17 February

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 109,604,000 with over 2,421,000 deaths and 73,319,000 recoveries.

The US, India, and Brazil remain the three countries with the highest total confirmed cases worldwide.

The UK maintains its position as the fourth worst affected country, however, the gap is closing between itself and the fifth worst affected country, Russia, with only 17,000 cases between them.

Numbers of daily new cases are trending downwards within all these countries, a pattern also reflected across many European countries including Spain, Italy, France and Germany.

In the US the CDC has published guidelines for the safe reopening of schools during the Covid-19 pandemic, which mainly focus on mitigation strategies within middle and high schools, with less emphasis on requirements for elementary schools.

The strength of recommendations are based on the level of community transmission for each school.

Strategies to be implemented prior to the opening of schools within areas of high community transmission include universal mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing, cleaning and contact-tracing.

Vaccination of teachers and staff is not yet considered to be a requirement prior to re-opening.

Ellie Sutcliffe, BSc, Senior Analyst and Associate Epidemiologist at GlobalData