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Thread: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Wuhan Pneumonia

  1. #61
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    15,152 new cases, 254 new deaths

    Well this is bad.

    China Reports Over 15,000 Coronavirus Cases in Single Day Using New Diagnostic Guidelines
    Matt Novak
    Today 7:00AM


    Residents wear protective masks as they line up in a grocery store on February 12, 2020 in Wuhan, China.
    Photo: Getty Images

    China reported 15,152 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, according to state broadcaster Xinhua, the largest jump in a single day and up significantly from the few thousand confirmed cases China typically reports daily. Chinese health authorities also reported 254 new deaths, the largest number in a single day since the crisis began in December 2019.

    The wild jump on Thursday is likely due to new guidelines for reporting patients with the coronavirus in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. Doctors in Hubei are now diagnosing some cases through CT scans of a patient’s lungs as well as a patient’s history of exposure to others, rather than just lab tests looking exclusively for the coronavirus.

    There are now over 60,000 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide, with 1,369 deaths. Roughly 13,332 cases of the coronavirus, which causes an illness that was recently dubbed COVID-19, were clinically diagnosed using the new method, according to a tweet early this morning from the World Health Organization (WHO).

    The lab tests for coronavirus are in short supply in China, given the high number of cases, and doctors around the world are reporting false negatives. The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) held a press conference on Wednesday to announce that hundreds of tests distributed in the U.S. were faulty and informed patients that they didn’t have the disease when, in fact, they do. The U.S. has just 14 confirmed cases of the virus but experts like the former head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Scott Gottlieb, says he expects that number could grow in the coming weeks.

    Gottlieb told the Washington Post yesterday that he believes American doctors are detecting maybe 25 percent of coronavirus cases “at best” adding, “We’re going to see those outbreaks start to emerge in the next two to four weeks.”

    While some health experts outside of China seem cautiously optimistic that the new reporting methods in Hubei will provide a more accurate picture of the public health crisis currently unfolding in Asia, and perhaps show that the disease is less deadly than earlier believed, others are concerned that CT scans may pick up other pneumonia cases that were not caused by the new coronavirus specifically. One public health expert who was skeptical of the new diagnostic methods told the New York Times, “we’re in unknown territory.”

    The new reporting methods are not being used outside of Hubei province, according to Shanghai Health Commission spokesperson Zheng Jin, who gave a press conference on Thursday. It’s not immediately clear if other large Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai, which have just 366 and 315 confirmed cases respectively according to a John Hopkins virus tracker, will start using the new method soon.


    A Chinese boy is covered in a plastic bag for protection as he arrives from a train at Beijing Station on February 12, 2020 in Beijing, China.
    Photo: Getty Images

    The Chinese Communist Party has come down hard on some local leaders, firing the party secretary of Hubei province, Jiang Chaoliang, on Thursday, after public sentiment in the hard hit region turned increasingly sour. Jiang will be replaced by the mayor of Shanghai, Ying Yong, according to the New York Times.

    Large public gatherings have been banned in China, with tens of millions of people on virtual lockdown, but event organizers and civic organizations around the world are also scaling back their activities. The World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, Spain, which was scheduled to start February 24, announced on Wednesday that its event had been cancelled. Many large companies that planned to have exhibits at the mobile phone conference, including Facebook, Cisco, AT&T, Sprint, and Sony, had already pulled out a week earlier.

    And closer to China, the Hong Kong Catholic Church has even suspended mass for two weeks, citing concern over the virus.

    “The next two weeks will be a crucial time to suppress the epidemic. To avoid gatherings, the Diocese has decided to suspend all the public Masses on Sundays and weekdays for two weeks, including the Liturgy of Ash Wednesday, from 15th to 28th of February,” Cardinal John Tong Hon, Apostolic Administrator of Hong Kong, said in a statement posted online. “Some Church members may be disappointed. However, I hope that everyone can understand this is not an easy decision.”

    The cardinal encouraged people to attend mass through the church’s online services and make sure to take care of the sick and the elderly.

    “At this difficult time, everyone should not panic. We must deepen our trust in God and implement our Christian love for our neighbors and all people.”



    Matt Novak
    Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog
    Gene Ching
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  2. #62
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    Asia travel

    I was planning a trip back to Shaolin this year before Coronavirus broke out. 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of my master's school. Shi Decheng actually closed his brick-and-mortar schools (he had two in Dengfeng) around a decade ago, but he has a group of students that are still loyal and are housed in Chen Tongshan's school. Decheng is planning a celebration and invited all his disciples and students back. I've been looking forwafrd to returning because it's been over a decade and a half since I've walked the rugged soils of Shaolin, but we'll see how this all works out. I was in PRC for SARS and that was horrible. However, if this gets contained by then, it might be an opportune time to travel because tourism will be down.

    'It Will Be Catastrophic.' Asia's Tourism-Dependent Economies Are Being Hit Hard by the Coronavirus


    An airport staff member wearing a protective face mask stands at an information desk at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok on Feb. 9, 2020. MLADEN ANTONOV/Afp/AFP via Getty Images
    BY CHARLIE CAMPBELL / KRABI, THAILAND
    4:09 AM EST

    Klong Khong beach on the southern Thai island of Koh Lanta is a long sweep of coarse silver sand fringed by Indian almond trees and palms. A knot of beach shacks offer tourist staples—massages, fruit shakes, grilled seafood—in signs written in English and, in similar prominence, Mandarin Chinese.

    Yet few Chinese faces grace Koh Lanta these days as fallout spreads from the coronavirus outbreak that has so far infected more than 60,000 people and claimed at least 1,360 lives. Although the Thai government has not joined many of its neighbors by imposing a complete ban on Chinese visitors, the suspension of tour groups from the People’s Republic, combined with a drop in visitors more generally in response to the crisis, is hitting Koh Lanta hard.

    “Last month, there were many, many Chinese staying here,” says Khun Mohammed, whose family runs the Lanta Lapaya Resort in Klong Khong. “Now it’s just one room.”

