Brazil death toll appears to be easing
Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll appears to be easing for the first time since May, Reuters reports, a sign the Latin American country could be descending from a long infection plateau that has seen it suffer the world’s second-worst outbreak after the United States.
With nearly 4 million confirmed cases, the virus has killed over 120,000 people in Brazil. But the level of average daily deaths dropped below 900 per day last week – the lowest in three and a half months and below the rate of both the United States and India, according to a Reuters tally.
Researchers at Imperial College London also calculate that the transmission rate in Brazil, at which each person infected with the coronavirus infects another person, is now below 1, the level required for new infections to slow.
However, the rate previously fell below 1 in August, only to rebound a week later, according to Imperial.
The government statistics are also volatile. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Brazil registered more than 1,100 deaths each day, and experts say it is too early to say the worst is over.
“We are on a downward trend compared to the previous high plateau,” said Roberto Medronho, an infectious diseases expert at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. “But, the numbers are still high and we have to remain vigilant so that it doesn’t grow again.”
US public health departments being told to prepare November vaccine distribution
Health officials across the US have reportedly been notified that they should expect a coronavirus vaccine available to health workers and high-risk groups by November, amid concerns the accelerated vaccine development process has become politicized.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) informed health officials that “limited Covid-19 vaccine doses may be available by early November 2020”, the New York Times reported.
Meanwhile, in a letter to governors dated 27 August, Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said states “in the near future” will receive permit applications from McKesson, a company which has contracted with CDC to distribute vaccines to places including state and local health departments and hospitals:
Hello and welcome to today’s live coronavirus coverage. My name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next few hours.
You can get in touch with me on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: email@example.com – news, questions and feedback all welcome. Jokes strictly forbidden.
The Trump administration is planning to cut its membership dues to the World Health Organization, in a legally controversial move that will be challenged by Congress.
The US issued its formal notice of withdrawal from the WHO in July, after Donald Trump accused the body of being pro-China and of failing to contain the coronavirus pandemic. However, the withdrawal does not take effect until next July, and until then – according to a 72-year-old agreement with Congress – the US is obliged to maintain its financial contributions.
You can read the full story from my colleague Julian Borger below:
Here are the other key developments from the last few hours:
- Trump plans to cut dues to WHO immediately. The Trump administration is planning to cut its membership dues to the World Health Organization, in a legally controversial move that will be challenged by Congress.
- Turkey seeing second peak of Covid-19 outbreak, health minister says. Turkey is seeing a second peak of its coronavirus outbreak due to “carelessness” at weddings and other social gatherings, its health minister has said, amid a rapid rise in the number of daily cases and deaths.
- France’s new Covid-19 infections near all-time high. Daily new Covid-19 infections in France neared an all-time high on Wednesday and the number of people hospitalised in intensive care units for the disease grew at its fastest pace in almost two months.
- Nancy Pelosi claims to have been “set up” after she was photographed in a San Francisco hair salon without a face covering. “I take responsibility for trusting the word of the neighbourhood salon that I’ve been to many times,” the House speaker said. “It was a setup, and I take responsibility for falling for a setup.”
- Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has tested positive for coronavirus. Silvio Berlusconi, the media tycoon who served as Italy’s prime minister in four governments, has tested positive for Covid-19. The 83-year-old is currently in isolation and working from home at his house in Arcore, near Milan, his staff said.
- Madrid president says most returning schoolchildren likely to contract Covid-19. The president of Madrid, the Spanish area hardest hit by the coronavirus, has said that “practically all the children” about to return to school in the region are likely to pick up the virus over the coming months.
- Major study finds steroids cut death rates among Covid-19 patients. Treating critically ill Covid-19 patients with corticosteroid drugs reduces the risk of death by 20%, an analysis of seven international trials has found, prompting the World Health Organization to update its advice on treatment.
- Nasal swab followed by antibody test may catch incorrect Covid-19 diagnoses. Testing people twice for the coronavirus, with a nasal swab followed by an antibody finger prick test, would catch most of those people who fail to get the right Covid-19 diagnosis, researchers believe.
Source: The Guardian