HALF of ‘most severe patients’ are under 65 – coronavirus affects young as well as old

The national death toll from the outbreak over the past 24 hours leapt by 627 to 4,032 – by far the largest daily rise in absolute terms since the contagion emerged a month ago. Italy overtook China on Thursday as the country to register the most deaths from the virus. Before Friday, it had never recorded more than 475 fatalities in a single day. Head of Lombardy’s crisis care unit Dr Antonio Pesenti has revealed 50 percent of patients in the ICU are under 65 years old.

Speaking to Sky News, Dr Antonio Pesenti said: “50 percent of our patients in the ICU are over 65 years old.

“But that means the other 50 percent is younger than 65.

“We have patients who are 20 and 30 years old.

“Those are severe like the old ones.”

Responding to the growing crisis, the northern region of Veneto shut parks and said residents could no longer go for walks, while adjacent Emilia-Romagna banned jogging and bicycle rides, saying people had to stay indoors to prevent infections.

Lombardy, at the epicentre of the epidemic, said about 100 soldiers would soon be deployed to help local police enforce the lockdown, and called on the government to impose new measures to keep Italians at home.

Officials are especially worried by the situation in Lombardy’s capital and Italy’s second city, Milan.

The country’s largest cities had so far been relatively lightly hit by the outbreak, but there are now 3,804 people infected in the financial hub and its hinterland.

The number of new cases in and around Milan rose by 526, or 16%, the largest daily increase for any province in Lombardy.

“The frontline is now in Milan,” Massimo Galli, head of the infectious diseases unit at the city’s Sacco hospital, told La Repubblica newspaper. “I am extremely worried by what is happening … there are still too many people out and about.”

The government last week ordered restaurants, bars and most shops to shut down nationwide until March 25.

In addition, it shut schools and universities and told everyone to stay at home for all but absolutely essential needs until April 3.

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Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday the measures would have to be extended, but gave no further details.

Looking to boost morale, all Italian radio stations, for the first time, simultaneously broadcast the national anthem at 11.00 a.m. (1000 GMT), followed by three iconic songs, “Azzurro,” “La canzone del sole” and “Nel blu dipinto di blu”.

However, the national mood has grown gloomier this week as the death toll has risen inexorably.

“It feels like we are in another world. I don’t know, it is a really bad feeling. I hope it will finish soon because really, this it is not good,” said Rome resident Anna Marcotullio, 53.

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How Kingston is doing good, staying connected during the coronavirus pandemic

With the coronavirus pandemic hitting the country, everyone is trying to do their part to stay safe, to distance themselves from others and in some cases self-isolate.

In stressful times, it’s difficult to distance yourself from your friends and your community.

Luckily, despite encouragement from public health officials to practise social distancing, people in the Kingston region are still finding safe ways to connect and to be kind to each other.

In an effort to bring some good news to all the bad, we’ve compiled a list of kind things people are doing in the community to pull through the pandemic together.

Giving a helping hand

Every day, between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., Lionhearts Inc., will be serving take-home meal options, grab-and-go snacks, fresh fruit, vegetables, pastries/fresh bread, hot chocolate, warm clothing, personal toiletries, fresh socks/towels, and a point of entry (listening ear) to access other required emergency services at Skeleton Park. The group says it is looking for volunteers.

For the last several days, SBT Comics have been filling their empty games room with donations of non-perishable items that staff can donate to those in need.

Dr. Kieran Moore, medical officer for health for KFL&A Public Health, published the following list of emergency food service in Kingston as well.

Queen’s medical students are also offering free child care for health-care workers in the area until Friday, April 3.

“We may not be healthcare providers yet but we are trained to be leaders in our community and have the opportunity to help our colleagues,” the group says.

Those who want to volunteer can sign up here.

Freebies

Amaranth Stoneware is giving away free clay. For those with kids at home looking for something to do, this may be a fun activity.

The city of Kingston has lifted all hourly parking fees downtown and is offering free transit for the next few weeks.

Auto Service Kingston, in a bid to support local restaurants struggling during the pandemic, is buying gift cards from local favourites to give away to its customers.

