Science, Space & Robotics News - Page 2
The world has been living with the coronavirus for quite some time now, and cases are still piling up across multiple different countries.
At the time of writing this, the Johns Hopkins global coronavirus tracker is indicating that the global confirmed cases of coronavirus will soon tick over to 12 million. Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker has been widely used by many prominent medical sources, and numerous media outlets to follow the spread of coronavirus. So if you are in need of a good tracker for your local area, you can find a link to one of the best trackers here. The top five countries that have been hit the hardest by coronavirus so far have been the United States, Brazil, India, Russia, and Peru.
As global coronavirus cases to 12 million, the US is about to hit the 3 million mark for confirmed cases. Followed behind the US is Brazil with 1,668,589 million cases, and then India with 742,417 cases, Russia with almost 700,000 cases, and Peru with just over 300,000 cases. Many countries are still ramping up testing regimes, and we can expect that some of the countries that don't have good health infrastructure may also be harboring unknown amounts of COVID-19 cases among the population.
As the United States still continues to battle the coronavirus, many people are getting fed up with having to stay indoors and isolate. So, what should you do to still be safe if you leave the house?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its guidelines on enhancing protection against the coronavirus. The CDC has taken to its website (found here) to post some guidelines for people to consider when venturing out of their house to a social gathering, or event. The CDC says that event planners should be collaborating with state and local health authorities to ensure the safety of participants at the event.
As for social gatherings, the CDC considers a gathering to be anything that is a planned or spontaneous event that is indoors, or outdoors and has a small or large number of people in attendance. Gatherings could be a concert, festival, conference, parade, wedding, or sporting event. The CDC says that the longer the gathering lasts for, and the more people who have attended increases the risk of COVID-19 spreading among the participants.
As a country in South America ticks over its total coronavirus cases to 300,000, plans are already being put in place for easing lockdown restrictions.
In the last 24 hours, Chile reported 2,400 new cases and of COVID-19, and 50 deaths. These new cases and deaths bring the total of coronavirus cases to (at the time of writing this) 301,019, and 6,434 deaths, respectively. Chile will be moving forward to ease lockdown restrictions and begin to slowly reopen the country as its coronavirus numbers over have been declining steadily over the last three weeks.
According to Chile's Health Minister, Enrique Paris, "We confirm an improvement that has been going on for 23 days." However, Paris does acknowledge that 80% of Chile's cases are in the capitol, which has 7.1 million people, and that 24% of tests taken in the capital are coming back positive. Even with restrictions being planned to be, Paris reminds authorities that they will still need to remain cautious and vigilant.
With the coronavirus currently ravaging the United States, it's important that many people are correctly wearing their face mask. So, here's how to wear your coronavirus mask properly and things to avoid doing.
The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control have published recommendations for how face masks and coverings should be correctly used. To start off, you should not be wearing any dirty face masks, and this includes masks that have been worn for extended periods of time. It's also highly recommended that you wash your hands before picking up a clean cloth mask, as your hands may be contaminated.
Next, to put on your face mask correctly, use the loops either side of the mask and wrap them around your ears. Make sure the mask covers your nose and your mouth entirely, as the mask will be useless if it's only covering one. There should also be no open flaps for your mask, as it will severely reduce the effectiveness of its protection. If your mask has a wired side, make sure to place the wired side on your nose and press down on it, so it molds to your nose shape.
Another deadly disease has emerged out of China, and now the country has admitted that they are at "epidemic" risk.
Over the weekend, reports started coming out of Chinese media outlets detailing a suspected case of the bubonic plague in the city of Baynnur in Inner Mongolia. If you don't know what the bubonic plague is, it was the disease that caused Black Death in the 14th century, which killed tens of millions of people across Europe, Asia and Africa. The state-run news outlet, Xinhua News Agency, spoke out about the suspected case of bubonic plague and said that the city has issued a level three warning for plague prevention that will extend until the end of the year.
The Bayannur local health commission also recently released a statement that wasn't included in our previous story about the bubonic plague. China Daily reports that, "At present, there is a risk of a human plague epidemic spreading in this city. The public should improve its self-protection awareness and ability, and report abnormal health conditions promptly." Before you begin to sigh in disappointment about another disease potentially taking over the world, you should know that there are effective means of treatment for the bubonic plague.
