COVID-19 -Media, Maps, Videos, Timelines, CDC/WHO Resources, etc. ***NO DISCUSSION***

Discussion in 'Coronavirus - Covid-19' started by margarita25, Feb 17, 2020.

  1. margarita25

    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    Apr 15 / WHO / source

    “Helen Braswell: (40:22)
    I was hoping maybe Maria or Mike could give us some information about serology testing. I know that a number of countries have been starting to do this work. Is there any picture yet of how good the serology tests are, how reliable they are, and what is being seen in the testing that has been done to date?

    So, hi Helen. Yeah, I will start with this and perhaps Mike would like to add. So yes, we are working with a number of countries across the globe on looking at the use of serologic testing for COVID-19. So as you know there are a large number of rapid tests that are available now commercially to purchase and we’re working with FIND and we’re working with labs that have experienced with coronaviruses to look at validation of those with well-characterized Sera. It’s important for us to be able to evaluate how these actually work with clinical samples. So, that is a process that is ongoing.

    There are a number of countries right now that are conducting serologic studies, which are looking either at stored samples that were collected throughout this pandemic for other clinical reasons, blood bank, blood donations, or are doing these studies prospectively. Today we had a teleconference with 160 groups, 160 people, who are working with us on our early investigations, which we’re calling the unity studies now. These are early epidemiologic investigations that focus on cases and contacts, that focus on healthcare workers, that’s a separate protocol, a separate protocol for household transmission, and a fourth protocol looking at age, population based sera surveys.

    We had a call with them today to see where they are. We have more than 40 countries who are utilizing these core protocols in their own countries, and we’re starting to see some results from some of them from the molecular testing, not yet from the serology. And they’re asking us what are the tests that we can use. So we’re working very hard to validate those tests so that we can be able to say here are four or five serologic assays that could be used so that we can have a better readout on how they actually work.

    In addition to that, we have another serologic solidarity study. It’s called the solidarity two study, which is working to estimate global sera prevalence and the first thing that this study is doing, it’s called solidarity two. It’s working on pulling together a serum panel, a standardized serum panel, across the globe so that they could standardize assays and that they can use one protocol to estimate global sera prevalence. That is a process that is ongoing and we’re hoping that we will get some results from that in the coming months.

    Having said that, there are some serologic studies that we’re now starting to see being published. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen full papers of these using full methodology. I’ve seen a study from Denmark, I’ve seen a study from Germany suggesting around at 3.5 to 14% sera prevalence. We need to really understand the methods that were used, the assays that were used in terms of their sensitivity and specificity before we can have a good understanding of what this actually means. But of course these numbers are lower, the sera prevalence in these two studies which is not representative globally are lower than I think what many people were expecting. Certainly lower than what some of the models had predicted.

    But we’re working with our partners to understand what all of this means in terms of our understanding of the epidemic waves that may happen with this pandemic virus.

    Mike?

    Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (43:59)
    And just to add Helen, and Maria is there really speaking where sera epidemiologic studies, where the testing is done and validated labs as well. Where the testing is benched on in labs. There is a whole other world of rapid diagnostic test or point of care diagnostics and people are talking very much about can we do the diagnosis at the bedside, either a PCR based or there are new diagnostic tests based on antigen detection. And what they do is they detect the proteins of the virus in the sample. Or rapid diagnostic test based on the antibody that’s developed by the body in response to the virus. And there’s a lot of very important innovation going on in that space, but there are real…

    We need to be very, very careful antigen tests the sensitivity of those tests can be low. In other words, they may pick up anything from 30 to 80% of true infections. In other words, you can have people who get a negative test who actually have had the infection. The same with some of the antibody tests.

    The important consideration with antibody tests is that many people take up to two weeks or more to develop the antibodies in response to having the infection, so they could actually turn out to be negative on the antibody test but actually have had the infection.

    Now, none of those are barriers to introducing these products as part of a comprehensive strategy, but we do need to be careful to ensure that introducing rapid test is done as part of a comprehensive diagnostic strategy, a comprehensive testing strategy, and where governments can have validated tests that they introduce into the system in a way that adds to the control of the virus, that adds to surveillance, that adds to diagnosis and doesn’t cause unnecessary confusion. And many governments around the world are doing that just now.”
     
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  2. margarita25

    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    April 15 WHO Conference / Source

    “Antonio: (46:01)
    Yes. Thank you for taking my question. So the main accusations of the U.S. President to WHO are that the organization failed to confirm in the first weeks of January, that there was human to human transmission and also that it opposed flight restrictions from China to U.S. and other countries. What has WHO to say in its defense?

    Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (46:39)
    As the DG said, we will be examining all of the actions taken by everybody on this. So in that sense, the idea of having a defense at this point seems rather strange. In the first weeks of January WHO was very, very clear, we alerted the world in January the 5th. Systems around the world, including the U.S. began to activate their incident management systems on January the 6th. And through the next number of weeks, we’ve produced multiple updates to countries, including briefing multiple governments, multiple scientists around the world on the developing situation. And that is what it was, a developing situation.

    Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (47:21)
    The virus was identified on January the 7th. The sequence was shared, I think on the 12th with the world. We’re dealing with a completely new virus. All potential respiratory pathogens in the initial reports in which there were no mention of human to human transmission, it was a cluster of atypical pneumonia or pneumonia with unknown origin. There are literally millions and millions of cases of atypical pneumonia around the world every year, and in the middle of an influenza season. Sometimes it’s very difficult to pick out a signal of a cluster of cases. In fact, it’s quite remarkable that-

    Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (48:03)
    To pick out a signal of a cluster of cases. In fact, it’s quite remarkable that such a cluster was picked out. 41 confirmed cases, ultimately, in a cluster in Wuhan. There is always a risk with a respiratory pathogen that it can move from person to person. We’ve seen with MERS for example. It can spread from person to person, but in very particular environments, as we’ve seen. In an occupational environment, in healthcare environments. And when WHO issued it’s first guidance to countries, it was extremely clear that respiratory precautions should be taken in dealing with patients with this disease, that labs needed to be careful in terms of their precautions in taking samples because there was a risk that the disease could spread from person to person in those environments. There is a difference between the potential for human to human transmission. For example, avian influenza, H5N1, can spread from person to person, but it doesn’t spread efficiently in community settings. It can spread in specific settings like at family, occupational, or healthcare environment, but it doesn’t tend to spread at community level. The determination was not whether or not human to human transmission was occurring, the determination was, was the virus spreading efficiently at community level outside those environments? And that is not an easy determination to make and one has to make that very carefully.

    Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (49:28)
    So from that perspective, we’ll be very happy when the after action reviews come. In fact, I am very anxious for those after action reviews to come because we do them for every outbreak response and I’ll be delighted with our teams and look forward to that engagement, to look and see where we can learn to do better, where we can improve our response. With regards to flight restrictions, and I’ve certainly been on the record on a number of occasions saying that the implication or the imposition of flight restrictions by countries is the sovereign right of any member state. WHO does not control the law on this. WHO only function under the IHR is to challenge member states who put in place restrictions to ensure that they have a public health justification for imposing those restrictions. And that we are bound, then, to share those justifications with other countries who may be affected by those flight restrictions. That is the role of WHO, to ensure that restrictions on flights are public health based, evidence-based, limited to controlling the disease, have a balanced impact on travel and trade, and are short lived and only of origination to control the public health events of concern. So that’s the framework. The International Health Regulations is a framework negotiated by 194 countries. We simply implement that framework on behalf of our member states.

    Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove: (51:13)
    So just to add to that, so exactly as Mike said, in the beginning of an outbreak, I actually went back and listened to my press conference on the 14th of January because it was a significant event for me. It was my first press conference I’ve ever done. But in terms of the outbreak itself, I laid out what are the things we need to know? And at the time, there were 41 confirmed cases. And Terrick was with me at that press conference. And what I outlined were six things.

    Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove: (51:40)
    I outlined what is the pathogen? How do we identify what this is? And at the time, we had learned that it was a novel coronavirus and that sequence was shared that the pathogen was identified. It hadn’t been shared yet. Or I’m sorry, it was shared on the 12th of January. We needed to know the source of the outbreak. How were people getting infected, including a possible animal source? Because all of our experience with other coronaviruses and emerging respiratory pathogens, most of those come from an animal source. We call those a zoonotic spillover event. We needed to know what disease it causes and how to care for people. We needed to know the modes of transmission, including if there is any human to human transmission, what is the extent of transmission? We needed to know how to limit exposure and what to do. What is the extensive infection?

    Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove: (52:26)
    And so all of our guidance that was out before we did that press conference was about limiting exposure to people and to prevent transmission, particularly in healthcare settings because all of our experience with SARS and with MERS showed that those viruses could have explosive transmission and amplification in healthcare facilities. And so we wanted to ensure that frontline workers were protected. And so our guidance that was put out was about respiratory droplets and contact protection. And so all of that was out on the 10th and the 11th of January.”
     
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  3. margarita25

    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    Re: weather and climate / April 15 / BBM / source:

    “Karen Wilson: (53:27)
    Good afternoon. My name is Karen Wilson from the World’s Health Alert Crisis. I just want to say the World Health Organization is doing so much to support countries through the COVID-19 pandemic and other diseases. I want to know what individuals, companies, and organizations can do right now to help protect those who work for the WHO, who are doing such wonderful work and show, in my view, so much humanity? And I want Tedros, Dr. Ryan, and Dr. Kerkhove, and all of your colleagues to know how much gratitude so many people in the country, in the UK where I’m from, and all over the world have for all of you. Please remember that. Please.

    Karen Wilson: (54:27)
    I want to also just add quickly that, as Tedros says, unity seems more important than ever. And I’ve actually discovered looking, I normally write news and analysis, but I’ve also discovered a very big issue. After looking at a massive data from cities worst hit around the world by COVID-19, I’ve discover these cities all have exceptionally high humidity levels, rising temperatures, and carbon dioxide of very high levels during the outbreaks. And I am not a climate person, but I’ve actually alarmed and now believe this is to do with global warming. And I’ve uploaded, as a result, the study to YouTube for everyone to read and maybe add to because I’ve realized that perhaps there’s a much longer term issue that the world needs to address to reduce humidity and pollution to help reduce the risk of triggering more disease. Because I understand, I’ll just continue a little bit, that COVID-19 appears to be triggered or not the onset, but the outbreaks, by wet and humid conditions, very much like malaria.

    Karen Wilson: (55:51)
    But my question really is what can we do to help you? Because I would like to create a human shield around you, but that’s not possible. And I want to know if there’s anything the world can do for the organization that is guiding us. Thank you.

    Tarik Jasarevic: (56:10)
    Thank you very much, Karen, for these nice words.

    Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (56:13)
    Yes, thank you very much. I think what we need in WHO, like so many workers around the world, is the space, the support, and the solidarity to do our jobs. And there are so many thousands of brave frontline workers all over the world doing that today. Our solidarity is with them. We thank communities and others.

    Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (56:40)
    Some specifics, companies, organizations, everyone’s spoken about this, everyone’s involved. This is all hands on deck, all hands on deck. And today, this director general was in a meeting with World Economic Forum business leaders, talking with them about how they can contribute. We’re talking with vaccine manufacturers, we’re talking with supply chain managers, we’re talking with companies in the pandemic supply chain network around stabilizing supply chains for supplies and everything else. We’re talking to producers of medical oxygen. We’re talking to people who make ventilators and who can adapt technology for use in low resource settings. This is a moment where the public and the private sector, there is no public, there is no private sector. There is a combined effort to get rid of this virus and everyone has something to bring to the table. Everybody has something to bring. We try to not control or direct that. What we try to do is create the forums, to create the convening power, to create the mechanisms by which others can innovate, others can be successful. And we try to direct that energy in the best possible way through good policymaking and using science to drive what we do. Science solutions and solidarity. With regard to climate, there is no question that the climate and climate variability is driving infectious disease risk around the world. There are many diseases that are climate sensitive. We’ve seen outbreaks of cholera all around the world that are either related to flooding or related to drought. They’re either related to too much water, too little water. We have literally billions of people living in peri-urban poor environments. And in many ways, unfortunately those populations are almost like kindling for a fire. And not just a fire of COVID, but any other number of diseases of future. We can’t afford to leave people in overcrowded, underserved conditions in such densely packed environments. This is a risk. It’s not only a political and a social risk, it is clearly an infectious disease risk going into the future. Part of the reason that we can’t eradicate polio so far is because that virus can become entrenched in those very environments that we’re speaking about Pakistan earlier. Pakistan has had a real struggle in clearing infections from large urban environments.

    Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (59:14)
    The direct impacts of climate on coronavirus incidents are not known yet. We do simply do not know what the impacts of humidity, temperature, and other factors are on this particular virus. We do know that other viral pathogens are affected and often occur in seasonal epidemics. The extent to which climate and humidity and other cold affect that are in some cases well known, in other cases not so well known. But in this particular case, we don’t know yet. And quite frankly, I’d much prefer, in some senses, never to know. I will prefer to get rid of this disease than have to wait around long enough to know. But we may have to learn how to live with this virus. And we will certainly have to learn how to control this virus in high density urban settings.

    Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove: (01:00:07)
    Only to add to that. So Karen, thank you for your very kind words and for all of the kind words that we’ve received since the start of this. It’s very nice to hear. With regards to humidity and temperature, and if you remember, this began in very cold temperature, very dry temperature, very dry, low level humidity. And we are seeing this virus have the capability to accelerate in a number of different climates. As Mike said, we don’t know how this virus is impacted completely yet. It’s still new. We’re still in the early stages of this pandemic in our fourth month and we need to treat this virus everywhere it shows up as aggressively as we can so we don’t give it a chance to take off.”
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2020
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  4. margarita25

    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    April 17 Opening Remarks:

    “Good morning, good afternoon and good evening.

    Tomorrow, WHO is joining forces with many of the world’s leading musicians, comedians and humanitarians for the “One World, Together At Home” virtual global special.

    This is the result of a close collaboration with my good friend Hugh Evans from Global Citizen, and the inspirational Lady Gaga, to bring entertainment, joy and hope into the homes of people all around the world, whose lives have been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    I would also like to use this opportunity to thank Lady Gaga’s mother Cynthia Germanotta, who is our Goodwill Ambassador, and is doing a great job advocating for mental health around the world – thank you so much Lady Gaga and Cynthia for your continued support and help. This is a family project and we appreciate your leadership and contribution.

    This is an opportunity to express our solidarity with frontline workers, and to mobilize philanthropists, the private sector and governments to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, powered by the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation.

    So far, the Solidarity Response Fund has generated more than US$150 million from more than 245,000 individuals, corporations and foundations.

    These funds are helping us to buy personal protective equipment, laboratory diagnostics and other essential supplies for the countries that need it most.

    I would like to say thank you so much, thank you from our heart to those who have contributed.

    For further details about tomorrow’s events, I’m delighted to welcome once again my friend and my brother Hugh Evans to say a few words, to be followed by the amazing Lady Gaga.

    Hugh, over to you.



    [HUGH EVANS AND LADY GAGA ADDRESSED THE MEDIA]



    Thank you so much, Lady Gaga and thank you Hugh. I look forward to joining you and millions of people all over the world tomorrow for what I’m sure will be a wonderful event.

