COVID-19 Situation: 30 October 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 Situation: 30 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- 27 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 28th, 2020 15:00 (EST)
An additional 143,411 cases and 2,952 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, representing a 0.72% relative increase in cases and a 0.47% relative increase in deaths, compared to the previous day. 
COVID-19 transmission is on the rise again on several Caribbean and Atlantic ocean islands with Bermuda, Dominica, Haiti, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines all reporting over a 100% increase in new cases reported this week (21-27 Oct) compared to the previous week (14-20 Oct).
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)
Nearly 800,000 US children have gotten COVID-19 this year and cases among kids are rising, warns the American Academy of Pediatrics in a new report based on state-level data. The Hill 
America’s third Covid-19 surge is here. It was predictable — and preventable.

138 New Coronavirus Infections in Xinjiang
Sixth Tone

Control Measures
WHO warns giving up on efforts to control Covid-19 would be ‘dangerous’

Mask mandates work
A Tennessee study found that hospitals taking in patients from counties with strong mask mandates saw no change in hospitalization levels since July 1, whereas in hospitals where >25% of patients were under mask mandates, hospitalizations rose 200%.
PPE still lacking in nursing homes as COVID doubles down
Countries Measures
The Brazilian Government's mistakes in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic
US racial and ethnic data for COVID-19 cases: still missing in action
Protests flare in Italian cities against COVID-19 restrictions

No trick or treating: Halloween is cancelled for England's high risk areas  

France and Germany announce partial lockdowns
Covid-19: Record traffic out of Paris as second French lockdown begins
Coronavirus cases in the Netherlands hit new record, up by more than 10,000
Central Europe sounds alarm facing a shortages of medics as virus surges

Scientific Publications, Reports and News
IPBES Pandemics Report: Escaping the 'Era of Pandemics'.
"Instead of trying to contain diseases after they emerge, we must focus on prevention & adopt a One Health approach to reduce risk drivers of pandemics
Access the executive summary of the Report here.
Access the full Report here.

UN report says up to 850,000 animal viruses could be caught by humans, unless we protect nature

"Ensuring a Post-COVID Economic Agenda Tackles Global Biodiversity Loss."
The piece argues that "a post-COVID world needs to tackle the economic drivers that create ecological disruptions." It covers short-term and longer-term stimulus measures and restructuring that take biodiversity into account, including measures to shift away from activities that damage biodiversity and toward those supporting ecosystem resilience, including through incentives, regulations, fiscal policy, and employment programs. 
download the PDF directly

Deforestation and Disease: How can we fix it?

COVID-19: Effects of Environmental Conditions on the Propagation of Respiratory Droplets
droplets can travel three times farther in low-temperature and high-humidity environment, whereas the number of aerosol particles increases in high-temperature and low-humidity environments. The results also underscore the importance of proper ventilation, as droplets and aerosol spread significantly farther in airstreams.

Extreme heat, COVID-19 increase health dangers for U.S. farmworkers
Does the COVID-19 pandemic provide an opportunity to eliminate the tobacco industry?
Transparency assessment of COVID-19 models
Could COVID-19 shift the world's economy towards exponential change?
The current global crisis has sharpened focus on the need for a new balance between economic, environmental and social goals. We spoke to environmentalist, author and serial entrepreneur John Elkington about the market shifts caused by the current crisis and the role of development banks in propelling the world of business to a more inclusive and sustainable future.
Read on
One Health-One cure

Cities reboot: Urban life in the age of COVID-19

Why cities must put nature at the heart of their recovery
Evidence synthesis communities in low-income and middle-income countries and the COVID-19 response
Ending support for medical organisations puts the world at risk
Influenza control during the COVID-19 pandemic
Herd immunity confusion
Science misuse and polarised political narratives in the COVID-19 response
Psychoanalysis in combatting mass non-adherence to medical advice
The COVID-19 syndemic is not global: context matters
The Coronavirus Surge That Will Define the Next 4 Years
The Atlantic

