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Flashermac

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  1. Flashermac

    The Covid-19 thread

    UPDATE: 91 new coronavirus cases, 1 more death in Thailand (Friday March 27) Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health and Department of Disease Control and confirmed a 91 new cases of the the Covid19 coronavirus at their daily press briefing this morning (March 27). There was also an additional death reported. The new numbers bring the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 1136 and deaths to 5. Two Thais have also died in the past two day in New York. The Ministry outlined details of the new cases… Group 1: Connected with previous confirmed cases… 5 from the “boxing match cluster” 7 from a nightclub cluster 18 people who are close contacts with previous confirmed cases Group 2: New cases… 10 people back from abroad (9 Thais and 1 foreigner, most intervened at airport screenings) 5 individuals who were working with many people, primarily foreigners 46 cases who are being identified and traced The new death was a patient in the southern Narathiwat province. Meanwhile two Thai nationals living in New York have died in the past two days. The Thai Foreign Ministry reports the Thai consulate general reported that a 50 year old man working as a mechanic in Queens Borough died on Wednesday. Another 50 year old, working as a chef in a Thai restaurant in Manhattan died yesterday. The two deaths took the number of Thai dying from Covid-19 in the US to three. https://thethaiger.com/coronavirus/cv19-asia/cv19-thailand/91-new-coronavirus-cases-1-more-death-in-thailand-friday-march-27
  2. Poorest hit hard as virus brings society to its knees After a long wait, the government has finally come up with relief packages to ease the plight of business operators and those losing their jobs due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The government, which has also declared a state of emergency in the hope that it can streamline and improve its performance in the fight against the virus, has been slammed for its sluggishness in handling the crisis since the first case was detected in mid-January. The number of infections soared to more than 1,000 as of yesterday. The government is planning to provide 5,000-baht cash giveaways to temporary employees, contract staff and self-employed individuals in the so-called informal sector, which comprises at least 3 million people. Registration of eligible recipients is set to begin tomorrow. The government has said it will earmark 50 billion baht from the central budget to fund this cash handout, which will last for three months. State-owned banks have also been instructed to provide soft loans to business operators who have encountered an economic crunch during this difficult time. The government was compelled to issue the packages after the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) declared the shutdown of shopping malls and markets, entertainment places, and services like massage shops, hair salons, for three weeks in a move to combat the contagion. All restaurants and eateries have been ordered to close down seating areas and only provide takeaways. Such swift measures has seen several businesses downsize or even collapse, with a large number of workers losing their jobs, while the self-employed faced abrupt cash shortages. Needless to say, these measures are making things difficult for those who have no economic cushion compared to those in the formal sector, such as salaried people, who are covered by some kind of social security and can wait until the economy picks up. No doubt, the shutdown has prompted an exodus, as these people have gone back to their hometown where they can find family support. But there's a backlash, as virus hotspots have expanded. Nutchanart Taentong, chair of the Four Regions Slum Network, said most members of the network in 58 slums in Greater Bangkok earn daily wages, working as cleaners, waiting staff in restaurants and parking attendants in entertainment venues. Shutting down these places automatically strips many of their jobs as employers cannot afford to pay them during the three-week break. Prospects are also dim because it is not clear how long this virus will haunt us and, even if scientists do find a vaccine, it will still take some time before the bruised economy can make a turnaround. Salaried people have money to buy and stock food during shutdown, though most people are struggling to make ends meet. Life is already tough for those living on daily wages, not to mention the exorbitant interest rates they have to pay to loan sharks. These people have no way of benefiting from the so-called soft loans or the debt moratorium promised by the government, Ms Nutchanart said. "Very few slum members have bank accounts. Some may be part of a housing programme with the Community Development Organisation Institute and we will have to ask the agency to delay the payment of instalments," she said. The activist added that it would be helpful if the authorities intervened and stopped the hoarding of food and necessities. "We need also need help with utility bills, which are a big burden. As is widely known, we in slum communities pay higher rates than city residents." Slum dwellers also have to sew their own masks as it is either rare to find one in the market or they are not affordable, she said, adding "we will die, not from the virus, but from economic hardship". Ms Nutchanart also pointed out that homeless people are the most vulnerable group during this crisis. Before this, homeless people would gather in specific places like Hua Lamphong train station for free food. However, since the outbreak, the food being handed out has fallen substantially, as giveaways from Chinese shrines have become zero. Kannikar Pujani, coordinator for a homeless people's network, said those living on the street are the hardest hit because they face the greatest risk of infection. "At night, they have to stick together, because it's not safe for them to be on their own," she said. They expect little from the government because they know they always slip through the cracks of society, she said. The authorities tend to put them in welfare homes and they don't want that. They prefer to be part of a project run by activists in Bangkok Noi, but the site is already full. They hope this project can be expanded, Ms Kannikar said. The outbreak has also badly hit the informal group, such as taxi drivers and subcontractors in the garment industry, said Sujin Rungsawang, a coordinator for a network of informal workers. Workers in the entertainment sector, in particular, have been devastated by the shutting down of pubs and bars. However, Ms Sujin said she hopes that once the pandemic is over, the government will create new jobs for them, like getting garment subcontractors to make school uniforms instead of importing cheap clothing from China. However, the one group that will be left out in the cold are sex workers. How can they gain access to state assistance? Chantawipa Apisuk of Empower Group said this group lost their jobs as soon as the government shut down pubs and bars. Normally they get no help from the state, and they don't dare hope the state will reach out to them. These people have played a big part in making Thailand's tourism industry a big success, yet nobody will help them during this difficult time, the activist said, adding that sex workers are different from farmers or factory workers who are typically covered by state assistance schemes. This vulnerable group is large, yet their voices remain unheard. We can only wait and see if the government keeps its promise of providing financial packages to as many people as possible. https://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/1887545/poorest-hit-hard-as-virus-brings-society-to-its-knees
  3. Flashermac

