Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY SURVIVAL

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

Diego Urbina is an engineer who took part in an experiment conducted on the ground to simulate conditions of human isolation that could be faced in a future expedition to the planet Mars.

From his home in Brussels, where he has been confined for a week by the Coronavirus pandemic, Urbina provides some tips to resist these days’ “imprisonment”. Like millions of citizens around the world, Diego also lives with concern the current situation and tries to adapt his behavior to the new scenario created by COVID-19.


But Diego has a significant advantage: in 2010, along with five colleagues from the European Space Agency (ESA), he took part in the experimental mission MARS-500, a project that simulated a trip to Mars in which they stayed for 520 days inside a special complex (located on the Institute of Biomedical Problems’ site in Moscow), completely isolated from the outside world.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

Here is the testimony he gave to the journalist Antonio Martinéz Ron, from Vozpópuli media outlet.

“It’s like a deja-vu, although today’s situation is clearly different, because this coronavirus is no longer a simulation. I believe that my experience during the MARS-500 mission can serve to give some advice on how to better organize and use our daily time,” Urbina explains.

Task diversification.

“First we must be aware that now we will have a certain period of time at our disposal, which we had previously occupied in social activities (work, hobbies, sports). It can be heavy, but on the other hand we must see the benefit: we can take advantage of this time to study and learn new things.
In our case, our 6-crew member team of MARS-500 didn’t have an internet connection and we could communicate externally only by email.

We only had books and few things, so that once our planned activities are finished we have 8 hours free each day. So I started studying Russian, to better communicate with my mission mates. And I also learned to draw; in the end I made some drawings and that made me very happy. These activities helped me to keep my mind more active, and a not falling into a spiral of laziness that caused damage in my daily activities, where we also simulated stressful situation, as a real space mission.

We read a lot: during year of MARS-500 mission I read about 30 books. Currently, however, in my daily life I have very little time to read. Remembering that period, I must admit that I miss having all that available time.”

Timetable organization.

According to Diego Urbina, it’s very important to organize the hours, so as not to interrupt the biological rhythms of the human body.

“In our case, we had no chance of being exposed to the sun. The lack of light alters the heart rhythms, so we were exposed to a special blue light.
It also altered the metabolism, for which we were forced to take vitamin D. That’s why I recommend you take advantage of the daylight hours, perhaps by spending time near the windows. Since we are entering the months with more light of the year, this should not be a big problem.

It’s also important not to alter our sleep patterns. We have to set very regular times, to avoid getting up too late and doing nothing all morning, as it can negatively affect our sleep patterns. In the case of our MARS-500 project, we were trying various ways to organize daily activities.

For example, dealing with the cleaning activities, we understood that the best way was to do them one day a week, all together, at the same time, so it was also fun and broke the routine. In addition to doing new things every day, it’s also important to distribute the tasks, and at the same time alternate them.”

Do exercise.

“For any space mission, physical exercise is mandatory, because in microgravity conditions the muscle tissue deteriorates very quickly if there is no physical activity. For people who are home these days for the COVID-19 emergency, this is a key factor. Here in Brussels jogging is allowed, but in places like Italy where this alternative doesn’t exist it’s possible to do many exercises in limited spaces, such as the living room at home.

If this current situation seems overwhelming to you, it may perhaps comfort you to know that during the simulated mission we faced additional difficulties that made it even more complicated: we had to take urine samples every day to keep our values in check; we didn’t have services such as internet connection or telephone (which now we take for granted); while we simulated the communications that will be made when we go to Mars we couldn’t speak directly to anyone else besides ourselves; and we haven’t seen sunlight for many months.”

Food.

“Our crew of the MARS-500 mission were alternately given some menus, always taking care that it was a healthy and varied diet. After eight months, however, we got a little bored with the food cycle. I therefore recommend changing dishes as much as possible. It’s also very important to limit the goodies, and don’t eat sweets every day, even if it’s tempting.

The positive side of the isolation period is that you don’t have such easy access to ‘junk food’ and that you can cook at home. In this way you have the opportunity to see what we are about to eat, know its nutritional value, and balance it well so as to be healthier after isolation.”

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

Psychological conflicts.

“In space missions, like a Mars trip, the possibility of conflicts between people is one of the greatest risks; which in a situation like the one we are living now can become relevant. We must learn to have a special patience. It’s quite complicated to manage conflicts, because there can be many different variables.

Our crew of the MARS-500 mission have been facilitated, because ESA psychologists had previously excluded potentially problematic people during selection phase. The technique we used during the 520 day isolation was not necessarily to sit around a table and talk to each other directly; when there was some friction, we tried to address issues less explicitly, doing nice things for each other. It’s an easy way to act, without the need to impose or criticize, to get everyone back in a good mood. In real life these days you have to be very tolerant, and understand the other person’s needs. We will probably be locked up for many days: there is no point in being in a bad mood with someone for the rest of the time.”

Conclusions.

“When the simulation of the MARS-500 project was over, when we came out of isolation after having been so long without seeing anyone, without even seeing the sun, nature and animals, it was a very positive shock. We were able to see all those normal things again.

Even the simple sight of a tree was a marvel. The first time we saw the sun rise, heard a dog bark or looked after a child, it was an emotion.

Now it will be a little less intense, but for all of us it will still be a good opportunity to appreciate all the usual things we took for granted every day.

It certainly will be like this when this coronavirus emergency is overcome.”

A special thank you to Emiliano Guerra for translating the interview and to Antonio Martinéz Ron for allowing us to publish part of his article. Make sure you follow ESA MARS-500 crew member Diego Urbina on Facebook here and Twitter here.

This article originally appeared on The Aviationist. Follow @theaviationist on Twitter.
MIGHTY SURVIVAL

North Korea is secretly asking for coronavirus aid from other countries while publicly denying that it has any cases

North Korea has been quietly soliciting coronavirus aid from other countries even though it has publicly denied the existence of any cases on home soil, according to a new report.

