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I don't get Fox News so I never watch it.  I have, of course, seen short clips.  I do get CNN but can't watch it because I find it falls into your "sewer pipe" characterization above.  I think it

Following is why I would never support a bailout from our government to help out professional sports teams Raptors re-sign Fred VanVleet to four-year, $85-million deal Doug Smith By Doug Smit

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Ford locks down Ontario’s COVID-19 hotspots: Indoor dining at bars, restaurants now prohibited

The Canadian Press  3 hrs ago
 

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Ontario is imposing new restrictions in Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
%7B© Provided by National Post

The restrictions will prohibit indoor dining at restaurants and bars, and close gyms, movie theatres and casinos.

The measures will go into effect tomorrow and will be in place for at least 28 days.

The government is also asking people in those areas to leave their homes only for essential purposes.

Link to complete story with graphics.

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/ford-locks-down-ontario-s-covid-19-hotspots-indoor-dining-at-bars-restaurants-now-prohibited/ar-BB19RVcO?ocid=msedgdhp

 

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An encouraging article from a Professor of Pharmacy at the U of Toronto...

https://advpharmacy.com/blog/2020/08/11/5-important-things-learned-since-covid-19-outbreak/

5 Important Things Learned Since COVID-19 Outbreak

With the pandemic, COVID-19, still present around the world, researchers are learning more about the virus day-by-day. A professor from University of Toronto sent out a letter to his family outlining 5 important things that have been found about COVID-19.

He states that individuals who get infected by COVID-19 after June 2020 are more likely to survive in comparison to individuals who had been infected in February 2020. The reason to that being? Doctors and Scientists have a better understanding of the virus and are able to treat patients better.

5 Important Things learned since Feb 2020:

  1. Since the pandemic outbreak, it was initially understood that COVID-19 was causing deaths due to pneumonia and ventilators were being used in thought of it being the most effective treatment. Doctors and Researchers are now understanding that the virus is causing blood clots in the blood vessels of the lungs and other parts of the body due to reduced oxygenation, and instead of only using ventilators for treatment, drugs like Aspirin and Heparin are being used to treat patients as well.
  1. Earlier in the year, many individuals infected by Coronavirus were dropping dead on the road before receiving treatment. This was happening due to low oxygen in their blood, medical term known as ‘Happy Hypoxia’ where oxygen saturation was decreasing over time, but patients were not showing symptoms until they were critically ill. To combat this, as of June 2020, oxygen saturations for COVID-19 patients are being monitored, and if oxygen saturation reaches 93% or less, patients are being transported to the hospital.
  1. Antivirals; Favipiravir and Remdesivir are two medications that being used to prevent patients from becoming severely infected and can cure them before they go into Hypoxia.
  1. As of June 2020, medications such as Steroids are being used to prevent cytokine storm in few patients, which is a patient dying not only due to COVID-19, but also from their own immune system responding to Cytokine Storm.
  1. People with Hypoxia are treated by getting them to lie down in a prone position, which is on their stomach, and their condition becomes better. Aside from instructing patients to lie down in prone position, a chemical known as Alpha Defensin, which causes patients white blood cells to cause micro clots in blood vessels of the lungs. To prevent this, Colchicine can be used to treat patients.

*Colchicine is available through ADV-Care Pharmacy!

To keep in mind, individuals that are infected with COVID-19 after June 2020 are more likely to survive in comparison to the individuals that were infected in February 2020. Let’s continue to follow precautions set out by Public Health and wear masks and practice social distancing.

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This isn't good...

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/13/coronavirus-first-case-of-covid-19-reinfection-confirmed-in-the-us.html

A 25-year-old man becomes first in the U.S. to contract coronavirus twice, with second infection ‘more severe’

Key Points
  • It is the first confirmed case of a U.S. patient becoming re-infected with Covid-19, and the fifth known case reported worldwide.
  • The resident of Washoe County, Nevada, who had no known immune disorders or history of significant underlying conditions, required hospital treatment on testing positive for Covid-19 for the second time.
  • He has now recovered, though the case raises further questions about the prospect of developing protective immunity against the coronavirus.
  •  
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https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30764-7/fulltext

Summary

Background

The degree of protective immunity conferred by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is currently unknown. As such, the possibility of reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 is not well understood. We describe an investigation of two instances of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the same individual.

Methods

A 25-year-old man who was a resident of Washoe County in the US state of Nevada presented to health authorities on two occasions with symptoms of viral infection, once at a community testing event in April, 2020, and a second time to primary care then hospital at the end of May and beginning of June, 2020. Nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from the patient at each presentation and twice during follow-up. Nucleic acid amplification testing was done to confirm SARS-CoV-2 infection. We did next-generation sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 extracted from nasopharyngeal swabs. Sequence data were assessed by two different bioinformatic methodologies. A short tandem repeat marker was used for fragment analysis to confirm that samples from both infections came from the same individual.

