COVID-19 situation: 24 Aug 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 24 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:
COVID-19 dashboards for most up-to-date figures:
Global dashboard
Updates from WHO regional offices
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in the WHO African Region has continued to slow down, as seen in the past two weeks. Since our last External Situation Report 24issuedon 12 August 2020, a total of56 508new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2 071 new deaths were reported from 45countriesbetween12and 18 August 2020, resulting into a cumulative total of 962 290confirmed COVID-19 cases with 19 225deaths. This is a 25% decrease in cases as compared to75 326 cases registered during the previous reporting period (5-11 August 2020). Although South Africa reported majority of the new cases, 46% (26 035), it also continues to record a remarkable downward trajectory in trend. There was also reduction in incidence cases in some of the previous hotspots countries, including, Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria and Kenya in the past week. While these indicators are encouraging, the figures should be cautiously interpreted as they maybe affected by many factors, including the current testing capacity, strategy and delays in reporting.
August 22nd, 2020 15:00 (EST)
An additional 119,269 cases and 3,845 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, representing a 0.98% relative increase in cases and a 0.88% relative increase in deaths, compared to the previous day.
Important relative increase in cases were recorded in The British Virgin Islands, Guadeloupe, Saint-Martin and Martinique.
All information about COVID- 19 can be found here:
Latest updates - Live press conference (Geneva)
Infections rise or remain high in half the country as U.S. gets closer to 6 million cases
August saw a dangerous whiplash as schools that reopened in areas with abundant COVID-19 transmission quickly spawned outbreaks and had to close. Use our map and chart, updated daily, to track new cases and deaths in your state and county.

COVID-19 cases climb higher in European countries
France, Germany, and Spain report their highest daily COVID-19 case counts since easing out of lockdowns.
More »

India nears 3 million COVID cases as Europe continues to see spikes
Germany, France, Italy, and Poland are all reporting a surge in cases.
More »
India Seroprevalence
Indian health officials recently published the results of several seroprevalence studies, which found widespread transmission compared to studies previously conducted in other countries. In New Delhi, a new seroprevalence survey suggests that more than 29% of the city’s population may have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2. A previous study conducted in July by India’s National CDC estimated that 23.5% of the New Delhi population was seropositive. The state of Delhi is the fifth most severely affected state in India. In the city of Pune, researchers from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research conducted a seroprevalence study involving more than 1,600 participants. The researchers estimate that more than 50% of the entire city population is seropositive, including more than 65% in one part of the city. Pune is in Maharashtra, the most severely affected state in India, with more than 450,000 reported cases. If these results are accurate, it could mean millions of additional cases in India. India is currently reporting the highest daily incidence of any country, and it is #3 globally in terms of cumulative incidence, behind only the US and Brazil.
Control Measures
Advice on the use of masks for children
Children aged 5 years and under should not be required to wear masks. Decision to use masks for children aged 6-11 should be based on the multiple factors. Children aged 12 and over should wear a mask under the same conditions as adults.
WHO updates quarantine guidance
The WHO published an update to its COVID-19 quarantine guidance, specifically for arriving travelers and individuals with known exposure to SARS-CoV-2. The previous iteration of the guidance was published on March 19, and the update includes additional information on maintaining sufficient ventilation in quarantine areas, including standards for minimum ventilation rate and airflow pattern and direction, and providing care for children under quarantine—as well as other updates based on information and analysis since the previous version was published. Notably, the guidance recommends quarantining children at home when possible, and with a parent or caretaker who is at lower risk for severe COVID-19 disease and death. Risk assessment for children under quarantine should be conducted in a holistic manner, accounting for a variety of factors beyond just COVID-19 risk, such as mental wellbeing.
Countries Measures

Britain’s government axes Public Health England
A pandemic is not necessarily a great time to scrap the body charged with managing pandemics
France Mandates Masks
The French Ministry of Labor, Employment, and Integration recently announced a new mandate requiring that individuals wear masks while at work. The move makes France one of the only countries in the world to require universal mask usage in all workplaces. SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the workplace is a major concern as countries weigh decisions regarding the ability to resume in-person work. Many countries around the world have established some sort of mask mandate or recommendation, with wide variance.
Scientific Publications, Reports and News