Staying connected

Denis Faubert, the bagpipe man, will be playing Amazing Grace every day at noon at 160 Glen Castle Rd. He also will be accepting donations to the food bank at the same time.

Residents at Helen Henderson Care Centre in Amherstview and Gananoque’s Carveth Nursing Home have written personalized messages on pieces of paper that were then posted on social media by centre staff.

“This project was just a way to connect the residents with their families and friends. The families are very much missing them,” says Shannon Buell, the activity director for Carveth Nursing Home.

The Alibi is suggesting that those working from home, or who are self-isolating, step out of their houses once at noon to say “hello” to their neighbours.

“Stay at home and be safe, but know you are not alone.”

Kingston 1000 Islands Cruises will be sounding the horn of its Island Queen every day at noon to show support for health-care workers during the over the next few weeks. Kingston Trolley Tours streetcars will also be taking part in the initiative.

Cheery and helpful Facebook groups

CareMongering-YGK/Kingston: The group was created so people could share good news and helpful tips, and to create a space free from the constant stream of bad news related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We Care We Share Chat Room on Facebook shares good news, helpful tips, and ideas for those wanting to help each other out in the Kingston area.

This is an evolving list and will be updated with more information as it becomes available. If you have an event, service or group you’d like to highlight, please send details to [email protected]

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Punters watch Boris Johnson announcing pubs will close in a bar

Punters watched on in dismay as Boris Johnson announced the official lockdown of their local boozers in today’s live coronavirus update press conference.

The Prime Minister effectively closed down the whole country today.

He has ordered pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and gyms to shut their doors in a bid to slow down the spread of the coronavirus.

As the COVID-19 outbreak sweeps its way across the globe, Johnson said he understood just how distressing it was to take away the ancient rights of the British people to go to the pub.

However, he said it was absolutely essential to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The punters looked in shock as the Prime Minister announced the news.

Boris Johnson added: "I do accept that what we're doing is extraordinary: we’re taking away the ancient, inalienable right of free-born people of the United Kingdom to go to the pub, and I can understand how people feel about that.

"It's a huge wrench to do that, everybody understands that. It’s heartbreaking to think of the businesses that will face difficulties as a result of the measures this country has had to take.”

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Some may be tempted to head down to their local tonight, or go out to a bar, but the Prime Minister has warned Brits to stay away.

According to the Guardian, punters are still at pubs with no signs of leaving.

Shortly after the announcement, with Johnson still speaking, the Guardian said that one punter rushed to call his friends and said: “Listen, you’d better hurry up and get here because all the pubs are shutting at 7pm. Hurry up.”

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His announcement came after scientists advised the Government to restrict and control the spread of the virus. They said the restrictions will need to be in place for most of the year at least.

The Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling said while the severity of measures could fluctuate, “stricter” measures would need to be enforced for at least half of the year in order to keep cases at a level the NHS can cope with.

It comes as a further 39 people in England were confirmed to have died after testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the UK death toll to 183.

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Winnipeg man wanted in shooting death on College Avenue

Winnipeg police have issued a Canada-wide arrest warrant in connection with the shooting death of a man at a College Avenue home earlier this week.

Vincent Scott Ross, 24, was found shot in a multi-unit home in the 500 block of College Avenue around 3 p.m. Monday.

Ross was rushed to hospital in critical condition, where he later died.

The homicide is the city’s seventh of 2020.

On Friday, police said an arrest warrant has been obtained for Christian James Bruce, 28, of Winnipeg, on a charge of second-degree murder.

Bruce is five feet nine inches tall and roughly 146 pounds with a medium build.

Bruce has brown eyes and is believed to have black hair. He has various skull-related tattoos on both of his arms as well as tribal-style tattoos on his face.

Police warn not to approach Bruce.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call 911 and anyone with additional information that might help investigators should call 204-986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS.

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Coronavirus spreads fear, isolation, death to elderly worldwide

(Reuters) – Grace Dowell, a 63-year-old grandmother, has stopped grocery shopping and canceled all her doctor’s appointments. No one is allowed into her rural Maryland home. Every piece of mail is disinfected.

