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International Medical Corps COVID-19 Situation Report #21, July 15, 2020

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  • According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, which consolidates data from a range of sources, as of July 15 there have been 13,357,992 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in188 countries and regions.

  • In the US, we are supporting nearly 80 hospitals and longterm care facilities in Los Angeles, New York City,
    Puerto Rico, Chicago, Boston and Detroit with emergency medical field units, equipment, supplies and volunteer staff.

  • We have screened more than 626,000 individuals for COVID-19 at our global missions and have distributed more than 9.8 million pieces of personal protective equipment and infection prevention and control items to supported health facilities.

  • We have trained more than 11,746 frontline healthcare professionals on COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

Globally, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has grown to more than 13.3 million, nearly 5 million of them active infections. Following a trend since early May, the past week saw another record-breaking number of new cases. In total, deaths from COVID-19 have reached more than 579,500. On July 13, following weeks of slow but steady increases, the seven-day moving average of deaths per day reached 4,966, the highest in two months.

Following an explosion in confirmed cases that began in mid-June, the United States continues to see record-breaking numbers of new cases. Over the past seven days, the US has averaged more than 60,000 cases per day, and the upward trajectory does not show signs of leveling off. Meanwhile, after more than two months of decreasing numbers of deaths, the past week has seen a 46% increase in deaths from the low seven-day average reached on July 5. As the number of cases and deaths has increased, so has the percentage of positive tests. Since the middle of June, the rate of positive tests has doubled, from 4.3% to 8.7%1. In several states, the numbers are much worse. Since May, the percentage of positive tests in Florida, Arizona and Texas have increased by 813%, 407% and 360%, respectively. In Florida, where the last week has seen more than 10,000 cases per day, nearly half of the state’s intensive-care units are more than 90% full, and more than 20% of the state’s intensive care units are at full capacity.

Though the number of cases continues to increase around the world, new scientific evidence indicates that herd immunity may not be likely from a one-time infection or immunization. A new study from King’s College London showed that 60% of formerly infected individuals had a potent antibody response to COVID-19, but only 17% retained their potency after three months. Over the three months, antibody levels fell as much as 23-fold, and some individuals’ antibodies were undetectable. These findings suggest that individuals could be infected multiple times and that an effective vaccine program could require booster shots3. Though this research is highly relevant, more research is needed to identify the role that T-cells play in fighting SARS-CoV-2. Some research has indicated that individuals who recover from COVID-19 have generated T-cells that target the virus, which could offer another avenue for vaccines to create immunity. Also of interest is the fact that some uninfected individuals appear to already carry these T-cells, due to past infections with coronaviruses that cause the common cold.