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  • The death toll attributed to the 2019 novel coronavirus continues to rise, with tens of thousands of people sickened and thousands of others killed by the virus, mostly in China. The coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, was discovered late last year in Wuhan, China. Here are the latest updates: 142 new cases of the virus reported in South Korea  Update 9 p.m. EST Feb 21: South Korea reported a six-fold jump in viral infections in four days to 346, most of them linked to a church and a hospital in and around the fourth-largest city where schools were closed and worshipers and others told to avoid mass gatherings.  Of the 142 new cases in South Korea, 131 are from Daegu and nearby regions, which have emerged as the latest front in the widening global fight against COVID-19.  China the daily count of new virus cases there fell significantly to 397, with another 109 people dying of the disease, most in the epicenter of Hubei province.  The new figures bring the total number of cases in mainland China to 76,288 with 2,345 deaths, as strict quarantine measures and travel bans continue to contain the disease that emerged in China in December and has since spread world-wide. The daily figure is down from 889. WHO’s latest situation report The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization says that coronavirus has been found in 30 countries around the world. Read the latest situation report from the WHO below. Italy’s virus cases quadruples Update 1:20 p.m. EST Feb 21: Officials in Italy are reporting that the number of people infected by coronavirus has quadrupled. As of Friday, the country has seen 17 cases, with 14 of them new. They are being considered secondary contagion cases and are clustered in small towns around Lodi, in the Lombardy region, The Associated Press reported. It was previously reported that a 38-year-old man, who is in critical condition due to coronavirus, passed the illness to his wife and a close friend after he picked it up from a person who had been in China, but not showing any symptoms. The person who was in China is in isolation and may have antibodies to battle the illness. Three patients at the hospital where the patient who is in critical condition visited when he was being treated for flu-like symptoms have tested positive. As do five nurses and doctors at the same facility. Three people who went to the same cafe as the 38-year-old man who is sick also have tested positive. Because of the cluster, the mayor of Codogno has closed schools, public buildings,s restaurants and coffee shops. And has ordered the 14-day quarantine of anyone who came in contact with the man and the two people first diagnosed, the AP reported. 1 new coronavirus case confirmed in Singapore Update 11 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Officials with Singapore’s Ministry of Health have verified another case of coronavirus in the country, bringing the total number of people infected in Singapore to 86. Authorities said the newest case involves a 24-year-old Singaporean man who was under isolation Friday at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. His illness was linked to one reported earlier this week involving a 57-year-old woman who had no history of recent travel to China. Officials said 47 people who have been diagnosed with coronavirus in Singapore have since recovered and been released from hospitals. Lebanon, Israel confirm 1st coronavirus cases Update 10 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Health officials in Lebanon and Israel announced Friday the first confirmed coronavirus cases in the countries. Lebanon’s health minister, Hamad Hassan, said Friday that a 45-year-old woman tested positive for coronavirus after entering the country from Iran, Reuters reported. She was being quarantined Friday at a hospital in Beirut, according to Reuters. The Jerusalem Post reported an Israeli who returned to the country Thursday after being evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship has tested positive for the virus. The coronavirus case marked the first in Israel, though health officials noted the passenger had contracted virus while in Japan. Earlier this month, thousands of people were quarantined on the Diamond Princess, docked off the coast of Japan, due to coronavirus fears. Hundreds of people on the ship ended up testing positive for the viral infection. South Korea reports 2nd coronavirus death  Update 9 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Officials in South Korea reported the country’s second death due to coronavirus Friday, The Washington Post reported. Citing the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Post reported a woman in her 50s died after testing positive for the virus Friday at Daenam Hospital. She was transferred to a bigger hospital in Busan, where she died around 6 p.m., according to the newspaper. The death marked the second related to COVID-19 in South Korea. On Wednesday, a 63-year-old patient died after suffering symptoms of pneumonia in what was suspected to be the country’s first coronavirus death, according to The New York Times. Iran confirms 18 cases, 4 deaths Update 7:50 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Iranian officials confirmed on Friday that 13 new cases of the novel coronavirus have been diagnosed and two additional patients have died. Friday’s figures bring Iran’s total number of infections to 18 and the death toll from the virus to four, CNN reported. “According to the latest laboratory reports 13 more contractions of coronavirus have been confirmed, including 7 in Qom, 4 in Tehran, and two in Gilan. Unfortunately, out of these cases two have lost their lives,' health ministry spokesman Kianoosh Jahanpour tweeted Friday. 