Coronavirus COVID-19 Jan – April 2020

Written by  //  April 30, 2020  //  China, Health & Health care, U.S.  //  No comments

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30 April
Coronavirus and South Korea: How lives changed to beat the virus
(BBC) South Korea has recorded its first day with no locally transmitted cases of Covid-19 since the middle of February.
It did record four new cases, but all were people coming from abroad, who were diagnosed and isolated on arrival.They brought the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 10,765.
It’s a major milestone for a country that was once among the world’s biggest virus hotspots, but it comes after significant efforts – and remarkably, without a total lockdown.

29 April
When Will COVID-19 End
Data-Driven Estimation of End Dates (updated on April 29)
This site provides continuous predictive monitoring of COVID-19 developments as a complement to monitoring confirmed cases. SIR (susceptible-infected-recovered) model is regressed with data from different countries to estimate the pandemic life cycle curves and predict when the pandemic might end in respective countries and the world, with codes from Milan Batista and data from Our World in Data. Given the rapidly changing situations, the predictive monitors are updated daily with the latest data. Motivation, theory, method, and caution are in this paper.
*Disclaimer: Content from this website is STRICTLY ONLY for educational and research purposes and may contain errors. The model and data are inaccurate to the complex, evolving, and heterogeneous realities of different countries. Predictions are uncertain by nature. Readers must take any predictions with caution. Overly optimism based on some predicted end dates is dangerous because it may loosen our disciplines and controls and cause the turnaround of the virus and infection, and must be avoided.

28 April
Thomas Friedman: Is Sweden Doing It Right?
There are only different hellish ways to adapt to a pandemic and save both lives and livelihoods. I raise Sweden not because I think it has found the magic balance — it is way too soon to tell — but because I think we should be debating all the different ways and costs of acquiring immunity.
I believe one of the most important questions we need to answer, as these lockdowns end, is this: Are we going to adapt to the coronavirus — by design — the way Sweden is attempting to do — or are we going to go the same direction as Sweden — by messy default — or are we just going to say “the hell with lockdowns” and go 50 different ways?
… So, if you do your best to shelter and sequester all of those over 65 and those with serious pre-existing conditions — notably heart and lung disease and diabetes — and let much of the rest of the population circulate and get exposed and become naturally immune, once about 60 percent of your population has gone through this you’ll have herd immunity and the viral transmission will be blocked. (This assumes that immunity for some period of time results from exposure, as most experts think it will.)
The upside of Sweden’s strategy — if it works — is that your economy does not take such a deep hit from lockdowns. It is unlike the strategy of suppression pursued in cities across America right now — as well as around the globe — where, when the lockdown is over, your population largely has not developed immunity and so most everyone remains vulnerable to the virus, and to a second wave in the fall.The result, so far has been a gradual building of herd immunity among those least vulnerable while the country has avoided mass unemployment and an overwhelming of the hospital system.

25 April
Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying of strokes
Doctors sound alarm about patients in their 30s and 40s left debilitated or dead. Some didn’t even know they were infected.
(WaPo) Reports of strokes in the young and middle-aged — not just at Mount Sinai, but also in many other hospitals in communities hit hard by the novel coronavirus — are the latest twist in our evolving understanding of the disease it causes. The numbers of those affected are small but nonetheless remarkable because they challenge how doctors understand the virus. Even as it has infected nearly 2.8 million people worldwide and killed about 195,000 as of Friday, its biological mechanisms continue to elude top scientific minds. Once thought to be a pathogen that primarily attacks the lungs, it has turned out to be a much more formidable foe — impacting nearly every major organ system in the body.

24 April
Could the Power of the Sun Slow the Coronavirus?
A study suggests that ultraviolet rays could slow the virus, though not enough to wipe it out, and not as a treatment.
World leaders launch plan to speed COVID-19 drugs, vaccine; U.S. stays away
(Reuters) – World leaders pledged on Friday to accelerate work on tests, drugs and vaccines against COVID-19 and to share them around the globe, but the United States did not take part in the launch of the World Health Organization (WHO) initiative.
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa were among those who joined a video conference to launch what the WHO billed as a “landmark collaboration” to fight the pandemic.
The aim is to speed development of safe and effective drugs, tests and vaccines to prevent, diagnose and treat COVID-19, the lung disease caused be the novel coronavirus – and ensure equal access to treatments for rich and poor.

20 April
The Infection That’s Silently Killing Coronavirus Patients
By Dr.Richard Levitan
(NYT) We are just beginning to recognize that Covid pneumonia initially causes a form of oxygen deprivation we call “silent hypoxia” — “silent” because of its insidious, hard-to-detect nature.
… This silent hypoxia, and the patient’s physiological response to it, causes even more inflammation and more air sacs to collapse, and the pneumonia worsens until oxygen levels plummet.
… There is a way we could identify more patients who have Covid pneumonia sooner and treat them more effectively — and it would not require waiting for a coronavirus test at a hospital or doctor’s office. It requires detecting silent hypoxia early through a common medical device that can be purchased without a prescription at most pharmacies: a pulse oximeter.

