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Weekly Roundups

World Prepares for Second COVID-19 Wave

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 10/29/2020 - 16:11

Mexico tries to balance economic concerns with medicine supply, vaccines and an upcoming second COVID-19 wave. To date, Chihuahua is the only state labeled with a high risk of contagion but Coahuila, Durango and Nuevo Leon are likely to go down that road again.

Here is the Week in Health!

NATIONAL

-Mexico and UNOPS have signed a medicine purchase agreement valued at MX$32 billion (US$1.5 billion). The agreement includes 384 types of medicines for the public healthcare sector.

-The Chamber of Deputies approved a measure that would change the General Health Law to allow the transfer of MX$33 billion (US$1.49 billion) from the Health Fund for Welfare to SHCP to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine. The measure has now been sent to the Senate, yet.

-Chihuahua’s COVID-19 traffic-light system returns to “red,” pointing to a high contagion risk in the state. The amount of COVID-19 cases in the state has led 18 hospitals to operate above 50 percent of their occupation capacity, three hospitals are at their maximum capacity and seven hospitals are at 80-90 percent capacity.

-Governor of Mexico City Claudia Sheinbaum and Governor of Yucatan Mauricio Vila tested positive for COVID-19. Joel Molina, Senator for the state of Tlaxcala passed away from COVID-19. Molina had attended a Congress session four days prior to his death but health authorities say that it is unlikely that he became infected during that session. “We know that the incubation period is five to six days and the senator already had symptoms the very night he left the premises, therefore he was infected at least five to six days prior to the session,” said Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell.

-The Chamber of Deputies rejected an initiative to eliminate taxes on sanitary pads, tampons, cups or any other product for menstruation.

INTERNATIONAL

-Gilead’s Remdesivir has been approved by the FDA as a treatment for COVID-19. Remdesivir has been used since March while its effectiveness against the virus was tested. This drug was designed to treat Ebola by disrupting the ebolavirus’ ability to replicate. Anthony Faucci, Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and COVID-19 Advisor to President Donald Trump, said that there had been faster recoveries after using Remdesivir, suggesting that the drug should become standard treatment against SARS-CoV-2. The National Institute of Health stated that Remdesivir accelerated recovery time by 31 percent and when President Trump got COVID-19, he was reportedly treated with Remdesivir. Nonetheless, WHO had previously said that the drug has “little to no effect” on hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

-AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s COVID-19 vaccine showed strong positive immunity results on adults and young people. According to Reuters, these preliminary results show that the vaccine activates the immune response through the production of antibodies and T cells in the oldest age groups.

-According to the Gamaleya Institute of Moscow, volunteers who took the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine have shown immunity to the virus. The announcement highlights that this is not an official response as these volunteers are not part of the official clinical trial. However, Alexandre Gintsburg of RIA Novosti stated that these volunteers are in close contact with the Institute.

-Spain, Italy, France and Germany are reinstating mobility restrictions as COVID-19 threatens a second wave of contagion. Spain declared a state of alert to stop this second wave. Italy will close cinemas, theaters, gyms and swimming pools for a month. France imposed a second national lockdown that closed all non-essential businesses but left daycare, elementary and secondary schools open until Dec. 1. Germany ordered a new partial lockdown, in which bars, restaurants, discos, gyms, swimming pools, sports facilities, museums, theaters and cinemas will remain closed for a month.

-After detecting an asymptomatic case of COVID-19 on Saturday, China tested the 4.75 million residents of the city of Kashgar, detecting 137 new asymptomatic cases. These are the first local contagion cases in mainland China since Oct. 14.

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Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst