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Coronavirus And The Sun: A Lesson From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic

Fresh air, sunlight and improvised face masks seemed to work a century ago; and they might help us now.

Influenza-patients-getting-sunlight-at-the-Camp-Brooks-emergency-open-air-hospital-in-Boston.-Medical-staff-were-not-supposed-to-remove-their-masks
Influenza patients getting sunlight at the Camp Brooks emergency open-air hospital in Boston. Medical staff were not supposed to remove their masks. (National Archives)

When new, virulent diseases emerge, such SARS and Covid-19, the race begins to find new vaccines and treatments for those affected.

As the current crisis unfolds, governments are enforcing quarantine and isolation, and public gatherings are being discouraged.

Health officials took the same approach 100 years ago, when influenza was spreading around the world.

The results were mixed. But records from the 1918 pandemic suggest one technique for dealing with influenza — little-known today — was effective.

Some hard-won experience from the greatest pandemic in recorded history could help us in the weeks and months ahead.

 

Put simply, medics found that severely ill flu patients nursed outdoors recovered better than those treated indoors.

A combination of fresh air and sunlight seems to have prevented deaths among patients; and infections among medical staff.[1]

There is scientific support for this. Research shows that outdoor air is a natural disinfectant. Fresh air can kill the flu virus and other harmful germs.

Equally, sunlight is germicidal and there is now evidence it can kill the flu virus.

`Open-Air’ Treatment in 1918

During the great pandemic, two of the worst places to be were military barracks and troop-ships. Overcrowding and bad ventilation put soldiers and sailors at high risk of catching influenza and the other infections that often followed it.[2,3]

As with the current Covid-19 outbreak, most of the victims of so-called `Spanish flu’ did not die from influenza: they died of pneumonia and other complications.

When the influenza pandemic reached the East coast of the United States in 1918, the city of Boston was particularly badly hit. So the State Guard set up an emergency hospital.

They took in the worst cases among sailors on ships in Boston harbour. The hospital’s medical officer had noticed the most seriously ill sailors had been in badly-ventilated spaces.

So he gave them as much fresh air as possible by putting them in tents. And in good weather they were taken out of their tents and put in the sun.

At this time, it was common practice to put sick soldiers outdoors. Open-air therapy, as it was known, was widely used on casualties from the Western Front.

And it became the treatment of choice for another common and often deadly respiratory infection of the time; tuberculosis.

Patients were put outside in their beds to breathe fresh outdoor air. Or they were nursed in cross-ventilated wards with the windows open day and night. The open-air regimen remained popular until antibiotics replaced it in the 1950s.

Doctors who had first-hand experience of open-air therapy at the hospital in Boston were convinced the regimen was effective. It was adopted elsewhere.

If one report is correct, it reduced deaths among hospital patients from 40 per cent to about 13 per cent.[4]

According to the Surgeon General of the Massachusetts State Guard:

`The efficacy of open air treatment has been absolutely proven, and one has only to try it to discover its value.’

Fresh Air is a Disinfectant

Patients treated outdoors were less likely to be exposed to the infectious germs that are often present in conventional hospital wards.

They were breathing clean air in what must have been a largely sterile environment. We know this because, in the 1960s, Ministry of Defence scientists proved that fresh air is a natural disinfectant.[5]

Something in it, which they called the Open Air Factor, is far more harmful to airborne bacteria — and the influenza virus — than indoor air.

They couldn’t identify exactly what the Open Air Factor is. But they found it was effective both at night and during the daytime.

Their research also revealed that the Open Air Factor’s disinfecting powers can be preserved in enclosures — if ventilation rates are kept high enough.

Significantly, the rates they identified are the same ones that cross-ventilated hospital wards, with high ceilings and big windows, were designed for.[6]

But by the time the scientists made their discoveries, antibiotic therapy had replaced open-air treatment. Since then the germicidal effects of fresh air have not featured in infection control, or hospital design. Yet harmful bacteria have become increasingly resistant to antibiotics.

Sunlight and Influenza Infection

Putting infected patients out in the sun may have helped because it inactivates the influenza virus.[7] It also kills bacteria that cause lung and other infections in hospitals.[8] During the First World War, military surgeons routinely used sunlight to heal infected wounds.[9]

They knew it was a disinfectant. What they didn’t know is that one advantage of placing patients outside in the sun is they can synthesise vitamin D in their skin if sunlight is strong enough.

This was not discovered until the 1920s. Low vitamin D levels are now linked to respiratory infections and may increase susceptibility to influenza.[10]

Also, our body’s biological rhythms appear to influence how we resist infections.[11] New research suggests they can alter our inflammatory response to the flu virus.[12]

As with vitamin D, at the time of the 1918 pandemic, the important part played by sunlight in synchronizing these rhythms was not known.

Face Masks Coronavirus and Flu

Surgical masks are currently in short supply in China and elsewhere. They were worn 100 years ago, during the great pandemic, to try and stop the influenza virus spreading.

While surgical masks may offer some protection from infection they do not seal around the face.

So they don’t filter out small airborne particles. In 1918, anyone at the emergency hospital in Boston who had contact with patients had to wear an improvised face mask. This comprised five layers of gauze fitted to a wire frame which covered the nose and mouth.

The frame was shaped to fit the face of the wearer and prevent the gauze filter touching the mouth and nostrils. The masks were replaced every two hours; properly sterilized and with fresh gauze put on.

They were a forerunner of the N95 respirators in use in hospitals today to protect medical staff against airborne infection.

Temporary Hospitals

Staff at the hospital kept up high standards of personal and environmental hygiene. No doubt this played a big part in the relatively low rates of infection and deaths reported there.

The speed with which their hospital and other temporary open-air facilities were erected to cope with the surge in pneumonia patients was another factor.

Today, many countries are not prepared for a severe influenza pandemic.[13]

Their health services will be overwhelmed if there is one. Vaccines and antiviral drugs might help. Antibiotics may be effective for pneumonia and other complications. But much of the world’s population will not have access to them.

If another 1918 comes, or the Covid-19 crisis gets worse, history suggests it might be prudent to have tents and pre-fabricated wards ready to deal with large numbers of seriously ill cases. Plenty of fresh air and a little sunlight might help too.

Dr. Richard Hobday is an independent researcher working in the fields of infection control, public health and building design. He is the author of `The Healing Sun’.

References:

  1. Hobday RA and Cason JW. The open-air treatment of pandemic influenza. Am J Public Health 2009;99 Suppl 2:S236–42. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2008.134627.
  2. Aligne CA. Overcrowding and mortality during the influenza pandemic of 1918. Am J Public Health 2016 Apr;106(4):642–4. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2015.303018.
  3. Summers JA, Wilson N, Baker MG, Shanks GD. Mortality risk factors for pandemic influenza on New Zealand troop ship, 1918. Emerg Infect Dis 2010 Dec;16(12):1931–7. doi:10.3201/eid1612.100429.
  4. Anon. Weapons against influenza. Am J Public Health 1918 Oct;8(10):787–8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.8.10.787.
  5. May KP, Druett HA. A micro-thread technique for studying the viability of microbes in a simulated airborne state. J Gen Micro-biol 1968;51:353e66. Doi: 10.1099/00221287–51–3–353.
  6. Hobday RA. The open-air factor and infection control. J Hosp Infect 2019;103:e23-e24 doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2019.04.003.
  7. Schuit M, Gardner S, Wood S et al. The influence of simulated sunlight on the inactivation of influenza virus in aerosols. J Infect Dis 2020 Jan 14;221(3):372–378. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiz582.
  8. Hobday RA, Dancer SJ. Roles of sunlight and natural ventilation for controlling infection: historical and current perspectives. J Hosp Infect 2013;84:271–282. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2013.04.011.
  9. Hobday RA. Sunlight therapy and solar architecture. Med Hist 1997 Oct;41(4):455–72. doi:10.1017/s0025727300063043.
  10. Gruber-Bzura BM. Vitamin D and influenza-prevention or therapy? Int J Mol Sci 2018 Aug 16;19(8). pii: E2419. doi: 10.3390/ijms19082419.
  11. Costantini C, Renga G, Sellitto F, et al. Microbes in the era of circadian medicine. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2020 Feb 5;10:30. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2020.00030.
  12. Sengupta S, Tang SY, Devine JC et al. Circadian control of lung inflammation in influenza infection. Nat Commun 2019 Sep 11;10(1):4107. doi: 10.1038/s41467–019–11400–9.
  13. Jester BJ, Uyeki TM, Patel A, Koonin L, Jernigan DB. 100 Years of medical countermeasures and pandemic influenza preparedness. Am J Public Health. 2018 Nov;108(11):1469–1472. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2018.304586.