17-18 April
No evidence that people who have survived coronavirus have immunity, says World Health Organisation
Antibody tests may be ineffective at showing if a patient is immune to the virus or for how long antibodies might give protection
Many tests being developed are pin-prick blood tests similar to widely used instant HIV tests and measure for raised levels of the antibodies the body uses to fight the virus.
Speaking at a press conference in Geneva, Dr Maria van Kerkhove said: “There are a lot of countries that are suggesting using rapid diagnostic serological tests to be able to capture what they think will be a measure of immunity.
Truth Tracker: There’s no scientific proof that COVID-19 was made in a Chinese lab
(CTV) Despite new reports that U.S. officials are investigating the possibility the coronavirus was secretly manufactured in a Chinese lab, there is no scientific evidence to support those theories.
Scientists who’ve studied the virus have already dispelled those rumours and instead pointed to bats as the likeliest source, suggesting that COVID-19 was created by nature, not humans.
At its molecular level, the virus’s genetic makeup closely resembles one that already exists in horseshoe bats in China’s Hunan province.
BCG rumours and other stories fact-checked
(BBC) The virus wasn’t created in a lab
A video published by the Epoch Times, that contains claims that the coronavirus was created in a laboratory, has been marked false on Facebook where it has been watched almost 70 million times.
The opening feels like a slick and dramatic Netflix documentary – there’s a flash and crack of a lightning bolt followed by ominous music.
The hour-long video includes a theory about a lab in Wuhan creating the virus and leaking it, due to poor security.
The BBC’s science editor, Paul Rincon, says “there’s currently no evidence that any research institute in Wuhan was the source of Sars-CoV-2” (which causes Covid-19).
Scientific analysis of the evidence shows the virus came from animals, and was not man-made.
A peer-reviewed study in March found no evidence the coronavirus had been engineered, stating that “it is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation.”
Tracking down the origin of the Wuhan coronavirus (film)
(Epoch Times) “Additional studies of Shi Zhengli very strongly support the idea that this new coronavirus came from a recombination event. That is a cutting and pasting of two different viruses. So her work proves or strongly supports the hypothesis that it could not possibly have been generated in a natural zoonodic transmission, but had to come from a hospital setting, the laboratory setting, almost certainly the biosafety level 4 Wuhan research facility.”
As the world is gripped by the ongoing pandemic, many questions remain about the origin of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus—commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
Join Epoch Times senior investigative reporter Joshua Philipp as he explores the known facts surrounding the CCP virus and the global pandemic it caused. In his investigation, Philipp explores the scientific data, and interviews top scientists and national security experts. And while the mystery surrounding the virus’s origin remains, much is learned about the CCP’s cover-up that led to the pandemic and the threat it poses to the world.
Le coronavirus, fabriqué à partir du virus du sida ? La thèse très contestée du professeur Montagnier
Le Prix Nobel de médecine 2008 a repris à son compte une étude indienne déjugée, qui affirme que le SARS-CoV-2 a été manipulé en laboratoire.
Par William Audureau
(Le Monde) L’argument paraît imparable : le virus SARS-CoV-2 aurait été fabriqué en laboratoire à partir du virus du sida (VIH), c’est un Prix Nobel de médecine qui l’affirme. Jeudi 16 avril, le professeur Luc Montagnier, qui a reçu cette grande distinction scientifique en 2008 pour sa participation à la découverte du virus responsable du sida, affirme dans un entretien au site Pourquoidocteur.fr que le SARS-CoV-2 est une fabrication humaine, et « l’histoire du marché aux poissons (…) une belle légende »

14 April
State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses
(WaPo) The research was designed to prevent the next SARS-like pandemic by anticipating how it might emerge. But even in 2015, other scientists questioned whether Shi’s team was taking unnecessary risks. In October 2014, the U.S. government had imposed a moratorium on funding of any research that makes a virus more deadly or contagious, known as “gain-of-function” experiments.
As many have pointed out, there is no evidence that the virus now plaguing the world was engineered; scientists largely agree it came from animals. But that is not the same as saying it didn’t come from the lab, which spent years testing bat coronaviruses in animals, said Xiao Qiang, a research scientist at the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley

5 April
Jay Bhattacharya: Questioning Conventional Wisdom of the COVID-19 Crisis
(Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson) Jay Bhattacharya is a professor of medicine at Stanford Medicine and a core faculty member at Stanford Health Policy. His March 24, 2020, commentary in the Wall Street Journal questions the premise that “coronavirus would kill millions without shelter-in-place orders and quarantines.” In the article he suggests that “there’s little evidence to confirm that premise—and projections of the death toll could plausibly be orders of magnitude too high.”
In this edition of Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, the Murdoch Distinguished Policy Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Robinson asks Bhattacharya to defend that statement and describe to us how he arrived at this conclusion. We get into the details of his research, which used data collected from hotspots around the world and his background as a doctor, a medical researcher, and an economist.

25 March
Fight against new coronavirus at risk as world’s medical glove capital struggles with lockdown
(Reuters) Disposable rubber gloves are indispensable in the global fight against the new coronavirus, yet a month’s lockdown in stricken Malaysia where three of every five gloves are made has upended the supply chain and threatens to hamstring hospitals worldwide.
The world’s biggest maker of medical gloves by volume, Top Glove Corp Bhd, has the capacity to make 200 million gloves a day, but a supplier shutdown has left it with only two weeks’ worth of boxes to ship them in, its founder told Reuters.
“We can’t get our gloves to hospitals without cartons,” Executive Chairman Lim Wee Chai said in an interview. “Hospitals need our gloves. We can’t just supply 50 per cent of their requirement.”

18 March
Biohackers team up online to help develop coronavirus solutions
Students, scientists, developers and health professionals use forums to investigate potential vaccines and methods of testing
(The Guardian) Scientific questions and crippling logistical challenges surrounding the global response to the fast-moving coronavirus pandemic have led many to help look for solutions, stoking a burgeoning DIY biology movement.
Spurred by the insecurity, students, scientists, developers and health professionals have taken to online biology forums in recent weeks to help investigate potential vaccines and innovative methods of testing.

