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Medical personnel from Riverside University Health System 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, CA. (Photo by Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images)
  • The recent coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
  • Known as SARS-CoV-2, the virus has resulted in more than 720,000 infections and 34,000 deaths.
  • SARS-CoV-2 infection causes a respiratory illness called COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 has now been reported on every continent except Antarctica.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) publish their latest confirmed numbers on this situation dashboard every day.
  • Keep up to date with the latest research and information about COVID-19 here.

03/30/2020 08:52 GMT — No new cases in Wuhan for 6 days

China have seen a steady drop in the number of new cases for 4 days in a row. On Sunday, there were 31 new cases in China, down from 45 on Saturday. In Wuhan, China officials have reported no new cases for 6 days.

The government is now turning its attention to the economic damage that the outbreak has caused. Businesses are reopening, and people are beginning to recapture normality. The Chinese government is urging factories to reopen and has extended business loans.

Travel into the country is still heavily restricted, as officials are concerned about a potential second wave of infections.

More information on the situation in China here.


03/27/2020 14:12 GMT — UK’s prime minister and health secretary test positive for COVID-19

Over the last 24 hours, Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, developed fever and a cough. Today, a test confirmed that he has COVID-19. Following Johnson’s announcement, the health secretary Matt Hancock released a statement saying that he, too, had tested positive.

In a video posted to Twitter, Johnson said he plans to “continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus. […] I want to thank everybody involved and, of course, our amazing [National Health Service] staff.”

Both Hancock and Johnson report that their symptoms are mild and that they are self-isolating.

Click here for more detail.


03/27/2020 10:34 GMT — WHO launch large-scale trial to test a range of coronavirus treatments.

The WHO recently launched SOLIDARITY, a multipronged study trialing a range of potential treatments for COVID-19, both new and old. The treatments they are testing include remdesivir, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir plus ritonavir, and lopinavir plus ritonavir and interferon-beta.

Medical researchers designed all of the treatments above for other conditions, but all have shown some promise against SARS-CoV-2.

Scientists originally trialed Remdesivir as a treatment for Ebola; chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are antimalarial drugs; doctors use lopinavir and ritonavir to treat HIV infections, and interferon-beta treats multiple sclerosis.

Read more about SOLIDARITY here.


03/27/2020 09:30 GMT — Study supports the theory that pangolins are the link between bats and humans

Earlier studies suggested that SARS-CoV-2 started in bats before moving into pangolins, and then, finally, into humans. Later studies concluded that snakes might be the missing link. However, the latest paper refutes this theory, adding more evidence that pangolins are the link.

Most scientists agree that bats are a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2. They also agree that to reach humans, the virus needs an intermediate host.

This was the case in earlier outbreaks. For instance, experts believe that severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) first moved from bats to civet cats before infecting humans.

Using larger datasets, the authors of the recent paper identified errors in the earlier analyses and concluded that “the pangolin [is] a missing link in the transmission of [SARS-CoV-2] from bats to human.” However, the authors also explain that we cannot yet rule out other intermediate hosts.

Read more about COVID-19 research here.


03/27/2020 09:03 GMT — Number of US cases surpasses China

As of yesterday, the United States have registered more cases of COVID-19 than China. At the time of writing, the U.S. have reported 85,991 cases, compared with China’s 81,782. 

Officials in the most affected areas of the U.S. are increasingly concerned about the lack of medical equipment and hospital beds. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference, “Any scenario that is realistic will overwhelm the capacity of the healthcare system.” 

As the number of cases in the U.S. increases, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke with Trump and offered China’s support. In a tweet, Trump wrote that they are now “working closely together.”

Find out more about the situation in the U.S. here.


03/26/2020 14:38 GMT — MNT interviews WHO advisor Prof. David Heymann

Medical News Today recently spoke with WHO advisor Prof. David Heymann. We asked about his past experiences with SARS and MERS, what individuals can do to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and how long he thinks the pandemic might last.

We also asked whether he thought that the general public has a good understanding of the implications of the pandemic; he said:

“People need to understand that they can prevent themselves from getting infected by washing hands and by maintaining a physical distance from each other and that they can protect others by wearing a mask if they’re coughing and sneezing.”

Read the full interview here.


03/26/2020 13:05 GMT — CDC report community spread of the virus in 41 US states and one territory


03/26/2020 12:30 GMT — COVID-19 cases worldwide rise to over 487,000


03/26/2020 08:55 GMT — Number of deaths in Spain surpasses that of China

To date, Spain has registered more than 49,500 COVID-19 cases and over 3,600 related deaths, compared with China’s 81,700 cases and almost 3,300 deaths. This morning, Spain’s parliament voted to extend emergency measures.

