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Pandemic infections top 3.34 million & killed over 238,700 globally; FDA approves emergency use of antiviral drug;India cases soar past 37,000

World wide scrambel for loosening of lockdown restrictions, US Death toll crosses 65,000

By Neeraj Bajpai

Unsparing Coronavirus pandemic infected over 3.34 million and killed 238,788  globally while unleashing its worst fury on the United States where over a 1.1 0million  people left infected and another 6500 killed.

According to Johns Hopkins University today,3,344,435 people were COVID -19 positive across the world, and out of these 1,103781 cases are in the US alone. The US has reported more than 2000 deaths during the last 24 hours.

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the investigational antiviral drug redeliver for the treatment of suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease. While there is limited information known about the safety and effectiveness of using redeliver to treat people in the hospital with COVID-19, the investigational drug was shown in a clinical trial to shorten the time to recovery in some patients.

“FDA’s emergency authorization of remdesivir, two days after the National Institutes of Health’s clinical trial showed promising results, is a significant step forward in battling COVID-19 and another example of the Trump Administration moving as quickly as possible to use science to save lives,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “NIH, FDA, and scientists across America and around the world have worked tirelessly with patients to get us this new potential treatment for COVID-19. The seamless cooperation between government and private industry under the President’s all-of-America approach to COVID-19 is getting treatment options to patients in record time.”

India recorded the biggest single-day jump of 2,293 coronavirus cases, taking the total to 37,336, the Union Health Ministry said this morning, adding that 1,218 deaths linked to the highly infectious COVID-19 have been reported so far. Seventy-one deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. The nationwide lockdown, which began on March 25 to check the spread of the novel coronavirus, has been extended by two more weeks.

Two days ahead of the expiry of lockdown -2 on May 3, The Centre has announced the extension of the ongoing lockdown by two weeks from the 4th of this month. The Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, to further extend the lockdown. Home Ministry said the decision has been taken after a comprehensive review of the COVID-19 situation.

Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has also issued an order to allow the movement of migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students, and other persons, stranded at different places across the country, by special trains to be operated by Ministry of Railways (MOR).

Perturbed over the disease impact on people and its economy, US President Donald Trump yesterday minced no words to say that he has seen evidence that gives him a “high degree of confidence” that the novel coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China. He refused to provide details to back up his assertion. His statement is in contradiction to his intelligence community.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence had issued a statement that said no such  assessment has been made and continues to “rigorously examine” whether the outbreak “began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan.”

“Yes, I have,” Trump said when asked whether he’s seen evidence that would suggest the virus originated in the lab. Later, asked why he was confident in that assessment, he said, can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that,”.

More than 3.8 million people submitted new claims for US unemployment benefits last week. The coronavirus outbreak has now led to 30 million Americans losing their jobs since mid-March.

Over 138,230  people died in the Coronavirus pandemic in the 53 countries of the European Region of the World Health Organization (WHO)  where except Belarus and Russia all other countries have shown less than fifty percent increase in the cases. There are 1,462,860 cases in the region.

As countries grapple with severe disruptions to education caused by COVID-19, several UN agencies – as part of the Global Education Coalition – issued new guidelines on Thursday to help Governments make decisions on safely reopening schools for the world’s 1.3 billion students affected by ongoing closures

The United States has already passed two grim milestones in its battle against the pandemic. The total number of infections has now surpassed one million while the death toll from the pandemic is higher than the total number of Americans killed during the Vietnam War. The Department of Veterans Affairs states that 58,220 service members were killed in Vietnam. 47,434 were killed in combat and 10,786 died in other incidents or accidents during the conflic.US GDP is also down by 4.8 percent in the first quarter.

In the UK, the disease has infected more than 178,685  people and left 27,512 dead. In Spain, there are more than 213435  cases and 24,543  deaths against Italy’s 207,428 cases and about 28,236 deaths.

In France, the death toll soared to over 24594 and cases crossed 167,299. In Russia, cases jumped to 114,431    with 1169 deaths.ermany has reported 164,077 cases and 6736 deaths.

