World coronavirus dispatch: The pathogen is changing in unknown ways

Topics Coronavirus | Facebook | Rolls-Royce

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. Photo: PTI
Chinese doctors are seeing the coronavirus manifest differently among patients in its new cluster of cases in the northeast region compared to the original outbreak in Wuhan, suggesting that the pathogen may be changing in unknown ways. Cases in the northeast also appear to be taking longer than the one to two weeks observed in Wuhan to develop symptoms after infection, and this delayed onset is making it harder for authorities to catch cases.

Scientists still do not fully understand if the virus is changing in significant ways. Researchers worldwide are trying to ascertain if the virus is mutating in a significant way to become more contagious as it races through the human population, but early research suggesting this possibility has been criticised for being overblown. Read more here.

Let’s look at the global statistics

Total confirmed cases: 4,716,513

Change over previous day: 183,740

Total deaths: 323,341

Total recovered: 1,689,334

Nations hit with most cases: The US (1,528,566), Russia (299,941), Brazil (271,885), the UK (250,138) and Spain (232,037).

Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Facebook to limit staff in offices to 25 per cent: The social media company will limit offices to 25 per cent occupancy, put people on multiple shifts, and require temperature checks when it lets employees back into workplaces beginning July. It will also limit how many employees can gather in meeting rooms, create 6-foot spaces between work stations, replace cafeteria buffets with grab-and-go meals and initially keep office gyms closed. Read more here.

Rolls-Royce to cut 9,000 jobs: Rolls-Royce is to cut nearly a fifth of its workforce as it prepares for disruption to the aviation industry caused by the coronavirus pandemic to last for several years. The aero engine maker said it would cut at least 9,000 of its 52,000 jobs, in what would be its biggest single reduction in headcount in 30 years. Read more here.

First execution since coronavirus broke out: A Missouri man was put to death by lethal injection on Tuesday for fatally stabbing an 81-year-old woman nearly three decades ago. This was the first US execution since the coronavirus pandemic took hold. Concerns related to coronavirus caused several US states to postpone or cancel executions over the past two-and-a-half months. Read more here.

Singapore to open more businesses from June 2: Restrictions in Singapore will be eased in three phases — allowing more businesses to resume operations and schools to reopen — provided “community” infection rates remain low during the current so-called “circuit breaker” lockdown which ends on June 1 and health workers are protected. Read more here.

Lenovo says Covid-19 has spurred demand in PCs and data centres: Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo's chairman and chief executive, said the company was seeing increased demand for personal computers due to consumers shifting to working and studying from home. Also, the shifts would also create more demand for Lenovo's data centre business. Read more here.

German infection rate drops below key threshold of 1.0: Germany’s new coronavirus cases rose above 1,000 for the first time in 11 days, while the infection rate dropped further below the key threshold of 1.0. Authorities consider it important to keep the number below 1.0 to prevent exponential growth. Read more here.


The safe way to socialise during the pandemic: It’s only natural that, as caution fatigue sets in and social-distancing guidelines in many places are extended into the indeterminate future, even well-intentioned people would be looking for loopholes that allow them to reunite with loved ones. But is there any safe way to see family or friends while following social-distancing guidelines? Here’s what experts prescribe: Always wear a mask, avoid high-risk groups like elderly and children, meet outside rather than indoors, and be honest. Read more here.

Why covid-19 seems to spread more slowly in Africa: According to data, and new analysis by the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus is spreading more slowly in Africa than elsewhere — and that its path will vary across the continent. The short answer is, transport links in the region are worse than the world. Read to know why.


Can businesses avoid going broke? America and Europe face a wave of corporate bankruptcies as a result of Covid-19. But will some businesses be able to restructure rather than go broke? Also, why some are calling for the Federal Reserve to turn to negative interest rates to alleviate the slump. Or, is now the time for entrepreneurial true grit? Listen to these themes being dissected here.

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