COVID-19 current figures
Today's COVID-19 headlines
Substantial investment needed to avert mental health crisis
The Covid-19 pandemic is highlighting the need to urgently increase investment in services for mental health or risk a massive increase in mental health conditions in the coming months, according to a policy brief on Covid-19 and mental health issued by the United Nations today.
Specific population groups are at particular risk of Covid-related psychological distress. Frontline health-care workers, faced with heavy workloads, life-or-death decisions, and risk of infection, are particularly affected. During the pandemic, in China, health-care workers have reported high rates of depression (50%), anxiety (45%), and insomnia (34%) and in Canada, 47% of health-care workers have reported a need for psychological support.
Children and adolescents are also at risk. Parents in Italy and Spain have reported that their children have had difficulties concentrating, as well as irritability, restlessness and nervousness. Stay-at-home measures have come with a heightened risk of children witnessing or suffering violence and abuse. Children with disabilities, children in crowded settings and those who live and work on the streets are particularly vulnerable.
RCN calls for better 'record keeping' on Covid-19 in health care workers
The Royal College of Nursing has called for the collection of accurate data on health and care staff who contract Covid-19, in an open letter to the UK’s health secretaries and ministers.
The letter from, Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, says that failure to properly track the incidence of sickness and death from Covid-19 in health care workers means ministers are making decisions without enough information.
It said that data collected should include workers who tested positive for Covid-19, those admitted to hospital or intensive care as a result of a positive test, and those who have sadly died. This would improve scrutiny of the safety of working environments of staff and the level of risk facing staff compared to the general public.
UK approves Roche Covid-19 antibody tests
Britain is in talks with Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG to buy an accurate Covid-19 antibody test, following the lead of the European Union and United States, which had already given preliminary approval to the tests.
Mass antibody testing with millions of kits is being considered by many countries as a way to speed the reopening of economies devastated by the lockdowns and social distancing measures put in place to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
A Public Health England laboratory concluded on May 7 that the Roche test detected the exact antibodies prompted by the virus, but the findings were only made public late on Wednesday.
“This has the potential to be a game changer,” Edward Argar, Britain’s junior health minister said on Thursday. (Reuters)
COVID-19 may be linked to rare inflammatory disorder in children
Doctors in the Bergamo province of Italy have described a series of ten cases of young children with symptoms similar to a rare inflammatory disease called Kawasaki Disease appearing since the Covid-19 pandemic arose in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy, in a report published today in The Lancet.
Only 19 children had been diagnosed with the condition in that area in the five years up to the middle of February 2020, but there were 10 cases between 18 February and 20 April 2020. The latest reports could represent a 30-fold increase in the number of cases, although researchers caution that it is difficult to draw firm conclusions with such small numbers.
Eight of the 10 children brought to hospital after 18 February 2020 tested positive for the SARS-coronavirus-2 virus (SARS-CoV-2) in an antibody test. All of the children in the study survived, but those who became ill during the pandemic displayed more serious symptoms than those diagnosed in the previous five years.
Other news roundup
- Japan has begun treating severely ill Covid-19 patients with remdesivir
- A&E visits halved since the coronavirus outbreak started, dropping to their lowest level since records began in England
- The Office for Budget Responsibility said UK government measures to protect the economy during the coronavirus crisis are forecast to cost £123 billion
- US unemployment claims since mid-March now stand at 36.5 million
- A ONS report found that 46% of adults now think it will be longer than six months for their life to return to normal