From the plague to MERS: A brief history of pandemics On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new coronavirus - which was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year - a pandemic. As of May 31, there were more than 6.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, while the number of registered deaths worldwide stood at nearly 371,000. To date, there is no vaccine or known treatment for the new coronavirus, officially known as SARS-CoV-2. Some of the most basic defences against it include frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water, physical distancing and self-isolation. These recommendations have also been the prescribed measures to contain the spread of other highly contagious diseases in the past.
How Germany got coronavirus right This April, Walther Leonhard got an unusual call from the authorities in Rosenheim, his hometown in southern Germany. He was being given a new job, in a new field, with a title that had just been invented, “containment scout”. Leonhard, 33, who had been working as a court officer in Munich, was soon back home and hitting the phones. He was the latest recruit into Germany’s army of Kontaktmanagers (tracers) — the foot soldiers of its strategy for containing coronavirus. Leonhard’s job is to call people who have tested positive — and all those they have recently come into contact with — to tell them to self-isolate for a fortnight.
The COVID Tracking Project Weekly COVID-19 Data Update, June 25: The US Pandemic Is Surging in the South and West The United States hit a record high for new COVID-19 cases this week. In many areas with rising case counts, testing isn’t keeping up. The way we live now - Covid-19 is here to stay. People will have to adapt Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub IT IS ASTONISHING how rapidly the pandemic has spread, despite all the efforts to stop it. On February 1st, the day covid-19 first appeared on our front cover, the World Health Organisation counted 2,115 new cases. On June 28th its daily tally reached 190,000.
'Why wait for it?' How to predict a pandemic How do you predict where a deadly tropical disease such as Ebola, possibly the most virulent in the world, will appear next? Since it first emerged in a small town on the edge of a Congolese forest, it has broken out in seven other African countries, often thousands of miles apart. Sometimes it has spilled out of remote rainforest and then disappeared for years. Other times it has turned up in cities, baffling world bodies and governments that can only try to respond as fast as possible. But actually, given good data, the notoriously unpredictable zoonotic – or animal-borne – disease, which is passed to humans via primates and probably bats, may actually be quite predictable, believes David Redding, a researcher at the ZSL Institute of Zoology in London.
Getting Wise to Fake News The MediaWise for Seniors program will offer two free online courses, funded in large part by, well, Facebook. The first four-week course has already filled up, but students can still enroll in a self-directed course on separating online fact from fiction. Hosted by Christiane Amanpour and Joan Lunden, it is scheduled to begin Oct. 1. “By the end, they’ll be using the techniques used by fact-checkers across the world,” including reverse image searches to determine the sources of photos and videos, said Alex Mahadevan, senior multimedia reporter at Poynter. In addition, Poynter has worked with AARP to produce Fact Tracker interactive videos on spotting and filtering misinformation. The Architect: Paris on Steam The Architect: Paris (TA:P) is a construction game.Turn the capital of France into a medieval looking city or a futuristic one, build a business district surrounded by parks, create gigantic plazas worthy of the greatest soviet cities, imagine neighborhoods where historical architecture blends in with the most modern designs… Draw your own buildings with an accuracy never seen before. The powerful brick-to-building system developed by Enodo Games will give you complete control over your projects.Destroy. Draw. Build. And then, start over as many times as you wish.Lastly, admire your work, choosing weather and lighting conditions that highlight your new city. Share your creations with players around the world through videos and pictures.City ViewFirst and foremost, enjoy the view!
'A huge loss': tributes to victims of the UK's Covid second wave In the first wave of the Covid pandemic in the UK, from March to early September, there were 41,574 deaths, according to government figures. As we move through the second wave and the number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive Covid test approaches 60,000, we pay tribute to some of the more recent victims. Share your tributes and memories of lives lost during the second wave Fehzan Jamil, 10
The Swiss Cheese Model of Pandemic Defense A. Distance is the most effective intervention; the virus doesn’t have legs, so if you are physically distant from people, you avoid direct contact and droplets. Then you have to consider inside spaces, which are especially in play during winter or in hotter countries during summer: the bus, the gym, the office, the bar or the restaurant. That’s because we know SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious in aerosols (small floaty droplets) and we know that aerosol spread explains Covid-19 superspreading events. 3C epiphany - The Japanese authorities understood covid-19 better than most WHEN THE Diamond Princess, a cruise ship suffering from an outbreak of covid-19, arrived in Japan in February, it seemed like a stroke of bad luck. A small floating petri dish threatened to turn the Japanese archipelago into a big one. In retrospect, however, the early exposure taught the authorities lessons that have helped make Japan’s epidemic the mildest among the world’s big economies, despite a recent surge in infections. In total 2,487 people have died of the coronavirus in Japan, just over half the number in China and fewer people than on a single day in America several times over the past week. Japan has suffered just 18 deaths per million people, a higher rate than in China, but by far the lowest in the G7, a club of big, industrialised democracies.
This Is When the Fever Breaks Donald Trump came in the wake of that. And then, this week, Josh Hawley. As of Wednesday morning, Hawley was the model of what a Republican senator was going to look like in the post-Trump era. He cannily understood what the party faithful wanted. Publicity stunts. Owning the libs. 'Vaccine nationalism' echoes the disastrous mistakes made with HIV Though HIV and Sars-CoV-2 are very different viruses, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted striking parallels: governments being too slow to respond; a marked impact on minority communities and a failure to understand why; a governmental response which has veered into overpolicing and victim-blaming, rather than taking every conceivable measure to help people stay safe and healthy. I watch with growing consternation as the world repeats the mistakes of the early response to HIV. Stories of vaccine nationalism fill the headlines, while Boris Johnson celebrates the UK having vaccinated more people than the rest of Europe combined. By the middle of January, just 25 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered across all poor countries in the world, compared with 39m in wealthier ones. In the mid-1990s, effective treatment for HIV, antiretroviral therapy (ART), was discovered and the trajectory of the pandemic was transformed in ways predictable and entirely unpredictable.
Variants v. Vaccines - Tomas Pueyo German translation 2021 promised to save us. The vaccines were finally here. It was a matter of time. Then B117 arrived, exploded in England, collapsed its healthcare system, and spread across the world. Each country is now in a race between new variants—the English one, the South African one, and the Brazilian one—and mass vaccinations to stop them.