Hydroxychloroquine Rated ‘Most Effective Therapy’ for CCP Virus by Doctors in Global Survey

Courtesy The Epoch Times

A drug used around the world to treat malaria has been rated the “most effective therapy” in treating CCP virus patients, according to a new survey.

Sermo, a healthcare polling company, asked 6,227 physicians across 30 countries which therapy they’d list as the most effective. More than one out of three, or 37 percent, chose hydroxychloroquine.

The most commonly prescribed treatment given to patients with COVID-19, the disease the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus causes, was analgesics, followed by azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine.

“This survey of frontline doctors shows the value of critical information sharing between countries. That is the only way that a new insight from one country can rapidly save lives around the world,” Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University School of Medicine and a scientific adviser to Sermo, said in a statement.

Two preprint French studies have shown hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, an antibiotic, are effective in treating COVID-19 patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says both hydroxychloroquine and the closely-related chloroquine can be used to treat COVID-19 patients under an emergency use authorization.

India, Hungary, and the United Kingdom have banned export of hydroxychloroquine while doctors in a number of countries, including France and Bahrain, were known to be prescribing the drug.

Hydroxychloroquine usage was most prominent in Spain, followed by Italy, Brazil, Mexico, France, the United States, Germany, and Canada, according to the global survey.

American doctors mostly prescribed hydroxychloroquine to high-risk patients, while outside the United States the drug was used equally for patients with mild to severe symptoms.

The most common treatment regimens both included 400 milligrams twice daily on day one, but some doctors then went to 400 milligrams daily for five days while others prescribed 200 milligrams twice daily for four days.

The survey contained “a treasure trove of global insights for policy makers,” Sermo CEO Peter Kirk said.

“Physicians should have more of a voice in how we deal with this pandemic and be able to quickly share information with one another and the world,” he added. “With censorship of the media and the medical community in some countries, along with biased and poorly designed studies, solutions to the pandemic are being delayed. We invite global physicians to contribute to help inform policy makers, their colleagues, and the public.”

Wuhan Residents Line Up for Hours to Buy Graves for Loved Ones

(Courtesy: Breitbart News – Breitbart.com)

Residents in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak originated, have been forced to queue up for hours this week to organize proper burials for their loved ones who died as a result of the pandemic.

After 63 days of lockdown, the city’s risk level was recently reduced to “medium,” meaning families are now allowed to collect the urns of their loved ones and organize a proper burial after being forced to skip the funeral service. The Epoch Times reports that relatives of the deceased have had to queue for hours merely to collect the ashes from the various funeral homes. Photos outside the homes showing long lines of people were shared tens of thousands of times across Chinese social media, although they were eventually deleted by the country’s internet censors.

Bodies lie outside Wuhan crematorium waiting to be identified by family members. – Courtesy Daily Mail.uk

One netizen, named Mr. Lui, explained the situation outside the funeral homes and the lack of respect shown to the deceased:

The relatives were anxious. Most people are still restricted from going out. You have to pick up the ashes, in accordance with the community’s request. The community centers arranged cars to pick you up. There is also a risk of infection in the car. Once the funeral homes hand you the ashes, their job is done and they don’t care for anything else. It is very likely that there were too many urns there and no space to store them. So, it was necessary to inform the families to take them away.

The scenes outside funeral homes have increased skepticism about the reported death toll, which many believe has been understated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), an organization infamous for industrial-scale dissemination of lies and misinformation. Another Wuhan citizen, named Mr. Zhang, laid out his theory online:

The community center orders you to get the ashes. Afterward, you have to prepare everything else. Just exactly how many Wuhan residents have died from the virus if the line at the cemetery is so long? China’s official media reported over 3,000 coronavirus deaths. I think the real figure is at least ten times the official figure, and even 100 times is not impossible.

According to official data as of Thursday afternoon, at least 81,589 had contracted the virus nationwide, leading to 3,318 deaths. This means that China, with its population of 1.386 billion, has fewer cases than Germany, Spain, Italy, and the United States.

China insists that life in Wuhan is now returning to normal following the reported slowing of infection rates, with all lockdown restrictions scheduled to be lifted on April 8th. At the peak of the quarantine, around 56 million people in the city and the surrounding Hubei province were forced to self-isolate while all travel was suspended.
Follow Ben Kew on Facebook, Twitter at @ben_kew, or email him at bkew@breitbart.com.

Leaked US Intel Report Accuses China Of Deliberately Lying About Coronavirus Figures

(Source: ZeroHedge.com)

Update (1200ET): Vice President Mike Pence just said during an appearance on CNN that it “would have been better” if China was more forthcoming with the US during the early days of the outbreak, and basically blamed the Chinese for the White House’s slow response.

And there you have it, the purpose for this particular leak, is to begin laying out the administration’s defense when accosted by critics who accuse Trump of not doing enough early on to combat the virus.

*   *   *

A day after China reported more than 1,500 additional “asymptomatic” cases that authorities said had been left out of the country’s data, while promising to start reporting these cases (they’ve already reported 50 more on Wednesday, blaming most of them on travel) going forward, an intelligence report has been submitted to the White House accusing Beijing of deliberately underreporting cases.

The report, which was leaked to the US press by senior-level officials, revealed that the US believes China deliberately tried to conceal the extent of the outbreak, suggesting that Beijing’s decision to lift its lockdown is probably premature, which is why they’re pivoting toward blaming foreigners for these new “asymptomatic” cases that have supposedly been known to the government all along, they just simply ‘forgot’ to count them.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, as it was widely speculated during the early phases of the outbreak. But this is the first concrete indication that US intelligence has been taking Beijing’s deceptions seriously, and doesn’t intend to just sit back and take it lying down. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this month blasted the Chinese for withholding data about the virus.

Here’s the Bloomberg report:

China has concealed the extent of the coronavirus outbreak in its country, under-reporting both total cases and deaths it’s suffered from the disease, the U.S. intelligence community concluded in a classified report to the White House, according to three U.S. officials.

The officials asked not to be identified because the report is secret and declined to detail its contents. But the thrust, they said, is that China’s public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete. Two of the officials said the report concludes that China’s numbers are fake.

The report was received by the White House last week, one of the officials said.

The outbreak began in China’s Hubei province in late 2019, but the country has publicly reported only about 82,000 cases and 3,300 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That compares to more than 189,000 cases and more than 4,000 deaths in the U.S., which has the largest publicly reported outbreak in the world.

Beijing has sought to convince the Chinese people that the virus was created and spread by the US military, a “conspiracy theory” that’s been dreamed up by the government and spread via state-controlled media outlets, a type of advanced-level information warfare designed to distract from the possibility that the virus may have leaked out of a Chinese bioweapons lab.

China’s lies have been exposed in surprising ways, like the deliveries of urns in Wuhan. Some leaked documents have suggested that China’s real numbers were 52 times higher than what Beijing allowed to be reported.

President Trump’s decision to refer to the virus as the “Chinese virus” was so aggravating for Beijing because it impeded the government’s effort to convince its people that the virus was made in America – though of course they didn’t say that, exactly, they couched their objections in accusations of racism and faux-outrage.

Chinese Biological Experiments To Infect Humans With Coronavirus Exposed In 2015 By Italian State Media

(Source Credit: ZeroHedge.com)


Authored by Guido Taietti via GreatGameIndia.com,

Five years ago, Italian state owned media Company, Rai – Radiotelevisione Italiana, exposed dark efforts by China on viruses. The video, which was broadcast in November, 2015, showed how Chinese scientists were doing biological experiments on a SARS connected virus believed to be Coronavirus, derived from bats and mice, asking whether it was worth the risk in order to be able to modify the virus for compatibility with human organisms.

