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Coronavirus: How to track the spread across the world as cases top 850,000 – CNET

Coronavirus dashboard

You can track the spread of coronavirus with an online dashboard.

Screenshot by Corinne Reichert/CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

The deadly coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, and you can use an online dashboard to keep up with all reported cases. The Center for Systems Science and Engineering has built a tool pulling in data from the World Health Organization, as well as the centers for disease control in the US, China and Europe. It shows all confirmed, suspected and recovered coronavirus patients, as well as deaths.

Coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has so far killed 41,654 people and infected over 850,000 as of 2:30 p.m. PT on March 31, according to the dashboard. Around 176,000 people have recovered.

The 10 countries with the highest case count are the US with 184,183; Italy with 105,792; Spain with 94,417; mainland China with 82,278; Germany with 70,985; France with 52,827; Iran with 44,605; the UK with 25,474; Switzerland with 16,605; and Turkey with 13,531. The dashboard shows the virus has spread to 180 countries, with even the smallest areas including Faroe Islands and Vatican City reporting cases.

Italy has the highest death toll, at 12,428. Spain follows, with 8,269 fatalities; the US with 3,721; France with 3,532; and China with 3,309 deaths.

Cases have been confirmed in North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America, Australia and the Pacific, with the illness exhibiting pneumonia-like symptoms. It was first reported to the World Health Organization on Dec. 31, 2019, with Chinese scientists linking the disease to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses that include the deadly SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

This post was originally published Jan. 24 and is constantly updated.

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Electricity-Saving Efficient Motor Solutions – Smc’s Smart Motor System is Cost-Effective & Reliable (TrendHunter.com)

Electricity-Saving Efficient Motor Solutions – Smc’s Smart Motor System is Cost-Effective & Reliable (TrendHunter.com)

(TrendHunter.com) The Software Motor Company (SMC) has launched a smart motor system that is considered to “radically reduce energy consumption from the world’s largest consumers of electricity: buildings.&…
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(TrendHunter.com) The Software Motor Company (SMC) has launched a smart motor system that is considered to “radically reduce energy consumption from the world’s largest consumers of electricity: buildings.&…
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Next-Gen Fitness Trackers – Fitbit’s New Model is Named the Charge 4 and Features a Built in GPS (TrendHunter.com)

Next-Gen Fitness Trackers – Fitbit’s New Model is Named the Charge 4 and Features a Built in GPS (TrendHunter.com)

(TrendHunter.com) Fitbit is launching a new product named ‘the Charge 4,’ which has a number of upgrades compared to the company’s previous model, the Charge 3. The company also integrated…
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(TrendHunter.com) Fitbit is launching a new product named ‘the Charge 4,’ which has a number of upgrades compared to the company’s previous model, the Charge 3. The company also integrated…
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How to make wine in your Instant Pot: A step-by-step guide to brewing easily at home – CNET

Create real wine in your Instant Pot? It sounds too good to be true.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Local wine store temporarily closed? Or maybe you’re looking for a project while observing self-quarantine. Here’s one: Make wine right at home in your Instant Pot. All you need is supermarket grape juice, proper yeast and sugar, and you’re all set. That’s the theory anyway. And now the time has come to put this crazy idea to the test.

This plan was first dreamed up by intrepid food blogger David Murphy a few years ago. When I read about his revolutionary Instant Pot hack back then, I admit I was skeptical. I was also extremely curious because if his procedure actually works, it’s a game changer for dinner parties, DIY experimentation and possibly lowering my monthly grocery bill. 

And now that the mere act of grocery shopping feels fraught with risk, I’m down to try it. Perhaps you will want to, too. Here’s how to get started.  

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Gather what you need.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Gather your Instant Pot and ingredients

At the heart of this process is an Instant Pot with a “yogurt” function. Thankfully all but one Instant Pot model (the Lux) have that feature. So chances are, you’re good to go. The main ingredient is grape juice. In this case I went with a 64 ounce bottle of Welch’s concord grape. The next item on the list is 1 cup of granulated sugar, along with one packet of wine yeast. 

