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Disney World

Disney World Reopening Gets Mixed First Reactions As Fans Give Park’s Welcome Back Videos Horror Treatment – Deadline

As Disney reopened their premier theme park, Walt Disney World, today in Florida amid exploding coronavirus numbers, social media immediately took the entertainment conglomerate to task by criticizing the decision to resume theme parks operations, calling it premature and risky.

Florida has now seen more than 250,000 total cases of confirmed coronavirus cases and has tallied more than 300 deaths in the last three days, with 11,000 new cases reported on today’s park reopening day.

I can’t say how utterly disappointed I am in Disneythey cater to Families and CHILDREN! At what point do they stop with money making and look after the families with CHILDREN?!

Disney World reopens to the general public amid Florida’s surge in virus cases https://t.co/8EbU6EsU29

— sweet bee 🌊 (@tdillner) July 12, 2020

I love Disney World SO MUCH but man it should NOT be open right now 🤦🏼‍♀️

— Allison Rancour (@AllisonRancour) July 12, 2020

Disney World, which had been shuttered for nearly four months, follows the May reopening of Shanghai Disneyland with safety precautions and strict social distancing rules.

Theme parks journalist Carlye Wisel visited the Disney World today an pointed out that proper social distancing guidelines quickly fell apart when visitors entered the park.

haven’t even made it in the gate yet and my heart is pounding out of my chest.

just had to squeeze past a lane of opposite traffic while there’s this densely packed line for guest services.

this is unacceptable — and I haven’t even made it into the park yet. pic.twitter.com/GTzsAjRlD2

— 🍭 carlye wisel (@carlyewisel) July 11, 2020

A Twitter user compared a photo of socially-distancing cast members released by Disney Parks before the opening and a photo from inside Disney World today.

Other early visitors were just happy to be back in the park after the long shutdown.

Some social media users took aim at the cheery “Welcome Back” videos Disney put out ahead of its world resort’s reopening. Remixing the park footage with eerie music, including the opening theme from horror classic The Shining, they reimagined Disney’s reopening as a sign of a dystopian present. See the pair of Disney videos and their dark counterparts.

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health World

World Health Organization holds briefing after scientists say airborne transmission of coronavirus is a “real risk” – CBS News

The director-general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said Tuesday the coronavirus outbreak is “accelerating, and we have clearly not reached the peak of the pandemic.”

“More than six months in, the case for national unity and global solidarity is undeniable,” he said at a WHO briefing Tuesday. “We cannot afford any divisions.”

Tedros stressed that while global deaths have leveled off, many countries are actually seeing cases and deaths rise. 

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program, said there are several possible explanations for a global death decline. One explanation, he said, could simply be that there’s a lag, and we may see deaths rise again. 

Ryan warned, however, that what is imminently concerning is a daily increase in cases. “That is not purely a result of testing,” he said.

According to Tedros, a team of WHO experts will be traveling to China this week to advance research working to understand how the novel coronavirus first reached humans. 

Ryan said understanding how the virus got from the animal kingdom to humans is an “extremely important” step in managing risk going forward. “There is a trail and we have to follow that,” he said. 

They spoke after scientists urged the agency and other public health organizations to amend their guidelines to reflect the risk that the coronavirus can be airborne.

The WHO has said the coronavirus is only confirmed to be airborne during aerosol-generating medical procedures performed in health care settings, such as intubation. It says the virus primarily spreads through larger respiratory droplets, which don’t travel as far, which is why maintaining social distancing of about 6 feet has been recommended.

But an open letter supported by 239 scientists says airborne transmission of COVID-19 is a “real risk.” 

“Hand washing and social distancing are appropriate, but in our view, insufficient to provide protection from virus-carrying respiratory microdroplets released into the air by infected people,” states the letter, entitled “It is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of COVID-19.”  

On Tuesday, WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, said the organization is in the process of producing a scientific brief on the issue that will be published in the coming days. She said the WHO still recommends people physical distance and continue to wear face masks. 

The letter was issued as the United States sees a spike in coronavirus cases. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said Monday the country is still “knee-deep” in the first wave of the pandemic.

–Contributing: Nicole Brown and AFP 

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Champions World

QUIZ: World Cup and NWSL Champions – U.S. Soccer

The 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup is underway in Utah with eight teams vying to take home the trophy. Can you name the players who have already won it all for club and for country?




Test your knowledge and see if you can name the 15 players who have won an NWSL championship and a FIFA Women’s World Cup title. Good luck!

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health World

The World Health Organization’s new announcement about COVID-19 was a huge mistake – AlterNet

In a potentially disastrous blunder, the World Health Organization made an announcement on Monday about COVID-19 that experts are saying was a gigantic mistake.

