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LAKE ELSINORE, CA – MARCH 22: Medical personnel from Riverside (CA) University Health Systems hospitals administer a Coronavirus Test to an individual during drive-through testing in the parking lot of Diamond Stadium, March 22, 2020 in Lake Elsinore, California. Two days ago, California Governor Gavin Newsom directed all Californians to stay at home and maintain safe distances from each other amid Coronavirus worldwide outbreak, (Photo by Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images)

03/23/2020 13:00 GMT — Globally, more than 100,000 people have now recovered

03/23/2020 12:30 GMT — 10% of the total number of cases are in the US

03/23/2020 9:33 GMT — 1 in 4 people in US told to stay at home

On Saturday, governors advised almost 25% of the U.S. population to stay at home. California, New York, Illinois, Connecticut, and, most recently, New Jersey, are imposing restrictions on movement.

Read more here.

03/23/2020 09:25 GMT — CDC encourage healthy people to continue to give blood

The CDC have published a press release asking that healthy individuals continue to give blood. They also outline how blood centers can ensure that donors remain safe.

Read more here.

03/20/2020 15:45 GMT — Study describes how the immune system can defeat SARS-CoV-2

A recent case study describes how the immune system of an individual with mild-to-moderate symptoms fought off the infection.

Read more here.  

03/20/2020 12:17 GMT — COVID-19 fatality rate in Wuhan lower than previously thought

A new paper estimates the fatality rate of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. The probability of dying after developing symptoms was 1.4%, which the authors explain is “substantially lower” than previously thought.

03/20/2020 10:09 GMT — Yesterday, the number of COVID-19 cases in the US passed 10,000

03/20/2020 09:15 GMT — CDC release preliminary report on US coronavirus cases

The report confirms that the fatality rate is highest in people over 85 (10–27%), followed by those aged 65–84 (1–3%). There were no reported fatalities among people aged 19 or younger.

Read more here.

03/19/2020 12:25 GMT — Contracting SARS-CoV-2 may protect against reinfection 

A preliminary report describes a study in rhesus monkeys. The findings suggest that contracting SARS-CoV-2 could protect against repeat infection.

Read more here.

03/19/2020 12:12 GMT — US plans to close border with Canada

Following talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Donald Trump has announced the closure of the border between the U.S. and Canada for all but essential travel.

Read more here.

03/19/2020 09:54 GMT — HIV drug combo fails as treatment for COVID-19

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine tested a combination of HIV drugs against COVID-19. The combination of lopinavir and ritonavir performed no better than standard care.

Read more here.

03/19/2020 09:27 GMT — Scientists investigate old ways to treat the new virus

A recent article published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation asks whether a decades-old technique might become “an option for prevention and treatment of COVID-19.”

Read more here.

03/18/2020 13:45 GMT — The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide surpassed 200,000

03/18/2020 12:18 GMT — Confusion about taking ibuprofen

Messages on social media have warned people to avoid using ibuprofen for treating the symptoms of COVID-19. 

Experts in the United Kingdom explain that ibuprofen might lead to side effects or make symptoms worse, based on research around respiratory illness. 

While there has not been any specific research around COVID-19 and ibuprofen yet, they recommend sticking to paracetamol/acetaminophen unless a healthcare professional advises otherwise. 

Read more here.

03/18/2020 08:26 GMT — Study concludes SARS-CoV-2 can persist on surfaces for hours

A recent study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, investigates how long the novel coronavirus can remain stable on a variety of surfaces.

They find that it can remain viable on stainless steel and plastic for up to 2–3 days, in aerosols for up to 3 hours, on copper for 4 hours, and on cardboard for 24 hours.

Read more here.

03/18/2020 07:35 GMT – Why does SARS-CoV-2 spread so easily?

A recent feature, published by Medical News Today, asks why the novel coronavirus spreads so efficiently. 

The article investigates how specific structural components of the virus interact with receptors on human cells. The feature also asks what these details mean for those who are working to create treatments and vaccines.

Read more here.

03/17/2020 15:52 GMT — CDC report first employee with COVID-19

According to a press release published by the CDC, laboratory testing has confirmed that one of their employees has been infected with SARS-CoV-2.

They explain that “This individual was not involved in the COVID-19 response, has not been present in the CDC workplace since March 6, and was asymptomatic at that time. Staff working in the same unit are teleworking while we will do a deep cleaning of the office space.”

