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A Chinese tycoon criticized China’s coronavirus response. He is now under investigation
Ren Zhiqiang, the former Chinese property tycoon and outspoken critic of the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, is under investigation for alleged “serious violations of law and discipline,” the Communist Party’s disciplinary watchdog announced. In a short statement released on Tuesday, the Commission for Discipline Inspection in Beijing said that Ren was under investigation. Ren is a member of China’s ruling Communist Party and a former top executive of state-controlled property developer Huayuan Real Estate Group.  Friends say that they have lost contact with Ren, 69, since March 12 after an article he wrote criticizing the Chinese government’s handling of the coronavirus o
China sees fewer business closures amid coronavirus crisis. That’s bad news
Extreme lockdown measures to fight the coronavirus in China paralyzed the country, including the ability to actually close a business, data shows. About 460,000 Chinese firms closed permanently in the first quarter this year, the lowest number since 2015. In 2019, close to 1.5 million companies closed in the first quarter. In 2018 that number was over 1 million and in 2017 it was just under 900,000. In a normal year, a significant decrease in business closures would be something to cheer. But China’s lockdown measures mean people were not able to set up or close businesses and file for bankruptcies. New business registrations from January to March fell 29% from a year earlier to 3.2 million
Study shows why you should never touch the outside of face mask
The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 can adhere to the outer layer of a face mask for a week, according to a study by researchers from the University of Hong Kong. “This is exactly why it is very important if you are wearing a surgical mask you don’t touch the outside of the mask,” said Malik Peiris, a clinical and public health virologist at the University of Hong Kong and a member of the research team. “Because you can contaminate your hands and if you touch your eyes you could be transferring the virus to your eyes.” The report, published in the medical journal Lancet Microbe on Thursday, adds to a growing body of research about the stability of SARS-CoV-2 – as the coronavirus is formally
Does wearing a mask make you touch your face more often?
In warning against the universal use of face masks, American health authorities had made the argument that wearing the protective gear is not just unnecessary but potentially dangerous. A mask on your face, they said, could make you touch your face more often, hence increasing the risk of infection by transferring pathogens from your hand to your eyes or nose. But this argument appears to be giving way as a growing number of American officials have joined several European countries and much of East Asia in recommending broader use of face coverings amid the coronavirus pandemic. The US government on Thursday appeared ready to make a conditional endorsement of masks. “If people want to wear
She ‘recovered’ from the coronavirus. Then she tested positive again
For Adele Jiang, 24, a previously “recovered” coronavirus patient in China, the past two months have been a nightmare. Jiang, a master’s student in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, was diagnosed with Covid-19 in late January. She was deemed recovered and discharged from the hospital a month later, but was sent back to the hospital after testing positive for the virus again while being monitored at an isolation facility. Her experience highlights the potentially long and difficult road to recovery for coronavirus patients and the stress this could put on any country’s health care system. While there are no national numbers for patients like Jiang, health authorities in the southern province
How to make coronavirus face masks at home
The United States is considering joining a growing number of European countries in advising the broader use of face masks to curb the coronavirus pandemic. While wearing face masks is a common practice across East Asia, the World Health Organization and most Western governments do not recommend its use unless you’re sick, citing a shortage affecting even medical workers. But a number of scientists have said that even homemade masks can offer adequate protection and help curtail the spread of the virus by blocking the droplets from people who may have contracted the coronavirus without knowing it. A group of scientists in Hong Kong has developed a face mask that can be made with paper towels
A coronavirus patient was found to be infectious for 49 days
Chinese researchers said they found a rare patient who had contracted the coronavirus and appeared to be infectious for 49 days.  Previous studies suggest that coronavirus patients usually shed the pathogen for 20 days and can remain infectious for 37 days. The researchers, who are affiliated with the Chinese military, warned in a preprint paper that there may be more such “chronic” patients with mild symptoms who could nonetheless spread the disease. “The virus and the host may even form a symbiotic relationship,” said the researchers from the Army Medical University in Chongqing, No 967 Hospital of PLA, Dalian, and General Hospital of the PLA Central Theater Command in Wuhan. The paper, p
Social distancing could save millions of lives, study says
The Covid-19 pandemic could kill as many as 20 million people worldwide this year even if people take steps to reduce their social contacts, according to a mathematical model developed by researchers at Imperial College in London. The researchers’ model indicated that if no social distancing measures were taken at all, the disease could kill as many as 40 million people worldwide. But this could be halved if people cut their social meetings by 40% and the elderly reduced their interactions by 60%, they said. They also said that more aggressive measures could reduce the toll further and warned that “all governments” will have to face “challenging decisions” in the coming weeks and months abou
Czechs dust off the sewing machine as government orders mandatory face coverings
The Czech Republic has become the first nation in Europe to implement a national emergency measure that makes it mandatory for all citizens to cover their face with some sort of protective gear when in public to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Effective on March 19, all people in Czechia are required to cover their nose and mouth when outside, health authorities said. Those who fail to comply are subject to fines up to $815. By mandating the use of face coverings, the central European country of 10 million people has adopted a strategy more commonly seen in Asian countries, but less popular in the rest of Europe and in the United States. “The obligation to wear mouth and nose protecti
Trump wants the US ‘open’ by Easter despite health experts’ warnings
President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he aims to end strict social distancing measures intended to halt the spread of the coronavirus by Easter to avoid prolonged economic damage. “We’re opening up this incredible country — because we have to do that,” said Trump in a Fox News interview in the White House Rose Garden. “I’d love to have it open by Easter.” Easter is April 12 this year. “More people are going to die” unless businesses are allowed to reopen, the president said. “Our country has to get back to work, otherwise it’s going to be very hard to start it up again.” Trump has become increasingly vocal in the past two days about the need to end stay-at-home orders imposed on nearl