Day: March 26, 2020

U.S. companies, labs rush to produce blood test for coronavirus immunity

U.S. companies, labs rush to produce blood test for coronavirus immunity

By Chad Terhune, Allison Martell and Julie Steenhuysen

(Reuters) – As the United States works overtime to screen thousands for the novel coronavirus, a new blood test offers the chance to find out who may have immunity – a potential game changer in the battle to contain infections and get the economy back on track.

Several academic laboratories and medical companies are rushing to produce these blood tests, which can quickly identify disease-fighting antibodies in people who already have been infected but may have had mild symptoms or none at all. This is different from the current, sometimes hard-to-come-by diagnostic tests that draw on a nasal swab to confirm active infection.

“Ultimately, this (antibody test) might help us figure out who can get the country back to normal,” Florian Krammer, a professor in vaccinology at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, told Reuters. “People who are immune could be the

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India faces spike in coronavirus cases, says study, in test for health system

Mother in coma with coronavirus

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns is urging fans on social media to protect themselves from the coronavirus after his mother was placed in a medically induced coma as she battles the coronavirus.

Towns said in an emotional video posted to his Instagram page on Tuesday that both of his parents went to the hospital after feeling ill for a few days.

While his father was discharged to quarantine, the health of his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, “kept getting worse” because her cough and fever weren’t improving.

The Timberwolves confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday that Cruz has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

“She just wasn’t getting better,” the 24-year-old Towns said. “Her fever was never cutting from 103, maybe go down to 101.9 with the meds, and then immediately spike back up during the night. She was very uncomfortable. Her lungs were getting worse, her cough was getting worse. She was deteriorating. She

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India faces spike in coronavirus cases, says study, in test for health system

FOCUS-Virus fight at risk as world’s medical glove capital struggles with lockdown

(Adds cost and price increases, paragraph 14)

By Liz Lee and Krishna N. Das

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 (Reuters) – Disposable rubber gloves are indispensable in the global fight against the new coronavirus, yet a month’s lockdown in stricken Malaysia where three of every five gloves are made has upended the supply chain and threatens to hamstring hospitals worldwide.

The world’s biggest maker of medical gloves by volume, Top Glove Corp Bhd, has the capacity to make 200 million gloves a day, but a supplier shutdown has left it with only two weeks’ worth of boxes to ship them in, its founder told Reuters.

“We can’t get our gloves to hospitals without cartons,” Executive Chairman Lim Wee Chai said in an interview. “Hospitals need our gloves. We can’t just supply 50% of their requirement.”

The virus, which emerged in China at the end of last year, has left Malaysia with

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COVID-19 infections rise in New York with peak weeks away

COVID-19 infections rise in New York with peak weeks away

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Hospitalizations from COVID-19 were rising faster than expected in New York as residents and leaders prepared for a peak in cases that is expected to still be weeks away. Temporary hospitals, and even a morgue in Manhattan, are being setup.

Here’s a look at developments in the coronavirus outbreak in New York on Wednesday.

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HOSPITALIZATIONS

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in New York climbed to 3,800, including close to 900 in intensive care, with the peak of the outbreak weeks away, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

The hospitalizations came as the state tallied more than 30,000 confirmed cases and 285 deaths, most tied to New York City.

The critical question remains whether the severe “social distancing” restrictions recently enacted by New York will help the state avoid a worst-case scenario of overwhelmed hospitals. Cuomo at a state Capitol news briefing pointed to one

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Saudis tighten anti-virus curfew; UAE closures leave travellers stranded

Saudis tighten anti-virus curfew; UAE closures leave travellers stranded

By Stephen Kalin and Alexander Cornwell

RIYADH/DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia reported its second coronavirus death and tightened a nationwide curfew on Wednesday, barring travel in and out of Riyadh, the capital, and the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, as well as movement between all provinces.

The orders, approved by King Salman and published by state media, also brought forward the start of a curfew in the three cities to 3 p.m. from 7 p.m., starting Thursday.

Saudi Arabia introduced the curfew on Monday, initially for 21 days, after registering a jump in infections. Its second fatality was a 46-year-old foreign resident of Mecca, among 133 new cases that took Saudi Arabia’s total to 900.

Across the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, the tally rose to 2,472 with seven deaths, as the United Arab Emirates registered 85 new infections, Oman 15 and Kuwait four.

