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posted by martyb on Monday March 30 2020, @09:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the A-month's-worth-of-daily-stories-in-one-day dept.

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

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.

Apple Says Customers Must Wait to Pick Up Repairs Locked Inside its Retail Stores

Apple says customers must wait to pick up repairs locked inside its retail stores:

Apple hasn't said when its stores might reopen

Apple customers who didn't pick up devices dropped off for repairs within two days of the company closing all of its retail stores will have to wait to pick them up until the stores reopen, an Apple spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider.

When Apple announced on March 14th that it would be closing all retail stores outside China due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company said customers had a two-day window to retrieve any repairs. Apple tried to contact customers via phone and email to tell them they needed to pick up their devices, but any products that didn't get retrieved in that window can't be picked up until the stores reopen, the spokesperson told Business Insider.

In ERs Overwhelmed by COVID-19, Here's Who Might Get Treated—and Who Might Not

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

In a recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine, a group of medical ethicists and public health researchers made a series of conservative estimates, starting with the estimate that about 5 percent of the US population—about 16 million—will become infected with SARS-CoV-2 within the next three months. From there, about 8 percent of those cases may need to be hospitalized. That's 1.28 million hospital beds. Of those, 960,000 may need to be admitted to an ICU.

According to the American Hospital Association, there are just under 800,000 staffed beds in community hospitals. Estimates of the country's ICU beds for adult patients range from just 68,000 to 85,000.

[...] given the rapidly rising case counts in some place, it is likely that at least some US doctors will soon face difficult choices, much like their counterparts abroad. Some of those choices will be "extremely psychologically traumatic," the NEJM article authors write.

"The choice to set limits on access to treatment is not a discretionary decision, but a necessary response to the overwhelming effects of a pandemic," they write. "The question is not whether to set priorities, but how to do so ethically and consistently, rather than basing decisions on individual institutions' approaches or a clinician's intuition in the heat of the moment."

So, in an overwhelming pandemic, how should doctors decide whom to save?

The authors lay out six recommendations, guided by four fundamental values: maximizing benefits, treating people equally, giving priority to the worst off, and rewarding instrumental value (that is, giving priority to patients who can go on to help others, such as patients who are doctors).

Their first recommendation for how to ethically allocate care in the COVID-19 pandemic is to [...] prioritize saving the most lives and more years of life.

[...] Second, the researchers recommend giving health care workers priority for COVID-19 interventions

[...] [Third, among] many similar patients with similar prognoses, [...] things like beds and ventilators should be allocated randomly, such as in a lottery.

[...] [Fourth ...] the researchers say that priorities for some resources should differ from others and follow the latest scientific evidence.

[...] [Fifth] Those who agree to take on the risks of participating in trials of experimental vaccines or treatments should also receive some priority in treatment.

Lastly, [...] these recommendations apply equally among COVID-19 patients and all other types of patients.

The researchers recommend that individual health care institutions have committees or appointed officials to help craft and apply their own guidelines—shaped by the above recommendations. Hopefully, hospitals won't need to use them. But if they do, it will both help keep overburdened doctors from making traumatic decisions on their own and help ensure equal treatment of patients.

NEJM, 2020. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsb2005114 (About DOIs).

-- submitted from IRC

Australian Pubs Sell their Stock Before Stage 3 Closes them Down

Pubs in Australia are selling off their stock before the prime minister shuts down the country for COVID-19 control. Many large businesses have already shut down.

US Finally Has Plans for the Pandemic - It Now Leads in Infections

US finally has plans for the pandemic it now leads in infections:

On Thursday, the US passed a grim milestone: it surpassed China as the country with the largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases. The milestone was reached during what appears to be a growing public tug-of-war between senior Trump administration officials, who wish to see restrictions lifted as quickly as possible, and public health experts, who argue they're clearly still required for the time being. That tension may end up playing out in the implementation of a new plan being developed to guide states through their response to the pandemic.

One casualty in this fight: the work of epidemiologists. As these researchers continue to test the impact of different restrictions on the spread of infections, their models are necessarily producing different numbers. Those differences are now being dragged into the intensely political arguments about how best to respond to the pandemic.

[...] On Thursday, Trump sent a letter to US governors that contained a rough outline of a plan for containing the virus. The plan will involve extensive testing to identify the state of the virus on a per-county level. Counties will be placed in different risk categories according to the results of that testing, and the governors will be given a set of restrictions that should be put in place to help bring the risk down.

This approach is necessary in the US because the structure of government places authority for health issues in the hands of states. There is simply no mechanism by which the President can directly compel local authorities to implement these sorts of public health restrictions.

Unfortunately, that structure could threaten to undermine this program. Trump has generally tended to downplay the risk posed by SARS-CoV-2 and push the prospects of a return to normal activities, despite opposition by public health experts both within and outside the administration. While that tension is likely to play out in the crafting of the guidelines for this new policy, a number of Republican governors have decided to take an approach in keeping with Trump's wishes and declined to implement restrictions.

[...] epidemiologist Carl Bergstrom [...] publish[ed] a long lament on Twitter. We'll quote part of it below:

As infectious disease epidemiologists, biomedical researchers, and health professionals more broadly, we're fighting a battle against the biggest crisis in decades. But we are also fighting on a second front that we did not anticipate, fighting a battle against misinformation and disinformation in a hyper-partisan environment where our predictions and recommendations about the pandemic response are deeply politicized. Every twist and turn that the pandemic takes is seized upon by one side or other to claim that some fraction of us are incompetent if not outright mendacious.

Researchers are pilloried for updating their beliefs based on new information. In this environment, when unexpected facts come to light—a higher than anticipated [infectivity], for example—they are used to discredit scientists who made correct inferences given the data that they had available at the time.

To understand this pandemic, it's part of a scientist's job to produce numbers and projections, even though we know in advance that some of those will be wrong. Being wrong doesn't mean the models are useless or that the scientists were wrong. And it doesn't mean that the scientists are confused or know little about what they're modeling. These numbers are produced because they show the contrast between our actions and doing nothing—or what might happen if the virus turns out to behave differently than it appears to be.

Folding@Home Reaches 1.5 Exaflops With SARS-CoV-2 Projects

Folding@Home Reaches Exascale: 1,500,000,000,000,000,000 Operations Per Second for COVID-19

Folding@home has announced that cumulative compute performance of systems participating in the project has exceeded 1.5 ExaFLOPS, or 1,500,000,000,000,000,000 floating point operations per second. The level of performance currently available from Folding@home participants is by an order of magnitude higher than that of the world's most powerful supercomputer.

[...] The outbreak of COVID-19 has been taxing for a number of computational biology and chemistry projects. IBM recently formed its COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium that pools together major supercomputers run by various research institutions and technology companies in the USA to run research simulations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling. Cumulative performance of supercomputers participating in IBM's COVID-19 HPC Consortium is 330 PetaFLOPS.

Folding@home distributed computing project uses compute capabilities to run simulations of protein dynamics in a bid to better understand them and find cures for various diseases. Recently F@H started to run projects simulating theoretically druggable protein targets from SARS-CoV-2, which attracted a lot of attention as SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 are clearly the hottest topics these days.

Right Now People Are Pretty Fragile.' Coronavirus Creates Perfect Breeding Ground for Online Idiots

When Mak Kapetanovic reads people's jokey tweets and Facebook messages about the prospect of self-isolation with overbearing relatives as COVID-19 traverses the globe, he wants to see the funny side. But mostly, he feels a sense of deep disquiet. The 23-year-old anthropology student understands how feelings of loneliness, anger and alienation can consume you. And he knows the very dark places they can take you.

A few years ago, seeking refuge from uncertainty and turmoil, Kapetanovic found himself sucked into the narratives of white supremacist groups online. Now he fears the same conditions that sent him on the path to hate are fomenting in homes across the world.

"If people who are self-isolating together are angry at each other and not talking, that would be pretty bad," says Kapetanovic from his home in Jacksonville, Florida. He worries that tensions at home would compound an environment already fraught with fear and confusion. "Feelings of isolation, anger, grief and frustration, all of those things are happening. A lot of people are scared, and people are not sure what to think."

"It is the far right who always seem to take advantage of these insecurities," he adds.

Modelling Study Estimates Impact Of Physical Distancing Measures On Progression Of COVID-19 Epidemic

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

New modelling research, published in The Lancet Public Health journal, suggests that school and workplace closures in Wuhan, China have reduced the number of COVID-19 cases and substantially delayed the epidemic peak -- giving the health system the time and opportunity to expand and respond.

Using mathematical modelling to simulate the impact of either extending or relaxing current school and workplace closures, researchers estimate that by lifting these control measures in March, a second wave of cases may occur in late August, whereas maintaining these restrictions until April, would likely delay a second peak until October -- relieving pressure on the health services in the intervening months.

However, the authors caution that given the large uncertainties around estimates of the reproduction number (how many people an individual with the virus is likely to infect), and how long a person is infected on average, the true impact of relaxing physical distancing measures on the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic cannot be precisely predicted.

"The unprecedented measures the city of Wuhan has put in place to reduce social contacts in school and the workplace have helped to control the outbreak," says Dr Kiesha Prem from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, who led the research. "However, the city now needs to be really careful to avoid prematurely lifting physical distancing measures, because that could lead to an earlier secondary peak in cases. But if they relax the restrictions gradually, this is likely to both delay and flatten the peak."

[...] "Our results won't look exactly the same in another country, because the population structure and the way people mix will be different. But we think one thing probably applies everywhere: physical distancing measures are very useful, and we need to carefully adjust their lifting to avoid subsequent waves of infection when workers and school children return to their normal routine. If those waves come too quickly, that could overwhelm health systems," says co-author Dr Yang Liu from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Despite these important findings, the study has some limitations, including that it assumed no difference in susceptibility between children, and that the extreme distancing measures used in Wuhan may have increased the transmission within households. Finally, the model did not capture individual-level differences in contact rates, which could be important in super-spreading events, particularly early on in an epidemic.

He continues: "Given many countries with mounting epidemics now potentially face the first phase of lockdown, safe ways out of the situation must be identified... New COVID-19 country-specific models should incorporate testing, contract tracing, and localised quarantine of suspected cases as the main alternative intervention strategy to distancing lockdown measures, either at the start of the epidemic, if it is very small, or after the relaxation of lockdown conditions, if lockdown had to be imposed, to prevent health-care system overload in an already mounting epidemic."

Journal References:

Kiesha Prem, et al. The effect of control strategies to reduce social mixing on outcomes of the COVID-19 epidemic in Wuhan, China: a modelling study. The Lancet Public Health, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30073-6

Tim Colbourn. COVID-19: extending or relaxing distancing control measures. The Lancet Public Health, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30072-4

Lab Tests Using Antihistamines to Inhibit SARS-CoV-2 to Start at Helsinki University

Lead researcher Marja Jäättelä and her team from Danish Cancer Society Research Center (DCRC) have sent 12 samples of antihistamines shown to improve cancer treatment to Olli Vapalahti of Helsinki University who has set up a COVID-19 test lab.[1]

If they prove to be helpful in treating COVID-19 it would provide a much safer alternative to chloroquine and hydrochloroquine treatments, which seems to have a positive effect especially in combination with antibacterial azithromycin, but aren't as safe as antihistamines.

The specific allergy drugs who has a positive effect in cancer treatment is Loratadine where results show 24% lower chance of death and Ebastine showing 14% lower chance of death.[2]

[1]: (danish)
[2]: (danish)

In Politics And Pandemics, Russian Trolls Use Fear, Anger To Drive Clicks

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Facebook users flipping through their feeds in the fall of 2016 faced a minefield of targeted advertisements pitting blacks against police, southern whites against immigrants, gun owners against Obama supporters and the LGBTQ community against the conservative right.

