Archive for January 28th, 2020

Coronavirus testing expands beyond airports to El Paso border crossings – KVIA El Paso

January 28th, 2020

EL PASO, Texas — Amid concerns of the worrisome new coronavirus spreading from China, U.S. health officials are increasing screenings of international travelers to encompass 20 entry points – including border crossings here in El Paso.

The Centers for Disease Control had been screening for illness among passengers arriving from the epicenter of China’s outbreak at five major U.S. airports. But people who’ve visited other parts of China still may be arriving, with stops in other places first. Now, CDC is sending extra staff to other “quarantine stations” to screen arrivals at additional airports and border crossing stations.

While federal officials had also suggested that El Paso International Airport would undergo screenings along with border crossings, an airport spokesperson said Tuesday night that “the CDC has not provided any direct notice to EPIA about plans to conduct screenings. Currently, there are no screenings being conducted at EPIA.”

Even as officials are expanding their checks of international travelers for signs of the virus, they say the risk to Americans so far is very low.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said worry about the virus should not affect Americans’ day-to-day lives. So far, there are five confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. and no sign those patients have spread the illness to those around them.

“At this point Americans should not worry for their own safety,” Azar told reporters Tuesday. Still, he added, “this is a very fast-moving, constantly changing situation.”

With an incubation period of anywhere from two to 14 days, travelers may arrive showing no symptoms. But CDC’s Dr. Nancy Messonnier said the screenings are an opportunity to educate travelers that if they start feeling sick — with a fever, cough or flu-like symptoms — after returning from an outbreak zone, they should contact their doctor. That’s exactly what the first U.S. patients did.

Azar said he has directed $105 million to fight the outbreak. Among the next steps, the CDC developed a test for the virus and aims to make it usable by state health departments, to speed diagnosis of suspected cases. Research also is under way to develop a vaccine or treatment.

But for now, without a vaccine or treatments, the world is depending on tried-and-true public health steps to tamp down the outbreak — finding the infected early and isolating them to stem the spread.

China has confirmed more than 4,500 people with the respiratory illness, which in severe cases can cause pneumonia, with dozens more counted in other countries.


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January 28th, 2020

Oscars Ceremony Sets Kobe Bryant Tribute – Hollywood Reporter

January 28th, 2020

His ‘Dear Basketball’ won best animated short honors in 2018.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is planning to acknowledge the death of late basketball legend Kobe Bryant at the 2020 Oscars ceremony on Feb. 9, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

Although Bryant’s basketball accomplishments overshadowed his film efforts, he was an Oscar winner for his five-minute autobiographical short film Dear Basketball. The Los Angeles Laker great wrote, executive produced and lent his voice to the project, which won the best animated short Oscar at the 2018 ceremony.

Bryant’s death along with eight others in a helicopter crash Sunday sent shock waves throughout Los Angeles, where he played for 20 years with the Lakers and won five NBA championships.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were aboard his private helicopter when it crashed in Calabasas, California, about 30 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. Hollywood continues to mourn his sudden death.

The Academy on Sunday paid tribute to Bryant in a touching Instagram post, writing, “They doubted a kid could make it in the NBA and he proved them wrong.They doubted he could win a championship and he proved them wrong. They doubted he could make movies and he won an Oscar. Like all great artists, Kobe Bryant proved the doubters wrong. Rest in peace.”

Other organizations have also reacted to Bryant’s death in different ways. The NBA postponed the first Lakers game following the accident, and the league did not state when that game against the Los Angeles Clippers would take place following the decision.

“The National Basketball Association game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 28 at Staples Center has been postponed,” the NBA tweeted Monday. “The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organization, which is deeply grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday.”

In its first statement about Bryant’s death, issued later Monday, the Lakers said, “The Los Angeles Lakers would like to thank all of you for the tremendous outpouring of support and condolences. This is a very difficult time for all of us. We continue to support the Bryant family and will share more information as it is available.”

More L.A. institutions have been paying tribute to Bryant since it was reported the former guard and his daughter died. Southern California radio stations honored the basketball legend with eight seconds of silence on Monday, in reference to one of Bryant’s jersey numbers, No. 8. ESPN also re-aired Bryant’s final NBA game on Monday night to “honor [his] life and legacy.”

On Sunday, the night of the Grammys, fans gathered around Staples Center, where Bryant played for the Lakers, chanting, holding signs and leaving flowers in memoriam. When the awards ceremony began, host Alicia Keys called the venue “the house that Kobe Bryant built.” Subsequent tributes were included in performances and appearances from stars such as Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus, Priyanka Chopra, Run-DMC and Aerosmith.

NBA on TNT has also planned a tribute for Tuesday during pregame coverage inside Staples Center with Inside the NBA‘s Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith joined by Dwyane Wade, Candace Parker and Steve Nash.

Elsewhere in L.A., at Vineyard and Pickford Streets, a mural was unveiled Monday in tribute to Bryant and his daughter, ABC 10 reported. The image reads “Kobe & Gigi Forever” and “Daddy’s Girl.”

Bryant played for the L.A. Lakers for two decades, becoming a five-time NBA champion and 18-time All-Star. At the conclusion of his career, he was the Lakers’ leader in points scored, games played, three-pointers, steals and free throws, and was the first NBA player to spend 20 years with one franchise.

Along with Bryant and his daughter, seven others were killed in the helicopter crash, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, including Orange County Coast College coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their 13-year-old daughter Alyssa; youth basketball coach Christina Mauser; mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester; and the pilot, Ara Zobayan. The crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration.


‘Arrow’ Series Finale Imports A Major DC Superhero Into The CW – Deadline

January 28th, 2020

SPOILER WARNING: This article reveals major plot points from tonight’s series finale of Arrow on The CW.

The Green Arrow is dead. Long live…the Green Lantern?

The 170th and last episode of The CW’s Arrow aired on Tuesday night with a misty farewell to the late Oliver Queen, the stolid bowman played by Stephen Amell for eight seasons on the linchpin show of the so-called Arrowverse. That’s the name of the shared continuity that links The CW’s still-growing list of DC Comics adaptations and, after Tuesday night’s swan song episode, there’s at least a possibility that list might someday include the wielder of glowing green power ring of undreamed power.


A late scene in the finale episode show’s grieving buddy, John Diggle (portrayed by David Ramsey since the show’s 2012 pilot), flattened by the thunderous impact of a compact object that gouged into the ground near the stunned ex-military man. In the crater is a unscathed box and inside of it an emerald ring.

Presumably, that special piece of jewelry is the power ring worn by Green Lantern in the pages of DC Comics. Diggle’s backstory doesn’t mesh with traditional DC mythology regarding the various heroes that have worn the Green Lantern ring but Ramsey’s resemblance to the John Stewart version of the hero has stirred speculation of a superimposed version of the emerald avenger.

Green Lantern DC Comics
DC Comics

Diggle has been Oliver’s trusted confidante and, for a time, Oliver’s substitute when Diggle took on the guise of the Green Arrow to protect Star City. Oliver send the gift from the Great Beyond? Here’s what showrunner Marc Guggenheim tells Deadline about the cryptic scene.

“That was something that we’ve been working our way towards for a good long time now. I think for maybe about a year, year-and-a-half we’ve known that this was a moment we’re going to be able to do, and it made sense to do it in the finale because my attitude is that even though the show ends, as long as the characters are alive the characters continue on. One of the things we wanted to do with the finale was give you a sense as to what their post-show trajectories would be. And certainly, Diggle’s is probably the most intriguing.”

Hero Nation Logo

Is this Green Lantern affiliated with the intergalactic Green Lantern Corps.? Will Diggle wear the costume associated with the classic space-faring version of the hero?