    The Covid-19 thread

    I bow to your superior knowledge of the USA. My family has only been living there since the early 17th century (except for a few later immigrants and a Native American or two back in the 1600s). BTW ... Red Neck derives from coal mine strikes long ago, when the striking miners wore red scarves and the "scabs" did not. So your evil red necks were in fact proletarian workers struggling against the wealthy mine owners. End of history lesson. https://www.jstor.org/stable/25474784?seq=1
  4. Flashermac

    The Covid-19 thread

    I've actually had one friend post on Face Book that the virus wouldn't even be happening if it weren't for Trump. Yep, damn that Trump! Everything bad that happens anywhere in the world is Trump's fault. If Hillary had been elected, we would all be living in the Garden of Eden again.
  5. I was dosed up regularly with anti-malarial drugs in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, since I my battalion was right in the middle of the main area of the disease's infections. Does that mean I'm protected from the un-Chinese virus? Be nice if it did, but I rather doubt it. Meanwhile, we're number one! Coronavirus: US overtakes China with most cases https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52056586 However, notice something: "The US now has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country, with more than 85,500 positive tests. "According to the latest figures collated by Johns Hopkins University, the US has overtaken China (81,782 cases) and Italy (80,589). "But with almost 1,300 Covid-19-related fatalities, the US death toll lags behind China (3,291) and Italy (8,215)." It's shocking that US deaths lag so far behind. Damn those US MDs.
  6. Flashermac

