Furthest Right

Panicdemic (#16)


  • virus (n.)

    late 14c., “poisonous substance,” from Latin virus “poison, sap of plants, slimy liquid, a potent juice,” from Proto-Italic *weis-o-(s-) “poison,” which is probably from a PIE root *ueis-, perhaps originally meaning “to melt away, to flow,” used of foul or malodorous fluids, but with specialization in some languages to “poisonous fluid” (source also of Sanskrit visam “venom, poison,” visah “poisonous;” Avestan vish- “poison;” Latin viscum “sticky substance, birdlime;” Greek ios “poison,” ixos “mistletoe, birdlime;” Old Church Slavonic višnja “cherry;” Old Irish fi “poison;” Welsh gwy “poison”). The meaning “agent that causes infectious disease” is recorded by 1728 (in reference to venereal disease); the modern scientific use dates to the 1880s.

  • Seniors with Covid-19 show unusual symptoms, doctors say

    Instead, seniors may seem “off” — not acting like themselves ― early on after being infected by the coronavirus. They may sleep more than usual or stop eating. They may seem unusually apathetic or confused, losing orientation to their surroundings. They may become dizzy and fall. Sometimes, seniors stop speaking or simply collapse.

    At advanced ages, “someone’s immune response may be blunted and their ability to regulate temperature may be altered,” said Dr. Joseph Ouslander, a professor of geriatric medicine at Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine.

    “Underlying chronic illnesses can mask or interfere with signs of infection,” he said. “Some older people, whether from age-related changes or previous neurologic issues such as a stroke, may have altered cough reflexes. Others with cognitive impairment may not be able to communicate their symptoms.”

  • Scientist Behind Sweden’s Coronavirus Strategy Says Country Better Prepared For Second Wave Due to Not Having Lockdown

    Tegnell also claimed up to 20 percent of residents in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, have been infected with the virus, noting “We believe that we have an immunity level, if I remember rightly, somewhere between 15-20 percent of the population in Stockholm.

    According to the study based on data from random testing and cases reported to hospitals, around one third of Stockholm’s population of nearly a million will be infected by May 1.

    The agency’s study suggested the rate of new infections in Stockholm peaked on April 15, while a decline was not yet evident from the data. The study also estimated that for each confirmed case, there were around 999 milder cases not recorded because people did not seek medical help.

  • According to Drosten, pre-existing conditions could lead to corona immunity

    When examining defense cells in pre-pandemic samples, the researchers had seen that 34 percent of the patients had reactive T cells – i.e. blood cells – that to a certain extent recognized certain parts of the new coronavirus. So-called reactivity can be expected when the disease is behind – however, these patients have had no contact with Sars-CoV-2, according to Drosten. The fact that there were still reactive T cells could be due to infections with human cold coronaviruses.

  • Coronavirus: Worldwide death toll climbs to 200,000

    More than 200,000 people worldwide have now died with the coronavirus, figures from Johns Hopkins University show.

    There are more than 2.8 million confirmed cases of Covid-19, according to the tally.

    It comes after the number of fatalities in the US passed 50,000, as Americans endure the world’s deadliest outbreak.

  • Healthy people in their 30s and 40s, barely sick with COVID-19, are dying from strokes

    The analyses suggest coronavirus patients are mostly experiencing the deadliest type of stroke. Known as large vessel occlusions or LVOs, they can obliterate large parts of the brain responsible for movement, speech and decision-making in one blow because they are in the main blood-supplying arteries.

    Many researchers suspect strokes in novel coronavirus patients may be a direct consequence of blood problems that are producing clots all over some people’s bodies.

  • Sorry, Immunity to Covid-19 Won’t Be Like a Superpower

    Adaptive immunity is not an on/off switch. Instead of treating it as such, we should learn to think in terms of an immunity continuum. At one end is what’s called sterilizing immunity, in which exposure to a pathogen tends to induce a lifelong, fail-safe protection from it. (That’s the case with measles.) At the other end is no immunity at all, where a history of prior illness doesn’t seem to matter—or, indeed, where it could even make things worse. Having an immune response to one strain of the virus causing dengue fever, for example, can worsen your reaction to the other types.

    Experts say that SARS-CoV-2 likely falls somewhere in the middle, such that people who get exposed are neither sterilized against further illness nor left utterly defenseless. Instead, they enter into a state you might think of as “immunishness,” an intermediate level of protection that dwindles over time. The robustness of this immunish state—whether it prevents all reinfection or merely makes a second round of sickness less intense—and the period of time for which it lasts will depend on multiple factors, such as a patient’s genetics and sex (women tend to have stronger immune reactions than men), the strength of their initial immune response, and the characteristics of the virus itself as it continues to evolve.

