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posted by janrinok on Thursday March 12 2020, @08:32PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Tomorrow-is-Friday-the-13th dept.

Even though it has only been a short while since our last round-up there are 22 separate stories merged into this round-up. Many report duplicate news but, nevertheless, we have tried to distill the important elements of each submission.

Firstly, there is some confusion regarding the actual names that are reported for the virus, the disease that it causes, and names frequently seen in media reporting. From https://www.nature.com/articles/s41564-020-0695-z:

The present outbreak of a coronavirus-associated acute respiratory disease called coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is the third documented spillover of an animal coronavirus to humans in only two decades that has resulted in a major epidemic. The Coronaviridae Study Group (CSG) of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, which is responsible for developing the classification of viruses and taxon nomenclature of the family Coronaviridae, has assessed the placement of the human pathogen, tentatively named 2019-nCoV, within the Coronaviridae. Based on phylogeny, taxonomy and established practice, the CSG recognizes this virus as forming a sister clade to the prototype human and bat severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses (SARS-CoVs) of the species Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus, and designates it as SARS-CoV-2.

In order to facilitate communication, the CSG proposes to use the following naming convention for individual isolates: SARS-CoV-2/host/location/isolate/date. While the full spectrum of clinical manifestations associated with SARS-CoV-2 infections in humans remains to be determined, the independent zoonotic transmission of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 highlights the need for studying viruses at the species level to complement research focused on individual pathogenic viruses of immediate significance. This will improve our understanding of virus–host interactions in an ever-changing environment and enhance our preparedness for future outbreaks.

There is much more information at the link provided.

Secondly, as this is a fusion of stories received over the last week or so take all quoted figures of casualties as possibly out-of-date. At the time of merging these stories (12 Mar 20) there have been 127,863 confirmed cases world-wide resulting in 4,717 deaths. 68,309 people have already recovered with the remainder either in self-imposed or advisory isolation, in basic hospital care and a relatively small number in critical care. The pandemic has affected 116 countries/regions. Source: https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6 - a graphical display produced by Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

Many countries have taken emergency measures to restrict travel or large gatherings of people. As this is a very fluid situation we suggest you refer to the media of any specific country in which you have an interest. President Trump has banned transatlantic air travel from countries in mainland Europe to the USA from Friday 2020-03-13 at 23:59 (no timezone stated) for a period initially of 30 days, and air travel within Europe is also significantly disrupted.

Coronavirus can live in the air for three hours, survive on surfaces for two to three days - UPI.com

According to new research, the novel coronavirus can remain in the air for up to 3 hours and survive on some surfaces for two to three days.

Source: https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2020/03/11/Coronavirus-can-live-in-air-for-3-hours-on-surfaces-for-2-3-days/8121583963038/

Derek Lowe on Coronavirus

The esteemed Derek Lowe talks Coronavirus.

Since this is going to be a post about the coronavirus, let's start off with this PSA: wash your hands. These viruses have a lipid envelope that is crucial to their structure and function, and soaps and detergents are thus very effective at inactivating them. It's fast, it's simple, and it's one of the more useful things that any individual can do under these conditions.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Declared to be a pandemic

The World Health Organization has declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. This may mean that some types of insurance may no longer be valid for medical treatment. Italy is now locked down and many other countries now have cases including Australia where there the virus has now reached all states.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Trump Announces New Agreements From Health Insurance Companies Amid Wuhan Virus Spread

Trump announced that ten major health insurance companies have agreed to fully cover testing for Wuhan virus, without co-pays. He is following that with an effort to help hourly wage earners avoid missing paychecks due to the epidemic.

Coronavirus: NHS Targets Fake News Spreading Online

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

The decision to delay closing schools and introduce other strict measures to combat coronavirus has been defended by England's deputy chief medical officer.

Dr Jenny Harries said experts are assessing new cases on an hourly basis to achieve a "balanced response".

The NHS has unveiled a range of measures as part of its response to try to stop fake news being spread about coronavirus on the internet.

Searches for "coronavirus" on Google, Facebook and YouTube will now promote information from the National Health Service or the World Health Organization.

The NHS said it had worked with Twitter to take down an account claiming to be a hospital and spreading false information, while it is also speaking out against homeopaths promoting false treatments online.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the actions meant the public could access accurate health information "which is more crucial than ever as we continue our response to coronavirus".

The UK is currently in the first phase - "containment" - of the government's four-part plan.

On Monday, health officials said people who showed "even minor" signs of respiratory tract infections or a fever would soon be told to self-isolate for seven days in an effort to tackle the outbreak.

The change in advice could happen within the next 10 to 14 days, the UK's chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty said.

It came after researchers in the US found it took five days for most people with coronavirus to show symptoms.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also suggested the elderly and vulnerable could be asked to stay home in the near future.

[Editor's Note: In the budget announcement in Parliament yesterday (11 Mar) the Government announced billions of pounds of measures to support businesses during the crisis, and to ensure that anyone who is advised to self-isolate can receive state sickness payments from the start of the absence from their place of work. The UK Cobra (Emergency Committee) are sitting as I edit this round-up and may well announce new measures to address the pandemic in the next few hours and days]

Apple Reportedly Offers Retail Workers Unlimited Sick Leave for Coronavirus Symptoms

Apple reportedly offers retail workers unlimited sick leave for coronavirus symptoms:

Days after the coronavirus outbreak prompted Apple CEO Tim Cook to let his employees work from home, 9to5Mac reported that the company's retail and hourly workers are getting unlimited sick leave if they experience the pneumonia-like symptoms linked to the disease.

These workers won't need to give managers a doctor's note either. Apple Stores are remaining open despite the outbreak, but 9to5Mac noted that company is canceling some Today at Apple sessions and other gatherings to limit crowds.

Italy Extends Coronavirus Lockdown to Entire Country

Italy extends coronavirus lockdown to entire country:

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced Monday that the government has extended internal travel restrictions to the entire country until April 3, after initially locking down the country's northern region in an effort to contain the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's an extreme measure that effectively locks down 60 million people in one of the most populated countries in Europe, where more people have tested positive for the coronavirus than any country outside of China. Conte also announced that all public gatherings and sporting events would be banned.

Xi Visits Wuhan

Xi visits Wuhan, Italy under coronavirus quarantine: Live updates:

Chinese President Xi Jinping has visited Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, the first time he has done so since the epidemic began and a sign that Beijing believes its efforts to control the virus are working.

His arrival in the city comes after its spread in mainland China has sharply slowed in the past week and as attention has turned to preventing imported infections from overseas hot spots such as Iran, Italy and South Korea.

Authorities in China's Hubei said on Tuesday they will implement a "health code" mobile-phone-based monitoring system to start allowing people to travel within the province, as it tries to get life back to normal.

The statement, published on the government's website, said the move was aimed at promoting the resumption of work and production.

China's President Xi Jinping arrived in the provincial capital, Wuhan, on Tuesday for his first visit and is meeting medical workers and others involved in the fight against the virus.

FDA / NY Atty Gen Order Jim Bakker to Stop Selling Fraudulent Coronavirus Products

FDA warns televangelist Jim Bakker and six others to stop selling fraudulent coronavirus products

The Food and Drug Administration said Monday it has sent warning letters to televangelist Jim Bakker and six companies for selling unapproved coronavirus drugs and treatment products.

"The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to the public health. We have an aggressive surveillance program that routinely monitors online sources for health fraud products, especially during a significant public health issue such as this one," FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said in announcing the enforcement actions.

The products include teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver, which have been cited as not safe or effective for treating any disease, the agency said in a statement with the Federal Trade Commission.

The FDA said it was particularly worried that the products may cause people to delay or stop appropriate treatment, "leading to serious and life-threatening harm."

See also: NY attorney general orders televangelist Jim Bakker to stop promoting alleged coronavirus cure

Covid-19 Small Molecule Therapies Reviewed

Covid-19 Small Molecule Therapies Reviewed:

Let's take inventory on the therapies that are being developed for the coronavirus epidemic. Here is a very thorough list of at Biocentury, and I should note that (like Stat and several other organizations) they're making all their Covid-19 content free to all readers during this crisis. I'd like to zoom in today on the potential small-molecule therapies, since some of these have the most immediate prospects for use in the real world.

The ones at the front of the line are repurposed drugs that are already approved for human use, for a lot of obvious reasons. The Biocentury list doesn't cover these, but here's an article at Nature Biotechnology that goes into detail. Clinical trials are a huge time sink – they sort of have to be, in most cases, if they're going to be any good – and if you've already done all that stuff it's a huge leg up, even if the drug itself is not exactly a perfect fit for the disease. So what do we have? The compound that is most advanced is probably remdesivir from Gilead, at right. This has been in development for a few years as an RNA virus therapy – it was originally developed for Ebola, and has been tried out against a whole list of single-strand RNA viruses. That includes the related coronaviruses SARS and MERS, so Covid-19 was an obvious fit.

The compound is a prodrug – that phosphoramide gets cleaved off completely, leaving the active 5-OH compound GS-44-1524. It mechanism of action is to get incorporated into viral RNA, since it's taken up by RNA polymerase and it largely seems to evade proofreading. This causes RNA termination trouble later on, since that alpha-nitrile C-nucleoside is not exactly what the virus is expecting in its genome at that point, and thus viral replication is inhibited.

There are five clinical trials underway (here's an overview at Biocentury). The NIH has an adaptive-design Phase II trial that has already started in Nebraska, with doses to be changed according to Bayesian readouts along the way. There are two Phase III trials underway at China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Hubei, double-blinded and placebo-controlled (since placebo is, as far as drug therapy goes, the current standard of care). And Gilead themselves are starting two open-label trials, one with no control arm and one with an (unblinded) standard-of-care comparison arm. Those might read out first, depending on when they get off the ground, but will be only rough readouts due to the fast-and-loose trial design. The two Hubei trials and the NIH one will add some rigor to the process, but I'm not sure when they're going to report. My personal opinion is that I like the chances of this drug more than anything else on this list, but it's still unlikely to be a game-changer.

There's an RNA polymerase inhibitor (favipiravir) from Toyama, at right, that's in a trial in China. It's a thought – a broad-spectrum agent of this sort would be the sort of thing to try. But unfortunately, from what I can see, it has already turned up as ineffective in in vitro tests. The human trial that's underway is honestly the sort of thing that would only happen under circumstances like the present: a developing epidemic with a new pathogen and no real standard of care. I hold out little hope for this one, but given that there's nothing else at present, it probably should be tried. As you'll see, this is far from the only situation like this.

[...] There are several other known antiviral drugs [that] are being tried in China, but I don't have too much hope for those, either. The neuraminidase inhibitors such as oseltamivir (better known as Tamiflu) were tried against SARS and were ineffective; there is no reason to expect anything versus Covid-19 although these drugs are a component of some drug cocktail trials. The HIV protease therapies such as darunavir and the combination therapy Kaletra are in trials, but that's also a rather desperate long shot, since there's no particular reason to think that they will have any such protease inhibition against what this new virus has to offer (and indeed, such agents weren't much help against SARS in the end, either). The classic interferon/ribavirin combination seems to have had some activity against SARS and MERS, and is in two trials from what I can see. That's not an awful idea by any means, but it's not a great one, either: if your viral disease has interferon/ribavirin as a front line therapy, it generally means that there's nothing really good available. No, unless we get really lucky none of these ideas are going to slow the disease down much.

There are a few other repurposed-protease-inhibitors ideas out there, such as this one. (Edit: I had seen this paper but couldn't track it down, so thanks to those who sent it along). This paper suggests that the TMPRSS2 protease is important for viral entry on the human-cell-side of the process, a pathway that has been noted for other coronaviruses. And it points out that there is a an approved inhibitor (in Japan) for this enzyme (camostat), so that would definitely seem to be worth a trial, probably in combination with remdesivir.

