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WHO Flip Flops Again, Warns Mink Have Spread Virus To Humans “In Limited Cases”: Live Updates

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.


  • WHO warns minks have spread virus to humans
  • US deaths pass 120k according to Reuters
  • Boston Fed chief says reopening to early threatens the economic recovery
  • Arizona reports latest covid numbers
  • Florida passes 100k cases
  • Kudlow talks up small biz plan
  • WHO says yesterday saw biggest jump in new cases
  • NYC enters 'phase 2' reopening
  • More evidence emerges showing virus hit earlier than previously thought
  • 24 states have "R" above 1
  • Spain welcomes back tourists
  • UK PM unveils latest step in reopening plan

* * *

Update (1230ET): Following warnings that first surfaced late last week, he WHO warned on Monday that a limited number of human coronavirus infections have been traced back to direct infection from minks, the small rodent-like mammals that are prized for their fur. Though the virus's primary means of transmission is human to human, Dr. Tedros confirmed that there have been cases of minks spreading the virus to humans in the Netherlands.

Since mid-April, the mink on fur farms across Denmark and the Netherlands have started getting sick, with symptoms ranging from runny noses to potentially fatal respiratory distress. Veterinarians soon concluded that the mink had caught the virus from their human handlers.

Nearly half a million mink have since been culled from more than  a dozen fur farms in the Netherlands.

What PETA and other animal rights groups have denounced as "brutality" are intended to eliminate the possibility that the mink could become a reservoir for the virus that causes COVID-19, complicating efforts to eradicate the virus. Researchers at a university in London have warned that surveillance on pets should begin since we already know dogs and cats can carry the virus.

Though the chances probably aren't huge, it's technically possible that pets could become meat shields for the virus.

"We need to develop surveillance strategies to ensure we don’t get taken by surprise by a large outbreak in animals, which could pose a threat not just to animal health but to human health as well,” co-author Joanne Santini, a professor of structural and molecular biology, said in a statement.

For all we know, animals could one day play a critical role in helping to spread the virus, even if humans are overwhelmingly driving its spread. The Netherlands has undertaken among the broadest efforts to understand how a zoonotic virus that originated in animals before hopping to humans may now be spreading back to animals.

"We know that these viruses are capable of mutating,” said Peter Rabinowitz, a physician who directs the University of Washington Center for One Health Research, which is studying the virus in household pets. “There could be changes in the virus, and these human-animal transmission events could play more of a role in the future, and we have to be more vigilant.”

For example, some studies have warned that cats are particularly susceptible to coronaviruses, so cats should probably be monitored for signs of the virus.

Once again it seems the WHO and CDC, who had initially dismissed the possibility that animals and pets could spread the disease, are changing their minds – just the latest example of scientists telling the public "no" when the available information merely showed that "we don't know." What's more, this was after we determined that the virus spread to humans via "zoonotic transmission" involving bats.

After reports of infected dogs emerged from Hong Kong, Dr. Fauci and the CDC said there was no evidence animals could transmit the virus to humans. Now, the CDC says there is no evidence animals “play a significant role” in transmission (while recommending that people involve their pets in social distancing, changing its stance without even a notice.

Just like it did with its stance on masks, border closures and lockdowns, the WHO is once again shifting its messaging re: animal virus carriers. Critics are claiming this initial stance was "imprudent and confusing," according to J. Scott Weese, a professor at Ontario Veterinary College who in January argued on his blog that we should assume the virus could infect other species “until proven otherwise." Patients should have been asked about contact with animals since the start of the outbreak, he told WaPo.

"It’s better to prevent problems, and if you don’t look, you can’t act,” Weese said in an email.

Dr. Fauci, meanwhile, responding to a frustrated quip from President Trump over the weekend, insisted he wasn't "standing in the way" of a football season.

In Fed land, Eric Rosengren, the head of the Boston Fed, warned that states rushing to reopen threatened the economic recovery, and the central banker reiterated the need to keep rates lower for longer.

Finally, Reuters reported that the number of coronavirus deaths in the US has finally topped 120k.

* * *

Update (1130ET): Arizona's latest daily number of newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases came in a few hundred cases below the record high released earlier this month, while state reported just 3 deaths.

The state reported 2,777 cases in 24 hours on June 15, a week ago. Since then, the total number of cases in the state has grown by 1/3rd.

Earlier, we noted that Florida surpassed the 100k case mark after reporting another ~3.5k new cases, in line with recent highs.

* * *

Update (0850ET): As Larry Kudlow tries to jawbone markets higher by talking up the possibility of more stimulus for small (and probably not-so-small) businesses, analysts at DB have determined that 24 of the 50 US states now have an effective transmission rate – known as "R" – higher than 1, which means the virus is expanding. California has been trending higher for the last month and after falling back below 1.0, it has unfortunately bounced back to 1.05. Florida's rate has reached 1.39 and Texas is at 1.16.

