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Messages - vox_mundi

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Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: Today at 05:36:09 AM »
US states have begun imposing federal quarantine orders on people arriving from New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the US.

In the state of Rhode Island, around 250 kilometers (160 miles) from New York City, state police officers Friday began pulling over vehicles with New York state license plates to collect contact information and inform them of a mandatory 14-day quarantine, the Associated Press reported.

Governors in Texas, Florida, Maryland and South Carolina this week ordered anyone arriving from New York and the neighboring states of New Jersey and Connecticut, to self-quarantine for at least 14 days after arrival.


Cruise Ship With Coronavirus Outbreak Blocked From Transiting Panama Canal

Panamanian health officials have blocked Holland America Line's MS Zaandam from transiting the Panama Canal, citing sanitary conditions after a coronavirus outbreak on board the cruise ship.

Four passengers have died aboard, with over 130 others suffering from influenza-like symptoms. At least two of them have coronavirus, the vessel's operator said.

The ship has 1,243 guests and 586 crew on board, as well as four doctors and four nurses, the cruise operator said in a statement.


India's Coronavirus Lockdown Has Triggered Mass Migration On Foot

A great reverse migration is underway in India.

On March 24, prime minister Narendra Modi urged all Indians to stay at home for three weeks to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. The short, four-hour notice for the shutdown, though, effectively trapped the country’s 470 million migrant workers in no man’s land.

The closure of all but essential services has made it impossible for the daily wagers to live in the rented shanties of big cities.
Even though finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a Rs1.7 lakh crore ($23 billion) relief package yesterday (March 26), to aid those who live on the margins, panicked labourers are undertaking 500km long journeys on foot in the absence of trains and buses.

This arduous trek back home to their villages now threatens to defeat the very purpose of the ongoing 21-day lockdown.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: Today at 12:13:54 AM »
Mystery In Wuhan: Recovered Coronavirus Patients Test Negative ... Then Positive

... From March 18-22, the Chinese city of Wuhan reported no new cases of the virus through domestic transmission — that is, infection passed on from one person to another. The achievement was seen as a turning point in efforts to contain the virus, which has infected more than 80,000 people in China. Wuhan was particularly hard-hit, with more than half of all confirmed cases in the country.

But some Wuhan residents who had tested positive earlier and then recovered from the disease are testing positive for the virus a second time. Based on data from several quarantine facilities in the city, which house patients for further observation after their discharge from hospitals, about 5%-10% of patients pronounced "recovered" have tested positive again.

Some of those who retested positive appear to be asymptomatic carriers — those who carry the virus and are possibly infectious but do not exhibit any of the illness's associated symptoms — suggesting that the outbreak in Wuhan is not close to being over.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: Today at 12:11:49 AM »
Trump Signs Order Calling Up Reservists for COVID Response

06:46 PM: Trump on Friday signed an executive order authorizing Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to call up military reservists for active duty “for the effective conduct of coronavirus disease response.” Esper and Wolf are authorized to order Ready Reserve units and members to active duty for a period “not to exceed 24 consecutive months” and “not to exceed 1,000,000 members on active duty at any one time.” It was not immediately clear how the forces would be used.


Trump Says He Will Force GM to Make Ventilators, Invoking Defense Production Act

... Nine days have passed since Trump first declared that he would activate the DPA “just in case we need it.” But instead of issuing orders to industry, he chose to open negotiations with suppliers, even as governors clamored for key medical supplies and an end to the desperate bidding wars that have drained state coffers

... He added in a Friday tweet that General Motors “MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio, or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!!…FORD, GET GOING ON ventilators, FAST!!!!!!”

GM no longer owns the Lordstown plant.

His tweet comes a day after he dismissed demands from governors for more ventilators and said New York, which is the epicentre of the crisis in the US, was exaggerating the need.


Trump appears to confirms troops sent to Canadian border

9:33 PM: Trump appeared to confirm a report that he is considering sending troops to the Canadian border amid concerns that those crossing the border could be suffering from COVID‑19.

... Trump riffed that U.S. troops were necessary along the Canadian border because “we have a lot of things coming in from Canada.”


DHS Makes a Master List of Coronavirus Knowns and Unknowns

The Homeland Security Department recently launched and continues to update a new, living document that agency officials can use as a reference tool to inform the choices they must make in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

While the 19-page document doesn’t provide operational guidance, Hough said it “allows users to quickly find information that is needed to inform operations, which is why every piece of information is referenced.” The citations enable users to go back to the information’s primary source to inform their decisions. The document itself is broken up into columns that pose a variety of coronavirus-focused questions like, “How does it spread from one host to another?” and “What personal protective equipment is effective, and who should be using it?”


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 27, 2020, 11:44:47 PM »
We’re Supposed To Be a First-World Country’: Doctor Leaks Video From Packed Ward of New York Hospital Amid Coronavirus Surge

Dr Colleen Smith works at Elmhurst Hospital, which this week saw 13 coronavirus-related deaths in a single day. The hospital has begun transferring out non-Covid patients to other hospitals in order to clear space for the sheer number of people arriving needing urgent treatment.

In the film, which she released to the New York Times, Dr Smith walks through a packed ICU unit, saying “all the patients that you see, they all have Covid. It feels like it’s too little too late. We knew it was coming.”

“Today is kind of getting worse and worse. We had to get a refrigerated truck to store the bodies of patients who are dying. We are right now scrambling to try and get a few additional ventilators, or even CPAP machines. If we got CPAP machines, we could free up ventilators for patients who need them.”

In her video, Dr Smith shows five new ventilators received by the hospital, saying it needed many more. “We now have these five vents – unless people die, I suspect we’ll be back to needing to beg for ventilators again in another day or two.”

Dr Smith’s video from Elmhurst captures both the scale of what’s happening now and the alarmingly steep trajectory along which the epidemic is moving. Among the changes she is seeing as the epidemic progresses, she says, is the shifting demographic of the patients entering hospital.

“Many of the young people who are getting sick don’t smoke, they’re healthy, they have no comorbidities … they’re just young, regular people between the ages of 30 and 50 who you would not expect to get this sick.”

“I don’t have the support that I need, and even just the materials that I need physically to take care of my patients. And it’s America. And we’re supposed to be a first-world country.

“I don’t really care if I get in trouble for speaking to the media. I want people to know that this is bad, people are dying, we don’t have the tools that we need in the emergency department and in the hospital to take care of them.” At this point, she begins to cry. “And it’s really hard.”

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 27, 2020, 09:49:28 PM »
Coronavirus: Trump Delays Call With China’s President Xi for 90 Minutes to Phone Fox News Instead

Donald Trump postponed a planned phone call with Chinese president Xi Jinping on Thursday night so he could be interviewed by Fox News host Sean Hannity.

The president was due to discuss the ongoing coronavirus pandemic with his Chinese counterpart at 9pm, but said he delayed the call to appear on the popular Fox News programme.

Trump continued to downplay the number of ventilators he thinks New York will need.

The president told Sean Hannity on Fox News: “I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be.”

He continued:

... “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You go into major hospitals sometimes they’ll have two ventilators and now, all of a sudden, they’re saying, ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”



Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 27, 2020, 09:02:23 PM »
I'm envious KG ...

and this is what we have, looking after our best interests ...



Consequences / Re: Global recession
« on: March 27, 2020, 08:56:07 PM »


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 27, 2020, 08:32:08 PM »
'Stranded At Sea': Cruise Ships Around the World Are Adrift As Ports Turn Them Away

A Guardian analysis of ship tracking data has found that, as of Thursday, at least 10 ships around the world – carrying nearly 10,000 passengers – are still stuck at sea after having been turned away from their destination ports in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some of the ships are facing increasingly desperate medical situations, including one carrying hundreds of American, Canadian, Australian and British passengers, currently off the coast of Ecuador and seeking permission to dock in Florida.

The Holland America ship Zaandam, which has been stranded for days after Chile refused to allow the ship to dock in its original destination of San Antonio on 21 March, reportedly has 140 cases of respiratory illness on board, with some passengers needing breathing support.

The ship is steaming up the coast of South America, hoping to make it through the Panama Canal and dock in Florida. But the Florida port, where many of the passengers had planned to disembark on the final leg of the cruise, has refused to confirm that the ship can land.

While the Zaandam and at least two other ships still carrying passengers at sea have reported outbreaks of coronavirus-like respiratory illness onboard, other ships are being turned away from docking and unloading their passengers even with no signs of illness at all. ... cruise ships have become a kind of pariah of the seas, with cities wary of becoming the next home for a potentially infected vessel.



In Florida, the attorney general’s office is investigating potentially misleading sales practices, after the Miami New Times obtained leaked emails showing representatives for Norwegian Cruise Lines may have downplayed the coronavirus in sales pitches to passengers, even as the pandemic was disrupting trips. “The Coronavirus can only survive in cold temperatures, so the Caribbean is a fantastic choice for your next cruise,” said one sales script obtained by the paper.


