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Covid-19 pandemic could cause housing crisis in US

28 May

The lockdown measures imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic has forced workers to stay home and unable to work and earn money.

The unemployment benefits offered by the US government are not reaching the workers due to delays and eligibility issues.

As a result, the pandemic may cause a housing crisis as workers are unable to pay rent.

Pedro da Costa, Federal Reserve and economy watcher at Market News International, on how the pandemic may result in homelessness in the US.

California is expected to face an increase of 20% in homelessness and a more severe rate in other parts of the US.

If the economic downturn continues, the US is expected to witness more evictions and foreclosures than those recorded during the Great Recession.

Experts believe that it is essential that the government cover the costs of rent and help workers and landlords to avoid a housing crisis.

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5:00 pm

Uni team uses AI to identify Covid-19 in X-rays

Students at Cranfield University have designed an artificial intelligence (AI) that can identify Covid-19 in X-ray images.

The AI is able to detect abnormalities in X-rays and classify which are positive for pneumonia, before a second model is used to diagnose if the pneumonia is caused by Covid-19. The students employed conventional machine learning algorithms alongside deep learning frameworks, which allow the computers to learn by example.

Cranfield University lecturer in computational engineering Dr Zeeshan Rana, who led the research team, is now exploring collaboration opportunities with medical authorities and industry stakeholders to build on the project with more advanced AI algorithms and computed tomography scans.

Rana said: “The research carried out in this pilot project has led to some extremely promising results and we are looking to build on this success rapidly to help in the fight against Covid-19.”

3:24 pm

Economic Update: Fitch Ratings cuts GDP forecasts again – McKinsey see opportunities for a greener recovery

27 May

Fitch Ratings has made further cuts to world GDP forecasts in its latest Global Economic Outlook (GEO).

Brian Coulton, Chief Economist, Fitch Ratings, said: “World GDP is now forecast to fall by 4.6% in 2020 compared to a decline of 3.9% predicted in our late-April GEO.

“This reflects downward revisions to the eurozone and the UK and, most significantly, to emerging markets (EM) excluding China.”

Fitch now expects Eurozone GDP to fall by 8.2% in 2020 compared to a contraction of 7.0%, and the UK 7.8% this year.

McKinsey has said that the tragedy of Covid-19 does present an opportunity for a greener recovery.

The consultancy said: “Low-carbon recovery could not only initiate the significant emissions reductions needed to halt climate change but also create more jobs and economic growth than a high-carbon recovery would.

“Our analysis of stimulus options for a European country suggests that mobilizing €75 billion to €150 billion of capital could yield €180 billion to €350 billion of gross value added, generate up to three million new jobs, and enable a carbon-emissions reduction of 15 to 30% by 2030.

Nomura predicted that Covid-19 is to derail Asia’s GDP growth to -0.5% y-o-y in 2020, from 5.3% in 2019. 8 out of 10 economies will contract in 2020 in the region.

The investment bank also said: “We expect China’s GDP growth to remain negative at -0.5% in Q2 and Beijing to roll out a large stimulus package soon.”

10:19 am

Philanthropists team up to manufacture Covid-19 equipment in Africa

Philanthropists are teaming up to help African nations secure urgently needed ventilators, as well as other breathing support and medical equipment, in the battle against Covid-19.

African Union special envoy Strive Masiyiwa is leading a private partnership to start local manufacturing of the equipment. Working with Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and former eBay president Jeff Skoll, the group has identified two solutions that will be manufactured in South Africa.

The initiative will start with the production of 1,000 bridge ventilators, a design that was provided to this partnership for free by Virgin Orbit and has recently received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Initial orders are now being secured.

The partners are also in discussions with Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company regarding oxygen helmet prototypes produced in partnership with NASA and the Aerospace Valley Task Force, pending FDA EUA.

Masiyiwa has also pulled together a team to build an online platform to manage global procurement of medical equipment, including personal protective equipment, which is set to launch in partnership with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention before the end of May.

9:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Vexos to provide 10,000 MVM Ventilators to Canada – FDA provides 510(k) clearance to Philips Biosensor BX100

GenScript Biotech Europe BV has received CE marking for its in vitro diagnostic SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic product, the cPass SARS-CoV-2 Surrogate Virus Neutralization Test (sVNT) Kit. The kit is deigned to identify the presence of Covid-19 neutralising antibodies in one hour. It does not need live biological materials or biosafety containment.

Vexos has announced that it will manufacture 10,000 Mechanical Ventilator Milano (MVM) units for distribution across Canada. These units will aid in the country’s fight against Covid-19. The ventilator was developed by the International MVM Group to address the requirements for the care and recovery for of seriously affected Covid-19 patients. Deliveries of the units are expected to start in July.

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided the 510(k) clearance to Royal Philips for its wearable biosensor (Philips Biosensor BX100) for Covid-19 patient management. The biosensor improves clinical observation of patient deterioration detection, to aid in detecting the risk and help clinicians with early interventions. The technology also received the CE Mark.

Prime Home Health Services has introduced at-home monitoring of Covid-19 patients remotely using technology from MonitorMe. This technology provides contactless monitoring of patients, which reduces the contact between health care workers and patients and decreases the burden on hospitals and nursing homes.

7:23 am

Economic recovery following Covid-19 may be more sluggish than initially predicted

27 May

The global economy is expected to face a prolonged downturn due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many have predicted a U-shaped recovery as countries slowly ease restrictions. However, as the threat of a second wave of infections looms, the recovery may be more L-shaped with a sluggish recovery ahead.

Nouriel Roubini, Professor at Stern School NYU, shared an article containing his views on the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He noted that the economic recovery will not be U-shaped as claimed by many economists but rather L-shaped resembling a greater depression.

Roubini noted that an L-shaped recovery means the economy will contract sharply and stay there for an extended period of time.

Read more

6:48 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: US Covid-19 deaths approach 100,000 – cases still on the increase in Brazil – Japan lifts state of emergency

27 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reach over 5,518,000 with over 346,700 deaths and 2,232,000 recoveries.

In the US, there are over 1,662,000 cases and over 98,000 deaths. However, Covid-19 deaths in the US are on the decline.

Brazil’s daily incidence is reported to be second only to the US and may become number one globally if the increasing incidence trend continues.

Daily incidence rates also continue to rise in Peru and Chile, making these three South American countries in the top six countries in terms of daily incidence rates.

In Japan, the state of emergency has lifted and marks the official end of the restrictions. The prime minister ended the state of emergency after a month and a half.

Japan currently has over 16,500 cases and over 800 deaths.

Nanthida Nanthavong, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData

5:45 pm

Automation Anywhere to support Covid-19 response

Robotic process automation company Automation Anywhere has announced that it is collaborating with Northampton General Hospital in the UK to automate the monitoring and reporting of the centre’s Covid-19 oxygen supply.

The hospital has two large oxygen tanks that supply its ventilation machines. Monitoring them has, until now, been a manual process, requiring hospital staff to log into an internal system and physically collect each reading from the tanks.

Automation Anywhere has developed and implemented a software bot to increase the speed and frequency of this reporting and reduce the risk of error. The process is now automated, extracting the data and calculating flow rates to monitor oxygen levels 24 hours a day without human intervention.

Northampton General Hospital chief information officer Hugo Matais said: “Automating the collection and sharing of this data has given valuable hours back and increased confidence that we can offer the best level of patient care.”

12:48 pm

Ortho completes PHE evaluation for IgG Covid-19 test

Ortho Clinical Diagnostics’ IgG Covid-19 antibody test has completed evaluation with Public Health England (PHE).

The test is hoped to be deployed as part of back-to-work strategies and in serological surveys to understand infection rates and immune responses throughout the population. It offers 100% specificity and runs on Ortho’s high-throughput, fully automated analysers including its flagship VITROS XT 7600 Integrated System, the VITROS 3600 Immunodiagnostic System and the VITROS 5600 Integrated System.

The test was CE marked on 18 May. Ortho previously announced the CE marking of its total antibody test, which detects the IgA and IgM alongside the IgG Covid-19 antibodies. These appear earlier in the infection, and can help determine the onset of a patient’s immune response.

Ortho is now collaborating with the UK Department of Health and Social Care to assess how to deploy the tests throughout the country

9:51 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Nine Line to develop protective masks amid Covid-19 pandemic – Andonix launches PPE storefront for front-line workers

Nine Line Apparel, along with Gerber Technology and Top Value Fabric, will develop different types of protective masks that are expected to safeguard the health of millions of people. Nine Line is able to produce 2,000 masks and 100,000 replacement filters per day with the capacity to produce up to 5 million masks and 50 million filters in one month. Along with reusable masks, Nine Line has partnered with another US manufacturer to produce a one-size-fits-all mask at cost.

OraSure Technologies has announced that its OMNIgene.ORAL saliva collection device (OM-505) has been included in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) granted to P23 Labs. Developed by OraSure’s DNA Genotek subsidiary, the device is collection kit for the detection of DNA and RNA from viruses. The EUA enables individuals to self-collect saliva specimen at-home for Covid-19 diagnosis.

Kiosk Manufacturer Association has announced the availability of technologies and resources to address the need for checking elevated body temperatures. KMA is made of companies worldwide that offer kiosk and self-service technology, hardware and software for unattended access. Some of the resources available are the Temperature Check – 22MILES Thermal Sensing FAQ, Tech Brief – Temperature Elevated & Body Temperature EBT and Antibacterial Kiosks – CDC on Contaminated Surfaces.

Andonix has announced the launch of its ‘Safely Storefront’ which is expected to arm the front-line workers with PPE to safeguard them amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The new storefront, Safely Pass, will offer the required affordable and accessible gear to companies that hire front-line workers. The company stated that Safely Pass Storefront will provide three-ply facemasks, face shields and KN95 at wholesale prices.

9:42 am

International Update: WHO warns of second Covid-19 peak as lockdowns ease, Indonesia deploys army and police after record infections surge

26 May

Global: There are almost 5.5 million Covid-19 cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins university coronavirus tracker, which has counted a total of 5,495,061 confirmed infections. The death toll stands at 346,232.

Countries where coronavirus infections are declining could still face an “immediate second peak” if they let up too soon on measures to halt the outbreak, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

The World Health Organization has suspended testing the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in Covid-19 patients due to safety concerns.

Indonesia: Indonesia deployed hundreds of thousands of army and police personnel across the vast archipelago to enforce social-distancing rules, after a record surge in infections in the past week cast doubt on plans to reopen Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

US: The White House brings forward Brazil travel restrictions by two days, amending the timing to 11.59pm ET on Tuesday, 26 May.

The Trump administration said sufficient quantities of Abbott Laboratories’ ID NOW Covid-19 test and Quidel Corp.’s Sofia 2 instruments exist to support 200 million US tests per month.

Latam Airlines Group SA, Latin America’s largest air carrier, sought bankruptcy court protection in New York after the Covid-19 pandemic grounded flights across the region.

Australia: Australia will not open the country’s borders “anytime soon”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, but added the country will continue its discussions with neighbouring New Zealand for a trans-Tasman safe travel zone.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia will revise curfew times this week, and lift it entirely across the Kingdom with the exception of the holy city of Mecca starting 21 June, state news agency reported in a statement early on Tuesday.

Germany: Germany threw Lufthansa a €9bn (US$9.8bn) lifeline on Monday, agreeing a bailout which gives Berlin a veto in the event of a hostile bid for the airline.

Iceland: Iceland eased its national alert against the coronavirus on Monday, allowing for public gatherings of up to 200 people and night clubs and gyms to reopen as the country nears complete recovery from the outbreak.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong International Airport will open for some transit services from 1 June, chief executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday.

China: China reported seven additional coronavirus cases by the end of 25 May , with all of them from abroad, according to a statement from the National Health Commission. Of the seven cases, five were reported in Inner Mongolia.

UK: England’s outdoor markets and car showrooms can reopen from 1 June, as soon as they can meet guidelines to protect shoppers and workers, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said as he urged the public to spend money in stores when the curbs are lifted.

 

7:29 am

Testing needs to be ramped up for economies to re-open

26 May

Experts across world continue to highlight the need to reopen economies to limit the economic upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, some believe that unless testing capabilities are ramped up, reopening the economy may result in an upsurge in infection rate.

A Testing ramp up with limited lockdown measures may be the most optimal solution to reopening the economy.

Kaushik Basu, Professor of Economics at Cornell University, shared a chart comparing the mortality rates across various countries.

He noted that the mortality rates are so different that emerging economies cannot blindly imitate the economic policies of those implemented by European and North American nations.

Basu added that economic revival will depend on a limited lockdown that will enable the economy to function.

2:06 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Brazil about to overtake Russia with most Covid-19 cases after US – Indonesia reports a sharp rise

23 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 5,110,000, with over 333,000 deaths and 1,950,000 recoveries.

