Dr. Birx: Every city could get coronavirus outbreak like NYC

Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, warned Sunday that every city could be hit as hard as New York City as the virus continues to rage across the country.

“Every metro area should assume that they could have an outbreak equivalent to New York and do everything right now to prevent it,” Birx said on “Meet the Press.”

Birx called on leaders from every region to start preparing for major outbreaks, saying that it will be too late to contain once cases start reaching hospitals.

“No state, no metro area will be spared, and the sooner we react and the sooner the states and the metro areas react and ensure that they put in full mitigation, at the same time understanding exactly what their hospitals need, then we’ll be able to move forward together and protect the most Americans,” Birx said.

But Birx urged city dwellers not to try and flee once the virus starts spreading in their region.

“What we’re trying to say to everyone is ‘when this virus comes to your metro area, please stay in your metro area where your care can be provided,’ because it’s spreading virus more quickly around the United States,” she said.

The Big Apple reported more than 30,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Saturday afternoon, including 672 deaths, the city health department said.

Meanwhile, across the country, there have been at least 124,000 cases with more than 2,100 deaths, according to figures from John Hopkins University.

Source: Read Full Article

Coronavirus ‘could kill 2,300 each DAY totaling 80,000 in US in next four months’ – The Sun

CORONAVIRUS could kill 2,300 Americans every day which could lead to 80,000 deaths in the next four months, experts say. 

The damning forecast was published on Thursday when the US death toll topped 1,000 and officials warned it could be worse here than hard-hit Italy.

Researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington's School of Medicine analyzed the latest COVID-19 data at a local, national and international level.

They found the demand for beds and equipment may not be able to meet the demand of COVID-19 cases by the second week of April, reports

They estimate around 81,000 Americans will die from the virus in the months to come – but predictions ranged from 38,000 to over 160,000.

According to IHME's model, as many as 2,300 people could die daily when the disease peaks, despite the social distancing efforts.

IHME experts looked at hospitalization rates, mortality rates, as well as patients' age, gender, underlying conditions.

They conducted in-depth research on the time lag between the initial fatalities and officials ramping up the mitigation measures, like closing schools and shuttering businesses.

After looking at the US' ICU bed and ventilator capacity, they crunched the numbers.

The news emerged after the country's top public health official, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, said "we could be worse than Italy if we don't participate in these 15 days to stop the spread."

Likewise, the institute's director, Christopher Murray, said their trajectory was based on "uninterrupted vigilance by the general public, hospital workers, and government agencies."

"The trajectory of the pandemic will change – and dramatically for the worse – if people ease up on social distancing or relax with other precautions," Murray said.

"We hope these forecasts will help leaders of medical systems figure out innovative ways to deliver high-quality care to those who will need their services in the coming weeks."

Twenty-one states will need more ICU beds than are available now, IHME said – but 12 may be forced to up their capacity by 50 percent.

Hard-hit areas in New York may peak in just two weeks according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has repeatedly appealed for more ventilators.

The disturbing news comes as ten states are declared "disaster" areas, meaning half the US population are living in disaster zones as of Thursday, March 26.

Source: Read Full Article

Coronavirus could have infected half of Britain, say Oxford experts

Coronavirus could already have infected HALF the British population and been spreading in the UK since JANUARY, Oxford University study claims – as official death toll jumps record 87 in a day to 422 and confirmed cases leap by 1,427

  • Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford, led a study into the infection rate of Covid-19
  • Today the UK’s coronavirus death toll rose to 422. while there have been 8,077 British cases reported
  • Modelling by Oxford’s Evolutionary Ecology of Infectious Disease group suggests Covid-19 first reached the UK by mid-January
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

The coronavirus could have infected as much as half of the population of the United Kingdom, according to researchers at the University of Oxford – as the official death toll jumps a record 87 in one day to 422 and confirmed cases leap by 1,427. 

The new model from Oxford University suggests the virus was circulating in the UK by mid-January, around two weeks before the first reported case and a month before the first reported death.

This means it could have had enough time to have spread widely, with many Britons acquiring immunity. Sunetra Gupta, a professor of theoretical epidemiology who led the study, said testing was needed to assess the theory.

‘We need immediately to begin large-scale serological surveys – antibody testing – to assess what stage of the epidemic we are in now,’ she said. 

It comes after 87 more patients died overnight in England, including 21 at the one NHS trust in London. Scotland also announced two fatalities, while Wales and Northern Ireland confirmed another death. 

In contrast, fifty-four infected Brits died the day before. The UK’s death toll has risen almost six-fold in the space of a week, with just 71 fatalities recorded last Tuesday.

Britain also saw a record spike in cases today, with 1,427 more patients known to have caught the virus as the total number of infected Britons surpassed 8,000.

But the true size of the outbreak is being hidden because of the Government’s controversial decision to only test patients in hospital. The true size of the outbreak is likely to be closer to the 400,000 mark.

Police officers were today forced to break up barbecues being held in different parts of the UK as Brits flouted new draconian powers to disperse crowds of more than two to halt the spread of coronavirus. 

In shocking footage, Shepherd’s Bush officers were forced to use a megaphone to disperse large crowds of people sunbathing on the green, clearly not abiding by the rules of the lockdown set by the Prime Minister.

From a police van, an officer said: ‘You can’t stay on the green, can you all go home. Can you all go home please this is not a holiday, it’s a lockdown, which means you don’t just come here and sunbathe. Please just leave.’  

Health Secretary Matt Hancock today launched a drive for a 250,000 strong ‘volunteer army’ to boost the NHS and stop it being swamped amid the coronavirus crisis.

He said he wanted helpers to come forward to bolster local services – as he also revealed that a new hospital, the NHS Nightingale, is being created at the Excel centre in London.

The Oxford university research offers a contrasting view on the disease to the study that is informing government policy. It was carried out by experts at Imperial College London.

‘I am surprised that there has been such unqualified acceptance of the Imperial model,’ Professor Gupta told the Financial Times.

The Imperial study has led to the Government imposing the extraordinary shutdown on the basis that, without such rules, the disease could claim up to 250,000 lives.

It other coronavirus developments:

  • Builders across the UK have said they feel ‘angry and unprotected’ as they continued working on busy construction sites 
  • Britain was placed under new draconian measures which to keep people indoors, including allowing outside exercise only once a day, social gatherings of more than two people banned, and non-essential travel prohibited, with police handed powers to slap offenders with fines; 
  • Londoners continued to cram into packed Tube carriages during this morning’s rush-hour, with union chiefs calling on Sadiq Khan to get a grip of the capital’s public transport; 
  • The Mayor of London came under fire for blaming commuters for flouting advice over non essential travel; 
  • Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt demanded more NHS workers were tested for coronavirus, which has killed 335 and infected 6650 in the UK; 
  • Supermarket websites crashed and delivery slots were booked solid for weeks as lockdown begun; 
  • Sports Direct insisted it was providing an essential service and tried to open it stores, but was forced to U-turn under pressure from the government; 
  • The FTSE 100 opened up 4 per cent as investors seemingly took confidence in the PM’s measures. 

 Health Secretary Matt Hancock said home is now the ‘front line’ in the fight against coronavirus, as he urged people to come together to reduce the number of people in the UK who will die from the spread of the infection.

A cramped Tube on the Central line this morning as people travelled into work on the Underground as early as 5am

Hoards of people took the opportunity on a sunny day in the capital to get outside, but there were yet more examples of people not effectively social distancing

Shocking images show workers on the UK’s biggest construction project being forced to work in close proximity – despite the country being put into lockdown.This morning, over 4,000 Hinkley Point C staff were told that business will continue running as normal despite Boris Johnson’s announcement yesterday

Frontline officers are being ‘spat and coughed at’ as coronavirus is ‘used as a weapon’ 

Police attempting to deal with a serious incident in West Yorkshire were spat and coughed at by a large crowd they were trying to disperse.

West Yorkshire Police PC Rachel Storey posted on Twitter: ‘So whilst scene guarding at a serious incident tonight we were faced with large crowds shoulder to shoulder, spitting on the floor and coughing at us when asking them to move back.

‘Yes coughing then the target of egg throwers on passing motorbikes…. just WHY? no excuse!’

Police Sergeant Charlotte Nicholls added: ‘It was just vile..I had to wash my boots last night when I got home as I couldn’t stop thinking about the amount of spit id stood in!!’

PC Storey replied: ‘I know I’ve also sprayed them with Dettol it’s hard enough without this’.

A Sussex Police officer was also coughed at on Thursday morning by a driver he had pulled over on the M25 who claimed to have Covid-19.

The van driver, who was stopped for using his phone, was found to have no vehicle tax from 2018, no MOT and an illegal tyre.

But he issued a stark warning, saying stricter measures introduced by the Prime Minister on Monday were not advice but rules that must be followed.

He told MPs in the Commons: ‘The spread of coronavirus is rapidly accelerating across the world and in the UK.

‘The actions we took yesterday are not actions that any UK government would want to take but they are absolutely necessary. Our instruction is simple: stay at home.’

He said people should only be leaving their home for four reasons – shopping for essentials such as food and medicine, one form of exercise per day, medical need or to provide care to a vulnerable person, and travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

Mr Hancock said: ‘These measures are not advice, they are rules and will be enforced including by the police, with fines starting at £30 up to unlimited fines for non-compliance.’

He continued: ‘We are engaged in a great national effort to beat this virus, everybody now has it in their power to save lives and protect the NHS. Home is now the front line.

‘In this national effort, working together, we can defeat this disease, everyone has a part to play.’

His comments come as some trains on London’s Tube network were crowded again this morning despite Boris Johnson placing the UK on a lockdown. 

Visitors to an outdoor gym exercise on Clapham Common in South West London this afternoon

Police disperse a group in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester city centre today as officers enforce Boris Johnson’s new powers to stop groups of more than two people congregating

The Prime Minister ordered people only to leave their homes for ‘very limited purposes’, banned public gatherings of more than two people and ordered the closure of non-essential shops.

But police chiefs warned of phone lines being inundated with calls last night with questions about what movements are still permitted, while MPs also called for answers. 

Pictures on social media suggested that many people in the capital were continuing to use the Underground to travel around, prompting a desperate plea from London Mayor Sadiq Khan: ‘I cannot say this more strongly: we must stop all non-essential use of public transport now. Ignoring these rules means more lives lost.’

Boris Johnson’s coronavirus lockdown backed by 93 PER CENT of the public – poll finds

Boris Johnson’s coronavirus lockdown is backed by 93 per cent of Britons, according to a poll today.

But in a potentially worrying sign for the PM, two-thirds believe that the extraordinary curbs will be easy to obey. 


The announcement by the PM last night mean that everyone must stay inside unless it is absolutely essential.

Gatherings of more than two people have been banned in the most dramatic restrictions on freedom ever seen in Britain in time of peace or war. 

But research by YouGov shows the measures have overwhelming endorsement from the public,

Senior police figures have warned that the stringent measures, similar to those already in place in Italy, will be ‘challenging’ with forces across the UK having far fewer officers to call upon than authorities in Rome – with shortages of up to 20,000 officers.

Mr Apter told the BBC today:  It’s going to be really tough and what we have to get across to the public is that as far as policing is concerned it is not business as usual.

‘The normal things my colleagues, officers, would normally go to, we need to decide what it is we cannot go to any more.

‘Because dealing with this partial lock-down is going to put incredible amounts of pressure on my colleagues – and they are up for this.’

