(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
FDA faults quality control at plant making COVID drug
U.S. drug inspectors uncovered serious quality control problems at an Eli Lilly plant that is ramping up to manufacture one of two promising COVID-19 drugs touted by President Trump as a “cure” for the disease, according to government documents and three sources familiar with the matter.
The Lilly antibody therapy, which is experimental and not yet approved by regulators, is similar to a drug from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals that was given to the president during his bout with COVID-19.
Trump has called for both therapies to become available immediately on an emergency basis.
Humidity affects aerosol spread
A Japanese supercomputer showed that humidity can have a large effect on the dispersion of virus particles, pointing to heightened contagion risks in dry, indoor conditions during the winter months.
The finding suggests that the use of humidifiers may help limit infections during times when window ventilation is not possible, according to a study released by research giant Riken and Kobe University.
The researchers used the Fugaku supercomputer to model the emission and flow of virus-like particles from infected people in a variety of indoor environments.
UK, Italy, Spain had high ‘excess deaths’ in first wave
Britain, Italy and Spain had the highest rates of so-called “excess deaths” from all causes, including COVID-19, among 21 developed countries during the first wave of the pandemic, an international study has found.
Some 206,000 more people died between mid-February and the end of May in the 21 countries in total than would have been expected to die had the pandemic not taken place — an 18% increase in deaths, scientists said.
England and Wales accounted for 28% of all the excess deaths, Italy for 24%, and Spain 22%.
Poland ‘on the brink of disaster’
Poland reported a record 6,526 new coronavirus infections and 116 deaths on Wednesday and doctors warned the healthcare system was becoming overloaded.
The country of 38 million has now recorded 141,804 confirmed coronavirus cases and 3,217 deaths.
“I don’t have any good information. We are on the brink of disaster,” immunologist Pawel Grzesiowski told private radio station RMF. He said Poland should be doing more testing, closing schools and supporting doctors in their fight against the pandemic.
Pope keeps his distance
Pope Francis stayed a safe distance from well-wishers at his weekly general audience on Wednesday, saying new rules aimed at curbing the coronavirus meant he had to hold back.
“I would like to, as I usually do, go down and get closer to greet you. But with the new regulations, it is better if we keep a distance,” Francis said from a stage.
“It often happens that when I go down, everybody gets close and piles up. And it’s a problem because there is a risk of infection. This way, everyone wearing their mask and maintaining their distance, we can go forward with the audiences.”
(Compiled by Linda Noakes; Editing by Catherine Evans)