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COVID-19 Good News

Good news you probably didn't hear about

We send out a weekly email newsletter filled with good news, amazing scientific breakthroughs and the best bits of the internet. If you'd like a regular dose of intelligent optimism in your inbox, you can subscribe here.

8TH OCTOBER 2020

In Alaska, humpback whales have had something to sing about, a cruise ship-free COVID summer, which has given researchers a unique opportunity to eavesdrop. Guardian

From songs of the sea to songs from the sky, male birds of San Francisco have taken advantage of the COVID-quiet, singing more softly and improving their vocal range, making them "sexier" to females. Science Alert

From the birds to the bees: Bee populations in the US are showing signs of recovery, with colonies increasing nationally by 14% and as much as 73% in one state, in the past year. MyModernMet

School’s out - in the open, on the streets of New Delhi, where a former diplomat, his wife and their driver, are conducting free classes for underprivileged children who don’t have access to online learning, to help ensure they don’t get left behind when schools reopen. AP

The pandemic bike boom is hitting the streets of some of the developed world’s biggest metropolises. New data from Strava, the fitness tracking app used by 68 million global users, shows that several U.S. cities saw significant growth, including Los Angeles, which saw a jump of 93% from May 2019 to May 2020. Bloomberg

New rapid COVID-19 tests are inexpensive and mimic the appearance of DIY pregnancy tests: rapid antigen tests that show on-the-spot results in 15 to 30 minutes will be supplied to low- and middle-income countries (Guardian).

Meanwhile, a team of scientists in India has developed a paper-based test, based on a gene-editing technology called Crispr, that could return results in under an hour. BBC

Trials of the Oxford vaccine underway in Brazil are showing promise. To date, at least 5,000 volunteers have been administered the drug - or a placebo drug - and have not presented any serious adverse reactions. Rio Times

The GAVI vaccine alliance’s board has approved up to $150 million to help 92 low- and middle-income countries prepare for the delivery of future COVID-19 vaccines, including technical assistance and cold chain equipment. Reuters

Business keeps on trucking for adaptable Palestinian entrepreneurs: The coronavirus crisis has hit West Bank restaurants hard, but one part of the dining sector is bucking the trend. Food trucks are providing work in a territory where unemployment is well over 20%. AP

Would you like sanitiser with that? Since their hometown of San Francisco became one of the first US states to be locked down, the all-female teenage coding team known as AlGIRLithm behind an app designed to review restaurants' COVID-19 precautions have helped customers stay safe while also supporting local businesses. CNN

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Queensland farmers facing a tough season have turned their waste strawberries into ice cream. It has diversified their business and become a tourist attraction. ABC

22ND SEPTEMBER 2020

Community fridges are popping up across America for mutual aid amid the pandemic. The fridges are stocked by donations from local businesses and community members with extra food to spare. Stacks of non-perishable items are often found surrounding the fridges. Guardian

The Australian state of Victoria, home to Future Crunch and the centre of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, has reported its lowest daily increase of infections in three months. Reuters

In the waters around Hong Kong, the pandemic has drastically reduced human traffic and the numbers of dolphins have risen by 30% since March. They are spending much more time socialising, splashing around on the surface and having quite a bit of…um…sex. Guardian

Kids in British Columbia can hopefully say goodbye to icky and uncomfortable COVID-19 tests. The Canadian province is launching a new gargle test for students ages 4 to 19 that is just as accurate as tests using a nasal swab. CNN

New York State has recorded the lowest daily death toll from the virus since the start of the pandemic. ABC

Hospitals in California are treating the fewest patients with coronavirus since April, and admissions to the state’s intensive care units have been dropping steadily too. LATimes

New Zealand has ended all pandemic restrictions outside its largest city Auckland as the number of new infections has slowed to a trickle. Reuters

Researchers at The University of Texas have developed an antibody test for COVID-19 that is faster, cheaper and more accurate. The test can be used to accurately measure how well candidate vaccines and other therapies elicit an immune response. Science Daily

Moderna has said it is on track to produce 20 million doses of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year. CNBC

In China, hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in a trial of two COVID-19 vaccine candidates, without a reported case of infection or adverse effects. WSJ

Scientists have isolated the smallest biological molecule to date that completely and specifically neutralises SARS-CoV-2, which is the cause of COVID-19. Importantly, it does not bind to human cells — a good sign that it won’t have negative side-effects in people. Cell

Doctors and experts are saying that they have gone from fumbling in the dark to better being able to treat COVID-19, by understanding which drugs work. Treatments such as steroids, blood thinners and the antiviral medicine remdesivir have turned the tide, improving outcomes for very sick patients. Bloomberg


15TH SEPTEMBER 2020

In Nepal, a pharmacist and a taxi driver have teamed up to help frontline workers at one of the country’s largest hospitals. Using their savings, they rented a vacant restaurant across the street, bought groceries and hired a few helpers. They’re now feeding more than 200 COVID-19 patients, doctors, nurses and workers who get hot, tasty and nutritious food three times a day. AP

Across the Navajo Nation, small gardens and cornfields are rising up, as citizens have woken up to the importance of healthy food. “It took a deadly virus to make people realize just how important this is, how important it is to grow your own food.” NYT

The kids are alright. Only 1.4% of infected kids and teens in Canada have ended up in hospital, compared to 13.5% across all age groups. The numbers back data from other countries that suggest COVID-19 has relatively mild effects on young people. CP24

Clinical trials in Brazil of China’s COVID-19 vaccine have shown “extremely positive” results, and a widespread vaccination campaign could begin as early as December. The vaccine has produced an immune response in 98% of recipients over 60 years old, with no adverse side-effects. SCMP

In a recent analysis of how 36 countries have handled the pandemic, New Zealand occupies top position (no surprises there). No. 2 spot? Senegal, a west African country with a fragile health care system, a scarcity of hospital beds and about seven doctors for every 100,000 people. And yet, the country is a model of coronavirus containment success. USA Today

The European economy is recovering much better than anyone expected. “The pandemic is not over, but the indicators ... show that the economy is recovering much better than we feared some time ago, and that applies to the EU as a whole but also to the individual member states.” Reuters

As scientists race to find a vaccine, doctors are discovering better ways to treat the disease. An arthritis drug called baricitinib has been shown to shorten patient recover times by about a day when added to another treatment, remdesivir. Both drugs are already FDA approved. Reuters

The British government is delivering 250,000 clear face masks to frontline workers to help patients with hearing loss, dementia and the need to see facial expressions to understand. The Sun

A choir in Cairo has been sending musical messages of love and optimism online amid virus gloom. Their songs have also been released on digital music platforms and aired on the radio in Egypt. “We are telling people: ‘Don’t worry, There’s hope.’” AP

More than 120 organisations and businesses have teamed up in Bangladesh to create Mission Save Bangladesh, helping people affected by the pandemic. The group now provides food packs to about 13,000 families and another 60,000 individuals, and their work has since expanded to helping families fighting cancer and to arranging supplies of masks and sanitizers. “We pray for the well-being of the aid givers and hope to get more help. We will give them blessings as long as we are alive.” AP

It's been a month since German children began to go back to school, and so far there have been no major coronavirus outbreaks. Like we said, the kids are alright. WaPo

A maths teacher in Lagos has been offering free classes online via Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram since the beginning of the pandemic. After six months, more than 1,800 students at various levels are taking her classes -- across Nigeria and even internationally. AP

8TH SEPTEMBER 2020

The evidence is in: one pattern that has emerged is that female leaders have handled the crisis remarkably well. Whether it has been New Zealand under Jacinda Ardern or Taiwan under the presidency of Tsai Ing-Wen or Germany under Angela Merkel, female-led countries have been prime examples of how to manage a pandemic. Science Alert

Iceland has some very good news about coronavirus immunity. Tests on more than 30,000 people in the country revealed that 91% of Icelanders who recovered from COVID-19 produced detectable antibodies four months after diagnosis. It is the most extensive work yet on the immune system’s response to the virus and is good news for efforts to develop vaccines. Bloomberg

In South Africa, during the first three months of the COVID-19 lockdown, the murder rate declined by 35.8%, sexual offenses were down by 37.5%, robberies by 51.1%, assaults with intent to cause grievous bodily harm by 42.9% and carjackings by 35%. Sowetan

As Lebanon reels from multiple tragedies, conservationists are pointing to one bright spot. They say a record number of endangered green sea turtles have come to nest on the country's shores. Loggerhead turtles have also come in large numbers. NPR

Brazil, which has suffered one of the world’s worst pandemic tolls, has responded to the crisis by distributing so much cash directly to citizens that poverty and inequality are approaching national historic lows. Some 66 million people, 30% of the population, have been getting 600 reais ($110) a month, making it arguably the most ambitious social program ever undertaken in Brazil. Bloomberg

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, communities across the US have discovered a powerful resource: teenagers. They have stepped up, delivering groceries to older adults, offering online tutoring, emailing sick children, raising funds and helping feed the hungry. AP

This summer has been a roaring success for mountain lion babies in the Santa Monica Mountains west of Los Angeles. It’s the first time so many mountain lion dens have been found since the recording of the region’s cougar population began. Guardian

Even for 2020, with its once-in-a-generation global pandemic and the countless travel bans that have followed, this rescue mission seems a bit far-fetched. To get 100 South Africans and a couple of dozen Zimbabwean students out of China, it would take Air Zimbabwe's only functioning aircraft, and diplomatic channels in embassies across the world - all orchestrated from a dining room table in Canada by one man, armed with only a cellphone. CNN

Studies around the world have confirmed that two steroids, dexamethasone and hydrocortisone, reduce the risk of death in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 by 20%, leading the World Health Organization to issue new recommendations for the treatment of severely ill patients. Guardian

All the best dogs find their way home, eventually. Sometimes, like Pipsqueak the wiener dog, they've got to embark on a journey of more than 10,000 miles to get there. Little Pip was stranded in South Carolina at the height of the pandemic after her owners were forced to fly home to Australia. After 5 months they’ve been reunited. CNN

Australia has pre-ordered 84 million doses of coronavirus vaccine for a planned massive free roll-out next year. The deal covers two vaccines, one from Oxford and Astrazenaca and one from the University of Queenstown. Nearly all the doses will be made in Australia.  ABC

With the approaching flu season in the Northern Hemisphere, a new test that can distinguish SARS-CoV-2 and influenza is particularly important, as they can hardly be differentiated by symptoms alone. Roche has received emergency funding to develop a single test so healthcare professionals can confidently provide the right diagnosis and the most effective treatment. Reuters

1ST SEPTEMBER 2020

Preschoolers are uniquely resilient to COVID-19 – far less likely to contract and spread it than older children, and way less likely to get sick from it. Under 18s make up about 0.01% of patients hospitalized, and 0.0005% of mortalities. LA Times

A growing number of French women are ditching their bras, a trend that seems to have been triggered by the country’s three-month lockdown. Around half are choosing to go bra-less out of comfort, but 15% are doing it as protest– ”a fight against the sexualisation of women’s breasts, which requires women to hide their bodies”. France24

15-year-old Valerie Xu has been raising money for months to buy masks for a Dallas hospital and a homeless shelter. So far, she’s managed to deliver over 52,600 masks. “People have a good heart and are willing to help, and are willing to contribute to our society.” AP

The European Commission says it will make 400 million euros available for the WHO’s COVAX initiative, which aims to provide 2 billion vaccine doses for all low and middle income countries in the world. Reuters

Two teenagers in Los Angeles, Prabhleen and Mantej Lamba, have been running something called Cards 4 Covid Heroes to let health care workers know how much they’re appreciated. “During these times of darkness and uncertainty, we just wanted to try to shine some light on the fact that we do have true heroes working on the front lines.” AP

In Delhi, India, a small $13 device called a pulse oximeter has cut down on expensive hospitalisation. The device measures patients’ oxygen levels – meaning they can isolate at home, and doctors can pick up problems before they happen. The government has distributed more than 32,000 of these devices for free; there has not been a single fatality among the thousands of patients in home isolation the last month and a half. Reuters

In Cupertino, California, 17-year-old Nelson Mu and fellow high school students started teaching online classes to younger children after schools closed in the spring. More than 2,500 kids across the US are now taking their free virtual courses on everything from math and science to art and dance. “People want to make a positive change. That actually makes me extremely optimistic for the future.” AP

Coronavirus restrictions have caused Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to fall to their lowest level since 1998. Emissions in the second quarter of the year were estimated to be 8% lower than a year earlier. Guardian

Johnson & Johnson will begin mid-stage trials for its vaccine in Spain, the Netherlands and Germany this week. Its candidate uses ‘viral vectors’ to generate immune responses, similar to the UK’s AstraZeneca candidate, and China’s CanSino. Reuters

The number of Americans newly diagnosed with COVID-19 is falling. “It’s profoundly hopeful news,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious-diseases expert at the University of California, who credits the public’s growing understanding of how the virus spreads, more mask-wearing and, possibly, an increasing level of immunity.

