Asia Today: China city says it’s tested 3 million for virus

Authorities in the eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao said they have completed coronavirus tests on more than 3 million people following the country’s first reported local outbreak of the virus in nearly two months

The National Health Commission, however, said Tuesday that at least six new cases of the virus were found in Qingdao in the past 24 hours.

The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear. China’s methods for logging and reporting of virus numbers has been questioned since the pandemic first began late last year in its city of Wuhan.

The National Health Commission numbers released Tuesday reported a total of 30 new virus cases in the previous 24 hours nationwide. It broke down those numbers into 13 cases in which people had symptoms and 17 cases in which they had no symptoms. The total number of locally transmitted cases, both with and without symptoms, was 11, while the rest were listed as imported.

China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from coronavirus among 85,591 cases it has reported. It has not provided a running total of asymptomatic cases, believed to number in the thousands.

Qingdao is a major commercial harbor and industrial center known for electronics and the country’s most famous brewery, as well as the home of the Chinese navy’s northern fleet.

China’s last reported local outbreak was in the northwestern city of Urumqi in the far western Xinjiang region, with all cases since then found among those arriving from outside China.

China has relaxed masking and social distancing requirements in the wake of falling case numbers, but has maintained robust testing as it seeks to return the economy to full functioning.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— South Korea has reported 102 new cases of the coronavirus, its first daily increase of more than 100 in six days. The rise is a cause of concern as officials lowered social distancing restrictions this week after

Asia Today: China City Says It’s Tested 3 Million for Virus | World News

BEIJING (AP) — Authorities in the eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao said Tuesday that they have completed coronavirus tests on more than 3 million people following the country’s first reported local outbreak of the virus in nearly two months.

The city’s health department said no new positive cases had been found among the more than 1.1 million test results returned thus far. The city said it had a total of 12 cases, six with symptoms and six without, since the new outbreak was first spotted over the weekend at a hospital.

The National Health Commission, however, said Tuesday that at least six new cases of the virus were found in Qingdao in the past 24 hours.

The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear. China’s methods for logging and reporting of virus numbers has been questioned since the pandemic first began late last year in its city of Wuhan.

The National Health Commission numbers released Tuesday reported a total of 30 new virus cases in the previous 24 hours nationwide. It broke down those numbers into 13 cases in which people had symptoms and 17 cases in which they had no symptoms. The total number of locally transmitted cases, both with and without symptoms, was 11, while the rest were listed as imported.

China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from coronavirus among 85,591 cases it has reported. It has not provided a running total of asymptomatic cases, believed to number in the thousands.

Authorities in Qingdao have said they plan to test all 9 million people in the city by the end of the week, similar to previous mass testing campaigns in other cities where outbreaks have been detected. Testing began with “close contacts, close contacts of those close contacts and more casual contacts,” gradually expanding to all districts of the city, the health department said.

Qingdao is a major commercial harbor and industrial center known for electronics and the country’s most famous brewery, as well as the home of the Chinese navy’s northern fleet.

China’s last reported local outbreak was in the northwestern city of Urumqi in the far western Xinjiang region, with all cases since then found among those arriving from outside China.

China has relaxed masking and social distancing requirements in the wake of falling case numbers, but has maintained robust testing as it seeks to return the economy to full functioning.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— South Korea has reported 102 new cases of the coronavirus, its first daily increase of more than 100 in six days. The rise is a cause of concern as officials lowered social distancing restrictions this week after concluding that the viral spread was slowing after a spike in mid-August. The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency brought the national totals since the pandemic began to 24,805 infections and 434 deaths. Fifty-eight of the new cases was reported from the Seoul metropolitan area, while 33 of the new cases have

China city says it’s tested 3 million for virus

BEIJING (AP) — Authorities in the eastern Chinese port city of Qingdao said Tuesday that they have completed coronavirus tests on more than 3 million people following the country’s first reported local outbreak of the virus in nearly two months.

The city’s health department said no new positive cases had been found among the more than 1.1 million test results returned thus far. The city said it had a total of 12 cases, six with symptoms and six without, since the new outbreak was first spotted over the weekend at a hospital.

The National Health Commission, however, said Tuesday that at least six new cases of the virus were found in Qingdao in the past 24 hours.


The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear. China’s methods for logging and reporting of virus numbers has been questioned since the pandemic first began late last year in its city of Wuhan.

