Bed Bugs On The Rise, Despite Covid-19, New Study Suggests

FORBES – by Alex Ledsom, Senior Contributor – August 1, 2020

Bed bug feeding on human skin.

A new study concluded this week that bed bugs were such a problem in France that they now pose a national health hazard.

The creatures have been on the rise globally but in the past decade, bed bugs have proliferated–they are now found in every U.S. state and countries across Europe have seen huge infestations, notably Paris (which is the number one visited capital in the world).

At the beginning of 2020, the French Union for Pest Control stated that, “France’s bed bug problem has seen the number of cases go from 180,000 to 400,000 in just two years”.

The French government website states that they arrived in France in the 1950s with the advent of international travel and have proliferated because of their increasing resistance to insecticide. It says that bedrooms and living rooms are predominantly more affected.

New York Times article suggested that 1 in 5 Americans have been plagued by bed bugs or know someone who has. Washington DC, Baltimore, Chicago and Los Angeles were the most plagued.

Tampa, FL Bed bug infestation forces Hudson library to temporarily close

HUDSON, Fla. – FOX13 News – Septemeber 5, 2020

The Hudson library says it is temporarily closed due to a bed bug infestation. The library located at 8012 Library Road is expected to be closed for 1-2 weeks for fumigation treatment. 

According to the library, staff discovered the bugs in an isolated area of the building two weeks ago. The county used a pest control contractor to begin isolated treatments, but the treatments were not successful, so it decided to close the building a do a full fumigation.

Health officials say bed bugs are not dangerous, but their bites can cause discomfort or an allergic reaction in some people.

Health officials advise anyone who visited the Hudson branch library in the past two weeks to monitor their home for the presence of bed bugs, and as a precaution, wash their bedding and clothing in hot water and dry them on the hottest dryer setting. 

Airline passenger describes packed flight to NYC surrounded by people not wearing masks

NY Post | by Yaron Steinbuch |April 23, 2020

american-airlines-flight-e1587660106256A Manhattan woman who flew on an American Airlines flight from Miami to LaGuardia says she was shocked that the flight was packed full — and about half the passengers did not wear masks despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Angie Wong, 42, told The Post that Flight 2669 was between 80 percent and 90 percent full Wednesday when she boarded the plane for her 10:19 a.m. flight to the Big Apple while wearing a surgical mask, face shield, gloves and a hoodie.

“I could tell passengers were very nervous that masks were not mandated,” said Wong, a stay-at-home mom from Soho who has been staying with her husband and two kids, ages 5 and 7, in Miami since Mayor Bill de Blasio announced city schools would be closed.

Wong said social distancing rules were strictly enforced at Miami’s airport, but that passengers were crammed together on her flight — about half without masks, though a couple of people wore full hazmat suits.

She shared several photos she snapped of the cramped cabin, showing some passengers with masks and gloves while others dispensed with the protective measures.

“I asked how this was allowed during distancing requirements, and got ‘nothing we can do about it’ shrugs and offered an 800 number to change my reservation,” she said.

“Even the pilot came on mid-flight to apologize for the cramped conditions. Unlike in Canada, masks were not mandated to fly. No temperature checks,” she continued.

“Though I did ask to be sat in an emptier part of the plane — and was told the airline could not accommodate — I did not realize how packed the flight was until I boarded,” she said.

At the gate, she said, an airline rep said that “if American Airlines sells 150 seats, they will board 150 seats — it’s a business.”

“We are all learning to adapt to the new social norms, but businesses are still operating in the old paradigm and need to pivot for public safety. I feel airlines should consider temporary policies to match the current federal mandates of social distancing and mask wearing,” Wong said.

In a statement, American Airlines said that “to encourage social distancing, gate agents will reassign seats to create more space between customers. Once on board — provided there aren’t any aircraft weight or balance restrictions — customers can move to another seat within their ticketed cabin subject to availability.”

The airline said it now also blocks “50 percent of standard middle seats” on all its flights.

