Hawaii eases travel restrictions; Facebook to encourage flu shots; 38M global cases; 215K US deaths

Travelers planning a trip to Hawaii will no longer have to quarantine for 14 days if they tested negative for the coronavirus at least 72 hours before their departure from the mainland, starting Thursday.

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“I want people to come if they are fully prepared to test, know that they are healthy and are prepared to wear a mask,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who has taken a leading role in developing the Safe Travels program that was postponed after a spike in coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, in Iowa, about 10,000 people are expected to show up at President Donald Trump’s rally at the Des Moines International Airport on Wednesday, defying advice from White House experts on limiting social gatherings to 25 people in a “yellow zone” for transmission of the virus.

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Some significant developments:



a group of people on a dirt road: A sign requiring face masks is posted on Monday as people walk inside Bob's Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay, Calif.


© Jeff Chiu, AP
A sign requiring face masks is posted on Monday as people walk inside Bob’s Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has reported more than 7.8 million cases and 215,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data. There have been more than 38 million confirmed cases around the world and 1 million deaths.

🗺️ Mapping coronavirus: Track the U.S. outbreak, state by state.

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Experts: COVID-fueled stress eating will add to childhood obesity struggles

Pediatricians and public health experts predict a potentially dramatic increase in childhood obesity this year as months of pandemic eating, closed schools, stalled sports and public space restrictions extend indefinitely.

About one in seven children have met the criteria for childhood obesity since 2016, when the federal National Survey of Children’s Health changed its methodology, a report out Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found. While the percentage of children considered obese declined slightly in the last 10 years, it is expected to jump in 2020.

“We were making slow and steady progress until this,” said Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, a Northwestern University economist and professor. “It’s likely we will have wiped out a lot of the progress that we’ve made over the last decade in childhood obesity.”

The trend, already seen in pediatric offices, is especially concerning as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week expanded its definition of those at elevated risk of severe COVID-19 disease and death to include people with a body mass index of between 25 and 30. Previously, only those with a BMI 30 and higher were included. That could mean 72% of all Americans are at higher risk of severe disease based only on their weight.

– Jayne O’Donnell and Adrianna Rodriguez

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spar with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer over stimulus aid

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called CNN anchor Wolf

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Swine Flu – Can You Catch it From Your Hotel Bedding?

How many times have you stayed in a hotel where you wondered about the hygiene and cleanliness of the bedding. What can you actually catch from sleeping on an unclean bed. Even if the sheets have been changed, what about the pillow or bedspread or blanket ?

Hepatitis A virus can survive outside the body for for months. HAV can survive certain acids and some heat and survive in dried feces. Other Hepatitis viruses such as HBV and HCV can live from 16 hours to up to a week.

Researchers have known since 2005 that “superbugs” like C.Difficille, which is found mainly in hospitals , can live for weeks in bedding and can be resistant to even bleach. Staphylococcus aureus ( MRSA ) is a relatively common bacterium found on skin and nasal surfaces of healthy people and animals. MRSA has cause outbreaks in schools and gyms, transmitted through contact with towels.

If bedding has not been changed or cleaned properly, transmission of bacteria and viruses is possible. Catching a virus from hotel bedding is not a common occurrence but it is possible, especially when you talk about padded headboards, quilted bedspreads and pillows , which can retain enough moisture to enable a virus to live long enough to infect. Bacteria, on the other hand, is a much hardier form of life.If the guest before you had a bacterial infection and deposited enough of that bacteria onto the headboard or pillow, then it’s possible you could be infected.

Molds responsible for respiratory and skin problems like eczema are virtually indestructible and can live almost anywhere. According to a 1999 Mayo clinic study, 93% of patients with chronic rhino-sinusitis ( CRS ) had allergenic fungal sinusitis. Molds thrive in damp dark areas, like the air conditioner area in tropical climates. That smell when you first turn on the air conditioner in your hotel could be symptomatic of a mold problem.

So what about swine flu ? Swine flu virus or the rhinoviruses that cause colds, needs living cells to stay alive. Without these cells, found in bodily fluids like blood,mucous or saliva, viruses have a short lifespan, between a few seconds and 48 hours, depending on the surface. Viruses tend to live longer on nonporous surfaces, like doorknobs, than on porous surfaces, like fabrics. But if the fabric is dampened with enough fluid, mucous, saliva or fecal matter, the virus may persist for much longer periods.

Can you catch swine flu from your hotel bed ? Not likely. You would have to lie down and put your face into a deposit of swine flu virus within minutes of an infected person lying there. But, if you should happen to come into contact with a damp spot of infected bodily fluids, well then it is very possible.

While it is highly unlikely that you will encounter a bed in a hotel which, not only has not been changed, but is still damp with the previous guests infected bodily fluids, “better safe than …

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