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Health News

What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

(Reuters) - Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

FILE PHOTO: People walk beneath a government information board amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Manchester, Britain, November 26, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

England’s infections down 30% during national lockdown

COVID-19 infections have fallen by 30% during England’s month-long national lockdown and the virus is now in retreat, a large-scale study of more than 100,000 volunteers showed on Monday.

England began its second national lockdown on Nov. 5 to curb rapidly rising infections and protect its health system. The country is due to return to a regional approach to restrictions from Dec. 2.

The prevalence of the disease was still high, a statement issued by the health department said, though it showed a sharp decrease in several areas of northern England which are due to enter the toughest tier of restrictions next week.

Singaporean gives birth to baby with COVID-19 antibodies

A Singaporean woman, who was infected with the novel coronavirus in March when she was pregnant, has given birth to a baby with antibodies against the virus, offering a new clue as to whether the infection can be transferred from mother to child.

The baby was born this month without COVID-19 but with the virus antibodies, the Straits Times newspaper reported on Sunday, citing the mother. (bit.ly/33I0liL)

“My doctor suspects I have transferred my COVID-19 antibodies to him during my pregnancy,” Celine Ng-Chan told the paper. To date, the active virus has not been found in samples of fluid around the baby in the womb or in breast milk.

New York City public schools to reopen with weekly testing

New York City’s public schools will begin to reopen for in-person learning on Dec. 7, starting with elementary schools for students whose parents agree to a weekly testing regimen for the novel coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday.

The schools, which make up the country’s largest school system, were closed less than two weeks ago after the citywide rate of coronavirus tests coming back positive exceeded a 3% benchmark agreed to by the mayor and the teachers’ union.

“It’s a new approach because we have so much proof now of how safe schools can be,” de Blasio told reporters, saying the 3% benchmark was being scrapped and pointing to research that shows young children appear to be less vulnerable to COVID-19. On Sunday, the city’s seven-day rolling average of positive tests was 3.9%, de Blasio said.

Certain blood groups less likely to get COVID-19

A large study adds to evidence that people with type O or Rh-negative blood may be at slightly lower risk from the new coronavirus.

Among 225,556 Canadians who were tested for the virus, the risk for a COVID-19 diagnosis was 12% lower and the risk for severe COVID-19 or death was 13% lower in people with blood group O versus those with A, AB, or B, researchers reported on Tuesday in Annals of Internal Medicine.

People in any blood group who were Rh-negative were also somewhat protected, especially if they had O-negative blood. People in these blood type groups may have developed antibodies that can recognize some aspect of the new virus, coauthor Dr. Joel Ray of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto told Reuters. “Our next study will specifically look at such antibodies, and whether they explain the protective effect,” Ray said.

Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

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