Cases have been rising sharply in Latin America with Peru, Mexico, and Chile each continuing to experience a record number of daily cases or deaths.

Meanwhile, Brazil is set to overtake Russia with second most number of cases in the world after the US.

Cases in India are rising at the fastest pace in Asia with a record number of daily new cases.

Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, is reporting sharp rise in new cases and will be the one to watch in the near future.

Indonesia is struggling to keep the spread of infection under reasonable control compared to neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist, GlobalData

4:32 pm

Economic Update: McKinsey’s four forces that will mould the next normal – US DOL reveals more than 38 million unemployed

22 May

McKinsey has said that they are predicting “Four forces that will mold the next normal” in the post Covid-19 world.

Those being: The metamorphosis of demand, Rapid changes in the workforce, Shifts in regulation and Increasing information about protocols for safety.

According to the US Department Of Labor, (DOL) the US unemployment rate has increased by another 2.4 million in the week to 16 May, bringing the total of unemployed Americans to over 38 million since the start if the pandemic and consequent social distancing measures.

2:54 pm

Vtuls offers free AI remote health monitoring for UK care homes

Swiss clinical tech firm Vtuls is offering its remote healthcare monitoring technology to UK care homes for no charge.

The system monitors patients’ vital signs using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to alert clinicians when conditions deteriorate.

The technology is CE marked and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, and has been deployed in seven countries. It can track over 40 vital signs including temperature, blood oxygen, blood pressure and pain.

Data from the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that Covid-19 has been responsible for more than one in four care home deaths in the country over the last two months.

Vtuls founder and CEO Jas Saini said: “Earlier detection of Covid-19 cases in care homes would enable faster treatment of infected residents and reduce cluster outbreaks that occur when residents are isolated too slowly.

“Daily remote health monitoring of vital signs could play an important part in this. Not only would it uncover suspected cases earlier, therefore enabling better targeting of testing resources, it would also catch cases that occur after a resident has been given the all-clear from a previous test, that would otherwise not be picked up until much later.”

10:49 am

Researchers develop improved filter for N95 masks

Researchers reporting in ACS Nano have developed an N95 mask membrane that can be attached to a mask and removed when needed, which could help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

The filter has a smaller pore size than normal N95 masks, potentially blocking more virus particles.

Traditional N95 masks filter about 85% of particles smaller than 300 nanometres (nm). With the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19 sitting in the size range of 65nm to 125nm, some virus particles could slip through.

The new membrane features pores smaller than 60nm, placed at a maximum of 330nm from each other to achieve good breathability. The membrane is also self-cleaning because droplets slide off it, preventing the pores from getting clogged with viruses and other particles.

9:32 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 5.1 million – Brazil deaths exceed 20,000 – Australia extends ban on cruise ship visits

22 May

Global: Global cases stand at 5,102,573, with deaths reported at 332,924, according to the Johns Hopkins university tracker.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Ukraine have reached an agreement in principle on a new $5bn aid package to help Kyiv battle the coronavirus crisis.

Germany and Russia urged the United Nations to partially reopen its New York City headquarters as the secretary general proposes to scale back the annual General Assembly meeting in September.

Brazil: Latin America’s biggest country has recorded a one-day death toll of 1,188, taking the confirmed total to 20,047.

Indonesia: Indonesia has had its biggest one day jump in cases: the world’s fourth most populous country reported 973 new infections on Thursday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 20,162.

South Korea: South Korea has reported 20 new cases, which came as health authorities worked to contain the cluster connected to Seoul nightclubs.

Thailand: Thailand reported no new coronavirus infections or deaths on Friday, maintaining the total of 3,037 confirmed cases and 56 fatalities since the outbreak started in January.

Thailand will extend its nationwide state of emergency for another month through June, according to Taweesilp Witsanuyotin, a spokesman for the Covid-19 centre.

China: China took the rare move of not setting an annual growth target this year after the coronavirus battered the world’s second-largest economy and ravaged global growth.

Australia: New South Wales has announced cafes and restaurants will be allowed to have up to 50 patrons from 1 June, up from ten currently allowed.

Australia extended its ban on cruise ship visits for three months until September 17. The Australian Border Force said any cruise ship capable of carrying more than 100 passengers is prohibited from operating cruises in the country.

Australia is seeking an exemption from a requirement that travellers arriving in the United Kingdom quarantine for 14 days to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

India: India’s central bank cut interest rates in an unscheduled announcement on Friday, ramping up support for an economy it expects will contract for the first time in more than four decades.

US: The US Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday that 27 antibody tests will no longer be distributed in the US, part of a previously announced crackdown on the tests.

9:28 am

Coronavirus company news update – Vayyar Imaging and Meditemi to develop robot to detect Covid-19 symptoms – Abbot to provide Covid-19 IgG lab-based antibody tests to NHS

Capsule Technologies has announced that it is offering its Ventilated Patient Surveillance (VPS) workstation to users of its Medical Device Information Platform. This workstation offers a centralised remote observation platform for all of the ventilator data of patients and ‘clinically actionable emergent events’. This will aid the caregivers to manage the ventilated patients in a safe and effective manner.

Vayyar Imaging has partnered with Meditemi to develop a more intelligent care robot that can offer different remote monitoring capabilities such as early detection of Covid-19 symptoms and health deterioration and fall alerts. The robot can carry out a touchless scan of a patient’s heart rate (BPM), respiratory rate (RPM), waveforms and temperature when they are standing within one metre.

Abbott has received a contract to supply its laboratory-based IgG antibody tests to UK’s National Health Service (NHS) laboratories in the next few months. The company has currently shipped 800,000 antibody tests to NHS laboratories this week. The tests will be used under the Covid-19 testing initiative of the UK Secretary of State for Health.

8:03 am

Strategic lockdown lifting may help economies recover

22 May

Lockdown measures implemented due to the Covid-19 pandemic have led to contraction of GDP levels globally.

Research indicates that some of the damage caused by the pandemic may be undone by lifting the restrictions.

The lockdown measures, however, should be lifted based on a strategic approach to avoid the threat of a second wave of infections.

Gregory Daco, Chief US Economist at Oxford Economics, shared an article on how lifting of lockdown restrictions in China helped in returning the industry value to positive levels in April.

Retail sales, however, were lagging due to consumers’ maintaining voluntary social distancing.

The article notes that based on the trends in China, the global economy may start to expand again if the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Consumers may start to spend on goods and services that they could not purchase in the second quarter but will also cut back their spending on other areas, the article added.

Read more

7:25 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases exceed 5 million – increases continue in Latin America – no new cases in London

22 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 5,000,000, with over 328,000 deaths and 1,900,000 recoveries.

In Europe and North America, the daily confirmed cases continue to decrease in majority of the countries.

In Latin America, Peru, Mexico, and Chile each continues to experience a record number of daily cases or death.

Peru has second most number of cases after Brazil in Latin America.

Cases in India are increasing at the fastest pace in Asia with a 30% increase in cases since last week.

After facing the brunt of Covid-19 in the UK, London has reported steep decline in daily new cases with no new cases reported in the last 24 hours.

This is a positive development, but it remains to be seen if this decline in new cases will continue in the near future.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist, GlobalData

3:54 pm

Ally Bridge Group leads $150m Covid-19 life science funding

Life science investment firm Ally Bridge Group (ABG) has led three US medtech investments amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Each of the three companies could have a role to play as the pandemic continues.

ABG has led a $25m investment in Vida Health, an all-in-one virtual care platform managing polychronic physical and behavioural conditions such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension and mental health conditions.

The investment group has also led a $60m investment in Rapid Micro Biosystems, a life science tools company that offers products for the detection and data-tracking of bacterial contamination in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical devices, water and food processing, and personal care products.

Finally, it has led an investment of a further $66m in Pulmonx, a medical device company specialising in minimally invasive treatment for patients with severe emphysema.

ABG founder and CEO Frank Yu said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is undoubtedly a watershed event for life science and healthcare around the globe, and further strengthens ABG’s commitment to leading high-impact investments in game-changing innovations in this space.”

2:14 pm

Economic Update: Covid-19 worst pandemic driven economic impact since 2000 – people could be out of work for 2-3 years

21 May

Deloitte economist Akrur Barua says that the economic impact of Covid-19 is likely to be more harsh than other epidemics and pandemics in Asia since 2000:

“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Asia will likely be worse than other epidemics and pandemics due to three key reasons.

“Firstly, the scale of the current pandemic is much larger than any other health care crisis this century.

“Secondly, state-mandated social distancing in Asia (and the world over) now is way more severe than in the past.

“Finally, Asia plays a bigger role in the world economy and is more interconnected with the rest of the world now than at the time of SARS.”

A new report from the World Economic Forum looks at what the coronavirus pandemic means for the world, based on the views and analysis of 350 senior risk professionals.

Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum and Head of Centre for the New Economy and Society, concluded: “The effects of recent events will be felt by many businesses for years to come and some may not survive without support.

“We have to think much more carefully about helping with reskilling and upskilling, and providing better social safety nets for affected workers, because it may be a two- to three-year journey before they’re able to move into a new sector.

“We’re already starting to see some of the permanent structural changes brought about by the impact of the pandemic.

“As parts of Asia and Europe begin to emerge from lockdown restrictions, there are signs of seemingly permanent changes in consumer behavior.

“We have to start rethinking where future sources of economic growth will come from.”

 

9:44 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Color receives FDA’s EUA for LAMP technology – Vexos signs agreement for distribution of MVM Ventilators

Pathnostics has launched a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) laboratory test, which is expected to aid the efforts of the US health care workers to ensure the safety of the patients, colleagues and workplaces. The test was developed by the company after its customers said that they needed one which is easy to administer and can identify actively infected Covid-19 patients.

Color has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the use of its LAMP technology for Covid-19 testing. LAMP is a molecular testing technology that offers Covid-19 test results with similar accuracy to the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), but is more suited to high-throughput automation and rapid lab scaleup.

Vexos has signed an exclusive license agreement with Elemaster Group for the manufacturing and distribution of MVM (Mechanical Ventilator Milano) for North, Central and South America. The ventilator was designed and developed to address the needs for the care and recovery for of seriously affected Covid-19 patients. It received the EUA from the FDA on 1 May.

City of Santos in Brazil has deployed Essence SmartCare‘s advanced senior monitoring technologies with the help of its partner TeleHelp, safeguarding senior citizens and medical staff amid the Covid-19 pandemic. This will reduce the burden on the hospitals and care homes and provide them with home emergency alarms, voice communication, fall detection and activity monitoring. This platform will connect the seniors with 24/7 remote call centres who can carry out a quick emergency response procedures.

9:38 am

International Update: Covid-19 infections near 5 million – Europe told to brace itself for second wave – global trade lowest in four years says WTO

21 May

Global: After the biggest single-day increase in cases worldwide so far in the pandemic, the number of confirmed infections is close to 5 million, with the Johns Hopkins University data currently listing 4,996,634.

The World Health Organization gave a stark warning on Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over, after 106,000 new cases were recorded worldwide over the past 24 hours – the most in a single day so far.

International imports and exports have fallen to their lowest level for at least four years, according to World Trade Organization figures.

Europe: Europe should brace itself for a second wave of coronavirus infections, according to the director of the EU agency responsible for advising governments on disease control.

European Union regulators called on passengers to wear face masks, observe physical distancing and frequently wash their hands in new guidelines for air travel in the age of Covid-19.

Greece: Tourists will be welcomed back to Greece from 15 June, the prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has announced.

Germany: German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the country won’t be cutting foreign aid due to the coronavirus pandemic, and further relief for poor nations is needed.

UK: The number of unaccompanied young migrants crossing the Channel from France to Britain has spiked during the coronavirus outbreak, as travel restrictions force them onto boats rather than trucks.

US: Donald Trump has said he may seek to revive a face-to-face meeting of Group of Seven leaders near Washington, after earlier canceling the gathering due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Expedia Group Inc. followed its peers in the online travel industry in witnessing a staggering decline in business since the spread of the virus, with total gross bookings down 39% in the first quarter.

Mexico: At least 500 Cuban health workers are helping tackle the coronavirus in Mexico City, Mexican officials told Reuters, making it likely the largest contingent the communist-led island has deployed globally as part of its response to the pandemic.

Japan: Japan’s economy minister says experts have approved a government plan to remove a coronavirus state of emergency in Osaka and two neighbouring prefectures in the west where the infection is deemed slowing, while keeping the measure in place in the Tokyo region and Hokkaido.

Cambodia: Cambodia has announced the lifting of a travel ban of tourists from Iran, Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the US.

South Korea: South Korea’s exports of coronavirus test kits are expected to gather momentum down the road due to high overseas demand, Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday, quoting industry sources.

