COVID-19 Situation: 6 November 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 Situation: 6 November 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- 6 November 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
November 7th, 2020 15:00 (EST)
An additional 43,375 cases and 1,408 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, representing a 0.20% relative increase in cases and a 0.22% relative increase in deaths, compared to the previous day. 
The Brazil National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) approved a clinical study with advanced therapy product for the treatment of COVID-19.  
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)

Global COVID-19 total clears 49 million, experts weigh in on mink variant
WHO experts said today that so far there's no sign the virus behaves differently, but more research is needed.
More »
A Dreadful New Peak for the American Pandemic
The country recorded more than 100,000 coronavirus cases today—the highest single-day total since the pandemic began.
The Atlantic
The U.S. reported over 1,000 Covid-19 deaths for the fourth straight day, a first since August. It also set another daily record for new virus cases.
As the eyes of a tired nation remained transfixed on the results of the presidential election, the United States set a daily record for new cases for the third straight day, with more than 129,000 new cases on Friday.
Read the latest

COVID-19 in Latin America: a humanitarian crisis
France posts record number of new coronavirus cases at more than 60,000
Coronavirus second wave: How are rising infections in Europe affecting COVID-19 deaths?
Belgium has become a Covid hotspot. And there are four reasons why
Control Measures

World Health Assembly 9-14 November
Every year, delegates from all 194 Member States gather to agree WHO’s priorities, leadership, and budgets. 
Watch online here!

WHO needs reforms, while preserving 'political independence': panel
An independent review panel trained on the WHO found a “significant discrepancy between member states’ financial contributions and their expectations” and called for more reforms including an amped-up, multi-tiered early warning system for outbreaks,
Reuters reports.

UN summit in December to push action on COVID-19 pandemic
The UN General Assembly voted to convene a special high-level COVID-19 meeting December 3-4, a move Assembly President Volkan Bozkir called a “belated first step” to improve collective action on the crisis. It aims to press for action on the global spread of the coronavirus and its “unprecedented” effects on societies, economies, jobs, global trade and travel.
World Health Assembly charts course for COVID-19 response and global health priorities

WHO Strategy on research for health
WHO Africa

The WHO is hunting for the coronavirus’s origins. Here are the new details.
Disease detectives who have worked on similar hunts say the investigation is business as usual—but now with advanced tools and techniques that should aid the process.
To stop the next pandemic, we need to unravel the origins of COVID-19   

Access to COVID-19 Tools Tracker
Countries Measures

The second wave of covid-19 has sent much of Europe back into lockdown

Lessons learnt from easing COVID-19 restrictions: an analysis of countries and regions in Asia Pacific and Europe
To facilitate cross-country learning, this Health Policy paper uses an adapted framework to examine the approaches taken by nine high-income countries and regions that have started to ease COVID-19 restrictions: five in the Asia Pacific region (ie, Hong Kong [Special Administrative Region], Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea) and four in Europe (ie, Germany, Norway, Spain, and the UK). This comparative analysis presents important lessons to be learnt from the experiences of these countries and regions. Although the future of the virus is unknown at present, countries should continue to share their experiences, shield populations who are at risk, and suppress transmission to save lives
Covid-19 Knocks on American Hegemony
COVID-19 threatens US hegemony in terms of both US capabilities and US leadership, which it for the most part abdicated during the crisis. Before Trump took office, many scholars and policymakers believed we were either already in a multipolar world or inexorably moving towards one. Reasons for these declinist predictions vary.

The consequence of COVID-19: how the United States moved from security provider to security consumer
One reasonable broad conclusion from the US struggle with COVID-19 is that it has further forfeited its broad leadership position on the basis of its behaviour. Yet that, although possibly true, would only portray one element of the story. The more profound insight exposed by COVID-19 is of a new reality: in a world where both naturogenic and anthropogenic threats pose immense national security challenges, decades of mistaken assumptions and policy choices have created a new environment, one where the United States has been redefined as a security consumer, at least in terms of international public health issues associated with the spread of deadly infectious diseases.