    I share what Lady Gaga said: what the world needs is love and solidarity. So please accept much gratitude and much love from myself, Lada Gaga and Hugh Evans, and all our colleagues here. That’s what the world needs: love and solidarity to defeat this dangerous enemy.

    More than 2 million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO, and more than 135,000 people have lost their lives.

    While we mourn for those we’ve lost, we also celebrate those who have survived, and the thousands of people who are now recovering.

    WHO is updating our guidance to include recommendations for caring for patients during their recovery period and after hospital discharge.

    We’re encouraged that several countries in Europe and North America are now starting to plan how to ease social restrictions.

    We have said previously that easing these measures must be a gradual process, and we’ve spoken about the criteria that countries should consider.

    Yesterday we published our guidance on considerations in adjusting public health and social measures, which we encourage countries to read and apply.

    But although we see encouraging signs in some countries, there are worrying trends in others.

    In the past week there has been a 51% increase in the number of reported cases in my own continent, Africa, and a 60% increase in the number of reported deaths.

    With the current challenge of obtaining testing kits, it’s likely that the real numbers are higher than reported.

    With WHO support, most countries in Africa now have the capacity to test for COVID-19, but there are still significant gaps in access to testing kits. We’re working with partners to fill those gaps and help countries find the virus.

    The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced yesterday that more than 1 million tests for COVID-19 will be rolled out across the continent starting next week.

    Strengthening and supporting African institutions like the Africa CDC will help now and for the future.

    To further strengthen support for Africa, earlier this afternoon I spoke with President Ramaphosa of South Africa, Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, and the President of the World Bank, David Malpass.

    ===

    In addition to tests, we’re also working hard to accelerate the development, production and equitable distribution of a vaccine.

    Yesterday I spoke to President Emmanuel Macron of France, Bill Gates and other partners to discuss how to prevent another pandemic by getting vaccines from labs to people as fast as possible and as equitably as possible. The commitment from President Macron, from Bill Gates and also from Prime Minister Boris Johnson is heart-warming.

    I also spoke to the Prime Minister of Barbados and the current chair of Caribbean countries about the challenges faced by small island developing states in gaining access to test kits and other supplies. No country should be left behind.

    I would like to use this opportunity to appreciate the strong leadership of the Prime Minister of Barbados steering the response in the Caribbean.

    Today I also spoke to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, about continuing efforts across Europe to fight the pandemic and support lives and livelihoods.

    The commitment of both leaders, President Von der Leyen and Prime Minister Marin is very heartwarming again.

    I would like to clarify WHO’s position on “wet markets”.

    Wet markets are an important source of affordable food and livelihood for millions of people all over the world.

    But in many places, they have been poorly regulated and poorly maintained.

    WHO’s position is that when these markets are allowed to reopen, it should only be on the condition that they conform to stringent food safety and hygiene standards.

    Governments must rigorously enforce bans on the sale and trade of wildlife for food.

    WHO has worked closely with the World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to develop guidance on the safe operation of markets.

    Because an estimated 70% of all new viruses come from animals, we also work together closely to understand and prevent pathogens crossing from animals to humans.

    Finally, WHO is committed to keeping the world informed in as many ways as possible, in as many languages as possible.

    Our Viber chatbot is now reaching 2.6 million people with reliable, evidence-based information, and is available in 16 languages.

    This week we launched Tamil, Sinhala, Bulgarian, Greek, Italian and Hungarian, and we plan to launch Polish and Bangla next week.

    I’m pleased to say that from Monday, we will be providing simultaneous interpretation for these press conferences in all official UN languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

    We’re also planning to expand to include other languages like Swahili and Hindi.

    We look forward to having more journalists join us from all over the world.

    I thank you.”

    WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 17 April 2020

    Full briefing with Q & A:
    Press briefings
     
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  5. margarita25

    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    April 17 / source:

    “Eduardo Talsee: (27:51)
    Yes, thanks. Hi, I’m Eduardo Talsee, thanks for your time. Here in Chile a card will be applied for recovery patients from COVID-19. The government says that this patient is stop infecting the rest of the population. We know that it is a measure that is also analyzed in other countries. My question is what is the W-H-O opinion on this measures? Is it recommended and should a PCR test be required to deliver this discharge card? What is the international experience like? Thanks.

    Michael J. Ryan: (28:33)
    I will start. Maria will follow up on the technical. WHO does not have a position on this approach. I think what we do have is advice for countries to be very prudent at this point. Number one, we need to be sure that what tests would be used to establish the status of an individual and there’s lots of uncertainty around what such a test would be and how effective and how performance that test would need to be.

    Secondly, a lot of the preliminary information that’s coming to us right now will suggest a quite a low proportion of the population have actually zero converted. So it may not solve the problem. There’s been an expectation maybe that herd immunity may have been achieved and that the majority of people in society may already have developed antibodies. I think the general evidence is pointing against that and pointing towards a much lower seroprevalence. So it may not solve the problem that governments are trying to solve.

    Then thirdly, there are serious ethical issues around the use of such an approach and we need to address it very carefully. We also need to look at the length of protection that antibodies might give. Nobody is sure whether someone with antibodies is fully protected against having the disease or being exposed again.

    Plus some of the tests have issues of sensitivity. They may give a false negative result and we may actually have someone who believes they’re zero positive and protected actually in a situation where there may be exposed and in fact they are susceptible to the disease. Now it’s not that these tests cannot be used, but there’s a lot of work to do to standardize those tests to ensure that they’re validated to ensure that they’re used as part of a coherent policy and that there’s a very clear public health objective to their use and that they are not misused in any way. So we will look at what Chile is doing or proposing to do. We will look at what all countries are proposing to do and we will offer the best advice we can based on science and ethics to them. Maria?

    Maria Van Kerkhove: (30:41)
    To supplement, this is an ongoing issue and we will be issuing some guidance over the weekend on this because there are a lot of countries that are suggesting to use a rapid diagnostic rapid serologic test to be able to capture what they think will be a measure of immunity. As Mike has said right now we have no evidence that the use of a serologic test can show that an individual is immune or is protected from reinfection.

    What the use of these tests will do will measure the level of antibodies and it’s a response that the body has a week or two later after they’ve been infected with this virus. These antibody tests will be able to measure that level of seroprevalence, that level of antibodies. But that does not mean that somebody with antibodies means that they’re immune. And so we will be issuing some guidance around this because it is a confusing area. There’s a lot of tests right now that have flooded the market and that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing that these things are being developed and that they are available. But we need to ensure that they are validated and so that we know what they say that they attempt to measure, they are actually measuring. So we hope to put some guidance out over the weekend and that guidance will be updated as more information becomes available.”
     
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  6. margarita25

    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    Re: Taiwan:

    April 17 / source:

    “Gabriela Sotomayor: (45:23)
    Thank you very much. Thank you for giving me the question. And it’s very nice to see you all. And I have a question. I want to come back to the issue of Taiwan. We hear more criticism on Taiwan being excluded from COVID-19. They have very few cases and they can offer their experience to the world. So I would like to have your comments on this. And well, it’s just that. Thank you.

    Maria Van Kerkhove: (45:57)
    So, I will start. So just to say, I will repeat what I said the other day. We have been working with colleagues from Taiwan on the technical side throughout this pandemic. And you’re right, it is important that we learn from all countries who are dealing with COVID-19. I’ve personally, myself and Steve, have briefed members from Taiwan CDC, public health professionals and scientists. We had an exchange of information about what is happening at the global level in different regions and also from Taiwan as well.

    And we have a number of people who are serving in our clinical networks and our infection prevention and control networks. And again, it’s an opportunity where we regularly meet through teleconferences where there’s the opportunity to exchange information peer-to-peer. And this is invaluable to be able to have firsthand experience with patients to say how are they, how are they developing disease, how can we treat them, how do we prevent onward transmission? And so there has been a regular and open dialogue throughout the pandemic.

