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Coronavirus precautions lead to rat problem in New Orleans
The city of New Orleans has seen a surge in coronavirus cases, quickly straining hospital staff and resources that were not ready for the spike. However, the precautions put in place to slow the virus’ spread have inadvertently led to a new problem: with no food littering alleyways from people visiting the city’s many restaurants, hungry rats that relied on the scraps have been driven out onto the streets. Omar Villafranca reports on how the city is combatting its problems.
9 m
cbsnews.com
A distinctly American approach to the coronavirus crisis is to find innovative ways to contribute
Our society is built on the principles of empowerment: the idea that every person contributes, and this is how we help others through the crisis.        
usatoday.com
Japan's Abe vows unprecedented stimulus as Tokyo virus cases rise
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday promised an unprecedented package of steps to cushion the world's third-biggest economy from the coronavirus pandemic, saying the country was close to a national emergency as infections surged.
reuters.com
Why it’s so easy for coronavirus misinformation to spread
With Americans around the country shuttered inside their homes amid the coronavirus pandemic, many are turning to social media to be entertained and stay connected. However, the usual pitfalls of misinformation that live online could be deadly, when it comes to false facts and data on the virus. Wired Editor-in-Chief Nick Thompson joins “CBS This Morning: Saturday” to talk about what he’s learned covering the role of technology in the coronavirus crisis.
cbsnews.com
Opinion: Remembering Some Of Those We've Already Lost To The Pandemic
We often think of fatality rates as statistics — numbers on a chart. But each one represents a real person. NPR's Scott Simon reflects on some of those who have been lost so far in the pandemic.
npr.org
South Africa begins 21-day coronavirus lockdown
South Africa now has over 1,100 confirmed cases of coronavirus and has reported its first death. More than 56 million South Africans are now dealing with a new reality, the challenge of a three-week lockdown during which many people may not have easy access to water and decent sanitation. Debora Patta reports from Johannesburg, where some in a nearby town appear to be disregarding the strict precautions.
cbsnews.com
CNN's Chris Cuomo Says Trump's Flaws are Impacting Coronavirus Response and 'Making Us Sick'
He said President Donald Trump's "two defining flaws" are compromising the federal government's response.
newsweek.com
Here's how the coronavirus stimulus affects you
The CARES Act, signed into law on Friday, is the largest economic stimulus package in history. The bill allocates $2.2 trillion to people and businesses negatively impacted by the coronavirus’ effects on the economy. Jill Schlesinger joins “CBS This Morning: Saturday” to explain if and how the stimulus will affect you.
cbsnews.com
Fear, panic as women navigate pregnancy during a pandemic
Hear from pregnant women and parents-to-be as they face the challenges of giving birth during the Covid-19 pandemic. Watch the latest videos on Covid-19.
edition.cnn.com
PETA Launches Petition to Shut Down Live Animal Markets That Breed Diseases Like COVID-19
The organization said wet markets like the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in China, where the novel coronavirus is believe to have originated, are breeding grounds for deadly diseases.
newsweek.com
The wealthy forge ahead with (slightly altered) travel plans in spite of 'stay at home' directives
See where wealthier people are sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic as they travel off to remote and nicely appointed small hotels and vacation homes.
edition.cnn.com
Is a Liquor Store an “Essential” Business? What About a Bakery?
It’s all a little haphazard.
slate.com
Coronavirus cases top 600K worldwide
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide topped 600,000 early Saturday, as the death toll shot over 28,000. The total stood at 607,965 as the sun rose on the East Coast, after a surge of cases were reported in Europe. Total deaths reported rose to 28,125. The US on Friday became the first country to...
nypost.com
Tokyo issues stay-at-home order as coronavirus cases surge
Japan is turning to new containment measures after witnessing a surge of new infections. There are now more than 2,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, 60 of which were confirmed overnight on Friday. The city is rolling out a stay-at-home order in an effort to limit person-to-person contact. Ramy Incocencio reports from the country's capital, Tokyo.
cbsnews.com
Hot Property: Action, embezzlement and intrigue in the Bird Streets
In the Hollywood Hills, a contemporary mansion seized by the federal government has sold for $18.5 million. Also: Jason Statham is selling another home.
latimes.com
Jobless in Las Vegas: Locals lean on their faith, cut back on food and cling to the past
As U.S. battles coronavirus, a shocking 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment. Here's how the unemployed in Las Vegas cope with the sudden change to daily life.
latimes.com
This day in sports: Teemu Selanne becomes first NHL rookie with a 70-goal season
A look at what happened on this day in sports history on March 28, including Teemu Selanne's 70-goal season as a rookie with the Winnipeg Jets.
latimes.com
Should travelers cancel their vacation to Mexico? Travel experts discuss the options.
Travel agents say tourists should consider rebooking their trips to Mexico for later in the year rather than asking for a refund. Here's why.       
usatoday.com
How bad will the next few weeks be for California as coronavirus cases explode?
Two months after California's first confirmed case of the deadly COVID-19, the state is preparing to confront what public health authorities agree that April will be a month that portends a peak in sickness and death. How cruel remains to be seen.
latimes.com
Whales are dying, but numbers are unknown. Coronavirus has stalled scientific fieldwork
Stay-at-home requirements have upended the field work of researchers, including that of scientists and volunteers who track migrating gray whales.
latimes.com
Column: 'It's not real to some of them': A doctor's efforts to warn homeless patients about the coronavirus
Healthcare for the homeless presents new challenges in the face of the coronavirus pandemic
latimes.com
Delivery workers are keeping California fed. They say no one's keeping them safe
Coronavirus relief efforts are leaving some delivery workers unprotected, they say.
latimes.com
Help! My Once-Progressive Friend Is Dating a Racist Homophobe.
