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CoronaVirus guest blogs health Healthcare

From Clinical Trials to Pharmacies: How Supply Chains Affect Healthcare Advancements

On the surface, supply chain management might not seem like it plays such a crucial role in the healthcare industry’s ability to improve people’s lives but distributing medicine to those who need it is impossible without efficient shipping logistics.

From Clinical Trials to Pharmacies: How Supply Chains Affect Healthcare Advancements

And with the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines projected to be available for public use in the months ahead, supply chains are under renewed focus. As amazing as the work has been to create and verify a viable vaccine, that’s only one aspect of the work involved. “It’s just incredible. I think the vaccine supply chain is one of the most mind-bogglingly complex supply chains ever built,” Johns Hopkins University’s Tinglong Dai, an operations management professor who specializes in healthcare data, recently told USA Today.

Each vaccine candidate requires different storage requirements, and this adds complexity to the delivery process. Here are the solutions that supply chains will be used to meet these demands.

Cold Chain Monitoring to Deliver Medicines and Vaccines

Cold chain management is the process of maintaining the quality of perishable supplies. Examples of perishable products include food, sensitive industrial equipment, and medicines. In the medical supply chain, cold chain tech is indispensable, since certain drugs are ineffective if not stored properly. For example, insulin needs to be stored between 36F and 46F to remain effective.

There are different tools that companies use to implement and supervise the cold chain delivery process. The largest of these are freight vehicles carrying refrigerated containers. Companies can lease these containers fully from transportation firms, or they can rent a portion of them to transport their goods. 

Larger firms, as is the case with pharmaceutical companies, generally purchase fleets of trucks and containers for their use to monitor shipments. Sensors monitor the internal temperature of the container and also track other data such as vibration, changes in position, and spillage. These data are transmitted to control rooms that alert the fleet to possible damage.

Data can be captured by data logging software and by indicators on the scene, but transmitting the data back to the control room is a challenging process. Traditionally Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) instruments are used to carry out this process. These days, technology such as Logmore‘s data loggers, which display dynamic QR codes, do the job much more efficiently.

“Damaged vaccines can become ineffective or even harmful to the user. That alone is a big enough reason to make sure that no spoiled products make it to the end-user, whose life might depend on the medication,” Logmore CEO Janne Juhala recently told Tech Bullion.

“In addition to that, all the spoilage really adds up. Unusable products need to be disposed of, which often causes environmental harm. To consider a hard, cold ‘corporate’ worldview, every single mishap with products that led to issues is a hit on customer trust and could even lead to legal repercussions.”

Cold chain tech also comes in smaller sizes. Cooling gel packs, bricks, and bottles store smaller shipments of medicines. These solutions are used for last-mile deliveries. Last-mile refers to the supply of goods from warehouses to a customer’s doorstep. Monitoring the quality of goods throughout the process is essential for successful delivery. Vaccines and medical supplies are usually delivered using thermal boxes. They come as individual boxes or as full-sized carts that can transport supplies.

Condition Monitoring For Instrumentation

Medicines are what people usually think of when the word healthcare is used. However, healthcare items extend well beyond them. Medical labs require sophisticated equipment that can measure and log patient data. Doctors use these reports to arrive at diagnoses. Aside from medical reports, instruments are used heavily during drug trials, much like the ones the COVID-19 vaccine candidates are undergoing.

These devices are fragile and consist of a variety of sensors and meters. Transporting them is a sensitive task, and they require constant condition monitoring. Older supply chain tech focused on track-and-trace methods, which specifies where a product has been and where it’s headed. Modern supply chain tech uses predict-and-prevent technology, which implements artificial intelligence algorithms to predict potential disruptions. 

Condition monitoring extends to the entire fleet, instead of single containers, and the need for emergency backups reduces.

AI is also playing a role in helping companies reorient their supply chains. The pandemic has highlighted the need to bring manufacturing of essential supplies onshore, instead of relying on distant Asian factories. By predicting production timelines and monitoring en-route supplies’ conditions, medical instruments and drugs can be delivered in optimal shape.

Inventory and Order Management for Pharmacies

Order management is a collaborative effort between businesses and their supply chain partners. Accurate demand forecasts ensure that production timelines are optimized, and supply chains can align accordingly. When it comes to medicines, pharmacies project demand based on a variety of factors such as seasonality and local conditions.

The pandemic has changed consumer behaviors, and in-person visits have decreased. Online consultations and home delivery of medicines have increased. Such a change in demand patterns is unprecedented, and supply chain tech has helped pharmacies deal with the situation better.

“Any technology that enables the distribution of the pharmacist’s workload so they can focus more on patient care will have a major beneficial impact on society as a whole,” PerceptiMed CTO Ram Subramanian recently explained to Forbes. “We need to make sure we ride along with the wave of change and not behind it.”

Today, more medicines are stored on-site using cold chain technology such as thermal boxes. Online pharmacies use condition monitoring technology like QR codes and deliver goods using thermal boxes that monitor as well as prevent damage to their goods. Their inventory management systems are using AI algorithms similar to ones used to develop intelligent supply chains. All of these solutions help manage to change demand patterns and align supplies accordingly.

The Foundation of the Recovery

As the world deals with the pandemic and starts to move towards recovery, supply chain logistics will be at the heart of everything. As supply chains grow more intelligent, the delivery of medicines and vaccines are almost certain to be efficient, despite the challenges.

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CoronaVirus mental health

The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Mental Health

It was shocking for everyone. COVID-19 has turned from a small cluster of cases to a global pandemic. We were surprised, sometimes sad, often depressed, but also motivated and united. Just as in normal life – you can think. However, we cannot stress enough how hard and dangerous it was for mentally impaired or psychologically troubled individuals to overcome the time of the world health crisis. The impact of the pandemic on mental health might not be here right now but it definitely happening and we will all see it in the near future.

The Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Mental Health

The world health crisis is not only about people dying in hospitals

The direct impact of COVID-19 infection is the loss of lives and we cannot neglect the difficult psycho-social impact of the loss of family members and friends. If you weren’t infected and any of your close ones were, besides forced staying at home, what else would keep you anxious? Forced lockdown depends hugely on your housing circumstances, but it’s never a paradise. It’s likely to feel like a prison, it’s likely to make you sad at times. When it comes to worldwide problems related to the pandemic, issues include affected economies, trades, businesses, livelihoods, and also the physical and mental well-being of all populations.

The lack of resources, insurance, persistent economic threat

If you are lucky enough to have the necessary support to economically survive a pandemic with no great anxiety, you are one of a few that sleep calmly. We shouldn’t forget that the physical distancing and lockdown measures implemented to contain the transmission of the virus come with the inherent risk of depriving poor households of being able to sustain their livelihoods. In fact, many, not only small businesses experienced forced closure. The economic impact of the pandemic on financial markets, micro-businesses, and vulnerable industries have increased the risk of unemployment. Uncertainty and financial concerns for the least well-paid, self-employed, and daily wage workers can be a real deal-breaker when it comes to getting into depression. The shortage of food and essential services can have devastating effects on people’s mental health. 

Man as a social animal

Let’s not overlook the effects of physical distancing measures and movement restrictions on mental health. We heard a lot about suddenly reinforced the quantity of domestic violence acts, abuses, and witnessing the violence of a family member. Being confined at homes can have a serious influence on mental health, both for the oppressor and for the victim. Even our heroes’ mental health, healthcare providers, and other essential workers who have been providing essential services while being susceptible to the infection represent cause for concern. 

Adapting to change as the key to survival

The duration of lockdowns and the international fight against the global pandemic is unclear. When person to person interaction has reduced, schedules and routines have been interrupted and access to care providers has become limited, many psychologists provide free online counseling. It’s useful to learn to make use of the various telephone hotlines available. Otherwise, we can be part of reliable support groups on social media, either as supporters, if we stand firm on the ground psychologically, or as the ones expecting support. 

Managing mental health in the chaotic time

What helps? Learn to have a structured schedule, establish a simple morning routine. Don’t force yourself to be super productive. It’s not possible, we are experiencing a worldwide trauma, and we need to be good for ourselves as well as for each other. Don’t forget about taking adequate rest, and practicing self-care (learn strategies such as breathing exercises, relaxation exercises, and cultivating hobbies). Minimize the time spent on watching, reading, or listening to news about COVID-19. Also, limit the sources of news to only the reliable ones.