 

7:44 am

Covid-19 driven recession could impact 2020 graduate careers for a decade

21 May

Unemployment levels have reached new highs over the last three months since the lockdown was initiated in the US.

As millions of students graduate during this uncertain time, their future job prospects remain bleak.

Careers and earnings may be impacted for graduates for many years.

Konstantina Beleli, an economist and journalist, shared an article on how million of students in US are graduating in one of the worst job markets witnessed since the Great Depression.

The article notes that the unemployment rate in the US currently stands at 14.7% but for people aged between 20 and 24, the rate increases to 25.7%, according to statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Research suggests that the careers and earnings of these students are expected to be impacted for more than a decade.

Read more

7:10 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global confirmed Covid-19 cases exceed 4.9 million – record daily numbers of new cases in South America

21 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,900,000, with over 323,000 deaths and 1,690,000 recoveries.

Brazil account for most of the daily confirmed cases in Latin America.

Meanwhile, countries to watch will be Peru, Mexico, and Chile as each continues to experience a record number of daily cases.

Brazil, Peru, Mexico, and Chile have each set a record high of new daily cases.

In Europe and North America, the daily confirmed cases continue to decrease in majority of the countries.

It has been accepted that children are not the group most at risk from Covid-19.

However, as schools have started to reopen in Europe; it remains unclear whether they are super spreaders and transmit the infection even if they are asymptomatic.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist, GlobalData

5:04 pm

Berkeley Lab using AI to estimate Covid-19 seasonal cycle

Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are using machine learning to assess whether Covid-19 has a seasonal aspect that will lead it to wane in summer and resurge in winter.

The computing work will be conducted at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), a US Department of Energy Office of Science user facility located at Berkeley Lab. A range of health and environmental datasets are being used, alongside high-resolution climate models and seasonal forecasts.

The research team will take advantage of abundant health data on the severity, distribution and duration of the Covid-19 outbreak in different countries, as well as various public health interventions alongside demographics, climate, population mobility dynamics and weather factors. The initial goal of the research is to predict environmental factors that may impact disease transmission in each US county by looking at the geographical differences in disease behaviour that have already been reported.

Berkeley Lab computational biologist Ben Brown says: “There are cities where [Covid-19] behaves as if it’s the most infectious disease in recorded history. Then there are cities where it behaves more like influenza. It is really critical to understand why we see those massive differences.”

12:08 pm

Economic Update: US GDP to contract by 11% in Q2 – eyes on China’s additional fiscal support – UK GDP downgraded

20 May

The US Congressional Budget office has said that it estimates that real gross domestic product will contract by 11% in the second quarter of this year, which is equivalent to a decline of 38% at an annual rate, and that the number of people employed will be almost 26 million lower than the number in the fourth quarter of 2019.

World Bank commentators have written that all eyes are on China this week as additional fiscal support to stem downward pressure on growth is expected:

“How to spend may be as important as how much to spend. China’s fiscal stimulus should be aligned with its medium-term objectives of rebalancing the economy toward more inclusive and greener growth.

“This suggests that the priority this time around needs to be enhancing China’s social safety nets and investing in accelerating the transition toward a carbon-neutral, more resource-efficient and competitive economy.”

Deloitte UK chief economist Ian Stewart has written on the company’s blog that due to the UK’s slow lockdown easing and contraction of economic activity, the firm is downgrading its 2020 UK GDP forecast, ‘with an expected contraction of 11.7% compared to our previous estimate of 6.8%’.

Stewart says: “For 2021 we see the economy growing by 8.5%, up from a previous forecast of 6.5%. Our 2020 forecast is at the low end of the current range of forecasts, which on average expect a contraction of 7.9% this year.

“However, the trend has been for forecasters to downgrade their numbers, with more recent forecasts consistently more pessimistic than earlier ones.”

11:04 am

Covid-19 crisis drives companies to rethink global expansion strategies

The UN Conference on Trade and Development estimates global foreign direct investment flows will contract by as much as 40% over the next year.

But is the impact equal across all sectors and geographies?

Where will companies pull back from, and where will tomorrow’s opportunities most likely be found?

How are companies changing their modes of entry for new markets in order to adapt to the current conditions?

NS Media Group – which is set to launch a dedicated information service focused on corporate cross-border expansion – is running a short survey to help answer these questions and would like to hear directly from executives in multinational companies involved in overseas investment decisions as to how corporate strategies are evolving.

This is an essential piece of research to better understand the impact Covid-19 is having in global business and investment.

View the survey

10:57 am

MIT engineers propose safer ventilator sharing method

A team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have come up with a new approach to splitting ventilators, which they believe could address many of the safety concerns associated with ventilator splitting.

Ventilator splitting is considered risky because there is no way to adjust the flow so that patients receive different amounts of air based on changes in their condition. To overcome this, the MIT team incorporated flow valves in each patient’s branch to allow them to control the amount of air that each receives.

The setup also includes pressure release valves that can prevent too much air from going into one patient’s lungs, as well as safety measures including alarms that go off when a patient’s air intake changes.

In April, Australian researchers demonstrated that a flow restrictor apparatus could be used to allow two patients to receive different levels of ventilation at the same time.

10:02 am

International Update: Covid-19 cases approach 5 million – EU criticizes Trump’s threat to permanently cut US funding for the WHO

20 May

Global: According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, at least 323,286 people are known to have died while at least 4,897,567 are confirmed as having been infected since the outbreak began.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that the developed world could learn lessons from the preventative measures taken by many African countries to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus shutdowns around the world could undo three years of gains in alleviating poverty, the president of the World Bank has said.

The European Union hailed the World Health Assembly’s approval of an EU-sponsored resolution on the virus, saying the move highlights the importance of a “collective response” to the pandemic and criticized Trump’s threat to permanently cut US funding for the WHO.

US: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday praised the Taiwan’s coronavirus response and called it a reliable partner, in a statement congratulating President Tsai Ing-wen on her inauguration for a second term that stood in sharp contrast with recent US criticism of China.

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority will use ultraviolet light to help remove Covid-19 from its subways, buses and commuter trains as the technology has been shown to eradicate the virus from surfaces.

Moderna Inc. fell as much as 12% after trade publication Stat reported the company withheld key information about its coronavirus vaccine.

The US and Canada will keep their border shut to non-essential travel for another month as efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are extended.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has suggested employers to consider a four-day working week and other flexible working options as a way to boost tourism and help employees address persistent work/life balance issues.

Netherlands: The Netherlands will press ahead with a further easing of lockdown measures in June due to a steadily declining number of infections and hospital admissions, its prime minister Mark Rutte has said.

The Dutch government confirmed that bars and restaurants can start opening for business again next month as the country slowly lifts more restrictions to aid an economy hurting from the coronavirus outbreak.

UK: There will be no “face-to-face lectures” at the University of Cambridge in the 2020/21 academic year, the institution has said.

Rishi Sunak, the UK’s chancellor, said the country is facing “a severe recession the likes of which we haven’t seen”.

Estonia: The Baltic nation of Estonia has started testing one of the world’s first digital immunity passports, according to Back to Work, a coalition of technology firms, medical experts and local government officials which are developing the app.

9:23 am

Coronavirus company news summary – QuantLase Imaging Lab develops rapid Covid-19 laser testing equipment – Medela ramps up production to meet Covid-19 demand for suction systems

UAE-based QuantLase Imaging Lab has developed novel equipment that can carry out faster mass screenings for Covid-19 and provides test results in seconds. Emirates News Agency reported that this technology aid in carrying out testing on a larger scale and will ‘reinforce the UAE’s position as a hub of research and innovation’. The lab aims to roll out the technology to the market in the next few months and has so far produced results with increased accuracy in an ideal control setup.

G Medical Innovations Holdings has received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Vital Signs Monitoring System (VSMS) ECG Patch (Patch). This technology is used to monitor the QT interval of ECG of the patients who are undergoing Covid-19 treatment in a hospital, with drugs that can prolong QT intervals.

Roche’s Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody test is now available at over 20 commercial and hospital lab sites in the US. The company plans to increase the availability to over 200 sites, with the capability to carry out millions of tests each week. Earlier this month, FDA provided an EUA for the Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody test. This test can identify mature antibodies that are developed later in the immune response, thereby reducing the probability of a false positive result.

Medela has launched a new US production line of its Vario 18 AC Portable Suction Pumps and estimates that around 10,000 units will be produced and provided by August. Additionally, the company has also tripled its Swiss production of Vario 18, Dominant Flex and Basic and other surgical and airway suction pumps. These devices offer necessary suction and fluid removal during respiratory treatment using ventilators.

8:27 am

Trade wars could result from Covid-19 driven economic downturn

20 May

Global trade wars could result from the devastating economic impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some countries have held China accountable for not controlling the spread of the disease.

Prof. Steve Hanke, Applied Economist Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on the 80% tariff imposed by China on barley exports from Australia for five years.

China is imposing the tariff after Australia became one of 100 countries that called for a probe into the spread of the Covid-19 disease.

Similar actions on other countries are also expected in the near future, with experts predicting that global trade wars are in the making.

Read more

7:30 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases exceed 4.8 million – concerns over accurate reporting in Africa

20 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,810,000, with over 319,000 deaths and 1,790,000 recoveries.

In Europe, the daily confirmed cases continue to decrease in majority of the countries except for Russia which continues to experience an increase in cases.

Brazil in Latin America and the US in North America account for most of the reported daily confirmed cases in that continent.

There are ​approximately 85,000 confirmed cases and 3,000 Covid-19 deaths in Africa.

The relatively low death toll had raised hopes that Africa may be spared worst of this pandemic, until recently. ​

A WHO model estimated that although cases might rise exponentially to at least a quarter of a billion people infected in Africa this year, countries in Africa will have fewer deaths than Europe and the US because of its younger population ​and lower comorbidity prevalence such as diabetes. ​

However, the current reported death toll is unlikely to accurately reflect the true extent of the outbreak’s impact in Africa due to testing limitations.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist, GlobalData

5:06 pm

Ataccama offers its technology free to governments

Artificial intelligence (AI) data management company Ataccama has offered its technology to governments around the world free of charge to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

To accurately assess population immunity and the rate of virus spread, detailed data about Covid-19 tests must be collected, processed and consolidated accurately. However, testing data can be highly unreliable due to manual data recording during the testing process, as well as a decentralised testing approach with data residing in hundreds of lab systems stored in various formats.

While integrating lab, hospital and health data processing could take years, hundreds of global organisations already use the Ataccama ONE platform to integrate, cleanse and de-duplicate data. Governments will now be able to use the platform free of charge to monitor national Covid-19 data and cut down on error rates.

Ataccama CEO Michal Klaus said: “With advanced data management and governance, authorities can model the pandemic development based on real, high-quality data, make the right decisions, and balance restrictions needed to save lives while reopening the economy as fast as possible.”

4:16 pm

Mount Sinai using AI to diagnose Covid-19 patients

Mount Sinai Hospital researchers have become the first in the US to use artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse patients with Covid-19.

The algorithm uses imaging and clinical data to detect Covid-19, based on how lung disease looks in computed tomography (CT) scans of the chest. These scans are combined with patient information such as symptoms, age, bloodwork results and possible contact with infected individuals.

Mount Sinai director of biomedical engineering and imaging Dr Zahi Fayad said: “Imaging can help give a rapid and accurate diagnosis – lab tests can take up to two days, and there is the possibility of false negatives – meaning imaging can help isolate patients immediately if needed, and manage hospital resources effectively.

“The high sensitivity of our AI model can provide a ‘second opinion’ to physicians in cases where CT is either negative (in the early course of infection) or shows nonspecific findings, which can be common. It’s something that should be considered on a wider scale, especially in the United States, where currently we have more spare capacity for CT scanning than in labs for genetic tests.”

Currently, CT scans are not widely used for Covid-19 diagnosis in the US.

2:28 pm

Almost 50,000 ‘excess’ deaths in England and Wales, says ONS

19 May

Nearly 50,000 more people than expected have died in England and Wales since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

New figures put out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this morning show an estimated 49,647 “excess” deaths occurred from 14 March to 8 May, with 39,071 of those attributed to Covid-19.

However, the number of weekly deaths, both caused by the virus and overall, is now at its lowest since the start of April.

11:30 am

Wearable thermometer helps combat Covid-19 in Ireland and Taiwan

iWEECARE has announced that its wearable thermometer Temp Pal has been adopted to combat Covid-19.

Temp Pal is currently being used to protect healthcare workers at Ireland’s Cork University Hospital and Taiwan’s Cheng Hsin General Hospital. It is also being used for self-quarantine management in the Chinese city of Nanjing to reduce workloads and close contacts with people at high risk.

