World updates on the pandemic – Janet Victoria DIAZ, WHO
Watch the replay here Introduction and WHO updates
Dr Janet Victoria Diaz (World Health Organization [WHO]) said that there were 465,915 COVID-19 cases and 21,031 deaths up to 26 March 2020. However, this figure is rising every day, so for the latest updates, please visit https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019.
Public health interventions at present are focusing on ‘flattening the curve’. However, countries need to put plans in place for screening, triage, patient information, patient transfer, isolation, and treatment. Also, planning is needed for surge actions, including increasing intensive care unit (ICU) capacity, ICU staff (including training in the use of personal protective equipment [PPE]), and equipment (ventilators, oxygen, PPE) as around 20% of cases will require ICU care (depending on the level of testing). We also need ‘global solidarity’, with the opening of ‘humanitarian corridors’ to help vulnerable countries obtain equipment, supplies, and human resources.
Mortality rates are widely known to vary considerably by age and comorbidities, but it is important to look for other predictors. Patients with moderate/severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) will likely require lung-protective ventilation in the prone position and fluid conservative regimens. Ongoing trials (>300 have been registered) will hopefully provide some answers around which already-licensed drugs might be beneficial. The WHO is helping to prioritize research questions and share results.
Overall, the world needs to work together at this difficult time, to save lives and advance knowledge.