Placed by distant Russian trolls, they didn't aim to prop up one candidate or cause, but to turn Americans against one another. The ads were cheaply made and full of threatening, vulgar language.

And, according to a sweeping new analysis of more than 2,500 of the ads, they were remarkably effective, eliciting clickthrough rates as much as nine times higher than what is typical in digital advertising. "We found that fear and anger appeals work really well in getting people to engage," said lead author Chris Vargo, an assistant professor of Advertising, Public Relations and Media Design at University of Colorado Boulder.

The study, published this week in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, is the first to take a comprehensive look at ads placed by the infamous Russian propaganda machine known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA) and ask: How effective were they? And what makes people click on them?

While focused on ads running in 2016, the study's findings resonate in the age of COVID-19 and the run-up to the 2020 election, the authors say.

[...] Collectively, the IRA spent about $75,000 to generate about 40.5 million impressions with about 3.7 million users clicking on them—a clickthrough rate of 9.2%.

That compares to between .9% and 1.8% for a typical digital ad.

While ads using blatantly racist language didn't do well, those using cuss words and inflammatory words (like "sissy," "idiot," "psychopath" and "terrorist") or posing a potential threat did. Ads that evoked fear and anger did the best.

[...] "This wasn't about electing one candidate or another," said Vargo. "It was essentially a make-Americans-hate-each-other campaign."

The ads were often unsophisticated, with spelling or grammatical errors and poorly photoshopped images. Yet at only a few cents to distribute, the IRA got an impressive rate of return.

"I was shocked at how effective these appeals were," said Vargo.

The authors warn that they have no doubt such troll farms are still at it.

According to some news reports, Russian trolls are already engaged in disinformation campaigns around COVID-19.

More information: Chris J. Vargo et al. Fear, Anger, and Political Advertisement Engagement: A Computational Case Study of Russian-Linked Facebook and Instagram Content, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly (2020). DOI: 10.1177/1077699020911884

See Also: Facebook takedowns reveal sophistication of Russian trolls

Trump Orders GM to Make Ventilators, Claims Company is "Wasting Time"

Trump orders GM to make ventilators, claims company is "wasting time":

President Donald Trump today ordered General Motors to make ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients and accused the company of "wasting time." Trump announced that he "signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use any and all authority available under the Defense Production Act to require General Motors to accept, perform, and prioritize Federal contracts for ventilators."

Hours before Trump took this step, GM said it is working with ventilator-maker Ventec Life Systems "to deliver the first ventilators next month and ramp up to a manufacturing capacity of more than 10,000 critical care ventilators per month with the infrastructure and capability to scale further."

Trump's statement did not specify how many ventilators GM should build, but he said that GM is moving too slowly:

Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive, but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course. GM was wasting time. Today's action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives.

Trump just yesterday was downplaying the need for ventilators, telling Fox News' Sean Hannity, "I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes, and they'll have two ventilators. And now, all of a sudden, they're saying, 'Can we order 30,000 ventilators?'"

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called Trump's statement "ignorant."

"So the point is, 'well they're in a stockpile, you must not need them' is just ignorant—of course you don't need them today," Cuomo told CNN. "You need them when you hit the apex, which is 30,000. We're not there yet."

White House objected to $1 billion cost

Earlier today, Trump used his Twitter account to accuse GM of demanding too much money for ventilators, saying the company "want[s] top dollar." He also told GM to "START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!!"

Separate reports suggest that the price per ventilator produced by GM would be below or at the low end of prices normally charged for ventilators, depending on features and capabilities.

Tesla Plans to Retool Solar Panel Factory to Make Medtronic Ventilators

Tesla plans to retool solar panel factory to make Medtronic ventilators:

Tesla is planning to retool its solar panel factory in Buffalo, New York, to manufacture medical ventilators, CEO Elon Musk said in a Wednesday tweet.

"Giga New York will reopen for ventilator production as soon as humanly possible," Musk tweeted. "We will do anything in our power to help the citizens of New York."

Tesla is making the ventilators in partnership with Medtronic. Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak confirmed the relationship in a Wednesday interview with CNBC.

[...] Ishrak added that "one of the products that we make, that is not our prime product right now, is one that is perfectly suitable at least in some of these instances, they will make."

He said that Tesla would build its manufacturing capabilities "in parallel while we're focusing on the product that is our largest-volume product, which is the PB 980. We will do everything we can to help them."

Experts Increasingly Question Advice Against Widespread Use of Face Masks

Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, the message from Western public health authorities has been pretty uniform in stating that the public at large shouldn't be wearing face masks to protect against COVID-19. Surgeon General Jerome Adams even sent an all-caps message to all Americans in late February imploring them to "STOP BUYING MASKS!" because they are "NOT effective" for the general public. Experts, however, aren't so sure that's the case, particularly considering that health authorities in some Asian countries have been calling on everyone to wear face masks to prevent the virus from spreading.

[...] "It's not to protect yourself. It's to protect people against the droplets coming out of your respiratory tract." Plus if everyone is wearing them it reduces any stigma attached to the face masks themselves.

Traffic Decrease During Partial Lockdown

Denmark has a partial lockdown since March 11th. Bars, restaurants, hairdressers, fitness centers, etc. are closed. People are encouraged to work from home if possible. Factories, workshops, groceries etc are not closed.

The effect on traffic is interesting. The latest statistics for the state roads is that the traffic has been reduced by 47% on March 23rd when compared to February 28th. No statistics for county or other roads, but the numbers for traffic accidents has dropped by approximately 54% so it is fair guess that traffic has been cut in half. Source: (direct google translate doesn't work so you have to copy-paste).
Statistics for other countries will likely be different due to differences in population density, infrastructure, urban sprawl, etc.

People of course don't currently drive to the fitness center or cinema, but a drop of ~50% seems surprisingly large to me. Do people really make that many non-essential trips?

Please enlighten us with traffic and traffic accident numbers from your country if they are available.

Life is Too Important to Take Things Seriously -- 40 Coronavirus Jokes

40 Of The Funniest Coronavirus Jokes To Lift Up Your Spirits During Self-Isolation:

The threat of coronavirus is weighing on every one of us. But no matter how hard it gets, there's always a cold weapon known as a sense of humor. And some people aren't missing a chance to spice up the hard times with killer jokes, viral memes, and deadly funny quips. All puns intended, of course.

Let's take a look at these hand-picked comical gems compiled by Bored Panda, and after you're done, parts one and two are waiting here and here. Don't forget to upvote your favorites and share them with your friends. But remember to stay alone when laughing together!

Some of these are absolutely hilarious! (My faves are: 3, 7, 9, 11, 19, 22, 26, and 30. I haven't made it to the other two pages yet!)

President Trump Is So Upset About This Ad Showing His Failed Handling Of COVID-19 That He's Demanding it be Taken Down

President Trump Is So Upset About This Ad Showing His Failed Handling Of COVID-19 That He's Demanding It Be Taken Down:

President Trump Is So Upset About This Ad Showing His Failed Handling Of COVID-19 That He's Demanding It Be Taken Down

Free Speech

Has no one explained to Donald Trump how the Streisand Effect works yet? His campaign has apparently been sending laughably ridiculous threat letters to various TV stations that have been airing an advertisement put together by a group called Priorities USA, criticizing the President's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The ad highlights Trump's repeated statements playing down the virus and insisting that he had things under control, even as the numbers of infected started to rise exponentially. It's a pretty effective ad. You can see it here.

Priorities also posted the ad to Twitter, and according to a Fox News article, the campaign has also asked Twitter to "flag a nearly identical ad... but the social media giant refused."

The letter is amazing in three separate, but equally dumb ways. First, it focuses solely on just one of the lines that the ad quotes Trump saying: "this is their new hoax." He did say that -- as the letter from his campaign readily admits.

[...] But the fact that the letter literally spends three pages whining about just the "hoax" line, while not mentioning any of the rest of the ad is them totally conceding all of the other moronic stuff the President has said. Indeed, one of the lines -- the "15 people" line -- is also in the ad, and the Trump campaign apparently has no problem with you knowing that he completely downplayed how many people were going to be impacted by COVID-19.

The second dumb thing about the letter, of course, is that the campaign just called a shit ton of attention to it. The ad got some attention, but now it's getting way way way more attention. And even if you took out the hoax line, it's a pretty damning account of a President who refuses to take responsibility or to recognize the seriousness of what has happened under his watch.

The third dumb thing about it is that this is the Trump campaign. They're famous for posting and highlighting selectively edited videos of people they dislike. Hell, at around the same time they were apparently sending this letter, the campaign's Twitter feed posted a heavily edited video of Joe Biden, presenting his recent TV appearances much more out of context than anything in the Priorities ad. Hilariously, the letter cites a bunch of fact checking sites -- including The Washington Post, a company that the campaign itself is currently suing, and which Trump himself regularly accuses of publishing fake news about him. And, yet, if we were to look through the fact check sites quoted in the letter, we'd find that they regularly claim that Trump himself is spewing false information -- and that's never ever stopped Trump, so why should it stop his opponents?

[...] Redacted PUSA Letter (PDF)
Redacted PUSA Letter (Text)

Charter Gives Techs $25 Gift Cards Instead of Hazard Pay During Pandemic

Charter gives techs $25 gift cards instead of hazard pay during pandemic:

Charter Communications is giving its cable technicians $25 restaurant gift cards instead of hazard pay for going into customer homes during the coronavirus pandemic, BuzzFeed reported yesterday. The gift cards are a "token of our appreciation," an internal email from management on Monday said, BuzzFeed reported. Of course, many restaurants are closed during the pandemic, so restaurant gift cards aren't the most useful perk Charter management could have chosen.

"These gift cards never expire, so if you choose a restaurant that is currently not open, the card will remain valid for future use... Please take some time out of your busy day to enjoy a meal and recharge," the email read.

Several Charter employees did not appreciate the minimal gesture. "It's really insensitive, it shows they don't care," one New York City-based technician told BuzzFeed. "You think a gift card is supposed to make us feel better?"

No hand sanitizer or gloves

BuzzFeed previously reported that Charter technicians are being sent to customer homes without protective equipment such as masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. The internal email to Charter technicians said the company has now "secured access to hand sanitizer and gloves, which would be available for workers to use 'in the next few weeks,'" according to BuzzFeed. Numerous customers have asked Charter techs "why they aren't in full protective gear."

[...] Charter, operator of Spectrum TV and Internet service, is the second-largest cable company in the US after Comcast. Charter has been slow to let call-center workers and other office-based employees work from home during the pandemic. We interviewed several Charter employees about their work conditions last week, with one saying a call center is "an absolute nightmare breeding ground for germs on a normal basis."

Second Chinese Company Sends 90 Tonnes of Australian Medical Supplies to China

Another Chinese company sent 90 tonnes of medical supplies out of Australia in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The shipment included hand sanitiser, gloves and masks. Greenland's Australian staff were deployed from normal HR and management duties to go out shopping for masks, sanitiser, thermometers and gloves to be sent to Wuhan. The company in question, Greenland, is a property developer not a medical supplies company.

Australia is Now Locked Down

Due to fears that COVID-19 will spread Australia is now locking down further by order of the Prime Minister. Public gatherings will now be limited to just two people, under tough new restrictions, and outdoor gyms, skate parks and boot camps closed from today.

NEJM: Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1

From correspondence to the New England Journal of Medicine: Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1:

(Emphasis added.)

