Germany’s Fauci Praises His Country For Masking, Social Distancing

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As a second wave rolls through parts of Europe, Christian Drosten releases a prevention plan for the coming months with the backing of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Global news is from WHO, the Clinton Health Access Initiative and looks at Belgium’s ban on prostitution, and more.

Christian Drosten, Germany’s Dr. Fauci, Worries About Second Wave Of Covid 

Christian Drosten is even more famous in Germany than [Anthony] Fauci is in America, thanks to a wildly successful podcast he introduced in February. Das Coronavirus-Update rocketed to the top of Germany’s podcast rankings, reliably outperforming programs devoted to sex, crime, and even soccer. Its format is simple: As often as five times a week, he spends an hour answering questions about basic science, the latest Covid research, and how societies might navigate the pandemic. Since starting the show, he’s cut back on contact with the press, reserving most of his comments for the podcast. He declined an interview for this story. Drosten’s rise has earned him millions of fans—and more than a few enemies. Detractors argue that he wields too much influence, making him a punching bag for what they consider government overreach. After he suggested it could be a while before people might again pack into soccer stadiums, he received death threats, prompting the police to monitor his email. (Loh, 9/28)

WHO, Partners Roll Out Faster COVID Tests For Poorer Nations

The World Health Organization announced Monday that it and leading partners have agreed to a plan to roll out 120 million rapid-diagnostic tests for the coronavirus to help lower- and middle-income countries make up ground in a testing gap with richer countries — even if it’s not fully funded yet. At $5 apiece, the antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests for which WHO issued an emergency-use listing last week, the program initially requires $600 million and is to get started as early as next month to provide better access to areas where it’s harder to reach with PCR tests that are used often in many wealthier nations. (Keaten, 9/28)

Brussels Bans Prostitution To Curb Coronavirus

Brussels authorities have decided to ban prostitution until further notice in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus in Belgium’s capital city. In addition, authorities have shut down three hotels hosting sex workers because social distancing measures were not respected, Wafaa Hammich, a spokeswoman at Brussels city hall told The Associated Press on Tuesday. She said police controls will be stepped up to make sure the ban is enforced. (9/29)

Dutch Government Announces New Restrictions To Rein In Virus

The Dutch government introduced new nationwide restrictions Monday aimed at tackling the swift spread of coronavirus infections that is sweeping across the country, including banning supporters from professional sports matches and ordering bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m. for the coming three weeks. Prime Minister Mark Rutte also advised people to wear face masks when shopping in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, the three cities with the highest rates of infections, and said store owners can refuse entry to customers who aren’t wearing a mask. (9/28)

Puzzled Scientists Seek Reasons Behind Africa’s Low Fatality Rates From Pandemic 

Africa’s overburdened public health systems, dearth of testing facilities and overcrowded slums had experts predicting a disaster when COVID-19 hit the continent in February. The new coronavirus was already wreaking havoc in wealthy Asian and European nations, and a United Nations agency said in April that, even with social-distancing measures, the virus could kill 300,000 Africans this year. (Winning, 9/28)

The Washington Post:
New Zealand Says Coronavirus Travel Bubble With Parts Of Australia Is Within Reach 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern raised hopes Monday that a travel bubble with Australia could still be within reach, after a resurgence of the novel coronavirus disrupted similar plans earlier this year. “Previously, [Canberra] wanted a whole of Australia approach, and we said that would slow things down,” Ardern told TVNZ. “They’re now moving to a hotspot regime,” under which movement would be restricted in some areas, according to the rate of new infections. (Noack, 9/28)

COVID-19 Outbreak On Ship Off Australia’s Coast

Authorities are concerned by a COVID-19 outbreak aboard a cargo ship off Australia’s northwest coast that has infected most of the crew. Eight more members of the Filipino crew tested positive for the new coronavirus on Monday, bringing the number of infections to 17 out of a crew of 21. (9/29)

500 Years Ago, Another Epidemic Swept Mexico: Smallpox

There were mass cremations of bodies; entire families died and the inhabitants of the city, afraid to pull their bodies out, simply collapsed their homes on top of them to bury them on the spot. The scene, beyond even the current coronavirus pandemic, was a scourge brought 500 years ago by Spanish conquistadores and their servants that exploded in Mexico City in September 1520. Smallpox and other newly introduced diseases went on to kill tens of millions of Indigenous people in the Americas who had no resistance to the European illnesses. (Verza, 9/28)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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