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World coronavirus dispatch: Why some are saying Covid-19 may never go away

From Trump's offensive against China, to whether daily virus numbers mean much in post-lockdown states, and why rich nations may face a labour crisis - read these and more in today's world dispatch

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Coronavirus | healthcare | Health crisis

Yuvraj Malik  |  New Delhi 

hospital, beds, patients, doctors, nurses, health care, health workers, coronavirus, testing, vaccine
Scientists have warned that the disease may never go away, because it lurks in some people without causing any outward signs of sickness

After containing their outbreaks through several measures, from strict lockdowns to rapid testing regimes, the Asian economies that have been among the most successful in quelling the — Hong Kong, South Korea and — are now facing resurgence that underscores how it may be nearly impossible to eradicate it.

It’s a painful reminder that as countries open up again and people resume normal life, untraceable flare-ups are likely — even after an extended lull in cases. Scientists have warned that the disease may never go away, because it lurks in some people without causing any outward signs of sickness. Read more here. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-14/asia-s-virus-taming-stars-disappointed-by-resurgence-of-cases)

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total confirmed cases: 4,443,597

Change over previous day: 95,676

Total deaths: 302,452

Total recovered: 1,588,365

Nations hit with most cases: The US (1,417,889), Russia (252,245), the UK (234,440), Spain (229,540), and Italy (223,096).

Source: Johns Hopkins Research Center

posts first rise in industrial output since virus outbreak: China’s industrial output in April increased for the first time since the outbreak, in early signs of a recovery. The country’s industrial output rose 3.9 per cent from a year earlier, reversing a drop of 1.1 per cent in March, data showed Friday. Retail sales slid 7.5 per cent, more than the projected 6 per cent. The surveyed urban jobless rate rose to 6 per cent from 5.9 per cent in March. Read more here.

Trump continues offensive against China: US President said he was “looking at” Chinese companies that traded on the NYSE and Nasdaq exchanges but did not follow US accounting rules. The comments were made in a TV interview to Fox News. Trump has accused of hiding vital information about the coronavirus in its early days, and for not responding proactively enough. Read more here.

Global coronavirus death toll exceeds 300,000: The total number of people who have succumbed to coronavirus infections globally has gone past the 300,000 mark. The US accounts for more than a quarter of all fatalities.

The UK and Italy account for another 10-11 per cent each, and France and Spain 9 per cent each. The number of deaths linked to Covid-19 in just four months is now equal to about three-quarters of the number of people who die annually from malaria, one of the world’s deadliest infectious diseases. Read more here.

Potential accuracy issues in Abbott coronavirus tests: An Abbott Covid-19 test has potential accuracy issues, the US FDA has warned, citing a number of studies that have raised doubts about the product’s ability to quickly diagnose patients. The FDA is particularly concerned about false-negative results, in which an infected person is told by the test that they don’t have the disease even when they do. Read more here.

Specials

Why daily virus numbers mean little in post-states — Because they present a dated picture: Countries must focus on more than daily infection numbers and death tolls, according to scientists. In France, for instance, the country is monitoring increases in the number of calls to doctors’ hotlines and visits to general practitioners, alongside data like admissions to intensive care. In Germany, there’s more focus on the virus’ basic reproduction number, or R0, thought to be a leading indicator of sorts. In the UK, the government has commissioned surveys of people selected at random to gauge more precisely how entrenched the virus might be. Read more here.

How to travel safely on public transport: Countries are telling their citizens that they should "consider all other forms of transport before using public transport". If they can't walk, cycle or drive to their destination, they are advised to do the following:

  • Travel at off-peak times
  • Take a less busy route and reduce the number of changes
  • Wait for other passengers to get off before boarding
  • Keep 2 m away from people "where possible"
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after completing a journey

Read full advisory here.

Podcast

Rich nations may face a post-pandemic world without cheap migrant labour: Romanian home-care workers in Italy, Indian construction crews in Dubai, Filipino maids and cooks in Singapore — the world’s wealthy economies depend on a steady flow of cheap labour from lower-income nations. Workers are heading back to their native countries in large numbers — and it is not certain whether they will come back. Bloomberg journalists in three regions – London, Dubai and Singapore – present stories in three parts of the world in this podcast.

First Published: Fri, May 15 2020. 13:06 IST
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