The announcement addressed this question: Can people infected with COVID-19 who don’t display any symptoms still transmit the infection to others? For months now, public health officials have said yes, and this fact has driven many of the extreme measures countries across the world have taken in response. Because the virus that causes COVID-19, called SARS-CoV-2, can transmit even when a person doesn’t have symptoms, much of the world’s population has sought to avoid unnecessary contact with others for fear that anyone could be carrying the deadly pathogen.

But in a CNBC article published Monday reported WHO officials suggesting at a recent briefing in Geneva that transmission from people without symptoms is “very rare.” This report blew up on social media, as it gave many who fear the disease new hope and many who have been critical of the extreme measures taken to stop the spread more ammunition. It seemed to suggest to some — erroneously, it’s now clear — that social distancing is not nearly as important as has been assumed.

Pretty quickly, however, clear problems with the report began to emerge. A CNBC tweet about the story initially conveyed a much stronger message than even was WHO officials explicitly said, that asymptomatic people don’t spread the virus. This tweet was later corrected to say that WHO now claims asymptomatic spread is “very rare.”

Even this revised summation of the report is misleading, however. The CNBC article included this vital caveat:

 [Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit] acknowledged that some studies have indicated asymptomatic or presymptomatic spread in nursing homes and in household settings.

More research and data are needed to “truly answer” the question of whether the coronavirus can spread widely through asymptomatic carriers, Van Kerkhove added.

And as other experts reacted to the report, they were critical of WHO’s conclusions and public stance. Most importantly, it seems WHO’s discussion of “asymptomatic” transmission of the virus focuses on a narrow subset of people who never have symptoms, or have very mild symptoms. The problem is it’s impossible, at first, to tell these people apart from the group that is pre-symptomatic — those that have been infected but have not yet developed symptoms. And there’s extensive evidence to believe that these people can transmit the virus to others, which explains why it can spread so easily. People who have symptoms will be much more likely to stay at home, take sick days at work, and avoid spreading the disease to strangers. People who haven’t experienced their symptoms yet are more likely to be out and about, allowing the virus to spread more widely.

A recent paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine concluded: “Asymptomatic persons seem to account for approximately 40% to 45% of SARS-CoV-2 infections, and they can transmit the virus to others for an extended period, perhaps longer than 14 days.”

Other research has found similar results, which is why so many public health experts were troubled by WHO’s remarks.

“We haven’t seen a lot of evidence of fully asymptomatic people transmitting to many others (though admittedly these tracing studies are hard to do). Pre-symptomatic transmission, on the other hand, is why SARS-CoV-2 has been harder to control than SARS-CoV,” said Natalie Dean, an assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida. “If fully asymptomatic transmission is rare, this could impact how we monitor exposed contacts (how long to quarantine). But otherwise, it seems more of scientific than practical interest. People without current symptoms could be infectious. Act accordingly.” [Emphasis added.]

A. Marm Kilpatrick, a biology professor at the University of California Santa Cruz, made similar arguments.

“Abundant data now shows that transmission from people w/out symptoms makes up a huge fraction (40-50%) of transmission,” he explained.

WHO’s new announcement, he said, “is going to mislead many people and is based on flawed evidence due to how it was collected.”

One part of a problem with the WHO’s claims, he said, is that they’re based on contact-tracing data. But this means it relies on self-reporting about who a person may have contracted COVID-19 from or who they might have passed it on to, and this kind of information is not nearly reliable enough to base confident scientific conclusions on it. This is especially true since much additional evidence does indicate the possibility of asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic transfer.

“Given uncertainty in infectiousness and bias in contact tracing methodology, there is insufficient for [WHO] to make this claim for asymptomatic transmission and given the confusion b/w pre-symptomatic and truly asymptomatic it’s a misleading PR disaster,” said Kilpatrick.

Andy Slavitt, the former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under Obama, said he thought WHO’s announcement was “an irresponsible statement even though it was based on legitimate observations.”

After speaking to WHO, he clarified that it wasn’t recommending people change their behavior based off these findings. People should still wear masks, according to WHO, to prevent the possibility of asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic spread.

But the damage may already be done. A small amount of misinformation can spread quickly, and it can be much harder to get the truth out. This is especially true for a topic like COVID-19, which has prompted extensive criticism of experts, some of it justified and some of it spurious, as well as rampant conspiracy theories. WHO’s botched announcement will only add to the confusion and rancor.

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Guardians World

Guardians of the World Economy Stagger From Rescue to Recovery – Bloomberg

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health World

World Health Assembly Applauds Nurses, Midwives As ‘True Health Heroes’ | NBC News – NBC News











Published on 18-May-2020

President Xi Jinping told a virtual gathering of the World Health Assembly that China had “turned the tide” against the coronavirus pandemic.