This decision, which came after the country registered 738 deaths in a single day, will extend the country’s lockdown for another 15 days. The country has experienced a 10-fold increase in coronavirus cases since it declared a state of emergency on March 14, 2020.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said: “It is not easy to extend the state of emergency. I am convinced the only efficient option against the virus is social isolation.”

Read more about the situation in Spain here.


03/26/2020 08:41 GMT — The WHO’s director general calls for action

In a press conference yesterday, the WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, recommended six key actions to defeat the pandemic.

He believes that although we may have missed our first opportunity, we can still stop the pandemic.

He says that legislation designed to keep people isolated will not defeat the virus alone. He explains: “We call on all countries who have introduced so-called ‘lockdown’ measures to use this time to attack the virus. You have created a second window of opportunity. The question is, how will you use it?”

Ghebreyesus recommends six key actions:

  1. Expand, train, and deploy the healthcare and public health workforce.
  2. Implement a system to detect every suspected case of COVID-19.
  3. Increase the production, capacity, and availability of testing.
  4. Identify, adapt, and equip facilities to treat and isolate patients.
  5. Develop a clear plan and process to quarantine contacts.
  6. Refocus the whole of government on suppressing and controlling the virus.

Read the full transcript here.


03/25/2020 16:15 GMT — COVID-19 is taking its toll on the mental health of frontline healthcare professionals

A recent study, involving nearly 1,300 healthcare workers from 34 hospitals across China, found that frontline staff were 52% more likely to have symptoms of depression than those not on the frontline.

This group was also 57% more likely to show symptoms of anxiety, 60% more likely to experience distress, and nearly three times more likely to have insomnia.

 Read the full article here.


03/25/2020 12:05 GMT — COVID-19 cases in the U.S. surpass 55,000


03/25/2020 09:46 GMT — Study confirms the importance of social distancing

A recent study underlines how COVID-19’s progress can be slowed by social distancing measures. The authors conclude that 90% of infections in Hubei province, China, were prevented in the period after social distancing began.

The study, which is yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, used data from Hubei and statistical modeling. The scientists were particularly interested in individuals who showed no symptoms and were, therefore, interacting as usual. Lead author Prof. Wu Tangchun summarizes their findings:

“By our most conservative estimate, at least 59% of the infected individuals were out and about, without being tested and potentially infecting others. This may explain why the virus spread so quickly in Hubei and is now circulating around the world.”

Read more here.


03/25/2020 08:52 GMT — New York experiences another rise in cases

Yesterday, New York state experienced another swift increase in COVID-19 cases. New York City, with more than 8.5 million densely packed residents, has now reported 192 deaths. 

The White House has advised anyone who has recently traveled to or from New York to self-isolate. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told a press conference yesterday:

“Everybody who was in New York should be self-quarantining for the next 14 days to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread to others, no matter where they have gone, whether it’s Florida, North Carolina, or out to far reaches of Long Island.”

Further information here.


03/24/2020 15:07 GMT — Tokyo Olympics postponed due to coronavirus

Today, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that they will postpone this year’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics until 2021. The move was backed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The event was due to begin on July 24 but, according to the IOC’s president Thomas Bach, it will now take place “no later than summer 2021.” The organizers of Tokyo 2020 and the IOC write, in a statement:

“In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC president and the prime minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled […] to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games, and the international community.”

More information on the postponement here.


03/24/2020 14:54 GMT — US has potential to become new COVID-19 epicenter

According to Margaret Harris, a WHO spokesperson, the U.S. might soon become the new epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

She says: “We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S. So it does have that potential. We cannot say that is the case yet, but it does have that potential.”

At the time of writing, the U.S. have reported 46,485 cases of COVID-19. As Harris says, the U.S. has “a very large outbreak and an outbreak that is increasing in intensity.”

More detail here.


03/24/2020 13:24 GMT — United Kingdom begins its first day of extended lockdown measures

After an announcement from the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday, the U.K. has stepped up social distancing efforts with three new measures.

The measures involve: stopping public gatherings of more than two people who are not from the same household, closing all nonessential shops and community spaces, such as libraries and playgrounds, and directing everyone to stay at home as much as possible.

The only reasons to leave the house, according to the announcement, are to shop for basics, such as food and medicine, to receive or provide medical care, and to travel to or from work if working from home is not possible. Each day, one outing for exercise is permitted, either alone or with members of the same household. 

