Covid-19 News Info Latest Covid-19 Articles, Coronavirus News and Stats Mon, 21 Sep 2020 17:46:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 175596917 Missouri motorcycle rally with 125K bikers sparks fears of COVID-19 spread Mon, 21 Sep 2020 17:45:56 +0000

Some 125,000 bikers from across the nation descended on Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks for a weekend rally, fueling fears that the gathering could spread the coronavirus far and wide.

Most attendees of the 14th annual Bikefest Lake of the Ozarks went maskless and flouted social-distancing precautions during the event, photos and videos show.

“It’s what we get dealt with in life,” attendee Bubby Fischer told local news outlet KY3, referring to the coronavirus. “If you get dealt with it, it’s what happens.”

Other participants similarly shrugged off the deadly contagion, responsible for nearly 200,000 American deaths as of Monday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University.

“If I was worried about getting sick I would have stayed home,” one rider told MSNBC, declining to give their name. “But I wanted to have some fun.”

Dan Ousley, a 51-year-old local and occasional Bikefest participant, told The Daily Beast that he was heartened to see the turnout.

“It’s great to see,” said Ousley. “Honestly, I think that the COVID-19 thing is a little overblown, to be honest. We made national news for having large crowds, but we just want to live our life.”

But public-health experts had a very different takeaway.

“People are going to congregate from all over the country, and it will likely spur a chain of transmissions that has impacts in various different states,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins specializing in infectious diseases, told The Daily Beast.

“It will be a major task for public health officials because it is very difficult to track this mobile population.”

Around 125,000 people attended BikeFest at Lake Of The Ozarks in Missouri.TODAY via Youtube.

Similar problems were posed by the even larger Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, held in South Dakota over 10 days in August.

At least one attendee died of the coronavirus, and researchers labeled Sturgis a “superspreading event,” an assessment blasted as “completely untrue” by Gov. Kristi Noem.

“The lessons from Sturgis are that this chain of transmission will happen in any mass gatherings and it will have mass consequences,” Adalja told The Daily Beast. “At the very least, anyone that attends a mass gathering should get tested a couple of days after the event.”

Lake of the Ozarks was previously in the spotlight over the Memorial Day weekend when massive, maskless crowds congregated for pool parties with the pandemic still raging.

Ahead of the weekend biker rally, Lake Ozark Mayor Gerry Murawski admitted to The Kansas City Star that he had some concerns.

“But this is our last event of the year and I keep thinking, ‘Let’s just get through this,’ and then we can quite frankly go to sleep for a few months,” Murawski told the paper. “And hopefully by next year it’s gone. Probably not, though.”

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Israel enters second coronavirus lockdown | Coronavirus Update Mon, 21 Sep 2020 17:11:08 +0000 Latest video updates regarding Coronavirus. Watch this “Israel enters second coronavirus lockdown | Coronavirus Update” video below:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday announced a new countrywide lockdown will be imposed amid a stubborn surge in coronavirus cases…(read more)

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Didn’t hear from contact tracers about that guy coughing on your flight? You might not – even if he had COVID-19 Mon, 21 Sep 2020 16:43:42 +0000 It’s the call no airline passenger wants to receive.

You are contacted after your plane lands and find out a fellow traveler from your flight tested positive for COVID-19. The notification probably comes from local health officials with an advisory to go into 14-day self-quarantine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logged 1,600 COVID-19 investigations on commercial aircraft from January through August. By comparison, the agency had to deal with about 150 cases of communicable diseases on flights in 2018 and 2019 each, usually the measles, spokeswoman Caitlin Shockey said.

The cases fall to contact tracers, who may be hampered by incomplete, inaccurate or stale contact information for those they are trying to reach, the CDC says. There are challenges that might explain why you might not get a call even if you were exposed:

The infected passenger didn’t have symptoms – even though he or she could have inadvertently spread the virus. It’s one of the most vexing aspects of the coronavirus: “Because cases of COVID-19 can be mild or asymptomatic, it’s highly likely that CDC did not receive reports of infected people who traveled by air,” Shockey said.

