COVID-19 live updates: Total number of cases passes 3.6 million - CALIFORNIA HEALTH

COVID-19 live updates: Total number of cases passes 3.6 million

A nurse works on a computer while treating patients with coronavirus in the intensive care unit at a hospital on May 1, 2020 in Leonardtown, Maryland. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
  • The recent coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
  • Known as SARS-CoV-2, the virus has resulted in more than 3.6 million infections and 250,000 deaths.
  • SARS-CoV-2 infection causes a respiratory illness called COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 has now been reported on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Keep up to date with the latest research and information about COVID-19 here.

05/05/2020 18:16 GMT — MNT’s video update

05/05/2020 15:17 GMT — Study finds no link between high blood pressure drugs and COVID-19 risk
The question of whether blood pressure medication raises the risk of COVID-19 or of developing a more severe form of the disease has been preoccupying researchers in recent months.
Now, investigators from the New York University Grossman School of Medicine in New York City, together with other institutions, have carried out a study to settle the matter.
The scientists looked at angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and thiazide diuretics, and concluded that there was “no association between any single [antihypertensive] medication class and an increased likelihood of a positive [COVID-19] test.”
The study did not find an association with a higher risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms, either. “Our findings should reassure the medical community and patients,” says lead investigator Dr. Harmony Reynolds.
Read our full coverage here.

05/05/2020 15:15 GMT — Total number of confirmed US cases is now 1,180,634

05/05/2020 12:01 GMT — NIAID director says coronavirus was not made in a lab
As the debate about the origins of the new coronavirus continues, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made his opinion clear: SARS-CoV-2 was not created in a laboratory.
“If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats and what’s out there now, [the evidence] is very, very strongly leaning toward this [virus] could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated — the way the mutations have naturally evolved,” Dr. Fauci told National Geographic in an interview. “A number of very qualified evolutionary biologists have said that everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that it evolved in nature and then jumped species.”
He also dismissed claims that the researchers found the virus in an animal, then took it to a lab and subsequently released it, whether by accident or deliberately.
“But that means it was in the wild to begin with,” Dr. Fauci explained. “That’s why I don’t get what they’re talking about [and] why I don’t spend a lot of time going in on this circular argument.”
Read the full interview here.

05/05/2020 10:59 GMT — ‘COVID toe’ and other skin symptoms
Blisters, rashes, and bumps are the latest symptoms that doctors are describing in people with COVID-19. Writing in the British Journal of Dermatology, a team of dermatologists from Spain collected data on 375 cases from across the country and compiled a list of the five most common skin manifestations.
Skin rashes are, in fact, a common signof viral infections, particularly in children.
The new study lists the following five clinical patterns:
  • Small, flat, raised bumps called maculopapules: 47%
  • Chilblain-like lesions around the hands and feet, prominent in younger patients, which some people call ‘COVID toe’: 19%
  • Rash on the body or hands: 19%
  • Small blisters on the trunk and limbs: 9%
  • Necrosis: 6%
All of the patients that the team included in the study were in a hospital and had respiratory symptoms.
“It is unusual, from our previous experience with cutaneous manifestations of viral diseases, that a single virus can lead to several different clinical patterns, especially as different patterns do not coexist on the same patient,” the authors comment in the paper.
The researchers note that it is unclear if the new coronavirus causes the skin manifestations or if they are the result of a coinfection with a different virus.
“In terms of arising suspicion of COVID-19, we feel that pseudo-chilblain and [blisters on the trunk or limbs] may be useful as indicators of disease,” they conclude in the paper.
Read more about the study here.

05/04/2020 15:30 GMT — First drug to treat COVID-19 gets emergency approval from the FDA
The FDA issued an emergency authorization for the use of the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat “severe” forms of COVID-19.
According to the FDA, patients with “severe disease” are those with “low blood oxygen levels or needing oxygen therapy or more intensive breathing support, such as a mechanical ventilator.”
Penny Ward, Visiting Professor in pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London, U.K., comments on the development, along with other experts.
She explains, “The FDA approved this product on the basis [of its] proven in vitro antiviral effect against SARS-CoV-2, animal data documenting in vivo efficacy against COVID-19 infection, and a clinical trial conducted by the National Institutes of Health in which receipt of remdesivir decreased the time taken to recover from COVID-19 and reduced mortality by ~30%.”
However, experts also caution that the use and effectiveness of remdesivir are limited.

05/04/2020 14:00 GMT — COVID-19 still a ‘public health emergency of international concern,’ Emergency Committee tells WHO
The WHO director-general convened the third meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, April 30.
The committee unanimously agreed that COVID-19 still represents a “public health emergency of international concern” and issued a list of guidelines for the WHO and other parties and states.
The recommendations for the WHO included working with “fragile states and vulnerable countries” that need additional support and liaising with key organizations to find the animal origin of the virus and identify the route of transmission to humans.
The committee also recommended that the WHO focus on supporting countries in an effort to manage the “unintended consequences of public health measures” such as the spike in gender-based violence and child neglect.
Furthermore, the committee advised the WHO to support governments in continuing to provide essential health services throughout the COVID-19 response period, which is likely to extend. These services include, but are not limited to, vaccination, reproductive health care, mental health services, and care for vulnerable populations, such as older adults and children.
Finally, the committee asked the WHO to clarify testing strategies and help countries increase their testing capacities and update their travel and trade recommendations.