This story is a merge of 28 story submissions. Given that it was well over 18,000 words of original source material (excluding HTML markup!), a great deal of pruning was performed to get it to a manageable size. We strongly encourage folks to read the linked articles for more information.
For latest statistics, and finer granularity, see https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ or https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html.
Coronavirus Cases: 1,700,741
1,221,395 Currently Infected Patients
1,171,568 (96%) in Mild Condition
49,872 (4%) Serious or Critical
479,346 Cases which had an outcome:
376,572 (79%) Recovered / Discharged
102,774 (21%) Deaths
Data as at 11 Apr 2020, at 08:01 UTC.
Europe's Privacy Officials are Working on Geolocation Guidelines for Tracking COVID-19
The European Data Protection Board said Tuesday that it would be creating guidelines for collecting data for surveillance tied to the coronavirus pandemic, including geolocation, contact tracing and health information.
Governments around the world are relying on phone location data to help track the coronavirus outbreak, without any formal restrictions or mandates on how that data can be used. Countries including Singapore, the United Kingdom and Israel have developed their own apps for tracking people's movements and examining how COVID-19 spreads, and the only privacy protections are based on trusting the government's promises.
[...] "The EDPB will move swiftly to issue guidance on these topics within the shortest possible notice to help make sure that technology is used in a responsible way to support and hopefully win the battle against the corona pandemic," EDPB Chairwoman Andrea Jelinek said in a statement. "I strongly believe data protection and public health go hand in hand."
Europe's General Data Protection Regulation doesn't have geolocation data guidelines for a pandemic like COVID-19, and many data protection commissioners, including in Ireland, Germany and Italy, have said that they're prioritizing saving lives over privacy during the outbreak.
The GDPR does address what privacy restrictions there are during a health crisis, including allowing for public health officials to gather personal data without consent during a pandemic. But it doesn't have specific rules regarding geolocation data tracking during a pandemic, which the EDPB is looking to quickly establish. On March 16, Jelinek issued a statement that location data should be used only when it's anonymized or with people's consent.
Google Releases Location Data For Tracking COVID-19 Cases
Alphabet's Google division has on Thursday published data for 131 countries that shows whether people are obeying self-isolating and quarantine rules.
The 'Community Mobility Reports' from the search engine giant showed whether visits to shops, parks and workplaces dropped in March, Reuters reported.
March is when many countries around the world brought in their lock-down rules, and readers can click here to see the Google reports on their particular country.
Red Light Camera Company Says It's Dying Of Coronavirus
We are again being asked to shed a tear for a law enforcement-adjacent industry. Social distancing and sheltering-in-place in response to the coronavirus has led to a downturn in driving. And if there's fewer drivers on the road, proxy cops are seeing their revenue streams dry up.
Redflex, an Australian company that operates "traffic safety programs" in roughly 100 US and Canadian cities, warned that less traffic and suspended construction amid the pandemic will be a stress on its balance sheet.
"Approximately 15% of group revenue is dependent on volume-based contracts," the company said in a regulatory filing Monday first spotted by The Wall Street Journal, hinting at its business line that includes enforcement cameras. "We anticipate our revenue from these contracts will be impacted broadly in line with the reduction in traffic volumes as well as the duration of the disruption."
[...] Hope springs eternal at Redflex, even with COVID-19's wet blanket dampening the company's enthusiasm.
On a call with investors Monday, Redflex CEO Mark Talbot warned that further travel restrictions could delay new installations and therefore impact revenues.
Himalayas Visible Due to COVID-19 Fueled Pollution Drop
Have you ever wondered what would happen around the planet if humans disappeared, or just went into hiding, one day? Well, now we know. One side effect of the COVID-19 lockdown is that the himalayas are now visible due to the lack of pollution that is normally generated by factories.
Lockdown measures to fight the spread of COVID-19 have rolled out across the world and while it is having a devastating impact on the world's economy, the environment is clearly reaping the rewards,
Some residents in northern India say the lockdown measures across the country have given locals a view many have not seen in at least 30 years.
While for others in the Jalandhar district of Punjab in India, it's a sight they've never seen before.
Mother Earth thanks you, Coronavirus 19.
BP Gas Stations Give Health Care Workers 50 Cent Discount on Fuel - Roadshow
Let's enjoy some positive news amid the coronavirus outbreak on this World Health Day, shall we? We have just the thing, as BP announced Monday it will give back to health care workers and first responders.
Doctors, nurses and hospital workers are eligible for 50 cents off per gallon of fuel as a way for the company to say thank you to those on the front lines. The discount will be valid at BP and Amoco stations across the US and only requires those eligible to register at a link to use a discount code at the fuel pump.
BP said this little act of giving back will be valid for the entire month of April for health care workers.
[...] Aside from any discounts, fuel prices have reached record lows in the past weeks, partially due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is what causes COVID-19. With fewer drivers on the roads amid stay-at-home orders, demand continues to fall. Meanwhile, a Saudi-Russian oil price war dumped tons of cheap oil on the market to drive crude oil prices down. Just last week, the national average for a gallon of gas dropped below $2, and experts believe it could fall to as low as $1.50 per gallon.
