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Should Healthy People Wear Masks to Prevent Coronavirus? The Answer May Be Changing

If you have no symptoms of the coronavirus, should you wear a mask? It’s one of the most-asked questions during this pandemic, and until recently, one of the most easily answered—if you follow the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC’s answer, up until April 3? No. According to its initial guidelines, outside of health care settings, face masks should only be worn by people who are sick or who are caring for someone who is sick (when the person who is sick can’t wear a mask). A mask helps capture some of an ill person’s cough particles that might otherwise spread to other people.

But federal guidance around masks has changed. On April 3, President Trump announced that the CDC now recommends that the general population wear non-medical masks—meaning fabric that covers one’s face and nose coverings, like bandanas or cut T-shirts—when they must leave their homes to go to places like the grocery store. The measure is voluntary. The mayors of Los Angeles and New York City have already made similar recommendations. In other parts of the country, it’s not voluntary: for example, officials in Laredo, Texas have said they can fine people up to $1,000 when residents do not wear a face covering in public.

In other parts of the world, governments have given different answers to this question from the start. During the current coronavirus outbreak, China’s national guidelines recommend different types of face masks for people in the general public based on their health risks and occupations. But the U.S. government’s initial anti-mask messaging was so strong that the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, tweeted on Feb. 29, “Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

In the next few weeks, experts’ tones became more equivocal, suggesting that a supply shortage, not necessarily a complete lack of efficacy, may have partly driven the U.S. government agencies’ earlier guidance. In a March 26 interview with basketball star Stephen Curry, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, “When we say you don’t need to wear a mask, what we’re really saying is make sure you prioritize it first to the people who need the mask. In a perfect world, if you had all the masks you wanted, then somebody walking in the street with a mask doesn’t bother me—you can get some degree of protection.”

So, do masks really help protect the healthy public after all? Will a T-shirt actually prevent you from getting sick? The answers are controversial and not fully known. Here’s what physicians and face-mask researchers say.

What has changed recently?

Scientists now know that people who are infected with the new coronavirus can spread it even when they don’t have symptoms. (This was not known in the early days of the current pandemic.) Up to 25% of infected people may not show symptoms, said CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield in a recent NPR interview. They’ve also learned that people who are symptomatic shed the virus up to two days before showing symptoms. “This helps explain how rapidly this virus continues to spread across the country,” Redfield said.

This silent spread also bolsters the case for people in the general population to always wear masks when in public, since anyone could be sick. “Now with the realization that there are individuals who are asymptomatic, and those asymptomatic individuals can spread infection, it’s hard to make the recommendation that only ill individuals wear masks in the community setting for protection, because it’s not clear who is ill and who is not,” says Allison Aiello, a professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, who has researched the efficacy of masks.

So should everyone wear a mask?

Both ideologies—that everyone in the general population should wear a mask, and that they should not be used widely—have fervent supporters. People in the first camp point to the scientific studies finding that masks can help protect healthy people from symptoms of influenza-like illnesses, at least a little bit, and note that masks can help protect against asymptomatic spread. If everyone wears a mask when they leave their house, then people who have the virus but who don’t have symptoms will be wearing a physical barrier that can catch infected droplets that escape their mouth or nose. That helps protect everyone.

People in the second camp believe that the available scientific evidence does not show that masks are effective enough in public settings to warrant a mass recommendation, and that wearing one may give people a false sense of protection and embolden them to ignore recommendations that are actually effective, like staying away from other people. They also believe that wearing a mask can inadvertently encourage people to touch their face more.

“There are some very strong opinions on both sides,” says Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a physician and scientist in infectious diseases in Canada. Bogoch says he lands somewhere in the middle. “If we look at the public health side—in western countries, not in Asia—lots of the messaging reflects that these masks aren’t going to help you,” he says. “I think we need to be a bit more honest and transparent that there is some data that would demonstrate some potential benefit of masks, but of course there are large caveats. The data supporting this is not strong, but I think it’s hard to be dogmatic and overly dismissive of the data.”

On the other hand, “it is very clear that many people wearing masks are negating any benefit from this by wearing the wrong mask, or touching their face to adjust the mask, and aren’t appreciating that if you’re practicing physical distancing and truly are separate from other people by six feet, mask wearing is unlikely to provide incremental benefit,” Bogoch says.

A severe mask shortage

What’s not up for dispute is that the U.S. is in the midst of a mask shortage. Health care workers can’t get the personal protective equipment (PPE) that they need to take care of coronavirus patients, including N95 respirators (tight-fitting facial devices that filter out small particles from the air) and surgical masks (loose-fitting, disposable masks designed to block splashes and large-particle droplets that contain viruses and bacteria, but which don’t filter or block very small particles in the air transmitted by coughs or sneezes).

“We know that there’s probably greater risk [of infection] in healthcare settings just because of the nature of the work that’s being done and the patients who are here,” says Dr. Erica Shenoy, associate chief of the infection control unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. Masks—when used with handwashing, eye protection, gloves and gowns—can help protect health care workers as they have sustained interactions with people infected with COVID-19.

In response to the growing knowledge that even people without symptoms can spread the virus, in late March, Shenoy’s hospital and others in Boston implemented a universal masking policy in which staffers wear surgical masks throughout their shifts in clinical or common areas. “You can’t really social distance when you’re taking care of patients or when you’re working side by side with your colleagues,” Shenoy says.

Because of the shortage, the new federal recommendations about masks for the general public aren’t about N95 respirators or surgical masks, but about homemade ones.

Still, if the shortage resolves and the general population can eventually get access to surgical masks, it’s worth knowing if they can help protect the healthy public.

What the science says about masks

There are several studies testing how well surgical masks help tamp down on the spread of respiratory viruses and protect healthy people from getting sick. “Across these studies, it’s quite consistent that there’s some small effect and there’s no risk associated with wearing masks,” says Aiello, who co-wrote a 2010 review article evaluating studies on the subject. In one of Aiello’s studies, in which healthy college students wore masks on campus during flu season, researchers didn’t see much of a reduction in flu-like illness, except when masked students also sanitized their hands regularly.

In another trial published in 2009, an Australian team of researchers looked at families of children who had influenza-like illnesses. Family members who diligently wore masks when they were caring for the sick child were more protected against getting sick, they concluded.

“If you look at [the research] together, you don’t see these really strong effects,” Aiello says, adding that while the effects may be greater in a real-life pandemic, there’s no way to know. However, “we are at a time now where it seems pretty clear that there are no major risks to wearing masks and they may provide a benefit. I think for those reasons, it seems like it would be prudent to recommend some kind of face covering at this point to protect individuals.”

What about homemade masks?

The CDC currently recommends that, when medical-grade face masks are unavailable, health care personnel use homemade masks—their examples include bandanas and scarves. “However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect [health care personnel] is unknown,” the guidance reads. “Caution should be exercised when considering this option.”

