Tag Archives: pandemic

COVID-19: Fresh cases of 197; deaths toll hit 1,075


Nigeria reports 197 fresh cases of COVID-19 pandemic as total death toll hit 1,075.

Plateau reports highest cases of 83 followed by Lagos with 48 cases and Kaduna – 17.


197 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria;


55,829 confirmed
43,810 discharged
1,075 deaths


Just in: Nancy Pelosi in trouble amid solo hair salon face mask controversy


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s team claims she was invited and she followed the salon’s rules when not wearing a mask.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is facing controversy over footage of a solo hair salon visit in San Francisco at a time when California businesses are limited by concern over coronavirus.

Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) first reported on the footage, which shows Pelosi in the salon, face mask around her neck. A stylist can be seen following her with a mask covering her mouth.

But Pelosi’s spokesman said she was complying with the rules as presented to her by eSalon.

“This business offered for the Speaker to come in on Monday and told her they were allowed by the city to have one customer at a time in the business,” said spokesman Drew Hammill in a statement. “The Speaker complied with the rules as presented to her by this establishment.”

The salon owner said she rents chairs to stylists, one of whom let her know in advance that Pelosi wanted a wash and a blow-dry.

California guidelines on salons vary by county, but San Francisco officials have not yet permitted indoor salons to open. The owner said she considered the service “a slap in the face” to business owners who have been forced to close.


Conservatives pounced, casting Pelosi as a hypocrite.

“Speaker Pelosi has pushed policies that would keep our economy closed and our small businesses shut down. But for herself?” Senate Republicans tweeted. “A salon visit whenever she pleases.”

President Donald Trump Tweeted that Pelosi “is being decimated for having a beauty parlor opened, when all others are closed, and for not wearing a Mask – despite constantly lecturing everyone else. We will almost certainly take back the House, and send Nancy packing!”

Critics of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi cast her as a hypocrite for calling to wear masks, then going to an indoor salon [J Scott Applewhite/AP Photo]

Pelosi says Republicans could help create the conditions to safely reopen if they would only “listen to the scientists”.


“Republicans are rejecting the funding needed for testing and tracing to crush the virus and safely reopen schools and the economy,” she wrote in a letter on Friday to her Democratic colleagues.

Pelosi recently faced some controversy for endorsing Joe Kennedy III in his primary challenge to Senator Ed Markey in Massachusets.

Democrats have long discouraged primaries to sitting colleagues in good standing with the party. Pelosi said her endorsement came because Kennedy worked hard to help Democrats win a majority in the House of Representatives in 2018.

Markey won on Tuesday night, with roughly 55 percent of the vote.



COVID-19: Nigeria records 138 cases; 2 new deaths


Nigeria reports 138 fresh COVID-19 cases as total infections nears 54,000. Total death toll hit 1013.

Plateau state leads with 55 cases followed by Lagos State – 15, Ebonyi and Oyo state with 11 cases each

Edo, Bauchi and Benue State records lowest 1 case each of COVID-19 pandemic.

Fourteen States out of 36 Nigerian States pioneered the 138 COVID-19 cases.



138 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria;


53,865 confirmed
41,513 discharged
1,013 deaths

United States to defeat COVID-19 this year – Donald Trump


US President Donald Trump on Thursday pledged to “crush” the coronavirus pandemic with a vaccine by the end of the year, as he accepted the Republican nomination for a second term.

“We are marshaling America’s scientific genius to produce a vaccine in record time,” Trump said. “We will have a safe and effective vaccine this year and together we will crush the virus.


COVID-19: ‘Don’t let down your guard’ – WHO warns Young People


The World Health Organization on Thursday warned that spikes in coronavirus transmission in a number of countries were being driven by young people “letting down their guard”.

“Young people are not invincible,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference in Geneva.

While the pandemic, which has killed nearly 670,000 and infected more than 17 million people worldwide, has disproportionately impacted the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions, he stressed that “younger people are at risk too”.


“Young people can be infected, young people can die, and young people can transmit the virus to others.”

Tedros lamented that a major challenge in trying to rein in the novel coronavirus was “convincing younger people of this risk”.

He pointed to evidence that “spikes of cases in some countries are being driven in part by younger people letting down their guard during the northern hemisphere summer”.


“Young people must take the same precautions to protect themselves and protect others as everyone else,” he insisted.

WHO ‘s technical lead for COVID-19 Maria Van Kerkhove lamented in particular that nightclubs in a number of places had become “amplifiers” of transmission.

“We are asking for all people, including young people, to be your own risk manager” and avoid behaviours that could easily increase transmission of the disease.

File photo: World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference organised by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, on July 3, 2020 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. Fabrice COFFRINI / POOL / AFP

– Long term impacts –

Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies director, also stressed that very little is still known about the long term effects of even mild COVID-19 infections.


“This disease while it may be mild, it may be moderate, it can affect many organs,” he told Thursday’s briefing.

“We just don’t know what the long-term impact of those infections will be,” he said, pointing to a study in Germany following COVID-19 patients who were never admitted to hospital, which hinted the long-term impacts could be serious.

MRI scans of their hearts had found shown “profound changes, inflammatory changes in the cardiac linings of the heart and the cardiac muscles,” he said.

While those issues will likely pass for most patients once the virus is out of their system, he warned that “inflammatory responses can also in themselves do damage and they can do long-term damage”.


