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COVID-19

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"Coronavirus has no nationality" — By visuals on Unsplash

Curated by Peter Hulm

June 2020

Special sections: Science, Impact, Response , Economy


COVID-19 figures

Global coronavirus deaths top half a million

The respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus has been particularly dangerous for the elderly, although other adults and children are also among the 501,000 fatalities and 10.1 million reported cases. More than 4,700 people are dying every 24 hours from COVID-19-linked illness, according to Reuters calculations based on an average from June 1 to 27.

reuters (LINK)

News Aggregators, Sources

ePubs from leading economists: e.g. face masks reduced infections by 40% in Germany

CEPR Policy Portal (LINK)

News roundups from the World Economic Forum

weforum (LINK)

New Humanitarian weekly roundup

COVID-19 stories from Tanzania, aid agencies, Jordan, Burundi, Syria, West Africa, Latin America

thenewhumanitarian (LINK)

ReliefWeb updates on COVID-19

Focusing on the countries with humanitarian situations, with information from the United Nations, INGOs, NGOs, aid organizations and the donor community.

reliefweb (LINK)

New America/ASU Coronavirus Daily Brief

The Coronavirus Daily Brief is a daily news and analysis roundup edited by New America's International Security Program and Arizona State University. Launched on 23 March 2020. Includes weekly podcast.

newamerica (LINK)

U.N. / Environment

Updates on COVID-19 and the environment

A page of links from the Geneva Environment Network

genevaenvironmentnetwork (LINK)

Science Reports

Axios: graphics and commentary

axios (LINK)

Science

Health

6 Outdoor Activities Ranked by Risk of Exposure to COVID-19

1. Drinking at an outdoor bar

2. Eating at an outdoor restaurant

wellandgood (LINK)

Media

Coronavirus misinformation, and how scientists can help to fight it

As a result of the pandemic, [a study found] 67% of those surveyed are watching more news coverage, and that half of that subset are spending significantly more time doing so.

A University of Washington data scientist has co-created Calling Bullshit, a course on how to spot and counter false appeals to scientific and statistical evidence. In December, he co-founded and became director of his university's new Center for an Informed Public, whose core aims include researching rumours and misinformation during crises.

nature (LINK)

What the W.H.O. Actually Said About Asymptomatic People Spreading the Coronavirus

[Maria Van Kerkhove, an American epidemiologist who is the W.H.O team's lead technical consultant] noted that there is a distinction between truly asymptomatic infected people, who never experience any effects, and presymptomatic infected people, who eventually feel something. Then, without quite clarifying which kind of asymptomatic person she was talking about, she brought up some "reports" from unnamed W.H.O. member countries that have engaged in "detailed contact tracing" of asymptomatic people and are "not finding secondary transmission onward"; however, much of that information was unpublished, she said, and thus neither peer-reviewed nor publicly available, and the W.H.O. was "trying to get more information from countries to truly answer this question". In that very preliminary, narrow context, she said, it "still appears to be rare that an asymptomatic individual transmits onward". But, as she said in the Facebook event, she did not mean that this applied "globally". She was talking only about "a small subset of studies"; like [Michael Ryan, an Irish epidemiologist ... who is leading the W.H.O.'s response to COVID-19], she noted that asymptomatic people can transmit the disease.

newyorker (LINK)

No 'patient zero' for U.K.: Covid-19 came into UK at least 1,300 times

Study prompts further criticism that chances to suppress infection early in outbreak were missed

theguardian (LINK)

Education

Is It Safe to Send My Kid Back to School? A risk assessment matrix

The matrices compare the severity of a consequence (from insignificant to catastrophic) to the likelihood of it happening.

fatherly (LINK)

Health

Study shows how face masks could prevent a second wave of Covid-19 — but there's a catch

The catch? There's no way everyone would comply. According to a Gallup poll conducted in April, only 36% of Americans said they always wore a mask while out, with 32% reporting that they sometimes did and 31% saying they never did.

(LINK)

W.H.O.

In reversal of position, WHO tells public to wear masks if unable to distance

World Health Organizations says governments should encourage people to cover their mouths and noses if there is widespread transmission or social distancing is difficult.