The evidence supporting homemade masks for both health care workers and the general public is scant. “There’s not a large body of research on this topic,” says Aiello. One of the only studies testing whether or not homemade masks are effective was published in 2013. Researchers tested household materials—including cotton T-shirts, scarves, tea towels, pillowcases and vacuum cleaner bags—to see how good they were at blocking bacterial and viral aerosols, and how realistically the material could be used as a mask.

The researchers found that the most suitable materials were pillowcases and 100% cotton T-shirts, though the shirt’s stretchy composition made the mask fit better. Volunteers made their own T-shirt masks (here’s how) and then coughed wearing their homemade mask, a surgical mask and no mask. T-shirt masks were about a third as effective as surgical masks at filtering small infectious particles. “We basically found that it was okay at blocking,” says Anna Davies, a research coordinator at the University of Cambridge and one of the authors of the study. “It’s better than nothing.” To some extent, the homemade mask acted as a barrier to keep droplets in.

Now, about seven people a day email Davies to ask if their idea for a homemade mask would work. It’s impossible to know. “There’s so much inherent variability in a homemade mask,” Davies says. We’d have a much clearer idea, she adds, “if somebody could do some slightly better quality research that said this is a good pattern, this is the right sort of fabric to use, this is how long you should wear one for, how you should decontaminate it.” The list of unknowns is long.

In addition, there is some evidence that homemade masks can backfire. “We’ve tested the efficacy of cloth masks and found they can actually increase the risk of infection,” says Raina MacIntyre, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney (who also co-authored the Australian mask study). She speculates that people in the study didn’t clean their masks as often as they said. “We know they get very damp and moist,” she says. “Moisture will breed pathogens, and if people don’t wash it well enough or regularly, that could increase the risk of infection.” If people decide to make their own, MacIntyre suspects that a mask with more than one layer of fabric will be more effective, as will fabric that repels water.

“It’s still unclear,” Aiello says. “But to the extent that any material provides some protection against the droplet spread, then in theory, you should find having that barrier there could prevent some spread in some scenarios.”

The bottom line

Wearing a mask probably won’t hurt—as long as you wear it properly, clean it often, wash your hands, continue to not touch your face and physically distance yourself from other people. There’s just not a strong body of evidence that wearing one, especially one you make yourself, will protect you from getting sick. “If you want to wear a mask, go for it,” Bogoch says. “But just be mindful of what the possible benefits are and what the possible limitations are. And be realistic.”

Even with new federal guidance, the issue is far from settled. Much more research is needed. “Just because it’s a policy,” Bogoch says, “it doesn’t necessarily suggest that these scientific questions are truly answered.”

By Mandy Oaklander Updated: April 3, 2020 7:29 PM EDT | Originally published: April 3, 2020 3:45 PM EDT

Source: Should Healthy People Wear Masks to Prevent Coronavirus? The Answer May Be Changing

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What to Know About Coronavirus Immunity and Chances of Reinfection

Troubling headlines have been cropping up across Asia: Some patients in China, Japan and South Korea who were diagnosed with COVID-19 and seemingly recovered have been readmitted to the hospital after testing positive for the virus again.

Because SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, was only discovered a few months ago, scientists are still trying to answer many big questions related to the virus and the disease it causes. Among them is whether patients can be reinfected by the virus after they seem to recover from the symptoms.

With other coronavirus strains, experts say the antibodies that patients produce during infection give them immunity to the specific virus for months or even years, but researchers are still figuring out if and how that works with COVID-19.

The answer has huge implications for the spread of the disease, since researchers believe it will continue to crash across the world in waves, hitting the same country multiple times.

Can you get re-infected after recovering from COVID-19?

There remains a lot of uncertainty, but experts TIME spoke with say that it’s likely the reports of patients who seemed to have recovered but then tested positive again were not examples of re-infection, but were cases where lingering infection was not detected by tests for a period of time.

Experts say the body’s antibody response, triggered by the onset of a virus, means it is unlikely that patients who have recovered from COVID-19 can get re-infected so soon after contracting the virus. Antibodies are normally produced in a patient’s body around seven to 10 days after the initial onset of a virus, says Vineet Menachery, a virologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Instead, testing positive after recovery could just mean the tests resulted in a false negative and that the patient is still infected. “It may be because of the quality of the specimen that they took and may be because the test was not so sensitive,” explains David Hui, a respiratory medicine expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who also studied the 2002-2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which is caused by a coronavirus in the same family as SARS-CoV-2.

A positive test after recovery could also be detecting the residual viral RNA that has remained in the body, but not in high enough amounts to cause disease, says Menachery. “Viral RNA can last a long time even after the actual virus has been stopped.”

Keep up to date on the growing threat to global health by signing up for our daily coronavirus newsletter.

Where have patients tested positive for COVID-19 after seeming to have recovered?

A study on recovered COVID-19 patients in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen found that 38 out of 262, or almost 15% of the patients, tested positive after they were discharged. They were confirmed via PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, currently the gold standard for coronavirus testing. The study has yet to be peer reviewed, but offers some early insight into the potential for re-infection. The 38 patients were mostly young (below the age of 14) and displayed mild symptoms during their period of infection. The patients generally were not symptomatic at the time of their second positive test.

In Wuhan, China, where the pandemic began, researchers looked at a case study of four medical workers who had three consecutive positive PCR tests after having seemingly recovered. Similar to the study in Shenzhen, the patients were asymptomatic and their family members were not infected.

Outside of China, at least two such cases have also been reported in Japan (including one Diamond Princess cruise passenger) and one case was reported in South Korea. All three of them reportedly showed symptoms of infection after an initial recovery, and then re-tested as positive.

Does recovering from COVID-19 make you immune?

There hasn’t been enough time to research COVID-19 in order to determine whether patients who recover from COVID-19 are immune to the disease—and if so, how long the immunity will last. However, preliminary studies provide some clues. For example, one study conducted by Chinese researchers (which has not yet been peer-reviewed) found that antibodies in rhesus monkeys kept primates that had recovered from COVID-19 from becoming infected again upon exposure to the virus.

In the absence of more information, researchers have been looking at what is known about other members of the coronavirus family. “We are only three and a half months into the pandemic,” Hsu Li Yang, an associate professor and infectious disease expert at the National University of Singapore, says. “The comments we’re making are based on previous knowledge of other human coronavirus and SARS. But whether they extrapolate across COVID-19, we’re not so sure at present.”

One study conducted by Taiwanese researchers found that survivors of the SARS outbreak in 2003 had antibodies that lasted for up to three years—suggesting immunity. Hui notes that survivors of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS, which is also caused by a virus related to the one that causes COVID-19) were found to last just around a year.

Menachery estimates that COVID-19 antibodies will remain in a patient’s system for “two to three years,” based on what’s known about other coronaviruses, but he says it’s too early to know for certain. The degree of immunity could also differ from person to person depending on the strength of the patient’s antibody response. Younger, healthier people will likely generate a more robust antibody response, giving them more protection against the virus in future.

