From Our Bureau

18th April 2020

The Corona Virus (CPVID-19) pandemic situation continued to remain grim globally, with the confirmed cases across the world soaring to 21,60,207 and the death toll touching   1,46,088 in the 213 affected countries and territories, according to the latest update from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Globally, European region continued to be the worst-hit, with 10,86,889 confirmed cases and 97,201 deaths. American region came next with 7,84,272 confirmed cases and 35,742 deaths. Western Pacific region’s tally stood at 1,29,256 confirmed cases and 5,598 deaths. Eastern Mediterranean region reported 1,20,683 confirmed cases and 5,784 deaths. South-East Asia region recorded 25,291 confirmed cases and 1,134 deaths and African region witnessed 13,104 confirmed cases and 616 deaths. WHO Risk Assessment at global level remained very high.

No new country/territory/area reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.  WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, has released a statement on the transition to a ‘new normal’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing that it must be guided by public health principles. His statement complements new guidance on adjusting public health and social measures.

Refugees and migrants face the same health risks from COVID-19 as their host populations. WHO has published new guidance for refugees and migrants to be included in the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the ‘Subject in Focus’, WHO presents data on COVID-19 cases by age and sex. This data is based on nearly 7,50,000 WHO case reporting forms received from 113 countries, territories and areas.

WHO global case-based surveillance for human infection with Corona virus disease (COVID-19):

Following the notification of COVID-19 cases among travelers from Wuhan, China in early January, WHO set up a global surveillance system to gather essential information to monitor the epidemic. Beginning on 26 January, all Members States were requested to immediately report confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 to WHO with a minimal set of information through a standardized case reporting form (CRF). As of 13 April, a total of 7,47,546 confirmed cases were documented via case reporting forms(CRFs) received from 113 countries, territories and areas across five different WHO regions and three international conveyances.

The number of cases with a CRF accounts for 44.0 percent of the confirmed cases reported globally as of 13 April 10 AM. Distribution per region shows that 3,16,076 (42.3 [percent) of CRFs were reported from the European Region, 4,15,484 (55.6 percent) from the Region of the Americas, 10,662 (1.4 percent) from the Western Pacific Region, 4,717 (0.6 percent) from the Eastern Mediterranean Region, 136 (0.02 percent) from the South-East Asia Region, and none from the Africa Region. An additional 471 CRFs have been submitted from international conveyances.

It is important to note that of the cases which are documented with CRFs so far, the United States of America, Italy and Germany account for 74 percent of all cases in the database. Thus, these data should not be considered representative of all globally confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Distribution by age and sex of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to the WHO case-based surveillance system globally to date

A total of 7,16,570 CRFs (95.9 percent) reported information on age and sex. The sex ratio (male to female) among the confirmed cases is 1.03:1, and the median age is 51 (interquartile range, IQR: 36-65) years. For males, the median age is 52 (IQR 37-65) years, and for females 50 (IQR 35-64) years. The sex ratio varies significantly with age in all ranges except 10-19 years. The largest sex ratios (male to female) are observed amongst the 0-9 year (1.16), 60-69 year (1.27:1), and 70-79 year (1.34:1) age groups.

Conversely, the lowest sex ratios (i.e. those showing more females than males) are found in the 20-29 year (0.85:1) and 80 years and over (0.78:1) age groups. When cases reported from the United States, Germany and Italy are excluded, the overall sex ratio changes to 0.95:1 (more females than males amongst the cases), while there remains an excess of males in the 0-9, 60-69 and 70-79 year age groups.

Distribution by age of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to the WHO case-based surveillance system over time, from 24 February through 13 April, 2020

The age distribution has varied with the progression of the epidemic from 24 February (the week in which sufficient CRFs began to be reported) to the present. The proportions of cases aged 0-19 years and 40-59 years are stable over time, whilst a steady increase is observed in the proportion of cases aged 20-39 years, concurrent with a proportional decrease in the 60-79 and 80+ years age groups. (eom)

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