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Coronavirus live updates: Pandemic is ‘accelerating,’ WHO warns

first_imgHere’s the latest on the developing situation Monday. All times Eastern:1:46 p.m.: North Carolina schools closed through May 15All public K-12 schools in North Carolina will be closed until May 15, Gov. Roy Cooper said Monday.The governor said he arrived at this date by looking at guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health officials. The order would be adjusted if guidance changes, he said.Businessman donates laptops to single mom whose six kids need homeschooling amid coronavirus pandemicCooper is also mandating the closure of gyms, movie theaters and other similar businesses as soon as possible. He said hair salons, nail salons and barber shops should close by 5 p.m. Wednesday “because of their inability to conduct social distancing.”12:08 p.m.: The pandemic is ‘accelerating’The coronavirus “pandemic is accelerating,” World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Monday.Almost every country in the world has reported cases, he announced in a Geneva press conference.“It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach the first 100,000 cases. Eleven days for the second 100,000 and just four days for the third 100,000,” he said.11:39 a.m.: Minnesota governor to self-quarantineMinnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Monday morning he will self-quarantine after a member of his security detail tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday night.“I’m using this as an opportunity to lead by example,” Walz said in a statement. “Though I’m feeling healthy and not showing any symptoms, I’m going to work from home and model the protocol we are asking all Minnesotans to follow.”11:16 a.m.: Diagnosed cases soar to over 20,000 in New YorkIn New York state, where diagnosed coronavirus cases have soared to over 20,000, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said testing is also on the rise, with 16,000 tests now conducted per day.About 25% of testing nationwide is now in New York state, Cuomo said Monday.Cuomo on Monday issued an emergency order to all hospitals requiring them to increase capacity by 50%, with a goal of increasing capacity by 100%. Four facilities in the state are being converted into hospitals.Of those diagnosed in New York, 13% are hospitalized, the governor said. New York state has reported 157 deaths.“We were not ready to deal with this. And other situations will happen,” Cuomo said. “Let’s at least learn from this to be prepared for the next situation, as dramatic as this one has been.”Cuomo once again got personal at Monday’s news conference, saying a silver lining he’s gained during the pandemic is the “beautiful gift” of more time with his daughter.10:50 a.m.: Amy Klobuchar’s husband tests positive for coronavirusFormer Democratic presidential candidate and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar says her husband, John Bessler, received positive coronavirus test results Monday morning.Bessler suffered a bad cough, including coughing up blood, and now has pneumonia and is on oxygen but not a ventilator, Klobuchar said in a statement.“He is exhausted and sick,” she said.“John and I have been in different places for the last two weeks and I am outside the 14-day period for getting sick, my doctor has advised me to not get a test,” Klobuchar said. “As everyone is aware, there are test shortages for people who need them everywhere and I don’t qualify to get one under any standard.”“I love my husband so very much and not being able to be there at the hospital by his side is one of the hardest things about this disease,” she wrote. “I hope he will be home soon. I know so many Americans are going through this and so much worse right now. So I hope and pray for you, just as I hope you will do for my husband. Meanwhile I am working in the Senate to get help to the American people.” 10:30 a.m.: Stay-at-home advisory issued in MassachusettsA stay-at-home advisory has been issued in Massachusetts, urging residents to avoid unnecessary travel from Tuesday until April 7.Also beginning Tuesday, all “non-essential” businesses in Massachusetts will be closed, though Gov. Charlie Baker encouraged restaurants to continue to offer food for take-out and delivery.9:20 a.m. New Jersey testing site reaches capacity before it opensIn northern New Jersey, hit hard by the outbreak, a testing site at Bergen County Community College reached capacity even before it opened Monday morning, reported ABC New York station WABC-TV.8:39 a.m. One doctor’s plea for suppliesA Massachusetts emergency room doctor, who made a sharp-worded appeal on Facebook for the need for protective gear, told ABC News he’s since received a number of donated supplies. “Since that post went out, people have been showing up in our ER, donating whatever they have, people have been making masks,” Dr. Josh Lerner, who works at the Leominster campus of UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital, said in an interview Monday on Good Morning America.