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COVID-19 Outbreak: 6 Breaking News Stories You Need to Know

We’ve sifted through hundreds of articles and pulled out the most important developments so you don’t have to.



COVID-19 Breaking News
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(TMU) — News about the novel coronavirus spreading throughout the United States and across the world is developing rapidly. It can be difficult and overwhelming to keep up with everything happening so we’ve sifted through hundreds of articles and pulled out what we feel are the most important developments so you don’t have to.

Here are six things you need to know about COVID-19!

Posted by Emma Leigh on Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Here are six huge breaking news events that you need to know about the global outbreak of COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus.

Seattle Becomes Ground Zero Overnight as New Cases Explode Across US

On Monday, March 2 the second COVID-19-linked death in the United States was announced. Seemingly overnight, that total increased to at least 10, two of which were declared retroactively.

A female in her 80s and a male in his 50s both died in Washington state on February 26 but were not linked to COVID-19 until March 3. All of the COVID-19 deaths in the United States so far have been in the Seattle area.

According to King County, those deaths include:

  • A female in her 80s, resident of LifeCare, never hospitalized, died at her family home on 2/26/20
  • A male in his 50s, resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center and died on 2/26/20
  • A male in his 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The man had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
  • A female in her 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The woman had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
  • A male in his 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The man had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
  • A female in her 70s, a resident of LifeCare, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. The woman had underlying health conditions, and died 3/1/20
  • A female in her 80s, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland. This person died on 3/1/20
  • A male in his 70s was hospitalized at EvergreenHealth. He had underlying health conditions and died on 2/29/20
  • A woman in her 70s, who was a resident of LifeCare in Kirkland, hospitalized at EvergreenHealth and died on 3/2/20
  • A man in his 50s, who was hospitalized and died 2/28/20 at EvergreenHealth

However, the sister of a 54 year old Tacoma, WA man (former top aide in DC for a US senator) has announced his death due to COVID-19 in a Facebook post that has since been changed to private. He reportedly passed away Monday, March 2 and does not appear to be included in the tally above.

Also in Washington, an Amazon employee at one of the company’s Seattle offices has tested positive. According to Amazon, “The employee went home feeling unwell on Tuesday, February 25 and has not entered Amazon offices since that time.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) closed their Washington office on Tuesday, according to DHS Secretary Chad Wolf.

King County, the county in which Seattle is located, has announced plans to purchase a motel to house coronavirus patients. King County also plans to use modular housing for this purpose.

Meanwhile, first responders and medical staff are testing positive for the virus.

Iran Looks Just Like China Did

Shocking leaked footage shows bodies piling up at a local morgue in Qom, Iran, said to be victims of the country’s spiraling COVID-19 outbreak.

As of Tuesday, Iranian health officials announced 2,336 total cases and 77 dead.

On Tuesday, Iran put its armed forces on alert as the virus spread throughout the country, even infecting and killing members of parliament. There are now 23 COVID-19 cases among Iranian parliament members.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave the green light to mobilize 300,000 soldiers and volunteers.

Expediency Council member Mohammad Mirmohammadi, an advisor to Iran’s supreme leader, died on Monday.

WHO Sounds Alarm on Death Rate, Recommends China’s Containment Measures

The World Health Organization (WHO) now estimates the COVID-19 death rate to be 3.4 percent—higher than previous estimates.

The WHO previously praised China’s efforts in dealing with the novel coronavirus and is now recommending the aggressive containment measures used.

According to a tweet from CBC, WHO “has examined the data and believes the decline in coronavirus cases in China since the end of last month is real. The agency says with similar aggressive containment measures, other countries could also see a decline.

WHO has called on both industry leaders and governments to boost the manufacture of protective gear by 40 percent.

According to the UN, “some 89 million medical masks, 76 million examination gloves and 1.6 million goggles will be needed for the COVID-19 response every month while the epidemic lasts.”

Thus far, the organization has “supplied around half a million sets of protective equipment to 47 affected countries, but these supplies are rapidly running out.”

US Military Prepares for Medical Martial Law

According to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), defense leaders have been meeting for the past six weeks to make plans on how to respond in the event the novel coronavirus spread to the U.S. from China. “We’ve issued a variety of [memoranda] and directives advising the force on how to deal with coronavirus,” Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper said.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials are preparing for a possible “infectious disease emergency declaration,according to documents reviewed by NBC.

The declaration would allow FEMA to provide federal assistance and disaster relief funding to state and local governments to combat the coronavirus. To me this is another indication that the president and the White House are finally aware of the gravity of the situation,” former FEMA official Michael Coen said.

Lack of COVID-19 Tests in US as CDC Testing Data Vanishes

Rep. Mark Pocan from Wisconsin sent a letter to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield expressing his concerns about COVID-19 testing data being tracked and provided to the public, or lack thereof.

On its website, the CDC had been publicly posting the number of people it had tested for the virus. The data is no longer there and a statement reads:CDC is no longer reporting the number of persons under investigation (PUIs) that have been tested, as well as PUIs that have tested negative.”

Pocan pointed out that the CDC successfully keeps track of national health data for a wide range of diseases and should therefore be able to keep track of data related to the novel coronavirus.

After a flurry of negative response to the massive cost burden of the test for COVID-19, Seema Verma, an administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that all costs associated with the test will now be covered by Medicare and Medicaid. The remarks followed a Tuesday announcement from U.S. Vice President Mike Pence indicating that the CDC would revise their guidelines for testing and that “any American can be tested (for coronavirus), no restrictions, subject to doctors’ orders.”

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Stephen Hahn said at the White House on Monday evening that U.S. labs will have enough materials by the end of the week to perform “close to 1 million” tests.

However, according to Politico, data provided by Association of Public Health Laboratories shows public health labs should be able to run up to 10,000 tests per day by the end of this week.

IMF, World Bank, Google Cancel Events Months Ahead of Time

Tech giant Google has cancelled one of its biggest annual events, the I/O Conference that was slated to take place in San Fransisco, California May 12 to 14 of this year. The company previously decided to ban all non-critical business travel and move its annual Cloud Next conference online.

Google said that those who purchased tickets for the event, which was slated to take place between May 12-14, will be refunded by March 13 at the latest.

Twitter has told all of its 5,000 employees around the world to work from home and has made working form home mandatory for its employees in Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have announced that April meetings will be held in a “virtual format” due to the outbreak. According to U.S. News and World Report, the Spring Meetings scheduled this year April 17-19 “usually bring some 10,000 government officials, business people, civil society representatives and journalists from across the globe to a tightly packed, two-block area of downtown Washington that houses their headquarters.”

Look for our next article summarizing mid-week developments and follow @COVID19report on Telegram.

By Emma Fiala | Creative Commons |

Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]


Biden to Ban Menthol Cigarettes, Citing Health Impact on Youth and Black People



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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.”

Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]

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Pollution Is Making Human Penises Shrink and Causing a Collapse of Fertility, Scientists Say



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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.

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Visualizing The World’s Deadliest Pandemics By Population Impact



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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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