Second Wave: December 2020 April 2021
On 3 December, the President addressed the nation. He noted a resurgence of COVID-19 in some districts of the Eastern and Western Cape provinces. Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality was identified as a coronavirus hotspot; restrictions were tightened for this area. The national state of disaster was extended until 15 January 2021.
On 7 December, the government said that end-of-school parties known as “rage parties” are super spreader events.
On 9 December, the Minister of Health announced that the country had entered the second wave of infections. The country was now recording over 6000 cases per day from fewer than 1000 cases per day at the end of September. The average proportion of positive COVID-19 tests had risen from 10% to 18%.
On 14 December, the President announced in an address to the nation, the closure of some beaches, lowering of the number of people that can attend gatherings and the tightening of other measures to curb the second wave.
On 18 December, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize said scientists had discovered a new variant of coronavirus, called 501.V2 Variant.
On 27 December, the number of confirmed cases reached 1 million.
There were 267,157 new cases in December, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 1,057,161. The death toll rose to 28,469. The number of recovered patients increased to 879,671, leaving 149,021 active cases at the end of the month.
Scramble: Whats Going On
In early 2020, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, hit the United States. The first documented case was a traveler who landed in Seattle from Wuhan, China on . Only later did public health officials find that SARS-CoV-2 was already spreading throughout the community.
It wasnt until March that Americans were forced to take the pandemic seriously, as states began to implement stay-at-home orders. While civilians were struggling to figure out child care, working from home and Immunology 101, epidemiologists started to react.
But maybe a better word is scramble. The U.S. did not have the public health infrastructure in place to effectively respond. A chronically underfunded and politicized public health system hampered the nations real-time response.
Epidemiologists were scrambling, left to rely on volunteers to report national level public health data because there was no centralized public health data system in the U.S. Public health officials were scrambling to enact safety recommendations and contact trace because of limited resources. Data scientists, like those at Johns Hopkins University, were scrambling to share accessible data for decision-making. Scientists were scrambling to develop COVID-19 tests. And everyone was scrambling to figure out how to communicate the evolving threat of the virus to American lives. From the beginning, the seeds were sown for a reactive, rather than proactive, approach.
Could See A Doubling Of Malaria Deaths In Sub
23 April 2020
A modelling analysis released today considered scenarios for potential disruptions in access to core malaria control tools during the COVID-19 pandemic in 41 countries.;
Under the worst-case scenario, in which all insecticide-treated net campaigns are suspended and there is a 75% reduction in access to effective antimalarial medicines, the estimated tally of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 would reach 769 000, twice the number of deaths reported in the region in 2018. This would represent a return to malaria mortality levels last seen 20 years ago.
Countries across the region have a critical window of opportunity to minimize disruptions in malaria prevention and treatment and save lives at this stage of the COVID-19 outbreak.
World Health Organization
WHO and partners have developed guidance on the prevention of infection through vector control and;chemoprevention, testing, treatment of cases, clinical services, supply chain and laboratory activities.
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Don’t Lose Hope Or Turn To Anger Adjust Your Timeline Expectations
There will most likely be enough vaccines for everyone on the planet by the end of 2023.
“We have got to get vaccines to the low- and middle-income countries, not just for humanitarian reasons, but because strategically that’s where the variants are going to come from,” Osterholm said. He added that fewer than 1.5% of people in the world’s poorest countries had gotten a single vaccine dose and virus levels globally had waxed and waned in a somewhat unpredictable fashion.
Even after most of the world is vaccinated, the virus won’t disappear. The best that we can hope for is that it will become an infectious nuisance that we can control and prevent, as we do with polio, measles, chickenpox, and other vaccine-preventable contagious diseases.
“We still give a polio vaccine, even though we haven’t seen a case here in 40 years,” Offit said. “The reason is that polio still exists in the world.”
For the next couple of years, though, we must carefully navigate the waters of public life to avoid long-term illness and preventable deaths.
“I often think about what it must’ve been like during wartime, or depression, or some other point in our history where resilience had to be the order of the day,” Hildreth said. “We’re tired of the virus and we want to be done with it, but that’s not going to solve the problem.”
In a decade, the threat the coronavirus poses will most likely still feel more imminent than polio, which has been eliminated everywhere except Afghanistan and Pakistan.
New Guidance On Preparedness And Response In Low Capacity And Humanitarian Settings
7 May 2020;
COVID-19 prevention and control measures can be difficult to implement in humanitarian crises or places with low capacity. Testing, isolating and treating people with COVID-19 and tracing their contacts is also challenging in places with weaker health systems.;
Public health and social measures in these settings must be balanced against other risks, such as lack of income, limited access to basic services, food insecurity, and lack of a social safety net. Measures also need to be pragmatic and leverage the strengths of local structures and systems, notably through social mobilization and strong community engagement.;
This interim guidance outlines how to adapt COVID-19 prevention and response measures;for use in low capacity and humanitarian settings.;
WHO’s mission is: promote health, keep the world safe, serve the vulnerable. This means delivering #HealthForAll, everywhere, including in areas affected by war and conflict. The most important tool to fight #Ebola, #COVID19 and other disease outbreaks is peace.
