Tag: United States

Coronavirus infection spread: Symptomatic vs Asymptomatic, What do we know?
Geopolitics

Coronavirus infection spread: Symptomatic vs Asymptomatic, What do we know?

Coronavirus infection transmission rate and the potency of infection spread from asymptomatic patients is still “unknown”, World Health Organization clarified on Tuesday. This was after Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’S COVID-19 technical lead said on Monday that infection spread from asymptomatic cases is “very rare”. The fact that this observation was based on a small study group, makes it not reliable.

Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, Dr. Michael Ryan said that undoubtedly there is transmission of infection from asymptomatic sources and that he was “absolutely convinced” about it. Just the question left is that “how much” infection spread rate is from patients displaying no symptoms.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, who is also the WHO’S Head of Emerging Diseases clarified the distinctive features between three categories of coronavirus patients/ carriers.

  • Asymptomatic patients – these are the ones who never develop any symptoms to infection, and therefore sometimes might go undetected.
  • Pre-symptomatic – These patients do not have any symptoms when they are tested positive, but they develop them later on.
  • Mild symptomatic – These people have very mild or common (atypical) symptoms and they usually do not realize they have the infection, and go undetected.

These minor differences between categories, which are seldom not mentioned in the reports, along with small sample size for study make it significantly difficult to draw any conclusions regarding carriers and spread of coronavirus infection.

But Dr. Van Kerkhove suggested that available evidences indicate lower infection spread instances from patients who never develop the symptoms or are asymptomatic, when compared to patients with mild or moderate-severe symptoms.  

According to studies conducted by the WHO in various random sample groups of asymptomatic cases, when contact tracing was done it was discovered that there were very low secondary infection cases among people who came in contact with asymptomatic patients.

WHO published in “guidance on wearing masks” on weekend, based on the study concluding “The available evidence from contact tracing reported by member states suggests that asymptomatically-infected individuals are much less likely to transmit the virus than those who develop symptoms.”

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) in UK after consistent sample testing of patients concluded that only 29% of positive tested patients of COVID-19 reported “any evidence of symptoms” when they were tested positive, or previous or following visits.

Symptomatic patients – highest risk carriers

 Contact tracing sample studies in many countries provides evidence that “true asymptomatic” cases “rarely transmit” infection. But the studies also indicate that there can be infection transmission before or on the day symptoms appear when they are mild in severity, stated Prof. Babak Javid who is an Infectious Diseases Consultant at the University of Cambridge.

Around three days before the patients first develop symptoms, there can be a detectable load of virus present in their system, which is capable of transmission relatively higher just before or on the day of symptoms appearance.

The asymptomatic cases can transmit the infection, but the relative high infection spread by symptomatic patients provides suitable evidence that they are the “highest risk” category of carriers.

The evidence collected through studies suggests – a positive case doesn’t directly indicate the transmission capacity of the patient or how much virus is in their system, also known as “Viral Load”. But when a patient displays symptoms like sneezing and coughing and the amount of contact he has with other people, directly influences how likely he can transmit the infection. It has been substantially determined that coronavirus mainly “passes through infectious droplets”. This determines that when a patient sneezes or coughs, he is most prone to pass on the infection, pointed out Dr. Van Kerkhove.

Thousand people a year killed by police in the US
Americas

Thousand people a year killed by police in the US

Since 2015, police have killed nearly a thousand people a year in the US with firearms, with a total of 5400 victims to date. According to the Washington Post, 463 people died at the hands of the agents this year.There was also tension at the American newspaper office following the backdrop of racial protests for the killing of George Floyd by the police. The editors of the Washington Post split after Wesley Lowery, Pulitzer Prize 2016 and a newsroom star for his investigations into police brutality at the center of the debate these days, left the newspaper after being threatened with dismissal by director Marty Baron.

Baron is perhaps the editor of America’s most illustrious newspapers, after having won the Pulitzer at the Boston Globe for the scoop on the paedophilia of the clergy, on the investigations, the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight” was shot, and other awards of excellence Washington Post journalism. The director previously asked Lowery to follow the editorial line of the newspaper, which forbids journalists from expressing too personal opinions on Twitter and television.

In the meantime, Joe Biden has made it known that he does not agree with the De-fund the police campaign. The initiative has been promoted during the protests against George Floyd’s death, to remove or reduce the funds to the police department and use them to solve economic and local communities’ problems. As his proposal on criminal justice made clear months ago, the former vice president doesn’t believe the police should be deprived of funds, said the spokesman Andrew Bates.

Led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate leader Chuck Schumer, the dems today announced legislation to reform the police and justice.Among the main points, the demilitarization of the police by limiting the transfer of military weapons to local and state departments, the obligation of video cameras on the dashboard of cars and on the body of agents to combat police brutality, ban tightening of the neck, warrantless searches in drug cases, and put an end to racial profiling.”This moment of national anguish is turning into a national action movement as Americans across the country peacefully protest to demand an end to injustice,” said Pelosi.

