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  1. #1771
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    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    Alex Sims
    The New York Times used cell phone data to assess which area of the country stayed home last week. The Greater Lakes states crushed it! #FlattenTheCuve

    Doesn't this roughly resemble a map showing political party affiliation? Red being GOP and White being Dems? So maybe it's also an indication of who is taking this thing seriously.
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  2. #1772

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by GlennHarman View Post
    Virginia: I simply don't believe what that map shows about Virginia. Notice that it appears that a huge swath of Virginia has no hospitals at all. I am positive that is wrong. So I would disregard Virginia's appearance on that map. Of course, I have no idea why that would be so inaccurate.

    You shouldn't disregard Virginia's appearance on the map as it is largely accurate. The data is pulled from CMS data and it's in a Kaiser Foundation report. Virginia could have flawed reporting to CMS, but I wouldn't assume that's a serious issue.

    The map is a look at states and counties. Virginia is a strange state that has counties and independent cities. The map is mildly different than it would be if it showed the independent cities, but it is the count of the beds that would be the most different, the appearance of the actual map wouldn't change all that much. The majority of independent cities in Virginia are going to be the bigger ones and the college towns, but looking at the map, there's another hospital in those same areas that is marked on the map. So for instance, UVA is in Charlottesville, that is an independent city so not captured by the map, but the surrounding county has a hospital with an ICU bed so it doesn't make a difference in terms of how it shows up on the map. So going to the edges of Virginia, towards DC like in Alexandria and Fairfax, towards Richmond and Norfolk, and to the bigger college towards like Charlotteville, Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Harrisonburg, the hospital bed count is definitely more than what you see here because there are hospital systems there to support those larger communities, sometimes associated with the universities, but looking at the map, it would only look marginally better, because little is changed color wise since those independent cities don't overpopulate the rural interior of Virginia.

    If you want to see the interactive map for bed counts, you can see it here.

  3. #1773
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    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    WHO's Situation Report for April 9, 2020.
    Winston, a.k.a. Alvena Rae Risley Hiatt (1944-2019), RIP

  4. #1774

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    A plan to defeat coronavirus finally emerges, but it’s not from the White House
    In the absence of federal direction, states and America’s top experts forge the path ahead.

    Lena H. Sun and
    William Wan
    April 10, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. EDT

    A national plan to fight the coronavirus pandemic in the United States and return Americans to jobs and classrooms is emerging — but not from the White House.

    Instead, a collection of governors, former government officials, disease specialists and nonprofits are pursuing a strategy that relies on the three pillars of disease control: ramp up testing to identify people who are infected. Find everyone they interact with by deploying contact tracing on a scale America has never attempted before. And focus restrictions more narrowly on the infected and their contacts so the rest of society doesn’t have to stay in permanent lockdown.

    But there is no evidence yet the White House will pursue such a strategy.

    Instead, the president and his top advisers have fixated almost exclusively on plans to reopen the U.S. economy by the end of the month, though they haven’t detailed how they will do so without triggering another outbreak. President Trump has been especially focused on creating a second coronavirus task force aimed at combating the economic ramifications of the virus.

    Administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations, say the White House has made a deliberate political calculation that it will better serve Trump’s interest to put the onus on governors — rather than the federal government — to figure out how to move ahead.

    “It’s mind-boggling, actually, the degree of disorganization,” said Tom Frieden, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director. The federal government has already squandered February and March, he noted, committing “epic failures” on testing kits, ventilator supply, protective equipment for health workers and contradictory public health communication. The next failure is already on its way, Frieden said, because “we’re not doing the things we need to be doing in April.”

    On Thursday, White House spokesman Judd Deere said, “The President wants to see this economy open again so people can get back to work, but scientific data will drive the timeline on those decisions because his number one priority is to protect the safety and well-being of the American people.”

    In recent days, dozens of leading voices have coalesced around the test-trace-quarantine framework, including former FDA commissioners for the Trump and George W. Bush administrations, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and top experts at Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Harvard universities.

    On Wednesday, former president Barack Obama weighed in, tweeting: “Social distancing bends the curve and relieves some pressure. … But in order to shift off current policies, the key will be a robust system of testing and monitoring — something we have yet to put in place nationwide.”