The National Health Commission numbers released Tuesday reported a total of 30 new virus cases in the previous 24 hours nationwide. It broke down those numbers into 13 cases in which people had symptoms and 17 cases in which they had no symptoms. The total number of locally transmitted cases, both with and without symptoms, was 11, while the rest were listed as imported.

China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from coronavirus among 85,591 cases it has reported. It has not provided a running total of asymptomatic cases, believed to number in the thousands.

Authorities in Qingdao have said they plan to test all 9 million people in the city by the end of the week, similar to previous mass testing campaigns in other cities where outbreaks have been detected. Testing began with “close contacts, close contacts of those close contacts and more casual contacts,” gradually expanding to all districts of the city, the health department said.

Qingdao is a major commercial harbor and industrial center known for electronics and the country’s most famous brewery, as well as the home of the Chinese navy’s northern fleet.

China’s last reported local outbreak was in the northwestern city of Urumqi in the far western Xinjiang region, with all cases since then found among those arriving from outside China.

China has relaxed masking and social distancing requirements in the wake of falling case numbers, but has maintained robust testing as it seeks to return the economy to full functioning.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— South Korea has reported 102 new cases of the coronavirus, its first daily increase of more than 100 in six days. The rise is a cause of concern as officials lowered social distancing restrictions this week after concluding that the viral spread was slowing after a spike in mid-August. The figures released by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency brought the national totals since the pandemic began to 24,805 infections and 434 deaths. Fifty-eight of the new cases was reported from the Seoul metropolitan area, while 33 of the new cases have

Coronavirus back in China: Entire city of Qingdao being tested after just 12 COVID-19 cases found

Beijing — China’s 56-day coronavirus clean streak has been broken. Six people with symptoms and another six without any have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in one city, prompting a dramatic response.

All of the cases are linked to a single hospital, the Qingdao Chest Hospital, in the city of Qingdao on China’s eastern coast. The city’s health commission posted the news to Chinese social media site Weibo, and the hospital, about 250 miles southeast of Beijing, has been closed.

Qingdao is home to about 9 million people, more than New York City and twice as many as Los Angeles, and authorities are now in the process of testing every single one of them. They’re determined to finish that process by the end of this week — a remarkable feat, but not unexpected in China. 

Medical workers in protective suits collect swabs for nucleic acid tests in Qingdao
Medical workers in protective suits collect swabs for nucleic acid tests during city-wide testing following new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in Qingdao, Shandong province, China, October 12, 2020.

cnsphoto/STRINGER/REUTERS


Photos and video making the rounds on both social and state-run media show citizens lining up to be tested.

Officials in Wuhan, which has a slightly larger population, said all of its citizens were tested in just 10 days earlier this year, when it tackled a resurgence of the virus.

For many, the news of new cases, even after almost two months without any, may come as little surprise. The entire country recently came back to work after an 8-day national holiday that saw millions of Chinese on the move.

It was the first major holiday since the coronavirus pandemic was brought under control here. Some 637 million trips were made over the National Day break. To put that in perspective, it’s almost equivalent to every single American doing two trips in the same time frame.


Alarming spike of COVID-19 cases across the U…

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People bought out plane and train tickets and jammed highways to release pent-up frustration after being stuck at home for most of this year.

In the grand scheme of things the new cases in Qingdao are a small blip in China’s officially reported coronavirus numbers. The World Health Organization, which relies on data provided by the Chinese government, has recorded just over 91,000 COVID-19 infections in China, and fewer than 5,000 deaths.

Critics say China’s reported numbers are too low — likely a fair criticism in a country known to cover up bad news.

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Trump tells supporters he’s ‘tested totally negative’ for coronavirus

President Trump on Sunday said in a phone call to a group of supporters that he’s “tested totally negative” for the novel coronavirus, despite White House physician, Navy Cmdr. Dr. Sean Conley, releasing no new statements on the president’s health.

“I’ve been tested totally negative,” Trump said in an audio message his campaign posted on YouTube. “I’m going to be out in Florida tomorrow, working very hard because this is an election we have to win.”

Despite Trump’s claim that he has tested negative for the virus, the White House has not released any information since Conley sent out a memo on Saturday saying the president was no longer at risk of transmitting the coronavirus. Conley did not, however, say explicitly whether Trump had tested negative for it.

A person can be symptom free and not be a risk of transmitting the virus to others and yet can still have the coronavirus in their system.

LIVE UPDATES: 2020 PRESIDENTIAL RACE: TRUMP PREPARES TO RETURN TO CAMPAIGN TRAIL

The president’s comments to supporters came just hours after trump spoke on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” where he told host Maria Bartiromo that he was “immune” from the virus.

“I’m immune,” Trump said.” “The president is in very good shape to fight the battles.”

While survivors of most viruses develop antibodies that guard them against becoming infected by the disease again, researches are still unclear if this is the case with COVID-19. Viruses can also mutate and cause individuals to become infected with another strain of the virus, as was the case with the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.

Researchers at Harvard recently discovered that COVID-19 patients may be protected against reinfection for up to four months.

While there’s evidence that reinfection is unlikely for at least three months even for those with a mild case of COVID-19, very few diseases leave people completely immune for life. Antibodies are only one piece of the body’s defenses, and they naturally wane over time.

“Certainly it’s presumptuous to say it’s a lifetime,” said Dr. Albert Ko, an infectious disease specialist and department chairman at the Yale School of Public Health.

As to whether Trump could still be contagious, Ko said the White House appeared to be following CDC guidelines for when it is appropriate to end isolation after mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.

TRUMP SAYS HE’S ‘MEDICATION FREE,’ DETAILS COVID-19 RECOVERY IN FIRST ON-CAMERA INTERVIEW SINCE DIAGNOSIS

But Ko cautioned that those who have had severe cases of the diseases should isolate for 20 days. He noted that Trump was treated with the steroid dexamethasone, which is normally reserved for patients with severe COVID.

Some medical experts have been skeptical that Trump could be declared free of the risk of transmitting the virus so early in the course of his illness. Just 10 days since an initial diagnosis of infection, there was no way to know for certain that someone was no longer contagious, they said.

His return to full-fledged rallies will be in

DC health dept asks WH attendees to get tested

WASHINGTON — The Washington D.C. Department of Health has released an open letter appealing to all White House staff and those attending a Sept. 26 event in the Rose Garden to seek medical advice and take a coronavirus test.

The letter indicates a lack of confidence in the White House medical team’s contact tracing efforts for the virus outbreak that infected President Donald Trump, multiple senior staff members and two U.S. senators, among others.

Co-signed by nine other local health departments from neighboring jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, the letter says contact tracing on the outbreak has been insufficient and “there may be other staff and residents at risk for exposure to COVID positive individuals.”


The move highlights the public health dilemma faced by Mayor Muriel Bowser’s administration regarding the current outbreak. The Trump White House has operated for months in open violation of several D.C. virus regulations, hosting multiple gatherings that exceeded the local 50-person limit and where many participants didn’t wear masks.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Washington DC health department asks Rose Garden attendees to get tested

— Paris hospitals on emergency footing as ICUs fill with coronavirus patients

— Am I immune to the coronavirus if I’ve already had it?

— President Trump says he’s ready to hold campaign rallies, credits an experimental drug treatment with helping recovery from COVID-19.

— Coronavirus infections in Ukraine began surging in late summer, hospitals are ‘catastrophically short of doctors.’

— The NFL’s Tennessee Titans had another positive test, bringing the team’s outbreak of COVID-19 to 23.

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey added 1,300 new coronavirus cases overnight, the highest level since late May.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli says most of the positive cases in Ocean County stem from Lakewood, predominantly among white men ages 19-49 and could be related to religious services or celebrations that occurred in late September.

Hospitalizations also increased to 652, the highest level since early August.

Eleven more people died in the last day, bringing the statewide confirmed total to 14,373. The positivity rate for testing stood at 3.69%, while the rate of transmission fell to 1.22, down from 1.27.

The state has stockpiled personal protective equipment, ventilators and the therapeutic drug Remdesivir, Persichilli says.

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MADRID — Spain’s health ministry is reporting 12,423 new coronavirus cases and 126 confirmed deaths Thursday, the day a court struck down a partial lockdown in hard-hit Madrid.

With 848,324 infections since the start of the pandemic, Spain has the highest caseload in Europe. The official death toll rose to 32,688, although limits on testing early in the year means the actual number of victims is likely much higher.

The country’s 14-day rate of 256 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants varies greatly from region to region, with Madrid’s 563 topping the charts. That’s five times the European average rate as of Sept. 27, according to data of

ACA’s Role as Safety Net Is Tested by COVID Recession



 

The Affordable Care Act, facing its first test during a deep recession, is providing a refuge for some — but by no means all — people who have lost health coverage as the economy has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

New studies, from both federal and private research groups, generally indicate that when the country marked precipitous job losses from March to May — with more than 25 million people forced out of work — the loss of health insurance was less dramatic.

That’s partly because large numbers of mostly low-income workers who lost employment during the crisis were in jobs that already did not provide health insurance. It helped that many employers chose to leave furloughed and temporarily laid-off workers on the company insurance plan.

And others who lost health benefits along with their job immediately sought alternatives, such as coverage through a spouse’s or parent’s job, Medicaid or plans offered on the state-based ACA marketplaces.

From June to September, however, things weren’t as rosy. Even as the unemployment rate declined from 14.7% in April to 8.4% in August, many temporary job losses became permanent, some people who found a new job didn’t get one that came with health insurance, and others just couldn’t afford coverage.

The upshot, studies indicate, is that even with the new options and expanded safety net created by the ACA, by the end of summer a record number of people were poised to become newly uninsured.

What’s more, those losses could deepen in the months ahead, and into 2021, if the economy doesn’t improve and Congress offers no further assistance, health policy experts and insurers say.

“It’s a very fluid situation,” said Sara Collins, vice president for health care coverage and access at the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based health research group. “The ACA provides an important cushion, but we don’t know how much of one yet, since this is first real test of the law as a safety net in a serious recession.”

Collins also noted that accurately tracking health insurance coverage and shifts is difficult in the best of times; amid an economic meltdown, it becomes even more precarious.

Coverage Was Already on the Decline

Some 20 million people gained coverage between 2010 and 2016 under the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid and its insurance marketplaces for people without employer-based coverage. A gradually booming economy after the 2008-2009 recession also helped. The percentage of the population without health insurance declined from about 15% in 2010 to 8.8% in 2016.

But then, even as the economy continued to grow after 2016, coverage began to decline when the Trump administration and some Republican-led states took steps that undermined the law’s main aim: to expand coverage.

In 2018, 1.9 million people joined the ranks of the uninsured, and the Census Bureau reported earlier this month that an additional 1 million Americans lost coverage in 2019.

The accelerating decline is helping fuel anxiety over the fate of the ACA in the wake of the death of

Coronavirus cases linked to beer fest in North Carolina, attendees urged to get tested

Attendees of a recent beer fest in North Carolina should consider getting tested for COVID-19 after at least two coronavirus cases were connected to the event, according to a local report.

Those who attended “Mecktoberfest” at the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in Charlotte from Sept. 25 to 27 may have been exposed to the virus, Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris told county commissioners on Tuesday, the Charlotte Observer reported. 

“There were thousands of people there. Those folks need to be tested,” Harris said, according to the newspaper.

“There were thousands of people there. Those folks need to be tested,” Harris said, according to the newspaper.
(iStock)

The event, Harris said, involved “very few masks” and “very little social distancing.”

“There were thousands of people there. Those folks need to be tested,” Harris said, according to the newspaper.

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A video from local news station Fox 46 Charlotte shows a crowded beer garden, with few attendees wearing masks.

THE CORONAVIRUS CAN SURVIVE ON SKIN FOR THIS MANY HOURS, STUDY SUGGESTS

The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery “has always and will continue to work diligently to ensure that we comply with and adhere to all county, state and national health regulations and recommendations,” a spokesman for the establishment told the Charlotte Observer in a statement. He did not directly answer questions related to Harris’ warning, according to the newspaper.

“It is also perhaps the easiest place in town to enjoy a beer or a meal with friends while social distancing,” the spokesman added.

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In a few days, more people in Trump’s orbit tested positive for coronavirus than in all of Taiwan

Trump announced his positive test early Friday, and was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center later that day. He returned Monday to the White House, where he removed his mask, despite doctors saying he was still contagious.

Meanwhile, Taiwan — the self-ruled island home to 23 million people — reported just eight new cases in the past week.

