As coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, here are some of the latest headlines, resources and stories to help you arm yourself with the best information.
1. WHO officially declares coronavirus a pandemic
As the WHO classified the coronavirus as a pandemic for the first time Wednesday, the agency stressed that this would be the first global pandemic that could be controlled. WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained that more than 90% of all reported coronavirus cases are in just 4 countries. Furthermore, he said, 81 countries do not have any cases and that 57 countries have reported 10 cases or fewer. “This virus can be suppressed and controlled.” Read more here.
2. Hospitals must get ‘creative’ to increase capacity
Former Ebola czar Ron Klain testified before the US Congress Tuesday at a hearing for coronavirus preparedness. Klain explained that many US hospitals are not prepared for the influx of cases they’ll likely see, thanks to a lack of tests and a shortage of workers. He said hospitals might need to partner with government agencies to ramp up capacity temporarily or borrow the type of creative thinking that led to solutions such as ‘drive-through testing’ from countries such as Belgium, Korea and Germany.
3. This chart shows how the rate of infection in China is slowing
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan Tuesday and said the disease was “basically curbed” there and in the wider hard-hit Hubei province, considered the centre of that country’s outbreak. Hubei also closed the last of its 15 makeshift hospitals Tuesday. While there are now more than 121,000 cases worldwide, recoveries continue to grow. Read more about new cases and recoveries here.
4. Controlling the virus will mean understanding human behaviour
During an epidemic, individuals struggle to process risk. They'll weigh perceived benefits of protective measures with their perceived cost. This article by an expert in behavioural economics explains how taking human behaviour into account will be key to important in tackling the virus. Read more here.
5. How COVID-19 differs from the common flu
With the declaration of the pandemic, here's another reminder of how the coronavirus infection can be distinguished from influenza. An epidemiologist breaks it down:
- COVID-19 has a higher death rate than influenza (2% for COVID-19 vs 0.1% for the seasonal flu)
- It incubates for longer (2-14 days, more than 3 times longer than influenza)
- It's also more contagious. Each person with coronavirus is likely to spread it to two others, compared to a rate of roughly half for flu.
6. World Economic Forum launches COVID Action Platform
In response to the coronavirus emergency, the World Economic Forum has launched the COVID Action Platform, acting as partner to the World Health Organization (WHO). The platform is intended to catalyse private-sector support for the global public health response to COVID-19, and to do so at the scale and speed required to protect lives and livelihoods, aiming to find ways to help end the global emergency as soon as possible. The platform will focus on galvanizing the global business community for action, protecting lives and livelihoods and mobilizing cooperation and support for COVID-19 response. Read more here.
7. Understanding what doesn't kill the virus
For more information, visit the World Health Organization coronavirus page.