What you need to know about coronavirus this Sunday
You can catch the virus more than once.
The World Health Organization has warned against the idea that coronavirus immunity passports can provide a safe way out of lockdown.
Many countries were hoping to start issuing risk-free certificates to people who have had the disease, allowing them to return to work, travel and go about their business. The plan was based on the assumption that Covid-19 survivors develop immunity.
But yesterday, the World Health Organization said no evidence exists that people who have recovered from the disease and developed antibodies are protected from catching it again.
The organization went further, warning that the use of immunity passports could lead to a spike in new infections. That’s because people who assume they are immune are more likely to ignore public health advice.
In the wake of the WHO’s alert, it becomes apparent that global efforts must focus on the only other way to gain protection: a vaccine.
More grim milestones
The coronavirus has now killed more than 200,000 people globally, according to Johns Hopkins University.
But official statistics are only capturing confirmed cases. With most countries struggling to test everyone who shows symptoms, the number of Covid-19-related deaths is likely much higher. These people might have died at home, in nursing homes, or in hospitals where testing was unavailable.
The United Kingdom yesterday became the fifth country in the world to record more than 20,000 deaths, after Italy, the United States, Spain and France. Just weeks ago, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, said that limiting deaths to around 20,000 would be a “good outcome.”
The US, meanwhile, is nearing 1 million cases. More than 53,600 Americans have died so far, with New York state alone recording more than 22,000 coronavirus deaths.
Trump calls time on briefings
President Trump did not hold a daily coronavirus update yesterday, tweeting that briefings are “not worth the time & effort.” The media, he added, asks “nothing but hostile questions” and “then refuses to report the truth or facts accurately.”
Trump’s tweets came after he was widely criticized last week by health experts for his dangerous suggestion that research should be done into whether disinfectants can serve as a potential coronavirus treatment. On Friday, amid the outcry, Trump staged a short briefing and did not allow questions from the media.
A senior administration official, meanwhile, said discussions are under way to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar following criticism of the early federal response to the epidemic.