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Opinion

Government may increase the death toll with unjust and insane measures, why are they doubling down on failure? – Lord Sumption, The Sun

  • Instead of indiscriminate rules, we should be concentrating on protecting the vulnerable.
  • The rest should be allowed to get on with normal life and acquire some natural immunity.
  • The Government’s policy is founded upon a great lie — that we are all vulnerable to Covid so it is necessary to take over the lives of everyone.
  • For healthy people under 60 the symptoms are usually mild or non-existent. 
  • About 90 per cent of deaths have been of people aged over 70. Most are in their 80s or 90s.
  • Infections don’t matter a row of beans unless they lead to hospitalisations or deaths.
  • Out of nearly 43,000 dead with Covid-19, just 41 have been under 25.
  • What we are seeing now…is the first spike…which has come back to hit us. Just as their advisers told them it would, back in February and March.
  • So why are Johnson and his crew doubling down on failure? This is about covering politicians’ backs.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/12886627/lord-sumption-government-death-toll-coronavirus-crisis/

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Opinion

My manifesto to beat coronavirus crisis: Protect the elderly and vulnerable, let the rest live their lives, and throw Britain open again – Prof. David Livermore, Daily Mail

In fact, it is now becoming clear [Lockdown] is simply the wrong policy. Those who dissented from the Government’s Covid-19 strategy have been dismissed as mavericks on the fringes of the scientific establishment. However, this is no longer the case. I am afraid that the broadcast media has been particularly slow to reflect a shift in outlook among international scientists.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8816651/PROF-DAVID-LIVERMORE-manifesto-beat-coronavirus-crisis.html

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Opinion Videos

Covid experts: there is another way – UnHerd

  • Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health.
  • Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.
  • We know that vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young.
  • COVID-19 is less dangerous for children than many other harms, including influenza.
  • All populations will eventually reach herd immunity.
  • Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.
  • Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19.
  • Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal.
  • Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold.
  • Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home.
  • Restaurants and other businesses should open.
  • Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume.

https://unherd.com/2020/10/covid-experts-there-is-another-way/

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Opinion

Snitches and snoopers, students and the elderly shut away… a nation cowering and an economy in tatters. Now BEL MOONEY asks: How could once-indomitable Britain be reduced to slaves to fear? – Daily Mail

Have we all gone mad, and become so afraid of the virus that we’ve lost the ability to read, to think and to question? You could argue that the fear of Covid-19 has become so all-consuming that it has become even more of a killer than the virus itself.

  • The national debt: £36 billion borrowed last month [August] alone.
  • The national debt: Our overall figure of more than £2 trillion is the biggest ever recorded, and will take at least two generations to pay off. Redundancy looms for millions.
  • Of the 52,514 virus deaths registered by the Office for National Statistics, 89 per cent have been over-65s.
  • More than 22,000 over-85s have died, as well as some 17,000 aged between 75 and 84.
  • Only 314 people under the age of 40 have died of the disease since March.
  • NHS England figures show that more than 95 per cent of patients who die from coronavirus in hospital have an underlying health condition, such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity.
  • New report estimates that there will be a total of 74,000 deaths over the next five years due to the long-term financial and health impact of the pandemic.
  • Oncologists warn of an extra 30,000 deaths from cancers currently going undiagnosed.
  • Dr John Lee: COVID-19 is currently killing fewer than 40 of the 1,600 people who die every day in the UK.
  • There were 2,000 extra deaths from strokes and heart attacks this summer.
Categories
Opinion

Boris must urgently rethink his Covid strategy – Professor Carl Heneghan, Professor Karol Sikora, Professor Sunetra Gupta

Dear Prime Minister, Chancellor, CMOs and Chief Scientific Adviser

We are writing with the intention of providing constructive input into the choices with respect to the Covid-19 policy response. We also have several concerns regarding aspects of the existing policy choices that we wish to draw attention to.

In summary, our view is that the existing policy path is inconsistent with the known risk-profile of Covid-19 and should be reconsidered. The unstated objective currently appears to be one of suppression of the virus, until such a time that a vaccine can be deployed. This objective is increasingly unfeasible (notwithstanding our more specific concerns regarding existing policies) and is leading to significant harm across all age groups, which likely offsets any benefits.

Instead, more targeted measures that protect the most vulnerable from Covid, whilst not adversely impacting those not at risk, are more supportable. Given the high proportion of Covid deaths in care homes, these should be a priority. Such targeted measures should be explored as a matter of urgency, as the logical cornerstone of our future strategy.