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Coronavirus World

Coronavirus World Updates – The New York Times

President Trump says the U.S. is pouring billions into its own effort to develop a vaccine. And in Russia, three medical workers who complained about the government’s response have fallen from buildings.

Right Now

Ten players in Germany’s top soccer league were found to have the virus, raising questions about plans for resuming games.

Image

Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

World leaders join to pledge $8 billion for vaccine, but the U.S. sits out.

A fund-raising conference on Monday organized by the European Union brought pledges from countries around the world — including Japan, Canada, Australia and Norway — to fund laboratories that have promising leads in developing and producing a vaccine.

Prime ministers, a king, a prince and Madonna all chipped in to an $8 billion pot to fund a coronavirus vaccine, but President Trump skipped the chance to contribute. Officials in his administration noted that the United States is pouring billions of dollars into its own research efforts.

For more than three hours, one by one, global leaders said a few words over video link and offered their nations’ contribution, small or large, whatever they could muster. For Romania, it was $200,000. For Canada, $850 million. The biggest contributors were the European Union and Norway, with each pledging one billion euros, or $1.1 billion.

The details of how the money raised will be distributed remain to be sorted out. The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union that spearheaded the initiative, said the money would be spent over the next two years to support promising initiatives around the globe. The ultimate goal is to deliver universal and affordable access to medication to fight Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The multilateral effort stood in sharp contrast to the solo road the United States is on as scientists everywhere scramble to develop a vaccine to stop the virus that has ravaged most parts of the globe, leaving 250,000 dead so far.

In Washington on Monday, senior Trump administration officials sought to talk up American contributions to coronavirus vaccine efforts worldwide, but did not explain the United States’ absence at the European-organized conference.

The U.S. government has spent money on vaccine research and development, including $2.6 billion through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, an arm of the Health and Human Services Department. Jim Richardson, the State Department’s director of foreign assistance, said American companies had also provided $7 billion so far toward a coronavirus vaccine and treatment.

And the United States was not the world’s only major power to be absent from the teleconference. Russia, too, did not participate.

China, where the virus originated, was represented by its ambassador to the European Union and made no financial pledge.

The country has slashed red tape and offered resources to drug companies in a bid to empower the country’s vaccine industry. Four Chinese companies have begun testing their vaccine candidates on humans, more than the United States and Britain combined.

With most sports leagues on pause, baseball in Taiwan and South Korea becomes a global hit.

With sports events canceled across much of the world because of the coronavirus pandemic, Taiwan and South Korea, which have both been world leaders in controlling the outbreak, are pushing forward with the rarest of spectacles: a professional baseball season.

South Korea’s season starts Tuesday, while Taiwan got underway last month. To adapt the game to the coronavirus age, live spectators are banned. The relative quiet makes the games now feel more like practice rather than the typically raucous regular season competitions.

In Taiwan, the stands are filled with fake spectators instead of real ones, locker rooms stocked with bottles of sanitizer, and players and coaches urged to keep a distance.

Chewing sunflower seeds is frowned upon — what would one do with the shells? Players are encouraged to bump elbows rather than give each other high-fives.

Players and coaches say they feel fortunate to be able to host games at all when many cities in the world remain under lockdown.

“We know many people are still keeping their eyes on us, even though there are no fans,said Chiu Chang-Jung, the manager of the CTBC Brothers team, which on Saturday took on the Rakuten Monkeys at the stadium in Taoyuan, about 30 miles west of Taiwan’s capital, Taipei. “Playing these games is a very lucky and blessed thing.”

Under fire from the media, Boris Johnson’s government fires back.

For a while, as the pandemic worsened, Queen Elizabeth II appealed for solidarity, and a seriously ill Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized, relations between Britain’s government and its news media got a bit less testy.

That’s over.

The culture minister recently accused the BBC of bias in reporting on the shortage of protective gear in hospitals. The health secretary heatedly claimed that The Times of London had misstated policy on shielding older people.

And 10 Downing Street has posted lengthy rebuttals, by unnamed officials, of newspaper articles that detailed its missteps in dealing with the outbreak.

Mr. Johnson has opened his daily briefings to questions and comments from members of the public as well as the press corps, making the famously sharp-tongued British reporters seem meaner by comparison.

“It positions the government and the public against the media, at the very moment that the media is presenting itself as the representative of the people in holding the government to account,” said Meera Selva, the director of the Reuters Journalism Fellowship Program at Oxford University.

The criticism has not abated, but now that Mr. Johnson and his allies have ramped up testing and declared that the worst is over, they have gone back on the offensive with the media, trying to put any talk of failure behind them. It is a return to a pugnacious populism that has served them well in the past.

Latest in science: Researchers are adapting gene therapy to develop a vaccine.

Researchers at two Harvard-affiliated hospitals are adapting a proven form of gene therapy to develop a coronavirus vaccine, which they expect to test in people later this year, they announced on Monday.

