COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 28 August

Jewish seminary students study at desks fitted with plastic sheets to protect them from the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sderot, Israel August 26, 2020 REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC2NLI9AZI5U

New measures are in place all around the world. Image: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Joe Myers
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  • This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Top stories: India economic outlook; WHO advice on testing people without symptoms; new study on the virus's impact on children and young people.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now reached more than 24.4 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed coronavirus deaths now stands at more than 831,000.

India has recorded a daily increase of 77,266 coronavirus cases - a record. Total cases have now reached 3.39 million, according to data from the federal health ministry.

A Reuters poll also suggests that India's recession will last through the rest of 2020, and only begin to lift early next year.

India economy recession policy
A Reuters poll suggests the Indian economy won't rebound this year. Image: Reuters

Victoria, Australia, says it hopes to record just double digit increases in cases by next week, down from a one-day record of 725 cases earlier this month. The capital, Melbourne, is four weeks into a six-week lockdown.

South Korea has extended Phase 2 social distancing for at least another week, but stopped short of moving the country up to the highest level of social distancing measures. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 371 new coronavirus cases as of midnight Thursday.

The governor of Havana, Cuba, has announced new measures to tackle an increase in infections. Restrictions have been placed on the circulation of vehicles, an overnight curfew introduced and travel from the Cuban capital to other provinces banned.

Mexico has reported 6,026 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 518 new deaths. More than 62,000 people have died in the country so far, with around 580,000 cases.

Britain has announced £8.4 million (US$11.1 million) for three nationwide studies into the human immune response to COVID-19.

Several states in the US Midwest have reported record one-day increases in cases. Nationwide deaths have also topped 180,000.

A global study has found that being obese doubles the risk of hospital treatment for COVID-19. It also increases the risk of dying by nearly 50%, the BBC reports.


What is the World Economic Forum doing to manage emerging risks from COVID-19?

2. WHO: People exposed to the virus should be tested

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reiterated its advice that, resources permitting, people exposed to the virus should be tested even if they display no symptoms.

“Our recommendations are to test suspect cases, and we have definitions for those. We have definitions of contacts, and who contacts are of confirmed cases, and make recommendations that contacts, if feasible, should be tested regardless of the development of symptoms,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's COVID-19 technical lead told a news briefing. “The focus, though, is on those that do develop symptoms.”

Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, added that it's important to target testing in the correct areas.

“It absorbs huge amounts of resources,” he said. “So we need to focus on testing the right individuals, we need to focus on maximizing the testing in the clusters, and we need to focus on the quality of the testing, and the speed of the turnaround.”


3. Severe cases and death much less likely in children: study

The study, of COVID-19 patients admitted to 138 hospitals in Britain, found that less than 1% were children, and of those fewer than 1% - or six in total - died, all of whom were already suffering from a serious illness or underlying health issue.

“The highest level message really has to be that (in children with COVID-19) severe disease is rare, and death is vanishingly rare - and that (parents) should be comforted that their children are not at direct harm by going back into school,” said Malcolm Semple, a professor of outbreak medicine and child health at Britain’s University of Liverpool, who co-led the work.

But, children of Black ethnicity and those with obesity were disproportionately affected. The research also showed that children can have a range of symtoms - including sore throat, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and rash alongside already-recognised COVID-19 symptoms of fever, breathlessness and cough.

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