Chinese Biological Experiments

Chinese scientists have created a pulmonary supervirus from bats and mice only for study reasons but there are many questionable aspects to this. Is it worth the risk? It’s an experiment, of course, but it is worrisome. It worries many scientists: It is a group of Chinese researchers attaching a protein taken from bats to the SARS virus, Acute Pneumonia, derived from mice. The output is a super coronavirus that could affect man. It remains closed in laboratories and it is only for study purposes, but is it worth the risk – creating such a great threat only for examination purposes?

The debate about the risks of research is as old as science itself. Like the myth of Icarus, who plunged from the Sky and perished in the sea, having gone too close to the Sun with the wings of wax designed by his father!

Chinese scientists experiment on SARS virus to infect humans. Rai – Radiotelevisione Italiana

Here is an experiment in China, in which a group of scientists has managed to develop a chimera – an organism modified by attaching the surface protein of a coronavirus found in bats of the common species called the Great Horseshoe Bat, to a virus that causes SARS in mice, although in a non-fatal form. It was suspected that the protein could make the chimeric hybrid organism suitable for affecting humans, and the experiment confirmed it.

It is precisely this molecule, called SHCO14, that allows the coronavirus to attach itself to our respiratory cells and to trigger the syndrome. According to researchers, the two organisms, the original and even more so the engineered one, can infect humans directly from bats, without going through an intermediate species like the mouse, and it is this eventuality that raises many controversies.

Just one year ago (this broadcast is of 2015), the U.S. government suspended research funding, which aimed to make viruses more contagious. The moratorium did not stop the work of the Chinese on SARS, which was already in advanced stages and looked relatively harmless.

According to a section of the scientific community, it is in fact not dangerous. The probability that the virus may pass to our species was insignificant compared to the benefits of the virus – an argument that many other experts rejected. First, because the relationship between risk and benefit is difficult to evaluate and second, because especially in these times, it is more prudent to not put into circulation an organism that can escape or be removed from the control of laboratories.

As soon that a controversial broadcast went viral on the Italian social media, journalists and experts began explaining it away saying, that the virus in the video was not COVID-19. Even the British journal Nature, which wrote the very publication this Italian show was based on, clarified that the virus the broadcast talked about was not related to the “Natural” COVID-19.

However, that is beside the point. This is not to say that the viruses are literally the same. This is to say that the information presented in the video is consistent with the information that China is doing a lot of research on bioweapons, and that the impact of the virus in the broadcast has a lot in common with mainstream information about the symptoms of COVID-19.

Moreover, Nature itself had done a piece in February, 2017, on the BSL-4 laboratory in Wuhan, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, raising valid concerns and theories, and wondering out loud whether experimentation with deadly viruses was a good idea.

“BSL-4 is the highest level of bio-containment: its criteria include filtering air and treating water and waste before they leave the laboratory, and stipulating that researchers change clothes and shower before and after using lab facilities. Such labs are often controversial….

Future plans include studying the pathogen that causes SARS, which also doesn’t require a BSL-4 lab, before moving on to Ebola and the West African Lassa virus, which do… Worries surround the Chinese lab… The SARS virus has escaped from high-level containment facilities in Beijing multiple times… The plan to expand into a network heightens such concerns. One BSL-4 lab in Harbin is already awaiting accreditation; the next two are expected to be in Beijing and Kunming.”

In January, 2020, Nature then sheepishly added an editor’s note to the top of the article, saying that there is in fact “no evidence” of this lab playing a role in the outbreak of coronavirus and that scientists believe that the source is likely “an animal market.”

Meanwhile, the Italian scientists at Milan University are investigating whether the coronavirus outbreak actually began in Italy in the last quarter of 2019. Milan and Lodi cities of Lombardy administrative region reported a “significant” increase in the number of people hospitalized for pneumonia and flu in October and December of 2019. Meanwhile, amidst worldwide criticism, a $20 trillion lawsuit has been filed against China for waging Biological war using Coronavirus.

Why Shame Must Now Come Upon the Ruling Party in China

Commentary by James Watkins, Editor and host of the podcast Coronavirus Update

When the world has shaken off PTSD from the coronavirus and things begin to settle, nations are going to realize that what China did was a very bad thing. Even the liberal media will not be able to turn a blind eye to the tragedy we are witnessing in slow motion across the globe and the culpability China alone possesses in creating the coronavirus pandemic.

We are going to start asking questions about why they, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) who rule China with an iron fist, tried to cover up the virus from December 5 to January 20th, and in doing so, allowed it to spread costing the lives of tens of thousands of its own people, as well as potentially hundreds of thousands of other people around the world in over 178 countries, damaging further still the lives of over two billion people who have been affected directly and indirectly from the coronavirus spread.

The CCP covered up the virus for 45 days; more than six weeks passed while the virus was spreading with urgency in Wuhan and throughout Hubei Province, and then on to the shores of six continents during peak global holiday travel season – and they knew there was a virus spreading between humans, killing them in numbers they also covered up – and continue to do so on this very day!

The facts of this are not in dispute.

It matters less if this was some virus cooked up in a Wuhan bio-lab, or if it came off a tick from a bat in a wild animal market in Wuhan.

What matters more is the lack of transparency the Chinese Communist Party exhibits which display its disdain and disregard for international behavioral norms, coupled with a clear inability to behave responsibly aside a league of progressive and cooperative nations.

All of this which now relegates the government of China to little more than a bush-league rogue nation; a childish and irresponsible nation whose actions must be held to account to determine its future place at the table of global power. After all, are we not tribes?

Is not China a tribe in the modern sense? a congregation of that nations’ underlying and agreed-upon principles it wishes to purport to the world as a way of life, as a quality and ideology of living?

And what do we now witness from China while the deaths of 26,000 people lie still, through no fault of their own?

We see deceit.

To further obfuscate the truth behind the spread of coronavirus only exacerbates China’s already childish behavior.

These recent actions might be predictably acceptable for a small island nation you might discover in the South Pacific, or a temote Amazonian jungle tribe, but such behavior coming from the 2nd largest economic world power with the largest percentage of the world’s population should prove quite embarrassing for 1.4 billion people who now carry this mark foisted upon them by a government who has no business governing, as is clearly emphasized by the ever-increasing fatality count splashed across the media screens of the world.

Shame must now come upon the Chinese Communist Party, and the longer they deny responsibility and continue to act with the precocious intent to deceive (i.e., selling 80,000 defective test kits to The Czech Republic (at a 500% markup), or threatening to cut off prescription drugs to America) the more anger will come, not only from the global leaders, but also from within, from a population who now realizes the cost of believing in a government they were told would protect them, but instead, delivered only misery and despair.

No one will lament their absence when they are finally gone.

For the CCP, the road to reconciliation will be measured not in weeks, months or even years, but in decades.

We will never forget that the CCP did this.

The shame of COVID-19 being allowed to spread to all of humanity falls squarely on the shoulders of the ruling party in the People’s Republic of China. There is no denying this fact.

Why the Current U.S. Strategy is Working

(Commentary by James Watkins, Editor)

The math is simple. We will all get infected by the coronavirus.

The only thing that really matters is how many will die?

Here are the three things that will create a high death count:

  • Condensed populations
  • 21 days of wanton spreading
  • No self-isolation in the subsequent 3-6 weeks.

We are in day 115 of the pandemic. On December 1, 2019 the first COVID case was documented in Wuhan, China.

Let’s look at simple numbers.

1 person on average spreads coronavirus to 3 people. In 21 days the virus will spread from 1 person to 9.4 million people (if there are 9.4 million people around to get infected). 