"In light of evolving evidence, WHO advises that governments should encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

In areas with community-level virus transmission, "we advise that people aged 60 years or over, or those with underlying conditions, should wear a medical mask in situations where physical distancing is not possible,"" he added.

afp on timesofisrael (LINK)

70% of people infected with the coronavirus did not pass it to anyone, preliminary research shows. Superspreading events account for most transmission.

A group of epidemiologists in Hong Kong found that just 20% of cases studied there were responsible for 80% of all coronavirus transmissions. The researchers also found 70% of people infected with the coronavirus didn't pass it to anyone else and that all superspreading events involved indoor social gatherings.

businessinsider (LINK)

COVID-19

Surgisphere: governments and WHO changed Covid-19 policy based on suspect data from tiny US company

At a press conference, the WHO announced it would resume its global trial of hydroxychloroquine, after its data safety monitoring committee found there was no increased risk of death for Covid patients taking it.

>

theguardian (LINK)

How long does the coronavirus last inside the body?

The variety in responses can also make it harder to recommend how long sick people should stay isolated. The U.S. CDC currently recommends COVID-19 cases isolate for 10 days after they start feeling ill, and three days after their fever dissipates. If you never have symptoms, the 10-day window starts after you get a positive result on a COVID-19 test.

Both for vaccine efforts and to better treat patients, [scientists say], "we have to think about the immune response with COVID with more complexity."

nationalgeographic (LINK)

Face masks may reduce COVID-19 spread by 85%, WHO-backed study suggests

The review found that keeping a distance of at least 3 feet (1 metre) from other people lowered the chances of coronavirus infection or spread by 82%, and keeping a distance of 6 feet (2 m) could be even more effective.

livescience (LINK)

Impact

Economy

Global working hours are expected to have fallen by 14% in the second quarter of 2020, according to ILO estimates

This is equivalent to 400 million full-time jobs and a "sharp increase" on the 10.7% fall it previously estimated for the quarter.

msn (LINK)

Post-COVID

Global Fund COVID-19 Report: Deaths from HIV, TB and Malaria Could Almost Double in 12 Months Unless Urgent Action is Taken

The Global Fund estimates that countries affected by HIV, tuberculosis and malaria urgently need US$28.5 billion to protect the progress achieved in the past two decades.

theglobalfund (LINK)

COVID-19 / Thailand

Thailand's sex workers face uncertain future as coronavirus lockdown continues

There are an estimated 100,000 sex workers in Thailand, mostly working in the red light areas of Bangkok and Pattaya. Many face extreme hardship now that their bars and nightclubs are closed by coronavirus restrictions.

nbcnews (LINK to video)

Parties and funerals blamed for spikes in 21 U.S. states

More than a dozen states and the US territory of Puerto Rico have recorded their highest seven-day average of new cases since the pandemic began. In at least nine states, hospitalisation rates have also seen a steady increase.

nzherald from uk dailytelegraph (LINK)

U.S. coronavirus cases now over 2 million: Reuters tally

Total U.S. coronavirus cases surpassed 2 million on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, as health officials urge anyone who took part in massive protests for racial justice to get tested. Nationally, new infections are rising slightly after five weeks of declines, according to a Reuters analysis. Part of the increase is due to more testing.

reuters (LINK)

U.N.

World leaders won't gather at UN for first time in 75 years

The president of the U.N. General Assembly said Monday that world leaders will not be coming to New York for their annual gathering in late September for the first time in the 75-year history of the United Nations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

apnews (LINK)

The 100 Safest Countries In The World For COVID-19

Switzerland is the safest country in the world right now for COVID-19. South Sudan is, according to a massive 250-page report, the most dangerous nation. The United States? It ranks number 58, just behind Romania, and two places ahead of Russia.

forbes (LINK)

Sweden now has world's highest death rate after it decided to ignore lockdown advice

The title, which was briefly held by the UK late last month, comes after Swedish officials decided to ignore the lockdown advice of countless health experts and kept the country largely open during the pandemic. The number of deaths per capita in Sweden is now more than four times that of its Nordic neighbours.

independent (LINK)

Response

Switzerland lists most restrictions

Meetings up to 1000 OK but wear masks if you can't stay 2m away.

