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Archive for May 22nd, 2020

Microsoft Solitaire Is Celebrating Its 30th Anniversary By Trying To Set A World Record – GameSpot

May 22nd, 2020

Law enforcement needs a search warrant to look at the lock screen on your smartphone, judge rules – Daily Mail

May 22nd, 2020

Lockdown measures have kept nearly 80 million children from receiving preventive vaccines – Fox News

May 22nd, 2020

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The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in stay-at-home orders that are putting young children at risk of contracting measles, polio and diphtheria, according to a report released Friday by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Routine childhood immunizations in at least 68 countries have been put on hold due to the unprecedented spread of COVID-19 worldwide, making children under the age of one more vulnerable.

More than half of 129 counties, where immunization data was readily available, reported moderate, severe or total suspensions of vaccinations during March and April.

AS TRUMP ATTACKS WHO IN A LETTER, MEMBER STATES REMAIN LOYAL AMID CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

“Immunization is one of the most powerful and fundamental disease prevention tools in the history of public health,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Disruption to immunization programs from the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to unwind decades of progress against vaccine-preventable diseases like measles.”

The WHO has reported the reasons for reduced immunization rates vary. Some parents are afraid to leave the house due to travel restrictions relating to the coronavirus, whereas a lack of information regarding the importance of immunization remains a problem in some places.

Health workers are also less available because of COVID-19 restrictions.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC COULD LEAD 13 PERCENT OF WORLD’S MUSEUMS TO CLOSE FOR GOOD, UN AGENCY STUDY FINDS

The Sabin Vaccine Institute, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance also contributed to the report.

Experts are worried that worldwide immunization rates, which have progressed since the 1970s, are now being threatened.

“More children in more countries are now protected against more vaccine-preventable diseases than at any point in history,” said Gavi CEO Dr. Seth Berkley. “Due to COVID-19 this immense progress is now under threat.”

UNICEF has also reported a delay in vaccine deliveries because of coronavirus restrictions and is now “appealing to governments, the private sector, the airline industry, and others, to free up freight space at an affordable cost for these life-saving vaccines.”

Experts say that children need to receive their vaccines by the age of 2.

And in the case of polio, 90 percent of the population need to be immunized in order to wipe out the disease.

Polio is already making a comeback in some parts of the world, with more than a dozen African countries reporting polio outbreaks this year.

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“We cannot let our fight against one disease come at the expense of long-term progress in our fight against other diseases,” said UNICEF’s Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

“We have effective vaccines against measles, polio and cholera,” she said. “While circumstances may require us to temporarily pause some immunization efforts, these immunizations must restart as soon as possible or we risk exchanging one deadly outbreak for another.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Latest on global search for coronavirus vaccine: Three candidates show early promise – MSN Money

May 22nd, 2020

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An all-out global race to develop a safe vaccine against coronavirus is underway. The stakes couldn’t be higher: an effective vaccine or treatment against the virus that causes COVID-19 is necessary to fully restart economies and resume civic life.

As the pace accelerates, USA TODAY is rounding up some of the week’s most notable vaccine developments.

They include a massive contract by the U.S. government to get dibs on a possible vaccine that may or may not work, very early but promising news on two different vaccine candidates, one from China and one from the United States, and a caution that sometimes biology can’t be sped up as much as we might want.

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A vaccine could work, which we didn’t know before

Given all the discussion of a coronavirus vaccine in the news, it can be difficult to remember a crucial fact was missing — whether people who have recovered from COVID-19 were immune to getting it again.

If protective immunity was possible, a vaccine was also likely possible. Until this week that hadn’t been established, even in animals. 

Now it has been. A study at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston published in the journal Science on Wednesday found that nine rhesus macaque monkeys which had recovered from COVID-19 developed natural protective immunity against re-infection with the virus.

Not all viruses generate natural protective immunity, so scientists had worried people could potentially be infected over and over again. The monkey data makes that seem less likely. 

