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Coronavirus - 4th October


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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 11:07

Summary for Sunday, 4th October

  • President Trump, who is spending a second night in hospital after being diagnosed with Covid-19, says: "I'm doing well"
  • Earlier, doctors said he was responding well to treatment but the White House chief of staff then spoke of "critical" days ahead
  • Trump's doctor says he misspoke when he said the president had been diagnosed more than a day before he told the nation
  • Meanwhile the UK announced more than 10,000 new cases on Saturday - but the spike was partially blamed on a technical issue with counting
  • US First Lady Melania Trump is among a growing group of people around Mr Trump who also have the virus - she is recuperating at the White House
  • Trump, 74, has been criticised for playing down severity of virus and often spurning masks and social distancing

If you're just joining us...

If you're just waking up and joining our live page, here's a recap of the main stories on Sunday:

  • Donald Trump has spent a second night in hospital near Washington DC after falling ill with coronavirus
  • He posted a video on Twitter from the Walter Reed hospital in which he said he was feeling "much better" and he was looking forward to resuming the election campaign
  • The president's doctor said on Saturday night that the medical team is "cautiously optimistic" but that Trump is "not out of the woods yet"
  • His statement came after mixed messages from the hospital and the White House - the president's chief of staff said earlier on Saturday that the president's vital signs over the last 24 hours had been "very concerning" and that the next 48 hours would be critical
  • A well-attended event on the White House lawn is coming under scrutiny after eight people there, including Trump and his wife Melania, are confirmed to have tested positive. Many attendees sat close together and did not wear masks, while some bumped fists, shook hands or even hugged one another in greeting
  • Trump's election campaign has announced it will continue at full speed with politicians and family members standing in for the president while he is hospital. Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have continued their campaigning
  • Republicans say that the hearings for Trump's Supreme Court pick Amy Coney Barrett will go ahead from 12 October, despite a rising number of coronavirus cases among senators. Democrats have called for the hearings to be re-scheduled

Who has tested positive around Donald Trump?

The number of people who work with Donald Trump who have tested positive for coronavirus has been growing since the president confirmed he had contracted the virus. Late on Saturday night in Washington one of Trump's personal assistants said he had Covid-19, according to US media.
Among those who tested positive are:

  • First Lady Melania Trump
  • Campaign adviser and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
  • Close aide Hope Hicks (believed to be the first to show symptoms)
  • Campaign manager Bill Stepien
  • Former White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway
  • Republican Senator Mike Lee
  • Republican Senator Thom Thillis
  • Ronna McDaniel, Republic National Committee chairwoman

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What's happening in the UK?

Good morning and a very warm welcome to our live coverage if you're just joining us. Here's a round-up of the main headlines from the UK:

What's happening around the world?

Unsurprisingly, the news around President Trump is dominating headlines this morning. But let's take a look at what else is happening with the pandemic around the world:

  • Thousands of Israelis have protested against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his handling of the coronavirus crisis. The street protests took place in defiance of a new law imposing curbs on public gatherings, with the largest crowds seen in Tel Aviv
  • The human rights group Amnesty International has said Australia risks action at the United Nations if it fails to bring home thousands of its citizens left stranded overseas because of travel restrictions in place due to the pandemic
  • Also in Australia, daily infections in the hotspot state of Victoria rose on Sunday. But officials there said restrictions are still likely to be eased if the broader trend of falling cases continues
  • And more than 3m people in Madrid have had new restrictions imposed on their lives as Spain tries to control the most serious second wave of infections in Europe. People there can travel outside their home districts for essential journeys only
  • There have been almost 35m confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide with more than 1m deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University in the US which is tracking the data

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 12:29

The family who 'stole' grandma back from the care home

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Rita Perrott's granddaughter Anna and daughter Sue took her out of a care home to spend her last days with them

Let's get away from the latest developments in the US now, briefly, and consider the hard choices elderly and vulnerable people needing care, and their families, have faced since the start of the pandemic.
Visiting restrictions have meant that people haven't been able to see their loved ones as they usually would.
The family of Rita Perrott, a 95-year-old with dementia, had made the difficult decision to place her in a care home at the start of the year. But the pandemic upended all their plans for her care and made visiting impossible.
So they decided to bring her back – unable to bear the thought of her dying alone in the care home.
For the ambulance crew, it's the first time they've taken someone out of a care home. "We only ever take people into care homes," they tell granddaughter Anna and her mother, Sue.
Doctors had told the family that Rita was at the end of her life, and they wanted to ensure she could spend her final days with them. They speak openly and honestly with her about the approaching end.
"It's not just about dying, but dying well," says Anna.
"We're waiting for a chair upstairs," says Sue. "It's standing room only in heaven but Grandma needs a chair."
"We'll know when it's time," adds Rita.
Read the full story

The 'prison cell' of shielding from the virus for six months

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Tuesday Gale's dog - who is regularly walked - has been her only companion in six months of isolation

On 1 August, the government officially relaxed its guidance to 2.2m people in England who were "shielding" - isolating completely within their homes because they were extremely clinically vulnerable to the virus.
But for some, such as 31-year-old Tuesday Gale, shielding isn't over . Living alone in a one-bedroom flat without a garden, she says nearly six months of isolation is "enough to drive you insane".
Ms Gale has the rare immune disorder chronic granulomatous disease and was told two years ago that she would be lucky to live into her early 30s. Her doctors told her to remain in isolation after the government advice ended.
"My friendships have deteriorated a lot. We haven't seen each other face-to-face - their lives have begun again... but I am still stuck here in my prison cell," she said.
Her consolations have been the companionship of her dog and an online poetry writing group, which fulfilled that "human need of connection".
But some of the public reactions to recent government restrictions made her want to "scream and shout". "You can still go to the pub, you just have to leave at 10pm," she said.
Read Tuesday's full story here .

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 12:33

Who is Trump's personal doctor?

The announcement of President Trump's positive Covid-19 diagnosis brought one man, Dr Sean Conley, to immediate public attention.
The 40-year-old is Trump's personal doctor and holds the official title of White House physician.
He has been in the role since 2018, when he took over from Ronny Jackson who was nominated to lead the US Department of Veterans Affairs. (Dr Jackson eventually withdrew his nomination amid a flurry of misconduct allegations).
Dr Conley is a doctor of osteopathic medicine, rather than a more traditional medical doctor. Osteopathic medicine takes a more holistic approach to treatment with a focus on lifestyle and environmental factors.
But unlike in the UK, in the US the training for osteopathic doctors is largely similar to that of conventionally trained medical doctors, and osteopathic doctors are fully licensed and free to prescribe drugs there.
Dr Conley previously served as an emergency doctor in the Navy, a role he took up in 2006. He later served in a Nato hospital in Afghanistan.
The Pennsylvania native made headlines earlier this year when he revealed that the president had started taking the malaria and lupus medication hydroxychloroquine to ward off coronavirus.
It is an unproven treatment, but Dr Conley said they had “concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks". On Saturday, he said the president was no longer taking the drug.

