COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 16 October

A doctor speaks on his phone outside the Emergency entrance to Maimonides Medical Center, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, U.S., October 14, 2020.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - RC2OIJ9HBHCR
Confirmed cases have passed 8 million in the US.
Image: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
  • 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: 'Syndemic' of chronic diseases and COVID-19; US confirmed cases pass 8 million; cooperation on a vaccine could boost global economy.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have now passed 38.9 million globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The number of confirmed deaths stands at over 1.09 million.

An outbreak of COVID-19 at a hospital in the Chinese city of Qingdao has been traced to two infected dock workers in the coastal city.

Asian shares have fallen, as a resurgence of cases in Europe and the US hurts appetite for risk.

US Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris has paused in-person campaigning through Sunday after a member of her staff tested positive for COVID-19.

A stronger US dollar and rising coronavirus cases in Europe and the US have seen oil prices fall, with concerns about demand being curtailed.

The UK has moved closer to COVID-19 vaccines trials that infect volunteers, after a biotech firm signed a contract with the government.

A World Health Organization (WHO) clinical trial says remdesivir had little or no effect on COVID-19 patients' length of hospital stay or mortality.

Strong international cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines could boost global income by $9 trillion by 2025, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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

2. A 'syndemic' of chronic diseases and COVID-19

A major global study of human health says we're caught in a perfect storm of rising rates of chronic diseases, persistent infectious diseases and public health failures that has fuelled deaths during the pandemic.

The emergence of COVID-19, overlapping with a global rise in conditions such as obesity and diabetes, plus environmental risks like air pollution, has increased the pandemic's death toll, according to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study.

This rise in chronic diseases, along with failures in public health to limit preventable risk factors, has left the global population vulnerable to health emergencies.

“The ‘syndemic’ nature of the threat we face demands that we not only treat each affliction, but also urgently address the underlying social inequalities that shape them,” said Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of the Lancet, the publication that published the GBD study.

3. Confirmed US cases pass 8 million

Confirmed cases in the US have passed 8 million – rising by more than 1 million in less than a month. Around 60,000 new infections were reported on Wednesday, the highest since August.

Cases are rising in every region, especially the Midwest, reports Reuters. The positive test rate is more than 30% in South Dakota and more than 20% in Idaho and Wisconsin.

Experts are warning that as colder temperatures drive people inside, the spread of the virus could accelerate further.

coronavirus COVID-19 United States countries
Cases continue to rise globally.
Image: Our World in Data