    While the spread of the coronavirus has rattled manufacturers and upset supply chains the world over, the tourism-dependent economies of Southeast Asia are particularly vulnerable. China’s rapidly swelling middle class sparked a boom in tourist visits abroad, which soared from 20 million in 2003 to 150 million in 2018.

    Besides Thailand’s, it is the tourism industries of Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan that are most exposed to the Chinese travel market. “If this lasts for three to six months, it will be catastrophic for the tourism industry,” says Stuart McDonald, founder of the TravelFish independent travel guide to Southeast Asia.

    Today, Chinese visitors account for 30% of Thailand’s total tourist footfall, spending $18 billion in 2019. Direct tourism spending accounts for an estimated 12% of Thai GDP with Chinese visitors playing “an increasingly important role in underpinning the Thai tourism economy,” according to London-based business information provider IHS Markit.

    The fallout is being felt across the self-styled “Land of Smiles.” In Thailand’s stupa-strewn northern capital of Chiang Mai, the 20-room SugarCane boutique guesthouse has suffered cancellations of almost 150 room nights of with almost no new bookings in last two weeks. “The speed with which demand dried up is quite shocking,” says general manager Stuart Cavaliero.

    The drop in Chinese tourist numbers from January to April alone could cost the Thai economy $3.05 billion, according to The Tourism Authority of Thailand, not counting the revenue loss of other nationalities choosing to stay away. Arrivals booked by the Association of Thai Travel Agents dropped 99% from China and 71% overall for the first ten days of February compared with the same period last year, reports Reuters.

    Other nations face a similarly grim reality. The damage to Vietnam’s tourism sector due to the coronavirus will range between $5.9 billion and $7.7 billion, according to Vietnam National Administration of Tourism estimates. Indonesia’s tourist island of Bali has seen 20,000 hotel bookings canceled, even though Indonesia does not have a confirmed case of coronavirus to date.

    Thailand has 33 cases and the public is growing uneasy at the government’s reluctance to close the border to Chinese, who are subject to stringent travel bans by Japan, Australia, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam.

    In many places, fears about the virus’s spread have infused and emboldened long-held anti-Chinese prejudices. In Australia, a Malaysian student of Chinese heritage was evicted from her home due to her landlord’s fears about the virus. In Singapore, a petition calling for a ban on Chinese tourists, which collected over 100,000 signatures, claimed the virus was a result of “self-inflicted unhealthy food consumption.”

    For Ruby Thiagarajan—editor-in-chief of Mynah Magazine and author of a feature exploring how the coronavirus has emboldened xenophobia in Singapore— the outbreak has “conveniently also given Singaporeans who harbor anti-Chinese sentiments justification for how they feel.”

    In Thailand, the decision to allow Chinese tourists to visit has also been “divisive locally,” says Cavaliero. Yet he hopes the decision not to implement a ban “may end up providing a reciprocated goodwill dividend in the future.”

    Still, despite the absence of a wholesale ban, widespread fear and misinformation persists across Thailand’s hospitality industry. Images of a sign reading “No Chinese” put up by a restaurant in Chiang Mai went viral on social media, prompting the local officials to order its removal. In the royal beach resort of Hua Hin, one Chinese mother and child were almost forced to sleep on the street after no hotel would take them, according to local media.

    When Charles Turner, proprietor of the Food4Thought restaurant in Chiang Mai, organized a training session among staff in response to the coronavirus, he had to quell requests to ban Chinese customers.

    “Many of my staff​ were disturbingly under-informed about how viruses spread, the mixed verdicts about the efficacy of masks, and so on,” he tells TIME. “If I were to guess, the story of business owners denying entry to Chinese customers​ is more prevalent that most realize.”

    For TravelFish founder McDonald, it’s important tourists from elsewhere do not exacerbate the looming economic shock by staying away when there’s objectively no great need. Instead, they can take advantage of thinner crowds and cheaper prices to boot.

    “China is a separate situation,” he says, “but for Southeast Asia, I don’t really see any pressing reason to change travel plans.”

    WRITE TO CHARLIE CAMPBELL AT CHARLIE.CAMPBELL@TIME.COM.
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  3. #63
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    Jet Li's ONE Foundation & COVID-19

    Blackstone Teams With Martial Artist Jet Li for Virus Donation
    By Amanda L Gordon
    February 12, 2020, 10:21 AM PST


    Jet Li Photographer: Frederic Nebinger/Getty Images

    Blackstone Group Inc.’s charitable foundation is giving $1 million to expand distribution of supplies and aid to more than 30 communities in China.

    The money will go to the One Foundation, founded by martial arts star Jet Li in 2007. It will be used for such items as kits to diagnose coronavirus and ECG monitors for pregnant women.

    Key Speakers At The Business Roundtable CEO Innovation Summit
    Stephen SchwarzmanPhotographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
    “This has been an extremely, an exceptionally difficult situation for China,” Blackstone Chief Executive Officer Stephen Schwarzman said in a telephone interview. “Some of the people I know have described the impact as being similar to the Chinese as 9-11 was for Americans. As a firm, we wanted to show some support.”

    Schwarzman said the virus “has been enormously disruptive for anyone doing business in China” and that communicating with staff in the region is a priority. Blackstone offices in China reopened on Feb. 10. Employees in mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore are encouraged to work from home, in line with government recommendations.

    “The most important thing is to let people know that you’re thinking about them,” Schwarzman said. “The second thing is to explain what the virus is. At the beginning, large groups didn’t have access to that information. It’s easier for us to talk to the heads of pharmaceutical companies, who have much more familiarity.”

    One Foundation has worked with local agencies to distribute millions of masks and gloves in 16 cities in Hubei province, the epicenter of the virus. The group has a network of more than 2,000 volunteers and staff conducting disinfection and prevention training across the country, Blackstone said Wednesday in a statement.