“Our findings increase optimism that the development of COVID-19 vaccines will be possible,” said the study’s leader, Dr. Dan Barouch, a virologist who is also a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Chinese vaccine shows early promise

Chinese researchers on Friday published a study in the British medical journal The Lancet on an early candidate vaccine tested on 108 healthy adults in Wuhan, China. 

Within two weeks of getting the vaccine, the immune systems of people receiving all three doses showed some level of response, with most developing a type of antibody that can attach to the virus, though not necessarily destroy it. Some also developed so-called neutralizing antibodies, which can kill the virus. 

The vaccine is from CanSino Biologics in Tianjin, China. The trial is in the early stages and it is not yet known if the possible vaccine can generate enough of these neutralizing antibodies to protect people against the virus.

The candidate vaccine is scheduled to be tested in Canada soon. The Canadian Center for Vaccinology is working with CanSino and Canada’s National Research Council to coordinate the trial. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement during a press briefing.

CanSino chairman Xuefeng Yu worked in Canada from 1996 to 2009.

$1.2 billion for first dibs on untried vaccine

On Thursday the United States has pledged to pay as much as $1.2 billion to get early access to 300 million doses of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine being developed and tested in England by the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute and licensed to British drugmaker AstraZeneca.

It is expected to be delivered as early as October, though that means only that the doses will be stored until the vaccine completes clinical trials ensuring it is safe and effective in protecting against COVID-19 infection. If it isn’t, they’ll be destroyed. 

Slideshow by photo services

The vaccine is still in very early clinical trials in humans and is being tested for safety, whether it produces antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and whether it protects the immunized from becoming infected with the virus. The first tests began in England on April 23.

Last week Oxford reported that a single dose of the vaccine caused six rhesus macaque monkeys to develop antibodies to coronavirus within 28 days but did not protect them from becoming infected with COVID-19.

The vaccine, called ChAdOx1, did prevent them from developing pneumonia and lung inflammatory disease when the animals were exposed to the virus.

Moderna vaccine appears safe 

On Monday, Moderna announced its candidate vaccine appeared to be safe when given to eight humans and that it stimulated an immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Experts called it a “so far, so good” finding.

Participants in Phase 1 clinical trial tests made neutralizing antibodies to the virus. When tested on human cells in the laboratory the antibodies stopped the virus from reproducing. 

After two doses of the candidate vaccine, participants’ antibody levels were about the same as in people who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection.

There is no data yet on whether the candidate vaccine protects against becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2.

Slow is fast when it comes to vaccines

An editorial in the respected journal Science cautioned against the effort to speed up testing of potential SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.

While many advocates have suggested fast-tracking vaccine trials in humans, deputy editor Douglas Green says while clinical trials, especially the large-scale Phase III portion, are time-consuming, they are vital to ensuring a vaccine is safe and effective.

All the vaccine candidates that have been in the news so far are in Phase 1 and Phase 2, meant to test that the vaccine itself doesn’t cause reactions and that it causes the body to mount an immune response.

Moving too fast on Phase 3 could be “catastrophic,” Green wrote. There are examples of preliminary vaccines that produced neutralizing antibodies but when large trials were conducted they made infections worse.

That happened in a 1966 trial of a vaccine against Respiratory Syncytial Virus, RVS. Subjects who got the vaccine actually did worse when infected with the virus. Green cautions that many scientists believe proper testing will mean an effective vaccine won’t be widely available for 12 to 18 months.

He quoted cancer biologist Charles Sherr, who told him, “Fast is slow, and slow is fast.”  

Contributing: Karen Weintraub 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Latest on global search for coronavirus vaccine: Three candidates show early promise

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CDC Says Coronavirus Does Not Spread Easily on Surfaces – The New York Times

May 22nd, 2020

Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention making the rounds this week on the internet are clarifying what we know about the transmission of the coronavirus.