Dem MPs, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate leader Chuck Schumer, observed 8.46 minutes of silence in the Emancipation hall of Capitol Hill, the same time that an agent held his knee on the George Floyd’s neck causing his death. An act of respect for Floyd but also for the other victims of police brutality. Deputies and senators remained on one knee, another gesture of protest against racial iniquities.

How misinformation plays Trump card around George Floyd death
Geopolitics

How misinformation plays Trump card around George Floyd death

The African American citizen George Floyd was a previous offender and criminal. But the brutality of his death has shaken up America and many other nations alike. The 46 years old African American lost his life to police brutality, something which was filmed and viewed millions of times on various social media handles.

A multitude of civilians already harried due to corona virus scares and loss of jobs is angry, mobbing city bounds across the globe, shouting out for justice against racial discrimination. Previous instances of similar cases have also found mention in the mass protests that have rocked the world intrepidly over the weekend.

The world has not recovered from the uncertainty of survival to the Corona Virus. Yet people have busied themselves mimicking the death of Floyd by lying on the floor face down showing their solidarity. Floyd was pushed to the ground for almost nine minutes before he went unconscious and was later declared dead.

Photo and video grabs show people thronging streets and prominent city centres and historical hotspots. Some have gone ahead and defaced public property and given rather violent outcome to peaceful protests. Media sources are confirming the play of miscreants that are taking advantage of the sentiments of the masses.

The protests have stretched to Tokyo, Berlin, Spain, UK, Denmark, and Hungry not to forget the epicenter of the eruption- America itself. All four officers present at the time of his arrests, have been charged- one with second degree murder as well.

But what has blown the protests out of proportions is a blatant use of social media and a whole lot of misinformation that has done rounds on various channels. The social media has given the common man power; and sometimes too much of it as well. The crime was committed, recorded and therefore cannot be ignored. It might have had racial implications behind the police brutality. But the wave of misinformation that has come with it, is becoming difficult to handle for city administrations and police personnel across the globe.

According to Euronews, there has been a lot of misinformation doing rounds on the social media. Old clips are being posted and circulated. Most of them are isolated cases of assault that occurred anytime between the years 2014-2020, has been implicate to George Floyd’s death and is now (wrongly) building up hatred for police personnel in America.

The correspondents from major dailies in America and the UK have admitted that visual investigation has never been as important as it has become today, owing to the fact that a lot of misinformation could have lead to other catastrophic outcomes, had there not been visual evidence to substantiate what actually happened with George Floyd.

With the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ the globe is resonating and shouting against racial discrimination at every level, which includes various such instances of the past where Asians being subjugated in Australia as well. They might not hold relevance here right now but will only add more fuel to this uncontrollable fire.

George Floyd lost his life under the knee of a Minneapolis police man who pinned him down ,handcuffed as Floyd begged for him to free his neck, as he said ‘I can’t breathe’ for almost 16 times.

Similar demonstrations have been seen in Toronto itself. The same has seen solidarity from the prime minister who himself is said to have kneeled on one knee with his mask on to show solidarity amongst Americans and unity for all.

In Paris, several thousand demonstrators ignored a protest ban — issued due to the coronavirus pandemic — and assembled within sight of the U.S. Embassy, kept back by imposing barriers and riot police. An estimated 15,000 people gathered in the heart of Manchester, England, while 2,000 people joined in a demonstration in the Welsh capital of Cardiff.

The mass protests are a breeding ground for easy corona virus contractions and can push the various countries into second and third waves of infections again. Political analysts are right in fearing this.

Lawmakers from US, EU form alliance to counter China
Americas, Europe

Lawmakers from US, EU form alliance to counter China

Following recent Chinese overtures in Hong Kong, in a unique effort, Members of Parliament (MP) from the US and Europe have formed an alliance to look into the issue.

18 MPs from the US and Europe have come together to form the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). The cross-continent initiative will also look into China’s role in the COVID outbreak.

US Senators Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez are part of the alliance. Other representatives are from the European Parliament, the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway, and Sweden.

The group will work towards a “strategic approach” on issues about China.

Rubio, without mincing words, said, “China, under the Chinese Communist Party, presents a global challenge.” The IPAC will coordinate the response to that “challenge.”

The alliance will work towards safeguarding the international rules-based order, uphold human rights, and promote fair trade. The 18 member body will also work for strengthening security and promoting national integrity.

The US has objected to discriminatory trade practices of China in the past. Recently tension between the two has flared up over how China handled the novel Coronavirus crisis. The death toll in the US, from the viral infection, has crossed over a hundred thousand.

The US government has also raised concern over China tightening grip over the semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong.

China in late May announced that it would impose National Security law in the former British colony. The US, UK, Australia reacted sharply over this move. The US announced that it would take steps that might alter Hong Kong’s special trade and economic relationship with the US.

Recently the US Congress passed a bill allowing the US President to take steps against Chinese human rights violations against the Uyghurs.

