Mike Pence to hold coronavirus task force briefing on Friday
CNN reports that US Vice President Mike Pence will lead a coronavirus task force press briefing on Friday morning, as cases surge in the US.
Cases are now rising in 27 US states, up from 22 earlier this week, as four of the last five days saw more than 30,000 new cases confirmed per day, according to the Oxford University-run Our World In Data.
California has seen a 69% rise in coronavirus cases in just two days, Gavin Newsom, the governor, said on Wednesday, as the state continues to battle a surge of new infections and hospitalisations.
On Thursday, Florida reported more than 5,000 new cases for the second consecutive day. Thursday’s rise in reported cases was lower than Wednesday’s record-setting mark, and is only the second time the state has crossed the 5,000-case mark in a day. In total, the state has reported more than 114,000 confirmed cases and at least 3,327 coronavirus-related deaths.
Europe-wide study shows child virus deaths ‘extremely rare’
Fewer than one in a hundred children who test positive for Covid-19 end up dying although a small but significant percentage develop severe illness, a new Europe-wide study showed Friday.
AFP reports that a team of researchers led by experts in Britain, Austria and Spain looked at the outcomes of nearly 600 children under 18 infected with the novel coronavirus and found that only a quarter had pre-existing medical conditions.
This is in sharp contrast to adults, among whom the vast majority of patients have underlying health problems.
The team found that more than 60% of Covid-19 positive children required hospital treatment, and that 8% needed intensive care. Of the 582 children studied, just four died. On the other hand, more than 90 children, or 16%, showed no symptoms at all.
Marc Tebruegge, from University College London’s Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, said that while the results shouldn’t be extrapolated for the general population, they were nevertheless reassuring.
“The case fatality cohort was very low and it is likely to be substantially lower still, given many children with mild disease would not have been brought to medical attention and therefore not included in this study,” he said.
“Overall, the vast majority of children and young people experience only mild disease,” added Tebruegge, lead author of the study published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.
“Nevertheless a notable number of children do develop severe disease and require intensive care support, and this should be accounted for when planning and prioritising healthcare resources as the pandemic progresses.”
Denmark’s prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, thought she had finally found a date for her wedding, but has now had to postpone it for a third time due to an EU summit, she said on Thursday. Many a wedding plan has been upended by the Covid-19 pandemic and it seems not even world leaders are immune, AFP reports.
“I am really looking forward to marrying this fantastic man,” Frederiksen wrote in a Facebook post alongside a photo of herself and her fiance, Bo Tengberg.
“But obviously it can’t be that easy, and now there is a council meeting in Brussels called, exactly on that Saturday in July when we had planned to marry,” she wrote.
The extraordinary European Council meeting on 17-18 July, which will be held in Brussels in the presence of the 27 heads of the member states, was decided last week at a virtual meeting. It will be the first summit where the leaders will be physically present since the coronavirus lockdown began months ago.
During the meeting leaders are set to discuss a recovery plan in response to the Covid-19 crisis and a new EU budget.
Texas pauses next phase of reopening
As US states reopen, the administration says it is up to governors and local officials to determine how to respond to the spikes.
Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott, for example, put a hold on any further steps to reopen and reimposed a ban on elective surgeries in some areas to preserve hospital space after the number of patients statewide more than doubled in two weeks.
Texas confirmed a record 5,996 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, just one day after beating its previous record with Wednesday’s 5,551 cases.
Brazil confirms 39,483 new cases as Bolsonaro says he may have had Covid-19
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that he might have contracted the novel coronavirus previously and he may do another test for the disease, having already tested negative for the virus multiple times weeks earlier.
Bolsonaro had said he tested negative twice but fought a court battle to stop the release of the hospital test results, raising questions over whether he may have been infected or not.
On Thursday Brazil confirmed 39,483 new cases. Brazil now has 1,228,114 known coronavirus infections. The death toll is nearing 55,000, with the current fatalities at 54,971, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.
Mexico treasury secretary tests positive for coronavirus
Mexico’s treasury secretary said Thursday he has tested positive for the coronavirus and will self-isolate while working from home, AP reports.
Arturo Herrera said he had only minor symptoms. It was unclear how recently he was in close contact with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who refuses to use a face mask and has resumed public tours across Mexico.
