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Panama and the Coronavirus Outbreak That Started in Wuhan, China

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CARNIVAL: Health authorities will maintain virus  watch

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Posted 10/02/2020

The Ministry of Health (Minsa)  will maintain coronavirus surveillance during the capital city carnival evens and that it will deploy some 68 officials in the operations it will carry out during the celebration of the Carnival of the capital city,  Friday, February 21 to Tuesday, February 25.

Alfredo Moltó, head of Public Health of the Metropolitan Region said at a Monday press conference, the operations will take place at all points where Carnival is held in the district of Panama.

No coronavirus cases have been registered in Panama and t permanent surveillance is maintained in all entry and exit points.

During the carnivals, it is necessary to have the personnel for vector control, public health, environmental sanitation, food protection, epidemiologists, doctors, nurses, paramedics, and nursing assistants.

"During the carnival, environmental sanitation inspectors will operate where food will be verified so that there is no anomaly and also that people have food handling cards," said Health authorities.

Trained personnel to verify that tank cars comply with the water supply standards at the sites where revelers will dance under water sprayed from hoses.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/events/carnival-health-authorities-will-maintain-virus-watch

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The news on this virus is decidedly mixed today.  The good news is that yesterday the growth rate of reported infections was only 6% over the previous day, "only" 2500 new cases for a new total of a little over 43,000 people who have conclusively been infected. That's the lowest rate since it was first tracked on January 23. Let's hope it continues to drop.

Now, here's the bad news, although we shouldn't overreact to it.  Out of the 43,000 who have been infected so far, 5,386 have had their cases "resolved",meaning they have either recovered and been discharged from the hospital, or they died. 1,018 have died so far.   That's a 19% mortality rate. Incredibly frightening.

Fortunately, I sincerely doubt that it will remain at that level.  It must reflect the early numbers when only the sickest were seeking medical attention.  There have to be many people who get mild cases of it and thought it was merely the flu, which is also circulating.  Deaths are fairly easy to tabulate, but an accurate number of people currently infected is nearly impossible.

But keep an eye on the actual mortality rate which is tied to outcomes, not to the number of those who have been infected so far.  We don't know what the mortality rate will be for the 38,000 or so who are currently sick.  But we can track it over time.

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Mortality Rate:   You have to factor in the age and the physical condition of those who did pass away (5386 people) .  The vulnerable will be the elderly, infants and the chronically ill.   No doubt nutrition and general health factors in big time (low individual resistance)  I would also assume that the closer you get to ground zero (Hunan) the more dense would be the amount of virus in the air on on surfaces, and naturally a high infection and death rate.   It will no doubt come here ...but how bad will it be?

Start now to practice more handwashing and as well develop an awareness of that hand to nose and mouth thing.  (I've come to realize that I tweak my nose a lot...bad habit !)  It's the things and places you touch ;  especially if you are in a place that gets a lot of traffic...ie: the handle on a grocery cart or the door to the hospital.  I realize that we all know this and it's common sense but it's also good to start really getting a tad anal about hand washing and general awareness ....and nose tweaking!    :-)

Edited by Brundageba

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If we can believe the Chinese numbers (and that remains to be seen), the growth rate of the infection spread dropped further overnight to 5% from 6% the day before. I would like to believe this good news and hope that the growth rate, whatever it is, has peaked and is declining because of the containment efforts.

The mortality rate does not show a drop yet.  5,946 patients who caught the virus now are  now either fully recovered or dead.  The death toll has risen to 1,115.  The mortality rate is steady at 19% for now.  

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Moderator comment: This is a another posting that is being treated as an exception to our posting guidelines, given the worldwide impact of this health issue.

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China sees 15K new coronavirus cases, change in counting procedure: report

The number of coronavirus cases in China significantly increased on Thursday, when 14,840 new cases of the disease were reported.

The country now has more than 50,000 confirmed cases and 1,300 people have died from it worldwide.