We evaluated the stability of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 in aerosols and on various surfaces and estimated their decay rates using a Bayesian regression model (see the Methods section in the Supplementary Appendix, available with the full text of this letter at SARS-CoV-2 nCoV-WA1-2020 (MN985325.1) and SARS-CoV-1 Tor2 (AY274119.3) were the strains used. Aerosols (<5 μm) containing SARS-CoV-2 (105.25 50% tissue-culture infectious dose [TCID50] per milliliter) or SARS-CoV-1 (106.75-7.00 TCID50 per milliliter) were generated with the use of a three-jet Collison nebulizer and fed into a Goldberg drum to create an aerosolized environment. The inoculum resulted in cycle-threshold values between 20 and 22, similar to those observed in samples obtained from the upper and lower respiratory tract in humans.

Our data consisted of 10 experimental conditions involving two viruses (SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1) in five environmental conditions (aerosols, plastic, stainless steel, copper, and cardboard). All experimental measurements are reported as means across three replicates.

[...] SARS-CoV-2 was more stable on plastic and stainless steel than on copper and cardboard, and viable virus was detected up to 72 hours after application to these surfaces (Figure 1A), although the virus titer was greatly reduced (from 103.7 to 100.6 TCID50 per milliliter of medium after 72 hours on plastic and from 103.7 to 100.6 TCID50 per milliliter after 48 hours on stainless steel). The stability kinetics of SARS-CoV-1 were similar (from 103.4 to 100.7 TCID50 per milliliter after 72 hours on plastic and from 103.6 to 100.6 TCID50 per milliliter after 48 hours on stainless steel). On copper, no viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 4 hours and no viable SARS-CoV-1 was measured after 8 hours. On cardboard, no viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 24 hours and no viable SARS-CoV-1 was measured after 8 hours (Figure 1A).

[...] We found that the stability of SARS-CoV-2 was similar to that of SARS-CoV-1 under the experimental circumstances tested. This indicates that differences in the epidemiologic characteristics of these viruses probably arise from other factors, including high viral loads in the upper respiratory tract and the potential for persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 to shed and transmit the virus while asymptomatic.3,4 Our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is plausible, since the virus can remain viable and infectious in aerosols for hours and on surfaces up to days (depending on the inoculum shed). These findings echo those with SARS-CoV-1, in which these forms of transmission were associated with nosocomial spread and super-spreading events,5 and they provide information for pandemic mitigation efforts.

[...] This letter was published on March 17, 2020, at

Neeltje van Doremalen, Trenton Bushmaker, Dylan H. Morris, et al. Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1. Letter to New England Journal of Medicine, March 2020 DOI:

Amazon Has Workers Who Tested Positive for COVID-19 in 10 Warehouses

Amazon has workers who tested positive for COVID-19 in 10 warehouses - Business Insider:

  • Local news reports indicate that at least seven Amazon warehouses in the US have confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • Amazon has also had confirmed coronavirus cases in three of its European warehouses.
  • Amazon has had to balance the safety of its employees against skyrocketing demand for its services amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Amazon now has COVID-19 cases across 10 of its warehouses globally and faces growing pressure from unions and workers-rights groups to close its facilities.

Local news outlets have reported that there are seven cases in Amazon's warehouses: In New York, Kentucky, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Connecticut, and Oklahoma, workers have tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Last week, a delivery station in Queens, New York, was temporarily closed; it was the first US Amazon facility to detect a case of the virus.

Athena, a workers-rights advocacy group, said workers at Amazon's warehouse in Staten Island, New York, had to continue working while the facility was being cleaned after the case was confirmed this week.

Amazon had already confirmed that three warehouses in Europe (two in Spain and one in Italy) had cases of the virus, but it ruled out closing warehouses, prompting its Italian workers to strike.

[...] While Amazon has temporarily closed some facilities for deep cleaning in the wake of COVID-19 cases, it has not halted operations at any.

This contrasts with the treatment of white-collar tech workers — Amazon and other major US tech firms have closed offices and mandated that these employees work from home.

'Stop Price Gouging,' 33 Attorneys General Tell Amazon, Walmart, Others

'Stop Price Gouging,' 33 Attorneys General Tell Amazon, Walmart, Others:

'Stop Price Gouging,' 33 Attorneys General Tell Amazon, Walmart, Others Enlarge this image

Online platforms have "an ethical obligation" to root out price gouging on hand sanitizer and other high-demand products during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond, top law enforcement officials from across the country say.

In letters to Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Facebook and Craigslist on Wednesday, 33 attorneys general say these companies' efforts to crack down on overpriced items on their selling platforms have so far "failed to remove unconscionably priced critical supplies."

The officials are calling on the companies to create policies that look at prices historically to detect surges, set up a portal for shoppers to report pricing complaints and proactively monitor and respond to spiking prices at all times and not just during emergencies.

[...] Shoppers have filed hundreds of complaints of massive price hikes on face masks, sanitizers and other supplies online as they rushed to stock up for the coronavirus pandemic. This continued even as the companies cracked down, removing or even banning listings of particular products.

The attorneys general cited sellers on Craigslist and Facebook as jacking up prices on hand sanitizer by as much as 10 times the normal cost.

[...] Price gouging laws vary across the U.S., but they generally go after retailers and wholesalers for unfair markups, particularly during emergencies. Many states give some flexibility for prices to go up in response to shortages and hoarding behavior, typically by around 10% to 30% over prices in earlier months.

Hertz is Giving NYC Health-Care Workers Free Car Rentals During Coronavirus Epidemic

Hertz is giving NYC health-care workers free car rentals during coronavirus epidemic - Roadshow:

Given the fairly constant barrage of awful stuff coming at us through the news lately, it's a bit of a relief when you see a company going out of its way to help make things better.

That's the case with Hertz and its plan to help New York City health-care workers during the coronavirus epidemic by offering them free car rentals until the end of April, the company announced Wednesday.

See, Hertz is having a pretty bad time right now because so much of its business is tied to the travel industry, and we all know how that's going. This means that the huge fleet of rental cars that Hertz maintains is mostly sitting idle, collecting dust in lots. In fact, its fleet utilization is down to around 20% right now, Hertz CEO Kathryn Marinello told the Wall Street Journal. It usually hovers around the 80% mark.

"It's vital that healthcare workers have safe and reliable transportation during this time, and we are eager to help," Marinello said in a statement. "The dramatic decrease in travel means we have more vehicles to serve the most critical needs of the community. We're starting in New York City with healthcare workers and we'll continue to see how we can help during this crisis. It gives all of us at Hertz a sense of purpose and pride to lend our support as much as we can during this very difficult time."

'Officers Are Scared Out There': Coronavirus Hits US Police

More than a fifth of Detroit's police force is quarantined; two officers have died from coronavirus and at least 39 have tested positive, including the chief of police.

[...] For the 2,200-person department, that has meant officers working doubles and swapping between units to fill patrols. And everyone has their temperature checked before they start work.

An increasing number of police departments around the country are watching their ranks get sick as the number of coronavirus cases explodes across the U.S. The growing tally raises questions about how laws can and should be enforced during the pandemic, and about how departments will hold up as the virus spreads among those whose work puts them at increased risk of infection.

"I don't think it's too far to say that officers are scared out there," said Sgt. Manny Ramirez, president of Fort Worth Police Officers Association.

Nearly 690 officers and civilian employees at police departments and sheriff's offices around the country have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an Associated Press survey this week of over 40 law enforcement agencies, mostly in major cities. The number of those in isolation as they await test results is far higher in many places.


In the tiny West Texas community of Marfa, Police Chief Estevan Marquez instructed his four officers not to pull over cars for minor traffic infractions, especially if they're passing through from areas already hit by the virus.

He can't afford for anyone to get sick.

FBI Learned of Coronavirus-Inspired Bomb Plotter through Radicalized US Army Soldier

Now this is interesting, in an Oklahoma City bomber Timmy McVeigh sort of way.
Info from ABC News:

The suspected white supremacist who plotted to bomb a hospital facing the coronavirus crisis was in touch with a then-active U.S. Army soldier who wanted to launch his own attack on a major American news network and discussed targeting a Democratic presidential candidate, according to an FBI alert summarizing the case.

On Tuesday, as 36-year-old Timothy Wilson was on the verge of trying to detonate a car bomb at a Kansas City-area medical center, agents from the FBI's field office in Missouri attempted to arrest him. But shots were fired, fatally wounding Wilson, according to the FBI.

[...] Ahead of Tuesday's incident, Wilson "espoused white supremacist ideology" and "made a threat that if any agent attempted to [search his property] they should 'bring a lot of body bags," said the FBI alert, distributed to state and local law enforcement agencies in the region on Wednesday.

Patients at Risk of Drug-Induced Sudden Cardiac Death in COVID-19

Patients at risk of drug-induced sudden cardiac death in COVID-19:

In the meantime, the pandemic, with over 400,000 confirmed cases worldwide already, is driving researchers to find safe and effective therapies for patients with COVID-19, and an antimalarial drug is potentially on the front lines of that effort. While new and repurposed drugs are being tested in clinical trials, some of these promising drugs are simultaneously being used off-label for compassionate use to treat patients.

Some of the medications being used to treat COVID-19 are known to cause drug-induced prolongation of the QTc of some people. The QTc is an indicator of the health of the heart's electrical recharging system. Patients with a dangerously prolonged QTc are at increased risk for potentially life-threatening ventricular rhythm abnormalities that can culminate in sudden cardiac death.

"Correctly identifying which patients are most susceptible to this unwanted, tragic side effect and knowing how to safely use these medications is important in neutralizing this threat," says Michael J. Ackerman, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic genetic cardiologist. Dr. Ackerman is director of the Mayo Clinic Windland Smith Rice Comprehensive Sudden Cardiac Death Program.

A study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings details more information about potential dangers and the application of QTc monitoring to guide treatment when using drugs that can cause heart rhythm changes. Dr. Ackerman is the senior author of the study.

Hydroxychloroquine is a long-standing preventive and treatment drug for malaria. It also is used to manage and minimize symptoms of inflammatory immune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. In laboratory tests, hydroxychloroquine can prevent the SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 viruses from attaching to and entering cells. If these antiviral abilities work the same way in animals and humans, the drug could be used to treat patients and limit the number of COVID-19 deaths.

[...] On a cellular level, potential QT-prolonging medications, like hydroxychloroquine, block one of the critical potassium channels that control the heart's electrical recharging system. This interference increases the possibility that the heart's rhythm could degenerate into dangerous erratic heart beats, resulting ultimately in sudden cardiac death.

Accordingly, Mayo Clinic cardiologists and physician-scientists have provided urgent guidance on how to use a 12-lead ECG, telemetry or smartphone-enabled mobile ECG to determine the patient's QTc as a vital sign to identify those patients at increased risk and how to ultimately minimize the chance of drug-induced sudden cardiac death.

Indy 500 Postponed Due to Coronavirus

Indy 500 postponed due to coronavirus - Roadshow:

Well, given the widespread cancellations and postponements of everything from concerts and movie releases to auto shows and sporting events, it should come as no surprise to learn that the organizers of the Indy 500 are pushing America's biggest open-wheel race back to Aug. 23.

This news -- which was announced on Twitter on Thursday -- comes on the heels of several other high-profile cancellations and pushbacks from Goodwood and Formula 1 due to the widespread quarantines put in place to combat COVID-19.

Obviously, moving a race like the Indy 500 is a massive disappointment to fans, but given the seriousness of the global pandemic, it's the smart move. That rings especially true when you consider that the Indy 500 typically draws a crowd numbering around 300,000 people on race day alone.

PPEs Will Be Needed Across The World

There are reports that hospitals do not have enough Personal Protective Equipment to handle this pandemic around the world. Millions of N95 masks , face shields, gloves and gowns will be needed.

Are you a maker?

