2020.04.19

News Headlines - 19 April 2020

State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses - The Washington Post

In January 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing took the unusual step of repeatedly sending U.S. science diplomats to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which had in 2015 become China’s first laboratory to achieve the highest level of international bioresearch safety (known as BSL-4). WIV issued a news release in English about the last of these visits, which occurred on March 27, 2018. The U.S. delegation was led by Jamison Fouss, the consul general in Wuhan, and Rick Switzer, the embassy’s counselor of environment, science, technology and health. Last week, WIV erased that statement from its website, though it remains archived on the Internet.

Warm weather may have no impact on COVID-19 - Harvard Gazette

Harvard researchers examining the common cold for hints about how the COVID-19 virus might behave said that summer may not save us and that repeated periods of social distancing may be needed to keep serious cases from overwhelming the hospital system.
The findings, published online in the journal Science on Tuesday, were produced by scientists from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Departments of Epidemiology and of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. Researchers led by postdoctoral fellow Stephen Kissler and doctoral student Christine Tedijanto used close genetic cousins of SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes COVID-19 - to model how it might behave in the coming months... In every scenario modeled, they found that warm weather did not halt transmission. That was because, in the case of the common cold, a large segment of the population typically gets sick and develops immunity by spring. With SARS-CoV-2, however, enough of the population will likely remain vulnerable, allowing it to spread even if transmission is reduced in warmer months.

Conservatives protest coronavirus restrictions in Maryland, Texas; Florida beaches reopen to crowds - The Washington Post

As the United States surpassed 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, conservative groups organized protests to local restrictions this weekend. The demonstrations, which have bubbled up in Maryland, Utah, Texas, California, Arizona, Washington and Colorado, come as several U.S. governors have taken steps to gradually reopen their states and ease restrictions - some of which kicked in this weekend.

Hacking against corporations surges as workers take computers home - Reuters

Hacking activity against corporations in the United States and other countries more than doubled by some measures last month as digital thieves took advantage of security weakened by pandemic work-from-home policies, researchers said... Software and security company VMware Carbon Black said this week that ransomware attacks it monitored jumped 148% in March from the previous month, as governments worldwide curbed movement to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 130,000.

Gunman kills at least 16 in Nova Scotia in Canada's worst mass shooting - Reuters

A gunman who at one point masqueraded as a policeman killed at least 16 people in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia during a 12-hour rampage, authorities said on Sunday, in what was the country’s worst modern-era mass shooting.
Among the victims of the shooting spree that spread across part of the Atlantic Canadian province was RCMP officer Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the force with two children.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the gunman, 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, who worked as a denturist, appeared at one stage to have been wearing part of a police uniform. He had also painstakingly disguised his car to look like a police cruiser.

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