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9 Future Predictions For A Post-Coronavirus World

As the ripple of COVID-19 careens around the globe, it’s forcing humankind to innovate and change the way we work and live. The upside of where we find ourselves right now is that individuals and corporations will be more resilient in a post-COVID-19 world. Here are nine predictions of what our world may look like once we have left the pandemic behind.

1.  More Contactless Interfaces and Interactions

There was a time not too long ago when we were impressed by touch screens and all they enabled us to do. COVID-19 has made most of us hyper-aware of every touchable surface that could transmit the disease, so in a post-COVID-19 world, it’s expected that we’ll have fewer touch screens and more voice interfaces and machine vision interfaces. Prior to the pandemic, we saw the rollout of contactless payment options through mobile devices. However, with the increase in people wanting to limit what they touch, an option to pay for goods and services that does not require any physical contact is likely to gain traction. Machine vision interfaces are already used today to apply social media filters and to offer autonomous checkout at some stores. Expect there to be an expansion of voice and machine vision interfaces that recognize faces and gestures throughout several industries to limit the amount of physical contact.

2. Strengthened Digital Infrastructure

COVID-19 caused people to adapt to working from home and in isolation. By forcing our collective hand to find digital solutions to keep meetings, lessons, workouts, and more going when sheltering in our homes, it allowed many of us to see the possibilities for continuing some of these practices in a post-COVID-19 world. For me, I realized that traveling to other countries just for a meeting isn’t always essential, and I have learned that video calls for all kinds of meetings (yes, even board meetings) can be equally effective. My daughter had her first piano lesson over a video call thanks to our social distancing requirements, and it went surprisingly well.

3. Better Monitoring Using IoT and Big Data

We see the power of data in a pandemic in real-time. The lessons we are receiving from this experience will inform how we monitor future pandemics by using internet of things technology and big data. National or global apps could result in better early warning systems because they could report and track who is showing symptoms of an outbreak. GPS data could then be used to track where exposed people have been and who they have interacted with to show contagion. Any of these efforts require careful implementation to safeguard an individual’s privacy and to prevent the abuse of the data but offer huge benefits to more effectively monitor and tackle future pandemics.

4. AI-Enabled Drug Development

The faster we can create and deploy an effective and safe drug to treat and a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and future viruses, the faster it will be contained. Artificial intelligence is an ideal partner in drug development because it can accelerate and complement human endeavors. Our current reality will inform future efforts to deploy AI in drug development.

 

5. Telemedicine

Have you received the emails from your healthcare professionals that they are open for telemedicine or virtual consultations? To curb traffic at hospitals and other healthcare practitioners’ offices, many are implementing or reminding their patients that consultations can be done through video. Rather than rush to the doctor or healthcare center, remote care enables clinical services without an in-person visit. Some healthcare providers had dabbled in this before COVID-19, but the interest has increased now that social distancing is mandated in many areas.

6. More Online Shopping

Although there were many businesses that felt they had already cracked the online shopping code, COVID-19 taxed the systems like never before as the majority of shopping moved online. Businesses who didn’t have an online option faced financial ruin, and those who had some capabilities tried to ramp up offerings. After COVID-19, businesses that want to remain competitive will figure out ways to have online services even if they maintain a brick-and-mortar location, and there will be enhancements to the logistics and delivery systems to accommodate surges in demand whether that’s from shopper preference or a future pandemic.

7. Increased Reliance on Robots

Robots aren’t susceptible to viruses. Whether they are used to deliver groceries or to take vitals in a healthcare system or to keep a factory running, companies realize how robots could support us today and play an important role in a post-COVID-19 world or during a future pandemic.

8. More Digital Events

Organizers and participants of in-person events that were forced to switch to digital realize there are pros and cons of both. For example, I regularly take part in technology debates in the Houses of Parliament in London. This week’s debate about ‘AI in education’ was done as a virtual event and went very well and actually had more people attend. We didn’t experience a capacity issue as we do with an in-person event, plus there were attendees logged on from all around the world. While I don’t predict that in-person events will be replaced entirely after COVID-19, I do believe event organizers will figure out ways the digital aspects can complement in-person events. I predict a steep rise in hybrid events where parts of the event take place in person, and others are delivered digitally.

9. Rise in Esports

Sporting events, organizations, and fans have had to deal with the reality of their favorite past-times being put on hold or seasons entirely canceled due to COVID-19. But esports are thriving. There are even e-versions of F1 car racing on television, and although it might not be the same as traditional Formula 1 racing, it’s giving people a “sports” outlet. Unlike mainstream sporting events, esporting events can easily transition online. Similarly to events, I predict more hybrid sports coverage where physical events are complemented with digital offerings.

COVID-19 might be taxing our systems and patience, but it’s also building our resilience and allowing us to develop new and innovative solutions out of necessity. In a post-COVID-19 world, I predict we will take the lessons handed to us by our time dealing with the virus and make our world a better place. What do you see in the future?

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For more on AI and technology trends, see Bernard Marr’s book Artificial Intelligence in Practice: How 50 Companies Used AI and Machine Learning To Solve Problems and his forthcoming book Tech Trends in Practice: The 25 Technologies That Are Driving The 4Th Industrial Revolution, which is available to pre-order now.

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Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, futurist, and a strategic business & technology advisor to governments and companies. He helps organisations improve their business performance, use data more intelligently, and understand the implications of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchains, and the Internet of Things. Why don’t you connect with Bernard on Twitter (@bernardmarr), LinkedIn (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/bernardmarr) or instagram (bernard.marr)?

Source: 9 Future Predictions For A Post-Coronavirus World

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Two Doctors Who Treated SARS: Beware These Behavioral Changes That Could Make The Coronavirus Pandemic Worse

Coronavirus Frontlines is a special series where we are sharing the perspective of experts at the forefront of combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and wealth of the human race is unprecedented for almost every person on the planet.  The last incidence of an event of this magnitude was the Spanish Flu in 1918. There have been other pandemics caused by infectious agents in the last century — polio in the 1950s, influenza in 1957 and 1968, and more recently H1N1 in 2009 — but none of these wreaked as much havoc as COVID-19.

Human beings have tremendous difficulty in responding to unprecedented bad news – however, research has shown that our behavioral responses to it are predictable.  There are three behaviors we are observing and will continue to observe in the next few months. You should watch for these in both yourself and your loved ones to avoid falling into some mental health traps. That goes double if you’re responsible for advising decision makers, or if you are one yourself.

The first of these predictable behaviors is denial.  When we physicians break bad news to our patients, such as telling them they have a terminal illness, they often will not even hear us at first.  They use words like ‘growth’ instead of ‘cancer.’ They appear cheery in the face of awful predictions. Denial is an extremely powerful defense mechanism that allows individuals to protect themselves from completely breaking down. But the downside of denial is that it can lead to avoiding taking the essential next steps needed to avoid disaster.

In the case of COVID-19, it is clear many individuals were in denial when the images from Wuhan first emerged.  The natural reaction was, “That is far away and really can’t happen where I live.” Even when it spread through Asia, people had this same reaction. When it got to Iran, it remained easy to ignore the news, as there is little open communication with Iran. Even when it hit a Seattle nursing home, people continued to dismiss it as being far away and impacting an isolated vulnerable population.

Countries like Taiwan, which experienced SARS in 2003, avoided denial, and so were much better able to defend themselves by recognizing the threat early and proactively setting up control measures.  While denial can be useful on an individual level, it was a dire behavior for countries that were then ill prepared for this pandemic despite the clear warning signs.

The second behavior people invoke in crisis is attempting to control their immediate environment. When we treat patients in the terminal phases of their lives, it is not uncommon for troubled family members to ask us “What is his potassium level today?” This despite the detail being irrelevant to the patient’s overall health state. They can’t control the really bad thing that is happening, but it gives them comfort to focus on something they think they can control.

When COVID-19 approached, people responded by hoarding items they feared would be in short supply; both reasonable items like hand sanitizer and unreasonable items like toilet paper and over the counter cold remedies that don’t help with COVID-19. Trying to maintain control helps soothe the fear, but it is only temporary and false security. It becomes further detrimental when hoarding leads to panic.

The third behavior is the thirst for good news. Having one young patient with COVID-19 come off of a ventilator and recover can have a tremendous impact on the morale of the healthcare providers. The relief of hearing that infected friends have recovered can feel like a major victory. But the intense desire to find good news is also a trap.

During the SARS outbreak in Toronto, one of us chaired a daily conference call of clinicians in all hospitals in Ontario.  In early May 2003, it appeared the outbreak was finally contained. But on those calls one clinician voiced concern about a cluster of patients in her hospital that didn’t have clear SARS infections but warranted further investigation. The rest of us wanted it to be over so badly that our bias led us to dismiss this information and declare the outbreak controlled.  One week later, those patients created a new cluster of SARS, and we had to do it all over again.

We fully expect that in addition to the tremendous pressure to get the economy going again, that the ‘thirst for good news bias’ will rear its head with tremendous force. The same countries that used denial to cope with the start of this pandemic will fall into this trap — with dire consequences.  When we start to see reduction in the number of new cases of COVID-19, the job is far from over. This is when it gets challenging, because it is vital to continue physical distancing measures until there is a sustained reduction in cases. Despite the personal, economic and socio-political damage this causes, it is only then that public health authorities should start to lift these restrictions.