“Any inflammatory process in the cardiovascular system can lead to longer term heart disease and can actually accelerate other chronic heart conditions that may develop much later in life,” he pointed out.

“We just don’t know… Why take the risk?”

Young people, he warned, should of course try to rein in transmission as an altruistic act to avoid spreading the virus to more vulnerable groups, he said, but they should also do so out of consideration for their own health.

“Play it safe,” he said.

“Use your brain… Don’t take a risk that you cannot quantify.”


Half of COVID-19 patients given ventilation pass away – German study


One in five patients hospitalised in Germany over the coronavirus succumbed to the disease, with the fatality rate rising to 53 percent for those who received ventilation, a study showed Wednesday.

Data of 10,000 patients admitted to 930 German hospitals between February 26 and April 19 were analysed by the German Interdisciplinary Association of Critical Care and Emergency Medicine, the Technical University of Berlin and AOK health insurance group’s research arm WIdO.

Hospitalised male patients had a higher mortality rate than women, with 25 percent compared to 19 percent.


Older patients were also significantly more vulnerable, as 27 percent of patients in their 70s died while 38 percent of those above 80 years old failed to pull through.

In this file photo taken on July 10, 2020, patient Heike Abicht poses for a photo of a testing situation in a corona screening station in the medical center of the Franz-Josef-Strauss airport in Munich, southern Germany, amid the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Christof STACHE / AFP

“These high mortality rates clearly show that a relatively high number of patients with a very serious course of disease were treated in hospitals,” said Juergen Klauber, director of WIdO.

“Such serious course of diseases mainly affect older people and people whose health is already compromised, but also occur in younger patients,” he warned, urging the population to take necessary precautions to prevent new infections.


Of the 10,021 patients, 1,727 were given mechanical ventilation. While almost twice as many who received ventilation were men, the mortality rates were similar gender-wise, the study said.

Patients were staying in hospitals for an average of 14 days, with those not on ventilation hospitalised for an average of 12 days while the duration for those who needed help breathing rose to 25 days.

File photo: HOUSTON, TX – JULY 28: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Members of the medical staff treat a patient who is wearing helmet-based ventilator in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on July 28, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Go Nakamura/Getty Images/AFP

Reinhard Busse, professor of healthcare management at TU Berlin, noted that on average, 240 days of ventilation would be required for every 100 hospitalised patients.

“These are important numbers to prepare for a second wave of the pandemic. However, we do not anticipate any problems with normal hospital beds, even with high infection rates,” he added.


Thanks to its decentralised healthcare system, Germany has been able to significantly ramp up its capacity to treat COVID-19 patients, avoiding scenes like in Italy where some hospitals were overwhelmed by the sudden huge caseload.

Testers Cameron Robertson (L) and Lena Schaecher pose a testing situation for a photo in a corona screening station in Ebersberg near Munich, southern Germany, on April 29, 2020, amid the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Christof STACHE / AFP

However, health experts have urged against complacency, with the head of the RKI disease control agency, Lothar Wieler, repeatedly urging the population to keep to hygiene rules like social distancing or mask wearing.

With the summer holiday season in full swing, politicians are also watching anxiously at infection numbers which have ticked up in recent weeks.

As of Wednesday, Germany has recorded 206,926 cases of infections including 9,128 deaths.


Just in: Canada ‘yes’ Ebola drug for COVID-19 cure


Canada on Tuesday gave the green light for people with severe symptoms of COVID-19 to be treated with the anti-viral drug remdesivir.

“Remdesivir is the first drug that Health Canada has authorized for the treatment of COVID-19,” said the health ministry.

At least two major US studies have shown that remdesivir can reduce the duration of hospital stays for COVID-19 patients.

Washington authorized the emergency use of the medicine — which was originally intended as a treatment for Ebola — on May 1, followed by several Asian nations including Japan and South Korea.


Canada said Tuesday it can be used on COVID-19 patients who have pneumonia and need extra oxygen to help them breathe.

The doses used in Canada will be made by a unit of Gilead Sciences, the US pharmaceutical company that developed the drug.

This file photo taken on April 8, 2020 shows one vial of the drug Remdesivir during a press conference about the start of a study with the Ebola drug Remdesivir in particularly severely ill patients at the University Hospital Eppendorf (UKE) in Hamburg, northern Germany, amidst the new coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Ulrich Perrey / POOL / AFPcbi

In early July, the European Commission also authorized use of remdesivir to treat the coronavirus.

As of Tuesday, Canada was reporting 114,800 cases of the virus and more than 8,900 fatalities.


COVID-19: Cases in US under 24 hours top 68,000


The United States on Saturday recorded 68,212 new coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours, Johns Hopkins University reported in its real-time tally.

That brought the total number of cases in the world’s hardest-hit country to 4,174,437, the Baltimore-based university said at 8:30 pm (0030 Sunday).

Another 1,067 deaths were reported, bringing the country’s total fatalities to 146,391.

After a drop in the rate of infections in late spring, the US has seen a coronavirus surge, particularly in southern and western states like California, Texas, Alabama and Florida.


For the past 12 days, the number of new cases being reported each day has topped 60,000.

Scientists agree that an increase in death rates follows the spike in infections by three to four weeks.

The daily death toll for the past four days has exceeded 1,000.


