Monthly Archives: February 2020

Coronavirus patients with heart disease have a 10% chance of dying. Here’s the mortality rate for patients with various underlying health problems.

A man wears a protective mask in Beijing, China on February 25, 2020.

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A man wears a protective mask in Beijing, China on February 25, 2020.
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Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Older patients and people with preexisting health conditions face the highest risk of dying from the new coronavirus, a recent study found.

The study, done by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, found that the overall chances of dying from COVID-19 – the disease caused by the virus – are 2.3%. Other estimates suggest the fatality rate could be higher: around 4.3%. The current rate, based on the ratio of reported deaths to total cases worldwide, hovers around 3.4%.

But the Chinese CDC study found that the fatality rate rate rose to 8% for patients in their 70s and 15% among those in their 80s.Out of more than 44,000 coronavirus patients studied, the majority of deaths were among those at least 60 or older.

Older patients are also more likely to have preexisting health problems. The first patient to die of the coronavirus in the US, for instance, was a man in his 50s who had been chronically ill before getting infected.

Nearly 5,300 patients in the Chinese study reported a health condition not related to the virus, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. Around 7% of those cases – more than 370 patients – died. Overall, patients with preexisting conditions represented more than a third of all deaths reported in the study. The fatality rate for patients who reported no underlying health problem was less than 1%.

Here’s the mortality rate for each preexisting condition reported in the study:

covid 19 preexisiting health problems chart

source
Ruobing Su/Business Insider

The authors were missing the health history of more than 20,000 patients in their study, but their research is still provides one of the broadest pictures so far of how COVID-19 operates in humans.

Among coronavirus patients, the preexisting condition that raises risk most appears to be heart disease. Patients already diagnosed with heart disease had a fatality rate of more than 10%. Diabetes was the preexisting condition with the second-highest fatality rate: 7%.

Patients with the most commonly reported preexisting condition, hypertension (high blood pressure), had a fatality rate of 6%. Coronavirus patients with cancer had a similar fatality rate.

In total, COVID-19 has killed nearly 3,000 people and infected around 86,000. The outbreak originated in Wuhan, central China’s most populous city, and has since spread to at least 58 other countries. More than 90% of cases are on the Chinese mainland.

Read more:

Coronavirus patients with heart disease have a 10% chance of dying. Here’s the mortality rate for patients with various underlying health problems.

A man wears a protective mask in Beijing, China on February 25, 2020.

caption
A man wears a protective mask in Beijing, China on February 25, 2020.
source
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Older patients and people with preexisting health conditions face the highest risk of dying from the new coronavirus, a recent study found.

The study, done by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, found that the overall chances of dying from COVID-19 – the disease caused by the virus – are 2.3%. Other estimates suggest the fatality rate could be higher: around 4.3%. The current rate, based on the ratio of reported deaths to total cases worldwide, hovers around 3.4%.

But the Chinese CDC study found that the fatality rate rate rose to 8% for patients in their 70s and 15% among those in their 80s.Out of more than 44,000 coronavirus patients studied, the majority of deaths were among those at least 60 or older.

Older patients are also more likely to have preexisting health problems. The first patient to die of the coronavirus in the US, for instance, was a man in his 50s who had been chronically ill before getting infected.

Nearly 5,300 patients in the Chinese study reported a health condition not related to the virus, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. Around 7% of those cases – more than 370 patients – died. Overall, patients with preexisting conditions represented more than a third of all deaths reported in the study. The fatality rate for patients who reported no underlying health problem was less than 1%.

Here’s the mortality rate for each preexisting condition reported in the study:

covid 19 preexisiting health problems chart

source
Ruobing Su/Business Insider

The authors were missing the health history of more than 20,000 patients in their study, but their research is still provides one of the broadest pictures so far of how COVID-19 operates in humans.

Among coronavirus patients, the preexisting condition that raises risk most appears to be heart disease. Patients already diagnosed with heart disease had a fatality rate of more than 10%. Diabetes was the preexisting condition with the second-highest fatality rate: 7%.

Patients with the most commonly reported preexisting condition, hypertension (high blood pressure), had a fatality rate of 6%. Coronavirus patients with cancer had a similar fatality rate.

In total, COVID-19 has killed nearly 3,000 people and infected around 86,000. The outbreak originated in Wuhan, central China’s most populous city, and has since spread to at least 58 other countries. More than 90% of cases are on the Chinese mainland.