Recognizing these three behaviors, which are the natural result of normal human cognitive psychology, will be crucial in determining how this all ends (or at least how it plays out until we have an effective vaccine). And this is why we believe that while heads of governments should be accountable for what happens in their countries, they should leave the decision making to public health scientists.  Those scientists in turn would do well to consult with behavioral psychologists to weed out destructive biases, so they can devise the right strategies to save lives and get us back to normal again.

Dr. Allan S. Detsky is a Professor, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, and Department of  Medicine at the University of Toronto; former

Dr. Isaac Bogoch is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Medicine, and is an Infectious Diseases specialist and General Internist at the Toronto General Hospital with a focus on tropical diseases, HIV, and general infectious diseases. He completed medical school and Internal Medicine residency training at the University of Toronto, and then specialized in Infectious Diseases at Harvard University. He holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health, and has completed fellowships in both Tropical Infectious Diseases and HIV care. Dr. Bogoch divides his clinical and research time between Toronto and several countries in Africa and Asia and he collaborates with a team that models the spread of emerging infectious diseases

Source: Two Doctors Who Treated SARS: Beware These Behavioral Changes That Could Make The Coronavirus Pandemic Worse

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As Europe Locks Down, Sweden Takes A Liberal Approach To Coronavirus

Topline: Sweden is taking a more liberal strategy to combat coronavirus than its European neighbors. As confirmed cases and deaths spike, some Swedes are calling for the government to rethink the country’s strategy.

  • Unlike the rest of the continent, people in Sweden as of Friday were still permitted to visit restaurants for sit-down meals, get a haircut and even send children under the age of 16 to school.
  • It’s all part of Sweden’s plan that focuses on self-responsibility as the government turns its attention to isolating and treating confirmed coronavirus patients, instead of widespread shelter-in-place orders.
  • Sweden’s Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has expressed skepticism about enforcing a sustained period of lockdown. While bans have been placed on gatherings of 50 or more people and Swedes have been told to avoid unnecessary travel, these are relatively laidback restrictions when compared to other European countries that are shutting down schools and restricting everyday movement.
  • The government instead has emphasized a set of guidelines, like encouraging increased hand washing, social distancing and limiting contact with vulnerable people, like those over age 70.
  • Recent numbers show Swedes appear to be following social distancing guidelines even when they’re not required by law. Passenger numbers on public transportation in the capital have fallen by half, and polls indicate that half of residents there are working from home.
  • However, some critics say people need more stringent guidelines to follow as both deaths and new cases have risen in the past week. Last month, more than 2,000 academics signed an open letter in March to demand tougher measures from the government

Crucial quote: “It is important to have a policy that can be sustained over a longer period, meaning staying home if you are sick, which is our message,” Tegnell said. “Locking people up at home won’t work in the longer term. Sooner or later people are going to go out anyway.”

Key background: The Swedish Health Agency reported 612 new cases on Friday alone, bringing the countrywide total to about 6,000. The same day, the death toll hit 333. Between 25 to 30 people have died each day. Stockholm has seen the most coronavirus cases, accounting for more than half of the whole country’s fatalities, according to Reuters CRI .

What to watch for: Whether coronavirus cases increase in Sweden in the coming weeks. According to The Daily Mail, one statistician in Sweden said half the population could become infected in April.

Interesting fact: According to YouGov data, Sweden is the country least afraid of the coronavirus pandemic, with only 31% of Swedes say they are “very” or “somewhat” scared that they will contract the virus.

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I am a Texas native covering breaking news out of New York City. Previously, I was a Forbes intern in London. I am an alum of City, University of London and Texas State University.

Source: As Europe Locks Down, Sweden Takes A Liberal Approach To Coronavirus

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New Coronavirus Test Provides Results In As Little As 5 Minutes

On March 27, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use to Abbott Laboratories for its rapid COVID-19 test designed for doctor’s offices, urgent care centers and smaller hospitals without complex testing labs. According to the Illinois-based company, the test can give positive results in as little as five minutes, and negative results in about 13 minutes.

The test runs on Abbott’s ID NOW device, which is about the size of the toaster, and is currently used by many sites to quickly test for flu, strep and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) while patients wait. For COVID-19, health providers would have to order an additional $40 cartridge, about the size of a replacement ink cartridge for printers, specifically developed to pick up genetic signatures of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Most insurers have pledged to cover the cost of the test, which is about the same price as the ID NOW test for flu, without additional costs to patients who qualify.

The Abbott test—like the gold standard COVID-19 test developed by the U.S. government— uses chemicals to shatter the virus’ outer shell so it spills out its genetic material, in the form of RNA. Chemical reactions then amplify that genetic material so special molecular probes in the test solution can pick up even small amounts of virus.