COVID-19: Catalonia, Spanish region shut event centres, nightclubs


The Catalan government on Friday ordered the closure of all nightclubs, discos and event halls across this region of northeastern Spain following a surge in cases of coronavirus.

The order, which will come into effect on Saturday and remain in force for two weeks, was given as Spain watches more than 280 new outbreaks, with virus cases tripling in the past fortnight.

Nearly half of all new cases have been in Catalonia, where just a week ago, officials urged nearly four million residents of metropolitan Barcelona to stay home unless absolutely necessary.


Friday’s order by the region’s civil protection agency also banned musical events with dance floors and imposed a midnight curfew on gambling establishments, casinos, bingo halls, bars and restaurants and their terraces, and music bars.

Barely a month after Spain ended its months-long state of emergency, new infections have been rising, with health officials increasingly pointed to nightlife as fertile ground for the spread of the virus.

People wear face masks as they walk along a beach in Barcelona, on July 18, 2020. Josep LAGO / AFP

Earlier this week, the southeastern region of Murcia also ordered the closure of nightclubs unless they had an outdoor terrace space for customers.


The closure came a month after Barcelona’s nightclubs and discos reopened but within days, regional officials had issued an order banning dancing unless you know your partner well.

Spain has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic which has so far claimed 28,432 lives and infected more than 272,000 people.

France has also been worriedly watching the situation in Catalonia, with Prime Minister Jean Castex on Friday urging French nationals “to avoid going there until the health situation improves”.

For now, however, the border between France and Spain will remain open.


COVID-19: Central Bank of South Africa slash interest rates


South Africa’s central bank on Thursday cut its key interest rate for the fifth time this year in a bid to breathe life into the coronavirus-stricken economy.

Along with other central banks around the world to aggressively lower borrowing costs in a bid to soften economic blow from COVID-19, the South African Reserve Bank cut its repurchase or “repo” rate by 0.25 percentage points to a record low of 3.5 percent.

Already this year, the bank had previously cut the rate by a total 2.75 percentage points to provide relief to indebted consumers as the negative effects from the coronavirus pandemic make themselves felt.

President Cyril Ramaphosa imposed a lockdown in March, but began loosening some of the restrictions in June to allow for economic activity to resume.


But the country’s economy was already in tatters before the onset of the pandemic, with credit ratings agencies downgrading South Africa’s sovereign debt.

Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago warned that even as the lockdown is relaxed in coming months, investment, exports and imports are expected to decline sharply across the year as a whole.

Job losses and unemployment, already at record highs of above 30 percent, are also expected to climb further.

The central bank also downgraded its growth estimate for the second quarter and said it expected gross domestic product to contract by 7.3 percent in 2020, instead of the 7.0 percent forecast in May.


“The deepest contractions are expected in the second quarter of 2020, with gradual recoveries in the third and fourth quarters of the year,” Kganyago said.

The rate decision comes at a time when consumer inflation is at a 15-year low at 2.1 percent.

Since January, the rand has depreciated by 15.2 percent against the dollar, the governor said.

South Africa is the country in Africa that has been worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic and, with over 400,000 infections so far, ranks among the top five in the world in terms of confirmed cases.


COVID-19:Texas prisoners hit by largest outbreaks at federal jail


More than 500 women test positive for coronavirus at facility holding inmates with medical and mental health issues.

Hundreds of female prisoners in the US state of Texas have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, in one of the largest confirmed outbreaks at a federal prison in the country hit hardest by the pandemic.

The number of confirmed cases at the Federal Medical Center-Carswell in Fort Worth jumped to 510 on Tuesday, just two days after the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) reported that 200 women there had been diagnosed with COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

Only the federal prison in Seagoville, also located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, had more infected inmates, with 1,156 cases as of Tuesday.

“We’re like a whole bunch of hamsters in a cage chasing our own tails,” FMC-Carswell inmate Holli Chapman told The Associated Press news agency.


Three weeks ago, the facility had reported only three confirmed cases of the virus among inmates. As of Monday, three women had died of the virus.

FMC-Carswell holds female inmates with medical and mental illnesses. It currently has 1,357 prisoners.

The BOP said in a statement it was taking precautions to stem the spread of the virus.
The Bureau of Prisons says it is taking precautions to stem the virus’ spread [File: LM Otero/AP]

“As with any type of emergency situation, we carefully assess how to best ensure the safety of staff, inmates and the public,” it said.


“All of our facilities are implementing the BOP’s guidance on mitigating the spread of COVID-19.”

Last week, several women at Carswell told the Forth Worth Star-Telegram newspaper the facility did not have enough sanitising supplies or personal protective equipment (PPE).

The women also noted that cells are not immediately cleaned after someone tests positive. Inmate Sandra Shoulders said mattresses used by women who have tested positive are piled up in a TV room.


“We feel basically abandoned,” she was quoted as saying by AP. “(Officers) are saying they’re doing all this stuff for us, that they’re in here with us. But they’re not the ones in 24-hour quarantine, left in a six-by-six cell with three other people with 10 minute showers, 10 minutes to be on the phone or email to communicate with their families.”

Coronavirus infections have been surging across Texas, which has recorded more than 350,000 cases with 4,270 deaths, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

Teams of military medics were deployed on Friday to help hospitals deluged by coronavirus patients after 10,000 new daily cases were reported for a third straight day last week.

The United States has the world’s highest number of confirmed infections and deaths from COVID-19 – at 3,902,135 and 142,068, respectively.


