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Yosemite open despite virus that killed two

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LOS ANGELES — The deadly virus raising fears at California’s Yosemite National Park does not spread easily, and, despite two recent deaths, does not warrant closing the park, a spokeswoman said Monday.

So far, at least six cases have been confirmed of the hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), a rare but serious illness that kills one in three victims and cannot be treated.

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“The hantavirus is contracted by breathing a particle from mice feces and mice urine,” and is spread by the deer mouse, a rodent that lives in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, park spokeswoman Kari Cobb explained.

“As long as individuals are staying in an area with good ventilation,” and keeping watch for signs of mice in the area, “they should be fine,” she told AFP.

“You cannot contract the hantavirus if you’re just walking around the park,” she emphasized, adding that visitors need not wear a mask to avoid contagion.

Cobbs said that while some canceled their reservations for the long holiday weekend ending with Labor Day on Monday, the gaps had been filled and overall the park was about as busy as usual.

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She did not give specific figures, but during an average weekend, Yosemite hosts around 7,500 tourists.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that about 10,000 visitors could have been exposed to the deadly virus while staying at the park’s scenic “Signature Tent Cabins.”

But park officials estimated just 3,000 people stayed in the lodgings between June 10 and August 24, when they could have run the risk of developing the disease within the next six weeks.

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They have all, including the international visitors, been notified of the risk of exposure, Cobbs said.

The cabins, located in the popular lodging area of Curry Village in Yosemite Valley, the park’s tourist center, were shut down last week.

“The disease often progresses rapidly to respiratory distress, requiring supplemental oxygen and/or intubation, non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema and shock,” the CDC said when it alerted the outbreak.

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“There is no specific treatment available, but early recognition and administration of supportive care greatly increase the chance of survival.”

The French health ministry said Sunday that 53 French tourists who stayed in the tents were being examined for signs of the illness.

And Britain’s Health Protection Agency said that about 100 British travelers may have been exposed, adding that it is working on getting in touch with them.

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A 2008 study by California’s Public Health Department found that the virus can be found in about one in five of the deer mice in the state’s forest service facilities.

A California microbiologist who befriended one of the people killed by the virus said that even if the transmission risk is low, the park should have warned visitors in advance.

“If you can’t get rid of the rodent problem completely and you can’t get rid of the virus completely, the safety net includes educating visitors so if they do become ill, they can get to a hospital sooner,” the scientist told a local ABC television affiliate.

“That still doesn’t guarantee that they’ll live, but chances of survival are better if you get to a hospital sooner.”

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Visitors now receive information leaflets upon entering Yosemite.

Last week, California health officials said that a resident of the state and another person from Pennsylvania had died, while four others were sick, but recovering.

Since the disease was identified in 1993, there have been 60 cases in California and 587 nationwide.


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‘Martyrdom for snowflakes’: CNN analyst knocks Republicans who desperately wanted to be arrested at protest

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CNN host Don Lemon reported Wednesday evening that many Republicans wanted to be arrested for storming the secure room where the House Intelligence Committee depositions were taking place.

Fox News reporter Chad Pergram tweeted that he was told "there was never any chance [members] who barged into SCIF would be arrested by [capital police], but some members asked to be arrested. They wanted the optic of being frog-marched out of the SCIF in front of TV cameras. That would help w/GOP narrative of Dem process abuse."

https://twitter.com/ChadPergram/status/1187173332682182656

Commentator Wajahat Ali called it the perfect example of "martyrdom for snowflakes."

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Seth Meyers says Republicans storming classified room looked like a protest at a pharmacy that ran out of Viagra

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"Late Night" comedian Seth Meyers couldn't help but lambast the far-right Republicans angry that they're not being included in the depositions ahead of the impeachment hearings.

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WATCH: CNN’s Don Lemon bursts out laughing over Trump’s new wall in Colorado

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CNN's Don Lemon typically deals with difficult and intense topics at the top of his weekly show. Wednesday night, however, after a serious opener about Syria and ISIS, Lemon broke into hysterics over President Donald Trump's flub saying he would build a border wall on Colorado's border.

"You know why we're going to win New Mexico? Because they want safety on our border. And they didn't have it," said Trump. "And we're building a wall on the border of New Mexico. And we're building a wall in Colorado. We're building a beautiful wall, a big one that really works — you can't get over, you can't get under. And we're building a wall in Texas. And we're not building a wall in Kansas, but they get the benefit of the walls that we just mentioned. And Louisiana's incredible."

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