Senate leader says he has discussed Supreme Court hearings with Trump

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says spoken by telephone with Donald Trump and discussed the confirmation hearings for the president's conservative nominee to the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett.
The Republicans say the Senate judiciary committee will meet in a week's time to begin the hearings - even though two members of the committee, Senators Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, have themselves tested positive for coronavirus.
All other activity in the Senate will be postponed for two weeks because of the rising number of cases among the members, however.
Democrats have said the decision to go ahead with the confirmation hearings threatened the health of everybody in Congress.
President Trump nominated Judge Barrett for the seat left vacant by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg just weeks before he faces reelection.

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 12:48

How is Trump being treated?

We know President Trump has so far been given two therapies that try to slow the virus’s assault on the body.
Before leaving the White House he was given a dose of an experimental antibody cocktail as an injection, his doctor said, and is now being treated with the antiviral remdesivir.
The injection - designed by the pharmaceutical company Regeneron - is made up of two different monoclonal antibodies which are laboratory-made and aim to mimic our body's immune response.
The antibodies physically stick to the coronavirus so they can’t get inside the body’s cells and they make the virus more “visible” to the rest of the immune system.
There is hope it will be effective, but the evidence in patients is still limited and so it is considered an experimental treatment.
It is being trialled on Covid-19 patients in UK hospitals .
Remdesivir, meanwhile, is an antiviral drug that was originally developed to treat Ebola. It interferes with the virus's genome, disrupting its ability to replicate.
Clinical trials of more than 1,000 people found it cut the duration of symptoms from 15 days to 11. But it has not been shown to save lives, although studies are still continuing.
The US has bought almost all of the supply , with the manufacturer Gilead also donating some to South Korea.
Read more on where we are with treatments here.

White House chief goes 'off record' on Trump

More now on the "confusion" referred to in those newspaper headlines.
After doctors painted a rosy picture of Donald Trump's health on Saturday morning, his chief of staff, Mark Meadows, spoke to White House reporters.
Pool cameras caught him saying "obviously the cameras are still rolling, so if we can go off the record with some of y'all".
His comment that the president's vital signs were "very concerning" was initially reported anonymously, before the chief of staff went on the record later in the day with an altered tone, saying the president was doing very well.

The White House Is Spreading Virus and Lies
By Olivia Nuzzi and Ben Jacobs - Intelligencer
The White House is at war with the virus, with itself, and with reality — though not necessarily in that order.
With President Trump hospitalized for COVID-19 at Walter Reed medical center, officials spent Saturday sowing doubt about his condition instead of offering clarity and reassurance. Doctors and members of the White House staff provided conflicting information about the timeline and progression of the president’s illness, making a bad situation even worse . Asked what it’s been like for insiders trying to get information about the president and the virus spreading through the government, a senior White House official told Intelligencer, “That’s easy. We don’t get any.”

On Thursday, officials learned that Hope Hicks, one of the president’s closest aides, tested positive for COVID-19 just before Trump boarded Marine One en route to a fundraiser at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club. The White House sought to keep the story from getting out, which meant keeping much of its own staff — who, like the president, had been exposed to Hicks — in the dark. More than a dozen people connected to the White House tested positive by Saturday evening.
“Ninety percent of the [White House] complex most certainly learned about it in the news, as has been the case ever since,” the senior official said. “There are reports that COVID is spreading like wildfire through the White House. There are hundreds and hundreds of people who work on-complex, some who have families with high-risk family members. Since this whole thing started, not one email has gone out to tell employees what to do or what’s going on.”

The senior official told Intelligencer that not only is there no reliable information flow internally regarding the president’s condition, but there’s also no reliable information about anything else. Even his most senior staffers find themselves in the same predicament as those on the outside looking in. An opaque system designed to protect the White House from negative press is backfiring. “I think most of it is paranoia about leaks,” the official said, “Yet … the leaks continue.”

During Watergate, the question was, “What did the president know and when did he know it?” In 2020, the same can be asked of Trump’s infection by a virus that has killed over 200,000 people in the U.S. and over 1 million around the world — a virus that, even before it threatened Trump’s life, had threatened to define his presidency.

In a press conference on Saturday afternoon, White House physician Sean Conley dissembled with lawyerly precision. Standing in front of Walter Reed in his white coat and flanked by other doctors, Conley repeatedly dodged questions as he tried to present a rosy picture of the health of the leader of the free world. According to the White House and Conley, Trump’s stay at Walter Reed was a precaution rather than an indication that his prognosis was growing more serious.
But as he performed this delicate dance of obfuscation, Conley and his colleagues inadvertently offered a new timeline for the president’s diagnosis and treatment — suggesting that the information previously provided by the White House was false. The doctors disclosed that it had been “72 hours” since the president was diagnosed and “48 hours” since he was first given an experimental therapy. That would mean he was known to be sick well before the public learned in a tweet Trump sent at 12:54 a.m Friday that he and the First Lady had tested positive. It didn’t add up.

After the press conference, the group of reporters that always accompanies the president was given an anonymous statement from “a source familiar with the president’s health.” The mystery source offered a fundamentally different and more grave prognosis from what the doctors had just said: “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”
The source turned out to be White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. As Intelligencer first reported , cameras captured Meadows approaching reporters outside the hospital and asking to speak anonymously. “Obviously, the cameras are still rolling, so if we could go off record with some of you all and get away from the cameras,” he said. Soon after, the nameless statement undercutting the president’s doctors was emailed to the entire White House press corps. Later in the afternoon, the press reported what the doctors refused to disclose: The president had received oxygen to help him breathe.

Meanwhile, Conley attempted to clean up part of his mess. In a statement released through the White House press office, he insisted he misspoke when he said the president had been diagnosed “72 hours ago” and had actually meant to say “day three.” He also said he misspoke about when the experimental therapy was administered to the president: on “day two,” not “48 hours ago,” as Dr. Brian Garibaldi, a well-respected pulmonologist at Johns Hopkins hospital, had stated. Garibaldi and Johns Hopkins declined to comment.
But Panagis Galiastatos, a pulmonary and critical-care physician at Johns Hopkins, told Intelligencer that by administering remdesivir, Trump’s doctors had committed to the fact that the president is suffering from a “moderate” or “severe” case of COVID-19. Galiastatos defined moderate as requiring hospitalization and severe as close to being committed to an intensive-care unit.
Galiastatos, who said he cared for more than 100 COVID patients in the Johns Hopkins ICU, said that his suspicion was that Trump “probably had COVID-19 around Wednesday” and that when you develop symptoms, you are “probably contagious several days before.” If this is correct, it would mean Trump could have spread the virus during Tuesday’s presidential debate, when he stood 12 feet and eight inches from Joe Biden and shouted in his direction for 90 minutes. (The Biden campaign said on Friday that Biden tested negative.)
This is the type of information the public should be learning from the president’s medical team, but it’s becoming clear that those officials cannot be trusted to be any more truthful about Trump’s condition than this White House has been about anything else. Trump’s business career was built on what he once called “truthful hyperbole,” a salesman’s euphemism for lying. His political career was built on lies with greater consequence, like “birtherism,” the racist conspiracy that Barack Obama wasn’t born in America. His presidency began on day one with press secretary Sean Spicer lying about the size of the crowd at the inauguration.

At the end of Trump’s first term in office, the dilemma now is whether this White House can be trusted at all when it comes to the president’s personal struggle with the virus he’s been spreading misinformation about for the past nine months, providing Pollyannaish rhetoric as the cases and the deaths have mounted.
One month before Election Day, the country struggles to find reliable information about whether the president is even healthy enough to be reelected or fully capable of running the government. Intelligencer asked the senior White House official how the country could trust others serving in the White House to be truthful about the status of their own health when carelessness and secrecy have so far been the COVID status quo.
The senior White House official said, “I can’t.”

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 12:55

Trump ally Nigel Farage: Family member obviously concerned

The Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, a supporter of Donald Trump, tells Sky News's Sophy Ridge on Sunday that he spoke to a "close family member" of the president - whom he declined to identify - on Friday.
"They were obviously concerned," he said. "You would be concerned. If anyone gets it, you're going to be concerned. Truth is, we'll find out over the course of the next few days."
He addressed criticism of the White House Rose Garden gathering, where several attendees who later tested positive were seen in close contact.
"To even get near to Donald Trump, you have to be tested," Mr Farage said. "When you’ve just got a negative test, I guess it makes you a little bit complacent, a little bit too relaxed."
With questions raised over when President Trump tested positive, after his doctors and other officials gave conflicting information, Mr Farage said: "I don't believe for a moment that he knew he was positive until late on Thursday night."

White House confusion breeds online rumours

Mike Wendling - BBC anti-disinformation unit
Experts agree that one of the best ways to combat online misinformation is for trusted authorities to provide clear and accurate facts.
Contrast that with the contradictory messages from the White House on Saturday. They’ve pushed the social media rumour mill – overheated at the best of times – towards warp speed.
Some of President Trump’s critics accuse him of faking his illness to gain sympathy. Given the vast number of people who’d have to be in on it, that’s not really plausible.
And if you want to get super-deep into the weeds, there are the followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory. Some of them also think the president is faking it, as a prelude to a purge of a fictional elite paedophile ring (that’s often promised, but never happens).
Misinformation thrives when solid facts are hard to come by. And until the White House can provide clearer answers to simple questions, expect the rumours to keep flying.

PM warns of 'bumpy' Christmas and beyond

"I appreciate the fatigue that people are experiencing," Mr Johnson tells the BBC.
“They’re furious at me and they’re furious with the government," he says. "I’ve got to tell you in all candour it’s going to continue to be bumpy through to Christmas, it may even be bumpy beyond.
“But this is the only way to do it.”
But he also says things could be "significantly different" by Christmas and that scientists say it could be "significantly different" by spring.
"What I hope and believe we are strongly is that in the course over next few weeks and months the scientific equation will change whether that is vaccines or testing," Mr Johnson says.

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 13:02

What is the science behind the 10pm closing time for pubs and bars?

Reality Check
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked by Andrew Marr to explain what the scientific evidence was behind the mandatory 10pm closing time for pubs, bars and restaurants in England.
Mr Johnson said: “one of the things that has been put to us is that by curtailing the hours you can reduce the transmission [of coronavirus]”.
We’re not sure what piece of evidence he is referring to.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) – which reports to the government – has highlighted the risk of venues serving alcohol.
A report from Sage on 20 August – referencing alcohol at football matches - said that "specific activities such as hugging and singing/cheering could also increase the risk of transmission, and may be enhanced by alcohol use".
But we can’t find any specific advice on the scientific reasons for a 10pm closing time (despite asking the Department for Health and Social Care).
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show previously, the University of Edinburgh's Prof Mark Woolhouse , a member of the government's infection modelling team, said "there isn't a proven scientific basis for any of this".
Read more here .

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 14:26

Roundup of the news over the past few hours:
Amy Walker - The Guardian

  • Top Trump aide Nick Luna has tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Joe Biden’s campaign is committing to releasing the results of all future Covid tests the candidate takes.
  • US secretary of state Mike Pompeo will depart for Japan on Sunday but will not go to Mongolia and South Korea as originally planned, after Trump’s diagnosis.
  • Germany has reported 2,279 new cases, bringing the total number to 299,237. Two people were reported to have died, bringing the death toll to 9,529.
  • Victoria, the state of Australia most affected, recorded just 12 new cases and one life lost in the past 24 hours. That’s the equal lowest death toll for almost a month.
  • Mexico’s confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 757,953 on Saturday, according to the health ministry, with a total reported death toll of 78,880.
  • Brazil on Saturday registered 599 new coronavirus deaths and 26,310 new confirmed cases.
  • Tunisian authorities will ban all gatherings and reduce working hours for employees in the public sector in order to stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus
  • Ireland is seeing a “significant escalation” in coronavirus infections, after reporting the highest daily death toll since May and the third-highest number of daily cases recorded to date.
  • Thousands of Israelis protested again across the country on Saturday, flouting a new law meant to curb anti-government demonstrations during a new national coronavirus lockdown

New daily cases in Russia pass 10,000 for first time since May

Russia’s new Covid-19 cases have topped 10,000 for the first time since May.
On Sunday, Russia’s coronavirus crisis centre reported 10,499 new infections – the biggest daily tally since 15 May, when the outbreak was at its peak and lockdowns were in place.
The country’s death toll also climbed by 107 to 21,358 in the previous 24 hours.

Poland’s total number of coronavirus cases passed the 100,000 mark on Sunday, according to the health ministry’s Twitter account, as infection rates surge in the country which has reported daily records three times in the past week.
While Poland’s total number of cases remains well below that in many western European virus hotspots, reaching 100,000 illustrates how the spread of Covid-19 has accelerated in a country which avoided the worst of the first wave and where in July the prime minister played down risks ahead of an election.
The country of 38 million has now reported a total of 100,074 cases of the coronavirus and 2,630 deaths. On Sunday it reported 1,934 new daily cases and 26 deaths, after performing over 25,900 tests.

Global coronavirus cases approaching 35 million

Covid-19 cases across the world are approaching 35 million, according to a John Hopkins University tracker which monitors country’s official figures.
As of Sunday (12pm GMT), cases stood at 34,937,150 since the beginning of the pandemic, although this is subject to change as government’s report their daily caseloads.
Over one million people have also died after contracting the virus. The total official death tally across the globe is currently 1,033,678, although this is also likely to increase as new figures are recorded throughout the day.

The five country’s with the highest recorded numbers of Covid-19 infections according to John Hopkins are:
1. US – 7,393,244
2. India – 6,549,373
3. Brazil – 4,906,833
4. Russia – 1,209,039
5. Colombia – 848,147

The country’s which have reported the most coronavirus-related deaths are:
1. US – 209,399
2. Brazil – 145,987
3. India – 101,782
4. Mexico – 78,880
5. UK – 42,407

Thousands of people protested against coronavirus restrictions in southern Germany on Saturday, police in the country have said.
Despite the large turnout, organisers failed to mobilise enough people for a planned human chain around Lake Constance, while counter demonstrators also turned up in their thousands to show support for the government’s measures to control coronavirus.
Overall, police counted between 10,500 and 11,000 people taking part in the demonstrations in Konstanz on Saturday. A police spokesman added that warm weather was likely to draw in further participants to the two-day protests on Sunday. “So far the situation is calm,” they added.
Organisers of the anti-restrictions protests had initially hoped to mobilise more than 200,000 people.

India hopes to receive up to 500 million doses of coronavirus vaccine by July to inoculate about 250 million people, its health minister has said.
The health ministry has recorded some 6.55 million infections, with 75,829 in the past 24 hours, while COVID-19-related deaths have totalled 101,782.
“There is a high-level expert body going into all aspects of vaccines,” Harsh Vardhan wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “We expect to receive & utilise 400 to 500 million doses & cover approx [200 million-250 million] people by July 2021.”
Serum Institute of India and private companies have been teaming up with organizations from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to U.S. drug developer Novavax Inc in a scramble to secure vaccines for the country of 1.3 billion people.
India has set up committees to look into various aspects of the vaccine supply chain, including availability timelines for various vaccines, while obtaining commitments from manufacturers to ensure the maximum doses are available, Vardhan said.
He said the federal government is committed to taking all measures to ensure “fair and equitable” distribution of vaccines once they are ready.
The country, second only to the United States in caseload, has scope for higher infections as a large chunk of the population remains unexposed to the virus, a survey showed on Tuesday.
To prioritise the distribution of coronavirus vaccines, the health ministry aims to prepare a list of key personnel, such as frontline health workers, by the end of the month.

Patrick Wintour - The Guardian
Nearly 5,000 people in the Iranian capital Tehran have coronavirus and 15 % of them will die according to World Health Organisation projections, Payam Tabarsi, head of the infectious disease department at Masih Daneshvari Hospital, said at the weekend. He described the figures as a disaster.
A member of the Tehran city council also reported that 136 people had died in the capital in one day, a figure that jars with official claims that only 170 people are dying nationwide each day.
Tabarsi also said he did not believe in a second or third wave of the virus, arguing the first wave never went away.
A slowly building increase in the number of infections started in late August, reaching over 3,500 a day and has now spread across the country leading to calls for a complete 2 week shutdown, similar to the circuit break once proposed by some Downing Street advisers, but never adopted.
Officials are under criticism for not doing more to enforce restrictions in workplaces, schools, roads markets and public ceremonies. Many of the powers to act have been devolved to local provinces.
In a sign that patience is running out Ghafoor Ghasempour, the governor of Karaj, announced on Sunday that the “request and request” period for the people is over and those who do not follow the health protocols will be dealt with severely. He stressed that fines and penalties are among the new measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 14:48

French worker fired after going to the office before Covid test result
Kim Willsher - Paris Correspondent, The Guardian
A French housing association employee has been fired for serious misconduct after returning to his office before receiving the result of a coronavirus test that came back positive.
Sébastien Klem, 41, insisted he had no idea he had the virus and only took a test because he was driving past a diagnostic centre and saw there was no queue. “Apart from a light cough, I didn’t have any other symptom,” Klem told France3 television.
“It was a case of seeing an opportunity while I was driving. All I did was follow the government’s recommendations. The advice to get tested was all over the media. I felt on fine form and the day before I even went running.”
After taking the test in July, Klem returned to his office. That evening he received the positive result and immediately informed his employer HLM M2A, a social housing association, and self-isolated for 14 days with his four-year-old daughter.
However, a month later his employers, based at Mulhouse in eastern France , terminated his contract in a letter that read: “Despite carrying out a test on the morning of 16 July 2020, and despite the risk that you have put other colleagues in, you returned to you professional activity in the afternoon and mixed with work colleagues when you had doubts about your state of health in going and having a Covid-19 test. Your behaviour is totally irresponsible and constitutes a violation of your obligation towards safety.”
It added: “One does not get tested if one doesn’t have a suspicion [of having the virus].”
Read more

Warning of a second lockdown in Southern Italy
Politicians have begun to sound the alarm about a second lockdown in southern Italy, which fared significantly better than the north in Spring, our Rome correspondent Angela Giuffrida reports.
In a characteristically stern but satirical video message last week, Vincenzo De Luca, the president of Campania, warned citizens in the southern Italian region that if the coronavirus infection rate continued to rise there would be another lockdown.
“There is no third way,” he said after announcing the mandatory wearing of face masks outside. “Masks must be worn on the face, not on the elbow. If the alternative is between having people dying on the street or taking a pleasant stroll, there will be no doubt … everything will close.”
He struck a more serious tone on Saturday after Italy’s most densely populated region, and one of its poorest, registered the highest daily tally of new infections in the country. After showing images of a crowd without masks outside a college and revellers in a bar where there was an outbreak, he said: “We must return to the strict behaviour of February, March and April, otherwise we get sick.”
It was partly De Luca’s no-nonsense style that enabled Campania to declare itself “Covid-free” in June, and determined his recent re-election. But three months on, authorities are counting on citizens falling into line again after a dramatic rise in infections. The daily rate more than doubled in the last week to 401 on Saturday, putting the region slightly ahead of Lombardy, where Italy’s pandemic began.
Read more

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 15:04

Two senior Israeli public figures test positive for coronavirus
Oliver Holmes - Guardian

Two senior Israeli public figures have tested positive for the coronavirus, as the country endures a second lockdown to stall steeply-rising cases.
Gila Gamliel, Israel’s environmental protection minister and a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, announced she has the virus and was isolating.
A few hours later, Ayman Odeh, the country’s most prominent Arab lawmaker, said he was also infected and had a mild fever.
“I urge everyone to follow the rules - masks, distancing and hygiene,” Odeh said on Twitter .
Israel has recorded more than 264,000 cases and almost 1,700 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Scotland's Covid hospital cases have doubled in past week, latest figures show

The Scottish government has recorded 758 new coronavirus cases, but no further deaths. Of all people being tested, 12.1% were positive.
The figures for positive cases are almost exactly the same as they were yesterday (764 and 12.1%).
The latest update also says there are 210 people in hospital in Scotland with recently confirmed Covid and 22 people in intensive care.
As these figures show , these numbers have more or less doubled in a week. Last Sunday there were 105 people in hospital, and 12 people in intensive care.

Nine US states reported record case increases in last seven days

Nine US states have reported record increases in coronavirus cases over the last week, mostly in the upper Midwest and West where cold weather is forcing more activities indoors.
On Saturday, four states – Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin – saw record increases in new cases and nationally nearly 49,000 new infections were reported, the highest for a Saturday in seven weeks, according to a Reuters analysis.
Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wyoming also set new records for cases last week.
Daytime highs in many of these states are now in the 50s Fahrenheit (10 Celsius). Health experts have long warned that colder temperatures driving people inside could promote the spread of the virus.
Montana has reported record numbers of new cases for three out of the last four days and also has a record number of Covid-19 patients in its hospitals.
Wisconsin has set records for new cases two out of the last three days and also reported record hospitalisations on Saturday. On average 22% of tests are coming back positive, one of the highest rates in the country.

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 15:34

NHS England has recorded a further 28 coronavirus hospital deaths. It says the people who died were aged between 69 and 94 and all had underlying health conditions. The detail are here.

Public Health Wales has recorded 432 more coronavirus cases, but no further deaths.
The details are here.

And in Northern Ireland 462 new coronavirus cases have been recorded, and one further death, according to the latest update from the Department of Health in the region.

Nick Thomas-Symond, the shadow home secretary, says that it is “shameless” for Priti Patel to be talking about the “broken” asylum system, as she will in her speech this afternoon. (See 8.47am.) In a statement he says:
:Left Quotes: The British people will see through the home secretary’s shameless comments about a ‘broken system’, when the system has been overseen by the Tories for a decade.
This is yet more evidence of how lacking in compassion and competence the Tories are.

Priti Patel, the home secretary, is delivering her speech to the Conservative online conference now. (15:14)

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 16:12

Patel warns Tories overhaul of asylum system she plans 'will take time'

We were told in advance that Priti Patel would use her speech to the Conservative conference to to promise an overhaul of the “broken” asylum system and that’s what she did. But alert observers will have noticed that, although she said that she would “stop those who come here illegally making endless legal claims to remain in our country at the expense of the British public”, there was almost nothing in the speech about how in practice she would do this.
“Illegal migration is - and has always been - a complex issue,” she said at one point. And at another she said: “I will be honest with you, this will take time.” It did sound as if her reform plans are perhaps not quite as developed as some of the pre-briefing implied.
Here are the main points.

  • Patel described the asylum system as “fundamentally broken”.

:Left Quotes: Right now, the most vulnerable are stuck in this broken system, with over forty thousand other people.
Almost half of these claims take a year or more to reach a decision.
Costing UK taxpayers over one billion pounds each year.
The highest amount in almost two decades.
And because of our broken system, the way people arrive in our country makes no difference to how their claim is treated.
Calling for the system to be firmer and fairer, Patel gave three examples of how the system was flawed. One involved a young person arriving in the UK legally to work, but then having to wait 17 months when they applied for a visa because they could not go home. That was not fair on them, she said.
Another involved someone coming to the UK on a visa, committing a serious crime, and then filing “repeated legal challenges to stop their deportation, followed by numerous meritless asylum claims so that they could stay in our country”. That was not firm, she said.
And she complained about people arriving illegally in the UK having travelled through safe EU countries like France, “shopping around for where they claim asylum” and “lining the pockets of despicable international criminal gangs”

  • She said she would “stop those who come here illegally making endless legal claims to remain in our country at the expense of the British public.”
  • She said she would “expedite the removal of those who have no legitimate claim for protection”.
  • But she warned that this will take time.

:Left Quotes: After decades of inaction by successive governments we will address the moral, legal and practical problems with the asylum system ...
And I will bring forward legislation to deliver on that commitment next year.
I will take every necessary step to fix this broken system.
Amounting to the biggest overhaul of our asylum system in decades.
But I will be honest with you, this will take time.

  • She said that in the meantime she would “make more immediate returns of those who come here illegally and break our rules, every single week” and “continue to examine all practical measures to effectively deter illegal migration”.

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 18:13

Trump treated with dexamethasone - doctor

Trump's doctor, Dr Sean Conley, says the president has been treated with dexamethasone after "a few episodes of transient drops in oxygen saturation". He received his first dose yesterday.
He said that although Trump was doing well on Thursday night, on Friday morning his oxygen was dipping below 94% and he had a high fever.
His oxygen then recovered and dipped again, and while he was "up and out of bed" later on Friday, they took the decision to move him to Walter Reed.
Dr Conley adds that Trump's oxygen dropped below 93% yesterday, and he felt short of breath. He was treated with dexamethasone after this.
His current blood oxygen level is now 98% and there is "no major clinical concern", he adds

'Trump could be discharged as early as tomorrow'

Dr Conley tells reporters that Trump could be discharged to the White House as early as tomorrow, where he can continue his course of treatment.
He adds that the president is "doing really well", before ending the press conference.

What is dexamethasone?

President Trump's doctors said he was now being treated with dexamethasone after "a few episodes of transient drops in oxygen saturation".
But what is the drug?
Dexamethasone is a steroid - a medicine that reduces inflammation by mimicking anti-inflammatory hormones produced by the body. It's been hailed as a major breakthrough in treating Covid-19 .
Coronavirus infection triggers inflammation as the body tries to fight it off.
But sometimes the immune system goes into overdrive and it's this reaction that can prove fatal - the very reaction designed to attack infection ends up attacking the body's own cells.
Dexamethasone calms this effect.
It's only suitable for people who are already in hospital and receiving oxygen or mechanical ventilation - the most unwell.
The drug does not work on people with milder symptoms, because suppressing their immune system at this point would not be helpful.
You can read more here

What did we learn from Dr Conley's update?

The briefing with Trump's medical team is now over. Here's what we've learned:

  • Trump is being treated with dexamethasone, a steroid that's given to patients with severe or critical Covid-19, in order to help their lung function
  • Despite this, Dr Sean Conley says the team was planning for Trump to potentially be discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center as early as Monday, to continue his course of treatment at the White House
  • The president has had two dips in his oxygen saturation level since Thursday - one episode where it fell below 94% and another where it was below 93%
  • Dr Conley recommended the president be given supplemental oxygen. Although Trump was adamant that he didn't need it ,he was given oxygen
  • On Friday Trump was up and out of bed, but it was decided that he should go to Walter Reed
  • Asked why he didn't reveal Trump had received oxygen earlier, Dr Conley said: "I was trying to reflect the upbeat attitude of the team... The fact of the matter is, he's doing really well."

Who is Nicholas Luna?

As we reported earlier, another employee at the White House has tested positive for coronavirus as the number of confirmed infections among Trump's inner circle continues to rise.
Trump's personal assistant, Nick Luna, tested positive for Covid-19 on Saturday.
Luna, whose official title is the Director of Oval Office Operations, travels frequently with the president.
He attended the first presidential debate in Cleveland on Tuesday as well as other more recent events.

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 19:03

Ireland reported 364 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, with no new deaths related to the condition, according to the Irish Times.
It brings the total number of cases in the country to 38,032, while deaths remain at 1,810.
Ireland’s National Public Health Emergency Team reportedly had a last-minute midday meeting on Sunday as concern grows over the rising numbers of infections, according to a report the same newspaper.
The meeting is understood to be the first weekend meeting since spring, reportedly triggered by increasing levels of hospitalisations alongside rising caseloads.

Analysis: Why Trump's aides floundered at providing clear health updates

Tara McKelvey - BBC News, Washington
The president likes to speak directly to the public and has often kept his own spokespeople out of the loop. His days at hospital have been particularly challenging for those who work for him.
The conflicting messages showed the problems inherent for Team Trump. They have not provided regular, transparent updates about his health in part because there has never been a coherent method of communicating the president's messages.
He has always preferred to be his own spokesman, and his aides have deferred to him. Now he is not well, and his aides have floundered.
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White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows contradicted the president's doctors in a briefing to reporters

On Saturday White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows revealed that Trump's condition a day earlier was far worse than officials had made public. This was revealing on different levels. Journalists frequently grant permission to officials to speak off the record to obtain information.
On this occasion, however, their exchange was inadvertently captured on camera: it was a "Washington Gaffe", a term coined by journalist Michael Kinsley to describe the moment when a politician expresses candidly what they and others think but do not say out loud.
Meadows' remarks showed the president's team were not consistent in their views or in their messaging, revealing the discord and chaos unfolding behind the scenes. Above all, it showed they were deeply concerned about the president's health.

Chief of staff photographed with head in hands

Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was revealed to be the anonymous source who told reporters on Saturday the president's vital signs over the previous 24 hours had been "very concerning" and that the next 48 hours would be critical.
On Sunday Dr Sean Conley said Meadows's statement had been "misconstrued".
A photograph taken today during Conley's press conference shows the chief of staff sitting with his head in his hands outside the Walter Reed Medical Center.
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Mark Meadows photographed during Sunday's press conference

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 19:24

Myanmar reports record number of fatalities

Clea Skopeliti - The Guardian
In Myanmar, volunteers are playing a crucial role in the country’s coronavirus response, with people stepping up to transport those with symptoms to quarantine centres and hospitals as the rate of increase in both cases and deaths spirals out of control.
Deaths hit a new record on Sunday, with 41 fatalities recorded – bringing the total up to 412, compared to just seven a month ago. Deaths and cases are doubling faster than anywhere in the world, according to Reuters figures.
Myanmar has one of the world’s weakest health systems, and thousands of volunteers play a vital supporting role in keeping the country afloat during the pandemic.
“Without the volunteers, I don’t think we could have survived,” Aye, a recovered patient who did not want to give her full name, told Reuters.
The country has only 1.1 critical care beds per 100,000 people, according to a study published in Critical Care Medicine Journal in January. For comparison, Thailand has nearly 10 times more.
More than 45,000 people, including Covid-19 patients, those yet to be tested, their close contacts and returning migrant workers, are being housed in buildings from schools and monasteries to government offices and tower blocks.

Nine NYC neighbourhoods may be heading for lockdown, mayor says

Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, said on Sunday he is moving to shut schools and non-essential businesses in nine neighbourhoods where coronavirus clusters have been identified from Wednesday.
He also said another 11 neighbourhoods in the city are on a “watch list” because of rising positivity rates.
The lockdown is dependent on state approval. If New York governor Andrew Cuomo approves the shutdown, about 100 public schools and 200 private schools would be closed for anywhere from two to four weeks, de Blasio said. Students will have to return to remote-only learning.
New York is one of only 18 states where cases have not risen over the past two weeks, according to a Reuters analysis.
Nine states have reported record increases in Covid-19 cases over the last seven days, mostly in the upper Midwest and West where colder weather is forcing more activities indoors.

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 20:20

France reports 12,565 new infections

France reported 12,565 new coronavirus cases on Sunday.
This is down from the record number of new infections registered on Saturday, which saw cases jump by 16,972 in one day.
The total number of infections since the start of the epidemic rose to 619,190 cases, the French health ministry said.
The health ministry said there had been a further 32 deaths from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, taking the toll to 32,230.

Canada facing a massive coronavirus resurgence
Canada’s chief public health officer said Canada is racing against the clock to prevent a massive coronavirus resurgence, as Ontario and Quebec continue to report some of their highest daily infection counts in months, CBC reported.
The chance to avoid a large comeback of the virus “narrows with each passing day,” Dr Theresa Tam said in a statement.
“It is clear that without all of us making hard choices now to reduce our in-person contacts and maintain layers of personal protections at all times, it won’t be enough to prevent a large resurgence,” Tam said.
Her statement comes as Canada’s two most populous provinces – Ontario and Quebec – move toward stricter measures in coronavirus hotspots.

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 21:22

Different spins on Trump hospital photos

Last night two photos were released of Trump working at Walter Reed Medical Center, where he's currently hospitalised with Covid-19 - but all is not as it seems.
They were shared by many of the president's supporters - including his daughter, Ivanka - as evidence that he's continuing to work while in hospital.

Tweet  Ivanka Trump:
:Left Quotes:  Nothing can stop him from working for the American people. RELENTLESS!
Coronavirus - 4th October EjdCe5YWAAAYN5a?format=jpg&name=small

But journalist Jon Ostrower points out that the photos' metadata reveals they were taken within 10 minutes of each other.
Given that Trump is shown in two different locations, wearing different outfits, the close time stamps suggests they were staged.
Coronavirus - 4th October E0856f10
This was taken at 17:25 EST...

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And this was taken 10 minutes later, at 17:35 EST

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 21:31

How significant is it that Trump has been given dexamethasone?

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent, BBC News
The steroid saves lives by calming the immune system, which can become dangerously overactive in Covid, but needs to be used at the right time. Give it too early and the drug could make things worse by impairing the body’s ability to fight off the virus.
This is not a drug you would usually give in the “mild” stage of the disease.
The Recovery Trial, which took place in the UK, showed the benefit kicked in at the point people need oxygen – which Mr Trump briefly did.
The World Health Organization translated those findings to advise using the steroid in “severe and critical” cases.
Mr Trump’s blood oxygen levels did drop below 94%, which is one of the National Institutes of Health criteria for "severe illness" .
However, those low oxygen levels were not sustained and the gap between someone needing transient oxygen support and end-stage Covid is massive.
We do not know the full details of Mr Trump’s condition, but it is hard to imagine you or I would be discharged from hospital while taking dexamethasone and remdesivir and after being given an experimental antibody therapy.
However, we do not have the medical support at the US president’s disposal.

Transfer of power to vice-president 'not on the table now'

Coronavirus - 4th October A2361710
National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien says Trump remains firmly in charge

Mr Trump's National Security Adviser, Robert O'Brien, says a transfer of power from the president to Vice-President Mike Pence is not "on the table right now".
He told CBS's Face the Nation programme : "So far the president is in great shape. He's firmly in command of the government of the country."
The vice-president would be handed the powers of the presidency if the president was too ill to work. .

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 22:45

Leak reveals possible harsher three-tier Covid plan for England
The Guardian
A new three-tier lockdown system is being planned for England, with leaked government documents paving the way for potential harsher restrictions including the closure of pubs and a ban on all social contact outside of household groups.
The draft traffic-light-style plan, seen by the Guardian, is designed to simplify the current patchwork of localised restrictions, which apply to about a quarter of the UK. It also reveals tougher measures that could be imposed by the government locally or nationally if Covid cases are not brought under control.
Called the “Covid-19 Proposed Social Distancing Framework” and dated 30 September, it has not yet been signed off by No 10 and measures could still be watered down.
Read more here

Move Ireland to highest level of restrictions, NPHET recommends

The Guardian
In Ireland, the National Public Health Emergency Team has recommended the entire country transitions to the highest level of restrictions, Level 5.
The three party leaders in government are expected to have a meeting with the chief medical officer tomorrow to discuss the recommendation, RTE reported.
It follows a Sunday meeting by the group, which oversees the country’s coronavirus response, as concerns grows over Ireland’s rising number of infections.
Here is a graphic, courtesy of the Irish Times, showing the different restrictions each level entails.

Tweet  Kilian Doyle:
In case you are wondering what Level 4 or 5 entails...
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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 23:02

Bars in Paris to shut from Tuesday

All bars in Paris will close from Tuesday after the capital was put on maximum alert level, Reuters reported.
It follows a surge in cases that saw France’s infection numbers hit 16,972 on Saturday – the highest daily number since the country began mass testing.

UK coronavirus cases jump by nearly 23,000 amid infection backlog
The Guardian
The total number of lab confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK has now passed 500,000.
Boris Johnson said earlier on Sunday that there was “a failure in the counting system which has now been rectified”. He told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show it was a “computing issue” and all those who had a positive test had been notified.
Michael Brodie, the interim chief executive at Public Health England, said the “technical issue” was identified overnight on Friday 2 October in the data load process that transfers Covid-19 positive lab results into reporting dashboards.
“After rapid investigation, we have identified that 15,841 cases between 25 September and 2 October were not included in the reported daily Covid-19 cases. The majority of these cases occurred in most recent days. Every one of these cases received their Covid-19 test result as normal and all those who tested positive were advised to self-isolate. NHS Test and Trace and PHE have worked to quickly resolve the issue and transferred all outstanding cases immediately into the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing system.”

While PHE said the technical issue did not affect people getting their test results, Test and Trace and PHE joint medical advisor Susan Hopkins, has said it resulted in a delay in cases being passed into the contact tracing system.
“All outstanding cases were immediately transferred to the contact tracing system by 1am on 3 October and a thorough public health risk assessment was undertaken to ensure outstanding cases were prioritised for contact tracing effectively,” Hopkins said.
This has serious implications for Test and Trace, who will now be facing a backlog of over 15,000 people to contact and ask to self-isolate.

Scientists have called for transparency over delays in reporting coronavirus cases, which the prime minister had blamed on a “computing issue”, warnings they could hamper efforts to monitor the spread of the disease.
The number of UK lab-confirmed cases soared to nearly 13,000 on Saturday after a “technical issue” prevented many from 24 September to 1 October from being included in official data.
Health officials said all those tested received their results on time and would know they had to self-isolate if positive, but they did not explain what caused the delay or which groups it affected.
More on the reporting delays, and the implications for curbing the spread of the virus: HERE

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Post by Kitkat Sun Oct 04 2020, 23:14

Brazil reports 8,456 more cases

Stepping away from the UK’s test result fiasco for a minute, here are the latest figures that have come in from Brazil.
The South American country registered an additional 8,456 confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking the total to 4,915,289. Deaths rose by 365, bringing the toll to 146,352, the health ministry said.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Oct 05 2020, 00:21

White House releases statement on Trump's surprise drive

The White House has released a statement about Trump's brief drive outside the hospital where he is being treated for Covid-19.
"President Trump took a short, last-minute motorcade ride to wave to his supporters outside, and has now returned to the Presidential Suite inside Walter Reed [Medical Center]," the statement says.
Before going on the drive, Trump tweeted a video saying he was going to "pay a little surprise" to his supporters.

Virus risk in Trump's car 'as high as it gets' outside of medical procedures

A doctor at the Walter Reed hospital where Donald Trump is being treated has strongly criticised the president's motorcade ride due to infection risk inside the car.
"That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack. The risk of Covid-19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures," Dr James Philips tweeted.
He said that those inside the president's car would need to quarantine for 14 days and are at risk of getting sick.
Dr Philips is also an assistant professor of emergency medicine at George Washington University.
Tweet Dr James P. Phillips MD:
That Presidential SUV is not only bulletproof, but hermetically sealed against chemical attack. The risk of COVID19 transmission inside is as high as it gets outside of medical procedures. The irresponsibility is astounding. My thoughts are with the Secret Service forced to play.

Trump: 'This is the real school' for learning about virus

Trump announced his plan for a surprise drive outside the Walter Reed hospital in a video he posted on Twitter in the past hour.
In that video he also said his illness is teaching him a lot about coronavirus:
"It’s been a very interesting journey - I learned a lot about Covid-19.
I learned it by really going to school. This is the real school.
This isn’t the ‘let’s read the book’ school. And I get it. And I understand it.
And it’s a very interesting thing, and I’m going to be letting you know about it."

Trump went on TV without disclosing positive result - US media

There has been significant confusion about when Donald Trump tested positive for coronavirus and if the information was kept from the public for a period of time.
Now ABC News and the Wall Street Journal are reporting that the president had tested positive using White House rapid tests before appearing on a Fox News show on Thursday night.
The White House uses a two-test system - a positive result using a rapid test is followed up by a second test using a method called PCR, which is considered more accurate.
Trump was waiting for the result of the PCR test when he appeared on the Sean Hannity show, ABC News says.
However, the president did tell staff at Fox News that his close aide, Hope Hicks, had tested positive.
At 01:00 eastern time on Friday, the president tweeted that he had tested positive.

Attorney General Bill Barr to quarantine

Coronavirus - 4th October 61300410
Attorney General Bill Barr spoke with Kellyanne Conway, who later tested positive, at a White House event last week

The US Attorney General Bill Barr will self-isolate "for now" but will probably return to work this week, according the Department of Justice.
Barr has tested negative for coronavirus four times since Friday morning.
He was one of the officials who attended a White House event last week that has come under scrutiny after half a dozen people there tested positive for coronavirus.
He was pictured in close proximity to Trump allies, including former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, one of the attendees who later tested positive.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that anyone who comes into close contact (within 1.8m for 15 minutes or more) with someone who tests positive for coronavirus should go into quarantine for 14 days.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Oct 05 2020, 01:09

Irish health chiefs recommend return to full lockdown
The Guardian
Ireland’s health chiefs recommended to the government on Sunday that the country enter a second nationwide lockdown for four weeks in a surprise move that cabinet will discuss on Monday, two government sources said.

Reuters: Ireland’s National Public Health Emergency Team recommended a leap to the highest level of COVID-19 restrictions, Level 5, from current Level 2 controls in 24 of Ireland’s 26 counties and stricter Level 3 measures in Dublin and Donegal.

The government has almost entirely adopted their health chiefs’ advice throughout the pandemic, but one of the sources said a return to lockdown would have a serious economic and societal impact.

Prime Minister Micheal Martin and the leaders of his two coalition partners will meet the country’s chief medical officer on Monday ahead of a cabinet meeting to discuss the recommendations.

Under level 5, people are asked to stay at home, except to exercise within 5 kilometres, with only essential retailers allowed to stay open. Unlike the first lockdown, schools and crèches would not have to close.

Like most of Europe, Ireland has seen a steady increase in infections since the end of July after emerging slowly from one of Europe’s most severe shutdowns. It reported the highest number of daily cases since late April on Saturday.

However Ireland’s 14-day cumulative case total of 104.6 per 100,000 people represents only the 14th-highest infection rate out of 31 European countries monitored by the European Centre for Disease Control.

Europe’s worst infection hotspot Spain has an infection rate three-times higher than Ireland and while it severely tightened confinement measures in hard-hit Madrid on Friday, restaurants, gyms and shops can still open at limited capacity.

Ireland has a relatively low hospital bed capacity compared to other European countries. The number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients has risen steadily to 132, but peaked at 881 in April during the first lockdown.

Ireland’s main business lobby, Ibec, reacted with dismay, calling for the evidence underpinning the advice to be published.

“It is intolerable that after six months we are still receiving both vague and changing criteria to advance such serious restrictions,” Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy said in a statement.

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Post by Kitkat Mon Oct 05 2020, 01:40

Queen stresses need for trusted news sources during Covid crisis
Jim Waterson - The Guardian
Queen Elizabeth II has issued a message of support to the British newspaper industry, praising traditional media outlets.
The monarch said that “having trusted, reliable sources of information, particularly at a time when there are so many sources competing for our attention, is vital”.
In a letter to the News Media Association, the industry organisation that represents all major national and local newspaper publishers, the Queen said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has once again demonstrated what an important public service the established news media provides, both nationally and regionally.
“The efforts of the news media to support communities throughout the United Kingdom during the pandemic have been invaluable – whether through fundraising, encouraging volunteering, or providing a lifeline for the elderly and vulnerable to the outside world”.

Back to Trump news now:
Lauren Aratani - The Guardian
Sean Conley, White House physician, reportedly told co-workers in the spring, before the president contracted Covid-19, that he was feeling intense personal stress in his current job, according to a new report from the Washington Post .
Conley, a 40-year-old Navy commander, joined the White House medical staff in December 2016 after serving as a Navy emergency physician and serving in a trauma unit in Afghanistan. He was tapped as White House physician in 2018.
The Post reports that those who have worked with Conley believe that the public statements he has given appear to be dictated by politics. “Every statement he is giving appears to be political, dictated by the White House or the president,” one anonymous source who has worked with Conley told the Post. “These are not statements a medical doctor gives.”
After painting an upbeat picture of the president’s health on Saturday, Conley today admitted that the president’s oxygen levels had dropped at one point. He said that he was “trying to reflect the upbeat attitude that the team, the president, over his course of illness, has had.”

    Current date/time is Mon May 17 2021, 12:59