Experiencing ostracization brings in even more tension

Some frontline workers and people of certain ethnicities and nationalities may experience ostracization due to stigma. It’s not hard to guess that it can be detrimental to mental well-being. Let’s talk about it openly and strongly counteract misconceptions leading to the stigmatization of any population. Also when it comes to health care providers, we must take good care of them. If you are a medical worker, don’t forget to rest between work-shifts, take care of basic needs, and stay in touch with family and friends. Pandemic tests our solidarity and our abilities to cope with change. It’s vital that we take care of our mental as well as physical health.

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CoronaVirus

The Future of Workplaces: How Covid-19 Will Transform Office Life

Will offices reopen after the coronavirus pandemic, or will they turn into ghost towns? Covid-19 doesn’t stop surging the US. Currently, some companies let their employees re-enter the workplaces after months of working from home. After temporarily saying goodbye to work meetings and staff socials, now, with the temperature taken regularly and many other security measures followed, some of us can go back to work. But is this want we really want? And, even more interestingly, what we really need?

The Future of Workplaces: How Covid-19 Will Transform Office Life

Relying on an abundance of caution

Let’s call it the first step to fruitfully come back on the right work track. For those who are not going to transform their practice into online activity, here are some steps to make the office a safe place. In the absence of federal guidelines around the best practices, office managers will do what seems right to them. We will miss familiar gatherings by the water cooler and buzzing shared spaces. Such pleasures will surely disappear from office-spaces in the foreseeable future. The ‘social distancing’ of the future (a strongly abused term lately) now transforms into de-densifying. It is also used by many schools, and it refers to restricting the number of people who have access to a given space at any one time.

The concept of phased reopenings

Not all employees will return to a location at the same time. It will happen in waves over a while. In these after-pandemic new circumstances, business leaders will have to prioritize who returns when. Seems legit. What else will change? The physical layout of our offices. Submittable (the 100-person tech firm) reports experimenting with different seating arrangements to avoid cluttered workspaces. They are also planning staggered workdays. Teams will rotate between designated days in the office. Also, we should expect to have our temperature taken regularly.

The benefits of working out in nature 

There’s no doubt that working in open spaces positively affects your productivity. Currently, health officials predict another wave of the virus this fall. It means that this staggered standard will likely continue over the next six to twelve months. While big office meetings may not officially be a thing of the past yet, we will surely have smaller groups in large meeting rooms. Not to forget that everyone will be wearing a face mask. The new normal: the virtual meetings and social gatherings online in a more (one must admit) casual style that has developed over the last two months. Sanitary kits designed especially for companies include sanitizer, masks, gloves, tissues, soap, a stylus pen for use on high-touch surfaces like printers and elevator buttons, and brass antimicrobial hook-style keys that can open door handles. 

The new office normalcy

Offices will be, therefore, equipped with stations for personal protective accessories, safety kits, like hand sanitizer, masks, and gloves. Those articles will be new permanent fixtures in offices, placed at entrances, exits, and other strategic locations. Recycling masks and gloves mean taking this health practice even a step ahead. Workers will probably need to get into the habit of wiping down the surfaces of their desks and other office supplies. Employees will be forced to make health-dictated sacrifices, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Some businesses may spring for a body thermal scanner at office entrances, as Amazon has done at its warehouses. Willis Towers Watson’s research found that almost half of companies surveyed (47%) are enhancing healthcare benefits for employees in the face of Covid-19. Forty-five percent of respondents reported expanding wellbeing coverage, and 33% reported planning changes to paid time off policies. 

Everything has a price

Experts predict that health insurance premiums for employers will rise in 2021 anywhere from 4% to 40%. This forecast is based on recent filings from health insurance companies with the District of Columbia’s department of insurance, securities, and banking. A report from Covered California predicted employers ‘no longer being able to offer affordable coverage, or dramatically shifting costs to employees.

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CoronaVirus

No State is Free From Covid-19 but Florida Got Seriously Hit

As each state is under detailed observation and security measures are more or less strictly followed, Covid-19 existence should slowly but surely go down. In Florida, this is not the case. Let’s see how to come.

No State is Free From Covid-19 but Florida Got Seriously Hit

Sanjay Bharath, a 34 years old victim from Florida

Why is Florida becoming America’s coronavirus epicenter? The surge in the Sunshine State was associated with younger Americans. Along with Texas and Arizona, the state fast became one of the regions with the highest surges in the country. A hospital nurse in South Florida, Sanjay Bharath, claims that he caught the virus from a patient when the Covid-19 screening process for admissions was less strict. Symptoms like fever, dry cough, loss of taste, and chest pain appeared soon after he got infected. 34 years is not a virus-vulnerable age group, yet a young Mr. Bharath fell victim to Covid-19.

14 days after, he had coughed up blood and checked into the hospital as a result. Two days later, he had to be intubated. Still, Mr. Bharath hoped to be sent back home. He wasn’t so lucky, though. Due to events that followed up, as his symptoms worsened, he would wake up in a fever-sweat every six hours, feeling chills, breathless, and lightheaded. He would never respirate without coughing and choking, remaining on a ventilator for eight days. He claims that he felt as if he would be “running a marathon constantly just by sitting down”. In the course of the two weeks in hospital over Covid-19, Mr. Bharath lost 20 lbs – 9kg. Now, four months since his hospital stay, he is still recovering.

Last week in Florida, nearly 10,000 new cases per day!

The biggest daily rise in hospital admissions was on 9 July (more than 400 patients needing treatment, 120 residents, including an 11-year-old girl, dying due to the virus). Then, on 12 July, the state broke the national record – 15,300 cases in a single day. If Florida was a country, it would be fourth in the world for most new cases in a day – Reuters reports. The weekly average has risen to 81 people each day. Yet, Florida’s Disney World resort reopened with a limited capacity just recently, on 11 July. As for 14 July, over 4,400 Floridians died due to the virus, with the highest daily death toll on that day – 132 reported deaths. 

Critics say the number of deaths is probably higher than the one reported by the state

Florida doesn’t voluntarily report deaths suspected as having been caused by Covid-19. The state also has yet to report daily hospital admission rates. The positive test rate is nearing 20%, which is four times the standard for reopening set by the World Health Organization and double the recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control. This measure indicates how much the virus is spreading even with testing increases. It’s now the highest since early March when the pandemic hit the US. Florida hit the 100,000 case mark on 22 June, and 13 days later, that number had doubled. Now, there are more than 287,000 cases.

A lot of misinformation all over the web

When it comes to the seriousness of this outbreak – says Dr. Aileen Marty, a Florida International University infectious disease expert –  Florida is now among the worst-hit regions because of the disinformation and inconsistency in messages coming from both the government and the state. It confuses people. In May and June, Governor Ron DeSantis had said the reopening was feasible as cases had declined. As they began rising, Mr. DeSantis in June reversed his decision on reopening. But he has refused to require masks statewide and has joined President Donald Trump is emphasizing the importance of keeping the economy open.

The way that the state after our initial lockdown has perpetuated the problem,” Dr. Marty, a World Health Organization adviser, assures. What would be the right way? Establishing a contact tracing and isolating system while the state was in lockdown, early testing of asymptomatic individuals, and first of all preventing weeks of civil unrest, between anti-lockdown protesters and marches against racial inequality. Mr. DeSantis said last week he felt the state’s numbers had stabilized, telling residents: “There’s no need to be fearful.” It probably wasn’t the best move to take. “They’re putting a lot of people at risk,” Mr. Bharath says, “there’s always the fear that I might catch it again or bring it home to more vulnerable family members”.

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CoronaVirus HealthTech

AI Is Screening Billions of Molecules for Coronavirus Treatments

One of the best features of AI, especially when used for science, is that it’s fast and efficient. Due to the global coronavirus spread, these days, AI has been utilized in medicine often. Recently, AI is screening billions of molecules for coronavirus treatments.

AI Is Screening Billions of Molecules for Coronavirus Treatments

A staggering speed

How much time would take evaluating 1 billion small molecules for their ability to bind SARS-CoV-2 proteins on casual computers? On the largest of them, probably around a decade. AI has shown us an amazingly variated speed in that matter. The work moved quickly. In a pandemic, “there are many drug candidates people would like to screen and, even with the proliferation of cloud and supercomputers, there just wouldn’t be enough computing to test them all” – says Shantanu Jha, a computational scientist at Rutgers University and Brookhaven National Laboratory. Together with his colleagues, they have integrated machine learning into the simulations they run on the supercomputers. It allows the programs to adapt to new information that gets uncovered as they run, thereby producing lists of candidate small molecules, much faster than traditional supercomputing methods.

Pilot study

COVID-19 cases continue to rise. The common ground that physicians from all over the globe seem to follow is repurposing existing drugs. The goal is clear – we need to find a cure that will help patients immediately get better. In a pilot study at the end of March, twelve COVID-19-infected people were admitted to the hospital in Italy. They received a daily dose of the rheumatoid arthritis drug, baricitinib, and an anti-HIV drug combination of lopinavir and ritonavir. Another study group of 12 received only lopinavir and ritonavir. Both groups were using it for two weeks. After the treatment, the patients who received baricitinib had mostly recovered – no coughs, no fevers, no short breath. Seven of them had been discharged from the hospital. The group who didn’t get baracitinib was still exhibiting symptoms. An artificial intelligence (AI) company based in the United Kingdom, BenevolentAI, was crucial to conduct this study. 

The team completed the work in only a few days

Justin Stebbing, an oncologist at Imperial College London and BenevolentAI collaborator, claims AI “makes higher-order correlations that a human wouldn’t be capable of making, even with all the time in the world. It links datasets that a human wouldn’t be able to link”. BenevolentAI’s vice president of pharmacology, Peter Richardson, says that it took him only an afternoon of work to use the company’s knowledge graph – an enormous, digital storehouse of biomedical information and connections inferred and enhanced by ML – to identify two human protein targets to focus on, AP2-associated protein kinase 1 (AAK1) and cyclin g-associated kinase (GAK).

These kinases mediate endocytosis – a process by which cells engulf things, including viruses – and, if disrupted, might make it harder for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to get into human cells. Having addressed those targets, they used another algorithm to find existing drugs that could hit the protein targets. The whole process took a few days – a situation impossible to imagine just a few decades ago when AI hasn’t been born yet. 

Next steps to succeed with AI-derived treatment

Eventually, the researchers cut the list of drugs for coronavirus down to about 30. Among the handful of those that showed the highest affinity for binding their targets (like toxic chemotherapy drugs, and others) baricitinib won clearly. The side effects were mostly benign and showed up after a longer period of treatment than COVID-19 patients need. It’s not metabolized by the liver and is instead excreted through the kidneys. It means that it might be safe to combine it with a traditional antiviral (such as lopinavir) that is metabolized by the liver. In addition to baricitinib’s predicted interactions with AAK1 and GAK, it’s a known Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitor. Because JAK mediates cytokine signaling that leads to inflammation, inhibiting JAK suppresses inflammation, which, at first blush, might have been a problem. Baricitinib not only prevents the virus from getting into cells but also reduces the intense immune reaction that causes so many problems, even as viral titers start to fall.

The pharmaceutical company takes up the AI idea 

Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical company that makes baricitinib, has agreed with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study the drug’s effectiveness in COVID-19 patients in the US. The BenevolentAI team is one of several groups leveraging AI to find drugs that have already been approved by regulators and could, therefore, be repurposed to fight SARS-CoV-2.

What to believe in?

Coupling artificial intelligence techniques and algorithms with high-performance computing simulations to speed up the ability to screen billions of existing drugs for their interactions with and ability to disrupt SARS-CoV-2 proteins – this is what scientists do these days. Thanks to great minds and AI systems, the effectiveness of drugs against coronavirus will save a great number of lives.

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CoronaVirus health

What Happened at Saint Joe’s Hospital Can’t Stay There Forever!

Ellen DeGeneres drags out into the light the ‘Patient Zero’ Gregg Garfield. Gregg Garfield, 54, was the first patient at Providence Saint Joseph Hospital in Burbank, California, with COVID-19. He was intubated for 31 days and given a 1% chance of survival. It’s worth knowing his humbling experience, the ongoing issues he has had since his hospitalization, and how doctors and nurses became his family after helping to save his life. Happily, he recovered and was released after 64 days. 

What Happened at Saint Joe’s Hospital Can't Stay There Forever!
Source

How has it all started?

As the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to spread in Italy, a group of 13 skiers left Los Angeles for their annual Europe trip. When they headed to northern Italy, they had no idea that the pandemic was about to explode. Unfortunately, their trip ended with all of them testing positive for the virus, four of whom needed to be hospitalized.

“Three days into the trip, a few people started getting sick. By the end of the trip, everybody was sick. None of us knew we had coronavirus,” said Brett Lightner, one of the travelers. Gregg Garfield was registered at Saint Joe’s Hospital, three other people were on ventilators. “The disease kicked off, and my immune system just ate me alive,” Garfield told KCAL-TV in Los Angeles. He was on the verge of losing his fight with coronavirus. Now, as we are aware of the end of the story, we can go through his experiences with no fear, and get informed about the consequences of meeting COVID-19 at first hand.

The illness

Garfield suffered pneumonia and kidney failure. His sister Stephanie Garfield Bruno told KABC-TV that four different parts of his lungs collapsed. Also, he was unable to walk. Bruno said the situation still feels surreal, noting that her athletic brother was the picture of health before he became sick. Garfield’s body started shutting down.

He was intubated and stayed on a ventilator for 31 days. His blood pressure plummeted, changing the color of the skin on his fingers. Garfield got real about how real this virus is, sharing the loss of his fingers and toes because of a lack of blood flow. With the help of physicians and physical therapists, he regained his mobility and returned home with a walker, after two months of hospitalization. Garfield hopes that people take the coronavirus pandemic seriously. “The only thing I really am focused on right now is telling the story about how real this is”.

People were helpful

One of the heartbreaking facts about his recovery process was that despite him being in a coma, one of his nurses would speak with him every day. One day, she even decided to stick a stuffed animal of a dog named “Baby Bear” after his dog, under his chin. “This is really emotional for me,” Garfield said. “I have received an outpour of unbelievable love”. His doctors and nurses are still texting and calling him. 

Special recovery send-off

Gregg received a heartwarming ovation from the medical staff after recovering. It was the kind of situation that usually gets you chills and makes all of us teary-eyed. Even he was surprised by this emotional special recovery send-off. In the goodbye scene, Garfield is seen holding onto the arms of his sister and girlfriend as he stands up out of his wheelchair and makes his way out of the hospital doors. He is surrounded by dozens of people with signs of encouragement, clapping for his recovery.

The happy ending

Gregg was given the all-clear to leave last Friday, 64 days after first walking into the hospital. Doctors believe that his was a real miracle. Garfield is in recovery, but his case exemplifies how quickly the virus acts. “He wasn’t that bad when he came into the emergency room. Within less than 48 hours, he wasn’t breathing well, and he was on maximum oxygen,” pulmonologist Dr. Daniel Dea told ABC7. Gregg notes that “It is the most humbling experience to learn to walk again at 54-yers-old”. Moreover, he also claims that he will ski again this year.

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5G Networks

Are 5G And EMF Radiation Damaging To Your Health?

What do we want from the Internet nowadays? We surely don’t want it to do us any harm. We desire speed, convenience, and, as psychologists say, instant gratification. The more we have, the more we want. Not surprisingly, we recently entered the fifth generation of 5G and EMS radiation. The newest big technology solution, 5G, raised questions about what are the health risks of the new radiation, and if our fear in the face of such an upgraded novelty is due.  

Is 5G And EMF Radiation Are Damaging To Your Health?

What is 5G?

5G brings greater capacity, a higher density of users, faster download speeds, and more reliable connectivity. What’s more, nothing new needs to be built to implement it, since companies are planning to use existing infrastructure to install the new 5G devices (utility poles and buildings in a tightly-knit network). They are in the size of smoke detectors. As a result, they are even less noticeable than before, so they seem to be less intrusive. Is it really? The leap to 5G means that we’re gonna have more 5G connected devices, communicating with more, and new forms of energy to, from more 5G towers, and small cell sites closer to the ground. 5G will lead to an exponential increase in human exposure to EMF radiation. Moreover, it will use frequencies that have never been used in consumer applications before. They are generally considered to be absorbed by the body within a few millimeters of the skin. The scientific data on the subject is still limited, so the results are only about to come. Unfortunately, they will appear (or not) directly on our bodies. 

5G and EMF

Many people become concerned when 5G cell towers that pop up in their neighborhoods. They rightly wonder if 5G is bad for their health. 5G will indeed result in unprecedented exposure to a particular type of radiation. Let’s break it down: all wireless technology functions by sending and receiving signals using electromagnetic radiation (or EMF). Namely every wireless device – as well as the towers and routers that connect them – is a source of EMF. Researches show that even short-term exposures can harm the peripheral nervous system, the immune system, and the cardiovascular system. The study led by Dr. Yuri D Feldman at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that human sweat ducts act as an array of tiny, helix-shaped antennas when exposed to millimeter waves – amplifying health risks. 

Few words about the threat

The good news is that 5G radiation emissions fall within current safety limits. It doesn’t mean that 5G is safe though. 5G is leading to increased exposures to higher energy forms of EMF radiation, but there has been no change to the safety standards that govern the technology. These exposures and health effects that they cause in the short or long-term are unfortunately still untested. No surveys indicate the real levels of 5G EMF radiation to which people will be exposed. What we do know is that there are no safe radiation levels of EMF. Dr. Joel Moskowitz from UC Berkeley School of Public Health has explained, “we have no reason to believe that 5G is safe.” The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has designated this type of EMF as a Class 2B carcinogen. Moreover, EMF is genotoxic, which means it can destroy our DNA.

Do we really need 5G?

Smart homes, self-driving cars, and appliances that manage themselves. The broader term for this is the Internet of Things (IoT), and for it to become a reality, wireless networks have to evolve to meet increasing data demands. Wireless companies believe 5G networks are the answer. One characteristic of 5G is that it seeks to use a whole new spectrum, to allow for more traffic – that of millimeter waves. 4G networks were using “old” radio waves to broadcast data. As time goes and technological development evolves, the radio spectrum is already crammed full of signals. Millimeter waves are much shorter than radio waves (they are only 1 to 10mm in length). Shorter waves mean these are higher frequency, which means they transmit more energy.

Possible symptoms

Exposure to this type of radiation can result in nausea, hair loss, low energy, confusion, swelling, appetite loss, depression, bone marrow damage, organ damage, infections, incapacitation, and death. It indeed sounds like a hell of a threat!

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5G Networks CoronaVirus

5G Networks And Coronavirus: Here Are The Latest Conspiracy Theories

A lot has been said about the relationship between the 5G networks and coronavirus. Some theories are considered conspirative even though it may seem like they have a grain of truth. Let’s dig into it and discover what the world’s widespread discussion is about. How could telecom possibly be related to the spread of a respiratory virus? Is 5G harmful to our health?

5G Networks And Coronavirus: Here Are The Latest Conspiracy Theories

Theories

According to these convictions, real dangers are being covered up by powerful forces in the global telecommunications industry. What’s interesting, at first it was only a small number of people who believed that 5G is harmful. The situation changed, and this belief spread when COVID-19 appeared on such a massive scale. The world went locked down, and anxieties due to 5G rose. Even celebrities contributed to the diffusion of these theories sharing opinions that there could be truth to it. In consequence, these claims entered into the mainstream.

Questions posed

Some theories say that the radiation from 5G is what’s causing COVID-19 symptoms. Other people believe that 5G is to blame for the rapid spread of COVID-19. They assert that the radiation from 5G can weaken your immune system to the point that makes you more easily infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus. Is it a coincidence that those two “novelties” appeared almost simultaneously? 

The revolt

Rightly or wrongly, people started the rebellion against 5G. As a result, telecoms engineers have been threatened, spat at, and chased down the streets! Phone masts have been set alight across Europe, threatening to cut off vital communications at a time of international emergency. Is it already a panic, or is it still explainable on rational terms?

Which claims are fueling these conspiracies? 

Firstly, let’s break down the first rumor. Scientists confirm that COVID-19 is transmitted only via respiratory droplets. They point out that you cannot transmit droplets through 5G waves. That’s good news! The claims that 5G, in any other way, caused the virus, are also wrong. It’s confirmed by scientists from all over the world. The most prevalent and likely of all the theories is the one that 5G degrades the immune system, thus supporting the spread of COVID-19. Well, many of the hardest-hit countries, like Iran with over 114,000 confirmed cases, currently have no 5G infrastructure. The theory of the danger that 5G brings to the immune system isn’t new. The same claims arose when 2G, 3G, 4G, and WiFi were installed. Is there anything more to it when it comes to 5G? 

The fear of electromagnetic radiation

5G waves are part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Higher frequency radiation, at the end of this spectrum, does indeed pose dangers. These high-frequency waves are “ionizing”, meaning they can cause internal damage to our bodies if exposure is too great (analogically to X-Rays that penetrate the body, and are used for medical imaging). So is 5G a real threat? Specialists say it isn’t because 5G is in a band of low-frequency waves, just like WiFi. Are we afraid of WiFi? Usually not much. 5G waves are “non-ionizing” – it’s confirmed that this kind of radiation doesn’t cause internal damage to our cells.

Medical facts 

If we listen to the science (some of us don’t believe science though), the simple fact is that 5G – the fifth generation of Internet communications technologies, cannot be behind the pandemic, either by spreading the virus or by degrading our immune response. The pandemic has already afflicted over 1.5 million people and killed over 90,000 people. Isn’t it that the technology that is supposed to make mobile and Internet communications much, much faster, is not a cause of it but a significant help to beat it down? Folks on social media are blaming 5G for causing and sustaining pandemics, just as people are accusing Bill Gates (the guy who donated millions to invent the vaccine) of causing it. For some of the arguments, we will never find a response,  but some of them are medically proven.  

Alternative theories 

Another variation of the theory is that there is no COVID-19 coronavirus. In other words, the news we watch daily, testing that people get, and the whole severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2), that doctors and scientists seem to be battling, are all part of some elaborate hoax. Well, as for now, let’s try to base it on science and we’ll go through everything.

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CoronaVirus Viruses

What We Know — and Still Don’t Know – About the Coronavirus

By now, we know a lot about the coronavirus. Dr. Megan Ranney (the emergency physician and Brown University associate professor of emergency medicine) spent last week testifying about the coronavirus before Congress. After she took to Twitter with some useful advice on coronavirus on Sunday, CNN interviewed her with some even more in-depth questions. She knows a lot about it, but she also admits that the world is still unsure of some issues regarding COVID-19. 

What We Know -- and Still Don't Know - About the Coronavirus

What we don’t know yet?

The way the illness is spread – we are almost sure that it’s similar to the previously known ways of spreading, but it’s more aggressive. There’s conflicting information over whether it’s aerosol spread (like measles) or droplet (like flu). We also don’t know how long the virus lives on surfaces and whether it’s spread by cats, other animals, and by human waste. We are not aware of the true case fatality rate. Currently, scientists say that coronavirus is at least four times more deadly than the flu. 

What else is there to research?

It seems more or less obvious which symptoms appear, but we don’t fully understand how it causes this wide variety of them. Although doctors have growing clinical knowledge, the new multi-inflammatory syndrome observed in kids is very much a black box. What about the virus being spread by cigarettes or vapor? We know that current smokers have a higher risk of severe illness and death, but we know nothing about the spread of the virus among smokers. 

Summer is coming and rumors about its consequences are controversial

The first issue is that, what many believe, coronavirus will dissolve during the hot months. Another thing is that AC systems are potentially spreading the virus more. Is there anything to be worried about? Several studies show that airflow changes patterns of transmission inside a building. That is even quite obvious without being a scientist or a technician. When it comes to COVID-19, it’s not sure whether it’s spread through the AC system. It’s likely, though, due to air blowing the virus droplets or aerosols into certain locations.

Why don’t we know the real fatality rate and what will help us determine it?

The first reason – we don’t know how many people have been infected (there are severe delays in getting testing going), so it’s impossible to know the fatality rate i.e. the number of people who died divided by the number of people infected. What we do know is that the case-fatality rate likely differs in various populations. We are already aware at a global scale that it’s higher for the elderly than for the young.

Do we just need more time to study the virus or we are totally unable to discover some aspects of it at all? 

A lack of skills or knowledge isn’t a problem at all here. It’s time, and funding – the two things usually involved in any specialistic field to make sure things are done well. We need to be careful in what we read everything that is published currently related to COVID-19. We must also remember that it’s all novel, and, more often than not, it’s not checked by specialists. Some titles and pieces of information are less trustworthy than others. There is a lot of funding being provided for scientists, but social distancing makes everything tougher. Clinical research isn’t working at its normal rate, just like everything else. Everyone is affected by the coronavirus. As we all know, it’s a very democratic disease. 

How do we get to know all of that?

How to figure out all the crucial info mentioned above? How to get a concrete idea of, for example, how is the virus transmitted and how long does it last on surfaces? Also, what’s the difference between the virus only being on the surface and it being infectious? Even if we detect it there, it may still not be able to get anyone sick. Ever heard of a dead virus? Just observing that the virus is ‘there’ (on the surface) doesn’t mean it’s ‘infectious’. Knowing that even more questions arise. Doctors and scientists admit that a few more good laboratory studies are still needed and essential to discover many of the coronavirus’ qualities.

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CoronaVirus

Tracing ‘Patient Zero’: Why America’s First Coronavirus Death May for Ever Go Unmarked

While the US experts are still investigating this world-widely spread illness, they are also trying to chase down its US source, the famous ‘patient zero’ but with no results. Why is pinpointing the coronavirus arrival to America so hard? ‘We’re not going to exhume bodies and test them’, said George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco – and apparently, much about these early cases will probably remain unclear forever.

Tracing 'Patient Zero': Why America's First Coronavirus Death May for Ever Go Unmarked

By now, the US is officially nearing the bleak milestone of 100,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths. However, since the real date of the first death may go unmarked it can remain impossible to guess who was the ‘lucky’ one. The death toll will probably have hit that figure days before the official tallies reflect it. 

The first notice

The first report of coronavirus in the US came on 21 January, when a man in Washington state, who had traveled to Wuhan, tested positive. The models of the COVID-19 ‘travels’, as they are being reconstructed now, show that the virus was making its way through America’s major cities, undetected, weeks before the first American died of it officially. On February 29, 2020, in the Seattle area, nursing home outside the city reported what was believed to be the first US death caused by COVID-19.

What was there but wasn’t said out loud

Coronavirus cases were also identified in California in late January, initially among those who had recently traveled to Wuhan. By late February, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, said officials were monitoring more than 8,400 patients – but the state had only 200 testing kits. Moreover, testing became America’s problem for a long haul, and it was a rather costly issue when it comes to deadly patients’ cases. Tests were difficult to come by across the nation after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had botched the rollout of diagnostic kits and delayed allowing private and academic labs to develop their own. 

Is it any worse than in other countries? 

There is rather nothing severely failed in the US system compared to other nations throughout the world, at least when it comes to the first response to coronavirus. Just as everywhere else, only the most severely ill patients were being tested initially, and those who had recently traveled were prioritized. 

Suspicions of the beginning of that all

Optimistically, large hospitals and academic medical centers routinely preserve and store tissue samples from autopsies for six months to a year. We are in May, so it’s still potentially possible to track down everything that happened in the COVID-19 case along the way. In April, an analysis of samples from the autopsy of a 57-year-old Santa Clara woman who died suddenly in her home on 6 February revealed that she succumbed to the disease. The woman probably contracted the virus at least a week or two before she died. However, the fact that she had not traveled outside the country shows another significant note. It means that coronavirus was spreading within the community at least by mid-to-late January.

Continuing to search for the crucial answer

Recently, Washington officials have been looking into the cases of two patients with symptoms typical of COVID-19 in late December who tested positive for antibodies to the virus. There is an option though that these patients could have suffered from severe flu or other respiratory illness, and only contracted the coronavirus later. That’s why these test results don’t give the answer we are so eager to obtain. ‘There’s a chance that there were more infections that resulted in death, at a time when we didn’t know about this novel coronavirus,’ said Andrew Badley, chair of the Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 research task force. Newsom, the California governor, ordered coroners in the state to review autopsies back to December.

More medical researches

Before mid-February, only two of nearly 3,000 people with respiratory disease symptoms were noted as infected with the coronavirus. A severe flu season, making people sick in January and February, doesn’t make the whole thing easier to differentiate from coronavirus.

It’s still unclear for the specialists, why, if the virus was circulating early, patients were not overwhelming hospitals early on. ‘All viruses can mutate and change a little bit over time,’ said Badley. By tracing different strains of the virus, researchers can estimate when each strain was introduced to a region, but the process is tricky and requires that the older strains of the virus still be around – either preserved in tissue samples or spreading through the population. It doesn’t surprise that, with so many variables, tracking down the ‘zero patient’ is such a big deal.

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CoronaVirus

What Could Be The Long-Term Effects Of The Coronavirus Pandemic?

What changes could come in the aftermath of COVID-19? As history shows, the aftermath of plagues has brought about radical transformations for societies. What will be the outcome of the current situation in which we unwillingly found ourselves?

Long-Term Effects Of The Coronavirus Pandemic

A bit of history of getting back to normal

Hundred years ago, in the USA, when the Spanish flu and World War I ended, presidential candidate Warren Harding popularized the phrase “Return to normalcy”. As usual, in such situations as running for a president, the quote was coined to attract voters and tell them exactly what they needed to hear. After a crazy, out-of-norm period, people crave normal and they will do everything to get it. But was it really the case when Harding was running for a president? And even more importantly, will ‘normal’ be possible ever again?

Abruptly, profoundly and irretrievably – life has changed

Prevailing over the virus is one thing. But there is another crucial turnabout when it comes to getting through all that – how we will deal with our respect for science or the lack of it and how our currently strong, collective will is going to behave in the more stable times. These are noteworthy issues to be reconsidered when we finally rebuild ‘the new normal’ in societies.  

An inaudible scream of the Earth

Haven’t we noticed that not everything is right? Bushfires in Australia, highest temperatures on Earth ever, floods, icebergs, and glaciers melted – wasn’t it a warning sign made by Mother Earth strong enough to pay our attention to the possible consequences of our shameless and short-sighted behavior? 

Biology doesn’t care about ‘recession’

No live sport, no Broadway shows, emergency and army on the street, empty train stations and airports at rush hours, the historically unprecedented value of toilet paper, and 500 meters queues for grocery stores. Have we expected it at any measure? Biology matters and it’s not going to negotiate or back off, and we are not used to the kind of situation that we don’t control. We have to respect nature. It’s not a surprise that people who know a lot about nature or health issues – knew that such an event may appear at some point. And we will be rightly penalized for our disrespect for the future on Earth and mercilessly destroying the globe we live on. Climate change whistleblowers were numerous and they were trying to warn us. They even wrote books on probable pandemics and published it! Unfortunately, we didn’t listen.

The order comes from chaos

The hygiene of modern cities, the way they were constructed, and enhanced come in a huge part from the drama of the former epidemics and the people’s needs. Quarantines, social distancing, lockdowns – it has all already happened more than once. This is a real source of optimism when it comes to the difficult situation that we found ourselves in – in history, necessary transformations that arose due to health necessities, brought a significant upgrade to the cities. Paved streets, better housing regulations, care about sanitary measures – these are enhancements that sprung in the aftermath of the epidemics in history.

What about a social turnabouts?

The aftermath of plagues brings about radical positive changes in societies. Is it the same in every case? The situation is even sometimes called a “war”, due to the anxiety it brings, so how can that be perceived as positive? The world has spent so much time, energy, and money guarding its borders against immigrants. Danger came in nonetheless, and now it’s a unity and cooperation that can really save us. Hopefully, this surprise will teach us something that we can take with us to the future.

Let’s try to slow down with travels

Any less traveled road that we can take as humans? 700 hundred years – this is how long our love for a never-ending journey has been developing. Should we really use cars, airplanes, and trains – all kinds of transport that enable us to change location every time we want – so often and so obsessively? Can we take a step back to save our globe, so currently sick and poor? It’s still not enough to pay for all of our faults, but it’s worth considering either way.

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CoronaVirus

Another Eric Trump’s Dangerous Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory

As time goes, Eric Trump seems to be more and more eager to attract the attention of the public. Before, it was just a Trump son making headlines for his commentary about American politics. Now, in an interview he gave to Fox News, he becomes more creative than that. Should we congratulate him for an upgrade or just the opposite?

Another Eric Trump's Dangerous Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory

What does coronavirus have to do with politics?

Eric offered up his private theory in the politics and coronavirus department. Let’s move straight to the quote, and then we will try to break it down and… understand. “They think they’re taking away Donald Trump’s greatest tool, which is being able to go into an arena and fill it with 50,000 people every single time, right. […] So they will and you watch.

They’ll milk it every single day between now and November 3, and guess what? After November 3, coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen”. Well, if everything on this planet circulates around one person, then probably yes. States with Democratic governors are slowly reopening, after stay-at-home orders over the past few months, not to avoid a second surge in the coronavirus, but rather to keep President Donald Trump from holding campaign rallies. Is that what you mean Eric? 

Who wants and who doesn’t want gatherings?

Why have some states been so slow to fully reopen as the coronavirus continues to circulate in the country? The question itself sounds internally contradictory, but who cares at that point. Eric’s father, the current president of the United States, has been equally eager to gather crowds and hold campaign rallies: ‘It’s great for the country. It’s a great spirit. I hope we’re going to have rallied. I think they’re going to be bigger than ever’. If the President’s son’s direct suggestion that Democratic governors are keeping their states from fully reopening (in the times of coronavirus, let’s underline that) to stop his dad’s rallies wasn’t scandalous enough, there is more of it! 

A bit of magic

‘After November 3, coronavirus will magically, all of a sudden, go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen.’ – the second winning line goes like this. And this line wins the title, as it’s really a piece of art. What will happen exactly, Eric?   

Explanation

Let’s see what’s the problem. According to the author of the quote above, every governor of a state that is not fully reopened, is covering up the fact that coronavirus is, in fact, not all that bad, especially in their state. Why are they continuing to prohibit Donald to organize rallies, which he likes to hold so much? This is the reason – they want to stop him from doing it. 

Is coronavirus real?

In this optics, the guidance being offered by doctors, epidemiologists, and public health experts that we need to continue social distancing, mask-wearing and other measures proven to lessen the spread of the virus is all crap. According to Eric’s theory, if we go further, as we should because the word has been said,  the only reason these states aren’t opening is that their governors are out to get Trump.

Interweaved belief systems 

Well, it’s understandable that if your father repeats to you for your whole life that everything that happens in the world is somehow linked to him, you will believe him one day – whether you want it or not. Also, it has nothing at all to do with the coronavirus which will probably “magically all of a sudden go away and disappear” after Election Day. That’s even more strange if you recall that some time ago coronavirus existed for 100% and was a firm reason to boycott China.    

Self-doubt needed urgently  

Moreover, this isn’t some random Eric Trump surrogate on the local news making a wild accusation about governors hiding the truth about a global pandemic. This is the President’s son saying it on the flagship TV station across the country. Without any fact-checking or questioning himself. Does it remind us of anything? Here’s how the TV interlocutor responded to Eric Trump’s conspiracy theory: ‘I mean, it’s clearly – it’s no longer, you know, for a while it was about the science and the non-believers and all of that, but it’s right down the middle in terms of left and right.’ It looks like a case worth observing, preferably by doctors.

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CoronaVirus Viruses

The U.S. ‘Darkest Winter’ If Coronavirus Rebounds – Let’s Face The Harshest Option

As the government whistleblower warns, this winter is going to be tough or, as he called it, ‘the darkest winter’. Rick Bright testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee that as the virus spreads in the US the ‘window is closing to address this pandemic’. Immunologist Dr. Rick Bright made his sobering prediction in testimony prepared for his appearance on Thursday.

The U.S. ‘Darkest Winter' If Coronavirus Rebounds - Let’s Face The Harshest Option

The Bright’s case

The main idea behind Bright’s appeal was that Americans should brace themselves for the risk that they will suffer enormously if leadership’s decisions don’t change. The irreversible catastrophe is in arrival due to the ongoing federal government failures in addressing the coronavirus pandemic – a recently ousted public health official turned whistleblower warned the US Congress.

Bright alleges that he was ousted from his job after warning the Trump administration to prepare for the pandemic. A federal watchdog agency has found reasonable grounds that Bright was removed from his post as head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority after sounding the alarm at the Department of Health and Human Services. Bright became a target of criticism when he urged early efforts to invest in vaccine development and stock up on supplies. 

Are there any hopes for the turnaround?

Moreover, leaders need to act decisively to prevent a rebound of the coronavirus. ’If we fail to develop a nationally coordinated response, based in science, I fear the pandemic will get far worse and be prolonged, causing unprecedented illness and fatalities’ – says the whistleblower. `Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be the darkest winter in modern history’, Bright believes.

By now, more than 84,000 people have died in the U.S., representing more than one-fourth of global deaths and being the world’s highest toll, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. In total, throughout the world, more than 4.3 million have been infected and about 298,000 have died. The US president has not only pushed inefficient hydroxychloroquine into common use as a COVID-19 cure but also publicly pondered the benefits of injecting disinfectants into patients, making a statement that was later on widely condemned as dangerous, by public health officials and bleach manufacturers.

Other forecasts

Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, expressed the issue similarly to Bright. A rushed lifting of store-closing and stay-at-home restrictions could ‘turn back the clock’, causing more suffering and death and complicating efforts to get the economy rolling again. Whereas Bright claims that ‘the undeniable fact is there will be a resurgence of COVID-19 this fall, greatly compounding the challenges of seasonal influenza and putting an unprecedented strain on our health care system’. Bright, who has a doctoral degree in immunology, outlined a path forward that would be based on science, while researchers work to develop better treatments and an effective vaccine.

What are the steps to take?

To efficiently overcome the hard times, it’s worth digging into the best and smartest solutions. Which? As Bright enumerates: First of all, establishing a national testing strategy. The White House has urged states to take the lead on testing, even as the federal government pushes to make more tests and better ones widely available. Next, doubling down on educating the public about basic safety measures (frequent hand-washing and wearing masks in public places).

Worth mentioning the ‘modeling behavior’, so leaders, do your thing (a subtle reference to a president who goes maskless each time)! The third task – ramping up production of essential equipment and supplies, from cotton swabs for testing to protective gear for health care workers and essential workers. And lastly, setting up a system to fairly distribute equipment and supplies that are scarce and highly sought. Eliminating state vs. state competition would increase efficiency and reduce costs. These are only simple Bright’s ideas, but to be sincere – do we have anyone smarter at the top of the ladder currently?

The President’s response

What the President has to say about it, as for 14th May? ‘I don’t know the so-called Whistleblower Rick Bright, never met him or even heard of him, but to me, he is a disgruntled employee, not liked or respected by people I spoke to and who, with his attitude, should no longer be working for our government!’. Fair enough.

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CoronaVirus Infections (Bacterial and Viral)

Is Bill Gates Responsible for The Coronavirus Pandemic?

What do you get for trying to prepare people for an infectious coronavirus pandemic? Unfortunately, not only no acknowledgments but quite on the contrary – you end up being accused of causing it! Over the past decade, Bill Gates has been warning about the lack of preparation and systems in place to deal with infectious disease threats that could lead to a pandemic. Now, in the midst of it, he becomes a person to blame for the whole mess.

Is Bill Gates Responsible for The Coronavirus Pandemic?

What is the official line?

Five years ago, Bill Gates warned that the biggest potential killer the world faced wasn’t war, but a pandemic. The billionaire spent hundreds of millions of dollars to find faster ways to develop vaccines and create disease-tracking systems. He urged world leaders to build national defenses against new infectious diseases.

Gates, the billionaire Microsoft co-founder turned philanthropist, has spent much of the second act of his career initiating and supporting efforts to prevent and control infectious diseases via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has funded some of our PHICOR team’s computer modeling research efforts to improve product distribution and disease control. He pushed for more awareness, and even now, he stays repentant: “I feel terrible. – he claims – The whole point of talking about it was to take action and minimize the damage”.

Just another conspiracy theory?

