COVID-19 live updates: Total number of deaths passes 75,000
04/07/2020 15:45 GMT — UK prime minister hospitalized
Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, has been admitted to St. Thomas’ Hospital, in London. Last week, the 55-year-old announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19; his symptoms worsened over the weekend.
Johnson is the first head of government to have fallen ill with COVID-19. He is currently receiving oxygen, but he is not on a ventilator. In his absence, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is running the country.
According to a tweet from the prime minister, he is in “good spirits.”
Read more here.
07/04/2020 11:20 GMT — WHO concerned as coronavirus accelerates in Africa
In a recent news release, the WHO raise concerns about the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Africa. The continent’s health systems are already fragile, and if the number of cases continues to accelerate, they will be overrun.
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s Regional Director for Africa outlines the advance of COVID-19 in Africa:
“It took 16 days from the first confirmed case in [Africa] to reach 100 cases. It took a further 10 days to reach the first thousand. Three days after this, there were 2,000 cases, and 2 days later, we were at 3,000.”
Some countries, such as Kenya, Uganda, and the Republic of the Congo, have already implemented countrywide lockdowns. However, because many people in these countries live in crowded areas and work in the “informal sector,” it is important that they still have access to essential services.
To address this, the press release states, “governments must use these measures in a considered, evidence-based manner, and make sure that people can continue to access basic necessities.”
According to the WHO, they are already “pursuing innovative solutions to the region’s pressing public health problems.”
Read the full news release here.
04/07/2020 11:09 GMT — Glucocorticoids may increase COVID-19 risk
People who take glucocorticoids may be more likely to contract SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus, and develop severe symptoms of COVID-19, suggest members of the editorial board of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Glucocorticoids are an effective treatment for chronic inflammatory conditions because they reduce inflammation. Yet, by suppressing the immune system, the drugs also increase the likelihood of contracting viral infections.
The authors recommend that doctors consider all individuals who take glucocorticoids to be at high risk of COVID-19.
However, they caution that it is not clear if the drugs themselves are to blame, or whether increased susceptibility to COVID-19 is due to a person’s underlying immune condition, or any other drugs that they make take in combination with glucocorticoids.
Read more here.