“Our team also monitors flights closely to maintain social distancing,” a rep told The Post in an email, adding that “we encourage our customers to follow CDC guidelines.”

The CDC, however, does not require passengers to wear masks.

Video shows crowds at Florida park despite stay-at-home order

The coronavirus hasn’t stopped people in Florida from enjoying the outdoors.

A video recorded by a resident in Titusville, about 55 miles east of Orlando, shows dozens of cars parked side-by-side at Parrish Park on Easter, despite state orders for people to social distance in public.

“Over the past couple weekends, it’s been crazy,” Dan Rojas, who captured the footage, told WKMG this week. “When you’re in here, there’s two, three hundred people here in this small space.”

“I think that the park should be closed,” he added.

Yet it has been up to the counties to decide whether the Sunshine State’s popular beaches and parks will remain open for visitors.

Beaches in Brevard County – where Titusville is located — have been kept open, but with restrictions such as no sunbathing or gatherings of more than 10 people.

Despite all playgrounds being closed, “parks and trails remain open”, according to the county.

In response to Rojas’ video, Brevard County’s communications director, Don Walker, said the county is hesitant to further restrict recreational spaces.

“We want people to be able to go and hang outdoors and not be stuck in the house all day, but the problem is, we also are pushing the CDC recommendations of 6 feet social distancing, of avoiding mass gatherings,” he told WKMG.

As of Friday, the state of Florida has 23,340 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 668 deaths, statistics show. Johns Hopkins University says 192 of those cases and six of those deaths have been in Brevard County.

FOX NEWS | by Greg Norman |Video WKMG News 6 | April 17, 2020

Connecticut man breaks into closed restaurant, spends 4 days eating, drinking

FOX NEWS | by Michael Bartiromo | April 17, 2020

How many times does the governor have to tell you, dude? Restaurants are closed for dine-in services.

A man in New Haven, Conn., was arrested earlier this week after breaking into a downtown restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic and helping himself to thousands of dollars’ worth of food and liquor over the course of four days.

Capture

The burglar, identified as Louis Angel Ortiz, was first reported to the authorities after a manager at the Soul de Cuba Café found Ortiz asleep inside the restaurant on Tuesday, according to a reporter for Fox 61. Officers responded to find Ortiz down the street, “in possession of a bottle of the restaurant’s rum,” the New Haven Police Department confirmed.

After reviewing security footage, police determined Ortiz had broken into the café on Saturday, and “helped himself over the course of four days to the restaurant’s food, liquor, and beer,” while also removing “beverages and property” from the restaurant. Ortiz is also accused of drinking or stealing around 70 bottles of liquor, the restaurant’s management estimated.

The manager of the restaurant, reported to be the Soul de Cuba Cafe in downtown New Haven, found the burglar asleep inside after what police say was a four-day binge.

The manager of the restaurant, reported to be the Soul de Cuba Cafe in downtown New Haven, found the burglar asleep inside after what police say was a four-day binge. (Google)

Soul de Cuba Café is currently closed amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Ortiz has been charged with both burglary and larceny in the third degree, as well as criminal mischief. He also had a previous warrant for failure to appear in the second degree, police say.

As of Wednesday, Ortiz was awaiting an arraignment hearing in New Haven Superior Court. The Connecticut State Department of Correction currently lists him as being detained at the New Haven Correctional Center.

Coronavirus pandemic and grocery shopping: No need to wipe down food packaging, FDA says

FOX NEWS | by Madeline Farber | April 17, 2020

Heads up, consumers: When running the essential errand that is grocery shopping during the coronavirus epidemic in the U.S., there’s no need to wipe down the food packaging after you’ve returned home, according to a federal agency.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attempted to quell Americans’ fears that their food packaging may be contaminated with the novel coronavirus, as recent studies have suggested it can live on certain surfaces between hours and days.

But in a statement posted to its website on Thursday, the FDA said: “We want to reassure consumers that there is currently no evidence of human or animal food or food packaging being associated with transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.”