There are a grass roots efforts by makers who are seeing what they can do to help. If you have a 3d printer, perhaps it is time to contact any local hospitals to see how you can help.

Here is one example of a group who want to help in Kitchener Ontario.

Photographer Captures Trump's Handwritten 'Chinese' Virus Revision On Speech Script

Photographer Captures Trump's Handwritten 'Chinese' Virus Revision On Speech Script:

Trump on Wednesday dismissed the idea that the term "Chinese virus" was in any way racist. "It comes from China," he said. "It's not racist at all. I want to be accurate."

It's not accurate. Trump's own top health advisers, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield have said it is inappropriate and inaccurate to label the novel coronavirus as the "Chinese virus."

The correct term is coronavirus (officially SARS-CoV-2), which causes the disease COVID-19. Those are the terms international scientists, the World Health Organization, U.S. health officials, physicians and much of the general public use.

More on Cloroquine/Azithromycin. And On Dr. Raoult.

More on Cloroquine/Azithromycin. And On Dr. Raoult.:

Dr. Didier Raoult of Marseilles and his co-workers have published another preprint on clinical results with the chloroquine/azithromycin combination that their earlier work has made famous. And I still don't know what to think of it.

This is going to be a long post on the whole issue, so if you don't feel like reading the whole thing, here's the summary: these new results are still not from randomized patients and still do not have any sort of control group for comparison. The sample is larger, but it's still not possible to judge what's going on. And on further reading, I have doubts about Dr. Raoult's general approach to science and doubts about Dr. Raoult himself. Despite this second publication, I am actually less hopeful than I was before.

It is a long story, but he backs up his summary with copious supporting documents and analysis. If you are at all skeptical about his conclusions, I would strongly recommend reading the entire story.

Trump Extends Federal Social Distancing Guidelines to April 30

Trump extends federal social distancing guidelines to April 30:

The 15-day guidelines Trump announced two weeks ago were set to expire on Monday, and the President had suggested over the past week that he was looking to relax them, at least in some parts of the country. He even floated Easter, on April 12, as a potential date by which the country could return to normal.

But on Sunday he said he'd decided to extend the guidelines -- which include suggested limits on large gatherings -- to April 30, a sign his earlier predictions were overly rosy.

[...] The announcement marked an abrupt turnaround from a week ago when Trump said he was convinced the distancing restrictions were causing irreparable damage to the economy.

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

Related Stories

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

CoronaVirus (SARS-CoV-2) Roundup 2020-03-12 93 comments

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

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: - 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.

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

Coronavirus Roundup 03/22/2020 88 comments

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

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:

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

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
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(1) 2
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by krishnoid on Monday March 30 2020, @09:16PM (9 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Monday March 30 2020, @09:16PM (#977369)

    In the future, could these be sort-ordered by semantic content -- terror factor, sciencey-ness, social media impact, or something? Just a rough cut at most-to-least (or reverse) would be fine, just to make it a little easier to gradually absorb while skimming down the summary list.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Monday March 30 2020, @09:35PM

      by takyon (881) <> on Monday March 30 2020, @09:35PM (#977373) Journal

      Maybe we could do a table of contents.

      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @10:11PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @10:11PM (#977387)

      >In the future

      Spotted the optimist :D

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by DannyB on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:27PM (1 child)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:27PM (#977624) Journal

        Not optimist. Procrastinator. All objects of type Future are a result of Lazy Evaluation.

        To transfer files: right-click on file, pick Copy. Unplug mouse, plug mouse into other computer. Right-click, paste.
        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday April 01 2020, @12:59PM

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 01 2020, @12:59PM (#978007) Journal

          All objects of type Future are a result of Lazy Evaluation.

          Or Task as the C# guys call it. Still lazy procrastinators, just with a corporate-speak twist.


    • (Score: 2) by driverless on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:55AM

      by driverless (4770) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:55AM (#977488)

      And put links in the abstracts. For example the claim that Australian pubs are selling out their stocks has no link, is submitted by Anonymous Coward, and a quick Google gives no useful hits beyond generic stuff about bars closing. AFAICT the source for that story is this [].

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:03AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:03AM (#977518)

      meaningful stats...

      Great there are X number sick or dead or white or tested or ... What is the X vs the population? With that you can compare real rate in the US to UK to China to ....

      What is count for one day to next? Not total, but the change? Then you can see if graphic is going up, down, plateauing.

      This is problem with ALL reporting of this infection. BIG number sell more and make people scared. You know the "DOW" is all marketing hype. That was what it s for when it was created century+ ago. Since then we are now on what the "DOW" v150? So what does the "DOW" v1 look like today at or near 0? Definitely nothing like current "DOW"

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by janrinok on Tuesday March 31 2020, @06:50AM (2 children)

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2020, @06:50AM (#977540) Journal

        It takes a minimum of 2 editors several hours to produce the round-up every few days. It is very labour intensive but remains more effective than publishing each story individually. If we publish each story as it comes in the COVID-19 stories will simply swamp all of the other submissions that cover a complete range of topics. Remember we are primarily a discussion site manned by volunteers and not a news aggregator attempting to take on the major media companies. There are currently 13 story slots on a weekday and 10 each day at the weekend. We try to share those slots as much as we can over all the topics for which we have submissions.

        If you want the latest figures you can go to several sites:

        and I am sure that there are many other similar sites. You can do the calculations for your own area of interest.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:54PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:54PM (#977697)

          I would put these on a subdomain or in a category.

          • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday April 01 2020, @07:58AM

            by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 01 2020, @07:58AM (#977971) Journal

            We are looking at various ways of solving the problem - but making changes to the software (which we cannot do at present except for trivial things) or making changes to the database itself (which would probably have to be permanent) have long-lasting downsides and potential problems that haven't been thought through yet.

  • (Score: 1) by Hauke on Monday March 30 2020, @10:10PM

    by Hauke (5186) on Monday March 30 2020, @10:10PM (#977386)

    Regarding the "Priorities USA" ad, Politifact has a good read. []

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @10:13PM (14 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @10:13PM (#977388)

    Buying masks limits the supply for necessary services.

    Making masks at home increases the supply and multiplies the effect of social distancing.

    This is low hanging fruit that is strangely being discouraged by the administration.

    In a resource limited situation, instead of fearing the people, why not ask and educate them to make more resources?

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by khallow on Monday March 30 2020, @10:44PM (12 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 30 2020, @10:44PM (#977396) Journal
      The key manufacture problem is that you need a pretty high quality mask to do a good job of keeping the virus (which is somewhere around dozens to hundreds of nanometers wide) in or out, something you can't just make at home. Further, there's a bunch of idiots out there who would think that merely wearing a mask keeps them safe - the typical moral hazard of imperfect safety equipment - and would engage in behaviors that spread infection.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Username on Monday March 30 2020, @11:15PM (1 child)

        by Username (4557) on Monday March 30 2020, @11:15PM (#977410)

        Yeah, respirators aren't something an average person can make at home. I doubt the average person even knows the correct way to wear it, or is healthy enough to wear one. You need to be tested and qualified to wear a respirator. have to go into a hospital and blow into a tube that determines lung capacity then a nurse or doctor writes it up to be certified for two years. I have three supplied air ones that cost over $1,000 each, not including the compressors and filters. Somehow I doubt debbie's knitted face mask will match up to these.

        All these homemade masks will do is suffocate people that have respiratory ailments.

        • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:22AM

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:22AM (#977477) Homepage

          Disclaimer, I was also resp-certified in a previous life, the employer had three classes of danger and I was in the middle. The application was particulate paint removal from Navy ships so it was a typical double-filtered 3M mask application with only safety-glasses as eye protection.

          The local seamstresses are using this situation as a business opportunity to sell "mask kits" (as AdaFruit would sell "project kits") so you can do your part in looking like a ninja, and with stylish colors. Of course putting them together for you costs extra.

          Also seeing a lot of other homemade cotton masking that look thicker than a bandanna but still evokes that "old western bank-robber" vibe. Frankly, there's also the eyes to worry about, and a face-shield isn't good enough, and gas-masks are so scary to the public that cops may be called over having one, because you might be a terrorist or something. Masks may just be security theater anyway, just to prevent you from wiping and picking your nose. But I'm thinking a mask with a pair of swimming goggles might be humorous and safe enough for public use.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @11:23PM (5 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @11:23PM (#977415)

        In a perfect world, sure, but an N95 still passes 5%.

        If you make an imperfect mask, all is not lost.

        If two folks wear a mask, it doubles the improvement between them.

        Say the mask only gets 50%. (Sneeze and cough range is more than 6 feet, so this doesn't seem unreasonable.)

        With 2 masks, 50% of 50% is 25%. The transmission rate is 1.35/day. A quarter of that is below 1 which would be game changing low hanging fruit.

        Also, you may be underestimating the ability of nerds to make masks. N95 may be considered old fashioned given a few iterations at home. Maybe 2 layers of teeshirt with something available in between actually works better than expected.

        Other countries have figured out how to do this.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @06:09AM (4 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @06:09AM (#977533)

          You think a home made mask gets anywhere near 50%? I'm not a mask technician, but I know HVAC. And to get anywhere near 50% of particles the size of this virus (200nm from what Google tells me) you are looking at a MERV 13 air filter. Depending on the humidity and the droplet size, you could get by with a MERV 11 to get 50% of those. I find it highly dubious that any home made fabric mask can get anywhere near the efficiency of those professionally made pleated air filters.

          • (Score: 2) by dak664 on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:44PM (3 children)

            by dak664 (2433) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:44PM (#977606)

            50% of the viral load, not 50% of the fine particles.

            If the severity depends on the initial viral load, then stopping one big drop could make the difference for you individually and everyone collectively.

            A knee-length sock split down to the heel and tied in back of the head with the foot part hanging down from nose and mouth can provide a large air exchange surface of a dense filter. Similar to the medeival plague-doctor masks.


            • (Score: 2) by edIII on Wednesday April 01 2020, @12:25AM (2 children)

              by edIII (791) on Wednesday April 01 2020, @12:25AM (#977847)

              Similar to the medeival plague-doctor masks.

              How well did those work again?

              Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 01 2020, @05:24AM (1 child)

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 01 2020, @05:24AM (#977937)

                How well did those work again?

                Apparently well enough or they wouldn't have been doing it for so long.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03 2020, @02:41AM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 03 2020, @02:41AM (#978550)

                  That is why I keep my tiger-repelling rock around. Not a single tiger in the years I've owned it.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:01AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:01AM (#977448)

        Even a terrible mask will reduce how often you touch your own face, which increases your chances of avoiding the virus. So it's no substitute for a (properly fitted) N95, but it's something.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:02AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:02AM (#977489)

        Really? []

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:54AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:54AM (#977497)


          From the article *you* linked []:

          “Homemade masks theoretically could offer some protection if the materials and fit were optimized, but this is uncertain,” Duchin said in an email. “It’s also possible that mask-wearing might increase the risk for infection if other recommendations (like hand washing and distancing) are less likely to be followed or if the mask is contaminated and touched.”

          He didn’t absolutely rule out masks, however. “Well-designed homemade or commercially manufactured masks for the public that did not draw on the supply needed by healthcare workers could potentially provide some protection,” Duchin said.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @04:42AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @04:42AM (#977513)

        Actually no, health care professionals are saying the vast majority of cases are spread through hand-face contact. Social distancing and wearing a mask to prevent yourself from touching your face are the primary safety methods. Homemade masks work well for this. Also, if someone is carrying the virus the mask limits their sneezes and coughs from spreading as far. Supposedly the virus also doesn't carry very far in the air without sufficient wind. So unless someone coughs or sneezes directly on someone at close range then a homemade mask is a totally reasonable option.