15 – 17 March
Bloomberg Politics: As Europe and the U.S. follow China’s lead in imposing curbs on daily life to fight the coronavirus, Asia’s experience of the pandemic provides both hope and caution.
China appears to be getting a handle on the virus, but the rest of the region is far from in the clear. A wave of secondary effects is bad news for anyone expecting the Covid-19 crisis to pass quickly.
In Malaysia, the number of cases jumped the most in Southeast Asia, prompting the government to ban all visitors and shut all places of worship, schools and businesses that don’t sell daily supplies. That could hurt neighboring Singapore, which relies on commuters from Malaysia for about a tenth of its workforce.
The Philippines widened a month-long quarantine in the capital Manila, while Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous nation, saw a surge of infections this week, including a member of President Joko Widodo’s cabinet.
India, with some of the world’s most densely populated cities, is bracing for what could be an “avalanche” of cases. Equally worrying, North Korea claims to have no cases at all.
Even Hong Kong, which has seen success containing the outbreak, asked residents to avoid traveling and extended school closures until at least April 20.
Three months after the virus appeared in Wuhan, Asia’s experience shows the world’s fight is just beginning

Coronavirus: at a glance
A summary of the biggest developments in the global coronavirus outbreak

13 March
Why Soap Works
(NYT) Soap is more than a personal protectant; when used properly, it becomes part of a communal safety net. At the molecular level, soap works by breaking things apart, but at the level of society, it helps hold everything together. Remember this the next time you have the impulse to bypass the sink: Other people’s lives are in your hands..

11 March
WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 – 11 March 2020
WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.
We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.
Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.
Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.

9 March
Paul Farmer on the coronavirus: “This is another caregivers’ disease”
The caregivers need protecting, too, and sometimes the caregivers are going to be family members. This is another caregivers’ disease like Ebola. The people most at risk of being exposed are those providing care.
(Axios) Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health, has spent decades treating infectious diseases in impoverished countries like Haiti and Sierra Leone.
“The U.S. has lagged in its response to the coronavirus, but Farmer still has confidence in the country’s public health agencies as well as the treatments that are available to infected patients.
Our public health professionals are really good, and our scientists and researchers are the best in the world. It’s nice to be able to say that. And if you are critically ill with this disease, even though we don’t have a specific treatment, we do have nonspecific treatments — they’re called supportive and clinical care. And these nonspecific treatments are lifesaving.
“But it’s so confusing right now. People like me — this is my area of expertise — we don’t even know what to tell our own friends and family about things like travel, events, their schedules. Even though we’re saying, “Don’t panic, there’s this safety net here,” we’re also saying, “This is a rapidly evolving situation.” We’ll find out a hell of a lot more about this virus with more widespread testing, and I believe we will find thousands of cases already in the U.S.”

5 March
WHO chief on COVID-19: ‘This is a time for pulling out all the stops’
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus concerned efforts by some countries ‘do not match the level of threat’
Nations around the world girded for months of disruptions from the coronavirus Thursday as its unrelenting spread brought ballooning infections, economic fallout and sweeping containment measures.
[The] head of the World Health Organization (WHO), said Thursday that 95,265 cases have been reported around the world, with 3,281 deaths.
Tedros said WHO is concerned that in some countries, “the level of political commitment, and the actions that demonstrate that commitment, do not match the level of threat we all face.”

4 March
There are now over 93,000 cases globally according to a Reuters tally, with 13% or almost 12,700 cases in countries outside China. Countries and regions outside the Chinese mainland have reported a total of 223 deaths, including 43 in the past day with new fatalities in Italy, Iran, France, Spain and the United States. With China, there are a total of 3,204 fatalities.

3 March
‘An absolute disaster’: Iran struggles as coronavirus spreads
Streets are empty, schools and cinemas are closed, but there is a feeling that officials have been too slow to react
(The Guardian) As the official death toll has risen – authorities said a total of 77 people had succumbed to the virus in Iran – the most of any country outside China – Friday prayers were cancelled for the first time since the 1979 revolution, as have football matches.
Iran’s Coronavirus Response: Pride, Paranoia, Secrecy, Chaos
Iranian leaders once predicted the coronavirus epidemic ravaging China would not affect their country. Now Iran has among the most coronavirus deaths outside China, and Iranian medical workers have been told to keep quiet.
(NYT) Nearly three dozen Iranian government officials and members of parliament are infected and a senior adviser to the supreme leader has died.
The Health Ministry has proposed sending 300,000 militia members door-to-door on a desperate mission to sanitize homes. The top prosecutor has warned that anyone hoarding face masks and other public health equipment risks the death penalty.