I must admit I goofed up slightly here. Instead of the recommended red wine yeast, I mistakenly ordered champagne yeast. Of course this isn’t the end of the world: My vino may even turn out better than it would have otherwise. Some among the home brewing community certainly sing the praises of Lalvin EC-1118, which is often used to brew mead, ciders and other fruit-based adult beverages.

Rounding out the list, you’ll need a bleach solution (of over 1,000 ppm) to sanitize your equipment, plus a funnel. 

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Remove one cup from the juice bottle and set it aside.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Sanitize the pot

Before you begin, make sure the inner pot of your Instant Pot is germ-free. In an ideal world, you should use a rinse-free sanitizer along with a chemical cleaner designed specifically for brewing equipment. Five Star’s powder brewery wash and Star San sanitizer are good examples. 

I used what I had on hand, a spray bottle I had already filled with a bleach solution (1,000-plus ppm). Yes, doing this is risky since bleach is a deadly poison. I don’t recommend going this route, but if you do please take extra care. Make sure your equipment comes into contact with bleach solution for only five minutes. Also rinse all sanitized items thoroughly with water before use.  

In my case I sprayed the inner pot plus the Instant Pot lid and silicone gasket. After five minutes, I rinsed these items well with water then hand dried them with a clean towel. You can be sure that I’ll use proper cleaning and sanitizing agents for my next fermentation project. 

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Add the yeast to the bottle.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Prepare for fermentation

Open the juice bottle and remove one cup (8 ounces) of juice. Set this liquid aside and save for later. Next, use the funnel to add the sugar to the juice bottle. Screw the bottle cap back on and shake it for two minutes. The idea here is to dissolve the sugar as much as possible. Now open the yeast packet and add half its contents to the bottle. With the cap closed, give it a few gentle shakes. 

Pour the bottle’s contents into the inner pot of your Instant Pot. Don’t forget about the juice you saved. Also add that to the pot.

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Pour the juice, sugar and yeast mixture into the Instant Pot’s inner pot.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Initiate the brew

Put the lid on your Instant Pot and lock it into place. Set the steam release valve to Venting. Next press the Yogurt button, then the Adjust button until the light labelled Less is selected. This will command the cooker to run at a lower temperature than its default. 

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Use the yogurt setting on its “less” setting.

Brian Bennett/CNET

Now you wait

David Murphy recommends a 48-hour brewing time. He also suggests cycling the steam valve of your Instant Pot from open to closed every eight hours. As I write this, I’m 25 hours into the brewing process.

The final step is to transfer the liquid from the pot back into the plastic juice bottle. Before you do that, make sure to properly sanitize, rinse and dry the bottle. You’ll also have to allow for CO2 gas created by any remaining yeast. An airlock gadget can handle that. Store the bottle in a room temperature-stable location away from light. There the wine solution should sit for a minimum of eight days, or as long as a month.

Time will tell

So will I have something that even remotely resembles, and tastes, like wine when it’s all said and done? Hopefully that will be the case. I’ll report back with my results. In the meantime, I still have nine yeast packets left in the fridge. It would be a shame for them to go to waste. I see home-brewed mead, cider, even Klingon Bloodwine in my future.  