Spitting gets worse in Australia to the point of fines and jail time
With COVID-19 on the brain the population is going nuts. Members of the public are spitting on and swearing at staff in pharmacies as paranoia and fear grip the nation. With purchases of common products such as Ventolin, Salbutamol and paracetamol now being limited to prevent hoarding, emotions are running high. Tougher penalties including jail time for offenders who attack with bodily fluids was introduced in 2019, but they have not had significant impact. In Britain a 55 year old man was jailed for coughing on police as was a woman who spat at police.
Medium.com banned a user for suggesting a possible category of treatments for COVID-19
Andrew Gaiziunas posted this article speculating that the Wuhan Coronavirus removes iron from red blood cells which leads to both oxygen deprivation in tissues and the lung damage that is seen in patients. If confirmed, this knowledge could lead to the development of better treatments in both early and late stages of the disease. Gaiziunas is not a doctor, but he claims that his father is one and helped work on the article. Medium deleted the article and his account has been suspended.
15 men arrested for alleged quarantine violation at New Jersey funeral
Fifteen men have been arrested during a funeral in New Jersey for allegedly defying the state's ban on public gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, officials said. The incident in Ocean County late Wednesday was the fourth time in as many days that Lakewood police had to respond to a prohibited public event — this time a funeral where between 60 and 70 people gathered, according to a joint statement by Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer and Lakewood Police Chief Gregory Meyer.
"This gathering was in violation of (Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order), which bans gatherings of individuals, whether they be at weddings, parties, celebrations, or other social events including funerals," they said in the statement.
Yuval Noah Harari: The World After Coronavirus
Humankind is now facing a global crisis. Perhaps the biggest crisis of our generation. The decisions people and governments take in the next few weeks will probably shape the world for years to come. They will shape not just our healthcare systems but also our economy, politics and culture. We must act quickly and decisively. We should also take into account the long-term consequences of our actions. When choosing between alternatives, we should ask ourselves not only how to overcome the immediate threat, but also what kind of world we will inhabit once the storm passes. Yes, the storm will pass, humankind will survive, most of us will still be alive — but we will inhabit a different world.
Many short-term emergency measures will become a fixture of life. That is the nature of emergencies. They fast-forward historical processes. Decisions that in normal times could take years of deliberation are passed in a matter of hours. Immature and even dangerous technologies are pressed into service, because the risks of doing nothing are bigger. Entire countries serve as guinea-pigs in large-scale social experiments. What happens when everybody works from home and communicates only at a distance? What happens when entire schools and universities go online? In normal times, governments, businesses and educational boards would never agree to conduct such experiments. But these aren't normal times.
In this time of crisis, we face two particularly important choices. The first is between totalitarian surveillance and citizen empowerment. The second is between nationalist isolation and global solidarity.
More of Us are Now Supposed to Wear a Mask
The BioAid mask looks different than most health masks you've seen, because it's based on the idea that the best mask is the one that can be readily made. Its shell is like a retail blister pack and its filter is a swatch of the same HEPA material used in many home furnace filters and has been shown by NASA to be an efficient particulate filter. The BioAid isn't N95-certified yet, but co-inventor Marcus Hays is confident it soon will be -- and that the mask has value in the meantime as CDC mask guidelines broaden as the coronavirus emergency develops.
Hays' startup Orbis, based in Mill Valley, California, is developing in-wheel electric drive systems for automakers but temporarily pivoted to masks after an assessment of available materials. They determined that polyethylene plastic sheets are plentiful and familiar to many plastic thermoforming companies. The millions of blister packs, pill packs and water bottles they make are all close industrial cousins of the BioAid mask. "Normally it's not the most environmentally friendly way to go," Hays admitted, "but in this crisis, it's the smart thing to do."
The front of the BioAid mask shell is perforated with breathing holes that are backed by a two inch square of common HEPA air filter material. "Most important is the very small area of filter compared to a conventional N95," Hays said, "because (the availability of) filter material is at crisis stage." HEPA material is regarded as a relatively effective medium for capturing viruses, especially if the virus is attached to larger carrier particle like aerosolized mucous or saliva.
Largest Hospital System In The US Threatens To Fire Doctors & Nurses For Telling The Truth About COV
Last week we talked about just how insane it was that hospital administrators were threatening and/or firing doctors and nurses for speaking out publicly on social media about just how unprepared America's healthcare system has been for the COVID-19 pandemic -- and now we find out it gets even worse. Business Insider has seen a memo sent around by the country's largest hospital provider, HCA Healthcare, noting that they changed their social media guidelines just as the pandemic got really cooking, to tell those healthcare professionals on the frontline that telling the truth in public might cost them their jobs:
HCA Healthcare, which has 185 hospitals in 20 states, sent an email to employees on March 24 that added new guidelines for social media and media inquiries during the pandemic. The email said HCA employees could get disciplined or even fired for posting information on social media about its policies about treating patients with COVID-19, the illness caused by this coronavirus. The health system also barred employees from speaking to journalists about the virus without explicit permission from HCA's communications director.