Total fatalities in this scenario (0.5 to 1%) means that in a place like Wuhan, Madrid, or New York, if, by the 4th week since the first case the city is not in lockdown, a death count will probably reach very high (such as we witnessed in Wuhan, Milan and Qom). Large concentrations of people commingled with a fast spreading virus almost certainly guarantees a high death count in major metro areas if it meets the three conditions stated above.

Major metros that lock down quickly preventing spread, see much longer “ramping up periods” and lower fatalities. We see this in places like Washington State and in South Korea, where they early began lockdown measures to stem the spread. Washington hit a peak, it was contained quickly.  South Korea had an initial high spread, but then quickly recalibrated and its’ citizens quickly went into lockdown mode. Milan and New York were too late. By the time the number of infections hit the streets, and because there was a three to four week lag, too many people have already infected others.

San Francisco has not yet peaked, but lockdowns occurred early, and this should prevent a major outbreak – unless there are superspreaders we don’t know about.

LA is spread out over 800 square miles, not condensed like New York, unless there are superspreaders we don’t know about, I think LA will be spared major death counts.

Boston has petered out. Probably because in cold weather there was already a lot of social distancing going on, so the spread was contained.

Place like New Orleans, Miami, or places with high-elderly populations (like Palm Springs, Phoenix, West Palm Beach) might experience hotspots depending on how many unknown super-spreaders were moving about undetected for the past month.

Don’t watch the confirmed cases, they don’t matter, watch the mortality counts and percentages. If it takes 4 weeks to hit 100 in a given population center, it might less cause to worry, but no reason to stop being self-isolated.

Bottom line, people need to self isolate and stay away from large gatherings until early May, or when the temp rises about 76 degrees, and even still, sick people should self quarantine until 2 weeks after they have no signs.

And all of this we must until we have a vaccine.

I have been watching the trend lines since January 15, and the WH advisors are corrected, slow the spread, flatten the curve.

It’s working. But if you focus on just confirmed cases, which is what the media does incessantly because it is clickbait, you will be frightened because it is a number that is getting bigger with every test (as it should). Less than 1 out of 1-hundred people will die from COVID-19.

And this is why we should focus on mortality percentages. It’s the only number that matters.

What is scarier: that 50,000 people have contracted Coronavirus, or that in a country with 350,000,000 people, 600 people (most with underlying health problems) succumbed to COVID-19?

Contexts matters.

The Comprehensive Timeline of China’s COVID-19 Lies

(From Jim Geraghty – National Review)

The story of the coronavirus pandemic is still being written. But at this early date, we can see all kinds of moments where different decisions could have lessened the severity of the outbreak we are currently enduring. You have probably heard variations of, “Chinese authorities denied that the virus could be transferred from human to human until it was too late.” What you have probably not heard is how emphatically, loudly, and repeatedly the Chinese government insisted human transmission was impossible, long after doctors in Wuhan had concluded human transmission was ongoing — and how the World Health Organization assented to that conclusion, despite the suspicions of other outside health experts.

The U.S. government’s response to this threat was clearly not nearly enough, and not enacted anywhere near quickly enough. Most European governments weren’t prepared either. Few governments around the world were or are prepared for the scale of the danger. We can only wonder whether accurate and timely information from China would have altered the way the U.S. government, the American people, and the world prepared for the oncoming danger of infection.

Some point in late 2019: The coronavirus jumps from some animal species to a human being. The best guess at this point is that it happened at a Chinese “wet market.”

December 6: According to a study in The Lancet, the symptom onset date of the first patient identified was “Dec 1, 2019 . . . 5 days after illness onset, his wife, a 53-year-old woman who had no known history of exposure to the market, also presented with pneumonia and was hospitalized in the isolation ward.” In other words, as early as the second week of December, Wuhan doctors were finding cases that indicated the virus was spreading from one human to another.

December 21: Wuhan doctors begin to notice a “cluster of pneumonia cases with an unknown cause.

December 25: Chinese medical staff in two hospitals in Wuhan are suspected of contracting viral pneumonia and are quarantined. This is additional strong evidence of human-to-human transmission.

Sometime in “Late December”: Wuhan hospitals notice “an exponential increase” in the number of cases that cannot be linked back to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

December 30: Dr. Li Wenliang sent a message to a group of other doctors warning them about a possible outbreak of an illness that resembled severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), urging them to take protective measures against infection.

December 31: The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission declares, “The investigation so far has not found any obvious human-to-human transmission and no medical staff infection.” This is the opposite of the belief of the doctors working on patients in Wuhan, and two doctors were already suspected of contracting the virus.

Three weeks after doctors first started noticing the cases, China contacts the World Health Organization.

Tao Lina, a public-health expert and former official with Shanghai’s center for disease control and prevention, tells the South China Morning Post, “I think we are [now] quite capable of killing it in the beginning phase, given China’s disease control system, emergency handling capacity and clinical medicine support.”

January 1: The Wuhan Public Security Bureau issued summons to Dr. Li Wenliang, accusing him of “spreading rumors.” Two days later, at a police station, Dr. Li signed a statement acknowledging his “misdemeanor” and promising not to commit further “unlawful acts.” Seven other people are arrested on similar charges and their fate is unknown.

Also that day, “after several batches of genome sequence results had been returned to hospitals and submitted to health authorities, an employee of one genomics company received a phone call from an official at the Hubei Provincial Health Commission, ordering the company to stop testing samples from Wuhan related to the new disease and destroy all existing samples.”

According to a New York Times study of cellphone data from China, 175,000 people leave Wuhan that day. According to global travel data research firm OAG, 21 countries have direct flights to Wuhan. In the first quarter of 2019 for comparison, 13,267 air passengers traveled from Wuhan, China, to destinations in the United States, or about 4,422 per month. The U.S. government would not bar foreign nationals who had traveled to China from entering the country for another month.

January 2: One study of patients in Wuhan can only connect 27 of 41 infected patients to exposure to the Huanan seafood market — indicating human-to-human transmission away from the market. A report written later that month concludes, “evidence so far indicates human transmission for 2019-nCoV. We are concerned that 2019-nCoV could have acquired the ability for efficient human transmission.”

Also on this day, the Wuhan Institute of Virology completed mapped the genome of the virus. The Chinese government would not announce that breakthrough for another week.

January 3: The Chinese government continued efforts to suppress all information about the virus: “China’s National Health Commission, the nation’s top health authority, ordered institutions not to publish any information related to the unknown disease, and ordered labs to transfer any samples they had to designated testing institutions, or to destroy them.”

Roughly one month after the first cases in Wuhan, the United States government is notified. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gets initial reports about a new coronavirus from Chinese colleagues, according to Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar. Azar, who helped manage the response at HHS to earlier SARS and anthrax outbreaks, told his chief of staff to make sure the National Security Council was informed.

Also on this day, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission released another statement, repeating, “As of now, preliminary investigations have shown no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission and no medical staff infections.

January 4: While Chinese authorities continued to insist that the virus could not spread from one person to another, doctors outside that country weren’t so convinced. The head of the University of Hong Kong’s Centre for Infection, Ho Pak-leung, warned that “the city should implement the strictest possible monitoring system for a mystery new viral pneumonia that has infected dozens of people on the mainland, as it is highly possible that the illness is spreading from human to human.”

January 5: The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission put out a statement with updated numbers of cases but repeated, “preliminary investigations have shown no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission and no medical staff infections.

January 6: The New York Times publishes its first report about the virus, declaring that “59 people in the central city of Wuhan have been sickened by a pneumonia-like illness.” That first report included these comments:

Wang Linfa, an expert on emerging infectious diseases at the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, said he was frustrated that scientists in China were not allowed to speak to him about the outbreak. Dr. Wang said, however, that he thought the virus was likely not spreading from humans to humans because health workers had not contracted the disease. “We should not go into panic mode,” he said.