His warning came after former GMP chief constable Sir Peter Fahy contrasted the police numbers in Italy with those here.

Sir Peter told BBC Breakfast: ‘If you compare us to Italy, we have about half the number of police officers that they have. 

‘We don’t have a paramilitary police force like the Carabinieri. Our police officers are already very stretched.

‘I think the Government needs to continue to close down businesses and other parts of operations to limit the places that people can be going, but absolutely at the same time reinforcing the message and clarifying as far as possible all those individual issues.

‘We don’t really want 43 separate police forces in England and Wales interpreting this in different ways and individual officers being faced with real dilemmas about whether to allow this or not to allow it.’

‘It will require a huge amount of public support, public acceptance and public compliance because if officers are going to be dispersing groups they are going to be asking about things like ‘is there a power of arrest?’ and that will then tie up more and more officers.

A group of young men are spoken to by Kent Police officers before being dispersed from a children’s play area in Mote Park, Maidstone,

‘So, really, there is no way that this can be achieved through enforcement alone. 

Coronavirus UK: New lockdown measures in full

Boris Johnson tonight announced a lockdown plan to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the UK as he told the nation to stay at home. 

People will only be allowed to leave their home for the following ‘very limited’ purposes:

Shopping for basic necessities as infrequently as possible.

One form of exercise a day.

Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person. 

Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary. 

Meanwhile, the PM has announced a ban on: 

Meeting with friends. 

Meeting with family members you do not live with. 

All weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies but excluding funerals. 

All gatherings of more than two people in public.  

The PM said the police will have the powers to enforce the lockdown measures through fines and dispersing gatherings. 

To ensure people comply the government is also: 

Closing all shops selling non-essential goods. 

Closing all libraries, playground,  outdoor gyms and places of worship.

Parks will remain open for exercise, but will be patrolled.  

‘It will have to be that the public hugely accept it and the government continues to issue clarification and reinforces the message.’ 

Police have also warned that they will have to ignore other crime if they are switched to focusing on coronavirus.  

London Mayor Sadiq Khan today said that if people continue to flout the rules police should check ID of workers and use their powers to disperse crowds, which include issuing fines or even arresting those who should be in self-isolation. 

Police officers will get new powers to issue the fines and make such arrrests when the Coronavirus Bill becomes law on Thursday. 

They will reportedly start at £30 but rise sharply to four figures if the public fail to heed orders to stay at home. 

Travellers in the capital could not stick to social distancing on their Tube journey to work this morning, hours after the Prime Minister warned all but essential workers to stay at home.

Mr Khan demanded that employers enable their staff to work from home ‘unless it’s absolutely necessary’, adding: ‘Ignoring these rules means more lives lost. Some of the people on the Tube yesterday and today are not essential workers, I can tell you that’. He added that many packed on to trains appeared to be heading to building sites.

He added that if people continue to flout the rules police should check ID of workers and use their powers to disperse crowds, which include issuing fines or even arresting those who should be in self-isolation.

Many people were nose-to-nose with people on the Tube, trains and buses as well as platforms despite being told to be two metres apart to avoid catching coronavirus, which has claimed 335 lives so far.            

The government has come under pressure to urgently clarify who it counts as a ‘key worker’ after Britons woke up in a state of confusion over who is permitted to leave home.

Met officers also spoke to groups on benches in St James’ Park close to Buckingham Palace

Many construction workers are operating in environments where social distancing is impossible, leaving them fearful of spreading the deadly disease which has killed 335 and infected over 6,000.

Labourers on lunch break at a building site in Battersea, London, were even pictured squeezed around canteen tables just inches from each other.

Some said they felt compelled to come in for fear of losing their jobs, with one telling MailOnline: ‘It’s mad that we have to carry on as normal while everyone at the office sits at home.’

As well as builders, non-essential delivery drivers were also on the roads today, with high street chains John Lewis, H&M, Debenhams and Boux Avenue all maintaining normal services.

Last night in his historic address to the nation, Boris Johnson ordered the public to stay at home unless travelling to work was ‘absolutely necessary’. 

It was wrapped into an emergency package of draconian measures to keep people indoors to stem the tide of coronavirus infection, which threatens to overwhelm the NHS.

But the wriggle room left by the Prime Minister over exactly who was allowed to travel was seized upon by many workers who continued to commute to their jobs this morning. 

Responding to claims that details of the lockdown were ‘murky’, Michael Gove, the minister for the cabinet office, said: ‘It is the case that construction should continue on sites.

‘People should obviously exercise sensitivity and common sense and follow social distancing measures. But construction sites carried out in the open air can continue’.

Police officers patrol in an empty Trafalgar Square, which would usually be teeming with tourists

He also confirmed that plumbers could continue to carry out emergency repair jobs so long as they observed the two-metre distancing policy. 

Yet images from the first day of lockdown showed construction staff huddling together on sites, brazenly flouting social distancing guidelines.

The Government has set out its key worker definition to battle coronavirus – but many believe it is too vague and is leaving many schools and parents confused about who is eligible

Matt Hancock today launched a drive for a 250,000 strong ‘volunteer army’ to boost the NHS and stop it being swamped amid the coronavirus crisis. 

The Health Secretary said he wanted helpers to come forward to bolster local services – as he announced that nearly 12,000 former medical staff had returned to increase capacity in the face of the disease.

Mr Hancock also revealed that a new temporary hospital, NHS Nightingale, at the Excel centre in London will be opened to the first patients next week.

The news came as Mr Hancock held a press conference in Downing Street – although the questions were posed over video link as part of new government guidelines to stop spread. 

Mr Hancock said his ‘heart goes out’ to families of those who had died, after it was announced that the UK’s  toll had jumped to 422 in the biggest daily rise yet.

The Cabinet minister said of the government’s draconian new lockdown: ‘They are not requests, they are rules… everyone has a responsibility to follow those rules and where possible stay at home.’ 

