Today the total number of Covid-19 patients in the world has nearly reached 12.4 million with over 557,000 people succumbing to the effects of the disease. Nearly 7.2 million people are registered as ‘recovered’ from their bout of Covid-19. The numbers of new cases, worldwide, is accelerating. The current hotspots are the US, Brazil, India, South Africa and Mexico – presenting with the highest numbers of new cases in the past 24 hours.
On the positive side, the death rate from Covid-19 cases has flattened out a lot over the past 2 months although there are now signs it is starting to rise again.
Here’s some latest news from around the world relating to Covid-19…
• Italy is banning entry to people arriving from 13 countries that it says “presents an excessive rate of Covid-19 infections. The list compiled by the health ministry comprises Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Kuwait, North Macedonia, Moldova, Oman, Panama, Peru and Dominican Republic.
The ban affects anyone who has stayed in or travelled through these countries in the last 14 days.
• The first coronavirus case has been confirmed in northwest Syria, according to aid workers in the region. The area is where hospitals lie in ruins and camps overflow with people after nearly a decade of war.
• Greek authorities say they are ready to re-impose public and travel restrictions next week, warning that safety guidance for the coronavirus is being frequently ignored.
• Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, is calling for millennials and members of Generation X to “social distance and wear face coverings” to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in the US.
“We have not been able to reach effectively the millennials and the Generation X. We’re seeing the outbreak increase in number of states across this nation, in a number of metropolitan ares. The most important powerful weapon we have, please social distance. Please wear a mask in public. Please wash your hands. And please, basically, let’s not be going to bars right now. It’s just not the time for us to do that.”
• Brazil is approaching nearly 70,000 fatalities from Covid-19 after its health ministry reported at least 1,220 new deaths in the last 24 hours. The ministry also reported at least 42,619 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the Brazilian total to approximately 1,755,779.
Brazil maintains the second highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths worldwide behind the US. On Tuesday, Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, announced he had tested positive for the virus. His doctors announced yesterday that the president was “well” and “without complications”.
• Starbucks Corp says its customers will have to wear face coverings at all company-owned US stores starting from July 15. The international coffee chain says certain locations where there was no local government mandate to wear face masks, customers would have other options including drive-through and roadside pickups.
• The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has announced it is not issuing new guidelines on reopening schools, despite comments to the contrary made by US VP Mike Pence. Students are scheduled to return to school in late August, early September.
• An Italian study suggests that coronavirus can cross the placenta from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Two babies born to women infected with Covid-19 were born infected themselves.
They studied 31 women infected with coronavirus who were in late pregnancy during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy. They thoroughly tested the women, their babies once they were born, the placenta, the umbilical cord, the mother’s vaginal fluids and breast milk. Two of the newborns had positive tests at birth.
• The World Health Organisation announced yesterday that it’s possible Covid-19 spreads through the air in health care settings. But Dr. Anthony Fauci director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says it’s a confusing question because of differing definitions of airborne droplets and aerosols.
“It’s known the virus spreads on larger droplets that fly out of a person’s nose and mouth. More worrying is the idea that particles containing virus might remain suspended in the air for longer than a few minutes.”
“There’s no proof that the new coronavirus spreads via an airborne route, but it’s better to assume it does, just to be safe.”
• There is new evidence that people can develop a long-term fatigue syndrome from Covid-19 infections. Speaking at the International AIDS Society conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci says that the symptoms resemble those seen in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis, or ME, once known as “chronic fatigue syndrome”.
“If you look anecdotally, there is no question that there are a considerable number of individuals who have a post-viral syndrome that in many respects incapacitates them for weeks and weeks following so-called recovery.”
• Bolivian Interim President Jeanine Añez has announced on Twitter that she tested positive for Covid-19. Añez mentioned that many of her cabinet members had also tested positive recently.
“Given that over the last week many of my team members have tested positive for coronavirus, I also did the test and also was positive. I will be quarantined for 14 days until I do a new test to see how I am. I feel good, I feel strong, I am going to continue working virtually from my isolation and I want to thank all the Bolivian men and women who are working to help in this health crisis we are having.”
Añez is the third Latin American head of state to test positive for the virus, following Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez.
• A 2-drug cocktail used to treat hepatitis C may also help patients recover more quickly from coronavirus. 3 small studies involving 176 patients show the combination of the two drugs, “sofosbuvir” and “daclatasvir”, may have hastened the recovery of patients hospitalised with coronavirus. The report was presented by Andrew Hill of Liverpool University at the International AIDS Society’s Covid-19 Conference.
After two weeks of treatment, 94% of the patients given the two-drug combination were significantly better on a 7-point scale, compared to 70% of those not given the drugs. The studies were conducted in Iran, where the drug combination is widely used to treat hepatitis C patients.
• Brazil’s famous tourist beaches in Rio de Janeiro “will only reopen officially for sun bathers and swimmers once there is a vaccine for Covid-19”. This declaration from Mayor Marcelo Crivella yesterday.
Rio’s beaches are currently only open for exercise and water sports, but casual beachgoers are regularly breaking the rules on recent weekends, with many not using masks.
“Where you can’t use masks, the inclination is to only return when there is a vaccine, which is being tested, or when contamination is close to zero.”
SOURCES: Al Jazeera | CNN | BBC | USA Today | Worldometers
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