Category Archive: Defense

Coronavirus may have originated in lab linked to China’s biowarfare program

The deadly animal-borne coronavirus spreading globally may have originated in a laboratory in the city of Wuhan linked to China’s covert biological weapons program, said an Israeli biological warfare analyst.

Radio Free Asia last week rebroadcast a Wuhan television report from 2015 showing China’s most advanced virus research laboratory, known the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The laboratory is the only declared site in China capable of working with deadly viruses.

Dany Shoham, a former Israeli military intelligence officer who has studied Chinese biological warfare, said the institute is linked to Beijing’s covert bio-weapons program.

“Certain laboratories in the institute have probably been engaged, in terms of research and development, in Chinese [biological weapons], at least collaterally, yet not as a principal facility of the Chinese BW alignment,” Mr. Shoham told The Washington Times.

Work on biological weapons is conducted as part of dual civilian-military research and is “definitely covert,” he said in an email.

Mr. Shoham holds a doctorate in medical microbiology. From 1970 to 1991, he was a senior analyst with Israeli military intelligence for biological and chemical warfare in the Middle East and worldwide. He held the rank of lieutenant colonel.

China has denied having any offensive biological weapons, but a State Department report last year revealed suspicions of covert biological warfare work.

A Chinese Embassy spokesman did not return an email seeking comment.

Chinese authorities said they do not know the origin of the coronavirus, which has killed hundreds and infected many thousands more.

Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told state-controlled media that initial signs indicated the virus originated from wild animals sold at a seafood market in Wuhan.

One ominous sign, said a U.S. official, is that false rumors circulating on the Chinese internet claim the virus is part of a U.S. conspiracy to spread germ weapons. That could indicate China is preparing propaganda outlets to counter any charges that the new coronavirus escaped from one of Wuhan’s civilian or defense research laboratories.

The World Health Organization is calling the microbe novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV. At a meeting Thursday in Geneva, the organization stopped short of declaring a public health emergency of international concern.

China has deployed military forces to Wuhan to halt all travel out of the city of 11 million people in an effort to contain the outbreak of the virus, which causes pneumonialike symptoms.

The Wuhan institute has studied coronaviruses including the strain that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), H5N1 influenza virus, Japanese encephalitis and dengue. Researchers at the institute also have studied the germ that causes anthrax, a biological agent once developed in Russia.

“Coronaviruses [particularly SARS] have been studied in the institute and are probably held therein,” Mr. Shoham said. “SARS is included within the Chinese BW program, at large, and is dealt with in several pertinent facilities.”

It is not known whether the institute’s coronaviruses are specifically included in China’s biological weapons program but it is possible, he said.

Asked whether the new coronavirus may have leaked, Mr. Shoham said: “In principle, outward virus infiltration might take place either as leakage or as an indoor unnoticed infection of a person that normally went out of the concerned facility. This could have been the case with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but so far there isn’t evidence or indication for such incident.”

After researchers sequence the genome of the new coronavirus, they might be able to determine or suggest its origin or source.

Biological weapons convention

Mr. Shoham, now with the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University in Israel, said the virology institute is the only declared site in China known as P4 for pathogen level 4. That status indicates the institute uses the strictest safety standards to prevent the spread of the most dangerous and exotic microbes being studied.

The former Israeli military intelligence doctor also said suspicions were raised about the Wuhan Institute of Virology when a group of Chinese virologists working in Canada improperly sent to China samples of what he described as some of the deadliest viruses on earth, including the Ebola virus.

In a July article in the journal Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, Mr. Shoham said the Wuhan institute was one of four Chinese laboratories engaged in some aspects of biological weapons development.

He said the secure Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory at the institute was engaged in research on the Ebola, Nipah and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever viruses.

The Wuhan virology institute is under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, but certain laboratories within it “have linkage with the PLA or BW-related elements within the Chinese defense establishment,” he said.

In 1993, China declared a second facility, the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, as one of eight biological warfare research facilities covered by the Biological Weapons Convention, which China joined in 1985.

The Wuhan Institute of Biological Products is a civilian facility but is linked to the Chinese defense establishment. Mr. Shoham said it is thought to be involved in the Chinese Biological Weapons Convention program. China’s vaccine against SARS is probably produced there.

“This means the SARS virus is held and propagated there, but it is not a new coronavirus unless the wild type has been modified, which is not known and cannot be speculated at the moment,” he said.

The annual State Department report on arms treaty compliance stated last year that China engaged in activities that could support biological warfare.

“Information indicates that the People’s Republic of China engaged during the reporting period in biological activities with potential dual-use applications, which raises concerns regarding its compliance with the BWC,” said the report, adding that the United States suspects China failed to eliminate its biological warfare program as required by the treaty.

“The United States has compliance concerns with respect to Chinese military medical institutions’ toxin research and development because of the potential dual-use applications and their potential as a biological threat,” the report said.

