- Rising COVID-19 cases in different parts of the world are hindering the governments' plans to revive their economies.
- In the first wave of the crisis, United States suffered the largest outbreak in the world. Now, as colder weather is descending, there is a spike in cases, hospitalisations and deaths.
- Top US Virus Expert Dr Anthony Fauci has already warned about the difficult time ahead for the US in autumn and winter.
- Similar to the US, United Kingdom is also reporting an exponential rise in the number of hospitalisations and deaths. The experts have warned against a difficult time for the national health system.
- The vaccine trial by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford has resumed in the US. J&J is also planning to continue recruitment for its parallel trial.
The COVID-19 crisis threw the whole world into a dilemma of lives and livelihoods. The global virus crisis has engulfed almost the entire year, and till now, there is no effective treatment available to tackle the situation.
The measures one can follow to keep the virus at bay are still the same- follow social distancing, strict hygiene, and self-isolation in case of any symptoms associated with coronavirus or after coming in contact with a coronavirus patient.
As the governments are looking for ways to revive the economies, it seems growing cases worldwide are paralysing all the efforts to bounce back.
US Reports Increasing Cases Amid Election Environment
Ironically, in the GHS Index Map, which evaluates countries' health security and capabilities across six divisions, 34 indicators and 85 sub-indicators, the US and the UK accounted for the leading positions. However, when the real crisis arrived, these countries topped the list for the worst handling of the coronavirus situation.
According to data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, total cases in the US stood at 8,617,022 with 63,195 new cases by 26 October 2020. The cases reported in the last seven days were noted at 488,498. Total deaths stood at 224,601 with more than 380 new deaths.
US enters the second phase of the crisis - With the US presidential election campaign in its final stage, and President Donald Trump having recovered from the deadly virus, the superpower is witnessing a spike in cases across states. Consequently, few governors are expected to roll out new restrictions in the affected parts.
As colder weather descends, spread of the novel coronavirus is also accelerating in nearly every region of the US with a rise in cases, hospitalisations and deaths.
The possible reasons for the rise in cases - Change in the season could be one of the reasons, as viruses tend to survive more easily in cold conditions. Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the NIAID, has recently stated that fall and winter could be challenging for the United States. He added that the country needs to plan to "hunker down" through the autumn and winter.
Another reason could be that nearly 56 million school-aged children (aged 5–17 years) resumed education in the United States in fall 2020. Children aged less than 10 years can transmit SARS-CoV-2 in school settings. Schools and communities need to layer prevention strategies to decrease the risk for students.
With the rising cases, everyone needs to take extra precautions. Effective leadership is also the need of the hour whereas President Donald Trump’s handling of the disease, even when he caught the virus, has been controversial.
In the backdrop of the rising pandemic crisis in the US, all eyes are on the 3 November 2020 elections.
Relentless COVID-19 Crisis Tightens Grip on the UK Once Again
Similar to the US, United Kingdom is also witnessing a spike in the cases. The pandemic reached the UK in late-January 2020. Once it started to spread in every region, the country entered a three-month-long lockdown from 23 March 2020 to curb the virus. Still, it could not control the rising numbers, hospitalisations and deaths.
If we look at the UK government data last updated on 26 October 2020, number of the patients in hospitals stood at 7,850, patients in ventilator beds numbered 743, and total patients admitted were 159,515. Deaths within 28 days of positive test totalled 44,998.
Situation in the UK is as grim as the US. The rise in cases is reflecting as spike in hospital admissions. Health specialists have warned MPs that without further measures, the tiered COVID-19 strategy is likely to result in spike in new infections. They have also pointed that at this stage or soon, the national health system would be under strain with increasing cases and hospitalisations.
Vaccine Trials Speed Up After Multiple Halts
A vaccine for COVID-19 is most awaited across the world to revive economies and save lives. Typically, it takes years to develop a vaccination, but this time, the efforts for developing an effective vaccine are underway at a high speed.
Image Source: © Kalkine Group 2020
However, recently the collective endeavours to develop vaccine received a significant setback, as multiple vaccine trials hit roadblocks. To know more, do read: COVID Vaccine Update: Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca Vaccines Hit Roadblock, WHO Flags Remdesivir
The good news is that the clinical trials for experimental COVID-19 vaccines have got back on track in the US. The vaccine trial by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford has resumed after the go-ahead signal from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson has also confirmed plans to resume recruitment for its late-stage trial.
The exponential rise in the spread of the virus has called for urgent new restrictions on daily life in several countries. As hospitals and intensive care units are operating close to or more than their capacity, the world awaits with bated breath for a breakthrough and efforts continue towards finding a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
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