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Coronavirus Symptoms: WHO Reveals Common Signs Based On Analysis Of Confirmed Cases

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a daily press briefing on COVID-19 at the WHO headquaters on March 6, 2020 in Geneva. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP)

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on Wednesday. Over 118,000 cases and 4,000 deaths have been reported so far. The WHO’s new analysis has revealed the most common symptoms ever since the outbreak in China in 2019.

Here is a gist of the most common symptoms, according to the report that analyzed over 55,900 confirmed cases:

  1. COVID-19 symptoms are non-specific and the disease presentation can range from asymptomatic to fatal ones such as severe pneumonia or death
  2. Typical signs and their prevalence: Fever: 87.9%, Dry Cough: 67.7%, Fatigue: 38.1%, Sputum production: 33.4%, Shortness of breath: 18.6%, Sore throat: 12.9%, Headache: 13.6%, Myalgia/Arthralgia: 14.8%, Chills: 11.4%, Nausea/Vomiting: 5%, Nasal Congestion: 4.8%, Diarrhea: 3.7%, Hemoptysis: 0.9%, and Conjunctival congestion: 0.8%.
  3. The symptoms generally develop about 5-6 days after infection and the mean incubation period ranges from 1-14 days
  4. About 80% of individuals who testes positive for COVID-19, exhibited mild symptoms and recovered
  5. 13.8% have severe symptoms including dyspnea, respiratory failure, septic shock and/or multiple organ failure
  6. While there were cases reported of asymptomatic infection, a majority of them went on to develop symptoms.
  7. Individuals at the highest risk of severe symptoms and fever: Older adults over 60, those with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer
  8. COVID-19 in children appears to be relatively rare, with mild symptoms and only 2.4% of the total reported cases were under 19.
  9. The crude fatality ratio (CFR) varies by location as well as the intensity of transmission. In China, the CFR which was higher in the early stages of the outbreak has reduced over time
  10. Mortality rates increases with age and the highest mortality rates are seen among older adults over 80 and higher among men compared to women.

“We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time,” CNN Health quoted WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do,” he added.

coronavirus-france-gel
Employees of a laboratory work on the production of hydroalcoholic solution according to WHO recommendations for hygienic hand disinfection in Paris, France, March 13, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Benoit

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How to Prevent Loneliness in a Time of Social Distancing

Here’s advice for preserving your mental health while avoiding physical proximity

How to Prevent Loneliness in a Time of Social Distancing
Human beings are social creatures. Necessary social isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic is a challenge for our social & mental wellbeing. (Credit: Richard Bailey Getty Images)

With increasing numbers of people isolated because of quarantine and social distancing, COVID-19 is not the only public health threat we should be worried about—loneliness is one as well.

While scientists are rushing to understand how the coronavirus works, researchers have long understood the toll that social isolation and loneliness take on the body. People who do not feel connected to others are more likely to catch a cold, experience depression, develop heart disease, have lower cognitive function and live a shorter life. In fact, the long-term harm caused by loneliness is similar to smoking or obesity.

