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Monday, January 27, 2020

January 27, 2020

Coronavirus ‘Can Spread Before Symptoms Show’, Warns China Health Minister

Wuhan Coronavirus

China's health minister Ma Xiaowei has delivered some very bad news about the Wuhan coronavirus, claiming people can spread it before they have symptoms.

"This is a game changer," said Dr William Schaffner, a longtime adviser to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It's much harder to contain a virus – to track down a patient's contacts and quarantine them immediately – if the patient was spreading the disease for weeks before they even realised they had it.

"It means the infection is much more contagious than we originally thought," said Dr Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

"This is worse than we anticipated."

A spokesperson for the CDC was not immediately available for comment on Sunday.
If the Chinese health minister is right – and there are those that doubt him – that means the three confirmed cases in the United States might have been infectious while flying from Wuhan to California, Illinois and Washington state.

The Wuhan coronavirus has killed more than 50 in China and infected thousands there, and spread as far away as the US, France and Canada.

Wuhan Coronavirus

'We're going to have to reevaluate our strategy'

US health officials believe the Wuhan virus has an incubation period of about two weeks, according to Dr Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunisation and Respiratory Diseases, who spoke at a press briefing Friday.

But as recently as Friday, health officials said they thought there wasn't much risk of transmitting the disease during this incubation period.

"Based on what we know now about this virus, our concern for transmission before symptoms develop is low, so that is reassuring," Dr Jennifer Layden, an epidemiologist with the Illinois Department of Health, said at the Friday briefing.

The news from the Chinese health minister should encourage health officials to change that thinking, some infectious disease experts told CNN.

"Assuming that Ma is correct, we're going to have to re-evaluate our strategy, that's for sure," Dr Schaffner said.

Dr Paul Offit, another longtime CDC adviser, said given Mr Ma's news, he thinks health officials should alert people on the flights that the three US patients took from Wuhan that they might have travelled with someone who is infectious.

"I think the conservative thing to do would be to cast a wider net," he said.

Wuhan Coronavirus

Are Chinese officials right?

In a fast-spreading, ever-evolving outbreak like this one, information often changes.
Mr Ma, the Chinese health minister, didn't explain why he thinks the virus can be spread before someone has symptoms, leaving some experts skeptical.

"I seriously doubt that the Chinese public officials have any data supporting this statement," said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

"I know of no evidence in 17 years of working with coronaviruses – SARS and MERS – where anyone has been found to be infectious during their incubation period."

Severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome are both caused by coronaviruses. While each has killed hundreds of people worldwide, together they amounted to only a handful of cases and no deaths in the United States.

Dr Offit, on the other hand, said it wouldn't surprise him if the Chinese health minister is right and the Wuhan coronavirus can be spread while people are asymptomatic. Measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox all spread that way, he said.

Despite that, he said he's optimistic that the US can control the outbreak before it gets out of hand, as it has in China.

That's because the spread of the outbreak doesn't just rely on the time period of contagiousness. It also relies on how easily the virus spreads. Some viruses, like measles, spread easily even to people on the other side of a room. Other viruses spread only with much closer contact.

[ By 9NEWS ]

Sunday, January 26, 2020

January 26, 2020

Kobe Bryant’s Daughter Gianna, 13, Dead Alongside Father in Calabasas Helicopter Crash

Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant

Kobe Bryant’s daughter Gianna also died in the Calabasas helicopter crash that killed their father.

Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, nicknamed Gigi, was also onboard the private helicopter when it went down on Sunday, reps for the former basketball player told TMZ Sports.

Emergency personnel responded but no one on board survived. Five people are confirmed dead, TMZ reported. The outlet said that Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant — with whom he shares all four children — was not onboard.

Sources told ESPN that the helicopter was headed to a travel basketball game for Gianna, and that the other passengers were another player and their parent.

Bryant is survived by Vanessa, 37, and their daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.

Spokespersons for LA county sheriff’s office and LAPD did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant

Earlier this month, the former NBA star — who retired in 2016 — revealed that he had recently started watching basketball all the time because of his 13-year-old daughter.

“Before Gigi got into basketball I hardly watched it, but now that’s she’s into basketball, we watch every night,” Kobe told former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the Showtime Basketball podcast All the Smoke.

Kobe and his daughter also attended several Lakers games before the start of the new year, marking the first time he had been to a game since his jersey was retired in 2017.

“We just had so much fun because it was the first time I was seeing the game through her eyes,” the five-time NBA champion said of sharing the experience with his daughter.

“It wasn’t me sitting there, you know, as an athlete or a player or something like that, and you know it’s like about me, and I don’t like that,” he added. “It was her, she was having such a good time.”

[ By People ]
January 26, 2020

Kobe Bryant Dead at 41, Killed in Helicopter Crash

Kobe Bryant

Retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant passed away on Sunday morning in a helicopter crash, per TMZ. The incident took place in Calabasas. Kobe was traveling with at least three other people in his private helicopter. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

According to the report, emergency personnel responded, but nobody on board survived the crash. Five people are confirmed dead. TMZ reports that Vanessa Bryant was not among those on board.

