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 Some stories have been omitted because they were a duplicate, outdated, superseded, and sometimes just as a matter of keeping the size of these roundups managable.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:
Sorry, America, the Full Lockdown is... Here
As a follow-up to: (2020-03-24)Sorry, America, the Full Lockdown is Coming
The lockdown isn't just coming; it's here. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-stay-at-home-order.html (Updated):
In a matter of days, millions of Americans have been asked to do what might have been unthinkable only a week or two ago: Don’t go to work, don’t go to school, don’t leave the house at all, unless you have to.
The directives to keep people at home to stunt the spread of the coronavirus began in California, and have quickly been adopted across the country. By Wednesday, more than a dozen states and the Navajo Nation had called on their residents to stay at home as much as possible, with many cities and counties joining in.
This means at least 196 million people in 21 states, 37 counties and 16 cities are being urged to stay home.
We're in a Public Health Crisis. Where's the CDC?
Two weeks have now gone by since the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has held a press briefing to update the media and the public on the COVID-19 pandemic and the agency's response efforts.
In those two weeks, the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has blazed through communities across the country and begun ravaging local healthcare systems. There have been over 42,800 detected cases and at least 579 deaths as of March 23. The true number of cases is thought to be much higher due to a nationwide lag in testing.
On March 9, the day of the CDC's last telebriefing, there were around 500 cases and just 19 deaths. Up to that point, the CDC had been providing regular briefings, usually led by Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
But things began to change on February 26, when President Donald Trump appointed Vice President Mike Pence to lead a coronavirus response task force. In the days leading to the appointment, there was a clear gulf between the public health messaging from the CDC and statements made by Trump.
On February 25—a day before the appointment—Dr. Messonnier warned during a regular briefing that it was only a matter of time before the pandemic began spreading in the United States and the situation could turn bad quickly. "Disruption to everyday life might be severe," she said as she urged Americans to prepare their families for those disruptions, which are now being realized.
But that frank—and demonstrably accurate and appropriate—messaging was at odds with statements from the president. Earlier that very same day, Trump said that the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is "very well under control in our country," which was untrue.
[...] According to a subsequent report in The New York Times, that dissonance led to Trump screaming over the phone to Alex M. Azar II, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the CDC. The February 26 appointment of Pence displaced Azar, who was previously leading the administration's response efforts.
The appointment was quickly followed by reports that the White House was clamping down on messaging about the impending crisis and that all statements from public health officials would need to be cleared by Pence's office.
Coronavirus in US: Concern for homeless vulnerable to virus
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Hundreds of thousands of homeless people in the United States are at risk of contracting the virus.
Health experts warn if they are infected, the entire healthcare system could be overwhelmed.
-- submitted from IRC
The Tech Execs Who Don't Agree with 'Soul-Stealing' Coronavirus Safety Measures
Submitted via IRC for SoyCow8162
'If we wish to maintain our productivity, we need to continue working in [our] offices,' one CEO told his staff in an email
The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What's Coming
Larry Brilliant says he doesn't have a crystal ball. But 14 years ago, Brilliant, the epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox, spoke to a TED audience and described what the next pandemic would look like. At the time, it sounded almost too horrible to take seriously. "A billion people would get sick," he said. "As many as 165 million people would die. There would be a global recession and depression, and the cost to our economy of $1 to $3 trillion would be far worse for everyone than merely 100 million people dying, because so many more people would lose their jobs and their health care benefits, that the consequences are almost unthinkable."
Now the unthinkable is here, and Brilliant, the Chairman of the board of Ending Pandemics, is sharing expertise with those on the front lines. We are a long way from 100 million deaths due to the novel coronavirus, but it has turned our world upside down. Brilliant is trying not to say "I told you so" too often. But he did tell us so, not only in talks and writings, but as the senior technical advisor for the pandemic horror film Contagion, now a top streaming selection for the homebound. Besides working with the World Health Organization in the effort to end smallpox, Brilliant, who is now 75, has fought flu, polio, and blindness; once led Google's nonprofit wing, Google.org; co-founded the conferencing system the Well; and has traveled with the Grateful Dead.
We talked by phone on Tuesday. At the time, President Donald Trump's response to the crisis had started to change from "no worries at all" to finally taking more significant steps to stem the pandemic. Brilliant lives in one of the six Bay Area counties where residents were ordered to shelter in place. When we began the conversation, he'd just gotten off the phone with someone he described as high government official, who asked Brilliant "How the fuck did we get here?" I wanted to hear how we'll get out of here. The conversation has been edited and condensed.
[...] Is there in any way a brighter side to this?
[...] I thought we would see the equivalent of empty streets in the civic arena, but the amount of civic engagement is greater than I've ever seen. But I'm seeing young kids, millennials, who are volunteering to go take groceries to people who are homebound, elderly. I'm seeing an incredible influx of nurses, heroic nurses, who are coming and working many more hours than they worked before, doctors who fearlessly go into the hospital to work. I've never seen the kind of volunteerism I'm seeing.
[...] This is a really unprecedented and difficult time that will test us. When we do get through it, maybe like the Second World War, it will cause us to reexamine what has caused the fractional division we have in this country. The virus is an equal opportunity infector. And it's probably the way we would be better if we saw ourselves that way, which is much more alike than different.
This story originally appeared on wired.com.
Burying or burning garbage boosts airborne bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
The researchers collected air samples surrounding a landfill site, a municipal solid waste incinerator and two transfer stations (where garbage is delivered and processed). Air from both the municipal incinerator and the landfill site had higher levels of particulate matter and bacteria than upwind locations. The team identified 16 antibiotic-resistance genes in the air samples and tracked their source to municipal solid waste and leachate in the system. The genes were much more abundant in air downwind from the facilities than upwind. These results suggest that municipal solid waste treatment systems could be a reservoir of antibiotic-resistance genes that can be transmitted to nearby residents who breathe the air, the researchers say.
-- submitted from IRC
Millions Yet to Receive UK Government's Covid-19 Text
Millions of mobile users in the UK have yet to receive the government's text message alert about coronavirus.
The SMS - telling people to stay at home - began being sent early on Tuesday morning.
But Vodafone has confirmed it only expects to complete the process later this Wednesday.
[...] Vodafone is the only one of the UK's big four networks that has not finished the task.
[...] "We have sent out the majority of messages and aim to complete the process soon," said a spokesman.
"We did pause sending them out overnight so as not to disturb people whilst they were sleeping."
The firm temporarily halted the process at 20:00GMT to avoid waking phone-owning children. It needs to send a total of about 18 million texts.
The government's full message read:
GOV.UK CORONAVIRUS ALERT. New rules in force now: you must stay at home. More info and exemptions at gov.uk/coronavirus Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.
- LIVE: Latest updates
- A SIMPLE GUIDE: What are the symptoms?
- AVOIDING CONTACT: Should I self-isolate?
- LOOK-UP TOOL: Check cases in your area
- MAPS AND CHARTS: Visual guide to the outbreak
The Cabinet Office ran trials in 2014 for a system which bypassed the mobile networks and sent messages directly to people's phones, but it was never developed. One operator has suggested that it was considered too expensive.
[...] [SMS texts are] not really fit for purpose because the texts have to be sent out sequentially, meaning people get them at different times.
"What we really need is a wireless emergency system like they have in the US, which would allow the government to get the same message to everyone at once - not just for coronavirus, but for things like major weather disruption, that pose a danger to life."
One benefit of such a system is that the messages can be geographically targeted, meaning they can be limited to a specific zone in a city to - for example - help find a missing child.
However, not all mobile phones or networks support the facility.
South Korea's Success In Controlling Coronavirus Is Due To Acceptance Of Surveillance
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
What hasn't been so widely reported is the country's heavy use of surveillance technology, notably CCTV and the tracking of bank card and mobile phone usage, to identify who to test in the first place. And this is an important lesson for more liberal countries that might be less tolerant of such privacy invading measures but are hoping to emulate South Korea's success.
[...] These factors enable the country to carry out 15,000 tests per day, making it second only to China in absolute numbers and third in the world for per person testing. But because COVID-19 is a mild disease for most people, only a small fraction of patients tend to contact health authorities for testing based on their symptoms or known contact with infected people. Many patients with mild symptoms, especially younger ones, don't realise they are ill and infecting others.
If these patients can't be found, testing capacity doesn't mean much. This is where smart city infrastructure comes in. The aim is to work out where known patients have been and test anyone who might have come into contact with them. There are three main ways people are tracked.
First, credit and debit cards.
[...] Second, mobile phones can be used for the same purpose. In 2019, South Korea had one of the world's highest phone ownership rates (there are more phones than people). Phone locations are automatically recorded with complete accuracy because devices are connected to between one and three transceivers at any time. And there are approximately 860,000 4G and 5G transceivers densely covering the whole country.
[...] Finally, CCTV cameras also enable authorities to identify people who have been in contact with COVID-19 patients. In 2014, South Korean cities had over 8 million CCTV cameras, or one camera per 6.3 people. In 2010, everyone was captured an average of 83.1 times per day and every nine seconds while travelling. These figures are likely to be much higher today. Considering the physical size of the country, it is safe to say South Korea has one of the highest densities of surveillance technology in the world.
