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TB deaths rise for first time in over a decade. WHO report links it to Covid-19 pandemic

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TB deaths rise for first time in over a decade. WHO report links it to Covid-19 pandemic

Deaths due to tuberculosis have increased for the first time in over a decade reversing years of global progress, the World Health Organization said on Thursday citing the 2021 Global TB report. The UN health agency said in its annual report that progress towards TB milestones has been hit hard by the ongoing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. Not only the number of people dying of tuberculosis increased last year, but also far fewer people were diagnosed and treated for infectious bacterial disease.

According to the report, tuberculosis was second only to Covid-19 as a leading cause of death from a single infectious agent. The impact of disruptions caused by the pandemic on new TB cases and related deaths could be “much worse” in 2021 and 2022, suggest modelling projections.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement that the Global TB report confirms “our fears that the disruption of essential health services due to the pandemic could start to unravel years of progress against tuberculosis.”

“This is alarming news that must serve as a global wake-up call to the urgent need for investments and innovation to close the gaps in diagnosis, treatment and care for the millions of people affected by this ancient but preventable and treatable disease,” Tedros added.

The UN health agency estimates that about 4.1 million people currently suffering from TB have either went undiagnosed or have not officially reported to national authorities, up by 1.2 million from 2019. India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and China have contributed the most to the global reductions in TB notifications between 2019 and 2020.

Despite some success stories from some countries and regions, global TB targets are “mostly off-track”, according to the report.

“The immediate priority is to restore access to and provision of essential TB services such that levels of TB case detection and treatment can recover to at least 2019 levels,” the report concluded.

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Airborne transmission of Covid-19 random, social distancing alone not enough to control spread: Study

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A new study new study has shown that the airborne transmission of Covid-19 is highly random and suggests that social distancing alone is not effective in controlling its spread, reiterating the importance of vaccination and face masks.

“One part of the way that this disease spreads is virology: how much virus you have in your body, how many viral particles you expel when you speak or cough,” said Dr Shrey Trivedi, the Indian-origin first author of the study published in the journal ‘Physics of Fluids’ this week.

“But another part of it is fluid mechanics: what happens to the droplets once they’re expelled, which is where we come in. As fluid mechanics specialists, we like the bridge from virology of the emitter to the virology of the receiver and we can help with risk assessment,” explained Trivedi from the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge.

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France likely to announce Covid-19 booster shots for all adults: Report

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As per reports, France is expected to announce that Covid-19 booster shots will be made available to all adults, as well as stricter rules on wearing face masks and more stringent health pass checks to curb a new wave of infections.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government on Wednesday said it would focus on tougher social distancing rules and a faster booster shot programme and that it wanted to avoid the lockdowns being imposed once more by some other European countries.

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Air pollution linked to increased risk of getting sick from Covid-19: Study

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According to a study conducted in Spain, long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with an increased risk of developing Covid-19 among people who get infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The research, published in the journal Environment Health Perspectives on Wednesday, provides further evidence on the health benefits of reducing air pollution, and highlights the influence of environmental factors on infectious diseases.

“The problem is that previous studies were based on reported cases, which had been diagnosed, but missed all the asymptomatic or undiagnosed cases,” said study first-author Manolis Kogevinas from Barcelona Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain.

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