    The Covid-19 thread

    Blaming America: China Weaponizes Misinformation About COVID-19 As of March 23, according to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, there are 353,692 people infected with the novel coronavirus, officially known as SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19, worldwide. A total of 15,430 have died, while 100,443 people have recovered. In the United States, the number of cases has reached 35,345 with 459 deaths. In addition to the human suffering, the pandemic has produced worldwide economic dislocations that have led to chaotic, and plunging, financial markets' dropping economic output; and burgeoning unemployment. World trade and associated global supply chains have been disrupted. The net result is a deepening sense of fear and anxiety around the world. The crisis has also given rise to an enormous amount of deliberate misinformation about the crisis, its origins and its eventual consequences. Some of that misinformation is fueled by fear and ignorance -- some by crasser financial motives. In the case of China, Russia and several other countries, however, misinformation is deliberately being spread by state media to deflect criticisms of their government actions, or lack thereof, and to push the blame onto someone else. Misinformation is also being weaponized as part of a broader foreign policy agenda that seeks to secure national advantage from the COVID-19 pandemic. Weaponizing Misinformation Every tragedy requires a culprit. Even so-called acts of God, like floods, earthquakes or disease outbreaks, invariably produce a culprit -- a badly designed building that collapsed; a dam that wasn't probably maintained; or civil administrators who were unprepared, failed to act or responded incompetently. It is a deeply rooted human tendency to find someone to blame when things go wrong, a fact long understood and exploited by tort lawyers. It should not be a surprise, then, that the finger pointing has already begun in earnest. The coronavirus' origins are still unknown. The fact that the outbreak occurred in Wuhan, the city that hosts China's only Level IV biomedical laboratory for dealing with infectious diseases, has fueled countless conspiracy theories that the virus is manmade and that somehow it "escaped" from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). The available evidence suggests that the origin of COVID-19 is consistent with the origin of other coronaviruses, including those that led to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome ( SARS) in 2002-2004 and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2012-2014, and which every year lead to the development of several new strains of influenza. There is no evidence that the coronavirus is a man-made bio-weapon that somehow escaped from a research lab. On the other hand, the evidence that East Asia has been at the center of successive epidemics of diseases linked to the coronavirus is clear and unmistakable. Since 1957, there have been more than a dozen major coronavirus-linked infections that have emerged, almost all of them from East Asia. Several of them have reached pandemic proportions. The 1957 Asian flu (H2N2) pandemic was responsible for the deaths of approximately 2 million people. Other pandemics were caused by the 1968 Hong Kong Flu, H3N2, (1 million deaths) and the 2009 Swine flu, H1N1, (500,000 deaths). In addition, there have been three major outbreaks of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) that are linked to coronaviruses: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2004, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2012-2014 and COVID-19. Only the COVID-19 outbreak rose to the level of a pandemic. The good news is that these sort of outbreaks have happened before. The bad news is that these types of outbreaks will happen again. China Blames America Early on, Chinese state media suggested that the U.S. was responsible for the outbreak, and that it was an attempt by the U.S. to cripple the Chinese economy. Much the same thing happened during the SARS epidemic, leading to a deluge of conspiracy theories across Chinese social media sites that the virus was a CIA creation. In late January, a Chinese military website, Xilu, which is owned and funded by China's Ministry of Defense, claimed that the coronavirus had been specifically engineered by the U.S. to target people of Han Chinese ancestry. The Han represent some 99% of China's population. Supposedly, according to Xilu, the virus was introduced into Wuhan by American servicemen participating in the Military World Games in October 2019. The report claimed that the "poor performance of the American athletes" was evidence that they were not in fact athletes but "biowarfare operatives." Since late February, Chinese state media has shifted tack, arguing that "the virus may have first appeared in China but that did not mean that it had originated or been created there." In the meantime, Chinese media have been emphasizing China's "heroic actions" in fighting the pandemic, describing its actions when the outbreak emerged as a "selfless sacrifice to buy the world more time." Beijing has also cracked down on the western media, limiting their ability to report on the coronavirus pandemic in China. Reporters from The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among others, have been expelled. Additionally, Chinese natives who have been working for foreign news bureaus have been dismissed by the Chinese government. The Chinese press has extensively covered the spread of the coronavirus around the world, pointing out other countries' failure to contain the virus, in particular Italy and Spain. They continue to stress the foreign origins of the virus. The consistent talking points across a broad number of media underscore that this is a widespread media campaign to shift blame away from the Chinese government. Beijing has also continued to allow conspiracy theories that blame the U.S. to proliferate uncensored on Chinese social media. Beijing's censors are usually quick to delete comments that vary with the government's official position. The extent and continued presence of these conspiracy theories on Chinese social media represents a tacit endorsement by Beijing. Likewise, Chinese media have been quick to label references to the "Chinese virus" or the "Wuhan flu" as racist and xenophobic -- a charge that has been echoed uncritically by certain elements of the American media. The search for a cure, either in the form of a vaccine or a drug regime that will mitigate the worst effects of COVID-19, has become the latest geopolitical arena between China and the U.S. Both countries are rushing to find a cure so they can take credit for "saving" the rest of the world. Europe has also emerged as the main arena where the Sino-American propaganda war is playing out. Beijing banned the export of most crucial medical supplies to the U.S., including face masks, testing swabs, hand sanitizer and surgical gowns. The ubiquitous N95 masks, for which China is the world's leading supplier, were reserved almost exclusively for Chinese customers. In the meantime, however, both Chinese and European media outlets have been trumpeting Chinese aid in the form of the same badly needed medical supplies to European countries. In some cases, this aid is taking the form of "gifts" from leading Chinese companies like Huawei to their European business partners. Russia is following suit. According to Reuters, following a Saturday telephone call between Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian Defense Ministry announced "that military transport planes would deliver eight mobile brigades of military medics, special disinfection vehicles and other medical equipment to Italy from Sunday." Russian state media has also been quick to take up and amplify the conspiracy theories from China. Multiple Russian media outlets have echoed the claim that the coronavirus is an American-designed bio-weapon intended