[...] The result of the tracking is not only used by health authorities but also made public via national and local government websites, free smartphone apps that show the locations of infections, and text message updates about new local cases. This help citizens avoid hotspots of infections.
In many ways, this is an overexposure of private information about people's movements. But it is actually an effective way for the authorities to gain public trust, which in turn is important in preventing people from panicking. You could argue this was successful because South Korea is one of the few countries where the COVID-19 outbreak hasn't caused panic buying in supermarkets.
However, there's a big issue for other countries considering similar measures. The level of surveillance and exposure of personal information involved is unlikely to be easily accepted by most other liberal democratic societies.
The difference between the South Korean approach and that of European countries doesn't represent the simple cliché of eastern collectivism versus western individualism. In fact, information exposure can prevent the need for a lockdown of individuals' movements.
In this way, governments around the world are facing a hard choice between these two violations of individual rights (information exposure and movement restriction). South Korea has chosen the former, but France and Italy had to choose the latter. The former requires the necessary infrastructure and a culture that tolerates a certain level of surveillance, neither of which can be created overnight.
How Kentucky Became a Surprising Leader in Flattening the Curve on COVID-19
As states in the US South and Midwest see their coronavirus infection rates grow, the rate remains notably low in a state with some of the worst health outcomes nationally. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has drawn bipartisan praise for navigating the outbreak in a calm and decisive manner, including declaring a state of emergency in early March that gave local officials time to help residents as well as school, health and other officials protect and plan against the global pandemic.
On Tuesday, Kentucky officials reported the state's fourth death due to COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, bringing the state's total to 163. In comparison, neighboring Indiana had reported 365 confirmed cases and 12 deaths by Monday. Tennessee, which has 2.3 million more residents than Kentucky, had 517 confirmed cases and one death as of Sunday.
"We've seen states take very different approaches," Beshear, 42, said in a briefing on Sunday. "We have already done a whole lot of what other states are doing in one major -- and sometimes it seems scary -- order."
Asked this week whether his administration has seen positive results from its efforts, Beshear said it was still early. "We are in the midst of it, and I believe we are taking aggressive and important steps that are, and will, save people's lives. But it will be really hard to know exactly how we have done until we are further through it and have more data," he told reporters. "Our numbers aren't necessarily jumping as fast as some other ones are."
As of last week, state public health leaders reported that about 7% of COVID-19 tests conducted in Kentucky had come back positive. The state's junior senator, Rand Paul, also disclosed that he tested positive for the virus, becoming the first member of the Senate to receive such a diagnosis. As reported by local CBS affiliate WYMT, Kentucky is faring average among surrounding states, with a lower percentage than Indiana's 20% and Tennessee's 27% positive-test rate. Kentucky's 7% is, however, higher than rates in West Virginia and Missouri, which have fewer cases and have done less testing. It's also higher than the rate in Virginia, which has double the number of cases and substantially more tests completed.
Beshear's battle to "flatten the curve," or slow the spread of the coronavirus, has been charted in his daily press briefings, where he routinely appears with Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack and American Sign Language interpreter Virginia Moore. Beshear's calm, methodical explanations of the state's efforts to combat the spread, always accompanied by repeated reassurances in the face of panic, have received praise across social media.
[...] On Tuesday, Beshear told reporters at a press briefing that the state had been outbid by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in one attempt to buy medical personal protective equipment. Kentucky's struggles to obtain COVID-19 tests and medical equipment, and to implement testing statewide, reflect similar struggles faced by states elsewhere. In Kentucky's first reported case, the patient was twice denied testing. Similarly, a Lexington woman had to wait nine days before being tested.
"The test is not yet unlimited. We want the test to be unlimited," Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steve Stack said during a press conference. "We have voiced our concerns and our needs to the federal government to work with the partners who have the resources to make it unlimited as fast as it can."
Since testing began, Kentucky has prioritized its limited number of test kits, per CDC guidelines, to the most vulnerable patients at highest risk. That means the number of cases in the state may be far higher than charted, with transmission rates much faster.
"We are now just seeing the escalation of this virus and to suggest that there is a short duration that we can almost promise people is not something that we should be doing," Beshear told reporters Tuesday.
Recyclable Nano-fiber Filtered Face Masks: A Boon for Supply Fiasco?
Recyclable nano-fiber filtered face masks: A boon for supply fiasco?
[...] A KAIST research team announced that they have developed a nano-filter that maintains excellent filtering efficiency even after hand washing through the development of proprietary technology that aligns nanofibers with a diameter of 100~500 nm in orthogonal or unidirectional directions. This reusable nano-filtered face mask could help to relieve the challenges arising from the supply shortage of face masks.
