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Archive for February 12th, 2020

Galaxy S20 Ultra: Our 5 favorite camera features, and one is Space Zoom – CNET

February 12th, 2020

The Canon EOS R5 is officially one of the most powerful mirrorless cameras ever – TechRadar India

February 12th, 2020

Canon Announces Development of the EOS R5 with IBIS, 8K Video and More – PetaPixel

February 12th, 2020

Test Kits for Novel Coronavirus Hit a Snag in the U.S. – The Wall Street Journal

February 12th, 2020

The 15th case of Covid-19 in the U.S. was confirmed in a passenger under federal quarantine at JBSA-Lackland in Texas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday, a day after the agency confirmed that some of the test kits sent to the states weren’t functioning properly during the verification process.

The new case follows another positive test of a person under federal quarantine in San Diego announced by the CDC late on Wednesday. That case was the second at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, and health…

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Chaka Khan Unmasked on The Masked Singer: Watch – Pitchfork

February 12th, 2020

Following the Super Bowl season premiere where it was revealed the Lil Wayne was the Robot, The Masked Singer tonight unmasked Miss Monster. It was Chaka Khan. This season, she sang Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About,” Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me,” and Bobbie Gentry’s “Fancy.” Watch those performances and the unmasking below.

In an interview with Billboard about her time on the show, Chaka called it “the weirdest” gig she’s ever done. When asked what she took away from the experience, she responded, “Yes—that I’ll never do anything like that again.”

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Actor Jussie Smollett Faces New Charges In Connection With Chicago Attack | NBC News NOW – NBC News

February 12th, 2020

Actor Jussie Smollett is facing new charges in connection with a 2019 Chicago attack where he claims he was a hate crime victim. NBC News’ Danny Cevallos reports on what kind of evidence the new indictment is based.
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Actor Jussie Smollett Faces New Charges In Connection With Chicago Attack | NBC News NOW

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Most coronavirus cases are mild, complicating the response – The Washington Post

February 12th, 2020

Health authorities managing the outbreak are trying to understand what that critical fact portends. Are the 45,000 sick people tallied so far just a portion of a vast reservoir of uncounted victims, some of whom may be spreading the disease? And do the mild illnesses reveal characteristics of the virus itself — something that could be useful in crafting a more effective response?

“The fact that there are so many mild cases is a real hallmark of this disease and makes it so different from SARS,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Health Security. “It’s also really challenging. Most of our surveillance is oriented around finding people who require medical intervention.”

For those who study viruses, the large number of mild cases is reason for optimism. “This looks to be a bad, heightened cold — I think that’s a rational way of thinking about it,” said Matthew Frieman, a virologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “Not to diminish its importance — it’s in the middle between SARS and the common cold.”

Though the virus was identified just six weeks ago, some of its characteristics are becoming clear. For the elderly and those with underlying heart disease, diabetes or other conditions, the disease can be quite severe. They are the ones dominating the ranks of the dead, often after pneumonia or other respiratory problems that lead to organ failure.

Others are not suffering nearly as much. Healthy, younger adults seem to do better, and there have been few fatalities among children, for reasons that have caused much speculation among experts.

“It could be that some people have an immune response that results in severe illness and some people don’t,” Nuzzo said. “It is common . . . in coronaviruses that there is a spectrum of illness.”

At a presentation on the disease hosted Tuesday by the Aspen Institute in Washington, Nancy Messonnier, an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted that only a few of the 14 U.S. patients required oxygen during convalescence.

“All the patients in the U.S. haven’t required tons of excessive care and actually, right now, they’re actually all improving,” said Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “Based on the U.S. experience, and based on the experience of other countries outside China, a lot of these patients seem to be doing okay.”

But Messonnier and others are less confident about what that might signify. She noted that U.S. officials set a very low threshold for illness as they began their search for people with the disease among returnees from central China.

“If we hadn’t been looking so hard,” she suggested, “we might not have found them.”