The United States expects to have four coronavirus candidate vaccines in large-scale clinical trials by the middle of September, a remarkable timeline considering the virus was only discovered in December. Each clinical trial will enroll 30,000 volunteers; the two underway are about halfway there. USA Today

Trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, one of the world’s leading candidates, may have gathered enough data to show whether it works and is safe by the end of the year – and its makers are insisting they will not take any shortcuts and will ensure it works before going to any regulator. Guardian

26TH AUGUST 2020

A ‘masked’ vigilante, dressed as Batman, is prowling the streets of Santiago delivering food to the homeless, providing sustenance and light-hearted solace to those in need following months of lockdown in the Chilean capital. Reuters

A series of studies in the US, the UK and 26 other countries has shown that loneliness during the pandemic has not only leveled out but, in certain cases, improved. People have found ways to maintain social connection, and there's been a renewed appreciation for the importance of relationships. Scientific American

As nations worldwide have experienced an abrupt reduction in driving, flying and industrial output, carbon dioxide emissions have plunged by a billions tons. That includes a peak drop of 17% in early April. Washington Post

Along similar lines, but even more broadly, COVID-19 has led to a 9.3% reduction in humanity’s ecological footprint compared with the same period last year. It’s not nearly enough, but it provides at least some respite for the natural world. Guardian

Researchers studied 28,000 patients taking antihypertensives, a class of drugs that are used to treat hypertension, and found that it improved COVID-19 survival rates and reduced the severity of the infection. Independent

The World Health Organisation says 172 countries are now engaging with the global plan to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Nobody gets left behind. Reuters

An official portrait of Captain Sir Tom Moore has been unveiled at the National Army Museum in London. The ‘cap’ captivated the British public by walking 100 laps of his garden in England to celebrate his 100th birthday. He raised $33 million pounds for the NHS, was knighted by the Queen, and his version of You’ll Never Walk Alone topped the UK music charts, making him the oldest person to achieve a number one hit. BBC

Aquariums closed to visitors due to the pandemic are reporting a wave of webcam traffic as people turn to the underwater world for stress relief. Guardian

The number of new infections in the U.S. fell by nearly 8% over the past week — the fourth straight week of nationwide improvement. There has been significant progress in the South and Southwest, where cases skyrocketed a few months ago. AXIOS

In the UK, despite more positive cases, the number of deaths in the country is still falling. Doctors are learning how to best treat the disease and the use of dexamethasone to cut mortality in severe cases has been a particularly notable advance. Twitter

In Mexico, Peru, Tanzania and Indonesia, governments are hiring local celebrities, news hosts and teachers to create engaging and educational material for students in lockdown. They’re using tools of professional broadcasts — high-quality sets, scriptwriters and 3-D animation. NYT

In some delicious news, the WHO has said there have been no examples of coronavirus being transmitted through food. "People should not fear food or food packaging or the processing or delivery of food. Our food, from a COVID perspective, is safe." Medical Xpress

18TH AUGUST 2020

The Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) has just announced that 92 low- and middle-income countries and economies will be able to access COVID-19 vaccines through its channels. “We now have the framework in place to ensure that no economy, particularly the poorest nations, gets left behind.”

As part of an effort to cope with virus restrictions and beat back the heat, Nairobi is improving parks, adding urban forests, building more sidewalks and improving drainage to avoid floods. It’s part of a broader push to expand green infrastructure in Kenya's capital. Reuters

Scientists originally estimated 70% of a given population would need to be vaccinated or have had coronavirus to reach herd immunity. Now some scientists are saying herd immunity probably lies from 45-50%. If they’re right, then we may be a lot closer to turning back this virus than we initially thought. NYT

Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, is building its future around bikes. To tame traffic after pandemic lockdowns, the city has embarked on a bike-lane building spree that could a be model for other Latin American cities. Bloomberg

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez announced that Argentina and Mexico will produce the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for most of Latin America. Initially producing 150 million doses of the vaccine to supply all of Latin America (with the exception of Brazil). Reuters

Kenya's Amboseli national park has seen 140 baby elephants born since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. According to conservationists, good rains and a lack of tourists has led to the boom. BBC

According to a flurry of new studies, scientists who have been monitoring immune responses are now starting to see encouraging signs of strong, lasting immunity, even in people who developed only mild symptoms of Covid-19. NYT

In Scotland, a group of rewilding enthusiasts has foregone the comforts of their own homes during lockdown to stay in the Scottish Highlands look after 100,000 saplings – including Scots pine, rowan, juniper, hazel, holly and oak, as well as rare mountain species such as dwarf birch and woolly willow – that were all grown from seed. Positive.News

Scientists in San Francisco have engineered a completely synthetic, production-ready molecule that straitjackets the machinery that allows the virus to infect our cells. It can be administered as a nose spray, and used once a day, could provide powerful, reliable protection against COVID-19 until a vaccine becomes available. UCSF

China has seen the average concentrations of lung-damaging airborne particles known as PM2.5 fall by 10.8% from January 2020 to July 2020 as industry slowed because of the coronavirus. Reuters

In Australia, beer that has not been sold during lockdown has been turned into renewable energy to power a water treatment plant (someone’s taking the piss). CNN

The Navajo Nation, one of the worst affected groups in the US during the first wave, is now down to only a handful of cases. They got there thanks to millions of dollars of donations from around the world, evening and 57-hour weekend lockdowns, mandatory face mask orders, shutting down tourism and schools, and setting up public wifi and food/supply drives to reduce the amount of families traveling to border towns. Twitter

11TH AUGUST 2020

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin, the world’s youngest female head of government is turning out to be a premier for the pandemic. In a recent poll, 85% of Finns supported her handling of the pandemic, a striking level of confidence in these uneasy times. CSM

Here’s some really good news: the likelihood of someone dying after being admitted to intensive care with COVID-19 has pretty much halved since the early days of the pandemic. This amazing achievement has been so buried in the data almost nobody has noticed.

In the UK, more than a million people have quit smoking since the beginning of the pandemic. Business Insider

Birdwatching has boomed during the Covid-19 lockdown in Australia, and it's having an unexpected benefit. Scientists have been using an increase in data on bird identification apps to help with conservation efforts after Australia's devastating bushfires. BBC

Bill Gates and his foundation are spending $150 million to make a coronavirus vaccine as cheap as $3 and distribute them to some of the world’s poorest people. Vox

New York has reported its lowest COVID-19 infection rate since the start of the pandemic (AXIOS) and NYC reported zero COVID-19 deaths for 3 straight days. CBS

Portugal has reported no coronavirus deaths during a 24-hour period for the first time since mid-March and the lowest number of new infections in almost three months. Reuters

In the UK, the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 has plummeted by 96% since the peak of the pandemic. According to the NHS, hospital healthcare workers are now treating just 700 coronavirus patients a day, compared to about 17,000 a day during the middle of April. The Times

Saudi Arabia is beginning Phase III clinical trials on around 5,000 people for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by China’s CanSino Biologics Inc. Reuters

Canadian scientists have developed a promising treatment for COVID-19. They have engineered synthetic antibodies that are more potent and targeted than our naturally occurring antibodies and can be produced in massive quantities. The Globe and Mail

Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, has announced that the region will be offering free voluntary coronavirus tests to all its residents. Reuters

Around the globe, women leaders are rising to the current health and economic challenges. While women represent just a fraction of the world's leaders, a disproportionate number have tackled the pandemic swiftly and successfully. Yahoo

2ND AUGUST 2020

Researchers have shown that noise levels around the world have fallen by 50%, the quietest Planet Earth has been since humans developed the technology to listen. They’re calling it The Anthropause. Vice

The director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, says that, for all the suffering and grief that COVID-19 has wrought, it’s also inspired an unprecedented level of cooperation between private industry and government agencies. “We’ve never had that before. In this case, I guess the global pandemic has inspired us to do things that maybe we should have done before.” Time

Globally, there are now 165 vaccines in development, and 27 in human trials around the world. It’s the biggest scientific collaboration in human history, and by far the fastest progress on any vaccine. NYT

The world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccine study is now underway. 30,000 volunteers are receiving either the real shot, or a dummy version, and scientists will track each group as they go about their daily routines. CNBC

Loggerhead turtles in Greece are thriving thanks to lockdowns and a lack of tourism. A key breeding population on Zakynthos, a Greek island, has just had one of its best years on record for births. Telegraph

“We can’t be one people, if some of us are hungry.” A South African charity has delivered 4 million meals in the past 11 weeks to people living in vulnerable communities. One People

A new large scale study of 34 countries around the world has shown that on average, lockdowns have reduced nitrogen dioxide pollution by 60% and particulate matter levels by 31%. PNAS

The pandemic has caused a substantial drop in the US prison population. Between March and June this year, over 100,000 people were released from state and federal prisons – a drop of 8%. AP

Bill Gates has said that therapeutic drugs such as remdesivir are working, and that “there’s a good chance we’ll have substantial death-rate reduction by the end of the year”

Rhino poaching in South Africa has halved in the last six months, thanks to lockdowns and disruption to international flights. Guardian

Hospital patients and staff in the UK will soon be able to find out if they have coronavirus within just one hour under a rapid testing programme being developed by the government. Independent

Over the past few months Amazon has delivered 6 million meals to people in need across the United States, with plans to deliver a million more by the end of August

27TH JULY 2020

In Kenya, solar energy is saving the day. As the pandemic and extreme weather disrupt electricity supplies, solar energy sources are helping rural communities to keep their phones and lights on. Reuters

In Los Angeles, an artist painted 1,800 flowers, one for every employee of a hospital hit hard by the pandemic. Washington Post

MIT doctors and engineers have developed a reusable and affordable silicon mask that can be easily sterilized and is as effective as the gold standard N95 mask. CNBC

In the UK, 900,000 public sector employees will receive a pay rise, rewarding key workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s not just healthcare workers, it includes teachers, police officers and soldiers. Independent

A Canadian NFL player has opted out of defending their Super Bowl title this season to help fight COVID-19 on front lines.  Huffington Post

Researchers are highlighting the anti-inflammatory powers of cannabis-derived CBD to help treat deadly lung inflammation from the coronavirus. Forbes

In England, a doctor ran 22 miles to work and back while wearing a face mask to show that it doesn’t cut down oxygen levels to dispel fears and misinformation about the dangers of exercising with a mask. Newsweek

Renewable power has taken up a record share of global electricity production since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Renewable energy has become more dependable and grid operators have proven they can successfully manage larger loads of fluctuating energy flows. Reuters

Experts, after reviewing the data since the beginning of the outbreak, are saying that it is “very unlikely” that people have been or will be reinfected with COVID-19. NYT

Columbia University researchers have identified a potent cocktail of antibodies that may help doctors treat Covid-19 infections and protect people most at risk of severe disease. Guardian

Ireland’s health authority has donated the world’s most successful contact tracing app to an open-source project. This will enable jurisdictions worldwide to quickly build and deploy contact tracing apps using a wildly successful proven platform, for free. Business Insider

A global team of scientists has identified 21 existing drugs that stop the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The study significantly expands the possible safe treatments for COVID-19. Science Daily

23RD JULY 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has been a death blow for fossil fuels in Europe. In the first six months of this year, wind and solar generated 40% of the EU’s electricity, while fossil fuels generated 34% - the first time ever this has happened. IEEFA

The reduction in road traffic in the United States has resulted in far fewer wild animals being killed, with some estimates suggesting that as many as 200 million animals have been spared. WaPo

As doctors get a better handle on the disease, death rates patients in ICUs have fallen by nearly a third in North America, Asia and Europe since the start of the pandemic. Overall, ICU deaths fell from nearly 60% at the end of March to 42% by the end of May. Medical Xpress

The world’s two leading contenders for a vaccine are the British-Swedish AZD1222 vaccine, which just passed a 1,100 person trial with “robust immune responses and no serious side-effects” and China’s Ad5-vectored vaccine, which just passed Phase 2 trials and according to The Lancet is “safe, and induced significant immune responses in the majority of recipients after a single immunization.”