COVID-19 will probably get worse – Donald Trump


President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic “will probably get worse before it gets better’’.

Speaking at a White House news briefing, Trump noted the rising cases in southern and western states of the country, especially Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas.

“It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better, something I don’t like saying about things, but that’s the way it is,” he said.

The acknowledgment deviated from the president’s recent positive predictions about the pandemic.

Until the rise in new cases, Trump had downplayed the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S. and was even pressuring states for reopening of the economy.


He had threatened to withdraw funding from higher institutions that refused to resume in-person classes in the impending new academic year.

At Tuesday’s news briefing, the president also urged Americans, especially young people, to wear masks where physical distancing was impossible.

“Get a mask. Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They will have an effect and we need everything we can get,” he said.

Trump said the ultimate goal of his administration was to end the pandemic, and not merely to manage it.


He said, “We want to get rid of it as soon as we can. That is why getting a vaccine remains a top priority. Two vaccine candidates are entering the final stage of clinical trials this month.

“This was achieved in record time. It used to be years before you were in a position like we are right now.

“Four other vaccines will enter final trials the following weeks and we are mass-producing all of the top candidates so that the first approved vaccine will be available immediately.’’

The president added that the U.S. military was on standby to immediately distribute the vaccines as soon as they were ready.


The briefing came hours after a Chinese company, CanSino Biologics Inc., reported that its experimental coronavirus vaccine showed promising results in a mid-stage clinical study.

A reporter asked if his administration would be willing to work with China should it be the first to successfully develop a vaccine.

Trump said he is willing to work with anybody that would “get us a good result’’


COVID-19: Madagascar hospitals ‘full’ despite herbal drink


Hospital officials in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo say they are struggling to cope with a rush of coronavirus patients despite the distribution of a herbal drink touted as a remedy by the president.

President Andry Rajoelina has been promoting an infusion derived from artemisia — a plant with proven anti-malarial properties — as a homegrown cure for COVID-19.

He has brushed off warnings by the World Health Organization (WHO) that there are no published scientific studies of the drink — which has been called Covid-Organics — and that its effects have not been tested.

But COVID-designated hospitals in Antananarivo warn they are starting to run out of beds.


“We are now only accepting severe cases,” Andohotapenaka Hospital director Nasolotsiry Raveloson told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) on Tuesday.

“The number of cases is increasing more and more,” he explained. “We now have 46 severe cases and so we only have four spaces left.”

At Joseph Raseta Befelatanana Hospital, director Mamy Randria said the facility was “overwhelmed”.

“It is impossible to free up spaces for the moment,” he said.


The head of Anosiala University Hospital, Rado Razafimahatratra echoed the concerns, noting that the facility was “constantly overwhelmed”.

To date the Indian Ocean island-nation of Madagascar has recorded 7,548 coronavirus cases, including just 65 deaths.

Infections have spiked over recent days, however, raising concern in a country where three-quarters of the population live on less than $1.90 per day, according to the World Bank.

“Two factors have contributed to the spread of this disease,” said health department official Zely Arivelo Andriamanantany on local television.


“Firstly… people took CVO (Covid-Organics) and then didn’t respect social distancing. Secondly, CVO only guarantees protection for two to three weeks,” he said.

The government, meanwhile, has blamed the rise in cases on “increased testing capacity”.

“Positive COVID-19 cases did not take CVO or only took it sporadically, without following the prescribed dosage,” said official documents sent to AFP on Tuesday.

“Almost systematically, within the same family unit, those who result positive were not drinking CVO — or at least not regularly — while those who tested negative were taking the solution (and) remained negative despite living together without necessarily social distancing.”


Splitted EU in second day of talks over pandemic rescue plan


Leaders at odds over proposed $858bn package aimed at pulling the bloc out of what could be its deepest ever recession.

European Council President Charles Michel has offered a revised plan for the European Union’s (EU) proposed economic recovery fund to break a deadlock between the bloc’s 27 leaders on the second day of a summit in Brussels, according to a document, diplomats and officials.

The EU leaders are meeting on Saturday for further talks over a 750 billion euros ($858bn) stimulus plan to breathe life into economies ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic after a meeting that ran late into Friday evening ended without a deal.

To assuage concerns by the northern camp of thrifty EU countries led by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the share of free grants in the proposed recovery fund would be reduced to 450 billion euros from 500 billion euros.


This, along with plans for an “emergency brake” on the disbursement of funds, would appease wealthy northern states who want conditions attached to grants and would prefer to see those countries worst affected by the coronavirus crisis take loans.

The proposal would also increase rebates on the core EU budget for Austria, Denmark and Sweden.

The leaders spent Friday discussing a proposal put forward by Michel that outlined the $858bn recovery fund and a 1 trillion euros ($1.14 trillion) long-term budget for 2021-27.


Officials on Friday night said a thrifty camp of wealthy northern states led by the Netherlands stood its ground on access to the recovery fund, in the face of opposition from Germany, France, southern nations Italy and Spain, and Eastern European states.

The proposed sums under discussion will be funnelled mostly to Mediterranean coast countries worst affected by the pandemic.

The main stumbling block in talks was over vetting procedures to access coronavirus aid, an EU official said [Anadolu]

Diplomats said the 27 remained at odds over the overall size of the package, the split between grants and repayable loans in the recovery fund and rule-of-law strings attached to it.

