Coronavirus cases surge past 40 million infections worldwide

Concerning coronavirus trend? US sees big spike in new cases

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LONDON – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases throughout the world has surpassed 40 million, but experts say that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the true impact of the pandemic.

The milestone was hit Monday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University, which collates reports from around the world.

The actual worldwide tally of COVID-19 cases is likely to be far higher, as testing has been variable, many people have had no symptoms and some governments have concealed the true number of cases. To date, more than 1.1 million confirmed virus deaths have been reported, although experts also believe that number is an undercount.

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The U.S., India, and Brazil are reporting by far the highest numbers of cases — 8.1 million, 7.5 million, and 5.2 million respectively — although the global increase in recent weeks has been driven by a surge in Europe, which has seen more than 240,000 confirmed virus deaths in the pandemic so far.

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Last week, the World Health Organization said Europe had reported a record weekly high of nearly 700,000 cases and said the region was responsible for about a third of cases globally. Britain, France, Russia and Spain account for about half of all new cases in the region, and countries like Belgium and the Czech Republic are facing more intense outbreaks now than they did in the spring.

WHO said the new measures being taken across Europe are “absolutely essential” in stopping COVID-19 from overwhelming its hospitals. Those include new requirements on mask-wearing in Italy and Switzerland, closing schools in Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic, closing restaurants and bars in Belgium, implementing a 9 p.m. curfew in France and having targeted limited lockdowns in parts of the U.K.

The agency said several European cities could soon see their intensive care units overwhelmed and warned that governments and citizens should take all necessary measures to slow the spread of the virus, including bolstering testing and contact tracing, wearing face masks, and following social distancing measures.

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WHO has previously estimated about 1 in 10 of the world's population — about 780 million people — have been infected with COVID-19, more than 20 times the official number of cases. That suggests the vast majority of the world's population is still susceptible to the virus.

Some researchers have argued that allowing COVID-19 to spread in populations that are not obviously vulnerable will help build up herd immunity and is a more realistic way to stop the pandemic instead of the restrictive lockdowns that have proved economically devastating.

A man walks past anti-lockdown graffiti in Manchester, England, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 as the row over Greater Manchester region’s coronavirus status continues. Britain’s government says discussions about implementing stricter restrictions in Greater Manchester must be completed Monday because the public health threat caused by rising COVID-19 infections is serious and getting worse. (Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

But WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned against the belief that herd immunity might be a viable strategy to pursue, saying this kind of protection needs to be achieved by vaccination, not by deliberately exposing people to a potentially fatal disease.

“Allowing a dangerous virus that we don’t fully understand to run free is simply unethical,” Tedros said last week.

The U.N. health agency said it hopes there might be enough data to determine if any of the COVID-19 vaccines now being tested are effective by the end of the year. But it warned that first-generation vaccines are unlikely to provide complete protection and that it could take at least two years to bring the pandemic under control.

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Coronavirus pushes classroom online leaving teachers to find new ways to connect with students

Virtual learning creates difficulties for ESL students

For non-native speaking English students, trying to get good grades while learning a new language can be challenging at the best of times, but as classes turn virtual some students are being left behind.

With the coronavirus mounting a resurgence in areas across the U.S., schools not already using a hybrid schedule to teach students may look to begin virtual learning in their districts. But by moving lessons online, teachers will lose the in-person connection they have with some students, which could make it difficult to pick up on cues regarding mental health.

“Teachers are translators of emotion,” Dr. Isaiah Pickens, a clinical psychologist who works with teachers and educators to identify and address racial inequality issues and mental health problems in students, told Fox News. “They are able to see students as an individual and in the context of the classroom.”

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Losing the physical classroom, however, doesn’t mean teachers have to lose the connection with their students. Pickens said teachers will still have plenty of information coming their way from students that could signal a larger issue is going on.

“If there’s a change in mood, there’s less engagement, hearing things as the student learns from home like arguments, etc., these allow educators to perk their ears up,” he said.

And while the safety of the physical classroom may be gone, there are many ways educators can provide support to their students virtually that might even be more helpful than before.

