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A record-breaking 105 US children have died from flu so far this season – CNN

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Flu leaves a 4-year-old girl blind in Iowa
It has been an “unusual” flu season with a higher proportion of children and young adults affected than the older population, according to Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
The earlier prevalence of influenza B — a flu strain that tends to be more common in children — could be a reason why more children were affected, Schaffner said. Also, as the number of influenza B cases decreased, the number of H1N1 cases increased, he said. H1N1 is a subtype of the influenza A strain, which also affects children more than adults.
“This is the first time in 25 years where [influenza B] became so common so early,” said Dr. Buddy Creech, an associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Neither Schaffner nor Creech know why this year’s influenza timeline is so different.
“It’s leaving all influenza virologists puzzled,” Schaffner said.
A deadly virus is spreading from state to state and has infected 26 million Americans so far. It's the fluA deadly virus is spreading from state to state and has infected 26 million Americans so far. It's the flu
That earlier influenza B peak may be one reason why there are more pediatric flu-related deaths than usual, according to Schaffner.
Also, influenza B can present with unexpected symptoms, so parents might not seek care right away, according to Creech.
“Often influenza B is more likely to cause gastrointestinal symptoms than influenza A, though both can in young children,” he said. “Some parents don’t recognize these symptoms as part of influenza … which may delay thinking of influenza and delay treatment.”
Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting, can also impact one’s ability to take antivirals that can shorten the flu’s duration, he said.
A teen's final days with the flu A teen's final days with the flu
Another reason for the higher number of flu-related deaths in children might not be specific to kids at all.
“It could just be a reflection of a particularly severe season,” said Dr. Arnold Monto, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Monto noted that there are many flu-related deaths among children every year in the United States.
He agreed that it’s an odd season that may last longer.
“We may have the flu going into April this year because it’s still going strong right now,” he said.
This season's flu shot offers 'substantial protection' in a season tough on childrenThis season's flu shot offers 'substantial protection' in a season tough on children
Given the uncertainty about how long this flu season will last, Monto recommended getting an influenza vaccine, explaining that the children who die from the flu are more likely to be the ones who weren’t vaccinated.
The CDC said this week it considers the current flu shot to be “substantial protection” for children ages 6 months to 17 years old.
Schaffner also said everyone should get vaccinated, especially since the flu can strike a perfectly healthy individual and cause severe illness. At least half of the children who die from the flu were otherwise healthy, he said.
“[The vaccine] may not prevent the illness completely,” Schaffner said, “but if you’re vaccinated and you still get the flu, you’re more likely to have a less severe infection … Your risk of dying is less.”

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The world is ‘simply not ready’: 4 things the WHO learned about COVID-19 in China – Global News

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Experts from the World Health Organization praised China’s efforts to fight an outbreak of COVID-19 after returning from a fact-finding mission, but say the rest of the world isn’t prepared if the virus spreads.

Dr. Bruce Aylward, the Canadian head of the WHO-China joint mission on COVID-19, shared his team’s findings at a press conference Tuesday.

His big takeaway: the world isn’t ready for an outbreak. “But it can get ready very fast.”

Here’s what the team said they learned while in China.

1. The outbreak seems to have peaked in China

China’s efforts, which included quarantining millions of people, seem to have helped to get the outbreak under control, Aylward said. “It’s the unanimous assessment of the team that they have changed the course of this outbreak.

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“What was a rapidly-escalating outbreak has plateaued and then come down faster than one would have expected if we had looked at the natural dynamics of an outbreak like this. And that’s striking.”


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At a press conference Monday, WHO’s director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it appears as though the outbreak in China peaked between Jan. 23 and Feb. 2 and “has been declining steadily since then.”

2. China’s actions may have prevented many COVID-19 cases

While he didn’t comment on the human rights issues that have been raised by China’s quarantines, Aylward believes that China has prevented huge numbers of cases of COVID-19, according to the WHO’s estimates.

“Hundreds of thousands of people in China did not get COVID-19 because of this aggressive response.”


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By cutting back the number of cases in the epicentre of the outbreak, he said, China also likely slowed its spread to other countries.

“That was the other big thing we heard again and again from anyone in China was, ‘It’s our responsibility to do this for the world.’”






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Doctor who helped sound alarm on coronavirus dies


Doctor who helped sound alarm on coronavirus dies

3. It seems like there aren’t vast numbers of undetected cases

One of the big worries about this virus has been whether there are lots of asymptomatic, or “sub-clinical” cases — people with symptoms so mild they never see a doctor.

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While this is good for these people, many experts worried that healthy-seeming people might unintentionally spread the disease.