The biosafety lab is about 20 miles from the Hunan Seafood Market, which reports from China say may have been the origin point of the virus.

Rutgers University microbiologist Richard Ebright told London’s Daily Mail that “at this point there’s no reason to harbor suspicions” that the lab may be linked to the virus outbreak.


Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.



via:  washingtontimes,


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‘Coronavirus’ Threat? Yet 15 MILLION people are now INFECTED with something else.

The news has been terrifying.

Chinese officials claiming bodies should be cremated quickly without  funerals, to avoid spreading infection.

The World Health Organization declaring a global health emergency.

Surgical masks selling out in the UK, because people are terrified the virus has come to their country.

And the first cases appearing here in the United States, indicating the coronavirus is spreading here.

But as worrying as all that is, there is another infection, a WORSE infection, that is threatening us right now.

All it takes is for that, PLUS fears of coronavirus, to COLLAPSE our economy – even for just a few weeks…

…and you won’t believe how many people ALREADY have it!


15 Million People Are ALREADY Infected!

image

See, there’s a ‘coronavirus’ style threat that the news ISN’T talking about.

CNN reported just last week that 19 million people are infected so far this year, and the threat is spreading from state to state.

It’s influenza.

That’s right: While everybody’s worrying about coronavirus (and they should be), the flu is already killing people in the United States.

It just doesn’t rate the news, because people don’t think of “the flu” as the deadly threat it really is.

This season alone, the flu has killed 10,000 people in the United States.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases predicts that this flu season will be the worst one in a decade, and at least 140,000 people have already been hospitalized with flu complications.

That number is only going to go up before this flu season is over!

So, why does that matter?

Because if the flu season gets bad enough – and COMBINED with the threat of coronavirus in the United States – we could experience a supply chain collapse.

And no one is talking about this!

A short-term (or even long-term) “collapse” doesn’t usually happen in one giant THUD that wipes everything out in an instant.

Instead, it goes down as a chain-reaction that can be caused by any triggering event.

When any of these very real events are triggered, they will cause a domino effect that will have a very predictable outcome.

All you need is a “trigger event” – and, let me tell you, friend, a record flu season, coupled with the coronavirus breaking out in the US, is one HELL of a trigger.

(The Centers For Disease Control – the CDC – has been trying to warn us for years that we’re LONG overdue for a deadly pandemic!)

The World Is Not Ready for the Next Pandemic

The Next Plague Is Coming. Is America Ready?

The Next Pandemic?

Diseases can spread very quickly across the country through long-distance transportation such as by people using airplanes, trains and even long-distance truck-drivers delivering goods!

Since truckers often stop in the same locations as other truckers for rest, food, re-fueling, and resupply, all it would take is just a few truck-drivers exposed to the coronavirus (or a medicine-resistant strain of the flu) to rapidly spread these diseases throughout the entire trucking industry.

(In fact, I’m ALREADY hearing rumors about Chinese suppliers of consumer goods halting production “temporarily” while the coronavirus has everyone in China afraid! )

Even business are closing doors.

Major fast-food chains and retailers in China are shutting their doors as the deadly coronavirus continues to spread.

Now here’s where things get really scary.

 

You see, most people don’t realize just how dependent we are on our nation’s truck drivers.

Our entire trucking system is part of our nation’s critical underlying infrastructure that supplies every single household and business with all the things we take for granted, such as food, water, medicines, fuel, repair parts, etc.

Once things start to collapse, it will take only 3 days to go from calm to CHAOS.

There’s way more to this type of chain-reaction collapse than I can cover here.

 

See, there are LOTS of “triggering events” that can disrupt every town’s supply chain and send our entire infrastructure into a tailspin, turning everyday folks into hungry, desperate “refugees” forced to fend for themselves and their families.

This is why YOU need to be the most prepared person on your block in order to protect yourself and those you love from the dangers that your neighbors don’t even realize are out there.

 

Don’t wait until the fear of infection shuts down supplies to YOUR town and the grocery store shelves go empty.

 

Get prepared now while there’s time.

 

Prepare. Train. Survive.

 

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

 

via:  mcsmag

 


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US Embassy China issues Health Alert Update for Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

US Embassy China issues Health Alert Update – Level 2 [ Practice Enhanced Precautions ] – for China Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). More information via email.


Supplemental Info:


Health Alert Update – Novel Coronavirus in China – Level 2

January 22, 2020


Event: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Watch Level 2 Alert (Practice Enhanced Precautions) for an ongoing outbreak of pneumonia first identified in Wuhan, China, caused by a novel (new) coronavirus.


Travelers to Wuhan should:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Older travelers and those with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their healthcare provider.
  • Consult the CDC Website for the most up-to-date information regarding enhanced screening procedures.