A group of 1,500 volunteers in Egypt have been cooking food for those less fortunate in their neighbourhoods. On the boxes, messages like ‘“Be well” in Arabic, and “Together, we will get through this.” AP

Over the last two months, dolphins have been spotted in Lisbon’s Tagus River in numbers not seen in decades, thanks to improving water quality and the availability of more fish. Reuters

Around 7,000 people suffering from homelessness in Australia, 85% of the country’s total, have been sheltered in hotels and guesthouses during the pandemic. New Daily

A new treatment has been developed for COVID-19 that uses a protein called interferon beta. In a trial, it cut the odds of ventilation by 79%, patients were two to three times more likely to recover, and the average time patients spent in hospital was reduced by a third. BBC

Each week, a restaurant in Brooklyn called Katie O’s has been distributing between 1,000 and 1,500 meals to Brooklyn’s needy, accompanied by notes like “We’ll get through this” or “What doesn’t kill you will build you.” AP

A young architect in Mexico City is roaming the streets with a ‘wandering microphone’ and broadcasting stories to children, who gather at their windows to listen. AP

Nearly 900,000 public sector workers in the UK are set to receive a pay rise, after months of political pressure to reward key workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Independent

Researchers at Monash University in Australia have devised a test that can determine coronavirus infection in about 20 minutes using blood samples. Reuters

18TH JULY 2020

In Berlin, they’re saving techno! The German capital is giving iconic clubs an average of €80,000 to ensure they survive the ongoing lockdown on the city’s party scene. The Local

Rwanda, despite being classified as a low-income country, is a COVID-19 success story. They offer free testing, comprehensive contact tracing and robot caregivers. NPR

The robot apocalypse is taking on COVID-19. Meet the droids that are disinfecting airports and hospitals, caregiving on the frontlines, delivering food to people in lockdown, reminding us about physical distancing, and helping us attend graduation ceremonies. Guardian

A Japanese startup Dougnut Robotics has invented a smart face mask the can record, transcribe and translate conversations in eight languages. Reuters

Israel is using artificial intelligence to help identify people who are most at risk of severe COVID-19 complications. Once identified, individuals are put on a fast track for testing. MIT Technology Review

England has seen a 92.8% decrease of people in hospital with COVID-19 from the peak on April 12th. UK COVID-19

An antimicrobial coating developed by Canadian company I3 BioMedical Inc can deactivate more than 99% of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – on the outer surface of medical masks. University of Toronto

Researchers in Australia have devised a test that can determine novel coronavirus infection in 20 minutes (Reuters) and an MIT team is collaborating with 3M to develop a rapid COVID-19 test that could be manufactured by the millions each day. MIT

In France, frontline healthcare workers have been given pay rises worth €8bn. BBC

In Portugal, the city of Lisbon is replacing some Airbnbs and turning holiday rentals into homes for key workers to help weather and recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Independent

China has reported only one new confirmed COVID-19 case for the mainland on July 15th, with Beijing reporting no new cases for the 10th consecutive day. Reuters

New York City, once the center of the US COVID-19 outbreak, has had its first 24-hour period with no coronavirus deaths. NPR

11TH JULY 2020

COVID-19 is poised to usher in the biggest retreat for global meat-eating in decades. Global per-capita consumption in 2020 will fall to the lowest in nine years and the 3% drop from last year represents the biggest decline since at least 2000. Bloomberg

The retired inventor of N95 masks is back at work, mostly for free, to fight COVID-19. He works up to 20hrs a day on different methods to decontaminate masks so they can be reused. Washington Post

In Thailand, a lucrative and environmentally friendly community-based project is turning discarded fishing nets into face shields and disinfectant bottles to help during the COVID-19 crisis. WEF

The Intensive Care section of the hospital of Bergamo, Italy, which has been the most COVID-battered city in the world, is now COVID free. ANSA

Beijing reported zero new coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day without any new infections since the wholesale food market breakout one month ago. CNN

In New York City, public health officials have fine-tuned a technology used to track cases of serious food-borne illness to now pick up connected cases of the novel coronavirus. WSJ

Bicycles are increasingly muscling aside cars on Europe’s city streets, as the COVID-19 accelerates a shift toward pedal power. BBC

In India, the lockdown is spurring new gardeners in the indigenous Naga people of the country’s northeast. AP

In the UK, we have an unlikely ally in the fight against the coronavirus. Already used to detect drugs and weapons, dogs are now being trained to sniff out when humans have the virus, even if they are asymptomatic. Guardian

In Texas, a team of researchers has invented a superheated air filter that catches and kills COVID-19. They plan to use it in places like hospitals, offices, schools and airplanes to significantly reduce the risk of infection. Forbes

A clinical trial has been approved for an inhaled form of Remdesivir to treat Covid-19 patients outside of hospital settings. The antiviral drug has been shown to reduce recovery times in coronavirus patients suffering from respiratory problems. Independent

The UK government has announced a £1.57bn rescue package for the country’s cultural sector to help theatres, museums and music venues make it through the coronavirus crisis. Financial Times

7TH JULY 2020

In the Philippines, local officials dressed as Star Wars characters are out and about enforcing quarantine measures while also handing out relief packages. Reuters

In Mexico City, indigenous farmers are bringing back Aztec-Era ‘floating gardens’ to fill the demand for fresh, local food in the wake of the pandemic. Altas Obscura

In Afghanistan, a long-shut, privately owned oxygen factory has reopened to help thousands of COVID-struck Afghans for free. This is truly a breath of fresh air as the country has struggled with shortages of medical oxygen during the pandemic. MSN

In the Czech Republic, a group of volunteers developed a functioning lung ventilator in days. Their simple design makes the machine reliable, inexpensive and easy to operate and mass produce. NY Post

An international team of scientists has developed a model that uses social media and search data to predict COVID-19 outbreaks two weeks before they occur, allowing time to put effective containment measures in place and ease economic pressures. NYT

Deaths in England and Wales have fallen below the five-year average for the first time since the lockdowns began. Guardian

In early-stage human trials, Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine produces more antibodies than the disease itself. Although the vaccine is not yet FDA approved, the company is already aiming to make 100 million doses the vaccine by the end of this year. Washington Post

Canada is seeing a steady decline in new coronavirus cases despite recent outbreaks in hot spots across the country. The epidemiology indicates that transmission is largely under control. Global News

A 73-year-old British man called the ‘Skipping Sikh’, who became a viral hit on social media for his exercise videos and fundraising for the National Health Service during the coronavirus lockdown, has been awarded the Points of Light honour by the UK’s Prime Minister. India Today

In California, a colourful caravan of classic lowriders from San Jose delivered food, masks and other household goods to essential farmworkers to keep them safe and celebrate their efforts. Mercury News

A Bolivian schoolteacher is giving virtual classes dressed as superheroes during the COVID-19 crisis. The students love it and classes have become so popular that siblings fight for the laptop screen to watch and learn. ABC

In Kenya, an innovative organization called Hewatele is breathing new hope into the fight against COVID-19, working to ensure all patients - even in remote areas of the country - have access to oxygen supplies that are needed to keep the most critically ill patients alive. Gates Notes

30TH JUNE 2020

Doctors around the world, from New Orleans to London to Dubai, say they now have a clearer grasp of the disease’s side effects, like blood clotting and kidney failure, a better understanding of how to help patients struggling to breathe, and promising new treatments like convalescent plasma, antiviral drugs and steroids. “We know so much more. We are far better positioned for a second wave.” Reuters

One of the UK’s best-known portrait photographers has captured powerful images of NHS workers on the frontlines of the pandemic. They will be showcased across the country at bus stops, roadside billboards and iconic pedestrian areas. Independent

Once a week, barber Josué Yacahuanca heads into the poorest neighborhoods of Lima giving free haircuts to clients struggling in lockdown. “I want them to look in the mirror and see a bit of hope.” AP

Austria is boosting financial incentives for buying electric vehicles cars and bicycles, and will triple grants for charging points from July, as part of its economic rebuilding efforts in the wake of the pandemic. Reuters

A volunteer group started by US comedian Kristina Wong, called the "Auntie Sewing Squad," started with 26 people, and now has 800. So far, the group has distributed over 55,000 masks, focusing on communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic, like farmworkers, immigrants and Black and Brown  citizens. CNN

Science is fighting back. In addition to vaccines, there is a major global effort right now to develop antibody therapies such as monoclonal antibodies, convalescent plasma, and hyperimmune globulin. Many of these will become available in the next few months. CNN

Canada, which had to import most of its PPE at the beginning of the pandemic, says it’s now almost self-sufficient, and will soon be able to turn around and share with the world, particularly developing countries. CP24

A group of researchers from South Korea, the UK and the US have worked together to produce the first open-source all-atom model of the coronavirus ‘spike’ protein. This matters because the protein is the main target for vaccine and antiviral drug development. Phys

There have been no deaths from confirmed cases of the virus in Scotland in the last few days and the country is "not far away" from eliminating coronavirus, says Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister. BBC

China’s military has received the greenlight to use a COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by CanSino Biologics after clinical trials proved it was safe and showed some efficacy. Reuters

A coronavirus vaccine being developed by researchers at the University of Oxford, called ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, is currently on track for release early next year, and is already being tested on thousands of volunteers in the UK, Brazil and South Africa. Times Now

A study conducted in Hubei province, China, examined the use of statins (normally used to lower cholesterol) in a sample size of 13,981 patients with coronavirus, and revealed a 45% decrease in the mortality rate. Yahoo

26TH JUNE 2020

Barcelona's legendary Liceu opera reopened for its first concert since mid-March, it did so to a full house — of plants! NPR

In the UK, human trials are underway of another COVID-19 vaccine, created by Imperial College London.  It’s the newest of 13 now in clinical trials around the world. BBC

A Chinese vaccine developer, CNBG, secured regulatory approval for Phase III clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine in the United Arab Emirates, making it one of the first among a slew of global efforts to get the greenlight for the final stage of human trials. Bloomberg

Columbia University has found that far-UVC light kills more than 99.9% of airborne coronaviruses in indoor environments. The light is safe and cannot reach or damage living cells in the body. ScienceDaily

Italy has seen a 60% surge in bicycle sales since the government ended its coronavirus lockdown. People are steering clear of public transport and responding to government incentives to help the environment. Reuters

Scientists from South Korea, the UK and USA worked together to produce the first open-source all-atom models of COVID-19’s infamous ‘spike’ protein.  Phys Org

A variety of countries and organizations have pledged $8.8 billion to GAVI, the vaccines alliance. The deal will help secure enough COVID-19 vaccine doses - when the shots have been developed - for poor countries to immunise healthcare workers and those at high risk. Weforum

Germany has pledged to increase its financial support for the World Health Organization to more than 500 million euros this year to fight COVID-19. WHO

India’s Dharavi, the continent’s most crowded slum, has gone from coronavirus hotspot to potential success story, offering a model for developing nations struggling to contain the pandemic. New infections are down to a third since early May, half the sick are recovering and the number of deaths plummeted this month. Bloomberg

In Spain, a group of neighbors in Cordovan kept busy during lockdown by crocheting 50 meters of LGTBI flag for pride month. It now covers and shades an entire street.  El Pais

Thailand hopes to ease some coronavirus restrictions on foreigners entering the country after going for 28 days without recording any domestic transmissions. Jakarta Post

In Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro, cartels have gone from running drugs to pushing medication, sanitiser, curfews, social distancing and food handouts for the neediest. CNN

23RD JUNE 2020

The CEO of Moderna, the frontrunner in the COVID-19 vaccine race, has pegged the chances of his company’s novel coronavirus vaccine at close to 90%. CNBC

Natalie Bin Narkprasert, a French-Thai businesswoman, started out small, buying groceries for neighbourhoods in need, but now has more than 450 volunteers who have reached more than 30,000 people in more than 100 locations with care packages and freshly cooked food. “I can always make money later, but I just want to keep helping people for now and then we will see how it goes.” AP

More on that story about dexamethasone – the world's first coronavirus treatment that significantly reduces the risk of death. Following successful trials for NHS patients, it’s being hailed as the "biggest breakthrough yet" both in Britain and globally. Telegraph

Morocco has shipped 8 million masks and other medical supplies to help 15 African countries. The aid also includes 900,000 visors, 600,000 hygiene caps, 60,000 medical coats, 30,000 litres of hydroalcoholic gel, 75,000 packs of chloroquine and 15,000 packs of Azithromycin, two drugs used for the treatment of COVID-19. Africa News

Melbourne is removing hundreds of parking spaces over the next two years to make way for 40 kilometres of bicycle lanes, following large increases in the number of people cycling into the city during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Age

A survey of fathers in Canada has revealed that 60% of dads feel closer to their kids as a result of COVID-19 lockdown measures, which have provided them with more time together. CTV

Eamon Ryan, leader of Ireland’s Green Party, and a former bike shop owner, has secured a commitment from Ireland’s government to dedicate 20% of the transport budget to walking and cycling over the next five years. Forbes

A study by genetics testing company 23andme of more than 750,000 people has shown the people with blood type O are 14% less likely to get the coronavirus than other blood types  and 19% less likely to be hospitalised. IB Times

For the last three weeks, a group of volunteers in Bangladesh called the Bidyanondo Foundation have distributed over 1,400 fruit baskets to families in need. AP

Australian researchers have made a global breakthrough on a new antiviral drug they believe can protect against COVID-19 infection, and say the drug might be available as early as the end of the year. 9News

Italy, the onetime global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, has reported its lowest increase in deaths since March, and the UK has recorded its lowest number of daily cases since lockdowns began. The Hill and BBC

Johnson & Johnson has accelerated its Phase 1/2a human clinical trials of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine - initially scheduled to begin in September, the trial is now expected to commence in the second half of July.

