Coronavirus morning recap: Obesity, hearing loss, and SA's red list down to 22 countries



READ | Risk of severe Covid-19 high for obese people, regardless of other factors

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, obesity has been one of the top triggers for severe cases. Outside of the disease, obesity has always had a detrimental effect on health through chronic inflammation, a higher risk of heart disease and a weakened response to viral infections.

But how much does it matter in relation to other conditions, age, sex and race when it comes to contracting a severe coronavirus infection?

To answer this question, Brazilian researchers conducted a meta-analysis of nine studies from five countries on severe Covid-19, which included more than 6 500 patients. More than half were male and had comorbidities such as hypertension (51.51%), diabetes (30.3%), cardiovascular disease (16.66%), lung disease (15.99%), renal disease (7.49%), cancer (5.07%), and immunosuppression (1.8%).

A high proportion of patients were smokers and suffered from dyslipidemia - a condition involving high levels of cholesterol or fat in the blood.

They wanted to investigate the prevalence of obesity as a contributing factor in severe Covid-19 cases that required admission to ICU. They also looked at the best treatments that helped obese patients recover from the virus.

The studies they analysed included case studies and series, clinical trials and randomised controlled trials that mentioned obesity. They found that in more than half of severe cases, people suffered from obesity.

In terms of other comorbidities, just less than half had hypertension, while type 2 diabetes, lung disease, smokers, cardiovascular disease were each around the 20% mark.

READ | Covid-19: Sudden hearing loss, while rare, occurs in some patients - and needs to be caught early

The first case of sudden hearing loss due to Covid-19 infection was reported in the United Kingdom and doctors are urging people to become aware of the symptom because prompt treatment could completely or at least partially reverse it.

While the report states that the condition is uncommon, doctors warned that if the condition remains undetected, and subsequently untreated, the damage is likely to be irreversible.

The case study was published in BMJ Case Reports and details how a 45-year-old patient, who suffers from asthma, was admitted to hospital following 10 days of Covid-19 symptoms.

In hospital, the patient needed to be intubated and was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU).

He remained intubated for 30 days and his stay in hospital was further complicated because of a number of other conditions, including pneumonia and anaemia.

After going through several courses of medication, including remdesivir, intravenous steroids and plasma exchange (to treat Covid-19), he was extubated and transferred out of the ICU.


SA cases update: 

The latest number of confirmed cases is 705 254.

According to the latest update, 18 492 deaths have been recorded in the country.

There have been 635 257 recoveries.

So far, more than 4.5 million tests have been conducted, with 16 502 new tests reported.

Global cases update:

For the latest global data, follow this interactive map from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.

Late on Monday evening, positive cases worldwide were slightly over 40.2 million, while deaths were more than 1.1 million.

The United States had the most cases in the world - over 8.2 million, as well as the most deaths - more than 220 000.


Latest news:

READ | SA’s red list just went from 60 to 22 countries – but US and UK tourists are still banned

South Africa's red list, of countries from which tourists are not welcome, now stands at 22, down from an initial 60.

But still on the list are several countries that represent important markets for South Africa's tourist offerings.

Countries on the African continent are automatically excluded from the list, and it does not apply to business travellers, or others who are not travelling for leisure, including diplomats and sportspeople.

It will now also no longer apply to longer-term visitors, the department of home affairs (DHA) said in a statement.

The government recognises "that there are a number of regular visitors from mainly European countries that have been accustomed to long periods of visitation to our country during our summer season when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere," said the DHA.

"Most of them own properties in the country. We appreciate the significant economic contribution that they make through their activities in the country. To this end, we will also allow visitors, in whichever category, who are coming to stay for a three months period or more subject to Covid-19 protocols."


Latest news:

READ | Trump slams govt Covid expert Fauci 'and all these idiots'

US President Donald Trump went after top government scientist Anthony Fauci in a call with campaign staffers on Monday, suggesting the hugely respected and popular doctor was an "idiot."

Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, has increasingly become a focus for the president's frustration as he bids to shape the messaging on the much-criticised federal response to the pandemic.

"People are tired of Covid," Trump told his campaign team in a call on which several members of the press were present.

"People are saying, 'Whatever - just leave us alone.' They're tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots," the president said, according to several US media outlets.

The pandemic has killed almost 220 000 people in the United States.

"He's been here for, like, 500 years," Trump complained of the 79-year-old Fauci, who is recognised worldwide for his work directing the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases in suburban Washington.

"Fauci, if we listened to him, we'd have 700 000 (or) 800 000 deaths," Trump claimed on the call, before saying that it would be counterproductive to fire him before the 3 November presidential election.

HEALTH TIPS (as recommended by the NICD and WHO)

• Maintain physical distancing – stay at least one metre away from somebody who is coughing or sneezing

• Practise frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, as your hands touch many surfaces and could potentially transfer the virus

• Practise respiratory hygiene – cover your mouth with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Remember to dispose the tissue immediately after use.

Image credit: Getty Images

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