There's no doubt that the state of the coronavirus in the United States is concerning, but how concerned should we be about getting an infection?
According to former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner and physician, Scott Gottlieb, MD, the community spread of the virus is already out of control, and that by the end of the year, half of the population of the United States will have coronavirus. Gottlieb grave that grave warning on June 29th to CNBC, and said "By the time we get to the end of this year, probably close to half the population will have coronavirus, and that's if we just stay at our current rate."
Gottlieb also touched on the fact that case numbers aren't slowing down, but instead are accelerating fast. A good way to break this down is by what is called the doubling rate, which is how many days it takes for the number of cases, hospitalizations, or deaths to double. The United States' doubling rate is down to 40 days, which Gottlieb says will reduce even further. Another good perspective to look at the current state of the coronavirus is through what is called the reproduction number.
As we move closer to the end of the year, everyone is expecting to hear more and more about the numerous coronavirus vaccines that are in development.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke out this past Monday on the current state of coronavirus vaccine development. Fauci states that if the development for the vaccine keeps on the same track it is now, researchers will enter phase 3 of trials (final phase) at the end of July. Dr. Fauci states that "we hope that by end of this year, or the beginning of 2021 we will at least have an answer whether the vaccine or vaccines - plural - are safe and effective".
Fauci also touched on the current state of the coronavirus in the United States and said that "we are still knee-deep in the first wave", and that "I would say this would not be considered a wave, it was a surge or a resurgence of infections superimposed upon a baseline, Francis, that really never got down to where we wanted to go." Fauci mostly concentrated on vaccine development and said that the National Institutes of Health is currently working with vaccine development companies to start making doses of the drug in preparation for whether it works on it.
The world is now slowly coming to terms with the coronavirus, but one question on everyone's mind is how long will immunity to the virus last for.
According to British immunologist, Danny Altmann, who is a professor of immunology at the Imperial College London, coronavirus immunity could be "short lived", and that individuals shouldn't rely on immunity alone to cope with the virus. Altmann spoke to CNBC this past Monday and said, "It's a very deceitful virus and immunity to it is very confusing and rather short-lived."
Altmann also touched on antibody immunity, saying that immunity to the coronavirus is rather "fragile", and that even if some people have developed antibodies, it doesn't mean that they will have them forever. Altmann says that antibodies may only last for "a few months, and then it might wane". The professor also states that at the current understanding of the virus that he wouldn't personally bet on immunity.
The United States is seeing a resurgence of the coronavirus, and now three major medical groups have issued at statement o the public about what they can do to battle the coronavirus.
An open letter released to the public by the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and American Nurses Association has expressed to the public that as states began to reopen, people abandoned some of the steps taken that were made to made progress. Here's what the statement said, "But in the weeks since states began reopening, some of the steps that were critical to the progress we made were too quickly abandoned. And we are now watching in real-time as a dramatic uptick in COVID-19 cases is erasing our hard-won gains."
The statement goes onto say that the three groups are urging the American public to take the necessary and simple steps to start curbing the virus once again. "This is why as physicians, nurses, hospital and health system leaders, researchers and public health experts, we are urging the American public to take the simple steps we know will help stop the spread of the virus: wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distancing, and washing hands." The letter also touches on Dr. Fauci mentioning that if drastic change isn't made across the nation that we could see 100,000 new coronavirus cases each day if citizens don't take the correct precautions.
The world is slowly coming to terms with living with the coronavirus, and as a result many researchers around the world have started to gather a more deeper understanding of how the virus works.
A plea by 239 scientists and researchers from around the world has been published in thee journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases about the dangers of micro droplet transmission of the coronavirus by someone simply breathing. The researchers are from multiple scientific fields, such as engineering, including virology, aerosol physics, flow dynamics, exposure and epidemiology, medicine, and building engineering. All of the scientists have signed this plea.
The plea has been led by internationally recognized air quality and health expert QUT Professor Lidia Morawska, who said, "Studies by the signatories and other scientists have demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that viruses are exhaled in microdroplets small enough to remain aloft in the air and pose a risk of exposure beyond 1 to 2m by an infected person. At typical indoor air velocities, a 5-micron droplet will travel tens of meters, much greater than the scale of a typical room while settling from a height of 1.5m above the floor."