• One in Five Coronavirus Patients Caught the Virus in Hospital

    One in five hospital patients with coronavirus caught it while on wards, papers by Government scientists have revealed. Laura Donnelly writes in The Telegraph that the findings come alongside orders to all hospitals to enforce social distancing between staff in order to stop doctors and nurses from “congregating” and fueling the spread of the virus. An investigation by The Telegraph reveals that it was not until May 18 – nearly two months after Britain entered lockdown – that health chiefs finally issued guidance on how hospital workers should implement social distancing.

  • Study Finds 1 in 5 People Worldwide at Risk of Severe COVID-19

    In just six months, nearly 8 million people worldwide have been stricken with confirmed cases of Covid-19, and at least 434,000 have died. But those deaths have not been distributed evenly; among the most vulnerable are people with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes and diseases that affect the heart and lungs. According to a new modeling study, roughly 1.7 billion people around the world — 22 percent of the global population — fall into that category. Katherine J. Wu writes in the New York Times that that estimate, published in The Lancet Global Health, excluded healthy older individuals without underlying health conditions, a group also known to be at risk because of their age. It also did not take into account risk factors like poverty and obesity, which can influence a person’s susceptibility to disease and access to treatment.

  • Norway Pulls Its Coronavirus Contacts-Tracing App after Privacy Watchdog’s Warning

    One of the first national coronavirus contacts-tracing apps to be launched in Europe is being suspended in Norway after the country’s data protection authority raised concerns that the software, called “Smittestopp,” poses a disproportionate threat to user privacy — including by continuously uploading people’s location. Natasha Lomas writes in Tech Crunch that following a warning from the watchdog Friday, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHIsaid today it will stop uploading data from tomorrow — ahead of a June 23 deadline when the DPA had asked for use of the app to be suspended so that changes could be made. It added that it disagrees with the watchdog’s assessment but will nonetheless delete user data “as soon as possible.”

  • Up to 45 percent of SARS-CoV-2 infections may be asymptomatic

    An extraordinary percentage of people infected by the virus behind the ongoing deadly COVID-19 pandemic—up to 45 percent—are people who never show symptoms of the disease, according to the results of a Scripps Research analysis of public datasets on asymptomatic infections. Scrippssays that the findings, recently published in Annals of Internal Medicinesuggest that asymptomatic infections may have played a significant role in the early and ongoing spread of COVID-19 and highlight the need for expansive testing and contact tracing to mitigate the pandemic.    

  • Common Drug Reduces Coronavirus Deaths, Scientists Report

    In an unexpected glimmer of hope amid an expanding pandemic, scientists at the University of Oxford said on Tuesday that an inexpensive and commonly available drug reduced deaths in patients with severe Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Benjamin Mueller and Roni Caryn Rabin write in the New York Times that if the finding is borne out, the drug, a steroid called dexamethasone, would be the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in the sickest patients and may save hundreds of thousands of lives, eventually even millions, altering the course of the pandemic.

  • How Antibodies from Llamas May Lead to COVID-19 Treatment

    Scientists hope the special antibodies that llamas make can be directed against SARS-CoV-2 to help find our way out of the pandemic. Rockefeller University says that humans, too, make antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, and many groups are working on developing treatments based on them. Llama antibodies, however, come in a simpler design than their human counterparts. “For reasons that we don’t really understand, these animals make this variant of antibody that just has fantastic properties,” says Michael P. Rout, a structural biologist at Rockefeller. “It contains the good disease-recognizing parts of a human antibody, packed into a condensed warhead.”

  • Face Masks Could Be a Better Defense against COVID-19 than Hand Washing

    Face masks could provide a better defense against Covid-19 than hand washing or social distancing, according to a study of a coronavirus outbreak on board a navy ship. Patrick Sawyer writes in The Telegraphthat experts say the study strengthens the argument for masks to be made compulsory for people in indoor settings such as shops, restaurants and offices.

  • U.K. to See Three Waves of Unemployment as a Result of COVID-19, Experts Warn

    The UK will be hit with three waves of unemployment as a result of the Coronavirus crisis, experts have claimed as official data is on Tuesday expected to show a record monthly rise in joblessness. Anna Mikhailova writes in The Telegraph that new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will reflect the first wave of jobs lost since the lockdown began. Analysis by the Resolution Foundation, the economic think tank, predicts the April data will show a record monthly rise of people out of work, up from the latest figure of 1.29m in March.

  • This Disastrous Lockdown Can Never Be Repeated, Even If the Virus Returns

    Three months after we entered lockdown, as we tiptoe out to non-essential stores and meet a lonely relative, we can begin to benefit from something previously unavailable – experience. William Hague writes in The Telegraph that instead of having to rely entirely on widely varying mathematical models and fight an unknown virus in a fog of uncertainty, governments can start to see what has actually worked in different places around the world. The most important thing we now know is the true cost of a national lockdown, not just in economic but in human terms. The lockdown was a disaster on many fronts. “Such a disaster cannot under any circumstances be repeated. There can be no second lockdown.”

  • If Scientists Are Wrong about COVID, They Must Be Held to Account

    The world has panicked, and the British government has panicked worse than most. We scared ourselves and our fellow citizens out of rational thought. Matthew Parris writes in The Times that by losing our sense of proportion I submit we have crashed our economy, crashed our education system, our performing arts, our tourist and travel industry, and blighted the life chances of a whole generation. Before too long, commentators, politicians and scientists may be blushing at the mess we made of our national response to the coronavirus pandemic. Commentators will duck. Politicians will be blamed for everything, and who can doubt that political leadership has been a shambles? But how about “the science”, those men and women, academics, doctors and mathematical modelers, in whose expertise ministers once placed their trust?

  • Was the Coronavirus Outbreak an Intelligence Failure?

    As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, it’s clear that having better information sooner, and acting more quickly on what was known, could have slowed the spread of the outbreak and saved more people’s lives. Initial indications are that the U.S. intelligence community did well in reporting on the virus once news of the outbreak in China became widely known by early January. Whether it could have done more before that time, and why the Trump administration did not act more decisively early on, will have to wait for a future national coronavirus commission to help us sort out.

  • Research Integrity: Why We Should Trust Registered Clinical Trials

    In a time when we have to rely on clinical trials for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines, a new study brings good news about the credibility of registered clinical trials.

  • Breakthrough for Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine

    When it comes to livestock, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is probably the most devastating picornavirus on the planet. FMD is a serious and economically devastating livestock disease. Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), the virus causing FMD, is extremely contagious and afflicts animals with cloven hooves like cows, pigs, sheep and deer.

  • COVID-19 Activity Escalating in Africa, Middle East

    Though Latin America has evolved as the world’s biggest hot spot, COVID-19 activity is escalating in other regions, including Africa, which just passed 200,000 cases, and the Middle East, where cases have accelerated over the past 3 weeks. The global today rose to 7,440,350 cases, and 418,563 people have died from their infections.

  • COVID-19's “Devastating” Impact on Cancer Services

    COVID-19 has “wreaked havoc” on cancer services, experts have said, as new data reveals referrals fell to their lowest ever levels in the first full month of lockdown. Henry Bodkin writes in The Telegraph that NHS figures show that numbers more than halved between March and April. The statistics also revealed that the proportion of patients seen by a cancer specialist within two weeks after an urgent GP referral is at its lowest level since records began.