The jump in cases comes after reports out of the country indicated that the virus may have leveled off. The latest increase was attributed to the country's new approach to counting patients. The Los Angeles Times reported that about 90 percent of the new cases were "clinically diagnosed." Doctors in the country previously relied on nucleic tests for the viral disease known as COVID-19.

The nucleic tests, according to reports, were criticized over their accuracy. The public has widely criticized local officials for their handling of the outbreak and Beijing has been accused of withholding key statistics in the virus' early days.

The Times reported that under the new guidelines, patients undergo a CT scan of their lungs and are observed by doctors to see if they're symptomatic.

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 towns in the Hubei province.

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

 

https://www.foxnews.com/health/china-sees-15k-new-coronavirus-cases-patients-counted-with-new-method-report

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Coronavirus halts Panama beef exports to China

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Posted 12/02/2020

Panama’s beef exports which were helping to re-energize the agricultural industry and reached $10 million in six months last year have been halted by the coronavirus, which has killed over 11 hundred people and infected scores of thousands.

Aldo Mangravita, president of the Industrial Union of Panama (SIP) , said on Wednesday, February 12 that the Chinese authorities issued an alert and paralyzed the meat shipments, which disrupts the sale and slaughter of cattle in the country.

Panama has enabled, since last year, two plants to export beef to the Asian giant: Unión Ganadera, SA (Ungasa), operated by Carnes de Coclé, and Fortunato Mangravita, SA.

Fortunato has four containers of beef holding. 22,000  kilograms that cannot enter China. Two of them remain on the high seas until the ship in which they are transported is assigned a port. The other two are in Panama, in refrigerated containers.

Fortunato started meat exports to China on December 26. In the first shipment, 23 metric tons of frozen beef were sent for a value of $150,000.

Panama has enabled, since last year, two plants to export beef to the Asian giant: Unión Ganadera, SA (Ungasa), operated by Carnes de Coclé, and the company Fortunato Mangravita, SA

The latter has four containers with a capacity for 22.000 t kilograms of beef that cannot enter China. Two of them remain on the high seas until the ship in which they are transported is assigned a port. The other two are in Panama, in refrigerated containers.

Fortunato started meat exports to China on December 26. In that first shipment, 23 metric tons of frozen beef were sent for a value of $150,00.

"Everything is suspended until the shipping companies can continue transporting the products to China," Mangravita said.

José Antonio Halphen, manager of Meats of Coclé, said that his clients in China have asked them to suspend shipments of meat due to the fall in consumption.

"This is a recent market where there was an excellent growth rate and this epidemic is affecting us," said Halphen.

The export of beef from cattle in Panama totaled $32.2 million at the end of 2019, the an increase of 62.3%, compared to the same period of 2018.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/coronavirus-halts-panama-beef-exports-to-china

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The only good news here is that China may finally be providing better data on the epidemic.  The drop in the reported growth rate over the past several days was misleading, at best. It's not that 15,000 people caught the virus overnight, but that people who have the virus were not being counted.  Even so, the new numbers only reflect one province, not the whole of China, so we know the numbers are even worse than what this big spike shows.

We know the numbers didn't really change from a 4% growth rate to a 34% growth rate overnight.  So, this is a data aberration and we will see what the  reported rate is in coming days. One alarming thing to note is that the new numbers do not show a decline in the mortality rate, which we might have expected. Instead, we have a large increase in the number of resolved cases, with more discharged from the hospital, and more corresponding deaths.  

 7,657 patients who caught the virus now are  now either fully recovered or dead.  The death toll has risen to 1,370.  The mortality rate has fallen only slightly to 18%, remaining shockingly high.  It is hard to believe it will remain that high as a virus that deadly tends to kill off the hosts too quickly to keep spreading fast. But there are two reasons why the virus can continue to spread while being so deadly.  The first is that unlike SARS or Ebola, this virus, COVID-19,  is spread by victims who have no idea they are infected.  That makes it extremely difficult to contain.  The second reason is that the virus doesn't really kill that quickly. Patients don't generally die in the first week, and often not even in the second week. So, we have a real problem.