If you have traveled to Wuhan and feel sick, you should

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Not travel while sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Please see https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/novel-coronavirus-china and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/novel-coronavirus-2019.html for further updates.


U.S. Consulate General Wuhan

New World International Trade Tower I,
No. 568, Jianshe Avenue
Hankou, Wuhan 430022
China


Telephone: +(86)(027) 8555-7791
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Fax: +(86)(027) 8555-7761


Please note that Wuhan does not provide regularly scheduled consular services.


Contact the Embassy in Beijing for consular assistance.
USConsulateWuhan@state.gov


U.S. Embassy Beijing


No. 55 An Jia Lou Road
Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600
China
Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(86)(10) 8531-4000
Fax: +(86)(10) 8531-3300
BeijingACS@state.gov

State Department – Consular Affairs – 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444



U.S. Consulate General Chengdu


No. 4 Lingshiguan Road
Chengdu, Sichuan, PRC 610041
Telephone: (28) 8558-3992
Fax: (28) 8558-3520
AmcitChengdu@state.gov


U.S. Consulate General Guangzhou


No. 43 Huajiu Road, Zhujiang New Town, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, Guangdong
Telephone: 020-3814 5775
Fax: 020-3814 5572
GuangzhouACS@state.gov


U.S. Consulate General Shanghai



9/F, Westgate Mall, No. 1038 West Nanjing Road, Shanghai
Telephone: 021-8011 2400
Fax: 021- 6148 8266
ShanghaiACS@state.gov


U.S. Consulate General Shenyang


No. 52, Shisi Wei Road, Heping District, Shenyang, Liaoning
Telephone: 024 – 2335 5188, 024 – 2322 1198 ext. 5188
Fax: 024 – 2323 1465
ShenyangACS@state.gov


China Country Information sheet


Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates


https://china.usembassy-china.org.cn/health-alert-update-novel-coronavirus-in-china-3/


CDC Update:

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/novel-coronavirus-china


Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.


via:  AlertsUSA.com, Threat Journal


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Will Cars Still Run After an EMP? The Surprising Truth

Imagine every electronic device going dark in the blink of an eye. Forget about luxuries such as your smartphone or wi-fi, and imagine basic necessities like power, heat, supply chains, and infrastructure rendered completely inoperable. Imagine communications completely disabled.

This is the potential effect of an EMP, or an Electromagnetic Pulse. An EMP could alter the landscape of the entire power-grid in an instant, rendering whole cities blacked out for prolonged periods or even permanently. Food, fuel and water may very well become inaccessible when the power has failed completely.

An EMP event is quite scary, but would all cars on the roads just come rolling to a stop when an EMP strikes? We rely on vehicles for everything from getting groceries from the store to maintaining resupply chains that make our modern life possible. If they were to stop, getting out of town would no longer be an option for most people.

For this article, we’ll look at whether a strong EMP would disable all vehicles, which vehicles are most likely to be safe from an EMP, and how you can safeguard your vehicle from an EMP attack.

What is an EMP?

An Electromagnetic Pulse, or EMP, is a burst of electromagnetic energy. While energy is always in motion around us, an EMP is specifically notable for causing electronic disruptions by inducing current into electronics, sometimes severely damaging or destroying them. In extreme cases, an EMP can even knock out the power grid, or worse.

There are two main types of EMPs: natural and man-made. A bolt of lightning or a solar flare can cause an EMP, for example. The massive increase and change in electromagnetic energy as a result of a lightning bolt is a naturally occurring EMP. Solar flares causing highly charged atoms to shoot at high speeds from the sun towards the Earth is another form of a natural EMP.

Perhaps the best-known example of a man-made EMP source is from a nuclear blast. A nuclear blast shoots off multiple pulses of energy in its wake; these varied waves of energy cause significant disruptions to nearby electronics. Here is a more detailed (and scientific) explanation of EMP’s and how they damage electronic devices.

A major city after an EMP is a dangerous place to be—especially if you’re without a working car.

Many people are understandably concerned over EMP devices that are specifically designed to knock-out power, which are also known as High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulses, or HEMPs. A HEMP could either be a nuclear bomb detonated high in the atmosphere as a weapon or a device designed to knock out infrastructure and electronics without the heavy casualties of nuclear warfare. HEMPs can affect a much larger area in concentric circles from the blast. The area of effect would depend on how high in the atmosphere the device detonates. The US Congress received a detailed report on HEMP effects in 2008.

EMP attacks are not relegated to the realm of Science Fiction. A 1987 solar flare knocked out a large portion of the Canadian power grid. Lightning routinely damages electronic devices, although on a much more localized scale. British scientists, unaware of the electrical damage nuclear blasts would cause, suffered a massive instrument failure (they called it ‘radioflash‘) after their initial nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s. These events happened and they can certainly happen again. It’s a good idea to understand them and understand what EMPs are capable of.

