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WHO is enlisting an independent panel to evaluate its global COVID-19 response, the agency announced yesterday.

The evaluation, the WHO emphasized, is a response to a request from member states in May—not to scrutiny from the US, whose President Trump has accused the agency of kowtowing to China.

2 female former heads of state—former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark and former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf—will lead the panel and choose its members.

Both women already have strong ties to the WHO, Reuters reports.

Reopening Followed By Resurgence


Lockdowns are winding down even as coronavirus cases continue to rise in at least 20 US states, NPR reports. And the US has now reached 2 million confirmed cases—a chilling milestone.

But the uptick is uneven. While some early hot-spots like New York are seeing a sustained decline in cases, hospitalizations are rising in others.

Texas—among the first states to begin reopening—saw record hospitalizations this week. And Arizona, which has the highest per capita rate in the US, has drawn national attention. The state is averaging 1,000+ cases per day this week.

The Problem with Propofol


Demand for propofol—the ubiquitous intravenous anesthetic—has skyrocketed since the drug became key to ventilating ICU patients with COVID-19.

But hospitals have seen stressful shortages.


An investigation tracking propofol’s notoriously opaque journey from production to patient care underscores the vulnerabilities of a supply chain that relies on a few countries for production—and now faces a global crisis.

COVID-19 May Spike Child and Maternal Mortality

India kids covid

COVID-19’s collateral damage could drive up the global child mortality rate for the first time in 6 decades, The Washington Post reports, citing a Lancet Global Health study published today.

An additional 253,500 to 1.2 million children under 5 could die in the next 6 months, according to scenarios modeled by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers.

Maternal deaths could rise from 8% to 38%.

Another Explanation for Men's Vulnerability

Men's Vulnerability

Men have higher levels than women of an enzyme central to COVID-19 infection, a new study reveals—which could help explain why men are more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, Reuters reports.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, or ACE2—which helps the invasion of healthy cells—“is thought to play a crucial role in the progression of lung disorders related to COVID-19,” Adriaan Voors, the study’s leader, said in a European Society of Cardiology news release.

A mysterious illness is striking children amid the coronavirus pandemic – but is it Kawasaki disease?

Kawasaki disease

Critically ill children have been ending up in intensive care units with shock-like symptoms in recent weeks, adding yet another mysterious layer to the coronavirus pandemic.

New York health officials began issuing alerts on May 4, describing young patients, ages 2-15, with inflammation in multiple organ systems and features of Kawasaki disease, a childhood illness of unclear origin. They raised the count to 64 suspected cases on May 6.

A few days earlier, officials in the United Kingdom notified doctors of similar cases there, also describing them as having features similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. Several of the children had tested positive for COVID-19.

The puzzling questions of the coronavirus: A doctor addresses 6 questions that are stumping physicians

 Brooklyn Bridge, NYC

As researchers try to find treatments and create a vaccine for COVID-19, doctors and others on the front lines continue to find perplexing symptoms. And the disease itself has unpredictable effects on various people. Dr. William Petri, a professor of medicine at the University of Virginia Medical School, answers questions about these confusing findings.

Some evidence suggests that patients experience low oxygen saturation days before they appear in the ER. If so, is there a way to treat patients earlier?

Should people take vitamin D to ward off the new coronavirus?

Vitamin D deficiency

A preliminary, unpublished study speculates that vitamin D deficiency may have something to do with poor COVID-19 outcomes. Its authors suggest people may benefit from ensuring they are getting enough vitamin D. However, there are serious concerns about the research.

Vitamin D is one of the nutrients that are crucial to human health, on the whole.

The human body naturally synthesizes this vitamin — in fact, a group of substances — through adequate exposure to sunlight.

Latest evidence on obesity and COVID-19


A summary of the evidence so far suggests that obesity is associated with a higher risk of developing severe symptoms and complications of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), independent of other illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease.

Early data seems to suggest that people with obesity are more likely to become severely ill due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

An increasing number of reports have linked obesity to coronavirus mortality, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now list severe obesity as a risk factor for severe COVID-19. The CDC define severe obesity as having a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above.

A majority of vaccine skeptics plan to refuse a COVID-19 vaccine, a study suggests, and that could be a big problem

Dr. Anthony Fauci

The availability of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus will likely play a key role in determining when Americans can return to life as usual. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on April 30 announced that a vaccine could even be available by January 2021.

Whether a vaccine can end this pandemic successfully, however, depends on more than its effectiveness at providing immunity against the virus, or how quickly it can be produced in mass quantities. Americans also must choose to receive the vaccine.


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