Corona Virus Outbreak – List of Important Information

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The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic has caused immense global impact as the virus spreads internationally, hitting different counties in America, Europe and Australia. On 12th March 2020, the World Health Organisation has finally declared this outbreak a pandemic. COVID-19 is known to spread from human-to-human, with initial spreaders not having symptoms of pneumonia or fever. This presents a large problem with the containment of the virus, as spreaders can unknowingly infect others in close proximity. The virus is 96% similar to Bat Coronavirus and also 79.5% similar to SARS-CoV (2003) and in the same family as MERS-CoV. This has led to global media coverage and raised awareness of methods to prevent the spread of this disease. However, there has also been a huge amount of fake news and misinformation being spread on this issue. This is an updated list of reputable news sources detailing what’s really happening with the virus.

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Coronavirus Map of Global Cases

Covid-19 cases worldwide as at 23 March 2020
Covid-19 cases worldwide as at 23 March 2020

This interactive map by the CSSE at Johns Hopkins University marks the locations of all the known cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). It tracks new cases reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Centre for Disease Control (CDC), NHC and Dingxiangyuan. A second map by internet giant Tencent is also available for more up to date China data.

For more maps and a live feed of verified Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and World news on the outbreak, check out https://coronavirus.thebaselab.com/, a website created and run by Thebaselab, a group of Hong Kong high school students.

What counts as a “confirmed case”?- a numbers game

According to the South China Morning Post who had sight of classified Chinese data, over 43,000 people had tested positive for Coronavirus by end of February 2020 but were asymptomatic i.e. showed no symptoms. These people were quarantined but were not included in the official tally of confirmed cases.

Currently there is no global consensus on how “confirmed cases” are tallied. The WHO classifies anyone who tests positive as a “confirmed case”-irrespective of whether they show symptoms or not. This is the method followed by South Korea and Hong Kong. From 1st April 2020 onwards, China will also be including asymptomatic carriers when counting the number of confirmed cases.

Travel Restrictions

Countries are currently scrambling to prevent huge spikes in cases of Coronavirus, and one method of doing so seems to be restricting travel or imposing quarantine measures for those who are entering the country. We’ve found Cathay Pacific’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions page to provide a very helpful and updated summary of the travel restrictions imposed by various countries.

However, travellers are suggested to look at the relevant governmental websites for each country before visiting as restrictions can be imposed with very short notice.

For example, the US Department of State lists countries by 4 levels, 1 being “Exercise Normal Precautions” to 4 being “Do Not Travel”.

US Department of State travel advisories
US Department of State travel advisories

Meanwhile in Hong Kong, the government on 23rd March 2020 announced it would ban all foreign tourists and transit arrivals to Hong Kong from 25th March 2020. Singapore had previously made a similar announcement, with such restrictions to take effect from 23rd March 2020.

From 17th March 2020, all travel into the Schengen area (i.e. all EU member states except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Ireland) by all non-EU nationals will be barred for 30 days.

Australia and New Zealand are also following suit and will shut its borders to foreigners. Furthermore, cruise ships will not be permitted to dock in Australia or New Zealand for the next 30 days. Nationals from both countries are also being urged by their governments to return home and avoid any overseas travel.

While the rest of the world is locking down and staying at home, China will be ending its lockdown of Hubei province (including the city of Wuhan) on 8th April 2020. Wuhan and Hubei province had been the epicentre of the outbreak and were placed under lockdown since 23rd January 2020. However the authorities are now reversing this lockdown since Hubei has not seen any new infections for more than 1 week and as almost all new Chinese cases were from people arriving from overseas.

Olympics postponed to July 2021

On 24th March 2020, 2 days after the meeting of the IOC, a joint decision was made by Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) President Thomas Bach to postpone the Tokyo Olympics until 2021.

The IOC’s Executive Board reconvened on 30th March 2020 and announced the new dates for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. The Olympics will run from 23rd July 2021 to 8th August 2021, whilst the Paralympics will take place from 24th August 2021 to 5th September 2021. The Olympics will however still be called “Tokyo 2020” despite being postponed to 2021.

China builds makeshift hospitals

One of the newsworthy engineering feats coming out of China recently was the rapid construction of 16 makeshift hospitals in Wuhan by 28th February 2020. In particular, Huoshenshan (火神山) hospital was constructed between 23rd January 2020 to 2nd February 2020, taking only 11 days to complete. Footage taken from inside the building shows bars on the windows and doors that only open in one direction.

Inside the newest hospital in Wuhan

In some positive news however, China’s state broadcaster CCTV has reported that on 1st March 2020, the first of those makeshift hospitals has discharged the last of its recovered patients and closed.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Declares COVID-19 a Pandemic

WHO has declared this outbreak as a Pandemic on 12th March 2020.

This is after observing that since early March 2020, the number of cases of Coronavirus outside China have increased 13-fold and the number of affected countries tripled.

The WHO also on 13th March 2020 launch its COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. The Fund, which the WHO considers the first of its kind, will allow individuals, corporations and institutions worldwide to donate towards implementing its COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.