Would an EMP Attack Disable all Vehicles?

No, an EMP attack would not disable all vehicles. According to a study conducted by the United States EMP Commission, only about 1 out of 50 vehicles are likely to be rendered inoperable. The effects of an EMP on hybrid and electric vehicles, however, have yet to be studied and is currently unknown.

Questions about the potential damage to vehicles in the aftermath of an EMP are quite common. An exhaustive study by the EMP Commission to determine the effects of an EMP on the United States (available here) were conclusive: most vehicles would survive an EMP.

U.S. EMP Commission Test Results – Key Points

  • 50 vehicles built between 1987 and 2002 were exposed to a spectrum of EMP blasts (up to 50kV/m in strength).
  • 3 out of 50 vehicles shut down while driving.
  • All 3 of these vehicles continued rolling until they safely coasted to a stop.
  • 1 of those vehicles was disabled completely and would not restart.
  • 2 of those vehicle restarted without an issue.
  • Many nuisance issues arose from the 50 exposed vehicles including radio interference, strange and erratic behavior from headlights, turn-signals or brake-lights, and one vehicle needed to have its dashboard replaced

The EMP Commission believed there was a potential for unnecessary deaths from vehicles if the vehicles were exposed to an EMP burst which exceeded 25kV/m. The potential for death and serious injury would not come as the result of an electronic failure, however, but rather due to potential accidents that vehicles slowing down suddenly could cause, especially if those vehicles had issues with their brake lights.

The EMP test indicates that roughly 15% of running vehicles may shut down if exposed to an EMP blast at or over 25kV/m over a wide range of area. In other words, short of a massive solar flare, only a nuclear explosion or purpose-built EMP would create the kind of pulse needed to cause the shutdown effect to occur.

When considering the EMP Survey by the EMP Commission, there are a few points to think about. First, this study finished in 2004. Second, the cars used in the study were older models, built in a range from 1987 until 2002. Third, we do not know which specific vehicles the Commission conducted these tests on, as the Commission never released information on car makes or models. Fourth, cars have developed far more complex and integrated electrical systems since 2002, the latest model year tested. Finally, the test does not appear to have been recreated and the results are not scientifically verified as a result.

Testing a Modern Vehicle in a Lightning Strike

This video from the British car show Top Gear actually explains this concept quite well. Volkswagen has a purpose-built facility to test their cars against potential lightning strikes with charges of up to 800,000 volts. After the bolt hits, the car starts right up. Modern cars can survive a multitude of electrical issues without failing.

Resilience of Modern Vehicles

By design, modern automobiles can survive extreme temperatures and other harsh conditions. Modern cars have many fail-safe systems in case of electrical or mechanical failure. As a result, most cars will continue to run without major issue even in the face of extreme electrical disruption.

Many commentators on this subject believe the EMP study is out of date. Specifically, there’s a theory that older vehicles lacked the integrated computing systems and complex electrical engineering that modern cars have. While this is true, cars have had computers since Volkswagen introduced one to operate their electronic fuel injection (EFI) system in 1968. Engine Control Units (ECUs) have been widespread since the 1970s. It is safe to assume every vehicle in the EMP Commission Study had an ECU in one form or another.

In one sense, it’s understandable that people worry about modern vehicles being more electronically sensitive to EMP damage. However, modern vehicles have more protective shielding, grounds and plastics to replace metals now than they’ve ever have in the past. In almost all cases, modern cars should be more capable of withstanding electrical interference than they have been in the past. Except of course, if you are talking about vehicles manufactured before ECU’s and were largely mechanical based in their functions.

So, in summary, EMP’s will not disable most vehicles. Many modern vehicles which would seem unlikely to survive the EMP probably will survive the EMP, but we don’t currently have sufficient testing to verify that.

The Strongest Possible EMP Attack

Let us consider the ‘doomsday’ scenario for a moment. An EMP hits and the power goes out. For the sake of argument, let us assume that the EMP completely knocks out the entire power-grid of the United States and that no other country is willing or able to divert power to the country. Manufacturing crumbles, international trade evaporates and the America is transported back to the 1800s.

Realistically, only a nuclear explosion at a specific altitude or a strong solar flare could cause that sort of disruption. Anything with long wires leading to it will be especially vulnerable to this (such as the power grid—or anything connected to it). That’s because the long power lines will act like a giant antenna and gather massive amounts of energy flowing through the atmosphere, channeling it into whatever they’re connected to.

Modern motor vehicles do have a lot of wiring in them, but this wiring doesn’t travel out from the vehicle and are, generally speaking, coiled tightly inside the metal box that is your car’s shell. A HEMP designed to knock out power will probably fail to generate more than 25kV/m outside of the immediate blast area, meaning most cars will survive without any issues at all, as the testing done by the U.S. EMP Commission showed.

