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Lunch News - Coronavirus

Seyyed Hadi Khosroshahi, a prominent Iranian cleric and the Islamic Republic’s first ambassador to Vatican City, has died of the novel coronavirus at the age of 81. Khosroshahi on Thursday died of respiratory complications, one day after he was transferred to a hospital in Tehran and tested positive for the COVID-19.

Pope Francis is still feeling 'slightly unwell' and has cancelled his official audiences today, the Vatican has said.The 83-year-old pontiff has scrapped an audience with tech chiefs including Microsoft and IBM executives today - a day after calling off an appearance at a Mass in Rome.Francis had appeared to have a cold during an Ash Wednesday service at the Vatican earlier this week.The Vatican has offered no details on the nature of the pope's illness, except to say that he had a 'slight indisposition'.

Earlier in the day Francis had met with crowds in St Peter's Square where he touched hands and kissed faces, despite warnings over coronavirus

How to wash your hands:

Dr. Gregory Poland, director of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, says adults could do much better at the sink."People go to the bathroom, and they run their fingers under the water. Well, that does nothing. And then they grab the dirty faucet, and they touch the dirty handle on the way out of the bathroom."

Dr. Poland says that, in public washrooms, there are often more bacteria on those faucets than in the toilet water.Next time you're at the sink, Dr. Poland says, "Wash your hands while singing 'Happy Birthday' to yourself. You get between the fingers, the fingertips, the thumb. You turn the water off with a paper towel. And you open the door to leave with a paper towel and dispose of the paper towel. That's how you wash your hands—ideally with warm, soapy water."

Good News, especially if you have low ACE2 receptor numbers:

Across all of Africa, just two cases have surfaced—a tally that has health specialists scratching their heads, given the continent's close economic ties with China."This is the question that everyone is asking, especially as other regions such as South America or Eastern Europe now have cases," said Amadou Alpha Sall, head of the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, the Senegalese capital.

On the other hand, the Toscani area of Italy (Tuscany) overlaps the place where the coronavirus cases are in Italy.  Tourists are very likely to settle in popular Tuscany.  Note the lack of cases in the Nordic countries below.

Useful updated map of where the cases are worldwide:

California appears to be the worst managed so far…. Of course.  What do you expect from a Socialist State?

California said Thursday it was monitoring some 8,400 people for the new coronavirus, after officials confirmed a woman had contracted the disease without traveling to outbreak-hit regions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it doesn't know how the woman—who had not traveled or been in contact with another coronavirus patient—got sick.  If it is confirmed she did not contract the virus from a known case, it would be the first instance of community transmission, representing a bigger challenge in the battle against the virus.

Newsom said 33 people had tested positive for the virus and five of them had subsequently left the state."So there are 28 people that we know in the state of California that are positive," he said.

Testing ramps up fast:

Azar told lawmakers CDC test kits for coronavirus will be distributed today and 40 labs across the US will be able to test for the virus starting tomorrow.93 US labs will be able to test for the virus starting Monday.

BREAKING: “At least 40 public health laboratories should now be able to test using modified existing CDC test kits,” HHS Sec. Alex Azar says at House Ways, Means Cmte hearing. #COVIDー— Shira Stein (@shiramstein) February 27, 2020

"At least 40 public health laboratories should now be able to test using modified existing CDC test kits,” Alex Azar says in US House hearing, trying to address concerns that testing has been slowed because most parts of nation had to send coronavirus test kits to CDC in Atlanta.— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) February 27, 2020

Richard Ebright, a professor of chemical biology, pointed out that only 426 Americans have been tested for the coronavirus since the outbreak began.

Especially with 8,000 people under a self-imposed quarantine in California, the shortage of kits is certainly alarming.

South Korea also said 16,734 people are currently being tested for coronavirus, up from 13,880 last night. Many of them are being tested as a precaution.

Airport screening is a problem:

Global screening efforts to prevent the rapid spread of coronavirus are likely to fail, according to new research warning that even best-case screenings of air travellers will miss more than half of infected people.

Researchers in the United States and Britain in a study published in the journal eLife used computer models to predict the impact of screening, based on the latest data of how the coronavirus behaves and how long it takes for patients to show symptoms.

Building on similar work in 2015, they found that many cases would inevitably be missed and called for a re-think in how nations screen passengers."

If someone doesn't realise they have been exposed, and doesn't yet show symptoms, then they are fundamentally undetectable," Katelyn Gostic, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago and lead author told AFP."