How do I make her realize her boyfriend is awful?
slate.com
Navy Secretary says hospital ships should bring 'comfort' to coastal coronavirus hotspots
U.S. Navy hospital ships heading to coronavirus hotspots like New York City and Los Angeles should instill confidence in residents of those cities, Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said Saturday.
foxnews.com
An Indiana city is asking its residents to go outside nightly and wave to their neighbors
Hi-diddly-ho, neighborino!
edition.cnn.com
Joseph Lowery, civil rights leader and MLK aide, dies at 98
In 2009, President Obama awarded Lowery the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
politico.com
Zaandam cruise ship stranded at sea with two coronavirus cases
A cruise ship called the Zaandam sits stranded at sea with at least two people on board testing positive for the coronavirus, and nearly 140 reporting flu-like symptoms. Around the world, nearly 28,000 people have died from the coronavirus. Spain has the world’s second highest death toll behind Italy with nearly 5,000 reported. Roxana Saberi explains how the virus is taking hold outside of the U.S.
cbsnews.com
Inside an Italy hospital overwhelmed by coronavirus
Italy's death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has topped 9,100, making it the deadliest outbreak of the disease on Earth. Just like hospitals in the United States, doctors and nurses are clamoring to save lives with a minimal amount of resources. Christopher Livsay was given rare access to an ICU unit in Northern Italy and spoke to doctors there.
cbsnews.com
Some Nebraska schools are donating their 3D printers to make supplies for a hospital
Five school districts in northeastern Nebraska will use their new 3D printers to print out personal protective equipment for nearby health care workers, Gov. Pete Ricketts said.
edition.cnn.com
'The Walking Dead' Season 10 Episode 14 Spoilers: New Characters & New Alpha
"The Walking Dead" Season 10 episode 14 spoilers are here. Find out which big comic character is about to make her debut.
newsweek.com
Man runs 100 miles in one day for coronavirus relief
Ultra runner David Kilgore ran 100 miles in one day in the Florida heat to raise money for coronavirus relief efforts.
edition.cnn.com
World Health Organization under the microscope: what went wrong with coronavirus?
As coronavirus started seeping from its origins in a Wuhan wet market in China late last year – fast spawning the rest of the globe – the information coming from the World Health Organization (WHO) was one of dismissal, in line with the Chinese Communist Party's muzzling of the disease's potency.
foxnews.com
Joseph Lowery, civil rights leader and MLK aide, has died at 98
The Rev. Joseph E. Lowery fought to end segregation and lived to see the election of the country's first black president.
cbsnews.com
Trump signs $2 trillion coronavirus emergency relief bill
After overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress, President Trump signed the largest economic aid package in history into law on Friday. This package is aimed at easing the burden on workers and businesses suffering from the pandemic. Nicole Killion reports from the White House.
cbsnews.com
Coronavirus cases in the U.S. exceed 100,000
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic can be felt across the country as the nation’s reported cases exceeds 100,000, forcing some governors to turn to the military for help. A Navy hospital ship named “Mercy” anchored in the San Pedro, California harbor as backup in case Los Angeles-areas hospitals fill up. In New York, the military is converting an NYC convention center into a 1,200-bed emergency hospital. Tom Hanson reports on how the virus is taking hold there and elsewhere within the country.
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cbsnews.com
Coronavirus: Here's where to find free ebooks and audiobooks while self-isolating
Coronavirus got you bored? Here's a roundup of places to access free ebooks and audiobooks while self-isolating.        
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usatoday.com
Should I Have Stayed in Germany?