Senator Rubio and Menendez are known for their hardline stand against China. The two had introduced the bill to impose sanctions against China in then Congress in 2019, against human rights violations in Xinjiang province.

China has increased its patrol in the South China Sea. It is also intruding on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Las Vegas bets on brisk Business amidst infection scares
Americas

Las Vegas bets on brisk Business amidst infection scares

Latin America does not look prepared to open up its economy for any kind of recovery from the pandemic led closed down. In the rest of America, some cities have been severely hit by the pandemic that the others. Las Vegas has braved the pandemic with low numbers of contractions and has now decided to open up its casinos to resume work. But chances of contraction are still high.

As people will start to travel across cities, it might need just constant vigilance to ensure contraction does not happen when social distancing becomes a challenge. Brazil for example had opened itself up and now reported the third wave of cases of contractions and consecutive deaths, surpassing even Italy in the toll.

As Nevada hopes to recover from the close down losses, one the biggest resorts and casinos opened up in Las Vegas. Jobs have been lost one too many as the industry is completely dependent on travel and free moving tourist.

As Vegas opened up gradually, people can be seen throwing caution to wind as normal life resumes and musical fountains start to play of Elvis’ Viva Las Vegas. But as the coronavirus pandemic threat continues, analysts are warning that a total return to normalcy for gaming stocks might not be as quick as hoped. Despite a slow trickle back to booking activity, Morningstar senior equity analyst Dan Wasiolek estimates it could take until 2023 before Las Vegas revenues return to pre-COVID-19 levels.

New York city mayor Bill de Blasio has said that the city will brave coming back to work from next week starting Monday. The city intends to keep the hygiene protocols in mind at all times and would provide two million free face masks to small businesses and set up a hotline for them to reach for questions.

Construction, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers with curbside pickup can resume operations with certain restrictions under the initial phase. The second phase would be resumption of services in eating outlets. The most vulnerable at dental clinics which are finding it tough to acquire personal care equipment at the moment.

With George Floyd’s death leading to mass protests across the US, medical fraternity fears another wave of infections and contractions amongst civilians that had taken to roads and looted and burnt public property.
Pricing has been changed for a lot of the Vegas properties that are hopeful to draw back guests, according to Brian Egger, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. With gaming floors operating at about 50% capacity, events yet to come back, and clubs remaining closed for at least the first phase of reopening, revenue streams aren’t going to be as diverse as before.

Italy, France, Germany, and the Netherlands joined forces for a COVID-19 vaccine
Europe, Geopolitics

Italy, France, Germany, and the Netherlands joined forces for a COVID-19 vaccine

Around the world, several companies and governments are looking for a vaccine for COVID-19, with the risk that the first to find it will produce it first for its population, leaving the others, in particular the least developed countries, at the mercy of a second epidemic to coincide with the next flu season. For this reason, Italy, France, Germany, and the Netherlands have joined forces in the research and production of the vaccine against the new coronavirus, an “inclusive” drug, as stated in the note expressed by the Dutch authorities published by France Presse.

The note affirms that the four countries jointly explore several promising initiatives and are in talks with different pharmaceutical companies, for which joint strategy and investments are conceived to reach a “widely accessible” vaccine, even from the least wealthy countries like African ones. German Health Jens Spahn wrote to the European Commission along with his counterparts from France, Italy and the Netherlands to announce that they have joined to “achieve the fastest and best possible outcome in negotiations with key players in the pharmaceutical industry.”

The four EU countries have identified the development of a vaccine as “one of the most urgent issues that the European Union has to address at present.” Doctors announced a new coronavirus outbreak in Göttingen, Lower Saxony, for which authorities decided the reintroduction of preventive measures such as the closure of schools for a week, after their reopening on May 23rd.In the German city, have been recorded 80 new cases of Covid-19, and at the base of the outbreak, there would be a private party between families without masks and social distancing.The EU is also preparing to use a €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion) fund to make advance purchases of vaccines, Reuters news agency reported. The use of the emergency fund is yet to be officially announced.

Over 380,000 have died from coronavirus worldwide. According to Johns Hopkins, the total number of infected people recognized as such is 6,404,872, while the healed are 2,743,777.The situation is improving in Italy, where people can leave their region without restrictions from yesterday. The latest data of Civil Protection reports of 71 deaths in the last 24 hours and 321 new infections, most in Lombardy, the first epicenter of the pandemic, in northern Italy. The total number of infections rises to 233,836, of which the dead are 33,601, while the recovered are 160,938.

The US has already secured almost a third of the first 1 billion doses planned for pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca experimental vaccine by pledging $1.2 billion (€1.07 billion). AstraZeneca is one of several companies that Germany is now in talks with.The situation is still alarming in Latin America and in particular in Brazil, where at the beginning Jair Bolsonaro caught the epidemic: in the last 24 hours the deaths were 1,262, a number that brought the total of deaths to 31,199 28,936 new cases were recognized, for a total of 555,383.

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