The Los Angeles Times confirmed that a helicopter crash had occurred before 10 a.m. near Las Virgenes Road, south of Agoura Road. There were foggy conditions that caused the helicopter to crash in the hills above Calabasas and burst into flames.


A watch commander for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that the crash ignited a small brush fire in the area surrounding the helicopter. Emergency Services personnel were unable to get to the aircraft until the fire was contained. The Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department confirmed that there were five fatalities and no survivors of the wreck.

Bryant has been known for traveling via a private helicopter for years even during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers. He famously commuted from Newport Beach to the STAPLES Center in downtown Los Angeles by way of his Sikorsky S-76 chopper.

Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and their four daughters, Gianna, Natalia, Bianca, and Capri.

With a career that spanned 20 years and 1,346 games, Bryant is known as one of the NBA's all-time greats. The former Los Angeles Laker was named an NBA All-Star 18 times, and he was a member of five championship teams. He also had two separate numbers (8, 24) retired by the Lakers following his retirement. He is fourth on the NBA's All-Time scoring list.

This story is developing.

[ By Pop Culture ]
January 26, 2020

Photo Of Super-sized Mosquito Sparks Terror


This image shows a huge bug that has been killed in a home in Argentina and has been compared to something from “Chernobyl” or “Jumanji”.

The enormous bug was reportedly found in a home in the city of Cordoba located in the central Argentine province of the same name.

A social media user named ‘Ezequiel Lobo’, posted a picture of the insect on Tuesday next to a mosquito.

Lobo, appearing to identify the mysterious insect as a mosquito, joked in the caption: “Look at the size of the mosquito that just came in through my window. He came in like a champion, my mother panicked and sprayed it with Raid. I haven’t found anything similar online. Either it’s Chernobyl’s new evolution or I just found out that I am in Jumanji”.


In the photo, the dead bug can be seen dwarfing the mosquito, which is much smaller.

Lobo asked for other users to comment if they had seen such an oversized specimen and one user said “the small one on the right side is Aedes aegypti and it can transmit Dengue fever, Yellow fever, Zika… the enormous one on the left is Psorophora ciliata, and it cannot cause anything like that.”

According to insect expert Michael H. Reiskind, Psorophora ciliata usually appear after flooding and their bite can cause significant pain.

However, they do not usually carry disease so they only pose a risk those who are allergic.

It is unclear if the bug has been confirmed as a Psorophora ciliata, which is indigenous to the eastern United States.

[ By 7NEWS ]
January 26, 2020

“If I Can’t Live, Then You Can’t Too!” Patient with Fever Tears Off Medical Staff’s Mask & Spits At Her

coronavirus

Everyone is afraid of getting infected with the Wuhan virus now and taking careful precautions to make sure that they stay safe. More and more people are testing positive for the virus that has taken more than 20 people’s lives so far. Medical staff in the hospitals are at the frontlines of this latest sickness that has gone global but yet, they work tirelessly to help others.

These medical staff work tirelessly and selflessly to treat patients and keep the Wuhan virus at bay. They are truly the heroes we need, but don’t deserve. However, not everyone knows how to appreciate them as evidenced by this case that happened in Shijiazhuang, Hebei.

coronavirus

According to Yahoo TW, a Chinese netizen shared a screenshot of a conversation they had with a friend who was working in a hospital. She was not allowed to take holidays during this Chinese New Year season as they needed all hands on deck.


The medical staff told her friend that she encountered a patient who was having a fever in the hospital so she kindly gave him a mask to prevent cross-infection with other patients. She said, “There are many sick people in the hospital. Since you are sick and your immune system is weak now so here’s a mask for you to wear to stop you from getting sicker.”

Suddenly, the man went crazy and threw a fit when she gave him the mask. He shouted at her, “I’m already sick, what’s the use of wearing a mask now?” As if that wasn’t enough, he got up and pulled off the mask from the medical staff’s face to spit at her. That’s seriously bad! 


He then said to the innocent staff, “If I can’t live anymore then you will all die with me as well.” It is believed that the man was angry as there were insufficient medical resources. The medical staff told her friend that she cried for the first time in her career and had to be quarantined in the hospital after that. She remained optimistic and said that the man who spat at her might just be having a normal fever.

In addition, there was also a viral post circulating on Weibo, saying that a doctor in Wuhan had a similar experience. Apparently, the doctor said that a patient’s family got angry and tore off the doctor’s protective clothing. They even said, “Why are you wearing protective gear? If I’m going to die then we will all die together!”

Netizens were horrified when they saw this and criticised these ungrateful patients severely. They said that we should appreciate what the medical staff is doing for us and said that this was a seriously bad attitude.

[ By World of Buzz ]
January 26, 2020

China Says Wuhan Virus’ Ability To Spread Getting Stronger

Wuhan Virus, Coronavirus

BEIJING (Reuters) - The coronavirus transmission ability is getting stronger and infections could continue to rise, China’s National Health Commission said on Sunday, with more than 2,000 people globally infected and 56 in China killed by the disease.