20TH JUNE 2020

In Brazil, a care home has created a ‘hug tunnel’ to allow residents to embrace their loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic. Independent

In Latvia‘s capital, a large statue has been unveiled to honour healthcare workers battling the coronavirus around the world. Independent

A cheap and widely available low-dose steroid dexamethasone has been shown to significantly reduce the mortality rate of patients seriously ill with COVID-19. BBC

A study of 20,000 patients who received blood plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 suggests that such transfusions may be a safe and effective treatment for the virus. Washington Post

In China, a vaccine from CNBG has triggered antibodies in 100% of all 1,120 healthy subjects in its clinical trial. The company is planning late-stage human trials in other countries.  Reuters

According to a multi-national study, children and teenagers are only half as likely to get infected with the coronavirus as adults age 20 and older, and they usually don’t develop severe clinical symptoms of COVID-19. Nature Medicine

In Iceland, thanks to a rigorous regime of tracking and tracing, COVID-19 has more or less been eliminated. CNN

In Hungary, no new coronavirus deaths have been reported for the first time in two months. Hungary Today

Friends and lovers are reuniting in Singapore as the city-state has lifted strict curbs on socialising, shopping and dining out after more than two months of coronavirus lockdown. Reuters

In Spain, the government has approved a new push for 100% renewable electricity and net-zero carbon emissions. The proposal bans all new fossil fuel projects and helps provide a pathway to economic recovery. Reneweconomy

From Bogota to Buenos Aires, rising numbers of residents are getting on their bikes as the coronavirus pandemic drives officials in South America’s capitals to expand bike lanes and promote cycling as a safe way to travel. Reuters

The US Senate has passed the Great American Outdoors Act which provides $9.5 billion to national park and recreational services. It’s as a way to get people back to nature and drive economic growth in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Outside

9TH JUNE 2020

A dog's nose is about 100 million times more sensitive than a human’s. A new scientific study suggests that sniffer dogs can detect COVID-19 in armpit sweat and may be better at diagnosing the virus than standard testing. Science Times

Scientists and artists have taken advantage of the drop in noise pollution to celebrate the world’s birds, creating the first global sound map of their mellifluous dawn chorus. It’s worth a listen.  Guardian

In the US, 8th-graders from New Mexico have donated all the money they raised for their graduation rafting trip to their Native American neighbours of the Navajo Nation, who are struggling amid the pandemic. CNN

Solar, wind, and other renewable sources have toppled coal in energy generation in the US, with the pandemic accelerating a decline in coal consumption worldwide. Grist

New Zealand appears to have completely eradicated the coronavirus -- at least for now -- after health officials said Monday that there are no active cases and no new cases of COVID-19 in the country. RNZ

In Japan, they recorded no deaths from COVID-19 on June 7th, marking the first time since March 6th there have been no fatalities. Mainichi

New York state has reported its lowest daily COVID-19 death toll since the lockdown began. CNN

In Germany, active COVID-19 cases have fallen to their lowest point since March 16th. NYT

In the UK, coronavirus deaths are at the lowest since lockdown began and no new deaths were recorded in Scotland and Northern Ireland. BBC

Beijing has further lowered its coronavirus response level after no new local cases for 50 days. Straits Times

AstraZeneca has announced that it has the capacity to produce 2 billion doses of a potential novel coronavirus vaccine being developed in partnership with researchers at Oxford University. CNN

In Thailand, a critically endangered turtle has emerged from the sea to lay at least 80 eggs on a beach, just minutes before the start of World Environment Day - another sign of how wildlife is making the most of the pandemic. Reuters

2ND JUNE 2020

Thousands of Mexican medical and support workers are crossing the border - and back again - every day to help southern California's overwhelmed hospitals. So much for the wall. Reuters

In New Zealand, for the 10th day in a row, no new cases of COVID-19 were reported. RNZ

And Vietnam recorded no new COVID-19 infection on June 1st, marking the 46th day in a row without coronavirus transmission in the community. Vietnam +

Spain has recorded no new deaths from coronavirus in a 24-hour period for the first time in three months. Aljazeera

Scientists and artists have used the drop in noise pollution during the coronavirus lockdown to create the first global public sound map of the spring dawn chorus. We definitely suggest listening. Guardian

The EU unveiled what it is billing as the biggest "green" stimulus package in history. The total financial firepower the European Commission says it will be wielding is almost €2tn ($2.2tn). BBC

Across the pond, more than 200 top UK firms and investors are calling on the government to deliver a Covid-19 recovery plan that prioritises the environment and a sustainable green economy. BBC

The extremely sensitive olfactory sense of dogs is being honed as a new tool in the fight against the COVID-19. These trained medical scent detection dogs have previously worked with identifying different types of cancers. Helsinki

In the US, the first human trial of a potential antibody treatment for Covid-19 has begun. CNN

Oprah announced she is donating $12 million to organizations dedicated to helping underserved communities in Chicago, Baltimore, Nashville, Milwaukee and Kosciusko, Mississippi. Seattle Medium

The Chinese city of Wuhan has banned the consumption of all wildlife in response to COVID-19. This follows similar bans in the cities of Beijing, Shenzhen and Zhuhai. HSI

In Kazakhstan, several snow leopards, including a mother and her cub, have been spotted near the city of Almaty. The endangered cats were caught wandering through a popular hiking destination that is now mostly off-limits due to the coronavirus lockdown. Reuters

In Kazakhstan, several snow leopards, including a mother and her cub, have been spotted near the city of Almaty. The endangered cats were caught wandering through a popular hiking destination that is now mostly off-limits due to the coronavirus lockdown. Reuters

29TH MAY 2020

The WHO’s Public Health and Environment Director, Dr Maria Neira, says their models are showing a global second wave is being increasingly ruled out. Caution required, but she thinks the virus will have a hard time surviving. Euro Weekly News

Germany’s meat industry is undergoing radical transformation in the wake of the crisis. The government will ban subcontractors and issue fines of €30,000 for breaching labour regulations - a ‘historic moment’, according to campaigners. Guardian

Chelsea Phaire, a 10-year-old girl from Connecticut, has sent more than 1,500 children in homeless shelters and foster care homes art kits to give them something uplifting to do when they're feeling down. CNN

Gucci says it will slash its annual fashion shows from five to two, no longer adhering to a rota staked out by spring/summer, autumn/winter, cruise and pre-fall shows. Instead, the brand will show “seasonless” collections twice a year. “Our reckless actions have burned the house we live in.” BI

GlaxoSmithKline Plc is planning to produce 1 billion doses of a vaccine adjuvant -- a booster that can help any brand of shot -- to support immunization against the Covid-19 pandemic next year. The adjuvant can reduce the amount of vaccine required per dose, allowing more people to be immunized, and create longer-lasting immunity. Bloomberg

Two months of lockdowns have done what successive governments could not do in 25 years,  cleaning up one of India’s biggest rivers, the Yamuna. Native and migratory birds, such as the Grey Heron, Ibis and Storks, are returning in droves to the river’s cleaner waters. NDTV

A team of scientists at Taiwan's Chang Gung University have found a monoclonal antibody that has the ability to inhibit all four main virus strains by between 90-98%. Taiwan News

It’s looking increasingly likely that the pandemic will lead to the collapse of bullfighting in Spain, as the industry (already on life support) is unlikely to receive government bailouts. Euro News

In other news from Spain, the government is implementing a basic income scheme that will reach 850,000 households and 2.5 million of the country’s poorest citizens. CNBC

Cuba is reporting that two drugs - itolizumab, and a peptide for rheumatoid arthritis, have sharply curbed its coronavirus-related death toll. Health authorities have reported just two virus-related deaths over the past nine day. Global News

Ghana, with a population of 30 million, has a death toll of less than 100 people, thanks to an extensive system of contact tracing, utilising a large number of community health workers and volunteers, and other innovative techniques such as “pool testing.” Its successful approach is now being studied by the WHO. Guardian

Sorrento Therapeutics is reporting that its antibody candidate, STI-1499, completely blocks the viral infection in-vitro during preclinical studies. Pharmaceutical Technology

27TH MAY 2020

France’s frontline healthcare workers are getting a significant pay rise as part of an overhaul of France's hospital system in response to the coronavirus crisis. France 24

New Zealand does not have a single person in hospital with COVID-19, as the country marks five consecutive days without a new case. RNZ

Ireland had their first day since mid-March with no confirmed deaths from COVID-19. BBC

Italy has reported the lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February. CNN

The United States has seen its lowest tally of new cases in 2 months. Financial Times

And Bulgarian health authorities reported a record low of only six new COVID-19 cases in a 24 hours period. NNN

In Texas, a 100-year-old celebrated with a parade of cars and visitors social distancing and wearing their masks. CBS

Australia's first human trials of a promising COVID-19 vaccine have begun in Melbourne (our home), with about 130 people involved in the program. ABC

Thousands of graduation gowns, that would have gone to waste due to the pandemic, are being upcycled as PPE for frontline workers. Gowns 4 Good was started by a new graduate who missed his ceremony. CNN

In Wuhan, China, 6.5 million people were tested in days and only around 200 cases were found, mostly people who showed no symptoms NYT

In India, two months of the coronavirus lockdown have done what successive governments could not do in 25 years, clean up the Yamuna river, the second-longest tributary in the country. NDTV

The outlook is bright in Nigeria as solar energy companies have stepped in to keep stay at home workers in lockdown powered up. Reuters

25TH MAY 2020

The first human trial of a COVID-19 vaccine finds that it is safe, well-tolerated, and induces a rapid immune response: “These results represent an important milestone.” The Lancet

A woman in Bristol got a big surprise when her family turned up to her 4th story flat window to safely celebrate her 100th birthday on a cherry picker. ITV News

There are now only two active cases of COVID-19 in Iceland and the country is lifting its state of emergency. Grapevine

New York state's daily death toll has dropped below 100 for the first time since late March. BBC

Plant-Based ‘Meats’ are growing on people during the pandemic and makers of vegan substitutes are ramping up production to meet demand. NYT

In Denver, a random customer tipped their hairstylist $2,500 and left another $3,300 for salon staff who were just returning to work after being closed for 2 months due to the coronavirus pandemic. MSN

Albania’s Bee-Keepers are buzzing over the unparalleled honey harvest thanks to busy bees that have had respite from pollution and pesticides. France 24

Park Rangers are saying wildlife is absolutely thriving in US National Parks that have been closed during the pandemic. Guardian

A hospital in New Jersey that was considered the epicenter of the US coronavirus pandemic just a few weeks ago is down to just a few COVID-19 patients. CBS

For the first time since February there were no reported deaths from COVID-19 in Lombardy, Italy, the hardest-hit region in Europe. La Repubblica

To protect the poor during the pandemic, Pakistan has launched a cash payment program that provides enough money to feed 80 million people for four months. WEF

And HBO is donating $1 million to COVID-19 relief in lieu of its annual Emmy party. Variety

Blood samples from a patient who had SARS 17 years ago contained an antibody that appeared to block the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. LiveScience

21ST MAY 2020

San Francisco Bay area reports zero COVID-19 deaths 2 days in a row, the first time since early March. Bussiness Insider

Turkey reports downward trend in COVID-19 deaths and infections. ABC News

And Italy’s death toll reaches below 100 for the first day since the 9th of March. Reuters

Studies show that people who’ve been infected with COVID-19 carry T-Cells that could help with long term immunity to the virus. Science Mag

Researchers have also found COVID-19 patients that test positive after recovery, aren’t capable of transmitting the disease. Bloomberg

The first company in the US to begin human testing for a COVID-19 vaccine has reported the data “couldn’t have been better.” Independent

Survivors of COVID-19 are donating their plasma containing antibodies to the virus to assist infected patients in their recovery. Reuters

Evidence shows anticoagulation increases COVID-19 survival, especially for patients requiring ventilators whose survival increased by over 30%. Daily Med Ed

To avoid gridlock and increased air pollution, London is shutting down some of its roads as lockdown is eased, allowing people to walk and cycle to work whilst keeping physical distancing practices. Guardian

Jacinda Ardern flags 4-day work week as a solution to rebuild the New Zealand economy and to rebalance work-life in return from COVID-19. Guardian

Celebrities with combined followings of more than 71 million on Instagram alone are donating their social media accounts for a day as platforms for frontline workers and experts to help educate the public on COVID-19. Reuters

Rare UK wildlife from otters to orcas and more, appear to be thriving whilst humans remain in lockdown. Guardian

18 MAY 2020

BP’s CEO says the crisis has “convinced him more than ever” to shrink the oil giant’s carbon footprint to zero, and that BP must learn from, and embrace, the collapse of oil markets amid the global pandemic. iNews

So f**ing metal. Slipknot’s Corey Taylor has raised over $150,000 for Direct Relief through a recent guitar auction, while Pantera’s limited-edition social distancing t-shirt has raised $100,000 for the MusiCares COVID-19 fund. On the shirt are the lyrics from the track Walk: Be yourself/ By yourself/ Stay away from me." Metal Injection and Tone Deaf

Oxford’s vaccine is progressing well according to the UK government, and plans are in place to roll it out to 30 million people by September if trials are successful. Sky News