Read more:

Kim Kardashian posted her 9th-grade school picture and people are saying she looks just like her daughter Chicago

Kim Kardashian West with her daughters North (left) and Chicago (right) in September 2019.

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Kim Kardashian West with her daughters North (left) and Chicago (right) in September 2019.
source
Gotham/GC Images

  • Kim Kardashian West doesn’t often share childhood photos, but on Friday, she posted her 9th-grade school portrait on Instagram.
  • Her latest picture has fans comparing the reality star to her 2-year-old daughter with Kanye West, Chicago.
  • “You and Chi are literal twins,” Khloé Kardashian wrote in a comment on the picture.
  • In a previous throwback photo, fans were quick to compare Kardashian West to a young version of her oldest daughter, North.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Of all the photos Kim Kardashian West shares on social media, it’s a rare occasion that she posts pictures from her childhood.

When she does share throwbacks to her younger years, though, fans seem to have a strong reaction at which of her four kids she most resembles.

On Friday, the reality TV star and SKIMS founder shared a previously unseen photo – her ninth-grade class portrait – on Instagram.

Her family members, fans, and followers alike were quick to compare the reality TV star’s younger self to her youngest daughter with Kanye West, 2-year-old Chicago West.

View this post on Instagram

9th grade

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

Khloé Kardashian commented on the picture, writing, “You and Chi are literal twins.”

“You look just like Chi in this pic. Not sure how I just realized that but you do!” Jonathan Cheban, a food blogger and a friend of the Kardashians, commented on the photo.

Earlier this year, Kardashian West posted a rare childhood photo showing her with her sisters, Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian, and many fans noted her resemblance to her oldest daughter, North.

View this post on Instagram

Triplets

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

“I thought that was North on the right!” one fan wrote of the mother-daughter lookalike.

“Wow look at North, I mean Kim..” another fan commented on the January Instagram post.

When fans of the Kardashian family aren’t pointing out the sisters’ resemblance to their kids, they tend to share their strong reactions to how much Kim, Khloé, and Kourtney look alike – such as in pictures from a KKW perfume campaign photoshoot.

In a tweet from November, Kardashian West seemed to confuse many followers with a photo of her and her sisters, as many fans expressed confusion about who was who, with some calling the sisters triplets.

Kim Kardashian posted her 9th-grade school picture and people are saying she looks just like her daughter Chicago

Kim Kardashian West with her daughters North (left) and Chicago (right) in September 2019.

caption
Kim Kardashian West with her daughters North (left) and Chicago (right) in September 2019.
source
Gotham/GC Images

  • Kim Kardashian West doesn’t often share childhood photos, but on Friday, she posted her 9th-grade school portrait on Instagram.
  • Her latest picture has fans comparing the reality star to her 2-year-old daughter with Kanye West, Chicago.
  • “You and Chi are literal twins,” Khloé Kardashian wrote in a comment on the picture.
  • In a previous throwback photo, fans were quick to compare Kardashian West to a young version of her oldest daughter, North.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Of all the photos Kim Kardashian West shares on social media, it’s a rare occasion that she posts pictures from her childhood.

When she does share throwbacks to her younger years, though, fans seem to have a strong reaction at which of her four kids she most resembles.

On Friday, the reality TV star and SKIMS founder shared a previously unseen photo – her ninth-grade class portrait – on Instagram.

Her family members, fans, and followers alike were quick to compare the reality TV star’s younger self to her youngest daughter with Kanye West, 2-year-old Chicago West.

View this post on Instagram

9th grade

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

Khloé Kardashian commented on the picture, writing, “You and Chi are literal twins.”

“You look just like Chi in this pic. Not sure how I just realized that but you do!” Jonathan Cheban, a food blogger and a friend of the Kardashians, commented on the photo.

Earlier this year, Kardashian West posted a rare childhood photo showing her with her sisters, Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian, and many fans noted her resemblance to her oldest daughter, North.

View this post on Instagram

Triplets

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

“I thought that was North on the right!” one fan wrote of the mother-daughter lookalike.

“Wow look at North, I mean Kim..” another fan commented on the January Instagram post.