    Separately, a program Schwarzman created modeled after the Rhodes Scholarships and based at Tsinghua University in Beijing has adjusted to the outbreak. Some students have traveled home or to other locations, while safety protocols have been put in place for those wishing to stay, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Spring term will include online classes, the person said.
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  4. #64
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    Meanwhile, the vultures circle

    TELEVANGELIST SELLS $125 'SILVER SOLUTION' AS CURE FOR CORONAVIRUS
    BY HUNTER MOYLER ON 2/12/20 AT 5:35 PM EST

    A guest on televangelist Jim Bakker's show suggested on Wednesday that a product sold on Bakker's website might be effective at protecting against and killing the novel coronavirus.

    The guest, naturopathic Dr. Sherrill Sellman, said that Silver Solution—a product that can be purchased on Bakker's web store—has been found to be effective on viruses related to the one from Wuhan. Further, she said Silver Solution could bolster a person's immune system and potentially make their bodies less susceptible to the virus.

    "Well, let's say [Silver Solution] hasn't been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it's been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours," she said. "Totally eliminate it. Kills it, deactivates it. And then it boosts your immune system so then you can support the recovery, because when you kill the virus, then the immune system comes into action to clear it out. So you want a vibrant immune system as well as an ability to deactivate these viruses."

    Newsweek contacted Sellman via her website for further comment and clarification but did not receive a reply before publication.

    The novel coronavirus emerged from the Chinese city in late 2019. The virus has since spread to 24 other countries, including the United States, though the majority of those infected remain in China. As of Wednesday, the virus has infected over 45,000 people and killed at least 1,100, according to the World Health Organization.

    According to its page on Bakker's website, Silver Solution is a product that "works faster, longer and more efficiently than other silvers to support your immune system." Information on the website does not state how the product is to be used. It currently sells on Bakker's website in a variety of packages with a 16-ounce bottle costing 40, but shoppers can purchase bundles of the product that cost up to $300. The label states that the solution contains deionized water, but no other ingredients.

    However, similarly marketed products also include colloidal silver which according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) provides no known health benefits. Ingesting it can cause side effects including argyria, or discoloration of the skin or other tissue, and poor absorption of other medications by the body.
    Do we need a naturopathy thread here?
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  5. #65
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    I get that the studio lost a lot of money, but this seems imprudent

    ASIAFEBRUARY 13, 2020 6:19AM PT
    Chinese Shoots to Resume Despite Virus Threat, While Beijing Throws Industry a Lifeline

    By REBECCA DAVIS


    CREDIT: BAO KANGXUAN/AP

    Hengdian World Studios, one of China’s largest, cautiously reopened for business today after it shut down all production in recent weeks to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

    The move comes a day after Chinese authorities released an official statement pledging government support for the struggling entertainment sector.

    Huge portions of the world’s second largest economy have been at a standstill since the virus swept the country. Though work officially began again Monday after an extended holiday for the Chinese new year, many are still working remotely as China continues intensive measures such as travel restrictions to keep a lid on the disease’s spread.

    Hengdian had closed off to all tourists on Jan. 25 before shutting down all production on Jan. 27, at a time when Chinese reports estimate 20 crews were filming and 11 preparing to begin.

    It will now resume work in stages, the studio said in work guidelines posted Monday night. Those set to resume shooting will be film and TV crews who stayed on-site throughout the Spring Festival period and have had no contact with people from highly infectious areas, as well as production firms “with adequate prevention and control measures in place,” although their eligibility well pend review. Employees in highly infectious areas have been advised to postpone their return.

    The next stage of operations will be “determined according to the circumstances of epidemic prevention and control,” it said.

    A spokesman for local government in charge of Hengdian’s district told Chinese news outlet Sina Entertainment that though many applications to resume shooting have been filed since Feb. 3, so far, none have been approved. “Resumption of work will have to wait until Zhejiang Province lifts its Grade I [high-level public health emergency] response.”

    Given that actors will be unable to wear masks, Chinese reports said shooting teams have been advised to stay small, limiting to 20 people when possible.

    On Weibo, China’s Twitter equivalent, TV actress Zhang Lingzhi wrote that when she heard the news of Hengdian re-opening for shoots, she was very concerned for her husband, actor Johnny Chen (“The Climbers”), who has remained confined to his hotel room while his shoot there was halted for the past 15 days.

    “Is it really possible to resume work now?” she asked. “[Feeling] so worried, so sad, so helpless.”

    The production shutdown has delayed the output of new dramas and put severe financial pressure on firms. With daily actor fees accruing and the possibility of selling completed product postponed, smaller companies with fewer reserves have been particularly hard-hit, as reported by Variety earlier this week.

    Beijing breaks silence on entertainment

    To address such problems, Beijing’s film bureau said Wednesday that it will provide financial support to production companies and cinemas hard hit by recent cinema closures and production stoppages. It did not, however, provide details as to how or when.

    Beijing’s municipal government recently issued two documents outlining measures to support businesses — particularly small and mid-sized enterprises — as they deal with the impact of the capital going into effective lockdown.

    Though vague on detail, the Beijing Film Bureau’s statement on Wednesday indicated that it was working to ensure entertainment firms “are connected to these policies and receive practical benefits.”

    To protect hard-hit companies, the bureau said it would soon issue “relevant policies to increase support for film and TV cultural enterprises” and subsidize the operating costs of production firms and cinemas “to help companies overcome their difficulties.”

    The bureau will also intervene in actual production.

    “In order to meet the expectations of audiences across the country, and ensure that there will be adequate theatrical content after the epidemic is over, there is a plan to open a ‘green-light channel’ for the key films of this year and next, and key projects that have been severely affected by the epidemic this year,” it said.

    For such films, it promised “financial assistance, creative guidance, filming support, and so on to ensure that important projects will not have to stop, be aborted or lower their standards.”

    The bureau also expressed plans to “very proactively solicit film and TV works that reflect achievements in fighting the epidemic and offer subsidies to support them.”

