September 3, (Reuters) – What you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Vaccine distribution plans
Seventy-six wealthy nations are now committed to joining a global COVID-19 vaccine allocation plan co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to help buy and fairly distribute the shots, the project’s co-lead said on Wednesday.
COVAX is designed to discourage national governments from hoarding COVID-19 vaccines and to focus on first vaccinating the most high-risk people in every country.
In the United States, which said on Tuesday it would not join COVAX due to the Trump administration’s objection to WHO involvement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has asked state public health officials to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine to high-risk groups as soon as late October, documents published by the agency showed on Wednesday.
Steroids save lives
Treating critically ill COVID-19 patients with corticosteroid drugs reduces the risk of death by 20% regardless of which steroid is used, according to an analysis of seven international trials published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“This is equivalent to around 68% of (the sickest COVID-19) patients surviving after treatment with corticosteroids, compared to around 60% surviving in the absence of corticosteroids,” the researchers said in a statement.
The World Health Organization (WHO) health agency said corticosteroids should only be used in treatment of the sickest COVID-19 patients, and also urged countries to maintain sufficient stocks of corticosteroids, “while not maintaining excessive stocks which could deny other countries access”.
COVID-19 for the long haul
Thousands of people worldwide are reporting a wide range of ongoing symptoms many months after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Some call themselves COVID “long haulers”, while others have adopted the term “long COVID” to describe their condition.
Breathlessness, memory loss, extreme fatigue, headaches, brain fog, muscle pain and swelling joints, are commonly described among multiple recurring symptoms in global online patient advocacy blogs and chatrooms.
And for many, the anxiety, depression and dread around the unknown progression of the disease are at least as debilitating as the physical frailties.
Masks on during sex, Canada’s top doctor says
Skip kissing and consider wearing a mask when having sex to protect yourself from catching the coronavirus, Canada’s chief medical officer Dr Theresa Tam said on Wednesday, adding that going solo remains the lowest risk sexual option in a pandemic.
Tam said in a statement there is little chance of catching COVID-19 from semen or vaginal fluid, but sexual activity with new partners does increase the risk of contracting the virus, particularly if there is close contact like kissing.
“The lowest risk sexual activity during COVID-19 involves yourself alone,” she said.