India’s Total Coronavirus Infections Cross 9 Million
Nov 20, 2020 | Pratirodh Bureau
A healthcare worker wearing personal protective equipment collects a swab sample from a woman amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease in Noida on November 19, 2020
India crossed the grim milestone of 9 million coronavirus cases, with 45,882 new infections recorded in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Friday.
India is only the second country to cross 9 million coronavirus infections, after the United States, but cases have slowed down in the country after hitting a peak in September.
Deaths rose by 584, with the total now at 132,162, the Health Ministry said.
Government officials and experts have warned that the country could still see a spike after the festival of Diwali was celebrated this month.
Meanwhile, a World Health Organization (WHO) panel said on Friday that Gilead’s drug remdesivir is not recommended for patients hospitalised with COVID-19, regardless of how ill they are, as there is no evidence it improves survival or reduces the need for ventilation.
“The … panel found a lack of evidence that remdesivir improved outcomes that matter to patients such as reduced mortality, need for mechanical ventilation, time to clinical improvement, and others,” the guideline said.
The advice is another setback for the drug, which grabbed worldwide attention as a potentially effective treatment for COVID-19 in the summer after early trials showed some promise.
The antiviral is one of only two medicines currently authorised to treat COVID-19 patients across the world, but a large WHO-led trial known as the Solidarity Trial showed last month that it had little or no effect on 28-day mortality or length of hospital stays for COVID-19 patients.
The medication was one of the drugs used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection, and had been shown in previous studies to have cut time to recovery. It is authorised or approved for use as a COVID-19 treatment in more than 50 countries.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s potential COVID-19 vaccine produced a strong immune response in older adults, data published on Thursday showed.
Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna could be ready for U.S. authorization and distribution within weeks, setting the stage for inoculation to begin this year.
Meanwhile, world financial markets were hit by a wave of uncertainty on Friday after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called for an end to coronavirus pandemic relief for struggling businesses.