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Wuhan coronavirus in Scotland?


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Watched the documentary on Channel 4, Yonza.  Scary.  Hope they develop a vaccine soon.  I've been reading a lot of posts by people on social media saying how unwell they have been with 'flu.  People don't regularly go to the doctors or quarantine themselves with flu symptoms. 

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First 2 cases identified in Iran.

79 new cases on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, bringing the total to 621.

Huge jump of 20 new cases in South Korea, bringing the total there to 51 cases. 15 of the cases are associated with a 61 year old female 'super spreader', who infected 14 members of a church congregation and 1 hospital worker.

40 mobile animal carcass and general waste incinerators brought to Wuhan. There has been plenty of speculation on social media that they have been brought in because local crematoria can't keep up with the body count. They can each burn 5 tons of animal carcasses per day, which equates to about 70 human bodies. However, there is a huge amount of infected material associated with each hospital case that needs to be incinerated, and it's possible there's a large backlog that needs to be cleared.

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Those poor people on the Diamond Princess – probably so many of them needing that holiday.  Think they would probably have been better getting them off the ship with the first case and checking everyone else. Most of them could probably have escaped catching the virus. 

Hope they find that vaccine. 

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Huge spike in South Korean cases in the city of Daegu, where cases are associated with a church congregation member. From The Guardian:

 

"South Korea has recorded 31 news cases today, taking its total to 82.

The country’s disease control centre said 30 of the new cases were in the city of Daegu and surrounding Gyeongbuk province south of Seoul.

Of those, 23 are linked with the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, The Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony, where the a 61-year-old woman believed to be at the centre of the cluster was a worshipper. The woman is known as Patient 31 because she was the 31st person recorded with the virus in South Korea.

It is now believed that 37 out of the 82 cases are members of the church’s congregation."

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I'm not sure what's going on in South Korea, but these are crazy numbers.

Cut & paste

SEOUL, Feb. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea reported its first death from the new coronavirus on Thursday, with 53 new cases of the coronavirus confirmed in a single day to bring the total here to 104.

Most new cases occurred in the southeastern city of Daegu. The city's mayor urged its 2.5 million people to refrain from going outside to stem the spread of the virus.

This week's surge in the number of infected people, increasing the nation's total infections by more than 70, came as the health authorities warned that the virus has begun spreading locally.

Of the 53 new cases, 51 are in Daegu, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, and neighboring North Gyeongsang Province. The remaining two were reported in Seoul, the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said in a statement.

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Good Lord. That's a big hike in a day and such a large place.  It's all very well telling people to stay at home. Does that mean no-one going to work, no healthcare staff in hospitals, no children going to school?

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A few reports of the 'well, that escalated quickly' variety.

Two days ago, there were no officially confirmed cases in Iran, then they weighed in with TWO DEATHS. Just goes to show how chaotic the collation, reporting and dissemination of information can be. Today, Iran reports 13 new cases (4  in Tehran) and another two deaths. As if that weren't enough, here's a cut and paste about a new Canadian case -

Canadian health authorities have announced what they called a “sentinel event” with the detection of the new coronavirus in a woman who had never travelled to China.The woman instead had recently returned to British Columbia from Iran, which has reported just five cases of the disease. Two of those patients have died. The infection of the woman is the sixth case detected in BC, and the ninth in Canada. The woman in her 30s lives in the Fraser Health region outside Vancouver, provincial health officer Dr Bonnie Henry said. Henry told a press conference in Victoria late on Thursday that the case was a “sentinel event”, as a possible “indicator that there’s more widespread transmission".

A 38 year old Italian man is seriously ill and in intensive care, after having dinner on the 28th of January with two friends who had returned from China. Both of the friends had been quarantined then released, so spread it 'asymptomatically'. So, that's 24 days since the 38 year old became infected, as opposed to the officially recognised 14 days that are considered adequate for quarantine purposes. People in two villages have now been asked to self quarantine, and a total of 70 individuals are now in quarantine, although it's not clear how many of these are contacts of the cluster, and how many returning from China, or the cruise ship. Details are sketchy, but latest reports suggest more  infections in the cluster, including the wife of the 38 year old, and a family friend.

Another 100 cases confirmed in South Korea, today, bringing the total up to 204, most of them associated with a 61 year old church congregation 'super spreader'. Another 400 plus of the church congregation are showing symptoms.  It's quite incredible that one person could be responsible for so many infections. Even the notorious 'Typhoid Mary' is believed to have been responsible for infecting only around 50 people.

The virus appears to be running rampant in the Chines prison system. One prison in Shandong province reports confirmed infections in 200 inmates and 7 guards.

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Italian officials said Friday an additional 14 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, up from six who were previously diagnosed in the northern part of the country — bringing the total to 17.

Officials from the Northern Lombardy region first reported that three individuals tested positive for coronavirus in Italy early Friday. The individuals had not traveled to China, marking the first instance of local transmission in Italy. Officials reported additional cases at a press conference later in the day. Those who were infected were in proximity or in the same locations as the group that was diagnosed earlier in the day, according to the Associated Press.

The Italian Health Ministry has ordered anyone who has been in direct contact with these individuals to be quarantined for two weeks. All residents living in Codogno and Castiglione d’Adda—the two Lombardy towns where the patients are from—have been told to stay home.

“We have introduced a compulsory quarantine for all those who have been in contact with the patients who tested positive,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told reporters.

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Updates

Italy - now 132 infected, with 26 in intensive care, and 3rd death reported. That escalated quickly. Almost a dozen towns, with total population of around 50,000 in Lombardy and Veneto, now effectively under quarantine.

UK - 4 more new cases, all former passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Quarantine appears to have been an abject failure. Now, 691 passengers and crew confirmed.

South Korea - Hard to believe, but 99 out of 102 psychiatric patients in a hospital ward have tested positive.

Iran - 4 more deaths, bringing the total now to 11 (Twitter, still to be confirmed). It appears to have been spreading 'under the radar' in Iran for some time. Could be the worst outbreak outside of China, but monitoring nothing like as efficient as South Korea or Italy. Anecdotal reports are grim.

Edit: another 23 cases in Italy, total now 155.

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Stay healthy, folks.  China seemed a long way away – Italy much closer to home, heard five people have now died there. We were in Tuscany six months ago.  There's a lot of toing and froing betweens Scotland and Italy. 

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Iran

The Iranian epidemic appears to have 'gone nuclear'. Official figures from there are meaningless. A video that went viral today was a television address by the Iranian health minister, flanked by  his deputy, who was clearly in some distress. He's now a confirmed case. To get some idea about how rampant it must be in Iran, it would be better to consider new cases that have arrived from Iran in other countries. In just the past few days, these include Canada (2), Oman (2), Iraq, Afghanistan, UAE, Lebanon and Kuwait. Epidemiologists have estimated that only a quarter of such cases entering countries get identified. However, the number of cases in Bahrain arriving from Iran is staggering - a total of 23 confirmed at the last count. The population of Iran is 81 million. I wouldn't want to guess how many of them are infected, but when your deputy health minister almost collapses from it on prime time television, that's a rather large red flag. Every flight out of Iran must be seeding the disease in other countries.

Italy

Latest 'official' total is 322 confirmed cases and 11 deaths. Italy is bordered by Croatia, Switzerland, France and Austria. All now have confirmed cases from Italy, including two in Austria. A 25 year old German male has also been confirmed after returning from a trip to Milan. Very recent news is that Algeria has confirmed its first case, and that this is also an Italian. Waiting for confirmation. Three cases from Italy have also been identified in Spain. One is a doctor from Lombardy, in Italy,  who had spent a week in a hotel in Tenerife. His wife is also infected. The hotel and it's near 1,000 guests have now been placed 'in isolation'. Not sure how that's different from quarantine. I hope it doesn't turn into another Diamond Princess cruise ship scenario. Another Spanish case today is the first on the mainland, in Barcelona, and it's another Italian. It looks as if northern Italy is set to become Europe's Hubei province.

Five UK schools have closed after pupils returned from Italy. Some of the pupils and staff are reported to have 'flu like' symptoms.