Don’t get too mad at Wang Linfa; he was making that assessment based upon the inaccurate information Chinese government was telling the world.

Also that day, the CDC  “issued a level 1 travel watch — the lowest of its three levels — for China’s outbreak. It said the cause and the transmission mode aren’t yet known, and it advised travelers to Wuhan to avoid living or dead animals, animal markets, and contact with sick people.”

Also that day, the CDC offered to send a team to China to assist with the investigation. The Chinese government declined, but a WHO team that included two Americans would visit February 16.

January 8: Chinese medical authorities claim to have identified the virus. Those authorities claim and Western media continue to repeat, “there is no evidence that the new virus is readily spread by humans, which would make it particularly dangerous, and it has not been tied to any deaths.”

The official statement from the World Health Organization declares, “Preliminary identification of a novel virus in a short period of time is a notable achievement and demonstrates China’s increased capacity to manage new outbreaks . . . WHO does not recommend any specific measures for travelers. WHO advises against the application of any travel or trade restrictions on China based on the information currently available.”

January 10: After unknowingly treating a patient with the Wuhan coronavirus, Dr. Li Wenliang started coughing and developed a fever. He was hospitalized on January 12. In the following days, Li’s condition deteriorated so badly that he was admitted to the intensive care unit and given oxygen support.

The New York Times quotes the Wuhan City Health Commission’s declaration that “there is no evidence the virus can spread among humans.” Chinese doctors continued to find transmission among family members, contradicting the official statements from the city health commission.

January 11: The Wuhan City Health Commission issues an update declaring, “All 739 close contacts, including 419 medical staff, have undergone medical observation and no related cases have been found . . . No new cases have been detected since January 3, 2020. At present, no medical staff infections have been found, and no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found.” They issue a Q&A sheet later that day reemphasizing that “most of the unexplained viral pneumonia cases in Wuhan this time have a history of exposure to the South China seafood market. No clear evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found.”

Also on this day, political leaders in Hubei province, which includes Wuhan, began their regional meeting. The coronavirus was not mentioned over four days of meetings.

January 13: Authorities in Thailand detected the virus in a 61-year-old Chinese woman who was visiting from Wuhan, the first case outside of China. “Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health, said the woman had not visited the Wuhan seafood market, and had come down with a fever on Jan. 5. However, the doctor said, the woman had visited a different, smaller market in Wuhan, in which live and freshly slaughtered animals were also sold.”

January 14: Wuhan city health authorities release another statement declaring, “Among the close contacts, no related cases were found.” Wuhan doctors have known this was false since early December, from the first victim and his wife, who did not visit the market.

The World Health Organization echoes China’s assessment: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China.

This is five or six weeks after the first evidence of human-to-human transmission in Wuhan.

January 15: Japan reported its first case of coronavirus. Japan’s Health Ministry said the patient had not visited any seafood markets in China, adding that “it is possible that the patient had close contact with an unknown patient with lung inflammation while in China.”

The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission begins to change its statements, now declaring, “Existing survey results show that clear human-to-human evidence has not been found, and the possibility of limited human-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out, but the risk of continued human-to-human transmission is low.” Recall Wuhan hospitals concluded human-to-human transmission was occurring three weeks earlier. A statement the next day backtracks on the possibility of human transmission, saying only, “Among the close contacts, no related cases were found.

January 17: The CDC and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection announce that travelers from Wuhan to the United States will undergo entry screening for symptoms associated with 2019-nCoV at three U.S. airports that receive most of the travelers from Wuhan, China: San Francisco, New York (JFK), and Los Angeles airports.

The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission’s daily update declares, “A total of 763 close contacts have been tracked, 665 medical observations have been lifted, and 98 people are still receiving medical observations. Among the close contacts, no related cases were found.”

January 18: HHS Secretary Azar has his first discussion about the virus with President Trump. Unnamed “senior administration officials” told the Washington Post that “the president interjected to ask about vaping and when flavored vaping products would be back on the market.

Despite the fact that Wuhan doctors know the virus is contagious, city authorities allow 40,000 families to gather and share home-cooked food in a Lunar New Year banquet.

January 19: The Chinese National Health Commission declares the virus “still preventable and controllable.” The World Health Organization updates its statement, declaring, “Not enough is known to draw definitive conclusions about how it is transmitted, the clinical features of the disease, the extent to which it has spread, or its source, which remains unknown.”

January 20: The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission declares for the last time in its daily bulletin, “no related cases were found among the close contacts.

That day, the head of China’s national health commission team investigating the outbreak, confirmed that two cases of infection in China’s Guangdong province had been caused by human-to-human transmission and medical staff had been infected.

Also on this date, the Wuhan Evening News newspaper, the largest newspaper in the city, mentions the virus on the front page for the first time since January 5.

January 21: The CDC announced the first U.S. case of a the coronavirus in a Snohomish County, Wash., resident who returning from China six days earlier.

By this point, millions of people have left Wuhan, carrying the virus all around China and into other countries.

January 22: WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus continued to praise China’s handling of the outbreak. “I was very impressed by the detail and depth of China’s presentation. I also appreciate the cooperation of China’s Minister of Health, who I have spoken with directly during the last few days and weeks. His leadership and the intervention of President Xi and Premier Li have been invaluable, and all the measures they have taken to respond to the outbreak.”

In the preceding days, a WHO delegation conducted a field visit to Wuhan. They concluded, “deployment of the new test kit nationally suggests that human-to-human transmission is taking place in Wuhan.” The delegation reports, “their counterparts agreed close attention should be paid to hand and respiratory hygiene, food safety and avoiding mass gatherings where possible.”

At a meeting of the WHO Emergency Committee, panel members express “divergent views on whether this event constitutes a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern’ or not. At that time, the advice was that the event did not constitute a PHEIC.”

President Trump, in an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, declared, “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.

January 23: Chinese authorities announce their first steps for a quarantine of Wuhan. By this point, millions have already visited the city and left it during the Lunar New Year celebrations. Singapore and Vietnam report their first cases, and by now an unknown but significant number of Chinese citizens have traveled abroad as asymptomatic, oblivious carriers.

January 24: Vietnam reports person-to-person transmission, and Japan, South Korea, and the U.S report their second cases. The second case is in Chicago. Within two days, new cases are reported in Los Angeles, Orange County, and Arizona. The virus is in now in several locations in the United States, and the odds of preventing an outbreak are dwindling to zero.

On February 1, Dr. Li Wenliang tested positive for coronavirus. He died from it six days later.47

One final note: On February 4, Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella urged residents to hug Chinese people to encourage them in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Meanwhile, a member of Associazione Unione Giovani Italo Cinesi, a Chinese society in Italy aimed at promoting friendship between people in the two countries, called for respect for novel coronavirus patients during a street demonstration. “I’m not a virus. I’m a human. Eradicate the prejudice.”

ADDENDUM: We’ll get back to regular politics soon enough. In the meantime, note that Bernie Sanders held a virtual campaign event Sunday night “from Vermont, railing against the ongoing Senate coronavirus rescue bill. He skipped a key procedural vote on that bill.”

Younger adults are large percentage of coronavirus hospitalizations in United States, according to new CDC data

By Ariana Eunjung Cha

The Washington Post

The deadly coronavirus has been met with a bit of a shrug among some in the under-50 set in the United States. Even as public health officials repeatedly urged social distancing, the young and hip spilled out of bars on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. They gleefully hopped on flights, tweeting about the rock-bottom airfares. And they gathered in packs on beaches.

Their attitudes were based in part on early data from China, which suggested covid-19 might seriously sicken or kill the elderly — but spare the young.

Stark new data from the United States and Europe suggests otherwise.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis of U.S. cases from Feb. 12 to March 16 released Wednesday shows 38 percent of those sick enough to be hospitalized were younger than 55.

