The World Health Organization (WHO) is the only organization that the world is depending on, during this pandemic. With the following statements from WHO, it clears ambiguity to alleviate fears. The recent statement from WHO, however, explained that asymptomatic coronavirus transmission is not common.
Looking at the figures worldwide show, a significant number of people are tested positive for the deadly virus. However, it is assumed that not all of them pass on their infections majorly. However, although rare, it does not rule out the transmission of the virus before the development of symptoms.
Analysis of coronavirus transmission by WHO
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove is the head of emerging diseases at WHO. She also had a Q/A session on COVID-19 in March, posted on YouTube, and available here.
She has commented about the asymptomatic transmission saying that it is based on the evidence received. The countries executed comprehensive contact tracing, to give concrete evidence. She further made a clear distinction of 3 separate categories, while analyzing the coronavirus.
- Infected patients who have not experienced any symptoms (asymptomatic)
- Infected patients testing positive for the virus despite no prior experience of any symptoms. However, they have now begun developing them (pre-symptomatic)
- Infected patients who are experiencing very light or atypical symptoms. Hence, they are unaware that they have the coronavirus.
She explained that few reports differentiate between these categories, unlike others. In addition to the study of other small groups, the conclusions are difficult to come across. However, based on the cumulative evidence, Dr. Van Kerkhove confirmed the “insignificant” risk of asymptomatic transmission.
WHO recently explained the importance of face masks and the percentage of reduction in transmission. The statement suggested the above argument.
In England, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has continued to examine a unit of the population regularly. According to the reports, out of all infected coronavirus patients tested positive, 29% reported symptoms. This was during the testing, or prior to the testing with the inclusion of visits.
The contact tracing from several countries is the foundation for the collected evidence. Prof Babak Javid, an infectious diseases consultant at the Unversity of Cambridge explained the transmission. It suggests that asymptomatic transmission exits. However, it is rare. He continued that infection transmission usually happens after the development of symptoms. This could be the initial stage or when they are very mild.
Identifiable amounts of the virus can exist in patients approximately 3 days prior to the development of symptoms. At this stage, transmission can take place, especially during the first signs of first symptoms.
Asymptomatic people are further unaware of them being contagious. However, Prof Javid explained that pre-symptomatic people had to follow a few guidelines. This included tracking, tracing, and self-isolation rules.
Prof Liam Smeeth, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine also added to this matter. H explained that this reflects the importance of lockdown measures and how it has reduced the spread significantly.
Asymptomatic people could be capable of transmitting the virus. However, the possibility is extremely rare, suggests by the current evidence. Hence, it holds pre-symptomatic people at the highest risk.
A positive test does not determine the amount of virus in a person’s body. This is called the viral load. Furthermore, the method of contact can highly determine the likeliness of the infection. Hence, contact tracing is important for the determination of the transmission of the virus. Dr. Van Kerkhove pointed out the “injection droplets” that are the biggest threat in transmission. Furthermore, the most significant amount of infection droplets are passed on during coughing and sneezing. This consequently increases the rate of transmission.
Newsom Orders to Shut Bars in California due to COVID-19
Owing to the rapid increase in the number of coronavirus cases in California, Governor Newsom ordered in 7 counties to close all the bars and hangout spots.
This order includes bars, brewery clubs and pubs that serve alcoholic drinks without serving food at the same time. However, the ones with the food policy can stay open but they will have to follow stricter rules for dine-in. The government has asked them to focus more on the take out and patio services.
Counties to SHUT Bars
This order was issued on Sunday by governor’s state public health director, Dr. Sonia Angell. The seven counties where the bars shall remain closed are Los Angeles, Kern, Fresno, San Joaquin, Kings, Tulare and Imperial. The government has decided to implement strict policy on eight other counties with high number of COVID-19 cases.
Governor Newsom said in a statement that COVID-19 is still rapidly spreading in California. He said that it is crucial to follow this measure to reduce the spread of coronavirus with the highest number of cases. Los Angeles reported a total of 2,4542 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, which is the second largest number of Coronavirus cases for L.A.
The authorities said that they are closely monitoring the Coronavirus situation throughout the country. They are taking steps to decrease the increasing rates of transmission. Closing down the bars in these states can greatly decrease the transmission rate in these areas.
Increasing Number of Cases
This decision was taken after closely monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalization rates and what they describe as concerning patterns of transmission in those counties. State issued guidelines on 5th June regarding the reopening of bars. The bars came back in business on 18th of June just to last for less than a couple of weeks.
According to state health officials, bars are a risky place. People remove their masks frequently to have drinks. There is loud music due to which people usually speak louder than usual. This results in spreading more airborne particles. Moreover, almost all the customers are in close proximity with each other. Tracing back the cause of infection gets difficult.
Economy in DANGER
Owner of Elvie’s, Angie Sharma-Weisberger said they reopened Elvie’s on the first day they were permitted to. They installed plexiglass at the bars and tables and trained their staff on protocols to reduce the risk of spread of the virus between themselves and customers. However, despite all the efforts, their business is closing down. She said that the government must rething about such processes. They can’t keep shutting businesses on a moment’s notice.
