Updated March 20, 2020 – Chloroquine being used in New York.
Not only is it already available, as it has been for almost a century, but Covid-19 patients are already getting it. Montefiore Medical Center in New York has already started seeing the surge of Covid-19 patients that public health experts have been warning about. The hospital is participating in the remdesivir trial and is giving Covid-19 patients chloroquine. “All of our patients get put on chloroquine, as well as on antiretrovirals. We’re using Kaletra. Different places are using different antiretrovirals,” says Liise-anne Pirofski, chief of infectious diseases at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore. “Everybody gets that, unless they have some contraindication.”
Updated March 19, 2020 – FDA “Large Pragmatic Clinical Trial” of Chloroquine
In a statement today, FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, said that we need to test the dosage of Chloroquine for use against COVID-19. Chloroquine has been in use since the 1940’s for malaria.
Topline: President Trump said in a Thursday press briefing that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, drugs used to treat malaria and severe arthritis, were approved by the Food and Drug Administration to test as a COVID-19 coronavirus treatment, as the number of cases nationwide continues to increase.
- The drugs will be used in a clinical trial, according to FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, who spoke during the press briefing.
- Trump also said that other antiviral medications will be fast-tracked for FDA approval.
- “We will collect that data and make the absolute right decisions based upon those data about the safety and efficacy of the treatments,” said Hahn.
- Trump also claimed that the White House has “slashed red tape” to speed up approval for vaccines and other treatments.
- Trump added that the FDA approved “compassionate use” for a number of patients, which allows very ill patients to use drugs not yet approved by the agency for widespread use.
Crucial quote: “What’s also important is not to provide false hope,” said Hahn, who spoke after Trump, adding, “We may have the right drug, but it might not be in the appropriate dosage form right now, and it might do more harm than good.”
Updated March 17, 2020 – HAPPY ST PATRICK’S DAY
Post-infection chloroquine treatment reduces SARS-CoV infection and spread.
If you’re looking for a more scientific discussion of chloroquine. Here is one by bimedcentral.com from 2005.
HUGE! New Study Reveals Taking Chloroquine Fights Off COVID-19 in 6 Days and Works as Preventative for Coronavirus Infection.
Dr. Rigano said their study found that those COVID-19 patients who took hydroxy-chloroquine were found free of the disease in 6 days. The patients were testing negative for the coronavirus in six days!
Their study found that those COVID-19 patients who took hydroxy-chloroquine were found free of the disease in 6 days. The patients were testing negative for the coronavirus in six days!
Dr. Rigano also said taking choroquine could act as a preventative.
This is a remarkable study!
Updated March 16, 2020 – Did President Trump say the “crisis” would last until July or August????
I think not. Dr. Anthony Fauci clarified (at 24:08) that “trajectory of the outbreak may go till then.” People were talking over the President when he said at 26:15 “that would be the outside number”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UTvLwv28wY They both said this as they were using their hands to indicate the “flight trajectory during the parabolic manoeuvre”. And I believe they were talking about the far right of the image below.
We don’t know exactly what they meant because none of the talking heads in the room thought to ask. They were too busy texting the headline: “President Says The Crisis Will Last Through July and August.” Someone commented below the video, “Let the media go and let the labs try new tests on them.”
Here is a more appropriate image. Their intent is to not stress the healthcare system beyond capacity, but this will stretch out the time between the first case and the last case.
Updated March 16, 2020 – Australian Doctors May Have Cure for Coronavirus
“Drugs used to treat HIV and malaria could be used to tackle the coronavirus, according to scientists in Australia. A team of infectious disease experts at the University of Queensland in Brisbane say they have seen two existing medications manage to wipe out COVID-19 infections.” (DailyMail.co.uk)
University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research director Professor David Paterson told news.com.au today they have seen two drugs used to treat other conditions can wipe out the virus in test tubes. He said one of the medications, given to some of the first people to test positive for COVID-19 in Australia, had already resulted in “disappearance of the virus” and complete recovery from the infection.” … The drugs are both already registered and available in Australia. “What we want to do at the moment is a large clinical trial across Australia, looking at 50 hospitals, and what we’re going to compare is one drug, versus another drug, versus the combination of the two drugs,” Prof Paterson said. https://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/cure-found-for-coronavirus-in-australia/3973564/
Updated March 15, 2020 – Vaccine Testing Starting
The vaccine is being developed by Moderna, which is a relatively young company built around this gene-based approached to drug therapy development. Skipping animal testing allows them to start using 45 healthy volunteers to test for negative side effects: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/first-u-clinical-human-trial-115844627.html
Updated March 14, 2020 – Treatment & Vaccine development
See the list of coronavirus vaccines/drugs under development
Updated March 14, 2020 – Links for Airline’s Coronavirus pages
Updated March 13, 2020
I use this coronavirus page to see the numbers across the world.