        As you say, if it makes people think they are suddenly safe enough to engage in stupid behavior then that is a problem. Of course such people will probably do stupid things anyway.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:37PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:37PM (#977628) Journal

      Buying masks limits the supply for necessary services.

      There are plenty of masks like these [] that can be had without any long shipping delay.

      To transfer files: right-click on file, pick Copy. Unplug mouse, plug mouse into other computer. Right-click, paste.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @10:21PM (24 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @10:21PM (#977390)

    The epidemic of making important decisions without realistic data, driven by media fearstorm, is the worse one than the virus.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @11:00PM (17 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @11:00PM (#977402)

      Even worse is the resulting mass unemployment due to the shutdown of the economy. How much of the US economy is small and medium business? The government checks won't do very much to help them.

      The big boys will be fine. At least my organization seems to have a seat at the table and had a full overview of the government plans the first week of March. Planned travel was discouraged on the 3rd and canceled on the 4th. Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe's are open for normal business, while the family owned hardware store is "closed until further notice".

      • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Monday March 30 2020, @11:08PM (2 children)

        by Sulla (5173) on Monday March 30 2020, @11:08PM (#977408) Journal

        Part of the most recent bill is small business loans for the purpose of covering payroll. Companies that pay their employees and don't lay them off won't have to pay back the loan, ones that lay off employees will have to pay back the loan. Both Dems and Reps say that this is included in the bill, but will have to see how it is implemented.

        Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @11:40PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @11:40PM (#977420)

          So what about lease payments? Not every business expense is payroll. And how much is available in terms of loans? The government is throwing around weeks like there is no tomorrow. That will be a lot of pay periods.

          Companies that pay their employees and don't lay them off won't have to pay back the loan, ones that lay off employees will have to pay back the loan.

          That makes it even riskier. The longer it goes and the fixed operations costs accrue, the greater the debt when they do finally have to throw in the towel.

          It reminds me a little bit of when the politically connected wanted to make money as the land demand reached a low income black area in the city: The city tore up the main road and waited until the few small businesses eking out a survival there were choked out, then once the land grab was completed they filled in the road again.

          • (Score: 2) by drussell on Tuesday March 31 2020, @08:40AM

            by drussell (2678) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @08:40AM (#977559) Journal

            More importantly, what good is a loan to make payroll if you're not able to conduct business for months?
            How on earth are you going to pay months of expenses with no revenue, let alone repay an additional loan?

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:57AM (3 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:57AM (#977445) Journal

        Unemployment benefits. The feds are contributing funds to the states to use for unemployment. More, the states are waiving those waiting weeks before benefits begin, and the benefits are about double what they would normally be. All the hoops that beneficiaries usually have to jump through are being eliminated, and it's all being done online or over the telephone.

        Those $1200 checks, alone, don't mean much. Those are only good for general living expenses for a couple of weeks, in most cases. Add that $1200 to the unemployment benefits, and you've got enough to get through a couple months of being out of work.

        Add in some other fringe bennies, such as the electric companies promising not to turn off your power for the duration of the emergency, and people might go on indefinitely before they starve to death.

        • (Score: 2) by drussell on Tuesday March 31 2020, @08:43AM (2 children)

          by drussell (2678) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @08:43AM (#977560) Journal

          You may not get evicted or have the power cut off for the next couple months, put you're still going to owe for it all.

          How is the average Joe supposed to repay two or three months of expenses afterwards?

          As soon as they're allowed to evict people or shut off the power again, it will likely all hit at once.

          • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:42PM (1 child)

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:42PM (#977596) Journal

            Do you really think so? The electric company knows that I've been right here, for thirty+ years, and they'll get their money. I don't have a landlord, but landlords know who is good for the money, and who can't be trusted. If you're being evicted, it's probably because you have a history. I mean, pretty much everyone is going to be hammered, right? You don't alienate good customers because of a world disaster. Not if you're smart, anyway.

            • (Score: 2) by edIII on Wednesday April 01 2020, @12:41AM

              by edIII (791) on Wednesday April 01 2020, @12:41AM (#977857)

              No, dude. It won't be because you have a history.

              Part of the housing problem is that so many houses are being rented instead of sold and owned. It's not a whole lot of individual speculative investors anymore. Back in the real estate heydays I'm sure you had people owning 10-50 houses at most, and an awful lot 4-5's. In 2008 all the banks refused to cooperate on loan renegotiations, and huge amounts of properties consolidated under large portfolios (100-1000) homes. As a result, it's all corporate. It's been consolidating for years with the ultimate beneficiaries buffered by layers of investments, and financial services, etc. They never hear or feel the pain beyond a financial report.

              Property management companies make the decisions, and it's all the more easier for somebody to be evicted when the person doing the evicting shrugs their shoulders and says, "It's corporate. I can't do anything".

              Since it's so easy apparently for people to be treated as sub-human production units, history will not be a deciding factor. All that matters is can you pay now.

              Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:04AM (7 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:04AM (#977451)

        If we have an overwhelmed medical system and hundreds of thousands or millions dead, that will do plenty of damage to the economy. There is no easy answer here.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:13AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:13AM (#977453)

          Keep in mind that the usual state for resources is just under "overwhelmed". Companies generally don't rent office space when much of it will remain empty. Restaurants (remember those?) generally don't schedule waitstaff unless they will be close to 100% busy. Hospitals aren't in the business of stocking empty beds either.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:06AM (5 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:06AM (#977490)

          When the current pandemic finally dies down, millions will have been infected and tens of thousands will have died, globally.

          • (Score: 2) by drussell on Tuesday March 31 2020, @08:47AM (2 children)

            by drussell (2678) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @08:47AM (#977561) Journal

            Tens of thousands have already died. 37829 at last count, currently increasing by almost 4000 per day and rising.

            Deaths will be in the hundreds of thousands, we're now just trying to keep it from rising to millions.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @09:29AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @09:29AM (#977567)

              Did you read the subject line friend? Apparently not.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:57PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:57PM (#977640)

                Yes they did, they made a realistic update from "tens of thousands" to "hundreds of thousands."

          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:35PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:35PM (#977586)

            Agreed. Sorry, I was speaking of the US only and the American government's push to reopen businesses as soon as possible. I keep seeing the question of reopening businesses presented as a false dichotomy: either reopen business soon or the economy takes horrific damage. But if we reopen business while coronavirus is still spreading rapidly and our medical system is overwhelmed then it will kill enough people to do even more damage to the economy.

            The silver lining is that this would prove once and for all that capitalists would slit old ladies' throats by the hundreds for the sake of a few percent of quarterly profit. But I'm not willing to sacrifice 5% or more of the people I care about to make a point.

            • (Score: 1, Disagree) by khallow on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:22PM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:22PM (#977682) Journal

              The silver lining is that this would prove once and for all that capitalists would slit old ladies' throats by the hundreds for the sake of a few percent of quarterly profit. But I'm not willing to sacrifice 5% or more of the people I care about to make a point.

              Then it's too bad they're not following the narrative, eh?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:58PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:58PM (#977699)

        big accident, i'm sure. war is coming, motherfuckers!

        • (Score: 2) by Alfred on Wednesday April 01 2020, @04:04AM

          by Alfred (4006) on Wednesday April 01 2020, @04:04AM (#977922) Journal
          Yeah, send a virus to kill off the old people who would tell you how bad war is because they remember it.
    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:21AM (4 children)

      by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:21AM (#977492)

      Yes, that would have been great had the relevant governments had gotten prepped with testing systems. That's exactly what South Korea did, and it worked. There were several other countries that didn't take the problem seriously, and the result has been thousands of dead people.

      And it's true they're working from an incomplete data set. That incomplete data set means that there are more cases of Covid-19 than we think. Probably a lot more. The people they're counting in the case numbers are the positive test results and the people in hospitals right now, which doesn't include people who got it but were asymptomatic and never got tested. So the scale of the problem is worse than officially reported.

      And if you're going to dismiss this all as fake news or something: My sister's a doctor in a heavily hit area, she's been seeing hundreds of patients with it, and almost definitely seen some of them die. She has absolutely no reason to lie to me about this.

      The reason lots of people are stuck doing these lockdowns and social distancing efforts is because that's the last option left before it gets even worse. You come into contact with an infected person, you're now almost definitely part of the problem. And if you think it can't happen to you for whatever reason ("I'm godly, God won't infect me", "I'm super-clean, I disinfect everything", "I'm young, it won't kill me", etc etc), well, a lot of the people who are infected right now thought exactly the same things.

      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:43AM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @03:43AM (#977493)

        Real people telling real facts, do not do that thing.

        • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:17PM (2 children)

          by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:17PM (#977604)

          She doesn't talk about losing patients, especially on a large scale, in the same way that many veterans don't talk about what they experienced during the war.

          The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @04:52PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @04:52PM (#977669)

            You hear that Mr. Anonymous Coward? How can you ask for accurate data in our National Emergency? It hurts people's feelings.

            • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:24PM

              by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:24PM (#977684)

              The accurate data says the same thing I'm saying. You want to pretend that said accurate data isn't real, so I confirmed from somebody with direct experience that I have every reason to trust. And you still don't believe it.

              I'm pretty sure the only thing that would convince you that the problem isn't overblown is if you or a loved one get a serious case of Covid-19.

              The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:01PM

      by TheRaven (270) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:01PM (#977601) Journal
      You mean the DKE-19 [] pandemic?
      sudo mod me up
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Sulla on Monday March 30 2020, @11:06PM (21 children)

    by Sulla (5173) on Monday March 30 2020, @11:06PM (#977407) Journal

    Experts Increasingly Question Advice Against Widespread Use of Face Masks

    This one is pretty interesting. I was talking to my pharmacist friend about this and I have listened to a couple of other doctors talk on the subject. They are taught to advice against the use of masks because that the benefit for untrained people wearing masks is negated because it will make them touch their faces more and make the more likely to touch their eyes. One of the doctors was saying that the evidence in either direction is just anecdotal because it would be difficult to study this.

    From what I have read, seen, and talked to folks about if people knew how to wear them properly they would be beneficial. Not adjusting them all the time, changing often, keeping hands away from face. I read that the average person touches their face tens of times a day, would wearing a mask increase those odds? A person rubbing their eyes many times a day isn't going to be at more risk from wearing a mask, but at least they will remove a possible vector.

    We should be wearing masks, not just during this outbreak but in general. Have the flu? Wear a mask. Cold? Wear a mask. Would be massive cultural shift because the west is so orientated on facial expressions but we might as well as a biproduct of winning the war against SARS-nCoV-2 try to beat the flu as well.

    Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by pipedwho on Monday March 30 2020, @11:23PM (4 children)

      by pipedwho (2032) on Monday March 30 2020, @11:23PM (#977414)

      The problem with advising against masks is not because of lack of protection for the wearer. It is that if said potentially asymptomatic carrier has a mask, they are less likely to spread the virus. Likewise, even if the non-infected recipient has a mask, the difference to them is at worst neutral going by the evidence and lack of evidence.

      Masks don't need to provide 100%/total protection. They just need to reduce the contagion factor. Combined with all the other methods in play (eg. social distancing, isolation, and detection/tracing/quarantine), it may be sufficient to avoid excessive authoritarian lock down measures that may cause unnecessary damage to economies. Once the contagion factor/gain is less than unity (by a reasonable safety margin), the virus will stop spreading exponentially and will slowly be eradicated. At worst it will slow down the spread to within available hospitalisation capacity until a vaccine is developed (or the virus is otherwise completely contained).

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @11:48PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @11:48PM (#977422)

        Masks don't need to provide 100%/total protection. They just need to reduce the contagion factor.