Officials in the isolated country have privately reached out to their counterparts in other countries asking for urgent help in fighting the outbreak, the Financial Times reported, citing several people familiar with the matter and an unidentified document.


The country has also asked hospitals in South Korea and several international aid agencies for masks and test machines, Reuters reported last Friday, citing two sources with knowledge of the matter.

North Korea has officially reported no cases of the coronavirus, and, in late January, shut its border with China after the outbreak started to spill out of the central Hubei province into other regions near the border.

According to the FT, the country has tested at least 590 citizens — all of whom had arrived from outside the country in January — but all of them tested negative.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

Foreign media and experts doubt the official infection toll, however.

Some South Korean media outlets have reported that North Korea has recorded deaths from the coronavirus, but that the regime is concealing them from the world.

Daily NK, a news site focusing on North Korea, also reported that 180 North Korean soldiers died of the virus in January and February, and that another 3,700 were sent to quarantine.

South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo said that there were at least two suspected cases of the illness in the city of Sinuiju, which borders China. Daily NK also reported that as many as five people had died of the coronavirus in Sinuiju.

North Korea’s lack of medical supplies and weak healthcare system have left it ill-equipped to handle an outbreak like the coronavirus, Business Insider’s Paulina Cachero previously reported.

“There’s not enough medicine for the country. I’m really concerned about them facing an outbreak,” Nagi Shafik, a former World Health Organization and UNICEF official in Pyongyang, told Business Insider.

The country currently fears it doesn’t have enough testing kits for its citizens, the FT reported.

“The government has testing kits for COVID-19 and they know how to use them, but [the number of kits are] not sufficient, hence, [officials are] requesting all organizations … to support them in this regard,” a source told the FT.

Non-governmental aid agencies have also been trying to help North Korea prepare for an outbreak, but are struggling to get supplies across its shuttered border with China, Reuters reported.

Médecins Sans Frontières told the news agency that emergency supplies bound for North Korea were currently in Beijing and Dandong, a Chinese city bordering North Korea, and that officials were working to get the kit across the border despite the closure.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

In a rare admission of weakness, Kim acknowledged on March 18 that his country did not have enough modern medical facilities and called for improvements, the Associated Press reported, citing the state-controlled Korea Central News Agency (KCNA).

On the orders of Kim, construction began on the new Pyongyang General Hospital on Wednesday, according to KCNA.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

MIGHTY HUMOR

These are the 50 best COVID-19 memes for the week of April 20

You’ve done the crafts, you’ve read the entire internet and you’ve finished Netflix. All there’s left to do is cry, eat and laugh. We’ll help you out with the last one. Hope you and yours are staying safe, healthy and somewhat sane.

These are your top 50 memes and tweets for the week of April 20:


Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

1. Everything is fine

At least he’s maintaining social distancing.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

2. The word of the mom

Amen, sister.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

3. Conference calls 

Zoom backgrounds make it better.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

4. Laughter IS the best medicine

Oh Dad. So smart.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

5. Happy little tree

I want peopleeeeeee.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

6. Atta boy

Nothing to see here, nothing to see.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

7. True transformation 

I’m not proud of how hard I laughed at that one!!

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

8. The boombox

We’ve trained our whole life for this.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

9. So loud

What are you eating, BONES?

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

10. M.J. knew

Now if we could just heal the world…

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

11. More vodka, please!

These are good life skills.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

12. Reality tv

No wonder my kids like to watch other kids playing with toys on YouTube. We do the same thing with HGTV.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

13. No pants 

I can’t imagine having to wear shoes to a meeting again…

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

14. Hand washing

So many temptations to touch your face.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

15. Catch me outside 

How bout dat?

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

16. Shady pines

Might have to binge watch Golden Girls.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

17. So much truth

If you having tortilla chips for breakfast means I don’t have to cook…

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

18. Iguana private office 

Something about you getting on the phone screams, “COME TALK TO ME.”

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

19. SPF 15

At least you’re getting your vitamin D.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

20. Dreams do come true

You bought it “for the pandemic.”

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

21. Pro tip 

It’s like working out, but easier.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

22. Sunshine 

The sun is not impressed.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

23. Chopped

Every parent ever.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

24. Barbie 

The sweatshirt is a nice touch. I bet her Barbie dream house is covered in crafts and regret.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

25. Jax beach 

Oh Florida.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

26. What happens in Vegas… 

Quarantine needs to stay in April 2020.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

27. SO much truth

And most of them look tired.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

28. Pajama shorts

Trick question. You don’t have to wear pants.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

29. Good PR

Mmm ice cream.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

30. Singing in the rain

Vomit. Ha!

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

31. Sick car

Taped together and barely holding on — a working title of everyone’s 2020 memoir.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

32. Get it girl 

No but seriously, why did I eat all my snacks?

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

33. Dun-dun. Dun-dun. Dun-dun. 

To be fair, everyone didn’t die.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

34. Lightning speed

Well played, fastest man in the world.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

35. All by myself 

We feel you, Ernie.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

36. Quaran-times

The isolation has turned to boredom.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

37. Womp 

We heard there’s a DUI checkpoint in the hallway though, so be careful.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

38. Last nerves

Every. Little. Thing.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

39. Grooming at home

All of our DIY haircuts and grooming.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

40. Apologies, ya’ll 

Lots of self-awareness happening.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

41. Tarjay

It does, Kermie. It does.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

42. Mind over matter 

Beware my special powers.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

43. Dogs know the truth

Stop judging me.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

44. You can’t have both

This is why we can’t have nice days.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

45. Pretending 

Deep thoughts by Dad.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

46. Zoom stand in

I think people would pay for this.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

47. You did it!

At least you didn’t quit.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

48. Pinky promise

Just boxed wine. Not the ‘rona.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

49. You know that’s right

Maybe you’ll get a “spa day” in the bathroom by yourself.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

50. Get it, girl! 

The perks of age!

