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posted by martyb on Thursday March 26 2020, @01:35AM   Printer-friendly

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 Some stories have been omitted because they were a duplicate, outdated, superseded, and sometimes just as a matter of keeping the size of these roundups managable.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

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

Sorry, America, the Full Lockdown is... Here

As a follow-up to: (2020-03-24)Sorry, America, the Full Lockdown is Coming

The lockdown isn't just coming; it's here. (Updated):

In a matter of days, millions of Americans have been asked to do what might have been unthinkable only a week or two ago: Don’t go to work, don’t go to school, don’t leave the house at all, unless you have to.

The directives to keep people at home to stunt the spread of the coronavirus began in California, and have quickly been adopted across the country. By Wednesday, more than a dozen states and the Navajo Nation had called on their residents to stay at home as much as possible, with many cities and counties joining in.

This means at least 196 million people in 21 states, 37 counties and 16 cities are being urged to stay home.

We're in a Public Health Crisis. Where's the CDC?

We're in a public health crisis. Where's the CDC?:

Two weeks have now gone by since the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has held a press briefing to update the media and the public on the COVID-19 pandemic and the agency's response efforts.

In those two weeks, the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has blazed through communities across the country and begun ravaging local healthcare systems. There have been over 42,800 detected cases and at least 579 deaths as of March 23. The true number of cases is thought to be much higher due to a nationwide lag in testing.

On March 9, the day of the CDC's last telebriefing, there were around 500 cases and just 19 deaths. Up to that point, the CDC had been providing regular briefings, usually led by Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

But things began to change on February 26, when President Donald Trump appointed Vice President Mike Pence to lead a coronavirus response task force. In the days leading to the appointment, there was a clear gulf between the public health messaging from the CDC and statements made by Trump.

On February 25—a day before the appointment—Dr. Messonnier warned during a regular briefing that it was only a matter of time before the pandemic began spreading in the United States and the situation could turn bad quickly. "Disruption to everyday life might be severe," she said as she urged Americans to prepare their families for those disruptions, which are now being realized.

But that frank—and demonstrably accurate and appropriate—messaging was at odds with statements from the president. Earlier that very same day, Trump said that the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is "very well under control in our country," which was untrue.

[...] According to a subsequent report in The New York Times, that dissonance led to Trump screaming over the phone to Alex M. Azar II, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the CDC. The February 26 appointment of Pence displaced Azar, who was previously leading the administration's response efforts.

The appointment was quickly followed by reports that the White House was clamping down on messaging about the impending crisis and that all statements from public health officials would need to be cleared by Pence's office.

Coronavirus in US: Concern for homeless vulnerable to virus

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Hundreds of thousands of homeless people in the United States are at risk of contracting the virus.

Health experts warn if they are infected, the entire healthcare system could be overwhelmed.

-- submitted from IRC

The Tech Execs Who Don't Agree with 'Soul-Stealing' Coronavirus Safety Measures

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow8162

'If we wish to maintain our productivity, we need to continue working in [our] offices,' one CEO told his staff in an email


The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What's Coming

The doctor who helped defeat smallpox explains what's coming:

Larry Brilliant says he doesn't have a crystal ball. But 14 years ago, Brilliant, the epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox, spoke to a TED audience and described what the next pandemic would look like. At the time, it sounded almost too horrible to take seriously. "A billion people would get sick," he said. "As many as 165 million people would die. There would be a global recession and depression, and the cost to our economy of $1 to $3 trillion would be far worse for everyone than merely 100 million people dying, because so many more people would lose their jobs and their health care benefits, that the consequences are almost unthinkable."

Now the unthinkable is here, and Brilliant, the Chairman of the board of Ending Pandemics, is sharing expertise with those on the front lines. We are a long way from 100 million deaths due to the novel coronavirus, but it has turned our world upside down. Brilliant is trying not to say "I told you so" too often. But he did tell us so, not only in talks and writings, but as the senior technical advisor for the pandemic horror film Contagion, now a top streaming selection for the homebound. Besides working with the World Health Organization in the effort to end smallpox, Brilliant, who is now 75, has fought flu, polio, and blindness; once led Google's nonprofit wing,; co-founded the conferencing system the Well; and has traveled with the Grateful Dead.

We talked by phone on Tuesday. At the time, President Donald Trump's response to the crisis had started to change from "no worries at all" to finally taking more significant steps to stem the pandemic. Brilliant lives in one of the six Bay Area counties where residents were ordered to shelter in place. When we began the conversation, he'd just gotten off the phone with someone he described as high government official, who asked Brilliant "How the fuck did we get here?" I wanted to hear how we'll get out of here. The conversation has been edited and condensed.

