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Doctor: "Way too early" to talk about ending China outbreak – TimminsToday

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BEIJING — The number of new cases of the coronavirus in China dropped for a second straight day, health officials said Wednesday in a possible glimmer of hope amid the outbreak that has infected over 45,000 people worldwide and killed more than 1,100.

Dr. Mike Ryan, the head of emergencies for the World Health Organization, said it is “way too early to try to predict the beginning of the end” of the crisis in China. But he said: “The stabilization in cases in the last number of days is very reassuring and it is to a great extent the result of the huge public health operation in China.”

China has locked down an unprecedented 60 million people in an effort to curb the spread of the virus, which has hit hardest in the city of Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province.

The country’s National Health Commission said 2,015 new cases were counted on Tuesday, the second straight daily decline and down from nearly 3,900 a week ago. Commission spokesman Mi Feng said the situation is still grim but “we have seen some positive changes.”

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva that the numbers “must be interpreted with extreme caution,” adding: “This outbreak could still go in any direction.” At the same time, he noted that the number of other countries reporting cases — about two dozen — has not changed since Feb. 4.

All but one of the deaths recorded so far have been in China, as have more than 99% of all reported infections in the world.

“In principle at the moment, there’s no evidence out there that this virus is out there causing efficient community transmission in other countries,” Ryan said. “We have a window of opportunity to shut this virus down.”

At the end of a two-day meeting aimed at speeding the development of new tests, drugs and vaccines for the new virus, WHO said scientists had agreed upon a set of global research priorities but warned it could still take considerable time before any licensed products might be available.

In other developments:

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

Chinese President Xi Jinping promised tax cuts and other aid to industry as the ruling Communist Party tries to limit the mounting damage to the economy.

The country is struggling to restart its economy after the annual Lunar New Year holiday was extended to try to keep people home and contain the virus. Traffic remained light in Beijing, and many people were still working at home.

Companies are facing increasing losses because of the closing of factories, offices, shops and other businesses in the most sweeping anti-disease measures ever imposed.

A large cluster of cases in Tianjin, a port city southeast of Beijing, has been traced to a department store, Chinese state media said. One-third of Tianjin’s 104 confirmed cases are in Baodi district, where the store is situated, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

A salesperson in the store’s home appliance section was the first diagnosed on Jan. 31, Xinhua said, and a series of cases followed. None of those infected had visited Wuhan recently, and with the exception of one married couple, they worked in different sections of the store and did not know one another.

Meanwhile, organizers of the world’s biggest mobile technology fair — the annual Mobile World Congress show, set for Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain — cancelled the event because of worries about the viral outbreak.

The decision came after dozens of tech companies and wireless carriers dropped out, including Nokia, Vodafone, Ericsson, Nokia, Sony, Amazon, Intel and LG. The extravaganza had been expected to draw more than 100,000 visitors from about 200 countries, including 5,000 to 6,000 from China.

Elsewhere around the world, DBS bank in Singapore cleared its office, telling 300 employees to work from home after it learned that an employee had been infected. The city-state has 50 confirmed cases. And a Formula One race in Shanghai in April was added to the list of cancelled events.

CITIZEN JOURNALIST DISAPPEARS

A citizen journalist reporting on the epidemic in Wuhan has disappeared, activists said, becoming the second to vanish in recent days amid tightening controls on information in China.

Fang Bin, a seller of traditional Chinese clothing, stopped posting videos or responding to calls and messages on Sunday, activists Gao Fei and Hua Yong said, citing Fang’s friends. His phone was turned off Wednesday.

Fang had posted videos of Wuhan’s overcrowded hospitals, including bodies in a van waiting to be taken to a crematorium. The last video he posted was of a piece of paper reading, “All citizens resist, hand power back to the people.”

Another citizen journalist, Chen Qiushi, vanished on Friday. Non-sanctioned reporting on the outbreak by actitivists is challenging the Communist Party’s tightly policed monopoly on information on an unprecedented scale.

CRUISE SHIP WOES

Passengers aboard a cruise ship that has been barred from docking by four governments may finally set foot on land again.

Holland America Line said the MS Westerdam will arrive Thursday morning in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. The ship has been turned away by the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand, though its operator said no cases of the disease have been confirmed among the more than 2,200 passengers and crew.

And in Japan, 39 new cases were confirmed on a cruise ship quarantined at Yokohama, bringing the total to 174 aboard the Diamond Princess.

TWO RUSSIANS FLEE QUARANTINE

Two Russian women who were kept in isolation for possible inflection by the virus say they escaped from Russian hospitals because of unco-operative doctors, poor conditions and fear they would become infected.

Both women were hospitalized after returning from Hainan, a tropical island in China popular with Russian tourists. One said she jumped out of a hospital window to escape her quarantine, while the other broke out by disabling an electronic lock.

Two cases of the virus have been reported in Russia.

NO EVIDENCE YET OF MOTHER-TO-FETUS SPREAD

In a study published Wednesday in the journal Lancet, Chinese scientists reported there is no evidence so far to suggest the virus can be passed from mother to child in the womb.

