Coronavirus in China: Beijing wants to promote traditional medicine but not everyone is on board

Every morning and evening, the 38-year-old was handed a bag of brown soup — a traditional Chinese remedy blended from over 20 herbs, including ephedra, cinnamon twigs and licorice root.

But unlike most patients around him, Xiong was skeptical of its efficacy and refused to drink it.

“In my opinion, it is a sheer placebo,” said, Xiong, who was discharged in late February from the makeshift hospital run by TCM doctors where no Western medicine was provided, apart from medication for underlying conditions, such as high blood pressure.

The “lung-clearing and detoxing soup,” as the herbal compound he was given is called, was part of the Chinese government’s push to use Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak.

As scientists race to find a cure and vaccine, China is increasingly turning to its traditional remedies. As of late last month, more than 85% of all coronavirus patients in China — about 60,000 people — had received herbal remedies alongside mainstream antiviral drugs, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.
“We are willing to share the ‘Chinese experience’ and ‘Chinese solution’ of treating Covid-19, and let more countries get to know Chinese medicine, understand Chinese medicine and use Chinese medicine,” Yu Yanhong, deputy head of China’s National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said at a press conference last week.
But even in China, where TCM has a large number of adherents, the government has been unable to quell its skeptics — like Xiong. Abroad, the herbal remedies could face even more skepticism from Western medical experts, who have long questioned their safety and effectiveness.
The Chinese government has been promoting the use of traditional Chinese medicine to treat Covid-19.

Search for a cure

There is no known cure for the coronavirus which has killed more than 4,000 people, sickened over 115,000 and spread to 75 countries and regions worldwide.

Scientists are working to find ways to stamp out the deadly virus. But for now, the mainstream antiviral treatments focus on relieving the symptoms — and that’s where China believes its ancient remedies can help.

“By adjusting the whole body health and improving immunity, TCM can help stimulate the patients’ abilities to resist and recover from the disease, which is an effective way of therapy,” she said, adding that traditional medicine had helped fight viruses in the past, such as the SARS pandemic in 2002 and 2003 that killed hundreds in China.

So far, more than 50,000 novel coronavirus patients have been discharged from hospital, and the majority of them used TCM, Yu said, citing it as evidence for the efficacy of using Chinese and Western medicine in tandem

In a clinical trial of 102 patients with mild symptoms in Wuhan, patients with combined treatments compared with the control group of patients receiving only Western medicine, Yu said. Their recovery rate was 33% higher, she added.

In another study of more serious cases, patients receiving combined treatments also left hospital sooner than the control group and had greater levels of oxygen in their blood and a higher lymphocyte count — an

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Coronavirus declared global health emergency by WHO

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Media captionDr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: “We must all act together now to limit further spread”

The new coronavirus has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization, as the outbreak continues to spread outside China.

“The main reason for this declaration is not what is happening in China but what is happening in other countries,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The concern is that it could spread to countries with weaker health systems.

Meanwhile, the US has told its citizens not to travel to China.

The state department issued a level four warning – having previously urged Americans to “reconsider” travel to China – and said any citizens in China “should consider departing using commercial means”.

China has said it will send charter plans to bring back Hubei province residents who are overseas “as soon as possible”.

A foreign ministry spokesman said this was because of the “practical difficulties” Chinese citizens have faced abroad. Hubei is where the virus emerged.

At least 213 people in the China have died from the virus, mostly in Hubei, with almost 10,000 cases nationally.

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The WHO said there had been 98 cases in 18 other countries, but no deaths.

Most international cases are in people who had been to Wuhan in Hubei.

However in eight cases – in Germany, Japan, Vietnam and the United States – patients were infected by people who had travelled to China.

People wearing masks

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Coronavirus outbreak outside ChinaSource: WHO and local authorities

Speaking at a news conference in Geneva, Dr Tedros described the virus as an “unprecedented outbreak” that has been met with an “unprecedented response”.