That's about it for the existing small molecules, from what I can see. What about new ones? Don't hold your breath, is all I can say. A drug discovery program from scratch against a new pathogen is, as many readers here well know, not a trivial exercise. As this Bloomberg article details, many such efforts in the past (small molecules and vaccines alike) have come to grief because by the time they had anything to deliver the epidemic itself had passed. Indeed, Gilead's remdesivir had already been dropped as a potential Ebola therapy.

You will either need to have a target in mind up front or go phenotypic. For the former, what you'd see are better characterizations of the viral protease and more extensive screens against it. Two other big target areas are viral entry (which involves the "spike" proteins on the virus surface and the ACE2 protein on human cells) and viral replication. To the former, it's worth quickly noting that ACE2 is so much unlike the more familiar ACE protein that none of the cardiovascular ACE inhibitors do anything to it at all. And targeting the latter mechanisms is how remdesivir was developed as a possible Ebola agent, but as you can see, that took time, too. Phenotypic screens are perfectly reasonable against viral pathogens as well, but you'll need to put time and effort into that assay up front, just as with any phenotypic effort, because as anyone who does that sort of work will tell you, a bad phenotypic screen is a complete waste of everyone's time.

[...] All this means that any new-target new-chemical-matter effort against Covid-19 (or any new pathogen) is going to take years, and there is just no way around that. This puts small molecules in a very bimodal distribution: you have the existing drugs that might be repurposed, and are presumably available right now. Nothing else is! At the other end, for completely new therapies you have the usual prospects of drug discovery: years from now, lots of money, low success rate, good luck to all of us. The gap between these two could in theory be filled by vaccines and antibody therapies (if everything goes really, really well) but those are very much their own area and will be dealt with in a separate post.

Chinese Robot Is Designed to Help Doctors Fight Coronavirus

Chinese researchers have developed a robot designed to help doctors treat the new coronavirus and other highly contagious diseases.

The machine has a long robotic arm attached to a base with wheels. It can perform some of the same medical examination tasks as doctors. For example, the device can perform ultrasounds, collect fluid samples from a person's mouth and listen to sounds made by a patient's organs.

Cameras record the robot's activities, which are controlled remotely so doctors can avoid coming in close contact with infected patients. Doctors and other medical workers can operate the machine from a nearby room, or from much farther away.

The robot's main designer is Zheng Gangtie, an engineer and professor at China's Tsinghua University in Beijing. He told Reuters news agency that he got the idea for the device around the time of the Lunar New Year in January. At the time, the number of cases of the COVID-19 virus was rising quickly in the city of Wuhan. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Zheng said a friend of his is the head of Beijing's Tsinghua Changgung Hospital. He said his friend told him that one of the biggest problems in dealing with COVID-19 was that healthcare workers treating patients were getting infected themselves. Zheng said he wanted to do something to help this situation.

So the engineer gathered a team and went to work on the robotic device. Zheng said the team was able to convert two robotic arms. The devices use the same technology that is used for space equipment, including moon explorers. The new robot is almost completely automated, Zheng said. It can even disinfect itself after performing actions involving patient contact.

Greece Closes Borders to Millions of Migrants from Turkey as Coronavirus Fears Escalate

Turkey has allowed millions of undocumented migrants to cross into Greece as the coronavirus takes hold in Iran and enters Europe. With more countries around the world reporting cases of infection Turkey, going back on its billion dollar agreement to contain undocumented migrants at its borders, is now assisting migrants to enter Greece. Greek officials are already struggling to manage the undocumented arrivals and provide sufficient care to them in the wake of what looks like a global pandemic. With hundreds of thousands of migrants trying to enter the country locals are repelling boats and border guards are shooting riot gas. At least one undoc has been killed trying to cross the Greek border. The situation is causing panic in Greece as people prepare for the impact of Covid-19.

List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2

List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2:

The EPA-registered disinfectant products on this list have qualified under EPA's emerging viral pathogen program for use against SARS-CoV-2, a coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses, meaning they are one of the easiest types of viruses to kill with the appropriate disinfectant product. The emerging viral pathogen guidance was triggered for SARS-CoV-2 on January 29, 2020.

EPA strongly recommends following the product label use directions for enveloped viruses, as indicated by the approved emerging viral pathogen claim on the master label. If the directions for use for viruses/virucidal activity list different contact times or dilutions, use the longest contact time or most concentrated solution.

Don't Panic: The comprehensive Ars Technica guide to the coronavirus

[Ed. note: This story is being actively maintained with daily updates. --martyb]

https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/03/dont-panic-the-comprehensive-ars-technica-guide-to-the-coronavirus

More than 100,000 people have been infected with a new coronavirus that has spread widely from its origin in China over the past few months. More than 3,000 have already died. Our comprehensive guide for understanding and navigating this global public health threat is below.

[...] You should be concerned and take this seriously. But you should not panic.

This new coronavirus—dubbed SARS-CoV-2—is unquestionably dangerous. It causes a disease called COVID-19, which can be deadly, particularly for older people and those with underlying health conditions. While the death rate among infected people is unclear, even some current low estimates are seven-fold higher than the estimate for seasonal influenza.

[...] Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that get their name from the halo of spiked proteins that adorn their outer surface, which resemble a crown (corona) under a microscope. As a family, they infect a wide range of animals, including humans.

[...] SARS-CoV-2 is related to coronaviruses in bats, but its intermediate animal host and route to humans are not yet clear. There has been plenty of speculation that the intermediate host could be pangolins, but that is not confirmed.

While the identity of SARS-CoV-2's intermediate host remains unknown, researchers suspect the mystery animal was present in a live animal market in Wuhan, China—the capital city of China's central Hubei Province and the epicenter of the outbreak. The market, which was later described in Chinese state media reports as "filthy and messy," sold a wide range of seafood and live animals, some wild. Many of the initial SARS-CoV-2 infections were linked to the market; in fact, many early cases were in people who worked there.

[...] That said, a report in The Lancet describing 41 early cases in the outbreak indicates that the earliest identified person sickened with SARS-CoV-2 had no links to the market. As Ars has reported before, the case was in a man whose infection began causing symptoms on December 1, 2019. None of the man's family became ill, and he had no ties to any of the other cases in the outbreak.

[...] In people, SARS-CoV-2 causes a disease dubbed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO). As the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out, the 'CO' stands for 'corona,' 'VI' for 'virus,' and 'D' for disease. [...] On average, it takes five to six days from the day you are infected with SARS-CoV-2 until you develop symptoms of COVID-19. This pre-symptomatic period—also known as "incubation"—can range from one to 14 days.

From there, those with mild disease tend to recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe cases can take three to six weeks to recover, according to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who goes by Dr. Tedros.

[...] So far, some preliminary population screening for COVID-19 infections has been done in China, specifically in Guangdong province. Screening of 320,000 people who went to a fever clinic suggested that we may not be missing a vast number of mild cases. This in turn suggests that the CFRs we are calculating now are not wildly higher than they should be. However, experts still suspect that many mild cases are going unreported, and many still anticipate that the true CFR will be lower than what we are calculating now.

Coronavirus's Genetics Hint at its Cryptic Spread in Communities

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Hodcroft decided to generate an infographic showing the connections between the traveler from Singapore and the other coronavirus cases emerging in Europe. "I thought, I'll make an image and see if anyone else finds this useful," she says. She posted the image on Twitter, and "somewhat unexpectedly, it got a lot of attention," she says. "People were definitely really, really interested in this. So I kept that image updated over the next week or so." As she updated it, the graphic showed that at least 21 people were exposed to the virus at the ski resort the traveler from Singapore visited; 13 of those people ended up developing COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. After she'd finished the preliminary work, a colleague of Hodcroft saw it and suggested she write it up for publication. She posted the paper on February 26; the next day it appeared in Swiss Medical Weekly.

Hodcroft talked with The Scientist about the work, how its conclusions have been supported by genetic testing of viral strains from patients, and what it tells us about the spread of the virus, SARS-CoV-2, in other countries.

The other thing that's surprising is that, according to the patient statement that he released, the focal patient never had any symptoms. In his own words, he never felt sick. So he did all of this transmission without ever having any indication that he was unwell or that he should be taking any precautions to modify his behavior. It tells us that some infections might be from people who never even know that they're sick.

A few days ago, the research group called the Seattle Flu Study, which is designed to take community samples from random people who have any kind of cough, runny nose, or cold-like symptoms and look for the flu—they pivoted and started testing some of the samples for coronavirus. They found a case in the Seattle area and sequenced the viral genome of the infected person [posted on NextStrain] and showed it links very closely with another case in the Seattle area that's from mid-January. And so this strongly suggests (though we don't yet know for certain) that there has been ongoing undetected transmission in Seattle since mid-January and wasn't picked up because we weren't looking for it. This has become clearer in the last few days, as more cases and even deaths have been reported in Washington State. That tells us the virus hasn't just appeared in the last few days in the area.

When you have a very small number of cases of a disease, you can do this just through epidemiological contact tracing: you can go to everyone and ask questions and find out the connections between the cases. As the case numbers scale up, this becomes very hard to do. With genetic sequencing, we can do this without having to go and try and figure out where everyone was at the time of infection. We've had an influx of sequences from Brazil, Switzerland, Mexico, Scotland, Germany. These have clustered with sequences from Italy and have a travel history from Italy and so from that we can show that Italy really is now exporting cases around the world to multiple countries.

One thing I would note is that studies have shown that limiting transportation really doesn't make much of an impact for outbreaks. Quarantining particular cities, if they seem to be epicenters, can work as a preventive measure, but as the epidemic scales up, you move past being able to contain it in this sense, [and] what you end up doing is just disrupting supply routes, interrupting business, making all of these things much harder.

Toilet Paper Hoarding Continues as Australia Faces Coronavirus Outbreak

Australians are still going bonkers buying up toilet paper before the coronavirus hits and some people are then selling them online for a profit. This behavior offers an intriguing insight into mob reactions of people when disaster strikes. Still staggering from horrendous bushfires and disasterous flooding, which is still ongoing, Australians now facing another immediate disaster are falling back to mob mentality copying those they see as leaders. People don't seem to understand why they are buying up toilet paper, only knowing that it is something they should do. In the meantime, stores have imposed buying limits and toilet paper heroes are keeping the paper mills running 24/7 to keep up with demand.

Just when you thought Australia could not get any stranger.

Coronavirus may tear apart Australian University that relies on Chinese students

The secondary effects of the coronavirus are being felt around the world as factory production is slower, deliveries are affected and entire countries are shut down. In Australia the University of Tasmania is cutting courses in a bid to survive foreign student loss in the midst of a travel ban imposed by Australia in a bid to slow the coming COVID19 outbreak. With UTAS (University of Tasmania) buying up tens of millions worth of real estate in prime areas for future expansion based on foreign students the future of the university may be in doubt with so many of its wealthy students unable to attend. Given expectations that the virus outbreak is expected to last months, UTAS may have to suck in its belt, reduce courses, and ride out the wave like so many other businesses facing extinction. Already several restaurants in the Sydney Chinatown area have closed due to the ongoing situation with many more predicted to come.

They could get locals to attend their local university like they did in the Old Days.

Hong Kong offers HK$10000 to stem economy free fall pushed by pandemic fears

Hong Kong government is giving out HK$10,000 to residents to stop the slide into recession. With the recent unrest from anti-China demonstrations, stoppages and finally the coronavirus outbreak, the city economy is stalled on the edge of collapse.

Time for a holiday.