A new study by the Yale School of Public Health has found that China's ban on traffic 10 February to 14 March prevented over 12,000 premature deaths from air pollution—three times the number of lives lost from COVID-19. About two-thirds of avoided deaths were from avoided heart and lung diseases. Phys

Everlywell’s home test has become the first standalone kit to gain approval from the FDA. The kit is independent, meaning it can work with a variety of labs to provide a broader testing footprint. Tech Crunch

Cambodia's last patient has recovered and left hospital, leaving the country with zero cases. Since the beginning of the pandemic Cambodia has reported only 122 cases, and no deaths. The Star

Joselia Kollie, a 9 year old girl in Liberia, has made a song about social distancing which is getting airplay on the country’s radio. Dr. Francis Kateh, Liberia’s chief medical officer says he is “overwhelmed with gratitude” for her effort. AP

A campaign in Bolivia called “Adopt a Grandparent” is gaining traction, with volunteers offering to help senior citizens who need support. AP

Leopards, jackals and other creatures in the tree-covered hills of Pakistan’s capital city, Islamabad, have been enjoying a rare respite, with rangers reporting increased activity and rare. Phys

Taiwan and Australia are collaborating on the development of new drugs to combat COVID-19. Australia is providing the anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin, while Taiwan is providing strains of SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses, and will be hosting the research in its laboratories. Focus Taiwan

Slovenia has become the first European country to declare the end of its pandemic, after easing lockdown measures a month ago. The New European

The first Canadian clinical trials of a vaccine called Ad5-nCoV have been approved by Health Canada, and will be conducted out of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology. Global News

Parisians are rushing to buy new bicycles or hauling old ones to the repair shop as authorities take advantage of the shifting public mood to ramp up efforts to encourage safer, more environmentally friendly forms of transport. Reuters

15 MAY 2020

The suicide rate in Japan has fallen by 20%, the biggest drop in five years, thanks to falling stress levels. People spending more time at home with their families, fewer people were commuting to work and delays to the start of the school year are seen as factors in the fall. Guardian

In a survey of 11,000 people in Australia, Belgium, Chile, Uganda, the Netherlands, France, Austria, Greece, Canada, Brazil and Ireland, purchases of ready made meals are down in every country, and shoppers are spending far more on fruit and vegetables. Reuters

New York has announced that it’s been 58 consecutive days since a pedestrian fatality, the longest stretch since the city began tracking this statistic in 1983. ABC

Over 140 global leaders and experts have issued an open letter urging world powers to guarantee that any coronavirus vaccine or treatment for Covid-19 be made freely available for everyone in order to put the "the interests of all humanity" ahead of corporations and governments. Al Jazeera

Gilead Sciences has struck a licensing agreement with five generic drugmakers to make antiviral drug remdesivir for 127 countries. CNBC

Nitrogen dioxide pollution over northern China, Western Europe and the United States decreased by 60% in early 2020 compared to the same time last year, and particulate matter pollution has decreased by 35% in northern China. Science Daily

Moderna has received fast track approval from the FDA for its vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, and now has the green light to proceed to Phase 2 testing. Time

More than 4,000 staff members at New York City's hard-hit Elmhurst Hospital have been surprised with a free vacation from American Airlines and Hyatt. CBS

Italy now has fewer than 1,000 people in intensive care treatment for COVID-19 for the first time since early March, when the country went into lockdown, and less than a quarter of the 4,068 at the peak on April 3rd. The Local

An experimental coronavirus vaccine from Oxford University appears to be effective, according to findings from a small study in six monkeys. NBC

Qatar Airways is giving 100,000 free return tickets to frontline healthcare professionals to thank them for their efforts in battling the coronavirus crisis. Yahoo

A team of virologists from Frankfurt University have managed to inhibit the growth and behavior of SARS-CoV-2 in a controlled human cell culture, using already approved drugs, and are now moving to clinical testing. Monde Stuff

13 MAY 2020

Denmark’s chief epidemiologist expects that a second wave is ‘highly unlikely’ as they reopen, thanks to a successful lockdown and on-going testing. Reuters

Research by the NYU Grossman School of Medicine has shown that patients receiving a triple drug combination of zinc sulfate, hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin had 44% less chance of dying from COVID-19 infection. France 24

New York’s cases have returned to figures similar to the beginning of the virus outbreak almost two months ago in March. CNBC

Brazil has sent 3,800 troops to protect indigenous territory in the Amazon from illegal logging and mining activity. Al Jazeera

Scientists in Ghent, Belgium, have found antibodies produced in llamas' blood could be critical in killing off the COVID-19 virus and saving lives. CNN

A universal basic income trial in Finland has shown improvement in employment and well-being and could enable a steady recovery from the economic fallout of the pandemic. New Scientist

A team of 20 students in the US have linked farmers with food banks to liberate tens of thousands of kilograms of food from being wasted.  MSN

134 pregnant women in Los Angeles tested positive for COVID-19, but not their babies, indicating it is unlikely for a pregnant mother to pass the virus to her baby during pregnancy. L.A. Times

Food celebrity Guy Fieri has helped raise over $20m, awarding more than 40,000 grants of $500 to restaurant workers in the US affected by coronavirus. Variety

The WHO sees potentially positive data in treating coronavirus, with more the 100 potential vaccines in development and many potential treatment solutions. Reuters

A new study shows that nearly everyone makes antibodies once recovered from coronavirus, and a new test can help identify those of which can act as shield immunity. NY Times

11 MAY 2020

Seed sales are soaring thanks to more people becoming budding gardeners. Good luck green thumbs! BBC

Nike is finally just doing it, donating $5.5 million worth of shoes, socks and shirts to healthcare workers in the US and Europe. Business Insider

Slovakia has recorded no new coronavirus cases for the first time since March 10th. Reuters

A sliver of serenity for Seattle residents as the city plans to permanently close 20 miles of streets to traffic so residents can have more space to exercise and cycle. CNN

The Bangla Sahib Gurdwara in the heart of New Delhi is feeding over 75,000 people every day during the pandemic. The kitchen uses a whopping 1,600 kg of aata, 1,200 kg rice and 700-800 kg of dal daily to prepare the meals. The Print

The FDA has authorized a COVID-19 test that uses the gene-editing technology CRISPR and returns results in around one hour. The Verge

In more good brews, a German brewery has given away 2,600 litres of free beer to locals as their surplus amassed during the coronavirus lockdown. Aljazeera

Pope Francis has transformed a Vatican palace, the Palazzo Migliori, into a shelter for the poor and the homeless. NBC

A free student-led service has delivered more than $27,000 of food to 260 homes in the most vulnerable areas of Los Angeles in the last six weeks. LA Times

A ‘patron saint’ in NY has gone into $600,000 in debt to get PPE to frontline workers for free. It’s her second coming after distributing millions of dollars of supplies to workers in the wake of 9/11. Washington Post

Also in the Big Apple, a hospital has surprised its entire staff of more than 4,000 people - including doctors, physician assistants, nurses, and facilities and foodservice teams - with a free three-night vacation. CNN

Taiwan has recorded no new cases of COVID-19 for the third day in a row and is boosting pay for their frontline healthcare workers. Taiwan News

#13 Finally, in news from Rome (we’re not sure if this is good, bad or ugly) without any scraps to feed on, seagulls have had to adapt to survive and are turning to rats for sustenance. Evening Standard

8 MAY 2020

Nearly 40 mayors representing more than 700 million people in cities across the globe are calling for a transformative recovery, warning that a return to "business as usual" means accepting a world barreling toward climate catastrophe. Yesterday, they signed a statement of principles that aims to provide a framework for the "transition to a more sustainable, low-carbon, inclusive and healthier economy for people and the planet."  Common Dreams

In the last seven weeks, World Central Kitchen has served more than 4.5 million free meals in 190 cities across 30 American states & territories and, over 600,000 meals in 10 cities across Spain. WCK

Vietnam has not recorded any new Covid-19 infections for 21 straight days, and Cambodia has gone for 24 days without any new cases. Khmer Times and Edge Markets

The Canadian government has announced it will provide an extra $3 billion in support to increase the wages of low income essential workers. CBC

Fungie, a famous solitary dolphin living off the west coast of Kerry, Ireland, has become become lonely without any human interaction over the past two months, and so a kind-hearted fisherman has been undertaking daily trips to keep him company. Independent

Pharmaceutical giant Roche is ploughing $459 million into its manufacturing facility in Penzberg, Germany, to boost production of the antibody test that won an emergency use authorization from the FDA last week. Fierce Pharma

South Korea will provide one million face masks to Korean War veterans in 22 countries, including the United States, Britain and Canada, in an expression of gratitude for their sacrifice, to mark the 70th anniversary of the conflict. Korean War

Banksy has created a new artwork showing a young boy discarding his Spiderman and Batman figures in favour of a new favourite action hero - an NHS nurse. The artwork was given to a hospital in Southampton, with the note "Thanks for all you're doing. I hope this brightens the place up a bit, even if its only black and white." BBC

Researchers with Switzerland-based blood-screening company have developed a COVID-19 antibody test with 100% sensitivity and 99.8% specificity claim, making it one of the most accurate tests for the COVID-19 available. VOA News

Pfizer and German pharmaceutical company BioNTech started human trials for their potential RNA based coronavirus vaccine this week, and say that if the tests are successful, the vaccine could be ready for emergency use as early as September. NYT

The MOGON II supercomputer in Germany has made more than 30 billion single calculations within two months and found that compounds from four hepatitis C drugs - simeprevir, paritaprevir, grazoprevir, and velpatasvir - have a high affinity to bind SARS-CoV-2 very strongly and may therefore be able to prevent infection. Science Daily

US airline company JetBlue is giving 100,000 health care workers round-trip flight vouchers to honour their work on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. The Hill

6 MAY 2020

This thing can be beaten. Countries that took early action to impose lockdowns, tested and traced thousands of people, isolated the sick, encouraged social distancing and mask wearing, and communicated honestly with the public, not only flattened the curve, they sent it plunging downward. “At the end of the day, it’s not magic. It’s shoe-leather public health,” Vox

Support for a green recovery is growing around the world. Mayors from cities in Europe, the US and Africa held talks this week to coordinate efforts to support low-carbon initiatives in the wake of the crisis. Guardian

Over 90 of France’s largest businesses, including BNP Paribas, AXA, Danone, and Total, have called on government to "channel a large proportion of the financial resources earmarked for economic recovery into the areas already identified as supporting ecological transition". Le Monde

More than a million dollars has been raised in Ireland for native American tribes, repaying a debt dating back to 1847 when the Choctaw and Navajo people helped the Irish during the Great Famine. Independent

The Pope’s charity has sent money to a group of transgender sex workers in Rome, after they begged the Vatican for help. NY Daily News

Dutch researchers say they have identified a fully human monoclonal antibody that prevents the SARS-CoV-2 virus from infecting cultured cells. This is a major step forward in developing a fully human antibody. Science Daily

The International Energy Agency is now estimating that the coronavirus crisis will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by almost 8% this year, the largest annual decrease ever recorded. NPR

A team of scientists from the United States and France have shown that at least 10 different drug compounds ranging from cancer therapies to antipsychotics and antihistamines may be effective at preventing the new coronavirus from multiplying in the body. SF Chronicle

Gilead Sciences, the makers of remdesivir, a drug shown to be effective against COVID-19, say it’s been granted emergency authorization and will start treating patients most in need this week. The Hill

Employees at a hospital in Santa Cruz, California, are getting bonuses, thanks to a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor. Full-time workers will receive an extra $800; part-time staff will receive $600. CNN

The Rímac River in Peru, the main supplier of water to the capital Lima, is normally a dumping ground for garbage and waste. But local officials have been reporting that its waters appear to be clearer since the country introduced its coronavirus lockdown. Newsweek

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is committing a further $125 million toward the international effort to develop and distribute COVID-19 diagnostics, therapies and vaccines. CNET

A machine called the Lightstrike Robot, invented in Japan, uses ultraviolet light to disinfect hospitals and has been shown to deactivate the novel coronavirus in just two minutes, providing a potentially effective method of removing the virus from public spaces. Nikkei Review

4 MAY 2020

In India, rose petals are falling from the skies as military helicopters pay a floral tribute to frontline healthcare workers battling the coronavirus pandemic. Gulf Today

A brown bear has been spotted for the first in North-Western Spain in 150 years as the region becomes bearable. Guardian

Consumption of whale meat is declining and for the second year in a row, Iceland, one of three remaining whaling nations, will not hunt any whales. National Geographic

For six out of seven days last week, no new cases of COVID-19 were detected in Hong Kong. The Standard

And for the first time in almost six weeks, New Zealand has not uncovered a single case in a 24 hour period. NZ Herald

In Italy, deaths from coronavirus have fallen to the lowest number in almost 2 months since the lockdown started. Bloomberg

When Gustavus, Alaska, was cut off from its grocery supply chain, one resident decided to take matters into his own hands and feed the remote town with a Costco card and a ship. The Hustle