Findings

The patient had two positive tests for SARS-CoV-2, the first on April 18, 2020, and the second on June 5, 2020, separated by two negative tests done during follow-up in May, 2020. Genomic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 showed genetically significant differences between each variant associated with each instance of infection. The second infection was symptomatically more severe than the first.

Interpretation

Genetic discordance of the two SARS-CoV-2 specimens was greater than could be accounted for by short-term in vivo evolution. These findings suggest that the patient was infected by SARS-CoV-2 on two separate occasions by a genetically distinct virus. Thus, previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 might not guarantee total immunity in all cases. All individuals, whether previously diagnosed with COVID-19 or not, should take identical precautions to avoid infection with SARS-CoV-2. The implications of reinfections could be relevant for vaccine development and application.
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Some very good information on mask usage in this article.

https://theconversation.com/covid-19-masks-faqs-how-can-cloth-stop-a-tiny-virus-whats-the-best-fabric-do-they-protect-the-wearer-146822

COVID-19 masks FAQs: How can cloth stop a tiny virus? What’s the best fabric? Do they protect the wearer?

October 12, 2020 9.22am EDT

Face masks reduce the spread of viruses passed on from respiratory secretions. While cloth masks are imperfect, widespread use of an imperfect mask has the potential to make a big difference in transmission of the virus.

We started reading the research on cloth masks and face coverings at the start of the pandemic, looking for ways to protect our vulnerable dialysis patients and our dialysis staff. We found a total of 25 studies, advocated for mask use and summarized our findings in a peer-reviewed publication. We also created an evidence-based, plain-language website (www.clothmasks.ca) to help people navigate this area.

Although mask use has been widely adopted, many people still have questions about them.

I see spaces in the cloth. How can it stop particles?

The virus that causes COVID-19 is about 0.1 micrometer in diameter. (A micrometer (µm) is one one-thousandth of a millimeter.) The holes in woven cloth are visible to the naked eye and may be five to 200 micrometers in diameter. It is counter-intuitive that cloth can be useful in this setting — it’s been compared to putting up a chain-link fence to stop mosquitoes. However, that analogy is wrong in many ways.

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According to aerosol science, whenever liquid hangs in air it is technically an aerosol, but other disciplines use the word “droplet” to mean a coarse particle five micrometers or larger, and reserve “aerosol” for fine particles smaller than five micrometers in effective diameter.

When we breathe, talk, eat, cough, sneeze or sing, we emit particles across a range of sizes, both coarse and fine, and the virus is in those particles. Even though there are gaps between the threads in cloth, the threads are usually wider than the gaps.

Also, at this microscopic level, the thread has thickness, or depth, so the gap is more a tunnel than a window. Microfilaments from broken or irregular threads project into the gap. The particle is not like a mosquito, which can redirect itself to avoid obstacles. A particle with momentum will run into a fibre, even though the air stream is diverted around it, like a ball hitting a wall — this is called impaction.

Québec Premier François Legault holds a face mask with the Montréal Canadiens logo in front of his face as he puts it on. Québec Premier François Legault puts on a Montréal Canadiens face mask as he finishes the daily COVID-19 press briefing on May 21, 2020 in Montréal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

But at the microscopic level, there are two additional processes in play. Particles also fall out of the air — called sedimentation. Some particles are moving randomly and this random motion brings them into contact with fibres — called diffusion. Finally, cloth can be used in multiple layers, adding a second and third gauntlet for the particle to run before it reaches the other side.

The point is not that some particles may penetrate the cloth, but that some are blocked.

What are the best materials for cloth face masks?

Based on our summary of 25 different studies, woven cotton, at least 100 threads per inch; flannel, either cotton or poly-cotton blend, at least 90 threads per inch; tea towel material; and heavy, good quality, cotton T-shirt material all performed well. This recommendation is based on the published data available, which doesn’t cover all possible mask materials: we didn’t find a lot of information on synthetic materials, for example, so we don’t know how they compare.

Four cloth masks hanging on a clothesline. Although the SARS-CoV-2 virus is smaller than the spaces between the threads of many types of cloth, wearing a cloth mask is not like trying to contain a mosquito with a chain-link fence. (Pixabay)

Every study that looked at layering found that it made a difference, so we recommend that masks be made of at least two layers; three or four may be even better. We found evidence for multiple layers of the same fabrics and for sandwiches of different materials. We did not find good evidence of useful levels of filtration for disposable filters, like coffee filters, so we suggest not using them.

For example, a two-layer T-shirt mask with a sewn edge — which prevents stretching — prevented 79 per cent of mouth bacteria reaching the environment during coughing. In the same experiment, a modern disposable medical mask performed in the same range at 85 per cent.

Two studies of surgical masks from the 1960s and 1970s distinguished between coarse particles (sometimes called droplets) and fine particles (sometimes called aerosols). A four-layer cotton mask and a mask made of a sandwich of cotton and flannel both reduced mouth bacteria in particles of all sizes reaching the environment during talking by 99 per cent and mouth bacteria in fine particles by 89 per cent.