Previously:
Coronavirus Breakthrough: Protein Mutation Affects Spread and Virulence of Respiratory Virus
Thailand Quarantines 32 Due to MERS Case
China Reports 3rd Death, Nearly 140 New Cases of Coronavirus
China Confirms Human-To-Human Transmission of New Coronavirus; CDC Confirms First US Case
Coronavirus: Millions Quarantined in Wuhan City
China Battles Coronavirus Outbreak: All the Latest Updates
In The Pipeline: Coronavirus
Coronavirus Declared a Global Health Emergency by World Health Organization
2019-nCoV Coronavirus Story Roundup
Australia Bans All Arrivals From China [Updated]
Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Roundup
Phishers Impersonate WHO, Exploit Coronavirus-Related Anxiety
Coronavirus Roundup
MWC Barcelona 2020: "Mobile World Congress" or "Most Won't Come"?
Coronavirus Roundup (Feb. 17)
Roundup of Stories about the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus and COVID-19 Disease
Coronavirus Drug Clinical Trials Beginning in Nebraska
COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 - CoronaVirus) Roundup
New Zealand Birds Show Humanlike Ability to Make Predictions
World Health Organization Declares the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Outbreak a Global Pandemic


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Related Stories

Coronavirus Breakthrough: Protein Mutation Affects Spread and Virulence of Respiratory Virus 1 comment

Quebec researchers have discovered that a mutation in a coronavirus protein slows the spread of the virus in the central nervous system and reduces its neurovirulence. It is the first time that this phenomenon has been observed in the coronavirus family, which is responsible for one-third of common colds and is also suspected of being associated with the development or aggravation of neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and encephalitis. The discovery, which has just been published in the journal PLoS Pathogens, was achieved in the Laboratory of Neuroimmunovirology at INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier.

In analyzing more than 60 human respiratory tract samples from patients infected by the human coronavirus, researchers discovered an important mutation in the S protein that modifies the virus capacity to infect nerve cells. The mutation is associated with the degree of viral virulence.


Original Submission

Thailand Quarantines 32 Due to MERS Case 3 comments

Book your flights and hotels as deals become available:

Thailand has quarantined 32 people as it seeks to prevent the spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) after a second case of the virus was detected on Friday, a health ministry official said on Monday.

The virus was found in a 71-year-old Omani man traveling to Bangkok. His son, taxi drivers, hotel staff and passengers on the same plane are among those quarantined for two weeks, Amnuay Gajeena, director-general of Thailand's Disease Control Department, told reporters. Another eight have been identified and will also be quarantined, he said.

[...] Thailand's tourism industry would not be affected by the latest MERS case, Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul told Reuters. "We think we have the situation under control," she said. "We're confident this will not affect tourism in Thailand." Tourism accounts for 10 percent of GDP, and Thailand expects a record number of international visitors in 2016 - some 32 million, up from 29.88 million in 2015.

The World Health Organization said in its latest update on Jan. 7 it has been notified of 1,626 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS from 26 countries, and at least 586 related deaths. MERS is caused by a coronavirus from the same family as the one that triggered China's deadly 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Don't forget to visit Rio de Janeiro.

Previously: MERS Outbreak and Quarantines in South Korea


Original Submission

China Reports 3rd Death, Nearly 140 New Cases of Coronavirus 5 comments

China reports 3rd death, nearly 140 new cases of coronavirus:

China reported on Monday its third death from a mysterious new virus and nearly 140 fresh cases as the disease spread to other parts of the country, including Beijing, raising concerns about more infections as millions begin trips for the Lunar New Year.

Medical experts are still struggling to understand the new strain of coronavirus but its connection with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome has caused alarm. SARS originated in southern China in 2002 before spreading to Hong Kong and elsewhere in the world infecting thousands and leaving more than 800 people dead.

Coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, such as the common cold, but can also affect the lower-respiratory tract, causing pneumonia or bronchitis.

[...] In Wuhan, the city in central China where the new strain first emerged, 136 new cases were found over the weekend the local health commission said, without giving details about the person who died.

[...] A total of 201 people have now been diagnosed with the virus in China. In Wuhan, 170 people are still being treated in hospital, including nine in critical condition, the city health commission said.

Wuhan is a city of 11 million inhabitants that serves as a major transport hub, including during the annual Lunar New Year holiday when hundreds of millions of Chinese people travel across the country to visit family.


Original Submission

China Confirms Human-To-Human Transmission of New Coronavirus; CDC Confirms First US Case 42 comments

China confirms human-to-human transmission of new coronavirus:

Human-to-human transmission of a new coronavirus strain has been confirmed in China, fueling fears of a major outbreak of the SARS-like virus as millions travel for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Zhong Nanshan, head of the National Health Commission, said on Monday patients may have contracted the new virus without having visited the central city of Wuhan where it was discovered before spreading across China and reaching three other Asian nations.

"Currently, it can be said it is affirmative that there is the phenomenon of human-to-human transmission," he said in an interview with China's CCTV state broadcaster.

Zhong said two people in Guangdong province in southern China caught the disease from family members who had visited Wuhan.

He added that 14 medical personnel helping with coronavirus patients have also been infected.

Human-to-human transmission could make the virus spread more quickly and widely.

CDC Confirms First US Case of New Coronavirus

Public health officials have confirmed the first U.S. case of a mysterious coronavirus that has already killed at least six people and sickened hundreds of others in China, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

A male traveler from China has been diagnosed in Snohomish County, Washington State with the Wuhan coronavirus, according to the CDC.

Officials said the sick male, in his 30s, is “very healthy.” He is currently being isolated at a medical center in the state “out of caution” and “poses little risk” to the public, they said. The CDC said the male reached out to local health authorities on Jan. 15 once he started experiencing pneumonia-like symptoms.

Previously:
China Reports 3rd Death, Nearly 140 New Cases of Coronavirus

Original Submission

Coronavirus: Millions Quarantined in Wuhan City 36 comments

Chinese Authorities Begin Quarantine Of Wuhan City As Coronavirus Cases Multiply:

Wuhan's public health authorities say they are in a "state of war" as they quarantine the Chinese city in an attempt to halt the spread of a never-before-seen strain of coronavirus. "Strictly implement emergency response requirements, enter into a state of war and implement wartime measures to resolutely curb the spread of this epidemic," urged a committee of Wuhan's top officials. "Homes must be segregated, neighbors must be watched."

Later Thursday, health officials from the World Health Organization decided not to declare the outbreak an international health emergency. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that after two days of meetings in Geneva with the organization's Emergency Committee, the group was divided. "Make no mistake. This is an emergency in China, but it has not yet become a global health emergency," Tedros said. "It may yet become one." The WHO is not recommending any international restrictions on trade or travel, but does recommend exit screenings at airports.

Beginning at 10 a.m. local time (9 p.m. Wednesday ET), authorities in Wuhan, about 500 miles west of Shanghai, started sealing off public transportation, including its metro system, airport, train station and long-haul bus hubs. Livestreamed videos from the city show soldiers wearing face masks barricading the entrances to the city's train station Thursday morning to prevent passengers from entering and leaving the city.

Wuhan, China, is scrambling to build a hospital in just 6 days to treat coronavirus patients as its health system gets overwhelmed:

China Battles Coronavirus Outbreak: All the Latest Updates 84 comments

China Battles Coronavirus Outbreak: All the Latest Updates:

The virus thought to have originated in a Wuhan food market continues to spread as China steps up containment efforts.

[...] China is extending the Lunar New Year holiday for three days and enforcing strict containment measures in an attempt to curb the spread of a new coronavirus that has killed 80 people and infected at more than 2,700, most of them in the central province of Hubei where the virus first emerged.

The holiday season was due to end on Friday but will now be extended until February 2.

More than 56 million people in almost 20 cities, including the Hubei capital of Wuhan, have been affected by travel restrictions, introduced amid fears the transmission rate will balloon as hundreds of millions of Chinese travel during the Lunar New Year celebrations.

[...] Health authorities around the world are taking action to prevent a pandemic as more countries report cases. Confirmed cases have so far been announced in several Asiancountries, Europe and North America.

[...] The World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged the respiratory illness, which has been traced to the city of Wuhan, is an emergency in China but the organisation said on Thursday it was too early to declare the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

Previously:


Original Submission

In The Pipeline: Coronavirus 45 comments

https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/01/27/coronavirus

As the world knows, we face an emerging virus threat in the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. The problem is, right now there are several important things that we don't know about the situation. The mortality rate, the ease of human-human transmission, the rate of mutation of the virus (and how many strains we might be dealing with – all of these need more clarity. Unfortunately, we've already gone past the MERS outbreak in severity (which until now was the most recent new coronavirus to make the jump into humans). If we're fortunate, though, we'll still have something that will be worrisome, but not as bad as (say) the usual flu numbers (many people don't realize that influenza kills tens of thousands of people in the US each year). The worst case, though, is something like 1918, and we really, really don't need that.

[Ed note: The linked story is by Derek Lowe who writes a "commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry". He is perhaps best known for his "Things I Won't Work With" blog entries which are as hilarious as they are... eye opening. I have found him to be a no-nonsense writer who "tells things as they are", holding no punches. The whole story is worth reading as he clearly explains what a coronavirus is, about the current one that reportedly originated in Wuhan, China, what could be done about it, how long that would likely take, and what can be done for those who have already been infected. --martyb]

Previous Stories Referencing Derek Lowe:

Original Submission

Coronavirus Declared a Global Health Emergency by World Health Organization 84 comments

Coronavirus declared global health emergency by WHO

The new coronavirus has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization, as the outbreak continues to spread outside China.

"The main reason for this declaration is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries," said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The concern is that it could spread to countries with weaker health systems.

1st Person-To-Person Spread Of Coronavirus Has Occurred In U.S., CDC Says

Coronavirus: US reports first person-to-person transmission

Chicago health officials have reported the first US case of human-to-human transmission of the deadly coronavirus.

The new patient is the spouse of a Chicago woman who carried the infection back from Wuhan, China, the US Centers for Disease Control said on Thursday.

The discovery marks the second report of the virus in Illinois and the sixth confirmed case in the US.

This paper provides early estimates of 2019-nCoV epidemiological parameters: Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV: early estimation of epidemiological parameters and epidemic predictions (open, DOI: 10.1101/2020.01.23.20018549) (DX)

Used model does not offer much grounds for optimism.

Previously:


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2Original Submission #3

2019-nCoV Coronavirus Story Roundup 75 comments

Multiple Soylentils have submitted stories regarding the 2019-nCoV coronavirus which is believed to have originated in the city of Wuhan, China in December 2019. Rather than have a smattering of stories appear on the site, they have been gathered here in one story. Read on if you are interested; otherwise another story will be along presently.

Australia Bans All Arrivals From China [Updated] 38 comments

In the wake of the Coronavirus spreading across the world Australian airline Qantas has cancelled flights from China as the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced "new control measures" to prevent anyone traveling from China to Australia. The official advice is now that Australians "do not travel" to mainland China. This comes as the number of infected people rose to 12 on Saturday with three new cases across Victoria and South Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced unprecedented new control measures that will see all non-Australians travelling from mainland China barred entry at the border in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus. The official advice is now that Australians "do not travel" to mainland China.

The tough new measures, announced on Saturday afternoon, come as the number of Australians confirmed to have contracted coronavirus rose to 12 on Saturday with three new cases across Victoria and South Australia.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today called for all flights to be banned from China while Qantas said it would suspend services to mainland China.

At a press conference late this afternoon, Mr Morrison said all foreign travellers who had left or passed through mainland China 14 days before arriving in Australia will now be denied entry to the country.

In recent days British Airways, United Airlines, American Airlines, Air Asia, Cathay Pacific, Air India, IndiGo, Lufthansa and Finnair have announced plans to slash the number of flights they are operating to China or stop flying to the country entirely. Other airlines are offering customers refunds.

[UPDATE 020220-07:14UTC: First death from coronavirus reported outside China in the Philippines. For those wanting more complete reporting of coronavirus outbreak, CBS News has a live update web page with news as it is reported. --JR]


Original Submission

Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Roundup 62 comments

Editor's Comment: The figures and statistics regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak are changing daily and there are differences between reports from different sources. The latest figures, which we believe to be from a reputable source and which are being regularly updated, can be found at the worldometers. If you have a favourite site for updated information please leave a link in the comments.