World Health Organization May 7, 2020
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Who’s Legal Counsel Explains How Observer Status At The World Health Assembly Is Determined
6 May 2020
In an answer to a journalist’s question,;WHO’s Legal Counsel;Derek Walton outlined that the World Health Assembly;on 18 and 19 May 2020 will be held virtually, as a de minimis session, which means it will focus principally on the COVID-19 pandemic.;
He went on to explain that the involvement of observers is a question for the member governments of WHO and that WHO’s Secretariat does not decide on such matters.;
Who Releases Its Manifesto For A Healthy Recovery From Covid
26 May 2020;
WHO prescription for a healthy & green #COVID19 recovery:Protect natureEnsure a quick healthy energy transitionPromote healthy, sustainable food systemsBuild healthy, liveable cities
World Health Organization May 29, 2020
WHO, Gavi and UNICEF warn that disruption to routine vaccination leaves at least 80 million children at risk;;
22 May 2020;
;COVID 19 is disrupting life-saving immunization services around the world, putting millions of children in rich and poor countries alike at risk of diseases like diphtheria, measles and polio.;
Provision of routine immunization services is substantially hindered in at least 68 countries and is likely to affect approximately 80 million children under the age of 1 living in these countries.
Since March 2020, routine childhood immunization services have been disrupted on a global scale that may be unprecedented since the inception of expanded programs on immunization in the 1970s.;
The reasons for disrupted services vary. Some parents are reluctant to leave home because of restrictions on movement, lack of information or because they fear infection with the COVID-19 virus. And many health workers are unavailable because of restrictions on travel, or redeployment to COVID response duties, as well as a lack of protective equipment. Transport delays of vaccines are also exacerbating the situation.
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Who Welcomes Preliminary Results About Dexamethasone Use In Treating Critically Ill Covid
16 June 2020
WHO welcomes the initial clinical trial results from the UK that show dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, can be lifesaving for patients who are critically ill with COVID-19. For patients on ventilators, the treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one third, and for patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one fifth, according to preliminary findings shared with WHO.;
We welcome results from a large RCT, that dexamethasone reduces mortality among the most severe #COVID19 patients. Focus must be on saving lives and preventing new infectionsCoronavirus breakthrough: dexamethasone is first drug shown to save lives
South Africa Eases Coronavirus Measures
New rules introduced in South Africa further eased coronavirus restrictions, with new infections dropping across all provinces. South Africa will, however, keep its evening curfew.
To date, over 57 percent of persons over 60 years of age have been vaccinated. This is a great achievement, but we need to reach them all. Were finding that more women than men are coming forward to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Although the numbers are improving, men are still slow in coming forward to be vaccinated. Cabinet has decided that the country after considering all these, it has decided that the country should be moved from adjusted Level 3 and be placed on adjusted Level 2 with effect from tomorrow. This means that the hours of curfew will now start at 11 p.m. and end at 4 a.m. There is certainly a need for curfew.
South Africa is easing some of its coronavirus restrictions, with new infections dropping across all provinces, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday.
While the third wave is not yet over, we have seen a sustained decline in infections across the country over the last few weeks, Mr. Ramaphosa said. The seven-day average of daily new cases has , according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
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Homeschooling On The Rise
The pandemic has also forced more parents and caregivers to homeschool their children. The United Kingdoms Office for National Statistics found that between May and June 2020, 87% of parents reported homeschooling at least one child in their household as a result of the pandemic.
In the U.S., the National Home Education Research Institute offer a conservative estimate of a 10% growth in the absolute number of homeschool students during 20202021 school year.
This, they say, would bring the number of homeschool students to roughly 2.75 million, a sizeable increase from the 2.5 million estimated in spring 2019.
Last autumn, Henrietta Fore, executive director of the United Nations Childrens Fund , warned that At least 24 million children are projected to drop out of school due to COVID-19 and that The longer children remain out of school, the less likely they are to return.
Fore also expressed concern that prolonged homeschooling could lead to reductions in emotional well-being for children, and in some extreme cases, may even jeopardize their safety.
We know that closing schools for prolonged periods of time devastating consequences for children. They become more exposed to physical and emotional violence. Their mental health is affected. They are more vulnerable to child labor, sexual abuse, and are less likely to break out of the cycle of poverty.
UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore
Hydroxychloroquine Arm Of Solidarity Trial Resumes
3 June 2020
Having met;on 23 May 2020,;the Executive Group of the Solidarity Trial decided to implement a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm of the trial, because of concerns raised about the safety of the drug.;This decision was taken as a precaution while the safety data were reviewed by the Data Safety and Monitoring Committee of the Solidarity Trial.;
On 3 June 2020, on the basis of the available mortality data, the members of the committee have recommended that there are no reasons to modify the trial protocol.