Generally speaking, your vehicle will be the least of your concerns in this type of situation.The electrical system of modern cars feature much better shielding. The electrical shielding your car has will not prevent the inevitable part failures all cars experience. The lack of spare parts or able mechanics will likely ultimately sink your vehicle, not the EMP itself.

What Type of Car is Most Likely to Survive?

In a doomsday EMP scenario, the vehicle most likely to be viable is an older model diesel vehicle that lacks electronics. Since the roads will not have maintenance you will probably want a 4×4 vehicle that can go off-road when necessary.

Most modern diesel vehicles are just as technologically advanced and electronically complex as their gasoline counterparts. The big difference between diesel and gasoline is in finding fuels in case the power goes out. A gasoline engine requires highly refined and specifically processed fuel. Diesel engines can run on almost any type of fuel, including bio-diesels like algae and vegetable oil. Yes, vegetable oil.

While both carburator based and fuel injection vehicles are likely to survive the EMP, vehicles utilizing carburetors are far less reliant on modern electronics as fuel injected vehicles are. If you worry about the lights going off and never coming back on, you should avoid fuel injection vehicles.

“If you’re serious about having a vehicle that will survive massive EMP damage, then you’re looking for a naturally aspirated diesel engine from before about 1990. A 4×4 is probably a safer bet than a front or rear wheel drive.”

How does the Military Protect Against EMPs?

The military is an interesting case study in EMP defense. The military not only faces the potential for natural phenomenon, like a lightning strike or solar flare, they also face the possibility of fighting against a foreign power that uses weapons to disrupt communications, navigation, aviation, and other critical aspects of warfare.

The military primarily uses a simple Faraday Cage to protect their equipment against the potential damages of an EMP attack. A Faraday Cage is a simple construction of grounded metal surrounding sensitive electronic wiring and equipment. During a surge of electromagnetic energy, such as the most severe EMPs, military equipment is protected from damage by this simple Faraday Cage.

Advanced equipment, such as jet-fighter planes, are mostly protected by the same concept. In both the case of a car and a fighter plane, military equipment is further designed and developed to operate independently of its electrical systems. Even if the electronics fail, there are a number of active fail-safes in place to operate both vehicles and airplanes by hydraulics and manual control, if necessary, to prevent a critical error and eventual crisis.

It should be pointed out that similar fail-safe systems are in place in civilian aircraft, civilian electronics,and yes, civilian automobiles.

Preparing Your Car for an EMP

Most vehicles will survive the doomsday scenario without missing a beat, and there really isn’t much you need to do. The real threat to a vehicle after some kind of apocalyptic event is a lack of fuel and spare parts, not an electrical failure.

To prepare for the potential EMP disaster, you could stock up on parts that could commonly fail or might be required for routine maintenance. These include:

  • Spare fuel—treated with Stabil fuel stabilizer to extend its shelf life
  • Various required filters (air filter, oil filter, and fuel filter)
  • Oil change supplies
  • Battery
  • Alternator
  • ECU
  • Sensors
  • Any other on-board computers

Keeping regular maintenance items on hand, such as those required to complete an oil change, is a great idea. The other spare parts on this list might be a bit more expensive. You can find the spare parts you need by plugging your VIN into one of the many car-parts websites and looking up replacement parts that fit your vehicle.

However, my favorite source for spare parts to have on hand in case of an EMP is a wrecking yard. Find a vehicle as close as possible to yours at your local wrecking yard and remove all the sensors you can find along alternator and ECU. It’ll be far cheaper than buying all brand new parts.

For a more in-depth discussion on how an EMP may affect batteries, see How Would an EMP Effect Batteries.

You may consider putting spare electronic engine components into a Faraday bag for further protection—that’s what I do. If you’ve gone to all this trouble to be prepared by buying a second set of vulnerable parts, you might as well go a little further by putting them in an EMP-proof Faraday bag such as these.

 

Another great video to check out:

Protect Generators and Cars from EMP

 

Describes using conductive cloth to protect cars and generators from a high-altitude nuclear EMP attack. Cloth can be found at https://disasterpreparer.com/?product=emp-cloth.

 

Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.

 

via:  superprepper


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CDC begins airport health screenings due to 2019 nCoV virus

CDC begins enhanced health screenings at LAX, SFO & JFK to detect ill travelers on flts direct from / through Wuhan, China due to new coronavirus. See email.

 

Supplemental Info:

 

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.


WUHAN CHINA NOVEL CORONAVIRUS


On 31 December 2019, WHO was informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. Since that date, at least 41 new cases have been identified, as well as one death. Chinese investigators conducted gene sequencing of the virus and have ruled out SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, influenza, avian influenza, adenovirus and other common respiratory pathogens (i.e. a possible new type of coronavirus).


Although the virus was initially thought to be transmitted by animals, the WHO says there is now evidence of human-to-human transmission.