[...] Is there in any way a brighter side to this?

[...] I thought we would see the equivalent of empty streets in the civic arena, but the amount of civic engagement is greater than I've ever seen. But I'm seeing young kids, millennials, who are volunteering to go take groceries to people who are homebound, elderly. I'm seeing an incredible influx of nurses, heroic nurses, who are coming and working many more hours than they worked before, doctors who fearlessly go into the hospital to work. I've never seen the kind of volunteerism I'm seeing.

[...] This is a really unprecedented and difficult time that will test us. When we do get through it, maybe like the Second World War, it will cause us to reexamine what has caused the fractional division we have in this country. The virus is an equal opportunity infector. And it's probably the way we would be better if we saw ourselves that way, which is much more alike than different.

This story originally appeared on

&larr Previous storyNext story &rarr

Burying or burning garbage boosts airborne bacteria, antibiotic resistance genes

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

The researchers collected air samples surrounding a landfill site, a municipal solid waste incinerator and two transfer stations (where garbage is delivered and processed). Air from both the municipal incinerator and the landfill site had higher levels of particulate matter and bacteria than upwind locations. The team identified 16 antibiotic-resistance genes in the air samples and tracked their source to municipal solid waste and leachate in the system. The genes were much more abundant in air downwind from the facilities than upwind. These results suggest that municipal solid waste treatment systems could be a reservoir of antibiotic-resistance genes that can be transmitted to nearby residents who breathe the air, the researchers say.

-- submitted from IRC

Millions Yet to Receive UK Government's Covid-19 Text

Millions yet to receive government's Covid-19 text:

Millions of mobile users in the UK have yet to receive the government's text message alert about coronavirus.

The SMS - telling people to stay at home - began being sent early on Tuesday morning.

But Vodafone has confirmed it only expects to complete the process later this Wednesday.

[...] Vodafone is the only one of the UK's big four networks that has not finished the task.

[...] "We have sent out the majority of messages and aim to complete the process soon," said a spokesman.

"We did pause sending them out overnight so as not to disturb people whilst they were sleeping."

The firm temporarily halted the process at 20:00GMT to avoid waking phone-owning children. It needs to send a total of about 18 million texts.

The government's full message read:

GOV.UK CORONAVIRUS ALERT. New rules in force now: you must stay at home. More info and exemptions at Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

The Cabinet Office ran trials in 2014 for a system which bypassed the mobile networks and sent messages directly to people's phones, but it was never developed. One operator has suggested that it was considered too expensive.

[...] [SMS texts are] not really fit for purpose because the texts have to be sent out sequentially, meaning people get them at different times.

"What we really need is a wireless emergency system like they have in the US, which would allow the government to get the same message to everyone at once - not just for coronavirus, but for things like major weather disruption, that pose a danger to life."

One benefit of such a system is that the messages can be geographically targeted, meaning they can be limited to a specific zone in a city to - for example - help find a missing child.

However, not all mobile phones or networks support the facility.

South Korea's Success In Controlling Coronavirus Is Due To Acceptance Of Surveillance

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

South Korea has been widely praised for its management of the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus disease COVID-19. The focus has largely been on South Korea's enormous virus testing programme.

What hasn't been so widely reported is the country's heavy use of surveillance technology, notably CCTV and the tracking of bank card and mobile phone usage, to identify who to test in the first place. And this is an important lesson for more liberal countries that might be less tolerant of such privacy invading measures but are hoping to emulate South Korea's success.

[...] These factors enable the country to carry out 15,000 tests per day, making it second only to China in absolute numbers and third in the world for per person testing. But because COVID-19 is a mild disease for most people, only a small fraction of patients tend to contact health authorities for testing based on their symptoms or known contact with infected people. Many patients with mild symptoms, especially younger ones, don't realise they are ill and infecting others.

If these patients can't be found, testing capacity doesn't mean much. This is where smart city infrastructure comes in. The aim is to work out where known patients have been and test anyone who might have come into contact with them. There are three main ways people are tracked.

First, credit and debit cards.

[...] Second, mobile phones can be used for the same purpose. In 2019, South Korea had one of the world's highest phone ownership rates (there are more phones than people). Phone locations are automatically recorded with complete accuracy because devices are connected to between one and three transceivers at any time. And there are approximately 860,000 4G and 5G transceivers densely covering the whole country.

[...] Finally, CCTV cameras also enable authorities to identify people who have been in contact with COVID-19 patients. In 2014, South Korean cities had over 8 million CCTV cameras, or one camera per 6.3 people. In 2010, everyone was captured an average of 83.1 times per day and every nine seconds while travelling. These figures are likely to be much higher today. Considering the physical size of the country, it is safe to say South Korea has one of the highest densities of surveillance technology in the world.

[...] The result of the tracking is not only used by health authorities but also made public via national and local government websites, free smartphone apps that show the locations of infections, and text message updates about new local cases. This help citizens avoid hotspots of infections.

In many ways, this is an overexposure of private information about people's movements. But it is actually an effective way for the authorities to gain public trust, which in turn is important in preventing people from panicking. You could argue this was successful because South Korea is one of the few countries where the COVID-19 outbreak hasn't caused panic buying in supermarkets.

However, there's a big issue for other countries considering similar measures. The level of surveillance and exposure of personal information involved is unlikely to be easily accepted by most other liberal democratic societies.

The difference between the South Korean approach and that of European countries doesn't represent the simple cliché of eastern collectivism versus western individualism. In fact, information exposure can prevent the need for a lockdown of individuals' movements.

In this way, governments around the world are facing a hard choice between these two violations of individual rights (information exposure and movement restriction). South Korea has chosen the former, but France and Italy had to choose the latter. The former requires the necessary infrastructure and a culture that tolerates a certain level of surveillance, neither of which can be created overnight.

How Kentucky Became a Surprising Leader in Flattening the Curve on COVID-19

How Kentucky became a surprising leader in flattening the curve on COVID-19:

As states in the US South and Midwest see their coronavirus infection rates grow, the rate remains notably low in a state with some of the worst health outcomes nationally. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has drawn bipartisan praise for navigating the outbreak in a calm and decisive manner, including declaring a state of emergency in early March that gave local officials time to help residents as well as school, health and other officials protect and plan against the global pandemic.

And his calm, fact-based daily news briefings, which have drawn comparisons to President Franklin Roosevelt's famous fireside chats, have earned Beshear a new status as a sex symbol on social media.

On Tuesday, Kentucky officials reported the state's fourth death due to COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, bringing the state's total to 163. In comparison, neighboring Indiana had reported 365 confirmed cases and 12 deaths by Monday. Tennessee, which has 2.3 million more residents than Kentucky, had 517 confirmed cases and one death as of Sunday.

"We've seen states take very different approaches," Beshear, 42, said in a briefing on Sunday. "We have already done a whole lot of what other states are doing in one major -- and sometimes it seems scary -- order."

Asked this week whether his administration has seen positive results from its efforts, Beshear said it was still early. "We are in the midst of it, and I believe we are taking aggressive and important steps that are, and will, save people's lives. But it will be really hard to know exactly how we have done until we are further through it and have more data," he told reporters. "Our numbers aren't necessarily jumping as fast as some other ones are."

As of last week, state public health leaders reported that about 7% of COVID-19 tests conducted in Kentucky had come back positive. The state's junior senator, Rand Paul, also disclosed that he tested positive for the virus, becoming the first member of the Senate to receive such a diagnosis. As reported by local CBS affiliate WYMT, Kentucky is faring average among surrounding states, with a lower percentage than Indiana's 20% and Tennessee's 27% positive-test rate. Kentucky's 7% is, however, higher than rates in West Virginia and Missouri, which have fewer cases and have done less testing. It's also higher than the rate in Virginia, which has double the number of cases and substantially more tests completed.

Beshear's battle to "flatten the curve," or slow the spread of the coronavirus, has been charted in his daily press briefings, where he routinely appears with Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack and American Sign Language interpreter Virginia Moore. Beshear's calm, methodical explanations of the state's efforts to combat the spread, always accompanied by repeated reassurances in the face of panic, have received praise across social media.

[...] On Tuesday, Beshear told reporters at a press briefing that the state had been outbid by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in one attempt to buy medical personal protective equipment. Kentucky's struggles to obtain COVID-19 tests and medical equipment, and to implement testing statewide, reflect similar struggles faced by states elsewhere. In Kentucky's first reported case, the patient was twice denied testing. Similarly, a Lexington woman had to wait nine days before being tested.

"The test is not yet unlimited. We want the test to be unlimited," Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steve Stack said during a press conference. "We have voiced our concerns and our needs to the federal government to work with the partners who have the resources to make it unlimited as fast as it can."

