TV and Movies

Why You Should Watch Netflix's The Untamed Today

Now that the passage of time is feeling more imaginary than ever before, finding something to focus on for an extended period is becoming something of an art form. Let’s face it: Re-watching the full series of The Office for the millionth time or speeding through something nostalgic like The X-Files all over again was fun when this all started, but we could use something new to take our minds off things for more than just a few hours at a time–or, better yet, something that is so new it doesn’t immediately become background noise as you zone out and gaze into the void (or tend to your Animal Crossing island).

Enter: The Untamed, or Chén Qíng Lìng (abbreviated CQL–this is a world with lots of alternate titles, abbreviations, and acronyms. Don’t panic, you’ll get used to them).

If you’re on social media at all, there’s a good chance you’ve seen rumblings of this show in some form or another. The Chinese historical-fantasy drama, which originally aired on YouTube back in the summer of 2019, was given official English subtitles and later picked up by Netflix late last year. And while this ease of access certainly played a role in the fan boom, it quickly became apparent that it was more than just the ability to watch for free that made The Untamed so special.

Based on the novel Mó Dào Zǔ Shī (“The Grandmaster Of Demonic Cultivation,” abbreviated MDZS), The Untamed is a sprawling, densely packed story in the Xianxia genre, which essentially means it’s a fantasy story based thoroughly on Chinese mythology, Taoism, and other traditional beliefs. Part of what makes The Untamed so engaging is the fact that it’s steeped in genre traditions that are wholly unique to Xianxia works. These stories typically focus on “cultivators,” or people who are working to cultivate (get it?) their spiritual powers and abilities with the goal of attaining immortality or enlightenment through rigorous study and practice.

It’s not specifically high-fantasy–for example, there are no orcs or elves running around. But it’s certainly not gritty or grounded. In The Untamed, ancient China is populated by various cultivation sects with different worldviews and methodologies, training students who, in turn, venture out into the world and use their spiritual power to help common folk deal with pesky supernatural nuisances. You know, resentful spirits, curses, demons and the like.

Naturally, with different sects all vying for power and influence, the political landscape is a bit of a nightmare. It’ll immediately ping associations to things like Avatar: The Last Airbender and Game Of Thrones, and it’s easy to see why. The sects are often coded onscreen by colors, and they each have their own specific home bases (some with incredibly cool names like “The Unclean Realm” or “The Nightless City”), and there’s enough machiavellian betrayal and political puppeteering to make your head spin.

But that’s just the story at its most macro level. The worldbuilding serves to prop up the most important part–the core characters themselves and their deeply meaningful and outstandingly complicated relationships. If you’re the sort of person who loves novels that come with a glossary of terms and a fold-out family tree, this show is for you.

Reductively, I could tell you that The Untamed is about two cultivators from diametrically opposed worldviews coming together against astronomical odds and falling in love. This is true–but that’s only part of the story. Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji (played by pop idols Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo, respectively) serve as a sort of narrative throughline and if you’re only interested in heartbreakingly tender romance, then great news: There’s plenty of it. While The Untamed, on paper, was forced to remove the majority of the source material’s textual queer romance (MDZS is what’s known as a BL, or boy’s love, novel, which means exactly what it says on the tin) to appease China’s strict censors, the subtext remains so obvious that if you didn’t know the love story had been truncated, you probably wouldn’t realize it at all. In fact, if anything, the clever ways the romance is communicated in the story just serve to make it hit you directly in the heart even harder.

But if romance isn’t your particular bag, that’s fine too. The Untamed takes place over 50 (yes, 50) hour-long episodes, and when it’s not asking you to wax poetic about the existence of soulmate level bonds, it’s throwing nonstop twists and turns at you. It’s one part murder mystery, one part political thriller, and one part family drama, all with the high-camp, charmingly low-budget feel of your favorite ’90s adventure classics. If you were a fan of Xena: Warrior Princess, or more recently, Netflix’s Witcher TV show, the action and melodrama will feel like comfort food. There are plenty of monsters to fight, evil leaders to assassinate, political coups to execute, and families being torn apart. People carry magic swords and cast spells with enchanted instruments. There’s an entire subplot across three episodes that takes a hard turn into dark, psychological horror and another that makes The Red Wedding look relatively tame.

