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  • In the coronavirus pandemic, carbon emissions have fallen, but climate change remains an existential threat news

    In a world desperate for good news about the coronavirus, a dip in global carbon emissions caused by the outbreak’s economic downturn might be seen as a silver lining. But climate scientists and policy experts aren’t encouraged.   

    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 10:00:02 -0400
  • A New York dad refused to let his 21-year-old son back in their house after the spring breaker partied in Texas amid coronavirus spread news

    "I was aggravated," Peter Levine said of his son's decision to party on South Padre Island instead of heeding warnings about the virus.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 12:22:27 -0400
  • Trump berated a black journalist, telling her to 'be nice' and not 'threatening' at a coronavirus briefing, but she refused to take the bait news

    "I was quoting you directly from your interview with Sean Hannity," PBS' Yamiche Alcindor told Trump when he accused her of being "threatening."

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 21:50:39 -0400
  • Iran warns of lengthy 'new way of life' as virus deaths rise news

    President Hassan Rouhani warned Sunday that "the new way of life" in Iran was likely to be prolonged, as its declared death toll from the novel coronavirus rose to 2,640. The Islamic republic is one of the countries worst-hit by the virus, which first originated in China. Iran announced its first infection cases on February 19, but a senior health official has acknowledged that the virus was likely to have already reached Iran in January.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 07:20:00 -0400
  • Australia government says growth rate of coronavirus infection slows news

    Australia's health minister said on Sunday there were "early, positive signs" of a slowdown in the growth rate in new coronavirus infections in the country, with the growth rate approximately halving over the past week. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the slower growth in new inflections showed social distancing measures were working. "This time last week the rate of increase on cases was up around 25% to 30% a day," Morrison told a press conference.

    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 20:59:34 -0400
  • Fit, healthy 33-year-old recounts falling ill to coronavirus news

    Andrea Napoli didn’t fit the usual profile of a coronavirus patient. At 33, he was in perfect health, with no history of respiratory disease. Until that day, Napoli was following his routine of work, jogging and swimming.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 15:49:04 -0400
  • Pelosi on virus: ‘As the president fiddles, people are dying’ news

    “As the president fiddles, people are dying,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during an interview on Sunday morning.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 10:57:18 -0400
  • Inmate dies after contracting coronavirus at Louisiana federal prison news

    The death of Patrick Jones marks the first COVID-19-related death of an inmate in the federal prison system, a Bureau of Prisons spokesperson said.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 11:08:00 -0400
  • Fact check: Is the coronavirus being spread 'quickly' via gas pumps? news

    A Facebook post warned users to be careful at the gas station because coronavirus is spreading "quickly" via pumps. This claim is partly false.

    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 12:54:02 -0400
  • An Arkansas doctor stayed in his home to socially distance from his wife and child. Days after his photo went viral his house was destroyed by a tornado. news

    He went viral for distancing from his wife and 1-year-old son. Days later, his house was destroyed by a tornado that hit Jonesboro, Arkansas.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 17:06:44 -0400
  • Asia virus latest: People return to China epicentre, security talks off news

    Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged last year, partly reopened on Saturday after more than two months of near total isolation for its population of 11 million. A top Asian security conference that gathers defence ministers -- including from the US and China -- and senior military officials was cancelled due to the pandemic. Thousands of migrant workers in India, left jobless and penniless by the full shutdown of the country, are walking long distances back to their home villages after all transport was stopped except for essential services.

    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 11:31:09 -0400
  • Trump's salute to Vietnam veterans meets with thanks – and scorn news

