Friday, April 24, 2020

Wendy’s restaurants to give out free nuggets nationwide today

Wendy’s locations will be giving out free nuggets nationwide today (4/24), no strings attached, according to a tweet from their official Twitter account. The company posted on social media that you can get a free four-piece nuggets with no purchase necessary. This includes both the original and spicy nuggets, as well. The restaurant chain did specify that you will need to come through the drive-thru in order to get your order due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Wendy’s Twitter)


Coronavirus has mutated into at least 30 different strains, study finds

According to a new study in China, medical officials have vastly underestimated the overall ability of the virus to mutate, in finding that different strains have affected different parts of the world, leading to potential difficulties in finding an overall cure. The study, which was carried out by researchers from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. The researchers analyzed the strains from 11 randomly chosen coronavirus patients from Hangzhou, where there have been 1,264 reported cases, and then tested how efficiently they could infect and kill cells. However, China’s coronavirus numbers have been questioned, as they have not been verified. More than 30 different mutations of the virus were detected, of which 19 were previously undiscovered. The research team found that some of the most aggressive strains of the virus were able to generate 270 times the viral load as the weakest strains; in addition, the aggressive strains killed the human cells fastest. According to their findings, the “true diversity” of the viral strains is underappreciated and must be understood in order to find a treatment or vaccine. (Fox News)


Energy sector braces for layoffs

Workers across the American energy industry are bracing for a new wave of layoffs and shutdowns amid a historic cratering in oil prices. A crude oil futures contract this week went into negative-price territory for the first time as demand dropped, threatening thousands of jobs. With the sector already hurt by earlier falls in the price of oil, a number of smaller oil companies are expected to seek bankruptcy protection soon, while those related to the industry (manufacturers that build its equipment, steel companies that make its pipes, and financial institutions and individual investors backing it) are bracing for a hit. (The New York Times)


New York state rescinds DNR order for cardiac patients amid coronavirus crisis

New York state rescinded a blanket do-not-resuscitate order, that instructed first-responders not to revive patients without a pulse, in an effort to preserve resources during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The order initially was deemed “necessary during the COVID-19 response to protect the health and safety of EMS providers by limiting their exposure, conserve resources, and ensure optimal use of equipment to save the greatest number of lives,” according to a memo issued last week by the state Department of Health. “This guidance, proposed by physician leaders of the EMS Regional Medical Control Systems and the State Advisory Council – in accordance with American Heart Association guidance and based on standards recommended by the American College of Emergency Physicians and adopted in multiple other states – was issued April 17, 2020 at the recommendation of the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, and reflected ‎nationally recognized minimum standards,” the state health department’s spokeswoman said. Before the initial order was issued, paramedics were told to try to resuscitate patients found in cardiac arrest for up to 20 minutes. New York City’s Fire Department (FDNY) and first responders never adopted the DNR order and instead adhered to the traditional 20-minute policy. First responders said they were disturbed by the directive, arguing it went against their mission of saving lives. (The New York Post)


CDC confirms first pets to test positive for coronavirus

The CDC has confirmed that two pet cats living in separate New York state homes have tested positive for the coronavirus, the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory said. These are the first pets in the U.S. to test positive for COVID-19, the agency said. The cats experienced a mild respiratory illness from the virus and are expected to recover. The first cat, which was tested after showing mild respiratory issues, was not living in a home with confirmed coronavirus patients. The owner of the second cat tested positive for COVID-19, but another cat in that household hasn’t shown symptoms. There is still no evidence that pets can spread the coronavirus in the U.S., the agency said in a statement, and routine testing of animals is not recommended. (National Veterinary Services Laboratory)


Protest starts after a woman arrested, accused of violating city order

A 40-year-old woman was arrested and charged with one count of misdemeanor trespassing after police say she was violating city orders by trespassing on closed city playground equipment in Meridian, Idaho. Following her arrest, there were protests being held at Meridian City Hall. Social media posts indicate the woman was initially arrested during a peaceful protest at Kleiner Park. Officers said they informed several people gathered on the closed playground equipment that they could move to the other areas of the park. “I feel like I was singled out because I was the only person that was arrested,” she said. “I wasn’t the only person standing on the bark. I definitely wasn’t playing on the playground equipment. I wasn’t swinging, never touched them. But yeah, I do feel like I was singled out and maybe it was because I asked too many questions.” The playground was wrapped with caution tape and signage announcing the playground was closed due to COVID-19. Meridian officers say they made several attempts to help her adhere to the rules and that she was not complying with the requests. “These are very trying times and the Meridian Police Department supports the public’s right to assemble for peaceful protest, however the right does not include damaging public property or ignoring closures of City property and facilities,” MPD said. There were also counter-protesters arguing against how the protest at Meridian City Hall was handled. Some protesters believe the woman was in the wrong, but disagrees with police’s decision to arrest her.