Dowell decided last week that strict isolation was the only way to protect herself, her husband and her mother from COVID-19, the virus that has killed more than 10,000 people across the globe and is proving especially deadly for the elderly.

Dowell, a retired labor union worker, has rheumatoid arthritis and a compromised immune system. Her husband Donald, 74, suffers from emphysema. Her mother, Margaret Hildebrandt, 93, also has a lung disease and needs oxygen. Dowell took over her mother’s care from a visiting nurse because she worried an outsider could contaminate the home.

“If my mom gets this, she’d be gone in a day,” said Dowell, who wears a baby-monitor and answers her mother’s calls for help through the night. “My mom beat cancer nine times. I don’t want her to die from this.”

The elderly are especially vulnerable in the global pandemic and health officials and governments are increasingly calling for extreme measures to safeguard them. Across the globe, many cities have all but shut down as officials issue dire warnings for younger people – who can carry the virus without knowing it – to avoid their parents and grandparents. But this growing isolation of the elderly has spawned its own crisis, as families try to balance the need to care for loved ones with directives to stay away, shifting the burden to overstretched governments and medical facilities.

Studies suggest the severity of coronavirus rises with age. In Italy, which now has the world’s highest death count, the average age of those dying is 80, according to a study by the Italian national institute of health. In China, where the pandemic started, people 70 and older accounted for just 12 percent of all infections but more than half of all deaths, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In the United States, people 65 and older have thus far accounted for 31 percent of cases, 53 percent of intensive care hospitalizations and 80 percent of deaths, according to U.S. government data.

Beyond the grim statistics, the pandemic has spawned countless small dramas of isolation and anxiety across the globe. In a village in Lebanon, a grandmother walled herself off in her home, unable to properly grieve her dead husband. In Spain, nursery home workers produced a Facebook video so residents could reassure their loved ones. And in Colombia – where the government on Tuesday ordered citizens 70 and over to stay inside until May 31 – seniors stocked up on supplies for two months of isolation.

“They need to take these measures because many people are taking the situation lightly,” said shopper Carlos Manrique, 74, as he loaded up on potatoes, eggs and rice at a supermarket in Bogota. “I’m taking care of myself, as God orders.”

Just as often, older people greeted the epidemic with defiance.

“I am not worried about the coronavirus at all,” said Yutaka Kobayashi, 85, who refuses to wear a mask while working in his Tokyo shoe store. “People of my generation were made to wash their hands by their mothers and grandmothers.”

‘HELLO GRAN, HOW ARE YOU?’

In Italy, where more than 3,400 people have died since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21, local officials fret about the psychological state of elderly people confined to their homes for weeks in a government lockdown. The town of San Casciano in Val di Pesa launched an initiative called “Ciao Nonna, come stai?” or “Hello Gran, how are you?” urging all young people to call elderly relatives – or even older people they don’t know.

One nursing home, Nuestra Casa La Grande in Navares de Enmedio, Spain, recorded a video of 24 elderly residents and posted it on Facebook, encouraging each other to blow kisses to the camera for their loved ones.

Jonathan Barrios, a 24-year-old student living with his parents in La Parla, Madrid, said he doesn’t dare see his grandparents, who live on the same street. His 80-year-old grandfather has lung cancer. His grandmother, 70, has symptoms of the virus – a fever, cough and difficulty breathing – but can’t get tested because of a shortage of kits.

“I feel strange and frustrated,” Barrios said. “All I can do for my grandparents is to call them.”

The forced isolation perhaps cuts deepest for those in mourning. Joey Ayoub, a Lebanese researcher, said his grandfather died this week of problems unrelated to the coronavirus. He worries for his grandmother, who suddenly lives alone.

Only six or seven people attended her husband’s funeral, which Ayoub said would otherwise have attracted “dozens and dozens.” They all sat at a distance from one another during a rushed service.

“She can’t mourn properly,” he said. “She cannot do it with friends.”

‘IF I GET IT, I GET IT’

Some families have been hit hard when senior care centers closed, forcing them to take off work to watch over relatives. In the central Japan city of Nagoya, the mayor asked 126 such facilities to shut down for two weeks after a cluster of coronavirus cases was found at one of them.