    And Friday, Apple and Google unveiled a joint effort on new tools that would use smartphones to aid in contact tracing.

    What remains unclear is whether this emerging plan can succeed without the backing of the federal government. Some states such as Massachusetts and Utah are already trying to implement parts of it. In the absence of federal leadership — as happened last month with stay-at-home orders — other states may watch and follow suit. But without substantial federal funding, states’ efforts will only go so far

    In South Korea, Taiwan, China and Singapore, variations on this basic strategy were implemented by their national governments, allowing them to keep the virus in check even as they reopened parts of their economy and society.

    In America, testing — while still woefully behind — is ramping up. And households across the country have learned over the past month how to quarantine. But when it comes to the second pillar of the plan — the labor-intensive work of contact tracing — local health departments lack the necessary staff, money and training.

    Experts and leaders in some states say remedying that weakness should be a priority and health departments should be rapidly shored up so that they are ready to act in coming weeks as infections nationwide begin to decrease. In a report scheduled for release Friday, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials — which represents state health departments — estimate 100,000 additional contact tracers are needed and call for $3.6 billion in emergency funding from Congress.

    The CDC is researching how to increase contact tracing capacity, its director, Robert Redfield, said Friday in an NPR interview. But those efforts have not been reviewed by the White House, and the disease agency’s role has been diminished in the administration’s pandemic response. “We’re definitely in the middle of all of that. It’s premature for me to roll it out,” Redfield said.

    Technology, like the Apple-Google partnership, is also being developed that could aid that effort, but it comes with civil liberty concerns that need to be resolved.

    Unless states can aggressively trace and isolate the virus, experts say, there will be new outbreaks and another round of disruptive stay-at-home orders.

    “All people are talking about right now is hospital beds, ventilators, testing, testing, testing. Yes, those are important, but they are all reactive. You are dealing with the symptoms and not the virus itself,” said Tolbert Nyenswah, who led one of the most successful contact tracing efforts in Africa during the 2014 to 2016 Ebola epidemic. “You will never beat a virus like this one unless you get ahead of it. America must not just flatten the curve but get ahead of the curve.”

    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  5. #1775

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    A plan to defeat coronavirus finally emerges, but it’s not from the White House
    In the absence of federal direction, states and America’s top experts forge the path ahead.

    Creating an army

    Six years ago, Nyenswah watched an even deadlier disease, Ebola, tear through his homeland. Liberia’s president tapped him to lead its response, and Nyenswah began immediately hiring an army of surveillance officers to do “shoe-leather” tracing. It involved going door to door to find anyone who interacted with someone with a confirmed case of the hemorrhagic disease and persuading them to stay indoors, even providing food and services to make that more likely.

    Testing on its own is useless, Nyenswah explained, because it tells you only who already has the virus. Similarly, tracing alone is useless if you don’t place those you find into quarantine. But when all three are implemented, the chain of transmission can be shattered.

    Until a vaccine or treatment is developed, such nonpharmaceutical interventions are the only tools countries can rely on — besides locking down their cities.

    In 2014, Nyenswah’s army of 4,000 public health workers used tracing to eradicate Ebola in Liberia under even more difficult circumstances. Many homes didn’t have phone lines, much less house numbers, street names or Zip codes to navigate by.

    “We didn’t have the sophisticated systems you have in the U.S.,” Nyenswah said. “Many of the people we dealt with weren’t even literate, but we were able to win. What that tells you is that this can work.”

    But to expand that in a country as large as the United States will require a massive dose of money, leadership and political will.

    Nyenswah, who now lives in the United States and teaches at Johns Hopkins, has watched the disjointed U.S. response on TV with growing alarm.

    “You cannot have leaders contradicting each other every day. You cannot have states waiting on the federal government to act, and government telling the states to figure it out on their own,” he said. “You need a plan.”

    Daunting math of transmission

    When Vermont’s first coronavirus case was detected last month, it took two state health workers a day to track down 13 people who came into contact with that single patient. They put them under quarantine and started monitoring for symptoms. No one else became sick.

    “It was a tidy bow,” recalled Daniel Daltry, one of the two health officers who did the work.

    Within days, new cases were “coming in like dominoes,” Daltry said. By late March, his team was racing on a single day to trace the contacts of 12 patients, when an additional 30 cases landed on their desk.

