COVID-19 situation: 19 July 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 19 July 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 174 by 18 July 2020
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 updates in the Region of the Americas
July 18th, 2020 15:00 (EST)
An additional 70,812 cases and 2,777 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, representing a 0.97% relative increase in cases and a 0.92% relative increase in deaths, compared to the previous day.
The United States of America accounts for 48.0% of all cases and 45.1% of all deaths for the Region of the Americas and Brazil accounts for 27.7% of all cases and 25.5% of all deaths. Combined, these two countries account for 75.7% of all cases and 70.6% of all deaths currently reported in the Region.


Situation update for the EU/EEA and the UK as of 19 July 2020
As of 19 July 2020, 1 620 084 cases have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: United Kingdom (294 066), Spain (260 255), Italy (244 216), Germany (201 574), France (174 674), Sweden (77 281), Belgium (63 706), Netherlands (51 526), Portugal (48 390), Poland (39 746), Romania (36 691), Ireland (25 750), Austria (19 508), Czechia (13 855), Denmark (13 173), Norway (9 015), Bulgaria (8 638), Finland (7 318), Luxembourg (5 409), Hungary (4 315), Croatia (4 235), Greece (3 983), Estonia (2 021), Slovakia (1 976), Slovenia (1 940), Iceland (1 922), Lithuania (1 915), Latvia (1 189), Cyprus (1 037), Malta (674) and Liechtenstein (86).
As of 19 July 2020, 180 524 deaths have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: United Kingdom (45 273), Italy (35 042), France (30 152), Spain (28 420), Belgium (9 800), Germany (9 084), Netherlands (6 129), Sweden (5 619), Romania (2 009), Ireland (1 753), Portugal (1 684), Poland (1 618), Austria (711), Denmark (611), Hungary (596), Czechia (358), Finland (328), Bulgaria (299), Norway (255), Greece (194), Croatia (120), Luxembourg (111), Slovenia (111), Lithuania (80), Estonia (69), Latvia (31), Slovakia (28), Cyprus (19), Iceland (10), Malta (9) and Liechtenstein (1).
Situation dashboard: latest available data
Statement from the co-chairs of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) on the decision of the United States of America to begin the process of withdrawal from the World Health Organization
New funds proposed to prevent pandemics
A new fund to prevent future pandemics has been proposed by the US Senate, and another by the World Bank. But some global health leaders have criticised the plans.
Control Measures

Universal Masking to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Transmission—The Time Is Now

How to decarbonize conference travel
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink what constitutes necessary travel — which could be a very good thing, argue climate scientist Milan Klöwer and three colleagues. Their calculations show that biennials, regional hubs and virtual attendance could slash emissions from big meetings by up to 90%.
Nature | 10 min read
Association Between Universal Masking in a Health Care System and SARS-CoV-2 Positivity Among Health Care Workers
Universal masking at MGB was associated with a significantly lower rate of SARS-CoV-2 positivity among HCWs. This association may be related to a decrease in transmission between patients and HCWs and among HCWs. The decrease in HCW infections could be confounded by other interventions inside and outside of the health care system (Figure), such as restrictions on elective procedures, social distancing measures, and increased masking in public spaces, which are limitations of this study. Despite these local and statewide measures, the case number continued to increase in Massachusetts throughout the study period,6 suggesting that the decrease in the SARS-CoV-2 positivity rate in MGB HCWs took place before the decrease in the general public.
Hospital-Wide SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Screening in 3056 Staff in a Tertiary Center in Belgium
In this hospital-wide screening study for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies among hospital staff, neither being directly involved in clinical care nor working in a COVID-19 unit increased the odds of being seropositive, while having a suspected COVID-19 household contact did. The high availability of PPE, high standards of infection prevention, and polymerase chain reaction screening in symptomatic staff, coupled with contact tracing and quarantine, might explain a relatively low seroprevalence.

School closures in poor countries could be devastating
And governments are bungling their response
Countries Measures

Trump Administration Strips C.D.C. of Control of Coronavirus Data
Hospitals have been ordered to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all patient information to a central database in Washington, raising questions about transparency.

The U.S. is the accidental Sweden, which could make the fall ‘catastrophic’ for Covid-19

The Pandemic Could Get Much, Much Worse. We Must Act Now.
A comprehensive shutdown may be required in much of the country.

We ran the CDC. No president ever politicized its science the way Trump has.
The administration of US President Donald Trump is subverting sound public health guidelines and putting lives at risk, say four former directors of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(The Washington Post | 7 min read)

Trump administration seeking to block funding for CDC, contact tracing and testing in new relief bill: report

Emerging COVID-19 success story: Vietnam’s commitment to containment
Although Vietnam reported its first case of COVID-19 on January 23, 2020, it reported only a little more than 300 cases and zero deaths over the following four months. This early success has been attributed to several key factors, including a well-developed public health system, a strong central government, and a proactive containment strategy based on comprehensive testing, tracing, and quarantining. Lessons from Vietnam’s successful early detection and containment strategy are worth examining in detail so other countries may apply them to their own responses.

