Southern California earthquake swarm have some experts worrying about the “big one” on San Andreas Fault


A swarm of small earthquakes in California, close to the Mexican border, is being closely monitored as to whether it might raise the chance of a much larger event on the San Andreas fault. The largest earthquake on Monday was a magnitude 4.6, reported at 8:56 a.m. under the southeastern part of the Salton Sea, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was among a series that began at 6:33 a.m. with a magnitude 3.2 earthquake. Magnitude 4 quakes struck at 9:03 a.m. and 12:29 p.m. It’s only the fourth time in the 88 years of modern records that such a swarm has occurred in this part of California — a region that raises concern among seismologists for the chance that it can trigger a significant earthquake on the San Andreas fault.

The San Andreas fault’s southernmost stretch has not ruptured since 1680 to 1690. Big earthquakes on this section of the southern San Andreas fault rupture on average every 250 years — although there can be wide variations as to how often they actually do occur. In general, there’s a 20% chance of a magnitude 7 or larger quake on this part of the San Andreas fault over the next 30 years. The last time a similar swarm happened was nearly four years ago. That series of moderate quakes — the worst of which were two at magnitude 4.3 and one at magnitude 4.1 — prompted a rare warning by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The warning convinced San Bernardino officials to close City Hall for two days in 2016; the building was months away from being vacated over longstanding worries about its seismic safety. No bigger quake occurred. Monday’s swarm “does increase the chance of a big earthquake on the San Andreas somewhat,” said USGS research geophysicist Morgan Page. “So, it’s definitely something to watch.”

Still, “it’s not necessarily doom and gloom,” given that the last three similar swarms — in 2001, 2009 and 2016 — did not result in larger, catastrophic quakes, Page said. “But every time it happens, we do worry that this could be the time that it triggers something.” In any given week, there’s a 1 in 10,000 chance of a magnitude 7 earthquake on the San Andreas fault. USGS calculations released Monday night said there’s now a 1 in 100 chance of such a quake in the next week. It’s the same increase in risk that was calculated during the 2016 swarm.  –LA Times

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Disaster after Disaster: Rare derecho storm wreaks havoc on U.S. Midwest – 10 million acres of crops destroyed

Corn Field

On Monday evening, a violent, fast-moving thunderstorm complex known as derecho tore a 700-mile path from Nebraska to Indiana. Winds over 70 mph battered Chicago and as of Thursday afternoon, more than 300,000 people were still without power in northern Illinois as well as Iowa, the state hardest hit. The destructive storm laid siege to more than 10 million acres of Iowa’s corn and soybean crop, devastating farmers and capping off what has already been a difficult few years of farming for many.

Up to 43 percent of the state’s corn and soybean crop has suffered damage from the storms that brought winds exceeding 100 miles per hour at times, a severe blow to a $10 billion industry that’s central to the Hawkeye State’s economy. The magnitude of the battered vegetation was even visible on the same weather satellites used to track Monday’s violent thunderstorms. Steve Bowen, a meteorologist and head of catastrophe insight for the reinsurer Aon, said the damage toll to agriculture alone is likely to reach the billions of dollars.

“This has all the makings of a billion-dollar agricultural impact in Iowa and Illinois,” he wrote in a Twitter message. “With that said, it will take some time for farmers to determine how much of the downed crop is salvageable for harvest. When combined with the rest of the physical property damage to homes, businesses, vehicles, and infrastructure, it is entirely plausible that the derecho was responsible for a multi-billion-dollar economic cost on its own.”

State officials were surveying the damage in hopes that some of the crop may be salvageable. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) issued a disaster proclamation for 20 Iowa counties, freeing up state funding for disaster response and recovery. The state is also making grants available to low-income families who find themselves faced with food, repair, or temporary housing expenses in the wake of the disaster. “Although it will take days or weeks to know the full scope of [the] damage, initial reports are significant,” Reynolds said at a news conference on Tuesday. She noted that the state is working to frame its storm response while also managing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  –Washington Post

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Europe alarmed as U.S. tops 5 million COVID-19 cases with over 162,000 deaths

America Infected

ROME (AP) — With confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. hitting 5 million Sunday, by far the highest of any country, the failure of the most powerful nation in the world to contain the scourge has been met with astonishment and alarm in Europe. Perhaps nowhere outside the U.S. is America’s bungled virus response viewed with more consternation than in Italy, which was ground zero of Europe’s epidemic. Italians were unprepared when the outbreak exploded in February, and the country still has one of the world’s highest official death tolls at over 35,000. But after a strict nationwide, 10-week lock-down, vigilant tracing of new clusters and general acceptance of mask mandates and social distancing, Italy has become a model of virus containment.

“Don’t they care about their health?” a mask-clad Patrizia Antonini asked about people in the United States as she walked with friends along the banks of Lake Bracciano, north of Rome. “They need to take our precautions. … They need a real lock-down.” Much of the incredulity in Europe stems from the fact that America had the benefit of time, European experience and medical know-how to treat the virus that the continent itself didn’t have when the first COVID-19 patients started filling intensive care units. More than four months into a sustained outbreak, the U.S. reached the 5 million mark, according to the running count kept by Johns Hopkins University. Health officials believe the actual number is perhaps 10 times higher, or closer to 50 million, given testing limitations and the fact that as many as 40% of all those who are infected have no symptoms.

“We Italians always saw America as a model,” said Massimo Franco, a columnist with daily Corriere della Sera. “But with this virus we’ve discovered a country that is very fragile, with bad infrastructure and a public health system that is nonexistent.” With America’s world’s-highest death toll of more than 160,000, its politicized resistance to masks and its rising caseload, European nations have barred American tourists and visitors from other countries with growing cases from freely traveling to the bloc. France and Germany are now imposing tests on arrival for travelers from “at risk” countries, the U.S. included. “I am very well aware that this impinges on individual freedoms, but I believe that this is a justifiable intervention,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn said last week.  –AP


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Divine Judgment? 14 days before the Republican Convention in state – North Carolina stuck by hurricane and earthquake

NC Disasters
2 major disasters in one week: Has the moral degeneration, polarization, and corruption of America drawn the wrath of God?

SPARTA, N.C. (AP) — The most powerful earthquake to hit North Carolina in more than 100 years shook much of the state early Sunday, rattling homes, businesses and residents. The National Weather Service in Greenville said the 5.1-magnitude temblor struck at 8:07 a.m., following a much smaller quake several hours earlier. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. Michael Hull was standing in his driveway at his home in Sparta when he noticed a group of deer running. “Not even a minute passed and the side-to-side motion started,” Hull said. “It takes you a minute to realize what’s happening, and you just can’t believe it. Then it was over. It was loud, like God was shaking a mountain at you, literally.”

Karen Backer was in her Greensboro apartment when she heard initially mistook banging in her kitchen for her roommate. “Nope, it was the cabinet doors ‘clinking’ open and closed! My neighbors on the other hand said they felt our apartment building shaking,” Backer said. “Well, sadly, nothing surprises me in 2020, but a hurricane and an earthquake in the same week is crazy.” It was the largest earthquake to hit the state since 1916, when a magnitude 5.5 quake occurred near Skyland, the weather service said.

The U.S. Geological Service said the quake’s epicenter was about 2.5 miles (four kilometers) southeast of Sparta, just south of the Virginia-North Carolina border. The USGS said the population in the affected region resides in structures “that are resistant to earthquake shaking, though vulnerable structures exist.” The quake was felt in nearby states including Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee.  –AP

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7 dead, 60 infected – China struggles to contain outbreak of new virus that can potentially spread between humans

China Outbreak

As the world still struggles to overcome the coronavirus pandemic, a new virus from China has arrived, this new virus has started attacking China fatally and experts alert the world to get cautious. As the world fights the deadly Corona virus, there is a new virus that has come to scare the world and this virus too has been reported to come from China. A new infectious disease caused by a tick-borne virus has killed over seven people and infected 60 others in China, official media here reported on Wednesday, warning about the possibility of its human-to-human transmission. More than 37 people in East China’s Jiangsu Province contracted with the SFTS Virus in the first half of the year. Later, 23 people were found to have been infected in East China’s Anhui province, state-run Global Times quoted media reports.

