Help at last: Navy hospital ship the USNS Comfort docks in New York

Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort arrives in New York with 1,000 beds and medical staff to help America’s coronavirus epicenter – but attracts crowds of spectators despite city lockdown

  • The USNS Comfort arrived in New York City on Monday morning to care for non-coronavirus patients
  • It has 1,000 beds, more than 1,000 medical staff and more than 100 operating rooms on board
  • By taking other patients, it frees up the beds in the city’s hospitals for the fast multiplying COVID-19 patients 
  • As of Monday morning, there were more than 36,000 cases of the virus in New York City; 790 have died
  • Across the country, 142,000 people have been infected and more than 2,400 people have died
  • There are makeshift morgues outside hospitals where bodies are being kept refrigerated in body bags
  • There are also field hospitals across the city, including one in Central Park and at luxury hotels  
  • Another Navy ship, the USNS Mercy, has docked in Los Angeles and is already accepting patients  
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

The USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds for patients, has arrived in New York City to alleviate the strain on the city’s hospitals as it continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

The ship arrived at New York Harbor on Monday morning. It will welcome patients who do not have coronavirus but who still need care in order to clear out the city’s other hospitals for those who have tested positive for COVID-19. 

It came as the death toll in New York City hit 790 and more than 36,000 cases were recorded. New York City is the epicenter of the virus in the US. 

The USNS Comfort came to New York City after 9/11 to help care for some of the thousands wounded. That was also the last time the city saw as many makeshift morgues in the street to cope with the death toll of the virus. 

On Monday, crowds gathered near Pier 90 to watch the Comfort arrive. 

They gathered despite Mayor Bill de Blasio warning that he may start fining people $500 if they are seen breaking social distancing guidelines in public.  

Scroll down for video 

The USNS Comfort arrives in New York City on Monday morning with 1,000 beds on board to welcome non-coronavirus patients. The ship is pictured steaming past the Statue of Liberty 

The Comfort was escorted by a fleet of smaller vessels and a helicopter flew overhead on Monday before it docked 

The ship arrives at New York Harbor with the city in the background under a heavy fog on Monday morning as the NYC death toll soared to 790

The ship arriving in New York Harbor on Monday morning to bring critical resources that will alleviate the strain on New York City’s hospital systems

Sailors stood at a safe distance from one another as the ship docked on Monday, unlike the crowds at the harbor

Crowds of New Yorkers at the New York Harbor on Monday for the arrival of the USNS Comfort 

People push themselves against the railings to watch the USNS Comfort arriving in New York on Monday

Across the US, there are now more than 142,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 2,500 people have died. 

The USNS Comfort is one of two Navy ships that the government deployed last week to try to ease the burden of the virus on hospital systems in two of the worst hit areas; New York and the west coast. 

The USNS Mercy was deployed to Los Angeles. It has already started welcoming patients. 

On Monday, the Comfort steamed into New York Harbor at around 10am. It will bring with it more than 1,000 medical personnel and more than 100 operating rooms. 

In addition to the Comfort, a makeshift hospital has been set up in the Javits Center – where 1,000 people will be cared for. 

Gov. Cuomo said he wanted to build eight in total to add another 8,000 beds to the city’s hospital system. 

The Comfort docking at Pier 90 in Manhattan on Monday morning a week after Trump announced he was sending it 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo spoke briefly at Pier 90 as the ship docked to herald its arrival. He said he has a ‘smart plan of action’ about how to handle the virus that does not involve waiting ‘for the storm to hit’ 

Mayor Bill de Blasio gave a press conference to tout the importance of the ship’s arrival. He said it added another hospital to the city 


Others watched from their homes as the ship was docked on Monday 

Speaking at New York Harbor as the ship docked, he told of the need for ‘a smart plan of action’.

‘I’ve dealt with disasters all across this country. I’ve worked in the federal government, I’ve dealt with dozens of disasters.

‘If you wait to prepare for when the storm hits, you lose. Because it’s too late,’ he said.   

He has also resisted suggestions by President Trump that he would quarantine the state of New York and has lashed out at Rhode Island Governor. Gina Raimondo for saying anyone who enters her state from New York has to self-quarantine for two weeks.  

The Mount Sinai hospital system in New York City is setting up the temporary treatment facilities outside six of its hospitals – five in New York City and one in Long Island – as it prepares for a projected influx of COVID-19 patients.

More than 1,000 medical personnel staff the ship, which is one of two that have been deployed to deal with the crisis 

The Navy ship traveling under the Verrazzano Bridge on Monday morning before it docked

Navy personnel on the upper deck of the USNS Comfort as it steams into New York Harbor on Monday morning 

Hundreds of sailors took to the ship’s upper deck as it arrived in New York City on Monday morning 

The ship chugs along the Hudson River next to the Staten Island Ferry – which is still operating but on a drastically reduced service 

‘The tents will be critical in helping us limit the spread of the disease between patients and staff,’ hospital officials said in a statement last week, adding that they will expand the emergency room ‘footprint’.

On Sunday workers began erecting tents in Central Park that will service overflow patients at Mount Sinai West Hospital.

The Central Park site is located near Columbus Circle, a few hundred yards from the Mount Sinai West emergency room on W 59th Street.

Workers were seen unfolding massive tents and spacing them out on a grassy field where dozens of boxes of supplies waited to be unpacked.

Mount Sinai West made headlines earlier this month after a photo emerged of three of its nurses wearing black garbage bags as makeshift gowns amid a dire shortage of personal protective equipment. One of its nurses, 48-year-old Kious Kelly, died at the hospital after contracting coronavirus. 

On Monday, Dr. Fauci – the White House coronavirus expert – said other cities across the country are ‘percolating’ and show signs they may too see a spike like New York’s.   

USNS MERCY DOCKS IN LOS ANGELES AND IS ALREADY RECEIVING PATIENTS 

The USNS Mercy arrived in Los Angeles this on Sunday to welcome patients and ease the strain on California’s hospitals. 

