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Avira Antivirus Pro - Review 2020 - PCMag IndiaAvira Antivirus Pro - Review 2020 - PCMag IndiaPosted: 11 Jun 2020 12:00 AM PDTEvery computer needs antivirus protection, and one way companies can support that aim is to provide free antivirus to the masses. But these companies can't survive unless some users shell out their hard-earned cash for paid antivirus utilities. Piling on pro-only tools and components is one way companies encourage upgrading to a paid antivirus. Avira Antivirus Pro adds several components not available to users of Avira Free Security, but they don't really add much value. The biggest reason to pay for it is if you want to use Avira in a commercial setting, which isn't allowed with the free version.Avira's pricing is undeniably on the high side, with a list price of $59.88 per year for one license, $71.88 for three, and $95.88 for five. Admittedly, it seems to be perpetually on sale; just now, the one-license price is discounted to $44.99. That…

Antibody testing could be more effective at tracking COVID-19, says former CDC official - New Mexico Political Report

Antibody testing could be more effective at tracking COVID-19, says former CDC official - New Mexico Political Report


Antibody testing could be more effective at tracking COVID-19, says former CDC official - New Mexico Political Report

Posted: 02 Apr 2020 12:00 AM PDT

A different type of test than what is now being widely used could be more useful for tracking the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S, according to a former U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization official.

Currently, health officials are relying on one type of test, called PCR tests, to determine whether an individual is infected with the novel coronavirus known as SARS-COV-2, which causes COVID-19 in humans. Public health officials are then using that information to conduct an investigation in hopes of piecing together who else might have it, and who may need to be tested for it and self-isolate.

But Dr. Murray Cohen, a retired infectious disease expert at both the CDC and the WHO, told NM Political Report that the current COVID-19 tests are more useful in a clinical setting for doctors trying to diagnose a sick patient and suggested a different type of test that would help public health officials who are trying to understand the extent of the outbreak. 

Limits of the diagnostic PCR test

The United States' COVID-19 test uses what's called polymerase chain reaction, also known as a PCR, to detect the presence of viral genetic material. Here's how the process works in New Mexico: a trained technician or physician collects samples from the patient, either by swabbing in the nasal cavity or down the throat. Those specimens are then carefully transported to the state's Department of Health lab, or the private TriCore lab, both of which are located in Albuquerque.

RELATED: Lab announces increased COVID-19 testing capacity

The sample then undergoes a series of processes designed to locate the virus in the specimen. The idea is to amplify whatever genetic material is in the specimen, and then look for clues that the virus's genetic material is present. Lab technicians look for snippets of genetic code that are unique to the virus and wouldn't normally be present. If that unique code is found, then the patient has tested positive for the virus. If the code isn't found, then the patient has tested negative.

PCR testing is a diagnostic test, typically used in a hospital setting, that's now being used to help grapple with a public health emergency, Cohen said. It's a subtle but important distinction.

Even under normal circumstances, PCR testing has limits. The test gives officials only a snapshot of the virus's presence in an individual's body. But viral infections have a lifecycle that plays out over the course of weeks. An individual who is infected may not test positive using a PCR test if the individual was only recently exposed, for example, and the infection hasn't had enough time to ramp up.

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"Respiratory viruses hit a peak viral tinder after the infection, after it's established," Cohen said. "In an early phase, you might miss it just based on how and when you're taking the sample."

And because of the supply shortages, until recently, PCR tests have only been given to those who are currently suffering from three telltale symptoms; shortness of breath, a dry cough, and a fever. An individual with those three symptoms is most likely to have COVID-19. The state expanded the qualifications for who can get a test to include some who are asymptomatic on Tuesday.

"The test has been rationed, in a sense. It's only being used when someone is really sick," Cohen said. "The whole point is diagnostic — what you do when you're sick and you're in the hospital."

But some individuals may experience just a fever, or have only a cough and a fever, and be denied testing, even though they are infected with COVID-19. In that sense, the system is missing plenty of individuals who are carrying the virus and spreading it to others. 