Their work employs a method already used in gene therapy for two inherited diseases, including a form of blindness: It uses a harmless virus as a vector, or carrier, to bring DNA into the patient’s cells. In this case, the DNA should instruct the cells to make a coronavirus protein that would stimulate the immune system to fight off future infections.

So far, the team has studied its vaccine candidates only in mice. Tests for safety and potency in monkeys should begin within a month or so at another academic center, the researchers said. But two of seven promising versions are already being manufactured for studies in humans.

At this early stage, Dr. Luk H. Vandenberghe, director of the Grousbeck Gene Therapy Center at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, estimates the manufacturing cost per dose of vaccine to be from $2.50 to $250.

“We are presenting a different angle from everybody else,” Dr. Vandenberghe, director said. Several other vaccine projects involve viral vectors, but no others use adeno-associated viruses.

The approach has several advantages, he added.

One is that the type of vector, an adeno-associated virus, or AAV, is a harmless virus that is already used in two approved forms of gene therapy and has been tested in many patients and found to be safe. Another plus is that the technique requires very small amounts of the vector and DNA to produce immunity, so the yield of doses would be high. In addition, many drug and biotech companies, large and small, already produce adeno-associated virus and could easily switch to producing the form needed for the vaccine.

The research is one of at least 90 vaccine projects speeding ahead around the world in desperate efforts that hold the best and probably only hope of stopping or at least slowing the pandemic.

One potential problem that every vaccine project will be on the lookout for is disease enhancement: the possibility that a vaccine, instead of preventing infection, could actually make the disease worse.

The two scientists said the many research groups forging ahead with vaccine projects were racing not against one another, but against the coronavirus.

They survived the Holocaust, but now they’re confronting the virus.

Image

Credit…via Ben Becher

The generation that endured Nazi death camps is especially vulnerable to the pandemic.

The New York area is home to just under 40,000 Holocaust survivors, down from nearly twice that many in 2011, according to Selfhelp Community Services, which serves Nazi victims. Now those survivors, mostly in their 80s and 90s, face a new menace that targets people like them.

“This pandemic is the greatest threat to this generation since the Second World War,” said Stephen D. Smith, executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation, which interviews survivors of genocide.

In New York State, the coronavirus has killed more than twice as many people age 80 and up as it has people under 60.

One got out of Nazi Germany on a Kindertransport train to Sweden, never again seeing his parents, who were exterminated in the death camps. One survived two notorious concentration camps, Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, and was discovered by British troops on a pile of bodies, half-dead with typhus. One endured freezing temperatures and near starvation in a slave-labor camp in Siberia.

Last month, all three died by the same tiny microorganism, isolated once more from their family members.

And for survivors who have eluded the virus, memories of that dark time, never far out of mind, find new salience in the present plague.

For Diana Kurz, 83, who escaped Vienna with her mother when she was 4 years old, said the coronavirus reminded her of those years in Vienna, when any random encounter might be deadly.

“I guess I picked that up as a child,” she said, “that feeling of dread all the time. That’s what it is like now. You never know if other people on the street are going to give you the virus, or were going to turn you in to the Gestapo because you were a Jew.”

Three Russian medics have plunged from windows after complaining about officials’ handling of the pandemic.

Three medical workers in Russia who had been in disputes with the health authorities over handling the coronavirus have plunged from upper-story windows, local news outlets have reported.

Some reports suggested that the falls, which killed two doctors and left a third in critical condition, were suicides or accidents.

They came amid a police crackdown on doctors who have publicly criticized the government’s response. Russian dissidents have long attributed mysterious falls from balconies and other apparent accidents to state violence.

Aleksandr Shulepov, a medic for an ambulance service in the Voronezh region, south of Moscow, fell on Saturday from a window of a hospital where he was being treated for Covid-19. He was in critical conduction with a fractured skull.

He and a colleague had complained in online videos about a lack of personal protective equipment. He also said he was required to continue working after he tested positive for the virus, according to Vesti Voronezh, a local newspaper.

In response to the videos, the police warned Mr. Shulepov’s colleague of possible criminal charges for spreading false information, the paper reported. Mr. Shulepov posted a video recanting his allegations.

In the Siberian region of Krasnoyarsk, Elena Nepomnyashchaya, the chief doctor at a hospital, fell from a window on April 26 and died six days later. She had objected to the regional authorities’ plan to treat Covid-19 patients there, according to TBK, a local news outlet, and had complained about insufficient protective equipment.

Natalya Lebedeva, the head of the ambulance service at Star City, the Russian cosmonaut training center, died on April 24 after a plunge from a window at a hospital where she was being treated for Covid-19.

The authorities reported that it was an accident. The newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets wrote that Ms. Lebedeva had committed suicide after managers accused her of allowing the spread of the virus within the space program.