to cripple the Chinese economy. Zvevda, a news outlet controlled and funded by the Russian Ministry of Defense, for example, published an article, "Coronavirus: American Biological Warfare Against Russia and China," which claimed the virus was intended to weaken the Chinese economy in order to increase American leverage during the next round of trade talks. Numerous Russian politicians, most notably ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, have echoed those claims, blaming the Pentagon as the source of the coronavirus. The Russian misinformation campaign has also taken the form of widespread inflammatory comments on social media by thousands of accounts believed to be Russian controlled, designed to stoke public fear about the virus and its effects. On Feb. 22, the U.S. State Department accused Russia of an "intent to sow discord and undermine U.S. institutions and alliances from within by spreading disinformation about coronavirus." In many cases, Russian agents are, in a technique honed during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, simply amplifying and endorsing comments that are already circulating on social media and that often originated in the U.S. In this way, "fringe" comments that might otherwise have received little exposure get far broader circulation, building momentum and often become "trending" enough to attract the attention of the national media. It should be noted, however, that Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites claim they cannot find evidence of a deliberate Russian disinformation campaign. The Kremlin has labeled the State Department charges "a deliberate false story." Not surprisingly, Iranian state media has largely echoed Chinese and Russian stories blaming the U.S. for developing coronavirus and using it as a bioweapon. Tehran has claimed that the virus is part of the Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign against the Iranian government. The Iranian government has pushed for the elimination of American sanctions against Iran in response to the disease outbreak. Similar sentiments have cropped up in Venezuelan media and elsewhere. The use of disinformation as a propaganda tool, and as an instrument of foreign policy, is nothing new. The Soviets were masters of it and employed it extensively during the Cold War to shape and create anti-American sentiments around the world. The advent of social media, however, has made this a far more potent weapon. Not only does it allow foreign countries to speak directly to Americans, but the freewheeling and uncensored nature of the Internet means that, in many cases, it can also serve to heighten and fan societal divisions and, in particular, fears and anxieties. This is hardly the first time that America's adversaries have looked to blame it for their own shortcomings and problems, or have sought to capitalize on America's own problems and fears to their advantage. What the coronavirus does underscore is how prevalent such tactics have become and how even a global medical crisis can be used by an opponent to its advantage. The Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic on China's Future Beijing has good reason to try to deflect the blame for the outbreak. For now, governments around the world have their hands full dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no question however that the epidemic started in China, as have many of the coronavirus-linked influenza and ARDS disease outbreaks over the last half century. It's equally clear that Chinese authorities suppressed information of the outbreak, initially denied the Centers for Disease Control and other national health authorities around the world access to samples, critical information about the disease pathogen and the pattern of disease transmission and were in general slow to advise the rest of the world on the outbreak. The question of whether and, if so, how Beijing should be held responsible for the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic is not one that world leaders want to deal with currently. The question has come up at the daily White House briefings on several occasions and was deflected by President Donald Trump. Several members of Congress have already suggested that the U.S. Treasury should unilaterally cancel a trillion dollars of U.S. government debt held by China's central bank to offset the costs of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. It's not clear whether the U.S. government could unilaterally cancel a portion of its debt held by foreign entities. Such a move would certainly roil financial markets and damage the standing of U.S. government debt. On the other hand, there are clearly going to be consequences to China from how Beijing has dealt with the outbreak. Many companies have been reevaluating their dependence on China-centered global supply chains as a result of the trade war between Washington and Beijing. The realization that those supply chains are also vulnerable to disease outbreaks in East Asia is another strong reason to diversify global supply chains away from China. Secondly, it is likely that at some point the Trump administration will intensify its efforts to get American companies to repatriate their manufacturing and cut their ties with foreign suppliers of critical items. Medical supplies and equipment, antibiotics and key components of essential drugs are all likely to be targeted with tax incentives, enabling legislation and/or grants to encourage or even force their manufacturing back to the U.S. Ditto for many other products and industries where repatriation will be seen as a national security issue. It's likely that the Defense Department and defense contractors will be further mandated to seek out American suppliers for the hundreds of billions of dollars of goods they purchase. Other government departments won't be far behind. Expect renewed pressure on China and other Asian countries to do away with so-called "wet markets" where live animals, both wild and domestic, are sold for human consumption. China banned wet markets during the 2002-2004 SARS crisis but allowed them to resume when the crisis ended. This may also lead to a broader reform of factory farming around the world and more stringent regulations on the use of antibiotics on farm animals. It's also likely that some kind of medical screening will become standard for incoming passengers on overseas flights to the U.S., especially for those passengers arriving from countries that have wet markets. It may be nothing more than a temperature check initially, with a more rigorous regime as back up whenever major disease outbreaks occur elsewhere in the world. In a broad sense, Beijing's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is no different than how it has handled other disease outbreaks in the past. In fact, notwithstanding its initial reluctance to share information, Chinese authorities were probably more open in this instance then they have been in the past, even if they fell short of what was necessary. The problem is that China plays a different role in the world today than it did 50 years ago. Given that role, its centrality to world manufacturing output and the significant presence of Chinese citizens around the world, the consequences of anything less than immediate and complete transparency when disease outbreaks occur are far graver on the rest of the world. When China emerged from behind the "bamboo curtain," the presumption was that it would become more like the rest of the world -- that over time, Beijing's authoritarianism would give way to more open, freer markets and civil society. Instead, Beijing has been pushing the rest of the world to become more like China. The rest of the world, beginning with the U.S., is going to be pushing back hard. https://www.military.com/daily-news/2020/03/23/blaming-america-china-weaponizes-misinformation-about-covid-19.html?fbclid=IwAR01LaQBnz43jYK1_fazaHvqbj5XMLEcYoqFrIJlsuCgIRbZMtwMiQ2rQEE
  7. Flashermac