    On national holiday he declared, president who avoided draft salutes those who servedDonald Trump marked National Vietnam War Veterans Day on Sunday, with a tweet praising those who served in a conflict that involved US combat operations in Indochina from 1965 to 1973 .“You have earned our gratitude and thanks,” he wrote, “by your actions years ago and what you have done since returning home. The nation thanks you and your families for your service and sacrifice. We love you!”On Twitter on Sunday, Trump’s message to veterans met with a mix of thanks and severe scorn, given his track record regarding the Vietnam war.Trump instituted the official holiday in 2017. Now 73, he was of age to be drafted for a war in which fighting reached a ferocious peak in the late 1960s and 58,000 Americans were killed. He did not serve in any capacity.Trump received five deferments from service, four academic and one on dubious medical grounds.In 2015, as he ran for president, Trump said he could not remember which of his heels had been temporarily affected by bone spurs, calcium build-ups which might render a recruit unfit for active service. His campaign said it was both.Trump told the New York Times the spurs were “not a big problem, but it was enough of a problem”.“They were spurs,” he said. “You know, it was difficult from the long-term walking standpoint.”During the 2016 campaign, Trump was also revealed to have referred to avoiding sexually transmitted diseases as his own “Vietnam”.Neither revelation derailed Trump’s White House run – and neither did his public derision of John McCain, a senator and Republican presidential candidate widely revered for his service as a navy pilot and his endurance of five and a half years in brutal conditions in captivity in Vietnam.McCain died in 2018. Though he generally held the moral high ground when attacked by Trump, he did pass telling comment when speaking to C-Span 3’s American History TV in the year before his death.“One aspect of the conflict … that I will never, ever countenance,” McCain said, “is that we drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say they had a bone spur.“That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.”

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 16:12:27 -0400
  • The Justice Department is reportedly investigating actions by US lawmakers who dumped stocks before the market plunged over coronavirus fears news

    The FBI has reportedly reached out to Republican Sen. Richard Burr as part of the investigation, which is in its early stages.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 22:38:58 -0400
  • Coronavirus deaths fall again in Italy but lockdown extension looms news

    The number of deaths from coronavirus in Italy fell for the second consecutive day on Sunday but the country still looked almost certain to see an extension of stringent containment measures. The Civil Protection department said 756 people had died in the last day, bringing the total to 10,779 - more than a third of all deaths from the virus worldwide. "The measures that were due to expire on April 3 inevitably will be extended," Regional Affairs Minister Francesco Boccia told Sky TG24 television.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 14:11:30 -0400
  • Off to the cafe: Sweden is outlier in virus restrictions news

    People still sit at outdoor cafes in the center of Sweden's capital. Swedish authorities have advised the public to practice social distancing and to work from home, if possible, and urged those over age 70 to self-isolate as a precaution. Standing at bars has been banned in Sweden, but restaurant customers can still be served at tables instead of having to take food to go.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 04:13:11 -0400
  • Stay In the Lines With These Neat Science Coloring Pages

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    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 09:00:00 -0400
  • A Washington ER Doctor Was Allegedly Terminated After Publicly Criticizing His Hospital for Not Protecting Its Staff news

    He had repeatedly requested more medical supplies and more protective measures for health care workers

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 15:10:45 -0400
  • Mexico's president shifts tone on coronavirus, urges people to stay home, warns of dire consequences news

    Critics said Mexico's president was downplaying the coronavirus threat. But he has now shifted his tone.

    Mon, 30 Mar 2020 00:09:35 -0400
  • A New York nurse shared a chilling photo of coronavirus victims to show 'the ghastly reality of what' medical workers deal with on frontlines news

    The harrowing image shows the bodies of deceased COVID-19 patients being stored in a refrigerated truck outside the ambulance bay.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 17:18:29 -0400
  • North Korea says tested 'super-large' rocket launchers news

    Nuclear-armed North Korea successfully tested "super-large multiple rocket launchers", state media said on Monday, but leader Kim Jong Un was not described as commanding the drill as analysts say Pyongyang seeks to normalise its launches. With the world focused on the coronavirus pandemic and North Korea insisting it has not had a single COVID-19 case, the isolated state has carried out four such firings this month. Unusually, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) did not say in its report that Kim had directed Sunday's test.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 22:09:17 -0400
  • Tornado tears through Arkansas city, prompting curfew and National Guard response news

    “I know there is property damage,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “Just praying all is safe.”

    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 21:14:00 -0400
  • Fauci says that lifting lockdowns is 'a matter of weeks' and depends on the availability of 15-minute coronavirus testing news

    "If we need to push the date forward, we will push the date forward," Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CNN Sunday.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 12:12:11 -0400
  • China defends against incoming second wave of coronavirus news

    A growing number of imported coronavirus cases in China risked fanning a second wave of infections when domestic transmissions had "basically been stopped", a senior health official said on Sunday, while eased travel curbs may also add to domestic risks. China, where the disease first emerged in the central city of Wuhan, had an accumulated total of 693 cases entering from overseas, which meant "the possibility of a new round of infections remains relatively big", Mi Feng, spokesman for the National Health Commission (NHC), said. Nearly a quarter of those came from arrivals in Beijing.

