COVID-19 Situation: 12 November 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 Situation: 12 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- 10 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 11th, 2020 15:00 (EST)
An additional 197,747 cases and 3,432 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, representing a 0.90% relative increase in cases and a 0.52% relative increase in deaths, compared to the previous day. 
In Peru, on 10 November, medical equipment and supplies were distributed to serve all the indigenous communities in the Pasco region. The report is available in Spanish here
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)
U.S. hits record COVID-19 hospitalizations amid virus surge. 
Associated Press
10 million cases in 10 days
COVID-19 is now spreading exponentially across the US, with 43 states reporting at least a 10% rise in cases compared to last week, and infection rates far outpacing testing rates, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
U.K. becomes 5th country to exceed 50,000 coronavirus deaths

Crowded nursing homes may fuel larger, deadlier COVID outbreaks
The death rate in less-crowded homes was less than half that of homes with shared bedrooms and bathrooms.
More »
Control Measures
The CDC updates its findings: Mask-wearing protects you, not just those around you. 
The New York Times
Restaurants and gyms were spring ‘superspreader’ sites. Occupancy limits could control Covid, new study predicts.
Recordings reveal WHO’s analysis of pandemic in private
Countries Measures
E.U. purchases 200 million doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine

Trackers to mask detectors: India bets on COVID-19 tech amid privacy fears
The pandemic has led to widespread adoption of data-driven tech, but experts warn their merit and effectiveness remain debatable
Hospitals across Europe are overwhelmed and running out of beds amid the staggering rise in COVID-19 cases.

Paris hospital director: Christmas should be cancelled due to COVID-19
Switzerland Is Choosing Austerity Over Life
Why Switzerland became one of the world's worst coronavirus hotspots.
The country’s test-positivity rate stands at a whopping 27.9 percent, compared with 8.5 percent in Sweden and 8.3 percent in the United States. Hospitals are projected to run out of ICU capacity by Nov. 13. The challenge now is to keep the period of rationing of intensive health care as short as possible, the expert group says.
In Germany, 300,000 school children are quarantined at home.
Italy on the verge of second lockdown as new wave of COVID-19 cases swamps hospitals
Buenos Aires announced new restrictions as Argentina’s COVID-19 infections passed 1.25 million yesterday; nearly 34,000 have died.
Bolsonaro says Brazilians must not be ‘sissies’ about coronavirus, as ‘all of us are going to die one day’
Cost-effectiveness of public health strategies for COVID-19 epidemic control in South Africa: a microsimulation modelling study

Scientific Publications, Reports and News

‘Forest foods’ drive risks of next global pandemic

  • 70 percent of emerging infectious diseases originate from animals
  • 6,000 different species seized in the past two decades
  • Risk assessments are as crucial as culturally sensitive measures
Addressing Influenza Vaccination in MENA Region during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Decreasing the Effects of the Collision
Influenza vaccine is an irreplaceable public health measure that can help decrease the consequences of the impact of the pandemic by preventing influenza infection and related severe diseases that might be confused with those of COVID-19, and reducing their severity requiring hospital and intensive care unit admission.

Influenza update
The current influenza surveillance data should be interpreted with caution as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have influenced to varying extents health seeking behaviours, staffing/routines in sentinel sites, as well as testing priorities and capacities in Member States. The various hygiene and physical distancing measures implemented by Member States to reduce SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission have likely played a role in reducing influenza virus transmission.
Globally, despite continued or even increased testing for influenza in some countries, influenza activity remained at lower levels than expected for this time of the year.
Improving pandemic preparedness and management
Independent Expert Report Group of Chief Scientific Advisors to the European Commission European and Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies (EGE) and the Special advisor to President Ursula von der Leyen on the response to the coronavirus and COVID-19
Joint Opinion, November 2020

Study finds 46% of high-risk adults endangered by workplace exposure
A study found that employment-related exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, endangers workers and their household members. Among all adults, 49.7% were at increased risk of severe COVID-19 using the main CDC guidelines (61.0% using the broader CDC guidelines).
Nov 9 JAMA Intern Med study
Antibodies without infection?
A pair of new studies (here and here) both suggest that some people who have never had COVID-19 may have “cross-reactive” antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, perhaps acquired after infection by other coronaviruses.