    He did the math: If each of those 30 patients had contact with even three people, that meant 90 people his crew would have to locate and get into quarantine. In other words, impossible.

    This is the daunting math facing health departments nationwide. Since 2008, city and county health agencies have lost almost a quarter of their overall workforce. Decades of budget cuts have left the them unable to mount such a response. State health departments have had to lay off thousands more — an unintended consequence of federal officials delaying tax filings until July without warning states. Those federal filings generate state revenue.

    In Wuhan, a city of 11 million, the Chinese had 9,000 health workers doing contact tracing, said Frieden, the former CDC director. He estimates in the United States, authorities would need roughly one contact tracer for every four cases.

    Such large-scale tracing nationally could be possible if federal funding and guidance bolstered counties at the same time social distancing lowers the number of cases.

    “We could use a stronger voice out of the White House to mobilize this nation,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said Thursday. “In the second wave, we have to have testing, a resource base, and a contact-tracing base that is so much more scaled up than right now. It’s an enormous challenge.”

    Not waiting to act

    In the absence of federal direction, Massachusetts last week unveiled a plan to begin building a contact tracing army.

    Gov. Charlie Baker (R) partnered with an international nonprofit group based in Boston that has been waging this kind of public health campaign against contagious diseases including tuberculosis in Africa and HIV and cholera in Haiti. The nonprofit Partners in Health quickly put together a plan to hire and train 1,000 contact tracers. Working from their homes making 10 to 12 calls a day, they could cover up to 20,000 patients a day.

    The group is paying new hires roughly the same salary as census takers, about $20 an hour. As of Tuesday — just four days after the initial announcement — the group had received 7,000 applicants and hired 150.

    “People want to help. They’re tired of just sitting at home and waiting to be infected,” said KJ Seung, a program director for Partners in Health. “There’s a huge untapped resource of people in America if we would just ask.”

    Utah has also taken action, reassigning government employees to increase contact tracing capacity, said state health department spokesman Tom Hudachko. State leaders are trying to pull together 1,200 more workers. San Francisco is trying to build a 150-person contact tracing team using city librarians, university staff and medical students.

    “There needs to be a crash course in contact tracing because a lot of the health departments where this is going to need to happen are already kind of flat out just trying to respond to the crisis at hand,” said Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

    Experts have proposed transforming the Peace Corps — which suspended global operations last month and recalled 7,000 volunteers to America — into a national response corps that could perform many tasks, including contact tracing.

    On Wednesday, the editor in chief of JAMA, a leading medical journal, proposed suspending the first year of training for America’s 20,000 incoming medical students and deploying them as a medical corps to support the “test, trace, track, and quarantine strategy.”

    Health workers who have been doing this kind of contact tracing for sexually transmitted diseases have proposed expanding an existing group of national disease investigation specialists — about 1,600 workers funded by the CDC and focused on ailments such as rectal gonorrhea — into a ready-made coronavirus tracing battalion. The national organization for local STD programs says $200 million could add roughly 1,850 specialists, more than doubling that current workforce.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  6. #1776

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    A plan to defeat coronavirus finally emerges, but it’s not from the White House
    In the absence of federal direction, states and America’s top experts forge the path ahead.

    There’s an app for that

    Technology could also turn out to be pivotal. But the invasive nature of cellphone tracking and apps raises concerns about civil liberties.

    The technology could offer a version of what contact tracers do in interviews: build a contact history for each confirmed patient and find those possibly exposed.

    Doing that digitally could make the process quicker — critical in containing an outbreak — and less laborious.

    Singaporean police, for example, used security camera footage and ATM and credit card records to retrace people’s steps during the coronavirus outbreak there.

    In China, authorities combined the nation’s vast surveillance apparatus with apps and cellphone data to track people’s movements. If someone they came across is later confirmed as infected, an app alerts them to stay at home.

    South Korea and Israel have similarly deployed apps and cellphone technology. In Taiwan, authorities even placed virtual fences around those quarantined at home, alerting authorities if quarantined residents try to leave their homes or turn off their phone.

    In the United States, about 20 technology companies are trying to create a contact tracing app using the geolocation data or Bluetooth pings on cellphones, said Dylan George, a former senior Obama administration policy adviser now advising one such effort.