    Dr. Steven A. Solomon: (47:11)
    Thank you. Thank you for the question and thank you Maria. Just to add, as we’ve said before, there’s two parts to this. There’s the participation within the WHO governance process, within for example, the World Health Assembly. And that’s an issue that member States of the organization decide. The WHO staff does not have the mandate to decide those issues. WHO staff works technically and operationally to fulfill the mandate of WHO to coordinate, to convene, to provide advice, to furnish assistance for the response.

    That’s the work of WHO staff. The decisions about participation in the governance processes, in the membership, in the health assembly, is a decision that is and belongs to member States. But within the technical work that we do, as Maria has made clear, there are a range of areas that we cooperate, work with, engage with Taiwanese experts, both within the context of this current pandemic and generally. And we listed those, and they’re available on our website.

    I think just again to remind of three of the key ones for the response now. There is a point of contact within Taiwan CDC that has access to the international health regulations event information site. This is the key platform for exchanging information among all the parties and stakeholders in the international health regulations. There are two of the key clinical networks that Taiwanese experts participate in. The Clinical Management Network and the Infection Prevention and Control Network. These networks meet at least once a week, sometimes twice a week.

    And there is the direct contact between WHO at a technical level, Maria just mentioned these, and Taiwan CDC. These are very important to ensure an exchange. We are looking at other ways to do so as well as this evolve and as the expertise from wherever can contribute to the response efforts. So I hope that answers the question about the technical work that is ongoing and the area that is really in the hands of member States. The formal participation of in WHO governance bodies, like the World Health Assembly.

    Michael J. Ryan: (50:09)
    Maybe I could just add to this, because I think it is important, the health authorities in Taiwan and Taiwan CDC deserve praise. They’ve mounted a very good public health response in Taiwan. And you can see that in the numbers. And we have praised that. And we’ve seen similar approaches taken in Hong Kong, SAR and across China. And we are observing and we are watching and we are bringing Taiwanese colleagues into the networks, the technical network, so they can share their experience. And they can both contribute their knowledge, but also seek new knowledge from outside. And I do believe that the health experts from Taiwan CDC were involved in one of the initial missions in China with colleagues from Hong Kong, SAR, as a joint mission to Wuhan by the National Health Commission in Beijing. So, that there is-

    In Beijing. So that there, as Steve has said, these kinds of scientific collaborations within, without China are extremely important. But you know, Taiwan health authorities, Taiwan, CDC, professionals and health workers in Taiwan have stood on the front line. They’ve served and they have done service to their populations and as many others have around the world. And from our perspective we all stand with our professional scientific and health colleagues everywhere.”



    Apr 20/ source

    Tarik: (15:34)
    [French 00:16:02]. And so quick translation of that. Marie is asking about an email that has been sent by Taiwanese health officials to WHO on 31st December. So the question was when this email arrived, when we had the first announcement by Chinese authorities of cases of a unknown pneumonia, and how do we answer to claims that WHO was not acting on warning from Taiwan? Thank you.

    Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (16:43)
    On the 31st of December, information on our epidemic intelligence from open source platform partners, ProMED was received, indicating a signal of a cluster of pneumonia cases in China. That was from open sources from Wuhan. On the same day, we had a request from health authorities in Taiwan and the message referred to new sources indicated at least seven atypical pneumonia cases reported in Wuhan media. That the cases were not believed to be SARS, however, that the samples were still under investigation. The message requested with great appreciation if we had relevant information to share, with a thank you in advance for our attention to the matter. There was no reference made in that query to anything other than what had been previously reported in news media and actually referred to a response from the Wuhan health authorities clarifying and confirming that the cases existed, the cluster existed, and obviously it turned out not to be SARS. So any SARS test on at that time would have been negative, as would have been influenza samples. Clusters of atypical pneumonia are not uncommon. There are millions of cases of atypical pneumonia around the world in any given year, and certainly in the middle of an influenza season. Negative influenza tests may also have been found at that time.

    So from the perspective of the request we received from Taiwan, it was in line with other information that we had received from other sources, and the message through the iOS platform from ProMED had actually had a lot more detail in it based on the news media report, and that request was actually sent immediately on the same day to our country office for followup with Chinese authorities, and on the 1st of January we formally requested verification of the event under the IHR, which is a formal process beyond any informal verification, which requires a response and requires an interaction from the member state.

    Under the IHR, member states are required to respond within 24 to 48 hours of any requests from the WHO for clarification or verification of an event or a signal that we believe may be significant. That process continued, and on the 4th of January WHO tweeted the existence of the event, and on the 5th of January provided a detailed information on our epidemic or emergencies information site, which is a site for all national focal points around the world, and every member state has a focal point for IHR, usually within the National Health Service, and all would have received a detailed report from WHO giving details on the event, and that would have included an IHR contact point for Taiwan. Taiwan has access to that site, as have other focal points and contact points around the world.

    On the same day, we would have actually put out our first disease outbreak news, which was a public explanation or a public report on the event, and the process continues after that. So we would obviously like to thank our colleagues in Taiwan for having shared an interesting report for which we were receiving similar reports from other sources. At no point in the process of communication, in this email that’s been received, was there any reference to human to human transmission or any other issue. It was purely requesting relevant information and thanking us in advance for our attention to the matter. So I hope that clears up that confusion.

    Dr. Tedros: (21:04)
    So I think Mike answered it very well, but I just wanted to summarize. In its email on 31st December, one thing that has to be clear is the first email was not from Taiwan. Many other countries already were asking for clarification. The first report came from Wuhan, from China itself, so Taiwan was only asking for clarification. And as some people were claiming, Taiwan didn’t report any human to human transmission. This has to be clear. They were asking for clarification, like any other entity who wanted clarification. So we didn’t receive the existence of human to human transmission from Taiwan on December 31. We have all the documentations, and the email we received from Taiwan is to get more clarification on the issue based on China’s report. So the report first came from China. That’s number one. In fact, from Wuhan itself. Second, the email from Taiwan, like other entities, was to ask for clarification. Nothing else.

    Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (22:47)
    And I may also just add that for those of you who don’t know ProMED, ProMED has been existence for more than 20 years, and it’s actually a US based listserv that has provided a lot of early information on epidemics going back over decades. We work with them very closely and we have-

    -epidemics going back over decades. We work with them very closely, and we have actually co-developed with ProMED with GPHIN which is a Canadian public health intelligence network. And many others around the world. The epidemic intelligence from Open Sources platform, which is an AI driven system which allows the automatic detection of these kinds of reports all over the world. Our system picks up 7,000 signals. And we pick up those 7,000 signals a month from all around the world.

    And they all require verification and followup investigation. Up to 300 of them require investigations specifically by governments. And it’s a massive global process of picking up this information from around the world. And actually all of the G7 countries are now implementing EIOS as part of their core public health architecture and that system would have been live in all G7 countries at the time of these notifications.”
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020
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    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    April 20 / source:

    “Gabriela: (36:33)
    Hi. Thank you very much for taking my question. I read about a study suggesting that rather than the virus weakening the lungs as had been thought, growing evidence shows that the virus is actually, it’s stripping red blood cells of its oxygen, giving the appearance of long [inaudible 00:36:52] and forcing the lungs to work harder. So without oxygen, the body is effectively being starved of energy and dying. So what are your comments on this? Did you heard about this? Thank you very much.

    Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (37:08)
    Yeah, I believe it’s likely that both processes are occurring. There’s certainly no question that there’s a direct impact on lung tissue from the virus itself. But there is this observation of rapid desaturation or rapid loss of oxygen in the blood and we’ve seen many, many reports of this. And clearly there are multiple physiologic or pathological pathways in action here. It’s not just the lungs are affected, many other organs are affected. And I think it’s a dynamic issue. There’s also the direct effect of the virus and then there’s the immune response to the virus. And in effect, we may be seeing in some cases a very robust immune response. Sometimes the immune system overreacting. And we’ve seen this in many other emerging diseases as well. So we may see a mixture of the immuno modulated responses.

    In other words, responses to the virus that are modulated by the immune system that may help kill the virus, but they may also do tissue damage. We see the direct effect of the virus itself. And then we see the effect on the oxygen carrying system, which begins in the lungs, continues in the red blood cells and goes all the way to the tissues. And at this point I believe clinicians around the world and pathophysiologists are really looking at what is the contribution of each of these potential pathways to the overall morbidity and overall mortality of this disease.”
     
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    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    April 20 / source

    “Dr. Van Kerkhove: (56:23)
    Thank you [Derek 00:00:56:23]. The question was about the development of a vaccine and the claim about rapidly producing one in perhaps six months, so we welcome all work on the development of a vaccine and as rapidly and as safely as possible. We welcome this. The question was about whether or not you can develop a vaccine on a virus we don’t yet know, if I understood the question appropriately. There are more than 10,000 full genome sequences that have been made publicly available from all over the world and there are a large number of scientists and virologists who are looking in detail at each full genome sequence that is available and we thank all countries, everyone who has made those sequences available because that allows us to check these viruses and see if the virus is changing.

    What we see among these 10,000 viruses, is that it is relatively stable. There are little changes, normal changes in viruses, but nothing that’s unexpected and so the development of a vaccine on viruses that are available is good. There are many vaccine candidates that are in development and we’re working with many partners to accelerate this. As quickly and safely as possible, we welcome this and we welcome not only the development, but the equitable distribution of any vaccine that does become available because we will need a vaccine in the future.”
     
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    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    April 20 / source:

    “Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (01:08:55)
    There is no doubt that certainly the lockdowns have had a major impact on on social economic and also on the delivery of other health services. Health services themselves and health systems and whole hospitals have become overwhelmed. The disease was not contained or suppressed initially in a way in which the hospitals could be protected. So in that sense, people lost access to the hospitals because they very often became overwhelmed by COVID cases. Or elective surgery was canceled as a means of creating hospital beds, which is perfectly appropriate. But elective surgery does not mean unnecessary surgery, for example, that’s elective in that it can be carried out in a plan where it is still necessary surgery. Cancer chemotherapy, others, immunization programs in many countries are an absolutely vital defense against the other infectious diseases.

    So there is no doubt that other health services have come under pressure in all systems. And we’ve had a group working very, very hard on sustaining continuity of other health services during this time. So that basic essential health services under the rubicon of universal health, could be and can be still be provided. And therefore, no one would like to see the public health or social measures, those broad based measures which many people refer to as lockdowns.

    Everybody wants to be able to see those lockdowns transitioned away from. It’s very important. The difficulty is, that those measures were put in place to suppress what was an intensely burning epidemic. They were an emergency measure put in place by governments who had seen an exponential rise in cases. And in many cases unlike in the cases of some of the Southeast Asian countries, there the initial attempts to do containment, failed. And the disease spread and accelerated. And in that situation, there was very little option for countries but to impose this type of lockdown. The difficulty is unlocking or transitioning away from those measures, means there is always the chance that the disease may rebound.

    And we’ve been saying quite clearly, in order to move away and we need to move away from these lockdowns, but we need to not move away from lockdown, we need to move towards something else. Moving away from a bad thing, something that was necessary and that has caused so much hardship for people is a good thing. But if you don’t move towards something else, you may be back exactly where you started before you know it. And we need to move towards empowered people and communities who understand how to protect themselves, and how to protect others and who are willing to continue with a degree of personal hygiene and physical distancing that will be necessary going forward. We need to move towards stronger public health capacities, not just testing.

    Testing is a hugely important central piece of surveillance, but we need to train hundreds, thousands of contact traces. We need to be able to find cases. We need to be able to isolate cases who are confirmed. We need to be able to quarantine contacts. We need a system. We need an absolutely massive increase. The same massive increase we saw in the health systems, in health care, in ICUs, in ventilators. That’s all we seem to talk about is ventilators. They’re very important, absolutely very important, but we need to start talking about contact tracers. We need to start talking about quarantine facilities for contacts. We need to start talking about community-based surveillance.

    We need to invest in the alternative to lockdown. And we need to strengthen the healthcare system at the same time, so the same tragedy of overwhelmed health systems does not emerge again should the disease rebound. We have said this since the beginning of this epidemic, pandemic. We have said this since the beginning. So, we will work with countries and support them to put in place those systems, and we see many countries moving very carefully and in a very united way towards those objectives. And we will continue to support those objectives. And if we do that, then our hospital beds are freed up, our clinics are freed up, people can go back to see the doctor and our essential health services can come back online. Because, nothing is more important than that right now.

    Dr. Van Kerkhove: (01:13:47)
    To add to what Mike has said, we have issued some guidance about maintaining essential health services because this is absolutely critical that other services continue. Babies are still being born and children need vaccinations. People need vaccinations. This needs to continue, and it needs to be done in a safe way. So we do have guidance that has been put out to try to support countries and trying to maintain that. We’ve also seen some innovative ways in which countries have been able to use telemedicine, for example, so that there are still a continuous way in which doctors can speak with their patients and so that there can maintain that care. And it will be temporary as we’ve said, that once the measures are able to be lifted, once these public health and social measures are able to be lifted, these services can get back online.

    We’ve seen countries be very strategic in the way that they care for patients. Perhaps in some areas that are overwhelmed with large numbers of patients. They’re either not cared for in that specific locale. They’re moved to other parts of the country. We’ve seen some countries who are having low incidents except patients from countries who are having explosive outbreaks. And that solidarity and that support in that generosity, is really welcomed. And we’re very grateful for that. And I’m sure all the countries are grateful for that. But it is important that essential health services continue. We have large groups within WHO and our partners in ministries of health and across different sectors who are trying to continue all of those services, and we will continue to support countries in doing so throughout this pandemic.”
     
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    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 20 April 2020

    “Good morning, good afternoon and good evening.

    First of all, I would like to wish all who have celebrated Orthodox Easter yesterday Happy Easter, including my own country Ethiopia.

    Today is the first day our press conferences are being interpreted in all official United Nations languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish, and soon we will start Swahili and Hindi. We would like to make our UN truly UN, truly multilateral by including more languages and communicating with the whole world.

    I’d like to welcome all journalists from around the world, and I invite you to ask questions in any of the six UN languages – for the time being of course, and we will keep opening up more languages.

    I’d like to start by thanking the many musicians, comedians and humanitarians who made Saturday’s “One World, Together at Home” concert an enormous success. So humbled, and the whole WHO community is very grateful for the support that poured over 8 hours.

    WHO is proud to have co-organized this event with Global Citizen, my brother Hugh Evans and Lady Gaga, and I also want to thank my colleague Paul Garwood who came up with the idea and has worked incredibly hard for several weeks to make it happen.

    Paul Garwood is one of our colleagues in the front line. I ask my colleagues to give me crazy ideas, and he did. But as a boss I take all the credit and I shouldn’t do that. All the credit goes to my colleague Paul Garwood from our communications department. I hope all my staff will continue to give me crazy ideas. I’m proud to be WHO – very, very proud.

    The event raised more than US$127 million to support several organizations responding to COVID-19, including US$55 million for WHO’s Solidarity Response Fund.

    The fund has now raised more than 194 million dollars from more than 270,000 individuals, corporations and foundations.

    Yesterday I had the honour of addressing health ministers from the G20 countries.

    I appreciate the expressions of support from many countries for WHO’s coordinating role and our technical guidance.