24-27 February
The virus is coming
Governments have an enormous amount of work to do
(The EconomistLeader) Officials will have to act when they do not have all the facts, because much about the virus is unknown. A broad guess is that 25-70% of the population of any infected country may catch the disease. China’s experience suggests that, of the cases that are detected, roughly 80% will be mild, 15% will need treatment in hospital and 5% will require intensive care. Experts say that the virus may be five to ten times as lethal as seasonal flu, which, with a fatality rate of 0.1%, kills 60,000 Americans in a bad year. Across the world, the death toll could be in the millions.
If the pandemic is like a very severe flu, models point to global economic growth being two percentage points lower over 12 months, at around 1%; if it is worse still, the world economy could shrink. As that prospect sank in during the week, the S&P 500 fell by 8%
World prepares for coronavirus pandemic; global recession forecast
(Reuters) – Hopes the coronavirus would be contained to China vanished on Friday as infections spread rapidly around the world, countries started stockpiling medical equipment and investors took flight in expectation of a global recession.
apan is scheduled to host the 2020 Olympics in July but the head of the WHO’s emergency program, Dr. Mike Ryan, said discussions were being held with organizers about whether it should go ahead.
The coronavirus has played havoc with global aviation and tourism as airlines cancel flights, countries ban visitors from hot spots and nervous passengers put off travel.
California-based Facebook Inc said it would cancel its annual developer conference and Microsoft Corp followed suit by withdrawing from a gaming conference scheduled for next month.
You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus
Most cases are not life-threatening, which is also what makes the virus a historic challenge to contain
(The Atlantic) Many countries have responded with containment attempts, despite the dubious efficacy and inherent harms of China’s historically unprecedented crackdown. Certain containment measures will be appropriate, but widely banning travel, closing down cities, and hoarding resources are not realistic solutions for an outbreak that lasts years. All of these measures come with risks of their own. Ultimately some pandemic responses will require opening borders, not closing them. At some point the expectation that any area will escape effects of COVID-19 must be abandoned: The disease must be seen as everyone’s problem.
Mike Pence, Who Enabled a Massive HIV Outbreak As Governor, Is Handling U.S. Coronavirus Response
(Jezebel) Perhaps you remember that before Pence was VP, he was the governor of Indiana, where his signature achievement was enabling an HIV crisis so severe that at its height, 20 new cases were being diagnosed each week.
Vice President Pence will be in charge of coronavirus response, Trump announces as he seeks to reassure the public about crisis
(WaPo) The Dow Jones industrial average endured its worst two-day slump in four years Tuesday. On Wednesday, it was up 300 points shortly after open, but closed down about 124 points.
On European and Asian financial markets, economic alarms continued to flash, however, with cases spreading and little sign that the epidemic was relenting after the CDC warned of the “inevitable” spread in the United States of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Air Canada cancels flights to China until April as government braces for domestic coronavirus outbreak
Government urges Canadians to watch travel advisories as infections spread in South Korea, Iran and Italy
Coronavirus in Middle East: What you need to know
A made-in-Canada solution to the coronavirus outbreak?
The best hope for an antiviral drug may come from Michel Chrétien’s Montreal lab
(Maclean’s) Fifteen years ago, in the aftermath of the SARS epidemic that infected 8,000 patients in 26 countries, Chrétien and Mbikay, a medical researcher named Michel Chrétien and his longtime collaborator Majambu Mbikay, a Congolese scientist, researchers at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal (IRCM), began testing their idea that a derivative of quercetin, a plant compound known to help lower cholesterol and treat inflammatory disease—and common, at low doses, in over-the-counter medication—was a “broad spectrum” antiviral drug that could fight a range of viruses.
When an Ebola outbreak struck West Africa in 2014, the two scientists teamed up with the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg to test quercetin’s effectiveness on mice infected with Ebola—and found it effective even when administered only minutes before infection. It still needs to undergo clinical trials.
But when a new global health crisis erupted in Wuhan, China late last year, Chrétien and his team once again got to thinking. They believed the drug might work on COVID-19, which has infected nearly 80,000 people and killed 2,600, according to the World Health Organization.
… Last week, they invited Chrétien’s team to start clinical trials in China. The plan: send samples of quercetin to the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan. The Canadian and Chinese scientists would collaborate on the trials, which would include about 1,000 test patients. Chrétien and Mbikay plan to join colleagues from the non-profit International Consortium of Antivirals—which Chrétien co-founded with Jeremy Carver in 2004 as a response to the SARS epidemic—in manning a 24/7 communications centre as soon as clinical trials go ahead.
(Al Jazeera) Coronavirus spreads to nine countries in Middle East, sending governments scrambling to contain outbreak.
‘Recipe for a Massive Viral Outbreak’: Iran Emerges as a Worldwide Threat
Long a regional crossroads, Iran is spreading the new coronavirus to a host of neighboring countries. Many are ill equipped to cope.
Religious pilgrims, migrant workers, businessmen, soldiers and clerics all flow constantly across Iran’s frontiers, often crossing into countries with few border controls, weak and ineffective governments and fragile health systems.
Now, as it struggles to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Iran is also emerging as the second focal point after China for the spread of the disease. Cases in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates — even one in Canada — have all been traced to Iran, sending tremors of fear rippling out from Kabul to Beirut.

21 February
How the cruise ship coronavirus quarantine backfired
As the number of cases on the ship steadily increased, …hundreds of crew members – wearing gowns and masks – continued to move freely on the ship, delivering meals and working side-by-side as passengers were told to stay in their rooms.
…accounts provide new insight into why the quarantine, designed to prevent transmission of a new and serious virus, turned into a glaring example of a public-health experiment gone wrong. Among those on the ship, at least two have died and hundreds more have been infected. By the time the quarantine was officially lifted this week, at least 634 of the 3,711 people on board had caught it, making it the largest cluster of cases outside of the virus’s epicentre in China.
Diamond Princess cruise passengers disembark after 14-day quarantine ends in Japan, raising concerns among health experts (CNN 19 February)

20 February
South Korea city deserted after coronavirus ‘super-spreads’ through church
The deserted shopping malls and cinemas of Daegu, a city of 2.5 million people, became one of the most striking images outside China of an outbreak that international authorities are trying stop from becoming a global pandemic.
New research suggesting the virus is more contagious than previously thought added to the alarm. And in China, where the virus has killed more than 2,100 people and infected nearly 75,000, officials changed their methodology for reporting infections, creating new doubt about data they have cited as evidence their strategy is working. Online site for coronavirus more news