That’s where the rapid test differs from the others in use right now; with the traditional technology, that amplification process requires repeatedly cycling the temperature of the chemical reactions from low to medium to high and back down again. The ID NOW device can perform the genetic expansion at a constant temperature, which means it can spit out results more quickly.

So why aren’t all COVID-19 tests run using the faster technology? One reason has to do with volume; traditional genetic tests can process hundreds or even thousands of tests a day; the ID NOW system can only run about four samples an hour. And while traditional tests may take longer to produce results, researchers don’t need to spend as much time developing the test itself so it can start testing people sooner. The rapid test “takes quite a bit of optimization and refining,” says John Frels, vice president of research and development at Abbott Diagnostics. That means it requires more up front development time and takes longer to get up and running.

For doctor’s offices, urgent care centers and smaller hospitals without complex lab facilities on site, the automated test could be a game changer. Doctors could run the test while patients wait, and provide results in an few minutes, rather than a few days. (Having the results could help them better advise people about how stringently they need to self-isolate and change their behavior to protect their families and friends.)

Frels says that if a patient has high levels of virus in their sample—taken from the back of the throat and nose—the test’s detector can hit the threshold for a positive diagnosis in as few five minutes. (The full test runs for 15 minutes, so for people with lesser amounts of virus, the molecular reactions continue trying to find as much virus as possible in the sample.)

The portable device also may signal a sea change in the way health care will be delivered in coming years; while the rapid testing platform was initially used for a few respiratory diseases, applying it in an emergency pandemic setting could scale up testing rapidly and suppress a rising tide of transmission. Frels says that Abbott is ramping up production of COVID-19 test cartridges and plans to distribute enough to enable 50,000 tests per day by next week.

By Alice Park March 31, 2020

Source: New Coronavirus Test Provides Results In As Little As 5 Minutes

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More Than 160 New Jersey Police Officers Tested Positive for Coronavirus

More than 160 New Jersey Police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus, New Jersey State Police said Sunday in a press release. (New Jersey State Police issued a correction after the head of the agency “overstated” how many personnel tested positive for the COVID-19 at a press conference held by state officials on Saturday.)

Acting State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan had said on Saturday that about 700 police were reported as having the disease. “During a recent COVID-19 press conference, Col. Patrick Callahan overstated the Law Enforcement Statewide Positive cases,” the agency said in the statement on Sunday, noting that so far, across the state, 163 personnel had tested positive for the coronavirus and 1,272 had been quarantined.

“There’s more than 700 police officers quarantined at home and there’s about the same amount (…) that have tested positive from all 21 counties,” Callahan had said.

Callahan said authorities “track every single police officer” who test positive for COVID-19 but did not elaborate on what departments were most affected or provide an exact number of how many police personnel tested positive.

Callahan also indicated that two police officers who were reported as being in serious condition are improving.

U.S. Government Working on Guidelines to Assess Local Coronavirus Risk

Federal officials are developing guidelines to rate counties by risk of virus spread, as he aims to begin to ease nationwide guidelines meant to stem the coronavirus outbreak.

The U.S. has more than 124,000 COVID-19 cases and New Jersey is second only to New York in the number of cases it has so far reported, according to a tracker from researchers at Johns Hopkins University. As of Sunday morning, New York has reported about 53,500 cases and New Jersey has reported about 11,000 cases.

On Saturday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a domestic travel advisory, urging “residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.”

By Sanya Mansoor Updated: March 30, 2020 1:46 PM EDT | Originally published: March 29, 2020 10:53 AM EDT

Source: More Than 160 New Jersey Police Officers Tested Positive for Coronavirus

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26 States Shut Down And Counting: State-By-State Travel Restrictions

This story was updated at 10:00 a.m. on March 29, 2020.

On March 16, the Trump administration issued COVID-19 travel guidelines asking Americans to cut all non-essential travel, avoid gatherings of 10 or more people and maintain social distancing.

So far, the federal government has showed no inclination to issue a nationwide travel ban. But as of today, more than half of the 50 U.S. governors have issued statewide stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders. In states where governors have not issued such mandates, counties and cities have often issued their own lockdown orders.

Today President Trump floated the idea of a mandatory enforced two-week quarantine and travel ban for New York, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut, which have been hotspots for COVID-19.

In the meantime, many governors around the country have stepped up with their own restrictions to keep residents at home. At the other end of the spectrum, other governors have shown a reluctance to even shut down restaurants and bars. The result is a patchwork of policies, often with neighboring states having very different degrees of restriction.

Sometimes, state health officials are taking a leadership role when governors will not. The Tennessee Medical Association is pushing the state’s county leaders and mayors to issue stay-at-home orders despite Governor Bill Lee’s refusal to do so. Likewise, there is no mandate in Alabama but the East Alabama Medical Clinic is asking locals to stay at home after five patients died who tested positive for COVID-19.

