COVID-19 situation: 11 Aug 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 11 Aug 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:
Situation Report–203
Data as received by WHO from national authorities by 10:00 CEST, 10 Aug 2020

  • Over the past weeks, WHO has been adding functionality to its COVID-19 global dashboard, to display all of the latest data that have been published in the daily situation report; these data are now fully available on the dashboard. Important narrative updates are being merged into the WHO COVID-19 “Rolling updates” pages. Starting next Monday, 17 August, the daily situation report will be replaced by a “COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update” which will focus on analysis and interpretation of the evolving epidemiologic situation. Operational updates will continue to be shared through the “Weekly Operational Update on COVID-19”.
  • Yesterday, 9 August, the world celebrated International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, an annual event to raise awareness of the needs and rights of the world's indigenous populations. COVID-19 and indigenous peoples in the Americas were featured in Situation Report 182. A recent UN News article discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has made indigenous Hawaiians reflect on their heritage.
  • A flight carrying protective masks, ventilators and other essential medical supplies for the COVID-19 response, landed in Papua New Guinea last Thursday, marking the start of a humanitarian air service for the Pacific region.
  • Today’s ‘Subject in Focus’ discusses the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Progress Report which evaluates where we are in the outbreak and the considerable achievements made over the past 6 months. A global epidemiological overview of COVID-19 for the week ending 9 August, is also presented.

Global overview
Overall, there have been over 19.7million confirmed COVID-19 cases, including more than 720000 deaths, reported to WHO through the week ending 9 August. Over the past seven days, over 1.8 million new cases of COVID-19 have been reported, a slight decrease of 2%, compared to the previous week, while the number of deaths increased by 2% in the past seven days with over 41 000new deaths reported during this time. This amounts to an average of 254 502 cases and 5858 deaths per day.
The biggest regional change in the number of new cases in the past seven days is represented by the marked decrease (23%) in the WHO Region of Africa, although deaths continued to rise (Table 1). While the WHO Region of the Americas still remains the hardest-hit, contributing over half of all newly confirmed cases reported(54%)and deaths(63%)reported during the past week, the largest percentage increase in new cases and deaths was seen in the Western Pacific region(31% and 27% respectively).
Among all the countries, territories, and areas reporting confirmed cases, the United States of America, Brazil, and India remain the top three most affected countries in the past seven days.
Across the globe, countries have implemented various control efforts, including mandated mask wearing, local movement restrictions, and physical distancing measures to control the increases and clusters of new cases that followed the initial easing of public health and social measures initially implemented earlier in the year
COVID-19 in the WHO African Region
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
August 10th, 2020 15:00 (EST)
An additional 106,903 cases and 2,277 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, representing a 1.01% relative increase in cases and a 0.59% relative increase in deaths, compared to the previous day.
Aruba and Sint Maarten are experiencing an acceleration in cases. Over the weekend, an additional 300 cases of COVID-19 were reported in Aruba - a 114% relative increase compared to 7 August. In Sint Maarten, 16 new cases including one death were reported over the weekend for a total of 17 deaths reported to date, and a 9% relative increase in cases compared to 7 August.