In January, a national survey found that 79 percent of Gen Zers, 71 percent of millennials and 50 percent of baby boomers feel lonely. Similarly, the proportion of people who belong to any kind of community group, such as a hobby club, sports league or volunteer group, fell from 75 to 57 percent over the past decade. Even without the coronavirus keeping us apart, it seems the majority of the population suffers from poor social health.

Although isolation is the right response to the coronavirus pandemic, we need the exact opposite in response to the loneliness epidemic. So how can you cultivate your social well-being while avoiding infection?

An obvious answer is the device you are reading this article on. People often blame technology for the prevalence of loneliness, pointing out that we spend too much time scrolling through social media and not enough of it interacting IRL. Yet recent research by my colleagues at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health paints a more nuanced picture: how you use such platforms seems to matter more than how much you do so. We can all benefit from developing digital habits that support meaningful human connections—especially now that it may be our only option until the outbreak calms.

Whether you are quarantined, working remotely or just being cautious, now is the perfect time to practice using technology in socially healthy ways. Here are a few suggestions for how to connect without contact.

Face-to-face from afar: The next best thing to in-person interaction is video chat, because facial cues, body language and other nonverbal forms of communication are important for bonding. When possible, opt for video over messaging or calling and play around with doing what you would normally do with others. For example, try having a digital dinner with someone you met on a dating app, a virtual happy hour with friends or a remote book club meeting.

One-minute kindness: Getting lots of likes on a social media post may give you a fleeting hit of dopamine, but receiving a direct message or e-mail with a genuine compliment or expression of gratitude is more personal and longer lasting—without taking much more time. When you find yourself scrolling through people’s posts, stop and send one of them a few kind words. After all, we need a little extra kindness to counter the stress and uncertainty of the coronavirus.

Cultivate your community: The basis of connection is having something in common. Whatever your niche interest is, there is an online community of people who share your passion and can’t wait to nerd out with you about it. There are also digital support groups, such as for new parents or patients with a rare disease. Use these networks to engage around what matters most to you.

Deepen or broaden: Fundamentally, there are two ways to overcome loneliness: nurture your existing relationships or form new ones. Reflect on your current state of social health and then take one digital action to deepen it—such as getting in touch with a friend or family member you haven’t spoken with in a while—or to broaden it—such as reaching out to someone you’d like to get to know.

Use a tool: Increasingly, apps and social platforms are being designed to help us optimize our online interactions with loved ones, including Ikaria, Cocoon, Monaru and Squad. If you do well with structure, these resources may be a useful option for you. Or you can consider using conversation prompts, such as TableTopics or The And, to spark interesting dialogue during a video call.The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us that human connection can spread illness. But human connection also promotes wellness. Let’s take this opportunity to recognize the importance of relationships for our health and to practice leveraging technology for social well-being.

State of Alaska is exploring options for housing people quarantined for coronavirus

The remotest state of the union is doing some blue-sky thinking when it comes to Coronavirus quarantine housing plans.

alaska-coronavirus-quarantine-plans
Alaska may be planning to house much-needed Coronavirus quarantine patients. (iStock/Getty Images)

The State of Alaska put out a request this week “seeking information from interested parties for providing housing units that are quarantined to allow for monitoring for COVID-19.”

“The State wishes to identify companies that are capable of providing the housing units and gain an understanding of the potential project cost for budgeting purposes,” the request said.

The state is seeking “motel rooms, apartments, trailers, or other suitable dwellings,” the request said. The units must be located so the general public can avoid interaction with those being quarantined, it said. Apartments or hotels may not be suitable if there is a common hallway, for example.

Outside of Alaska, many communities with a large number of patients in quarantine have repurposed buildings to provide temporary space. King County in Washington, which is a center of the West Coast coronavirus outbreak, for example, is in the process of purchasing an EconoLodge in the suburban community of Kent to house patients, a move that has been controversial with some of its neighbors.