Governors cannot stop travelers from crossing state lines, but several have taken steps to discourage it. Yesterday, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear went so far as to tell Kentuckians not to travel to Tennessee unless absolutely necessary. The governors of Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire and Massachusetts have mandated that travelers arriving from out of state must self-quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. Other states, including South Carolina, Texas, Florida and Rhode Island, are targeting their own self-quarantine mandates to visitors who arrive from highly affected areas.

Here’s a state-by-state rundown of the patchwork of current travel restrictions.

Alabama: No additional travel restrictions. No nonwork-related gatherings of 25 or more people; no nonwork gatherings of any size where people cannot maintain a six-foot distance from each other. Restaurants, bars and breweries are limited to takeout or delivery. All public and private beaches are closed. Birmingham is under a shelter-in-place order.

Alaska: All travelers arriving in Alaska must self-quarantine for 14 days, going directly from the airport to a self-quarantined location. All residents have been ordered to shelter in place. Restaurants and bars are closed for dine-in services.

Arizona: No additional travel restrictions. In counties with a confirmed case of COVID-19, restaurants can only provide takeout options and bars must close. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez has issued a stay-at-home order for tribal members.

Arkansas: No additional travel restrictions. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery options.

California: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery options. Essential services — gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, etc. — will remain open.

Colorado: All residents are under a stay-at-home mandate. Essential businesses (including cannabis and liquor stores) remain open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Connecticut: All residents are under a “stay safe, stay home” order. Essential businesses remain open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Delaware: All residents have been ordered to shelter in place. Essential business remain open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Florida: Travelers arriving from Connecticut, New Jersey, New York or Louisiana must self-isolate for 14 days. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery services. The Florida Keys are closed to visitors. Many cities are under stay-at-home orders, including Aventura, Boca Raton, Coral Gables, Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Delray Beach, Doral, Gainesville, Golden Beach, Hollywood, Miami, Miami Beach, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee and Tampa.

Georgia: No additional travel restrictions. Bars are closed. Gatherings of 10 or more people are banned. Multiple cities, including Atlanta, Savannah, Dunwoody, Chamblee and Forest Park are all under stay-at-home orders.

Hawaii: Travelers entering the state must self-quarantine for 14 days. All residents are under a stay-at-home mandate. Essential business remain open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Idaho: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Residents must work from home; essential businesses are exempt. Restaurants are limited to takeout and delivery options. Bars are closed.

Illinois: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants are limited to takeout and delivery.

Indiana: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery service.

Iowa: No additional travel restrictions. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Kansas: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. No public gatherings of 10 or more people. Bars and restaurants can stay open if they preserve a 6-foot distance between customers.

Kentucky: No additional travel restrictions but Governor Andy Beshear has warned residents against unnecessary travel to neighboring Tennessee. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Louisiana: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses remain open. Restaurants are limited to takeout and delivery options.

Maine: No additional travel restrictions. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery services. Portland is under a stay-at-home order.

Maryland: No additional travel restrictions. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Massachusetts: Travelers entering the state must self-quarantine for 14 days. All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Michigan: All residents are under a “stay home, stay safe” executive order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Minnesota: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Mississippi: No additional travel restrictions. Restaurants and bars must limit dine-in services to no more than 10 people at once. The cities of Tupelo and Oxford have implemented stay-at-home orders.

Missouri: No additional travel restrictions. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery. Many counties and multiple cities have mandated stay-at-home orders, including Kansas City and St. Louis.

Montana: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Nebraska: No additional travel restrictions but Governor Pete Ricketts has asked residents who have traveled to the Kansas City area to self-quarantine for two weeks. No gathering in groups of more than 10, except in grocery stores. Restaurants and bars are open.

Nevada: No additional travel restrictions. Essential businesses are open. Casinos are closed. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

New Hampshire: Arriving out-of-state visitors are asked to self-quarantine for two weeks. All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

New Jersey: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

New Mexico: All residents are under a shelter-in-place order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery. No gatherings of five or more people.

New York: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

North Carolina: All residents are under a stay-at-home order beginning March 30. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

North Dakota: No additional travel restrictions. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Ohio: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Oklahoma: No additional statewide travel restrictions. The cities of Tulsa, Norman and Oklahoma City have issued shelter-in-place orders.

Oregon: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Pennsylvania: Residents in much of the state (19 counties) are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Rhode Island: Travelers arriving from New York must self-isolate for 14 days. All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

South Carolina: Travelers arriving from “virus hotspots”, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New Orleans must self-isolate for 14 days. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery. The cities of Charleston and Columbia have issued stay-at-home orders for residents.

South Dakota: No additional travel restrictions. Most businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are open.