Situation update for the EU/EEA and the UK as of 11 August 2020
As of 11 August 2020, 1 841 114 cases have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: Spain (322 980), United Kingdom (311 641), Italy (250 825), Germany (217 293), France (202 775), Sweden (82 972), Belgium (74 527), Romania (62 547), Netherlands (59 139), Portugal (52 825), Poland (52 410), Ireland (26 768), Austria (22 122), Czechia (18 494), Denmark (14 815), Bulgaria (13 512), Norway (9 638), Finland (7 601), Luxembourg (7 216), Greece (5 749), Croatia (5 649), Hungary (4 731), Slovakia (2 599), Lithuania (2 265), Slovenia (2 255), Estonia (2 158), Iceland (1 962), Latvia (1 293), Cyprus (1 252), Malta (1 012) and Liechtenstein (89).
As of 11 August 2020, 183 957 deaths have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: United Kingdom (46 526), Italy (35 209), France (30 340), Spain (28 576), Belgium (9 879), Germany (9 201), Netherlands (6 148), Sweden (5 766), Romania (2 729), Poland (1 809), Ireland (1 772), Portugal (1 759), Austria (723), Denmark (620), Hungary (605), Bulgaria (459), Czechia (389), Finland (333), Norway (256), Greece (213), Croatia (158), Luxembourg (121), Slovenia (120), Lithuania (81), Estonia (63), Latvia (32), Slovakia (31), Cyprus (19), Iceland (10), Malta (9) and Liechtenstein (1).
*The COVID-19 cases reported for Malta do not include COVID-19 positive migrant cases who have disembarked in Malta and have been quarantined upon arrival.
On 10 August 2020, the United Kingdom reported less cumulative deaths in the United Kingdom and less cumulative cases in Gibraltar than the previous days. This is due to revisions in historical data.
Situation dashboard: latest available data

Pandemic total passes 19 million, vaccine capacity ramps up for lower income countries
Cases in Africa passed the 1 million mark, as more countries in Europe reported notable spikes in cases.
More »

Countries face diverse challenges as pandemic total nears 20 million
As cases surge in intense transmission countries, illness levels are rising in countries that curbed the spread, including many in Europe.
More »

US reaches 5 million COVID-19 cases, experts press for bold steps ahead of fall
Meanwhile, experts warn that a window of opportunity to control the virus is short, ahead of a likely new COVID-19 surge in the fall.
More »

Forecast: 300,000 Americans dead from COVID-19 by December
In other developments, the CDC and the State Department lifted international travel bans and lawmakers remained at odds over the latest COVID-19 relief package.
More »

Africa closes in on 1m reported cases of covid-19
The true number will be much higher
Control Measures
France and Germany have quit talks on reforming WHO in frustration at attempts by the U.S. to lead the negotiations, despite its decision to leave WHO. The German and French health ministries confirmed to Reuters that the two countries were opposed to the United States leading the talks after announcing their intention to leave the organisation.
Countries Measures

Reopening of Schools 'Depends on Effective COVID-19 Test and Trace'
New fund aims to deliver PPE to 1 million frontline health workers in Africa
Nine 747 jumbo jets filled with personal protective equipment — including surgical masks, gloves, and eye protection — are making their way to 11 African countries as the result of a new collaborative effort to pool resources for community health workers.
Anchored by a $10 million commitment from the medical assistance organization Direct Relief, the fund has begun delivering nearly 60 million pieces of PPE, and it seeks to raise up to $100 million to supply one year’s worth of PPE for 1 million community health workers across 24 African countries.
Initial COVID-19 responses in Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, and Uganda: Documentation and learning from March to May 2020
This report synthesises the findings from a series of rapid situation analyses on the initial response to COVID-19 in the first few months of the outbreak – March to May 2020 – in five countries: Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.
Scientific Publications, Reports and News

We make havens for disease-harbouring animals
The way we are changing landscapes might increase the probability of pathogens jumping from animals to humans. Researchers reviewed data from nearly 7,000 sites where humans have altered natural ecosystems, such as by clearing land. They found that small creatures such as rodents, which can harbour agents that cause human disease, are more likely to move into these areas than larger animals are. (It’s not known why pathogens are more abundant in these smaller animals.)
The study lends crucial weight to a rising number of voices calling for governments and international agencies to take a holistic view of public health, animal health, the environment and sustainable development. Last week, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services hosted a workshop on the nexus between biodiversity loss and emerging diseases. And on 24 July, an interdisciplinary group of scientists, including virologists, economists and ecologists, published an essay in Science arguing that governments can help to reduce the risk of future pandemics by controlling deforestation and curbing the wildlife trade.
Nature | 6 min read

Food as a Critical Social Determinant of Health Among Older Adults During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic
Global cooperation is our only choice against COVID-19, says WHO chief
With more than 18.5 million cases of COVID-19 reported worldwide as of Thursday, and 700,000 deaths, the UN’s top health official again appealed to countries to unite in the fight against the disease

Winter is coming: Why America’s window of opportunity to beat back Covid-19 is closing

Test for Covid-19 seasonality and the risk of second waves

Winter Is Coming: A Southern Hemisphere Perspective of the Environmental Drivers of SARS-CoV-2 and the Potential Seasonality of COVID-19

Relationship between Monthly Climatic Variables and Worldwide Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

COVID-19 Data Dives: Why Arguments Against SARS-CoV-2 Aerosol Transmission Don't Hold Water

COVID-19 Data Dives: Why Arguments Against SARS-CoV-2 Aerosol Transmission Don't Hold Water

Stop attacking public health officials, experts plead
"All efforts and attacks should be directed against the virus," the authors of a commentary write.
More »

COVID-19 stubborn foe in both high-burden, containment nations
As the world nears the 19 million COVID-19-case milestone, stubbornly brisk activity continues.
More »

COVID-19 counts seem to plateau as US nears 5 million cases
Also, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn promises safety and efficacy as vaccines are developed.
More »

CDC Revises Guidance on Isolation After Positive COVID-19 Test, Reports Prolonged COVID-19 Illness Among Nonhospitalized Patients

Working Paper: What is a Shock-Responsive Health System?
This working paper sets out a model of shock-responsiveness in health systems, which bridges perspectives from both ends of the humanitarian-development spectrum. It builds on much of the thinking on resilient health systems and emergency health preparedness and seeks to bridge the two. This model will be used as part of the Maintains programme, which seeks to support shock-responsive health systems in five countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Pakistan. This is a working paper and the authors are actively seeking input from practitioners and policymakers.
Where is the money for COVID-19 diagnostics? No country is winning in the COVID-19 supply bid, but low- and middle-income countries are at a grave disadvantage.
The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, launched in April, aims to ensure equity in the distribution of COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines, and treatment to all countries. The initiative was launched with much fanfare, with some of the most high-profile leaders voicing their support. But global demand for the products and nationalistic mentality in some countries are challenging its ambitions.

Radical shift in COVID-19 testing needed to reopen schools and businesses, researchers say

Bill Gates on Covid: Most US Tests Are ‘Completely Garbage’
The techie-turned-philanthropist on vaccines, Trump, and why social media is “a poisoned chalice.”
Respiratory Risks and seasonal air pollution spikes in India
Authors warn that seasonal air pollution spikes in India caused, in part, by rice residue burning could coincide with an anticipated COVID resurgence in the fall, potentially threatening public health. 
(Read Article)

Antibody drugs could be key tools against Covid-19. But will they matter?
Along with efforts to try and find an effective vaccine for Covid-19, scientists at companies and universities have been investigating monoclonal antibodies — antibodies that have been engineered  — as therapies against SARS-CoV-2. The development process has gone at an extraordinary pace, and results from at least two different companies' antibody efforts are expected before the end of the year. But scaling up production of these drugs may be too slow to have a meaningful impact on the trajectory of the pandemic. 
Read more here

Inspired by llamas’ unique antibodies, scientists create a potent anti-coronavirus molecule
In a new paper to be published to the preprint server bioRxiv, the researchers describe how one such nanobody is so stable that it can be converted to a dry powder and aerosolized, making it perhaps a more promising option against SARS-CoV-2 than other antibody-based treatments that are currently being explored.
More here
Convalescent plasma could reduce death from COVID-19, early data suggests

Designer antibodies could battle COVID-19 before vaccines arrive

AI invents new ‘recipes’ for potential COVID-19 drugs

Does coronavirus linger in the body?
Common colds train the immune system to recognize COVID-19

Recovery From Severe COVID-19Leveraging the Lessons of Survival From Sepsis

Experts Discuss COVID-19—Remdesivir, Vaccines, and More

Case Rates, Treatment Approaches, and Outcomes in Acute Myocardial Infarction During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