        Coincidentally, surgeons don't wear N95 masks during surgery. They wear much lighter disposable paper masks. Perfect is the enemy of good.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @11:59PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @11:59PM (#977423)

          They are loose fitting to prevent droplet based infections being passed to the patient. Almost as if half a coffee filter and length of underwear elastic could have saved us the cost of the shutdown if masks were made compulsory?

          • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:32AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:32AM (#977433)

            And waste the opportunity to keep people locked into their homes and afraid for their lives?

      • (Score: 2) by el_oscuro on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:14AM

        by el_oscuro (1711) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:14AM (#977426)

        I have a face shield that I bought for wood working []

        Now worn while in stores. Keeps my fingers from my face, my germs from other people, and might help a bit with other peoples germs too.

        SoylentNews is Bacon! []
    • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @11:39PM (13 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30 2020, @11:39PM (#977419)

      There simply isn't enough masks to go around but advising against them is foolish. The WHO keep repeating they're not seeing airborne transmission but refuse to address the fact the virus is viable in aerosol for upto 3 hours [] or that droplet based transmission is reduced if infected people are wearing masks.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:55AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:55AM (#977444)

        The WHO knowingly lied [] and Tedros is a known psychopath and mass murderer. [] A "troll" mod doesn't make these facts [] untrue.

      • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday March 31 2020, @07:31AM (11 children)

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2020, @07:31AM (#977546) Journal

        From the link that you provided:

        Now there are conflicting reports on whether the new coronavirus can. The studies suggesting that it can be aerosolized are only preliminary, and other research contradicts it, finding no aerosolized coronavirus particles in the hospital rooms of Covid-19 patients.

        The weight of the evidence suggests that the new coronavirus can exist as an aerosol — a physics term meaning a liquid or solid (the virus) suspended in a gas (like air) — only under very limited conditions, and that this transmission route is not driving the pandemic.

        Now what is the point that you were trying to make?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @10:54PM (10 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @10:54PM (#977825)

          Exactly as I said, that masks prevent droplet based transmission and there is evidence that the virus is viable in aerosol for 3 hours. How does the expert opinion contradict my claim? WHO claimed the virus is not airborne and that is untrue - measles is considered airborne because the viral particles are suspended in aerosol. I've never claimed aerosol was the primary method of transmission, just that it is a method of transmission. []

          Air samples, both in the rooms and in the hallway spaces (Figure 1B and 2), provide information about airborne viral shedding in these facilities. In room air samples were 63.2% positive by RT-PCR (mean concentration 2.86 copies/L of air).

          • WHO lied about person to person transmission in mid January despite being informed about it by Taiwan in late December
          • WHO lied about travel restrictions - as any epidemiological model allowing movement between populations will demonstrate
          • WHO failed to declare a pandemic until March and then blamed other countries "inaction" for WHO failure after much bullshit about "multiple epidemics" or as that's more commonly and correctly called: "a pandemic"
          • WHO now claim there is no "airborne" transmission and masks shouldn't be worn despite reviewed papers on viral infections with identical modes of transmission [] proving them wrong

          All the nonsense above is available on WHO twitter despite spreading disinformation about covid-19 being against twitter TOS and a criminal offense in some countries. This isn't incompetence, they are knowingly lying and it's not just a single "noble lie" to preserve PPE for medical staff.

          • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday April 01 2020, @07:48AM (9 children)

            by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 01 2020, @07:48AM (#977968) Journal

            Selective reading as well as selective quoting now?

            Aerosols only occur under VERY LIMITED CONDITIONS - they have been created in a laboratory but have not been found to significantly occur naturally.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 01 2020, @03:55PM (8 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 01 2020, @03:55PM (#978073)

              Aerosols only occur under VERY LIMITED CONDITIONS - they have been created in a laboratory but have not been found to significantly occur naturally.

              You're better than this.

              Let's consider Angie Rasmussen's galaxy brained contention that: []

              "there is no evidence that aerosol transmission occurs outside of aerosol-generating procedures in a hospital setting".

              In other words there is evidence that aerosol transmission occurs - as you already knew and also just admitted. Lying by omission or obfuscation is still lying whereas I presented relevant and truthful information. Imagine:

              "there is no evidence DNA recovered from the victim links the defendant outside of a laboratory setting".

              Complete fucking nonsense. Fauci admits: []

              "The thing that has inhibited that a bit is to make sure that we don’t take away the supply of masks from the health care workers who need them,” he continued. “But once we get in a situation where we have enough masks, I believe there will be some very serious consideration about more broadening this recommendation of using masks"

              While the actual research is summarized here [] we should also consider how disinformation becomes endemic:

              Another frequently referenced review on face masks and influenza states the familiar warning that masks could increase your risk of transmission. However, their cited evidence is not a research study, but a WHO info sheet about face masks that makes the same claim — without any citations to back up the claim.

              I previously linked a model showing effectiveness against influenza where 80% of a population wearing masks reduced transmission to 0. We can repurpose the same trivial equation as for herd immunity to estimate the amount of people with face masks required to stop this virus and the answer is around 2/3rds...

              (1 - R0) / R0
              (1 - 3) / 3 = 0.66r

              • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday April 01 2020, @07:23PM (7 children)

                by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday April 01 2020, @07:23PM (#978131) Journal

                no evidence that aerosol transmission occurs outside of aerosol-generating procedures in a hospital setting

                If it is NOT occurring, then it isn't a problem. Aerosols can be created, but 'there is no evidence that aerosol transmission occurs' outside of a hospital or laboratory. As neither is creating them intentionally - unless part of research - then they are not occurring at all. Aerosol transmission has been proven to occur in a laboratory, intentionally, as a result of scientific research but NOT as a naturally occurring phenomenon. They will only occur when somebody intentionally creates one. You have provided nothing to prove that any naturally occurring aerosol transmission is taking place outside of a laboratory.

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 01 2020, @08:21PM (6 children)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 01 2020, @08:21PM (#978142)

                  And you have provided nothing to refute it. A cheeky squirrel would steal bird food from the feeder in my parents garden, when we'd knock on the window the squirrel would dash to the flower bed with the food and turn its back. If it couldn't see us, then we must not have been able to see it. What does current research into infectious ballistic droplets say? []

                  People with influenza release potentially infectious aerosol particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, and breathe. However, many questions remain about the likelihood of the transmission of influenza from person to person by the airborne route. Our study shows for the first time that individuals with influenza cough out a greater volume of aerosol particles than they do when they are healthy. Further, many of these particles are in the respirable size fraction and thus can be easily inhaled and drawn down into the deepest parts of the lungs where they may be more likely to cause an infection.

                  Why is sars-cov-2 twice as infectious as seasonal influenza? If it's because of asymptomatic carriers then why would masks preventing droplet based and limiting potential for aerosol based transmission not be compulsory? Are we really going with the squirrel-brained argument, that because we've not observed aerosol based infection outside clinical settings it must not be happening?

                  • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:02AM (1 child)

                    by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:02AM (#978254) Journal

                    It is your responsibility to prove your claim - it is not mine to disprove it! Your link revealing 'current' research is dated 2012 and it is for influenza. Er, that is not current. COVID-19 is NOT influenza.

                    If you want to wear a mask- go ahead. Nobody is stopping you. But it is not the advice that we are being given. If we follow the advice about self-distancing and staying at home, self-isolating if any symptoms display, and stop going out unnecessarily, then the need for any additional protection measures are unnecessary for the vast majority of people.

                    The WHO are looking at changing their advice and recommending the widespread use of masks - but not because of aerosol transmission. It is because people are not self-distancing, they are not staying at home, they are not coughing into their sleeves in the manner recommended. And the latest research is indicating that uncontrolled coughing might spread the disease, but everyone has been given advice on how to protect others from coughs. If you stay at home and do not meet other people you do not need a mask. If you must go out then the minimum distance between people is 2 metres and everyone should was their hands regularly to avoid the transfer of the virus to the face - to avoid the virus entering the body by the mucous membranes which is the only undisputed route for infection currently.

                    Do you think that people will obey the advice on how to correctly fit, remove and dispose of facial masks any more than they have followed the advice given to them so far? I don't - I suspect they will simply remove the mask by unprotected hand while touching the parts that will have the highest proportion of captured matter and transfer it from the hand to surfaces and, even worse, the face.

                    It is possible that where you live you are being given different advice - but that is not necessarily a case of politicians lying to you but scientists evaluating the best policy to protect the maximum number of people. And that is exactly what governments should be doing.

                    Are we really going with the squirrel-brained argument, that because we've not observed aerosol based infection outside clinical settings it must not be happening?

                    I suggest that to stay safe you equip you and your neighbourhood with fully spec'ed NBC suits and respirators just to be 'safe' - after all, just because we haven't observed infections based on falling hair, body odour or flaking skin either. /sarcasm

                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:57PM

                      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:57PM (#978344)

                      It is your responsibility to prove your claim - it is not mine to disprove it! Your link revealing 'current' research is dated 2012 and it is for influenza. Er, that is not current. COVID-19 is NOT influenza.

                      What part of "current research into infectious ballistic droplets" are you pretending to have an issue with? Let's make this easy, does sars-cov-2 have the same method of human to human transmission as influenza? If you never observed your SO breaking wind outside the privacy of your own home, you would come to the "scientific" conclusion they never fart in public? Even the commonly referenced paper notes the virus is present in feces and aerosol is present in the toilet facilities. Do toilet facilities not exist outside of clinic settings?

                      And the latest research is indicating that uncontrolled coughing might spread the disease

                      Just not by aerosol, despite the fact coughing generates aerosol and larger droplets fall to the ground within about 6 ft?

                      to avoid the virus entering the body by the mucous membranes which is the only undisputed route for infection currently.

                      It's the only route for respiratory infection, the virus cannot permeate skin and is not a blood borne pathogen.

                      WHO claimed the virus was not spread by person to person transmission in mid January when Taiwan informed them in late December that it was. They advised against travel restrictions when any epidemiological model for a virus like this allowing movement between populations will infect all those populations. They claim the virus is not airborne when it has been found in air samples. I am afraid WHO is simply not a credible organization, they could hardly have done a better job of spreading this awful virus if they'd tried. If you are paying attention, you will take the WHO claim that masks would not impede spread within the context of their previous advice - as an outright lie!

                  • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:36AM (3 children)

                    by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @07:36AM (#978255) Journal

                    Let us assume that we follow your advice. Lets look at the logistics for one country - the UK. Population about 66 million people.

                    What is your policy on mask usage? Change the mask every day? Change the mask only after going outside? Well people in the UK are being advised to only shop when necessary but they are allowed to take daily exercise as long as they follow the guidelines on social distancing. So let us also assume that they go outside once per day.

                    In a week that would be 462 million masks per week, 1,980,000,000 masks per month. And that is just for a relatively small country. Now multiply that up for Europe, the USA or even the world!

                    Who would manufacture these masks to a standard sufficient to prevent aerosol transmission. This is not just a simple paper face mask, it would have to be more substantial than that - although I will take professional advice on this. But let us assume also that a simple mask is all that you are suggesting. I won't argue with you as it isn't something in which I have any particular expertise. How would they be distributed? Who would pay for the production and manufacture of the masks? Would you be compelled to wear one, or simply advised to do so? Or is it something that only the rich need - nobody cares about the poor or needy, they can be left to fend for themselves?

                    So, as people are being made jobless, homeless or penniless, let's impose another thing that they have to now obtain on top of all of the problems they are currently facing.

                    Or we can advise them on how to cough safely into their sleeve, advise them not to go outdoors unless absolutely necessary, tell them to wash their hands frequently and not to touch their face. We can leave it to personal choice until somebody comes up with a solution that is feasible.

