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Off Topic / Re: Outbreak! (Coronavirus discussion)
« on: Today at 12:44:10 AM »
Sat Mar 28 2020:

"When all of this is over, the world won't be the same."

- the US reported 20,000 new cases today, bringing it to over 120,000 positive cases; the death toll has exceeded 2000 since Thursday
- 800,000 physicians signed and sent a protest letter to Trump telling him that social distancing must continue
- on Thur and Friday in New York, the COVID-19 virus was killing New Yorkers at a rate of 1 person every 17 minutes
- Trump is considering a quarantine on all of New York, even as some New York residents are trying to flee the area. (I never thought that the 80s movie "Escape from New York" would be a reality...)
- the US government has given rapid approval to a new test for the virus, giving back results within minutes. The goal is to produce 50,000 of these rapid-testkits per day starting next week.

- more than 20,000 people in total have now died across Europe
- Italy has now reached 10,000 dead; Spain is now over 5000 dead, and the UK has now exceeded 1000 deaths.
- in Spain, a paramedic comments that the average age of those dying is decreasing, no longer are they 80-year olds, now it is people in their 30s and 40s who are dying. The PM announced even stricter restrictions today, shutting down businesses for 2 weeks.
- in the UK, the country's top doctor offered a bleak outlook for his country: "If we can keep the death toll below 20,000 then we will have done very well in this epidemic." (i.e. they are still expecting to see 20 times the number of deaths that they have currently experienced as of today)
- vacuum company Dyson, will begin building ventilators

- in WuHan, China, things are slowly getting back to normal, the government has shut down movie theaters again to keep the virus from spreading a second time.
- Russia announces that on Monday night, it will close down all of its borders to foreigners.
- drive-in movie theaters are becoming very popular again in Germany (since the operator has no contact with customers, and customers are themselves isolated from one another in their cars)

- Canada's death toll jumps to 61, and there are now 5665 confirmed cases
- about 7% of patients are in hospital, 3% are critically ill, and 1% have been fatal

- Ontario enacting new bill that severely punishes anyone or any corporation trying to gouge on selling protective medical equipment, cold medication, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, etc. that includes huge fines from $700 to $500,000 and jail time of up to 1 year.
- Ontario has 512 cases, 36 are in the ICU, and 4 deaths
- a Loblaws employee at Yonge-Eglinton has tested positive, the store has been closed for cleaning

- BC recorded its largest one-day spike in positive cases today
- anyone riding on VIA Rail will now be subject to health tests before they are allowed to board the train

- one TTC driver is so fearful of the risk of bringing home the virus that when he comes home from work, he changes out of his work clothes in the garage, makes minimal contact with his children and wife, and sleeps in a separate part of the house. Bus drivers feel trapped and scared, citing that they feel TTC management aren't establishing policies to keep the drivers protected from any infected passengers; drivers are worried about speaking out openly on the issue at the risk of losing their jobs. TTC ridership is down about 80%.

Off Topic / Re: Outbreak! (Coronavirus discussion)
« on: March 28, 2020, 12:43:19 PM »
Fri Mar 27 2020:
- WHO Director General: "The pandemic is accelerating at an exponential rate. The first 100,000 cases took 67 days. The second 100,000 took 11 days, the third 100,000 took just 4 days, and the fourth 100,000 just 2 days."

- number of worldwide deaths is above 27,000
- Global National: the US has 100,000+ infections and more than 1500 deaths as of Friday afternoon
- Donald Trump today finally changed his mind and enacted the War Time Defense Production act to force corporations such as General Motors to start making ventilators. He then criticized the governors for criticizing HIM for being so slow to act, saying that "I want them to be appreciative."
- doctors are turning to the black market to buy protective health equipment in order to keep themselves safe
- the virus is not expected to peak in New York for another 3 more weeks.

- Italy had 969 deaths in one day, the military can't build field hospitals fast enough
- Spain had 769 new deaths, and the UK had 181 new deaths where the rate of infection is doubling every 3-4 days.

- COVID-19 has now killed more Canadians than SARS did and in a fraction of the time; 44 Canadians died of SARS back in 2003. Currently 55 Canadians have died from COVID-19. There are 4757 positive cases in all of Canada.
- Ontario now has 1006, Quebec has 2021 positive cases and is the epicenter of the outbreak in this country
- Toronto has 457 cases, 29 of whom are hospitalized, and 4 deaths

- Health authorities say 6% of Canadians who contract coronavirus are hospitalized, 2.5% require critical care, with a fatality rate of 1%. Canadians are urged to maintain 2-metre 'bubble' around themselves when they have to go out in public.