Since testing began, Kentucky has prioritized its limited number of test kits, per CDC guidelines, to the most vulnerable patients at highest risk. That means the number of cases in the state may be far higher than charted, with transmission rates much faster.

"We are now just seeing the escalation of this virus and to suggest that there is a short duration that we can almost promise people is not something that we should be doing," Beshear told reporters Tuesday.

Recyclable Nano-fiber Filtered Face Masks: A Boon for Supply Fiasco?

Recyclable nano-fiber filtered face masks: A boon for supply fiasco?:

Recyclable nano-fiber filtered face masks: A boon for supply fiasco?

[...] A KAIST research team announced that they have developed a nano-filter that maintains excellent filtering efficiency even after hand washing through the development of proprietary technology that aligns nanofibers with a diameter of 100~500 nm in orthogonal or unidirectional directions. This reusable nano-filtered face mask could help to relieve the challenges arising from the supply shortage of face masks.

Professor Il-Doo Kim's nano-fiber filtered mask will maintain its sturdy frame and filtering function even after being washed more than 20 times. Professor Kim, who has continued to study the filtering of fine dust using nano-filters, is now awaiting final approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety to bring his product into the market.

[...] Existing masks also fail to maintain their air filtering function because their electrostatic function disappears when exposed to water. Thus, their filtering efficiency is reduced significantly, making it almost impossible to reuse them. However, this nano-fiber design was proven to be water resistant with more than 94% filtering efficiency in 20 repeated bactericidal tests with ethanol. The nano-fiber mask also showed no deformation in its nano-membrane structure despite the 20 hand washes. In particular, it was confirmed that there were no deformations in the membrane, even after soaking in ethanol more than three hours.

[...] Professor Kim established his startup company, the "Kim Il-Doo Research Institute," last February. It can currently produce 1,500 nano-fiber filters per day.

To Save The Economy We Must Reduce Video Bandwidth Use — Now (Updated)

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

It is probable that streaming media consumption, gaming and video collaboration are responsible for most of this additional demand. To maintain our connected culture during the current crisis, individuals, enterprises and big tech firms must cut down on their bandwidth usage — and the best way to do so is to reduce the use of video.

[...] The truth is that video accounted for over two-thirds of global consumer internet traffic in 2017 and has continued to grow ever since.

In its most recent State of the Internet report, Cisco observes that an internet-enabled HD TV used to watch shows for a few hours daily generates more traffic than a whole household. In part this is because we are streaming video in 4K.

In other words, even as the internet strains to handle the demands of tens of millions of workers worldwide fortunate enough to be able to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also struggling to handle the sheer quantity of video we are all consuming.

Video is by far the biggest consumer of bandwidth, and if we’re going to optimize how we make use of it, we’re going to need to reduce our consumption of it.

We all need to keep working, so it makes complete sense to reduce the quantity of video-related traffic we generate — or at least take steps to mitigate it.

[...] If you use a streaming TV system (a smart TV, Apple TV, or such-like), you should reduce the resolution of the video you download.

While doing so will reduce your picture quality, it will also reduce the amount of data your TV set requires. If everyone who uses a streaming video system cuts quality, this should make a significant difference in terms of available bandwidth during the current crisis.

Here's what to do with an Apple TV:

For the TV app, set Wi-Fi playback quality to ‘Good’ on all the devices you use to consume video content. You’ll find it impossible to adjust settings for Prime and Netflix, and this is why the EU is asking streaming video service providers to get with the program and reduce the quality of the shows they provide, in order to ensure that the internet doesn’t break.

All the social media apps (particularly Facebook) are bad citizens when it comes to auto-streaming video. Not only is this usually annoying, but it also consumes valuable bandwidth.

[...] I understand each enterprise setup is different, so providing relevant advice for everyone is beyond the scope of this piece, but some basic strategies to reduce video bandwidth consumption follow:

Enterprises and technology firms can also consider asking employees to stagger the installation of essential software upgrades, particularly when the workforce is distributed globally.

Advertising firms that place video should consider reducing the quality of the content they distribute in order to help mitigate this demand.

I think there’s also a strong case to disable video auto-play on sites, services and browsers.

[...] I understand people love 4K video quality — I do myself — but reducing this quality in the short term seems an essential step in order to maintain economic productivity, personal communications, entertainment systems and all the other benefits of our digital lives.

Fake Coronavirus 'Vaccine' Website Busted In DOJ Takedown

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Authorities have cracked down on a website that claimed to give out coronavirus vaccine kits – but that was actually stealing victims’ payment card data and personal information.

