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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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Bergamo Italy : This Is The Bleak Heart of The World’s Deadliest Coronavirus Outbreak

The streets of Bergamo are empty. As in all of Italy, people can leave their homes only for food and medicines and work. The factories and shops and schools are closed. There is no more chatting on the corners or in the coffee bars.

But what won’t stop are the sirens.

While the world’s attention now shifts to its own centers of contagion, the sirens keep sounding. Like the air raid sirens of the Second World War, they are the ambulance sirens that many survivors of this war will remember. They blare louder as they get closer, coming to collect the parents and grandparents, the keepers of Italy’s memory.

The grandchildren wave from terraces, and spouses sit back on the corners of now empty beds. And then the sirens start again, becoming fainter as the ambulances drive away toward hospitals crammed with coronavirus patients.

“At this point, all you hear in Bergamo is sirens,” said Michela Travelli.

On March 7, her father, Claudio Travelli, 60, was driving a food delivery truck all around northern Italy. The next day, he developed a fever and flu-like symptoms. His wife had run a fever in recent days, and so he called his family doctor, who told him to take a common Italian fever reducer and rest up.

For much of the prior month, Italian officials had sent mixed messages about the virus.

On Feb. 19, some 40,000 people from Bergamo, a province of about a million people in the region of Lombardy, traveled 30 miles to Milan to watch a Champions League soccer game between Atalanta and the Spanish team Valencia. (The mayor of Bergamo, Giorgio Gori, this week called the match “a strong accelerator of contagion.”) Mr. Travelli and his wife didn’t take the threat of the virus seriously back then, their daughter said, “because it wasn’t sold as a grave thing.”

But Mr. Travelli could not shake his fever, and he got sicker.

On Friday, March 13, he felt unbearable pressure on his chest and suffered dry heaves. His temperature spiked and his family called an ambulance. An ambulance crew found her father with low levels of oxygen in his blood but, following the advice of Bergamo’s hospitals, recommended he stay home. “They said, ‘We have seen worse, and the hospitals are like the trenches of a war,’” Ms. Travelli said.

Another day at home led to a night of coughing fits and fever. On Sunday, Mr. Travelli woke up and wept, saying, “I’m sick. I can’t do it anymore,” his daughter said. He took more fever suppressant but his temperature climbed to nearly 103 degrees and his skin became yellow.

This time, as the ambulance arrived, his daughters, both wearing gloves and masks, packed a bag with two pairs of pajamas, a bottle of water, a cellphone and a charger. His oxygen levels had dipped.

Red Cross workers hovered over him on a bed, where he lay below a painting of the Virgin Mary. They brought him into the ambulance. His granddaughters, 3 and 6, waved goodbye from the terrace. He looked up at them, at the balconies draped with Italian flags. Then the ambulance left and there was nothing to hear. “Only the police and the sirens,” his daughter said.

The ambulance crew that took Mr. Travelli away had started early that morning.

At 7:30 a.m., a crew of three Red Cross volunteers met to make sure the ambulance was certified as cleaned and stocked with oxygen. Like masks and gloves, the tanks had become an increasingly rare resource. They blasted one another in sprays of alcohol disinfectants. They sanitized their cellphones.

“We can’t be the untori,” said Nadia Vallati, 41, a Red Cross volunteer, whose day job is working in the city’s tax office. She was referring to the infamous “anointers,” suspected in Italian lore of spreading contagion during the 17th century plague. After sanitizing, Ms. Vallati and her colleagues wait for an alarm to sound in their headquarters. It never takes long.

Indistinguishable from one another in the white medical scrubs pulled over their red uniforms, crew members entered Mr. Travelli’s home on March 15 with tanks of oxygen. “Always with oxygen,” Ms. Vallati said.

One of the biggest dangers for coronavirus patients is hypoxemia, or low blood oxygen. Normal readings are between 95 and 100, and doctors worry when the number dips below 90.

Ms. Vallati said she had found coronavirus patients with readings of 50. Their lips are blue. Their fingertips turn violet. They take rapid, shallow breaths and use their stomach muscles to pull in air. Their lungs are too weak.

In many of the apartments they visit, patients clutch small oxygen tanks, the size of SodaStreams, that are procured for them with a doctor’s prescription by family members. They lie in bed next to them. They eat with them at the kitchen table. They watch the nightly reports of Italy’s dead and infected with them on their couches.

On March 15, Ms. Vallati put her hand, wrapped in two layers of blue gloves, on the chest of Teresina Coria, 88, as they measured her oxygen level. The next day, Antonio Amato, an outlier at the age of 40, sat in his armchair, holding his oxygen tank as his children, whom he could not hold for fear of contagion, waved to him from across the room.

On a Saturday, Ms. Vallati found herself in the bedroom of a 90-year-old man. She asked his two granddaughters if he had had any contact with anyone who had the coronavirus. Yes, they said, the man’s son, their father, who had died on Wednesday. Their grandmother, they told her, had been taken away on Friday and was in critical condition.

They weren’t crying, she said, because “they didn’t have any tears left.”

On another recent tour in the highly infected Valle Seriana under the Alps, Ms. Vallati said, they picked up a woman of about 80. Her husband of many decades asked to kiss her goodbye. But Ms. Vallati told him he could not, because the risk of contagion was too high. As the man watched the crew take his wife away, Ms. Vallati saw him go into another room and close the door behind him, she said.

