• California has record 10,000 cases in one day.
  • US agrees $1.6 billion vaccine deal.
  • WHO acknowledges 'emerging evidence' on airborne transmission.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed 11.8 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 544,000 people are known to have died from the virus, while over 6.4 million are known to have recovered.

New cases of coronavirus in California and Texas each topped 10,000 on 7 July. The 10,201 cases in California were a record rise for a single day.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for COVID-19, after three previous tests were negative.

President Donald Trump has formally notified the World Health Organization (WHO) of his intention to withdraw the United States from the organization, but the process could take a year.

The US government has agreed a $1.6 billion deal with vaccine maker Novavax for 100 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine by the beginning of next year.

WHO experts will go to China this weekend to help identify the zoonotic source of COVID-19 – and discover how it jumped from animals to humans.

300 drones lit up the night sky in Seoul, South Korea, in a synchronized light display showing images of handwashing and social distancing.

2. WHO acknowledges evidence that virus may be airborne

The World Health Organization has responded to an open letter from more than 200 scientists calling for recognition that COVID-19 may be airborne.

Speaking at a media briefing on 7 July, Professor Benedetta Allegranzi, WHO Technical Lead, said: "We acknowledge there is emerging evidence in this field, as in all other fields regarding the COVID-19 virus.

"We believe we have to be open to this evidence and open to its implications regarding the mode of transmission and the precautions that need to be taken."

Writing in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases on 6 July, scientists backed by 239 signatories said: "There is significant potential for inhalation exposure to viruses in microscopic respiratory droplets (microdroplets) at short to medium distances (up to several meters, or room scale), and we are advocating for the use of preventive measures to mitigate this route of airborne transmission.

"Studies by the signatories and other scientists have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that viruses are released during exhalation, talking, and coughing in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in air and pose a risk of exposure at distances beyond 1 to 2m from an infected individual."

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Technical Lead COVID-19, said the WHO would be issuing a scientific brief in the coming days on what they know so far about modes of transmission.

How ventilation can reduce transmission of coronavirus.
Image: Clinical Infectious Diseases

3. UN Environment calls for a 'one health strategy' to prevent the next pandemic

In a new report, Preventing the Next Pandemic: Zoonotic Diseases and How to Break the Chain of Transmission, the UN Environment Programme calls for a “one health strategy” to rebalance the needs of people, the planet and animals.

UNEP’s One Health initiative makes a series of recommendations that can be taken to prevent future outbreaks, including:

Conducting more research into zoonotic diseases; carrying out cost-benefit analyses of interventions that include the societal impacts of disease; raising awareness of zoonotic diseases; improving monitoring and regulation practices; and incentivizing sustainable land management practices that promote biodiversity.