U.S. Hospitals Increasingly Worried About Surge in COVID-19 Cases

(TOLEDO, Ohio) — Government and hospital leaders are increasingly sounding the alarm about the health care system in the U.S. and its readiness to absorb waves of patients in the worst-case scenario involving the new coronavirus outbreak.

Authorities nationwide already are taking major steps to expand capacity with each passing day, building tents and outfitting unused spaces to house patients. They also are urging people to postpone elective surgeries, dental work and even veterinarian care. New York’s governor called for using military bases or college dorms as makeshift care centers.

Among the biggest concerns is whether there will be enough beds, equipment and staff to handle several large outbreaks simultaneously in multiple cities.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institutes of Health’s infectious diseases chief, said it’s critical that steps be taken now to prevent the virus from spreading quickly.

“The job is to put a full-court press on not allowing the worst-case scenario to occur,” said Fauci, who appeared Sunday on several network news shows.

While he does not expect massive outbreaks in the U.S. like those in Italy, he said there is the possibility if it reaches that point that an overwhelming influx of patients could lead to a lack of supplies, including ventilators.

“And that’s when you’re going to have to make some very tough decisions,” Fauci said.

In Washington state, which leads the nation in the number of positive COVID-19 cases with more than 600 illnesses and 40 deaths, the increase in people visiting clinics with respiratory symptoms is straining the state’s supply of personal protective gear worn by health care workers.

The federal government has sent the state tens of thousands of respirators, gowns, gloves and other protective gear for health care providers. But those shipments aren’t enough, said Clark Halvorson, Assistant Secretary of Health for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response.

The disease has infected over 162,000 people worldwide, and more than 6,000 people have died so far.

Most people who have tested positive for the virus experience only mild or moderate symptoms. Yet there’s a greater danger and longer recovery period for older adults and people with existing health problems.

The nation’s hospitals collectively have about a million beds, with 100,000 for critical care patients, but often those beds for the sickest patients are mostly filled, Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA commissioner, told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“If we do have multiple epidemics in multiple large U.S. cities, the system will become overwhelmed,” he said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has suggested mobilizing the Army Corps of Engineers to turn facilities such as military bases or college dorms into temporary medical centers.

“States cannot build more hospitals, acquire ventilators or modify facilities quickly enough,” Cuomo wrote in an opinion piece published Sunday in The New York Times.

Officials in the Seattle area have been setting up temporary housing — and even bought a motel and leased another — to add space for patients who might be homeless or whose living conditions might not allow for self-isolation, such as students in college dorms. King County also is setting up modular housing and is using the arrivals hall at a county-owned airport as a shelter to reduce overcrowding — and meet social-distancing requirements — in existing homeless shelters.

Hospital executives say they’re always planning for disasters and have been concentrating on coronavirus preparations for the past two months.

“If you go past our emergency department now, you’ll see tents erected in the parking lot that allow us to increase emergency department capacity,” Johnese Spisso, president of UCLA Health, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The system’s network of clinics throughout Los Angeles and Southern California have additional capacity and doctor’s are encouraging telemedicine, he said.

Dr. Peter Slavin, the president of Massachusetts General Hospital, said the next two weeks will be critical as the medical community expects a dramatic increase in the number of cases.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recommended on Saturday that elective surgeries be postponed, including dental and veterinary procedures, so that health care workers won’t be stretched thin and surgical masks can be saved for health care workers dealing with the virus.

ProMedica, which operates 13 hospitals in Ohio and Michigan, is ready to call in help from staffing agencies if needed and is looking at ways to provide child care for employees whose children are off school, said Deana Sievert, chief nursing . Doctors also have voluntarily canceled their vacations.

The community “can flatten off the curve of this,” by avoiding large events, staying at home, washing their hands and practicing social distancing to help U.S. hospitals avoid an onslaught of cases, said Dr. Penny Wheeler, CEO of Minneapolis-based Allina Health, which has 12 hospitals and more than 90 clinics in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Allina also has been canceling conferences, meetings and anything else that does not directly impact patient care.