Most of the major cruise operators register their companies in countries such as Panama and Liberia, thereby avoiding most US taxes and labor laws. Thus, the cruise industry’s trade group said on Thursday the companies will not have access to the US aid for large employers, according to the Washington Post.

... Aw.... That's a damn shame [/sarc]


Four Dead on Carnival-Owned Cruise Ship Amid New Coronavirus Outbreak Aboard

Four passengers died aboard Holland America's "Zaandam" cruise ship off the coast of Panama, the company announced Friday.

The company, which is owned by parent Carnival Corp., also announced that two people on board tested positive for COVID-19.

The company said in a statement that "four older guests have passed away on Zaandam," but did not specify whether they died of COVID-19. "No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile."

There are more than 1,800 people aboard the ship, the company said.

... Another Holland America ship, the "Rotterdam," met the Zaandam at sea on Thursday, the company said, adding that it plans to transfer healthy patients from one ship to the other before they are exposed to COVID-19. All passengers and crew currently exhibiting symptoms will remain on the Zaandam.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 27, 2020, 08:21:04 PM »
For those biased towards a low CFR, be aware of the logical flaw in your argument:

PCR testing negative is NOT equal to being immune.

Only an antibody test would resolve that you had prior exposure.

Many of those who tested negative in Germany and elsewhere are still susceptible to infection as long as the virus is circulating.

The only way through this bottleneck is catch the bug (and survive) or get the vaccine when it comes out.

As far as isolating the carriers, that ship has sailed.

Consequences / Re: Global recession
« on: March 27, 2020, 03:19:34 AM »

Trump Administration Eases Environmental Enforcement During Outbreak

(Reuters) - The Trump administration has decided to ease enforcement of environmental regulations covering polluting industries to help them cope with impacts from the coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday.

The decision follows requests by the oil lobby and other industry groups for regulatory relief as governments around the world scramble to contain fallout from the pandemic, which has infected nearly a half a million people, decimated travel, and forced massive disruptions in daily life.


Let's see ... We just gave the oil industry a multi-billion dollar bailout and in grateful thanks they get to dump their pollution into our rivers and air scot-free ... win-win!

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 26, 2020, 09:31:40 PM »
Rapid Increase in Coronavirus Cases Aboard US Aircraft Carrier

There are now 23 sailors who have tested positive for the coronavirus aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, just two days after the Pentagon announced that three sailors aboard the ship had tested positive for the virus, a Navy official has confirmed to CNN.

... We are in the process now of testing 100% of the crew of that ship to ensure that we're able to contain whatever spread might've occurred," acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told reporters at the Pentagon at a briefing Thursday morning. There are approximately 5,000 personnel on board the carrier.

The Roosevelt is in the process of pulling into Guam for crew testing, according to Modly. "No one on the crew will be allowed to leave anywhere into Guam, other than on pier side," he said.

The ship was last in port in Vietnam more than two weeks ago. It is not clear where the sailors initially contracted the virus. The Navy is now in the process of flying all infected personnel off the ship.

It’s unclear how long the ship will remain pierside, but the move cuts in half the number of carriers in the Pacific, leaving only the USS Ronald Reagan, which is currently in port in Japan.

The nearly eightfold spike in the number of positive cases in two days aboard the ship is the latest red flag of how the pandemic is affecting the US military. There is now a total of 280 servicemembers who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of Thursday morning, an increase of 53 from the 227 reported on Wednesday. And there are nearly 600 positive cases across the Defense Department, which includes civilians, dependents, and contractors. According to Modly, 133 of those are in the Navy.


NORAD, Cheyenne Mountain Button Up Against Coronavirus

01:51 PM: Military teams that monitor foreign missile and warplane threats to the United States are isolated at a number of military sites, including Cheyenne Mountain, the Cold War-era bunker in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the head of U.S. Northern Command, said Tuesday.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 26, 2020, 08:15:06 PM »
Trump: Administration to Revise Guidelines On Physical Distancing

In a letter to the country’s governors, Trump said he will soon “publish new guidelines for state and local policymakers” to be used in decision about maintaining, enhancing or relaxing physical distancing and public isolation measures put in place. This is in keeping with Trump’s desire to “re-open” the US by Easter, a date many public health officials say is far too early.

The letter also says that the administration will suggest guidelines to categorize counties as low-risk, medium-risk and high-risk.

He is going to be so confused when low-risk counties suddenly become high-risk counties, isn't he?


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 26, 2020, 03:29:31 PM »
Road Not Taken: Trump Administration Didn't Use Pandemic "Playbook" for Coronavirus

'Pandemic Playbook' in .pdf format:

Consequences / Re: Global recession
« on: March 26, 2020, 02:07:39 PM »
Jobless Claims Soar Past 3 Million to Record

Americans displaced by the coronavirus crisis filed unemployment claims in record numbers, with the Labor Department reporting Thursday a surge to 3.28 million.

The number shatters the Great Recession peak of 665,000 in March 2009 and the all-time mark of 695,000 in October 1982. The previous week, which reflected the period before the worst of the coronavirus hit, was just 282,000.

... The near-term damage will be dramatic.

The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, not seasonally adjusted, totaled 2,898,450 for the period. That's an increase of 2,647,034, or 1,052.9%, from the previous week.

Pennsylvania increased 20-fold, from 15,439 to 378,908. New York saw its number more than quintuple, rising from 14,272 from the previous week to 80,334, while California tripled to 186,809. Louisiana, where coronavirus infections have risen at a dangerous pace, went from 2,255 a week ago to 72,620.

So Much Winning ... Make America Great Again?

(... the numbers may be an undercount based on the ability to process new applications)

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 26, 2020, 09:05:40 AM »
Coronavirus Measures Could Cause Global Food Shortage, UN Warns

Protectionist measures by national governments during the coronavirus crisis could provoke food shortages around the world, the UN’s food body has warned.

Harvests have been good and the outlook for staple crops is promising, but a shortage of field workers brought on by the virus crisis and a move towards protectionism – tariffs and export bans – mean problems could quickly appear in the coming weeks, Maximo Torero, chief economist of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, told the Guardian.

“The worst that can happen is that governments restrict the flow of food,” he said. “All measures against free trade will be counterproductive. Now is not the time for restrictions or putting in place trade barriers. Now is the time to protect the flow of food around the world.”

Governments must resist calls from some quarters to protect their own food supply by restricting exports, he said, as some have begun to do.

Kazakhstan, for instance, according to a report from Bloomberg, has banned exports of wheat flour, of which it is one of the world’s biggest sources, as well as restrictions on buckwheat and vegetables including onions, carrots and potatoes. Vietnam, the world’s third biggest rice exporter, has temporarily suspended rice export contracts. Russia, the world’s biggest wheat exporter, may also threaten to restrict exports, as it has done before, and the position of the US is in doubt given Donald Trump’s eagerness for a trade war in other commodities.

“Trade barriers will create extreme volatility,” warned Torero. “[They] will make the situation worse. That’s what we observe in food crises.”

While the supply of food is functioning well in most countries at present, problems could start to be seen within weeks and intensify over the following two months as key fruit and vegetables come into season. These types of produce often have short ripening times and are highly perishable, and need skilled pickers to work quickly at the right time.

“Fruit and vegetables are also very labour intensive, if the labour force is threatened because people can’t move [due to lockdown] then you have a problem.” ...

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 26, 2020, 08:52:17 AM »
Hospitals Consider Universal Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders for Coronavirus Patients

Worry that ‘all hands’ responses may expose doctors and nurses to infection prompts debate about prioritizing the survival of the many over the one

... Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago has been discussing a do-not-resuscitate policy for infected patients, regardless of the wishes of the patient or their family members — a wrenching decision to prioritize the lives of the many over the one

Officials at George Washington University Hospital in the District say they have had similar conversations, but for now will continue to resuscitate covid-19 patients using modified procedures, such as putting plastic sheeting over the patient to create a barrier. The University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, one of the country’s major hot spots for infections, is dealing with the problem by severely limiting the number of responders to a contagious patient in cardiac or respiratory arrest.

Several large hospital systems — Atrium Health in the Carolinas, Geisinger in Pennsylvania and regional Kaiser Permanente networks — are looking at guidelines that would allow doctors to override the wishes of the coronavirus patient or family members on a case-by-case basis due to the risk to doctors and nurses, or a shortage of protective equipment, say ethicists and doctors involved in those conversations. But they would stop short of imposing a do-not-resuscitate order on every coronavirus patient. The companies declined to comment.

“We are now on crisis footing,” he said. “What you take as first-come, first-served, no-holds-barred, everything-that-is-available-should-be-applied medicine is not where we are. We are now facing some difficult choices in how we apply medical resources — including staff.”

The new protocols are part of a larger rationing of lifesaving procedures and equipment — including ventilators — that is quickly becoming a reality here as in other parts of the world battling the virus. The concerns are not just about health-care workers getting sick but also about them potentially carrying the virus to other patients in the hospital.

