With about 3 million confirmed cases and over 200k total deaths so far, the coronavirus pandemic continues to haunt the globe with its fast pace growth day by day. The horrifying fact is that over one fourth of the total number of deaths worldwide have been reported in the United States, which has to date confirmed ~960k cases and over 54k deaths.
Although one cannot neglect the devastating effects of pandemic worldwide, the way in which the entire globe is dealing with the crisis unitedly is certainly commendable. Besides, the progress being made by companies across the world to develop a vaccine against the disease is extraordinary and way faster than any other previous efforts.
The WHO database suggests that out of 83 companies racing against the time to develop a vaccine, six have already advanced to clinical evaluation stage or human trials in just three and a half months since COVID-19 emergence, marking an unprecedented progress.
World Leaders Join Hands to Accelerate Work on Coronavirus Treatments
In a considerable development, world leaders have recently pledged to speed up work on the development of vaccines, drugs and tests against COVID-19 and share them across the globe.
Led by the WHO, a long list of countries, non-governmental organisations and industry groups committed to collaborate towards accelerating the production, development and equitable global access to latest COVID-19 essential health technologies in the global initiative “Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator”.
The aim of this landmark collaboration is not only to expedite the development of new COVID-19 tools, but also to ensure equal access to treatments for both rich and poor.
The initiative has been launched considering the importance of innovative COVID-19 therapeutics, diagnostics and vaccines, in addition to public health measures - at record access and scale and in record time – to save countless trillions of dollars and millions of lives – and to return the world to a view of ‘normalcy’.
The WHO officials stressed on an urgent need to advance the strengthening of viable health systems and capacities to facilitate the delivery of new COVID-19 tools to those who need them and to alleviate the ripple effect on other diseases.
On the one hand, the latest initiative by the WHO spurred a feeling of optimism in people across the globe; while on the other hand, the US President’s comment on disinfectants caused widespread confusion.
Ongoing Discussion on Use of Disinfectants Against COVID-19
The US President Donald Trump’s latest comments in relation to the use of disinfectants for coronavirus treatment has been widely grabbing media attention for the last few days.
In a press briefing on 23rd April 2020, Mr Trump mused about injecting disinfectant into the patient’s body to kill COVID-19, which he later clarified being a sarcastic question to media reporters.
Several disinfectant companies were quick to respond to this discussion, issuing a warning that under no circumstance, individuals should ingest or inject disinfectants into their body.
The Company behind Lysol and Dettol brands, Reckitt Benckiser, urged people to not attempt the consumption of their products. Besides, a number of doctors also took to social media, warning people against using or ingesting disinfectants as a treatment, calling them poisonous and hazardous.
Is Australia Becoming a Poster Child for Pandemic Management?
In a scheme of measures taken across the globe to contain the spread of COVID-19, market experts are viewing Australia becoming a poster child for management of the pandemic. The nation continues to flatten the curve, recording zero fresh coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours in four Australian states.
The nation did not report even a single new coronavirus case in the Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia in the last 24 hours, attaining a significant milestone. Besides, two states – Western Australia and Queensland - eased some lockdown restrictions on the back of success in flattening the coronavirus curve.
Additionally, the Australian PM, Mr Scott Morrison also offered a glimpse of hope last week, raising anticipations of roll back of baseline lockdown restrictions in coming three to four weeks amid good progress in controlling the spread of disease.
However, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Australia, Dr Brendan Murphy, urged people to re-think on the way they interact with each other as lockdown restrictions ease. He highlighted the importance of following social distancing measures until the pandemic is completely eliminated.
Significantly, Australia’s CMO has indicated over the commencement of COVID-19 testing in asymptomatic people nationwide as the chances of lockdown restrictions increase. This will be the first time the nation will go for testing of asymptomatic people to capture coronavirus cases. Aged care and healthcare workers will be prioritised for asymptomatic testing, informed CMO.
The announcement of the expansion of testing regime has coincided with the launch of the Morrison government’s latest COVIDSafe app, which has been downloaded by over a million Australians within hours of its release.
Undoubtedly, Australia is coping comparatively well with the pandemic, with just over 6,700 confirmed cases and 83 deaths in the nation against significantly high numbers in advanced economies. What’s more praiseworthy is Australia’s suppression approach, which has turned out to be more effective in flattening the curve than other economies despite more lenient restrictions in place. With some states already lifting the ban on restrictions, how soon the nation will completely win the battle against COVID-19 would be an interesting watch.