The ongoing Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has now reached a grim milestone: its death toll has officially exceeded that of the 2003 SARS outbreak. The epidemic is also placing a severe strain on multinational supply chains that span the breadth of China’s industrial centers currently under a lockdown.
China’s National Health Commission announced 89 deaths in mainland China on Saturday – the highest number for a single day since the epidemic began – with the country’s total number of infections having risen to 37,580. Moreover, 813 people around the world have lost their lives as a result of the 2019-nCoV infection with 811 of those unfortunate deaths hailing from China.
Notably, the SARS outbreak in early 2000s resulted in 774 deaths and just over 8,000 infections. However, while the SARS epidemic took months to reach its zenith, the coronavirus outbreak has already surpassed this crest in a matter of weeks. Nonetheless, as opposed to the SARS death rate of 9.6 percent, the 2019-nCoV’s mortality rate currently stands at 2.2 percent.
The following infographic illustrates the current unfortunate human toll of the coronavirus outbreak (for real-time updates, head to this website maintained by Johns Hopkins CSSE):
Several other countries announced new infections over the weekend, including Thailand, France and Singapore, which now has 40 cases of the virus.
The infographic below from CNN illustrates the global reach of the epidemic:
China’s surveillance infrastructure now being utilized to fight the coronavirus outbreak
Chinese telecommunication companies have been stealthily tracking the movement of their customers for a while now. However, such companies are now openly touting their tracking abilities. As an illustration, China Mobile has been sending text messages to Beijing residents, offering them the facility to track their movements over the past 30 days. Presumably, this service is intended to help Chinese citizens in recalling their movement if questioned by authorities or employers.
Additionally, China’s industry ministry has called on the country’s AI companies to assist in fighting the coronavirus epidemic. Accordingly, the facial recognition firm Megvii said this week that it has developed a method of identifying people with fevers by integrating the results from thermal cameras with body and facial data. Moreover, SenseTime has built a system that is able to identify people even when they are wearing face masks. This system is intended to beef up security at the entrance of buildings and other sensitive instalments.
Impact on the tech sector as supply chains freeze
In order to curb the spread of this disease, the lunar new year holidays have been extended in key Chinese regions, including the vital Shandong province and the cities of Suzhou and Shanghai. Moreover, much of China’s transportation network remains suspended.
Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) has lowered its earnings guidance for the next quarter partly due to the impact of the coronavirus epidemic. The company’s CFO Akash Palkhiwala said during the latest earnings call:
“There is significant uncertainty around the impact from the coronavirus on handset demand and supply chain.”
Tech giants such as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Samsung have closed their offices and manufacturing facilities in China. Even though most of these closures were originally slated to last until the 9th of February, many companies have not specified the scheduled date for the reopening of these offices and facilities.
The closure of facilities belonging to Foxconn (TPE:2354) and Pegatron (TPE:4938) is expected to delay the production of iPhones and AirPods. A Nikkei Asian Review report on Saturday indicated that the Chinese authorities are preventing Foxconn from reopening its Shenzhen plant. Additionally, Foxconn has unilaterally decided to keep its Zhengzhou plant closed until the conclusion of a government review.
Many tech products that were expected to be shipped in February now face increasing delays. For example, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has stopped taking new orders for its latest Oculus Quest VR headset, citing the outbreak for the delay. Moreover, the launch of Nintendo’s (TYO:7974) new Switch console is also purportedly being delayed with pre-order availability deferred to an unspecified date.
Similarly, Huawei has postponed its developers’ conference due to take place next week. Also, NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA), LG Electronics (KRX:066570) and Ericsson (STO:ERIC-B) have withdrawn from the upcoming Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona.
For an exhaustive list of companies being impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, head over to this report by the Verge.
Quebec health officials confirm 25 monkeypox cases now in province – Global News
Quebec public health officials are reporting a total of 25 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the province as of Thursday.
Dr. Luc Boileau, interim public health director in the province, described it as a “serious outbreak” of the virus. Officials are investigating several more suspected cases.
“We had about 20 to 30 suspected cases under investigation so far,” Boileau said.