Best of all, once you’ve completed your 50-hour journey, there’s plenty more to consume. MDZS has been adapted as an animated series, a manhua comic, and an audio drama. And while only the animated series has been officially subtitled in English, fan communities have been hard at work providing unofficial translations for virtually every adaptation. In addition, the live action universe is still, technically, in progress, with spin-off films being released as recently as March of this year, that focus more on the show’s many side characters. With any luck, they’ll soon be made available with English subtitles as well.

As we progress into a summer where more and more events are canceled, keeping yourself occupied is key, and that’s exactly what a head-long dive into The Untamed will help you with. The sheer volume of content to consume, mixed with the level of attention it will ask you to pay to follow its intricate web of stories, characters, and relationships, on top of the thrill of learning the ins-and-outs of a rich genre full of its own conventions and traditions, make it a triple threat. It’s the ideal binge and the perfect gateway to a brand new obsession.

The Untamed is streaming in its entirety on Netflix and YouTube.

Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot’s parent company

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World News

Chris Christie: US should reopen because there will ‘be deaths no matter what’

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie insisted this week that the US needs to end its coronavirus lockdown despite models now predicting almost 135,000 fatalities — saying there “are going to be deaths no matter what.”

“Of course, everybody wants to save every life they can — but the question is, towards what end, ultimately?” the former presidential hopeful told CNN Monday.

“Are there ways that we can thread the middle here?” he asked, suggesting people just wear masks, gloves and social distance.

“There are going to be deaths — there are going to be deaths no matter what.”

Christie, 57, spoke as the University of Washington’s Institute for Help Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE) now predicts more than 134,475 US deaths by August — more than double earlier predictions of 60,000.

The increase reflects “increased human mobility and the easing of social distancing measures in many US states,” the institute warned.

But Christie — whose Garden State has seen the nation’s highest death toll, 7,910, outside of New York’s 19,415 — insisted the “economic devastation” was “equally sad.”

“We’ve got to let some of these folks get back to work, because if we don’t, we’re going to destroy the American way of life in these families — and it will be years and years before we can recover,” he said.

He compared the sacrifice Americans must now make to that of the two world wars.

“The message is that the American people have gone through significant death before,” he told CNN’s Dana Bash on The Daily DC Podcast.

Of lives “sacrificed” in the wars, he said, “We decided to make that sacrifice because what we were standing up for was the American way of life.

“In the very same way now, we have to stand up for the American way of life.”

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World News

Mike Pence admits he should have worn a mask during Mayo Clinic visit

Vice President Mike Pence has admitted that he should have worn a mask during his visit to the Mayo Clinic — a mea culpa that came amid a backlash for violating the hospital’s coronavirus rules.

“I didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn a mask at the Mayo Clinic and I wore it when I visited the ventilator plant in Indiana” two days later, Pence said during a Fox News virtual town hall Sunday night.

Photos and videos of Pence’s tour showed him bare-faced as he met with the staff of the Minnesota clinic and at least one patient.

Everyone else in the footage had a protective face covering on, in accordance with the policy established April 13 for “all patients and visitors to wear a face covering or mask to help slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Pence was informed of the rules before he visited, the clinic said on Twitter, in a post that was deleted about a half-hour later, according to The Guardian.

“Mayo Clinic had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today,” they had written.

Pence has said he didn’t believe he had to wear one since he is constantly tested for the coronavirus and since the mask prevents people from transmitting the bug.

His wife Karen Pence has defended him, saying he was unaware of the clinic’s rule.

But a Mayo Clinic rep told Politico that Pence and his entourage had been briefed about the mask policy prior to their arrival.

“It really is a statement about the American people, the way people have been willing to step forward, practice social distancing, wear masks in settings where they can’t do that,” Pence said Sunday.

“As we continue to practice those principles, all of us together, I know we’ll get through this,” he added.

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Man Utd should seal Saul Niguez, Thomas Partey and Wilfred Ndidi transfers this summer, urges Rio Ferdinand – The Sun

RIO FERDINAND has had his say on Manchester United's transfer strategy this summer.