    The Covid-19 thread

    You can protest, as long as you do so in groups of less than one. Meanwhile ... Under the state of emergency which went into effect around Thailand last night, the military has set up 357 checkpoints to monitor interprovincial travel in an additional measure to fight the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. A statement said the checkpoints are in response to the PM tasking the military command with supervising security measures. The checkpoints are manned by soldiers, police and civil servants, checking travellers for symptoms of the virus and behaviour leading to the risk of transmission, according to the statement. People at risk of infection or transmission will be kept at “appropriate locations.” In Bangkok the checkpoints are on Chaeng Watthana Road near Klong Prapa canal, Suwinthawong Road, Kanchanaphisek 39 frontage road, Sukhumvit Road at the BTS Bearing station, Rachaphruek Road in Taling Chan district, Suksawat Road under Bhumibol Bridge and Rama II Soi 92 Road. https://thethaiger.com/coronavirus/military-checkpoints-set-up-to-monitor-domestic-travel
  8. If the virus outbreak had begun in the USA and then spread to other countries, do you really believe people wouldn't be calling it the American virus? It doesn't matter where the pangolins and bats came from, since they don't seem to be posing a threat anywhere else. The virus takes its name from where it began - in Wuhan. "To single out an "other" as a focus for Nationalistic politicking, is a common ruse, used by the ignorant and insecure." Which is exactly what CCP spokesman Zhao Lijian did when he claimed the Americans had sneaked it into China and it they are the ones to blame. It's called politics.
  9. The most they'll do is fine you 2,000 baht if you don't report. I met a guy from the Bangkok Post who told me he never bothered with reporting. He'd just pay the 2,000 baht fine at each visa renewal.
  10. Thanks. The photos of Chaengwattana right now look like total chaos. Wouldn't it have been easier and simpler just to announce that everyone on a tourist visa will be allowed a 30 day overstay without being fined? Hell, make it 60 days. There aren't even any flights toleave the country.
  11. Fucking bull shit! Racist my arse. It is the bloody China virus, the Wuhan virus to be more exact. It came from China, and China is responsible for it. Oh, but no ... we mustn't hurt President's Xi's feelings! You should hear my Chinese-American friend rant about the PRC and the "racist' nonsense. He would have Xi's hair standing straight up.
  12. Where did you go? Reports are that Chaengwattana is packed. I was going to go in to get a letter of residence to renew my drivng licence next month, but I decided not to. https://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/easy/1886870/immigration-looks-to-cut-crowding#cxrecs_s p.s. I've never been able to get the on-line 90-day report to work for me. (I'm good to May, when visa renewal also comes up. )
  13. Flashermac

    The Covid-19 thread

    Strange ... I was in my local Tops grocery yesterday, shelves full and no shortage of anything. The small food stalls have all had to close (no more fried dishes, somtam, ice cream etc), but that is the only thing unusual. A few days before that I was at The Mall in Ngamwongwan (Nonthaburi). No signs of any panic buying any many restaurants still open (take out only).
  14. Flashermac