See the full guidelines here.


03/24/2020 10:44 GMT — The number of deaths in Italy is starting to fall

Yesterday, the Italian civil protection agency reported the smallest increase in new deaths from COVID-19 for four days in a row and the smallest increase in new cases for five days in a row. 

The number of new cases stood at 4,789 and the number of new deaths at 602. 

“Today is perhaps the first positive day we have had in this hard, very tough month,” Giulio Gallera, the senior health official in Lombardy, the region in Northern Italy with the greatest case load, was cited as saying.

Read more here


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.


03/06/2020 15:55 GMT — Global coronavirus cases exceed 100,000

According to scientists at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, there have now been 100,647 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,411 deaths. More encouragingly, 55,753 people have recovered from COVID-19.

The last 24 hours have seen the first death in both the U.K. and the Netherlands, as well as the first cases in Vatican City, Serbia, and Cameroon.

Visit the Johns Hopkins interactive map here.


03/06/2020 13:11 GMT — Busting coronavirus myths

A new article, published on Medical News Today, investigates a range of myths that surround the coronavirus.

The author explains, “when the word ‘pandemic’ starts appearing in headlines, people become fearful, and with fear come misinformation and rumors.”


03/06/2020 12:03 GMT — Cruise ship passengers quarantined off the coast of California

More than 3,000 crew and passengers are currently quarantined off the coast of San Francisco in the cruise ship Grand Princess. 

Yesterday, the U.S. Coast Guard airlifted diagnostic kits onto the ship to test fewer than 100 people, including 35 who are ill. Passengers remain confined to their rooms until the results come back. 

The Grand Princess is the sister ship of the Diamond Princess that was recently quarantined in Japan.

Read more here.


03/06/2020 11:33 GMT — Doctors discuss priorities for US health community

Three doctors from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security have recently published an article, in JAMA, outlining key measures that the U.S. government and healthcare sector should take to handle SARS-CoV-2.

Drawing from experience with similar epidemics, they explain how hospitals, clinics, healthcare workers, and diagnostic companies need to respond in the coming days and weeks.

The authors write, “Preparation will take time, so healthcare and public health systems need to move quickly forward in their efforts to be ready to confront this disease around the country.”

Read more here


03/06/2020 10:44 GMT — CDC advise public to create a “household plan”


03/06/2020 09:21 GMT — First coronavirus fatality reported in UK

The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.K. has now reached 116. A 70-year-old woman, who was receiving treatment at Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, has become the virus’ first fatality.

The woman had not been overseas, and officials are tracking down anyone she may have been in contact with.

Read more here.


03/06/2020 08:53 GMT — What can you do to stay safe?

Medical News Today recently published a practical guide outlining concrete steps people can take to prevent infection.


03/06/2020 8:12 GMT — What is the mortality rate of coronavirus?

The WHO recently reported a 3.4% mortality rate for COVID-19. In a new feature, experts explain why this figure might be an overestimate.


03/05/2020 11:16 — Reports of possible human-to-dog infection

A Pomeranian in Hong Kong, belonging to a woman with COVID-19, has tested positive for the virus. However, the canine has not displayed any symptoms.

Talking about the importance of this development, Prof. Jonathan Ball, Professor of Molecular Virology at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, explains

“We have to differentiate between real infection and just detecting the presence of the virus.

I still think it’s questionable how relevant it is to the human outbreak as most of the global outbreak has been driven by human-to-human transmission.

We need to find out more, but we don’t need to panic — I doubt it could spread to another dog or a human because of the low levels of the virus. The real driver of the outbreak is humans.”


03/05/2020 09:22 — COVID-19 cases reported in 13 states

 The CDC have reported cases of COVID-19 in 13 states: Arizona, California, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Read more here.


03/05/2020 09:12 GMT — Iran releases 54,000 prisoners to curb coronavirus’ spread

To date, Iran has reported 2,336 cases of COVID-19, including 290 involving members of parliament; there have been 77 deaths.

In an effort to halt the spread of the virus in their prison system, the authorities have temporarily freed 54,000 prisoners.

Read more here.


03/04/2020 14:01 GMT — Why are people with underlying health conditions and the elderly at greater risk of COVID-19?

Professor Jon Cohen, Emeritus Professor of Infectious Diseases and previously Dean at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, in the U.K., explains why people with chronic health conditions and the elderly are at greater risk of COVID-19. 

“This is in part because they have less ‘reserve’ to cope with the stress of an infection and partly because natural immunity wanes as we get older.” 