This is all good evidence that cloth face coverings can prevent respiratory secretions from reaching the environment. Every coarse or fine particle trapped in a mask is not available to hang in the air or fall to a surface and contaminate it. “My mask protects you, your mask protects me”: if many people wear face coverings we expect the probability of transmission to fall.

Can a cloth mask protect the person wearing it?

We found four studies of inward filtration, all of which showed useful levels of filtration, all using the same widely-accepted technology that measures salt particles in the fine particle (0.02 to 1.0 micrometer) range. A study of one-layer tea-towel masks and a study of two-layer masks made of T-shirt material both showed at least 50 per cent protection for fine particles. Two cloth masks of unknown materials randomly purchased from street vendors performed just as well. For comparison, two of these studies — using exactly the same methods — examined how well modern disposable medical masks worked when tested on volunteers: they filtered around 80 per cent of fine particles.

Three researchers from the University of Pittsburgh made complex masks with eight layers of pre-shrunk high-quality cotton T-shirts fitted to their own faces: each filtered more than 90 per cent of inward aerosol-sized fine particles, offering proof-of-concept for the idea of designing better cloth masks.

Illustration of a black face mask with a coronavirus in a red circle with a line through it. Many of the cloth masks in current use are likely producing useful levels of filtration to the person wearing them. (Pixabay)

An animal experiment with tuberculosis bacteria provides further insight. Tuberculosis is usually considered an “airborne” disease, that is, one with an important transmission route through aerosols or fine particles. When caring for tuberculosis patients, health-care workers wear N95 masks, a high level of respiratory protection, to protect themselves and prevent onward transmission to others. When rabbits were exposed to aerosols of tuberculosis in controlled conditions, tuberculomas (infected abscesses) were reduced by 95 per cent in rabbits that wore close-fitting three- to six-layer gauze masks compared with those that did not.

Many of the cloth masks in current use, therefore, are likely producing useful levels of filtration to the person wearing them, and we have proof-of-concept for improved cloth mask materials and design.

At what rate of use do masks become beneficial?

Two modelling studies predict that 50 per cent adoption of a 50 per cent effective mask will have an important effect on transmission, and that if either percentage is increased, transmission is further reduced. We need to work on making cloth masks more effective, but the masks that we have on hand have the potential to change the course of the pandemic, particularly if we almost all wear them.

Mask mandates were imposed at different times in different states in the United States, creating a natural experiment. The COVID-19 daily growth rate fell by one per cent in the first five days and by two per cent at 21 days after a mask mandate was imposed. These effects are not small: they represent 16 to 19 per cent of the effects of other much more invasive measures (school closures, bans on large gatherings, shelter-in-place orders and closures of restaurants, bars and entertainment venues).

Taken together, this suggests that cloth face coverings of the type currently available have the potential to reduce transmission, and that when cloth face coverings are mandated, the growth rate decreases. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle projected on Sept. 3 that an increase in mask usage from the current 60 per cent to 95 per cent, combined with enhanced local social distancing as needed, would reduce global deaths by three-quarters of a million people before the end of 2020.

Are there any other benefits to wearing a mask?

Dr. Bonnie Henry wearing a cloth mask featuring bees and embroidered with the words 'kind calm safe' British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A new hypothesis advanced by researchers at the University of California San Francisco suggests that cloth masks don’t just reduce the probability of infectious organisms reaching a person, but also the number of infectious organisms — and that a lower number of infecting organisms leads to less severe disease.

Accumulating epidemiologic evidence from this pandemic suggests that when masks are worn, the overall severity of illness is lower. The proportion of those infected who remain asymptomatic is higher, and the probability of dying is lower. In animal experiments it is well known that the inoculum (the infecting dose) is related to disease severity. The threshold at which 50 per cent of animals in a group receiving the same dose die of infection is called the lethal-dose 50 (LD50).

Experiments on mice using the coronaviruses MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and SARS-CoV-1, which caused the 2003 SARS outbreak, showed dose-response and in MERS-CoV established LD50. In hamsters separated by surgical masks between cages from hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2, the severity of infection was reduced compared with hamsters unprotected by masks.

Further research on better cloth masks will be helpful. At the Centre of Excellence for Protective Equipment and Materials at McMaster, we hope to play a role in that work. However, even imperfect uptake and imperfect use of imperfect masks has the potential to have a surprisingly large impact during this pandemic. We should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

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https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/covid-19-pandemic-has-claimed-far-more-lives-reported-study-n1242970

The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed far more lives than reported, study says

On top of that, the U.S. has fared much worse than most high-income countries, a separate study found.

Far more Americans have died as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic than have been counted and reported, according to new research published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"For every two Americans that we know of who are dying of Covid-19, another American is dying," said Dr. Steven Woolf, author of the new research and director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University.

