COVID-19 Situation: 26 October 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 Situation: 26 October 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:

Weekly update on COVID-19- 23 October 2020
WHO COVID-19 dashboards for most up-to-date figures
Global dashboard

COVID-19 Partners Platform & Supply Portal
Updates from WHO regional offices
COVID-19 Situation in the Region of the Americas
October 25th, 2020 15:00 (EST)
An additional 151,568 cases and 2,439 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, representing a 0.78% relative increase in cases and a 0.39% relative increase in deaths, compared to the previous day.
Colombia has reported over 1 million confirmed cases and has reached the 30,000 death toll. Also, ANVISA, the Brazilian regulatory agency, authorized the import of 6 million doses of Coronavac. The vaccine is still under development and will not be administered until approval by ANVISA is obtained.
PAHO Situation Reports

New COVID-19 situation dashboard
ECDC has launched a new COVID-19 situation dashboard, providing users with a simple, user-friendly platform to explore and interact with the latest COVID-19 data from Europe and worldwide.
All information about COVID- 19 can be found here:
Latest updates - Live press conference (Geneva)

WHO warns of tough months ahead as COVID tops 42 million
The head of the WHO highlights 5 steps to take, such as open communication.
More »

The north faces a dark winter of COVID
Growing evidence suggests that there will be bigger COVID-19 outbreaks in winter, on the basis of what is known about how the virus spreads and how people behave in colder months. Laboratory experiments have revealed that SARS-CoV-2 favours cold, dry conditions, particularly out of direct sunlight. And during winter, people will more often interact indoors in places with poor ventilation. But overall, seasonal variability is “a small drop in the pan” compared with the main driver of increased spread, which is that so many people are vulnerable to infection — so people in places that are going into summer shouldn’t be complacent either. “By far the biggest factor that will affect the size of an outbreak will be control measures such as social distancing and mask wearing,” says epidemiologist Rachel Baker.
Nature | 5 min read

The U.S. surpassed the single-day record for new virus cases set in July, as a third surge of infections has taken root across much of the country.
The nation is in the midst of one of the most severe surges of the pandemic.
Since the start of October, the rise has been steady and inexorable, with no plateau in sight. Experts warn of a further surge as cold weather sets in.
Read the latest
Control Measures

Second meeting of the review committee on the functioning of the International Health Regulations (2005) during the COVID-19 response
Exclusive: In WHO overhaul push, EU urges changes to handling of pandemics
The European Union wants the World Health Organization to become more transparent about how states report emerging health crises, a draft proposal on reforming the U.N. agency says.

Universal mask use could save 130,000 U.S. lives by the end of February, new study estimates
 “Expanding mask use is one of the easy wins for the United States," said the lead author of the new study.
Read More
The temporal association of introducing and lifting non-pharmaceutical interventions with the time-varying reproduction number (R) of SARS-CoV-2: a modelling study across 131 countries
Countries Measures
WHO: The US and Europe still aren't quarantining correctly, and that's why we're headed for a COVID-19 disaster this winter  
WHO warns hospitals struggling as COVID-19 surge in Europe continues
Police disperse fourth anti-lockdown march in London
French hospitals will feel impact of accelerating infections in two weeks: minister
No escaping from Wales: UK police to enforce travel ban
Covid-19 surge in Belgium leads to shortage of doctors, teachers and police
Geneva hospital calls for volunteers as numbers rise rapidly
Ireland is implementing one of the most restrictive sets of social distancing measures in Europe in response to its “second wave” of COVID-19. This week, Ireland entered Phase 5 “lockdown,” the highest level in Ireland, which includes restrictions on social gatherings (indoors and outdoors), including weddings and funerals; religious services; retail businesses, restaurants, cafes, and pubs; essential services; sporting events and outdoor activities; and travel, hotels, and public transportation. Notably, schools and childcare services will remain open in Phase 5.
Following a recent surge to more than 10,000 new cases per day, Germany issued travel warningsfor nearby European countries, including popular tourist destinations such as Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. Returning travelers from these countries must self-quarantine for 10 days; however, if the individual tests negative after the fifth day, they can end their quarantine period early.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party on Thursday promised free doses of any future COVID-19 vaccine for the residents of eastern Bihar state, if it wins local elections there, drawing accusations of playing politics with the pandemic.