Speaking on The Beautiful Game podcast on Monday, the former Red Devils defender highlighted a number of midfield and defensive targets that United should be looking at.

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish and Leicester's James Maddison have both been heavily linked with moves to Old Trafford but it is another Foxes midfielder, as well as two Atletico Madrid players that Ferdinand chose to point out.

"I'd maybe get [Thomas] Partey from Atletico Madrid or [Wilfred] Ndidi from Leicester," he said.

"I like Saul Niguez. He's a very, very good player in midfield."

Partey has been linked with Arsenal and has a release clause of £43million – though Atletico are hoping to renew his contract – while Saul signed a nine-year contract with Atletico in 2017 with a £136million release clause but could be made available for much less.

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World News

Essential workers 'should be given face masks', BMA says

Public SHOULD wear face-masks says BMA, despite official government advice that there’s no need

  •  British Medical Association is calling on the Government to issue face masks
  • Chairman of BMA council said key workers should be provided face coverings 
  • The public should wear masks too as it ‘may help’ fight coronavirus, BMA said
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

All essential workers should be given face masks – and the public should wear them too – amid ’emerging evidence’ it could help battle coronavirus, the British Medical Association (BMA) has said.

Wearing face coverings in public is not yet compulsory, but ministers are considering recommendations made by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) following a review of current advice. 

And Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the BMA council, is calling on the Government to ask all members of the public to cover their mouths and noses when going outside.

He told the Telegraph that the doctors’ union believes all key workers outside of the NHS – including transport workers, shopkeepers, carers and supermarket staff who cannot social distance – should be provided masks or suitable face coverings.  

The BMA cited ’emerging evidence’ that covering mouths and noses ‘may help’ in the fight against coronavirus (pictured: Battersea Park, London, March 28)

‘Common sense tells you that a barrier between people must offer a level of protection, however small,’ Dr Nagpaul said.

‘The Government must pursue all avenues of reducing the spread of infection.

‘This includes asking the public to wear face coverings to cover mouths and noses when people leave home for essential reasons.’

He said that until ‘sufficient supplies of PPE are provided’ to the front line, this may initially mean members of the public wearing cloth masks and scarves.

The BMA cited ’emerging evidence’ that covering mouths and noses ‘may help’ in the fight against coronavirus. 

It comes amid revelations that: 

  • Everyone entering the UK will be forced to quarantine for a fortnight – under plans being drawn up by the Government 
  • Ministers have ordered production of up to 50 million new immunity tests as part of a ‘game-changing’ development in the battle against Covid-19  
  • Boris Johnson prepares to go back to work in Downing Street tomorrow, having told aides that he is ‘raring to go’
  • The UK death toll passed 20,000 yesterday – up by 813 in 24 hours, and
  • Retail bosses have been advised to consider closing or restricting access to toilets and changing rooms, restrict the number of shoppers and limit or remove customer seating

Wearing a mask or face covering in public is not yet compulsory, but ministers are considering recommendations made by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (pictured: London Fields, east London, April 24)

The coronavirus lockdown continued into its fifth weekend and the Government faced calls for greater transparency over the scientific advice given to ministers on the outbreak

Among those calling for a change to the advice is London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who said it will add ‘another layer of protection’ to members of the public against the disease.

Current UK guidance has emphasised the importance of masks for doctors and nurses, but does not suggest widespread usage.

However, scientific advisers for the Government have carried out a review of the use of face masks, despite the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying that there is no evidence to support their use by the general population.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the Cabinet was told on Thursday that the recommendations of Sage had been submitted for ministers to consider. 

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Here’s why you should never add milk to your scrambled eggs

Have you been making your scrambled eggs all wrong all of your life and not even known it? If you, like the rest of the world, add milk to your favorite breakfast food, the answer is, sadly, “yes.” Don’t shoot the messenger, but according to Southern Living, milk does not in fact translate into fluffier scrambled eggs. Adding this dairy product to your eggs has the opposite effect of enhancing the delish dish. Yup, milk actually dilutes the flavor of scrambled eggs. And, even worse, milk can make scrambled eggs rubbery and tasteless. Not good.