It will perform the same role in L.A. as the Comfort in New York; welcoming patients who do not have the virus in order to clear up beds in the rest of its hospitals. 

In L.A., there are more than 2,000 cases of and 37 people have died. The numbers have not caught up to New York City by any stretch, but there are fears the city may soon see a spike. 

On Monday morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci – the most authoritative voice on the subject – said he would ‘not be surprised’ if as many as 100,000 die in the US from the virus by the time the pandemic is over. 

He said he is looking at L.A. as the next possible epicenter, after New York, along with other cities that are ‘percolating’ like Detroit and New Orleans. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom was the first to issue a stay-at-home order to try to stop the spread before it happened. 

The USNS Mercy has docked in Los Angeles and is already receiving patients 

The Mercy at Port of Los Angeles on Sunday after arriving to welcome its first patients 

A Navy medic treats a person on the USNS Mercy on Sunday. None of the patients on the ships have coronavirus but they are being taken there to free up beds in the hospital system 

Three young girls are pictured waving towards the water as the 894ft converted supertanker moored at the Port of Los Angeles’ cruise terminal shortly after 8.30am local time on Friday morning

 

Source: Read Full Article

Belarus president says vodka and a SAUNA will stop coronavirus

Belarus president says vodka and a SAUNA will stop you getting coronavirus as he refuses to lock the country down

  • President Aleksandr Lukashenko has ordered life to go on as normal in Belarus
  • He called coronavirus lockdowns ‘nonsense’ and said his country will stay open
  • People should drink vodka and visit saunas to keep themselves healthy, he said 
  • To underline the point, he took part in an ice hockey game on Saturday 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Belarus’s strongman president has refused to lock the country down over coronavirus, insisting that vodka and saunas will beat the disease instead. 

Aleksandr Lukashenko has insisted that life should go on as normal in the eastern European nation of 9.5million people, where 154 infections have been confirmed – though the country does not provide regular daily updates.

Fans packed into football stadiums around the country on Saturday as the season continued apace, while Lukashenko himself took part in an ice hockey tournament.

Aleksandr Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, has ordered life to go on as normal despite coronavirus – saying that vodka and saunas will beat the virus

Underlining his point, Lukashenko – a strongman leader who has ruled Belarus since 1994 – took part in an ice hockey game on Saturday

Lukashenko (centre left, wearing a baseball cap) hugged and posed with players from both teams, with nobody wearing protective equipment or separating themselves

In a televised speech, he said: ‘There shouldn’t be any panic. You just have to work, especially now, in a village. Tractors will cure everyone. The field heals everyone.

‘Go to the banya [a Russian-style sauna]. Two or three times a week will do you good. When you come out of the sauna, not only wash your hands, but also your insides with 100 millilitres [of vodka].’  

Lukashenko, who has ruled his country since 1994, earlier denounced travel bans and border closures being used by neighbouring countries as ‘utter stupidity’.  

‘It’s better to die standing that to live on your knees,’ he added.

With foreign sports networks having little to show and few other options for sports betting, Lukashenko says the pandemic is a perfect opportunity to put the country’s soccer league on display.

‘I look at Russia and some people there are winning a lot on bets, because beforehand they didn’t really know our teams,’ Lukashenko said. 

‘Someone’s losing, someone’s winning. It’s all useful.’

Fans entering the stadiums in Belarus are given antiseptic hand gel and some have their temperatures monitored by medics.

Belarus also continued to host football matches on Saturday, with fans packing into stadiums with no protective measures in place

Players hugged and clasped hands as they played in Belarus on Saturday in stark contrast to most European leagues, which have shut down

Few wear masks because they’re not considered necessary for open-air events, Belarus soccer federation spokesman Alexander Aleinik said. 

The Belarusian league isn’t usually an international attraction. Crowds this season barely average 1,200 and UEFA ranks it the continent’s 25th strongest, just below Norway, Israel and Kazakhstan.

But Russian TV has given its games prominent slots on state sports channels and betting firms around Western Europe are streaming them for customers.

British fans on social media have picked teams to follow and thrown themselves into a new fandom, elevating obscure players to hero status and berating coaches for supposedly negative tactics.

There isn’t much competition, with betting sites offering little more than Nicaraguan soccer, Tajikistan basketball and Russian table tennis as rivals.

Sergei Melnikov is one of those hoping to make an impression on the mostly empty global sports stage. He is the director of the Isloch club, which beat Smolevichi 1-0 on Sunday to keep pace with the leaders on points.

‘The whole world is watching our soccer right now,’ Melnikov said. ‘That means we have to show the best that we’ve got.’

 

Source: Read Full Article

Amazing £80million superyacht that can stay at sea for MONTHS is perfect for luxury self-isolation – The Sun

A SUPERYACHT that can go months without ever needing to come back to land is perfect for self-isolation – if you can afford £80million.

The super-rich can now get away from it all and explore the world with the self-sufficient concept vessel named Green Expedition.

The eco-friendly yacht will be covered in over 200 square metres of solar panels, has its own wind turbines, and is propelled by a "skysail".

The skysail is a kite-like rig capable of helping to move the vessel.

And just in case there's no sun, the yacht's hybrid engine will also be assisted by retractable wind and wave turbines as well as the skysail.

If the crew have food and water, the 213ft vessel could stay at sea and get away from it all for months.

Superyacht designer Dennis Ingemansson said: "This vessel is perfectly designed to isolate the superyacht owner and their family."

He added: "The ventilation system is as optimised as an aeroplane with high-end disinfecting and cleaning systems.

"Being on board this yacht is the safest place on earth these days."

The craft was designed by Mr Ingemansson and the German based Ned Ship Group, who specialise in high-tech yachts.



To keep you entertained while quarantined at sea,  buyers will be able enjoy diving up to 300 metres in the ocean with the 213ft vessel's own mini-submarine.

Or if you would rather stay above the water, you can fly in the yacht's own helicopter which takes off from deck.

Mr Ingemansson, from Copenhagen, Denmark, boasted the yacht could also act as a rescue vessel thanks to its ability to be self sufficient.

