US badly needs masks, but reluctant to get N95 alternative from China – – News from Singapore, Asia and around the world

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The United States is facing a mask shortage at the moment after getting caught in the fast-spreading Covid-19 pandemic.

The rising number of Covid-19 cases in the country makes the problem an acute one.

As of Tuesday, March 31, the U.S. has reported a total of 163,539 infections, and 2,860 deaths.

The country has even overtaken China with the most number of reported cases on March 27.

Medical workers severely lack masks & other protective gear

Healthcare professionals working on the frontline, overwhelmed with the rising number of Covid-19 cases across the country, have resorted to reusing protective gear such as masks and eye masks, Vox reported.

Some have even turned to makeshift equipment to replace masks and protective suits.

A nurse who works in the city of Chicago was also pushed to the brink after she was forced to make a decision between working mask-less — her hospital did not allow staff to wear their own masks — and not working at all.

She eventually chose the latter for her own safety.

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I chose 𝓂𝓎 𝓁𝒾𝒻𝑒 today… ⠀ & my family members who have pre-existing conditions that wouldn’t get a ventilator if they contracted #COVID19 from me ⠀ I had a different idea in mind when I got to my #ICU this morning; I expected to see ALL OF OUR #NURSES & STAFF wearing #N95 masks but 𝙣𝙤 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙝𝙖𝙙 𝘼𝙉𝙔𝙏𝙃𝙄𝙉𝙂 𝙊𝙉… ⠀ Each ICU room had ‘make-shift’ ante-rooms attached to them created with plastic tarp & massive amounts of tape.. ⠀ A charge Nurse was passing out single N95 masks to nurses with a brown paper bag for them to store their mask in which was to be in inside their plastic ante-rooms & to 𝙗𝙚 𝙧𝙚-𝙪𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙧𝙚-𝙖𝙥𝙥𝙡𝙞𝙚𝙙 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙙𝙖𝙮… ⠀ I asked “well what if there’s possible contamination to that N95 mask..? What about my safety” ⠀ My manager told me “well our staff safety is our main priority right now … if we get enough masks, we may consider having staff wear surgical masks in the weeks to come..” ⠀ I replied, “But it’s Airborne… those surgical masks won’t protect us ..” ⠀ My manager then tells me “ we’ve kept up with the CDC & it is only when the COVID patient has any aerosol type treatments like a ventilator, nasal cannula, nebulizer etc that’s it’s airborne..otherwise it’s droplet ..” ⠀ I replied “& 90% of our patients are intubated, paralyzed, & positive for COVID.. people not even in the hospital environment are spreading it .. we have to assume everyone is infected..especially in the hospital environment, & 𝕟𝕠 𝕠𝕟𝕖 𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕖 𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕟 𝕙𝕒𝕤 𝕒 𝕕𝕣𝕠𝕡𝕝𝕖𝕥 𝕞𝕒𝕤𝕜 𝕠𝕟” ⠀ I then told her of nurses wearing a surgical droplet masks on their units & now intubated & fighting for their lives … ⠀ Tears were streaming down my face & fog in my glasses at this point.. ⠀ I thought to myself.. 𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘐 𝘤𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘰𝘳 𝘣𝘶𝘺 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴, 𝘮𝘺 𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘴..? ⠀ I asked one last time pleading with tears in my eyes.. ⠀ “Can I please just wear 𝐦𝐲 𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐍𝟗𝟓 𝐦𝐚𝐬𝐤… I understand we have a shortage but I have my OWN ” ⠀ My manager told me that they couldn’t allow me to wear it. ⠀ So I gave report, & left. ⠀ America is NOT prepared & Nurses are NOT safe. Plz DM me any telehealth jobs.

A post shared by ❥ Imaris | Nursing & Lifestyle (@nurse.iv) on Mar 30, 2020 at 5:43pm PDT

The situation is so bad a doctor in New Jersey said going to work now is like sending “lambs to the slaughterhouse”.

Refuses to import readily-available alternative from China

Despite the drastic lack of masks, the U.S. federal government has refused to import an alternative to the N95 masks that is in abundance — the KN95 masks, which are largely manufactured in China.

The KN95 functions like the N95 mask, and is said by the American Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be as effective as the latter.