Indian garment workers cover bosses' lockdown losses
Indian garment workers say they are being made to compensate their bosses for the food, shelter and salary provided in the coronavirus lockdown
Scientific Publications, Reports and News
Climate change and other risk drivers of animal health and zoonotic disease emergencies
The risk drivers for zoonoses, which are complex and often interdependent, include climate change and related disasters, antimicrobial resistance, and anthropogenic drivers such as land-use changes and animal production practices. Understanding these drivers requires a better understanding of the ecology of zoonotic diseases at the human–animal–environment interface. Biosecurity and biosafety are critical for reducing the risk of accidental or deliberate release and should be included in risk management strategies.

Coronavirus poses threat to climate-change campaigns - David Attenborough

Lower COVID-19 viral loads found in asymptomatic children
In the first large study looking at SARS-CoV-2 viral loads (VL) in asymptomatic children, researchers found that VL were 3 to 4 logs lower compared with symptomatic children, which was consistent with the difference in median cycle threshold (Ct) values—10.3 cycles—between the two groups.
Oct 22 J Clin Microbiol study
Oct 22 Lurie Children's Hospital press release

A summer flight to Ireland led to a 59-person outbreak
Despite implementing safety precautions, one summer flight into Ireland led to a 59-person outbreak in six of the country's eight health regions. Tests eventually confirmed that 13 (26.5%) of the original 49 passengers were positive for SARS-CoV-2, with the other 46 infected via contact with infected passengers.
Oct 23 Eurosurveillance study

Should covid be left to spread among the young and healthy?
Two petitions by scientists clash on the matter

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Herd immunity, lockdowns and COVID-19

The false promise of herd immunity
The term ‘herd immunity’ used to be typically discussed as a desirable result of wide-scale vaccination programmes. During the pandemic, it has become a shorthand for allowing the coronavirus to run its course. It’s a shift that horrifies many public-health researchers. “We have never successfully been able to do it before, and it will lead to unacceptable and unnecessary untold human death and suffering,” says Kristian Andersen, an immunologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Nature digs deep into the misunderstandings that fuel the arguments in favour of the approach and sets out the relevant facts.
Nature | 11 min read
Antimicrobial stewardship: a COVID casualty?
In an editorial letter to the Journal of Hospital Infection, researchers discuss the profound effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programs. As countries cope with waves of COVID-19, antimicrobial resistance continues to pose an ever increasing threat globally, it’s magnitude being affected by recent disruptions in AMS programs and global antibiotic supply chains, as well as, a tendency to over-treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The researchers imply that the WHO World Antimicrobial Awareness Week could represent a much needed opportunity to bring AMR into the spotlight and that innovative solutions to limit AMR in the context of the pandemic, could strengthen AMR in the post pandemic era.

Influenza control during the COVID-19 pandemic

Why cities must put nature at the heart of their recovery
COVID-19 has exposed our vulnerability to systemic shocks and aggravated the stark inequality in our cities
COVID-19 circulating more quickly than in spring: French epidemiologist

Testing sewage for Covid could detect outbreaks early, scientists say
The Guardian

Estimating the infection-fatality risk of SARS-CoV-2 in New York City during the spring 2020 pandemic wave: a model-based analysis
Estimating the COVID-19 R number: a bargain with the devil?
Africa's rollout of COVID-19 rapid tests could be a “game changer” and may reveal a much wider spread than has so far been detected with limited testing capacity, WHO Africa chief Matshidiso Moeti told a news conference.


Study finds no COVID-19 benefit for convalescent plasma
The therapy provided no benefit over usual care in 464 COVID-19 adult patients.
More »
‘Very tough’ months ahead in COVID battle, WHO helping scale up dwindling oxygen supplies
Facing another critical juncture in the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) chief told reporters on Friday that a “very tough” few months lie ahead with too many nations seeing an exponential increase in cases.

