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Harms of public health interventions against covid-19 must not be ignored – BMJ

The harmful consequences of public health choices should be explicitly considered and transparently reported to limit their damage, say Itai Bavli and colleagues

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has posed an unprecedented challenge for governments. Questions regarding the most effective interventions to reduce the spread of the virus—for example, more testing, requirements to wear face masks, and stricter and longer lockdowns—become widely discussed in the popular and scientific press, informed largely by models that aimed to predict the health benefits of proposed interventions. Central to all these studies is recognition that inaction, or delayed action, will put millions of people unnecessarily at risk of serious illness or death.

However, interventions to limit the spread of the coronavirus also carry negative health effects, which have yet to be considered systematically. Despite increasing evidence on the unintended, adverse effects of public health interventions such as social distancing and lockdown measures, there are few signs that policy decisions are being informed by a serious assessment and weighing of their harms on health. Instead, much of the discussion has become politicised, especially in the US, where President Trump’s provocative statements sparked debates along party lines about the necessity for policies to control covid-19. This politicisation, often fuelled by misinformation, has distracted from a much needed dispassionate discussion on the harms and benefits of potential public health measures against covid-19.

https://www.bmj.com/content/371/bmj.m4074

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Exposure to common cold coronaviruses can teach the immune system to recognize SARS-CoV-2 – MedicalXpress

  • Your immune system’s ‘memory’ T cells keep track of the viruses they have seen before.
  • New study led by scientists at La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) shows that memory helper T cells that recognize common cold coronaviruses also recognize matching sites on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Having a strong T cell response, or a better T cell response may give you the opportunity to mount a much quicker and stronger response.
  • 40%-60% of people never exposed to SARS-CoV-2 had T cells that reacted to the virus showing that their immune systems recognized the virus.
  • This finding turned out to be a global phenomenon and was reported in people from the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and Singapore.
  • This discovery suggests that fighting off a common cold coronavirus can induce cross-reactive T cell memory against SARS-CoV-2.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-08-exposure-common-cold-coronaviruses-immune.html

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To what extent do children transmit SARS‐CoV‐2 virus? – Wiley Online Library

The evidence to date suggests that children spread SARS‐CoV‐2 virus relatively rarely and that children are usually infected by symptomatic or pre‐symptomatic adults (in the first 48 h before they become symptomatic). During contact tracing, the China/World Health Organization joint commission recorded no episodes where transmission occurred from a child to an adult. A review of 31 family clusters of COVID‐19 from China, Singapore, the USA, South Korea and Vietnam, found only three (9.7%) clusters had a child as the index case and in all three clusters the child was symptomatic.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jpc.14937

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News

Covid-19 Patients Not Infectious After 11 Days: Singapore Study – Bloomberg

Covid-19 patients are no longer infectious after 11 days of getting sick even though some may still test positive, according to a new study by infectious disease experts in Singapore.

A positive test “does not equate to infectiousness or viable virus,” a joint research paper by Singapore’s National Centre for Infectious Diseases and the Academy of Medicine, Singapore said. The virus “could not be isolated or cultured after day 11 of illness.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-24/covid-19-patients-not-infectious-after-11-days-singapore-study

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News Publications

UCL: closing schools does not help control COVID-19 epidemic

School closure and management practices during coronavirus outbreaks including COVID-19: a rapid systematic review:

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanchi/article/PIIS2352-4642(20)30095-X/fulltext

Summary from BBC News:

  • While school closures help during influenza outbreaks, the same may not apply to coronavirus
  • Data from the Sars outbreak (in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Singapore) suggest that school closures did not contribute to the control of the epidemic
  • Recent modelling studies of Covid-19 predict that school closures alone would prevent only 2%-4% of deaths, many fewer than other social distancing interventions