But the main stumbling block was over vetting procedures to access aid, an EU official said, with Rutte demanding that one country could block payouts from the fund if member states backslide on economic reform.


“If they want loans and even grants then I think it’s only logical that I can explain to people in the Netherlands … that in return those reforms have taken place,” Rutte said on Friday, estimating the chances for a deal at fifty-fifty.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was even more gloomy. As the leaders broke up for the day, he tweeted that they were divided by a bundle of issues and said it was “highly probable” that they would fail to reach a deal on Saturday or even on Sunday if the summit drags past its scheduled two days.

‘Very difficult negotiations’
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who celebrated her 66th birthday on Friday around the negotiating table in Brussels, was also cautious on chances for an agreement, envisaging “very, very difficult negotiations”.

After initial elbow bumps between the leaders – all wearing face masks – and birthday gifts for Merkel and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, tense meetings followed in the evening with Rutte and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.


Orban, whom critics accuse of stifling the media, academics and NGOs, threatened to veto the entire plan over a mechanism that would freeze out countries that fail to live up to democratic standards.

With EU economies deep in recession and immediate relief measures such as short-time work schemes running out, the spectre of months of hardship and discontent is looming.

The EU is already grappling with the protracted saga of Britain’s exit from the bloc and is bruised by past crises, from the financial meltdown of 2008 to feuds over migration.

Another economic shock could expose it to more eurosceptic, nationalist and protectionist forces, and weaken its standing against China, the United States or Russia.


“The stakes couldn’t be higher,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “The whole world is watching us.”

Despite wrangling over medicines, medical gear, border closures and money, the EU has managed to agree on a half-a-trillion euros ($571.4bn) scheme to cushion the first hit of the crisis.

Mediterranean countries now want the recovery financing to prevent their economies from taking on ever-greater burdens of debt.

“The big picture is that we are faced with the biggest economic depression since World War II,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said. “We need … an ambitious solution because our citizens expect nothing less from us.”


COVID-19: Nigeria report 600 fresh cases as total deaths hit 772


Nigeria record 600 fresh cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus).


600 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria;


35,454 confirmed
14,633 discharged
772 deaths


COVID-19: ‘No Jeopardy’ – WHO warns as pandemic see resurgence


The World Health Organization (WHO) warned Monday that too many countries were bungling their response to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning there could be no return to normality any time soon.

After a daily record of 230,000 new COVID-19 cases reported on Sunday, the UN health agency said the pandemic was only going to get worse unless people stuck to the basics of physical distancing, handwashing, wearing masks and staying home if sick.

WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that some countries easing their way out of lockdowns were now witnessing a resurgence of the virus because they were not following proven methods to reduce risks.


“I want to be straight with you: There will be no return to the ‘old normal’ for the foreseeable future,” Tedros told a virtual news briefing.

“Let me be blunt: Too many countries are headed in the wrong direction.”

“The virus remains public enemy number one, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect this.”

He said mixed messages from leaders were undermining trust.


If governments do not roll out a comprehensive strategy to suppress transmission of the virus, and if the public do not follow the basics, “there is only one way this pandemic is going to go,” Tedros said.

“It’s going to get worse and worse and worse.”

The novel coronavirus has killed nearly 570,000 people and infected more than 12.9 million so far, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

Tedros said four scenarios were now playing out around the world.


They were: countries that were alert and avoided large outbreaks; those that got a major outbreak under control; those that eased restrictions but are now backsliding; those in an intense transmission phase.

Tedros said the heart of the crisis remains in the Americas – accounting for more than half of infections – but stressed it was never too late to bring “explosive transmission” under control.

Colombian soldiers patrol the streets after a strict quarantine was declared to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Bogota, Colombia on Monday. Photo: AFP

In a study released on Monday – the first of its kind – a team led by researchers from King’s College London said patients who recover from coronavirus infections might lose immunity to reinfection within months.

WHO Emergencies Director Michael Ryan said that it was not yet known whether recovered COVID-19 patients could be infected again, but “with other coronaviruses, that is the case.”


COVID-19: 463 fresh cases hit Nigeria as total infections pass 33,500


Cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria surges as it amounts to 33,616 with 463 fresh infections in a report from NCDC.


463 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria;


33,616 confirmed
13,792 discharged
754 deaths


COVID-19: WHO cancels Hydroxychloroquine trial


For the second time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has discontinued Hydroxychloroquine clinical trial for the treatment of COVID-19, saying it has no positive effect on patient recovery.

Announcing this Saturday, the UN body said the decision to discontinue the research was due to recommendation from its International Steering Committee on Solidarity Trial, adding that it has also discontinued trial for lopinavir and ritonavir.

It said: “The International Steering Committee formulated the recommendation in light of the evidence for hydroxychloroquine vs standard-of-care and for lopinavir/ritonavir vs standard-of-care from the solidarity trial interim results, and from a review of the evidence from all trials presented at the July 1 and 2 WHO Summit on COVID-19 Research and Innovation.


“These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care. Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect.”

It said for each of the drugs, the interim results do not provide solid evidence of increased mortality, adding that there were however some associated safety signals in the clinical laboratory findings of the add-on discovery trial, a participant in the solidarity trial. These, it said will also be reported in the peer-reviewed publication.