“People are dropping off food, any type of personal protective equipment. Painters, contractors are giving us their supplies. A neighbor of mine dropped off a box of N95 masks this morning, left it on my porch,” Lerner continued. “So we are being heard by the American people.”But Lerner said it’s unclear how long the supplies will last as his emergency room starts to see an influx in acute cases of patients sickened with the novel coronavirus disease. “I think something to keep in mind is that, for any one patient, there are multiple health care workers who are at the bedside,” he said. “We could be talking about many, many supplies being used at any one time at the bedside. And so, at this moment, I don’t know how many more days of supplies we have, but we are sort of using them as judiciously as possible.” Lerner called on the U.S. government as well as leaders at the local, state and federal levels to “work together” rather than “debate with one another.” “We as an entire nation need to come together to fight this,” he said.7:48 a.m. Spain reports 462 deaths in past 24 hoursSpain’s health ministry on Monday reported 462 deaths from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours. The country’s death toll from COVID-19 has now topped 2,000. Spain has the third-highest number of recorded deaths in the outbreak, following China and Italy. With nearly 30,000 diagnosed cases, Spain is behind the United States and Italy in the highest national total outside China.5:39 a.m. Wuhan, China, reports no new cases for five straight daysThe Chinese city of Wuhan, the original epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, has reported no new confirmed cases for the past five days.The city is still considered a high-risk zone but signs of life are reappearing on the streets as authorities begin to relax some of the strict measures that were put in place. Road checkpoints are being removed and some private vehicles have returned to the streets. The city’s subway system remains shut down but has begun trial runs as health workers disinfect the subway cars and stations.City leaders met Monday to discuss scheduling the resumption of work and production. Monday marks two months since Chinese authorities placed Wuhan on lockdown as the virus spread like wildfire throughout the city and the greater Hubei province.“The meeting emphasized the need to make overall plans to restore economic and social order, and actively and steadily promote orderly resumption of work and production,” the Wuhan government said in a statement Monday. “It is necessary to speed up the resumption of production and industrial enterprises, the return of stores and supermarkets as soon as possible, the orderly restoration of public transportation, the safe and orderly movement of personnel, and the guarantee of resumption of production and market.”4:09 a.m. Florida closes all state parksFlorida is closing all of its state parks to the public due to the coronavirus crisis.At the direction of the governor and to successfully uphold social distancing guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said it will close all state parks to the public, effective Monday. The Sunshine State is home to nearly 200 state parks and trails.A notice on the Florida State Parks website said the Department of Environmental Protection “has taken many measures to continue providing resource recreation at our state parks during this time, such as limiting operating hours and reducing visitor capacity at parks with high visitation.”“Unfortunately,” the notice continued, “this has not resulted in the reductions needed to best protect public health and safety as Florida continues to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”There are more than 1,000 diagnosed cases of the novel coronavirus in Florida, and at least 13 of those patients have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.3:42 a.m. U.S. Secret Service employee tests positiveA U.S. Secret Service employee is in quarantine after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the agency confirmed in a statement late Sunday night.“The Secret Service has conducted a comprehensive contact trace assessment and determined that the employee has not had contact with any Secret Service employee or protectee for nearly three weeks,” the agency said.Further information about the employee’s identity was not provided due to privacy considerations.3:00 a.m. Japan to begin quarantining all visitors from the USJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Monday that his country will require a 14-day quarantine to all visitors from the United States amid an escalating number of coronavirus infections around the globe.The quarantine requirement includes Japanese and American citizens and will go into effect Thursday until the end of April. The move comes after Japan raised its travel advisory for the United States, urging Japanese citizens not to make nonessential trips to the nation.Abe said the new requirement is in line with containment measures taken by other countries, including the United States, which has reported a surge in new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.Japan appears to have successfully slowed the spread of the virus on its soil, with just 1,101 diagnosed cases as of Monday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering. Still, Abe said a decision to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, slated to kick off on July 24, “may become inevitable” if the pandemic makes it impossible to hold the event safety.The International Olympic Committee’s executive board has announced a plan to analyze the situation over the next few weeks and make a decision that could include the option to postpone, although the board emphasized that it has no current plans to outright cancel the games. A number of Olympic athletes have called on organizers to postpone or cancel the games due to the pandemic.“If it is difficult to hold in a complete way, a decision of postponement would be unavoidable,” Japan’s prime minister said at a press conference Monday.  Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. Samara Heisz/iStock(NEW YORK) — Over 354,000 people around the world have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus — and officials say the pandemic is accelerating.In the U.S., there are more than 35,500 diagnosed cases of the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, known officially as COVID-19, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.The disease spans every state as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, forcing millions of Americans to stay home in an effort to contain the disease.At least 479 have died in the U.S and more than 15,400 people have died across the globe.last_img read more


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Water Detective.

