Traces of new coronavirus were found on surfaces in cruise-ship cabins for as many as 17 days after passengers left, researchers said, though it wasn’t possible to determine whether they caused any infections.
Researchers looked at the rooms of infected passengers aboard the Diamond Princess, both those who showed symptoms and those who didn’t, according to a study Monday in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The ship, operated by Carnival Corp.’s Princess Cruises, had more than 700 coronavirus cases. It was quarantined for a time off of Yokohama, Japan, and was the largest outbreak outside of mainland China at one point.
A previous analysis found that the virus remained viable on plastic and stainless steel for up to three days, although levels fell dramatically over time. It was less stable on copper, where no viable virus was found after 4 hours, and cardboard, which was clean after 24 hours, according to the report in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The latest study looked at uncleaned rooms, but other research has found that cleaning the rooms of Covid-19 patients was highly effective at killing the virus.
Coronavirus has forced the U.S. cruise industry to shut down after a series of outbreaks at sea, and policymakers are looking for clues about the safety of the vessels going forward. The episodes have caused cruise line stocks to crater. The industry has been hurt in the past by outbreaks of norovirus, sometimes called stomach flu.
The CDC report also said that passengers on the Diamond Princess mainly spread the virus before the ship went into quarantine, but infections among the crew peaked afterward. Read more
The new coronavirus outbreak may result in the deaths of over 1 million Americans, though the ultimate toll can still vary significantly depending on efforts taken by the U.S. government and public, says television host and heart surgeon Mehmet Oz, also known as Dr. Oz.
“We could lose more than a million Americans to the virus,” says Oz, in a newly released interview on Influencers with Andy Serwer, taped on Monday. “Now that’s not written in stone. We can change that reality.”
As of Friday morning, there were 14,250 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., resulting in roughly 200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of people with the disease in the U.S. has grown dramatically since March 1, when there were roughly 100 confirmed cases.
Despite the worrying trend, the range of possible outcomes is vast, Oz said, pointing to the stark contrast in the spread of the disease in South Korea and Italy.
“If you look at what happened in Korea versus Italy, you see a very real-time experience that’s different — 10 times different mortality. So instead of having a million people die, you could have maybe 100,000 people die, which is only twice the flu.”
The CDC estimates that the flu has caused between 12,000 and 61,000 deaths each year since 2010.
On Thursday, the death toll from coronavirus in Italy reached 3,405, surpassing that of China, a country with a population more than 20 times larger. Meanwhile, observers have lauded the capacity of South Korea to test about 20,000 people for the coronavirus each day, a greater number than are currently being tested each day in the U.S — approximately 8,200, as of Monday, according to the Washington Post.
On Monday, a report released by a team of epidemiologists at Imperial College London found that 2.2 million Americans could die from the viral outbreak, unless action is taken by the government and public to contain it.
A model of potential outcomes in the U.S., released by the CDC last Friday, showed as many as 1.7 million Americans could die from the virus, and between 160 million and 210 million Americans could contract COVID-19. Those CDC estimates sped up and heightened the U.S. response, Oz said.
Trump on Monday urged Americans to avoid groups of 10 or more people. Meanwhile a host of states — including New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey — have closed movie theaters, casinos, and gyms, among other restrictive measures. Moreover, six Bay Area counties instituted a shut-in order that requires residents to stay in their homes as much as possible. Read more
Scientists have rubbished claims that the coronavirus is an artificially-created bioweapon cooked up in a shadowy laboratory.
A team of researchers including an expert in infectious diseases from Edinburgh University have published a report in the respected journal Nature Medicine exploring the origins of SARS-CoV-2, another name for the feared virus which causes Covid-19.
Both American and Chinese officials have raised questions about whether the virus was a manmade bioweapon, whilst Trump has dubbed it the “China virus”.
“By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes,” said Kristian Andersen, PhD, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at Scripps Research and corresponding author on the paper.
Andrew Rambaut, a member of Edinburgh University’s Institute of Evolutionary Biology, was a co-author on the report.
