• This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Top stories: The impact of schools reopening; vaccine distribution software; 1,000 additional deaths in Brazil.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 33.9 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at just over 1 million.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged $100 million to help developing countries access a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Czech government has announced a state of emergency from next Monday to tackle a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases.

Iran's COVID-19 death toll has risen above 26,000, according to state media.

Retail sales in Germany rose much more than expected in August, while unemployment fell further in September, raising hopes for a stronger economic recovery in Europe's biggest economy.

The UAE has seen its highest daily total of COVID-19 infections since the start of the outbreak.

The prevalence of COVID-19 infections is much higher in England than at the end of August, but there are signs growth is slowing, according to an Imperial College study.

Brazil has registered over 1,000 new coronavirus deaths, bringing its total to 143,952. There have been more than 4.8 million confirmed cases in the country.

confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 cases
Global confirmed cases are approaching 34 million.
Image: Our World in Data

2. Schools and a COVID-19 surge?

A new study has examined the impact of school reopenings on rising coronavirus cases, finding generally no clear link between the two.

“It’s been assumed that opening schools will drive infections, and that closing schools will reduce transmission, but the reality is much more complex,” said Randa Grob-Zakhary, Founder and Chief Executive at Insights for Education, the organization that conducted the analysis.

The Geneva-based educational foundation said lockdown closures would leave a "pandemic learning debt" of 300 billion missed school days, of which 84% would be lost by children in poorer countries.

Grob-Zakhary said: "The key now is to learn from those countries that are reopening effectively against a backdrop of rising infections."

What is the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship?

The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship is hosted by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, with the support of Yunus Social Business and GHR Foundation and integrates the perspectives of social entrepreneurs through a strategic partnership with Catalyst 2030.

It identifies five principles that should lie at the heart of any COVID-19 response effort:

  • Make the voices of social entrepreneurs and their communities heard
  • Prepare to respond, recover and reset – taking the opportunity to “shape a new tomorrow”
  • Collaborate across sectors in recognition of the complexity and scale of the crisis
  • Look beyond healthcare, given that COVID-19 touches all areas of people’s lives
  • Support the shovel-ready solutions that grassroots organizations are already able to provide today

The Alliance has released a COVID Social Enterprise Action Agenda, outlining 25 concrete recommendations for key stakeholder groups to support social entrepreneurs during COVID-19. These align around the following streams:

1. Intermediaries and networks to surface the needs of the social entrepreneurs they serve on the ground and provide them with fitting support
2. (Impact) investors to adapt their investment priorities and processes, and provide flexible capital and must-have technical assistance
3. Corporations to stand with the social entrepreneurs in their supply chains and ecosystems, and join forces with them to “shape a new tomorrow”
4. Funders and philanthropists to expand and expedite their financial support to social entrepreneurs and intermediaries, taking risks reflective of today’s unprecedented times
5. Government institutions at all levels to recognize social entrepreneurs as a driving force in safeguarding jobs and in building a greener and equitable society, and to back them accordingly

3. Salesforce adapts software

Salesforce.com has said it has adapted some of its business software for healthcare organizations and governments to help them distribute future COVID-19 vaccines.

Work.com for Vaccines will help cities, states and healthcare groups track inventory, build online appointment portals and monitor patients after vaccination.

“All these vaccines have various levels of quality and efficacy. We all know that they’re not all the same,” Salesforce.com Chief Executive Marc Benioff told Reuters in an interview. “And so technology will be really critical in separating the wheat from the chaff in the vaccine.”