... “From a safety perspective you can make the argument that the safest thing is to do nothing,”


Southern States Face Spike In Coronavirus Cases

The coronavirus is spreading rapidly in the South, and hospitals are becoming overwhelmed. Louisiana, Florida and Georgia are facing alarming spikes, with more than 4,700 cases and 125 deaths in those states alone.

There are more cases in the New Orleans area than there are in Los Angeles County — and Los Angeles County is 25 times larger. In just over two weeks, the number of cases in Louisiana has skyrocketed to almost 1,800.

Former state health director Rebekah Gee said masks and other protective equipment are running out, and that the state needs supplies immediately.

"I'm concerned about the fact that we're now worried about protective equipment already and we haven't hit the surge of patients," Gee told CBS News.

Doctors believe the city's yearly Mardi Gras festivities escalated the spread of the virus. The French Quarter has been shut down, as the city braces for even more cases.


'That's When All Hell Broke Loose': Coronavirus Patients Start to Overwhelm US Hospitals

... "We don't have the machines, we don't have the beds," ... "To think that we're in New York City and this is happening," he added. "It's like a third-world country type of scenario. It's mind-blowing."

... "Last week when I went to work, we talked about the one or two patients amongst the dozens of others that might have been a Covid or coronavirus patient," Spencer told CNN's Anderson Cooper Tuesday. "In my shift yesterday, nearly every single patient that I took care of was coronavirus, and many of them extremely severe. Many were put on breathing tubes. Many decompensated quite quickly.

"There is a very different air this week than there was last week."

... "In my own hospital -- and I don't think it's unique -- we have a nurse who is on a ventilator right now who contracted the virus."

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 26, 2020, 07:32:58 AM »
Nigerian Army Preparing for Strict Lockdown, Forced Transfers of Sick

The Nigerian Army is preparing to forcibly transfer the sick to hospital and enforce strict curbs on movement to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Africa's most populous country, according to Reuters news agency.

A memo from army headquarters seen by the news agency outlines measures to protect government food storage from looters and says the military is also leasing equipment for "possible mass burial".


Trump Administration Cut CDC China Staff

Reuters news agency is reporting that the administration of US President Donald Trump cut the staff of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) working in China by two-thirds in the two years before the coronavirus emerged.

Most of the reductions were at the Beijing office. The CDC's headcount in China has dropped from about 47 when Trump took office in January 2017 to about 14 now, Reuters said.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 26, 2020, 06:39:37 AM »
Trump Team Failed To Follow NSC’s Pandemic Playbook

The 69-page document, finished in 2016, provided a step by step list of priorities – which were then ignored by the administration.

Pandemic Playbook:

President Donald Trump's administration was briefed on the playbook’s existence in 2017, said four former officials.

The Trump administration, state officials and even individual hospital workers are now racing against each other to get the necessary masks, gloves and other safety equipment to fight coronavirus — a scramble that hospitals and doctors say has come too late and left them at risk. But according to a previously unrevealed White House playbook, the government should’ve begun a federal-wide effort to procure that personal protective equipment at least two months ago.

... ‘Is there sufficient personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who are providing medical care?’ the playbook instructs its readers, as one early decision that officials should address when facing a potential pandemic. ‘If YES: What are the triggers to signal exhaustion of supplies? Are additional supplies available? If NO: Should the Strategic National Stockpile release PPE to states?’

The strategies are among hundreds of tactics and key policy decisions laid out in a 69-page National Security Council playbook on fighting pandemics, which POLITICO is detailing for the first time. Other recommendations include that the government move swiftly to fully detect potential outbreaks, secure supplemental funding and consider invoking the Defense Production Act — all steps in which the Trump administration lagged behind the timeline laid out in the playbook.

“Each section of this playbook includes specific questions that should be asked and decisions that should be made at multiple levels” within the national security apparatus, the playbook urges, repeatedly advising officials to question the numbers on viral spread, ensure appropriate diagnostic capacity and check on the U.S. stockpile of emergency resources.

The playbook also stresses the significant responsibility facing the White House to contain risks of potential pandemics, a stark contrast with the Trump administration’s delays in deploying an all-of-government response and President Donald Trump's recent signals that he might roll back public health recommendations.

The guide further calls for a “unified message” on the federal response, in order to best manage the American public's questions and concerns. “Early coordination of risk communications through a single federal spokesperson is critical,” the playbook urges. However, the U.S. response to coronavirus has featured a rotating cast of spokespeople and conflicting messages; Trump already is discussing loosening government recommendations on coronavirus in order to “open” the economy by Easter, despite the objections of public health advisers.

The playbook was designed “so there wasn’t piecemeal thinking when trying to fight the next public health battle,” said one former official who contributed to the playbook, warning that “the fog of war” can lead to gaps in strategies.

“These are recommended discussions to be having on all levels, to ensure that there’s a structure to make decisions in real-time,” said a second former official.

... Trump has claimed that his administration could not have foreseen the coronavirus pandemic, which has spread to all 50 states and more than 180 nations, sickening more than 460,000 people around the world. “Nobody ever expected a thing like this,” Trump said in a Fox News interview on Tuesday.

But Trump’s aides were told to expect a potential pandemic, ranging from a tabletop exercise that the outgoing Obama administration prepared for the president’s incoming aides to a “Crimson Contagion” scenario that health officials undertook just last year and modeled out potential risks of a global infectious disease threat. Trump’s deputies also have said that their coronavirus response relies on a federal playbook, specifically referring to a strategy laid out by the Centers for Disease Control.

The document rested with NSC officials who dealt with medical preparedness and biodefense in the global health security directorate, which the Trump administration disbanded in 2018, four former officials said.

The NSC playbook would have been especially useful in helping to drive the administration’s response to coronavirus, given that it was intended to guide urgent decisions and coordinate the all-of-government approach that Trump so far has struggled to muster, said people familiar with the document.

The playbook lays out different strategies for policymakers based on the severity of the crisis and shares lessons gleaned from past outbreaks. For instance, one section is devoted to addressing 34 “key questions” and 21 “key decisions” as soon as there is a “credible threat” — which in the case of coronavirus would have been early-to-mid January, as it raged in China and as the first U.S. case was detected on Jan. 20 — and calls on officials to move quickly.

“We recommend early budget and financial analysis of various response scenarios and an early decision to request supplemental funding from Congress, if needed,” the guide urges. But the Trump administration waited more than a month to ask for emergency funding after the timeline laid out in the playbook.

The playbook also repeatedly urges officials to question official numbers about the viral spread. “What is our level of confidence on the case detection rate?” reads one question. “Is diagnostic capacity keeping up?” But across January and much of February, Trump administration officials publicly insisted that their diagnostic efforts were sufficient to detect coronavirus. Officials now privately concede that the administration’s well-documented testing problems have contributed to the outbreak’s silent spread across the United States, and health experts say that diagnostic capacity is only now in late March catching up to the need.

In a subsequent section, the playbook details steps to take if there’s evidence that the virus is spreading among humans, which the World Health Organization concluded by Jan. 22

Under that timeline, the federal government by late January should have been taking a lead role in “coordination of workforce protection activities including… [personal protective equipment] determination, procurement and deployment.” Those efforts are only now getting underway, health workers and doctors say.



Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 26, 2020, 06:35:04 AM »
Indonesia Could Have Thousands of Hidden Coronavirus Cases, Study sSays

The country already has the most deaths in south-east Asia, but research suggests the official 800 infections so far may only be 2% of the total


It was just last month that Indonesia’s coronavirus cases stood at zero, with officials fiercely rejecting suggestions that infections were spreading undetected.

Weeks later, 58 fatalities have now been linked to the virus, the highest number in south-east Asia. Seven health workers are among those who have died.

While confirmed case have risen to almost 800, researchers have estimated that there could be tens of thousands of hidden infections across the country, and there is growing concern that medical facilities will be unable to cope in the event of a major outbreak.

Over the past week, two major hospitals have appealed for supplies, while some healthworkers threatened to go on strike after they were forced to wear raincoats for protection.[
 As of Monday, as many as 42 medical staff were infected with coronavirus in Jakarta.

... Modelling by the Eijkman-Oxford Clinical Research Unit (EOCRU), reported by the Jakarta Post, has suggested that, without tough steps to contain the virus, there could be up to 71,000 infections by the end of April.

Analysis by Reuters suggests that the country’s health system is significantly less well resourced than that of Italy or South Korea, which have both faced major outbreaks.

Indonesia has 321,544 hospital beds, according to health ministry data, which is equal to about 12 beds per 10,000 people. South Korea has 115 per 10,000 people, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

In 2017, the WHO found Indonesia had four doctors per 10,000 people. Italy had 10 times more, on a per capita basis. South Korea has six times more doctors.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 26, 2020, 02:47:20 AM »
Stats from my State:


European Mobile Carriers Will Share Location Data to Track COVID-19 Spread

More governments are relying on phone location tracking in a bid to track and contain the spread of COVID-19. Eight European carriers, including Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), Orange and Vodafone, have agreed to share phone location data with the European Commission to help measure the coronavirus' reach. That immediately raises privacy issues, but an official talking to Reuters stressed that the EC would protect users.