”This decision applies only to the conduct of the solidarity trial in hospitalised patients and does not affect the possible evaluation in other studies of hydroxychloroquine or lopinavir/ritonavir in non-hospitalised patients or as pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis for COVID-19. The interim solidarity results are now being readied for peer-reviewed publication,” it said.



COVID-19: Osun govt arrest ‘Face Mask’ violators.


The Osun State Government on Tuesday went a step further in its attempts at enforcing the use of face mask by residents, when scores of violators were arrested in Osogbo and shown videos of isolation centres.

The arrests were made by the COVID-19 Joint Task Force on the order of the state government.

The JTF men, which was led by the Special Adviser to the state Governor on Security, Abiodun Ige, arrested many residents, especially those in public vehicles and motorcycles.


Those arrested were taken to Salvation Army Middle School, Alekuwodo, where they were shown videos of COVID-19 patients that were being treated in isolation centres.

Expectedly, many residents who had left home without face mask rushed to buy from the roadsides to avoid being arrested.

Ige, who spoke on the rationale behind the state government’s action, said the exercise was meant to enforce compliance with COVID-19 guidelines.



We found 6 herbal products in fight against COVID-19 – Anambra claims


The Anambra State government claimed it had identified six herbal products for the management of the deadly COVID-19 disease.

This was revealed on Tuesday by Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim, the Special Adviser to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra on Indigenous Medicine and Herbal Practice.

Ibezim who gave the information during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka, said that the agency had forwarded the products to the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

According to him, the process of producing the six herbal products which are in capsule, powder and liquid forms were reviewed by a team of medical experts before they decided to take the products to NAFDAC for its final confirmation and approval for public consumption.


He said; “We have a team of medical experts in all areas of medicines who are saddled with the responsibility of reviewing herbal products in the state before they would be made public for use.

“We will give approval if the products fit our standard. We do not discriminate, the government has provided a friendly environment for business to thrive for all genuine herbal practitioners despite their states of origin.

“Anambra Traditional Medicine Board has been assigned the responsibility of properly analysing herbal products in the state and declare them fit for use by the public or otherwise before they are pushed out; all practitioners are advised to comply,” Ibezim concluded.



COVID-19: WHO reveal amount needed to develop vaccines, others


The World Health Organization said Friday that a global initiative to speed up the development and production of COVID-19 tests, vaccines and treatments will require more than $30 billion over the next year.

Providing details of the so-called ACT accelerator, launched in April and aimed at pooling international resources to combat the pandemic, WHO said “the costed plans presented today call for $31.3 billion in funding”.

So far, $3.4 billion of that had been pledged, the UN health agency said, pointing out that an additional $27.9 billion was needed over the next 12 months, including nearly $14 billion to cover immediate needs.

The announcement came ahead of a major pledging event in Brussels in support of the ACT accelerator, set to take place on Saturday.

“This is an investment worth making,” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a special envoy for the ACT accelerator, told a virtual briefing.


“If we don’t rally now, the human costs and the economic pain will deepen,” she said.

“Though these numbers sound big, they are not when we think of the alternative. If we spend billions now, we will be able to avoid spending trillions later.

“The time to act is now, and the way to act is together,” the former Nigerian finance minister said, stressing the need for equal access for all to any safe and effective vaccines and treatments developed.

– ‘Unprecedented speed’ –

Her comments came as the world counts nearly 490,000 deaths from COVID-19 and over 9.6 million cases since the new coronavirus emerged in China late last year, according to an AFP tally from official sources.


“It’s clear that to bring COVID-19 under control, and to save lives, we need effective vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, in unprecedented quantities and at unprecedented speed,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the briefing.

He stressed though that a core principle of the initiative is to ensure equal access for all.

“Vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics are vital tools,” he said.

“But to be truly effective they must be administered with another essential ingredient, which is solidarity.”


The funds requested should make it possible to deliver 500 million tests and 245 million courses of treatment to low and middle-income countries by mid-2021.

They also aim to deliver two billion vaccine doses by the end of next year.

Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO’s chief scientist, pointed out during a separate briefing on the vaccine pillar of the project, known as COVAX, that antibody studies indicate that “a large, large proportion of the world’s population, 90 percent, continues to be susceptible.”

“The best bet we have really if we are going to end it… is to have a vaccine as soon as possible.”


– Vaccinate the most vulnerable –
There are currently around 220 vaccine candidates, with 15 in clinical trials, and experts are hoping a handful of them will prove successful.

The problem is that investing in vaccine development can be risky, since 80 percent of vaccines in early stage development fail before reaching clinical trials.

And since there will be a need to produce billions of doses quickly, manufacturing capabilities need to be scaled up before it is even clear whether a candidate will be successful.

To address this obstacle, COVAX is aimed at pooling financial and scientific resources, making it possible to hedge the risk of backing an unsuccessful candidate, and ensuring that lower-income countries receive equal access to successful vaccines.


“The critical issue (is) speed. If we lose a month now, that could mean 200 million fewer doses in 2021,” Seth Berkley, head of the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, told reporters.

Even producing two billion vaccine doses by the end of 2021 will be far from enough to vaccinate everyone.

Experts therefore insist on the need to guarantee that vulnerable groups and health workers worldwide receive the first jabs.

“Having a subset of populations of high risk vaccinated around the world is the best way to control the pandemic,” Berkley said.