Aylward said he didn’t see much evidence that this is happening.


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Authorities in Wuhan have been going house to house to check people’s temperatures, he said. “They’re probably not missing a huge, huge amount.”

“With asymptomatics, it doesn’t look like that’s a big part of the picture. There was just no data that supports that.”






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Coronavirus outbreak: WHO says ‘too early’ to call COVID-19 a pandemic


Coronavirus outbreak: WHO says ‘too early’ to call COVID-19 a pandemic

It’s a new disease and authorities will have to do more testing to be sure, he said, but he doesn’t believe that there is a huge number of uncounted cases.

It looks like around 80 per cent of COVID-19 cases have mild symptoms, he said. About 13 per cent have severe symptoms, and six per cent of people are in critical condition.

4. The rest of the world needs to get ready

Even if it’s true that there aren’t a lot of undetected COVID-19 cases, Aylward thinks that countries around the world need to prepare for outbreaks.

Arguing about whether COVID-19 is a pandemic or not is beside the point, he said.

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“Why don’t you look at, have you got 100 beds where you can isolate people if you have to? Have you got a wing of a hospital that you’re going to close off? Have you got 30 ventilators?”


READ MORE:
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The world is “simply not ready” right now, he said.

Aside from making sure they have the medical supplies and staff to deal with an outbreak, governments should even ramp up simple public health campaigns like handwashing, he said.

“Those things that we should be doing anyway should be at scale in countries because they will make a difference to the spread of a respiratory borne disease.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Nurses Trim Their Hair To Avoid Infecting Corona Virus (Video) – Sunriseread

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Medical doctors and nurses from throughout China are going to quarantined cities to participate within the therapy of the Corona virus. It was revealed with the revealed movies that the nurses to participate utterly minimize their hair earlier than beginning the duty.

Movies exhibiting that nurses and docs concerned within the therapy of corona virus in China have utterly minimize their hair. Well being employees minimize their hair to keep away from getting contaminated and simply change their garments.

The video shared from the Twitter account of Folks’s Every day China, the largest newspaper in China, reveals that the hair of the nurses who got here to Wuhan to participate within the therapy of the corona virus has been minimize.

Within the video shared in Xinhua, the official information company of China, it’s acknowledged that being balding gives a bonus not just for spreading the virus but additionally for altering protecting clothes.

Well being professionals who participate within the therapy of the Corona virus use grownup diapers as an alternative of going to the bathroom to save lots of time. Well being professionals are occupied with extra sufferers over time.

Well being professionals are additionally bodily injured whereas they work to deal with the virus. Many well being employees’ pores and skin seems whitening because of the intensive use of disinfectants. Everlasting traces began appearing on the faces of docs and nurses as a result of they consistently wore masks.

Well being employees working in quarantine cities, primarily Wuhan, are additionally psychologically harmed along with bodily hurt. “I believe bodily and mentally each physician and nurse in Wuhan has difficulties,” stated therapist Candice Qin, who’s in cost in Beijing. We all know that sufferers are anxious. However we must always not overlook that docs are additionally human. ”

Video of nurses shared by Xinhua:

Share video on Folks’s Every day China:

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Time is everything: World braces for spread of new virus – Japan Today

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China’s massive travel restrictions, house-to-house checks, huge isolation wards and lockdowns of entire cities bought the world valuable time to prepare for the global spread of the new virus.

But with troubling outbreaks now emerging in Italy, South Korea and Iran, and U.S. health officials warning Tuesday it’s inevitable it will spread more widely in America, the question is: Did the world use that time wisely and is it ready for a potential pandemic?

“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen — and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some countries are putting price caps on face masks to combat price gouging, while others are using loudspeakers on trucks to keep residents informed. In the United States and many other nations, public health officials are turning to guidelines written for pandemic flu and discussing the possibility of school closures, telecommuting and canceling events.

Countries could be doing even more: training hundreds of workers to trace the virus’ spread from person to person and planning to commandeer entire hospital wards or even entire hospitals, said Dr. Bruce Aylward, the World Health Organization’s envoy to China, briefing reporters Tuesday about lessons learned by the recently returned team of international scientists he led.

“Time is everything in this disease,” Aylward said. “Days make a difference with a disease like this.”

The U.S. National Institutes of Health’s infectious disease chief, Dr Anthony Fauci, said the world is “teetering very, very close” to a pandemic. He credits China’s response for giving other nations some breathing room.

China locked down tens of millions of its citizens and other nations imposed travel restrictions, reducing the number of people who needed health checks or quarantines outside the Asian country.