10 German soccer players test positive for the virus as their league weighs restarting games.

As one of the first major sports leagues to detail its plans to return to action, Germany’s top soccer league has become the bellwether for restarting sports events postponed by the coronavirus epidemic.

That decision became more complicated on Monday when 10 players were found to have the virus after blanket testing of 1,724 individuals from the 36 teams in the top two divisions of the league, the Bundesliga. The majority are believed to be asymptomatic.

It was not clear if the results would derail plans to restart the league, a decision that could come on Wednesday. But the test results were seen as a harbinger for the heavy considerations all sports organizations would face as they make reopening plans, many of them contingent on widespread testing.

The National Rugby League in Australia — which is aiming to return on May 28 — ran into similar complications. Four players from the South Sydney Rabbitohs were told to stay home from training on Monday because of flulike symptoms. And the coach of the Sydney Roosters, Trent Robinson, also has symptoms and will be tested.

If the Bundesliga cannot resume its season, even without spectators — a decision with far-reaching financial implications — it would not bode well for the rest of the soccer world. Germany has been lauded for its relative success containing the outbreak, and has one of the lowest death rates among major countries at less than 10 per 100,000 people.

England’s Premier League is expected to decide on Friday whether there is a way forward to reopen amid disharmony among its 20 teams. In Spain and Italy, there are also cautious moves toward playing again. (Spanish players returned to training on Monday but were limited to working out alone.)

Elsewhere, that option has been ruled out, most notably in France, where last week the prime minister declared the season over. The seasons in the Netherlands and in Belgium have also been officially called off.

New Zealand and Australia work toward creating a ‘travel bubble.’

Australia and New Zealand are moving closer toward creating a “travel bubble” that would allow people to fly between the two countries without quarantines — a resumption of traffic that would be a boost for both countries’ economies.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, who joined Australia’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday to discuss the steps required, said on Monday that the move would depend on continued progress in testing and tracing of coronavirus infections in both countries. That could take weeks or months.

“Both our countries’ strong record of fighting the virus has placed us in the enviable position of being able to plan the next stage in our economic rebuild,” she said.

Ms. Ardern and Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia told reporters on Tuesday that the ‘bubble’ is an important part of the road back to normalcy for both nations.

Such a travel arrangement could potentially be extended into the Pacific — Fiji has only a handful of reported cases and zero deaths. And plans are also being laid for limited travel between other countries that have controlled the spread of infection.

China and South Korea began easing quarantine requirements for some business travelers on Friday. A day later, trade ministers from Australia, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand and Singapore agreed to a collective effort to resume the flow of not just goods and services, but also people traveling “for purposes such as maintaining global supply chains, including essential business travel,” according to a joint statement.

Public health experts say that any resumption of travel comes with risks, but they also note that conditions vary by country. Travelers from the United States, the main source of coronavirus infections in Australia, may have to wait far longer to book flights around the world without being subject to 14-day quarantines.

Reporting was contributed by Mark Landler, Stephen Castle, Andrew Keh, Javier C. Hernández, Damien Cave, Andrew E. Kramer, Denise Grady, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Lara Jakes and John Leland.

  • Updated April 11, 2020

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • When will this end?

      This is a difficult question, because a lot depends on how well the virus is contained. A better question might be: “How will we know when to reopen the country?” In an American Enterprise Institute report, Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark B. McClellan, Lauren Silvis and Crystal Watson staked out four goal posts for recovery: Hospitals in the state must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care; the state needs to be able to at least test everyone who has symptoms; the state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts; and there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • How does coronavirus spread?

      It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.

    • Is there a vaccine yet?

      No. Clinical trials are underway in the United States, China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least 12 to 18 months away.

    • What makes this outbreak so different?

      Unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions — not just those with respiratory diseases — particularly hard.

    • What if somebody in my family gets sick?

      If the family member doesn’t need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to guidelines issued by the C.D.C. If there’s space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently.

    • Should I stock up on groceries?

      Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, the supply chain remains strong. And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

    • Should I pull my money from the markets?

      That’s not a good idea. Even if you’re retired, having a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your money keeps up with inflation, or even grows, makes sense. But retirees may want to think about having enough cash set aside for a year’s worth of living expenses and big payments needed over the next five years.


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Coronavirus World

Coronavirus World Updates – The New York Times

At least a dozen nations planned to ease restrictions beginning on Monday. And President Trump increased his death toll prediction.

Right Now

President Trump confirmed reports that his intelligence briefings addressed the virus in January, but argued the information was not been presented in an alarming way that demanded immediate action.

Image

Credit…Adam Dean for The New York Times

Some countries take tiptoe steps in easing restrictions.

At least 12 countries began easing restrictions on public life on Monday, as the world tentatively tries to figure out how to placate restless populations tired of being inside and reboot stalled economies without creating opportunities for the coronavirus to re-emerge.

