Cases confirmed worldwide by national authorities stand at 2,241,359 (81,153 of them reported in the preceding 24 hours). 152,551 deaths have been recorded (6463). (Source: WHO Situation Report 90; at 10:00 CET on Sunday 19 April)
Johns Hopkins University’s Center of Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) reported (at 10:00 AET on Monday 20 April) 2,404,325 confirmed cases and 165,238 deaths.
At 06:00 AET on Monday 20 April
Nationwide, confirmed cases stand at 6612, a rise of 26 in 24 hours. 70 deaths have been recorded. More than 424,000 tests have been conducted.
ACT 103 cases (first case reported 12 March); NSW 2963 (25 January); NT 27 (20 March); Qld 1019 (29 January); SA 435 (2 February); Tas 192 (2 March); Vic 1328 (25 January); WA 545 (21 February).
The hunt for COVID-19 treatments has spawned unprecedented speed in research, so an article considering the balance between scientific integrity and public confidence is timely.
The “Viewpoint” article, published in JAMA online, concludes that “the regulatory and research communities owe it to patients, families, and clinicians to quickly learn what treatments are effective”, that it’s “important to optimise treatments that already exist, including supportive critical care” and that most importantly “it is critical to protect the integrity of and resulting public trust in the scientific and regulatory agencies and their advice and decisions”.
Open-access publisher Frontiers has developed an AI tool to help funders identify specialists to peer-review proposals for emergency COVID-19 research.
The publisher’s in-house technology team has exploited the AI technology they use to review research articles when they are submitted to any one of its 79 scientific journals. The Coronavirus Reviewer Recommender suggests experts based on keywords or thorough semantic analysis of text.
Under normal circumstances, the review process for research funding typically takes place by committee and can take a matter of months. However, since the COVID-19 outbreak, experts have become less available, and the urgency of this situation commands a tighter timeframe.
A new study from a team at Oxford University, UK, suggests how demography can assist efforts to mitigate the death rate from COVID-19.
The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The research team calculated the expected number of deaths for various countries based on age distribution within the population, and assuming an infection prevalence of 10% and the age-specific mortality known in Italy as of 30 March 2020.
More than 23% of Italy’s population is over age 65, making it one of the oldest populations in the world. It had a high overall case fatality rate of 10.6%.
In their modelled scenario, the authors calculated more than 300,000 expected fatalities for Italy. In South Korea, where only 4.5% of cases have occurred in people age 80 years or older, expected fatalities were fewer than 180,000. The authors also considered Brazil and Nigeria, which have similar populations but different age distributions.
According to the study authors, results suggest that disease mitigation policies – such as social distancing – should consider both age distribution within the population and intergenerational social contacts.
Words have power, and this is one of those times when knowing what people mean is essential. Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty’s regular “Setting it Straight” online column this week tackles the business and arcane language of immunology.
How is the world going to organise and coordinate population-level testing for the coronavirus? It’s not going to be for want of effort from biotech entrepreneurs, big funders and various others.
Wondering what you can do to help frontline medical workers? The story of retired British army captain Tom Moore, a WWII veteran, has gone around the world but it’s worth repeating.
The 99-year-old – he turns 100 on 30 April – set out early this month to walk 100 lengths of his garden to raise £1000 for Britain’s National Health Service. The idea was he’d finish in time for his birthday, but he hit the 100-lengths goal on 16 April – by which time his fundraising total was off the scale and world news.
Currently the total Moore’s raised is north of £25 million and there’s talk of Spitfire flybys on his birthday and Downing Street-level recognition for his effort.
The big-and-getting-bigger question: how are you getting along with your lockdown buddies – family, lovers, housemates etc? If they’re getting on your nerves it’s a good idea to have a strategy.
Favourite recent long read: a New York Times article considering the year ahead in America. What will the next 12 months bring in your part of the world?
Ian Connellan is the editor of Cosmos magazine.
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