Why the approval of remdesivir to treat Covid-19 obscures bigger scientific failures
STAT's Adam Feuerstein and Matthew Herper sat down to discuss the decision, and what it means for biotech and the battle against Covid-19.
Read More

SARS-CoV-2 risk misclassification explains poor COVID-19 management

FDA shows signs of cold feet over emergency authorization of Covid-19 vaccines
The ageny may be exploring the idea of using expanded access — a more limiting program — in the early days of Covid vaccine rollouts.
Read More
Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine trial is fully enrolled, 37 percent of participants are minorities
The Washington Post

Experts Tell F.D.A. It Should Gather More Safety Data on Covid-19 Vaccines
The New York Times

There’s only one chance to do this right’—FDA panel wrestles with COVID-19 vaccine issues

Guidelines on clinical evaluation of vaccines: regulatory expectations

Frequently asked questions on regulation of COVID-19 vaccines
Consequences of the Outbreak on Society and Economy
Florida could see a sea turtle baby boom—thanks to the pandemic
Tourism is down, but nesting success may be up. Here’s what scientists are saying and how travelers can help.

Our leaders won’t fix the COVID inequality crisis – but we can

It's about time we care about an equitable world: Women's unpaid care work and COVID-19
Unpaid care work, mostly performed by women, is a central but undervalued contributor to economies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for unpaid care work increased due to restricted movement, social isolation and economic challenges. This pandemic has highlighted the urgency of recognizing and valuing women's work at the household level which has been systematically overlooked. At the same time, it has increased the demand for technology usage, exposing the gender digital divide. This paper aims to shed light on the additional burden women are facing, especially when trying to balance unpaid care work with paid employment from the seclusion of their homes. We do this by reviewing a number of surveys conducted in Indonesia. We combine this with other examples from additional contexts in order to draw attention to a global trend of amplified inequalities and struggles women are experiencing. We advocate for an urgent paradigm shift by providing vital recommendations for policymakers and managers.

COVID-19 Halts Reproductive Care for Millions of Women

U.N. says pandemic will slow already miniscule progress in women's rights
Gender-based violence and inequities in the workplace and political leadership are nearly as bad as they were 25 years ago, the global agency said in a report "The World's Women 2020."
Only modest gains in education and lowered maternal mortality have taken place since the U.N.'s 189 members made a commitment to women's rights at a landmark conference in Beijing in 1995, Secretary-General António Guterres said.
Read the report here
Women were key to eradicating wild polio in Africa. Can they do the same for COVID?
Marie Claire

Disaster profiteering: Price gouging: a cautionary tale
New York City’s new rules show the difficulties of regulating prices

Pandemic speeds labour shift from humans to robots, WEF survey finds
Robots will destroy 85 million jobs over the next five years as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates changes in the workplace

No more tickets, no more parties: the death of planning
Covid has finished what mobile phones started
'Eating rats': Myanmar's second lockdown drives hunger in city slums
Drug-resistant superbug thriving in hospitals hit hard by COVID-19
Doctors worry that a dangerous yeast, which can colonize a person’s skin without generating symptoms, is rising due to medical centers being overrun.

Factors Associated With Mental Health Disorders Among University Students in France Confined During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The findings of this study suggest that students’ mental health is a public health issue that has become even more critical in the context of a pandemic, underlining the need to reinforce prevention, surveillance, and access to care.
Mental health and health behaviours before and during the initial phase of the COVID-19 lockdown: longitudinal analyses of the UK Household Longitudinal Study

Harnessing Collaborative Care to Meet Mental Health Demands in the Era of COVID-19

Violence Against Health Care Workers in Pakistan During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Japan expects fewer babies in 2021 as pandemic hits pregnancies
The Japan Times
COVID-19 Plus Cancer Proves Deadly — Over a third of cancer patients sent to the ICU died
MedPage Today

2.5 Million Person-Years of Life Have Been Lost Due to COVID-19 in the United States medRxiv (preprint)
COVID-19: how lockdowns affected health access in African and Asian slums
The Conversation
Risk Communication
A guide to overcoming COVID-19 misinformation
False information about the pandemic is rampant, but seasoned defenders of climate science can offer tips for how to fight it.
New study highlights the role of risk communication in coping with COVID-19

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

Sex, gender and COVID-19: overview and resources

COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker
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
The Health System Response Monitor (HSRM)
has been designed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to collect and organize up-to-date information on how countries are responding to the crisis. It focuses primarily on the responses of health systems but also captures wider public health initiatives. This is a joint undertaking of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, the European Commission, and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.
Click here for policy recommendations and technical guidance from the WHO Regional Office for Europe on how to strengthen the health systems response to COVID-19 and click here for the EU coronavirus response in the area of public health.

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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