The Department of Justice has raised its first federal court action against online fraud relating to the coronavirus pandemic, on Sunday taking steps to shutter a fraudulent website that claimed to give away free coronavirus vaccines.

The website, “,” was purporting to give away free vaccine kits that it claimed were manufactured by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to Department of Justice (DoJ) court documents. In reality, website operators were engaging in a wire fraud scheme. They first asked buyers to input their payment card information on the website in order to pay a shipping charge of $4.95. Then, they would steal that credit card and personal information in order to carry out fraudulent purchases and identity theft.

“In fact, there are currently no legitimate COVID-19 vaccines and the WHO is not distributing any such vaccine,” according to the DoJ in a Sunday post. “In response to the department’s request, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman issued a temporary restraining order requiring that the registrar of the fraudulent website immediately take action to block public access to it.”

The DoJ is continuing to investigate the website. The temporary restraining order against the site, which has been issued in the meantime, orders the site’s domain host, NameCheap, to immediately take down the website. The website was live as of March 21, according to the DoJ; but as of Monday, the website is currently down.

[...] The DoJ on Sunday urged website users to always independently verify the identity of any company, charity, or individual that contacts them regarding COVID-19. In addition, the department warned of scammers employing web addresses that differ only slightly from those belonging to the entities they are impersonating (for instance, using “” or “” instead of “”).

“The Department of Justice will not tolerate criminal exploitation of this national emergency for personal gain,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division in a statement.  “We will use every resource at the government’s disposal to act quickly to shut down these most despicable of scammers, whether they are defrauding consumers, committing identity theft, or delivering malware.”

Coronavirus updates: Olympics postponed, Trump wants US open by Easter

[...] This article describes the latest developments in the coronavirus outbreak each day. It is updated as new information becomes available.

[...] Prince Charles, the 71-year-old heir to the British throne, has tested positive for coronavirus, according to a spokesperson for the royal family. He's been "displaying mild symptoms" of COVID-19 but is otherwise in good health and working from home, his office said in a statement.

His wife, Camilla, has tested negative, and the couple is self-isolating at home in Scotland.

"It is not possible to ascertain from whom the Prince caught the virus owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks," his office said.

Charles last saw his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, on March 12, the BBC reported, but the 93-year-old British monarch "remains in good health."

US senators and the White House reached a deal to deliver a nearly $2 trillion stimulus package, according to The New York Times. The stimulus bill is the largest in US history and is expected to provide financial aid to individuals as well as struggling businesses. A Senate vote is expected Wednesday.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are done. We have a deal," said Eric Ueland, White House legislative affairs director, at approximately 10 p.m. PT Tuesday.

The legislation, according to The Washington Post, will send many American adults $1,200 and children around $500. It will also boost small businesses with a $367 billion loan program, and hospitals are set to receive $150 billion in funding.

The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, ordered the entire country -- 1.3 billion people in total -- to stay home for 21 days starting March 25. The extreme measures were announced late Tuesday, with Modi stating that "the only option is social distancing, to remain away from each other. There is no way out to escape from coronavirus besides this."

Worldwide cases are approaching 420,000, but India has so far reported just over 500 cases, with 10 deaths.

Vice President Mike Pence said 9 million masks have now been donated by Apple. The remarks came during a White House briefing Tuesday afternoon, where Trump added that coming soon to hospitals around the nation are medical supplies including 8 million respirators, 14 million masks, 2.4 million face shields, 1.9 million surgical gowns, 13.5 million gloves and more than 4,000 ventilators.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said randomized tests are being done on a number of drugs, which are "queuing up to go to clinical trial."

During a town hall hosted by Fox News on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said he would love to have the US "opened up and raring to go by Easter," which is on April 12. The president added that people will still have to practice social distancing, but reiterated that the cure cannot be worse than the problem.

"I gave it two weeks and we'll assess at that time," said Trump, referencing his 15-day timeline to slow the spread. "But we have to open this country up."

[...] During a White House briefing, President Trump said the US "wasn't built to be shut down," and he is hoping local data can be used to advise areas of when they can "cautiously" resume normal activities. "America will be open for business a lot sooner than three or four months," the president said. "We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself."

Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said self-collected nasal swabbing is going to be made available later this week at clinics and drive-through sites. Birx added around 250,000 people have been tested in the last week.