In times of upheaval or natural catastrophe, the State Department often advises Americans to avoid some of the world’s poorest nations. When ISIS took over large parts of Syria and Mali descended into civil war, the federal government implored Americans not to go to those countries. One of the pieces of advice it offers to those who insist on visiting them anyway is rather blunt: “Draft a will.”These warnings speak to a set of assumptions so obvious, they seem almost silly to spell out. America is a rich and stable country. So long as U.S. citizens stay home—or restrict their travel to other developed nations—they are likely to remain safe. Travel warnings tend to flow from north to south, rich to poor, democracy to dictatorship.This makes it all the more striking that, for the first time in living memory, the German embassy has now asked citizens who are currently in the United States to return home as quickly as possible. Rather than trusting the most powerful nation on Earth to protect its residents against the coronavirus pandemic, Germany has apparently decided that its citizens are not safe here.That tells you a lot about just how badly America is handling the pandemic. For those like me, who were born and raised in Germany but have chosen to make a home for ourselves here in the United States, it also raises a set of rather more personal questions.Is this country, despite its might, less able to protect its citizens than other developed democracies? Or, to put it even more bluntly: Did immigrants like me make a terrible mistake when we decided to come here?If you had asked political scientists to predict which countries would be especially well prepared for an unprecedented threat to the lives of millions of people like the one we are living through now, they would likely have pointed to a simple factor: state capacity. The richer a country is, the more developed its institutions, and the larger the workforce on which it can call in a crisis, the better it is likely to perform.If you had asked public-health experts, they would likely have gotten a lot more specific. The quality of a country’s response, they would have pointed out, depends on such factors as the number of doctors and ICU beds in the country, the existence of scientific labs that can carry out the crucial work of detecting and testing for a new disease, and the public-health infrastructure that can coordinate the response.From both a political-science and public-health standpoint, the United States seemed well prepared. In one recent attempt to measure the capacity of different nations around the world, for example, the United States was bested by many Scandinavian countries but still beat such countries as France and Japan. And when the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health released the Global Health Security Index last year, the United States actually came out on top.But the pandemic reveals that, when it comes to an actual crisis, the United States seems to be a paper tiger—one that is adamant on picking a big fight with the nearest shredder.What good is all that state capacity when the president dismisses an extraordinary threat to public health as a “hoax” for crucial weeks? And what good are all those tools to fight a pandemic when the federal government threatens to withhold those resources from states whose governors don’t sufficiently flatter the president’s ego? It will take months or years until we can begin to estimate just how many lives America lost because of the shame and misfortunate of having elected Donald Trump to the White House.But for all the needless suffering Trump is causing, the full list of people who share the blame is long and varied. It includes both the president of Liberty University, who insists on reopening his campus, and the mayor of New York, who has only managed to unite his city in disdain for his incompetence. And it includes both the newscasters who confidently assured their audiences that the coronavirus could not possibly turn into a deadly pandemic and the leaders of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who insisted on developing their own, faulty test for COVID-19.As a result, the United States now has more patients who are suffering from this disease than any other country in the whole world. Even now, the number of its cases is increasing at a faster rate than in virtually every other country.By contrast, countries that have competent leaders who know how to marshal their resources more effectively may be starting to get the situation under control. In Germany, the number of new infections appears to be stagnating. For now, the death toll remains low.A friend and former student of mine who moved to the United States from Germany for college summarized the stark difference between the two countries: “The vibes I get from family in Germany is that this sucks but it’s going to be okay,” Martin Eiermann told me. “People will come together, the state will soften the blow, the right people are making the right decisions. And that’s not the vibe I get here in America.”It’s hard to disagree with him.Making a home for yourself in a new country can be a lot like falling in love. At first, you are a little blind to the flaws of your beloved. A few months in, you start to notice them but insist, to yourself and to others, that they are charming quirks. After a few years, you have to admit that the object of your affection does have serious flaws, and that—even if you are as committed in your devotion as you ever were—ignoring reality won’t magically make them disappear.Of course, I always knew that the United States was imperfect, and then some. I was well aware of the country’s glaring economic inequality, its deep racial injustices, and the cruel denial of health care to millions of people. As I often told friends, the United States is the best country in the world if you have the great good luck of being young, healthy, talented, and ambitious. For most of those who don’t fit that description, life in countries from Japan to Sweden can be a lot better.But as it happens, I was one of the lucky few to whom this country did offer incredible opportunities. Much earlier than would have been possible in Germany, I got to meet incredible scholars, teach at wonderful universities, and write for major publications. And thanks to excellent health insurance, the care I got on the rare occasions when I did need to see a doctor was usually superior to what I had received in Germany.And so, like so many other privileged residents of my adopted home, I never experienced America’s flaws in a visceral way. I knew about them. I lamented them. I fought to change them. But I did not feel them.The past weeks have made this distance difficult to sustain. If the federal government continues to fail in its response, the number of coronavirus cases will breed death and dysfunction on a scale we still cannot imagine. And if I should then be unlucky enough to need care in the ICU, my expensive health insurance isn’t guaranteed to buy me access to a life-saving ventilator.After a dozen or so years of living in my adopted home, I am, for the first time, experiencing what Germans poetically call heimweh, the hurt of being far from your native land. The usual things my fellow immigrants are wont to lament—from German bread to German trains—I am still willing to go without. But what wouldn’t I give, right now, to trade in our own set of clowns and criminals for Germany’s boring, humorless, and far more competent political leaders?Germany’s Angela Merkel is not a woman of many words or great speeches. In past crises, she has been reluctant to make personal appeals to the nation. But in this extraordinary moment, she held a moving address that rallied the country to the common cause.Referencing the many decades she spent as a subject of the East German Communist dictatorship, she acknowledged that “for someone like me, who had to fight hard to win the freedom of movement,” the current restrictions on the daily lives of German citizens “cannot be agreed to with levity—and they must never become permanent. But right now, they are unavoidable to save the lives of many.”Meanwhile, the only things emanating from the White House are rancor, venality, narcissism, partisanship, and cheap propaganda. At one of the most important moments in American history, Trump has, as David Frum recently put it, been the president of the Red States of America. And now, cheered on by Fox News, he is considering endangering an untold number of Americans by prematurely reopening the country for business.And yet, for all its abject failures, my adopted country can still draw on its great strengths to turn things around.The first vaccine trials in the world are under way in California.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is drawing on its skilled professionals to convert hotels and conference centers into makeshift hospitals.Large companies are repurposing their factories to produce protective equipment and desperately needed ventilators.The thousands of people who cheer on health-care workers out their windows show that we can rise to this challenge with a spirit of compassion and solidarity.I do not regret making my home in the United States. And I hope that no one gives up on America at this crucial time. But it is up to all of us, collectively, to make sure that America lives up to our love.