On 13 Jan, the Thai Health Ministry in Bangkok reported that a 61-year-old Chinese woman who had traveled from Wuhan has been been quarantined with the mystery strain, the first time it has been detected outside China.

 

On 14 Jan, the World Health Organization began warning hospitals worldwide of the possible spread the novel SARS-like China coronavirus.

 

On 16 Jan, Japan’s health ministry reported their first confirmed case of the coronavirus in a man who had visited Wuhan.


CHINESE NEW YEAR

 

A major concern for public health officials worldwide is the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations, during which the largest annual human migration takes place as Chinese people head home to celebrate the Lunar New Year Spring Festival with their families.


The first day of Chinese New Year starts with the new moon, which for 2020 falls on 25 January.


While the legal holiday lasts 7 days (from the Lunar New Year’s Eve to the sixth day of the first lunar month), many companies and public institutions enjoy a longer holiday up to 10 days or more. It is also a public holiday in countries such as Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam.
During last year’s celebrations, it is estimated that 2.2 BILLION trips were made by automobile, 400 MILLION by rail, and 73 MILLION by air to and from points around the globe.

 

According to the Chinese travel services company Ctrip, the top five overseas destinations for Chinese New Year tourists are Thailand, Japan, the United States, Singapore and Australia.

_____

Public Health Screening to Begin at 3 U.S. Airports
for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (“2019-nCoV”)


Press Release

January 17, 2020


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will implement enhanced health screenings to detect ill travelers traveling to the United States on direct or connecting flights from Wuhan, China. This activity is in response to an outbreak in China caused by a novel (new) coronavirus (2019 nCoV), with exported cases to Thailand and Japan.


Starting January 17, 2020, travelers from Wuhan to the United States will undergo entry screening for symptoms associated with 2019-nCoV at three U.S. airports that receive most of the travelers from Wuhan, China: San Francisco (SFO), New York (JFK), and Los Angeles (LAX) airports.


“To further protect the health of the American public during the emergence of this novel coronavirus, CDC is beginning entry screening at three ports of entry. Investigations into this novel coronavirus are ongoing and we are monitoring and responding to this evolving situation,” said Martin Cetron, M.D., Director of CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine.


Based on current information, the risk from 2019-nCoV to the American public is currently deemed to be low. Nevertheless, CDC is taking proactive preparedness precautions.


Entry screening is part of a layered approach used with other public health measures already in place to detect arriving travelers who are sick (such as detection and reporting of ill travelers by airlines during travel and referral of ill travelers arriving at a US port of entry by CBP) to slow and reduce the spread of any disease into the United States.


CDC is deploying about 100 additional staff to the three airports (SFO, JFK, and LAX) to supplement existing staff at CDC quarantine stations located at those airports.


CDC is actively monitoring this situation for pertinent information about the source of outbreak, and risk for further spread through person-to-person or animal-to-person transmission. CDC may adjust screening procedures and other response activities as this outbreak investigation continues and more is learned about the newly emerging virus. Entry screening alone is not a guarantee against the possible importation of this new virus but is an important public health tool during periods of uncertainty and part of a multilayered government response strategy. As new information emerges, CDC will reassess entry screening measures and could scale activities up or down accordingly.


On Jan. 11, 2020, CDC updated a
Level 1 Travel Health Notice (“practice usual precautions”) for travelers to Wuhan City and an updated Health Alert to health care professionals and public health partners with new and updated guidance is forthcoming.


China health officials report that most of the patients infected with 2019-nCoV have had exposure to a large market where live animals were present, suggesting this is a novel virus that has jumped the species barrier to infect people. Chinese authorities additionally report that several hundred health care workers caring for outbreak patients are being monitored and no spread of this virus from patients to health care workers has been seen. They report no sustained spread of this virus in the community, however there are indications that some limited person-to-person spread may have occurred. CDC is responding to this outbreak out of an abundance of caution, ready to detect people infected with 2019-CoV.


For the latest information on the outbreak, visit CDC’s
Novel Coronavirus 2019 website.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/p0117-coronavirus-screening.html

 

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via: Alerts USA


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Virginia governor declares state of emergency – is National Guard deployment next

Is this the excuse to use National Guard some feared.

 

Per the Emergency Services and Disaster Law:

Mutual assistance in this compact may include the use of the states’ National Guard forces, either in accordance with the National Guard Mutual Assistance Compact or by mutual agreement between states.

Governor says intelligence groups report chatter echo’s Charlottesville rally, governor says.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a state of emergency on Wednesday that bars any weapons from the Richmond’s Capitol Square from Friday to Tuesday, after he received credible intelligence that hate groups and armed militias are planning violence at next Monday’s Lobby Day against gun control legislation.

