Rapid COVID-19 Escalation Pushes World Past 900,000 Cases

On a separate topic, he said the international research effort—the Solidarity Trial—to test four COVID-19 treatments has now randomly assigned more than 200 patients to one of the study arms. Tedros added that, so far, 74 countries have joined the trial or are in the process of signing on.

European Infections Continue Steady Rrise
With 6,256 new cases yesterday, Spain’s total passed 100,000, to reach 102,179. The country also reported 667 more deaths, pushing its fatality count above 9,000, to 9,131.

Italy yesterday reported 4,782 more cases, up a bit from 4,053 reported yesterday, for a total of 110,574. It also reported 727 more deaths, lifting its world-highest fatality number to 13,115.

In the United Kingdom, health officials reported 4,323 more cases, up sharply from 3,009 reported yesterday, along with 563 more deaths. France reported 4,861 more cases, down from 7,588 reported yesterday. And Germany reported 5,971 new cases, up from nearly 5,000 reported yesterday.

China Begins Reporting Asymptomatic Cases
China said yesterday that it will publish the number of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and said there are currently 1,541 such patients under observation, 205 of them travelers from overseas. A National Health Commission (NHC) official said the country is now reporting asymptomatic cases because of increased concerns that they can spread the virus and that sporadic clusters have been linked to asymptomatic carriers.

In its daily report yesterday, the NHC reported 36 new cases, 35 imported and 1 local case in Guangdong province. It also reported 130 new asymptomatic case-patients, noting that 302 earlier ones had been freed from quarantine and 2 became confirmed (symptomatic) cases.

A recent report from the South China Morning Post, based on classified Chinese government data, suggested that asymptomatic carriers—more than 43,000 as of the end of February—could account for up to one third of people who test positive.

At yesterday’s WHO media briefing, Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, the group’s technical COVID-19 lead, said it’s important to capture the contact tracing and testing information about people who haven’t yet developed symptoms, but it’s known that about 75% of people who test positive without symptoms go on to experience symptoms. She added that the WHO considers all lab-confirmed positives as cases, regardless of symptoms.

In Hong Kong yesterday, health officials reported the first COVID-19 detection in a cat, which belongs to an owner who tested positive for the virus. The cat’s oral, nasal, and rectal samples were positive for the virus. The cat hasn’t shown any clinical signs and will be quarantined. Two dogs in Hong Kong were positive for the virus in earlier instances, one of which was also positive on a serology test.

Hong Kong yesterday reported 51 more human COVID-19 cases, 34 of them travel related.

In other Asian developments yesterday:

·  Japan reported 225 more cases, 5 of them from airport quarantine. Eleven involve asymptomatic carriers

·  South Korea reported 101 more cases yesterday, 36 of them imported

·  Singapore has 74 more cases, 20 of them imported