(AP)

Earlier this week, French health ministry official Jérome Salomon said half of the 300 to 400 coronavirus patients treated in intensive care units in Paris were younger than 65, and, according to numbers presented at a seminar of intensive care specialists, half the ICU patients in the Netherlands were younger than 50.

At a White House news conference on Wednesday, Deborah Birx, the response coordinator of the nation’s coronavirus task force, warned about the concerning reports from France — and Italy, too — about “young people getting seriously ill and very seriously ill in the ICUs.”

She called out younger generations in particular, for not taking the virus seriously, and warned of “disproportional number of infections among that group.”

President Trump reinforced her warning, saying: “We don’t want them gathering, and I see they do gather, including on beaches and in restaurants, young people. They don’t realize, and they’re feeling invincible.”

The CDC report looked at 4,226 covid-19 cases, with much of the data coming from the outbreaks among older adults in assisted living facilities. As in China, the highest percentage of severe outcomes were among the elderly. About 80 percent of people who died were older than 65.

However, the percentage with more moderate or severe disease requiring hospitalization is more evenly distributed between the old and the young, with 53 percent of those in ICUs and 45 percent of those hospitalized age 65 and older.

“These preliminary data also demonstrate that severe illness leading to hospitalization, including ICU admission and death, can occur in adults of any age with COVID-19,” researchers wrote.

There was more encouraging news about children in the United States. Those age 19 and younger who were tested appear to have milder illness with almost no hospitalizations. A much larger sample of children in China, as detailed in the journal Pediatrics this week, found that most children had mild to moderate illness.

The CDC report did not specify whether the younger patients had underlying conditions that might make them more vulnerable, but Anthony S. Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, commented on CNN on Wednesday night that some did.

Public health experts say it’s difficult to compare coronavirus numbers by age across countries at this stage because of the limited numbers tested and because differences may be related to the environment, lifestyle, demographics or something about the virus itself.

There may be a high percentages of young smokers in some areas of France, for example. Or “the high proportion of critically ill young people in the Netherlands may reflect the relatively younger population,” the Dutch news service NRC surmised.

Maybe some young people who were tested happen to be in cities or industrial areas with a lot of pollution that may affect their susceptibility to serious respiratory illness. Or the bar for admission to the hospital and the quality of treatment may vary enough by country that it affects the course of the illness.

Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, the director of the Global Health and Emerging Pathogens Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, said the numbers are difficult to interpret because so few people have been tested. He said some populations may be overrepresented because of public health officials focusing on testing clusters of people who live together and may be of similar ages.

However, Garcia-Sastre said, the numbers show it’s clear “everybody has risk. Even in young people, there is a percentage that has serious infection.”

The Other Chinese Virus

(Repost from NationalReview.com)

This epidemic will subside. But we will not forget Beijing’s irresponsibility, nor its cowardice and dishonesty

We have a remarkable ability to elevate the petty over the substantive. President Trump has been thoroughly scolded for calling the virus from China the “Chinese virus” — don’t let’s be beastly to the ChiComs — but the culpability of the Chinese government in the disaster that is playing out around the world is discussed, if it is discussed at all, in the most muffled way. There is a long history of attaching geographic names to diseases. If the present instances are unfair to the Chinese people, who have suffered massively from the outbreak, a better name would be “Xi’s disease.”

We do not blame the Chinese people for the fact that a novel coronavirus cropped up in Wuhan. We blame the government in Beijing for making the problem dramatically worse by trying to cover it up, for its ridiculous efforts to try to shift blame for the epidemic onto the United States and others, and for its ongoing attempts to veil its own shameful incompetence by expelling journalists from the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

Beijing’s vanity — and its insecurity — gave the coronavirus “a critical monthlong head start,” as James Palmer put it in Foreign Policy. The Communist Party machine that rules 1.4 billion people in China may look like an immovable monolith, but it has weaknesses and fissures. The Chinese people at large may not feel much sympathy for the despised Uighur minority, but they know that if the Uighurs can be rounded up and put in concentration camps, then so can they. They have watched as the government of Xi Jinping has violated the terms of the settlement under which, in theory, Hong Kong is supposed to enjoy a high degree of autonomy and self-rule. They have seen the brutal suppression of dissidents at home and Beijing’s attempts, too often successful, to bully its neighbors and trading partners. They know firsthand the bottomless corruption of the Chinese ruling elite. And they have, for a generation, accepted that corruption and repression in exchange for security and a rising standard of material life. The rulers in Beijing know that they are always one serious recession away from being turned out — and worse — and they so feared economic disruption and damage to their own institutional prestige that they placed a losing bet that the heavy hand of their police state would be heavy enough to quash the coronavirus outbreak.

We are all now paying a price for that corruption and stupidity.

A new disease can crop up anywhere. We do not blame Beijing for that. We blame Beijing for the other Chinese virus: the repression it practices at home and seeks to export, and its criminal negligence in this epidemic.

We blame them for Li Wenliang, the doctor who tried to warn his fellow medical practitioners about the situation in Wuhan only to be silenced by Chinese gestapo and forced to sign a statement that his warnings were criminal misbehavior. He was soon dead of the very plague he tried to warn of. A half-dozen other doctors were silenced in the same way.

We blame them for Xu Zhiyong and Li Qiaochu, anti-corruption activists who criticized Xi Jinping’s coronavirus coverup. They have been disappeared. So have many others. Their likely fates are torture and death.6

We blame them for the lies of Zhao Lijian, the Chinese official who has tried to claim that the coronavirus came from the United States to Wuhan, not the other way around. He has suggested that this was a project of the U.S. military. That is very dangerous talk. Other Chinese diplomats and officials have made similar outrageous claims.

This epidemic will subside. But we will not forget Beijing’s irresponsibility, nor its cowardice and dishonesty in the early days of the outbreak. The Beijing regime has long been a boot on the neck of the Chinese people, but it is now a menace to the world at large. There are many things that we hope will change in the wake of this crisis. The character of the government in Beijing should be one of them.

Just How Many Infected Came from Wuhan?

From Wikipedia, in 2018 an estimated 2,004,400 travelers flew into and out of Wuhan-Tianhe International Airport every month, according to statistics provided by the airport. That’s a little more than an average of 68,000 per day who typically came and went from what became, on January 21, 2020, the epicenter of our current global pandemic.

On January 31, when the U.S. begin restricting flights from China, we can know that, based on its own data, over a million travelers flew in out and out of Wuhan.

What remains to be known is if the government of China was aware of the fact that hundreds of thousands of travelers, possibly more than a million people, were unwittingly helping to spread a known contagion to other parts of the world.

As early as January 20, according to the Washington Times, screening stations (somewhat ineffective, since no tests were conducted or even available) had already been set up in airports in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, JFK in New Jersey, and in Atlanta, a time when 566 flights a day were coming from China – and were subsequently cancelled when China finally admitted there was a coronavirus.

By January 24 there were already 457 cases confirmed in Wuhan, according to the World Health Organization, which indicates thousands may have had already been infected, remembering that for three weeks China had denied there even was a virus, allowing it to spread in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people.

if 1.4 million people were leaving China in those first three weeks in January from Wuhan, it is easy to understand why places like Italy, Iran and South Korea were hard hit, as these three places (as well as much of the Middle East and Europe) allow for the free flow of Chinese citizens, and for that matter, provides a favorite vacation spot for people from these countries.

For six weeks infected people from Wuhan were getting on airplanes planes and taking the virus to all corners of the globe.