    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 20:22:41 -0400
  • Hundreds at Louisiana church flout COVID-19 gatherings ban news

    Hundreds of worshippers attended services at a Louisiana church on Sunday, flouting a ban on large gatherings, angering neighbors and seemingly turning a deaf ear to their governor, who once again warned that hospitals could soon be overwhelmed with new cases of the coronavirus. Assistant ministers and worshippers who stood outside the front doors and in the parking lot of Life Tabernacle told news reporters to leave, saying cameras would not be allowed on the property and they had been told not to talk to the news media. Across the street, Paul Quinn and other neighbors took pains to stay 6 feet (2 meters) apart from each other as they stood in a driveway and commented on their opposition to the services being held.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 13:51:45 -0400
  • Trump says he is now considering quarantine for N.Y., N.J., Conn. news

    President Trump on Saturday said he is considering the idea of a quarantine in the New York tri-state area.

    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 15:23:39 -0400
  • France steps up coronavirus evacuations from packed hospitals news

    France on Sunday staged its largest evacuation of coronavirus patients to date from hospitals in the hard-hit east, increasing efforts to free up intensive care units as officials warned of an influx of serious cases in the coming days. Two specially equipped high-speed trains carried 36 patients from Mulhouse and Nancy toward hospitals along France's western coast, where the outbreak has been limited so far. Dozens of hospital workers, flanked by police and soldiers standing guard, spent hours installing four patients in each wagon in an operation that began before dawn.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 15:17:25 -0400
  • Coronavirus: India's PM Modi seeks 'forgiveness' over lockdown news

    Narendra Modi apologises for sweeping restrictions that have left many jobless and hungry.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 10:00:09 -0400
  • Johnson’s War With Coronavirus Is No Joke Anymore news

