|

"Connecting Communities for COVID19 News" 3rd Sep 2020

Isolation Tips
More children diagnosed with mental illness amid Victoria’s second Covid wave
There has been a significant increase in anxiety, depression and eating disorders in young people aged up to 14 years old since Victoria’s second coronavirus wave began, data analysis of 3 million patients across general practices in Victoria and New South Wales has found. The study was led by Monash University, with researchers analysing data from more than 1,000 GP practices in NSW and Victoria. The sample data used for the research represents about 30% of the national population. While there had been a near eradication of the usual winter infectious diseases like influenza, bronchiolitis and gastro, owing to Covid-19 restrictions, the researchers found a significant and sustained increase in mental illnesses.
COVID-19 sparks 12-fold increase in remote delivery of mental health care across the US
The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a remarkable number of psychologists across the United States to shift to delivering mental health care to patients remotely, according to a national study led by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University. The study, "The COVID-19 Telepsychology Revolution: A National Study of Pandemic-Based Changes in U.S. Mental Health Care Delivery," which was published in the journal American Psychologist, involved a survey of 2,619 licensed psychologists across the country and found that the amount of clinical work performed via telepsychology had increased 12-fold since the pandemic began.
As Victoria endures prolonged coronavirus lockdown, mental health workers see devastating impacts of COVID-19
Many exhausted Victorian healthcare workers have been among the callers. They're experiencing burn-out and fatigue, and they're stressed about not being able to take time off work, Joy says. They have also raised concerns about the possibility of unknowingly contracting and passing on the virus.
More than half of people struggled to manage their weight during COVID-19 lockdown, suggests UK survey
More than half of adults have found it difficult to manage their weight during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to the results of an online survey involving over 800 UK adults, being presented at The European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO), held online this year (1-4 September).
'It gets into your bones': the unique loneliness of coronavirus lockdown when you live alone
Melbourne’s second-wave lockdown rules are some of the strictest in the western world – and many single people have faced weeks of isolation
Hygiene Helpers
Protect Scotland 'proximity contact tracing app' will be based on Ireland's Covid Tracker
A new ‘proximity tracing app’ which alerts users when they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is set to be released later this month by the Scottish Government. Protect Scotland will be based on joint Apple and Google technology that has been in use in Ireland in the development of its Covid Tracker app, which has seen 1.5m downloads, equivalent to a quarter of the population, since its launch on July 7. The Bluetooth-enabled technology, developed by software company NearForm, based in Waterford in the south east of the country, on behalf of the Irish Health Services Executive (HSE), is being adapted for use in Scotland by NHS National Services Scotland (NSS). The application – described by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as a “significant enhancement” to the Scottish Government’s Test & Protect regime – uses an ‘exposure notifications system’, which facilitates contact tracing apps’ access to Bluetooth and allow phones running the operating systems to swap anonymous IDs.
Coronavirus testing rationed amid outbreaks
The coronavirus testing system is struggling to keep up with demand as a growing number of people apply for swabs. People with symptoms applying for drive-through tests have been directed more than 100 miles (161km) away. The government says areas with fewer coronavirus cases have had their testing capacity reduced, in order to cope with outbreaks. But public health experts warn this could miss the start of new spikes. Although cases are now at a relatively low level, the UK's chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty has said he expects containing the virus to be more difficult as we go into winter. And the return to school and workplaces could lead to even more demand for testing.
Community Activities
COVID-19 sparks 12-fold increase in remote delivery of mental health care across the US
The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a remarkable number of psychologists across the United States to shift to delivering mental health care to patients remotely, according to a national study led by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University. The study, "The COVID-19 Telepsychology Revolution: A National Study of Pandemic-Based Changes in U.S. Mental Health Care Delivery," which was published in the journal American Psychologist, involved a survey of 2,619 licensed psychologists across the country and found that the amount of clinical work performed via telepsychology had increased 12-fold since the pandemic began.
Activists push all-virtual start for Detroit schools amid pandemic
Less than a week before Detroit schools are slated to launch a new academic year, the activist group By Any Means Necessary led a demonstration Wednesday calling for a virtual-only start to stop the spread of COVID-19. The group coordinated an “emergency response picket/car caravan” near Dixon Educational Learning Academy, where Royal said members learned staff had possibly been exposed to the coronavirus this week.