By JOHN SEEWER / AP March 15, 2020

Source: U.S. Hospitals Increasingly Worried About Surge in COVID-19 Cases

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Some hospitals are preparing to dip into stockpiles they created just for a situation like this. But others worry about crucial equipment shortages. Learn more about this story at https://www.newsy.com/98607/ 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

Mapping the Spread of the Coronavirus Outbreak Around the U.S. and the World

ince the first case of COVID-19 was identified in central China in December, the illness has spread across the world, leading to an outbreak that the World Health Organization has called a pandemic. The maps and charts below show the extent of the spread, and will be updated daily with data gathered from over a dozen sources by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Where COVID-19 has spread in the U.S.

Testing for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was slow to roll out in the U.S., but as more and more Americans get tested, it’s becoming clear that the illness is already spreading in the U.S. It has now been confirmed in some three dozen states, with the largest clusters in Washington state, California and New York.

Where COVID-19 has spread around the world

Over 110 countries and territories, representing every corner of the globe, have now reported at least one case of the novel coronavirus. In total, there are now over 125,000 cases and over 4,600 related deaths.

Which countries have the most COVID-19 cases?

China remains the country with the most coronavirus cases and related deaths, by a significant margin. However, in recent weeks, China has seen fewer and fewer new cases per day, while the count in places like Italy, Iran, Germany, France and the U.S. have risen.

Keep up to date with our daily coronavirus newsletter by clicking here.

Here’s what you need to know about coronavirus:

By Elijah Wolfson

Source: Mapping the Spread of the Coronavirus Outbreak Around the U.S. and the World

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The video shows the timelapse of the coronavirus by map worldwide since January 20, 2020. It first started in Wuhan, Hubei, China, then spread to more than 80 countries by March 5, 2020. Twitter: https://twitter.com/wawamustats Facebook: https://fb.me/wawamustats Source: World Health Organization & CDC Special Thanks to Our Patron: C&MHansen Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/wawamustats?s…

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

 

No, You Do Not Need Face Masks To Prevent Coronavirus—They Might Increase Your Infection Risk

Community transmission of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has officially begun in the U.S., with two cases in California and one in Oregon of unknown origin. The first COVID death was reported Saturday, Feb. 29, in Seattle. The natural human response to a strange, new disease making its way to a neighborhood near you is to feel anxiety and want to DO SOMETHING. That’s why many people have been buying up and stockpiling masks. But even if you could buy any in the midst of global shortages, should you?

No.

And if you already have masks, should you wear them when you’re out?

No.

Even if there are COVID cases in your community?

Even if there are cases next door, the answer is no, you do NOT need to get or wear any face masks—surgical masks, “N95 masks,” respirator masks, or anything else—to protect yourself against the coronavirus. Not only do you not need them, you shouldn’t wear them, according to infection prevention specialist Eli Perencevich, MD, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Iowa’s College of Medicine.

“The average healthy person does not need to have a mask, and they shouldn’t be wearing masks,” Dr. Perencevich said. “There’s no evidence that wearing masks on healthy people will protect them. They wear them incorrectly, and they can increase the risk of infection because they’re touching their face more often.”

But even if you know what you’re doing and you tie your hands behind your back, you still don’t need to wear a mask.

Only Wear A Mask If You’re Sick

First of all, most people buying masks are not getting one that stops the virus from reaching their mouth or nose anyway. The coronavirus is transmitted through droplets, not through the air. That means you cannot randomly breathe it in, but it also means the standard surgical mask you see people wearing will not help. Those masks are designed to keep droplets in—not to keep them out—and are intended to keep the wearer from getting others sick.

“The one time you would want a mask is if you’re sick and you have to leave the house,” Dr. Perencevich said. “If you have the flu or think you have COVID, that’s when you’d put on a mask to protect others. In your house, if you feel like you’re sick, you should wear a mask to protect your family members.”

ETA 3/1/20: If you are caring for someone with COVID in your home, it is wise to wear a mask when in close proximity to that person, who should also wear a mask, Dr. Perencevich said. Consult a healthcare provider for the correct way to wear and dispose of the mask, or consult this excellent explainer from the World Health Organization. For those concerned about being able to get a mask if you or a household member becomes ill with COVID, the emergency department or clinic where you are diagnosed should them to you. The sick individual should ask for one immediately upon arriving at the healthcare facility.

[ETA 3/1/20: There has been some question about whether this coronavirus is “airborne” and what that means. The virus is not airborne using the scientific definition used for pathogens such as tuberculosis or measles. Droplets might become aerosolized for some viruses, but there is not yet evidence showing that this coronavirus can be breathed in when a nearby infected individual exhales. Most research into this question focuses on influenza, such as this 2018 study suggesting the flu virus can be aerosolized in exhalations without coughing or sneezing. This evidence is preliminary, and it remains an open scientific question whether (and which) droplet-based respiratory viruses are transmitted this way. So far, all documented transmission for COVID cases has involved droplets. ]

What Does Keep The Virus Out?

The type of face covering that reduces exposure to airborne particles—including protecting the wearer from viruses and bacteria—is called a respirator. The type of personal protection equipment (PPE) that healthcare workers wear when treating someone with a serious contagious disease is a medical respirator.

As 3M, a major manufacturer of masks and respirators, explains, medical respirators do both: they protect the wearer from getting sick and protect the patient from the wearer’s germs. That’s where the confusion in terms—using “mask” and “respirator” interchangeably—often comes from. From here on in this article, assume “mask” refers to a respirator.

These medical respirators/masks must have an efficiency rating of “N95,” “FFP2,” or a similar rating that refers to how many particles—and of what size—can’t get through. The CDC has a webpage listing all the approved respirators for personal protection.

Disposable medical respirators can resemble standard surgical masks but must be thrown away after one use because they become contaminated with the particles they’re filtering out. Reusable respirators, which use replaceable filters, are the ones that make you look like a giant insect.

So Why Shouldn’t I Get An N95 Medical Respirator? 

The people who wear medical respirators have received training in how to wear them to protect themselves, such as ensuring the mask forms an airtight seal with their face.

But even then, “no matter how well a respirator seals to the face and how efficient the filter media is, wearers should expect a small amount of leakage inside any respirators,” 3M notes. “No respirator will eliminate exposures entirely.”

Not using—or disposing of—a respirator mask correctly can increase infection risk because it is literally trapping all the stuff in the air you’re trying to avoid, and many people end up touching their face absent-mindedly.

“Wearing a mask is tricky because it can create a false sense of security,” Dr. Perencevich said. “If you don’t wash your hands before you take off the mask and after you take off your mask, you could increase your risk.”

Even if you believe you will be careful enough to wear, use, and dispose of the mask properly, buying these masks in the midst of existing shortages makes it harder for hospitals and healthcare workers who actually need them to get them.

“The most concerning thing is if our healthcare workers are sick and have to stay home, then we lose the doctors and nurses we need to get through this outbreak,” said Dr. Perencevich, who recently tweeted concerns about the “potential crisis” of N95 respirator scarcity.

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, has even pleaded on Twitter, “Seriously people-STOP BUYING MASKS!” Aside from their ineffectiveness in protecting the general public, he said, “if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

Disturbingly, Dr. Perencevich has even heard from colleagues who saw people walking out of hospitals with boxes of masks.

“We really need to get the message out not to take the masks from the hospitals,” he said. “We’ve got to protect our healthcare workers because they’re the ones who are going to take care of us if we get sick.”

Here’s How To Actually Protect Yourself From COVID-19

You’ve heard it over and over, already, but the best way to protect yourself from the coronavirus really, truly, honestly is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water. Karen Fleming, PhD, a professor in biophysics at Johns Hopkins University, explained on Twitter why: “Coronavirus is an ‘enveloped’ virus, which means that it has an outer lipid membrane layer,” an outer layer of fat. “Washing your hands with soap and water has the ability to ‘dissolve’ this greasy fatty layer and kill the virus,” she said.

Wash your hands before and after eating and try to train yourself not to touch your face, “especially your mouth and nose,” Dr. Perencevich said. Also carry around hand sanitizer in case you can’t get to soap and water after touching your face or another germ-laden surface (like doorknobs).

“Just because it’s a respiratory virus doesn’t mean it gets into your body through breathing,” he said. “It can enter when your contaminated hands touch your mouth or face. So wash your hands, and don’t touch your mouth or face without washing your hands first.”

You can also protect yourself through social distancing: If you see someone coughing or sneezing or otherwise looking sick, stay at least three feet away from them since that’s as far as most droplets will travel.

What If I’m Immune-Compromised Or Traveling To Infected Areas?

If you are immune-compromised or otherwise at high risk for complications from coronavirus—which means you’re already at high risk for flu complications—you need to talk to your doctor about whether it’s necessary to wear a medical respirator in public, Dr. Perencevich said. Similarly, if you’re traveling to an area with known widespread transmission, consult a travel clinic. Even in these cases, however, social distancing and washing your hands frequently are your most important and effective protection tools.