The data will be aggregated and anonymized, the official said. The Commission will also delete the info when the pandemic is over. The European Data Protection Supervisor also wants the Commission to "clearly define" the data it wants to collect, maintain transparency and limit access to epidemiologists and other relevant experts.

... No matter how trustworthy the EU may be, it's unclear just how effectively it might anonymize and secure that data. And while the height of the coronavirus outbreak might be relatively brief, it's not clear how long the crisis will last. There's a possibility the tracking could last longer than some would like.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 26, 2020, 02:02:10 AM »
DHS Warns New York City Morgues Are Near Capacity

The US Department of Homeland Security was briefed Wednesday that New York City’s morgues are nearing capacity.

From Politico:

Officials were told that morgues in the city are expected to reach capacity next week, per the briefing. A third person familiar with the situation in New York said that some of the city’s hospital morgues hit capacity over the last seven days. And a FEMA spokesperson told POLITICO that New York has asked for emergency mortuary assistance.

The media outlet confirmed that Hawaii and North Carolina have also asked for mortuary help. According to a spokesperson, the disaster response agency is currently reviewing the requests.


Washington Post: 140 Nursing Homes Have Coronavirus Cases

The federal agency in charge of nursing homes nationwide confirmed that 140 have at least one confirmed coronavirus case. But the Washington Post reports the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are refusing to say which ones.

Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control, the press release tucked the new figure in the seventh paragraph. The release said although “147 is a small fraction of the over 15,000 nursing homes across the country, given the disproportionate effect on our nation’s older population, this is a cause for concern.


NPR Affiliate Will No Longer Broadcast Trump Pressers

A Seattle NPR affiliate announced late Tuesday it is opting out of airing US president Donald Trump’s daily briefings on the coronavirus pandemic. In a tweet thread announcing their decision, KUOW Public Radio cited “a pattern of false or misleading information.”

The local radio affiliate joined a growing list of media outlets who are vowing not to air the administration’s press conferences. Both the CDC and FDA have had to release corrections or clarifications to the Trump’s comments on public health guidance and vaccine availability.


U.S. Def. Sect. Esper Raises Health Protection Level of DoD Worldwide

1:14 PM: Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday announced that all DOD installations globally would be upgraded to HPCON-C, the second-highest health protection level. The rating will introduce new restrictions on access to military facilities, including health screening and limits on large gatherings.

“Our curve is not flattening,” said Joint Staff Surgeon Gen. Paul Friedrichs of DOD personnel. “And that’s why we went to HPCON-C.”

As of Wednesday, there are 227 current cases of the coronavirus across Defense Department personnel. The department reported its first death on Saturday, a contractor who worked in the Washington, D.C. area. The Navy on Tuesday announced the first instance of coronavirus aboard a deployed U.S. ship, with three sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier testing positive for the virus. (Crew: >5000) The sick are being airlifted off the ship, which is currently on deployement in the Philippine Sea. On Wednesday, U.S. Special Operations Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida, reported its first case.

U.S. military facilities in the Washington, D.C., region have already been at HPCON-C, which corresponds to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Level 3 warnings of sustained community transmission.

Contingency response forces will go to HPCON-D, which indicates severe risk and widespread community transmission. (Total Lockdown)


Pentagon orders halt to all overseas movement for U.S. forces for up to 60 days over coronavirus

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has issued a stop movement order halting all travel and movement abroad for up to 60 days in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus through the ranks of the military, Esper told Reuters on Wednesday.

Esper said in an interview that the order applied to all U.S. forces, civilian personnel and families, but noted that there would be some exceptions. One exception would be the drawdown under way in Afghanistan, which Esper said would continue.


National Guard Chief: No Plans to Use Guard to ‘Enforce Quarantine’

3:57 PM: National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Joseph Lengyel emphasized to reporters that there is “no plan” to use National Guard forces either under Title 32 status or state troops “to do quarantine or enforce shelter in place operations.”

... The National Guard does have the authority to assist local law enforcement with routine enforcement activities, but so far no state has asked it to do so, Lengyel said.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 25, 2020, 08:37:35 PM »
Something to be aware when looking at live global flight traffic

If it's 1 PM when you look at the radar at your location it may be 1 AM on the other side of the planet.

Airports and traffic are not that busy (except for cargo) at that hour. Context matters.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 25, 2020, 05:45:07 PM »
Greater Social Distancing Could Curb COVID-19 In 13 Weeks: Study

A University of Sydney data study from the Faculty of Engineering has revealed that social distancing must be adopted by at least 80 percent of the Australian population to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Led by Complex Systems academic and pandemic modeling expert, Professor Mikhail Prokopenko, the study also revealed that social distancing would be an unproductive measure if adopted by less than 70 percent of the population.

"If we want to control the spread of COVID-19—rather than letting the disease control us—at least eighty percent of the Australian population must comply with strict social distancing measures for at least four months," said Professor Mikhail Prokopenko.

"Conversely, if less than seventy percent of the population is adopting social distancing measures, we cannot suppress the spread of the pandemic and any social distancing could be a fruitless effort," he said.

"There is a clear trade off—stricter measures imposed earlier would reduce how long our lives are impacted by this disease. On the contrary, laxer protocols could mean a longer, more drawn out and ineffective struggle against COVID-19," he said.

The researchers also found that while school closures had the potential to compensate for ten percent of a lack of social distancing compliance, they only delayed the peak of the pandemic by two weeks.

The AceMod simulator comprises over twenty-four million software agents, each with attributes of an anonymous individual, such as age, gender, occupation, susceptibility and immunity to diseases. Contact rates within different social contexts, such as households, household clusters, local neighborhoods, schools, classrooms and workplaces are also built into the program.

The set of generated agents captures average characteristics of the real population and is calibrated to 2016 Australian Census data with respect to key demographic statistics.

The interactions result in transmission of the disease from infectious to susceptible individuals: given the contact and transmission rates, the simulation computes and updates agents' states over time, starting from initial infections, seeded in international airports around Australia.

In this scenario, 80 percent social distancing could either mean—any person in one household could go out once in five days, or, one member per family of five could go out daily, but the other four stay at home all the time.

Sheryl L. Chang, et al. Modelling transmission and control of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia:

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 25, 2020, 05:29:08 PM »
Repurposing Blood Clot Drug: A Stopgap Measure to Treat Respiratory Distress In COVID-19

Researchers at MIT and the University of Colorado at Denver have proposed a stopgap measure that they believe could help Covid-19 patients who are in acute respiratory distress. By repurposing a drug that is now used to treat blood clots, they believe they could help people in cases where a ventilator is not helping, or if a ventilator is not available.

Three hospitals in Massachusetts and Colorado are developing plans to test this approach in severely ill Covid-19 patients. The drug, a protein called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), is commonly given to heart attack and stroke victims. The approach is based on emerging data from China and Italy that Covid-19 patients have a profound disorder of blood clotting that is contributing to their respiratory failure.

"If this were to work, which I hope it will, it could potentially be scaled up very quickly, because every hospital already has it in their pharmacy," says Michael Yaffe, a David H. Koch Professor of Science at MIT. "We don't have to make a new drug, and we don't have to do the same kind of testing that you would have to do with a new agent. This is a drug that we already use. We're just trying to repurpose it."

The treatment that the MIT and University of Colorado team now proposes is based on many years of research into what happens in the lungs during respiratory failure. In such patients, blood clots often form in the lungs. Very small clots called microthrombi can also form in the blood vessels of the lungs. These tiny clots prevent blood from reaching the airspaces of the lungs, where blood normally becomes oxygenated.

The researchers believe that tPA, which helps to dissolve blood clots, may help patients in acute respiratory distress. A natural protein found in our bodies, tPA converts plasminogen to an enzyme called plasmin, which breaks down clots.

Animal experiments, and one human trial, have shown potential benefits of this approach in treating respiratory distress. In the human trial, performed in 2001, 20 patients who were in respiratory failure following trauma or sepsis were given drugs that activate plasminogen (urokinase or streptokinase, but not tPA). All of the patients in the trial had respiratory distress so severe that they were not expected to survive, but 30 percent of them survived following treatment.

"What we are hearing from our intensive care colleagues in Europe and in New York is that many of the critically ill patients with Covid-19 are hypercoagulable, meaning that they are clotting off their IVs, and having kidney and heart failure from blood clots, in addition to lung failure. There's plenty of basic science to support the idea that this concept should be beneficial," Yaffe says. "The tricky part, of course, is figuring out the right dose and route of administration. But the target we are going after is well-validated."

"Genentech, the manufacturer of tPA, has already donated the drug for the initial trial, and indicated that they will rapidly expand access if the initial patient response is encouraging."

