries
WGH has partnered with Corona Diaries to collect the stories of frontline health workers fighting coronavirus! Please share with your networks and record your stories:
WHO Technical Guidance

Clinical management of COVID-19

Target product profiles for needed antibacterial agents: enteric fever, gonorrhea, neonatal sepsis, urinary tract infections and meeting report
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

ECDC COVID-19 Micro learning

Research and Development

·      Global research on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

·      Database of publications on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
A strategic approach to COVID-19 vaccine R&D
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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