In addition to this overarching point, we append a set of concerns regarding the existing policy choices, which we hope will be received in the spirit in which they are intended. We are mindful that the current circumstances are challenging, and that all policy decisions are difficult ones. Moreover, many people have sadly lost loved ones to Covid-19 throughout the UK. Nonetheless, the current debate appears unhelpfully polarised around views that Covid is extremely deadly to all (and that large-scale policy interventions are effective); and on the other hand, those who believe Covid poses no risk at all. In light of this, and in order to make choices that increase our prospects of achieving better outcomes in future, we think now is the right time to ‘step back’ and fundamentally reconsider the path forward.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sunetra Gupta; Professor of theoretical epidemiology, the University of Oxford

Professor Carl Heneghan; Director, Centre for Evidence Based Medicine, the University of Oxford

Professor Karol Sikora; Consultant oncologist and Professor of medicine, University of Buckingham

Sam Williams; Director and co-founder of Economic Insight

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/boris-needs-to-rethink-his-covid-strategy

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Opinion

This second wave of coronavirus is simply not as deadly… if we panic, so many more lives will be lost, says PROFESSOR KAROL SIKORA – Daily Mail

Britain is now in grave danger of sleepwalking into a second national lockdown. The consequences of doing so would be disastrous.

We find ourselves in this wretched position partly because the Government’s main achievement since the pandemic first emerged in China has not been suppressing the virus or saving lives or the economy, but in spreading irrational fear.

  • A blanket lockdown is the last thing we should be contemplating if we are serious about the nation’s mental and physical well-being.
  • This second wave will not trigger the explosion in deaths we saw in the spring.
  • Not a single young child has died in the UK from Covid without some other serious pre-existing condition.
  • According to Cambridge statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter, anyone under 50 is more likely to die in a car crash than from the virus.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8748883/This-second-wave-coronavirus-simply-not-deadly-says-PROFESSOR-KAROL-SIKORA.html

Categories
Publications

Use of “normal” risk to improve understanding of dangers of covid-19 – BMJ

Accumulating data on deaths from covid-19 show an association with age that closely matches the “normal” risk we all face. Explaining risk in this way could help people understand and manage their response, says David Spiegelhalter

As covid-19 turns from a societal threat into a matter of risk management, it is vital that the associated risks are understood and clearly communicated.1 But these risks vary hugely between people, and so finding appropriate analogues is a challenge. Although covid-19 is a complex multisystem disease that can cause prolonged illness, here I focus solely on the risks of dying from covid-19 and explore the use of “normal” risk—the risk of death from all causes each year—as an aid to transparent communication.

  • General population: the risk of catching and then dying from covid-19 during 16 weeks of the pandemic was equivalent to experiencing around 5 weeks extra “normal” risk for those over 55, decreasing steadily with age, to just 2 extra days for schoolchildren
  • Over 55 who are infected with covid-19: additional risk of dying is slightly more than the “normal” risk of death from all other causes over one year, and less for under 55s.

https://www.bmj.com/content/370/bmj.m3259

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News

COVID-19 turning out to be huge hoax perpetrated by media – Washington Times

When the postmortem is done on the media’s coverage of COVID-19 (and it will be), it will be clear that the virus was no Black Plague — it’s not even the flu on a bad year.

SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, has killed 56,749 Americans as of Tuesday.

That’s not good. But it’s not as bad as the 2017-2018 flu season, when 80,000 -plus perished. And it’s a long cry from what all the experts were warning about just a few weeks ago: First, they predicted 1.7 million Americans dead; then they redid the models (this time apparently entering a few more “facts”) and said 100,000-240,000 dead.

Fatality rate:

  • A recent Stanford University antibody study estimated the fatality rate from the virus is likely 0.1% to 0.2%
  • In New York City, the death rate for people 18 to 45 years old is 0.01%, or 10 per 100,000 in the population.
  • People aged 75 and older: 0.8%
  • For children under 18, the rate of death is zero per 100,000.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/apr/28/covid-19-turning-out-to-be-huge-hoax-perpetrated-b/

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News

The 1% blunder: How a simple but fatal math mistake by US Covid-19 experts caused the world to panic and order lockdowns – Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, RT

But where did this one percent figure come from? You may find this hard to believe, but this figure emerged by mistake. A pretty major thing to make a mistake about, but that’s what happened.

In order to understand what happened, you have to understand the difference between two medical terms that sound the same – but are completely different. [IFR and CFR.]

CFR will always be far higher than the IFR. With influenza, the CFR is around ten times as high as the IFR. Covid seems to have a similar proportion.

Now, clearly, you do not want to get these figures mixed up. By doing so you would either wildly overestimate, or wildly underestimate, the impact of Covid. But mix these figures up, they did.