CDC protocols call for having state and local health authorities contact airline passengers who might have been seated within 6 feet of the infected person, not necessarily everyone on the plane. If an infected passenger seated farther away passes close to others or left a virus trail in the lavatory during the flight, tracers could easily miss others exposed to the coronavirus by not extending the number of flyers they contact.

Unlike a public bus or commuter train, seats are assigned on planes. That makes it easier to track down those seated near an infected passenger. The system isn’t perfect. Sometimes passengers switch seats or, in the case of Southwest Airlines, fly on a carrier that has an open seating policy. In those instances, the CDC says, all passengers aboard become part of the investigation.

Tracers may lack adequate contact information on an exposed passenger. The CDC issued a rule in February that would have required airlines to get passengers’ full names and basic contact info on international flights. The airline industry protested that the plan would be onerous and costly, and it hasn’t been enforced.

Airline mask requirements: Check the policies for 11 US carriers

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The airline industry, brought to a near halt in the spring by the coronavirus and still enduring deep losses due to a dearth of passengers, said it is doing all it can to cooperate with the contact tracing effort.

“We continue to believe that contact tracing is a key measure that will instill confidence for the traveling public that airlines and the federal government are prioritizing their health and safety,” said Carter Yang, spokesman for the leading industry trade group Airlines for America.

There is no evidence that any passenger has contracted the coronavirus from a commercial aircraft, which are equipped with HEPA filters and high-flow ventilation systems, he said. Airlines are full partners with the government in trying to limit the spread of the virus.

More: United Airlines accused of favoring young, white, blond attendants for NFL, MLB flights

“U.S. airlines comply with all requests” when it comes to releasing manifest information on people who were seated near an infected person on a flight, Yang said.

Southwest will release an entire flight’s passenger manifest if health authorities request it, airline spokesman Brian Parrish said.

The CDC said airlines have been fully cooperative. Shockey said the public health agency and airlines have “a long history of working together” on contact investigations.

The problem is that names on a list may not be enough.

If a passenger tested positive for the coronavirus on a flight, will fellow flyers ever find out? Contact tracers face challenges when it comes to trying to track down airline customers with the news.

On Feb. 12, a day after the USA reported its 13th coronavirus case, the CDC published a rule in the Federal Register aimed at trying to stop COVID-19 before it could ravage the U.S. population. The order required airlines to collect the full name, email address and primary and secondary phone numbers of every passenger and crew member arriving in the USA in case they were needed by contact tracers.

“If public health authorities had a valid phone number, the contact rate is between 91 and 100%. With only the address, the contact rate plummets to 44%. With only the name – currently, a common situation – the contact rate is only 8%,” the order said.

Airlines said the information required by the order would be hard to compile because reservation systems aren’t built to handle it, and it is available by other means anyway.

Names and addresses are collected for everyone leaving or arriving in the USA by Customs and Border Protection, Airlines for America CEO Nicholas Calio wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Passengers may volunteer their email addresses and phone numbers to airlines when they book a ticket.

Happy Thanksgiving: Southwest Airlines will leave middle seats open through November

In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, who helms the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Calio said the order would take a year to implement, doesn’t take privacy laws and international agreements into account and would cost airlines millions of dollars.

The International Air Transport Association said through spokesman Perry Flint that data collection should be a government, not an airline, responsibility.

Asked why the order wasn’t enforced, the CDC referred calls to the White House. There, spokesman Judd Deere said “the White House continues to work with the airlines on the best solution to protect the health and safety of the public not only during this ongoing pandemic but for future ones as well.”

The situation flummoxes one travel industry expert.

“With very few businesspeople traveling, airlines are now seeing a higher proportion of their reservations booked through direct channels like their websites and call centers,” Henry Harteveldt, analyst for the Atmosphere Research Group, said. “That should make it easier for an airline to reach a higher proportion of passengers if there was a COVID-positive passenger on a flight.”