Stay safe, keep laughing and have a great week!

MIGHTY SURVIVAL

Houston VA begins clinical trial for COVID-19 treatment

In early July, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center became the first VA facility to participate in an international clinical trial evaluating the therapeutic benefit of an immunomodulator drug, Tocilizumab (TCZ), as a treatment for Veterans with COVID-19 severe pneumonia.

“COVID-19 is known to cause extensive damage in the lungs,” said Dr. Lavannya Pandit, a Houston VA pulmonologist and critical care physician who is a co-investigator in the study. “This often leads to difficulty breathing and, eventually, pneumonia. Pneumonia triggers a hyperimmune response that we are seeing can be more detrimental to some patients than the original infection.”


Medical personnel have used TCZ successfully to treat hyperimmune responses in cancer patients. The trial results will help determine if TCZ has a similar effect in patients who are diagnosed with severe COVID-19 pneumonia.

The clinical trial is a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Both the investigator and participant are blinded to who is receiving the TCZ treatment. Eligible participants are patients who are in the hospital and who chest imaging has confirmed has severe COVID-19 pneumonia.

Veterans at Houston VA very willing to step up

Medical personnel will monitor Veterans in a clinical environment for their responses to the treatment. Responses may include disease progression, the duration of hospitalization and the need for critical care and other supportive treatments.

“VA offers cutting-edge treatments and top quality care for Veterans with COVID-19,” said Dr. Barbara Trautner. Trautner is a faculty member at the Behavioral Health Program, Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.

“Participating in this clinical trial allows our Veterans the opportunity to contribute to scientific progress,” she said. “So far, Veterans at the Houston VA have been very willing to step up and volunteer. We enrolled eight Veterans in the first three days of the study.”

Trial taking place in more than 50 locations

“The treatments we offer for COVID-19 three months from now will be very different than what we offer today because of scientific trials like this,” said Trautner.

In addition to Houston VA, the trial is taking place in more than 50 locations across the United States, Europe and Canada, including at the Baylor College of Medicine.

“I always find it an honor and privilege to care for our Veterans who have served our country,” Trautner said. “The Veterans we are enrolling in this study are eager to join the fight against COVID-19, and we are happy to provide them this opportunity and do our part.”

This article originally appeared on VAntage Point. Follow @DeptVetAffairs on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

This new mobile streaming app tells big stories in quick bites

There’s a new mobile streaming app in town that’s hoping to corner the market on the white space in your day — specifically, those seven to 10 minute gaps where you’d love to be entertained. Introducing Quibi, whose name and premise are based upon giving you quick bites of big stories.

After watching some of their trailers, we can assure you: you won’t be disappointed. Spoiler alert: The release we’re looking forward to the most? We Are The Mighty’s very own show, TEN WEEKS — the first look inside U.S. Army basic combat training in two decades. Make sure you download Quibi now to know when TEN WEEKS is available.


Quibi Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg Goes Over The New Streaming Service

www.youtube.com

Quibi Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg Goes Over The New Streaming Service

Got a few minutes? That’s all you need to be entertained, informed and inspired. Quibi presents fresh content from today’s top talent—one quick bite at a time.

Launched on April 6, 2020, by the end of the app’s first year, Quibi is slated to have 175 new, original shows and over 8,500 quick bites of content.

Here’s a list of what you can watch tonight:

Movies in Chapters:

  • Flipped
  • Most Dangerous Game
  • Survive
  • When the Streetlights Go On

Unscripted Series and Documentaries:

  • Music
  • 60 in 6
  • Chrissy’s Court
  • Dishmantled
  • Elba v Block
  • Fashion’s A Drag
  • Fierce Queens
  • Gayme Show
  • Gone Mental with Lior
  • Murder House Flip
  • Music
  • NightGowns
  • Nikki Fre$h
  • Prodigy
  • Punk’d
  • Run This City
  • Shape of Pasta
  • Skrrt with Offset
  • Thanks a Million
  • The Sauce
  • You Ain’t Got These
Daily Essentials:
  • 60 in 6 by CBS News
  • Around the World by BBC News
  • Close Up by E! News
  • Fresh Daily by Rotten Tomatoes
  • For the Cultura by Telemundo
  • Hot Off the Mic
  • Last Night’s Late Night
  • Morning Report by NBC News, Evening Report by NBC News, Saturday Report by NBC News, Sunday Report by NBC News
  • NewsDay by CTV News and NewsNight by CTV News
  • No Filter by TMZ: AM, No Filter by TMZ: PM
  • Pop5
  • Pulso News by Telemundo
  • Sexology with Shan Boodram
  • Speedrun by Polygon
  • The Daily Chill
  • The Nod with Brittany Eric
  • The Rachel Hollis Show
  • The Replay by ESPN
  • Trailers by Fandango
  • Weather Today by The Weather Channel
  • NewsDay by CTV News and NewsNight by CTV News
Quibi – Shows

quibi.com

Quibi – Shows

The daily essentials are a great way to get your news or recaps in just a few minutes. The movies in chapters and shows are equally captivating with excellent storytelling and star-studded casts.

From Reese Witherspoon narrating an animal documentary to the story behind the I Promise School with LeBron James, the cast of these shows is nothing shy of impressive. With celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Kristin Bell, Ben Stiller, Will Arnett, Ozzy Osbourne, Jay Leno, Ariana Grande, James Corden, Zooey Deschanel, Matthew McConaughey, Tina Fey, Jack Black and the list goes on — it’s easy to see how co-founders Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman put id=”listicle-2645654109″.75B into content.

Here are just a few of the shows’ trailers:

I PROMISE | Official Trailer | Quibi

www.youtube.com

I PROMISE | Official Trailer | Quibi

This is their promise. I Promise from Executive Producer LeBron James. Only on Quibi.