13 February
Coronavirus Cases Seemed to Be Leveling Off. Not Anymore.
On Thursday, health officials in China reported more than 14,000 new cases in Hubei Province alone. A change in diagnostic criteria may be the reason.
(NYT) The sharp rise in reported cases illustrates how hard it has been for scientists to grasp the extent and severity of the coronavirus outbreak in China, particularly inside the epicenter, where thousands of sick people remain untested for the illness.
Confronted by so many people with symptoms and no easy way to test them, authorities appear to have changed the way the illness is identified. It is not uncommon for scientists to refine diagnostic criteria as their understanding of a new disease changes. But when the criteria are changed, experts said, it makes little sense to continue to make week-over-week comparisons. “It sounds simplistic, but it’s so very important — what numbers are you counting?” said Dr. Schaffner, the infectious disease specialist.
Scientists have been wary of the notion that the epidemic has peaked for other reasons, as well.
Unlike MERS and SARS, both diseases caused by coronaviruses, the virus spreading from China appears to be highly contagious, though it is probably less often fatal.
China reports record increase in coronavirus deaths
(Reuters) – The Chinese province at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak reported a record rise in deaths and thousands more infections using a broader definition on Thursday, while Japan became the third place outside mainland China to suffer a fatality.
12 February
Coronavirus is the first true social media “infodemic”
Social media has zipped information and misinformation around the world at unprecedented speeds, fueling panic, racism… and hope.
(MIT Technology Review) On February 2, the World Health Organization dubbed the new coronavirus “a massive ‘infodemic,’” referring to ”an overabundance of information—some accurate and some not—that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.” It’s a distinction that sets the coronavirus apart from previous viral outbreaks. While SARS, MERS, and Zika before it all caused global panic, fears around the coronavirus have been especially amplified by social media. It has allowed viral disinformation to spread and flourish at unprecedented speeds, creating an environment of heightened uncertainty that has fueled anxiety and racism in-person and online.
But as much as social media has perpetuated disinformation, it has been an important source of verified information as well. Journalists around the world have used Chinese social media to gain a more accurate picture of the situation and gathered and archived verified reports for posterity. The volume of personal anecdotes and reports that circulate everyday about the ground truth in China has also pressured the government to release more accurate characterizations about the crisis.

11 February
As Coronavirus Stifles China, Economic Logjams Build Worldwide
A tumble in commodity markets reflects the spreading ripples of an outbreak.
(NYT) In Australia, after hauling hundreds of thousands of tons of iron ore to China, returning freighters can face a 14-day quarantine before being able to reload.
BHP, which has headquarters in London and Melbourne and is one of the world’s largest copper mining companies, has been in talks to possibly delay shipments to Chinese ports.
And from Qatar to Indonesia, exporters of liquefied natural gas face the prospect of disrupted shipments after a crucial importer in China is reportedly turning back deliveries after invoking clauses in long-term contracts that blame a “greater force.”
The coronavirus outbreak in China has generated economic waves that are rocking global commodities markets and disrupting the supply networks that act as the backbone of the global economy.
The Illness Now Has a Name, COVID-19
The World Health Organization said it had chosen a name for the disease that makes no reference to places, animals or people to avoid stigma.

6-10 February
Cruise ship coronavirus infections double, exceeding the total for any country but China
(WaPo) The number of people with coronavirus on a cruise ship in the port of Yokohama nearly doubled to 135 Monday, prompting imperiled crew members to plead for help and setting off debate among experts over whether the more than 3,700 people quarantined aboard should be taken ashore or left on the ship.
Unlike passengers, crew members are not housed in individual staterooms, but are living as many as four to a room. They also are traversing the ship delivering meals, which increases their contact with other people and raises the chances of becoming infected.

Bloomberg: On Jan. 3, police in Wuhan, China, summoned a local physician to deliver an official “admonition.” Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist, had alerted his colleagues in a private WeChat group to a SARS-like virus being passed from human to human… His post had leaked to the wider internet, and he stood accused of “rumor-mongering,” a potentially career-threatening charge.
Li is now dead, struck down by the coronavirus he sought to warn about. His mother and father are hospitalized with fever. Tens of thousands of Wuhan residents have been sickened and, since the city sits at the central crossroads of China—a hub of rail, road and river transport—the virus has spread all over the country and to the rest of the world.

Coronavirus travel restrictions are the wrong approach – here’s why
Travel bans have limited effectiveness in managing the spread of disease, and some big drawbacks
Dr. Vivek Goel, founding head of Public Health Ontario, set up in response to the SARS crisis, and is currently a professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health and vice-president of research, innovation and strategic initiatives at U of T.
(CBC Opinion) When the emergency committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new coronavirus a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” on Jan. 31, it also made clear it “does not recommend any travel or trade restriction.”
Nonetheless, the United States moved quickly to bar all non-U.S. citizens from entering the country if they had recently traveled to China. At least 20 countries have imposed similar measures, including Australia, New Zealand, India, Israel, the Philippines, Singapore and South Korea.
The moves may be driven by an overabundance of caution, fear, xenophobia, or a mix of these and other factors, but they aren’t supported by science or evidence-based public health best practices. … Given the speed at which viruses can spread, travel bans are usually too late to contain such outbreaks. Our resources should be invested in public-health control measures that are shown to work, based on evidence.

China Tightens Wuhan Lockdown in ‘Wartime’ Battle With Coronavirus
With infections doubling every four days and more than 600 deaths, China intensified its response in Wuhan, with house-to-house temperature checks and mass confinements at quarantine centers.

5 February
WHO probes Singapore meet linked to spread of virus
(Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has begun an investigation into three virus infections linked to an international business meeting in Singapore last month, heightening concerns about the spread of the disease outside China.
The cases linked to the meeting provide more evidence that the coronavirus is spreading through human-to-human contact outside China, which the WHO has said is deeply concerning and could signal a much larger outbreak.
New outbreak death toll nears 500, as confirmed cases pass 24,500, with majority of infections and deaths in China
(Al Jazeera)The virus has killed two people outside of mainland China, one in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines. At least 25 countries have confirmed cases.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for greater solidarity among the international community, and criticised governments for being “well behind” in sharing data on virus cases.
Coronavirus a ‘new layer of uncertainty’ for economy: ECB’s Lagarde
The spread of the virus presents “a new layer of uncertainty” the the European economy, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde said.
“While the threat of a trade war between the United States and China appears to have receded, the coronavirus adds a new layer of uncertainty,” Lagarde said at a speech in Paris, putting the disease on the same level as “global risks” such as trade tensions and geopolitical flashpoints.
WHO: ‘No known effective’ treatments for new coronavirus
The World Health Organization (WHO) played down media reports of “breakthrough” drugs being discovered to treat people infected with the new coronavirus.