    Seattle-King County is in “very early discussions” with one group about using such contact tracing technology, said Jeffrey Duchin, a top county health official. Duchin said he would welcome any way to speed up the contact tracing work of his team, but said, “We have no real experience with them and can’t predict how well they will work.”

    “These apps don’t solve the problem on their own, but they can definitely help as force multipliers,” said Crystal Watson, a Johns Hopkins researcher specializing in public health preparedness. “The problem is they come with huge civil liberties caveats that still need to be sorted out.”

    Yasmeen Abutaleb, Juliet Eilperin and John Sullivan contributed to this report.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  7. #1777

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    Adam Klasfeld @KlasfeldReports

    Trump said that antibiotics are now ineffective because the novel coronavirus is a "genius."

    Antibiotics fight bacteria.

    The novel coronavirus is a virus.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  8. #1778

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    Daniel Dale @ddale8

    Trump, who has repeatedly championed "federalism" in recent days, when asked if it isn't up to the states about when to reopen: "The states can do things if they want. I can override it if I want." He adds, "I have great authority if I want to use it." ?

    Asked about all the new unemployment and the long lines at food banks and what he'd say to such people, Trump says, "#1 I love 'em, #2 we're working really hard. It wasn't their fault, what happened." He then pivots to boasting about how the economy used to be.

    Trump says he has great respect for pastors who want to have in-person Easter services, and knows some personally, but: "I'm a Christian. Heal our country. Let's get healed before we do this."

    Trump says he's had talks with "the pastors" and most of them agree that they are better off with distancing. He says he's going to be watching services led by Robert Jeffress of Dallas.

    Trump refers to "John Bel." He explains that he calls him John Bel, though his name is John Bel Edwards, and some people call him Jon Bel. "Sort of a cool name," he explains.

    Daniel Dale is a reporter for the Toronto Star who covers the WH beat. He should be getting combat pay.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  9. #1779

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    Kyle Griffin @kylegriffin1

    Reuters' Jeff Mason: What metrics will you use when making the decision to re-open the economy?

    Trump (pointing to his head): "The metrics right here. That's my metrics. That's all I can do."

    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  10. #1780

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia faces blowback as he curtails scope of worker relief in unemployment crisis
    Labor Department comes under fire over handling of worker protection, unemployment program

    Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia listens as Vice President Mike Pence speaks with members of the coronavirus task force during a briefing in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic at the White House on Thursday, April 09, 2020. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

    Jeff Stein,
    Heather Long and
    Josh Dawsey
    April 10, 2020 at 1:14 p.m. EDT

    The Labor Department is facing growing criticism over its response to the coronavirus pandemic as the agency plays a central role in ensuring that the tens of millions of workers affected by the crisis get assistance.

    The criticism ranges from direct actions that the agency has taken to limit the scope of worker assistance programs to concerns that it has not been aggressive enough about protecting workers from health risks or supporting states scrambling to deliver billions in new aid.

    In recent days, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, who has expressed concerns about unemployment insurance being too generous, has used his department’s authority over new laws enacted by Congress to limit who qualifies for joblessness assistance and to make it easier for small businesses not to pay family leave benefits. The new rules make it more difficult for gig workers such as Uber and Lyft drivers to get benefits, while making it easier for some companies to avoid paying their workers coronavirus-related sick and family leave.

    “The Labor Department chose the narrowest possible definition of who qualifies for pandemic unemployment assistance,” said Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation who has spent two decades working on unemployment programs.

    At the same time, frustrations have built among career staff at the Labor Department that the agency hasn’t ordered employers to follow safeguards, including the wearing of masks, recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect workers. Two draft guidance documents written by officials at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, part of the Labor Department, to strengthen protections for health-care workers have also not been advanced, according to two people with knowledge of the regulations granted anonymity to discuss the internal deliberations.

    Scalia, a longtime corporate lawyer who is the son of the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, has emerged as a critical player in the government’s economic response to the pandemic. Nearly 17 million Americans have applied for unemployment insurance since President Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, and states are struggling to get their systems working to deliver $260 billion in new aid approved by Congress.