                    By the way, you are not a budding mask entrepreneur are you?

                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:09PM (2 children)

                      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @04:09PM (#978349)

                      Who would manufacture these masks to a standard sufficient to prevent aerosol transmission.

                      Not required, expulsion of droplets and aerosol is almost entirely eliminated by simple dust masks. Aerosol is formed as droplets are projected at ballistic speeds, shedding surface water as they travel. This results in airborne particles of ~10um and below.

                      By the way, you are not a budding mask entrepreneur are you?

                      I wish but I'll just settle for my freedom. People expelling potentially fatal pathogens in a public space is not a "right" anyone has and face masks are a small price to pay.

                      • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:37PM (1 child)

                        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Thursday April 02 2020, @05:37PM (#978390) Journal

                        If all you need is something simple, why don't you do what most of the world is doing? Wrap a scarf over your mouth. Use a piece of cloth folded like the bandits in the westerns used to do. You don't need $$$ of masks, just let people take care of themselves.

                        Save the masks, which are already in short supply, for those who really do need them.

                        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @06:18PM

                          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02 2020, @06:18PM (#978403)

                          Save the masks, which are already in short supply, for those who really do need them.

                          This was the rationale behind not calling for public mask use. Masks should be more available in the coming weeks and will probably be recommended as the data comes in... []

                          (CNN)A prestigious scientific panel told the White House Wednesday night that research shows coronavirus can be spread not just by sneezes or coughs, but also just by talking, or possibly even just breathing.

                          "While the current [coronavirus] specific research is limited, the results of available studies are consistent with aerosolization of virus from normal breathing," according to the letter, written by Dr. Harvey Fineberg, chairman of a committee with the National Academy of Sciences.

                          As I've been trying to explain; the reason for this conclusion is the higher R0 in comparison to seasonal influenza which shares similar transmission characteristics. You could also listen to Dr John Campbell break it down, [] and may or may not choose to get a mask but please do keep well.

    • (Score: 2) by drussell on Tuesday March 31 2020, @08:52AM (1 child)

      by drussell (2678) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @08:52AM (#977563) Journal

      The only reason we are being told to not bother wearing masks here is simply because there aren't enough available.

      The experts from the Asian countries that are advising governments in places like Italy are absolutely horrified that people aren't wearing masks.

      If masks were actually plentiful, the health officials in the west would be singing a completely tune.

      It's just one of the things being essentially downplayed, essentially to help prevent general panic.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @11:29AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @11:29AM (#977578)

        Exactly this. Asia is seeing relatively better results and that is because now basically everybody is wearing a mask. But that's, in turn, because masks were already ubiquitous over here. People already regularly wear them when they're sick or during pollution. They seem to be having a significant impact. But in America where masks were already rare, there's just not enough supplies. And encouraging people to wear masks would result in people hoarding which would mean there would REALLY not be enough supplies.

        It's just a reminder that what organizations such as the WHO tell you is not necessarily in your own personal best interest, though it generally is in society's best interest. However, I care more about myself and my loved ones than society in general. Wait, not supposed to admit that, are we?

  • (Score: 2) by Username on Monday March 30 2020, @11:31PM (7 children)

    by Username (4557) on Monday March 30 2020, @11:31PM (#977417)

    These cited numbers are people that went to hospital and are in or out care patients. We all know normal people don't go to hospital for a cold or flu, so these are mostly hypochondriacs and the terminally ill types. People that have it or recovered that never went to hospital are not counted. Cant even use self reporting since many don't show any symptoms at all since they already have the antibodies from a previous similar infection. They need to do the antibody test of whatever representable portion of society to get an accurate interpretation of the spread and lethality of this disease.

    Everything here is a complete overreaction. Except the tesla thing, that seems normal. Nobody wants solar panels, and medical devices sell for a lot more. It's just business sense. Except I think every one of their boards will get rejected. Medical and military stuff is class 3, and tesla only does class 1. I doubt they will be making good boards any time soon.

    • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:23AM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:23AM (#977429)

      As many of us have experienced this past month, we went from, I guess call it awareness and rational preparation, to mass house arrest and unemployment.

      Who is driving this? Even most of the billionaire class would probably prefer making a living rather than subsisting on government handouts.
      One would think that the disease would be the end of the world, the way it is being handled, but look at the decision to remove COVID-19 from the list of High Consequence Infectious Disease on 19 March ( [] ):

      As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) in the UK.

      The 4 nations public health HCID group made an interim recommendation in January 2020 to classify COVID-19 as an HCID. This was based on consideration of the UK HCID criteria about the virus and the disease with information available during the early stages of the outbreak. Now that more is known about COVID-19, the public health bodies in the UK have reviewed the most up to date information about COVID-19 against the UK HCID criteria. They have determined that several features have now changed; in particular, more information is available about mortality rates (low overall), and there is now greater clinical awareness and a specific and sensitive laboratory test, the availability of which continues to increase.

      The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) is also of the opinion that COVID-19 should no longer be classified as an HCID.

      Similarly, the CDC also shows rather low mortality, considering that there is strong selection bias in seeking testing (decent graphs here: [] ).

      I can say that in Germany the overreaction started with second guessing of more conservative plans of action to the point now where public criticism of the current lockdown is banned in the mainstream media. Mixed messages and all that.

      The Netherlands and the UK shifted to an authoritarian course after resisting. What suddenly became different? Swedes though seem to be still mostly free. How come?

      The Brazilian government intends to keep the country open. Understandable, because a third world country can't just legislate money into existence to pay people to sit idle. However, India is trying to institute a lockdown. How will the people get fed?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:33AM (5 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:33AM (#977435)

        The reclassification in the UK allows patients to be treated outside of specialist HCID units, my understanding is that it was a bureaucratic decision.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:59AM (4 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:59AM (#977446)

          And their statement about low mortality rates, was that a bureaucratic decision too?

          • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday March 31 2020, @07:57AM (3 children)

            by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2020, @07:57AM (#977553) Journal

            Your calculations do not include the vast majority of people who contract the virus, self-isolate, and recover without ever being formally tested. Until we have accurate figures for the total number of infections - a test that isn't being done today - nobody can make a better estimate of the true figures. So should I now believe your figures over those provided by the scientists - no, I think not.

            Your have calculated the CFR of those people who have deteriorated to such a state that hospitalisation is essential - in many countries that is the first formal testing that is carried out. It is hardly surprising that for people with this level of medical problems the outcome is significantly higher than figures estimated from the available data for all who have been infected.

            • (Score: 2) by drussell on Tuesday March 31 2020, @09:01AM (2 children)

              by drussell (2678) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @09:01AM (#977565) Journal

              Your calculations do not include the vast majority of people who contract the virus, self-isolate, and recover without ever being formally tested.

              Do you have any citations or references for this?

              People keep saying this, but I can find no data to support that claim.

              Here in Alberta, so far we have the results for 46057 tests, or one test for every 95 residents.
              Of those tests, 690 results have been positive, or 1.5% positive for those tested.

              Where are all these supposed cases hiding then?

              • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Tuesday March 31 2020, @11:45AM

                by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2020, @11:45AM (#977580) Journal

                In the UK, the instruction is if mild symptoms begin, start isolation. Nobody in isolation can leave home for any reason. If you are well after (I think) 7 days and all symptoms have disappeared then you may leave your home (under the restrictions in force at that time) and continue to follow the instructions that everyone else must follow. If the symptoms increase however, you should seek advice from the NHS who will advise on the next steps. You may be taken to hospital directly where you will be tested to confirm that your symptoms are COVID-19, or you may be visited by a specialist team who will also carry out the test. Depending upon the results then you will receive the appropriate treatment in hospital.

                So, the only test that you will actually have is to confirm COVID-19 when arriving at hospital or when visited by a specialist team. Only those with confirmed COVID-19 will be placed in a COVID-19 treatment ward.

                When a period of isolation begins at the first sign of symptoms, others in the household must self-isolate for 14 days to give the virus time to develop and and run its course again before they leave home.

                Those with only minor symptoms - which might well be COVID-19 but do not need formal hospitalisation - will recover without any significant treatment or testing and will remain at home. That is why the test to detect those who have had COVID-19 is so important. Scientists are trying to establish how many people will recover without medical intervention. Many medical staff are self-isolating with minor symptoms but afterwards it is not known whether it actually was COVID-19. This is putting additional pressure on the NHS because of staff shortages. Those that have had COVID-19 should have some immunity and could be usefully employed back in the NHS, which is what they themselves want to do.

                As testing kits become more widely available the time and location of testing will be adapted to maximise the detection rate. What is not wanted is people who might have CV-19 turning up at a testing place and potentially infecting others who might be there but do not actually have CV-19.

              • (Score: 2) by toddestan on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:03AM

                by toddestan (4982) on Thursday April 02 2020, @03:03AM (#978219)

                It's just common sense. If you start feeling sick, what are you going to do? I know what I'm going to do: Stay home, rest, drink plenty of fluids, and see if I get better. If I get better, then that's the end of it. If I end up getting worse to the point where I need medical attention, I'll seek it out.

                If I start feeling sick and go to the doctor anyway, here's what's going to happen: Unless I'm really sick, they're not going test me because of the general lack of testing, so they'll just tell me to stay home, rest, drink plenty of fluids, and let them know if it gets worse. So by going to the doctor I'm not really going to be accomplishing anything but possibly putting them at risk (if I actually have COVID-19 and not just a cold) and putting myself at risk (if I do just have a cold).

                That's why I suspect that the reported number of total cases is way too low, but the good news is those unreported cases are also relatively mild and didn't require medical attention.

  • (Score: 0, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:10AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:10AM (#977424)

    By my calculation with the very latest numbers it's right at 20% deaths. That's more than the 4% that WHO said it was.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:25AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:25AM (#977431)

      I'm no fan of the WHO, in fact they are still spreading dangerous disinformation about virus transmission. That said - your calculation fails to account for only a small percentage of people being tested, if you look at the figures for South Korea where testing is widespread the CFR is 3% [] so the 4% figure offered by the WHO appears to be an accurate projection.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:43AM (#977442)

      If you're only looking at closed cases, you'll still get a very misleading death rate when the number of cases is changing rapidly. Dividing the deaths by the total number of cases underestimates the death rate. Dividing the deaths by the total number of closed cases generally overestimates the death rate.

      Cases are increasing rapidly and a lot of the people we're detecting are the people who are most ill. For worse cases, it generally takes longer for people to fully recover, on the order of weeks. But a person can die shortly after being diagnosed with the virus. Many of the deaths in newly detected cases will occur sooner than the recoveries, so just looking at the death rate among closed cases will overestimate the actual case fatality rate. We can get a better estimate from the closed cases in areas where the infection rate isn't increasing rapidly and testing is fairly widespread. The data from China simply cannot be trusted, so the best data available is from South Korea. Among closed cases, the death rate is 2.93%. Even in Germany, which still has a rapidly increasing number of cases, but has done extensive testing, the death rate for closed cases is 4.56%. Even the number from South Korea likely overestimates the case fatality rate because there's a good chance many of the open cases will recover whereas many of the people who are seriously ill and likely to die have already died. Of the 4,275 active cases, 59 of them are in serious or critical condition.

      The data just don't suggest that the death rate is anywhere near 20%, provided you interpret it correctly. And it's critically important that we prevent our hospitals from being overloaded and that the necessary equipment is available so that everyone who needs critical care actually gets it.

  • (Score: 2) by el_oscuro on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:11AM (2 children)

    by el_oscuro (1711) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @12:11AM (#977425)

    I have a spare computer with a decent Nvidia card in it and wanted to install F@H. But dependencies hell. The F@H team needs to get their shit together and have a snap package or something. The sorts of people that run Linux are also the sort that would probably run F@H. There download page references Ubuntu 11.x and Windows XP. Ugh.