* * *

The international community kicked off the summer with some disturbing news from the WHO: the NGO's tally of newly reported cases showed that Sunday marked the biggest single-day jump in new cases since the outbreak began, with most of these cases coming from North and South America.

As the WHO insisted that the virus is still "accelerating" which it warned about last week, Brazil reported more than 50k new cases in a single day – a record unmatched even by the US – while the worsening outbreaks along the American Sun Belt (which encompasses parts of the South and West) contributed more than 30k cases, nearly half the international daily total.

The record 183k+ jump in new cases helped rattle investor confidence overnight, as US stocks looked set to build on last week's losses after the bell.

As Florida and Texas officially surpass NYC as the virus epicenter of the US, the country's largest city on Monday entered the official start of 'Phase 2' of its reopening plan.

The US hasn't reported more than 31k cases in a day since May 1.

As the number of new cases in the US, Mexico, Brazil and India spirals out of control, a growing body of research suggests the virus likely started to circulate in and around Wuhan, and even in some areas in Europe and the US, as early as October or September. Now, according to a report in the LAT, California officials are slowly reexamining deaths in cases of unexplained respiratory failure or inflation to see if a mysterious syndrome impacting children might have caused any of the deaths.

The deaths date back as early as November, more than two months before the first documented coronavirus death in the US was confirmed on Feb. 6. China's first "confirmed" case was identified in Wuhan on Dec. 8, with the onset of symptoms believed to have occurred around Dec. 1.

As Spain enters the last phase of its reopening plan, which includes reopening the country’s tourism industry for the first time in more than 3 months, Dubai authorities announced late Sunday that the country would once again be allowing in tourists starting on July 7, while allowing locals to begin traveling again as early as Monday. Travelers visiting the country will however need a clean bill of health.

Spain will decide this week which visitors from outside Europe can enter as it welcomes back travelers from neighboring nations in an effort to revive a tourism industry hammered by the coronavirus lockdown, a minister said.

While the US death toll topped 120k and the Brazilian death toll topped 50k over the weekend, worldwide, at least 8.9 million people have been confirmed to be infected. At least 4.4 million have recovered, while more than 467,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins data.

A growing list of US states and countries, from California to Bulgaria, have been mandating that masks be worn indoors, while Kazakhstan plans to impose a two-day lockdown in the northern city of Kostanay, along with four nearby towns next weekend after a jump in fresh COVID-19 cases.

As India continues to report record numbers of new cases, the outbreak in neighboring Pakistan continued in the top 10 countries for daily coronavirus-case increases, with 4,471 new cases on Sunday, bringing its tally to 181,088 to date, according to government data. At least 89 people died of the virus on Sunday, taking its death toll to 3,661.

After a handful of American MLB players tested positive over the weekend, Serbia just announced that five players on the champion Serbian football squad Red Star Belgrade have tested positive for the coronavirus.

In the UK, officials are finally moving away from uncomfortable swab tests to "no-swab" saliva tests, which are being trialed in Southampton, southern England, and could result in a simpler and quicker way to detect outbreaks of the virus, the UK government said.

Meanwhile, Johnson on Monday is set to unveil his government's latest lockdown easing plan and the results of a review of the "2-meter rule" on Tuesday, with rumors about the possibility that the gov't will swap this out for a "one-meter rule".

Furthermore, UK Health Secretary Hancock suggested customers may need to register when visiting pubs and restaurants during this new phase to aid the public contact tracing effort (which hasn't turned out so well in NYC, hardly a surprise).

The mayor of Seoul said Monday that he fears the country is losing control over the virus, and will reimpose stronger social-distancing measures if the daily jump in infections does not come below an average of 30 cases over the next three days, which is lower than the most recent daily numbers reported.

"If Seoul gets penetrated (by the virus), the entire Republic of Korea gets penetrated," Park Won-soon said in a televised briefing. He also lamented what he described as complacency of citizens in social distancing, citing an increase in public transportation usage that he says has been approaching last year's levels in recent weeks.

Russia reported 7,600 new cases on Monday (remember, cases are reported with a 24-hour delay), pushing its nationwide case total to 592,280, the world's third-largest tally.

Hong Kong recorded around 30 new imported COVID-19 cases on Monday, marking the largest daily jump in two months, per the SCMP. Officials in Beijing, meanwhile, touting a "cliff-like" drop in new cases by the end of this week with efforts to control the spread of infections in the Chinese capital underway, said an "expert" from China's national health authority. The city of more than 20 million people reported its first case linked to a wholesale food market on June 11. So far, 236 people have been infected in the worst outbreak in Beijing since COVID-19 was identified. Beijing reported just nine new cases for Monday so far, a sharp drop from 22 a day earlier.

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