Professor Il-Doo Kim's nano-fiber filtered mask will maintain its sturdy frame and filtering function even after being washed more than 20 times. Professor Kim, who has continued to study the filtering of fine dust using nano-filters, is now awaiting final approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to bring his product into the market.
[...] Existing masks also fail to maintain their air filtering function because their electrostatic function disappears when exposed to water. Thus, their filtering efficiency is reduced significantly, making it almost impossible to reuse them. However, this nano-fiber design was proven to be water resistant with more than 94% filtering efficiency in 20 repeated bactericidal tests with ethanol. The nano-fiber mask also showed no deformation in its nano-membrane structure despite the 20 hand washes. In particular, it was confirmed that there were no deformations in the membrane, even after soaking in ethanol more than three hours.
[...] Professor Kim established his startup company, the "Kim Il-Doo Research Institute," last February. It can currently produce 1,500 nano-fiber filters per day.
To Save The Economy We Must Reduce Video Bandwidth Use — Now (Updated)
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
It is probable that streaming media consumption, gaming and video collaboration are responsible for most of this additional demand. To maintain our connected culture during the current crisis, individuals, enterprises and big tech firms must cut down on their bandwidth usage — and the best way to do so is to reduce the use of video.
[...] The truth is that video accounted for over two-thirds of global consumer internet traffic in 2017 and has continued to grow ever since.
In its most recent State of the Internet report, Cisco observes that an internet-enabled HD TV used to watch shows for a few hours daily generates more traffic than a whole household. In part this is because we are streaming video in 4K.
In other words, even as the internet strains to handle the demands of tens of millions of workers worldwide fortunate enough to be able to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also struggling to handle the sheer quantity of video we are all consuming.
Video is by far the biggest consumer of bandwidth, and if we’re going to optimize how we make use of it, we’re going to need to reduce our consumption of it.
We all need to keep working, so it makes complete sense to reduce the quantity of video-related traffic we generate — or at least take steps to mitigate it.
[...] If you use a streaming TV system (a smart TV, Apple TV, or such-like), you should reduce the resolution of the video you download.
While doing so will reduce your picture quality, it will also reduce the amount of data your TV set requires. If everyone who uses a streaming video system cuts quality, this should make a significant difference in terms of available bandwidth during the current crisis.
Here's what to do with an Apple TV:
For the TV app, set Wi-Fi playback quality to ‘Good’ on all the devices you use to consume video content. You’ll find it impossible to adjust settings for Prime and Netflix, and this is why the EU is asking streaming video service providers to get with the program and reduce the quality of the shows they provide, in order to ensure that the internet doesn’t break.
All the social media apps (particularly Facebook) are bad citizens when it comes to auto-streaming video. Not only is this usually annoying, but it also consumes valuable bandwidth.
[...] I understand each enterprise setup is different, so providing relevant advice for everyone is beyond the scope of this piece, but some basic strategies to reduce video bandwidth consumption follow:
Enterprises and technology firms can also consider asking employees to stagger the installation of essential software upgrades, particularly when the workforce is distributed globally.
Advertising firms that place video should consider reducing the quality of the content they distribute in order to help mitigate this demand.
I think there’s also a strong case to disable video auto-play on sites, services and browsers.
[...] I understand people love 4K video quality — I do myself — but reducing this quality in the short term seems an essential step in order to maintain economic productivity, personal communications, entertainment systems and all the other benefits of our digital lives.
Fake Coronavirus 'Vaccine' Website Busted In DOJ Takedown
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Authorities have cracked down on a website that claimed to give out coronavirus vaccine kits – but that was actually stealing victims’ payment card data and personal information.
The Department of Justice has raised its first federal court action against online fraud relating to the coronavirus pandemic, on Sunday taking steps to shutter a fraudulent website that claimed to give away free coronavirus vaccines.
The website, “coronavirusmedicalkit.com,” was purporting to give away free vaccine kits that it claimed were manufactured by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to Department of Justice (DoJ) court documents. In reality, website operators were engaging in a wire fraud scheme. They first asked buyers to input their payment card information on the website in order to pay a shipping charge of $4.95. Then, they would steal that credit card and personal information in order to carry out fraudulent purchases and identity theft.
“In fact, there are currently no legitimate COVID-19 vaccines and the WHO is not distributing any such vaccine,” according to the DoJ in a Sunday post. “In response to the department’s request, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman issued a temporary restraining order requiring that the registrar of the fraudulent website immediately take action to block public access to it.”
The DoJ is continuing to investigate the website. The temporary restraining order against the site, which has been issued in the meantime, orders the site’s domain host, NameCheap, to immediately take down the website. The website was live as of March 21, according to the DoJ; but as of Monday, the website is currently down.