Japan has already weathered serious outbreaks of the virus and has huge numbers of people at risk – more than 28 percent of the nation’s population is 65 or over. But now, some people are venturing out again.

“If I get it, I get it,” said Kazuko Mori, 74, a part-time cleaner in suburban Ichikawa, which had clusters of cases originating at a sports gym and an elderly daycare service. “If you get too nervous about it all, that isn’t good, either.”

Many elderly people said they can’t follow government directives to stay home.

In Kibera, a settlement of densely packed neighborhoods where few homes have running water in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, volunteers knocked on doors to tell people – especially the elderly – about the coronavirus. In one courtyard filled with children, Fatima Juma listened intently as Zulela Abdul explained the risks to her and handed over a small bottle of hand sanitizer.

Juma, who says she’s about 82, had heard of the disease on television but didn’t know its symptoms. She was fine with washing her hands but rejected the idea of social distancing. She takes care of her grandchildren, the youngest one two years old, while their parents worked. She also needed to see her friends, she said.

“This government directive is not good for me. I need to go to the market,” she said firmly, bangles flashing in the sunlight. “If there is a death outside, I need to go and console that person.”

In Communist-run Cuba, which has Latin America’s oldest population, many people are forced to work long after retirement age to supplement meager pensions. Even in normal times, they endure long lines at stores and pharmacies.

“I am very worried because I have asthma, and if I get it, I will die,” said Maria Torres Hernandez, 75, waiting alongside dozens of others outside a pharmacy in central Havana that had just received its ration of supplies. “I have to look after myself.”

Angel Pupo Osorio, 80, works as a parking attendant in Havana to supplement his $12-a-month pension, and can’t afford to quit. So far, the disease hasn’t hit his neighborhood.

“I’m going to continue working as long as I can, out of necessity,” said Pupo, wearing his uniform, a scarlet jacket and cap.

‘ISOLATE MYSELF HOW?’

Lucy Mayimela, a 68-year-old grandmother, first heard about the coronavirus on Monday when she made a trip to buy spinach for her fruit and vegetable stand in Kliptown, on the outskirts of Johannesburg. The farmer selling it to her wore a mask and insisted everyone repeatedly wash their hands before touching anything.

Mayimela laughed bitterly at a suggestion she heard on the radio that she should isolate herself at home.

“Isolate myself how?” she scoffed.

She lives in a small shack with six relatives, in a community with a single wash basin and toilet for dozens of people. The produce stand she has run for 36 years provides her family’s only income.

“I’ll end up dying of hunger” if people stay indoors, she said. “If God wants me to die, then it’s my time.”

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Cancelling the Olympics due to coronavirus ‘not on the agenda,’ says IOC president

Despite mounting global efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and its president Thomas Bach remain steadfast in their determination to host the Tokyo Olympics.

In a lengthy interview with the New York Times published on Thursday, Bach said: “Cancellation (of the Olympics) is not on the agenda.”

Bach also said it’s “too early” to make any decisions on the fate of the Games and whether they should be postponed.

“What makes this crisis so unique and so difficult to overcome is the uncertainty,” Bach said. “It would not be responsible in any way to set a date or take a decision right now, which would be based on the speculation about the future developments.”

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Some B.C. municipalities close public playgrounds to fight coronavirus

A number of B.C. municipalities have closed public playgrounds in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

On Thursday, Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West said all playgrounds will be closed “in the best interests of our kids and community health.”

Delta, West Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver, and the Town of Sidney made similar announcements on Friday.

B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Thursday that parents needed to use “common sense” when it comes to kids and playgrounds, saying children have the potential spread the virus to parents and grandparents.

“If there is a group of kids all mingling together on a playground, that’s not what we need right now,” Dr. Henry said.

“We need it to be in a controlled environment. Parents should not be letting children go and have playdates and go onto playgrounds with other groups of children, because we know that that can transmit this virus and then they bring it home to you and they bring it home to your family.”

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WHO message to young people about coronavirus: ‘You’re not invincible’

World Health Organization officials warned young people Friday that although they’re less likely to die from the novel coronavirus, they are still at risk of severe illness.

“You’re not invincible,” said WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference on COVID-19.