Inconsistencies in the WHO’s advice in tackling Coronavirus

First of all many thanks to our community member Roman Strobl for his detailed look into the various potentially misleading and/or contradictory advices by the WHO. As well as taking steps to correspond with them on these important topics. You can check out his full research with updates here. In short:

  • The WHO’s initial instructional video on correct mask wearing is possibly misleading. The WHO are currently considering the feedback provided by Roman on this.
  • The Advice on use of masks in the community, during home care, and in health care settings in the context of COVID-19 dated 19th March 2020 (the “Advice”) issued by the WHO only advises individuals with respiratory symptoms to wear a medical mask. However this ignores those who are infected but do not show symptoms, notwithstanding that research has found that people with Coronavirus can be infectious before they show symptoms.
  • The Advice does not put enough emphasis on asymptomatic transmitters, even though some initial findings from these research teams even show that these “covert cases” represent some 60% of all infections. Instead the Advice disregards the benefits of widespread mask wearing, does not encourage general social distancing.
  • Inconsistencies in the WHO’s publications on spread of the virus. For instance the Advice makes no mention that the virus could be spread in saliva droplets when speaking, whilst their video on the Coronavirus does.

Did the Coronavirus originate from a lab?

Researchers handling bat samples

The theory that Coronavirus originated from a lab gained traction after an article in the New York Post on 22nd February 2020 by Steven Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute of Front Royal, Virginia. The article summarised how COVID-19 may have been accidentally spread from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where researchers were studying bat Coronaviruses to the nearby seafood market where the first cases were discovered.

Mosher’s theory mainly relied on circumstantial evidence, such as the distance between the laboratory and the seafood market, the history of the SARS-CoV virus escaping from Chinese labs in the past. And how Chinese virologist and bioweapons expert Major General Chen Wei visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology with other military scientists in January 2020 to study the Coronavirus. 

Some researchers however dispute Mosher’s theory, saying that whilst one cannot rule out the idea that the Coronavirus escaped from a lab, it is unlikely. The uncertainty as to the actual source of the virus also fuels a lot of speculation.

However what appears likely is that COVID-19 originated from wildlife, according to a joint statement by a team of international public health scientists in The Lancet.

There was also previously a research paper also seems to suggest that there may be man-made elements to the Coronavirus. UPDATE: this research paper has been commented on by the scientific community as being rushed, not peer reviewed and the findings “at most a coincidence”. The paper has now been retracted.

Did Coronavirus spread to Italy before it was even identified?

In an interview with Guiseppe Remuzzi, Director of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan noted that he heard of cases of a “strange pneumonia” circulating in Lombardy, Italy in as early as November 2019. However at the time doctors were unable to test for COVID-19 because no such tests were available and the patients did not have x-rays. The patients also recovered 15 days later after several courses of antibiotics. Since COVID-19 has a very long incubation period, Remuzzi suggests that it could be possible that some asymptomatic carriers had travelled around China or overseas before December 2019. Together with the reports of “unusual cases”, Remuzzi further suggests it is possible that Coronavirus was already circulating in Lombardy before people were even aware of the situation in Wuhan.

The Chinese doctors who first warned about Coronavirus

Dr. Li Wenliang
Dr. Li Wenliang

During the initial stages of the outbreak in December 2019, 8 Wuhan doctors tried to warn of this new virus that was later discovered to be Coronavirus. Of these doctors, Dr. Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital saw that 7 patients who were quarantined at his hospital seemed to have a virus similar to SARS. On 30 December 2019 he messaged his medical school classmates in a chat group on Weibo warning them about an outbreak and advising them to wear protective clothing.

4 days later on 3rd January 2020, he was summoned to the Public Security Bureau where he was accused of “making false comments” that had “severely disturbed the social order”. He was also asked to sign a letter and warned not to continue such activities. The other 7 doctors were similarly warned.

On 8th January 2020, Dr. Li himself was unknowingly infected by one of his patients and at the end of January, and after several rounds of tests, Dr. Li posted online that he was confirmed to be infected with Coronavirus.

Dr. Li was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit in early February 2020. Due to his condition, he was only able to conduct his interview with CNN via. text message on Weibo.

According to Standnews Hong Kong, there are reports from Chinese media that Dr. Li’s condition worsened in the past few days and had died from the disease on 5th February 2020.

Following Dr. Li’s death, Chinese social media site Weibo was flooded with an outpouring of grief and anger from Chinese netizens. With the top 2 hashtags being “Wuhan government owes Dr Li Wenliang and apology” and “We want freedom of speech”. These 2 hashtags however were quickly censored and very few of these messages remain on the social media platform.

Reports are also emerging of other Chinese doctors, such as Dr. Ai Fen who similarly shared news of an infection (later found to be COVID-19) amongst a Wechat group for doctors and hospital authorities in late December 2019. But was similarly accused of “spreading rumours”, ordered not to speak about the situation and to inform her staff that they were prohibited from publicly disclosing any information on the illness.

How does Coronavirus spread?

For some insight on how the virus spreads, check out the chart prepared by the Hong Kong Sustainable Development Research Institute based on data from the Department on Health on confirmed Coronavirus patients.

Chart showing confirmed cases in Hong Kong
Chart showing confirmed cases in Hong Kong

It is also found that the virus can spread through saliva droplets. In South Korea, 46 people were infected after a church official sprayed salt water into followers’ mouths but didn’t disinfect the nozzle between sprays. 9 family members in Hong Kong also became infected after sharing a hotpot and BBQ meal together.