In talk show news, the host of the “The Daily Show” Trevor Noah is personally paying the salaries of his 25 furloughed crew members after the show began recording remotely. Daily Mail

A six-year-old in British Columbia, Canada, has a new routine. Every day, he wakes up early, eats breakfast, gets his schoolwork done --- and then sets up his joke stand outside. His goal: To spread joy and laughter to his neighbours, from a safe distance. CNN

While off school, a nine-year-old in California is using his free time and computer skills for good amid the novel coronavirus pandemic by making 3D-printed face shields for frontline healthcare workers.  ABC

A high school freshman in Texas has used crowdfunding to source 12,000 masks for local healthcare workers with the help of family, friends and her community. After being treated in hospital in 3rd-grade, she says she has never forgotten the kindness of the doctors and nurses. ABC

A college in New York has recorded a virtual choir of 300 people from 15 countries singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. The man behind the musical gesture of solidarity hopes “the words, ‘you’ll never walk alone,’ along with the visual of 300 people joining together offers the audience some comfort and peace during this time”. Tonic 75

1 MAY 2020

South Korea's widespread testing and contact tracing lead to their first day with no new cases. Forbes

Meanwhile, South Korean health experts say that recovered coronavirus patients may have tested positive again due to traces of virus fragments that had been inactivated (dead). This positively refutes theories about possible virus reactivation or reinfection. #KeepOnTesting #Pro-testing! Newsweek

For the fifth consecutive day, the Centre for Health Protection said there have been no new local confirmed coronavirus cases in Hong Kong. The Standard

Pakistan is hiring displaced workers to plant trees. Officials say the move will create more than 60,000 jobs. Tree-huggers unite! Aljazeera

In an inmate-lead initiative, volunteers in a Santa Barbara County Jail are making masks for first responders, the community and their fellow cellmates. CNN

Michigan announces a tuition-free education for essential workers. This is a truly inclusive program; along with medical ‘frontliners’, it covers grocery store employees, child care workers, sanitation workers and those who deliver supplies. CNN

Gre(a)ta strikes again! Thunberg has donated $100,000, which she was awarded by an anti-poverty organisation, to support children during the pandemic. France24

Murky waters are subsiding in the Rímac River in Peru, the main supplier of water to the capital Lima. Since the country introduced its coronavirus lockdown, waste has dropped by 90%. Newsweek

Austria and Sweden have announced that they have shut their last coal-fired power plants, joining Albania, Belgium, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway as countries without coal in their electricity mix. Bloomberg

The UK has a new record: 18 continuous days without burning coal for electricity. Remember, this is the country that started burning the black rocks in the first place. Guardian

Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency has projected that demand for coal could fall by an extraordinary 8% — the largest decline since World War II. NPR

Flamingos are putting their (other) foot down in Mumbai, with 150,000 of the pink birds flocking to India’s largest city. Many have infiltrated urban areas usually inhabited by humans. Huffington Post

29 APRIL 2020

1. In the worldwide race for a vaccine, the laboratory sprinting fastest is at Oxford University. Thanks to a lucky headstart, a trial involving more than 6,000 people is scheduled for the end of May. NYT

2. In other good news, the Oxford trial has partnered with the world’s largest vaccine maker, the Serum Institute of India, who say that if it’s shown to be safe and effective, they’ll be able to produce millions of doses by September. NDTV

3. Particulate matter in Manila, the capital city of the Phillippines, has dropped by a third, and residents are reporting unimpeded views of the Sierra Madre range - a sight not seen in decades. MongaBay

4. Move fast and make things! A group of Silicon Valley VCs have launched Fast Grants to speed up funding for scientists working on the coronavirus. Applications for between $10,000 and $500,000 can be submitted in less than 30 minutes, and a response comes back within two days. All $12 million has been allocated, and more funding is coming. Vox

5. New Zealand has stopped community transmission of Covid-19, effectively eliminating the virus. Some non-essential business, healthcare and education activity has now resumed. BBC

6. In Mexico, Lucha Libre wrestlers have transformed their costume-making workshops to make face masks. “They have double stitching, fabric reinforcement." BBC

7. Germany and Britain say efforts to revive the global economy in the wake of the pandemic must ensure a ‘green recovery’ to tackle climate change. These comments come ahead of a virtual meeting of officials from 30 countries. The Standard

8. Scuba diving FTW. Tourism companies in Australia are repurposing idle vessels — and staff — for coral restoration missions on the Great Barrier Reef, and the Professional Association of Diving Instructors is recycling ocean plastic into face masks. Karryon and CNN

9. For the first time, one of the many vaccines in development has protected an animal, rhesus macaques, from infection. The vaccine, developed by a Chinese biotech company, is an old-fashioned formulation consisting of a chemically inactivated version of the virus, and produced no obvious side effects. Science

10. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a Superbowl winner and the first med school grad to ever play in the NFL, has returned to Quebec to work on the frontlines, cleaning out bedpans and prepping medication trays in a long-term care centre. Vice

11. The University of Washington is reporting encouraging results from trial runs of a new test from Abbott Laboratories. “This is a really fantastic test.” Geek Wire

12. Two students from Florida State University have created a website dedicated to tracking stories of kindness from around the globe. "We hope to help inspire kindness, and encourage people to take action and to show that they can do kind things just from their home." Kindness Amid Coronavirus

27 APRIL 2020

The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the global coronavirus pandemic began, now has no remaining cases in its hospitals. Reuters

In just 37 days, NASA engineers developed a ventilator designed to help coronavirus patients and it has already passed medical testing. It’s cheaper, more flexible and easier to maintain so it can be used more effectively in field hospitals currently being set up across the world. Independent

To combat blood supply shortages, mosques across the United States have teamed up with the Red Cross to open their doors for blood donations during Ramadan. The Hill

Meanwhile, a mosque in Scotland is donating the food it would normally make for worshippers to the homeless and others who need it. BBC

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with an endowment exceeding $40 billion, will now give “total attention” to the coronavirus pandemic. Bloomberg

To pay tribute to medical frontline works, artist Tom Croft started  the #PortraitsforNHSHeroes project on Instagram, offering a free oil a portrait to the first NHS frontline worker to message him. Since then, more than 500 artists have contributed portraits in all shapes and styles. Evening Standard

New cases of coronavirus in Italy have fallen below the number of newly recovered patients for the first time since the outbreak began. Newsweek

Milan is to introduce one of Europe’s most ambitious schemes, reallocating street space from cars to cycling and walking, in response to the coronavirus crisis. Guardian

Belgian prime minister Sophie Wilmès announced every citizen will receive a free fabric face mask as part of the exit strategy from the country's coronavirus lockdown. Euronews

German officials have agreed on an ‘eco-scrappage program’ to promote the uptake of electric vehicles in the country’s post-pandemic economy. Electrek

The government of Ontario, Canada will be providing frontline workers with a “pandemic pay raise” amidst the coronavirus outbreak. Global News

Since schools closed a month ago, a nutritionist in Nairobi, Kenya has been providing thousands of primary school children cheap and nourishing lunches. Her focus has now shifted to "how we can support kids while they're at home," she says. CNN

California, in partnership with the Federal Government, has launched a novel aid program that will pay restaurants to rehire workers right away to provide three meals a day to needy seniors. USA Today

23 APRIL 2020

It’s looking like a good year for the world’s largest turtle, the endangered leatherback. Conservationists from Thailand and Florida, are seeing unprecedented numbers returning to breed on abandoned beaches. The Independent

As a result of the coronavirus crisis, commercial fishing fleets are tied up, giving a marine life a once in a generation chance to recover. Japan Times

The FDA has approved the first in-home coronavirus testing kit. This could be a game-changer, increasing access to testing and improving public safety. NYT

Poland and Denmark are refusing to bail out organisations that are based in tax havens, the Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki announcing, “Let’s end tax havens, which are the bane of modern economies”. Business Insider

A nurse in San Antonio, Texas, has designed a mask that is more effective than the N95. She is sharing the design with other health care workers at the frontlines. NY Post

Rap legend Eminem is donating cups of ‘Mom’s Spaghetti’ to workers in his home town of Detroit, Michigan, one of the worst-hit parts of the US. Tone Deaf

German auto-execs, politicians and environmentalists have agreed on the need for an ‘eco-scrappage program’ to promote the uptake of hybrid and electric vehicles, helping to boost the country’s post-pandemic economy and pave the way for a greener future. Electrek

In Chile, drones are being used to reach elderly residents in remote areas and keep them safe, by delivering medication, masks and hand sanitiser.  NYT

The coronavirus crisis has inspired warring gangs in South Africa to lay down their weapons and redeploy their distribution skills to get food to townspeople in lockdown. CBS

China continues to use its experience to provide medical aid to other countries affected by COVID-19, recently sending two shipments of PPE and testing equipment to Egypt. Egypt Today

Taiwan is setting an example in its management of the outbreak and providing aid to international neighbors as far afield as the US and Italy. Vice President Mr. Chen, an epidemiologist by training, stated, “No country can fight Covid-19 alone” and that Taiwan wanted “a chance to share our knowledge and experience and our technologies with other countries.” NYT

A navy hospital ship docked off Manhattan is to be sent home as the crisis in New York seems to have turned a corner. Navy Times

20 APRIL 2020

A taxi driver in Madrid has been giving lifts to medical staff and coronavirus patients for weeks without charging them. This weekend, he was greeted with rapturous applause from dozens of medics lined up just inside the entrance to the Ramon y Cajal hospital in Alcorcon. Independent

The EU is stepping up efforts to control wildlife trading and make factory farming more sustainable, given that both issues have played a role in the coronavirus pandemic. “Healthy ecosystems lead to a healthy society and therefore it is not too high a price to pay to fix them.” Reuters

On the weekend, the 8 hour virtual concert organised by Lady Gaga, "One World: Together At Home," raised $55.1 million for the WHO's Solidarity Fund and $72.8 million for local and regional charities across the world. The Hill

Pharmaeutical giant Roche has developed an antibody test for Covid-19, that can identify people who have already been infected, especially unknowingly - a crucial tool for lifting physical distancing measures. It will begin selling them in May, and says production will reach tens of millions by June. Bloomberg

In the past few days hundreds of posters have been popping up around the UK with the message “community is kindness” and "Be kind. Let's look out for one another." BBC

The Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, says it will not patent the vaccine it is developing for COVID-19, and will partner with multiple firms around the world to produce it. Deccan Herald

A German research institute has produced a "Map of Hope" that provides the location and description of every single WHO-approved clinical trial on COVID019 around the world. HeGEIT

The chef at one of Belgium's oldest and most prestigious restaurants, which has been shuttered by the coronavirus, is feeding 100 homeless people a week, echoing initiatives by chefs across Europe. Reuters

Lego has converted six of its moulding machines at its Billund factory in Denmark to produce visors for healthcare workers on the frontlines, and is now making more than 13,500 a day. Nerdist

Germany has declared its coronavirus outbreak under control, as the person-to-person infection rate had dropped to 0.7, meaning that each person carrying the virus is now infecting less than one other person on average. The country will start taking it first tentative steps out of lockdown this week. Guardian

Italian health officials have declared victory over the coronavirus in the poorer southern regions of the country. "We have prevented the spread, this is now a fact supported by figures." France24

For the fourth day running, not a single new case of COVID-19 has been detected in Vietnam. The total amount of people who have contracted the disease since the very first case in mid-January remains at 268. Of those, 202 have made a full recovery and have been given the all-clear. Việt Nam News

The Cook Islands has become one of the first nations in the world to be free of COVID-19. This week will see schools start again, domestic travel restrictions to the outer islands lifted, resumption of non-contact sport, and cafes and restaurants allowed to open for normal business. 1 News

17 APRIL 2020

Inspired by Mother Teresa, a former Kenyan safari operator has switched his entire operation to feeding thousands of families suffering food shortages. His team of volunteers, who call themselves Team Pankaj, have sent out 24,000 hampers since setting up on March 22, each with enough food to last a family of five for two weeks. Reuters

At the risk of mistaking correlation for causation… what do countries with the best coronavirus responses have in common? Iceland, Taiwan, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Finland, and Denmark are all led by women. Forbes

There are now 78 confirmed vaccine programs around the world, and five have already entered trials. There’s one based on DNA, another on RNA, one dendritic cell vaccine, an artificial antigen-presenting cell vaccine along the same lines, and a more traditional protein-fragment vaccine. Science Mag

Pollution in Nairobi has fallen so drastically that residents can now see Mount Kenya, the second-highest mountain in Africa, for the first time in decades. NPR

A Chicago hospital treating patients with an antiviral drug called remdesivir is seeing rapid recoveries in fever and respiratory symptoms, with nearly all patients discharged in less than a week. STAT

Abbott Laboratories announced the launch of its third test for the coronavirus and says it will be screening 20 million people for antibodies for Covid-19 by June. CNBC

In Australia, new government modelling has shown that social distancing is holding new infection levels low enough to eliminate the coronavirus from the mainland altogether. The Age