Working Remotely
Now is not the time for unnecessary trips to the office
British Safety Council calls on Government not to pressurise employers to get workers back into the office. If people can work from home, they should have the choice to work from home: for the sake of people’s health, wellbeing and the economy. The Government has launched a campaign to encourage people to go back to their workplaces. Its message will be that workplaces are safe and that employers should reassure staff it is safe to return by highlighting measures taken to reduce the spread of Covid-19. This new initiative comes as most schools in England and Wales reopen, relieving thousands of workers from childcare duties and in the face of the damage being done to city centres as people work from home.
Half of British workers will never go back to their pre-lockdown commute, poll finds
More than half of British workers said they will never go back to their pre-lockdown commutes, a poll has found. The survey suggested the coronavirus pandemic has permanently changed working and travelling habits for many workers in the UK. With many Brits either working from home or being furloughed, 73 per cent of 1,000 motorists polled by WeBuyAnyCar.com said they do not miss their commute, while 27 per cent said they miss nothing about the office.
Virtual Classrooms
THD preparing risk assessment after 20% of Oklahoma school districts report COVID-19 cases
On Wednesday, more than 140 school districts across the state have been hit by COVID-19. Sometimes, hundreds of students are impacted by just a few cases. It’s a nightmare for everyone involved. “COVID can spread swiftly and contact tracing can reveal hundreds [of exposures],” said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. “Enid Public Schools, 600 today in quarantine.” Hofmeister said it’s not just single coronavirus cases that are impacting school districts in Oklahoma, but all the students and staff who have to quarantine after coming into close contact with them.
Resign or Return? The Dilemma for Classroom Teachers in COVID-19
As some school districts order campuses to reopen, teachers are facing the decision whether to quit their jobs or return to the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic. The debate has led some teachers unions to file lawsuits against states where schools have been ordered to begin in-person learning again. Educators say it can be difficult to remain safe even with masks, physical distancing, and surface sanitization.
San Diego State University closes classrooms over COVID-19
San Diego State University on Wednesday halted in-person classes for a month after dozens of students were infected with the coronavirus. The 200 course offerings, including lab classes, that were taking place in-person will move to virtual learning. The decision will be reassessed after the four-week period. On-campus housing will remain open. “Before the end of the four weeks, we will reassess," SDSU spokeswoman Cory Marshall said.
Classes take different form due to COVID-19 for Fall 2020
Under normal circumstances, the first day back to school would consist of most students flocking towards education buildings ready to greet their teachers and peers as a new semester begins. The small percentage of students taking online classes also begins with virtual greetings from the comfort of home. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, this scenario is flipped with the majority of students at Madison College taking forms of online classes and the minority taking in-person classes.
Coronavirus: 70% of parents who responded to TDSB elementary registration choose in-person option
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has released details surrounding the registration preferences of parents and guardians for children for the upcoming school year in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and a large majority of those who responded indicated support for in-person options. In a statement released by the TDSB on Wednesday, officials said they contacted the parents of more than 173,000 elementary students and more than 74,000 secondary students by telephone or email to choose in-person or virtual learning.
Public Policies
Coronavirus: The countries bolstering restrictions or re-entering lockdown
Auckland re-emerged from lockdown this week, but the new cluster in the city was a reminder that globally, the coronavirus pandemic is far from over. Many countries who were apparently progressing well have been hit by second waves of Covid-19. In parts of Europe, surging infections numbers are placing pressure on governments, with some opting for localised lockdowns, mandated masks and even border closures to try and get on top of the virus.
Covid-19: Ireland now in ‘most challenging phase’, says Government
The current surge of Covid-19 can be successfully suppressed through people slightly reducing their daily contacts, public health officials have said. Getting the R number below 1 is “absolutely realistic”, through a “marginal reduction” in the number of contacts people have each day, according to Prof Philip Nolan of the National Public Health Emergency Team. The R figure represents the number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to, on average. “It is a modest amount of extra effort that we have to do,” he said on Wednesday evening. The reproduction number stands at 1 to 1.2, according to Prof Nolan, who is chairman of the Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group.
Government reapplies northern lockdown after 24 hours in latest U-turn
The UK faces a permanent £33bn annual hit to the economy as it emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey told MPs on Wednesday. Structural changes in the economy as people change their behaviours in response to the pandemic could cause long-term “scarring” to growth and employment, Mr Bailey warned. The Bank predicts that behavioural shifts, such as more working from home and people being more cautious about going out, will reduce gross domestic product (GDP) by 1.5 per cent every year below where it had been expected to be.