Unveiling the ‘NHS Volunteers’ drive, Mr Hancock said: ‘We are seeking a quarter of a million volunteers, people in good health to help the NHS, for shopping, for the delivery of medicines and to support those who are shielding to protect their own health.’

He said 11,788 recently retired NHS staff had responded to the appeal from the government to return to the service.

They included 2,660 doctors, more than 2,500 pharmacists and other staff and 6,147 nurses.

‘I pay tribute to each and every one of those who is returning to the NHS at its hour of need,’ Mr Hancock said.

Some 5,500 final-year medics and 18,700 final-year student nurses would ‘move to the frontline’ next week. 

Drive for 250,000 ‘army of volunteers’ to prop up NHS services 

Matt Hancock today launched a drive for a 250,000 strong ‘volunteer army’ to boost the NHS and stop it being swamped amid the coronavirus crisis. 

The Health Secretary said he wanted helpers to come forward to bolster local services – as he announced that nearly 12,000 former medical staff had returned to increase capacity in the face of the disease.

Mr Hancock also revealed that a new temporary hospital, NHS Nightingale, at the Excel centre in London will be opened to the first patients next week.

The news came as Mr Hancock held a press conference in Downing Street – although the questions were posed over video link as part of new government guidelines to stop spread.  

Unveiling the ‘NHS Volunteers’ drive, Mr Hancock said: ‘We are seeking a quarter of a million volunteers, people in good health to help the NHS, for shopping, for the delivery of medicines and to support those who are shielding to protect their own health.’

He said 11,788 recently retired NHS staff had responded to the appeal from the government to return to the service.

They included 2,660 doctors, more than 2,500 pharmacists and other staff and 6,147 nurses.

‘I pay tribute to each and every one of those who is returning to the NHS at its hour of need,’ Mr Hancock said.

Some 5,500 final-year medics and 18,700 final-year student nurses would ‘move to the frontline’ next week. 

Mr Hancock said the new makeshift hospital at the ExCel centre would be called the NHS Nightingale Hospital and would be open by next week.

He said it would have two wards and have a capacity for 4,000 people. It is understood it will be up and running by Saturday 4th April.

He said: ‘We will next week open a new hospital, a temporary hospital.

‘The NHS Nightingale hospital will comprise two wards each of 2,000 people.

‘With the help of the military and with NHS clinicians we will make sure we have the capacity we need so that everyone can get the support they need.

‘But no matter how big we grow the NHS unless we slow the spread of this virus then as we have seen those numbers will continue to rise and that is why it is so important everyone follows the advice and stays at home.’   

Mr Hancock also delivered a stinging rebuke to the London Mayor saying the underground system should be running ‘in full’ so essential workers do not have to be close together. 

The jibe came after another day of chaotic scenes in the capital where ‘health hazard’ carriages were rammed despite the unprecedented shutdown of British society. 

But Mr Khan has blamed commuters for flouting a ban on ‘all non-essential travel’ and urged people to avoid rush hour ‘to save lives’ – claiming he does not have enough staff to return services to normal.   

Mr Hancock went on the attack as he was asked at a Downing Street press conference this evening why NHS staff and other key workers were being forced to put themselves at risk on crowded transport.

He said: ‘When it comes to the Tube, the first and the best answer is that Transport for London should have the Tube running in full so that people travelling on the tube are spaced out and can be further apart – obeying the two-metre rule wherever possible.

‘And there is no good reason in the information that I’ve seen that the current levels of tube provision should be as low as they are. We should have more tube trains running.’

The chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation last night cast doubt on officers’ ability to deal with Boris Johnson’s lockdown – meaning the Army may need to help enforce the strict new coronavirus measures. 

In his address to the nation Mr Johnson said if people do not follow the new rules officers ‘will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings’. 

Police will be able to fine people £30 if they ignore the rules and these on-the-spot fines will be ‘ramped up’ if there is widespread flouting, the government has said.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said the lockdown plans would be ‘very difficult’ and he was already seeing ‘large amounts of sickness’ among officers across London.

He told the BBC: ‘As you quite rightly point out, we haven’t seen one of the 24,000 officers that we lost across the country.

Michael Gove forced to apologise after WRONGLY saying children of separated parents cannot travel between homes

Michael Gove was forced to apologise this morning after telling separated parents their children cannot travel between their homes during the coronavirus lockdown – because they are allowed to. 

The Cabinet Office Minister appeared on GMB after Boris Johnson’s momentous decision last night to bring in the most stringent peacetime restrictions on the UK’s way of life.

The Prime Minister ordered all but essential workers to remain at home and cease all non-essential travel to combat the spread of the virus, which has so far killed 335 Britons.

But questioned by Susannah Reid Mr Gove told GMBs audience, which includes a high number of anxious mothers and fathers, that youngsters would not be allowed out of one parent’s home to go to the other, if they lives apart.

But this caused an uproar, as official advice issued by the Government last night said that under-18s are among those allowed out of homes if they need to go to their other parent.

Mr Gove swiftly took to Twitter after his interview to say: ‘I wasn’t clear enough earlier, apologies.

‘To confirm – while children should not normally be moving between households, we recognise that this may be necessary when children who are under 18 move between separated parents. 

‘This is permissible and has been made clear in the guidance.’

‘So it will be very, very challenging and very difficult for us with what’s put in front of us.

‘But we don’t actually know what is being put in front of us yet other than we’re going to be asked to disperse crowds, it’s going to be a real, real challenge.’ 

In his address to the nation Mr Johnson said you will be allowed to leave your home for the four very limited reasons: 

  • Shopping for basics, as infrequently as possible;
  • Exercise, such as running, walking or cycling, once a day– alone or with those you live with;
  • Travelling to or from work where it is impossible to work from home;
  • To care for a vulnerable person or attend an urgent medical appointment.