While those suspected of infection are taken to hospitals, the hospitals themselves are not safe. Bergamo officials first detected the coronavirus at the Pesenti Fenaroli di Alzano Lombardo hospital.

By then, officials say, it had already been present for some time, masked as ordinary pneumonia, infecting other patients, doctors, and nurses. People carried it out of the hospital and into the city, out of the city and into the province. Young people passed it to their parents and grandparents. It spread around bingo halls and over coffee cups.

The mayor, Mr. Gori, has talked about how infections have ravaged his town and nearly broken one of Europe’s wealthiest and most sophisticated health care systems. Doctors estimate that 70,000 people in the province have the virus. Bergamo has had to send 400 bodies to other provinces and regions and countries because there is no room for them there.

“If we have to identify a spark,” he said, “it was the hospital.”

When an ambulance arrives, its crew proceeds with extreme caution. Only one of the three, the team leader, accompanies the patient inside. If the patient is heavy, another helps.

This weekend, a group of doctors from one Bergamo hospital wrote in a medical journal associated with The New England Journal of Medicine that “we are learning that hospitals might be the main Covid-19 carriers” and “as they are rapidly populated by infected patients, facilitating transmission to uninfected patients.”

Ambulances and their personnel get infected, they said, but perhaps show no symptoms, and spread the virus further. As a result, the doctors urged home care and mobile clinics to avoid bringing people to the hospital unless absolutely necessary.

But Ms. Vallati said they had no choice with the gravest cases. The authors of the paper work at Bergamo’s Papa Giovanni XXIII, where Ms. Vallati’s crew have taken many of the sick.

Dr. Ivano Riva, an anesthesiologist there, said the hospital was still admitting up to 60 new coronavirus patients a day. They are tested for the virus he said, but at this point the clinical evidence — the coughs, the low oxygen levels, the fevers — is a better indicator, especially since 30 percent of the tests produced false negatives.

The hospital had 500 coronavirus patients, who occupied all 90 I.C.U. beds. About a month ago, the hospital had seven such beds.

Oxygen flows everywhere through Lombardy’s hospitals now, and workers are constantly pushing carts of tanks around the corridors. A tanker truck filled with oxygen is parked outside. Patients are jammed next to supply closets and in hallways.

Dr. Riva said 26 of his hospital’s 101 medical staff members were out of work with the virus. “It’s a situation that no one has ever seen, I don’t think in any other part of the world,” he said.

If people don’t stay at home, he said, “the system will fail.”

His colleagues wrote in the paper that intensive care unit beds were reserved for coronavirus patients with “a reasonable chance to survive.” Older patients, they said, “are not being resuscitated and die alone.”

Mr. Travelli ended up at the nearby Humanitas Gavazzeni hospital, where, after a false negative, he tested positive for the virus. He is still alive.

“Papi, you were lucky because you found a bed — now you have to fight, fight, fight,” his daughter Michela told him in a telephone call, their last before he was fitted with a helmet to ease his breathing. “He was scared,” she said. “He thought he was dying.”

In the meantime, Ms. Travelli said she had been quarantined and had lost her sense of taste for food, a frequent complaint among people without symptoms, but who have had close contact with the virus.

So many people are dying so quickly, the hospital mortuaries and funeral workers cannot keep up. “We take the dead from the morning till night, one after the other, constantly,” said Vanda Piccioli, who runs one of the last funeral homes to remain open. Others have closed as a result of sick funeral directors, some in intensive care. “Usually we honor the dead. Now it’s like a war and we collect the victims.”

Ms. Piccioli said one member of her staff had died of the virus on Sunday. She considered closing but decided they had a responsibility to keep going, despite what she said was constant terror of infection and emotional trauma. “You are a sponge and you take the pain of everybody,” she said.

She said her staff moved 60 infected bodies daily, from Papa Giovanni and Alzano hospitals, from clinics, from nursing homes and apartments. “It’s hard for us to get masks and gloves,” she said. “We are a category in the shadows.”

Ms. Piccioli said that in the beginning, they sought to get the personal effects of the dead, kept in red plastic bags, back to their loved ones. A tin of cookies. A mug. Pajamas. Slippers. But now they simply don’t have time.

Still, the calls to the Red Cross crew do not stop.

On March 19, Ms. Vallati and her crew entered the apartment of Maddalena Peracchi, 74, in Gazzaniga. She had run out of oxygen. Her daughter Cinzia Cagnoni, 43, who lives in the apartment downstairs, had placed an order for a new tank that would arrive on Monday, but the Red Cross volunteers told her she wouldn’t hold out that long.

“We were a little agitated because we knew that this could be the last time we saw each other,” Ms. Cagnoni said. “It’s like sending someone to die alone.”

She and her sister and her father put on a brave face under their masks, she said. “You can do it,’’ they told her mother, she said. “We will wait for you, there are still so many things we need to do with you. Fight back.”

The volunteers brought Ms. Peracchi down to the ambulance. One of her daughters urged her stunned grandchildren to bid farewell with louder voices. “I thought a thousand things,’’ Ms. Cagnoni said. “Don’t abandon me. God help us. God save my mother.” The ambulance doors closed. The sirens sounded, as they do “all the hours of the day,” Ms. Cagnoni said.

