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Today’s News: March 13, 2020

World News

A world in chaos: Five countries order schools to close, churches in Rome shut their doors, and showpiece sporting events are axed as global death toll from coronavirus nears 5,000

Daily Mail – Coronavirus panic tightened its grip worldwide yesterday as scores of countries dramatically upped their response to the deadly pandemic.

There were 6,729 new cases recorded globally, bringing the total confirmed number to 134,317. The death toll also rose by 351 to 4,968.

It led to several countries being effectively put into lockdown as they closed schools, mass events and shops, while in the US, the mayor of New York declared a state of emergency in the city.

The death toll in Italy – the hardest hit country after China – climbed from 827 to 1,016 and total infections soared by 21 per cent to 15,113.

In an unprecedented move for modern times, Rome’s more than 900 Catholic churches were ordered to shut. Previously, only Masses had been cancelled.

Five more countries – France, Ireland, Austria, Turkey and Norway – announced the closure of all schools, universities and nurseries.

Government BANS all ‘non-essential’ gatherings of more than 500 people due to the outbreak of killer coronavirus as the number of confirmed cases in Australia soars to 199

Daily Mail – Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the government will effectively ban ‘non essential’ public gatherings of more than 500 people from Monday – and has warned Australians not to travel overseas.

The drastic measures were announced on Friday evening as health officials reported growing evidence the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading through the community.

‘We will be advising against organised, non-essential gatherings of persons of 500 people or greater from Monday,’ Mr Morrison said

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Trump to Declare National Emergency to Speed Virus Response

Bloomberg – President Donald Trump plans to declare a national emergency on Friday over the coronavirus outbreak, invoking the Stafford Act to open the door to more federal aid for states and municipalities, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Trump is under increasing pressure to act as governors and mayors nationwide step up actions to mitigate the spread, closing schools and canceling public events. The president said he will hold a news conference at 3 p.m. in Washington.

The move would allow the government to martial additional resources to combat the virus, and also marks a symbolic turning point for the president, who has repeatedly compared the coronavirus to the seasonal flu and insisted that his administration had the outbreak under control.

U.S. stocks pared gains on the news, with the S&P 500 Index up about 2% at 11:30 a.m. in New York. The decree comes at the end of a week of wild swings in U.S. equities, with Friday’s advance following Thursday’s worst-since-1987 rout.

Donald Trump defends his response to coronavirus after admitting a travel ban WITHIN the US is ‘possible’ if the outbreak ‘gets too hot’ or ‘if somebody gets a little bit out of control’

Daily Mail – Donald Trump has defended his response to the coronavirus outbreak hours after admitting that a domestic travel ban is a possibility if COVID-19 gets ‘too hot’ in certain areas of the US.

The president tweeted: ‘Sleepy Joe Biden was in charge of the H1N1 Swine Flu epidemic which killed thousands of people. The response was one of the worst on record. Our response is one of the best, with fast action of border closings & a 78% Approval Rating, the highest on record. His was lowest!’

By Thursday night there were more than 1,700 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 41 deaths.

Brazil’s Bolsonaro, who met Trump last week, tests ‘POSITIVE’ for Covid-19, local report claims

RT – Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive for Covid-19, a Brazilian paper is claiming citing sources in the presidential palace. All eyes are now on US President Donald Trump, who met Bolsonaro on Saturday.

Bolsonaro and his delegation met with Trump at the president’s Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida. On Thursday, Bolsonaro’s press secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

According to Brazilian newspaper O Dia, Bolsonaro himself has now tested positive for the virus. His preliminary results came back positive on Friday, the paper claims. The report is based on sources within the Brazilian government.

NYC declares state of emergency, de Blasio says coronavirus ‘could easily be a 6-month crisis’

NBC – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a state of emergency in the city on Thursday, saying the coronavirus outbreak “could easily be a six-month crisis.”

Large venues such as Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden will likely be closed for months as officials try to contain the fast-spreading virus, he said.

“The last 24 hours have been very, very sobering,” de Blasio said at a press conference. “Yesterday morning seems like a long time ago. We got a lot of information in the course of a day yesterday and a lot changed then, then last night it just seemed the world turned upside down in the course of just a few hours.”

The declaration gives the city a vast range of new authority, including the power to establish curfews, shut down public transit, close public spaces, ration goods, impose price restrictions and suspend alcohol sales, he said.