It seems like every group with pre-existing conspiracy theories is now projecting them onto the Coronavirus crisis. Whether the anti-vaxxers or the anti-5G people, it’s quite likely that all of these groups have some belief that there is an underlying story they’re not being told. Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been warning of a pandemic for years. No wonder, as he’s associated so strongly with the idea of “anti-virus vaccines”, that he’s currently carefully scrutinized by the public opinion on the subject. Let’s keep in mind that it’s the same Bill Gates, who has announced that his $40 billion-foundation will shift its total attention to fighting Coronavirus pandemic. How did we get there?

The theory

Some people on social media have been accusing Gates of starting the severe acute respiratory syndrome–coronavirus pandemic (SARS-CoV2). In April, dozens of Texans crowded around Infowars host Alex Jones at an anti-shutdown demonstration in Austin, Texas, chanting “arrest Bill Gates”. A New York-based, tech, nonprofit organization falsely rumored to be working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

What is it said that they were doing together? It appears that they were trying to implant vaccine microchips in people. As a result, they’ve received so many death threats that they had to call the FBI. Moreover, a White House petition demanding the billionaire’s foundation be investigated for “medical malpractice and crimes against humanity” amassed half-a-million signatures in three weeks.

Movements in the US and Australia

Recently, anti-lockdown protests in Australia mimicked some of the conspiracy theories and language of similar protests in the United States. More than 100 people gathered outside parliament in Victoria, and a smaller crowd gathered in Sydney to protest the lockdowns, tracking apps and vaccines. One of the virulent conspiracy theories that appeared at the protest and in the groups is “Plandemic” – a video making claims about the origins of Covid-19. It has been viewed over 2.2m times. One claim, among others, is that Coronavirus is being spread to force vaccines on to the population as a form of control.

Hopes for the future

What are the views of the future? As Bill Gates points out in his article for the New England Journal of Medicine, primary health care systems, which can monitor disease patterns and act as an early warning system, also need to be strengthened. And the world should invest in disease surveillance, including a case database that is instantly accessible to relevant organizations. Gates claims that the pharmaceutical industry has never developed a new vaccine in less than five years. However, he’s hopeful that a COVID-19 vaccine will be widely available in about 18 months. We are waiting impatiently, and specialists do their best 24 hours a day, so let’s believe that the future is bright!

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CoronaVirus Viruses

Critics Said the Flu Kills More Than Coronavirus. Why That’s Not a Fair Comparison — And Now, It’s Not Even True

At the very beginning of the pandemic, in search of tranquility, and in the atmosphere of arising panic, we used to hear from the media that the novel Coronavirus is nothing more than the seasonal flu. Some doctors on TV were convincingly telling us that since the lethality is low, there is nothing to worry about. Do they still believe it now, with more than 3 million people infected? Let’s look closer at the case. 

Critics Said the Flu Kills More Than Coronavirus. Why That's Not a Fair Comparison -- And Now, It's Not Even True

Protests dictated by the understandable fear for the collapsing economy

Since the flu kills more people than coronavirus, do we have to shut down the economy? These were the voices of protestants denouncing state shutdowns. Some protesters even claim that Covid-19 is a lie. Naturally, their anger and the sense of unfairness is understandable. We all suffer somehow because of the sudden spread of SARS-Cov-2. But is the flu and Coronavirus comparison still valid from any point of view?   

The real numbers and reasons to be worried

The sad truth is that the US death toll from COVID-19 this year has exceeded 62,000. It means that it surpassed the high-end estimate for flu deaths since October. The first reason for the COVID-19 supremacy over flu is its overwhelming speed of spread combined with the lethality level. Coronavirus kills at a much faster rate than the flu, and it’s much more contagious. Research shows that a person with the flu infects an average of about 1.28 other people, whereas an infected individual with novel coronavirus infects an average of about 2 to 3 other people. It looks as if the numbers didn’t change much, but after a few mathematical operations, it becomes clear that the differences between the number of infected people are crucially bigger when it comes to coronavirus eventually. 

Summer hope

We (scientists, basically) are still not sure whether the virus would dissipate in summer. Let’s notice that it kept spreading in the Southern Hemisphere during its summer months. What does it mean for us? Unfortunately, it suggests that warm weather won’t slow its spread, even if many of us are convinced that this is the case.

What about the rate of fatal cases? 

Coronavirus kills at a much faster rate. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that from October 2019 to early April 2020, the flu killed an estimated 24,000 to 62,000 people in the US. If 62,000 people died from the flu in this period, that means the country had an average of about 331 flu deaths a day. Keep this number in mind. And now let’s pass to the Coronavirus cases count. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, it killed more than 62,850 people in the US from the first known death in February through the end of April. In short, it means that an average of more than 739 people died per day from coronavirus in the US was noted. The number of fatal cases is doubled when you compare the two diseases. 

The delayed appearance of symptoms 

Another essential threat is that Coronavirus can be spread for many days without symptoms. In the case of flu, the incubation period is relatively short – it typically takes one to four days after infection. Why is it so important? Because, when it comes to the flu, people who get sick will know it soon, and will likely stay home, avoiding contact with others and at the same time, saving them from infection. The incubation period with coronavirus is about three to 14 days.

Sometimes it can be even 21 days or a whole month! A person with COVID-19 may be contagious 48 to 72 hours before starting to experience symptoms, emerging research suggests. This strengthens the reason for wearing face masks, physical distancing, and contact tracing. All of them can help reduce the risk that someone who is infected but not yet contagious may unknowingly infect others. It’s easy to notice that it’s very simple for asymptomatic carriers to infect others.

The lack of vaccine

As we all know, you can get a flu vaccine but not a coronavirus vaccine. Flu deaths could be drastically reduced if more people got flu shots, but that’s not the case with COVID-19. It’ll be months before a coronavirus vaccine is developed and becomes publicly available. To sum up, the new Coronavirus is much more dangerous than the flu, and we do need extra precautions. 

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CoronaVirus Viruses

New York Hospitals Are Studying a Common Heartburn Drug as Treatment for Covid-19

Coronavirus is spreading through the world, and the US is currently particularly touched by it. At what point are we know when it comes to treatment? Are there any new options after the recent revelations? Let’s see what the New York doctors’ idea is. 

New York Hospitals Are Studying a Common Heartburn Drug as Treatment for Covid-19

What’s the newest idea?

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but what currently happens in New York, can be sent further, if only it became an effective cure for COVID-19. Hospitals in New York are giving heartburn medicine to coronavirus patients. They want to find out if it helps fight the virus. As dr. Kevin Tracey said on the 27th of April, preliminary results of the clinical trial of famotidine, the active ingredient in Pepcid, will come out in the next few weeks. He is a president of Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell Health, which runs 23 hospitals in the New York City area. As for today, 187 patients have enrolled in the clinical trial. Eventually, they hope to enroll 1,200 people in the study.

Countless “what ifs”

What if famotidine cures the novel coronavirus? Well, it would be easy to use it on a widespread scale! It’s not only cheap but also accessible to everyone. What if it won’t work? A clinical trial is required to assess whether we may hope that this solution is a good one. It’s worth mentioning that patients in the hospital are getting hyper-doses intravenously, about nine times bigger than standard ones for heartburn. So if you have an idea to go to the drugstore and make your supplies for a DIY cure, don’t bother. It has to be done differently, and the doctor is needed.  

Where and when did it all start?

We are learning from the Chinese idea. Famotidine was taken under consideration after it had been noticed that some patients in China who had been taking it, fared better than others. Some people with lower incomes were surviving longer than their wealthier counterparts who also had heartburn. Economically challenged patients were taking famotidine, whereas the wealthier patients tended to take a more expensive drug. The famotidine study was first reported in Science Magazine. Florida-based Alchem Laboratories used a computer model to make a list of existing drugs that might fight coronavirus. Famotidine showed up near the top of the list. Its structure looks like it could stop the virus from replicating.

What about hydroxychloroquine?

Hydroxychloroquine is very popular among patients in Northwell. By now, it became standard treatment. The study on hydroxychloroquine started in early April, and all interested sides, i.e. doctors and patients, were insisting on using it. President Trump likes to call it a “game-changer” in the fight against the virus. Unfortunately, recent studies have suggested that it doesn’t help. People get to know from the media that hydroxychloroquine works for treating COVID-19. Then they are faced with the cruel reality of their close ones dying in hospitals, and they demand hydroxychloroquine. Even if the inconvenient truth says that it won’t help, they still need something to give them hope.  