The crew drove to Pesenti Fenaroli di Alzano Lombardo, where Ms. Peracchi was found to have the coronavirus and pneumonia on both sides of her lungs. On Thursday night, her daughter said she was “holding on by a thread.”

Ms. Peracchi is a woman of deep Catholic faith, said her daughter, who spiked a temperature herself the night the ambulance took her mother away and has remained quarantined since.

It pained her mother, she said, that if it came to it, “we cannot have a funeral.”

To contain the virus, all religious and civil celebrations are banned in Italy. That includes funerals. Bergamo’s cemetery is locked shut. A chilling backlog of coffins waits in a traffic jam for the crematorium inside the cemetery’s church.

Officials have banned changing the clothes of the dead and require that people be buried or cremated in the pajamas or medical gowns they perish in. Corpses need to be wrapped in an extra bag or cloaked in a disinfecting cloth. The lids of coffins, which usually cannot be closed without a formal death certificate, now can be, though they still have to wait to be sealed. Bodies often linger in homes for days, as stairs and stuffy rooms become especially dangerous.

“We are trying to avoid it,” the funeral director, Ms. Piccioli, said of home visits. Nursing homes were much easier because you could arrive with five or six coffins to be filled and loaded directly into the vans. “I know it’s terrible to say,” she said.

Through a network of local priests, she helps arrange quick prayers, rather than proper funerals, for the dead and the families who are not quarantined.

That was the case for Teresina Gregis, who was interred at the Alzano Lombardo cemetery on March 21 after she died at home. Ambulance workers had told her family that there was no room in the hospitals.

“All the beds are full,” they told the family, according to her daughter-in-law, Romina Mologni, 34. Since she was 75, she said, “they gave priority to others who were younger.”

In her last weeks at home, her family struggled to find tanks of oxygen, driving all over the province as she sat facing her garden and the pinwheels she adored.

When she died, all the flower shops were closed because of the lockdown. Ms. Mologni instead brought to the cemetery one of the pinwheels her own daughter had given her grandmother. “She liked that one.”

Photo editing by David Furst and Gaia Tripoli. Design and development by Rebecca Lieberman and Matt Ruby.

Obituary from L’Eco di Bergamo, March 13, 2020.

By: 

Source: ‘We Take the Dead From Morning Till Night’

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Sky News’ Chief Correspondent Stuart Ramsay is in Italy’s coronavirus epicentre – the town of Bergamo. Watch his report about life in the town residents are describing as ‘apocalyptic’ where the ambulance sirens never stop. MORE FROM SKY NEWS: Last week, Stuart and his team visited the town’s hospital, which is at the centre of the coronavirus crisis. You can watch that hard-hitting report here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J60f…

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.

A Hotbed for the Virus..What Travelers Experienced Returning From Europe to Overwhelmed U.S. Airports

Eric DiMarzio and his fiancé returned home to Houston after a one-week vacation in Iceland. They were only supposed to be at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for a one-hour layover.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced he would suspend all travel from Europe to the U.S. for 30 days to prevent the rising spread of the new coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. The ban did not apply to U.S. citizens and it prompted a stampede of Americans out of the continent. Those returning would be subject to “enhanced” health screenings, however.

DiMarzio and his fiancé were waiting in line, along with what they estimated as a “few thousand” others, for hours at the Chicago airport on Saturday. They stood alongside couples with infants, college students traveling back from disrupted study abroad programs and elderly people, who are particularly high-risk for COVID-19. About 3,000 Americans returning from Europe were stuck for hours inside the customs area at O’Hare International Airport on Saturday, according to the Associated Press. Return flights from Europe were being funneled through 13 airports in the U.S.

“Just being around that many different people in that close quarters was worrying,” DiMarzio tells TIME, adding that he and his fiancé, both 31, were at the airport from about 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. One older woman who appeared to be tired kept almost falling asleep as the line kept trudging along slowly, he added.

Travelers across American airports have raised concerns this weekend that the screenings designed to limit the spread of COVID-19, may actually be making the disease more likely to spread as passengers are crammed in with people from different flights and countries as they make their way through long, winding lines. These packed spaces run counter to federal COVID-19 guidelines that recommend “social distancing” and avoiding large gatherings of people. The virus typically spreads between people who are in close contact — within about six feet of each other — through respiratory droplets that are produced when a person coughs or sneezes.

As situations at airports grew more concerning, some state officials blasted the federal government for allowing the build up of big crowds. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was quick to criticize the Trump administration for the long lines at O’Hare and sent out a series of frustrated tweets on Saturday night, saying that “The federal government needs to get its s@#t together. NOW.”

On Sunday, Pritzker said that federal officials told him U.S. Customs and Border Patrol would be increasing staff at O’Hare today.

But passengers who had to deal with earlier crowds wonder if the experience may have increased the possibility of exposure. DiMarzio said in a Facebook post that “if there was someone with coronavirus on any of the international flights that arrived today, you could not plan a better way of exposing them to as many people as possible.” He wrote that he was kept in a customs room with thousands of other international travelers for four hours and the the line was “shuffled so many times” that “we frequently found ourselves beside more and more different travelers from different flights.”