Saudi Arabia has halted international flights

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Putin offers week-long holiday for Russians in social package to combat coronavirus

Putin offers week-long holiday for Russians in social package to combat coronavirus

By Alexander Marrow

MOSCOW, March 25 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday proposed various unconventional emergency social measures to support families and businesses amid the global coronavirus outbreak, such as a week-long holiday for workers and higher taxes on dividends.

During a televised address to the nation, Putin sought to reassure Russian citizens and markets that the government would use all of its available force to stave off economic collapse.

Russia has reported 658 cases of coronavirus, with Wednesday seeing its sharpest increase in new cases, and says nobody has died. But the economy has been hit by prolonged uncertainty over coronavirus and tumbling oil prices, which has seen the rouble fall to four-year lows.

Putin’s announcement that next week, beginning on March 30, would be an extended holiday for workers, with the exception of key business like pharmacies, banks and supermarkets, was an unconventional step. Some other

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Neither hurricanes nor 9/11 caused as big a surge in gun sales as coronavirus

Neither hurricanes nor 9/11 caused as big a surge in gun sales as coronavirus

Gun shop owners have never seen such a surge in sales — not after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, not in reaction to mass shootings, not even when Category 5 hurricanes threatened to flatten South Florida.

Fear and uncertainty about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic are motivating people to buy guns and ammunition as they seek protection from possible doomsday disintegration into lawlessness, with home invasions, looting, runs on banks, and fights over food, medicine, hospital beds and shelter across the land.

“Our sales are up 80 percent, with a huge increase in first-time buyers who are worried about martial law, economic collapse, unemployment, shortages, delinquents roaming the streets,” said Alex Elenberg, manager of Charlie’s Armory on West Flagler Street. “If you can’t defend your house and your family, what good are you?”

The United States is the home of the world’s largest gun-owning population per capita, where 40 percent

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India faces spike in coronavirus cases, says study, in test for health system

10 things you need to know today: March 25, 2020

1.

Senators and the White House reached an agreement early Wednesday on a $2 trillion package to rush government aid to families and businesses to help them get through the coronavirus crisis. “We have a deal,” said Eric Ueland, the White House legislative affairs director. The deal includes $1,200 checks for many individuals and new jobless benefits, as well as money for states and businesses facing huge costs and plummeting income due to restrictions on public activity imposed to slow the spread of the pandemic. The legislation was delayed as Democrats pressed Republicans for stronger worker protections and greater oversight of a $500 billion bailout fund for businesses. Congress is expected to pass the legislation within days. [The New York Times]

2.

President Trump said Tuesday that he hopes to revise national social-distancing guidelines by Easter, April 12, so U.S. businesses can resume operations. The U.S. is a

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Trump administration pushes environmental rollbacks while Americans battle pandemic

Trump administration pushes environmental rollbacks while Americans battle pandemic

The Trump administration is barrelling ahead with a rule aimed at curtailing scientific research used in public health laws while experts in the field are focused on battling the coronavirus.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) dismissed demands from 14 attorneys general, the National Governors Association, the National League of Cities and dozens of other interested groups that it suspend non-essential rule changes while the pandemic rages.

The proposal, titled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science”, means scientists would have to make public the raw data that supports academic studies like medical records, an impossibility given privacy laws.

Experts say the so-called “censored science rule” would prevent the EPA from using findings of public health studies in future and stymie regulation on proven public health threats, for example, air pollution.

James Goodwin, senior policy analyst with research nonprofit, the Center for Progressive Reform, told The Independent: “A lot of the science

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How much do retirement homes cost?

Target withdraws forecasts, curbs spending to meet virus-related demand

By Aishwarya Venugopal

March 25 (Reuters) – Target Corp on Wednesday withdrew its financial outlook and said it would scale back on planned investments to focus on meeting surging demand as Americans stock up on essentials and stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

The big-box retailer said it now plans to remodel only about 130 stores in 2020, down from 300, moving the rest of the projects to 2021. Target added it would open fewer small format stores than it had previously planned.

“It’s become very clear that we need to be disciplined about making sure our stores and supply chain is focused on serving our guests without any unnecessary distractions,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell said.

“We’ll need to prioritize the flow of food, medicine and other essentials for the foreseeable future.”

In the past few weeks, consumers have been flocking to stores to load

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