1 h
theatlantic.com
“This may be the tip of the iceberg”: Why Japan’s coronavirus crisis may be just beginning
People strolling along a street in a popular shopping area in Tokyo, Japan, on March 27, 2020. | Carl Court/Getty Images Japan seemed to have escaped a massive coronavirus outbreak. Now cases are rising. On Sunday afternoon in the Dai Nagoya Building in Nagoya, Japan’s industrial capital and one of the centers of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country, Tully’s Coffee is shuttered. A small sign outside the entrance says that, due to Covid-19, the rooftop cafe will be temporarily closed. Every single other store in the mall is open — and bustling. The mall is a microcosm of the nation’s response to the virus. Some public schools are set to reopen over the next few weeks, just over a month after Prime Minister Abe Shinzo shut them down on February 27. The spring university semester begins in early April throughout the country and colleges are proceeding with many classes and orientations, despite canceled graduation and induction ceremonies. Some popular tourist attractions, including Universal Studios Japan, are scheduled to reopen before the end of the month. Yukino Ichikawa, a college student, said that the main impact of the coronavirus on her life so far has been having a tour she’d reserved getting canceled and improved hand-washing diligence. Others I spoke to had similar experiences. “I may lose my company bonus and I can’t travel,” said Erika Imaeda, a company employee. “I’ve also started to wear a mask to work.” The country’s reserved approach to tackling the coronavirus has faced scrutiny and speculation about under-testing. Despite taking only moderate social-distancing measures (the government recently asked people to “refrain” from getting together in big groups for cherry-blossom viewing parties), Japan has faced a surprisingly linear growth in cases — that is, until cases suddenly started accelerating in Tokyo earlier this week. There are nearly 1,400 confirmed cases and over 44 deaths as of March 27. On March 5, 55 new cases were reported. Almost three weeks later, on March 26, just 86 cases were reported. Compare that to the US, where 76 confirmed cases on March 5 turned into over 14,000 new cases on March 25. While much of the world’s new case graphs look like terrifying exponential growth, Japan’s appears to be mainly linear. Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker But experts saythe true number of cases in the country almost certainly exceeds 1,400. The government has been criticized for its strict testing criteria, which requires patients to have had a fever of greater than 37.5 Celsius (99.5 F) for more than four days, unless the patients are elderly, have other underlying health conditions, or are connected to a previously confirmed case. Some people who meet the criteria have been denied tests. Even the United States’ badly flawed and belated testing effort eclipses Japan’s minuscule effort — as of March 20, the US had conducted 313 tests per million people compared to Japan’s 118 tests per million people. Japan is using just 15 percent of its supposed testing capacity of 7,500 tests per day. South Korea, widely praised for its drive-through testing measures, is conducting more than 6,000 tests per million people. The Japanese National Institute of Infectious Diseases has argued that the strict testing criteria are in place to preserve limited medical resources for those in need of urgent care. “Just because you have capacity, it doesn’t mean that we need to use that capacity fully,” health ministry official Yasuyuki Sahara told the press in a briefing last week. “It isn’t necessary to carry out tests on people who are simply worried.” Abe’s governmentis going directly against the WHO’s firm recommendation to “test, test, test,” leading many to conclude that the coronavirus may be far more widespread in Japan than the numbers indicate. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images Prime Minister Shinzo Abe answers questions during an upper house budget committee session at parliament in Tokyo on March 27, 2020. Now, a growing coronavirus outbreak in Tokyo is threatening Japan’s status quo as 40 new cases in Tokyo alone were confirmed on March 25. While the government has been able to identify the infection route of most of the cases, it’s a worrying sign that life was relatively normal in Tokyo, with muted but still considerable cherry-blossom viewing parties, just a few days before this sudden jump. Thus far, Japan has managed to escape exponential growth, but the worst may be yet to come. “This may be the tip of the iceberg,” said John Ioannidis, professor of disease prevention at the Stanford School of Medicine. “If you don’t test, you find no cases and even no deaths.” Timeline of the coronavirus in Japan and the government’s response Japan’s first case of Covid-19 was a Chinese national who’d traveled to Wuhan — the city in Hubei Province, China, where the virus first emerged — and returned to Japan on January 6; the person tested positive for the virus sometime between the January 10 and 15. Two weeks later, Japan confirmed its first case of an individual who had not traveled to Wuhan, a taxi driver in Tokyo who had recently driven a Wuhan tour group. One arm of Japan’s coronavirus policy has been to build a firewall against the influx of cases from overseas. On February 3, the government moved to bar the entry of people who had a history of traveling to Hubei Province, or Chinese nationals with a Hubei Province-issued passport. A month later, those entry restrictions were expanded to include people from certain regions devastated by the coronavirus in South Korea, Italy, and Iranas well as two-week quarantines for all visitors coming from China and South Korea. Throughout the month of February, most of Japan’s cases were individuals connected to Wuhan, and the majority of cases were isolated and traced. A government-appointed panel reported on March 9 that 80 percent of the cases identified had not passed on the infection to anyone. But when case numbers failed to abate through February (232 confirmed cases as of February 28), Abe moved to close all schools and request that community gatherings be suspended. Japan was hit by a wave of closures to tourist attractions, sporting events, concerts, and festivals. The governor of Hokkaido proclaimed a state of emergency beginning on February 28 and asked the population to stay indoors. For comparison, lockdowns began in Northern Italy on March 8, when more than 7,000 coronavirus cases had already been confirmed. Based on the recommendation of a panel of bureaucrats and infectious disease experts, the central policy has been to focus on providing medical attention to those who are severely ill in order to prevent the nation’s health care infrastructure from becoming overwhelmed, and to do extensive contact tracing to identify infection clusters. The health ministry and doctors are asking individuals with mild symptoms to stay at home so that they do not pass on the disease. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images Commuters make their way to work in Tokyo, Japan, on March 26, 2020. Massimo Rumi/Barcroft Media via Getty Images Public messages reminding people to wash their hands and hand sanitizer are all over Japan. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images Commuters wait in line at a bus stop in Tokyo, Japan on March 26, 2020. But as cases have steadily increased, not much has changed in terms of the government’s policy response since late February. The prime minister’s office announced on March 20 that according to the expert panel’s latest recommendation, they would continue to focus on infection cluster countermeasures and preparing the health care infrastructure to be able to treat the seriously ill in the event of a leap in infections. While Japan has a strong national health care system and more than four times the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people than the US, a shortage of medical supplies is an ongoing concern. More than 90 percent of medical institutions in Nagasaki prefecture have said they are facing shortages of masks and disinfectant, and hospitals in Hokkaido are providing just one mask per hospital visitor per day to protect their supply. Rather than enacting widespread private or public closures, as has been prevalent throughout Europe and the US, the government’s panel of experts simply asked people to “continue to avoid environments that simultaneously meet the following three conditions: poor ventilation, dense crowds, and dense conversation.” Many in Japan did not comply with this request. Just this past Sunday, more than 6,500 people gathered for a martial arts event in Saitama, a city just north of Tokyo, despite the Saitama governor’s pleas that the event be shut down. One attendee later came down with a fever and is currently awaiting the results of a coronavirus test. Better hand-washing, a government conspiracy, or both? There has been plenty of speculation about the reasons behind Japan’s lack of exponential case growth. Suggestions, both optimistic and pessimistic, have covered everything from the fact that people in Japan don’t typically shake each others’ hands in greeting to the possibility that the government is failing to test tens of thousands of pneumonia patients for the coronavirus. Here’s an overview of the major factors at play — and what the numbers and experts say about their impact on “flattening the curve” in Japan. Moderate social distancing was effective because it happened early Social distancing in Japan is currently a mixed bag. Rush-hour traffic on Tokyo subways is down just 10 percent compared to mid-January. Street traffic in Tokyo has barely budged from its historical average. A survey conducted by the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry on March 12 showed that 55 percent of large corporations have implemented remote working procedures, but a strict working culture has kept even white-collar workers in the office. Movie theater revenue for March is down around 50 percent across the country. But even this modest social distancing seems to have had an impact. Sato Akihiro, a data analysis expert and professor of neuroscience at Yokohama City University, calculated that Japan’s nationwide event cancellations and social distancing measures beginning at the end of February have cut the infection rate to 50 percent of what it would’ve been otherwise. He said that in order to stop the virus completely, the country needs to increase its testing capacity by sixfold to adequately identify and track cases. “We saw event cancellations in Japan from a very early stage,” Sato told me.“I think that cases in Japan are not growing at an exponential rate as a result of these early interventions to reduce human contact.” Cluster identification and contact tracing As Sato points out, the key to Japan’s linear rate of infections may stem not from acting more aggressively, but simply earlier, before sustained community spread took root. Japan began testing individuals with coronavirus symptoms — and not only those with a history of travel to Hubei Province — at the discretion of local governments around February 12. The government then created a specialized team of public health and medical experts to identify and isolate infection clusters. Whenever a hospital confirms a new case, the government dispatchesteams of medical and data expertsto cooperate with local governments to locate and test anyone who has been in contact with the infected individual. Oftentimes as a result, the corresponding local facilities are closed down, such as a senior care facility in Aichi prefecture that was associated with an infection cluster. A lack of large case explosions, such as what happened with South Korea’s “Patient 31,” who singlehandedly spread the disease to thousands, suggests that these cluster countermeasures have been mostly effective thus far. Sanitation and mask-wearing are real factors While it’s more likely that Japan’s early cluster tracking and social distancing measures are the main factors in limiting an explosive spread of the virus, famously clean Japan does have difficult conditions for a virus to thrive in. While good hygiene is far from universal in Japan, many people practice frequent hand-washing, gargling, and disinfection. Japanese people rarely shake hands, hug, or kiss when greeting — a key chance for the virus to spread. Carl Court/Getty Images A notice displayed in a park during cherry blossom season informs people about coughing manners in Tokyo. For reference, a 2015 survey found that 15 percent of Japanese did not wash their hands after using the toilet, compared to 40 percent of Americans. Hand-washing reduces the risk of respiratory infection by 16 percent, according to the CDC. In terms of surgical and N95 masks, a Weather News survey