The cloud-based continuous temperature monitoring system provides early warning of fevers. The device is intended to help lower the risk of infections by allowing people to self-isolate earlier, as well as prevent the overwhelming of health systems by reducing physical contact between caregivers and patients.

11:24 am

Economic Update: UNCTAD projects trade decline of 27% – IMF questions future financial stability – UK Jobseekers exceed 2 million

19 May

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a 3% drop in global trade values in the first quarter of 2020, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

The downturn is expected to accelerate in the second quarter, according to UNCTAD forecasts, which project a quarter-on-quarter decline of 27%.

International Monetary Fund researchers have written in a blog that relying on monetary policy alone to respond to shocks from events such as Covid-19 might not be enough and also raise questions about side effects on future financial stability and threats to central bank independence:

“While keeping an eye on debt sustainability concerns over the long term, fiscal policy needs to play a larger role. Putting in place more automatic fiscal responses in advanced economies could help build their resilience to future adverse shocks.

“If rules for fiscal stimulus are well communicated and established before shocks occur, they can help shape expectations and reduce uncertainty, thereby dampening the drop in activity once a negative shock materialises.”

The UK Office for National Statistics said that in April there was a 69.1% month-on-month increase in the number of claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance, taking the level to over 2 million.

10:56 am

Daily Report: Big falls in Covid-19 fatalities in Europe – global figures lag behind

19 May

Western Europe and America might have “passed the peak” – but many countries around the world are still very much fighting a rising tide of Covid 19.

Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Peru, India, Pakistan, and Indonesia have all seen daily death figures rise, when calculated as a seven-day rolling average.

The rise in South America and elsewhere means that global figures are only going down slightly week-on-week, despite big falls in Europe.

In the last seven days, 32,151 people died after being tested positive for the disease, according to the latest data from John’s Hopkins University.

That compares to 34,793 over the previous week.

At least 318,481 people have now died from the disease worldwide.

Covid-19 daily report

10:55 am

Pyramid Computer launches Covid-19 health screening kiosk

Pyramid Computer has announced the launch of its polytouch 32 curve access control kiosk, which automatically measures human body temperature to control access to public spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The kiosk can perform up to 700 temperature checks per hour. It is fully GDPR compliant with anonymised data collection and pre-defined automatic data deletion mechanisms.

Pyramid Computing international account director Patrick Hagemeister said: “Our easy-to-use health screening kiosk will help hasten the return of social contact and provide greater confidence in public health safety. Government and health organisations could also leverage our solution when tracking localised infection hotspots, by utilising the real-time anonymised data capture functionality.”

9:41 am

International Update: Global Covid cases pass 4.8 million – Trump taking hydroxychloroquine – IMF says full economic recovery unlikely in 2021.

19 May

Global: Global cases pass 4.8 million. There are 4,805,005 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The World Health Organization said on Monday an independent review of the global coronavirus response would begin as soon as possible.

IMF chief says full economic recovery unlikely in 2021.

Studies from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Council of Museums have confirmed that more than 85,000 museums across the world – about 90 percent of all institutions – have shut because of the coronavirus.

US: President Trump has said he has been taking hydroxychloroquine, his doctor released a letter confirming that they had discussed the use of the drug and “concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.

Some areas of New York City have seen death rates nearly 15 times higher than others, according to data released by New York City’s health department, showing the disproportionate toll taken on poorer communities.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has set aside $11bn in new funding to support coronavirus testing.

US President Donald Trump has again attacked the WHO calling the UN agency a “puppet of China” that has “done a very sad job” in handling the coronavirus.

Brazil: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Brazil stands at 255,368, according to Johns Hopkins University, overtaking the UK to become the third-worst affected country in terms of cases.

Australia: The death toll in Australia has reached 100, following the death of a 93-year-old woman who had been diagnosed with Covid-19.

Qantas Airways Ltd. said putting extra space between passengers on planes could lead to a big increase in airfares and discourage people from flying.

India: The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India has passed 100,000, currently standing at 100,328 according to Johns Hopkins University figures.

Qatar: Qatar will close all shops and halt all commercial activities, from 19 to 30 May.

Italy: Italy registers lowest deaths since March as bars, restaurants, shops, hairdressers, museums and churches reopen. The country registered 99 deaths and 451 infections on Monday.

9:32 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Seegene to provide ten million Covid-19 tests to Brazil – 1-Drop receives FDA’s EUA for Covid-19 test kit

South Korean company Seegene will supply ten million Covid-19 testing kits to Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) / World Health Organization (WHO) via Seegene do Brasil Diagnosticos, its Brazilian subsidiary. So far, the company has exported five million tests of Allplex 2019-nCOV assay to Brazil and the remaining five million will be supplied in the coming weeks. Seegene also plans to scale up its testing volume by up to 100%.

Gold Standard Diagnostics has announced the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) submission of a Multiplex Real-Time, reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay to detect the presence of Covid-19 causing SARS-CoV-2 virus. The assay is available in the US for purchase. The GSD NovaPrime SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) assay can simultaneously detect the two target sequences inside the N gene.

Kahala Biosciences and Rymedi have launched the ADIONA Covid-19 antibody testing platform. This platform is the first in the US that combines antibody testing with a blockchain-based smartphone software application, and claims to bring predictability and traceability to Covid-19 antibody testing. It combines a rapid point-of-care antibody (IgG/IgM) test carried out using a finger stick with an end-to-end blockchain solution.

South Korean coronavirus test kit maker 1-Drop has received EUA from US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Covid-19 qPCR Multi Kit. With this approval, 1-Drop will be the sixth South Korean company to receive the EUA from the FDA. The company plans to boost the expansion to the North American market.

7:39 am

Covid-19 lockdown increases online spending to 25% – 100,000 stores could close

19 May

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced retail and food outlets to remain closed to avoid the spread of the disease and comply with the lockdown measures.

Consumers unable to make purchases in physical stores are increasingly opting for online services for a variety of products.

Gregory Daco, Chief US Economist at Oxford Economics, shared a chart on how the recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is shifting consumer spending towards online shopping, which increased by 15% to 25%.

Consumers are purchasing various products online including office supplies, consumer electronics, home furnishings, auto parts etc.

In the article, UBS Group notes that approximately 100,000 retail stores will close over the next five years as online shopping picks up.

Clothing, electronics and home furnishings stores are expected to be most affected by this trend.

Read more

7:13 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: More than 4.7 million cases of Covid-19 worldwide – concerns about rapid spread in Brazil

19 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,720,000, with over 316,000 deaths and 1,750,000 recoveries.

Latin and North America continue to see a rise in daily confirmed cases, whereas in Europe, the daily confirmed cases continue to decrease in majority of the countries.

Russia continues to experience a surge in cases, ranking second in the world behind the US.

India, the second most populous country in the world, has seen rise in daily confirmed cases, which has prompted it to extend the lock-down by two weeks.

This pandemic has also hit indigenous population in Brazil raising concerns about how quickly the disease had spread through remote vulnerable communities with poor access to healthcare facilities.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist, GlobalData

5:21 pm

ECMO may help critically ill Covid-19 patients

West Virginia University (WVU) research suggests that extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machines (ECMOs) can be useful for treating severely ill Covid-19 patients if ventilation alone proves insufficient.

An ECMO machine works by pumping someone’s blood outside of their body, oxygenating it and returning it to the body.

The WVU research team analysed 32 Covid-19 patients with severely compromised lung function who were supported by ECMO, and found that 22 of them survived at the time of analysis. Of those 22, 17 were still on ECMO. Only five had been removed from ECMO and lived.

The findings have now been published in ASAIO Journal.

5:20 pm

Seegene exports ten million Covid-19 tests to Brazil

South Korean polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test developer Seegene will export ten million of its Covid-19 testing kits to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) / World Health Organization (WHO) through its Brazilian subsidiary, Seegene do Brasil Diagnosticos.

The company has supplied five million of its Allplex 2019-nCOV assays to Brazil and will supply the remaining tests over the coming weeks. In total, it has exported 20 million tests to over 60 countries.

The assay is able to identify three different SARS-CoV-2 target genes, the E gene, RdRP gene and N gene. Its automated system is able to support a large volume of tests.

4:02 pm

Cities And Regions Update: Changes in infections focus as lockdowns ease – Illinois in US and UK North West gain prominence

18 May

The number of new daily Covid-19 cases had continued to drop in the most affected regions in Europe and America, with most new cases recorded in Mexico and some South American countries.

Illinois has overtaken Massachusetts as the third most affected region in the US, with the number of daily new cases there quickly approaching those in New York.

In the UK, where restrictions were slightly eased on May 13, the north west of England has now recorded 23,610 cases of Covid-19 and is set to overtake London as the epicentre of the outbreak with numbers.

Lombardy, the most affected region of Italy, has seen more modest decreases in the number of new cases compared to the rest of the country.

Italy’s shops and cafes reopened on Monday after ten weeks of lockdown.

Madrid has also seen a slight uptick in the proportion of Spain’s new Covid-19 cases.

This chart is currently being updated weekly with the latest figures – although some countries have a slight delay in publishing the very latest case numbers by region or state.

Covid-19 regional comparison chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3:39 pm

Decontamination technology could kill Covid-19

PA Consulting has partnered with Hydroxyl Technologies (HTL) to develop Airora Professional, a decontamination device based on hydroxyl radicals that actively combats airborne and surface viral and bacterial infections.

Hydroxyls rapidly react with viruses and bacteria, destroying their cell walls and genetic material to neutralise them without harming humans or animals.

HTL co-founder and chair Lorraine Baldry said: “PA is an expert in combining ingenious innovation with rapid product development. To support our fight against COVID-19 and protect lives, we have a mutual goal of getting this technology into the world as soon as possible.”

PA Consulting and HTL are looking for commercial partners to rapidly scale up manufacturing of the devices, having already tested the technology at various laboratories around the world, including the UK Health Protection Agency at Porton Down.

11:49 am

Johns Hopkins to use AI to predict heart damage in Covid-19 patients

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) researchers have received a $195,000 Rapid Response Research grant from the National Science Foundation to use machine learning to identify the risk of adverse cardiac events in Covid-19 patients.

JHU professor of biomedical engineering Natalia Trayanova said: “This project will provide clinicians with early warning signs and ensure that resources are allocated to patients with the greatest need.”

The data of more than 300 Covid-19 patients will be collected, including electrocardiograms (ECGs), cardiac-specific laboratory data, continuously-obtained vital signs like heart rate and oxygen saturation, and imaging data such as computed tomography (CT) scans and echocardiography.

This data will then be used to train the team’s algorithm, with the hope that it will then be able to create a predictive risk score that can determine which patients are at risk of developing adverse cardiac events.

11:19 am

Daily Report: Some South American countries seeing a rise in Covid-19 fatalities – worldwide trend is down

18 May

The daily rate of deaths attributed Covid-19 has continued to fall.

Most counties worldwide – including the US and the UK – are now on a downward trajectory of new deaths.

However, some South American countries are struggling to control the outbreak, with Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Ecuador all seeing the number of deaths rise, when looking at a rolling average.

At least 315,185 people have died from Covid-19.

Covid-19 daily report

9:46 am

International Update: Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Brazil – fatalities fall in Europe – US freeze on WHO payments continues

18 May

Global: There are 4,716,513 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide. At least 315,187 people have died over the course of the pandemic so far.

Sunday has seen lower death tolls reported in the UK, Spain and Italy. The UK’s daily coronavirus death toll was the lowest since lockdown began, with 170 deaths recorded. Meanwhile, Spain has recorded its lowest single-day death toll in two months. Italy on Sunday recorded its lowest daily toll, 145, since lockdown was declared.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is to raise the question of Taiwan’s participation as an observer at the World Health Assembly (WHA), which opens virtually on Monday, before one of its committees.

Brazil: In Brazil, the BBC reports that the mayor of São Paulo, the country’s largest city, has warned that hospitals have reached 90% capacity and are “near collapse”: they could run out of space in just two weeks’ time, he said.

Confirmed Covid-19 cases in Brazil have surpassed the total in Italy, with the country announcing nearly 15,000 new infections on Saturday. This takes Brazil’s total to more than 230,000, the fourth-largest confirmed caseload after the US, Russia and the UK.

US: US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Sunday that US unemployment could hit 25%, but expressed optimism Sunday that the economy can begin to recover from a devastating recession in the second half of the year, assuming the coronavirus doesn’t erupt in a second wave.

President Donald Trump said US payments to the World Health Organization that he froze last month may return at 10% of the existing level. Trump said the cut is one of the numerous options he’s considering. A cut to 10% would match “much lower China payments,” Trump said in a tweet responding to broadcaster Lou Dobbs. “Have not made final decision. All funds are frozen,” Trump said.

