In this daily round-up, we bring you a selection of the latest news updates on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
Today’s big stories include: an update on how coronavirus COVID-19 continues to spread, the week ahead in the US, the challenges facing African healthcare systems, a message from Britain’s Queen and how crises breed innovation.
1. How COVID-19 is spreading across the globe
There are more than 1.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world and more than 69,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data at the time of this writing. According to the available data, more than 264,000 people have recovered from the virus.
The US remains the country with the most reported confirmed cases, with more than 337,000, followed by Spain (more than 131,000), Italy (more than 128,000), Germany (more than 100,000) and France (more than 93,000).
2. The US enters its ‘hardest’ week of the coronavirus crisis, a senior official warns
The upcoming week will be the “hardest” and “saddest” yet of the coronavirus crisis, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Fox News on Sunday.
Death counts are rising around the country. In Louisiana, which reported a spike in confirmed cases to more than 13,000, and nearly 500 deaths, the governor predicted the state would run out of ventilators by Thursday.
“This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized,” Adams said. “It’s going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that.”
New York, which has been the epicentre of the outbreak in the US, offers one bright spot. The state reported on Sunday that deaths had fallen slightly from the day before.
3. Africa’s healthcare systems face an urgent test
Africa is a “time bomb just waiting to explode” when it comes to the spread of coronavirus, argues Tolbert Nyenswah, a senior research associate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Countries across the continent face underfunded healthcare systems, many with unreliable stocks of essential medicines, little to no electricity, high medical fees for patients and poor access to health facilities.
Nyenswah says the Africa needs substantial financial support to properly supply its healthcare workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) and avoid deaths counts that could quickly exceed those in other parts of the world.
Meanwhile, to help address the crisis, African entrepreneurs are designing mobile tech solutions. For example, a company has created an online COVID-19 Triage Tool, which allows users to self-asses their coronavirus risk category, while South Africa’s government is running an interactive chat service about the virus on WhatsApp.
4. The Queen of England gave a speech rallying the UK to fight COVID-19
Queen Elizabeth gave a rare address Sunday to thank key workers, praise people for staying at home and call for unity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavour, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal,” she said. “We will succeed – and that success will belong to every one of us.”
The Queen added: “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”
5. Crises can lead to surges in inventions
The current rise in innovations to combat the spread of the coronavirus can be compared to a similar innovation spike during World War II.
The Second World War saw the invention of technologies, including rocket technology that helped advance space discovery; jet aircraft engines and pressurized cabins that are now part of commercial airline technology; and radar technology that is now part of missile defence systems. It also led to the creation of ballpoint pens, which were used by pilots at high altitudes; digital computers, which were created by codebreakers; and superglue, which was an accidental invention by someone trying to manufacture gun sights.
Today, the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a range of inventions such as hands-free door openers, masks with antiviral coating, new types of ventilators and a range of 3D-printed objects to help prevent the spread.
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