National Health Commission Minister Ma Xiaowei, speaking at a press briefing, said authorities’ knowledge of the new virus was limited and they are unclear on the risks posed by mutations of the virus.

Ma said the incubation period for the coronavirus can range from one to 14 days, and that the virus is infectious during incubation, which was not the case with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), a coronavirus that originated in China and killed nearly 800 people globally in 2002 and 2003.

Containment efforts, which have thus far included transportation and travel curbs and the cancellation of big events, will be intensified, Ma told a crowded news briefing on the second day of the Lunar New Year holiday.

The virus, believed to have originated late last year in a seafood market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife, has spread to Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the United States, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Australia, France and Canada.

On Sunday, China announced a nationwide ban on the sale of wildlife in markets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms.

[ By Reuters ]
January 26, 2020

Coronavirus Whistleblower Nurse Says China Has 90,000 Sick


The Coronavirus now has a whistleblower — a nurse in Wuhan who insists in a shocking online video that close to 90,000 people in China have the disease, far more than the 1,975 reported by officials.

“I am in the area where the coronavirus started,” her video begins. Wuhan is the epicenter of the outbreak.

“I’m here to tell the truth,” the anonymous nurse says in the video, which shows her wearing a full-head face mask.

“At this moment, Hubei province, including the Wuhan area, even China, 90,000 people have been infected by a coronavirus.”

She does not reveal how she arrived at the sobering statistic.

The video has been viewed on YouTube some two million times, the Daily Mail reported.
WATCH:


Other horrifying videos have shown dead bodies covered in sheets lying in hospital hallways.

[ By New York Post ]

Saturday, January 25, 2020

January 25, 2020

China Says Deadly Coronavirus Accelerating: 1,300+ Cases, 56+ Million In Lock Down

wuhan coronavirus

The death toll has risen in China as the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak which has now reached more than 1,300 confirmed cases.

The latest death toll and rise in the number of cases comes as Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping warned the virus had accelerated, BBC reported. He said China is now facing a “grave situation.”

Chinese government authorities have place travel restrictions on more than 17 cities in the Hubei province where the outbreak first began, according to The Telegraph. With those travel restrictions, 56 million people are effectively on lock down as they wait for the news on how the virus will be handled.

In its efforts to prevent being overwhelmed by the disease’ spread, China is reportedly racing to construct a new 1,000 bed hospital in a matter of days.


The death toll from the coronavirus has also risen to 41. On Friday, the death toll was only reported at 26 and fears have begun to emerge that the Chinese government has been overwhelmed by this virus outbreak.

Cases of coronavirus quickly spread to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. Three cases have now been reported in France.

Two cases of coronavirus have also been confirmed in the U.S. within the last week.

[ By American Military News]
January 25, 2020

Pack of Eight Dogs Exterminate 730 Rats in Just Seven Hours

Suffolk and Norfolk Rat Pack

Most people think that cats are nature’s ultimate rat catchers, but they’re actually a lot less efficient in catching and killing rodents than dogs.

Rats are known to breed at an alarming rate, and in the English countryside it’s easy for farms to be overrun by disease-spreading rodents. When rats become too much for farmers to handle, it’s up to small companies like Suffolk and Norfolk Rat Pack to come in and clean up with the help of some small but exceptionally skilled rodent hunters. Suffolk and Norfolk Rat Pack specialises in training dog breeds that genetically designed to catch rats; they travel all around the UK helping farmers clean up their rat infested properties in a matter of hours. Their most successful endeavour yet occurred earlier this month, when a pack of eight dogs managed to kill no less than 730 rats in only seven hours.

“This is what the dogs are bred for. It is in their DNA to hunt,” Ed Cook, the company’s 34-year-old manager said. “We don’t really have to train them because it’s their instinct to catch and kill rats. All dogs will play fetch but these dogs will go to extreme lengths to catch the rats.”

Suffolk and Norfolk Rat Pack

The record rat culling took place at a pig farm near Eye, Suffolk, on January 12, with the eight dogs of various breeds – Norfolk terriers, Whippet, Patterdale, etc. – working tirelessly and efficiently at finding and killing all the rodents they could find. Before the eight dogs were released, the farm was crawling with rodents, some over one kilogram heavy, but in less than a standard eight-hour work day, the canines managed to clean up the massive infestation.

Suffolk and Norfolk Rat Pack

“Some of these rats were almost as big as the dogs, it was incredible to watch. The dogs are incredibly brave and it’s remarkable how many rats they can catch, they just love it,” Ed added. “When rats are poisoned it is a horrendous death and it can take up to 48 hours. It’s slow and painful. This method is traditional and brings working dogs into good use. At the longest it takes three or four seconds for the Terriers to make the kill.”

Suffolk and Norfolk Rat Pack

Even for the guys at Suffolk and Norfolk Rat Pack, the 730 rats caught in less than seven hours came as a bit of a shock, considering they only had eight dogs working the place. It just speaks of their tenacity and natural rat hunting instinct.


“Once they are given the exposure to the rats they chase them down automatically. It’s ingrained in their DNA,” Ed Cook confirmed.