The city now has 95 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 42 of them reported in the last 24 hours, he said. More than 1,780 people are under voluntary quarantine in the city, with an additional 29 people under mandatory quarantine, he said. By next week, the number of cases in the city is projected to rise to 1,000, he said.

Fmr Coronavirus Patient: ‘The Hysteria Has Just Gotten Out of Control’

Breitbart – riday on “Fox & Friends,” 65-year-old Jerri Jorgensen, a former Diamond Princess cruise ship coronavirus patient, detailed her sickness and the fallout since being diagnosed with the disease.

Jorgenson revealed after running a slight fever and feeling “a bit off” for a few hours on the cruise ship, she is no longer testing positive for COVID-19. She said the “hysteria” since she has gotten back home to Utah has gotten “out of control.”

“The hysteria has just gotten out of control,” Jorgenson declared. “All the toilet paper being gone — I don’t get the toilet paper thing. I really don’t.”

She went on to discuss being kicked out of her gym at home because she once had the coronavirus to protect senior citizens despite being one herself.

“[W]hen I went to my gym, everyone was hugging me — even people that I didn’t know were hugging me and saying, ‘Oh, I’ve been following your story. It’s so good to have you back.’ Everything was great. I get home, get a call from management saying, ‘We just need to be careful because we have a lot of senior citizens in our gym.’ I go, ‘I’m a senior citizen, wait, what about me?’ And I’m the safest one in the gym — probably the safest person in Utah because I’ve been through quarantine and tested more than once negative,” Jorgensen outlined. “It is what it is.”

Pence says there’s been ‘irresponsible rhetoric’ from people downplaying coronavirus

NBC – Trump said Monday that the “fake news media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything to inflame the coronavirus situation.”

Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that there has been “irresponsible rhetoric” from people who have downplayed the seriousness of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak.

In an interview on the “TODAY” show, Savannah Guthrie asked what message Pence sends to people who aren’t afraid of the coronavirus and think it’s just politics and hype, quoting from President Donald Trump who said on Monday that the “fake news media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything to inflame the coronavirus situation.”

“There’s been some irresponsible rhetoric, but the American people should know President Trump has no higher priority than the health and safety and well being of the people of this country,” Pence said in response but it was not clear who he was referring to.

ence, the head of the president’s coronavirus task force, said the administration would focus on communities that have experienced community spread of the virus and said Trump’s action on Wednesday night, suspending travel from Europe to the U.S., is “one more example of how he’s putting the health of America first.”

Trump announced in an Oval Office address Wednesday night that the U.S. will ban most foreign travelers from Europe, except the United Kingdom, for the next 30 days.

The Number Of Coronavirus Cases In The United States Is Likely Far Higher Than We Are Being Told

Michael Snyder – Do more than 100,000 people in the state of Ohio already have the coronavirus?

It has become exceedingly clear that COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire all across the country, but because of the very limited testing that is taking place the official count of confirmed U.S. cases is still very low.  Even though South Korea has managed to test more than 140,000 of their citizens, the U.S. has still only been able to test about 10,000 people, and that is making our numbers appear far better than they should. At this moment, there are still less than 2,000 confirmed cases in the United States, but that number will undoubtedly go much higher once testing starts ramping up.

For many of us, it is deeply frustrating not to have an accurate picture of what is really going on out there.

We don’t really know how widespread this pandemic has become in this nation, but some brave health officials are giving us their best guesses.

For example, Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton told reporters that she believes that more than 100,000 people have the coronavirus in her state.

If that number is anywhere close to accurate, that could mean that this virus has already spread to millions of Americans.

So let us hope that she is wrong.

But for now we don’t really know how badly this crisis has escalated because the CDC has not been testing enough people.  In fact, one top CDC official just admitted that the CDC only tested 77 people from Sunday to Wednesday morning.

On average, the CDC has been doing less than 100 tests a day since this outbreak started.

Aren’t they supposed to be the very best at what they do?

What in the world is taking them so long?

State labs have been doing marginally better.  According to Yahoo News, so far they have tested 7,617 people.

But even if you add the state labs and the CDC together, we are still testing far, far fewer people that other big countries around the world.

This is the biggest public health crisis of any of our lifetimes, and they have completely dropped the ball.

U.S. launches strikes in Iraq against Iranian-backed militias after attack that killed coalition troops

Washington Post – The United States launched airstrikes against an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq early Friday, responding to a rocket attack on a military base that killed one British and two U.S. service members in a new round of escalating tensions.

