Health News Roundup: Mexico official calls diet a factor as coronavirus death toll climbs; Japan to boost Avigan drug stockpile and moreDevdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 05-04-2020 10:31 IST | Created: 05-04-2020 10:26 IST
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Ecuador stores coronavirus victims in giant fridges as morgues fill up
Ecuador's government has begun storing the bodies of victims of the coronavirus in giant refrigerated containers as hundreds of deaths in the city of Guayaquil, the center of the country's outbreak, have already filled morgues and hospitals. Ecuador has confirmed 318 deaths from the virus, one of the highest tallies in Latin America. But President Lenin Moreno said this week that the real figure was higher as authorities were collecting more than 100 bodies a day, many from relatives' homes as a strict quarantine prevented them from being buried.
Mexico official calls diet a factor as coronavirus death toll climbs
Mexican Deputy Hugo Lopez-Gatell said on Saturday that decades of poor eating habits in the country have created an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and other related health complications that make its people more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus. The Mexican health ministry has so far registered a total of 1,890 cases of the novel coronavirus and 79 deaths.
Japan to boost Avigan drug stockpile as part of coronavirus stimulus
Japan is considering increasing the stockpile of Fujifilm Holding Corp's Avigan anti-flu drug during this fiscal year so it can be used to treat 2 million people, according to a planning document seen by Reuters. Local media reported on Sunday that Japan was hoping to triple the production of the drug from current levels, which is enough to treat 700,000 people if used by coronavirus patients.
Trump: 'Going to be a lot of death' in U.S. next week from coronavirus
President Donald Trump told Americans to brace for a big spike in coronavirus fatalities in the coming days, as the country faces what he called the toughest two weeks of the pandemic. "There's going to be a lot of death," Trump said at a briefing with reporters.
Brazil lawmakers pass 'war budget' as coronavirus cases top 10,000
Brazil's lower house of Congress approved a constitutional amendment for a "war budget" to separate coronavirus-related spending from the government's main budget and shield the economy as the country surpassed 10,000 confirmed cases. The war budget still needs the Senate's approval by three-fifths of the votes in two rounds expected to take place next week.
Trump says he may take drug to treat coronavirus, questions states' ventilator needs
President Donald Trump on Saturday doubled down on his support for a drug that is still being tested to treat the coronavirus, saying he might take the medicine himself and encouraging others with doctor approval to do the same. At his daily press briefing, Trump also chided some states for requesting more ventilators from the federal government than he said they needed.
Number of coronavirus intensive care patients in Italy drops for first time
Italy reported its lowest daily rise in COVID-19 deaths for nearly two weeks on Saturday and said the number of patients in intensive care had fallen for the first time. Officials urged the country not to flout strict lockdown measures they said were starting to show results, although new cases rose by 4,805 on Saturday which was slightly higher than recent daily increases.
UK coronavirus death rate to stay high top medic says, as toll passes 4,300
High fatalities from the coronavirus will continue in the United Kingdom for at least another week or two even if people comply with stringent isolation measures, health authorities said on Saturday as the country's death toll jumped to 4,313. The toll went up by 708 in 24 hours, the highest daily rise so far in Britain. A 5-year-old child with an underlying health problem was among the dead, along with at least 40 who had no known previous known conditions.
Mainland China sees rise in new coronavirus cases
Mainland China reported 30 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, up from 19 a day earlier as the number of cases involving travelers from abroad as well as local transmissions increased, highlighting the difficulty in stamping out the outbreak. The National Health Commission said in a statement on Sunday that 25 of the latest cases involved people who had entered from abroad, compared with 18 such cases a day earlier. Five new locally transmitted infections were also reported on Saturday, all in the southern coastal province of Guangdong, up from a day earlier.
Exclusive: Pressed by Trump, U.S. pushed unproven coronavirus treatment guidance
In mid-March, President Donald Trump personally pressed federal health officials to make malaria drugs available to treat the novel coronavirus, though they had been untested for COVID-19, two sources told Reuters. Shortly afterward, the federal government published highly unusual guidance informing doctors they had the option to prescribe the drugs, with key dosing information based on unattributed anecdotes rather than peer-reviewed science.