Murder House Flip | Official Trailer | Quibi

www.youtube.com

Murder House Flip | Official Trailer | Quibi

Murder and makeovers don’t usually go together. Until they do.

Shape of Pasta | Official Trailer | Quibi

www.youtube.com

Shape of Pasta | Official Trailer | Quibi

Warning: This video contains imagery of amazing pasta and may cause hunger in some viewers. Shape Of Pasta. Only on Quibi.

&Music | Official Trailer | Quibi

www.youtube.com

&Music | Official Trailer | Quibi

“When you’re working with someone, you open up on such a vulnerable level.” MUSIC. Only on Quibi.

YouTube

www.youtube.com

Thanks A Million 

Because giving is the good we need in the world right now.

Take a well-deserved break and get your bite of content on Quibi by downloading it from your mobile App Store, today. Quibi is available on multiple platforms and is free for 90 days.

MIGHTY SURVIVAL

Here’s how you can livestream warrior puppies playing and snuggling

You’re stuck at home. Your anxiety is high. The walls are closing in on you. Luckily, we have a fix for that. Livestreaming puppies.

Warrior Canine Connection is a pioneering organization that utilizes its mission based trauma recovery model to help wounded warriors reconnect with life, their families, their communities, and each other. WCC’s program not only creates valuable service dogs, it harnesses the healing power of the warrior ethos and the human-animal bond. The program is designed to trigger powerful mind/body effects in our warrior trainers that reduce the symptoms of combat trauma. Their mission is certainly noble and what’s better than anything on the internet right now: You can livestream their puppy play room.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars
Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars
Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars
Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars
Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars
Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

Here’s where you can watch the livestream. You can also watch the outdoor puppy pen, the whelping room and the nursery. Enjoy!

MIGHTY SURVIVAL

COVID-19: Iran surpasses 1,000 deaths with highest 24-hour rise yet; Hungary eases border closure

The global coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 201,000 people worldwide, causing mass disruptions as governments continue to try to slow the spread of the new respiratory illness.


Here’s a roundup of developments in RFE/RL’s broadcast countries.


Iran

Iran’s death toll from the coronavirus has reached 1,135, with 147 deaths over the past 24 hours — the highest 24-hour rise yet — state TV reported on March 18, as President Hassan Rohani defended his government’s response to the outbreak.

Iran has been the hardest-hit country in the Middle East, with a total of 16,169 confirmed cases, roughly 90 percent of the region’s cases.

Iran has been accused of acting too slowly and of even covering up initial cases.

But Rohani on March 18 rejected criticism of his government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, telling a government meeting that authorities have been “straightforward” with the nation, and that it had announced the outbreak as soon as it learned about it on February 19.

“We spoke to people in a honest way. We had no delay,” Rohani said.

Government officials pleaded for weeks with clerics to completely close crowded holy shrines to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The government finally shut down the shrines this week.

“It was difficult of course to shut down mosques and holy sites, but we did it. It was a religious duty to do it,” Rohani said.

The outbreak has cast a shadow over the Persian New Year, Norouz, that begins on March 20.

It was later announced that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will pardon 10,000 prisoners, including political ones, to mark Norouz.

“Those who will be pardoned will not return to jail,” judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told state TV on March 18, adding that “almost half of those security-related prisoners will be pardoned as well.”

Judicial officials had previously announced the temporary release of 85,000 inmates to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in Iran’s prisons. They confirmed that those freed included political prisoners, which Iranian authorities describe as “security-related prisoners.”

Pakistan

The Pakistani government has confirmed the country’s first fatality from coronavirus in the northwest province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The South Asian country had a total of 260 confirmed cases of the infection as of late March 18, including 19 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“With deep regret I confirm the death of first Pakistani due to coronavirus. A 50-year-old male from Mardan city recently returned from Saudi Arabia. He developed fever, cough, and breathing difficulty and tested positive for the COVID-19,” Health Minister Zafar Mirza tweeted.

A 36-year-old man from Hangu district also died of the respiratory disease after returning from Turkey to Islamabad via Dubai, according to a spokesperson for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government.

Thousands of Pakistanis, mostly pilgrims, have been put in quarantine in recent weeks at the Taftan border crossing in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan after returning from Iran, one of the world’s worst-affected countries.

Amid the steep rise in known cases, Pakistani authorities have moved to discourage crowds and gatherings.

Islamabad on March 17 announced that all gyms, swimming pools, religious shrines, and children’s parks would remain closed for three weeks.

Health officials in Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, urged the public to avoid unnecessary social contacts or traveling and to stay indoors.

Governments around the world continue to take sweeping measures to try to slow the spread of coronavirus, which has now infected more than 201,000 people and killed over 8,000.

Ukraine

The speaker of the Ukrainian parliament and other lawmakers will be tested for the novel coronavirus after one of their colleagues tested positive on March 18, local media has reported.

Authorities are trying to trace everyone who has been in contact with lawmaker Serhiy Shakhov of the Dovira (Faith) parliamentary group since he entered the legislature earlier in the week following a trip to an unspecified European Union member state.

Shakhov appeared on Ukrainian television on March 12-13, according to deputy Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, and participated in a meeting of the parliament’s Environment Committee on March 13.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the infected lawmaker’s voter card was registered in parliament on March 17 and was used to vote, although Shakhov was absent.

“Unfortunately, his colleagues are guilty of multiple voting,” Zelenskiy said about the widespread phenomenon in parliament that is now punishable by law.

Ukraine, which has confirmed 16 cases of the respiratory illness and two deaths in four regions and the capital, Kyiv, closed its borders to foreigners for two weeks starting on March 16.

Authorities have also canceled air, rail, and bus connections between cities and regions, and shut down the subway in all three cities where they operate, including Kyiv.