03/17/2020 12:35 GMT — Coronavirus reaches Greenland

Yesterday, officials reported Greenland’s first case of COVID-19. The individual in question, who lives in Nuuk, the country’s capital, is in home isolation.

Greenland’s officials recommend that people avoid flying to or from Greenland.

Read more here.

03/16/2020 17:30 GMT — SARS-CoV-2 spreads fast, sometimes before symptoms appear

A new study, led by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, calculated the “serial interval” of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

The term serial interval refers to “the duration between symptom onset of a primary case and symptom onset of its secondary cases.”

The new study, which will appear in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, found that the average serial interval of COVID-19 is 4 days. 

Study co-author Lauren Ancel Meyers, a professor of integrative biology at UT Austin, explains what this means. 

“Ebola, with a serial interval of several weeks, is much easier to contain than influenza, with a serial interval of only a few days. Public health responders to Ebola outbreaks have much more time to identify and isolate cases before they infect others,” she says.

“The data suggest that this coronavirus may spread like the flu. That means we need to move quickly and aggressively to curb the emerging threat.”

The study also found that over 1 in 10 COVID-19 cases occurred as a result of being in contact with a person who was carrying the virus but showing no symptoms.

“This tells us that COVID-19 outbreaks can be elusive and require extreme measures.”

– Lauren Ancel Meyers

Read more here.

03/16/2020 17:00 GMT — First vaccine trial starts in the US

Later today, 45 healthy volunteers will take part in the first human trial of a vaccine against COVID-19. 

The vaccine does not contain SARS-CoV-2, so it cannot cause COVID-19. Instead, it contains a harmless segment of genetic code copied from SARS-CoV-2. 

The trial, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will take place at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle.

If the first tests are successful, the vaccine is still likely to take up to 18 months before it reaches the public, say NIH officials.

Read more here and here.

03/16/2020 15:55 GMT — Physicians find 20–30% drop in lung capacity in recovered patients

Doctors at the Hong Kong Hospital Authority have examined 12 patients who recovered from COVID-19 and found reduced lung capacity in two to three of them.

Dr. Owen Tsang Tak-yin, the Medical Director of the authority’s Infectious Disease Centre, says, “They gasp if they walk a bit more quickly.”
“Some patients might have around a drop of 20–30% in lung function,” adds Dr. Tsang Tak-yin. 

However, it is worth noting that it is too early to establish the long-term effects of COVID-19. The physicians did not carry out an extensive study, and it is too soon to tell whether these observations in 12 people will extend to the majority of people recovering.

Read more here.

03/16/2020 15:45 GMT — SARS-CoV-2 can spread in every climate, regardless of temperature

See thread here.

03/16/2020 14:55 GMT — Publishers make coronavirus content freely available

A number of scientific publishers have made all of their coronavirus content freely available. These include:

03/16/2020 14:24 GMT — The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide surpassed 160,000

03/16/2020 13:06 GMT — What happened over the weekend?

  • The United States extends the travel ban for foreign nationals who have recently visited the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland. U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents can still return. 
  • CDC recommend the cancellation or postponement of all large events or mass gatherings of 50 people or more for the next 8 weeks.
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that an employee has tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Italy reports 3,497 new cases on Sunday — taking the number of people with a COVID-19 diagnosis to 21,157 — and 173 new deaths. 
  • Spain has gone into lockdown amid 1,522 new cases, including Prime Minister Pedro Sancheź’s wife
  • Ireland has advised all pubs to close until March 29 and asked people to refrain from having house parties in the lead up to St. Patrick’s Day. 
  • Germany is the latest European country to implement border closures, while in the capital Berlin, gyms and bars closed over the weekend.

03/13/2020 14:44 GMT — European coronavirus updates

Schools are now fully closed in 13 European countries, including Albania, Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, and Poland. Also, there are partial school closures in nine countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Spain, and Switzerland. 

  • In the United Kingdom, professional football leagues have suspended matches until April 3.
  • Scotland calls for gatherings of over 500 people to be cancelled.
  • As of Monday, the Czech Republic is banning movement into and out of the country. The only exceptions will be that foreign nationals without residence permits can leave, and residents will be allowed to return.
  • As the total number of cases in Bulgaria reaches 23, the parliament has imposed a state of emergency, closing schools and implementing travel bans.
  • In Germany, there have now been more than 3,000 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths.