Another possibility, said William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, is that the U.S. patients were a self-selected sample of fairly healthy people — hardy enough, at least, to travel to Wuhan and back. Eleven of the U.S. patients were such travelers, while two others were spouses who came in contact with them after they returned.

Schaffner also noted that in China, where the vast majority of deaths and illnesses from the “covid-19” disease have occurred, air pollution and a higher smoking prevalence may contribute to the severity of the disease.

Many experts have said early phases of outbreaks like this one tend to have a large number of severe cases, as the sickest people flock to hospitals and come to doctors’ attention. And in Wuhan, where the health-care system is overwhelmed, people have complained they cannot find a hospital to test them for the virus, let alone to treat their symptoms. So patients with milder versions may be at home, uncounted, waiting out the epidemic.

In its latest “situation report,” released Wednesday, the World Health Organization listed 45,171 confirmed cases in 25 countries including China, with just 441 of the cases outside China. The WHO classified 8,204 of the Chinese cases as severe, meaning virtually all the rest are mild.

The WHO does not break down the cases outside China, but some countries do. Singapore, for example, has reported that 15 of its 50 patients have fully recovered and been discharged. Most of the others still hospitalized are “stable or improving,” while eight are in critical condition in intensive care.

Currently, the death rate of the disease is hovering around ­2.5 percent, a remarkably high level, about the rate of the 1918 flu pandemic that killed roughly ­50 million people around the world. Normal seasonal flu kills less than one-tenth of one percent of people who contract the virus.

But experts have said the coronavirus fatality rate is likely to decline substantially as they compile a more accurate count of the people who contract the virus and survive. At the Aspen Institute presentation, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he hoped the rate could decline toward 1 percent.

Either figure makes the virus much less deadly than severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which killed more than ­9 percent of the people who contracted it in 2003, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which kills nearly 35 percent of its victims.

The mild nature of many illnesses, some experts said, may stem from the properties of the pathogen itself. For reasons scientists still don’t fully understand, one virus may be a nuisance and a very similar one can be deadly. While two different coronaviruses produced SARS and MERS, four others cause about 30 percent of all common colds.

The severity of the resulting illness is “inherent in the virus,” said Frieman, the University of Maryland virologist.

One coronavirus that causes cold symptoms, called NL63, uses the same doorway into cells and infects the same cells as SARS, he said.

“One gives you a runny nose and the other gives you lethal pneumonia,” Frieman said. “No one studies this.”

A major question to be answered is who is most at risk. While many are focused on the overall death rate from the virus, Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said it is important to focus on the fatality rate in vulnerable groups.

“SARS was 10 percent overall, but it was 50 percent among older people,” Hotez said. Figuring out who is most at risk is essential for creating the right public health strategy.

“If you really want to address this epidemic, it’s especially important we protect the vulnerable groups,” Hotez said.

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Pokémon Home is now available on Nintendo Switch, iOS and Android – Engadget

February 12th, 2020

In their own words: What the #WetsuwetenStrong allies are fighting for – Toronto Star

February 12th, 2020

TYENDINAGA MOHAWK TERRITORY, ONT.—The reasons to take a stand don’t need to be explained. Here in Tyendinaga, at least for some, it goes without saying: The struggle of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs is the struggle facing everybody.

The plights of colonialism, stolen land, nature brutalized by a settler society hungry for money — these are the perceived links that bind the conflict over a natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia with demonstrations of solidarity rippling across Canada.

“That is why we’re here, to protect our land,” said Debbie Clark, one of the few people who agreed to be interviewed by the Star at a small protest camp outside Marysville, Ont., on Wednesday.

Wrapped in a camouflage jacket, she sat in the warmth of a barrel fire on the south side of the Canadian National rail tracks, where the presence of Tyendinaga Mohawk demonstrators has clogged the traffic of people and goods for days.

“We have no weapons, except our voice,” said Clark. “We stand behind each other, and that’s our weapon, that’s our defence. We stand behind our brothers and sisters.”

