Texas pauses reopening
The governor of Texas temporarily halted the state’s reopening as
COVID-19 infections and hospitalisations surged and the United
States set a record for a one-day increase in cases.
Texas’ rising numbers are part of a nationwide resurgence reported
in states that were spared the brunt of the initial outbreak or
moved early to lift restrictions on residents and businesses.
While some of the increased numbers of cases can be attributed to
more testing, the percentage of positive results is also climbing.
The focus of the pandemic has moved to the U.S. West and South,
including more sparsely populated rural areas, from the early
epicentre around New York in the east where more than 31,000 deaths
have been recorded.
The many health problems caused by COVID-19
Scientists are only starting to grasp the vast array of health
problems caused by the novel coronavirus, some of which may have
lingering effects on patients and health systems for years to come,
doctors and infectious disease experts say.
Besides the respiratory issues that leave patients gasping for
breath, the virus that causes COVID-19 attacks many organ systems,
in some cases causing catastrophic damage.
"We thought this was only a respiratory virus. Turns out, it goes
after the pancreas. It goes after the heart. It goes after the
liver, the brain, the kidney and other organs. We didn't appreciate
that in the beginning," said Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and
director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La
Recovery can be slow, incomplete and costly, with a huge impact on
quality of life. [nL1N2E21L6]
The battle to tame seasonal flu
As South America's winter sets in, health officials and doctors are
beefing up inoculation programs to head off a potential spike in
seasonal flu that could overwhelm hospitals already straining under
the coronavirus pandemic.
Coupled with regional lockdowns, the inoculation drive has so far
helped keep rates of seasonal respiratory disease low, even as cases
of COVID-19 rise, according to doctors and recent government data.
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Health workers and officials in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay said efforts to
curb seasonal flu were key to supporting regional hospitals, with Latin America
now on the front lines of the global battle against COVID-19. [nL1N2DP0HJ]
Toilet paper hoarding is back
Australia's supermarket chains reintroduced purchase limits on toilet paper and
other household items as a spike in coronavirus cases in the state of Victoria
set off a fresh round of panic-buying over fears of a new stay-at-home order.
Woolworths and Coles, which together account for two-thirds of Australian
grocery sales, said they were once again limiting purchases of toilet roll and
paper towels to one or two packs per person after photos circulated on social
media showing empty shelves in stores.
The buying restrictions - and images of stripped shelves - recall Australia's
initial response to the arrival of COVID-19 when shoppers stockpiled household
goods in anticipation of a protracted shutdown. [nL4N2E312T]
"Connected" face mask for the new normal
As face coverings become the norm during the coronavirus pandemic, Japanese
startup Donut Robotics has developed an internet-connected "smart mask" that can
transmit messages and translate from Japanese into eight other languages.
The white plastic "c-mask" fits over standard face masks and connects via
Bluetooth to a smartphone and tablet application that can transcribe speech into
text messages, make calls, or amplify the mask wearer's voice.
Donut Robotics' engineers came up with the idea for the mask as they searched
for a product to help the company survive the pandemic. When the coronavirus
struck, it had just secured a contract to supply robot guides and translators to
Tokyo's Haneda Airport, a product that faces an uncertain future after the
collapse of air travel. [nL4N2E02J5]
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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