Health departments have tried to get around this problem by incorporating tests for other viruses into their COVID-19 testing protocols. For example, an individual who experiences a cough and a fever may be first tested for the flu, or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). If both of those tests come back negative, then the patient is tested for COVID-19. But the system isn't perfect. A patient can be co-infected with both flu and COVID-19, for example.

And even more importantly, from a public health perspective, the test can't tell officials where the virus has been, or who has it who may not even realize they are sick.

"It's a clinical test, it's not a public health test," Cohen said. "It's perfectly fine as a clinical test.  "But that's not what we need in a pandemic."

Antibody testing can give officials more pertinent information

Last week, a public defender tested positive for COVID-19, weeks after she was first refused a test by officials because she lacked enough symptoms.

"She is the walking poster child for exactly the case as to why a diagnostic test is not a public health test. That's exactly the problem," Cohen said.

Testing for antibodies could give officials a much clearer picture of the outbreak, Cohen said. Antibodies are the molecules that the human body creates in response to a viral invasion. Each virus spurs the creation of unique antibodies within the body, so scientists could determine the presence of SARS-COV-2 by looking for the special antibodies the body created to fight it.

And there are a number of logistical advantages to using antibody tests, rather than relying only on PCR tests. For one, antibody tests are much less complicated and less labor-intensive than running PCR. 

"PCR is among the most complicated kinds of clinical tests that we have," Cohen said. "The equipment itself is somewhat sophisticated, but it's become very mainstream since genomics are so mainstream. They're really sensitive to the samples, and how the samples are taken, and how the samples are processed and transported — especially where the patient samples are being taken remotely from where the testing is."

Anyone who is swabbing individuals must be properly trained to collect specimens in the right manner, and those individuals are at increased risk of becoming infected themselves, he said. And the PCR testing can only be conducted in authorized labs. That's one of the reasons there can be long delays in getting testing results back

Cohen said an antibody test, on the other hand, can be nearly as easy as an at-home pregnancy test.

"It's only slightly more complicated than a blood sugar test for a diabetic or a self-pregnancy test," he said. "You take a sample [at home]. Some of them might be sputum [a mixture of saliva and mucus] like for 23andMe, or a finger prick for a drop of blood; and you mix it with a reagent and you put it on a strip and wait ten minutes, and depending on the change, the color, the band, whatever the indicator is, you're either negative or reactive [meaning antibodies are present]."

Cohen said these types of tests could be easily and widely distributed across the country in a matter of weeks, using the national distribution networks that are used under normal conditions for getting vaccines out to the public during flu season. 

Testing for antibodies could also offer something of a catch-all solution for tracking the virus. Individuals who are currently sick with COVID-19 would test positive with the antibody test, and because the human body keeps antibodies circulating in the blood for some time after an infection, the test would also tell scientists if an individual was infected at one time and recovered, something that the current diagnostic testing parameters might miss if that individual suffered more mild symptoms during the infection, or became sick before the PCR tests were widely available.

Most importantly, though, the antibody test would tell officials who is currently infected (or who had been infected and recovered) who suffered no symptoms. That's a piece of information the current testing parameters are missing entirely. 

"What we've needed is antibody testing," Cohen said.

Identifying asymptomatic carriers

The CDC said on Tuesday it estimates 25 percent of individuals infected with the novel coronavirus are asymptomatic, meaning they are carrying the virus but are experiencing no symptoms — and probably don't even know they're sick. 

Later that day, the state DOH announced it was expanding the testing parameters for COVID-19 to include asymptomatic individuals who have had contact with individuals who have already tested positive for COVID-19. 

RELATED: Governor, administration prepare for coronavirus 'surge'

There's good reason for that shift, too. Actor Idris Elba, for example, was asymptomatic when he tested positive after traveling in New Mexico. Elba was tested because he came into contact with another individual who later tested positive for the disease. 

Antibody testing could also help the state and the nation recover from the economic impacts of the outbreak, Cohen said.

"Part of why the epidemic is so dangerous right now, and part of why we're having to take these draconian measures," Cohen said, referring to the closure of nonessential businesses, emphasis on social distancings, and stay-at-home orders, "is because everybody is susceptible, because it's a novel virus. Nobody on Earth, no people have any innate immunity, so everybody's susceptible."