The measures, which included reopening schools and allowing airports to begin domestic service, offer the rest of the world a preview of how areas that have managed to blunt the toll of the coronavirus might work toward resuming their pre-pandemic lives. They also serve as test cases for whether the countries can maintain their positive momentum through the reopenings, or if the desire for normalcy could place more people at risk.

Most of the countries easing their restrictions are in Europe, including Italy, one of the places where the virus hit earliest and hardest, leaving more than 28,000 dead. The country plans to reopen some airports to passengers.

In Germany, where widespread testing has kept the pandemic under control, children will return to schools. Neighboring Austria also plans to restart its school system.

In Lebanon, bars and restaurants will reopen, while Poland plans to allow patrons to return to hotels, museums and shops.

India allowed businesses, local transportation and activities like weddings to resume in areas with few or no known infections. Wedding ceremonies with fewer than 50 guests would be permitted and self-employed workers like maids and plumbers can return to work.

Japan is set to announce it will extend its state of emergency through the end of the month, while allowing some public facilities, such as museums and libraries, to reopen as long as they maintain social distancing controls.

China and South Korea, both of which seem to have emerged from brutal, early encounters with the virus, have already begun limited reopenings. Restaurants and art galleries are returning to a semblance of normal operation, although the introduction of hand sanitizer and other preventive measures remain a constant reminder of how Covid-19 has changed the world.

Other countries planning to lift some of their restrictions beginning on Monday include Belgium, Greece, Iceland, Hungary, Monaco, Nigeria, Poland, and Portugal.

Trump predicts the American death toll could reach 100,000.

President Trump predicted on Sunday night that the death toll from the coronavirus in the United States may reach as high as 100,000, far higher than he had forecast just weeks ago, even as he pressed states to begin reopening their shuttered businesses.

Mr. Trump, who last month forecast that 60,000 lives would be lost, acknowledged that the virus has proved more devastating than he had expected but said he believes parks and beaches should begin reopening and schools should resume classes in person by the fall.

“We’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people,” he said in a virtual “town hall” meeting on Fox News. “That’s a horrible thing. We shouldn’t lose one person over this.”

During the two-hour broadcast, he also acknowledged he was warned about the coronavirus in his regular intelligence briefing on Jan. 23 but asserted that the information was characterized as if “it was not a big deal.”

Mr. Trump confirmed reports that his intelligence briefings cited the virus even as he argued that it had not been presented in an alarming way that demanded immediate action.

“On Jan. 23 I was told that there could be a virus coming in but it was of no real import,” Mr. Trump said. “In other words, it wasn’t, ‘Oh, we’ve got to do something, we’ve got to do something.’ It was a brief conversation and it was only on Jan. 23.”

His comments come as warmer weather and fatigue over weeks of confinement lured millions of Americans outside this weekend, adding to pressure on city and state officials to enforce, or loosen, restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio pleaded with residents to resist the impulse to gather outdoors. In New Jersey, golf courses reopened and Gov. Philip D. Murphy said early anecdotal reports indicated that people were maintaining social distance.

In Texas, three movie theaters in the San Antonio area became some of the first in the country to reopen, a move that worried infectious disease experts but was applauded by those who went to the screenings.

Elsewhere, protesters pressing for the loosening of restrictions gathered in the capitals of Kentucky; Florida, where the governor has already announced a relaxing of restrictions; Oregon, where Gov. Kate Brown has extended a state of emergency through July 6; and Michigan, where protesters pressed Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to reopen the state completely.

In Stillwater, Okla., officials abandoned a requirement that people wear masks in shops and restaurants after workers were faced with violent threats.

The website made its debut last week after Mayor Eric Garcetti declared that Los Angeles would become the first major American city to offer all residents tests for the virus, which health officials said on Sunday had caused 1,229 deaths in Los Angeles County. The city and county have the capacity to do 18,000 tests a day across 34 sites, Los Angeles officials said.

Thousands of Palestinian workers have crossed into Israel, and there’s fear they could bring the virus home with them.

Throngs of Palestinian laborers traveled to their workplaces in Israel on Sunday even though Palestinian officials have repeatedly expressed concerns about them contracting the coronavirus there and carrying it back to the West Bank.

Ibrahim Milhim, a government spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, said that thousands of workers crossed into Israel on Sunday and that thousands more would do so later in the week.

Last week, an Israeli Defense Ministry body charged with liaising with the P.A. said Palestinians with permits to work in construction, agriculture and other sectors in Israel would be allowed to cross into the country. It also said their employers would be asked to provide them with accommodations until Eid al-Fitr, the festival at the conclusion of Ramadan in about three weeks.