[...] The DoJ on Sunday urged website users to always independently verify the identity of any company, charity, or individual that contacts them regarding COVID-19. In addition, the department warned of scammers employing web addresses that differ only slightly from those belonging to the entities they are impersonating (for instance, using “cdc.com” or “cdc.org” instead of “cdc.gov”).
“The Department of Justice will not tolerate criminal exploitation of this national emergency for personal gain,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division in a statement. “We will use every resource at the government’s disposal to act quickly to shut down these most despicable of scammers, whether they are defrauding consumers, committing identity theft, or delivering malware.”
Coronavirus updates: Olympics postponed, Trump wants US open by Easter
[...] This article describes the latest developments in the coronavirus outbreak each day. It is updated as new information becomes available.
[...] Prince Charles, the 71-year-old heir to the British throne, has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a spokesperson for the royal family. He's been "displaying mild symptoms" of COVID-19 but is otherwise in good health and working from home, his office said in a statement.
His wife, Camilla, has tested negative, and the couple is self-isolating at home in Scotland.
"It is not possible to ascertain from whom the Prince caught the virus owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks," his office said.
Charles last saw his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on March 12, the BBC reported, but the 93-year-old British monarch "remains in good health."
US senators and the White House reached a deal to deliver a nearly $2 trillion stimulus package, according to The New York Times. The stimulus bill is the largest in US history and is expected to provide financial aid to individuals as well as struggling businesses. A Senate vote is expected Wednesday.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we are done. We have a deal," said Eric Ueland, White House legislative affairs director, at approximately 10 p.m. PT Tuesday.
The legislation, according to The Washington Post, will send many American adults $1,200 and children around $500. It will also boost small businesses with a $367 billion loan program, and hospitals are set to receive $150 billion in funding.
The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, ordered the entire country -- 1.3 billion people in total -- to stay home for 21 days starting March 25. The extreme measures were announced late Tuesday, with Modi stating that "the only option is social distancing, to remain away from each other. There is no way out to escape from coronavirus besides this."
Worldwide cases are approaching 420,000, but India has so far reported just over 500 cases, with 10 deaths.
Vice President Mike Pence said 9 million masks have now been donated by Apple. The remarks came during a White House briefing Tuesday afternoon, where Trump added that coming soon to hospitals around the nation are medical supplies including 8 million respirators, 14 million masks, 2.4 million face shields, 1.9 million surgical gowns, 13.5 million gloves and more than 4,000 ventilators.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said randomized tests are being done on a number of drugs, which are "queuing up to go to clinical trial."
During a town hall hosted by Fox News on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said he would love to have the US "opened up and raring to go by Easter," which is on April 12. The president added that people will still have to practice social distancing, but reiterated that the cure cannot be worse than the problem.
"I gave it two weeks and we'll assess at that time," said Trump, referencing his 15-day timeline to slow the spread. "But we have to open this country up."
[...] During a White House briefing, President Trump said the US "wasn't built to be shut down," and he is hoping local data can be used to advise areas of when they can "cautiously" resume normal activities. "America will be open for business a lot sooner than three or four months," the president said. "We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself."
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said self-collected nasal swabbing is going to be made available later this week at clinics and drive-through sites. Birx added around 250,000 people have been tested in the last week.
Trump is also pushing an anti-malaria drug to be used in coronavirus tests, saying distribution of the drug, hydroxychloroquine, will begin tomorrow in New York City. It follows NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing Sunday the state will begin drug trials using 70,000 doses of Hydroxychloroquine, 10,000 doses of Zithromax and 750,000 doses of Chloroquine Tuesday.
[...] British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a lockdown for the UK starting Monday night, with gatherings of more than two people banned unless they're from the same household, and all non-essential stores and most public places closing. People are allowed to leave home only for essential shopping, medical needs, one form of exercise per day and travel to and from work only when absolutely necessary.
"From this evening, I must give the British people a very simple instruction: You must stay at home," Johnson said. Visiting friends and family from other households is banned. Police have been given the power to enforce the new rules, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
Dr. Jerome Adams, the US surgeon general, warned Monday that the coronavirus outbreak in the US will get worse before it gets better. "We really need everyone to understand this is serious, to lean into what they can do to flatten the curve," Adams told CBS This Morning. He added that it will be awhile before "life gets back to normal" and stressed that Americans must take steps "right now" to help stop the spread.
Utah Rep. Ben McAdams, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, was hospitalized on Friday after experiencing a "severe shortness of breath." McAdams said Sunday that he's feeling better and expects to be released once doctors determine it's appropriate. In his message, the Democratic congressman also urged people to follow advice from the CDC and Utah Department of Health to stop the spread of the virus.