from January 2018 revealed that 53 percent of Japanese people wore masks regularly — a number that has almost certainly increased this year with the alarm-bell around coronavirus. A 2017 scientific study found that mask-wearing reduced risk of influenza among Japanese schoolchildren by 8 percent. “Personal hygiene and social responsibilities are main pillars for disease prevention practice,” HyunJung Kim, a PhD student in biodefense at George Mason University, told me. “However, it is [irresponsible] to assume that 100 percent of the population of a country will have the highest level of hygiene and social responsibility. Outliers always exist.” Other theories Japan may have other factors on its side, as well. Mitsuyoshi Urashima, a practicing pediatrician and professor of medicine at Jikei University, suggested that the coronavirus was spreading in Japan in mid-January, at the height of the flu season, whereas the virus did not spread in the US and Europe until after the flu season’s peak. “[My view is that] the outbreaks were ‘batting’ against each other in Japan, reducing the prevalence of both diseases,” Urashima said. Japan also has an accessible, inexpensive, and widespread national health system that is excellent at treating pneumonia, the main way that coronavirus kills. Edo Saito, owner of a Japanese/multinational executive consulting agency, points out that from the age of 65, all citizens are enrolled in senior care services programs, which include home pickup to senior day care centers and having doctors and nurses call in on homes. These expansive and accessible health care options may be providing an additional safety net for Japan’s large elderly population. Japan’s elderly population is also uniquely (and tragically) isolated, which may reduce contact with asymptomatic virus-carriers. Some speculation around Japan’s low coronavirus numbers suggested that the government was repressing the extent of the infection to ensure that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games would be held on schedule. With the recent announcement that the games will in fact be postponed, that should be off the table. When asked about the possibility that large numbers of coronavirus-related deaths are being ignored or written off as pneumonia, Matsumoto Tetsuya, a professor of public health at the International University of Health and Welfare Graduate School in Otawara, said that it was possible but not likely. “While we can’t rule out the possibility, deaths by pneumonia of unclear origins are rigorously investigated,” Matsumoto said. Concern moving into spring It nevertheless remains clear that under-testing is masking the extent of the infection in Japan. A leap of cases in Tokyo may prove that the virus has been spreading throughout Japan via mild and asymptomatic spreaders, and just as people begin to let their guard down, a newfound explosion of cases will emerge. “This is why I feel it is so important to test random, representative samples of the population, to see where we stand,” said Ioannidis. “Otherwise, it may be like trying to pick molecules of air with our fingers, given that so many cases are asymptomatic or very mildly symptomatic and go undetected. If the virus is shown to be already widely spread, [the] focus should be on preparing the health system as well as one can, plus fiercely protecting high-risk individuals.” “From last week, we’ve also started to see a lot of cases in people returning from overseas,” Sato said. “I’m concerned that when the number of cases reaches 3,000 to 5,000, the health care infrastructure will start to become overwhelmed.” Carl Court/Getty Images People take photographs of the Chidorigafuchi Moat, which banned paddle boats during cherry blossom season to discourage visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic, in Tokyo on March 26, 2020. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images People visit the cherry blossoms in bloom at Ueno Park in Tokyo, Japan, March 26, 2020. There is also concern about the government’s border-control approach. Kim points out that a pillar of the Japanese response has been to limit the entry of foreigners from affected regions into the country. “However, there are many loopholes,” Kim said. “Foreigners are not a sole risk factor of incoming diseases. South Korea cases reveal that the majority of cases are introduced by Korean citizens returning from travel and business trips abroad.” Japan recently extended self-quarantine regulations to apply to visitors from Europe and the US, but these quarantines are self-enforced, unlike in China and Taiwan. Based on the latest round of recommendations from the expert panel, the Japanese government is seeking “thorough behavioral changes” to improve citizens’ response to the coronavirus and ensure that people avoid places that meet the three conditions of poor ventilation, dense crowds, and dense conversation. Faced with skyrocketing infections, much of Europe and the US have moved toward lockdowns. Japan hasn’t. The government insists that it doesn’t need to, citing that in some areas, almost all of the local coronavirus patients have been identified via contact tracing. But Sato warns that as long as cases continue to rise, no one can afford to take their foot off the gas: “Even if we continue with the measures already in place, the spread will not end.” It’s a worrying sign for a country that’s clearly ready to take off the masks and enjoy the cherry blossoms.
1 h
vox.com
Eye Opener: Trump signs coronavirus stimulus bill
President Trump signed the largest emergency aid package in U.S. history after it passed votes in the House and Senate. Also, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to the U.S. after being isolated with coronavirus in Australia. All that and all that matters in today’s Eye Opener. Your world in 90 seconds.
1 h
cbsnews.com
Inside Big3's safety measures for reality show, pre-season tournament
The Big3 basketball league is going forward with its plans for a reality show and pre-season tournament amid the coronavirus pandemic.        
1 h
usatoday.com
Day 17 without sports
How would NBA MVP race between the Lakers' LeBron James and the Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo look if season wasn't suspended by coronavirus pandemic?       
1 h
usatoday.com
Two better ways to chart the spread of coronavirus
No single metric can perfectly describe where the novel coronavirus has hit hardest. So we’re proposing two.