    (Bloomberg) -- For Boris Johnson, as for others, it started with a cough and a fever.The British prime minister did what he was told by the most senior medic in the land and took a test. Johnson was in his Downing Street apartment at midnight on Thursday when the result came through: he’d tested positive for coronavirus. It was the moment the pandemic literally hit home. Johnson, 55, is the first world leader to reveal he has Covid-19. His illness graphically illustrates the indiscriminate nature of a disease that has now infected almost 650,000 people around the world and killed 30,000. But as Johnson isolates himself, picking up meals and official papers left outside his door, the infection raises more questions about his attitude to a crisis many medical experts felt he failed to take seriously for too long.For one thing, Johnson is not the only member of the British government to be hit. Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Friday that he too had tested positive for the virus. Three hours later, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty revealed he was isolating with symptoms. While all three insist they’re still working, one question now dominates the debate in the U.K.: if the officials leading the fight against the virus can’t even keep themselves safe, how can they protect the rest of the country and its beloved National Health Service?“Patients will die unnecessarily, NHS staff will die unnecessarily,” said Richard Horton, editor of medical journal The Lancet. “The gravity of that scandal has yet to be understood.”In the U.K., 1,019 people have lost their lives. The rate of infection is racing ahead, with the number of new cases doubling every few days. In Italy and Spain, the rapid spread has sent their death tolls way beyond China’s—the virus’s original epicenter—and overwhelmed hospitals.Horton has been an outspoken critic of Johnson’s approach, warning for weeks that the government has been too slow to act.There has been a litany of criticisms from many quarters, though, including among his fellow Conservatives: The government shouldn’t have all but stopped testing in the community or begin a misguided policy of seeking “herd immunity” rather than fighting the contagion. It also delayed the imposition of tough restrictions, and kept schools open. While other countries were ordering curfews and deploying the military, Johnson instead sought to use behavioral psychologists in the government’s so-called “nudge unit” to persuade the public to do the right thing.For Johnson, the gamble on a different approach was offset by the fact that his own advisers lent it their support. But the stakes now are high. “One of the functions of a prime minister is to take the blame,” his biographer Andrew Gimson said. “He will take the blame if it all goes wrong—he will have to go, actually.”At key moments in the outbreak, Johnson has seemed in denial about the size of the threat—and to his critics, it showed. At the start of the month, the premier quipped that while everyone must wash their hands for the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday,” that did not stop him shaking hands with people he meets.“I can tell you I am shaking hands continuously,” Johnson told reporters in a clip that has since gone viral on Twitter. “I was at a hospital the other night where I think there were actually a few coronavirus patients and I shook hands with everybody.”As the man who led his country out of the European Union, Johnson has often evoked his idea of British-ness, the unflappable belief that the country is different and all will be well. Indeed, it helped him to an emphatic election victory in December. But making light of a crisis has now landed Johnson in trouble.On March 16, after weeks of downplaying the issue, he suddenly urged all U.K. citizens to stay at home and avoid unnecessary contact with other people. It would be the prelude to more action that would shut the nation down. Yet later that evening, Johnson made light of the situation on a call with the manufacturers he was trying to persuade to produce thousands of urgently needed ventilators for hospitals. He joked that their task should be code-named “Operation Last Gasp.”Not everyone saw the funny side. “I was shocked,” said one witness, who asked to remain anonymous. “I don’t know how many people were on that call but some of the comments were not appropriate to the seriousness of the situation.”As the crisis deepened in the days that followed, the government’s response accelerated further. The country’s finance chief, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, unveiled a 350 billion-pound ($435 billion) “wartime” rescue package for businesses. The next day, Johnson finally agreed to close schools across the country.Yet after three days of drama and amid growing alarm, an upbeat Johnson decided on March 19 it was time to rally his troops for the push toward victory. He bounded into the wood-paneled state dining room in No. 10 Downing Street, smiling and joking with reporters in front of him.“I am absolutely confident that we can send coronavirus packing,” he defiantly declared. A new test could be a “game changer” in the fight against the disease, he said, adding that the U.K. could “turn the tide” of the outbreak in 12 weeks.By March 23, Johnson was addressing the nation in their living rooms, telling them they would be locked down for an initial three weeks. The first week hadn’t even passed before the prime minister himself fell ill.Throughout, the government has insisted all his decisions were taken on the basis of “the best” scientific evidence. The public would get bored of being told to limit their movements for too long, so timing the restrictions perfectly was vital, officials said. The only verdict that counts will come when the death toll is finally known.But another explanation for Johnson’s approach may lie in his temperament. “He loves being the center of attention,” said Gimson.Most of all, Johnson has defined himself as a liberal conservative. He has long railed against the “nanny state” for telling people how to live their lives. Explaining his own reluctance to order stricter measures, he said on March 18: “We live in a land of liberty.”Even when he did try to stop people socializing in bars and restaurants, Johnson could not quite bring himself to treat the issue seriously. In his words, he was asking people to accept an almost impossible demand and give up the “inalienable right” of every “freeborn” Briton to go to the pub. It was a light-hearted message that threatened to undermine the gravity of his request.On the Sunday before he ordered a full national lockdown, Johnson implored the public to value the freedoms they stood to lose. “Other countries have been forced to bring in restrictions on people’s movements, altogether,” he said. “I don’t want to do that. It’s so important that that pleasure and that ability is preserved—but it can only really be preserved if everybody acts responsibly.”The tussle between freedom and responsibility may become the conflict that defines Johnson’s career. He rode to power on a campaign to release the U.K. from the EU’s legal shackles. His overriding promise was to “unleash” Britain’s potential.Now Johnson, like thousands of his fellow citizens, is living in isolation in his apartment and dealing with the disease for the next week alone. The irony is that he has put the entire population—himself included—on the tightest leash of all.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 17:24:35 -0400
  • 'This cannot be our final bill': Pelosi looks ahead while Republicans want to see effects of $2 trillion coronavirus package news

    Pelosi has a list of items she says need to be addressed in a future coronavirus package. The GOP first wants to see how the current plan works out.

    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 08:47:02 -0400
  • 'Italy is closed': A reporter's account inside Rome, where coronavirus brought the city to a halt news

    NBC News' Bill O'Reilly reveals how rapidly the pandemic has changed life in Italy's capital.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 04:37:00 -0400
  • New York Gov. Cuomo extends order advising residents to stay at home for at least another two weeks news

    "The non-essential workforce is directed to continue to work from home," Cuomo said a day after the president decided against a mandatory quarantine.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 13:50:32 -0400
  • Migrants in Central American limbo as coranavirus relocation plans falter

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    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 21:27:51 -0400
  • China sends medical aid to Pakistan to combat virus outbreak news

    China sent a plane loaded with medical personnel and supplies Saturday to help Pakistan fight the spread of the coronavirus in one of the world's most populous nations. In Iran, which is battling the worst outbreak in the region, state TV said Saturday another 139 people had died from the virus. China has sought to portray itself as a global leader in the fight against the outbreak, which began a few months ago in its Wuhan province.

