May 19 coronavirus news

2 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:33 p.m. ET, May 18, 2020

Brazil now has third highest number of coronavirus cases in the world

From CNN's Shasta Darlington 

A researcher works on a coronavirus testing program in Rio de Janeiro on April 1.
A researcher works on a coronavirus testing program in Rio de Janeiro on April 1. Andre Coelho/Getty Images

Brazil topped 250,000 coronavirus cases on Monday, surpassing the UK's total and making it the country with the third highest number of global confirmed infections. 

Brazil's Ministry of Health also reported 674 new deaths Monday, bringing the death toll in the country to 16,792.

The ministry also reported 13,140 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the 24-hour period between Sunday and Monday, bringing the country's total to 254,220, behind the US and Russia.

Some background: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has faced criticism for his anti-lockdown rhetoric even as cases skyrocket. He has repeatedly dismissed Covid-19 as a "little flu" and urged businesses to reopen, even as many governors scramble to implement social isolation measures and slow the spread of the virus.

Bolsonaro also recently saw a second health minister leave his government in the span of a few weeks.

9:02 p.m. ET, May 18, 2020

UK defends decision to wait months before adding smell to list of potential coronavirus symptoms

From CNN's Richard Greene

A passenger wearing a face mask sits aboard a train as it arrives at Waterloo Train station in London on Monday.
A passenger wearing a face mask sits aboard a train as it arrives at Waterloo Train station in London on Monday. Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

The deputy chief medical adviser for England on Monday defended the government’s decision not to add loss of the sense of smell to the list of possible symptoms of coronavirus until now.

“Anosmia has been recognized for some time now as a possible symptom of Covid-19,” Jonathan Van-Tam said, using the medical term for loss of the sense of smell.

But he said it was not the only possible symptom, and “very rarely” appeared on its own as an early warning of the virus.

“What we had to do was do some very careful analysis behind the scenes” of which symptoms beyond fever and cough were “useful or important to add” to the list, Van-Tam said.

“That’s why we have taken our time in this country, because we wanted to do that again painstaking and very careful analysis before we jumped to any conclusions,” he said.

"And even if it was barn-door obvious that anosmia was part of this, we wanted to be sure that adding it to cough and fever -- as opposed to just listing it, adding it in formally in to our definition -- was the right thing to do,” Van-Tam added.

The government added the symptom on Monday.

Challenged by a reporter to say how many cases of coronavirus were missed as a result of not listing the condition as a symptom earlier, Van-Tam said, “I don’t have those figures to my fingertips,” but added that Public Health England data on the first several hundred confirmed cases in the country showed 0.44% reported loss of sense of smell on its own as a symptom.