Recently, scientists at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences tested the effects of Coronavirus on monkeys and found it could enter the body through the eyes. They dropped a solution containing the virus into the monkey’s eyes and found that the monkeys tested positive for Coronavirus a few days later. The scientists believe the virus may have landed on conjunctiva, the tissue behind the eyelids and covering the white of the eye, before travelling down the tear duct and ending up in the upper throat. However, an infection via these means seems to be less severe than if the virus was caught through the throat. This was where the monkeys were infected by dropping the solution containing the virus into their mouths instead.

Studies from the Chinese University of Hong Kong have already confirmed that the virus could be transmitted through faeces. The usual methods of testing are through phlegm which not all patients have, or deep throat saliva- which they found many patients are unable to spit a correct specimen. And as a result of people being unable to provide proper saliva specimen, there is a 42% chance of providing a false positive. They found testing stool samples to be the most accurate, correctly finding the virus in all 14 infected patients regardless of how ill they were. Whilst 3 phlegm, nasal swab and saliva specimens from those same patients tested negative. The medical experts therefore specifically warned citizens to be careful around public toilets, as infected persons would touch the flush buttons and taps before they could wash their hands. They also warned caretakers and food handlers to be careful as they may touch the stool of their patients before delivering food, thus possibly spreading the virus.

How long does Coronavirus remain in the air or on surfaces?

The CDC found Coronavirus RNA survived up to 17 days on various surfaces in cabins of infected passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship after its occupants disembarked. Although the CDC couldn’t determine if transmission occured through these contaminated surfaces.

Meanwhile research from the National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton university found that COVID-19 can last up to 3 days on plastic and stainless steel and hours in air particles. Although the amount of viruses on those surfaces would decrease over time.

Are some people more at risk?

Medical researchers in China looking at blood groups of over 2,000 patients found that those with A type blood may be more vulnerable to infection. Whilst those with type O seemed to have a much lower risk for Coronavirus. They found that of the 206 Wuhan patients that died from Coronavirus, 85 of them had type A blood. Scientists from Stanford University have published their yet to be peer reviewed study which appears to support the Chinese study that patients with type-A blood had a higher infection rate and more severe symptoms than those with type-O.

In China, the first comprehensive study of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalisations shows an increased risk for middle aged Coronavirus patients. In particular the study found that whilst the overall death rate for confirmed cases of COVID-19 was 1.38%, the death rate for those under 10 years old was 0.00016% but dramatically increased to 7.8% in 80s and over. It was also found that 4% of those in their 40s needed hospital treatment, but the figures doubled to 8% for patients in their 50s.

Can Coronavirus spread from humans to pets?

There is currently no research to support the theory that Coronavirus can be spread from humans to animals. Although in Hong Kong, a pet dog tested positive for Coronavirus after its owner was quarantined for the disease. The dog’s owner reported the dog had died 3 days after returning home from quarantine and the patient herself had recovered. However the dog’s death was said to be due to its underlying conditions and old age, rather than the disease. On 19th March 2020, a second dog– this time a German Shepard belonging to another Coronavirus patient also tested positive. However the patient’s other pet dog has so far tested negative. Both dogs did not show any symptoms of sickness. Prof. Peiris Malik of the University of Hong Kong also emphasized that based on findings so far, dogs might only get infected if they were closely associated with their infected owners, and cannot get infected by walking on the streets.

So far 2 pet cats worldwide have been tested positive for Coronavirus. The first was from Belgium and the second cat belongs to a Hong Kong resident who was also confirmed with COVID-19. The cat however is not showing any signs of the disease. There is however still no evidence that pets can be the source of the virus.

In an interview with Shelley Rankin, a microbiologist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, it was recommended that people limit contact with their pets, wash their hands after any contact and do not let them lick your face.

For tips on how to clean your pet dog after walks during this time, check out dog trainer Eric Ko’s instructional video (in Cantonese only).

Long term effects of Coronavirus?

Doctors in Wuhan preliminarily found that male Coronavirus patients appeared to have signs of testicle malfunction which could lead to lower sex hormone production. However this study was only on a small sample of patients and has not been peer reviewed, so it is currently not conclusive and require further investigation. The researchers intend to launch a long-term study on this. Meanwhile studies have shown that this condition can be cured through testosterone treatment.

Vaccine for the Coronavirus

Development for a vaccine for this deadly strain of Coronavirus is currently underway internationally – with China, United States and Hong Kong independently developing a vaccine.

In the US, government officials disclosed that vaccine trials will begin on 23rd March 2020. The tests will begin with giving 45 young healthy volunteers with different doses of the shots co-developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. The aim of these tests is purely to check that the vaccines do not show any significant and worrisome side effects, thereby paving the way for larger scale testing. However, it will still be quite a while before any potential vaccine is validated, and public health officials are estimating that this would only be in 1 year to 18 months’ time.

Though frankly least expected, British American Tobacco (BAT) the maker of cigarette brands such as Lucky Strike and Dunhill etc said it is developing a potential vaccine using tobacco plants. BAT also says that if testing goes well and with the right support from its partners and government agencies, manufacturing of the vaccine could begin in June 2020. They also claim that tobacco plants offer potential for faster and safer vaccine development since the plants cannot host pathogens which cause diseases in humans.

Cure for the Coronavirus

There is currently no specific medicines which would treat or prevent Coronavirus. However, in China, Japan and Thailand, doctors have used HIV drugs and sometimes combined with other medicines to treat patients who managed to recover.

In a separate study by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, it was found that the monkeys developed high antibody levels after being re-infected with Coronavirus, suggesting that their immune systems were prepared to combat the illness. This would prove extremely helpful in the race to find a vaccine.

A biomedical start-up based in Singapore and Malaysia are looking into whether Retromad1, a drug typically used to treat leukaemia and coronaviruses in cats could also be effective in treating COVID-19. Though the company reminds the public however that it is not a vaccine, so even if the drug can combat COVID-19, it cannot prevent individuals getting the disease. The company is currently looking at getting approval from the US FDA and to fast track the testing process in Singapore.

Scientists from Germany and Switzerland found that COVID-19 was more sensitive to alcohol compared to SARS and MERS, and that the virus could be killed by ethanol concentrations as low as 30%. However, the scientists pointed out that whilst whiskey, gin or other spirits have a higher alcohol than that, drinking it is NOT regarded as a way to prevent or cure Coronavirus. This is because the study found the alcohol to be effective only when it comes into contact with the virus for a prolonged period of time. So probably, as suggested by Prof. Li Zhong of the Nanjing Medical University, strong liquor can be used as an emergency disinfectant when they are no other alternative products available.

Microbiologists at the University of Hong Kong have been conducting tests in hamsters and found important information on how the virus spreads and affects the body. They found that sick hamsters passed the virus onto healthy hamsters when placed in the same cage, showing that Coronavirus can be transmitted in cages, just like in a family setting. The scientists also found that in the first 7 days of infection, the hamsters suffered severe damage to their lungs, trachea, immune system and intestines- with the situation being the worst on day 4. However after 7 days, the hamsters began to recover and their viral loads decreased. The scientists therefore suggest that the first 7 days are a crucial turning point for patients, that if they can manage their condition during this crucial period, then their condition is likely to improve afterwards. As further testing, blood serum from the recovered hamsters were taken and injected into a new hamster before infecting them. They found that the viral load of those new hamsters had decreased by 90%. Suggesting that if infected patients were given injections of blood plasma of recovered patients, it may help them recover by decreasing their viral load, adding that this method was employed in the then treatment of SARS when there was no other option.

Gene Sequencing Report

Microscope image of the Corona Virus, indicated by the arrows.

Full gene sequencing of the virus has already been completed by Chinese scientists. Full images of the virus are also shown in the image above. Corona viruses have thin cell walls covered by positive RNA strands (hence the name-sake). In a pre-released paper in BioRxiv, the group compared the genetic sequence to other known viruses and found that it is 96% similar to Bat Corona Virus and also 79.5% similar to SARS-CoV.

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.01.22.914952v1.full.pdf

Previous suspicions that pangolins passed the Coronavirus to humans has also been found to be unlikely. According to the researchers from Yunnan University, they found the genetic similarities between viruses found in pangolins and Coronavirus does not meet the 99% threshold required to make the virus jump from pangolins to humans.

Full Genome of the Coronavirus

The full Genome of the virus is also available to the general public. This information is crucial for world nations to develop test kits that can positively identify the virus. Test kits are made to tag specific parts of the virus’s genome, thereby giving a positive result when bound to the virus. It is known that in China, test kits for the virus are running low on supply, thereby limiting the ability to detect the virus. Such detection is crucial for early identification and quarantine of the victim.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nuccore/MN908947

Mining genomes of the Coronavirus is also crucial for finding clues as to its origins. This is crucial to really stop it at its source and prevent any spillover from the current outbreak.

For a closer look at the structure of the Coronavirus, check out Dr. Gabriella Jonasson’s article.

Prevention Measures

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Corona virus is spread by binding the the patients lungs. Coronavirus is seen as a huge threat because infected people can be spreading the disease without themselves exhibiting symptoms. The generally accepted prevention measures are to practice “social distancing” by reducing social contact and avoid physical contact such as shaking hands when meeting people.

Poster issued by Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection
Poster issued by Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection

Does wearing a mask prevent Coronavirus?

A major controversy in terms of prevention measures seems to be whether or not people should wear surgical masks. In Asian countries, experts such as Dr. Yuen Kwok-yung, Chair of Infectious Diseases at the Department of Microbiology at the University of Hong Kong recommended in a recent interview with Cable TV News that people should continue to wear masks. This is echoed by David Hui, a respiratory medicine expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who says it’s “common sense” that wearing a mask would protect you against COVID-19.

Yet in the United States, it is discouraged to wear a mask if you are in good health. In line with the WHO, the US government recommends masks only for those who are sick, and their caregivers. The US Surgeon General has even asked the public to stop buying masks as it may reduce the supply for healthcare providers.

Tweet from the US Surgeon General Jerome Adams

Interestingly, in the above interview with Dr. Yuen, he noted that as scientists and doctors, they cannot suggest people not to wear masks simply because there is inadequate supply of them. At the end of the day, there is still insufficient research on the efficacy of masks, and the difference in attitudes towards wearing them highlights the differences in culture. There are however an increasing number of experts who argue that having the general public wear masks is to shield the mouths of those who are already infected. Particularly when some patients have been observed to have contracted and cleared the virus without ever having any symptoms. For a brief list of the differing recommendations on face mask use amongst the public by various countries and the WHO see the article by Elaine Shuo Feng of the University of Oxford and others published in The Lancet.

Although it can be said that as there is no direct cure for the virus, prevention is the best defense measure against it. If you are sick, wearing a surgical mask will stop the spread of the virus as it filters coughs and prevents water particles carrying the virus from entering the air. However, surgical masks are not 100% effective in protecting the wearer – as there are holes in the mask allow unfiltered air through it. Even though its not 100% effective, surgical masks help reduce infection by preventing the wearer from touching their nose – a potential method for the virus to enter the lungs. Special masks like the N95 mask are shown to be more effective, but only if worn properly with a tight fit around the face.

Austria and the Czech Republic are making the wearing of surgical masks mandatory. In Austria, MNS masks which are below medical grade will be handed out at supermarkets from 1st April 2020 onwards. Customers will be required to keep them on whilst shopping there and the aim is that people will wear masks in public more generally as well. Meanwhile in the Czech Republic, the regulation requiring people to wear surgical masks or other mouth and nose covering apparel was already issued on 18th March 2020. Violators can be fined CZK 10,000 (equivalent to USD$402) on the spot by police.

What can communities do to stop the spread?

In terms of what societies as a whole could do, check out this study by the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team. In the study, they suggested 2 non-pharmaceutical interventions which could reduce transmission amongst a population: mitigation and suppression. Based on their epidemiological modelling, they suggest that suppression methods i.e. social distancing of the entire population and closures of schools etc are required. However they predict this cannot be sustained for the lengthy periods required. Thus they suggest to have intermittent social distancing, followed by surveillance of the disease and either temporary relaxation of the measures for short periods if infected numbers drop, or reintroduction of measures when case numbers rebound.

Can you reuse masks?

According to the CDC, N95 masks can function within their design specifications for around 8 hours. In a time where N95 masks are in short supply, Stanford University’s School of Medicine’s COVID-19 Evidence Service have looked into various methods of disinfecting N95 masks for re-use. Through measuring the effectiveness of the mask against E.Coli after the tested disinfection methods, they found that placing the N95 mask in an oven at 70 degrees celsius (158 degrees fahrenheit) or exposing the mask to UV light for 30 minutes as the most effective. The least effective methods are soaking it in alcohol or chlorine based disinfectant, which affects the microfibres in N95 masks. The researchers also remind people that inhaling those chlorine fumes in the mask after disinfecting them may be harmful to the body.

Stanford study-disinfecting masks
Findings on disinfecting masks from Stanford University

What can be used as a makeshift mask?

In the same study by Stanford University, they also compared the effectiveness of various homemade masks. They found that vacuum cleaner bags to be the most effective in terms of their ability to filter virus sized particles. However the downside is that they are very hard to breathe in.

Stanford study- makeshift masks
Findings on makeshift masks from Stanford University

How can I make my own DIY face mask and protective gear?

A task force set up by Hong Kong’s Consumer Council in conjunction with several universities and research institutes have studied the effectiveness on DIY face masks. Based on their findings, the Consumer Council have produced a helpful instructional video on how to make your own face mask and protective gear.

You will need: 3 to 4 ply pocket/box tissues, kitchen roll, rubber bands, 2 inch wide tape, scissors, a pair of glasses, clear plastic file, plastic coated wires, binder clips and a hole puncher. The result looks like this:

DIY face mask and protective gear
Completed DIY face mask and protective gear

Reporting on the Chinese situation

The popularity of social media in China has given rise to citizen journalists. One of the most popular of these journalists is Chen Qiushi, a lawyer who deliberately travelled to Wuhan before the lockdown to cover what’s going on. Here you can find Chen Qiushi’s YouTube channel and Twitter. However since 7th February 2020, Chen had been completely absent from social media and his whereabouts unknown. It is suspected that he is under “Residential Surveillance”.

One of his videos features an account by a Mr. Fang, another citizen journalist who was detained and his computer and laptop confiscated by authorities. Mr. Fang has also similarly stopped posting on social media and his current whereabouts are unknown.

On 18th March 2020, the Chinese government will require journalists from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post to return their press cards within 10 days- thereby preventing them from working in China. Also in an unprecedented move, the ouster of journalists from these 3 publications also includes Hong Kong and Macau. However it is unclear if this would apply to journalists with permanent residency in Hong Kong, since it would infringe freedoms guaranteed under the Basic Law. According to the head of Human Rights Watch this could be related to the COVID-19 outbreak, in particular the reporting of the Wuhan doctors who tried to warn others of the Coronavirus.

Coronavirus causing internet congestion?

With everyone stuck at home because of the outbreak the European Union has asked Netflix and other streaming services to take steps to reduce internet congestion. The EU Internal Market and Services Commissioner also in a tweet encouraged users to “#SwitchToStandard definition when HD is not necessary”.

Tweet by Thierry Breton, Commission for Internal Market of the EU

Economic Concerns

What’s happening at the G20 Summit?

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked G20 leaders to double its emergency financing capacity The funding is intended to support emerging markets and developing economies which are hard hit by the Coronavirus.

Speaking at the G20 video summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed a moratorium on sanctions relating to essential goods during the pandemic. Putin also in response to the IMF’s call proposed creating a special fund under the IMF to fight the spread of Coronavirus.

China focusing on reviving the economy

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been visiting Zhejiang province since 29th March 2020. China’s state media describes this as a clear message that China is ready to revive the economy whilst dealing with the Coronavirus, which is described as the “new normal”. During the visit, President Xi visited Ningbo, a trade hub for Eastern China accounting for over 13% of China’s foreign trade, and spoke to workers at a car parts manufacturer. Zhao Xijin, a professor of economics at Renmin University also commented that Xi’s visit is a clear signal that China is prioritising economic growth after getting domestic infections under control. And that China will keep developing its economy and opening up markets. China however may be facing challenges to this plan since China’s customers in Europe and the United States are going on lockdowns of their own, resulting in a sharp decline in demand for Chinese goods.