The sleek 1,400 gross tonne monster boasts a superstructure steel hull with Ice Class 1A classification, meaning it is fit to sail through the harshest Arctic conditions.

The yacht has separate helicopter and submarine hangars and if it's too cold to swim outside, the owner can take a dip in the on board heated swimming pool.

And it comes in a variety of colours, including green, silver and black.



Mr Ingemansson said he was inspired to create an eco-friendly vessel which can travel anywhere in the world but also have the least amount of effect on its environment.

He added: "There has never been any boat built with truly green features like this one.

"While the yacht is lying still for several days out on an expedition in exotic destinations, the yacht doesn't need any diesel, thanks to these green solutions.

"Meaning this will not harm the local eco-system.

"It is also a true expedition superyacht, designed for the toughest weathers and climates anywhere in the world.

"The panoramic 360-degree sea view on the captain's deck is also designed as a penthouse, which will be a truly amazing place for the yacht's owner."

Meanwhile, a £65million superyacht belonging to a Saudi prince capsized and partially sunk while it was docked in Greece.


Source: Read Full Article

The 'Grim Sleeper' Serial Killer: 7 Things to Know After Lonnie Franklin's Death

The victims were all young vulnerable black women who lived in south Los Angeles and struggled with drug addiction. Their naked or partially clothed bodies were all dumped in the filthy neighborhood alleyways, left to rot under garbage and debris. They were shot at close range with a .25-caliber pistol, or strangled, or both.

For years, their cases lacked justice — or even an arrest.

But in May of 2016, following three months of testimony in Los Angeles Superior Court, Lonnie Franklin Jr., the “Grim Sleeper” serial killer who prosecutors say stalked L.A. for more than 20 years, was found guilty of murdering nine women and one teenager.

After being sentenced to the death penalty, Franklin, 67, died in his prison cell at San Quentin Prison on Saturday evening. His cause of death has not been released but he had no signs of trauma on his body, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokeswoman Terry Thornton told PEOPLE.

Here are seven things to know about his terrifying murder spree, which began in 1984.

1. He Was Married — and a Former Army Corporal

Franklin was a former corporal in the United States Army who also worked as a Los Angeles city trash collector and as a garage attendant at a LAPD station.

At the time of his arrest, he had been married for 32 years.

He was arrested in 2010 as he walked out of the mint green home he shared with his wife.

2. He Was a Sexual Predator, ‘About Power and Control’

At his murder trial, prosecutors painted him as a sexual predator who killed women who “weren’t submissive enough.” “These crimes were about power and control,” prosecutor Beth Silverman told the jury during her closing arguments.

“It is clear the defendant got pleasure from killing these young women because that’s how they all ended up,” Silverman said. “He definitely wanted to degrade these women by dumping their bodies like trash. He got off on that too and that is why he did it over and over. It gave him gratification.”

Franklin’s longtime friend Ray Davis testified that Franklin’s conquests were a common topic of conversation between them. Franklin took photos of various women and joked that he had names for all the girls in the photos depending on what their breasts looked like, Davis told the jury.

He also said that even though Franklin didn’t smoke marijuana, he kept a supply on hand for his various girlfriends.

3. He Was Convicted of Murdering 10 People, Attempting to Murder Another

Franklin was convicted in 2016 of the murder of 10 women — Debra Jackson, Henrietta Wright, Mary Lowe, Bernita Sparks, Barbara Ware, Lachrica Jefferson, Monique Alexander, Princess Berthomieux, Valerie McCorvey and Janecia Peters and one teen, Princess Berthomieux.

His spree lasted from 1984 to 2007, but the apparent gap in his violent slayings — from the late 1980s to early 2000s — gave him his nickname: The Grim Sleeper.

He was also found guilty of the attempted murder of Enietra Washington, who testified that Franklin shot her, sexually assaulted her and took a Polaroid picture of her before pushing her out of his car in 1988.

4. Police Believe He Murdered at Least 6 More Women

After Franklin’s arrest, detectives found more than 1,000 photos and videotapes of women and teenage girls in the former sanitation worker’s garage and backyard camper.

In 2011, prosecutors announced their belief that Franklin allegedly killed at least six more women in addition to the 10 women he was convicted of murdering.

5. DNA Cracked the Case After Son’s Arrest

The murder spree stumped detectives for more than two decades, and it wasn’t until the Los Angeles Police Department started its cold case unit that authorities realized the killer of seven women in the ’80s was linked through DNA and ballistics to deaths in 2002, 2003 and 2007.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE’s free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

However, the killer’s DNA profile was not in CODIS, the national database for DNA. Franklin was finally caught in 2010 through familial DNA testing after his 28-year-old son, Christopher, was arrested for carrying a weapon in the summer of 2009 and had to give up a DNA swab.

Once it was determined that Christopher was related to the killer, detectives followed the elder Franklin to a pizza place in Buena Park. As Franklin finished his meal, a detective who posed as a busboy collected a fork, two plastic cups, a plate and a pizza slice left by Franklin.

A few days later, DNA taken from the pizza slice came back as a match to DNA found on one of Franklin’s victims.

6. He Kept ‘Souvenirs’ of Victims

During the three-day search of Franklin’s property, investigators allegedly found women’s necklaces, rings, earrings and watches as well as more than 500 photographs of various women — many of them naked or engaged in sex acts.

In one of Franklin’s bedrooms, criminalist Rafael Garcia discovered a F.I.E Titan .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun, otherwise known as a “pocket pistol.” It was later determined to be the gun used to kill Janecia Peters.

In a backyard garage, an LAPD firearms examiner found a Polaroid photograph of survivor Enietra Washington, who later testified against Franklin at his trial.

Also found was a photo of Peters. In the same envelope, they also found the school identification card of 18-year-old Ayellah Marshall and the Nevada driver’s license of Rolenia Morris, 29. Both women had been reported missing in February and September 2005, respectively. Both women were last seen in the vicinity of Franklin’s home at 81st and Western Avenues.

Their bodies were never found.