Opinion: I’m hoping that we’re “ripping the bandaid off” now and it’ll be all healed by the beginning of April. What I mean is, the US is trying to reduce the curve. Other countries have seen the numbers go up exponentially once it hits about 100 people. I think the UK is trying to reduce the curve also. And I think we’ll know in a couple of weeks if it is working or not.
China has leveled out as has South Korea. I use the site linked above to watch the numbers. Then you can click on the individual country to see their numbers. The chart at the bottom has the “Daily change” which is really helpful. It’s very encouraging to see the “bell curve” and the number of daily changes decreasing on the Mainland China and South Korea pages.
UPDATED MARCH 10, 2020 from Allianz:
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19, “Coronavirus”) is a known and rapidly evolving epidemic that is affecting travel worldwide, with continued spread and impacts expected. COVID-19 became a known event on January 22, 2020 and was recognized as an epidemic as of February 3, 2020.
Allianz Global Assistance is currently assisting customers 24/7/365 who wish to change their travel plans, need travel assistance or would like to file a claim. We are here to fully understand the nature of your situation and provide assistance and applicable coverage under your plan. Our assistance team is ready to help all of our customers who need help while traveling, such as locating medical facilities or rebooking transportation.
We urge any customer who has a medical issue while traveling or who has any other question regarding their plan to call us. Our website is also available at AllianzTravelInsurance.com. We review every claim based on its unique facts and circumstances and are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Claims due to known, foreseeable, or expected events, epidemics, or fear of travel are generally not covered, and coverage can vary by state. However, until further notice, although not covered under most plans, we are currently accommodating claims for:
- Under Emergency Medical Care and Emergency Medical Transportation Benefits: Emergency medical care and emergency medical transportation for a customer who becomes ill with COVID-19 while on their trip.
- Under Trip Cancellation or Trip Interruption Benefits: Trip cancellation and trip interruption if a customer becomes ill with COVID-19 either before or during their trip.
Under Trip Cancellation Benefit: Non-refundable, non-transferable trip cancellation expenses for customers who purchased their plan prior to January 22, 2020 for trip components in Mainland China, South Korea, or the Lombardy or Veneto regions of Italy and departing prior to April 1, 2020.(removed prior to or on Mar 16, 2020)
The above list is strictly applicable to COVID-19. This is only available for customers whose plan includes the applicable benefit. All other terms, conditions, and exclusions of the plan apply as normal.
Our travel protection plans include up to 28 covered reasons for trip cancelation, depending on the plan. To learn more, go to www.allianztravelinsurance.com/travel/trip-cancellation/covered-reasons-explained.htm.
Please review your plan or call us for details.
PLAN REFUND INFORMATION
Customers may change their plan’s effective dates to cover a new or rescheduled trip. Alternatively, for a temporary period, we are offering refunds for the cost of your travel protection plan to customers who wish to cancel their travel protection plan if the customer’s travel supplier canceled the customer’s trip due to COVID-19, so long as no payable claim has been filed under the plan. Please call us at the number listed on your plan and we will be happy to assist you.
Updated March 5, 2020
The Coronavirus is now in Scotland. Here are some links from the BBC. The first one has lots of other links including where and how the epidemic spread which are useful. But the next 2 links are important videos. Please watch.
Hand Washing displayed with UV light: hand washing video
Doctor in the UK discussing the 5 things you need to know about the coronavirus in the UK: UK Doctor
Updated March 3, 2020
Scientists at MIGAL Research Institute in Israel expect to start producing a Covid-19 vaccine in the next eight-ten weeks, based on their avian coronavirus Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) vaccine. “Given the urgent global need for a human coronavirus vaccine, we are doing everything we can to accelerate development. Our goal is to produce the vaccine during the next 8-10 weeks, and to achieve safety approval in 90 days.”
Original Post from March 1, 2020
How does this impact your travel plans?
Basically, this is like the flu and not like Ebola. From the data available, 80% of people who get COVID-19 have mild symptoms. If you are relatively healthy then you can wait and see how this unfolds. Also, if you are traveling later in the year, this may decrease like the SARS virus did in 2003. (Note: SARS in 2003 was also a coronavirus. )
But, if you have weak or compromised immune systems, depending on when and where you’re traveling, then you will want to take precautions. (Talk to your doctor first.) According to the World Health Organization (WHO), most people who have difficulty fighting the COVID-19 virus are those with underlying health conditions — such as hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease — that have weakened their immune systems. It’s also been observed that respiratory illnesses tend to subside as warmer weather approaches. So if you are not traveling in the next couple of months, then your doctor may tell you that it’s ok to travel.