Chinese Whistleblower Doctor Dies Due to Coronavirus

Li Wenliang: Coronavirus kills Chinese whistleblower doctor

A Chinese doctor who tried to issue the first warning about the deadly coronavirus outbreak has died, the hospital treating him has said. Li Wenliang contracted the virus while working at Wuhan Central Hospital. He had sent out a warning to fellow medics on 30 December but police told him to stop "making false comments".

There had been contradictory reports about his death, but the People's Daily now says he died at 02:58 on Friday (18:58 GMT Thursday).

The virus has killed 636 people and infected 31,161 in mainland China, the National Health Commission's latest figures show. The death toll includes 73 new deaths reported on Thursday.

An AC writes:

Wuhan hospital announces death of whistleblower doctor after confusion in state media

This story has been updated to reflect the latest statement from Wuhan Central Hospital, after confusion in state media reports.

Li died of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan in the early hours of Friday morning (local time).

"Our hospital's ophthalmologist Li Wenliang was unfortunately infected with coronavirus during his work in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic," the latest hospital statement read.

"He died at 2:58 am on Feb 7 after attempts to resuscitate were unsuccessful."

Earlier on Thursday night, several state media outlets had reported Li's death, following which Chinese social media erupted in profound grief and anger.

Phishers Impersonate WHO, Exploit Coronavirus-Related Anxiety 9 comments

Phishers impersonate WHO, exploit coronavirus-related anxiety - Help Net Security:

Media outlets are reporting daily on the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan and the emergency repatriation of foreign citizens that found themselves in the thick of it.

As cases of the virus infection keep popping up across the world – demonstrating just how small (i.e., well-connected) our planet is – so do fake news and videos about the situation on social media, as well as malware, phishing schemes and other scams in people’s inboxes.

The latest example of the latter are fake emails purportedly coming from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which is, ironically, engeaged in fighting an “infodemic” of fake coronavirs-themed news online.

The email, spotted by the Sophos Security Team, uses a trick lately favored by phishers and scammers: “Click here to download safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”

The link takes the potential victim to a compromised web page containing a frame that renders the legitimate WHO page, which currently and prominently sports a link to information about this novel coronavirus.

Unfortunately, it also shows a simple pop-up asking the potential victim to “verify” their email by entering their email address and password. Those who fall for the trick are redirected to WHO’s legitimate page, while their email login credentials end up in the phishers’ hands.


Original Submission

Coronavirus Roundup 24 comments

Coronavirus Roundup

Both c0lo and takyon write in with today's coronavirus collection of stories:

Why are children 'missing' from coronavirus outbreak cases?

So far, it seems that youth protects against the worst effects of 2019-nCoV.

The outbreak of a new coronavirus in China has killed more than 900 people, but one group has escaped with minimal damage: children.

Youth can certainly contract the virus. Among the infected are at least two newborns, according to Chinese health officials. But few children are among those sick enough to be diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to an article published Feb. 5 in the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to the data analyzed in that article — and numbers are changing quickly as the outbreak evolves — the median age of patients skews older, between 49 and 56 years old.

It's not entirely clear why children seem to be escaping the worst effects of the virus, dubbed 2019-nCoV. But a similar pattern holds for many infectious diseases, from the familiar, such as chickenpox and measles, to the newly emerged, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), doctors say.

MWC Barcelona 2020: "Mobile World Congress" or "Most Won't Come"? 35 comments

Each year, the GSMA (GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) Association) holds three MWC (Mobile World Congress) events. The next is MWC Barcelona and is scheduled for 24-27 February 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. The next event scheduled for this year is MWC Shanghai 2020, scheduled for 30 June - 2 July 2020 in Shanghai, China. And rounding out 2020 is the last event, MWC Los Angeles, California on 28-30 October 2020.

Since 2011, MWC Barcelona has been known as the GSMA Mobile World Capital. It is the oldest and largest of the MWC series, so some of the largest mobile product announcements occur at this event. The 2018 event attracted attendees around the world. Approximately half of the attendees hold senior positions in their firms. In other words, in the mobile market, MWC Barcelona is a "Really Big Deal."

That was all history. The recent outbreak of the 2019-nCoV Coronovirus has made quite a stir worldwide. Major players in the mobile arena are concerned about sending their representatives to a venue with approximately 100,000 attendees drawn from all around the world.

Major companies in the mobile space have recently announced plans to either skip MWC Barcelona entirely or, in some cases, make presentations remotely. These include: including Intel, TCL, Sony, Amazon, Samsung, Nvidia, Ericsson Vivo, and MediaTek among many others.

[...] It will be "interesting" to see what the follow-on effects will be from the reduced attendance. The June MWC is scheduled for Shanghai (a major city in China - the country that is the apparent source of the 2019-nCov coronoavirus and imposing major quarantines trying to stem its spread). Thus, unless 2019-nCoV is brought under control in record time, things do not look good for those who were diverted from Barcelona to look forward to making up the difference 4 months later. That leaves waiting for MWC LA at the end of October, or making more one-on-one connections to work out buying and selling decisions.

[Editors' Note: The World Health Organisation has formally renamed the virus to COVID-19]

Coronavirus Roundup (Feb. 17) 65 comments

This story is a roundup of several virus stories that were submitted over the past few days. This is a changing story, so some of what is posted below may have changed since the time of their originally being published.

What's in a name? One significant change is what the names are for everything. There is the question of what to call the actual virus and then what to call it when someone is infected.

Virus: The virus by itself is now officially referred to as SARS-CoV-2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). It was formerly known as 2019-nCoV (2019 novel coronavirus).

Disease: Those who have been infected by this virus are said to have a disease. The name of the disease is coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which is also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease.

More details are available on Wikipedia.

The six submitted stories are presented below.

NIH Official Says Coronavirus 'on the Verge' of Becoming Global Pandemic Unless Containment Improves

NIH official says coronavirus 'on the verge' of becoming global pandemic unless containment becomes 'more successful':

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS's "Face The Nation" that multiple person-to-person transmissions need to occur in multiple countries in order to reach the pandemic threshold.

[...] "Technically speaking, the [World Health Organization] wouldn't be calling this a global pandemic. But it certainly is on the verge of that happening reasonably soon unless containment is more successful than it is right now," he said.

Roundup of Stories about the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus and COVID-19 Disease 105 comments

There have been several significant developments in the battle against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, and the resulting illness COVID-19. This story gathers a selection of stories from across the web.

WHO Director-General's Opening Remarks at the Media Briefing on COVID-19 - 24 February 2020

WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 24 February 2020:

We're encouraged by the continued decline in cases in China.

Earlier today the WHO-China joint mission concluded its visit and delivered its report.

[...] The team has made a range of findings about the transmissibility of the virus, the severity of disease and the impact of the measures taken.

They found that the epidemic peaked and plateaued between the 23rd of January and the 2nd of February, and has been declining steadily since then.

They have found that there has been no significant change in the DNA of the virus.

They found that the fatality rate is between 2% and 4% in Wuhan, and 0.7% outside Wuhan.

They found that for people with mild disease, recovery time is about two weeks, while people with severe or critical disease recover within three to six weeks.

The team also estimate that the measures taken in China have averted a significant number of cases.

The report contains a wealth of other information, highlights questions for which we still don't have answers, and includes 22 recommendations.

[...] But the key message that should give all countries hope, courage and confidence is that this virus can be contained.

[...] The sudden increases of cases in Italy, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Korea are deeply concerning.

There's a lot of speculation about whether these increases mean that this epidemic has now become a pandemic.

Coronavirus Drug Clinical Trials Beginning in Nebraska 64 comments

Clinical trials of remdesivir, an experimental drug to treat COVID-19, have begun at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha. More detail is provided in an article posted by the National Institutes of Health. The initial trial will involve 400 patients and will be conducted internationally but is beginning in Nebraska. There are currently 15 patients being monitored at UNMC, 13 of whom have tested positive for COVID-19. According to the daily update from UNMC, all of the 15 patients are now in the National Quarantine Unit, which has 20 beds. Previously, some of the patients had been in the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit, which is the largest facility of its kind in the country and had previously been used to treat ebola patients.

Note: The February 25 edition of the daily update mentioned the clinical trial, so there's a good possibility that additional updates will be posted in UNMC's daily update. The additional discussion may help explain why the trial is beginning in Nebraska even though there haven't been any cases that reported there -- all of the COVID-19 patients at UNMC were either sent there originally or were previously quarantined at Camp Ashland or were transported there from elsewhere.

COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 - CoronaVirus) Roundup 159 comments

Many nations have begun to take special measures to address the problem of the spread of the COVID-19 virus over every continent. It would be pointless to report the details of all such measures; they are limited to each specific country and liable to frequent change as the situation develops. The USA FDA (Food and Drug Administration) have carried out what they describe as a "Supply Change Update", see the link below, but for others we suggest using a bit of web-search-fu to discover a site more appropriate to your own area of interest.

Worldwide, newspapers and other media need to maintain sales and subscriptions — many tend, therefore, to sensationalize their reporting. This has two undesirable effects: firstly it can result in data being quoted out of context to support the report they are making and, secondly, it tends to stress the possible effects of the COVID pandemic, should it be declared as such. In a comment elsewhere, I reported 2 tables which contain the most accurate figures we can find from a reputable source. They indicate the vulnerability of people to the virus by age, and any links to comorbidity (as far as they are known). There is no doubt that the virus poses a serious threat but it is not the same for all ages and many deaths are attributed to a combination of COVID-19 infection and other pre-existing conditions. For the latter it has not be proven that the virus was the sole cause of death; it is possible that the person would have died anyway. As postmortems have not been carried out in the vast majority of cases, the figures are open to misinterpretation. The WHO (World Health Organization) stresses that they will be unable to clarify these findings for a long time to come.

As it stands, for a person below the age of 70 with no other medical conditions, the chances of dying from a COVID-19 infection is less than 1%. That is still a large number of people at risk and the implications for every nation are significant. It is, however, much lower than some of the figures that have been quoted in the press. The figures for people over 70 and with other conditions cause the rate to rise quite sharply, and I would suggest that we all keep an watchful eye on the elderly or infirm members of our family and friends.

The majority of people will only suffer mild flu-like symptoms and will make a full recovery. - janrinok

New Zealand Birds Show Humanlike Ability to Make Predictions 18 comments

New Zealand birds show humanlike ability to make predictions:

Whether it's calculating your risk of catching the new coronavirus or gauging the chance of rain on your upcoming beach vacation, you use a mix of statistical, physical, and social information to make a decision. So do New Zealand parrots known as keas, scientists report today. It's the first time this cognitive ability has been demonstrated outside of apes, and it may have implications for understanding how intelligence evolved.

"It's a neat study," says Karl Berg, an ornithologist and parrot expert at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville, who was not involved with this research.

[...] The findings indicate that keas, like humans, have something known as "domain general intelligence"—the mental ability to integrate several kinds of information, the researchers argue. That's despite the fact that birds and humans last shared a common ancestor some 312 million years ago and have markedly different brain anatomies. Previously, cognitive researchers have argued that domain general intelligence requires language.

Irene Pepperberg, a comparative psychologist and expert on parrot cognition at Harvard University, is skeptical. Pepperberg, who worked with the famed parrot Alex for 31 years, says the kea showed "some intuitive understanding, but not ... real statistical knowledge." In her view, the study could not prove the birds understand in detail how the proportions of tokens in a jar influence the probability of a reward.

If kea really do have the abilities the study suggests, there's a good reason they evolved it, Berg says. Animals with even basic statistical and predictive skills should be able to estimate amounts of food or the availability of mates, and so end up with more offspring and evolutionary success, he says. In other words, if you've mastered Statistics 101, you're likely to succeed in the game of life.