…we’ve had all the deaths we were ever going to get. And which also means that lockdown achieved, almost precisely nothing with regard to Covid. No deaths were prevented.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/500000-covid19-math-mistake-panic/

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News

Hopes for normality grow as Covid shifts to the young: Two-thirds of new UK infections are in under-40s while rate in older people FALLS – raising hopes deaths will remain low without lockdowns – Dail Mail

The number of over-50s with Covid-19 represents a fifth of those nationwide

Just three per cent are aged over 80, down from 28 per cent six months ago

Peak age range for infections is now in the 20s but used to be in the 80s 

Sparked hope further restrictions could soon be reduced as older people shield 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8700399/Covid-shifts-young-Two-thirds-new-infections-UK-40s.html

Categories
Opinion

Delaying herd immunity is costing lives – Spiked

The choice we face is stark. One option is to maintain a general lockdown for an unknown amount of time until herd immunity is reached through a future vaccine or until there is a safe and effective treatment. This must be weighed against the detrimental effects that lockdowns have on other health outcomes. The second option is to minimise the number of deaths until herd immunity is achieved through natural infection. Most places are neither preparing for the former nor considering the latter.

The question is not whether to aim for herd immunity as a strategy, because we will all eventually get there. The question is how to minimise casualties until we get there. Since Covid-19 mortality varies greatly by age, this can only be accomplished through age-specific countermeasures. We need to shield older people and other high-risk groups until they are protected by herd immunity.

Among the individuals exposed to Covid-19, people aged in their 70s have roughly twice the mortality of those in their 60s, 10 times the mortality of those in their 50s, 40 times that of those in their 40s, 100 times that of those in their 30s, and 300 times that of those in their 20s. The over-70s have a mortality that is more than 3,000 times higher than children have. For young people, the risk of death is so low that any reduced levels of mortality during the lockdown might not be due to fewer Covid-19 deaths, but due to fewer traffic accidents.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/04/29/delaying-herd-immunity-is-costing-lives/

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Publications

Association of contact to small children with mild course of COVID-19 – medRxiv

It is known that severe COVID-19 cases in small children are rare. If a childhood-related infection would be protective against severe course of COVID-19, it would be expected that adults with intensive and regular contact to small children also may have a mild course of COVID-19 more frequently. To test this hypothesis, a survey among 4,010 recovered COVID-19 patients was conducted in Germany. 1,186 complete answers were collected. 6.9% of these patients reported frequent and regular job-related contact to children below 10 years of age and 23.2% had own small children, which is higher than expected. In the relatively small subgroup with intensive care treatment (n=19), patients without contact to small children were overrepresented. These findings are not well explained by age, gender or BMI distribution of those patients and should be validated in other settings.

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.07.20.20157149v1

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Videos

Oxford epidemiologists: suppression strategy is not viable – UnHerd

2:55 – Masks
• Tom Jefferson: “Aside from people who are exposed on the frontlines, there is no evidence that masks make any difference, but what’s even more extraordinary is the uncertainty: we don’t know if these things make any difference…. We should have done randomised control trials in February, March and April but not anymore because viral circulation is low and we will need huge number of enrolees to show whether there was any difference”.
• Carl Heneghan: “By all means people can wear masks but they can’t say it’s an evidence-based decision… there is a real separation between an evidence-based decision and the opaque term that ‘we are being led by the science’, which isn’t the evidence”.

9:26 – Pandemic life cycle
• CH: “One of the keys of the infection is to look at who’s been infected, which shows a crucial difference when comparing the pandemic theory to seasonal theory. In a pandemic you’d expect to see young people disproportionately affected, but in the UK we’ve only had six child deaths, which is far less than we’d normally see in a pandemic. The high number of deaths with over-75s fits with the seasonal theory”.

14:00 – Covid seasonality
• CH: “The stability of the virus is far less when the temperature goes up but humidity seems to be particularly important. The lower the humidity, the more stable the virus is in the atmosphere and on surfaces… It’s now winter in the southern hemisphere, which is why places like Australia are suddenly having outbreaks.”

20:37 – Lockdown
• CH: “Many people said that we should have locked down earlier, but 50% of care homes developed outbreaks during the lockdown period so there are issues within the transmission of this virus that are not clear… Lockdown is a blunt tool and there needs to be intelligent conversations about what mitigation strategies can keep society functioning while we keep the most vulnerable shielded”.