Rami Mehdawi, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority Labor Ministry, said Palestinian officials remained concerned that infected workers could return to their homes and spread the virus, but he said the Palestinian authorities had worked with their Israeli counterparts to prevent such a scenario. Israel and the P.A. would closely coordinate the workers’ return to the West Bank, he said.

After Palestinian laborers were last permitted to travel to their jobs in Israel in late March, Palestinian officials accused Israeli authorities of abandoning some of them at checkpoints and allowing others to cross back to the West Bank through areas they don’t control.

The P.A. has said that more than 70 percent of the 336 known cases of the virus in the West Bank are linked to Palestinians employed in Israel.

Separately, for the first time since mid-March, schools opened for some grades in Israel on Sunday, but local authorities in several cities, including Tel Aviv, kept them closed, citing concerns about safety and preparedness.

Britain’s local newspapers are struggling and could face financial ruin.

Up and down Britain, local newspapers are struggling. Hundreds of journalists have been put on leave. More than 50 small and regional publications have temporarily suspended producing their print or online products. For those still printing, some communities are depending on volunteers to deliver newspapers.

For many, cash has all but stopped coming in. With most retailers shuttered, advertising revenues have dwindled to near zero for many publications, leaving the print copies a skeleton of what they used to be.

And in Britain, where home delivery subscriptions are less common than in the United States, newspapers rely more heavily on street sales — and many newsstands and other stores are closed. Hardly anyone is commuting to work, so there’s no need to grab a paper on the way.

There is no doubt that readers are hungry for local news during the pandemic — traffic to the newspapers’ websites is higher than normal — but relatively few have paywalls to collect digital subscriptions.

The crisis has accelerated trends — the gradual loss of advertising and the migration of readers online — that have challenged the industry for decades. But now they are hitting Britain’s small and regional papers especially hard, some experts said.

The economic calamity facing publishers has not gone unnoticed by the government.

On Thursday, the government announced it would scrap a tax on e-books and e-newspapers in an effort to help both publishers and readers. And it recently announced a three-month advertising campaign to support the National Health Service that will inject up to 35 million pounds (more than $43 million) into publishers across the country.

But the government’s ad money is failing to reach many small, independent, hyperlocal news organizations, many of them online.

While experts and publishers say the advertising campaign is a welcome influx of revenue, few expect it to save the industry.

Beirut’s nightlife survived a civil war. Can it withstand a pandemic?

In Beirut, it is both a cliché and a point of pride to say that the Lebanese partied straight through a civil war from 1975 to 1990, Times correspondent Vivian Yee writes. She shared some observations from the Lebanese capital.

The barhopping neighborhood of Mar Mikhaël in Beirut used to vibrate with the clip-clop of high heels and the car-stereo beat of Western and Arabic music almost every night.

But the bars and nightclubs have been shut down since early March; many had closed before that as the city was engulfed in an epochal economic crisis. The coronavirus could only conquer what remained, putting thousands more out of work.

Nightclub appearances by D.J.s who had flown in from Europe, hyped for weeks on social media and street posters, were abruptly canceled. Soon it was just restaurants and cafes, and then not even those.

Though Lebanon appears to have dodged a mass outbreak, allowing the government to announce a staggered reopening for businesses in the coming weeks, not all will come back. Now that the Lebanese pound buys less than half what it used to, imports and drinks alike cost more.

The government has proposed allowing clubs to reopen in early June, but Joe Mourani, the owner of Ballroom Blitz, a popular alternative electronic-music nightclub, doubts he will do so.

“Clubbing, it’s really all about proximity,” Mr. Mourani said. “It’s the opposite of social distancing.”

A local D.J., Priscilla Bakalian had a different view. She believes clubbers will return, if in smaller numbers.

“People are dying to go party,” she said. “It’s in our DNA.”

Trump’s chief adviser on immigration sought to use disease to close borders even before Covid-19.

From the early days of the Trump administration, Stephen Miller, the president’s chief adviser on immigration, has repeatedly tried to use an obscure law designed to protect the nation from diseases overseas as a way to tighten the borders.

The federal law on public health that Mr. Miller has long wanted to use grants power to the surgeon general and president to block people from entering the United States when it is necessary to avert a “serious danger” posed by the presence of a communicable disease in foreign countries.

Mr. Miller pushed for invoking the president’s broad public health powers in 2019, when an outbreak of mumps spread through immigration detention facilities in six states. He tried again that year when Border Patrol stations were hit with the flu.

When vast caravans of migrants surged toward the border in 2018, Mr. Miller looked for evidence that they carried illnesses. He asked for updates on American communities that received migrants to see if new disease was spreading there.

In 2018, dozens of migrants became seriously ill in federal custody, and two under the age of 10 died within three weeks of each other. While many viewed the incidents as resulting from negligence on the part of the border authorities, Mr. Miller instead argued that they supported his argument that President Trump should use his public health powers to justify sealing the borders.