- a McDonalds employee in Hamilton has been accused of faking being infected by coronavirus so that she could get out of work. The 18-year old teenager handed a forged doctor's note to her employer, who then had to shut down the restaurant and send all of the employees home to self-isolate. She was arrested and is now facing several mischief and fraud-related charges.

- PM Boris Johnson tests positive for coronavirus; he is the first major world leader to be confirmed to have the virus.

- all Service Canada offices across the country are now closed; applications for EI have to be done online (however one man who tried going to an office said to a reporter that the online process has a technical problem that prevented him from completing his application).

- at least 512 NYPD employees have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday morning

- a deceased person can still carry the virus for 36 hours after death, funeral workers are worried they could contract COVID-19 while working with the corpse, or they could catch it from visiting relatives.

COVID-19: World’s biggest condom producer warns of global shortage! A global shortage of condoms is looming, the world’s biggest producer said, after a coronavirus lockdown forced it to shut down production.

Off Topic / Re: Outbreak! (Coronavirus discussion)
« on: March 27, 2020, 01:17:37 AM »
Here's a great article that documents the effect that the virus is having on a very human, very everyday-person level:

...and now the news for Thursday March 26th 2020:

- the number of confirmed cases worldwide is now at 500,000+ with almost 24,000 deaths, and the United States now has the most cases in the world at more than 82,000 which means it has surpassed China and Italy. The US has now seen 1100+ deaths.
- a New York doctor said: "9-11 was nothing compared to this. They just keep coming. And they're all ages. Don't delude yourself into thinking only the old will die. It's Hell. Biblical. I kid you not."  Today New York recorded 100 new deaths in the last 24 hours.
- there are so many dead, that a refridgerated truck has been brought into the hospital to store all the bodies.
- tents are set up to serve as makeshift morgues
- New Orleans could run out of ventilators in about a week
- different states are now discriminating against residents from other states: Rhode Island says it will pull over any New Yorkers, Texas says it will force people from New York and New Jersey into quarantine.
- the US passed the largest financial rescue package in history to help unemployed workers and industries hurt by the pandemic. The stock market is now up for 3 days in a row on the stimulus news.

- Italy still has the highest overall dead, at 8165.
- Spain is second at 4000 deaths
- 14% of those infected in those 2 countries are healthcare workers; doctors and nurses are among the dead.
- London officials warn that their hospitals could be overwhelmed in a matter of only days.

- in Canada, we have more than 4000 cases with 600 new cases reported today, in total there have been 39 deaths here.
- unfortunately our rate of infection is curving upward instead of flattening; we hit our 100th case on March 11th, since then the cases have surged past 1000, then 2000, then 3000. Only by staying at home can we hope to flatten out during this critical stage.
- Premier Doug Ford lashes out at a popular Toronto food store for price-gouging, charging 5 times the regular price, $30 for Lysol hand wipes. The store, Pusateri's Fine Foods, claimed that it was a pricing error, but twitter users slammed the store for being caught trying to jack up prices during a crisis. The advice is to report any price gouging to Consumer Protection Ontario.
- there has been a large increase in people speeding and stunt driving on Toronto roads during the corona outbreak, due to the reduced number of vehicles driving. So far just this month alone, 33 people have been charged for stunt driving, which is twice the number charged for the entire year of 2019. On the positive side, collisions are now down 30% since the crisis began.

- Japan has done a better job at flattening the curve, attributed by some to a mask-wearing, obedient population.

- experts at Imperial College London (who do disease mapping) released a report that discusses where this outbreak could be headed:
1) in the absence of any intervention, this virus would've infected 7 billion and killed 40 million
2) with intervention, the number of deaths can be reduced to half (20 million). Health care systems across the world would still be overwhelmed, especially in poorer countries.

Only by suppressing the spread through testing, isolating infected people and their contacts, and strict social testing can the death toll be reduced further.

3) any delays in implementing strategies to suppress transmission will lead to worse outcomes and few lives saved.

Off Topic / Re: Outbreak! (Coronavirus discussion)
« on: March 26, 2020, 07:59:52 AM »
Here's a perfect example of who in the USA will die first. The healthcare workers. I just saw this posted on twitter:

Mark Elliott   @markmobility

Holy freaking hell. A nursing manager at Mt Sinai Hospital in NYC just died from coronavirus. Nurses at the hospital have been wearing trash bags because of the lack of protective gear.

Worker at NYC hospital where nurses wear trash bags as protection dies from coronavirus

The governor of NY has been pleading with the White House to implement emergency measures that would force US companies to start making more protective gear for healthcare workers. Here is Trump's response so far:

Trump commits to helping blue states fight the coronavirus — if their governors are nice to him

President Donald Trump says he’s willing to help blue-state governors who are struggling to contain coronavirus outbreaks — but only if they’re willing to stop criticizing him in exchange.

“It’s a two-way street,” Trump told Fox News on Tuesday. “They have to treat us well, also. They can’t say, ‘Oh, gee, we should get this, we should get that.’”

Trump’s comments came as Andrew Cuomo — the Democratic governor of New York, the state currently at the heart of America’s coronavirus outbreak — pleaded with Trump to do more to provide his state (and others) with medical gear and ventilators. Trump’s line seems to be that Cuomo isn’t in a position to make demands unless he refrains from criticizing the federal government (and, by extension, him).

It is ALWAYS quid pro quo with this pathetic individual. He won't do anything for you unless you either lavish praise on him or stop criticizing him or whatever.  Even when millions of lives are at stake he can't put his own ego aside.

Off Topic / Re: Outbreak! (Coronavirus discussion)
« on: March 25, 2020, 07:53:23 PM »
Trump has already gotten 1 American man killed and his wife almost killed.  Some of you may have heard the recent news story about a married couple that heard Trump talk about an anti-malaria drug that he proclaimed could be the answer to combating the virus...  you can guess that they didn't hesitate and sought out the "cure" themselves.


I listened to Trump's press conference myself and for sure he was overselling it as a potential treatment. The way a slimy snake oil salesman would pitch a cure-all.

The wife was in critical condition but was still able to give a phone interview. I think she sadly learned her lesson the hard way.
“Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure,” the woman told NBC.

She said her advice would be: “Don’t take anything. Don’t believe anything. Don’t believe anything that the president says and his people … call your doctor.”

The one relief from what I reported yesterday is that Trump does not have the power to override the social distancing restrictions that local state governors have put in place. Trump can WISH that those rules will be relaxed by Easter, but the governors don't have to obey. Thank the maker for that.

The US is already in huge trouble according to this chart that was compiled by the Financial Times. Note that even Italy is starting to flatten a bit, while the US definitely is not.

Off Topic / Re: Outbreak! (Coronavirus discussion)
« on: March 25, 2020, 08:36:36 AM »
Yes, short-time span for so much death but also unlike the 3 other big killers that you cited, the virus has caused massive disruption to society across the globe. 

If any of those other 3 had regularly triggered the kind of systemic changes in how we live and go about our daily routines, then this outbreak might not seem as apocalyptic.

That said, who knows maybe going forward we could have regular viral outbreaks that force society to permanently adjust to it the same way we have adjusted to things like the flu.

edit: and now a summary of developments for Tue Mar 24 2020:
- in 84 days, the world has now reached over 417,966 positive cases and 18,615 dead.
- WHO is now saying that social distancing is no longer enough to keep the virus from spreading. Countries must use more aggressive testing of suspected cases and then quarantine any who had close contact with the patient.

- the US saw an increase of 9000 new cases in just 24 hours; this is the biggest increase for any country. After Trump said he would like to get Americans back to work by Apr 12th, a health official said that if that happened, it would lead to millions of deaths. Trump is reportedly listening more to his economic advisors than to his health advisors. Trump: "I think Easter Sunday, and you'll have packed churches all over our country, I think it would be a beautiful time." (uggghhhhh, this idiot is going to get SO many people killed...)

- China is beginning to ease restrictions after a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases; once it ends on Apr 6th, the lockdown will have been for 76 days. Work is slowly beginning to resume in factories. Travel restrictions still remain.

- there have been 743 new deaths in Italy in the last 24 hours. The prime minister says fines will be as high as 3000 euros to anyone who ignores the nationwide isolation rules. And a cruise ship has been converted into a floating medical facility to house and treat patients who are in recovery, so that hospitals can be opened up for patients who need more intensive care.
- an Italian priest who gave his own respirator to a younger patient has died.

- there were 514 new deaths in Spain in the last 24 hours, with a total number of deaths to just under 3000.
- an ice rink in Spain, has been converted to a morgue, after the local funeral service could not accept any more dead bodies.

- India, with a population of 1.3 billion, where many people live on the streets homeless or in makeshift houses, is going into a 21-day lockdown. It will be the world's largest lockdown, with a total ban of people venturing outside of their homes. Infections have been occurring in small towns within India. There have been 460 positive cases and 10 deaths in India.

- the Olympic summer games will be postponed by 1 year; this is the first time that they've been postponed (the games have been cancelled before but never postponed).

- the mayor of New York announcing that the rate of new infections in his city is doubling about every 3 days.

- more than 80 new cases in Ontario, including a police officer; a woman in her 90s living in an Oshawa long-term care residence has died.

