Shedding Light in the Darkness

Coronavirus Update 2/28/2020

corimg_0854“Our major vulnerability is not Iran. It’s the United States,” Canadian epidemiologist Dr. David Fisman, at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. The U.S. has experienced problems with its testing kits, meaning very few people have been tested for the virus there, in comparison with other countries.

We’re in good hands with VP Mike Pence in charge of America’s Coronavirus challenge. Pence is famous for claiming that  “smoking doesn’t kill” and delaying steps to curb Indiana’s HIV outbreak.

“It’s like putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department, a bank robber in charge of the US Mint.” tweeted Yale University assistant professor of epidemiology Gregg Gonsalves.

Bernie Sanders responded: Trump’s plan for the coronavirus so far: – Cut winter heating assistance for the poor – Have VP Pence, who wanted to “pray away” HIV epidemic, oversee the response – Let ex-pharma lobbyist Alex Azar refuse to guarantee affordable vaccines to all. Disgusting.

Six years ago, Trump criticized former President Obama for appointing a longtime adviser, Ron Klein to lead the government response to Ebola, instead of a medical professional. “Obama just appointed an Ebola Czar with zero experience in the medical area and zero experience in infectious disease control. A TOTAL JOKE!”

President Trump said he gave Pence the role as he didn’t “have anything else to do,” the New York Times reported.

Pence has added Larry Kudlow to the virus combat team. This week Kudlow announced that the virus had been “contained,” “pretty close to airtight.”

To dampen any criticism, shades of Russia and China, the White House clamped down on interviews related to coronavirus, telling everyone including cabinet officials to go through the VP Office.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, one of the country’s leading experts on viruses and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases, told associates that the White House had instructed him not to say anything else without clearance. “I was to go on Sunday talk shows. The VP’s office then took over the control, and told me to stand down, not to do those shows.”

Meanwhile in a bizarre smear Donald Trump Jr. accused Democrats of hyping the coronavirus scare in order to politically hurt his father. ‘For them to take a pandemic and seemingly hope that it comes here and kills millions of people so that they can end Donald Trump’s streak of winning is a new level of sickness,’ he said Friday morning on ‘Fox & Friends.’

Headline in The Economist – “The Virus is Coming”

“Many governments have been signalling that they will stop the disease. Instead, they need to start preparing people for the onslaught. 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.”

California, Santa Clara County – 3 cases now – “virus appears to be spreading among at least two separate populations”

In Miami a man who returned form China and was tested in a hospital got a notice from his insurance company about a claim for $3,270. “How can they expect normal citizens to contribute to eliminating the potential risk of person-to-person spread if hospitals are waiting to charge us $3,270 for a simple blood test and a nasal swab?” he told the Miami Herald.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government would ask all elementary, junior high and high schools to close from March 2 until spring break, typically around the end of March. A woman working as a tour bus guide was reinfected with the coronavirus, testing positive after having recovered from an earlier infection, Osaka’s prefectural government said. The woman in her 40s first tested positive in late January and was discharged from hospital on Feb. 1 after recovering, according to the statement. The government has urged that big gatherings and sports events be scrapped or curtailed for two weeks to contain the virus while pledging that the 2020 Summer Olympics will go ahead in Tokyo.

Dr Mike Ryan with WHO – pushing back against idea that asymptomatic cases are driving #covid19 transmission. “This is becoming a myth”, he says. “The vast majority of transmission in this epidemic is occurring from symptomatic individuals to other individuals.”

More than 320,000 samples from community tested in Guangdong, says WHO’s Dr Tedros. Only 0,14% were positive for #COVID19. “That suggests that containment is possible”, he says. “The evidence we have is that there does not appear to be widespread community transmission. It’s what’s happening in the rest of the world that is now our greatest concern.We are at a decisive point.”

Research by team from Nankai University shows new virus has mutated gene similar to those found in HIV and Ebola. The new coronavirus has an HIV-like mutation that means its ability to bind with human cells could be up to 1,000 times as strong as the Sars virus, according to new research by scientists in China and Europe.

Scientists showed that Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) entered the human body by binding with a receptor protein called ACE2 on a cell membrane. And some early studies suggested that the new coronavirus, which shares about 80 per cent of the genetic structure of Sars, might follow a similar path.

But the ACE2 protein does not exist in large quantities in healthy people, and this partly helped to limit the scale of the Sars outbreak of 2002-03, in which infected about 8,000 people around the world (another study suggests that men and Asian people may have a higher expression of ACE2). Compared to the Sars’ way of entry, this binding method is “100 to 1,000 times” as efficient, according to the study.

A 2007 study on 1918 flu epidemic and public health interventions known as Nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) – The intensity of the 1918 pandemic, whether assessed as total excess deaths, the rate of increase in the epidemic curve, or peak death rates, varied widely among U.S. cities.

Cities also varied widely in their choice and timing of implementation of NPIs designed to reduce disease spread. Many cities closed schools, churches, theaters, dance halls, or other public accommodations; made influenza a notifiable disease; banned funerals or other public gatherings; or introduced isolation of sick persons. In some cases, these NPIs were put in place in the first days of epidemic spread in a city, whereas in other cases, they were introduced late or not at all.

The first cases of disease among civilians in Philadelphia were reported on September 17, 1918, but authorities downplayed their significance and allowed large public gatherings, notably a city-wide parade on September 28, 1918, to continue. School closures, bans on public gatherings, and other social distancing interventions were not implemented until October 3, when disease spread had already begun to overwhelm local medical and public health resources.

In contrast, the first cases of disease among civilians in St. Louis were reported on October 5, and authorities moved rapidly to introduce a broad series of measures designed to promote social distancing, implementing these on October 7. The difference in response times between the two cities (≈14 days, when measured from the first reported cases) represents approximately three to five doubling times for an influenza epidemic. The costs of this delay appear to have been significant; by the time Philadelphia responded, it faced an epidemic considerably larger than the epidemic St. Louis faced.

Iran’s Vice president Massoumeh Ebtekar has been tested positive to #Coronavirus. Ebtekar was present at a cabinet meeting, sitting not far from President Rouhani. 2 Mps and a deputy health minister have said in past days that they have been infected. BBC’s Persian Channel reported on February 28 that people familiar with the Iranian hospital said at least 210 people in Iran had died from #COVID2019, most of which occurred in the capital city Tehran and Qom. Iran’s officials are trying to cover up Corona deaths by lying and underreporting them.

Chinese resident of NY Jennifer Zeng – “Again, again & again, I tried to fathom CCP’s bottom line, but could never figure it out. Now they are hinting that #COVID19 come from Mars, and saying that Donald Trump should not support NASA’s plan to bring samples back to earth from Mars.

Mongolian President Bartulga met Xi Jinping Xi in Beijing. After returning to Mongolia yesterday he was isolated and quarantined for 14 days. Battulga is the first head of state to visit China since the country began implementing special measure to curb the coronavirus outbreak in January.

And finally well known health expert Rush Limbaugh – Folks, this coronavirus thing, I want to try to put this in perspective for you. It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump. Now, I want to tell you the truth about the coronavirus. You think I’m wrong about this? You think I’m missing it by saying that’s — Yeah, I’m dead right on this. The coronavirus is the common cold, folks. Two percent of the people get the coronavirus die. That’s less than the flu, folks. I believe the way it’s being weaponized is by virtue of the media, and I think that it is an effort to bring down Trump.”

Of course he’s lying – flu death rate is 0.1%

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