Globe in fresh phase of deadly ‘Pandemic’ – WHO


The new coronavirus pandemic is now in a “new and dangerous phase”, the World Health Organization said Friday, with the disease accelerating at the same time as people tire of lockdowns.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged nations and citizens to remain extremely vigilant, as the number of cases reported to the UN health agency hit a new peak.

“The pandemic is accelerating. More than 150,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported to WHO yesterday — the most in a single day so far,” Tedros told a virtual press conference.


He said almost half of those cases were reported from the Americas, with large numbers also being reported from South Asia and the Middle East.

“The world is in a new and dangerous phase. Many people are understandably fed up with being at home. Countries are understandably eager to open up their societies and economies,” he said.

“But the virus is still spreading fast, it’s still deadly and most people are still susceptible.”

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 454,000 people and infected more than 8.5 million since the outbreak began in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.



Top Story: COVID-19 not done with U.S


It’s been months now since U.S. President Donald Trump predicted his miracle. That was back in February, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the president announced that come April, when the weather got warmer, the coronavirus would “miraculously [go] away.”

It didn’t. And nor has it been reduced to “ashes,” as Trump claimed on June 5 when, arguing for a rapid reopening of the economy, he said, “We want the continued blanket lockdown to end for the states. We may have some embers or some ashes, or we may have some flames coming, but we’ll put them out. We’ll stomp them out.”

Instead, the U.S. is very much on fire, well into a second phase of the crisis, with the COVID-19 caseload steadily rising to more than 2 million confirmed cases and more than 113,00 deaths.


According to a NRM analysis, 25 states are continuing to see case counts grow day by day. Four of those states—Arizona, California, Mississippi and North Carolina—have yet to decline for any extended window even temporarily; the rest appear to have initially bent the curve downward and are now experiencing a second wave of infections.

And in many of those cases, the second phase is worse than the first, or on track to erase any encouraging declines in the past month. In Oregon, for example, the state appeared to flatten the curve very early, peaking at 1.76 cases per 100,000 people on April 2 and declining to 0.8 by May 24. In the intervening two weeks, a resurgent wave has pushed that figure past its previous peak to 2.3 as of June 8—and still likely to grow.


These disparate trends are invisible on a national level. Improvements in some areas—New York, New Jersey and other parts of the Northeast—have been offset by worsening conditions elsewhere, leaving the U.S. as a whole stubbornly plateaued at about 6 cases per 100,000 people.

In Texas, the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases per day has been over 1,000 since May 25. This development led Governor Greg Abbott to concede on a local news broadcast, “I am concerned, but not yet alarmed.” He should be, though. On May 14, the state’s seven-day average crested at 1,305 cases per day and then started to fall. But in recent weeks, it’s climbed back up, and is now at 1,703.


These alarming spikes are apparent even when a state never enjoyed a temporary lull. Arizona, which has yet to appear to peak even momentarily, has seen 7,700 new cases in the first week of June, with patient load tripling in the past three weeks in hospitals owned by Banner Health, the state’s largest hospital provider.

Yet the pandemic, if not remotely yesterday’s news, has begun to fade as a front-of-mind issue, pushed out both by the recent demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism, triggered by the May 25 murder of George Floyd, and perhaps a sort of cultural numbing to all things COVID. The White House Coronavirus Task Force, whose press conferences were daily fixtures in the early months of the crisis, now convenes three times a week instead of daily—with Vice President Mike Pence, the group’s chair, attending only one of those three regular sessions—and there has not been a press conference in the last month. On June 12, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had its first media telebriefing since March 9; previously these were held at least weekly.


“I’m worried that people have kind of accepted where we are as a new normal, and it is not normal,” says Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of John Hopkins’ Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School. “Some states have hundreds or even thousands of new COVID cases every day, and we can do better than this. Some countries have driven their [daily] cases down to zero.”

The U.S. most certainly hasn’t, but the pain is not spread evenly across the map. New infections are falling precipitously in some states, including New York, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey and Kansas, while resuming a rise after initially plateauing or falling elsewhere, including in Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Michigan.


If there is concern among residents and leaders of affected states, it’s hard to spot. In Florida, most beaches are open, as are the Universal Orlando theme park and all five SeaWorld Parks. Disney World plans a phased reopening beginning July 11. Like Abbott in Texas, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis does not seem especially alarmed at the rise in cases in his state.

“As you’re testing you’re going to find more cases,” he said at a June 11 press conference. “Most of the cases are sub-clinical cases, and we expected that from the beginning.”


Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona has been similarly sanguine—if more defensive—claiming that reports of dwindling hospital-bed capacity are exaggerated. “The information that was out there nationally was inaccurate,” he said at a Thursday briefing, according to the news site Arizona Central. “I’m listening to the experts inside Arizona that serve the people of Arizona.”

But at least some of those people do not share Ducey’s confidence. “I agree with him that we have hospital capacity today and probably we will next Friday,” Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, told the Central. “If we don’t change course and put in some simple interventions now, it might not be that way on July 4.”


In South Carolina, most beaches and retail businesses remain open, even as the state recorded its highest one-day total of 687 new cases on June 10. Thirteen people died of the disease in that 24-hour period. Governor Henry McMaster extended South Carolina’s state of emergency—originally imposed in April and set to expire on June 11. The state of emergency authorized school and business closures, activation of the National Guard, postponement of elections and more. Still, McMaster made it clear that the extension would not require businesses that have reopened to close again, nor would he mandate mask use. “It is a matter of personal responsibility,” he said at a press conference. The farthest McMaster said he would go is to encourage people to wear masks and practice social distancing.