Northam, who discussed the threats at a news conference, said the state’s law enforcement analysis found that the chatter on the internet and other venues mirrored similar messages seen around the time of the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally, which left three dead and more than 30 injured.

The governor declined to give exact details about the threats and the persons making them, but said that these groups, who were coming from outside of the state, talked about storming the Virginia Capitol.

“They are not coming to peacefully protest, they are coming to intimidate and to cause harm,” he said of the outside groups.

The announced weapons ban will include sticks, bats, chains, projectiles, and firearms, similar to the prohibitions issued on airlines and in courthouses, Northam said. State, Capitol and Richmond police officers will coordinate the safety in the square and set up checkpoints to make sure everyone adheres to the weapons ban.

“It makes no sense to ban every other weapon but allow firearms when intelligence shows a threat of an armed militia groups storming our capital,” Northam said.

Gun rights advocates from around the country plan on attending the state’s Lobby Day on Monday to speak out against new gun control legislation that is moving forward under the newly Democratic-controlled Virginia House of Delegates and state Senate. Some of the bills include universal background checks on guns, an assault rifles ban and a “red flag” law that would give judges the authority to order an individual to temporarily turn in their weapon if they are deemed a threat.

Seventeen states including New York and Florida, as well as Washington, D.C., have previously passed red flag laws.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League, VCDL, a group that describes itself as a “non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the fundamental human right of all Virginians to keep and bear arms,” plans on holding a rally. Northam said he respects the rights of Virginians to protest and speak their mind about the gun control bills, but emphasized that he will not condone any threat of violence.

He called on the VCDL and other gun rights groups to stick to peaceful protests.

“I call on them to disavow anyone who wishes to use Monday’s rally to advance a violent agenda,” Northam said. “Hate, intimidation and violence have no place here.”

Representatives for the VCDL didn’t immediately return messages for comment.

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via:  abcnews


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Fort Bragg’s 82nd Airborne deploys to the Middle East

FORT BRAGG, N.C.  For many of the soldiers, it would be their first mission. They packed up ammunition and rifles, placed last-minute calls to loved ones, then turned in their cell phones. Some gave blood.

The 600 mostly young soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were headed for the Middle East, part of a group of some 3,500 U.S. paratroopers ordered to the region. Kuwait is the first stop for many. Their final destinations are classified.

“We’re going to war, bro,” one cheered, holding two thumbs up and sporting a grin under close-shorn red hair. He stood among dozens of soldiers loading trucks outside a cinder block building housing several auditoriums with long benches and tables.

Days after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the drone killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, raising fears of fresh conflict in the Middle East, the men and women of the U.S. Army’s storied 82nd Airborne Division are moving out in the largest “fast deployment” since the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

U.S. Army Major General James Mingus waded through the sea of camouflage-uniformed men and women as they prepared to leave the base near Fayetteville on Sunday. He shook hands with the troops, wishing them luck.

  • FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, walk toward an awaiting aircraft prior to departing for the Middle East from Fort Bragga man in a military uniform: U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division board an aircraft bound for the U.S. Central Command area of operations from Fort Bragga group of people on a beach: FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, walk toward an awaiting aircraft prior to departing for the Middle East from Fort Bragga group of people in military uniforms: FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, prepare for departure for the Middle East from Fort Bragg


One soldier from Ashboro, Virginia, said he wasn’t surprised when the order came.“I was just watching the news, seeing how things were going over there,” said the 27-year-old, one of several soldiers Reuters was allowed to interview on condition they not be named. “Then I got a text message from my sergeant saying ‘don’t go anywhere.’ And that was it.”

Risks seemed to be pushed to the back of the minds of the younger soldiers, though many packed the base chapel after a breakfast of eggs, waffles, oatmeal, sausages and 1,000 doughnuts.

One private took a strap tethered to a transport truck and tried to hitch it to the belt of an unwitting friend, a last prank before shipping out.

‘THIS IS THE MISSION’

The older soldiers, in their 30s and 40s, were visibly more somber, having the experience of seeing comrades come home from past deployments learning to walk on one leg or in flag-draped coffins.

“This is the mission, man,” said Brian Knight, retired Army veteran who has been on five combat deployments to the Middle East. He is the current director of a chapter of the United Service Organizations military support charity.

“They’re answering America’s 911 call,” Knight said. “They’re stoked to go. The president called for the 82nd.”

There was lots of wrestling holds as the troops tossed their 75-pound (34 kg) backpacks onto transport trucks. The packs hold everything from armor-plated vests, extra socks and underwear, to 210 rounds of ammunition for their M-4 carbine rifles.

A sergeant pushed through the crowd shouting for anyone with type-O blood, which can be transfused into any patient.

“The medics need you now. Move,” he said, before a handful of troops walked off to give a little less than a pint each.

UNCERTAINTY PREVAILS

While members of the unit – considered the most mobile in the U.S. Army – are used to quick deployments, this was different, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Burns, an Army spokesman.

