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Thread: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Wuhan Pneumonia

  1. #181
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    Patient Zero

    Coronavirus: China’s first confirmed Covid-19 case traced back to November 17
    Government records suggest first person infected with new disease may have been a Hubei resident aged 55, but ‘patient zero’ has yet to be confirmed
    Documents seen by the Post could help scientists track the spread of the disease and perhaps determine its source
    Josephine Ma
    Published: 8:00am, 13 Mar, 2020


    The first known case of Covid-19 in China dates back to November, but the hunt for “patient zero” goes on. Photo: EPA-EFE

    The first case of someone in China suffering from Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, can be traced back to November 17, according to government data seen by the South China Morning Post.
    Chinese authorities have so far identified at least 266 people who were infected last year, all of whom came under medical surveillance at some point.
    Some of the cases were likely backdated after health authorities had tested specimens taken from suspected patients.
    Interviews with whistle-blowers from the medical community suggest Chinese doctors only realised they were dealing with a new disease in late December.



    Scientists have been trying to map the pattern of the early transmission of Covid-19 since an epidemic was reported in the central China city of Wuhan in January, two months before the outbreak became a global health crisis.
    Understanding how the disease spread and determining how undetected and undocumented cases contributed to its transmission will greatly improve their understanding of the size of that threat.
    According to the government data seen by the Post, a 55 year-old from Hubei province could have been the first person to have contracted Covid-19 on November 17.
    From that date onwards, one to five new cases were reported each day. By December 15, the total number of infections stood at 27 – the first double-digit daily rise was reported on December 17 – and by December 20, the total number of confirmed cases had reached 60.
    On December 27, Zhang Jixian, a doctor from Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, told China’s health authorities that the disease was caused by a new coronavirus. By that date, more than 180 people had been infected, though doctors might not have been aware of all of them at the time.
    By the final day of 2019, the number of confirmed cases had risen to 266, On the first day of 2020 it stood at 381.
    While the government records have not been released to the public, they provide valuable clues about how the disease spread in its early days and the speed of its transmission, as well as how many confirmed cases Beijing has recorded.
    Scientists are now keen to identify the so-called patient zero, which could help them to trace the source of the coronavirus, which is generally thought to have jumped to humans from a wild animal, possibly a bat.
    Of the first nine cases to be reported in November – four men and five women – none has been confirmed as being “patient zero”. They were all aged between 39 and 79, but it is unknown how many were residents of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei and the epicentre of the outbreak.
    continued next post
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    Continued from previous post



    It is possible that there were reported cases dating back even earlier than those seen by the Post.
    According to the World Health Organisation’s website, the first confirmed Covid-19 case in China was on December 8, but the global body does not track the disease itself but relies on nations to provide such information.
    A report published in medical journal The Lancet by Chinese doctors from Jinyintan Hospital in Wuhan, which treated some of the earliest patients, put the date of the first known infection at December 1.
    Dr Ai Fen, the first known whistle-blower, told People magazine in an interview that was later censored, that tests showed that a patient at Wuhan Central Hospital was diagnosed on December 16 as having contracted an unknown coronavirus.


    According to government reports, a 55 year-old from Hubei province was the first person to fall sick with Covid-19. Photo: Reuters

    Accounts by other doctors seem to suggest the medical community in Wuhan became aware of the disease in late December.
    Previous reports said that although doctors in the city collected samples from suspected cases in late December, they could not confirm their findings because they were bogged down by bureaucracy, such as having to get approval from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, which could take days. They were also ordered not to disclose any information about the new disease to the public.
    As late as January 11, Wuhan’s health authorities were still claiming there were just 41 confirmed cases.
    Interesting. Anyone seen data on Patient Zeroes in other countries yet?
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  3. #183
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    "Marvel’s Black Widow will launch on May 1st in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic"

    I wouldn't bet on this right now. There's still plenty of time to push it back.

    ENTERTAINMENT
    ‘Black Widow’ isn’t delayed, but MCU Phase 4 could still be in trouble
    MCU Phase 4 Timeline
    By Chris Smith @chris_writes
    March 12th, 2020 at 3:19 PM



    Marvel’s Black Widow will launch on May 1st in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly because Disney can’t really afford to delay any of its movies and TV series. Postponing Black Widow might delay other shows since all the stories are connected.

    The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, a limited TV series for Disney+, should follow in August, but the coronavirus outbreak already has had an impact on the show’s production.
    Similarly, other MCU Phase 4 TV series that are in production might be affected by delays caused by the new disease.
    Watching a brand new movie in cinemas might be a thing of the past until the coronavirus pandemic is under control, at least in those regions seeing a surge in daily infections. Sony is one of the tech giants that’s been among the first to withdraw from events that draw plenty of crowds, including MWC, PAX East, and GDC, to minimize COVID-19 transmission risks. Avoiding large gatherings of people is one of the things you can do to protect yourself against infection, and Sony is acutely aware of that. It’s also very aware that the coronavirus will have a significant impact on certain sectors of the economy and its bottom line, and the company is already taking measures to protect its business. The company delayed two movie releases, including the brand new James Bond as well as Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway. The delay of No Time to Die was particularly surprising, given that it’s one of the most highly anticipated films of the year.