Tennessee: No additional travel restrictions. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery. The cities of Nashville and Memphis have told residents to stay at home.

Texas: Air travelers arriving from Connecticut, New Jersey, New York or the city of New Orleans must self-isolate for 14 days. More than half a dozen Texas cities, including Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Austin, Fort Worth, El Paso, McKinney and Hudson, are under shelter-in-place orders. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Utah: All residents are under a “stay home, stay safe” directive, which falls short of a shelter-in-place order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery. Summit County, which includes Park City, is under a stay-at-home order.

Vermont: All residents are under a “stay home, stay safe” executive order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Virginia: No additional travel restrictions but Governor Ralph Northam has asked Virginia residents to stay at home when possible. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Washington: All residents are under a “stay home, stay safe” executive order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

West Virginia: All residents are under a stay-at-home order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Wisconsin: All residents are under a “safer at home” executive order. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery.

Wyoming: No additional travel restrictions. Essential businesses are open. Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout and delivery. The cities of Jackson and Cheyenne have issued shelter-in-place orders for residents.

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I’m always looking for new ways to travel better, smarter, deeper and cheaper, so I spend a lot of time watching trends at the intersection of travel and technology. As a longtime freelance travel writer, I’ve contributed hundreds of articles to Conde Nast Traveler, CNN Travel, Travel Leisure, Afar, Reader’s Digest, TripSavvy, Parade, NBCNews.com, Good Housekeeping, Parents, Parenting, Esquire, Newsweek, The Boston Globe and scores of other outlets. Over the years, I’ve run an authoritative family vacation-planning site; interviewed Michelin-starred chefs, ship captains, taxi drivers and dog mushers; reviewed hundreds of places to stay, from stately castles and windswept lighthouses to rustic cabins and kitschy motels; ridden the iconic Orient Express; basked in the glory of Machu Picchu; and much more. Follow me on Instagram (@suzannekelleher), Pinterest (@suzannerowankelleher) and Flipboard (@SRKelleher).

Source: Update: 26 States Shut Down And Counting: State-By-State Travel Restrictions

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In Singapore, Standing Too Close Can Now Get You 6 Months in Jail

In Singapore, one of the most densely populated places in with world, sitting or standing too close to another person is now a crime, punishable by up to six months in jail or a $7,000 fine.

The new laws came into effect on Friday as the city-state takes drastic measures to try to curb the spread of COVID-19 amid a surge in new cases linked to travelers who have come from other parts of the world.

Anyone who intentionally sits less than one meter (a little more than three feet) away from another person in a public place or who stands less than a meter away from another person in a line will be guilty of an offense, according to rules published by the country’s health ministry. The new restrictions also ban people from sitting on fixed seats that have been marked to indicate they should not be occupied. The measures, which are expected to be in place until April 30, apply to business and individuals.

The Singaporean government also closed bars and nightclubs and placed limitations on gatherings of more than 10 people and banned large events.

Singapore confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Jan. 23, but officials there were able to stave off a major outbreak from spreading from mainland China thanks to aggressive testing, contact tracing and strict quarantine measures. But now Singapore, like several other cities in Asia, is facing a second wave of infections.

Will Coronavirus Ever Go Away? Here’s What One of World Health Organization’s Top Experts Thinks

Dr. Bruce Aylward was part of the WHO’s team that went to China after the coronavirus outbreak there in January. He has urged all nations to use times bought during lockdowns to do more testing and respond aggressively.

On Thursday, officials in Singapore confirmed 52 new cases of the virus. Twenty-eight of those were imported cases, many with a travel history to Europe, North America, the Middle East, and other parts of Asia.

Other governments in the region, which largely avoided large-scale lockdowns that are now taking place across the U.S. and Europe, are introducing increasingly strict measures in the fight against the coronavirus, in the hopes of stopping a resurgence of the illness. The Hong Kong government this week announced that it was considering a ban on serving alcohol at bars and restaurants. Chinese authorities said that they will ban the arrival of most foreigners into the mainland from March 28, in an attempt to stop the virus from coming in from overseas.

The number of people infected with the coronavirus in Singapore rose to 683 on Friday. More than 500,000 people in over 175 countries and territories are now infected by COVID-19.

By Amy Gunia March 27, 2020

Source: In Singapore, Standing Too Close Can Now Get You 6 Months in Jail

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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

Total Cost of Her COVID-19 Treatment: $34,927.43

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When Danni Askini started feeling chest pain, shortness of breath and a migraine all at once on a Saturday in late February, she called the oncologist who had been treating her lymphoma. Her doctor thought she might be reacting poorly to a new medication, so she sent Askini to a Boston-area emergency room. There, doctors told her it was likely pneumonia and sent her home.