The team analysed the molecular structure of the virus, which is its “backbone”.
They suggested that it cannot be an artificial creation because its structure “differed substantially from those of already known coronaviruses and mostly resembled related viruses found in bats and pangolins”.
The researchers suggested that anyone looking to create a new coronavirus and use it as a bioweapon would probably have built it using the backbone of a virus that has already killed humans.
“Its distinct backbone rules out laboratory manipulation as a potential origin for SARS-CoV-2,” Andersen added.
However, we still do not know exactly how the coronavirus came into being.
It may have “jumped” into a human from a pangolin, which is a mammal resembling an armadillo or even bats.
Previous coronavirus outbreaks were sparked by humans who had close contact with civets and camels.
It’s not known whether the original form of Covid-19 was a deadly killer when it was lurking inside the bodies of other animal species or whether it evolved into its current dangerous form when a human contracted the virus. Read more
The announcement supported a recent statement by the French health minister that ibuprofen may worsen the effects of COVID-19 and should be avoided.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that people with COVID-19 symptoms avoid taking ibuprofen, after concerns were raised by French officials that it may make the virus more harmful.A recent study in The Lancet medical journal, theorizing that an enzyme boosted by ibuprofen could enable and exacerbate COVID-19 infections, led France’s Health Minister Olivier Veran to suggest via social media that the medicine be avoided.
Questioned on the study by reporters in Geneva, WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said that experts were “looking into this to give further guidance.””In the meantime, we recommend using rather paracetamol, and do not use ibuprofen as a self-medication. That’s important,” he said.If ibuprofen had been “prescribed by the healthcare professionals, then, of course, that’s up to them,” he added.Ibuprofen is sold under a number of brand names, including Nurofen and Advil.A spokesman for Reckitt Benckiser, the British pharmaceutical company which makes Nurofen, said in an email statement that the company is aware of the concerns over the use of anti-inflamatories such as ibuprofen for treating COVID-19 symptoms, according to Science Alert.
“Consumer safety is our number one priority,” the spokesperson said, stressing that “ibuprofen is a well-established medicine that has been used safely as a self-care fever and pain reducer, including in viral illnesses, for more than 30 years.”We do not currently believe there is any proven scientific evidence linking over-the-counter use of ibuprofen to the aggravation of COVID-19,” the statement said.Reckitt Benckiser was “engaging with the WHO, EMA [the European Medicines Agency] and other local health authorities” regarding the matter, and would give them “any additional information or guidance necessary for the safe use of our products following any such evaluation,” the spokesman added. Read more
Behind the app that delayed Iowa’s voting results is a dark money operation funded by anti-Sanders billionaires. Its top donor, Seth Klarman, is a Buttigieg backer who has dumped money into pro-settler Israel lobby groups.
Sanders is the candidate who has taken the boldest stands in support of Palestinian human rights. Israel has a long, thoroughly documented history of human rights violations against Palestinians. (For info on Israel-Palestine see video below article.)
At the time of publication, twelve hours after voting in the Democratic Party’s Iowa caucuses ended, the results have not been announced. The delay in reporting is the result of a failed app developed by a company appropriately named Shadow Inc.
This firm was staffed by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama campaign veterans and created by a Democratic dark money nonprofit backed by hedge fund billionaires including Seth Klarman. A prolific funder of pro-settler Israel lobby organizations, Klarman has also contributed directly to Pete Buttigieg’s campaign.
The delay in the vote reporting denied a victory speech to Sen. Bernie Sanders, the presumptive winner of the opening contest in the Democratic presidential primary. Though not one exit poll indicated that Buttigieg would have won, the South Bend, Indiana mayor took to Twitter to confidently proclaim himself the victor.
(UNITED NATIONS) — The United States changed its mind and is now refusing to sign a letter that would have authorized the U.N. Security Council to hold a meeting on the human rights situation in North Korea, diplomats said Monday. Read more…