Read more here

03/13/2020 14:38 GMT — Sophie Grégoire Trudeau tests positive for COVID-19

Following a trip to London, the wife of the Canadian Prime Minister began feeling sick. Since then, she has tested positive for COVID-19; according to Trudeau, her symptoms are mild. She has announced that she will self-isolate for the next 14 days.

Read more here.

03/13/2020 10:14 GMT — COVID-19 is now classed as a pandemic: What now?

In a new Medical News Today feature, we speak with experts about what the new classification of “pandemic” means. The article also includes strategies for coping with anxiety. 

Read the feature here.

03/13/2020 09:51 GMT — South Korea reports more recoveries than new cases

South Korea is home to the largest outbreak of COVID-19 outside of China. Today, for the first time since the outbreak began, in January, South Korea has reported a higher number of recoveries than new infections.

On Thursday, officials reported 114 new cases; today, they reported 110 new cases, while 177 patients were released from hospitals.

Read more here.

03/12/2020 16:01 GMT — New study confirms mean incubation period

A recent study featuring in the Annals of Internal Medicine investigates how long it takes for symptoms to appear once a person has contracted SARS-CoV-2.

The mean incubation period, according to the authors, is 5.1 days, and about half of the affected people will develop symptoms at that point. The authors also estimate that 97.5% of people will develop symptoms within the first 11.5 days.

Based on their findings, the study’s senior author Justin Lessler, Ph.D., writes that “the current recommendation of 14 days for active monitoring or quarantine is reasonable, although, with that period, some cases would be missed over the long term.”

Read more here.

03/12/2020 13:45 GMT — Pandemic could be “over by June,” according to Chinese officials

According to Mi Feng, a spokesperson for China’s National Health Commission, “Broadly speaking, the peak of the epidemic has passed for China. The increase of new cases is falling.”

At a news conference, Dr. Zhong Nanshan, the senior medical adviser to the Chinese government, explained that if countries take adequate precautions, the coronavirus pandemic could be over within a few months. He said:

“My advice is calling for all countries to follow WHO instructions and intervene on a national scale. If all countries could get mobilized, it could be over by June.”

Read more here.

03/12/2020 08:47 GMT — Trump restricts travel from Europe to the US

In a televised address from the Oval Office, President Trump announced a number of steps designed to reduce the economic disruption that COVID-19 may cause.

Among these actions is a travel order. From midnight on Friday, it will not be possible to travel from Europe to the U.S. However, this excludes those traveling from Britain and people who normally reside in the U.S. who have undergone “appropriate screenings.” 

He also laid out some other proposals designed to assist people in the U.S. affected by the outbreak, including sick pay, medical leave, and family leave.

Read more here.

03/11/2020 17:32 GMT — The WHO officially classify COVID-19 as a pandemic

03/11/2020 16:19 GMT — In a healthcare setting, infection control does work

A recent paper published in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology has assessed infection control measures implemented by the Hong Kong Hospital Authority.

The authors describe how the hospitals proactively worked to reduce the risk of infection in the 6 weeks that followed the start of the outbreak.

In total, 413 healthcare workers treated cases of COVID-19, and none contracted the infection.

The authors conclude that “Appropriate hospital infection control measures can prevent healthcare-associated transmission of the coronavirus.”

Read more here.

03/11/2020 12:01 GMT — Comparing the US’ COVID-19 testing rates with those of other countries

03/11/2020 11:44 GMT — Is Europe “the new China”?

To date, Italy has registered more than 10,000 coronavirus infections and 631 deaths. These figures prompted Robert Redfield, head of the CDC, to say, “Right now, the epicenter — the new China — is Europe.”

In Italy, the government have advised 62 million residents to mostly stay home. Shops and restaurants remain open, but police are enforcing a rule that customers stay 1 meter (3 feet) apart, while the authorities have also asked some businesses to close by 6 p.m.

Read more here.

03/11/2020 09:37 GMT — The people of Wuhan go back to work

As the epicenter of the epidemic, Wuhan has been locked down since late January. Yesterday, President Xi Jinping visited the region for the first time since the outbreak began.

Now, as the number of new COVID-19 cases in the region continues to fall, the people of Wuhan, China are returning to work.

