WHO sends COVID-19 aid as India nears 400,000 daily cases

COVID-19 response team in India
COVID-19 response team in India

Ninian Reid / Flickr cc

While Europe reports its first significant decline in COVID-19 cases in 2 months, infections in India continue to rage as the world's case total approaches 150 million.

More resources to India

India's COVID-19 surge continues unabated, with 386,829 new cases and 3,501 deaths, according to World O Meter. The daily case number is the highest any country has ever recorded, and it marks the ninth day in a row the country has reported more than 300,000.

The crisis has galvanized organizations and government bodies into action: The World Health Organization (WHO) alone is sending 1.2 million reagents used for diagnostic testing, mobile field hospitals with up to 50 beds, 4,000 oxygen concentrators, and technical staff support, according to a news release yesterday.

Also yesterday, the White House said in a statement that it will deliver $100 million worth of supplies, including oxygen cylinders and concentrators, large-scale oxygen generation units (with trained personnel) that can support up to 20 patients each, 15 million N95 respirators, rapid diagnostic tests, and up to 20,000 treatment courses of the antiviral drug remdesivir.

The US government also confirmed it will send manufacturing supplies for the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine.

Because of the outbreak, the US State Department issued a level 4 travel advisory and told Americans not to travel to India or to leave as soon as safely possible, according to Bloomberg.

Europe cases declining

For the first time in 2 months, new COVID cases fell significantly last week in Europe, Hans Henri P. Kluge, MD, MPH, regional director for Europe, said in a WHO statement today. He adds that approximately 16% of the region's population has received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose, as well as 81% of healthcare workers in 28 countries.

Kluge adds, "We also need to be conscious of the fact that vaccines alone will not end the pandemic." Community engagement and information, surveillance, and contact tracing still remain important, he notes, and non-COVID immunizations must continue so other infectious diseases do not cause issues in the future.

Today Reuters reported that Germany's COVID-19 incidence is at its lowest in 2 weeks, with a 7-day average of 155 cases per 100,000 people. The federal government can implement curfews in areas where case incidence is more than 100 per 100,000 residents on 3 consecutive days.

The country vaccinated almost 1.1 million people on Wednesday, its highest daily total to date, health minister Jens Spahn tells Reuters.  

Brazil outbreak still stabilizing

Brazil's new COVID-19 cases increased 1.5% yesterday with 77,266, increasing the 7-day moving average from 56,523 to 57,287, according to World O Meter. Daily deaths remained stable, going from 3,120 on Apr 27 to 3,019 yesterday. The Johns Hopkins' dashboard records 79,726 new cases yesterday and 3,163 deaths.

The Wall Street Journal, however, reports that the P1 variant, which was first identified in Brazil, is beginning to dominate in neighboring countries. P1 is estimated to now cause 40% of infections in Lima, Peru, and 75% of new infections in Uruguay. Both countries have experienced COVID-19 spikes this past month.

COVID vaccine headlines

  • BioNTech says it should receive results from its infant vaccine trials by September, according to Reuters.

  • EndPoints News notes that Moderna will double capacity at its two contract manufacturers and increase drug substance manufacturing in the United States by 50%.

  • The IQVIA institute for Human Data Science projects that $157 billion will be spent on COVID-19 vaccines through 2025, reports Fierce Pharma.

Other global news

  • Taiwan has identified some domestic COVID-19 cases involving freighter airline pilots, says Reuters—a rarity for the country. Also in Asia, the Philippines announced strict measures for Manila through mid-May, CNN reports.

  • A European Union report said that Russian and Chinese media were trying to stir mistrust in Western COVID-19 vaccines.

  • The global today has reached 149,903,893 cases and 3,155,755 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.

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