While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, June 13

US officials reiterate Covid-19 safety advice, warn of more restrictions if cases spike

US health officials on Friday urged Americans to continue adhering to social distancing and other Covid-19 safety measures following rising concerns among experts that the reopening of the country’s economy could lead to a fresh wave of infections.

Officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that states may need to reimpose strict restrictions if Covid-19 cases spike.

“If cases begin to go up again, particularly if they go up dramatically, it is important to recognise that more mitigation efforts such as what were implemented back in March may be needed again,” said Jay Butler, the deputy director of infectious diseases at the CDC.

He said the public should continue to maintain 6 feet of social distance, wash hands regularly and wear protective facial coverings to reduce the risk of infection.


Masks significantly reduce infection risk, likely preventing thousands of Covid-19 cases: Study

Requiring the wearing of masks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in areas at the epicentre of the global pandemic may have prevented tens of thousands of infections, a new study suggests.

Mask-wearing is even more important for preventing the virus’ spread and the sometimes deadly Covid-19 illness it causes than social distancing and stay-at-home orders, researchers said, in the study published in PNAS: The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

Infection trends shifted dramatically when mask-wearing rules were implemented on April 6 in northern Italy and April 17 in New York City – at the time among the hardest hit areas of the world by the health crisis – the study found.


WHO chief Tedros calls for any Covid-19 vaccine to be shared as a public good

Vaccines for the new coronavirus should be made available as a global public good, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday, to ensure everyone had fair access to any life-saving products that are developed.

“Many leaders… have promoted the idea of making any vaccine a global public good, but that should continue to be promoted,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference.

Tedros was speaking after concerns have been raised that some countries including the United States could hoard any vaccines or drugs they develop to combat Covid-19, with poorer countries not getting access to the treatments they need.


Hong Kongers sing protest anthem one year after major clashes

Thousands of Hong Kongers sang a popular protest anthem and chanted slogans across the city Friday as they marked the one year anniversary of major clashes between police and pro-democracy demonstrators.

Riot police declared the gatherings unlawful assemblies and a breach of anti-coronavirus bans on public gatherings, sending snatch squads to make multiple arrests throughout the evening.

The financial hub’s protest movement kicked off on June 9 last year with a huge march against an unpopular Bill that would have allowed extraditions to the Chinese mainland.


Nasa names first woman to head human spaceflight

The Nasa official who managed the inaugural private crewed flight into space last month has been promoted to become the first female head of human spaceflight, the agency said Friday (June 12), as it prepares to return people to the Moon in 2024.

Lueders, who joined Nasa in 1992, oversaw the May 30 launch of two astronauts on a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station – the first ever crewed commercial flight into space.

She has for years been in charge of the exhaustive testing program for space capsules developed by SpaceX, Boeing and other companies that are partnering with Nasa to build vessels that can safely take humans into space.


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