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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

From Trump's condition to three-tier lockdown planned in England to Auckland restrictions to be lifted, here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now.

October 05, 2020 / 11:33 AM IST

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Concerns over Trump's condition

Doctors not involved in treating President Donald Trump for COVID-19 said the fact that he has been started on dexamethasone - a generic steroid widely used in other diseases to reduce inflammation - is the strongest evidence yet that his case may be severe.

Trump's medical team on Sunday said the president was started on the steroid after experiencing low oxygen levels, but his condition was improving and he could be discharged from the hospital on Monday.

Trump's diagnosis, less than five weeks before the November 3 election, has raised questions about what happens if a presidential candidate or the president-elect dies or becomes incapacitated.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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Three-tier lockdown planned in England

A new three-tier lockdown is being planned for England, The Guardian reported, citing leaked government documents which revealed tougher measures that could be implemented locally or nationally if the government fails to get COVID-19 cases under control.

In an interview on Sunday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson denied a suggestion that the local restrictions were not working given infection rates were still rising in the affected areas and there was no end in sight to the measures.

Britain reported a jump in daily COVID-19 cases to a record 22,961 on Sunday, after authorities said a technical issue meant that over 15,000 test results had not been transferred into computer systems on time, including for contact tracers.

Auckland restrictions to be lifted

Coronavirus restrictions in New Zealand's largest city will be lifted this week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday as she expressed confidence a second wave of COVID-19 infections in Auckland has been almost eliminated.

The city will move to alert level 1 from 11.59 pm on Wednesday, joining the rest of the country, after reporting no new cases in the Auckland cluster for 10 consecutive days. The easing of measures means there will be no 100 person-limit on gatherings in Auckland, and no physical distancing rules in bars and restaurants.

"There is now a 95 percent probability of the cluster being eliminated," Ardern said at a news conference. "COVID-19 will be with us for many months to come. But we should still mark these milestones."

Cold weather causes US state record increases

Nine US states have reported record increases in COVID-19 cases over the last seven days, mostly in the upper Midwest and West where chilly weather is forcing more activities indoors.

Daytime highs in many of these states are now in the 50s Fahrenheit (10 Celsius). Health experts have long warned that colder temperatures driving people inside could promote the spread of the virus.

Kentucky is the first Southern state to report a record increase in cases in several weeks. Governor Andy Beshear said last week was the highest number of cases the state has seen since the pandemic started. State health experts have not pinpointed the reason for the rise but point to fatigue with COVID-19 precautions and students returning to schools and colleges.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
Reuters

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