Japan: Japan dived into its first recession since 2015, according to official data Monday, with the world’s third-largest economy contracting by 0.9% in the first quarter as it wrestles with the fallout from the coronavirus.

South Africa: South Africa on Sunday reported 1,160 new coronavirus infections, the highest daily number since the first case was recorded in March, AFP reports.

India: India has extended a nearly two-month-old lockdown by another two weeks with Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and other key regions still fighting to control the rising curve of coronavirus infections.

Nigeria: Nigeria has seized a British plane for defying a travel ban imposed as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the aviation minister said Sunday.

Qatar: Qatar has begun enforcing the world’s toughest penalties of up to three years’ in prison for failing to wear masks in public, in a country with one of the highest coronavirus infection rates.

Italy: Italy’s shops, restaurants and hair salons have been preparing to reopen on Monday, as the government further eases the lockdown.

China: The city of Wuhan conducted 222,675 nucleic acid tests on 16 May, the local health authority said, nearly doubling from a day earlier.

Russia: The growth of new coronavirus cases in Russia is stabilising, a top health official has said, as the daily tally fell under 10,000 for the third time this week.

Spain: Spain recorded 102 coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours from 138 deaths reported on Friday, according to data from the Health Ministry. New infections increased by 539 to 230,698, compared to 549 the previous day.

Thailand: The ban on international commercial flights to Thailand that was supposed to end on May 31 will be extended for another month, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand said.

 

9:27 am

Coronavirus company news summary – FDA provides EUA to Everlywell Covid-19 diagnostic test – GeneMe develops Covid-19 test worth £10

ECOLOG International and Laboratoires Réunis Luxembourg will carry-out testing for Covid-19 in Luxembourg. Ecolog will set up 17 testing stations that can accommodate around 20,000 tests each day for citizens, residents and cross border workforce. The entire population of Luxembourg will be able to get tested for the disease.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has awarded Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to Everlywell for its at-home sample collection kit, which will be used for Covid-19 diagnostic testing. The Everlywell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit can be used by people at home who underwent screening using an online questionnaire, which will be reviewed by a health care provider.

Polish company GeneMe has developed a fast, scalable and reliable mouth swab test for Covid-19. The test can be completed on-premises in around 13 to 25 minutes without the need for laboratory involvement. Gdańsk University of Technology has independently validated the GeneMe FRANKD test with 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity. The test is priced at £10 for different businesses in the region.

Hologic’s Aptima SARS-CoV-2 assay to detect Covid-19 has received EUA from the FDA. The test operates on the Hologic’s fully automated Panther system, of which over 1,000 are installed in US clinical laboratories. The system can provide initial results in around three hours and can process over 1,000 coronavirus tests in 24hrs.

6:55 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Covid-19 cases still rising in the Americas – first incidents recorded in Bangladesh refugee camps

18 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,444,000, with over 302,000 deaths and 1,588,000 recoveries.

In Europe, the daily confirmed cases continue to decrease, while Latin America and North America continue to see a rise in daily cases.

In Asia, daily cases continue to decrease in the majority of countries, while Russia continues to experience a surge in cases, ranking second in the world behind the US.

In Bangladesh, the first cases of coronavirus were confirmed in crowded refugee camps.

Approximately one million refugees have taken shelter, raising concerns about how quickly the disease can spread through vulnerable communities.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist, GlobalData

3:38 pm

Hologic receives EUA for Covid-19 assay

Hologic has received Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Aptima SARS-CoV-2 assay.

The antigen test runs on Hologic’s fully automated Panther system, which can provide initial results within three hours and carry out over 1,000 Covid-19 tests within a 24-hour period.

The test was the first Covid-19 diagnostic to receive R&D support from the US government Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), receiving nearly $700,000 in funding.

Hologic plans to register its Aptima SARS-CoV-2 assay for a CE Mark for diagnostic use in Europe later in May.

1:56 pm

Covid-19 responsible for more than 27% of UK care home deaths during March and April – deaths more than double same period 2019

15 May

Nearly 46,000 residents of care homes in England and Wales lost their lives between the start of the coronavirus pandemic and 1 May.

Between 2 March and 1 May more than 27% of care home deaths, some 12,526, are known to have involved Covid-19, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today.

The ONS recorded a total of 45,899 deaths among care home residents between 2 March and 1 May  – more than twice as many as the 22,573 who died during the same period in 2019.

It means that even after the 12,526 known Covid-19 cases are accounted for, there have still been 10,800 “extra”, unexplained deaths which may be directly or indirectly related to the virus, too.

1:01 pm

Chest X-rays can predict Covid-19 severity, study finds

Chest X-rays performed on young and middle-aged adults with Covid-19 can help predict which patients are at higher risk of severe illness and intubation, according to Mount Sinai researchers.

The study, published in Radiology, used a unique scoring system to evaluate the severity of individual Covid-19 cases based on X-ray images. The results could help clinicians triage patients more effectively.

Mount Sinai assistant professor Adam Bernheim said: “This work is foundational for demonstrating the role of radiology not only in diagnosis, but also in predicting, triaging, and risk-stratifying COVID-19 patients so that those at highest risk for severe disease can be immediately identified from the moment of the very first chest X-ray upon presentation.”

12:11 pm

Economic Forecast: German economy faces biggest slump since WW2 – US employment shows largest decline since 1948

15 May

Deutsche Bank says the Covid-19 pandemic and, in particular, lockdown measures will push the German economy into its biggest slump since WW2. Their report suggests that the Covid-19 pandemic hits German labour market differently than the Global Financial Market Crisis of 2009.

The US Bureau of Labour Statistics said the unemployment rate increased 10.3 percentage points to 14.7 percent in April.

“The employment–population ratio, at 51.3 percent, dropped by 8.7 percentage points over the month. This is the lowest ratio and largest over-the-month decline in the history of the data back to January 1948.”

HSBC has said the near-term global inflation outlook is clear – it is heading even lower. HSBC global chief economist Janet Henry wrote in a blog:

“The collapse in oil prices and discounting by companies keen to boost sales should more than offset higher food prices to turn Eurozone and US inflation negative this summer.”

“But if businesses fail – including restaurants or even airlines – the reduced competition could see the survivors raise prices over the next year or two.

“Supply-chain disruptions may also push up prices. So after hitting new lows by mid-2020, headline inflation will be notably higher in 12 to 15 months as demand increases and oil recovers.”

 

 

11:16 am

Luxembourg launches systematic nationwide testing

Luxembourg has entrusted Laboratoires Réunis Luxembourg and Ecolog International with carrying out its nationwide Covid-19 testing programme.

It is the first country to launch systematic nationwide testing, as part of the Proactive Mitigation Program designed by its COVID-19 Task Force.

Ecolog will now establish 17 testing stations across the country with a capacity of up to 20,000 daily tests for citizens, residents and cross-border workforces. The programme has capacity for Luxembourg’s entire population of around 625,000 people to be tested for Covid-19.

Ecolog CEO Ali Vezvaei said: “Acting and mobilising our assets and technology rapidly in times of crisis is part of Ecolog’s DNA. We are proud to contribute with our Screening & Diagnostic Solution to the safety and well-being of the society in Luxembourg during these challenging times. We believe that large-scale testing is the most effective way to help resume economic life and social livelihood.”

11:07 am

Covid-19 test to detect neutralising antibodies launched

Duke-NUS Medical School, GenScript Biotech Corporation and Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) have announced an exclusive agreement to co-develop and manufacture a serological Covid-19 antibody test that allows rapid detection of neutralising antibodies (NAbs).

NAbs are present in the serum of Covid-19 patients and are responsible for clearing the viral infection.

While there are now many Covid-19 antibody test kits available, this is the first that is capable of measuring NAbs, which usually requires the use of live virus cells, highly skilled operators and complex laboratory procedures that are generally less sensitive and require several days to obtain results.

The new test, known as cPass, can be rapidly conducted within an hour in most research or clinical labs.

10:39 am

Daily Report: Covid-19 deaths approach 303,000 – UK fatalities fall as US and Italy rise

15 May

At least 302,418 people have died from Covid-19 so far, according to the latest statistics published by Johns Hopkins University.

The figures are likely to be an undercount, as do not include people who have died without being tested for the disease.

The grim milestone means that the epidemic has now overtaken the 1812 Russian typhus outbreak and the 1812–1819 Ottoman plague in terms of the raw number of people killed.

Deaths appear to be falling in the UK, although the US and Italy have both seen a slight uptick in the number of fatalities over the last two days.

Covid-19 daily report

9:49 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Abbott ID NOW point-of-care test may give false negative results – MedC2 receives €860,000 subsidy from European Commission

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that the Abbott ID NOW point-of-care test, which is used to detect Covid-19, may offer inaccurate results. The FDA is currently working with Abbott to examine the data and formulate a customer notification letter with the company, to alert users regarding the false negative tests that may be inconsistent with the symptoms of the patient.

BGI has announced that Sinai Health will receive a donation of essential laboratory equipment from the Mammoth Foundation to boost its Covid-19 detection capability. The Mammoth Foundation has donated BGI-produced testing equipment along with installation, training and logistics support. One of the major pieces of equipment that has been donated is the MGISP-960 automated viral RNA extraction and sample preparation robot. This equipment will decrease manual processing time, increase testing efficiency and safety.

MedC2 has received approval from the European Commission for a subsidy worth €860,000 as part of international project DRAGON launch, spearheaded by OncoRadiomics. MedC2 mainly focusses on oncology and is now aiming to develop three applications to empower people who may or may not exhibit Covid-19 symptoms, support doctors who carry out the patient triage and facilitate efficient participants inclusion for clinical trials related to the coronavirus.

9:28 am

International Update: Covid-19 infections near 4.5 million – Bolsonaro wants lockdown lift as Brazil records almost 14,000 cases in a day

15 May

Global: The global toll from Covid-19 has passed 300,000, with nearly 4.5 million people infected. According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, at least 302,452 people have now died as a result of the outbreak. The institution says it has counted 4,443,597 confirmed cases worldwide.

The health ministers of South Korea, China and Japan will gather by video conference to discuss ways to work together in the global campaign against the novel coronavirus, South Korean officials said.

A WHO modelling study indicates the coronavirus could kill 150,000 people in Africa and infect 231 million people in a year unless urgent action is taken.

EU: A vaccine for coronavirus must be available to all countries, the EU has insisted, after the British chief executive of French drugs company Sanofi said it was reserving the first shipments of its vaccine for the US.

The European commission has suspended the delivery of  ten million face masks from China after two countries complained about the poor quality of the batches they received, the Associated Press reports.

Brazil: Brazil registered a daily record 13,944 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday as President Jair Bolsonaro urged business leaders to push for lifting lockdown orders in the country’s financial center, Sao Paulo.

US: President Donald Trump signalled a further deterioration of his relationship with China over the novel coronavirus, saying he has no interest in speaking to President Xi Jinping right now and going so far as to suggest he could even cut ties with the world’s second largest economy.

New guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advising states on how to reopen bars, restaurants and workplaces was posted on Thursday. It outlines a series of steps workplaces and restaurants should take to keep employees and customers safe before they reopen, including encouraging hand-washing, social distancing and how to check for symptoms of potential Covid-19 cases.

US House Democrats will push aside more than 200 years of precedent and vote on Friday to let lawmakers serve as proxies for colleagues quarantined or otherwise stuck at home during the pandemic.

The Trump administration is preparing an executive order that would require certain essential drugs and medical treatments for a variety of conditions be made in the US.

Delta Air Lines Inc. will retire all 18 of its biggest aircraft, the Boeing 777, by year-end and is warning pilots of massive overstaffing amid the collapse in travel demand caused by the pandemic.

UK: British Airways owner IAG SA said it intends to go ahead with plans to cut up to 12,000 jobs, while Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh castigated the government’s handling of the crisis.

Slovenia: The Slovenian government is calling an official end to its coronavirus epidemic, becoming the first European country to do so after authorities confirmed less than seven new coronavirus cases each day for the past two weeks.

Australia: Australia’s most populous state New South Wales (NSW) is reopening restaurants, cafes and bars after a two-month shutdown, under the condition they limit customers to ten at any one time.

7:48 am

US unemployment could hit 25% say experts

15 May

The latest report from the US Labour Department pegs the unemployment rate at more than 20%.

Although new unemployment claims have slowed down, the unemployment rate is still one of the highest since the Great Recession.

Timothy McBride, Bernard Becker Professor at Washington University, tweeted on the US Labour Department’s latest report on unemployment claims.

The report notes that an additional 2.98 million claims were filed over the last two months bringing the total unemployment claims to 36.5 million.

McBride noted that the unemployment rate is expected to be more than 20% or even 25% by the time the next official report is released.

Read more

6:59 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Covid-19 on the rise in Latin America – total lockdown in Chile’s capital

15 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,364,000, with over 297,000 deaths and 1,560,000 recoveries.