 

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Woolf's study looked at death statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Census Bureau.

The study found that from March through July, there were 225,530 "excess" deaths — a 20 percent increase over the average number of deaths expected for those months. (Excess deaths refer to the number of fatalities above what would be expected in a typical time

Deaths directly linked to Covid-19 account for 67 percent of those excess deaths, the study found, leaving the remaining 33 percent without a clear explanation.

One explanation for the gap may be underreporting or misreporting of Covid-19-related deaths — in other words, not counting Covid-19 deaths.

"The second explanation for the gap is people who did not have Covid-19, but died because of disruptions caused by the pandemic," Woolf said. "That would include someone who has chest pain, who is scared to call 911, because they're afraid of getting the virus, and then dies of a heart attack."

Woolf's study also took into account increased mortality related to increases in substance abuse and decreases in access to medical care, particularly among those who lost health care coverage during the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

A second study, also published Monday in JAMA, used death rates to compare the U.S. response to the pandemic to that of other high-income countries.

"What we show pretty consistently, is that the United States did worse in terms of deaths compared to every other of the 18 countries," said Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, author and vice provost for Global Initiatives and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

As of Sept. 19, the study showed, the U.S. reported an overall Covid-19 mortality rate of 60.3 per 100,000 people. Canada's rate was 24.6 per 100,000 and Australia's rate was 3.3 deaths per 100,000. The overall mortality rates include deaths from the start of the pandemic through mid-September.

If the U.S. had the same death rate as that of Canada, there would have been 117,000 fewer Covid-19 deaths; with Australia's death rate, the U.S. would've seen 188,000 fewer deaths, the authors wrote.

"That's tens of thousands of Americans who have unnecessarily died," Emanuel said.

Even hard-hit Italy had an overall Covid-19 mortality rate that was better that the U.S., at 59.1 per 100,000.

"It's not like Italy had some vaccine or therapeutic or special anything compared to the United States," Emanuel said. "What it had was much better adherence to public health measures," such as masks, physical distancing and business lockdowns.

Indeed, Italy's mortality rate dropped down to 10.3 deaths per 100,000 after June 7, while the rate in the U.S. remained at 27.2 per 100,000, the study reported. (The only three countries to report higher overall mortality rates than the U.S. were Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom, but their rates dropped below 10 per 100,000 after June 7.)

Woolf anticipates Covid-19-related deaths will continue for years after the raging spread of infection is controlled.

"Imagine cancer patients whose chemotherapy has been disrupted, or women who put off their mammograms," Woolf said. "The consequences of those impacts are going to be felt several years down the road."

"This could be a health ramification that lasts an entire generation."

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CATCHING VIRUS TWICE RARE, BUT POSSIBLE

Reinfections raise questions about immunity

  • Calgary Herald
  • 14 Oct 2020
  • SHARON KIRKEY

Unlike U.S. President Donald Trump, people shouldn't assume invulnerability once they've had COVID-19.

The latest reports of people who became infected with the pandemic virus twice — a 25- yearold man from the state of Nevada who recovered, and an 89- year- old Dutch woman reported to be the first known person to die after catching COVID-19, 59 days after her first infection — adds to growing evidence that reinfection with COVID-19 is not only possible, but that in rare cases it could result in worse disease the second time around.

Repeating claims he's immune to COVID, a defiant Trump proposed wading into a campaign rally in Florida on Monday and kissing his supporters.

“I feel so powerful. I' ll walk into that audience. I'll walk in there, I'll kiss everyone in that audience. I'll kiss the guys and the beautiful women …. Everybody. I'll just give you a big fat kiss.”

“They say you're immune. I don't know for how long. Some people say for life, some people say for four months,” he said.

In fact, it's not known how long, or how well, immunity after infection with SARS- COV-2 is likely to last. For some, it may be short-lived.

A paper published this week in Lancet Infectious Diseases describes the case of a 25-year-old man from Washoe County, Nevada, with no known immune disorders or underlying health conditions who was infected with two distinct SARSCOV-2 infections within 48 days.

It is the fifth confirmation of COVID-19 reinfection worldwide.

The Nevada man first tested positive for the virus in April, at a community-testing event. He had had tell-tale signs of COVID-19 for several weeks — sore throat, cough, headache, nausea, and diarrhea. He felt “lousy and quite sick,” but recovered in April and into May, said Dr. Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory and lead author of the Lancet study.

The man worked in a job that required two negative tests. He got tested, twice, in May, and was negative each time. Then, at the end of May, “he started to feel very lousy again,” Pandori said, with fever, headache, dizziness, and cough and shortness of breath. He was admitted to hospital in early June and tested positive again for COVID-19. This time, he developed a pneumonia-like illness requiring oxygen.

Genomic analysis showed genetically significant differences between the first infection and the second. It could be that the genetics of the second virus, for whatever reason, contributed to a more significant infection, Pandori said.

