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International Medical Corps COVID-19 Situation Report #25, September 23, 2020

Situation Report
Originally published



• According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which consolidates data from a range of sources, as of September 23, there have been 31,666,012 confirmed cases of COVID19 reported in 188 countries and regions.

• In the US, we are supporting 38 hospitals across the country, including in Texas, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and Puerto Rico, with a range of services and equipment, including emergency medical field units, supplies and volunteer staff.

• We have screened more than 1.5 million people for COVID-19 at our global missions and have distributed more than 15.8 million pieces of personal protective equipment and infection prevention and control items to supported health facilities.

• We have trained more than 167,000 frontline healthcare professionals on COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

To date, there have been more than 31.6 million confirmed COVID-19 cases globally, with more than 972,000 deaths. After one month of plateauing numbers of daily new cases, the past three weeks have seen a gradual increase, to roughly 283,000 new confirmed cases per day. Though the number of daily cases has grown, the number of daily deaths has steadily declined for the last month, and sits at roughly 5,200 per day.

Though some countries’ caseloads remain relatively high, the number of daily cases in the majority of the most-affected countries has begun to decline slightly, including in the USA, Brazil and Mexico. This trend does not hold true for India, which, until a few days ago, has see sustained growth in new cases and deaths. Over the last week, India has averaged more than 90,000 new confirmed cases, and more than 1,100 deaths, per day. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the growth in India's cases and deaths has continually grown in a linear fashion, but over the last week, it seems to have experienced a peak, as numbers have declined slightly since September 17.

The US now has almost 7 million confirmed cases and more than 200,000 deaths, with more than one-quarter of a million new confirmed cases in the past week. New cases nationwide have reached a steady plateau of approximately 40,000 new cases daily. Sporadic hotspots continue to arise in the Midwest, with North and South Dakota having had the highest number of new daily cases per capita over the past weeks—shortly after the Sturges motorcycle event, where nearly 400,000 people gathered with few social-control measures in place. The steadying of new cases at approximately 40,000 per day is concerning; experts consider it a very high number entering into the winter season. Seasonal coronaviruses are known to peak in November and December, making preparation, mitigation and control strategies more important than ever. The FDA recently eased its restrictions on the level of precision (sensitivity and specificity) required for testing approval, a policy change that could greatly expand options for testing—including approval of less-sensitive home testing with immediate turnarounds, similar to pregnancy tests.

Europe is seeing a rise in cases after months of lower numbers. Confirmed caseloads in France are higher than the first wave in the spring, Spain is already past a second peak in cases, with nearly 5,000 cases per day, and the United Kingdom’s daily cases have tripled since the beginning of September. Germany and Italy are confirming new cases at levels not seen since the late spring—although their numbers are not as high as Spain and Italy’s.

In the past month, the first confirmed cases of reinfection from SARS-CoV-2 took place. According to researchers at the University of Hong Kong, a man who was initially infected and hospitalized in March became infected again after traveling to Spain via the United Kingdom.

During this second infection, he remained asymptomatic and had no known complications. In Nevada, another man was also reinfected by the virus, but in this case the second infection was more severe than the first2. It is unknown if the possibility of reinfection will affect the ongoing efforts to create a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.