In Latin America, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, and Chile will be countries to watch as each continues to experience a record number of daily cases or deaths.

To date, the daily mortality reached all-time highs in Brazil, Mexico, and Peru.

Additionally, Brazil set a record high with 11,385 new daily cases, and surpassing France’s total cases.

In Chile, a significant spike of more than 60% increase in daily new cases triggered a total lockdown of Santiago, the nation’s capital.

In China, Wuhan launched its mass testing drive in response to a resurgence of cases observed over the weekend.

While some residents are supportive of this initiative, others are concerned over further spreading the infection while waiting in long lines.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist, GlobalData

3:07 pm

Covid-19 driven decline in the jobs market may be slowing

14 May

The Coronavirus crash in the jobs market appears to be starting to taper off in several badly hit industries.

Figures from data analytics firm GlobalData shows that while the jobs market has contracted since 1 March, in recent weeks the number of available jobs remained flat in the hardest hit sectors.

All of the sectors tracked have seen jobs shrink – but some have escaped more lightly than others.

The statistics show that the number of travel and tourism jobs available for application has fallen to a fifth of what it was on 1 March.

However, jobs in the oil and gas industry have dropped just over 30% compared to 1 March.

Covid-19 has had a major, ongoing economic impact across the globe; but that impact is not uniform across different industries.

While some economic sectors have seen business rapidly decline, others have – to date – been more stable. Some have even seen an increase in demand.

This chart aims to give a broad overview of which sectors are suffering the most since the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic.

It uses exclusive dynamic intelligence provided by GlobalData to track the number of jobs open for applications, across the world, across 19 economic sectors.

The summary chart shows the six which have seen the biggest percentage drop in these “active” jobs.

Economic sector impact chart

2:04 pm

ID.Vet launches ELISA serological test

French company ID.Vet has launched an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) serological test to detect the presence of Covid-19 antibodies.

The company said the test has a specificity of 99.9%, significantly lowering the rate of false positive results. More than a million of the tests have already been produced. The test does not require any specific equipment and the assay can be performed on any open automated immunoassay platform or manually.

The product is CE marked and available for immediate shipping.

ID.Vet CEO Philippe Pourquier said: “We mobilised all our scientific know-how and resources to rapidly develop this test. Thanks to our automated production line and modern infrastructure, we are able to produce millions of tests to meet worldwide demand.”

12:23 pm

Public Health England approves Covid-19 antibody test

Public Health England has approved a Covid-19 antibody test developed by pharma giant Roche.

The Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 serology test was approved at the beginning of May by the EU and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It has a 99.8% specificity and 100% sensitivity, and is designed to be used on blood samples taken by a healthcare professional at least 14 days after a person has developed Covid-19.

Roche said its fully automated analysers, which many hospitals already have on-site, can provide results within 18 minutes for a single test, with the capacity to analyse up to 300 samples per hour.

No tests have yet been purchased by the UK government, which is still in discussions with Roche about acquiring them.

10:48 am

Daily Report: Global Covid-19 deaths rise by more than 5,000 – weekly trend is down

14 May

The number of deaths from Covid-19 around the world rose to by 5,255 yesterday to a total of 297,197.

There have been 33,342 deaths over the last seven days – down slightly from 36,166 the previous week.

Covid-19 daily report

10:10 am

Economic Forecast: Covid-19 to slash global economic output by $8.5trn – 305 million full time jobs could be lost in Q2

14 May

Covid-19 is to slash global economic output by $8.5 trillion over next two years, wiping out nearly all gains of the previous four years according to the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects report.

The report highlights the pandemic could foster a new normal, fundamentally reshaping human interactions, inter-dependence, trade and globalization, while accelerating digitalization and automation.

A rapid surge in economic activities online will likely eliminate many existing jobs, while creating new jobs in the digital economy.

The United Nations’s International Labour Organization predicts 1.6bn informal economy workers could suffer “massive damage” to their livelihoods.

In the second quarter of 2020, Covid-19 may cost the equivalent of 305 million full-time jobs.

Current G7 jobless totals vary widely, from 30 million in the United States to 1.76 million in Japan.

McKinsey believe that Europe’s CEOs will have to draw on the region’s spirit of innovation to recover post Covid-19.

However, the region with its vast innovation and ideas has seen companies struggling to monetise and commercialise ideas:

“A lot of good ideas that originated in Europe, in areas such as big data, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI), for example, are often not scaled at all or adopted and brought to market by foreign investors.”

McKinsey also add that: “No European company established in the past 30 years has yet joined the ranks of the world’s top 100 companies by market capitalization, compared with three in China and seven in the United States.

“SAP, established in 1972, was the last European entrant to the global top 100, and all top 100 European companies are more than 30 years old.”

 

9:49 am

Imperial College partners with Intelligent Fingerprinting on Covid-19 test

UK diagnostics firm Intelligent Fingerprinting has joined forces with Imperial College London to develop fingerprint testing technology for Covid-19.

Intelligent Fingerprinting’s sweat-based fingerprint diagnostics platform has already proven itself as a drug test system, but will now be repurposed to test for SARS-CoV-2. The highly sensitive lateral flow technology and fluorescence measurement techniques within a portable test reader could help to create a point-of-care test that allows Covid-19 testing to be carried out quickly and safely, without the need for specialist training.

Imperial College director of global health Lord Darzi said: “Adding rapid point-of-care testing capacity would help us to get much closer to understanding the spread of the virus. Fingerprint testing using a portable system would also be particularly valuable in supporting simple and easy testing by non-medically trained staff at multiple sites across the UK, such as care homes and workplaces.”

9:47 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Eko receives FDA’s EUA for ECG-based algorithm – Chinese-American business leaders to donate protective masks

Aspen Surgical has increased its production capacity for its Precept brand of personal protective equipment (PPE) to aid in the fight against Covid-19. The company hired 100 new employees at its facility in Aqua Prieta, Mexico, which increased the output by 50% for the facemask line. With the installation of additional manufacturing equipment, the capacity is expected to be increased by a further 25%.

Eko has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its novel ECG-based algorithm that helps to provide an easy, accessible, rapid screening test for low ejection fraction (low EF). The device received the FDA Breakthrough Device designation in December last year, and it is hoped it will now be able to help detect heart failure in Covid-19 patients. The EUA permits the healthcare providers to use the AI algorithm to analyse a standard 12-lead ECG to evaluate the risk of a weakened heart pump.

Chinese-American business leaders have partnered with the University of Chicago Crime Lab and Education Lab to donate one million protective masks to people working in the frontlines in Chicago. With the partnership, the essential supplies will be provided to public sector and non-profit organisations. The drive to donate supplies was spearheaded by Citadel Securities CEO Peng Zhao and his wife Cherry Chen.

The Department of Precision Medicine at Maastricht University in the Netherlands has launched its AI tool for Covid-19 patient triage and received €920,000 from the European Commission for the DRAGON project. The D-lab group aims to develop a personalised medicine platform that can carry out risk assessment of patients infected by Covid-19.

9:28 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 deaths near 300,000 – WHO warns virus could become endemic

14 May

Global: The number of lives lost worldwide in the coronavirus pandemic is nearing 300,000, according to Johns Hopkins University figures, with 297,197 deaths reported.

The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 could become endemic like HIV, the World Health Organization has said, warning against any attempt to predict how long it would keep circulating and calling for a “massive effort” to counter it.

The United Nations is forecasting that the coronavirus pandemic will shrink the world economy by 3.2 percent this year, the sharpest contraction since the Great Depression in the 1930s, pushing an estimated 34.3 million people into extreme poverty mostly in Africa.

US: A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court decided that an unelected state agency head’s emergency order shutting down the state because of the Covid-19 pandemic is not enforceable.

President Donald Trump plans to name Moncef Slaoui, the former head of GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s vaccines division, and Gustave Perna, a four-star US general, to lead a Manhattan Project-style effort to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, two people familiar with the matter said.

Canada and the US appear likely to extend a ban on non-essential travel until June 21 amid the pandemic, a Canadian government source and a top US official told Reuters.

Russia: The city of Moscow said on Wednesday it had ascribed the deaths of more than 60% of coronavirus patients in April to other causes as it defended what it said was the superior way it and Russia counted the number of people killed by the novel virus. At 242,271, Russia has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the world after the United States.

UK: Roche Holding AG’s coronavirus antibody test was cleared by a UK health authority, a boost to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he seeks ways to gradually relax lockdown restrictions.

The UK government’s coronavirus aid program for self-employed people received more than £340 million ($416 million) of claims in its first morning of operation.

Italy: Doctors in Italy have reported the first clear evidence of a link between Covid-19 and a rare but serious inflammatory disorder that has required some children to undergo life-saving treatment in intensive care units.

Italy’s government approved a much-delayed €55 billion ($60 billion) stimulus package to rescue an economy crippled by a two-month nationwide lockdown, promising a boost in liquidity for businesses and aid for families in need.

China: Hong Kong authorities are going to screen hundreds of families, local media is reporting, after its 23-day run of no local infections was broken with the diagnosis of Covid-19 in a 66-year-old woman with no recent travel history, and her five-year-old granddaughter.

Japan: Japan was expected to lift a state of emergency across a large part of the country on Thursday, according to Reuters, but Tokyo will remain under restrictions until there is a convincing containment of the coronavirus.

Japanese company Takeda Pharmaceutical could start a clinical trial as early as July for a potential treatment of Covid-19 that is based on antibodies from recovered patients’ blood, company executives said.

Qatar: The Qatari government ordered all citizens to wear masks when they step outside for any reason beginning 17 May, state-run QNA reported. People who violate the order will be subjected to either imprisonment of up to three years, or a fine of as much as 200,000 riyals ($55,000) or both, according to the report.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s finance minister Grant Robertson has unveiled an unprecedented NZ$50bn fund to save jobs and reduce unemployment to pre-coronavirus levels within two years.

Australia: Australia posted its biggest ever monthly rise in unemployment on Thursday because of coronavirus lockdown measures, even as the country begins to gradually ease those social distancing rules.

7:52 am

US sees slowdown in Covid-19 driven job losses among lower paid

14 May

The US has already announced more than $2.2tn in stimulus packages to protect the economy from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. As unemployment rates continue to rise, additional stimulus packages may be needed even if they are costly and increase debt.

Paul Krugman, an economist and Nobel laureate, tweeted an article on the slowdown in unemployment rate due to Covid-19 in the US.

The article is based on surveys conducted by Civis Analytics, which shows that women, part-time workers and workers earning more than $100,000 are still facing unemployment.

However, the unemployment rate among full-time employees, men and workers earning less than $50,000 was falling by mid-to-late April.

Read more

7:23 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: New clusters of Covid-19 as lockdowns ease – confirmed cases surge in Brazil

14 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,278,000, with more than 292,000 deaths and 1,502,000 recoveries.

As nations continue to gradually lift lockdown measures, new clusters emerge in regions once commended for their mitigation efforts. These include South Korea, Wuhan, China, and Singapore.

In South Korea, more than 100 new cases were reported over the weekend in a popular Seoul nightlife district.

In Wuhan, six new cases were confirmed over the weekend after more than a month, prompting the city to order testing for all residents.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, more than 23,000 cases were linked to migrant worker dormitories at the end of April.

Brazil continues to experience a surge in confirmed cases, with 178,214 cases which surpass the 173,289 cases in Germany, and draw closer to the 178,349 cases in France.

Additionally, Brazil records its highest death toll to date with 881 confirmed deaths.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist, GlobalData

4:51 pm

Maastricht University Covid-19 AI receives €920k from European Commission

Maastricht University’s Department of Precision Medicine has released an artificial intelligence (AI) tool for the triage of Covid-19 patients, the same week as receiving a €920k grant from the European Commission for its DRAGON project.

The DRAGON project applies AI and machine learning to deliver decision support systems for clinicians.

Maastricht University precision medicine department head Professor Philippe Lambin said: “We are excited to be participating in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with our Decision Support System for Risk Assessment of COVID-19 patients. We have repurposed our AI methods, usually applied to oncology questions, to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

11:18 am

Economic Forecast: Downturn ‘sharper but shorter’ than 2008, says Morgan Stanley – IMF warns of catastrophic consequences in sub-Saharan Africa

13 May

Morgan Stanley Chief Economist and Global Head of Economics Research Chetan Ahya said this economic downturn will be sharper—but shorter—than the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) that began in 2008.

His view is based on the cause of the downturn and that, “this recession has prompted the most coordinated and aggressive monetary and fiscal easing that we have witnessed in modern times”.