The Executive Group received this recommendation and endorsed the continuation of all arms of the Solidarity Trial, including hydroxychloroquine.
The Data Safety and Monitoring Committee will continue to closely monitor the safety of all therapeutics being tested in the Solidarity Trial.
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Us Set Seven Records In 11 Days
On July 10, the United States reached 68,000 new cases for the first time, setting a single-day record for the seventh time in 11 days. The infection rate was underscored by alarming growth in the South and West. At least six states had also reported single-day records for new cases: Georgia, Utah, Montana, North Carolina, Iowa and Ohio.
The European Union Pressured By China Watered Down A Report On Disinformation
The E.U. appeared to succumb to pressure from Beijing and softened criticism of China in a report on disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. While the initial report was not particularly harsh, European officials delayed and then rewrote the document to dilute the focus on China, a vital trading partner.
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Who Statement On False Allegations In Der Spiegel
9 May 2020
Der Spiegel reports of a 21 January, 2020, telephone conversation between WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and President Xi Jingping of China are unfounded and untrue.
Dr Tedros and President Xi did not speak on 21 January and they have never spoken by telephone.
Such inaccurate reports distract and detract from WHOs and the worlds efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic.
To note: China confirmed human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus on 20 January.
40th anniversary of global eradication of smallpox holds lessons for overcoming COVID-19
8 May 2020;
On May 8 1980,;the World Health Assembly confirmed the eradication of smallpox,;marking the end of a disease that had plagued humanity for at least 3000 years, killing 300 million people in the 20th;century alone.;
It was ended thanks to a 10-year global effort, spearheaded by the World Health Organization, that involved thousands of health workers around the world to administer half a billion vaccinations to stamp out smallpox.;
Speaking at a virtual event hosted at WHO-HQ, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus outlined what the eradication of smallpox can teach us about using basic public health solutions, science and solidarity to rise to the challenge of COVID-19.
Who Releases Package On Rapid Mortality Surveillance With Partners
21 May 2020
Compared with only using COVID-19 confirmed deaths as a measure of impact, rapid mortality surveillance generates daily or weekly counts of mortality data by age, sex, date of death, place of death and place of usual residence.;
This surveillance provides a more complete picture of impact, particularly for deaths that may be indirectly related to COVID-19. It also addresses the indirect impact caused by disruptions in healthcare access and supply chains.;
When policy-makers can compare estimated weekly number of excess deaths related to COVID-19 compared with pre-pandemic levels, they have a powerful tool to inform their national response and recovery planning.
World Health Organization May 25, 2020
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Hospitals In Washington State Already Strained Are Taking On Covid Patients From Idaho
In Idaho, where unchecked virus transmission has pushed hospitals beyond their breaking point,the state is sending some Covid-19 patients to neighboring Washington State.
But Washington hospitals are struggling with their own high caseloads, and some leaders in the state see Idahos outsourcing of Covid patients as a troubling example of how the failure to aggressively confront the virus in one state can deepen a crisis in another.
On the Washington side of the border, residents must wear masks when gathering indoors, students who are exposed to Covid face quarantine requirements, and many workers are under vaccination orders. On the Idaho side, none of those precautions are in place.
Last week, Idaho took the extraordinary step of moving its hospitals in the northern part of the state to crisis standards of care the threshold at which facilities facing overwhelming caseloads are authorized to ration their resources.
Idaho now has more than 600 patients hospitalized with Covid-19, about 20 percent higher than a previous peak in December. Only 40 percent of the states residents are fully vaccinated, one of the lowest rates in the nation, compared with 61 percent in Washington State, one of the highest.
Southern Us States Saw Sharp Rise In Cases
On June 20, for the third straight day, Florida and South Carolina broke their single-day records for new cases. The news came as infection levels for Missouri and Nevada also reached new highs. On June 19, the United States reported more than 30,000 new infections, its highest since May 1, with cases rising in 19 states across the South, West and Midwest.
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Uk Health Ministers Authorize Mass Covid Vaccinations For 12
Health officials in the United Kingdom on Monday authorized a mass Covid vaccination program for 12- to 15-year-olds, amid widespread concerns that Covid-19 cases could spike with the return to school after the summer vacation.
The authorization, announced by the chief medical officers of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, ended weeks of uncertainty and came despite some medical experts reservations over whether vaccinations would significantly benefit the age group. The four countries governments are now expected to put in place campaigns that will offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The campaigns are expected to be part of an address that the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, is scheduled to give on Tuesday, in which he will outline a strategy to prevent any new surge in coronavirus infections from overwhelming the national health service over a winter during which seasonal flu could add further strains. His focus is on protecting the country without resorting to the kind of severe lockdown restrictions imposed during earlier phases of the pandemic.
Those 16 and up are already eligible for vaccination, and so are younger children who have health conditions that put them at high risk. But otherwise healthy young people generally face only a small risk of suffering serious illness from the coronavirus, and that has prompted a debate over the ethics of vaccinating children to contain a virus that is mainly a threat to adults.