(LINK)

Rights

Singapore's move to introduce wearable devices for contact tracing sparks public outcry

An online petition urging the public to reject its use has, to date, garnered more than 17,500 signatures.

zdnet (LINK)

IATA's Interactive Map To Tell You Which Countries Are Open for Travel

Regularly updated with the latest information, you can click on any country on the map and find out what you need to know about COVID-19-related travel restrictions, what's required to visit, and whether you're eligible to do so.

lifehacker (LINK)

W.H.O.

New evidence suggests Trump was wrong about the WHO and China

When President Trump announced his decision last month to pull the United States out of the World Health Organization in the middle of a global pandemic, he complained that "China has total control" over the agency. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said May 21 that China and the WHO “both tried to cover up what was going on” in the first weeks of the novel coronavirus outbreak. "They knew it; they had information. They knew there was this risk." New evidence has emerged showing that Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo are wrong about the actions of the WHO, a United Nations agency.

"In the second week of January, the WHO's chief of emergencies, Michael Ryan, said it was time to 'shift gears' and apply more pressure on China, fearing a repeat of the 2003 SARS outbreak, during which China actively concealed cases. 'This is exactly the same scenario, endlessly trying to get updates from China about what was going on,' he said. 'We need to see the data .?.?. it's absolutely important at this point.'"

washingtonpost (LINK)

Singapore rushes to build housing for 60,000 migrant workers after virus outbreak

The Singapore government is racing to create additional housing for about 60,000 migrant workers by the end of this year, as it seeks to reduce the density in dormitories which have seen mass outbreaks of the coronavirus infection.

The nation of 5.7 million people has more than 35,000 cases, one of the largest numbers in Asia, largely due to infections in cramped, bunk-bed accommodation that house more than 300,000 mostly South Asian workers.

reuters (LINK)

Economy

Prices

What's getting more expensive — and cheaper — at U.S. grocery stores

Breakfast cereal prices went up 1.4%. Beef and veal prices rose 10.8%. Pork chops prices went up 8.4%. Fresh whole chickens cost 2% more.

cnn (LINK)

Airlines

IATA: Airline Industry Losses to Top $84 Billion in 2020

"Airlines are expected to lose $84.3 billion in 2020 for a net profit margin of -20.1%. Revenues will fall 50% to $419 billion from $838 billion in 2019. In 2021, losses are expected to be cut to $15.8 billion as revenues rise to $598 billion. Financially, 2020 will go down as the worst year in the history of aviation."

iata (LINK)

Jobs

Dow surges 700 points at open after data surprise shows U.S. economy adding 2.5 million jobs in May

The report showed large gains in jobs at bars and restaurants, retail, construction and manufacturing underscoring that states across the U.S. are lifting restrictions on economic activity as the COVID-19 health crisis abates in parts of the country. The data run counter to other measures of unemployment including, jobless claims numbers released Thursday, which showed the number of workers claiming unemployment has fallen only slightly from its post-pandemic peak.

(LINK)

How Germany Saved Its Workforce From Unemployment While Spending Less Per Person Than the U.S.

Comparing people who lost the same position in the two countries reveals that the U.S. government is spending more on unemployment — but its citizens are getting less.

Instead of leaving employers to lay off workers en masse during hard times, and then have the workers apply individually for unemployment benefits, the German government subsidizes employers' payrolls directly. Workers at a given firm or business agree to all work fewer hours, to spread what work remains among the whole staff instead of having some people laid off. But through government subsidies, they continue to receive a sizable share of their usual pay, as high as 87%, even if circumstances have them working few hours for the time being. When the economic crisis passes, they return to work full time, without the upheaval of losing a job and filing for unemployment on their own.

propublica (LINK)

WTO reports on impact of COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses

Measures introduced include cash flow help, expanding trade opportunities for MSMEs and steps to make them more resilient. According to the report, 44 WTO members had introduced such measures by the end of April 2020.

wto (LINK)

COVID-19

UN says 75 per cent of 270 destinations still ban international tourist travel

World Tourism Organization says 3 per cent of 270 destinations have taken steps to ease restrictions.The report notes that 100 per cent of all destinations worldwide continue to have some COVID-19 travel restrictions in place; 75 per cent are still completely closed to international tourism. In 37 per cent of all cases, restrictions have been in place for 10 weeks, while 24 per cent have had controls in place for 14 weeks or more.

news.un. (LINK)

COVID-19 news from May 2020

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