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WHO names coronavirus virus officially as COVID-19

Tori Holland

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According to the announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday, coronavirus, earlier dubbed as 2019-nCOV, now will be known as SARS-CoV-2. The disease that is caused due to SARS-CoV-2 will be known as COVID-19, with ‘CO’ representing corona, ‘VI’ representing virus and lastly ‘D’ for disease. The figure ‘19’ stands for the year in which the outbreak first took place.

Although coronavirus is the name that was commonly used to describe the disease so far, it was largely misleading. That’s because coronaviruses basically are a viral sub-family which includes several different viruses, starting from cold to fatal MERS pathogen.

Hence, the naming of diseases and disease-causing pathogens was of utmost importance. Use of particular names prevents stigmatization and inaccuracy.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom, the director-general of WHO took to speak in a press meet. Adhanom explained how the team stuck to go for a better name. WHO’s World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture prevented the use of locations in the name. Furthermore, the name was expected to be more relatable and pronounced.

Notably, the disease has resulted in over 1000 deaths in China along with over 40,000 infected people.

The coronavirus outbreak emerged from one of the seafood markets in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Located in the province of Hubei, the city has been under scrutiny ever since as the disease spreads. Although immense efforts have been put in by the health officials, the death and infection toll are still on a rise.

Furthermore, about 108 deaths have been reported from mainland China along with cases 2,478 in number. One death has been reported from Hong Kong and the Philippines respectively.

Moreover, to combat the new disease, officials have been taking inspiration from SARs. The health officials have been trying to come up with a preventive measure for the same.

Tori loves watching movies, TV and also trying new tips in Health and Lifestyle. As a family woman she also spends her free time in updating herself in knowing new things and experimenting them. As a Science graduate, Tori have a good knowledge in Health related topics. She used to contribute few articles related to Health & Lifestyle sections to some of the online media houses. She joined News Brig team recently as a full time writer for the above sections.

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17 family members reportedly get coronavirus after attending funeral

Tori Holland

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17 family members reportedly get coronavirus after attending funeral

A British family is urging people to take social distancing measures seriously after 17 of its members apparently caught the coronavirus at the funeral of a relative who died of the illness, according to a report.

Almost the entire extended family of Sheila Brooks, 86, who died Feb. 9, attended her funeral two weeks ago — and within days, her niece Susan Nelson, 65, who had no underlying health issues, also died, South West News Service reported.

Before long, 16 other relatives fell ill, including Nelson’s husband, daughter Amanda, 34, a niece and a great-uncle, after attending the service in Yardley Wood, according to the news outlet.

“It was my [great] aunt’s funeral so a lot of the wider family were there,” said Amanda, who also suffers from Addison’s disease, an adrenal insufficiency, and is isolating at home.

“She died back in February, but we have just had so many people contract the virus that I can only think it was from then. We now have someone else in our family in hospital that’s probably not going to survive it,” she continued.

“My 21-year-old cousin has it, right the way up to a great-uncle that is 88 and is showing some symptoms. It’s a whole section of us, none of us seems to have been missed out of it just yet. It’s a bit strange,” she said.

“I would say around 17 family members have been displaying symptoms since going to that funeral. It’s hit young and old in our family,” Amanda added.

“Our beautiful, caring mum was the center of the family. We are a very close, large family and this has destroyed us.”

Nelson’s son Carl, 42, said she was admitted at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on March 23.

“She was coughing a lot, very breathless and showing all the traditional symptoms,” he said. “They said the next 48 hours were critical before they called me back a few hours later to say it was very close to the end and one member of the family could be with her.

“Because I had none of the symptoms, I couldn’t go and my sister was too unwell battling the illness herself,” he said. “People can end up dying on their own. Fortunately, my dad Robert was able to go and be with her when she died.”

Carl added: “We can’t have any other families to go through what we are going through at the moment.

“It’s about getting the message out. It’s about seeing the faces of loved ones and thinking this is real,” he added.

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issues ‘stay at home’ order as COVID-19 cases continue dramatic rise

Tori Holland

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issues ‘stay at home’ order as COVID-19 cases continue dramatic rise

Marylanders may only leave their homes for essential work, to get food or prescriptions or for other “absolutely necessary” reasons, Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday under a new “stay-at-home” directive to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“We are no longer asking,” Hogan said.

The order takes effect at 8 p.m. The governor said the ban includes restrictions on traveling outside of the state and riding public transportation.

