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There are probably 20 times more US coronavirus cases than we know about – BGR

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  • Former FDA chief says the real number of coronavirus cases in the United States is likely 10 to 20 times higher than reported.
  • Many people with mild symptoms were never tested, painting an unclear picture of how widespread the virus is. 
  • The good news is that the overall fatality rate is likely much lower than has been reported based on the figures.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

Former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb told CNBC that he believes the true number of cases of novel coronavirus in the United States is far higher than the reported number. In fact, he estimates that the real figure is anywhere from 10 to 20 times higher than the 787,900 confirmed cases reported by doctors across the country.

If Gottlieb’s estimates are accurate, that would put the true number of coronavirus cases in the US as high as nearly 16 million. That’s roughly 5% of the entire US population. It sounds incredibly frightening, but if this is true it would actually be good news, at least in some ways.

Since the novel coronavirus pandemic began, estimates of its fatality rate have hovered around 3% to 5%. Based on the latest available figures, it’s closer to 5% if we compare confirmed cases with confirmed deaths. A 5% fatality rate is very high and would mean that one out of every 20 people who get COVID-19 ultimately die from the infection.

However, if the true number of infections is actually closer to 16 million, it brings the fatality rate way, way down. Using those numbers, the actual death rate of COVID-19 would actually be around one-quarter of one percent. That’s obviously much lower, but how accurate are these figures anyway?

It’s difficult to know for certain. After the outbreak began in the US, doctors urged patients without severe symptoms to self-quarantine, rest, and only head to a clinic or hospital if their condition worsened. That means there could certainly be millions of people who had (or still have) COVID-19, but followed the guidelines and simply waited it out.

In most areas, doctors only have the capacity to treat the most severe cases, and someone with a cough and a fever isn’t typically going to be tested for the virus anyway. Without a test, those people never counted toward the official tally of confirmed cases, and we really can’t trust the official numbers to give us a true picture of how widespread the pandemic was or is.

The good news is that we don’t need a perfectly accurate picture of the virus to know if the measures we’re taking are working. Fewer severe cases (the ones that end up being tallied) mean fewer overall cases, and we can see the curve flattening in certain areas where social distancing and stay-at-home orders have been put in place. It’s vitally important that we continue to follow these guidelines to mitigate the “second wave” that scientists are already predicting. Stay safe, and stay home.

Image Source: Claudia Greco/AGF/Shutterstock

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering breaking news and trends in VR, wearables, smartphones, and future tech.

Most recently, Mike served as Tech Editor at The Daily Dot, and has been featured in USA Today, Time.com, and countless other web and print outlets. His love of
reporting is second only to his gaming addiction.

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Astronauts ring opening bell for Nasdaq from space station – Thompson Citizen

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The astronauts launched into orbit by SpaceX joined in the ringing of the opening bell for the Nasdaq on Tuesday to mark “a pivotal moment” for the space economy.

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken took part in the ceremony from the International Space Station, three days after their launch by Elon Musk’s company.

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SpaceX became the first private company to send astronauts into orbit, with its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, and ended a nine-year launch drought for NASA.

The two astronauts floated alongside space station commander Chris Cassidy as he rang a ship’s bell to open trading on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. Their image, along with live-streamed pictures of other NASA staff, lit up the Nasdaq marquee in New York’s Times Square.

“It is truly a pivotal moment in the development of the space economy and a new era of private human spaceflight,” said Nasdaq President Adena Friedman.

She asked the astronauts about making spaceflight more accessible to ordinary people.

“It’s really transformational when you come into space and look back at our planet, and then see how fragile it is and how thin the atmosphere is. It really does change you for the better,” Hurley said. “I think the more people that we expose to this, the better off we’ll be as a species.”

NASA wants to be just one customer of many, noted Jim Morhard, the space agency’s deputy administrator, who took part in the virtual bell ringing. SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, Boeing and other companies looking to send people into space are driving down costs while increasing innovation, he said.

“We’re really at the dawn of a new space age,” Morhard said.

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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NASA astronauts describe 'smooth' ISS docking after SpaceX launch – The Globe and Mail

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Astronauts describe ride to space aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon – CBS News

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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that boosted astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken into space provided a slightly rougher ride than expected during the later stages of the climb to orbit, but both said Monday they enjoyed their historic trip and marveled at a sooth-as-silk docking with the space station.

And yes, the Crew Dragon brought a “new car smell” to the lab complex.

“It absolutely did,” said station commander Chris Cassidy, the lone American aboard the station until Hurley and Behnken arrived Sunday. “Then when we got that hatch open, you could tell it was a brand new vehicle, with smiley faces on the other side, smiley face on mine, just as if you had bought a new car, the same kind of reaction.