7. ‘We Can Now Be at Peace,’ Says Victim’s Stepmom

Franklin was found unresponsive in his prison cell at 7:20 p.m. Saturday evening March 28. Prison medical staff rendered aid and summoned an ambulance. He was pronounced dead at 7:43 p.m.

He had no signs of trauma on his body and Thornton, the prison spokeswoman, told PEOPLE authorities “don’t know why he died” and that an autopsy is scheduled.

After Franklin’s death, Diana Ware, stepmother of victim Barbara Ware, told PEOPLE, “I won’t say I’m pleased he died but at the end there was justice for all the bad things he did in his life. We can now be at peace.”

Source: Read Full Article

Cops patrol Lidl car park and ‘fine’ cyclist riding through London park but Met chief says some officers going too far – The Sun

POLICE were seen patrolling a Lidl car park and 'fining' a cyclist in Richmond Park today in attempt to keep people indoors.

It comes as Met Police chief Cressida Dick says cops should only use new coronavirus lockdown powers as a last resort.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates



She told LBC: "We are all getting used to the new restrictions and I've been very clear that in the first instance I want my officers to be engaging with people, talking to people, encouraging them to comply.

"Explaining, of course, if they don't understand – and only as a very last resort with the current restrictions, using firm direction or even enforcement."

But pictures taken this morning show cops using their powers to stop cars and 'fine' cyclists.

One cop was spotted apparently fining a cyclist riding through Richmond Park in London after the green space suspended cycling "until further notice" over the weekend.

The new rule applies to everyone except NHS workers – who are still allowed to bike through the park to work.

'LAST RESORT'

In Kent, an officer was seen patrolling a Lidl car park to ensure people were sticking to the government's social distancing guidelines.

In North Yorkshire and Tynemouth cops were seen stopping cars in the road to determine whether their travel was essential.

Last week, Brits accused cops of being heavy handed with their new powers – which enable them to issue a £60 fine to rule breakers or even arrest those refusing to co-operate.

Derbyshire Police dumped black dye into a beauty spot blue lagoon to stop Instagrammers posing for snaps during the lockdown.

Meanwhile in the Peak District cops used drones to hunt down Brits break the rules.

It caused fuming locals to hit out at the force – accusing them of "shaming" anyone found outside despite government rules allowing exercise once a day or essential shopping.

 

 

Yesterday, South Wales Police hit out at MP Stephen Kinnock for visiting his dad on his birthday.

Officers in Warrington summonsed six people for offences, including someone who went out for a drive because they were bored, and multiple people from the same house going out to buy non-essential items.

Cops in Lancashire also issued 123 fines over the weekend for flouting the new rules.






Source: Read Full Article

Heathrow passengers struggle to keep to strict 6ft coronavirus ‘social distancing’ rules as loved ones arrive in UK – The Sun

HEATHROW passengers struggled to keep to the strict 6ft coronavirus 'social distancing' rules as loved ones arrived in the UK today.

Travellers were pictured sitting next to each other as they waited for flights at the busy airport.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Many exhausted travellers could be seen wearing facemasks amid the bug outbreak.

Other photos showed people standing close together in line as they waited to check in for their flight.

The images come despite experts warning that social distancing is the best way to slow down the spread of the deadly bug.

The UK has so far recorded more than 1,000 deaths with more than 200,000 cases recorded so far.

Social distancing simply means keeping your distance from other people.

It means where possible everyone is encouraged to stay at home, only going out to exercise in small family groups, or shop.

CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – STAY IN THE KNOW

Don't miss the latest news and figures – and essential advice for you and your family.

To receive The Sun's Coronavirus newsletter in your inbox every tea time, sign up here.

To follow us on Facebook, simply 'Like' our Coronavirus page.

Get Britain's best-selling newspaper delivered to your smartphone or tablet each day – find out more.

And where you do come into contact with other people, experts advise you keep two metres – or 6ft – between you and any other people.

Keeping a distance will make it less likely for droplets from the nose or mouth to land on you when they sneeze or cough.

The virus is transmitted by droplets in the air, settling on surfaces and being picked up by others – or when droplets land directly on you.

Public Health England says: "Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible".

Supermarkets in particular have cracked down on close contact between shoppers.

Most major grocers have introduced social distancing measures which include limiting the number of shoppers allowed in stores at one time, as well as asking customers to remain two metres apart.

It comes after Waitrose was accused of "banning" couples from shopping together because they clog up queues.

Some supermarkets have introduced screens around checkouts to protect workers, plus they're limiting key items so everyone can have access to goods.

Tesco has also just limited the overall number of items in online orders.

Meanwhile A NHS worker was spat at in the face TWICE by a man while she was walking home after a ten-hour shift.

Sama Shali, 33, works in medicine management at The Christie Hospital in Manchester, and was walking to a nearby tram station when she was targeted.

It comes as doctors and nurses across Britain have been robbed of ID badges, their cash and even a car during the lockdown.



Source: Read Full Article

Formula One engineers develop new coronavirus breathing mask to take pressure off NHS – The Sun

FORMULA One engineers are developing a new breathing mask that can help keep Covid-19 patients out of intensive care.

The Mercedes Formula One team, mechanical engineers and medics are hoping the breathing aid will ease the pressure the NHS is currently facing during the coronavirus outbreak.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

It comes after a disturbing report yesterday revealed that almost half of coronavirus patients who end up in intensive care are dying from the bug.

The new device, known as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), has been used extensively in hospitals in Italy and China to help coronavirus patients.

It bridges the gap between an oxygen mask and the need for full ventilation, which requires sedation and an invasive procedure.

They work by pushing a mix of oxygen and air into the mouth and nose at a continuous rate, helping to increase the amount of oxygen entering the lungs.

A team from University College London (UCL) and University College London Hospital (UCLH) have worked with Mercedes Formula One to adapt and improve existing CPAP in a process known as reverse engineering.


The device has now been recommended for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which approves medical devices in the UK, UCL said.

The adapted device was developed in under 100 hours from an initial meeting to production of the first CPAP.

