(TMU) — The Wuhan coronavirus—now called 2019-nCoV—is spreading rapidly at an alarming rate. There are an estimated 1,975 cases and 56 deaths in China alone, in addition to confirmed patients in at least 13 countries with several potential cases inside the United States and elsewhere.
UPDATE – 1/25/20: 7:30 p.m. EST — South China Morning Post reports on January 25th, the new toll of cases has drastically increased up to 1,700, while the number of deaths is 55, as Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for international help to contain the outbreak. Xinhua reported on Sunday that the new official death count is now 56, with a massive 1,975 cases now confirmed within China and 2,684 suspected unconfirmed cases according to Chinese health officials.
The three virus patients in Malaysia are all related to a Chinese man who was detected with the virus in Singapore, according to Channel News Asia. Malaysia is now claiming there is a fourth case according to Reuters. Canada has confirmed its first case of the coronavirus as announced by Ontario health officials according to Global News Canada.
Japan confirmed its third case of the Wuhan coronavirus, according to Japan’s Health Ministry. China further imposed even more restrictions on other cities across central Hubei province, restricting a total of 56 million people, according to AP. Nationwide throughout Beijing measures to detect the virus on flights, trains, buses were announced as well. The western China province of Qinghai has confirmed its first case of Wuhan coronavirus, according to the local health authority. 29 out of 34 provincial jurisdictions have activated the highest emergency response. China is also sending in its medical response military to affected areas especially Wuhan, the origin of the virus.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said China was facing a “grave situation” warning the virus was accelerating. China has locked-down most provinces and the death toll has now risen to 42.
Many other countries are expected to confirm cases over the weekend. As Reuters wrote: “The virus has caused alarm because it is still too early to know just how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people. And because it is new, humans have not been able to build any immunity to it. “
Two separate studies have found those infected with the virus are passing the disease on to between two and three other people on average at the current transmission rate, according to Reuters.
Suspected cases that are under investigation:
Texas is investigating a suspected case of the Chinese coronavirus while there are rumors of as many as nine suspected cases in LA and one confirmed in Chicago at the time of this report. The CDC also announced they are monitoring 63 people who came into contact with patient zero in the U.S. or the case in Chicago. Two suspected cases have been sent to the CDC from Minnesota.
U.S. lawmakers said health authorities expect to confirm a third case of coronavirus in the United States following a closed-door briefing in Washington between federal health officials and lawmakers according to Bloomberg.
New reports suggest that there are now three confirmed cases in France, marking Europe’s first cases of coronavirus. A 48-year-old man tested positive after passing through Wuhan. He is being treated in a Bordeaux hospital and came in contact with approximately 10 people between his arrival to France on Wednesday and his hospitalization. Little is known about the second and third case that is being treated in Paris.
China has quarantined the following 16 cities (total population of 46 million):
- Wuhan: 11 million
- Huanggang: 7.5 million
- Xiangyang: 6.1 million
- Yichang: 4.2 million
- Jingmen: 3 million
- Xianning: 2.8 million
- Huangshi: 2.5 million
- Suizhou: 2.2 million
- Xiantao: 1.6 million
- Ezhou: 1 million
- Qianjiang: 962,000
- Enshi: 780,000
- Xiaogan: 780,000
- Zhijiang: 550,000
- Dangyang: 560,000
- Chibi: 530,000
Here’s what we know so far:
- Total number of confirmed cases is over 900 with 26 dead.
- China has restricted travel for 46 million people.
- Hospitals in Wuhan make urgent pleas for help and supplies.
- U.K. and U.S. governments tell citizens to avoid outbreak zones.
- Two deaths have now been reported outside Wuhan.
- Health officials expect to confirm a third U.S. case of coronavirus soon.
The unnamed 30-year-old man from Washington state is being treated by a robot in a guarded bio-containment room at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington—a fact that illustrates the danger of this virus.
The U.S. citizen had returned to Seattle in the middle of last week after traveling to Wuhan on January 15, according to the CDC.
Earlier this week several major U.S. airports including those in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Chicago’s O’Hare began screening airline passengers arriving from central China for the virus. However, the confirmed patient in Chicago exhibited no symptoms at the time and therefore would not have been caught by an airport screening.
