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Critics were outraged when President Trump named Vice President Mike Pence to head a task force overseeing the nation's response to the Coronavirus.

They pointed to Pence's handling of the HIV outbreak in southern Indiana when he was governor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noticed a spike of new HIV cases clustered in Scott County in March 2015.

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Nearly 200 people tested positive for HIV in small time period in tiny area of the US. The HIV outbreak was eventually traced to intravenous drug users sharing dirty needles.

The CDC and the local health department suggested a needle exchange program similar to the one in California that allowed IV drug users to exchange their dirty needles for clean ones.

But Pence, a devout Christian, had his doubts about enabling intravenous drug users by giving them needles to feed their habit.

After pressure from the CDC, he eventually issued an executive order allowing a program in Scott County before signing a law allowing the state to approve the program for counties on a case-by-case basis.

But critics said Pence's action was too little too late.

They claim Pence dragged his feet for a year - allowing more drug addicts to contract HIV and hepatitis C.

Greg Millett, director of public policy at amfAR, said Indiana's HIV outbreak would have been "entirely preventable" if Pence had only acted sooner.

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Pence took credit for Indiana's successful needle exchange program in an interview with Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity on Wednesday night.

"We worked the problem early in the year from a law enforcement standpoint, from a health standpoint. I don't believe in needle exchanges as a way to combat drug abuse, but in this case we came to the conclusion that we had a public health emergency, and so I took executive action to make a limited needle exchange available."

Needle exchanges were illegal in Indiana before Pence changed the law. The needle exchange program now operates in nine of Indiana's 92 counties.

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President Trump announced on Wednesday he is appointing Vice President Mike Pence to head a task force to confront a coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

As President Trump said, "The risk to the American people remains very low" since the common flu virus is far deadlier than the coronavirus outside of Asia.

The typical flu virus kills an average of 40,000 people a year in the U.S. There are no coronavirus deaths in the U.S.

"We're ready. We're ready for anything," Pence said. "We're all in this together. This is not the time for partisanship. This president will always put the health and safety of America first."

The Coronavirus (known as COVID-19) has not yet hit the U.S. as hard as it has hit Asian countries.

So far, there are 60 confirmed cases in the U.S. and no deaths.

The coronavirus enters the body by attaching to ACE2 receptors. ACE2 (Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) is an enzyme that is expressed predominantly in the heart, kidneys and testicles.

East Asians and Caucasian men have more ACE2 enzyme receptors and are more at risk for Coronavirus infections.

The risk of infection is lower for Black people of African descent, women and white Europeans.

According to health experts the coronavirus is highly contagious and can enter the body through the mucous membranes of the eyes as well as inhaled into the lungs.

Mucous membranes lines various openings of the body including the eyes, inner nose, inner ears, inner lips, mouth, vagina, urethral opening and the anus.

Unlike our skin, mucous membranes are porous and allows the passage of gas, liquid or microscopic viruses into the bloodstream.

The coronavirus is smaller than the HIV virus, which means COVID-19 can easily enter the body through openings such as the eyes, mouth and nasal passages.

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When treating patients infected with COVID-19, medical personnel must wear face masks and eye protection shields (such as this one) to protect against the virus entering the body through the eyes, mouth and nose.

If you think you have been infected with Coronavirus, the CDC advises you to stay home to prevent spreading the virus. Wash your hands frequently, and drink plenty of fluids.

Piedmont's WellStreet Urgent Care Clinics in Atlanta and surrounding suburbs sent out a newsletter to educate patients about the coronavirus.

The following are excerpts from the newsletter:

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus infection?

The symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. However, many infected people will have rather mild symptoms, like a sore throat. While it is unclear why some people deteriorate, most of those infected with Coronavirus recover fully after a mild illness.

How is Coronavirus spread?

The virus spreads through contact with another infected person. It may take 2-14 days for someone to become ill after being exposed to the Coronavirus. This time frame is called the incubation period. As you may already know, while there are sporadic cases in many countries throughout the world, the vast majority of infections remain in China. For that reason, if you have NOT traveled to China within the past 14 days or been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with Coronavirus infection, you are highly unlikely to have the disease.

What should I do if I get a fever and cough?