    Not all studios can afford to do the same thing with their upcoming 2020 creations, and that includes Disney’s Marvel. Earlier this week, Marvel released the final trailer for Black Widow, reiterating plans to release the first MCU Phase 4 flick on May 1st, as previously announced. Unlike Sony, which might have plenty of wiggle room with its movie releases, Disney might be forced to go forward with Marvel movies regardless of any potential financial hit.

    As I explained before, Disney has no choice but to launch Black Widow on schedule, and the same goes for The Eternals in November. That’s because the films are just two titles of the 14 MCU Phase 4 stories scheduled to be released in 2020 and 2021, of which two more are supposed to launch on Disney+ later this year.
    Black Widow will be followed by The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in August, with WandaVision set to start streaming at some point this winter after Eternals hits theaters. All these stories are intertwined, and Marvel has to release them in order. Events from Black Widow might ripple through Falcon as well as other films and TV series. That same goes for each title that follows the standalone Black Widow film.

    Black Widow would easily conquer the box office during its launch weekend, but the coronavirus might hurt its overall take. Even so, the film is tracking for a huge opening weekend — $90 to $130 million, an estimate says. Things could change down the road but no matter what happens, Black Widow will surely open on May 1st.
    That said, the coronavirus might still ruin the MCU going forward, and I’m not even referring to Disney’s bottom line. Plenty of the upcoming MCU Phase 4 films are in pre-production or shooting right now, and the pandemic might significantly affect some or all of them. One such example is The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Disney has just halted shooting in Prague over coronavirus fears, as Deadline reported:

    The show has been shooting for months in Atlanta, but they began a short shoot in Prague last Friday that was to be completed in about a week. Today, the studio shut down the production and called everybody home to Atlanta. No word at the moment whether the show will return to Prague, but it seems unlikely.

    The same might happen with other TV series that are in the works, especially if they’re shooting in places where local governments have started enforcing stricter rules and restrictions. Any such delays might force Disney to delay the actual launch of the Marvel series on Disney+.


    Image Source: YouTube

    Not to mention that there’s always the chance that some of the stars involved in these huge Marvel projects, as well as the crew working on them, could get infected. Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 will have to be quarantined in a hospital until they recover.

    If that’s not enough, there’s even a rumor going around that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier plot would have featured a pandemic threat. That’s something Disney has removed from the script over the actual novel coronavirus outbreak, which has just been declared a pandemic — from MurphysMultiverse’s report from a few weeks ago:
    By the time The Falcon and The Winter Soldier streams in August, it is likely that the disease will have met the criterion to be considered a true pandemic (the last global pandemic was the H1N1 virus which killed as few as 151,000 and as many as 575,000 people worldwide, according to the CDC). From what I’ve been hearing, Disney may be proactively trying to get ahead of what could be a potential disaster for the studio by rewriting and, as a result, reshooting parts of the series, with a heavy emphasis on the season’s first couple of episodes.
    Given all the significant connections between all these movies, and considering Black Widow is already locked, there may be elements in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier script that can’t be altered too much. But it’s absolutely clear that the coronavirus will have an impact on this Disney+ original show, and the pandemic might similarly affect other Phase 4 TV series set to start streaming next year.

    Aside from the two TV series scheduled to hit the streaming service in 2020, eight other MCU Phase 4 shows should launch on Disney+ next year, starting with Loki in early 2021. And if Black Widow does get delayed, we might see all other Phase 4 pushed back accordingly.



    Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.
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  4. #184
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    Production suspended

    NEWS MARCH 12, 2020 9:48PM PT
    Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’ Suspends Production as Director Self-Isolates
    By JUSTIN KROLL
    Film Reporter
    @https://twitter.com/krolljvar


    CREDIT: INVISION/AP/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

    Following a number of release dates moving and premieres being cancelled, Marvel and Disney have decided to temporarily shutter production on “Shang-Chi.”

    The delay comes due to director Destin Daniel Cretton being asked by a doctor to self-isolate. Cretton was not feeling symptoms of COVID-19, but chose to be tested as a precaution since he is a new father. He is self-isolating as he awaits his test results.

    The movie had been shooting in Australia since February. The second unit will continue production at this time.

    Marvel’s note to the crew read:

    “As many of you know, Destin, our director, has a new born baby. He wanted to exercise additional caution given the current environment and decided to get tested for Covid-19 today. He is currently self-isolating under the recommendation of his doctor. While he waits for the results of the test, we are suspending 1st unit production in an abundance of caution until he gets the results this coming week. Second unit and off production will continue as normal. We will reach out to everyone by Tuesday for the latest update.

    This is an unprecedented time. We appreciate everyone’s understanding as we work through this.”

    It is unknown when the shoot was going to end and if it will impact the February 2021 release date at this time.

    The film stars Simu Lu, Awkwafina and Tony Leung with Cretton directing.

    The original Marvel Comics “Shang-Chi” follows Shang, a half-Chinese, half-American superhero created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Jim Starlin. In the comics, Shang-Chi is a master of numerous unarmed and weaponry-based wushu styles, including the use of the gun, nunchaku, and jian. Shang-Chi first appeared in Special Marvel Edition #15 in 1973.

    Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige is producing the film. Marvel’s Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, and Jonathan Schwartz are executive producers on the project.
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  5. #185
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    Mulan delayed

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Mulan is still on at this point. I'm scheduled to go to the screener soon.
    Aw ******. I got my screener cancellation notification first thing this morning.

    'Mulan' Release Pushed Back Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
    MARCH 12, 2020 2:50PM by Mia Galuppo

    The Disney movie was set to hit theaters in North America on March 27.

    Disney is pushing the release of its upcoming live-action tentpole Mulan amid growing concerns around the coronavirus, the studio said Thursday. The movie was set to hit theaters in North America on March 27.

    Also being pushed is the long-delayed New Mutants, which was due out April 3 via 20th Century Studios, and the Guillermo del Toro-produced Antlers, which was set for an April 17 release via Searchlight Pictures.

    Disney is looking into new release dates for all of the titles later this year.

    Mulan director Niki Caro posted on her personal instagram about the release date push, writing, "We are so excited to share this film with the world, but given the current ever-shifting circumstances we are all experiencing, unfortunately, we have to postpone the worldwide release of Mulan for now. Our hearts are with everyone the world over who is affected by this virus, and we hope that Mulan’s fighting spirit will continue to inspire those who are working so hard to keep us all safe."

    Mulan is the latest studio release to be pushed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Universal postponed the ninth Fast & Furious film by a year, while Paramount dealyed the release of the Issa Rae-starring comedy The Lovebirds and A Quiet Place Part II.

    While no theaters are yet closed in the U.S. because of the coronavirus, there is growing concern that some cinemas could go dark in areas where cases of COVID-19 are proliferating, or where business has slowed. That is in addition to the ongoing blackout on moviegoing in China. (Mulan did not yet have a Chinese release date.)

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom late Wednesday recommended canceling or postponing gatherings of 250 or more people "at least through March" as the state grapples with the coronavirus outbreak. The recommendation directly impacts larger auditoriums, which may have to stagger seating.




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  6. #186
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    When greed exceeds general welfare...

    UFC’s bungled coronavirus response proves yet again, athletes are secondary concern
    By Mike Chiappetta@MikeChiappetta Mar 13, 2020, 9:00am EDT


    Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

    Like dominos falling, sports and entertainment events were knocked down yesterday as organizations came to the realization that the show must not go on. Not right now, when a virus that our own government has said is 10 times more lethal than the flu has been declared a global pandemic. This includes the NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, the NCAA, Formula 1, Champions League, Disney Parks and all of Broadway. Almost every major producer of such events weighed in on their plans by announcing postponements or cancellations, pointing to concern for customers and employees as a priority.

    There was one glaring exception: the UFC.

    With a regular touring schedule, the UFC touches more parts of the globe than almost any of the aforementioned entities. Last week, they were in Las Vegas. On Saturday, they have a scheduled show in Brasilia, Brazil. Next week, they’re supposed to be in London.

    But how is the organization planning to handle this coronavirus outbreak? It took forever to find out. Most of Thursday came and went without a word.

    While multiple outlets, including MMA Fighting, reported that at least this week’s Brazil event would go on without fans present, the UFC remained silent. Some of this can be excused. To be fair, this is an extraordinary circumstance that in the midst of an unrelenting schedule, can take some time to parse. It is OK to time some time to collect information before making a decision, but it would have been helpful to say they were monitoring the situation and considering options. Instead, they left people to wonder.

    Finally, we got a bit of clarity late Thursday night when UFC president Dana White spoke to ESPN, saying they’d go on with events, some with fans, and some without. That is a decision that is misguided at best and dangerous at worst, considering the continued rise of cases, transmission rates, the possibility that the virus may be most infectious when symptoms are mildest, and with the finding that it is spread through breathing, even without coughing. With athletes, teams and production team members converging upon Brasilia from countries including the U.S., Denmark, Ukraine, France, Russia and Canada, among others, there is the possibility of coming into contact with an infected party, then bringing the virus back to their families and communities, possibly infecting others with underlying vulnerabilities who may not be able to fight it off in the way a healthy athlete can.

    True, it is safer than an event with a full arena, but given the close confines of the cage and locker room, it’s the wrong call. There’s a reason the other leagues canceled or postponed events, and there’s a reason experts have urged social distancing as a means of controlling the spread of the virus. The NCAA, for one, earned an estimated $933 million on its March Madness tournaments last year, money they are forfeiting with their decision to cancel. You think they took this step lightly?

    Worse, the organization plans to allow an audience at its London event next week, this despite UK numbers spiking over the last 24 hours, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying up to 10,000 people may already have the virus, many without yet knowing.

    Such a decision to proceed with a packed event is irresponsible, bordering on malfeasant. Sadly, it’s not surprising that the UFC has chosen to flout the advice of experts when it comes to the treatment of their independent contractors. Because the fighters are not unionized or organized in any way, they have no voice in how things will move forward. Contrast that with Wednesday night’s NBA game, where the New Orleans Pelicans decided they would not take the floor after learning an assigned referee had officiated a game with a player, Rudy Gobert, who tested positive for coronavirus.

    Most UFC fighters won’t speak up, and frankly, most of them can’t because they need the money. At this point they have put in weeks of camp, likely working through injuries and suffering through minimal, meticulous diets to reach their contracted weights. Their money isn’t guaranteed, so they are willing to risk injury—or illness—to earn it.