The CDC is sending 100 staffers to aid in the screenings at major airports.
There have also been reports of domestic flights in Wuhan being scanned for the virus by medical personnel in hazmat suits according to video posted by Yahoo News.
Shocking footage uploaded to social media also shows citizens in China collapsing on the streets.
— 巴丢草 Badiucao (@badiucao) January 23, 2020
Other video uploaded to social media shows people filling the halls in a Red Cross Hospital in Wuhan, the city at the epicenter of the deadly viral outbreak. People can be seen covered by sheets and blankets in the video, leading some to believe that they are deceased.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has so far declined to call the outbreak a global health emergency while the Center For Disease Control (CDC) has issued a level three warning (Avoid Nonessential Travel) with the U.S. State Department, advising the avoidance of China and specifically Wuhan.
The U.S. military has also warned its personnel in Japan to watch out for symptoms of the deadly pneumonia-like virus, according to an alert posted by Stripes.
If you must travel to China, the following precautions are recommended:
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel with their healthcare provider.
If you traveled to Wuhan in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:
- Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others.
- Not travel while sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
Scientists have said that the coronavirus is similar to the Spanish flu and suspect it most likely came from snakes. The outdoor food market that is alleged to be the origin included over 100 different animals both live and dead, as TMU reported.
Symptoms include a fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. However, according to Chinese state media, some are not experiencing any of these symptoms and are instead experiencing nausea, diarrhea, tiredness, bad concentration, headache, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, cornea inflammation, and muscular pains in the limbs, back, and waist.
The WHO has advised governments to be prepared for the disease and to be ready to test anyone with symptoms that has traveled to affected regions.
A top official at the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) revealed Wednesday that trials for a vaccine targeting 2019-nCoV could potentially begin within three months.
Anthony S. Fauci, the director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Bloomberg Law that they are working with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna Inc. to develop a vaccine.
“We’re already working on it,” Fauci said. “And hopefully, in a period of about three months, we’ll be able to start a phase I trial in humans.“
According to the Daily Mail, a report written by researchers from England, Scotland, and Florida believe that up to 350,000 people could potentially be infected in Wuhan by the beginning of February.
Many people suspect that the Chinese government is covering up the actual number of people who have thus far been infected by the virus. Some are even stating that the virus itself is far more dangerous and is currently mutating, according to posts on social media. One Wuhan patient stated on Twitter in Chinese that the virus that triggered such an epidemic is not a coronavirus but something else that is not included in the official report:
“This is a very aggressive virus, mine is not the coronavirus. The numbers are only covering the coronavirus. Mine is another (type of) viral pneumonia.”
Wang Guangfa, a top medic who contracted coronavirus, says the deadly respiratory disease is so contagious it can be transmitted through the eyes and recommends for people to wear eye protective gear.
— 自由亚洲电台 (@RFA_Chinese) January 23, 2020
One journalist shared a picture on Twitter allegedly showing that all staff at hospitals are forbidden to discuss the latest development of the outbreak with family, relatives, and friends through email, phone calls, texts, WeChat, Weibo, or e-mail. This suggests that China is in fact trying to cover up something about the virus.
Sources in #Wuhan shared the message with me, which allegedly shows that all staff at hospitals are forbidden to discuss about the latest development of #WuhanCoronavirus outbreak with family, relatives and friends through email, phone calls, texts, WeChat, Weibo or e-mail. pic.twitter.com/LD6DVamZvH
— William Yang (@WilliamYang120) January 24, 2020
A source on the ground told TMU that Wuhan is already running out of medical resources with hospitals and doctors asking for donations of supplies privately.
Last year in December, shortly before the first known case, scientists argued that the global community as a whole was not ready for a disease X in a pandemic preparedness exercise called Event 201. The program was a collaboration between the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, the World Economic Forum, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Event 201 simulated a fictional coronavirus called CAPS.
Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People
The Biden administration is reportedly planning to propose an immediate ban on menthol cigarettes, a product that has long been targeted by anti-smoking advocates and critics who claim that the tobacco industry has aggressively marketed to Black people in the U.S.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the administration could announce a ban on menthol and other flavored cigarettes as soon as this week.