How Trump interfered with COVID science
Last month, a coronavirus-crisis sub-committee within the US House of Representatives released a report documenting 47 instances in which government scientists had been sidelined or had their recommendations altered by the administration of US President Donald Trump. From ignoring expert advice to prematurely approving COVID treatments, Nature chronicles some of the most significant cases of interference so far, and assesses their impact.
Nature | 7 min read
Reference: US House of Representatives report
Next US president faces uphill battle to rebuild CDC relationship with WHO

Ireland’s “R” number—indicating the average number of people an infected person will likely infect—has dropped below 1, weeks after the country imposed its toughest-ever coronavirus restrictions.
Italy imposes regional lockdown as coronavirus cases spike
How the coronavirus surprised Italy again

Australia’s success story: Following a strategy of early and stringent restrictions and strong messaging, the country is close to eliminating community transmission of COVID-19, with zero cases reported Thursday and just 7 since Saturday.
The Washington Post

In Tanzania election, COVID-19 denialism an 'excuse to clamp down' on dissent

In India, a new election promise: A vaccine for COVID-19

Opinion: What the US election could mean for global COVID-19 vaccine access
U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden has already announced his plan to rejoin the World Health Organization if elected, but there is another strategic decision on which the candidate has remained mum — U.S. participation in COVAX, the international effort to pool funding for advance purchase of an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. Here, the Biden and Kamala Harris plan is a single sentence: “Accelerate the development of treatment and vaccines.”

COVID surveillance, education enhanced after lockdown gatherings fuel Hopi outbreak
Extensive contact tracing found that frequent social interactions with extended family, plus the greater community, helped spread the virus.
More »
Scientific Publications, Reports and News
Escaping the era of pandemics’: Experts warn worse crises to come, unless the governance of infectious diseases changes
Coinciding crises: how COVID-19 and climate change are putting pressure on health systems worldwide – and how we can prepare for the future

What role do 'super-spreaders' play in the global transmission of COVID-19?

Time series analysis of COVID-19 infection curve: A change-point perspective
Recognizing that the speed of the virus’ spread would change over time as governments and health officials mounted responses, the researchers used a time series analysis called a “piecewise linear model” to study the changes.
“The piecewise linear model,” the researchers wrote, “is intuitive, interpretable and is useful for tracking the dynamics of a pandemic as it naturally segments the spread process into phases with (approximately) the same growth rate
Denmark will cull its entire mink population after a mutated SARS-CoV-2 strain found on mink farms spread to people, there is concern that the mutated virus could compromise the effectiveness of future COVID-19 vaccines—but scientists are hesitant to weigh in until data is released.

Spread of coronavirus in mink hits 'scary buttons' but experts urge calm
The spread of a mutated SARS-CoV-2 virus among mink in Denmark has set off global alarm bells, and prompted plans to cull the nation's entire herd. The fear: The mutated virus could be passed back to people, thus undermining Covid-19 vaccines under development. "This hits all the scary buttons," one expert tells STAT's Helen Branswell. But he and other experts also said fears are overblown. In their view, the outbreak among minks, while unfortunate, likely won't increase transmission or make the virus more severe.
Read more here

Don’t panic about the mink mutation
A mutated form of the coronavirus that can jump between mink and humans has prompted Denmark to kill up to 17 million farmed mink. “The mutated virus in mink may pose a risk to the effectiveness of a future vaccine,” said Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. The move was based on scientific advice, said Frederiksen, but that advice has not been made public or peer reviewed. Scientists interviewed by STAT take a cautious approach, but aren’t too worried by the mink strain. “We can never rule out anything, but in principle it shouldn’t [pose a higher risk to humans],” says Francois Balloux, who studies pathogen outbreaks. “It should definitely not increase transmission. I don’t see any good reason why it should make the virus more severe.”
STAT | 6 min read
Guidance on working with farmed animals of species susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2
The immune system’s “T-cell” response to COVID-19 remains robust in most adults 6 months after infection, according to a new study out of the UK.
A nasal spray prevented Covid-19 infection in ferrets, a study finds.