How Indigenous Communities in Canada Organized an Exemplary COVID Public Health Response
Scientific American

What medieval plague spread can teach us about pandemic acceleration

Why schools probably aren’t COVID hotspots
Data gathered worldwide are increasingly suggesting that schools are not hotspots for coronavirus infections. Despite fears, COVID-19 infections did not surge when schools and day-care centres reopened after pandemic lockdowns eased. And when outbreaks do occur, they mostly result in only a small number of people becoming ill. “There’s no such thing as zero transmission or zero risk,” says paediatrician Fiona Russell. But she adds that the risk of infection at school is low, especially when community transmission is low.
Nature | 5 min read

Extensive, rapid COVID spread at summer high-school camp detailed
A single student was the likely source of an outbreak that infected 76% of attendees.
More »
Possible coronavirus spread by fur-farm animal
Small fox-like animals called raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) can be infected with SARS-CoV-2 and can spread it among themselves, a study has shown. The findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 could spread undetected in fur farms in China, where more than 14 million raccoon dogs live in captivity.
Reference: Emerging Infectious Diseases paper

COVID-19 antibodies last at least 5 months in mild-to-moderate cases
A study yesterday in Science reports that the vast majority of patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 have stable levels of antibodies for at least 5 months.
The study noted that people in the higher titer range showed a slow titer decline, whereas those with low to moderate levels saw an initial increase. This is in agreement with earlier observations from the team that indicate seroconversion in mild COVID-19 cases might take longer to mount, according to the news release.
Oct 28 Science study
Oct 28 Mount Sinai press release

Study finds high rate of bloodstream infections in COVID-19 ICU patients
A retrospective study of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in an intensive care unit (ICU) in Rome found that nearly half acquired bacterial or fungal bloodstream infections (BSIs), They suggest that immune dysregulation in severe COVID-19, extensive use of antibiotics, and less adherence to infection prevention and control measures may play a role in the high incidence of bacterial and fungal infections in COVID-19 ICU patients.
Oct 29 J Glob Antimicrob Resist study
COVID-19 spurs health innovation in Africa
Brazzaville, 29 October 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic has galvanized the development of more than 120 health technology innovations that have been piloted or adopted in Africa, a new World Health Organization (WHO) analysis finds.
The study of 1000 new or modifications of existing technologies that have been developed worldwide to target different areas of the COVID-19 response finds that Africa accounts for 12.8% of the innovations. The response areas include surveillance, contact tracing, community engagement, treatment, laboratory systems and infection, prevention and control.
Read More

A room, a bar and a classroom: how the coronavirus is spread through the air
The risk of contagion is highest in indoor spaces but can be reduced by applying all available measures to combat infection via aerosols. Here is an overview of the likelihood of infection in three everyday scenarios, based on the safety measures used and the length of exposure
The engines of SARS-CoV-2 spread
The majority of SARS-CoV-2 infections likely occur within households and other residential settings (such as nursing homes).
Globally, the proportion of cases attributable to household transmission will vary because of multiple factors, including household size. Contact studies suggest that 17 to 38% of contacts occur in households, implying that 46 to 66% of transmission is household-based

Susceptibility to severe COVID-19
Basketball stars score with virus insights
Professional basketball players in the United States have helped to provide details of SARS-CoV-2’s life cycle. When US basketball games resumed in July after a four-month hiatus, staff and athletes were regularly monitored using a highly sensitive test that can assess a person’s viral levels. Researchers found that two COVID tests given within two days can indicate whether a person’s viral level is rising or falling — information that can influence treatment decisions.
Reference: medRxiv preprint

Maths-based strategy streamlines testing
A large-scale trial has shown that ‘pooled’ testing for SARS-CoV-2 — where samples from multiple people are combined into one batch that is then analysed for the virus — can be highly efficient, even more so than theory predicted.
Reference: medRxiv preprint
Get more of Nature’s continuously updated selection of the must-read papers and preprints on COVID-19.
A $20 COVID-19 breathalyzer turns out results in minutes, according to a startup out of the National University of Singapore; the firm says the “Breathonix” test was over 90% accurate in a pilot clinical trial and is angling for regulatory approval early next year.