    I also appreciate the statements of the G77 and the Non-Aligned Movement expressing their strong support for WHO.

    As you know, the G77 - 133 countries and the Non-Aligned Movement, 120 countries. This is a big vote of confidence, and we thank NAM and we thank the G77 countries.

    WHO’s commitment is to science, solutions and solidarity.

    Our commitment is to supporting all countries to save lives. That’s it, that’s our intention. That’s what we’re for: saving lives.

    We’ve spoken previously about the factors countries must consider as they plan to start lifting so-called lockdown restrictions.

    We want to re-emphasize that easing restrictions is not the end of the epidemic in any country.

    Ending the epidemic will require a sustained effort on the part of individuals, communities and governments to continue suppressing and controlling this deadly virus.

    So-called lockdowns can help to take the heat out of a country’s epidemic, but they cannot end it alone.

    Countries must now ensure they can detect, test, isolate and care for every case, and trace every contact.

    We welcome the accelerated development and validation of tests to detect COVID-19 antibodies, which are helping us to understand the extent of infection in the population.

    WHO is providing technical, scientific and financial support for the rollout of sero-epidemiologic surveys across the world.

    Early data from some of these studies suggest that a relatively small percentage of the population may have been infected, even in heavily affected areas – not more than 2 to 3 percent.

    While antibody tests are important for knowing who has been infected, tests that find the virus are a core tool for active case finding, diagnosis, isolation and treatment.

    One of WHO’s priorities is to work with partners to increase the production and equitable distribution of diagnostics to the countries that need them most.

    To achieve that, WHO has worked with FIND, the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative, to identify and validate five tests that can be manufactured in large quantities.

    Working together with the Global Fund, UNICEF and Unitaid, we have now placed orders for 30 million tests over the next four months.

    The first shipments of these tests will begin next week, through the United Nations Supply Chain we have established with the World Food Programme and other partners.

    Solidarity flights continue to ship lifesaving medical supplies across Africa to protect health workers, who are on the frontlines in the effort to save lives and slow the pandemic.

    Over the past week, WHO has been working closely with the World Food Programme to deliver masks, goggles, test kits, face shields and other medical equipment to 40 countries.

    This is part of the overarching drive to keep supply chains moving and ensure key supplies reach 120 priority countries.

    Through April and May we intend to ship almost 180 million surgical masks, 54 million N95 masks and more than 3 million protective goggles to countries that need them most.

    I also want to highlight the Jack Ma Foundation’s donation of 100 million masks, 1 million N95 masks and 1 million test kits to WHO.

    We had a very productive discussion with Jack Ma yesterday and he would like to continue to support countries in need.

    We are also continuing to lead research and development efforts.

    So far, more than 100 countries have joined the Solidarity Trial to evaluate therapeutics for COVID-19, and 1200 patients have been randomized from the first 5 countries.

    This week, we expect that more than 600 hospitals will be ready to start enrolling patients.

    The faster we recruit patients, the faster we will get results.

    ===

    Finally, yesterday marked one year since our colleague Dr Richard Mouzoko from Cameroon was killed while working on the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    After 54 days without a case, there have now been six cases of Ebola in the past 10 days. We are continuing to work hard with our partners to support the government to ensure that this spark does not become a larger fire.

    Unfortunately, Richard is one of many health workers who have lost their lives in the line of duty globally in the past year.

    Some have died in attacks on health facilities, some have lost their lives to COVID-19.

    I would like to use this opportunity to pay tribute to Richard’s family and also to Cameroon.

    I would like to also pay tribute to every health worker.

    We salute you. And we are committed to supporting you. We don’t take your commitment and heroism for granted. Thank you for saving lives, and for putting your lives at risk.

    There is nothing more blessed than what you’re doing. Please keep doing what you’re doing.

    From WHO, you have the greatest respect and appreciation.

    I thank you.”

    WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 20 April 2020
     
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    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    April 20 / BBM / source

    Dr. Tedros: (49:43)
    It’s life and that’s why we prefer to see the individuals, the faces, the people. They’re not numbers. They’re not averages. They are people, they’re individuals. And that’s why we don’t have secrets. And as soon as we get information, we pass it because we want to save lives, even if it’s one life. Even one life matters. One life. You can’t bring it back once it’s gone. And that’s why we have been urging countries, please, this virus is dangerous. This virus is public enemy number one. This virus is new and which has a behavior of serious contagion like flu. It’s very contagious like flu and at the same time, it’s very killer like SARS and MERS. It has a very dangerous combination and this is happening in hundred years, for the first time again. Like the 1918 flu that killed up to 100 million people, but now we have technology. We can prevent that disaster. We can prevent that kind of crisis. We can prevent it. We’re not in the same situation. We should not be afraid. We should have the confidence that we’re in a different situation and fight it back.

    If there is national unity and if there is global solidarity, if we take this as a common enemy for humanity and give our best, of course understanding that this is a new virus and dangerous virus, we can win the fight. We can but please let’s consider those who are dying as individuals. They’re not numbers or figures. Even one life is precious. You know where I come from. I know war. I know poverty. I know disease. I know how people suffer in war conditions. I know how people are killed because of poverty. I know how people who could have been saved are dying because of this. I know a tragedy. I know.

    That’s why I see people. I see faces. I see the mother or father of somebody. I see the daughters and sons of somebody. I see the tragedy that can behold a family. I see that. I see and I know. I’m telling you from a firsthand experience, I know how losing a brother means from childhood. I can tell you all the tragedies I have seen. That’s why in my last prayer I said, let’s not play with fire. This is a tragedy which is already affecting many families. Many are losing their loved ones, so we don’t hide information because I know what poverty means. I know what war means. I know what killer disease means.

    I know what is behind all these problems and I have been warning, we have been warning from day one. This is a devil that everybody should fight. Then the solution we’re proposing, we need national unity, strong national unity. Everybody fighting this virus, taking care of their citizens, taking care of real people. We need global solidarity that’s cemented on genuine national unity. Without the two, without national unity and global solidarity, trust us, the worst is yet ahead of us. Let’s prevent this tragedy. It’s a virus that many people still don’t understand. Many countries are very developed, putting the wrong conclusions because they didn’t know it and got into trouble and we warned even developed countries saying, “This virus will even surprise developed countries.” It did. We said that. It will surprise even with the nations. We said it. It is on record. Let’s stop additional sacrifices. Let’s stop tragedy. Hundreds of thousands now dying is serious. Even one life is precious. Let’s say, “Enough is enough.”

    [...]

    “I know disease that could be prevented that killed people and I know how the family feels. When we think about death or disease, I was saying` let’s bring into account that these are real people and that’s what we’re losing. Real people who could be saved, but who might be dying because of our own weaknesses, weaknesses of our society. And I mentioned one or two and I said it many times, I will repeat again. This virus is dangerous. It exploits cracks between us. When we have differences there are cracks. The virus exploits those cracks. Take as an example, ideology or in one country, it could be the differences along party lines. It exploits that. That’s why I said we need national unity and whoever has whatever ideology, whether that person is from left or right or center, they should work together to fight this virus, to save these real people.

    If we don’t do that, this virus will stay longer with us to kill more people and we will lose more precious lives.
    So when I think about the losses of life, it reminds me of my own experience. These are real people dying and I’m just warning people who may think that these are numbers. They’re not numbers. These are people. And the other point is when there is national unity, the global solidarity could also work. I have spoken to many leaders from many countries, from the incumbent or the opposition and one message to all of them, please work together. Don’t use this virus as an opportunity to fight against each other or score political punch. It’s dangerous. It’s like playing with fire. Please work together. We need national unity. We are seeing the tragedy and we need global solidarity that’s based on honest and genuine national unity. I will say it again and again because it’s true.