“One of the things that we are learning is that although older people are the hardest-hit, younger people are not spared. Data from many countries clearly show that people under 50 make up a significant proportion of patients requiring hospitalization,” he said.

“This virus could put you in hospital for weeks or even kill you.”

One recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly 40 per cent of hospitalized patients were aged 20 to 54.

Canada’s own data shows that 21 per cent of cases are in people aged 20-39, as of March 19, though the numbers from the Public Health Agency of Canada don’t mention how severe their illness was.

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Alberta government releases plan to keep K-12 students learning amid COVID-19 pandemic

Amid the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak, all Grade 6 and 9 provincial achievement exams and Grade 12 diploma exams have been cancelled in Alberta.

On Friday, the province released information about how students will continue to learn while they’re at home including online options, course packages or telephone check-ins. All classes in the province were cancelled on Sunday, as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Government expects that every student, regardless of their geographic location or socioeconomic status, will continue to learn while in-school classes across the province are cancelled,” the news release read.

In an effort to identify what content needs to be delivered to students, teachers will take a look at the year’s curriculum and prioritize what hasn’t been covered and what’s manageable for students working from home.

Kindergarten to Grade 3

  • Plans will focus on language and literacy as well as math outcomes of the provincial curriculum
  • An average of five hours of work will be assigned per student per week and teachers will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of the materials

Grades 4 to 6

  • Content will continue to focus on language and literacy and math, as well as an opportunity to incorporate science and social studies through “cross-curricular learning”
  • An average of five hours of work will be assigned per student per week and teachers will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of the materials

Grades 7 to 9

  • Plans will focus on core math, language and literacy, science and social studies curriculum outcomes
  • An average of 10 hours of work will be assigned per student per week and teachers will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of the materials

Grades 10 to 12

  • These students will focus on core courses required for high school graduation including language (English, French and French language arts, social studies, math, biology, chemistry and physics)
  • Content from other courses will be delivered wherever possible and the government has put accommodations in place for students who are unable to complete their courses
  • An average of three hours of work per course per week will be assigned and teachers will be expected to work with their students and parents on the delivery of the materials

Tadele Wakie has a son in Grade 1 at Belvedere Elementary school in Edmonton.

“Me and my wife are trying to help him as much as we can but it’s not like a school; it’s very different,” he said, adding he’s a bit worried about his son’s education..

“We can’t help him like the help he gets from school.”​

The government also announced every student will receive final grades and will receive a report card appropriate to the grade level.

“All students who were on track to progress to the next grade will,” the government said.

High school students who were on track to receive the required 100 credits to graduate will still be eligible to receive a high school diploma. Principals have been given the ability to award up to 15 credits to students in Grade 12 whose program has been negatively impacted by cancellations.

“If the student is unable to complete a course that would have led them to achieving a high school diploma, such as a work experience or a career and technology studies course, principals have the ability to award credits to ensure the student graduates,” according to the news release.

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Regina Pats honour tickets purchased to final home game, cancelled due to coronavirus

Each ticket bought to the Regina Pats’ final regular-season home game scheduled for Friday night will be honoured during the 2021-21 campaign.

The pats were set to play the Moose Jaw Warriors when the novel coronavirus pandemic cut the season short.

“The Regina Pats would like to thank the Pats regiment for their support this season and hope everyone can be patient with us as we work through the cancellation of our last home game,” said Stacey Cattell, Regina Pats COO.

“We are working hard to make sure everyone who purchased a ticket will get a chance to come to the Brandt Centre next year.”

Season tickets holders will receive an additional voucher added to their My Pats accounts next season.

Any unused Flex vouchers redeemed for Friday’s game will automatically be exchanged for the 2020-21 season, available in the My Pats account.

Safeway vouchers can be exchanged at the Regina Pats business office once tickets for next season become available.

Pats staff will contact group ticket purchasers, birthday package buyers, suite holders and premium seat holders to help deal with the situation.

The Pats have also extended their early bird deadline for season ticket renewal to April 30.

Fans can watch the Pats announce their individual award winners for the 2019-20 season through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on Friday at 7 p.m.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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