When fans of the Kardashian family aren’t pointing out the sisters’ resemblance to their kids, they tend to share their strong reactions to how much Kim, Khloé, and Kourtney look alike – such as in pictures from a KKW perfume campaign photoshoot.

In a tweet from November, Kardashian West seemed to confuse many followers with a photo of her and her sisters, as many fans expressed confusion about who was who, with some calling the sisters triplets.

How to prepare for a coronavirus pandemic

Local residents shop at a supermarket in Seoul, South Korea, on February 24.

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Local residents shop at a supermarket in Seoul, South Korea, on February 24.
source
Wang Jingqiang/Xinhua/Getty Images

Americans got a dire warning from health officials on Tuesday: Prepare for a coronavirus outbreak.

“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more of a question of exactly when this will happen,” Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said on Tuesday. “We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad.”

Since then, the Centers for Disease Control have reported several US cases in which patients got the virus unknown sources – they did not travel to China or knowingly interact with anyone who was infected. These instances of community spread suggest the virus is now spreading in the US. The first coronavirus death on US soil was reported on Saturday in Washington state.

Other nations are already facing more severe outbreaks. The virus has infected more than 3,000 people in South Korea and hundreds in Italy, Japan, and Iran.

Nearly 86,000 people have been infected and more than 2,900 people have died in mainland China.

At least 50 million people have been quarantined in China for more than a month, and other nations are initiating lockdowns as the outbreak grows.

The World Health Organization has thus far hesitated to call the virus a pandemic, but some health experts have said it has already reached that status. Either way, Bruce Aylward, a public-health expert with the WHO, said the world is “simply not ready” to contain the outbreak.

Here’s what you can do to prepare.


Keep a two-week supply of food and water.

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People wear face masks at a supermarket in Singapore on February 9.
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Ore Huiying/Getty Images

The US Department of Homeland Security recommends storing up enough food and water for two weeks before a pandemic strikes.

Ian Mackay, a virologist at the University of Queensland, recently advised people in a blog post to purchase food items that won’t go bad, such as dried fruit and nuts, canned fish and vegetables, beans, coffee, cereal, and pasta.

When fresh food starts to get scarce, he added, it could be time to buy perishable items like bread, milk, eggs, and yogurt – but only as a last-minute precaution.


Stock up on over-the-counter medication, toilet paper, laundry detergent, and pet food.

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A man loads his car after being given 10 minutes to shop at a supermarket in Milan on February 23, 2020.
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Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images

In his blog post, Mackay advised purchasing a few extra items each time you make a trip to the store.

“Don’t buy things you won’t eat later, don’t hoard, and don’t buy more than you’ll need for a two-week period,” Mackay wrote. “We’re not talking zombie apocalypse and we very probably won’t see power or water interruptions either.”


Order medications ahead of time. You’ll want a month’s supply.

Marguerite Neill, an infectious-disease expert at Brown University, told the New York Times that people should have at least a 30-day supply of their medications.

A month’s supply of medicine is vital for anyone under quarantine. Passengers quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, for instance, reported running low on prescription drugs.

Even in a non-emergency scenario, pharmacists should get about a week’s notice to refill a prescription.

Since many pharmaceutical drugs are manufactured in China, the US Food and Drug Administration is monitoring for potential drug shortages. The agency identified the first drug shortage related to the coronavirus on Friday, though it didn’t specify the medication.

Drug shortages could become even more pronounced during a pandemic, which could cut off pharmaceutical supply chains in various parts of the world.


Have copies of your medical records handy.

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Hero Images/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security advises US citizens to prepare copies and electronic versions of their health records.

A recent study from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that the virus most seriously affects older people with preexisting health problems.

Coronavirus patients with heart disease, for instance, had around a 10% mortality rate, while those with diabetes had around a 7% mortality rate.


Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, making sure to scrub for at least 20 seconds.

source
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Coronaviruses can spread between people through respiratory droplets such as saliva and mucus, so good hygiene is critical to prevent transmission.

Soap and water are the best ways to protect yourself from germs, but the next-best option is an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60% to 95% alcohol. The CDC also recommends that people refrain from touching their eyes, nose, or mouth as much as possible.

If you develop respiratory symptoms, the CDC advises you to stay home so you don’t infect others. Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you have to cough or sneeze could also prevent others from getting sick.


Avoid traveling to the following coronavirus hotspots: China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran.