    The UFC is quite capable of canceling this event, swallowing its cost and paying the fighters what they were supposed to earn, but they are loathe to share the riches with the plebeians. Remember, it was just a couple of weeks ago The New York Post reported that the UFC dipped into its cash reserves to approve a $300 million dividend to its investors — a number that is reportedly twice as much as it paid all of its fighters combined in 2019. There is always money when it comes to something ownership cares about: itself.

    Meanwhile, the organization tried to frame its decision as some act of benevolence.

    “They want to fight, they want to compete, and we’re going to do everything we can to keep them safe,” White said during his ESPN interview.

    The best way to keep them safe—everyone safe—is to pay them the fighters their purses and to keep them away from gatherings. If the UFC doesn’t see this, can’t see this, it would be nice if their parent company did. Endeavor is a powerful entity that could easily step in and put a stop to the proceedings. It also holds sway over the Euroleague, which on Thursday morning—surprise, surprise—suspended league play. But the truth is, Endeavor doesn’t care any more about the athletes than the UFC does. It’s mostly interested in milking its cash cow.

    So for now, the show will go on for the UFC. Of course it will. It was less than a week ago when White told us he “didn’t give a s—t about the coronavirus.” Thursday’s response proved it.
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  7. #187
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    Our latest exclusive web article

    A first-hand account. READ Battling COVID-19 in Beijing by Greg Brundage



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  8. #188
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    I've been worried about Africa

    Coronavirus: Production Hub South Africa Declares National State of Disaster
    3:46 AM PDT 3/16/2020 by Scott Roxborough


    Courtesy of Warner Bros.
    MGM's 'Tomb Raider' reboot shot in South Africa

    The country bans gatherings of 100-plus people and issues travel stops for visitors from hard-hit countries, including the U.S., U.K., Germany, Italy and China.
    South Africa, one of the world's leading centers for international film and television production, is shutting its borders to foreign visitors amid the coronavirus crisis.

    The South African government declared a national state of emergency Sunday and issued travel bans on nationals from several countries hard hit by the virus. Nationals from the U.S., U.K., China, Italy, Germany, South Korea, Iran and Spain will be denied visas to enter South Africa, while any foreigners who have visited a high-risk country in the past 20 days will also be refused entry, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address to the nation. Travelers from medium-risk countries, such as Portugal, Hong Kong and Singapore, will be required to undergo high-intensity screenings.

    South African citizens returning from countries with high incidences of the virus will be subject to testing and self-isolation or quarantine on their arrival. Thirty-five of the country’s 53 land ports of entry are shut as of Monday, while two of its eight sea ports will be closed for passengers and crew changes.

    South Africa also issued new regulations to stem the spread of coronavirus within the country, including banning public gatherings of more than 100 people and shutting schools.

    “We have decided to take urgent and drastic measures to manage the disease, protect the people of our country and to reduce the impact of the virus on our society and on our economy,” Ramaphosa said. “There can be no half measures.”

    The new restrictions are certain to have a major impact on the South African film and television industry. The region is one of the most popular international locations for studio productions. Columbia Pictures' Escape Room 2, the sequel to the 2019 horror hit, shot in Cape Town, as did MGM's video game franchise reboot Tomb Raider. Tomb Raider 2 was expected to begin production in the region later this year.

    Among the productions affected is Viacom18 Motion Pictures’ 'Forrest Gump' remake 'Laal Singh Chaddha,' starring Aamir Khan




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  9. #189
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    China isn't the only one...

    MARCH 15, 2020 11:04PM PT
    China’s Economy Heading for Historic Reverse, Reflecting Virus Impact
    By PATRICK FRATER
    Asia Bureau Chief


    CREDIT: REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

    An historic shift into reverse gear for the Chinese economy could be one of the next consequences flowing from the spread of the novel coronavirus. That prospect threw Asian stock markets into reverse on Monday, despite economic stimulus measures in the U.S.

    The U.S. Federal Reserve, on Sunday (Monday morning in Asia) announced a full percentage point cut in its benchmark interest rate, reducing it to close to zero. The Fed also promised to inject liquidity into the economic system by buying at least $500 billion of Treasury securities and at least $200 billion of mortgage-backed securities. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority followed the U.S. central bank’s example and cut its own base rates.

    But financial markets were unimpressed. Australia’s ASX index crashed by more than 9% on Monday to 5,002. New Zealand’s NZX 50 index fell 3.6%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, already a bear market since Friday, was down 2.2% at the lunchtime trading break. South Korea’s KOSPI index headed for a loss of more than 1%, though Japan’s Nikkei index rose 0.7%, apparently in anticipation of stimulus measures.


    Mainland Chinese markets were firmly down, with the SSE Shanghai Composite benchmark down more than 2%.

    Chinese data unveiled on Monday showed that industrial production in the world’s manufacturing hub fell by 13.3% in January and February. That has never happened before in the modern era.

    Other data showed Chinese retail sales down by 20.5% in the same two months, and fixed asset investment down by 24.5%.

    Despite China, now seeming to get back to work after new Covid-19 infections have peaked in the country, many economists are now forecasting an historic decline in China’s GDP when data for the January-March quarter is completed.