Explaining among-country variation in COVID-19 case fatality rate
Several factors associated with temporal changes in case fatality rate both among variables describing comorbidity risk and demographic, economic and political variables. In particular, countries with the highest values of DALYs lost to cardiovascular, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases had the highest values of COVID-19 CFR. CFR was also positively associated with the death rate due to smoking in people over 70 years. Interestingly, CFR was negatively associated with share of death due to lower respiratory infections. CFR was positively associated with share of the population over 70, GDP per capita, and level of democracy, while it was negatively associated with number of hospital beds ×1000. Overall, these results emphasize the role of comorbidity and socio-economic factors as possible drivers of COVID-19 case fatality rate at the population level.
Nearly one in five Covid patients later diagnosed with mental illness – study
US data shows nearly twice as many diagnoses over three months among those testing positive.
Nov 9 Lancet Psychiatry study
Nov 9 Lancet Psychiatry commentary

Preemie tests negative after drinking COVID-19–infected breast milk
A preterm baby girl delivered via emergency cesarean delivery at 32 weeks remained healthy despite drinking SARS-CoV-2–infected breast milk from her mother, a case report today in Pediatrics notes.
Nov 10 Pediatrics study

Can a nose-full of chicken antibodies ward off coronavirus infections?
A clinical trial has begun in Australia to find out whether nasal drops that contain chicken antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 can offer temporary protection.

Policy makers can enable AI for the fight against COVID-19

G20 countries still backing fossil fuels through COVID-19 response
Despite repeated pledges to end subsidies for oil, gas and coal, G20 governments continue to fund fossil fuels, with the COVID-19 crisis doing little to change that, says new report
Between 2017 and 2019, G20 governments supported fossil fuels to the tune of $584 billion a year, 9% less than in the 2014-2016 period, according to the report.
Seven countries - Australia, Canada, China, France, India, Russia and South Africa - increased their fossil fuel support during this time, it noted.

Restaurants and gyms were spring ‘superspreader’ sites. Occupancy limits could control Covid, new study predicts
Using cellphone data from 1 in 3 Americans, researchers have identified the indoor public places most responsible for the spread of Covid-19 in the spring, and they argue that sharply limiting the occupancy of these locales — chiefly restaurants, gyms, cafes, hotels, and houses of worship — could control the raging pandemic without resorting to lockdowns.
The risk of Covid-19 infection climbed with the time spent in indoor public spaces. The study’s model predicts that setting an occupancy ceiling of 20% of maximum capacity for all these public spaces could cut new infections by more than 80% while reducing the overall number of visits by 42%.

Half of recovered COVID-19 patients report lingering fatigue
About 52% of 128 COVID patients reported fatigue 10 weeks later, regardless of disease seriousness.
More »
Africa has seen an average 8% rise in new COVID-19 cases in the past month, suggesting an expected second wave has arrived and may bring “a lot of full force,” warns the continent’s top public health official John Nkengasong.
Prisons and jails have become a ‘public health threat’ during the pandemic, advocates say
The Washington Post


Clinicians question the dosing of Eli Lilly’s newly authorized Covid-19 treatment
The FDA on Monday gave emergency use authorization to Eli Lilly's monoclonal antibody treatment for Covid-19, but the decision has left physicians confused about the best dosage for patients.

US authorizes first antibody treatment
The FDA has its first emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 antibody treatment. Bamlanivimab, from US drug maker Eli Lilly, uses artificially engineered antibodies based on those isolated from people who have recovered from the disease. The treatment is intended only for people with mild to moderate disease who are at risk of developing more serious illness, such as older people — not for those who are already very sick.
Bloomberg | 5 min read
Read more: Antibody therapies could be a bridge to a coronavirus vaccine — but will the world benefit? (Nature | 5 min read, from August)
Reference: The New England Journal of Medicine paper
Hydroxychloroquine does not benefit adults hospitalized with COVID-19
National Institutes of Health

New Rumblings About Cytokine Storms
Early in the pandemic, many researchers pointed to immune system overreactions—“cytokine storms”—as a driver of COVID-19 deaths, neatly helping explain why some managed to clear the virus from their system, but still died.  
Drugs designed to block one particular cytokine known as “il-6” quickly became the standard of care. But the first rigorous studies suggest that if il-6 plays a role, it may be just one of many damaging responses, such as other inflammatory chemicals, blood clots, or possibly, according to one study, an attack on areas of the lymph nodes that produce antibodies.
Another Issue: There is no hard-and-fast definition or diagnostic criteria for “cytokine storms.”
The New York Times
Coronavirus fatigue, literally
A new study found that an alarming proportion of COVID-19 survivors experience severe fatigue for weeks after being deemed medically “recovered”—regardless of the severity of their initial illness.
COVID-19 pneumonia and the appropriate use of antibiotics

What Pfizer’s landmark COVID vaccine results mean for the pandemic
Scientists welcome the first compelling evidence that a vaccine can prevent COVID-19. But questions remain about how much protection it offers, to whom and for how long.