    It’s the political problem that may fuel further this pandemic. People say, “This is political and Tedros you’re a technical [inaudible 00:01:04:03], don’t say it.” But if it’s fueling the pandemic and that’s the very reason, why wouldn’t I say it? At the end of the day, we should know the root cause of the problem and try to address that. It’s fueling it. The cracks between people, between parties is fueling it and it’s true and that’s the reason.
    And you said, “Being emotional, what made me emotional?” Because I know this, I know war, I know poverty. I know how people really are influenced by all this.”
     
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    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    April 22 WHO Briefing / Opening Remarks / Source / Full Briefing

    WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 22 April 2020

    “Good morning, good afternoon and good evening.

    Globally, almost 2.5 million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO, and more than 160,000 deaths.

    We see different trends in different regions, and even within regions.

    Most of the epidemics in Western Europe appear to be stable or declining.

    Although numbers are low, we see worrying upward trends in Africa, Central and South America, and Eastern Europe.

    Most countries are still in the early stages of their epidemics.

    And some that were affected early in the pandemic are now starting to see a resurgence in cases.

    Make no mistake: we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time.

    There’s no question that stay-at-home orders and other physical distancing measures have successfully suppressed transmission in many countries.

    But this virus remains extremely dangerous.

    Early evidence suggests most of the world’s population remains susceptible. That means epidemics can easily re-ignite.

    One of the greatest dangers we face now is complacency. People in countries with stay-at-home orders are understandably frustrated with being confined to their homes for weeks on end.

    People understandably want to get on with their lives, because their lives and livelihoods are at stake.

    That’s what WHO wants too. And that’s what we are working for, all day, every day.

    But the world will not and cannot go back to the way things were.

    There must be a “new normal” – a world that is healthier, safer and better prepared.

    The same public health measures we have been advocating since the beginning of the pandemic must remain the backbone of the response in all countries.

    Find every case;

    Isolate every case;

    Test every case;

    Care for every case;

    Trace and quarantine every contact;

    And educate, engage and empower your people. The fight cannot be effective without empowering people and without the full participation of our people.

    Countries that don’t do these six central things, and do them consistently, will see more cases, and more lives will be lost.

    To be clear, WHO’s advice is to find and test every suspected case, not every person in a population.

    WHO is committed to supporting all countries to save lives.

    And we are also committed to human rights, and to fighting stigma and discrimination wherever we see it.

    There are disturbing reports in many countries, in all regions, about discrimination related to COVID-19.

    Stigma and discrimination are never acceptable anywhere at anytime, and must be fought in all countries.

    As I have said many times, this is a time for solidarity, not stigma.

    WHO is also working actively to address the impacts of the pandemic on mental health.

    Working with mental health experts around the world, WHO has produced technical guidance for individuals and health workers, recognizing the enormous strain they’re under.

    In addition, we’ve also developed a free children’s book about COVID-19 with partners from UNICEF, UNHCR, IFRC and UNESCO among others.

    In less than two weeks, we received requests to translate the book into more than 100 languages, and the book is now being used among Rohingya children in Cox’s Bazaar, and children in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Greece and Nigeria.

    ===

    One of WHO’s core functions is to provide evidence-based technical advice to countries.

    This is not something we do alone.

    Every day, we work with thousands of experts all over the world to collect, analyze and synthesize the best science, and turn it into guidance that we give back to countries.

    Through thousands of hours of discussion, we have exchanged first-hand experience and debated the science to generate the advice that we make available to all countries.

    We then work with countries to turn that guidance into action.

    WHO has staff in 150 countries all over the world, working directly with governments, scientists and partners to coordinate national preparedness and response plans, and to implement them.

    I would like to use this opportunity to thank all my colleagues all over the world, in all 150 countries, for their hard work and commitment.

    In addition, WHO has sent more than 70 surge teams to countries to strengthen surveillance, and provide advice on infection prevention, how to treat patients, risk communication, lab capacity, data management, and much, much more.

    We’ve also brought in external support through our Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network – GOARN – and specialist Emergency Medical Teams, or EMTs.

    In addition to supporting countries, we also track progress globally. Among countries that have reported data to WHO,

    78% have a preparedness and response plan in place;

    76% have surveillance systems in place to detect cases;

    And 91% have laboratory testing capacity for COVID-19.

    But we still see many gaps around the world.

    Only 66% of countries have a clinical referral system in place to care for COVID-19 patients;

    Only 48% have a community engagement plan;

    And only 48% have an infection prevention and control programme and standards for water, sanitation and hygiene in health facilities.

    In other words, there are still many gaps in the world’s defences, and no single country has everything in place.

    WHO will continue working with countries and the international community to close these gaps and build sustainable capacities for now and the future.

    But we’re not alone. We work with partners all over the world to harness their expertise and networks.

    Earlier this week WHO and the International Telecommunication Union announced that we’re partnering with telecommunications companies to reach people directly on their mobile phones with text messages about COVID-19.

    This will help reach half of the world's population that doesn’t have internet access, starting in the Asia Pacific region and then rolling out globally.

    We’re calling on all telecommunications companies globally to join this initiative to help unleash the power of communication technology to save lives.

    We also issued a call with the World Trade Organization, calling on countries to ensure the normal cross-border flow of vital medical supplies and other goods and services, and to resolve unnecessary disruptions to global supply chains.

    We need to ensure these products reach those in need quickly, and we emphasize the importance of regulatory cooperation and international standards.

    ===

    Finally, with the holy month of Ramadan starting tomorrow, I would like to wish all Muslims around the world Ramadan kareem.

    This is a season of reflection and community – an opportunity for kindness and solidarity.

    Earlier today I spoke to health ministers from across the Eastern Mediterranean region.

    I assured them that we will stand in solidarity with them, as we will stand with all countries.

    We’re all in this together. And we will only get through it together.

    Again, Ramadan kareem. Shukran jazeelan.“
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020
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    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    Some comments from Dr. Mike on Apr 22 re: long term care facilities / source:

    Dr. Michael J. Ryan: (16:07)
    “[inaudible 00:16:07] families and they’re continuing to do so and families are doing their best to protect them. What we’ve seen in the context of Europe and North America though are very intense series of individual outbreaks inside longterm care facilities, which have been quite devastating. And the risk of such events occurring into the future, as long as the virus is here, there’s always an opportunity for that to happen. But at the same time it is very difficult to reduce that risk to zero. So I think each country is going to have to look at, “How can we minimize the risk of bringing disease into such a setting?” And there are lots of measures that can be done to minimize that risk. And even more importantly, “How are we going to pick up a signal that something has gone wrong, that there may be a case in that situation and how do we rapidly shut that down and deal with that very effectively?”

    And that’s going to be that sort of both the risk reduction and the risk response to an event if it occurs. I’m sure there are many, many, many older people living in longterm care facilities who, at the best of times, are lonely. And for the last number of weeks has been a terrible ordeal for them, both to be further isolated, but also with the constant threat of potentially becoming sick with this disease. As the disease dies down or comes under control at community level, then the risks obviously reduce for those longterm care facilities. But the consequence of disease getting into those facilities I think is clear and stark. So how do we protect and shield our older, oldest and wisest and most precious members of our society while at the same time not entirely cutting them off from the very things that makes us human?

    And that’s our ability to be part of a community. And these are trade offs that are very difficult to manage. My own view is that the risks can be managed. They need to be recognized then managed. And if in a situation where we do see disease occur in a longterm care facility, we must be ready to react very quickly to stamp out that disease. It’s also important that carers in these facilities have adequate training, that there’s an adequate design in facilities, there’s adequate staffing in facilities and that we look again at the support, design and environment that we offer for our older citizens.