“As a specific example, coronavirus causes a respiratory illness, and this places greater stress on the heart, so people with preexisting heart disease will find it harder to deal with a serious respiratory infection. This is not something that is limited to coronavirus infection — the same principle applies to all types of respiratory infections.”

Dr. Andrew Freedman, Reader in Infectious Diseases at Cardiff University, in the U.K., echoes this sentiment. 

“The elderly are known to have weaker immune systems but are also more likely to have other medical problems, such as cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, type 2 diabetes, etc.”  

“The main cause of severe morbidity and mortality due to the virus is pneumonitis leading to respiratory failure, so patients with chronic respiratory conditions such as COPD are not surprisingly at greater risk.”  

“However, other conditions, such as chronic heart failure and kidney disease, are also associated with reduced reserve and less favorable outcomes to infection.”

Read the full statements here.


03/04/2020 13:20 GMT — Latest WHO report shows numbers in China are down but surpass 10,000 worldwide


03/04/2020 10:00 GMT — WHO webinar outlines role of media in containing COVID-19 

The WHO have held a roundtable, including Melinda Frost, technical officer for risk communication at the WHO, Genevieve Hutchinson, senior health adviser at the BBC, Ida Jooste, global health advisor at Internews, and Laura Ngo-Fontaine, senior communications officer at the IFRC.

They warn that we are experiencing an infodemic, which involves widespread rumors and the public being bombarded with an overwhelming amount of information, making it difficult to find accurate answers to questions.

In this context, the media forms part of the global health ecosystem, and its aim is to ensure that people have access to clear facts and to discourage stigmatization.

Recommended resources include: WHO Information Network for Epidemics, Red Cross COVID-19 info hub, and WHO, UNICEF and IFRC guide to preventing and addressing social stigma.


03/04/2020 08:43 GMT — Number of COVID-19 cases now exceeds 90,000

Globally, the number of coronavirus cases has exceeded 90,000, and there have been more than 3,000 deaths. Around 80,000 of the COVID-19 cases have occurred within China, but the virus has made its way to around 60 countries.

Outside of China, the largest outbreaks are in South Korea, Iran, and Italy. Read more here.


03/04/2020 08:23 GMT — Coronavirus claims 9 lives in Washington State

As of Tuesday, there have now been 27 cases in the greater Seattle area, including nine deaths.

So far, the Seattle area cluster is the largest outbreak in the U.S. and the only one to have caused deaths. Read more here.


03/04/2020 07:45 GMT — The WHO explain some differences between COVID-19 and flu


03/03/2020 16:33 GMT — Second coronavirus case confirmed in New York state

A 50-year-old man has been hospitalized in New York state. Although the individual had not traveled to high risk countries, he had recently visited Miami.

Read more here.


03/03/2020 15:57 GMT — Scientists question how deadly the new coronavirus is

Because the current epidemic is constantly evolving, it has proven challenging to calculate the mortality rate of COVID-19.

The authors of a recent paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine believe that preliminary figures might have been overstated.

Early estimates suggested a mortality rate of around 1%. The authors believe that the “overall clinical consequences of COVID-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%).”


03/03/2020 12:24 GMT — Researchers ask whether cruise ship quarantine was the right choice

On February 3, 10 people aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Passengers and crew remained quarantined inside until February 19.

By the time of their release, 17% of those onboard had contracted the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

A recent paper featuring in the Journal of Travel Medicine concludes that if the passengers had had permission to leave the cruise ship, there would have been fewer infections.

Read more here.


03/03/2020 11:15 GMT — New York City doctor concerned over lack of access to diagnostic tools

In an interview with CNBC, Dr. Matt McCarthy, a New York-based doctor and author, voiced concerns that they do not have easy access to coronavirus testing kits. “I still do not have a rapid diagnostic test available to me,” he explains.

Dr. McCarthy continues, “at one of the busiest hospitals in the country, I don’t have it at my fingertips.” He refers to this state of affairs as a “national scandal.”


03/03/2020 10:11 GMT — US death toll reaches 6

Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for the Seattle and King County Public Health agency, announced today that there have been six coronavirus fatalities in the Seattle area.

Washington state now has 18 COVID-19 cases. Of these, 14 fall within Dr. Duchin’s jurisdiction, and eight are associated with one nursing facility in Kirkland, a suburb of Seattle.

At a Whitehouse briefing, Vice President Mike Pence advised that the risk to people in the U.S. is still low. Read more here.