Open Access: Hunter B. Moore et al. Is There a Role for Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) as a Novel Treatment for Refractory COVID-19 Associated Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)?, Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery (2020).

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 25, 2020, 03:16:25 AM »
Almost 7% of NYPD Cops Out Sick as Coronavirus Spreads

SIck calls Monday were more than double the average

Nearly 7 percent of the NYPD's uniformed officers called out sick Monday, and while only a fraction of those actually have the coronavirus, the department expects the number of sick calls to keep rising.

Some 100 officers have COVID-19, and a total of 2,407 officers called out sick Monday, representing about 6.6 percent of the force, NBC News reported. The number of sick calls is more than double the department's daily average.


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 25, 2020, 02:06:20 AM »
^ Bruce, that's probably where they got the idea from. They just made it a little more light weight.

The shop-vac, at 8 pounds, could get a tad heavy after a 12 hour shift. And, if it's anything like mine, they'd be deaf in 4 hours.

When I first saw the sketch from Ford, it reminded me of the kludge the engineers cobbled together in the movie Apollo 13 - putting a square filter into a round hole.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 25, 2020, 01:24:51 AM »
By next week triage will be taking place in NY for sure. Madrid started past weekend as all its hospitals are full. Italy been triaging for more than a week.
Probably the saddest milestone to reach.

Do you have links to back this up? Mind you, not anecdotes.
The situation is serious enough as it is, don't unnecessarily add to it.
“ Patients with COVID-19 have inundated hospitals in Italy, forcing doctors to make agonizing decisions about who should receive lifesaving care. Patient surges could soon demand distressing triage decisions in U.S. intensive care units (ICUs), too. As of Thursday, there were more than 13,000 confirmed cases in the U.S., and the nationwide death toll had risen to 175.“

From the Scientific American article of past week (Mar 20)

From Mar 12

As Coronavirus Explodes in Italy, Doctors Are Forced to Choose Who Gets Care

... The Italian College of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care (SIAARTI) has published guidelines for the criteria that doctors and nurses should follow in these extraordinary circumstances.

The document begins by likening the moral choices facing Italian doctors to the forms of wartime triage that are required in the field of “catastrophe medicine.” Instead of providing intensive care to all patients who need it, its authors suggest, it is becoming necessary to follow “the most widely shared criteria regarding distributive justice and the appropriate allocation of limited health resources.”

The principle they settle upon is utilitarian. “Informed by the principle of maximizing benefits for the largest number,” they suggest that “the allocation criteria need to guarantee that those patients with the highest chance of therapeutic success will retain access to intensive care.”

The authors, who are medical doctors, then deduce a set of concrete recommendations for how to manage these impossible choices, including this:

... “It may become necessary to establish an age limit for access to intensive care.”

Those who are too old to have a high likelihood of recovery, or who have too low a number of “life-years” left even if they should survive, will be left to die. This sounds cruel, but the alternative, the document argues, is no better. “In case of a total saturation of resources, maintaining the criterion of ‘first come, first served’ would amount to a decision to exclude late-arriving patients from access to intensive care.”

... These guidelines apply even to patients who require intensive care for reasons other than the coronavirus, because they too make demands on the same scarce medical resources. As the document clarifies, “These criteria apply to all patients in intensive care, not just those infected with CoVid-19.”


Life, or Death? Experts Guide Pandemic Medical Equipment Decisions

... guidance rests on the four values of maximizing the benefits provided by scarce resources, treating people equally, encouraging and rewarding people who can save lives, and giving priority to people most in need, regardless of wealth or ability to pay.

According to this framework, the authors recommend giving priority treatment to patients who are sick but could recover, even if it means removing a patient from a ventilator or intensive care unit (ICU) bed to give it to another. "Patients should be made aware of this possibility at admission," they wrote.

... "Many guidelines agree that the decision to withdraw a scarce resource to save others is not an act of killing and does not require the patient's consent."

Testing, PPE, ICU beds, ventilators, interventions, and vaccines should first be given to front-line healthcare workers, they said. "Priority for critical workers must not be abused by prioritizing wealthy or famous persons or the politically powerful above first responders and medical staff—as has already happened for testing," they wrote.

Hospitals should randomly choose patients for treatment, such as through a lottery, rather than on a first-come, first-served basis, which would be unfair to patients living farther away from the healthcare facility and unfairly exclude patients getting sick later in the pandemic. "In the face of time pressure and limited information, random selection is also preferable to trying to make finer-grained prognostic judgments within a group of roughly similar patients," they said.

When vaccines are available, the authors say that they should be given to healthcare workers and first responders and then to older adults. Vaccine research participants should also be given priority for COVID-19 interventions If vaccines are scarce for even the people in these categories, a lottery would be the fairest approach.

... "Ventilator allocation decisions must be made carefully, because reallocation will be difficult once ventilators have been distributed," they said. "One modeling study of ventilator stockpiling dynamics in a large state found that the peak of the pandemic would likely affect different areas of the state almost simultaneously, making redistribution of ventilators challenging."

A hospital's ability to use ventilators depends on the number of staff qualified to provide mechanical ventilation, an adequate number of beds, and availability of equipment to support very sick patients, such as oxygen, suctioning, airway

... alternatives to ECMO if the demand for it exceeds available resources ... they recommend trying high-flow nasal oxygen to patients with moderately low oxygen levels before performing endotracheal intubation. "This procedure might avoid the need for intubation and mechanical ventilation because it provides high concentrations of humidified oxygen, low levels of positive end-expiratory pressure, and can facilitate the elimination of carbon dioxide," they wrote.


New York is preparing to ration its ventilators for sick coronavirus patients as a major disaster was declared in the city as it struggles to cope with the deadly outbreak.

The disaster declaration comes as New York prepares guidance on how to deploy vital ventilators amid a widespread shortage of key equipment that also includes masks and surgical gloves, and medical supplies such as blood.

The draft guidance on ventilators, prepared by a state taskforce in 2015 for a possible influenza pandemic, has reportedly been updated for the coronavirus crisis, according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to Sam Gorovitz, a professor of philosophy at Syracuse University and member of the taskforce, the revisions to the ventilator allocation guidelines include the formation of designated triage committees to determine which critically ill patients will or will not receive life-supporting respiration.

Gorovitz told the Journal that doctors will be required to make “tragic” decisions on “who will have access or for patients whose prospects are essentially hopeless, will be have to be removed to make room for somebody whose prospects are very much better”.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 25, 2020, 12:40:24 AM »
Speculation is continuing to mount in Brazil over whether its far-right president Jair Bolsonaro (age: 65) has in fact been tested positive for coronavirus.

On 13 March, there were reports – initially confirmed and then subsequently denied by one of Bolsonaro’s sons – that an initial test on president Bolsonaro had come back positive. More than 20 members of a delegation Bolsonaro led to the United States to meet Donald Trump have been infected, including his ambassador in Washington and two members of his cabinet.

The military hospital where Bolsonaro and others were tested, in Brazil’s capital Brasília, was this week forced to hand over a list of names of the patients it had treated, amid concerns Brazil’s leader might in fact have tested positive.

But a leading Brazilian newspaper, the Folha de São Paulo, reported that two names had been omitted for reasons of official “secrecy”.

Now, another newspaper, the Correio Braziliense, has published a report claiming insiders within the presidential palace believe it is possible those two patients “could be Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro and first lady”.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 25, 2020, 12:11:19 AM »
SH where did you source the map? Is it updated daily?

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 24, 2020, 11:30:05 PM »
Disturbing situation unfolding in Atlanta, Georgia. ICU’s at area hospitals are “at capacity” as of today. Georgia has apparently done very little testing and so here we are flying blind. The grief that is about to unfold in the US will be scarcely contained.

Atlanta Mayor tells #cbs46 News ICU units in hospitals across the city are at capacity #BREAKING #Exclusive on @cbs46


Grady Hospital 'at or near capacity' amid coronavirus pandemic as mayor says 'breaking point' is imminent

ATLANTA — Hospital beds at Grady Memorial hospital are officially at a premium.

As of Monday afternoon, the Atlanta hospital says it's "operating at or near capacity."

The hospital was already feeling the pinch after a 24-inch pipe burst in early December. The flooding wiped out 200 patient care beds that won't be back in use until this fall.

... Today, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms painted an increasingly worrisome picture of the situation at Grady and other hospitals around the city.

"The biggest concern that we have from a local standpoint is the impact and the ability of our hospitals to be able to take in the number of patients that are anticipated with COVID-19," Mayor Bottoms said in a conference call with city council members. "What I am hearing from our infectious disease people is that we are at a critical, almost breaking point."

... ProPublica and Harvard report that as of 2018, there were about 12,800 hospital beds in Atlanta and that about 1,600 of those were ICU beds. Nearly three-quarters of them were already occupied.

... In the metro Atlanta area, the researchers say if just 20 percent of the population gets infected in the next six months, hospitals in the area would need nearly twice as many beds than they currently have.

