COVID-19 Situation: 18 September 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 Situation: 18 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- 14 September
COVID-19 dashboards for most up-to-date figures:
Global dashboard

COVID-19 Partners Platform & Supply Portal
Updates from WHO regional offices

September 17th, 2020 15:00 (EST)
An additional 119,708 cases and 3,413 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, representing a 0.79% relative increase in cases and a 0.66% relative increase in deaths, compared to the previous day.
Four countries/territories reported a relative increase in cases in the past 24 hours: Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba (13%, 4 new cases), Curacao (9%, 18 new case), Aruba (6%, 176 new case), and Jamaica (5%, 210 new cases).
PAHO Situation Reports
All information about COVID- 19 can be found here:
Latest updates - Live press conference (Geneva)
Globally, confirmed infections have passed the 30 million mark
the AP reports.
The World Health Organization is warning of "alarming rates of transmission" of Covid-19 in Europe.
Portugal, England and France are some of the places reporting spikes.

Europe Gets a Wake-up Call
An alarming surge of cases in Europe—new cases doubled in the last 2 weeks in more than half of the member states—should serve as a wake-up call, the WHO warned yesterday, the BBC reports.

Europe reported 300,000 new infections last week alone, and weekly cases passed the toll from the first peak last March, Hans Klug, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, said in Copenhagen yesterday.
Countries with big spikes:

  • The Czech Republic's daily cases are growing rapidly, from the hundreds into the thousands—with more than 3,000 cases reported in a single day for the first time today.


  • France set a record last weekend with more than 10,000 new cases in a single day; now ICUs are nearing capacity in cities like Bordeaux and Marseilles—and governments are tightening up restrictions again in response.


  • Spain is seeing its highest number of deaths since June—especially in Madrid, where authorities plan to announce new lockdown measures.

  • The UK government is close to imposing a second lockdown today, after new cases have nearly doubled to 6,000 per day.

Control Measures

Leaving WHO is equivalent of shooting your allies during battle

Lancet COVID-19 Commission Statement on the occasion of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly
7 ways to better design quarantine, based on what we know about human behaviour
Countries Measures

Turkish scientists and physicians face criminal investigations after criticizing COVID-19 policies
Critics say Turkish authorities are using judicial harassment and administrative investigations to stifle criticism and control information about the crisis. Since March, they have launched investigations against doctors, including leaders of local TTB chapters, after they discussed the government’s health policy and coronavirus information in traditional and social media.
Trump scorns his own scientists over virus data
The New York Times

Tameside hospital fights fatal outbreak of hospital-acquired Covid
Exclusive: inquiry launched as several patients die of Covid-19 after becoming infected while being treated for other illnesses
America’s top science journal has had it with Trump. 
Coronavirus surge in Canada checks Trudeau's green ambitions
Scientific Publications, Reports and News

Fear of more coronavirus-like pandemics as land rights 'under siege'
Researchers say securing the lands of indigenous people can help protect biodiversity and lower the risk of future outbreaks of diseases such as COVID-19
study of more than 40 countries found many local people's land claims were being ignored, amid increasing deforestation and wildlife exploitation, which may be contributing to a rise in diseases, like COVID-19, that pass from animals to humans.

Keep focus on emerging infections, Disease X: analysts

COVID-19: a stress test for trust in science

Farm animals and pandemics: nine diseases that changed the world
Covid has got experts thinking urgently about the risk of diseases passing from farmed animals to humans. We examine the major outbreaks of the past two centuries

World fails to meet a single target to stop destruction of nature – UN report
‘Humanity at a crossroads’ after a decade in which all of the 2010 Aichi goals to protect wildlife and ecosystems have been missed

First fighting, then COVID-19 leave Colombian forest tribe homeless
About 300 members of the Embera community are living outside a Bogota park, calling on the city to provide permanent housing

'Why wait for it?' How to predict a pandemic
Strides are being made towards an open access atlas that could predict where dangerous animal-borne viruses will next appear
Humanity at a crossroads
The Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 found that natural habitats have continued to disappear, vast numbers of species remain threatened by extinction from human activities, & $500bn of environmentally damaging government subsidies have not been eliminated.
This Outlook draws on the lessons learned during the first two decades of this century to clarify the transitions needed if we are to realize the vision agreed by world governments for 2050, ‘Living in Harmony with Nature’.
Hurricanes and wildfires are colliding with the COVID-19 pandemic – and compounding the risks
In virus-hit Amazon, fire season threatens overburdened health system
Significance of geographical factors to the COVID‑19 outbreak in India
The present study aims to understand the geographical influence on the spatial distribution of COVID-19 transmission at the regional level in the context of India. Bivariate analysis failed to find any significant relation (except SR) with the number of infected cases within 36 provinces in India. Variable Importance of Projection (VIP) through Partial Least Square (PLS) technique signified higher importance of SR, T, R and AET. However, generalized additive model fitted with the log-transformed value of input variables and applying spline smoothening to PD and E, significantly found high accuracy of prediction (R2 = 0.89), and thus well-explained complex heterogeneity among the association of regional parameters with COVID-19 cases in India. Our study suggests that comparatively hot and dry regions in lower altitude of the Indian territory are more prone to the infection by COVID-19 transmission.
Could Covid-19 be fuelling drug resistance?