Moldova

Moldova on March 18 reported its first death from coronavirus.

“A first Moldovan citizen died of the coronavirus infection last night. This is a 61-year-old woman,” Health, Labor, and Social Protection Minister Viorica Dumbraveanu said.

The woman had recently returned from Italy and was suffering from several illnesses, Dumbraveanu said.

The manager of the Chisinau hospital where the woman died told the media that the woman’s village has been placed under quarantine.

Moldova, a nation of 3.5 million sandwiched between EU member Romania and Ukraine, reported 30 confirmed coronavirus cases as of March 18.

Moldova’s parliament on March 17 imposed a 60-day state of emergency in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.

The country, one of the poorest in Europe, has already temporarily shut its borders and suspended all international flights from March 17.

Hundreds of thousands of Moldovans have been working abroad, many of them in Italy and Spain, two of the countries most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Separately, Moldova’s breakaway region of Transdniester declared a state of emergency until April 5 in the wake of the outbreak.

Transdniester declared independence in 1990 and fought a bloody war with Moldova two years later. It is unrecognized by the international community but is unofficially backed by Russia, which stations hundreds of troops in the region.

Romania/Hungary

Hungary on March 18 moved to relax a sweeping border closure after thousands more travelers – many angry and lacking supplies — clogged its crossings with Austria to the west and Romania to the east.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government on March 17 closed its land crossings to foreigners as well as border crossings at airports to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Thousands of travelers were massed on March 18 at the Nickelsdorf-Hegyeshalom border crossing between Austria and Hungary, after missing a window of several hours allowed by Budapest overnight for those who wanted to transit the country on their way to Romania and Bulgaria.

Meanwhile, some 7,000 people who had reached the Romanian border to the east overnight were facing another hours-long bottleneck due to health checks imposed by Bucharest.

The two-pronged crisis prompted Budapest to reopen the border with Austria at noon on March 18 until the easing of the blockage to the west, and to allow daily passage for Romanians and Bulgarians from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. on preapproved routes, according to a statement by Romania’s Foreign Ministry.

Austrian authorities on March 18 advised drivers to keep away from the Hungarian border as the traffic jam there grew to 45 kilometers and protests broke out among stranded travelers.

“There is no use in coming to the border,” said Astrid Eisenkopf, the deputy governor of Austria’s Burgenland Province, which neighbors Hungary.

Most of the delayed Romanians are workers returning from Italy and Spain, the world’s second- and fourth-most affected countries by the virus, but also from other Western countries.

Romania is the European Union’s second-poorest country, and at least 4 million Romanians work abroad, according to estimates.

On March 18, Romania reported 29 more confirmed cases, bringing the total to 246, as well as 19 recovered cases. There have been no coronavirus deaths inside the country.

But specialists warn that Romania has so far tested only some 3.000 people for the coronavirus, while in other countries the number of those tested was in the tens of thousands.

Hungary reported having 50 confirmed coronavirus infections on March 17, with one death.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria announced it has entered into a fiscal deficit and Ukraine said it is seeking a bigger lending program from the International Monetary Fund beyond the .5 billion for which it was asking.

Confirmed cases in Bulgaria, the EU’s poorest but least indebted country, spiked by 30 percent on March 17 to 81. The government in Sofia banned all foreign and domestic holiday trips until April 13.

Kosovo

Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti has fired Interior Minister Agim Veliu for purportedly spreading “panic” about coronavirus after he backed a presidential call for a state of emergency over the pandemic.

Kurti announced Veliu’s dismissal on March 18, just hours after Veliu said he supported a proposed state of emergency that has divided officials in the Balkan country.

President Hashim Thaci late on March 17 signed a decree declaring a state of emergency. It has been sent to Kosovo’s parliament, which has 48 hours to either accept or reject the move.

But Kurti has rejected calls for a state of emergency. He said it would cause “unnecessary panic.”

“At this time, when the entire public administration is making the utmost efforts to minimize the damage caused by the coronavirus, the heads of central institutions, including those in the government cabinet, need to prove maturity both in decision-making and in making statements,” Kurti said in his announcement about firing Veliu.

The move may resonate far beyond the debate about how to react to the coronavirus pandemic.

It could cause a rift in the governing coalition that took power in Kosovo just over a month ago.

Veliu is from the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), which is in a fragile coalition with Kurti’s Self-Determination party.

LDK leader Isa Mustafa gave Kurti until the end of the week to “annul the decision to dismiss Veliu and make a decision to abolish the tariffs” on Serbian imports.

Pristina is under huge pressure from the European Union and the United States to revoke the 100 percent import tariff it imposed on goods from Serbia in November 2018.

The tariff came in response to Belgrade’s diplomatic campaign to encourage some of the 110-plus countries that have recognized Kosovo since it declared independence from Serbia in 2008 to reverse their position.

Kosovo says it has confirmed 19 cases of the coronavirus since the first infected person was discovered on March 13.

Most cases are people who had traveled to nearby Italy or had been in contact with others who’d been to Italy.

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina declared a state of emergency to enable coordination of activities between its two autonomous regions.

“We are focusing in all ways on how to alleviate the consequences of the coronavirus,” Prime Minister Zoran Tegeltija told reporters.

Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan has confirmed its first three cases of the coronavirus in a group of travelers returning from Saudi Arabia.

Kyrgyz Health Minister Kosmosbek Cholponbaev said on March 18 that the three Kyrgyz citizens are from the southern Suzak district in the Jalal-Abad region.

The infected had returned to Kyrgyzstan on March 12, he said. They are 70, 62, and 43 years of age.

Authorities in the district have sealed off the villages of Blagoveshchenka, Boston, and Orta-Aziya. They’ve also set up 19 checkpoints nearby, regional officials said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nurlan Abdrakhmanov said in a statement that as of March 18, all foreigners are banned from entering Kyrgyzstan.

Elsewhere In Central Asia

In neighboring Kazakhstan, the Health Ministry said on March 18 that the number of coronavirus cases had reached 36, after three more infections were confirmed in Almaty.

Kazakhstan has declared a state of emergency until April 15. As of March 19, the cities of Nur-Sultan and Almaty will be in lockdown.

Uzbekistan announced on March 18 that its total number of confirmed cases had reached 15.

So far, no coronavirus cases have been officially announced in the Central Asian former Soviet republics of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

The new coronavirus has spread to more than 100 countries worldwide. It has infected more than 201,000 people and killed more than 8,000, with the number of people now recovered at more than 82,000, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Follow @RFERL on Twitter.

MIGHTY SURVIVAL

Why it’s your patriotic duty to stay home

In April 1944, my grandmother, Elaine Harmon, traveled to Sweetwater, Texas to begin her training as one of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II. These 1,102 women pilots volunteered to fly military aircraft for the Army within the United States. By doing so, they freed up male pilots for the crucial role to fly combat missions overseas to maintain constant pressure from the sky against enemies in Europe and the Pacific. The mortality rate for combat aircraft crews was high.


Although they avoided enemy fire while flying within the United States, the WASP still lost 38 women who died in airplane accidents. Flying as test pilots, ferrying airplanes from factories to bases and providing a moving target for teenage ground gunners to learn the art of anti-aircraft fire still carried risks.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

“We did something great that was needed for the war effort,” my grandmother used to say about her flying days for the United States Army in 1944. She volunteered because she loved her country and wanted to use her needed skill as a pilot to help out the war effort. Many women during that era did not even drive cars. Those women who could not enter the cockpits of Army planes, instead, built those planes and became known as “Rosie the Riveter,” the face of a famous wartime poster encouraging that, “We Can Do It!”

Roughly 12% of Americans served in the armed forces during World War II. The rest of the population, from small children to the elderly, found ways to pitch in too. Professional sports were suspended. People collected tires, bottles, cans and scrap metal. They submitted to government-induced rationing of many products from gasoline to meat.

I once told a friend who was praising the contributions of my grandmother that I may never do anything as trailblazing as what she had done, but if it meant that during my lifetime we did not have to suffer through another world war, I was content to be “normal.” Less than half a percent of Americans serve in the armed forces these days. While the United States, like other nations, has been at war for many years now and more than 7,000 servicemembers have died, the nature of these wars do not constitute a world war.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website defines a pandemic as, “a global outbreak of disease. Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and can spread between people sustainably. Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads worldwide.” COVID-19 is the illness that manifests from the novel coronavirus that appeared in 2019 and is spreading globally. The CDC estimates that “most of the U.S. population will be exposed to this virus” over the next several months. There is currently no available vaccine or treatment for COVID-19.

Tragically, instead of a world war, we now have a pandemic whose possible death toll could far exceed the 405,000 American service members who died in World War II. More than 10,000 people worldwide have already died, at least 214 of those in the United States. The numbers are likely to rise exponentially as the virus spreads.

As during World War II, everyone can play a role in the success or failure of the efforts to mitigate the impact of the virus. Professional sports are suspended. Each day we learn new characteristics of this illness, one being that people who feel fine may be transmitting the virus. Accordingly, states are closing schools, reducing or eliminating business trading hours and asking everyone to move around town as little as possible and stay home. These emergency declarations and requests are done with the assumption that most people will eventually be exposed but the best way to reduce the accompanying number of deaths is to “flatten the curve” – not overwhelm hospitals all at once with patients exceeding their capacities of care.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

Each of us has an opportunity right now to do “something great.” It doesn’t require spending our time from dusk until dawn sweating as we carry old tires to a rubber collection area or traversing town searching for bottles, cans, and scrap metal. All we have to do is stay at home.

Stay at home. Save the world.

MIGHTY CULTURE

The military community is rallying around this immunocompromised Marine

The military community is rallying around LeahAnn Sweeney, United States Marine Corps veteran and Pin-Ups for Vets Ambassador, as she battles breast cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sweeney was a Motor Transport Operator in the Marines and served with the San Diego County Sheriff Department before volunteering at veterans’ bedsides with her fellow pin-ups; now, the single mother of three could use a little help of her own.

Her family has created a Meal Train, where people can make a monetary donation or sign up to bring a meal to LeahAnn and her family.


Pin-Ups For Vets on Facebook Watch

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Sweeney served four years of active duty in the United States Marine Corps, operating motor transport tactical wheeled vehicles and equipment that transported passengers and cargo in support of combat and garrison operations. As a 3531, she also performed crew/operator level maintenance on all tools and equipment for assigned vehicles. Throw in her career as a Deputy Sheriff and I think it’s safe to say we’ve got a certifiable badass on our hands.

Spotting an active member of the local Southern California community, Pin-Ups for Vets (an organization dedicated to helping hospitalized and deployed service members and their families) invited Sweeney to become part of its 2020 fundraising calendar.

“It brings a sense of gratitude and joy to be able to bring a smile to those who have proudly served our country. I am especially fond of visiting the few remaining World War II veterans and hearing their stories, as I have a personal family history of those who served and sacrificed during that wartime era,” Sweeney has said of the non-profit organization.

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LeahAnn Sweeney in the 2020 Pin-Ups for Vets fundraising calendar.

“LeahAnn has led a life of service, from doing four years in the Marine Corps as a Motor Transport Operator, to getting out and working for the San Diego Sheriff’s Department as a Deputy Sheriff, to doing ‘service after service’ as a volunteer with our non-profit organization,” remarked Gina Elise, the founder of Pin-Ups for Vets. “As long as I have known LeahAnn, I have had so much respect and admiration for her. When she says she is going to be there, she is there, always willing to lend a hand where it is needed. She has been incredible with the patients at the VA Hospital, providing her beautiful smile to brighten their day and an ear to listen to their stories. My heart goes out to her and her family. As they say, ‘Once a Marine, always a Marine’ so I know she will be able to fight this. She knows that her fellow Pin-Ups For Vets Ambassadors will be there as her support network.”

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Deputy Sheriff Sweeney and a future law enforcement officer, clearly!

(Courtesy photo)

Her spirit of service and generosity have spurred a movement of those willing to show their support.

“As a single mother of three children, the need to feed her family doesn’t stop, but she’ll only be able to leave her home for mandatory tests and treatments during this quarantine. Providing basic groceries and meals are a vital part of her family’s care and her personal recovery,” said the Meal Train organizer, Lindsay Hassebrock.

Anyone who wants to mobilize and show support can share this article or links to the Meal Train, donate right here to help, or even sign up to cover a dinner for the Sweeney family.

And LeahAnn, if you’re reading this, just know that your military family has your back. Semper Fi.

Featured Image courtesy of United States Marine Corps and Marie Monforte Photography

MIGHTY SURVIVAL

Another senior politician has died of coronavirus in Iran, where 8% of the parliament is infected

Another senior Iranian politician has died of the coronavirus amid reports that 8% of the country’s parliament has been infected.


Hossein Sheikholeslam, a diplomat and the country’s former ambassador to Syria, died Thursday, according to state news agency Fars. Sheikholeslam worked as an adviser to Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Sheikholeslam studied at the University of California, Berkeley, before the Islamic Revolution and later interrogated US Embassy staff members during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979.

Eight percent of Iran’s parliament has been infected with the coronavirus, including the deputy health minister and one of the vice presidents, according to CNN. Mohammad Mirmohammadi, a senior adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, died in a hospital on Monday, a state-affiliated media organization said.

Tehran, Iran’s capital, subsequently barred government officials from traveling, and parliament has been suspended indefinitely.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

As of Thursday, about 3,500 Iranians have been infected, and 107 have died from the disease, according to government officials, but the true totals are suspected to be higher.

Iran, along with China, is believed to be underreporting the rate of deaths and infections as it struggles to deal with the health crisis. Iran and Italy have the highest death tolls outside China, where over 3,000 people have died from the disease.

Iran has taken several measures to address growing concerns about the coronavirus, including temporarily releasing 54,000 prisoners from crowded jails.

Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

The US State Department has offered assistance to Iran, but the country did not appear to be receptive.

“We have made offers to the Islamic Republic of Iran to help,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told lawmakers last week. “And we’ve made it clear to others around the world and in the region that assistance, humanitarian assistance, to push back against the coronavirus in Iran is something the United States of America fully supports.”

Iran responded to the aid by saying it would “neither count on such help nor are we ready to accept verbal help,” according to NBC News correspondent Ali Arouzi.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

MIGHTY MILSPOUSE

64 scavenger hunt clues to keep kids busy in quarantine

Our unwelcome nationwide experiment has confirmed our suspicions: Working full-time from home while keeping young kids educated and entertained is impossible. Toddlers and preschool-age kids aren’t developmentally ready for extended solo playtime, and even if you’re not opposed to parking them in front of screens, they’ll eventually get bored. What you need is a safe, reasonably educational, and time-consuming activity that requires only half-distracted parental assistance. Believe it or not, such a thing exists: the scavenger hunt.

A form of good clean fun, the scavenger hunt, like hide-and-seek, is as old as time; scavenger hunt clues give parents a chance to be creative, and the hunt helps kids see their everyday surroundings in a new light while developing problem-solving skills. Scavenger hunts are, most importantly, something kids can do mostly on their own, buying parents some time to do what they need to do. For younger kids, a simple list of pictures can serve as the type of scavenger hunt where kids just need to find one of each item. To up the ante, lend them your phone and let them take photos, or adapt it for the backyard. To really up the stakes, turn off the lights in a room and have kids search for items with a flashlight.


Indoor Scavenger Hunt Clues

  • A picture of you as a baby
  • Something soft
  • Something you can wear
  • An eraser
  • Something that smells good
  • Something spiky
  • A paperclip
  • A crayon with a funny color name
  • Something heart-shaped
  • A miniature toy version of something adults use (a toy truck, play food, doll clothes, etc.)
  • One of your drawings
  • A pair of shoes that don’t fit
  • Something shiny
  • Something with legs
  • Something small enough to fit inside a lunchbox
  • Something hairy
  • A game
  • A key
  • Something you can spread
  • Something that’s your favorite color
  • Something that could help clean up a spill
  • Something that helps you sleep
  • A type of food you don’t like
  • Something that turns on and off
  • Something you can see through
  • Something you can’t see through
  • Something that makes a sound
  • Something that moves on its own (e.g. a slinky, a pet, or a marble)
  • Some sort of box
  • A ball
  • Something that’s used to carry other things

Category Scavenger Hunts for Kids

  • Something from each color of the rainbow: an object that’s red, one that’s orange, and so on… yellow, green, blue, and purple.
  • An object (book, paper, shirt) that has the letter A. Then find an object with the letter B. Continue for the rest of the alphabet.
  • Something you can feel, something you can smell, something you can taste, and something you see.
  • Something soft, something rough, something squishy, something hard, and something liquid.
  • As many things as you can find for every shape: circle, square, triangle, rectangle.
  • As many things as you can find with flowers on them.
  • As many question marks as you can find.
  • Things that could fit inside an envelope.
  • Things that start with the same letter as your name.
  • A collection of all of your favorite things: something that’s your favorite color, smell, thing to cuddle, shirt, shoes, favorite snack, best gift, and favorite book.
Isolation tips from an ESA MARS-500 crew member who took part in a simulated space mission to Mars

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt Clues

For those with access to a backyard, an outdoor scavenger hunt is as simple as compiling a list of things for your child to find. Kids can either collect each item or take a photo of it.