Here’s What You SHOULD Do To Prepare For COVID-19

So you shouldn’t be buying masks, but there are things you can do to prepare for an outbreak in your city. First, make sure you have at least 3-4 weeks’ worth of any medications you need “so you don’t have to run out and get it at a certain time,” Dr. Perencevich said.

Similarly, have enough necessities, including food and anything you cannot live without, on hand if school is cancelled for several weeks and the kids are at home. You don’t have to stockpile food, but being prepared for any kind of emergency—not just a disease outbreak but also unexpected severe weather and similar events—means having enough food and water (one gallon per person per day) on hand for three days along with supplies to use in the case of power outages.

A helpful disaster emergency kit list is available online from the Department of Homeland Security, and Kent State epidemiologist Tara C. Smith, PhD, offers great tips on preparing for COVID-19 at Self.

Where Can I Learn More About Medical Respirators And Masks? 

For the technical or science-minded folks out there, it’s certainly possible to jump down a rabbit hole and learn all about the manufacturing and technical specifications of personal protection equipment. Aside from the CDC page already mentioned, super geeks will want to read all the links at 3M’s Worker Health & Safety page on the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak. While 3M is not the only manufacturer, they are a major one with a great deal of helpful, easy-to-read information on the risk of products shipped from China (there isn’t much of one), healthcare alternatives to surgical N95 respirators, an FAQ for those in healthcare and the general public, and how to spot counterfeit products (though this will vary by manufacturer).

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I am a freelance science and multimedia journalist who specializes in reporting on vaccines, pediatric and maternal health, parenting, public health, mental health, medical research, and the social sciences. My work has appeared in The New York Times, NPR, Scientific American, Medscape, Self, the Washington Post, Politico, Everyday Health, Slate, Frontline Medical Communications and elsewhere. I coauthored The Informed Parent: An Evidence-Based Resource for Your Child’s First Four Years with Emily Willingham. I also recently published Vaccination Investigation: The History and Science of Vaccines and have written several science books for children. I regularly blog at my evidence-based parenting blog Red Wine & Applesauce and at the Association of Health Care Journalists, and I’ve delivered a TEDx Oslo talk on why parents fear vaccines. I received my master’s in journalism at the University of Texas at Austin (also my undergrad alma mater). I previously taught at Bradley University and in Texas high schools, and I often think of my journalism as a form of teaching, by helping others understand science and medical research and by debunking misinformation about vaccines, chemicals and other misunderstood topics.

Source: No, You Do Not Need Face Masks To Prevent Coronavirus—They Might Increase Your Infection Risk

Wearing a medical mask can help limit the spread of some respiratory diseases. However, using a mask alone is not guaranteed to stop infections. Their use should be combined with other preventive measures. Watch this short video to find out more. For more information, please visit : https://www.who.int/emergencies/disea…

First U.S. COVID-19 Death Thought to Be Community Transmission. Washington Governor Declares State of Emergency

On Saturday, Washington State officials announced that one person had died from the coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, in King County, marking the first death from the disease in the U.S.

Health officials say the man was in his 50s and had no known history or travel or contact with a known COVID-19 case, suggesting he was infected by a human-to-human transmission in the general public, often referred to as a community transmission.

Officials also announced two other presumptive cases in King County, each linked to the LifeCare nursing home in Kirkland, Wash. Neither patient had reportedly traveled outside the U.S. At a press conference on Saturday, Dr. Jeff Duchin, the health officer for public health of Seattle and King County said officials believe all three cases are cases of community transmission and were acquired in King County.

Officials are monitoring the nursing home and believe it is at risk for a possible outbreak of the virus. Officials added that they do not believe the man who died was connected to the nursing home.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency on Saturday in response to the new cases, and directed state agencies to use “all resources necessary to prepare for and respond to the outbreak.”

King County health officials said the man who died was in his 50s and was “a chronically ill person,” with “underlying risk factors for severe disease.” They said he died at EvergreenHealth Hospital.

In a press conference with the coronavirus task force on Saturday, President Donald Trump misidentified the patient who died as a “wonderful woman.