There is no way of knowing just how many infected carriers left Wuhan during those crucial three weeks when the virus was in incubation, or even during the weeks to follow, but as we saw in South Korea with one woman who infected a thousand fellow church members, essentially causing the epidemic to spread very quickly in Seoul, it doesn’t take but a few key-placed “super-spreaders” to cause havoc, which is why there is an explosion currently happening in Europe – but not the U.S.

In the words of Jordan Peterson, who speaks of how little we understand our own personal impact in the world, “you will meet a thousand people in your lifetime, and each one of those people will meet a thousand people, which puts you and I one person away from affecting a million people in our lifetime.” 

Do not underestimate the power of each individual.

Self Isolate and keep your damn hands clean. Millions of people are depending on you.

Perspective: The Number We Should Be Watching

Commentary

The daily uptick of confirmed coronavirus cases is scary, and yet, in the very real sense, they almost don’t matter at this point. We have to assume every human being will at some point breath in this nasty coronavirus. The good news is that most people won’t even notice, the better news is that no matter how many confirmed cases there are, the real number worth watching is the mortality rate. It’s the only number that matters.

Most people who get it won’t know, many who get it and feel sickly will recover, and people with weak immune systems will suffer the most. Par for the course when it comes to influenza.

This virus is a wimp as it goes. It shares 75% of its genetic structure with SARS, but has far less potency, even though it does have the ability to ‘hang around’ for a long time in a host. It just doesn’t do anything unless the immune system is so challenged that even a wimpy virus can’t resist the temptation to make itself at home. It’s like an annoying in-law who shows up one day and decides to stay, but because you might be too weak to challenge him, he stays until all of your food is gone. The analogy might be silly, but COVID19, considering the reaction, is not as scary as it appears to be if you watch the numbers and apply context to the wave theory of how it is spreading.

Consider for a moment the Wave theory.

Based on several reports, it appears COVID-19 showed up in early December. December 1st, 2019, is when first cases were reported, and this is the first wave of people infected and then spread it to others.

By December a few doctors in Wuhan began noticing patients with COVID-19 symptoms, only they didn’t know until a few weeks later that it was aggressive and spreads easily. It also lingers for up to 3 weeks before becoming symptomatic. What started out as 11 cases became 30, then 300. The first “wave” of superspreaders (who didn’t even know they were sick) were busy infecting others who would get sick because of the sheer numbers of people being exposed.

Every 3 weeks is a ‘wave” and by the 2nd wave, which would have been around December 21st, more people were getting sick in Wuhan proper but the CCP was busy denying the problem, which allowed the virus to spread very quickly in a city of 11 million people and in an area three times larger than Los Angeles. But, because so few people were showing sickness between December 1 and December 21, the first wavers (people who were asymptomatic at this point), were busy getting on planes and traveling to places like Iran, Italy and South Korea, not to mention other large cities in China.

Then the explosion came in Wuhan by the beginning of the 3rd wave, around January 17th, 2020. That’s when the exponential death curve kicked in. First-wave and second-wave carriers had infiltrated Hubei and the hospitals became overwhelmed, but still to come, the third wavers (people who were contaminated between January 17 to Feb 01) were also showing signs of critical illness.

And it wasn’t until January 20 when China announces the virus.

December 1, 2019 – 1st Wave (a few hundred falling sick)

December 22, 2019 – 2nd Wave (3,000 sick, dozens dead in Hubei, thousands of super-spreaders leave Hubei)

January 2, 2020 – 3rd Wave (signs of contagion in South Korea, Japan, Iran)

January 17, 2020 – 4th Wave (major explosion, lockdown in Hubei, Trump ends all Chinese flights into to U.S.)

February 1, 2020 – 5th Wave (Iran and Italy now seeing exponential confirmed cases, some deaths)

February 17, 2020 -6th Wave (Europe now seeing initial cases, South Korea a hotzone)

March 01, 2020 7th Wave (italy and Iran now hot zones)

March 16, 2020 – 8th Wave (confirmed cases grow from 400 to 3,000 in the U.S. but deaths under 100)

DAILY DEATH RATES BY COUNTRY

(SOURCE: CDC AND WHO)

The reason we see saw a huge uptick in Iran, Italy and South Korea was directly tied to people who were the first to be contaminated and theN spread in these countries where there is a huge inflow and outflow from China. These three countries had the most 1st and 2nd wavers, in essence super-spreaders who simply overwhelmed the system.

In America, the death count matters not the cases.

The communal spread is coming mostly from later 3rd generation or 4th generation people who have the virus and don’t know. It’s just like a germ and it goes from host to host until it finds lodgment (a place to hang around), and – if the conditions are right, takeS over the host until the host or virus dies.

And since most of us in America are now aware of this wimpy, opportunistic bug, social distancing, good hygiene and a temporary recession from “being normal consumers,” will abate coronavirus spread until the northern hemispheres are warmer and more humid, which, according to a recent study published by the NIHC (National Institute of Health of China), seems to hold just as warm weather was bad for its half relative SARS.

The death count is what you watch. The number of cases is an eventuality, but the mortality rate, if it stays under 2% (and it will as the confirmed cases grow, but deaths do not exponentially follow), then we will have dodged a bullet.

Thus far, and despite coronavirus being in the U.S. since late January, no exponential growth has occurred in the number of U.S. deaths.

Europe and the U.S. probably got exposed at about the same time, but unlike the U.S. which stopped flights from China on January 21, Europe did not, allowing super-spreaders to infiltrate, mostly nationals returning home and who had traveled abroad to places like Italy, China, Japan, South Korea and other early hot zones. The same thing happened in the U.S., but in far less numbers.

For context, even though there are now almost 4,000 confirmed case in the U.S. is (as of 3/16/20), 70 have died, and 12 people right now are considered serious. Relatively low compared to Italy or Iran, and as we are seeing in Germany and Switzerland.

To be continued, but be hopeful and watch the mortality rates, confirmed cases is not red flag, how sick people are getting is, and so far, the numbers are reassuring. 

Worst case scenario predictors say 1 million people could die in the U.S with COVID-19. This would be roughly 3 thousand people a day for 18 months. 

In China there have been thus far only 5 days where more than 3,000 deaths reported, and this was the epicenter, a place where 90% of male adults smoke, 11 million people in an area the size of Los Angeles and San Diego with air quality issues to boot, and a medical system that was not prepared to deal with a crisis that was being swept under the rug while it festered. Factoring in all of these circumstances the U.S. is clearly in a much better and robust position to “smooth out the curve.”

More context. It took three weeks between the first 259 deaths were reported until the big day on February 12 where 14,000 deaths were reported. In the U.S. it is now 17 days since the very first death was reported, and the most deaths we have ever had was 11 deaths in one day (March 14); a very far cry from 14,000 that occurred in Hubei around the same time

If we follow CDC guidelines, we can beat this thing, and that’s the point. We can’t look at confirmed cases online, the real tell-tale sign of our containment efforts will be a lower mortality rate, period.

US Coronavirus Fatality Rate Is Overestimated, Experts Say

(Bowan Xiao – The Epoch Times)

Infectious disease specialists and health experts say that while the number of cases of the new coronavirus will likely continue to grow in the United States, the current case fatality rate appears to be an overestimation.

Cases of the virus have jumped over the past few days, now with more than 1,000 confirmed across the United States, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins University. As of this writing, there have been at least 32 coronavirus-linked deaths.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on March 3 that the global case fatality rate is “about 3.4 percent.” But a handful of public health experts told The Epoch Times that the case fatality rate in the United States is lower than the 2 or 3 percent currently estimated. The case fatality rate is “the proportion of persons with a particular condition who die from that condition,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Harry Scholtz, vice president of infectious disease and infection prevention at BEAM Telemedicine and Healthcare, told The Epoch Times that the estimated fatality rate is “likely an overestimate.”