Tracking COVID-19 Using Wastewater
An Early Warning System Testing of wastewater reveals the presence of hazards—from toxins to viruses, including the SARS-CoV-2 virus—excreted from our bodies.
Private Capital: Bridging the Gap in Global Health Financing
Widespread health system weaknesses made visible by COVID-19 are creating new pathways for private capital to participate in meaningful and scaled global health innovation.
Read more

From leprosy to COVID-19, how stigma makes it harder to fight epidemics
The history of epidemics, including those of leprosy, cholera, and HIV, shows how costly stigma can be—both to individual patients and to societies as a whole. Such costs don’t usually show up in conventional epidemiological studies, Weiss says, but are part of what the World Health Organization (WHO) calls “the hidden burden” of disease.

Covid-19 pandemic underscoring rise in obesity in the U.S.
The Covid-19 pandemic is underscoring the steady rise in obesity in the U.S., according to a new reportfrom the nonprofit Trust for America's Health. Obesity rates in the U.S. have continued to stay at record levels: In 2017-2018, 42% of people had obesity, which was a 26% jump from a decade prior. And last year, 12 states had obesity rates of 35% or higher, an increase of three states since 2018. During the Covid-19 pandemic, those with obesity and related conditions have had higher rates of hospitalization and mortality from Covid-19. The pandemic has also created more barriers to healthy living, including gym closures and increased food insecurity due to income loss. Obesity is a systemic problem, the report states, adding that solutions that target racial and economic inequities will be needed.
Viruses that come to stay.
Knowable Magazine
As India’s virus cases rise, so do questions over death toll
Associated Press
Fierce Advocates for Building All-Hazards Resurgence and Resilience: NYC Health + Hospitals' COVID-19 Experiences Applied
Read Now
Are Disinfectants for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 Safe?
Read Now
COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, and Export Controls
Read Now

A history of herd immunity
COVID-19 will likely become seasonal like the flu and other coronaviruses, but not until a vaccine becomes available and greater herd immunity is achieved, according to a new study in Frontiers in Public Health.
Medical News Today

Digital rights legal fund targets COVID-19 violations with grants
The Digital Freedom Fund (DFF) warns that measures to contain the coronavirus are increasingly infringing on privacy and other basic rights
Amid COVID testing chaos, UK says: We're trying to fix it

Fast coronavirus tests: what they can and can't do
Rapid antigen tests are designed to tell in a few minutes whether someone is infectious. Will they be game changers?
Widely criticized CDC testing guidance released last month was published despite serious objections from agency scientists—the guidance said that people exposed to COVID-19 didn’t necessarily need to get tested if they didn’t have symptoms.
The New York Times
New nursing home studies show that regularly testing nursing home residents and staff for COVID-19 to spot asymptomatic infections may help contain outbreaks, and that facilities with higher star ratings were less likely to experience outbreaks.
Tracking COVID-19: Contact Tracing in the Digital Age
Eli Lilly reports first, promising results for an antibody against COVID-19

As evidence builds that COVID-19 can damage the heart, doctors are racing to understand it

An ‘uncoordinated’ immune response may explain why COVID-19 strikes some hard, particularly the elderly
A new study now finds that people who suffer the most from COVID-19 have an immune response that’s out of sync. The results help clarify how the disease progresses and could possibly inform how best to use various treatments and how to design the most effective vaccines.

CDC director says coronavirus vaccine won’t be widely available until late 2021
The estimation runs counter to Donald Trump’s recent messaging that a vaccine will be available ‘in a matter of weeks’
A Social and Behavioral Research Agenda to Facilitate COVID-19 Vaccine Uptake in the United States
Read Now
Can vaccines for wildlife prevent human pandemics?
Studies suggest that self-disseminating vaccines could prevent the "spillover" of animal viruses into humans as pandemic diseases.

