IT was sad day for US yesterday (10.4.2020) when it became the first country in the world to record over 2,000 deaths from the deadly novel coronavirus infection in a single day while in Thailand two more persons died taking the toll to 35 and the addition of 45 cases raised the total to 2,518.
Figures from Johns Hopkins University show 2,108 people died in US the past 24 hours while there are now more than half a million confirmed infections, BBC said.
The US could soon surpass Italy as the country with the most coronavirus deaths worldwide.
But experts on the White House Covid-19 task force say the outbreak is starting to level off across the US.
Dr Deborah Birx said there were good signs the outbreak was stabilising, but cautioned: “As encouraging as they are, we have not reached the peak.”
Meanwhile global cases reached at least 1,696,139 and global death at least 102,669, CNBC reported.
Most cases reported: United States (500,399), Spain (158,273), Italy (147,577), Germany (122,171), France (125,931).
Disturbingly even remote Amazon jungle has not escaped from this pandemic with a tribe there recording its first death related to Covid-19 after a teenager who tested positive for coronavirus fell critically ill, The Independent quoted Brazilian health officials as saying.
Alvanei Xirixan, a 15-year-old boy from the Yanomami indigenous group, died on Thursday night in intensive care at a hospital in Boa Vista, the capital of Roraima state, officials said, amid concerns about the vulnerability of indigenous people to foreign diseases.
Luiz Henrique Mandetta, Brazil’s health minister, said the case was “very worrying” when it was first reported on Wednesday.
“We have to be triply cautious with [indigenous] communities, especially the ones that have very little contact with the outside world,” he said.
Meanwhile a new study examining air samples from hospital wards with Covid-19 patients has found the virus can travel up to 4 metres – twice the distance current guidelines say people should leave between themselves in public, according to an AFP report published by ChannelNewsAsia
The preliminary results of the investigation by Chinese researchers were published on Friday in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
They add to a growing debate on how the disease is transmitted, with the scientists themselves cautioning that the small quantities of virus they found at this distance are not necessarily infectious.
The researchers, led by a team at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing, tested surface and air samples from an intensive care unit and a general Covid-19 ward at Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan. They housed a total of 24 patients between February 19 and March 2.
They found that the virus was most heavily concentrated on the floors of the wards, “perhaps because of gravity and airflow causing most virus droplets to float to the ground”.
High levels were also found on frequently touched surfaces like computer mice, rubbish bins, bed rails and doorknobs.
“Furthermore, half of the samples from the soles of the ICU medical staff shoes tested positive,” the team wrote. “Therefore, the soles of medical staff shoes might function as carriers.”
The team also looked at so-called aerosol transmission – when the droplets of the virus are so fine they become suspended and remain airborne for several hours, unlike cough or sneeze droplets that fall to the ground within seconds.
They found that virus-laden aerosols were mainly concentrated near and downstream from patients at up to 4 metres – though smaller quantities were found upstream, up to 2.4 metres.
Encouragingly, no members of the hospital staff were infected, “indicating that appropriate precautions could effectively prevent infection”, the authors wrote.
They also offered advice that bucks orthodox guidelines: “Our findings suggest that home isolation of persons with suspected Covid-19 might not be a good control strategy” given the levels of environmental contamination.
Aerosolisation of the coronavirus is a contentious area for scientists who study it, because it is not clear how infectious the disease is in the tiny quantities found in ultrafine mist.
US health authorities have adopted a more cautious line and urged people to cover their faces when out in public in case the virus can be transmitted through normal breathing and speaking.
Top: A conductor waits for customers to embark a train at Grand Central Terminal, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in New York. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it is facing a “financial calamity” as ridership on subways and commuter rail lines has nose-dived as people stay home to avoid the new coronavirus. Photo: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer published by CNN
Inset: The 15-year-old boy from the Yanomami indigenous tribe lived in a remote village such as this one. Photo: CNN