If the governors of the stricken states aren’t feeling skittish yet, the markets are. On June 11, the Dow Jones Industrial average shed 1,900 points, a 6.9% plunge, and the S&P 500 lost 5.9%, as reports of the second wave of infections made it clear that the overall economy would not be bouncing back to its pre-viral vigor any time soon. “This is the biggest economic shock in living memory,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said in a June 10 news conference. “The extent of the downturn remains extraordinarily uncertain.”


The health of the nation, three months into the COVID crisis, does too.

Trump was not alone in optimistically predicting that a combination of warm weather and a period of sheltering in place would be sufficient to snuff the COVID-19 wildfire by summer. Every state in the country, plus Washington D.C., imposed some kind of quarantine rules, the earliest going into effect in mid-March—and, since the middle of springtime, all of them have slowly been reopening, pressed by a combination anxiety over the economy, a restive population, and no small amount of epidemiological hope. That hope has not always been fulfilled.


South Carolina was the first state to begin lifting restrictions, on April 20. Others went much later, especially New York, which remains the epicenter of the crisis, and did not begin opening back up in some regions of the state until May 15—pointedly excluding hard-hit New York City. Only on June 8 was the city permitted to resume non-essential construction and manufacturing and reopen non-essential stores. Museums, theaters, restaurants, bars and other high-traffic venues remain shuttered.

The apparent result of this disparate approach: South Carolina is back in crisis mode, while New York is seeing its lowest infection levels since March 1.

But that recovery is fragile.

“You can make a mistake today that wipes out everything we’ve done so far, so we have to stay smart,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, at a June 11 briefing.

The biggest of those mistakes may involve timing. Overall, as NRM analysis of state-by-state data found, the date that states closed and reopened had at least some effect on how severe their second wave has been—or whether they have had one at all.


From closing schools to mandatory stay-at-home orders, the Northeast was both the earliest region in the country to institute interventions, and the most hesitant to roll them back. On average, Northeast states put restrictions into place on March 25, followed by the West on March 27, the South on March 29 and the Midwest on March 31, according data collected by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

More telling is how many of these intervention measures remain in place as states cautiously crack open once-shuttered doors. In the Northeast, only 30% of restrictions had been lifted on May 21 on average, when one totals all unique measures, counting each state several times. The other three regions have lifted around 40% by the same metric. The West was the first to do so, on May 17 on average, followed by the South on May 20 and the Midwest on May 23. (These dates do not account for programs that have yet to conclude.)


The result of those policies seems clear: The Northeast, which was far and away the hardest-hit part of the country, has now seen the greatest improvement and seems to be on the best trajectory—driven mostly by New York’s and New Jersey’s aggressive policies. The region’s rates of new daily infections per capita peaked on April 6 at 31.5 new cases per 100,000 residents. The Midwest, a distant second, peaked at 10.3 on May 4, while the South and West have remained relatively static at about 5.

As of June 10, that sequence has reversed. The Northeast is now the region with the lowest daily case rate, at 3.7. The Midwest, at 4.4., isn’t too far behind. Both have flattened the curve significantly in the last month or so. Meanwhile, daily case rates in the West and South have been on the rise, and are both now at about 6.5 per 100,000 residents.


But while the timing of a state’s closing and reopenings certainly play a role in its current disease arc, there are other state-by-state considerations that make things more complicated. That might be best exemplified by California, with its massive 39.5 million-person population, huge geographic range and aggressive approach to testing. The state closed its doors on March 19 and did not begin to reopen them until May 8, yet case counts are rising.

“We have seen cases increase in some areas, which is expected as testing capacity increases and people leave home more,” says Dr. Sonia Angell, director of the California Department of Public Health, “but we are prepared for that.”


Johns Hopkins’ Inglesby backs California’s position that at least some of its rising caseload may simply be an artifact of better screening. “Even though the number of daily cases is higher on a day-to-day basis than it was weeks ago, the overall hospitalization rate on their dashboard is stable,” he says. “So that would suggest perhaps there’s more testing going on in California and maybe they’re finding more mild and moderate cases.”

Other states get no such pass from Inglesby. “In Texas, you can see that the hospitalization rate is going up,” he says. “Similarly in Arizona, ICU beds [and] hospitalization rates for COVID patients are going up. So those are real changes. There are more sick people than there were a month ago. Substantially more.”


And nationwide, they’re coming substantially faster too. It took more than three months for the U.S. to record its millionth case of COVID-19. The jump to two million took just 44 days, and the numbers continue to rise. The U.S. is a loud, sprawling, brawling nation, and it’s no surprise that, as with so much else, regional differences are determining how we meet the current crisis. At the CDC’s June 12 media briefing, the agency’s deputy director for infectious diseases, Dr. Jay Butler, noted that “If cases begin to go up again, particularly if they go up dramatically, it’s important to recognize that more extensive mitigation efforts such as what were implemented back in March may be needed again. The decision really needs to be made locally based on what is happening within the community regarding disease transmission.”

But with lives on the line we need to do better—to address the problem with a discipline and uniformity we have yet to show.


“Are we resigned to losing a thousand Americans a day until we have a vaccine?” Inglesby asks. “I hope we aren’t.”

On that score, at least, he could likely claim a national consensus.