• This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Top stories: Up to 1-in-7 children affected by long COVID – English study; WHO, Germany opens new hub for pandemic and epidemic intelligence; India reports highest single-day COVID-19 case rise in two months.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 218.4 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 4.54 million. More than 5.34 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.

Australian doctors have warned that hospitals are not ready to cope with reopening plans – even with higher vaccination rates – as some states prepare to move from suppression to living with COVID-19.

Moderna has asked the US Food and Drug Administration to allow the use of a third booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine.

New Zealand has reported a fall in new COVID-19 infections, with authorities saying it was a sign that nationwide restrictions were working.

India has reported its biggest single-day rise in new COVID-19 cases for two months, with the state of Kerala worst hit.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll has shown that most vaccinated Americans want a booster COVID-19 vaccine dose.

It comes as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said yesterday there was no urgent need for vaccine booster doses.

Spain has reached a goal set by the government of vaccinating 70% of its population against COVID-19.

Turkey's new confirmed daily COVID-19 cases have hit a three-week high of 23,946.

Pfizer and Merck have announced new trials of their experimental oral antiviral drugs for COVID-19.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in selected countries
Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in selected countries
Image: Our World in Data

2. Up to 1-in-7 children affected by long COVID – English study

As many as 1-in-7 children might have symptoms linked to COVID-19 months after testing positive for the disease, according to an English study of long COVID in adolescents.

The study, led by University College London and Public Health England, found that 11- to 17-year-olds who tested positive for the virus were twice as likely to report three or more symptoms 15 weeks later than those who had tested negative.

The researchers said that while the findings suggested as many as 32,000 teenagers might have had multiple symptoms linked to COVID-19 after 15 weeks, the prevalence of long COVID in the age group was lower than some had feared last year.

"Overall, it's better than people would've guessed back in December," Professor Terence Stephenson of the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health told reporters.

The research is yet to be peer-reviewed.

What is the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship?

The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship is a coalition of 85 global leaders, hosted by the World Economic Forum. Its mission: Join hands in support of social entrepreneurs everywhere as vital first responders to the pandemic and as pioneers of a green, inclusive economic reality.

Its COVID Social Enterprise Action Agenda, outlines 25 concrete recommendations for key stakeholder groups, including funders and philanthropists, investors, government institutions, support organizations, and corporations. In January of 2021, its members launched its 2021 Roadmap through which its members will roll out an ambitious set of 21 action projects in 10 areas of work. Including corporate access and policy change in support of a social economy.

For more information see the Alliance website or its “impact story” here.

3. WHO, Germany open new hub for pandemic and epidemic intelligence

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus inaugurated the new WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence yesterday.

The Berlin-based hub will work to build partnerships and develop technology that uses data to detect and tackle disease and future outbreaks.

“The world needs to be able to detect new events with pandemic potential and to monitor disease control measures on a real-time basis to create effective pandemic and epidemic risk management,” said Dr Tedros. “This Hub will be key to that effort, leveraging innovations in data science for public health surveillance and response, and creating systems whereby we can share and expand expertise in this area globally.”