• In this daily round-up, we'll bring you a selection of the latest news updates on the coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Today's big stories include: Confirmed death toll surpasses 100,000, how to protect health workers and how worship is changing amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

Since its launch on 11 March, the Forum’s COVID Action Platform has brought together 1,667 stakeholders from 1,106 businesses and organizations to mitigate the risk and impact of the unprecedented global health emergency that is COVID-19.

The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

1. How COVID-19 is impacting the globe

Image: Johns Hopkins University/Financial Times

2. How to protect health workers
Coronavirus infections continue to grow, and as they do health workers are getting ill. In some countries up to 10% of health workers have been infected by coronavirus, according Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

To combat this, health systems need better access to personal protection equipment (PPE), better training for all health workers on how infectious diseases are spread and better hospital surveillance.

”You see lack of preparedness of the whole health system," the Director General said during a WHO briefing on Friday. “Any system could have gaps and we should have the humility to see to what extent our system is prepared and how can we improve it for the future."

3. How 3 faith leaders suggest worshiping amid COVID-19

The Quran, Bible and Talmud all emphasize the preservation of human life, leaders from Islam, Christianity and Judaism wrote in a recent article for the Forum. They provided guidance for religious leaders looking to adapt worship practices while helping to contain coronavirus. "Local religious actors should use the proclamations of global religious leaders as a model to craft context-specific messaging for their local communities surrounding COVID-19. Statements by religious leaders are essential not only to raise awareness about preventative measures, but also serve as a reinforcement mechanism of government messaging."

3. How COVID-19 could impact Africa differently
A Zambian doctor writing for Agenda explained that African nations like Zambia are especially vulnerable to coronavirus, as their health systems already suffer from a lack of resources and doctors. The global shortage of masks and other PPE puts those doctors' lives at risk, while further weakening the system. "Having highlighted the weak and overburdened health systems in Africa, the question is how we will cope with COVID-19. Zambia, like most African countries, continues to be overwhelmed by emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases."

Members of the Inkanyezi Christian assembly of God, walk back home after holding a prayer session in celebration of Good Friday, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Soweto, South Africa April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko - RC2Q1G9HCA51
Members of the Inkanyezi Christian assembly of God, walk back home after holding a prayer session in celebration of Good Friday, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Soweto, South Africa April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Image: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

4. Could a musical version of COVID-19 could help defeat the disease?

MIT Professor Markus Buehler recently created a musical representation of COVID-19. He said it provides a clearer representation of the vibrating virus than a static diagram. Buehler is looking at whether those vibrations can be exploited to combat the virus. "That is something we have been thinking about for this protein and other proteins in the last couple of years, to use the knowledge of the nanoscopic vibrations as a way of actually disintegrating the structure."