World Coronavirus Dispatch: Remdesivir gets lukewarm endorsement

The effectiveness of most interventions with remdesivir is uncertain
Remdesivir gets lukewarm endorsement: Gilead Sciences’s remdesivir is worth prescribing for patients with severe Covid-19, though evidence of its benefits remains inconclusive, according to a panel of international experts convened by the British Medical Journal. The effectiveness of most interventions with remdesivir is uncertain because most of the trials so far have been small and have limitations, the authors said in a review for the journal. Read more here

Let’s look at the global statistics: 

Total Confirmed Cases: 17,039,160

Change Over Yesterday: 276,590

Total Deaths: 673,568

Total Recovered: 10,151,894

Nations hit with most cases: US (4,495,015), Brazil (2,610,102), India (1,638,321), Russia (838,461) and South Africa (482,169)

US Covid-19 deaths top 1,000 for fourth day: For the fourth straight day, the United States has witnessed more than 1,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus, with 1,249 reported Thursday. The death toll nationwide was slightly lower than Wednesday, when 1,400 coronavirus-related deaths were reported. Read more here

Google suffers first revenue decline as ads hit by pandemic: The coronavirus crisis wiped 8 perbcent from advertising income in the latest quarter and depressed parent Alphabet’s revenues by 2 per cent. Despite the unprecedented fall-off in core business, however, Google executives said conditions had improved, and offered cautious optimism. Read more here

Pfizer, BioNTech to supply 120m doses of virus vaccine to Japan: Pfizer and BioNTech have agreed to supply Japan with 120 million doses of their experimental coronavirus vaccine in the first half of 2021. They did not disclose the financial details of the agreement. Read more here

Xi Jinping calls for pivot to domestic economy: In an address, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a greater push on reforms to stimulate domestic demand, as the economy continues its steady recovery from the coronavirus slump. Separately, the first official gauge of China’s economy in the second half of the year showed continued upward momentum in the recovery. Read more here

US pledges $2.1 billion for Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline covid vaccine: The Trump administration has approved $2.1 billion to Covid-19 vaccine partners Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, the biggest US investment yet in fast-tracking shots and snapping up supplies. Part of Operation Warp Speed, the funding will support clinical trials and manufacturing while allowing the US to secure 100 million doses. Read more here

Spain’s GDP shrinks 18.5 per cent: Spain’s economy suffered a bigger blow than expected in the second quarter, burdening it with the prospect of a long recovery. The record 18.5 per cent drop in output -- led by plunges in consumer spending and investment -- is the deepest reported so far in Europe. Economists had anticipated a 16.6 per cent contraction. Read more here


Why Europe’s economy may take years to recover: 
Spain took the biggest hit, shrinking 18.5 per cent, while French and Italian output also dropped by double digits. The 19-member region as a whole saw a 12.1 per cent contraction. The declines in activity reflect the effect of strict quarantines measures on businesses and consumer spending, and a slump in tourism in some countries. The health crisis was most severe in the region’s least economically resilient members, leaving them with little firepower to support households and businesses. Find all the stats here

Pandemic loneliness in late life
The pandemic has made isolates of the elderly. We have all read ghastly stories about coronavirus patients dying alone. (I can barely wrap my mind around such a forlorn fate.) Aware that the Covid-19 mortality rate among the elderly is much higher than that of the young, many seniors comply with the physical distancing and stay-at-home orders, even as we understand that social isolation generates the lethal by-products of loneliness — depression, food and sleep disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, self-harm — particularly for those who do not have family, friends or neighbours to help with grocery and pharmacy runs as well as daily communication. Read more here

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