RT – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned that the “whole of humanity” is in danger of the coronavirus crisis, and we must all fight against it.
“Global action and solidarity are crucial. Individual country responses are not going to be enough,” Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday.
The secretary general said the Covid-19 crisis is unlike anything the UN has faced in its 75-year history and is pleading with the developed world to raise trillions of dollars to help the world’s poorer countries fight off the viral scourge.
Guterres has repeatedly called for aid from G20 nations this week as the global pandemic worsens and threatens to reach what he described as “apocalyptic proportions.”
BBC – Spain’s death toll from the coronavirus has surpassed the official figure from China, becoming the second highest in the world.
Deaths have risen by 738 in just 24 hours to a total of 3,434 – a record spike for Spain.
In comparison, China has officially reported 3,285 deaths, while Italy – the worst affected country – has 6,820.
Spain’s prime minister will later ask MPs to extend his country’s state of emergency for another two weeks.
Lawmakers are expected to agree to Pedro Sánchez’s request for lockdown measures to stay in place until 11 April. Under the rules, people are banned from leaving home except for buying essential supplies and medicines, or for work.
Al Jazeera – Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne, has tested positive for the new coronavirus.
The 71-year-old is displaying mild symptoms “but otherwise remains in good health”, a Clarence House spokesman said on Wednesday, adding that he was self-isolating at a royal estate in Scotland.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, has also been tested but does not have the virus.
Guardian – Thousands of 15-minute home tests for coronavirus will be delivered by Amazon to people self-isolating with symptoms or will go on sale on the high street within days, according to Public Health England (PHE), in a move that could restore many people’s lives to a semblance of pre-lockdown normality.
Prof Sharon Peacock, the director of the national infection service at PHE, told MPs on the science and technology committee that mass testing in the UK would be possible by next week.
The UK government has bought 3.5m tests, which the health secretary, Matt Hancock, mentioned on Tuesday with no suggestion that they would be available to the public so quickly, and is ordering millions more.
Guardian – A 36-year-old woman died at her flat in south London of suspected Covid-19 a day after calling 999 and being told to look after herself at home.
Kayla Williams, a mother of three, died on Saturday 21 March, a day after paramedics were called to her home in Peckham.
Her husband, Fabian Williams, a refuse collector, said his wife was suffering from a cough, high fever and had severe chest and stomach pains when he called 999 on Friday.
Documents seen by the Guardian confirm paramedics were treating her as a suspected Covid-19 case.
Williams said: “I called 999 because my wife was breathless, she was vomiting and she had pains in her stomach. As I was talking to them she was getting worse and they told me to put her on the floor and to make her body flat.”
When the paramedic arrived at 8.32am she carried out some tests, Williams said. “She told me the hospital won’t take her, she is not a priority. She did not stay very long and she went outside to write her report and posted it through the door.”
Williams said his wife’s condition deteriorated the next day. He ran her a bath in the morning and helped her to get dressed, before feeding her some soup. After taking a short rest himself, he went into the front room where she had been resting to find his wife slumped head down. “She was already dead,” he said.
“I put her on the ground – because that is what they had told me to do before – and I rang 999 again and they told me to put my hand on her chest and pump her chest.”
Three cars and an ambulance arrived at his home a short time later, he said. The crews tried to revive his wife, but were not successful.
Al Jazeera – As the coronavirus continues to spread in Italy, many of the country’s industries are being shut down.
The businesses that are the latest to be affected include car and clothing manufacturers, rental services, real estate construction and tourism companies.
“We are slowing down the country’s engine,” President Giuseppe Conte said in a Facebook message on Saturday night.
“It’s a hard decision, but it prepares us to face the most acute phase of the infection.”
U.S. News, Politics & Government
Breitbart – The Chinese Communist Party is wilfully denying the world vital information it needs to stem the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo charged on Tuesday night.
Speaking during an exchange with the Washington Watch radio program, Pompeo repeated previous charges Beijing’s delay in sharing information about the virus had created risks to the global community and this had “truly put thousands of lives at risk.”
Breitbart – Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced a resolution on Tuesday calling for an international investigation into the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) “cover-up” of the early spread of the coronavirus pandemic that then spread to the rest of the world and has affected the global economy.
The resolution lays out how China tried to hide the discovery and spread of the coronavirus and calls for an investigation into how the CPP’s handling of the coronavirus before March 11, 2020, contributed to the emergence of a global pandemic. It also calls on China to pay back all nations affected by coronavirus.
Breitbart – Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has released 1,700 inmates from county facilities and is ordering gun stores in the county closed.
Fox 11 reports the gun store closures are part of the coronavirus stay-at-home order while the release of the inmates is an attempt to slow the spread of the virus in county facilities.