The virus does not spread easily via contaminated surfaces, according to the C.D.C. For those who were worried about wiping down grocery bags or disinfecting mailed packages, the news headlines highlighting this guidance in recent days might have brought some relief.

But this information is not new: The C.D.C. has been using similar language for months. If anything, the headlines have pulled into sharper focus what we already know about the virus.

The coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from one person to another, typically through droplets when an infected person sneezes, coughs or talks at close range — even if that person is not showing symptoms.

“The virus that causes Covid-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people,” the C.D.C. says on its website. “Information from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic suggest that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious.”

ImageMembers of the Zavala Elementary School’s custodial staff cleaning the surfaces in classrooms in Odessa, Texas.
Members of the Zavala Elementary School’s custodial staff cleaning the surfaces in classrooms in Odessa, Texas.Credit…Ben Powell/Odessa American, via Associated Press

The website also says that people can become infected by “touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.” But those are “not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.”

The format of the C.D.C. website was slightly altered this month, but the language about surfaces remained the same. It appears to have been placed under a new subheading — “The virus does not spread easily in other ways” —on May 11, and more information about the difficulty of catching the virus from animals was added.

Kristen Nordlund, a spokeswoman for the agency, told The Washington Post that the revisions followed an internal review and were the product of “usability testing.”

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“Our transmission language has not changed,” Ms. Nordlund said. “Covid-19 spreads mainly through close contact from person to person.”

Experts at the C.D.C. and elsewhere are still learning about the new coronavirus.

There are questions about how the density of virus particles could affect transmission rates. Researchers don’t yet know whether all speech, cough and sneeze droplets carrying the particles are equally infectious, or if a specific amount of virus needs to be transmitted for a person to get sick by breathing it in. A study last week found that talking alone can launch thousands of droplets into the air, and that they can remain suspended for eight to 14 minutes.

It seems that the virus spreads most easily when people are in close contact with one another — in a conversation, for example — or gathered in poorly ventilated spaces, said Linsey Marr, an aerosol scientist at Virginia Tech.

She said that in order for a person to catch the virus from a surface, it would seem that a few things would have to happen. First, the virus would have to be transmitted to the surface in large enough amounts. Then, it would have to survive on that surface until it was touched by someone else. And even if it was eventually transferred to, say, a person’s finger, it would then have to survive on the skin until that person happened to touch an eye or mouth.


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  • Frequently Asked Questions and Advice

    Updated May 20, 2020

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • How many people have lost their jobs due to coronavirus in the U.S.?

      Over 38 million people have filed for unemployment since March. One in five who were working in February reported losing a job or being furloughed in March or the beginning of April, data from a Federal Reserve survey released on May 14 showed, and that pain was highly concentrated among low earners. Fully 39 percent of former workers living in a household earning $40,000 or less lost work, compared with 13 percent in those making more than $100,000, a Fed official said.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • Is ‘Covid toe’ a symptom of the disease?

      There is an uptick in people reporting symptoms of chilblains, which are painful red or purple lesions that typically appear in the winter on fingers or toes. The lesions are emerging as yet another symptom of infection with the new coronavirus. Chilblains are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels in reaction to cold or damp conditions, but they are usually common in the coldest winter months. Federal health officials do not include toe lesions in the list of coronavirus symptoms, but some dermatologists are pushing for a change, saying so-called Covid toe should be sufficient grounds for testing.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • How can I help?

      Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities using a numbers-based system, has a running list of nonprofits working in communities affected by the outbreak. You can give blood through the American Red Cross, and World Central Kitchen has stepped in to distribute meals in major cities.


“There’s just a lot more conditions that have to be met for transmission to happen via touching these objects,” Dr. Marr said.

And since catching the coronavirus from a contaminated surface is still considered a possibility, people who prefer to wipe down bags, boxes or park benches can still do so. The C.D.C. recommends washing your hands often and regularly cleaning or disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

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READ: The Hill’s interview with Anthony Fauci | TheHill – The Hill

May 22nd, 2020

The Hill on Friday spoke with Anthony FauciAnthony FauciREAD: The Hill’s interview with Anthony Fauci On The Money: Jobless rate exceeds 20 percent in three states | Senate goes on break without passing small business loan fix | Biden pledges to not raise taxes on those making under 0K Overnight Health Care: Fauci on why a vaccine by end of year is ‘aspirational’ | Trump demands governors allow churches to open | Birx says DC metro area has highest positivity rate MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the nation’s top infectious disease expert. The following transcript is edited only to clarify The Hill’s questions.

I want to start with progress on developing a vaccine. You’ve said that, starting in January, we were 12-18 months away from a vaccine, but now we hear some people saying there may be a vaccine by the end of the year. Is that realistic?

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In January, when we first began the development of one of the candidates, one of the several candidates, I had said that we would hope by carefully but nonetheless quickly going through the various steps without compromising safety or scientific integrity, I felt that within a year to a year and a half, we very well might have a vaccine that is available for deployment. I said that in January, and a year from January is December.

I think with the way things are progressing now and the fact that we’re going to be proceeding from one step to the other with risk for investment but not risk for the patients — in other words, in the standard way you develop a vaccine, you do not make major investments in the next step until you are fairly sure that the prior step works and you are satisfied with it. If you jump ahead and at least prepare and make investments, for example preparing sites for trial and even beginning to produce vaccine before you even know it’s safe and effective, that you’re taking a risk, and the risk is a financial risk, it’s not a safety risk. If you do that, you can cut down by several months the process of getting vaccines available as opposed to waiting until you’re fairly sure everything works and then beginning for example manufacturing the doses. When you start manufacturing them ahead of time, then the risk is financial, because if it works, you’ve saved a lot of time. If it doesn’t, then you’ve invested money you’re not going to recoup. I think when you put those things together, again with good attention to safety and scientific integrity, it is conceivable that if things work out right, you could have a vaccine that could be ready to be deployed by the end of the year, the beginning of 2021.

That is assuming that the vaccine works. We’re talking timetables that any time you develop a vaccine, you always remember, you always have a question that you may not get an effective vaccine. Even if you do everything right and you do everything on time, there’s no guarantee you’re going to have an effective vaccine. So when we talk about having a vaccine that might be available in December or January, that’s assuming that the vaccine is actually effective.

What does it mean to “have” a vaccine? How many doses need to be developed, distributed or administered before we can legitimately say it’s available? World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that the virus won’t be defeated until everyone in the world has access to a vaccine.

That’s the reason why you need not only multiple shots on goal with multiple companies involved is because it increases the chance that you’re going to have more than one successful vaccine, but also if you need multiple companies with all of their capabilities producing a vaccine to have vaccine that’s not only enough for us here in the United States but also for the rest of the world. We’re not alone on this planet. There are a lot of other countries and nations and regions that would need vaccines.

I’m fairly certain that the idea if you ramp up production and start months ahead of time, like this summer, instead of waiting until the late fall and early winter, which would delay the availability of doses and drugs that if you started reasonably soon as we enter into the late spring, early summer and as we get into the phase three trial, that you could have 100 million doses by the end of the year and maybe a couple of hundred million doses by the beginning of next year. I mean that’s aspirational. The companies think that they can do that with the right financial backing.

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How concerned are you about the strength of the supply chain necessary to distribute a vaccine — the vials, needles, syringes, et cetera?

In this process, this rapid approach toward a vaccine — it was given the name Operation Warp Speed. I’m a little concerned by that name because it can imply by warp speed that you’re going so fast that you’re skipping over important steps and are not paying enough attention to safety, which is absolutely not the case. But in this program of hastening the development of the vaccine, it’s something that we do feel actually is feasible to get the kinds of doses that you would need.

As part of that program, we’ve employed a person, a general in the United States Army, Gustave Perna, who is really very very highly regarded in military circles for his ability to do things like supply chain and distribution and things like that.

