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Messages - vox_mundi

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Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: Today at 02:38:26 AM »
Report: Pentagon Knew Of Possible Coronavirus Threat For Years

The Pentagon was aware of the likelihood of a pandemic brought on by a novel coronavirus years ago, predicting with startling accuracy shortages of masks, hospital beds and ventilators that could occur in an outbreak, according to a 2017 internal document reported by The Nation.

The 103-page document — which the magazine describes as an update to an earlier Defense Department pandemic influenza response plan — cites a novel respiratory illness as the "most likely and significant threat" in a pandemic situation.

The documents also warns that shortages of masks and ventilators would have a "significant impact on the availability of the global workforce."

"The intelligence community and the military were well aware of what could, and unfortunately, did happen" said Nation reporter Ken Klippenstein in an interview with NPR's All Things Considered.

Klippenstein reports that he obtained the document from a Pentagon official who requested anonymity. Klippenstein says the Pentagon has not responded to his requests for comment on the story.

Klippenstein told All Things Considered that within intelligence circles, a coronavirus has been viewed as a likely threat going back at least five years. And while President Trump has said the current COVID-19 pandemic "came out of nowhere," Klippenstein says it is "inconceivable that the White House did not receive this," referencing information contained in the 2017 Pentagon report.

Klippenstein adds," The threat of a highly transmissible pathogenic virus that targets the respiratory system, this was appreciated for at least the last 10 years."

The "USNORTHCOM Branch Plan 3560: Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Disease Response," as the document is titled, mentions past coronavirus outbreaks, including the MERS outbreak. The document notes that coronvavirus infections are also quite common worldwide.

Though unclassified, the Pentagon plan is an internal document intended to foresee the causes of and potentials hurdles to arise in a pandemic situation. It outlines scenarios that may arise during a global outbreak and options for how the military might respond. Within the document are also references to classified materials that could provide additional support to its conclusions.

The report's conclusions have foreshadowed many of the concerns currently being voiced by both elected officials and medical professionals over hospitals beds and medical equipment.

One section reads: "even the most industrialized countries will have insufficient hospital beds, specialized equipment such as mechanical ventilators, and pharmaceuticals readily available to adequately treat their populations during clinically severe pandemic."

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: Today at 12:47:11 AM »
Current Connecticut COVID-19 statistics, charts, and maps by age, gender, ethnicity, etc.

Wish the CDC could provide this much detail

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: Today at 12:27:04 AM »
Hurricane Season on Top of a Pandemic Will Be a Nightmare

Hurricane season is two months away. And the latest forecast for the 2020 hurricane season shows that the Atlantic is likely to see an above-average number of hurricanes. Meanwhile, the coronavirus doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon, which could unleash a nightmare scenario.

Colorado State University released its annual hurricane season forecast Thursday, and the findings are pretty unnerving during these times of economic and physical uncertainty. Living in a world struck by a highly contagious virus is hard enough. But adding devastating hurricanes to the mix? That’s another level of heartbreak.

The scientists estimate that this season will see about eight hurricanes. Four of them being at least a Category 3, the threshold for major hurricanes. That’s above the average of about six hurricanes, of which two become major hurricanes in a given season. The analysis also found a 69 percent chance that at least one major hurricane could make landfall in the U.S. The reasons for the active forecast are the warm ocean temperatures in the Atlantic, which are associated with lower-than-normal pressure. Those are two key ingredients for an active hurricane season. Climate change is set to make these seasons all the more active due to warmer waters and increased moisture in the atmosphere.

On their own, these are pretty frightening projections. But the novel coronavirus situation makes the situation that much more worrisome. Hospitalizations due to covid-19 are expected to extend well into summertime for southern states such as Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina, all places that are no strangers to hurricanes. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis ordered residents to stay home only this week.

Many parks and stores remain closed in Louisiana where the number of cases is already more than 9,000. However, the nation needs a coordinated response with all officials on board if the U.S. wants to avoid an ultra-disastrous hurricane season, Samantha Montano, an assistant professor of emergency management and disaster science at the University of Nebraska Omaha, told Earther.

“We really need particularly elected officials to be doing everything possible to get the covid situation under control as quickly as possible,” ... “We need to try to get ourselves out of these peaks of the covid curve so that they are not aligning with hurricane season as much as we can.”

... The U.S. has seen tragedy unfold in the wake of these storms without a public health crisis underway. The reality of what this might look like amid covid-19 is something emergency managers will have to get creative to solve.

For one, there’s the issue of evacuation. Some people may be able to get out in the safety of their personal vehicles. But for those who rely on public transit, Montano said that’ll be tricky in the age of social distancing. Evacuations could grow even more complicated when they involve entire hospitals, which are struggling to even maintain any order in the day-to-day of handling the coronavirus outbreak.

“Evacuating a hospital on a good day is a difficult thing to do, and then you add an extremely contagious virus on top of that
, and obviously that becomes much more difficult,” Montano said.

After evacuations often come shelters, which have never historically been that organized or safe to begin with. The Superdome in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina is a testament to the failure that can happen when you cram thousands inside a single space during a time of crisis. Now, shelters will have to keep people six feet apart, adding another challenge.

Another issue is that many families turn to hotels instead of formal federal emergency shelters. However, hotels have shut down during the pandemic. They’d need to be up and running (and staffed) before a hurricane approaches for families to seek shelter there. Most importantly, families need to have the necessary resources to afford to pay hotel costs if they want to avoid official shelters. With unemployment at an all-time high, that option may no longer exist for many people.


CDC Director Says Coronavirus Won’t Be a One-Time Foe

The coronavirus represents a “potential global catastrophe” on its way to the Southern Hemisphere, according to Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In an interview with Stat News, he discusses whether the virus will prove to be seasonal and what that could mean for the global response

He also touches on why the CDC has been largely absent from public briefings over the past month and warns that COVID-19 will be around longer than the next few weeks. “But I would say [if] we’re lucky enough to have that we need to get very prepared because next late fall and early winter, like most respiratory viruses, coronavirus 19 will be an enemy that we’re going to have to face again,” he said.


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: Today at 12:21:16 AM »
Indigenous in Canada Turn to the Land to Survive Coronavirus

Indigenous people describe leaving towns to live off the land, learning lessons about survival from elders.

... It is good to know how to live off the land, he says. People are helping each other right now, helping is a part of their culture, and no one will be left behind, he adds.

"We can do whatever we want out here. The kids play. We hunt, fish, and trap. The Earth is here for us - the animals, the plants, everything. The water is good, it's clear in spring."

Meanwhile, in another remote area of Canada, a group of Indigenous friends are bunkering down in a camp along the North Shore and Manitoulin Island region in northern Ontario.

... a group of five adults, two children and one elder are currently on lockdown in a cabin home there, but are utilising the teachings of their ancestors and the land to get through it. He says the elders have passed down knowledge through the generations to help sustain them at times like these.

"The elders are reminding us to go back to the land. And so, for us, the land is the biggest healthcare system, and so we know that through the cultural practices of how we survived great sicknesses before, that the land is the answer." ...

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 05, 2020, 11:23:07 PM »
British PM Boris Johnson admitted to hospital for tests over 'persistent' coronavirus symptoms

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to the hospital for tests 10 days after contracting the coronavirus.

A Downing Street spokesperson said it's a "precautionary step" since the prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms of the virus.

Johnson, 55, is the first major governmental leader known to have contracted the disease. He had been self-isolating at in his flat next door to 10 Downing Street and was running a high temperature.


Ex-Navy commander who sounded alarm over coronavirus outbreak tests positive for virus

The Navy captain removed from command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt last week after warning that action was needed to save the lives of his crew from a coronavirus outbreak has tested positive for the virus, according to The New York Times on Sunday.

Capt. Brett Crozier began exhibiting symptoms before he was removed from the warship on Thursday, the Times reported, citing two Naval Academy classmates of Crozier's who are close to him and his family.

A Navy spokesperson said that 155 sailors from Roosevelt have tested positive for Covid-19, and that more than half of those aboard the aircraft carrier have been tested.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 05, 2020, 03:57:21 PM »

Using official and original data sources (i.e., obituaries and death notices), we estimate that the reported mortality rate attributable to COVID-19 accounts only for 26.6% of the observed mortality rate.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 05, 2020, 03:41:35 PM »

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 04, 2020, 05:10:31 AM »
Wearing Surgical Masks In Public Could Help Slow COVID-19 Pandemic's Advance: Study

... In laboratory experiments, the masks significantly reduced the amounts of various airborne viruses coming from infected patients, measured using the breath-capturing "Gesundheit II machine" developed by Dr. Don Milton, a professor of applied environmental health in the University of Maryland School of Public Health and a senior author of the study published April 3 in the journal Nature Medicine.

Milton has already conferred with federal and White House health officials on the findings, which closely follow statements this week from the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying the agency was reconsidering oft-stated advice that surgical masks aren't a useful precaution outside of medical settings.

... The study, conducted prior to the current pandemic with a student of Milton's colleagues on the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, does not address the question of whether surgical masks protect wearers from infection. It does suggest that masks may limit how much the infected—who in the case of the novel coronavirus often don't have symptoms—spread diseases including influenza, rhinoviruses and coronaviruses.

... The study was conducted at the University of Hong Kong as part of the dissertation research of the lead author, Dr. Nancy Leung, who, under the supervision of the co-senior authors Drs. Cowling and Milton, recruited 246 people with suspected respiratory viral infections. Milton's Gesundheit machine compared how much virus they exhaled with and without a surgical mask.

"In 111 people infected by either coronavirus, influenza virus or rhinovirus, masks reduced detectable virus in respiratory droplets and aerosols for seasonal coronaviruses, and in respiratory droplets for influenza virus," Leung said. "In contrast, masks did not reduce the emission of rhinoviruses."