We estimate that on average, screening will miss about two thirds of infected travellers.” Gostic stressed that these misses were not the result of human error, but rather an inevitable by-product of how the virus behaves.

Flight attendant into LAX may have spread it:

A flight attendant for Korean Air who worked several flights out of Los Angeles International Airport has been diagnosed with coronavirus.The 24-year-old was diagnosed Tuesday in southern Seoul, according to the Korea Joongang Daily newspaper.The flight attendant had worked flights between LAX and Seoul–Incheon International Airport on Feb. 19 and 20, according to South Korean media outlets.

The woman also serviced a flight from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Seoul on Feb. 15, South Korea’s Center for Disease Control said. She may have contracted the virus from a South Korean church group who were on a pilgrimage to Israel, the Yonghap News Agency reports. Supply Chain Issues:

Proctor and Gamble, one of the world's biggest "everyday product" manufacturers, has now officially warned that 17,600 of its products could be affected and disrupted by the coronavirus. The company's CFO, Jon Moeller, said at a recent conference that P&G used 387 suppliers across China, shipping more than 9,000 materials, according to Moeller said: “Each of these suppliers faces their own challenges in resuming operations.”

And it's not just everyday consumer goods that are going to feel the impact of the virus. Smartphones and cars are so far among the consumer products that have been hardest hit from the virus. In fact, according to TrendForce, "forecasts for product shipments from China for the first quarter of 2020 had been slashed, by 16% for smartwatches (to 12.1m units), 12.3% for notebooks (30.7m units) and 10.4% for smartphones (275m units). Cars have dropped 8.1% (19.3m units)."

Their report states: “The outbreak has made a relatively high impact on the smartphone industry because the smartphone supply chain is highly labor-intensive. Although automakers can compensate for material shortage through overseas factories, the process of capacity expansion and shipping of goods is still expected to create gaps in the overall manufacturing process.” China dilemma:

Banner 1 says: “If you go out messing around now, expect grass on your grave to grow soon.“

Banner 2 says, “Sitting at home eats up all your have, hurry up go out & find a job.”

The slogan changes as frequently as they change the criteria for #COVID19 diagnosis. #coronavirus

China showing signs of recovery... .@Starbucks now says 85% of stores in China are open-- important as this is its "Second home market" and one where the company continues to focus its growth efforts on. More than half of its stores there had been closed as of its latest earnings report last month:

Those that are entering the hospital in China, and who are critically ill, have a 61.5% death rate. Chinese researchers, in a Feb. 24 study published on The Lancet, examined 52 critically ill patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) of Wuhan Jin Yin-tan hospital between late December 2019 and Jan. 26, and found that 32—61.5 percent—later died.  All of those patients had died within 28 days of admission to the ICU, it found. The median duration from ICU admission to death was seven days.Two-thirds of the 52 clinically ill patients were men, the study said, a finding which supports previous data that males are more susceptible to infection.

Epoch Times' Jennifer Zeng is reporting that in parts of China, the government has signaled to workers that they will be "punished" if they don't report back to work.

And for everyone who gets infected, don't expect your employer to deal with it, Zeng adds. "if you get infected, it is not a work-related injury. You are on your own."

It can live on surfaces:

It now appears that not only can the virus remain latent for as long as 42 days, 4 weeks longer than traditionally assumed, resulting in numerous false negative cases as infected carrier slip across borders undetected, but far more ominously, it now appears that the diseases can re-infect recently "cured" patients, because as Taiwan News reportsa Chinese patient who just recovered from the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) has been infected for the second time in the province of Sichuan, according to local health officials.

On Wednesday (Feb. 19), the People's Daily reported that a man in Sichuan's capital Chengdu had tested positive for the virus during a regular check-up just ten days after being discharged from the hospital. The report said he had previously been cleared of the virus by medical staff.

The news has stirred up heated reactions from Chinese netizens. Some suspect that the hospital discharged the man before he was fully recovered, and many have expressed concern about the worsening epidemic.

Several doctors from Wuhan, the epicenter of COVID-19, said last week that it is possible for recovered patients to contract the virus a second time. They warned that a recurring infection could be even more damaging to a patient's body and that the tests are susceptible to false negatives.

Needless to say, with the US now repatriating over a dozen coronavirus-infected individuals, it will be absolutely critical to keep a close eye on any deemed healthy or cured, because it now appears that not only can the virus stay latent for nearly a month longer than previously expected, but cured patients can also get reinfected.