Trump is also pushing an anti-malaria drug to be used in coronavirus tests, saying distribution of the drug, hydroxychloroquine, will begin tomorrow in New York City. It follows NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing Sunday the state will begin drug trials using 70,000 doses of Hydroxychloroquine, 10,000 doses of Zithromax and 750,000 doses of Chloroquine Tuesday.

[...] British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a lockdown for the UK starting Monday night, with gatherings of more than two people banned unless they're from the same household, and all non-essential stores and most public places closing. People are allowed to leave home only for essential shopping, medical needs, one form of exercise per day and travel to and from work only when absolutely necessary.

"From this evening, I must give the British people a very simple instruction: You must stay at home," Johnson said. Visiting friends and family from other households is banned. Police have been given the power to enforce the new rules, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

Dr. Jerome Adams, the US surgeon general, warned Monday that the coronavirus outbreak in the US will get worse before it gets better. "We really need everyone to understand this is serious, to lean into what they can do to flatten the curve," Adams told CBS This Morning. He added that it will be awhile before "life gets back to normal" and stressed that Americans must take steps "right now" to help stop the spread.

Utah Rep. Ben McAdams, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, was hospitalized on Friday after experiencing a "severe shortness of breath." McAdams said Sunday that he's feeling better and expects to be released once doctors determine it's appropriate. In his message, the Democratic congressman also urged people to follow advice from the CDC and Utah Department of Health to stop the spread of the virus.

[...] The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, has announced that stricter lockdown measures will now be enforced and that the country's pubs, restaurants, bars, clubs, gyms and other "nonessential" services will be shut from midday on Monday, March 23. Morrison also requested all Australians stay home unless travel is essential.

"Those holidays that you may have been planning to take interstate over the school holidays are canceled," Morrison noted in a press briefing on March 22.

Australia's states and territories have also begun closing borders and will enforce 14-day quarantines for any domestic travellers. South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory all announced any incoming travellers would be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival by air, land or sea.

[...] German Chancellor Angela Merkel has entered quarantine after being told that a doctor who gave her a pneumonia vaccine Friday has tested positive for coronavirus. According to the Associated Press, Merkel was put into quarantine shortly after a press conference on Sunday where she announced some "new measures to curb the spread of the virus." The country has added a ban on gatherings of more than two people in a bid to slow the pandemic.

If you're interested in coronavirus news from before March 22, CNET has been tracking the outbreak in real time here.

-- submitted from IRC

Intolerable Abuse: Congresscritters try to sneak privacy destroying bill in while COVID-19 Distracts

An intolerable abuse.

The objective appears to be an Internet where the law required every message sent to be read by government-approved scanning software. Companies that handle such messages wouldn't be allowed to securely encrypt them

If passed, this bill will likely lead to terrorism and violence. Not everyone will sit complacent while the constitution is destroyed.

Spanish Army Finds Care Home Residents 'abandoned'

Spanish army finds care home residents 'abandoned':

Spanish soldiers helping to fight the coronavirus pandemic have found elderly patients in retirement homes abandoned and, in some cases, dead in their beds, the defence ministry has said.

[...] The military has been brought in to help disinfect care homes in Spain, one of Europe's worst hit countries.

Meanwhile, an ice rink in Madrid is to be used as a temporary mortuary for Covid-19 victims, officials said.

The virus is spreading very fast in Spain - the second worst-hit European country after Italy.

On Tuesday, the health ministry announced that the number of deaths had risen by 514 in the past 24 hours - a daily record.

A total of 2,696 people have now died and there are 39,637 confirmed cases.

[...] Spanish Defence Minister Margarita Robles told the private TV channel Telecinco that the government was "going to be strict and inflexible when dealing with the way older people are treated" in retirement homes.

[...] The defence ministry said that staff at some care homes had left after the coronavirus was detected.

Health officials have said that in normal circumstances the bodies of deceased residents are put in cold storage until they are collected by the funeral services.

But when the cause of death is suspected to be linked to coronavirus they are left in their beds until they can be retrieved by properly equipped funeral staff. In the capital Madrid, which has seen the highest number of cases and deaths, that could take up to 24 hours, officials said.

[...] Spain is the second worst affected country in Europe after Italy, which now has the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths in the world.

Italian authorities said on Monday that 602 people with Covid-19 had died in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 6,077.

But the daily increase was the smallest since Thursday, raising hope that stringent restrictions imposed by the government were starting to have an effect.

from the coronavirus-apocalypse dept.

The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Change the World Forever

Submitted via IRC for Bytram

The pandemic will change the world forever. We asked 12 leading global thinkers for their predictions.