Consequences / Re: Global recession
« on: March 24, 2020, 09:38:28 PM »
How We Know Ending Social Distancing Will Lead To More Deaths, In One Chart

Trump - “we’re going to be opening up our country”.

Asked by a reporter if that meant “weeks or months,”

Trump - “I’m not looking at months, I can tell you right now.”


... In 1918, the world was ravaged by a horrible flu pandemic, which was linked to as many as 100 million deaths globally and about 675,000 deaths in the US. In response, cities across America adopted a variety of social distancing measures to combat the pandemic. Based on several studies of the period, these measures worked to reduce the death toll overall.

But many cities, also worried about the effects of social distancing on normal life and the economy, pulled back their social distancing efforts prematurely. When they did, they saw flu cases — and deaths — rise again.

Consider St. Louis. The city is now heralded as an example of how to do social distancing right because it took an aggressive and layered response to the flu pandemic early on. But as a 2007 study published in JAMA found, St. Louis in 1918 pulled back its social distancing efforts prematurely — and that led to a spike in deaths.

Here’s how that looks in chart form, with the line chart representing excess flu deaths and the black and gray bars below showing when social distancing measures were in place. The highest peak comes after social distancing measures were lifted, with the death rate falling only after they were reinstituted.

This did not just happen in St. Louis. Analyzing data from 43 cities, the JAMA study found this pattern repeatedly across the country. Howard Markel, an author of the study and the director of the University of Michigan’s Center for the History of Medicine, described the results as a bunch of “double-humped epi curves” — officials instituted social distancing measures, saw flu cases fall, then pulled back the measures and saw flu cases rise again.

Notably, the second rise in deaths only appeared when cities removed social distancing measures, the JAMA study found: “Among the 43 cities, we found no example of a city that had a second peak of influenza while the first set of nonpharmaceutical interventions were still in effect.”

Another 2007 study, published in PNAS, looked at 17 US cities and found the same trend: “[N]o city in our analysis experienced a second wave while its main battery of [nonpharmaceutical interventions] was in place. Second waves occurred only after the relaxation of interventions.”

As the PNAS study concluded: “In practice, and until emergency vaccine production capacity increases, this means that in the event of a severe pandemic, cities will likely need to maintain [nonpharmaceutical interventions] for longer than the 2–8 weeks that was the norm in 1918.

... It can be hard to see this, because successful public health measures are often invisible. As Tara Smith, an epidemiologist at Kent State University, previously told me, “It’s the paradox of public health: When you do it right, nothing happens.” So if we’re doing social distancing right, we’ll prevent deaths — but it’s not like people will see each death that was prevented.

... The Alternative: Epidemiological models suggest coronavirus cases will rise if social distancing measures are relaxed, potentially causing hundreds of thousands if not millions of deaths in the US alone.


Andrei Bonovia: [to Captain Tupolev] You arrogant ass! You've killed us all!

- The Hunt for Red October - 1990

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 24, 2020, 08:55:21 PM »


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 24, 2020, 06:49:13 PM »
Italy Coronavirus Deaths Rise By 743 In a Day, Total Death Toll 6,820

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has grown by 743 to 6,820, the head of the Civil Protection Agency said, reversing a decline in fatalities seen over the last two days.

On Monday 602 people died. That followed 650 deaths on Sunday and 793 on Saturday - the highest daily figure since the contagion came to light on February 21.


Spain's deaths surged by 514 in one day, bringing its total to 2,696. It also reported 6,600 new coronavirus cases, raising nationwide infections to 39,673.


India Locks Down 1.3 Billion People

India's 1.3 billion people will go under "total lockdown" from midnight Tuesday (1830 GMT) for 21 days to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

"There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes," Modi said in a televised address.


Top Nigerian President Aide Tests Positive for Coronavirus

The Nigerian president's influential chief of staff has tested positive for coronavirus, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Abba Kyari, who is in his 70s, is an important figure in President Muhammadu Buhari's government and his illness could have ramifications for the running of the country.

... Chatham House, described Kyari as the "lynchpin" of the Buhari government. "This has the potential to further slow down decision-making within top tiers of Nigerian government," he said.


Tough Combined Measures Key in Virus Fight: Study

Quarantining infected people, workplace distancing and school closures are most effective in combatting the spread of the new coronavirus when implemented together, according to new research released looking at Singapore's response to the killer disease

Researchers from the National University of Singapore saw a dramatic drop in projected cases when all three physical distancing measures were done at once.


Pentagon Says 174 Service Members Have Coronavirus

The US military said 174 service members had coronavirus, an increase of 41 cases from the day before.

In a daily update, the Pentagon added 59 civilian employees, 61 dependents, and 27 contractors had also tested positive.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 24, 2020, 06:10:19 PM »
Trump Has Given Unusual Leeway to Fauci, But Aides Say He’s Losing His Patience

The president has become increasingly concerned as Dr. Anthony S. Fauci has grown bolder in correcting his falsehoods about the spread of the coronavirus.

... When Mr. Trump knows that he has more to gain than to lose by keeping an adviser, he has resisted impulses to fight back against apparent criticism, sometimes for monthslong interludes. One example was when he wanted to fire the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, in 2017 and early 2018. Another was Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general. Mr. Trump eventually fired both when he felt the danger in doing so had passed.

So far, the president appears to be making the same calculation with Dr. Fauci, who was not on the briefing room podium on Monday evening. When asked why, Mr. Trump said he had just been with Dr. Fauci for “a long time” at a task force meeting. Officials, asked about the doctor’s absence, repeated that they were rotating officials who appear at the briefings.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 24, 2020, 03:51:57 PM »
Nearly half of infected on cruise ship asymptomatic at time of testing

A US government report said 46.5 percent of the 712 people who tested positive for SARS-Cov-2 on board the Diamond Princess in February were asymptomatic at the time of testing.

The cruise ship accounted for the largest cluster of COVID-19 cases outside mainland China at the time, and the report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested the high proportion of asymptomatic infections could partially explain the high attack rate on board cruise ships.

The report did not explain whether or not the asymptomatic patients during testing later developed mild or moderate COVID-19


Serbia’s president has announced a dramatic change of tactic in the fight against coronavirus, after taking the advice of a team Chinese epidemiologists who flew into the country,

After speaking with the Chinese experts, Aleksandar Vučić said Serbia would move to a regime of mass testing, and would isolate those who tested positive in makeshift facilities, even if they had light symptoms, as lockdown alone will not work. He said he hoped the new strategy would be able to contain coronavirus in the country within a month.

“We are ready to put up 3,000 beds right away, these are the easiest patients, who will get in and out quickly, but we will see their illness through to the end so that they cannot infect anyone else,” said Vučić. More serious cases will be placed in hospitals. China has provided Serbia with shipments of masks and other medical equipment.

It is another sign that China is positioning itself as a saviour for European countries hit by the coronavirus, following Russia's medical aid to Italy.


From the U.S.  ... crickets

Trump provides less help to his own states.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 24, 2020, 11:14:03 AM »
Can Trump Be Trusted Not to Abuse His Coronavirus Emergency Powers?

As the coronavirus crisis has grown, so too has the power of the president’s whim to shape American life, whether that means choosing which states get emergency medical equipment first, deciding where to deploy troops to build temporary hospitals – or controlling what the public knows about what the government is doing.

... By invoking the National Emergencies Act on 13 March, Trump gained access to emergency powers in more than 100 other statutes, Goitein said, “and if you look at those authorities, very few of them relate to health crises”. With incremental action, Trump could expand government control of the internet, freeze private assets or change the size and composition of the armed forces.

... One step Trump did not take after his administration declared a public health emergency on 31 January was to reallocate funds to speed approval for drugs and ramp up the production of coronavirus tests kits. Trump’s failure to deploy that power, the University of Texas law professor Steve Vladeck said, may have ironically created a scenario in which he ends up using much broader powers.

“The president’s dilatory use of the powers he has, I think, is going to end up requiring him to use a lot more of that power, in ways that are a lot more controversial and a lot more coercive and a lot more inconsistent,” Vladeck told Benjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution in a Lawfare podcast about emergency powers and coronavirus.

Under extraordinary powers accessible to Trump after his national emergency declaration, he could declare the coronavirus to be a “foreign threat” and impose financial sanctions on anyone he said was contributing to the threat, such as a media company or a political opponent.

He could announce an interstate travel ban, enforceable by the military, citing a need to stop the spread of the virus. Along similar lines, he could take steps that could make it harder for some people to vote in the presidential election in November – or make it more difficult for legal challenges to such steps to be heard in court.

Concerns that the administration would look for ways to use the crisis to move the lines of the law were sharpened by reports last week that the justice department had asked Congress to pass legislation allowing federal judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies.