“We have to stop and remind everyone that this may not be generalizable,” said Pandori, an associate professor of pathology at the University of Nevada. In biology, everything happens across a spectrum, “and this may be the absolute, very rare end of the spectrum” in terms of immunity after being naturally exposed to the wily virus.

In the Dutch case, an elderly women who had a rare white blood cell cancer developed symptoms of COVID-19 two months after the start of her first episode with the infection, and two days after beginning chemotherapy. She died two weeks later.

Although she didn't test negative between episodes, the genetic makeup of the virus was different, suggesting “it is likely that the second episode was a reinfection rather than prolonged shedding” from the first, researchers reported in Oxford University Press.

It's not clear how often reinfection might occur, because we're not routinely looking for it, and a lot of work needs to go into proving it. Right now, most testing systems are geared at just keeping our heads above water, Pandori said. “We don't necessarily have a system that's well designed to find reinfection cases and as such, I'm unwilling to say how often it does happen.

“It very well might be very rare. But it very well might not be as rare as we think. We just need a better surveillance system for it.”

From a public health perspective, “people who have had COVID-19 should behave and be treated as if they had not had the virus,” Pandori said, “because now we know it's at least possible to be reinfected and for the infection to lead to significant illness.” People who have tested positive should continue taking precautions, including distancing, masking and hand-washing.

Not all reported cases of reinfections have involved infections that were worse the second time. In the Nevada case, it's possible the infectious dose the second time was overwhelmingly high. “You can be really unlucky and just get slammed by a very high viral load,” Pandori said.

It's possible the reinfection was caused by a version of the virus that was more virulent, or at least more virulent to the Nevada man. The strains of SARS- COV-2 between the two cases not only had different genetic fingerprints, it may be that they behaved differently in the body.

“The virus that came out of the gate earlier in the year is not the same virus, identically, as the one circulating in North America right now,” Pandori said.

But the take-away is not that a vaccine won't work or that people won't develop natural immunity.

Vaccine-based immunity is very different, Pandori said. “It can be guided and boosted in ways that our natural immunity is not.

“Viruses can trick our immune system pretty well, in a natural context. But vaccines are engineered or designed to go after the Achilles heels of these viruses,” he said.

“I think we can still remain optimistic that this does not spell doom for vaccinology.”

What the reinfection cases do drive home is that we can't rely on natural infections to confer herd immunity, Akiko Iwasaki, a professor at Yale University wrote in a related commentary.

“Not only is this strategy (herd immunity) lethal for many but also it is not effective. Herd immunity requires safe and effective vaccines and robust vaccination implementation,” she said.

And reinfections are generally being picked up when people develop symptoms. “We are probably severely underestimating the number of asymptomatic reinfections,” Iwasaki said.

Still, given the nearly 40 million confirmed COVID-19 infections worldwide, “these small examples of reinfection are tiny and should not deter efforts to develop vaccines,” Brendan Wren, a professor of vaccinology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, told Reuters.

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Coronavirus: France to impose night-time curfew to battle second wave

Published
13 minutes ago
IMAGE COPYRIGHTEPA
rview on Wednesday

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that people must stay indoors from 21:00 to 06:00 in Paris and eight other cities to control the rapid spread of coronavirus in the country.

The curfew will come into effect from Saturday and last for at least four weeks, Mr Macron said in a televised interview.

A state of emergency has also been declared.

A further 22,951 infections were confirmed on Wednesday.

Across Europe, governments are introducing new restrictions to battle a second wave of infections.

A partial lockdown comes into force in the Netherlands at 22:00 (20:00 GMT) and cafes and restaurants are closing.

Earlier on Wednesday, Spain's north-eastern region of Catalonia said that bars and restaurants would close for 15 days from Thursday.

The Czech Republic has shut schools and bars. It has the highest rate of infection in Europe over the past two weeks, at 581.3 cases per 100,000 people

Across Europe, infection rates are rising, with Russia reporting a record 14,321 daily cases on Wednesday and a further 239 deaths.

What are the new measures in France?

President Macron said this wave of coronavirus was different to the outbreak in the spring because the virus had spread to all parts of France.

The night-time curfew will apply to the capital Paris and its suburbs as well as Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Aix-en-Provence, Rouen, Toulouse, Grenoble and Montpellier.

It will be applied for four weeks to begin with and Mr Macron's government will seek to extend it to sixacron said the virus has spread to all parts of France now

The measures will stop people visiting restaurants and private homes during the evening and night-time, Mr Macron explained.

Residents will need a valid reason to be outside their homes during the hours of curfew, the president said. Essential trips will be permitted.

Schools will remain open and people will still be able to travel between regions during the day.

"We have to act. We need to put a brake on the spread of the virus," Mr Macron said, adding that he understood that a curfew was a "hard" thing to ask people to do.

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Swedish COVID expert says the world still doesn't understand

Throughout it all, Tegnell has argued that the world is only in the first stage of dealing with a long, uncertain battle with Covid-19.


