New CDC guidance says older adults should ‘stay at home as much as possible’ due to coronavirus

(CNN)Amid a coronavirus outbreak in the United States, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging older people and people with severe chronic medical conditions to “stay at home as much as possible.”

Early data suggests older people are twice as likely to have serious illness from the novel coronavirus, according to the CDC.
A Trump administration official tells CNN that the US Department of Health and Human Services “is in the process of doing targeted outreach to the elderly community and those that have serious underlying health conditions.”
The CDC guidance comes as two top infectious disease experts with ties to the federal government have advised people over 60 and those with underlying health problems to strongly consider avoiding activities that involve large crowds.
Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University professor and longtime adviser to the CDC, said these two groups should consider avoiding activities such as traveling by airplane, going to movie theaters, attending family events, shopping at crowded malls, and going to religious services.
People in these two groups “should strongly consider not doing these activities at this juncture,” Schaffner said.
“This ought to be top of mind for people over 60, and those with underlying health problems, such as heart or lung disease, diabetes, or compromised immune systems,” Schaffner added. “The single most important thing you can do to avoid the virus is reduce your face to face contact with people.”
Michael Osterholm, the former state epidemiologist for Minnesota, agreed that people over age 60 should take such steps.
“I think clearly the time has come to take these steps,” said Osterholm, who has served on committees advising the federal government on public health issues and is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
Both experts, who are over age 60, said they have taken some of these steps themselves.
“When my wife and I need to go shopping, we’re going late at night when there are no crowds, and we get in and out efficiently,” Schaffner said.
He added that his wife goes to a bridge club with dozens of other people — but not anymore.
“She enjoys bridge and it’s an important part of her life and it keeps her mentally active, but she’s going to give it up for a while,” he said.
Osterholm said he has canceled some air travel plans.
“It’s always been easy to be abstract when you’re a public health person when something’s happening in Africa or Asia or the Arabian peninsula,” he said. “But now it’s happening here, and we have to internalize this.”
Schaffner and Osterholm said data from China shows that elderly people and those with underlying health issues are most at risk of becoming seriously ill and of dying from the novel coronavirus. Younger and healthier people often get only mild to moderate symptoms, or sometimes no symptoms at all.

The basics of ‘social distancing’

Schaffner and Osterholm said their advice has some flexibility for important events.
“This is not an instruction. This is not an order,” Schaffner said. “I’m not asking everyone to stay at home and lock the door for a month. I’m saying, be thoughtful every time you contemplate getting together with a crowd or group.”

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For example, if a grandparent wants to attend a grandchild’s wedding, they could sit off to the side, and bump elbows with relatives instead of hugging and kissing.
But someone might want to avoid, for example, a regular weekend religious service.
“Don’t go. Be reverent at home,” Schaffner said.

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Health minister tests positive for coronavirus

Health minister and Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has been diagnosed with coronavirus.

Ms Dorries, the first MP to test positive, said she had taken all the advised precautions after finding out and has been self-isolating at home.

This comes as a sixth person died from the virus in the UK, which has a total of 382 cases.

The latest person to die was a man in his early 80s who had underlying health conditions.

The Bank of England has announced an emergency cut in interest rates in response to the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.


Rates have been cut from 0.75% to 0.25%, taking the cost of borrowing back down to the lowest level in history.

Meanwhile, Manchester City’s Premier League match against Arsenal on Wednesday has been postponed as “a precautionary measure” because of the outbreak.

A number of Arsenal players are in self-isolation after coming into contact with Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis, who tested positive for the virus.

The government will unveil its first Budget later, amid growing fears about the impact the outbreak will have on the UK economy.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged the NHS will get “whatever resources it needs” during the crisis, while he is also expected to unveil measures to boost the self-employed and small businesses who are left out of pocket.

Meanwhile, NHS England said it was scaling up its capacity for testing people for the infection, with the number of cases set to rise.

Ms Dorries, the MP for Mid Bedfordshire, said in a statement that Public Health England had started tracing people she had been in contact with, and the department and her parliamentary office were closely following its advice.

The 62-year-old, who began her career as a nurse, later tweeted that it had been “pretty rubbish but I hope I’m over the worst of it now“.