Until then, contract tracers soldier on as passengers are urged to provide more information on their own. The CDC, in advising people to add their phone numbers to their airline reservations, sums up the issue facing too many travelers:

“How will you know if you were exposed if no one can reach you?”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: Tracing COVID-19-infected airline passengers isn’t easy

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How to have a coronavirus social routine that’s as meticulous as Dr. Fauci’s Mon, 21 Sep 2020 15:42:56 +0000
Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Anthony Fauci works 7 days a week, breaking only to eat.

But he makes sure to regularly power-walk with his wife, and occasionally have dinner with a few friends outdoors.

He is worried about this winter, when “certainly we’re going to have to do indoor things more than we were able to do before.”

Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Dr. Anthony Fauci does not consider his own pandemic protocol as anything to admire, or to emulate. 

“I don’t think we need to go by my routine, which is probably unusual,” he said, when I asked how we might be able to relax our daily procedures a little, after months of vigilance against the coronavirus in the US.

The 79-year-old head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said he’s been working “seven days a week, 18 hours a day,” something he does not recommend.

(Severe stress, as he says, “can sometimes impact the immune system,” which is not great during a pandemic.)  

Often, he’ll spend half a day at the White House, and the other half in his office at the National Institutes of Health. Maybe, he’ll have time to bite into a cold slice of pizza while breaking for lunch. 

On his off-time, however, he doesn’t collapse on the couch. He maintains a schedule of activities to stay fit, healthy, and connected with other people.

Nightly power walks with his wife

When he goes home, he reconnects with his wife, nurse Christine Grady, who heads up the department of bioethics at the NIH. “She does a considerable amount of her work virtually,” Fauci said, so she’s “in contact with very few people.”

At night, the two often get outside for a brisk stroll along the C & O canal, knowing that regular exercise is a great way to combat stress, keep your brain and heart healthy, and improve your mood. “I go for my exercise — a three- to four-mile power walk at night with my wife — that’s one person who I know is not infected,” Fauci said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci and his wife Christine Grady at the White House for a state dinner on October 18, 2016.

Sometimes, if there aren’t other people out in sight, he’ll even pull down his mask and enjoy the fresh air, as he recently told Jennifer Garner.

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But he’s definitely not heading to any bars or restaurants, or doing much else for fun. 

“There’s no outside entertainment, there’s nothing other than just my relationship with my wife — which is terrific,” he said. “So we have a very regimented, predictable existence of work, work, work, exercise, eat — but do it in a very safe way.”

Because he doesn’t get a ton of sun from his nighttime exercises and days spent indoors, Fauci also pops a vitamin D supplement, which is one of the few that experts say is a useful addition to a healthy diet, for the many older adults who are deficient. (He also says you can take “a gram” of vitamin C daily, but you don’t have to if you’re eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day.)

Outdoor dining with a few close friends who are not in contact with other people

Other than Grady, Fauci doesn’t really hang out with other people socially, especially indoors, where the coronavirus tends to spread well between people. 

“We’re being very careful for any number of reasons you may want to be careful, but also, you know, I’m not the youngest person in the world,” he said. “I’m in a risk category.”

If he does get together with friends, the gatherings are intimate, fresh air affairs, where infection prevention is always top of mind.

“It is usually a dinner outside on the back deck with people who we’ve known for a long time who are equally as compulsive as we are about trying to protect yourself against infection,” Fauci said. “The total number of us is never more than four or five.”

He may have to break his rule against indoor socializing as it gets colder, but he is not sure how that will work

Until now, the only person they’ve invited indoors was one of their daughters who came to visit over the summer, and quarantined herself in the basement for 14 days before sharing their space.

“I almost can’t remember what we did indoors with anybody other than just my wife and I in the house and one of my children,” he said. 

When I asked him how those routines might change as winter approaches, and temperatures tumble, Fauci said he doesn’t have any “easy answers” for how life will continue with the virus, into 2021. 

