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Thread: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Wuhan Pneumonia

  1. #31
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    Meanwhile, the other illness that has a more direct impact on Americans...

    A deadly virus is spreading from state to state and has infected 15 million Americans so far. It's influenza
    By Scottie Andrew, CNN
    Updated 8:48 AM ET, Thu January 30, 2020
    4 ways the flu turns deadly

    (CNN)The novel coronavirus that's sickening thousands globally -- and at least five people in the US -- is inspiring countries to close their borders and Americans to buy up surgical masks quicker than major retailers can restock them.
    There's another virus that has infected 15 million Americans across the country and killed more than 8,200 people this season alone. It's not a new pandemic -- it's influenza.
    The 2019-2020 flu season is projected to be one of the worst in a decade, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. At least 140,000 people have been hospitalized with complications from the flu, and that number is predicted to climb as flu activity swirls.
    The flu is a constant in Americans' lives. It's that familiarity that makes it more dangerous to underestimate, said Dr. Magaret Savoy, chair of Family and Community Medicine at Temple University's Lewis Katz School of Medicine.
    "Lumping all the viral illness we tend to catch in the winter sometimes makes us too comfortable thinking everything is 'just a bad cold,'" she said. "We underestimate how deadly influenza really is."
    Even the low-end estimate of deaths each year is startling, Savoy said: The Centers for Disease Control predicts at least 12,000 people will die from the flu in the US every year. In the 2017-2018 flu season, as many as 61,000 people died, and 45 million were sickened.
    In the 2019-2020 season so far, 15 million people in the US have gotten the flu and 8,200 people have died from it, including at least 54 children. Flu activity has been elevated for 11 weeks straight, the CDC reported, and will likely continue for the next several weeks.
    Savoy, who also serves on the American Academy of Family Physician's board of directors, said the novelty of emerging infections can overshadow the flu. People are less panicked about the flu because healthcare providers "appear to have control" over the infection.
    "We fear the unknown and we crave information about new and emerging infections," she said. "We can't quickly tell what is truly a threat and what isn't, so we begin to panic -- often when we don't need to."
    The flu can be fatal
    Dr. Nathan Chomilo, an adjunct assistant professor of pediatrics at University of Minnesota Medical School, said that the commonness of the flu often underplays its severity, but people should take it seriously.
    "Severe cases of the flu are not mild illnesses," Chomilo said. "Getting the actual flu, you are miserable."
    The flu becomes dangerous when secondary infections emerge, the result of an already weakened immune system. Bacterial and viral infections compound the flu's symptoms. People with chronic illnesses are also at a heightened risk for flu complications.
    Those complications include pneumonia, inflammation in the heart and brain and organ failure -- which, in some cases, can be fatal.
    Chomilo, an internist and pediatrician for Park Nicollet Health Services, said this flu season has been one of the worst his Minnesota practice has seen since the H1N1 virus outbreak in 2009. Some of his patients, healthy adults in their 30s, have been sent to the Intensive Care Unit, relying on ventilators, due to flu complications.
    The virus is always changing
    Influenza is tricky because the virus changes every year. Sometimes, the dominant strain in a flu season will be more virulent than in previous years, which can impact the number of people infected and the severity of their symptoms.
    Most of these changes in the virus are small and insignificant, a process called antigenic drift. That year's flu vaccine is mostly effective in protecting patients in spite of these small changes, said Melissa Nolan, an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina's School of Public Health.
    Occasionally, the flu undergoes a rare antigenic shift, which results when a completely new strain of virus emerges that human bodies haven't experienced before, she said.
    Savoy compares it to a block party: The body thinks it knows who -- or in this case, which virus -- will show up, and therefore, which virus it needs to keep out. But if a virus shows up in a completely new getup, it becomes difficult for the body's "bouncers" -- that's the immune system -- to know who to look for and keep out. The stealthy virus can infiltrate easily when the body doesn't recognize it.
    This flu season, there's no sign of antigenic shift, the most extreme change. But it's happened before, most recently in 2009 with the H1N1 virus. It became a pandemic because people had no immunity against it, the CDC reported.
    Get your flu shot, experts say
    To avoid complications from the flu, Savoy, Chomilo and Nolan have the same recommendation: Get vaccinated.
    It's not easy to tell how flu vaccination rates impact the number of people infected, but Savoy said it seems that the years she struggles to get her patients vaccinated are the years when more patients end up hospitalized with the flu, even if the total number of infections doesn't budge.
    The CDC reported at least 173 million flu vaccine doses have been administered this flu season so far -- that's about 4 million more doses than the manufacturers who make the vaccines projected to provide this season.
    Still, there are some who decide skipping the vaccine is worth the risk. A 2017 study found that people decline the flu vaccine because they don't think it's effective or they're worried it's unsafe, even though CDC research shows the vaccine effectively reduces the risk of flu in up to 60% of the population.
    Chomilo said some of his most frustrating cases of the flu are in patients who can't be vaccinated because of preexisting conditions or their age (children under 6 months old can't be vaccinated).
    There are two important reasons to get the flu vaccine, he said -- "Protecting yourself and being a good community member."
    It has been a rough flu season. I know so many who've gotten sick.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  2. #32
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    Who

    WHO Declares Coronavirus a Public Health Emergency
    The decision comes as the virus has spread to nearly 100 people outside of China.
    By Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder, Staff Writer Jan. 30, 2020, at 3:53 p.m.


    A young girl wears a protective mask at Beijing Railway on Jan. 21, in Beijing, China. As of Thursday some 8,000 cases of the coronavirus had been confirmed.KEVIN FRAYER/GETTY

    THE WORLD HEALTH Organization on Thursday declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

    WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the main reason for the decision "is not what is happening in China but because of what is happening in other countries."

    "Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems and which are ill-prepared to deal with it," he said at a press conference in Geneva.

    The health agency last week held off on the declaration, saying the situation was an emergency in China but not necessarily elsewhere.

    The decision does not come with any restriction on trade and movement. The organization recommends accelerating the development of a vaccine.

    As of Thursday, roughly 8,000 cases of the virus were confirmed, with nearly 100 of those coming from 18 countries outside of China, according to WHO.

    There is also proof that the virus can spread from person to person, with cases confirmed in people in the U.S., Japan, Vietnam and Germany who had not previously traveled to China.



    Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder, Staff Writer
    I'm not sure what this means yet. We'll find out soon.
    Gene Ching
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  3. #33
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    ALERTE JAUNE 'Yellow Alert'

    Really Berkeley? Really? Of all the U.S. universities, you'd think Berkeley would have this together.

    ‘Stop normalizing racism’: Amid backlash, UC-Berkeley apologizes for listing xenophobia under ‘common reactions’ to coronavirus


    Students walk on the University of California at Berkeley campus in Berkeley, Calif., on Aug. 15, 2017. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
    By Allyson Chiu
    Jan. 31, 2020 at 4:08 a.m. PST

    At first glance, the informational handout recently shared by the University of California at Berkeley’s health services center on Instagram looked like many of the others that have been promoted amid rising worry over the global spread of the deadly coronavirus.

    This particular post, which was widely circulated Thursday, focused on “managing fears and anxiety” about the pneumonia-like virus that originated in Wuhan, China, last month and has since infected people in countries worldwide, including the United States. In addition to offering mental health tips and resources, the bulletin identified a handful of “normal reactions” that people may experience as the crisis continues to unfold.

    It would be reasonable, the university’s health center wrote, for people in the coming days or weeks to feel panicked, socially withdrawn and angry, among other emotions. But the last “normal” feeling listed was, as one person put it, “very much not like the other.”