“We would expect that if you have antibodies that neutralize the virus, you will have immunity,” Menachery says. “How long the antibodies last is still in question.”

By Hillary Leung April 3, 2020

Source: What to Know About Coronavirus Immunity and Chances of Reinfection

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Bill Gates On COVID-19: ‘Best-Case Scenario Is Six To Ten Weeks Of Total Isolation In U.S.’

Topline: Bill Gates said that total isolation for six to ten weeks is the only viable option to minimize lives lost and economic damage for the United States to recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

  • The billionaire philanthropist predicted, during a virtual TED interview, that if the United States enacts such stringent isolation, there could be positive results within 20 days.
  • Gates argued that the United States missed the critical period to develop comprehensive testing—which would’ve needed to occur in February—that could’ve been used as an alternative to total, sustained nationwide isolation.
  • “There really is no middle ground; It’s very tough to say, ‘Keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies in the corner.’ It’s very irresponsible to suggest to people they can have the best of both worlds,” said Gates.
  • He reiterated that the United States needs to maintain isolation at this moment to avoid devastating outcomes like those of Wuhan and northern Italy.
  • Gates maintained his optimism about the crisis, saying that the world’s experience with COVID-19 will enable us to prepare for the next pandemic.
  • Gates is confident the innovation occurring in the rich countries in the Northern Hemisphere at the moment will fortify developing Southern Hemisphere countries, who may expect to meet up with the virus as seasons shift.

Background: Microsoft founder Bill Gates is the second-richest person in the world, with a $97.4 billion net worth. He has donated 25% of his wealth to charitable causes through his philanthropic organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has given $50 million to COVID-19 therapies so far.

Even as the coronavirus outbreak takes the world by storm, a number of other diseases are also rearing their ugly heads. Cases of swine flu and bird flu have already been reported in India and other countries. Now, a man from China has tested positive for hantavirus.

I’m the assistant editor for Under 30. Previously, I directed marketing at a mobile app startup. I’ve also worked at The New York Times and New York Observer. I attended the University of Pennsylvania where I studied English and creative writing.

Source: Bill Gates On COVID-19: ‘Best-Case Scenario Is Six To Ten Weeks Of Total Isolation In U.S.’

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‘We’re not ready for the next epidemic’ — Watch Bill Gates remind us many, many times about the potential impact of a pandemic like coronavirus COVID-19. » Subscribe to NowThis: http://go.nowth.is/News_Subscribe » Sign up for our newsletter KnowThis to get the biggest stories of the day delivered straight to your inbox: https://go.nowth.is/KnowThis In US news and current events today, we are in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. American business magnate, software developer, investor, and philanthropist Bill Gates has been warning us about our under-preparedness for future pandemics for years. Bill Gates is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. In 2015 he gave a TED Talk on the issue of viruses, vaccines, epidemics, and pandemics, and how they affect the world greatly. #BillGates #TEDTalk #Coronavirus #COVID19 #News #NowThis #NowThisNews Connect with NowThis » Like us on Facebook: http://go.nowth.is/News_Facebook » Tweet us on Twitter: http://go.nowth.is/News_Twitter » Follow us on Instagram: http://go.nowth.is/News_Instagram » Find us on Snapchat Discover: http://go.nowth.is/News_Snapchat

Is There Actually a Link Between Vaping and COVID-19?

Jack Drennan had tried to quit vaping before, but it took a global pandemic to make him finally follow through.

“I heard you get a lot sicker if you do vape and get coronavirus, so it kind of [pushed me] to quit,” says the Mississippi 20-year-old. Plus, “my mom’s on my ass [about it].”

Speculation about a link between vaping and COVID-19 has grown in recent weeks. News reports have noted that some young, hospitalized COVID-19 patients also vaped, and at a tele-town hall on March 19, a constituent asked New York Rep. Anthony Brindisi about the possibility of a connection. The National Institute on Drug Abuse wrote on its blog that people with substance-use disorders, including those who vape, could be especially hard-hit by COVID-19. In various corners of the internet, fringe theories with little-to-no scientific evidence have popped up making connections between a prior outbreak of vaping-related lung illnesses in the U.S. and COVID-19.

But is there any actual link between vaping and coronavirus? Experts say it’s impossible to say for sure.

Preliminary data show that a fairly high number of U.S. hospitalizations have been among younger adults—the same population known for vaping. At this point, though, that’s just an interesting observation; there is no real data to back up an association between vaping rates and COVID-19 rates in young adults.

The science around vaping is in general evolving. While some studies have shown that vaping can lead to lung damage and other health problems, the products have not been on the market long enough to speak confidently about their long-term effects. The science around COVID-19, which did not exist three months ago, is also still evolving. Putting the two topics together, then, makes for a lot of uncertainty.

Having a preexisting condition—especially one related to respiratory health—increases the chances that someone will experience complications from COVID-19, so it’s reasonable to think vaping could play a part. But since scientists can’t say for sure that vaping leads to lung disease or other chronic conditions, it’s also difficult to say whether it opens people up to more risks associated with COVID-19.

The New American Addiction

How JUUL hooked kids and ignited a public health crisis

Combustible cigarette-smoking is a clearer cause for concern during the outbreak, says Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health. Early data suggest men are more susceptible to COVID-19 than women, which could be associated with the fact that more men than women smoke—especially in China. Smoking-related conditions, such as heart and lung disease, put people at risk of more severe illnesses, Siegel says. Smoking also inhibits the body’s ability to heal from infections, he adds.

But “with vaping, we just don’t know,” Siegel says. “We don’t have the evidence.”

Yasmin Thanavala, an immunologist at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, says some of her group’s animal research suggests vaping may prevent the body from healing from bacterial infections. COVID-19, of course, is a viral infection, but Thanavala says “on a theoretical basis,” a similar effect could apply. There’s not conclusive evidence to say so definitively, though.

Even assuming vaping does cause some amount of lung damage, it’s unlikely that most people who vape have been using e-cigarettes long enough to see the full brunt of it, says Dr. Steve Schroeder, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. The exceptions, of course, are patients who got sick during a vaping-related lung injury outbreak last year, which health authorities traced mainly back to THC vape products spiked with the additive vitamin E acetate.

Daniel Ament, a 17-year-old from Michigan who needed a double lung transplant after vaping, is one such patient. “I definitely am [at higher risk for COVID-19],” he says. “[Doctors] didn’t have to tell me that.” Given his past lung injury and fragile immune system post-transplant, Ament is staying inside, wearing a mask almost constantly and visiting his doctors and therapists virtually. His whole family self-quarantined starting last week, to avoid bringing home germs.

E-cigarette users without a known lung injury should not quit if it means they’ll go back to using combustible tobacco, Siegel says. “Relapsing to smoking is the worst thing they could do.” But for recreational vapers, COVID-19 may be the final push needed to quit—and that’s a silver-lining to the situation, Siegel says.

