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BTS Breaks Gaon Chart Record For 1st-Week Sales With “Map Of The Soul: 7” – soompi

February 26th, 2020

BTS has achieved the highest first-week sales in Gaon Chart history with their latest album!

On February 27, the Korea Music Content Association (the organization behind Gaon Chart) announced that BTS’s “Map of the Soul: 7” had topped Gaon’s album chart for the week of February 16 to 22—despite only having been released on February 21 at 6 p.m. KST, at the very end of the week.

The KMCA officially stated, “BTS’s ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ has charted at No. 1 [on the Gaon weekly album chart] with the highest first-week sales in Gaon Chart history.”

Although the KMCA did not provide an exact figure for the album’s total sales for the week according to Gaon Chart calculations, “Map of the Soul: 7” racked up 2,667,293 points on Gaon’s weekly retail album chart alone. (Not to be confused with the overall weekly album chart, the retail album chart is a separate chart that only includes domestic offline retail sales of albums.)

Gaon Chart will release further information on BTS’s album sales at the end of the month, when it releases its monthly chart data for February.

Congratulations to BTS on their impressive achievement!

Check out the top five for each of this week’s Gaon charts below:

Album Chart

New releases dominated this week’s physical album chart: BTS’s “Map of the Soul: 7” debuted at No. 1, followed by IZ*ONE’s first full-length album “BLOOM*IZ” at No. 2. (The Kit version of “BLOOM*IZ” also charted separately at No. 5.) DreamCatcher’s “Dystopia : The Tree of Language” debuted at No. 3, while LOONA’s “#” shot up the chart to claim No. 4 for the week.

Overall Digital Chart

IU’s “I Give You My Heart” (from the OST of “Crash Landing on You”) achieved a double crown on this week’s charts, topping both the overall digital chart and the streaming chart.

Block B’s “Any Song” took No. 2 on the overall digital chart, followed by IZ*ONE’s new title track “FIESTA” at No. 3, Changmo’s “METEOR” at No. 4, and Crush’s “Let Us Go” (also from the OST of “Crash Landing on You”) at No. 5.

Download Chart

IZ*ONE’s “FIESTA” debuted at No. 1 on this week’s digital download chart. BTS took three spots in the top five with songs from their new album: their title track “ON” debuted at No. 2, while “Zero O’Clock” and “Filter” entered the chart at No. 4 and No. 5 respectively. Finally, IU’s “I Give You My Heart” took No. 3 for the week.

Streaming Chart

IU’s “I Give You My Heart” entered the streaming chart at No. 1, trailed by Zico’s “Any Song” at No. 2, Changmo’s “METEOR” at No. 3, Crush’s “Let Us Go” at No. 4, and Red Velvet’s “Psycho” at No. 5.

Social Chart

BTS continued their reign at No. 1 on Gaon’s Social Chart 2.0 this week, while BLACKPINK similarly held onto their spot at No. 2. GFRIEND rose to No. 3 on this week’s chart, followed by IZ*ONE at No. 4 and EVERGLOW at No. 5.

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Meeting of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, federal, provincial governments set for Thursday – CBC.ca

February 26th, 2020

A proposed meeting between the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the federal government and the British Columbia government is set to take place on Thursday, following word that talks for a meeting had fallen through Wednesday afternoon. 

In an interview with CBC News, Chief Na’Moks​​, also known as John Ridsdale, said the Office of the Wet’suwet’en received a call Wednesday night from someone representing the federal and B.C. governments saying news that the proposed meeting was cancelled was a miscommunication.  

Risdale, a spokesperson for the hereditary chiefs, said two days of meetings to discuss title and land rights of the Wet’suwet’en will take place at the Office of the Wet’suwet’en in Smithers, B.C., sometime on Thursday afternoon. 

Former NDP MP Nathan Cullen confirmed Thursday’s meeting to Radio-Canada’s Philippe Leblanc. Cullen was tasked by B.C. Premier John Horgan with acting as an intermediary between the Wet’suwe’ten hereditary chiefs, the province of B.C., RCMP, Coastal GasLink and others.

Just a few hours earlier, the office of the Wet’suwet’en said both the federal and B.C. governments had declined an invitation from the chiefs, whose opposition to a pipeline through their traditional territory in northwest B.C. has sparked protests and rail blockades across the country.