“It disproportionately includes elderly patients with medical conditions and not anyone who was untested and recovered fully,” Scholtz, an infectious disease physician, said.

At the same time, the incubation period for coronavirus can be as long as 24 days, according to the largest study analyzing patients of the disease so far. This is another indication that the number of actual cases is likely higher than reported. Some patients are also testing positive for the virus while showing no symptoms at all, according to a letter published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

“Young people (under 15) had no severe illness whatsoever,” Scholtz said. “It could be that they already possess antibodies that provide protection against COVID-19, or their immune systems are better able to fight off the virus.”

The outbreak of the virus first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. A number of U.S. states across the country have also declared public emergencies over the virus.

Dr. Aimee Ferraro, a faculty member of Walden University’s Master of Public Health program who conducts research on infectious and vector-borne diseases internationally, also said the death rate of the virus is likely lower than any current estimates.

“As of March 10, there are 754 cases and 28 deaths from coronavirus in the United States, making the mortality rate 3.7 percent,” she told The Epoch Times via email. “However, this number does not account for asymptomatic and undiagnosed cases, so the true mortality rate is probably much lower.

“Mortality rate estimates will become more accurate as more data is collected on mild, moderate, and severe cases of coronavirus.”

On March 11, the numbers have already shifted in this direction, with 1,135 reported cases and 32 deaths, giving a mortality rate of 2.8.

Among the deaths in the United States, most stemmed from Washington state, specifically in King County, and involved older adults who already had underlying health conditions. Life Care Center, a nursing home in the county, is on lockdown over cases of COVID-19, and a number of staff members and residents have exhibited flu-like symptoms.

Of the 20 deaths reported in King County, 19 “are associated with Life Care Center,” according to local health officials. Many of the fatalities involved people over the age of 70.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump called the 3.4 percent figure by the WHO “really a false number” in a March 4 interview on Fox News, saying he believes the actual rate is much lower.

“They don’t know about the easy cases, because the easy cases don’t go to the hospital. They don’t report to doctors or the hospital in many cases. So I think that that number is very high,” Trump said. “Personally, I would say the [mortality rate] is way under 1 percent.”

Scholtz said the coronavirus doesn’t appear to be very deadly “when compared with SARS and MERS, which had a mortality rate of about 9 percent and 34 percent, respectively.” But he said cases in the United States will continue to rise, “and probably more steeply in the coming weeks or months,” citing “increased availability of testing rather than an actual increase in infections.”

“As we gather more information about the total number of cases, my suspicion is that we will find this virus to be less deadly than currently thought,” Scholtz said.

“I do not think that the mortality from this will increase in the United States, and on the contrary, I expect that it will decrease as people present earlier and treatment becomes more standardized.”

Of the more than 121,000 confirmed cases of the virus globally, more than 66,000 have recovered as of this writing, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. More than 4,300 deaths have been reported globally, though data coming from China or Iran is thought to be more optimistic than presented.

Dr. Taylor Graber, a resident anesthesiologist at the University of California–San Diego, said most of the individuals who contract the virus will “experience nothing more than mild symptoms, similar to many other seasonal upper respiratory viruses.”

“More than 80 percent of cases result in very mild symptoms, which don’t require interaction with the health care system or hospital care,” he told The Epoch Times.

Mild cases are likely to not be reported in the total number of confirmed cases. Graber said more severe cases can lead to increased inflammatory stress on the body, possibly culminating in respiratory failure. The symptoms in more serious cases include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

Flu Comparison

Dr. Rishi Desai, a former epidemic intelligence service officer at the CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases, told The Epoch Times that the most concerning difference between coronavirus and the flu is “how quickly COVID-19 spreads and its mortality rate.”

Desai didn’t dispute the official U.S. mortality rate.

“COVID-19’s R-naught is around 2.3, which means that for every one person that gets sick, 2.3 people will be infected,” Desai said via email. R-naught is also referred to as the basic reproduction number.

“During a bad flu season, influenza has an R-naught of 1.3 and a mortality rate of 0.1 percent,” he said.

Influenza also has vaccines that have 50 to 60 percent vaccine efficacy “and can be treated with medications like Oseltamivir,” Desai said, adding that the coronavirus has no vaccine, and a vaccine isn’t likely to be available for quite some time. Top U.S. officials have publicly stated that a vaccine could likely be developed by the end of the year or early next year.

CDC estimates that “so far this season, there have been at least 34 million flu illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations, and 20,000 deaths from flu.”

The predominant way the virus spreads is when it is flung from one person to another as they “cough or sneeze,” Desai said. He said the most likely way a person can get infected is through the eyes, nose, and mouth, adding that if those areas were touched less, the risk is “significantly lower.”

Scholtz added that influenza can also be quite severe for young healthy persons.

While the coronavirus and influenza are both respiratory illnesses that are contagious and transmitted in a similar way—through droplets containing the virus—Ferraro said that “coronavirus may also spread through airborne transmission, which means the virus may remain in tiny droplets in the air even when the infected person is no longer near.”

U.S. officials are also urging Americans to travel less and to avoid large groups of people. Santa Clara County, a large area in California that includes Silicon Valley, on March 10 banned mass gatherings of 1,000 or more people due to the coronavirus.

Elderly and vulnerable Americans should travel less and avoid large groups of people, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on March 8.

“If you’re a person with an underlying condition, and you are particularly an elderly person with an underlying condition, you need to think twice about getting on a plane, on a long trip,” Fauci told NBC on March 8.

Several major U.S. health insurance companies have agreed to waive copays on COVID-19 testing and will extend coverage on treatment, Vice President Mike Pence said on March 10.

Fauci said while authorities are getting a “better sense” of the scope of the outbreak, “unfortunately, that better sense is not encouraging, because we’re seeing community spread.”Follow Bowen on Twitter: @BowenXiao_

PANDEMIC: WHO DECLARES

The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic.

“We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction,” Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva on Wednesday.

“We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”

The coronavirus, which emerged in China in December, has spread around the world, halting industry, bringing flights to a standstill, closing schools and forcing the postponement of sporting events and concerts. Even the Tokyo Summer Olympics are in question.

A pandemic is an epidemic on a far greater geographic scale that affects a much large number of people.

Before the WHO’s comments, Britain and Italy announced multi-billion-dollar war chests to fight the disease and the United States said it was considering new steps.

The Bank of England joined many other countries in cutting interest rates, by half a percentage point, and announced support for bank lending.

The United States, where the S&P 500 stock index was down almost 4%, said its steps could include tax relief, to combat the virus that could put hundreds of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said up to 70% of the population was likely to be infected as the virus spreads around the world in the absence of a cure.

“When the virus is out there, the population has no immunity and no therapy exists, then 60 to 70% of the population will be infected,” she told a news conference in Berlin.

A rebound in stocks ran out of steam on Wednesday despite the Bank of England move. Money markets are fully pricing in a further 10 basis-point cut by the European Central Bank when it meets on Thursday.

As of Tuesday’s close, $8.1 trillion in value has been erased from global stock markets in the recent rout.

More than 119,100 people have been infected by the coronavirus across the world and 4,298 have died, the vast majority in China, according to a Reuters tally. Italy has had 10,149 cases and 631 deaths. Iran has had 9,000 cases and 354 deaths. The United States has 975 cases and 30 deaths.

© 2020 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

South Korea Sees New Cluster

(Epoch Times)

In South Korea, the capital of Seoul has recorded at least 64 new cases of the novel coronavirus in a major cluster outbreak outside of Daegu and the broader North Gyeongsang province.

The infection cluster happened at a call center in the neighborhood of Sindorim in Seoul, local outlet Yonhap News Agency reported on March 10. The municipal government of Seoul stated that at least 64 people in connection with the call center were infected with the virus as of 1 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

Among those, 40 employees of the call center and their family members live in Seoul. Additionally, 13 employees live in Incheon and 11 employees live in Gyeonggi province.