    The Covid-19 thread

    Coronavirus Could Be a 'Chimera' of Two Different Viruses, Genome Analysis Suggests Alexandre Hassanin, The Conversation 24 March 2020 In the space of a few weeks, we have all learned a lot about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it: SARS-CoV-2. But there have also been a lot of rumours. And while the number of scientific articles on this virus is increasing, there are still many grey areas as to its origins. In which animal species did it occur? A bat, a pangolin or another wild species? Where does it come from? From a cave or a forest in the Chinese province of Hubei, or elsewhere? In December 2019, 27 of the first 41 people hospitalised (66 percent) passed through a market located in the heart of Wuhan city in Hubei province. But, according to a study conducted at Wuhan Hospital, the very first human case identified did not frequent this market. Instead, a molecular dating estimate based on the SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences indicates an origin in November. This raises questions about the link between this COVID-19 epidemic and wildlife. Genomic data The SARS-CoV-2 genome was rapidly sequenced by Chinese researchers. It is an RNA molecule of about 30,000 bases containing 15 genes, including the S gene which codes for a protein located on the surface of the viral envelope (for comparison, our genome is in the form of a double helix of DNA about 3 billion bases in size and contains about 30,000 genes). Comparative genomic analyses have shown that SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the group of Betacoronaviruses and that it is very close to SARS-CoV, responsible for an epidemic of acute pneumonia which appeared in November 2002 in the Chinese province of Guangdong and then spread to 29 countries in 2003. A total of 8,098 cases were recorded, including 774 deaths. It is known that bats of the genus Rhinolophus (potentially several cave species) were the reservoir of this virus and that a small carnivore, the palm civet (Paguma larvata), may have served as an intermediate host between bats and the first human cases. Since then, many Betacoronaviruses have been discovered, mainly in bats, but also in humans. For example, RaTG13, isolated from a bat of the species Rhinolophus affinis collected in China's Yunan Province, has recently been described as very similar to SARS-CoV-2, with genome sequences identical to 96 percent. These results indicate that bats, and in particular species of the genus Rhinolophus, constitute the reservoir of the SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 viruses. But how do you define a reservoir? A reservoir is one or several animal species that are not or not very sensitive to the virus, which will naturally host one or several viruses. The absence of symptoms of the disease is explained by the effectiveness of their immune system, which allows them to fight against too much viral proliferation. Recombination mechanism On 7 February, 2020, we learned that a virus even closer to SARS-CoV-2 had been discovered in pangolin. With 99 percent of genomic concordance reported, this suggested a more likely reservoir than bats. However, a recent study under review shows that the genome of the coronavirus isolated from the Malaysian pangolin (Manis javanica) is less similar to SARS-Cov-2, with only 90 percent of genomic concordance. This would indicate that the virus isolated in the pangolin is not responsible for the COVID-19 epidemic currently raging. However, the coronavirus isolated from pangolin is similar at 99 percent in a specific region of the S protein, which corresponds to the 74 amino acids involved in the ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2) receptor binding domain, the one that allows the virus to enter human cells to infect them. By contrast, the virus RaTG13 isolated from bat R. affinis is highly divergent in this specific region (only 77 percent of similarity). This means that the coronavirus isolated from pangolin is capable of entering human cells whereas the one isolated from bat R. affinis is not. In addition, these genomic comparisons suggest that the SARS-Cov-2 virus is the result of a recombination between two different viruses, one close to RaTG13 and the other closer to the pangolin virus. In other words, it is a chimera between two pre-existing viruses. This recombination mechanism had already been described in coronaviruses, in particular to explain the origin of SARS-CoV. It is important to know that recombination results in a new virus potentially capable of infecting a new host species. For recombination to occur, the two divergent viruses must have infected the same organism simultaneously. Two questions remain unanswered: in which organism did this recombination occur? (a bat, a pangolin or another species?) And above all, under what conditions did this recombination take place? Alexandre Hassanin, Maître de Conférences (HDR) à Sorbonne Université, ISYEB - Institut de Systématique, Evolution, Biodiversité (CNRS, MNHN, SU, EPHE, UA), Muséum national d'histoire naturelle https://www.sciencealert.com/genome-analysis-of-the-coronavirus-suggests-two-viruses-may-have-combined/amp?fbclid=IwAR1hjJqsvRAyl5xYI2rgPIuCE4SxPTVaRh4nuVxqU4qXN8sxDoOvqrP9n3Y
  15. Flashermac