Original Submission

World Health Organization Declares the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Outbreak a Global Pandemic 115 comments

[Editor's note: We had been gathering together COVID-19 stories for eventual release as a round-up story. I lack time at the moment to personally gather all those together with this most recent submission. We will run the next round-up in the next few days. But given the significance of this submission, I wished not to delay it from being immediately released to the community. --martyb]

World Health Organization declares the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic:

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on Wednesday as the new coronavirus, which was unknown to world health officials just three months ago, has rapidly spread to more than 121,000 people from Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States.

“In the past two weeks the number of cases outside China has increased thirteenfold and the number of affected countries has tripled,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva. “In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of affected countries to climb even higher.”

Tedros said several countries have demonstrated the ability to suppress and control the outbreak, but he scolded other world leaders for failing to act quickly enough or drastically enough to contain the spread.

“We’re deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction,” he said, just before declaring the pandemic. “We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”

[Ed. addition follows.]

Also at Ars Technica and cnet.

For those who might not be aware of the distinction, Wikipedia helpfully provides these summaries:

An epidemic (what we have had up to now with COVID-19):

An epidemic (from Greek ἐπί epi "upon or above" and δῆμος demos "people") is the rapid spread of infectious disease to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time, usually two weeks or less.

[...]An epidemic may be restricted to one location; however, if it spreads to other countries or continents and affects a substantial number of people, it may be termed a pandemic.[1] The declaration of an epidemic usually requires a good understanding of a baseline rate of incidence; epidemics for certain diseases, such as influenza, are defined as reaching some defined increase in incidence above this baseline.[2] A few cases of a very rare disease may be classified as an epidemic, while many cases of a common disease (such as the common cold) would not.

By comparison, a pandemic (which has just now been announced for COVID-19):

A pandemic (from Greek πᾶν pan "all" and δῆμος demos "people") is an epidemic of disease that has spread across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic. Further, flu pandemics generally exclude recurrences of seasonal flu. Throughout history, there have been a number of pandemics, such as smallpox and tuberculosis. One of the most devastating pandemics was the Black Death, which killed an estimated 75–200 million people in the 14th century. The current pandemics are HIV/AIDS and Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).[1][2] Other recent pandemics are the 1918 influenza pandemic (Spanish flu), and the 2009 flu pandemic (H1N1).


Original Submission

SoylentNews Community -- How has SAR-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) / COVID-19 Affected You? 325 comments

A lot has already happened this year. SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) which can cause COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease 2019) has been making headlines shortly after it was first reported. The first cases were reported to WHO (World Health Organization) on 2019-12-31. The virus spread. It began as an epidemic in China . The world watched apprehensively. Reports surfaced of cases in other countries and the the apprehension grew. For many folk, it turned to fear when it was upgraded to a pandemic: WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 11 March 2020: "We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic."

We have seen increasing efforts to stem the spread of the disease. Efforts have run the gamut. Closing of borders. Cancellation of sporting events. Conferences cancelled. Churches and other places of worship also closed. Schools closed. Panic buying of household goods and supplies. Supply chain disruptions affecting manufacturers. Restaurant, bars, and other such establishments closed. Work-from-home policies established and enacted.

The changes have been many, widespread, and continuing.

Reading about all the ways that "other people" have been affected is one thing. It seems different, somehow, when it hits closer to home and affects us directly. With many of our usual social activities curtailed or cancelled, it is easy to begin isolating and lose perspective. SoylentNews arose from a troubled period (the SlashCott) and a community has formed from that challenging period.

How have you been affected? Have you been infected? Had a family member or friend who was? Helped neighbors who are struggling? Hunkering down and isolating? (In a basement is optional.) Are you suddenly working from home and finding it challenging to manage your time? Still working on site, but now have a faster commute due to all the other people staying home? Catching up on watching TV shows? Reading more SoylentNews? How has your life changed?

From a somewhat different perspective, how have others helped you to cope... and how have you been able to help others? One of the potential impacts of social distancing is isolation and depression. I count myself fortunate, indeed, to have served this site for over 6 years and for all the people I have gotten to know, here. For those who may not be aware, SoylentNews has its own IRC (Internet Relay Chat) server. Feel free to drop in to #Soylent and just say "Hi!"

Social distancing is permanent when you're dead. So, practice good hygiene and stay safe.

Previously (oldest first):
China Battles Coronavirus Outbreak: All the Latest Updates
2019-nCoV Coronavirus Story Roundup
Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Roundup
Coronavirus Roundup
Coronavirus Roundup (Feb. 17)
Roundup of Stories about the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus and COVID-19 Disease
COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 - CoronaVirus) Roundup
CoronaVirus (SARS-CoV-2) Roundup 2020-03-12
Working from Home: Lessons Learned Over 20 Years


Original Submission

Could Corporations Control Territory in Space? Under New US Rules, It Might Be Possible 58 comments

Could corporations control territory in space? Under new US rules, it might be possible:

First, the Artemis Accords go beyond simply rejecting the unpopular 1979 Moon Agreement, which declared lunar resources to be the "common heritage of mankind" and committed parties to establish an international regime to oversee space mining. Only 18 countries have signed the treaty.

In its place, the accords envisage a US-centric framework of bilateral agreements in which "partner nations" agree to follow US-drafted rules.

Second, the accords introduce the concept of "safety zones" around lunar operations.

Although territorial claims in space are prohibited under international law, these safety zones would seek to protect commercial and scientific sites from inadvertent collisions and other forms of "harmful interference". What kinds of conduct could count as harmful interference remains to be determined.

Previously:
(2020-06-02) Third European Service Module for Artemis Mission to Land Astronauts on the Moon
(2020-05-16) NASA Wants Partner Nations to Agree to "Artemis Accords" for Lunar Exploration
(2020-03-12) CoronaVirus (SARS-CoV-2) Roundup 2020-03-12
(2018-07-22) Who Owns The Moon? A Space Lawyer Answers
(2018-03-07) China to Recruit Civilian Astronauts, Partner With Russia on Upcoming Missions
(2018-01-09) Russia Assembles Engineering Group for Lunar Activities and the Deep Space Gateway
(2017-10-18) Bigelow and ULA to Put Inflatable Module in Orbit Around the Moon by 2022
(2015-11-26) Who Owns Space? USA's Asteroid-Mining Act is Dangerous and Potentially Illegal

Robert Heinlein explored the notion in a novel. Does the future of space exploration lie with governments or corporations?


Original Submission

2020-03-30 Coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2) Story Roundup 108 comments

This story is a merge of 30 story submissions. Given that it was well over 17,000 words of original source material (excluding HTML markup!), a great deal of pruning was performed to get it to a manageable size. I strongly encourage folks to read the linked articles for more information.

For latest statistics, and finer granularity, see https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/.

As of 20200330_151936 UTC, it reported these world-wide totals:

  • Coronavirus Cases: 743,081
  • Deaths: 35,347
  • Recovered: 157,046
  • Active Cases:
    • 550,688 (Currently Infected Patients)
    • 522,206 (95%) in Mild Condition
    • 28,482 (5%) Serious or Critical
  • Closed Cases:
    • 192,393 Cases which had an outcome
    • 157,046 (82%) Recovered / Discharged
    • 35,347 (18%) Deaths

Stories appear below the fold.

Meta: Changing Site UI to Make Long Stories Easier to Navigate -- Input Requested [superseded; see update] 58 comments

[20200320_184315 UTC: Update: Made the dept. line longer to better demonstrate space [un]availability.--martyb]

[20200320_202305 UTC: Update: Added topics: "/dev/random", "Code", "Software", and "Answers" topics to better illustrate their use of space in a story. --martyb]

[20200321_175412 UTC: Update: superseded by: Skip to comment(s) -- Second Try --martyb]

First: Please accept my best wishes to everyone during SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic. Please take all necessary precautions to keep yourself and those around you safe!

Second: I should not have been surprised, but I must confess my admiration at how the SoylentNews community came together in support of each other in response to SoylentNews Community -- How has SAR-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) / COVID-19 Affected You? As of my writing this, there are over 300 comments! community++ This is what I had hoped for when SoylentNews started over six years (Wow!) ago, and so validates my giving of my time to this site!

Third: (and the focus of this story) our virus roundup stories are... long. An AC posted a comment: thanks to eds:

Thanks editors for pulling together this summary. SN for the win!

One comment--it is kind of long to scroll down through, to get to the comments. Perhaps next time some of the longer stories could be put inside the spoiler tag?"

This was quickly acted on by a member of staff, but that was not universally embraced as a "Good Idea". Both Soylentils, to my eye, had good points. If I am visiting an active story again, I have already read the story (both the "Intro Copy" and the "Extended Copy"). Why should I have to scroll through a wall-of-text to get to the comments? The suggestion of using <spoiler>...</spoiler> to bracket the contents of each of the merged stories seemed like a reasonable suggestion. But, when you have a hammer... Right idea, but maybe not quite the right tool.

Aside: If I am reading a review of, say, a movie, then a spoiler is an appropriate way to hide plot details from those who have not yet seen the movie. That is not the situation here. Why hide details of a story about the pandemic? Hmm. A good first try, perhaps, but it looks like we need something different in this case.

Idea: what if there were, say, a button at the top of the story that I could click and be brought immediately to the comment section of a story? Hey! I can do that!

Acknowledgements: At this point, I hereby express my sincere thanks to AndyTheAbsurd for constructing some CSS which allowed the conditional display of a button, and to FatPhil for his testing efforts. Thanks guys!

Read on past the break for details on the implementation and a request for assistance before I attempt to roll it out to production.

2020-06-15 Roundup of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV2, Coronavirus) Stories 153 comments

World-wide data as of: 20200615_140637 UTC:

total_count 8,028,325
closed_count 4,584,407
closed_deaths_count 436,277
closed_deaths_percent (10%)
closed_recovered_count 4,148,130
closed_recovered_percent (90%)
active_count 3,443,918
active_mild_count 3,389,380
active_mild_percent (98%)
active_serious_count 54,538
active_serious_percent (2%)
total_deaths 436,277

2020-03-25 Coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2) Story Roundup 85 comments

This story presents a roundup of a selection of our COVID-19, SARS-Cov-2, coronavirus story submissions. Some stories have been omitted because they were a duplicate, outdated, superseded, and sometimes just as a matter of keeping the size of these roundups managable. etc. (Before thinning, this story contained over 16,500 words (excluding HTML markup) and that excluded what is contained in this introduction.

If you are not interested in this coverage, then please ignore this story; another story will appear presently. Otherwise, please see the rest of the story below the fold:

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(1)
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Thursday March 12 2020, @08:35PM (4 children)

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Thursday March 12 2020, @08:35PM (#970373) Journal

    Leeds pupil sent home for selling hand sanitiser [bbc.com]

    A teenager was sent home from school after being caught selling shots of hand sanitiser to his fellow pupils at 50p a go.

    His mother, Jenny Tompkins, from Leeds, posted a picture of him arriving home earlier after his entrepreneurial exploits at Dixons Unity Academy.

    In a post on Facebook, she said it was hard to discipline her son when his "dad called to say he was a legend".

    [...] Earlier it was announced the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK has now reached 460, after the biggest rise in a single day.

    Student suspended from school for selling ‘squirts’ of hand sanitizer to classmates [usatoday.com]

    Welcome to the coronaconomy.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Freeman on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:01PM

      by Freeman (732) on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:01PM (#970384) Journal

      Yeah, but how much did he make? Inquiring minds would like to know. So, they suspended him for selling

      £9

      of hand sanitizer. That seems like a pretty big over reaction to me.

      --
      Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:03PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:03PM (#970385)

      True legends sell homemade sanitizer [nypost.com]

      Make your own and save money [youtube.com]

    • (Score: 2) by arslan on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:25PM

      by arslan (3462) on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:25PM (#970419)

      Here in Oz, kids sell sections of TPs - it is the new currency. Even drug peddlers take TPs for the vice of your choice. Ubereats, deliveroo and menulog will soon have to add TPs to their delivery menu. TPs have done what Bitcoin couldn't.