The province will also begin administering the Imvamune vaccine to close contacts of confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox as soon as Friday. A single dose will be provided within four days of exposure to the virus.
Quebec’s Health Ministry said in a statement that a second dose of the vaccine could be administered, but only if the risk of exposure is “still present 28 days later” and “only following a decision by public health authorities.”
Boileau said the majority of confirmed cases in the province are tied mostly to men who have had sexual relations with other men. There has been one case in a person under 18.
Last week, Quebec recorded the first cases of the virus in the country. The first suspected cases were reported on May 12 in Montreal.
Monkeypox is a rare disease that comes from the same family of viruses that causes smallpox, which the World Health Organization declared eradicated around the globe in 1980.
The virus spreads through prolonged closed contact. It can cause fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes and lesions.
— with files from Global News’ Dan Spector and the Canadian Press
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Quebec to start monkeypox vaccination of contacts as officials confirm 25 cases
MONTREAL — Quebec’s interim public health director says the province could start vaccinating people against monkeypox as soon as Friday.
Dr. Luc Boileau says there are now 25 confirmed cases of the disease in the province and about 30 suspected cases are under investigation.
He says the province has received supplies of smallpox vaccine from the federal government, and it will be administered to people who have been in close contact with confirmed cases of the disease.
Dr. Caroline Quach, the chair of Quebec’s immunization committee, says the vaccine has been shown to prevent monkeypox in animal studies if it is administered within four days of an exposure and can reduce severity if it is administered up to 14 days after an exposure.
She says the disease is transmitted only through prolonged close contact.
Boileau says the majority of cases are in adult men who have been in sexual contact with people who have the disease, and there has been one case in a person under 18.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2022.
The Canadian Press
Monkeypox Warnings Ignored; Dominant COVID Strain Emerges; Better Paxlovid Access – Medpage Today
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Warning signs of the current monkeypox outbreak may have been ignored. (STAT)
The CDC issued a monkeypox travel alert encouraging “enhanced precautions” after cases were reported in North America, Europe, and Australia.
Roche announced it has developed three PCR test kits to detect the monkeypox virus.
The U.S. has a new dominant COVID-19 strain — BA.2.12.1 — a highly contagious sublineage of the BA.2 omicron subvariant that now accounts for 57.9% of all cases, according to CDC estimates.
As of Thursday at 8:00 a.m. EDT, the unofficial U.S. COVID toll was 83,697,199 cases and 1,004,558 deaths, increases of 218,146 and 913, respectively, compared with this time Wednesday morning.
The Biden Administration, projecting COVID infections will continue to spread during the summer travel season announced additional steps to make nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid) more accessible. (ABC News)
The White House also reported the launch of the first federally-supported test-to-treat COVID site.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other senior leaders of the government are to blame for booze-filled parties that violated the country’s COVID-19 lockdown rules, according to an investigative report. (NPR)
A mouse study suggested that maraviroc (Selzentry), a FDA-approved drug used to treat HIV, may be able to reverse middle-aged memory loss. (Nature)
The University of California system will be paying nearly $700 million to women who said they were sexually abused by a UCLA gynecologist over the course of several decades. (AP)
The parents of a 4-year-old girl spoke out about her mysterious case of pediatric hepatitis that required a liver transplant, one of 180 similar cases under investigation in the U.S. (Today)
Teva Pharmaceuticals has issued a voluntary nationwide recall of one lot of anagrelide capsules, which are used to treat thrombocythemia secondary to myeloproliferative neoplasms, due to dissolution test failure during routine stability testing.
Servier announced the FDA approved ivosidenib (Tibsovo) in combination with azacitidine for certain patients with newly diagnosed IDH1-mutated acute myeloid leukemia.
A report from the American Medical Association shows that payers are not following the prior authorization reforms agreed to in 2018. (Fierce Healthcare)
The mass shooting in Buffalo earlier this month is a reminder that millions of Americans don’t have easy access to grocery stores. (NPR)
COVID-era misinformation is leading a wave of parents to reject ordinary childhood immunizations. (New York Times)
The FDA issued guidance spelling out rules for states that want to import certain prescription drugs from Canada.
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