There are now more than 2,500 research papers on COVID19 – too many for a single researcher to cover. An Israeli startup has built an AI tool that can scan the data from published peer-reviewed studies and offer it in the form of easy to use knowledge graphs. CTech

Canadian researchers are working on a DNA-based vaccine that can be delivered through a nasal spray, designed to target tissues in the nasal cavity and lower respiratory tract. University of Waterloo

All of the G7 countries, with the exception of the United States, have expressed strong support for the World Health Organization following a meeting yesterday, and their leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to the WHO and urged further international cooperation. Guardian

A medical device maker teamed up with Siemens, Airbus, Ford and a number of Formula 1 teams to produce a new ventilator design, which has now been approved for production in the UK. It’s the first device to gain official approval, and the consortium say they’ll be making 1,500 a week by the start of May. BBC

The US flag has been projected onto the famous Matterhorn mountain in the Swiss Alps as a part of a series to spread hope and solidarity for countries around the world. NY Post

15 APRIL 2020

British war veteran Captain Tom Moore has raised £4 million (and climbing) for the NHS by walking lengths of his back garden, with the goal of completing 100 laps before his 100th birthday. Guardian

A US startup has used AI to uncover a drug called baricitinib (which has both anti-viral and anti-cytokine properties), as a potential treatment for COVID-19, and the findings have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Tech Crunch

The inventor of the first ever home pregnancy test is now working on a rapid COVID19 diagnostic test in collaboration with a Senegalese company. It will cost less than £1 to manufacture, with the aim of allowing it to be easily available in Africa. Devex

Science is bringing sexy back. For the first time in generations, public trust in educated and experienced experts in academia and government in the US is on the rise. Associated Press

Kuwait has granted $40 million to the WHO, as well as an additional $10 million in aid for Iran, and Qatar is sending $150 million in aid to the Gaza Strip to support UN humanitarian programmes. Middle East Monitor

Within days of the announcement of Germany’s shutdown, Berlin had distributed money to 150,000 artists, shop owners, hairdressers and other small-business owners and freelancers. NY Times

‘Rice ATMs’ (machines that give out free rice), have been set up around Vietnam to help those who need it most during the coronavirus pandemic. CNN

Johnson & Johnson says it can produce 600-900 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine by April 2021 if human trials go as planned. CNBC

Spain is implementing universal basic income as a way to help people get back on their feet, and the country’s economic minister she wants it to become a permanent instrument. La Sexta

New data from NASA has revealed that air pollution in northeast areas of the US in March 2020 dropped by 30%. These are the lowest March levels NASA has seen since it started analyzing data. Daily Mail

The Canadian province of Alberta has donated $41.2 million of protective gear to other provinces, and says it expects no payment in return. Scientists at the University of Alberta have also just published the most comprehensive evidence yet that the drug remdesivir is highly effective in stopping the coronavirus replication mechanism.

Rihanna’s foundation has teamed up with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to donate $4.2 million to assist victims of domestic violence affected by “stay at home” orders in Los Angeles. The donation will cover ten weeks of support including shelter, meals, and counselling for individuals and their children. Vulture

Paris and Berlin have added their names to a growing list of EU capitals saying that a Green Deal should be at the heart of the EU’s post-pandemic recovery plan. “The Green Deal provides us with a roadmap to make the right choices in responding to the economic crisis while transforming Europe into a sustainable and climate neutral economy.” Euractiv

A team of British photographers have started a project for people to submit photos of their hands and share accompanying stories of kindness during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you’d like to get involved, or share a story, check it out on Instagram at @lendahand2020.

13 APRIL 2020

Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer donned a doctor's coat on Easter Sunday, to honour frontline workers around the world battling to stop the spread of coronavirus. Jesus, where’s your PPE! SBS

Vietnamese-owned nail salons are donating protective masks and gloves — requisite sanitation items in every salon — to hospitals in their communities across the US. NBC

MIT researchers have used artificial intelligence to transform the structure of COVID-19’s famous spike protein into music. It will enable scientists to better understand how the virus functions and help develop a cure. No, this is not science fiction. Science

In Bangalore, India a restaurant is feeding 10,000+ people in need every day.  At first, family and friends were packing 700 meals a day. The word spread across the city and local police, NGOs and volunteers stepped up to help bring relief. Bangalore Mirror

A 12-year-old boy diagnosed with autism, and with a fondness for maps, received a great birthday surprise, when his dad reached out via Twitter to invite greetings from around the world. It became the number one trending topic, with thousands of people, from Trinidad and Tobago to Tasmania, answering the call. The boy’s dad says his son is “having a blast”, marking the locations of his well-wishers on his map. Washington Post

An anonymous donor gave every household in an Iowa town $150 in gift cards for food, injecting money into the town's economy, and more importantly, giving hope to its citizens. CNN

China has drawn up new guidelines to reclassify dogs as pets rather than livestock and placed temporary bans on the breeding, trading and consumption of wildlife. This comes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, whose origins have been traced to a livestock market in Wuhan. Reuters

India will export 90,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan and Lebanon, where there is a desperate need for rations during this crisis. Business Today

Pope Francis has advocated for universal basic income, amid the coronavirus pandemic, in an Easter letter to leaders of social movements and organisations around the world. The Hill

Students at a Canadian high school have launched the Joy4All project, which offers a free telephone line to tell funny jokes and happy notes to help lift seniors’ spirits, in what may be a lonely time during the COVID-19 pandemic. CBC

Pakistan is testing domestically manufactured ventilators for installation in hospitals across the country. Pakistan Times

People in the northern Indian state of Punjab can see the Himalayas for the first time in decades due to the reduction in air pollution caused by the country's coronavirus lockdown. CNN

10 APRIL 2020

Pakistan launched the largest social protection effort in the country’s history with plans to pay close to $1 billion dollars to the country’s poorest in an effort to counter the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis. CNN

New Zealand isn’t just flattening the curve - they’re squashing it, thanks to a masterclass in leadership from Jacinda Ardern. The Conversation

She has also assured the children of her nation that the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are considered essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic. NPR

In Ohio, the famously conservative Amish community has teamed up with the Cleveland Clinic and is producing close to 100,000 N95 masks a day. With raw materials difficult to secure, Amish seamstresses came up with a more efficient mask design. NYT

A third of the food banks in Toronto have closed down, despite having plenty of food, so Toronto Public Library has turned its branches into food banks and can pack 850 food hampers in two hours. Toronto Life

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in air pollution dropping dramatically, but several analyses are now showing that our greenhouse gas emissions are dropping, too. In fact, the pandemic may lead to the largest annual fall in emissions ever recorded. Gizmodo

Good news for our furry friends, the Chicago Animal Care and Control and Riverside County Animal Shelter in California has completely run out of adoptable pets. ABC

The coronavirus pandemic has given a pair of pandas in Hong Kong’s Ocean Park enough alone time to finally get it on. Two resident pandas, Ying Ying and Le Le, managed to successfully mate - and they've been struggling for a decade. BBC

Lady Gaga has raised $35 million in 7 days for the WHO's global coronavirus response fund, and is spearheading a virtual festival ‘One World Together at Home.’ The event will feature dozens of stars, including Billie Eilish, Lizzo, and Elton John, Business Insider.

If you don’t like pop music Andrea Bocelli is streaming live this Sunday to send ‘love, healing and hope’ to Italy. Daily Mail

Millions of elderly Americans depend on Meals on Wheels for their nourishment, and three-quarters of the volunteers who deliver the meals are over 55 years old. They’re staying home, and college students are helping to fill the gap. Washington Post

An experimental vaccine for COVID-19, when delivered to mice using microneedles, caused antibody production against the disease within just two weeks. Researchers have begun the process of obtaining permission for human clinical trials. NIH

At unprecedented speed, just three months after the start of the coronavirus pandemic, trials of promising vaccines and treatments are moving toward human trials. NYT

8 APRIL 2020

Researchers from around the world have set up an online platform for people who want to help them fight the coronavirus. Tasks include anything from transcribing data to searching literature. There already over 35,000 volunteers. Crowdfight COVID19

In Pakistan, people are pausing outside grocery stores to offer zakat, the traditional Muslim charity tax, for those without paid leave, health insurance or a financial safety net. BBC

Residents in Naples, Italy, have been hanging up ‘solidarity baskets’ of food for the less fortunate. A sign on one of the baskets reads: "Who can puts in, who can't takes." Jakarta Post

A new COVID-19 vaccine candidate, backed by the Gates Foundation, entered Phase 1 clinical human testing yesterday. It works by injecting a plasmid (a small, independent genetic structure) so patients’ cells can produce antibodies to fight off infection. Tech Crunch

Support for Medicare for All in the US has skyrocketed. 55% of voters support it, and support for single-payer healthcare has jumped from 11 points to 20 points. Morning Consult

In South Africa, crime rates have decreased significantly following lockdown laws and bans on the sale and movement of liquor. News24

Amidst the economic fallout, fossil fuel companies have suffered a total bloodbath. Exxon and Peabody Coal are down a stunning 70% compared to 30% for the broader market. Financial Times

Shenzhen has become the first city in China to ban eating cats and dogs, due to fears of future viral outbreaks. DNA India

In Belgium, 30 chefs are serving meals to health workers in more than 40 hospitals around the country, as well as some care homes. Reuters

Throughout New York and New Jersey, the Chinese-American community is uniting to fight the pandemic, creating vast networks on WeChat and rallying their contacts in the US and in China to procure supplies for doctors and nurses in need. NYT

Miss England 2019 has returned to the UK from overseas charity work to continue her career as a doctor amidst the coronavirus pandemic. CNN

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square is moving $1 billion of his equity to fund COVID-19 relief efforts and other causes. “Why now? The needs are increasingly urgent, and I want to see the impact in my lifetime. Variety

6 APRIL 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is showing the world what true leadership looks like. Captain Brett Crozier, who was relieved of his command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, has left the carrier to the thunderous applause of all 5,000 sailors. ABC

Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, used to be a doctor before becoming a politician. He has now re-registered and will work one shift a week to assist during the outbreak. Sky

Oprah Winfrey has donated $10 million to coronavirus relief efforts. $1 million will go toward America's Food Fund to alleviate food insecurity, and the rest will be donated to other groups helping Americans during the pandemic. CNN

European nations are reporting encouraging signs - Italy has recorded its  lowest daily toll in two weeks, France reported its lowest daily toll in a week and Spain said fatality numbers have fallen for the third straight day. Guardian

Experts say that coronavirus may lead to a 5% reduction in global carbon emissions in 2020, the biggest fall since World War Two. Al Jazeera

China has sent 1,000 ventilators to New York. “This is a big deal, which is I can tell you just astonishing and unexpected, and it's going to make a significant difference for us,” said the governor, Andrew Cuomo. CNBC

Ukraine has sent a team of surgeons, neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses to central Italy, to assist their colleagues and gain field experience. Reuters

There are now 79 treatments and 49 vaccines in development for COVID19 in over 200 clinical trials in the United States, China and Europe. Milken Institute

The largest of these is being run by Oxford University. Almost 1,000 patients from 132 different hospitals across the UK have been recruited in just 15 days and thousands more are expected to join. Harrogate

A new study has shown that an anti-parasitic drug called Ivermectin, already available around the world, can kill the virus within 48 hours. Science Daily

Biotech giant Gilead is donating 1.5 million doses of its experimental anti-coronavirus drug remdesivir for compassionate use, expanded access and clinical trials. Bloomberg

The Gates Foundation is building seven factories for each of the top seven vaccine candidates. “Even though we’ll end up picking at most two of them, we’re going to fund factories for all seven, so we don’t waste time.” Business Insider

2 APRIL 2020

Taiwan is sending seven million masks to Europe, two million to the United States, and a million to the small band of countries which maintain formal diplomatic ties with the country. Reuters

On St Patrick’s Day last month, Ireland launched a “Be On Call For Ireland” initiative to recruit more doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals. More than 70,000 have responded, and are now joining the frontlines. The Star

In South Africa, the Oppenheimer and Rupert families have donated over $100 million to the WHO’s Solidarity Fund, technology firm Naspers has contributed $75 million, and the Motsepe Foundation, in partnership with Sanlam, African Rainbow Capital and African Rainbow Minerals, has donated $54 million. Daily Maverick

Two weeks into mandatory stay-at-home orders in the San Francisco Bay area and Washington state, there’s evidence the curve of infections is flattening. Washington Post

Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen says their curve is flattening too, and if the numbers keep improving over the next two weeks, society will gradually begin to re-open after April 13. Forbes

In Spain, the pressure on emergency rooms is easing, and healthcare workers are reporting that the lockdown measures are slowing coronavirus infections. El Pais

The Russian Academy of Sciences has put its MVS-10P cluster supercomputer into the hands of an international research team from Russia, Finland, Italy, China, Japan and Canada. The scientists are using supercomputers to study COVID-19’s notorious “spike” protein using massive molecular dynamics and quantum chemistry simulations. HPC Wire

