Coronavirus News

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Breakfast Briefing

Worldwide, the latest compilation of Covid-19 data is here. The global tally is now 2,611,200 and up +135,000 from this time yesterday which is a faster rate of rise from yesterday. 32% of all cases globally are in the US, which is an unchanged level, and they are up +48,300 since this time yesterday to 834,900. This is a much faster rate of increase. Just over 9% of all US cases have recovered so far, which is no improvement. Infection rates in Russia are rising very quickly and they will be the next country to have more cases than China, followed by Turkey. Australia still has 6500 cases and little-changed over the past week; their recovery rate to 63% and also unchanged in more than a week.

Global deaths are now at 181,200, up +50% in a week, with very variable reporting across jurisdictions. I don't wish to add to fears, but it was the second wave that killed more people than the first in the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. It is lesson about why our borders should stay shut until the rest of the world has credible control on Covid-19.

There are now 1451 Covid-19 cases identified in New Zealand, with another +6 new cases yesterday and more than the prior day's +5 increase. Fourteen people have died here, one more, all geriatric patients. There are now 11 people in hospital with the disease, with two in ICU. Our recovery rate is now up over 71% and rising. - 23 April

Covid-19 mutations underestimated, Chinese scientists warn, as DEADLIEST strains grip Europe and US 

Chinese scientists have found that Europe and America's East Coast have been infected by some of the most aggressive Covid-19 strains, as they discovered dozens of virus mutations.

The virus load is the measure of its quantity in a certain volume of bodily fluid, usually blood plasma. It particularly shows how quickly a pathogen could propagate through the organism and destroy its cells. Unfortunately for Europeans, one of the most aggressive strains found by the Chinese scientists appears to be similar to the one that has spread across the continent, particularly Italy and Spain, the pre-print of the study published on the website revealed on Sunday.

The same strain came from Europe to New York, which has since become one of the worst affected US states. America's West Coast, however, appears to be infected by another, less deadly strain that arrived directly from China. 21 April

Antibody tests suggest Covid-19 may have spread much more than predicted, with possibly HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS infected worldwide

The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that early data from antibody testing studies around the world indicate that "only" 2-3 percent of people have been infected by the coronavirus. 21 April

Millions could be 'told to wear masks to work and on transport' after lockdown

Millions of Brits could be ordered to wear face masks and gloves as people get back work to rescue Britain's flagging economy, according to reports.

Ministers have been mulling over the prospect of introducing protective equipment to certain indoor work places - also including factories - as well as on public transport, the Daily Mail reports. - 17 April

Covid-19 pandemic tops 2 MILLION cases worldwide - AFP tally

More than two million people have contracted Covid-19 globally since the lethal outbreak began last December, passing another dark milestone as the World Health Organization is pulled into a war of words between the US and China.

The worldwide coronavirus case count now stands at over two million, the latest figures from AFP showed on Wednesday. More than half of this number relates to outbreaks in European nations, but globally the worst-hit country is the United States, with almost 610,000 identified Covid-19 patients. The US death toll stands at over 26,000 or over 28,300, depending on whether revised numbers that include %u201Cprobable Covid-19 deaths%u201D from New York since March 11 are added.

As the pandemic rages on in some 185 countries ... - 15 April

Mandatory masks in public places, fines for spitting: India issues revised Covid-19 guidelines as PM Modi extends lockdown

And in India, All Indians must wear masks or other face covers in public places and at work, the Hindu reported, citing an order from the government issued on Wednesday. 15 April

Austria, Denmark & Italy tentatively emerge from coronavirus lockdown

On March 16, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz ordered everything, except supermarkets and medical facilities, to shut down in the hopes of preventing a coronavirus outbreak similar to the one which ravaged Italy. 

Those restrictions are finally beginning to be lifted on Tuesday as non-essential stores under 400 square meters (4,300 square feet), such as hardware stores and garden centers, will open their doors once more. They will be followed by shopping malls, hairdressers and other larger shops on May 1.  

Restaurants and hotels won't reopen until mid-May at the earliest, and public events likely won't take place in Austria until late June. As the restrictions ease, however, the public will still be required to wear face masks in most shops, supermarkets, pharmacies and on public transport. 14 April

'Madness that will start riots': Philadelphia police drag man off public transit for not wearing mask (VIDEOS)

Viral videos are showing police in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania telling people to wear masks on public transportation to help stop the spread of Covid-19, and harshly enforcing this rule with non-complying passengers. 10 April

NZ Government Messaging On Face Masks Could Cost Lives

The widespread use and availability of face masks in China, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan is only one of the many intensive measures used by these governments in their successful battles against COVID-19, but it has been a critical one, and one that people and leaders in the West seem to overlook or misunderstand.


In New Zealand the government is only now beginning to focus on providing masks and other protective gear for some of our frontline workers (after outbreaks in hospitals, among the police and airline staff), but still fails to understand the key role widespread mask wearing can play in saving lives.

Fundamental to that is grasping the fact that masks can protect other people from you if you unknowingly have the virus. COVID-19 can spread through asymptomatic transmission: people with the virus don%u2019t show symptoms for 5 to 6 days, and fit, younger people with mild symptoms may not know they are sick or infectious. There is also evidence that masks can help by reducing the amount of virus taken in, since the immune system is more effective if infection starts with a low dose.


Face masks were the most consistently effective intervention for reducing the contraction and spread of SARS, according to research in a Cochrane Review. One study following community transmission of SARS in Beijing found that wearing a mask in public was associated with a 70% reduction in the risk of catching the virus. - 3 April

Is the coronavirus airborne? Experts can't agree

Health officials are considering in how small a droplets the virus can be transmitted. When they say there isn't sufficient evidence to say that SARS-CoV-2 is airborne, they specifically mean transported in virus-laden aerosols smaller than 5 micrometres in diameter. Compared with droplets, which are heftier and thought to travel only short distances after someone coughs or sneezes before falling to the floor or onto other surfaces, aerosols can linger in the air for longer and travel further. They suggest as a precaution, the general public should avoid crowds, and should also wear masks, "to reduce the risk of airborne virus exposure" - 2 April

Coronavirus survives on surfaces for days

Corona viruses can remain on surfaces for up to nine days at room temperature and remain infectious. Since there is no specific therapy against coronaviruses, the prevention of infections is important. Like all droplet infections, the virus spreads through the hands and surfaces that are touched frequently. - 7 February