Cuba puts Havana into lockdown to stamp out spread of coronavirus
Cuban authorities have ordered a strict 15-day lockdown of Havana in an effort to stamp out the low-level but persistent spread of the coronavirus in the capital. Aggressive anti-virus measures, including closing down air travel, have virtually eliminated COVID-19 in Cuba with the exception of Havana, where cases have surged from a handful a day to dozens daily over the last month. A daily curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. was instituted Tuesday. Most stores are barred from selling to shoppers from outside the immediate neighborhood in order to discourage people from moving around the city. Some Havana residents complained that the measures were complicating the already difficult task of buying food in a city hit by constant shortages and endless lines for a limited supply of basic goods.
‘Russian Roulette’: Inside Putin’s Race to Develop a Covid-19 Vaccine Before the West
In April, as Covid-19 cases surged across Russia, President Vladimir Putin called a meeting of the country’s top scientists and health officials over video link to deliver an urgent directive: Do whatever you need to create a national vaccine as soon as possible. Four weeks later, Alexander Gintsburg, director of the state-run Gamaleya Institute for Epidemiology and Microbiology, told state television that his researchers had developed one. They were so sure it was safe, he said, the researchers had tested it on themselves. Last month, Mr. Putin, with great fanfare, said Russia had approved Gamaleya’s vaccine, making it the first country to sign off on one amid a global race to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Covid-19 ends Australia’s 28-year run without a recession
Australia has entered its first recession in almost three decades after Covid-19 battered the economy, which shrank a record 7 per cent in the June quarter. The decline in gross domestic product follows a fall of 0.3 per cent in the March quarter, marking two consecutive quarters of contraction — the technical definition of recession — according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. “The global pandemic and associated containment policies led to a 7 per cent fall in GDP for the June quarter. This is, by a wide margin, the largest fall in quarterly GDP since records began in 1959,” said Michael Smedes, ABS head of national accounts. The economic contraction was worse than expected, with economists forecasting a 6 per cent fall in the second quarter and a decline of just over 5 per cent on an annual basis. The ABS figures revealed that GDP fell 6.3 per cent in the 12 months to the end of June.
Hungary exempts some visitors from border lockdown, riles EU
Hungary has decided to exempt tourists visiting from three neighbouring states from a lockdown of its borders that took effect on Tuesday, provided they test negative for COVID-19 beforehand, prompting a rebuke from the European Commission. The EU executive said Hungary’s move to admit visitors from the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia but not from other EU member states amounted to discrimination and was illegal. Hungary said last week it would close its borders to foreigners from Tuesday to curb a rise in coronavirus cases. Returning Hungarian citizens can leave a 14-day quarantine only if they provide two negative COVID tests.
Turkey seeing second peak of COVID-19 outbreak, health minister says
Turkey is seeing the second peak of the coronavirus outbreak due to “carelessness” at weddings and other social gatherings, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Wednesday, amid a rapid rise in the number of daily cases and deaths. Speaking after a meeting of his coronavirus science team, Koca said the capital Ankara had seen the most rapid rise in the number of cases lately. He added that 29,865 healthcare workers had contracted the virus so far, with 52 of them dying. “The outbreak is increasingly continuing. The virus is spreading to more people each day. Our test numbers are rising every day, our new patient numbers are not falling.,” Koca said.
German health institute designates Canary Islands as coronavirus-risk region
Germany’s national institute for infectious diseases on Wednesday added the Canary Islands to its list of risk regions, citing a high rate of new coronavirus infections in the Spanish autonomous region. The Robert Koch Institute said the whole of Spain, mainland and islands, was a risk region. The institute’s update is usually followed by a travel warning to the designated regions by the Foreign Ministry.
US refuses to join international effort to develop Covid-19 vaccine
The US government has said that it will not participate in a global initiative to develop, manufacture and equitably distribute a vaccine for Covid-19 because the effort is co-led by the World Health Organization. The Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility (Covax) is a plan developed by the WHO, along with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and is meant to accelerate the development and testing of a vaccine and work toward distributing it equally. The WHO announced last month that more than 170 countries were in talks to participate in Covax.