The state’s Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink said that the housing wouldn’t necessarily be in one place, but there may be a variety of options that it could be used for including people who are homeless, people who need to disembark from cruise ships, people who can’t be isolated in their homes or people traveling through the state for some other reason.

“We want to make sure we are nimble,” she said.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy said the state is assessing all potential resources.

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How long can the new coronavirus last on surfaces?

A new study suggests the virus can live on surfaces for up to 3 days.

How long can the new coronavirus last on surfaces
The new SARS-CoV-2 remains a mystery. (Image: © NIAID-RML)

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to accelerate in the U.S., cleaning supplies are disappearing off the shelves and people are worried about every subway rail, deli counter and toilet seat they touch. 

But how long can the new coronavirus linger on surfaces, anyway? The short answer is, we don’t know. A new analysis found that the virus can remain viable in the air for up to 3 hours, on copper for up to 4 hours, on cardboard up to 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel up to 2 to 3 days. However, this study, which was published in the preprint database medRxiv on Wednesday (March 11),  has not yet yet been peer-reviewed.

Another study published in February in The Journal of Hospital Infection analyzed several dozen previously published papers on human coronaviruses (other than the new coronavirus) to get a better idea of how long they can survive outside of the body. 

They concluded that if this new coronavirus resembles other human coronaviruses, such as its “cousins” that cause SARS and MERS, it can stay on surfaces —  such as metal, glass or plastic — for as long as nine days (In comparison, flu viruses can last on surfaces for only about 48 hours.)

But some of them don’t remain active for as long at temperatures higher than 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius). The authors also found that these coronaviruses can be effectively wiped away by household disinfectants. 

For example, disinfectants with 62-71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (bleach) can “efficiently” inactivate coronaviruses within a minute, according to the study. “We expect a similar effect against the 2019-nCoV,” the researchers wrote, referring to the new coronavirus. But even though the new coronavirus is a similar strain to the SARS coronavirus, it’s not clear if it will behave the same.

It’s also not clear how frequently hands become contaminated with coronaviruses after touching a sick patient or contaminated surface, according to the study. The World Health Organization recommends washing hands or using alcohol-based hand rubs for decontamination of the hands, the authors wrote.

It’s possible that a person can be infected with the virus by touching a contaminated surface or object, “then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “But this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.” Though the virus remains viable in the air, the new study can’t say whether people can become infected by breathing it in from the air,  according to the Associated Press

The virus is most likely to spread from person to person through close contact and respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes that can land on a nearby person’s mouth or nose, according to the CDC.

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Germany: Coronavirus Crisis Leads to More Restrictions, Closures and Cancellations

Germany Coronavirus Crisis Leads to More Restrictions, Closures and Cancellations
Major Tourist Attractions. Festivals. Public Buildings close along with public transport restrictions. (iStock/Getty Images)

More than 2,100 Coronavirus cases were confirmed in Germany as of Thursday in the late morning. Activities of many kinds came to a halt. It was all about the virus.

The President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, had his schedule revised on Wednesday. His staff cancelled appointments, including a visit to a rooming house in Bremen. Steinmeier will not host the heads of state from Estonia, Finland and Slovenia either. This was an event which had been scheduled a long time ago.

No More Visitors at President’s Office

Just like the Berlin Bundestag, the Federal President’s Office does not accept tourists or other visiting groups anymore. The Reichstag’s dome was closed until further notice days ago. The same applies to the opera in Berlin, concert halls and theaters, all because of the Coronavirus.

Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller, who is Science Senator as well, announced several measures too. A task force consisting of representatives from the German capital’s universities and institutes was established. Its task is to monitor the situation and to implement measures should they become necessary.

Start of Semester Postponed

For now, all conferences and other events connected to the universities were cancelled, including lectures. The institutions also have to check their dates for exams, postpone them if possible or convert on-site exams to online exams, which is what the Technical University already did. The start of the next semester was postponed to April 20th. Students who just returned from high risk regions or countries are being asked to go into quarantine in their homes for two weeks.