    “Xenophobia: fears about interacting with those who might be from Asia and guilt about those feelings,” the handout said.

    As Asians, especially Chinese people, worldwide have experienced heightened tensions in their communities and an increasing number of racist incidents sparked by fears of coronavirus contamination, the post struck a nerve. Many critics slammed the notice, expressing disbelief that a prominent university with a large Asian student body appeared to be “normalizing racism.”


    Dustin R. Glasner, PhD
    @drglasner
    Hey @UCBerkeley @cal @UCBerkeleySPH @TangCenterCal - as a proud Cal alum (PhD Infectious Diseases '18) and Asian-American, this is really, truly unacceptable. Stop normalizing racism. It is not normal, and racist reactions to the current coronavirus outbreak are NOT OKAY. https://twitter.com/adrienneshih/sta...86183778689024

    Adrienne Shih

    @adrienneshih
    Confused and honestly very angry about this Instagram post from an official @UCBerkeley Instagram account.

    When is xenophobia ever a “normal reaction”?


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    The outcry prompted university officials to take swift action, removing the Instagram post later in the day and issuing an apology for causing “any misunderstanding.”

    “We apologize for our recent post on managing anxiety around Coronavirus,” said a statement shared by Berkeley’s Tang Center, which happens to be named after Hong Kong businessman Jack C.C. Tang. “We regret any misunderstanding it may have caused and have updated the language in our materials.”

    AD

    Thursday’s controversy coincided with the World Health Organization declaring the coronavirus outbreak a “public health emergency” and the State Department elevating its travel advisory for China to Level 4: “Do Not Travel.” According to the most recent figures from Chinese officials, nearly 10,000 people in China, where the pneumonia-like virus originated, have fallen ill, and the death toll in the country has risen to 213. Outside China, the number of international cases has risen to more than 80, with at least four countries, including the United States, reporting person-to-person transmission of the virus.

    The latest developments are likely to stoke more fear over the virus’s spread, as experts say a vaccine won’t be ready any time soon. That doesn’t bode well for Asians already being subjected to discrimination and vitriolic attacks — and if history is any evidence, it’s only going to get worse.


    Terri Chu
    @TerriChu
    In my Chinese moms chat group, we discussed how to brace ourselves and the kids for the inevitable wave of racism coming our way as this unfolds.

    Many of us have never even been to China but know we will not go unscathed. https://twitter.com/akurjata/status/1221165180568002560

    Andrew Kurjata 📻

    @akurjata
    Perhaps revealing some naiveté, I'm surprised at the level of vitriol towards Chinese people I'm seeing in the comments sections of stories about the Wuhan coronavirus. And I mean towards the people, not the government. Disheartening.
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    Going back centuries, “Chinese and Chinese American people have served as scapegoats for infectious disease outbreaks and sanitation failures in the United States and around the world to particularly alarming effect,” wrote Jessica Hauger for The Washington Post.

    During the third pandemic of the plague, political cartoons printed in California showed Chinese Americans “eating rats and bunking in crowded, unsanitary lodgings,” according to Hauger, a doctoral student at Duke University who studies healing and colonialism in the indigenous history of North America. Publications labeled China and Chinese people the “breeding place of King Plague.”
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  4. #34
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    Continued from previous post

    The reactions to the coronavirus outbreak haven’t been all that different.

    The hashtag “#ChineseDon’tComeToJapan” has been trending on Japanese social media, and Singaporeans are petitioning their government to bar Chinese nationals from entering the country, the New York Times reported. As of Thursday, there were 11 confirmed cases of the virus in Japan and 10 in Singapore, according to data compiled by The Post.

    In France, Asian citizens launched a hashtag, “#JeNeSuisPasUnVirus” (“I’m not a virus”), to fight back against racism, the BBC reported. Le Courrier Picard, a French newspaper, also recently apologized after weathering backlash for running a front-page headline that read, “ALERTE JAUNE,” or “YELLOW ALERT.” So far, the country has confirmed five cases.

    Reports of xenophobic behavior in Toronto prompted Mayor John Tory to issue a public statement Wednesday rebuking the treatment of the city’s Chinese Canadian community. Canada has reported three cases of infection.

    “We have to be here to stand up and say that kind of stigmatization is wrong,” Tory said at a news conference. “It is ill-founded and in fact, could lead to a situation where we are less safe because it spreads misinformation at a time when people are in more need than ever of real information and real facts.”

    The mayor went on to pledge solidarity to Chinese Canadians living in and around Toronto, stressing that quarantines or avoiding Chinese people and businesses are “entirely inconsistent with the advice of our health care professionals.”

    John Tory

    @JohnTory
    Standing with our Chinese community against stigmatization & discrimination, and reminding residents that, as our health care professionals have informed us, the risk of Coronavirus to our community remains low. We must not allow fear to triumph over our values as a city.

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    Then, Berkeley’s University Health Services publicized its latest coronavirus handout, which went viral Thursday after an image of the Instagram post was shared on Twitter. Critics, a number of whom are current or former students, blasted the university, suggesting that the post amounted to condoning racism against Asians. According to Berkeley’s fall enrollment data, more than 40 percent of last year’s freshman class were Asian.

    “This just in from the number one public university in the world: it’s okay to be xenophobic as long as you also feel sort of guilty about it,” one person tweeted.


    Michelle Lee
    @1michellelee
    Very cool take from my alma mater @UCBerkeley - xenophobia as an acceptable “common reaction” to the coronavirus panic. Feeling good about the light fear people have had of me in public all week. https://twitter.com/adrienneshih/sta...86183778689024

    Adrienne Shih

    @adrienneshih
    Confused and honestly very angry about this Instagram post from an official @UCBerkeley Instagram account.

    When is xenophobia ever a “normal reaction”?


    21
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    Reactions ranged from shock to disgust, as several people demanded answers from the university.

    “Is this a joke @ucberkeley?” a Twitter user asked. Another opined that the handout was “the exact opposite of good public health messaging.”

    At least one person pointed out that Thursday also marked the official removal of California lawyer John Henry Boalt’s name from the main classroom building at Berkeley’s law school. Boalt’s anti-Chinese writings helped catalyze the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, according to a university news release.

    Top Dog
    @DJAL3XGA5
    sorry professor i can't come to class today. im xenophobic and i think it might be contagious. please understand https://twitter.com/adrienneshih/sta...86183778689024

    Adrienne Shih

    @adrienneshih
    Confused and honestly very angry about this Instagram post from an official @UCBerkeley Instagram account.

    When is xenophobia ever a “normal reaction”?


    22
    1:54 PM - Jan 30, 2020
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    The revised version of the health-center handout makes no mention of xenophobia. Under “Ways to Manage Fears & Anxieties,” a bullet point reads, “Be mindful of your assumptions about others.”

    “Someone who has a cough or a fever does not necessarily have coronavirus,” the handout said. “Self-awareness is important in not stigmatizing others in our community.”


    Allyson Chiu
    Allyson Chiu is a reporter with The Washington Post's Morning Mix team. She has previously contributed to the South China Morning Post and the Pacific Daily News.Follow
    I wonder if Coronavirus will still be an issue when CMAT happens. It's scheduled for March 14, only a month and a half away.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  5. #35
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    ****

    it's here now.

    CORONAVIRUS
    LIVE: Coronavirus: Bay Area's 1st case confirmed in Santa Clara County, CDC says

    Updated 15 minutes ago

    SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The Bay Area's first case of the coronavirus from China has been confirmed in Santa Clara County, officials say.