Mr Marsh told Sky News that he believed the Army could be drafted should police numbers fall due to illness.

He said: ‘The Army are already in place on the outskirts of London and across the country. And I don’t doubt again for one minute that they will be called if needed.

‘Because if we start losing large numbers in policing terms, through isolation and actually having Covid-19, then they are going to step in and support us in some way.

‘It could be tailored in quite quickly and I would save that everything is on the table.’

The Prime Minister intervened with the new restrictions after pictures emerged this week showing people taking advantage of the warm weather on parks and beaches and flouting government guidelines on social distancing.

John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said he ‘could not imagine’ how officers would police the ban on gatherings of more than two people.

Referring to Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s earlier comments that police require people to follow the rules, he said: ‘I would urge politicians to think before they make such bold statements.

‘I just cannot rationally think how that would work.’ 

The Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police tweeted: ‘Please do not cripple our phone lines with enquiries as to what you can and cannot do during the conditions imposed by the Prime Minister this evening.

‘As soon as we have further clarity on permitted movements, we will upload a specific page on our web site.’

Humberside Police said: ‘We’ve had many calls on our 101 line from people seeking answers, but at this stage we are not able to answer all of your enquiries.’ 

Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, added: ‘Measures to ensure social distancing have so far not had the necessary effect.

‘These new measures are sensible, based on scientific evidence and give people clarity on the exact steps they must take to stop the rapid transmission of this disease.

‘The majority of people are already making real sacrifices to save lives and we urge everyone to follow the advice that is designed to keep us all safe.

‘We are working with the government and other agencies to consider how these new rules can be most effectively enforced.’ 


Herd immunity is a situation in which a population of people is protected from a disease because so many of them are unaffected by it that it cannot spread. 

To cause an outbreak a disease-causing bacteria or virus must have a continuous supply of potential victims who are not immune to it.

Immunity is when your body knows exactly how to fight off a certain type of infection because it has encountered it before, either by having the illness in the past or through a vaccine.

When a virus or bacteria enters the body the immune system creates substances called antibodies, which are designed to destroy one specific type of bug.

When these have been created once, some of them remain in the body and the body also remembers how to make them again. This provides long-term protection, or immunity, against an illness.

If nobody is immune to an illness – as was the case at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak – it can spread like wildfire.

However, if, for example, half of people have developed immunity – from a past infection or a vaccine – there are only half as many people the illness can spread to.

As more and more people become immune the bug finds it harder and harder to spread until its pool of victims becomes so small it can no longer spread at all.

The threshold for herd immunity is different for various illnesses, depending on how contagious they are – for measles, around 95 per cent of people must be vaccinated to it spreading.

For polio, which is less contagious, the threshold is about 80-85 per cent, according to the Oxford Vaccine Group.

Source: Read Full Article

History shows virus could be ‘catastrophic’ for Indigenous communities

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced strict measures to protect "sensitive" remote Indigenous communities from a potential COVID-19 outbreak, banning all non-essential travel to and from remote areas under the Biosecurity Act.

Policy makers didn't have to look too far into the history books to understand why these precautions were so urgently needed.

Cottages at the Barambah Aboriginal Settlement in Queensland in 1919.Credit:State Library of Queensland

In 1919, when Australia was in the grip of the Spanish influenza, a small Aboriginal community in Queensland would become one of the worst-affected places in the country, though the history remains largely unknown.

The virus reached the government-run Barambah Aboriginal Settlement, three hours north of Brisbane, in late May, 1919. The town is now called Cherbourg.

The local Indigenous people "died like flies", a Brisbane newspaper reported at the time.

All but 10 of the 600-strong population were infected. Within three weeks, almost 90 people had died – a mortality rate of almost 15 per cent. The dead were buried in mass graves.

“You can imagine a community where 10 people out of 600 are able to get up and walk around – it's completely catastrophic. It's complete dislocation, nothing is functioning normally,” said historian Matthew Wengert, author of City in Masks: How Brisbane fought the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1919.

It’s unclear how the virus got into the community, which was only accessible via one road. The state government had shut the Queensland border and closed access to the Barambah settlement to all except the government medical officer.

“I don't think anyone can ever be certain about how the virus got into Barambah, but when it got in, it went through the place like a storm,” Mr Wengert said.

An excerpt from an article published in the Brisbane Courier on June 7, 1919. 

“It was a complete disaster unlike anything else in mainstream Australia.”

Most residents had been forcibly relocated to the settlement from central and far north Queensland, and were unused to Barambah’s frosts and chilly winters. Mr Wengert said it was likely none had ever experienced the flu before.

“The fact that it got in is shameful, because the government was responsible for those people. They were living there because the government forced them to live there, and then the government knew that the flu was coming.”

Mr Wengert says the history lesson is clear: “If you have a rule, then it should be followed.”

Cherbourg elder Eric Law says the community is now “much better resourced” to cope with an outbreak than it was a century ago, but is still vulnerable due to overcrowded housing and high rates of chronic disease.

The Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council has banned community access for non-essential services. There has been one confirmed case of coronavirus in Kingaroy, 40 minutes from Cherbourg.

“I think people are cautious, more than worried. I think they're taking this threat seriously, which is good,” said Mr Law.

The Wakka Wakka man grew up hearing stories about the Spanish influenza from his father, a World War One veteran who was on a ship home when the virus hit Australia.

He hopes people will heed the lessons of the past.

“I think this is a good time for everybody in Australia to worry about somebody else," he said.

“It's about that old Australian tradition of looking after your mate, and this is when we need to be doing it and not just talking about it.”

Sign up to our Coronavirus Update newsletter

Get our Coronavirus Update newsletter for the day’s crucial developments at a glance, the numbers you need to know and what our readers are saying. Sign up to The Sydney Morning Herald’s newsletter here and The Age’s here.