So are your eggs doomed? Nope. Instead of adding milk, it seems turning out the yummiest eggs is all about technique and using quality eggs. Read on for tips on how to switch up your scrambled eggs game. This just may not only change your life for the better, but also the lives of anyone you invite over for brunch.

How to make savory scrambled eggs without milk

According to Bon Appétit, great scrambled eggs start when you choose the right cooking vessel, and that would be none other than a nonstick skillet. The eggs you use matter, too. “The better quality eggs, the better your scramble will be,” BA test kitchen contributor Jessie Damuck said. Other than a pan that won’t sideline your scrambling efforts (cast iron is too difficult for most home cooks to use successfully), and good, quality, fresh eggs, the only other ingredient one needs is butter, which is totally optional.

It is also recommended that you whisk up the eggs in another bowl before you add them to the pan. Both Bon Appétit and Southern Living implore scramblers to employ a silicone spatula and cook eggs low and slow to achieve the best possible breakfast dish. 

Here’s wishing home cooks everywhere the best of luck in preparing milk-free scrambled eggs that will make the morning shiny and bright. And yummy.

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World News

Should I use antiseptic wipes on my food shop? Dr Hilary answers your coronavirus questions – The Sun

IT has never been more important to protect our health.

Dr Hilary Jones – health editor for ITV’s Good Morning Britain and Lorraine – is The Sun’s go-to expert to answer any concerns or worries you may have regarding coronavirus.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Thousands of you have read his clear and concise answers which cut through the confusion of coronavirus and contacted us with questions you would like to put to the doctor.

Today, he tells Emma Pietras who is more at risk to the virus, how to keep safe outdoors and what to do about vulnerable relatives.

Q. I have a hole in my heart and an enlarged heart. Whenever I get the flu or colds, it goes straight to my chest. Am I more vulnerable to coronavirus?

A. Yes. You are more vulnerable with any form of heart disease and you need to stay home, socially distance and wash your hands regularly.

Q. I have a regular B12 injection. Am I more vulnerable?

A. Having regular vitamin B12 injections will not make you more vulnerable nor will any underlying medical condition, which has caused B12 deficiency.

Q. How can you keep safe when going shopping?

A. Try to do it infrequently and don’t travel too far. If there is a queue stand two metres away from everyone else and keep your distance from the checkout. You can still be sociable and polite. Try to choose shops where the staff are wearing protective equipment. When you get home, throw away packaging and wash your hands.


Q. Should I use antiseptic wipes on my food shop when I unpack?

A. Antiseptic wipes only have a very weak effect on bugs and germs on packaging. For cleaning the virus from surfaces you really need a chlorine-based cleaning product, such as bleach. For your hands, use a product containing rubbing alcohol of at least 60 per cent strength.

Q. Is it safe to continue to take fluticasone nasal drops and nitro-furantoin capsules I have been prescribed? I am concerned they could weaken my immune system.

A. While the nasal drops are steroids which reduce inflammation they only act locally. The nitrofurantoin anti- biotics will make no difference whatsoever. You should continue to use your medication as the benefits are far greater than the risks.

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Q. My partner is terminally ill and I have diabetes. I am a key worker. Should I self-isolate for 12 weeks?

A. What awful decisions so many of us have to make. While your husband is in the high risk group, you are categorised in the vulnerable group and you should work from home if you can and keep a physical distance from others.

Key workers may continue to work under the current guidance but you need to take extra-special care of yourself. You could also ask your boss if you can work in a non public-facing role.

Q. I work in the NHS in a child development centre. One of the nurses advised to shower and change my clothes at home because my husband has an autoimmune condition. Is this really necessary?

A. I think going to these lengths is unnecessary unless you are a healthcare professional exposed to high levels of risk, seeing potentially in-fected patients.

If you are washing your hands regularly you will not be transmitting any virus from clothes or hair to your face this should be sufficient.

Q. I’m 59, a diabetic on insulin and a key worker. Should I be working?

A. Diabetes puts you into the more vulnerable group being advised to work from home if possible. Key workers, however, are an exception and while you can still go to work it is worth asking if your role can be adapted so you are not in a public facing role.