It “gave us time to really brush off our pandemic preparedness plans and get ready for the kinds of things we have to do,” Fauci said. “And we’ve actually been quite successful because the travel-related cases, we’ve been able to identify, to isolate” and to track down those they came in contact with.

With no vaccine or medicine available yet, preparations are focused on what’s called “social distancing” — limiting opportunities for people to gather and spread the virus.

That played out in Italy this week. With cases climbing, authorities cut short the popular Venice Carnival and closed down Milan’s La Scala opera house. In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on companies to allow employees to work from home.

Is the rest of the world ready?

In Africa, three-quarters of countries have a flu pandemic plan, but most are outdated, according to authors of a modeling study published last week in The Lancet medical journal. The slightly better news is that the African nations most connected to China by air travel — Egypt, Algeria and South Africa — also have the most prepared health systems on the continent.

Elsewhere, Thailand said it would establish special clinics to examine people with flu-like symptoms to detect infections early. Sri Lanka and Laos imposed price ceilings for face masks, while India restricted the export of personal protective equipment.

India’s health ministry has been framing step-by-step instructions to deal with sustained transmissions that will be circulated to the 250,000 village councils that are the most basic unit of the country’s sprawling administration.

Vietnam is using music videos on social media to reach the public. In Malaysia, loudspeakers on trucks blare information through the streets.

In Europe, portable pods set up at United Kingdom hospitals will be used to assess people suspected of infection while keeping them apart from others. France developed a quick test for the virus and has shared it with poorer nations. German authorities are stressing “sneezing etiquette” and Russia is screening people at airports, railway stations and those riding public transportation.

In the U.S., hospitals and emergency workers for years have practiced for a possible deadly, fast-spreading flu. Those drills helped the first hospitals to treat U.S. patients suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Other hospitals are paying attention. The CDC has been talking to the American Hospital Association, which in turn communicates coronavirus news daily to its nearly 5,000 member hospitals. Hospitals are reviewing infection control measures, considering using telemedicine to keep potentially infectious patients from making unnecessary trips to the hospital and conserving dwindling supplies of masks and gloves.

What’s more, the CDC has held 17 different calls reaching more than 11,000 companies and organizations, including stadiums, universities, faith leaders, retailers and large corporations. U.S. health authorities are talking to city, county and state health departments about being ready to cancel mass gathering events, close schools and take other steps.

The CDC’s Messonnier said Tuesday she had contacted her children’s school district to ask about plans for using internet-based education should schools need to close temporarily, as some did in 2009 during an outbreak of H1N1 flu. She encouraged American parents to do the same, and to ask their employers whether they’ll be able to work from home.

“We want to make sure the American public is prepared,” Messonnier said.

How prepared are U.S. hospitals?

“It depends on caseload and location. I would suspect most hospitals are prepared to handle one to two cases, but if there is ongoing local transmission with many cases, most are likely not prepared just yet for a surge of patients and the ‘worried well,'” Dr. Jennifer Lighter, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at NYU Langone in New York, said in an email.

In the U.S., a vaccine candidate is inching closer to first-step safety studies in people, as Moderna Inc. has delivered test doses to Fauci’s NIH institute. Some other companies say they have candidates that could begin testing in a few months. Still, even if those first safety studies show no red flags, specialists believe it would take at least a year to have something ready for widespread use. That’s longer than it took in 2009, during the H1N1 flu pandemic — because that time around, scientists only had to adjust regular flu vaccines, not start from scratch.

The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the U.N. health agency’s team in China found the fatality rate between 2% and 4% in the hard-hit city of Wuhan, the virus’ epicenter, and 0.7% elsewhere.

The world is “simply not ready,” said the WHO’s Aylward. “It can get ready very fast, but the big shift has to be in the mindset.”

Aylward advised other countries to do “really practical things” now to get ready.

Among them: Do you have hundreds of workers lined up and trained to trace the contacts of infected patients, or will you be training them after a cluster pops up?

Can you take over entire hospital wards, or even entire hospitals, to isolate patients?

Are hospitals buying ventilators and checking oxygen supplies?

Countries must improve testing capacity — and instructions so health workers know which travelers should be tested as the number of affected countries rises, said Johns Hopkins University emergency response specialist Lauren Sauer. She pointed to how Canada diagnosed the first traveler from Iran arriving there with COVID-19, before many other countries even considered adding Iran to the at-risk list.

If the disease does spread globally, everyone is likely to feel it, said Nancy Foster, a vice president of the American Hospital Association. Even those who aren’t ill may need to help friends and family in isolation or have their own health appointments delayed.

“There will be a lot of people affected even if they never become ill themselves,” she said.

© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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