Health News Roundup: India reports lowest daily COVID-19 deaths; Australia sends troops to help contain virus on ore ship near Port Hedland and more
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Global coronavirus deaths pass ‘agonizing milestone’ of 1 million
The global death toll from COVID-19 rose past 1 million on Tuesday, according to a Reuters tally, a bleak milestone in a pandemic that has devastated the global economy, overloaded health systems and changed the way people live. The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus this year is now double the number of people who die annually from malaria – and the death rate has increased in recent weeks as infections surge in several countries.
New York’s positive COVID-19 test rate inches up as cases climb in other states
The percentage of COVID-19 tests taken in New York state that have come back positive has inched up to 1.5%, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday, a worrisome trend for the former epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus epidemic. New York’s positivity rate had hovered around 1% for weeks, a hard-won metric after the state tallied thousands of cases per day during the peak of its outbreak in the spring. The rate’s uptick now comes as 27 other states recorded increases in the number of cases for two straight weeks.
New adviser giving Trump bad information on virus, top U.S. officials say
Two senior U.S. public health experts have raised concerns that White House adviser Scott Atlas is providing misleading or incorrect information on the coronavirus pandemic to President Donald Trump, according to media reports on Monday. The top U.S. infectious diseases expert, Anthony Fauci, told CNN on Monday he was concerned that information given by Atlas – a late addition to the White House coronavirus task force – was “really taken either out of context or actually incorrect.”
Trump, pressured over pandemic, says states will receive 150 million tests
President Donald Trump, under fire over his handling of the coronavirus epidemic, announced on Monday the federal government would ship 150 million rapid tests to U.S. states and warned an increase in positive cases is likely in the days ahead. Trump, at a Rose Garden event, said the tests would largely be used for opening schools and ensuring safety at centers for senior citizens. He has been pressuring state governors to do more to open schools for in-person learning.
South Korea on alert over holidays despite slight drop in COVID-19 cases
South Korea appealed on Tuesday for strict social-distancing despite a slight fall in the number of its new coronavirus cases, with millions of people set to travel for a major holiday. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 39 new infections as of Monday midnight, which marks a fifth day of double-digit rises. It brought South Korea’s total infections to 23,699, with 407 deaths.
Poorer countries to get 120 million $5 coronavirus tests, WHO says
Some 120 million rapid diagnostic tests for coronavirus will be made available to low- and middle-income countries at a maximum of $5 each, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday. The wider availability of quick, reliable and inexpensive testing will help 133 countries to track infections and contain the spread, closing the gap with wealthy ones, it said.
Australia sends troops to help contain virus on ore ship near Port Hedland
Australian defence personnel are being deployed to Port Hedland, one of the world’s largest iron ore loading ports, to help contain a coronavirus outbreak on a bulk carrier that last changed crews in the major seafaring city of Manila. Seventeen of the 21-crew members of the carrier have tested positive for the virus, ship owner Oldendorff Carriers said in a statement.
India reports lowest daily COVID-19 deaths since August 3
India reported its smallest daily rise in coronavirus deaths since Aug. 3 of 776, data from the health ministry showed on Tuesday, as global fatalities crossed 1 million and infections surged in several countries. The South Asian country’s coronavirus case tally rose to 6.15 million after it reported 70,589 new infections in the last 24 hours, according to health ministry data, while total deaths stood at 96,318.
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.
Explainer: Why the coronavirus death rate still eludes scientists
Global deaths from COVID-19 have reached 1 million, but experts are still struggling to figure out a crucial metric in the pandemic: the fatality rate – the percentage of people infected with the pathogen who die. Here is a look at issues surrounding better understanding the COVID-19 death rate.