25:20 – Nightingale hospitals
• CH: “They are the wrong structure. What you need is fever hospitals which were here until around the 1980s or 90s. They were on single floors and had isolation within isolation. Theere were no lift shafts and staff were trained, which meant that everyone was protected from each other… It looks like at leats 20% of people got the infection while they were in hospital”

27:30 – Suppression strategy
• CH: “The benefits of the current strategy are outweighed by the harms…When it comes to suppression, only the virus will have a determination in that. If you follow the New Zealand policy of suppressing it to zero and locking down the country forever, then you’re going to have a problem… This virus is so out there now, I cannot see a strategy that makes suppression the viable option. The strategy right now should be how we learn to live with this virus”

32:45 – Response to the virus
• TJ: “I am a survivor of four pandemics and for the other three, I didn’t even realise they were going on. People died but nothing changed and none of the fabric of society was eroded like this response… Do I see steps being taken at a European level about learning from our mistakes and changing policies? The answer is no…

39:30 – Politics of the virus
• CH: “We as individuals are part of the problem because sensationalism drives people to click and read the information. So it’s a big circle because we’ve created the problem — if we put the worst case scenario out there, we will go and have a look. If you want a solution, you’ve got to get people to stop clicking on this sensationalist stuff”.

43:30 – IFR
• CH: “We will be down about where we were with the swine flu: around 0.1-0.3% which is much lower than what we think because at the moment we are seeing the case fatality”.
• TJ: “If you look at the whole narrative, it was distorted from the very beginning by the obsession with influenza which was just one or two agents and nothing else existed. We’re no different now”.

Categories
Opinion

Fact Checking. Matt Hancock’s figures on Covid deaths among shop workers analysed – Peter Hitchens, The Mail on Sunday

Ben Humberstone, Head of Health Analysis and Life Events, Office for National Statistics:

‘Today’s analysis shows that jobs involving close proximity with others, and those where there is regular exposure to disease, have some of the highest rates of death from COVID-19. However, our findings do not prove conclusively that the observed rates of death involving COVID-19 are necessarily caused by differences in occupational exposure.’

https://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2020/07/fact-checking-matt-hancocks-figures-on-covid-deaths-among-shop-workers-analysed-.html

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Opinion

Coronavirus: Why everyone was wrong – Dr. Beda Stadler

Professor Dr. Beda M Stadler is the former director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of Bern, a biologist and professor emeritus.

Novelty:

Sars-Cov-2 isn’t all that new, but merely a seasonal cold virus that mutated and disappears in summer, as all cold viri do — which is what we’re observing globally right now. Flu viri mutate significantly more, by the way, and nobody would ever claim that a new flu virus strain was completely novel.

Immunity:

In mid-April work was published by the group of Andreas Thiel at the Charité Berlin. A paper with 30 authors, amongst them the virologist Christian Drosten. It showed that in 34 % of people in Berlin who had never been in contact with the Sars-CoV-2 virus showed nonetheless T-cell immunity against it (T-cell immunity is a different kind of immune reaction, see below). This means that our T-cells, i.e. white blood cells, detect common structures appearing on Sars-CoV-2 and regular cold viri and therefore combat both of them.

…almost no children under ten years old got sick, everyone should have made the argument that children clearly have to be immune. For every other disease that doesn’t afflict a certain group of people, we would come to the conclusion that that group is immune. When people are sadly dying in a retirement home, but in the same place other pensioners with the same risk factors are left entirely unharmed, we should also conclude that they were presumably immune.

Modelling:

Epidemiologist also fell for the myth that there was no immunity in the population. They also didn’t want to believe that coronaviri were seasonal cold viri that would disappear in summer. Otherwise their curve models would have looked differently. When the initial worst case scenarios didn’t come true anywhere, some now still cling to models predicting a second wave.

Asymptomatic transmission:

The term “silent carriers” was conjured out of a hat and it was claimed that one could be sick without having symptoms.

The next joke that some virologists shared was the claim that those who were sick without symptoms could still spread the virus to other people…But for doctors and virologists to twist this into a story of “healthy” sick people, which stokes panic and was often given as a reason for stricter lockdown measures, just shows how bad the joke really is. At least the WHO didn’t accept the claim of asymptomatic infections and even challenges this claim on its website.

Testing:

So if we do a PCR corona test on an immune person, it is not a virus that is detected, but a small shattered part of the viral genome. The test comes back positive for as long as there are tiny shattered parts of the virus left. Correct: Even if the infectious viri are long dead, a corona test can come back positive, because the PCR method multiplies even a tiny fraction of the viral genetic material enough [to be detected]…The crux was that the virus debris registered with the overly sensitive test and therefore came back as “positive”. It is likely that a large number of the daily reported infection numbers are purely due to viral debris.