    The CDC says an adult male resident tested positive for the new coronavirus.

    The Santa Clara County case marks the seventh confirmed case in the United States. There are two other cases in California, one in Arizona, one in Washington state, and two in Illinois.

    Almost 10,000 people have been infected globally in a two-month period. More than 200 people have died, all in China.

    Health officials have announced one confirmed case of coronavirus in Santa Clara County.

    The U.S. State Department has issued a "Do Not Travel" advisory to the country.

    Delta Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines are suspending all flights between the U.S. and China.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  6. #36
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    Knew this was coming...

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Here I've been waiting for someone to suggest banlangen or something.
    Asia & Pacific
    Kimchi, cow poop and other spurious coronavirus remedies


    An employee works at a traditional Chinese medicine store in Beijing on Saturday. (Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)
    By Anna Fifield
    Feb. 2, 2020 at 12:43 p.m. PST

    BEIJING — The new coronavirus has killed more than 300 people in China and infected thousands more. As the virus spreads and with no cure in sight, some people are looking to alternative remedies to protect them from infection or cure themselves if they’ve already contracted it.

    Here are some of the theories floating around. Some of these have been proposed by medical doctors, and some of them are just common sense. Others, not so much.

    As the ads say: If your symptoms persist or get worse, see your physician.

    China
    Traditional Chinese medicine for humans (and cows and chickens)
    Chinese people have been flocking to buy Shuanghuanglian — literally “double yellow connect” — an herbal remedy that follows the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

    The liquid is made from the bud of the Lonicera japonica flower, and the fruit of Forsythia suspensa and Scutellaria baicalensis plants.

    The Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, part of the state-run Chinese Academy of Sciences, has said that the medicine could help inhibit the coronavirus.

    State media including the Xinhua News Agency and CCTV have reported that clinical trials suggested the medicine might be effective, leading to long queues at TCM outlets around the country. Major Chinese e-commerce platforms including Taobao.com and JD.com are out of stock of Shuanghuanglian.

    After some criticism about its endorsement of the product, the Shanghai Institute doubled down, saying its findings were endorsed by the Wuhan Institute of Virology as accurate.

    Not all eager customers have found the right product, however. It turns out there are brands of medicine for poultry and livestock called Shuanghuanglian, and some consumers bought the wrong ones.

    One Taobao vendor of the livestock remedy happily told local media he never expected so many people would support his veterinary medicine business, while the makers of the product for birds had to urge consumers not to ingest their product.

    Chicken soup for the lungs
    Speaking of poultry, chicken soup is not just good for the soul. It’s also good for mystery viruses, according to one Wuhan doctor. Zhang Jinnong of Wuhan Union Hospital contracted coronavirus and said he nursed himself back to health with standard medication and chicken soup, all in the comfort of his self-quarantine.

    “In terms of diet, you should drink chicken soup often,” Zhang said in an interview with the Changjiang Daily and Wuhan Evening Daily. “When you drink it, you should sweat. The rise in body temperature is good for fighting the virus.”

    'Herbs that expel parasites'
    The areca nut, or betel nut — usually used to get rid of hookworms, tapeworms and other intestinal parasites — are known as “purgative herbs that drain downward,” according to the TCM site Me and Qi.

    The areca nut branch of the China Fruit Association says the nut can also be used to treat coronavirus. Well, it would say that, wouldn’t it? Its claims are, however, backed up by China’s National Health Commission, which has included areca nut in its recommended prescription for the pneumonia-like illness.

    The National Health Commission and National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine recommended many TCM remedies to help alleviate symptoms of coronavirus, although they stressed they could not cure the virus.

    One of the TCM ingredients was the areca nut, which they said could help detoxify and clear the lungs.

    Putting the tea in TCM
    A respiratory expert from Hubei People’s Hospital, Hu Ke, recommended people make prevention tea following the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. At a news conference at the provincial government buildings, he gave two precise recipes, which have been listed in Hubei’s recommended treatment for the coronavirus.

    One: make a tea bag comprising atractylodes root (three grams), dried bunga mas flower (fice grams), sun-dried tangerine peel (three grams), reed rhizome (two grams), mulberry leaf (two grams) and astragalus root (10 grams).

    Two: boil astragalus root (10 grams), tuber of white atractylodes rhizome (10 grams), siler (10 grams), fern rhizome (six grams), dried bunga mas flower (10 grams), eupatorium (10 grams), sun-dried tangerine peel (six grams).

    They should be consumed twice a day for seven to 10 days, Hu said.

    Warm salty water
    The renowned 83-year old pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan, a veteran of the SARS crisis who is considered a national hero, has recommended swishing warm salty water around in your throat and nasal cavities a few times every morning and night to prevent infection.

    But experts said this was bogus and that saline would not “kill” the new virus, according to Agence France-Presse. The World Health Organization also told AFP there was no evidence that saline solution would protect against infection from the new coronavirus.

    South Korea
    Kimchi finds its limits
    Koreans have long claimed that kimchi, the spicy fermented cabbage dish that is a requirement at every meal, cures all manner of illnesses. SARS, bird flu, regular flu, you name it. But kimchi appears to have met its match.

    “Eating kimchi does not prevent coronavirus infection,” South Korea’s Health Ministry said in a news release, disseminated to quell talk that, on the one hand, eating kimchi could boost immunity against coronavirus and that, on the other, it could spread the virus.

    There had been rumors in some corners of the South Korean Internet that kimchi, much of which is made from Chinese cabbage, could contain the virus. The Health Ministry said that the illness could not be contracted from eating kimchi imported from China or receiving a parcel from China.

    “The best way to prevent the novel coronavirus is to wash hands frequently,” it said.

    India
    Cow waste
    The urine and dung of cows can be used for treating coronavirus infections, according to Swami Chakrapani Maharaj, president of Hindu Mahasabha, an Indian political party.

    “Consuming cow urine and cow dung will stop the effect of infectious coronavirus,” Chakrapani said. If accompanied by a special yagna — or Hindu ritual, performed in front of a fire — it can “kill the novel coronavirus and end its effects on the world,” he said, according to Outlook India.

    “A person who chants Om Namah Shivay and applies cow dung on body, will be saved. A special yagna ritual will soon be performed to kill coronavirus,” said Chakrapani.

    Beyond that, however, he did not provide any specific recipes to make the cow excretions more, erm, palatable.

    Ayurveda and homeopathy
    The Indian government released a health advisory based on the traditional medicine practices of Ayurveda, homeopathy and Unani.

    The main gist of the ayurvedic recommendations was, well, universal: maintain personal hygiene and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cover your face while coughing or sneezing and stay home when you are sick.

    The Indian authorities also prescribed Shadang Paniya, a concoction given to fight headache and fever, along with other traditional remedies that included putting two drops of sesame oil in each nostril every morning.

    Other suggestions included rubbing roghan baboona, a classical Unani oil-based concoction considered beneficial in treating gout, joint pain and backache, and the scalp and chest.

    United States
    For some more orthodox information from our public health correspondent in Washington, here’s: “What we know about the mysterious, pneumonia-like coronavirus spreading in China and elsewhere.”

    Lyric Li and Liu Yang in Beijing, and Min Joo Kim in Seoul contributed to this report.
    Good luck with these...especially the cow dung.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  7. #37
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    SARS was just a warning

    Coronavirus: Worldwide cases overtake 2003 Sars outbreak
    31 January 2020

    The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has overtaken that of the Sars epidemic, which spread to more than two dozen countries in 2003.