Air pollution linked to greater risk of dying from covid-19 in the US
The study found that each extra microgram of tiny particulate matter – PM2.5 – per cubic metre of air over the long term increases the covid-19 mortality rate by 11 per cent. That puts the link between covid-19 and air pollution roughly on a par with the link between the disease and smoking. Importantly, the link between air pollution and higher death rates was clear even after adjusting results for 20 other possible explanations, including smoking, wealth, age and race. However, Dominici says a big limitation of the analysis is that the data on deaths, pollution and the other potential reasons is at an area level, rather than the level of individuals, hindering its accuracy. Still, she says it remains the best way to measure links until individual-level data, which is being captured, becomes available to researchers in a year or so.

‘Air pollution a co-factor in COVID-19 mortality’

  • PM2.5 worsens cardiovascular, respiratory diseases increasing risk from COVID-19
  • Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland among countries with COVID-19 mortality linked to anthropogenic emissions
  • Mitigate emissions with measures to control COVID-19 transmission
Development and Validation of Early Warning Score Systems for COVID-19 Patients

New study describes case of asymptomatic Covid-19 infection for more than two months
In a new study, researchers report the case of a 71-year-old woman with leukemia who was infected with SARS-CoV-2 for at least 105 days and was actively infectious for a minimum of 70 of those days — despite being asymptomatic the whole time.
A new item on your medical bill: The ‘Covid’ fee.
The New York Times
C diff guidelines for low-income countries;  COVID-19 antibiotic stewardship
The Art of Infection Prevention
In this piece, the author describes observations and research on the links between the COVID-19 pandemic, enhanced focus on infection prevention, reduced rates of healthcare-associated drug-resistant bacterial infections, and behaviour change.

Getting the flu shot may reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, according to a new preprint study that mirrors recent peer-reviewed studies but doesn’t offer definitive evidence of cause and effect.
Scientific American
Time to stop the use of ‘Wuhan virus’, ‘China virus’ or ‘Chinese virus’ across the scientific community

Widespread smell testing for COVID-19 has limited application
People who tested positive for COVID-19 were more likely to have gone to work in-person in the preceding weeks, according to new research urging employers to promote teleworking and other alternative worksites where possible.
CDC Report: Officials Knew Coronavirus Test Was Flawed But Released It Anyway

Rapid COVID tests: what they can and can’t do
Rapid COVID-19 tests, which can deliver results in a matter of minutes rather than days, are starting to become widely available. Nature Biotechnology explores the different types of tests, what they can and can’t do, and lists the tests available and in development.
Nature Biotechnology | 10 min read

WHO-led COVID drug scheme doubles down on antibodies, steroids and shuns remdesivir
COVID-19 exacerbates tinnitus—the perception of noise or ringing in the ears and head— according to a 48-country study that also found hearing loss may be a symptom of “long COVID.”
Anglia Ruskin University via ScienceDaily

Children with COVID-19—regardless of whether they developed the rare multisystem inflammatory syndrome—developed fewer SARS-CoV-2 antibodies than adults, according to a new study that suggests a need for age-specific testing and mitigation measures.

Aspirin to be tested in UK as potential coronavirus treatment

Mapping COVID-19 Vaccines Pre-Purchases Across the Globe
A flurry of nearly 200 COVID-19 vaccine candidates are moving forward through the development and clinical trials processes at unprecedented speed; more than ten candidates are already in Phase 3 large-scale trials and several have received emergency or limited authorization. Also unprecedented is the number of advance market commitments (AMCs) made by countries and multilateral partnerships eager to reserve vaccine supply, even before any candidates are on the market.

Equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution will lead to the biggest reduction in deaths
Mathematical modelling suggests that if wealthy countries stockpile COVID-19 vaccines, we will see nearly twice as many deaths than if vaccines were shared equally across the globe.

