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Over 117 million kids may miss measles vaccines due to coronavirus

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Over 117 million kids could miss measles vaccines as the coronavirus pandemic imposes social distancing pressure upon the health services, warned the UN health agencies on Tuesday.

Campaigns for measles immunizations in 24 nations have been delayed already, and more would be postponed, possibly putting kids in 37 nations at risk, as per the M&RI (Measles & Rubella Initiative) which is supported by the WHO (World Health Organization), the UN kids’ fund UNICEF as well as others. 

In a statement, the group has urged the leaders to say that if the tough choice to pause the vaccination is taken due to fear of the further spread of coronavirus, they should intensify efforts in order to monitor unvaccinated kids. This measure would ensure that the most vulnerable regions can be given the measles vaccines on time, the group added. 

Though the group understands that there would be a lot of demand on frontline workers and health systems during the coronavirus threat, delivering all the immunizations aids, including the measles vaccine, is essential to save lives. 

The highly contagious disease COVID-19 so far has claimed the lives of over 113,000 individuals and kept nations across the globe in a virtual lockdown state as they attempt to cease the further spread of the virus which causes it. 

However, under its shadow, an increase in the outbreaks of measles poses another critical health threat worldwide. 

In December, the WHO said that almost 10 million people were infected with measles in the year 2018 and 140,000, mostly kids, had died in what’s called an ‘outrage.’

The disease, though extremely contagious, can be contained if a mass immunization campaign is initiated, which would generally mean kids and babies being vaccinated as a part of the regular health services. 

To fight COVID-19, most nations across the globe are focused on protecting healthcare workers from the infection as well as imposing stringent social distancing. The WHO suggests that the governments should halt the preventive immunization campaigns temporarily, like the ones against measles, where there’s no outbreak of vaccine-preventable infection presently.

Medical aid initiatives which may generally include measles, as well as other vaccination campaigns, have halted in several regions of Africa, as nations have shut their borders and restricted regular health services because of the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, the M&RI group informed that it supports the present need to safeguard healthcare workers and communities from coronavirus, but has warned that this shouldn’t lead to children missing out on essential vaccines. 

As per the group, urgent steps should be taken immediately to fill up the immunity voids that would be exploited by the measles virus.

John Biggs is a writer, consultant, programmer, former East Coast Editor and current contributing writer for Elisa Kit News. He writes mainly about technology, cryptocurrency, security, gadgets, gear, wristwatches, and the internet. After spending his formative years as a programmer, he switched his profession and became a full-time entrepreneur and writer. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Laptop, PC Upgrade, Surge, Gizmodo, Men’s Health, InSync, Linux Journal, Popular Science, Sync, and he has written a book called Black Hat: Misfits, Criminals, and Scammers in the Internet Age. He builds products, writes books, and consults with startups to help them make cool things. John Biggs runs the BWL family of blogs, SlushPile.net, Audiomonger, and WristWatchReview.com. Born in 1975, he currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Disclosure: Biggs owns and maintains cryptocurrencies in a private account and has been consulting with startups regarding blockchain-based products. He also edits and writes for startup clients. Contact Email: john@elisakitnews.net Twitter: https://twitter.com/johnbiggs Phone: 720.643.4443

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Coronavirus resurgence is likely in 2024, says a Harvard study

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Social distancing might be needed until the year 2022 to avoid critical healthcare capacities from getting exceeded, says a new study from Harvard University, as more COVID-19 patients get hospitalized in the ICUs.

Even in case of apparent elimination, there is a need to maintain SARS-CoV-2 surveillance as a resurgence might be possible by the year 2024, say the researchers of the study.

There is an urgent need to take appropriate measures to tackle the present pandemic. Pharmaceutical treatments and vaccines might need months or years to create and test, said the researchers with the sole way to combat the disease being non-pharmaceutical developments. 

As per the researchers, SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that is causing the fatal disease, has the power to produce a considerable outbreak regardless of what season it is. 

The findings of the study showed that the outbreaks established during winter-spring, such as the one causing the present coronavirus pandemic, generally have low peaks. Meanwhile, the ones occurring during autumn-winter are more acute, said the researchers. 

It is still being learned whether individuals who once contract the disease would be immune to coronavirus permanently. If the immunity to stay protected from the virus isn’t permanent, it’s likely to enter in the regular circulation, just like the flu pandemic, as per the study.

The COVID-19 mortality rate, as of Wednesday, stands at 6.4 percent, with almost 127,000 deaths of about 2 million confirmed cases. Comparatively, the flu mortality rate in the country stood at 0.096 percent during the 2018-19 seasons, as per the CDC, being almost 67 times lesser than coronavirus. 