But she added she was worried about her 84-year-old mother who was staying with her and began to cough on Tuesday.

It is not known how many meetings Ms Dorries had attended at Westminster or in her constituency in recent days.

The Department of Health said she first showed symptoms on Thursday of last week – the same day she attended a Downing Street event hosted by the prime minister – and had been self-isolating since Friday.

No 10 did not comment on whether Boris Johnson had undergone testing, or whether he will now be tested.

Public Health England will advise those who have had recent contact with Ms Dorries, including ministers and officials, as to whether they need to self-isolate and report any symptoms.

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Media captionSteps the NHS says you should take to protect yourself from Covid-19

Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted that Ms Dorries had “done the right thing” by self-isolating at home and wished “her well as she recovers”.

Public Health England, which has already carried out more than 25,000 coronavirus tests across the UK, is set to expand the number of people it can test a day to 10,000 – currently 1,500 are being carried out.

Confirmation of any positive test results will also be accelerated with most people getting a result back within 24 hours.

Image copyright AFP

NHS chief scientific officer Prof Dame Sue Hill said the health service was preparing to cope with more cases.

“Every hospital across the country, and the healthcare professionals who run them, are now actively planning to respond flexibly to manage new demand.”

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be expected to roll out their own testing services, but there will be some shared capacity between nations, depending on need.

The number of total cases for the UK include 324 cases in England, 27 in Scotland, 16 in Northern Ireland and 15 in Wales.

There are 91 in London, with the next highest infected area being the south-east, with 51 cases. Cases by local council area in England can be viewed here.

The latest person to die, on Monday, was a man in his 80s, with underlying health conditions, who was being treated at Watford General Hospital.

He caught the virus in the UK and officials are trying to trace who he had been in contact with.

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Media caption“I never thought I’d say this but I’d probably rather be in school,” says Oliver Fox.

The Foreign Office has warned Britons against all but essential travel to Italy, which is experiencing the worst outbreak outside China.

Italy has introduced strict travel restrictions, with people being told to stay home, seek permission for essential travel, and give justification if they want to leave the country.

The Foreign Office is advising anyone arriving in the UK from Italy since Monday evening to self-isolate for 14 days.

The government says it has facilities to accommodate Italian visitors to the UK should they need to self-isolate.

British Airways has cancelled all of its flights to and from Italy until 4 April, and has asked staff to take voluntary unpaid leave.

Easyjet, Ryanair and Jet2 are also cancelling their flights on Italian routes, though EasyJet will operate “rescue flights” to bring British travellers home in the coming days.

‘Enter shops one at a time’

Image copyright Hannah Butcher
Image caption “We know we’ll have to go into quarantine when we get home.”

“It’s the weirdest holiday I think I’ve ever been on,” said Hannah Butcher, from Newbury, Berkshire, who is in Rome with her husband for their first holiday alone since having a child.

“We arrived on Sunday. The advice then was as long as you’re not going into Italy’s red zone, you’re OK.

“We’re currently sitting in a restaurant and everyone here is in staggered rows because they have to sit one metre apart. It’s quite weird seeing families spread across multiple tables.”

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Media captionWhat life looks like under Italy’s coronavirus lockdown

She added that people are “only allowed to enter shops one at a time”.

“All the attractions are closed; there are queues out the door of supermarkets and the butchers. There are police driving round making sure the rules are enforced and a noticeable armed police presence, presumably to keep order.”

She said they were due to fly home with Ryanair on Wednesday morning and had not been informed of any flight updates.

In other developments:

Related Topics

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Stores in central Texas are running out of medical masks after possible case of coronavirus reported

(CNN)Medical supply stores in central Texas are experiencing a medical mask shortage after a Texas A&M student, having recently traveled to Wuhan, China, may have contracted coronavirus.