“My wife and I actually had a serious conversation last night, as we were sitting out on the deck, about what the heck is going to happen in the winter, you know? And I’m not sure, to be honest with you. But certainly we’re going to have to do indoor things more than we were able to do before. Because we do almost nothing with people indoors right now.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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What's behind Latin America's severe coronavirus death toll? | COVID-19 Special Mon, 21 Sep 2020 14:10:11 +0000 Latest video updates about Coronavirus. Check out this “What's behind Latin America's severe coronavirus death toll? | COVID-19 Special” video below:

Parts of Latin America are finding a new normal amid the pandemic but tragedy remains a reality for many across the region. Brazil has seen the highest number …..(read more)

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Trump touts herd immunity approach to COVID-19 that experts warn would kill millions of people Mon, 21 Sep 2020 12:40:35 +0000
COVID-19; Nursing Home

Medical workers load a patient from Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center into an ambulance while wearing masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) in Andover, New Jersey. After an anonymous tip to police, 17 people were found dead at the long-term care facility, including two nurses, where at least 76 patients and 41 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

Insisting during a town hall Tuesday night that COVID-19 will simply disappear on its own — echoing a baseless claim he also made in February, March, April, May, June, July, and August — President Donald Trump touted a so-called “herd immunity” approach to the pandemic that public health experts warn would lead to hundreds of millions of new coronavirus infections and millions of additional deaths.

“We’re gonna be OK. And it is going away,” Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “And it’s probably gonna go away now a lot faster with the vaccine. It would go away without the vaccine, George.”

When Stephanopoulos replied that “many deaths” would result such a scenario, Trump said: “You’ll develop like a herd mentality. It’s gonna be herd developed, and that’s gonna happen. That will all happen. But with a vaccine, I think it will go away very quickly. But I really believe we’re rounding the corner, and I believe that strongly.”


Trump’s remarks came as COVID-19 continues to spread across the United States, with the nation averaging around 38,000 new cases per day over the past week. In total, the U.S. has recorded over 6.6 million positive coronavirus cases and at least 195,600 deaths, and it remains unclear when a safe and effective vaccine will be available to the public.

“This was not true when Trump said it in February,” said Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., in response to the president’s claim that the virus is going away. “It is not true today, 195,000 American deaths later. COVID-19 is not going to just ‘disappear.’ Making that the strategy leads to more preventable deaths.”

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To reach “herd immunity” to the virus, experts say around 65% of the U.S. population — over 200 million people — would have to be infected. Given the current U.S. death rate from COVID-19, that number of cases would kill millions of people.

“‘Herd mentality’ is what his cult followers have,” epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding tweeted following the president’s comments late Tuesday. “‘Herd immunity’ without a vaccine is deadly. Trump’s idiocy on science is killing us.”

University of Michigan professor Justin Wolfers noted that “developing herd immunity doesn’t just take time, it works by infecting over a hundred million and killing hundreds of thousands.”

“He’s describing a massacre,” tweeted Wolfers. “If you think the problem here is that he said herd mentality rather than herd immunity, you’re missing the big picture. Whatever word he spoke, the idea is to sacrifice several hundred thousand more people’s lives.”

Trump’s town hall came days after Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned the number of deaths that would result from a “herd immunity” approach to the virus would be “totally unacceptable.”

“If everyone contracted it, even with the relatively high percentage of people without symptoms… a lot of people are going to die,” said Fauci, who Trump officials have attempted to muzzle as he continues to publicly warn that the fight against the pandemic is far from over, contradicting the president’s false optimism.

“If you look at the United States of America with our epidemic of obesity as it were, with the number of people with hypertension, with the number of people with diabetes,” Fauci continued, “if everyone got infected, the death toll would be enormous.”

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‘Healthy Sail Panel’ submits 74 COVID-19 cruise recommendations to CDC Mon, 21 Sep 2020 11:39:11 +0000 It’s not news that cruising will be different when ships return to U.S. waters as cruise operators seek to ensure passengers’ safety. But the question of just what a cruise vacation will look like in the COVID-19 era has lingered during a more than six-month industry-wide pause.