“The guys are excited to go but none of us know how long they’ll be gone,” Burns said. “That’s the toughest part.”

Soldiers were ordered not to bring cell phones, portable video games or any other devices that could be used to communicate with friends and family back home, out of concern that details of their movements could leak out.

“We’re an infantry brigade,” Burns said. “Our primary mission is ground fighting. This is as real as it gets.”

A sergeant started rattling off last names, checking them off from a list after “heres” and “yups” and “yos.”

For every fighter, there were seven support crew members shipping out – cooks, aviators, mechanics, medics, chaplains, and transportation and supply managers. All but the chaplains would carry guns to fight.

A senior master sergeant, 34, said: “The Army is an all-volunteer force. We want to do this. You pay your taxes and we get to do this.”

The reality of the deployment wouldn’t sink in until the troops “walk out that door,” he said, pointing to the exit to the tarmac where C-4 and C-7 transport planes and two contract commercial jets waited.

His call came when he was on leave in his hometown of Daytona Beach, Florida, taking his two young daughters to visit relatives and maybe go to Walt Disney World.

“We just got there and I got the call to turn right around and head back to base,” he said. “My wife knows the drill. I had to go. We drove right back.”

On a single order, hundreds of soldiers jumped to their feet. They lined up single file and marched out carrying their guns and kits and helmets, past a volunteer honor guard holding aloft flags that flapped east in the January wind.


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via:  msn


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Acting Secretary Wolf Issues Homeland Security National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin

Acting Secretary Wolf Issues Homeland Security NTAS Bulletin

WASHINGTON – Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf issued a new National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin pertaining to the changing threat landscape following the successful U.S.-led airstrike in Iraq that eliminated Qaseem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

“At this time there is no specific, credible threat against the homeland. The Department issued this bulletin to inform, share protective measures, and reassure the American public, state and local governments, and private sector partners that the Department of Homeland Security is actively monitoring and preparing for any specific, credible threat, should one arise” said Acting Secretary Wolf. “The Department is operating with an enhanced posture and various operational components are taking protective measures where prudent and necessary. We have been in constant communication with Congress and interagency partners. The American people should feel assured the entire Department is working for them to keep them safe.”

You can read the new NTAS Bulletin here.


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Multiple stabbing victims at Murray Hill shopping center and nearby Wells Fargo Bank. – 12/18/19

Multiple people were stabbed at the Murray Hill shopping center and nearby Wells Fargo Bank in Beaverton, police tweeted.

The stabbing suspect has been detained and is no longer a threat to the public, according to Beaverton police. The stabbing victims have been sent to the hospital, but the status of their injuries is unclear at this time.

Officers are on the scene at Southwest Murray Boulevard and Teal Avenue. The Washington County Major Crimes Team is also responding.

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Millions of Californians could be without power for a week

PG&E may shut off power due to fire risk.

 

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced Monday it may shut off power this week in nearly 30 northern California counties in response to strong and dry winds posing a fire threat.

“We would encourage residents and businesses to prepare for being without power for potentially as long as seven days,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a press conference Monday night.

Nearly 2 million people could be affected if there is a shutdown Wednesday, Liccardo said, as well as about 67 schools.

The public safety power shutoff would span across northern, central, coastal and Bay Area counties, the utility company said. PG&E has previously said it’s “probable” that its equipment started the 2018 Camp Fire — California’s deadliest and most destructive blaze — when a power line touched nearby trees.

An investigation by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection found the company responsible for the fire, which killed 85 people and destroyed thousands of structures.

The National Weather Service issued a Fire Weather Watch for Wednesday through Thursday across northern portions of California, warning of “potential of rapid spread of fire” and reporting “potentially strong, damaging” winds and relatively low humidity.

“This has the potential to be the strongest offshore wind event of the year,” the weather service said. “The time to prepare is now.”

The city of San Jose had been preparing for a similar event since June, the mayor said.

“Some of what we need to do to get ready will in fact take years,” he said. “That is ensuring we have sufficient backup power generation, establishing microgrids where we can do so, things of that nature.”

In the meantime, he urged residents to shelter in place, as street lights and signals will not be working in the event of a power shutoff. He also encouraged households to create emergency plans and kits which include food and water for all family members and pets.

 

Late last month, PG&E shut off power to more than 48,000 northern California customers in precaution following dry and windy conditions. It was the second consecutive public safety power shutoff in that week, after the company had previously left about 24,000 customers across three northern California counties in the dark.

On September 13, the utility giant announced it had reached an $11 billion settlement with insurance companies for claims stemming from the devastating 2017 wildfires across northern California and the 2018 Camp Fire.

And in June, PG&E paid $1 billion in damages to local governments for blazes linked to its power lines and other equipment.

 

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via:  cnn.com, keyt.com


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