"Imagine how policies would change for self-isolation and quarantine, if we knew who was immune," Cohen said. "That would totally change everything that we're doing."

The good news is that we may soon have a better idea of who's immune, as well as who might be asymptomatic carriers. The FDA authorized a list of antibody tests over the last weeks. As those tests become more widespread, public health officials could have a better understanding of how to move forward.

"We know exactly how the virus performs, it's quite predictable. We just haven't been doing any testing. It's like surveillance with your eyes closed. You're not going to see anything," Cohen said. "This country's got 330 million people, we need a 100 million tests. But not PCR tests — antibody tests."

The Innovative Way Maternal Immunizations May Protect Newborns - Yahoo Lifestyle

Posted: 01 Apr 2020 12:00 AM PDT

Click here to read the full article.

When Patrice Gamble's seven-month-old son developed a runny nose, cough, and 102°F fever, she thought it was a cold. She brought him to an urgent care center where she was told "nothing was wrong" and that maybe, as a new mom, she was taking his temperature wrong. But when his symptoms worsened and his cough began to sound like he was choking on his tongue, she knew it was not "nothing" and brought him to an emergency room. 

"I felt terrible, helpless, and afraid. That's the only way to describe it. The cough alone was enough to break my heart. I could tell he was in pain by the way he'd whimper afterward," says Gamble. "It's not something I ever want to experience again."

At the hospital, Gamble's son was diagnosed with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and they recommended she have her son sleep on a slight incline to help with breathing. They also advised she frequently suction his nose and keep it lubricated with saline spray and "treat it as I would a 'typical' cold," she said. 

RSV is a lower respiratory-tract virus that nearly every child is exposed to it by age two. In adults and older children, it can look like a common cold, but it can be life-threatening, particularly for infants. Over 33 million children under age five get RSV each year; three million of them are hospitalized and about 120,000 die from complications of it. Infants under six months make up half of these hospitalizations and deaths. 

Fortunately, Gamble's son recovered after six weeks, but during that time, they took numerous trips to the pediatrician. Again and again, she was told all they could do was make him comfortable and provide supportive care. Though there is no specific treatment for RSV, scientists at Pfizer are hard at work trying to prevent the disease through research they are conducting to develop a vaccine that, if proven effective, could immunize the pregnant mother with the goal of increasing antibody levels in the mother. These antibodies may then get transferred from the mother to the baby during the remainder of her pregnancy. Once the baby is born, if the baby has received those mother-derived antibodies, the baby may be able to ward off RSV. If Pfizer is successful in clinical studies and receives approval from regulatory bodies, such a vaccine would likely be the first of this kind to be licensed.

How Maternal Immunizations Work

To see the potential of maternal immunizations, it's essential to understand a natural process that occurs during the second and third trimester of pregnancy called maternal immunity. This is when a mother can pass disease-fighting antibodies known as immunoglobulin G (IgG) to the baby in the womb.

These antibodies are capable of helping newborns fight off pathogens during the first few months of life — a period known as the "window of vulnerability" — before they are old enough to efficiently make their own or be immunized.

A pregnant mother is able to pass on many different disease-fighting antibodies, but the levels of antibodies circulating varies from person to person. It's a good system, but a mom may not have the right level of circulating antibody against RSV while she is pregnant, and infant mortality rates continue to be high. Every year, over 57,000 hospitalizations, 500,000 emergency department visits and 1.5 million outpatient clinic visits among children under five years of age are attributed to RSV in the U.S.

The goal is to boost maternal immunity with vaccines designed specifically to be used during pregnancy, to help mothers pass more antibodies to their babies. For each maternal vaccine being studied, the goal is to demonstrate that increasing the antibody level against a given disease through maternal immunization increases the potential for disease protection.

"Immunizing the mother in the last trimester, when the system of maternal antibody transfer is most active, has been shown to provide protection to the baby for influenza and tetanus," Kathrin Jansen, PhD, senior vice president and head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer, tells SheKnows. "We have designed our vaccine in a way that we hope will maximize the virus-neutralizing antibody response in the mother and enable the mother to pass those antibodies on to her baby."

Jansen says that the vaccines currently approved for use in pregnant woman have demonstrated to be safe and effective. For example, starting in the late '80s, there was an initiative launched by the World Health Organization to give pregnant women the tetanus vaccine, and since then, there's been a 96 percent decrease in neonatal tetanus deaths.

"None of those vaccines were ever licensed [for maternal immunization], but interestingly, the large body of data that emerged over the years was analyzed by a committee at the World Health Organization to investigate the safety of maternal immunization," says Jansen. "The committee concluded there is no evidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes from the vaccination of pregnant women with the inactivated viral, bacterial or toxoid vaccines it has investigated."

The Next Frontier in Maternal Medicine

Pfizer hopes to wrap up the phase two study for the RSV vaccine candidate later this year, and, if the data supports further investigations, plans to begin the third and final phase soon after. Pfizer is also currently studying a vaccine against Group B streptococcus disease (for maternal immunization as well), which is also in phase two studies. If these and future studies are successful, Pfizer plans to work with regulators in the U.S. and around the world to license the new vaccines in the next few years and bring them to patients. FDA approval would likely make Pfizer's RSV vaccine candidate the first RSV vaccine licensed specifically for use during pregnancy to protect infants, which would be a historic achievement that Jansen and everyone at Pfizer believe could usher in a new era in public health.

Global access to maternal vaccinations has the potential to further lower infant mortality rates. "Routine infant immunization has made a dent in the disease burden but there are still approximately 15,000 children dying from infectious diseases each day globally," says Jansen. "Part of the reason is that we have not been able to address infectious diseases efficiently in the very, very young."

It's an unmet need that maternal immunization is being studied for, and Pfizer is committed to bringing new vaccines to those who need protection. "We have an opportunity to look at the many other infectious diseases that affect the very young; the diseases that strike shortly after birth," says Jansen. "Further progress with maternal immunization could have a significant impact in protecting the most vulnerable in our society."

This post was created by SheKnows and sponsored by Pfizer.

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School flu vaccines not finished before Christmas in Wales - BBC News

Posted: 17 Dec 2019 12:00 AM PST

A child having the flu vaccineImage copyright Getty Images

Thousands of pupils in Wales have to wait until after Christmas to receive flu jabs after delays to the programme.

Health officials in England have warned the flu season started earlier than usual, saying children were at risk of becoming "super-spreaders" of the virus if left unvaccinated.

Only one health board in Wales said it had finished vaccinating in schools.

Public Health Wales said the numbers already vaccinated would help reduce the level of flu being spread.

Welsh health boards had been unable to complete the usual schools' flu immunisation programme because of a UK-wide delay with the delivery of the spray, Fluenz Tetra, caused by issues over routine testing.

The delay was announced at the start of November by Health Minister Vaughan Gething.

In the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board area, 24 schools were still waiting for the vaccine.

Last week, one school in the area had a quarter of its pupils off sick.

Radnor Primary in Canton, Cardiff, which had vaccinations delayed from their expected date in November, sent a letter to parents saying children were coming down with a flu-like virus and the school would be having a deep clean to help avert its spread.

Three days later, vaccines were administered to children at the school.

Cardiff council later clarified some of the illness was being caused by sickness as well as the flu-like virus.

Cardiff and Vale said 10 schools were receiving vaccines this week, while the remaining 14 would have theirs in the first week back at school in January.

Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said 50 schools which had had the vaccinations postponed would have their catch-up sessions completed by 17 January, while Swansea Bay University Health Board said 18 schools would have to be completed after Christmas by 14 January.

Hywel Dda University Local Health Board did not give figures for schools still waiting but said the programme would be finished by early January.

In the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board area covering north Wales, a spokesman said the "vast majority" of schools would have caught up with the vaccinations by the end of term on Friday.

Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board said it would complete 43 catch-up sessions with schools by 20 December.

Powys Teaching Health Board is the only area which has managed to complete all of its catch-up vaccinations.