    There were around 8,100 cases of Sars - severe acute respiratory syndrome - reported during the eight-month outbreak.

    But nearly 10,000 cases of the new virus have been confirmed, most in China, since it emerged in December.

    More than 100 cases have been reported outside China, in 22 countries.

    The number of deaths so far stands at 213 - all in China. In total, 774 people were killed by Sars.

    On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency over the new outbreak.

    The UK on Friday confirmed its first two cases of the virus.

    In another development, the US also declared a public health emergency and said it would bar any foreign nationals who have visited China in the past two weeks from entering the country.

    Estimates by the University of Hong Kong suggest the true total number of cases could be far higher than official figures suggest. Based on mathematical models of the outbreak, experts there say more than 75,000 people may have been infected in the Chinese city of Wuhan alone, where the virus originated.

    Most cases outside China are in people who have been to Wuhan. But Germany, Japan, Vietnam, the United States, Thailand and South Korea have reported person-to-person cases - patients being infected by people who had travelled to China.

    Wuhan's Communist Party chief said on Friday the city should have taken measures sooner to contain the virus.

    "If strict control measures had been taken earlier, the result would have been better than now," Ma Guoqiang told state broadcaster CCTV.

    As governments around the world acted to contain the virus, WHO spokesman Chris Lindmeier warned that closing borders could in fact accelerate its spread, with travellers entering countries unofficially.

    "As we know from other scenarios, be it Ebola or other cases, whenever people want to travel, they will. And if the official paths are not opened, they will find unofficial paths," he said.

    He said the best way to track the virus was at official border crossings.

    How does this outbreak compare to Sars?

    Sars was a type of coronavirus that first emerged in China's Guangdong province in November 2002. By the time the outbreak ended the following July, it had spread to more than two dozen countries.

    The new coronavirus emerged only last month. So far, it has spread to fewer countries and - while more people have been infected globally - it has resulted in fewer deaths.

    On Wednesday, the number of confirmed cases within China surpassed the Sars epidemic.



    Sars was also estimated to have cost the global economy more than $30bn (£22bn).

    But economists have said the new coronavirus could have an even bigger impact on the world economy. It has forced global companies including tech giants, car makers and retailers to shut down temporarily in China.

    China was also criticised by the UN's global health body for concealing the scale of the original Sars outbreak.

    It has been praised for responding to the latest virus with tough measures, including effectively quarantining millions of residents in cities.

    But in his interview with CCTV on Friday, the Wuhan Communist Party chief said transport restrictions should have been brought in at least 10 days earlier.

    "The epidemic may have been alleviated somewhat, and not got to the current situation," Mr Ma said.

    The estimates from the University of Hong Kong suggest the epidemic is doubling in size roughly every week and that multiple Chinese cities may have imported sufficient cases to start local epidemics.

    "Large cities overseas with close transport links to China could potentially also become outbreak epicentres because of substantial spread of pre-symptomatic cases unless substantial public health interventions at both the population and personal levels are implemented immediately," Professor Joseph Wu said.

    Harder to spot and harder to stop

    Why is this outbreak more difficult to stop than Sars?

    The answer is not down to China - the speed and scale of the country's response to this new virus is widely considered to be unprecedented. The difference is the way the virus behaves inside the human body.

    Sars was a brutal infection that you couldn't miss - patients were contagious only when they had symptoms. This made it relatively easy to isolate the sick and quarantine anyone who might have been exposed.

    But the new virus, 2019-nCov, is harder to spot and therefore harder to stop.

    From the virus's perspective, it has a far smarter evolutionary survival strategy than Sars.

    The best estimate is only one-in-five cases cause severe symptoms, so instead of infected people turning up in hospital, you have to go out and find them.

    And we are getting detailed documented cases of people spreading the virus before they even have symptoms.

    There is a tendency to focus only on how deadly a virus is. But it is this, in combination with a virus's ability to spread, that determines its true threat.



    How is China handling this?

    A confirmed case in Tibet means the virus has now reached every region in mainland China.

    The central province of Hubei, where nearly all deaths have occurred, is in a state of lockdown. The province of 60 million people is home to Wuhan, which is at the heart of the outbreak.

    The city has effectively been sealed off and China has put numerous transport restrictions in place to curb the spread of the virus. People who have been in Hubei are also being told to work from home.

    China has said it will send charter planes to bring back Hubei residents who are overseas "as soon as possible". A foreign ministry spokesman said this was because of the "practical difficulties" Chinese citizens had faced abroad.

    The virus is affecting China's economy, the world's second-largest, with a growing number of countries advising their citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to the country.

    How is the world responding?

    Voluntary evacuations of hundreds of foreign nationals from Wuhan are under way.

    The UK, Australia, South Korea, Singapore and New Zealand are expected to quarantine all evacuees for two weeks to monitor them for symptoms and avoid contagion.

    Australia plans to quarantine its evacuees on Christmas Island, 2,000km (1,200 miles) from the mainland in a detention centre that has been used to house asylum seekers.

    In other recent developments:

    Sweden confirmed its first case - a woman in her 20s who arrived in the country on 24 January after visiting the Wuhan area

    Russia said two Chinese citizens had been placed in isolation after they tested positive for the virus

    Singapore closed its borders to all travellers from China

    Germany confirmed its seventh case - a man from a company in Bavaria where five other workers have tested positive

    Italy declared a six-month state of emergency after two Chinese tourists in Rome were diagnosed with the coronavirus

    Thailand confirmed its first case of human-to-human transmission

    Mongolia suspended all arrivals from China until 2 March. It also banned its citizens from travelling to the country

    In the US, Chicago health officials reported the first US case of human-to-human transmission

    Russia decided to close its 4,300km (2,670-mile) far-eastern border with China

    Japan raised its infectious disease advisory level for China

    Some 250 French nationals were evacuated from Wuhan

    India confirmed its first case of the virus - a student in the southern state of Kerala who was studying in Wuhan

    Israel barred all flight connections with China

    North Korea suspended all flights and trains to and from China, said the British ambassador to North Korea

    Guatemala announced new travel restrictions, saying anyone who had been to China in the past 15 days would be prevented from reaching the country
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  8. #38
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    China's speed: Construction of emergency Huoshenshan Hospital

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  9. #39
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    Anti-Chinese sentiment and xenophobia

    I had a racist slur hurled at me by some drunk dude last weekend. That hasn't happened to me in years.

    Coronavirus is spreading. And so is anti-Chinese sentiment and xenophobia.
    Marco della Cava
    Kristin Lam
    USA TODAY

    SAN FRANCISCO — As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, Russell Jeung follows each development with concern.

    Jeung, chairman of Asian-American Studies at San Francisco State University, applauds the various measures undertaken to quell the virus by everyone from airlines to the World Health Organization.

    But he also cautions that one unhelpful reaction to the China-originating virus — racist reactions towards the Chinese and sometimes anyone merely Asian-looking — just adds hatred to hysteria.

    "If you look at social media and some of the news, it's fear of the 'Yellow Peril' all over again," says Jeung, referring to a term that gained traction after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941. "'Coughing while Asian' is like 'driving while black,' something you get stereotyped for."

    Although San Francisco's Asian-American history dates back to the Gold Rush of the 1850s, Jeung says since the coronavirus scare hit U.S. shores he has seen non-Asians move away from Asian-Americans who are coughing or wearing masks. "The masks are there out of courtesy, but instead they're viewed in other ways," he says.