03/02/2020 14:44 GMT — Washington state announces second coronavirus death in US

On Saturday night, a 70-year-old man with SARS-CoV-2 infection died in a care home near Seattle.

Read more here.


03/02/2020 12:38 GMT — Surgeon General urges people to stop buying face masks

In a tweet, U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, writes, “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

He continues: “The best way to protect yourself and your community is with everyday preventive actions, like staying home when you are sick and washing hands with soap and water, to help slow the spread of respiratory illness. Get your #FluShot– fewer flu patients = more resources for #COVID19.”


03/02/2020 11:51 GMT — EU raises risk level from “moderate” to “moderate to high”

The death toll across the European Union now stands at 38. The ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) has announced today that the risk level has risen from “moderate” to “moderate to high” for people in the European Union.

“In other words, the virus continues to spread,” said the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, at a news conference in Brussels.

Read more here.


03/02/2020 11:19 GMT — First COVID-19 death on U.S. soil

Over the weekend, the CDC announced the first death of a patient from COVID-19 on U.S. soil. The patient, a man in his 50s, was one of three individuals who tested positive for the virus at a hospital in Washington state. The other two people are linked to a long-term care facility, where one is a healthcare worker.

CDC spokesperson Dr. Nancy Messonnier commented:

“This is the first reported death in the United States from COVID-19, as well as the first reported case in a healthcare worker and the first possible outbreak in a [long-term care facility]. These reports from Washington follow others of community spread in Oregon and two places in California, earlier this week.”

She went on to say: “While there is still much to learn about the unfolding situations in California, Oregon, and Washington, preliminary information raises the level of concern about the immediate threat for COVID-19 for certain communities in the United States.”

“Most people in the United States will have little immediate risk of exposure to this virus, but some people will be at increased risk depending on their exposures. The greatest risk is to those who have been in close contact with people with COVID-19. People with suspected or confirmed exposure should reach out to their state or local public health department.”

Read the full report here.


02/28/2020 16:01 GMT — Coronavirus reaches sub-Saharan Africa

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health announced the first case of COVID-19 in Nigeria. The patient arrived on a Turkish Airlines flight from Italy on February 24th.

Read more here.


02/28/2020 12:51 GMT — Scientists are investigating existing drugs in the search for coronavirus treatments

Denis Kainov, one of the authors of a new paper, explains, “Drug repurposing is a strategy for generating additional value from an existing drug by targeting diseases other than that for which it was originally intended.”

Read more here.


02/28/2020 11:21 GMT — Latest WHO report adds nine new member states to those that coronavirus has affected

According to the latest WHO update, in the last 24 hours, nine new member states have registered cases of COVID-19: Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Norway, Pakistan, Romania, and North Macedonia.


02/28/2020 10:11 GMT — Mainland China: Number of new coronavirus cases drops to lowest since January 

On Thursday, mainland China had 327 new cases of coronavirus; this is the lowest number since January 23rd.

Read more here.


02/28/2020 09:05 GMT — WHO and World Tourism Organization release joint statement

The organizations call for combined efforts; they write, “International cooperation is vital for ensuring the sector can effectively contribute to the containment of COVID-19.”

Read the full briefing here.


02/27/2020 14:48 GMT — Healthline Media’s senior director of medical affairs provides some perspective


02/27/2020 11:34 GMT — The latest World Health Organization (WHO) report finds that the number of COVID-19 cases outside of China now exceeds the number of cases inside the country


02/26/2020 16:20 GMT — South America reports its first case of COVID-19

Brazil’s Ministry of Health announces the first case of COVID-19 in South America. The 61-year-old with the virus recently traveled to Italy, where there have been 324 cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths.


02/26/2020 15:17 GMT — There are now more than 80,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide


02/26/2020 10:00 GMT — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that the United States must prepare for coronavirus spread

In a telebriefing, the CDC advised people in the U.S. to begin preparing for the possibility that coronavirus might spread within communities.

Read more about the recent briefing here.


02/24/2020 18:28 GMT — Woman with no symptoms transmits virus to five family members

A report in the journal JAMA describes a woman with SARS-CoV-2 who displayed no symptoms. This so-called asymptomatic carrier transmitted the infection to five other people.

Read more about the case study here.


02/21/2020 11:12 GMT — Experts condemn “rumors and misinformation”

A letter in The Lancet voices the concerns of 27 scientists. The group condemns the spread of conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19, outlining the harmful consequences of these rumors.

Read more about the paper here.


To read our feature article answering some of the most common questions and concerns regarding COVID-19, click here. For information on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus, this CDC page provides advice.