What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

May never go away

That was the grim assessment from World Health Organization emergencies expert Mike Ryan on Wednesday, as he warned against any attempt to predict how long the coronavirus would keep circulating, saying it could just become endemic like HIV.

 

The world had some control over how it coped with the disease, Ryan went on to say, although this would take a “massive effort” even if a vaccine was found – a prospect he described as a “massive moonshot”.

More than 100 potential vaccines are being developed, including several in clinical trials, but experts have underscored the difficulties of finding vaccines that are effective against coronaviruses.

Taxing tracing

 

South Korean health authorities said on Thursday that they would try to reduce the amount of information released to the public about coronavirus patients and their travel routes, in an effort to stop social stigmatisation and compel around 2,000 people wanted for testing to come forward.

The effort to find the group over a spike in infections centred around Seoul’s nightclubs and bars has been complicated by public criticism of the clubgoers, as well as concerns about discrimination as several of the clubs cater to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.

South Korea has typically released information like a patient’s age, gender, and places visited immediately before testing positive, as well as in some cases, patients’ last names and general occupations.

Higher airfares?

Physical distancing rules will eventually limit growth as demand rebounds and could increase airfares if airlines were restricted to selling fewer tickets in order to keep some seats empty, Dubai Airport Chief Executive Paul Griffiths said in an interview.

 

“We will not be able to operate at anything close to our original design capacity if we had to maintain social distancing,” the head of one of the world’s busiest airports said.

But until there was a vaccine, treatment or reliable, quick method to detect the virus, measures that reduce the risk of contagion would need to be enforced, Griffiths said.

Bamboo supply disrupted

 

Two giant pandas, Er Shun and Da Mao, are heading home to China from Calgary years ahead of schedule, as their bamboo supply has been disrupted due to coronavirus.

Before the pandemic, bamboo had been flown directly from China to Calgary to feed the pandas, but since those flights have been cancelled, the zoo has been forced to find new ways to feed the pandas. Shipments are now often delayed, resulting in poor quality bamboo the pandas refuse to eat.

 

“We believe the best and safest place for Er Shun and Da Mao to be during these challenging and unprecedented times is where bamboo is abundant and easy to access,” said Calgary Zoo President and CEO Clément Lanthier in a statement.

Giant pandas consume 40 kg (88 lbs) of bamboo a day and it makes up 99% of their diet, the zoo said.

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