Canceled flights due to coronavirus

With an animated side-by-side map, The New York Times shows canceled flights in efforts to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. The left map represents 12,814 flights within China on January 23. The right map shows 1,662 on February 13. Keep scrolling to see changes for flights leaving China to other countries.

Tags: , , ,

Responding to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) emerging in Wuhan, China

Map of China highlighting Wuhan City where a novel coronavirus has emerged

By Scott J. Becker, executive director, APHL

As news spreads of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) emerging in Wuhan, China, we at APHL are taking this threat seriously while also remaining calm and confident that our public health system is prepared. APHL has activated our incident command structure (ICS) to support our members and partners during the response.

Despite being a new respiratory virus strain, there is a familiarity that is reassuring to many of us in public health but can be unsettling to others. This new outbreak resembles SARS, MERS, H5N1 bird flu and other emerging respiratory diseases from the past. However, illness does not appear to be as severe as those previous viruses although our understanding of 2019-nCoV is still developing.

While there is a lot we don’t know about 2019-nCoV, this is what we do know about the outbreak response to prevent its spread:

  • As the first 2019-nCoV patient was identified in the United States, our public health system worked. Efforts to disseminate information to the public and to health care providers led to the patient self-identifying and allowed his providers to quickly initiate screening, isolation and eventual diagnosis. The specimen was immediately sent to CDC for rapid testing and results were promptly reported.
  • Public health laboratories are ready to process and ship specimens to CDC whose laboratory is currently the only one able to perform diagnostic testing in the US. CDC is working hard to develop and qualify a test that public health laboratories can use. Performing testing close to where the patient is being treated is ideal, but developing an effective test requires strong science and that takes time. We expect this new test to be ready for public health lab use in the coming weeks. CDC is already working closely with FDA to get an emergency use authorization (EUA) to deploy the test across the country in the event a US public health emergency is declared. (An EUA cannot be given until the US Secretary of Health and Human Services declares a public health emergency.)
  • For all of the critical players in our public health system – public health laboratory scientists, epidemiologists, CDC, FDA, health care providers and others – this is all in a day’s work. Frequent preparedness training and routine outbreak responses ensure that when a new disease emerges, the public health system is ready.

An outbreak of a new virus like 2019-nCoV can sometimes stir up panic and fear. We understand why some feel that way, but we are also confident that the public health system is working to stop this virus just as it has done with many others. We hope that our confidence in their expertise and abilities is reassuring for you. It is not time to panic – it is time to wash those hands, catch your coughs and continue to be vigilant during this cold and flu season.

Update (Jan 31, 2020): Media Statement on Novel Coronavirus Public Health Emergency Declaration from APHL Executive Director Scott Becker

We will continue to update this post with more information as it becomes available.


What is an Emerging Infectious Disease?

The post Responding to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) emerging in Wuhan, China appeared first on APHL Lab Blog.

I survived giving my first large conference talk as a PhD student

  By Lei Shen When I was in the middle of designing my poster, an email from the organizers  of  Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory‘s Asia Conference arrived informing me that my abstract was selected to

International impact of China’s economic slowdown

Economic slowdown

China's economic slowdown means a major decline in imports from other countries, which leads to significant effects in these areas. The Guardian takes a look. The vertical axis represents lost export income as a percentage of GDP, the size of the outer red circle represents GDP, and the inner white circle represents exports to China. Dollar units are in billions of dollars. Billions.

Tags: , ,

The huge Gate of Heavenly Peace, the main entrance to the…

The huge Gate of Heavenly Peace, the main entrance to the Forbidden City in Beijing, looms in the dusty early morning haze which partially obscures the sun. This view, taken from Tiananmen Square, shows the tiny figures of people walking along the main thoroughfare leading to the gate, 1978. Photograph by James P. Blair, National Geographic Creative

Homo sap is now a GMO. Shall we edit the genes of human embryos?

Well, the rumors that scientists in China have been messing around with fully predictable genetic engineering of human embryos, discussed here at On Science Blogs a month ago, turn out to be true. Fully predictable hell has broken out. More … Continue reading »

The post Homo sap is now a GMO. Shall we edit the genes of human embryos? appeared first on PLOS Blogs Network.

News that China blocks

Inside the Firewall

China blocks sites from its citizens. We know this. But, what do they block and to what extent? Sisi Wei for ProPublica tracked major news homepages with the help of transparency site and archived the pages for the sampled days.

Each row represents a timeline for a homepage, and a color-coded tick is added for each day a homepage is checked. There are four categories: blocked, no censorship detected, inconclusive (meaning there's mixed results from different testing servers), and no data.

For the most part it looks like there isn't a ton of switches between no censorship and blocked. There's some between inconclusive and blocked, but that might just be a server thing. Hard to say. However, the Wall Street Journal looks like it was blocked around the anniversary of Tiananmen Square, with a mostly green to mostly red transition. And of course, for reference, Facebook and Twitter is a bunch of red.

One interesting bit, and I don't know if it's just a coincidence, but there are some green slivers that appear after December 17, the day the project went up.

Tags: , ,

Opens Roundup (May)

To help navigate the content in this issue of the roundup, here’s an index of the topics covered with links to the items below:


The post Opens Roundup (May) appeared first on PLOS Blogs Network.

Chinese cyclists ride their bicycles through a square in…

Chinese cyclists ride their bicycles through a square in Chengdu, July 1981.Photograph by Jodi Cobb, National Geographic

Sparks fly from a welder’s torch in China.Photograph by…

Sparks fly from a welder’s torch in China.Photograph by Jodi Cobb, National Geographic