    To help streamline censorship and other film approvals and reviews, it said paperwork can now be initiated via an online submission only, and physical documents either delivered in-person at a later date or mailed in. A fast-track for approvals of “special projects” will also be established. The statement noted that its normal review and approval mechanisms hadn’t stalled during the quarantine period.
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  6. #66
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    Getting back to work...

    This is exactly what I was ranting about above.

    FEBRUARY 12, 2020 / 7:24 PM / UPDATED 18 HOURS AGO
    Stranded by coronavirus blockade, Chinese man fights to get back to work
    3 MIN READ

    BEIJING (Reuters) - Tian Bing has spent six straight nights curled up in the back of his white sedan, stranded at an expressway service station in eastern Jiangsu province in China because of a blockade aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.


    Tian Bing, who has not been able to return to Taixing city for work due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, poses for a selfie on the backseat of his car in Yizheng service station, Jiangsu province, China February 12, 2020. Tian Bing/Handout via REUTERS

    On Sunday, the 35-year-old completed a near-2,000 km (1,243 mile) drive from his hometown to Taixing, a city of about 1 million people in Jiangsu, to return to work. But policemen guarding the highway exit to the city, where he runs a home appliances repair business, told him turn back.

    The reason: Tian is not considered a local resident under China’s Byzantine hukou system, barring him from entry due to the city’s recent decision to keep out outsiders.

    “I think I’ve done everything I can do,” he said. Before setting off on the near two-day drive, Tian got a health certificate showing he was virus-free and called ahead to the city officials, who assured Tian he would face no problems.

    Tian subsists on biscuits and instant noodles, with most restaurants at the service station shut down. He sleeps with a seat cushion as his pillow, huddled in the back with the engine shut off on fear that the exhaust might poison him in his sleep.

    He is not the only one stuck in such a rest stop limbo. Posts on China’s social media platforms show several people trapped in unfamiliar places, under quarantine or abandoned in no man’s land amid travel and entry restrictions that sprang up throughout the country.

    The police guarding the expressway exit to Taixing have said Tian can come in if officers in the compound of his rented home agree to pick him up. But Tian said the community officers refused because they don’t want to be responsible for anything that goes wrong.

    “They (the officials) don’t care if you die on highway because you have nowhere to stay,” Tian said at the service station near another city about 90km from Taixing.

    Tian is not ready to give up, however. He calls the city government every day, even though his wife is pleading with him to go someplace else that will accept him, even if under quarantine.

    “I want to get off this expressway to deal with my business as soon as possible,” Tian said. “My seven employees need to eat and pay their rent too; that’s absolutely my responsibility.”

    Reporting by Lusha Zhang, Colin Qian and Se Young Lee; Editing by Gerry Doyle
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  7. #67
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    It makes me wonder about all those people who are acupuncturists, or work in TCM and who especially depend on getting supplies from China.

  8. #68
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    So what's the **** 3000 year old remedy? That's gotta be OTC by now.

    LIke I said already...
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Here I've been waiting for someone to suggest banlangen or something.
    China Tries 3,000-Year-Old Traditional Remedy on Virus Patients
    Bloomberg News 1 day ago

    China is administering its centuries-old traditional medicine on patients affected by the coronavirus disease, a top health official said.


    © Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg Herbs used in the preparation of traditional Chinese medicines are arranged for photograph inside a Eu Yan Sang store in Singapore, on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. Eu Yan Sang International, the largest seller of traditional Chinese medicine in Asia outside of China, plans to add its signature herbs to Western health supplements such as vitamins to broaden its customer base.

    Treatment in Wuhan hospitals combine Traditional Chinese Medicine, popularly known as TCM, and western medicines, said Wang Hesheng, the new health commission head in Hubei, the province at the center of the virus outbreak. He said TCM was applied on more than half of confirmed cases in Hubei.

    “Our efforts have shown some good result,” Wang said at a press conference on Saturday, without elaborating. Top TCM experts have been sent to Hubei for “research and treatment,” he said.

    No drugs or preventives have yet been approved against the virus, which has already claimed the lives of 1,523 people in China and affected about 66,500 people.

    © Courtesy of IVDC, China CDC via GISAID/Reuters
    A Transmission Electron Microscopy image of the first isolated case of the coronavirus, as obtained by Reuters on Jan. 27.

    Just weeks into the epidemic of the novel coronavirus, reports of treatments and vaccines against those infected have caused pockets of excitement. The first reported use of an experimental Gilead Sciences Inc. drug to fight the coronavirus has encouraged doctors to support further testing of the medication.

    Some 2,200 TCM workers have been sent to Hubei, Wang said.

    Wang is one of the officials at the forefront of an effort by Beijing to reset its approach to the epidemic, after anger grew across China at a lack of transparency throughout the crisis that has shut down large swathes of the economy. Earlier this week, China sacked the top leadership in the embattled province, including Wang’s predecessor.

    Wang, who is also deputy head of the National Health Commission, was appointed a member of Hubei’s standing committee, the province’s top decision-making body. Days after his appointment, Hubei announced a shock adjustment in its method of counting infections to include those diagnosed with CT scans, a move that added nearly 15,000 cases to Hubei’s total count and dashed hopes the epidemic was coming under control.

    Hubei has been decimated by the crisis and its medical facilities are at breaking point. While thousands of doctors have been sent from around China to the province to help and two new hospitals were built in a matter of days, it is still struggling with a shortage of supplies and medical staff. There are widespread reports of deaths in Hubei that could have been prevented, but weren’t due to a lack of adequate medical care.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    It makes me wonder about all those people who are acupuncturists, or work in TCM and who especially depend on getting supplies from China.
    We get everything from China - tech components, textiles, fundamental building blocks of so many industries, and as I've been saying, martial arts gear.
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  9. #69
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    Don't say it's tobacco...

    ...because tobacco hasn't been in China for 3000 years. It's an American product.