The office of the B.C. Premier had confirmed in a statement the province has “not been able to come to agreement for a meeting.”

“We had hoped the hereditary chiefs would agree to a period of peace and respect during the talks, which would include encouraging their supporters to remove blockades.” 

But the premier’s office said it remained interested in meeting with the hereditary chiefs. 

It was not immediately clear who was invited from the federal government. Federal representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Ridsdale said he talked with leaders of the Mohawks of Tyendinaga, who have blocked railways near Belleville, Ont., for several weeks. 

“They [the Mohawks] told us that if [they] take a step back then maybe the discussions won’t happen at all,” Ridsdale said. 
 

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Proposed meeting between Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, federal, provincial governments falls through – CBC.ca

February 26th, 2020

A proposed meeting between the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the federal government and the B.C. government has fallen through. 

A short statement issued Wednesday afternoon from the office of the Wet’suwet’en said both governments had declined an invitation from the chiefs, whose opposition to a pipeline through their traditional territory in northwest B.C. has sparked protests and rail blockades across the country.

A two-day meeting was nearly secured for Thursday, but talks broke down after the hereditary chiefs refused to ask other First Nations to remove their rail blockades, according to Chief Namoks, also known as John Ridsdale, a spokesperson for the hereditary chiefs.

“Our invitation was there, our willingness was there,” Ridsdale said. 

“They requested that we ask people, other nations and allies to step down, and with the Wet’suwet’en we can’t do that. We can’t tell another nation what to do.”

Ridsdale said he talked with leaders of the Mohawks of Tyendinaga, who have blocked railways near Belleville, Ont., for several weeks. 

“They [the Mohawks] told us that if [they] take a step back then maybe the discussions won’t happen at all,” Ridsdale said. 

The office of the B.C. Premier John Horgan confirmed in a statement the province has “not been able to come to agreement for a meeting.”

“We had hoped the hereditary chiefs would agree to a period of peace and respect during the talks, which would include encouraging their supporters to remove blockades.” 

The premier’s office says it remains interested in meeting with the hereditary chiefs. 

Ridsdale says the chiefs are also still willing to meet.

“That door is open, the olive branch is still out there. Right now they have to make a decision because the willingness will always be there,” he said. 

He says the chiefs plan to meet Thursday morning to discuss next steps.

“Heart broken or not, we still have to look after a nation.”

It was not immediately clear who was invited from the federal government. Federal representatives were not immediately available for comment. 

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Loughlin’s lawyers say new evidence proves innocence in college bribery scandal – Fox Business

February 26th, 2020

BOSTON (AP) — Lawyers for “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, said Wednesday that new evidence shows the couple is innocent of charges that they bribed their daughters’ way into the University of Southern California.

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An attorney for the couple said in a legal filing that prosecutors provided the defense with notes written by the admitted ringleader of the college admissions cheating scheme that support the couple’s claim that they believed their payments were legitimate donations, not bribes.

Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli (Getty)

“This belated discovery … is devastating to the government’s case and demonstrates that the government has been improperly withholding core exculpatory information, employing a ‘win at all costs’ effort rather than following their obligation to do justice,” attorney Sean Berkowtiz wrote.

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The filing came on the eve of a status hearing in the case scheduled for Thursday at Boston’s federal court in the sweeping college admissions bribery case. It was expected that the judge would set a trial date for the parents still fighting the charges at that hearing.

Now, the couple’s attorneys are asking the judge to postpone the setting of the trial date in light of the new evidence, saying “it is the only fair way to protect the defendants’ rights.”

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Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to get their daughters into USC as crew recruits even though neither was a rower. Authorities say the money was funneled through a sham charity operated by college admissions consultant Rick Singer, who has pleaded guilty to orchestrating the scheme.

Lawyers for Loughlin and Giannulli have argued that the couple believed the payments were “legitimate donations” that would go directly to USC as a fundraising gift or support Singer’s charity. They have accused prosecutors of hiding crucial evidence that could prove the couple’s innocence because it would undermine their case.

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The new information provided to the defense includes notes written by Singer detailing his discussions with FBI investigators about recorded phone calls he had with parents, Berkowitz wrote. Singer said in his notes that the FBI told him to lie by saying that he told the parents who participated in the scheme that their payments were bribes, instead of legitimate donations to the schools, the attorney said.