The student has experienced symptoms of an upper respiratory virus and went to a local hospital Wednesday evening. A sample has been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing, according to the Brazos County Health Authority.
Results are expected over the weekend or Monday, the authority said. The student is being kept isolated at home until the testing is complete.
Genese Smith, who works at MediCare Equipment in Bryan, Texas, just a few miles from campus, told KBTX that the story typically stocks about 50 masks.
But on Thursday, just a day after the student checked into the hospital, multiple people came into the store looking to buy masks.
“Within about 30 minutes of word getting out, we started getting phone calls asking if we have the masks, what kind of masks did we have, and how many we had available,” Smith told KBTX. “Quite a few people started coming in, asking, and purchasing.”
The store has already ordered more masks, Smith said. Other stores in the area, including Texas A&M’s own Health Services Department, say they’re awaiting shipments of more masks after quickly running out, KBTX reported.

Two confirmed cases of coronavirus in US so far

Wuhan coronavirus, a virus similar to SARS and MERS, first appeared last month in Wuhan, China, but has quickly spread across the world, reaching as far as France and the US. As of Friday, at least 41 people in mainland China have died from the virus, where there are more than 1,300 cases reported so far.
Two cases of coronavirus have been confirmed so far in the US, one in Chicago and one in Washington state. The World Health Organization recommends avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, like coughing and sneezing.
Scientists believe this coronavirus started in another animal and spread to humans, so health officials recommend laying off the rare steak or runny yolks, and thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.
But, in general, the public should do “what you do every cold and flu season,” said Dr. John Wiesman, the health secretary in Washington state, where the first US case of Wuhan coronavirus was confirmed. Wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and stay home from work when you are sick.

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US drinking water contamination with forever chemicals far worse than scientists thought

Highest levels of PFAS in Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans, Environmental watchdog report finds

The contamination of US drinking water with manmade forever chemicals is far worse than previously estimated with some of the highest levels found in Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans, said a report on Wednesday by an environmental watchdog group.

The chemicals, resistant to breaking down in the environment, are known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. Some have been linked to cancers, liver damage, low birth weight and other health problems.

The findings here by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) show the groups previous estimate in 2018, based on unpublished US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data, that 110 million Americans may be contaminated with PFAS, could be far too low.

Its nearly impossible to avoid contaminated drinking water from these chemicals, said David Andrews, a senior scientist at EWG and co-author of the report.

The chemicals were used in products like Teflon and Scotchguard and in firefighting foam. Some are used in a variety of other products and industrial processes, and their replacements also pose risks.

Of tap water samples taken by EWG from 44 sites in 31 states and Washington DC, only one location, Meridian, Mississippi, which relies on 700ft (215m) deep wells, had no detectable PFAS. Only Seattle and Tuscaloosa, Alabama had levels below 1 part per trillion (PPT), the limit EWG recommends.

In addition, EWG found that on average six to seven PFAS compounds were found at the tested sites, and the effects on health of the mixtures are little understood. Everyones really exposed to a toxic soup of these PFAS chemicals, Andrews said.

In 34 places where EWGs tests found PFAS, contamination had not been publicly reported by the EPA or state environmental agencies.

The EPA has known since at least 2001 about the problem of PFAS in drinking water but has so far failed to set an enforceable, nationwide legal limit. The EPA said early last year it would begin the process to set limits on two of the chemicals, PFOA and PFOS.

The EPA said it has helped states and communities address PFAS and that it is working to put limits on the two main chemicals but did not give a timeline.

In 2018 a draft report from an office of the US Department of Health and Human Services said the risk level for exposure to the chemicals should be up to 10 times lower than the 70 PPT threshold the EPA recommends. The White House and the EPA had tried to stop the report from being published.


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Odd and Fun

Tributes to ‘little soldier’ street cat Maximus

Image copyright Kate Jackson
Image caption Maximus, thought to be 12, was described as “the most amazing cat” following his death

Tributes have been paid to a street cat described as a “little soldier” who died after attracting worldwide support.

Maximus was rescued by Stray Cat Rescue Team West Midlands (SCRT) in November after spending a decade on the streets.

He had an immunodeficiency virus similar to HIV and claws so long he could not walk, which prompted global donations and offers of care.

The rescue team said he was “the most amazing cat to ever grace this earth.”

The feline was rescued by the voluntary group in Great Barr, Sandwell. He had £10,000 donated for his care and thousands of gifts of treats and toys from across the globe.