Source: Read Full Article

Endangered primates could die from coronavirus

Scientists fear GORILLAS can catch and die from coronavirus because of their similarity to humans

  • Congo’s Virunga National Park is home to one third of world’s mountain gorillas
  • It has recently taken the decision to ban all visitors until June amid the outbreak
  • Mountain gorillas are prone to the same respiratory illnesses that afflict humans
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Conservationists have warned that endangered species including Africa’s mountain gorilla are at risk of contracting coronavirus.

The Virunga National Park in Congo, which is currently home to around one third of the world’s mountain gorillas, has taken the decision to ban all visitors until June 1.

It cited ‘advice from scientific experts indicating that primates, including mountain gorillas, are likely susceptible to complications arising from the COVID-19 virus.’

The Virunga National Park in Congo (pictured), which is currently home to around one third of the world’s mountain gorillas, has taken the decision to ban all visitors until June 1. Pictured: Park ranger wearing a face mask

Primates are prone to many of the same respiratory illnesses that afflict humans. 

Even a common cold is enough to kill a gorilla, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature, which is one of the reasons why tourists tracking the animals are not normally permitted to get too close. 

And Virunga National Park’s decision has been welcomed by conservationists in the region. 

Paula Kahumbu, chief executive of the Kenya-based conservation group WildlifeDirect, said that ‘every possible effort must be made’ to protect mountain gorillas because there are so few left in the wild.

She added: ‘We know that gorillas are very sensitive to human diseases. 

‘If anyone has a cold or a flu they are not allowed to go and see the gorillas. 

‘With coronavirus having such a long time of no symptoms in some cases, it means that we could actually put those gorillas at risk.’

The park cited ‘advice from scientific experts indicating that primates, including mountain gorillas, are likely susceptible to complications arising from the COVID-19 virus’. Pictured: Silverback mountain gorilla in the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.

The species are prone to many of the same respiratory illnesses that afflict humans and conservationists believe that they are at risk from the coronavirus. Pictured: Two mountain gorillas in the Virunga National Park

But existing protective measures may not be enough to protect them.

Ugandan conservationist Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka warned that the rule on keeping a safe distance from gorillas was broken almost every time a group of tourists visited.

She said: ‘What the research found is that the seven-metre rule was broken almost all the time – around 98 per cent of the time.

‘But what was interesting is that 60 per cent of the time it was tourists that broke it and 40 per cent of the time it was the gorillas who broke it.’

If close interaction cannot be prevented, she said, one measure that could potentially improve safety is requiring tourists to wear masks at all times.

Even a common cold is enough to kill a gorilla, which is one of the reasons why tourists tracking the animals are not normally permitted to get too close. Pictured: Tourists and park rangers wearing protective masks in Virunga National Park

Rwanda has already made the decision to temporarily shut down tourism and research activities in three national parks. Pictured: Silverback mountain gorilla in Rwanda

Uganda has not yet announced a shutdown of gorilla tourism despite traffic from Europe and elsewhere dwindling.

Bashir Hangi, a spokesman for the Uganda Wildlife Authority, said the decision on whether to shut down gorilla tourism is now academic as there is almost no business amid the outbreak.

Any tourists who had still been arriving were screened for fever and other symptoms as well as being asked to produce a ‘certificate of isolation’ before they were permitted to track the gorillas.

But neighbouring Rwanda has already made the decision to temporarily shut down tourism and research activities in three national parks. 

Amos Wekesa, who organises safaris in both Uganda and Rwanda, spoke mournfully of ‘hardly any business’ as tourists postpone visits or seek refunds.

Mountain gorillas have been listed as critically endangered or endangered since 1996 predominantly as a result of poaching, illness and human encroachment. Pictured: Young mountain gorilla in eastern Congo

Mountain gorillas have been listed as critically endangered or endangered since 1996 predominantly as a result of poaching, illness and human encroachment.

But their numbers are now thought to be growing as a result of conservation efforts.

In Rwanda, where tourism is the top foreign exchange earner, the government prioritises the protection of gorillas and even introduced an official naming ceremony for baby primates.

A gorilla tracking permit costs up to $600 (£515) in Uganda and upward of $1,000 (£858) in Rwanda.

Many now worry that loss of tourist revenue during the coronavirus pandemic could further expose the primates to poachers.

Virunga, established in 1925 as Africa’s first national park and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has long been vulnerable in a volatile part of eastern Congo.

Ms Kahumbu added: ‘I think this is going to have a huge impact on their sustainability. 

‘I call on all donors and governments that support these national parks in Africa to make it easy for the parks that need to shut down to do so and survive.’ 

Source: Read Full Article

Netflix fans could be stopped from watching shows in HD in Europe

EU is urging Netflix to stop streaming shows in HD to relieve pressure on the internet amid coronavirus crisis

  • The EU today discouraged online media platforms from streaming movies in HD 
  • Web giants have increasingly supplied film lovers with HD footage of favourites
  • But the EU warned the huge file sizes are slowing web as users work from home 
  • Regulators set up mechanism to monitor internet traffic amid coronavirus crisis  
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Netflix fans across Europe may no longer be able to watch shows in HD, in a move to relieve pressure on the internet during the coronavirus pandemic.

The European Union today urged online media platforms to stream movies and entertainment in standard rather than high definition.

As online speeds have increased and screen resolution has improved, web giants like Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu, HBO and Amazon have increasingly supplied film lovers with high definition footage of their favourites.

Netflix fans across Europe may no longer be able to watch shows in HD, in a move to relieve pressure on the internet during the coronavirus pandemic (file photo)

But Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner for the internal market and digital economy, warns the huge file sizes of such broadcasts are slowing the web just as many users are forced to work online from home.

After holding talks with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Breton said: ‘Europe and the whole world are facing an unprecedented situation.

