Coronavirus News: Tuesday, August 18 – WHO Sees New Phase of Pandemic, Wuhan Moves On

By Anna Breuer on 18 August 2020
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The worldwide number of virus cases crossed the 22 million mark as of Tuesday and currently stands at 22.11 million.  Over 778,000 people have died thus far and 14.85 million have recovered, based on data compiled by Worldometer, a service that aggregates and makes available world statistics.

The United States continues to lead the world in the number of coronavirus cases reported, with 5.6 million as of Tuesday.  The coronavirus death toll there is almost 174,000. Officials reported 35,112 new infections on Monday and 445 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Texas surpassed 10,000 coronavirus-related deaths on Monday, and Florida’s death count nearly doubled in one month, to 9,539, although that state also reported on Monday the lowest number of new daily cases since mid-June, 2760.

The World Health Organization said it was concerned that the spread of the coronavirus in several countries in the Asia-Pacific region was being driven by people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Many in these age groups were unaware they were infected, and this in turn would pose a danger to vulnerable groups. “What we are observing is not simply a resurgence, we believe it is a signal that we have entered a new phase of the pandemic in the Asia-Pacific,” said Dr. Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, at a virtual news conference.

The WHO also said that the world is far from the point of herd immunity, as more than 100 seroprevalence studies show that only 10% of the population has developed coronavirus antibodies at the present time. As a result, “a large proportion of the population remains susceptible to infection,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit.

A study by the news channel CNBC and market research firm Dyanata found that results for 40% of all coronavirus tests in the United States come back too late to be clinically meaningful. Health officials say that test results should be available in less than three days and optimally, in two.

A Federal Reserve study found that one-third of businesses in the New York metropolitan area, which comprises New York City, northern New Jersey, and southwestern Connecticut, would not survive without some form of government support, if current revenue levels persist.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced on Monday the cancelation of all in-person undergraduate classes after a coronavirus outbreak quickly spread across the campus.  The move comes one week after classes began at the 30,000-student university.

Health officials in Paris said that the number of coronavirus cases today is now six times what the figure was at the beginning of the month.  In addition, “in mainland France, the number of new cases of COVID per 100,000 inhabitants is increasing in all age groups,” the French health authority said in a news release on Monday.

Government authorities in South Korea are suspending all in-person church services in the Seoul and the city’s surrounding provinces, “to avoid a national epidemic.”  Prime Minister Chung Sye-Kyun said that the country was at a critical crossroads as the number of new cases in the past 24 hours reached 246.

Meanwhile, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in a tweet that she will be tested for Covid-19 after experiencing mild flu symptoms. “I have mild respiratory symptoms,” she wrote. The prime minister will work from her official residence, Kersäranta, while awaiting the results of the test.

Finally, life in Wuhan appears to have moved on from the coronavirus.  What was ground zero in the outbreak is now a city where social distancing and masks are noticeably absent.  The central Chinese city of 11 million was home to one of the world’s most stringent lockdowns, which was lifted in early April.  The city hasn’t reported a new case of the virus since mid-May.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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