Berlin’s House of Representatives is now closed to tourists and visiting groups as well. Its President Ralf Wieland signed a list of measures which includes the cancellation of all public events, except for an exhibition in front of the building. Starting right now, only members, the staff, registered visitors and journalists have access to the House of Representatives.

Angela Merkel’s conservative party, the Christian-Democratic Union (CDU), just cancelled its party congress at which is was going to elect a new party leader. The event was going to take place in Berlin on April 25th, 2020.

Back Door Rule for Buses

“The parliament in Berlin needs to remain capable of acting”, Wieland stated. “Therefore it is necessary to minimize the risk of infection to members and the staff in the House of Representatives.”



Berlin’s largest public transport provider BVG is working on changes as well. They are supposed to protect those who are in direct contact with thousands of passengers every day, namely bus drivers. From now on, bus passengers may enter the vehicles through their back doors only. Until now, they had been required to enter through the front door and show their ticket to the driver. Bus drivers will not sell tickets anymore, until further notice. They have to be purchased through apps, in city train stations or BVG customer centers.

Sneezing and Coughing on Public Transport

For the BVG, its board member Rolf Erfurt said the company was convinced that the passengers would show understanding for this measure which had been suggested by experts. It was designed to lower the probability of infection for both bus drivers and passengers. Berlin needed to be mobile in these difficult times.

Through its information systems, including screens inside all U-Bahn trains (subway, underground, metro), BVG is conveying messages about the right behavior during the Coronavirus crisis, including the proper way to sneeze and cough. Everyone on the BVG’s vehicles needed to cough or sneeze into the crook of their arm. That way the risk of infection would be decreased as much as possible.

Coronavirus Affects Berlin’s Night Life

Berlin is known as a party city. Now the Coronavirus crisis is affecting the city’s clubs as well. According to the ‘Clubcommission’, a network set up by club owners, the number of club visitors is already decreasing substantially. Mandatory closures would lead to many bankruptcies, the commission said. At the same time a shutdown for a few weeks was probably necessary because of the spread of the virus. Some club owners have already cancelled parties and events. For now, club visitors will be registered. Starting this weekend, all of them will have to register with their e-mail addresses and phone numbers.

Carnival of Cultures 2019
Watch this video on YouTube.

In Germany’s second-largest city, Hamburg, the number of infections is on the rise, just like in Berlin and everywhere else. Within one day, it increased by 19 to 54. The Hamburg authorities announced a number of measures as well. One about events with more than 1000 people would be communicated very soon, a statement read. The health authorities were also in the process of developing rules smaller events in Hamburg.

Protecting Hamburg’s Schools and Kindergartens

In order to protect Hamburg’s schools and kindergartens, a new rule says that children, with or without the typical symptoms, who return from high risk areas or countries with their families have to be in quarantine for 14 days before they go back into their classes or groups. All other individuals who return to Hamburg from those regions need to quarantine themselves for two weeks as well. Most other city states and provinces in Germany have come up with similar rules by now.

All over Germany, many schools are closed. The latest case was reported from Worms, where a Coronavirus case led to the closure of a large school with 4500 students. In one grade, all pupils are being tested.

Dealing with Trump’s Travel Ban

The total number of Coronavirus cases exceeded 2,100 on Thursday before noon. Some 900 of those were registered in North Rhine-Westphalia, 366 in Bavaria and 335 in Baden-Württemberg. Berlin had 118 confirmed cases on March 12th, 2020, at 11:45 a.m..

Sixty-one of them were men, 56 women, and in one case the gender was not announced. One of those infected lives in a refugee hostel. In a television interview, Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller said it had probably been a mistake not to take decisions on restrictions regarding big events earlier. He said the government needed to look into Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s main train operator. The question was whether train connections and stops needed to be restricted as well.

Carnival of Cultures Cancelled

In the meantime, two more big events in Berlin were cancelled, namely one known as ‘Myfest’ which usually takes place on Europe’s labor day, May 1st. The other one is the Carnival of Cultures, one of the most international and colorful events. It was supposed to take place from May 29th to June 1st, 2020.