Some 100 devices are now being delivered to UCLH for clinical trials, followed by the potential for rapid roll-out to hospitals around the UK.
Reports from Italy suggest around half of patients given CPAP have avoided the need for invasive mechanical ventilation.

UCLH critical care consultant Professor Mervyn Singer said: "These devices will help to save lives by ensuring that ventilators, a limited resource, are used only for the most severely ill.


CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – STAY IN THE KNOW

Don't miss the latest news and figures – and essential advice for you and your family.

To receive The Sun's Coronavirus newsletter in your inbox every tea time, sign up here.

To follow us on Facebook, simply 'Like' our Coronavirus page.

Get Britain's best-selling newspaper delivered to your smartphone or tablet each day – find out more.

"While they will be tested at UCLH first, we hope they will make a real difference to hospitals across the UK by reducing demand on intensive care staff and beds, as well as helping patients recover without the need for more invasive ventilation."

Professor David Lomas, vice-provost for health at UCL, said: "This breakthrough has the potential to save many lives and allow our frontline NHS staff to keep patients off ventilators.

"It is, quite simply, a wonderful achievement to have gone from first meeting to regulator approval in just 10 days. It shows what can be done when universities, industry and hospitals join forces for the national good."

CPAP machines are routinely used by the NHS to support patients in hospital or at home with breathing difficulties, but are said to be in short supply currently.

Professor Rebecca Shipley, director of the UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering, said: "It's been a privilege to work closely with our clinical colleagues and with doctors leading the Covid-19 response in China and Italy.

"This close contact has helped us to define the need and respond with technology that we hope will support the NHS in the weeks and months to come."

Professor Tim Baker, from UCL's department of mechanical engineering, said: "Given the urgent need, we are thankful that we were able to reduce a process that could take years down to a matter of days.

"From being given the brief, we worked all hours of the day, disassembling and analysing an off-patent device.

"Using computer simulations, we improved the device further to create a state-of-the-art version suited to mass production.


"We were privileged to be able to call on the capability of Formula One."

Andy Cowell, managing director of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, said: "We have been proud to put our resources at the service of UCL to deliver the CPAP project to the highest standards and in the fastest possible timeframe."

The number of cases of coronavirus in the UK yesterday rose to over 19,000 – with the death toll standing at 1,228.

Grim statistics yesterday revealed that almost half of coronavirus patients who end up in intensive care are dying from the illness.

Data based on 165 UK patients treated in critical care units showed that 79 had died and 86 were discharged, giving a mortality rate of 47.8 per cent.

The Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) study has been running since the end of February and has come out with some terrifying results.

The shocking statistics are likely to be as a result of NHS hospital doctors only sending the most serious coronavirus cases, around five per cent of coronavirus-based hospital admissions, to their intensive care units (ICU's) as a last resort due to a shortage of resources.

“The truth is that quite a lot of these individuals [in critical care] are going to die anyway and there is a fear that we are just ventilating them for the sake of it, for the sake of doing something for them, even though it won’t be effective. That’s a worry,” said one doctor interviewed by The Guardian.

The high death rate raises questions about how effective critical care will be in saving the lives of people struck down by the disease.

Source: Read Full Article

Saudi Arabia 'is using mobile data to track its citizens in the US'

Saudi Arabia ‘is using mobile phone data to track its citizens’ movements in the US’

  • Saudi Arabia appears to have hijacked phone data to track its citizens in the US
  • Country’s three biggest mobile networks sent millions of requests for location data to a major US provider starting in November last year
  • Data from individual phones was being requested up to 13 times per hour 
  • Whistleblower said there is ‘no technical reason’ for requests, other than spying 

Saudi Arabia is hijacking mobile phone data to track the movements of its citizens living in the US, new information leaked by a whistleblower suggests.

Data shows that the kingdom’s three biggest mobile phone providers sent millions of requests to a major US provider asking for information that would allow the kingdom to identify the location of Saudi-registered phones in the country.

In total, almost 2.3million requests for data were sent per month between November last year and March this year – meaning individual phones were being tracked up to 13 times per hour.

Saudi Arabia is hijacking mobile phone data to track its citizens living in the US, new data leaked by a whistleblower has suggested (file image)

A whistleblower told The Guardian that the data shows Saudi Arabia is ‘weaponising’ mobile networks to run surveillance on its citizens abroad.

‘There is no other explanation, no other technical reason to do this,’ they said.

The apparent spying operation works by exploiting a system called SS7, which is used to connect mobile users calling or messaging from different countries.

Mobile phone companies can legitimately request information on users through the SS7 system including location data, which is used to register roaming charges.

But the new data suggests that Saudi Arabia is using its three biggest providers – Saudi Telecom, Mobily and Zain – to send millions of spurious requests.

Data on individual phones was being requested up to 13 per hour, the Guardian reported, which would allow anyone looking at it to build up an accurate picture of the owner’s movements.

There is no evidence that the Saudi mobile companies, which did not respond to requests for comment, knew their networks were being used in this way.

Saudi embassies in the US and UK also did not respond to requests for comment.

While the data did not reveal the identities of the phone owners who were being tracked, Saudi Arabia is known to keep a close eye on regime critics living overseas. 

The video secretly installed software on his phone that allowed for a huge amount of data to be extracted, shortly before it was revealed that Bezos was having an affair. 

While the data does not identify whose phones were being tracked, the kingdom is known to keep a close eye on dissidents living overseas (pictured, Mohammed bin Salman)


Jamal Khashoggi (left) was killed in 2018 by a Saudi hit-squad while writing columns critical of the Saudi regime for the Washington Post, which is owned by Jeff Bezos (right). Bezos’s own phone was hacked by a message sent from Bin Salman’s cell number

In 2018, Jamal Khashoggi – a former regime insider turned critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

It is thought he was murdered by a hit-squad after an attempt to persuade him to return to the Kingdom and stop his criticism failed.

At the time of his murder, Khashoggi was a columnist for the Washington Post where he regularly wrote articles criticising Bin Salman.

Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos also had his phone hacked after being sent a video file from a phone number belonging to Bin Salman.