    The Covid-19 thread

    Cleaner hands, bluer skies: what has coronavirus done for us? TOKYO - Deaths, economic meltdown and a planet on lockdown: the coronavirus pandemic has brought us waves of bad news, but squint and you might just see a few bright spots. From better hygiene that has reduced other infectious diseases to people reaching out as they self-isolate, here are some slivers of silver linings during a bleak moment. - Wash your hands! - The message from health professionals has been clear from the start of the outbreak: wash your hands. Everyone from celebrities to politicians has had a go at demonstrating correct technique -- including singing "Happy Birthday" twice through to make sure you scrub long enough, and hand sanitiser has flown off the shelves. All that extra hygiene appears to be paying off, at least in some countries, including Japan, where the number of flu cases appears to be sharply down. Japan recorded 7.21 million cases by early March -- usually around the peak of the flu season that runs until May. That was far below figures for previous years, including the 21.04 million infections seen during the 2017/18 season. "We estimate that one of the reasons behind it is that people are now much more aware about the need to wash hands... given the spread of the new coronavirus," Japanese health ministry official Daisha Inoue told AFP. - Carbon curbs - Factory shutdowns, travel bans and a squeeze on demand spell economic disaster, but it isn't all bad news for the environment. In the four weeks to March 1, China's CO2 emissions fell 200 million tonnes, or 25 percent, compared to the same period last year, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. That's a decline equivalent to annual CO2 emissions from Argentina, Egypt or Vietnam. The slowdown in China also saw coal consumption at power plants there down 36 percent, and the use of oil at refineries drop by nearly as much. Air travel is also grinding to a virtual halt, achieving at least a short-term drop-off in emissions from a highly polluting industry. And there have been other environmental benefits, including crystal-clear waters in Venice canals usually choked with tourist-laden boats. Unfortunately, experts say the cleaner air may be short-lived. Once the health crisis is over, experts expect countries will double down to try to make up for lost time, with climate change concerns likely to be sidelined in a race to recover economic growth. - Save the pangolins - The source of the coronavirus remains in question, but early tracking focused on a market in China's Wuhan where a variety of live wildlife was on sale for consumption. A number of animals, including bats and the highly endangered pangolin, have been identified as possible culprits for the virus. As a result, China in February declared an immediate and "comprehensive" ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals that was welcomed by environmentalists. Beijing implemented similar measures following the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s, but the trade and consumption of wild animals, including bats and snakes, made a comeback. This time the ban is permanent, raising hopes that it could end the local trade in wildlife. "I do think the government has seen the toll it takes on national economy and society is much bigger than the benefit that wild-eating business brings," said Jeff He, China director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Reports linking the virus to the pangolin have also scared off would-be consumers of the scaly mammals elsewhere, with bushmeat vendors in Gabon reporting a plunge in sales. - Apart, together - One of the most difficult aspects of the stringent lockdowns imposed to slow the spread of the virus has been loneliness, with families and friends forced to endure weeks or even months apart. But some people have found the measures are creating a sense of community spirit, and prompting them to make more of an effort to check in with family and reconnect with friends. In Colombia, where a nearly three-week period of self-isolation is now in place, 43-year-old Andrea Uribe has organised everything from group exercise classes to family talent shows using video messaging programmes including Zoom. "I have called my parents more often, I have talked to friends that I usually don't talk to... I have organised Zoom meetings with friends in multiple countries," Uribe, who works in development, told AFP. "It is wonderful to be forced to be there for one another. It has made me more creative. It just shows that we need to be present in people's lives." https://www.bangkokpost.com/world/1886110/cleaner-hands-bluer-skies-what-has-coronavirus-done-for-us-#cxrecs_s
  16. Flashermac

    The Covid-19 thread

    5 Great Toilet Paper Recipes For Idiots Who Forgot To Buy Food  https://www.theshovel.com.au/2020/03/08/5-great-toilet-paper-recipes/
  17. https://www.bangkokpost.com/vdo/thailand/1884755/quiet-night-in-bangkok Bangkok’s usually bustling nightlife is replaced by closed doors and deserted streets after all entertainment facilities were ordered closed as part of the measures to control the coronavirus spread. (Video by Jetjaras Na Ranong)
  18. Buddhists have no prayers, since they have no divinity to pray to. All they do is chant the Buddha's teachings over and over. That should do wonders, really!
  19. Flashermac