DiMarzio and his fiancé missed a connecting flight from Chicago to Texas and ended up having to pay for a hotel out-of-pocket.

He told TIME he didn’t mind the long wait time if it helped contain the disease but worried that the cramped lines could have led to the spread of the coronavirus. “If (waiting) is the part that we have to play in all of this to lower the impact of this disease, then we’re happy to do our part,” DiMarzio said. “We just hope that something like this didn’t make things worse,” he added. DiMarzio says he hoped that “lessons are learned quickly” and that “the consequences from this weekend are not any bigger than just an inconvenienced day of travel for us.”

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport was also packed with long lines this weekend and even those who flew back from outside Europe were caught in the crowd.

“There was total confusion. It was chaos,” Nasreen Zeb told TIME. Zeb is a Dallas resident who identified her age as “above 50” and had just flown back from Pakistan. She said it took about five hours from the moment she exited the plane until when she got her luggage and that she and other travelers were not offered food or water.

Zeb wore a mask but said she was still nervous being within less one foot of other travelers, which included elderly people and young babies crying. She was also “shocked” that no one took her temperature before she went home.

College students whose study abroad programs were abruptly cut short were also among those stuck in O’Hare’s long lines. Sophie Bair, a 19-year-old Columbia University student who was studying abroad at the University of Amsterdam told TIME she booked a flight for Saturday, “not knowing how crazy it would be.” She spent more than four hours standing in lines. “It was concerning being around that many people,” Bair said but notes that she was less worried about herself as she is young and more worried about older travelers.

Tim Clancy, a 20-year-old University of Southern California student was studying abroad in Greece and flew back to the U.S. on Saturday morning.

Clancy said the lines at O’Hare “snaked around” and in some areas it would be a “huge clump of people together so i just felt like it was a hotbed for the virus to travel around.”

“I was more nervous that I contracted coronavirus in the span of getting on the flight and going through customs than I did through my entire time in Greece,” Clancy said.Clancy’s mother tweeted that “if he’s not sick now, odds are he will be soon.”

Clancy is now back home in Madison, Wisc., with his parents and sister but he is staying isolated from them in a guesthouse for the time-being.

By Sanya Mansoor March 15, 2020

Source: ‘A Hotbed for the Virus.’ What Travelers Experienced Returning From Europe to Overwhelmed U.S. Airports

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A day before the Europe travel ban went into effect, passengers arriving to Dulles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport describe their anxiety and travel woes. Subscribe to The Washington Post on YouTube: https://wapo.st/2QOdcqK Follow us: Twitter: https://twitter.com/washingtonpost Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/washingtonp… Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/washingtonpost/

There Has to Be a Plan For Relatives of Nursing Home Residents, Anger and Worry as the Coronavirus Spreads

KIRKLAND, WA – MARCH 06: Su Wilson (green jacket) gives flowers to a staff member to give to her mother, Chun Liu, who is a patient at the Life Care Center on March 6, 2020 in Kirkland, Washington. There are currently 69 residents at the nursing home. 15 of them were transported to area hospitals overnight for treatment. Several residents have died from COVID-19 and others have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Kevin Connolly says his father-in-law credits the Life Care Center of Kirkland, Washington with “giving him his life back.” It’s where he recovered from hospice care, flirted with nurses and enjoyed eating chicken pot pie. But now, it’s where Connolly worries the 81-year-old will die because of what he says has been a bungled response to the coronavirus outbreak that has devastated the nursing home facility, which is linked to at least 13 of the 19 coronavirus deaths that had been reported in the U.S. as of Sunday morning.

“I can no longer sit around and wait for a phone call to tell me my loved one has died. Our loved ones that live here are already amongst the most vulnerable in the community, and they are being left to be picked off one by one by this disease,” Connolly said Thursday at a press conference held by relatives of Life Care Center residents.

“We have limited resources to battle this disease, and I think somebody somewhere decided that this population of people wasn’t worth wasting resources on. That’s how it feels.”

The arrival of the coronavirus in the United States has intersected with the persistent problems associated with caring for the elderly, one of the country’s most vulnerable populations, especially as long-term care is often understaffed and underfunded.

The Time for Containing Coronavirus Is Over. Here’s How The Government And Scientists Are Delivering The News.

There comes a point in the unfolding of every epidemic when public-health officials acknowledge that despite their best efforts, an invisible microbial foe has managed to outwit them. That time has come.

As health experts urge nursing homes to plan ahead and take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus in their communities, some are cancelling bingo games and family dinners, encouraging relatives to take advantage of the ability to “visit” via Skype, and stocking up on the supplies they would need to combat an outbreak in their facilities.

“The data from China and from Italy seems to suggest that this virus disproportionately affects older adults. We’re looking at mortality rates for people over the age of 80 close to 15%,” says Dr. David Dosa, an associate professor of medicine at Brown University and a geriatrician who has researched nursing home infections, referencing a study of the outbreak in China published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. (While hard to assess, the overall coronavirus fatality rate is far lower — 3.4%, according to the World Health Organization on March 3.)

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About 1.3 million Americans live in nursing homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and more than half are over the age of 75.