- starting today, Ontario will cut hydro rates to help people working from home and in self-isolation, for the next 45 days/6 weeks, the rate during the day will now be the lowest rate (i.e. the same rate that you would pay after 7pm)

- Canada Post will cut their service hours (they will open 1hr later, and close 1hr earlier) and start dropping packages off at the door without waiting for a signature from the resident
- new cases in Canada are now doubling every 4 days, and at that rate we could see 10,000 cases by the end of March (that's just next Tuesday!).

- Canada saying that 90% of new cases being reported are from infections occuring while people are walking around in their community, not from international travellers returning home. The gov is again urging people to stay at home. There are over 2700 cases in Canada.

- Ontario now reports 50 people now in hospital due to COVID19, up 11. 17 are in ICU beds, up 5. 7 are on ventilators. 31 frontline healthcare workers have now contracted the virus.

- 10,000 people in Ontario are still awaiting to find out if they are positive or not for the virus.
- hundreds of thousands of people in Ontario apply for employment insurance, with lines stretching around the block (many who say that they are having trouble filing online so they came to the physical Service Canada office). The number of the total Canadians applying for EI is approaching 1 million. Service Canada's 1-800 number is overwhelmed, with people being put on hold for hours.

- list of “essential” businesses released by Ontario, including feed, animal food, pet food and animal supplies including bedding. Also: banks, taxis/ride-sharing, Motor vehicle, auto-supply, auto and motor-vehicle-repair, including bicycle repair, aircraft repair, heavy equipment repair, watercraft/marine craft repairs, car and truck dealerships and related facilities; Hotels, motels, shared rental units and similar facilities, including student residences;  More essential businesses include: Newspaper publishers; Radio & Television Broadcasting. Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers. Beer, wine, and cannabis stores are also treated as essential.

- Trudeau is leaving the door open to using smartphone data to track Canadians' compliance with pandemic rules
- Parks Canada is restricting vehicles in national parks and national historic sites after people flocked to the popular areas on the weekend.

...and some breaking news: Prince Charles has tested positive for the virus, only showing mild symptoms so far:

Off Topic / Re: Outbreak! (Coronavirus discussion)
« on: March 24, 2020, 09:50:52 PM »
It continues to boggle my mind that Italy will likely reach over 10,000 dead before this virus subsides.  In some sense, an invisible virus being the cause almost understates the magnitude of the horror. 

Replace virus with "serial killer" or "mass shooter" and it would seem almost ridiculous for one thing to cause so much death in modern times.  "Breaking News: Serial killer kills 6,000 people in Italy over a few weeks."

Off Topic / Re: Outbreak! (Coronavirus discussion)
« on: March 24, 2020, 09:52:28 AM »
@JP: I suspect that she goes out (to get groceries and medicine, not for socializing or anything non-essential) to protect ME from going out. She basically leaves hours after I tell her that I will go pick up any groceries or medication that she needs... which could prompt her to do it first before I do it for her.  I'd probably do the same for my kid if they offered to take on my chores.

And now a summary of the news for Mon Mar 23 2020:

- the number of worldwide deaths now totals at 16,508 and total infected cases are at 378,679; 100,985 have recovered.
- Justin Trudeau giving a more stern warning to young people to stay home and stop gathering together: "Enough is enough. Go home and stay home."
- the WHO pointed out that the pandemic is accelerating: it took 67 days from the 1st reported case to reach 100,000 cases. But only 11 days to reach 200,000 cases, and only 4 days to reach 300,000 cases.

- almost 44,000 cases and 557 deaths in the USA. Half of those 44,000 cases are in New York state.
- the National Guard was called into New York to convert the convention center into a massive field hospital
- Louisiana, where more than 1 million tourists celebrated Mardi Gras last month, is reporting the fastest-growing number of confirmed cases in the world, according to local doctors
- the US stock market (DOW) on pace for its worst month ever since December 1931, down 37%
- more than 100 people died from the virus in the US today alone, yet Trump is intent on lifting any restrictions to get people back to work, perhaps as soon as in one week, citing that he doesn't want the "cure" to be worse than the problem.

- former Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, has tested positive for the virus; he is now in isolation while in prison.

- Italy's death toll now over 6000, with 460 new deaths overnight, and more than 63,000 confirmed cases; all businesses in the country now must close until Apr 3rd except those essential to the supply chain.
- in some Italian hospitals, 25% of the staff have been infected and some doctors have died.

- the UK is to undergo the biggest lockdown in its history, restricting when people can leave their homes (i.e. only to buy groceries, go for a walk, and medical visits) and giving police special powers to locate and arrest people after it was found that too many people were ignoring social distance guidelines e.g. people were still crowding onto trains and parks were still packed, even though cases in the UK have surged to over 7000 and 55 people died there today. The UK is said to be about 2 weeks behind Italy.
- New Zealand will enter a month-long lockdown; every household to go into self-isolation starting on Wed night.