“The virtual world gives multiple modes for communicating, so there are multiple ways you can communicate something that you are experiencing,” Pickens said, adding that a chatroom, an email, or a video chat might actually make it easier for a student to approach a teacher with an issue rather than doing so in-person.

Others, however, may feel at a disadvantage to teaching their students remotely, especially those who never had the chance to meet their students in person to establish a baseline for their mood, demeanor or work habits. For those teachers, Pickens recommends looking for the universal signs that could mean emotional distress such as feelings of hopeless, incomplete assignments, low levels of engagement, or not participating in class activities online, or being a disruption like arguing with students in online chats.

“Teachers don’t need to be social workers, but what [recognizing these emotions] does is it normalizes that one, we’re all going through something right now and two, it’s OK to share parts of ourselves in virtual space to use that foundation to continue to connect and open up in many ways,” he said.  

Being direct when communicating with the student can help bolster their emotional being or let them know there is help available. Teachers should reach out directly to the student to let them know they notice a change in attitude, Pickens said.

“Being direct allows students to feel seen,” Pickens said. “Communicating that they are not a burden, whether virtual or in a private chat, saying ‘I’m wondering what it is that has you feeling whatever feeling they are feeling,’ it helps the kids have language to communicate. Think about who is the best ongoing support for the child, it might be a parent, or it might be a peer who can help make the kid feel less lonely – and sometimes it might be professional support.”

On the flip side, Pickens said virtual learning has helped teachers notice students who may have previously slipped through the cracks due to shyness or lack of confidence in the classroom, and those students are starting to blossom through online platforms. It’s also helping to identify students who might need more academic support.

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“One of the things teachers have been really praising is multiple ways to engage in class – students are engaging a lot more and it’s very easy to be a student by just participating in the chat,” he said.

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Coronavirus outbreak linked to spin studio in Canada: officials

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More than 60 cases of the novel coronavirus have been linked to a spin studio in Canada, according to public health officials there. 

Some 61 people have been infected with the virus in connection with an outbreak at the cycling studio Spinco in Hamilton, which is located in the province of Ontario. 

Exposure dates range between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4.
(iStock)

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, the medical officer of health in Hamilton, said 44 of the cases have been reported among spin studio patrons, while 17 are secondary cases linked to the primary cases. 

"We haven't kept an exact count on how many of those [secondary cases] have had contacts," she said. "In general, we're up to having people having 20 to 25 contacts per case that we investigate … we haven't specifically tracked contacts for this outbreak and don't do that generally,” she said when warning the outbreak could grow larger, according to the Canadian outlet CBC News. 

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Exposure dates range between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4. 

It’s not currently clear how the outbreak began, as the studio reportedly has taken “proper pandemic protocol” since reopening, per the outlet. 

"Gyms are a higher risk place because of the fact generally people are taking off their masks, breathing at a higher rate and more deeply, and especially in classes where there's coaching going on, that tends to be a louder tone to speak over music," Richardson said. 

On its website, Spinco lists the precautions it has taken, including enhanced sanitation and social distancing measures. Both staff and members are required to wear masks at all times while in the studio, but class participants are, however, allowed to remove their masks once they are clipped into their bike. 

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“Instructors must request all riders put their masks back on prior to getting off their bikes at the end of class, and must wear them out of the studio,” the website notes. 

In a statement posted to Instagram earlier this week, the owners of the Spinco studio in Hamilton said that everyone who has tested positive is doing well. 

"We love you and we miss you!" the statement reads in part. "When we started the journey to open a SPINCO franchise in Hamilton, we had a dream of building an inclusive space for everyone to exercise. We got the green light to reopen in July, like everyone we were hesitant, but we took all the measures public health offered, even added a few, and still the pandemic struck us again!" 

"It started September 28 and spread amongst specific classes until October 5th," the post reads. "SPINCO Hamilton has been closed from the moment the outbreak was identified. As of today, everyone who has tested positive, are well. Our team, alongside Public Health has notified everyone. "We have been following all the procedures set in place by public health. We have been in constant contact with our riders and we will continue to do so, if not daily, then every few days, with updates." 