    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 05:51:46 -0400
  • White House task force official says 'no state, no metro area' will be spared from coronavirus news

    The United States is preparing for a novel coronavirus epidemic that is national in scope."No state, no metro area will be spared," Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told NBC's Chuck Todd on Sunday's edition of Meet the Press.Birx was clear that no area of the country will evade the effects of the virus, but said the sooner places react and instill mitigation measures, the easier it will be to "move forward."> WATCH: Dr. Deborah Birx says "no metro area will be spared" of the coronavirus outbreak. MTP IfItsSunday> > Dr. Birx: "The sooner we react and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they have put in full mitigation ... then we'll be able to move forward."> > -- Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) March 29, 2020Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also provided a sense of scale Sunday, but he said he doesn't want to be held to any prediction. Fauci told CNN's Jake Tapper that he's never seen an outbreak match the worst-case scenario of its models, and he believes that remains unlikely for the coronavirus, as well. Nevertheless, he thinks it's possible the U.S. could be looking at somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths. > Dr. Anthony Fauci says there could potentially be between 100,000 to 200,000 deaths related to the coronavirus and millions of cases. "I just don't think that we really need to make a projection when it's such a moving target, that you could so easily be wrong," he adds. CNNSOTU> > -- State of the Union (@CNNSotu) March 29, 2020More stories from Once coronavirus infects a human body, what happens next? Nearly a dozen Liberty University students report COVID-19 symptoms after returning to campus Joe Biden is the worst imaginable challenger to Trump right now

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 13:29:00 -0400
  • Venezuelan ex-general surrenders to US on drug trafficking charges news

    A retired Venezuelan general who was charged by the United States with "narco-terrorism" along with President Nicolas Maduro and other officials has surrendered in Colombia to US authorities, prosecutors said Saturday. "The national Attorney General learned that Mr Cliver Alcala surrendered to US authorities," the Colombian prosecutor said in a statement, adding there was no arrest warrant when he gave himself up. Alcala turned himself in on Friday to the Colombians, who in turn handed him over to US authorities, the El Tiempo de Bogota newspaper said.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 00:12:23 -0400
  • New York hospitals must allow partners in the delivery room for birth, Department of Health says news

    The new policy disputes controversial rules announced by some of the state's top hospitals banning visitors in response to the coronavirus crisis.

    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 15:33:10 -0400
  • Coronavirus: Trump extends US guidelines beyond Easter news

    He says social distancing should continue until at least 30 April as the crisis is set to peak soon.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 23:55:09 -0400
  • Stunning photos show Pope Francis praying to an empty St. Peter's Square amid the coronavirus news

    Images from an empty St. Peter's Square during a prayer on Friday paint a stark portrait of how the coronavirus has affected the Vatican.

    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 17:35:42 -0400
  • Rhode Island officers stopping incoming New Yorkers to force quarantine news

    “I know this is unusual. I know this is extreme. And I know some people don’t agree with it,” Rhode Island's governor said.

    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 11:24:33 -0400
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson is spending £5.7 million to write to all 66 million people in the UK, urging them to stay at home to fight coronavirus news

    "The more we all follow the rules, the fewer lives will be lost and the sooner life can return to normal," Johnson said in a letter

    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 18:00:00 -0400
  • Coronavirus-hit ship granted permission to pass through Panama Canal news

    A cruise ship stuck off Panama's Pacific coast after four passengers died and more than 130 others developed influenza-like symptoms, including at least two with the coronavirus, will be allowed to proceed through the Panama Canal, the government said on Saturday. Holland America Line's 238-meter (781-foot) MS Zaandam vessel can now continue its trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but Panama's government underscored that no passengers or crew members would be allowed to set foot on Panamanian soil. "Panama will guarantee biosecurity measures to protect the personnel who will participate in this maneuver and thus safeguard the health of Panamanians," the government said in a statement.