3 novel coronavirus cases confirmed in Italy Update 7:32 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Italy confirmed its first novel coronavirus cases Friday, noting three people in a city near Milan have tested positive for the illness. According to The Washington Post, the first patient to contract the virus was a 38-year-old man in the northern region of Lombardy, who fell ill after dining with a friend who had recently returned from China. The man then passed the illness on to his wife and a close friend. All three patients have been hospitalized, the Post reported. Confirmed novel coronavirus cases, fatalities continue to increase globally Update 6:46 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Globally, more than 76,900 novel coronavirus cases have been reported, according to the latest figures released Friday morning by health officials in China. Although the majority of cases – around 75,600 – remain clustered in mainland China, more than 1,300 cases have been confirmed in 29 countries, CNN reported. Meanwhile, 118 additional deaths were confirmed in mainland China Friday, with the global death toll reaching 2,247, the network reported. Vaccine nearing clinical trials in China Update 6:44 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Xu Nanping, China’s vice minister of Science and Technology, told reporters Friday that Chinese researchers expect to submit the first COVID-19 vaccine for clinical trials around late April. The status update comes roughly one month after Chinese officials established a coronavirus scientific research group, consisting of 14 experts led by renowned pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan, The Washington Post reported. “One month is a very short time for scientific research, but a very long time for patients struggling with the disease. The scientific and technological community nationwide will put the safety of people’s lives and health first and spare no effort to continue to produce tangible and effective scientific research results,” Xu told reporters during the briefing. Protesters attack Wuhan evacuee bus in Ukraine; 9 police officers, 1 civilian injured Update 6:42 a.m. EST Feb. 21: The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs said nine police officers and one civilian were injured Thursday when protesters attacked a bus carrying evacuees from Wuhan, China. According to CNN, protesters had blocked roads in Noviy Sanzhari, the town where the evacuees are to be monitored for two weeks at a medical facility belonging to the Ukrainian National Guard. “Those people who today threw stones at the evacuees of Ukrainians and law enforcement officers ... We will make a decision on their punishment,” said Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, confirming one officer was seriously injured in the incident instigated by “aggressive citizens,” the network reported. South Korean coronavirus infections continue to increase Update 3:46 a.m. EST Feb. 21: The number of confirmed novel coronavirus infections in South Korea increased to 204 on Friday, nearly doubling in 24 hours and almost quadrupling in three days, the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed in a statement issued early Friday. Health officials believe the majority of the new cases are connected to a church in Daegu, a city of about two and half million people in the southeastern region of the country. Specifically, 42 of the newest cases reported Friday have been traced to the church called Shincheonji. The country also reported on Thursday what officials believe could be South Korea’s first fatality from the virus. The 63-year-old woman exhibiting symptoms of pneumonia died Wednesday at the Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo, The New York Times reported. Prison outbreaks boost novel coronavirus cases in mainland China Update 3:43 a.m. EST Feb. 21: More than 500 novel coronavirus cases have been confirmed in prisons across China, including 271 cases – 51 of which had been counted in previous tallies – in Hubei province, CNN reported. Meanwhile, officials announced in a joint news conference on Friday that of the 2,077 prisoners and staff at Rencheng prison in China’s eastern Shandong province tested for the virus, 200 prisoners and seven staff members tested positive. Zhejiang province announced 34 prison cases on Friday, bringing the correctional total to 512, CNN reported. Canada records its 9th confirmed novel coronavirus case, 6th in British Columbia Update 3:41 a.m. EST Feb. 21: British Columbia’s Ministry of Health confirmed Friday a woman in her 30s has become the province’s sixth diagnosed case of novel coronavirus and the ninth for Canada. According to the statement, the woman had recently returned from Iran and is being isolated at home while public health officials identify and contact those people with whom she had contact upon returning Meanwhile, 47 of the 256 Canadian passengers aboard the beleaguered Diamond Princess cruise ship – moored off the coast of Japan – have tested positive for the virus. All 256 will be subject to a 14-day quarantine in Ontario once their evacuations are complete, CNN reported. 11 of 13 people evacuated to Omaha test positive for COVID-19  Update 11 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Federal experts confirmed that 11 of 13 people evacuated to an Omaha hospital from a cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for COVID-19, Nebraska officials announced Thursday night. The University of Nebraska Medical Center said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had verified test results completed Monday by the Nebraska Public Health Lab. Ten of those people are being cared for at the National Quarantine Unit while three are in the nearby Nebraska Biocontainment Unit. The medical center said only a few of the patients were showing symptoms of the disease. All 13 people were passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship who were evacuated to the U.S. on Feb. 17. China reports fall in new virus cases, 118 deaths  Update 10 p.m. EST Feb. 20: China reported a further fall in new virus cases to 889 as health officials expressed optimism over containment of the outbreak that has caused more than 2,200 deaths and is spreading elsewhere.  