US could become COVID-19’s new epicenter: WHO

Sandhya Sukumaran

  Total cases Deaths   Total cases Deaths
Global 392,780 17,158 US 46,485 591
China 81,588 3,281 Spain 39,673 2696
Italy 63,927 6,077 India 476 9

Source: John Hopkins University & Medicine Corona Resource Center

Cases cross 300,000 globally; 85% new cases come from Europe and the US.
The number of COVID-19 cases surpassed 300,000 globally. Three new countries, one each from the Africa, Americas and Eastern Mediterranean region have reported COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 189 countries/areas/territories in the world under the grip of the disease.

US could become COVID-19’s new epicenter: The United States has the potential to become the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic due to a “very large acceleration” in infections there, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday. Over the past 24 hours, 85 percent of new cases worldwide were from Europe and the United States, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told reporters. Of those, 40 percent were from the United States. Read more…

Italian coronavirus cases seen “10 times higher” than official tally:  Testing for the disease has often been limited to people seeking hospital care, meaning that thousands of infections have certainly gone undetected. Read more…

‘This week it’s going to get bad’ says US Surgeon General: Adams noted that COVID-19 seems to be acting differently in the US and other countries than it did in China, where it was detected in December. In an important shift, the virus seems to be affecting young people at higher rates. Read more…

A Cautionary Tale for the US: After acting fast and gaining an upper hand against COVID-19, Hong Kong let its guard down too soon. Confirmed cases doubled in the past week. Now the territory is reinstating restrictions to tamp down this “sudden wave” also emerging elsewhere in Asia. Read more…

India under complete lock down from midnight for 21 days: India will be placed under a strict lockdown from midnight to ensure that people do not venture out amid the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said. The lockdown will be in effect for 21 days. Modi said that the government is allocating Rs 150 billion towards improving health infrastructure in the country. Read more…

Life and death decision in the absence of sufficient equipment and supplies expert guidelines: As healthcare systems all over the world face rationing of medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the COVID-19 pandemic, experts are offering recommendations to enable ethical allocation in an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Read more…

Virus frauds spread, preying on Medicare recipients:  Scam artists are preying on older people’s fears by peddling fake tests for the coronavirus to Medicare recipients, a federal law enforcement agency warned on Monday. Read more…

Water access critical to beating back COVID-19 spread in slum areas, says UN: As regular hand washing is a key tool in combating COVID-19, the UN and its partners are taking steps to ensure people living in informal settlements have access to running water at this critical time, according to the agency working to achieve more sustainable cities. Read more…

Singapore scientists study genes to fast-track coronavirus vaccine: Scientists in Singapore say they have developed a way to track genetic changes that speeds testing of vaccines against a coronavirus that has killed more than 17,000 people worldwide. Read more…

Does everyone with symptoms needs to be tested for corona virus? It depends on the area where you are in, says Dr Tom Frieden, former CDC Director. In a place like New York where infection is widespread, testing for mild symptoms is wastage of valuable resources. Instead, people should resort to social distancing. [Fox news]

Corona virus infection risk can be reduced by Vitamin D: As we race to develop effective treatments and a vaccine against COVID-19, people are looking to reduce their risk of getting sick. One thing that might help is as obvious as the sun in the sky and as close as your medicine cabinet – Vitamin D. [Fox news] [WHO]

Man dies, woman hospitalized after taking form of Chloroquine to prevent COVID-19: An Arizona man is dead and his wife was hospitalized after the couple ingested a form of chloroquine, a chemical that has been hailed recently by President Donald Trump as a possible “game changer” in the fight against the novel coronavirus, according to the Phoenix hospital that treated the couple. Read more…

Mortality rates will vary by country: Mortality rates will vary by country according to several factors such as age structure of the population, health care availability and accessibility as well as a country’s testing policy. Read more…

US scientists develop crucial blood test for coronavirus antibodies: The simple test can show how many people have really been infected. The study has been posted on the preprint server medRxivRead more…
(Dr. Sandhya Sukumaran is a globally renowned public health expert focusing on zoonotic diseases and One Health. Based in Washington, DC, she engages in consultancies for international organizations like WHO, World Bank, and FAO as well as advises governments and other forums.)

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