[...] The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, has announced that stricter lockdown measures will now be enforced and that the country's pubs, restaurants, bars, clubs, gyms and other "nonessential" services will be shut from midday on Monday, March 23. Morrison also requested all Australians stay home unless travel is essential.
"Those holidays that you may have been planning to take interstate over the school holidays are canceled," Morrison noted in a press briefing on March 22.
Australia's states and territories have also begun closing borders and will enforce 14-day quarantines for any domestic travellers. South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory all announced any incoming travellers would be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival by air, land or sea.
[...] German Chancellor Angela Merkel has entered quarantine after being told that a doctor who gave her a pneumonia vaccine Friday has tested positive for coronavirus. According to the Associated Press, Merkel was put into quarantine shortly after a press conference on Sunday where she announced some "new measures to curb the spread of the virus." The country has added a ban on gatherings of more than two people in a bid to slow the pandemic.
If you're interested in coronavirus news from before March 22, CNET has been tracking the outbreak in real time here.
-- submitted from IRC
Intolerable Abuse: Congresscritters try to sneak privacy destroying bill in while COVID-19 Distracts
An intolerable abuse.
The objective appears to be an Internet where the law required every message sent to be read by government-approved scanning software. Companies that handle such messages wouldn't be allowed to securely encrypt them
If passed, this bill will likely lead to terrorism and violence. Not everyone will sit complacent while the constitution is destroyed.
Spanish Army Finds Care Home Residents 'abandoned'
Spanish soldiers helping to fight the coronavirus pandemic have found elderly patients in retirement homes abandoned and, in some cases, dead in their beds, the defence ministry has said.
[...] The military has been brought in to help disinfect care homes in Spain, one of Europe's worst hit countries.
Meanwhile, an ice rink in Madrid is to be used as a temporary mortuary for Covid-19 victims, officials said.
The virus is spreading very fast in Spain - the second worst-hit European country after Italy.
On Tuesday, the health ministry announced that the number of deaths had risen by 514 in the past 24 hours - a daily record.
A total of 2,696 people have now died and there are 39,637 confirmed cases.
[...] Spanish Defence Minister Margarita Robles told the private TV channel Telecinco that the government was "going to be strict and inflexible when dealing with the way older people are treated" in retirement homes.
[...] The defence ministry said that staff at some care homes had left after the coronavirus was detected.
Health officials have said that in normal circumstances the bodies of deceased residents are put in cold storage until they are collected by the funeral services.
But when the cause of death is suspected to be linked to coronavirus they are left in their beds until they can be retrieved by properly equipped funeral staff. In the capital Madrid, which has seen the highest number of cases and deaths, that could take up to 24 hours, officials said.
[...] Spain is the second worst affected country in Europe after Italy, which now has the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths in the world.
Italian authorities said on Monday that 602 people with Covid-19 had died in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 6,077.
But the daily increase was the smallest since Thursday, raising hope that stringent restrictions imposed by the government were starting to have an effect.
from the coronavirus-apocalypse dept.
The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Change the World Forever
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
The pandemic will change the world forever. We asked 12 leading global thinkers for their predictions.
Dr. Fauci Explains Why He Doesn't Correct Trump During Press Conferences
Dr. Anthony Fauci has one of the toughest and most important jobs in government as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The nation's top infectious disease expert, Fauci plays a major role in the coronavirus-pandemic response and is regularly seen at press conferences alongside President Donald Trump—who doesn't share Fauci's inclination and ability to give Americans the most accurate information in a time of crisis.
Fauci addressed his interesting relationship with Trump in a Science Magazine interview published yesterday. "I can't jump in front of the microphone and push him down," Fauci said when asked about moments when Trump makes factual mistakes at press conferences.
[...] Q: What about the travel restrictions? Trump keeps saying that the travel ban for China, which began February 2, had a big impact [on slowing the spread of the virus to the United States] and that he wishes China would have told us 3 to 4 months earlier and that they were "very secretive." [China did not immediately reveal the discovery of a new coronavirus in late December 2019, but by January 10, Chinese researchers made the sequence of the virus public.] It just doesn't comport with facts.
A: I know, but what do you want me to do? I mean, seriously Jon, let's get real, what do you want me to do?
Q: Most everyone thinks that you're doing a remarkable job, but you're standing there as the representative of truth and facts, but things are being said that aren't true and aren't factual.
A: The way it happened is that after he made that statement [suggesting China could have revealed the discovery of a new coronavirus three to four months earlier], I told the appropriate people, it doesn't comport, because two or three months earlier would have been September. The next time they sit down with him and talk about what he's going to say, they will say, "By the way, Mr. President, be careful about this and don't say that." But I can't jump in front of the microphone and push him down. OK, he said it. Let's try and get it corrected for the next time.