Kawasaki Syndrome:

If an infected person does not have enough antibodies, i.e. a weak immune response, the virus slowly spreads out across the entire body. Now that there are not enough antibodies, there is only the second, supporting leg of our immune response left: The T-cells beginn to attack the virus-infested cells all over the body. This can lead to an exaggerated immune response, basically to a massive slaughter; this is called a Cytokine Storm. Very rarely this can also happen in small children, in that case called Kawasaki Syndrome. This very rare occurrence in children was also used in our country to stoke panic. It’s interesting, however, that this syndrome is very easily cured. The [affected] children get antibodies from healthy blood donors, i.e. people who went through coronavirus colds.

Second Wave:

The virus is gone for now. It will probably come back in winter, but it won’t be a second wave, but just a cold.

Face masks:

Those young and healthy people who currently walk around with a mask on their faces would be better off wearing a helmet instead, because the risk of something falling on their head is greater than that of getting a serious case of Covid-19.

Lethality:

People below 65 years old make up only 0.6 to 2.6 % of all fatal Covid cases. To get on top of the pandemic, we need a strategy merely concentrating on the protection of at-risk people over 65.

https://medium.com/@vernunftundrichtigkeit/coronavirus-why-everyone-was-wrong-fce6db5ba809

Categories
Opinion

‘The lockdown is causing so many deaths’ – Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, Spiked

Lockdown deaths:

The really concerning thing is that if all the deaths taking place during lockdown are put down as Covid-19 deaths, we are going to miss the fact that the lockdown policies have caused an increase in deaths from many other things. There has been a 50 per cent reduction in people turning up to A&E. It is clear that people just do not want to bother the doctors. And a number of these people will be dying. If we muddle the Covid-19 statistics in with the other statistics, we might think the lockdown has prevented a certain number of deaths, when it has actually caused a large number of deaths.

NHS capacity:

You hear this idea that all NHS staff have been working 20 times as hard as they have ever done. This is complete nonsense. An awful lot of people have been standing around wondering what the hell to do with themselves. A&E has never been so quiet.

The chances of children dying from COVID-19:

How many people aged 15 or under have died of Covid-19? Four. The chance of dying from a lightning strike is one in 700,000. The chance of dying of Covid-19 in that age group is one in 3.5million. And we locked them all down. Even among the 15- to 44-year-olds, the death rate is very low and the vast majority of deaths have been people who had significant underlying health conditions. We locked them down as well. We locked down the population that had virtually zero risk of getting any serious problems from the disease, and then spread it wildly among the highly vulnerable age group.

On vaccines:

It is not clear that getting the virus actually makes you immune to it in the future, and it is not clear a vaccine would either.

https://www.spiked-online.com/2020/06/26/the-lockdown-is-causing-so-many-deaths/

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News

Under 40s ‘more likely to die from a road accident than coronavirus’ – Metro

People under 50 are more likely to die suddenly because of an accident or injury than from coronavirus, a leading risk expert has said. Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter said people under 25 are more likely to die from flu or pneumonia, while under 40s have a greater risk of being killed in a road accident. The Cambridge University professor looked at the average risk for different age groups dying after contracting Covid-19 and compared it with the most recent yearly data from 2018.

https://metro.co.uk/2020/06/23/40s-likely-die-road-accident-coronavirus-12893218/

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News

School age children more likely to be hit by lightning than die of coronavirus, analysis finds – The Telegraph

School children under the age of 15 are more likely to be hit by lightning than die from coronavirus, new figures suggest, amid mounting pressure for the government to get more to get pupils back into classrooms as quickly as possible.

Scientists from the universities of Cambridge and Oxford have called for “rational debate” based on the “tiny” risk to children and have suggested that if no vaccine is found in the future then it may be better for younger people to continue with their lives, while shielding the more vulnerable.

It comes as the government was accused of “losing the plot” after Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary, scrapped the Government’s target of getting all primary school pupils back in the classroom before the summer holidays

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Publications

RAPID RISK ASSESSMENT Outbreak of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

About 80% of patients have mild to moderate disease (including non-pneumonia and pneumonia cases), 13.8% have severe disease and 6.1% are critical (respiratory failure, septic shock, and/or multiple organ dysfunction/failure). Individuals at highest risk for severe disease and death are people aged over 60 years of age and those with underlying conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer. Disease in children appears to be relatively rare and mild. About 2.4% of the total reported cases were individuals under 19 years of age. A very small proportion of those aged under 19 years have developed severe (2.5%) or critical disease (0.2%).

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/RRA-outbreak-novel-coronavirus-disease-2019-increase-transmission-globally-COVID-19.pdf