'Quite a few things circulating'

Dr Chris Williams, consultant epidemiologist for Public Health Wales, said England had seen a sharp increase in flu-like infections whereas Wales had had a rise, but not as marked.

"There has also been an increase in norovirus at the moment, so some schools which are reporting illness have coughs and colds, while some have gastrointestinal symptoms," he told BBC Wales.

"It's the season for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) which particularly affects young children, so there's quite a few things circulating."

Dr Richard Roberts, head of the vaccination programme at Public Health Wales, said the timing of the delay with the flu spray, coming just before half-term, had added to the problem of reorganising vaccinations.

"Both in terms of the teams delivering the vaccine and organising the rooms etc, there's very little capacity to deliver it," he explained, adding it meant the programme had been pushed on into the New Year.

However he said even with the delays, the pupils who had already been vaccinated would still be of benefit to flu numbers, adding: "The level will be reducing the spread [of infection] overall."

He urged parents of pre-school children, the over-65s, pregnant women and those whose health puts them in a higher risk category for complications of flu to get the vaccine.

Domiciliary care workers and staff in care homes are also eligible for free vaccines for the first time this year, which are available via pharmacies.

World walls off as leaders warn viral pandemic will worsen - Medical Xpress

Posted: 12 Mar 2020 05:44 AM PDT

World walls off as leaders warn viral pandemic will worsen
A worker from a Servpro disaster recovery team wearing a protective suit and respirator peers out a window as he waits to exit the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash. for a break from cleaning the facility, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. The nursing home is at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state. For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

People around the world became increasingly closed off from one another Thursday as sweeping travel bans accelerated, walling regions apart as a viral pandemic unfolds and financial markets plunge.

It was an outbreak moving, at once, both glacially and explosively, with a virus first detected three months ago in China creeping across borders and producing eruptive outbreaks that have crippled areas.

Even for a crisis that has brought no shortage of headlines, dizzying developments were flashing across screens: An official designation of "pandemic" from the World Health Organization, a dramatic halt to much travel between the United States and 26 European countries, and infections among beloved Hollywood stars, sports luminaries and political leaders. All of it came against a backdrop of plunging world economies that left not only Wall Street investors but people from all walks of life hurting.

"We will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

President Donald Trump, who had downplayed the virus for days, suddenly struck a different tone, delivering a somber Oval Office address announcing strict rules on travel from much of Europe to begin this weekend. The State Department followed with an extraordinary warning to Americans to "reconsider travel abroad" too. Local leaders warned things would only get worse.

World walls off as leaders warn viral pandemic will worsen
Workers wearing protective suits spray disinfectant as a precaution against the new coronavirus at a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, March 12, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.(Park Dong-joo/Yonhap via AP)

"This will be a very difficult time," said Dr. Jeff Duchin a top public health official for the Seattle area, which has one of the biggest U.S. outbreaks. "It's similar to what you might think of as an infectious disease equivalent of a major earthquake that's going to shake us for weeks and weeks."

Across the U.S., where cases now number more than 1,300, a sense of urgency was pervasive.

Nursing homes turned away visitors, schools emptied of students and workplace cubicles went vacant. A rite of spring, college basketball's March Madness, was set to proceed in empty arenas, while professional basketball won't play at all. Joyous, booze-filled, green-splashed celebrations of St. Patrick's Day were called off. TV shows taped without audiences, rush-hour crowds in New York subway cars disappeared, and families hunkered down wondering what would come next.

World walls off as leaders warn viral pandemic will worsen
Indian doctors wearing masks at a clinic where they provide free homeopathy medicine for prevention of COVID-19 at a government run homeopathic hospital in New Delhi, India, Thursday, March 12, 2020. The vast majority of people recover from the new coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, most people recover in about two to six weeks, depending on the severity of the illness. The camp is part of the government's surveillance for fever and other symptoms related to the new virus. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

"If we avoid each other and listen to the scientists, maybe in a few weeks it will be better," said Koloud 'Kay' Tarapolsi of Redmond, Washington, who has two children whose schools were being closed beginning Thursday.