    Passengers wear face masks to protect against the spread of the Coronavirus as they arrive on a flight from Asia at Los Angeles International Airport, Calif. on Jan. 29, 2020.

    Often the reactions are more hurtful than mere shunning. Fear of the coronavirus around the world has so far led to everything from anti-Chinese signs at businesses to misrepresented videos.

    South Korean restaurant owners have displayed "No Chinese allowed" signs and Japanese Twitter users made the hashtag #ChineseDontComeToJapan trend. In Singapore, more than 125,000 people have signed a petition urging the government to ban Chinese nationals from entering the city-state.

    One social media post that has gone viral speculates on the source of the virus and features a 2016 video of Chinese vlogger Wang Mengyun eating a bat soup in Palau, a nation in Oceania.

    Even the University of California, Berkeley, where the student population is about 34% Asian American, faced backlash for a since-deleted post on the coronavirus.

    The post featured an infographic listing a range of expected reactions to the virus, including anxiety, worry and panic. But it noted that another common reaction could be "xenophobia: fears about interacting with those who might be from Asia and guilt about those feelings."

    UC Berkeley officials soon amended the infographic and apologized for "any misunderstanding."



    Some media influencers also are fanning the flames. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, whose show on Premiere Networks is heard by 27 million people weekly, said Monday that the virus comes from the "ChiComs," a slur referencing the Chinese communist government.

    "I don’t see where we’ve put any ban on Chinese passengers being permitted into the country," Limbaugh said. "This is a serious thing that could be brewing out there."

    And in France, the newspaper Le Courier Picard featured a front page Sunday with an Asian woman wearing a mask and the headline "Yellow Alert." The color referencing Asian skin tones drew immediate condemnation from French Asians — who started the hashtag #IAmNotaVirus — and an apology from the publication.

    The health scare that started in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, overwhelmed local officials in China's Hubei province, as victims suddenly developed pneumonia without clear causes and for which vaccines were not proving effective.

    On Monday, patients arrived at Wuhan's Huoshenshan Hospital, the 1,000-bed treatment center constructed in just 10 days to help battle the outbreak. The death toll in China has risen to 361, with more than 17,200 people infected. Outside of China, there have been 151 confirmed cases in 23 countries, and one death in the Philippines.

    Based on the latest figures, the coronavirus fatality rate is roughly 2%. That compares to a fatality rate of the 9.6% for the 2002 SARS health scare.

    Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said last week that "this is the time for facts, not fear. This is the time for science, not rumors. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma."

    Some observers note that the current administration's hardline stance against immigrants may exacerbate racist incidents until the virus threat abates.

    "The headlines have framed the coronavirus as an invasion into our country, and it surfaces the historical xenophobia and perpetual foreigner stereotype for Asian-Americans once again," says Aarti Kohli, executive director at Asian Law Caucus, a civil rights organization focused on Asian Pacific communities.

    Kohli says a Filipino staffer with a cold "got weird looks" while at a Los Angeles area airport early this week.

    "She isolated herself at a cafe to avoid the feeling of being targeted," says Kohli. "It's a problem when a whole population is being discriminated and being treated as a threat."

    That sentiment has deep roots, dating back to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which grew out a desire to block cheap Chinese labor that had in fact been critical to many Western projects, including the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869.

    More recently, officials issued travel restrictions for the 2003 outbreak of SARS, a viral respiratory illness that sickened 8,096 people worldwide, eight of whom lived in the U.S..

    "The danger here is that more extreme measures are taken," says historian Jeung, recalling past health scares in the early 1900s that caused San Francisco's Chinatown to be quarantined and Honolulu's Chinatown to be burned to the ground.

    "The irony of the Hawaiian reaction was that the bubonic plague was caused by rats, so burning down the Chinatown only meant that the rats left and infected other non-Chinese neighborhoods," says Jeung. "This is not an Asian-American problem so much as it is an other people's problem with Asian-Americans. This coupling of xenophobia with health scares needs to get uncoupled."

    Follow USA TODAY reporters @kristinslam and @marcodellacava
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  10. #40
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    Well crap

    Did NOT see this one coming...

    ASIA FEBRUARY 3, 2020 9:54AM PT
    China Indefinitely Halts Film and TV Production Nationwide As Virus Deaths Surpass SARS
    By REBECCA DAVIS


    CREDIT: EYEPRESS NEWS/SIPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

    China has officially ordered an indefinite halt to all film production in the country as it seeks to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus that has swept the nation.

    The death toll in China stands at 361 – higher now than that of SARS, which killed 349. China has confirmed 17,205 cases as of Sunday, with numbers rapidly rising, and as of Monday, there are 11 confirmed cases in the U.S.

    Over the weekend, the producers’ and actors’ associations of the China Federation of Radio and TV Associations co-issued a notice declaring that all film and TV production companies, crews and actors are to suspend film and TV drama shoots until the unspecified time when the period of heightened virus prevention has passed. Those who don’t stop production will be held “responsible,” it said, without providing further detail.

    Film industry professionals have the right to refuse to participate in shoots during the epidemic period, and can report shoots that continue unabated to the local authorities and industry associations.

    “This is a necessary move given the current special situation,” the producers’ association’s secretary-general Li Gang told the People’s Daily newspaper.

    The notice comes after a number of productions and facilities voluntarily shut themselves down, including the mega studio at Hengdian, which announced last Monday that all productions there would halt, and at the giant Qingdao studios.

    Chinese citizens nationwide remain isolated in self-imposed quarantine in their homes, and more than a dozen major metropolises have been under lockdown measures restricting travel. In more than half the country, businesses have been ordered to extend their Chinese new year holiday and not resume working until at least Feb. 10, bringing the economy to a standstill.

    Chinese reports predicted a definite decline in the number of films and TV shows produced this year, particularly as the epidemic stretches into the spring, a key period for production. “This and next year, there may be a ‘content shortage’ phenomenon,” assessed a local newspaper from Wuhan, the city at the disease’s epicenter.
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  11. #41
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    After the Trade War issues, this could be really bad for us.

    Coronavirus to test just how reliant the world is on Chinese manufacturers, with Asia braced for shock wave
    With regions of China accounting for 80 per cent of exports on lockdown, factories around Asia are being forced into looking for alternative supplies
    Workers trapped in China amid travel bans, while trade watchers as far afield as California wait for boats from China to stop arriving
    Finbarr Bermingham
    Published: 8:00pm, 4 Feb, 2020


    The world’s second largest economy remains on lockdown, with factories in 14 provinces covering 70 per cent of China’s gross domestic product and 80 per cent of its exports ordered not to open until Monday at the earliest. Photo: Reuters

    Manufacturing and logistics players reliant on China's giant economy are braced for an incoming shock wave from the spread of the novel coronavirus, which is set to test “just how reliant we have grown on Chinese manufacturers”.
    The world’s second largest economy remains on lockdown, with factories in 14 provinces covering 70 per cent of China’s gross domestic product and 80 per cent of its exports ordered not to open until Monday at the earliest.
    The virus has claimed over 420 lives, the vast majority in China, but has infected people throughout the region, with more than 25 countries having confirmed cases as of Tuesday. In an effort to contain the spread, authorities in the likes of the United States, Singapore and Vietnam have restricted air traffic to and from China, while the movement of Chinese people across borders is also being restricted.
    “Anything that limits the free movement of goods or people is bad for shipping,” said Tim Huxley, founder of the Hong Kong container freight shipper, Mandarin Shipping. “The expected demand decline in China is already being factored into prices of commodities and shipping rates. It’s very difficult to make any decisions while we’re still unclear about how long this is going to go on for.”
    Anything that limits the free movement of goods or people is bad for shipping. It’s very difficult to make any decisions while we’re still unclear about how long this is going to go on for.
    Tim Huxley
    Some are sceptical as to whether manufacturing will resume as normal on Monday, given the virus is still spreading, albeit at a slower rate in recent days. Huge numbers of migrant workers are trapped in parts of China that are under an official lockdown covering more than 60 million people, while many others are in areas unofficially closed off by local officials.
    “Some entire factories may not reopen at all because their entire management and a good part of their operators are still blocked in Hubei province – and that is true of many factories,” said Renaud Anjoram, partner and CEO of manufacturing consultancy firm Sofeast.
    Within mainland China, oil demand has dried up by 20 per cent, Bloomberg reported, amid a freeze in travel, while metal prices have plunged on consecutive days since markets reopened on Monday, a sign of expected weak demand in key industrial sectors.
    All this means the optimism that followed the signing of a phase one US-China trade deal barely three weeks ago already feels like a distant memory.