Rich Countries Reserve Billions Of Covid-19 Vaccine Doses Even Before There Is One
Low-resource countries could be waiting until 2024 for COVID19 vaccines, as wealthier nations grab up ~8.8 billion prospective doses
The study found that signatories of COVAX like UK, Canada and the European Union (EU) are effectively undermining the pact by negotiating “side deals” for large vaccine shipments. This will result in a smaller piece of the pie available for equitable global allocation. 
“There are negotiations underway in which vaccine-rich countries would allocate doses purchased through advance market commitments (AMC) to the COVAX effort after they have vaccinated a certain portion of their populations,” said Andrea Taylor who led the analysis for the Launch and Scale initiative. “But there’s no requirement, and arguably little incentive to do so.”

Rich states' Covid deals 'may deprive poor of vaccine for years'
Wealthy countries already have agreements for 3.73bn doses, with another 5bn under negotiation, study finds
What could fair allocation of an efficacious COVID-19 vaccine look like in South Africa?
First Covid-19 vaccine doses to go to health workers, say CDC advisers.
Next Africa: Aspen’s Vaccine Deal Eases Regional Fears

Emergency use authorisation for COVID-19 vaccines: lessons from Ebola

Challenges in creating herd immunity to SARS-CoV-2 infection by mass vaccination
Consequences of the Outbreak on Society and Economy
Good neighbours? No, UK’s community spirit fell in summer Covid lockdown
An avoidable crisis: The disproportionate impact of covid-19 on black, asian and minority ethnic communities
This report gives a snapshot of the impact of Covid-19 and the structural inequalities faced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic people so far in the UK. It makes immediate recommendations to protect those most at risk as the pandemic progresses and presents next steps for beginning to tackle the underlying causes. Covid-19 has thrived on inequalities that have long scarred British society.

A UN framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19
Sex differences in COVID-19 case fatality: do we know enough?

COVID-19 gender susceptibility and outcomes: A systematic review
Results: The unadjusted mortality rates of men were higher than those of women, with a mortality OR 0.51 [0.42, 0.61] (p<0.001) for women. The proportion of men presenting with severe disease and admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) was also higher than that of women (OR 0.75 [0.60–0.93] p<0.001 and OR 0.45 [0.40–0.52] p<0.001 respectively). Adjusted analyses could not be conducted due to lack of data. Conclusion: COVID-19 may be associated with worse outcomes in males than in females. However, until more detailed data are provided in further studies enabling adjusted analysis, this remains an unproven assumption.

Coping with COVID in refugee camps

Winter is here: How economically damaging will new lockdowns be?
Less severe than last time—but still very painful

UNICEF and WHO call for emergency action to avert major measles and polio epidemics
As COVID-19 disrupts immunizations, urgent action needed to protect most vulnerable children from deadly and debilitating diseases

Experts say COVID-19-affected drug market rebounding
New reports depict a resilient industry with more potential during COVID-19.
More »
COVID-19 hits life-saving health services in Africa
The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to key health services in Africa, raising worries that some of the continent’s major health challenges could worsen.
The preliminary analysis by the World Health Organization (WHO) of five key essential health service indicators that include outpatient consultation, inpatient admission, skilled birth attendance, treatment of confirmed malaria cases and provision of the combination pentavalent vaccine in 14 countries finds a sharp decline in these services between January and September 2020 compared with the two previous years. The gaps were the widest in May, June and July, corresponding to when many countries had put in place and enforced movement restrictions and other social and public health measures to check the spread of COVID-19. During these three months, services in the five monitored areas dropped on average by more than 50% in the 14 countries compared with the same period in 2019.
Read More
CDC Highlights COVID-19 Hospitalization Risk Among Nurses
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. Nurses comprised the largest proportion of health care personnel hospitalized with COVID-19 (about 28%), followed by certified nursing assistants (about 9%) and patient aides and caregivers (about 7%).

COVID-19–Associated Hospitalizations Among Health Care Personnel — COVID-NET, 13 States, March 1–May 31, 2020
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

Risk Communication

Science Denial and COVID Conspiracy Theories Potential Neurological Mechanisms and Possible Responses

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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