Dr. Fauci Explains Why He Doesn't Correct Trump During Press Conferences

Dr. Fauci explains why he doesn't correct Trump during press conferences:

Dr. Anthony Fauci has one of the toughest and most important jobs in government as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The nation's top infectious disease expert, Fauci plays a major role in the coronavirus-pandemic response and is regularly seen at press conferences alongside President Donald Trump—who doesn't share Fauci's inclination and ability to give Americans the most accurate information in a time of crisis.

Fauci addressed his interesting relationship with Trump in a Science Magazine interview published yesterday. "I can't jump in front of the microphone and push him down," Fauci said when asked about moments when Trump makes factual mistakes at press conferences.

[...] Q: What about the travel restrictions? Trump keeps saying that the travel ban for China, which began February 2, had a big impact [on slowing the spread of the virus to the United States] and that he wishes China would have told us 3 to 4 months earlier and that they were "very secretive." [China did not immediately reveal the discovery of a new coronavirus in late December 2019, but by January 10, Chinese researchers made the sequence of the virus public.] It just doesn't comport with facts.

A: I know, but what do you want me to do? I mean, seriously Jon, let's get real, what do you want me to do?

Q: Most everyone thinks that you're doing a remarkable job, but you're standing there as the representative of truth and facts, but things are being said that aren't true and aren't factual.

A: The way it happened is that after he made that statement [suggesting China could have revealed the discovery of a new coronavirus three to four months earlier], I told the appropriate people, it doesn't comport, because two or three months earlier would have been September. The next time they sit down with him and talk about what he's going to say, they will say, "By the way, Mr. President, be careful about this and don't say that." But I can't jump in front of the microphone and push him down. OK, he said it. Let's try and get it corrected for the next time.

Cohen also asked Fauci how he has avoided getting fired by Trump. "Well, that's pretty interesting because to his [Trump's] credit, even though we disagree on some things, he listens," Fauci said. "He goes his own way. He has his own style. But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say."

Fauci acknowledged that Trump's press conferences can give the American public "some misunderstanding" about the pandemic:

Q: You've been in press conferences where things are happening that you disagree with, is that fair to say?

A: Well, I don't disagree in the substance. It is expressed in a way that I would not express it, because it could lead to some misunderstanding about what the facts are about a given subject.

[...] Fauci said that Trump "ad libs" despite the preparation Fauci and others do before each press conference.

"We're in the task force [before each press conference]. We sit down for an hour and a half, go over all the issues on the agenda," Fauci explained. "And then we proceed from there to an anteroom right in front of the Oval Office to talk about what are going to be the messages, what are the kind of things we're going to want to emphasize? Then we go in to see the president, we present [our consensus] to him, and somebody writes a speech. Then he gets up and ad libs on his speech. And then we're up there to try and answer questions."

Trump's tendencies have been on display in public discussions over the possibility of using malaria drugs to treat COVID-19, leading to an Associated Press story titled, "Trump vs Fauci: President's gut sense collides with science." While Trump touted the drugs as "hav[ing] a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine," Fauci explained that the evidence so far is purely "anecdotal."

The Tip of the Iceberg: Virologist David Ho (BS '74) Speaks About COVID-19

From CalTech

As of March 20, more than 8,700 people worldwide had died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Caltech trustee David Ho (BS '74) of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, Columbia University, says that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Ho, an expert on viral epidemics, has spent decades researching HIV/AIDS, having begun his career in Los Angeles, "ground zero" of the first outbreak, in the early 1980s. On March 18, Ho sat down with members of the Caltech community to discuss the novel coronavirus and the future of our society in the light of this global pandemic.

US: $2 Trillion Coronavirus Rescue Bill Hits Late Snags in Senate

US: $2 trillion coronavirus rescue bill hits late snags in Senate:

Leaders in the United States Senate raced to unravel last-minute snags Wednesday and win passage of an unparalleled $2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and healthcare systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure is the largest economic relief bill in history, and both parties' leaders were desperate for quick passage of a bill aimed at the coronavirus that is costing lives and jobs by the hour.

[...]The package is intended as a weeks-long or months-long patch for an economy spiralling into recession or worse and a nation facing a grim toll from an infection that's killed nearly 20,000 people worldwide.

Underscoring the effort's sheer magnitude, the bill finances a response with a price tag that equals half the size of the entire $4 trillion annual federal budget.

