Covid-19 🦠 Newsbites
Countries should meet these five criteria before easing lockdowns, study says. Many aren't even close
Countries should not ease lockdown restrictions until they meet five criteria -- and many nations are not even close, according to a new study in The Lancet.

The research said that the prerequisites for easing Covid-19 measures are:
  1. Knowledge of infection status
  2. Community engagement
  3. Adequate public health capacity
  4. Adequate health system capacity
  5. Border controls

Europe's worried about a second wave, but the US is still in the first, Fauci says
The US remains in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic since cases never declined significantly to a “good baseline,” according to America’s leading infectious disease expert.

The idea of a second wave is based on the pattern seen during the 1918 pandemic, when cases were seen in the spring and then cases "literally disappeared" before there was an "explosion" of cases in the fall, Dr. Anthony Fauci said. "Rather than say ‘a second wave,' why don't we say ‘are we prepared for the challenge of the fall and the winter?'

Britain sees highest case count since the start of the pandemic
The United Kingdom has recorded 6,634 new cases in the past 24 hours -- the highest daily increase since the start of the pandemic, Public Health England tweeted on Thursday.

New restrictions aimed at controlling a second wave of coronavirus cases in England took effect the same day, including mandatory table service at pubs and a 10:00 p.m. closing time. Those may not sound like major changes, but for struggling pubs it could be the final nail in the coffin.

Helsinki Airport deploys sniffer dogs to detect Covid-19
A group of sniffer dogs trained to detect Covid-19 have begun working at Helsinki Airport in Finland in an effort to identify those who have contracted the virus.

...The process involves those being tested swiping their skin with a test wipe and dropping it into a cup, which is then given to the dog that sniffs it. The dog and its handler are held in a separate booth during the test. If the test result is positive, the individual will be directed to a health information point inside the airport.

...The dogs can smell the virus with almost 100% certainty and can identify the virus days before the symptoms have started, the airport said, citing preliminary tests conducted by a research group at the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Helsinki.

Twenty thousand flags placed on National Mall to memorialize Covid-19 deaths in the US
The installation, called a Covid Memorial Project, was organized by a group of friends in the Washington DC area who raised money online. They then gathered volunteers to place the flags on the mall on Tuesday.

Each of the 20,000 flags represents 10 American lives that have been lost to the virus this year, according to the group's GoFundMe page.

"This extreme loss of life is staggering -- but was not inevitable: the President's poor handling of the virus response has led to tens of thousands of excess deaths," organizers wrote on the fundraising site.

"And this administration has done nothing to memorialize this stunning number of lives lost -- instead choosing to downplay, minimize, and ignore whenever possible. No flags lowered, no service held, no day of mourning declared -- so the COVID Memorial Project seeks to simply say: these lives are more than a statistic -- they were family, friends, neighbors."

... The flags remained in place until Wednesday evening, according to the memorial organizers.

Trump's decision to withdraw from WHO will hurt the US, director-general says
“Withdrawing from WHO actually hurts the US, because being part of WHO is not just to help those who need support,” said Tedros. “The US also benefits from being a member of WHO.”

Tedros told Time that when he first heard that the United States was withdrawing from WHO, he didn’t believe it. He said he had a “very cordial” conversation with US President Donald Trump on March 23, in which there was no hint that the US was planning a withdrawal.

“Even now, I believe that the US administration doesn't have any good reason to withdraw from WHO,” said Tedros. “And that’s my strong position. No good reason.”

...“I don't see the membership or the relationship with the US as a financial transaction. ”It's not the money which matters. It's actually the global leadership of the US, Tedros said.

He noted that when battling the coronavirus pandemic, nations are stronger together.

“One of the impacts which may be visible is, you know, the global solidarity is weak. Major global powers are not working together,” Tedros said.

Parents say 28-year-old doctor who died after coronavirus battle spent her life helping people
Dr. Adeline Fagan's goal in life was to help people, her parents said.

It began when she was little -- an early talker who was an inquisitive people person. It carried on to when she was a 5-year-old, running around with a toy stethoscope around her neck.

It motivated the second-year OB-GYN resident to go into medicine and, later, to get onto the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic in Houston, her parents Mary Jane and Brant Fagan told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday.

Adeline Fagan, 28, was doing a rotation two months ago treating coronavirus patients in the emergency room when she developed an infection that ended last week with her death, now among more than 200,000 lives lost in the US to the pandemic. As her parents mourn her, they remember a woman who spent her life dedicated to helping others.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife test positive for coronavirus as health officials warn against Trump's scheduled campaign rally
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife, Pamela, have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to his office.
  • This news comes just hours before President Donald Trump plans to host a campaign rally with some 4,000 attendees at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport.
  • State health officials have warned that the highly contagious coronavirus could spread easily at such an event, with one calling it "a concerning public health risk."

Seasonal flu vaccines are safe, needed during Covid-19 pandemic
Instagram posts and a video shared on Facebook claim that the influenza vaccine Fluzone is more deadly than Covid-19. This is false; the posts have misinterpreted data on the immunization, and the Public Health Agency of Canada said flu vaccines are a safe, important means of preventing illness and avoiding additional burdens being placed on the health care system during the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump Misleads on Reasons for Falling COVID-19 Fatality Rate
For nearly two months, President Donald Trump has touted an 85% decline in the nation’s COVID-19 case fatality rate since April — and has attributed the drop to improvements in treatment. But better treatment is only part of the story.

Experts say part, if not most, of the decline can be explained by expanded testing and a shift toward younger people — rather than higher-risk older folks — catching the coronavirus.

Since the end of July, Trump has wielded the impressive-sounding statistic in press briefings and rallies, playing up the effectiveness of existing therapies and claiming credit for those discoveries.

Two Charged in Coronavirus Outbreak at Veterans’ Home That Left 76 Dead
Two former leaders of a Massachusetts veterans’ home were indicted on charges of criminal neglect in connection to a coronavirus outbreak that contributed to the deaths of at least 76 residents, the state’s attorney general said on Friday.

“We believe this is the first criminal case in the country brought against those involved in nursing homes during the Covid-19 pandemic,” the state attorney general, Maura Healey, said at a news conference Friday. The men face felony charges and if convicted they could face years or even decades in prison, she added.

“We allege that the actions of these defendants during the Covid-19 outbreak at the facility put veterans at higher risk of infection and death and warrant criminal charges,” she said in a statement.

Each man was indicted on five counts for two charges; the specific charges were for caretakers who “wantonly or recklessly” permit or cause bodily injury and abuse, neglect or mistreatment of an older or disabled person. The criminal neglect charge carries a term of up to three years, and the serious bodily injury charge carries a sentence of up to 10 years for each count, Ms. Healey said.