Milton pointed to other measures his research has found is even more effective than masks, such as improving ventilation in public places like grocery stores, or installing UV-C lights near the ceiling that works in conjunction with ceiling fans to pull air upwards and destroy viruses and bacteria.

"Personal protective equipment like N95 masks are not our first line of defense," Milton said. "They are our last desperate thing that we do."

Open Access: Nancy H. L. Leung et al, Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks, Nature Medicine (2020)

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 04, 2020, 04:53:28 AM »
America’s COVID-19 Testing Has Stalled, and That's a Big Problem

One of America's biggest fumbles in the early weeks of the coronavirus crisis was inadequate testing. Thanks to a series of poor decisions by federal officials, the United States had far too little capacity to test for COVID-19 throughout the month of February, hampering our ability to contain the spread of the virus.

In early March, things seemed to be turning around. According to data from COVID Tracking Project, daily testing grew exponentially from a few hundred tests on March 5 to 107,000 tests last Friday, March 27.

But since then, progress has stalled. The US has been testing a bit over 100,000 people a day for the last six days—including 101,000 yesterday. And that's a cause for concern because the US will need to do considerably more testing to get its coronavirus outbreak under control.

... Governors in the United States say that a shortage of testing supplies is hampering their fight against the virus. The New York Times recently obtained audio of a call between governors and President Trump:

Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, a Democrat, said that officials in his state were trying to do "contact tracing"—tracking down people who have come into contact with those who have tested positive—but that they were struggling because "we don’t have adequate tests."

"We have a desperate need for testing kits," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told CNN on Sunday

When testing resources are scarce, health professionals prioritize testing people with obvious COVID-19 symptoms. If testing capacity were growing faster than coronavirus infections, we would expect more testing of people with milder symptoms or no symptoms at all. That should lead to a declining rate of positive test results.

Instead, the fraction of positive test results has been steadily rising over the last two weeks. The week of March 15, around 13 percent of coronavirus tests produced positive results, according to COVID Tracking Project data. Last week it was 17 percent. So far this week, 22 percent of coronavirus tests have produced positive results. Yesterday's figure was more than 25 percent.

... It suggests that our testing capacity isn't significantly outpacing the number of infections. And a 25 percent positive testing rate also suggests that we don't currently have enough testing capacity to truly bring the virus under control, because thorough contact tracing is going to require testing a lot more than four people for every infection.

The situation in the hardest-hit states underscores the broader problem we've already discussed. Very high rates of positive test results suggest that states are focusing on testing patients with obvious COVID-19 symptoms, leaving few tests available for broader efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

New York has done 220,000 coronavirus tests. That's more than one test for every hundred New Yorkers, the highest per capita testing rate of any state. But the state's 84,000 positive results translates to a 37 percent positive rate. Similarly, New Jersey has performed 52,000 tests—well above average on a per capita basis. But its rate of positive tests was 42 percent—the second highest figure in the nation.

Michigan has the dubious distinction of the highest rate of positive coronavirus tests, at 44 percent. Michigan has more than 9,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and has had 337 coronavirus deaths—the third highest after New York and New Jersey. But unlike those states, Michigan has a below-average testing rate, with only about 0.2 tests per hundred people. Michigan desperately needs to test more.

It's not clear why the growth of testing has stalled out in the last week. On a basic level, the nation's testing laboratories probably just aren't set up to deal with sudden, massive spikes in demand. The dramatic differences in testing numbers from state to state also suggest a lack of national coordination to match health care facilities with the greatest need to labs with spare capacity.

A deeply reported piece in The Atlantic this week casts some light on America's testing predicament. It argues that private testing labs, which "now dominate the country's testing capacity" simply haven't been able to keep up with surging demand. "Testing backlogs have ballooned," Alexis Madrigal and Robinson Meyer write.

The writers report that Quest, one of the nation's two largest private testing companies along with LabCorp, has struggled to scale up its operations. Its primary testing lab is based in California, which might help explain why that state has such a backlog of pending tests.

... "The average turnaround time nationally is four to five days, from the time where we collect the specimen to when we report the results out," she said—though she admitted that some results take "several days" longer.

... Every additional week that people are forced to stay at home costs the nation's economy tens of billions of dollars. Large-scale testing is going to be an essential part of any strategy for putting the nation back to work promptly while keeping the spread of coronavirus under control.


... We're going to have a lot more cases than 200,000.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 04, 2020, 03:59:27 AM »
Way Back in Early February, the U.S. Army Warned That Coronavirus Could Kill 150,000 Americans

“An unclassified briefing document on the novel coronavirus prepared on Feb. 3 by U.S. Army-North projected that ‘between 80,000 and 150,000 could die.’ It framed the projection as a ‘Black Swan’ analysis, meaning an outlier event of extreme consequence but often understood as an unlikely one.”

In other words, the Army’s projections on Feb. 3 for the worst-case scenario in the coronavirus outbreak are, as of this week, the absolute best-case scenario—if not a miraculous one.

... The Army briefing on Feb. 3 also assessed that up to 80 million would be infected, with 15 to 25 million requiring care as somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 individuals may require hospitalization.

... The death estimate wasn’t the only part of the Feb. 3 briefing that proved prescient.

The black swan estimate correctly stated that asymptomatic people can “easily” transmit the virus—a finding it presented as outside the contemporary medical consensus. Military forces might be tasked with providing logistics and medical support to overwhelmed civilians, the document warned. One potential task envisioned was “provid[ing] PPE (N-95 Face Mask, Eye Protection, and Gloves) to evacuees, staff, and DoD personnel.”

... Another assumption appeared too optimistic. A “most likely” scenario held that “HHS and CDC, state, and local Public Health departments successfully contact traced all U.S. & Canada nCOV [novel coronavirus] cases and contain the spread of the outbreak.” Fatefully, they did not, and now the U.S. is one of the epicenters of the virus.

The document made it to high levels within U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), the military command responsible for operations in North America and which aided civilian agencies’ early responses to evacuating and quarantining Americans abroad. ...

A month after the Army’s briefing, on March 4, President Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity that the World Health Organization’s coronavirus death estimate of 3.4 percent of cases was a “false number,” since it contradicted a “hunch” he had. “It’s not that severe,” the president said.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 04, 2020, 12:55:05 AM »
Stress Disrupts Our Ability to Plan Ahead

New research from Stanford University has found that stress can hinder our ability to develop informed plans by preventing us from being able to make decisions based on memory.

"We draw on memory not just to project ourselves backward into the past but to project ourselves forward, to plan," said Stanford psychologist Anthony Wagner, who is the senior author of the paper detailing this work, published April 2 in Current Biology. "Stress can rob you of the ability to draw on cognitive systems underlying memory and goal-directed behavior that enable you to solve problems more quickly, more efficiently and more effectively."

Combined with previous work from Wagner's Memory Lab and others, these findings could have broad implications for understanding how different people plan for the future—and how lack of stress may afford some people a greater neurologically-based opportunity to think ahead.

"It's a form of neurocognitive privilege that people who are not stressed can draw on their memory systems to behave more optimally," ... "And we may fail to actually appreciate that some individuals might not be behaving as effectively or efficiently because they are dealing with something, like a health or economic stressor, that reduces that privilege."

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 04, 2020, 12:50:40 AM »
U.S. warns Americans to leave Japan amid "significant increase" in COVID-19 cases

Tokyo — The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo has warned Americans of a "significant increase" in the number of coronavirus infections in Japan, and urged them to leave the country now unless they plan to stay indefinitely.

"If U.S. citizens wish to return to the United States, they should make arrangements to do so now," the embassy said in a notice posted to its website, "unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period."

... An explosive surge in infections is inevitable if Japan doesn't rapidly adopt tough restrictions like those in the U.S. and Europe, Hokkaido University Professor Hiroshi Nishiura has told Nikkei.

"Voluntary stay-home guidelines so far have only cut person-to-person contact on public transit by 20%, but contact needs to be cut by at least 80%," the forecasting expert said. Unless control measures are stepped-up, his modelling predicts new cases in Tokyo will peak at 6,000 per day.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 03, 2020, 11:37:25 PM »
Down the Memory Hole : Description of Strategic National Stockpile On Government Website Changed After Jared Kushner Mischaracterized It's Program.

Kushner, President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, said at Thursday's coronavirus briefing that states themselves have medical equipment stockpiled -- and argued that "the notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile; it's not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use."

Reporters quickly noted the stockpile is indeed meant as a resource for the states, as noted on the department of health and human services’ website.

“When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency,” the website read.

But this morning, that language had been removed from the HHS website. “The Strategic National Stockpile’s role is to supplement state and local supplies during public health emergencies,” the website now says. “Many states have products stockpiled, as well.”

News outlets were quick to note the change, but the agency said the language revision was in the works for weeks, a claim that was met with much skepticism on Twitter.

Jeremy Konyndyk, who served under former President Barack Obama as director of the US Agency for International Development's Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, told CNN before the edit that the original home page "could not be a more literal refutation of Jared's claim." He called the edit "absolutely Orwellian."

Konyndyk said in an email that Kushner's Thursday remark "shows a total misunderstanding of the purpose of the SNS, but more broadly shows a misunderstanding of how federal disaster response operates."

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 03, 2020, 04:49:05 PM »
Google to Publish User Location Data to Help Govts Tackle Virus

Google says it will publish users' location data around the world beginning Friday to allow governments to gauge the effectiveness of social distancing measures, brought in to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reports on users' movements in 131 countries will be made available on a special website and will "chart movement trends over time by geography", according to a post on one of Google's blogs.