[ By Oddity Central ]
January 25, 2020

US Warned Virus Could ‘Escape’ From Lab Near Coronavirus Epicentre

wuhan institute of virology, coronavirus

Two years before the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus that has so far killed 25 people in China, scientists spoke of their fears about a new laboratory being built to study some of the world’s most dangerous viruses.

The laboratory was built in Wuhan, the city at the heart of the outbreak of the new strain of coronavirus, that has so far infected more than 800 people.

Overnight, China’s National Health Commission anounced the new death toll, including the first death outside the central province of Hubei.

A fish market in Wuhan, Hubei’s sprawling capital, is believed to be where the deadly virus originated.

It sits some 20 miles from the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, which housed dangerous pathogens including SARS and Ebola.

In 2017, as the opening of the lab approached, scientists told the publication Nature of their worries that one of those killer viruses could ‘escape’ and go on to infect members of the public.

Tim Trevan, a Maryland biosafety consultant, said he had fears China’s culture could make the institute unsafe because ‘structures where everyone feels free to speak up and openness of information are important’.

wuhan institute of virology, coronavirus
Researchers working at the lab must wear hazmat suits and work in special ‘cabinet’ work spaces that confine viruses and bacteria (Picture: Wuhan Institute of Virology)

wuhan institute of virology, coronavirus
The Wuhan laboratory was the first in China designed to meet biosafetey-level-4 (BSL-4) standards – the highest biohazard level (Picture: Wuhan Institute of Virology)

The SARS virus – which between 2002 and 2004 infected 8,098 people and killed 774 – had infact ‘escaped’ multiple times from a lab in Beijing prior to Wuhan’s lab opening, according to the Nature article.

China installed the first of a planned five to seven biolabs designed for maximum safety in Wuhan in 2017, for the purpose of studying the most high-risk pathogens, like SARS.

The lab, housed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, was built in 2015 and ready to open in 2017.

It was the first ever lab in the country designed to meet biosafetey-level-4 (BSL-4) standards – the highest biohazard level, meaning that it would be qualified to handle the most dangerous pathogens.

BSL-4 labs have to be equipped with airtight hazmat suits or special ‘cabinet’ work spaces that confine viruses and bacteria that can be transmitted through the air to sealed boxes that scientists reach into using attached high-grade gloves.

There are about 54 BSL-4 labs worldwide.

China’s first, in Wuhan, received federal accreditation in January 2017.

Despite the early fears over mass-contamination, experts have said there are currently no suspicions the facility had anything to do with the current outbreak, first detected in China in December.

Rutgers University microbiologist Dr Richard Ebright told DailyMail.com ‘there’s no reason to harbor suspicions’ that the lab is connected to the Wuhan coronavirus ‘besides being responsible for the crucial genome sequencing that lets doctors diagnose it’.

According to Guizhen Wu writing in the journal Biosafety and Health, the Wuhan lab was operational ‘for global experiments on BSL-4 pathogens’ in January 2018.

He added: ‘ After a laboratory leak incident of SARS in 2004, the former Ministry of Health of China initiated the construction of preservation laboratories for high-level pathogens such as SARS, coronavirus, and pandemic influenza virus.’

wuhan institute of virology
Wuhan Institute of Virology

The scientists who spoke out in 2017 told Nature the work being carried out in Wuhan was important for the development of vaccines and treatments.

This included conducting tests on animals, including monkeys, as regulations for animal research are much looser in China than in Western countries.

The latest strain of coronavirus, which scientists currently believe mutated to infect people through animal-human contact, has now spread to at leats 10 other countries and seen nine cities with a combined population of 32 million people put on lockdown, meaning they are unable to leave.

In the UK, more than a dozen people have been tested for coronavirus, with five confirmed negative and nine still awaiting results.

There is only one laboratory testing for the coronavirus in Britain, which is operated by Public Health England (PHE).

All the cases that are being investigated there had been flagged up through the PHE infection guidelines, as they were people who had travelled to Wuhan within the last 14 days and were showing signs of respiratory symptoms.

[ By Metro UK ]
January 25, 2020

Virus-hit Wuhan Has Two Laboratories Linked To Chinese Bio-warfare Program

coronavirus

The deadly animal virus epidemic spreading globally may have originated in a Wuhan laboratory linked to China’s covert biological weapons program, according to an Israeli biological warfare expert.

Wuhan Institute of Virology, coronavirus
Wuhan Institute of Virology

Radio Free Asia
this week rebroadcast a local Wuhan television report from 2015 showing China’s most advanced virus research laboratory known the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Radio Free Asia reported.

The laboratory is the only declared site in China capable of working with deadly viruses.


Dany Shoham, a former Israeli military intelligence officer who has studied Chinese bio warfare, said the institute is linked to Beijing’s covert biological weapons program.

“Certain laboratories in the institute have probably been engaged, in terms of research and development, in Chinese [biological weapons], at least collaterally, yet not as a principal facility of the Chinese BW alignment,” Mr. Shoham told The Washington Times.

Work on biological weapons is conducted as part of a dual civilian-military research and is “definitely covert,” he said in an email.