Fliers don’t have to sit in middle

In the midst of mounting stress surrounding coronavirus and travel, economy passengers have one less thing to worry about: being assigned a middle seat. Major airlines are temporarily blocking off middle seats and revamping policies to keep customers safe. It’s a blessing for travelers in the age of social distancing but may pose a problem for airlines long-term. Filling only two out of every three seats fails to bring airlines up to the necessary 75% load factor estimated by the International Air Transportation Agency for a flight to break even. (Forbes)


Outbreak began earlier in US

The timeline of the U.S. coronavirus outbreak has shifted earlier, with California health officials identifying a fatality on February 6th, weeks before the first death was thought to have occurred at a Washington nursing home. The discovery affects epidemiological models that show how many people may be infected now. Testing in New York City, meanwhile, indicated that one out of every five people had antibodies for the virus, meaning many times more people than previously thought were infected. However, director of the Centers for Disease Control said that a second wave of coronavirus infections could overlap with the start of flu season next winter, increasing the burden on health care facilities. (Washington Post)


Another 4.4 million jobless claims

Another 4.4 million people in the U.S. filed new unemployment claims. The claims, which were filed between April 12 to 18, join the roughly 22 million others filed since the new coronavirus began shaking the foundations of the U.S. economy in March. While the new number of claims is lower than in recent weeks, it’s still extraordinarily high. States continue to struggle to keep up with the volume of unemployment applications flooding their systems. (Department of Labor)


New York will launch a testing/tracing program in unison with Connecticut and New Jersey

The program will trace the contacts of people exposed to coronavirus to prevent further spread. For it to work, New York will need to double the number of daily COVID-19 tests to 40,000, which is the maximum capacity of the laboratories in the state, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Johns Hopkins University will help the states develop and implement the program. (Governor Andrew Cuomo Twitter)


China may have largely underestimated the number of people infected by coronavirus during the first weeks of the outbreak, a new study says

Hong Kong researchers say that, although China reported 55,000 cases as of Feb. 20, four times as many people were probably infected with the virus at the time. That’s because, initially, Chinese authorities used very narrow criteria to identify cases, the study says. The standards were revised at least seven times as the outbreak progressed, and with each revision, there was an increase in the proportion of cases detected. China has been accused of a lack of transparency over the reporting of its figures. (The Lancet)


Iran has launched its first military satellite

The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) issued a code identifying a new object in space, which some experts say is a confirmation that the Iranian satellite successfully reached orbit. After the rocket launch, President Trump said he had instructed the U.S. Navy to shoot at Iranian gunboats if they harass American ships. Last week, U.S. defense officials said that Iranian ships conducted “dangerous and harassing approaches” to American ships in the Gulf. (The Guardian)


Apple is working on a security fix for a flaw that may have left more than half a billion iPhones vulnerable to cyberattacks

According to ZecOps, the California-based mobile security forensics company that discovered the flaw, hackers may have taken advantage of the vulnerability to launch at least six cyberattacks against companies in the U.S., Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. ZecOps said that the flaw, which also affects iPads, could give hackers access to images and contact details. Apple said that a patch for the flaw will be included in a forthcoming global update. (Reuters)


Friday Slams Down With Vengeance Because It’s:

  • Arbor Day (Last Friday)
  • Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day
  • Day of Dialogue (Last Friday)
  • National Day of Silence
  • National Hairball Awareness Day (Always Last Friday)
  • New Kids on The Block Day
  • Sauvignon Blanc Day
  • St. Mark’s Eve
  • National Teach Children to Save Day (Last Friday)
  • Undiagnosed Children’s Awareness Day (Always Last Friday)
  • World Day for Animals in Laboratories
  • World Meningitis Day


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