But now a picture is starting to form. 

On Monday, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian’s “Healthy Sail Panel” submitted a 65-page report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the agency’s request for public comment. The CDC’s comment period closes Monday, and its current “no-sail” order is set to expire at the end of the month. Industry trade group Cruise Lines International Association has issued a voluntary suspension through Oct. 31. 

The panel’s report contains 74 recommendations to prevent the introduction and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on board cruise ships, including COVID-19 testing, face coverings and temperature checks, among others. The recommendations were also published on each cruise company’s website.

“This is a very comprehensive approach with multiple layers to try to ensure safety on the ship,” Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration who co-chairs the panel, told USA TODAY. 

The two cruise companies brought together a task force in June led by Gottlieb and co-chair Mike Leavitt, former Utah governor and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, with the goal of evaluating every facet of COVID-19 safety on cruise ships.

“These recommendations constitute an important milestone,” Leavitt told USA TODAY, noting that protocol details would be worked out by each cruise company and that the CDC will ultimately decide appropriate guidelines when cruising resumes.

The recommendations for safe cruising begin before passengers and crew embark, and they include contingency plans in case of a coronavirus outbreak on board.

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Some of the specific recommendations include: 

Passengers should be tested for COVID-19 between five days and 24 hours prior to boarding and share a negative result with the cruise operator. 

At embarkation passengers should undergo an additional health screening. 

Crew members should be tested between five days and 24 hours before leaving their home. After receiving a negative result, they should quarantine on board for seven days and take another test before beginning duties with a negative result.

Passengers and crew should undergo a daily temperature check.

Passengers and crew should wear a face mask or cloth covering in accordance with CDC guidelines. 

Ships should have lowered crew and passenger loads.

Cruise lines should implement shorter sailing itineraries.

Cruise operators should also implement contact-free check-in. 

Increased sanitation on board and in ports should be implemented with attention paid to both low-touch and high-touch areas.

And the list goes on.

“We believe you can create a bubble around this experience, where you put in place enough controls that you dramatically reduce the risk of introduction, and if you do have a single introduction, dramatically reduce further spread on the ship,” Gottlieb said. “We have an environment that we can tightly control.”

Cruise operators can control conditions of boarding and onboard interactions, making it possible to maintain control, Gottlieb noted. “This isn’t like someone going into a large city where you lose control of your environment.”

Of course, having that control would require enforcing new rules. “Cruise operators should not allow an individual to sail if they do not affirmatively state their willingness to comply with current safety and public health protocols,” recommendation No. 8 reads.

CDC official: Cruise ships pose risk for ‘amplified,’ ‘scattered’ COVID-19 community spread

But there are still other milestones to hit before cruising from the U.S. can return, such as the CDC giving the green light for cruising to return and approving cruise lines’ plans.

Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, and Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., told USA TODAY that the two companies will use the recommendations to help them develop new operating protocols, and cruise lines will turn in detailed plans to the CDC for approval. 

At this stage, the recommendations are being submitted to the CDC for consideration on the return to cruising in U.S. waters — not for approval to implement. 

When final protocols can be put in place and implemented though remains unclear. Del Rio explained it’s more complicated than when the CDC’s “no-sail” order is lifted.

“It will take some time, and a lot depends on when we get the green light — how much advance notice there is and the extent of the technologies that we need to start,” Del Rio said, referencing COVID-19 testing, the implementation of new technology, getting crew back on board and training crew to adapt to new protocols, among other factors. 

“Testing, for example, is something that’s key,” he said. “And those products are in limited quantities.”

Fain reiterated a point he’s made time and again throughout the pandemic: Royal Caribbean lines will not return to cruising until it has been proven safe to do so.

“My family and I, my grandchildren, my children, my wife, we will be on our first cruise,” Del Rio said. “We will be that confident. I love my family as much as anybody loves their family, and that will be the proof of the pudding.”