Practice very strict personal hygiene too.


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Coronavirus: You should only wear one pair of shoes outside the house

Virologist reveals why you should only wear one pair of shoes outside the house and take them off as soon as you get home on Coronavirus: How Clean Is Your House?

  • Channel 4’s How Clean Is Your House follows two Midlands couples
  • A&E doctor Dr Javid Abdelmoneim and virologist Dr Lisa Cross reveal all
  • They explain people should only wear one pair of shoes outside to reduce risk
  • Shoes should be removed as soon as you get in the door and left in same place 

Shoes could be the unlikely source of coronavirus in your home if you don’t take them off as soon as you get in the door, a documentary has revealed.

Channel 4-s How Clean Is Your House followed two Midlands couples as they learnt how to protect their families against COVID-19 – which could live on the rubbery soles of shoes for up to five days.

Experts Dr Javid Abdelmoneim, an A&E doctor, and virologist Dr Lisa Cross, revealed only one pair of shoes should be worn outside the house and they need to be taken off as soon as you get home.

This will limit the chances of the virus contaminating the home, they said.

Channel 4-s How Clean Is Your House followed two Midlands couples as they learnt how to protect their families against COVID-19 – which could be brought in on shoes (file image)

Experts Dr Javid Abdelmoneim (centre), an A&E doctor, and virologist Dr Lisa Cross (left), revealed only one pair of shoes should be worn outside the house

They added: ‘When you first come in from the outside, take off your shoes immediately. 

‘Most shoes have a non-porous rubbery sole, which the virus can survive on anywhere between three and five days.

‘Keep shoes in your hallway, or the same spot and try to use only one pair of shoes to go outside.

‘It’s believed coronavirus can last up to 24 hours on clothes. If you have had to use public transport, or come into close contact with people, think about changing your clothes immediately and putting them in the wash.’ 

Elsewhere in yesterday’s programme they explained groceries (pictured) should be cleaned as soon as they’re brought into the house 

Elsewhere in yesterday’s programme they explained care should be taken when bringing groceries or a takeaway into the house.

The food should be emptied out and wiped down with soap and water in a specially designated area, explained Dr Cross.

She said: ‘We have to go back to first principles really here. It is an item that is coming in from the outside so could have virus on.’  

All items with an outer plastic packaging that can be disposed off should be emptied out into separate containers and put into the fridge.  

And any jars, cartons or tins should be wiped down with a plastic cloth.

Dr Abdelmoneim revealed: ‘Current guidance tells us that the food itself is unlikely to be a risk because even if particles are ingested they will not survive in our stomach.’

Virologist Dr Lisa Cross (pictured), explains extra precautions need to be taken by everyone to stop the spread of the virus, and in particular to protect those who are currently shielding

When the food has been put away and washed it is important to wipe down the floor and any reusable bags with soap and water before then washing your hands.

‘There’s one more thing to consider. The bags the shopping came in,’ said Dr Abdelmoneim.

Dr Cross explained: ‘If this was a canvas bag you could be popping that in your washing machine. If it’s a plastic bag you can just be decontaminating the outsides really easily. 

When the food has been put away and washed it is important to wipe down the floor and any reusable bags (pictured) with soap and water before then washing your hands

The show explains vulnerable people who are shielding (right) need to be protected from those who are showing symptoms (left). Anyone who doesn’t have symptoms (centre) needs to keep a distance from those who do, even if they share a house

‘And then the key thing to remember is if it’s going on the floor just choose the same spot every time so you will get into the routine of what you’re doing.

‘Do all this, give it a wipe down, and then wash your hands.’ 

She told Femail it was important for people to take precautions when taking their shopping home.

‘Your house could be a shining example of cleanliness, but every time we bring some of the outside world in, we are potentially bringing infectious viral particles in,’ she explained. 

‘It is especially important to decontaminate not so much the food per se, but the packaging it comes in – as that is where the virus could “land”. 

‘So for example, remove the packaging on the biscuits, put them in a tin because if you don’t, every time (in the next few days) you get another biscuit your hand could be in contact with the virus and then that hand is going to your mouth and that’s bad news.’