US citizens have been advised to avoid all nonessential travel to China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran. The CDC is asking any citizens returning from five countries – China, South Korea, Italy, Japan, or Iran – who develop a fever, cough, or shortness of breath to seek medical help and self-isolate.

Foreign nationals who’ve been in China within the prior 14 days are currently not allowed to enter the US.


Continue healthy habits like exercising, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of sleep.

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Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security recommends being physically active, getting lots of rest, managing stress, drinking fluids, and eating nutritious food as a way to strengthen your immune system.

While there is no cure for COVID-19, a healthy immune system can improve your body’s ability to fight off infection.


Get the flu shot if you haven’t already. It won’t protect you from the coronavirus, but it will reduce the chances that you require medical treatment in hospitals that are treating coronavirus patients.

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Getty / David Greedy

COVID-19 has never been seen before in humans, so a flu shot won’t reduce your risk of getting infected.

It could, however, reduce your risk of getting influenza, which has some of the same symptoms as COVID-19, such as a fever, cough, and sore throat. Since the CDC is already lagging behind on testing coronavirus patients, a reduction in flu patients could reduce further strain on hospitals.

Richard Martinello, an associate professor of infectious disease at the Yale School of Medicine, told Business Insider he has already seen patients with flu symptoms who are unnecessarily concerned that they may be infected with the coronavirus.

“We have to dissuade them that, unless they have a travel history that would be concerning or other contacts with individuals that would be concerning, there’s not even a reason to think about testing them,” he said.


Stay at least 6 feet away from people who display symptoms such as a dry cough or sneezing.

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Moses/Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday, Messonier said that US citizens may eventually have to practice “social distancing measures,” like working from home or staying away from school.

Eventually, citizens may be asked to avoid public gatherings like concerts or sporting events.

That’s already a requirement in some nations outside China: Japan has closed all elementary, junior high, and high schools until early April. Iran has closed all universities for one week and banned public gatherings like weddings, concerts, and sports games through March. Italy has also banned public events in 11 towns.


Don’t wear a face mask unless instructed to by a health authority.

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REUTERS/Yen Duong

The CDC does not recommend face masks for the general public. For healthy people, hand-washing and avoiding close contact with sick patients is a better way to prevent infection.

“Wearing masks, except in the situation of a healthcare provider, has never been shown to be a very effective way to protect yourself from infectious diseases,” Eric Toner, a scientist at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Business Insider.

Stocking up on face masks can also reduce the supply for medical workers that need them.

At a hearing on Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the US needed 300 million N95 masks – which filter out most airborne particles from the surrounding air – to protect healthcare workers during an outbreak. At present, it only has 30 million, he said.

At least 3,000 healthcare workers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in China.

Read more:

Trump says US troops will start leaving Afghanistan immediately

  • President Donald Trump said Saturday afternoon that US troops will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan immediately.
  • “Today, they’ll start immediately,” Trump said of US plans.
  • The US and the Taliban signed a conditional peace agreement Saturday morning that could bring about an end to America’s war in Afghanistan.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Hours after the US and the Taliban signed a landmark agreement aimed at ending America’s war in Afghanistan, President Donald Trump said that he plans to start pulling troops out of Afghanistan immediately.

“Everybody’s tired of war,” Trump said at a White House press briefing Saturday afternoon, adding that the 18-year conflict in Afghanistan, America’s longest-running war, has “been a particularly long and gruesome one.”

The US and the Taliban signed a conditional peace agreement Saturday morning.

The US has agreed to begin withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan as long as the Taliban upholds its commitment to “not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al-Qa’ida, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”

The accord states that the US will, assuming the Taliban lives up to its end of the deal, cut the number of American troops in Afghanistan to 8,600 in the first 135 days.

The US, as well as its allies and coalition partners, will withdraw all remaining forces from Afghanistan within 14 months.

“I will be meeting personally with Taliban leaders in the not too distant future,” the president said at the briefing Saturday afternoon, adding that he’s “very much hoping that they will be doing what they say they’re going to be doing.”

Trump made plans to meet with the Taliban at Camp David last fall, but he canceled the meeting after a US soldier was killed in Afghanistan in a Taliban attack.

The president told reporters at the White House that he expects the Taliban, a militant group the US went to war with in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qa’ida, to pick up the fight against ISIS and other terrorist organizations.

“They will be killing terrorists. They will be killing some very bad people. They will keep that fight going,” he said.

“We’ve destroyed in Syria and Iraq, 100% of the ISIS caliphate, 100%,” the president continued. “We have thousands of prisoners. We’ve killed ISIS fighters by the thousands and likewise in Afghanistan. But, now it’s time for somebody else to do that work. And that’ll be the Taliban.”

He also suggested that other countries in the region could pick up the slack.

The conditional peace agreement signed Saturday is the first step toward ending America’s involvement in a conflict that has raged for nearly two decades and claimed the lives of roughly 2,400 US service members.

“This is a hopeful moment, but it is only the beginning,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Saturday. “The road ahead will not be easy. Achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan will require patience and compromise among all parties. We look forward to the coming weeks and months with great optimism, as we advance these important efforts to finally achieve peace.”

Trump says US troops will start leaving Afghanistan immediately

  • President Donald Trump said Saturday afternoon that US troops will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan immediately.
  • “Today, they’ll start immediately,” Trump said of US plans.
  • The US and the Taliban signed a conditional peace agreement Saturday morning that could bring about an end to America’s war in Afghanistan.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Hours after the US and the Taliban signed a landmark agreement aimed at ending America’s war in Afghanistan, President Donald Trump said that he plans to start pulling troops out of Afghanistan immediately.

“Everybody’s tired of war,” Trump said at a White House press briefing Saturday afternoon, adding that the 18-year conflict in Afghanistan, America’s longest-running war, has “been a particularly long and gruesome one.”

The US and the Taliban signed a conditional peace agreement Saturday morning.

The US has agreed to begin withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan as long as the Taliban upholds its commitment to “not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al-Qa’ida, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”

The accord states that the US will, assuming the Taliban lives up to its end of the deal, cut the number of American troops in Afghanistan to 8,600 in the first 135 days.

The US, as well as its allies and coalition partners, will withdraw all remaining forces from Afghanistan within 14 months.

“I will be meeting personally with Taliban leaders in the not too distant future,” the president said at the briefing Saturday afternoon, adding that he’s “very much hoping that they will be doing what they say they’re going to be doing.”

Trump made plans to meet with the Taliban at Camp David last fall, but he canceled the meeting after a US soldier was killed in Afghanistan in a Taliban attack.

The president told reporters at the White House that he expects the Taliban, a militant group the US went to war with in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qa’ida, to pick up the fight against ISIS and other terrorist organizations.

“They will be killing terrorists. They will be killing some very bad people. They will keep that fight going,” he said.

“We’ve destroyed in Syria and Iraq, 100% of the ISIS caliphate, 100%,” the president continued. “We have thousands of prisoners. We’ve killed ISIS fighters by the thousands and likewise in Afghanistan. But, now it’s time for somebody else to do that work. And that’ll be the Taliban.”

He also suggested that other countries in the region could pick up the slack.

The conditional peace agreement signed Saturday is the first step toward ending America’s involvement in a conflict that has raged for nearly two decades and claimed the lives of roughly 2,400 US service members.

“This is a hopeful moment, but it is only the beginning,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Saturday. “The road ahead will not be easy. Achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan will require patience and compromise among all parties. We look forward to the coming weeks and months with great optimism, as we advance these important efforts to finally achieve peace.”

‘STOP BUYING MASKS’: US Surgeon General and VP say masks won’t help fight coronavirus even as demand for emergency supplies increases

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Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

  • Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the US coronavirus task force, said on Saturday that the “average American” did not need to “go out and buy” a mask to protect themselves from coronavirus.
  • At time same time, the vice president said the US was working with 3M and other manufacturers to produce at least 35 million more masks per month.
  • Photos and reports have shown masks and other supplies have grown in demands as Americans grapple with the possibility of an outbreak in the US.
  • The US surgeon general in a tweet told people to stop buying masks, calling them “NOT effective.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Vice President Mike Pence said at a press conference Saturday that followed the first US coronavirus death that there was no need for people in the US to buy and wear masks to protect themselves from COVID-19.

At a press conference Saturday, Trump and Pence, joined by other administration officials, spoke about coronavirus following the death of a person in Washington state.

“The president mentioned masks,” Pence said. “This morning we talked a great deal about additional medical supplies. Let me be very clear, and I’m sure the physicians who are up here will reflect this as well. The average American does not need to go out and buy a mask.”