The call center is located on the 11th floor of a high-rise building, which is 19 floors above the ground and 6 floors underground. There are 207 other employees of the call center waiting to be tested for the virus.

“All 207 workers have been quarantined and inspections are taking place. This is the biggest infection reported in Seoul so far,” Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said in a press briefing on Tuesday, according to Yonhap.

The mayor added, “We are looking at this in a serious and grave manner and striving to prevent additional cases.”

In response to the outbreak at the call center, local health officials have sealed off the first floor to the 12th floor, which are home to office units and stores, according to Yonhap. People living on the 13th floor to the 19th floor, which house only residential units, have been asked to quarantine themselves in their homes.

Local health officials have also announced that they plan to test 550 other people, who work at other call centers on the seventh to ninth floors of the same building.

Also on Tuesday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced that there were 131 new cases on Monday, bringing the national tally of infected to 7,513.

Of the 7,513 known cases, 5,663 are in Daegu and 1,117 are in North Gyeongsang province.

Meanwhile, Gyeonggi province has 163 confirmed cases, Seoul has 141 cases, and Busan 96 cases.

It is unclear how many of the 64 cases connected to the call center have been included in the KCDC’s total tally of 7,513.

Many of the cases in Daegu and North Gyeongsang province have been connected to a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu, after a 61-year-old female follower of the church tested positive for the virus on Feb. 18.

Also on March 10, U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) announced that a Korean national employee has tested positive for COVID-19, marking the ninth USFK-related case of the virus in South Korea.

The employee, who has been isolated at her residence off-base, was working at Camp Walker in Daegu.

“Korea’s CDC and USFK health professionals are actively conducting contact tracing to determine whether anyone else may have been exposed,” the force said in a statement.

So far, only one U.S. service member has tested positive.

As outbreak spreads, schools face dilemma in going online

By MICHELLE R. SMITH and COLLIN BINKLEY

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — When the new coronavirus surfaced at Saint Raphael Academy after a school group returned from a trip to Italy, officials decided to close the Rhode Island Catholic high school for two weeks.

Instead of cancelling classes, the school in Pawtucket instituted “virtual days” where students are expected to work from home, check for assignments through an online portal and occasionally chat with teachers.

A few miles away, a public charter school also closed after a teacher who attended the same Italy trip awaited test results. But at Achievement First, the two days off were treated like snow days — no special assignments and no expectation that kids keep up their schoolwork.

As more schools across the United States close their doors because of the coronavirus, they are confronted with a dilemma in weighing whether to shut down and move classes online, which could leave behind the many students who don’t have computers, home internet access or parents with flexible work schedules. As the closures accelerate, children at some schools, like Saint Raphael, will be able to continue some form of learning, while children at schools with fewer technological or other resources, may simply miss out.MORE ON THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

The deep technological and wealth gap that exists nationwide between poor and affluent students has made the coronavirus outbreak even more challenging for school officials, who are wrestling with not only health and safety decisions but also questions about the ethics of school closures.

These deliberations have been playing out in schools all around the country during the outbreak, from urban districts in New York, Seattle and Los Angeles to rural ones in Nebraska and Pennsylvania.

“If we shut down for a week or two weeks, and some of the kids can do it but some can’t, what do you do?” said Edward Albert, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools. “There are some places that don’t even have phone service.”

Although widespread closures are a new development in the United States, they are already a reality in nations that have been hit harder by the virus. The United Nations’ education agency, UNESCO, says nearly 300 million children in 22 countries on three continents were being affected by school closures last week. In response, it has begun supporting online learning programs.

In hard-hit Washington, education officials recommended against schools moving instruction online unless they can ensure equal access for all students, including those with disabilities or without internet access. The state’s education agency advised schools that it would make more sense to cancel school and make up classes at the end of the year.

“We are putting out a word of caution about the equity lens,” said Rhett Nelson, director of alternative learning at the state’s education department. “We want to discourage practices that disproportionately impact certain populations, especially those that are more at risk.”

Schools also have to consider whether closures are actually beneficial to public health. Very few cases have been found in children and teenagers, and experts caution schools to think about factors such as harms to children’s education and absenteeism among health care workers whose kids have to stay home.

“There’s not strong evidence that closing schools will have a meaningful public health benefit,” said Jennifer Nuzzo of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore.

In Los Angeles, teachers are raising concerns about an emergency plan to move classes online. So far, it’s unclear how the district would reach students whose families can’t afford laptops or internet service, said Alex Orozco, of the district’s teachers union. New York officials say they’re considering closings only as a last resort, citing concerns that it would disrupt daily life for thousands of families.

Some districts plan to distribute Wi-Fi hotspots to students without internet access, and others say they will provide computers to every student. Public schools in Miami say they’re readying more than 200,000 laptops ready to go home in case classes move online.

In the Northshore School District near Seattle, which shifted its classes online as of Monday, officials are loaning computers and hotspots to students who need them. They’re also providing to-go meals to address concerns about children who get free lunch going hungry.

Dozens of U.S. schools have announced closures of one or two days to disinfect schools, and some are shutting down for longer. Public schools in Scarsdale, New York, are canceling classes through March 18 with no plans to move online after a school worker tested positive. The 64,000-student Elk Grove Unified School District near Sacramento, California, closed through Friday after a district family was placed on quarantine.

Colleges were also moving classes online, including the University of Washington, Stanford University, Princeton University and Columbia.Full Coverage: Virus Outbreak

The closures have proved to be a boon for some online schools and tech companies that help schools teach online. Many say they’re seeing increased demand for services, while some are offering to help schools for free. Among them is Google, which is giving schools free access to larger video conferences.

The Leyden High School District near Chicago has been offering “E-Learning Days” for four years when bad weather arrives. All students are given tablets, and they can get free Wi-Fi hotspots if needed. But the practice is normally used only a day at a time, and Superintendent Nick Polyak questions whether it could be sustained for longer stretches.

“We could do something really high-quality for a week. If it’s a month, I don’t know that we could,” Polyak said. “Not every student can just log on to a computer and participate. What do we do with our English language students? What to do with cafeteria workers and bus drivers? Do they just lose pay?”

Similar concerns have led some schools to plan for outright closures rather than virtual classes. An hour outside Lincoln, Nebraska, officials at Johnson-Brock Public School say they aren’t considering online options because internet accessibility is too spotty in their rural community. Instead, the district of 250 students would plan to close and make up days later.

Some other schools are planning for low-tech options, like packets of work that could be sent home every week. Even schools equipped with technology are considering that option for younger students who don’t use online learning software.

At the charter school in Providence, Achievement First closed for cleaning while it awaited a teacher’s coronavirus test results. She ended up testing negative and the school reopened after just two days.

Soraida Morales’ three children attend the school. She still had to go to work at her pharmacy job, but was able to depend on her parents for childcare while she worked. They are also fortunate to have a laptop at home, a luxury that many families in the district don’t have. The school serves a large number of English language learners, and the vast majority are considered economically disadvantaged.

Holly Taylor Coolman has two sophomores at the Pawtucket Catholic school shut down for two weeks. She and her husband are both college professors and have the flexibility to stay home with them and their 4th grader, a decision they made so they would not put anyone else at risk. She jokes that her family is in “quaranteen” as she keeps her kids on a strict schedule to keep up with coursework online.

She also recognizes that her family is fortunate to have the flexibility they do, and she wonders about what other families will do who don’t have the same kind of privilege.

“There’s this much bigger question about how are kids faring right now, who don’t have two parents at home or don’t have any parent at home,” she said.

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Binkley reported from Boston.