The owners vowed to come back stronger once it's deemed safe to do so. 

"So we are at a point, where either we let this pandemic own us, or we take ownership back. We are determined to switch the script! We can and we know the power of our community," the post read. "So while we wait and remain closed, you have our commitment that we will not re-open until it is safe to do so, we need to show our city and the rest of our province that the SPINCO community is not going anywhere! We are strong, we are tough and we fight together.."  

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In other parts of Ontario, namely Peel, Ottawa, and Toronto, gyms are facing a second closure. But Richardson said officials are continuing to review the outbreak in Hamilton before again shutting down fitness studios there. 

"If we saw something that extended beyond this one particular instance we would definitely move to do something more quickly, but right now … saying make sure you're wearing a mask, make sure you're distancing, turn that music down, don't be yelling …while we look at this and see what more could be done,” she said, according to CBC News. 

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Turning hotels into emergency shelters as part of COVID-19 response limited spread of coronavirus

A King County initiative that moved people out of homeless shelters and into hotel rooms earlier this year helped slow the transmission of coronavirus, according to early findings from a study of the intervention.

The intervention also produced other benefits to the people who were relocated, say authors of the joint study from King County Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) and the University of Washington. Individuals who moved to area hotels—an arrangement managed by the County and social service providers—reported improved physical and mental health, and the ability to focus on long-term goals such as obtaining housing, employment and education, rather than simply focusing on day-to-day survival.

“Moving people from large shelters to individual hotel rooms not only succeeded in slowing the spread of COVID-19, but also provided security, privacy and dignity to hundreds of people in our region experiencing homelessness,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “This study conclusively demonstrates the positive impacts of providing our most vulnerable neighbors a place to call their own and 24/7 support, and it underscores the urgency in expanding these efforts in the coming months.”

The research is being presented Wednesday to the Washington Low-Income Housing Alliance Conference on Ending Homelessness.

“Everything we know about homelessness reinforces that we need to remove the crisis of homelessness to allow people to move forward,” said Rachel Fyall, an associate professor of public policy at the UW and one of the study’s authors. “We know that from housing interventions, and what we know of mental health and getting to a place of stability, this intervention—while not perfect and not a substitute for housing—is closer to what we think might create conditions for someone to move on.”

When the first cases of coronavirus, and information about the infectious nature of the disease, emerged in late winter, Seattle and King County sought alternatives for people staying in homeless shelters, both by relocating individuals and reconfiguring existing shelter spaces to allow for social distancing.

Beginning in April, the county leased hotel rooms in Seattle, Bellevue, Renton and SeaTac, with management by four local housing service providers. The rooms have since served as temporary shelter for more than 800 people, and the hotels are not open to other guests.

Initial findings from the study of the hotel intervention showed that it achieved its primary goal: to slow the spread of COVID-19 among people experiencing homelessness. Researchers found fewer clusters and outbreaks of COVID-19 among individuals who stayed in hotels than among those who remained in traditional, large-group shelter settings.

“This emergency intervention is an example of an effective public response under very challenging circumstances that kept large numbers of highly vulnerable people safe during a pandemic,” said Gregg Colburn, an assistant professor of real estate at the UW who specializes in housing affordability issues.

King County is evaluating how to continue and expand the program during and beyond the pandemic, incorporating information from people who have stayed at the hotels, social service providers and neighboring businesses. The county has extended the hotel leases through January 2021. The King County Council is also currently reviewing a proposal from the County Executive as part of the 2021-2022 biennial budget to purchase single-room properties such as hotels and nursing homes to create emergency housing and move as many as 2,000 people out of homelessness.

“Our service providers met the moment. They shifted from congregate shelters to hotels on a week’s notice, and they kept their residents safe, slowed our entire community’s spread of COVID, and tested a better approach that we are now trying to bring to scale in partnership with cities across the County,” said Leo Flor, director of King County’s Department of Community and Human Services. “This report provides strong evidence that we can slow the spread of disease and turn the tide on chronic homelessness. Housing is a foundation for health at the individual and community levels.”