In Canada, the Number of infections shot to about 55061 with a death toll of 3391 Likewise, In Sweden, as many as 21520 cases came into light with a death toll of 2653.

Japan has reported 14305 cases and 455 deaths. In China, figures stand at 83,956 cases and 4637 deaths. Singapore has 17101  cases and 16 deaths. In Norway, there are 7783 cases and 210 deaths have been reported.

In Pakistan, the total number of 18114  cases is reported so far with 417 deaths. In South Korea, total cases are 10,761  and 246 deaths. In Afghanistan, the case figures stand in 2335 and 68 deaths. In Saudi Arabia, 24097   cases surfaced with 169 deaths. Iran has reported about 6091 and 95646. In UAE, The death toll is 111, and uses are 13038

International experts have advised the World Health Organization (WHO) to work to identify the animal origins of the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic and its transmission to humans, the UN agency said on Friday.

The recommendation was among the outcomes of the latest meeting of the Emergency Committee on the new disease, established under global health regulations.

“We accept the committee’s advice that WHO works to identify the animal source of the virus through international scientific and collaborative missions, in collaboration with the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations”, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during his regular virtual press conference from Geneva.

statement from the Emergency Committee advised that the partners also identify “the route of introduction to the human population, including the possible role of intermediate hosts…which will enable targeted interventions and a research agenda to reduce the risk of similar events”.

Wide-ranging advice

In total, the Committee outlined more than 20 recommendations for WHO covering areas that include stepping up support for vulnerable countries and strengthening the global food supply chain. Guidance on the resumption of international travel was also suggested.

“This is a difficult issue because it’s a question of confidence between the Member States”, said Professor Didier Houssin, chair of the 15-member Committee, made up of health experts from across the globe.

“It’s a question of safe travel, but it’s also very important aspect for the activities in many countries which are relying very much on air travel.”

Countries urged to support WHO

The Emergency Committee also offered advice to the international community, namely to support the WHO leadership and to work with the agency and its partners to interrupt transmission of the new coronavirus.

Professor Houssin called for research to reduce “knowledge gaps”, among other recommendations.

“We know too little about the transmission of the virus”, he said. “We have, at the moment, nothing for prevention with vaccines, and we have no licensed therapeutics. This should change.”

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Relatedly, the European Commission will on Monday host a pledging conference to generate funds for COVID-19 vaccine research, in line with a recently launched global collaboration to make medicines to diagnose and treat available to all people, known as the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.

Emergency Committee to reconvene

The WHO chief had convened the Emergency Committee on Thursday, three months after its last meeting where the burgeoning COVID-19 outbreak was declared an international public health emergency.

At the time, there were less than 100 cases, and no deaths, outside China: the country where the disease was first reported.

COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on 11 March. As of Friday, cases topped three million globally, with more than 224,000 deaths.

The Emergency Committee will reconvene within 90 days.

 

(After 23 quarters of uninterrupted growth, the U.S. economy contracted for the first time since 2014 in the first three months of 2020. According to preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis on Wednesday, real GDP declined by 4.8 percent in Q1 2020 compared to the previous quarter, marking the worst contraction since Q4 2008. Statista infographic’s data journalist Felix Richter has said )

Coming in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis that has hit the U.S. economy with full force in late March, today’s negative reading was widely expected and is feared to be a mere taste of worse things to come. Considering that large parts of the country have been on lockdown through all of April and that more than 25 million Americans lost their jobs in the five weeks ended April 18, it’s all but certain that things will get worse before they get better.)

US President Donald Trump had said on Wednesday he believes China’s handling of the coronavirus is proof that Beijing “will do anything they can” to make him lose his re-election bid in November. He was talking to news agency Reuters at his office on Wednesday.

He has said: Despite reports to the contrary, Sweden is paying heavily for its decision not to lockdown. As of today, 2462 people have died there, a much higher number than the neighboring countries of Norway (207), Finland (206), or Denmark (443). The United States made the correct decision!”Thanks to the devotion of the American people, the number of new cases continues to decline.”

Spain is currently conducting a population-based seroepidemiological study to monitor past and present #COVID19 infection prevalence in order to inform public health policies ( pic).

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