The debate in Congress lately has been over the economic side of the recovery. What do you want to see from Congress to address the public health side of the crisis?

Congress has been extraordinarily generous in giving to the CDC and to the NIH and to the other agencies of the federal government enough resources to be able to do the job that we’re being challenged to do. The Congress, the Senate and the House, both sides of the aisle have been extremely generous from the public health standpoint, as well as the economic.

Just from observing the amount of investment to help the economy recover has been extraordinary. And similarly they’ve made major investments in having us be able to do our work in public health and biomedical research.

The Senate is in D.C., but the House is voting remotely. Should lawmakers be coming to D.C. or is that too much of a risk?

I would leave that both to their own discretion and the advice of the House and Senate physician, rather than my opining about what they should or should not do. They have good medical advice and they should follow that medical advice.

CDC did not issue guidance on reopening churches and houses of worship. How would you advise houses of worship to reopen safely?

There are guidelines in general that are given about reopening that can be applied to houses of worship. I wouldn’t say there are no guidelines there, there are some general guidelines for that, and it’s done in the same measured way that we do opening other areas where there’s congregation. You have to be careful, it depends on the particular state, city, region, county that you’re in and what the dynamics of the outbreak are. So if you’re in an area where there’s relatively little infection, as there are in certain regions of the country, versus an area where there is still a high degree of infection, how you approach what you do in houses of worship really varies. You want to make sure that you have good physical distance, wearing a mask where appropriate when you cannot separate yourself from an individual physically, all of those things are a combination of what is already in the guidelines as well as common sense.

Were you surprised to hear President TrumpDonald John TrumpREAD: The Hill’s interview with Anthony Fauci Trump’s routing number revealed as press secretary announces he’s donating quarterly salary to HHS: report Former White House aide won M contract to supply masks amid pandemic MORE is taking hydroxychloroquine?

I’m not going to comment on that.

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What’s the best role for antibody testing now? Should we be relying on antibody testing as a metric for reopening?

I think we have to be careful because we want to make sure when we do antibody testing that we have tests that have been validated and that are reliable. The other thing is that we have to be careful because we do not know at this time what a positive antibody test means. It certainly does mean that you’ve been exposed and that it’s likely that you’ve recovered, particularly if you are without symptoms. The durability of the antibody response, the degree of protection that you get, the relationship between the type of antibody, and whether you are or are not protected and for how long are still things that are open questions that we are examining to see if we can add some solid science to it.

Certainly the suggestion is that if you have recovered and you have antibody positivity, that you at least for a reasonable period of time you are protected. That’s the assumption. The assumption is probably correct, but we haven’t definitively proven it yet. So I believe that antibody tests have value in getting a feel for what the penetrance of the infection was in society. You could easily figure that out by finding out how many people actually were exposed and infected by doing an antibody test. That you can determine and that would be important in giving you an idea about how much undetectable infection there was in society. Because the significant number of infections, the person remains asymptomatic. You would not know that unless you do various surveillance studies, and one of the ways to do a surveillance study is by doing screening with antibody tests.

Some states are reopening without meeting CDC’s guidelines. Does that concern you?

It is prudent for states who are at various levels of infection to follow the guidelines that have come out about reopening or opening America again. And that is to get past the gateway criteria and then go into the various phases at the rates that are prescribed by the guidelines. Obviously if some states don’t do that, there is always a risk that you may have a resurgence. Hopefully if there is the states at least have the capability of addressing that by having the manpower, the tests and the process in place to identify, isolate and contact trace. So hopefully they will have that in place to prevent significant resurgence.

Much of the federal response has been to let the states act on their own. Has that hindered the federal response? Without national guidelines, how can we be sure every state is reporting and following the same metrics?

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The system in our country is that the federal government provides general guidance, general direction, and backs up with resources, where necessary, the states. But the states have the discretion of the pace at which they are going to make this attempt to reopen. There are a set of guidelines they can follow, but there’s a certain amount of discretion because it isn’t one-size-fits-all. We have a big country and we have varying degrees and dynamics of the outbreak in different parts of the country. And although the federal government does provide backup and support and guidance, ultimately the states are the ones that make that decision.