I don't know what to think about the suspension of beef imports into China.   It's hard to believe it's a drop in consumption as explained. Even if 60,000 Chinese are infected, there are another billion who are not, and they still eat.  If the answer is that the fear of the virus has disrupted Chinese logistics to the point where they can't unload and distribute food, then things are far worse than we realize. The world must demand more transparency from Chinese officials.

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Moderator comment: This is a another posting that is being treated as an exception to our posting guidelines, given the worldwide impact of this health issue.

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Coronavirus drug could start production this month: Peter Navarro

Vaccine could be ready 'hopefully as early as next November'

By Blair Shiff

Published 22 hours ago

With the coronavirus outbreak posing a threat to the global economy, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro offered some hope Friday night.

Navarro told FOX Business' Lou Dobbs on his eponymous primetime show that the White House is pushing ahead and "moving at Trump time" on a treatment drug and are hopeful testing and production could begin "as early as the end of the month, mid-March."

It is a promising development as headlines are dominated by stories such as the death toll from the coronavirus in mainland China -- which as of Friday night stood at 1,523. China's National Health Commission says the total number of confirmed cases in the country stands at more than 66,400 people.

Navarro said five large American companies are hard at work, trying to get 150 million doses of a vaccine ready "hopefully as early as next November," but stressed, "it's going to require great effort on research and development.

One drug, produced by pharmaceutical giant Gilead, called remdesivir, Navarro said "looks promising, and the thing that we need absolutely to do is get that into rapid clinical trials."

Despite the crisis emanating from China, Navarro said the Chinese have not been cooperative in expediating that process.

"What we're doing is we're going down a different avenue to get that done," Navarro said. "If we can get that done, we can ramp the production up and have that to treat people."

Navarro reminded everyone that, in order to get that vaccine out, the administration has to get the FDA and EPA involved.

 

https://www.foxbusiness.com/healthcare/coronavirus-drug-treatment-peter-navarro

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Quarantined  China students return home Sunday

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Posted 14/02/2020

The quarantine period of  72 scholarship students who arrived in Panama from China on February 2 is drawing to a close and they will return to their homes, on Sunday. February  16  according to Health Minister Rosario Turner. 

The students  were divided into two groups one  at the headquarters of the Civil Protection Service (Sinaproc) in Panama Pacifico and the other  northern Panama, where they  been in  isolation and under medical observation as a preventive measure against coronavirus.

They were  originally located in a school in Pacora but were moved after protests by local residents.

Turner said “It has been a difficult task, they are young people eager to be at home, to integrate into society; but we have done our best, not only for their protection, but also for the community. ”

He also added that no suspected case of coronavirus (covid-19) has been reported within Panamanian territory, but without denying that some 1,500 travelers from China who have fever symptoms are kept under surveillance.  

El covid-19, denominado así por la Organización Mundial de la Salud, ha cobrado la vida de 1.380 personas hasta ahora; mientras que se reportan 63,500 contagios confirmados  según los últimos datos de la Comisión Nacional de Sanidad de China. 

Los informes detallan que solo ayer jueves se dieron 121 decesos a causa del virus, y han sido dadas de alta 6.700 personas tras superar la enfermedad.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/quarantined-china-students-return-home-sunday

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Ukraine  evacuating Panama citizen from coronavirus epicenter

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Posted 16/02/2020

A Panamanian citizen in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the Covid-19 (coronavirus)  outbreak will be evacuated in the coming days with the help of the Ukrainian government.

The evacuation follows intense diplomatic efforts, because the city has a land and air blockade to prevent the disease from spreading to other districta in China.

“ In the midst of these efforts, the support of the Ukrainian government was requested, which has will send a plane to evacuate, in the next few days their own nationals. Foreign Minister  Alejandro Ferrer communicated directly with his Ukrainian counterpart, Vadym Prystaiko, to request his support, and received a positive  response, ” says a  ministry press release

The Panamanian student will complete her period of quarantine observation in Ukraine and then be transferred to Panama.

Currently, in other cities in China, there are 9 Panamanians, including a minor, who will be evacuated in the coming days.