Officials also announced details about the two cases connected to LifeCare nursing home. One patient is a healthcare worker in her 40s, who also had no known travel outside of the United States. Officials said she is in satisfactory condition. The second is a woman in her 70s who is a resident at LifeCare nursing facility, who is in serious condition at EvergreenHealth Hospital.

Officials said over 50 individuals at LifeCare who are reportedly experiencing respiratory problems are being tested for COVID-19 and said “additional positive cases” are expected. At the press conference, Duchin said officials are “investigating the situation as an outbreak.” He added that the CDC is sending a team of epidemiologists to King County to help identify any possible new cases.

Duchin added that officials believe the patients contracted the virus before being admitted to EvergreenHealth Hospital, and do not presently believe the two patients at LifeCare and the man who died were connected to one and other.

The first known case of the coronavirus in King County had only been announced the day before on Friday: A woman in her 50s who had recently traveled to Daegnu, South Korea.

According to Washington State Department of Health, two people have also tested positive for the virus in Snohomish County, bringing the total number of cases in the state up to six. Thirty-seven people in Washington State have been tested for the virus so far, and 294 people are under public health supervision, according to the official.

The announcement comes after news broke that a California patient was thought to be the first possible human-to-human transmission in the general public. California officials announced a second possible community transmission on Friday, although Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer for Santa Clara County and Director of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department said in a statement, “the extent is still not clear.”

On Friday, Oregon health officials also announced the state’s first case of COVID-19 was believed to be a community transmission.

The U.S. has 68 confirmed cases of the virus. Besides the six suspected cases of community transmission, all of the other infected people had either traveled overseas or had been in close contact with those who traveled. The virus has transmitted from human to human in cases in Chicago and San Benito County, Calif., but in both cases, the infected person had close, prolonged contact with family members who had returned from Wuhan, China and had tested positive for the virus.

A CDC flowchart for assessing possible coronavirus cases as of Feb. 12 indicates that a patient must have either visited China, or had close contact with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 within the last 14 days, in order for their possible exposure to the virus to be evaluated.

As of Feb. 26 the CDC had administered 445 coronavirus tests—not including those given to Americans brought back to the U.S. from Wuhan or the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Concerns over a shortage in tests to properly diagnose the novel coronavirus have prompted some states to take action. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said more than 8,400 people in the state are being monitored for the virus, and called for an expansion of the ability to conduct tests on people to detect the infection during a news conference on Feb. 27.

California is now working with the CDC to get access to more tests, Newsom said, adding that the state has “just a few hundred” testing kits, which he said was “simply inadequate.”

“We are not overreacting nor are we underreacting to the understandable anxiety many people have,” he said.

Health officials in New York state said they are developing their own test after encountering issues with tests provided by the CDC, according to reports in ABC 7 and BuzzFeed News.

Elsewhere in the U.S., 42 Americans evacuated from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess in Japan were confirmed to have the virus as of Wednesday.

CDC spokesperson Richard Quartarone tells TIME the patients are either at hospitals in Sacramento and San Antonio, or at the Nebraska Medical Center.

More than 300 American evacuees were flown out of Japan to air bases in Texas and California.

So far, cases have been diagnosed in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Texas. Globally, more than 82,000 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed or clinically confirmed as of Feb. 21 and some 2,800 people have died, according to a virus tracker from researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The vast majority of cases are in China, but diagnoses in the U.S. are expected to increase over the coming days and weeks, according to the CDC.

Cruise ship evacuees

On Feb. 17, the U.S. State Department evacuated more than 300 American citizens from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan. The Diamond Princess has the largest outbreak of the novel coronavirus outside China with at least 621 confirmed cases so far.

During the evacuation process, American officials learned that 14 of the more than 300 Americans who were to be flown back were infected with COVID-19 after being tested two to three days earlier, according to a joint statement from the U.S. State Department and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. After consulting with HHS, officials with the State Department decided to allow the 14 individuals, “who were in isolation, separated from other passengers, and continued to be asymptomatic, to remain on the aircraft to complete the evacuation process,” the statement said.

The evacuees who are not hospitalized were being held in quarantine for 14 days after departing planes at Travis Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif. and Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, officials said.

The CDC said there are more than 100 American citizens who remained in Japan, including in hospitals. The CDC specified that these citizens will only be allowed to fly back to the U.S. if they test negative for and don’t show any symptoms of the virus during the 14-day period.