As the pandemic grips Europe and the U.S., it continues to ebb in China, where the first cases of COVID-19 emerged in December. It reported a record low of just 15 new cases Thursday and was cautiously monitoring new arrivals who were returning with the virus from elsewhere.

More than three-fourths of China's patients have recovered. Most people have only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, though symptoms can be severe, including pneumonia, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. Recovery for mild cases takes about two weeks, while more may take three to six weeks, WHO says.

World walls off as leaders warn viral pandemic will worsen
A man rides on an electric-powered scooter passes by the closed entrance gates to the Forbidden City, usually crowded with tourists before the new coronavirus outbreak in Beijing, Thursday, March 12, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness.(AP Photo/Andy Wong)

More than 126,000 people in more than 110 countries have been infected. But WHO emphasized the vast majority are in just four countries: China and South Korea—where new cases are declining—and Iran and Italy, where they are not.

"We have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action," said WHO's leader, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear."

High-profile announcements of infections made the alarms even louder. Double Oscar winner Tom Hanks said he and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive. Australian officials say the couple are in a Queensland hospital and their close contacts would have to self-quarantine.

In Italy, soccer club Juventus said defender Daniele Rugani tested positive. In Iran, the and two other Cabinet ministers were reported to have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

  • World walls off as leaders warn viral pandemic will worsen
    Soldiers wearing protective face masks march past the closed entrance gates to the Forbidden City, usually crowded with tourists before the new coronavirus outbreak in Beijing, Thursday, March 12, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
  • World walls off as leaders warn viral pandemic will worsen
    Indian doctors fill in the details of people before giving free homeopathy medicine for prevention of COVID-19 at a government run homeopathic hospital in New Delhi, India, Thursday, March 12, 2020. The vast majority of people recover from the new coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, most people recover in about two to six weeks, depending on the severity of the illness. The camp is part of the government's surveillance for fever and other symptoms related to the new virus. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
  • World walls off as leaders warn viral pandemic will worsen
    People watch a TV screen showing a live broadcast of U.S. President Donald Trump's speech at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Trump announced he is cutting off travel from Europe to the U.S. and moving to ease the economic cost of a viral pandemic that is roiling global financial markets and disrupting the daily lives of Americans. The Korean letters read: "Trump national speech." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
  • World walls off as leaders warn viral pandemic will worsen
    In this March 11, 2020, photo provided by the Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division, President Rodrigo Duterte, left, discusses matters with Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Philippines Huang Xilian, right, during a courtesy call at the Malacanang Presidential Palace in Manila, Philppines. Philippine President would be tested for the new coronavirus Thursday after he met Cabinet officials who were exposed to infected people and have now self-quarantined, official said. (Robinson Ninal Jr./Malacanang Presidential Photographers Division via AP)
  • World walls off as leaders warn viral pandemic will worsen
    A man with a mask walks past a countdown clock for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Tokyo. The Tokyo Olympics are being threatened by the spreading coronavirus. Organizers and the International Olympic Committee have repeatedly said the games will open on July 24 as planned, with the Paralympics opening on Aug. 25. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
  • World walls off as leaders warn viral pandemic will worsen
    A woman wipes the face of a child on the streets of Beijing on Thursday, March 12, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
  • World walls off as leaders warn viral pandemic will worsen
    Residents wearing masks walk past a restaurant in Beijing on Thursday, March 12, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
  • World walls off as leaders warn viral pandemic will worsen
    President Donald Trump speaks in an address to the nation from the Oval Office at the White House about the coronavirus Wednesday, March, 11, 2020, in Washington. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
  • World walls off as leaders warn viral pandemic will worsen
    A worker sprays disinfectant at Temple of Dawn in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, March 12, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Italy, already under unprecedented restrictions, tightened rules even more. Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte announcing the closure of pubs, restaurants, hair salons, cafeterias and other businesses that can't ensure a meter (yard) of space between workers and customers.

"In this moment, all the world is looking at us," Conte said, as the rules brought an eerie hush to places around Italy.

Asian shares plunged Thursday, following a drop of 1,464 points of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, putting the index 20% below its record set last month and into fearsome territory Wall Street calls a "bear market."

"There's a real feeling that we don't know where this ends," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network.


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