    One intriguing possibility is that previous exposure to other coronaviruses offers a smidgen of protection. (An old study of milder coronaviruses suggests this could be true.) Tulane University virologist Robert Garry and his research group have seen some patients with Covid-19 mount the sort of immune response you’d expect from someone experiencing a second exposure to the same pathogen. “Obviously they weren’t infected with SARS-CoV-2 before,” Garry says, but it may be that the new virus is similar enough to the seasonal coronaviruses that cause the common cold that it triggers a memory response. This could explain why Covid-19 cases seem to be less severe in children than adults: Maybe kids are more likely to have had recent exposure to the other coronaviruses.

  • 80 Percent of COVID-19 Deaths in These European Countries Were in Areas With High Levels of Air Pollution

    Nitrogen dioxide is a gas emitted by both natural processes and human sources, such as vehicle traffic and industrial activity. Long-term exposure to NO2 has been linked to a wide range of severe health problems, such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

    Many of the health problems that result from long-term exposure to air pollutants are the same as those that increase the risk of death from COVID0-19, given that it is a respiratory disease.

  • Coronavirus detected on particles of air pollution

    The Italian scientists used standard techniques to collect outdoor air pollution samples at one urban and one industrial site in Bergamo province and identified a gene highly specific to Covid-19 in multiple samples. The detection was confirmed by blind testing at an independent laboratory.

    Two other research groups have suggested air pollution particles could help coronavirus travel further in the air.

    A statistical analysis by Setti’s team suggests higher levels of particle pollution could explain higher rates of infection in parts of northern Italy before a lockdown was imposed, an idea supported by another preliminary analysis. The region is one of the most polluted in Europe.

  • Nose is a point of entry for coronavirus as West reinforces early Chinese research

    The question was first raised by Chinese scientists after the first viral strain was isolated and identified in Wuhan early this year. Chinese researchers, including Professor Zuo Wei of Tongji University in Shanghai, found the cells producing ACE2 – a receptor binding protein targeted by the coronavirus – occurred mainly in some organs lower down in the human body, such as lungs, intestines and testicles.

    But Professor Zheng Min, of the National Clinical Research Centre for Infectious Diseases at Zhejiang University, investigated further and found ACE2 expressing cells in nasal tissue, as well as a higher load of the virus in a patient’s nose samples than found in oral swabs.

    See the full study

  • Mystery of India’s lower death rates seems to defy coronavirus trend

    Indian doctors, officials and crematorium employees suspect the lower death rate is in large part attributable to fewer road and rail accidents.

    “Road accident cases, and even patients with alcohol or drug abuse, stroke and heart attacks have been coming in fewer numbers,” said Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, health minister for the northeastern state of Assam.

    Accidents on India’s chaotic roads killed more than 151,400 people in 2018, according to official data, the world’s highest absolute number.

  • Individual preventive social distancing during an epidemic may have negative population-level outcomes

    From 2018:

    As the epidemic evolves, susceptible individuals may distancethemselves from their infectious contacts. Some individuals replace their lost social connections by seeking new ties. If social distancing occurs at a high rate at the beginning of an epidemic, then this can prevent an outbreak from occurring. However, we show that moderate social distancing can worsen the disease outcome, both in the initial phase of an outbreak and the final epidemic size. Moreover, the same negative effect can arise in real-world networks. Our results suggest that one needs to be careful when targeting behavioural changes as they could potentially worsen the epidemic outcome.

  • Genetic analysis suggests that the coronavirus was already circulating in Spain by mid-February

    A team of scientists from Madrid’s Carlos III Health Institute has analyzed the first 28 genomes of the virus in Spain. The trail of the errors does not lead to a single “patient zero,” but confirms that there were a “multitude of entries” by people who had been infected in other countries during the month of February, according to the bioinformatic specialist Francisco Díez, the first signatory of the study.


  • Dozens of anti-lockdown protesters arrested in Berlin

    About 1,000 people turned out for the rally, which has become a weekly event in the German capital.

    Saturday’s protest attracted mainly far-left activists but there were also right-wing supporters and members of other fringe groups.

    Some of the demonstrators wore T-shirts accusing Chancellor Angela Merkel of “banning life” while others simply called for “freedom”.

  • Coronavirus: China rejects call for probe into origins of disease

    A top diplomat in the UK, Chen Wen told the BBC the demands were politically motivated and would divert China’s attention from fighting the pandemic.

    Information about the origin of Covid-19 and how it initially spread could help countries tackle the disease.

    The virus is thought to have emerged at a wildlife market in the city of Wuhan late last year.

  • Chinese activists detained after sharing censored coronavirus material on crowdsourcing site Github

    The trio – Cai Wei, his girlfriend, a woman surnamed Tang, and Chen Mei – were contributors to a crowd-sourced project known as Terminus2049 that began in 2018 and collected articles that had been removed from mainstream media outlets and social media.

    Microsoft-owned Github lets programmers collaborate on code, but has increasingly become a haven for Chinese activists who want to circumvent the Great Firewall to publish censored content.