      /s

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by edIII on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:54PM

      by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:54PM (#970466)

      Ridiculous. It's a few drops of hand sanitizer, not hard drugs. Those were economic lessons for the kids, by another kid.

      Sounds like the man coming down on the school fixer. In my day there were a number of kids that smoked weed at lunch. I made quite a bit of money selling munchies out of my backpack. Was it the same price as a ho-ho from 7/11? Nope. But were you going to get a ho-ho in the next 4 hours, or somewhere else in this class? No, so I charged a little more :)

      You sell what's popular, and that's hand sanitizer.

      --
      Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
  • (Score: 2) by legont on Thursday March 12 2020, @08:39PM (19 children)

    by legont (4179) on Thursday March 12 2020, @08:39PM (#970375)

    It took Chinese 6 weeks to stop the bug. Let' show what we can do.

    --
    "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 12 2020, @08:52PM (15 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 12 2020, @08:52PM (#970379)

      I believe the Chinese self-reports of virus control just about as much as I trust anything that comes out of Pence/Trump's mouths.

      --
      My karma ran over your dogma.
      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:24PM (11 children)

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:24PM (#970389) Journal

        I agree. Beijing is worried most about public disorder, not losing a few million people.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:27PM (10 children)

          by Thexalon (636) on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:27PM (#970422)

          And Washington by all appearances is worried about the Dow Jones Industrial Average, not the potential of losing a few million people.

          --
          The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
          • (Score: 4, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:22PM (9 children)

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:22PM (#970450)

            Do you think there's anyone within 3 layers of Trump who has the balls to stand up and point out what 7 million additional deaths in the space of 3 months will do to the Dow Jones? Even if such a person exists, will their information have a snowball's chance in hell of affecting policy?

            --
            My karma ran over your dogma.
            • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:36PM (3 children)

              by Thexalon (636) on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:36PM (#970457)

              Given that he's apparently been intentionally limiting access to testing to keep the numbers of confirmed cases down (which of course makes things worse in terms of actual infections), and refused to be tested himself after coming in contact with quite a few infected people, I'd say that reality and science aren't guiding policy in any significant way.

              --
              The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @12:35AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @12:35AM (#970483)

                > and refused to be tested himself after coming in contact with quite a few infected people

                This might become a self correcting problem.

                .


                - Ronald Reagan is dead-- arguably his best attribute.

              • (Score: 2) by slinches on Friday March 13 2020, @05:04AM (1 child)

                by slinches (5049) on Friday March 13 2020, @05:04AM (#970549)

                Is that a given?

                It's one thing to be less supportive of test kit procurement than some think is warranted. It's something else entirely to actively restrict production of them. Which of these things is actually happening?

                • (Score: 3, Informative) by HiThere on Friday March 13 2020, @04:15PM

                  by HiThere (866) on Friday March 13 2020, @04:15PM (#970749) Journal

                  Currently, restrictive and less supportive.
                  Last week, forbidden under threat. (I think that was still last week. It could be 2 weeks ago now.)

                  --
                  Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
            • (Score: 2) by melikamp on Friday March 13 2020, @12:06AM (4 children)

              by melikamp (1886) on Friday March 13 2020, @12:06AM (#970469) Journal

              7 million additional deaths in the space of 3 months

              I don't know if this is predictable at all with all the made up data from China and elsewhere in the world. Still, crunching the numbers points at millions. Oldsters over 65 are 15% of US population, let's presume 5% mortality rate in that age group. This gives us .05*.15*327 = 2.45 million people. If the actual mortality rate is in the percent-range, as many experts say, this is the magnitude we are looking at.

              • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Friday March 13 2020, @01:53AM

                by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday March 13 2020, @01:53AM (#970500)

                If the hospitals saturate, it won't just be oldsters dying - that's the whole point of a quarantine response, to slow the spread so we don't all start coughing up blood at the same time.

                --
                My karma ran over your dogma.
              • (Score: 5, Interesting) by HiThere on Friday March 13 2020, @04:18PM (2 children)

                by HiThere (866) on Friday March 13 2020, @04:18PM (#970751) Journal

                Reports from Italy say that it's not just old people. They're at increased risk, but a lot of the cases are younger. And things at at least one location are reported to have gotten so bad that they triage says (approx)"If the case is bad, don't even try to save anyone over 60.". Think of how bad things would need to be to put that rule in place.

                --
                Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
                • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Monday March 16 2020, @03:22PM (1 child)

                  by Freeman (732) on Monday March 16 2020, @03:22PM (#971908) Journal

                  They're running out of or are out of ventilators, the things that keep people with this kind of condition alive. It's a lung infection, essentially same treatment as a real bad case of pneumonia, if you're in the hospital. So, they're cutting their losses, a 60+ year old person doesn't have as long to live/contribute to society as a 40+ year old. Kinda cold and hard, but when you're in triage mode, you do what you can. The fact is 60+ yr old patients are more likely to die from this disease. So, making sure a younger person who's more likely to survive with treatment and will likely be more productive later, is better.

                  --
                  Forced Microsoft Account for Windows Login → Switch to Linux.
                  • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Monday March 16 2020, @03:39PM

                    by HiThere (866) on Monday March 16 2020, @03:39PM (#971914) Journal

                    Yeah, it makes sense. But so does the cannibalism reported of the Donner Party. Things have to be pretty bad before you make that choice.

                    --
                    Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
      • (Score: 2) by legont on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:06PM (2 children)

        by legont (4179) on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:06PM (#970440)

        Most of the text in the summary above are references or summaries of Chinese sources. Just saying.

        --
        "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by janrinok on Friday March 13 2020, @08:23AM (1 child)

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 13 2020, @08:23AM (#970598) Journal

          Well you are wrong. If you look at the sources for the Johns Hopkins University list of sources (the 2nd link in the summary) you will see that it includes the CDC, ECDC, NHC, DXY and others. However, as China has by far the most number of cases and the most experience of dealing with those cases then they shouldn't just be ignored. Get the politics out of this, lets start dealing with data and not sound bites, You and I might not like the way China has imposed isolation on its population - but the WHO report [who.int] says that it HAS worked.

          In fact the USA has less experience than some others in this particular pandemic based on the figures alone - why do you think that the USA's views and responses are better data than any others? Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain and Germany all have more experience than the USA at present.

          --
          It's always my fault...
          • (Score: 2) by legont on Friday March 13 2020, @05:53PM

            by legont (4179) on Friday March 13 2020, @05:53PM (#970787)

            I do agree with you. My comment meant that if one does not believe Chinese, the whole summary is meaningless.
            While I have many reservations about the Chinese government, I do believe them in this case and I admire their reaction. They done excellent job in containing the virus and flattening the curve. They will definitely be the best positioned after the dust settles.

            Here is a very good article about what we should do now https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca [medium.com]

            I believe the US still have a chance, while the EU is already doomed.

            --
            "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @08:52PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @08:52PM (#970380)

      Do you own a welding set? [worldofbuzz.com]

    • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Thursday March 12 2020, @08:54PM (1 child)

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Thursday March 12 2020, @08:54PM (#970381) Journal

      Let' show what we can do.

      We are... [businessinsider.com]

      --
      Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @12:40PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @12:40PM (#970666)

        Typical Washington - help at the top, but not the bottom. In the areas where they shut down non-essential services for two weeks or longer, countless thousands of small businesses are going to fold. People are going to miss rent payments or run out of food.

  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:06PM (20 children)

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:06PM (#970387) Journal

    Looks like some of the airline stocks fell around 25%. I think you can look forward to a number of bailouts this year.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:27PM (8 children)

      by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:27PM (#970390) Journal

      Personally, I would rather not. Regular Americans should get bailouts this time.

      --
      Washington DC delenda est.
      • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:03PM (7 children)

        by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:03PM (#970408)

        If this bailout doesn't help the economy (which it won't really) you can look forward to a war before November, because wartime presidents don't lose elections.

        • (Score: 2, Redundant) by Phoenix666 on Friday March 13 2020, @02:55AM (6 children)

          by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 13 2020, @02:55AM (#970520) Journal

          Do you think a war is necessary to win the election? Joe Biden is senile, and senile men do not presidential material make. Also, who would we go to war with? Iran and China are taking heavy punches now.

          --
          Washington DC delenda est.
          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Aegis on Friday March 13 2020, @04:50AM (1 child)

            by Aegis (6714) on Friday March 13 2020, @04:50AM (#970548)

            Donald Trump is senile and he is president. I don't think your theory works.

            • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Friday March 13 2020, @04:22PM

              by HiThere (866) on Friday March 13 2020, @04:22PM (#970752) Journal

              OTOH, Donald Trump has been a piss-poor president, so the argument has some merit. Unfortunately, looking at his history there isn't a time in his life when he wouldn't have been a piss-poor president, so it's not strengthened, either.

              FWIW, for my vote the Democrats don't have any competition. I don't like them, and they have a history of not doing a good job, but the Republicans have an even worse history, and even worse candidates.

              --
              Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @05:23AM (2 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @05:23AM (#970554)

            Joe Biden is senile, and senile men do not presidential material make.

            Lets put it into perspective, shall we...

            I mean, sure, pervy Joe might sniff your daughter's hair.

            But at least he is probably not a pussy grabber.

            • (Score: 0, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @09:10AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @09:10AM (#970614)

              There is ample video evidence of Creepy Uncle Joe's perversions. With Trump there is only some locker room talk.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @10:48AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @10:48AM (#970628)

                I like that one where Biden is going for the little girl with his arms out like a zombie and her dad slaps Biden's hands away.

          • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Sunday March 15 2020, @07:56PM

            by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 15 2020, @07:56PM (#971667)

            I wasn't really serious.

            I know your nice Mr. Trump is in favour of not shooting foreigners, which is a good thing, but if he really had to, I think he would start another war to win an election.

            I don't think he will however.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:27PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:27PM (#970391)

      ...by Republicans and the most virulent Tea Party types that are in power now... in an election year? Spin it for me.

      • (Score: 2) by Aegis on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:51PM

        by Aegis (6714) on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:51PM (#970432)

        Bailouts are good now.

        The End

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by fustakrakich on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:33PM (1 child)

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:33PM (#970395) Journal

      Already happening, 1.5 trillion went to Wall Street casinos [reuters.com]...

      They are sabotaging the economy

      --
      Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
      • (Score: 3, Touché) by shortscreen on Friday March 13 2020, @10:13AM

        by shortscreen (2252) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 13 2020, @10:13AM (#970624) Journal

        There are just indulging in some last-minute looting, while they still can.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by DannyB on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:58PM (3 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:58PM (#970406) Journal

      airline stocks fell around 25%. I think you can look forward to a number of bailouts this year.

      Any attempt to open an aircraft in fright would cause explosive decompression. The person bailing out may kill everyone else on board. More aircraft would be lost than the grounding of 737 Max.

      --
      Biden must DO SOMETHING to stop bloggers using the wrong color schemes!
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:33PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:33PM (#970426)

        You would have to be superman to open the doors in flight.

      • (Score: 5, Funny) by EvilSS on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:12PM (1 child)

        by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:12PM (#970443)

        Any attempt to open an aircraft in fright would cause explosive decompression.

        What if I attempted it while calm and not afraid?

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday March 13 2020, @05:56PM

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 13 2020, @05:56PM (#970791) Journal

          Still explosive decompression if you succeed. Whether calm or afraid.

          --
          Biden must DO SOMETHING to stop bloggers using the wrong color schemes!
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:23PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:23PM (#970451)

      Does Boeing make parachutes?

      • (Score: 4, Touché) by janrinok on Friday March 13 2020, @08:52AM (1 child)

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 13 2020, @08:52AM (#970607) Journal

        If they did - would you buy one?!

