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World Coronavirus Dispatch: Students across globe returning to classrooms

Boris Johnson earmarks £500 mn for mass rapid testing, Sanofi starts trials of vaccine, Steroids could reduce deaths by a third, and other pandemic-related news across the globe

Coronavirus Vaccine | Coronavirus | Boris Johnson

Yuvraj Malik 

Photo: Shutterstock
In June, a single large study of more than 6,200 patients found that corticosteroids, a class of drugs that reduce inflammation, could prevent at least some cases of coronavirus-related ARDS and the resulting deaths. Photo: Bloomberg

From Wuhan to London to Tel Aviv and many places in between, students are returning to classrooms this week after months of staying home in an attempt to slow the spread of the Many countries see the return as imperative to jump-starting economies devastated by the pandemic. Schools are requiring precautions like wearing masks, washing hands, checking temperatures and keeping children in social bubbles. In Wuhan, the original centre of the pandemic, more than 2,840 primary and secondary schools, serving nearly 1.4 million students, reopened on Tuesday. Read more here

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total Confirmed Cases: 26,056,777

Change Over Yesterday: 295,857

Total Deaths: 863,577

Total Recovered: 17,294,713

Nations hit with most cases: US (6,115,030), Brazil (3,997,865), India (3,853,406), Russia (1,006,923) and Peru (657,129)

Source: Johns Hopkins Research Center

Johnson commits £500 million to mass rapid testing: Boris Johnson’s government has ordered trials of “mass rapid testing” for coronavirus, vowing that it could reduce the need for social distancing. It will is to commit £500 million for Covid-19 test trials using the latest technology, with funding also made available for scaling up testing capacity ahead of winter. Read more here

Fed says US economy showing progress but uncertainty persists: “Economic activity increased among most districts, but gains were generally modest and activity remained well below levels prior to the Covid-19 pandemic,” the central bank said in its Beige Book survey. “Continued uncertainty and volatility related to the pandemic, and its negative effect on consumer and business activity, was a theme echoed across the country.” Read more here

to enhance bank access to dollar funding: Singapore’s financial regulator said it will introduce measures to enhance banks’ access to local and US dollar funding to protect the city state’s financial sector against the economic fallout. From September 28, the new facility will provide banks and financial firms an additional channel to borrow dollar funds at longer tenors. Read more here

starts trials of Covid shot after early data impress: administered the first patients with its experimental Covid-19 vaccine on Thursday. The Paris-based drugmaker launched human studies at 11 sites across the US. The phase 1/2 trial — which compresses the early and middle stages of clinical tests — will assess 440 healthy patients in two age groups: 18 to 49, and over 50. Read more here

unveils $118 billion “Relaunch” plan: Emmanuel Macron’s government unveiled the long-awaited 100 billion-euro ($118 billion) stimulus plan the French president is betting on to transform the economy. The plan, dubbed “Relaunch,” includes wage subsidies, tax cuts for businesses and funding for environmental projects. Read more here

Beijing pushes its big banks to weakest health in a decade: Enlisted to ease the financial hardship of millions of people and businesses hurt by the pandemic, Chinese banks are under increasing stress. Profits are plunging at the fastest pace in at least a decade, bad debt has hit a record and capital buffers are eroding. Bank executives and analysts predict the damage is likely to continue in the second half of this year. Read more here

Speculation in US points to wild swings: The outlook for has become one of the most discussed, and heavily bet upon, features of the market rebound since March. Bullish investors have been placing large bets in the options market that eye-popping rallies in popular individual stocks such as Apple and Tesla will continue. Read more here

Actor Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and family have Covid-19: Johnson, 48, said he, his wife Lauren, 35, and their daughters Jasmine and Tiana, aged four and two, contracted the virus about two-and-a-half weeks ago. They caught it from "very close family friends" who, in turn, had no idea how they had been infected, Johnson said in a post on Instagram. Read more here


Do conferences have a future?

Conferences, which traditionally see participants convening centrally in a hotel or events centre, involve lots of close contact; members sitting together, sharing buffets and conversing in tight quarters. Many see hundreds of participants flying in from around the world. In the age of Covid-19, they are the worst kind of ‘super-spreader event’: a conference held in Edinburgh in February resulted in 25 attendees contracting the coronavirus. Yet they have to continue, as a $1.1tn global industry supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. How does the industry go forward in such a changed world? Read here to know

Steroids could reduce some Covid-19 deaths by one-third, says WHO

In June, a single large study of more than 6,200 patients found that corticosteroids, a class of drugs that reduce inflammation, could prevent at least some cases of coronavirus-related ARDS and the resulting deaths. Today, the WHO confirmed that preliminary report, announcing a new policy, based on a study published in JAMA, calling for the administration of steroids to all patients in the “severe and critical” category. The new conclusions were reached through a meta-analysis of seven different studies, each exploring the efficacy of corticosteroids Over the course of 28 days, it was found, the death rate was 34 percent lower among the steroid-treated patients than among those in the control group. Read more here

First Published: Thu, September 03 2020. 17:49 IST