1 h
politico.com
Breaking With China Is Exactly the Wrong Answer
The lesson of COVID-19, influential politicians and commentators are claiming, is that the United States must delink itself from China. “China unleashed this plague on the world,” Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas recently told Sean Hannity, “and China has to be held accountable.” Cotton, who has proposed legislation to ban Americans from buying Chinese pharmaceuticals, isn’t alone. Representative Jim Banks of Indiana has urged Donald Trump to boost tariffs on Chinese products and put the money—which he incorrectly thinks would come from Chinese exporters rather than American importers—into a fund for Americans hurt by the coronavirus. In a recent essay in The American Interest, the political scientist Andrew Michta used the virus to demand a “hard decoupling” from China. Citing that essay approvingly, my Atlantic colleague Shadi Hamid recently argued, “After the crisis, whenever after is, the relationship with China cannot and should not go back to normal.”These arguments are exactly backwards. The relationship between America and China was not “normal” before COVID-19. It was in rapid decline. And that decline has left Americans more vulnerable to the disease. The lesson of this plague isn’t that America should stop cooperating with China. It’s that America must rebuild the public-health cooperation that the Trump administration helped destroy.[David Frum: The coronavirus is demonstrating the value of globalization]U.S.-Chinese collaboration against infectious disease isn’t a globalist fantasy. It has proved immensely effective in the past. And one of its greatest champions was George W. Bush.When SARS hit southern China in late 2002, the Bush administration played a crucial role in Beijing’s response. Deborah Seligsohn, a Villanova University political scientist who worked on science and health issues at the U.S. embassy in Beijing from 2003 to 2007, told me that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta sent 40 experts—under the auspices of the World Health Organization—to assist China in battling SARS. “They provided the majority of the international advice in combatting the disease,” Seligsohn said. The Americans helped their Chinese colleagues “create records, do contact tracing, do proper isolation—all the stuff you needed to do.” The effort, she said, “turned out to be strikingly successful.” SARS was largely contained to Asia. Only 27 Americans were infected; none died.The SARS success story produced what the Brown University medical anthropologist Katherine Mason calls an “explosion of formal cooperation” between the United States and China in fighting infectious disease. As Jennifer Huang Bouey of the Rand Corporation has documented, Bush’s secretary of health and human services visited Beijing in October 2003 and established a partnership with the Chinese Ministry of Health. In 2004, the U.S. and China began a collaboration “to build Chinese capacity in influenza surveillance,” as Bouey put it. The number of U.S. government employees working on public health in China grew dramatically, with some CDC officials even given offices inside their Chinese counterpart (which, in homage to the American agency, is also called the CDC).These efforts saved American as well as Chinese lives. When a new virus, H1N1, broke out in 2009, Bouey noted, “American and Chinese health authorities shared information and technology to facilitate national monitoring of H1N1’s spread and to develop a vaccine.” When the H7N9 virus emerged four years later, “the Chinese and American CDCs collaborated throughout … by sharing epidemiological data and engaging in joint research.” When Chinese researchers developed a vaccine, they quickly shared it with their American colleagues, who produced a version in the United States.[Read: How the pandemic will end]By Barack Obama’s second term, the United States and China were expanding this public-health cooperation to the rest of the world. When Ebola hit West Africa in 2014, American and Chinese personnel worked together at a Chinese-built laboratory in Sierra Leone and off-loaded supplies from a Chinese transport plane in Liberia. As the Carter Center has noted, many of the health experts whom China dispatched to fight Ebola had been trained by the Americans whom the Bush administration had sent to Beijing a decade earlier.Once again, these joint efforts saved lives. From 2014 to 2016, 28,000 people in West Africa contracted Ebola, far fewer than the 1.4 million the U.S. CDC had predicted near the beginning of the outbreak. In August 2014, 40 percent of Americans told pollsters that they expected a “large outbreak” of Ebola in the United States. Ultimately, only a single American died. On Obama’s final trip to China in 2016, the two governments agreed to jointly finance a headquarters for the African Union’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention so that the continent could better fight infectious diseases itself.The Trump administration is now trying to prevent that headquarters from being built. That’s just one example of the wrecking ball it has taken to public-health cooperation with Beijing. In 2018, The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration was “dramatically downsizing” the global “epidemic prevention activities” Obama had launched following the Ebola crisis. This year, even as the coronavirus outbreak was raging, Trump proposed cutting American funding for WHO in half.These cuts have taken a particular toll on American initiatives in China. Since Trump took office, both the CDC and the National Institutes of Health have reduced their staff in Beijing. The National Science Foundation has shut its office in the country entirely. The sentiment inside the Trump administration, Bouey told me, is that “if you have collaborative research with Chinese scientists, you’re helping China to build their capacity, and that’s not good for the U.S., because China is a strategic competitor.”This hard decoupling on public-health matters almost certainly undermined the U.S. government’s initial understanding of COVID-19. To be sure, Beijing responded to the outbreak with a disastrous cover-up, followed by a harsh quarantine. It repeatedly and inexcusably delayed allowing a WHO delegation into Wuhan. Nonetheless, academics who study U.S.-Chinese cooperation on public health told me that had experts from the CDC and the National Institutes of Health maintained close contact with their Chinese counterparts, those informal channels would have given the United States much better information in the virus’s early days.“Five years earlier,” Bouey said, “CDC and NIH officials would have been on the ground in Wuhan.” Seligsohn insisted that American officials during the Bush years “would have had a better sense of whether disease was being contained.” Elanah Uretsky, a medical anthropologist at Brandeis University who focuses on China, suggested that “the cooperation on health projects between the U.S. and China that existed before the Trump administration could have helped to pick up the virus sooner.” This week, Reuters reported that among the positions the Trump administration defunded was that of a medical epidemiologist who had been embedded inside China’s CDC. An American who previously occupied that role told the news service that “if someone had been there, public-health officials and governments across the world could have moved much faster.”