Far-UVC sanitation, contact tracing: Tech cruise ships could implement to combat spread of coronavirus

CDC official says: Cruise ships pose risk for ‘amplified,’ ‘scattered’ COVID-19 community spread

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Norwegian, Royal Caribbean cruise panel suggests COVID-19 rules

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Coronavirus in Africa: Is the fallout worse than the disease? | COVID-19 Special Mon, 21 Sep 2020 11:09:16 +0000 Latest video release regarding Coronavirus. Check out this “Coronavirus in Africa: Is the fallout worse than the disease? | COVID-19 Special” video below:

Caseloads have been lower than forecast, but the pandemic is hitting Africa’s economy hard, disrupting tourism and other crucial sectors. With work at a …..(read more)

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Congressional report reveals how China could have prevented COVID-19 Mon, 21 Sep 2020 10:38:05 +0000

The coronavirus pandemic might have been prevented if not for Chinese cover-ups in the early days of the outbreak and the World Health Organization “parroting” Beijing propaganda, according to a damning audit from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The 96-page report — obtained by The Post ahead of its planned Monday release — says the Chinese Communist Party destroyed evidence and buried troubling data, while nationalizing the supply chains and limiting exports of US companies 3M and General Motors, keeping key goods in the country.

“It is beyond doubt that the CCP actively engaged in a cover-up designed to obfuscate data, hide relevant public health information, and suppress doctors and journalists who attempted to warn the world,” reads the report, authored by Republican members of the Democrat-held committee.

Had China been more transparent and proactive when the first signs of the burgeoning health crisis emerged in Wuhan in late 2019, the outbreak could have been largely contained — potentially saving hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide, the pols wrote.

“Research shows the CCP could have reduced the number of cases in China by up to 95 percent had it fulfilled its obligations under international law and responded to the outbreak in a manner consistent with best practices,” the report said, citing a study on Medrxiv, a Yale University-linked online clearinghouse for medical manuscripts.

“It is highly likely the ongoing pandemic could have been prevented,” the report said.

Instead, on Jan. 1, CCP officials ordered that the Wuhan wet market from which the contagion is believed to have sprung “be closed and sanitized, destroying forensic evidence that may have provided insight into the origins of the outbreak,” the report said.

On Jan. 2, scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology completed a full genetic sequence of COVID-19 which indicated that it was likely highly contagious, but did not immediately share that data with the WHO.

Allegedly aiding and abetting the breakdown was the WHO itself and its director-general, Tedros Adhanom, according to the lawmakers, who called for Tedros’ resignation.

“The WHO has been complicit in the spread and normalization of CCP propaganda and disinformation,” they wrote. “Director-General Tedros should accept responsibility for his detrimental impact on the COVID-19 response and resign.”

While China tried to sweep the crisis under the rug and was derelict in its duties to inform the international health community — as required under International Health Regulations since the nation similarly erred during the 2002 SARS outbreak — the WHO hardly helped once it got involved, the report says.

Officials at the United Nations agency only publicly acknowledged the outbreak in a pair of tweets on Jan. 4 — five days after they learned of it through a Chinese media report uploaded onto a US-based website for inside medical news.

The WHO also ignored whistle-blowing warnings from the Taiwan Centers of Disease Control and the Hong Kong government about human-to-human transmission, incorrectly claiming for weeks that Chinese authorities had found “no evidence” of this — even though China by then knew it was genetically similar to the 2002 SARS strain, which was communicable, the report charges.

WHO director-general Tedros AdhanomFabrice Coffrini/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

“From the early stages of the outbreak, the WHO, under Director-General Tedros’ leadership, parroted and upheld as inviolable truth, statements from the CCP,” the report said. “An examination of their public statements, including the praise heaped on the CCP’s handling of the pandemic, reveal a disturbing willingness to ignore science and alternative credible sources.”

Medical staff waiting outside rooms at the Red Cross hospital in Wuhan.AFP via Getty Images

On Jan. 20, WHO investigators finally toured Wuhan, as sweeping quarantine orders were being put into place.

