COVID-19 Situation: 10 September 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 Situation: 10 September 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 global Weekly Epidemiological Update- 9 September
COVID-19 dashboards for most up-to-date figures:
Global dashboard

COVID-19 Partners Platform & Supply Portal
Updates from WHO regional offices
September 9th, 2020 15:00 (EST)
An additional 79,574 cases and 2,539 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, representing a 0.56% relative increase in cases and a 0.51% relative increase in deaths, compared to the previous day.
The General Directorate of Health Surveillance in Paraguay launches an epidemiological alert due to increased COVID-19 cases among health care workers; to date, the majority of cases have occurred in health care environment, 1,246 health personnel have tested positive, and three have died.
All information about COVID- 19 can be found here:
Latest updates - Live press conference (Geneva)
Global coronavirus deaths hit 900,000 as cases surge in India

As India cases surge, global COVID-19 total tops 27 million
India now has the world's second-highest case count, behind the US.
More »
Scientific Publications, Reports and News

What mutations mean for the pandemic
Researchers still have more questions than answers about coronavirus mutations, and no one has yet found any change in SARS-CoV-2 that should raise public-health concerns. Sequencing data suggest that coronaviruses, in general, change more slowly than most other RNA viruses. But SARS-CoV-2 is changing: a mutation known as D614G has gone from a rare variant to present in almost all samples of the virus worldwide. (Despite early concerns, there’s no clear evidence that D614G makes the virus more contagious.) Studying mutations in detail helps researchers to understand how the virus is spreading and how susceptible it is to vaccines, antibody therapies and the human immune system.
Nature | 15 min read

First COVID-19 Global Forecast: IHME Projects Three-Quarters of a Million Lives Could be Saved by January 1
The world could see 4 million COVID19 deaths by Jan 1 if governments take a herd immunity approach, letting transmission run through their populations. It is imperative that we wear masks in public and follow social distancing guidelines.

Assessment of Deaths From COVID-19 and From Seasonal Influenza

Tedros Adhanom on why vaccine nationalism harms efforts to halt the pandemic
Going it alone will perpetuate the economic and health crisis—for all

COVID-19 is far from over — but it isn't too early to prepare for the next pandemic
Improved pandemic preparedness could cost countries less than $1 per person a year, according to the 2017 findings by the World Bank International Working Group On Financing Preparedness. Yet lessons learned from COVID-19 won't necessarily translate into readiness for the next inevitable pandemic, experts say.

Here's what we know so far about the COVID-19 independent panel
Member states want a “stepwise process of impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” that would review the experience and lessons learned from the WHO-coordinated international health response to COVID-19. It is still not clear what the scope and limitations of the review will be, but Clark said the panel will consider “a series of bold themes,” including questions of when and how the pandemic emerged and why the world was caught off guard despite years of warnings about a potential health crisis. The panel will first convene on Sept. 17, with the goal of meeting about every six weeks until April 2021. The co-chairs will present a briefing to WHO’s executive board at a special session in October, to the resumed 73rd World Health Assembly in November, and to the executive board’s regular session in January 2021. The panel’s report is expected to be submitted to the 74th World Health Assembly in May 2021.
The Contagion Externality of a Superspreading Event: The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and COVID-19
using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a synthetic control approach, we show that by September 2, a month following the onset of the Rally, COVID-19 cases increased by approximately 6 to 7 cases per 1,000 population in its home county of Meade. Finally, difference-in-differences (dose response) estimates show that following the Sturgis event, counties that contributed the highest inflows of rally attendees experienced a 7.0 to 12.5 percent increase in COVID-19 cases relative to counties that did not contribute inflows. Descriptive evidence suggests these effects may be muted in states with stricter mitigation policies (i.e., restrictions on bar/restaurant openings, mask-wearing mandates). We conclude that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally generated public health costs of approximately $12.2 billion.