Shortly after the program launched in the spring, evaluators with DCHS partnered with UW researchers Colburn and Fyall to study the effectiveness of the hotel intervention in protecting people from COVID-19.

With support from the social services agencies managing the intervention, researchers interviewed nearly two dozen people, as well as several staff members, at four hotels over the summer. The study also relied on data from the King County Homeless Management Information System, the Washington Disease Reporting System and Seattle Fire 911 dispatches to local agencies.

In addition to the findings related to disease transmission, researchers found that staff and individuals staying in the hotels reported other benefits:

  • Increased feelings of stability associated with consistent access to a private room;
  • Improved health and well-being, including sleep, hygiene and mental health;
  • Reduced conflict, as evidenced by declines in 911 call volume from shelters;
  • More time to think about and take steps toward future goals;
  • Higher rates of exits to permanent housing.
  • Researchers found that basic hotel features contributed to the program’s success. Individuals had secure, private rooms; consistent access to meals; and the ability to store belongings and the freedom to come and go.

“What we learned from our interviews was how incredibly grateful the people were who moved to hotels. It was a total life-changer for them,” said Colburn. “A little privacy, good sleep, and consistent meals can have a very significant impact on individual well-being.”

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The single most common ‘long COVID’ symptom explained – ‘It zaps all of my energy’

COVID-19 is an infectious disease that has killed more than one million people across the world. If you develop any of the key coronavirus symptoms, you should get tested for the infection straight away.

The UK has seen a steady rise in the number of coronavirus cases over the past few weeks.

Almost 10 million people across the country have been put into local lockdowns, in a bid to stop the rising spread of the infection.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now ordered all pubs and restaurants to shut at 10pm, while nobody should meet with more than five other people for the foreseeable future.

But some coronavirus patients have reported still having symptoms of the virus eight months after their initial infection.

Fatigue is one of the most common warning signs of long COVID, warned social epidemiologist Margot Witvliet.

She developed the condition, and admitted being confused why her coronavirus symptoms weren’t going away.

The signs lingered for more than four months, with fatigue one of the more prominent symptoms, added Witvliet, who is also a professor at Lamar University.

She struggled to spend too much time in the sun, and she constantly felt devoid of energy.

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“My heart still races even though I am resting,” she wrote for The Conversation.

“I cannot stay in the sun for long periods; it zaps all of my energy. I have gastrointestinal problems, ringing in the ears and chest pain.

“I’m what’s known as a long-hauler – part of a growing group of people who have COVID-19 and have never fully recovered.

“Fatigue is one of the most common persistent symptoms, but there are many others, including the cognitive effects people often describe as brain fog.”

But just because you feel unusually fatigued, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have coronavirus.

Feeling tired all of the time is very common, and it’s usually caused by something less serious.

Diabetes, cancer, hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia have all been linked to persistent fatigue.

It may also be caused by a lack of sleep, not doing enough exercise, eating an unbalanced diet, and even boredom.

Meanwhile, a high fever, a new cough, and a change to your sense of smell or taste are the most common early coronavirus symptoms.

In the UK, you should only get tested for the infection if you develop any of these symptoms.

Some patients have also reported a sore throat, headaches, and even hiccups, on top of the more common signs.

More than 41,000 people have died from coronavirus in the UK.

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'Inspirational' North Carolina Teacher Dies After Contracting COVID-19: She 'Was Truly a Blessing'

A third grade teacher in North Carolina is dead after contracting the novel coronavirus, according to school officials.

Julie Davis, who taught at Norwood Elementary School in Stanly County, died after testing positive for COVID-19, NBC affiliate WCNC reported.

The school learned of Davis' diagnosis on Sept. 27, just two days after she started to experience symptoms and began to self-quarantine, according to the outlet.

"Stanly County Schools is deeply saddened and grieving the loss of Julie Davis, a third grade teacher at Norwood Elementary School," Vicki Calvert, the interim superintendent of Stanly County Schools, said in a statement.