Mr. Shoham holds a doctorate in medical microbiology. From 1970 to 1991 he was a senior analyst with Israeli military intelligence for biological and chemical warfare in the Middle East and worldwide, holding the rank of lieutenant colonel.

[ By The Washington Times ]
January 25, 2020

Doctor At Hospital In China’s Hubei Province Dies From Coronavirus

Coronavirus

A doctor at a hospital in China’s Hubei province, the center of the coronavirus outbreak, has died from the virus, China Global Television Network reported in a tweet.

Liang Wudong

Liang Wudong, a doctor at Hubei Xinhua Hospital who had been at the front line of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan city, died from the virus aged 62, it said.



[ By Reuters ]
January 25, 2020

Coronavirus Is Spread Through The Eyes Making Surgical Masks Useless, Expert Claims

Coronavirus , Wang Guangfa

AN expert has claimed deadly coronavirus can be spread through the EYES after he contracted the disease, despite wearing a protective mask.

Dr Wang Guangfa has now theorised the similar coronavirus may be transmitted through the eye after testing positive following an eye infection.

Mr Wang was a leading figure in the fight against SARS virus that gripped China in 2003.

The doctor now says he believes he contracted the virus due to not donning protective eyewear.

He was criticised by some when he contracted the virus two weeks ago after saying it could be prevented and controlled.

However, despite his best efforts he fell ill.

Coronavirus

Mr Wang said: "At that time we were highly vigilant and wore N95 masks.

"But then I suddenly realised that we didn’t wear protective glasses.”

After returning to Beijing from visiting fever clinics in Wuhan - where the virus originated - he developed conjunctivitis in his left eye within hours.

The doc was then struck down with a fever, but says he assumed he had the flu after seeing no evidence linking eye infections to the disease in his research.

Coronavirus

But when flu meds failed, Mr Wang opted for a coronavirus test that came back positive.

The expert claims the most likely explanation for this is the respiratory disease is contactable through the eye.

China's National Health Commission expert, Li Lanjuan advises medical staff who regularly come in contact with coronavirus patients to wear protective eye gear, but the general public should be fine with just face masks.


The disease has now spread across the globe, with over ten suspected cases in the UK.

And there are fears it could strike 350,000 in Wuhan alone as deaths mount.

The death toll now stands at 26 with more than 800 confirmed cases of the deadly mutating bug.

[ By The Sun ]

Friday, January 24, 2020

January 24, 2020

You Can Now Name A Cockroach After Your Ex For Valentine’s Day

Cockroach, Valentines Day

They say it’s pretty hard being single on Valentine’s Day – it’s not really – but if you’re still cut up about your ex partner you can now choose to name a cockroach after them to celebrate the occasion.

The service is being offered by Hemsley Conservation Centre in Sevenoaks and only asking for a £1.50 charitable donation in order to do so. To be honest, that’s probably worth doing just to name someone you know after them for the lolz because it’s such a cheap price – I’m sure you’ve already got a long list of contenders for the position whirring around in your head. You also get a certificate that you can present to them for maximum enjoyment as well.

Cockroach, Valentines Day

Here’s the official summary from the Conservation Centre:
The start of 2020 let’s face it, hasn’t been great… and if you have been dumped recently it is even worse. But now it is time to cast those negative thoughts and feelings aside and to put a smile back on your face! 
For those that don’t quite require revenge, there’s another way to make you feel better about getting back at your ex on Valentine’s Day. The HCC is offering the chance to name a cockroach in honour of your friend’s worthless ex- ‘someone’ on this special holiday of love for just £1.50. 
We are highlighting these creatures through our ‘name a cockroach programme’ (we think adopt is a little too strong, after all – you probably don’t want to adopt your friend’s ex) to raise money for our projects at the zoo. 
After your donation you will receive a downloadable certificate and we will include your ex’s name on our roach board which will be revealed on Valentine’s Day!
You can sign up to the scheme here, although in a bit of a cop out only your ex’s first name will be displayed. Not really sure what the point of it is if you can’t bask in the full glory of knowing that some little roach out there has your ex’s full name. Could be any old Joe, Dick or Sarah couldn’t it?

[ By Sick Chirpse ]
January 24, 2020

China Building A 1000-bed Hospital Within Six Days For Coronavirus Patients

Coronavirus

A 1000-bed hospital will be up in Wuhan, the epicentre of the raging outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in central China, within six days for the treatment of infected patients, state media reported on Friday.

A tweet accompanied by a video posted by the People’s Daily newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), showed the under-construction hospital that will specifically treat patients infected with the novel Coronavirus, which has so far killed 26 people and infected more than 880 in China and abroad.

The disease can be passed between humans and at least 15 medical workers including doctors have been infected after coming in contact with the virus while treating patients.


“Construction of the special hospital with a capacity of 1,000 beds for patients with #nCoV2019 (Coronavirus) has begun in Wuhan, according to the model of the hospital built in seven days in Beijing to deal with #SARS in 2003. The construction is scheduled to be completed by February 3,” the People’s Daily said in the tweet.