“If an individual from this cruise arrives in the United States before the 14-day period ends, they will still be subject to a mandatory quarantine until they have completed the 14-day period with no symptoms or positive coronavirus test results,” the CDC said.

The CDC also highlighted concerns with the quarantine process on board the ship, saying that it may have slowed the spread of the disease but that it “may not have been sufficient to prevent transmission among individuals on the ship.”

Washington

On Saturday, Washington State officials announced that one person had died from COVID-19 in King County, marking the first death from the disease in the U.S.

Health officials say the man was in his 50s and had no known history or travel or contact with a known COVID-19 case, suggesting he was infected by a human-to-human transmission in the general public, often referred to as a community transmission.

Officials also announced two other presumptive cases in King County, each linked to the LifeCare nursing home in Kirkland, Wash. Neither patient had reportedly traveled outside the U.S. At a press conference on Saturday, Dr. Jeff Duchin, the health officer for public health of Seattle and King County said officials believe all three cases are cases of community transmission and were acquired in King County.

Officials are monitoring the nursing home and believe it is at risk for a possible outbreak of the virus. Officials added that they do not believe the man who died was connected to the nursing home.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency on Saturday in response to the new cases, and directed state agencies to use “all resources necessary to prepare for and respond to the outbreak.”

King County health officials said the man who died was in his 50s and was “a chronically ill person,” with “underlying risk factors for severe disease.” They said he died at EvergreenHealth Hospital.

Officials also announced details about the two cases connected to LifeCare nursing home. One patient is a healthcare worker in her 40s, who also had no known travel outside of the United States. Officials said she is in satisfactory condition. The second is a woman in her 70s who is a resident at LifeCare nursing facility, who is in serious condition at EvergreenHealth Hospital.

Officials said over 50 individuals at LifeCare who are reportedly experiencing respiratory problems are being tested for COVID-19 and said “additional positive cases” are expected. At the press conference Duchin said officials are “investigating the situation as an outbreak.” He added that the CDC is sending a team of epidemiologists to King County to help identify any possible new cases.

Duchin added that officials believe the patients contracted the virus before being admitted to EvergreenHealth Hospital, and do not presently believe the two patients at LifeCare and the man who died were connected to one and other.

The first known case of the coronavirus in King County had only been announced the day before on Friday: A woman in her 50s who had recently traveled to Daegnu, South Korea.

According to Washington State Department of Health, two people have also tested positive for the virus in Snohomish County, bringing the total number of cases in the state up to six. Thirty-seven people in Washington State have been tested for the virus so far, and 294 people are under public health supervision, according to the official.

The first case of COVID-19 in the U.S. appeared in Washington on Jan. 21. A 35-year-old man presented himself to an urgent care clinic in Snohomish County, Wash., after four days of cough and fever, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, which reported that he had recently been visiting family in Wuhan.

“The patient should be recognized for his decision to voluntarily isolate himself, seek proper medical care, and allow the details of his private medical treatment to be made public so that the world may learn from his case, and advance our understanding of novel coronavirus,” the Washington State Department of Health said in a public statement on Jan. 31.

The man was released from a Washington hospital on Feb. 4, according to the Associated Press.

“I am at home and continuing to get better,” the man said in a statement to the AP. “I appreciate all of the concern expressed by members of the public, and I look forward to returning to my normal life.”

Arizona

A single case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Arizona by the CDC on Jan. 26. The person had also recently returned to the U.S. after visiting Wuhan. The Arizona Department of Health Services said in a public statement that the person is “a member of the Arizona State University community who does not live in university housing,” and added that they were not severely ill but would be kept in isolation.

California

On Wednesday news broke that a California coronavirus patient was not tested for the deadly disease for four days—despite the hospital asking federal health authorities for a test.

The patient at the University of California-Davis Medical Center, who is a resident of Solano County, was the first U.S. case of possible human-to-human transmission in the general public—raising fears that the virus might be spreading in the country. It also raised questions about how prepared the U.S. health system is for a possible outbreak.

The California coronavirus patient was not tested for the deadly disease for four days — despite the hospital asking federal health authorities for a test. The patient is at the University of California-Davis Medical Center and is a resident of Solano County.

California officials announced a second possible community transmission on Friday, although Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer for Santa Clara County and Director of the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department said in a statement, “the extent is still not clear.”

The first confirmed cases in the state were announced by the CDC on Jan. 26; the two patients had recently returned to the U.S. from Wuhan.