New infections in China have been falling for days, although changes in how it counts cases have caused doubts about the true trajectory of the epidemic.  China’s figures for the previous 24 hours brought the total number of cases to 75,465. The 118 newly reported deaths raised the total to 2,236. More than 1,000 cases and 11 deaths have been confirmed outside the mainland. 4 Americans who tested positive for COVID-19 sent to hospital in Spokane, Washington  Update 7:30 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Four Americans who tested positive for the new virus that caused an outbreak China are being sent to a hospital in Spokane, Washington, for treatment, officials said Thursday.  The four were passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and were flown back to the U.S. over the weekend, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services. They were being transferred from Travis Air Force Base in California, hospital officials said.  Two patients arrived at the hospital Thursday in satisfactory condition with two more expected soon, said Christa Arguinchona, who manages a special isolation unit at Sacred Heart Medical Center. The hospital is one of 10 in the nation funded by Congress to treat new or highly infectious diseases.  “The risk to the community from this particular process is zero,” said Bob Lutz of the Spokane Regional Health District at a briefing Thursday at the hospital. WHO: ‘This is no time for complacency’ Update 2:25 p.m. EST Feb. 20: World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday that recent declines in the number of new coronavirus cases being reported in China were encouraging, but he warned, “this is no time for complacency.” As pf 6 a.m. Geneva time Thursday, 74,675 people in China and 1,076 people in order parts of the world had been sickened by coronavirus, according to WHO. Officials said 2,121 people in China and seven people outside of the country have died thus far of the viral infection. 'This is the time to attack the virus while it is manageable,” Tedros said, according to The Washington Post. “You will get sick of me saying that the window of opportunity remains open for us to contain this COVID-19 outbreak.” CDC warns travels to take precautions for travel to Japan, Hong Kong Update 12:20 p.m. EST Feb. 20: The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new coronavirus-related travel advisories Thursday for Americans visiting Japan or Hong Kong. The advisories warned travelers to avoid contact with sick people, avoid touching their eyes, noses or mouths with their unwashed hands and recommended using soap and water often to wash hands for at least 20 seconds. Officials said Thursday that it remained unnecessary to postpone or cancel trips to Japan or Hong Kong due to the virus. However, the CDC advisories noted “multiple instances of community spread' in both locales, meaning people “have been infected with the virus, but how or where they became infected is not known.” Officials with the CDC previously issued an advisory warning travelers to avoid non-essential travel to China. According to Japanese health officials, authorities have seen 73 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the country. One person in Japan has died of the viral infection. Health official in Hong Kong have confirmed 65 cases of coronavirus. Japan reports 12 new coronavirus cases, Singapore confirms 1 more  Update 11 a.m. EST Feb. 20: Officials in Japan have reported a dozen new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, CNN reported, citing the Japanese health ministry. The new cases include two government officials who worked on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, according to CNN. Thousands of people were quarantined on the ship for two weeks as it was docked off the coast of Japan due to coronavirus fears. Hundreds of people on the ship ended up testing positive for the viral infection.  Officials with the Singapore Ministry of Health said Thursday that a new case of coronavirus had been confirmed in the country. The case, involving a 36-year-old Chinese national who was in Singapore on a work pass, is the 85th reported in Singapore.  Global death toll hits 2,126  Update 7:40 a.m. EST Feb. 20: More than 2,120 people have died globally and thousands of others have fallen ill due to the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to multiple reports.  At least 2,126 people globally have died from coronavirus, CNN reported Thursday. A majority of the deaths have been reported in China, where health officials announced 114 more deaths and 394 more confirmed cases of the illness. Overall, 75,730 coronavirus cases have been reported worldwide, including 74,576 in China, according to CNN.
  • A woman delivered her baby early Friday morning in her husband’s truck in the Liberty Tunnels in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as they sped toward the hospital. Yemen Zaarour says she woke up with contractions shortly before 3 a.m. and their healthy baby was born less than an hour later while her husband was still driving. They left their Bethel Park home to head to Magee Women’s Hospital, but just as they were entering the tunnel her water broke. And they were still inside the tunnel when their baby was born. “I watched (the) clock and I felt more contraction (sic) coming in less than five minutes,” she said. The baby doesn’t have a name yet, but she’s perfectly healthy despite her chaotic entrance. Zaarour’s best friend got to the hospital around the same time as the baby. “In the beginning I thought he was just kidding to make me a little bit afraid, but all the nurses were around and she had the baby in the car,” said her friend, Abir Elzaghir. Zaarour was scheduled to be induced on Feb. 23, which is also the mother and her son’s birthday.