"During her two years in service to the students of Norwood Elementary School, Mrs. Davis earned a well-deserved reputation as an inspirational teacher who was always seeking ways to support every student so that they were able to fulfill their potential," the statement continued. "She implemented creative ways of teaching and her high standards and expectations motivating others to achieve their best."

Calvert said that students "absolutely loved being taught by Mrs. Davis" and the teacher "brought joy into the lives of the students, staff, and community."

"We are extending our deepest condolences to Mrs. Davis’ family," Calvert added. "We were truly blessed by her professionalism and caring spirit."

Stanly County Schools confirmed on Sept. 29 that third grade students at Norwood Elementary School were switching to remote learning after a staff member had tested positive for COVID-19. In a letter addressed to families, school officials said that all students were to quarantine themselves and learn remotely from Sept. 30 through Oct. 9.

A representative for the school district told CNN that staff member was Davis, adding that none of the students have developed any symptoms or tested positive of coronavirus.

In addition to teaching, Davis was also a caretaker for her 74-year-old mother and her 2-year-old grandson, WSCO reported.

"Julie Davis was a dedicated mother, sister, wife, friend, and teacher. Help us support her family at this time," a GoFundMe page set up in support of Davis' family read. "Julie was truly a blessing to everyone who knew her.  She was always willing to step up and help in a time of need."

As of Monday, there have been more than 7,453,700 cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with at least 209,600 deaths from coronavirus-related illnesses, according to a New York Times database.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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Those who send photos more often during the coronavirus pandemic may be at higher risk of depression

The COVID-19 pandemic has rewritten social media usage habits: People spend more time on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and more often, they post pictures and videos of themselves and their loved ones. However, all of this can lead to an increased risk of depression, according to a recent study.

“In order to get a snapshot of the change in social media usage patterns and its mental health implications, we examined the responses of 170 participants using a 20-question online questionnaire during the peak period of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Hungary. The data collection took place between 22 April and 11 May 2020, during the strict lockdown measures, so that the participants could perceive the changes more realistically compared to the pre-epidemic period,” said communication and media expert Alexandra Valéria Sándor, a Ph.D. student at the Doctoral School of Sociology of Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest.

The popularity of social media platforms is shown by the fact that all the respondents were Facebook and Messenger users, followed by YouTube (76%) and Instagram (59%). When asked how their own time spent on social media changed during the pandemic, 19% of respondents said it “greatly increased” and 36% said it “somewhat increased.” As one respondent put it in an open question about changes due to COVID-19, “I had no choice but to use social media much more often because my child’s school requires teachers to keep in touch with parents through Facebook groups.” Another user stressed that they engage in “one hour of video chat every day with family and friends. I haven’t done this before.”

The study also revealed that the participants perceived the change in their own habits significantly differently from what they experienced in their environment during the lockdown period. 42% thought that others’ social media activity had “greatly increased,” and 46% said it had “increased somewhat.” There was a 36% rate of those who said their own social media activity “didn’t change,” while only 6% perceived others as unchanged.

The time spent using social media also increased significantly among participants during the restrictive measures during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The most significant change was observed for Facebook: The most common response was that the participants spent “more than two hours” per day there, compared to only 9% before the epidemic.

To monitor the intensity of self-representation, respondents also stated the frequency with which they posted or sent pictures and videos of themselves or their loved ones (including their pets) on each social media platform before and during the lockdown. Nearly 18% of them shared such content on Messenger multiple times a day, while 8% said they had done the same before the epidemic.

In terms of self-representation, selfies were the most common on all the platforms examined, but interestingly, users also posted photographs and videos taken in the company of others and on trips. The latter may be explained by the answer of one of the respondents to the related open question who said that they share nice memories during the lockdown.

To obtain a basic assessment of the mental health of participants, the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2) was administered through the question “Over the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by the following problems?” These problems included “little interest or pleasure in doing things” and “feeling down, depressed or hopeless.” The possible responses were “not at all” (0 points), “several days” (1 point), “more than half the days” (2 points), and “nearly every day” (3 points). Final PHQ-2 scores ranged from 0-6. A score of at least 3 indicates the possibility of major depressive disorder and suggests that further examinations are necessary; 16% of participants scored a 3 or higher. However, the likelihood of major depression was higher (19%) among those who shared photos of themselves or their close relations “multiple times a day” or “daily” on Messenger, the platform where the frequency of photo sharing increased the most.