A million mink culled in Netherlands and Spain amid Covid-19 fur farming havoc
Agriculture minister says origins of outbreak unclear after seven farm workers – and 87% of the mink – test positive

EU leaders go into extra time as tempers fray at coronavirus summit
Proposals on the size and terms of a recovery fund have led to splits between member states
Scientific Publications, Reports and News
International spending on COVID-19 economic recovery overwhelmingly favors fossil fuels over cleaner forms of energy, according to a coalition of research institutes and nonprofits.

Evidence-Based Practice for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and ResponseRecommendations From a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Report
The US is increasingly facing public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, that present opportunities to observe and learn and conduct real-time research to develop a strong empirical and analytical evidence base. It is essential for research and continuous learning to become the expectation, not the exception, for the PHEPR field. This will require adequate and stable research funding, robust design and conduct of research studies, support for the research workforce, and a commitment to collaboration between PHEPR practitioners and researchers. The unprecedented economic and human health costs of COVID-19 demonstrate that the nation cannot afford to ignore the calls for these critical investments in public health that have been made by this committee and many others before.

Persistence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 in Aerosol Suspensions
We aerosolized severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 and determined that its dynamic aerosol efficiency surpassed those of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus SARS-COV and Middle East respiratory syndrome MERS-COV. Although we performed experiment only once across several laboratories, our findings suggest retained infectivity and virion integrity for up to 16 hours in respirable-sized aerosols.
Autopsies point the finger at immune response
An autopsy-based study of 11 people who died from COVID-19 shows a mismatch between viral hotspots in the body and sites of inflammation and organ damage. This suggests that immune responses, rather than the virus itself, are responsible for death. The survey of 37 anatomical sites, including the lungs, found that some tissues harboured the virus but were not inflamed, whereas others were damaged but did not contain high levels of SARS-CoV-2.
Reference: medRxiv preprint (not yet peer reviewed)

Virus might have reached the United States in December
Models suggest that, in California and New York, SARS-CoV-2 might have begun circulating as early as December 2019. Infections spread across the country from late January to early March but were largely undetected. Researchers analysed air traffic, commuting patterns and other data to understand how and when the coronavirus took hold.
Reference: medRxiv preprint (not yet peer reviewed)
Get more of Nature’s continuously updated selection of the must-read papers and preprints on COVID-19.
Exposure of humans or animals to sars-cov-2 from wild, livestock, companion and aquatic animals Qualitative exposure assessmen
A global survey, ‘One Health Networks and Workforce Response to COVID19’, has now been launched.
The aim of this survey is to collect contributions from a diverse workforce to the COVID19 pandemic and understand the value of the OneHealth approach.
Please participate & share

List of African countries where Veterinary Services remain operational as "essential services"
A vulnerability index for the management of and response to the COVID-19 epidemic in India: an ecological study
Contextualising geographical vulnerability to COVID-19 in India
How monitoring sewage could prevent a return of the coronavirus
Is COVID-19 really an exogenous shock? 
'We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.'  – Albert Einstein | Economists invariably divide shocks into two types: endogenous and exogenous. Endogenous shocks arise from within the economic system. 
Read more

Airborne Spread of SARS-CoV-2 and a Potential Role for Air Disinfection
Given the ongoing risks of SARS-CoV-2 infection among health care workers, some hospitals are considering deployment of commercially available upper-room GUV air disinfection, although no published studies have demonstrated efficacy and GUV systems are not currently recommended in the infection prevention guidelines from the CDC or the World Health Organization. Upper-room GUV systems must be installed and maintained following evidence-based guidelines.

Airborne Transmission of SARS-CoV-2Theoretical Considerations and Available Evidence

Caring for Women Who Are Planning a Pregnancy, Pregnant, or Postpartum During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Rapid implementation of SARS-CoV-2 sequencing to investigate cases of health-care associated COVID-19: a prospective genomic surveillance study

Frequent testing is key to reopening campuses
Researchers modelled the effect of a variety of testing strategies on the number of infections that would arise among 5,000 students during an 80-day semester, assuming that 5 new cases would be imported each week, each infected student would infect 2.5 others and those who tested positive would be isolated. Testing students every 2 days with a rapid and relatively cheap test would keep infections to around 135 over the semester, and cost US$470 per student per term. However, testing only weekly would result in an explosive growth in infections.
Reference: medRxiv preprint (not yet peer reviewed)


Anatomy of a superspreading event
Mobile-phone and credit-card data helped to identify hundreds of coronavirus infections linked to a fast-moving outbreak that began in the popular Itaewon nightclub district in Seoul. Researchers identified more than 60,000 people who had visited the area after it reopened on 30 April. More than 40,000 were tested and 246 were infected — including several that were 3, 4 or even 5 steps along the transmission chain from club-goers.
Reference: Emerging Infectious Diseases paper

In Spain, one million hidden asymptomatic cases
Europe’s largest effort to identify people who have been infected by the new coronavirus has found that roughly one-third of them did not show symptoms. Researchers tested more than 61,000 people from randomly selected households across Spain for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Nationwide, some 5% of people tested positive, of which around 1 in 3 were asymptomatic. On the basis of their results, the researchers estimate that roughly one million infected people could have gone undetected because they did not show symptoms.
Reference: Lancet paper