    Coronavirus tally in outbreak epicentre Wuhan, China may just be ‘tip of the iceberg’

    “While production remained largely normal over the Lunar New Year period, logistical disruptions could mean that metal stocks are building at producers,” wrote Wenyu Yao, senior commodities specialist at ING in a note to clients. “We’ve heard that some alumina smelters are facing the risk of fuel gas shortages.”
    Nick Bartlett, director at CBIP Logistics in Hong Kong, said that the company’s fulfilment services have ground to a virtual halt since Chinese trade has dried up so severely.
    “Some services remain operating at partial and controlled levels, and in some cases, specific logistic providers have come to a halt until February 9 when another review of things will be taken,” Bartlett said. “This leaves most Chinese-based logistics companies working around limited operations ensuring the safety of its people.”
    A survey of businesses in the city released by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong on Tuesday found that more than 80 per cent of companies had been affected to medium or great extent by the coronavirus prevention measures recommended by the Hong Kong government, with 87 per cent having to adjust working practices for employees.
    Factory operators in Southeast Asia reliant on Chinese-made materials and Chinese staff are unsure if they can obtain new components – a problem that will only get worse the longer the virus outbreak continues.
    “Our components factories are all closed for another week – we do not know what’s going to happen, we have absolutely no idea,” said Larry Sloven, CEO of Capstone International, a lighting manufacturer that recently moved its production from China to Thailand, but which still imports many components from the mainland.
    Vietnam, meanwhile, has been toasted as the “real winner” of the US-China trade war since it inherited much of the production capacity leaving China so companies could avoid paying US tariffs. But after the Vietnamese government put a ban on Chinese nationals entering the country last weekend, these producers face a new challenge.
    The logistics have barely been affected [yet] but the biggest problem for me now is that I am banned from re-entering Vietnam
    Steven Yang
    “We export raw materials from China to Vietnam,” said Steven Yang, a Chinese furniture maker who relocated his factory from Foshan in Guangdong province in to Vietnam last year to avoid the escalating tariffs and who spent the Lunar New Year in his hometown. “The logistics have barely been affected [yet] but the biggest problem for me now is that I am banned from re-entering Vietnam.”
    Ernie Koh is faced with a similar conundrum. His company, Koda, makes furniture in Vietnam and Malaysia for export around the world.
    However, many of the parts come from China, as do many of his management staff. Furthermore, he operates a retail franchise in China – meaning his business and supply chain is heavily exposed to the fallout from the coronavirus. Having decided to wait until after the Lunar New Year holiday to replenish stock from China, Koh is now running low on some inventory lines.
    “We need to look for another source and diversify our supply chain,” he said, adding that he had been forced to write a note to Vietnamese staff members assuring them that Chinese workers that returned to the country before the border was closed would be quarantined, over fears that the coronavirus could be spread through factories.
    “Some of our staff and middle-management in Vietnam are Chinese and they have not been able to come back after Lunar New Year. We have had to urgently reposition some of our management from Malaysia to make up for it.”
    Some of our staff and middle-management in Vietnam are Chinese and they have not been able to come back after Lunar New Year. We have had to urgently reposition some of our management from Malaysia to make up for it
    Ernie Koh
    Aemulus, a Malaysia-based maker of semiconductor testing equipment, said that it too was looking at contingency plans for its China suppliers, including companies in South Korea and Taiwan, amid fears that the Chinese lockdown will continue.
    “We, as well as our vendors definitely have concerns over the cases,” said Sang Beng Ng, Aemulus CEO. “The starting date that vendors were due to come back to work has been delayed and there could be further delays which it's hard to tell at this point.”
    The US economy was buoyed overnight by positive manufacturing data, after the Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers’ index – a survey of American factory owners – rose by 3.1 per cent to 50.9 per cent. This was in contrast with Asian manufacturing surveys, which performed poorly in January – even though they were conducted before the coronavirus outbreak.

    Coronavirus in context
    Coronavirus Fatality rate: 2.1% 20,676 427
    US seasonal flu* Fatality rate: 0.07% 13,000,000 10,000
    Sars Fatality rate: 9.6% 8,437 813
    MERS Fatality rate: 34.4% 2,494 858
    Ebola Fatality rate: 43.9% 34,453 15,158
    H1N1 Fatality rate: 17.40% 1,632,258 284,500
    Nonetheless, there is some concern that even the US could be hit with collateral damage.
    “Here, we're waiting for the boats from China to stop showing up once Chinese [dock workers] no longer have anything to load. US importers, who normally plan for factories in China to go dark during the annual New Year celebrations, certainly would not have expected those factories not to reopen promptly after the last [cheers] of the holiday,” said Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics' international trade adviser and a veteran watcher of Californian trade.
    “Those importers with taut supply chains should soon be seeing inventory shortages. If this situation persists, we will all eventually see just how reliant we have grown on Chinese manufacturers.”
    Additional reporting by Harry Pearl and Cissy Zhou
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  12. #42
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    I've been waiting for the 'qigong' response. This is not what I expected.

    Indoor exercise boom among Chinese amid efforts to curb novel coronavirus epidemic
    Xinhua, January 31, 2020

    JINAN, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Fan Dongquan, a fitness coach with Jinan Hot Blood Fitness Studio in east China's Shandong Province, on Thursday conducted a 90-minute fitness course on-line for free.

    The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has kept millions of Chinese like Fan from outdoors activities since late January, so indoors exercise has become an important way to keep healthy.

    The Chinese sports community, from individuals like Fan to the sports authorities at all levels, stood forward to actively promote indoors exercises to fight against the epidemic.

    China's State General Administration of Sport has called upon sports departments at all levels to promote simple and scientific exercises at home and further fitness knowledge, and advocate a healthy lifestyle via various media during the epidemic.

    "I believe that regular physical exercise can protect against illness, especially in a time of the novel coronavirus epidemic," said Fan, adding that the number of participants increased from 243, the first time, to more than 300.

    In fact, sports departments around the country have already released a series of indoors exercise programs with accompanying text, pictures and videos.

    For example, the Beijing Municipal Sports Bureau released a complete set of workouts at home, including stretching and strength training, on Wednesday.

    Rizhao Municipal Sports Bureau of Shandong Province has also released some instructions of Taichi, Yoga and 'Five Animals Play.' Meanwhile, they invited local social sports instructors to demonstrate the methods in videos, so that citizens can follow experts to learn how to work out at home.