The United States is closing in on 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. How do you assess where we are on the epidemiological curve?

One of the things that is going to be important is that as we open up and try to get back to some degree of normality and pull back on the mitigation is what is our capability? And I hope it’s intact. I believe it is in certain areas. What is our capability of being able to respond to the inevitable blips that you will see when you pull back on mitigation, and the workforce that can do it to be able to identify, isolate and contact trace. If we have that in place and it’s good, then there will not be a significantly larger number of infections. If we don’t handle that well, we could have even more infections than the models are projecting.

One of the models that I was quoting back then was saying there would between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths, and we’re very close to having 100,000 right now. Hopefully it doesn’t get significantly more than that, but that will depend on how well we respond to the inevitable rebounds that you will see as you pull back. If you respond well, you may keep that number relatively low.

When was the last time you were tested? How often are you tested?

I’ve been testing negative a lot. What’s today? Friday? Yesterday, I was negative.

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Have you been surprised by the role politics is playing in this outbreak? Even a virus has become a political football in our hyperpartisan times.

I try to dissociate myself from that, and do what I’ve done all along, is to try and give the best public health advice and guidance based on data, based on science and based on evidence. I’ve always done that and I’ve successfully been able to stay out of some of the political whirlwind that happens all the time.

I’m not surprised this is a political situation. It happens, I mean it isn’t the first time that it’s happened, but I try to dissociate myself with that.

You’ve become more visible than ever, even more so than during Ebola or H1N1. Has that changed your daily life in any way?

It’s kind of transformed my daily life into 20-hour days, 18- and 19-hour days, quite intense. As it should be, because this is a very serious problem and we feel a great deal of responsibility to get this right for the health and safety of the American public.

Do you see a possibility for major pro sports leagues to play games this year, even without fans?

I think there is. Several of the major league organizations, baseball, football, soccer are all trying to do something in a way that would be safe for the players, safe if there are any spectators. Certainly the first line would be that these sports where you could televise it and the people can get the benefit of seeing the sport without necessarily congregating in a stadium or an arena. I think the various major league sports are trying to be creative keeping in mind that their first responsibility, that is the safety of the players and the personnel, and also if there are fans, the safety of the fans.

I can’t predict with any certainty what’s going to be able to be done but I can tell you that there’s a great deal of discussion to see if in fact we can get some sports events during this year.

The coronavirus has disproportionately hit African Americans and other minority communities. How do we use the crisis to address historical health disparities?

I hope that we take the lesson that we’re learning from COVID-19 to refocus on the things that we’ve known all along, that there are significant health disparities that we need to address. A bright light gets shined on that when you’re in a crisis situation the way we are now, when you see these very disturbing numbers of African Americans and other minorities again bearing the brunt of the burden of disease. And I hope that when we get this COVID-19 under control, we don’t forget about the fact that we still need to address these health disparities, which will be there unless we address them.

How long do you envision staying in your position? Have you considered retiring?

No, I haven’t thought about retiring. I’ve got too much work to do right now.

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A stolen iPhone may be behind the avalanche of iOS 14 leaks – BGR

May 22nd, 2020

Study estimates 24 states still have uncontrolled coronavirus spread – The Washington Post

May 22nd, 2020

It is a snapshot of a transitional moment in the pandemic and captures the patchwork nature across the country of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Some states have had little viral spread or “crushed the curve” to a great degree and have some wiggle room to reopen their economies without generating a new epidemic-level surge in cases. Others are nowhere near containing the virus.

The model, which has not been peer reviewed, shows that in the majority of states, a second wave looms if people abandon efforts to mitigate the viral spread.

“There’s evidence that the U.S. is not under control, as an entire country,” said Samir Bhatt, a senior lecturer in geostatistics at Imperial College.