Cohen also asked Fauci how he has avoided getting fired by Trump. "Well, that's pretty interesting because to his [Trump's] credit, even though we disagree on some things, he listens," Fauci said. "He goes his own way. He has his own style. But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say."
Fauci acknowledged that Trump's press conferences can give the American public "some misunderstanding" about the pandemic:
Q: You've been in press conferences where things are happening that you disagree with, is that fair to say?
A: Well, I don't disagree in the substance. It is expressed in a way that I would not express it, because it could lead to some misunderstanding about what the facts are about a given subject.
[...] Fauci said that Trump "ad libs" despite the preparation Fauci and others do before each press conference.
"We're in the task force [before each press conference]. We sit down for an hour and a half, go over all the issues on the agenda," Fauci explained. "And then we proceed from there to an anteroom right in front of the Oval Office to talk about what are going to be the messages, what are the kind of things we're going to want to emphasize? Then we go in to see the president, we present [our consensus] to him, and somebody writes a speech. Then he gets up and ad libs on his speech. And then we're up there to try and answer questions."
Trump's tendencies have been on display in public discussions over the possibility of using malaria drugs to treat COVID-19, leading to an Associated Press story titled, "Trump vs Fauci: President's gut sense collides with science." While Trump touted the drugs as "hav[ing] a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine," Fauci explained that the evidence so far is purely "anecdotal."
The Tip of the Iceberg: Virologist David Ho (BS '74) Speaks About COVID-19
As of March 20, more than 8,700 people worldwide had died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Caltech trustee David Ho (BS '74) of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, Columbia University, says that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Ho, an expert on viral epidemics, has spent decades researching HIV/AIDS, having begun his career in Los Angeles, "ground zero" of the first outbreak, in the early 1980s. On March 18, Ho sat down with members of the Caltech community to discuss the novel coronavirus and the future of our society in the light of this global pandemic.
US: $2 Trillion Coronavirus Rescue Bill Hits Late Snags in Senate
Leaders in the United States Senate raced to unravel last-minute snags Wednesday and win passage of an unparalleled $2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and healthcare systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The measure is the largest economic relief bill in history, and both parties' leaders were desperate for quick passage of a bill aimed at the coronavirus that is costing lives and jobs by the hour.
[...]The package is intended as a weeks-long or months-long patch for an economy spiralling into recession or worse and a nation facing a grim toll from an infection that's killed nearly 20,000 people worldwide.
Underscoring the effort's sheer magnitude, the bill finances a response with a price tag that equals half the size of the entire $4 trillion annual federal budget.
[...] McConnell and Schumer hoped passage of the legislation in the Republican-led Senate would come by the end of the day. Stocks posted their first back-to-back gains in weeks as the package took shape over the last two days, but much of Wednesday's early rally faded as the hitch developed in the Senate. The market is down nearly 27 percent since setting a record high a month ago.
Senate passage would leave final congressional approval up to the Democratic-controlled House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said the bipartisan agreement "takes us a long way down the road in meeting the needs of the American people" but she stopped short of fully endorsing it.
"House Democrats will now review the final provisions and legislative text of the agreement to determine a course of action," she said.
House members are scattered around the country and the timetable for votes in that chamber is unclear.
House Democratic and Republican leaders have hoped to clear the measure for President Donald Trump's signature by a voice vote without having to call lawmakers back to Washington. But that may prove challenging, as the bill is sure to be opposed by some conservatives upset at its cost and scope. Ardent liberals were restless as well.
White House aide Eric Ueland announced the agreement in a Capitol hallway Wednesday, shortly after midnight, capping days of often intense haggling and mounting pressure. The wording of some final pieces of the agreement needs to be completed.
The sprawling, 500-page-plus measure is the third coronavirus response bill produced by Congress and by far the largest. It builds on efforts focused on vaccines and emergency response, sick and family medical leave for workers, and food aid.
It would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367bn programme for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home.
One of the last issues to close concerned $500bn for guaranteed, subsidised loans to larger industries, including a fight over how generous to be with airlines. Hospitals would get significant help as well.
[...] Five days of arduous talks produced the bill, creating tensions among Congress's top leaders, who each took care to tend to party politics as they manoeuvred and battled over crafting the legislation. But failure was never an option, which permitted both sides to mark big wins.
"That Washington drama does not matter any more," McConnell said. "The Senate is going to stand together, act together, and pass this historic relief package today."
[...] The bill would provide one-time direct payments to Americans of $1,200 per adult making up to $75,000 a year, and $2,400 to a married couple making up to $150,000, with $500 payments per child.
A huge cash infusion for hospitals expecting a flood of COVID-19 patients grew during the talks at Schumer's insistence. Republicans pressed for tens of billions of dollars for additional relief to be delivered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal disaster agency.