‘Governments have taken measures to reduce social interactions to contain the spread of COVID-19, and to encourage remote working and online education.’

‘Streaming platforms, telecom operators and users, we all have a joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the Internet during the battle against the virus propagation.’

Thierry Breton, pictured, warned the huge file sizes of such HD media broadcasts are slowing the web just as many users are forced to work online from home

Breton’s office announced that EU regulators had set up a reporting mechanism to monitor internet traffic and react quickly if over-use threatens communications and the economy in Europe.

It follows the announcement all schools in England will close on Friday along with those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as coronavirus continues to wreak havoc in the UK.    

Boris Johnson revealed the bombshell move this evening and said that when school gates shut at the end of the week they will not reopen for the foreseeable future.

However, a skeleton operation will be kept in place across the country so that the children of key workers – including NHS staff, police officers and supermarket delivery drivers – can be looked after and enable their parents to continue to work.

Source: Read Full Article

London could face coronavirus lockdown with extra travel restrictions as bug spreads quicker in capital

LONDON could enter a coronavirus lockdown – with extra travel restrictions for Brits in the capital.

Sources close to City Hall say the Government is preparing fresh legislation to give them the power to stop gatherings, and keep Londoners inside.

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

It could include measures to stop Londoners leaving their homes except to go to the supermarket or pharmacy, The Sun has been told.

Downing Street said today that ministers could use existing laws to keep individuals "in isolation for their own safety".

And the emergency powers could come as early as Friday, though sources stressed the plans were not imminent.

Measures like this are being considered because London is the worst affected area in the country – with 621 cases and 25 deaths.

In the country as a whole there are now 2,626 cases – up by more than 600 in 24 hours.

The PM said earlier this week that the virus was spreading faster in London than other parts of the country – and people in the capital should take extra note of the new rules.

No10 today did not deny that extra measures were coming specifically for London.

A spokesperson said: "We have set out the steps necessary at this point in time. But we will be guided by the scientific and medical advice to make sure we take the right steps at the right time.

"We will do whatever it is required to keep the public safe."

  • Coronavirus cases hit 2,626 and 72 deaths in Britain 
  • Boris Johnson promises new law to stop renters getting evicted this lunchtime
  • Coronavirus testing is being ramped up to 25k a day – with NHS staff set to be the first in line
  • A heartbreaking photo shows elderly man staring at empty shelves
  • Glastonbury has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic
  • And a baby and a nine-month-old boy have now got coronavirus

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said earlier that London may have to take "more stringent measures" because of its outbreak curve.

She said: "It will not be the case that all parts of the UK are at the same place on the curve at the same time.

"We know London is ahead of the rest of us so we may see more stringent measures than even those that we have announced so far, being taken but they will not necessarily be taken in all parts of the country at the same time."

Earlier this week Boris announced strict new measures – telling everyone to work from home if they can, and to stop going out and socialising with friends and family.

But insiders said the Government were alarmed that Londoners were ignoring calls to avoid pubs and restaurants, and further action needed to be taken to stop the spread.

Legislation could allow the Government to shut down premises too.

New figures from Transport for London show a drop of 20 per cent on the tubes and buses at the start of March already.

Lockdowns – what is the rest of Europe doing to stop the spread?


Since midday yesterday in France, people are only allowed to go out to make essential trips such as going to the supermarket, pharmacy and work if they have to.

And only one individual per household is permitted to leave at once.

They have to carry paperwork which confirms your identity and address – and explains the reason why you are travelling.

Cultural and sporting activities are banned and big public events are also barred.

Restaurants and bars are closed, while public transport is severely limited.

And they face an on-the-spot of 138 euros if they do not have the documents on them at the time.

Ministers have deployed 100,000 cops to enforce the lockdown.


Meanwhile, Italy has faced a similar lockdown since March 10 – where no one is allowed out except to to get food, petrol and medicine, and have to be healthy to do so.

All schools, restaurants, bars and cafes are shut, and anyone that does venture out has to fill in a set of forms too.

Italy has the second-highest number of diagnosed cases in the world, with 30,000 infections and more than 2,500 deaths.

There are fines of up to 200 euros on the spo and six months in prison if they are found to break the rules.

Thousands of people so far have received a ticking off so far.


Deadly coronavirus has seen Spain gradually grind to a halt.

All non-essential venues have been shut down and people told only to leave home if absolutely necessary for food or medication.

The country, which has reported nearly 12,000 cases and nearly 500 deaths, and today closed all hotels and demanded tourists leave urgently.

The government shuttered schools on March 11 and announced an official state of emergency on Friday.

All bars and restaurants have closed and there are fines of up to 600,000 euros for disobeying the lockdown ban.

Spaniards can also be jailed for up to a year.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has warned his people they faced "very difficult weeks" of sacrifices ahead.

And today it was announced that schools in Wales and Scotland would shut on Friday.

England's announcement is set to come later today.

Boris told PMQs in the Commons: "The House should expect decisions to be taken imminently on schools."



For all the latest news, tips and information – plus essential advice for you and your family – on the Coronavirus crisis, sign up to our newsletter.

It will be sent out every teatime at thesun.co.uk/covidbulletin

Or you can like our coronavirus Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/CoronavirusLatestTheSun/

Source: Read Full Article

How England could line-up at Euro 2021 with Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood leading Southgate’s young Lions – The Sun

GARETH SOUTHGATE faces an embarrassment of riches with his squad selection ahead of Euro 2021.

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed back Europe's top competition for a year.

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

But, should the stratospheric trajectory of some of England's young players continue when football finally returns, then next summer could be very interesting indeed.

Just three of those names catching eyes and turning heads at the moment are Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood.

Saka, 18, has impressed in the left-back position for Arsenal.

He has three goals in 29 appearances this season – including the first in January's 2-1 FA Cup win over Bournemouth.