The CDC has also listed the KN95 mask as one of the “suitable alternatives” when it comes to providing protection during the Covid-19 response when “supplies are short”.

However, KN95 masks cannot be legally imported by American hospitals as they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

And in spite of the pressing need for masks, the FDA had failed to include KN95 masks from China in an emergency authorisation for non-N95 masks, BuzzFeed News pointed out.

Other alternatives from countries and regions, such as Europe, Japan, South Korea, and Australia, were approved instead.

People fundraising to get masks to hospitals

But mask importers are at work to get KN95 masks to hospitals as donations, which are accepted.

To do this, fundraisers and volunteer organisations navigate “a newly formed unofficial grey market”, Vox reported.

The U.S. has also accepted donations of N95 masks, gloves, gowns, and other medical supplies from China, The New York Times reported.

The supplies, however, will barely meet the need of what American hospitals need.

China responds

China has responded to the FDA’s rejection of China-made KN95 masks.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Wednesday, April 1, that while the certification standards of medical supplies can vary across countries, it should not be stopping them from cooperating to fight against the viral outbreak, Xinhua reported.

She also said she does not know why the U.S. had chosen to reject the masks.

Previously, in a pointed remark made by another Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang, on March 20, China had also suggested for others not to use “made in China” masks should they believe China-made goods are contaminated with the virus.

Avoid ‘Made In China’ masks if you believe China-made goods contaminated with Covid-19, China says

The comment was likely referring to China’s ability to manufacture the masks that the U.S. currently needs.

U.S.-China tensions continuing

The U.S. and China could not be any more different now in terms of where they stand with regards to the pandemic.

While China is now in a position to help others, with Chinese President Xi Jinping recently pushing for a “health silk road”, U.S. President Donald Trump is under pressure domestically for his perceived mishandling of the crisis.

Critics said his response to the viral outbreak was slow and dismissive.

He was also slammed for sending medical supplies to China in early February, in a sign of a lack of preparation for the pandemic that was to come.

And while Trump had stopped using the term “Chinese virus”, and spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping on the phone, indicating a deescalation of tensions between the two major countries, his administration had kept up the hostility towards China.

US & China pledge to set aside differences, work together to fight Covid-19

For instance, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had accused China of spreading disinformation about the pandemic, avoiding responsibility and confusing the world about the originator of the virus.

US & British govts can’t deal with Covid-19 effectively as their populations don’t trust them

Top image by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

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11 cases, including 102-year-old resident, linked to new cluster at Thomson old aged home – – News from Singapore, Asia and around the world

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Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates on Covid-19: https://t.me/mothershipsg

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced 74 new cases of the Covid-19 infection on Apr. 1, bringing the total number of cases in Singapore to 1,000.

10 of the newly confirmed cases (Cases 973, 976, 983, 984, 985, 986, 987, 988, 989 and 990) are linked to a previous case (Case 918), forming a new cluster at Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home (1 Thomson Lane).

The first reported case at the home is a 86-year-old resident.

The new cases announced on Apr. 1 range from a 42-year-old Singapore Work Pass holder from India, to a 102-year-old Singapore Citizen.

A handful of other patients are in their 80s.

Home closed to visitors

On Mar. 31, the home announced that they have conducted “thorough cleaning and disinfection of the ward and affected areas” after being informed by MOH.

This is in addition to the daily precautions such as temperature taking and increased environmental cleaning.

Both Thomson and Silat Homes will not be allowing any visitors until Apr. 30, 2020.

The institution added that they are working closely with MOH and Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) to identify staff and residents who may have been in close contact with the affected resident.

Staff who may be affected will not be allowed to work.

Top image via Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home on Facebook

About Mandy How

Mandy is a pantry rat. She eats everything in the pantry (except other people’s food).

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3 cases linked to new cluster at Sungei Kadut Loop dormitory – – News from Singapore, Asia and around the world

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Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates on Covid-19: https://t.me/mothershipsg

The Ministry of Health reported a new cluster at 55 Sungei Kadut Loop on Apr. 1.

Singapore has also hit 1,000 confirmed cases on the same day.

According to the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) directory, the building is registered to TENDA Equipment & Services Pte Ltd.