- there were no traders working on the floor of the New York stock exchange today, all traders were working from home.
- airline Air Transat lays off 70% of its workforce (incl all flight crews) after grounding its fleet
- Cineplex has now laid off thousands of part-time workers, while full-time employees and executives will get a pay cut
- Loblaws looking to hire temporary workers to meet the huge demand, and to give its current workers a break
- Labatts shifting production from beer to making hand sanitizer
- there are worries that people are hoarding medication (and insulin, inhalers, etc) and pharmacies are considering limiting prescription refills to only 30 days (whereas some people are asking for 6-months worth of refills).

- Ontario declaring an official state of emergency today, allowing it to force all non-essential stores/services to shut down for 2 weeks starting on Wednesday. The LCBO will be staying open.
- a big spike of 200 new cases in Quebec, bringing the new total to 628

- there are now 24 deaths in all of Canada
- Canada now has 2000+ cases:
  BC: 472
  ON: 503
  AB: 301
  QC: 628

- Global TV weatherman Anthony Farnell has tested positive with COVID-19 back on March 13th. He has recovered from his symptoms. He thinks he may have contracted it during a ski trip in Austria. There were people from all over the world at the ski resort.

Once back in Toronto, he felt ill and took 2 days off. Then the symptoms went away and he got better within a week. He felt body aches (he initially blamed it on skiing so much for 6 days) then came a fever. It went away, and then it all came back again. He lost his sense of smell, his taste, got shortness of breath. That's when he called to find out if he should be tested.  Even though his doctor and teleHealth told him his chances of contracting the virus was slim, he went in and got tested anyway and while the test was uncomfortable, he found out 2 days later that yes he did have the virus.  Toronto public health has been checking in on him daily, and he says he hasn't had any symptoms in 10 days.

Off Topic / Re: Outbreak! (Coronavirus discussion)
« on: March 23, 2020, 11:58:10 AM »
My mother has repeatedly ignored my warnings not to go out. I've told her that her age group is greatest at risk, but nope. What is it with old people...?

Nappy's notes from the news for Sun Mar 22 2020:

- there are 335,974 positive cases over the world
- total number of worldwide deaths now risen to 14,641
- Italy has 59,138 confirmed cases
- Spain has 28,768 confirmed cases
- France has 14,485 confirmed cases

- all businesses in Italy have been ordered to shut down, except groceries and pharmacies, until at least Apr 3rd. Italy reported another new 651 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the total number of deaths to over 5400. Almost 10% of Italy's health care workers were sidelined due to being infected by the virus, at a time when every healthcare worker is needed.
- Italy now saying that it likely had its first case back in November, but back then deaths were attributed to pneumonia rather than the virus.
- From twitter: Italian mayors and regional presidents LOSING IT at people violating quarantine. "I hear you wanna throw graduation parties. I'm gonna send the police over. With flamethrowers."
- Australia is shutting down all non-essential services, as the number of infected rise rapidly. Schools will stay open but parents are allowed to keep kids at home. More than 1300 have tested positive, with 7 deaths.

- the US now has the 3rd highest number of confirmed cases in the world, only Italy and China have more. The US has 32,000+ cases and 400 deaths. More than half of the deaths occurred in just 2 states: New York and Washington, both states have been declared as disaster areas. 1 in 4 Americans have been ordered to stay home as 8 states are now in lockdown.

- New York has reported 63 deaths so far; it is projected that in a state of 20 million people, 40 to 80% could become infected.
- New York and California have been forced to limit tests so that they are only given to the most ill and to healthcare workers, due to a shortage of test kits. The mayor of New York continues to plead to Donald Trump to start acting quickly, to invoke the Defense Production Act, which would create more supplies including ventilators and to mobilize the military to build makeshift hospitals.  US officials in states with the highest deaths warn they will run out of medical supplies, including ventilators, by early April. Nurses and doctors are fearful for their own lives.
- empty stores in downtown Manhattan are boarding up their doors and windows to prevent looters.