    Democrats and some Republicans argue that the Labor Department needs to be more aggressive about disbursing money and technical assistance to states to shore up the unemployment insurance system. The department has released only half of $1 billion in administrative support for states that Congress approved almost a month ago.

    Sen. Lindsay O. Graham (R-S.C.) said Thursday in an interview that he has talked to Scalia about the need to speed things up.

    “You could have massive civil unrest if these systems cannot get checks out the door. We’re talking about 20 percent unemployment, maybe even more,” Graham said. “The application process is a nightmare. The state systems are failing.”

    Graham said that Scalia has been responsive, but, “I don’t see any action being taken.”

    Labor Department officials said Scalia is moving rapidly to help U.S. workers in an unprecedented time. They pointed to a poster and guidebook that OSHA released with steps companies “can take” to reduce worker risk of coronavirus exposure.

    “Under Secretary Scalia’s leadership, in the last two weeks, the department has quickly released new rules and guidance for states, businesses, and individual Americans to help those in need of relief,” said Patrick Pizzella, deputy labor secretary. “The department has already distributed nearly $500 million in additional administrative funding to 39 states.”

    Still, Scalia has made clear he is wary of taking an excessively lax approach to disbursing aid, an argument that he used to help win GOP support for recent legislation. Writing on Fox Business Network’s website on Monday, he warned that he does not want unemployed people to become addicted to government aid.

    “We want workers to work, not to become dependent on the unemployment system,” Scalia wrote with Small Business Administration chief Jovita Carranza. “Unemployment is not the preferred outcome when government stay-at-home orders force temporary business shutdowns.”

    On the day the $2 trillion package passed the Senate, Scalia spoke with Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who had raised concerns the law’s new unemployment benefits were too large and would deter workers from returning to jobs.

    Scalia told conservative senators that once enacted, his agency would ensure the provisions his agency oversees would not hurt U.S. companies, according to three congressional officials aware of the conversations and granted anonymity to discuss the call.

    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  11. #1781

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia faces blowback as he curtails scope of worker relief in unemployment crisis
    Labor Department comes under fire over handling of worker protection, unemployment program

    Narrowing rules

    Two recent laws passed by Congress expanded paid and sick leave policies as well as the size and scope of unemployment benefits for Americans. But worker advocates argue that as Scalia begins to implement these measures, his department is being much less generous toward workers than toward companies.

    New Labor Department guidance says unemployment benefits apply to gig workers only if they are “forced to suspend operations,” which could dramatically limit options for those workers if their apps are still operating. Other workers also face a high hurdle to qualify for benefits.

    The guidance says a worker “may be able to return to his or her place of employment within two weeks” of quarantining, and parents forced to stop work to care for kids after schools closed are not eligible for unemployment after the school year is over. Workers who stay home because they are older or in another high-risk group are also ineligible unless they can prove a medical professional advised them to stop working.

    Some states are also having a difficult time figuring out how to verify how much money self-employed workers typically earn. It might require looking at tax documents, which unemployment offices don’t usually have access to.

    “Some of the requirements, the standards that we’re being held to, are going to be incredibly difficult to adhere to,” Maine Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman said.

    A Labor Department spokesperson said the agency is “providing as much technical assistance and IT support as possible” to states, some of which are using computer systems that are several decades old.

    Scalia’s agency is also in charge of overseeing the new paid sick and family leave regulations, which apply to companies with fewer than 500 employees during the pandemic. The law gave the Labor Department authority to exempt businesses with under 50 employees from providing 12 weeks of paid family leave to care for a child out of school if the leave policy threatens to bankrupt the company.

    Businesses that deny workers paid leave don’t have to send the government any paperwork justifying why. The Labor Department’s guidance asks companies to “retain such records for its own files,” a contrast with the heavy documentation required from gig workers who must prove they were affected by the coronavirus outbreak to get aid.

    A Labor Department spokesperson said its rules on paid sick and family leave follow Congress’ direction.

    “The department’s new rule balances allowing workers to take paid leave to care for their children with keeping small businesses open — as instructed by Congress,” a spokesperson said.

    Tension at OSHA

    Some Labor Department staffers and outside critics have also faulted Scalia for his handling of OSHA, which falls under his jurisdiction.