Roughly 85 percent of Black smokers use such menthol brands as Newport and Kool, according to the Food and Drug Administration. Research has also found that menthol cigarettes are easier to become addicted to and harder to quit than unflavored tobacco products, along with other small cigars popular with young people and African Americans.
Civil rights advocates claim that the decision should be greeted by Black communities and people of color who have been marketed to by what they describe as the predatory tobacco industry.
Black smokers generally smoke far less than white smokers, but suffer a disproportionate amount of deaths due to tobacco-linked diseases like heart attack, stroke, and other causes.
Anti-smoking advocates like Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, also greeted the move to cut out products that appeal to children and young adults.
“Menthol cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of youth smoking in the United States,” he said. “Eliminating menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars used by so many kids will do more in the long run to reduce tobacco-related disease than any action the federal government has ever taken.”
However, groups including the American Civil Liberties Group (ACLU) has opposed the move, citing the likelihood that such an action could lead to criminal penalties arising from the enforcement of a ban hitting communities of color hardest.
In a letter to administration officials, the ACLU and other groups including the Drug Policy Alliance said that while the ban is “no doubt well-intentioned” it would also have “serious racial justice implications.”
“Such a ban will trigger criminal penalties, which will disproportionately impact people of color, as well as prioritize criminalization over public health and harm reduction,” the letter explained. “A ban will also lead to unconstitutional policing and other negative interactions with local law enforcement.”
Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say
With many still scoffing at the idea of rampant pollution posing a threat to humanity, a new study could drastically change the conversation: the chemicals across our environment could be the cause of shrinking human penises.
According to a new book by Dr. Shanna H. Swan, conditions in the modern world are quickly altering the reproductive development of humans and posing a threat to our future as a species.
The argument is laid out in her new book Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.
The book discusses how pollution is not only leading to skyrocketing erectile dysfunction rates and fertility decline, but also an expansion in the number of babies born with small penises.
While it may seem like good fodder for jokes, the research could portend a grim future for humanity’s ability to survive.
Swan co-authored a study in 2017 that found sperm counts had precipitously fallen in Western countries by 59 percent between 1973 and 2011. In her latest book, Swan blames chemicals for this crisis in the making.
“Chemicals in our environment and unhealthy lifestyle practices in our modern world are disrupting our hormonal balance, causing various degrees of reproductive havoc,” she wrote in the new book.
“In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35,” she also wrote, noting that men could have only half the sperm count of their grandfathers.
Swan blames the disruption on phthalates, the chemicals used in plastic manufacturing that also have an impact on how the crucial hormone endocrine is produced
However, experts note that the proper implementation of pollution reduction measures could help humanity prevent the collapse of human fertility.
Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact
Humanity has been battling against disease for centuries.
And while most contagious outbreaks have never reached full-blown pandemic status, Visual Capitalist’s Carmen Ang notes that there have been several times throughout history when a disease has caused mass devastation.
Here’s a look at the world’s deadliest pandemics to date, viewed from the lens of the impact they had on the global population at the time.
Editor’s note: The above graphic was created in response to a popular request from users after viewing our popular history of pandemics infographic initially released a year ago.
Death Toll, by Percent of Population
In the mid-1300s, a plague known as the Black Death claimed the lives of roughly 200 million people – more than 50% of the global population at that time.
Here’s how the death toll by population stacks up for other significant pandemics, including COVID-19 so far.
The specific cause of the Black Death is still up for debate. Many experts claim the 14th-century pandemic was caused by a bubonic plague, meaning there was no human-to-human transmission, while others argue it was possibly pneumonic.
Interestingly, the plague still exists today – however, it’s significantly less deadly, thanks to modern antibiotics.
History Repeats, But at Least We Keep Learning
While we clearly haven’t eradicated infection diseases from our lives entirely, we’ve at least come a long way in our understanding of what causes illness in the first place.
In ancient times, people believed gods and spirits caused diseases and widespread destruction. But by the 19th century, a scientist named Louis Pasteur (based on findings by Robert Koch) discovered germ theory – the idea that small organisms caused disease.
What will we discover next, and how will it impact our response to disease in the future?
Like this? Check out the full-length article The History of Pandemics
Republished from ZH with permission.
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