It comes after a Scottish woman admitted she is washing all her plastic wrapped groceries amid the COVID-19 pandemic – while others have confessed to cleaning their post.

It comes after Lisa Mackenzie, from Scotland, shared a photo to Twitter of unopened chocolate bars soaking in a bowl of bubbly water (pictured)

‘It’s early 2020 and you are washing plastic-wrapped treats,’ Lisa captioned her amusing photograph (pictured)

An American doctor previously warned families to leave their produce outside for three days, as well as either throwing out or disinfecting any packaging, because of a minor risk of infection. 

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed coronavirus can live on cardboard for 24 hours and on stainless steel and plastic for up to to three days. 

Lisa Mackenzie, from Scotland, shared a photo to Twitter of unopened chocolate bars soaking in a bowl of bubbly water.  

‘It’s early 2020 and you are washing plastic-wrapped treats,’ she captioned the amusing photograph.

Another social media user shared this photograph to demonstrate how their household was now washing their vegetables amid the coronavirus pandemic

The post was liked more than a 100 times, with many Twitter users admitting to also washing their supermarket items (pictured)

The post was liked more than 100 times, with many Twitter users admitting to also washing their supermarket items. 

‘We’re doing this too, been doing it for a month. Everything. From post to potatoes sacks,’ one wrote, as another said: ‘I’m washing the post.’

A third confessed: ‘Got our Morrison’s delivery and everything I couldn’t wipe/wash has gone into ‘grocery quarantine’ – three days for plastic, a day for cardboard – before it goes into the fridge or cupboard.’  

However, not everyone was a fan of the idea and said they’d prefer to just wash their hands

A Michigan doctor has urged people to leave their groceries outside for three days or thoroughly disinfect each food product. 

In a YouTube video posted last month Jeffrey VanWingen, a doctor at Family Medicine Specialists in Grand Rapids, warned customers to take extra care with their food packaging. 

He suggests the best way to avoid picking up germs from your groceries is to leave them outside for three days before touching them. 

But when this isn’t possible, he shows how he believes people should clean their items – by disinfecting each item with wipes or spray and ridding it of its outside packaging. 

It comes after an American doctor (pictured) warned families to leave their produce outside for three days, as well as either throwing out or sterilising any packaging

‘This all seems a bit time consuming, but, in truth, these days people do have a bit more time on their hands,’ Dr VanWingen said. ‘Let’s be methodical and be safe, and not take any chances.’  

He added: ‘Imagine that the groceries that you have are covered with some glitter, and your goal at the end of this is to not have any glitter in your house, on your hands, or especially, on your face.

‘Imagine that disinfectants and soap, they have the power to dissolve that glitter,’ he claimed. 

How long can corornavirus survive on various surfaces?

Aerosols: up to 3 hours

Copper: up to 4 hours

Cardboard: up to 24 hours

Plastic: up to 2-3 days

Stainless Steel: up to 2-3 days


However, a professor of infectious diseases said the risk of transmission through food packaging is low and people should simply employ common sense.

Stephen Baker, from the Department of Medicine at the University of Cambridge, said viruses – unlike bacteria – do not survive well outside the body.

The NHS website’s coronavirus page also says: ‘It’s very unlikely it can be spread through things like packages or food.’

Prof Baker said the risk is ‘not zero’ when it comes to supermarket and home food deliveries, but it is ‘relatively minor’.

He said it is not possible for every piece of food to be decontaminated by a supermarket, but ‘whilst the risk, I would say, is not zero, it’s pretty, pretty small’.

Prof Baker said bread taken from a supermarket shelf should go into a bag straight away, and recommended washing fresh fruit and vegetables as normal. 

‘Things that are in packages, I would maintain a degree of common sense with the view that they are unlikely to make anybody sick,’ he said, adding that wet wipes or alcohol wipes can be used if there are any concerns.

Prof Baker said the virus will survive for a period of time on packaging, but not indefinitely.

‘I think that we can’t get to the point where we’re disinfecting every item we come in contact with. I would say there isn’t any real necessity to throw away packaging any sooner than you would do normally,’ he said.   


What is the coronavirus? 

A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.

The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.

Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a ‘sister’ of the SARS illness which hit China in 2002, so has been named after it.

The disease that the virus causes has been named COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.

Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: ‘Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals. 

‘Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses). 

‘Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.’ 

The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started publicly reporting infections on December 31.

By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.

The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000. 

Where does the virus come from?

According to scientists, the virus almost certainly came from bats. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.

The first cases of COVID-19 came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in Wuhan, which has since been closed down for investigation.

Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat. 

A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published in February 2020 in the scientific journal Nature, found that the genetic make-up virus samples found in patients in China is 96 per cent identical to a coronavirus they found in bats.

However, there were not many bats at the market so scientists say it was likely there was an animal which acted as a middle-man, contracting it from a bat before then transmitting it to a human. It has not yet been confirmed what type of animal this was.

Dr Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved with the research but said: ‘The discovery definitely places the origin of nCoV in bats in China.

‘We still do not know whether another species served as an intermediate host to amplify the virus, and possibly even to bring it to the market, nor what species that host might have been.’  

So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so worried about it? 

Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.

It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans’ lungs. It is less deadly than SARS, however, which killed around one in 10 people, compared to approximately one in 50 for COVID-19.

Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they’ve never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.

Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: ‘Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.

‘Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we’re talking about a virus where we don’t understand fully the severity spectrum but it’s possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.’

If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die. 

‘My feeling is it’s lower,’ Dr Horby added. ‘We’re probably missing this iceberg of milder cases. But that’s the current circumstance we’re in.

‘Two per cent case fatality rate is comparable to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 so it is a significant concern globally.’

How does the virus spread?

The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms.

It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky. It can also live on surfaces, such as plastic and steel, for up to 72 hours, meaning people can catch it by touching contaminated surfaces.

Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person. 

What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?

Once someone has caught the COVID-19 virus it may take between two and 14 days, or even longer, for them to show any symptoms – but they may still be contagious during this time.

If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients will recover from these without any issues, and many will need no medical help at all.

In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.

Figures are showing that young children do not seem to be particularly badly affected by the virus, which they say is peculiar considering their susceptibility to flu, but it is not clear why. 

What have genetic tests revealed about the virus? 

Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world. 

This allows others to study them, develop tests and potentially look into treating the illness they cause.   

Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much – changing is known as mutating – much during the early stages of its spread.

However, the director-general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.

This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it.   

More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.

How dangerous is the virus?  

The virus has a death rate of around two per cent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.

Experts have been conflicted since the beginning of the outbreak about whether the true number of people who are infected is significantly higher than the official numbers of recorded cases. Some people are expected to have such mild symptoms that they never even realise they are ill unless they’re tested, so only the more serious cases get discovered, making the death toll seem higher than it really is.

However, an investigation into government surveillance in China said it had found no reason to believe this was true.

Dr Bruce Aylward, a World Health Organization official who went on a mission to China, said there was no evidence that figures were only showing the tip of the iceberg, and said recording appeared to be accurate, Stat News reported.

Can the virus be cured? 

The COVID-19 virus cannot be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.

Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can work, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.

No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it’s not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.

The National Institutes of Health in the US, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical Technology.

Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.

People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.

And airports around the world are putting in place screening measures such as having doctors on-site, taking people’s temperatures to check for fevers and using thermal screening to spot those who might be ill (infection causes a raised temperature).

However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so there is only a small likelihood that patients will be spotted up in an airport.

Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?   

The outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11. A pandemic is defined by the World Health Organization as the ‘worldwide spread of a new disease’. 

Previously, the UN agency said most cases outside of Hubei had been ‘spillover’ from the epicentre, so the disease wasn’t actually spreading actively around the world.

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Should face masks be worn in public?

As coronavirus continues, ‘masks for all’ movement grows

#Masks4All founder and University of San Francisco research scientist Jeremy Howard argues everyone should wear masks when they go out.

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The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said that face masks should be reserved for health care workers, the sick and people caring for them. However, now more health officials are considering if the public should be wearing them too.

As of Thursday, there were more than 237,000 coronavirus cases in the U.S., and more than 5,718 deaths. And as the number rises, doctors and health officials are considering expanding guidelines surrounding the usage of face masks.