    The Covid-19 thread

    Blame for Wuhan virus lies squarely with CCP Coronavirus crisis is Chinese Communist Party’s fault and it must pay for consequences By David Spencer, Taiwan News, Contributing Writer KAOHSIUNG (Taiwan News) — The hashtag "China lied, people died" has been trending around the world over the past few days as people come to terms with the colossal impact the Wuhan coronavirus is having on everyone’s lives. It has sparked a hugely emotional response. The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) left-leaning supporters have immediately played the race card and accused anyone who dares to criticize China of being racist. The CCP has leaped on this too, as its propaganda machine has gone into overdrive to try and deflect blame over the pandemic. From ludicrous conspiracies about the virus being released in Wuhan by the U.S. military to videos of people dressed in doctor’s uniforms pulling off their masks, there is no level the CCP won’t stoop to in order to convince the world this is not their fault. At the same time, the CCP has begun promoting the fallacy of China’s efforts to tackle the virus as being a great sacrifice on behalf of the world and suggesting we should be grateful. It has also pulled in the leaders of those countries and organizations that pay homage to Beijing. Various world leaders have stood up to proclaim the virus "no-one’s fault," saying we should focus on finding a solution rather than a cause. The World Health Organization (WHO) seems more bothered about Wuhan coronavirus "stigmatizing" China than the fact it is killing thousands of people around the world. This is the same WHO that, at the behest of Beijing, insisted travel bans and restrictions were not necessary as coronavirus ripped through China. This advice played a big role in the virus being allowed to spread internationally. Yet the discredited WHO Secretary-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, mysteriously remains in office and, for some reason, the world continues to listen to his flawed advice. While WHO has undoubtedly helped coronavirus spread through its kowtowing to Beijing, responsibility for it lies elsewhere. Wuhan coronavirus began in China and it spread because of the culture of corruption that the CCP has engrained into Chinese society. Responsibility for the coronavirus crisis lies with one organization, the CCP. It was the CCP that silenced doctors and other whistleblowers that first spoke out about Wuhan coronavirus as far back as September 2019 according to some internal CCP documents. It was the CCP that destroyed samples and in doing so stopped medical professionals getting an early understanding of how contagious the virus was, information that could have stopped it in its tracks. It was the CCP that refused international help in the early stages of the outbreak and refused to let WHO or other international observers into Wuhan and other infected areas. It was the CCP that covered up the outbreak by faking death and infection numbers. It was the CCP that chose to censor the internet to remove all truthful accounts of life inside coronavirus-ravaged China and continues to do so to prevent the truth from getting out. It is the CCP that continues to spread fake news and propaganda about the coronavirus outbreak making it harder to tackle its spread. It is the CCP and no-one else, that is responsible for Wuhan coronavirus sweeping the world. Let’s summarize briefly what they are responsible for. At the time of writing, there are 284,013 cases globally and 11,848 deaths. We know the data coming out of China is fake and other countries are only recording a fraction of the actual number of cases because of testing limitations, so the true numbers are likely to be significantly higher. Certainly, when the virus begins to take hold in under-developed parts of the world like Africa and Central America, the number of cases and deaths is likely to grow substantially. The CCP is to blame for these deaths. Wuhan coronavirus is affecting everyone. Workplaces and schools are closed across the globe, economies are in free-fall, and travel is all but impossible. Life as we know it has ground to a halt, the world is on its knees, and no-one can say for sure when it will start up again. The CCP is to blame for this. Yet still, the propaganda goes on. China has got the disease under control, we are told in obedient media outlets. China is showing us how to beat back the epidemic. Last week, international media reported as fact CCP claims to have zero new cases in a day for the first time. At a time when Wuhan coronavirus is rampaging around the globe, for the country of origin, with a population of 1.3 billion people, to make such an outlandish claim is utterly absurd, yet Western media lapped it up. CCP propaganda is working and in many media outlets, far from being the villain, China is being portrayed as the knight in shining armor that will show the rest of the world how to beat Wuhan coronavirus. We must not accept these lies and we must not fall for this deceit. This is a CCP virus that ultimately will be defeated by Western medicine. When this happens, the CCP must face the consequences for the death and disruption it has caused. It should pay the price both financially and politically for the mess it has caused. This situation must never be allowed to happen again and there is only one sure-fire way to ensure that is the case. The CCP must be dismantled and freedom and transparency finally delivered to the world’s most populous nation. https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3902009?fbclid=IwAR17Tt6mc02L2p24973dk3PtIW7LoeDZD70aiGw_7n9O42T4mp6C0lm77QE
  20. Flashermac

    The Covid-19 thread

    Nothing to worry about!
  21. Flashermac

    The Covid-19 thread

    China reports it is being reinfected by Chinese returning from Europe.
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