He was given antibiotics and steroids having spent days at the White Cross vets in Wolverhampton. But he suffered breathing difficulties and died on Friday night.

“We lost the funniest, strongest, most amazing cat to ever grace this earth,” SCRT posted on their Facebook page.

“His breathing wasn’t right, he was on oxygen and myself, Jade, Julie, Vet nurses Jo and Sioned held him and comforted him until he decided it was time to leave us.

“He had no fight left and his breathing had totally changed. Medically, there was no sign of anything wrong. There wasn’t a stone left unturned in Maximus’s treatment. Everything that could have been done, was done.”

Odd and Fun

Couple beats astronomical odds with second baby born on Leap Day

(CNN)It’s rare to have one child born on a Leap Day. But two?

Lindsay first gave birth to their son Omri on February 29, 2016. Their daughter Scout joined the family last weekend. Her birth date: February 29, 2020.
“Deep down I wanted it to happen and always joked with my wife that she will be born then too, but never really believed it [would] happen again,” Dane told CNN. “I think they said the odds were 1 in 2 million.

Beating the odds

The couple wasn’t expecting their daughter to arrive early.
In fact, doctors said her due date was on March 4. But baby Scout was ready to celebrate her birthday with her big brother.
The family had just set up decorations for Omri’s birthday party when Lindsay started having contractions early in the morning. “No way on Leap Day, again,” Dane said.
Lindsay gave birth to a 7 pound 2-ounce Scout that same day — February 29.
As for when they will celebrate their two kids’ birthdays, the family isn’t worried about it. They have it all figured out.
The couple plans on celebrating Omri’s birthday on the 28, since he’s older and Scout’s on March 1. And every four years on Leap Day, the siblings will have a giant celebration together.
“Hopefully it becomes a tradition that carries on with them as they grow old and something that keeps them close forever,” Dane said.
The kids aren’t the only two who have birthdays in February. Lindsay’s is on February 26 and her mother’s is on February 28.
If you throw Valentine’s Day in the mix, it’s going to be a busy month for the Demchaks.
Dane gives all the praise to his wife, who he said has been amazing through it all. With the two kids, it’s a good thing they run a family-owned online coffee roasting company.
They’re going to need the extra caffeine.

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United cutting US flights because of coronavirus

New York (CNN Business)United Airlines became the first airline to cut its US flight schedule on Wednesday, as passenger worry about the coronavirus has caused a sharp drop in demand.

United will ax flights in the United States and Canada by 10% and overseas flights by a total 20% in April from its original international schedule. That includes overseas flights that were canceled several weeks ago. United is looking at similar domestic and international cuts in May.
The moves were disclosed in an email Wednesday to employees made available to CNN. It also disclosed a hiring freeze, a program of voluntary unpaid leaves of absences or a reduced schedule for US employees and a delay of scheduled pay raises for management employees.
The airline plans to cut the schedule “in a way that minimizes the impact on our employees and our operation,” according to the email, including reducing frequency of flights per week between two cities or cutting routes with alternative travel options via indirect flights.
The email did not give details about how much travel had fallen at United amid the growing fears of the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. The crisis “continues to evolve rapidly” for the airline industry, said the email from CEO Oscar Munoz, and Scott Kirby, United’s president who is set to succeed Munoz in May.
“We sincerely hope that these latest measures are enough, but the dynamic nature of this outbreak requires us to be nimble and flexible moving forward in how we respond,” said the email.
United had already warned investors that the crisis had cut virtually all of its revenue on flights to China and Hong Kong during the current quarter, and about 75% onother trans-Pacific flights. But it said that it still expects to hit its earnings target for the quarter due partly to lower spending on fuel. Besides the fuel savings that comes from canceling flights, the price of jet fuel has plunged in recent weeks.
But the email did not give any new guidance on earnings. And it warned that “a lot has changed since this weekend.”
Shares of United (UAL) closed up 2% on Wednesday as stocks rebounded from a recent sell-off. But shares are still down 23.8% since Feb. 21.
American Airlines (AAL) was the only US airline to immediately respond to a request for comment on its plans in light of United’s announcement.
“We are continuing to closely monitor the situation and will make any updates as necessary,” said American.
Executives from most of the major airlines, including United CEO Oscar Munoz, met with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence Wednesday to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on air travel and how to coordinate activity between the industry and the government.
In response to a question, President Trump said he did not believe that the airlines would need a bailout, similar to the one they received in 2001 in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“Don’t ask that question please, because they haven’t asked [for] that. I don’t want you to give them any ideas,” said Trump about the possibility of a bailout. He said the idea had not been discussed. He also said he believes flying is safe.
“Where these people are flying, it’s safe to fly,” he said.
Passenger uncertainty about travel has prompted major US airlines to suspend their change fees, which itself is hurting their revenue.
JetBlue (JBLU) was the first to announce a suspension of the fee last week, and American suspended its fees on Sunday.
Delta (DAL) suspended the fees for international travel on Monday evening and on all tickets Wednesday. United announced Tuesday it would suspend its change fee. But fees are only being suspended on newly booked tickets.
The airlines take in a tremendous amount of money on change fees. In the third quarter alone the US carriers took in $739 million in change fees, and $2.8 billion in change fees for the 12 months ending in September.
Southwest (LUV) in the only major US airline that generally does not charge change fees. A spokesman for the company said it is monitoring the situation and “will make any necessary adjustment we see fit.”