A team of Chinese scientists has isolated several antibodies that it says are “extremely effective” at blocking the ability of the new coronavirus to enter cells, which eventually could be helpful in treating or preventing COVID-19. Reuters

Germany is now capable of conducting half a million tests per week, giving the country a crucial edge. With almost 78,000 confirmed cases, the death toll is only 995, a rate of around 1.2%. AP

In India, a group of engineers from the country’s top engineering schools have built a prototype of a portable ventilator that costs one third of the price of normal machines, and will be ready for testing by the 7th of April. BBC

Canada has just committed $2 billion to buying 60 million N95 masks, 1,570 ventilators and more than a million COVID-19 test kits, and over 3,200 companies that would have closed have now shifted to manufacturing medical equipment. CBC

The US FDA has approved a process invented by a company in Ohio that will decontaminate up to 80,000 N95 respirators per day, allowing them to be reused across the country. The Verge

1 APRIL 2020

The UK’s chief scientific advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, says that people are heeding the advice to stay at home, and that there are early signs that social distancing measures are keeping pressure off the NHS, and "making a difference." BBC

Artists in Kibera, an informal settlement in Kenya that’s home to almost a million people, are painting murals providing information on how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. CGTN Africa

A family business in Adelaide, Australia, that makes packaging for fast-food giants is swinging into action to pump out a staggering 145 million masks. FiveAA

The Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation just announced they will be donating extra equipment to European hospitals, including 800 ventilators, 300,000 sets of protective gowns and 300,000 face shields. Twitter

After two full weeks of social isolation, doctors in the Bay Area in the United States are cautiously optimistic that the measures are working. The number of cases is lower than they expected by this time. Politico

Canada’s Federal Health Minister, Patty Hajdu, has said that the uptick in virtual care from the COVID19 crisis will leave an amazing legacy in terms of people’s ability to access physicians. “If there's any silver lining, it's the rapidity at which I see provinces and territories moving toward innovation and the delivery of health care." CTV News

The United Kingdom has given a $270 million to The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to support its vaccine development work against COVID-19, by far the largest single contribution to CEPI by any country. CEPI

Chinese and US health officials have reversed course and have now pledged to work together to combat the pandemic, following their first telephone exchange in two months. SCMP

Social media company TikTok is donating $10 million to the WHO’s Solidarity Response Fund, which sends essential supplies to frontline healthcare workers, and accelerates efforts to develop treatments and vaccines. Ad Week

In the Philippines, numerous fashion designers have repurposed their workshops, and are now producing high volumes of masks, head covers and protective suits. Latest Chika

31 MARCH 2020

Chefs for America, led by celebrity chef José Andrés, is now serving 350,000 free meals a week in New York, Oakland, New Orleans, Miami, Boston, and Madrid, and is ramping up to feed half a million in the next few weeks. Chefs for America

A 3D-printing company in Ohio that makes dental products has switched all 250 of its printers over to making nasal swabs for tests, and is cranking out 100,000 per day. MIT

Portugal has given all migrants and asylum-seekers full citizenship rights to ensure that they can access public services during the outbreak. CNN

MIT researchers have identified a protein fragment that may inhibit COVID-19’s ability to enter human lung cells. The new peptide can bind to the viral protein and potentially disarm it. MIT

Morrisons, the British supermarket chain, is handing out £10 million worth of groceries to help restock food banks in the country. Guardian

The Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation have announced donations to seven more countries, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. They will receive 1.7 million face masks, 165,000 test kits as well as protective clothing, ventilators and forehead thermometers. Business Wire

A medical fetish company in the United Kingdom has donated its entire stock of disposable scrubs to a hospital (had to include this, too good to leave out). Newsweek

Formula 1 engineers at Mercedes have teamed up with UCL to design a cheap, easily produced machine that helps keep a patient’s airways open and increases the amount of oxygen entering the lungs. It says F1 teams can produce a 1,000 of these per day. CNN

As the coronavirus pandemic upends lives across the United States, one of the unanticipated side effects is that people are stepping up in droves to foster pets – in many cities, shelters have been emptied. US News

General Electric’s workers have launched a strike, demanding the company make ventilators while its facilities for making jet engines sit idle. Vice

Brooks Brothers is converting its New York, Massachusetts and North Carolina factories from making ties and shirts to making masks and gowns, and will start making 150,000 masks a day. NY Post

Ford is retooling one of its factories in Michigan, to operate around the clock, and will soon begin making 7,200 ventilators per week. CNN

30 MARCH 2020

A group of 150 employees at a Tunisian factory (mostly women) have self-isolated for a month, and are now churning out 50,000 face masks a day. BBC

On Sunday, a planeload of healthcare supplies arrived in New York from China, including 130,000 N95 masks, 1.8 million other face masks and gowns, 10.3 million gloves and 70,000 thermometers. NPR

Air pollution has fallen dramatically in Europe since the implementation of coronavirus lockdowns. London, Rome and Milan have seen falls of around a 50%, and in Paris there’s been a 30% decline. Daily Mail

Vir Biotechnology, a San Francisco-based biotechnology firm, is reporting that two of its antibody drugs appear to neutralize the coronavirus, and that human tests of the drugs will begin in three to five months. STAT

British company Dyson has invented an entirely new ventilator in 10 days, using one of their existing digital motors, and says it can make 15,000 by mid-April, double the number currently in service in the UK. FastCo

The first shipments from Jack Ma’s Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation have started arriving in Ethiopia, where they’ll be distributed across the entire African continent. They include six million masks, more than a million testing kits and 60,000 protective suits. Daily News

An open dataset of 45,000 scientific articles on coronavirus has been created by Google, , and made machine readable, meaning researchers can use AI to generate insights. Kaggle

Crocs has announced they will be donating 10,000 pairs of shoes to US healthcare workers every day, and will continue until their stocks run out. Business Insider

Health officials say physical distancing restrictions in British Columbia, Canada, are successfully slowing the rate of spread of new COVID-19 cases by as much as half. CBC

Food delivery service Deliveroo will make half a million meals available to NHS staff for free. It has also received additional pledges of 350,000 free meals from restaurant and take-aways. The London Economic

Airbnb says it will provide free or subsidized housing for 100,000 frontline healthcare workers and first response professionals. Tech Crunch

Google has announced a coronavirus package with $340 million in ad credits to small and medium sized businesses, $250 million in ad grants to the WHO and other government agencies, and $15 million in cash grants for nonprofits to help bridge budgetary gaps.

26 MARCH 2020

The rate of new infections in Italy has slowed for a third day. ‘’This is an extremely positive factor,’’ said Ranieri Guerra, WHO assistant director general. ‘We are close to the falling point of the curve and therefore probably the peak could be reached this week. Guardian

The number of people who have volunteered to help the NHS in the United Kingdom has passed 500,000 (the government only expected half that number to respond). It includes 11,000 healthworkers who have agreed to come out of retirement, and 24,000 final year student nurses and medics. BBC

On Monday this week, a possible vaccine created by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health went into early clinical testing in the United States. This marks a 63-day gap between scientists sequencing the virus’s genes and doctors injecting a vaccine candidate into a person’s arm. “It’s overwhelmingly the world record,” said Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert. Atlantic

Thousands of cryptocurrency mining computers have switched their operations to Stanford University's Folding@home project, a global distributed effort to boost coronavirus research. Coindesk

A huge IBM supercomputer has identified 77 compounds that could prevent the virus from binding with the cells in this coronavirus pandemic. Those findings could provide a framework to help researchers to develop a cure for the COVID-19 virus. NYPost

The fashion industry is stepping up. Two of Europe’s giants, H&M and Inditex, are gearing their sizable operations toward medical supplies, Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent are preparing to manufacture masks, and Gucci is looking to make and donate 1.1 million masks and 55,000 medical overalls in Italy. LVMH is leveraging its global supply chain to source 40 million facemasks from China over the next four weeks, and Prada has begun production of 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 masks at the request of authorities in Tuscany. CNN

During the outbreak in Wuhan, Western media focused on the authoritarian measures by the Chinese government. What they didn’t report on were the invisible, networks of family, neighbours and friends who came together on social media to find food and medicine, support the sick, and help each other survive. Buzzfeed

The Phase 1 trial of the coronavirus vaccine in China requires at least 108 volunteers. In the past 48 hours, more than 5,000 people have signed up, and the number is still climbing. News18

Sikh volunteers dubbed the 'Turbans for Australia' have cooked thousands of meals in Melbourne and Sydney for the elderly, and have already sent 1.5 tonnes of food in care packages for those self-isolating during coronavirus pandemic. Daily Mail

A biotech company in Belgium has developed a new test capable of screening Covid-19 in 15 minutes, and it’s been certified for sale and distribution. The test can detect coronavirus antigens from a nasopharyngeal sample – in other words, the patient’s breath. Brussels Times

Muslim organisations across the United States have begun distributing groceries and money to families of all religions, who are financially impacted by coronavirus "This is a core aspect of our faith - to be a mercy to everyone," said Tarek el-Messidi, the founder of CelebrateMercy. Middle East Eye

Intel is donating more than 1 million pieces of protective gear to health care workers battling the coronavirus outbreak. The masks, gloves and other equipment will be sourced from the California-based semiconductor company's factory stock and emergency supplies. CNET

25 MARCH 2020

1. In one of Italy’s darkest hours, they find they are not alone. 50 Cuban doctors have arrived in the country, travelling halfway across the world to put themselves in danger for people they have never met. It’s the sixth Cuban team to join the international fight against the pandemic; in the past few weeks Cuba has also sent medical workers to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Suriname and Grenada. The Week

2. China has given the green light to CanSino Biologics to launch the country’s first Phase 1 clinical trial for a vaccine. The Hong Kong-listed biotech is co-developing the vaccine with China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences. The two institutions previously worked together on a successful Ebola vaccine in 2017. STAT

3. According to scientists who are closely studying its genetic code, the coronavirus is not mutating significantly as it circulates through the human population. This means that when a vaccine is produced, it is more likely to be long-lasting and successful. Washington Post

4. In just 48 hours, over 4,500 British nurses and doctors came out of retirement in response to the NHS, who issued a call saying “Your NHS Needs You.” Sky News

5. In South Korea all civil servants above the ministerial level, including the president, Moon Jae-In, have agreed to take a 30% pay cut for the duration of the pandemic. Daum

6. Thanks to rigorous efforts to track, test and contain infection clusters during the early days of the outbreak, the mortality rate in Germany is currently tracking at less than 0.4%, far lower than any other European country. Washington Post

7. Giorgio Armani and 19 other Italian billionaires have given more than $44 million to hospitals, healthcare facilities and government agencies since the crisis began in February. Forbes

8. In Turkey, people have started to leave food packets on the road for the poor and the needy who cannot earn due to the COVID19 lockdown. Twitter

9. Lowe’s, a home improvement company in the United States, is donating $10 million worth of protective products to hospitals to keep medical professionals healthy and safe on the frontlines. Slviki

10. A new medicine for the most severe respiratory symptoms caused by the coronavirus could clear clinical trials as soon as this summer, after receiving approval from the FDA. Inquirer

24 MARCH 2020

Italy’s coronavirus death toll and infection rate slowed for a second day on Monday 23rd March. “Today the downward trend is confirmed,” said Giulio Gallera, the welfare councillor for Lombardy, “We can say that it is the first positive day, it is not the time to sing victory but we finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.” Guardian

The World Health Organisation says that at least 20 vaccines are now in development, and the first human trials have started, only eight weeks in to the global crisis. CNBC

The World Health Organisation has also launched a global ‘Solidarity trial’ that will test four different drugs or combinations – remdesivir, a combination of two drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir, the two drugs plus interferon beta, and chloroquine. The trial is kicking off in eight countries, with more to follow. TechStartup

Nine of the biggest textile companies in the US have formed a consortium to produce 10 million facemasks a week for healthcare workers. Their plans have been approved by the FDA, and the first deliveries will start arriving next week. Charlotte Observer

Apple is donating 2 million industrial masks to help address the needs of health care workers in areas hit hard by the virus. CNET

Spain will receive one million face masks this week from Chinese technology giant Huawei, as well as 5,000 disposable protection suits and other protective equipment. Euro Weekly News

An autonomous disinfection robot with UVC light for disinfecting large and crowded spaces , is now operating in hospitals in China, Taiwan, Italy, United Kingdom, Denmark, Japan, United Arab Emirates and others. Business Review

In Poland, #gastropomaga — “gastronomy is helping” is trending, as restaurants have started providing tens of thousands of free meals for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, with uplifting messages written on the boxes “You are our heroes.” AP

Hospitals in southwest Germany have opened their doors to admit coronavirus-infected patients from a neighbouring region of eastern France. Independent

Rihanna has donated $5 million for food banks serving at-risk communities, for testing kits in developing countries, and for equipment for healthcare  workers. NY Daily News

16 of the world’s most powerful supercomputers have been offered to researchers in areas like bioinformatics, epidemiology, and molecular modelling, as  the fight against coronavirus ramps up. TechStartups