    The CDC has issued recommendations for the public and businesses to follow practices such as social distancing and sanitizing workstations. OSHA could make those guidelines mandatory for all employers or for all essential employees but has not done so.

    “Some of the OSHA staff is frustrated they can’t do more to protect workers. They want an emergency standard that would require employers to follow CDC guidelines,” said David Michaels, a George Washington University School of Public Health professor who served as assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health in the Obama administration.

    Under Scalia, OSHA has also decided against issuing safety requirements to protect hospital and health-care workers, including rules that would mandate nurses and other providers be given masks and protective gear recommended by the CDC when at risk of exposure.

    The union National Nurses United petitioned Scalia to increase the requirements during the pandemic, but a union spokeswoman said the Labor Department has not even acknowledged receipt of the letter.

    Hospitals have resisted these rules for years. Tom Nickels, the chief lobbyist for the American Hospital Association, said that he hadn’t spoken to Scalia but that his group has opposed these actions in conversations with OSHA staff because widening the use of N95 respirator masks would be impractical. “The equipment is in short supply,” he said. “We can’t get it.”

    OSHA also has not taken significant action to protect workers from retaliation when they speak out about dangerous conditions that expose them to coronavirus, Michaels said.

    When workers at a manufacturing plant in northern Illinois tried alerting government officials about their concerns about working shoulder to shoulder, the regional OSHA official responded that “all OSHA can do is contact an employer and send an advisory letter outlining the recommended protective measures,” according to an email reviewed by The Washington Post. “This isn’t very helpful for you or your labor group, but it is the best I have to offer,” the email said.

    On Wednesday, OSHA sent out a news release reminding companies that it is “illegal to retaliate against workers because they report unsafe and unhealthful working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic."

    “OSHA has completely abandoned their responsibility to protect workers on the job,” said Debbie Berkowitz, who worked at OSHA in the Obama administration and is now director of the worker safety and health program at the National Employment Law Project. “I have never felt this way, that every worker is at the mercy at their boss of whether they get protected. People are going to get sick and die, and they don’t have to.”

    This week, Scalia said OSHA would take all worker safety concerns seriously.

    “We are fielding calls from workers worried about their health and from workers who believe they have been illegally disciplined by their employer for expressing health concerns,” he said. “We will not tolerate retaliation.”

    Staff writer Amy Goldstein contributed to this report.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  12. #1782

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Ti-Amie View Post
    Kyle Griffin @kylegriffin1

    Reuters' Jeff Mason: What metrics will you use when making the decision to re-open the economy?

    Trump (pointing to his head): "The metrics right here. That's my metrics. That's all I can do."
    His bad luck that for the economy to get back on track, certain states have to reopen and not one of the states he needs to get back ASAP has a GOP Governor eager to do his bidding.

  13. #1783

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    Live updates: Coronavirus death toll has reached 100,000 worldwide; Trump confirms he’s creating task force focused on reopening country

    Siobhán O'Grady,
    Rick Noack,
    Alex Horton,
    John Wagner,
    Katie Mettler,
    Brittany Shammas,
    Miriam Berger,
    Eva Dou,
    Michael Brice-Saddler,
    Hannah Knowles and
    Steven Goff
    April 10, 2020 at 4:12 p.m. EDT

    The Washington Post is providing this story for free so that all readers have access to this important information about the coronavirus. For more free stories, sign up for our daily Coronavirus Updates newsletter.

    The confirmed covid-19 death toll has reached 100,000 worldwide. But experts fear the total is worse than the numbers provided by Johns Hopkins University, given a lack of transparency in China and elsewhere, and the difficulty of confirming cause of death, especially outside of hospitals.

    Meanwhile, at Friday’s White House briefing, President Trump said he’ll announce Tuesday the members of a new task force made up of people from the medical and business communities to determine when and how to reopen the country.

    Authorities around the world are warning people to stay home during Easter weekend. Good Friday and Easter Monday are public holidays in numerous nations that are being ravaged by the virus.

    Here are some significant developments:

    New York State recorded 777 known deaths Thursday, just 22 fewer from the record high the day before, but a flatter trend in severe cases is a “somewhat hopeful” sign that restrictive measures are working, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent three days in an intensive care unit receiving oxygen, is now back in a regular ward, where on Friday he “has been able to do short walks, between periods of rest,” Downing Street officials said.