“This particular coronavirus causes respiratory illness and is spread from person-to-person, unlike foodborne gastrointestinal or GI viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food,” it added, noting there are currently no nationwide shortages of food, though some stores may be out of certain products. (Speaking of, what drives people to panic buy?)

The FDA also provided tips on how to protect yourself, other shoppers and store employees when buying essential items. For instance, it advised to:

  • Prepare a grocery list in advance
  • Wear a face mask or covering while in the store (this is in line with recently updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] guidelines, and is now mandatory in hot spots like New York)
  • Practice social distancing while shopping, make sure to stay at least 6 feet away from others
  • Thoroughly wash your hands after returning home and again after putting the groceries away

“Again, there is no evidence of food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. However, if you wish, you can wipe down product packaging and allow it to air dry, as an extra precaution,” the FDA added.

Teen in remote Amazonian tribe tests positive for coronavirus

FOX NEWS | by Greg Norman | April 10, 2020

A 15-year-old male from a remote indigenous tribe in the Amazon rainforest has tested positive for the coronavirus, Brazilian health officials said.

As of Friday, the teen from the Yanomami tribe remains in the ICU at a hospital in Roraima state, Insider.com reported, citing the O Globo newspaper.

Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta was quoted saying that the case is “worrying” considering the tribe’s isolation from the outside world.

Uncontacted Yanomami yano (communal house) in the Brazilian Amazon, photographed from the air in 2016

Uncontacted Yanomami yano (communal house) in the Brazilian Amazon, photographed from the air in 2016 (Guilherme Gnipper Trevisan/FUNAI/Hutukara)

The teen reported having shortness of breath and fever, among other symptoms.

The Yanomami tribe, which inhabits the Venezuela-Brazil border region, is estimated to have around 22,000 members on the Brazilian side. They have been photographed in recent years from the air.

Uncontacted Indians' yano in the Yanomami indigenous reserve. (© Guilherme Gnipper Trevisan/FUNAI/Hutukara)

Uncontacted Indians’ yano in the Yanomami indigenous reserve. (© Guilherme Gnipper Trevisan/FUNAI/Hutukara)

The tribe has vast botanical knowledge and uses about 500 plants for food, medicine and building houses. Tribespeople provide for themselves by hunting, gathering and fishing, as well as cultivating crops such as manioc (cassava or yuca) and bananas, which are grown in large gardens cleared from the forest.

Brazil currently has 18,397 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 974 deaths, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University.

 

Can Mosquitoes Spread Coronavirus?

FOX NEWS | by Alexandria Hein | April 9, 2020

Dr. Peter Hotez discusses if it’s possible for mosquitoes to transfer coronavirus and if seasonality has anything to do with virus spread.

Mosquitoes are a common summer-time foe that are known vectors of the West Nile Virus, Zika, Chikungunya and several other diseases that sicken humans, but what about the novel coronavirus?

As the weather warms and many move their stay-at-home orders to their backyard, the question of whether you can contract COVID-19 through a mosquito bite continues to surface.

There are several types of human coronaviruses, including MERS and SARS, which each caused deadly outbreaks of their own. COVID-19, however, has never been seen before, and is caused by SARS-CoV-2. As a whole, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and can affect different species of animals, but rarely can an animal coronavirus infect a human and then spread between people. However, such instances were seen with MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, and has also now been documented with COVID-19, which is caused by SARS-CoV-2.

And recently, researchers confirmed that humans spread the virus to tigers at the Bronx Zoo. There have also been reports outside of the U.S. involving pets – particularly cats – becoming infected after close contact with contagious people.

Typically, the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. However, it’s also possible to be spread when an infected person’s droplets are transferred to a surface, and an uninfected person then touches the contaminated surface and then transfers it to their face.

This raises the question then, of if a mosquito bites an infected person, and then lands on an uninfected person, can the disease be transferred?

“There are no reports of any spread of coronavirus to humans by mosquitoes,” Dr. Mary Schmidt, infectious disease and internal medicine specialist, told Fox News. “If this was a route of transmission, we would have seen it in the Middle East, where the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) caused by the coronavirus has been present for 6 years.”