Coronavirus: UK considers putting Portugal back on quarantine list
Ministers are considering reimposing quarantine measures for those arriving in the UK from Portugal as coronavirus cases rise, sources have told the BBC. The country has recorded more than 20 cases per 100,000 people in the past week. Normally when a country surpasses that mark the UK government imposes 14 days of self-isolation on returning travellers. Ministers are expected to reach a decision on the measures by Thursday.
Maintaining Services
As Teachers Return To The Classroom During COVID-19, Some Worry About Their Mental Health
Teaching is already challenging enough without a pandemic shaking up how the classroom operates. As Iowa’s schools start to reopen, many districts are focused on keeping their staff and students safe from COVID-19. But it’s also taking a toll on teachers’ mental health.
Health agency: COVID-19 hitting health workers hard in Americas
The scale of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Americas is unprecedented, an official with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said today in a press conference. And nowhere has its impact been bigger than in the healthcare workforce. PAHO Director Carissa Etienne, MBBS, MSc, said that nearly 570,000 healthcare workers in the Americas have fallen ill with COVID-19, and more than 2,500 have died. Overall, there have been almost 13.5 million cases in the Americas and more than 469,000 deaths.
UK households face £1,200 hit to incomes after pandemic, Bank of England warns
The UK faces a permanent £33bn annual hit to the economy as it emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey told MPs on Wednesday. Structural changes in the economy as people change their behaviours in response to the pandemic could cause long-term “scarring” to growth and employment, Mr Bailey warned. The Bank predicts that behavioural shifts, such as more working from home and people being more cautious about going out, will reduce gross domestic product (GDP) by 1.5 per cent every year below where it had been expected to be. Based on 2019 output, that equates to around £1,200 per household per year below what had been forecast before Covid-19 struck.
Bank of England warns mass return to UK offices 'not possible'
The Bank of England has cast doubt on the government drive to get workers back to offices, after a senior official warned it was impossible for large numbers of staff to return to central London and other big cities while risks from Covid-19 remained. Pouring cold water on the government campaign, Alex Brazier, the Bank’s executive director for financial stability strategy and risk, said it was “not possible” for a mass return to city centre offices across Britain this autumn due to Covid guidelines, concerns over the health risks, and transport capacity issues. “With Covid safe guidelines, it’s not possible to use office space – particularly in central London and dense places like that – with the intensity that we used to use it. So it’s actually not possible to bring lots of people back very suddenly,” he said.
117 children have tested positive for Covid-19 since return to school
A total of 117 children have tested positive for coronavirus since Scotland’s schools reopened last month, the Education Secretary has revealed. John Swinney announced the number of positive tests for the virus as teachers’ unions spoke out about their ongoing fears over safety inside schools. Since pupils returned to school in August, a total of 77 youngsters aged between 12 and 17 have been found to have Covid-19, along with 40 children aged between five and 11. The Education Secretary told MSPs at Holyrood the evidence he had seen suggested most cases were “coming within households”, describing this as the “predominant explanation” for how youngsters had contracted the disease. But he added that overseas travel was also “resulting in quite a number of the cases”.
Coronavirus: How it feels to be back at school
As millions of pupils in England return to school after lockdown, the BBC went to two primary schools in Luton, Whitefield Primary Academy and Southfield Primary School, to find out how parents and children felt.
Covid-19 outbreaks dampen Spanish tourist sector’s hopes for the summer season
According to Social Security Minister José Luis Escrivá, 132,000 new jobs were created in the first three weeks of the month. But the upward trend was reversed by fresh coronavirus outbreaks and travel advisories introduced by many countries that recommended not going to Spain. The slowdown began in late July, when the United Kingdom introduced a quarantine for travelers arriving from the country. This has impacted the tourism industry, which is usually a leading source of Spanish job creation at this time of the year and contributes more than 12% of Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP). And hotels have already announced plans to close in late August due to a lack of demand, in a move that could have an adverse effect on September, traditionally still a strong month for tourism.
Spain, France and Greece report fresh surges in Covid-19 cases as schools reopen in Europe
The Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, said he was particularly worried about the surge in coronavirus cases in Madrid. One of the countries in Europe hit hardest by Covid-19, Spain has reported a surge in infections in the capital and other regions since lockdown was lifted in June. “We are worried about the state of public health and evolution of the virus in Madrid,” Mr Sánchez said.