It is thought the video file secretly installed a piece of software on his phone that allowed huge amounts of data to be drained.

The hack took place a short time before Bezos’s affair with Lauren Sanchez was revealed, ending his marriage.

International investigators including UN special rapporteurs say it is likely the hit-squad was sent to Turkey on the direct orders of Bin Salman.

Saudi Arabia, after initially denying it had anything to do with the murder, has admitted that members of its security forces were responsible for killing Khashoggi.

However, the country insists they went ‘rogue’ and the murder was not ordered by senior leadership.

Eleven men were eventually put on trial behind closed doors over the killing, with five of them sentenced to death.

Three others were sentenced to a combined 24 years in prison, while three more were released.

All of those convicted are able to appeal. There is no indication that any of them have had their sentences carried out. 

Source: Read Full Article

Expert who said 5,700 may die of coronavirus in UK says it may be more

Expert who predicted just 5,700 may die from coronavirus in the UK says he was wrong and Britain is in a ‘dangerous state’ as daily deaths surge past his estimated maximum number just TWO DAYS later

  • Professor Tom Pike from Imperial College set UK death total at 5,700 last week 
  • But the amount of deaths over the weekend have forced him to rethink forecast
  • Weekend fatalities exceeded expectation the UK would follow Wuhan pattern
  • Says deaths could be higher than he thought if we don’t regain that trajectory  
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

The expert who predicted 5,700 Britons would die from coronavirus now says that figure was underestimating the peril the pandemic poses.

Scientist Tom Pike from Imperial College claims that the UK is in a ‘dangerous state’ amid the Covid-19 crisis.

He calculated his original death rate based on the assumption that Britain would follow a similar pattern to Wuhan, China, where the virus originated.

His paper put Britain’s peak at 260 deaths a day – but that number has already hit over the weekend.

Professor Pike told The Times this changes his projections entirely, saying: ‘We don’t know where that uptick is going to go, or if it will keep going in the same direction

‘That’s critical in terms of the projected total deaths. If we don’t regain the Wuhan trajectory, each day we are building up more deaths. It’s a very dangerous state to be in.’ 

The paper by Imperial College London last week predicted that if the country follows the same trajectory as China did, it could see between 4,700 and 7,100 deaths.

And the peak of the outbreak, which could see between 210 and 330 people die in a single day, could happen next Sunday on April 5, it predicted.

Professor Pike (pictured) fears the death rate could now be higher 

The study estimated that the true death figure would be around 5,700 – the figure is considerably lower than the 20,000 warned about in the doomsday scenario paper which convinced the Government to tighten up its efforts to stop the virus. 

That claim, published by Professor Neil Ferguson, one of the Government’s leading COVID-19 advisers, warned that tens of thousands could die if people weren’t forced to stay at home. 

A projection from the same university, developed by engineer Professor Tom Pike, compared eight countries’ death rates to China’s after Beijing put the nation into shutdown. 

It showed that up to 41,000 people could still die in the US, 60,000 in Spain, 32,000 in Italy and 23,000 in France. 

It comes after another paper this week said countries around the world have averted disaster by sending their citizens into lockdown and that 40million could have died if they hadn’t.

More than a billion people worldwide are now in some form of lockdown as the number of confirmed coronavirus patients has soared past 500,000 – but the dramatic measures are saving millions of lives, said another study from Imperial.

It said that almost the entire world population – seven billion citizens – could have been infected if the virus was allowed to spread unchecked. 

The data from last week’s paper showed the UK’s total deaths from coronavirus to be estimated at 5,700, if the country follows the path China took after introducing a lockdown there. Spain could now be the worst-hit nation with more than 45,000 deaths

Last week’s estimates for the UK – if it followed the same trajectory as China – showed Britain could have 5,700 deaths, and the peak would be 260 fatalities on April 5

More than a billion people around the world are now living under some form of lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But scientists say the dramatic measures may have saved 10s of millions of lives.

A study by Imperial College London predicted that if no measures had been taken to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, 40 million people could have died.

Researchers at Imperial College London made the findings based on analysis which estimated the potential scale of the pandemic across the world.

But with mitigation strategies such as protecting the elderly and social distancing, the death toll could be reduced by anywhere from 50 per cent to 95 per cent, saving millions of people.

In the model, the team found that, if left unchecked, around seven billion people could have been infected – about 90 percent of the global population.

Worldwide 530,000 people so far have been been infected and more than 23,700 people have died.

The researchers stressed the models were not predictions of what will happen, but illustrated the benefits of rapid, decisive and collective action.

Just last week Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, said that keeping the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK at ‘20,000 and below’ would be a ‘good outcome’ but still ‘horrible’. 

The estimates in Professor Pike’s paper show that Italy could realistically have 28,000 deaths and Spain would have 46,000 fatalities – the highest in Europe. 

The United States would have 28,000 deaths, Netherlands 6,000, Germany 4,000, France 18,000 and South Korea, 150.

The analysis in the paper, co-authored by Dr Vikas Saini, ‘suggests that early adoption of social distancing is more effective than delayed implementation, even of highly restrictive measures.’ 

It concludes ‘there may be a threshold of public health intervention beyond which a decline in death rates begins to occur.’

The data for the study was taken from the European Centre for Disease Control website on Tuesday March 24.

Answering questions about the new paper on Twitter, Professor Pike says the estimates are purely data driven and ‘there is no epidemiological modelling, or in fact any modelling, in our analysis.’

He also adds the projections in the paper will only be accurate if the UK continues on the same trajectory as China.    

The team who worked on the study predicting seven billion people could have become infected said the lockdown method of containing the disease, which appears to have successfully stopped it in China, has been the world’s best hope.

Data last week showed the UK ( second column) may only reach a peak of 260 deaths per day, a tenth of the feared fatality rate in Spain (fourth column)

Dr Patrick Walker, who worked on the paper, said: ‘Our findings suggest that all countries face a choice between intensive and costly measures to suppress transmission or risk health systems becoming rapidly overwhelmed.

‘However, our results highlight that rapid, decisive and collective action now will save millions of lives in the next year.’