The study looked at nine women who all had the COVID-19 virus and gave birth via cesarean section in a hospital in Wuhan. Scientists examined samples from the newborns, including the amniotic fluid, cord blood and throat swabs, and they all tested negative for the virus. But the researched acknowledged the study was small.

To date, two cases of the virus have been confirmed in babies, including a newborn diagnosed just 36 hours after birth. It is unknown how the child was infected.

___

Associated Press writers Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo, Elaine Kurtenbach in Singapore, James Heintz in Moscow, Grant Peck in Bangkok, Kelvin Chan and Maria Cheng in London and Joe McDonald, Dake Kang, Yanan Wang and researcher Yu Bing in Beijing contributed to this report.

—-

Read all the AP stories about the coronavirus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak

Ken Moritsugu, The Associated Press





















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Canadian doctors worried about supplies of flu vaccine: Survey – iNFOnews

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A man wears a face mask as he waits outside a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Sunday, September 27, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

September 29, 2020 – 9:00 PM

TORONTO – The Canadian Medical Association says doctors still face hurdles getting personal protective equipment and fear they won’t be able to adequately respond to increased demands for the flu shot.

With COVID-19 cases surging to new highs in parts of Canada, the CMA is calling for government action to bolster the health system so that it can handle the possibility of a devastating “twin epidemic.”

“There’s going to be an increased demand for PPE, probably over and above what the demand was at the beginning of the pandemic,” CMA president Dr. Ann Collins said Tuesday from Fredericton, pointing to the reopening of businesses and schools as compounding pressures.

“It is an issue for protection for frontline workers.”

A CMA survey conducted Aug. 19 to 24 found more than 86 per cent of 1,459 respondents worried influenza season will put additional strain on the health-care system.

Of the 598 doctors who offer the flu vaccine, half said they won’t have enough doses to meet demand and 85 per cent said the system needs more capacity.

The survey also found 54 per cent of respondents still faced challenges trying to acquire personal protective equipment.

Collins said that includes surgical masks, gowns, gloves and shields needed for routine doctor visits. She says that was already an issue back in August, before the current spike in cases, demand for COVID-19 testing and school openings.

“There were areas in the country where community based physicians were having challenges accessing PPE — they either couldn’t get it, it was not a sure-thing that when they ordered it they were going to get it, (or) that they would get it on time,” said Collins, who notes she had trouble supplying her own family practice back in the spring.

The survey found 68 per cent of doctors said they worried suppliers wouldn’t have enough PPE, 62 per cent expected orders to be delayed, and more than half worried global demand will hinder supply.

Nevertheless, three quarters believed the health-care system was better prepared with COVID-19 resurgences than during the first wave.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said Tuesday it was preparing for the potential of simultaneous outbreaks of the flu and COVID-19.

The agency said provincial and territorial governments have ordered more than 13 million doses of vaccine — an increase from last season’s order of 11.2 million doses.

Collins says the CMA has been assured by public health officials there will be enough doses to meet demand but says they cannot predict what the uptake will be. Still, they encourage all Canadians to get the vaccine.

Each province and territorial government decides how much to purchase for their populations, where they are distributed and when to begin the rollout.

While this varies, many start their vaccination programs in October or early November.

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford stressed multiple investments to bolster the health system as it attempts to address a backlog of surgeries while grappling with COVID-19 and the coming flu season.

“We put a billion dollars into testing and tracing, which is absolutely imperative. We also have the immunization program for the flu vaccine which is 5.1 million doses. That is the largest ever in Canadian history,” Ford said.

While virtual care has reduced in-person appointments, Collins said doctors still need to see some patients face-to-face.

In addition to PPE, she said each visit requires cleaning supplies to sanitize between visits and time and staff to do that work. Collins said that all costs money.

“Doctors need to know … that there’s a concerted effort to co-ordinate (resources) amongst those different bodies and to communicate clearly to physicians what is available and to support those physicians,” she said.

“There are people with all kinds of other health-care conditions that need to be seen, they need to be assessed. And so there needs to be protection for them, protection for the doctor seeing them.

“Because COVID is among us.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020

The Canadian Press

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Survey finds doctors worry supplies of flu vaccine, PPE will lag demand

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TORONTO — The Canadian Medical Association says doctors still face hurdles getting personal protective equipment and fear they won’t be able to adequately respond to increased demands for the flu shot.

With COVID-19 cases surging to new highs in parts of Canada, the CMA is calling for government action to bolster the health system so that it can handle the possibility of a devastating “twin epidemic.”

“There’s going to be an increased demand for PPE, probably over and above what the demand was at the beginning of the pandemic,” CMA president Dr. Ann Collins said Tuesday from Fredericton, pointing to the reopening of businesses and schools as compounding pressures.

“It is an issue for protection for frontline workers.”

A CMA survey conducted Aug. 19 to 24 found more than 86 per cent of 1,459 respondents worried influenza season will put additional strain on the health-care system.