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Quarantine-Friendly Virtual Trips – Thrillist Creates a List of 360-Degree Videos for ‘Tourists’ (TrendHunter.com)

Quarantine-Friendly Virtual Trips – Thrillist Creates a List of 360-Degree Videos for ‘Tourists’ (TrendHunter.com)

(TrendHunter.com) Given the current health climate and the global progression of the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and staying at home become the new norm—many strive to keep certain thrills in their life…
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(TrendHunter.com) Given the current health climate and the global progression of the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing and staying at home become the new norm—many strive to keep certain thrills in their life…
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High-Impact Video Call Tools – Around Allows Remote Users to Stay in Touch Without Juggling Tabs (TrendHunter.com)

High-Impact Video Call Tools – Around Allows Remote Users to Stay in Touch Without Juggling Tabs (TrendHunter.com)

(TrendHunter.com) Around, developed by Dominik Zane, is a high-impact video call tool that allows coworkers to stay in-touch without dedicating an entire screen to a meeting. The software crops participants to small…
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(TrendHunter.com) Around, developed by Dominik Zane, is a high-impact video call tool that allows coworkers to stay in-touch without dedicating an entire screen to a meeting. The software crops participants to small…
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What you can and cannot do when you’re in lockdown, quarantine or shelter in place – CNET

coronavirus-empty-streets-sf-0063

The state and regional coronavirus guidelines are designed to keep public spaces empty and help residents self-isolate.

James Martin/CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Across the US, from New York and Ohio to California and Alaska, millions of people have been ordered to stay at home as nonessential businesses close and residents are urged or mandated to socially distance or self-quarantine. And around the world, countries are on lockdown in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus — from Italy to India to the UK. This raises questions: Are you on curfew or shelter in place? Will the police intercede if you leave the house? Where can you go and what can’t you do? How do you help protect yourself when you do leave the house?

The rules and definitions depend on where you live, but in general, restrictions are tightening as countries brace for a swell in cases and deaths related to COVID-19. 

Keep scrolling for areas participating in shelter in place, stay at home, curfews, travel bans and what defines essential versus nonessential businesses. This story is updated frequently as the situation develops.

Now playing: Watch this: Coronavirus lockdown: Why social distancing saves lives


5:41

Shelter in place: Here’s what states are doing

Shelter in place is a fairly restrictive directive that instructs residents to stay at home and only leave for essential tasks, like going to necessary doctor’s appointments and the grocery store. In general, you can go on walks for errands and recreation while practicing social distancing — and you can walk your dog and garden. You can also drive to and from essential services, but driving around for fun is out. But many businesses, like gyms and movie theaters, are closed while residents stay at home. US states from New York to Alaska have ordered people to stay indoors. And to help individuals recover from the crisis, the federal government is sending coronvirus checks to many US citizens.

While in general there’s no police enforcement for shelter in place, in some regions, such as the counties of the San Francisco Bay Area, you can be fined or imprisoned if you don’t comply.

Alaska: Gov. Mike Dunleavy mandated Alaskans to remain at their place of residences starting March 28 and closed nonessential businesses.

California: San Francisco Bay Area communities started sheltering in place as of March 17, expanding to a statewide mandate as of March 19. Seniors over 65 are ordered to stay indoors, except for walks and necessary appointments and are encouraged not to go to stores. On March 22, Gov. Gavin Newsom requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to get federal assistance with the crisis. 

Colorado: Starting March 26, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis ordered Coloradans to stay at home. The governor said he also requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for federal assistance.

Connecticut: Gov. Ned Lamont issued a “Stay Safe, Stay Home” order for March 23, closing nonessential businesses statewide and asking residents to avoid contact with others when outside.

Delaware: Starting March 24, Gov. John Carney ordered residents of the state to shelter in place and closed nonessential businesses. The state provided a long list of what can and can’t remain open.

Hawaii: Gov. David Ige ordered anyone in the state — residents and tourists alike — to stay in their place of residence, including hotels, condominiums, townhomes, apartments or other multiunit dwellings, starting March 25. The governor had previously ordered anyone arriving in the state to self-quarantine.

Idaho: Gov. Brad Little ordered residents to stay home statewide for at least 21 days, except for essential services and outdoor exercise, staying 6 feet away from other individuals.

Illinois: Starting March 21, Gov. J. B. Pritzker ordered a statewide shelter in place, with essential services like pharmacies and clinics remaining open.   