- 21 people in Canada have now died; politicians are astounded that people are still going to house parties and gathering together on the beach to enjoy the sun.
- Team Canada has announced that they will not be participating in the Tokyo summer Olympics; the WHO is suggesting that the games be postponed for one year.
- Quebec has shut down shopping malls
- Canada now has 1400+ cases:
  BC: 424  (on Mar 18th, BC had 231)
  ON: 424  (on Mar 18th, ON had 212)
  AB: 259  (was 97)
  QC: 219  (was only 94 on Mar 18th)
  SK: 44  (was only 16 on Mar 18th)
  NS: 28  (was 15 on Mar 18th)
  MB: 19  (12)
  NB: 17  (11)
  NL: 9   (3)
  PEI: 3  (1)
  NWT: 1  (0)

- Toronto has its first fatality, the man had returned home from the UK, he'd been tested at a Toronto hospital and had been self-isolated at home before going to the hospital on Mar 14th. He died yesterday.
- a woman in her 70s in York Region has also died, she had returned from Los Angeles
- 5 deaths have now happened in Ontario
- Ontario will provide free child care for health professionals

- South Korea is 2x the size of Canada and at their peak, Korea conducted 10,000 tests per day (vs 2000 per day right now for Canada). Taking the test itself is quite fast since it's a nasal swab, but the results can take several hours to days to process. Ontario has about 8000 cases currently under investigation.

- Colombia records its first death: a taxi driver who had been driving tourists from Italy, and had some underlying health problems.

- Sobeys looking to hire more staff to meet demand for groceries, is giving extra pay to existing staff
- funeral homes allowing the funeral service to be live-streamed to avoid gatherings of people; arrangements for the funeral are now encouraged to be done over the phone instead of in person
- the scramble for face masks has driven prices up; a face mask used to cost 85cents USD, now sells for $7USD.

Off Topic / Re: Outbreak! (Coronavirus discussion)
« on: March 22, 2020, 03:21:40 AM »
Your Saturday Mar 21st edition of Nappy's notes from the news...

- CTV News: the USA now has the fastest growth rate for confirmed cases than anywhere else in the world. The US has more than 24,000 confirmed cases of people infected by the virus and over 300 deaths. New York alone has more than 11,000 infected people.
- New Jersey opened up its first drive-in testing site for the corona virus, they ran out of test kits after only 35 minutes.

- more than 80 million Americans now ordered to stay home. New York state has been declared a federal disaster area, having the highest number of cases in the US. Officials are scrambling as overrun hospitals are running out of life-saving equipment such as face masks, Governor Andrew Cuomo saying: "We are literally scouring the globe looking for medical supplies."  A surgeon in California said "We are at war with no ammo."

- Washington State has the highest death toll in America, officials are also saying that they will soon have to make life-or-death decisions, deciding who lives or dies due to a shortage of ventilators.

- for the first time, the US gov has extended the deadline to file taxes by 90 days
- over 2 million Americans are expected to file for unemployment insurance benefits by mid-week. It will be the largest weekly increase in history.

- there are now 1279 confirmed cases in Canada, and 20 deaths. BC has taken the lead in positive cases at 424, with Ontario second at 377. And for the first time, a positive case in the Northwest Territories. Almost 60 new cases confirmed in Ontario today bring the total to 377, and the total number of cases in Toronto now almost 200.

- the border between US and Canada is now officially closed down for non-essential travel
- Ontario officials warn that anyone who tested positive and refuses to go into self-isolation will face fines up to $100,000 and up to 1 year in jail.

- Walmart reducing hours to 8am to 8pm.
- Loblaws and Metro employees will get an extra $2/hr raise.

- in Quebec, police have arrested a woman who had tested positive for the virus, because she had gone outside for a walk in her neighbourhood, breaking her quarantine. The woman is now in hospital, and may face charges.

- Wuhan again reporting no new cases for a 3rd straight day in a row; this has led some citizens to go outside; for some people this is their first time being outside in weeks.

- Italy, which is the hardest hit country in the world, 793 people died within the last 24 hours, pushing the total deaths over 4800 and 50,000 confirmed to be infected; people are no longer allowed to exercise outdoors. Police are using roadblocks in a number of cities to ensure people are not on the streets unless necessary.

- Spain, which is the 3rd hardest hit country in the world, seems to be on the same trajectory, the crisis just a few days behind Italy. Spain recorded over 5000(!) new cases in just 24 hours, for a total of 24,900 with 1326 deaths (there were 1000 deaths on Friday).
- there are fears that France, Germany, and the UK may not be far behind Italy and Spain.

- Iran's death toll reaches over 1500 dead. More than 20,000 have tested positive. Pleas by the government for people to stay home... have been  mostly ignored.

- a beach in Australia has been shut down temporarily; officials had no choice but to close it down after thousands of people flocked there to enjoy the sun and water in recent days, ignoring the call for social distancing.

EDIT: you can use this website to track the statistics about the pandemic. I note that since I originally posted my news recap, the USA has now risen to become the country with the 3rd highest number of cases, displacing Spain which had been the 3rd.  Sadly, this does track correctly with the US becoming more and more like Italy...