        --
        It's always my fault...
        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday March 13 2020, @05:57PM

          by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 13 2020, @05:57PM (#970792) Journal

          The only way Microsoft could make a product that doesn't suck is if they started making vacuum cleaners.

          --
          Biden must DO SOMETHING to stop bloggers using the wrong color schemes!
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:30PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:30PM (#970393)

    Two senators, both Trump allies, have announced self-quarantine measures after being at Mar-a-Lago with the president and his Brazilian visitors last weekend.
    Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump in Charlotte, North Carolina earlier this month.

    Rick Scott of Florida was first and now Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has followed. According to a statement, Graham “has no recollection of direct contact with the president of Brazil, who is awaiting the results of a coronavirus test, or his spokesman who tested positive”.

    Wash those hands, Senators. In the Biblical sense - it's not your problem what happens after you disband the CDC and liberate Americans from healthcare.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:49PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:49PM (#970431)

      Nah, it's a great system. It's a system our drunk forefathers would have been proud of. If anyone needs me, I'll be driving over your dead bones in my RV, sitting in my pool of liquor, or blowing things up. Not necessarily in that order. -- Philip Tandy Miller

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Azuma Hazuki on Friday March 13 2020, @02:14AM

      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Friday March 13 2020, @02:14AM (#970503) Journal

      Lindsey Graham deserves this, the traitorous, cowardly bootlicking piece of shit. I hope he dies, and slowly.

      --
      I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:48PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @09:48PM (#970401)

    Thanks editors for pulling together this summary. SN for the win!

    One comment--it is kind of long to scroll down through, to get to the comments. Perhaps next time some of the longer stories could be put inside the spoiler tag?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:27PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:27PM (#970421)

      Or they can create a to be continued or a continuation tag. Wouldn't be a bad idea in general even for the comments.

      • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Friday March 13 2020, @01:14PM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 13 2020, @01:14PM (#970675) Journal

        I don't agree. You had to press the 'Continue' option to get to the stories - if you don't want to read them you don't have to. Simply read the summary and move on.

        These are NOT spoilers, and the titles do not give you a true indication of all the data that each story contains.

        --
        It's always my fault...
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:41PM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:41PM (#970428) Journal

      I just did it. Should show up in a few minutes.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:08PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:08PM (#970412)
  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:16PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:16PM (#970415)

    Map with number of cases, deaths, recoveries per country/region:
    https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6 [arcgis.com]
    Another map, this with graphs of daily dynamic (!) of confirmed cases per country:
    https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/685d0ace521648f8a5beeeee1b9125cd [arcgis.com]
    Daily official reports from China NHC (in Chinese, requires Javascript):
    http://www.nhc.gov.cn/xcs/xxgzbd/gzbd_index.shtml [nhc.gov.cn]
    Daily official reports from South Korea CDC (in English):
    https://www.cdc.go.kr/board/board.es?mid=a30402000000&bid=0030 [cdc.go.kr]

    • (Score: 2) by Aegis on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:58PM

      by Aegis (6714) on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:58PM (#970435)

      Random fact: a GIS guy I used to work with and saw recently helped build those first two maps. He also did some of the wildfire ones.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:25PM (15 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:25PM (#970420)

    Does anybody here remember enough about past pandemics to compare the world reaction of Covid-19 with them? (Note: I'm talking about the public reaction, not the actual statistics or pathology or anything.)

    I feel like there is substantially more reaction to this one than past ones. For example, I don't remember the mass cancellation of major events (including but not limited to professional sports games), people moving schools to be online-only, mass quarantine of entire cities, and what have you for Swine Flu, H1N1, SARS, or any of the others.

    Maybe I'm mis-remembering?

    • (Score: 2) by Aegis on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:05PM (1 child)

      by Aegis (6714) on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:05PM (#970438)

      Depends on the pandemic. HIV/AIDS is a pandemic and it got a pretty big response.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Thexalon on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:20PM

        by Thexalon (636) on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:20PM (#970449)

        HIV/AIDS is a pandemic and it got a pretty big response.

        Not at first, it didn't. The well-documented delays in a response are why there have been 650,000 killed by it in the US, and over a million people have it but aren't dead, rather than a much smaller number of people killed and/or infected. And the even worse responses in other countries are why millions of Africans died of it.

        Things that work to deal with serious diseases are:
        1. Have a surplus of doctors, nurses, and relevant scientists on hand specifically employed to deal with pandemics.
        2. Don't lie to anybody about what's going on.
        3. Err on the side of caution and an over-response, as soon as you find out what you're dealing with.
        4. Encourage good hygiene and disaster preparedness habits regardless of whether you know there's something like this floating around.
        5. Don't worry about the money, because whatever you spend will be a bargain compared to the cost of further transmission.

        Unfortunately, many politicians don't like spending the money on personnel who aren't immediately being used, definitely don't like telling the truth, fear embarrassment if they over-respond, and definitely worry about spending money even if it will save money in the long run. Even more so when they don't care about the people who are getting killed (i.e. the poor, powerless, or people they wanted to get rid of anyways like the elderly).

        --
        The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Thexalon on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:06PM (4 children)

      by Thexalon (636) on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:06PM (#970439)

      In other pandemics, officials absolutely took those kinds of actions in places where the virus wasn't contained. You didn't remember when that happened with Ebola because you don't live in West Africa, for instance, and the tiny number of cases in the US were well-contained to the point where such measures weren't necessary.

      These reactions that you're seeing are exactly what doctors recommend in places with uncontrolled transmission of a highly contagious, currently-incurable and sometimes-fatal disease. The hope is that those measures will slow the rate at which people are getting infected to the point where hospitals and doctors can cope with it.

      --
      The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Friday March 13 2020, @12:03AM (3 children)

        by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 13 2020, @12:03AM (#970467) Journal

        Before Europeans made a mess of Africa with their colonialism, Africa was naturally contained. People lived in small villages. Some horrible disease outbreak could wipe out an entire village without being able to spread to neighboring villages.

        But Europeans believe that gathering most people together in large cities is the height of civilization, and imposed this sort of social organization on Africa. Consequently, now lots of thrilling tropical diseases can really run wild.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Friday March 13 2020, @12:14AM (2 children)

          by Thexalon (636) on Friday March 13 2020, @12:14AM (#970472)

          Counterpoint: Tunis, Timbuktu, Cairo, Addis Ababa, Mombasa, and lots of other major African cities existed as major population centers before Europeans took over Africa.

          Prior to modern medicine and the kinds of responses by medical authorities we're discussing here, the result of "thrilling tropical diseases" was not infrequently death on a very large scale, including all the problems we're having now with people traveling trying to get away and infecting other areas.

          --
          The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
          • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Friday March 13 2020, @12:52AM (1 child)

            by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 13 2020, @12:52AM (#970486) Journal

            North Africa is in many ways practically a separate continent. The Sahara is a formidable barrier. I was speaking of Sub-Saharan Africa.

            • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Friday March 13 2020, @12:59AM

              by Thexalon (636) on Friday March 13 2020, @12:59AM (#970488)

              I named 2 cities in North Africa, 1 in West Africa, 1 in East Africa, and 1 in southern Africa. Your belief that pre-colonial Africa didn't have cities just isn't true.

              --
              The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by EvilSS on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:08PM

      by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:08PM (#970442)
      No, but none of those were as contagious or (except H1N1) widespread as this one. SARS infected 8000, MERS was 2000 at its peak. H1N1 was around 1,000,000,000 give or take. For H1N1 there was a lot going on. I recall masks and hand sanitizer going out of stock during that one too. There were also quarantines, travel restrictions, school closures, etc all around the world. And we were able to quickly create a vaccine for that, thanks to it being a flu variant. And still that outbreak lasted almost 2 years.

      As for this one, we are already up to over 130,000 cases (that we know of) for a disease that appeared between 60 and 90 days ago, and much less time in most of the world outside Asia. And this is a virus that is, using conservative numbers, about twice as infective and and order of magnitude more deadly than the flu. Not to mention causing around 10-20% of those infected to need hospitalization. That part is dangerous for everyone. Being outside the virus' danger age range doesn't do you any good when you get hit by a bus but all the local ICU beds are occupied and half the hospital staff is down sick.
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:13PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:13PM (#970445)

      This is more infectious, every day we see 1.2-1.5x new cases with the inflection point some way off. Are you ready for 1 billion recorded cases and 30 million deaths by the end of May?

      This is why epidemiologists and now governments are panicked. The UK (and possibly Germany [bbc.co.uk]) appears to be going for herd immunity [oup.com] which is (R0 - 1) / R0 with R0 = 3.4 that starts at ~70% of a population being infected. Fortunately (and obviously) it appears travel restrictions and lock-downs are effective. [thelancet.com]

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by HiThere on Friday March 13 2020, @04:35PM (1 child)

        by HiThere (866) on Friday March 13 2020, @04:35PM (#970756) Journal

        What's not certain is that herd immunity is possible. There are reports of the same person being infected more than once. There are a couple of ways to interpret that:
        1) You don't really get over the disease, your immune system just suppresses it. It hides in various inaccessible places (say the CNS or the gonads) and any time the immune system weakens it reappears.
        2) There are multiple strains of the disease circulating, and immunity to one doesn't transfer to the other.

        Unfortunately these two possibilities are not exclusive. Really unfortunately, I have no idea whether the second occurrence was milder or worse than the original occurrence.

        And, of course, those reports could be wrong. Perhaps the original case was actually the flu or something.

        --
        Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @06:19PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @06:19PM (#970806)

          Granted there was an ancestral strain early in the outbreak giving rise to speculation on antibody enhancement. Most of the "repeat infections" are due to false negatives in testing, quaranteened patients now need to test negative for 3 consecutive days.

          Contrary to this article [theconversation.com] herd immunity makes sense when you consider the real possibility of subsequent waves as happened with Spanish flu.

    • (Score: 2) by legont on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:16PM (2 children)

      by legont (4179) on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:16PM (#970447)

      The last one was flu of 1918. While I obviously don't "remember" it, I have read a lot about it. The bug gave communists the win. The whole world history would be different without it.

      --
      "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:46PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:46PM (#970465)

        Three more official pandemics which have happened since:
        Asian flu of 1957: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_Flu_in_1957 [wikipedia.org]
        Hong Cong flu of 1968: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_flu_pandemic [wikipedia.org]
        "Swine flu" of 2009: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_flu_pandemic [wikipedia.org]

        • (Score: 2) by PocketSizeSUn on Saturday March 14 2020, @10:31PM

          by PocketSizeSUn (5340) on Saturday March 14 2020, @10:31PM (#971347)

          I was around for 2009 and that was pretty much *meh* as far as global panic it was also pretty much meh in terms for severity (although there was quite a bit of media hype in the first few months).

          Of course there was at least one critical difference from previous flu pandemics ... the protocols in-place for 2009 were established for SARS in 2003 and are still in place today. SARS-CoV-2 being contagious w/o presence of fever breaks the existing travel protocols.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @07:13AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @07:13AM (#970584)

      this dude looked at responses by different cities during the spanish flu, and the resulting infection and death rates:
      https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca [medium.com]

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by SomeGuy on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:38PM (2 children)

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:38PM (#970427)

    All of a sudden, finger print scanners as a security measure at entrances is not looking like such a hot idea for your security theater. Bet you wish you only had to use a swipe card now.

    Its going to be interesting to see how this plays out. Basically this virus is in the wild in the US now. Combinations of how well people start cleaning things and perhaps seasonal weather may determine how bad it will get and when. (One random suggestion: Offices should consider upgrading their break room ice dispensers to the kind that don't require pressing any buttons to dispense ice/water)

    One of the news stations was saying people should not go to church. I can get behind that :) Praying to an imaginary sky being won't help either. :P

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @12:20PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @12:20PM (#970652)

      I'm guessing people like you get a fee for each time you let everyone know you don't believe in God, and/or aren't religious? You guys shoehorn it in to every post you can for some reason, even when it is entirely inapplicable to the subject. You don't have any faith or religious beliefs. We get it. Others do, and your proud proclamations otherwise don't aid in any discussion or change any facts.