A study published by the CDC in the year 2006 estimates mortality of Spanish flu to stand at 10 to 20 percent. Lary Brilliant, an epidemiologist who worked along with the WHO to help eliminate smallpox, said in March that mortality rate was 2 to 10 percent during the 1918-19 pandemic. 

As per the researchers from Harvard, even if the SARS-CoV-2 immunity would last only for 2 years, moderate, 30 percent immunity from the other strands of coronavirus which generally cause cold might eliminate its transfer up till 3 years effectively.  

Even in the event of the virus appearing to have died down, say the researchers, a resurgence is still likely in the year 2024. As per the researchers, a long-standing immunity, which can be attained by vaccination, can possibly result in the elimination of coronavirus. 

The Harvard study appears in the journal Science.

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New York to begin reporting probable deaths due to coronavirus to CDC

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On Wednesday, the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, said that the US state would start reporting probable deaths due to coronavirus to the CDC as the country struggles on how to count the increasing mortality rate while there’s still minimal testing. 

In his statement, Cuomo said that New York would rationalize these new reporting guidelines with the local governments as well as get that data out as quickly as possible. 

Besides, the state would get in touch with the nursing facilities and homes as well to learn whether any other individuals lost their lives due to coronavirus, but weren’t in nursing homes or hospitals necessarily at that time, said Cuomo.

Cuomo believes that there might be additional individuals who have died and were not included in the death count as they were not hospitalized, so the new measure will go through that. 

As of Wednesday, there were over 213,000 known coronavirus positive cases in New York, with over 11,500 confirmed death cases. However, that doesn’t include several probable deaths that NYC began reporting during this week. 

On Tuesday, the city reported over 111,400 known positive coronavirus cases, with around 6,840 known death cases and about 4,059 probable death cases. 

Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of NYC on Wednesday, said that he believes reporting the no. of probable coronavirus deaths was significant to showcase the sheer totality and bigger reality of the pandemic. 

The city has also released data that shows there were around 8,184 death cases from 11 March to 13 April, which weren’t known as probable or confirmed cases. 

When asked about the figures on Wednesday, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the NYC Health Department’s commissioner, said the sad reality is there’ve been individuals who have lost lives directly or indirectly due to coronavirus. 

Barbot said it was essential to compare the over 8,000 deaths with the no. of deaths recorded through the same time the previous year. She said that only time could tell what those no. really meant. For instance, a few deaths could have been recorded as being caused due to heart strokes as people hadn’t yet developed the symptoms of coronavirus when they otherwise should’ve been counted as apparent coronavirus victims, said Barbot.

On Tuesday, Barbot, in a statement made to NBC News related to probable death count, said that the state is now focused on making sure that each New York resident who passed away due to coronavirus gets counted. 

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Taste and smell loss is associated with coronavirus, says a new UC San Diego health study

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The loss of taste and smell so far has just anecdotally been associated with coronavirus so far, but a new study reveals the first-ever correlation between the disease and sensory loss. 

The study, conducted by the researchers from UC San Diego Health, shows that individuals who have taste and smell loss had their chances of contracting coronavirus increased by ten times. 

The findings of the study support the need to stay aware of the taste and smell loss as early symptoms of the virus, said the researchers. These conclusions were based upon the patients who weren’t hospitalized for coronavirus. 

Fever continues to remain the first symptom of COVID-19, but the loss of taste and smell, as well as fatigue, also followed as the initial symptoms often. 

As per otolaryngologist, Carol Yan from the UC San Diego Health, majority individuals were experiencing improvements within 2 to 3 weeks, and that is hugely reassuring for every one of those who have taste and smell loss. 

Ken Ramirez from Ranco Penasquitos, who had lost all sense of taste and smell, is recovering steadily from the disease. He says that his experience supports the study findings and that the information is extremely useful for those who are witnessing similar symptoms. If anything like this happens to anyone, they should realize that it is unique to coronavirus, said Ramirez.

For the study, the researchers from UC San Diego Health involved 1,480 patients who had symptoms similar to flu as well as concerns regarding possible coronavirus infection. They underwent testing at the health system starting from 3rd March till 29th March. Of the volunteers who participated, 102 tested positive for coronavirus, while 1,378 participants tested negative.  

As per a media release issued by the UC San Diego Health, the study involved responses from 203 coronavirus negative patients and 59 coronavirus positive patients. It discovered that 68 percent of the 59 patients reported taste loss while 17 percent of the 203 patients reported taste loss and 16 percent reported smell loss. 

The researchers also discovered that the patients who said they had sore throat tested coronavirus negative often. 

Dr. Yan hopes that the study will pose a worldwide impact and will promote further research on taste and smell loss. She is also hopeful that it will raise awareness so that sensory impairment gets included as a regular screening measure. 

The study appears in the medical journal Forum of Allergy and Rhinology. 

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