On top of that he has nine assists in all competitions.

Saka has represented England from Under-16s to Under-19s.

But his parents are of Nigerian descent so he could play for them too.

Saka has spoken of his indecision over his international future in the past. In December he told the BBC: "I am always thinking about it but I haven't made a decision yet.

"No one has been in touch but when I make a decision you will find out."

Southgate hopes he will choose England given his experience in the country's youth set up.

Man City ace Foden, 19, was on the verge of a call-up for the now-cancelled friendlies against Denmark and Italy at the end of this month.

Southgate has been keeping a close eye on him but expressed a concern over a lack of playing time.

The postponement of the Euros could work in Foden's favour because it means he has more time to shine in the Premier League for Pep Guardiola's side.

His amazing performance in the Carabao Cup win over Villa showed what he is capable of.

Topping off just some of the young stars Southgate could pick from is Man United's Greenwood.

The 18-year-old has 12 goals in all competitions this season and reports have claimed Southgate is "very keen" on the striker.

His relative inexperience and age should not count against him, seeing as Southgate picked Callum Hudson-Odoi for international duty before he had even played a Premier League match.

Of course, these names all come before a plethora of others, including Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish, James Maddison and Fikayo Tomori.

Southgate can also count on the experience of elder statesmen Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling.

Should it all come together then it should lead to England challenging right to the end in what is essentially a home Euros.

Source: Read Full Article

*Could* TV Networks Actually Air Old Basketball Tournaments?

Last week, when it began to look likely that the NCAA would cancel March Madness, MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki proposed a solution:

“If there’s no NCAA tournament this year,” he wrote on Twitter, “I think CBS should go into the archives and assemble all the footage from one from years ago — commercials, pregame and halftime shows, in-game updates, everything. Use 1992 or something. Then just run it all like it’s new.”

Since then, the leagues have canceled or postponed March Madness, the Masters, the NBA season, the NHL season, spring training and the Major League Baseball season, and more. Basically the only thing remaining on the schedule to cover live is the NFL draft, while more and more people get stranded at home.

So could TV networks air old college basketball tournaments? Or the 2000 NBA playoffs? What about the 1997 Masters where Tiger won that first time?

I emailed representatives for a few of the major broadcasters earlier today with this general question of whether they would consider airing old playoffs and tournaments, or what issues might prevent them from doing so.

A spokesperson for ESPN quickly pointed me to a Tuesday Q&A with Burke Magnus, an EVP, about their programming plans without live sports to air (or even talk about).

The general answer is…it’s thinking about airing old games:

Re-airing full-game presentations is not a right that we or other media companies typically have at our disposal at all times. Each one of these circumstances requires individual conversations with the specific league or property to determine what’s possible.

Since we’ve heard from fans that would love to relive full-game presentations, particularly at this moment in time, we are exploring that possibility for events and content that we don’t have re-air rights already.

We are working with the leagues themselves to free up the possibility to show encore presentations and discussing how we can present them. In some instances, we aren’t even the original rightsholder, which is the case for the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, for example. Event programming will continue to be supplemented by ESPN live studio and news programming, plus original shows and films.

Basically, there are some real rights issues here. At a minimum, you’d need a willing partnership between network and league.

Elsewhere in the Q&A, Magnus said the network is currently geared toward covering the NFL draft (which is supposed to continue, just minus events) but are also looking at scaling “fun, compelling archival content and/or themed and stunt event programming that will provide a diversion at a time that there are virtually no other live sports to watch.”

(I also emailed reps for CBS Sports, Turner Sports, and Fox Sports earlier with the same question — no answer as of yet.)

But the beauty of Steve’s original suggestion is that a full tournament would provide narrative. In a situation where everyone is at home and isolated, you’re looking for something that could potentially create a communal experience with a beginning, middle, end, and surprises.

To get this, you need something that runs end to end — not just the one-off selection of Yankees Classics that air on the YES Network.

You need something that isn’t too recent to give a little mystery and fuzziness. (Nobody really remembers most of anything from, for example, 1992’s March Madness — except the Grant Hill–Christian Laettner play.) You need this to air with a little fanfare in an easily accessible place — nobody wants to harass their friends to dig up some random grainy clips on YouTube. And you need some good surprises in there too, like the actual ads from forever ago, since there’s no joy like seeing what was supposed to be cool 25 years ago.

You need an old basketball tournament! That’s what you need!

More on this

  • The Best Shows To Watch When You’re Feeling AnxiousTomi Obaro · March 13, 2020
  • The Coronavirus Is Raising Tough Moral Questions For Partners And RoommatesShannon Keating · 4 hours ago
  • Katherine Miller is an editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Contact this reporter at [email protected]

    Contact Katherine Miller at [email protected]

    Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

Source: Read Full Article

Anthony Joshua vs Pulev could be delayed by a month due to coronavirus as Hearn reveals plan to stage fight in July – The Sun

ANTHONY JOSHUA has a back-up July date if coronavirus KOs his June 20 clash with Kubrat Pulev.

Britain’s WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight ring is supposed to defend his belts against his Bulgarian mandatory challenger at Tottenham’s new ground.

But, following Boris Johnson’s grim speech on Monday night, The British Boxing Board of Control has cancelled all bouts until April and AJ has a Plan-B in case that ban is extended.

Joshua’s Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn has been in talks with the Premier League side, who are out of action until April too, about pushing the clash back a month.

Hearn said: "A requirement for Anthony in his next fight, a necessity for him, was to box in the UK.

“June 20 is a long time away, it's still in our plans. We have been speaking to Tottenham and making sure that we're all on the same page.

"For the Anthony Joshua fight, there are already potential plans to move that fight back to July.

"We do have a potential date for that, but right now, hoping June 20 can remain the date."

Source: Read Full Article