“ The Panamaembassy in Beijing,  has been in constant communication and aware of the health status of the Panamanian student in Wuhan, as well as the rest of the students in China, ” says the Ministry.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/ukraine-evacuating-panama-citizen-from-coronavirus-epicenter-1

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Health authorities hunt for missing  arriving China passenger who gave false information

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Posted 17/02/2020
 
Panamanian authorities are trying to locate an airline passenger who arrived at from China on February 5  and gave false information Xoxinquiao Zhang last week, who was in China and gave false information when he entered the country on February 5.

Lourdes Moreno, director of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health,(Minsa) clarified said in Telemetro Report on Monday. February 17 that at the time of entering the country temperature tests were done and Xoxinquiao Zhang was entered in the Ministry database for follow up because he was in an area affected by the new coronavirus.

The monitoring of health authorities consists of daily calls and home visits. When trying to make the home visit it was found that he had provided false information to Migration and Customs.

According to Moreno, the foreigner provided a false address. hence, the search carried out has the support of the National Migration Service, the National Security Council and the Chinese Embassy in Panama.
 
 

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Chinese passenger citizen who gave  false address  in hands of Health Ministry

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18/02/2020

A Chinese citizen who gave a false address to Immigration personnel when he arrived at Tocumen  International  Airport. has been transferred to the Ministry of Health (Minsa) , which will be responsible for the procedures and health protocols related to coronavirus.

The Minsa will open an administrative file and apply sanctions to the Asian citizen from the Chinese region of Beihai who entered the country on February 5,  and gave a false address to the health authorities.

His disappearance was detected when health officials went to visit him at the address he gave and he was not found. He was traced with the aid of the Chinese  Consulate

At least 864 people who are under observation are going to receive calls and home visits, from Minsa and cannot go out to carnivals.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/chinese-passenger-citizen-who-gave-false-address-in-hands-of-health-ministry

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Coronavirus: What are the Impacts for the Region?

Business people in Central America agree that because of the virus that has been spreading from China, global supply chains have been disrupted and commodity prices have fallen.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

An analysis by the Guatemalan exporters' union states that among the risks identified as a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus (a highly contagious disease that emerged in the city of Wuhan, in central China), is the possible irruption to the supply chains of Guatemalan industries, by identifying that China has become one of the 3 main countries of origin of Guatemalan imports.

The Agexport report states that "... Among the main imports from China are the following products:
-Transmitting and receiving devices
-Mechanical machinery and equipment for electronic applications
-Textile materials
-Vehicles and transport equipment
-Plastic materials and their manufactures.
"

If there is an irruption in the supply chains, could come from one of these products, although it is still an uncertain situation and depends on the times of dispatch and delivery agreed, which usually have months in advance, details the document.

The Agexport analysis concludes that "... The long periods of advance for supplies allow companies to re-evaluate their stocks with a prudent time to avoid stoppages in their production chains, although everything depends on the development of the virus in China and the capacity of the authorities to control and neutralize it."

Panama is another country that was affected by the spread of the disease, as shipments of Panamanian beef that arrived in Wuhan in early February could not be delivered, because of the health alert in place.  See "Due to coronavirus, Panama suspends beef exports to China (in Spanish)."

See full Agexport document (in Spanish).


https://www.centralamericadata.com/en/article/main/Coronavirus_What_are_the_Impacts_for_the_Region

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Authorities continue to react as if COVID-19 is a serious threat to all of us, while continuing to underplay the actual seriousness of it in their reporting.  That's probably the best course of action because panic and overreaction is not helpful in any way.

But, just to be clear:  The virus is far more deadly than you'll hear on cable news.  Here are the current numbers.  As of this morning, there have been 77.969 confirmed cases of people infected.  There have been 2,362 deaths so far.  But that's not the ratio to determine mortality rate.

The accurate way to look at is final outcome of cases where people have been infected.  Of the the 78,000 or so cases since the start of the spread, 23,668 cases have been resolved,  "only" 54,301 people are currently sick. 23,668 have been discharged and no longer have the virus. But only 21,306 were discharged alive.  The others have died. That's 2,362 of 23,668.  10% mortality rate.  We don't know the outcome yet of the 54,000 who are currently sick, but we can make some guesses based on the mortality rate so far.