Trump’s Push to Shorten the Coronavirus Shutdown Proves the Captain is Flying Blind

On a day that a hundred American deaths were reported, the US president made clear his intention to reopen the country for business much sooner than expected and, seemingly, sooner than medical experts believe to be safe. Everything we know about him suggests this impulse has been guided by Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the stock market, poll numbers, the imminent election and pure gut instinct. Not science.


Governors Beg for Medical Supplies as Trump Refuses to Act

Trump’s refusal to take on the obligation to solve the medical-supply crisis is in line with his personal history and entire response to the current pandemic, including his statement earlier this month that “I don’t take responsibility at all” for the administration’s early testing failures that helped the disease spread unchecked around the country.

Yet Trump—through his DPA powers—is currently the only person who can take on the responsibility for bolstering an about-to-collapse health care system, to protect untold numbers of lives of people in this country.

What is he waiting for, exactly?

The response to Pritzker suggests he’s waiting for states to “fail”—that is for widespread shortages of ventilators to lead to rationing that leads to mass death, as has already happened in Italy—before swooping in to play the hero and “back you up.” ...


GM And Ford Are Not Yet Making Ventilators, Despite Trump’s Assertion

Though President Trump insisted this weekend that American automakers were already producing ventilators without his having to compel them using the Defense Production Act, the AP reported Monday that Ford, General Motors and Tesla are months away from being able to convert their factories into medical supply production facilities

... Senator Ted Lieu ... publicly chastised Trump for his comments

Dear @realDonaldTrump: I don’t know if you were misinformed or if you lied to the AMERICAN people, but automakers are not making ventilators right now. Can you please activate the Defense Production Act? We need protective equipment & ventilators to fight the #COVIDー19 outbreak.


Politico reports that the US Postal Service may be bankrupt by June without financial support from Congress.

The service shut down would have an impact on the ability of US voters to cast ballots by mail in the country’s presidential elections.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 24, 2020, 11:03:01 AM »
Intensive care doctors and nurses in UK told to care for more patients

Intensive care doctors and nurses are being told to care for more patients than normal as hospitals experience a surge in Covid-19 cases, the Press Association report:

... More general doctors and nurses and those who are less experienced will help support the most senior medics as they care for those who are seriously ill with coronavirus, according the Health Service Journal (HSJ).

The HSJ said it understands that acute trusts in London have been told to base their staffing models for intensive care on having one critical care nurse for every six patients, supported by two non-specialist nurses and two healthcare assistants.

Normally, intensive care units work under Care Quality Commission (CQC) guidelines of one registered nurse to one patient. ...

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 24, 2020, 11:00:19 AM »
China says only imported cases, but questions asked over reporting criteria

Caixin Global, a financial news agency in China, continues to raise questions about the way in which China is counting its coronavirus cases.

Caixin spoke to an official in Wuhan, where the disease first originated, who says those who have the virus but have no symptoms are left out of the figures.

Consequences / Re: Global recession
« on: March 24, 2020, 02:06:57 AM »

Consequences / Re: Global recession
« on: March 24, 2020, 12:46:46 AM »
New York Stock Exchange Chairman Sold Millions in Stock Before Crash

Jeffrey Sprecher, the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, sold $3.5 million in stock on February 26, a month after his wife, Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, received a closed-door briefing about the covid-19 threat. According to SEC filings, Sprecher sold $15.3 million more in stock on March 11, at the beginning of the crash that has seen trillions of dollars wiped from the financial markets. Both stock sales were of Intercontinental Exchange (known as ICE), the company that owns the NYSE, and of which Sprecher just happens to be CEO.

Sen. Loeffler’s own stock sales recently made headlines after it was revealed that she sold millions in stock the same day she received a closed-door January 26 briefing on the potential impact of the covid-19 pandemic. Loeffler denies having any knowledge of the sales done in her name.

What makes Sprecher’s stock sales a scandal? For one, they should have been reported as part of Loeffler’s financial disclosures, but were not. Senators have been required to give periodic financial disclosures since 2012 and those filings include any sales and purchases made by the politician’s spouse.

The other thing that makes it a scandal is that Sprecher is the CHAIRMAN OF THE FUCKING NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE and SOLD SHARES IN HIS OWN COMPANY BEFORE THE MARKETS TANKED. That alone seems rotten to the core, even before you add the element that his wife had secret information about a global pandemic and both of them unloaded while she kept publicly saying everything was fine and dandy.

In fact, this was the video Loeffler posted to Twitter on March 10, the day before her husband unloaded $15.3 million worth of stock in his own company.

Sprecher and Loeffler are reportedly worth at least $500 million. Capitalism may be on its last legs during the covid-19 pandemic, but you can bet that millionaires and billionaires will do everything they can to keep it afloat. Even if a few million people have to die.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 23, 2020, 10:46:56 PM »
The Quickening:

It took 67 days from the first reported of Covid-19 to reach 100,000 cases, 11 days for the second 100,000, and just four days for the third 100,000.

We're on track to reach the fourth 100,000 in less than 36 hrs, and the fifth in less than 24 hours.



"... Fasten your safety belts, clench your buttocks! It's going be a bumpy ride!"

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 23, 2020, 05:59:55 PM »

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 23, 2020, 05:38:18 PM »
How the Coronavirus Became an American Catastrophe

The United States is a country soon to be overrun with sick people. As the positive tests for the new coronavirus have ticked upward, so, inevitably, will the deaths.

COVID-19 is an American catastrophe, a slow-motion disaster only now coming into view. When its true proportions have been measured, it will make the early government response look even more outrageous than it already seems. What’s happening here, in this country, was avoidable. Nearly every flaw in America’s response to the virus has one source: America did not test enough people for COVID-19.

Here’s what an estimate of the pandemic’s arrival in America looks like—compared with how many people we thought were sick at the time:

... Every six days that the country did not test, every six days that it did not act, the number of infected Americans doubled.

“The way no one expected how this response would fail in the U.S. is the testing,” Nahid Bhadelia, the medical director of the Special Pathogen Unit at Boston University School of Medicine, told us. She is an expert in infectious diseases and pandemics, and oversees the medical-response program at one of the few labs in the country permitted to handle the pathogens that cause Ebola, anthrax, and the bubonic plague.

“If you don’t know where the disease is early in the epidemic, you have no hope of containing it,” Bhadelia said. “Even now, [testing is] that Achilles’ heel; it’s the crack that is making its way throughout our entire response.”

Without testing, there was only one way to know the severity of the outbreak: counting the dead.

... So many of the steps that then seemed unthinkable to regular people—closing schools for months, social distancing, curfews, and more—were not only contemplated but gamed out in pandemic-preparedness plan, reams of paper ready to put into action.

Except for one thing. The plan took as a given that a functional testing apparatus would catch diseases on the way in, or at least before the fire started raging.

Under its “Planning Assumptions” section, the second bullet point read, “There will be a need for heightened global, national and local surveillance.” Surveillance is public-health jargon for testing and the system that surrounds it. The planners knew there would be a need; they barely considered that it would not be met.

“A heightened local surveillance system … serves as an early warning system for potential pandemics and a critical component of pandemic response plans,” they wrote in another section of the report. “Local surveillance during a pandemic outbreak provides important information regarding the severity of disease, characteristics of the affected population, and impacts on the healthcare system.”

For every contingency that was considered, every difficulty and problem was assumed to be downstream of the high-quality information that would flow from the testing system. Without data about American cases in hand, how to handle the virus would become a matter of guesswork, not judgment.

.... though Trump has begun to mobilize a response to the pandemic, his base has been slow to acknowledge that precautions are necessary. This dangerous remove from reality was possible for too long because of the absence of data showing how bad things already were.

... A week ago, an NBC reporter asked Trump during a White House briefing whether he took responsibility for the deadly testing delays. His reply was immediate: “No. I don’t take responsibility at all.”


US Axed CDC Expert Job in China Months Before Outbreak: Reuters

Several months before the coronavirus pandemic began, the administration of US President Donald Trump eliminated a key American public health position in Beijing that was intended to help detect disease outbreaks in China, Reuters news agency has learned.

The American disease expert Dr Linda Quick, a medical epidemiologist embedded in China's disease control agency, left her post in July, according to four sources with knowledge of the issue.

... Quick left when she learned her federally funded post, officially known as resident adviser to the US Field Epidemiology Training Program in China, would be eliminated as of September, the sources said. The CDC said it first learned of a "cluster of 27 cases of pneumonia" of unexplained origin in Wuhan, China, on December 31.

... Quick's job was eliminated after the CDC moved over the past two years to reduce the number of US employees in China, the sources told Reuters.

"We had already withdrawn many technical public health experts," the same expert said.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 23, 2020, 02:39:24 PM »
Gilead pauses access to experimental Covid-19 drug due to ‘overwhelming demand’

Gilead Sciences has temporarily stopped granting patients access to remdesivir, its experimental drug against the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19, citing “overwhelming demand,” the company said Sunday.

The company said in a statement that it is focused on processing previously approved requests, and that it is developing a new system that it says will allow patients to get the drug in a similar timeframe to what it would have taken to work through the requests it has received.