Symptom tracker app reveals six distinct types of COVID-19 infection

Dexamethasone for COVID-19: data needed from randomised clinical trials in Africa

Monoclonal Antibodies for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19
Neutralizing antibodies have an important role in the protection or recovery from many viral infections. Several monoclonal antibody products will enter clinical trials over the next few months and be assessed for their ability to limit or modify SARS-CoV-2 infection. In addition, a drug that reliably prevented progression of COVID-19 would greatly reduce the concerns and uncertainty associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and give physicians a therapeutic tool they must have for their patients. Establishing the therapeutic or prophylactic efficacy of monoclonal antibodies would be a major advance in the control of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moderna vaccine sparks an immune response
US biotechnology company Moderna’s messenger-RNA-based vaccine is safe, and provoked immune responses in all 45 healthy volunteers in its early-stage trial. The news might be familiar — the firm preliminarily announced its findings in a May press release. Now the results have been published in a peer-reviewed paper, with further details. “The hallmark of a vaccine is one that can actually mimic natural infection and induce the kind of response that you would get with natural infection. And it looks like, at least in this limited, small number of individuals, that is exactly what’s happening,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the branch of the US National Institutes of Health that conducted the trial. The vaccine will proceed to further clinical trials (it’s too soon to say whether it actually works).
STAT | 6 min read
Reference: The New England Journal of Medicine paper
Making a COVID-19 vaccine globally available once developed – decoupling production of the vaccine from its development
Read more


Opinion: The debate around intellectual property rights and the COVID-19 vaccine
Generic production will allow for a simpler uniform of low-cost pricing. Global health institutions such as Gavi, WHO, and UNICEF should give serious consideration to the dismissal of IP rights for an effective vaccine; and the debate and action should start at the current moment.
Consequences of the Outbreak on society and Economy
Gender focus
The Pandemic’s Toll on Women
COVID-19 Is Gender-Blind, But Not Gender-Neutral
COVID-19 outbreak and decreased hospitalisation of pregnant women in labour
The labour market implications of COVID-19 for Bangladeshi women
 Read more

Six women’s issues explained with emojis
COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect of society, from health to home life, to employment and the global economy. The pandemic and preventative measures have really emphasized society’s reliance on women, and the inequalities they have been facing for so long.


Protecting Migrants in Crisis is More Urgent Than Ever with COVID-19
Read more

Coronavirus recovery – lessons from the eurozone crisis
A humanitarian recipe for a green, resilient and inclusive recovery from COVID-19
COVID-19: macroeconomic dimensions in the developing world
Read more
The end of poverty postponed? – over a billion people living in poverty and a $500 million per day loss of income for the poorest people in the world could soon be reality
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate headlines as the death toll rises and economies falter.
Read more

Covid-19 hastens changes to Chile’s market-led economic model
Under the pressure of the health crisis, the country may become more social democratic

Healthcare equity and COVID-19 Assessing the relative effectiveness of egalitarian governance and healthcare system capacity on the COVID-19 pandemic
Routine childhood immunisation during the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa: a benefit–risk analysis of health benefits versus excess risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection
Social isolation: The COVID-19 pandemic’s hidden health risk for older adults, and how to manage it

Covid-19 impact on ethnic minorities linked to housing and air pollution
Exclusive: Minority ethnic patients twice as likely to live in deprived environments and to be admitted to intensive care

Child Suicide Rates during the COVID-19 Pandemic in England: Real-time Surveillance

Shelter, Homelessness and Evictions During COVID-19
Risk Communication
Multidisciplinary approach to COVID-19 risk communication: A framework and tool for individual and regional risk assessment
This paper presents a framework to assess the individual and regional risk of COVID-19 along with risk communication tools and mechanisms. Relative risk scores on a scale of 100 represent the integrated risk of influential factors. The personal risk model incorporates: age, exposure history, symptoms, local risk and existing health condition, whereas regional risk is computed through the actual cases of COVID-19, public health risk factors, socioeconomic...

Communicating Science in the Time of a Pandemic

1st WHO Infodemiology Conference
When: 21 July 2020 15:00 CET
Topic: Outcomes of the 1st WHO Infodemiology Conference 
Register here
Updated WHO Myth buster
UNESCO mythbusting
EPI-WIN: tailored informationfor individuals, organizations and communities
WHO Technical guidance
The CDC published new guidance on COVID-19

Sex, gender and COVID-19: overview and resources
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 sources and materials on COVID19

ECDC COVID-19 Micro learning

Research and Development

Strengthening the global effort on COVID-19 research
Funder principles for supporting high-quality research for the most pressing global needs in epidemics and pandemics: Alignment to global research agendas and locally identified priorities, Research capacity for rapid research, Supporting equitable, inclusive inter-disciplinary and cross-sectoral partnerships, Open science and data sharing, Protection from harm, Appropriate ethical consideration, Collaboration and learning through enhanced coordination.
Global research on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Database of publications on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
“Solidarity” clinical trial for COVID-19 treatments
“Solidarity II” global serologic study for COVID-19
Accelerating a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 technology access pool
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

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