US Federal Reserve cuts interest rate to zero

The announcement was made on 15th March 2020 in an effort to support the economy during the pandemic, particularly as the US stock market for the first time in 11 years tumbled into a bear market. The Federal Reserve also announced it would purchase another USD $700 billion worth of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities. And struck a deal with 5 other foreign banks to lower their rates on currency swaps, meaning that borrowing USD would be cheaper for banks around the world.

Which companies are still doing well despite the Coronavirus?

The stock market indices are doing surprisingly well on 17th March 2020 despite the concerns about recession. In particular, companies catering for those staying or working from home (such as Peloton Interactive Inc- up 14.83%), supermarkets, biotech etc are performing well. Whilst it goes without saying that airline companies, amusement parks, hotels and cruises (e.g. Carnival Corp-down 13.32%) are not doing very well at all.

Will there be a global recession?

Goldman Sachs downgraded its outlook for US GDP, estimating that the US economy will shrink 5% between April and June 2020. And overall growth for 2020 is forecast at 0.4%. Others predict the US economy will shrink 8% in Q2. This is combined with the bleak outlook coming from China and seeing that the situation is deteriorating in Europe with more cases of Coronavirus being reported and nation-wide shut downs.

As a result, economists warn that a global recession is already in progress, which is generally defined as when there are 2 or more consecutive quarters of falling GDP.

Will Coronavirus affect cryptocurrency and bitcoin markets?

Interviews with founders of mining pool Poolin, Distributed Computing Centre and mining device manufacturer Canaan indicate that Bitcoin markets will be affected by stock markets and the world economy.

However Arthur Hayes, CEO of Bitmex retains some optimism. Whilst he concurs that cryptocurrencies are also affected by the economic turmoil, he believes that Bitcoin may go back through USD $10,000 and towards USD $20,000 by the end of 2020.

To learn more about Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and generally how to get started. Check out my course created with Jeff Kirdeikis of Uptrennd- Bitcademy: Learn, Invest & Trade Bitcoin – In Under an Hour

New York crypto firms required to plan for Coronavirus

On 10th March 2020, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) already required all crypto firms to submit a detailed “preparedness plan” detailing how they will manage the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak. The plan must account for all possible operational risks- such as how operations will continue when staff are absent or working remotely. As well as a plan to tackle financial risks including assessments on the impact of COVID-19 on their assets and earnings.

Will Coronavirus affect Bitcoin mining?

On 12th March 2020 prices of bitcoin dropped from USD $7,000 to USD $5,000 in a matter of 10 minutes, the largest single day drop in 5 years. At one point on 13th March 2020, the price of Bitcoin even fell to USD $3,800. Analysts believe this may mean the shutting down of older mining machines and some mines with lesser cash reserves may be forced to close. Some miners have already said they will be arranging their 90W/T and 60W/T miners to shut down as the price of Bitcoin does not make it profitable to continue.

With the upcoming Bitcoin halvening in approximately May 2020, it is likely that the impact would be greater on mining as the mining cost would double. In turn this would lead to higher demand for the newer models of mining devices and even further shutdown of miners.

Learn more about Bitcoin mining here.

57 COMMENTS

  1. You mentioned chlorine dioxide. If anyone wants to learn what this is put “effectiveness of MMS with viruses” into Duckduckgo (or Google).

  2. Besides Vitamin C – you can also try Zinc Picolinate 50mg to fight infections.
    Stay safe Michael! Great job with your sharing on this extremely important issue!

  3. Michael, thank you so much for reporting on all of this. You are bringing news to the world that we could not get otherwise. Appreciate it so much. Also I know its hard to stay positive during this time so here is something that hopefully will make you smile. Grateful that I have someone so handsome and intelligent to listen to every morning 🙂

  4. Seems like many people dont know about
    „Angozin“. If you take those 100% homeopathic pills 3x a day (3 pills per intake) your chances of not getting affected by the corona or h1n1 virus will be much much lower. It‘s also proven that it will drastically help you recover once you caught the virus. (I was diagnosed with H1N1 and within a week I completely recovered). Obviously you should also drink water with zitron, make vinegar wraps and potatoe wraps and I you have high fever take Meditonsin. (I had 40,5° fever and even the hardest drugs didnt help me. After I took Meditonsin on a regular basis my temperature went back to normal in 2 days. No joke.)

    Hope this helps.

  5. Thanks for taking the time to tell the world the truth Michael. I hope you and your extended family stay safe and well. I know you are worried about family still in mainland China, hope they are all healthy and well.

  6. Tencent Outbreak Map – android.apk ?
    When opening that map in android dev mode, i heard this drops an .apk.

    Gov monitoring

  7. Thanks for all you are doing, Michael, spectacular work, still so sorry for you and your fellow countrymen. Be safe, let us know how we can help.

  8. There’s no hope for the WHO, they have the manufacturing facilities and laboratories and they are now in it for the profit while they make the vaccine. The HIV drugs is prescribed for the Coronavirus.