Herrera is the country’s highest-ranking Cabinet member to be infected so far. Previously, the head of the Mexican Social Security Institute tested positive but later returned to work. Several state governors have also acknowledged testing positive.
Mexico currently has about 196,847 confirmed coronavirus cases and has reported over 24,300 deaths. Those numbers continue to rise at near-record rates.
CDC believes more than 20m Americans may have had coronavirus
The news that US government experts believe more than 20 million Americans could have contracted coronavirus came as Texas, one of the most populous US states, has seen a surge in Covid-19 cases and the governor on Thursday announced that he would have to pause the next phases in what has been a rapid reopening of business. Cases are now rising in 27 US states, up from 22 earlier this week.
The CDC’s new estimate that for every diagnosis of coronavirus in the US it is likely that 10 more people are or have been infected is based on serology testing used to determine the presence of antibodies that show whether an individual has had the disease, the officials said.
The officials, speaking to a small group of reporters on Wednesday night, said the estimate was based on the number of known cases, currently nearing 2.4m in the US, multiplied by the average rate of antibodies seen from the serology tests, about an average of 10 to one.
Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
I’m Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest developments from around the world for the next few hours. You’re welcome to send news and tips from your part of the world, comments, questions or suggestions to me on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: email@example.com.
US government experts believe more than 20 million Americans could have contracted coronavirus – 10 times more than official counts, as cases are now rising in more than half of states and a new warning came of the risk of “apocalyptic” infection in major cities.
My colleagues Joanna Walters and Mario Koran report that the new estimated numbers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that many people without symptoms have or have had the disease, senior administration officials said on Thursday.
Here are the latest developments from the last few hours:
- Cases worldwide passed 9.5 million on Thursday, with the WHO saying it expected global infections to pass 10 million by the end of the week. The current total stands at 9,523,858. At least 484,880 people have died so far.
- Brazil confirmed 39,483 new cases. Brazil now has 1,228,114 confirmed cases. The death toll is nearing 55,000, with 54,971 fatalities currently confirmed.
- Florida reports more than 5,000 new cases. For the second consecutive day, Florida has reported more than 5,000 new confirmed cases of Covid-19. Thursday’s rise in reported cases was lower than Wednesday’s record-setting mark, but it is only the second time the state has crossed the 5,000-case mark in a day.In total, the state has reported more than 114,000 confirmed cases and at least 3,327 coronavirus-related deaths.
- Mexico’s finance minister, Arturo Herrera Gutiérrez, has announced he has tested positive for coronavirus but is experiencing only “minor” symptoms.
- Cases continue to surge in the Americas, with Texas announcing it is halting its reopening after an alarming rise in infections and hospitalisations. US government experts have said they believe more than 20 million Americans could have contracted the coronavirus, 10 times more than official counts. Mexico confirmed its second-highest daily coronavirus death toll so far, with 947 fatalities on Wednesday.
- Europe has seen a surge of Covid-19 cases since countries began easing restrictions, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, has told reporters. “Last week, Europe saw an increase in weekly cases for the first time in months,” he said, adding that more than two dozen countries in Europe had recorded resurgences of the deadly virus.
- In Portugal, several parts of Greater Lisbon will have to go back into lockdown from next week as Portuguese authorities deal with a worrying wave of coronavirus on the city’s outskirts.
- Israel is also experiencing an alarming surge in new coronavirus cases, which has prompted the government to approve the reimposing of a controversial tracking system administered by the country’s domestic security agency, the Shin Bet.
- The decline in the number of people in England estimated to have Covid-19 has levelled off, new figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest. The body said the percentage testing positive has “clearly decreased over time” since the first measurement on 26 April and that “this downward trend has now flattened”.
- The World Health Organization has warned that hospitals are facing a shortage in oxygen concentrators, which are needed to support the breathing of Covid-19 patients suffering from respiratory distress, as 1m new cases of coronavirus are confirmed worldwide per week.
- Volunteers in the UK, Brazil and South Africa received their first doses of an experimental vaccine as part of a human trial run by Oxford University.
- China reported 19 newly confirmed cases of coronavirus amid mass testing in Beijing, where a recent outbreak appears to have been brought under control. Of the new cases it reported on Thursday, 13 were in Beijing and one in the neighbouring province of Hebei. Officials say the other five were brought by Chinese travellers from outside the country. No new deaths were reported.