Total of three confirmed cases

Two of the confirmed cases (Cases 972 and 974) reported today are linked to a previous case (Case 868), forming a new cluster at a dormitory located at 55 Sungei Kadut Loop.

Case 868 is a 29-year-old male Bangladeshi who was admitted to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. He was confirmed to have Covid-19 on Mar. 29.

Case 972

Case 972 is a 28-year-old male Bangladeshi, who is a long term pass holder and the case is locally linked to Case 868.

Case 974

Case 974 is a 30-year-old male Bangladeshi, who is a long term pass holder and the case is locally linked to Case 868.

Both cases have been admitted to National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

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About Sumita Thiagarajan

Sumita dreams of a world where humans live in perfect harmony with animals, including rats, pigeons and cockroaches. If you’re bored, you can always ask Sumita to tell you cool facts about our native snakes, or bomb-sniffing hero rats.

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No visitors at all S’pore nursing homes for rest of April 2020 – – News from Singapore, Asia and around the world

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Visitors will be disallowed at all nursing homes in Singapore from Thursday, April 2 until April 30.

This was following the emergence of a new cluster at a nursing home on Wednesday, April 1.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) said that nursing homes with more than 200 beds will also begin to implement split-zones.

This occurred after the announcement of the new cluster at Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home, which is linked to 11 cases.

There will be safe distancing for all nursing home residents, and caregivers will be allowed to communicate with nursing home residents through telephone or video calls.

MOH and AIC also said nursing home staff should not turn up for work if they feel unwell.

MOH will review the situation again closer to the end of the month.

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About Belmont Lay

Belmont can pronounce “tchotchke”.

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No visitors at all S’pore nursing homes for rest of April 2020 –  – News from Singapore, Asia and around the world

No visitors at all S’pore nursing homes for rest of April 2020 – – News from Singapore, Asia and around the world

Visitors will be disallowed at all nursing homes in Singapore from Thursday, April 2 until April...

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All 7 confirmed Covid-19 cases from Hero’s bar cluster are non-S’poreans, latest case is Cameroonian – – News from Singapore, Asia and around the world

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Hero’s, a sports bar located at 69 Circular Road, emerged as a new cluster on March. 30, as announced by the Ministry of Health.

Currently, as of April 1, it has seven confirmed cases.

All seven individuals who have tested positive for Covid-19 are foreigners.

The first case was Case 192, from the United States, who was confirmed on March 13.

The latest case to be confirmed is Case 940, a Cameroonian, who was confirmed on April 1.

Details:

Case 192: Male, 32, confirmed on March 13, warded at NCID from US

Case 556: Female 27, confirmed March 24, warded at NCID, from Australia, Singapore Work Pass holder

Case 657: Male, 46, confirmed on March 25, warded at NCID, from UK, Singapore Work Pass holder

Case 670: Male, 34, confirmed on March 26, warded at NCID, from Australia, Singapore Work Pass holder

Case 714: Female, 27, confirmed on March 26, warded at NCID, from South Korea, Singapore Work Pass holder, contact of Case 670

Case 813: Female, 29, confirmed on March 28, warded at SGH, from UK Singapore Work Pass holder

Case 940: Male, 36, confirmed March 31, warded at NUH, from Cameroon, local linked to Hero’s

How spread might have occurred

After Case 192 was confirmed on March 13, cases 556, 657, 670 and 813 went to the same bar on March 14.

They reported onset of symptoms between March 17 to 23.

Case 556 link between Hero’s and Dover Court International School

Contact tracers have since established links between two Covid-19 clusters in Singapore: Dover Court International School (DCIS) cluster and Hero’s bar cluster.

This was revealed in a press conference on March 31 by the Health Ministry’s Director of Medical Services Kenneth Mak.

The DCIS cluster was identified by MOH on March 25.

The DCIS cluster currently has eight cases: 556, 618, 626, 662, 686, 713, 729 and 761.

The linking case in both clusters is Case 556.

Case 556 is a teacher at DCIS.