“They continue to ask me to tell a fib and not restate what I told my clients as to where there money was going — to the program not the coach and that it was a donation and they want it to be a payment,” Singer wrote, according to the filing.

Berkowtiz called the information not only “exculpatory, but exonerating for the defendants the government has charged with bribery.”

The couple is among 15 prominent parents still fighting accusations that they rigged the college admissions system by paying people to pretend their kids were star athletes for sports they didn’t play or cheat on their children’s entrance exams.

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Nearly two dozen parents have pleaded guilty, including “Desperate Housewives” star Felicity Huffman, who was sentenced to two weeks in prison for paying $15,000 to have a proctor correct her daughter’s SAT answers.

Federal prosecutors have said the first trial for the parents should begin in October, and that Loughlin and Giannulli should be tried in the first group.

But lawyers for the parents said the substantial amount of evidence, outstanding pretrial motions and “general complexity” of the case made a trial this fall impossible and that there should be no trial before next February.

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Lori Loughlin says new evidence proves she did not know college admissions payment was a bribe – Daily Mail

February 26th, 2020

Lawyers for Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli said Wednesday that new evidence proves she did not know her college admissions payment was a bribe. 

The couple say notes written by mastermind Rick Singer support their claim that they believed they were making legitimate donations as a fundraising gift. 

Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew recruits even though neither was a rower. 

Authorities say the money was funneled through a sham charity operated by college admissions consultant Singer, who has pleaded guilty to orchestrating the scheme. 

Now lawyers for ‘Full House’ actress Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Giannulli have accused prosecutors of hiding crucial evidence that could prove the couple’s innocence because it would undermine their case. 

Their filing came on the eve of a status hearing in the case scheduled for Thursday at Boston’s federal court in the sweeping college admissions bribery case. 

It was expected that the judge would set a trial date for the parents still fighting the charges at that hearing.    

Lawyers for Lori Loughlin, front, and her husband, clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli, said Wednesday that new evidence shows the couple is innocent of charges that they bribed their daughters' way into the University of Southern California

Lawyers for Lori Loughlin, front, and her husband, clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli, said Wednesday that new evidence shows the couple is innocent of charges that they bribed their daughters' way into the University of Southern California

Lawyers for Lori Loughlin, front, and her husband, clothing designer Mossimo Giannulli, said Wednesday that new evidence shows the couple is innocent of charges that they bribed their daughters’ way into the University of Southern California

Rick Singer said in his notes that the FBI told him to lie by saying that he told the parents who participated in the scheme that their payments were bribes, instead of legitimate donations to the schools, an attorney said. Singer has pleaded guilty to orchestrating the scheme

Rick Singer said in his notes that the FBI told him to lie by saying that he told the parents who participated in the scheme that their payments were bribes, instead of legitimate donations to the schools, an attorney said. Singer has pleaded guilty to orchestrating the scheme

Rick Singer said in his notes that the FBI told him to lie by saying that he told the parents who participated in the scheme that their payments were bribes, instead of legitimate donations to the schools, an attorney said. Singer has pleaded guilty to orchestrating the scheme

‘This belated discovery … is devastating to the government’s case and demonstrates that the government has been improperly withholding core exculpatory information, employing a ‘win at all costs’ effort rather than following their obligation to do justice,’ attorney Sean Berkowtiz wrote.

The couple’s attorneys are asking the judge to postpone the setting of the trial date in light of the new evidence, saying ‘it is the only fair way to protect the defendants’ rights.’ 

Lawyers for Loughlin and Giannulli have argued that the couple believed the payments were ‘legitimate donations’ that would go directly to USC as a fundraising gift or support Singer’s charity.  

Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to get their daughters into USC as crew recruits even though neither was a rower. Loughlin, center, is pictured with her daughters Isabella Rose, left, and Olivia Jade Giannulli, right, in 2017

Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to get their daughters into USC as crew recruits even though neither was a rower. Loughlin, center, is pictured with her daughters Isabella Rose, left, and Olivia Jade Giannulli, right, in 2017

Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to get their daughters into USC as crew recruits even though neither was a rower. Loughlin, center, is pictured with her daughters Isabella Rose, left, and Olivia Jade Giannulli, right, in 2017 

Lawyers for 'Full House' actress Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Giannulli have accused prosecutors of hiding crucial evidence that could prove the couple's innocence because it would undermine their case

Lawyers for 'Full House' actress Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Giannulli have accused prosecutors of hiding crucial evidence that could prove the couple's innocence because it would undermine their case

Lawyers for ‘Full House’ actress Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Giannulli have accused prosecutors of hiding crucial evidence that could prove the couple’s innocence because it would undermine their case

The new information provided to the defense includes notes written by Singer detailing his discussions with FBI investigators about recorded phone calls he had with parents, Berkowitz wrote. 

Singer said in his notes that the FBI told him to lie by saying that he told the parents who participated in the scheme that their payments were bribes, instead of legitimate donations to the schools, the attorney said.

‘They continue to ask me to tell a fib and not restate what I told my clients as to where there money was going — to the program not the coach and that it was a donation and they want it to be a payment,’ Singer wrote, according to the filing.

Berkowtiz called the information not only ‘exculpatory, but exonerating for the defendants the government has charged with bribery.’

The couple is among 15 prominent parents still fighting accusations that they rigged the college admissions system by paying people to pretend their kids were star athletes for sports they didn’t play or cheat on their children’s entrance exams.

Nearly two dozen parents have pleaded guilty, including ‘Desperate Housewives’ star Felicity Huffman, who was sentenced to two weeks in prison for paying $15,000 to have a proctor correct her daughter’s SAT answers.

Federal prosecutors have said the first trial for the parents should begin in October, and that Loughlin and Giannulli should be tried in the first group.

But lawyers for the parents said the substantial amount of evidence, outstanding pretrial motions and ‘general complexity’ of the case made a trial this fall impossible and that there should be no trial before next February.

'Desperate Housewives' star Felicity Huffman, pictured, was sentenced to two weeks in prison for paying $15,000 to have a proctor correct her daughter's SAT answers

'Desperate Housewives' star Felicity Huffman, pictured, was sentenced to two weeks in prison for paying $15,000 to have a proctor correct her daughter's SAT answers

‘Desperate Housewives’ star Felicity Huffman, pictured, was sentenced to two weeks in prison for paying $15,000 to have a proctor correct her daughter’s SAT answers

 

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China, South Korea report total 767 new COVID-19 cases as virus clings to hardest-hit areas – Global News

February 26th, 2020

South Korea and China each reported hundreds more COVID-19 cases Thursday as the new illness persists in the worst-hit areas and spreads beyond borders.

South Korea reported 334 more cases, bringing its total to 1,595. Most of the new cases were in the country’s fourth-biggest city, Daegu, where the outbreak has hit hardest and the national government has mobilized public health tools to assist the region’s overwhelmed medical system.

2:23COVID-19: South Korea launches ‘drive-thru’ roadside testing facilities

COVID-19: South Korea launches ‘drive-thru’ roadside testing facilities

READ MORE: Coronavirus worries grow globally as WHO reports more cases outside China

But there are signs the virus is spreading further in South Korea with 55 cases reported so far in the capital, Seoul, and 58 in the second-largest city, Busan. The country also confirmed its 13th death Thursday, with most in and near Daegu.

China reported 433 new cases along with 29 additional deaths on the mainland. Thursday’s updates bring the country’s totals to 78,497 cases, and 2,744 deaths.

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Of the new cases, 383 were in the epicenter of the city of Wuhan, where the virus first emerged in December. Wuhan also accounted for 19 of the new deaths.

READ MORE: Is Canada ready for a widespread coronavirus outbreak? Yes and no, experts say

Global worries about the COVID-19 illness were multiplying, as the epidemic expanded geographically and for the first time caused more new cases outside China than inside the country. With Brazil on Thursday confirming Latin America’s first case, the virus has reached every continent but Antarctica.

“The sudden increases of cases in Italy, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Korea are deeply concerning,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday.

1:11COVID-19: Japanese Prime Minister urges sports events be cancelled or curbed amid 2020 Tokyo Olympics concerns

COVID-19: Japanese Prime Minister urges sports events be cancelled or curbed amid 2020 Tokyo Olympics concerns

In Europe, where Germany, France and Spain were among the places with a growing caseload, an expanding cluster of more than 440 cases in northern Italy was eyed as a source for transmissions.