Trends will display "a percentage point increase or decrease in visits" to locations like parks, shops, homes and places of work, not "the absolute number of visits," said the post, signed by Jen Fitzpatrick, who leads Google Maps, and the company's chief health officer Karen DeSalvo.

Google’s analysis of location data from billions of users’ phones is the largest public dataset available to help health authorities assess if people are abiding with shelter-in-place and similar orders issued across the world.

Its reports show charts that compare traffic from 16 February to 29 March at underground, train and bus stations, grocery stores and other broad categories of places with a five-week period earlier this year.

Like the detection of traffic jams or traffic measurement Google Maps, the new reports will use "aggregated, anonymised" data from users who have activated their location history.

No "personally identifiable information," such as an individual's location, contacts or movements, will be made available, the post said.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 03, 2020, 05:07:31 AM »
New York Hospitals Rationing Ventilators, Retrofitting Equipment Amid Crush of Coronavirus

Emergency physicians are already being told to use their judgment in deciding who should be hooked up to a ventilator as stockpiles of the essential equipment dwindle.

... “Already, some emergency physicians are reporting being told the equivalent of ‘Use your best judgement. You’re on your own,’” said Art Fougner, a medical doctor and president of the Medical Society of the State of New York, in a statement on the ventilator shortage. “For sure, we will be seeing increasing depression and PTSD that will eclipse today’s physician burnout.”

...Physicians are already expressing worries they will soon have to make tough ethical decisions to provide care without extra ventilators, with the New York chapter of the American College of Physicians calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to grant doctors immunity from liability for the decisions they make, according to a report in The New York Times.

... Ventilators are in such short supply that even Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk couldn’t get his hands on them after promising to donate hundreds to the state. He shipped CPAP and BiPAP machines that are intended to help people with sleep apnea breathe through the night, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

"Not what we needed, nor what he's been claiming to have and send," said one hospital worker who requested anonymity.

Hospitals have scrambled to repurpose the machines to beneficial use. They will have to add extra HEPA filters and use them for patients with less severe symptoms, one official said.

The state health department approved Northwell's protocol allowing BiPAP machines to be converted into ventilators, Cuomo announced on Thursday. He said the state has acquired 3,000 of the machines to be deployed to hospitals with the greatest need.

Musk has promised to eventually convert his factories in Fremont, Calif., and Buffalo, N.Y., to produce ventilators, and said last week he was “making good progress” on the effort. A Tesla spokesperson didn’t return a request for comment and more information.

Cuomo warned Thursday that the state could run out of ventilators in just six days (Apr 7). There are now more than 92,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the state and more than 2,300 deaths.


Bodies Pile Up On Streets in Ecuador as Coronavirus Spreads

The novel coronavirus has ravaged the coastal Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil, which has struggled to cope with the number of corpses as hospitals, morgues and funeral parlors have been overwhelmed. Some social media videos show unattended bodies lying on the street with nowhere else to go.

The outbreak in Ecuador has sickened at least 3,100 people, according to John Hopkins' latest data map. The epicenter in the country is in Guayaquil, where residents have criticized the government's response.

Some, such as Guayaquil resident Stalin Briones, have been sharing disturbing photos or videos to get attention about what's going on.

Briones tweeted about his neighbor's body — wrapped in a blanket and left outside on Sunday — pleading for someone to pick it up. He told CBS News on Thursday that eventually it was taken care of. While he said he doesn't feel like citizens are being ignored, he believes this is the consequence of the health care system collapsing.

"All of this is a consequence of the bad direction that authorities took and not taking precautions nor being prepared for this despite knowing what was going on in Europe," he told CBS News in Spanish. "Adding the fact that people didn't worry — because more so than the government, the blame falls more so on people that didn't collaborate and took this as a regular cold."

The city's mayor, Cynthia Viteri, announced in Twitter message Wednesday that three refrigerated trucks have been deployed to help store corpses.

"What is happening is with the public health system in his country?" she said in a recent video message. "They're not recovering bodies from homes. They're left in the sidewalks. They fall in front of hospitals. No one wants to recover them."

According to the Los Angeles Times, municipal officials said 400 bodies have been recovered over the past few days. While majority of deaths are believed to be coronavirus-related, it has been difficult to confirm because of limited virus testing in the country.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 03, 2020, 05:05:00 AM »
Trump Administration Ended Pandemic Early-Warning Program to Detect Coronaviruses

Two months before the novel coronavirus likely began its deadly advance in Wuhan, China, the Trump administration ended a $200-million pandemic early-warning program aimed at training scientists in China and other countries to detect and respond to such a threat.

The project, launched by the U.S. Agency for International Development in 2009, identified 1,200 different viruses that had the potential to erupt into pandemics, including more than 160 novel coronaviruses. The initiative, called PREDICT, also trained and supported staff in 60 foreign laboratories — including the Wuhan lab that identified SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Field work ceased when the funding ran out in September, and organizations that worked on the PREDICT program laid off dozens of scientists and analysts, said Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, a key player in the program.

The PREDICT project, which operated on two five-year funding cycles that formally concluded last September, enrolled both epidemiologists and wildlife veterinarians to examine the types of interactions between animals and humans that researchers suspect led to the current outbreak of COVID-19.

... They also took blood samples from people in rural China, and learned that, in living among wildlife, they had been exposed to coronaviruses — a clear sign that, if those viruses spread easily among humans, they could take off. That “raised the red flag,” said Mazet.

“Coronaviruses were jumping easily across species lines and were ones to watch for epidemics and pandemics,” she said.

The program also trained nearly 7,000 people across medical and agricultural sectors in 30 countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East to help them detect deadly new viruses on their own. One of those labs was the Wuhan Institute of Virology — the Chinese lab that quickly identified SARS-CoV-2, Mazet said.

The Wuhan lab received USAID funding for equipment, and PREDICT coordinators connected the scientists there with researchers in other countries in order to synchronize tracking of novel viruses before SARS-CoV-2.

... “I do think that what we were doing has changed the outcomes for a lot of countries,” ... “But unfortunately, not our own,” she added.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 03, 2020, 02:38:32 AM »
New York’s Javits Center will treat COVID-19 patients

New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday that the Javits Center will be used to treat COVID-19 patients. The massive convention center in Manhattan was transformed over the weekend into a temporary hospital, but it was previously designated to be used by non-coronavirus patients to open up hospital beds if COVID-19 overwhelms New York’s healthcare system.

It has 1,000 hospital beds and is only one of several field hospitals being erected in the city. “I asked President Trump this morning to consider the request and the urgency of the matter, and the President has just informed me that he granted New York’s request,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“In Javits Center, we’re going to be converting that to a COVID-19 hospital, and it’s going to be staffed by the military and the federal government,” Trump said.


NYC Mayor de Blasio urges New Yorkers to cover face with scarves or bandanas when outside

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told New Yorkers to cover their faces when they go outside, even if it’s a home-made mask, reversing previous guidance advising only those who are sick wear face masks.

“We’re advising New Yorkers to wear a face covering when you go outside and near other people,” de Blasio said. “It can be a scarf, it can be something you create at home it can be a bandanna.”

On Wednesday, de Blasio said the city needs to find 3.3 million N95 masks, 2.1 million surgical mask, 100,000 isolation gowns and 400 ventilators by Sunday to get the city’s hospitals ready for a coming wave of coronavirus patients expected by Monday.


Churches allowed to stay open in states where millions are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus

Churches and other religious facilities will be allowed to remain open in more than half of the states that are the most vulnerable to coronavirus, often with special exemptions to mandated closures of non-essential businesses.

Of the 15 states in the nation home to the highest percentage of especially at-risk individuals, at least 11 were not barring religious gatherings as of Thursday morning, a nationwide CNBC review of emergency orders found.

It is not clear how many individuals are continuing to attend religious services or how many facilities have closed voluntarily or under city and local local orders. The White House is urging Americans to avoid all public gatherings of 10 or more until the end of April.

But the exemptions for religious institutions provide some obstacles to mitigation efforts like social distancing that public health officials have said will save possibly two million lives if carried out “perfectly.”

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 03, 2020, 01:17:35 AM »
Here's The Military's Plan To Provide More Than Just Body Bags As COVID-19 Deaths Mount

U.S. officials have warned that the novel coronavirus could kill as many as 240,000 Americans even with various mitigation strategies in place. If that comes to pass, the U.S. military may find itself called upon to perform a host of other so-called mortuary affairs tasks and related activities.

Bloomberg was first to report on the impending transfer of the body bags, which the U.S. military technically refers to as human remains pouches, to FEMA on Apr. 1, 2020. The Pentagon has now confirmed this and says it is looking at various sources to meet the request for 100,000 bags, including sending some immediately from the Defense Logistics Agency's (DLA) own stockpile of 50,000 pouches.

... "DLA is currently responding to FEMA’s prudent planning efforts for 100,000 pouches to address mortuary contingencies on behalf of state health agencies."

... The 2009 edition of U.S. Northern Command's (NORTHCOM) Concept Plan (CONPLAN) 3551, then titled "Concept Plan to Synchronize DOD Pandemic Influenza Planning," says that "civilian mortuary affairs operations will require augmentation," is a key assumption. It also warns that "competing demands for low-density units (e.g., medical, mortuary) will decrease the range of options."

Some of the working assumptions for planning purposes found in the 2009 edition of CONPLAN 3551. Note that some, including those dealing with the maintenance of civil order and law enforcement issues, have been redacted entirely

CONPLAN 3551 has been updated at least once since then, in 2013. On Feb. 12, 2020, Military Times reported that the Pentagon had quietly directed NORTHCOM to begin implementing at least portions of the plan, which is now titled the "Department of Defense Global Campaign Plan for Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Diseases."