Breitbart – Nevada’s Democrat Gov. Steve Sisolak signed an order Tuesday outlawing the use of antimalarial drugs for sufferers of the coronavirus.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the “governor’s order prohibits the prescribing and dispensing chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for a COVID-19 diagnosis[.]”
“At this point in time, there is no known cure for COVID-19 and we must not withhold these drugs from those who need them,” the governor said in his statement. “The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home for Nevada, not to stockpile these drugs.”
CNN – The White House and Senate leaders struck a major deal early Wednesday morning over a $2-trillion package to provide a jolt to an economy struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, capping days of marathon negotiations that produced one of the most expensive and far-reaching measures in the history of Congress.
“Ladies and gentleman, we are done,” White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland said right before 1 a.m. after leaving Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office following negotiations that have gone around the clock since last Friday. “We have a deal.”
McConnell formally announced the agreement on the Senate floor, saying, “At last, we have a deal. After days of intense discussions, the Senate has reached a bipartisan agreement on a historic relief package for this pandemic.”
The majority leader described it as “a war-time level of investment for our nation,” and said that the Senate would move to pass it later in the day on Wednesday. The Senate will re-convene at noon. An exact time has not yet been set for the vote.
The full details have yet to be released. But over the last 24 hours, the elements of the proposal have come into sharper focus, with $250 billion set aside for direct payments to individuals and families, $350 billion in small business loans, $250 billion in unemployment insurance benefits and $500 billion in loans for distressed companies.
The stimulus bill also has a provision that would block President Donald Trump and his family, as well as other top government officials and members of Congress, from getting loans or investments from Treasury programs in the stimulus, according to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office.
The package, if it passes Congress, would be the most significant legislative action taken to address the rapidly intensifying coronavirus crisis, which is overwhelming hospitals and grinding much of the economy to a halt.
Schumer called it “the largest rescue package in American history,” in remarks on the Senate floor in the early hours of Wednesday morning. “This is not a moment of celebration — but of necessity,” he said.
CNN – A leading epidemiologist advising the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated the peak of deaths in the US coronavirus pandemic will be three weeks from now, after which “most of the damage will be done,” and says it may be possible to only isolate the vulnerable, allowing many back to work.
Economy & Business
Washington Examiner – American companies that produce essential goods in China should plan to shift their operations back to the United States or other Western countries, according to a senior Republican lawmaker.
“We’re staring into a significant, significant crisis of supply chain,” Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner told the Washington Examiner. “Cheap labor or cheap manufacturing be damned if you are reliant on them for your life and livelihood.”
Gardner’s warning was spurred by the shortage of hospital masks in the United States, a dearth driven by Beijing’s refusal to allow American companies that make the products in China to ship them out of the country amid the coronavirus pandemic. And he’s not alone in that sentiment, raising the possibility that anger over China’s self-interested response to the coronavirus outbreak could produce one of the most dramatic alterations of global economics in decades.
“Because of the coronavirus problem, people are recognizing that any supply chain that has single points of failure is incredibly vulnerable,” the Heritage Foundation’s Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow in the organization’s Asian Studies Center, told the Washington Examiner. “China is going to be very concerned about decoupling, offshoring, [or any] redirection of investments out of China.”
Chinese officials already have warned against such a shift, in response to White House officials who share Gardner’s views. “Such an attempt is by no means the right prescription amid the pandemic, still less a viable way out for domestic problems the U.S. faces,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said last week. “It will only cause greater damage to the innocent American people.”
Recode – Bill Gates rebuked proposals, floated over the last two days by leaders like Donald Trump, to reopen the global economy despite the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, saying that this approach would be “very irresponsible.”
Gates did not mention Trump by name, but the American president has said that he may decide to relax some of the country’s “social distancing” in order to jumpstart the country’s shut-down economy. Gates, the country’s leading philanthropist, has been among the most active tech leaders in using his resources to try and contain the virus.
“There really is no middle ground, and it’s very tough to say to people, ‘Hey, keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner. We want you to keep spending because there’s maybe a politician who thinks GDP growth is all that counts,’” Gates said in an interview with TED Tuesday. “It’s very irresponsible for somebody to suggest that we can have the best of both worlds.”
Trump has suggested that this middle ground would indeed be possible — by letting some healthy people return to work, for instance, while keeping more vulnerable workers in their homes. Experts have said that drastic and widespread social distancing is required to keep the pandemic from spreading further. Trump has said he would make a decision at the end of the month but has said that he believes the “cure” could be worse than the “problem itself.”
Asked what he would do if he were president, Gates returned to his concerns about reopening the economy.
“The economic effect of this is really dramatic. Nothing like this has ever happened to the economy in our lifetimes,” Gates said. “But bringing the economy back … that’s more of a reversible thing than bringing people back to life. So we’re going to take the pain in the economic dimension — huge pain — in order to minimize the pain in the diseases-and-death dimension.”