    Could tobacco cure coronavirus? Don’t laugh.
    The Pentagon's medical research arm credited the use of tobacco plants in 2012 for the quick development of 10 million doses of flu vaccine.


    Public health experts say infecting tobacco plants with a genetically modified coronavirus, if successful, could be scaled up quickly to respond to an international outbreak. | Patrick Sison/AP Photo

    By SARAH OWERMOHLE
    02/15/2020 07:00 AM EST

    One of the most criticized industries in America is joining the race to stop the coronavirus epidemic.

    Reynolds American, the North Carolina cigarette giant behind the Camel, Newport and Pall Mall brands, is infecting fast-growing tobacco plants with a genetically modified coronavirus to see if they can produce antibodies for a possible vaccine.

    It’s a decades-old idea Reynolds tried with limited success during the Ebola crisis in 2015 and could offset declining cigarette sales, new tobacco age restrictions and a possible menthol ban. Public health experts say the experiment, if successful, could be scaled up quickly to respond to an international outbreak.

    The Pentagon's medical research arm credited the use of tobacco plants in 2012 for the quick development of 10 million doses of flu vaccine. "Plant-based solutions” could over time prove more effective than the typical process — growing a virus in eggs — said Alan Magill, program manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency at the time, adding, “the research is very promising."

    But big hurdles remain. It would take thousands of doses to come up with an experimental treatment. Reynolds’ work is in the very early stages, meaning the outbreak could subside before a cure is close to perfected. And some vaccines may not be 100 percent effective against all the strains of a target disease, as was the case with Ebola. Such factors have kept most big drug companies away from the vaccine business: Moderna Therapeutics and Johnson & Johnson are the only companies who’ve publicly acknowledged working on a coronavirus vaccine, both with government support.

    The science behind past tobacco industry efforts to branch into medicine haven't always matched the hype. Though nicotine has been shown to improve memory in pre-dementia patients, one highly touted treatment failed in four clinical trials — and some efforts to expand research into other conditions haven’t borne fruit. Two non-plant-based Ebola vaccines were found to be more effective than the treatment Reynolds worked on, which has never been approved by the FDA.


    Patterson Clark/POLITICO

    The tobacco companies are still pushing forward. Besides Reynolds’ tiny Kentucky BioProcessing subsidiary, which is testing the coronavirus, Philip Morris has taken a 40 percent stake in Medicago, a firm using the similar tobacco-growing technology to try to develop a flu vaccine.

    “People can be cynical. But the fact is that we might be able to help,” said Hugh Haydon, Kentucky BioProcessing’s chief executive officer.

    The company has contacted the Trump administration’s health department about its coronavirus work and said it could provide a sample to the government by early March.

    “You can go from the gene sequence to a greenhouse or a warehouse full of plant materials in a very short period of time,” said Kenneth Palmer, a microbiologist at University of Louisville whose focused on plant-based vaccines. Palmer receives no tobacco industry funding but said the university has paid Kentucky BioProcessing to produce plants for it in the past.

    The pivot to drugmaking comes at a pivotal time for some tobacco giants. Teen tobacco use had steadily fallen for two decades before e-cigarettes swung the trend around in 2018, earning promises of a federal crackdown on the sector the companies have increasingly leaned on while traditional smoking has continued to decline. Congress in December also raised the nationwide age to purchase tobacco to 21, while lawmakers continue to debate an all-out menthol tobacco ban that would hit many of Reynolds’ best-selling products.

    Reynolds, owned by British American Tobacco, had been looking to diversify for several years. Before buying the Kentucky lab, the tobacco giant was “pulling apart the tobacco plant” looking for other uses than cigarettes, recounts James Figlar, executive vice president of research and development.

    Coming up with new business lines is one thing, but chasing an epidemic that's sickened in excess of 60,000 people in more than two dozen countries is quite another.

    Reynolds American bought the Kentucky lab in January 2014, just two months before World Health Organization flagged the first cases of what would, over the next two years, become the deadliest Ebola virus outbreak on record, killing more than 11,000 people in West Africa. Kentucky BioSciences quickly focused all of its resources on producing a tobacco-derived component for the combination therapy ZMapp, one of the first experimental Ebola treatments to become available.

    Hopes were high in the early days of the outbreak. The FDA fast-tracked a safety review in 2015 and public health officials authorized its use as cases climbed. But over time, data began to show two other treatments were markedly more effective than ZMapp. The results were significant enough for researchers to halt a study early and recommend that health care workers abandon ZMapp in favor of the others.

    Reynolds and others behind ZMapp were not the only companies to pour millions into Ebola treatments or vaccines that may never be used again. It’s a big risk for companies, especially in emergencies where health officials may ask for thousands of doses of a still-unapproved experimental treatment that shows promise.

    “You invest hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to scale up on something that you hope might work. That’s the real glitch there,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at an Aspen Institute event this week. “It is going to be a challenge to get a major company to do that.”

    “There is no question that a lot of them lost a lot of money on trying to make an Ebola vaccine,” said Ron Klain, who was President Barack Obama’s Ebola "czar."

    Growing vaccines on tobacco plants could still hold the promise of lower overhead and less financial risk for companies, because the plants can start producing needed compounds in a matter of weeks, the University of Louisville's Palmer said.

    Moreover, the prospect of making drugs rather than hooking new smokers is posing new questions about tobacco's place in the world.

    “As a scientist and a researcher, I am not enthusiastic about the business of producing and selling tobacco products," Palmer said. "But I think that tobacco companies are probably drawing on a lot of experience ... It is perhaps logical and perhaps beautiful that tobacco companies are involved.”
    These drug companies, both 3000-year old, tobaccanists, and whatever else is trying to grab the spotlight... ****ing vultures.
    Gene Ching
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  10. #70
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    No Time for PRC

    James Bond flick ‘No Time to Die’ scraps China plans over coronavirus
    By Lee Brown February 16, 2020 | 7:31pm


    Daniel Craig in the upcoming "No Time to Die."Mega; EON prod

    Well, it is called “No Time to Die.”