US officials, meanwhile, weren’t part of a February tour to assess China’s response, an omission for which there are conflicting explanations.

The WHO claims American experts were content with allowing other monitors to conduct the review, but the US Department of Health and Human Services told lawmakers that Americans were left out of the selection process, according to the report.

Despite mounting evidence that they and the international community had been misled, Tedros on Jan. 28 praised China on its “transparency.”

He declared a public health emergency two days later, by which point there were nearly 10,000 diagnosed cases spanning 19 countries — among them China and the US.

Internal documents showed that WHO officials were privately frustrated by the CCP’s refusal to hand over data on patients and cases, even as Tedros publicly praised them.

“We’re going on very minimal information,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead for COVID-19 in one internal meeting, according to the report. “It’s clearly not enough for you to do proper planning.”

The international community has condemned China’s handling of the early days of the outbreak, spurring calls for an independent investigation.

President Trump has repeatedly threatened his own retribution, with the administration weighing legal action against China.

As of Sunday, over 30 million cases and nearly 1 million deaths had been tallied worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The committee’s ranking member Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) told The Post that both Tedros and the Chinese government needed to be held accountable for “the suffering they have allowed the world to endure.

“It is crystal clear that had the CCP been transparent, and had the head of the WHO cared more about global health than appeasing the CCP, lives could have been spared and widespread economic devastation could have been mitigated,” said McCaul.

In a rare letter sent by Tedros to McCaul in July, the WHO chief failed to answer any of the US government’s questions about its mishandling of the pandemic and maintained the body acted in a timely and impartial manner, the report says.

Lawmakers on the committee recommend Taiwan be admitted to the WHO, lauding the Asian country as an ignored early whistleblower.

But, the WHO’s bumbling response notwithstanding, the Republican committee advised against the US pulling out of the partnership, as President Trump indicated he would in July.

“We do not believe the withdrawal of the United States or the establishment of a competing international organization is the best path forward,” the report said. “By remaining part of a WHO that is ready for change, the United States can drive forward the necessary reforms of the International Health Regulations and the WHO.”

Additional reporting by Aaron Feis

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EU Chief Ursula von der Leyen delivers first 'State of the Union' speech | DW News Mon, 21 Sep 2020 08:08:31 +0000 Newest video updates regarding Coronavirus. Have a look at this “EU Chief Ursula von der Leyen delivers first 'State of the Union' speech | DW News” video below:

In her first speech on the state of the European UNion The EU’s most powerful senior official Ursula von der Leyen unveiled plans to reboot the bloc’s battered …..(read more)

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CDC says coronavirus spreads mainly in the air, through respiratory aerosols and droplets Mon, 21 Sep 2020 05:17:58 +0000
Researcher Tehya Stockman plays a clarinet in a lab at the University of Colorado Boulder to measure aerosol output. (Richard Read / Los Angeles Times)

The coronavirus spreads most commonly in the air, through droplets or other tiny respiratory particles that apparently can remain suspended and inhaled, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says in new guidance.

The smaller particles, known as aerosols, are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes and can be inhaled into someone’s nose, mouth, airways or lungs, according to the CDC, which says that, in general, indoor settings without good ventilation increase the risk of contagion.

“This is thought to be the main way the virus spreads,” the CDC has posted on its website. “There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others and travel distances beyond six feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants or in fitness classes).”

Experts on aerosols and the coronavirus said the change constitutes a profound shift in understanding of how the virus that has claimed almost 200,000 lives in the United States spreads. However, the updated two-page explanation provided little new guidance on how to protect against airborne transmission.

Previously, the federal health agency had said the coronavirus spreads mainly between people within about six feet of one another and through direct propulsion of exhaled droplets that land in the noses and mouths of individuals nearby. The CDC also said — and still says — that people may become infected by touching something that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes, but that touch is not the main way it spreads.

Researchers studying transmission of the deadly virus noticed the new guidance Sunday on the CDC’s website, labeled as an update from Friday. As with some other updates, the CDC made the fundamental changes to its guidance without issuing an announcement.

