The Covid-19 continued on Friday its murderous progression in the world and pushed many countries to tighten their health measures, in the hope of slowing it down while waiting for a treatment or a vaccine.
The pandemic has killed at least 715,343 people worldwide since the WHO office in China reported the onset of the disease at the end of December, according to a report established by AFP from official sources on Friday at 11 a.m. GMT.
More than 19,133,340 cases of infection have been officially diagnosed in 196 countries and territories, of which at least 11,319,300 are now considered cured.
The United States recorded 2,060 new deaths linked to the virus Thursday, a grim daily toll that they had not reached for three months, according to Johns Hopkins University.
This rebound brings the total number of deaths from the new coronavirus in the country, by far the most affected in the world, ahead of Brazil, to more than 160,000.
– “A challenge”
India, just three weeks after registering one million official cases, passed the two million reported cases mark on Friday.
If the epidemic previously had the mega-cities of New Delhi and Bombay as its main epicenters, the disease is now starting to flare up in less dense and larger regions of the Asian giant of 1.3 billion inhabitants.
For health expert Preeti Kumar, the likely reason for the resurgence of cases outside major cities lies in the return to the fold of migrant workers. Millions of them found themselves out of work when a brutal national lockdown was imposed in India at the end of March.
“We see the cases increasing particularly in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh,” northern regions from which many migrant workers usually earn their living in large cities, she told AFP.
“With poorer health systems” in these underdeveloped states, the outbreak “is going to be a challenge,” she said.
Spain, where local quarantines are imposed in particular in the Basque Country, Catalonia and Aragon, added the city of Aranda de Duero to the list on Friday, 32,000 inhabitants 150 km north of Madrid.
Police controls have been installed on the outskirts of the city, which will remain under bell for at least two weeks.
“Everything is very quiet, we are a little afraid of course. Some stores are closed but in the end it almost looks like a normal day. We can see that we have a little bit of morale because we do not know what is happening. it's going to happen, “Maria José Fernandez, a 27-year-old clothing saleswoman, told AFP by phone.
In Germany, two schools in the north of the country had to close their doors after the appearance of cases of Covid-19 infection, just a few days after the start of the school year.
In the small seaside town of Graal-Müritz, the hundred or so primary school children and teachers were sent home for two weeks of quarantine after a student tested positive for the new coronavirus.
In Syria at war, the dean of the faculty of medicine of Damascus Noubough al-Awa speaks of a “terrifying” epidemic situation, and explains that “many citizens go to public hospitals, but unfortunately all the rooms are full”.
On the research front, French researchers have discovered that a protein produced by the body against the background of inflammation could play an important role in severe forms of Covid-19, and targeting it could help fight it. worsening of the disease.
According to this work, published in the journal Cell, there is “a very high rate” – 100 to 1,000 times more than normal – of this protein, calprotectin, in patients with a severe form of Covid-19.
“Our results suggest that calprotectin may be responsible for the worsening of Covid-19,” said the study's lead author, immunology researcher Aymeric Silvin.
Much work around the world seeks to better understand the mechanisms of the “cytokine storm”, an uncontrolled, excessive and often fatal inflammatory reaction implicated in severe forms of Covid-19.
– Elderly and colored people
In the United States, a renowned researcher estimated that it will be impossible to know the true effectiveness of a vaccine without extensive clinical trials in older people and people of color.
According to Dr David Diemert, who oversees clinical trials for the Moderna laboratory, this question is crucial, as Covid-19 disproportionately affects these population groups.
According to US federal data, the virus kills black and Latino people twice as much as white people. People over 65 represent 80% of deaths.
By the end of this week, Dr. Diemert, an infectious disease specialist at George Washington University, will begin recruiting 500 volunteers for the clinical trial he is conducting, a phase that will last two months.
“We are looking for people who are more likely to develop a Covid infection with symptoms, so older people, and people of color,” he says.