Viruses have big impacts on ecology and evolution as well as human health

When covid-19 becomes a chronic illness
Scientists are investigating why some people suffer with the virus for many months
it is becoming clear that some small but significant proportion of those infected have symptoms that persist for months. Prolonged recovery is not unusual for patients hospitalised for pneumonia, a frequent complication of covid-19. It is also common for people who have been admitted to an ICU, who are by definition seriously ill. But many clinicians say that the share of covid-19 patients with lingering problems is far higher than is seen with other viral illnesses such as influenza. The problems are also more varied, often including lung, heart and psychological symptoms

Long-Haulers Are Redefining COVID-19
Without understanding the lingering illness that some patients experience, we can’t understand the pandemic.
Our understanding of COVID-19 has accreted around the idea that it kills a few and is “mild” for the rest. That caricature was sketched before the new coronavirus even had a name; instead of shifting in the light of fresh data, it calcified. It affected the questions scientists sought to ask, the stories journalists sought to tell, and the patients doctors sought to treat. It excluded long-haulers from help and answers.

Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 spreads more indoors at low humidity
Air humidity influences the spread of corona viruses indoors in three different ways: (a) the behavior of microorganisms within the virus droplets, (b) the survival or inactivation of the virus on the surfaces, and (c) the role of dry indoor air in the airborne transmission of viruses. Although low humidity causes the droplets containing viruses to dry out more quickly, the survivability of the viruses still seems to remain high. The team concludes that other processes are more important for infection: "If the relative humidity of indoor air is below 40 percent, the particles emitted by infected people absorb less water, remain lighter, fly further through the room and are more likely to be inhaled by healthy people. In addition, dry air also makes the mucous membranes in our noses dry and more permeable to viruses," summarizes Dr. Ajit Ahlawat.

Evaluation for SARS-CoV-2 in Breast Milk From 18 Infected Women
Although SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in 1 milk sample from an infected woman, the viral culture for that sample was negative. These data suggest that SARS-CoV-2 RNA does not represent replication-competent virus and that breast milk may not be a source of infection for the infant. Furthermore, when control samples spiked with replication-competent SARS-CoV-2 virus were treated by Holder pasteurization, no replication-competent virus or viral RNA was detectable.

SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Community Health Workers in India Before and After Use of Face Shields
This study found no SARS-CoV-2 infections among community health workers after the addition of face shields to their personal protective equipment. Because the first worker became symptomatic 13 days after beginning home visits and workers had no contact with family, coworkers, or the public, there is no known alternative source of infection for the workers except the asymptomatic contacts of SARS-CoV-2 patients. The face shields may have reduced ocular exposure or contamination of masks or hands or may have diverted movement of air around the face.

Covid-19 is changing lift etiquette
What the history of the elevator can teach us about social distancing

Guidelines for Working with Free-Ranging Wild Mammals in the Era of the COVID-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 and Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and Pandemics.
COVID-19, antibiotics and One Health: a UK environmental risk assessment.

COVID-19 antibody levels vary widely in recovered patients
Antibodies ranged from very high levels in 2 patients to undetectable levels in 10.
More »

Kids with COVID have more viral RNA in their airways than adults do
The findings have implications for schools, daycares, and similar settings.
More »

CDC's Redfield addresses school reopening, citing promising study
A new MMWR report details limited COVID spread in childcare centers.
More »
Clinical trials of disease stages in COVID 19: complicated and often misinterpreted
As Covid-19 cases in prisons climb, data on race remain largely obscured
Many prison systems have withheld the demographic breakdown of their Covid-19 case data. Public health experts say that's a problem.
Read More
Effect of Remdesivir vs Standard Care on Clinical Status at 11 Days in Patients With Moderate COVID-19: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Hospitalized patients with moderate COVID-19 randomized to a 5-day course of remdesivir had a statistically significantly better clinical status compared with those randomized to standard care at 11 days after initiation of treatment, but the difference was of uncertain clinical importance.
Efficacy of Remdesivir in COVID-19
Prone Positioning for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

Evaluating the Association of Clinical Characteristics With Neutralizing Antibody Levels in Patients Who Have Recovered From Mild COVID-19 in Shanghai, China

Neutralizing Antibodies Against SARS-CoV-2—Important Questions, Unclear Answers

Convalescent Plasma Therapy on Patients with Severe or Life-Threatening COVID-19: A Metadata Analysis
Following a transfusion of plasma from a recovered donor, patients with severe COVID-19 showed improvement in terms of infection, inflammation and illness severity. Despite the encouraging findings, this study doesn’t prove that convalescent plasma is an effective treatment nor identify which patients are most likely to benefit.
Here are the vaccines that you should keep an eye on
We're tracking coronavirus vaccines that are in phase 3 trials and beyond. This week, the first published data from human clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine that uses a whole, inactivated virus was released.
COVID-19 vaccines could become mandatory. Here’s how it might work.
After a COVID-19 vaccine is available, you may need to get inoculated to go to the office, attend a sporting event, or even get a seat at a restaurant.

WHO warns coronavirus vaccine alone won’t end pandemic: ‘We cannot go back to the way things were’

Ethical Considerations for COVID-19 Vaccine Trials in Correctional Facilities
even though 39 of the 50 largest US outbreaks have occurred in correctional facilities and the case rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection in prisons (3521 per 100 000) has been 5.5 times higher than the general population, one key setting in which US investigators will not be recruiting participants for trials of COVID-19 vaccines are prisons and jails. This omission is an example of unintended consequences of well-intentioned policies.

Studies spotlight high COVID-19 infection rate in US prisons
Studies highlight high COVID rates, the role of mass testing, and intake screening.
More »

As Covid-19 cases in prisons climb, data on race remain largely obscured
Many prison systems have withheld the demographic breakdown of their Covid-19 case data. Public health experts say that's a problem.
Read More
Consequences of the Outbreak on Societies and Economies

Launching a new academic year under the cloud of COVID-19
COVID-19: exposing and amplifying inequalities

As Covid-19 cases in prisons climb, data on race remain largely obscured
Many prison systems have withheld the demographic breakdown of their Covid-19 case data. Public health experts say that's a problem.
Read More
Violence amid the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on some of the biggest cracks in societies worldwide. While many governments are still grappling with surging cases, violence is fueling the crisis in some of the world’s most fragile environments.

Opinion: The Trump administration’s ‘public charge’ rule and Covid-19: bad policy at the worst time
Immigrants' fear of the revised public charge rule will perpetuate the spread of Covid-19 in cities and towns across the country.
Read More
Africa trade and Covid‑19The supply chain dimension

The indirect impacts of COVID-19 on health and essential health services in sub-Saharan Africa
Killer # 2
Millions of women and children may die or endure lifelong health impacts because of disruptions to essential health services and the reluctance by patients to seek care for fear of COVID-19 infection. A recent analysis examined the effects of service disruptions.
The results are overwhelming.

U.S. missed out on more than 35,000 more Black physicians because of shuttered schools
There could have been more than 35,000 additional Black physicians had historically Black colleges and universities with a medical program at the beginning of the 20th century not shuttered. In 1910, a national review of medical education programs, called the Flexner report, recommended that the medical programs of only two HBCUs continue to operate.

Severe Staffing and Personal Protective Equipment Shortages Faced By Nursing Homes During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Around 1 in 5 nursing homes in the U.S. have faced a severe shortage of personal protective equipment or staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Risk Communication

How to report misinformation online
You can help to stop the spread of misinformation. If you see content that you believe to be false or misleading, report it to the hosting social media platform. Let's beat COVID-19 together!
Updated WHO Myth buster
UNESCO mythbusting
EPI-WIN: tailored information for individuals, organizations and communities
WHO Technical Guidance
Home care and COVID-19
What do I need to know when taking care of someone with COVID-19 at home? 

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
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

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  


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