  • A flower
  • A worm
  • A three-leaf clover
  • A leaf with four points
  • A stick
  • A spiderweb
  • A bug
  • An acorn
  • A pebble
  • A feather
  • A piece of moss
  • A pine needle
  • A gardening tool
  • A puddle
  • A cloud
  • Dew
  • Pollen
  • A seed
  • A flower that hasn’t bloomed yet
  • A flower petal
  • A flower stem
  • A bird
  • A squirrel

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

MIGHTY SURVIVAL

Army vet rallies celebrities to create PSA to help frontline nurses in the fight against COVID-19

The stay-at-home orders didn’t stop some celebrities from collaborating on a viral video to thank medical workers, at the direction of Army veteran Ian Truitner. Rita Wilson, Constance Wu, Noah Wyle, Air Force veteran Jon Huertas, Kit Williamson, John Halbach, Kate Flannery, Chris Chalk, Angelica Maria, Simon Helberg, Parminder Nagra, Joan Lunden and others came together for a PSA supporting the American Nurses Association.

Self-shot in their homes under the collective vision of director Ian Truitner and producer Randall Scerbo Truitner, over 30 parts from both coasts combined for a fun, heartfelt project to raise money for nurses on the frontline who are treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The inspiration for the PSA came from Randall Scerbo Truitner, whose sister Tonya is a registered nurse in Georgia. Tonya had shared a video on social media of a doctor who was treating COVID-19 patients, describing the stress medical professionals were under as they were saving people’s lives. The video moved Randall to tears, and compelled her to want to do something to help the doctors, nurses and first responders on the front lines. Having produced documentaries to raise money for NGOs, she was accustomed to using her production skills for charitable causes.

Randall’s husband Ian Truitner had shown her some creative film work people were doing during the lockdown. It sparked a discussion about how they could make something compelling through their production company RANDIAN, but without the lights, cameras and crews required of normal production. The talent would film themselves remotely, with a through-line connecting everyone and a strong message at the end.

While Ian mapped out how all the parts and transitions would come together, Randall reached out to colleagues to get people involved. The response was immediate, with celebrities quickly offering their time to participate.

Thanks Nurses PSA

www.youtube.com

The American Nurses Association (ANA) had recently put together a funding arm, the American Nurses Foundation, specifically for nurses treating COVID-19 patients, which made them a perfect fit for the campaign. The foundation is designed for multiple support initiatives for nurses, including direct financial assistance, mental health services, critical information to help protect them and their families, and national advocacy for nurses and patients.

One of the first celebrities to come on board, who also reached out to fellow actors to get them involved, was Brianna Brown Keen. “I wanted to support this PSA to help shine a light on the real heroes during this crisis and help raise money to support them during this difficult time,” she said. Parminder Nagra, who played a doctor on NBC’s ER, said, “Being able to be a part of a PSA that sends a simple message of thanks in a fun way, was an honor. I hope it felt like a message of support and brought a smile to some faces.”

The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation’s 4 million registered nurses. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. Founded in 1896, and with members in all 50 states and U.S. territories, ANA is the strongest voice for the profession. #thanksnurses

Founded by Randall Scerbo and Ian Truitner, RANDIAN is a media technology and production company based in Los Angeles, CA.


MIGHTY CULTURE

This veteran-owned company is shifting production to save lives

We all know Nine Line Apparel. We wear the gear, we have seen the amazing social media content and perhaps most importantly, we have seen them support the veteran community time and time again.

Well they are coming in clutch once again.


Nine Line announced that they will be shifting operations to produce and distribute masks for doctors and nurses who are working around the clock to care for Americans during the coronavirus outbreak that has gripped the nation. There has been a shortage of masks across the country; hospitals have resorted to using ultraviolet light to ‘clean’ and reuse masks. The most commonly used mask, the N95 mask, is supposed to be used only once. Every time a doctor or nurse sees a patient, they are supposed to discard the mask and use a new one for a different patient.


www.facebook.com

One big issue is that a lot of masks are being sent from China. With the high demand of masks combined with pricing changes from Chinese manufacturers, there is now a scarcity for nurses and doctors. Masks that used to cost just 70 cents are now being billed at each. And the materials to make the mask that cost ,000 a ton have now seen an increase to 0,000 a ton according to Nine Line Apparel founder and CEO Tyler Merritt.

According to a statement Nine Line put out, the estimated number of masks needed in the next few months will be between 1.7 and 3 billion, but the country currently has a stockpile that only numbers in the millions.

Merritt went on Fox and Friends to discuss what Nine Line was planning on doing.


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This outbreak strikes close to home for Merritt, like many Americans.

“I’m an engineer, I’m also a former Army officer, I’m also a member of the special operations community, I’m also the son of a person who will die if he contracts this, I’m also the son of a nurse, I’m also the father of children who could potentially die,” said Merritt. “So, this is not about money. This is about coming together, cutting through the red tape. This is also about identifying those horrible, massive conglomerates that are hoarding materials.” Partnering with Bella+Canvas out of Los Angeles, Nine Line is working to circumvent the red tape from the government as well as corporate conglomerates who may be using this pandemic for financial gain.

Merritt’s vision is to create and sell (at cost) a mask similar or better than the N95 mask and distribute the Personal Protective Equipment to hospitals and health care workers around the country. This mask would be made out of apparel fabric and would be created by both Bella+Canvas and Nine Line using the equipment that makes those awesome shirts that you and I wear.

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Nine Line says they can shift operations and create up to 10 million masks in the next few weeks but are limited by waiting on the FDA. They are looking for help from the federal government to speed up testing of their mask and approve it so they can mass produce it and get them to hospitals ASAP.

Nine Line does have a mask (not for hospital use) that is selling to the public which can be purchased here.

Thanks for thinking outside the box and once again, doing your best to serve the public, Nine Line! Bravo.

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