It is being built in the Caidian district of the western suburb of Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei province.

The newly set up Wuhan headquarters for the control and treatment of the disease said on Friday that the upcoming hospital covering an area of 25,000 square meters will be put into use by February 3.

“The special hospital planned to accommodate 1,000 beds is expected to pool medical resources to provide isolated and efficient treatment for infected pneumonia patients,” the official news agency, Xinhua said.

During the Sars outbreak in 2003, Beijing had built the Xiaotangshan Hospital, a temporary medical centre in the northern suburb of the city.

“The Xiaotangshan Hospital was built in seven days. The hospital admitted one-seventh of the SARS patients in the country within two months, creating a miracle in the history of medicine,” added the report.

The headquarters said the upcoming hospital will follow the building model of the Xiaotangshan Hospital and use movable plank houses so that the construction is completed quickly.

“Construction equipment has been sent to the hospital construction site,” the report said. Xiaotangshan is a small town on the outskirts of Beijing.


Unidentified locals from Wuhan told the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post that the authorities are paying workers as much as 1,200 yuan (US$173) per day – three times their usual wage – to accelerate construction of the hospital.

“…machines from construction companies including China Construction Third Engineering Bureau (CCTEB) have started to flatten the ground while designers from Citic Pacific Properties finalise the blueprint. A CCTEB source said they expected to receive the final blueprint by Friday and finish the project in six days,” the newspaper report said.

Currently, novel coronavirus patients are being treated in several designated hospitals and 61 fever clinics in Wuhan

[ By Hindustan Times ]
January 24, 2020

East Africa Hit By Most Serious Locust Outbreak In 25 Years

Locust Outbreak

The most serious outbreak of desert locusts in 25 years is spreading across East Africa.

It comes after an "extremely dangerous increase" in locust swarm activity was reported by officials in Kenya this week.

Authorities confirmed the insects continue to pose an unprecedented threat to food security as the insects fly together by the millions and are devouring crops and forcing people in some areas to wade through them.

The locust swarms hang like shimmering dark clouds on the horizon in some places.

Locust Outbreak

One swarm measured 37 miles long by 25 miles wide in the north-east of the country, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said in a statement.

"A typical desert locust swarm can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometre," it said.

"Swarms migrate with the wind and can cover 100 to 150 kilometres in a day.

"An average swarm can destroy as much food crops in a day as is sufficient to feed 2,500 people."

The outbreak of desert locusts, considered the most dangerous locust species, has affected parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea, as well as Kenya, and the IGAD warned that parts of South Sudan and Uganda could be next.


The outbreak is making the region’s bad food security situation worse, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned as hundreds of thousands of acres of crops have been destroyed.

Already millions of people cope with the constant risk of drought or flooding, as well as deadly unrest in Ethiopia, extremist attacks in Somalia and lingering fighting in South Sudan as it emerges from civil war.

The further increase in locust swarms could last until June as favourable breeding conditions continue, the IGAD said, helped along by unusually heavy flooding in parts of the region in recent weeks.

[ By ITV ]
January 24, 2020

Footage Shows Hospital In China Flooded With Hundreds Of Patients Amid Deadly Coronavirus Outbreak

 Coronavirus Outbreak

Shocking footage has purported to show hundreds of people filling a Chinese hospital to the brim amid an outbreak of a deadly new virus.

The coronavirus epidemic, which has killed 25 people and sickened more than 800, has led the authorities to quarantine at least 24 million people living in nine cities in China's Hubei Province before the Lunar New Year's Day on Saturday.

A leading Chinese virologist who helped tackle the SARS epidemic in Asia in 2003 has warned that the situation in Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, 'is already uncontrollable'.

Another expert in the country feared that the worst was yet to come, claiming that the peak of the outbreak would be next month.

Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province with a population of 11million, has been quarantined since yesterday.

The local government today said that the city was witnessing a surge in the number of its fever patients and that hospitals were running out of beds.

Authorities have reportedly ordered a state-run construction company to build a dedicated hospital in six days to treat patients diagnosed with coronavirus.


The emergency medical facility would be modelled on a centre built in Beijing in 2003 during the epidemic of SARS, the report said.

Unverified footage posted by a blogger on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter, appears to show the corridor and lobby of a hospital crammed with hundreds of mask-donning patients waiting to see the doctor.

Yang Gonghuan, the former deputy director of Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, today told the press that the peak of the outbreak was yet to come.

Ms Yang predicted that the health crisis would worsen and the number of patients would spike in February.

The expert, who helped fought the SARS epidemic in 2003, made the comments to Chinese news outlet Jiemian, which is affiliated to the official Shanghai United Media Group.

January 24, 2020

Coronavirus Leaves Wuhan A ‘Zombieland’ With Dead Lying In Deserted Streets

 Coronavirus

Shocking images show Chinese residents lying lifeless on the ground as Wuhan struggles to cope with the deadly coronavirus.

The city, which is the epicentre of the outbreak which is spreading across the planet, has been dubbed “zombieland” by desperate locals.

Harrowing pictures on social media show people collapsed on the street and in hospital waiting rooms amid the epidemic which has claimed the lives of at least 26 people.

