Parts of Latin America reopen after coronavirus lockdown despite surge in cases
- Phase One is beginning as the state of Rio de Janeiro recorded more than 54,000 cases of the virus and 5,462 deaths.
- Brazil has the second highest number of Covid-19 cases globally, having recorded at least 526,447 instances of the disease.
- On the same day, the country surpassed 10,000 virus-related deaths, becoming the seventh nation to do so.
- Obrador, who has not traveled since late March, said Mexico's economy had to reopen "for the good of the people." He added that the easing of the lockdown had to be managed cautiously and carefully.
- Mexico has recorded the second highest number of deaths in Latin America.
- In late May, the Pan American Health Organization declared Latin America the world's new coronavirus epicenter.
- And on Monday, the World Health Organization said Central and South America had become "intense zones of transmission" for the virus.
Covid-19 news: Death in severe cases are 70 times higher in over 80s
- The data also shows that black people are between two and three times more likely to be diagnosed with coronavirus than white people, and death rates from covid-19 are highest among people from black and Asian ethnic groups.
- Coronavirus: The science of a pandemic: As the death toll from covid-19 rises, discover how researchers around the world are racing to understand the virus and prevent future outbreaks in our free online panel discussion.
- The easing of restrictions in England from today includes people being allowed to meet outdoors in groups of up to six, while maintaining a two metre distance between people from different households, as well as the reopening of car showrooms and outdoor markets.
- Brazil reported a new daily record of 26,417 confirmed new coronavirus cases on Thursday, according to the country’s health ministry.
Scientist warns against fast-tracking COVID-19 vaccine trials
- As efforts to find an effective vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 ramp up, an immunologist warns that fast-tracking of clinical trials could be catastrophic.
- Phase II trials involve investigating the immune response in a larger cohort.
- Phase III trials involve much larger groups of people (sometimes in the thousands) and must show, in a statistically significant manner, that the vaccine can protect against infection.
- The article in Science Advances warns that this route could be dangerous and says scientists must conduct comprehensive safety tests for any potential vaccine.
- In the failed RSV vaccine, there was a lack of antibody affinity maturation, which caused the children to have a worse response than usual when they contracted the virus.
- Studies of immune responses to SARS-COV-2 have found that the numbers of CD4+ T cells are crucial for overcoming the disease, which is a vital consideration for vaccine development.
An entrepreneur’s guide to COVID-19 tech news in May
- In the United States, Democrats in the House and Senate introduced the Public Health Emergency Privacy Act that aims to better ensure privacy and data security rights for personal health information shared with tech companies and the government for use in developing and deploying contact tracing apps.
- Other large tech firms that made COVID-19-related announcements in May include Microsoft, who together with United Healthcare launched ProtectWell, a free symptom-screening app for the workplace; Samsung, who teamed up with Facebook to train its offline retailers under lockdown in India to go digital on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp; and Russian cybersecurity giant Kaspersky Labs, whose founder announced the launch of an online accelerator dedicated to reviving the tourism industry, hit hard by coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
Surgeon General warns of coronavirus outbreaks from Floyd protests
- While a majority of protesters nationwide have worn masks and face coverings as they demand justice for Floyd, an African-American man who died last week while in police custody, the large crowds have made it difficult to social distance.
- Adams is the latest government leader to express concern over whether the protests could spread coronavirus, as he and other health groups are caught in a balancing act of trying to advise Americans during a pandemic and raise awareness of how racism puts the black community's health at risk.
- As the protests have continued, several doctors' groups -- the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and American College of Physicians -- emphasized that racism is a public health issue and called for police brutality to stop.
Scientists say they have found the cleanest air on earth
- Researchers found that the boundary layer air, which feeds the lower clouds over the Southern Ocean, was free from aerosol particles produced by human activity -- including burning fossil fuels, planting certain crops, fertilizer production, and wastewater disposal -- or transported from other countries around the world.
- Research scientist and co-author of the study Thomas Hill explained that "the aerosols controlling the properties of SO (Southern Ocean) clouds are strongly linked to ocean biological processes, and that Antarctica appears to be isolated from southward dispersal of microorganisms and nutrient deposition from southern continents," he said in a statement.
- From the bacterial composition of the microbes, researchers concluded that aerosols from distant land masses and human activities, such as pollution or soil emissions caused by land use change, were not traveling south and into the air.
Wall St trends higher amid broad gains
- US stock indexes are moving higher in early trading Tuesday, following broad gains in global markets as investors hope that the gradual lifting of coronavirus lockdown mandates will put economies ravaged by the outbreak on the path to recovery.
- The modest gains have the S&P 500 on track for a three-day winning streak, extending the benchmark index's remarkable two-month rally off a steep skid in February and March as broad swaths of the US economy ground to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- People in Britain from ethnic minorities have died in larger relative numbers with COVID-19 than their white compatriots, according to a study by British health authorities published Tuesday.
- The Public Health England study found that people of Bangladeshi ethnicity had about twice the risk of death of white Britons.
No evidence that mutations to SARS-CoV-2 increase transmissibility
- An analysis of more than 15,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes finds that mutations to the virus do not increase its transmissibility and are instead either neutral or detrimental to its spread.
- There have been concerns that some of these mutations could increase the transmissibility of the virus — that is, its ability to spread between people.
- Identifying mutations that could increase the virus’s ability to spread throughout the human population is critical, as it could help control the pandemic.
- Using samples from 15,691 SARS-CoV-2 genomes from COVID-19 patients across the globe, the researchers identified 6,822 different mutations.
- To determine whether or not the mutations could increase the ability of the virus to spread between people, the researchers modeled the evolutionary tree of SARS-CoV-2.
- Although this analysis did find 12 independent occurrences of this mutation, the researchers found no evidence to suggest that it is associated with increased transmission.
Antimalarial drug boosts glioblastoma treatment
- New research finds that lumefantrine, a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to combat malaria, can enhance the effectiveness of the primary drug used to treat GBM.
- The authors of the study found that adding lumefantrine to in vitro treatment of glioblastoma cells with radiation and temozolomide killed the cancer cells and suppressed their new growth.
- The researchers transplanted human GBM into the brains of the mice and, again, the combination of radiation, temozolomide, and lumefantrine proved successful at killing both sensitive and resistant glioblastoma cells and suppressing further growth.
- This protein is common in glioblastoma tumors and may contribute to the development of GBM — including that resistant to treatment — because it can regulate extracellular matrix remodeling and epithelial-mesenchymal transition, according to the study’s authors.
WHO heaped praise on China early in COVID-19 outbreak to get data: AP - Business Insider
- The World Health Organization (WHO) lavished China with praise early in the coronavirus outbreak in an attempt to flatter it into handing over data, a new Associated Press (AP) investigation has found.
- China informed the WHO about the virus on December 31, 2019, and in early January 2020, as the virus spread in Hubei province, the WHO asked China to hand over the genetic map of the virus and detailed patient data.
- But it took until January 12 for China to hand over the genetic sequence, and two more weeks to hand over patient data.
- Despite the apparent lack of cooperation, Tedros — the WHO's director — said on January 30 that China had allowed an international expert team to study the virus in China.
- One expert told Business Insider's Rosie Perper the extra funding was an effort to "boost its superficial credentials" in the pandemic.