The 2009 version plan outlines a theoretical pandemic influenza scenario that commanders would use to plan how to deploy and distribute their resources. "PI [pandemic influenza] in the United States will result in 30 % (approximately ninety million) of the population becoming ill, 50 % of those ill seeking treatment, three % (approximately three million) of those infected being hospitalized, and a case fatality rate of two % (approximately two million) of those infected over the course of the pandemic," it says is the working assumption.

... "At the national level, the Department of Health and Human Services has [the] responsibility to coordinate civilian fatality management with local, state, and tribal authorities," CONPLAN 3591 adds. "DOD mortuary affairs personnel may be tasked to assist government agencies."

... "Deaths resulting from PI may cause extraordinary circumstances regarding disposition of remains," it continues. "Chaplains must be prepared to address religious and pastoral implications of temporary interment, disinterment, and mass burial."


There will be a lot of PTSD after this.


New York funeral homes warn of a growing crisis

Funeral home and cemetery directors are warning of a growing crisis in their industry, NBC News’ Jonathan Dienst reported.

The wait time for a burial has dramatically increased for reasons related to the growing number of deaths in the coronavirus crisis, people speaking on the condition of anonymity told NBC News.

One director said that on a normal day she receives as many as 6 calls about funerals or visitations but on Thursday she had over 100 calls.


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 03, 2020, 12:46:45 AM »
Experts Tell White House Coronavirus Can Spread Through Talking or Even Just Breathing

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

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

Fineberg told CNN that he will start wearing a mask when he goes to the grocery store.

Fineberg, chair of the NAS' Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats, said his letter was sent Wednesday evening in response to a query from Kelvin Droegemeier with the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House.

... His letter explains that research at a hospital in China shows the virus can be suspended in the air when doctors and nurses remove protective gear, or when floors are cleaned, or when staff move around.

Research by the University of Nebraska shows that genetic material from the virus was found in patients' rooms more than 6 feet away from the patients, according to the letter.

Fineberg said it's possible that aerosolized coronavirus droplets can hang in the air and potentially infect someone who walks by later.

He added, however, that coronavirus is not as infectious as measles or tuberculosis.

How long coronavirus lingers in the air depends on several factors, including how much virus an infected individual puts out when breathing or talking, and also on the amount of circulation in the air, he said.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 03, 2020, 12:44:01 AM »
Trial Drug Can Significantly Block Early Stages of COVID-19 in Engineered Human Tissues

An international team led by University of British Columbia researcher Dr. Josef Penninger has found a trial drug that effectively blocks the cellular door SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect its hosts.

The findings, published today in Cell, hold promise as a treatment capable of stopping early infection of the novel coronavirus.

"Our new study provides very much needed direct evidence that a drug—called APN01 (human recombinant soluble angiotensin-converting enzyme 2—hrsACE2)—soon to be tested in clinical trials by the European biotech company Apeiron Biologics, is useful as an antiviral therapy for COVID-19," says Dr. Art Slutsky, a scientist at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science of St. Michael's Hospital and professor at the University of Toronto who is a collaborator on the study.

In cell cultures analyzed in the current study, hrsACE2 inhibited the coronavirus load by a factor of 1,000-5,000. In engineered replicas of human blood vessel and kidneys—organoids grown from human stem cells—the researchers demonstrated that the virus can directly infect and duplicate itself in these tissues. This provides important information on the development of the disease and the fact that severe cases of COVID-19 present with multi-organ failure and evidence of cardiovascular damage. Clinical grade hrsACE2 also reduced the SARS-CoV-2 infection in these engineered human tissues.

"Using organoids allows us to test in a very agile way treatments that are already being used for other diseases, or that are close to being validated. In these moments in which time is short, human organoids save the time that we would spend to test a new drug in the human setting," says Núria Montserrat, ICREA professor at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia in Spain.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 02, 2020, 11:59:09 PM »
Navy Expected to Relieve Captain Who Raised Alarm About COVID-19 Outbreak On Aircraft Carrier

The Navy is expected to announce it has relieved the captain who sounded the alarm about an outbreak of COVID-19 aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, according to two U.S. officials.

Capt. Brett Crozier, who commands the Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier with a crew of nearly 5,000, will be relieved of his command, but keep his rank and remain in the Navy.

Crozier raised the alarm earlier this week that sailors on the ship need to be quarantined to stop the spread of the virus. His plea for assistance quickly made headlines.

The move is expected to be announced in a briefing by Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly Thursday evening. The official reason for Crozier's relief of duty is a loss of trust and confidence, according to the officials who spoke to NBC News.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 02, 2020, 09:10:54 PM »
Welcome, neighbor ...


New Yorkers Fleeing City Face Fear and Hostility From Upstate Neighbors

As New York City has become the center of the coronavirus crisis in the United States many citizens, especially wealthier ones, have fled the city to second homes or rentals – but they have been met with hostility, fear and blame for potentially spreading the illness.

The flood of potentially disease-bearing city folk into countryside communities has even seen threats of violence and pleas from local politicians for them to stay away.

In Rensselaer county, a three-hour drive north of New York City, “many, many, many” people have recently arrived, the county executive, Steve McLaughlin, told the Guardian.

“They’re coming up and they’re occupying hotel rooms, Airbnbs, that type of thing,” McLaughlin said.

Rensselaer county had 51 cases as of Tuesday, McLaughlin said, “seven at least that are direct from New York City”.

... “You get a lot of people who are just plain scared who say: ‘Keep them out, keep them out,’” McLaughlin said.

... “Put the National Guard right at the damn Hudson River or other points, nobody crosses that line,” wrote one commenter.

... To the east of New York City, towns in the Hamptons – a traditional escape for wealthy city dwellers – have seen their populations surge. Southampton has seen its population grow in recent weeks from 60,000 to 100,000.

In some area of the Hudson Valley and in the Catskills, north of New York City, rental prices have quadrupled as people flee the city.


... reminds me of the first chapter of 'Earth Abides'


Armed Neighbors Cut Down Tree to Block Man's Driveway Because They Thought He Had Coronavirus

With a population of 1,165 people at the last census, the small town of Vinalhaven doesn't often make national news. Located on an island off the coast of Maine, the town known for its lobster is now an example of the dangers of fear and misinformation during a pandemic.

On March 27, a man went to leave his home on Cripple Creek Road after noticing his cable service was down. When he got to the end of his road, he found a tree blocking the end of it, but when he went to check it out, a neighbor started yelling at him.

He went inside and called the police, reporting that several people with guns had cut down the tree and were telling him and his two roommates, who had moved to the island from out of state a month ago, they needed to stay quarantined. When police arrived, the group had dispersed, but officers said in a press release the tree appeared to have been cut down and dragged into the roadway to block it.

"We are concerned that some believe that anyone from out of the state is potentially infected [with COVID-19] and needs to be quarantined," the Knox County Sheriff's office said in a release. “We want to bring to the public's attention the matter of restricting a person's movements within the state. Whether someone is a Maine resident or not, they have the right to free movement and anyone who infringes upon that free movement is potentially violating the law.”

(...and this is only month 2; Lord help them if they had the flu!)



Consequences / Re: Global recession
« on: April 02, 2020, 03:01:47 PM »
US Weekly Jobless Claims Double to 6.6 Million

Initial jobless claims surged to more 6.6 million last week, the Labor Department said Thursday.

That brings the two-week total to about 10 million due to the coronavirus-induced economic shutdown.

More people have filed for unemployment in the last two weeks than filed in the last six months.

"Not only was the number worse than expected, but with lockdowns becoming stricter and being extended, we should anticipate further surges in jobless claims over the coming weeks," said Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors.

The US now faces the sharpest rise in unemployment in its history, a surge that is already highlighting income inequality across the nation and comes as the global economy goes into a nosedive that is likely to exacerbate the situation in the months ahead.

The US Department of Labor calculates US unemployment, just 3.5% in February, has already reached 17% in just two weeks.

With large parts of the US now on lockdown, millions working in retail, restaurants, travel, hotels and leisure industries have lost their jobs and the losses are spreading. Oil and gas companies are laying off workers as oil prices collapse and engineering firms including General Electric are cutting staff as the airline industry grinds to a halt.

William Rodgers, former chief economist at the US Department of Labor, and currently, professor of public policy at the Bloustein School for Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, expects to see sharp regional and racial differences in unemployment emerge.

Alongside a 19% unemployment rate for African Americans, he calculates the unemployment rate for Latinx workers has risen to 17% from 4.4% and teen unemployment has hit 25%, just weeks into the US crisis.

Rodgers also expects a widening gap in unemployment rates across the country. In Louisiana, he predicts unemployment could rise to 44.9% (from 5.3%) as oil and gas production are hit by falling oil prices and tourism to New Orleans, currently in the midst of one of the country’s worst coronavirus outbreaks, dries up.

The rest / Re: Unsorted
« on: April 02, 2020, 02:53:51 PM »
Venezuelan Patrol Ship Sunk Itself After Ramming Polar Cruise Liner With Reinforced Hull

In what sounds like it could be an April Fools joke, a Venezuelan Navy offshore patrol vessel recently sank after ramming a cruise liner in the Caribbean Sea. The cruise ship, which had no passengers on board at the time and has a reinforced hull to sail through ice-filled waters, suffered only minimal damage in what the operating company, Columbia Cruise Services, has called an "act of aggression ... in international waters."

The incident occurred in the early hours of Mar. 30, 2020, but Columbia Cruise Services only released an official statement on Apr. 1. The company, which is headquartered in Germany, said the RCGS Resolute was drifting just over 13 miles off the coast of Isla La Tortuga, a Venezuelan island situated some 60 miles off the country's northern coast, when ANBV Naiguatá, also known by its hull number GC-23, approached it. The Venezuelan Navy ship ordered the cruise ship to follow it to Puerto Moreno on Isla De Margarita, located to the east, accusing it of violating the country's territorial waters.