“They do need to take it very seriously,” Dosa says. “I think that the Washington case is the proverbial canary in the coal mine.”

He said the virus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, can spread quickly in nursing home settings, where people with existing medical conditions and compromised immune systems live in close proximity and depend on help for daily activities, including bathing, dressing and eating. On Friday, another nursing home and a senior living complex in Seattle each reported a case of coronavirus among their residents, the New York Times reported.

Brenda Chrystie says she was reassured by an email she received Monday from her father’s memory care facility in King County, the same county where the Life Care Center of Kirkland is located. Leaders at Aegis Living said they are disinfecting “high touch surfaces” daily, preparing a containment plan in case residents or staff members become infected, stocking up on both CDC-approved cleaning agents for the virus and enough food to feed staff and residents “for an extended period of time” if necessary, and canceling events for large groups. The facility has also asked anyone who traveled outside of the U.S. in the past 30 days to postpone their visit.

Su Wilson hands flowers to a staff member (in red uniform) to give to her mother, Chun Liu, who is a patient at the Life Care Center nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, on March 6, 2020.

Karen Ducey—Getty Images

“For all of us who care for the elderly, the coronavirus is presenting an unprecedented challenge,” Kris Engskov, Aegis Living president, said in a statement on Thursday. “Over the last few days, we’ve put extraordinary protocols in place in all of our communities to ensure we were doing everything possible to protect our residents and staff from infection.”

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“They’re having to ratchet it up and take it to another level and just hoping that all of us, the loved ones, don’t freak out and panic too much,” Chrystie says. “But who knows? Who knows how this is going to spread?”

She says she’s trying to protect her 80-year-old father, who has Alzheimer’s, from any of that panic because stress can be harmful to his health. “I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know about the coronavirus,” she says. “And I’ll keep it that way.”

Bethany Retirement Living in Fargo, North Dakota has cancelled group activities, including bingo, music and group exercise as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of germs.

“A lot of times, bingo is passing around cards. Group exercise might be throwing around the same ball,” says Shawn Stuhaug, president and CEO of Bethany Retirement Living. “We’re just trying to be precautionary until we know more.”

The organization has started directing visitors through certain entrances to guarantee they pass a hand sanitizing station, and asking people not to visit if they have a fever or cough, have been on a cruise or have traveled to a country affected by the outbreak. The facility allows family members to Skype or FaceTime their loved ones if they can’t come in person.

Sandy Sidler, a 67-year-old retired teacher, visits her 91-year-old mother, who has been recovering from the flu, almost every day at Bethany, sitting beside her until she wakes up from her afternoon nap and keeping her company during supper. Sidler says she’s not worried about the spread of coronavirus yet, but she always uses hand sanitizer before entering her mother’s room.

Because there have not yet been any cases of coronavirus identified in North Dakota, Stuhaug says his biggest priority right now is preventing the spread of the seasonal flu, which is more likely to be deadly in an elderly population. “It’s just as important to pay attention to the flu,” he says. “Every year, I wish everybody would get this excited about the flu.”

In Rhode Island — where officials have identified three “presumptive positive” cases of COVID-19 — former state senator Gloria Kennedy Fleck says she has been asking her 90-year-old mother’s nursing home, the West Shore Health Center in Warwick, R.I., for its contingency plan in case the virus spreads there. She has wondered if residents would be temporarily moved or separated if they test positive for the virus, but she hasn’t received a clear answer.

“The biggest concern is that no preparations are being made, and if and when it happens, then what? They’re just going to let them sit there in the petri dish?” she says. “I’m not trying to be an alarmist. We have to take precautions. There has to be a plan.”

On Thursday, she spoke with an administrator who told her plans are underway. Representatives from the West Shore Health Center directed inquiries from TIME to Scott Fraser, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Health Care Association, who said the nursing home was screening visitors, had put up signs asking them not to enter if they’re ill and would be following its existing contingency plans for seasonal flu and norovirus outbreaks, but he could not elaborate on what those plans entail.

“We’re following state guidelines and CDC guidelines, and we’re following them very closely because obviously the residents in all our homes are some of the most vulnerable,” he said.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released guidelines last week aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes, asking facilities to screen visitors for symptoms such as a cough, fever and sore throat and for international travel to restricted countries within 14 days. Any health care workers who develop symptoms on the job should stop work, put on a face mask and self-quarantine at home, the guidelines say.

Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, says he’s advising families to ask more questions of the facilities housing their elderly relatives. “We’re telling people, ‘Look to see, is your nursing home implementing better practices, doing more cleaning, ensuring that everyone is on board with hand washing,’” he says. “I would ask the administrator, ‘Are you prepared for what is going to come?’”

Fleck — who brings her mother lemon-filled donuts and Hershey’s kisses each time she visits — says she worries about exactly that. Last month, healthcare workers protested at the Rhode Island state house over under-staffed nursing homes in the state, and Fleck worries staffing levels will worsen because of COVID-19.

In Washington state, the leader of the union representing home care and nursing home workers says that’s already happening. Sterling Harders, president of the SEIU 775, says the outbreak is “making the chronic understaffing in nursing homes even worse,” as more workers call in sick.

