Your Coronavirus Update for November 25, 2020

Your Coronavirus Update for November 25; stay up to date with Elite.

More than 59.1 million cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been diagnosed worldwide as of Monday evening, including at least 1.4 million deaths. Healthcare officials in the United States have reported more than 12.5 million positive COVID-19 cases and at least 258,000 deaths. Source: Johns Hopkins University & Medicine

More Children Also Testing Positive, AAP Collaborative Finds

Officials with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association are reporting a joint effort to collect and share all publicly available data from respective states on the incidence of COVID-19 cases in children.

As of Nov. 19, nearly 1.2 million children have tested positive for the virus since the onset of the pandemic, according the organizations’ most recent reports. The age distribution of reported COVID-19 cases was provided on the health department websites of 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Children represented 11.8% of all cases in states reporting cases by age.

The number of the most recent child COVID-19 cases reported is the highest weekly increase since the pandemic began, officials said. Severe illness due to COVID-19 is said to be rare among children; however, there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects, officials said. Children were 1.2%-3.1% of total reported hospitalizations, and between 0.2%-5.6% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization, officials reported. The full report is available online through the AAP.1

CDC Issues Guidelines For Providing Spiritual & Psychosocial Support

The impact of COVID-19 on patients and their family/friends continues to include mental healthcare in addition to the various physical complications. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is offering suggestions for healthcare providers to follow when considering the delivery of spiritual and psychosocial support in the home. These suggestions can also be shared with members of the community who may be providing these types of services to others.

During the pandemic, the safest means of providing these services is by phone, video, or private social media chat platforms, officials said. If in-person spiritual support is needed, there are certain precautions that can be taken:2

  • Maintain at least a distance of two arm lengths) from others, including when distributing food or praying.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Consider meeting outside where it is easier to keep people apart and where there is more ventilation.
  • Wash hands before entering and after leaving the home; for visits lasting a number of hours, wash hands often while in the home. Scrub hands for 20 seconds to remove harmful germs. Wash hands before leaving the house and before and after removing a mask. 
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. 
  • When in the home, open windows and doors to allow natural ventilation, and encourage homeowners to do the same when possible ongoing.
  • Do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk to children or other family members (eg, risk of falling or triggering asthma symptoms).
  • Do not touch anyone while praying for them to prevent the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19.
  • Educate members of the household that a person with mild symptoms in the household should isolate themselves from other family members, if possible. If it is not possible to safely isolate from others, follow government guidance for COVID-19, which may include wearing a mask or going to a community isolation center.

Consortium Makes Recommendations On Data Protection & Privacy 

The United Nations (UN), World Health Organization, and numerous other organizations have released a joint statement to support the use of data and technology for COVID-19 response in a way that respects the right to privacy and other human rights, and promotes economic and social development, officials said. The guidelines are reportedly in line with the UN Personal Data Protection and Privacy Principles adopted by the UN system organizations

Mounting evidence demonstrates that the collection, use, sharing, and further processing of data can help limit the spread of the virus and aid in accelerating the recovery, especially through digital contact tracing, officials said. Mobility data derived from such sources as people’s usage of mobile phones, emails, banking, social media, and postal services, can assist in monitoring the spread of the virus and support the implementation of the UN system organizations’ mandated activities.3 However, such data collection and processing, including for digital contact tracing and general health surveillance, may include the collection of vast amounts of personal and non-personal sensitive data. This could have significant effects beyond the initial crisis response phase, including, if such measures are applied for purposes not directly or specifically related to the COVID-19 response, potentially leading to the infringement of fundamental human rights and freedoms, officials said. This concern becomes especially important if emergency measures introduced to address the pandemic, such as digital contact tracing, are turned into standard practice.

Any data collection, use, and processing by UN system organizations in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic should be rooted in human rights and implemented with due regard to applicable international law, data protection, and privacy principles, including the UN personal data protection and privacy principles. Any measures taken to address the COVID-19 pandemic should also be consistent with the mandates of the respective UN system organizations and take into account the balancing of relevant rights, including the right to health and life and the right to economic and social development.

Taking into account the UN personal data protection and privacy principles, the consortium suggests, at a minimum:

  • Be lawful, limited in scope and time, and necessary and proportionate to specified and legitimate purposes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Ensure appropriate confidentiality, security, time-bound retention, and proper destruction or deletion of data.
  • Ensure that any data exchange adheres to applicable international law, data protection, and privacy principles, and is evaluated based on proper due diligence and risks assessments.
  • Be subject to any applicable mechanisms and procedures to ensure that measures taken with regard to data use are justified by and in accordance with the aforementioned principles and purposes, and cease as soon as the need for such measures is no longer present.
  • Be transparent in order to build trust in the deployment of current and future efforts alike.

References

1. Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report. AAP. 2020. Accessed online: https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/children-and-covid-19-state-level-data-report

2. Providing Spiritual and Psychosocial Support to People with COVID-19 at Home (Non-US Settings). CDC. 2020. Accessed online: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/global-covid-19/providing-spiritual-support.html

3. Joint Statement on Data Protection and Privacy in the COVID-19 Response. WHO. 2020. Accessed online: www.who.int/news/item/19-11-2020-joint-statement-on-data-protection-and-privacy-in-the-covid-19-response

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