3:51Italy now the centre of Europe’s COVID-19 outbreak

Italy now the centre of Europe’s COVID-19 outbreak

In the Middle East, where cases increased in Bahrain, Kuwait and Iraq, blame was directed at Iran, which had 19 deaths, the highest toll outside China.

And in the United States, which has 60 cases, President Donald Trump declared that the U.S. was “very, very ready” for whatever threat the coronavirus brings, and he put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of overseeing the country’s response.

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READ MORE: Trump names Pence to lead COVID-19 response, again downplaying threat to U.S.

Shortly after Trump spoke, health officials identified what could be the first community spread U.S. case. The patient in California was not known to have traveled to a country with an outbreak or had ties to a known patient. Most of the previously confirmed U.S. cases had traveled to China, were evacuated from the virus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship, or were family members of those cases.

2:23Trump doesn’t believe COVID-19 is inevitable in U.S., counters CDC

Trump doesn’t believe COVID-19 is inevitable in U.S., counters CDC

Though the virus pushed into countries both rich and poor, its arrival in places with little ability to detect, respond and contain it brought concern it could run rampant there and spread easily elsewhere.

2:24Canada’s preparations for a COVID-19 pandemic

Canada’s preparations for a COVID-19 pandemic

“We’re going to be trying to slow down the spread so that our hospitals are not overwhelmed in one big gulp, one big hit,” said Ian Mackay, who studies viruses at the University of Queensland in Australia.

Saudi Arabia announced precautions including temporarily stopping tourists from places with confirmed outbreaks from entering the country, as well as pilgrims coming for the Umrah or to visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.

Major gatherings around the world were eyed warily, with schools closing, churches moving services online, food deliveries booming and many business conferences and sporting events canceled. Looming largest of all are the Olympic Games, whose opening ceremonies are scheduled for July 24 in Tokyo. Japan’s top government spokesman said Olympics preparations would proceed and the games would go on as planned.

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READ MORE: Brazil confirms COVID-19 case, first in South America

After many countries restricted travel from China to try to prevent the illness from spreading, China itself is now heavily regulating arrivals from abroad. State broadcaster CCTV reported South Koreans were being monitored after detecting fevers in five arrivals.

China’s National Health Commission is also investigating how a released prison inmate from Wuhan evaded strict travel bans and arrived in Beijing on Feb, 22 after developing a fever five days earlier. Hundreds of prisoners have been sickened by the virus, some likely infected because guards used the same bus station as workers at a pulmonary hospital.

2:24Canada’s preparations for a COVID-19 pandemic

Canada’s preparations for a COVID-19 pandemic

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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Northern California has 1st coronavirus case of unknown origin, CDC says – Fox News

February 26th, 2020

The nation’s first coronavirus case of unknown origin has been confirmed in Northern California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Wednesday.

“It is a confirmed case. There is one in Northern California,” CDC spokesman Scott Pauley told the Sacramento Bee.

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The new case brings the number of infected in the United States to 60, which includes people who’ve been repatriated to the U.S. The CDC said the person contracted the virus without traveling outside the U.S. or coming into close contact with another infected patient, The Washington Post reported.

The CDC had previously said there are 12 travel-related U.S. cases and two cases “person-to-person spread,” according to its website. The latest case brings the total number of those detected in the U.S. to 15.

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The news comes as fear over the virus continues to spread worldwide, prompting governments to take extreme measures. President Trump said a vaccine was being developed and “coming along very well” during a Wednesday evening news conference at the White House.

He announced that he was putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the coronavirus task force.

“Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low,” Trump told reporters. “We’re ready to adapt, and we’re ready to do whatever we have to.”

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Earlier this week, San Francisco and Orange counties both declared states of emergency in efforts to prevent further infections. Orange County leaders also publically supported a bid by Costa Mesa leaders to block infected patients from being housed in their city.

Globally, nearly 2,800 people have died from the outbreak and more than 80,000 have been sickened.

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CDC issues beard and mustache guide for coronavirus pandemic – MarketWatch

February 26th, 2020

As face masks fly off the shelves amid rising fears over the COVID-19 illness, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health have just issued a helpful guide about which types of beards and mustaches will make those masks less effective, and which will be OK.

Bottom line: Most beards, and a few mustaches, prevent the mask from making a complete seal against the skin.

Full beards are out, of course, along with any kinds of stubble.

So too are those “mutton chop” whiskers that were all the rage in the Victorian era, along with the so-called “Imperial” mini-beard — a kind of “soul patch” in the days of the Russian czars — and the Three Musketeers-style “French Fork” beard.

The long, droopy “Fu Manchu” mustache is a no-no as well.

On the positive side, all sorts of mustaches may be ready to make a comeback. The toothbrush mustache has been social death since about 1941, but the CDC says it’s just fine. Ditto the old-fashioned, bushy walrus mustache, the pencil mustache immortalized by Jimmy Buffett, and the dashing one worn by Zorro. And while the Fu Manchu is out, the CDC says you’ll be fine if you turn the long ends upward. That will turn the beard into a “Dali,” named after the surrealist painter Salvador Dali, and it won’t interfere with your mask.

Masks have been selling out since fears about the coronavirus began spiraling over the weekend, and they rank No. 1 among the bestselling household products on Amazon AMZN, +0.35%  . Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, said Tuesday the center expects coronavirus to spread more widely in the U.S. and that Americans should prepare themselves for a possible pandemic.

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What to expect if COVID-19 evolves from scattered outbreaks into a global pandemic – National Post

February 26th, 2020

With COVID-19 outbreaks in Iran, Italy and South Korea, and new cases outside China exceeding those identified at the epicentre of the outbreak for the first time, a global pandemic is becoming increasingly likely. World Health Organization officials have repeatedly said that, while they’re still hopeful that the novel coronavirus can be contained, now is the time to prepare for the worst. Canada’s chief public health officer has said that it will get harder to contain the coronavirus as it spreads to more countries, and on Wednesday Toronto identified its first presumptive case of COVID-19 that originated in a country outside China, the third in Canada to be traced back to Iran, and the 12th case overall. In light of the growing spread of the virus, here’s what we know about how a pandemic response might unfold.

Do we have a plan?
Canada has a pandemic preparedness plan that was developed to deal with influenza, but would also be used as a foundation in the case of a COVID-19 outbreak, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Theresa Tam has said. The Canadian Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: Planning Guidance for the Health Sector (CPIP) is a guidance document “that outlines how jurisdictions will work together to ensure a co-ordinated and consistent health-sector approach to pandemic preparedness and response.” It was first published in 2004, updated in 2006 and was put to the test in 2009 during the H1N1 influenza pandemic. The latest version was approved in 2014 and updated in 2018. The plan aims to minimize serious illness and deaths, and minimize societal disruption among Canadians.

What can be done now?
Tam has said that Canada can prepare by expanding laboratory testing capabilities across the country; examining supplies and identifying any potential shortages; and accelerating research into treatments and potential vaccines. Now would also be the time to stockpile respiratory equipment and add hospital beds.

What about individuals?
Health Minister Patty Hajdu encouraged Canadians on Wednesday to stockpile food and medication in their homes in case they or a loved one falls ill with the novel coronavirus. “It’s good to be prepared because things can change quickly,” she said. The latest advice the government has given to people returning to Canada is to monitor themselves for potential symptoms, no matter where they travelled, and to contact local public-health units if they have concerns. Workplaces should also prepare policies to reduce the spread of illness among employees.

What happens if containment is no longer possible?
The next step is mitigation. This includes encouraging individuals to practice good hygiene and social distancing. Travel restrictions will become less effective as the virus spreads to more countries.

What about quarantines?
While China’s lockdown of at least 50 million people in Hubei has been credited with slowing the spread of the virus outside the country, it was also unprecedented. The large-scale quarantine of millions of people would be unlikely in Canada unless the spread of the virus was severe, but the government could ask people not to gather in large numbers. In certain cases, the government could decide to close schools, however its not yet known how the virus spreads among children.

Would Canada shut its borders?
Locking down borders would have severely detrimental effects on trade and the shipment of food and natural resources. While Canada could choose to implement highly restrictive border measures limiting the movement of people and goods, such policies may delay, but would not likely halt the eventual spread of disease during a pandemic, the
North American Plan For Animal and Pandemic Influenza concludes. And such measures could have “significant negative social, economic and foreign policy consequences.” The document, which is not legally binding, recommends less restrictive measures, including appropriate screening at airports and land borders and public health communications and education.