“It’s always better not to be breathing chemicals into your lungs. I would have said that even without this particular outbreak,” he says. “It would certainly be a potential incentive to get people who are vaping to stop, just as a precautionary measure.”

By Jamie Ducharme March 23, 2020

Source: Is There Actually a Link Between Vaping and COVID-19?

Becuase the coronavirus directly attacks the lungs, it could be more dangerous for people who have weaker lungs from smoking or vaping. Learn more about this story at https://www.newsy.com/98596/ Find more videos like this at https://www.newsy.com Follow Newsy on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/newsy Follow Newsy on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/newsy

 

Calling All People Who Sew And Make: You Can Help Make Masks For 2020 Healthcare Worker PPE Shortage

Rally is probably not the right word. A significant movement, perhaps even a revolution of epic noble intentions, is underway in hackerspaces, makerspaces, and sewing groups to come together and solve a problem to save lives at risk with the Coronavirus.

You can help. Today, right now. Are you sitting in your apartment or house in some sort of state-wide lockdown? You can do something to help others. People of all ages and walks of life are diving in to make a difference. Check out some of these amazing initiatives, both small and large:

Joost De Cock (Old Dutch for “The Cook”) started the FreeSewing Open Source Project from his home in the Netherlands to provide free sewing patterns. Recently, his wife who is a surgeon started seeing potential shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE). Joost knew what to do, so he posted it to FreeSewing in late February. People thought he was being silly as a handmade mask would never be used by professionals. (I love the brand for FreeSewing.org, by the way.)

But he was onto something when he posted: Calling all makers: Here’s a 1-page PDF facemask pattern; Now go make some and help beat this thing. I took inspiration from Joost’s call for help in the writing of my headline. Shoutout also to Katelyn Bowden who shared Joost’s post. It is her workshop photo above and she has been cranking out the DIY masks. She calls herself a “reluctant hacker” and also runs a nonprofit to help image abuse victims. She pointed me to a bunch of different resources.

If you think that a handmade mask cannot be used, think again. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a place for them — in times of crisis, like the one we are in right now. On the CDC page: Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Facemasks, they explain that as a last resort, a homemade mask is acceptable. Frankly, we are at that stage right now. Here’s how they explain it in the Crisis Strategy section, When No Facemasks Are Available, Options Include:

“Healthcare personnel (HCP) use of homemade masks:

In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.

It is possible that the government and manufacturers will ramp up in a wartime-like effort, but the reinforcement is more likely to come from the people. Millions of masks are needed. People are starting to make them and it is going to be a big deal.

Clearly, there is a shortage of the manufactured N95 respirator. You know this. Healthcare workers know this. If you have been hoarding them, let me cut to the chase — there are people and organizations who need your extras and you can do the right thing and donate them. Get in touch with Holly Figueroa O’Reilly on Twitter — she is organizing the distribution of masks. Karen Booth is another person listing out different projects as she starts making masks herself. Follow the hashtags #millionmaskchallenge and #millionmaskmayday and scroll through and you will find programs and projects around the USA and world.

People like Joost, Katelyn, Holly, and Karen are bringing enormous good into the world. When I asked Joost why he was doing this FreeSewing project, he pointed me to his Pledge page where he explains that all the funds that come into the project are donated to Doctors Without Borders. All of it. Why? He pointed me to that page again: “I don’t know if you’re familiar with the phrase ‘noblesse oblige’ but it essentially means that privilege entails responsibility.” Then said, “I mean every word of it.”

Makers, hackers, craftspeople are awesome. Coronavirus does not stand a chance. Tweet, tweet.


Additional Resources for Open Source or Volunteer COVID-19 Projects:

One of my favorite how-to sites is Instructables. The DIY Cloth Face Mask has almost 100,000 views. It is a step-by-step instruction for those who need it. Kudos to ashevillejm.

In 2006, CDC released a Simple Respiratory Mask design using heavyweight t-shirts in its Emerging Infectious Diseases journal. More of an academic post, but some ideas in it.

A Facebook group was formed last week: Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies. It is worth a visit — in just a few short days there are 20,000-plus members and volunteers.

If you are looking for some research and street-level testing of various materials for DIY mask-making, this post from Smart Air Filters is exceptional: What Are The Best Materials for Making DIY Masks? It also includes a few great links at the end of it.

Forbes’ editor Amy Feldman just expanded on the developing story of a team in Italy that is 3D printing respirator parts. Read it here: Meet The Italian Engineers 3D-Printing Respirator Parts For Free To Help Keep Coronavirus Patients Alive.

Bloomberg confirms that the workers and communities around them are rising up to meet this challenge: Hospital Workers Make Masks From Office Supplies Amid U.S. Shortage.

If you have a 3D Printer and have been trying out different N95-type designs, then you will want to read this one from 3D Printing Media Network by Davide Sher: Copper3D organizing global campaign to 3D print antimicrobial masks on a global scale. After you read it, you will probably want to order some PLA filament from the folks at Copper3D who are making their patent-pending idea and design open source to help fight COVID-19.

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I’m a Tech and Productivity guy. Do you have #lifehacks, #DIYtips, #HowTO ideas? Click the little “House” icon below to get to my website where you can submit ideas (via a Google spreadsheet). I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading and connecting. Sign up for my Tech Tips email. You can find me at the LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter link buttons, too. I still also cover a bit of my old beat on 3D printing, hardware, software, and mobile apps, as well.

Source: Calling All People Who Sew And Make: You Can Help Make Masks For 2020 Healthcare Worker PPE Shortage

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This is a translation of the video I made for an initiative by Make in Belgium. Different rules and requirements may exist in your area, so please check with your local health providers before making and donating masks. Download the (Dutch) pattern on http://maakjemondmasker.be A big hurrah for Make in Belgium for organizing this wonderful initiative. And thank you to Henk Rijckaert for involving me in this. Check out his YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/henkrijc… INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/craftswithellen PATREON: http://www.patreon.com/craftswithellen ————————— DISCLAIMER Even though my videos are set up as tutorials, I’m not professionally trained in any of these crafts. The tools that I use can be dangerous. Don’t try a craft if you are unfamiliar with the tools and the necessary safety precautions. Be safe!

 

Meet The Italian Engineers 3D-Printing Respirator Parts For Free To Help Keep Coronavirus Patients Alive

Christian Fracassi, founder and CEO of Isinnova, an Italian engineering startup, heard the call for help last Friday. The hospital in Chiari, in the Brescia area of northern Italy where the coronavirus pandemic has hit hard, urgently needed valves for its respirators in order to keep patients who required oxygen alive. The manufacturer couldn’t provide them quickly enough and the hospital was desperate.

Fracassi immediately started tinkering with his engineers to reverse-engineer a 3D-printed version of the official part. Called a venturi valve, it connects to a patient’s face mask to deliver oxygen at a fixed concentration. The valves need to be replaced for each patient.

