The coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed over 6.5 lakh lives globally, is the worst global health emergency it has faced so far, the World Health Organisation has said. More than 1.6 crore people across the globe have been infected by the virus till date.
In India, the total confirmed COVID-19 cases have breached the 15 lakh mark, with over 33,000 deaths due to the infection in the country. Maharashtra is still at the top of the list with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, followed by Tamil Nadu and Delhi.
Here are the key developments of the day:
>> As the country is set to enter Unlock 3.0, the third phase of a calibrated reopening of the country post-lockdown, West Bengal has extended lockdown in containment zones until August 31.
>> The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has said it will take until 2024 for global passenger air traffic to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
>> The Twitter account of Donald Trump Jr, son of the President of the United States of America, was slapped with temporary restrictions for posts that carried "misleading and potentially harmful information" about coronavirus. This comes at a time when his father and US President Donald Trump is back to pushing unproven claims that an anti-malaria drug is an effective treatment and challenging the credibility of the nation's leading infectious disease expert.
>> Britain will crack down on junk food advertising and introduce calorie counts on menus in an effort to tackle obesity and ease the pressure on the country’s National Health Service amid the coronavirus pandemic.
>> The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is planning to shut down some of the COVID Care Centres that have low occupancy to save costs and manpower.
>> An additional 6.7 million children under the age of five across the world could suffer from wasting this year due to the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF has said.
>> Shut for more than four months following the coronavirus outbreak, the Delhi Metro, the lifeline of the National Capital Region, has lost Rs 1,000 crore in revenue.