On Jan. 29, the State Department announced a flight carrying 195 evacuees from Wuhan landed at the March Air Reserve Base in southern California. Later, on Feb. 5, the CDC announced 14-day quarantine sites at the Travis Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif. and the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif., where more evacuees from Wuhan would be placed.

Two people who were quarantined at Miramar have since been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are now in isolation at the University of San Diego Health. A third person has been placed under investigation after developing symptoms that warrant testing, the hospital announced on Feb. 12.

Orange County and San Francisco have both declared states of emergency over the virus.

Illinois

The first case in Illinois was a woman in her 60s who had returned to the U.S. from Wuhan on Jan. 13, health officials said at a press briefing on Jan. 30. Her husband then contracted the virus, becoming the first confirmed case of person-to-person transfer of the virus in the U.S.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Feb. 12 that it became the first state in the U.S. to begin in-state testing for the virus.

Massachusetts

On Feb. 1, the CDC announced that a man in his 20s who lives in Boston was diagnosed with COVID-19, making him the eighth confirmed case in the U.S. He had also recently traveled to Wuhan.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said the man sought medical care soon after his return to Boston. He has since been in isolation, and those who came in contact with him have been identified and are being monitored for symptoms, the agency said in a public statement.

“We are grateful that this young man is recovering and sought medical attention immediately,” said Monica Bharel, Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner, in the statement. “Massachusetts has been preparing for a possible case of this new coronavirus, and we were fortunate that astute clinicians took appropriate action quickly. Again, the risk to the public from the 2019 novel coronavirus remains low in Massachusetts.”

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the CDC announced the first case of COVID-19 in the state on Feb. 5. The person was only identified as “an adult with a history of travel to Beijing, China prior to becoming ill and was exposed to known cases while in China.”

Wisconsin health officials said in a public statement that the person is isolated at home, and is doing well.

Texas

The first person diagnosed with COVID-19 in Texas is currently in isolation. The name of the individual has also not been released, but Jennifer McQuiston, a CDC division deputy director and current team lead at the JBSA-Lackland quarantine, told reporters at a Feb. 13 press conference that the person was a solo traveler.

Two additional Diamond Princess passengers are also in isolation in Texas as of Feb. 21, after they were determined to have the virus. The patients are being held at the Texas Center for Infectious Disease hospital, according to a public statement by the City of San Antonio.

The City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and the CDC announced Feb. 13 that the first person diagnosed was one of the Americans evacuated from Wuhan and transported to the military base on Feb. 7, after leaving Wuhan the previous day. There are currently 91 evacuees in a 14-day quarantine at the JBSA-Lackland military base, one of four designated quarantine sites for the roughly 800 Americans who have been evacuated from Wuhan.

On the morning of Feb. 11, the patient exhibited signs of a fever, McQuiston said. The person was transported to a hospital that morning, where samples were gathered and sent to the CDC overnight. Officials received the positive diagnosis around 6 p.m. on Feb. 12. “[That patient is] receiving excellent medical care,” McQuiston said at the Feb. 13 press conference. “They were, of course, not happy to learn of their diagnosis last night, and they do have loved ones in the United States that they are in contact with by phone, and we wish this individual well.”

Dr. Anita Kurian, assistant director at the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, also said at the press conference that “the risk for us at this time to the community here is still considered low.”

Of the estimated 400 Americans aboard the Diamond Princess, 151 landed at the Lackland Air Force Base on the morning of Feb. 17. Of those, 144 asymptomatic Americans were assessed and transported to Lackland quarantine, according to the City of San Antonio.

The individuals who remain in quarantine are being monitored for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

By Jasmine Aguilera , Amy Gunia , Madeleine Carlisle and Sanya Mansoor

Source: First U.S. COVID-19 Death Thought to Be Community Transmission. Washington Governor Declares State of Emergency

The US has confirmed its first possible community transmission of COVID-19. The patient, who lives in California, has no known links to other cases or travel history to China. That brings the total number of infections in the US to 60, with most of them catching the virus outside the country. Subscribe to our channel here: https://cna.asia/youtubesub Subscribe to our news service on Telegram: https://cna.asia/telegram Follow us: CNA: https://cna.asia CNA Lifestyle: http://www.cnalifestyle.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/channelnewsasia Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/channelnews… Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/channelnewsasia
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