  • While we might still not have flying cars in 2020, we have smartphones, smart cars and smart homes. Now, thanks to a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, we have smart diapers. The revolutionary diapers can help diagnose infections and help both babies and senior citizens. They don’t look like anything out of a sci-fi movie, though - they look like any other disposable diaper. “Maybe they can focus on more important things and wait for the alert to come through to them,” said Nithin Kantareddy, an MIT graduate student. Here’s how it works: A small moisture sensor, which has a radio frequency tag, is placed inside the diaper. When the sensor detects dampness, it’ll transmit a signal to a nearby Wi-Fi receiver that’s placed near the person wearing the diaper. That signal then sends a notification to a smartphone or a computer, alerting a caregiver or parent that the diaper is wet. “It can help in identifying skin hydration and prevent rashes from happening on the skin because, if the diaper is left on for too long, it can lead to skin rashes,' said Pankhuri Sen, a researcher at MIT. Researchers say the smart diaper may eventually help nurses working in neonatal units who have to care for multiple babies at once. “The nurse doesn’t have to go each of them individually. She will be notified of this particular baby on this particular unit that needs to be changed, and she can go change that,” said Sen. But it’s not just for babies. The technology could eventually be used to help elderly patients who may be bedridden and unable to take care of themselves. “So if you have this kind of automatic diaper that lets you know, then it’s convenient for both the patient and caregiver,” said Kantareddy. The diaper can be made for less than 5 cents. The team is currently working with a manufacturer in Latin America to test out the smart diaper.
  • Bibliophiles and history buffs, gather ‘round and take heed: An Ohio collectible book store will offer a rare first edition of the King James Bible for sale next week. The price: $85,000. “The King James Bible is distinctive in that it is not only one of the most treasured and long lasting translations of the Bible into English but also one of the monumental works of English literature,” company President Owen Kubik said in an announcement Wednesday. The KJV Bible was developed by scholars under the authority of England’s King James I and was first published in 1611. “It is still widely used in churches today and is known for some of the most beautiful prose in the English language,” Kubik said. “The words of the King James Bible resonate through our lives today. Many people may not attend church, but they recognize such verses as ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,’ and ‘In the beginning, God created the heaven and earth.’” Kubik said the shop is selling the rare, original first edition printed in 1611. Via email, Kubik told the Dayton Daily News the book came from the estate of a private collector in Texas. “The collector’s family was referred to us, as we are well-known in the rare/antiquarian book trade,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 35 years now.” If the book does not sell in Oakwood, the store will exhibit it at the New York Antiquarian Book Fair from March 5 to 8 at the Park Avenue Armory on the upper East Side. “We expect to sell it in NYC but wanted Daytonians to have first crack at it,” Kubik said. There are two versions of the first edition in circulation, he explained in his release: a “Great He Bible” and a “Great She Bible,” a reference to a typo in one version’s Ruth 3:15, in which the pronoun “he” is used instead of the correct “she.” Said Kubik, “We have the ‘Great She’ version.” The Bible will be on display at Kubik Fine Books, 24 Park Ave., Oakwood, from noon to 4 p.m. each day Monday until Saturday next week. The bookstore was established in 1985. For further information, call the bookstore at 937-294-0253 or visit online at www.kubikbooks.com.
  • The cast of “Friends” have officially signed on for a reunion special. According to Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros television has completed the deal for the “one-off HBO Max special.” The retrospective will included interviews with cast members, according to the Wall Street Journal. All six of the “Friends” stars, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc, are starring in the reunion special. The sitcom, which aired from 1994 to 2004, was a popular rerun staple on Netflix until HBO Max outbid it to become the new “Friends” streaming home beginning this year. HBO Max is set to launch in May. Despite the age of the “Friends,” it has spawned a devoted youthful viewership, especially among tween and teen girls who weren’t yet born when it went off the air in 2004. In an era when everyone assumed they would move on to YouTube and Instagram video, young girls have embraced the series and its old-fashioned, studio audience, sitcom format, bingeing its 10 seasons on Netflix through their tablets and phones, wearing T-shirts with the show’s logo on them and constantly quoting catchphrases. “It is old, but you can’t tell that much when you’re watching,” said 15-year-old Sammy Joyce, of Long Beach, California. “It’s too funny to care about how old it is.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A shirtless man was arrested Tuesday after he was seen riding a motorcycle with a toddler between his legs, police said. Gerardo Javier Garcia, 27, was seen riding shirtless with the child around 3 p.m., the Tampa Bay Times reported. A Clearwater police officer saw Garcia “with the child between (his) legs and with its head resting on the gas tank,” investigators wrote. Garcia fled at a high rate of speed and ran a red light after an officer got behind the motorcycle, then turned on his lights and siren. The officer did not pursue Garcia, but police later stopped Garcia. He told officers he fled because he did not have a driver’s license and feared going to jail, investigators said. It was unclear the child’s age and relation to Garcia. Garcia was arrested and charged with child neglect, driving without a valid license and fleeing police, WTVT reported. A hold from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was also placed on him, the Times reported.