The 403-foot-long Resolute, which is flagged in Portugal, reportedly had a gross tonnage of around 8,445 tons at the time. The  RCGS Resolute is a purpose built polar expedition vessel of the highest ice class, rated 1A Super, designed to operate in difficult ice conditions.

The Naiguatá, which is just over 262 feet long, is a Guaicamacuto class offshore patrol vessel and displaces around 1,720 tons with a full load.

"While the Master was in contact with the head office [in Germany], gun shots were fired and, shortly thereafter, the navy vessel approached the starboard side at speed with an angle of 135° and purposely collided with the RCGS Resolute," the statement continued. "The navy vessel continued to ram the starboard bow in an apparent attempt to turn the ship’s head towards Venezuelan territorial waters."

Whatever the case, the steel-hulled patrol ship suffered severe damage from repeatedly ramming the cruise ship, began to take on water, and ultimately sank. Columbia Cruise Services says Resolute remained in the area until it was clear its services were not required to help in the rescue of the 44 crew members. It then continued on, as planned, to the Port of Willemstad in Curaçao.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 02, 2020, 02:23:12 PM »
Coronavirus Conspiracy Theorist  Charged With Derailing a Train In Attempted Attack On USNS Mercy In Los Angeles

A locomotive engineer at the Port of Los Angeles was charged with a rare count of train-wrecking after he purposely derailed a train that was heading towards a Navy hospital ship on Tuesday.

Eduardo Moreno, a 44-year-old from San Pedro, Calif., is in FBI custody and claims that he ran the train off the tracks at a high speed to draw attention so “people could see for themselves” what the USNS Mercy was up to, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California

The train, which is used to haul cargo, smashed through a steel barrier and multiple chain link fences, and slid through two parking lots, according to a witness. The train leaked fuel, which required clean-up, but the alleged act of sabotage caused no injuries.

"You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to. People don't know what's going on here. Now they will," Moreno reportedly said to a California Highway Patrol officer afterwards.


Anthony Fauci to Get Security Detail Following Threats

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will get a security detail amid increased threats to his security, according to multiple reports.

The 79-year-old doctor has been one of the most high-profile members of President Donald Trump's response to the coronavirus.

With that higher profile also came threats online, the Washington Post first reported. In response to threats to Fauci, the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Marshals Service have stationed agents at HHS to protect him, according to the Post.

The extent of the threats was not immediately clear, Fauci has drawn criticism from some of Trump's staunchest allies online after some say he has contradicted the president.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 02, 2020, 04:41:10 AM »
Experts Question Practicality of Testing In COVID-19 Response

... "Anyone who puts a plan on the table should be congratulated," said Michael T. Osterholm, MPH, PhD, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), which publishes CIDRAP News. "But the plans have to be based on a sense of realism, and testing is going to be part of an ever-growing challenge as we deal with a lack of reagents and supplies."

Health experts from the Mayo Clinic to King County, Washington caution, that although testing is critical, it might not be possible at the levels needed to facilitate proposed plans. Even now, testing in most states is reserved for healthcare workers, or patients so sick they require hospitalization.

At the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, Bobbi Pritt, MD, the director of the clinical parasitology laboratory, thinks about testing shortages every day.

"There's nationwide shortages of the swabs and reagents to run the tests," said Pritt. "We are all trying to look for alternatives and conduct the studies to show [that] alternatives are safe and accurate."

... "The biggest limitation we face is the test itself," said Pritt. "Mayo developed our own test, but we aren't going to meet the volume needed, so we implemented a commercial test on top of that, and now we are running three different tests to offer some back-up."

... "A lot of plans proposed imagine unlimited testing capacity and instantaneous results, which would necessitate a public health army that doesn't exist," said Duchin. He said that in absence of a total Wuhan, China-style lockdown, containment of the virus would require a robust, boots-on-the-ground contact tracing effort that would require public health employees that no state or county currently has.

... "If people are willing to fund and staff [them], it might be feasible if transmission dynamics of the disease make it a rational option. But in absence of a total lockdown, it's too much work."

... Duchin said he sees serologic testing, which would detect COVID-19 antibodies in the blood, as potentially informing public health strategy. "With serology we would know what proportion of the population remains vulnerable, and which remain susceptible."

... "We can't be relying on testing moving forward to be the only indicator," Wendell said. "We needed to have eyes on other indicators for illness, in order to put down on paper how all these pieces fit together.


Presymptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2

Preliminary evidence indicates the occurrence of presymptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2, based on reports of individual cases in China.

What is added by this report?

Investigation of all 243 cases of COVID-19 reported in Singapore during January 23–March 16 identified seven clusters of cases in which presymptomatic transmission is the most likely explanation for the occurrence of secondary cases.

What are the implications for public health practice?

The possibility of presymptomatic transmission increases the challenges of containment measures. Public health officials conducting contact tracing should strongly consider including a period before symptom onset to account for the possibility of presymptomatic transmission. The potential for presymptomatic transmission underscores the importance of social distancing, including the avoidance of congregate settings, to reduce COVID-19 spread.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 02, 2020, 03:57:58 AM »
Coronavirus: Brazil Is Headed Toward a 'Perfect Storm'

Brazil's overburdened public health system is not only gearing up to fight the new coronavirus, but also two other epidemics. Meanwhile the president preaches against isolation measures.

April would have been a busy month for Brazilian hospitals anyway. As the population still struggles with the dengue virus, influenza season will start kicking in.

But this year, the strained healthcare system promises to see the "perfect storm," according to the Health Surveillance Secretary Wanderson Oliveira.

"We will have the coronavirus, which is new, we will have influenza, which is routine every year, and we will also have the peak of dengue," he told reporters on Thursday.

Brazil's health ministry has identified more than 5,700 cases of the new coronavirus and at least 201 deaths, the highest records in Latin America.

The pandemic coincides with more than 440,000 suspected dengue cases just this year, according to the ministry. That is almost double the cases that Brazil saw during this time frame in 2019. While dengue fever, caused by a mosquito-borne virus, is not as deadly as COVID-19, it is widespread in tropical areas and requires significant medical attention.

"The biggest challenge is treating these increasing [coronavirus] cases — on top of old problems — in a system that was already overburdened because of progressive defunding," said Gulnar Azevedo e Silva, an epidemiologist and researcher at Rio de Janeiro's state university UERJ.

One of the reasons the SUS has missed out on funding is because the government froze all social spending for 20 years under the last president, Michel Temer, supported by wealthy land owners.

... To control the narrative, the Bolsonaro government has decided that it needs to approve all ministries' press releases about the coronavirus. In the first joint press conference about the pandemic on Monday, the health minister only got to speak last.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 02, 2020, 03:07:27 AM »
Russian President Vladimir Putin Holds Government Meeting by Video Conference

It comes a day after a doctor who met Putin last week said he had been diagnosed with the virus. Denis Protsenko last week gave Putin a tour of Moscow’s main coronavirus hospital and shook hands with the Russian leader. Protsenko is now self-isolating in his office, Reuters reports.

The Kremlin, which has said that everything is fine with Putin’s health, said he is keeping his distance from other people and preferred to work remotely.


Putin Grants Government Emergency Powers

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed legislation to allow the government to declare a state of national emergency in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Only the president can declare a state of emergency after he has formally received the support of the upper house of parliament, but lawmakers on Tuesday passed legislation granting the cabinet of ministers the same emergency powers.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 02, 2020, 02:44:35 AM »
Climate Summit Postponed

A climate summit that had been due to take place in Glasgow in November has been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak, Finland said.

"Glasgow's COP26 climate conference will move from November to next year due to the global coronavirus situation," said a statement from Finland's environment ministry, which quoted UN climate officials.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 02, 2020, 02:37:07 AM »
India Coronavirus Cases Rise Amid Fears True Figure Much Higher

Doubt has been cast over India’s claim that it has no community transmission of coronavirus after the country reported its biggest daily rise in number of cases so far, connected to a religious gathering held in Delhi two weeks ago.

India reported a record increase of 386 cases in the past 24 hours, pushing the total number to 1,637, according to the country’s health ministry. The death toll is now 38.

In another worrying development, the first coronavirus case was also confirmed in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum, which is India’s largest and is home to almost one million people living in close, unsanitary quarters. The 56-year-old man was taken to Sion hospital and eight of his family members placed into quarantine.

... India spends only about 1.3% of its GDP on public health, among the lowest in the world. Only 47,951 tests have been done so far and there are just 51 government-approved testing centres across the country.

... A recent report, jointly published by three American universities and the Delhi School of Economics, claimed that India could have as many as 1.3 million coronavirus infections by mid-May.

... Doctors in hospitals across India said the lack of proper protective equipment available for medical staff, including basic masks, meant that patients presenting with coronavirus symptoms were being turned away. Doctors in Kolkata described how they were made to wear plastic raincoats to examine possible coronavirus patients, while a doctor in a Delhi hospital resorted to wearing a motorcycle helmet to cover his face.

One junior doctor working in a Kolkata hospital where coronavirus patients are being treated, described how “for over a week, we came in close contact with suspected corona patients without proper protective gear … We all are left at the mercy of God.”

The doctor also cast aspersions on the claim that the disease was not already spreading within impoverished communities.

“Every day thousands of people gather here, seeking treatment for many infectious diseases. Last week, I noticed, hundreds of people, with many coughing, having fever and breathing problems stood on queue waiting for their turn to be examined by us,” he said

“They stood in the queue for hours and many of them were coughing and sneezing. I have every reason to believe many were carriers of Covid-19 who spread the infection to people in that same line, who in turn are now spreading it in the community … hundred or thousand times more people should be tested for the infection. Otherwise, the coronavirus situation will turn unmanageable.”