Europe’s airlines, including Germany’s flag carrier Lufthansa, will have to adapt to the travel ban from Europe to the United States which President Trump just announced. The ban will kick in on Friday. Since the aftermath of September 11th, 2001, there has not been anything of the kind.

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60 Minutes Australia goes undercover into the Wet Markets of Asia where the Coronavirus may have originated.

In this chilling documentary from 60 Minutes Australia. Prof. Gabriel Leung, one of the world’s leading experts on Coronavirus estimates that 60% of the world’s population may be infected with 45 Million deaths!

Journalist goes undercover at wet markets where the Coronavirus started | 60 Minutes Australia
Watch this video on YouTube.

Ireland reports first death from coronavirus

Irish Authorities have been criticized for their slow response to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

first-coronavirus-death-ireland

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland’s Health Ministry confirmed its first death of a patient diagnosed with the coronavirus on Wednesday.

The patient was one of the 34 confirmed cases in Ireland as of Tuesday. The health department will provide its daily update of the number of cases at 1800 GMT.

The Irish Times newspaper reported that the elderly woman who died initially presented at a hospital in the east of the country with respiratory symptoms and was diagnosed with the disease when staff performed a test.

“We continue our efforts to interrupt the transmission of this virus. It will take all of us, collectively to succeed,” Ireland’s chief medical officer, Tony Holohan, said in a statement.

Two more cases were identified on Wednesday in Northern Ireland, the British region which shares an open border with the Irish republic, bringing the total there to 18, Northern Ireland’s health department said.

The head of Ireland’s Health Service Executive, Paul Reid, also said on Wednesday that the country was entering a new phase in the spread of coronavirus and that he fully supported some hospitals that had decided to restrict visitors.

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Briton struck with coronavirus in Wuhan recalls: ‘I couldn’t get enough air’

A British Citizen living in Wuhan, China describes his experience with contracting Coronavirus, symptoms, treatment & recovery.

Briton struck with coronavirus in Wuhan recalls 'I couldn't get enough air'
Connor Reed describes contracting the coronavirus in late 2019. REUTERS/via Reuters TV

LONDON (Reuters) – Connor Reed was working in Wuhan when he contracted the coronavirus in late 2019, suffering common cold-like symptoms, then flu, and ultimately pneumonia which hospitalized him and left him struggling to breathe.

Now fully recovered after a month of sickness, and still living in Wuhan, where the epidemic first broke out, Welshman Reed, 25, has adapted to the new normal in the city under lockdown since late January.

“I first had a cold – just an everyday cold, a thing that everybody gets. I then got better before I got worse. So from the cold I progressed into the flu … definitely the worst flu that I’ve had.”

“From the flu. I got better again, and that’s when I had pneumonia. The pneumonia stage was when I went to the hospital.”

At the time of his admission, authorities in China were not fully aware of the scale of the outbreak of the new virus. Reed got confirmation at the end of December that he had COVID-19.

“When I had the flu symptoms, that felt like I’d been hit by a truck. And it was quite debilitating … however, it wasn’t life threatening.”

“When I had pneumonia, that’s the point where it was getting quite serious. It felt like I could only use half my lung capacity, and every breath I took wasn’t enough and I just couldn’t get enough air.”

Reed said it sounded like he was breathing through “a paper bag” and as if there was stuff in his lungs that wouldn’t shift.

But as a young man who wasn’t in a critical state and with the hospital facing an influx of people, Reed was sent home to rest. He is now looking forward to the lockdown slowly lifting and expects the quarantine to ease by the middle of next month.

Chinese authorities feel the tide is turning in their favor and some vital industries in Wuhan were told they can resume work on Wednesday, a day after President Xi Jinping visited there for the first time since the outbreak began.

“If they release a quarantine too early … we’ll be back to square one. It’s better to be overly cautious than not cautious enough,” said Reed.