“Wonderful to see my friends, and wonderful to see a brand new vehicle,” he said.

Astronaut Robert Behnken, left, Douglas Hurley, center, and space station commander Chris Cassidy talk with reporters Monday during a news conference from the International Space Station. Hurley and Behnken arrived at the lab Sunday after launch and a flawless rendezvous aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. The flag Hurley is holding was left aboard the station in 2011 at the end of NASA’s final shuttle flight. Hurley was part of that crew and plans to bring the flag home when he and Behnken return to Earth.

NASA TV


Hurley and Behnken blasted off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center Saturday afternoon, strapped into a Crew Dragon capsule atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

It was the first piloted launch to orbit from U.S. soil in nearly nine years, the first flight of a SpaceX rocket carrying astronauts and the first new crewed spacecraft to fly in space since the first shuttle mission 39 years ago.

Both Hurley and Behnken are space shuttle veterans, familiar with the initially rough ride when the orbiter’s powerful solid-propellant boosters were firing and the transition to a much smoother experience after the boosters were jettisoned and only the ship’s liquid fueled main engines were running.

The Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket powered by liquid oxygen and kerosene. The first stage, featuring nine Merlin engines, generates 1.7 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. The rocket’s second stage is powered by a single vacuum-rated Merlin engine.

“Shuttle had solid rocket boosters, those burned very rough for the first two-and-a-half minutes,” Hurley said. “The first stage with Falcon 9 … was a much smoother ride.”

He said the shutdown of the first stage engines, the separation of the first and second stages and then the ignition of the upper stage’s single engine was similar to the memorable launch sequence depicted in the movie “Apollo 13.”

“So the first stage engines shut off, and then it took some time between the booster separating and then the Merlin vacuum engine starting,” Hurley said. “At that point, we go from roughly three Gs (three times the normal force of gravity on the ground) to zero Gs for, I don’t know, a half a second probably, and then when that Merlin vacuum engine fires, then we start accelerating again.

“It got a little rougher with the Merlin vacuum engine, and it’ll be interesting to talk to the SpaceX folks to find out why it was a little bit rougher ride on second stage than it was for shuttle on those three main engines.”

The Crew Dragon is designed to rendezvous and dock with the space station autonomously, without any direct input from the crew. But for the first piloted test fight, Hurley took over manual control twice to verify astronauts can fly the ship on their own if necessary.

060120-sideview.jpg
A view of the Crew Dragon capsule docked to the space station as seen by a camera mounted on the lab’s solar power truss.

NASA TV


There were no problems and when the Crew Dragon docked with the station Sunday morning, Hurley and Behnken were unable to detect the impact.

“The thing that really stood out to both of us, and we mentioned it as soon as we docked, is we didn’t feel the docking,” Hurley said. “It was just so smooth.”

Hurley is a former test pilot and Behnken, who holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Caltech, is a veteran Air Force flight test engineer. They were selected for the first piloted Crew Dragon flight in part so they could bring those skills to evaluating the spacecraft before it begins operational missions to the space station in the late-summer timeframe.

“We’re there to evaluate how it does the mission and so far, it’s done just absolutely spectacularly,” Hurley said. “It’s a very clean vehicle. … It does everything we need it to do for this mission, so we’re very happy with that part of it.”

Including the operation of the Crew Dragon’s toilet. While he did not provide any details, Hurley said it is “very similar to the one we were used to in the space shuttle, and it worked very well. We had no issues with it.”

NASA managers have not yet decided how long Hurley and Behnken will remain in orbit. The Crew Dragon is certified for up to four months in space, but the crew could be ordered home earlier depending on how the space environment affects the capsule’s solar arrays, the weather in the Atlantic Ocean splashdown zone and other factors.

Not knowing when they might be coming home is “a little bit strange,” Behnken said. “I’m trying to explain it to my son, just six years old, and from his perspective, he’s just excited that we’re going to get a dog when I get home. And so he’s accepting that uncertainty and continuing to send messages to me while I’m on orbit.”

The mission is expected to last at least six weeks and possibly up to four months, far longer than their relatively brief shuttle flights. Staying in touch with their wives, both veteran astronauts, and their two sons is a top priority for both Hurley and Behnken.

“One of the things I was most excited about (after launch) was being able to make a phone call home,” Behnken said. “It’s been a long time since I launched into orbit, and I’ve got a little boy who got a chance to watch me do that for the first time in his life. And I just wanted to understand what his experience was and share that a little bit with him.

“He was able to make the trip back to Houston after watching the docking from down in Florida and was pretty excited about the whole thing. So that was wonderful for me.”

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