Off Topic / Re: Outbreak! (Coronavirus discussion)
« on: March 21, 2020, 10:10:54 PM »
Notes from the news for Fri Mar 20 2020:

- 627 people died in Italy in the last 24 hours, this brings the total number of deaths to 4032
- the total number of deaths in Spain exceeded 1000 today; it is the 4th country to report more than 1000 dead.

- an expert warns that this coming weekend is a critical time for Canadians to practice social distancing because thousands are going to be returning from March Break vacation in the US, some of whom may be carrying the virus.

- Toronto mayor Tory, Doug Ford and others are criticizing EB Games for not shutting down (since it is a non-essential service) and instead going ahead with a videogame release day (which then leads to gamers lining up in close proximity outside EB's doors, to get their "Animal Crossing" and "Doom" games). Ford reminded young people to practice social distancing and that lineups such as this is what causes the virus to spread.

- the governor of California is ordering all 40 million of its residents to stay home, fearing that more than half of its population could get infected if the state isn't able to curb the rise of cases. Illinois has announced a similar order.

- the Chinese government has now exonerated the doctor who tried to warn the world about the corona virus but had been given a reprimand (which included a threat of arrest) if he didn't recant his warnings. That doctor later died of the disease. China has issued a solemn apology to the man's family.

- Wuhan has announced that it has no new cases of the virus for two days in a row.  However, Hong Kong has seen its largest daily increase since the outbreak started, most of their cases due to residents returning from other countries (including skiers who had visited Whistler in British Columbia)

- China still leads the world with the total number of infected at 81,000 BUT at least 71,000 of them have recovered.

- as of today, there are more than 260,000 cases around the world and around 11,000 deaths worldwide.
- there are now over 1000 confirmed cases in Canada (5 of which have recovered); there were 50 new cases in one day in Ontario, the largest increase we've seen so far in this province.
- there are now over 19,000 confirmed cases in the USA, and 249 deaths; the country's infection rate is continuing to trend similar to Italy's. The US's number of cases effectively doubled overnight. Testing is still too hard to access.

- Canada had its first confirmed case back on Jan 25th, 8 weeks ago, to 1087 as of today. From a global view, it took 3 months to reach the first 100,000 (from Dec 10 to Mar 6) but only 12 days to reach the next 100,000 (from Mar 6 to Mar 18th).

- it is likely that Canada will see its greatest economic contraction since the 1930s due to so many workers being sent home. This week alone, there were 500,000 unemployment insurance applications; by comparison just 27,000 filed for EI this week last year.
- Canada's national unemployment rate was 5.6% last month, it is easily on its way to 8% now and may climb higher.
- Goldman Sachs is warning that the US economy could shrink an astonishing 24% in the second quarter

- Walmart Canada is hiring 10,000 new employees immediately to meet a surge in demand in stores and distribution centers. The jobs range from sales associates, bakery workers, cashiers, and overnight workers.

- Sobeys is installing plastic shields (plexiglass screens) to protect its cashiers at the checkouts; employees are being told to also wash their hands every 15 minutes.
- Loblaws is reducing their open hours so they can give employees more time to sanitize the stores

- there are worries that while Ontario is testing 2000 people per day, and aiming to increase that to 5000 per day, one expert says we should be testing 60,000 people per day. So far Toronto has only tested 60,000 people in total. Toronto health officials have had to leave some presumtive cases untested due to a limited number of swab kits needed to do the tests (the swabs are ironically enough made in north Italy).  Those people who still need to be tested can inadvertantly spread the virus. The more people that can be tested, the more officials can pinpoint the spread of the virus and isolate those areas to control the spread.

Off Topic / Re: Outbreak! (Coronavirus discussion)
« on: March 20, 2020, 01:24:19 AM »
My notes from tonight's Global National segment on COVID-19:

- health experts say that COVID-19 isn't airborne but is instead spread through droplets that are created when you cough or sneeze, which then land on different surfaces. 

A recent report found that it can survive on surfaces up to several days; it can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours. On plastic for 2-3 days. So if someone coughed on or near the plastic, and another person comes along the next day or two and touches it, then touches their eyes, they will be infected.

- it is less likely to survive on porous surfaces like clothing and pet fur.

- conservative estimates say that 30% of Canadians will get COVID-19, and of that 1% will die. That translates to 114,000 Canadians are expected to DIE this year. (NOTE: as of today, March 19th, 12 Canadians have died)

My notes from other news broadcasts:
- Ontario is suspending renewals for health cards, drivers licenses, and stopping evictions

- a 2nd death has happened in Ontario due to the virus. What is troubling is that it is not known how the 51-year old man contracted the virus. It was not through the usual way that people get infected (he had not travelled anywhere, nor did he come into contact with any known infected person). This suggests that in his area, there must be someone who is infected and may be an unwitting carrier of the virus.