A woman from Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu, who suffered from the virus showed onset of symptoms such as fever, coughing. Doctors found a decline of leukocyte, blood platelet inside of her body. After a month of treatment, she was discharged from the hospital. At least seven people have died in Anhui and East China’s Zhejiang province due to the virus, the report said. SFTS Virus is not a new virus. China has isolated pathogen of the virus in 2011, and it belongs to the Bunyavirus category. Virologists believe that the infection may have been passed on to humans by ticks and that the virus can be transmitted between humans, it said. Sheng Jifang, a doctor from the first affiliated hospital under Zhejiang University, said that the possibility of human-to-human transmission could not be excluded; patients can pass the virus to others via blood or mucous.

Doctors warned that tick bite is the major transmission route, as long as people remain cautious, there’s no need to over panic over such virus contagion, it said. The first cases of novel coronavirus infection were noticed in the Wuhan city of China in December 2019 and within a few weeks it spread across the world creating a global catastrophe. The outbreak of another new virus in China is alarming to the world and the experts are of the opinion that countries must get cautious of this virus lest it caused an onset of another pandemic.  – National Herald

China Quarantine

China has sealed off a village in Baotou city in Inner Mongolia after a resident died of the deadly Bubonic plague — the second case reported from the country since July. … It can kill an adult in less than 24 hours if not treated in time, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). “The death was reported to health authorities in Baotou city on Sunday and the victim was confirmed to be a Bubonic plague patient on Thursday,” a CNN report stated. –The Print

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Health watch: The good news: you will likely get a mild case of COVID-19 & The bad news: you may never recover from it

Covid Curse

Stories of COVID-19 survivors suffering from symptoms months after their initial illness are spurring researchers to investigate post-recovery conditions. These survivors have been dubbed as long haulers and researchers say they’re not sure yet if long haulers will fully recover. 49-year-old Amanda Thebe, a Houston-based fitness trainer, caught coronavirus in early March.

Her case was a mild one and she rode it out at home. “Probably the reason I never got hospitalized is because I could fight it. I did have a good immune system,” said Thebe. However, 15 weeks later, she was still suffering from symptoms her doctors couldn’t explain. Her main infection is gone but something as simple as a short walk can put her out for days. “What happens then, I get severe chest pain. I lose my voice, which you can hear a little bit now. It becomes raspy, really shallow breathing, shortness of breath, bad cough and the fatigue is incredible. I usually end up going back to bed for two or three days,” said Thebe. The CDC reports from a recent survey that about one in three COVID-19 survivors who never required hospitalization still isn’t well weeks after initial illness.

Long haulers are people of all ages, from children to elderly. Some have underlying conditions while many are healthy. Doctors at Mount Sinai’s Center for Post-COVID Care in New York are investigating their conditions. “What we have learned day after day is that more and more symptoms are completely unexpected to what we first started with,” said the center’s medical director Dr. Zijian Chen. Long haulers have reported dozens of different symptoms including coughing, diarrhea, shortness of breath, headaches, but the most common seems to be fatigue. “When we do studies on their viral status, while they have antibodies, these patients swab negative for the virus so we believe they’re no longer infected. These symptoms are purely from the initial infection and what that infection did to their bodies, leaving these long-term consequences,” said Dr. Chen.

He and his team are looking into treatments for these symptoms like medication, lifestyle changes or physical therapy but he said it’s too soon to know when or if long haulers will make full recovery. He said there’s growing concern about the need for more centers like his as more people recover from COVID-19. In the meantime, Thebe hasn’t received answers from her doctors yet. Instead, she’s found the most help in the Survivors Corps Facebook group, now 85,000 members strong. “It’s really helpful to know that there is a whole lump of people that are going through this!” said Thebe. Chen tells NBC 5 he has reached out to colleagues around the nation to recruit other doctors into investigating and treating long haulers.  –NBC

Emerging Diseases TEP

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