Toronto health officials have released data slides showing how the city is progressing in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa told reporters on Monday that the city has started to successfully flatten the curve and is at its peak period for COVID-19 cases.
De Villa’s first slide released on Tuesday shows that the trajectory of cases of COVID-19 is lower in Toronto than in some countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany.
“These countries have unfortunately seen a large number of cases since their COVID-19 outbreaks began,” De Villa told reporters at a news conference Tuesday.
“I believe, at this point, that the number of cases to date in Canada, Ontario and locally in Toronto is lower than originally forecasted due in part to the strong public health measures that were put in place early in our outbreak and the fact that our residents took these measures seriously.”
De Villa reported Tuesday that there are now 3,820 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto and 190 people have died.
The second slide shows the number of COVID-19 cases Toronto has had over the span of the outbreak. The graph shows a steady climb in cases and then a plateau.
“The second slide … shows that we believe we are now in the peak period of the epidemiological curve of our community outbreak,” De Villa noted.
“I use the term peak period because the peak is not really just one day nor is it just a single number … the reality is that we will only know when we have hit our peak for COVID-19 cases after the peak has passed.”
De Villa said that in order to really confirm the peak has hit, officials need to see the number of new cases levelling and then going down.
“As we move down the curve the timeline of the outbreak may be shorter or longer,” she said.
“This depends in part on our ability as a community to remain diligent in following the public health and physical distancing measures we have put in place.”
The third slide shows the number of hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths to date due to COVID-19. The slides show the numbers once again steadily rising and then reaching a plateau.
“This information helps us understand how we have used out healthcare system resources during this outbreak,” De Villa said. “The information in slide three should be considered with cautious optimism. It illustrates that we are seeing our curve flattening.”
She said the slide also illustrates the impacts of “our collective work” to prevent the overburdening of the healthcare system and to ensure that health resources remain in place for those “who need them most.”
“This is an important indicator for us to continue to monitor as we move down the curve,” de Villa said.
“It will help us to plan and know when we can begin to ease some of our local public health and physical distancing measures.”
She said the city will likely experience a second wave of COVID-19 because herd immunity to the disease has not been reached yet.
“We will continue to see COVID-19 spreading in our community until we start to experience herd immunity,” she said. “This will not happen until many people are infected with COVID-19 and recover and they build immunity that lasts or we develop a vaccine.”
She said the final slide tells the “tale of the two outbreaks” the city is experiencing, a community one and an institutional one.
She said all four slides represent the main types of data that are being analyzed by the city.
Public health working to contain latest COVID-19 outbreaks – WellandTribune.ca
'No benefit' from hydroxychloroquine for virus: UK trial – The Jakarta Post – Jakarta Post
A major British clinical trial has found hydroxychloroquine has “no benefit” for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, scientists said Friday, in the first large-scale study to provide results for a drug at the center of political and scientific controversy.
Hydroxychloroquine, a decades-old malaria and rheumatoid arthritis drug, has been touted as a possible treatment for the new coronavirus by high profile figures, including US President Donald Trump, and has been included in several randomized clinical trials.
The University of Oxford’s Recovery trial, the biggest of these so far to come forward with findings, said that it would now stop recruiting patients to be given hydroxychloroquine “with immediate effect”.
“Our conclusion is that this treatment does not reduce the risk of dying from COVID among hospital patients and that clearly has a significant importance for the way patients are treated, not only in the UK, but all around the world,” said Martin Landray, an Oxford professor of medicine and epidemiology who co-leads the study.
The randomized clinical trial—considered the gold standard for clinical investigation—has recruited a total of 11,000 patients from 175 hospitals in the UK to test a range of potential treatments.
Other drugs continuing to be tested include: the combination of HIV antivirals Lopinavir and Ritonavir; a low dose of the steroid Dexamethasone, typically used to reduce inflammation; antibiotic Azithromycin; and the anti inflammatory drug Tocilizumab.
Researchers are also testing convalescent plasma from the blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19, which contains antibodies to fight the virus.
Researchers said 1,542 patients were randomly assigned to hydroxychloroquine and compared with 3,132 patients given standard hospital care alone.
They found “no significant difference” in mortality after 28 days between the two groups, and no evidence that treatment with the drug shortens the amount of time spent in hospital.
“This is a really important result, at last providing unequivocal evidence that hydroxychloroquine is of no value in treatment of patients hospitalized with COVID-19,” said Peter Openshaw, a professor at Imperial College London, in reaction to the results.
He added that the drug was “quite toxic” so halting the trials would be of benefit to patients.
Hydroxychloroquine has been in use for years but it has a number of potentially serious side effects, including heart arrhythmia.
Researchers from the Recovery trial said they would share their data with the World Health Organization (WHO), which on Wednesday restarted its own trials of hydroxychloroquine.
They were temporarily halted last month because of a now-retracted observational study in The Lancet medical journal that had suggested hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, a related compound, were ineffective against COVID-19 and even increased the risk of death.
Authors of The Lancet research said on Thursday that they could no longer vouch for the integrity of its underlying data, in the face of serious concerns raised by fellow scientists over a lack of clarity about the countries and hospitals that contributed patient information.
The scandal cast a shadow over The Lancet and another top medical journal, but it did nothing to clear up the increasingly politicized question of whether or not hydroxychloroquine works as a treatment for COVID-19.
Openshaw said the Recovery trial should be credited with continuing the research until they could reach a definitive conclusion on hydroxychloroquine.
“Everyone regrets that it doesn’t work, but knowing that allows us to focus on finding drugs that actually help recovery from COVID-19,” he added.
Oxford professor Peter Horby, the lead investigator on the Recovery Trial, said there was probably a “very large number” of people around the world taking hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, with countries including the US, China and Brazil authorizing it.
A separate clinical trial on Wednesday in the US and Canada found that taking hydroxychloroquine shortly after being exposed to COVID-19 does not work to prevent infection significantly better than a placebo.
If you want to help in the fight against COVID-19, we have compiled an up-to-date list of community initiatives designed to aid medical workers and low-income people in this article. Link: [UPDATED] Anti-COVID-19 initiatives: Helping Indonesia fight the outbreak
No new coronavirus cases in Manitoba on Saturday – Globalnews.ca
Manitoba health officials say there are no new cases of the coronavirus identified as of Saturday morning.
Health officials say the total number of lab-confirmed positive and probable cases in the province remains at 300.
There are nine active cases as of Friday and 284 individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.
The number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at seven.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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