57 countries see surge in new coronavirus cases
More than 50 countries around the world are experiencing a rise in new coronavirus cases, figures show. Europe, north Africa and south Asia have the highest concentration of countries that are experiencing an upswing in coronavirus cases, as the worldwide total passed 25 million. The UK is among the worst hit. Infections have spiked in two northern areas of England due to be released from lockdown against the advice of local officials.
Months after lockdown, children in Wuhan return to school
Children returned to school Tuesday in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the original epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic that underwent months of lockdown but which has not seen new cases of local transmission for weeks. State media reported 1.4 million children in the city reported to 2,842 kindergartens, primary and secondary schools as part of a nationwide return to classes. Life has largely returned to normal in Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus was first detected late last year. After what critics called an attempt to ignore the outbreak, the city underwent a 76-day lockdown during which residents were confined to their homes and field hospitals opened to assist an overwhelmed medical system.
Covid-19 triggers epidemic of eczema
Covid-19 has triggered an eczema epidemic among NHS workers - from washing their hands so much, reveals new research. Six-out-of-10 seen for skin problems are suffering irritant contact dermatitis - a form of the itchy, painful condition caused by friction, according to the study. It highlights the impact of PPE (personal protective equipment) and frequent hand hygiene on medical workers.Co-lead author Dr Isha Narang, of University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation, said: "Wearing PPE for long periods can cause pressure and irritant effects on the skin and frequent handwashing with soap is drying; sometimes the effects can be bad enough to require time off work. "As PPE and handwashing are essential methods of reducing the spread of Covid-19, it's important to provide healthcare workers with advice and support in managing their skin."
More than 10% of British shops vacant, survey shows
More than one-in-ten British shops now stand empty, reflecting recent widespread closures which are partly the result of the coronavirus crisis, a report on Thursday showed. Researcher Springboard said the vacancy rate rose to 10.8% in July, from 9.8% in January 2020, reaching its highest level since January 2014 as Britain’s store-based retail sector, outside of food, was hit by a lockdown to counter the pandemic. Already weak players such as Laura Ashley, Debenhams, Oasis Warehouse, Cath Kidston and Monsoon/Accessorize have all gone into administration, with the loss of thousands of jobs, while other major retailers, including Marks & Spencer (MKS.L), Boots (WBA.O) and John Lewis [JLPLC.UL], are also closing stores.
Healthcare Innovations
Coronavirus US: Vaccine trials could stop early if safe, says Fauci
Dr Anthony Fauci told Kaiser Health News that researchers would have a 'moral obligation' to stop trials early if the data was good enough. The FDA has said a shot should cut rate of symptomatic COVID-19 by at least 50% to get its approval. Three coronavirus vaccines are currently in their final-stage trials in the US. Some experts and Americans are concerned that political pressure, not data, is driving the push to approve vaccines. Currently, the three trials are expected to conclude this winter
WHO recommends cheap everyday steroids as Covid-19 treatment
The World Health Organization has said anti-inflammatory steroids should be used to treat severely ill coronavirus patients as a landmark study provided a “clear signal” of their effectiveness in reducing mortality. Issuing its first guidance on treating Covid-19, the WHO strongly endorsed the use of two cheap steroids, informed by a report published on Wednesday which confirmed that the drugs significantly reduced the rate of death in patients requiring oxygen support. “We’ve received a clear signal that using steroids with severely ill patients improves their outcomes,” said Anthony Gordon, professor of anaesthesia and critical care at Imperial College London.
EU watchdog assessing Dexamethasone Taw as possible COVID-19 drug
The European health regulator said on Wednesday it was evaluating Taw Pharma’s branded steroidal drug dexamethasone as a potential COVID-19 treatment for hospitalised adult patients after it received an application from the drug developer. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said in a statement its human medicines committee (CHMP) would weigh-in on the application for Dexamethasone Taw within the shortest timeline possible. Europe is already evaluating the decades old dexamethasone for COVID-19 after it garnered international attention when a study, dubbed RECOVERY, showed in June the drug reduced death rates by about a third in severely ill, hospitalised COVID-19 patients. The EMA said results from RECOVERY would be considered in the assessment of Dexamethasone Taw.
