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COVID-19 developments

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A century-old vaccine against tuberculosis is being tested to see if it protects people against the coronavirus. Healthcare workers in Melbourne, Australia, will receive the vaccine as part of a trial. The BCG vaccine is known for its ability to boost immune responses to other infections and has also been used to treat early-stage bladder cancer.

China has said it will release daily numbers of asymptomatic covid-19 cases starting tomorrow, according to the head of the national disease control bureau. There is evidence that people with mild or no symptoms are mostly spreading the virus.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reviewing advice to the public about covering their mouths and noses with cloth face masks. Current guidance is that healthy people don’t need masks or face coverings. Any new advice would make it clear that the general public should not wear medical masks, including surgical and N95 masks, as they are in short supply and needed by healthcare workers.

American Airlines has announced it will seek $12 billion in financial aid from the US government because of the impact of the pandemic. With flights grounded and energy consumption slashed, global carbon dioxide emissions are likely to drop by at least 0.3 per cent in 2020, and perhaps as much as 2.2 per cent. But no credible environmentalists say the response forced by the pandemic is a solution for climate change.

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