    Sports Bureaus of Qingdao and Yantai also released on their Wechat platforms, the health-promoting ancient Chinese exercises-Baduanjin with detailed instructions. Beijing Sports University on Wednesday issued a video of Baduanjin via their Wechat account and had more than 100,000 comments.

    Chinese Health Qigong Association released on Wechat a combination of Chinese therapeutic exercise; Qigong, which was closely related to Chinese martial arts in the past is free of restrictions like venues and equipments.

    The State Council, China's cabinet, issued a new Healthy China guideline in July 2019, which promised support for fitness programs with Chinese characteristics, including Tai Chi and Qigong, which channels the body's inner energy to achieve physical and mental harmony.

    Cui Yongsheng, staff with Health Qigong Management Center of State General Administration of Sport, noted that practicing Qigong will play a positive role in the fight against the epidemic.

    "In the future, we will make more efforts to promote Qigong, so that more people can benefit from it," said Cui. Enditem
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  13. #43
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    Oh ****

    Published: February 4, 2020 3:19 PM UTC
    Bird Flu: China’s Ticking Time Bomb of Infectious Disease
    As the world grapples with the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, a new disease emerges: a highly-fatal bird-flu known as H5N1.
    Author: William Ebbs @ebbs_william


    As China's ascendancy to world power continues, infectious diseases could become the norm. | Image: REUTERS / Bobby Yip / File Photo

    A highly pathogenic strain of bird flu, H5N1, has caused an outbreak in China’s Hunan province, near ground zero of the deadly coronavirus.

    The disease doesn’t easily infect humans but when it does, it carries a staggering mortality rate of 60% according to the WHO.

    China is a hotbed of emerging diseases. As the country rises to economic prominence, this puts the global economy at risk.

    For most people who live in first world countries, infectious diseases are not a big concern. We get a cocktail of vaccines as children and go on to live relatively healthy lives. The biggest things we have to worry about are the common flu, the common cold, and occasionally, strep throat. As China rises to global prominence, in a world that has grown increasingly interconnected, things may be changing.

    We could be reverting to a time when deadly diseases were a fact of life for everyone – in every country.

    As the global coronavirus outbreak grows to infect over 20,000 with 425 fatalities, China finds itself in the cross hairs of a new, dangerous outbreak: bird flu, an infection that can kill poultry and humans alike. While the disease, known as H5N1, hasn’t infected any humans yet, it’s revealing a disturbing pattern with global implications. New diseases are emerging at an alarming rate, and this puts the whole world at risk.

    The Coronavirus Is Still At Large

    According to the latest data, Wuhan coronavirus has grown to infect 20,680 people – the majority in Hubei province, China. The disease has spread to 27 countries and 427 people have died.

    In response, U.S authorities have taken drastic actions to limit contact with China. The State Department has issued a travel warning, airlines are canceling flights and American companies with Chinese operations are shuttering operations in the country.


    Source: twitter.com

    Authorities should have the ability to get the coronavirus under control but what will they do when the next massive outbreak crops up? Can the global economy withstand these repeated shocks?

    Another Outbreak: Bird Flu

    According to China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the nation is experiencing an outbreak of a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu called H5N1. The disease has already killed 4,500 chickens in Hunan province alone and the government has culled almost 18,000 chickens to prevent its spread.

    According to the United States Geological Survey, there’s no need to panic about the term “highly pathogenic” because it refers to the virus’s ability to kill chickens, not humans.

    They state the following:

    The designation of low or highly pathogenic avian influenza refers to the potential for these viruses to kill chickens. The designation of “low pathogenic” or “highly pathogenic” does not refer to how infectious the viruses may be to humans, other mammals, or other species of birds.
    The World Health Organization (WHO) paints a more disturbing picture of the disease.

    Human cases of H5N1 avian influenza occur occasionally, but it is difficult to transmit the infection from person to person. When people do become infected, the mortality rate is about 60%.
    They go on to elaborate

    Influenza viruses constantly undergo genetic changes. It would be a cause for concern, should the H5N1 virus become more easily transmissible among humans.

    A 60% mortality rate is staggering. To put this in perspective, note that coronavirus has a mortality rate of only 2.1% while SARS had a mortality rate of 9.6%. With a mortality rate of 60%, the bird flu is as deadly as Ebola. While it doesn’t currently spread well among humans, experts believe it can mutate into more virulent forms.
    This is a ticking time bomb.

    This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.

    William Ebbs @ebbs_william
    As a writer with over five years of experience, William Ebbs has contributed to CCN, The Motley Fool and other wonderful clients. He has earned millions of page views with his hard-hitting, opinionated work. He focuses on financial markets and business. When Will isn't writing, he enjoys strategy gaming, heated debates, and researching for his next article. William Ebbs is based in the United States of America and can be reached at qzh8778@outlook.com
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  14. #44
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    CoRATavirus

    Chinese New Year 2020: The Year Of The Coronavirus
    By Alex Berezow, PhD and Phillip Orchard — January 27, 2020

    The biggest political and economic effects of pandemics come, not from the disease itself, but instead from public panic and panicked government responses.


    Credit: Geopolitical Futures

    Phillip Orchard is an Analyst with Geopolitical Futures. This article was authored in collaboration with ACSH's Dr. Alex Berezow and originally published at Geopolitical Futures.

    Grappling with internal political pressures, a slowing economy, an open rebellion in Hong Kong and an unresolved trade war with the U.S., Chinese leaders may have already been in a less-than-celebratory mood heading into this year’s Lunar New Year festivities, which begin Jan. 25. The last thing the government needed was an outbreak of infectious disease, particularly when hundreds of millions of people are expected to travel throughout the country and beyond. Not only is that exactly what happened, but the disease – a new type of coronavirus – is unknown to science.

    The severity of the virus (known as nCoV or the Wuhan Virus) is uncertain, nor is it clear if it will mutate and spread. The World Health Organization has yet to label it a global health emergency. But it’s certainly not yet contained. As of Thursday, there were more than 653 confirmed cases across seven countries, including the United States, and 18 people had died. And despite repeated assurances that it had matters under control, the government on Wednesday began locking down Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei, where the outbreak started, and three nearby cities. Doctors in Wuhan are reportedly expecting the number of infections to exceed 6,000, and local authorities are planning to build a special hospital in just six days to handle the epidemic.

    There’s reason to believe the disease isn’t nearly as big a threat to public health as the one posed by the SARS outbreak in 2003, which killed nearly 800 people. Inevitably, though, the biggest political and economic effects of pandemics come from public panic and panicked government responses, not the disease itself. And given Beijing’s checkered track record for managing these sorts of emergencies over the past two decades, the Communist Party of China’s very legitimacy might just prove to be on the line.

    How Bad Is It?

    Coronaviruses come in a variety of strains. Some, such as the one that’s one of the many causes of the common cold, are relatively harmless. Others, such as those responsible for SARS and MERS, are potentially lethal. The dangerous coronaviruses seem to be linked to animals. SARS may have originated in bats and then spread to humans via civets, which are eaten as a delicacy in China. MERS also came from bats but spread to humans via camels, once again, perhaps through consumption of raw camel milk or meat. It is therefore reasonable to suspect that the new coronavirus is linked to animals that are eaten. Indeed, the reason China is always likely to be ground zero for the next influenza pandemic is that millions of people regularly come into contact with livestock. As Smithsonian Magazine wrote, “Many Chinese people, even city dwellers, insist that freshly slaughtered poultry is tastier and more healthful than refrigerated or frozen meat.”