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Mindfulness of mode of transmission (fomites...everything infected you touch .. )   Hand washing  !   I have said this before but handwashing and sanitation have to become so much of a habit you should feel like a surgeon ready for surgery. Start that practice now to develop automatic habits.   Awareness that grocery cart handles ( the money you handle ! ) and door handles carry germs keep you mindful that if you touch them you should not touch nose nor  your face until hands are washed.  When I was in nursing school they taught us to sing to ourselves Yankey Doodle Dandy once ...that was how we knew how long to scrub our hands for each wash.  We will be hit here with this deadly flu no doubt.  Its just a matter of time. Shopping: try to organize your shopping routine so as to reduce trips to the store.  Reduce people contact.  This may seem extreme...but it's what might save you from this nasty flu .  Start now.

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Moderator comment: This is a another posting that is being treated as an exception to our posting guidelines, given the worldwide impact of this health issue. Also, see the highlighted text in the below news article; we saw several people at Tocumen wearing surgical masks, and actually two of them on a plane that we recently were on heading to the US. One gentleman two rows in front of us used an alcohol swab on his entire seat, arm rests, and tray table before sitting down. Not making fun of anyone because each gets to decide for themselves how to deal with this issue.

1 hour ago, Brundageba said:

Mindfulness of mode of transmission (fomites...everything infected you touch .. )   Hand washing  !   I have said this before but handwashing and sanitation have to become so much of a habit you should feel like a surgeon ready for surgery. Start that practice now to develop automatic habits.   Awareness that grocery cart handles ( the money you handle ! ) and door handles carry germs keep you mindful that if you touch them you should not touch nose nor  your face until hands are washed.  When I was in nursing school they taught us to sing to ourselves Yankey Doodle Dandy once ...that was how we knew how long to scrub our hands for each wash.  We will be hit here with this deadly flu no doubt.  Its just a matter of time. Shopping: try to organize your shopping routine so as to reduce trips to the store.  Reduce people contact.  This may seem extreme...but it's what might save you from this nasty flu .  Start now.

 

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Protecting Yourself from Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

By Janet Tiberian
February 4, 2020
 
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The coronavirus continues spreading worldwide and has already infected more than 60,414 people and claimed at least 1,370 lives. Although most cases (and deaths) occurred in mainland China, 15 cases have been confirmed in the United States.
 
Last week the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak an international public health emergency. Since then, the United States began evacuating Americans from China, suspended most commercial flights to China and restricted entry into the United States from China.

“Keep in mind that not everyone diagnosed with coronavirus visited China,” says Bernard Kaminetsky, MD, medical director, MDVIP. “Americans are getting sick via person-to-person transmission. And not everyone carrying the virus has symptoms, so we need to be vigilant about taking precautions.”

Person-to-person transmission occurs via respiratory droplets. If you are within six feet of an infected person and they sneeze or cough, you risk droplets landing in your mouth or nose or inhaling them -- similar to influenza.  
  
“I want people to be responsible – not panicked,” says Kaminetsky. “Take precautions to prevent coronavirus but realize that there are 15 confirmed cases in the U.S.; yet, there’s already been 15 million influenza cases since the start of flu season last October.”

How to Protect Yourself from Coronavirus

You can lower your risk for contracting coronavirus (and the flu) by following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations:

  • Wash your hands throughout the day for at least 20 seconds and after using the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing and/or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer may be used if soap isn’t available.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Cover your mouth with a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing and then throw out the tissue.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly used germ ridden objects such as phones, pens, countertops and desks.

At this point, there isn’t any evidence that wearing face masks protects you. Many people wear masks improperly, rendering them ineffective. And if the mask gets wet, it’s permeable. 

