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I’m an asthmatic: what should I do during the coronavirus pandemic?

asthmatic

The new respiratory coronavirus COVID-19 is particularly worrying for the 2.7 million Australians who already suffer from asthma. That’s roughly one in nine people.

Viral respiratory infections, in particular those that cause the common cold, typically trigger flareups of asthma. They are the main reason for asthma episodes in both children and adults during autumn and winter.

So it’s natural for asthmatics to fear they may be more at risk during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pandemic policing needs to be done with the public’s trust, not confusion

covid-19 pandemic

The law on what we can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak is changing on an almost hourly basis. Some of what is written now might be overtaken by the shifts in the pandemic powers of control.

But we need to make sure people have trust in any new powers given to authorities. These need to be clear to all, and applied consistently and transparently, which is not the case at the moment.

Eurogroup falls short of economic deal to fight coronavirus

Bruno Le Maire

Without an agreement on coordinated action, governments will have to borrow money from the markets to cushion the economic fallout from the pandemic.

Even the coronavirus crisis failed to bring EU finance ministers together.

Ministers failed overnight to agree on a coordinated EU strategy that would help protect the bloc’s companies and governments from the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Brussels drops lockdown exit plan after anger from capitals

Ursula von der Leyen

The European Commission was forced by angry EU governments on Tuesday to drop plans to present a "roadmap" for ending the coronavirus lockdowns.

Governments made clear that the plans from President Ursula von der Leyen's Commission would send a dangerous signal when they are still urging millions of citizens to stay at home to save lives.

The Commission's embarrassing U-turn highlighted tensions over lockdowns between the EU executive and member governments. Brussels has been keen to play a coordinating role in managing the response to the coronavirus crisis after countries initially imposed a chaotic array of unilateral measures.

Signs of a Flattening Curve?

Flattening the curve

COVID-19 cases are still climbing in hard-hit US states New York, New Jersey and Louisiana—but hospitalizations appear to be slowing, indicating the curve could be flattening, according to Reuters.

New York reported 599 new deaths Monday, close to Sunday’s count of 594 and down from 630 on Saturday.

An updated University of Washington forecasting model from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation also showed a decline in the expected deaths in the US—to 49,431 to 136,401, down from 138,000 to 177,866—during COVID-19’s first wave, the AP reports.

COVID-19 Expert Reality Check

SARS-CoV-2 - electron microscope

As the media swarms the coronavirus story, most news articles focus on numbers of cases and deaths, new locations of cases, etc.

Lost in the shuffle are the important public health insights about how viruses work and humans respond. To help improve understanding of an emerging outbreak’s complex dynamics, GHN has reached out to some of the world’s most respected global health experts for their quick "reality checks" on key issues related to the outbreak.

 

U.S. companies that are working on coronavirus treatments or vaccines

Covid-19 research

A mix of legacy drug makers and small startups have stepped forward with plans to develop vaccines or treatments that target the infection caused by the novel coronavirus.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which was first detected in December in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 1,150,000 people worldwide and killed at least 64,500. There are no approved vaccines or therapies for the disease although the use of hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate to treat COVID-19 patients is authorised.

South Africa needs to mitigate the worst of its inequalities in tackling coronavirus

Blikkiesdorp, Cape Town

As South Africa entered its 21-day lockdown, the political message was that South Africans were all in it together. However, it is clear that while society has been united politically to fight COVID-19, there are extreme and persistent economic and social inequalities. The lockdown confines everyone to their home for three weeks. But what does this mean in a country riven with inequalities?

The lockdown has illuminated how the spatial, economic and social inequalities which were characteristic features of the apartheid period have persisted in post-apartheid South Africa. Media coverage has shown inequalities in access to transport, shops, COVID-19 testing, and the very different ways the lockdown has been enforced and policed in different communities.

A small trial finds that hydroxychloroquine is not effective for treating coronavirus

Hydroxychloroquine 200 mg

On Saturday the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of two antimalarial drugs, hydroxychloroquine and a related medication, chloroquine, for emergency use to treat COVID-19. The drugs were touted by President Trump as a “game changer” for COVID-19.

However, a study just published in a French medical journal provides new evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not appear to help the immune system clear the coronavirus from the body. The study comes on the heels of two others - one in France and one in China - that reported some benefits in the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for COVID-19 patients who didn’t have severe symptoms of the virus.

Coronavirus case counts are going to go up – but that doesn’t mean social distancing is a bust

Empty parking lots show social distancing’s costs

The last few weeks have brought previously unimaginable changes to the lives of people throughout the United States. Americans everywhere are waking up to a new reality in which they can’t go to work or school outside the home and they have to stay six feet away from others. More than 80% of Americans are under such stay-at-home orders.

People are also seeing charts in the news showing rapidly increasing case counts. This is likely to continue to occur. The United States surpassed Italy and China to have the most confirmed cases of any country.

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