    Any I went over to BOINC [] and downloaded their client, and have had it cranking for 2 weeks now. So far, 2,2m work units for GPUGRID and another 24k for Rosetta@home.

    SoylentNews is Bacon! []
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:06AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:06AM (#977452)

      My contribution to Folding@Home may be smaller, but I'm just running it on the CPU and it was fine to install and run. I don't think I had to manually install any dependencies.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @06:07PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @06:07PM (#977704)

      F@H is doing unpaid work for closed source medicine. fuck them.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:14AM

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:14AM (#977454) Journal

    Triage isn't a new concept. It is commonly practiced by emergency response personnel. Not just EMT's but firemen, and even police. It has always been true that you can't save everyone in a major catastrophe. 40 years ago, when EMT's were a new thing, we were already being taught how we should ethically assign limited resources. And, I repeat, the concept wasn't new, even then.

    Here, we have the uninitiated being exposed to an old practice, and they recoil in horror.

    Yes, the fact is, medical people put people that they cannot help aside, to tend to people who they can help. You cannot make heroic efforts attempting to save the octogenarian with multiple underlying issues, while denying time and resources to 35 other people who don't require heroic efforts. Doing so would be criminally stupid.

    People need to get used to the idea that coronavirus is going to be end of life for some people.

  • (Score: 0, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:53AM (10 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:53AM (#977469)

    "Dr. Didier Raoult of Marseilles and his co-workers have published another preprint on clinical results with the chloroquine/azithromycin combination that their earlier work has made famous. And I still don't know what to think of it."

    I don't understand why they would use something that was used for malaria and something that's an antibiotic for a virus. How many times have they told us that antibiotics do not work on viruses. Are they purposely choosing the wrong medication so that they can make a point that medications chosen last minute are a bad idea and then they can explain how important the FDA approval process is and how good medications can only be made with expensive R&D that takes years and years and requires patents?

    Supposedly HCQ prevents the virus from being engulfed by the cell? []

    Can it also help alleviate some of the symptoms?

    Did someone maybe notice (or think they noticed) that people taking this drug for other purposes (rheumatoid or lupus) were less likely to get the virus (I didn't read any reports that this is the case, just a guess). If so could it be that people taking these drugs are less likely to get exposed because they are afraid of getting sick and hence they already keep their environment clean and keep away from people (correlation doesn't equal causation)?

    Why didn't they start with something they know works for viruses like Remdesivir which is known to work for other coronaviruses such as MERS and SARS. Because it's more likely to work and if it does work it would compete with whatever patented treatment pharmaceutical corporations come up with later?

    These are my crazy conspiracy theories. Doubt they're true but just some thoughts.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:04AM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:04AM (#977472)

      The antibiotics are for treating secondary bacterial infection.

      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:24AM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:24AM (#977478)

        I know but I just had to put my crazy conspiracy theories out there for people to consider. I know they are garbage and they are doing R&D on Remdesivir for the virus.

        It's also possible that people on HCQ for other reasons were less symptomatic of the virus because of its other effects and maybe people thought that it could be useful for the virus (again, just a guess, no reports of this).

        Just throwing a bunch of theories out there because I'm kinda curious why they would say that it could help against the virus.

        Also there are other antibiotics against secondary bacterial infections so why are these special to be singled out?

        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:27AM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:27AM (#977479)

          (well, they decided to do R&D on Remdesivir later on, early on the administration was talking about HCQ and only after this thing got out of control did they later decide to give something that's more likely to work a try but before it got out of control they wanted to go with something less likely to work for the above mentioned political reasons? Again, just my unlikely crazy theories to consider).

          • (Score: 2) by Hartree on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:32AM (2 children)

            by Hartree (195) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:32AM (#977520)

            Gilead (the maker of remdisivir) started trying it in January in China and has actively been working on it for a long time as a possible Ebola treatment. Similarly, hydroxychloroquine was first tried about the same time. Remdisivir was viewed as more likely to be a good candidate at that time.

            I heard about them then because I follow some virology and microbiology blogs done by professional scientists who were very tuned in to the outbreak as soon as it became known. Some of them had worked with the people at the Wuhan virology institute (which first characterized and sequenced the virus) and so had some very good insight. There has been both hope and skepticism about both drugs among the scientists for a while. This is normal. It's the way that the science gets hashed out. Argument, point, counterpoint, experiment, follow up experiment after criticism, etc.

            The problem arises when it starts being used for political purposes. Suddenly the science takes a back seat to spin on either side and it usually makes it take longer to work out the objective scientific truth.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @08:29PM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @08:29PM (#977751)

              Can you provide links to these blogs, I would like to perhaps follow them since these are topics I am interested in. Thanks.

              • (Score: 2) by Hartree on Wednesday April 01 2020, @05:01AM

                by Hartree (195) on Wednesday April 01 2020, @05:01AM (#977933)

                They're podcasts for the most part, though I follow twitter feeds from a number of the participants.

                The main virus related one is This Week In Virology, AKA TWIV.

                They're done by a virologist at Columbia University in New York, Vince Raccaniello and a number of panel members. There main web address is []
                There are links to all of them on that page.

                The directly virus related one is This Week In Virology, AKA TWIV. There are several others, This Week in Microbiology, This Week in Parasitology, etc.

                They are done at a professional scientist level, so it can be somewhat tough sledding for a non lifescience type at first until you pick up in the key ideas and terminology.

                Several of them have been dealing with COVID-19 as this is the hot topic in the life sciences at the moment.

                They are easily the best science related podcasts I've yet found. Good stuff, Maynard. ;)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:08AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:08AM (#977475)

      So instead of trying something that's more likely to work they try something that's less likely to work so at least they can later say they tried something and not be accused of not trying anything but later claim it was ultimately the expensive R&D and patent system that came up with what actually does work.

    • (Score: 2) by Hartree on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:18AM

      by Hartree (195) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:18AM (#977519)

      It's been known for some time (years) that chloroquine can inhibit the replication of some viruses in vitro. Biochemists often screen large numbers of chemicals of many types looking for the few that have an effect. It's a standard thing to try.

      The High Throughput Screening Facility where I work is set up to test over a hundred thousand different chemicals against a target in a short time (they're about to get access to a library of 200,000 more soon) using automated systems. it's a very powerful way of finding new drug candidates. (Here's the URL for the one I fix the systems for: [] . It's shut down right now and some of our staff were volunteering to help out in a state COVID 19 testing lab. That was last week, I don't know if they were accepted, but they have the type of training that's needed for doing that testing.)

      It's quite common for existing medications that have one impact on the body or on a disease process to have other effects. The HTFS has many of these in its libraries as do other chemistry facilities.

      Think about all the drugs with known side effects. In some cases, those side effects that are a problem may well be useful in treating some different disease.

      The system of hijacking the endosome system that SARS-COV-2 uses is used by many different types of virus. If you are a scientist who happens to know that a drug blocks that in other types of virus, it's a reasonable thing to try it one a similar one.

      Such off label uses of drugs are common. An example: Clonidine is a blood pressure medicine. But, it is also used in some cases as a treatment for attention deficit disorder. (Its utility for that is a subject of debate.) It doesn't treat ADD by lowering the blood pressure, but by having an effect on the epinephrine system in the brain.

      In the early stages of the COVID 19 outbreak Chinese and Vietnamese physicians gave chloroquine a try. It was an educated guess about what might work.

      The problem is that it is often difficult to really nail down if a drug is really helping, if you somehow selected patients to get the drug that would have gotten better anyway, or if it's just wishful thinking. It can fool the best scientists at times. That's why there are procedures with randomized trials, control groups and statistical controls in order to see if the impact is real or just a mirage.

      Chloroquine initially looked like it might be helping, but more work needs to be done. Unfortunately, this process has been hijacked by politics. One the one side, are people who are labeling it as a savior because Trump touted it. One the other, there are people who are dismissing it at least partly because they assume that anything Trump mentions must be bogus. Neither is valid. There are more careful trials that are going on now of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine that will over time give good data. What we've heard so far is anecdotal and that's not a good basis for a therapy. As a chem prof where I work is fond of saying: "Hope is a very poor reagent."

    • (Score: 2) by PocketSizeSUn on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:37AM

      by PocketSizeSUn (5340) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:37AM (#977522) []

      TL;DR Suggests that chloroquine works when used early. Raoult is pushing for extensive testing and early dosing for chloroquine to shutdown the infection before it can snowball. This is also what his study numbers purport to show, early use of chloroquine pushes the viral load down enough to keep patients from progressing to severe pneumonia.

      As far as Remdesivir (a failed ebola drug) trials started in the US and China in early February. Based on the early reports Remdesivir appears to work for patients that have progressed past where the chloroquine (and presumably other of the Anti-Malaria drugs) are effective.

    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:44PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday March 31 2020, @01:44PM (#977597)

      So what medical school did you graduate from?

      One of the things I've definitely noticed is that when faced with something like this, everyone suddenly starts pretending they're some kind of expert. And the fact is, unless you have the formal study and degrees combined with a substantial body of real-world experience, you don't know what you're talking about, and any effort to pretend otherwise will cause problems (e.g. using up the supplies of a drug that doesn't actually work for Covid-19 that somebody else needs for a problem it absolutely works to treat).

      The simple fact is that nobody knows how to cure or vaccinate against Covid-19. And I can guarantee you that if anyone did, they'd be trying it out as quickly as they could on patients. I don't know what to do either, but unlike you I'm not going to pretend I do.

      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:50AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @02:50AM (#977486)

    (Use your favourite translator for the links)

    Spain's Government (PSOE + Unidas Podemos) knew in advance, late January early February. Police started to draft notices, so border staff could prepare: use PPEs, keep distance, etc. Police officer in charge of Employees' Health was fired March. [] One top officer confirmed that information was avaliable earlier than the firing*. []

    But Gov only started to act around March 11. That is after March 8 parades, multiple concerts, one opposition party meeting (named Vox, to elect boss, not show disagreement with lack of measures), or even soccer matches including traveling to Italy.

    * Some people are mobilizing to push charges against government members & staff, for delaying measures that are causing physical harm, deaths and economic loses. The draft could become a proof so ministers can't go "I do not know" or "I do not remember". []

    Someone in Florida wants to sue China, BTW. []

    Not only Trump or Boris negated the issue at first, it seems general (Unidas Podemos is pro-Maduro, Venezuela "president", so it does not matter pro or anti capital, anti or pro "communism"). Power not only corrupts, but gives hallucinations to feel above everything, clearly. And to think that "Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed" was said by a statesman.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:41AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @05:41AM (#977524)
      Everyone knew in advance once China started locking down Wuhan and building hospitals AND started reporting death rates.

      I'm actually amazed at how fast China did things. People blame them for initially covering stuff up, but if what they did was cover up what do you call what most of the rest of the world was doing?

      Sure sue China, but when your own government doesn't do shit after watching what happened in China and how China flattened their curve, how much blame really should go to China?
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @04:00PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @04:00PM (#977641)

        Woah now, don't be stepping on people's fear and bigotry ya hear?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @11:04PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 31 2020, @11:04PM (#977826)

        It means everyone is guilty. Two wrongs do not make a right. They all should pay, instead of playing "everyone lied, so I did nothing wrong" cards. Everyone is to blame, China for hidding it, WHO for not double checking numbers, Italy, Spain, USA, UK for looking to other side... they all fucked up in different ways, but similar results: illness, deaths and economic loses. OTOH South Korea and Taiwan seem to be handling a lot better, proving it can be done, as long as there is a will to do so.

        Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed, said a statesman centuries ago.

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