Upon this, many other bar owners also came forward to support Angie. COVID-19 has brought much damage to people all across the world. It has damaged people in unimaginable ways. The virus forced people to shut down their businesses and accelerated unemployment. This might be the greatest wave of unemployment that the world has ever seen. People are not only fighting the COVID-19 virus; they are also fighting hunger.
California got alarmed when the number of cases reached 215,000 this Sunday. With Hospitalizations and infection rates, the government is bound to shut public places since the only sure way to escape Coronavirus is through Social Distancing.
FDA Approves Private Production of Medical Cannabis
The Food and Drug Administration just announced that it is preparing a bill to remove the 5-year ban from private production of medical cannabis in Thailand.
The last decade has seen several reforms in favor of legalization of cannabis. A number of U.S states have voted in the favor of the movement. However, the coronavirus crisis has halted several processes. World’s economy has crashed, and numerous corporations and businesses are being shut down.
This gave rise to a wave of cannabis legalization, particularly in the United States. The main idea was to improve revenue from the cannabis industry. However, no definitive results have been seen yet. Due to limited communication and movement, the sales have reduced, and hence, no effect has been seen on the economy so far.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that it is planning on removing the 5-year ban from private production of medicinal cannabis in Thailand. A draft of the bill is currently being prepared.
Further, two ministerial regulations drafts for marijuana and hemp, are also “inching ahead”, as the lockdown restrictions are easing down. The legislation would allow foreigners to get involved in companies as long as they hold less than one third of the shares.
Further, international travelers would also be able to apply for cannabis import and export licenses. This would allow for easy movement of cannabis medications in and out of the countries.
Currently, only state agencies, government related farmers and private universities have the license for export and import of cannabis. Non-state agencies are not eligible for the license.
The ban also exempts companies from applying for a license to grow cannabis or even manufacture its medicine. The ban was announced in February 2019 and was meant to last for 5 years, till February 2024.
Even though, the main idea behind the ban was to prevent people from exploiting the drug, it has led to shortages of several CBD medicines in the market. Patients who need CBD oil for their treatment have no access either.
FDA has announced to lift the ban. However, it is only applicable on the production of cannabis for herbal or Thai traditional medicine. The modern and advanced CBD pharmaceutical companies are still banned from the production.
The new law would allow companies to apply for a cannabis and hemp growing license directly. It will also allow them to industrially manufacture CBD oil. This can then be used for medicinal purposes. However, the license would only be granted if the products fall in herbal goods or traditional medicine category.
Imports of cannabis will remain restricted. Only seeds will be allowed to be imported from overseas to grow cannabis and hemp plants in the country. Foreign travelers will remain unaffected. They will be allowed to carry CBD oil after receiving a license.
Chinese Firm to Start Human Testing for a Coronavirus Vaccine
Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products’ of China has developed a potential vaccine for Coronavirus. The authorities of China have approved to start human testing for this vaccine variant.
This vaccine is co-developed by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical and the Institute of Microbiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The vaccine received a certificate from the National Medical Products Administration to launch clinical trials.
Vaccines in Trial Process in China
Six experimental shots in humans are in testing phase in China. Chinese Researchers and companies are trying different methods for developing a vaccine that can successfully kill the virus. More than a dozen vaccines are in different stages of clinical trials globally against the virus that has killed over 470,000 people.
Up till now, no vaccine has passed the large scale trials. Most of the vaccines are under late-stage phase 3 clinical trials. After these trials, they will be sent off to the consumer market. Successful vaccines are one of the hopes to keep the virus from spreading. Governments are approving many samples to start testing for a Coronavirus Vaccine.
The Spread of COVID-19
COVID-19 started from Wuhan, China. There are many theories about its spread and origin. However, nobody is quite sure. COVID-19 was initially an epidemic but soon it became a pandemic. With its spread all across the globe, governments had to enforce lockdowns. Lockdowns took a toll on the economies. Many people starved. Many are still starving.
More than 9 million people have been infected by the virus. There is no stopping to the spiral. Some countries like New Zealand, Australia have contained the virus. Many countries like Spain, Italy, France, England and Turkey are flattening their curves. However, many countries like Russia, India and the U.S. are still facing thousands of cases in a single day.
Due to severe circumstances, many attempts on developing vaccines are on the way. Many research laboratories are finding ways and means to recover patients. Much work on finding vaccines and treatments is going on.
One such treatment is Dexamethasone. Dexamethasone is cheap steroid. It can reduce the risk of death in patients on ventilators by one fifth and the risk of death of patients of supplemental oxygen supplies by one third. Dexamethasone is a success till now. Many people have recovered from the deadly disease owing to the efficiency of the drug. However, there is a strong chance that dexamethasone might soon run out of the markets.
Every pharmaceutical company is testing rigorously and trying to come up with a solution as fast as they can. It is expected that many vaccines will start running human trials in between July to September. With the filled up hospitals and zero available ventilators, people have to see their loved ones dying helplessly. The plasma treatment launched recently has helped many but it is not preventing the disease.
Vaccines are the world’s only shot at eliminating the deadly Coronavirus.
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