    Sat, 28 Mar 2020 15:35:00 -0400
  • Plane catches fire at Manila airport, killing all 8 aboard news

    A plane carrying eight people, including an American and a Canadian, burst into flames Sunday while attempting to take off from Manila’s airport on a flight bound for Japan, killing all those on board, officials said. The Westwind 24 plane, which was carrying six Filipino crew members and the American and Canadian passengers, was bound for Tokyo on a medical mission when it caught fire near the end of the main runway, Manila airport general manager Ed Monreal said. The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said the aircraft apparently encountered an unspecified “problem which resulted in a fire” as it rolled to take off, adding its chief investigator was on the way to the scene.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 10:57:54 -0400
  • No running water. No electricity. On Navajo Nation, coronavirus creates worry and confusion as cases surge news

    Coronavirus anxiety is running high on Navajo Nation — a sprawling reservation of 175,000 residents, scarce supplies and resources, and only four inpatient hospitals. Cases are soaring, and at least two already have died.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 07:00:34 -0400
  • 'Merkel is back': virus crisis boosts Germany's centre-right news

    Angela Merkel's long-struggling conservatives have rebounded in the polls thanks to the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis and widespread faith in the outgoing German chancellor's ability to manage the upheaval. Shaking off years of record-low popularity, Merkel's centre-right CDU/CSU bloc is now enjoying approval ratings of around 32 to 35 percent, some six to seven points higher than just a few weeks ago. It's a surprise turn of events for Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) which as recently as last month was riven by internal turmoil and debate over who would be the party's chancellor candidate when Merkel bows out in 2021.

    Sun, 29 Mar 2020 06:10:44 -0400
  • Silent Coronavirus Spreaders Could Unleash Second Wave of Disaster news