SARS-CoV-2 risk misclassification explains poor COVID-19 management
Cognitive Cost: COVID-19 can age the brain by 10 years in some patients, according to new Imperial College London research into the cognitive effects of the virus, which has not yet been peer reviewed.

Damage to the heart’s right ventricle may signal an increased risk of dying from COVID-19, suggesting that echocardiograms may be key to identifying the most at-risk patients, a new study found.
Weill Cornell Medical College via Medical Xpress
US officials have halted a study of one of the most promising COVID-19 treatments—an Eli Lilly antibody treatment similar to the antibody cocktail in President Trump’s treatment regimen—after finding it was not helping patients.
Seattle company says its spray treatment could make cloth masks more effective against COVID-19
The Seattle Times
ICUs are at capacity amid a steep rise in Northern Hemisphere cases, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned yesterday.
Enemy Antibodies
Some COVID-19 survivors’ immune systems are producing “autoantibodies” that attack human cells rather than the virus—a misguided immune response that resembles diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, according to a preprint study published on MedRxiv.
The New York Times
‘Another piece of populist propaganda’: Critics slam the Brazilian government’s new COVID-19 drug

Robust neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 infection persist for months
The vast majority of infected individuals with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 experience robust IgG antibody responses against the viral spike protein, based on a dataset of 30,082 individuals screened at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. We also show that titers are relatively stable for at least a period approximating 5 months and that anti-spike binding titers significantly correlate with neutralization of authentic SARS-CoV-2. Our data suggests that more than 90% of seroconverters make detectible neutralizing antibody responses. These titers remain relatively stable for several months after infection.

Use of adenovirus type-5 vectored vaccines: a cautionary tale

It may be time to reset expectations on when we’ll get a Covid-19 vaccine

Some areas in US, Europe battle dogged COVID-19 spread
In vaccine news, Moderna looks to having phase 3 trial results before December.
More »
Fauci says first U.S. COVID-19 vaccines could ship late December or early January
GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi have pledged to give 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to global immunization initiative COVAX.

Understanding COVID-19 vaccine efficacy
Vaccine efficacy in high-risk groups and reduced viral shedding are important for protection
Consequences of the Outbreak on Society and Economy
Why this recession disproportionately affects women
Incorporating intersectional gender analysis into research on infectious diseases of poverty: a toolkit for health researchers
Nine scenarios for the COVID-19 economy

What the pandemic reveals about globalization, supply chain risk, and adapting to climate change
Widespread lockdowns and border closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic have brought the often-abstract forces of globalization into stark relief for millions around the world. As we face two generation-defining crises – COVID-19 and climate change – has globalization indeed broken the world?

COVID-19–Associated Hospitalizations Among Health Care Personnel — COVID-NET, 13 States, March 1–May 31, 2020
Analysis of COVID-19 hospitalization data from 13 sites indicated that 6% of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 were HCP. Among HCP hospitalized with COVID-19, 36% were in nursing-related occupations, and 73% had obesity. Approximately 28% of these patients were admitted to an intensive care unit, 16% required invasive mechanical ventilation, and 4% died.
What are the implications for public health practice?
HCP can have severe COVID-19–associated illness, highlighting the need for continued infection prevention and control in health care settings as well as community mitigation efforts to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
Doctors silenced by stigma
Despite facing extraordinary strain, more than half of emergency physicians said they were at least somewhat concerned that they’d lose their jobs if they sought mental health treatment, a new survey found.
MedPage Today
Winnipeg epidemiologist faces online threats, as concerns about COVID-19 misinformation deepen
CTV News

Risk Communication
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 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
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 email  


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