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A boy and his 3 cousins went missing after a blizzard in rural Alaska. They dug a hole to survive

(CNN)A 7-year-old Alaska boy who went missing with his cousins after a blizzard said they survived by digging a hole to sleep.

From his hospital bed at the Alaska Native Medical Center, Ethan recounted how he and his cousins tried to survive. Ethan’s mother said the boys’ focus was on protecting Trey.
“First, we were trying to find a way home, and we got cold,” Ethan told CNN affiliate KTVA last week.
“We were trying to dig a hole” and they slept there, he said from the hospital, where he was being treated for frostbite on his fingers.
Irene Camille said Christopher wanted to hold the 2-year-old in the hole. So, Ethan moved to the doorway to make room for the toddler. She said the cousins tried to “protect the baby till the end.”
“They sacrificed their health, their everything” to make sure Trey would survive, she said.
The four were appropriately dressed but there was still reason for concern, officials said.
Ethan’s mother recalled “people hollering and screaming and clapping” after their rescue.
Christopher was being treated at Providence Alaska Medical Center. His brother, Frank, and Trey are back at home, KTVA said.
“They’re my babies. I don’t ever want anybody to go through what they did,” Irene Camille told the station.
She said she woke up a few times one night to stare at Ethan to “make sure he was really there.”
Ethan sat upright in his bed at the Anchorage hospital. A teddy bear and an Iron Man action figure were in front of him.
He wrapped his bandaged hands around a jet, flying it from some imaginary place, landing the aircraft on his forehead.
Correction: A previous headline mischaracterized how the children were related. Three of them are siblings; one is their cousin.

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Woman in 70s becomes first virus fatality in UK

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption The patient had been in and out of the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading

A woman with underlying health conditions has become the first person in the UK to die after testing positive for coronavirus.

The Royal Berkshire NHS Trust said the patient, understood to be in her 70s, had been “in and out of hospital for non-coronavirus reasons”.

She was admitted and tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday.

It comes as the number of UK people diagnosed with the virus reached 116, a rise of more than 30 in 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the prime minister’s official spokesman said it was “highly likely the virus is going to spread in a significant way”.


What do I need to know about the coronavirus?

The woman, who was being treated at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, is believed to have caught the virus in the UK, said the country’s chief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty.

She is not thought to have been abroad recently, BBC health correspondent Nick Triggle added.

Officials are now trying to trace the people she was in contact with.

Prof Whitty offered his sincere condolences to her family and friends and asked that their request for privacy is respected.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Some people are wearing masks, although it is not official government advice
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A drive-through centre in Parsons Green, London, allows people to be tested through a car window

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said “his sympathies are with the victim and their family”.

Mr Johnson reiterated that the UK was “still in the contain phase” – the first stage of the government’s response to the outbreak.