Half a million cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in US children
Children aren't immune to the virus, though they rarely develop serious disease.
new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) finds that children represent about 9.8% of all COVID-19 cases in states that have recorded demographic data.
"A disproportionate number of cases are reported in Black and Hispanic children and in places where there is high poverty," she added. "We must work harder to address societal inequities that contribute to these disparities.”

Coronavirus may dice heart muscle fibers into tiny snippets, remove cells' DNA

America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral
As the U.S. heads toward the winter, the country is going round in circles, making the same conceptual errors that have plagued it since spring.
Nine mistakes we make about the pandemic
From false dichotomies — save lives or save the economy? — to the ‘prevention paradox’ that breeds complacency when public-health measures work, many of us suffer from conceptual errors when it comes to coronavirus. The Atlantic lays out nine ways our intuition can steer us in the wrong direction and why they have snowballed to undermine the pandemic response in the United States.
The Atlantic | 19 min read

Integrating climate action for health into covid-19 recovery plans
While the COVID-19 pandemic is a grave human tragedy, it can be used as an opportunity to implement sustainable economic recovery policies that safeguard the health of the current and future generations including by supporting rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
COVID-19 highlights three pathways to achieve urban health and environmental justice

How bats keep coronaviruses at bay
Ebola, SARS, MERS, COVID-19: the roll call of diseases that have passed from bats to humans (often through an intermediate animal host) reads like a who’s who of recent outbreaks. “Viruses are much more virulent when they spread to humans from bats than from other mammals,” says evolutionary biologist Bernard Crespi. “Yet they seem to do little harm to the bats themselves.” Understanding how bats tame viruses that humans can’t could help us to conquer the coronavirus.
Financial Times | 9 min read

England Covid restrictions: will you be attending an event this weekend?
We would like to hear from people in England who are planning on attending events this weekend before the new rules on gatherings come into force

USAID to shut down its coronavirus task force
The task force is set to be deactivated on Wednesday, according to an internal note to staffers.

SalivaDirect: Simple and sensitive molecular diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2 surveillance
On Aug. 15 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for a saliva-based COVID-19 test developed by the Yale School of Public Health. The test, called SalivaDirect, is a lab-based diagnostic test that uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology to detect genetic material from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It differs from more widely available PCR tests in several ways. It does not require a special container with preservatives to protect the sample while it is in transport to a lab. It does not require a special swab to obtain the specimen from deep in the back of the nose, alleviating supply chain issues and decreasing patient discomfort. And, the process to prepare the sample for testing has fewer steps, takes less time, and does not require special chemicals or dedicated new machines. For all of these reasons, it will be a cheaper testing option, and the creators have made their innovative protocol “open-source,” or publicly available to interested laboratories. In preliminary testing published in a preprint article, the SalivaDirect test has a high agreement (>94%) with swab PCR tests taken from the same patients.

'We just need the system to work': fresh reports of Covid test problems in England
As numbers of cases surge, many people are finding it almost impossible to get tested

Study suggests US COVID-19 cases undercounted early on
The authors say their findings confirm seroprevalence studies in hard-hit areas.
More »

Study shows lower case-fatality rate in COVID-19 second wave
A new study in Transboundary and Emerging Disease calculated the case-fatality rate (CFR) of COVID-19 infections in 53 countries or regions that experienced a second wave—or resurgence—of coronavirus activity, and found a significantly lower death rate among all confirmed cases than in the first wave.
This is the first study to compare the CFR in the first and second waves of the pandemic.

Convalescent plasma in the management of moderate COVID-19 in India: An open-label parallel-arm phase II multicentre randomized controlled trial (PLACID Trial)
CP was not associated with reduction in mortality or progression to severe COVID-19. This trial has high generalizability and approximates real-life setting of CP therapy in settings with limited laboratory capacity. A priori measurement of neutralizing antibody titres in donors and participants may further clarify the role of CP in management of COVID-19.
Some good news on covid-19
The virus seems to generate a robust and fairly long-lasting immune response. Antibody levels in 1,200 Icelanders who had been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus and recovered. More than 90% tested positive for antibodies twice—once immediately post-infection and again four months later. People who had suffered more serious disease, such as those who had been hospitalised, developed higher levels of antibodies. So did men and older people, both of whom are at greater risk of more severe illness.

