Taiwan on Tuesday (Apr 14) reported no new cases of the coronavirus for the first time in more than a month, in the latest sign that the island’s early and effective prevention methods have paid off.
Taiwan has won plaudits from health experts for how it has fought the virus, including starting as early as Dec 31 checks on passengers arriving from China’s Wuhan city, where the first cases were reported late last year.
Taiwan has reported 393 cases to date, and six deaths. A total of 338 were so-called imported cases, where people were suspected of getting infected overseas before entering Taiwan, with the rest cases of local transmissions.
The Nordic country, which was one of the first in Europe to shut down, had 299 coronavirus-related deaths as of Tuesday, while the number of hospitalizations has fallen over the last two weeks.
Italy, Spain and Austria have allowed partial returns to work as countries across Europe reported further falls in new Covid-19 cases and began taking their first cautious steps out of lockdown to revive battered economies.
The ten U.S. states coordinating plans separately from the White House to reopen businesses shut by the coronavirus are responsible for an outsized proportion of the U.S. economy.
Cities that declared a state of emergency in February due to outbreaks of COVID-19 saw air pollution decrease by up to 40% as businesses close their doors and residents stayed home, a University of Toronto researcher has found.
Read the full study.
Nearly one in seven pregnant women in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus, but most of them exhibited minimal to no symptoms, a limited study revealed.
Replication of the virus relies on the polymerases, enzymes which synthesize the virus’ genome by assembling sequences of RNA molecules. Remdesivir inhibits this process by masquerading as a part of the virus itself and damaging it from the inside, Götte said.
The vaccines are being developed by a Beijing-based unit of Nasdaq-listed Sinovac Biotech , and by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, an affiliate of state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group.
Russia is the latest example of a failure to control imported cases and can serve as a warning to others. When the virus wreaked havoc in Europe, Russia appeared to have successfully blocked the epidemic outside its border. It was only on March 2 that the country reported its first case, much later than Western Europe and the US. Russia has also imposed strict restrictions on the entry of Chinese travelers. But it eventually failed to curb the epidemic.
Russian experts said hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens returned from Italy, France, Spain and other Western European countries in late March. Most of them ended up in Moscow or transited through the capital, making the city the worst-hit area within Russia. Europe is one of the global hubs. It would be much tougher for Russia to guard against cases from there than from China.
End globalism, end pandemics.
A coronavirus strain isolated in India carried a mutation that could upend vaccine development around the globe, according to researchers from Australia and Taiwan.
The non-peer reviewed study said the change had occurred in part of the spike protein that allows the virus to bind with certain human cells.
This structure targets cells containing ACE2, an enzyme found in the lungs which also allowed the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) virus to infect people.
Read the study.
“When looking at data for England, this is 15% higher than the NHS numbers as they include all mentions of COVID-19 on the death certificate, including suspected COVID-19, as well as deaths in the community,” ONS statistician Nick Stripe said.
Unlike the daily data published by the government that show only deaths in hospitals, these figures include deaths in the community, such as at nursing homes.
Professor Remi Charrel and colleagues at the Aix-Marseille University in southern France
heated the virus that causes Covid-19 to 60 degrees Celsius (140 Fahrenheit) for an hour and found that some strains were still able to replicate.
Read the study.
The Office for National Statistics data showed the virus was mentioned on 3,475 death certificates in the week ending 3 April.
It helped push the total number of deaths in that week to more than 16,000 – a record high and 6,000 more than expected at this time of year.
Contrast to what normally kills people in the UK. Heart attacks and self-harm dwarf it.
New Great Depression Deal
Measures to stem the spread of the virus have put 16 million Americans out of work, wiped trillions of dollars off global stock markets and could lead to the worst economic crash since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the IMF warned last week.
“The declines in asset prices are expected to lead to losses on banks’ portfolios of risky securities, though this could be partly offset by gains on their holdings of safe-haven assets,” the IMF said.
It has been long feared by some that certain companies maybe targeted by Chinese rivals, but the sharp economic downturn caused by the recent outbreak and steep falls in share prices across the continent have increased the vulnerability of businesses for potential foreign bids.
Margrethe Vestager, European Competition Commissioner, told the Financial Times: “We don’t have any issues of states acting as market participants if need be — if they provide shares in a company, if they want to prevent a takeover of this kind.”
This probably explains the American stock buybacks from a year ago.
Gita Gopinath, the IMF’s chief economist, said the crisis could knock $9 trillion (£7.2 trillion) off global GDP over the next two years.
“A partial recovery is projected for 2021,” said Ms Gopinath. “But the level of GDP will remain below the pre-virus trend, with considerable uncertainty about the strength of the rebound.”
Ms Gopinath said that for the first time since the Great Depression, both advanced and developing economies were expected to fall into recession.
Time to cut taxes to pay for the military only.
The Daily Telegraph has stopped publishing paid-for propaganda on behalf of Chinese state media, amid growing scrutiny of how Beijing is using the pandemic to grow its influence in English-language media aimed at western audiences.
The White House has lashed out at broadcaster Voice of America (VOA), accusing it of amplifying “Beijing’s propaganda” by quoting China’s official coronavirus statistics in its reporting and publishing footage of celebrations marking the end of Wuhan’s lockdown.
“Using China as a hub…that model died this week, I think,” says Vladimir Signorelli, head of Bretton Woods Research, a macro investment research firm.
China’s economy is getting hit much harder by the coronavirus outbreak than markets currently recognize. Wall Street appeared to be the last to realize this last week.
Governments in at least 25 countries are employing vast programmes for mobile data tracking, apps to record personal contact with others, CCTV networks equipped with facial recognition, permission schemes to go outside and drones to enforce social isolation regimes.
The methods have been adopted by authoritarian states and democracies alike and have opened lucrative new markets for companies that extract, sell, and analyse private data. One of the world’s foremost experts on mobile phone surveillance said the pandemic had created a “9/11 on steroids” that could lead to grave abuses of power.