How to Strengthen Your Immune System

Elderly adults, young children and people with chronic conditions who contract coronavirus have a greater risk for developing a serious infection such as bronchitis or pneumonia. But a strong immune system may help fend off the coronavirus and the secondary infections associated with it. Here are a few tips:

  • Get enough sleep – generally between seven and eight hours every night.
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
  • Avoid vices such as alcohol and tobacco
  • Eat a healthy diet

Dozens of biotech labs are in the process of developing a vaccine for novel coronavirus 2019-nCOV, but nothing is expected to be ready for about a year. And once the vaccine is available, getting it distributed to physicians will be a complex process.

“Scientists understand how to develop and distribute mass quantities of flu shots; they’ve been doing it for decades,” Kaminetsky says. “But there’s a learning curve with new vaccines.”

In the meantime, if you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms such as fever, cough and/or shortness of breath, call your doctor. A specific treatment for coronavirus doesn’t exist yet, but your doctor can provide care to help ease symptoms and control secondary infections.

If you don’t have a doctor, consider partnering with an MDVIP-affiliated physician. MDVIP doctors have the time and resources to work with you and develop personalized treatment plans. Find a physician near you and begin your partnership in health »  
 

Last update: February 13, 2020 1:55 pm

 

https://www.mdvip.com/about-mdvip/blog/protecting-yourself-coronavirus-what-you-need-know

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5 minutes ago, Moderator_02 said:
  • Get enough sleep – generally between seven and eight hours every night.
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
  • Avoid vices such as alcohol and tobacco
  • Eat a healthy diet

Drat.  Looks like  I'm a goner!

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7 minutes ago, Uncle Doug said:

Drat.  Looks like  I'm a goner!

Joining the club also.

We actually brought a small supply of face masks on our recent travel to the US, but have not (yet) opted to use them. Things look pretty safe so far. However, we now routinely and frequently are using the hand sanitizer technique, several times a day and before every meal.

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I am encouraged to know there is pro-active awareness developing  here. !   Face mask keeps hands off the nose and mouth.  ( a scarf or bandanna would do about the same thing ).  Awareness of the need to wash the hands and keep them off your nose and face probably does more in the line of prevention.  (Viruses are smaller than mask material.)  

If you get sick....please stay home ...if at all possible ! 

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COVID-19 seems to be mostly contained to Asia at present which most certainly is due to the travel restrictions. But you can see what is happening.  Despite all the efforts, Japan and Korea are slipping. 

The most vulnerable population is in Africa, but it doesn't seem to have been exposed yet. It's not as if they have advanced screening techniques or modern medical facilities in place so it's probably only a matter of time. I am impressed by the global efforts to keep this in check.

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Check who the victims are. While there are large numbers of people testing positive for the virus, the mortality rate attributed to the COVID-19 virus is extremely low except for the category of Elderly Asians (age 60 and older). For instance, the only person to have died in France so far turns out to be "an elderly Chinese tourist". Older people have less robust auto-immune systems and slide more easily into pneumonia. There may be a DNA-related factor to cause the greater Asian vulnerability. Running around in hazmat suits really cuts down on your Vitamin D production, so I hope that all those epidemic fighters are taking big supplements of C and D.

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Coronavirus  evacuation center installed at Tocumen  International

minsa.jpg

Posted 23/02/2020

While the WHO warns that the world is not taking the new coronavirus Covid-19  seriously and its spread around the world accelerates, Panama’s Ministry of Health (MINSA), has activated a provisional evacuation area for incoming passengers detected with symptoms.

Once the person is detected with symptoms he will be transferred by a doctor to an enabled cubicle. From there to an observation area and then in a Minsa ambulance to the San Miguel Arcángel hospital where a treatment center has been in place for some weeks.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/health/coronavirus-evacuation-center-installed-at-tocumen-international

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23 hours ago, Brundageba said:

Face mask keeps hands off the nose and mouth.  ( a scarf or bandanna would do about the same thing ).

Brundageba, you bring up a good point. Had not considered that. The earlier news article that pooh-poohed the use of face masks appeared authoritative, and so I just accepted it as gospel. Glad that you have broadened my thinking.

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Yup....no doubt it will arrive eventually.  I am getting better at not picking my nose....practice !

Edited by Brundageba
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