Several measures have been taken including lockdowns around the world such as in the UK, several US states, India, Spain, Italy, France and China.

The study looked at what would have happened in an out-of-control ‘unmitigated scenario’ and said it could have left to huge loss of life.    

Professor Azra Ghani added: ‘Acting early has the potential to reduce mortality by as much as 95 per cent, saving 38.7 million lives.

‘At the same time, consideration needs to be given to the broader impact of all measures that are put in place to ensure that those that are most vulnerable are protected from the wider health, social and economic impacts of such action.’

A man wearing a protective face mask and clothing in Westminster, London, on Thursday

TRUE UK DEATH TOLL IS THREE TIMES HIGHER THAN OFFICIAL FIGURES IN LONDON HOSPITAL 

Questions have been raised over whether the official coronavirus toll accurately reflects the number of deaths seen in hospitals.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries said on Sunday that there is a ‘time lag’ in the number of deaths tallied up as officials firm up the numbers and speak to families.

A tally of the NHS data updated on Sunday says 11 people have died after testing positive for Covid-19 in hospitals run by King’s College Hospital trust.

But the trust’s own website, which was updated on Friday, says that 33 patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus have died.

Asked about disparities in figures at a Downing Street press conference, Dr Harries said: ‘We have to make sure that when we’re reporting the family is content and knows and all our data is absolutely accurate.’

She added: ‘There is always a time lag for us to check and evaluate that the data across the system is linked.

‘We do not want to be misreporting data and then having to correct it.

‘The public would not have confidence if we were doing that.

‘As we have sadly had to register more deaths, that time period takes longer.’

Coronavirus death toll rises by 209 to 1,228 and infections jump by 2,483 to 19,522: New figures offer a glimmer of hope that self-isolating is working as infection rates drop for the second day in a row

By Lara Keay, Milly Vincent and Sebastian Murphy-Bates for MailOnline

The UK coronavirus death toll has risen by 209 in 24 hours from 1,019 to 1,228, as the infection rates drop for the second day in a row.

There are now 19,522 confirmed cases nationwide, up from 17,089 yesterday.  Today’s increase in fatalities is the second biggest Britain has seen so far, but with 51 fewer deaths than yesterday, offering some hope that the figures are beginning to plateau.

The vast majority of cases and deaths were in England, with 190 dead aged between 39 and 105. All but four of them, aged between 57 and 87, had underlying health conditions. 

The UK coronavirus death toll has risen by 209 in 24 hours from 1,019 to 1,228. Pictured today: Ambulances at Guy’s at St Thomas’s Hospital in central London

In Scotland, one more person has died of the virus, bringing their total to 41. In Northern Ireland there were six more COVID-19 deaths, making 21 in total and in Wales there were 10 further reported deaths, taking their total to 48. 

Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, who chairs the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication, University of Cambridge, said: ‘It may seem callous to say that 209 deaths is reassuring, but it breaks the run of 30% daily increases we have seen recently.

‘But it is still too early to claim that the curve is beginning to flatten off. It is also important not to over-interpret counts for single days: delays in reporting can lead to the numbers varying far more than one would expect by chance alone. For example, one of the deaths reported today actually occurred 13 days ago.’

The normally busy streets in Chinatown are completely deserted on Sunday as people choose to stay at home

Eleanor Riley, Professor of Immunology and Infectious Disease, University of Edinburgh, said: ‘It would be most unwise to infer any trend from a single day’s data.

‘Only when the epidemic has peaked – which is some time away – and we get sustained daily reductions in new cases and then sustained daily reductions in deaths, will we know that are beginning to get on top of the epidemic.’

The Republic of Ireland, meanwhile, saw a fatality rise of 10 today, bringing its total to 46. It recorded 200 new confirmed cases for a total of 2,615. 

Pictured: Breakspear crematorium in Ruislip, West London, has had 12 emergency mortuaries built on its site in preparation for the number of increasing deaths from the coronavirus 

It comes after a senior health chief warned that Britain must stay in total lockdown until June to properly prevent the full extent of the deadly coronavirus. 

Professor Neil Ferguson, the government’s leading epidemiology adviser, said Britons would have to remain in their homes for nearly three months, and continue social distancing until October.

To try and ensure the effectiveness of the lockdown, the Government is spending approximately £5.8million on letters that will land on 30 million doorsteps along with a leaflet spelling out the Government’s advice following much public confusion.

The letters and leaflets are the latest in a public information campaign from No 10 to convince people to stay at home, wash their hands and shield the most vulnerable from the disease. 

Today’s figures, recorded between 5pm on Friday and 5pm on Saturday, come after a healthcare data company predicted more than 1.6million people in the UK could already have coronavirus.

The total number of deaths recorded today is 21 per cent higher than the equivalent figure yesterday. The day-on-day percentage increase yesterday was 34 per cent.

It took 16 days for the number of deaths in the UK to go from one to just over 200. It has taken a further eight days for the total to go from just over 200 to just over 1,200.

Meanwhile, the number of people in the UK who have been tested for coronavirus has now passed 125,000. The total as of 9am on March 29 was 127,737. On average, around 7,000 new tests a day were carried out in the seven days to 9am March 29.

In the previous seven days the daily average was around 5,400. The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK now stands at 19,522, as of 9am March 29. One week ago, on March 22, the total stood at 5,683. 

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS?

What is the coronavirus? 

A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.

The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.

Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a ‘sister’ of the SARS illness which hit China in 2002, so has been named after it.

The disease that the virus causes has been named COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.

Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: ‘Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals. 

‘Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses). 

‘Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.’ 

The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started publicly reporting infections on December 31.

By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.

The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000. 

Where does the virus come from?

According to scientists, the virus almost certainly came from bats. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.

The first cases of COVID-19 came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in Wuhan, which has since been closed down for investigation.

Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat. 

A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published in February 2020 in the scientific journal Nature, found that the genetic make-up virus samples found in patients in China is 96 per cent identical to a coronavirus they found in bats.