The camp on a country road between Toronto and Kingston is but one of several demonstrations that have sprung up after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police — acting on an order from B.C.’s highest court — arrested more than two dozen people to clear the way for the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Protesters have staged sit-ins at federal ministers’ offices and blocked traffic in such cities as Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto. Hundreds clogged the entrances to the B.C. legislature on Tuesday, delaying the provincial government’s throne speech. And under the provocative slogan “Shut Down Canada,” demonstrators have congregated at rail lines here and in Montreal and northern B.C., forcing the cancellation of hundreds of passenger and freight trains and prompting CN Rail to consider shutting down “significant” portions of its national rail network.

In Tyendinaga territory Wednesday, the scene was quiet, staid. Demonstrators laughed and sipped from cans of THC-infused pop, products of the local marijuana market that has emerged in the area. A large snowplow was parked beside the tracks beneath a red Mohawk flag that flapped from the upturned crossing rail. A small cluster of green tents was set up in the gully beside the tracks, along with a small trailer with a sign on it that said: “The Wolf’s Den.”

Beyond a pair of Ontario Provincial Police cruisers parked several hundred yards away, there was no sign of law enforcement in the area Wednesday afternoon.

George, a community Elder, sits by the fire at the rail blockade in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Ont. on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in support of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs' blockade of a natural gas pipeline in northern B.C.

Mary-Ann Harrison pulled up to the site in her car after driving from Ottawa with a load of supplies to show her support. She brought a four-burner propane stove, washing station for dishes and a bunch of sandwiches.

“We’re trying to stand in solidarity right now,” she said, pointing to her opposition to the natural gas pipeline that sparked has the nationwide demonstrations.

“It’s a larger problem, which is corporate greed destroying the future of the planet,” she said.

In a chair near the fire, a man who said he was a local elder leaned forward over his tattooed hands. Agreeing only to provide his first name, George, he described the people around him as “protectors” who won’t dismantle their camps until the RCMP in B.C. release those they arrested in Wet’suwet’en territory and the pipeline project is abandoned.

“We help others, just like if we were in trouble, they’d help us,” said George, 75. “This is just to show they can’t be pushing us around all the time.”

The Star spoke to protesters about the reasons they are taking action, and what they want to see next.

Here is what they told us, in their own words.

Morgan Mowatt, Gitxsan Nation, lives in Victoria

Morgan Mowatt said spending time in her Gitxsan territory neighbouring the Wet'suwet'en is a reminder of what's at risk when rights aren't upheld. Uploaded by: McKeen, Alex

“It’s personal because it can also affect our nation. My dad is from the Gitxsan Nation, a neighbour of the Wet’suwet’en — we have a lot of family there. My sister and I have done a lot of work on our nation and we’re up there as much as we can be.

It’s beautiful territory up there, and it certainly is a reminder every time you’re up there what’s at risk when rights aren’t upheld and when people aren’t able to make decisions on what’s happening in their homes.

Being on territory that has been maintained so meticulously by our hereditary systems and kept in tact and protected, and dealt with gently and with accountability to future generations — when you’re in those spaces, when you know that your own ancestors have done that for thousands of years, it’s a reminder how well those systems work.”

Peter Underwood, Saanich Nation, lives in Victoria

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Peter Underwood, who works at the University of Victoria's Native Students' Union, thinks if Indigenous history and law was taught more extensively in high school, members of the public would have a better understanding of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary system.

“I work for the Native Students’ Union (at the University of Victoria). I’ve made connections a lot through an Indigenous conference and other activist communities. That’s how I got involved.

Through my work, I’ve met some Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en folks and, in general, a lot of Indigenous folks across the country have that solidarity; because if it can happen in Wet’suwet’en, it can happen to any of us.

There has been such a good community of activism in Victoria. I want to show up to these kind of events in case I need them to show up for me.

There’s a lot of different bodies with a lot of different backgrounds. Some people are in it for different things. There are a lot of groups that are climate activists and are more anti-pipeline and moreso around for environmental reasons, not as much for Indigenous sovereignty. That is what I’m here for, solidarity with Wet’suwet’en Nation and their clans.

There’s so many more people out there once you make the connections.

One big thing is: How come we don’t learn a lot about this in schools? I remember in high school I learned a lot about England before the English even came here. More than I learned about what was here before.

There’s so much that isn’t talked about in education.”

Cricket Guest, 20, Toronto

The Star spoke to protesters about why they're taking action. Here is what they told us, in their own words.

“Coastal GasLink is proposing to build a pipeline through Wet’suwet’en territory. It’s unceded territory. It was never sold to Canada. It was never sold to the Crown. It still is owned by Indigenous people. And so the Wet’suwet’en people are not OK with this. They were not given proper consent or consultation on the Coastal GasLink project expanding or going through their territory. It’s important to know that the way Wet’suwet’en people live is very much traditional to our people: off the land. They rely on the land for their livelihood, for their medicines. All of these actions are starting because Thursday the RCMP raid of the territory started. Indigenous youth have agreed that we will be loud. We will be taking up space. We will be shutting down Canada until the Wet’suwet’en people are safe, until the RCMP is off of their territory. We’ll be doing this for as long as it takes. We are using our power to demand that we don’t continue this legacy of ongoing Indigenous genocide in an era where the government — and Justin Trudeau, specifically — loves to preach about reconciliation. I want to see them using their positions of authority to take some sort of actions. They’ve imposed this government system onto our people, this system that doesn’t belong to us. And then when we speak to them about it, it feels as though every person in a position of power is then saying that they don’t have the power to stop this, when they do.”

Alienor (Allie) Rougeot, 21, of Fridays for Future Toronto

The Star spoke to protesters about why they're taking action. Here is what they told us, in their own words.

“When we started Friday for Future, we knew that we wanted to have Indigenous sovereignty and solidarity in our demands. When we started seeing warnings that the RCMP might (occupy) or increase surveillance of Wet’suwet’en, we thought: This is the time that if we are really allies, we have to prepare. We started trying to use our social media and our platforms to highlight more Indigenous voices. Recently, we’ve been doing kind of a mix of either our own action and solidarity or just showing up to action led by Indigenous people. I think there will be escalations. If it takes more occupations of offices and if it takes more disrupting business as usual, then that’s what we will support. People trust the voices of climate strikers. Hopefully, if the message is relayed from us, they will be more open to hearing it than they would otherwise, if they don’t know much about land protectors. Originally, I would just be asking for no pipeline, but at this point we’re begging for the RCMP for back off. I just really think if Justin Trudeau meant his nation-to-nation promise, then there should be nation-to-nation conversation with the hereditary chiefs. I would like to see a deep introspection of the Canadian government into what it means when you promise Indigenous nations something. Plus, the government promised Canadian youth something. How do projects like Coastal GasLink fit into these promises at any moment?”

Simran Dhunna, 24, of Climate Justice Toronto

The Star spoke to protesters about why they're taking action. Here is what they told us, in their own words.

“We’re a youth-led group of young people who are uniting in solidarity with Indigenous folks who are on the front lines of the climate crisis. We really believe that we’re going to be able to only stop the climate crisis when we confront its root causes: colonialism, white supremacy and capitalism. A lot of our membership and youth around the city and country know that the struggle for Indigenous sovereignty is the struggle for climate action. That’s part of the reason I was one of the people who was involved in a nearly 24-hour occupation of Carolyn Bennett’s office this Monday, rallying with others outside. We occupied for three key reasons. We want the Canadian government to implement UNDRIP and to respect Wet’suwet’en’s rights to free prior informed consent, which Coastal GasLink had never obtained. We want the RCMP to stand down, to leave Wet’suwet’en land immediately, and to not arrest land defenders or searching through the Unist’ot’en’s healing centre. This movement is taking the lead from Wet’suwet’en nation. The Unist’ot’en camp has released a supporter tool kit. And so climate activists and community groups have taken that toolkit and organized their own nonviolent direct actions around the country. For as long as there is an RCMP presence and for as long as the government and Coastal GasLink try to gain access to Wet’suwet’en land without consent, we will continue to take nonviolent direct action and disrupt business as usual. The government says that they’re climate leaders, say that they’re about reconciliation. What we’re really seeing is inaction and hypocrisy on part of the government at the provincial and federal level.”

