Inside Covid-19: Living through a pandemic – in SA, and in China. SAs speak – Ep 92

The biggest pandemic in a century reached a milestone this week: a million deaths around the world. In this episode of Inside Covid-19, we speak to South Africans who were in China when the virus emerged – and also lost a family member to Covid-19 in South Africa after he contracted it from another source. The two teachers from Durban, Andy and Gary Cronjé told how it was like living in the Zombie Apocalypse when Covid-19 broke out in China. Also coming up, a special report from our partners at the Wall Street Journal on six months of living through a pandemic. And, you will hear an update on tips to protect yourself from contracting Covid-19, from Discovery Health’s public health medicine specialist Dr Geraldine Timothy. – Jarryd Neves & Jackie Cameron

Inside Covid-19 headlines

  • Most of the dead have been older people. A review published in Nature in late August concluded that mortality climbs after 50 and climbs steeply after 60. After age — by far the biggest risk factor — comes sex, with males more at risk than females, reports Australia’s ABC News.
  • The epicentre has moved, from its beginning in China, to other South-East Asian nations and then Europe, followed quickly by the United States. The hotspots are now in southern Asia — with India close to overtaking the US for the highest total number of cases — and Latin America, says ABC News, adding that more than 5,000 people are dying every day
  • The first coronavirus death outside China was a 44-year-old man in the Philippines on February 2. At that time, around 360 people had died in China, says the Australian broadcaster in a special report. “From there, deaths quickly accelerated around the world, peaking in mid April with a seven-day average of 6,994 deaths. However, the deadliest single day of the pandemic so far was August 14, with 10,135 deaths recorded.”
  • The US has the highest number of confirmed infections and the highest number of confirmed deaths, says the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre.
  • India is the only Asian country in the top 10, despite the virus’ rise in China, says ABC News.
  • New York experienced the first big outbreak in the US, and still tops the country for the number of deaths, reports the Australian news organisation. “With an estimated population of 19.4 million, the state of New York has recorded at least 31,300 deaths — comparable with Spain (population 46.94 million), France (66.99 million) and Peru (31.99 million). In fact, if New York was counted as a separate country, it would have the seventh-most deaths.”
  • Latest SA Covid-19 statistics (as of 30 September). Tests conducted: 4,187,917. Positive cases identified: 674,339. Total recoveries: 608,112. Total deaths: 16,734. New cases: 1,767
  • Global coronavirus cases approached 34 million, with Germany reporting the highest number of infections since April amid a resurgence in Europe, reports Bloomberg. Israel saw a record 8,919 new cases after a dip in numbers over the holiday weekend, it says.
  • Germany will unveil a draft law that would give employees the legal right to work from home, within the next few weeks, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil told the Financial Times, the latest example of how the pandemic is altering working life. The law would seek to ensure workers have the option of working from home and regulate home office work.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention extended a ban on cruises in the US by a month, to Oct. 31, saying in a statement that further action is needed before cruises can safely resume, reports Bloomberg. It said data from March through September show more than 3,600 Covid-19 or Covid-like cases on cruise ships in US waters, and at least 41 reported deaths.
  • American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. will start laying off thousands of employees as originally scheduled, spurning an appeal from US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as he negotiates with Congress about extending payroll support for U.S. carriers. Bloomberg says the cuts are the latest among tens of thousands of job losses announced by blue-chip companies in a 24-hour period, after Walt Disney Co. said late Tuesday that it’s slashing 28,000 workers in its slumping US resort business. On Wednesday, Allstate Corp., the fourth-largest car insurer in the US, said it will cut 3,800 jobs, roughly 8% of its workforce.
  • The UK’s coronavirus outbreak is not under control as hospitalization and death rates rise, Boris Johnson’s chief scientist is reported as saying. “Numbers of cases are going up, hospitalizations are going up, ICUs are going up, and unfortunately, very sadly so are deaths,” Government Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said. “We don’t have this under control at the moment.” (Source: Bloomberg)
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