TORONTO — Today is International Day of Happiness, a rather ludicrous notion in the wake of COVID-19. But while the global health crisis is certainly grim, there have been a few positive outcomes in recent days that suggest sunnier days ahead.
- For the first time since the pandemic began, China reported no new locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. In the previous 24 hours, China’s National Health Commission announced just 34 new cases, all imported from overseas.
- China has closed the last two of 16 coronavirus hospitals because there aren’t enough new cases to support them. The final 49 patients checked out of the Wuchang hospital in the capital of Hubei province on Tuesday to cheers, reports the Xinhua news agency. In all, the temporary hospital, which was converted from Wuchang Hongshan Stadium, treated 1,124 patients.
- A 103-year-old Chinese grandmother has made a full recovery from COVID-19 after being treated for just six days in Wuhan, China. She is now considered the oldest person to have beaten the disease. Doctors credit the woman’s quick recovery to her having no underlying health conditions other than mild chronic bronchitis.
- Canadian scientists from Sunnybrook Hospital, McMaster University and the University of Toronto have made a breakthrough in research, isolating the novel coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. This will hopefully lead to the development of treatments, vaccines and tests for the virus.
- Clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine are already underway, with volunteers being recruited in the Seattle area. The goal of the study, said Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, is to learn about the safety of the vaccine and how the immune system responds to it.
- Dutch scientists from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam and Utrecht University are reportedly the first in the world to discover an antibody that neutralizes the COVID-19 virus. The breakthrough discovery could lead to an antiviral medication.
- Mother Nature is recovering around the world as air pollution plummets due to global quarantines. According to the Washington Post, a drastic decrease in major greenhouse gases over Europe has been recorded by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite. Plus, the water in Venice’s canals, now free of boat traffic, is clearer than it’s been in years. Dolphins have even been spotted swimming in Sardinia’s Cagliari’s port.
- Apple has reopened all of its 42 stores in China following month-long closures. China is also reopening many tourist attractions across the country and loosening travel restrictions.
- The number of new cases in South Korea is declining. The country reported more recoveries from coronavirus than new infections on Friday for the first time.