Kolin Sutherland-Wilson, Gig’stan First Nation member and University of Victoria student

Protester Kolin Sutherland-Wilson is shown at the legislature in Victoria, Saturday, Feb.8, 2020.

The heart of the issue is the way B.C. is criminalizing Indigenous sovereignty in a way that we haven’t really seen since the Potlatch ban. The band councils, they have jurisdiction over the reserves, which is not where the pipeline is going. They’re pushing through this project without the consent of the hereditary chiefs.

I’m from the nation just north of Wet’suwet’en. For someone like myself to see the relationship between B.C. and a traditional unceded government deteriorate to the point where B.C. won’t even talk is unacceptable. I was just compelled to go out.

Saskia Burdick, 19, of the Heiltsuk Nation, speaking in Vancouver

Saskia Burdick, a 19-year-old Indigenous youth from Heiltsuk Nation, who took part in a Vancouver protest to support the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs.

“We’re here on Broadway and Cambie holding the road, holding the line, in solidarity with our Wet’suwet’sen family. …What’s happening in northern B.C. right now is an act of war against Indigenous people. … The Canadian government can’t just keep … forcing industry through at the detriment of all life on this planet. It’s not OK, and we won’t stand for it.”

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Scientists fear coronavirus spread in countries least able to contain it – Nature.com

February 12th, 2020

NEWS

Concerns are rising about the virus’s potential to circulate undetected in Africa and Asia.

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Thai officials handing face masks to pedestrians at a handout station in Bangkok Thai officials handing face masks to pedestrians at a handout station in Bangkok

Officials in Bangkok, Thailand hand out face masks in crowded areas.Credit: Lauren DeCicca/Getty

Infections of the new coronavirus have now been detected in 24 countries outside China. But researchers warn that cases might be going undetected in some nations that are considered at high risk of an outbreak but are reporting fewer cases than expected, or none at all.

The possibility of unreported cases is particularly concerning in countries with weaker health-care systems, such as those in southeast Asia and Africa, which could quickly be overwhelmed by a local outbreak, experts say. Although no cases have yet been reported in Africa, some countries there, such as Nigeria, are at particular risk because of their strong business ties to China.

Researchers have been using flight data to create models of the virus’s possible spread around the world. On 11 February, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses officially named the virus SARS-CoV-2, highlighting its similarity to the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

One model identified 30 countries or regions at risk of importing SARS-CoV-2 on the basis of the large number of flights from Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicentre, and from other cities in China with many travellers from Wuhan. The model used flight data from February 2018.

Southeast Asia

Thailand is the country most exposed, according to the study1, which was posted on the medRxiv preprint server on 5 February. Thirty-three people with the infection have been reported there so far, of whom 23 had been in China. But Shengjie Lai, an epidemiologist at the University of Southampton, UK, and a co-author of the study, says the model estimates that Thailand probably imported 207 cases in the 2 weeks before travel in and out of Wuhan was restricted.

Indonesia has not reported a single case so far, and yet the country is a popular destination for Chinese tourists. Lai says it might have imported as many as 29 cases. Several other countries, including Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Australia, have also reported fewer cases than the model predicts, he says.

Although it’s possible that there have truly been no cases in Indonesia, infected people might have recovered before they were detected, says epidemiologist Andrew Tatem, a co-author of the study also at the University of Southampton. What is worrying is the chance that cases have gone undetected and the virus is spreading under the radar, he says.