He said scientists and medical staff are making preparations for the next phase – the “delay” phase.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Pupils in Hove greet each other with a foot-to-foot tap instead of shaking hands
Image copyright EPA
Image caption A pharmacy in London says it is limiting hand sanitisers to two per customer

According to the latest government figures, as of 9:00 GMT on Thursday there were 115 cases across the UK. Another case was later confirmed in Wales.

The UK cases include 105 patients in England as well as six in Scotland, three in Northern Ireland and two in Wales.

Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool confirmed a child there had tested positive for coronavirus. It is not known how old the child is.

Around 45 of the confirmed cases have been self-isolating at home, while 18 people have recovered.

There are currently 10 cases where the authorities do not know how the individual was infected, said our health correspondent. They have no links with foreign travel, he added.

Mr Johnson said the UK was still in the first phase of its four-part plan to tackle the virus outbreak, which is made up of: contain, delay, research and mitigate.

The government is still deciding what measures will be taken in the delay phase, but has previously said this could include banning big events, closing schools, encouraging people to work from home and discouraging the use of public transport.

Last week, a British man in Japan became the first UK citizen to die from the virus after being infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Meanwhile, a 33-year-old British woman who works for the United Nations is one of four people who have been diagnosed with the virus in Senegal, after travelling there from London.

And in California, more than 140 British nationals are stranded on board a Princess Cruises ship as officials test passengers for Covid-19.

Italy advice

The government has now updated its guidance to travellers arriving in the UK from Italy – the country in Europe that has been hit worst by the virus, with more than 3,000 cases.

On Thursday, the government said the whole of Italy – not just the north of the country – is now classed as a recognised area of concern, meaning if people develop symptoms after returning from the country they should self-isolate.

For those returning from the quarantined towns in Italy, people should self-isolate even if they do not show symptoms.

Image copyright Alessandro Di Marco
Image caption Health workers wear protective suits and masks inside the isolation area of a Turin hospital

In other developments:

  • Bank HSBC says an employee at its Canary Wharf offices in London has been diagnosed and it is “deep-cleaning the floor where our colleague worked and shared areas of the building”
  • UK airline Flybe has gone into administration and says coronavirus is partly to blame
  • Starbucks says it is “pausing the use of personal cups” and washable ceramic cups in their UK, US and Canadian stores because of fears of the virus
  • Pupils at a school in south Devon are receiving lessons online, after the school shut when a pupil was diagnosed with the virus
  • The competition watchdog has warned retailers and traders they could be prosecuted for trying to “exploit” the coronavirus outbreak by selling protective products at inflated prices
  • ITV say travel companies are deferring their TV advertising, with advertising revenue due to drop 10% in April
  • England’s Six Nations games against Italy in Rome on 14 and 15 March have been postponed – rather than taking place behind closed doors – as a response to the outbreak
  • Ireland records another seven cases, bringing its total up to 13
  • Iran will close schools and universities until 20 March in an attempt to curb the spread

Worldwide, authorities have confirmed more than 92,000 cases of coronavirus – of which more than 80,000 are in China, where the virus began.

More than 3,000 people have died globally, with the vast majority in China.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionChief medical adviser Prof Chris Whitty: “Community transmission highly likely”

Earlier, Prof Whitty told MPs on the health and social care committee that half of all coronavirus cases in the UK are most likely to occur in just a three-week period, with 95% of them over a nine-week period.

He said the health service would be stretched by people needing oxygen and some “things may be considerably less well done” during the peak of an epidemic.

But he said neither elderly people nor people with asthma should self-isolate yet, adding there was no evidence of “deep harm” in children with asthma.

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Survival Strategies

How to tell if a disinfectant works

The truth about disinfectants: Q& A with an expert

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t keeping track of news coming out of China. The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus has caused the Chinese government to shut down some of their largest municipalities, most popular tourist attractions, and as of today’s date, at least 16 airlines have canceled flights to and from China.

These steps are unprecedented and require any smart person to keep one eye on the headlines and the other eye on your preps!

In large-scale percentage, preparing for something like this virus or any other virulent bug involves furnishes that are relatively inexpensive, but not all disinfectants are similar and not everyone knows which disinfectant is more effective. If you’re going to stock up on these quantities, you are able to as well obtain those that are proven to kill viruses.