Over the next several days, Askini saw her temperature spike and drop dangerously, and she developed a cough that gurgled because of all the liquid in her lungs. After two more trips to the ER that week, Askini was given a final test on the seventh day of her illness, and once doctors helped manage her flu and pneumonia symptoms, they again sent her home to recover. She waited another three days for a lab to process her test, and at last she had a diagnosis: COVID-19.

A few days later, Askini got the bills for her testing and treatment: $34,927.43. “I was pretty sticker-shocked,” she says. “I personally don’t know anybody who has that kind of money.”

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Like 27 million other Americans, Askini was uninsured when she first entered the hospital. She and her husband had been planning to move to Washington, D.C. this month so she could take a new job, but she hadn’t started yet. Now that those plans are on hold, Askini applied for Medicaid and is hoping the program will retroactively cover her bills. If not, she’ll be on the hook.

She’ll be in good company. Public health experts predict that tens of thousands and possibly millions of people across the United States will likely need to be hospitalized for COVID-19 in the foreseeable future. And Congress has yet to address the problem. On March 18, it passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which covers testing costs going forward, but it doesn’t do anything to address the cost of treatment.

While most people infected with COVID-19 will not need to be hospitalized and can recover at home, according to the World Health Organization, those who do need to go to the ICU can likely expect big bills, regardless of what insurance they have. As the U.S. government works on another stimulus package, future relief is likely to help ease some economic problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but gaps remain.

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U.S. researchers gave the first shot to the first person in a test of an experimental coronavirus vaccine Monday — leading off a worldwide hunt for protection even as the pandemic surges.

Here is everything you need to know about what getting treated for COVID-19 could cost you.

How much does it cost to be hospitalized for COVID-19?

Because of our fragmented health care system, it depends on what kind of insurance you have, what your plan’s benefits are, and how much of your deductible you’ve already paid down.

A new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that the average cost of COVID-19 treatment for someone with employer insurance—and without complications—would be about $9,763. Someone whose treatment has complications may see bills about double that: $20,292. (The researchers came up with those numbers by examining average costs of hospital admissions for people with pneumonia.)

How much of that do I have to pay?

Most private health insurance plans are likely to cover most services needed to treat coronavirus complications, but that doesn’t include your deductible—the cost you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in. More than 80% of people with employer health insurance have deductibles, and last year, the average annual deductible for a single person in that category was $1,655. For individual plans, the costs are often higher. The average deductible for an individual bronze plan in 2019 was $5,861, according to Health Pocket.

Spotlight Story
Will COVID-19 Ever Really Go Away?
Here’s what one of the WHO’s top experts thinks

In both complicated and uncomplicated cases, patients with employer-based insurance can expect out-of-pocket costs of more than $1,300, the Kaiser researchers found. The costs were similar regardless of complications because many people who are hospitalized reach their deductible and out-of-pocket maximum.

Many health insurance plans also require co-pays or co-insurance, too. Those costs are often 15-20% for an in-network doctor, meaning you would pay that portion of the cost, and can be much more for out-of-network doctors.

Medicare and Medicaid will also likely cover the services needed for coronavirus treatment, but the details on deductibles (for Medicare) and potential co-pays will again depend on your plan, and which state you’re in for Medicaid.

What if I’m uninsured?

It’s not pretty. Some hospitals offer charity care programs and some states are making moves to help residents pay for COVID-19 costs beyond testing. Several states, including Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island and Washington, have created “special enrollment periods” to allow more people to sign up for insurance mid-year.

Other states are requiring coverage of future vaccines or changing rules about prescription medication refills to help people stock up on essential medicines. So far, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, New York and Oregon have required insurers to waive costs for a COVID-19 vaccine once one is ready, and the states that have loosened rules to help people fill prescriptions include Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Washington.

The Commonwealth Fund, a healthcare think tank, has a coronavirus tracker that’s keeping a list of the moves each state has made so far.

There’s no way I could afford to pay out-of-pocket for care. What can I do?

The U.S. health care system doesn’t have a good answer for you, and it’s a problem. But there are a few things to keep in mind that could help minimize costs.

If you think you may have the virus, the first step is to call your doctor or emergency department before showing up, the CDC says. This will let them prepare the office and give you instructions ahead of time, but it could also save you money. Getting treated in a hospital will generally start off more expensive than a visit to a doctor’s office. Another cost comes from the “facilities fee,” which many hospitals charge anytime a patient comes through their doors. For Danni Askini’s first trip to the hospital in Boston on Feb. 29, for example, she was charged $1,804 for her emergency room visit and another $3,841.07 for “hospital services.”

Other costs to watch out for include lab tests, which can be “out-of-network” even if the doctor treating you is in your insurance network. It’s always best to ask for information in writing so that you can appeal the bills if necessary, says Caitlin Donovan of the National Patient Advocate Foundation. And appealing is worth it. Often, providers and insurers have reversed or lowered bills when patients go public or are covered by the media.