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All 7 confirmed Covid-19 cases from Hero’s bar cluster are non-S’poreans, latest case is Cameroonian –  – News from Singapore, Asia and around the world

All 7 confirmed Covid-19 cases from Hero’s bar cluster are non-S’poreans, latest case is Cameroonian – – News from Singapore, Asia and around the world

Hero’s, a sports bar located at 69 Circular Road, emerged as a new cluster on March. 30, as...

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The best antimalware/AV for industrial IoT (IIoT) in 2020: Darktrace

Historically, when CISOs thought about cybersecurity, they typically prioritized implementing measures for software systems over those for physical assets. But the threat landscape has rapidly evolved over the past few years, and a new kind of threat is on the rise. Sophisticated attackers have set their eyes on a different type of target: the technology systems that support manufacturing, energy generation, and transportation. CISOs are now held responsible not only for securing the digital business, but also its physical infrastructure. And as Operational Technology (OT) becomes more and more digitized, from the advent of AI-powered cranes to automated trains, this challenge has become nearly insurmountable.

Our new reality is that physical assets are just as susceptible to cyber-attacks as their purely digital counterparts and demand just as much protection. Indeed, if hacked successfully, OT systems are capable of generating far more considerable damage than a standard hijacked IT device; the potential carnage arising from unauthorized access to a nuclear power plant hardly needs to be spelled out. And with the digitalization of a host of industrial technologies continuing apace, the number of entry points for cyber-criminals increases, making the situation even more fraught.

A growing number of workspaces are now leveraging new and interesting applications of intelligence-powered, connected devices. According to the World Economic Forum, there are already 21 billion IoT devices worldwide; by 2025, this number is predicted to have doubled. Unsurprisingly, the industrial sector is one of the principal beneficiaries, using smart devices in an array of forms, from monitoring machinery to facilitating the production flow. Even oil rigs have gone digital, streamlining and partially automating operations.

IoT has precipitated such efficiency and cost-saving benefits, making it a savvy investment for many organizations. But, the unfortunate counterpoint to smart technologies’ proliferation is the exponential widening of the attack surface, leaving companies more vulnerable than ever before.

To protect these deployments, organizations need a smart cybersecurity solution that is capable of neutralizing all types of cyber-threat across both OT and IT systems.

Many companies facing the challenge of defending both cyber and physical infrastructure have turned to Darktrace, a world-leading cyber AI company, for the answer. Using an ‘immune system’ approach to cybersecurity, its technology works by learning the unique ‘DNA’ of each organization. Through a combination of unsupervised and deep learning techniques, the cyber AI understands ‘normal’ for every user, device, and container across both IT and OT environments – enabling it to detect deviations indicative of a threat in real-time.

Operative in industrial environments, Darktrace monitors this sense of normal across both OT and IT networks, observing the entire digital business in one, unified view. Technology, industry, and protocol agnostic, Darktrace’s Industrial Immune System is adaptable to both the newest and oldest technological devices. Everything from the latest after-market sensors, through to the “traditional” attenuators are protected.

Such contextual knowledge of the entire digital estate enables the identification of the most subtle indicators of threat. With Darktrace’s module Antigena, the AI goes one step further, autonomously responding to threats at machine speed, and neutralizing them in their tracks. Antigena’s surgical precision means that only malicious activity is stopped – normal business actions are free to continue, even on infected devices or systems.

These capabilities are vital for the business continuity of Industrial Control Systems – downtime is not an option. Continually examining the digital environment, Darktrace can take action against emerging threats as soon as they occur. And with the cyber AI’s evolving understanding of ordinary, these anomalies are always current and relevant.

This means that ROI is protected by the most up-to-date technology and digital insights, so malware cannot take over or jeopardize what are, in some cases, multi-million-dollar investments.

In turn, uptimes are maximized, and productivity can be guaranteed, as no malware is allowed into any part of the network, from remote installations to main facilities. Thanks to cyber AI, Darktrace can detect and contain the silent threats that consistently bypass traditional defense mechanisms.

Already protecting industrial environments around the world, from Drax, the UK’s leading power infrastructure company, to King’s Hawaiian, a favorite US food manufacturer, Darktrace is at the forefront of industrial cyber defense.

To learn more about Darktrace Industrial, and understand its specific features in the context of your environment, visit the Darktrace website today.

Darktrace

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