The "worst is yet to come" with COVID-19—and our "divided world" is accelerating its spread, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference yesterday marking 6 months since the first case was announced in China.
A look back at GHN headlines reveals how the virus snowballed into a tragic pandemic—from the first inkling that this could be the big one, to the resignation that the virus would cause the world’s wealthiest countries to buckle:
The authors of a recent paper ask what role gut bacteria might play in COVID-19. They outline strands of existing evidence and conclude that a link between the two is plausible, but that more research is necessary.
Scientists have implicated gut bacteria in a number of conditions. From type 2 diabetes to depression, researchers have observed relationships between a wide range of disease states and the organisms that live in our gastrointestinal tract.
Preliminary results showing that a cheap steroid reduces the risk of death among gravely ill COIVD-19 patients is inspiring hope and skepticism.
The finding has not been peer-reviewed, but University of Oxford researchers announced the steroid dexamethasone—when given to patients on ventilators for up to 10 days—cut the risk of death by a third, CNN reports.
The risk of death for patients on oxygen but not on ventilators was reduced by a fifth, but the steroid made no difference among patients who didn’t require either.
An estimated 22% of people globally—1.7 billion—have at least one condition that puts them at a greater risk of developing severe COVID-19 if infected, according to a new study in The Lancet Global Health.
The most prevalent conditions in those aged 50+: chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes.
"Not everyone with a condition will progress to a hospital," first author Andrew Clark of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told The New York Times.
Beijing has gone into "war-mode" to stomp out a fresh spike in COVID-19 cases with aggressive testing, security checkpoints, school closures, and temperature checks, Reuters reports.
The city reported 79 cases over the last few days, after nearly 2 infection-free months. The latest cluster has been traced to Beijing’s Xinfadi food market—20X the size of the Wuhan seafood market where the novel coronavirus first emerged.
A backpedaling WHO clarified its Monday statement that asymptomatic COVID-19 transmission appears to be rare, NPR's Goats and Soda reports.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for health emergencies, said yesterday that she was responding to a journalist's question and "wasn't stating a policy of WHO or anything like that."
What she meant, she said, is that she hasn't seen evidence of widespread transmission from asymptomatic individuals. The existing data is spotty because "so-called silent spreaders" are tough to pinpoint.
The WHO called into question the extent that asymptomatic people are spreading COVID-19, launching a global debate, The Hill reports.
"From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual," said Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19, citing unpublished data from detailed contact tracing reports at a briefing yesterday. She suggested that the focus should be on following symptomatic cases.
Two top medical journals are reviewing major studies they published on potential COVID-19 treatments (including hydroxychloroquine) after questions about their data surfaced yesterday, Science reports.
The papers in The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine shared a common source: A little-known company called Surgisphere.