Inside Covid-19: Tracing app; scientists knew Covid-19 was coming – but didn’t prepare. Ep 81

In this episode (81) we talk to Professor Christophe Fraser, of the University of Oxford, the man who advised the South African and British governments on the Covid-19 contact tracing app. And we speak to Stellenbosch university’s Professor Wolfgang Preiser, a virology expert of global standing on diseases that jump from animals to humans – and what the latest thinking is on Covid-19, which is a zoonotic disease. He tells us the world did very little to safeguard against a disease they knew about some years back – and he shares his views on the Covid-19 app. – Jackie Cameron

The Covid-19 headlines:

  • South Africa’s restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus put the economy into its longest recession in 28 years, with gross domestic product contracting more than expected in the second quarter. GDP shrank an annualized 51% in the period through June from the previous quarter, following a revised 1.8% contraction in the first three months, according o Statistics South Africa.
  • The level of economic activity is only likely to return to pre-Covid-19 levels by 2023-24, said Sanisha Packirisamy, an economist at Momentum Investments. The difference between actual and potential growth will likely keep a lid on inflation in the near term, reports Bloomberg.
  • The human cost of coronavirus has continued to mount, with more than 27.3m cases confirmed globally and more than 884,600 people known to have died. The World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a pandemic in March and it has spread to more than 200 countries, with severe public health and economic consequences.
  • President Donald Trump said at a White House briefing Monday that a vaccine may be ready in October. Meanwhile, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he would heed the advice of scientists about whether to get a coronavirus vaccine if one were to become available before November’s presidential election.
  • Germany’s new virus cases increased at the fastest pace since April as its public health authority said the situation continued to be “dynamic and serious.” The Bank of England’s chief economist warned against extending a government program to retain employees during the pandemic and said that some jobs “may well not be coming back.”
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