Schmidt referenced a study that revealed that if mosquitoes were fed a blood meal of the coronavirus MERS, it was detected for up to one day in the insect. However, for this to become a threat to humans, a series of particular events would need to occur.

“In order for this to happen in real life, the mosquitoes would have to acquire the virus during feeding, the virus then undergoes replication in the gut tissue, disseminates to the secondary sites of replication, including the salivary glands, and is ultimately released into the arthropod’s salivary secretions, where it may be inoculated into the skin and cutaneous vasculature of the host (human) during subsequent feeding,” Schmidt said.

Given those findings, Schmidt said that mosquitoes should continue to be monitored. The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) has also said that it will continue to monitor the situation in conjunction with public health officials.

In early March, the World Health Organization (WHO)  said there has been no information nor evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be transmitted by mosquitoes.

What we do and don’t know about the novel coronavirus

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Experts from the Vet School, Med School, and Center for Public Health Initiatives provide insight into the new disease outbreak.

People in a subway station in Shanghai wearing surgical masks. One is carrying two bags, another is carrying a phone, a third is holding an umbrella.
Penn Today | Michele W. Berger | January 28, 2020

Until a month ago, it’s possible to never have heard of coronavirus, despite the fact that science has known about this family of seven viruses since the 1960s. Four are common, causing mild or moderate respiratory symptoms like a runny nose and sore throat, all of which dissipate quickly.

In the past few decades, however, several new coronaviruses have emerged, originating in animals and jumping to humans. In the early 2000s, it was severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which lead to almost 800 deaths. A decade later Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) came about, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, killed approximately three out of every 10 patients with the virus.

In late December, news started to spread of a new disease originating in Wuhan, China. Since then, at the time of publication, 132 people have died from novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). China has confirmed 6,061 cases, with many more in other countries. The United States has so far identified five.

Though the nature of this outbreak is changing daily, some facets are known. Penn experts Julie Engiles of the School of Veterinary Medicine, David Pegues of the Perelman School of Medicine, and Carolyn Cannuscio of the Center for Public Health Initiatives provide some context:

1. Like its predecessors, the novel coronavirus is a zoonotic disease.

At its simplest, that means the infection can spread between animals and humans, Engiles says. “Something like 61% of known infectious diseases occurring in people are zoonotic,” she adds. “And recently, about 75% of newly emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, so either we’re seeing an increase in their relative frequency or we’re getting better at identifying them.”

They can be passed to humans through direct contact with animal feces and other secretions, contaminated food, indirect transmission via a conduit like water, or vector-borne transmission through mosquitoes, other insects, or even mammals, as is the case with rabies. In some zoonotic diseases like SARS and MERS, human-to-human spread then happens through contact with someone who is sick, likely in the same manner that the flu and other respiratory pathogens move from person to person.

2. Unlike for its predecessors, 2019-nCoV’s host animal hasn’t been confirmed.

SARS and MERS began in animals. “It was eventually determined that civets, which are wild racoon-like animals, were responsible for the SARS epidemic in humans,” Engiles says. “Originally, civets may have gotten SARS from bats, then individual animals likely acquired the infection due to a combination of stress and close physical contact associated with confinement in live-animal markets.” The civets then passed the SARS to humans.

The MERS outbreak 10 years later may also have bats to blame. “For the 2012 coronavirus respiratory outbreak that occurred in Saudi Arabia and other places in the Middle East, dromedary camels were identified as the likely source for viral spread to humans,” she says. “Much like with SARS, this may have arisen from bats, though the exact mode of transmission is still unknown.”

So far, the source of the novel coronavirus remains elusive, she adds, though many animals found at one particular seafood and animal market in Wuhan are being tested.

3. Scientists understand the basics of the new virus.

Though scientists don’t yet have a full picture of 2019-nCoV, they do partially know how it will behave. “This is in the family of common upper respiratory viruses that frequently infect humans,” Pegues says. “In a minority of instances, the upper respiratory problems can lead to pneumonia. We’re really talking about viral pneumonia as the cause of deaths; that’s what differentiates it from a typical respiratory infection like a cold.”

According to the CDC, symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, though health officials are now saying it’s possible for a person to have the illness before any of these appear. Though hospitals across the country can test for coronaviruses generally—Pegues says the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania sees 20 or 25 positive results weekly—that doesn’t include the newest strain.

“Right now, that kind of testing is only available at the CDC,” he says. “Ideally, you’d want to develop testing capacity, validate that on a federal level, and then spread it as quickly as possible to the states.”

4. Though the experience with SARS and MERS has quickened reaction time to such an outbreak, this is still a public health challenge.

It took several months to definitively identify and sequence SARS and to determine the animal source of infection in humans, Engiles says. This time, the first part of that process happened in just 10 days. “This is an example of how previous research in these areas can really help in controlling a novel emerging disease,” she says. That doesn’t mean, however, it’s easy to grasp the epidemic’s full extent.

No matter how quickly a government recognizes the seriousness of an outbreak, surveillance is tricky, according to Cannuscio. “People want and deserve accurate information and answers to their questions, but what can be hard for the public to understand is that inaccurate or incomplete data are the norm” in the early stages of an outbreak, she says. “Counts tend to represent the tip of the iceberg, with only the most severe cases coming to hospitals and the attention of authorities.”

As a situation unfolds, focus tends to expand beyond a human-health toll to social, political, and economic concerns. Case in point: About a month into this outbreak, a quarantine in China now affects more than 50 million people, and public transit in Wuhan has been shuttered, meaning people there cannot go to work or easily travel.

“Epidemiologically, we often count the number of people who have become sick or died from a new virus,” says Cannuscio. “But the health effects may come not just from the virus itself but also from shortages of foods, medicines, or employment, or from longer-term economic effects. These figures are not captured in our case counts.”

5. At the local level, there’s currently nothing to do but use common sense health hygiene.

The five cases in the U.S. have occurred in Washington state, California, Arizona, and Illinois. One high schooler, a Chinese exchange student at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia who had a connecting flight in Wuhan earlier this month, had symptoms, was tested, and does not have coronavirus.

“So far, we have not had documented cases of person-to-person transmission of the novel coronavirus in the U.S.,” Cannuscio says. “This is vitally important because once person-to-person transmission begins, it will be very difficult to identify and isolate new cases in time to prevent rapid escalation.”

Pegues offers the same advice he typically gives during flu season. People should maintain distance from anyone who is ill, cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, and wash their hands—a lot. He also strongly recommends a flu vaccine; health care providers have already seen significant flu activity early this flu season. “It’s dry and cold and people are inside more and low relative humidity helps viruses spread more efficiently and persist longer,” he adds.

Beyond that, all three experts suggest keeping up with the latest news regarding the novel coronavirus through resources like the CDC, World Health Organization, and World Animal Health Information System.

Carolyn Cannuscio is the director of research at the Center for Public Health Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania and an associate professor of family medicine and community health at the Perelman School of Medicine.

Julie Engiles is an associate professor of pathology in the Department of Pathobiology at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

David Pegues is a professor in the Department of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Editors Note: The number of deaths and confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus are up to date as of Wed., Jan. 29 at 10 a.m. Eastern. F 

France, Israel shutter restaurants, cafes, non-essential stores amid coronavirus outbreak

France has declared that all non-essential stores, restaurants, movie theaters and cafes will be shut down starting Sunday to prevent the spread of coronavirus throughout the country.

The Israeli government also shut down restaurants, cafes and movie theaters starting Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said public services such as banks, grocery stores and pharmacies will be allowed to remain open.

The world’s coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 150,000 people and killed over 5,700. The disease for most people causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some, it can cause more severe illness. The vast majority recover.

Fox News’ Trey Yingst and The Associated Press contributed to this story.  March 14, 2020