How the Coronavirus Attacks the Brain
It’s not just the lungs — the pathogen may enter brain cells, causing symptoms like delirium and confusion, scientists reported.

NSAIDs like ibuprofen not tied to severe COVID-19, death
There is no reason to withhold well-indicated use of the drugs during the pandemic, the authors say.
More »

Why COVID-19 is more deadly in people with obesity—even if they're young
WHO says vaccine safety top priority, as AstraZeneca pauses study

Covid-19 vaccine trial participant had serious neurological symptoms, but could be discharged today, AstraZeneca CEO says

Pharma drew a line in the sand over Covid-19 vaccine readiness — because someone had to
President Trump may want a Covid-19 vaccine to ship in time to boost his reelection chances, but the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t appear ready to cooperate — at least, not on his terms.

Let’s get real. No vaccine will work as if by magic, returning us to ‘normal’
To dream of imminent solutions is only human. But progress will come from controlled expectations, The UK has manoeuvred itself into such a leading position. It has options on a 340m-dose stockpile, the highest access per capita of any country. Yet only 20%-30% of the UK population will require access to a vaccine in the first few months. The UK’s position could be even stronger through firm commitments to pooling surplus doses through Covax. The European commission has also shown important leadership and has committed €400m (£360m), but it too is in a strong position to do more. Such enlightened global leadership is badly needed at this time of crisis.
Brazil trials of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine show promising results - governor

Leader of U.S. vaccine push says he‘ll quit if politics trumps science
Why COVID-19 vaccines need to prioritize ‘superspreaders'
Consequences of the Outbreak on Society and Economy

Covid-19 has exposed the reality of Britain: poverty, insecurity and inequality
NHS misses target of having half its top jobs held by women
From insight to action: Gender equality in the wake of COVID-19
The impacts of crises are never gender neutral, and COVID-19 is no exception. While men reportedly have a higher fatality rate, women and girls are especially hurt by the resulting economic and social fallout. Impacts on women and girls have worsened across the board. Women are losing their livelihoods faster because they are more exposed to hard-hit economic sectors.
The moms are not alright: How coronavirus pandemic policies penalize mothers
A recent report from the Royal Bank of Canada found that women’s participation in the Canadian labour force fell by 4.7 per cent between February and May. There are multiple factors that have contributed to what has been dubbed the “shecession,” but childcare obligations are one of the most frequently cited. During the same period, employment among women with toddlers or school-aged children fell by 7 per cent, whereas men with children in the same age groups only saw a decline of 4 per cent.
COVID-19 will widen poverty gap between women and men, new data shows
The pandemic will push 47 million more women and girls below the poverty line, reversing decades of progress to eradicate extreme poverty
Projected health-care resource needs for an effective response to COVID-19 in 73 low-income and middle-income countries: a modelling study
Health-care cost of COVID19 in low- and middle-income countries estimated at US$52 billion every 4 weeks, with costs likely to escalate if transmission increases: finding from modelling study

New Zealand mental health crisis as Covid stretches a struggling system
Health workers and older people among those bearing brunt of added pressure brought by coronavirus

Noncommunicable diseases increase risk of dying from COVID-19 in Africa
In a WHO survey of 41 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, 22% of countries reported that only emergency inpatient care for chronic conditions is available, while 37% of countries reported that outpatient care is limited. Hypertension management has been disrupted in 59% of the countries, while diabetic complications management has been disrupted in 56% of the countries. The closure or slowdown in services is likely to further aggravate the underlying conditions of patients, leading to more severe cases of NCDs. It also exacerbates the susceptibility of people living with chronic conditions to COVID-19.

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
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

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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