Little-known truths about disinfectants
So, a couple of weeks ago in one of my Facebook pages, one person started a dialog and began to describe disinfectants and what was effective against viruses, in particular the coronavirus in the news as of late. Later, this person explained that she wanted to correct the record because of misinformation was spreading so quickly in social media and through emails.

This individual’s background is with a large chemical producer, a supplier of cleaning chemicals and disinfectants to neighbourhood hospitals and institutions of learning.  Her main focus is staying informed on the latest developments in this area, including this coronavirus outbreak.

Wondering about the most efficient disinfectants utilized in a pandemic/ influenza scenario? Here are some insider tips.

Q&A with key experts
“There’s a lot of misinformation currently going around about disinfectants and Human Coronavirus that I wanted to clear up.

Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses that were firstly found in the 1950’s. The envelope is like a fragile bubble that surrounds the DNA and they are easy to pop and relatively easy to kill on surfaces.

When looking for a disinfectant, there are 2 distinct kill claims to look for: Human Coronavirus or Human Coronavirus( SARS Like ). Both will kill the Wuhan virus, though I would include more dwell time if the claim is for Human Coronavirus.

Dwell time is defined as the time it takes to kill a virus. A contaminated surface must stay fully wet during that time. Lysol and Clorox wipes products are great, but they will not stay wet for the full 10 minutes they required by disinfectants with a 10 -minute dwell time. You must re-wet the surface for it to be effective.

If neither kill claim is listed on the manufacturer’s label, use a disinfectant that kills a non-enveloped virus like Norovirus. This is due to the fact that Non-enveloped viruses are much more difficult to kill.

Alcohol is not a good disinfectant as it requires a 10 minute dwell time, and a lot of surfaces are not compatible with alcohol for that length of time.

There are various good cleaning disinfectants recommended. One is Oxivir TB wipes and/ or spray. It has a 1-minute kill claim and uses hydrogen peroxide. Purell also makes a surface disinfectant spray, but be careful with it on wood surfaces. It’s not compatible with some wood varnishes. It is food-safe, though, which is desirable. All of these options are great because they don’t necessitate personal protection equipment and such. Clorox and Lysol require you to wear gloves.

QUESTION: What about bleach?

ANSWER: Bleach is an fantastically effective disinfectant but is not meant for cleaning purposes. It’s also very harsh on surfaces and on humans. It’s very toxic, so use a cleaner and disinfectant in one product instead.

QUESTION: What about Norwex for killing viruses?

ANSWER: Norwex does not kill bacteria or viruses and does not disinfect.

QUESTION: Can you make your own disinfectant spray with hydrogen peroxide?

ANSWER: It depends on the percentage of hydrogen peroxide used. Most bottles are 3% or 6 %. You genuinely need 7.5% or higher in order to make an at-home disinfectant. It has a 30 -minute kill claim for things like polio and Hepatitis A. One thing to be cautious about using 7.5% hydrogen peroxide is that it can damage some surfaces, so you might want to think about using something different on furniture.

QUESTION: I bought a disinfectant with colloidal silver in it! If it will kill MRSA & Staph, it’ll kill corona!

ANSWER: Colloidal silver has great antibacterial properties, which is why it kills MRSA and Staph. Note that it does not kill viruses and won’t kill Coronavirus.

QUESTION: My dad worked in a hospital and they used alcohol out of the bottle. I use alcohol to clean the showers and light switches. I’ve used Odoban before; it helped us stay healthy during the swine flu.

COMMENT: Just make sure you are hitting that 10 minute kill claim for alcohol.

QUESTION: What are your thoughts on the Lysol laundry disinfectant?

ANSWER: Lysol Laundry Sanitizer sterilizes against bacteria. It does not kill viruses.

QUESTION: Are generic or other makers of hand sanitizer as effective as Purell?

ANSWER: I would recommend using Purell. They did research studies that showed all sanitizers go down in efficacy the more you use them. Purell actually goes up in efficacy

QUESTION: I’m having a hard time procure N95 face masks. They’re sold out online.

ANSWER: For those of you looking for face masks, you can still get them by the case through They are a medical distributor and supplying hospitals. You are allowed to create a personal account with them to make purchases.