    A burst of fresh data on the prevalence of “silent,” or asymptomatic, carriers of the 2019 novel coronavirus points to the looming danger of ending America’s national shutdown early.Classified Chinese government data suggest “silent carriers” could make up at least one-third of the country’s positive cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post recently reported. Approximately 43,000 people in China who had tested positive for COVID-19 last month had no immediate symptoms. And those cases were not included in the official national tally of confirmed cases, which had hit 80,000 at the end of February, the paper said.Last week, China reported no new local infections for the first time since the outbreak started in December. And after weeks of lockdown, the city of Wuhan—where the global pandemic originated—said on Tuesday that public transportation was reopening and that residents would be allowed to leave the city itself starting on April 8.But as extensive testing continues, authorities in Wuhan have found new cases of asymptomatic—or mildly symptomatic—infection, sparking concerns about how many contagious people have been circulating freely. Fresh data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Friday about a nursing home in Washington state only served to compound those fears.Four Ways Experts Say Coronavirus Nightmare Could End“Almost everybody thinks there’s the potential of a second wave after we relax the restrictions,” said Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University and an expert on U.S. readiness for pandemics. “There’s no good timeframe—it’s certainly not by Easter—that we’ll be starting to loosen up,” he continued, referring to President Donald Trump’s suggested finish line. “But once we do, people who did not have coronavirus will be going out to spaces where silent spreaders might be.”With Americans still getting acclimated to a quasi-national shutdown, and Trump repeatedly suggesting restrictions might ease in a matter of days or weeks, the prospect of silent spreaders wreaking epidemiological havoc looms large.“The biggest danger here is that this is like a stealth attack in that you have no idea that the person you have come into contact with is contagious,” said Dr. Adrian Hyzler, the chief medical officer for Healix International, which provides medical information to organizations whose clients travel internationally. “It makes it so much more difficult to try to contain the spread of the virus.”For obvious reasons, silent carriers are not nearly as notorious in the public imagination as “super-spreaders,” or patients who are extra contagious. A possible super-spreader in the United Kingdom may have transmitted the virus to nearly a dozen people before realizing he was sick earlier this year. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization previously claimed that pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic transmission of the new coronavirus was “relatively rare.” But newer studies—out of Japan, Italy, South Korea, and now Washington state—have called that assertion into question. And research suggests that silent spreaders can be just as dangerous to a community.The CDC released a study on Friday of the outbreak’s spread—specifically via asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic patients—in a long-term care facility in King County, Washington. The report found that “approximately half of all residents with positive test results did not have any symptoms at the time of testing, suggesting that transmission from asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic residents—who were not recognized as having [the coronavirus] infection and therefore not isolated—might have contributed to further spread.”“These findings have important implications for infection control,” according to the CDC, since “current interventions” for preventing the virus’s transmission, in part because of the shortage of tests, primarily rely on the presence of “signs and symptoms to identify and isolate residents or patients who might have COVID-19.” Patients were cohorted, or separated, according to which ones had symptoms. But that method of intervention no longer makes sense if there are asymptomatic—or silent—spreaders within a community, especially one that is at high risk of severe infection.Researchers previously published a study in the journal Science on March 16, finding that 86 percent of all infections in China before Jan. 23—when the government there instituted severe travel restrictions—were undocumented because they were mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic.“They may, for the most part, have experienced some symptoms at some point,” Jeffrey Shaman, a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University who worked on the study, explained to WBUR radio. “But it didn't keep them home, didn't stop them from getting on public transportation, going to work, going to school, getting on airplanes and going on business trips.”Because those individuals didn’t feel sick—or didn’t know they were sick—and kept traveling through the community, the researchers found that this group of people “contributed to the vast majority of the spread” of the virus, added Shaman, who called the phenomenon “stealth transmission.”In a letter to the International Journal of Infectious Diseases in February, a group of Japanese experts led by epidemiologist Hiroshi Nishiura at Hokkaido University wrote that the growing data outside of China “indicates that a substantial number of cases are underdiagnosed.” Nishiura’s group estimated—based on the number of asymptomatic Japanese patients who were evacuated from the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, China—that about 30.8 percent of cases were asymptomatic.Of course, American authorities know even less than their foreign counterparts about how many cases there are, period. The same goes for silent spreaders. “This is partly because health systems are just overrun with sick people, as well as a scarcity of testing kits,” said Hyzler, adding that a trial in a small Italian town where all 30,000 people were tested revealed that asymptomatic or very mildly symptomatic people represented a whopping 70 percent of all cases, of which an unknown number were able to transmit the virus to others.Redlener noted that, while much is still unknown, “the vast majority of Americans with the virus will be mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic, and we really have to be careful not to relax our stringent requirements too soon.” The U.S. health system has generally not tested individuals without symptoms unless they are especially wealthy or well-connected—like NBA players or Sen. Rand Paul—or else health workers with known exposure. And in many places in the U.S., authorities are discouraging testing except in the case of severe symptoms, meaning American officials have limited data on the number of asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic cases, with few exceptions.Hyzler said there were two key assumptions that likely went into the decision to begin opening up Wuhan again: that there are very few unidentified silent spreaders transmitting the infection throughout the community, and that the incubation period is 14 days.If authorities are correct on both points, it might well be safe to resume public transportation and to allow travel to and from the city. But if they’re incorrect, Hyzler cautioned: “We will certainly start to see a second wave of cases” emerge in China.Fortunately for Wuhan and its surrounding province, China’s zealous testing means that authorities would likely detect a new wave “right away” before it spread very far, according to Arnold Monto, a professor of epidemiology and global health at the University of Michigan who has advised both the World Health Organization and the Defense Department on communicable diseases.But unless the U.S. rapidly expands its testing—and zealously tracks individuals who’ve had contact with confirmed cases—Americans won’t have that same advantage. Both Hyzler and Monto said they hoped the U.S. government could learn from its weeks of delays, as well as failures abroad. But there’s no guarantee.Vice President Mike Pence took heat this past week for claiming that federal officials may soon recommend that critical workers—even those who’ve been exposed to the virus—return to work, as long as they wear a mask.“It’s premature to try to put a time limit on this,” said Monto, who emphasized the importance of continued social distancing throughout the country to control the surge of cases from overwhelming hospitals.“From an epidemiological standpoint, one lockdown would be better than waves of lockdown,” he said. “With waves, all you’d be doing is letting it up again and then you’re back where you started. I think if we’re still seeing an overwhelming number of cases in hospitals, it’s too early to lift a lockdown.”Ultimately, Hyzler argued, there are two main ways that authorities can try to ensure that an end to social distancing isn’t premature. One is so-called herd immunity, or, as he put it, “if a good percentage, maybe as many as 70 percent of people... have been infected and therefore, we assume, have an immunity against a re-infection.” The other is what’s called antibody testing, or, as Hyzler explained, “once you can show that someone has had the virus, and they no longer need to self-isolate and can return to work.” (To be clear, the jury’s still out on whether some patients who already had coronavirus can be re-infected.)But without enough tests, Monto said, “we have no idea at this point” how many people may be mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic. “After the dust settles,” he said, scientists will likely make an effort to collect blood samples, which can detect antibodies for the virus after a person has recovered. “We’ll know the numbers only after the fact,” he added.Redlener was more optimistic: “The hope is that we get to a point where mass testing will be possible.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

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