4 February
Laurie Garrett on Coronavirus: Racist Attitudes Could Aid & Abet the Spread of the Pandemic (a somewhat misleading headline as the interview focuses more on efforts in China to contain and treat the virus)
Officials say priority is to stop mild virus cases from getting worse
National Health Commission admits Wuhan lacked intensive care facilities at start of the outbreak, but more beds and staff have now been provided
And an epidemiologist says preliminary tests have shown two drugs, Arbidol and Darunavir, could effectively inhibit replication of the new strain
Coronavirus: China admits ‘deficiencies’ in response to virus
Chinese health officials confirmed the number of fatalities has reached 425, with over 20,400 people infected nationwide. Hong Kong has also reported a coronavirus death, bringing the total outside mainland China to two.

3 February
The New Coronavirus Is a Truly Modern Epidemic
New diseases are mirrors that reflect how a society works—and where it fails.
…the World Health Organization recently declared a “public-health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC)—a designation that it has used on five previous occasions, for epidemics of H1N1 swine flu, polio, Ebola, Zika, and Ebola again. The invocation of a PHEIC is a sign that the new coronavirus should be taken seriously—and as the sixth such invocation in a little more than a decade, it is a reminder that we live in an age of epidemics.
Temporary Ban of Foreign Nationals Traveling From Mainland China Per Novel Coronavirus Outbreak; Additional Countries Added To Travel Ban 3.0
(National Law Review) By Presidential Proclamation, dated January 31, 2020 and effective on February 2, 2020 at 5pm EST, the United States is suspending the entry of “foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the 2019 novel coronavirus.” As a result, foreign nationals (of any nationality), other than immediate family of U.S. citizens, permanent residents and certain others, who have been residing in or traveled to Mainland China during the 14-day period preceding their request for admission to the United States will be denied entry. Also, on January 31, 2020, President Trump issued another Proclamation expanding the ongoing travel ban, pursuant to Executive Order 13780 of March 6, 2017, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States (Travel Ban 3.0), to include certain foreign nationals of the following six countries: Burma (Myanmar), Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.
China Pledged to Build a New Hospital in 10 Days. It’s Close.
State news outlets reported that the 1,000-bed facility would accept patients from Monday even as construction workers raced to complete it.
Laurie Garrett on How Trump Has Sabotaged America’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
(Democracy Now) …the Trump administration, from the moment it came in, wanted to disband programs that were signature programs of the Obama administration. One of them had to do with global health security in response to the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, which, as you know, was a very deadly outcome and involved three countries. The United States played a big role, including having our military on site in Liberia in support. And the Trump administration pretty much disbanded the entire program, got rid of the National Security Council’s special pandemic response unit, got rid of the equivalent in the Department of Homeland Security, cut the budget of the Centers for Disease Control, and, you know, we can go down a huge list. Even a program that is specifically aiming at protecting you and me, citizens inside the country, by beefing up the hospital capacities and training of local healthcare workers and public health leaders is running out of money and will be officially shut down in May, unless something happens.

2 February
Coronavirus fears trigger anti-China sentiment across the globe
(AP) A scary new virus from China has spread around the world. So has rising anti-Chinese sentiment, calls for a full travel ban on Chinese visitors and indignities for Chinese and other Asians.
Restaurants in South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Vietnam have refused to accept Chinese customers. Indonesians marched near a hotel and called on Chinese guests there to leave. French and Australian newspapers face criticism for racist headlines. Chinese and other Asians in Europe, the United States, Asia and the Pacific complain of racism.
Coronavirus Pummels Wuhan, a City Short of Supplies and Overwhelmed
It is nearly impossible to get the care they need to treat, or even diagnose, the coronavirus, say residents at the crisis’ center.

31 January
New coronavirus deaths and cases in China reach record daily highs as epicentre Hubei province delivers new report
Confirmed cases rise to 11,791 nationally; death toll hits 259
Hubei province – the coronavirus outbreak’s epicentre – announced 45 new deaths and 1,347 new confirmed cases
(SCMP) Of the newly reported deaths in Hubei, 33 were in Wuhan, the province’s capital and a major Chinese transit hub, where the first cases of the coronavirus were identified, according to data published by the Hubei Health Commission.
As of Friday, Hubei had 7,153 confirmed cases, with 36,838 still under observation for infection, according to the provincial health authority. Some 956 individuals with the illness are in “severe” condition and 338 are in “critical” condition.
Authorities in China’s coronavirus epicentre of Hubei province reported 45 new deaths from the illness and 1,347 new confirmed cases on Saturday, both daily record highs.
According to the National Health Commission in Beijing, 11,791 cases have been confirmed in China’s 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions as of Friday. The new deaths have brought the nationwide death toll to 259.
Of the newly reported deaths in Hubei, 33 were in Wuhan, the province’s capital and a major Chinese transit hub, where the first cases of the coronavirus were identified, according to data published by the Hubei Health Commission.
As of Friday, Hubei had 7,153 confirmed cases, with 36,838 still under observation for infection, according to the provincial health authority. Some 956 individuals with the illness are in “severe” condition and 338 are in “critical” condition.
Underscoring the apparent ease with which the illness may be spreading, a recent statement by the government of Xinyu, a city in Jiangxi province – which is adjacent to Hubei – said 17 new cases have been confirmed in the city, and that 15 of them were infected by a single person. The statement has continued to attract more attention since it was published on Thursday.
As the Chinese government scrambles to contain the outbreak, the contagion has spread to all of mainland China’s 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, as well as to at least 22 other countries.
China’s race to build temporary hospitals to fight coronavirus ‘too little too late’
Three makeshift facilities are under construction in Hubei, the epicentre of the outbreak
But academic says they may be substandard, and specialist treatment centres should already be in place
(SCMP) The two new facilities in Wuhan will provide another 2,300 beds and are expected to be ready next week. In Ezhou, the temporary hospital is expected to be completed in 10 days and will add 600 beds, according to the Hubei government.
Paper on human transmission of coronavirus sets off social media storm in China
Research based on first 425 cases in Wuhan finds disease was being spread among close contacts since mid-December
But that was only confirmed by health authorities on January 20, and internet users accuse them of withholding information

30 January
New coronavirus an international public health emergency, WHO declares
(Global) The World Health Organization has declared an outbreak of a new coronavirus from Wuhan, China, to be a public health emergency of international concern.
WHO officials made the announcement Thursday following an emergency committee meeting of health experts on the virus. … the number of confirmed cases has exploded to over 8,000, with 170 confirmed deaths. Cases have been reported in 21 other countries, including Canada, which has three confirmed cases of the virus.