Sherylon Hughes — a direct caregiver at the North Cascades Health and Rehabilitation Center in Bellingham, Washington — says at the start of their shift, workers are now required to report to the nurse on duty to have their temperature checked and fill out a short questionnaire about whether they’ve come in contact with anyone who is potentially infected.

“Everyone is just really concerned,” Hughes says. “There’s a lot of frustration among some of the workers. We feel like the people who are in charge haven’t really come up with a plan for what we are supposed to do.”

She and her coworkers have wondered what would happen if someone at her nursing home tests positive for the coronavirus. Will the facility shut down? Will all the workers be tested? Will they have to pay for it themselves?

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington address a news conference on the coronavirus in his state as Vice President Mike Pence looks on, in Tacoma on March 5, 2020.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington address a news conference on the coronavirus in his state as Vice President Mike Pence looks on, in Tacoma on March 5, 2020.
Chona Kasinger—Bloomberg/Getty Images

“I’m very concerned about the health care workers, the people who are on the front lines,” says Hughes, who makes about $17 an hour. “The potential loss of livelihood is devastating, especially for caregivers. We do not make very much money at all, and none of us can afford to miss work for any extended period of time, and very few of us have healthcare that’s affordable.”

At a press conference on Friday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said the state would cover the cost of the test for anyone who does not have insurance. As officials work to contain the spread of the virus, he said the state would dedicate assistance specifically to long-term care facilities. “We know that the first potential victims of this virus are elderly and those who are medically compromised,” he said. “We are standing up a separate incident command post in the structure to specifically give assistance to long-term care facilities, both to help them prevent infection from entering the facilities and to help them deal with it in the event that that happens.”

But questions linger for many of the Life Care Center relatives, who on Thursday expressed their frustration with a lack of communication, demanding clear guidance on when their relatives would be tested for the virus and asking to speak with CDC health officials and to relocate healthy residents to a different facility.

King County Executive Dow Constantine said Friday that the Life Care Center has not been shut down or evacuated because the more than 60 residents remaining there require 24-hour medical care, and there were no hospitals or nursing homes with the capacity to take them in. “This is, for many of the residents, the best place that they can be — those who are asymptomatic but have these health conditions that have to be attended to in a 24-hour care facility,” he said.

Connolly’s father-in-law is one of those residents, but he is still seeking more answers. Constantine said all Life Care Center residents and staff members will be tested for COVID-19 now that there is increased testing capacity at the University of Washington.

On Saturday, Connolly said his father-in-law, who has not been showing symptoms for coronavirus, had not yet been tested.

“Still no one has reached out to us,” Connolly said in a text to TIME. “Still we are in the dark.”

By Katie Reilly

Source: ‘There Has to Be a Plan.’ For Relatives of Nursing Home Residents, Anger and Worry as the Coronavirus Spreads

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Life Care Center spokesman Tim Killian spoke about new confirmed cases at the Kirkland nursing home facility. Monday 3/9 at 5 p.m.

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

After Refusing Italy Travel Curbs, Germany Becomes A Top 10 Coronavirus Nation

Roughly 48 hours after opting out of enforcing travel restrictions on Italy, the nation with the third highest coronavirus infection rate and third highest death rate, Germany became a top 10 nation with the deadly Covid-19 late Thursday.

Germany now has 48 cases, making it the second most infected European country after Italy.

Italy became the European hub of the new coronavirus, a pathogen that was first discovered in Wuhan, a city of nearly 11 million people in the province of Hubei, China back in December. Northern Italy has a lot of textile business with China, and was late to restrict travel to the mainland. As a result, it now has 644 patients with the disease, up from 453 the day before.

The German government said Wednesday that it saw no need to advise its citizens against travel to Italy, or to restrict Italian air travel into Germany.

“We are far from this scenario,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said during a press briefing in Berlin, as reported by Reuters.

An AlbaStar airlines flight from Milan landed at Munich International Thursday night.

A man in Sao Paulo, Brazil got infected when in northern Italy on business earlier this month and is now the first person with the new coronavirus there.

Germany replaced Thailand as the country with the 9th highest number of Covid-19 patients. No one has died of the disease.

As of Friday morning in Shanghai, there were 83,342 globally confirmed cases of Covid-19. Some 2,858 people have died, making for a global mortality rate of 3.42%.

The iShares MSCI Germany (EWG) was down slightly over 1% in after market hours in New York.

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I’ve spent 20 years as a reporter for the best in the business, including as a Brazil-based staffer for WSJ. Since 2011, I focus on business and investing in the big emerging markets exclusively for Forbes. My work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Nation, Salon and USA Today. Occasional BBC guest. Former holder of the FINRA Series 7 and 66. Doesn’t follow the herd.