first_img A Timeline of WaterProtection Legislation Walk along the banks of the Savannah River. Fish the Chattahoochee. Swim in the Flint. Chances are you’ll see a sign warning of the potential risk due to pollution. Pollution threatens the quality of water and the health of people all over the state. But often, it’s not easy to determine exactly where that pollution is coming from.Feces in water typically comes from leaking septic tanks, agricultural runoff or animal droppings. If water contains feces, it could also contain disease-producing bacteria or viruses that can exist in the feces. These diseases include typhoid fever and hepatitis A.The maximum amount of pollution a body of water can have without violating state water-quality standards is called the Total Maximum Daily Load. Fecal pollution is a major contributor to TMDLs for Georgia watersheds.Most fecal pollution comes from nonpoint sources. So far, there has been no proven way to know where or from what animal it came. And if you can’t locate the problem, you can’t fix it.Water Detective “This is cutting-edge science,” said UGA CAES water quality coordinator Bill Segars. “The possibilities for using (this) method to identify nonpoint pollution sources could revolutionize water management around the world. This ribotyping data collection is a sound, scientifically based tool.”Other states are also using ribotyping to better understand pollution, said Alan Hallum, chief of the water protection branch of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. But Georgia could lead the way.If there is a public health problem in a watershed, Hallum said, this test could better target what needs to be done in the watershed to correct the problem as quickly and as economically as possible.”I would like to have, from a state regulatory standpoint, a way to know we’re not spending money unnecessarily,” Hallum said. “This (test) allows the stakeholders in a watershed to do a best-management approach to fixing a problem.” But new research may help regulatory agencies pinpoint sources of fecal pollution and clean up one of Georgia’s most valuable resources.Peter Hartel is an associate professor of crop and soil science in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. For the past two years, he’s been an environmental detective.Hartel uses a type of DNA fingerprinting that can tell what animal caused the fecal pollution of a specific watershed.Using a process called ribotyping, Hartel can make a DNA fingerprint, a series of distinct bands, of the Escherichia coli. This bacterium is found in all warm-blooded animal feces.A few years ago, scientists believed E. coli was the same in all animals. But it’s not. Different animals have different types.”Dog E. coli is found only in dogs. Human E. coli is found only in humans. The same with cows and poultry,” Hartel said. “We’re not sure why that is right now. But we know they’re different.”After you have a library of the distinct E. coli fingerprints of various animals, the rest, in theory, is easy, Hartel said.You can monitor and take samples of a watershed, isolate the different E. coli found in the water and compare that to the library of animal samples. That will tell you what animal feces are in the water, Hartel said.Building the LibraryWhen Hartel began his research, there was little information on ribotyping to identify pollution sources in water. He’s changing that.So far, his E. coli fingerprint library has samples from several Georgia animals, including beef cattle, swine, poultry and Canada geese. But he needs more.”There has to be an established library to compare and identify samples against,” Hartel said. “The more extensive the source library, the greater the likelihood of obtaining matches.”center_img Peter Hartel, UGA CAES researcher, works to build a DNA library that will identify points of pollution in Georgia watersheds. Photo:Robert Newcomblast_img read more