By Saturday evening, Fracassi had a prototype, and, the next day, he brought it to the Chiari hospital for testing. “They told us, ‘It’s good. It works. We need 100,’” says Fracassi, who is 36 and holds a Ph.d. in materials science with a focus on polymers. “We printed 100 of them on Sunday, and we gave all the pieces to the hospital. They are working very well.”

As the coronavirus spreads globally, shortages of medical supplies have become a major problem. Manufacturers simply can’t crank up their production of life-saving medical devices fast enough. The biggest supply crunch is with ventilators, but respirator parts like the ones in Italy and even simple nasopharyngeal swabs for testing are all in short supply. Meanwhile, the technology of 3D printing, which allows digital design of parts and the “printing” of them off a machine that creates them layer by layer, is ideally suited to emergency manufacturing because it is fast, cheap and can be done without a big factory.

But it raises issues, ranging from the quality of the products in a medical situation to the patents held by the original device’s manufacturers. Typically, new 3D-printed parts have to be certified. In Italy, Fracassi says, emergency rules during the coronavirus pandemic allowed that requirement to be waived. “They said, ‘We know the product you will bring will never be the same,’” says Alessandro Romaioli, Isinnova’s engineer, who designed the 3D-printed valves. Isinnova offered the hospital in Chiari the valves for free; Fracassi says the cost to print them is two or three Euros (or $2-3) apiece. Isinnova now has the capacity to produce around 100 parts per day, and is talking with a second hospital in Italy about sending the valves there, too.

Yet potential legal and medical issues have stopped Fracassi from distributing the digital design file more widely, despite receiving hundreds of requests for the 3D-printed valves. There are complexities because hospitals use a wide variety of respirators, each of which has slightly different technical specs and would require slightly different valves. Then, too, there’s the threat of potential patent litigation, as first raised by Techdirt. “We don’t know if something is patented. We just hope the factory can close its eyes because they cannot produce it in time,” Fracassi says. “It’s only for emergencies.”

Still, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, 3D printing offers a smart stop-gap solution at least. Davide Sher, the 3D printing analyst who wrote the original story about Isinnova for trade publication 3D Printing Media Network, subsequently created an online Emergency AM Forum to help hospitals, 3D printing companies and inventors share ideas in the fight against COVID-19. As he writes there: “While there are both copyright issues and medical issues that need to be taken into account when 3D printing any medical product, and a critical one such as a venturi valve, in particular, this case has shown that a life-and-death situation could warrant using a 3D-printable replica.”

Fracassi says that Isinnova is now working to design other medical products that hospitals need during the coronavirus pandemic. The first is a mask. The startup created a prototype earlier this week, and sent it to the hospital for testing, he says. “We are waiting for a response, and if it works, we are ready,” Fracassi says. “Then every hospital can make their own masks.”

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I’m a senior editor at Forbes, where I cover manufacturing, industrial innovation and consumer products. I previously spent two years on the Forbes’ Entrepreneurs team. It’s my second stint here: I learned the ropes of business journalism under Forbes legendary editor Jim Michaels in the 1990s. Before rejoining, I was a senior writer or staff writer at BusinessWeek, Money and the New York Daily News. My work has also appeared in Barron’s, Inc., the New York Times and numerous other publications. I’m based in New York, but my family is from Pittsburgh—and I love stories that get me out into the industrial heartland. Ping me with ideas, or follow me on Twitter @amyfeldman.

Source: Meet The Italian Engineers 3D-Printing Respirator Parts For Free To Help Keep Coronavirus Patients Alive

Cristian Fracassi and his 3D printers helped save dozens of coronavirus patients in Italy after an overwhelmed hospital ran out of crucial medical equipment in its intensive care unit. #Coronavirus #3DPrinting #Italy Subscribe: http://trt.world/subscribe Livestream: http://trt.world/ytlive Facebook: http://trt.world/facebook Twitter: http://trt.world/twitter Instagram: http://trt.world/instagram Visit our website: http://trt.world

U.N. Declines to Label COVID-19 as a Pandemic While Outbreaks Multiply

(LONDON) — As cases of the coronavirus surge in Italy, Iran, South Korea, the U.S. and elsewhere, many scientists say it’s plain that the world is in the grips of a pandemic — a serious global outbreak.

The World Health Organization has so far resisted describing the crisis as such, saying the word “pandemic” might spook the world further and lead some countries to lose hope of containing the virus.

“Unless we’re convinced it’s uncontrollable, why (would) we call it a pandemic?” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this week.

The U.N. health agency has previously described a pandemic as a situation in which a new virus is causing “sustained community-level outbreaks” in at least two world regions.

Many experts say that threshold has long been met: The virus that was first identified in China is now spreading freely in four regions, it has reached every continent but Antarctica, and its advance seems unavoidable. The disease has managed to gain a foothold and multiply quickly even in countries with relatively strong public health systems.

On Friday, the virus hit a new milestone, infecting more than 100,000 people worldwide, far more than those sickened by SARS, MERS or Ebola in recent years.

“I think it’s pretty clear we’re in a pandemic and I don’t know why WHO is resisting that,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Experts acknowledge that declaring a pandemic is politically fraught because it can rattle markets, lead to more drastic travel and trade restrictions and stigmatize people coming from affected regions. WHO was previously criticized for labeling the 2009 swine flu outbreak a pandemic. But experts said calling this crisis a pandemic could also spur countries to prepare for the virus’s eventual arrival.

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WHO already declared the virus a “global health emergency’ in late January, putting countries and humanitarian organizations on notice and issuing a broad set of recommendations to curb its spread.

Even in countries that moved quickly to shut down their links to China, COVID-19 has managed to sneak in. Within a matter of weeks, officials in Italy, Iran and South Korea went from reporting single new cases to hundreds.

“We were the first country to stop flights to China and we were completely surprised by this disease,” said Massimo Galli, an infectious-diseases professor at the University of Milan. “It’s dangerous for the entire world that the virus is able to spread underground like this.”

With more than 3,800 cases, Italy is the epicenter of Europe’s outbreak and has shut down schools, closed sports stadiums to fans and urged the elderly not to go outside unless absolutely necessary. But it has still exported cases of the virus to at least 10 countries, including Austria, the Czech Republic, Spain, South Africa and Nigeria.

Devi Sridhar, a professor of global public health at the University of Edinburgh who co-chaired a review of WHO’s response to the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, said a pandemic declaration is long overdue.

“This outbreak meets all the definitions for a pandemic that we had pre-coronavirus,” she said.

At a news conference last month, Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief, said a pandemic is “a unique situation in which we believe that all citizens on the planet” will likely be exposed to a virus “within a defined period of time.”

Several experts said they hadn’t heard that definition. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for its part, defines a pandemic as “an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.”