Daily Mail – A virologist has confirmed that ‘every surface is a hazard’ when it comes to COVID-19 and supermarket customers should be particularly mindful of the loose fruit and vegetables in the store.
Associate professor at the University of Sydney, Timothy Newsome, specialises in infection, vaccines and virology, so has been following along closely as the coronavirus restrictions heighten in Australia.
He told FEMAIL that while the virus can live on most surfaces, patrons doing their weekly grocery shop should be particularly wary of the fruit and veg aisle as customers are constantly picking up and placing back down items.
‘We have to remember that every surface is potentially contaminated. And like with any surface there is a risk,’ Mr Newsome explained.
‘We don’t see it as high risk because that comes from sustained contact with other people, but nonetheless it’s important to be mindful.’
While it would be ‘poor practice’ to be testing ‘every avocado for coronavirus’, Mr Newsome did say anything people can touch poses a potential problem.
The best course of action is to wash your fruit and vegetables with soap as soon as you bring them home, not simply relying on the high heat of cooking them to ‘kill’ the virus.
‘Wash them with warm soapy water, just as you do your hands,’ he said
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Mindbodygreen – Things feel scary and u
ncertain right now, I know—but I fully believe the more levelheaded and openhearted we are, the better we will be able to survive and thrive. We have to protect ourselves, our families, and communities. Above all, we have to stay healthy.
This is what I’ve been focusing on over the last few weeks to support my immunity:
- A whole-foods, nutrient-dense diet.
Our immune system relies on nutrient-dense whole foods to function well. Death from infections in the developing world is often due not to the infection itself but the body’s inability to fight it because of nutrient deficiencies. Since more than 90% of Americans are deficient in one or more nutrients at the minimum dose to prevent deficiency diseases like scurvy and rickets, we all need to focus on improving the quality of our diet.
- Cutting out sugars and refined starches.
There has never been a better time for a sugar and junk food detox. I practice my own 10-day reset several times a year to renew my body and feel great.
Studies have shown that refined sugars can suppress your immune system for hours after ingesting. Limiting starch and sugar will help your immune system function better, and your overall health improves. I’m also limiting caffeine and alcohol right now, too, to really protect my system.
- Adequate protein intake.
While most Americans eat adequate amounts of protein, some do not, such as the elderly and vegan populations. Protein is critical for immune function, and protein malnutrition is a big risk factor for death from infections.
- Loads of garlic, onion, ginger, and spices.
Garlic, onions and savory spices like turmeric go great with soups and vegetable dishes, as well as bean dips and sauces. Use fresh ginger in your smoothies or tea, along with lemon juice or lemon zest. These offer wide-spectrum antimicrobial properties and have a long shelf life.
- Fermented foods to support the microbiome.
The gut plays an essential role in our immunity and acts as a barrier against many types of pathogens. Eat sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, miso, tempeh, unsweetened grass-fed yogurt, and kefir to support diverse and abundant bacterial populations that will keep your microbiome healthy. These foods also keep well in the fridge.
- Fluids, especially warmer fluids.
Consuming adequate fluids supports all your body’s functions including the immune system. I’ve been making a lot of bone broth, soups, and stews—which is also a great way not to let anything in the kitchen go to waste.
Drink herbal teas like ginger and turmeric tea. Keep a bottle of filtered water with you at all times. Avoid concentrated fruit juices and sweetened beverages, as the sugar content is harmful to the immune system.
- Sufficient sleep.
We all know sleep restores and heals the body. Without adequate sleep, optimal immune function is next to impossible! Get in a better rhythm and head to bed earlier, aiming for seven to eight hours a night (which is hopefully easier now that most of us are at home during the day).
Incorporating various relaxation and breathing techniques throughout the day to help with stress and allowing the mind to rest is also very helpful!
Mercola – Due to it being an enveloped virus (meaning its single-strand RNA is enveloped in a bubble of lipid or fatty molecules), COVID-19 (as all other coronaviruses) is highly susceptible to soap and disinfectants.
To disinfect and sterilize surfaces around your home, you need to clean the surface first. Soap and water is a good choice. Once the surface is clean of dirt and sticky grime, spray your chosen disinfectant on the surface and let it set for up to several minutes before wiping
If using an alcohol-based disinfectant to inactivate and protect against coronaviruses on surfaces around your home, make sure it contains between 60% and 80% alcohol. Higher concentrations are less potent.
Chlorine disinfectants such as household bleach have broad antimicrobial activity and effectively kills bacteria, fungi and viruses, including influenza viruses.
Accelerated hydrogen peroxide (AHP) is more effective than 3% hydrogen peroxide and appears to be the most effective virucide overall. It can kill viruses in as little as 30 seconds. Other easy but effective home disinfectants include 10% malt vinegar and distilled white vinegar in combination with 3% hydrogen peroxide (see safety precautions).