One nurse, Jhonna Porter, told Business Insider that HCA Healthcare had already suspended her for violating these new guidelines and did so retroactively, for her activity before March 24. Porter, a charge nurse at West Hills Hospital in California, said HCA Healthcare suspended her without pay on March 25, a day after sending the email updating its social-media policy.
Coronavirus Lockdowns Have Caused the Earth to Effectively Stop Shaking
With travel effectively ground to a halt, seismologists around the globe have reported a drop in seismic noise, according to an article in the scientific journal Nature.
Researchers say the drop in activity, usually only seen to this magnitude around Christmas, could help experts find smaller earthquakes and monitor volcanic activity more effectively.
[...] "You'll get a signal with less noise on top, allowing you to squeeze a little more information out of those events," Andy Frassetto, a seismologist at the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology in Washington, D.C., told Nature
"There's a big chance indeed it could lead to better measurements," Thomas Lecocq, a seismologist at the Royal Observatory of Belgium, added.
Lecocq told CNN that Brussels was seeing a 30 to 50 per cent reduction in ambient noise since it went on lockdown in the middle of March.
The Royal Observatory made sure to note the Earth was "still shaking," just at a significantly smaller measure.
China should be sued for $6.5 trillion for coronavirus damages says top UK think tank
According to the report, Coronavirus Compensation? by conservative London think tank The Henry Jackson Society[*], China could be sued under 10 possible legal avenues, including the International Health Regulations, which were beefed up after the SARS outbreak, which China also tried to cover up.
The report said had China provided accurate information at an early juncture, "the infection would not have left China."
China only reported the disease to the WHO on December 31 and said there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission.
Trump tells health officials to ask "quack" Fox News guest Dr. Oz for advice on coronavirus: report
President Donald Trump has allegedly urged top health officials to call the controversial TV pundit Dr. Mehmet Oz after watching the frequent Fox News guest discuss the coronavirus pandemic on the right-leaning network.
Oz, who has been repeatedly called out by other doctors as a "quack" for pushing discredited "miracle" health products, has frequently espoused the virtues of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment on Fox's airwaves.
Trump has also promoted the unproven drug treatment for the new coronavirus at his news briefings despite top health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci dismissing claims that the drug is effective in coronavirus cases as "anecdotal." Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro got into a heated altercation with Fauci at a recent White House coronavirus task force meeting over that description, according to Axios.
Trump's Aggressive Advocacy of Malaria Drug for Treating Coronavirus Divides Medical Community
Trump's Aggressive Advocacy of Malaria Drug for Treating Coronavirus Divides Medical Community:
Day after day, the salesman turned president has encouraged coronavirus patients to try hydroxychloroquine with all of the enthusiasm of a real estate developer. The passing reference he makes to the possible dangers is usually overwhelmed by the full-throated endorsement. "What do you have to lose?" he asked five times on Sunday.
Bolstered by his trade adviser, a television doctor, Larry Ellison of Oracle and Rudolph W. Giuliani, a former New York mayor, Mr. Trump has seized on the drug as a miracle cure for the virus that has killed thousands and paralyzed American life. Along the way, he has prompted an international debate about a drug that many doctors in New York and elsewhere have been trying in desperation even without conclusive scientific studies.
Mr. Trump may ultimately be right, and physicians report anecdotal evidence that has provided hope. But it remains far from certain, and the president's assertiveness in pressing the case over the advice of advisers like Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government's top infectious disease specialist, has driven a wedge inside his coronavirus task force and has raised questions about his motives.
If hydroxychloroquine becomes an accepted treatment, several pharmaceutical companies stand to profit, including shareholders and senior executives with connections to the president. Mr. Trump himself has a small personal financial interest in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine.
[...] The professional organization that published a positive French study cited by Mr. Trump's allies changed its mind in recent days. The International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy said, "The article does not meet the society's expected standard." Some hospitals in Sweden stopped providing hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus after reports of adverse side effects, according to Swedish news media.
Big Pharma-Funded Group Founded by Billionaire Trump Backer Tied to President's Promotion of Malaria Drug for COVID-19
The investigative news site Sludge reports a top Trump backer's advocacy group, fueled with funds from Big Pharma, "has been pushing Trump to approve the use of hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID-19."
Home Depot founder and billionaire right wing activist Bernie Marcus founded the non-profit group Job Creators Network, which works for right wing causes including lower taxes, less regulations, and so-called "free-market solutions."
Marcus donated millions to groups which worked to get Trump elected. He has said he will again donate millions to help get Trump re-elected.
Sludge reports the pharmaceutical industry has funded Marcus' Job Creators Network, which "has been pushing" Trump "to make the drug available."
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