Of the 598 doctors who offer the flu vaccine, half said they won’t have enough doses to meet demand and 85 per cent said the system needs more capacity.

The survey also found 54 per cent of respondents still faced challenges trying to acquire personal protective equipment.

Collins said that includes surgical masks, gowns, gloves and shields needed for routine doctor visits. She says that was already an issue back in August, before the current spike in cases, demand for COVID-19 testing and school openings.

“There were areas in the country where community based physicians were having challenges accessing PPE — they either couldn’t get it, it was not a sure-thing that when they ordered it they were going to get it, (or) that they would get it on time,” said Collins, who notes she had trouble supplying her own family practice back in the spring.

The survey found 68 per cent of doctors said they worried suppliers wouldn’t have enough PPE, 62 per cent expected orders to be delayed, and more than half worried global demand will hinder supply.

Nevertheless, three quarters believed the health-care system was better prepared with COVID-19 resurgences than during the first wave.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said Tuesday it was preparing for the potential of simultaneous outbreaks of the flu and COVID-19.

The agency said provincial and territorial governments have ordered more than 13 million doses of vaccine — an increase from last season’s order of 11.2 million doses.

Collins says the CMA has been assured by public health officials there will be enough doses to meet demand but says they cannot predict what the uptake will be. Still, they encourage all Canadians to get the vaccine.

Each province and territorial government decides how much to purchase for their populations, where they are distributed and when to begin the rollout.

While this varies, many start their vaccination programs in October or early November.

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford stressed multiple investments to bolster the health system as it attempts to address a backlog of surgeries while grappling with COVID-19 and the coming flu season.

“We put a billion dollars into testing and tracing, which is absolutely imperative. We also have the immunization program for the flu vaccine which is 5.1 million doses. That is the largest ever in Canadian history,” Ford said.

While virtual care has reduced in-person appointments, Collins said doctors still need to see some patients face-to-face.

In addition to PPE, she said each visit requires cleaning supplies to sanitize between visits and time and staff to do that work. Collins said that all costs money.

“Doctors need to know … that there’s a concerted effort to co-ordinate (resources) amongst those different bodies and to communicate clearly to physicians what is available and to support those physicians,” she said.

“There are people with all kinds of other health-care conditions that need to be seen, they need to be assessed. And so there needs to be protection for them, protection for the doctor seeing them.

“Because COVID is among us.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020.

Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press

<!– Photo: 2020092912098-5f735c422abff6c972be8b91jpeg.jpg, Caption: A man wears a face mask as he waits outside a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Sunday, September 27, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. A new survey finds many doctors fear they won’t have enough of the flu vaccine to meet demand.

The Canadian Medical Association says more than 86 per cent of 1,459 respondents say they worry influenza season will put additional strain on the health-care system. Of those who offer the flu vaccine, half say they won’t have enough doses to meet demand and 85 per cent said the system needs more capacity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

–>

Source:- Cochrane Today

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Up to Half a Million Sharks Could Be Killed to Produce Coronavirus Vaccine, Warn Conservationists

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Squalene, an organic compound harvested from shark livers, is used in a variety of areas, including pharmacology. It is the main ingredient in adjuvants, which are used to improve immune system responses to vaccines. Squalene-based adjuvants are currently used in vaccines to prevent different strains of influenza and coronaviruses.

Up to 500,000 sharks could be killed in order to produce a coronavirus vaccine, warned Shark Allies, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to restoring and preserving the shark population. The group’s estimates suggest that in order to vaccinate the world’s population with one inoculation for COVID-19, around 250,000 sharks would need to be killed. Given that previous studies said people would need two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to develop an immune response, means that half a million of sharks could be killed to rid humanity of COVID-19.

Greedy Pharma

Shark Allies notes that many shark species, such as the gulper shark and basking shark have been classified as vulnerable, meaning their populations are decreasing. The group notes that the use of squalene harvested from sharks, could result in a disaster, with some species becoming endangered or even going extinct.

“Harvesting something from a wild animal is never going to be sustainable, especially if it’s a top predator that doesn’t reproduce in huge numbers”, said Stefanie Brendl, founder and executive director of Shark Allies.

The conservationist group says that squalene could also be produced from plants, but that process is approximately 30 percent more expensive than harvesting squalene from sharks.

“One of the reasons shark squalene is cheaper is because of the ease of extraction of squalene from the shark. Squalene with a purity of >98% is obtained directly from the liver oil of a shark after a single distillation phase in a vacuum at temperatures of 200-230 degrees Celsius. This process takes only 10 hours whereas nearly 70 hours of processing are required to obtain olive oil squalene with a purity higher than 92%. The purity of non-shark-derived squalene, however, can be comparable to that of shark squalene”, Shark Allies wrote in their petition addressed to various agencies in Britain, the European Union, and the United States and signed by more than 11,000 people.

The group notes that it is in no way asking pharmaceutical companies to slow down the process of producing a COVID-19 vaccine, but merely asks them to use non-animal derived squalene.

Source:- Sputnik International

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