    In total, China has incurred some 81,000 coronavirus infections and over 3,100 deaths. On Monday, it reported 16 new coronavirus infections and 14 deaths, numbers that are significantly down on the past trend. Since the weekend, mainland authorities have been saying that most new cases are not local infections, but are imported with foreigners arriving in China.

    That pattern may also explain the latest fall in Asian stock markets. The recent decision by Apple to close its retail stores outside Greater China hurt many of its Asian suppliers. iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision fell 4.3% to TWD71.3 per share by mid-Monday. Sunny Optical slumped 10.6% to HK$105.9. LG Display was 2.2% lower at KRW11,050. Sharp bucked the trend with a 2.2% gain to JPY989.

    The pain being incurred by Chinese businesses was reflected in additional share price losses for Alibaba and Tencent. The Hong Kong-traded units of Alibaba dropped 5% on Monday to HK$182.10, while Tencent fell 4.2% to HK$349.60.

    There was no new bad news for China’s media sector. But the longer that mainland cinemas stay shut, the deeper the problems become for companies including: Wanda Film (whose shares were down 4.4% to CNY17.12); China Film Co. (down 2.4% to CNY12.96); and Huayi Brothers (down 3.5% to CNY3.77). Hong Kong-traded Imax China on Monday fell 3.5% to HK$13.94.
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  10. #190
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    China is normalizing...

    Now it's up to the rest of the world to follow.

    1:49 a.m. ET, March 15, 2020
    China is lifting travel restrictions and life is returning to normal


    Children play in a garden in Beijing, China, on Saturday, as travel and movement restrictions begin to lift. Credit: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

    Life in China is beginning to return to normal now that the coronavirus outbreak has largely been contained across the country, with lockdowns lifting and employees returning to work.

    China only reported 20 new cases today -- a drastic drop from just a few weeks ago, when the country was recording thousands of new infections a day.

    The new cases are no longer spread out across the country -- now, new cases are mostly either imported from international travelers or concentrated in Hubei Province, the epicenter of the outbreak.

    Domestic travel is resuming: During the worst of the outbreak, 1,119 highway entrances and exits across the country were closed. Now, all but two have reopened, according to state media outlet Xinhua.

    Hundreds of previously-closed roads in counties, towns, and provinces have also reopened. The national road network is "basically running normally," and 28 provinces have resumed inter-provincial travel, Xinhua reported.

    Of 12,028 health and quarantine stations set up on highways, 11,198 have been removed.

    This is a huge contrast to February. Just a month ago, much of China was essentially locked down. Many residents weren't allowed to leave their apartment complexes, let alone the city. Some stayed indoors for weeks on end.

    Even within cities, public transport was restricted; in Wuhan and other locked-down cities, subway trains were halted and most taxis suspended, with only a small number of government-issued shuttles and cars operating.
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  11. #191
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    About that xenophobia...

    ...while I certainly support gesture, racists will think what they want. It's a global problem now.

    More than 200 civil rights groups demand Congress publicly reject coronavirus racism


    Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, center, is joined by, from left, House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, as they speak to reporters about the 2020 census on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2020.J. Scott Applewhite / AP

    March 13, 2020, 11:36 AM PDT
    By Kimmy Yam

    More than 200 civil rights groups have demanded that the House and Senate leadership take “tangible steps to counter the hysteria" around the coronavirus, offering the passage of a joint resolution denouncing the racism and xenophobia as one solution.

    “The level of disruption COVID-19 has had on everyday life has caught many by surprise and left even more people understandably concerned about their health and the health of their loved ones,” Gregg Orton, national director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, told NBC News. “For millions of Asian Americans, there is added anxiety in the way the virus has been racialized. For our country’s leaders to come together and set the tone, that despite the uncertainty of these times, we need to stand united against racism — that is a powerful statement.”

    In a letter spearheaded by the council and sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., this week, a number of racist incidents were cited around the country that were fueled by the virus, including two Hmong guests in Indiana who were harassed and barred from staying at a Super 8 motel and then a Days Inn. In a separate incident, a woman wearing a mask in New York was called a “diseased b----.”

    The groups also acknowledged that the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus had previously sent a letter to their fellow members of Congress. The caucus had called on the lawmakers to “help us prevent hysteria, ignorant attacks, and racist assaults that have been fueled by misinformation pertaining to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19)” by only sharing confirmed and verifiable information. The organizations called on the other legislators to take the caucus’ lead.

    “In the face of this growing threat, the American people need to hear from leaders such as yourselves, that we must face these circumstances together, rather than allow fear and misinformation to divide us,” the letter reads.

    Pelosi has publicly condemned the racism tied to the pandemic on Twitter, writing that “Bigoted statements which spread misinformation and blame Asians and the Asian American community for #coronavirus make us all less safe.” She has also called on McCarthy, who tweeted the term “Chinese coronavirus,” to delete the words and apologize.

    McCarthy, however, has responded to criticisms by pointing to outlets that have used the same language. The Asian American Journalists Association released guidelines for responsible reporting in February to guard against “fueling xenophobia and racism that have already emerged since the outbreak.”

    Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., the chair of the caucus, says she “commends” the groups for speaking out. “Despite warnings from health experts and government officials” to avoid labeling the virus by country or ethnicity, members of the GOP have continued to do so, Chu said. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., used the term “Wuhan virus” as recently as Thursday.

    “It’s been especially appalling to see this rhetoric coming from President Trump and House Republican leader McCarthy, who should be working to bring our country together during this public health crisis rather than stoking xenophobia and fear,” she said. “If Republicans will not listen to the experts, perhaps they can understand the experiences of those impacted.”

    On Tuesday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, agreed when questioned by Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., at a House hearing that it was "absolutely wrong and inappropriate" to use the term “Chinese coronavirus.”

    While GOP legislators have since continued to identify the disease by country or ethnicity, Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., previously said that the rhetoric could be a possible tactic to distract from Trump’s handling of the pandemic. She believes it’s likely some officials are using China or Asian Americans as scapegoats “versus actually dealing with the problem at hand.”

    Kimmy Yam
    Kimmy Yam is a reporter for NBC Asian America.
    Gene Ching
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  12. #192
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    Alas...racists.

    3.13.2020
    AND THEN THEY CAME AFTER MULAN
    And Other Things to Know From Angry Asian America.



    So yeah, this happened.
    This Mulan poster, spotted in Pasadena, California, was defaced with graffiti. If you can't make it out, that's a mask spray-painted on her face and the words "TOXIC. MADE IN WUHAN." Yes, I know there are people boycotting this movie because of Liu Yifei's remarks in support of Hong Kong police. This is not about that.
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  13. #193
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    This is a little dated already - COVID-19 news spreads fast

    The risks in going to the gym during the coronavirus pandemic, explained by experts
    What gyms should do and are doing to help keep clients safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
    By Alex Abad-Santosalex@vox.com Updated Mar 15, 2020, 10:22pm EDT


    A pop-up Barry’s bootcamp class. Anna Webber/Getty Images for CMT

    Update March 15, 2020: Since this article was published, the coronavirus outbreak has escalated in the US and New York City in particular. Though Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo haven’t ordered gyms to close, both Barry’s and Peloton have closed their studios. And in an email to some of its Flatiron members, fitness center Equinox said one of its patrons had tested positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. As the experts we consulted said, spread of the virus makes visits to the gym, and all social interactions, riskier. Follow the guidance of local health and government officials concerning social distancing, even if gyms remain open.

    Around 20 minutes into a group boot camp fitness class at the Upper East Side location of boutique workout studio Barry’s Friday morning, each one of us was ushered out of the room, like kids in a fire drill. Our instructor, Michael Pugliese, shooed everyone out while he and the cleaning staff grabbed disinfectant wipes and spray; then they began wiping down the entire sweaty room — from benches, mirrors, weights, and treadmills to the floor.

    Six minutes later, we were let back in and allowed to continue with the workout.

    The mid-session cleaning break, extra sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer in each studio, and shortening all classes by 10 minutes to give staff 20 minutes to spray down and clean the room, are just some of the changes Barry’s has implemented in light of the coronavirus pandemic. And according to public health experts, Barry’s intense cleaning is the type of measure all gyms and boutique fitness classes should be taking.

    In light of the coronavirus, we’ve learned how to wash our hands for 20 seconds, memorized what percentage of alcohol is necessary in hand sanitizer to kill the virus (at least 60 percent), and analyzed every informational blast — social distancing, canceled events, transmission guidance — released by public health officials.

    But while guidelines from health officials are helpful and awareness about the coronavirus is valuable, it’s difficult to figure out which aspects of daily life we should change and which ones we can maintain in order to have some semblance of normalcy in our lives. With all the information out there, it feels as though we are simultaneously being told to brace for the worst and to keep calm, carry on, and try to live our lives as normally as possible.

    For the millions of consumers worldwide that have helped make gyms and boutique fitness into a $94 billion industry, according to statistics from the International Health Racquet and Sportsclub Association, it is part of our lives. Fitness is therapy, exercise, and a de-stressor, which is why in these times of uncertainty, it’s a go-to.

    Granted, if worse comes to the worst, I fully understand that putting a hold on the gym is a no-brainer. And in the grand scheme of things, clearly, not being able to go to the gym isn’t so dire.

    But to get a better understanding of where things stand in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak — barring any further escalation — I asked public health experts and officials specializing in transmission and cleanliness protocol for the best practices for going to the gym. And that includes whether we should be going at all.

    Going to the gym means taking precautions like wiping down all your equipment
    The CDC and the WHO recommend several basic measures to help prevent the spread of Covid-19:

    Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
    Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects.
    Stay home when you are sick.
    Contact a health worker if you have symptoms; fever and a dry cough are most common.
    DON’T touch your face.
    DON’T travel if you have a fever and cough.
    DON’T wear a face mask if you are well.
    Guidance may change. Stay informed, and stay safe, with Vox’s guide to Covid-19.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  14. #194
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    Continued from previous post

    Sweat is a constant at gyms and fitness classes. Every piece of equipment you touch has been touched by someone else’s sweat. And it’s even more so when you do the math of how long gyms have held on to their equipment, multiplied by the number of people in and out of a gym in any given hour, afternoon, day, or year.