Solution? Taking things slow

As hydroxychloroquine is still a drug used in hospitals, the following solution was introduced. Half of the patients in the study will be given famotidine in addition to hydroxychloroquine. The other half will be given intravenous saline as a placebo, which does not affect their health. However, it appears that hydroxychloroquine might not be used in future studies anymore.

Why? The US Food and Drug Administration warned against its use for coronavirus because of possible side effects. As history shows, the rush in introducing new treatments brings more harm than good. Doctors who count on famotidine don’t want that same rush that happened with hydroxychloroquine. The thing with the intravenous famotidine is that it’s unclear if it works, and if a rush starts on the market, hospitals may face shortages, highly inconvenient at this stage of the study. Not to mention, people will rush to stores to buy famotidine pills, mistakenly convinced it will help against coronavirus, leaving those with heartburn in the lurch.

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Children’s Health CoronaVirus Viruses

Rare Inflammatory Syndrome Seen in US Child With Covid-19

Do we have everything under control? Definitely not. The newest stories bring in some level of anxiety when it comes to coronavirus’ worldwide fight. As for 1st May, in the U.S., the vast majority of serious Covid-19 cases — and eight out of 10 deaths — occur in people who are at least 65. Data shows that a rare inflammatory syndrome also affects young people across the country.

Rare Inflammatory Syndrome Seen in US Child With Covid-19

At least 201 infected children under age 18, have been admitted into pediatric intensive care units in the U.S.  At least 20 people under the age of 20 died from the coronavirus. In New York, 10 children with Covid-19 died as of April 30. At least 56 children were admitted into pediatric intensive care units. Recently, the US doctors said that they noted a possible complication of coronavirus infection in a young child – a rare inflammatory condition called Kawasaki disease.

Disturbing news comes from Europe as well

On Sunday, the Paediatric Intensive Care Society tweeted out a message warning about a small increase in cases of critically ill children with “common overlapping features of toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki disease with blood parameters”. Some of these children tested positive for Covid-19. Similar reports appeared in Italy and Spain. The case seen at Stanford Children’s Hospital was a 6-month-old girl, admitted to the hospital with Kawasaki disease, and later diagnosed with coronavirus.

What is Kawasaki disease?

Kawasaki disease causes inflammation in the walls of the arteries and can limit blood flow to the heart. Most children recover from it, but it can be deadly as well. Some studies show a link between viruses or bacterial infection. The unfortunate girl was fussy, had a fever, and didn’t eat when she was admitted to the hospital. She didn’t have any regular COVID-19 symptoms such as cough or congestion. Only later, she tested positive for Covid-19. Afterward, she had a fever and a blotchy rash, and a chest x-ray showed a small white spot in her mid-lung. It appeared to be a Kawasaki disease, so she was given intravenous immunoglobulin and high-dose aspirin, and she happily got well in two weeks. 

Other possible explanations

We need to be careful with assessments, though. Since the coronavirus is new, and not all symptoms in children are known, scientists will further investigate the real potential association of Kawasaki Disease with the coronavirus infection. It’s not weird that this association between illnesses took place. The Kawasaki disease itself is often preceded by a respiratory or gastrointestinal illness, doctors say. No one completely understands Kawasaki disease, but the model suggests it’s triggered by an infection in a sort of immune dysregulation, as many other health problems. That would undermine the particular relationship between this disorder and COVID-19.

Should this Kawasaki-coronavirus association worry us seriously?

In this particular case with SARS-CoV-2, and its illness, known as COVID-19, it’s probably too early to know, whether it’s something specific to pathophysiology, or just another run of the mill infection. The team from the mentioned hospital waits patiently until other groups of clinicians report seeing something similar. They believe that it’s too early to draw any significant conclusions. Segal, a doctor from the hospital, where the baby-girl was admitted, explains calmly: “I don’t think that we are going to see a wave of these cases.

This isn’t something that families, even if they have coronavirus, really need to worry about, based on what we know so far”. Does it mean that children are still comparingly safe when it comes to COVID-19? They should be protected from possible infection just like other people, friends, and family members, but we can be less worried about them than we should be about our elders. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most cases in children so far have reported only mild symptoms and less than 2% of cases in the US were in children as of April 2. “I think it’s going to be a subset, of a subset, of a subset of individuals who develop it,” Segal said. “As far as we can tell, this is something exceedingly uncommon”.

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CoronaVirus Infections (Bacterial and Viral) Viruses

All You Need to Know About Gilead’s Remdesivir! A Hype Or a Real Solution?

An experimental drug called Gilead’s Remdesivir produced by Gilead Sciences gives us hope. But is it a real solution that gives us chances to finally put an end to this tremendous world-spread experience of the pandemic? Or is it just a momentary hype like many others? With the questionable safety of hydroxychloroquine (although the drug was so enthusiastically welcomed by President Donald Trump), it’s doubtful to ever call this one an appropriate drug-fighter against COVID-19. In those circumstances, with no national plan B whatsoever, Remeesivir comes into action, and its creators, slowly but surely become heroes. What can recent studies tell us about the prospective treatments for this deadly disease?

All You Need to Know About Gilead’s Remdesivir! A Hype Or a Real Solution?

What is Remdesivir, and where does it come from?

Gilead’s Remdesivir is an antiviral medication developed by the American biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences. It’s being studied as a possible post-infection treatment for COVID-19. Recently, the company published an analysis in the New England Journal of Medicine tracking the responses of 53 patients with severe cases of COVID-19 to Remdesivir therapy. Patients were given the unapproved drug because no other options were available. According to the report, doctors observed clinical improvement in 36 of the 53 patients; eight got worse, and seven died. Doctors were able to take 17 of the 30 patients who were on ventilators, life-support devices that help people breathe, off the machines.

More about Remdesivir as a drug

Remdesivir is a nucleotide analog, specifically an adenosine analog, which inserts into viral RNA chains, causing their premature termination. It was created and developed as a treatment for Ebola virus disease and Marburg virus infections. Gilead Sciences subsequently discovered that Gilead’s Remdesivir had antiviral activity in vitro against multiple filo-, pneumo-, paramyxo-, and coronaviruses. In January 2020, Gilead began laboratory testing of Remdesivir against SARS-CoV-2, stating that Remdesivir was active against SARS and MERS in animal models. A small trial of Remdesivir in rhesus macaque monkeys with COVID-19 infections found that it prevents disease progression. On 21 January 2020, the Wuhan Institute of Virology applied for a Chinese “use patent” on Remdesivir, for the novel use of treating COVID-19.

Current affairs with Remdesivir 

The authors of the study note that the death rate of the patients they observed — 13 percent — is lower than the death rate of 17 to 78 percent in China among people who are severely ill with COVID-19. Side effects included diarrhea, rash, renal impairment, and hypotension. Around the same time, Chinese medical researchers reported that Remdesivir seemed to have “fairly good inhibitory effects” on SARS-CoV-2, after which requests to begin clinical testing were submitted.

On 6 February 2020, a clinical trial of Gilead’s Remdesivir began in China. On 18 March 2020, the WHO announced the launch of a four-arm pragmatic clinical trial (SOLIDARITY trial) that would include one group of patients treated with Remdesivir. While a cohort study published in April 2020 saw possible improvement, determining whether or not the medication is effective is going to require a randomized controlled trial. As of April 2020, Remdesivir is viewed as the most promising treatment for COVID-19, and there are at least seven separate clinical trials underway or planned.

Limitations and concerns linked to Remdesivir 

There are limitations on what conclusions can be drawn from the recent analysis. There was no randomized control group, which would have allowed to compare how patients given a placebo performed relative to those given Remdesivir. The total number of patients, spread out across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan, is still very small. But the authors of the study, and outside experts, have described the results as a reason to have hope. “We cannot draw definitive conclusions from these data, but the observations from this group of hospitalized patients who received Remdesivir are hopeful” – says Jonathan Grein, director of hospital epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, in a statement from Gilead – “We look forward to the results of controlled clinical trials to potentially validate these findings”.

Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and health economist at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health tweeted “TRIALS TRIALS TRIALS PLEASE”. Paul Goepfert, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, claims that “it’s a promising drug, but it doesn’t definitively prove anything. […] The main thing you can gather from this study is that it doesn’t cause any untoward harm”.