The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

By Maria Cheng / AP

Source: U.N. Declines to Label COVID-19 as a Pandemic While Outbreaks Multiply

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Subscribe to our YouTube channel for free here: https://sc.mp/subscribe-youtube The United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO) says the coronavirus disease Covid-19 is not yet a pandemic, but it could turn into one if governments don’t take effective measures to contain its spread. Here is a breakdown of what a pandemic is, and how the world has coped with them in the past. Follow us on: Website: https://scmp.com Facebook: https://facebook.com/scmp Twitter: https://twitter.com/scmpnews Instagram: https://instagram.com/scmpnews Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/sout…

Why Geography Is A Key Part Of Fighting The COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak

I am an atmospheric scientist with three degrees in meteorology. However my tenured home at the University of Georgia is the Department of Geography. Like many of you reading this, I had a rather narrow understanding of geography when I left NASA to join the faculty at the university. Over the years, I have certainly heard people describe geography as maps, capitals, rivers, and so forth. While these things are definitely a part of the discipline, there is far more complexity and rigor than memorization of facts or your recollections of the elementary Geography Bee.

Geography is unique in bridging the social sciences and the natural sciences. There are two main branches of geography: human geography and physical geography. Human geography is concerned with the spatial aspects of human existence. Physical geographers study patterns of climates, landforms, vegetation, soils, and water. Geographers use many tools and techniques in their work, and geographic technologies are increasingly important for understanding our complex world. They include Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and online mapping such as Google Earth.

American Association of Geographers (AAG) website

I have noticed very important roles that the discipline of geography is playing in the fight against the virus SARS-CoV-2, which causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Here are some of them.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are ways to organize, present, and analyze spatial and geographic data. You probably don’t realize it, but Waze or Google Maps fall within the realm of GISscience. Both of these apps likely benefit you daily. The Johns Hopkins University is maintaining an excellent Coronavirus tracking website, which gathers information from multiple data sources. The disclaimer on the website notes, “The Johns Hopkins University hereby disclaims any and all representations and warranties with respect to the Website, including accuracy, fitness for use, and merchantability.” They are cautioning that the website should not be used for medical guidance. Researchers at other institutions including the University of Washington and the University of Georgia have also developed publicly-available “tracker tools.”

ESRI is a leading organization within the geography field and a provider of GIS resources. I found a compelling coronavirus tutorial authored by Miss Bytheway on the ESRI website with very instructive lessons and activities. Kenneth Field also offers an excellent blog post at the ESRI website about mapping coronavirus responsibly. My friend and colleague Dr. Dawn Wright is Chief Scientist at ESRI. She recently tweeted a fantastic website with a plethora of geographic information about coronavirus outbreak in Singapore.

Many high school students, including my daughter last year, take AP Human Geography. I am thrilled because it is exposing students to aspects of the discipline that shatter the “maps and capitols” misperceptions. The AP College Board website states that in human geography scholars “Explore how humans have understood, used, and changed the surface of Earth.” Topics might include migration patterns, population, political ecology, environmental justice, urbanization, and more.

A Royal Geographic Society website pointed me to some interesting research that encompasses human geography aspects of the discipline and Coronavirus. A 2011 study entitled, “The scalar politics of infectious disease governance in an era of liberalised air travel” was published in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. While that study was more focused on Ebola, it has timely connections to the coronavirus problem.

Steve Hinchliffe is Professor or Human Geography at the University of Exeter and an expert on biosecurity, food risk, human-nonhuman relations and nature conservation. He and colleagues published a book entitled Pathological Lives: Disease, Space, and Biopolitics. He wrote in a 2016 blog post, “I call entanglement of microbes, hosts, environments and economies ‘pathological lives.’”

The term (pathological lives) allows us to investigate how these lives have become dangerous to themselves in a world of accelerated throughput and biological intensity.

Steve Hinchliffe, Professor or Human Geography at the University of Exeter.

There is also a significant body of scholarly research at the intersection of geography and infectious disease disciplines. For example, a 2019 study in the journal Infections, Genetics, and Evolution examined the geographic structure of bat SARS-related coronaviruses. One conclusion was that SARSr-CoVs have a distinct geographical structure in terms of evolution and transmission.

Of course, physical geography also plays a role in Coronavirus. In a previous Forbes article, I discussed potential climatological implications of the disease and whether warm season transition in the Northern Hemisphere would halt the spread of coronavirus. The short answer from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was “we don’t know,” especially since the disease has thrived in warm, humid locations so far. The longer answer was a discussion of emerging literature suggesting that influenza, coronaviruses, and related diseases might thrive in new places and for longer periods of time as climate continues to warm.

There are numerous examples that I could have given, but my underlying goal was to use coronavirus as a teachable moment about the discipline of geography. Now go wash those hands thoroughly with soap and be careful out there.

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Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, a leading international expert in weather and climate, was the 2013 President of American Meteorological Society (AMS) and is Director of the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Atmospheric Sciences Program. Dr. Shepherd is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor and hosts The Weather Channel’s Weather Geeks Podcast, which can be found at all podcast outlets. Prior to UGA, Dr. Shepherd spent 12 years as a Research Meteorologist at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center and was Deputy Project Scientist for the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. In 2004, he was honored at the White House with a prestigious PECASE award. He also has received major honors from the American Meteorological Society, American Association of Geographers, and the Captain Planet Foundation. Shepherd is frequently sought as an expert on weather and climate by major media outlets, the White House, and Congress. He has over 80 peer-reviewed scholarly publications and numerous editorials. Dr. Shepherd received his B.S., M.S. and PhD in physical meteorology from Florida State University.

Source: Why Geography Is A Key Part Of Fighting The COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak

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Coronavirus Update 28 with pulmonologist Dr. Seheult of https://www.MedCram.com. Topics include what health care professionals and other citizens can do to prevent COVID-19 spread, coronavirus case fatality rate based on patient age, and further discussion on coronavirus test kits. See our first 27 videos on the novel coronavirus outbreak that began in Wuhan, China: – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 27: Testing accuracy for COVID-19 (CT Scan vs. RT-PCR), California Cases: https://youtu.be/xQwfuJgJ9lo – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 26: Treatment Updates, Stock Markets, Germany & San Francisco, Pandemic? https://youtu.be/bV1CZxJ-uvU – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 25: Vaccine Developments, Italy’s Response, and Mortality Rate Trends: https://youtu.be/UImSVhLLeGY – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 24: Infections in Italy, Transmissibility, COVID-19 Symptoms: https://youtu.be/UImSVhLLeGY – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 23: Infections in Kids & Pregnancy, South Korea, Spillover From Bats: https://youtu.be/JGhwAGiAnJo – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 22: Spread Without Symptoms, Cruise Quarantine, Asymptomatic Testing: https://youtu.be/OqpHvK0XADY – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 21: Antibodies, Case Fatality, Clinical Recommendations, 2nd Infections?: https://youtu.be/9BYaywITXYk – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 20: Misinformation Spread, Infection Severity, Cruise Ship, Origins: https://youtu.be/Ka48UZDDzLY – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 19: Treatment and Medication Clinical Trials: https://youtu.be/4HK9QEy1KJ8 – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 18: Cellphone Tracking, Increase in Hospitalizations, More Sleep Tips: https://youtu.be/vE4pBkslqS4 – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 17: Spike in Confirmed Cases, Fighting Infections with Sleep (COVID-19): https://youtu.be/wlbM6VVkVZM – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 16: Strengthening Your Immune Response to Viral Infections (COVID-19): https://youtu.be/qqZYEgREuZ8 – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 15: Underreporting, Prevention, 24 Day Incubation? (COVID19) https://youtu.be/o804wu5h_ms – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 14: Hospital spread of infection, WHO allowed in China, N-95 masks: https://youtu.be/pDnmHu8x9C4 – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 13: Li Wenliang, nCoV vs Influenza, Dip in Daily Cases, Spread to Canada: https://youtu.be/0UgrPgJdzp0 – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 12: Unsupported Theories, Pneumonia, ACE2 & nCoV: https://youtu.be/GT3_A1bf9pU – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 11: Antiviral Drugs, Treatment Trials for nCoV (Remdesivir, Chloroquine): https://youtu.be/pfGpdFNHoqQ – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 10: New Studies, Transmission, Spread from Wuhan, Prevention (2019-nCoV): https://youtu.be/gPwfiQgGsFo – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 9: Fecal-Oral Transmission, Recovery vs Death Rate: https://youtu.be/8Hjy3UfaTSc – Coronavirus Outbreak Update 8: Travel Ban, Spread Outside of China, Quarantine, & MRSA: https://youtu.be/GpbUoLvpdCo – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 7: Global Health Emergency Declared, Viral Shedding: https://youtu.be/nW3xqcGidpQ – Coronavirus Outbreak Update 6: Asymptomatic Transmission & Incubation Period: https://youtu.be/UGxgNebx1pg – Coronavirus Epidemic Update 5: Mortality Rate vs SARS / Influenza: https://youtu.be/MN9-UXsvPBY – Coronavirus outbreak, transmission, and pathophysiology: https://youtu.be/9vMXSkKLg2I – Coronavirus symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment: https://youtu.be/UCG3xqtcL3c – Coronavirus Update 3: Spread, Quarantine, Projections, & Vaccine: https://youtu.be/SJBYwUtB83o – How Coronavirus Kills: Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) & Treatment: https://youtu.be/okg7uq_HrhQ ———————————————————– LINKS for references from this video: https://www.worldometers.info/coronav… https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/ap… https://www.marketwatch.com/story/cor… https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama… https://www.marketwatch.com/story/co-… https://www.foxnews.com/health/cornav… ———————————————————– Speaker: Roger Seheult, MD Clinical and Exam Preparation Instructor Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine. MedCram.com has a series on the 2019 novel coronavirus in china, 2019 ncov, coronavirus California, SARSCOV2, COVID-19, MERS, SARS, the CDC, and world health organization. Produced by Kyle Allred, PA Please Note: MedCram medical videos, medical lectures, medical illustrations, and medical animations are for medical education and exam preparation purposes, and not intended to replace recommendations by your doctor or health care provider. #Coronavirus #COVID19 #sarscov2

 

How To Tell If You Have A COVID-19 Coronavirus Infection

Telling people that you are a “zero” may not get much attention. Telling people that you are a “patient zero”? That’s a different story.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who also goes by the nickname Woz, momentarily caused a stir with the following tweet:

                         

Yeah, that’s not going to get zero reaction with the ongoing COVID-19 causing coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) outbreak occurring. The possible suggestion that he and his wife, Janet, may have been the “patient zeros” who brought the new coronavirus to the U.S. got all kinds of responses, ranging from people tweeting that Macs don’t get viruses to those wondering angrily why the Wozniaks took so long to see doctors.

A patient zero is the first human to get infected by a pathogen like a virus and then subsequently spread it to others. There can be a patient zero for the overall SARS-CoV2 outbreak, that is the first human to have contracted the virus from a non-human source such as another animal. There can also be patient zeros for outbreaks in different locations, such as the persons who first introduced the virus to each country. It can be very, very difficult to identify who really was the patient zero in each of these cases because that person may have had very non-specific symptoms or even no symptoms at all.

It turns out that all of this patient zero talk Woz probably a false alarm. As Carlie Porterfield reported for Forbes, Janet Wozniak sent USA Today an email indicating that she actually had a sinus infection, presumably a run-of-the-mill sinus infection that was not caused by the SARS-CoV2. So perhaps there is zero concern, or rather zero zero concern about the Wozniaks.

All of this shows how easy it is to mistake something else for a SARS-CoV2 infection, and vice versa. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, the potential symptoms of “coronavirus disease 2019” include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. That’s pretty darn non-specific.

The World Health Organization (WHO) website does add “breathing difficulties” to the list of potential symptoms. It also says that “infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.”

OK, so death is always pretty serious and would certainly merit attention. But the other symptoms may not be quite as clear. After all, lots of things can cause a fever, cough, and shortness of breath, including many different types of bacterial and viral infections and a BTS appearance. Just because you have these symptoms, does not mean that you should automatically suspect SARS-CoV2. Instead, ask yourself the following questions:

Are your symptoms severe? If so, contact a doctor as soon as possible. This includes having a temperature of over 102.5° F (39.2° C) or a cough that significantly interferes with your daily life. The prescription for a fever that high is not just more cowbell. It is medical attention. Very frequent or very severe coughing should raise concerns as well. The words “coughed up a lung,” typically shouldn’t be followed by “but everything is cool.” Similarly, distinguish between the love-is-in-the-air type of shortness of breath and real difficulty breathing. The latter calls for a call to the doctor.

Do you have any symptoms of pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, or kidney failure? Chest pain could be a sign of a pneumonia or other type of severe respiratory disease. So could night sweats, assuming that you aren’t actively doing burpees in your bed, or coughing up blood. Be concerned about any significant decrease in urination or change in the color of your urine when you didn’t just eat a bucket of beets, as these could be signs of kidney damage. Keep in mind though that you can have pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, or kidney failure without having obvious symptoms.

How long have you had these symptoms? No symptoms should last for more than week without medical attention. Not a fever. Not coughing. Not shortness of breath. In fact, anything that isn’t love and lasts for more than a week should give you pause. Also, track the course of your symptoms. If you find yourself getting better and then suddenly getting worse, contact your doctor.

Do you have any risk factors for a SARS-CoV2 infection? No, seeing someone of East Asian-descent and eating Asian food are not risk factors. We’re talking about real risk factors. Of course, the biggest one is coming into close contact with someone known to have COVID-19. So if your roommate made the news for having COVID-19, take any possible COVID-19 symptoms very seriously. In fact, if you were that close to someone who definitely had COVID-19, it’s good idea to notify your doctor even if you don’t have symptoms. Similarly, if you’ve been in a location where there’s active transmission of the virus such as Wuhan, China, contact your doctor as soon as you develop any kind of fever or respiratory symptoms. Symptoms typically begin anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed to the virus.