Legal agreements: barriers and enablers to global equitable COVID-19 vaccine access
The COVAX Facility aims to have enough doses of COVID-19 vaccines for at least 20% of participating countries' populations, with a goal of 2 billion doses by the end of 2021. Civil society has criticised COVAX for negotiating prices that include profit rather than vaccines at cost as a global public good, the lack of transparency of contracts entered into with vaccine manufacturers, limits on civil society participation, failure to address potential impacts of intellectual property rights on pandemic vaccines, and governance questions, including the role of WHO and limited experience procuring vaccines for middle-income countries and HICs

The unequal scramble for coronavirus vaccines — by the numbers
Wealthy countries have already pre-ordered more than two billion doses.
Moderna and Pfizer released their rulebooks for COVID-19 vaccine studies Thursday, underscoring that there's no conclusive evidence that a vaccine is safe and effective—the day after President Trump claimed that “results are very good.”
The Washington Post
Scientists are working on vaccines that spread like a disease. What could possibly go wrong?
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Consequences of the Outbreak on Society and Economy

The Only People Panicking Are the People in Charge
The public can handle disasters better than lying leaders can. When officials lie to the public about an epidemic, they are not only putting people in danger—they are also giving up one of their best strategies for an effective response.
How The Pandemic Is Widening The Racial Wealth Gap
NPR Shots
Women grieve stillborn babies as COVID-19 hits maternity care in rural India
As coronavirus cases rise faster in India than anywhere else in the world, limited rural health facilities are under strain

Pandemic could trigger a ‘baby boom’ as millions of women lose access to contraception and abortion
The pandemic is predicted to result in 900,000 unintended pregnancies, 1.5 million unsafe abortions and more than 3,000 maternal deaths

When a Contagion Comes, Women Bear a Heavy Burden
While contagions like Covid-19 might kill more men, the impact of a pandemic on women’s lives is vast and understudied.

Lessons never learned: Crisis and gender‐based violence
The COVID‐19 pandemic exposes underlying inequalities in our socio‐economic and health systems, such as gender‐based violence (GBV). In emergencies, particularly ones that involve quarantine, GBV often increases. Policymakers must utilize community expertise, technology and existing global guidelines to disrupt these trends in the early stages of the COVID‐19 epidemic. Gender norms and roles relegating women to the realm of care work puts them on the frontlines in an epidemic, while often excluding them from developing the response. It is critical to value women’s roles in society and include their voices in the decision‐making process to avoid unintended consequences and ensure a comprehensive response that caters to the needs of the most vulnerable groups.
26 years in, the Violence Against Women Act hangs in limbo — while COVID fuels a domestic violence surge. 
The 19th
Women in power: Female leadership and public health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic \
Will the Pandemic Reshape Notions of Female Leadership”.
UN Women (2020) Policy Brief 18: COVID-19 and women’s leadership: from an effective response to building back better

Gendered health systems: Evidence from low- and middle-income countries
Just Transition to a Green Economy: Lessons of COVID-19
The pandemic foreshadowed some of the adverse impacts on workers and communities that we can expect to see if we are caught unprepared for the transition to a 1.5 degree world. Read more
Picking Up the Pieces: Healthcare Quality in a Post-COVID-19 World
 Read Now

Understanding Mexican health worker COVID-19 deaths
More Mexican health-care workers had died of COVID19 (1410, half of them doctors) than in any other country. USA ranked second with 1077 deaths and UK third with 677.
PAHO/WHO survey found nearly half of Mexican health workers were not provided PPE.
For more on COVID-19 among Mexican health workers see
For Carissa Etienne's comments on Sept 2 see
COVID-19 threatens to wipe out a decade of gains in health and education
Hard-won human capital gains are at risk due to COVID-19. The World Bank Group’s 2020 Human Capital Index update provides insights to better inform policies to protect and invest in people.
Press Release | Full Report
Coronavirus May Increase Premature Births, Studies Suggest
The New York Times

How Could This Happen? Searching For Answers in a COVID-19 Long-Term Care Crisis
DIG Boston
Could COVID-19 Pandemic Increase Physician Burnout, Suicide?
MedPage Today

Paying the price: Pandemic puts DRC’s fragile health system at risk

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

New COVID-19 Tracker
Reuters is collecting daily COVID-19 infections and deaths data for 240 countries and territories around the world, updated regularly throughout each day. With this project we are focusing on the trends within countries as they try to contain the virus’ spread, whether they are approaching or past peak infection rates, or if they are seeing a resurgence of infections or deaths.

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

R&D funding for infectious diseases rises fourfold since 2014
The Covid-19 pandemic is already inspiring some planning for the next pandemic, and a new report from global health think tank Policy Cures Research outlines the state of R&D funding for emerging infectious diseases. Here's more: 

  • Overall trends: In 2018, R&D funding for infectious diseases was almost $890 million, a 14% increase since 2017, and almost five times the amount in 2014. 
  • Disease-specific trends: Funding for Ebola more than tripled between 2014 and 2015, in the wake of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. As the outbreak waned, funding for the disease also dropped — by $125 million in 2016 and 2017. Similarly, there was an increase in funding for Zika during the outbreak, from $6 million in 2015 to $243 million two years later. 
  • Other trends: Vaccine research received most of the funding between 2014-2018, while diagnostics received fewer than 4% of funds. The U.S. government and U.S.-based pharma companies accounted for nearly three-quarters of all funders.

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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