... "This will not end well"


... and in the US

I’m a physician at a hospital in NYC and THIS IS THE “PPE” I WAS JUST HANDED for my shift. Our federal government has completely failed its health care workers

And two N95 masks PER WEEK?!

(... and they're not even a Yankees fan!)


Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Encourages Residents to Wear Face Coverings in Public

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said on Wednesday that residents should wear face coverings or homemade masks when out in public.

Although the CDC does not currently recommend that healthy people wear masks, an increasing number of officials are recommending them to Americans to slow the spread of COVID-19. Garcetti said he expected the official advice to be updated soon. Earlier on Wednesday, President Trump said that people could wear scarves to cover their mouths.

“I think it is time for us to do this,” Garcetti said. “I know it will look surreal, we don’t have that cultural tradition of wearing masks.”


Trump Says Government Ordered Hospital Gowns From Walmart

President Donald Trump said that he spoke to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and put in a “big big order” for gowns.

“Let it be shipped directly to the side of the hospital because we save a lot of time when we do that,” Trump said.

Doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers around the country have called for more “PPE” or personal protective equipment like gowns and facemasks to protect them from the coronavirus while working at hospitals.


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 02, 2020, 02:11:40 AM »
Pentagon Seeking 100,000 Body Bags for Civilians in Crisis

The Pentagon is looking into buying more bags and will draw some initially from a stockpile of 50,000 it maintains, according to two people familiar with the request.

The Defense Logistics Agency’s Troop Support unit manages the Pentagon’s stockpile of the green nylon, 94-inch by 38-inch body bags that are typically distributed to war zones. The unit has been in contact with the current contractor to assess its manufacturing capabilities but hasn’t yet placed a formal order, according to one of the people.

The Defense Logistics Agency doesn’t yet have a specific delivery date request from FEMA but the agency wants them as soon as they are ready, and the Pentagon is close to agreement with its current contractor on the numbers and time lines, one of the people said.

A FEMA spokesman said the agency is making “prudent planning” for potential future needs, and that includes preparing for “mortuary contingencies” from U.S. states.

Yesterday, the White House projected that as many as 240,000 Americans could die from Covid-19, even if distancing meaures and other public health interventions are put in place.

Hospitals in places including New York and New Jersey have been securing refrigerated trucks to help hold bodies in areas where capacity for storing them has run out.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 02, 2020, 01:17:56 AM »
Coronavirus Could Kill More Americans Than WWI, Vietnam or Korean wars, White House Projection Shows

... If everything goes perfectly ...


OBTW: Trump Forgot to Mention This - Must Have Slipped His Mind

The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned the country may be hit by a second wave of COVID-19 cases in late fall.

Speaking to NPR-affiliate WABE, Dr. Robert Redfield, CDC director and virologist, addressed a potential second wave of infections which may emerge after the spike in hospitalizations and deaths forecast for April or May in models used by the Trump administration.

The CDC is preparing "most likely, for another wave that we would anticipate in the late fall, early winter where there will still be a substantial portion of Americans that are susceptible," Redfield said.

... Redfield also said it appears the new coronavirus is more infectious than the flu, and can be passed by those without symptoms.

Asked what the CDC has learned about the COVID-19-causing virus in recent weeks, Redfield said: "This virus does have the ability to transmit far easier than flu. It's probably now about three times as infectious as flu. One of the [pieces of] information that we have pretty much confirmed now is that a significant number of individuals that are infected actually remain asymptomatic. That may be as many as 25 percent."

The CDC director also highlighted that those who develop COVID-19 may shed its virus in the oropharyngeal compartment (the soft palate, side and back walls of the throat, the tonsils, and the back of the tongue) "probably up to 48 hours before we show symptoms."

Redfield said: "This helps explain how rapidly this virus continues to spread across the country, because we have asymptomatic transmitters and we have individuals who are transmitting 48 hours before they become symptomatic."


Cupboard's Bare: Last Rounds of Protective Gear in National Stockpile Being Shipped

The Strategic National Stockpile is deploying the last round of shipments in its inventory, depleting the bulk of its protective gear, according to a source familiar with the matter.

... On Wednesday, President Donald Trump acknowledged that the stockpile is nearly depleted.

"It is. We are sending it directly to hospitals," Trump said.

He added, "We have asked states where they have large manufacturers of different types of equipment to use those local factories, local plants, and have it made directly, ship it right into the hospitals."

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the government would hold onto 10,000 ventilators to ensure the government had the ability to deploy quickly if they need the units in the future. WTF!!!!!

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 01, 2020, 08:46:32 AM »
"On Our Own Now;" US Medical Stockpile Nearly Out of Protective Gear

WASHINGTON — An emergency stockpile of medical equipment maintained by the U.S. government has nearly run out of protective gear that could be useful to combat the coronavirus pandemic, according to two officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The near-exhausted supply includes masks, respirators, gloves, gowns and face shields, the officials said. A small amount of gear has been set aside for federal first responders, according to one of the officials, both of whom requested anonymity to discuss the matter.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, a Democrat, also said on Tuesday that the stockpile was empty, calling it a "disturbing" development.

President Donald Trump contested the idea that the stockpile was "empty" during a White House news conference, saying that equipment was going directly to those in need - a more efficient process.

"We're having them brought ideally from the manufacturer directly to the hospital or state where it's going" Trump said.

(... because the FUCKING STOCKPILE is EMPTY!!!)


California hospitalisations double in four days, ICU patients triple.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Monday that the number of Covid-19 hospitalisations in the state had nearly doubled over the past four days and the number of ICU patients tripled during that time.

By Monday, 1,421 California patients had been hospitalised with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, up from 746 four days ago, Newsom said. The number of patients requiring intensive care beds rose to 597 from 200, he said. Altogether, 5,763 people have tested positive for the disease in the state, he said.


UN chief: 'COVID-19 worst crisis since WWII'

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned the coronavirus pandemic is the most serious crisis facing the world since World War II, threatening people in every country and carrying the risk of "enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict."


France, Italy, Spain, Russia and the UK recorded their highest daily deaths.

UK deaths were up 381 from 1,408 on the previous 24 hours and represents a 27% day-on-day increase – by far the biggest. Italy’s death toll rose by 837.


Puerto Rico on Tuesday closed its fourth police station in a week, raising concerns about the ability of the US territory to respond to the coronavirus pandemic as officers accused the government of exposing one of the largest police departments in a U.S. jurisdiction to Covid-19.

More than 100 officers now remain quarantined as dozens of police await test results on an island that has reported eight deaths and more than 230 confirmed cases amid a month long curfew that has shuttered beaches, parks and non-essential businesses.


Twenty-eight students who returned to Texas after spring break at Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas beach resort have tested positive for coronavirus, although Mexican officials pushed back against the suggestion that they picked up the virus at the tourist spot, Reuters reports.

The Los Cabos Trust, which runs tourism sites including the resort where the vacationers stayed, said the group departed on 11 March, implying they did not come in contact with the coronavirus until later.

“Twenty days after their return to Austin, Texas, they had already passed the incubation period established by the World Health Organization,” the trust said in a statement. It added that no resort staff member presented coronavirus symptoms.


Cluster of infections among medics at hospital in northern Mexico

Some 29 doctors and nurses at a hospital in northern Mexico have been diagnosed with coronavirus, according to a report from Reuters, citing the regional health department.

The outbreak at the government-owned IMSS General Hospital in Monclova in the northern border state of Coahuila is thought to have started when a doctor picked up the virus from a patient at his private practice.


A British national has died on the coronavirus-stricken cruise ship heading to Florida

A British national is among four people to have died on a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship embroiled in a bitter dispute over plans to disembark passengers in the US, PA news agency reports.

In what is being described as an unfolding humanitarian crisis, so far two of the four people to have died on the cruise ship Zaandam have been confirmed to have had Covid-19, with nine people aboard testing positive and 189 reporting flu-like symptoms.


The Northern Mariana Islands, which is a US commonwealth in the north Pacific, has seen its first coronavirus-related death – a 70-year-old man. The commonwealth now has six confirmed cases of coronavirus and officials warn there is evidence of community transmission.

This brings the Pacific region’s death toll to three. Two people have died in Guam, which is located just to the south of the Northern Marianas.

In many of Pacific countries and territories, health systems are very weak and doctors struggle to have the resources to deal with even ordinary illnesses. There are fears that if the virus reached pandemic levels in these countries, the death toll would be huge.

Oh, and there are several hundred infected sailors from the docked aircraft carrier in Guam ... so there's that.


No more deliveries: Japan Post suspends services to more than 150 countries

Japan Post will stop delivering letters and parcels to more than 150 countries from Thursday as flights are cancelled because of the coronavirus.

Mail will continue to the US, France, Australia and Hong Kong and a handful of other places.


Suddenly, the whole nation is depending on the same people they say shouldn’t make $15 an hour.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 01, 2020, 05:22:34 AM »
Another Clusterfuck In the Making: Defense Secretary Won't Yet Evacuate Virus-Hit  Aircraft Carrier

Defense Secretary Mark Esper told CBS' "Evening News" Tuesday he doesn't think "we're at that point" of evacuating a nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam with more than 100 crew members infected with the novel coronavirus.

The big picture: The captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt has asked the U.S. Navy for more resources. Esper said he'd yet to read the letter in detail, but they're trying to contain the virus aboard the ship. "We're providing additional medical personnel as they need it," he said. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told CNN earlier Tuesday they were working to remove most of the 4,000 people on board the vessel

... “The Diamond Princess was able to more effectively isolate people onboard than TR, due to a much higher percentage of individualized and compartmentalized accommodations onboard for paying customers. Their measures still allowed hundreds of people to become infected," Capt. Crozier wrote.

“Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care," Crozier wrote.

The captain asked for “compliant quarantine rooms” onshore in Guam for his entire crew “as soon as possible.”

On Friday, there were reports of at least two dozen positive cases. But by Monday, a senior officer aboard the massive aircraft carrier told the Chronicle between 150 and 200 sailors had tested positive.

... "We have been working actually the last seven days to move those sailors off the ship and get them into accommodations in Guam. The problem is that Guam doesn’t have enough beds right now." - Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly


Update: US Navy Evacuating Aircraft Carrier Infected by Coronavirus

The U.S. Navy says it will remove the majority of USS Theodore Roosevelt’s crew so the aircraft carrier can be disinfected, one day after its commanding officer sent an urgent message asking for help controlling a COVID-19 outbreak.

A skeleton crew will man critical stations while Theodore Roosevelt is disinfected pierside in Guam, Acting Secretary Modly said.

“The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating,” Crozier wrote in the March 30 letter, which was obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle. “Decisive action is required.”

... Modly said that testing aboard the Roosevelt was initially limited to about 200 sailors per day. He said that will soon be increased by sending tests elsewhere for processing.

A tougher environment to disinfect can scarcely be imagined. A Nimitz-class carrier has more than 3,000 spaces — “rooms,” to non-sailors — that hold all manner of complicated and dangerous machinery, up to and including nuclear reactors.


At 5 a.m., the total number of known DoD cases — currently infected, deaths, and recoveries — was 1,295, up 19% from yesterday.

As well, cases being treated at Veterans Affairs hospitals and facilities more than doubled over the weekend, to 1,166

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 01, 2020, 04:11:17 AM »
The New York Times reports that the US Centers for Disease Control is reconsidering its guidelines on masks, as it warns that up to 25% of people infected with the virus do not show symptoms.


Coronavirus Task Force Presents a Bleak Landscape

Experts showed a model with a best-case prediction of 100,000 to 240,000 deaths [if everything goes perfectly]

... The sober, data-driven presentation characterized a six-figure death toll from the coronavirus pandemic as the low-end aspirational “goal” of the Trump administration’s mitigation efforts.

The curve of infections without stringent mitigation efforts showed a worst-case scenario of 2.2 million deaths because of the virus — a figure that has never been seriously expected but that Trump repeated numerous times.

The daily briefing featured a handful of models that laid out in stark terms how serious the pandemic could get in the U.S., even after weeks of disruptions to Americans‘ work and social routines to stop the spread of the virus. One chart, labeled “Goals of Community Mitigation,” placed one of the best-case projections around 100,000 to 240,000 deaths.

... We’re going through a very tough two weeks,” the president said, adding that “hopefully … we’re going to start seeing some real light at the end of the tunnel.”

Until then, he warned, “This is going to be a very, very painful two weeks.”


... "I warned you! I warned you, but did you listen to me? Oh no, you knew it all, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little bunny, isn't it? Well, it's always the same. I always told them, but do they listen to me? Oooh, no..."

— Tim the Enchanter - Monty Python and the Holy Grail - 1975


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: April 01, 2020, 12:00:35 AM »
Putin Sending Medical Supplies to Help U.S. Fight Coronavirus: IFX

(Reuters) - Russia is sending the United States medical equipment to help fight the coronavirus outbreak, the Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday, citing the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

President Vladimir Putin made the proposal in a phone conversation with President Donald Trump on Monday, when they discussed the coronavirus and oil markets, directing their energy ministers to speak.

"Trump gratefully accepted this humanitarian aid," Interfax quoted Peskov as saying. A Russian plane with medical and protective equipment may leave for the United States on Tuesday, he added.

In the process of agreeing on the details for the medical supply on Tuesday, "it seems that some on the American side at least did not contribute to the prompt resolution of technical issues in accordance with the agreements of the two presidents", Peskov was quoted as saying by Interfax.

"It is important to note that when offering assistance to the U.S. colleagues, the president (Putin) assumes that when U.S. manufacturers of medical equipment and materials gain momentum, they will also be able to reciprocate if necessary," he added.

... quid pro quo

..."Someday, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me."

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 31, 2020, 10:56:00 PM »
Actually, it has absolutely nothing to do with the population of each country.

Viruses can't count. They just reproduce.

If you don't do anything to stop them from reproducing you have an epidemic.

The graph shows the propagation of virus over the first 30 days after each country reached 500 cases. Apples to apples.

It shows how some countries were able to slow the virus by taking action. It also shows what happens if a country does nothing for 2 months and let's the virus breed.

The reason it stayed in Hubei was because China DID SOMETHING - they locked down the province,  they tested everybody, and the isolated the infected. It had nothing to do with the size of the uninfected population.

The reason it's rampant in the US is because Trump DID NOTHING - no one was tested for 2 months, so the infected were free to infect others unimpeded. And FOX News told his cult that was OK; and the Republicans in the Senate let him get away with it.

As bk would say: Sad!

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 31, 2020, 10:29:23 PM »
China has 1.3 Billion

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 31, 2020, 10:04:09 PM »
-A highly mobile society
-No testing for two months
-A fake POTUS misleading ppl
-A TV network lying about it
-35% the public believing the lies



Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 31, 2020, 09:11:14 PM »
Industry Associations Warn of Looming Major Food Shortages Across Asia

There could be major food shortages across Asia as a result of supply chain disruptions and trade protectionist measures due to the coronavirus outbreak, two industry associations warned.

Many countries have locked down large areas, quarantined millions and restricted movements across borders to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease, formally known as COVID-19. Such measures restrict the movement of manpower and disrupt transportation and logistics.

Some countries have also started stockpiling strategic food products and restricted exports in an environment where consumers are buying more for their own pantries as they stay home.

“Any restriction of movement, including the workforce, will affect the stability of food production. The situation has now been exacerbated by the global increase in demand for food. Even the slightest measure affecting the free movement of people and goods will strain the global food chain further,” said Abdul Halim Saim, president of the ASEAN Food and Beverage Alliance. ASEAN is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The alliance and Food Industry Asia, are calling for governments across the region “to ensure the unhindered production and supply of food and beverages as each country tries to contain the outbreak of COVID-19,” they said in a press release on Monday.

“During a lockdown, if governments across the region put in place policies that hinder production across supply chains as well as trade barriers, this could lead to regional food shortages, especially when looking across the world and seeing the continued but unnecessary panic buying behavior,” they said.


Rural Hospitals and Private Medical Practices Struggle to Stay Open During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Policymakers and medical associations have advised provider groups and small practices to halt nonessential procedures in order to preserve vital supplies for fighting COVID-19.

These elective procedures are the lifeblood for thousands of primary care groups, specialty clinics and surgical centers, and many of the doctors who own them are now struggling to make payroll.


FEMA Sending 250 Ambulances, Hundreds of Medical Workers and 85 Refrigerated Trucks to NYC to Fight Coronavirus Outbreak

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is sending 250 ambulances, about 500 EMTs and paramedics and 85 refrigerated trucks to serve as temporary mortuaries to New York City, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., city officials said.

The ambulances, 100 of which have already arrived, will increase capacity to transport coronavirus patients between medical facilities and assist the Fire Department with responding to a record number of medical calls, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office said in a press release. The city’s Emergency Management System has seen medical calls surge by 50% during the pandemic over normal daily call volume.

“Our EMTs and paramedics are facing an unprecedented number of medical calls each day. There has never been a busier time in the history of EMS in New York City,” New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a statement.


First Cell Treatment to Fight Coronavirus Awaits FDA Approval for Clinical Trial

New Jersey-based therapeutics company Celularity announced that its cancer treatment CYNK-001 is awaiting “investigational new drug” status for COVID-19 from the Food and Drug Administration, which could come any day. Once the treatment gets the status, it will immediately enter a preliminary clinical trial to see if it can help people suffering from the illness. Independent immunologists say the rationale for the treatment is solid but warn that it could exacerbate the most severe cases of the disease. If the new strategy proves effective, Celularity stands ready to rapidly increase production.


CDC May Recommend People Cover Their Faces in Public

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are considering changing its official guidance to encourage people to cover their faces in public amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post reported, citing a federal official. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the new guidance would make clear that the general public should use do-it-yourself cloth coverings and not medical masks, which are in short supply and needed by health-care workers.


Travelers Through TSA Airport Checkpoints Dropped to 154,080 Monday From 2.3 Million Last Year

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 31, 2020, 08:26:53 PM »
FDA Authorizes Two-Minute Antibody Testing Kit to Detect Coronavirus

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency approval Tuesday for a serological testing kit produced by Bodysphere Inc. that can detect a positive or negative result for COVID-19 in two minutes.

These antibody tests could help people know if they are able to go back to work, as well as aid researchers in tracking the scale and death rate of the disease — key data for current and future pandemic policies.

They're especially useful for determining whether health care workers have some immunity and are at lower risk if they go back to work.

The Bodysphere two-minute test can only detect the coronavirus in people who have had the infection for several days, meaning the test can't be used too early on when the body hasn't produced enough antibodies.

Abbott Laboratories received emergency authorization last week to produce portable coronavirus tests, which the company indicates can detect the virus within five minutes.


No Proof Drug Touted by Trump is Effective Against Coronavirus: EU

(Reuters) - The European Commission said on Tuesday there was no evidence that a drug (hydroxychloroquine) touted by U.S. President Donald Trump as a potential miracle cure against COVID-19 was effective against the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

"The efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19 patients has to date not been proved," a spokesman for the European Commission said on Tuesday, relaying an internal opinion from the European Medicines Agency.

The spokesman said there was also no evidence either of the positive effects of chloroquine, another malaria drug, which is also being tested for its possible use against COVID-19.


Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 31, 2020, 07:32:52 PM »
Bk: harpy's from Europe; eastern part is my guess. Seems to regurgitate talking points like GOP, AfD, Golden Dawn, Fidesz, etc. or a Putin lackey. Reasoning is futile.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: March 31, 2020, 06:57:48 PM »
Gasoline prices fall below $2 a gallon on average in the United States

The average price of a gallon of gas has fallen below $2 in the United States — the lowest price in four years, according to AAA. Today, drivers can find a gallon of gas for $1.99 or less at roughly 70% of US gas stations, AAA said.

... AAA said in a press release Tuesday that it expects gas prices to fall to $1.75 or less in April. Kloza, however, predicts they will continue to drop beyond that, to between $1.25 to $1.50 per gallon in the next few months.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 31, 2020, 06:21:22 PM »
1918 redux ...

Navy Captain Pleads for Help With Outbreak On US Aircraft Carrier

The captain of a nuclear aircraft carrier with more than 100 sailors infected with the coronavirus pleaded Monday with U.S. Navy officials for resources to allow isolation of his entire crew and avoid possible deaths in a situation he described as quickly deteriorating.

In an extraordinary March 30 letter, Capt. Brett Crozier, commander of USS Theodore Roosevelt, asks for Navy help in finding rooms ashore where he can quarantine COVID-sickened sailors.

The carrier has been docked in Guam since last week, when several of its roughly 5,000 embarked sailors tested positive.

“The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating” aboard the warship, which has no space to give infected patients a separate berthing space and bathroom, Crozier wrote in the letter, which was obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.

"The current plan in execution on TR [Theodore Roosevelt] will not achieve virus eradication on any timeline," the ship's captain said bluntly. "TR’s best-case results, given the current environment, are likely to be much worse."

Crozier wrote that the carrier could still go into battle and win, because “in combat we are willing to take certain risks that are not acceptable in peacetime. However, we are not at war, and therefore cannot allow a single Sailor to perish as a result of this pandemic unnecessarily.” At press time, the Navy had not yet responded.


Dozens Sick At Marine Corps’ Parris Island Recruit Training Center.

A spate of testing over the weekend revealed that recruits and staff members are infected, leading the Corps to suspend the intake of new recruits


Navy Halts Travel of New Recruits to Great Lakes Boot Camp

The Navy halted the travel of recruits to Great Lakes, Il., on Monday following the first positive test of COVID-19 at the Recruit Training Command, according to the chief of naval personnel.

... On Monday, the Navy reported 172 sailors, 28 Navy civillians, 28 dependted and 17 constracotrs had tested postive for COVID-19.


Eleven Veterans Have Died During Coronavirus Outbreak at State-run Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

WBUR reports that five are confirmed positive for COVID-19, while tests are pending for the rest. Still alive are 11 other residents and five employees who have tested positive.


Coronavirus Is Rising Around US Military, Defense Infrastructure, Analysis Shows

The coronavirus will deal a major blow to U.S. military readiness in coming weeks as it spreads to bases and manufacturing hubs in the southern and western parts of the country, a new analysis by data and analytics firm Govini predicts.

The Govini risk assessment draws on three numbers from every U.S. county: available hospital beds, COVID-19 tests being conducted, and confirmed cases.

A map generated by the Govini analysis shows giant red swaths indicating “high-risk”  areas covering almost half of the country. For the next 14 days, it covers California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Louisiana,  Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, Idaho, and large portions of Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas.


First US Service Member Dies From Coronavirus

An Army National Guardsman from New Jersey passed away on Saturday, according to a statement from the Department of Defense. Gen. Joseph Lengyel, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, identified the service member as Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok.

News of Hickok's death comes as coronavirus cases within the US military continue to mount, surpassing 600 as of Monday morning. Twenty-six of those cases required hospitalization, according to the Defense Department. Thirty-four service members have recovered from their illness.

A US military dependent and defense contractor had died as a result of the virus, and the total number of cases involving the Department of Defense surpassed 1,000 on Monday.

The surging cases are the latest signs that the virus has become a national security challenge.

... The Pentagon is increasingly preparing for the possibility of wider outbreaks across the force than originally anticipated.

..."Mitigation measures taken by the Army to blunt the spread of COVID-19 have proven insufficient,"
the internal order said.


Israel's Doomsday Bunker For Top Officials That Has Been Activated For COVID-19

Isreal has activated its National Management Center (NMC), a continuity of government (COG) bunker that looks right out of a science fiction movie. The facility serves as an extremely hardened command and control site for top Israeli officials so that they can continue to run the country during a major crisis. The spinning-up of the National Management Center is a result of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country and the potential instability and strategic implications that could go along with the outbreak. The U.S. government has done the same, activating its Cheyenne Mountain underground complex and other hardened installations as the virus spreads through the U.S. population and the United States military.,7340,L-3738902,00.html

The facility is being spun-up as part of a contingency plan for dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. Israel's Ynetnews writes:

... "This (bunker) is another tool for managing, controlling, oversight and tracking” the coronavirus, said an official who requested anonymity. “We understand that this crisis will accompany us for an extended period of time yet."


Dr. Fauci anticipates COVID-19 outbreak in the fall

WASHINGTON (WJW)-- Dr. Anthony Fauci said it's likely there will be a second coronavirus outbreak.

Fauci said he anticipates coronavirus will be cyclical and return in the fall because of its degree of transmissibility.

Fauci said the second outbreak will be a different ball game compared to when the virus was first detected in the United States. We have better ability to test and contact trace, there are clinical trials for therapeutic intervention and a vaccine is on track, the doctor said.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 31, 2020, 03:10:01 PM »
Doctor's Note: Does Coronavirus Cause Loss of Smell and Taste?

Countries such as China, Iran, Italy, Germany and France have all reported cases of COVID-19 where patients reported a temporary loss in their sense of smell and/or taste.

According to the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology (ENT UK), both of these symptoms have been found among "a number of patients" in the "absence of other symptoms".

In a statement, Professor Claire Hopkins, president of the British Rhinological Society, and Professor Nirmal Kumar, president of ENT UK, said: "We think these patients may be some of the hitherto hidden carriers that have facilitated the rapid spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, these patients do not meet current criteria for testing or self-isolation [in the UK]."

... So why does COVID-19 affect a person's sense of smell?

Many viruses that infect the upper airways (the mouth, nose, throat and sinuses), including the common cold, can reduce your sense of smell due to excess mucus secretions.

The COVID-19 virus, however, is different in that it does not cause excess mucus production in most patients. The virus is, however, found in large quantities in the backs of nasal passageways in infected people.

Here, the virus attacks the cells that are responsible for your sense of smell. It enters the cells and destroys them from within as it uses them as a platform on which to reproduce itself. 

These cells also have very tiny hairs on their surface that help detect odours. From our studies of other types of coronavirus, we know that those cells which have been infected with coronavirus appear to have lost these special hairs.

Coronavirus is also thought to infect and damage the olfactory nerve - the nerve responsible for carrying messages related to smell back to your brain for interpretation. This combination of effects can lead to a profound loss of smell.

As with most viral anosmias, the effects are temporary and most people regain their sense of smell within four weeks.

Although specific numbers of people with COVID-19 who have lost their sense of smell are not known, our knowledge of other types of coronavirus tells us that 1 percent of those who suffer from any kind of viral anosmia are left with a permanent loss of smell.

While the virus does not affect the taste buds on the tongue, because the sense of smell is so psychologically linked to taste, people will feel as if they have also lost their ability to taste.

If you are have been affected by a loss of smell or taste, and are otherwise well, you should self-isolate for seven days and your household contacts should self-isolate for 14 days.

New Trump Mileage Standards to Gut Obama Climate Effort

The Trump administration is expected to release a final rule Tuesday on mileage standards through 2026. The change—making good on the rollback after two years of Trump threatening and fighting states and a faction of automakers that opposed the move—waters down a tough Obama mileage standard that would have encouraged automakers to ramp up production of electric vehicles and more fuel-efficient gas and diesel vehicles.

"When finalized, the rule will benefit our economy, will improve the U.S. fleet's fuel economy, will make vehicles more affordable, and will save lives by increasing the safety of new vehicles," EPA spokeswoman Corry Schiermeyer said Monday, ahead of the expected release.

Opponents contend the change—gutting his predecessor's legacy effort against climate-changing fossil fuel emissions—appears driven by Trump's push to undo regulatory initiatives of former President Barack Obama, and say even the administration has had difficulty pointing to the kind of specific, demonstrable benefits to drivers, public health and safety or the economy that normally accompany standards changes.

The Trump administration says the looser mileage standards will allow consumers to keep buying the less fuel-efficient SUVs that U.S. drivers have favored for years.

Even "given the catastrophe they're in with the coronavirus, they're pursuing a policy that's going to hurt public health and kill people," said Chet France, a former 39-year veteran of the Environmental Protection Agency, where he served as a senior official over emissions and mileage standards.

"This is first time that an administration has pursued a policy that will net negative benefit for society and reduce fuel savings," France said.

Delaware Sen. Tom Carper, the senior Democrat on the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, called it "the height of irresponsibility for this administration to finalize a rollback that will lead to dirtier air while our country is working around the clock to respond to a respiratory pandemic whose effects may be exacerbated by air pollution.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 31, 2020, 01:24:47 AM »
^ France will start including C19 deaths in nursing homes later this weeks. They are bracing the people for a huge jump.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 31, 2020, 12:39:08 AM »
Comprehensive statistics on the State of Connecticut's situation:

Doubling every 2-3 days; 2 days behind Louisiana.
4-day lag getting test results.

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« on: March 31, 2020, 12:35:11 AM »
^ It's not always provided.

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