The president at a press conference at the White House on Wednesday put the vice president in charge of the nation’s coronavirus strategy as the federal government faced criticism over its response to the virus as it continues to spread beyond China’s borders around the globe.

The US has access to 43 million medical masks, President Trump said, just one of the resources that he credited with ensuring the country is “prepared for whatever circumstance.”

Despite his assurance that Americans did not currently need the masks, the vice president said the country was contracting with 3M to create 35 million more masks each month. He also said the administration would be working with other – unnamed – mask manufacturers. He added it task force was working to develop a course of action that would prioritize that masks be available for the use by “high-risk” healthcare professionals.

Pence cited the president’s decision at the beginning of February to bar all foreign nationals from China as one of the major reasons that US citizens did not have to worry about the virus. His statement Saturday follows earlier guidance from the CDC, which said it did not recommend wearing masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, echoed the vice president’s statement in a tweet Saturday, urging people to “STOP BUYING MASKS.” He said that they were “NOT effective” to the general public and added increased demand puts medical professionals at risk.

Meanwhile, supplies, like masks, have started to fly off store shelves in the US as people flock to stock up on supplies over fears of an outbreak. More than 64 people have been diagnosed in the US so far, and four are believed to be “community spread” cases where individuals contracted the virus without ever visiting China.

“I’m just a few days into this job,” the vice president said on Saturday of his position on the coronavirus task force. “I can tell you, having spent time with these extraordinary professionals the president just alluded to, having spoken directly to more than a dozen governors, including Gov. Jay Inslee this morning in Washington state: I think every American would be proud to know what I’ve heard about the work of HHS, the work of the CDC, and the work of all agencies.”

Read more:

The US has reported its first coronavirus death: a person in King County, Washington

The US just reported its first coronavirus death – a patient in Washington. Here’s what we know about the more than 60 US patients.

The coronavirus death toll surpassed 2,900, with nearly 86,000 infected. Here’s everything we know about the outbreak.

Companies around the world are telling their employees to work from home amid the coronavirus outbreak

CPAC 2020 was all about worshiping Trump, hating socialism, and feeling victimized by media and the left

Two CPAC attendees pose with cardboard cutouts of Mike Bloomberg and Donald Trump. February 28, 2020

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Two CPAC attendees pose with cardboard cutouts of Mike Bloomberg and Donald Trump. February 28, 2020
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Anthony Fisher/Insider

Se

  • The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) was once a place of vigorous debate among right of center intellectuals. This year, however, philosophical diversity was almost non-existent.
  • Heretics like Mitt Romney were slammed at every opportunity, and uncritical worship of Trump was everywhere.
  • This year’s theme was “America v. Socialism,” but looming just as large was a feeling among the speakers and attendees that they and the president are under constant attack by the media and “the left.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland – The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the annual DC-area gathering, once epitomized Ronald Reagan’s vision of “big-tent conservatism.” That meant vigorous debates among right-of-center intellectuals representing the neoconservative foreign policy hawks, socially conservative evangelical Christians, non-interventionist free market libertarians, and any other reliable Republican voting bloc.

In 2020, philosophical diversity was almost non-existent at CPAC.

Save for a panel focused on tech companies’ deplatforming of certain right-of-center voices – where audience members fumed at some of the panelists’ suggestions that government intervention might actually be worse than “big tech censorship” – there was almost universal agreement on the big themes of the conference.

These major themes of CPAC 2020 included:

  1. Donald Trump is the greatest president in modern history, and the way he’s been treated by Democrats and the media is unprecedented and abhorrent.
  2. Socialism is evil, and the moderate 2020 Democratic candidates are barely less socialistic than Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vice President Mike Pence actually said “there are no moderate Democrats in this field” in his Thursday CPAC speech).
  3. The “left” is comprised of snowflake crybabies, who are also authoritarian bullies systematically silencing conservatives and indoctrinating the younger generation through the media and culture.

U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) speaks on “The Fate of Our Culture and Our Nation Hangs in the Balance” during the CPAC Direct Action Training, February 26, 2020.