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Yes, saw that Iranian Depute Health Minister mopping his brow on television.  See there are now cases of coronavirus in Pakistan.  Spreading all the time. 

Trump isn't happy that advice regarding the probability of coronavirus spreading to USA – he reckons this is 'scaremongering'.

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I posted this on the Wunderground tropical weather and climate forum, yesterday. There's a lot of off topic stuff posted in the quiet season.

Germany may be at the start of an epidemic, says health minister. There isn't a recent reported big surge in confirmed cases in Germany, and only a few of the new ones don't have an obvious source, such as a recent visit to north Italy. So, reading between the lines, I get the impression that the German health minister might know something that the rest of us don't, and is breaking it to us gently. It may be about to take off, there.

https://www.usnews.com/news...

Now, suddenly there are 14 confirmed cases today in North Rhine-Westphalia.

I'm getting the same vibe about California, today. There's one case today that appears to be due to local transmission. Apart from that - nothing - but officials are suddenly being very demonstrative about their preparedness for an outbreak. I think they've been alerted.

From the L.A. Times

"California is coming to terms with the growing threat posed by coronavirus, as two communities issued emergency orders and a patient in Northern California was described by authorities as potentially the first in the U.S. to contract the disease through community.

Officials have stressed that the number of cases in California remain low, and there are no signs of an outbreak. But health agencies said they are preparing for more cases as the virus spreads.

“Everyone’s concerned,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said.

“We’re not just preparing — we’ve been actively participating in addressing this issue for many months, aggressively,” he said. “In fact, there’s no other state in America that’s been more involved in addressing the issue.”

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Updates

There's a lack of clarification about today's confirmed diagnoses, with regard to how they became infected, and also about national totals. Previously dependable websites are now struggling to keep up with rapidly changing developments.

Iran - the former ambassador to the Vatican has died from COVID-19 infection, and a vice-president has tested positive.

South Korea - 505 new cases.

Spain - 12 new cases, including 6 in Valencia.

France - 20 new cases, total now 38.

Norway - 3 new cases, 2 infected in Italy,  1 in Iran.

Sweden - 5 new cases, total now 7. One is believed to have been infected in Germany.

Germany - 19 new cases, total 40.

Italy - 180 new cases, total 650.

Netherlands - First case, visited Lombardy, in Italy.

Northern Ireland - First case, visited Italy. 

San Marino - First case.

 

 

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How's this for stupid? Lithuanian basketball team, Zalgiris Kaunas, will go ahead with its scheduled European league match against Italian team, Olimpio Milan, tonight. The match is a sell out in its 15,415 capacity indoor stadium, which will be seen by many travelling fans from northern Italy.

In other (ironic) news, Lithuania has just confirmed its first COVID-19 infected case today, a 39 year old woman, who had just returned from northern Italy.

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    Surrey GP is the UK's 20th infected case, and the first that hasn't originated abroad, or been transmitted by an existing known case. This is known as 'community transmission', and is usually taken as a sign that the disease is now uncontained and spreading.

    Ah, well . . . . anyone fancy a pint down 'The Winchester'?

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    Breaking: Second coronavirus case of unknown origin confirmed in California, indicating virus is spreading in the state

    The patient is a 65-year-old person from Santa Clara County, with no known history of travel to places hit hard by the outbreak, and no contact with a known case of the virus. Santa Clara is about 90 miles from Solano County, where the first case of community transmission in the United States was confirmed this week.

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    COVID-19 Fatality Rate by AGE:

    *Death Rate = (number of deaths / number of cases) = probability of dying if infected by the virus (%). This probability differs depending on the age group. The percentage shown below does NOT represent in any way the share of deaths by age group. Rather, it represents, for a person in a given age group, the risk of dying if infected with COVID-19.

    AGE
    DEATH RATE
    confirmed cases
    DEATH RATE
    all cases
    80+ years old
    21.9%
    14.8%
    70-79 years old
     
    8.0%
    60-69 years old
     
    3.6%
    50-59 years old
     
    1.3%
    40-49 years old
     
    0.4%
    30-39 years old
     
    0.2%
    20-29 years old
     
    0.2%
    10-19 years old
     
    0.2%
    0-9 years old
     
    no fatalities
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    That's so good about the wee kids. Their wee hands aren't cleaner and they pick up everything at school and nursery so wonder what the factor is that they appear not to be so at risk?