 

Over the past week, the epidemiologist has made headlines by lashing out at the World Health Organization and labeling as “mad” countries that opted for strict lockdowns.

Throughout it all, Tegnell has argued that the world is only in the first stage of dealing with a long, uncertain battle with Covid-19. That’s why Sweden’s strategy — keep much of society open, but train people to observe distancing guidelines — is the only realistic way to cope in the long run, he says.

“I’m looking forward to a more serious evaluation of our work than has been made so far,” Tegnell said in a podcast published by Swedish public radio. “There is no way of knowing how this ends.”

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/swedish-covid-expert-says-the-world-still-doesnt-understand?fbclid=IwAR0PMq6yvmjR_HfnZyzb88YpKk7uaEpwS6nCiXyMPfqwoBc7wScuX6U0qSM

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Toronto yesterday....and it's supposed to be in stage 2? What a farce !!

LIVE in Toronto: A crowd of 4000 people are urged to take a moment of silence to picture the country they want to live in, as the 4th March for Freedom is under way.

 

https://mobile.twitter.com/TPostMillennial/status/1317533226810941440?ref_src=twsrc^tfw|twcamp^tweetembed|twterm^1317533226810941440|twgr^share_3%2Ccontainerclick_1&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fthepostmillennial.com%2Fcrowd-of-4000-protests-lockdowns-in-toronto

 

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https://news.sky.com/story/influencer-dmitriy-stuzhuk-dies-from-covid-19-after-denying-its-existence-12107174

Influencer Dmitriy Stuzhuk dies from COVID-19 after denying its existence

Dmitriy Stuzhuk told his followers that coronavirus didn't exist - but then he died from the disease.

A fitness "influencer" who thought COVID-19 did not exist has died from the virus at the age of 33.

Dmitriy Stuzhuk caught the disease during a trip to Turkey and had been taken to hospital upon returning to his native Ukraine, having tested positive.

 

The social media star, who promoted healthy living, was discharged from hospital after eight days, but the virus resulted in heart complications.

After he was rushed back to hospital, his ex-wife Sofia, 25, said he was in a "grave condition" and "unconscious".

She told her followers that he had "problems with his cardiovascular system... his heart is not coping".

 

"His state is extremely grave. No-one can do anything with this.

 

"I did everything I could so the father of my three children lives. But nothing depends on me now."

Later, she announced his death, adding: "Only warm memories remain, three beautiful kids and valuable experience."

Earlier, Mr Stuzhuk had posted on social media from his hospital bed, saying he had woken up in Turkey with a swollen neck and struggling to breathe.

He told his 1.1 million followers: "I want to share how I got sick and to strongly warn everyone.

"I was one who thought that Covid does not exist...until I got sick.

"COVID-19 IS NOT A SHORT-LIVED DISEASE! And it is heavy."

Dmitriy and Sofia Stuzhuk split up six months ago but they had three children, the youngest just nine months old.

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Hopefully they will!  That is why we have to believe in the science and give them the tools to do it right.  

Just hoping that it isn't like the flu vaccine where it is continually changing and requiring annual doses.

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COVID-19 can survive on skin up to 9 hours, versus 2 hours for the flu, study finds

Published Monday, October 19, 2020 2:39PM EDT

The World Health Organization recommends people regularly and thoroughly wash their hands to help limit the spread of COVID-19. (Pexels)

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TORONTO -- Japanese researchers have found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can last on skin for up to nine hours, highlighting the need for frequent hand washing to help limit the spread of the virus.

The new study, published earlier this month in science journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, reported that in comparison, the pathogen that causes the flu lasts on skin for about two hours.

"The nine-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus strain that causes COVID-19) on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission in comparison with IAV (influenza A virus), thus accelerating the pandemic," the study read.

To ensure that test subjects were not infected by the novel coronavirus, researchers at Japan’s Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine used skin samples from human autopsy specimens. The samples were collected approximately one day after death.

The study reported that skin deteriorates slower after death compared to other human organs, and can still function even 24 hours later.

Researchers reported that the novel coronavirus survived on the human skin samples for 9.04 hours, compared with 1.82 hours for the influenza A virus. When these viruses were mixed with mucus from the upper respiratory tract, to mimic the release of viral particles in a cough or sneeze, researchers found that COVID-19 lasted even longer on the skin at approximately 11 hours.

However, both viruses deactivated on skin within 15 seconds after using alcohol-based disinfectant containing 80 per cent ethanol, which is commonly found in hand sanitizers.

"The longer survival of SARS-CoV-2 on the skin increases contact-transmission risk; however, hand hygiene can reduce this risk," the study said.

Researchers noted that the study did not consider the "infectious dose" of SARS-CoV-2 or the quantity of virus particles needed to give someone an infection from contact with contaminated skin.

The study also applied the viruses to other surfaces including stainless steel, heat-resistant glass and plastic. The researchers found that COVID-19 stayed active on theses surface for between 58 and 85 hours, whereas the flu lasted around six to 11 hours.

In all the surfaces tested, the study reported that COVID-19 survived far longer than the flu, but researchers acknowledged these results were similar to those of previous studies.

The study's findings support current public health advice from the World Health Organization (WHO) to regularly and thoroughly wash hands and avoid touching one's eyes, nose and mouth.

To help limit the spread of COVID-19, the WHO also recommends people cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze and clean commonly used surfaces frequently with an alcohol-based disinfectant.

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https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-54602999

Coronavirus: Belgium facing 'tsunami' of new infections

Belgium could soon be overwhelmed by new coronavirus infections, the health minister has warned, amid soaring case numbers across the country.

Frank Vandenbroucke said new cases were close to a "tsunami" where authorities "no longer control what is happening".

New measures to try to halt the spread came into force on Monday. All bars and restaurants are closed for four weeks.

Infection numbers are climbing throughout Europe, prompting new restrictions across the continent.

Italy announced a raft of measures on Sunday after recording its highest daily infection rate, while nine major French cities have been placed under curfew.

The Czech Republic - which has the highest infection rate on the continent - is considering a full national lockdown.

And the Republic of Ireland is to move into the highest level of coronavirus restrictions from midnight on Wednesday for six weeks.

How bad is it in Belgium?

Belgium was one of the worst-hit countries during Europe's first wave of coronavirus earlier this year.

Overall it has the third-highest number of Covid-related deaths per 100,000 people globally, behind only Peru and San Marino, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

From Monday, under new government restrictions designed to tackle the fresh outbreak, residents will only be allowed to see one other person from outside their household and should work from home if possible.

A curfew is in place from midnight until 05:00 for the next month and alcohol sales are banned from 20:00.

Mr Vandenbroucke described the situation in the capital Brussels and in the south of the country as "the most dangerous in all of Europe".

The government "has only one message to the public: protect yourself, protect your loved ones, so as not to be contaminated", he told broadcaster RTL.

According to the Belgian health institute Sciensano, Belgium has recorded an average of 7,876 new daily infections over the last seven days, a 79% rise on the previous week. Last Tuesday the country reported 12,051 cases in 24 hours, its highest daily figure since the pandemic began.

Hospitalisations have also risen, with 2,485 people in hospital with Covid-19 on Monday. Officials warn that if cases continue to rise at the same rate, Belgium will fill its capacity of 2,000 intensive care beds by mid-November.

"The situation is serious," Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told RTL. "It is worse than on March 18 when the lockdown was decided."

What about elsewhere?

Poland - which was praised for successfully controlling the virus in March and April - saw new infections rise to nearly 10,000 a day last week.

On Monday the government announced it was opening a field hospital at the national stadium in Warsaw and said the armed forces would be deployed to man drive-through testing facilities.

Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said that other major cities were also working to set up new hospitals. The country was preparing "for the worst-case scenarios - such as 15,000 or even 20,000 new infections" each day, he said.

Government officials have urged people to stay at home, ordered restaurants to reduce opening hours and told universities and secondary schools to teach online.

The head of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, went into self-isolation on Monday after coming into contact with an infected person.

The Czech Republic is also battling soaring case numbers. On Friday the country reported a record 11,100 new cases in the past 24 hours, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says the country has the highest 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people across the continent.

More people have reportedly died with the virus since the start of October than throughout the past eight months combined.

This week restaurants and bars have been ordered to shut except for takeaway, schools have switched to remote learning and theatres, sports clubs and cinemas have been closed.

Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlicek said on Sunday the government would wait until restrictions show an impact before considering a full lockdown.

"We have clearly said we will wait [until November] for results," he said.

In Prague about 2,000 football fans - including militant supporters known as ultras - clashed with police on Sunday during demonstrations against the restrictions.

Elsewhere:

 
 
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https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/debunking-the-false-claim-that-covid-death-counts-are-inflated/

Debunking the False Claim That COVID Death Counts Are Inflated

President Trump, a congressman and conspiracy fantasists have repeated the myth. But three kinds of evidence point to more than 218,000 U.S. deaths

A persistent falsehood has been circulating on social media: the number of COVID deaths is much lower than the official statistic of more than 218,000, and therefore the danger of the disease has been overblown. In August President Trump retweeted a post claiming that only 6 percent of these reported deaths were actually from COVID-19. (The tweet originated from a follower of the debunked conspiracy fantasy QAnon.) Twitter removed the post for containing false information, but fabrications such as these continue to spread. U.S. Representative Roger Marshall of Kansas complained in September that Facebook had removed a post in which he claimed that 94 percent of COVID-19 deaths reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “were the result of 2-3 additional serious illnesses and were of advanced age.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Now some facts: Researchers know beyond a doubt that the number of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have surpassed 200,000. These numbers are supported by three lines of evidence, including death certificates. The inaccurate idea that only 6 percent of the deaths were really caused by the coronavirus is “a gross misinterpretation” of how death certificates work, says Robert Anderson, lead mortality statistician at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The scope of the coronavirus’s deadly toll is clear, even if final numbers will not be known until the pandemic is over. “We’re pretty confident about the scale and order of magnitude of deaths, but we’re not clear on the exact number yet,” says Justin Lessler, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. To understand why the figures contain some uncertainty, it is important to know how they are collected and calculated.