On some occasions, Mr. Miller and the president, who also embraced these ideas, were talked down by cabinet secretaries and lawyers who argued that the public health situation at the time did not provide sufficient legal basis for such a proclamation.

That changed with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic.

Within days of the confirmation of the first case in the United States, the White House shut American land borders to nonessential travel, closing the door to almost all migrants, including children and teenagers who arrived at the border with no parent or other adult guardian.

Reporting was contributed by Ben Dooley, John Branch, Adam Rasgon, Peter Baker, Neil Vigdor, Michael Levenson, Claire Moses, Caitlin Dickerson and Michael D. Shear.

  • Updated April 11, 2020

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • When will this end?

      This is a difficult question, because a lot depends on how well the virus is contained. A better question might be: “How will we know when to reopen the country?” In an American Enterprise Institute report, Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark B. McClellan, Lauren Silvis and Crystal Watson staked out four goal posts for recovery: Hospitals in the state must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care; the state needs to be able to at least test everyone who has symptoms; the state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts; and there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • How does coronavirus spread?

      It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.

    • Is there a vaccine yet?

      No. Clinical trials are underway in the United States, China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least 12 to 18 months away.

    • What makes this outbreak so different?

      Unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions — not just those with respiratory diseases — particularly hard.

    • What if somebody in my family gets sick?

      If the family member doesn’t need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to guidelines issued by the C.D.C. If there’s space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently.

    • Should I stock up on groceries?

      Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, the supply chain remains strong. And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

    • Should I pull my money from the markets?

      That’s not a good idea. Even if you’re retired, having a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your money keeps up with inflation, or even grows, makes sense. But retirees may want to think about having enough cash set aside for a year’s worth of living expenses and big payments needed over the next five years.


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starving World

“I’m starving now”: World faces unprecedented hunger crisis amid coronavirus pandemic – CBS News

It’s Friday morning in Alexandra township – a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg – and dozens of people are gathered in a field outside a food distribution point, hoping today might be the day they get something to eat.

“If you’re hungry, it’s easy to get sick from stress and everything,” says Mduduzi Khumalo, who’s been lining up every day for two weeks. To get food your name has to be on the list and, so far, despite registering multiple times, his hasn’t been.

Khumalo worked as a delivery man before South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown decimated his income. His children used to get two meals a day at school, but schools are closed now. Every day, the kids wait for him at the family’s tiny home, and every day brings the same bad news.

“They know that if I don’t get anything for them, it’s over,” Khumalo tells CBS News.

Famines “of biblical proportions”

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Residents of Diepsloot in South Africa wait for food but go home empty handed of Friday, April 23. 

CBS News


The coronavirus pandemic has left the world facing an unprecedented hunger crisis. The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has warned that by the end of the year, more than 260 million people will face starvation – double last year’s figures.

“In a worst-case scenario, we could be looking at famine in about three dozen countries,” warned WFP director David Beasley. He said the world could face multiple famines “of biblical proportions within a few short months.”

Oil prices have collapsed, tourism is drying up, and overseas remittances – foreign workers transferring money to their families in other countries – on which many people depend for survival, are expected to decline sharply.

There’s “a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of COVID-19 than from the virus itself,” Beasley said.

Sub-Saharan Africa particularly at risk

If global GDP declines by 5% because of the pandemic, another 147 million people could be plunged into extreme poverty, according to estimates by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute.

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Children wait for food aid from their parents near Johannesburg, South Africa, on Friday, April 23.

CBS News


More than half of those people – 79 million – live in sub-Saharan Africa, David Laborde Debucquet, a senior research fellow at IFPRI, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Another 42 million are in South Asia, he said.

“We are talking about (people) earning below $1.90 a day… where basically your life is in danger because, when you have this type of poverty and you cannot eat, you will die,” Debucquet told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “This will affect the urban poor much more. In the last couple of decades, we have seen very fast urbanization in these two regions.”

“I’m afraid of getting sick, and I’m afraid of starving.”

Thandi Lebho, 39, lives in the South African township of Diepsloot. She and her husband and three children have been waiting for food donations for three weeks. They haven’t been able to get what they need since South Africa’s lockdown began and her income from selling tupperware containers dried up.

“I’ve registered online and by phone, and I write on the papers from the street, and I came here at the clinic and registered, but nothing happened,” she tells CBS News. When she manages to get to the food distribution truck, it’s already run out of supplies.

“The kids are not going to school and education is going low. We are struggling to get money because I’m working for myself. I’m self-employed – so my business is in my house – so I’m not earning anything now,” she says. “I’m starving now. I don’t have anything.” 

She’ll be back in the food line tomorrow, trying to get something to keep her family going.

“I’m afraid of getting sick, and I’m afraid of starving,” she says.

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