“Everything’s changed, from how we go shopping to how we manage the house … Everybody’s taken the time to adjust and we all have adjusted. It’s a case of people doing the best with what they have,” he said.

He believes the Chinese government has dealt with the epidemic as well as it could, and because of the nature of Chinese society, it could take strict measures which people would adhere to.

As the outbreak accelerates outside China, Reed says: “Other governments definitely can learn from it. However, each individual country and individual government has different responsibilities and different things that they can do.”

“Also, people individually, they have to manage it themselves and take their own precautions. They can’t rely on the government too much.”

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Some in Wuhan told to go back to work as new cases of coronavirus subside in China

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Some vital industries in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, were told they can resume work on Wednesday, a day after President Xi Jinping visited there for the first time since the outbreak began.

Some in Wuhan told to go back to work as new cases of coronavirus subside in China
People wearing protective face masks are seen on a crossroads as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in Shanghai, China March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

The city of 11 million has been in lockdown since late January but Xi’s visit signaled the tide was turning in the government’s favor as it fights to contain a virus that as of Tuesday had infected 80,778 people in China and killed 3,158.

Authorities elsewhere in China lowered emergency response levels to the epidemic and relaxed travel restrictions.

Drawing confidence from Xi’s visit and falling new infections, the Hubei provincial government said public transport workers in Wuhan and those engaged in making medical supplies and producing daily necessities would be allowed to return to work.

Other industries that impact national or global supply chains can also return to work with permission from relevant authorities, it said.

Wuhan accounts for nearly 10% of vehicles made in China and is home to hundreds of parts suppliers. Across the country, manufacturing is slowly returning to normal.

Though the economy is still operating at about 25% below its usual levels, activity should be fully restored by the end of April, Francoise Huang, senior economist at Euler Hermes, predicted in a note to clients.

On Wednesday, Japanese automaker Nissan said it planned to partially resume production at two Chinese plants, one of them in Hubei. Its competitor Honda said that some employees had returned to work at its plant in Wuhan, and that it would gradually restart production from Wednesday.

In a gesture to further boost investor confidence, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Wednesday it will actively help foreign-invested firms resume work and expand sectors in which foreign investment in encouraged.

While relaxing some restrictions, the Hubei government said curbs on transport in Wuhan would remain in place, and schools in the province would remain closed until further notice.

The city of Qianjiang in Hubei also bucked a wider loosening trend, with authorities saying they would retain strict transport bans.

Latest figures from the National Health Commission showed 24 new coronavirus cases nationwide, and 22 more deaths as of Tuesday. All the latest deaths occurred in Wuhan.

But new infections in Hubei continued to stabilize, with new cases declining for the sixth day. All 13 new cases in Hubei were recorded in Wuhan.

IMPORTED CASES

The most encouraging trend to be taken from the latest infection figures was lower rate of transmission within communities in China, as 10 of Tuesday’s 24 new cases involved people traveling from abroad.

But Chinese customs said downward pressure on China’s foreign trade and the global economy is still increasing as the coronavirus epidemic is spreading quickly abroad.

“Stabilizing trade growth would be more difficult,” Customs said in a statement. “Risks of imported cases are suddenly rising, and dealing with coronavirus-related risks at China’s ports would pose a major challenge.”

While only 79 of the cases in China have come from abroad, the rising number of such incidences has prompted authorities to shift their focus on containing the risk of imported cases.

The capital of Beijing saw six new cases on Tuesday involving individuals who traveled from Italy and the United States, while Shanghai had two imported infections, Shandong province one and Gansu province one. The southern province of Guangdong reported three cases involving travelers, one from France and two from Spain.

Elsewhere, however, Hunan province and the municipality of Chongqing lowered their emergency response level, while cities around Shandong province resumed inter-city and rural passenger transportation routes, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

So far, about three-quarters of China’s municipalities, regions and provinces have lowered their emergency response level from the highest tier.

(The story refiles to make clear in headline some, not all, workers)

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