Indiana: From March 25 to April 7, Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered residents to stay at home, except for essential services, and prohibited onsite dining.

Kansas: Starting March 30 at 12:01 a.m. to April 19, Gov. Laura Kelly ordered residents to stay home unless for essential activities such as getting food or medical care.

Kentucky: Urging residents to stay at home, Gov. Andy Beshear closed “non-life-sustaining businesses” to in-person services starting March 26 and told Kentuckians to go outside only for essential activities and exercise.

Louisiana: On March 23, residents of Louisiana were ordered to shelter in place. Gov. John Bel Edwards had previously shuttered nonessential businesses such as casinos and closed schools.

Maryland: Stopping short of calling it “shelter in place,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told residents to remain in their homes and ordered all nonessential businesses to close by March 23.

Massachusetts: Gov. Charlie Baker directed residents to stay at home from March 24 to April 7 and ordered nonessential businesses to close during that period.

Michigan: Starting March 24 and extending for at least three weeks, the state ordered residents to stay home unless for an essential activity.

Minnesota: Gov. Tim Walz ordered residents to stay at home beginning from March 27 to April 10, and extended restaurant and bar closures until May 1. Residents may leave their homes for essential and outdoor activities as long as they practice social distancing. The state will work with local law enforcement to support the order.

Montana: Gov. Steve Bullock directed residents to stay at home from March 28 through April 10 and closed nonessential businesses.

New Hampshire: Starting March 27, Gov. Chris Sununu has ordered residents to stay at home, going out just for essential activities such as groceries, exercise or checking on neighbors who can’t go out.

New Jersey: He didn’t officially use the term “shelter in place,” but Gov. Phil Murphy directed residents to stay at home and ordered nonessential businesses to close by March 21.

New Mexico: Beginning March 24, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham instructed residents to stay at home and go out only when necessary. The governor assured residents they could still walk their dog or go on a jog. She also closed all nonessential businesses.

New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo put his state on “pause,” stopping short of a call for a statewide shelter in place. Instead he shuttered all nonessential businesses and ordered all nonessential workers to work from home as of March 22. On March 20, the White House declared that a major disaster exists in the state. The White House on March 24 requested any New Yorker who had recently left the area to self-quarantine.

North Carolina: Except for essential activities and services — such as job, food, medicine, outdoor exercise or to help someone — residents are ordered to stay indoors, beginning at 5 p.m. March 30.

Ohio: The state requires residents to stay at home, starting March 23.

Oklahoma: Ordering residents 65 and older to stay at home, Gov. Kevin Stitt on March 24 also directed any Oklahoma resident with an underlying medical condition to stay in their homes except for essential services.

Oregon: Effective March 23, Gov. Kate Brown ordered Oregonians to stay at home, except for essential services and walks.

Utah: Stopping short of calling it a shelter-in-place order, Gov. Gary Herbert issued a “stay safe, stay home” directive through April 13.

Vermont: Gov. Philip Scott directed residents to stay at home, except for essential services and exercise, starting March 25.

Washington: Hours after the Oregon order, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on March 23 issued a similar stay-at-home order. On March 22, The White House declared a major disaster in the state of Washington, allowing it to receive federal aid.

West Virginia: Calling it a stay-at-home order, Gov. Jim Justice directed residents to stay indoors starting March 24, except for essential trips and exercise. The governor assured West Virginians a stay-at-home order is not martial law.

Wisconsin: In a series of tweets, Gov. Tony Evers said he would order residents to stay at home as of March 24.

At the regional level, cities and counties are also issuing stay-at-home orders, including Austin, Texas, Kansas City, Missouri, Miami Beach, Florida, St. Louis, San Antonio and a handful of counties in Pennsylvania.

Which states are directing quarantine?

A quarantine is specifically used to restrict the movement of someone who’s apparently well but has been exposed to a communicable disease, to limit its spread through contact.