    So is coronavirus-laced sweat a possibility? Can the illness be transmitted through our buckets of sweat?

    “As a respiratory virus, sweat isn’t generally a transmission route, though contaminated skin and hands can be,” Dr. Tara Smith, a professor of epidemiology at Kent State University, told me over email. “Think more about how you might touch your nose and then touch equipment, or cough on a hand and touch equipment, than about the sweat itself.”

    The possibility of the virus living on weights or mats makes the gym a risk for transmission. The precise risk of Covid-19 coronavirus infection from surfaces is not yet known, but gym-goers, SoulCyclers, and Barry’s Bootcampers, should wipe down all the surfaces they’re touching with an approved disinfectant. They should take on that responsibility even if the gym or facility cleans the equipment as well.

    “I study MRSA (a bacterium that can survive on surfaces) so I always wipe off equipment both before and after using it because you never know if the person ahead of you did a good job, but now is a good time to be extra careful about thorough cleaning,” Smith told me.

    Smith also recommends distancing yourself from fellow gym-goers. This may mean doing something as simple as not going during the gym’s busy hours (usually before and after work), but those hours might be different given the pandemic. It also means no high-fives or handshakes at the gym.

    But maintaining the recommended six feet of social distance from others is all but impossible in sold-out group fitness classes where bikes and stations are planted next to each other. Smith says to consider that before booking.

    The experts maintain, however, that fitness studios and gyms aren’t any more or less hazardous than any other social setting we might place ourselves in — that is, barring the virus rapidly escalating and dependent on case/transmission rate in your area.

    Gyms are not any more risky than “anywhere else where you would be touching things and in somewhat close contact with people — but as the virus is spreading, all of those activities are becoming increasingly risky, especially if you are in a group that is likely to be more severely affected by Covid-19,” Smith said. “I think individuals may want to consider any aspect of how they go out in public during these times, both for themselves and the rest of their community, particularly vulnerable individuals.”

    But the most important thing public health experts have stressed over and over applies to everyone and everywhere, including the gym: Stay home if you’re not feeling well.

    “The biggest thing right now is to stay home if you’re sick,” Dr. Saskia Popescu, an infection prevention epidemiologist and biodefense researcher, told me. “If you’re well, try and practice social distancing and basic infection control measures. This means don’t go to the gym if you’re sick. If you’re well and want to work out, try to avoid larger group classes, wipe down your equipment with disinfection wipes, before and after use, use hand hygiene frequently, and avoid touching your face.”

    Gyms and group fitness studios like Barry’s and SoulCycle are adapting stricter cleaning routines. But some are shutting down for now.

    Barry’s decision to require a break mid-class to disinfect the room seems to be the type of “stepping up” that Smith stresses. I also noticed the studio had new sanitizing wipe dispensers, and hand sanitizer in addition to hand soap in the restrooms. Barry’s also said it would cut the number of spots in each class by half beginning Monday, allowing its clients to maintain a safe distance from fellow bootcampers.

    A spokesperson for the company told Vox that it would “continue to follow all CDC and Department of Public Health guidelines, and will follow best practices as they are released.”


    Barry’s newsletter to its New York City clients.

    SoulCycle, the expansive and ubiquitous spin class company, has also taken measures like removing the hand weight section from its classes, per a statement issued on March 12. Usually, SoulCycle classes involve an “arms” series, in which cyclers take a break from pedaling to perform bicep, tricep, and shoulder exercises. Those are now eliminated. The company also said it, too, was ramping up the availability of disinfecting wipes and hospital-grade cleaning solution. On Friday, SoulCycle sent an email to its riders saying that it would cut class sizes in half — a move that seems to be in line with the guidance of social distancing.

    National gyms like Equinox and Crunch have also stepped up efforts, sending emails to clients about hygiene practices and promising to step up cleaning efforts with detailed information as to what they plan to do.

    There are also online classes, including Peloton and its vaunted bike. In Beijing, online fitness classes have become trendy as officials there have urged civilians to stay inside and curb their social gatherings during the coronavirus outbreak.

    For some gyms and group fitness studios, though, the best practice was shutting down. Chelsea Piers, a fancy gym and fitness facility with outposts in New York City and Connecticut, has closed through March 31, 2020. Rowgatta, a New York City-based fitness class that combines weightlifting and rowing, has temporarily shut down.

    “We must do our part to protect our staff and to keep our Athletes safe,” Rowgatta said in an email to its clients. “In a time when there is a lack of clear direction from authorities, we must do what we can to lead and contribute to the wellbeing of the community in which we live.”

    Similarly, Barry’s has temporarily shut down international locations in Italy, Sweden, and Norway, and has promised to waive cancellation fees for clients.

    In light of these closings, improvements, and cleaning measures being taken, I asked Smith and Popescu what are the most important things gyms should be doing to protect their clients.

    “I think they should be stepping up the cleaning they’re doing of all equipment in order to minimize the risk of transmission from weights, machines, mats, and also doorknobs and other surfaces,” Smith said. “We all know that some gym patrons are just terrible at doing this, so gyms should be extra vigilant to do so. Remind clients to spread out as much as possible in fitness classes, and emphasize hand-washing.”

    Popescu offered similar advice.