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    No one knows, but the virus is known to use the ACE-2 receptor to enter cells. If their cells express fewer of these receptors, they'd be more resistant to infection.

    However, that's pretty speculative. I'm sure that much, possibly all, of the answer relates to an intracellular molecule, called Nuclear Factor- kappa Beta (NF-kB). It's an incredibly 'busy' molecule, that's involved in many processes, but a principal function it has is the control of pathogens that establish virtually lifelong latency inside cells. These include the many herpes viruses, tuberculosis mycobacteria, Lyme disease borrelia and many others. The adverse health effects of these pathogens is not so much caused by the pathogens themselves, but by a chronic, excessive activation of the NF-kB response, which damages cells, leading to just about every non-communicable disease, depending on the cell type in which it is activated.

    Aging is associated with increasing activation of NF-kB, with all the potential bad health effects that involves, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's disease etc. But activation is also associated with diseases of younger age groups, such as type 1 diabetes, autism, ADHD, asthma, schizophrenia etc. Although infection by intracellular pathogens that establish latency is a major factor, many other environmental and lifestyle factors contribute to its chronic activation, such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle, overeating (particularly simple carbohydrates and fats), obesity, lack of immune challenge in infancy, abnormal gut biota, air pollution, and food and chemical allergies.

    Human coronaviruses are not known to establish latency inside cells, but I've read some recent work by experts claiming that bat coronaviruses do establish latency in bats, and speculating that this might be behind apparent reinfection of recovered patients. The theory is that the virus was not eradicated, but became quiescent inside cells, so it didn't show up in tests. At a later date, it reactivated, causing illness. So, the unfortunate patients weren't actually infected for a second time. The herpes virus that causes chickenpox can lie dormant inside cells for several decades, then reactivate as shingles.

    The people most at risk from COVID-19 are the elderly, and those with existing chronic health problems. Overactivation of NF-kB is particulaly excessive in these groups, so increased activation by the coronavirus is more serious. In children, there is much less activation of NF-kB, so they would be much less harmed by activation caused by infection with the coronavirus. Another group in which NF-kB is more strongly activated is obese individuals, so I'd expect them to be more severely affected by COVID-19.

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    Coronavirus is an umbrella name for a collective of similar viruses and the one doing the rounds currently is just another strain. Some of these viruses have been circulating for over a year especially in Saudi Arabia and Iran. It all depends on the individual and how their immune system and respiratory system reacts. If you are in pretty reasonable to good health you could go through this and not even know apart from the same symptoms as the seasonal flu. However if you have bronchitis, COPD, lung cancer, immune problems it could wreak havoc on you. Vulnerable people should stay away from crowds, city centres, and avoid shaking hands for the next few months.  The virus does enjoy the freezing cold which might explain Scotland's current luck.

    There may be big issues ahead for the US.  They can really thank Trump for dismantling the global health division of the CDC. Sadly for Trump, disease usually beats the fake news narrative and this could have an important impact on his presidency.   They didn’t have test kits, then they issued faulty test kits. Because they only have the National capacity to carry out 400 tests a day and they’re expensive they were only testing people who met the expected criteria (travel to China etc) unless they were seriously sick so by now it’s likely all over the place. There were travel restrictions in from about the start of February but they didn’t apply to citizens and curiously the virus doesn’t recognize citizenship. It was pretty much always going to spread in the USA but they’ve run an absolute clown show preparing for it. When it does take off it’s going to be tragic, they’ll be asking people with no sick pay to stay home and self quarantine, they’ll be asking people with no insurance to go to a doctor, hell the test is $3000 a pop. It should take off like a bullet, it’s the perfect conditions for it.

    That should be the virus does not enjoy freezing cold (couldn't get the edit function to work)

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    Had to happen. Keep washing those hands, folks.  Have been reading all the tips for non contagion on Twitter including pressing lift doors with your knuckle rather than your finger. Now so far as I know all that means is never touch your face with the back of your hand. 

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