28 January
Coronavirus Live Updates: Death Toll Climbs, and So Does the Number of Infections
Officials also announced that after repeated offers of assistance, Chinese authorities agreed on Tuesday to allow in teams of international experts, coordinated by the World Health Organization, to help with research and containment.
China put 46 million people on lockdown to contain the Wuhan coronavirus. But quarantines throughout history have been riddled with mishaps
(Business Insider) In 1348, Venice established the first official quarantine system in order to keep the bubonic plague, or “Black Death” from spreading through its ports. A Venetian council was given the authority to prevent ships, cargo, and people suspected of infection from entering the city for 40 days.
During this time, the city built a holding center on an island off the coast, where infected individuals were sent to either wait out their 40 day trial, or die. This isolation period became known as quarantinario, taken from the Italian word for 40. Thus, the first official “quarantine” was born.
We Made the Coronavirus Epidemic
It may have started with a bat in a cave, but human activity set it loose.
By David Quammen, author of “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic.”
(NYT) Long term: We must remember, when the dust settles, that nCoV-2019 was not a novel event or a misfortune that befell us. It was — it is — part of a pattern of choices that we humans are making.

27 January
The Truth About “Dramatic Action”
by Da Shiji
(China Media Project) At 2AM on January 23, authorities in Wuhan suddenly issued the order to close off the city. According to the order, from 10AM that same day, all public buses, subways, ferries, long-distance buses and other transport services would be suspended; the airport and train stations would be shuttered. At this point, the WHO might have had reservations about the necessity and effectiveness of this strategy – but in any case, is was irreversible, and it would soon extend to neighboring cities as well.
In less than two days, up to noon on January 24, a total of 14 cities in Hubei province would be brought into the quarantine zone.
China’s capacity to impress with such grand gestures calls to mind talk of the “Chinese miracle,” often used to describe the performance of the country’s economy over four decades. But is it fair to regard this case of large-scale quarantine also as a “Chinese miracle” in public health?
Everyone must understand, first of all, that this epidemic was allowed to spread for a period of more than forty days before any of the above-mentioned cities were closed off, or any decisive action taken. In fact, if we look at the main efforts undertaken by the leadership, and by provincial and city governments in particular, these were focused mostly not on the containment of the epidemic itself, but on the containment and suppression of information about the disease.
According to reports from Caixin Media, one of China’s leading professional news outlets, the entire situation began on December 8, with the discovery of the first known case of an infected patient in Wuhan, a stall operator from the Huanan Seafood Market.
The period from December 8 to December 31 was a crucial 23-day period. During this time, scientists in China were not in fact idle, but raced against the clock trying to trace the virus – and their performance was remarkable. Meng Xin, a researcher at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has since disclosed:
“So originally they [NOTE: Meng is referring here to the government] had one ace card in their hand. My colleagues worked hard through the night, and within one week had managed to: successfully isolate the disease, sequence the coronavirus genome, and confirmed the origin of the disease. In less than two weeks, they had developed test reagents and had distributed them to provincial CDCs, and they had reviewed anywhere from dozens to hundreds of specimens from Wuhan (the specific number is still unknown), actions that would earn unanimous praise from international colleagues and the World Health Organization, and that would save precious time in the prevention and control of the epidemic.”
Meng is referring here specifically to the actions taken by scientists in Beijing. But Shanghai scientists were not far behind. According to a report in Health News, the official publication of China’s National Health Commission, the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center  had isolated a new strain of coronavirus by January 5, within just 10 days of its receiving samples from patients in Wuhan on December 26, and scientists at the center had obtained the entire genome sequence.