The CDC did not respond Sunday to requests to discuss the update.

In the guidance, the CDC website says that in addition to wearing masks, washing hands and staying “at least six feet away” from others, people should stay home and isolate themselves when sick and “use air purifiers to help reduce airborne germs in indoor spaces.” Previously, the advice was to maintain “good social distance” of “about six feet.”

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The CDC and the World Health Organization have long resisted the notion that the coronavirus spreads farther than about six feet through the air, with the WHO initially maintaining that airborne transmission occurred only during certain medical procedures. But in July, under growing pressure from researchers, the WHO acknowledged that the virus could linger in the air indoors and potentially infect people even when they practice social distancing.

Aerosol scientists have found mounting evidence — including “super-spreading” events such as choir practices in which multiple people were infected — that the virus can spread through microscopic respiratory particles. This week, the scientific journal Indoor Air accepted a paper for publication that found that many of the 53 choir singers who became sick after attending a March 10 practice in Mount Vernon, Wash., likely caught COVID-19 through airborne transmission.

Jose-Luis Jimenez, a University of Colorado Boulder aerosol scientist and one of the authors of that report, said in an interview Sunday that the CDC’s updated guidance represented a major shift. Until now, he said, agency scientists have said that the virus is transmitted through the air when droplets shoot out of one person’s mouth or nose in the form of projectiles, directly infecting another person.

“They changed it and didn’t tell anybody,” he said.

Donald Milton, a University of Maryland environmental health professor and an expert on aerosols, said in an interview Sunday that the CDC has gradually come around to the concept of airborne transmission as evidence has accumulated, and he noted that the agency has made unannounced changes to its guidance in the past.

“They’ve been paying attention and moving in response to research, so I’m glad to see that they’re continuing and that there’s nobody getting in the way,” he said.

Without notice in May, the CDC altered guidance for reopening houses of worship, deleting a warning posted the previous day that said the act of singing may contribute to coronavirus transmission — a switch reportedly due to pressure from the White House. Friday’s updated guidance identified singing as one of the activities that could produce infectious aerosols.

Jimenez and Milton said it’s important to wear masks to reduce the risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19. They said it’s crucial to make sure face coverings fit properly, so that aerosols don’t escape or enter through gaps in the mask around the nose or mouth.

“Aerosols can travel farther than six feet, but they’re more concentrated the closer you get, so standing as far away as possible reduces risk,” Milton said. “The reason that bars have been such a big problem is that people get loud when they get alcohol onboard and move close together to hear, and you can’t drink a beer or a shot with a mask on.”

Milton and Shelly Miller, another aerosol researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder, are studying ways that singing and playing wind instruments might be made safer through distancing, ventilation and masking with various types of materials. The research is funded by national choral and instrumental associations whose members have been unable to gather during the pandemic.

Good ventilation reduces risk indoors, as does simply opening windows to let air circulate, the researchers said. Ceiling units that use ultraviolet light to kill the virus are also showing promise, they said.

Milton and Jimenez were among a group of researchers who drafted an open letter to the WHO, ultimately signed by 239 researchers from 32 countries, that urged officials to accept the possibility that aerosols play a major role in spreading the virus. The WHO revised its guidelines after receiving the letter July 6, saying that airborne transmission had not been definitively demonstrated but recommending that people avoid poorly ventilated, crowded spaces.

The CDC has now taken another significant step to acknowledge the role of aerosols, Jimenez said.

“The entire field of aerosol science is telling them that the understanding of ballistic droplets is outdated, and it’s really aerosols that are spreading the virus,” he said.

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India supasses 5 million coronavirus cases | Coronavirus Update Mon, 21 Sep 2020 05:06:24 +0000 Newest video release about Coronavirus. Watch this “India supasses 5 million coronavirus cases | Coronavirus Update” video below:

In India coronavirus cases have surpassed the five million mark. More than 82000 people have died of COVID in the country. Health experts warn that the fatality …..(read more)

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