More than a dozen countries have reported fewer than 10 new coronavirus cases in the past seven days, including several that have not reported any cases at all. Not all such case numbers are reliable. Some countries are facing serious testing shortages. Others stand accused of avoiding public disclosure of their case numbers. But Taiwan has been widely praised for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Late last year, as word of an unusual respiratory illness in the Chinese city of Wuhan began to spread, Taiwanese officials scrambled to start screening passengers arriving from the city as early as Dec. 31. In January, a Taiwanese health official raised serious alarm about the virus in an attempt to warn the rest of the world about what could come next.

But it was months before many other governments realized the virus was set to upend the world as we know it.

As hospital wards became overwhelmed in hot spots across the globe, Taiwan — which was prepared to launch intensive contact-tracing initiatives — has managed to avoid the worst of the pandemic. The island has confirmed just 521 coronavirus cases and seven deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. The vast majority of cases have not been domestically transmitted.

In August, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar visited the island, where he commended officials for their fast response to the pandemic, calling it “world-class.” Speaking to reporters in Taipei, Azar told reporters that Taiwan acted quickly in part because it had been “scarred” by Beijing’s handling of the SARS outbreak nearly two decades earlier.

Elsewhere, numbers are a bit cloudier.

Several countries reporting fewer than 10 cases in the past week are located in sub-Saharan Africa, including some that did not report any new cases to the World Health Organization. Although many countries in Africa appear to have fared far better against the virus than experts initially suggested they might, in some places, testing shortages or other factors could be affecting case counts.

Experts have questioned the caseload in Tanzania, for example, where President John Magufuli has insisted that the country’s outbreak is “absolutely finished.”

And when it comes to cloudy numbers, the same holds true for how many infections may trace their roots back to the White House. Numerous guests who attended the Rose Garden event told The Washington Post they have not been subject to a contact-tracing effort.

And Trump’s behavior since his diagnosis — including his decision to leave the hospital to drive past his supporters and to remove his mask upon return to the White House on Monday — has stunned epidemiologists, who fear he continues

At least 8 people who attended Supreme Court nomination ceremony have tested positive for COVID-19

At least eight people who have tested positive for coronavirus were in attendance at the Supreme Court nomination ceremony at the White House last weekend. The number of people in President Trump’s circle who tested positive for the virus is growing, following news of the president and first lady’s positive diagnoses early Friday morning. 

On Saturday, September 26, Mr. Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. He held an outdoor ceremony at the Rose Garden, which was attended by about 200 people — many of whom were not wearing masks or following social distancing guidelines. There are also photos of some of the attendees inside the White House on Saturday.

President Trump Announces His Supreme Court Nominee To Replace Justice Ginsburg
President Trump announces Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House on September 26, 2020. Seven people in attendance have since tested positive for COVID-19.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


There is now growing concern that Mr. Trump contracted the virus at the ceremony, which could have possibly been a “super-spreader” event. Photos from the event show that chairs were not socially distanced, with many of the people who have tested positive sitting in close proximity. 

So far, at least eight people who attended that ceremony have tested positive for COVID-19: The president, first lady Melania Trump, former top aide Kellyanne Conway, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, University of Notre Dame President John Jenkins, Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina and a White House reporter, according to the White House Correspondents’ Association.

Barrett tested positive for the virus over the summer and has since recovered, The Washington Post reports. 

Christie, who did not wear a mask to the event, announced his diagnosis on Saturday, tweeting “I will be receiving medical attention today.” Conway, who also did not wear a mask, announced her diagnosis late Friday, calling her symptoms “mild,” including a “light cough.”  

Lee, who was seen at the event hugging and kissing attendees without a mask, tweeted Friday that he had “symptoms consistent with longtime allergies” and would spend 10 days in isolation. Tillis, who did wear a mask, tweeted that he experienced no symptoms and will also isolate for 10 days. 

Lee appears to have been seated directly behind Vice President Mike Pence and Tillis was seated directly behind U.S. Attorney General William Barr. Both Pence and Barr announced that they tested negative for the virus on Friday.

President Trump Announces His Supreme Court Nominee To Replace Justice Ginsburg
Chairs at the September 26 nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden at the White House were not spaced six feet apart, and many attendees did not wear masks.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


GOP Senator Ron Johnson, whose positive COVID-19 diagnosis was announced Saturday morning, did not attend Saturday’s event. He is the third Republican senator to test positive for the virus in two days.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called to delay Barrett’s confirmation hearing following