    Life is slowly returning to the streets and shops of Wuhan — the original epicenter of the outbreak — after the Chinese city reopened following 76 days of almost complete lockdown.

    Taiwan is excluded from the World Health Organization, yet has become a case study in how to contain the virus. Twitter users there have been trolling the WHO director general with pictures of food and bubble tea following his accusation that Taiwan’s government was trying to smear him.

    2:14 p.m.
    Moscow to introduce citywide mobile pass system

    MOSCOW — Moscow will require citizens to download mobile passes to leave their homes for certain reasons, with the city’s mayor announcing stricter coronavirus measures Friday.

    The capital is in its second week of a stay-at-home order, and after Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said the government would be holding off on asking Muscovites to download a mobile pass each time they go out, a surge in cases has necessitated them, he said in a video address. The rollout of the pass system will occur gradually starting Monday, he said.

    “On the first stage, we will introduce it for travel to work,” Sobyanin said, “on the second stage, for trips made for any other purposes, and on the third stage, if needed, for movements inside a district.”

    Muscovites can only leave their homes to walk the dog within 100 meters of their residence, to take out the trash, to visit the doctor or to shop at the nearest grocery store or pharmacy. Sobyanin also announced that all construction and repair work in Moscow will be suspended next week; the construction of health-care facilities and the metro system are exceptions.

    Russia announced 1,786 new coronavirus cases Friday — a record one-day increase for the country — to bring the total confirmed cases in the country to 11,917. Nearly 8,000 of those are in Moscow. Those numbers are expected to sharply rise in the coming weeks; Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko told the state-run Rossiya-1 channel that the country could start giving positive diagnoses based on symptoms alone after Russia’s testing method was criticized as not being sensitive enough.

    In an interview with Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, Sobyanin warned that Russia’s coronavirus situation is far from reaching the peak.

    “We’re closer to the foot of the hill, not even halfway up,” he said.

    By Isabelle Khurshudyan

    2:17 p.m.
    Boris Johnson able to take ‘short walks’ in hospital

    LONDON — Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who spent three days in an intensive care unit receiving oxygen, is now back in a regular ward, where on Friday he “has been able to do short walks, between periods of rest,” Downing Street officials said.

    Johnson, 55, one of the world’s best-known coronavirus patients, is now “in the early stages of recovery. He has spoken to his doctors and thanks the whole clinical team for the incredible care he has received. His thoughts are with those affected by this terrible disease,” said the spokesman, who by protocol is not named.

    Stanley Johnson, the prime minister’s father, said his son must now rest.

    “To use that American expression, he almost took one for the team. We have got to make sure we play the game properly now,’ the elder Johnson told the BBC radio on Friday. “As I understand it, he has moved from the ICU into a recovery unit, but I don’t think you can say he is out of the wood now.”

    The former diplomat added: “He has to take time. I cannot believe you can walk away from this and get straight back to Downing Street and pick up the reins without a period of readjustment.”

    At the news Thursday night that Johnson was leaving the ICU for a regular hospital bed, his fiancee, who is pregnant with the couple’s first child, tweeted a drawing of a rainbow, a symbol used to show support for the National Health Service (NHS) during this crisis.

    Britain has reported 70,783 confirmed cases and 8,958 deaths so far. The health secretary, Matt Hancock, begged Britons not to gather over the long Easter weekend but to “stay at home to protect our NHS and save lives.”

    By William Booth

    2:20 p.m.
    Rich vacationers tried to fly a private jet to France in violation of travel bans. It didn’t work.

    The scene could have been out of a movie: Five men in their 40s and 50s, accompanied by three women in their mid-20s, arrived in France via a private plane chartered in London by a Croatian businessman. Helicopters awaited them on the tarmac. Their destination: a luxury villa in Cannes.

    Only this pesky pandemic that’s killed at least 100,000 people worldwide got in their way.

    French police intercepted the Embraer Legacy jet and its 10 occupants on April 4 as the group landed at the Marseille Provence Airport, Agence France-Press reported. Authorities refused the group entry into the country and sent them back on their jet to the United Kingdom.