[Thomas Kirsch: What happens if health-care workers stop showing up?]Now that COVID-19 is sweeping across the United States, cooperation between Washington and Beijing remains essential. “It’s hard to understate the importance of the U.S.-China relationship in getting through this,” Tom Inglesby, the director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told me. Since China—after its mistaken early attempts to suppress information—has gotten the virus under control, Inglesby said, “we need to learn from them about what’s going to work. Are they finding ways of returning to normal life without a vaccine? What did China do in terms of social distancing that made the most difference? We can’t and shouldn’t do what they did in terms of movement restrictions and compulsory action, but understanding what they did that we could emulate is very important.” Jeremy Konyndyk, who led the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance within the U.S. Agency for International Development during Obama’s second term, told me that the United States should bring Chinese doctors to every American city seriously affected by the coronavirus to explain how they managed COVID-19 cases.In Italy, Chinese doctors are doing exactly that. China is also sending large quantities of protective equipment to Europe now that its enormous manufacturing capacity no longer needs to be directed exclusively toward its own sick. Beijing’s intentions aren’t purely humanitarian, of course. It’s not only donating supplies; it’s selling them. But less of that equipment is entering the United States because, as Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics has documented, the Trump administration imposed tariffs on almost $5 billion worth of Chinese medical products. The administration sheepishly lifted some of these tariffs when COVID-19 hit the United States. But, Bown notes, “many critical medical products from China remain subject to tariffs.” Plus, even the tariffs that have been suspended are set to return, thus making America an unreliable market. Trump’s protectionism, Bown observes, “creates perverse incentives for Chinese medical suppliers to make American customers their last choice.”American doctors and nurses need masks, goggles, gloves, gowns, and thermometers now. That Trump’s tariffs are already making these supplies harder to procure underscores the absurdity of Representative Banks’s call for hiking tariffs even higher in retaliation for the “China virus.” Sure, the United States should, over time, boost its capacity to produce vital medical supplies. But a hard decoupling in which keeping Americans healthy no longer depends on Chinese products and knowledge is a dangerous fantasy. When I asked Brandeis’s Uretsky about Senator Cotton’s call for banning Americans from buying Chinese drugs, she noted that many of the drugs America already produces rely on Chinese raw materials.Hard decouplers might also contemplate the possibility that Chinese scientists will create the first COVID-19 vaccine, as was the case with H7N9 in 2013. Konyndyk said it’s urgent that the U.S. and China help forge an international agreement to ensure rules for coronavirus-vaccine distribution, no matter which country’s scientists first create it. A world in which vaccines are distributed quickly across borders is far safer for ordinary Americans than a world in which countries hoard them. But that requires cooperation between the United States and China, something Trump’s anti-Chinese insults make far harder.With brutal force, COVID-19 is clarifying two realities that run directly counter to Trump’s worldview. The first is that in a deeply interconnected world, the safety of ordinary Americans is often better protected by intensifying global cooperation than by buttressing national sovereignty. Some elements of the U.S.-China relationship are, indeed, zero-sum. When China fortifies islands in the South China Sea, its regional power goes up; America’s goes down. But nothing China has done on Mischief Reef has ever tanked the U.S. economy or forced millions of Americans to shelter in their homes. It is now obvious that the two ways through which Chinese behavior most threatens ordinary Americans—pandemics and climate change—do not obey the zero-sum logic that Trump and his ideological allies favor. The same virus that devastated Wuhan is now devastating New York. The rising seas that imperil Miami also imperil Guangzhou. Deeper collaboration between the world’s two superpowers is the logical response to these mammoth common threats. And on infectious disease, we know that such collaboration works.The second reality the coronavirus is laying bare is that the balance of knowledge and power in today’s globalized world has changed. When SARS hit in 2003, the United States was China’s tutor. Now America’s doctors and scientists are desperate to learn how their Chinese counterparts vanquished the coronavirus in Wuhan. If America’s factories were the arsenal of democracy during World War II, it is more and more clear that China’s factories will be the arsenal of global public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This shift would be jarring to any U.S. president. But it is particularly threatening to a president who flirts openly with white supremacy. It’s not coincidental that the White House has become a geyser of anti-Chinese bigotry at the very moment America needs China most. Trump’s rhetoric reflects an inability to cope with a geopolitical transition that, to his supporters, is also a racial transition—the kind of racial transition many of them elected Trump to prevent.The lesson of this plague is not only that the United States must cooperate more deeply with China. It is also that the United States will be less able than in the past to dictate the terms on which that cooperation occurs. Trump, Cotton, and other hard decouplers may find these realities excruciating. But the more they resist them, the more Americans will die.
1 h
theatlantic.com
Coronavirus kills one person every 17 minutes in New York
For the past two days, New Yorkers have been dying at a rate of one every 17 minutes, according to the latest grim citywide statistics.
1 h
foxnews.com
New York presidential primary still on amid record numbers of coronavirus cases
New York, the only state set to hold in-person voting on April 28, has yet to say if they will change the election in any manner.
1 h
abcnews.go.com
A Reward Of Liquor For Coronavirus Heroes In China Does Not Bring Cheers
A token of appreciation for medical staff who worked in Wuhan when coronavirus was at its peak is getting an icy reception on social media.
2 h
npr.org
Where coronavirus could find a refuge
Lapses in federal health policy and reliance on fractured tribal structures raise fears the virus could hide on Native American reservations long after America goes back to work.
2 h
politico.com
Biden mounts behind-the-scenes mission to win over wary progressives
His aides are moving deliberately to address his biggest liability: An enthusiasm deficit among the liberal base, especially young voters.
2 h
politico.com