The Pentagon said in a statement that U.S. forces hit facilities “across Iraq” linked to Kataib Hezbollah, including storage facilities that housed weapons used in attacks on American and coalition troops.

“The United States will not tolerate attacks against our people, our interests, or our allies,” Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said in the statement. “As we have demonstrated in recent months, we will take any action necessary to protect our forces in Iraq and the region.”

Judge orders Chelsea Manning to be released from jail

Fox – A federal judge ordered the release of former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning on Thursday, just one day after she attempted to take her own life while in prison.

Manning has been in jail since May, in Alexandria, Va., for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks.

Economy & Business

Stock market suffers worst day since 1987

MSNBC – The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 10 percent Thursday, with the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 both down by 9 percent. It was the worst point drop ever for the Dow and its worst performance since the market crash in 1987.

Walt Disney World closing amid coronavirus pandemic

NBC – With the rise in coronavirus cases, Walt Disney World Resort including theme parks has announced it will temporarily ban guests beginning this Sunday and lasting through the end of the month, due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Variety.

The Disney Cruise Line is also suspending all new departures beginning Saturday through the end of March. The Walt Disney Company will pay its cast members during that closure period.

The hotels at Walt Disney World will remain open until further notice. The retail and dining complexes such as Disney Springs will remain open.

Gardening, Farming & Homesteading

Purslane – One of the Most Nutritious Plants in the Garden

Common Sense Home – Did you know that a “weed” may be one of the most nutritious and useful plants in your garden? We’ll share the health benefits of purslane for food and medicine, plus how to use is as a companion plant in the garden.

Common purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is also known as Verdolaga, Pigweed, Little Hogweed,  Pusley, Rigla, Pourpier, pussly, and “rose moss or moss roses”.

Where to Find PurslaneNative to India and the Middle East, purslane now grows around the world, including the United States.

Purslane grows in gardens and disturbed areas in soils deficient in calcium and phosphate. (Source: Building Soils Naturally.) If you can’t find it in your yard, you can click here to order seeds online or try your local farmers market.

It needs heat to germinate, so summer is the season for growth. As a succulent, it prefers full sun and also tolerates drought.

It grows low to the ground, forming a living mat of groundcover. Individual plants may spread up to two feet across.

What Part of Purslane is Edible?

Purslane leaves, flowers, stems and seeds are edible. Eat it when young, as the stems toughen with age. It has a mild sour and salty taste that blends well in most salads.

Cooked purslane is mucilaginous, like okra. Don’t overcook, or it may get a slimy texture. Purslane seeds can be ground into flour or boiled and made into porridge.

Try the young leaves and stems in juice blends, salads, stir fries, soups and ethnic dishes.


Purslane is a rich source of magnesium, calcium, iron, riboflavin, potassium, phosphorous and manganese. (See USDA food data)

It’s very high in vitamins A, C and E. It’s also a source of omega-3 fatty acids, with 300-400 mg per cup, and has more beta carotene than carrots (seven times more).

It does have fairly high levels of oxalic acid, so it’s best not to consume in large quantities daily.

Always exercise caution when using any wild plants and make sure you have positively identified the plant.

This cucumber purslane yogurt salad plays with the flavors of tzatziki. The yogurt reduces the amount of oxylates, improving digestion


Coronavirus: Blood pressure medication ‘could worsen symptoms’

Daily Mail – People with high blood pressure and diabetes could be at higher risk of severe or fatal coronavirus symptoms because of how their medicines work, scientists say.

Drugs called ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers may change the shape of someone’s cells in a way that makes it easier for the coronavirus to infect them and cause a more severe illness.

The common medications were prescribed almost 65million times in England last year and cost the NHS more than £100m.

They are given to treat diabetes or high blood pressure and around 10 per cent of people in the UK – some 6.6million – are estimated to take them regularly.

A paper published in prestigious British medical journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine studied how the coronavirus latches on to people’s cells to infect them.

But a doctor has warned that patients who take the medicines must not stop doing so – they should speak to their doctor if they have concerns.

Scientists say the research does not prove a link between the medications and severe COVID-19, but that a potential connection should be studied more closely.

Other risk factors for severe or deadly coronavirus infection include age – over-80s are most likely to die – and heart disease. People with weak immune systems, such as cancer patients, or those with long-term lung conditions are also at higher risk but are by no means guaranteed to get seriously ill.

It comes as the number of confirmed coronavirus patients in the UK has hit 590 and 10 people have died – the Government says 5,000-10,000 people may be infected.