Source: After Refusing Italy Travel Curbs, Germany Becomes A Top 10 Coronavirus Nation

China is building new hospitals to cater for those infected with the new corona virus. Officially roughly 14,500 people have been infected, but numbers could be much higher. Still, there are hopeful news from Thailand. A 70-year-old Chinese woman came down with the coronavirus. The virus vanished from her body after doctors administered an unusual cure. Meanwhile in Germany, two people evacuated from China on Saturday are in fact infected with the new coronavirus. They were among a group of more than 120 passengers flown to Frankfurt on a military plane from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the outbreak. The evacuees are now in quarantine in a military facility and they will be there for two weeks. The infected are two German citizens, they are being treated in a hospital in Frankfurt, where doctors say they are doing well. Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/user/deutsche… For more news go to: http://www.dw.com/en/ Follow DW on social media: ►Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deutschewell… ►Twitter: https://twitter.com/dwnews ►Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dw_stories/ Für Videos in deutscher Sprache besuchen Sie: https://www.youtube.com/channel/deuts… #Coronavirus

Facebook Bans Ads Promising A Cure To The Coronavirus

Topline: Facebook will begin taking down any ads that promise a cure for the coronavirus, as the platform battles the rapid spread of conspiracy theories and fake cures—including drinking bleach to cure the disease—that have erupted in panic and confusion over the epidemic on social media.

  • A Facebook spokesperson told Forbes it will remove ads for products “that refer to the coronavirus and create a sense of urgency, like implying a limited supply, or guaranteeing a cure or prevention.”
  • The spokesperson added that, for example, “ads with claims like face masks that are 100% guaranteed to prevent the spread of the virus will not be allowed.”
  • Health experts warn the spread of misinformation, fake cures and conspiracy theories about coronavirus can actively cause harm and undermine trust in government institutions. “We need a vaccine against misinformation,” said Mike Ryan, head of the WHO health emergencies program, in a meeting this month.
  •  A number of false cures have spread on Facebook in the past few months, including one claiming that drinking bleach can cure the virus, according to FactCheck.org.
  • Facebook already said in January it will outright remove posts flagged by global health organizations and local health authorities with potentially harmful false cures or prevention methods for the coronavirus.
  • But the company also said last month it won’t remove other false claims about the virus, opting instead to fact-check, demote them in the news feed and point users to reliable information from the World Health Organization.

Key background: Facebook has struggled to contain disinformation since the 2016 election and has faced criticism for not removing ads from politicians that contain lies. But misleading or untrue medical claims have been a particularly thorny issue for the platform. Facebook banned misleading ads about vaccines last year, but private Facebook groups have become hotbeds of medical misinformation, and some ads expressing skepticism about vaccines haven’t been taken down. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly said that Facebook shouldn’t be an arbiter of truth, and company policy is to be usually reluctant to remove posts and ads at all.

News peg: More than 81,000 people globally have been infected with the virus as of Wednesday, and more 2,700 have died. The World Health Organization hasn’t declared the virus a pandemic, but Europe, the Middle East and the U.S. are preparing for an outbreak as cases outside China continue to surge.

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I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. Previously, I’ve reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email rsandler@forbes.com.

Source: Facebook Bans Ads Promising A Cure To The Coronavirus

Facebook is banning ads which promise to cure COVID-19, the disease caused by the deadly coronavirus. #Facebook #Coronavirus #MisleadingAds #WIONVideos __________ About Channel: WION -The World is One News, examines global issues with in-depth analysis. We provide much more than the news of the day. Our aim to empower people to explore their world. With our Global headquarters in New Delhi, we bring you news on the hour, by the hour. We deliver information that is not biased. We are journalists who are neutral to the core and non-partisan when it comes to the politics of the world. People are tired of biased reportage and we stand for a globalised united world. So for us the World is truly One. Please keep discussions on this channel clean and respectful and refrain from using racist or sexist slurs as well as personal insults. Subscribe to our channel at https://goo.gl/JfY3NI Check out our website: http://www.wionews.com Connect with us on our social media handles: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WIONews Twitter: https://twitter.com/WIONews Follow us on Google News for latest updates WION: shorturl.at/fwKO0 Zee News English: shorturl.at/aJVY3 Zee News Hindi: shorturl.at/eorM1 Zee Business: shorturl.at/hpqX6 DNA News: shorturl.at/rBOY6 BGR: shorturl.at/eioqL

When it Comes to Pesticides and Kids, The EPA Looks the Other Way

HOMESTEAD, FL – SEPTEMBER 09: Stephen Jenner, from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, sprays an insecticide under an avocado tree where some Oriental fruit flies were found on September 9, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. The discovery of the flies has forced the state to quarantine about 85 square miles of farmland in Southern Miami-Dade county until they have been eradicated. The flies have the potential to damage Florida’s $120 billion agriculture industry. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

It’s easy to lose count of all of the pesticides that are sprayed on crops in the U.S., and well-nigh impossible to know all of the names (dichloropropene and pyraclostrobin and spinetoram and on and on). But it’s not hard to guess who gets hit hardest by all of these chemicals: kids, whose brain, nervous and hormonal systems are still developing at the time of exposure. What’s more, a new pesticide introduced today will have fewer years to build up in the tissues of, say, a 50-year old, compared to a child who will accumulate a lifetime load of the stuff.

That’s the biggest reason that, in 1996, Congress passed and  Bill Clinton signed the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA). The legislation represented one of the most effective crackdowns on pesticides in the food supply to date, requiring the Environmental Protection Agency not simply to establish a safe threshold of exposure for the population as a whole, but to limit permissible levels much further—10-fold further in fact—to ensure that children are protected too. The legislation benefits everyone of course: Ten times less pyraclostrobin on your apple is a good thing no matter how old you are, but it’s children who are the most important beneficiaries.