He praised the “extraordinary measures” Chinese authorities had taken, and said there was no reason to limit trade or travel to China.

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“Let me be clear, this declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China,” he said.

But various countries have taken steps to close borders or cancel flights, and companies like Google, Ikea, Starbucks and Tesla have closed their shops or stopped operations.

The US Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, has said the outbreak could “accelerate the return of jobs to North America”.

Preparing other countries

What happens if this virus finds its way into a country that cannot cope?

Many low- and middle-income countries simply lack the tools to spot or contain it. The fear is it could spread uncontrollably and that it may go unnoticed for some time.

Remember this is a disease which emerged only last month – and yet there are already almost 10,000 confirmed cases in China.

The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa – the largest in human history – showed how easily poorer countries can be overwhelmed by such outbreaks.

And if novel coronavirus gets a significant foothold in such places, then it would

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California doctors’ dubious coronavirus claims condemned by health experts

A widely shared local television video of last week’s news conference, which was posted on YouTube, reached more than 5 million views and was amplified by Elon Musk and Fox News, where Dr. Dan Erickson and Dr. Artin Massihi appeared on primetime shows two nights in a row.

The video has since been taken down by YouTube for violating the platform’s policy on misinformation, a YouTube spokesperson said.

The doctors, who are not epidemiologists and who own and operate urgent care centers in the Bakersfield area, held the news conference on April 22 to share their conclusions about the results of 5,213 coronavirus tests at their clinics, extrapolating their findings to the California population as a whole.

“Do we need to still shelter in place? Our answer is emphatically no. Do we need businesses to be shut down? Emphatically no. Do we need to test them and get them back to work? Yes, we do,” Erickson said at the news conference.

Widespread condemnation

The comments and conclusions of the doctors drew widespread condemnation from health officials and medical experts.

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“There is a lot to object to from a scientific point of view,” Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist, told CNN. He said one big problem is that the doctors made estimates based on their clinics’ clients who were tested, not a sampling of the general population.

“What these doctors are doing is corrupting the process from the start to make it seem like they are doing an honest policy analysis,” added Noymer, who is an associate professor of population health and disease prevention at the University of California, Irvine.
The video also prompted the American College of Emergency Physicians and American Academy of Emergency Medicine to issue a forceful joint statement on Monday calling the pair’s claims “reckless and untested musings” that “are inconsistent with current science and epidemiology regarding COVID-19.”

“As owners of local urgent care clinics, it appears these two individuals are releasing biased, non-peer reviewed data to advance their personal financial interests without regard for the public’s health,” the statement read, “COVID-19 misinformation is widespread and dangerous. Members of ACEP and AAEM are first-hand witnesses to the human toll that COVID-19 is taking on our communities. ACEP and AAEM strongly advise against using any statements of Drs. Erickson and Massihi as a basis for policy and decision making.”

Health officials in Kern County, where Bakersfield is located, also said they disagreed with the claims made by Erickson and Massihi.

“In our ongoing effort to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on our residents and healthcare system, we continue to adhere to the guidance issued by Governor Newsom regarding the stay at home order,” a Kern County health official said in a statement to CNN.

Erickson and Massihi did not return CNN requests for comment.

Receptive audience

At a time when stuck-at-home Americans are yearning to return to their pre-pandemic lives, the doctors have found a receptive, even high-profile audience.

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Popular heartburn medicine being studied as treatment for coronavirus

Over the past few weeks researchers have been discreetly studying a new potential treatment for COVID-19 — and it might not be what you expect.

The treatment in question is called famotidine, and it’s the active ingredient in Pepcid, an over-the-counter medication commonly used to alleviate heartburn.

Since March 13, researchers at Northwell Health, a network of hospitals in New York, have been enrolling patients hospitalized with COVID-19 into their study of famotidine, which is being delivered through an IV in megadoses nine times greater than the typical over-the-counter dose. The drug is being given in combination with the much-touted antimalarial hydroxychloroquine.

Researchers said some data on safety will be available “in a few weeks,” but did not say when data will be available showing whether the drug combination is effective.

Dr. Kevin Tracey, CEO and president of the Feinsteins Institute for Medical Research at Northwell Health, says the study was being conducted under the radar to avoid media attention as well as a potential depletion of national supply, limiting Northwell’s access to the drug.

More than 180 patients have enrolled in the Northwell study so far. They’ve been given either a two-drug combination of hydroxychloroquine and famotidine, or hydroxychloroquine alone. According to Tracey, hydroxychloroquine was added into the mix because of the drug’s promise back in mid-March — before data emerged about its potential risks.

Tracey said the idea to try famotidine came from a friend and colleague, Dr. Michael Callahan, who had recently visited China and was working with Chinese physicians on a still-unpublished study reportedly showing that the drug benefited patients with COVID-19.

The merit of trying famotidine was supported by additional research, part of a private-public partnership with the federal government, that used the genetic makeup of the virus to pinpoint potentially promising drugs, Tracey said.

The hope is that famotidine will act as a decoy for the virus, so that while the virus is preoccupied with famotidine, it is unable to reproduce itself and spread throughout the body.

Dr. Stuart Ray, professor of medicine in infectious diseases and vice chair of medicine for data integrity and analytics at Johns Hopkins, said he was surprised to hear that researchers at Northwell are studying famotidine in people with COVID-19, and that he is skeptical about preliminary data from China because it has not been vetted in the typical review process.

However, he said he is glad there is some scientific rationale behind the drug. He adds that despite the megadoses, the drug is likely to be safe.

“I think this sort of off-label repurposing is sensible with drugs for which we have a long safety record,” said Ray. “And

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From dentist bills to holidays: Your key coronavirus questions answered

Can my employer force me to take holiday now? Will I still have to pay for a holiday abroad even though I can’t travel? And why am I continuing to pay my dentist every month when they’re shut? 

These are just some of the issues readers have raised in recent days as the country remains in lockdown. 

Sarah Bridge talks to the experts to get the answers.

Show-stopper: Concerts are being cancelled – including one by Andre Rieu, above – due to the coronavirus

Show-stopper: Concerts are being cancelled – including one by Andre Rieu, above – due to the coronavirus

TIME OFF… AND THE FURLOUGH ISSUE

James Morris writes: ‘My boss has told me I have to take my eight outstanding days holiday in the next four weeks. Can my company force this on me and my colleagues?’

Catherine Kerr, partner and head of employment at law firm Primas, replies: ‘Employers have a right to ask employees to take holiday as long as they provide correct notice, which is double the notice of the holiday period. In your case, your employer should have given you 16 days’ notice of its intention for you to take eight days’ holiday. 

‘Whether or not it is reasonable for an employer to ask employees to take holidays during this crisis remains to be seen as the Government’s guidance is silent on this point.’

Richard Wilson writes: ‘My son has a small building business. He has work which can be carried out using all the safeguards advised. Some of the employees want to be furloughed and are refusing to work on site. We can’t afford to furlough them. 

‘Is it ok to lay them off without pay? Or do we terminate their contract seeing that they are refusing to work on site – or are we likely to be taken to court for constructive dismissal?’

Kerr replies: ‘If there is work to be done and it can be done safely and in line with Government guidance, your employees cannot be furloughed as there is work for them to do and you can ask them to do it. You can choose to furlough some employees you don’t need – it doesn’t cost the employer anything.

‘If you decide to terminate their employment on the basis that they are refusing to work, you would need to engage them in a fair and reasonable dismissal process to try to reduce the risk of an unfair dismissal claim via the employment tribunal. 

‘However, only employees that have worked for you for a continuous period of two years or more can claim unfair dismissal.’

I’M STILL PAYING FOR DENTAL TREATMENT

Keith Kiely writes: ‘I pay £81 per month via direct debit for dental treatment to Denplan. My dentist is now closed to patients. My dentist has offered to reduce my payment to a lower treatment plan, even though she is no longer treating patients. 

‘During this current situation with limited finances, I feel my monthly payments would be better used helping my family rather than enabling my dentist to continue to earn an income.’

Dentist costs: Patients with a monthly plan with Denplan can suspend cover

Dentist costs:

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Coronavirus Chicago: Woodlawn dentist Dr. Ogbonna Bowden provides relief for dental emergencies, despite pandemic

CHICAGO (WLS) — With a fractured tooth, one South Shore resident couldn’t wait.

“By this weekend, extreme pain. I was extremely uncomfortable,” said Kortney Mims.

Mims got her temperature checked and found careful safety protocol at My Dental Gallery, including a device that limits contact during dental procedures.

“That reduces the aerosol by 90%, and we have our regular PPE to protect us from whatever comes out of the patient’s mouth,” said Dr. Ogbonna Bowden from My Dental Gallery.

“I’m just very grateful they could get me in and take care of me at such a crazy time,” Mims said. “I have a huge smile underneath this mask I’m so happy and I’m so relieved.”

Bowden closed his three dental offices but is seeing patients with dental emergencies at his Woodlawn office on63rd Street.

“It’s natural, if you have pain, natural you would go to the ER, but we don’t front line workers dealing with dental emergencies when pandemic is going on,” Bowden said.

Bowden says those with dental emergencies coming to an ER would likely not get treatment for the dental problem, only pain meds to address symptoms.

While Bowden does his part to help those in pain, his business struggles with 90% fewer patients. He is now using personal reserves to keep staff on part-time and pay for their health insurance.

“I may have to cash in 401K, whatever is needed to make sure everyone is okay and this business still stands in this community is everything to me,” Bowden said.

Applications for local and federal money have been submitted, so for now, Bowden is doing what he can for patients and staff.

Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.

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Coronavirus

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For assistance, you may Email or call the Joint Information Center 1-888-333-0461

COVID-19 Symptoms CDC.gov What to Do If Sick CDC.gov Frequently Asked Questions

Map and Demographic information for COVID-19 cases in Montana

Tribal Resources

If you are a member of the public and are concerned about getting tested for COVID-19, please contact your primary care provider.

Montana state and local public health officials are monitoring the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation very closely.  Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, you can take simple steps to protect yourself and your family:

  • Follow Governor Bullock’s Directive to stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19,
  • Avoid contact with sick people when possible,
  • Cover your cough and sneezes with the crook of your elbow or a tissue
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and wash your hands frequently
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe

Call ahead to a healthcare professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing.

You can contact your local county or tribal health department for questions regarding COVID-19, testing or what may be occurring in your community.


 

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Coronavirus NYC: Dentist handing out free face masks to patient’s caregivers, others in Manhattan

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — It may look like she is jousting, but in fact, Dr. Alisa Kauffman is fighting to keep people healthy.

She is a dentist who usually makes house calls to the homebound elderly in Manhattan, but these days, it’s all about tele-dentistry and giving out masks.

“It’s just a simple surgical mask,” she said, “The ones all dentists use commonly.”

She was proactive when it came to her patients and their caregivers.

“In early March I was telling all of the caregivers, ‘You need to start wearing a mask, you’re traveling on public transportation, you’re taking care of sick people,'” Dr. Kauffman said.

And then she started giving them away.

She has given out hundreds; each bagged, to minimize germs, dangling at the end of a long pole.

Dr. Kauffman has asthma, which puts her at high risk for complications from the new coronavirus, but she’s compelled to do this.

She says they are free and she will give them out until she has none left.

And as for her patients, she can’t wait to get back to them in person.

“To be honest, maybe someone is watching out for my older patients because they’re not really having a lot of emergencies,” Dr. Kauffman said. “I’m really fortunate my housecall patients are okay.”

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Post-Soviet strongmen prescribe vodka, hockey and folk medicine against coronavirus

Take, for instance, Belarus, a small country sandwiched between Russia and European Union member Poland: President Alexander Lukashenko has shrugged off concerns about Covid-19, telling his people that hockey, vodka, and banya — a traditional sauna — are the best cures.

Lukashenko, who has ruled the country of 9.5 million people for more than a quarter of a century, has imposed few restrictions to prevent coronavirus from spreading further.

Restaurants, parks and bars remain open. Mass sporting events go on as scheduled and attract hundreds of spectators, in defiance of the World Health Organization’s social distancing recommendations. The Belarussian Premier League is now the only soccer competition on the continent.

And Lukashenko himself hasn’t limited public appearances, opting to play in a hockey match on Saturday.

“It’s better to die standing than to live on your knees,” he said, rinkside in full hockey gear, in an interview with state television. “This is a fridge, this is healthy, there is nothing better than sport, especially ice which is the real anti-viral medicine.”
Belarus has officially reported 94 cases of coronavirus — and no deaths — but Lukashenko’s critics have cast doubt on those statistics, warning that authorities there could be downplaying the numbers as the country gears up for a presidential election later this year.
Lukashenko has made his own recommendations to combat the virus, suggesting that Belarusians should drink vodka to “poison the virus,” or attend a banya.

“I once mentioned that people need to go to banya to fight different viruses, this one included, since Covid-19 doesn’t like high temperatures and dies at +60 C, as the experts informed me,” Lukashenko said, adding that if you don’t have hand sanitizer, drink vodka.

“When you get out of sauna you shouldn’t just wash your hands — down a shot of vodka,” he said. “I don’t drink myself, and I don’t advocate for it, but I’ll be okay with, it’s tolerable at least until Victory Day on May 9.”

There is no clear evidence to indicate that the coronavirus can be controlled by high temperatures, experts say.

Business as usual

Belarus has yet to close its borders — its response so far has been limited to a two-week quarantine order for all those arriving in the country. But all of its neighbors — Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia — have shut theirs.

Work hasn’t stopped either, as Lukashenko is concerned at how the coronavirus response is hurting the global economy. He says he found inspiration in US President Donald Trump’s suggestion that the cure for Covid-19 should not be worse than the virus itself.

“I liked his recent statements very much,” Lukashenko said of Trump, during a visit to a plaster plant last week, according to an official transcript. “He said, ‘If we do not immediately return to enterprises and start working, then much more Americans will die from unemployment than from coronavirus.’ Now you understand why I didn’t close the factories.”

In post-Soviet Central Asia, some local strongmen have

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Beat Saber’s Fitbeat is a new fitness track to help with the coronavirus lockdown

Never has Beat Saber been a better tool for keeping fit in VR than in the current crisis the planet is facing. With that in mind, the VR juggernaut just released a new, fitness-focused song.

Fitbeat was created by Beat Games’ own Jaroslav Beck, the studio’s former CEO. Last year, he stepped down to instead focus on the music. His new track definitely has a classic Beat Saber vibe. This being a fitness-focused track, it’s sure to get you moving.

You can get the track today on Steam, Oculus, and PSVR. Beat Saber has now sold over two million copies, so don’t expect to stop hearing about it any time soon.

Beat Saber was already a great tool for keeping fit in VR; we’ve seen countless stories about players shedding weight by playing every day. Along with games like OhShape, it’s a great companion for staying in shape during this period of self-isolation.

The Beat Saber team settled on the track’s name a few weeks back. Other options included “Racing for Toilet Paper,” “Quaranqueen,” and “Ow My Arms.” I’m especially fond of that last one.

GamesBeat Summit - It's a time of change in the game industry. Hosted online April 28-29.

Fitbeat’s arrival follows last month’s launch of a premium Timbaland pack that included five new songs. Paired with the recent Panic! At The Disco and Green Day packs, Beat Saber really has enough to keep you active during isolation.

This story originally appeared on Uploadvr.com. Copyright 2020

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