The person who brought the virus to Italy had no symptoms ever:

The “index person” who flew back to the region in late January from China still shows NO SIGNS of the deadly virus. Despite this the virus has spread to at least 40 people.

Conservative politician Matteo Salvini has called for Italy to close its borders.

Matteo Salvini: (translated) A prayer for the first Italian victim of #Coronavirus the and a thought to his family. Maybe now someone will have understood that it is necessary to close, control, armor, block, protect? #coronavirusitalIa

The propaganda department in virus-stricken Hubei Province has engaged over 1,600 censors to scrub the internet of “sensitive” information relating to the coronavirus outbreak, according to an internal document obtained by The Epoch Times.

The internal report, dated Feb. 15, detailed the agency’s efforts to ramp up censorship measures. It was drafted after a speech given by Chinese leader Xi Jinping via video link on Feb. 10 to “frontline responders” of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, where the virus first broke out. The revelations come as the Chinese regime tightens information controls over the worsening outbreak, as netizens have increasingly turned to the internet to vent their frustrations about the authorities’ response, or document what is happening on the ground. The illness has seen a steadily growing official list of infections and deaths on a daily basis. Experts and commentators, however, believe the actual number of infections to be far greater, due to underreporting and shortages in testing kits and hospital beds—meaning many people are left undiagnosed.

1,600 Trolls Deployed

According to the document, the department has hired more than 1,600 trolls, known as the 50-cent army in China, to regulate internet speech continuously, 24/7.

The trolls, through technological and manual screening, had identified as many as 606,800 posts online with “sensitive or harmful information,” it said. Their approach, it said, was to “timely dispel the online rumors” and “strike powerful blows offline.”

As of Feb. 14, the online censors had deleted as many as 54,000 such “rumors,” and had social media influencers write nearly 400 commentary articles to shape the narrative. The regime’s propaganda efforts, the report said, should be directed toward promoting the effects of officials’ outbreak control measures and the “moving deeds” of volunteers, community workers, and the police.

Some professional “internet commentators” had also made 400,000 comments to “counter the negative public opinions,” according to the document.

Posts mourning whistleblower doctor Li Wenliang, who died of the virus he was warning about in December, quickly disappeared from the internet in the hours after the news of his passing was first announced. “I want free speech,” a phrase that became trending on Chinese social media following his death, was also swiftly erased.

Wuhan citizen journalists Fang Bin and Chen Qiushi also recently disappeared after posting regular videos online highlighting the severity of the outbreak.

As of Feb. 11, over 2,500 people had signed a joint online petition expressing anger over Li’s death and criticizing the government for suppressing free speech during the outbreak.

Several co-signees were subsequently summoned by local police. At least one was detained.

The department has also set up 11 work groups for the purpose of “wartime propaganda” work. The groups were communicating daily with propaganda officials from the central government to “coordinate public opinion” in real time on issues “online and offline,” “inside the country and overseas,” it stated. The latest lethality numbers - with a large grain of salt: While less than 1 percent of people who were otherwise healthy died from the disease, the fatality rate for people with cardiovascular disease was 10.5 percent. That figure was 7.3 percent for diabetes patients and around 6 percent for those with chronic respiratory disease, hypertension, or cancer.While overall, 2.3 percent of known cases proved fatal—which many experts say is likely an overestimate of the mortality rate, given that many mild cases might go undiagnosed—patients 80 years or older were most at risk, with 14.8 percent of them dying. Deaths occurred in every age group except in children under the age of nine, and, generally speaking, “we see relatively few cases among children,” World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week.An intriguing finding in the new data released last week is that although similar numbers of men and women have contracted SARS-CoV-2, more men are dying from the disease. The death rate for males was 2.8 percent and 1.7 percent for women.

In the 2003 SARS outbreak in Hong Kong, for instance, nearly 22 percent of infected men died, compared to around 13 percent of women. In an analysis of MERS infections between 2017 and 2018, around 32 percent of men died, and nearly 26 percent of women. The difference could have something to do with the fact that the gene for the ACE-2 receptor, which is used by both SARS-CoV-2 and the SARS virus to enter host cells, is found on the X chromosome, she speculates. If it’s a particular variant of the protein that makes people more susceptible to the virus, then females could compensate for that one bad variant because they’d have two copies of the X chromosome, whereas men would be stuck with only one copy. Or, “it could be that men are more likely to be smokers and so their lungs are already a bit compromised. There’s definitely more to be teased out there,” Gralinski says.

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