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2020, @02:20AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2020, @02:20AM (#970979)

        Try looking at it from the other way around. (Oh, right, your religion forbids that). Every day I get bombarded by religious crap. People wearing religious imagery, weaving references to it in everything they say, pasting babble quotes in their post signature lines, it's even printed on money, all implying I'm a bad person for not sucking their sky fairies wang. So I should ask if YOU are getting paid to promote your religion. Most people are so blind they are not even aware they are doing that. So excuse the FUCK out of me if I ocasionally try to get a word in edgewise.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:53PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @10:53PM (#970434)

    Anyone else trying to return to the US from Europe? What has been your experience?

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12 2020, @11:29PM (#970453)

      Try returning from countries that have Trump Golf Resorts. It's a lot easier.

  • (Score: 2) by legont on Friday March 13 2020, @03:13AM (9 children)

    by legont (4179) on Friday March 13 2020, @03:13AM (#970530)

    Currently China reports 13,526 active cases while Italy 12,839 which is almost the same. The numbers of serious or critical cases though are way different - 4,257 for China and 1,153 for Italy. Meantime the death rate paints the exactly opposite picture - about 2.5% for China and 6+% for Italy.
    Does it mean that Italy does not treat their sick? Any other theories (besides China data manipulations).
    I presume number of serious cases is the number under care in hospitals. Why is it so low for Italy given the sky high death rate? Did their healthcare collapsed already?

    --
    "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @06:22AM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @06:22AM (#970570)

      Currently China reports 13,526 active cases while Italy 12,839 which is almost the same. The numbers of serious or critical cases though are way different - 4,257 for China and 1,153 for Italy. Meantime the death rate paints the exactly opposite picture - about 2.5% for China and 6+% for Italy.
      Does it mean that Italy does not treat their sick? Any other theories (besides China data manipulations).
      I presume number of serious cases is the number under care in hospitals. Why is it so low for Italy given the sky high death rate? Did their healthcare collapsed already?

      There are several scenarios that could explain it. Briefly:
      1. China is either lying out of their asses about the number of cases or has a more robust testing regimen in place;
      2. Italy is either lying out of their asses about the number of cases or hasn't done enough testing to get a good sense of the number of infected people;
      3. Differences in immune response between Italians and Chinese make comparisons irrelevant;
      4. Some other explanation that didn't come flying out of my ass at a moment's notice;

      I'd point out that in the US, we've done so little testing that it's really not clear just how widespread infections might be. In large population centers like New York City, there are 95 *confirmed* cases [ny1.com].

      However, given the heavy reliance of the almost 9,000,000 people in NYC on public transportation and Given that only five tests per million people have been performed in the US as of 8 March [msn.com], it's entirely likely that thousands are *already* infected in NYC and tens of thousands across the country.

      Getting back to Italy and China, China has tested (in Guangdong) 2,820/million people, while Italy has only tested 826/million. [msn.com] As such, the infection rates are likely much higher in Italy than currently reported and the mortality rate will come down as more testing is performed.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @07:50AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @07:50AM (#970588)

        and 6+% for Italy.

        There are two possible outcomes for people with a confirmed case of COVID-19... You either recover or you die.

        Currently in Italy, of the 1872 cases with outcomes, 827 have died and 1045 have recovered.

        The other 10590 confirmed cases do not have outcomes yet. You cannot just assume that all of those people recover with no additional deaths (827/12462 would be your 6.6%.)

        While I'm sure the mortality rate will drop as more people reach their eventual outcome, it is currently 44% in Italy.

        Worldwide, looking at the cases with known outcomes, it has been hovering at about 5.8% for the past week or so, but today's latest numbers now show (4720/73044 = 6.4%)...

        The outcomes from the other 55299 confirmed cases are not yet known, but you cannot just lump them in with the recovered cases to make it look like 3.7%

        • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Friday March 13 2020, @12:45PM (2 children)

          by TheRaven (270) on Friday March 13 2020, @12:45PM (#970667) Journal
          How is testing done in Italy? In the UK, we are now testing only people admitted to hospital, which means any of the mild cases are simply not recorded. That makes it very hard to tell if someone had a cold, flu, or this coronavirus if they didn't develop life-threatening symptoms.
          --
          sudo mod me up
          • (Score: 2) by quietus on Friday March 13 2020, @10:05PM

            by quietus (6328) on Friday March 13 2020, @10:05PM (#970891) Journal

            The only thing I know is that in the beginning, Italy tested everybody with suspect symptoms for Corona. They couldn't keep this up -- remember, it's also ordinary flu season -- and had to start triaging who to test, and who not to test.

            I suspect that the procedure used over here is copied from the Italians: anybody with flu symptoms is told to stay at home for treatment, i.e. rest; if you still don't feel better after that period, you're tested.

          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2020, @11:22AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 14 2020, @11:22AM (#971142)

            Yeah, it's pretty sad, inadequate response in some places...

            We're testing more people per day here in Alberta than the entire USA are testing...
            Anyone with possible symptoms gets tested automatically. (and at no cost, of course!)

            That is an absolutely inept response.

            YAY! USA! USA!
            (groan...)

      • (Score: 2) by legont on Friday March 13 2020, @05:41PM

        by legont (4179) on Friday March 13 2020, @05:41PM (#970783)

        I presumed that the number of serious cases is equal the number of people in hospitals or at least under a strong doctor supervision and as such are unlikely to be faked in Italy.
        So, no - your ass did not produce any plausible theory.
        Either Itally's health care have collapsed or the death rate is sky high by nature among Caucasians, which is the same as far as i am concerned.

        --
        "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
    • (Score: 2) by quietus on Friday March 13 2020, @08:14AM (1 child)

      by quietus (6328) on Friday March 13 2020, @08:14AM (#970594) Journal

      Well.

      First off, Chinese cities have a register system. If you weren't born in Beijing, or have no official permit to live there, you don't have access to anything official: no schooling for your kids, etc. The south of Beijing, for example, was (in 2004) a giant, dense area of small, neat little huts bordering stamped earth and gravel roads (felt safe, looked well organized with lots of eating places and such). It took me several hours to bike through it, so I guess that regio took up a quarter to a third of Beijing City proper (within the umptieth Ring). Those people fell into that category of simply not being there, officially.

      Secondly, most people can't afford hospital treatment. According to someone who lived for 7 years in Guangzhou, migrant workers do not go to official hospitals: they go to makeshift, unofficial, street hospitals where treatment is always the same: a dose of antibiotics, and you're good to go.

      If you can get into a official hospital, however, you're not rescued yet: I've been described scenes from hell by a friend from Beijing when his father needed heart surgery (and his family is pretty well to do). He reverted to the age-old practice of bribing everybody he could, and paying another Chinese to keep an eye on his father at all times.

      That being said, I've also seen a hospital in a more rural region -- about 100km away from Beijing city -- that looked neat and well organized.

      As to Italy: I've been told (before the corona outbreak) that the healthcare situation was problematic: you needed to wait for at least 6 months for a simple CT scan, for example.

      Maybe that's what you get when you let a reality TV star [wikipedia.org] run rampant at the head of your government, for years.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @09:13AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13 2020, @09:13AM (#970615)

        I take it that you don't like the leader of Ukraine either then?

    • (Score: 2) by quietus on Friday March 13 2020, @09:57PM

      by quietus (6328) on Friday March 13 2020, @09:57PM (#970882) Journal

      It probably has to do with their demographic structure: there might simply be more elderly in Italy. Looking at the figures and statistics reported by RAI, the public broadcaster, the median age for the deceased is 80 years -- that's about 10 years higher than the median age reported for the Chinese cases (69.5 years). Mortality for those patients lies at 28.4%. While the overall mortality rate lies at 5.8%, mortality starts to quickly raise from the age of 70.

      Only 2 patients younger than 40 have died, a male and a female, both 39 years old, and both with previous chronic diseases (overweight, diabetes, lymphatic cancer).

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by quietus on Friday March 13 2020, @08:47AM

    by quietus (6328) on Friday March 13 2020, @08:47AM (#970604) Journal

    The guiding principle is that every contact between the most vulnerable group, the elderly, and other segments of society should be avoided as much as possible. There should, especially, be no intermixing between children and young adults on the one hand, and grandparents on the other hand.

    All universities and colleges have already closed, and moved to distance learning.

    All schools below that level, including kindergartens, will abort lessons after today. Parents are encouraged to stay at home and watch over their children themselves.

    If they can't, because they work in healthcare, for example, they should drop off their children at the schools, which will take care of them.

    Access to homes for the elderly is forbidden, apart from healthcare professionals and official carers (a single family member).

    All events are suspended.

    All cafés, bars, restaurants, cinema's and theatres will be closed from midnight today.

    Public transport still runs, but people are encouraged to use it as little as possible, and to try to keep the 1 meter distance rule. Elderly are called upon not to use public transport at all.

    Shops remain open during the week, but are closed during the weekend, apart from shops where you can buy food (including pet food) and pharmacies.

    Companies are encouraged to maximally use teleworking. The rule is that everybody who can, should do so. Those who need to be physically present at work, should at all times keep a minimum distance of 1 meter.

    Companies will get easy access to a system of temporary unemployment for their employees: 85% of wages will be covered by government. VAT and taxes payments can be deferred without costs.

    The current measures will be in place until April 3, but it is highly likely they'll be extended to at least half of May.

    And to really stress the severity of the situation: fritures (where you go and eat the traditional freedom fries) will be closed too, inspiring several newspapers to talk about shock therapy. As no fries at all would be a thing too serious to contemplate -- not even happened during the last two world wars, I think -- you can still get them from the fritures, but you're not allowed to eat them there anymore.

    For perspective: 3 people have died in Belgium from corona: a 90-year old, an 87-year old and somebody of 72.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by quietus on Friday March 13 2020, @09:38AM (1 child)

    by quietus (6328) on Friday March 13 2020, @09:38AM (#970621) Journal

    The infections in the United States do not originate from the European Union, or even Europe. What's more, they happened much, much earlier than reported --.long before Italy got infected.

    There are currently 5 corona outbreak hotspots in the United States: New York, Washington, California, Chicago and Texas.

    If you check the genomic epidemiology of those outbreaks [nextstrain.org] (press play on the geographical map, to see an animation), the US outbreak started half of January, when somebody introduced the virus straight from China (Guangdong) and introduced it into the Seattle region [persgroep.net].

    After patient zero, at least 10 other travellers took the virus to the States. On Jan 31 scientists isolated the virus in Wisconsin from a 52 year old woman in serious condition. That virus came straight from Wuhan.

    Multiple introductions occurred in California from China, in Washington somebody introduced the virus coming from Southern Korea, and in New York the virus was introduced through a traveller from Iran.

    But not a single [persgroep.net] introduction from Europe.

    Three worrying conclusions, here. (a) The United States was infected pretty rapidly, already at the very beginning of January -- just after France had its first infection, but long before Italy, (b) somehow, this infection has either not spread, or been noticed, and (c) the US President is either not well informed, or does take this matter not seriously.

    • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Friday March 13 2020, @04:50PM

      by HiThere (866) on Friday March 13 2020, @04:50PM (#970763) Journal

      You know, or have reason to know, that the US President has been repeatedly informed. This, of course, doesn't mean that he stayed informed. And he takes the matter seriously, because it hurt the stock market. The ban of travel from Europe has to have been a PR gesture, as it has no other possible rationale. Unfortunately he ruined it by excepting countries that had is golf clubs in them.

      --
      Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 15 2020, @02:11PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 15 2020, @02:11PM (#971561)
(1)