Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Weekly Epidemiological and Operational updates
last update: 8 October 2020, 20:00 GMT-4
Confirmed cases :: 36 754 395 [week ago: 34 495 176]
Confirmed deaths :: 1 064 838 [week ago 1 025 729]
Countries, areas or territories with cases :: 235
Weekly Epidemiological Update
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
5 October 2020
Global epidemiological situation
The number of new cases per week has remained stable at 2 million for the past three weeks (Figure 1), with the cumulative total of over 34.8 million cases. Over 1 million deaths have now been reported globally, of which the majority were reported in the Region of the Americas (55%), followed by Europe (23%). In the past week, the regions of the Americas, South-East Asia, and Europe account for 91% of new cases. Five countries (namely India, the United States of America, Brazil, Argentina and France) reported 60% of new global cases this past week, while Israel registered the highest incidence (3717 new cases per 1 million population). Globally, the highest percentage of cases have been reported in the 25-39 age group, with approximately 50% of cases in the 25-64 age group. However, the percentage of deaths increases with age, and approximately 75% of deaths are in those aged 65 years and above.
Although globally the number of new cases was similar to the number of cases in the previous week, there is considerable variation on a country- by-country basis. In several countries, the number of new cases is rising again, and in many (most notably within the European Region) the second wave is exceeding previous peaks; this can be partly attributed to enhancements in surveillance capacities over time. In other countries we have seen a gradual decline in new cases from earlier peaks in August, for example in Brazil, Colombia and Peru. In India and the Philippines, the number of new cases appear to have stabilized, but they are still reporting high numbers. There are also examples of countries that have consistently shown an increasing incidence as their first wave continues; these include Indonesia, Iraq, and Myanmar, although Indonesia is reporting a slight drop this week. South Africa and Australia are examples of countries that have successfully managed to reduce the number of new cases and have seen large reductions from earlier peaks.
Key weekly updates
:: Diagnostics: WHO issued the first and second Emergency Use Listing for a quality antigen based rapid diagnostic test. WHO published guidance highlights the value of these tests in areas where community transmission is widespread and where nucleic acid amplification-based diagnostic testing is either unavailable or where test results are significantly delayed. On 28 September, the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator announced 120 million high-quality, affordable COVID-19 antigen rapid tests to be made available to low- and middle-income countries.
:: Diagnostics: WHO published the final version of Target Product Profiles (TPP) for priority diagnostics. These TPPs describe the desirable and minimal acceptable profiles for four tests: (i) point of care tests for suspected cases and their close contacts where reference assay testing is unavailable, or turnaround times obviate clinical utility; (ii) tests for diagnosis or confirmation of acute or subacute infection, suitable for low or high-volume needs; (iii) point of care test for prior infection; and (iv) tests for prior infection for moderate to high volume needs.
:: COVAX: The Director-General Dr Tedros, in his regular media briefing on 2 October, highlighted 168 have joined COVAX. Through the ACT Accelerator and COVAX Facility, any vaccines that are proven to be safe and effective will be rolled out equitably across the world.
:: International Day of Older Persons: On 1 October, the International Day of Older Persons, WHO launched a package of tools, including a digital application to help health and social workers provide better care for older people . A data portal was also launched that will compile data on global indicators for monitoring the health and well-being of people aged 60 and over. Globally, older persons and those receiving long term care, accounts for a majority of COVID-19 severe cases and deaths.
:: Mental Health: Billions of people around the world have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having an added impact on people’s mental health. On 10 October, World Mental Health Day, WHO is organizing a Big Event for Mental Health. The advocacy event will focus on the urgent need to address the world’s chronic under-investment in mental health – a problem that has been thrown into the spotlight during the COVID-19 pandemic.
:: Preparedness: During the United Nations General Assembly, a high-level event on ‘Sustainable preparedness for health security and resilience: Adopting a whole-of-society approach and breaking the “panic-then-forget” cycle’ was organized and co-hosted by Finland, France and Indonesia, along with the WHO. As the world crossed a grim milestone with over a million lives lost to COVID-19, with many more expected to have died from unprecedented disruptions to health systems. The event highlighted the need for sustainable health emergency preparedness as COVID-19 will not be the world’s last health emergency.