U.S. FDA to bring outside experts to review COVID-19 vaccines
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will organize meetings with an independent group of experts to review data of coronavirus vaccine candidates and advise the agency, FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn said on Wednesday. "The meetings will reinforce the transparency of the process as FDA reviews data from trials now underway," Hahn said in a post on Twitter. The statement comes after U.S. President Donald Trump last month accused members, without evidence, of a so-called “deep state” working within the FDA of complicating efforts to test COVID-19 vaccines in order to delay results until after the Nov. 3 presidential election. The FDA said last week it will hold a meeting of its advisory committee to address the general development of COVID-19 vaccines on Oct. 22, and have additional meetings as applications for coronavirus vaccines are submitted.
Oxford Biomedica Covid-19 vaccine gets cash injection to boost production
Oxford Biomedica’s role as lead manufacturer of a potential Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Astrazeneca has been expanded with an agreement to increase production. The gene and cell therapy group has signed an 18-month supply agreement to produce Astrazeneca’s AZD1222 vaccine on a commercial scale. Under the agreement, which can be extended for a further 18 months into 2022 and 2023, Astrazeneca will pay Oxford Biomedica an initial £15 million as a capacity reservation fee. Oxford Biomedica said that, subject to the stepping up of manufacturing capacity and the continuation of the vaccine programme, it expected to received further revenue of more than £35 million, plus “certain materials costs”, for the manufacture of multiple large-scale batches of AZD1222 until the end of 2021.
Two types of steroid found to save lives of some Covid-19 patients
Studies around the world have confirmed that steroids can save lives in the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to new recommendations from the World Heath Organization that doctors should give them to severely ill patients. In June, the Recovery trial run in most NHS hospitals and led by Oxford University found that the lives of one in eight people sick enough from Covid-19 to need a ventilator could be saved by a steroid called dexamethasone. Now, combined results from that trial and six others have confirmed those findings and established that at least one other equally cheap and widely available steroid, hydrocortisone, also saves lives.
Covid-19 news: Steroid drugs save lives in severe coronavirus patients
“The evidence for benefit is strongest for dexamethasone,” Stephen Evans at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said in a statement. These new results, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, add weight to earlier findings from the RECOVERY trial, which found that dexamethasone reduced deaths in critically ill covid-19 patients by a third for patients on ventilators and by a fifth for those receiving oxygen – the first drug shown to do so. “This analysis increases confidence that [dexamethasone] has a really worthwhile role in critically ill patients with covid-19,” Evans said. As a result of the study, the WHO is expected to update its guidance on treatment. In the UK, the drug has been in use for treating severely ill covid-19 patients since June.
Coronavirus: Boston Dynamics robot dog trialled as way of monitoring patients
The robot dog has been used to measure temperature, rate of breathing, pulse and blood oxygen saturation in healthy volunteers.
CDC tells health officials to expect a coronavirus vaccine by November
Health officials across the US have reportedly been notified that they should expect a coronavirus vaccine available to health workers and high-risk groups by November, amid concerns the accelerated vaccine development process has become politicized. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) informed health officials that “limited Covid-19 vaccine doses may be available by early November 2020”, the New York Times reported. Meanwhile, in a letter to governors dated 27 August, Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, said states “in the near future” will receive permit applications from McKesson, a company which has contracted with CDC to distribute vaccines to places including state and local health departments and hospitals.
AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine could be on the market by end of 2020 - Italy minister
The first shots of British drug maker AstraZeneca’s potential COVID-19 vaccine could be on the market by the end of 2020, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Wednesday. “We are talking about a potential vaccine so we need to be extremely prudent, but... if the vaccine is confirmed as safe and able to meet its objective it will be already available by the end of 2020,” Speranza told parliament. Drugmakers are racing to combat the pandemic, which has killed more than 850,000 people and infected over 25 million.
Pregnant women in hospital with Covid-19 may not show symptoms, study finds
Pregnant women in hospital with coronavirus are less likely to show symptoms and may have a greater risk risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit than non-pregnant women of similar age, a study has found. The analysis, which encompassed 77 studies conducted globally and was published in the British Medical Journal, looked at 11,432 pregnant women admitted to hospital and diagnosed as having suspected or confirmed Covid-19. It showed that pregnant women may be at increased risk of needing admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) than non-pregnant women of similar age, as is the case with other respiratory viruses such as the flu. This could be partially attributed to the understanding that a mother’s immune system is often compromised to protect the baby, and that the lungs and the cardiovascular system – the coronavirus’s attacking ground – are already under strain during pregnancy.