In one disturbing clip, a man can be seen lying unresponsive on the ground while medics wearing hazmat suits and gas masks attempt to help him.

According to reports, the victim – who was wearing a protective mask - was waiting in line for paperwork when he lost consciousness and collapsed.

Another horrifying picture shows a man reportedly dead on the ground with blood pouring from his head.

One local news site in Wuhan reports that the victim in the picture died from coronavrius.

Posting the image on social media, their caption read: "It is stated that a person infected with coronavirus died in blood."

 Coronavirus

DEAD IN THE STREET

Some of the other images being shared widely on social media are believed to be from Wuhan although at this stage remain unverified.

Residents in the "ground zero" city, where the virus originated, have been told to avoid crowds and not to attend public gatherings leaving the streets looking like a ghost town - despite its 11 million population.


Images online, posted by shoppers, show supermarket shelves lying empty after panic buying by worried locals.

All transport links in Wuhan were locked down this morning in a desperate bid to stop the spread of the bug.

 Coronavirus

CHINA IN CRISIS

This comes as it emerged today that six people in the UK are being treated for suspected coronavirus.

Five patients are being treated in Scotland as well as one more in Belfast, Northern Ireland, it has been reported.

Latest figures suggest the number of cases in China has now risen to 616 with other victims hospitalised in Japan, Thailand, South Korea and the US.

And with the virus spreading all over the world questions are being asked about how local authorities in Wuhan dealt with the outbreak in recent weeks.

The central Chinese city, which has a population of 11 million, is the epicentre of the crisis with the virus believed to have originated from snakes at a live animal market in December.

Last week, it emerged that the bug can be passed from human to human – yet authorities in Wuhan only locked down its transport links TODAY.

And rumours of a cover-up have gained traction online.

 Coronavirus

DELETION OF SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

According to the Washington Post, Wuhan Railway deleted a social media post from January 15 that said 300,000 people left the city.

As distrust with the government mounts, there are suspicions that such official posts have been deleted to shield the public from the true extent of the outbreak.

China is celebrating Lunar New Year this Saturday – a holiday which has been called the “world’s largest migration” with billions of trips normally expected.

There are concerns that the virus could spread even more rapidly as a result.

Wuhan suddenly announced its travel ban at 2.30am local time this morning while most of its residents were asleep.

This has been interpreted by some as a sign of panic by the city’s health authorities.

 Coronavirus

REFUSING TO TEST PATIENTS

There are also damning stories from Wuhan of medics in recent weeks failing to test patients who were clearly showing signs of the illness.

Kyle Hui told the New York Times that despite his stepmother having the correct symptoms, including a cough and a fever, doctors wearing hazmat suits refused to test her for the virus.

He said she died on January 15 and that her death certificate says "severe pneumonia" rather than coronavirus.

And while she has not been recorded as one of the official victims of the bug, Mr Hui claims doctors told him to cremate his stepmother's body because they suspected she had the disease.


PANIC BUYING

Officials in Wuhan have told locals to stay indoors and have ordered them to wear face masks when outside.

However, the People’s Daily – the government’s propaganda outlet – posted on social media that the province was running low on masks and other protective clothing.

That online post was also eventually deleted.

Wuhan residents have also posted pictures online showing empty supermarket shelves - in another sign the city was unprepared for the panic buying such an outbreak would inevitably cause.

 Coronavirus

'DERELICTION OF DUTY'

Guan Yi, a Hong Kong–based infectious disease expert, believes a “bigger” outbreak is certain while accusing officials in mainland China of a “dereliction of duty.”

The expert, who helped identify another coronavirus named SARS in 2003, says “we have passed through the ‘golden period’ for prevention and control.”

He told Caixin: “What’s more, we’ve got the holiday traffic rush and a dereliction of duty from certain officials.”


TEN TIMES WORSE THAN SARS

Dr Yi said the current outbreak could be 10 times worse than the SARS crisis.

He said: "I have experienced so much and never felt scared. Most (viruses) are controllable, but this time I am scared."

The expert claims he had to "escape" Wuhan yesterday after witnessing the "jaw-dropping" lack of preventative measures enforced by local officials.

 Coronavirus

BAN ON PUBLIC GATHERINGS

Now several major cities, including the capital Beijing, have followed Wuhan in banning public gathering during the New Year celebrations.

This is another sign that China is expanding its efforts to contain the virus which started last month – but is it too little too late?

Many residents in Wuhan think so.

Social media users in the city have blasted authorities on Weibo for waiting weeks to put the metropolis on lockdown.

Xiao, 26, a primary school teacher in Wuhan, told The Guardian: "When I saw the news when I woke up, I felt like I was going to go crazy. This is a little too late now. The government’s measures are not enough."

Others criticised local authorities on the social media platform Weibo as #PrayforWuhan was trending.

 Coronavirus

SOCIAL MEDIA BACKLASH

One said: "It’s been a month since the first case was discovered and only now do they think of closing the city? This Wuhan emergency response is a little slow, right???"

