Political polarization and online misinformation are threatening vaccination programs worldwide, with public trust volatile and varying widely between countries, according to a global vaccine confidence study. The study, which maps trends in vaccine confidence across 149 countries between 2015 and 2019, found that skepticism about the safety of vaccines tended to grow alongside political instability and religious extremism.
Zoonotic diseases – which jump from animals to humans – are increasing and will continue to do so without action to protect wildlife and preserve the environment, UN experts have warned. They blame the rise in diseases such as Covid-19 on high demand for animal protein, unsustainable agricultural practices and climate change. Neglected zoonotic diseases kill two million people a year, they say.
One person in Florida has been diagnosed with brain-destroying amoeba, health authorities have said. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) said in a statement that one person in Hillsborough County had contracted the rare disease known as Naegleria fowleri. The microscopic single-celled amoeba can destroy brain tissue and prove fatal, said the DOH. Only four people have survived Naegleria fowleri in the United States between 1962 and 2016, out of 143 contracted the disease.
The US has bought up virtually all the stocks for the next three months of one of the two drugs proven to work against Covid-19, leaving none for the UK, Europe or most of the rest of the world. Experts and campaigners are alarmed both by the US unilateral action on remdesivir and the wider implications, for instance in the event of a vaccine becoming available.
The Lancet paper that halted global trials of hydroxychloroquine for Covid-19 because of fears of increased deaths has been retracted after a Guardian investigation found inconsistencies in the data. The lead author, Prof Mandeep Mehra, from the Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston, Massachusetts decided to ask the Lancet for the retraction because he could no longer vouch for the data’s accuracy.
As the country’s death toll surpasses 92,000, all 50 US states have partially reopened after a two-month shutdown. On Wednesday, Connecticut became the final state to lift restrictions when it gave the green light to shops and restaurants under certain conditions. Many have not met the federal guidance on how to reopen, including a 14-day “downward trajectory” of cases.
New York state is alerting all other parts of the US about a new mystery syndrome that appears to be related to Covid-19 and is causing severe illness and even death in very young children. So far three children have died – a five-year-old in New York City, a seven-year-old in Westchester county and a teenager in Suffolk county in Long Island.
Rutgers University researchers have received U.S. government clearance for the first saliva test to help diagnose COVID-19, a new approach that could help expand testing options and reduce risks of infection for health care workers. The Food and Drug Administration authorized the test under its emergency powers to quickly clear new tests and therapies to fight the outbreak.
The US now leads the world in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. There are almost 86,000 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in the US – roughly 16% of the world’s total of 532,000. This puts it ahead of China, where the virus originated. The country has seen a sharp decrease in new cases in recent weeks and has moved to suspend visits from almost all foreign nationals.
Four in five 11- to 17-year-olds around the world are not taking enough physical exercise, according to the first such analysis. The World Health Organization says children’s health is being damaged as well as their brain development and social skills. It says failing to take the recommended hour a day of exercise is a universal problem in rich and poor countries.