[...] McConnell and Schumer hoped passage of the legislation in the Republican-led Senate would come by the end of the day. Stocks posted their first back-to-back gains in weeks as the package took shape over the last two days, but much of Wednesday's early rally faded as the hitch developed in the Senate. The market is down nearly 27 percent since setting a record high a month ago.

Senate passage would leave final congressional approval up to the Democratic-controlled House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said the bipartisan agreement "takes us a long way down the road in meeting the needs of the American people" but she stopped short of fully endorsing it.

"House Democrats will now review the final provisions and legislative text of the agreement to determine a course of action," she said.

House members are scattered around the country and the timetable for votes in that chamber is unclear.

House Democratic and Republican leaders have hoped to clear the measure for President Donald Trump's signature by a voice vote without having to call lawmakers back to Washington. But that may prove challenging, as the bill is sure to be opposed by some conservatives upset at its cost and scope. Ardent liberals were restless as well.

White House aide Eric Ueland announced the agreement in a Capitol hallway Wednesday, shortly after midnight, capping days of often intense haggling and mounting pressure. The wording of some final pieces of the agreement needs to be completed.

The sprawling, 500-page-plus measure is the third coronavirus response bill produced by Congress and by far the largest. It builds on efforts focused on vaccines and emergency response, sick and family medical leave for workers, and food aid.

It would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367bn programme for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home.

One of the last issues to close concerned $500bn for guaranteed, subsidised loans to larger industries, including a fight over how generous to be with airlines. Hospitals would get significant help as well.

[...] Five days of arduous talks produced the bill, creating tensions among Congress's top leaders, who each took care to tend to party politics as they manoeuvred and battled over crafting the legislation. But failure was never an option, which permitted both sides to mark big wins.

"That Washington drama does not matter any more," McConnell said. "The Senate is going to stand together, act together, and pass this historic relief package today."

[...] The bill would provide one-time direct payments to Americans of $1,200 per adult making up to $75,000 a year, and $2,400 to a married couple making up to $150,000, with $500 payments per child.

A huge cash infusion for hospitals expecting a flood of COVID-19 patients grew during the talks at Schumer's insistence. Republicans pressed for tens of billions of dollars for additional relief to be delivered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal disaster agency.

Democrats said the package would help replace the salaries of furloughed workers for four months, rather than the three months first proposed. Furloughed workers would get whatever amount a state usually provides for unemployment, plus a $600 per week add-on, with gig workers such as Uber drivers covered for the first time.

Schumer said businesses controlled by members of Congress and top administration officials - including Trump and his immediate family members - would be ineligible for the bill's business assistance.

[...] A companion appropriations package ballooned as well, growing from a $46bn White House proposal to more than $300bn, which dwarfs earlier disasters - including Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy combined.

To provide transparency, the package is expected to create a new inspector general and oversight board for the corporate dollars, much as was done during the 2008 bank rescue, officials said.

(2020-03-22) Coronavirus Roundup 03/22/2020
(2020-03-17) SoylentNews Community -- How has SAR-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) / COVID-19 Affected You?
(2020-03-12) CoronaVirus (SARS-CoV-2) Roundup 2020-03-12
(2020-02-29) COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 - CoronaVirus) Roundup
(2020-02-26) Roundup of Stories about the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus and COVID-19 Disease
(2020-02-17) Coronavirus Roundup (Feb. 17)
(2020-02-11) Coronavirus Roundup
(2020-02-07) Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Roundup
(2020-02-01) 2019-nCoV Coronavirus Story Roundup

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 26 2020, @07:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 26 2020, @07:20PM (#976043)

    I apologized below and I repeat it, sorry. I'm also sorry you got a troll mod. Again, I hate Obama too for the same reasons you do. He ran as a leftist and then with the sole exception of Obamacare (which, as flawed as it is, is still far more good than bad) he governed like a Reagan Republican. I don't feel bad for being fooled in 2008. I am ashamed that I was fooled in 2012 - not that I should have voted for Romney, but I defended Obama enthusiastically and I can't believe how badly I let myself be deceived.

    Trump is a symptom and also the problem. Most of what he does is identical to Obama, either Clinton, Bush, and so forth. So in that sense he is simple them with the polite mask stripped away. And all of them should already be in the Hague for crimes against humanity for their actions. But the one thing Trump did that is new is dramatically dial up the horrors inflicted on illegal immigrants. For that, I reserve additional hatred for him. I'm not going to talk tough and make some blowhard claim that I'm taking up weapons and traveling to DC. But I am furious and if I did know a practical way to make an impact I would.