“The results show that during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, the use of social media has increased, which has also made the sharing of self-representative content more common. The responses also suggest that there may be a link between mental health and the increase in social media usage, which is certainly worth examining in the future with a larger sample. The most important thing was to be able to shed light on the changes in the use of social media for self-representation, their nature, and possible mental hygiene consequences, even with the methodological challenges and time constraints of the pandemic,” concluded Alexandra Valéria Sándor.

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Millions will need mental health help in the wake of coronavirus, experts warn

We’re on the brink of a major crisis of mental health, a new report warns.

Around 8.5 million adults and 1.5 million children in England will need mental health support in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, predicts new analysis from the Centre For Mental Health, which consulted experts from NHS England and NHS trusts.

They warn that many will have lost jobs, lost loved ones, or will be dealing with the long-term effects of having Covid-19.

Add in the general rise of issues such as health anxiety and agoraphobia due to Covid-19, and it’s clear to see that we’re heading for trouble.

The reports suggests that while two-thirds of people will already have existing mental illness and may be receiving support, others will need help for the first time, creating an even greater strain on mental health care by the NHS.

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That’s without considering the mental impact of coronavirus on NHS staff, who the report suggests will need treatment for issues such as post-traumatic distress, high psychological distress, and burnout.

The report says: ‘Among people who have not experienced mental ill health prior to the pandemic, demand for services is forecast at 1.33 million people for moderate-severe anxiety and 1.82 million for moderate to severe depression.’

From the total number of people needing support, researchers estimate more than 230,000 NHS workers may need treatment, including for post-traumatic distress (36,996), high psychological distress (120,372) and burnout (81,499).

Among patients recovering from severe Covid-19, an estimated 630 will need mental health support for anxiety, 454 for depression and 354 for PTSD, according to the report.

Meanwhile, 36,000 people who lost loved ones will need treatment, with depression being the most common condition.

At present unemployment levels, which could rise, around 30,000 people who lost their job will need support for major depression.

And of the 1.5 million children estimated to need support, 458,922 will need help for depression and 407,623 for anxiety.

Children who have lost parents to Covid-19 will also require help, plus those who suffered other mental distress during lockdown.

Nick O’Shea, the chief economist at the Centre For Mental Health, who led the research, said: ‘The numbers are stark. Covid-19 is a disaster for every country that has been badly affected, and the consequences for our mental health are just as severe.

‘The challenge of meeting the mental health needs arising out of the pandemic may be as great as the many difficulties of responding to the virus.

‘So it must be taken as seriously. We must prepare now for what lies ahead.’

The team behind the report want to prepare us for the looming crisis ahead and make sure that plans are put in place to identify people who need mental health support and ensure they receive the right care quickly.

‘Unresolved mental health needs can escalate to crisis point without effective early help,’ Nick added.

‘We cannot afford to wait and see or to leave it until after the pandemic has subsided.’

Centre For Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said: ‘We have identified the risks and the unequal impacts of Covid-19 on both mental and physical health

‘The extent of the crisis is becoming clearer every day.

‘There is a rising tide of distress that will over time require effective and compassionate care and support.

‘The Government and the NHS must act now. We must not leave the nation’s mental health to chance.’

Need support? Contact the Samaritans

For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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The number of children with COVID-19 has risen ‘dramatically’ over the last five months

  • The cumulative rate of coronavirus infections among kids has risen from 2.2% in April to 10% by mid-September, a new report finds. 
  • Increased testing is an unlikely cause, since testing rates among children has remained stable since the pandemic's outbreak. 
  • Kids still are less likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19 than adults, and younger kids in particular seem less likely to spread it. 
  • But the dramatic increase in pediatric cases underscores the importance of schools and communities implementing multiple strategies to keep students, staffers, and community members safe. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

In April, children represented just 2.2% of coronavirus cases nationwide. By mid-September, that proportion had risen "dramatically" to reach 10%, according to data released today by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association.