“That I can’t really speak to because this moment was, like a lot of things, a sort of negotiation with the powers that be about, ‘Okay, what exactly can we show? How far can we take this?’ I think it’s probably best. To me, the bets approach was to let the moment speak for itself and we’ll sort of see where the future takes us.”

Green Lantern made it to live-action television once before — that was back in 1979 on the campy NBC television special Legend of Super-Heroes. That was the Hal Jordan version of the character, the same one that Ryan Reynolds portrayed in Green Lantern (2011), the live-action Warner Bros. feature film that Guggenheim co-scripted with Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Michael Goldenberg.

The John Stewart version of the Green Lantern was first introduced in the pages of DC Comics in 1971. The character was the first African-American superhero depicted in any DC Comics adventure. Stewart’s biggest showcase to date was in the animated television adventures of the Justice League.


Coronavirus Case at Arizona State Sparks Panic, Petition – The Daily Beast

January 28th, 2020

The diagnosis of a patient with novel 2019 coronavirus at Arizona State University earlier this week has inspired a surging petition to cancel classes at the school’s Tempe campus amid lingering uncertainty about how easily the infection can spread.

The member “of the Arizona State University community who does not live in university housing” had recently returned from traveling in Wuhan, China—the virus’s epicenter—when they were diagnosed with the deadly infection, the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health first announced on Sunday.

The patient is “not severely ill” but will remain in isolation at their Tempe residence for a few days to a few weeks, reported the university’s student newspaper, The State Press. Meanwhile, authorities would investigate the person’s close contacts and anyone else to whom they may have had prolonged exposure, officials said. The virus has infected more than 4,500 people globally and killed more than 100 people in China as of Tuesday morning.

The other confirmed cases stateside include patients in Orange County, California; a man in his 30s in Washington state; a passenger who felt ill after flying into Los Angeles International Airport; and a woman in her 60s in Chicago. All of the U.S. cases involve patients who had recently traveled from Wuhan, and the CDC has not confirmed person-to-person transmission of the virus inside the United States.

Arizona Department of Health Services spokesperson Chris Minnick told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that authorities cannot say whether the university-related patient is a student, professor, administrator, or staff member. But contacts of the patient, like all other confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, will be monitored daily for symptoms of an infection. Minnick also previously said authorities were not yet able to publicly confirm whether there was any classroom contact between the infected individual and any others.

“We’re working with the CDC and the county health department to trace close contacts of the person who has the disease,” Minnick told The Daily Beast. 

“The risk to the general public is low at this time,” he added. “We know people at highest risk to this disease are people have traveled to this region in China.”

Even with that assurance, a petition—which had been signed by more than 20,000 people on Tuesday afternoon—called for the school to cancel classes and also increase “preventative measures and safety precautions” for members of the university’s community.

Freshman microbiology student Taskina Bhuiyan wrote on the petition’s page that students “do not feel comfortable attending classes” with the ongoing outbreak “until proper precautions have been taken to ensure the wellbeing” of students.

“The conversation needs to start somewhere,” Bhuiyan wrote in the petition. “Without us making our voices heard, ASU will continue to be ambiguous and fail to provide us with the transparency needed in order to make more informed decisions about our health.”

Another petition signatory, Rose Mulet, wrote, “If ASU cared about our health at all, they wouldn’t make us go to an infected campus.”

Other students at the school’s Tempe campus could be seen Monday wearing masks in an apparent effort to protect themselves from the virus, The Arizona Republic reported. Local stores have reportedly sold out of surgical masks in the wake of higher demand, though federal officials have said masks are not necessary to prevent infection for the average American and that the risk of exposure remained low on Tuesday.

Jay Thorne, a spokesperson for the university, confirmed that the case on campus “has led to some anxiety” but denied a need to halt classes or other campus activities and said that administrators have been communicating as transparently as possible in the days following the case’s confirmation.

“We are doing what we recommend others do, which is to follow the recommendations of state and federal health agencies,” Thorne told The Daily Beast. “We’re concerned, and we’re on top of this, and we’re sharing information as soon as we have it.” 

“They’re allowed to be concerned,” he continued, referring to the student petition. “That’s normal. What we’re trying to provide is the accurate information from the experts about what the level of risk is and what people can do and to be sure they’re being as prudent as possible.”

Thorne also pointed out that on Tuesday the university, following an update to federal guidelines by the CDC, issued a notice for cancellation of all non-essential travel to China. The school’s president, Michael Crow, banned all “official travel for school business” to the country “until this matter is resolved,” reported The State Press.

“Other than that, there are no changes in classes or in campus activities at the university, and we are not being informed that there is any need for that,” Thorne told The Daily Beast. 


Person traveling through Porter County isolated over coronavirus concerns – WTHR

January 28th, 2020

Published: Jan 28th, 2020 – 11:21pm (EST)

Updated: Jan 29th, 2020 – 1:56am (EST)

PORTER COUNTY, Ind. (WTHR) – Health officials in northern Indiana have isolated a person potentially infected with the coronavirus.

The Times of Northwest Indiana reports the person, who was traveling through Porter County, has been placed in isolation out of an abundance of caution. Laboratory tests by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will determine a final diagnosis.

It is not known where the person was traveling to or from, The Times reported.

The CDC has confirmed five cases of coronavirus in the United States in Illinois, Washington, California and Arizona. As of Monday, there were 32 cases that tested negative for the virus and 73 that were pending.


4 Japanese evacuees from Wuhan taken to hospital with cough, fever: health ministry – Global News

January 28th, 2020

The first group of Japanese evacuees from a virus-hit Chinese city arrived in Tokyo on Wednesday, wearing masks but showing a sense of relief.

Four of the 206 evacuees reportedly had cough and fever and were taken to a designated Tokyo hospital specializing in treating infectious diseases. The Health Ministry didn’t immediately confirm that any passengers were ill with the virus.

Japan’s government sent a chartered flight to pick up the evacuees, most of whom resided close to the Wuhan seafood market linked to the first cases of the new virus that has infected thousands.

READ MORE: Foreigners evacuate China as coronavirus death toll rises to 132

“We were feeling increasingly uneasy as the situation developed so rapidly when we were still in the city,” Takeo Aoyama, an employee at Nippon Steel Corp.’s subsidiary in Wuhan, told reporters at Tokyo’s Haneda airport while he waited for a bus to take him to a hospital for another health check.

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“My uneasiness peaked when the number of patients started to spike,” he said, wearing a mask that muffled his voice. Other evacuees seated near him also seemed relieved but tired.

Japan has seven cases including what could be the first human-to-human infection in the country, a man in his 60s who worked as a tour bus driver and served two groups of Chinese tourists from Wuhan from Jan. 8-16.

2:05First presumptive case of coronavirus in B.C.

First presumptive case of coronavirus in B.C.

He developed cough, joint ache and chills on Jan. 14, the Health Ministry said. Three days after developing initial symptoms, he visited a hospital but was tested negative for the new coronavirus and was not hospitalized until he returned Saturday with signs of pneumonia.

Officials said about 650 Japanese citizens and their families in Wuhan and elsewhere in Hebei province had sought to return home. Aoyama said there are more than 400 others still in Wuhan, including those working for a Japanese supermarket chain that has stayed open to serve customers who need food and other necessities and supplies.

He said it was important to step up preventive measures in Japan, but “I hope we can also provide support for the Chinese people, while we also help Japanese people who are still there.”

1:44Coronavirus outbreak: CDC says virus screenings in U.S. expanding to 20 airports

Coronavirus outbreak: CDC says virus screenings in U.S. expanding to 20 airports

Japan’s government is preparing to send another chartered flight to evacuate the others later Wednesday, according to Kyodo News service.

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Another evacuee, Takayuki Kato, said that all those wishing to leave Wuhan had submitted their health inquiry form and had their temperature taken before departure. While on board, a doctor came to each passenger to take temperature again and check their condition, he said.