“By our estimates, global economic contraction will trough at 7.5% in the second quarter of this year (far worse than the 2.4% contraction in the first quarter of 2009), while output—for the world as a whole and developed markets—will return to prerecession levels in 4 and 8 quarters, respectively, compared with 6 and 14 quarters after the GFC.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that a failure to contain the spread of the virus in sub-Saharan Africa will have catastrophic economic, health and humanitarian consequences.

According to the latest Regional Economic Outlook by the IMF the sub-Saharan Africa economy will contract by 1.6 percent this year; the worst reading on record.

Economies across the regions of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) may contract on average by 3.5% this year, because of the impact of the coronavirus, with a rebound of 4.8% possible in 2021.

However, in its latest Regional Economic Prospects report, the EBRD warned that these projections are subject to “unprecedented uncertainty”.

10:15 am

NHS Trusts will use Epic software in Nightingale hospital

NHS Trusts across Devon and Cornwall will use Epic EPR software across the Southwest Peninsula’s Nightingale temporary hospital for patients with Covid-19.

The software will allow clinicians to see how many patients are in the hospital at a time, alongside how many are expected to be transferred, to help them monitor and manage capacity. The overview will also show clinical information such a respiratory rates to give a clear picture of the severity of symptoms in current patients.

All hospital staff will be able to use Epic EPR to update patient charts or send secure messages from their phones.

9:59 am

Covid-19 Daily Report: Deaths from Covid-19 continue to fall in most countries with serious outbreaks – US still seeing highest number

13 May

Daily new deaths from Covid-19 continue to fall in most countries with the largest outbreaks.

Worldwide, the US is continuing to see the highest number of new deaths from Covid-19, followed by the UK, however, in both countries the figure is falling.

Brazil is currently seeing the most rapid spread of the disease, with 808 new deaths yesterday, up from 571 the week before.

Although the raw number of deaths in many countries rose yesterday compared to Monday, that is likely to do with the “weekend effect” – a lag in data collection over the weekend.

At least 291,942 people have now died from the disease worldwide.

Covid-19 daily report

9:51 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Thermo Fisher receives EUA extension from FDA – Belkin partners with University of Illinois for FlexVent Gas-Operated Ventilator

Abbott has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its molecular test for Covid-19. The test is designed to be used on Abbott’s Alinity molecular laboratory instrument, which the company plans to install in hospitals and health systems in the US to address the rising need for Covid-19 testing.

Thermo Fisher Scientific has announced that the FDA has expanded the EUA for its multiplex real-time PCR test that detects the presence of SARS‑CoV‑2 nucleic acid. Applied Biosystems TaqPath Covid-19 Combo Kit of Thermo Fisher initially received the EUA on 13 March and subsequently was expanded on 20 April. The test provides results in four hours.

Consumer electronics provider Belkin has announced its collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Grainger College of Engineering, for the design of the FlexVent Gas-Operated Ventilator (FlexVent). Belkin will produce the FlexVent pending the review and approval of its EUA application by the FDA. This emergency ventilator is based on the Illinois RapidVent concept, which was published by the University of Illinois in March this year.

9:48 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 4.25 million – NIAID director warns US of ‘serious consequences’ if lockdown eased too soon

13 May

Global: According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, at least 4,261,955 people around the world are known to have contracted the virus, while at least 291,964 have died since the pandemic began.

The World Health Organization says some treatments appear to be limiting the severity or length of suffering caused by Covid-19 and that it is focusing on learning more about four or five of the most promising ones.

US: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr Anthony Fauci has warned of serious consequences if US states reopen before building capacity to deal with new Covid-19 outbreaks.

US Republican senators proposed legislation on Tuesday that would empower President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on China if Beijing does not give a “full accounting” for the coronavirus outbreak.

Twitter will allow its employees to work from home “forever”, chief executive officer Jack Dorsey said in a company-wide email Tuesday.

Brazil: Brazil reported a new record for coronavirus deaths as Latin America’s largest economy becomes the new global hotspot for the pandemic. The country reported a record 881 Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours on Tuesday, its health ministry said, taking its total to 12,400.

China: The Chinese city of Wuhan, the original centre of the pandemic, plans to test all 11 million residents for the coronavirus, according to local media.

China’s National Health Commission has confirmed seven new cases of coronavirus, six of them in the northeastern province of Jilin where the city of Shulan increased its risk level from medium to high at the weekend.

India: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a stimulus package for labourers and small businesses on Tuesday worth about 10% of India’s GDP.

Gilead Sciences Inc. is licensing its potential Covid-19 treatment, remdesivir, to five generic drug manufacturers in India and Pakistan to expedite supply chain development and help meet anticipated demand.

Iceland: Iceland will test all airline passengers arriving at Keflavik Airport for coronavirus by June 15, with those resulting negative spared a mandatory two-week quarantine, the government said Tuesday.

8:15 am

Covid-19 driving a fall in consumer price index that could lead to recession, say economists

13 May

The consumer price index (CPI) continues to fall as the Covid-19 pandemic has forced businesses to shutdown and people to remain under lockdown.

The consumer spending has drastically reduced amid this environment with the threat of rising inflation or even deflation.

Pedro da Costa, a journalist, shared an article on the decline in consumer prices in the US. The consumer price index (CPI) dropped 0.8% in April after falling 0.4% in March, which is biggest decline since December 2008 when the country was going through recession.

The article is based on a report from the Labour Department that showed a record decline in prices in April raising the possibility of deflation.

 

Read more

7:16 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Russia second highest in confirmed Covid-19 cases – India eases lockdown as infections rise

13 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,194,000, with over 286,000 deaths and 1,464,000 recoveries.

Russia now leads the Eurasian region with over 232,000 confirmed cases, ranking second highest in the world following the US.

Of the top ten most affected countries outside of the US and Russia, the majority are experiencing a decrease in daily cases, with the exception of Brazil and Iran, with over 169,000 and 109,000 cases, respectively.

Meanwhile, India eases lockdown restrictions by restarting its train network, one of the world’s largest in the world, despite rising infections.

While passengers will wear masks, the sheer number of passengers and tight quarters is concerning; more than 54,000 people have made reservations

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist, GlobalData

2:50 pm

Macroeconomic Forecast: GDP forecasts revised downwards again – Italy nears double digit decline

12 May

The GDP growth forecast for European countries and the US have been revised downwards yet again — with estimates for France seeing the biggest drop.

Italy remains the country likely to take the biggest hit according to this week’s GlobalData forecasts, with the country’s economy expected to shrink by 9.4% during 2020.

France now expected to see a 8.4% shrinkage of GDP over the year, compared to last week’s estimate of 7.4%.

The UK economy is expected to shrink by 7.6% this year, Germany’s by 6.7% and that of the US by 5.3%.

Both China and India continue to register modest estimated positive growths of 0.8% and 1% respectively.

Stock markets have seen some positive growth from last week in all markets except India.

 

Covid-19 macroeconomic dashboard

We are using exclusive dynamic figures provided by GlobalData analysts to track key economic indicators in major world economies hit by Covid-19. Deaths from the virus are plotted alongside the indexed performance of each country’s major stock exchange. Figures are tracked daily from the March 1, 2020.

Covid-19 macroeconomic dashboard

12:43 pm

Economic Forecast: Covid-19 pandemic could push 40-60 million into extreme poverty

12 May

The World Bank predicts an increase in poverty globally for the first time since 1998 due to the current pandemic. They said that the pandemic is pushing about 40-60 million people into extreme poverty, with their best estimate being 49 million.

The modelling also predicts that the share of the world’s population living on less than $1.90 per day—is projected to increase from 8.2% in 2019 to 8.6% in 2020, or from 632 million people to 665 million people.

McKinsey estimates that in the weeks from 6 April to 19 May around 22 percent of the United Kingdom’s working-age population, or nine million people, had been furloughed.

At that same time less than 1 percent of businesses reported ceasing to trade permanently or having laid off people.

McKinsey states: “The knock-on consequences of the lockdown are anticipated to result in significant job losses down the road. Businesses’ ability to continue to employ and pay workers might be particularly precarious when government support starts to be withdrawn.”

12:30 pm

Anti-viral nanocoating could prevent surface transmission of SARS-CoV-2

Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) are developing safe, anti-viral nanoparticle coatings to prevent active surface infection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19.

The virus has been shown to live for up to 17 days on surfaces, where it can be contracted if touched by a human being. The nanocoating, if effective, could be used in hospitals, healthcare facilities and public locations to eradicate virus particles that adhere to them.

The coating contains nanoparticles of safe metal ions and polymers, combined with antiviral and antimicrobial properties that could be effective for weeks or even months.

BGU senior lecturer in materials engineering Dr Mark Schvartzman said: “While current surface disinfection methods rely mostly on substances that are poisonous for people, such as bleach, or on substances that evaporate readily being based on alcohol, the coating that we are developing is based on metals that are toxic for viruses or bacteria, but completely human-friendly.”

11:58 am

FDA authorises Mechanical Ventilator Milano under EUA

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) to the Mechanical Ventilator Milano (MVM), a ventilator developed by the Global Argon Dark Matter Collaboration (GADM) for Covid-19 patients.

GADM is an international scientific collaboration engaged in the search of dark matter. Their research involves gas handling systems and complex control systems, the same technologies required in mechanical ventilators.

Efforts from numerous GADM institutions allowed the MVM to go from conception to reality in just over a month, with development completed between 19 March and 1 May. It is now shifting to production to support patients.

Manufacturing services firm Vexos will manufacture and distribute the MVM under an exclusive license from Elemaster for the Americas and other territories.

10:56 am

Covid-19 Daily Report: Global mortality rate trending down – fears that trend could be halted as lockdowns ease

12 May

The number of Covid-19 cases continues to fall with the number of deaths seeing an expected post-weekend slight uptick on Monday, our coronavirus tracker shows.

The total number of cases is now at 4,117,502, with the number of confirmed Covid-19 deaths now at 286,330.

The US continues to have the biggest share of those, recording 1,156 deaths yesterday.

That’s double the number of deaths in the UK, Spain and France combined.

The mortality rate in all the countries in our tracker is generally trending downwards.

However, as lockdowns are eased in some capacity across the world, some fear we could see the numbers climb back up.

 

Covid-19 daily report

10:11 am

International Update: Work on vaccines accelerating – Trump declares victory – New York Covid-19 deaths may be 5,000 higher than official figures

12 May

Global: The global confirmed death toll exceeds 285,000. The number of people known to have died since the pandemic began has reached at least 286,330, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. They say at least 4,177,584 people are known to have been infected.

The World Health Organization says “extreme vigilance” is needed as countries begin to exit lockdowns imposed to curb the virus’ spread.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the International Council of Nurses are calling on governments to commit to ensuring the protection and safety of nurses and other health workers, especially in resource-poor, disaster and conflict settings.

The World Health Organization chief says there are approximately seven or eight “top” candidates for a vaccine to combat the coronavirus and work on them is being accelerated.

US: New York City’s death toll may be 5,000 higher than official toll. Between 11 March and 2 May, about 24,000 more people died in the city than researchers would ordinarily expect during that time period, a report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

President Trump declared victory over the “invisible enemy” as deaths surpassed 80,000 in the US. “We have met the moment and we have prevailed,” Trump, flanked by ventilators and testing supplies, said during a briefing in the White House Rose Garden on Monday.

The White House ordered everyone entering the West Wing to wear a face mask after Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

The Trump administration plans to distribute $11 billion to states for coronavirus testing, according to senior administration officials.

China: China reports no new domestic cases after spike on weekend. China reported zero new domestic coronavirus infections on Tuesday, after two consecutive days of double-digit increases fuelled fears of a second wave of infections.

Australia: Easing restrictions to boost Australian economy by US$6bn a month. Once Australia removes most social distancing restrictions by July, its economy will be boosted by AU$9.4bn (US$6.15bn) each month, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will say on Tuesday.

Japan: The Japanese Health Ministry is set to approve antigen coronavirus testing kits on Wednesday, a ministry official said on Tuesday, in a move to boost the number of diagnostic tests available to battle the pandemic.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is following the US in speeding up the approval of unproven virus drugs, as he faces new criticism over his plan for exiting a state of emergency and reviving Japan’s economy.

Russia: Putin eases Russia lockdown despite infection surge. The Russian president announces an easing of the nationwide lockdown, even as the country sees a record number of new infections.

UK: Boris Johnson watered down his plan for rebooting the UK economy after employers and labour unions said many workplaces aren’t ready to return to work.

9:52 am

Coronavirus company news summary – SafeCheck introduces its Walk Through Body Temperature Detector – MedTek21 partners with AccessDX Laboratory for Covid-19 testing

KC Wearable has partnered with national authorities across Europe, including the Italian police and a major airport in Rome, to aid them in lifting the Covid-19 lockdown. Its KC Wearable Smart Helmet features a fast-scanning infrared camera which is linked to an augmented reality (AR) headset and allows users to measure the temperature of up to 13 people at once in real time. As fever is a key symptom of Covid-19, this could help authorities to identify infected people and ask them to leave busy public spaces. KC is in talks with various other public authorities across the continent.