    James Bond appears to have finally met his match: The Chinese premiere and a huge planned publicity tour of the country for the movie franchise’s latest installment have been cancelled because of the deadly coronavirus.

    Daniel Craig and other key stars in the upcoming 25th Bond blockbuster were due to travel to China for the flick’s premiere, which was set for April in Beijing, the Sunday Times of London said.

    But COVID-19, which has infected more than 69,000 people, has obliterated those plans.

    More than 70,000 cinemas across China are currently closed because of the health scare, the report said, and a studio insider added that the key stars are unlikely to get clearance to travel there even if the cinemas start opening again by April.

    Deadline confirmed the 007 tour of China also was off because of “uncertainty surrounding the evolution of the epidemic.”

    With China being the world’s second biggest box-office market after the US, the Sunday Times said the situation could likely scupper expectations for “No Time to Die” to be the highest-grossing movie in Bond history. The flick is Craig’s last turn as the suave UK spy.

    “When you talk about film making $1 billion worldwide, you don’t usually do it without a big chunk of that total coming from China,” Jeff Bock, a senior analyst at entertainment research firm Exhibitor Relations, told the paper.

    Other Hollywood films postponed in China because of the health crisis include “1917,” “Doolittle,” “Little Women” and “Jojo Rabbit,” the paper noted.
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  11. #71
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    Not sure who Chang Kai is...

    ...I did a cursory search on IMDB and HKMDB and turned up nothing. It's making me ponder the overall effect of COVID-19 on the Chinese film industry.

    ASIAFEBRUARY 17, 2020 2:04AM PT
    Virus Kills Chinese Film Director and Family in Wuhan
    By VIVIENNE CHOW


    CREDIT: CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/SHUTTERSTOCK

    A Chinese film director and his entire family have died from the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

    Chang Kai, a film director and an external communications officer at a Hubei Film Studio subsidiary, died in hospital on Feb. 14 from the virus now called COVID-19, according to a statement from the studio. He was 55.

    But Chang’s death was not the first in his family—the Chinese media reported that Chang’s father and mother were infected and died one after the other. Chang and his sister, who looked after their parents at home, were both infected with the virus as a result. His sister died just hours later. Chang’s wife is also infected, still alive, and is still battling the virus in an intensive care unit.

    A note written by Chang, said to be his last words, has gone viral on the Chinese Internet. Chang wrote that his father succumbed to the illness on the first day of the Lunar New Year (January 25). “My father had a fever, cough and trouble breathing. [We] tried to send him to the hospital but none of the hospitals we visited took him, because they had no more beds,” he wrote.

    Instead, Chang brought his father home where ha died a few days later, having passed on the virus to the other family members. Chang’s note said that he and his wife were denied the opportunity to be treated early. Wuhan built a new hospital in six days, but capacity to handle the virus remains strained. Chang bade farewell to his family, friends and his son, who is reportedly studying in the U.K.

    Popular on Variety
    Chang enrolled in Wuhan University’s journalism school to study photography in 1989, and joined Hubei Film Studio upon graduation. The studio praised Chang for his contribution to the studio’s development, saying that he was a well-respected colleague and his death was a painful loss.

    As of Feb. 17, the virus has infected 71,330 —70,548 in mainland China—and claimed 1,775 lives (1,770 in mainland China), surpassing the death toll of SARS in 2003.


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  12. #72
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    Wuhan Noodles

    Hot Dry Noodles: The Traditionally Vegan & Addictive Dish From Wuhan
    By Sally Ho Last updated Feb 14, 2020


    4 Mins Read
    Whilst China and other countries around the world continue to battle the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, which the World Health Organisation recently declared a global public health emergency, fears about the spread of the coronavirus has been accompanied by a spike in anti-Chinese racism and xenophobia. Wuhan has been hardest hit with racist stereotyping and has been making international headlines, but many of us have forgotten the traditional Wuhan delicacy, which happens to be 100% plant-based.

    A few words on racism


    Source: Reuters

    There are serious and substantiated concerns regarding the current novel coronavirus and its spread, but it has awakened prejudices, racist vitriol and stereotyping against people of mainland Chinese or Asian descent.

    This not only contributes nothing to help quell the disease epidemic, it comes with the threat of overshadowing long-standing cultural traditions that all of us can appreciate. In particular, Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus, has come under attack internationally and from other cities and provinces in mainland China.

    The internet is awash with criticism and misleading claims about the apparent thirst for consuming wild animals in Wuhan peoples’ diets, stemming from the reports that the disease emerged from a seafood market in Wuhan that also sold a number of live animals.

    While the novel coronavirus has thrust the danger and cruelty of the wild animal trade into the limelight, the demand for wild animals isn’t limited to Wuhan, nor is it confined within the borders of China alone. In fact, the supply chain extends throughout the world, stretching from Asia, Africa and elsewhere, including the United States. It is a global problem that the world must tackle if we are to prevent future disease epidemics, not to mention the animal welfare and wildlife conservation issues that stem from the trade.

    Hot dry noodles: the addictive vegan dish from Wuhan


    Source: Zhihu

    As a Hong Kong-based journalist hailing from Wuhan reminded us in a heartfelt open letter, it’s time to take stock and reflect on some of the traditions her hometown is known for, including the beloved local dish “Hot Dry Noodles”–which happens to be accidentally vegan and so delicious.

    Re gan mian, which translates to hot and dry noodles, is the traditional dish of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in central China. Also known as the “Wuhan noodle”, this dish has had a long-standing history in Chinese food culture for almost 100 years, and is unique because unlike many Asian noodle dishes, the noodles aren’t served in soup. Instead, the dish is served “dry” with the vegan-friendly alkaline noodles coated in a rich, thick and creamy sesame sauce and topped with fresh spring onions. While the main seasoning is sesame paste, sometimes, the noodles are also topped with pickled spicy radish, which also originates from Hubei province.

    And true to Wuhan cuisine, which shares with its nearby Sichuanese counterpart, the dish makes extensive use of chillies. Chillies are deeply embedded within both Wuhan and Sichuan food culture because the regions face a humid climate, which can be balanced out with hot and spicy foods in traditional Chinese medicinal beliefs. While preparing the seasoning and sauce of hot dry noodles, Wuhanese people typically use chilli oil and fresh coriander to bring out both the delicious taste of sesame and give a kick of heat.

    This dish is so significant in Wuhan food culture that it is a popular breakfast food in the city, often sold in street carts and restaurants across towns as early as 5am in the morning, all throughout the day until the evening, where the famous dish appears at night markets as a late-night snack.

    Make your own hot dry noodles


    Source: Woks of Life

    “Wuhan noodles” calls for alkaline noodles, the most common type of ramen noodle available in most supermarkets across Asia, which are made out of wheat flour and kansui (alkaline water) to give its salty taste and springy quality. If they happen to be unavailable, they can be easily substituted for spaghetti (cooked al dente) for a similar texture and taste, or gluten-free versions to suit individual dietary preferences.

    For the seasoning and sauce, hot dry noodles typically contain five spice powder, a blend of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise and Sichuan peppercorns, sesame paste, sesame oil, light and dark soy sauce and salt. Once the sauce is mixed in to coat the cooked noodles, top the dish with a sprinkle of chopped green onions, pickled radish, chilli oil and coriander.

    Lead image courtesy of Sohu.
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  13. #73
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    I told ya so...

    Here again is what I was alluding to in my 2/6 post. So many industries get parts and supplies from China. All PRC factories shut down during Chinese New Year, so any company relying on Chinese-made parts like us have ordered ahead in preparation for their down time. But no one anticipated this, and now the CNY is over, the factories remain closed. It's going to affect so many industries. We are on the verge of a potential global economic disaster.

    FEBRUARY 18, 2020 / 6:49 AM / UPDATED AN HOUR AGO
    Jaguar Land Rover to run out of Chinese parts for UK production after two weeks: CEO
    1 MIN READ


    FILE PHOTO: Signs are seen outside the Jaguar Land Rover plant at Halewood in Liverpool, northern England, September 12 , 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

    WARWICK, England (Reuters) - Jaguar Land Rover (TAMO.NS) has enough parts from China to maintain its British production for the next two weeks but not beyond that at the moment, Chief Executive Ralf Speth said on Tuesday.

    The head of Britain’s biggest carmaker also told reporters that sales were not currently happening in China.

    Reporting by Costas Pitas; writing by Kate Holton; editing by Alistair Smout
    Gene Ching
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  14. #74
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    FEB 28 ONE fight in Singapore closed to fans

    Coronavirus forces One Championship to put Singapore MMA show behind closed doors
    ‘King of the Jungle’ will still be broadcast live on February 28 but tickets for Singapore Indoor Stadium will be refunded
    ‘My team and I had the option to cancel the event altogether, but we chose not to,’ says CEO Chatri Sityodtong
    Nick Atkin
    Published: 10:54am, 18 Feb, 2020


    Stamp Fairtex pummels Puja Tomar in Bangkok. She will headline the ‘King of the Jungle’ card in Singapore. Photos: One Championship

    One Championship has decided to press ahead with its “King of the Jungle” card in Singapore on February 28, but the event will play out behind closed doors because of the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.
    Chatri Sityodtong, CEO of the Asian MMA promotion, said all tickets bought for show at the 12,000-capacity Singapore Indoor Stadium would be refunded, after deciding against cancelling it altogether. The event, headlined by Stamp Fairtex defending her atomweight kick-boxing title against Janet Todd, will still be broadcast live on television and digital platforms.
    The Singapore government had already raised the DORSCON (Disease Outbreak Response System Condition) alert level to orange last week, with the Ministry of Health urging organisers to cancel or defer non-essential events.
    “My team and I had the option to cancel the event altogether, but we chose not to cancel it,” Sityodtong said in a statement.


    Demetrious Johnson will now get his One flyweight title shot in Jakarta, instead of Chongqing.

    “Let us unite as a country and let us show strength as a continent to conquer this coronavirus,” he added. “We will get through these tough times together. Majulah Singapura! Jiayou China!”
    There have been 77 reported cases of the coronavirus in Singapore, but no deaths. China’s health authorities on Tuesday reported 1,886 new coronavirus cases and 98 deaths on the mainland, taking the totals to 72,436 and 1,868 respectively, as of midnight on Monday.

    The coronavirus has already seen One relocate its April 10 show from Chongqing in China to Jakarta, Indonesia.

    One flyweight grand prix winner and former UFC champion Demetrious Johnson will aim to add more gold to his resume when he takes on flyweight champion Adriano Moraes, in the first of four bumper “One Infinity” cards in 2020.

    The UFC has also been affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus in Asia. Strawweight champion Zhang Weili has twice had to move her training camp, first from Beijing to Thailand, and then to Abu Dhabi, ahead of her UFC 248 title defence on March 7 against Joanna Jedrzejczyk.



    Nick Atkin

    Nick is a production editor on the South China Morning Post’s sport desk, where he covers mixed martial arts (MMA). He was previously a sports writer and editor for ESPN.
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  15. #75
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    This part hasn't affected us yet.

    Misguided Virus Fears Hitting Asian American Businesses In Bay Area, Nation
    February 18, 2020 at 9:00 amFiled Under:Asian American, Coronavirus, Coronavirus Outbreak, COVID-19, Discrimination, Oakland, Oakland news

    OAKLAND (CBS / AP) — In Arizona, a burgeoning Asian American community fields xenophobic calls about a planned night market featuring Asian street foods. In New York, a dim sum restaurant owner worries he won’t make rent. In the San Francisco Bay Area, a local Asian American-owned restaurant chain is mulling temporarily shuttering one of its properties because of the downturn in trade.