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U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) speaks on “The Fate of Our Culture and Our Nation Hangs in the Balance” during the CPAC Direct Action Training, February 26, 2020.
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Alex Wong/Getty Images

The right’s young stars attacked their culture war enemies … and Mitt Romney

Kicking off this year’s conference, which was titled “America v. Socialism,” was Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, a freshman member of Congress with a rising national profile.

In his Wednesday speech, he warned of “this culture war” which he said “is going to be the battle of our times.” He added that this would be a “battle between those who believe America is good and those who believe in the notion of socialist revolution who believe we are inherently bad.”

Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA, an influential conservative youth activist group with strong ties to the White House, helped set the “small Republican” tent tenor of the proceedings. At the first mention of Mitt Romney’s name, the audience booed, and Kirk responded, “Every time his name is mentioned you should react this way.”

“Blexit” founder Candace Owens spent much of her Thursday speech attacking former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a “race hustler.” In particular, she referenced a tweet Kaepernick sent last Thanksgiving about the U.S. government’s appropriation of land from indigenous people, which she countered with a long diatribe about Aztec cannibalism and human sacrifice.

On Thursday, the main ballroom featured “FBI Lovebirds,” a play starring “Lois and Clark” actor Dean Cain and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” actress Kristy Swanson as ex-FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. The play consisted almost entirely of the Strzok and Page’s texts to each other, but was meant to demonstrate a “Deep State ” conspiracy against Trump from before the time he took office.

Naomi Seibt, a 19-year-old German Youtube activist who had been invited by the Heartland Institute to speak about “climate realism” was billed as “the anti-Greta Thunberg.”

During a Q and A session, Seibt told Insider that she was “absolutely” still a fan of far-right YouTuber Stefan Molyneux. She also argued that an extended statement where Molyneux expressed sympathy for white nationalism had been “taken out of context.”

CPAC attendees feel like they’ve been victimized by “the left,” and so has Trump

Ana Villalobos and Steve Merczynski, the creators of MAGA-themed hammocks. CPAC, February 26, 2020

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Ana Villalobos and Steve Merczynski, the creators of MAGA-themed hammocks. CPAC, February 26, 2020
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Anthony Fisher/Insider

Most of the CPAC attendees Insider spoke with said they feel like they’re under a constant state of unfair attacks from “the left,” just like President Trump.

Jeffrey Lord, a Trump supporter and former CNN contributor, told Insider, “I just think people are seriously enthusiastic about the president on top of which they’re also angry at the way he’s been treated.”

At CPAC Central, the event’s main gathering hall, vendors sold T-shirts and hats emblazoned with phrases like “Freethinkers Only,” “Kiss Me I’m a Capitalist,” and “This is Trump Country: Where on a Quiet Night You Can Hear a Snowflake Melting.”

Elizabeth Najjar, an 18-year-old student at the Jerry Falwell-founded Liberty University, told Insider that administrators at her Virginia high school had called her parents to compel her to take down a pro-Second Amendment video she had posted to her private Facebook account. She also said she had been spat upon at her school because of her political views.

Najjar said she doesn’t care for “CNN and MSNBC fake news.” Instead she likes to get her information “from a broad amount of sources,” including Fox News, the pro-Trump One America Network (OANN), and conservative YouTubers like Ben Shapiro – whose show her family will sometimes watch together after family dinners.

Steve Merczynski, a 53-year-old from New York, and his partner Ana Villalobos, a native of El Salvador, are proprietors of an embroidery business. They came to CPAC to show off their MAGA-friendly hammocks.

Mercyznski told Insider he just wanted to make “a present for Trump. After all that hell he was getting from the media and the Democrats and impeachment. I thought, let me make a nice hammock for him.”

He added that he sometimes disagrees with Trump but “I feel he gets so much abuse, I’m not gonna add to it because it’s not fair. I want to see equal treatment on the other side. Cause no one’s perfect.” Mercyznski says he has voted for both parties in his life and went to the famously liberal Oberlin College. Still, Mercyznski added, he “hates political correctness” and found in Trump “a tough guy with a sense of humor.”

Villalobos told Insider that prior to 2016 she had exclusively voted Democratic since becoming a US citizen. But she went for Trump in 2016 because she agreed with his message that “the Clintons took all the jobs so way to China.” She added that she wasn’t offended at all by Trump’s 2015 campaign launching speech where he disparaged Mexicans.

Insider spotted Joyce Michaels, a 57-year-old from New York, wandering through the “CPAC Central” vendor area late Friday wearing a Project Veritas-branded hat reading: “Epstein Coverup.”

Michaels told Insider that “most thinking people” believe Jeffrey Epstein’s death was a murder and not a suicide. (There is no evidence that Epstein’s death was anything other than a suicide, despite conspiracy theories involving the Democratic Clinton family signal-boosted by President Trump himself.)

She added that “it seems to have international connections” and “the Clintons have their hands in everything. We all know that.”

“Cancelled” conservatives held their own shadow conference, and some were thrown out of CPAC

Alex Jones at National File event, Washington, DC, February 27, 2020

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Alex Jones at National File event, Washington, DC, February 27, 2020
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Anthony Fisher/Insider

For all the complaints at CPAC about being “silenced” by “the left,” there were some conservative voices who felt even more aggrieved.

At a private event Wednesday night titled “Emergency Save the First Amendment Summit” held at a hotel in Washington, DC, several “cancelled” conservatives spoke before a group of about 80 attendees. Most of the speakers had either been kicked off of major tech platforms, and some were explicitly banned from attending CPAC.

Emceed by InfoWars’ conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the speakers included white nationalist “Groyper” leader Nick Fuentes, Vice and “Proud Boys” co-founder Gavin McInnes, and current Proud Boys chair Enrique Tarrio. Ex-Breitbart writer Lee Stranahan also spoke at the event, giving a call-and-response speech where he repeatedly exhorted the audience to shout the name of the alleged Ukraine whistleblower.

Speakers railed against “mainstream” conservatives like Ben Shapiro and Charlie Kirk, repeated the baseless conspiracy theories about Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide, and lamented “globalist” elements that they see as hell-bent on destroying Western civilization.

McInnes was kicked out of CPAC the next day after being accused of threatening to assault an attendee. He denied the accusation.

CPAC’s undercard events served up “culture war victim” read meat

The conservatives-as-victims-of-the-left narrative continued late into Friday with a breakout panel, “Because Trump: How the Left Justifies Acts of Violence.”

Controversial journalist Andy Ngo said at the panel “what we are seeing is the normalization of political violence, that’s being encouraged not just by media but by politicians, leaders, people who really should know better.”

Scott Presler, a millennial Republican activist who made a name for himself in conservative circles for picking up trash in places like San Francsico and Baltimore and putting videos of it online, also spoke on the panel. He said “the left wants to intimidate, bully and silence us,” but he added, “I’m not going to let threats of domestic terrorism stop us.”

Rob O’Donnell of the police advocacy non-profit group “Brothers Before Others,” warned that Trump supporters soon wouldn’t be able to “go to a grocery store wearing a red hat because somebody doesn’t like that red hat.”

O’Donnell argued that the only solution to such an ominous future was to allow police to use more aggressive force.

Kayla Epstein contributed reporting.

Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds are reportedly engaged and expecting a baby

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds in September 2019 in Manchester, England.

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Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds in September 2019 in Manchester, England.
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Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 55, and his 31-year-old partner Carrie Symonds are reportedly engaged and expecting a baby.
  • Symonds announced the news via her private Instagram account, the BBC reports.
  • This will be Johnson’s third marriage, and he is believed to have between four to six children from previous relationships.
  • When Johnson became Britain’s Prime Minister in 2019, he and Symonds were the first non-married couple to move into the 10 Downing Street in London.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Boris Johnson and his partner Carrie Symonds are engaged and expecting a baby, the BBC reports.

Symonds recently announced in a post on her private Instagram account that her engagement to Johnson took place at the end of 2019, and that their baby is due in the summer, according to the BBC.

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds in October 2019.

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Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds in October 2019.
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JEREMY SELWYN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Symonds, who is 31 years old, will be Johnson’s third wife. Johnson, 55, has been divorced twice, and has four children with his ex-wife, Marina Wheeler. He is also believed to have two other children, both of whom he fathered in separate instances outside of his marriages.

Johnson and Symonds’ romantic involvement was first confirmed in June 2019, and when Johnson was elected Prime Minister the next month, he and Symonds became the first non-married couple to move into the famous 10 Downing Street residence in London.

In 2017, Symonds was the Conservative Party’s youngest communications director at age 29. She’s now a senior adviser for Oceana, a US-based nonprofit organization focusing on environmental policy.