- there are 43 new Ontario cases today (26 of the new cases are in Toronto)

- Wuhan, China's COVID19 epicenter, reports no new confirmed cases for the first time since the outbreak

- Italy continues to be a nightmare; Italy had 427 new deaths overnight, and now has more than 3400 deaths in total; the death toll has overtaken China's death count (things are worse for Italy when you realize that China's population is 23 times greater than Italy). Italy had more than 900 deaths in just 2 days. The country is home to more than half the world's positive virus cases. More and more of their healthcare workers are getting sick.

- a visiting chinese Red Cross official warned Italy that it needs to get even tougher, that people are still moving around, saying that all economic activity must stop and people go into quarantine.

- cases in New York City skyrocketed today to more than 3600 confirmed cases, 5 times higher than Canada; the politician in New York described it as "feeling like I have a belt around my lungs so I can't take too deep of a breath."
- a US family was hard hit by COVID-19 when a daughter died, then the son died 5 days later, then the mother died only hours after the son.
- 2 members of US congress have tested positive

Global National also mentioned that the USA continues on a trajectory of infection that matches Italy.  California has a model that estimates 25 million of their residents would become infected (I forget what the timeline for that would be, whether those millions would be infected after 1 year or 1 month).

EDIT: this article may anger people. At the same time that a Republican businessman was telling the public that everything was under control regarding the virus, he was telling insiders at an exclusive luncheon event that the virus situation was actually much worse:

According to the NPR report, Burr told attendees of the luncheon held at the Capitol Hill Club: “There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history ... It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.”

He warned that companies might have to curtail their employees’ travel, that schools could close and that the military might be mobilized to compensate for overwhelmed hospitals.

The luncheon was organized by the Tar Heel Circle, a club for businesses and organizations in North Carolina that are charged up to $10,000 for membership and are promised “interaction with top leaders and staff from Congress, the administration, and the private sector.”

The same Republican also sold off millions in stock way before the stock market crash, since he had access to confidential reports about the spread of the virus:

After assuring the public about the government's coronavirus preparedness, Senate Intel chair Richard Burr, in one day, sold off up to $1.6 million is stock. A week later, the market began its fall. His committee was receiving daily briefings.

Off Topic / Re: Outbreak! (Coronavirus discussion)
« on: March 18, 2020, 10:59:03 AM »
On the news last night, they referred to this stage merely as "the end of the beginning" which means there's more to come.  We could be living like this until August (but probably even way longer than that).

Oh and it sure isn't fun being an asian man right now. I was coming home on the bus yesterday and inadvertently let out a quick cough (dry throat, not due to any illness).  The lady standing in front of me quickly turned her head in my direction and just stared straight at me, unblinking, for a good 25 seconds. I think she was trying to see if I was sick or not.  She got off the bus 2 stops later.

BTW, here are more charts from the local TV news that will hopefully impress upon folks just how important testing is in flattening the infection rate.  I already mentioned how South Korea has been the gold standard in fighting off the infection by heavy testing, contrasted with Italy... and then you have the bungled mess in the USA (where a certain president spent weeks denying the problem, then suddenly yesterday said, and I quote him exactly: "This is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic."  (you sir, are a true MORON).

Note the very low rate of testing being done in the US... but they will undoubtedly ramp it up far more in the coming weeks since orange-hair has finally recognized there's a problem. To quote an American on twitter:

Many of you already know this, but the spread of COVID19 in the US has been mirroring that of the spread in Italy, except we're about 10 days behind them.

Now how is Canada doing in its testing?  Better than the US obviously, but nowhere at S. Korea levels, and we're running out of the swabs needed to get throat/mouth samples from patients...

As well, the news reports that in a number of provinces, health care workers don't have enough of the gowns and facemasks they need to do their jobs because some fellow workers are stealing them to take home (I guess to protect their own families?  To sell on the secondary market? who knows).

Off Topic / Re: Outbreak! (Coronavirus discussion)
« on: March 17, 2020, 10:30:24 PM »
On twitter, Jane Philpott posted this graph of our country's infection rate.  It is a relief, if you live in Ontario, that our curve IS flattening.  But if you live in Vancouver, the curve is going exponential.

Wampa Cave / Re: Toys R Us changing its operating hours
« on: March 17, 2020, 10:12:13 PM »
Yup. Smart move on their part.  The manager at my TRU told me this might end up happening when I was talking with him the other day about the hours changing to 11am - 7pm.  Looks like they made that decision today.

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