    That those environments are made, not only more comfortable and more human, but also safer. And I believe that can be achieved. And I believe there are lots of ideas on how that can be done. I think we need to maybe also look at the model of the way in which we’re providing care and support for our older citizens. There’s a lot to be done, but I do think it’s a major issue. I think if you look around Europe now and in North America and Canada, a large proportion of the intense disease transmission is actually concentrated in longterm care facilities, which is in itself a tragedy. And it’s also a challenge.”
     
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    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 8 June 2020
    8 June 2020

    “Good morning, good afternoon and good evening.

    Yesterday marked World Food Safety Day.

    Food safety is everyone’s business, every day.

    In times of crisis, it’s more important than ever.

    We want to thank those who have continued to ensure that people can access safe food throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

    WHO is proud to work with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in ensuring all people have access to safe, nutritious food for healthy living.

    ===

    Almost 7 million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO, and almost 400,000 deaths.

    Although the situation in Europe is improving, globally it is worsening.

    More than 100,000 cases have been reported on 9 of the past 10 days. Yesterday, more than 136,000 cases were reported, the most in a single day so far.

    Almost 75% of yesterday’s cases come from 10 countries, mostly in the Americas and South Asia.

    Most countries in the African region are still experiencing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, with some reporting cases in new geographic areas, although most countries in the region have less than 1000 cases.

    We also see increasing numbers of cases in parts of Eastern Europe and central Asia.

    At the same time, we’re encouraged that several countries around the world are seeing positive signs.

    In these countries, the biggest threat now is complacency. Results from studies to see how much of the population has been exposed to the virus show that most people globally are still susceptible to infection.

    We continue to urge active surveillance to ensure the virus does not rebound, especially as mass gatherings of all kinds are starting to resume in some countries.

    WHO fully supports equality and the global movement against racism. We reject discrimination of all kinds.

    We encourage all those protesting around the world to do so safely.

    As much as possible, keep at least 1 metre from others, clean your hands, cover your cough and wear a mask if you attend a protest.

    We remind all people to stay home if you are sick and contact a health care provider.

    We also encourage countries to strengthen the fundamental public health measures that remain the basis of the response: find, isolate, test and care for every case, and trace and quarantine every contact.

    ===

    Contact tracing remains an essential element of the response.

    In some countries, there is already a strong network of health workers for polio who are now being deployed for COVID-19.

    Last week we published guidance that describes how existing polio surveillance networks can be used in the COVID-19 response, and outlines the measures that should be put in place to maintain an effective level of surveillance for polio.

    WHO has also published new guidelines on the use of digital tools for contact tracing.

    Many digital tools have been developed to assist with contact tracing and case identification.

    Some are designed for use by public health personnel, like WHO’s Go.Data application, which has been used successfully to trace contacts during the ongoing Ebola outbreak in DRC.

    Others use GPS or Bluetooth technology to identify those who may have been exposed to an infected person.

    And still others can be used by people to self-report signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

    As part of a comprehensive approach, digital contact-tracing tools offer the opportunity to trace larger numbers of contacts in a shorter period of time, and to provide a real-time picture of the spread of the virus.

    But they can also pose challenges to privacy, lead to incorrect medical advice based on self-reported symptoms, and can exclude those who do not have access to modern digital technologies.

    More evidence is needed about the effectiveness of these tools for contact tracing. We encourage countries to gather this evidence as they roll out these tools, and to contribute that evidence to the global knowledge base.

    We also emphasise that digital tools do not replace the human capacity needed to do contact tracing.

    Starting tomorrow, WHO is convening an online consultation on contact tracing for COVID-19, to share technical and operational experience on contact tracing, including innovations in digital technology.

    ===

    As part of our commitment to coordinating the global response, WHO is also running the COVID-19 Partners Platform, an online tool that enables countries to match needs with resources.

    This online tool enables countries to enter planned activities for which they need support, and donors to match their contributions to these activities.

    So far, 105 national plans have been uploaded, and 56 donors have entered their contributions, totalling US$3.9 billion.

    The platform also includes the COVID-19 Supply Portal, enabling countries to request critical supplies of diagnostics, protective equipment and other essential medical provisions.

    So far, WHO has shipped more than 5 million items of personal protective equipment to 110 countries.

    We are now in the process of shipping more than 129 million items of PPE to 126 countries.

    ===

    More than six months into this pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal.

    This is the time for countries to continue to work hard, on the basis of science, solutions and solidarity.

    I thank you.”

    WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 8 June 2020

    Press briefings
     
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    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 15 June 2020
    15 June 2020

    “Good morning, good afternoon and good evening.

    Globally, more than 7.8 million cases of COVID-19 have now been reported to WHO, and more than 430,000 deaths.

    It took more than 2 months for the first 100,000 cases to be reported. For the past two weeks, more than 100,000 new cases have been reported almost every single day.

    Almost 75% of recent cases come from 10 countries, mostly in the Americas and South Asia.

    However, we also see increasing numbers of cases in Africa, eastern Europe, central Asia and the Middle East.

    Even in countries that have demonstrated the ability to suppress transmission, countries must stay alert to the possibility of resurgence.

    Last week, China reported a new cluster of cases in Beijing, after more than 50 days without a case in that city. More than 100 cases have now been confirmed.

    The origin and extent of the outbreak are being investigated.

    ===

    Despite the ongoing global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot lose sight of other significant public health issues, including influenza.

    Influenza affects every country every year, and takes its own deadly toll.

    As we enter the southern hemisphere influenza season and begin planning for the northern hemisphere season, we must ensure that influenza remains a top priority.

    Co-circulation of COVID-19 and influenza can worsen the impact on health care systems that are already overwhelmed.

    More than 500 million people are vaccinated against flu every year, based on recommendations from WHO on the composition of flu vaccines.

    These recommendations are based on data and virus samples collected and analyzed by WHO’s Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System, or GISRS.

    The GISRS system has been functioning since 1952 and I would like to thank the more than 125 countries that participate in it.

    Over the past 8 years, significant strengthening of the system has been made possible through the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, and I would also like to thank the public and private sector partners that participate in this global system.

    The infrastructure, people, skills and experience built up through GISRS, WHO Collaborating Centres, and national influenza centres have been the foundation for detecting COVID-19.

    However, this well-established system is now seeing significant challenges.

    Influenza surveillance has either been suspended or is declining in many countries, and there has been a sharp decline in sharing of influenza information and viruses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Compared with the last three years, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the number of specimens tested for influenza globally.

    We’ve also seen a 62% decrease in the number of virus shipments to WHO Collaborating Centres, and a 94% decrease in the number of influenza viruses with genetic sequence data uploaded to the GISAID database.

    These decreases are due to a combination of issues, including the repurposing of staff and supplies, overburdened laboratories, and transport restrictions.

    These disruptions may have short- and long-term effects, such as the loss of capacities to detect and report new influenza viruses with pandemic potential.

    As many of you know, twice a year WHO convenes a group of experts who together analyze the circulating flu strains. Based on their analysis they select the viruses that should be targeted by flu vaccines for the upcoming season in each hemisphere.

    To know which viruses are circulating, WHO relies on information from countries reported through GISRS, which we use to make recommendations for the composition of influenza vaccines.

    This will help us to prevent more severe cases of flu and more deaths.

    WHO has published guidance on how to integrate surveillance for COVID-19 into routine influenza surveillance as an efficient way to track both of these important respiratory viruses.

    This is not only cost-effective, it’s also essential for protecting the world against the next flu season.

    The Southern Hemisphere flu season is already underway. There is no time to lose.

    I thank you.”
     
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  19. margarita25

    margarita25 Well-Known Member

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    Transcript for the CDC Telebriefing Update on COVID-19 | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC

    Press Briefing Transcript
    Thursday, June 25, 2020

    Coronavirus Disease 2019
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020
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