    “Gyms should be really reinforcing that people should not be there if they’re sick — both employees and clients — and providing ample opportunity for hand hygiene (reminders are great), and disinfecting wipes for equipment,” Popescu said, explaining that sanitizing wipes and disinfecting really help.

    “I also encourage people to really be mindful of not touching their face and take some breaks for hand hygiene,” Popescu added. “If you’re in a fitness class, try to do one with a smaller group of people in a more open space, so you can all have about three to six feet between you. This is a great time to use the fitness apps and home gyms!”
    We're near Santa Clara County, one of the nation's largest breakout regions, so most everything is shutting down. Today stated "When it comes to healthy younger people who have no symptoms and live in areas where there’s no widespread disease, it’s safe to go to the gym, said Dr. Michael Ison, an infectious disease physician at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago." However this is really ignorant because one of the factors that is causing the spread is that symptoms don't show with young contagious carriers right away. The mission here is not only to not get sick, but to flatten that curve and inhibit the spread.

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  15. #195
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    On a positive note...

    ...I stand with China on this one.

    ASIA MARCH 13, 2020 7:57PM PT
    China’s ‘Mulan’ Fans Welcome News Of Release Delay
    By REBECCA DAVIS


    CREDIT: CHELSEA LAUREN/SHUTTERSTOCK

    “Mulan” fans in mainland China on Friday welcomed the news that Disney will postpone the global release of the new live-action blockbuster, happy that they’ll likely now get the chance to see the film in theaters in sync with the rest of the world.

    The new “Mulan” was scheduled to release worldwide outside of China, one of Disney’s most crucial overseas markets, on March 27. Chinese cinemas have been closed since late January due to the coronavirus epidemic.

    Disney’s potentially costly decision to move ahead without China came despite the firm’s efforts to specifically cater to mainland audiences in its new retelling of the classic Chinese ballad, particularly in the decision to cast popular China-born starlet Liu Yifei as the titular heroine.

    Chinese fans took to social media on Friday to express their relief that the film had been pulled — both for health reasons, and out of fears of piracy and spoilers as the last ones to get a theatrical release.

    “Thank god!!!! Now I won’t be spoiled,” said one poster to China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform. Another enthused: “Finally they’ve pulled it! They should’ve done so long ago. Now everyone can watch it at the same time together.”

    Most wrote of their support for the decision to prioritize health concerns. “Safety first! We’ll pull out the red carpet for the film at a better time,” wrote one commenter, adding: “Maybe now you can do the premiere in China?” The film had its initial U.S. debut in Hollywood on March 9.

    By Friday evening, the Weibo hashtag “Mulan Global Release Cancelled” had been viewed 630 million times.

    Disney released all four of its 2019 live action remakes in the mainland last year. China was the highest grossing overseas territory for October’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” ($48.8 million) and July’s “The Lion King” ($120 million), and the second largest foreign market for May’s “Aladdin” ($112 million) and March’s “Dumbo” ($21.9 million).

    Directed by New Zealand’s Niki Caro, “Mulan” is most expensive live-action feature to ever be helmed by a woman, with a budget of at least $200 million. It will obviously be seeking to earn big in China, one of the world’s most censorious nations where these days, it’s hard for any cultural phenomenon to sidestep t***** politics.

    Earlier, the film had come under fire after Liu publicly expressed support across all her social media channels for the Hong Kong police force accused of excessive violence in attempts to quell pro-democracy protests there, leading for some to call for a boycott of the title.

    More recently, she’s come under fire on mainland social media from Chinese nationalist trolls who have criticized local fans for identifying with and taking pride in a star who technically gave up her Chinese nationality to gain a U.S. passport.

    “Liu Yifei is too miserable — beyond the Great Firewall [of internet censorship] the pro-Hong Kongers smear her, and within the Great Firewall the nationalists smear her,” joked one Weibo commenter.

    Some former detractors gave her credit, however, for openly saying on her promotional tour that she hails from Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic where the disease originated.

    “She’s the only one who dares to say in front of the world media that she’s a Wuhan native, so I’m a fan of her. Domestically right now, how many from Wuhan would dare openly admit that’s where they’re from?” read one post. People from Wuhan have been subject to extreme stigma since the start of the virus. Particularly in the early, panic-striken days of the epidemic, many ended up outcasts shunned by their peers and neighbors, kept out of hotels and even specially tracked and registered by the authorities — even in other parts of the country.

    Beyond “Mulan,” a growing list of other films have recently canceled their scheduled debuts due to coronavirus concerns, including Disney’s “New Mutants” and “Antlers,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place 2” and “The Love Birds,” and Universal Studios’ “Fast & Furious 9.”

    “Mulan” marks the third film starring Chinese superstar Gong Li to be pulled in almost as many months, after Lou Ye’s “Saturday Fiction” — which debuted at Venice — was pulled from its expected Chinese theatrical release in December, presumably for censorship reasons, and Peter Chan’s highly anticipated volleyball film “Leap” cancelled its Chinese new year sortie just as the coronavirus situation was heating up.

    But many Chinese fans say that neither the virus nor the delay will dampen their enthusiasm for Mulan. “A good meal won’t spoil just because it’s served a bit late. A good film will always catch the world’s attention, whenever it comes out,” one wrote online.
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