Democrats said the package would help replace the salaries of furloughed workers for four months, rather than the three months first proposed. Furloughed workers would get whatever amount a state usually provides for unemployment, plus a $600 per week add-on, with gig workers such as Uber drivers covered for the first time.
Schumer said businesses controlled by members of Congress and top administration officials - including Trump and his immediate family members - would be ineligible for the bill's business assistance.
[...] A companion appropriations package ballooned as well, growing from a $46bn White House proposal to more than $300bn, which dwarfs earlier disasters - including Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy combined.
To provide transparency, the package is expected to create a new inspector general and oversight board for the corporate dollars, much as was done during the 2008 bank rescue, officials said.
(2020-03-22) Coronavirus Roundup 03/22/2020
(2020-03-17) SoylentNews Community -- How has SAR-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) / COVID-19 Affected You?
(2020-03-12) CoronaVirus (SARS-CoV-2) Roundup 2020-03-12
(2020-02-29) COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 - CoronaVirus) Roundup
(2020-02-26) Roundup of Stories about the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus and COVID-19 Disease
(2020-02-17) Coronavirus Roundup (Feb. 17)
(2020-02-11) Coronavirus Roundup
(2020-02-07) Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Roundup
(2020-02-01) 2019-nCoV Coronavirus Story Roundup
Original Submission #1 Original Submission #2 Original Submission #3 Original Submission #4 Original Submission #5 Original Submission #6 Original Submission #7 Original Submission #8 Original Submission #9 Original Submission #10 Original Submission #11 Original Submission #12 Original Submission #13 Original Submission #14 Original Submission #15 Original Submission #16 Original Submission #17 Original Submission #18 Original Submission #19
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.
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
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:
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.
Both c0lo and takyon write in with today's coronavirus collection of stories:
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 (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
Charter engineer quits over "reckless" rules against work-from-home
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
A Charter Communications engineer called the company's rules against working from home during the coronavirus pandemic "pointlessly reckless" and "socially irresponsible" before subsequently resigning instead of continuing to work in the office, according to a TechCrunch article published yesterday.
Charter CEO Tom Rutledge last week told employees in a memo to keep coming to the office even if their jobs can be performed from home, because people "are more effective from the office." Employees should only stay home if they "are sick, or caring for someone who is sick," Rutledge wrote.
Nick Wheeler, a video operations engineer for Charter in Denver, sent an email expressing his displeasure with the policy to a senior vice president and "hundreds of engineers on Friday," TechCrunch wrote. The email said:
I do not understand why we are still coming into the office as the COVID-19 pandemic surges around us. The CDC guidelines are clear. The CDPHE [Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment] guidelines are clear. The WHO guidelines are clear. The science of social distancing is real. We have the complete ability to do our jobs entirely from home. Coming into the office now is pointlessly reckless. It's also socially irresponsible. Charter, like the rest of us, should do what is necessary to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Social distancing has a real slowing effect on the virus—that means lives can be saved.
A hazard condition isn't acceptable for the infrastructure beyond the short-term. Why is it acceptable for our health?
The CDC's advice to businesses stresses that sick people should not come to the office but also urges businesses to "Ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple employees who may be able to work from home."
Within hours of sending the email, Wheeler was out of a job.
-- submitted from IRC
Politicians won't admit it yet, but it's time to prepare—physically and psychologically—for a sudden stop to all life outside your home.
[...] Whether you are reading this in your living room in Vancouver, office in London, or on a subway in New York City, you need to think hard, and fast, about two crucial questions: Where, and with whom, do you want to spend the next six to 12 weeks of your life, hunkered down for the epidemic duration? And what can you do to make that place as safe as possible for yourself and those around you?
Your time to answer those questions is very short—a few days, at most. Airports will close, trains will shut down, gasoline supplies may dwindle, and roadblocks may be set up. Nations are closing their borders, and as the numbers of sick rise, towns, suburbs, even entire counties will try to shut the virus out by blocking travel. Wherever you decide to settle down this week is likely to be the place in which you will be stuck for the duration of your epidemic.
To appreciate what lies ahead for the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, pay heed to Italy, France, and Germany. The United States, for example, is currently tracking exactly where Italy was about 10 days ago. France and Germany, which track two to five days ahead of the United States, are now revving up measures akin to those taken by Italy, including lockdowns on movement and social activity. In a matter of days, the United States will follow suit.
[...] Once tough location decisions have been made, the household must be readied for a long siege. While panic-buying has led to stockpiles of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, getting through eight months of confinement with others will require a great deal more, both physically and psychologically. This is especially true for households that span generations.
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.
World-wide data as of: 20200615_140637 UTC: