Expert

CNBC: WHO walks back comments on asymptomatic coronavirus spread, says much is still unknown

The World Health Organization walked back comments made Monday when one of its top scientists said transmission of the coronavirus by people who never developed symptoms is “very rare,” which drew skepticism from physicians and others across social media. 

That admission sent shock waves throughout the world, much of which has been locked down for months for fear of spreading the virus by people who show no signs of illness. 

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said Tuesday that asymptomatic spread is a “really complex question” and much is still unknown. “We don’t actually have that answer yet,” she said.

“I was responding to a question at the press conference. I wasn’t stating a policy of WHO or anything like that. I was just trying to articulate what we know,” she said on a live Q&A streamed across multiple social media platforms. “And in that, I used the phrase ‘very rare,’ and I think that that’s misunderstanding to state that asymptomatic transmission globally is very rare. I was referring to a small subset of studies.”

BBC News: Coronavirus: Widen rules on where face coverings must be used, say UK doctors

Doctors have urged the government to make face coverings compulsory in all places where social distancing is not possible, not just on public transport.

All passengers on public transport in England must wear a covering from 15 June, the government said on Thursday.

But the British Medical Association, the doctors’ union, said masks “should not be restricted” to transport.

It also said the risk from coronavirus would be “much less” if the rule started now, not later in the month.

Face coverings – which can be homemade – must be worn on buses, trams, trains, coaches, aircraft and ferries.

Passengers will not be allowed to travel without one, and if they do not wear one they could be fined.

Very young children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties will be exempt.

Mirror: Scientist behind UK coronavirus vaccine trial warns it has only 50% chance of success

A UK coronavirus vaccine trial now only has a 50% chance of success, a leading scientist has warned.

Professor Adrian Hill, whose team at Oxford University are racing to develop a jab, had originally hoped their efforts would be proved successful by September.

But the researchers have suffered a setback because as coronavirus infections plummet in the UK, they cannot be sure their inoculation works, the Telegraph reports.

The Telegraph: Lockdown saved no lives and may have cost them, Nobel Prize winner believes

Lockdown caused more deaths than it saved, a Nobel laureate scientist said on Saturday, as he predicted the UK would emerge from Covid-19 within weeks.

Michael Levitt, a Stanford University professor who correctly predicted the initial trajectory of the pandemic, sent messages to Professor Neil Ferguson in March telling the influential government advisor he had over-estimated the potential death toll by “10 or 12 times”.

 

Mercola: Fast-Tracked COVID-19 Vaccine — What Could Go Wrong?

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • The COVID-19 vaccine may in fact be the most fast-tracked vaccine ever created in all history, which necessitates the elimination of required safety testing steps, such as animal testing
  • Pfizer in collaboration with BioNTech began human trials in the U.S. of a COVID-19 vaccine on May 11, 2020. If successful, the vaccine could be released as early as September 2020 with an FDA-approved Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)
  • Like Moderna and several other competitors, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is using messenger RNA (mRNA) rather than live or attenuated (inactivated) viruses grown in animal cells
  • Previous attempts to create coronavirus vaccines have failed due to coronaviruses triggering production of two different types of antibodies — one that fights disease and one that triggers “paradoxical immune enhancement” that often results in very serious disease and/or death
  • Vaccines that caused paradoxical immune enhancement initially looked very promising as they produced very robust antibody responses. Yet when exposed to the wild virus, ferrets and children became severely ill and many died

The Washington Times: 500 doctors tell Trump to end the coronavirus shutdown, say it will cause more deaths

Hundreds of doctors wrote a letter to President Trump this week asking him to end the coronavirus shutdown, saying it is a “mass casualty incident” spurring deaths from other factors such as substance abuse and suicides.

The letter, shared online, estimates about 150,000 Americans each month that the shutdown remains in place would have had new cancer detected, millions more are missing dental exams that could discover problems linked to heart disease, while others are experiencing domestic violence like child abuse.

Dr Malcolm Kedrick: The Mad Modellers of Lockdown

It appears we went into lockdown based on the modelling of one man – and his team. Neil Ferguson from Imperial College London. His workings predicted that, if nothing were done to prevent the spread of COVID, half a million people would die in the UK.

His prediction shaped the response of many countries around the world, definitely in the UK and the US. So, where did this half a million-figure come from? On a related note, the two million figure for the US is something which makes no sense at all.

This is because the US has five times the population of the UK. Thus, everything else being equal, in the US number should be two point five million. Even I can multiply 500,000 by five.

Getting back to Ferguson, and his model. So far, he has refused to release the data underpinning his model. Which, considering the impact it has had, is completely unacceptable. I think I would have given him a Chinese burn, at the very least, to get him to show me how he worked things out.

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BBC News: Fauci warns Senate of ‘serious consequences’

The top US infectious diseases doctor has warned senators that the coronavirus will spread further if the country opens up too soon.

Dr Anthony Fauci said if federal guidelines to reopen were not followed, “little spikes” would become outbreaks.

He also said the real US death toll is probably higher than the official figure of 80,000.

His message is at odds with the upbeat tone of President Donald Trump who is keen to get the economy going again.

Dr Fauci was speaking via video to a Republican-led committee of the US Senate.

He was referring to the White House’s Opening Up America Again plan, which includes three 14-day phases that states are urged to consider implementing as they allow schools and businesses to reopen.

Some Doctors Pull Back on Using Ventilators to Treat Covid-19

It is another medical mystery of the coronavirus pandemic: Large numbers of Covid-19 patients arrive at hospitals with blood-oxygen levels so low they should be unconscious or on the verge of organ failure. Instead they are awake, talking—not struggling to breathe.

Although nobody is quite sure what about the coronavirus causes these patients to react this way, they are rapidly changing how many doctors are treating the disease. Instead of rushing to put such patients on mechanical ventilators.