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The first source of death data is called case surveillance. Health care providers are required to report cases and deaths from certain diseases, including measles, mumps and now COVID-19, to their state’s health department, which, in turn, passes this information along to the CDC, Anderson says. The surveillance data are a kind of “quick and dirty” accounting, says Shawna Webster, executive director of the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems. The states gather all the information they can on these diseases, but this is the first pass of the accounting—no one has time to double-check the information or look for missing lab tests, she says. For that, you have to look for the next source of information: vital records.

 

US deaths per week broken down by cause of death Credit: Youyou Zhou; Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Center for Health Statistics

This second line of evidence comes from the National Vital Statistics System, which records birth and death certificates. When somebody dies, a death certificate is filed in the state where the death occurred. And after the records are registered at a state level, they are sent to the National Center for Health Statistics, which tracks deaths at a national level. Death certificates are not filed in the system until outstanding test results are in and the information is as complete as possible. By the time a record gets to the vital records system, “it is as close to perfect as it’s going to get,” Webster says.

A physician, medical examiner or coroner fills out the cause of mortality on the death certificate, and they are instructed to include only those conditions that caused or contributed to death, Anderson says. One field lists the sequence of events leading to the death. “What we’re really trying to get at is the condition or disease that started the chain of events leading to the death,” Anderson says. “For COVID-19, that might be something like acute respiratory distress due to pneumonia due to COVID-19.” A second part of the certificate lists other significant conditions that may have contributed to the death yet were not part of the sequence of events that led up to it, he says. These are called comorbidities, and while they can be contributing factors, they cannot be directly involved in the chain of cause and effect that ended in death. Preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease are common comorbidities, and they can make a person more vulnerable to the coronavirus, Anderson says, “but the fact is: they’re not dying from that preexisting condition.”

“When we ask if COVID killed somebody, it means ‘Did they die sooner than they would have if they didn’t have the virus?’” Lessler says. Even such a person with a potentially life-shortening preexisting condition such as heart disease or diabetes may have lived another five, 10 or many more years, had they not become infected with COVID-19.

The 6 percent number touted by Trump and QAnon comes from a weekly CDC report stating that in 6 percent of the coronavirus mortality cases it counted, COVID-19 was the only condition listed on the death certificate. That observation likely means that those death certificates were incomplete because the certifiers only gave the underlying cause of death and not the full causal sequence that led to it, Anderson says. Even someone who does not have a preexisting condition and dies from COVID-19 will also have comorbidities in the form of symptoms, such as respiratory failure, caused by the coronavirus. The idea that a death certificate with ailments listed in addition to COVID-19 means that the person did not really die from the virus is simply false, Anderson says.

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The surveillance and vital statistics data provide a pretty good picture of how many deaths are attributable to the coronavirus, but they do not capture all of them, and that is where the final line of evidence come in: excess deaths. They are the number of deaths that occur above and beyond the historical pattern for that time period, says Steven Woolf, a physician and population health researcher at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. In a paper published in JAMA this month, Woolf and his colleagues examined death records in the U.S. from March 1 through August 1 and compared them with the expected mortality numbers. They found that there was a 20 percent increase in deaths during this time period—for a total of 225,530 excess deaths—compared with previous years.

Two thirds of these cases were attributed to COVID-19 on the death certificates, and Woolf says there are two types of explanations for the rest: Some of them were COVID-19 deaths that simply were not documented as such, perhaps because the person died at home and was never tested or because the certificate was miscoded. And some of the extra deaths were probably a consequence of the pandemic yet not necessarily the virus itself. For instance, he says, imagine a patient with chest pain who is scared to go to the hospital because they do not want to get the virus and then dies of a heart attack. Woolf calls this “indirect mortality.” “The deaths aren’t literally caused by the virus itself but the pandemic is claiming lives,” he says.

The numbers in Woolf’s study come from provisional death data, the kind that the CDC has not yet checked for miscoding or other issues, so it comes with some degree of imprecision. What builds his confidence in these results, however, is the fact that they have been replicated numerous times by his group and others. “All serious analyses of these data are showing that the number of deaths we’re hearing on the news is an undercount,” he says.

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COVID-19 is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Whether the deaths add up to 218,511, 219,681 or 219,541—as reported by the CDC, Johns Hopkins University and the New York Times, respectively, on October 19—it’s a staggering number of lives cut short.

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