The White House, with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is expected to announce a new policy, that would advise Americans to wear cloth masks in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID, 19, according to a federal official familiar with the policy, as first reported by Statnews.

More Americans are making their own face masks amid shortages. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

While masks are not considered an effective form for preventing someone from contracting COVID-19, wearing one may potentially prevent asymptomatic patients from spreading the virus. Americans have started making at-home versions of masks using fabric or bandanas to help prevent the spread of the disease with the ongoing shortage of medical masks, including N95 respirators and loose-fitting surgical masks.


Here’s where major health officials, agencies and leaders stand on whether or not the public should wear face masks:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The CDC says on its website: “If you are sick you should wear a facemask, if available when you are around other people (including before you enter a healthcare provider’s office). If you are caring for others: If the person who is sick is not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then as their caregiver, you should wear a facemask when in the same room with them. During a public health emergency, facemasks may be reserved for healthcare workers. You may need to improvise a facemask using a scarf or bandana.”

The World Health Organization

The organization says on its website: “If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with the suspected 2019-nCoV infection.”

WHO advises wearing a mask if you are coughing or sneezing and says: “Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.”

Former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the FDA, co-wrote a report saying “everyone, including people without symptoms, should be encouraged to wear nonmedical fabric face masks while in public.”

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Tuesday that the White House Coronavirus Task Force is actively discussing the potential to expand guidance on face masks, though health care workers are still the priority amid the ongoing shortage of personal protective equipment.

United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams 

Surgeon General Jerome Adams initially advised against the general public wearing face masks stating that they are "not effective in preventing the general public from catching coronavirus." However, on Wednesday he asked the CDC to reconsider.

The Trump Administration

President Trump on Wednesday, when asked if people should be wearing face masks, said it wouldn't hurt, and that a scarf would be suitable if wearing them en masse took away from the supply needed by health care workers.

Social Media

The campaign #Masks4All on social media, started by the University of San Francisco research scientist Jeremy Howard, and a member of the World Economic Forum's Global AI Council, encourages people to make their own face masks at home so that medical workers have access to personal protective equipment.


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Things you should and shouldn’t do after an acupuncture treatment

Traditional Chinese and Western medicine diverge over the idea of what acupuncture accomplishes. Eastern medicine sees acupuncture as a way of balancing life energy or life force, otherwise known as qi, by inserting needles into specific points along “pathways” called meridians. Western acupuncturists, on the other hand, see the procedure as a way to “stimulate nerves, muscles, and connective tissue” in a way that fires up your natural painkillers, as noted by Mayo Clinic.

But no matter how pain-free or amazing you feel after your treatment, remember that things have been done to your body, whether you choose to see it as a rebalancing of your qi or the stimulation of your nervous system. In any case, HuffPost says you need to give your body a chance to rest and rejuvenate. Resting also allows your body to deal with whatever feelings the session might have caused, whether it is soreness, tiredness, itching, or bruising. Along with resting, you should consider giving any strenuous or difficult workouts a hard pass and should scale down your exercise plans until your body has had a chance to fully recover.

Use heat and avoid specific foods after an acupuncture treatment

Traditional Chinese medicine doctors aren’t fond of anything cold — this includes eating anything cold like ice cream and smoothies, taking a cold shower, and even using an ice pack in parts of your body that might feel sore or tender after a session. Indigo Healing Acupuncture says cold temperatures could actually undo the positive effects of acupuncture because it impedes both your energy flow and the healing process. Instead, soothe yourself with a warm bath and a hot pad on any part of the body that might need a bit of TLC after a session.

Because acupuncture helps your body get rid of toxins, it would be counterproductive to reintroduce other types of toxins into your body in the form of sugar or processed food; instead, pick healthy options that might allow your body to continue healing after your sessions. Also, if your system has been reset so that everything is in equilibrium, it may be a good idea to avoid anything that could trigger you and make you excited, and, because of this, HuffPost recommends you avoid caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea. Another reason to avoid caffeine — at least for a while — is that your body needs to stay hydrated, which is something that caffeine, which is a diuretic, cannot help you do as well as, say, water.

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