Kato said he did not panic as he was able to monitor news online and via local media, but “I was shocked when all transportation systems were suspended. That’s when the situation drastically changed.”

READ MORE: We sent your unanswered coronavirus questions to an expert — and we have answers

Aoyama and Kato, along with the rest of the evacuees who were not showing immediate signs of infection, were expected to be taken to the National Center for Global Health and Medicine for further checks and a virus test.

Health officials said that evacuees will be sent home on chartered buses to keep them from using public transportation and stay home for about two weeks until their virus test results are out, though it’s not legally binding. Others who need to travel long distance home are asked to stay at designated hotels.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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Local News Coronavirus case may have reached northern Indiana Tom Maccabe 11:01 PM, Jan 28 – WRTV Indianapolis

January 28th, 2020

VALPARAISO — A person traveling through northern Indiana may be infected with the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Maria Stamp of the Porter County Health Department in Valparaiso says her department and the Centers for Disease Control are waiting for the results of tests on the person. “Out of an abundance of caution, the individual has been placed in isolation and is currently under active medical supervision,” said Stamp.

U.S. health officials insist the risk to Americans from the scary new virus from China is very low. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday that worry about the virus should not impact the day-to-day lives of Americans.

So far, reports the Associated Press, there have been five confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. and no sign these patients have spread the disease to those around them. As a precaution the U.S. is beefing up its checks on returning international travelers beyond the five airports initially announced to 20 entry points.


Uber taking Surrey to court over ‘illegal tickets’ – CTV News

January 28th, 2020

VANCOUVER — Uber is asking a BC Supreme Court judge to step in and order an injunction to stop the City of Surrey from issuing what it calls “illegal tickets” to its drivers.

The announcement comes a day after Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum said drivers who continue to pick up in the city would no longer get warnings from bylaw officers, and instead would be handed $500 fines.

“Our preference is to work collaboratively with municipalities, and we are doing so across the region,” Uber’s head of western Canada, Michael van Hemmen, said in a written statement. “However, Uber must stand up when drivers and riders are being bullied and intimidated.”

On Monday, CTV News interviewed Uber driver Carlos Medina who said he felt “cornered” by Surrey bylaw officers. He said they used the app Sunday afternoon to pose as a would-be passenger before writing him a warning ticket.

Uber’s application for an injunction is based in large part on its understanding that the City of Surrey “does not have the authority to prevent ridesharing companies from operating.”

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena told CTV News on Tuesday that provincial law specifically does not allow a municipality to block services.

“While I understand (Mayor McCallum’s) concerns, and he is very, very passionate about this,” said Trevena, “…we do have legislation in place.”

Trevena wouldn’t directly answer a question about whether the province is exploring legal options in court, but said she is in communication with McCallum.

“I would hope that (the Mayor) listens to the overwhelming demand for ride hailing that I’m sure he’s aware of,” said Trevena.

On Tuesday, before Uber filed its application, McCallum told a news conference he had “no concerns” about lawsuits.

A day earlier, the mayor said that he “supports” ride hailing, but only on a “level playing field” with the taxi industry.

While municipalities may issue business licences to ride hailing companies, the mayor has acknowledged there is no licence available in Surrey for ride hailing services.

In September 2019, he told a gathering of taxi drivers in East Vancouver that business licences were the “tool” he was keeping in his back pocket to keep ride hailing out of Surrey and said he would not be issuing them.

The move by Uber comes a day after nine Metro Vancouver cab companies filed two legal challenges, including an application for an injunction to suspend Uber and Lyft while a petition to rescind their licences goes before the court.

In the application filed Tuesday, Uber said that if the request for an injunction is refused, the company is prepared to go to trial and will seek restitution and compensation for lost profits.

Uber’s application is scheduled to be heard in BC Supreme Court on Feb. 5.

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Atari to Open Video Game-Themed Hotel in Chicago, Company Says – NBC Chicago

January 28th, 2020