China coronavirus: thousands left Wuhan for Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore or Tokyo before lockdown
But more travelled only as far as neighbouring Henan province
Over 4,000 people from Wuhan remain outside mainland China, as authorities call for help to accommodate them on their return
Fears of a global pandemic were raised by the number of people leaving Wuhan in the 24 days between the first cases of infection being reported on December 30 and the decision to suspend travel out of the city on Thursday.
China’s Building a Hospital in 10 Days
AD speaks to Gensler, a world leader in hospital and health care design, on what Chinese officials must do to ensure that their rushed hospital design can keep the the deadly coronavirus in check
The goal is to have the hospital completed on Monday, February 3. Though the building is being called a hospital, it certainly won’t be a traditional one. “The hospital is intended to isolate people with the coronavirus,” says James Crispino, global health and wellness practice area leader and principal at Gensler. “Since that’s its only purpose, it is not a hospital in the conventional sense. This hospital will have assessment and triage capabilities, some imaging capabilities, a clinical laboratory, a pharmacy, and isolation rooms—but not much else.”
The death toll from a coronavirus outbreak in China rose to 81, as the government extended the Lunar New Year holiday and more big businesses shut down or told staff to work from home in an effort to curb the spread. Malaysia imposed a temporary ban on Chinese nationals arriving from the city of Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province to stem the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Residents of China’s Hubei province will be also banned from entering Hong Kong from Monday as China tries to halt the rapid spread of the outbreak. Here are more facts on the virus, called 2019-nCoV, which can be transmitted among humans and belongs to the same coronavirus family as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
As Coronavirus Fears Intensify, Effectiveness of Quarantines Is Questioned
Amid news the coronavirus is spreading at an accelerating rate, concern is growing that China’s lockdown of cities may not only have come too late but could even make the situation worse.
(NYT) A top Chinese health official warned on Sunday that the spread of the deadly new coronavirus, already extraordinarily rapid, could accelerate further, deepening global fears about an illness that has sickened more than 2,000 people worldwide and killed at least 80 people in China. Adding to the growing alarm, the official, Ma Xiaowei, the director of China’s National Health Commission, said that people carrying the virus but not showing symptoms could still infect others. The incubation period, he added, can vary from one to 14 days, with a typical duration of about 10 days. Such asymptomatic transmission would represent a major difference between the new respiratory disease and SARS, which killed 800 people in China and around the world nearly two decades ago. “The epidemic is now entering a more serious and complex period,” Mr. Ma said during a news conference in Beijing. “It looks like it will continue for some time, and the number of cases may increase.” In China, it was a weekend of grim new warnings about the little-understood virus and a rising tally of infections and deaths. The official number of confirmed infections across China jumped by half within a span of 24 hours, building to 1,975 on Sunday from around 1,300 on Saturday morning.
26 January
Fourth coronavirus case confirmed in U.S., 1,000 more cases expected in China
Health authorities in China are struggling to deal with a skyrocketing infection rate in the country of the new coronavirus, with the number of cases increasing 50 percent in just 24 hours.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has warned of an “accelerating spread” of the coronavirus, adding to worries about the scope of a health crisis that has claimed at least 56 lives and triggered emergency health measures in cities across China.
More than 50 million people were ordered on lockdown in central China, with a travel ban covering 16 cities in the central Hubei province, where the virus was first encountered. Here’s what we know:
● The third and fourth confirmed infections in the United States were announced this weekend, both residents of Wuhan traveling through Southern California. Infections also have been confirmed in France, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan and Australia. We’re mapping the spread here.

What is the coronavirus and how worried should we be?
What are the symptoms caused by the virus from Wuhan in China, how does it relate to Sars, and at what point should you go to the doctor?
It is a novel coronavirus – that is to say, a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before. Like other coronaviruses, it has come from animals. Many of those infected either worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in the centre of the Chinese city, which also sold live and newly slaughtered animals. New and troubling viruses usually originate in animal hosts. Ebola and flu are examples.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers) are both caused by coronaviruses that came from animals. Although Mers is believed to be transmitted to humans from dromedaries, the original hosts for both coronaviruses were probably bats. There are suspicions now that the new coronavirus may have originated in bats or snakes, and possibly then was transmitted to humans via an intermediary species
The virus causes pneumonia. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases there can be organ failure. As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The antiviral drugs we have against flu will not work. If people are admitted to hospital, they may get support for their lungs and other organs as well as fluids. Recovery will depend on the strength of their immune system. Many of those who have died are known to have been already in poor health.

24 January
The Wuhan coronavirus has hit Xinjiang, where China has imprisoned at least 1 million Uighur Muslims. Its filthy detention camps will make inmates sitting ducks.
What we know so far about the coronavirus outbreak
Death toll stands at 26 and 1,000-bed hospital being built in Wuhan to deal with outbreak is due to open next week
The Chinese government has restricted the movement of about 33 million people with an unprecedented and indefinite lockdown after the virus originated in the city of Wuhan.
The World Health Organization’s emergency committee has concluded it’s “too early” to declare an international public health emergency, but says the situation is still to be considered an emergency in China. “It has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one,” said the WHO director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
A first version of a vaccine could start trials in the summer, but it will be close to year before vaccines are available publicly from drugs companies, one expert said at he World Economic Forum in Davos.

23 January
Scientists Scrutinize New Coronavirus Genome for Answers
(The Scientist) As of today (January 23), 18 people have died from a newly identified coronavirus, and more than 630 have been infected. Airports are screening passengers coming from at-risk regions. Public celebrations of the Lunar New Year have been cancelled in several Chinese cities. China has stopped trains and other transportation leaving Wuhan, where the infections originated, and restricted travel within the city and neighboring areas. The World Health Organization (WHO) held a conference today to discuss the travel bans and other precautions related to the new disease, currently being called 2019-nCoV, a respiratory virus with characteristics similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) from 2003.
As public health officials respond in real-time to the unfolding of the outbreak, so too are scientists. Just one month after the first case of the pneumonia-causing virus was reported on December 8, Chinese scientists sequenced the viral genome and made it public. Now, researchers around the globe are scrutinizing the sequence for insight into this mystery disease.
“It really is an amazing feat that they got these sequences out as quickly as they did,” says Vineet Menachery, a virologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch who has studied the new genome. That speed, he notes, stands in contrast with the SARS outbreak, in which “for many months, it was not known that there was an outbreak.”

Johns Hopkins: 2019 novel coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, a city in China, in December 2019. Although health officials are still tracing the exact source of this new coronavirus, early hypotheses thought it may be linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, China. Some people who visited the market developed viral pneumonia caused by 2019 novel coronavirus. A study that came out on Jan. 25, 2020, notes that the individual with the first reported case became ill on Dec. 1, 2019, and had no link to the seafood market. Investigations are ongoing as to how this virus originated and spread.This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person to person.

(WHO) Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. … Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Coronavirus and the Sun: a Lesson from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic
Fresh air, sunlight and improvised face masks seemed to work a century ago; and they might help us now.
Put simply, medics found that severely ill flu patients nursed outdoors recovered better than those treated indoors. A combination of fresh air and sunlight seems to have prevented deaths among patients; and infections among medical staff.[1] There is scientific support for this. Research shows that outdoor air is a natural disinfectant. Fresh air can kill the flu virus and other harmful germs. Equally, sunlight is germicidal and there is now evidence it can kill the flu virus.

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