Another added: "The government needs to address this. If things become too expensive, people will definitely panic and when people feel unsafe, terrible things happen. Right now people are fighting over supplies, soon they may just be fighting.”

Locals have shared images of their stockpiles of instant noodles and snacks on the social media platform Weibo.

One wrote: "No more going out ... so I won’t get sick. Hope Wuhan can get some support soon."

It is unusual of citizens to express such outrage at the Chinese government on the country's microblogging site.

Supermarket shelves are empty as residents have started stockpiling goods to keep themselves isolated at home to avoid contracting the virus.

Images shared online show food prices have spiked in Wuhan.

Cake Liu left Wuhan last week after visiting her boyfriend there and said everything was normal then, things have changed rapidly.

She said: "(My boyfriend) didn't sleep much yesterday. He disinfected his house and stocked up on instant noodles. He's not really going out. If he does he wears a mask."

Police, SWAT teams and paramilitary troops have been out on the streets patrolling the railway stations as authorities have banned travelling on subways and ferries.





CITY ON LOCKDOWN

The airport and train stations have been shut down to outgoing passengers travelling after 10am local time.

Petrol stations have been rammed with motorists trying to get as much fuel as possible amid rumours reserves had run out.

Pharmacies have sold out of face masks, residents said.

An Irish teacher in Wuhan has describe the city as a "ghost town" as he's been hold up in his flat.

Ben Kavanagh told RTE Radio’s Morning Ireland: “You are allowed out, but there are so many rumours and people are worried, it’s better not to.

“It’s almost like a ghost town.

I have enough water for a few more days, but I will probably have to head out to the shops for food.

“I have no idea what to expect."

Seven million people in Huanggang, which is 45 miles away, have been told not to leave after there were confirmed cases.

Public transport stopped running at midnight local time.

Dr W. Ian Lipkin, a US epidemiologist at Columbia University who advised China and the World Health Organisation during the SARS epidemic, said infected victims outside Wuhan would continue to spread the disease.

He said: “The horse is already out of the barn."

[ By The Sun ]

Thursday, January 23, 2020

January 23, 2020

China Coronavirus Outbreak Could Be 10 Times Worse Than Sars, Expert Says

China Coronavirus

A leading Chinese virology expert has warned that the Wuhan
coronavirus epidemic could be 10 times as bad as the Sars outbreak that killed almost 800 people around the world in 2002-03.

Guan Yi, director of the State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases at Hong Kong University, said in an interview with Caixin magazine on Thursday that after a brief visit to the central China city on Tuesday and Wednesday, he “chose to become a deserter” and left.

“My conservative estimate is that this epidemic could end up at least 10 times the scale of Sars [severe acute respiratory disease],” he said.
During the Sars outbreak, which was also caused by a coronavirus, 8,098 people fell ill around the world and 774 died, according to figures from the
World Health Organisation (WHO).

In mainland China there were 5,327 cases and 348 deaths, and in Hong Kong, 1,755 cases and 298 deaths.

As of midnight Thursday, there had been 17 deaths and 583 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus – named 2019-nCoV by the WHO. Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, has accounted for all of the fatalities and 444 cases of the 571 confirmed cases in mainland China.

The 12 other cases were reported in Thailand, South Korea, Japan, the United States, and the cities of Hong Kong and Macau.

One of the reasons for the prediction was that authorities in Wuhan had missed their best opportunity to contain the spread of the disease, Guan said.

Although a travel ban had been introduced in the city on Thursday morning, the “golden time” to contain the virus had passed, as most of the people travelling home for the
Lunar New Year holiday had already left, he said.

“They might have been in contact with patients in the community and still in the incubation stage when they left Wuhan. They are probably virus carriers on the move.”

On Wednesday alone, 299,600 train passengers departed from Wuhan, one of China’s busiest transport hubs, according to figures from the local railway authority. Information on the number of people who had left the city by air, road or river was not immediately available.


Guan said he expected the outbreak to peak over the weekend, as the virus had an incubation period of about eight days.

He said also that vital evidence that could have been used to trace the source of the virus had been destroyed when the seafood market in Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak – was washed clean.

Meanwhile, Chinese health authorities said on Thursday that the outbreak in Wuhan had become a full-blown community epidemic.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its latest report that more than half of the 198 infected people it had surveyed had never been to the seafood market in Wuhan, nor had they had any contact with infected patients.

“Transmission within communities is believed to be taking place in Wuhan,” the report said. Its assessment “indicated that the epidemic is ongoing in Wuhan and that further spread is almost certain”.

Community outbreak is the stage in the spread of a disease when it expands from transmission within families and hospitals, to the wider community.


The epidemiological investigation found that 51 per cent of patients studied had neither visited Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market nor had contact with infected patients, the CDC said.

Only 22 per cent had had direct exposure to the market, and 32 per cent had had contact with other people showing fever or respiratory symptoms, it said.

The CDC said that another health care worker was suspected to be infected, in addition to the 15 already confirmed in Wuhan.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Li Bin, director of the National Health Commission, said community outbreaks had been found in only “certain areas of the city”.

[ By South China Morning Post ]