    Whatever the source, it’s now been confirmed to be capable of being transmitted from one human to another. Even so, the new coronavirus will have a limited direct impact on public health. SARS appeared in 2002, spread quickly around the globe in 2003, infected 8,096 people and killed 774. Then, with the exception of a handful of cases, it mostly disappeared. MERS has infected 2,442 people and killed 842. It still lingers throughout much of the world, particularly in the Arabian Peninsula. And though the reported case-fatality rates for both seem high – 9.6 percent for SARS and 34.5 percent for MERS – bear in mind that many mild cases probably went unreported. The real case-fatality rate is likely lower.



    The damage inflicted directly by the disease is therefore highly unlikely to have much long-term impact. But, particularly in China, the potential economic and political implications can’t be dismissed.
    continued next post
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    Continued from previous post

    Economic Impact

    The problem with new outbreaks is that the public and public officials alike can’t exactly wait until all the facts become clear before taking preventative measures. And it doesn’t take much for fear of the unknown to grind public transportation systems to a halt, empty out shopping centers, movie theaters and restaurants, and, most important, persuade revelers to just stay put this year during the Lunar New Year rather than join the hundreds of millions of people who take part in the world’s largest annual human migration.

    The costs add up quickly. The SARS outbreak in 2003, for example, dented Chinese gross domestic product by as much as $30 billion, reducing annual growth by between 1-2 percent. Globally, the bill for the pandemic ran up to as much as $100 billion.

    Not all economic activity will be lost for good. Short-term hits to the sorts of sectors most exposed to the epidemic – mostly ones tied to consumer spending – often lead to supercharged recoveries. Chinese growth drivers where short-term disruption would have longer-lasting effects, such as manufacturing exports, industrial production and investment, stayed mostly intact in 2003. Indeed, while Chinese GDP growth dropped from 11.1 percent in the first quarter of 2003 to 9.1 percent in the second, it bounced all the way back to 11.6 percent a year later.

    Still, even if nCoV proves more manageable than SARS, there are reasons to think the impact this year will be worse. For one, the SARS epidemic occurred on the heels of the dot com crash, when consumer spending across the region was already somewhat suppressed. (Incidentally, the resulting reduction of international travel may have helped contain the spread of the virus.) For another, locking down an urban area as large as Wuhan – a city at the center of one of China’s most important internal shipping routes along the Yangtze – will be immensely disruptive.



    Moreover, a substantial portion of the lost holiday spending will never be recovered. This is a problem for Asia Pacific nations that, unlike in 2003, are now highly dependent on Chinese tourists. All told, Chinese people took an estimated 130 million more trips abroad in 2018 compared to 2003, and before the outbreak, the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute predicted that more than 7 million Chinese people would head overseas during the Lunar New Year this year. In Thailand, which has already reported four cases of nCoV, foreign tourism accounts for as much as a fifth of economic growth. Around 57 percent of visitors to Thailand last year were Chinese, including more than 2 million in January and February alone. Japan, which hosts the 2020 Summer Olympics, is estimating an economic loss of nearly $25 billion if the virus spreads as widely as SARS.

    The biggest difference for China this time around is that the economy can’t as easily shrug off a major shock. In the early 2000s, annual GDP growth was still climbing well above 10 percent. Today, with a long structural slowdown well underway, Beijing is running up staggering debts just to keep growth from swan-diving below 6 percent. Add to this an unresolved trade war with its largest export customer – along with its scramble to implement critical but growth-sapping measures to stave off a financial meltdown before the next global slowdown strikes – and the epidemic starts to look like the sort of thing that could derail Beijing’s best-laid plans for avoiding an economic reckoning.

    Political Impact

    The outbreak will also complicate a broader, existential challenge weighing on the CPC: preserving its very legitimacy with the public. Delivering steady gains in prosperity is, of course, at the center of this challenge. But breakneck economic growth has become impossible to sustain – and was never going to be sufficient, anyway. The wealthier a country becomes, the more its citizenry demands quality of life that can’t be sourced solely from rising GDP, things like clean air and water, medical services, social safety nets and responsive, corruption-free governance. This is why President Xi Jinping has encouraged the party to shift its focus to “high-quality growth,” and it’s why he’s put environmental and emergency management initiatives at the center of his sweeping reform agenda. No amount of propaganda or censorship can convince his people that a smog-choked sky is actually blue or make devastation from an earthquake disappear.

    The 2003 SARS outbreak laid bare the political risks of mismanaging a public health emergency. The government came under withering public criticism for covering up the scale of the epidemic (inadvertently worsening panic), impeding the World Health Organization’s investigation, and moving slowly to contain the outbreak. Bungled government responses to a number of other crises, such as the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, a high-speed rail accident in 2011, and a string of scandals involving tainted milk, tainted vaccines and fiery industrial accidents likewise prompted fierce public outcry. Beijing received higher marks in subsequent health scares, particularly the H171 bird flu outbreak in 2013. And this time around, initially at least, it received international praise for its improved transparency and swiftness in moving to contain the virus. Chinese authorities had isolated and published the nCoV genome by the second week in January, allowing foreign governments to develop critical testing procedures for the virus. Xi addressed the emergency personally last week, ordering “all-out prevention and control efforts.” China’s top political body responsible for law and order said officials who withheld information would be “nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity.”

    But facts on the ground are once again giving the public reason to doubt its government’s candor and capability. Authorities have been claiming for more than a month that the virus is “preventable and controllable.” Now, they’re taking extreme measures like locking down the Wuhan metro area, home to some 19 million people, and making belated mea culpas. The government has also struggled to abandon its practice of reflexively cracking down on independent sources of information, despite commands to do so from on high. This has led to contradictory messaging and suppressed information that might have helped contain the virus. Chinese censors initially ordered local media outlets to stick to reprinting official reports, according to the Financial Times, effectively silencing independent reporting. And in early January, eight people were reportedly detained for posting information about the outbreak on social media. As also happened in the SARS outbreak, moreover, the government’s rigidly enforced top-down decision-making structure has once again worsened matters by incentivizing, for example, hospitals to under-report cases and local authorities to go forward with high-profile public gatherings deemed politically important.

    For all the criticism they are receiving, authorities in Beijing are trying to address a problem that would bedevil any government. China is very large and very dense. As happened with SARS, panic would almost certainly do more damage than the disease itself. And Beijing may reasonably conclude that resorting to drastic measures may truly be in the public interest, even if they’re at odds with public sentiment. Perhaps more than any government, Beijing has given itself the power to surveil its citizenry, to shut down cities, to silence unfounded rumors on social media – all without permission. Such powers certainly could come in handy in this sort of crisis.

    But by hoarding authority – by insisting on the right to micromanage the country – the CPC has raised the bar for what the public expects in response when the country is under attack, whether from foreign powers, economic forces or viral mutations. This is a problem when tight centralization has also, paradoxically, created a rigid top-down institutional culture that’s ill-suited to respond nimbly to public demand. When faced with a crisis, the machinery of the state is programmed to default to the tools it knows best. Censorship, disinformation and problem-solving by brute force are hardwired into the Chinese system, often making it at once flat-footed and prone to overcorrection. Yet, the more pressure intensifies, the more Beijing is doubling down on this model. And the stakes riding on its bet are getting higher.

    Alex Berezow is Vice President of Scientific Communications at the American Council on Science and Health. Both he and Phillip Orchard are Analysts with Geopolitical Futures.
    THREADS
    2020 Year of the Rat
    Coronavirus
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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