It's unlikely the rise is due to increased testing since CDC data shows children have consistently made up 5% to 7% of all tests administered since April, the organizations report.

While 10% is still lower than the percentage of children in the population (about 20%), and children with COVID-19 tend to fare better than adults, AAP President Dr. Sally Goza said in a press release "the rising numbers concern us greatly, as the children's cases reflect the increasing virus spread in our communities."

The study found both the cumulative rate and week-by-week  of kids infected has risen

For the study, which will be published in the December issue of Pediatrics but was pre-published online today, researchers looked at five months of reported COVID-19 cases using data from U.S. public health department websites.

In addition to finding that the cumulative total pediatric COVID-19 cases has grown from 2.2% to 10% since the beginning of the pandemic, they found the percentage has been rising on a week-to-week basis.

For instance, less than 3% of cases reported the week ending April 23 were pediatric, but in the eight weeks prior to September 10, that percentage ranged from 12%to 15.9% per week.

Where children were being diagnosed has shifted over time, too, with most cases in April being in the Northeast before cases spiked in the South and West, and most recently, in the Midwest. 

Children are still unlikely to get seriously ill or die from COVID-19, representing up to 3.7% of all reported hospitalizations and up to 0.26% of total deaths as of September 24. But they can carry and spread the virus, though exactly how readily remains to be seen.  

The study had limitations because states differ in how they report the data, and doesn't account for the unknown number of children who've had the virus but were never tested. 

"We must keep our children – and each other — healthy by following the recommended safety measures like washing hands, wearing cloth face coverings, and staying 6 feet apart from others," Goza said. 

Teens seem to be more susceptible than younger kids

Another report, released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found the incidence of coronavirus among 12- to 17-year-olds was about double that of 5- to 11-year-old. It also found kids of any age with underlying conditions were most at risk for serious outcomes.  

Kids under 10 also don't seem to spread the virus as easily as older kids and adults, but the CDC says anyone under 18 likely plays a role in transmission, even if they don't have symptoms. 

"It is important for schools and communities to monitor multiple indicators of COVID-19 among school-aged children and layer prevention strategies to reduce COVID-19 disease risk for students, teachers, school staff, and families," the report says.

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Trump announces plan to distribute 150 million rapid coronavirus tests

President Trump announced on Monday that the federal government will distribute 150 million rapid, point-of-care coronavirus tests to states over the next few weeks, including to K-12 schools and vulnerable communities like nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Why it matters: The Trump administration has stressed the importance of reopening schools in allowing parents to return to work and jumpstarting the economy.

What's happening: Who gets tested is ultimately at the discretion of the governors, but the administration is encouraging schools to use the rapid tests to help restart and maintain in-person teaching.

  • The rapid tests, which deliver results in 15 minutes, will come from a previously announced supply of 150 million tests ordered from Abbott Laboratories. Teachers and parents would be able to test their children on a weekly basis.
  • 6.5 million tests will go out this week and a total of 100 million tests will be distributed to governors based on state population over the next several weeks, Trump announced.

Yes, but: The rapid tests are less accurate and need confirmation from more sensitive PCR swab tests, which take days for results.

  • Health officials also fear many of the tests will go unreported, as states could authorize tests outside of a health care setting — leading to underreported state and nationwide case counts.

The big picture: Experts have warned the U.S. could experience a surge in COVID-19 infections this fall and winter.

  • Early evidence shows children could be contributing to the spread, especially in older and more vulnerable adults, despite the less severe immune response the virus appears to cause in young people.

What they're saying: "As of today, the nation has performed over 111 million tests for the virus causing COVID. On 13 separate days, we have achieved tests of over 1 million per day, and our average test numbers are now approximately 920,000 per day," the administration's testing coordinator Adm. Brett Giroir said Monday before demonstrating how to use a rapid test.

  • "We are now at an inflection point for testing. We now have available on average 3 million tests per day, not counting pool testing which could multiply that number several-fold. Nearly half of our current tests are rapid point-of-care."

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