    Google Thailand Sees Good Result from Using Drug Mixture on Coronavirus

    “Thailand found good results after using a mix of two antiviral drugs on a Chinese patient who was in a serious condition with the novel coronavirus, according to a health ministry briefing. The patient’s condition significantly improved within 48 hours after the medical team decided to use antiviral drugs originally used for HIV and influenza in his treatment.”

    $$$$

  9. Assuming that the crematoriums are running 24/7 as per your reporting then surely only 362 corona deaths over say 3 weeks cannot be responsible for this fact if it is true? How many bodies would normally be cremated in a “normal” 5 hour day – that is a critical question?

  10. Information has surfaced about a german man who came into contact with a woman from wuhan. He reported that he had had mild symptoms of the virus on 01/24/2020 with a sore throat, fever of 102.4 & a productive cough. He said he’d returned to work on 01/27/2020 as he felt better. He was tracked down because of his contact with the woman & a nasal swab confirmed he had had the virus & thay he still had a viral load of 10 to the 8th per milliliter of sputum. This may effect the transmission rate & the quarantine process. You may have already found this info. but if you haven’t, I thought you’d want to look into it & share the info. with your followers. Thank you so much for what you’re doing!

    • Whites won’t have severe symptoms and high infection rate as have East Asians, because the nCov virus infects the host through the AT2 (ACE-2) receptor cells in the lungs, East Asians have a gene expression that positively influences the AT2 receptor cell count in the lungs, whites have the lowest AT2 receptor cell count in the lungs of all races, East Asians have the highest cell count. Lucky break for the US, now China is (almost) on her knees. US don’t want a rising China becoming a global economic super power (the Wolfowitz Doctrine).

  11. Just want to thank you so much for all the great info. Here in Oklahoma we are not receiving much info at all. Very grateful for you, sharing the info. Sending you good vibes. Thank you, thank you.

    Love sent your way,
    Nancy DeRusha
    Choctaw, Ok US

  12. Is that why China rejected US offer for help? No, they rejected because US is creating conditions in China for a color revolution and collapse of China. Is that why Chinese doctors, patients and people in building blocks sing patriotic war songs? China knows a biological warfare is being waged against them. Ever heard of the “Wolfowitz doctrine” or the “Project for the New American Century”? Look it up. US will never allow a rising China to become the global economic super power.
    You think the African Swine Fever, nCov and now H5N1 is all coincidence while the trade-war is going on, Hong Kong antifa are rioting? Wow, what a lucky break for the US. The US cannot impose sanctions on China, she is too big, they need something to happen so China gets isolated from the whole world.
    A state actor is providing all the necessary resources (including exotic viruses) to the Chinese 5th column/mob to wreak havoc in China and bring China to her knees, divided and become the “Sick Man of Asia” just like it was in the 19th and early 20th century.

  13. “Stealth Viruses: The basic concept of this potential bioweapon is to “produce a tightly regulated, cryptic viral infection that can enter and spread in human cells using vectors” (similar to the gene therapy) and then stay dormant for a period of time until triggered by an internal or external signal. The signal then could stimulate the virus to cause severe damage to the system. Stealth viruses could also be tailored to secretly infect a targeted population for an extended period using the threat of activation to blackmail the target.”

    https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a556597.pdf

  14. “Stealth Viruses: The basic concept of this potential bioweapon is to “produce a tightly regulated, cryptic viral infection that can enter and spread in human cells using vectors” (similar to the gene therapy) and then stay dormant for a period of time until triggered by an internal or external signal. The signal then could stimulate the virus to cause severe damage to the system. Stealth viruses could also be tailored to secretly infect a targeted population for an extended period using the threat of activation to blackmail the target.” https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a556597.pdf

  15. The research paper mentioned in chapter 3 “Did the Coronavirus originate from a lab?” dealing with similarities between the nCov and HIV has been retracted by the authors:
    “This paper has been withdrawn by its authors. They intend to revise it in response to comments received from the research community on their technical approach and their interpretation of the results. If you have any questions, please contact the corresponding author.”
    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.01.30.927871v2

  16. On the stats for people who travelled out of China before the quarantine, it says it is from local civil aviation. Do you have a source for that?

  17. Hi Michael,

    In your latest stream related to #nCoV, you were showing an article hosted on mega.nz and you said you would post a link to it. I can’t seem to find it anywhere on here. Could you point me in the right direction? Thank you!

  18. Thank you for your coverage. I am an American citizen and all I can say is that my heart is so heavy for the people of China. I don’t care about politics, race, boarders, etc. We are all humans and need to realize that down to the core, we are all the same. Sadly, a lot of people can be cruel until they actually walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I pray for an effective cure to be found quickly. There has been far too much suffering already. Stay safe, my friend!

  19. Here in Sweden we have one case of Corona virus so far.
    It’s scary to compare the safty precautions taken by the Chinese medics to the Swedish medics caring for the Corona patient here in Sweden. This is the actual article describing how they protect the personel taking care of the Corona patient.

    https://www.aftonbladet.se/tv/a/306534/sa-klar-sig-sjukhuspersonalen-for-att-skydda-sig-mot-coronaviruset

    Also when i bought N95 masks earlier this week the clerk told me that I were lucky to get any because they had sent a big shipment to China the day before.

    Thank you for Your work!