However, there were not many bats at the market so scientists say it was likely there was an animal which acted as a middle-man, contracting it from a bat before then transmitting it to a human. It has not yet been confirmed what type of animal this was.

Dr Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved with the research but said: ‘The discovery definitely places the origin of nCoV in bats in China.

‘We still do not know whether another species served as an intermediate host to amplify the virus, and possibly even to bring it to the market, nor what species that host might have been.’  

So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so worried about it? 

Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.

It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans’ lungs. It is less deadly than SARS, however, which killed around one in 10 people, compared to approximately one in 50 for COVID-19.

Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they’ve never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.

Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: ‘Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.

‘Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we’re talking about a virus where we don’t understand fully the severity spectrum but it’s possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.’

If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die. 

‘My feeling is it’s lower,’ Dr Horby added. ‘We’re probably missing this iceberg of milder cases. But that’s the current circumstance we’re in.

‘Two per cent case fatality rate is comparable to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 so it is a significant concern globally.’

How does the virus spread?

The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms.

It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky. It can also live on surfaces, such as plastic and steel, for up to 72 hours, meaning people can catch it by touching contaminated surfaces.

Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person. 

What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?

Once someone has caught the COVID-19 virus it may take between two and 14 days, or even longer, for them to show any symptoms – but they may still be contagious during this time.

If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients will recover from these without any issues, and many will need no medical help at all.

In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.

Figures are showing that young children do not seem to be particularly badly affected by the virus, which they say is peculiar considering their susceptibility to flu, but it is not clear why. 

What have genetic tests revealed about the virus? 

Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world. 

This allows others to study them, develop tests and potentially look into treating the illness they cause.   

Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much – changing is known as mutating – much during the early stages of its spread.

However, the director-general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.

This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it.   

More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.

How dangerous is the virus?  

The virus has a death rate of around two per cent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.

Experts have been conflicted since the beginning of the outbreak about whether the true number of people who are infected is significantly higher than the official numbers of recorded cases. Some people are expected to have such mild symptoms that they never even realise they are ill unless they’re tested, so only the more serious cases get discovered, making the death toll seem higher than it really is.

However, an investigation into government surveillance in China said it had found no reason to believe this was true.

Dr Bruce Aylward, a World Health Organization official who went on a mission to China, said there was no evidence that figures were only showing the tip of the iceberg, and said recording appeared to be accurate, Stat News reported.

Can the virus be cured? 

The COVID-19 virus cannot be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.

Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can work, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.

No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it’s not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.

The National Institutes of Health in the US, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical Technology.

Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.

People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.

And airports around the world are putting in place screening measures such as having doctors on-site, taking people’s temperatures to check for fevers and using thermal screening to spot those who might be ill (infection causes a raised temperature).

However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so there is only a small likelihood that patients will be spotted up in an airport.

Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?   

The outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11. A pandemic is defined by the World Health Organization as the ‘worldwide spread of a new disease’. 

Previously, the UN agency said most cases outside of Hubei had been ‘spillover’ from the epicentre, so the disease wasn’t actually spreading actively around the world.

 

Source: Read Full Article

Here’s the next big problem after New York gets ventilators

Even if New York gets all the ventilators it needs to handle the growing coronavirus crisis, there’s still one major question — who will operate them, medical experts say.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said the state needs 30,000 ventilators if hospitals gets swamped with critically ill COVID-19 patients under the worst-case scenario.

Yet there are only a total of 7,713 respiratory specialists licensed to operate the breathing machines in New York, plus an unknown number of highly skilled nurses and doctors trained to use them.

“I read that Gov. Cuomo said that ventilators are to coronavirus what missiles were to WWII. While I am sure this is true, you would not have grabbed a front-line soldier off the battlefield, put him in the fighter cockpit and expect him to fly the plane, launch the missiles and defeat the enemy,’’ said Anthony Everidge, a 30-year veteran respiratory specialist who now works in Nevada but is still licensed to operate in New York.

“The outcome would be disastrous and would only compound the problem. The analogy applies to ventilators and the successful operation and management of the mechanical ventilator,” he said.

Everidge, a member of the American Association of Respiratory Care, said he worries there will “not be enough” skilled respiratory therapists, doctors and nurses with knowledge to operate the ventilators based on the current number of licensed operators.

Ventilators help gravely ill patients breathe by pumping air and oxygen into the lungs through a tube put in the nose or mouth to reach the windpipe. The machine delivers more oxygen into the patient than any other method and also supplies pressure to keep the lungs open.

Cuomo has discussed the need to stockpile 30,000 ventilators if a crush of COVID-19 patients hits the hospitals system in the next 14 to 21 days. But he has spoken less about staffing the ventilators.

The governor, during a press briefing Sunday, reported that 76,019 health care workers, including retirees, have agreed to volunteer to help New York’s strained medical facilities.

Of that total, he said 669 were respiratory therapists.

The state Health Department did not dispute that staffing issues for ventilators is a challenge.

A Health Department spokesman referred The Post to prior statements the governor has made about staffing issues.

“You can create beds, you find the equipment, you have to have the staff,” Cuomo said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio also said Sunday that he spoke to President Trump about the need for ventilators and “medical personnel.” He said city hospitals need at least 15,000 ventilators.

The respiratory specialists are like nurses for respiratory care. They monitor patients’ lung functions during their shifts by checking the data from the ventilator and adjusting the machine accordingly, Everidge said.

Compounding the problem is that COVID-19 patients who are admitted to intensive-care units are sicker than the typical patient who is intubated.

The typical patient is on a ventilator for three days. But COVID-19 patients are hooked on a ventilator for anywhere from 10 days to 21 days – with a high death rate, Cuomo said.

In a sign of the dire times, the state last week approved the controversial practice of having two patients share a single ventilator.

“It’s not ideal,” Cuomo said, “but we believe it’s workable.”

The Northwell Health system employs 400 respiratory therapists at its 23 regional hospitals — including Lenox Hill, Long Island Jewish and Staten Island University hospitals.

A spokesman said there is no shortage of ventilator operators– at least for now.

Source: Read Full Article