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COVID-19 Update: Five Things You Need to Know

We’ve sifted through hundreds of articles and pulled out the most important developments of the last 24 hours.



COVID-19 Update
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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 of the last 24 hours so you don’t have to.

Here are five huge developments that you need to know about the global outbreak of COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus.

🦠 The Latest COVID-19 Updates You Need to Know! 🦠

Posted by Emma Leigh on Thursday, March 5, 2020

New Cases Across the US, Yale Professor Warns of ‘Explosion’ of Cases

Yale professor, radiologist, and healthcare management expert Howard Forman warns, “There is absolutely going to be an explosion in the number of identified cases. But how fast that number increases is highly dependent on how fast we can test.” Forman said that testing for coronavirus is an integral part in controlling the spread, adding that the U.S is not doing enough and efforts thus far have been “woefully inadequate.

King County, Washington has encouraged its 2.2 million residents to stay home for the next three weeks. The county that includes the city of Seattle, is suggesting that anyone over the age of 60 stay indoors, that people telecommute rather than physically go into work, and that residents refrain from licking their mail-in ballots for the upcoming March 10 primary. 

Placer County, California declared a local health emergency after reporting a second confirmed case of the virus. The newest case was traced to a Grand Princess cruise ship that had departed San Francisco in mid-February. While the patient had been reported to be “critically ill,” it was later confirmed that the elderly man passed away.

This latest death brings the U.S. official death count to eleven, according to the La Times.

The Grand Princess cruise ship is expected to arrive off the coast of San Francisco on Thursday as the CDC investigates a “small cluster” of coronavirus cases associated with its previous voyage. California’s Governor said in a Wednesday press conference that the ship will be held off the coast and not allowed to dock.

Los Angeles County, California also declared a state of emergency as six new cases of the virus were confirmed on Tuesday night.  

NBC reported that a CDC contractor tasked with screening passengers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) just tested positive for the virus.

California Governor Newson has now declared a state of emergency for the entire state of California after the state confirmed a total of 53 cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon. Newsome said in a statement, “The State of California is deploying every level of government to help identify cases and slow the spread of this coronavirus. This emergency proclamation will help the state further prepare our communities and our health care system in the event it spreads more broadly.

More than 8,000 people are being monitored in California, according to the Independent.

A New Hampshire hospital worker became the state’s first case on Monday and was ordered to self-isolate. However, the patient who was confirmed to be infected defied orders and instead attended a local event. The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement, “The first patient, despite having been directed to self-isolate, attended an invitation-only private event on Friday.” Healthcare works warned all attendees at the event that took place in Vermont to “follow the recommended 14-day self-isolation.”

New Jersey has announced its first COVID-19 case. The patient, a male in his 30s, has been hospitalized since March 3.

And in New York, 1,000 people have been told to self-quarantine following new cases in Westchester, New York.

The U.S military has confirmed two new cases of the virus found in relatives of troops in South Korea. At the same time South Korea has declared what it is calling a “special care zone” around a second city hit by the virus.

Wuhan Seafood Market Reportedly Demolished as Virus Spreads

The Huanan seafood market in Wuhan, China thought to be ground zero for the deadly outbreak of COVID-19 has reportedly been demolished two months after it was shuttered. According to a Lancet study, 66 percent of patients suffering from the virus in Wuhan hospitals as of early January had been exposed to the market. Conflicting reports about the market’s involvement in the outbreak continue to emerge.

Australia has banned travels from South Korea and instituted enhanced screenings of visitors from Italy in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He also indicated there would be a ban on travers from China and Iran.

According to India Today, at least 15 Italian have tested positive while visiting other countries. 

In Israel, around 100,000 people are currently in quarantine. During a press conference, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We have to understand, we are in the midst of a global epidemic, the most dangerous of these epidemics in the last 100 years.”

Iraq has reported the country’s first two confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the BBC.

Researchers Identify Two Different Strains of COVID-19

As what Germany’s Health Minister Jens Spahn is now calling a “worldwide pandemic” grows, researchers have identified two different strains of the virus. One strain is reportedly less aggressive than the other. According to the study, 30 percent of strains studied were the aggressive type. Researches say the aggressive virus began to decrease in prevalence in early 2020.

China has reported that a 36-year-old recovered COVID-19 patient fell ill five days after recovering and being discharged from the hospital and died. It is unclear which strain of the virus he had.

Global Panic Buying Continues

Panic buying across the world continues as people prepare for possible quarantine and shortages of goods. On Wednesday, Australia’s biggest supermarket chain announced a limit on the amount of toilet paper that could be purchased. Woolworths said, “to ensure more customers have access to the products,” customers would be limited to four packs of toilet paper per person. The chain has also moved hand sanitizers behind the service counter and has placed a limit of two per person.

Across social media, Americans are sharing stories of finding empty store shelves but online retailers are also feeling the stress of panic buying. Amazon Prime Now, Instacart, and Walmart have all been overwhelmed by the increase in orders and are expecting delivery delays. Social media users have reported dousing items they’ve ordering online in products like Lysol before opening.

Amidst the increase in buying, the World Health Organization suggested that contaminated money may be spreading the virus that remains on surfaces for days and suggested people use “contactless payment methods” instead.

Schools and Offices Closing Across the World

Italy’s COVID-19 death toll rose to 79 as the country orders all classrooms throughout the country to close until mid-March. Italy also plans to close theaters and ban public events across the country, according to Yahoo.

Almost 300 million students throughout the world are home from school this week.

Greece is the latest country to close schools and universities as well as cancel large public gatherings.

Despite recording the highest numbers of cases and deaths in the United States, Washington officials have not yet ordered schools to close in the state. King County health officer Jeffrey Duchin acknowledged the need to “keep our society functioning, our businesses functioning and schools functioning.” Duchin said schools in county will close only after there is a confirmed case associated with that school.

However, Facebook Inc. has decided to close its Seattle office after a contractor was diagnosed.

Check out yesterday’s update and video if you missed it, look for our next article summarizing recent developments, and be sure to 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.”

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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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