It’s also important to frequently check The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel advisories. The CDC has just issued a Level 3 travel warning for Italy, which means people should avoid all nonessential travel to that country. (I will address how that impacts my travel to Italy on my Facebook page.) If you are traveling to Italy, you should first contact your travel provider (Castles & Kitchens, or Globus or….) and see what they are planning to do (such as still planning to travel, cancelling or rescheduling). Then if you purchased travel insurance, you should call the phone number on your insurance plan and discuss your coverage with them to see what is covered and have your policy number available because their answers will be dependent on the plan that you purchased.
Does travel insurance cover the coronavirus?
The thing to keep in mind for this entire discussion is it depends on the insurance plan that you purchased.
Many people have expressed concern that coronavirus is an epidemic (it was declared an epidemic on Feb 3, 2020) and they saw in their insurance plan that epidemics are excluded from coverage. So if “An epidemic” is listed as excluded in your plan then issues arising from COVID-19 are not covered by your insurance policy, and generally no reimbursement would be available. (You would need to call the insurance company for answers about your specific policy.)
But this is not the only issue. Most insurance plans also exclude “known events” and the coronavirus was defined as a “known event” on Jan 22, 2020. So even if it weren’t an epidemic, most insurance plans wouldn’t cover cancelling your trip because of the coronavirus if you purchased your insurance on or after Jan 22, 2020. Allianz Insurance Company says,
“Travel protection plans generally exclude losses caused by events that were known or foreseeable at the time the plan is purchased. Customers who purchased their plan prior to January 22, 2020 may still have coverage for a covered loss for a trip booked to China or other impacted areas.”
If you purchased travel insurance after Jan 22nd (or are still wanting to purchase travel insurance), your medical coverage would still be in effect and your cancellation or trip interruption coverage for non-COVID-19 reasons would still be in effect (depending on the plan you purchased).
In a nutshell, you cannot cancel your trip because you’re worried about COVID-19, but according to Allianz,
“customers who purchased the Allianz Cancel Anytime product and meet the requirements of coverage for that product may cancel their trip for almost any unforeseen reason and receive reimbursement for a portion of their lost non-refundable travel deposits.” 
What about flights that I’ve already paid for?
If you don’t have travel insurance or your flight costs are excluded then there are other options. If your doctor tells you not to travel because of your health conditions, then it is possible to get refunds directly from the airline. And some airlines are offering alternatives. Delta, for instance, is offering wavers – it is extremely limited though. . Depending on how and where the virus progresses, then other alternatives will most likely be offered by the airlines. For example, another travel agent who was also supposed to go on the Italy tour with me was just able to cancel her flights on Delta with no penalty. And recently, United and America Airlines have joined Delta in issuing fee waivers.
I’m worried.What should I do?
It’s hard not to worry, I know because I’m going to Italy. But it helps to do something. There are two things I’ve started practicing so that it is second nature when I’m traveling:
- I wash my hands for 20 seconds using warm water. I had been washing my hands, but not for 20 seconds.
- Not touching my face. I’m really bad about rubbing my eyes so I’ve been very careful about not doing that.
A couple of more things I do (I’ll also create a blog about steps to prepare for a trip):
- I take Emergen-C when I’ve been around a big group of people, as well as for a couple of days before I travel.
- I recommend getting plenty of sleep before you travel. A couple of days before my trip, I will start going to sleep earlier every night to start getting on European time. (This also helps me with being able to sleep on the plane.)
- And don’t try to do too much on your first couple of days when you arrive. Plan on taking it easy and take care of yourself.
- Stay hydrated. Rome apparently has public fountains all over the place and I was planning on using them, but I think I’ll fill up at the hotel.
- And most importantly, do not purchase additional trip components that are not cancellable or refundable or changeable. I have purchased flights using points (or paid extra for changeable/cancelable) and made B&B/hotel reservations that are refundable. It is worth it to pay the extra cost at this time.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
What is the coronavirus and how do I stay safe if I’m going to travel?
Here is a video of a Canadian doctor explaining the coronavirus. He explains what it is, how it transmits, what the symptoms are, and how to protect yourself.
It is important to note that this is spread by droplets and not through the air. “The principal mode of transmission is still thought to be respiratory droplets, which may travel up to six feet from someone who is sneezing or coughing. The new coronavirus isn’t believed to be an airborne virus, like measles or smallpox, that can circulate through the air.” . These droplets can also be transmitted by surfaces that you touch with your hand, then you must also touch your face. As the doctor in the video says, it can’t come into your lungs through your skin.
CDC  always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
If you return home and you feel sick you should follow these preventative measures which include always informing medical personal that you have been traveling (before you go to the doctor’s office), restrict activities outside your home and keep away from other people and animals in your home.