Florida: Gov. Ron DeSantis on March 23 said he would sign an executive order requiring anyone flying from New York or New Jersey to Florida to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Hawaii: Starting March 26, anyone arriving in the state — visitors or returning residents — are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Kansas: The state requested that residents who recently visited California, Florida, New York or Washington or traveled on a cruise ship to quarantine in their homes for 14 days.

Rhode Island: Gov. Gina Raimondo ordered anyone arriving from any destination by plane or from New York state by car, train or bus to self-quarantine for 14 days — except public safety professionals, healthcare professionals, pilots and flight crew.

Regions with curfew orders

A curfew is one of the most stringent of all emergency measures, mandating that residents stay indoors during certain nighttime hours. It may be enforced through a fine or arrest. While New Jersey Gov. Murphy recommended on March 16 that residents stay indoors overnight, the request wasn’t part of an official curfew order.

A few regions, however, are imposing curfews, including Kaua’i county in Hawaii, where the mayor of the county used the term “curfew” to require residents to stay indoors from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.; and South Fulton, Georgia, where residents are instructed to stay in their homes between the curfew hours of 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Exceptions include performing an essential service, delivering food or household supplies, or seeking medical attention.

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Notices like this are becoming increasingly common.

James Martin/CNET

Countries on lockdown and restrictions: What it means

Lockdown is a colloquial term to broadly describe companies, states and countries that are restricting business operations, transportation and the movement of people. In Europe, a handful of countries have mandated that people stay indoors, at times threatening to enforce the restriction with law enforcement.

France: Countrywide, people are required to have a certificate to leave their home for any reason, including to buy essential supplies and for walks outside their home, including with a pet. For a business trip, they must have a signed document from an employer. People can be fined for failing to comply. International travel is also restricted.

Germany: Not on lockdown but with restrictions similar to those California, Germans are required to avoid groups larger than two people, leave their homes only for essential services and exercise and practice social distancing. Restaurants are limited to takeout and delivery.

India: Beginning March 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a 21-day lockdown, closing nonessential businesses and requiring anyone who arrived in India after Feb. 15 to self-quarantine, following local health-authority guidelines. Essential services such as grocery stores will remain open, as well as delivery services for food and medical supplies.

Ireland: From March 27 to April 12, residents are ordered to stay at home, except for essential services and brief individual physical exercise within two kilometers of home.

Italy: People also need a certificate to travel around, with checkpoints monitored by the authorities throughout the country to make sure residents comply. As in France, they can go on walks and bike rides, but are required to keep a safe distance from each other. Members of the military are assisting with containment.

New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ordered nonessential businesses to close and instructed people to stay at home.

Portugal: While not on lockdown, in a decree by the government, people are required to stay indoors except for essential activities. Those over 70 have additional restrictions and can leave their homes only when necessary, to buy food, for example, for medical appointments and for short walks. As with many states, the government is closing nonessential businesses and limiting restaurants to takeout and delivery.

Spain: The country has closed nonessential businesses, allowing people to leave their homes only for essential services. Spain is considering using the police and military to enforce the stay-at-home mandate.

UK: Saying “you must stay at home,” on March 23 Prime Minister Boris Johnson instructed people to not leave their homes except for necessities such as groceries, medical care and once-a-day exercise. Johnson said police will have the power to enforce the new rules.

Travel bans: US and European borders closed

With a travel ban, you are restricted from visiting other countries, except for essential business.

Europe: Joining France and Italy, the European Union has closed its borders to nonessential travel for 30 days.

UK: The UK is advising residents to limit travel to countries and regions.

US: The federal government has closed its borders with Canada and Mexico for nonessential travel as well as banned travel to countries and regions it’s designated as high-risk areas including China, 26 European nations and the UK.

The front of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is shown here before a demonstration at the Paris Air Show. The 787-8 version can accommodate up to 250 passengers, the larger 787-9 can handled up to 290.The front of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is shown here before a demonstration at the Paris Air Show. The 787-8 version can accommodate up to 250 passengers, the larger 787-9 can handled up to 290.

Air travel is already severely limited as a response to the outbreak.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Essential vs. nonessential businesses and services

To curb the spread of coronavirus, many states are closing down nonessential businesses, including shopping malls, theaters, sports arenas, nail and hair salons, bars and pubs, and bingo halls and casinos.

At the same time, states are allowing businesses that provide services necessary for the health and safety of residents to stay open, including:

  • Grocery stores
  • Hardware stores
  • Stores that sell pharmacy and medical supplies
  • Food pickup or delivery (including liquor takeout from bars in some states such as New York and California)
  • Hospitals and medical centers
  • Banks
  • Gas stations
  • Pet stores

Jobs in “essential” services include those that keep infrastructure running, such as health care, food banks, sanitation, cleaning and construction. You can also drive to the gas station, walk the dog and engage in outdoor recreational exercise while practicing social distancing.

States that are restricting activities

A majority of states are restricting public gatherings, closing schools or nonessential businesses, or limiting restaurants to only takeout and delivery, including Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

You don’t need to be ordered by your state or local authorities to stay safe. Here’s how to keep the virus out of your home, how to avoid misinformation about the virus and what you need to know about coronavirus treatment. If your state or region has coronavirus restrictions, let us know in a comment.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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AI-Based Disease Surveillance – Bluedot uses proprietary algorithms to spot disease outbreaks (TrendHunter.com)

AI-Based Disease Surveillance – Bluedot uses proprietary algorithms to spot disease outbreaks (TrendHunter.com)

(TrendHunter.com) Bluedot, a Toronto-based health startup uses AI to track diseases around the world. They combine public health and medical expertise with advanced data analytics to analyze, surveil, and…
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(TrendHunter.com) Bluedot, a Toronto-based health startup uses AI to track diseases around the world. They combine public health and medical expertise with advanced data analytics to analyze, surveil, and…
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25 Pandemic-Related Business Initiatives – From Free Return Flights to Luxury Mask Productions (TrendHunter.com)

25 Pandemic-Related Business Initiatives – From Free Return Flights to Luxury Mask Productions (TrendHunter.com)

(TrendHunter.com) Ranging from free return flights to luxury surgical mask productions, these pandemic-related business initiatives showcase how brands in various industries are stepping up amid the COVID-19 crisis…
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(TrendHunter.com) Ranging from free return flights to luxury surgical mask productions, these pandemic-related business initiatives showcase how brands in various industries are stepping up amid the COVID-19 crisis…
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Homemade masks, home testing, PPE and every other coronavirus term to know – CNET

coronavirus-covid-19-global-cases-johnshopkinscsse-mar172020

Global confirmed COVID-19 cases as of March 26, 2020 (cumulative). Tracked by Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering/Screenshot by CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

The coronavirus pandemic is putting words in the mouths of billions of people worldwide. Shelter in place, COVID-19, homemade masks, PPE, home testing kits. These terms now form a lexicon that has become part of daily conversation as the virus, which has now killed more than 29,000 people around the globe, continues to spread.

It’s an unsettling time. Educating yourself on the science and the social responses to the COVID-19 outbreak will help you understand the situation and help explain it to others.

If you know all of these key terms, congratulations on being so thoroughly informed. If not, we’ll help you brush up on the critical terms to get along in a coronavirus world. We’ll continue to update this story as our social response to the virus evolves. 

Now playing: Watch this: Coronavirus lockdown: Why social distancing saves lives


5:41

Novel coronavirus and SARS-CoV-2

No, the virus known to have infected over 400,000 people isn’t actually named “coronavirus.” The word refers to any in a family of viruses whose structure presents crownlike spikes when seen under a microscope. The term “novel coronavirus” is a general term for the current type we’re fighting. It became a fixture before the virus was given an official name: SARS-CoV-2.

COVID-19

You may be tempted to use COVID-19 as a synonym for coronavirus, but that will confuse matters. COVID-19 is the name of the disease that the novel coronavirus causes. It stands for “coronavirus disease 2019.”

The disease brings on flulike symptoms, but dangerously affects the lungs by filling them with fluid at a rapid rate. Patients with extreme cases may need respirators and oxygen to help them breathe, often for weeks. The fear is that fatalities will occur when patient need for ventilators outstrips the supply.

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N95 respirator masks are effective at blocking the transmission of coronavirus, but currently in short supply.

Photo by Nora Tam/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

N95, surgical and homemade face masks

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, and coronavirus spreads through vaporized droplets. N95 respirator masks are the only type that can protect you from acquiring SARS-CoV-2. Any other variety, including surgical masks and homemade, are not proven to be effective at blocking the virus, which can remain in the air for up to 30 minutes

So why do some people continue to wear surgical masks? And what about the trend of homemade face masks you sew yourself? Some health care facilities may be in dire straights, and wearing any type of mask could supply some with peace of mind on the theory that some physical barrier is better than none at all. Others might feel ill and want to provide a barrier from their coughs and sneezes as a courtesy to you. And still others may not be fully informed about the limitations of surgical or homemade masks. 

However, if you have N95 or surgical masks at home, the medical community is asking for donations to help curb the shortage of masks.

Hand-washing, social distancing and self-quarantine are considered more effective measures for ordinary citizens, and the medical community asks to save N95 masks for their nurses and doctors, who are in the most exposed and in greatest need of protection.

At-home coronavirus tests

Tests kits for COVID-19 that you can administer at home are being explored by the medical community and the FDA. The benefit of being able to find out if you acquired the virus without leaving the house — potentially exposing others or yourself — is appealing. However, direct-to-consumer testing kits aren’t authorized by the FDA at this point, and some fear that tests resulting in false negative results could endanger healthy people if the test-taker is actually positive for SARS-CoV-2. 

PPE

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, refers to any gear necessary to minimize a person’s exposure to harmful materials that could cause illness or injury — gloves, full body suits, protective eyewear and so forth. In the case of the coronavirus pandemic, N95 masks (more on them below) for health care workers are in critically short supply.

WHO

The World Health Organization, often called WHO, is the global body that’s become a clearinghouse of information, research and safety guidelines. SARS-CoV-2, then referred to simply as novel coronavirus, was first reported to the WHO on Dec. 31, 2019, days after the first patients were hospitalized in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

PCR testing

A testing protocol to identify if you’ve contracted the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. This test works by identifying the virus’ DNA through a process called PCR, or polymerase chain reaction. The PCR test looks for telltale markers distinct to this viral strain. The sample can be obtained through a throat or nasal swab, which makes it ideal for the kind of drive-through testing centers proposed in countries like the US. More details about coronavirus testing here.

Positive versus presumptive cases

How do you know if you’re infected with the new coronavirus? Listing your symptoms isn’t enough. Positive, or confirmed, cases are identified with lab tests. Presumptive cases are not. If you’re exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 — including fever, a dry cough and fluid accumulation in the lungs — and have had contact with a confirmed case, you’re still considered presumptive.

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Keeping those hands germ-free is essential.

Angela Lang/CNET

Community spread

SARS-CoV-2 is highly contagious, spreading through “respiratory droplets” (a cough, sneeze, transfer of saliva) and contaminated objects, like a door handle or other shared surfaces. Person-to-person spread means you can trace how the disease got from one person to another through direct contact, like shaking hands. Community spread refers to people in the same location contracting the virus without an obvious chain of events.

Community spread is an early sign that a disease can rapidly affect local, even global, populations. Read more at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Social distancing

In addition to thorough hand-washing, the WHO and CDC recommend the practice of social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 by keeping at least six feet away from others, refraining from touching and by staying indoors, especially if you’re over 60, immunocompromised or suffering from an underlying condition. Local and national governments have responded by limiting gatherings of people, ranging from no more than 10 people to 50 or 250 or even 1,000.

Self-quarantine, self-isolation

People who largely stay inside their own home, hotel room or other space are said to self-quarantine or self-isolate. For example, many governments are asking travelers returning from afflicted areas to self-quarantine for two weeks. However, there’s a technical difference. Quarantine refers to people who appear healthy, but could be at risk for exposure or infection. Isolation refers to separating positive or presumptive cases (see above) from the healthy population.

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Mitigation, not containment

This phrase acknowledges that at pandemic proportions, nations can’t contain the spread of coronavirus. But with social distancing, self-quarantine and isolation, the burden of COVID-19 can be mitigated. In other words, slowing down the rate of infection can increase chances of survival by avoiding overcrowding hospitals, running short on pivotal supplies before they can be replenished and overworking medical staff. This is a deeply sobering account of what happens when the COVID-19 disease overwhelms medical and support systems.

Pandemic versus epidemic

WHO officially declared the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 a pandemic on March 11. The word “pan” (which roughly means “all”) refers to the global nature of the spread, affecting virtually every country and region around the globe. An epidemic refers to a more localized region. Before reaching places like the US, coronavirus was considered an epidemic in China’s Hubei province, and then in the country itself. Here’s more on pandemics versus epidemics

Flatten the curve

Without mitigation, social distancing and all the rest, epidemiologists and other health experts predict a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases that looks like a tall, narrow spike on a graph. By following guidelines, the projected model looks shorter and spread out over time. The curve is flatter, milder, less pronounced. The hope of flattening the curve is to reduce fatalities by buying hospitals time to treat and scientists time to discover therapies and create a vaccine. 

coronavirus-curve-chart-2.pngcoronavirus-curve-chart-2.png

Adapted from CDC pre-pandemic guidelines (2017)

CNET

Shelter in place

On March 16, six counties in the San Francisco Bay Area ordered residents to “shelter in place,” a directive aimed at keeping people in their homes for three weeks, with the order widened to the whole state a few days later. It’s now being implemented around the world. All nonessential businesses are shuttered, and with the exception of shopping for items like groceries and pharmaceuticals, picking up food and taking walks while maintaining a distance of six feet from others, locals are expected to stay inside. It’s a fairly strict measure aimed at curbing community spread.

Read more: Where can you go in coronavirus lockdown? This is what you can and can’t do

Vulcan greeting

You’re not shaking hands, kissing or patting people on the back. Those elbow and toe taps are out, too. Instead of usual cultural methods for saying hello, one internet meme suggested greeting people the Vulcan way, by flashing a fictional hand signal for “live long and prosper.” Here are 13 other touch-free ways to say “hey.”

An abundance of caution

The preemptive closure of offices, businesses and schools ahead of positive cases has often been met with the phrase “due to an (over)abundance of caution.” 

70% isopropyl alcohol

Washing thoroughly with soap and water is the best way to kill the coronavirus on the skin, but surfaces can be harder to disinfect. Experts say that disinfectant wipes and spray, and solutions made with 70% isopropyl alcohol are also effective at destroying the virus’ structure. But be careful. Making your own hand sanitizer and other cleaning agents can be dangerous, and isn’t recommended.

Zoonotic disease

How did coronavirus come to be? What scientists know is that coronaviruses are transmitted between humans and animals — that’s the “zoo” in “zoonotic.” It’s believed that the virus may have originated in a live animal market in Wuhan, a city in the Hubei province of China, with a diseased animal transmitting it within members of the local population. Other zoonotic diseases include anthrax, rabies, Lyme disease, H1N1 (“swine flu”), West Nile virus, salmonella and malaria. 

Stay informed on coronavirus updates and developments, help your friends and neighbors dispel myths about the virus and use these 10 practical tips to avoid coronavirus when you need to leave the house.