Four reasons for encouragement based on Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine results

Rural hospitals can't afford ultra-cold freezers to store the leading Covid-19 vaccine
How the vaccine needs to be stored may create an imbalance in how it's distributed. The vaccine has to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius, in ultra-cold freezers. And while large, urban hospitals are scrambling to purchase these expensive pieces of equipment, smaller hospitals in rural parts of the U.S. can't afford the $10,000-$15,000 price tag for each of these freezers.
More here.

How mRNA, once dismissed, became a leading technology in the Covid vaccine race
Even before now, the technology's potential led to billions of dollars in investments. But before the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech candidates came along, mRNA's use in vaccines had humble beginnings more than three decades ago when a Hungarian-born scientist dealt with a spate of rejections and a demotion before a collaboration with a fellow researcher at the University of Pennsylvania helped solve a common problem with the technology.
Read more here
Brazil suspended its late-stage trial of China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine citing the October 29 death of a trial participant though trial organizers noted the death was unrelated to the vaccine.
Medicago reports promising early Phase 1 results of possible COVID-19 vaccine
The Canadian Press
Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is 92% effective at protecting people from COVID-19 according to interim trial results, the country’s sovereign wealth fund said, as Moscow rushes to keep pace with Western drugmakers in the race for a shot

Most Americans won’t get a Covid-19 vaccine unless it cuts risk by half

Poll: 28% of parents say pandemic made them less likely to vaccinate for flu
A survey of US parents found that the COVID-19 pandemic has not made them more likely to have their children vaccinated against seasonal flu. Most—60%—reported that the pandemic had changed their intentions to vaccinate, with changes significantly influenced by previous flu vaccination history. Parents who did not vaccinate their child for the flu last year reported that the pandemic made them less likely to vaccinate in 2020-21.
Nov 11 Pediatrics study
Why Poorer Countries Aren't Likely to Get The Pfizer Vaccine Any Time Soon
NPR Goats and Soda

With scant power or freezers, Pfizer vaccine brings little cheer to coronavirus-hit India Thomson Reuters Foundation

Who will make coronavirus vaccines for the developing world? India holds the key
The Washington Post
Gates Foundation adds $70 million more funding for COVID vaccines for poor
Consequences of the Outbreak on Society and Economy

'Unfair surveillance'? Online exam software sparks global student revolt
The pandemic ushered in a golden age of remote test proctoring - but students say the technology can be invasive and biased

Education on hold
COVID-19 has been depriving more than 97% of children in Latin America and the Caribbean of an education, according to a UNICEF report released yesterday.

IFRC concerned about impact of Hurricane Eta on coronavirus transmission
Thousands displaced by Hurricane Eta face increased COVID-19 risk as prevention measures like hand washing and social distancing have been disrupted.
International Federation of the Red Cross (news release)

INSIGHT - Ethiopian girls trapped in sex trade as COVID-19 deepens desperation
Coronavirus pandemic could fuel spike in child sexual exploitation in northwest Ethiopia as families struggle to cope
Coronavirus Could Push More People to Move out of Necessity as Hunger Surges among Migrant and Displaced Communities Says New UN Report
An analysis of food security trends in major migration hotspots  
Coronavirus turns teeth on refugees in camps in Rwanda
The East African 

COVID-related shortages of malarial, other drugs spotlighted
Separate reports detail shortages of rheumatoid disease treatments and of drugs in France.
More »
2021 designated as the International Year of Health and Care Workers
Measles deaths spiked worldwide in 2019 to the highest level in decades, new data shows. Experts fear the pandemic is weakening vaccination efforts.
Public health experts said the soaring numbers are the consequence of years of insufficient vaccination coverage. They worry that the pandemic will exacerbate the spread of measles, a disease that is even more contagious than Covid-19.
Read the latest
Risk Communication

Older people more likely to embrace COVID prevention steps, study finds
A PLOS One study yesterday showed that behavioral responses to the pandemic differ by age and change over time, with older people more likely to practice pandemic-mitigating behaviors—hygiene, quarantining, and physical distancing—and all age-groups demonstrating greater likelihood of engaging in risky behavior over time.  

Nov 10 PLOS One study

Boost well-being to counter conspiracies
The COVID-19 pandemic created a perfect storm for vulnerability to conspiracy narratives because it has fed feelings of grief, uncertainty, powerlessness and marginalization, argues political psychologist Aleksandra Cichocka. She recommends more research into how our responses to conspiracy theories change over time, better methods of correcting misinformation and a focus on fulfilling the psychological needs that underlie conspiracy belief. “Neglecting the mental-health crisis risks perpetuating an information one,” she writes.
Nature | 4 min read

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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