Hogan said the additional measures are necessary given the concern that the virus could hinder the federal government’s ability to respond to the crisis due to the concentration of the workforce in the state and the possibility it could spread to “literally thousands” of facilities in Maryland, including hospitals, detention centers and nursing homes.

The stay-at-home directive will be enforced, the governor said. Any person who knowingly and willfully violates the order is guilty of a misdemeanor.

“Marylanders need to know that, unfortunately, we are only at the beginning of this crisis and it is going to get considerably worse before it gets better,” Hogan said. “I realize this is incredibly difficult on everyone in our state, but I want people to know that we have been through difficult challenges before and that we are going to get through this together.”

Marylanders are expected to receive an alert on their mobile phones today with an announcement about the stay-at-home directive.

“This is a rapidly escalating emergency situation,” the governor said.

Still, Hogan said Marylanders “are not locked in their homes.” Besides essential trips, people can go for walks by themselves or the people they live with, but only for short amounts of time. Congregating in parks or shopping for home goods is not OK.

The governor urged people to exercise “common sense.”

The situation could continue for months, said Fran Phillips, Maryland’s deputy health secretary.

“We have no vaccine to protect us against this virus,” she said. “We have no treatments to cure this disease.”

Phillips said that young people should not think of themselves as being immune: All are at risk. More than half of all positive cases in Maryland involve people who are age 50 and younger. Of those who are hospitalized, 56% are people younger than age 60.

Most people will be able to stay at home to recover, Phillips said. Others, however, will not be able to breathe on their own. She said the virus spreads easily and it takes days for symptoms to appear.

“This virus and this disease are sneaky,” Phillips said, adding, “What you do today, what you do tomorrow, matters. There are some very sick people here in Maryland.”

To increase the ability for people to be tested, the state has opened three drive-thru sites at Motor Vehicle Administration emissions stations in Glen Burnie, Waldorf and Bel Air, Hogan said. Another has opened at FedEx Field in Landover.

Testing at the sites, however, is “strictly limited” to those with orders and an appointment, Hogan said.

Other measures are continuing so the state can prepare for a surge in patients. The governor said the state has ordered 500 beds for hospitals to add more capacity on their campuses. A request for another 500 has been made so they can distributed wherever needed, as hotspots arise. Hogan said the state also has ordered more tents.

The governor called doctors and nurses “true heroes.” To help protect them amid the supply shortage, the state’s school systems have donated various items.

“We are all going to need to depend on each other, to look out for each and to take care of each other. We are all in this together,” Hogan said.

An outbreak in the region is especially alarming because more than 404,000 federal workers live in Maryland, Washington and Virginia and are on the front lines of the government’s response. Among the federal agencies based in Maryland are the National Institutes of Health and Federal Drug Administration.

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Johnson & Johnson says human testing of its coronavirus vaccine to begin by September

Tori Holland

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Johnson & Johnson says human testing of its coronavirus vaccine to begin by September

Johnson & Johnson said Monday human testing of its experimental vaccine for the coronavirus will begin by September and it could be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021.

J&J also said it has committed more than $1 billion of investment along with the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, to co-fund vaccine research.

J&J’s lead vaccine candidate will enter a phase 1 human clinical study by September, the company said, and clinical data on its effects is expected before the end of the year. If the vaccine works well, the company said it could be available for emergency use in early 2021.

Shares of J&J rose more than 4% in premarket trading.

The company said it is also increasing its manufacturing capacity with a new site in the U.S. and additions to existing sites in other countries to produce and distribute the potential vaccine quickly. J&J said it seeks to produce more than 1 billion doses of the potential vaccine.

“The world is facing an urgent public health crisis and we are committed to doing our part to make a COVID-19 vaccine available and affordable globally as quickly as possible,” Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky said.

On top of a lead vaccine candidate, J&J said it has two back-ups. The company said it began working on COVID-19 vaccine development in January.

J&J said the pace at which it expects to develop a vaccine is faster than the typical five to seven years.

Global efforts are underway to develop a vaccine for the virus that has killed over 34,000 worldwide, but experts have cautioned it could take over a year to have one ready. A patient was dosed with Moderna’s vaccine in an early-stage trial earlier this month, making it the front-runner in the race to develop a viable vaccine.

Without a vaccine, some health authorities are using Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug Remdesivir, which was tested as a possible treatment during the Ebola outbreak. Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield said earlier this month that the drug is being used in Washington state to treat COVID-19 patients.

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