  20. According to experts in the U S , the virus mutates quickly and often. Could all those people in the wards with hundreds of people have different mutations? Shouldn’t patients be isolated from one another.?
    Listen to http://www.warroom.org programs on the pandemic. Experts reporting. Social isolation is only safe way.
    Nancy

  21. Hey Michael I recently made some graphics from real photos, inspired by the global news around the coronavirus and I wanted to share them with you to potentially use in any of your coverage. How could I share those with you?

  22. Michael,
    could you please check whether the following is true or “fake news”:
    “Chinese National Health Commission has changed their definition of Wuhan Coronavirus “confirmed case” in their latest guidelines dated 7/2. Patients tested positive for the virus but have no symptoms will no longer be regarded as confirmed.”
    Cited from this news spot:
    2:18pm China changes definition of ‘confirmed’ case
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/02/10/coronavirus-news-uk-china-wuhan-virus-outbreak-latest/
    The update at the end denies a change.

  23. Pretty sure I’ve already had this virus. Caught it in December from a friend and I know of several other people who’ve also already had it. Causes terrible wet yourself coughing and a fever but almost no other symptom. Everyone I know who has had it, has gotten over it apart from an eighty year old man. He went to hospital and the staff there were wearing masks and claiming there was an pneumonia bug in the hospital. This was back in July! We do not live in China but small white nation. Nothing was done about it here. No public warning. People claim there is no race difference in how the bug effects people but it’s interesting that while in a white nation, this didn’t even make the news. Not sure if still here or if it died out? Course it could be something different but I have followed along closely and I’m sure the weird virus I caught is the same bug. You don’t forget it.

  24. Michael, you need to see this article, R0 is now 4.7 to 6.6!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.07.20021154v1

    The Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, is Highly Contagious and More Infectious Than Initially Estimated.

    Abstract

    The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a recently emerged human pathogen that has spread widely since January 2020. Initially, the basic reproductive number, R0, was estimated to be 2.2 to 2.7. Here we provide a new estimate of this quantity. We collected extensive individual case reports and estimated key epidemiology parameters, including the incubation period. Integrating these estimates and high-resolution real-time human travel and infection data with mathematical models, we estimated that the number of infected individuals during early epidemic double every 2.4 days, and the R0 value is likely to be between 4.7 and 6.6. We further show that quarantine and contact tracing of symptomatic individuals alone may not be effective and early, strong control measures are needed to stop transmission of the virus.

    • I’m all good and well! Thanks for the concern Jeffserves
      I travelled to Japan for a mini trip and Internet was quite bad here for a the past week! Will upload soon

  25. Michael, glad to hear from you, be safe. Looking forward to more videos.
    Appreciate all you are doing to keep us all updated with important info.

    Nancy

  26. In case no one has advised you the United States government and medical professionals are advising the U.S. public to not wear masks, they say it’s a waste of time.

    • Wow..that really takes it a long way…I’m basically taking these little Vit C pills I got at some drugstore. Your method seems much more economical!

  27. Hi Michael, can you please check whether the WHO video on how to properly use masks is correct? It seems that the lady in the video is wearing the mask backwards. The colored side should be visible outside, right? Can you please fact check this?

    • I think it depends on the type of mask. I’m looking at the one I have and basically the “folds” on outward facing side of the mask should point downwards, which is the case in the video?

  28. I have put together a document which analyses current W.H.O. prevention recommendations against COVID-19 and their inconsistencies. If anyone is interested to provide further evidence based on research and/or verified facts, let me know:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qzsHyZ199zx9hm4Mzj7ikX7XZO8BsnWNcqlL3RLCZT0/edit

    Michael, I was hoping we could improve this document as a community to provide evidence that the current W.H.O. recommendations need to be fixed. This can help some countries such as the USA or Western Europe.

  29. Hi Michael,

    can you please delete my previous comments, only the last comment with the document is important because it contains everything I worked on for the last 2 weeks. I really don’t want to spam this page with comments, I was just trying to find the right way to work on the evidence that W.H.O. recommendations need really to be fixed or the world is screwed 🙂

    Btw, I am also a crypto enthusiast. Greetings from Prague! And sorry for the spam.

  30. I haven’t made a dedicated bitcoin miner but I’ve been hearing something about BTC mining early, Although those chips seem to be designed specifically for hashing, which is essentially what mining is all about. I got notified about bitcoin mining from a forum about different testimony and more which made me have more interest about it. I’m glad because BTC made me richer when i came across bitcoin genus Mr Hallian Queen at the right time i needed it. I decided to invest with him as he clearly show and explain how to earn more bitcoin and return on investment without a delay. He get started with the mining pool and could you believe he keep to his words. I finally got 1.4 bitcoins within 72hrs and a Minimum of 0.5 BTC a day and a weekly profit of 4.86BTC to my greatest surprise. He added me to his elite telegram group and i’m glad to be among, Guys i will advice you to contact him for more about mining right here.. bitcoinminingexpert11 @gmaildotcom

    • Red flags, Doesn’t seem realistic the way mining really works. After they take your full name, BTC address, phone, mailing address, country then they say simply “give us money and we will mint BTC for you in 72 hours”. They say this unrealistic thing,
      You will pay:

      USD $1200 to get 0.956 btc
      USD $1550 to get 1.5 btc
      USD $1900 to get 2.25 btc
      USD $2850 to get 3.35 btc
      USD $3950 to get 4.5 btc
      USD $6000 to get 6 btc
      USD $75000 – USD10000 to get 6btc to 12.5 btc

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