The immune response to COVID-19
Our immune system’s response to COVID-19 is one of the biggest outstanding questions of the pandemic. Understanding it is key to helping people to get better, developing a vaccine and bringing the global spread of the disease to heel. The problem is that the human immune system is wildly complicated, and the SARS-CoV-2 seems to interact with it in some unusual ways.
The Atlantic | 14 min read

Why pregnancy might make COVID-19 worse
Physicians and health researchers say there is preliminary evidence that pregnancy might make women’s bodies more vulnerable to severe COVID-19. In pregnancy, women’s lungs are crowded, the cardiovascular system is strained and the immune system changes to preserve the fetus’s health. There is still much that we don’t know, but the prescription for prevention is simple, where it’s feasible: masks and social distancing. And there is good news — fetuses seem to very rarely be infected late in pregnancy, and the disease has not been shown to cause birth defects.
Science | 8 min read

Russia is first to approve a COVID-19 vaccine
Government officials have said it will be administered to medical personnel, and then to teachers, on a voluntary basis at the end of this month or in early September. Mass roll-out in Russia is expected to start in October. The vaccine is administered in two doses and consists of two serotypes of a human adenovirus, each carrying an S-antigen of the new coronavirus, which enter human cells and produce an immune response. The platform used for the vaccine was developed by Russian scientists over two decades and had formed the basis for several vaccines in the past, including those against Ebola.

Unwavering Regulatory Safeguards for COVID-19 Vaccines

More hard questions
As scientists race to develop covid-19 vaccines, governments must work out how much to spend on them, and how best to distribute the goods
LSHTM's The Vaccine Centre has developed a COVID-19 vaccine tracker which follows COVID-19 vaccine candidates as they progress through the development pipeline.
It details an overview of the different vaccine types as well as the phases of clinical development.
Consequences of the Outbreak on society and Economy

Covid-19 seems to have changed lifestyles for good
Google search traffic for cooking, exercise and crafts remains above normal levels

Covid-19 could push some universities over the brink

People of Color Die From COVID-19 at Younger Age

Racial bias found in formula for distributing Covid-19 hospital aid
The formula that the federal government used to distribute funds to hospitals through the CARES Act has shortchanged those that serve largely Black populations, according to new research.

How coronavirus strengthened Scottish independence
The country has a powerful case of independence fever
Gender focus

Why pregnant women face special risks from COVID-19

Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Manuscript Submissions by Women

Swedish firms have outshone German ones in the pandemic
How two northern European corporate realms have weathered covid-19
COVID-19 & Global Food Security E-Book Released
This new book compiles key insights and analysis on how the global pandemic is affecting global poverty and food security and nutrition, food trade and supply chains, gender, and employment, as well as reflections on how we can use these lessons to better prepare for future pandemics.
(Download E-Book)
COVID Risks to Food Security
Authors outline the main threats the pandemic poses to global food security and suggest policies and interventions that can help prevent this global health crisis from becoming a global food crisis.
(Read Article)
Who Is Tracking Health Care Workers Lost to COVID-19?

Attacks on Public Health Officials During COVID-19

Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies in Health Care Personnel in the New York City Area
A 13.7% prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in this large cohort study of Health Care Personnel (HCP) in the greater NYC area was similar to that among adults randomly tested in New York State (14.0%) but higher than among adults in Los Angeles (4.1%). HCP in a single hospital in Belgium had lower seroprevalence (6.4%), which was significantly associated only with household contact. In this study, high levels of HCP-reported suspicion of virus exposure and prior positive PCR testing results were most strongly associated with seropositivity.

Extreme Vulnerability of Home Care Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic—A Call to Action

Nepal lockdown halved health facility births and increased stillbirths and newborn deaths

New CDC campaign calls attention to warning signs of pregnancy-related deaths
The CDC just launched the "Hear Her" campaign to reduce the number of pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. Around 700 pregnant women — the majority of whom are Black, Native American, and Latinx — die in the U.S. every year from pregnancy-related complications.
Risk Communication
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 Lancetjournals 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
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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