It will make exceptions for pregnant women and children under 18 years of age with confirmed Covid-19 and “severe manifestations” of the disease.

Gilead said that in recent weeks there has been “an exponential increase” in requests for compassionate use because of the spread of the coronavirus in Europe and the U.S. This has “flooded” its treatment access system, which was set up for very limited access to the medicine and was, it said, “never intended for use in response to a pandemic.”


Scientists Identify 69 Drugs to Test Against the Coronavirus

Nearly 70 drugs and experimental compounds may be effective in treating the coronavirus, a team of researchers reported on Sunday night.

The list of drug candidates appeared in a study published on the web site bioRxiv. The researchers have submitted the paper to a journal for publication.

To come up with the list, hundreds of researchers embarked on an unusual study of the genes of the coronavirus, also called SARS-CoV-2.

In the new study, the scientists investigated 26 of the coronavirus’s 29 genes, which direct production of the viral proteins. The researchers found 332 human proteins targeted by the coronavirus.

... Nevan Krogan, a biologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who led the new study, warned that chloroquine might have many toxic side effects, because the drug appears to target many human cellular proteins.

Dr. Krogan’s collaborators at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and the Pasteur Institute in Paris have started testing 22 of the other compounds on the list against live coronavirus grown in their laboratories.

On Sunday night, they were still awaiting the first results.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 23, 2020, 06:21:05 AM »

“On Friday, British ear, nose and throat doctors, citing reports from colleagues around the world, called on adults who lose their senses of smell to isolate themselves for seven days, even if they have no other symptoms, to slow the disease’s spread. The published data is limited, but doctors are concerned enough to raise warnings,” the paper reports.


Plague Ship

The state of Western Australia on Monday banned passengers on board the Swiss-owned MSC Magnifica cruise ship from disembarking.

Of 1,700 passengers on board the ship, more than 250 have complained of respiratory illnesses. It was due to dock at Western Australia’s Fremantle port as early as Monday evening.

That decision comes days after 2,700 passengers disembarked from the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney harbour, with 48 on board subsequently testing positive for the virus.

Consequences / Re: Global recession
« on: March 22, 2020, 10:21:23 PM »
U.S. Jobless Rate May Soar to 30%, Fed’s Bullard Says

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard predicted the U.S. unemployment rate may hit 30% in the second quarter because of shutdowns to combat the coronavirus, with an unprecedented 50% drop in gross domestic product.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 22, 2020, 07:29:55 PM »
Sen. Rand Paul Has Tested Positive for Coronavirus

Kentucky Republican Rand Paul (age: 57) is the first US senator to test positive for coronavirus, according to a statement on Twitter.

"He is feeling fine and is in quarantine. He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person," the post said.



Sen. Rand Paul Votes Against $8 Billion Coronavirus Emergency AID Package

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The U.S. Senate voted Thursday afternoon on $8 billion of funds to fight the coronavirus, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was the only one to vote against it.

Paul proposed that under the "Pay-as-you-go" rule, Congress should cut $8 billion worth of unspent foreign aid money in order to pay for the coronavirus funds. But the Senate rejected his plan, and he voted against the emergency package.

Paul is certainly consistent when it comes to spending bills. Over the summer, he was opposed to passing the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund (which also had bipartisan support), arguing that he'll "always take a stand against borrowing more money to pay for programs rather than setting priorities and cutting waste."

As for the new coronavirus, Paul said Tuesday thinks there's "room for optimism," noting that he could see it dissipating more quickly than people are portraying.


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 22, 2020, 03:10:42 PM »
Washington State Warns It Could Run Out of Ventilators

In Washington State, which has over 1,600 confirmed coronavirus cases, the chief medical officer at Virginia Mason Memorial in Yakima said on Saturday that the hospital could run out of ventilators by April 8 if the case projections do not improve and the hospital cannot acquire other machines.

The official, Dr. Marty Brueggemann, said he had witnessed a jarring juxtaposition of what is going on inside the hospital — which is controlling visitors and preparing for an onslaught of patients — and out in the community, where people hav​e​ been gathering in large groups.

“We will have to decide who gets a ventilator and who doesn’t,” Dr. Brueggemann said. “That’s only 19 days away.”

​The state’s Department of Health has told local leaders that only the highest-priority areas will have access to the government’s reserves of protective equipment, including N95 masks.

... U.S. officials say it is too late to pursue the strategy of South Korea, which instituted widespread testing to contain the pandemic. Instead, the focus is on identifying those who are the most sick and trying to save lives.


Lockdowns alone won’t defeat the outbreak, a W.H.O. expert says

As the number of global coronavirus cases surpassed 311,000 and the death toll rose to more than 13,400, the World Health Organization’s top emergency expert said on Sunday that countries could not simply lock down their societies to defeat coronavirus without public health measures to avoid a resurgence of the virus down the road.

“What we really need to focus on is finding those who are sick, those who have the virus, and isolate them, find their contacts and isolate them,” the expert, Mike Ryan, said in an interview on the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show.” “If we don’t put in place the strong public health measures now,” he said, “when those movement restrictions and lockdowns are lifted, the danger is the disease will jump back up.”


A quake struck on Sunday near the Croatian capital, Zagreb, complicating quarantine measures to slow the spread of the outbreak and sending residents pouring into the streets during a partial lockdown. ... It was the strongest earthquake to hit the city since 1880.


Officials on Sunday reported the first two coronavirus cases in the densely populated Gaza Strip, where aid workers say the virus’s spread could quickly lead to a public health disaster.

International aid groups have been bracing for the arrival of the coronavirus in Gaza, an impoverished coastal enclave where medical facilities have eroded under a 13-year blockade maintained by Israel and Egypt.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 22, 2020, 02:50:33 PM »
Coronavirus: Who's Feeding America

Why it matters: America isn't running out of food. But there's increasing strain on the supply chain as the workers who produce and deliver our groceries are sheltering at home, quarantined, or are (justifiably) too spooked to show up for work.

“The supply chain used to flow very evenly, but when you have surges, it takes more people," says Brian Beattie, senior vice president of sales at Lineage Logistics, which runs a large network of cold storage facilities.

Farms are anticipating labor shortages as the State Department delays the processing of H-2A visa workers from Mexico.

Truckers are finding it difficult to do their jobs as truck spots, restaurants and motels close their doors, reports the WSJ.

"As grocery employees toil, some of their supermarket bosses can't sign up reinforcements fast enough," per NBC news.

And as the virus continues to spread, these workers are often in high-risk scenarios, working in close quarters for long hours.

This week, Amazon reported its first case of coronavirus, at a U.S. warehouse in Queens, per the Atlantic.

Many food producers say they won't be able to go operate at full capacity while practicing social distancing.

American agriculture relies on 250,000 H-2A visa workers each year, and the industry is lobbying the government to make sure they can enter the country.

There are some efforts underway to assist food workers, but not enough, experts tell us.

Three states — Minnesota, Vermont and Michigan — have classified grocery workers as "essential" workers, making them eligible for child care and other benefits alongside health care workers, law enforcement and first responders. (Look for other states to follow suit.)

Food workers would be better protected with face masks, but there is a national shortage — even hospital workers don't have enough.

Robot food-pickers and autonomous trucks could one day prove helpful, but for now the technology isn't ready to replace humans entirely.

"We don't know how long of a long term this is," says Ananth Iyer, a professor of supply chain management at Purdue University.

He says that food companies must adopt new policies to enforce social distancing at work, even if they're slightly less efficient.

"I'm hopeful that a lot of the manufacturing side and the supply-chain side can be managed in such a way to protect the employees and continue to get the product out," Iyer says. "This needs to happen yesterday."

The bottom line: Without the workers needed to harvest, produce and deliver our food, the entire supply chain breaks down. And governments and companies are lagging in their efforts to ensuring that these vital workers are protected amid the pandemic.


Coronavirus stress-tests the food supply network

... Fresh produce continues to flow across the Southern border from Mexico — which accounts for about 50 percent of the U.S. fruit and vegetable supply.

But ...

THE FARMWORKER VISA PINCH: A potential threat to the food supply is the closure of U.S. embassies and consulates in Mexico, effective today, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. U.S. agriculture depends on migrant farmworkers, many of whom come from Mexico on seasonal worker visas known as H-2A — an application process that can require in-person interviews.

Foreign workers with previous work experience in the U.S. who do not require in-person interviews will be allowed to return under the H-2A program, said Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. However, the administration’s new restrictions mean American farmers won’t have access to all of the skilled labor needed at a critical time in the planting season, he added. ... The Farm Bureau is urging the administration to find “safe, practical ways to admit farm laborers as emergency workers for visa purposes.”

... The United Farm Workers is asking agricultural employers to ensure the safety of their laborers, as well as buyers and consumers. They called for specific steps like extending sick pay to 40 hours or more and not requiring workers to provide doctors’ notes before taking sick time.

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