“During Pandemic (H1N1) 2009, mitigation measures employed for residents of border and non-border communities included keeping people educated, asking sick people to exercise voluntary personal preventive measures when attending large events or travelling, and to stay home when possible. Although these measures did not contain the pandemic, they may have mitigated its impact,” the document states. “The quick decision of Canada, Mexico, and the United States to keep the borders open and minimize travel restrictions limited disruptions of travel and trade, avoided panic, and saved resources.”


A pedestrian wears a protective mask as she walks in downtown Toronto on Feb. 26, 2020.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

What’s possible under the quarantine act?
The federal government has already invoked powers granted under the Quarantine Act to isolate hundreds of Canadians, who were evacuated from Wuhan, at an Ontario military base for 14 days, which is the incubation period for the new coronavirus. The legislation gives the federal health minister sweeping powers to stop the spread of communicable diseases either in or out of Canada. It also technically empowers the government to make use of any building they see fit and designate it as a quarantine site, including private homes. Using a military facility limited the strain on potentially overtaxed health-care resources.

Can Canada’s health system handle a pandemic?
It’s hard to say. Tam has said that the goal is to get through the end of the influenza season without a serious outbreak. In spring the hospitals will have more capacity to deal with an influx of patients, should it come to that. Hajdu also suggested people should do what they can to ease the burden on the health-care system in the meantime by staying home if they’re sick, washing their hands and getting flu shots. The virus known as COVID-19 is different from influenza and the flu shot doesn’t provide protection against it, but the fewer people who are sick, the less strain on doctors and hospitals. Canada has taken major steps to prevent the kind of shock that befell Ontario during the outbreak of the coronavirus known as SARS in 2003 that led to 44 deaths. Creating the Public Health Agency of Canada, which Tam heads, is one of them. The country is now better co-ordinated, has increased its lab-testing capabilities and is prepared to trace people’s contacts to find people who might have caught a contagious illness without knowing it.

Who is most at risk?
For most people, COVID-19 causes only mild illness, but some people become severely ill. The death rate is between two and four per cent in Wuhan, and 0.7 per cent elsewhere in China and around the world. It is most fatal in older people and those with preexisting medical conditions, with the death rate jumping to nearly 15 per cent for patients over 80. The death rate for the 2009 swine flu was 0.026 per cent.

How could a pandemic effect infrastructure?
While a pandemic would pose no risk of physical damage to infrastructure, worker absenteeism — due to illness or the need to stay home to care for children in the case of school closures — poses it’s own threat.

“For example, critical workers sustain the flow of electricity as well as natural gas and petroleum. These critical goods and services are part of a vast, interconnected system serving all of North America. Beyond energy and power, other critical infrastructure and key resource sectors, from manufacturing operations to transport, banking systems to food delivery service and the ability to provide trained medical personnel could also be affected. Moreover, a pandemic could significantly interrupt the ability of public and private sector entities to sustain critical infrastructure,” the North American Plan For Animal and Pandemic Influenza warns. “Underserved populations could be disproportionately affected by disruptions in critical infrastructure.”

What happens if we experience mass fatalities?
While Canada’s latest version of its pandemic plan refers to WHO, Pan American Health Organization and the International Red Cross for “the effective management of mass fatalities during a disaster,” it predicts that death services — funeral homes and mortuaries — could become overwhelmed. An archived 2009 version of the document estimates that the total number of fatalities resulting from a pandemic and other causes during a six- to eight-week period would be similar to the number of deaths typical during a six-month period. The document suggests that while cultural and religious preferences will have to be considered, cremations may be the most “expedient and efficient way of managing large numbers of deceased during a pandemic.” Volunteers may be required to dig graves and there will be increased demand for body bags and cheap coffins. Hockey arenas, refrigerated trucks, cold storage lockers could even be turned into temporary morgues if there isn’t enough storage at funeral homes, the document states.

How do we end a pandemic?
Either by stopping the spread of disease or identifying a vaccine, but the World Health Organization estimates that the earliest one could be ready is 18 months from now. Public health officials are hoping that warmer weather in the northern hemisphere could slow the spread of COVID-19.

— With files from The Canadian Press and Bloomberg

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Newly diagnosed coronavirus patient being treated at UC Davis Medical Center – Davis Enterprise

February 26th, 2020

The UC Davis Medical Center is treating a patient who may be the first person in the country to have contracted the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) from community exposure.

The California Department of Public Health reported Wednesday the individual is a resident of Solano County who had no known exposure to the virus through travel or close contact with a known infected individual.

An email sent out Wednesday by two UC Davis officials said the patient arrived at the medical center in Sacramento last Wednesday but was only tested for the virus on Sunday despite a request made by med center officials that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conduct a test when the patient was admitted.

“Today the CDC confirmed the patient’s test was positive,” said the email from David Lubarsky, vice-chancellor of human health services, and Brad Simmons, interim CEO of UC Davis Medical Center.

“This is not the first COVID-19 patient we have treated, and because of the precautions we have had in place since this patient’s arrival, we believe there has been minimal potential for exposure here at UC Davis Medical Center,” the email said.

Nevertheless, a small number of medical center employees have been asked to stay home and monitor their temperatures.

Lubarsky and Simmons said the patient was transferred to UC Davis from “another Northern California hospital” on Wednesday, Feb 19.

“When the patient arrived, the patient had already been intubated, was on a ventilator, and given droplet protection orders because of an undiagnosed and suspected viral condition,” the email said.

“Since the patient arrived with a suspected viral infection, our care teams have been taking the proper infection prevention precautions during the patient’s stay.

“Upon admission, our team asked public health officials if this case could be COVID-19. We requested COVID-19 testing by the CDC, since neither Sacramento County nor (the California Department of Public Health) is doing testing for coronavirus at this time. Since the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19, a test was not immediately administered,” said the email, which added that, “UC Davis Health does not control the testing process.”

On Sunday, the CDC ordered COVID-19 testing of the patient and the patient was put on airborne precautions and strict contact precautions. The positive test results were announced on Wednesday.

“We are proud of our health care workers who have been working to care for this patient and are committed to saving this patient’s life,” the email said.

“Just as when a health care worker has a small chance of exposure to other illnesses, such as TB or pertussis, we are following standard CDC protocols for determination of exposure and surveillance. So, out of an abundance of caution, in order to assure the health and safety of our employees, we are asking a small number of employees to stay home and monitor their temperature.

“We are handling this in the same way we manage other diseases that require airborne precautions and monitoring. We are in constant communication with the state health department and the CDC and Sacramento County Public Health about the optimal management of this patient and possible employee exposures,” the email said.

“As we regularly handle patients with infectious diseases, we have robust infection control protocols in place to handle this patient and others with more frequently seen infectious diseases. In this case, we are dedicated to providing the best care possible for this patient and continuing to protect the health of our employees who care for them.”

The CDC announced on Wednesday that a case of novel coronavirus of “unknown origin” — without a relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient — had been diagnosed in a patient in Northern California but did not indicate what city or county the case was in.

In a press released issued Wednesday evening, the state Department of Public Health revealed the individual was from Solano County.

“The health risk from novel coronavirus to the general public remains low at this time,” the release said. “While COVID-19 has a high transmission rate, it has a low mortality rate. From the international data we have, of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, approximately 80 percent do not exhibit symptoms that would require hospitalization. There have been no confirmed deaths related to COVID-19 in the United States to date. California is carefully assessing the situation as it evolves.”

“Keeping Californians safe and healthy is our number one priority,” said State Public Health Officer Dr. Sonia Angell.

“This has been an evolving situation, which California has been monitoring and responding to since COVID-19 cases first emerged in China last year. This is a new virus, and while we are still learning about it, there is a lot we already know.

“We have been anticipating the potential for such a case in the U.S., and given our close familial, social and business relationships with China, it is not unexpected that the first case in the U.S. would be in California. That’s why California has been working closely with federal and local partners, including health care providers and hospitals, since the outbreak was first reported in China — and we are already responding.”

This would be the first known instance of person-to-person transmission in the general public in the United States, according to Angell.

Previously known instances of person-to-person transmission in the United States include one instance in Chicago, Ill., and one in San Benito County. Both cases were after close, prolonged interaction with a family member who returned from Wuhan, China, and had tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus. As of Wednesday, including this case, California has had seven travel-related cases, one close contact case and now one community transmission.

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