    China behaves just like Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Reddit. Wonder which group owns the other.

  • Poachers kill more animals as coronavirus crushes tourism to Africa

    In Botswana, at least six rhinos have been poached since the virus shut down tourism. Botswana’s security forces in April shot and killed five suspected poachers in two incidents. In northwest South Africa, at least nine rhinos have been killed since the virus lockdown. All the poaching took place in what were previously tourism areas that were safe for animals to roam.

  • Why Apple and Google are moving away from the term ‘contact tracing’

    Two weeks ago, Apple and Google announced a major joint project to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus. Health authorities would build contact tracing apps for the tech giants’ mobile platforms, which would use signals from people’s phones to alert them if they’ve been in contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19. But since then, Apple and Google have been met with scrutiny and pushback over the privacy implications of such a system. Critics worry about the possibility of abuse or spying.

    To assuage those fears, the two companies on Friday outlined a series of technical tweaks to better uphold privacy, but the most important change may’ve been something far simpler: Saying the tools are for “exposure notification” instead of “contact tracing.”

    Contact tracing has existed since long before Apple and Google decided to get involved. The practice is time-tested in the world of public health and has been used to track the spread of infectious diseases including tuberculosis, the measles and Ebola.

  • China pressured EU to drop COVID disinformation criticism: sources

    Four diplomatic sources told Reuters that the report had initially been slated for release on April 21 but was delayed after Chinese officials picked up on a Politico news report hat previewed its findings.

    A senior Chinese official contacted European officials in Beijing the same day to tell them that, “if the report is as described and it is released today it will be very bad for cooperation,” according to EU diplomatic correspondence reviewed by Reuters.

    The correspondence quoted senior Chinese foreign ministry official Yang Xiaoguang as saying that publishing the report would make Beijing “very angry” and accused European officials of trying to please “someone else” – something the EU diplomats understood to be a reference to Washington.

  • China ‘owes us’: Growing outrage over Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic

    Missouri’s lawsuit was filed in a federal court this week by state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, alleging negligence on China’s part. The complaint said Missouri and its residents have lost possibly tens of billions of dollars, and it seeks cash compensation.

    “The Chinese government lied to the world about the danger and contagious nature of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers, and did little to stop the spread of the disease,” Schmitt, a Republican, said in a statement. “They must be held accountable for their actions.”

    Other lawsuits have been filed in U.S. courts on behalf of business owners, including a class-action lawsuit in Florida seeking reparations from the Chinese government for coronavirus-related damages on behalf of thousands of people.

  • Without a single COVID-19 death, Vietnam starts easing its coronavirus lockdown

    Experts credit Vietnam’s early, decisive steps: swiftly banning nearly all travel from China, suspending schools in mid-January even before recording any infections, quarantining tens of thousands of people and employing the extensive Communist Party apparatus to communicate distancing measures and trace the contacts of COVID-19 patients.

    The response was made possible by a Leninist one-party system that is often criticized for maintaining secrecy, silencing dissent and trampling on individual rights — but that has proven adept at tackling health crises since it was the first nation to stamp out the SARS epidemic nearly two decades ago.

  • US factory orders plunge 14.4% as economy grinds to halt

    Orders for big-ticket manufactured goods plunged 14.4% in March, the second-biggest decline on record. The worse-than-expected slide underscored the severity of the economic impact from the pandemic.

    The March decline was surpassed only by an 18.4% drop in August 2014. There was a 1.1% gain in February, before the government-mandated shutdowns to contain the virus had begun. Demand in a key category that serves as a proxy for business investment eked out a 0.1% gain, but that followed a 0.8% decline in February.

    Not to mention a surging deficit:

    The latest, and dire, projection from the Congressional Budget Office, released Friday, states the U.S. deficits will mushroom to $3.7 trillion in 2020, fueled by the four coronavirus relief bills signed into law by President Donald Trump. A fifth bill is already in the works, and will be “expensive,” according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

    The deficit for 2021 is estimated to tally $2.1 trillion, double previous CBO estimates.

  • 1 in 10 Canadians believes a coronavirus conspiracy theory, survey suggests

    Carignan said the six theories were:

    • My government is hiding important information about coronavirus.
    • Coronavirus was intentionally made in a lab.
    • Coronavirus was manufactured in a lab by mistake.
    • The pharmaceutical industry is involved in the spread of the coronavirus.
    • Coronavirus medication already exists.
    • There’s a link between 5G technology and the coronavirus.
  • Coronavirus pandemic reveals Germans’ poor cooking skills

    “People are rather dramatically forced to rely on their own culinary skills now that the offerings of fast-food restaurants, French fries stands and the Italian restaurant around the corner are not an option,” said Minhoff.

    “Now people stand in supermarkets and ask themselves, ‘OK how do I make a burger myself?'” Minhoff added.

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