There weren’t any new reported cases of COVID-19 in China today, a first time occurrence since the pandemic began in the country late last year. This marks a major turning point in the global battle to contain COVID-19.
There is a drug that’s been used in Japan to treat influenza that is seemingly also effective in treating COVID-19. It’s called Favipiravir or Avigan, and it shows positive results in clinical trials involving 340 people from Wuhan and Shenzhen. According to Zhang Xinmin of China’s science and technology ministry, “It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment”.
Hubei Province, which is where COVID-19 first started, have reported zero new suspected cases for two consecutive days, the provincial health commission said Wednesday (March 18).
Elsewhere in Hubei...
The Independent reported last week, Zhang Guangfen, a 103 woman from Wuhun, recovered from COVID-19 after receiving treatment for just six days at a local hospital.
That’s not it for the good news out of Wuhan...
China has recently shut down all of the hospitals that they built as a direct response to the coronavirus epidemic in Wuhan. New Viruses in China have declined in recent weeks, a sign that the lockdowns have worked. The final group of 49 patients walked out of the Wuchang temporary hospital in the capital of Hubei province on the afternoon of March 10th to cheers.
In other parts of Asia...
Amid soaring deaths in many European countries, South Korea has emerged as a model of hope in the fight against COVID-19. Turns out, South Korea learned a lot from the 2015 MERS outbreak, and because of it, were better prepared to handle coronavirus through a program of mass testing and social distancing. South Korea has tested more than 270,000 people, which amounts to more than 5200 tests per million inhabitants—more than any other country except tiny Bahrain.
What’s being done worldwide in regards to testing, treatments, and vaccinations for COVID-19…
Abbott Labs won U.S. approval for its molecular test for COVID-19, which will be used by hospitals and academic medical centers to speed up testing. They will begin shipping 150 000 tests immediately, and hope to reach a capacity of 1 million tests per week by the end of March. Abbot says that its systems have “the ability to run high volumes of up to 470 tests in 24 hours, helping to meet the increasing demand for testing.”
The Cleveland clinic developed a COVID-19 test that takes hours to get results rather than days. Although the clinic didn’t develop the test, they worked in-house to get faster results.
A few days ago, a group of Canadian scientists successfully isolated and grew copies of the novel coronavirus, paving the way for a possible vaccine. Isolating the virus will help researchers develop treatments, vaccines and tests for COVID-19 and allow them to conduct long-term research to understand the biology of the virus.
A new phase 1 clinical trial of a potential vaccine for the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus began on Monday in Seattle, with the first person to enroll in the trial receiving the vaccine.
Researchers from the University of Utrecht and the Erasmus medical centre have developed a human antibody that they claim “offers potential for prevention and treatment of COVID-19”.
This discovery is promising but shouldn’t give people false hope. It’s far too soon to speculate about this working on people. The research is currently awaiting peer review before it can be published in the science journal Nature.
Doctors in India have been treating coronavirus with anti-HIV drugs to some success.
Additional Chief Secretary (Medical and Health) Rohit Kumar Singh said the patients' condition improved after they were administered the anti-HIV drugs.
He added that "It appears it (combination of drugs) is working because three patients have recovered. Good thing is that all the three patients are elderly and the successful result of the drug on patients of such age is a big thing".
Other nice stories to cheer you up...
From the top, this article clearly states that “living in a warmer environment doesn’t mean you can’t catch coronavirus”. However, it is trying to say that warmer weather slows the spread. The graphical data from this article would seem to support as much, but there is one big refrain. These tropical countries are usually less developed, particularly in regards to their health-care systems, meaning that they aren’t able to sufficiently test. As a result, scientists have yet to be sold on the link.
While not a necessarily positive story, it may still bring a smile to your face. Officials in China are saying that divorce rates in the country have jumped following coronavirus quarantines. One office saw over 300 couples applying for divorces in the last three weeks. Another registry in Xi'an received 14 requests in one day, hitting the upper limit. One city has even put a daily limit to allow no more than 10 couples to divorce in a day.
This one’s a bit strange, and might give you a good laugh. Jared Leto, in all his minimalist glory, just (and I mean just) found out about COVID-19. In an Instagram post he told his followers:
“Wow. 12 days ago I began a silent mediation in the desert. We were totally isolated. No phone, no communication etc. We had no idea what was happening outside the facility,” “Walked out yesterday into a very different world. One that’s been changed forever. Mind blowing — to say the least.”
Turns out Jared Leto’s been a master at social distancing.
This story restored my faith in humanity, after it was ripped away from me a few days ago due to a severe lack of toilet paper as a result of hoarders at my local stores, but I digress. Some grocery stores around the world are creating “elderly hours”, which will allow older customers to get their shopping done during the earlier hours of the day in and effort to lower their risk of catching the virus.
And it isn’t just grocery stores doing their part during this pandemic.
Whether its major sports franchises banding together to pay their part time workers, Loom making their pro version free for teachers and students, or simply Uber Eats and grab offering free delivery services, many corporations have come to the aid of consumers and employees during these challenging times.
This entry isn’t a particular article or video, but rather, a series of videos. People all across Italy have been singing and dancing from their balconies, lifting spirits and showing tremendous resolve while under quarantine. These videos are guaranteed to make you smile.
So as you can see, it's not all bad news. Let’s all continue to stay safe and considerate of our neighbours. If we stay together we will undoubtedly see this pandemic through.
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