You can see how recognizing COVID-19 can be very difficult without formal medical testing. You can also see how identifying a patient zero before he or she has spread the new coronavirus can be very challenging. The person could even have zero symptoms, so to speak. In the end, we may never find out who the zeros were. Nevertheless, always let your doctor know if you are worried in any way about having a new type of infection. For example, if you hear of a new infectious disease in a place that you have just visited, have a low threshold for seeking medical advice. After all, you want to make sure that you have as close to zero chances as possible of spreading that infection to others.

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I am a writer, journalist, professor, systems modeler, computational and digital health expert, avocado-eater, and entrepreneur, not always in that order. Currently, I am a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the City University of New York (CUNY), Executive Director of PHICOR (@PHICORteam), Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, and founder and CEO of Symsilico. My previous positions include serving as Executive Director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University, Associate Professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Associate Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh, and Senior Manager at Quintiles Transnational, working in biotechnology equity research at Montgomery Securities, and co-founding a biotechnology/bioinformatics company. My work involves developing computational approaches, models, and tools to help health and healthcare decision makers in all continents (except for Antarctica) and has been supported by a wide variety of sponsors such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the NIH, AHRQ, CDC, UNICEF, USAID and the Global Fund. I have authored over 200 scientific publications and three books. Follow me on Twitter (@bruce_y_lee) but don’t ask me if I know martial arts.

Source: How To Tell If You Have A COVID-19 Coronavirus Infection

What is COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 19)? The coronaviruses that circulate among humans are typically benign, and they cause about a quarter of all common cold illnesses. But occasionally, coronaviruses, like COVID-19, circulate in an animal reservoir and mutate just enough to where they’re able to start infecting and causing disease in humans. Find our complete video library only on Osmosis Prime: http://osms.it/more. Hundreds of thousands of current & future clinicians learn by Osmosis. We have unparalleled tools and materials to prepare you to succeed in school, on board exams, and as a future clinician. Sign up for a free trial at http://osms.it/more. Subscribe to our Youtube channel at http://osms.it/subscribe. Get early access to our upcoming video releases, practice questions, giveaways, and more when you follow us on social media: Facebook: http://osms.it/facebook Twitter: http://osms.it/twitter Instagram: http://osms.it/instagram Our Vision: Everyone who cares for someone will learn by Osmosis. Our Mission: To empower the world’s clinicians and caregivers with the best learning experience possible. Learn more here: http://osms.it/mission Medical disclaimer: Knowledge Diffusion Inc (DBA Osmosis) does not provide medical advice. Osmosis and the content available on Osmosis’s properties (Osmosis.org, YouTube, and other channels) do not provide a diagnosis or other recommendation for treatment and are not a substitute for the professional judgment of a healthcare professional in diagnosis and treatment of any person or animal. The determination of the need for medical services and the types of healthcare to be provided to a patient are decisions that should be made only by a physician or other licensed health care provider. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition.

China’s E-Learning Leaders Add $3.2 Billion As Coronavirus Fears Drive Students Online

The coronavirus outbreak has been hitting China’s economy hard as many businesses have had to temporarily shut down their operations amid tight quarantine rules. But measures to stop the spread of the illness have also become an unexpected boon for at least one industry: online education.

With the opening of schools pushed back to March and all extracurricular activities suspended, tens of millions of students have been told to go online to study. And the country’s providers of online tutoring services are suddenly experiencing a surge in interest from students and their parents.

The biggest winner appears to be TAL Education’s Zhang Bangxin, who saw his wealth increase by $1.7 billion, giving him a current net worth of at least $10 billion. His New York-listed company rallied 20% last month on expectations of strong growth. The 40-year-old Zhang has catapulted past the likes of JD.com’s founder Richard Liu ($8.7 billion) and Baidu’s Robin Li ($7.1 billion) to reach No. 24 on China’s wealth rankings.

“This is like a natural marketing campaign for these companies,” says Jiao Wei, an analyst at Shanghai-based research firm 86 Research. “Parents who didn’t know much about online education can now see how it works and how classes are being streamed online.”

TAL has partnered with more than 300 public schools across China to stream free classes, and its Xueersi unit is providing complementary K-12 online tutoring sessions. Other education companies are also launching more e-learning courses, while developing data tools to analyze student performance and help teachers track their progress.

Shares of New York-listed New Oriental rose 7.3% last month, adding $190 million to the wealth of its founder Yu Minhong. His current net worth is estimated at $3.4 billion. And Chen Xiangdong, founder of GSX Techedu, also listed in New York, has seen his net worth rise to $4.75 billion, thanks to a 40% rally that added another $1.3 billion to the value of his stake in the same period. The three education billionaires’ combined $3.2 billion gain makes them stand out as rare winners at a time when the coronavirus outbreak has battered industries ranging from hospitality to retail and logistics. As of Thursday, the virus that had infected nearly 80,000 people in China has been estimated to shave $60 billion off China’s economic growth.

Analysts say that education companies are likely to benefit from the increased attention for their services for some time. After both students and parents become more familiar with virtual classrooms, they can be enticed to try other products and pay for services down the road. Terry Weng, a Shenzhen-based analyst at research firm Blue Lotus Research Group, estimates that 22% of Chinese K-12 students will take part in online tutoring by end of this year, up from 17% in 2019. Driven by tough competition for good schools and jobs, as well as technological advances in virtual learning, China’s online education market is expected to more than triple to 696 billion yuan ($99.3 billion) in 2023 from last year’s 203 billion yuan, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan.

More on Forbes: No Customers, Closed Stores: Chinese Entrepreneurs Brace For The Worst Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

But analysts also caution that the current e-learning boom may not translate into higher revenue or profit—at least not in the short term. In a bid to attract more users, many services are being offered for free or at a discount. Blue Lotus’s Weng estimates that when TAL actually charges its virtual classes, they are sold at a 10% to 30% discount compared with lessons for its offline learning centers. The company generated $6.5 million in profits from $2.5 billion in sales during the first nine months of 2019. Before the virus struck, TAL was estimated to derive between 20% and 30% of its revenues from online learning and the remainder came from its offline centers.

Still, investors seem willing to overlook any short-term loss and focus on future gains. Aside from faster user growth for their online services, TAL and New Oriental’s offline businesses may also capture a larger share of the overall education market. This is due to the fact that smaller service providers are running out of cash, and probably won’t stay in business much longer. They still have to pay rent and teachers’ salaries, even when China suspended all types of offline classes and ordered tuition refunds.

“The gradual exit of smaller education firms means there are more opportunities for TAL and New Oriental,” Weng says. “Investors are more keen for their future performance.”

I am a Beijing-based writer covering China’s technology sector. I contribute to Forbes, and previously I freelanced for SCMP and Nikkei. Prior to Beijing, I spent six months as an intern at TIME magazine’s Hong Kong office. I am a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University. Email: ywywyuewang@gmail.com Twitter: @yueyueyuewang

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