    In major U.S. cities, Asian American businesses are seeing a remarkable decline in customers as fear about the viral outbreak from China spreads. City and health officials are trying to staunch the financial bleeding through information campaigns and personal visits to shops and restaurants, emphasizing that, with just 15 cases diagnosed in the entire country, there is no reason to avoid them.

    Business owners, some of whom have seen their customer traffic cut by more than half, are anxiously waiting for things to return to normal.

    The situation is dire enough that Sunny Wong’s family is considering temporarily closing one of the four restaurants they own in Oakland Chinatown. Even some of his friends and patrons have told him about hearing of untrue rumors of people getting sick at one of his restaurants.

    “People just are clueless. They hear stories and rumors and they just don’t really look for the facts in a situation,” said Wong, adding that he has had to cut back hours for his workers.

    Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, said business owners have reported a drop of roughly 50% to 75% in business. The chamber is planning a Chinese New Year celebration, with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf encouraging residents to patronize Chinatown restaurants.

    Mesa, Arizona’s freshly crowned Asian District was deep into organizing its night market when news broke that a case of the illness known as COVID-19 was confirmed at nearby Arizona State University.

    Xenophobic comments on social media and phone calls started almost immediately, according to Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce CEO Vicente Reid.

    “I probably should stop picking up my phone altogether,” Reid said. “One lady was like, ‘Well, aren’t people coming to your event that are the cause of it?'”

    The Feb. 29 food festival, modeled after popular outdoor Taiwanese markets, was designed to get the public acquainted with the district.

    Mesa Mayor John Giles called the xenophobia directed at the event “ridiculous.”

    “We certainly take any health crisis seriously but to make those kinds of connections is just offensive,” he said.

    Organizers will be handing out specially made masks with playful Asian-food theme slogans like “Bao to me” and “Insert lumpia here.”

    The virus has sickened tens of thousands of people, mostly in China. Fifteen people have been diagnosed with the virus in the U.S., all but two who recently traveled from China. U.S. citizens have also been diagnosed abroad, including 14 who were on a cruise ship quarantined off Japan and have been brought to hospitals in the U.S.

    Vegetarian Dim Sum House has been a fixture in Manhattan’s Chinatown for 23 years, but suddenly owner Frankie Chu said he will not be able to make his rent this month.


    In this Feb. 13, 2020, photo, Frankie Chu, owner of Vegetarian Dim Sum House in New York’s Chinatown, sits in his empty restaurant usually bustling with customers, in New York. Sales have plunged 70% over the last two weeks. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

    Chu said sales have plunged 70% over the last two weeks at his no-frills restaurant. Three couples trickled in for lunch on a recent weekday. Normally, Chu said he gets up to 30 customers for lunch. At dinnertime, his narrow restaurant is usually packed with about 70 diners. These days, he gets about four.

    Chu has sent some of his staff on vacation to cut costs. Under the circumstances, he will ask his landlord to forgive a 5% late fee normally charged.

    “I don’t know how long I can stay here,” Chu said. “After 9/11, it wasn’t this bad.”

    The crisis has alarmed New York City officials and business leaders, who have launched a campaign to lure people back to hard-hit communities in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.

    “Chinatown is bleeding,” said Wellington Chen, executive chairman of the Chinatown Partnership, a local business and community group. “This thing is thousands of miles away. This fear is really out of proportion.”

    Small businesses in Manhattan’s Chinatown have reported sales drops of between 40% and 80% the past month as the viral outbreak in China spread, Chen said. In Flushing, business is down an estimated 40%, according to the Flushing Chinese Business Association.

    For some businesses, it’s much higher. Derek Law, senior vice chairman of the America China Hotel Association, said business has dropped about 70% at a spa he owns in Flushing.

    New York City is home to more than half a million Chinese Americans, the biggest population of any U.S. city. Some New Yorkers of Chinese descent are frustrated at being made to feel like foreigners because of a disease outbreak that feels as far away to them as any other resident.

    “I’m probably more American than a lot of the people asking me about coronavirus. It’s a little annoying to be honest,” said Christina Seid, owner of the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, a neighborhood fixture that her father founded four decades ago with flavor offerings like mango and green tea.

    Seid, whose great-grandparents immigrated to New York from China, said business has been slower than usual but added that the winter months are never good for ice cream shops. She said she feels optimistic that things will soon return to normal, relying on New Yorkers’ determination to get on with life.

    With no confirmed cases of the virus in New York City, officials and politicians are trying to drive home the point that there is no reason to avoid any neighborhood, with many eating at Chinese restaurants and tweeting out photos under the hashtags #supportchinatown.

    In Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh has launched a similar social media campaign, encouraging people to share photos of themselves supporting small businesses in the neighborhood with the hashtag #LoveBostonChinatown.

    Allison Arwady, the Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner, said she and her colleagues “continue to field rumors” about threats to public health. She said the health risk is low and urged people to not fear visiting and spending time at restaurants or stores in Chicago’s Chinatown.

    “Please do not allow stigma, xenophobia or fear to control your decisions,” Arwady said.

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently visited Nom Wah Tea Parlor, the oldest restaurant in Manhattan’s Chinatown.

    The restaurant has seen a 40% drop in business over the past three weeks, said manager Vincent Tang, whose cousin Wilson Tang took over the restaurant from his father. Normally, the restaurant fills up at lunchtime. But during a recent weekday, nearly half the tables were empty, although it was at least busier than many of its lesser-known neighbors.

    “We’re lucky to have loyal customers,” said Tang, sitting near an row of green stools that he used to swing around in as a child. “Usually at this time we are packed and there is a line outside.”

    Customers at Nom Wah said they were perplexed that others were staying away.

    “It didn’t cross my mind at all,” said Kate Masterson, an artist digging into dumplings with her uncle at a booth beneath signed framed photographs of celebrities like Kirsten Dunst.

    “It’s not happening here,” she said of the outbreak.
    We have been aggressively sanitizing the office. That's something I've always felt should be done. But yeah, “It’s not happening here,”
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