While things can certainly change, for now, you are far more likely to have influenza or another type of respiratory infection. At Piedmont Urgent Care, we can evaluate and test for flu and other infections. There are treatments available that can help shorten the duration of flu and reduce symptoms. And if needed, we can check for pneumonia with a chest x-ray.

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The White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has asked scientists to investigate whether the deadly 2019 Coronavirus was bio-engineered in a laboratory.

ABC News reports that the OSTP sent a letter to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, asking that scientific experts "rapidly" look into the origins of the virus.

The news comes amid reports that the virus was developed in the only level 4 biohazard lab in China.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology lab is located near the Wuhan fish and wildlife market where Chinese authorities claim the virus jumped from animal to human.

ABC News' Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton asked the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease about concerns that the coronavirus could have been engineered or deliberately released into the population in Wuhan, China.

"There's always that concern," Dr. Anthony Fauci said. "And one of the things that people are doing right now is very carefully looking at [gene] sequences to see if there's even any possibility much less likelihood that that's going on."

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The White House has good reason to be concerned that the 2019 Coronavirus may have been developed inside a laboratory.

Zerohedge.com was immediately banned from Twitter.com after publishing a detailed article describing the work of one of China's top virologists and immunology experts, Dr. Peng Zhou.

For over a decade, Peng studied the immune system of Chinese horseshoe bats, which carry some of the world's deadliest pathogens such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and Ebola, Marburg virus, and Lassa Virus.

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Peng studied bats to understand why they carried such dangerous pathogens inside them but never get sick.

Normally, SARS-like Coronavirus found in bats can not infect humans. Bat virus would have to be genetically engineered in a lab or evolve naturally in nature to infect humans.

The theory is that Peng and his team of researchers - after discovering they couldn't make the bats sick - began experimenting with bat Coronavirus to modify it to bind to human ACE2 receptor cells in the lungs to infect humans.

Zerohdege.com reports that Peng studied the STING pathway immune defenses in bats and injected the bats with genetically altered virus to overcome their pathways in order to make the bats sick. But the virus did not enter the bat cells.

Peng discovered that the combined SARS-like Coronavirus and HIV superbug could not attach to bat ACE2 receptor cells.

But the superbug was able to enter human cells via human ACE2 receptor cells.

Peng justified his research by claiming he modified the bat virus in order to develop a vaccine before the bat virus could naturally evolve to infect humans in nature.

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A prominent Chinese doctor who tried to warn fellow doctors about the deadly coronavirus has died, the hospital treating him confirmed.

Dr. Li Wenliang died after he contracted the virus from a single coronavirus patient he treated in a Wuhan hospital. He was 34.

Wuhan Central Hospital, where Li was treated in ICU, confirmed his death on Friday, Feb. 7, after initially denying reports that he died on Thursday.

On Dec. 30, Li sent a chat group message to fellow doctors warning them about seven patients who had been quarantined in a Wuhan hospital with a mysterious illness that resembled SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

Within hours, the message went viral on social media, and Li was summoned to the Public Security Bureau, the BBC News reported.

"When I saw [the message] circulating online, I realized that it was out of my control and I would probably be punished," Li told CNN from his hospital bed in Wuhan.

The police demanded Li sign a document denying his claims about a new virus. Meanwhile, thousands of people contracted the illness and hundreds died before Chinese officials announced the epidemic on Jan. 8.

The Chinese government is accused of suppressing the true scale of the epidemic. The death toll has doubled in just 24 hours to 630 with over 28,000 infections worldwide. But critics say the true numbers are probably much higher.

There are 12 confirmed coronavirus cases so far in the United States.

91 people in 9 states contracted a deadly form of fungal meningitis from a tainted drug shipment. The outbreak killed at least 7 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. The New England pharmacy linked to the steroid drugs responsible for the outbreaks has issued a recall of the drug nationwide.

The states with reported cases of fungal meningitis are Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, MAryland, Michigan and Minnesota.

Steroid medication can weaken the immune systems of patients who receive the drug.

Over the weekend I learned that the mother-in-law of one of my cousins is among the victims who contracted fungal meningitis from Solu-Medrol, an anti-inflammatory steroid drug that is administered intravenously.

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