These problems aren’t coming out of the blue. Even when we’re not weathering a global pandemic, Americans face uniquely high health care costs, compared to the rest of the world, and millions of us already put off medical care because of concerns about how much it’ll cost. But with COVID-19 sweeping across the country, an old problem becomes increasingly urgent: many Americans could still face massive treatment bills, or seek to prevent those by avoiding testing and treatment—worsening the outbreak further.

“If you’re sick, you need fewer barriers,” Donovan says. “But also, it doesn’t help society to have people still crawling around going to their job and getting other people sick.”

By Abigail Abrams March 19, 2020

Source: Total Cost of Her COVID-19 Treatment: $34,927.43

I shot this video to share my experiences living with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). I discuss the symptoms I’ve experienced, the treatments that have helped with recovery and the process I’ve been enduring to keep my family safe. Thank you for all of your kind words and support during this event. Positive energy, and prayers will get us all through this and let’s hope for the best outcome in the near future. For more information, including my COVID-19 survival guide, read: https://www.audioholics.com/editorial…  Audioholics Recommendations Amazon Shop: https://www.amazon.com/shop/audioholics Audioholics Recommended Cables: 250ft CL2 12AWG Speaker Cable: https://amzn.to/2vwS9QH Locking Banana Plugs: https://amzn.to/2ZQt15x 9ft 4K HDR HDMI Cables: https://amzn.to/2WiIXeD Audioholics Recommended Electronics: Denon AVR-X4600H 9.2CH AV Receiver: https://amzn.to/2ZTbsCe Yamaha RX-A3080 9.2CH AV Receiver: https://amzn.to/2VzA03v Denon AVR-X6400H 11.2CH AV Receiver: https://amzn.to/2LelABB Audioholics Recommended Speakers: SVS Prime 5.1 Speaker / Sub System: https://amzn.to/2GWoFCn Klipsch RP-8000F Tower Speakers: https://amzn.to/2Vd8QQn Pioneer SP-FS52 Speakers: https://amzn.to/2n7SyIJ Sony SSCS5 Speakers: https://amzn.to/2ndEn56 SVS SB-3000 13″ Subwoofer: https://amzn.to/2XYxqBr Follow us on: Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/audioholics FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/Audioholics GOOGLE PLUS https://plus.google.com/+Audioholics TWITTER https://twitter.com/AudioholicsLive #coronavirus #covid-19

New York City 10 Days Away From ‘Widespread Shortages’ Of Medical Supplies, Mayor Says

Topline: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a Sunday CNN appearance that “if we don’t get more ventilators in the next 10 days, people will die who don’t have to die” as the city—now the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus epidemic—faces a possible shortage of medical supplies.

  • “We’re about 10 days from seeing widespread shortages,” de Blasio said, adding, “We have seen next to nothing from the federal government at this point.”
  • De Blasio also said that the military hasn’t been mobilized by the Trump administration, and that the Defense Production Act, which the president invoked by executive order Wednesday, has not been put into motion.
  • “It feels like we’re on our own at this point,” de Blasio said, adding that April would be worse for New York City than March has been, and he fears May could be even worse.
  • CNN also reported Sunday that Federal Emergency Management Agency head Peter Gaynor could not provide a number of how many medical masks were in the federal stockpile or how many have been shipped to state and local governments.
  • In a sign of demand on medical supplies, a Friday letter from a New York-Presbyterian Hospital department head said each employee would only be given one N95 mask (when it typically uses 4,000 per day).

Big number: 300 million. That’s how many masks could be needed for healthcare workers versus the current stockpile of 30 million, as testified to Congress by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at the end of February.

Key background: The Defense Production Act is intended to be used by Trump to obtain “health and medical resources needed to respond to the spread of Covid-19, including personal protective equipment and ventilators.” Trump faced questions Thursday around his reticence to use the Defense Production Act to compel companies to produce healthcare items to combat the coronavirus, one day after he said he’d be invoking its powers. The New York Times reported Thursday that both the U.S. and countries abroad are facing a shortage of ventilators, with manufacturers saying that they can’t increase production to meet the demand.

Tangent: Tesla CEO Elon Musk volunteered his company’s factories to manufacture ventilators, but it’s unclear whether that will move forward.

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I’m a New York-based journalist covering breaking news at Forbes. I hold a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Previous bylines: Gotham Gazette, Bklyner, Thrillist, Task & Purpose and xoJane.

Source: New York City 10 Days Away From ‘Widespread Shortages’ Of Medical Supplies, Mayor Says

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Hospitals are sounding the alarm that they need more equipment as the coronavirus outbreak grows. Greg Cergol reports.

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