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Weekly Roundups

How to Bear an Economic and Sanitary Crisis?

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 11/05/2020 - 13:50

A second COVID-19 wave was foreseen since the beginning of the pandemic. Health authorities feared COVID-19 overlapping with flu season and Mexico is already reacting to a second outbreak just as many countries in Europe. Asia, on the other hand, seems to have a better grasp on the virus.

Here is the Week in Health!

NATIONAL

-The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that this week, Mexico is to join Phase 3 of the clinical trials for the CanSino Biologics COVID-19 vaccine. President López Obrador detailed that this vaccine will be administered to 10,000-15,000 volunteers in the states of Mexico City, Jalisco, Nuevo León, Puebla, Durango and Chihuahua.

-Durango is back in red light in the COVID-19 traffic light. The state will remain on red until it manages to reduce the risk of contagion, which is expected by Nov. 17. Durango is the second Mexican state to return to the highest risk of contagion. Chihuahua was the first to do so and the entity has recently announced a curfew for commercial activities to try to stop COVID-19 from further spreading.

-As a response, IMSS has created a plan with additional beds, medical staff and equipment to support these states. Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Queretaro will also receive this support.

-The second COVID-19 outbreak threatening Mexico will potentially drive stores and retail businesses to close during Buen Fin. This event is an important booster for the economy, especially during this year. The Ministry of Economy already shows concerns regarding the damage Buen Fin could cause in terms of COVID-19 contagion. However, the impact to the economy is the elephant in the room.

-This year, the annual National Examination of Applicants for Medical Residencies (ENRAM) will see an increase in available positions of almost 100 percent. A MX$2.5 billion (US$ 120.55 million) investment will open 9,449 extra positions for hopefuls seeking to specialize in a medical field.

INTERNATIONAL

-The UK has gone into a new lockdown period, intended to last a month. Austria has reimposed lockdown, Greece and Holland have partial lockdowns and France, Italy and Spain have also announced lockdowns and curfews, which have been met with social complaints and protests.

-Taiwan celebrates 200 days free of COVID-19. The country has imposed strict tracing measures and travel monitoring to ensure that the virus does not get in again. Local contagion is unlikely to happen within this scenario. However, preventive measures are still encouraged to prevent a crisis.

-The MIT has developed an AI model to identify COVID-19 active cases by analyzing the sound of their coughing. The model has demonstrated to have a 98.5 percent effectiveness on identifying known positive cases and a 100 percent success on identifying COVID-19 cases that have not yet presented any symptom.

-Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced that the country will slaughter more than 15 million minks on fur farms in the country. This, after health authorities discovered a new mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in animals, which infected 12 humans, which "could represent a risk that future vaccines will not meet as planned," said Frederiksen.

-Once it gathers enough statistically valuable data, AstraZeneca plans to deliver results for its COVID-19 vaccine trials in the UK, South Africa and Brazil to the FDA to get an emergency approval for the vaccine.

-UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has received an experimental COVID-19 vaccine. It is unknown which development it was. “We are proud of our teams who have worked relentlessly to make the vaccine available in the UAE. The future will always be better in the UAE.”

-In the US, Oregon is the first state to decriminalize cocaine and heroin possession and to legalize the therapeutic use of hallucinogenic mushrooms. The latter is intended for adults over 21 years old to treat depression, addiction and anxiety. According to expert psychotherapist, Oregon is in a mental health crisis according to official figures on mental health issues, which is why the measure was highly encouraged and voted by 56 percent of the citizens. Health authorities are planning regulations and criteria for hallucinogenic mushrooms, which will be allowed for therapeutic use by 2023.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst