The Big Bang Theory fans call out Raj plot hole as he survives Sheldon’s chemical explosion during desk war – The Sun

Taking to online forum moviemistakes, one fan wrote: "During the final scene of this episode, Sheldon steps out of his office wearing a gas mask.

"He engages Leonard in conversation where he then states he is making hydrogen sulphide gas (more commonly known as H2S).

"Leonard correctly identifies this as highly flammable.

"However, this gas is far more dangerous and is harmful to the human body at as low a concentration as 20 parts per million (ppm), can cause permanent damage at 100ppm and is fatal after two breaths at 500ppm.

"So for Raj (and his bird) to be completely unharmed in a high concentration of H2S (noted by the fire) is impossible."

But this isn't the first time viewers of the show have spotted a plot hole in one of the programmes story lines.

Recently another blunder was highlighted in season eight during Sheldon and Howard's engineering quiz.

Sheldon started to get too big for his boots when he was given a junior professor job by the university and put in charge of teaching graduate students.

His friend and co-star Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg) specialised in engineering and offered to teach his class, but Sheldon thought he wasn't clever enough to teach his favourite subject – physics.

Therefore, keen to prove his buddy wrong, Howard tested Sheldon with some quick-fire questions.

Unfortunately, one studious viewer has noticed a pretty glaring error with one of Sheldon’s answers.

One fan mentioned in an online forum: “When Howard is asking Sheldon engineering questions, the first question is ‘How do you quantify the strength of materials?’

"Sheldon answers ‘Young's Modulus’, and Howard admits that is correct."

They continued: “But it's not correct – Young's Modulus quantifies a material's elasticity, not strength.”

While this is a rather minor criticism of the scene, a quick check on Google will tell you that the fan is indeed correct.

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TALK OF THE TOWN: Sir Paul McCartney is hooked on Gogglebox

TALK OF THE TOWN: Sir Paul McCartney is hooked on infomercials and Channel 4’s Gogglebox – much to the dismay of wife Nancy

Sir Paul McCartney has an odd way of keeping himself occupied when not on stage – he is hooked on infomercials and Channel 4 show Gogglebox, much to the dismay of his wife Nancy. 

‘I’m a big TV watcher,’ admits the 77-year-old. ‘I know a lot of people watch series on iPads but I’m not so big into that.

‘I prefer easy television and Nancy makes fun of me for it. She calls it the ‘Paul will watch anything department’ and she’s right. 

Sir Paul McCartney, pictured, says he keeps himself occupied when not on stage by watching ‘easy television

Channel 4’s Gogglebox, pictured, is one of the Beatles legend’s favourites – much to the dismay of his wife, Nancy

‘In America, I will watch the infomercials like the Shopping Channel. I have to resist buying everything. 

‘I’ll say, ‘I need a can of that!’ There’s some stuff called DiDi Seven. It cleans everything.’

Maybe they should have called the song Ob-La-DiDi…

Iris Law, pictured, is studying three online courses from Ivy League universities, despite being tipped to follow in the footsteps of her supermodel godmother Kate Moss

She’s tipped to follow in the footsteps of her supermodel godmother Kate Moss, but sensible Iris Law has a back-up plan.

The 19-year-old, the daughter of Jude Law and Sadie Frost, is studying three online courses from Ivy League universities. 

Iris, who is well on her way to making her first million as a model, told her Instagram followers she is really enjoying Ethics Of Memory at Brown, the University of Pennsylvania’s What Is Corruption: Anti-Corruption And Compliance, and Yale’s Science Of Wellbeing. 

She’s not just a pretty face, then!

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Truth behind the ‘Kennedy curse’ as RFK’s granddaughter and her son are feared dead after canoe tragedy – The Sun

THE "Kennedy curse" appears to be following the family as Robert F. Kennedy's granddaughter and her eight-year-old son are feared dead in a canoe accident.

The notable family was dogged by death long before JFK was infamously gunned down on the streets of Dallas.

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and her son Gideon, are feared to have drowned in a boating accident after attempting to retrieve a lost ball from a bay in a canoe.

The search and rescue operation became a recovery mission on Friday as police spent the night searching the Chesapeake Bay area in Maryland.

Following the latest tragedy to hit the Kennedys, the so-called family curse still appears to be casting a very dark shadow.

It come just months after the Kennedy Family mourned the death of 22-year-old Saoirse Kennedy Hill, who died of a suspected drug overdose.

Most people know about the shocking assassinations of President Kennedy and his brother Robert in the 1960s.

However, the scandal-hit Kennedys have suffered a string of personal tragedies which some believe is down to more than just bad luck.

13 members of the family and their spouses have died before their time – others outside the family have perished along the way.

Intertwined with the shocking death toll, the family has been rocked by rape and murder scandals, claims of drugs abuse and high society marriage break-ups.

Cancer has also played a role in the Kennedy family tragedies and in 1973, Ted Kennedy's 12-year-old son Edward Jr. lost a leg to bone cancer.

He later told CNN in 2009 he rejected the idea of a family curse.

"The Kennedy family has had to endure these things in a very open way. But our family is just like … every other family in America in many ways," he said.

However, here are the key dates which some say add weight to the legend of the Kennedy Curse:


Joseph Patrick Kennedy Jr was killed in August 1944 during World War II – he was just 29 years old.

He was tragically died when his bomber aircraft exploded over Suffolk during the Second World War.

Kennedy had completed 25 combat missions and was eligible to return home but decided to fight on.

Joseph was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, Air Medal, and Purple Heart Medal for his heroics.

He was the eldest of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.

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Radio host ‘The Money Doctor’ gets 25 years for Ponzi scheme targeting show listeners

DALLAS -— A Texas radio host and financial consultant who admitted to conning elderly listeners out of millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The sentence was imposed as part of a plea deal that William Neil “Doc” Gallagher, 79, agreed to on Friday with Dallas County prosecutors, the Dallas Morning News reported. The North Richland Hills man was ordered to pay more than $10 million in restitution.

Gallagher targeted older, Christian listeners of his show, called “The Money Doctor,” and met with them to discuss what he said was risk-free income, prosecutors said. He guaranteed annual returns of 5% to nearly 9% if they invested in securities with him, according to the criminal complaint. He described it as a “retirement income you’ll never outlive.”

Gallagher, who wasn’t licensed to advise clients on securities, received up to $29.2 million from about 60 investors from December 2014 to January 2019, authorities said. By Jan. 31, 2019, those accounts contained just $821,951.

Under the plea deal, Gallagher was convicted on one count each of theft of more than $300,000, money laundering of more than $300,000 and securities fraud exceeding $100,000.

“He took advantage of some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” lead prosecutor Alexis Goldate said in a written statement. “He targeted elderly investors and individuals attracted to his Christian ideals and then stole from them.”

Authorities said Gallagher dished out roughly $5.9 million to early investors by using newer investors’ capital. He also used several million dollars for payroll, radio and website costs and personal outlays such as legal fees.

Gallagher has been behind bars since his March 2019 arrest. After the indictment, the Gallagher Financial Group’s assets were frozen and a lawyer was appointed to manage the funds.

Following his plea, authorities said Gallagher apologized to his friends and family.

He faces more charges in Tarrant County.

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The Knot to give $10M coronavirus financial aid for wedding vendor partners

Wedding industry takes hit as coronavirus spreads: EMBARK Beyond founder

EMBARK Beyond founder and managing partner Jack Ezon discusses how his company is looking for alternative locations for its consumers as coronavirus spreads to Italy.

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As more couples are forced to postpone their nuptials with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, wedding vendors are facing the financial impact.

The Knot, a wedding website that connects couples with local vendors, is offering a $10 million financial assistance program to help wedding professionals during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Maryland-based Sugarplum Tent Company, a family-owned business that provides tents, lighting and dance floors for wedding and events, has had around 100 wedding and corporate clients postpone their events through June.


“We are working very closely with our couples to reschedule their tents and equipment to their requested new dates,” Tara Franklin, director of sales at Sugarplum Tent Company, told FOX Business, explaining that clients won't be burdened with fees.

“There are no financial penalties, we understand what an incredibly difficult time this is for them and we are trying to help in every way possible. We anticipate an influx of weddings for when this is all over and we'll be ready," Franklin said.

Now that most Americans have been mandated to quarantine at home and avoid travel to contain the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, many couples slated to marry at the height of the wedding season in May and June have had to suddenly postpone the big day while others are uncertain. And as a result, small businesses in the wedding industry are temporarily out of business.

To combat this, The Knot Worldwide, the parent company of wedding planning website The Knot that connects brides and grooms-to-be with thousands of local vendors like florists and caterers, started a $10 million financial aid fund to benefit its professional wedding business partners who may be struggling economically amid the pandemic.

“The rapid spread of COVID-19 has led to government restrictions imposed on public gatherings in an effort to flatten the curve. While these efforts are important for the greater good, we know that businesses like yours are now navigating uncertain waters,” Tim Chi, the CEO of Knot Worldwide, wrote in an email to vendors who advertise with the company this week.


Up to 96 percent of couples with weddings in April and through July are either pushing back their wedding dates or awaiting further notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a recent survey from The Knot.

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The good news, however, is not many couples are canceling their weddings, they're just putting them on hold. Roughly 60 percent of future brides and grooms are moving their reception to a later date in 2020; 15 percent are shifting to 2021; 23 percent are still deciding on a date; and just 4 percent are calling their wedding reception off, The Knot data shows.


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Lord Of The Rings Movie Trilogy Almost Had A Darker, Much More Brutal Ending

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is an iconic film event the took the world by storm. However, it almost ended on a very dark note. Peter Jackson, the director of the films, revealed in his biography–Peter Jackson: A Film-maker’s Journey–that the toyed with the idea of Frodo killing Gollum in cold blood.

The idea was that Frodo was so overwhelmed by the allure of the One Ring that he would kill Gollum to get it back when they were tussling at the Cracks of Doom. This was in fact more than an idea, as it turns out, as Jackson revealed that he actually filmed this version of the ending.

“When we originally shot the scene, Gollum bit off Frodo’s finger and Frodo pushed Gollum off the ledge into the fires below,” Jackson recalled (via Digital Spy). “It was straight-out murder, but at the time we were okay with it because we felt everyone wanted Frodo to kill Gollum.”

Footage of this scene has not been published anywhere. The reason why Jackson and his team decided to film a different scene–the one that is seen in the final cut–is because the earlier ending was “very un-Tolkien,” according to Jackson. “It flew in the face of everything that he wanted his heroes to be,” he said.

In the book, Gollum accidentally destroys the One Ring when he slips and falls into the lava of Mt. Doom after finally taking the ring back from Frodo. In the movie version, Frodo and Gollum get into a fight for the ring. Gollum bites off Frodo’s finger and briefly obtains the ring, dancing merrily for a moment. Frodo then tackles Gollum and they both fall. Gollum descends all the way into the lava, clutching the ring as the fire takes his life and destroys the ring, while Frodo barely hangs on to the cliff and lives another day.

There are, of course, countless changes from the books to the movies, and many creative liberties that Jackson and the writing team took to adapt the book to the screen. For example, the Return of the King movie does not include the Scouring of the Shire chapter from the book where Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin return home only to find it overtaken by Saruman.

In other Lord of the Rings news, Amazon is making a new Lord of the Rings TV show that was filming in New Zealand until concerns around COVID-19 led to production shutting down. Amazon is also developing a new Lord of the Rings MMO with veterans of WoW, Destiny, and PlanetSide.

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The truth about Chanel West Coast’s feud with Alexis Skyy

If you’re a fan of Chanel West Coast, you probably know that the rapper and reality TV star doesn’t shy away from a good old-fashioned celebrity feud. Where to start? There was her infamous brawl with Charlamagne Tha God in 2017 when the rapper called the host of MTV’s Ridiculousness a “wack rapper” on-air on her own show. Additionally, there was also the lawsuit brought against her by Sharon Stone in 2019, which the Basic Instinct star initiated over the use of her image and name in the CWC music video and song, “Sharon Stoned.” And who could forget the rapper’s feud with Alexis Skyy, her fellow co-star on VH1’s reality TV series Love & Hip-Hop: Hollywood?

Even though it’s been a few years since West Coast and Skyy threw down the gauntlet (read: 2017), what’s the status of their feud now? Are they still rivals or have they finally made peace? Is all well and good in hip-hop Hollywood? Here’s a quick refresher.

"New bae" beef over "New Bae" premiere

The feud between Chanel West Coast (real name Chelsea Chanel Dudley) and Alexis Skyy (born Anastasia McFarland) first began to boil during CWC’s debut on the fourth season of Love & Hip-Hop Hollywood. Fresh from her break-up with Scottish singer-songwriter Liam Horne, the reality show’s newest face immediately fell into a situationship with fellow castmate Solo Lucci, which might have been staged. Unfortunately, Lucci also happened to be Skyy’s ex-boyfriend — a relationship the show chronicled during the first half of the season.

Things between the two female rappers went from bad to worse during the season’s 12th episode, titled “Boy Band,” at a party thrown by West Coast in honor of her music video for the single, “New Bae.” After Skyy crashed the premiere, got into an altercation with fellow cast member Misster Ray, and spotted Lucci and West Coast getting cozy, things started to go off the rails. 

Despite protesting that her fling with Lucci was “nothing serious,” the heat of the moment prevailed and Skyy called CWC a “ho.” The two proceeded to get into a screaming match, and Skyy was promptly kicked out of the party.

But did the feud end along with season four?

'Love & Hip-Hop' or hate and hip-hop?

Since the episode with Chanel West Coast and Alexis Skyy’s major blowout aired in October 2017, a lot has happened. West Coast and Solo Lucci parted ways by the end of season four with the former deciding to focus solely on her career. In January 2018, Skyy gave birth to a daughter, Alaiya Grace Maxwell. 

While there isn’t any real confirmation by either West Coast or Skyy as to whether both parties have made peace, it seems like their feud has fizzled out amid life changes and new directions. Then again, we can’t say that everything has entirely been put to rest just because we haven’t heard anything recently. If West Coast ever decides to reunite with her old castmates in the Love & Hip Hop multiverse (as she said she would “love” to do during a 2019 radio interview on the Dominick Nati Show), who’s to say that old feuds couldn’t reignite? Not us, that’s for sure!

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Dog the Bounty Hunter’s son is straddled by tattoo model wife Jamie in sexy photoshoot – The Sun

DOG The Bounty Hunter's son Leland is straddled by his tattoo model wife Jamie in a sexy photoshoot.

The reality star bared all in a professional shoot with his wife as they compete in an online competition to be the cover star of tattoo magazine Inked.

Naked Jamie is leaning back, with her hands covering her modesty.

Meanwhile, Leland has one hand wrapped round his wife, then the other resting on her chest.

She captioned the photo: "Only 13 hours left in this round!! Yes, I am back in 1st!! And as excited as I am, in order to hold 1st I still need everyone to continue their free daily votes!!!

"The more I stack up on votes, the more THEY have to throw money down! I know times are tough which is why I’m asking for FREE VOTES and 2 seconds of your time while your at home quarantined!

View this post on Instagram

✨READ ME✨⁣⁣ TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF SEMI-FINALS!!! Only 13 hours left in this round!! Yes, I am back in 1st!! And as excited as I am, in order to hold 1st I still need everyone to continue their free daily votes!!! The more I stack up on votes, the more THEY have to throw money down! I know times are tough which is why I’m asking for FREE VOTES and 2 seconds of your time while your at home quarantined! I want to win so bad, & all I need is daily free votes by as MANY people as I can get! Please help me achieve this dream! We are so frickin’ close!!!! ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ✨WHERE CAN YOU FIND LINK:⁣✨⁣ Instagram bio⁣⁣ Instagram Story⁣⁣ Facebook pages/Leland B Chapman or Jamie P Chapman⁣⁣ Twitter: @MrsJamieChapman or @LelandBChapman⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ✨IF YOU DONT HAVE FACEBOOK TO VOTE- Please ask your friends and family who do, to vote on your behalf! ⁣✨⁣ ⁣ ✨YOU CAN ALWAYS TAG YOUR FRIENDS IN COMMENTS BELOW TO GET THEM TO VOTE✨⁣ ⁣⁣ Thank you all so so much 🤍🤍🤍⁣⁣ ⁣

A post shared by 𝙹 𝙰 𝙼 𝙸 𝙴 𝙿 𝙲 𝙷 𝙰 𝙿 𝙼 𝙰 𝙽 (@jamiepchapman) on

✨READ ME✨⁣⁣ TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF SEMI-FINALS!!! Only 13 hours left in this round!! Yes, I am back in 1st!! And as excited as I am, in order to hold 1st I still need everyone to continue their free daily votes!!! The more I stack up on votes, the more THEY have to throw money down! I know times are tough which is why I’m asking for FREE VOTES and 2 seconds of your time while your at home quarantined! I want to win so bad, & all I need is daily free votes by as MANY people as I can get! Please help me achieve this dream! We are so frickin’ close!!!! ⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ✨WHERE CAN YOU FIND LINK:⁣✨⁣ Instagram bio⁣⁣ Instagram Story⁣⁣ Facebook pages/Leland B Chapman or Jamie P Chapman⁣⁣ Twitter: @MrsJamieChapman or @LelandBChapman⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ ✨IF YOU DONT HAVE FACEBOOK TO VOTE- Please ask your friends and family who do, to vote on your behalf! ⁣✨⁣ ⁣ ✨YOU CAN ALWAYS TAG YOUR FRIENDS IN COMMENTS BELOW TO GET THEM TO VOTE✨⁣ ⁣⁣ Thank you all so so much 🤍🤍🤍⁣⁣ ⁣

A post shared by𝙹 𝙰 𝙼 𝙸 𝙴 𝙿 𝙲 𝙷 𝙰 𝙿 𝙼 𝙰 𝙽 (@jamiepchapman) on

"I want to win so bad, & all I need is daily free votes by as MANY people as I can get! Please help me achieve this dream! We are so frickin’ close!!!!"

Leland appeared alongside his dad on shows Dog the Bounty Hunter and Dog and Beth: On the Hunt.

He has three children – Dakota, Leiah, and Cobie – from previous relationships.

Dog reunited with his son last month after a family fallout about his ex-girlfriend Moon Angell.

The bounty hunter has since made amends with his kids after splitting from his late wife Beth's best friend.

He looked on good terms with son Leland as he stood beside him and family spokesman Gillian Sheldon on the Paramount Studios lot as they went to film Dr Phil.

They were also joined by Nick Walker and Matt Sheldon who work on Dog’s Most Wanted.

Dog had been on the outs with his family because of his relationship with Moon.

His daughter Lyssa slammed the pair for dating only months after Beth’s June 2019 death from cancer.

Lyssa fired: “You’re a disgusting woman. Any person who moves in on a man weeks after losing his wife, who you were supposed to be a ‘friend’ to, is the lowest scum on the planet.”

Moon, who was Beth’s maid of honor, even moved into his home and slept in their bed.

While Dog has been focusing on his family, Moon has been “moving forward.”

She retweeted earlier this week: “The phrase, ‘Everything happens for a reason,’ may not take away your pain, but it will allow you to move forward with your life.

“Trusting in a bigger picture helps you paint a better ending.”

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This Is the Easiest Way to Get Back into Running

Running is making a comeback, and one of the smartest ways for you to come back with it—and love it, stick with it, and not get sidelined by injury—is to add some strategic walking minutes into your run.

If that sounds too beginner, too not the point of running, put your ego aside for a second and consider this: one of the most popular Run Walk Run programs on the planet was developed by an Olympic runner, Jeff Galloway. And many of his runners are still running circles around other runners who have slowed down or quit.

“The main reason people get discouraged when they start a running program is that they either hurt, or they get so exhausted that they don’t want to continue to do it,” says Galloway, author of Galloway’s Book on Running and pioneer of the Run Walk Run method of training. “The Run Walk Run method takes all of that away.”

Plus, it might make you faster. Galloway’s research in more than 10,000 runners has found that training with and using the technique can take an average of 3 minutes off someone’s 5K, 7 minutes off a half marathon, and a little over 13 minutes off a marathon.

Yes, Run Walk Run Is “Real” Running

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The concept of Run Walk Run is to take walk breaks at pre-planned intervals. If you’re a 7-minute miler, for instance, you might run 6 minutes, then walk 30 seconds and repeat the whole way throughout your workout. Here’s what this fast/recover/fast style can do for you:

Run Walk Run Helps You Run Farther

“When you run nonstop, your muscles are going to fatigue more rapidly,” Galloway says. So you’ll tire out at two and a half miles when you’d planned to go three, for instance. “It’s the same as if you lift a weight and don’t take breaks, you’re not going to do as much lifting as you would if you put the weight down and came back to it.” By taking strategic walk breaks (done at a good clip), you recoup your energy and can keep going.

Run Walk Run Helps You Avoid Injury

“In running, it’s the continuous use of a weak link that causes it to get irritated,” says Galloway. “But if you have a short enough run followed by a frequent enough walk break, then with each walk break, you keep erasing the stress buildup in the weak link.” (A good pair of shoes is a good idea, too. Check our picks.)

Run Walk Run Helps You Run Faster

Since you’re only running short segments at a time, you can run much faster than you could if you were running nonstop. In a race, that’s what helps you get the job done.

Run Walk Run Takes the Frustration Out of Running

If you don’t get injured, don’t get as fatigued, and are gradually increasing your distance, all that not getting wiped out makes running “mentally doable,” says Galloway. “It’s amazing the confidence level people get as they keep increasing their distances.” In other words, if you think you hate running, this might make you rethink that.

How to Figure Out Your Run/Walk Ratio

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To determine how much running and walking you should do, Galloway recommends that you run, or run/walk a mile at “a good, hard pace for you.” Maybe that’s mostly walking, maybe that’s mostly running. Note the time, then use this calculator to determine your plan. In general, the faster you run, the farther apart your walk breaks are spaced.

If you run about a 10-minute mile, you might be doing 90 seconds run/30 walk/90 run. To some people, it can feel jackrabbity and awkward at first, with all the stopping and starting. (It can even feel that way if you’re in a 9-min-mile pace group and are doing 2 minutes on, 30 seconds off.) But you quickly adapt and welcome the breaks, and it becomes a rhythm of its own.

And by the end of your workout, “you’re not beaten up,” says Galloway. You can enjoy the rest of the day, and since “you recover really quickly,” he says, you can enjoy the rest of your life as a runner.

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Experts warn the coronavirus can spread through 'aerosolized faeces'

Why you should flush the toilet with the lid down: Experts warn the killer coronavirus may spread through ‘aerosolized faeces’

  • Scientists claim flushing with the lid down can prevent the spread of coronavirus
  • A study in China has shown the virus is present in some patients’ stool 
  • ‘Toilet plume’ is when aerosols are stirred up by the flush and released into air
  • But studies showing that this leads to people catching disease are weak 

The coronavirus may spread through ‘aerosolized faeces’ if people leave the lid up when they flush the toilet, according to scientists.

A study from China has shown the virus can be found in patients’ stools because it takes hold in the digestive system in some people.  

Now, an American scientist said one of the ‘easiest ways’ to prevent more people catching the virus was to avoid creating a ‘toilet plume’.

The phenomenon is when faeces or urine particles are stirred up by the flush of water and are released into the air of the bathroom. 

Considering diarrhoea may be one of the initial symptoms of the coronavirus, it may be worth taking note in order to protect family members.  

Experts have warned the killer the coronavirus can spread through ‘aerosolized faeces’, urging those infected to close the lid when they flush the toilet

Like most respiratory illnesses, coronavirus is spread in tiny droplets of moisture that carry virus particles.

Experts warn these are expelled when sick people cough or sneeze. However, talking can send the droplets into the air, too. 

But the showering of bugs from not putting the toilet lid down can cause pathogens to settle on nearby surfaces, such as walls, towels and toothbrushes.

The virus is known to survive on different materials for several hours and even days, in some cases. 

The World Health Organization has already warned the virus may spread via fomites – when the infection survives on inanimate objects.

A study of 73 hospitalised patients in China found the virus is detectable in faecal samples, indicating that the virus sheds into the stool.

A total of 39 patients tested positive for faecal SARS-CoV-2, and the stool of 17 patients remained positive even after swabs from the throat or nose tested negative, according to the pre-proof paper in the journal Gastroenterology.


Research from China indicates that the coronavirus may spread by faecal-oral transmission, not just via coughs, sneezes and skin-to-skin contact.

Dr Hong Shan, of Sun Yat-sen University, in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, and colleagues noted that the gastrointestinal tract is a welcoming environment for the virus, and therefore could exit the body in faeces.

A study looked at 73 patients hospitalized for possible COVID-19 and tested from February 1 to 14, 2020. 

A total of 39 patients tested positive for the virus in the faeces. The duration of stool positivity ranged from one day to 12. Furthermore, the stool of 17 patients remained positive even after respiratory samples tested negative.

The pre-proof study was published online in Gastroenterology. 

Although it is highly unlikely someone would catch coronavirus directly from another person’s stool, scientists said extra precautions can be taken.

Qingyan Chen, an engineer at Purdue University who has studied virus spread through transit ventilation systems, told Forbes there’s ‘one very easy way to help prevent the spread of coronavirus’ – close the lid and then flush.

He said 80 per cent of particles that escape from faecal matter into the air can be prevented this way. 

The release of stool or urine particles into the air from flushing is known as ‘toilet plume’.

A 2012 paper, by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, suggested that toilet plume can spread disease. 

Their review of literature found ‘infectious aerosols may be produced in substantial quantities during flushing’. 

The team added: ‘Aerosolization can continue through multiple flushes to expose subsequent toilet users.’

The aerosols could linger in the air, or, according to a number of studies, contaminate toilet seats and lids, the surrounding floors, and nearby surfaces.

The US based researchers said there was no evidence at the time of publication that toilet plume was a source of disease spread – but said it was a possibility.  

To avoid catching the coronavirus in a public bathroom, Mr Chen said people should wait two minutes after someone has finished anyway.

He even said someone who knows they have the virus should ‘disinfect the entire washroom with alcohol or ultraviolet light’ between uses at home. 

Some scientists urge for the recognition of diarrhoea as a symptom of COVID-19, along with other stomach issues and loss of appetite.

A study of 204 patients in Wuhan, ground-zero for the COVID-19 outbreak, found 99 patients (48.5 per cent) went to hospital with digestive issues as their main ailment. 

Loss of appetite (83 per cent) and diarrhoea (29 per cent) were the main symptoms for patients exhibiting digestive problems.

Other digestive issues reported include vomiting (0.8 per cent) and abdominal pain (0.4 per cent), according to the study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. 


What is the coronavirus? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where does the virus come from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How does the virus spread?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What have genetic tests revealed about the virus? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

How dangerous is the virus?  

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

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

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

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

Can the virus be cured? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?   

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

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


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