But a law is only as good as its enforcement and a new study conducted by the Environmental Working Group, —a nonprofit advocacy organization—and published in the journal Environmental Health found that when it comes to the FQPA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is laying down on the job. The group surveyed 47 non-organophosphate pesticides—a category that tends to persist in soils—and found that the 10-fold safety standard was being applied only to five of them.

“The FQPA was a revolution in how we think about pesticides’ effects on children,” said Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook in a statement accompanying the release of the study, “but it does no good if the EPA doesn’t use it.”

In response to the study’s release, an EPA spokesperson told TIME: “EPA takes our commitment to protect public health, including our most vulnerable populations, and following the law seriously. EPA uses the default 10X safety factor unless a wealth of high-quality, peer-reviewed data has shown an alternative safety factor can provide an equal amount of protection.”

The study, which stands by the the ten-fold standard as the true gold standard, looked back at FQPA enforcement from as early as 2011, during the Obama administration—generally seen as an environmentally friendly presidency—and saw the same spotty pesticide enforcement even then. But the Obama White House did take some proactive steps, seeking to extend the 10-fold standard to organophosphate pesticides as well, which break down relatively quickly, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but while they are around can be even more toxic than other varieties of pesticides, affecting the nervous system in much the way sarin and other nerve gasses do.

Under the Trump Administration, however, the Obama ruling was reversed for the most widely used organophosphate, known as chlorpyrifos. Nonetheless, Corteva Agriscience, the nation’s largest manufacturer of the chemical, under pressure from multiple states that are banning its use, announced on Feb. 6 that it would voluntarily agree to stop producing it.

It’s a manifestly good thing that in that one case, market forces were sufficient to stop a bad chemical from getting into the food supply. But it’s a manifestly bad thing that in a far larger share of cases, apparently the health of America’s children does not have the same power in Washington.

“With the FQPA legislation, Congress clearly gave the EPA the power to protect children’s health from pesticides,” says Olga Naidenko, vice president of science investigations at the Environmental Working Group, and lead author of the paper. “The EPA should be able to fully use this authority without waiting for additional instructions, if the EPA leadership decides to do so.”

By Jeffrey Kluger February 12, 2020

Source: When it Comes to Pesticides and Kids, The EPA Looks the Other Way

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/do-we-reall… Annually, we shower over 5 billion pounds of pesticides across the Earth to control insects, unwanted weeds, funguses, rodents, and bacteria that may threaten our food supply. But is it worth it, knowing what we do about the associated environmental and public health risks? Fernan Pérez-Gálvez weighs the pros and cons of pesticides. Lesson by Fernan Pérez-Gálvez, animation by Mighty Oak.

Elton John Stricken With Pneumonia, Cuts N.Z. Show Short

NAPIER, NEW ZEALAND – FEBRUARY 06: Elton John performs at Mission Estate on February 06, 2020 in Napier, New Zealand. (Photo by Kerry Marshall/Getty Images)

Elton John has pneumonia, and it’s unclear if he’ll continue what he says is his final world tour.

“I played and sang my heart out, until my voice could sing no more,” he said in a tweet. “I’m disappointed, deeply upset and sorry. I gave it all I had.”

John, 72, abruptly left the stage during Sunday’s concert in Auckland and returned minutes later for two more songs before saying, “I’ve just completely lost my voice. I can’t sing. I’ve got to go. I’m sorry,” the BBC reports.

Earlier in the set he told the sold-out crowd he’d been diagnosed with walking pneumonia.

He’s scheduled to play two more concerts in Auckland on Feb. 18 and 20, followed by shows in Australia, as part of his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” world tour.

John thanked his fans Sunday on Twitter:

I want to thank everyone who attended the gig in Auckland tonight.  I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia earlier today, but I was determined to give you the best show humanly possible.

The flamboyant superstar took home his first Oscar in 25 years this year for “Rocketman,” which won for best original song. He won previously for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” in 1995.

The New Zealand Herald reported that John, 72, told his fans earlier that he had walking pneumonia and his voice was shot, but that he didn’t want to miss the show. At one point, after performing “Someone Saved My Life Tonight,” John slumped on his stool and required medical attention, the newspaper reported. But John recovered and continued to play. Later, as he he attempted to sing “Daniel,” he realized he had no voice left and was escorted off stage.

The concert was part of John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. The tour lists additional performances in Auckland on Tuesday and Thursday; there’s no word on whether those shows will go on as scheduled.

John had just returned to New Zealand after performing at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles. He won an Oscar for best original song for his theme song for the movie “Rocketman.”

By Hailey Waller / Bloomberg 11:41 PM EST

Source: Elton John Stricken With Pneumonia, Cuts N.Z. Show Short

팝스타 엘튼 존, 건강 이상으로 뉴질랜드서 공연 중 콘서트 중단 British pop-star Elton John has cut short a concert in New Zealand,… after he was diagnosed with walking pneumonia on Sunday, while on tour. The 72-year-old lost his voice and broke down in tears on stage while he was performing at a stadium in Auckland. He later posted about his illness to his social media,… telling his fans that he was “deeply upset and sorry” for cutting short the concert. While thanking his fans,… he added he was determined to give the best show possible. Elton John is currently on what he says his final world tour,… known as “Farewell Yellow Brick Road.”

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