Note: There is now a newer Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation Report 87.
WHO Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation Report 86
- No new country/territory/area reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
- WHO has published the updated strategy for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. The document translates what we have learned so far about the virus into strategic action and will frame the next iteration of the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, due in the coming weeks. More details can be found here.
- The first UN solidarity flight has departed Addis Ababa carrying vital COVID-19 medical supplies to African nations. WHO cargo includes one million face masks, as well as personal protective equipment, which will be enough to protect health workers and treat more than 30,000 patients, and laboratory supplies to support surveillance and detection. Information is available here.
- PAHO Director, Dr. Carissa Etienne, calls for “extreme caution” when transitioning to more flexible social distancing measures. Her speech is available here.
- There is no evidence that oral poliovirus vaccine protects people against infection with COVID-19 virus. A clinical trial is planned in the USA, and WHO will evaluate the evidence when it is available. Greater details are available here.
- WHO continues to provide timely and accurate information, in a world where we have an overabundance of information, some accurate and some not. For more, see ‘Subject in Focus’ below.
Global Level: Very High
Coronavirus Situation in Numbers
- 1,914,916 confirmed cases (70,082 new)
- 123,010 deaths (5,989 new)
- 977,596 confirmed cases (34,324 new)
- 84,607 deaths (3,895 new)
Regions of the Americas
- 673,361 confirmed cases (28,404 new)
- 27,336 deaths (1,785 new)
Western Pacific Region
- 124,204 confirmed cases (1,399 new)
- 4,201 deaths (40 new)
Eastern Mediterranean Region
- 107,389 confirmed cases (3,751 new)
- 5,395 deaths (140 new)
- 20,287 confirmed cases (1,624 new)
- 936 deaths (107 new)
- 11,367 confirmed cases (580 new)
- 523 deaths (22 new)
Subject in Focus: Providing Timely and Accurate Information to Dispel the ‘Infodemic’
An infodemic is an over-abundance of information, some accurate and some not that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it. It poses a serious problem for public health since people need this guidance to know what actions to take to protect themselves and others, and help mitigate the impact of a disease. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the infodemic is exacerbated by the global scale of the emergency, and propagated by the interconnected way that information is disseminated and consumed through social media platforms and other channels. While the infodemic is a major challenge to outbreak response, it presents an opportunity to identify and adapt new preparedness and response tools.
The COVID-19 infodemic spans four major thematic areas where people look for trustworthy information and where there is misinformation and rumors: the cause and origin of the virus and disease; its symptoms and transmission patterns; available treatments, prophylactics, and cures; and the effectiveness and impact of interventions by health authorities or other institutions.
WHO has been managing the infodemic through a wide range of methods such as timely and accurate technical guidance, scientific briefs and situation reports, regular press conferences, educational videos, and trainings, “myth-busters,” active engagement on social media platforms and tailored guidance for key sectors such as healthcare, food and agriculture and travel and tourism, among others.
On April 7 and 8, the WHO Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN) held a two-day, global, online consultation on managing the COVID-19 infodemic. The consultation gathered ideas from an interdisciplinary group of experts and 1,375 webinar participants. Over 500 ideas were also submitted through an online interactive forum. These ideas will form the basis of a COVID-19 infodemic framework to guide actions of governments and public health institutions, and will be made available in the coming days.
The framework will be built around four key principles:
- Interventions and messages must be based on science and evidence.
- This knowledge should be translated into actionable, behavior-changing messages, presented in ways that are accessible to all sectors of all societies.
- Governments should reach out to key communities to understand their concerns and information needs, to better tailor advice and messages that can help these communities address their audiences.
- Strategic partnerships should be formed with social media and technology platforms and stakeholders, along with other relevant stakeholders such as those in academia and civil society.
The consultation highlighted clear themes and needs that will be further developed in the framework. They include, but are not limited to:
- The need for (a) international coordination of the response to the infodemic, even around such basic issues as terminology; and (b) coordinated and integrated methods to manage the flow of information for maximum positive impact. To fill these gaps, an overview and understanding of the distribution and sharing of information is crucial.
- Public trust in the health authority and other relevant authorities is essential to mitigate the negative impact of an infodemic. In order to build and sustain trust, public health agencies and other authorities need to be transparent about developments as they unfold.
- Health education and health literacy are important to help people receive and act on reliable information.
- Resilience to misinformation depends on strong digital and health literacy. To facilitate this, authorities could run information campaigns on how to convey accurate information, in a similar way that they promote personal hygiene.
- Multidisciplinary cooperation is key to an effective response to an infodemic. The range and effectiveness of possible response measures increases in relation to the degree of cooperation between all these actors, across the whole of society.
- Widespread cultural change around the handling of online information may also be necessary (e.g. individuals retracting and deleting inaccurate posts they might have shared).
- Accurate information must be adapted to different cultures, languages, and literacy capacities, extending to marginalized and vulnerable communities.
- Health education before a crisis is always hugely valuable.
Managing the COVID-19 pandemic and related infodemic requires swift, regular, coordinated action from multiple sectors of society and government. The timely translation of evidence into knowledge that people can use, adapted to their local cultures, languages and contexts, will continue to be crucial to fighting misinformation and saving lives as the pandemic continues to evolve.
Countries, territories or areas with reported laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths, April 15, 2020
|United States of America||578268|
|Republic of Korea||10591|
|United Arab Emirates||4933|
|Republic of Moldova||1934|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||1086|
|International (Diamond Princess Cruise Ship)||712|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo||254|
|Isle of Man||242|
|Trinidad and Tobago||113|
|United Republic of Tanzania||53|
|United States Virgin Islands||53|
|Syrian Arab Republic||29|
|Antigua and Barbuda||23|
|Lao People’s Democratic Republic||19|
|Northern Mariana Islands||13|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||12|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||12|
|Central African Republic||11|
|Falkland Islands (Malvinas)||11|
|Turks and Caicos||10|
|Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba||4|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||4|
|British Virgin Islands||3|
|Papua New Guinea||2|
|Saint Pierre and Miquelon||1|
Recommendations and Advice for the Public
If you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading or have not traveled from an area where COVID-19 is spreading or have not been in contact with an infected patient, your risk of infection is low. It is understandable that you may feel anxious about the outbreak. Get the facts from reliable sources to help you accurately determine your risks so that you can take reasonable precautions (see Frequently Asked Questions). Seek guidance from WHO, your healthcare provider, your national public health authority or your employer for accurate information on COVID-19 and whether COVID-19 is circulating where you live. It is important to be informed of the situation and take appropriate measures to protect yourself and your family (see Protection measures for everyone).
If you are in an area where there are cases of COVID-19 you need to take the risk of infection seriously. Follow the advice of WHO and guidance issued by national and local health authorities. For most people, COVID-19 infection will cause mild illness however, it can make some people very ill and, in some people, it can be fatal. Older people, and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease or diabetes) are at risk for severe disease (See Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading).
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