The World Health Organization has reversed course on face masks. It’s now encouraging people to wear them to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.
The general public should use fabric masks in high-spread areas, the WHO said, or whenever social distancing is impossible. The global health agency also said that all health workers, not just those caring for Covid-19 patients, should wear masks in clinical areas.
In an effort to make more masks available for health workers, the WHO had previously advised the public to avoid wearing them if they were not sick or caring for someone who is ill. The policy shift is another reminder of the constantly evolving challenges faced in the fight against the virus.
Hydroxychloroquine provides another example. Initial studies suggested the malaria drug may help Covid-19 patients recover faster. But subsequent trials have disproved that research, with one study suggesting the drug might be harmful, prompting the WHO to suspend its trials.
While that study has since been retracted, and the WHO is now saying it’s safe to resume trials, the United Kingdom abruptly ended its trial on Friday. Its researchers found the drug doesn’t work against Covid-19.
In the rush to find a vaccine, mishaps are to be expected. But scientists warn there is little room for error if one is to be developed by January. “Everything will have to go incredibly perfectly if that’s going to happen,” said Dr. Larry Corey, a virology and vaccine development expert.
Peruvians cry out for oxygen: People collapse on the street. Others drag desperately ill relatives to hospitals that won’t admit them. Distraught children ask why their parents were left to die. The coronavirus outbreak in Peru is spiraling out of control and experts fear it will only worsen.
Oxygen tanks, an important weapon against the virus, are in short supply, and they have come to symbolize the chaos in Peru. Desperate citizens have turned to a burgeoning black market, with tanks listed for sale at exorbitant prices on social media and e-commerce sites, as Jack Guy and Claudia Rebaza report.
Cases rise faster than ever: The infection rate has slowed in most countries hit hard early on in the pandemic, including China, the US, UK, Italy, Spain and France. But global numbers show it’s far from over.
In many countries, particularly in South America, the Middle East and Africa, transmission rates are accelerating, according to a CNN analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.
Globally, confirmed cases are now rising at a rate of more than 100,000 a day over a seven-day period. In April new cases never topped 100,000 in one day. But confirmed daily cases have topped that number in nine of the past 10 days, reaching 130,400 cases on Wednesday.
Bolsonaro echoes Trump: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has threatened to leave the WHO for what he calls “ideological” bias, citing US President Donald Trump’s recent announcement that America will sever its relationship with the health agency.
“We don’t need foreign people having a say in our health here,” Bolsonaro said.
Brazil has recorded 1,005 new coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, raising the country’s death toll to 35,026. Brazil has recorded more than 600,000 cases, second only to the US.
A version of this story first appeared in CNN’s Coronavirus: Fact Vs. Fiction newsletter. Sign up here.