The COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing an ever spreading. Everyday we are bombarded with increasingly overwhelming amounts of information about the virus. To stay informed and up to date, we take in as much as we can.

At times it gets tough and an information overload feels imminent. Yet, it remains imperative that we stay updated.

Coronavirus was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. Since then, much has happened. The virus has travelled to more than 200 countries across the world, and was characterised as a pandemic on March 11, 2020, by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Here are some other important things you should know:

1. According to the Pharmaceutical Journal, there were 7 145 593 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally reported, on June 10. The reported death toll resulting from the virus was 408 025, on the same day.

2. India has removed the ban on hydroxychloroquine, according to the World Economic Forum. This drug is commonly used against malaria, however, it has recently been used as a prophylactic against COVID-19. On May 25, the WHO halted trials of the drug as a treatment for coronavirus. Research into its effectiveness is still ongoing.

3. The WHO, in a media briefing on June 10, said it is too early to know if COVID-19 will follow seasonal cycles, the way the influenza virus does.

“It’s too early to say whether COVID-19 might follow similar seasonal cycles as the influenza virus,” said Dr Michael Ryan, in response to a question from Brazil about the arrival of winter.

He said that they currently are unsure of how the virus will behave, and there is insufficient data to predict whether the virus will be more aggressive. “We have no indications as to how the disease will behave in the future,” he explained.

4. Global food systems are taking strain as a result of the health crisis. Experts and world leaders will address this at the UN Food Systems Summit 2021. The summit will tackle issues including the redesigning of supply chains and reduction of diet related diseases which ultimately cause a heightened risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

5. As of June 11, South Africa as  58 568 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The total coronavirus deaths in the country was reported to be 1 284, and the recoveries were at 33 252. The recovery rate is 56.8%. The Western Cape is the epicentre of the virus in the country, as its cases (37 422) far surpass other provinces.

6. According to Business Tech, The National Health Services (NHLS) is working on reducing South Africa’s COVID-19 testing backlog. The process, however, has been slowed by international shortages, according to Dr Kamy Chetty, chief executive officer.

Chetty revealed to Parliament that the backlog stood at 63 000 unprocessed specimens. The NHLS, however, is making progress on this matter.

7. According to The South African Paediatric Association (SAPA), children who have no underlying health conditions are less likely to be seriously affected by COVID-19. “Children biologically contain SARS-CoV-2 better than adults, are less likely to get sick if infected, have milder disease, are unlikely to die from COVID-19, and are probably less infectious than adults,” they said in a statement about the return to school.

SAPA said children account for 1-3% of reported COVID-19 cases across countries, adding that children and young people “have lower susceptibility to SARS-Cov-2, with a 56% lower odds of being an infected contact”. Children also account for less than 1% of severe cases and deaths and are more likely to have an asymptomatic infection than adults are.

8. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults and any person with a serious underlying medical condition are more likely to be severely affected by COVID-19.

The CDC said those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 include: people 65 and older, people with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, those with heart conditions, severe diabetes, obesity, liver disease, and the immunocompromised (such as smokers, people who are HIV-positive, those undergoing cancer treatment, and people with immune deficiencies).

The Western Cape Health Department further explained that older adults and those with underlying health conditions are more at risk of being seriously ill.

“The majority of people who contract COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms and will be able to isolate and recover at home. However, those who are over the age of 55 or with underlying health conditions are most at risk of becoming seriously ill. This is why our health response must place a special focus on these groups, and why our testing strategy must align with this risk,” they said in a statement.

 

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