Retired nurses and healthcare professionals represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) have urged for better personal protective equipment (PPE) to safeguard caregivers from the spread of Covid-19. The MNA requested that Massachusetts Governer Charlie Baker issue an N95 mask directive, seek consent for the use of de-contaminated masks, offer transparency for PPE and appropriate training for donning and removal of PPE.

SafeCheck has launched its SafeCheck Walk Through Body Temperature Detector, which instantly reads the temperature of a person walking through it. This technology will help detect people with fevers, which might indicate possible infection of Covid-19 or other illnesses. Airports and other public venues are starting to adopt temperature screenings as a safety measure, and technologies like this could help to expedite the process.

Somnetics International has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration for the distribution of BiPAP machines and respiratory circuits that will aid them in the fight against COVID-19.

MedTek21 and AccessDX Laboratory have announced the availability of a Covid-19 testing and compliance solution to New York State’s nursing homes and adult care facilities. All personnel are currently required to be tested for Covid-19 infections twice weekly. The MedTek21/AccessDX solution and rapid-response teams will ensure facility operators have immediate and continuous access to test kits, results, and reporting.  Sample results will be available within 24-48 hours of receipt, and full test status and chain-of-custody reporting will be provided by the MedTek21 software.

8:54 am

Stimulus packages could bring higher taxes and debt post Covid-19 say economists

12 May

The lockdown measures imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic has affected countries across the world with decline in revenues, high unemployment rates and economic uncertainty.

Governments are releasing stimulus packages to combat the impact but this may lead to higher taxes and debt, which will further burden people after the crisis.

Prof. Steve Hanke, Applied Economist at Johns Hopkins University, tweeted an article on the stimulus packages announced by the government and its consequences.

He noted that the US government has already created $1.48tn in deficit in 2020 and is still planning to announce more stimulus packages.

Hanke mentioned that future taxpayers will have to bear the hefty costs of the stimulus packages being announced by the government.

8:33 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global cases of Covid-19 exceed 4 million – Germany reports increasing infections after easing lockdown

12 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,118,000, with over 283,000 deaths and 1,420,000 recoveries.

Several European countries enter their first week of eased lockdown restrictions, ranging from re-opening restaurants, bars, and salons to partially re-opening schools.

While the daily confirmed cases are decreasing in most European countries, there is still concern over a second wave of cases.

In Germany, where lockdown measures were gradually reduced at the end of April, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an increase in the infection rate, or the estimated number of people a patient infects.

While there is a degree of uncertainty in the implications, this will be a country to watch as lockdown measures continue to lift around the world.

Meanwhile, Russia officially surpassed the number of confirmed cases in both Italy and the UK, with approximately 221,000 cases to the UK’s 220,000 and Italy’s 210,000 cases.

This development comes in response to Russia reporting their highest daily increase to date with 11,656 new infections, positioning them as the third most burdened country in the world, after the US and Spain.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist, GlobalData

4:02 pm

KC Wearable partners with European authorities to combat Covid-19

KC Wearable has partnered with a number of national authorities across Europe, including the Italian police and a major airport in Rome, to distribute the KC Smart Helmet as a tool to fight Covid-19.

The helmet is designed to help officials combat the spread of the disease by using a fast-scanning infrared camera, which is connected to an augmented reality (AR) headset to measure people’s temperature in real time. The helmet can scan up to 13 people at once and 200 per minute.

KC Wearable global head Dr Jie Guo said: “We are extremely pleased to be working with authorities across Europe as the continent has looked to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we have seen in many countries, the ability to identify the virus is the first step in being able to control it. The KC Helmet allows officials to do just that by providing them with an accurate detection method. The key for us has always been allowing normal life to resume by keeping people safe. The KC Helmet is helping countries achieve this.”

2:51 pm

Covid-19 Cities and Regions: New cases continue to drop – widespread easing of lockdowns

11 May

The number of new daily Covid-19 continues to drop in major cities and regions in Europe and the US as Wuhan records its first new cases since the end of the lockdown.

The US reported relatively stable numbers of new cases throughout last week, but some fear that the economic reopening in several states might push the numbers back up.

There are also reports of an outbreak inside Donald Trump’s White House as some staff went into isolation.

The UK saw some of the smallest daily increases in new cases since March. Britain is also set to slowly ease restrictions as the official government guidance was changed from “stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives” to “stay alert, control the virus, save lives”.

Spain is loosening lockdown rules as well, mostly in rural areas that were less affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Italy, which has the third highest death toll at 30,000, saw numbers continue to fall over the last week.

Elsewhere in China, authorities have reported new coronavirus clusters in Wuhan, where the outbreak first originated. These are the first new confirmed cases since lockdown was ended in April.

Monitoring the cities at the heart of the Covid-19 outbreak

Cities – with their high population density, young and mobile demographics, and developed public transport systems – are particularly susceptible to rapidly-spreading viral outbreak. Here we drill down into subnational Covid-19 figures to show which areas are seeing disproportionate numbers of Covid-19 cases.

While different countries count at different administrative levels, the pattern is clear: London and Madrid are “regions” in their own right, while New York State includes New York City and Lombardy covers Milan. This chart is currently being updated weekly with the latest figures – although some countries have a slight delay in publishing the very latest case numbers by region or state.

Covid-19 regional comparison chart

11:43 am

Unemployment post Covid-19 must be addressed, say economists

11 May

The Covid-19 pandemic may lead to unknown economic challenges as countries across the world face rising unemployment rates and inflation.

Governments are trying to minimise the impact of the pandemic through economic relief packages but it may lead to huge debts.

Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College London, tweeted about the basic things that need to be done to address the unemployment issue in the UK.

He noted that people’s income should be supported, viable jobs should be made available for workers after the crisis and help should be provided to workers to find new type of jobs if their old jobs are no longer viable

Portes added that assistance should be provided to young people who are entering the labour market amid the economic downturn.

Read more

11:39 am

Rutgers assay receives full emergency approval from FDA

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) to Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory for its Covid-19 laboratory developed test (LDT). In April, the test was added to the high complexity molecular-based LDT ‘umbrella’ EUA to permit testing of samples self-collected by patients at home using the Spectrum Solutions LLC SDNA-1000 Saliva Collection Device.

The FDA has stressed that this is not a general authorisation for at-home sample collection. The EUA permits the testing of a sample collected from a patient using only the Spectrum Solutions LLC SDNA-1000 Saliva Collection Device self-collection kit, which must be returned directly to the Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory. The test remains prescription-only.

10:35 am

Economic Forecast: Small businesses under pressure – Hamada warns against monetary easing – ‘populist’ investments forecast to increase

11 May

The European Central Banks SME survey showed that SMEs are reporting a rapid deterioration in economic environment in context of Covid-19.

The survey shows that expectations about the availability of bank loans were falling significantly in the Euro area (-11%, down from 4% in 2014 when survey was last carried out)), with the level of deterioration varying across countries.

Reflecting the severity of the coronavirus pandemic in different countries, Italian SMEs reported the largest deterioration in net terms (-13%, from 9%), followed by French and Spanish SMEs (-9% and -12%, from 8% and -1%, respectively).

Yale University Professor of Economics Koichi Hamada warned over the dangers of monetary easing led by the US.

Hamada wrote in his blog published by the World Economic Forum: “Today, governments are generally focused either on “flattening the curve” of their first wave of Covid-19 infections or, increasingly, on avoiding a second wave of infections as they ease social-distancing protocols and allow economic activity to resume.

“But, with the US apparently intent on flooding global markets with dollars, even economies that have so far managed the crisis effectively may have little choice but to pursue their own monetary easing.”

 

Commenting on the surge in unemployment in the US investment bank Citi said it expects more populist stances to gain traction in western economies.

From an equity market standpoint the bank said: “refocusing on domestic-focused industries vs. globally-oriented businesses could prove an opportunity for value stocks as the anti-globalisation drive negatively affects global industries and promotes domestic ‘national’ champions.

“Pressure on stock buybacks could mean the end of a ‘just buy the market’ mentality and usher in a new period emphasising the importance of stock selection and dividends in the search for positive returns.”

The analysis by the bank also added that: “Currently, US equity markets are pricing in an earnings rebound, but with concerns over falling profit margins as a result of the downturn, expectations for medium-term earnings growth might be optimistic.”

 

 

10:07 am

Covid-19 Daily Report: Deaths showing a downward trend – US continues to record the greatest number

11 May

The number of Covid-19 deaths has continued to fall, with all of the countries with the highest death tolls seeing a general downwards trajectory when looking at a rolling average of deaths.

The figures today are likely to be skewed downwards by the “weekend effect” – so daily progress might seem better than it is.

The US continues to record the most deaths in the world, recording 731 yesterday – more than double the UK which saw 268.

However, both countries seem to be on a slow downwards trajectory.

Covid-19 daily report

9:42 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Vitagene announces 50,000 FDA approved at home COVID-19 test kits – Aidoc receives FDA authorisation for cleared AI algorithms

Quidel has received the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Sofia 2 SARS Antigen FIA. Sofia 2 is a ‘rapid point-of-care test’ that has to be used with the Sofia 2 Fluorescent Immunoassay Analyzer, which will help in detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in nasopharyngeal or nasal specimens.

Precision health company Vitagene has announced that 50,000 FDA authorised ‘Zero Contact’ at home COVID-19 test kits are available to aid the fight against Covid-19. The 1Health.io platform has been adopted by Vitagene to facilitate the adherence to the requirements by the FDA for assessment of symptoms, telehealth and electronic tracking. This at-home test kit eliminates the need for patients to go to a clinic or increase the risk by going to a clinical setting.

United Imaging has announced that the first set of 12 mobile digital radiography (DR) systems arrived in Ukraine and will be installed in 11 hospitals in 9 cities to treat Covid-19 patients. The uDR 370i is equipped with a remote vision and control feature that offers better protection to the healthcare provider. The healthcare provider can monitor patients, preview images and adjust exposure at 33ft using a remote tablet, which reduces the chances of cross-infection between patients and physicians.

Aidoc has announced that the FDA has approved the use of its cleared AI algorithms that are meant for adjunctive use in identifying the findings related to Covid-19. The algorithm identifies and prioritises the incidental CT findings related to Covid-19 in any CT study that includes part of the lung or the entire lung. These findings are expected to manage the adverse effects of Covid-19 with the help of adjunctive information.

9:35 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases exceed 3.8 million – numbers spike in Germany – low UK recovery rate a concern

9 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 3,834,000, with over 269,000 deaths and 1,278,000 recoveries.

While the daily confirmed cases and death are decreasing in most European countries, the UK experienced a noticible increase in daily new cases on 6 May.

While the number of daily confirmed death is still decreasing in the UK, the total recovered cases in the UK is very low at about 960 cases.

Compared to the global recovery rate of 32%, UK’s rate of .46% is concerning and shows that UK still has long to go until full recovery.

Germany, a country frequently used as a model for Covid-19 response in Europe, also reported spikes in new cases of more than 1,000 on Wednesday and Thursday.

Other countries such as Russia, Brazil, India, Egypt, and Mexico are still experiencing a rise in confirmed cases.

There are indications of a slow shift of the pandemic toward African countries.

Although compare with the US and Europe, the confirmed case numbers are not significantly high.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist, GlobalData

12:58 pm

Covid-19 Transport Status: Berlin, Milan, Madrid, Rome mobility all up – London increasing

8 May
Road traffic and public transport use in Berlin, Rome, Milan and Madrid have picked up as governments in Continental Europe eased lockdown restrictions this week.

All four cities showed a definite uptick in mobility – although movement in Milan and Rome remains at roughly 10 per cent of the levels seen before Covid-19 struck.

That may well reflect some confusion and compromises in new rules introduced in Italy, which mean most shops will remain closed for another fortnight and people are only permitted to visit family and those with whom they have a “stable and enduring” link.

Road congestion and public transport use in Berlin rose above 20% of pre-lockdown levels this week; Madrid saw public transport use double.

Among countries where strict lockdowns remain in place, London saw public transport use creep above 10% of pre-lockdown levels – a result, perhaps, of somewhat confusing messages about how and when the Westminster government plans to ease current restrictions, as well as anecdotally-reported “lockdown fatigue” as bright spring weather tests people’s resolve.

 

The Covid-19 lockdown: tracking if, when and where the world starts moving again

This graphic is fed by three key sources.

We use Citymapper’s mobility index to monitor public transport use, TomTom’s live traffic index to measure road use, and summary data from FlightRadar24 to count the total number of commercial flights each day.

City transport index chart

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