Live updates: Coronavirus and COVID-19

  • The recent coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
  • Known as SARS-CoV-2, the virus has infected more than 95,000 people.
  • COVID-19 has now been reported on every continent except Antarctica.
  • To read our feature article answering some of the most common questions and concerns surrounding COVID-19, click 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.

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