Another model of SARS-CoV-2’s international spread suggests that cases in Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia are lower than expected. Cambodia has so far reported only one case. The results of that study2, based on flights out of Wuhan between January and February 2019 and authored by a team from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, were also posted on medRxiv on 5 February.

Despite the models’ predictions, Amin Soebandrio, an infectious-disease scientist and chair of the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology in Jakarta, is confident that Indonesia has the capacity to detect SARS-CoV-2 in people if it arrives.

But some countries in southeast Asia have limited numbers of health-care workers, hospital beds, support staff, ventilators and other equipment, and would struggle to respond to a surge in cases of the virus, says Richard Coker, a retired public-health physician based in Bangkok.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), said the agency’s decision to declare the outbreak a global health emergency, the agency’s highest level of alarm, was mainly based on concerns that SARS-CoV-2 could spread in countries with weaker health-care systems.

What about Africa?

For that reason, infectious-disease researchers are also worried about the virus spreading among people in Africa. The continent has yet to report any cases, and it is not as exposed as are some southeast Asian nations as a result of direct international flights from Wuhan, says Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a co-author of the Harvard team’s model. But a large number of Chinese labourers work in Africa, and their travel between China and Africa is a possible route for transmission, he says.

Another model that specifically considered the risk of SARS-CoV-2 spreading to Africa found that Egypt, Algeria and South Africa are the African countries most at risk. The analysis3, posted on medRxiv on 7 February, examined flights to Africa from Chinese cities that had reported infections, but it excluded cities in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, because of the lockdown that has restricted travel from many cities there since late January.

But these three countries also have the capacity to respond effectively to an outbreak, says Vittoria Colizza, who models infectious diseases at the Pierre Louis Institute of Epidemiology and Public Health in Paris and is a co-author of the Africa study.

Colizza and her colleagues are most concerned about seven African nations that have a moderate risk of importing the virus, but whose weak health-care systems, low economic status, or unstable political situation makes them highly vulnerable. These are Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Angola, Tanzania, Ghana and Kenya.

These countries, except Sudan, are among 14 African nations that the WHO also identified as being at increased risk of importing the virus because they receive direct flights from China, or a high volume of travellers. The organization is working with those countries to be able to detect any potential cases rapidly, says Tarik Jašarević, a WHO spokesperson in Geneva, Switzerland. He says the 14 countries also need to increase their preparedness.

Until last week, many countries in Africa did not have laboratories that could diagnose SARS-CoV-2, and had to send samples abroad for testing.

But the situation is changing rapidly, says Colizza. The continent has gone from having only two labs with the capacity to confirm the virus, one in Senegal and one in South Africa, to now having at least 8, according to the WHO.

Three of the newly added labs are in Nigeria, says Chikwe Ihekweazu, the director general of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Abuja. Over the weekend, two people who had recently returned from China with suspected infections tested negative, he says.

Ihekweazu says Nigeria’s size, the volume of travellers it receives, and its vibrant economy already make it vulnerable to importing an infectious disease, and that the country’s strong business ties with China pose an additional risk.

Nigeria has ramped up screening of travellers from China and increased communication about the risks of infection to the public. But the country’s health system is already dealing with an outbreak, of the viral haemorrhagic disease Lassa fever.

Ihekweazu says the worst-case scenario for Nigeria will be if an infected person goes undetected and begins to infect others. “That is really what keeps me up at night,” he says.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-020-00405-w

References

  1. 1.

    Lai, S. et al. Preprint on medRxiv https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.04.20020479v1 (2020).

  2. 2.

    De Salazar, P. M., Niehus, R., Taylor, A., Buckee, C. & Lipsitch, M. Preprint on medRxiv https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.04.20020495 (2020).

  3. 3.

    Gilbert, M. et al. Preprint on medRxiv https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.02.05.20020792 (2020).

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