The Hubei provincial government’s website posted a notice advising that those who work on public transport and anyone involved in manufacturing medical supplies or daily necessities could go back to work.

Read more here.

03/11/2020 08:59 GMT — UK Health Minister has COVID-19

Nadine Dorries, a U.K. Health Minister, is the first member of Parliament to test positive for SARS-CoV-19. To date, the U.K. has recorded 382 cases and six deaths.

Ms Dorries has self-isolated and is recovering. Read more here.

03/10/2020 17:08 GMT — Experts comment on diagnostic tests

In a Viewpoint article published yesterday in the journal JAMA, Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, MD, and colleagues shed light on the controversy surrounding the United States’ SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic testing capability. 

They describe the current situation in the context of how the FDA approve diagnostic tests in emergency situations. 

“As the U.S. moves to make up for initial missteps, emerging evidence should guide policy and practice,” they conclude. “The public health and medical communities should recognize the need to alter policy to fit changing circumstances and support consistent and compassionate messaging that recognizes both the benefits and limitations of testing.”

Read the full article here.

03/10/2020 12:59 GMT — Here are some of the differences between COVID-19 and flu

03/10/2020 11:00 GMT — Study says average incubation period is 5.1 days

A new study, appearing in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, finds that the average incubation period for SARS-CoV-2 is 5.1 days. 

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD, have analyzed 181 COVID-19 cases that doctors diagnosed before February 24 in China and other countries. 

According to their calculations, “97.5% of those who develop symptoms will do so within 11.5 days […] of infection,” the authors note in their paper.  

“Based on our analysis of publicly available data, the current recommendation of 14 days for active monitoring or quarantine is reasonable, although, with that period, some cases would be missed over the long term.”

– Justin Lessler, senior author

03/10/2020 08:43 GMT — Researchers focus on drugs that target SARS-CoV-19

As scientists begin to better understand how SARS-CoV-2 enters human cells, they are homing in on potential ways to prevent infection. Over recent weeks, there has been a flurry of publications.

For instance, one laboratory study shows that antibodies that can neutralize the virus that causes SARS also reduce how well SARS-CoV-2 can infect cells. 

Another study finds that a drug with approval for treating pancreatitis can reduce virus entry into cells.

In a recent article, Medical News Today cover some of the latest research.

03/10/2020 07:43 — Latest CDC briefing discusses risk

The latest briefing was hosted by Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Dr. Messonnier explains that many people in the U.S. are likely to be exposed to the virus over the next 12–24 months. However, the CDC do not expect that many people will develop a serious illness.

03/09/2020 15:28 GMT — FDA warn companies over coronavirus cure claims

Today, the FDA and Federal Trade Commission sent letters to seven companies that sell products claiming to cure, treat, or prevent COVID-19. These products include essential oils, teas, and colloidal silver.

Currently, there are no vaccines or approved drugs to treat COVID-19. In a press release, FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn explains:

“The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to the public health. […] We understand consumers are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 and urge them to talk to their healthcare providers, as well as follow advice from other federal agencies about how to prevent the spread of this illness. We will continue to aggressively pursue those that place the public health at risk and hold bad actors accountable.”

Read more here.

03/09/2020 11:53 GMT — WHO guidelines on when to use a face mask

03/09/2020 11:39 GMT — Children just “as likely” to get COVID-19 as adults

Early reports suggested that children were less likely than adults to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 than adults.

A recent study, which has not yet been through the peer review process, concludes that the coronavirus is just as likely to infect children as adults. However children are much less likely to develop symptoms.

Although the authors explain that their study has numerous limitations, the results warrant further investigation.

Read more here.

03/09/2020 10:38 GMT — Yesterday, China reported the lowest number of daily cases since reporting began

For 2 days running, there have been no new locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 outside of Hubei province.

Yesterday, China reported 40 new cases, which is the lowest number since they began publishing data on January 20, 2020.

Of these, 36 occurred in Wuhan. The remaining four, reported in Gansu province, were linked to individuals who had traveled from Iran. Although this is encouraging news, the government do not want to become complacent.

Chen Yixin, secretary general of the Communist Party’s Politics and Law Commission, said:

“We must stay cautious, not be blindly optimistic and must not have war-weariness. We should not reduce the vigilance against the epidemic and the requirements of prevention and control.”

Read more here.