    “They were coming for a holiday in Cannes, and three helicopters were waiting on the tarmac,” a border police spokesperson told AFP. “We notified them they were not allowed to enter the national territory, and they left four hours later.”

    The holidaymakers included Croatian, German, French, Romanian and Ukrainian citizens, according to AFP.

    France banned all nonessential travel on March 17, as part of a series of measures imposed across Europe, and much of the world, to contain the novel coronavirus.

    Details of the incident were released Thursday, the same day that the International Monetary Fund warned that the pandemic would unleash the world’s worst recession since the Great Depression.

    By Miriam Berger
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  14. #1784

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    P2 WaPo Updates 4/10/20

    2:26 p.m.
    Deaths in U.K. continue to climb as Spain and Italy report further decline

    Countries across Europe reported hundreds of new deaths caused by covid-19 on Friday, even as Spain and Italy continued to see slight decreases in fatality counts.

    Another 980 people died in Britain over the past 24 hours, raising the number of confirmed coronavirus-related deaths to 8,959, according to Health Secretary Matt Hancock. This marked an increase from Thursday, when 881 people died of complications due to the virus that causes the disease covid-19.

    Among those hospitalized with the virus in Britain is Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who on Thursday moved out of the intensive care unit.

    France reported Friday another 987 deaths in hospitals and nursing homes, raising the country’s official tally to 13,197 fatalities.

    In contrast, Spain reported a slowing in its coronavirus-related deaths: 605 more people died in the past day, the Health Ministry said Friday, the lowest figure since March 24, according to Reuters.

    Still, Spain maintains the grim status of having the world’s third-highest death toll from the coronavirus, with at least 15,843 confirmed dead as of Friday.

    The process of counting deaths, however, is fraught, as many countries record only those who tested positive for the virus in a hospital, a practice that likely leaves many more related deaths unaccounted for in the tally. Experts have also questioned the reliability of China’s data, which they say vastly underrepresents true fatality figures.

    On Friday, Italy’s national federation of doctors (FNOMCEO) reported that 109 Italian doctors have died of the virus, according to the Italian ANSA news agency. In a hopeful sign that the virus-hit country’s fatalities are plateauing, its Civil Protection Agency reported Friday that 570 people had died in the past 24 hours, down from 610 the previous day. The number of new cases also slightly decreased.

    Italy has had the world’s most officially tallied coronavirus deaths, followed by the United States. At least 18,849 people have died of covid-19 in Italy since the outbreak officially began there on Feb. 21.

    By Miriam Berger

    2:50 p.m.
    Italy extends lockdown through May 3

    ROME — Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Friday announced a three-week extension of the nation’s lockdown to May 3, saying it was not yet time to pull back from restrictions that have slowed but not stopped the coronavirus’s growth.

    “We cannot foil the efforts that we have made so far,” Conte said. “We have to keep our guard high.”

    The extension delays the precarious process of trying to reboot the economy despite the virus’s threat. Any reopening is likely to be gradual, focusing first on businesses and manufacturing, with schools, restaurants and other public places remaining shuttered for longer. In Italy, more than 18,000 people have died from the virus, the highest figure in the world.

    “I can imagine we are all impatient to start anew,” said Conte, adding that a team of experts would study the details of how to reopen. “The wish is that after May 3 we can start anew, gradually, but still restart. It will all depend on the behavior.”

    Italy was the first country in the West to impose a lockdown, and its version has been particularly stringent. Even as that lockdown was extended, Conte announced a modest loosening, with bookstores, stationery stores and clothing stores for children allowed to reopen starting April 14.

    In his evening address, Conte also spoke at just shy of a yell about Europe’s fractious economic response to the virus, saying that Italy still wanted the corona-bonds that Germany, the Netherlands and other countries have strongly opposed. Conte has faced sharpened political opposition domestically for failing to win that version of continentwide debt-sharing in a European Union deal hatched Thursday.

    “We still must work to build something more ambitious,” Conte said, describing Thursday’s deal that sends hundreds of millions to Europe’s hardest-hit countries a first step.

    By Chico Harlan
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  15. #1785

    Re: covid-19 Virus Updates and Discussion

    Not so long ago Russians were still dismissing the virus as a Western problem and Putin tried to find some policital advantage in it. I think that's all gone now...
    Roger forever

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