What else do you need besides effective disinfectants?
One professional has given you a handy short-list of the most effective disinfectants, but of course, you’ll want to have a few other things on hand for the annual flu season or something worse.

She mentions Purell as a brand name of choice, and in fact, that hand sanitizer is proven to be very effective.

Here is a few things, keeping the flu virus in mind: Bars of soap, Purell hand sanitizer, Clorox and Lysol wipes and spray for general cleaning

And I’m looking at those Oxivir wipes. They’re kind of pricey, but for that short dwell time against viruses, it’s probably a worthwhile investment, especially for cleaning up things like throw-up.

Bottom line: Know which disinfectants are most effective against viruses, including the coronavirus, and use them according to instructions.

Wash your hands, cut down how often you touch your face, and stay healthy during this influenza season!


As a longtime chemical rep myself, I feel that it is important to mention that ALL antiseptics and sanitizers lose their effectiveness fairly quickly when stored. Unlike cleaning substances that will hold on to their cleaning ability for several years disinfectants, sanitizers, bleaches do not last. Do not trust their ability to kill germs if they have been stored a year.


We have currently used a 50/50 concoction of water and vinegar for wiping down faces. Would that kill coronavirus?


No, vinegar is a good, basic clean, but if/ when you want to be sure you’re protecting your home against coronavirus and other viruses, you’ll need something like the products mentioned in this article.


Thanks for this important info! I’m assuming chemical professionals might be less familiar with botanical disinfectants, but I ordered this one online that has very good reviews and is recommended by professionals who clean and sanitize homes that have been flooded. The active ingredient is Thyme oil and it claims to have a 3 minute kill time on viruses, funguses and bacteria. It’s less expensive than the Oxivir products. Bioesque Botanical Disinfectant Solution, 1 Gallon


My friend the disinfectant professional, took a look at this product and says it would be a good one to use against coronavirus and other viruses. She suggested causing it a somewhat longer dwell season of 1 minute.


I went to the link to Medline and established an acct but they transport a msg saying they are all out of face concealments and to check back to see if they have more in the future….


This is from referring to the n95 masks.”Coronaviruses in humans are between 0.1 and 0.2 microns large, meaning by themselves they can get through, but the viruses often travel on drops of mucus or other large molecules that the mask can block .” This alarming because people think that these masks will protect them.


Remove shoes before coming into the house. Shoes not only bring in dirt, but likewise bacteria, mold and viruses. So, adopt the custom of expecting everyone to remove shoes and leave them outside.


I’m sorry but I don’t understand what is meant by the dwell time. If it has a dwell time of 10 minutes, does that mean it has to be on the surface and visibly still there( like soaking) for 10 minutes? Or does it mean that after applied, you have to wait ten minutes for the virus to be killed? Because take alcohol for example after applied to hand quickly evaporates( if that’s what happens )? Is that why it isn’t effective ?? Because it doesn’t stay on the surface for 10 minutes??


That’s exactly right. It’s the amount of time the surface has to stay wholly wet with the disinfectant to ensure the virus is dead. If the disinfectant begins to evaporate, you have to spray it again for 10 minutes, or whatever the dwell time is. That’s why the specific brands of the Purell cleaner and Oxivir are recommended in this article.


Will odoban work against the coronavirus?


I have been using Odoban disinfectant because Lysol and Clorox are very harsh and require masks, gloves, and goggles. at first I didn’t think so, but with frequency it left home coughing and wanting to rub my eyes. That wasn’t the only negative, they all stank, very much. Odoban doesn’t. So the EPA approved list is out and Odoban isn’t on the list.

I scoured but can’t find that it kills norovirus but it says it can kill HIV -1, Influenza A/ Hong Kong, and Herpes Simplex Type 2 in 60 seconds. I don’t know if those are envelope or non-envelope. I bought 2 five gallon pails before any of this covid -19 and I really like the smell, going to suck having to find something else if that is necessary.

I’m tempted to call the company and ask if it’s effective for cleanup off novel corona virus. I’m not a pharmacist or sanitation expert so they could tell me what I want to hear and I still wouldn’t know the difference..