The model shows potentially ominous scenarios if people move around as they did previously and do so without taking precautions. In California and Florida, the death rate could spike to roughly 1,000 a day by July without efforts to mitigate the spread, according to the report.

Other models released in recent days captured a similarly mixed picture. The PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia used county-level forecasts that found much of the country was in decent shape for reopening, but worrisome areas remain, including Houston, Dallas, South Florida and Alabama.

On this Memorial Day weekend, some people will visit areas that may not have had much exposure to the virus, said David Rubin, director of PolicyLab.

“This is the first test of the system,” Rubin said. “Those areas that succeed this weekend are going to succeed because they’ve developed strong regulations on how they’re going to do this.”

The Imperial College researchers estimated the virus’s reproduction number, known as R0, or R naught. This is the average number of infections generated by each infected person in a vulnerable population. The researchers found the reproduction number has dropped below 1 in the District and 26 states. In those places, as of May 17, the epidemic was waning.

In 24 states, however, the model shows a reproduction number over 1. Texas tops the list, followed by Arizona, Illinois, Colorado, Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Alabama and Wisconsin.

When the R naught is below 1, it means the virus is hitting a lot of dead ends as it infects people. Someone who is infected but who follows social distancing rules or stays quarantined until recovering has a good chance of not infecting anyone else. The challenge is finding a way to reopen the economy with sufficient care to prevent the reproduction number from going over 1.

This has become a geographically complex pandemic, one that will evolve, especially as people increase their movements in coming weeks. Laws and health regulations vary from state to state, county to county and city to city. There are communities where wearing facial coverings is culturally the norm, while in other places it is rejected on grounds of personal liberty or as refutation of the consensus view of the hazards posed by the virus.

Political leaders have traded executive orders for appeals to individual responsibility and judgment. Even as they touted reopening water parks and beaches, some governors told their citizens not to enjoy their new freedoms too much.

In a hotspot in western Iowa, “families need to make their own decisions,” said Matthew A. Ung, chair of Woodbury County’s board of supervisors. “You don’t have to act one way or another because of what the government says,” he said. “Look out for you and your family.”

About 250 miles away in Minneapolis, municipal leaders are not counting on individual responsibility alone. The mayor, Jacob Frey, this week signed an emergency regulation requiring people older than 2 to cover their faces while at “indoor spaces of public accommodation,” including schools and government buildings.

“We are not criminalizing forgetfulness, but we will be cracking down on extreme selfishness and disregard for the health and safety of fellow Minneapolis residents,” Frey said in an interview.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) this week said he would allow only alfresco dining when restaurants and bars resume in-person service June 1. That led to an outcry from owners who said they had been preparing for weeks to seat people inside, setting up plexiglass partitions and purchasing special filters to arrest tiny particles.

“None of us believed it was going to be patio only, especially in Minnesota when it rains all summer long,” said Brian Ingram, the owner of Hope Breakfast Bar in St. Paul, a popular joint known for its mantra, “Believe in Breakfast.”

In Mississippi, where the Imperial College model predicts infections are on the rise, Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said he was ready to reopen the last few businesses that remain closed in the state — including racetracks and water parks.

“We will be out of the business of closing down anybody, I hope,” Reeves said. But he said that in consultation with public health officials, he is keeping restrictions on seven counties with higher case loads.

In a news conference Thursday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) defended her decision to reopen concert venues, movie theaters and other businesses despite rising case numbers.

“We cannot sustain a delayed way of life as we search for a vaccine,” she said. “Having a life means having a livelihood, too.”

That said, she promised that “if we start going in the wrong direction, we reserve the right to come back in and reverse.”

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said the state is preparing for a potential surge by increasing testing and constructing a 401-bed covid-19 care site in Memphis that was finished this week. David Aronoff, director of the Vanderbilt University infectious disease division, said the medical school is working with the state to track hospitalizations and deaths and is monitoring for a second surge.

“We’re watching for that really closely, but we haven’t seen that just yet, which is reassuring,” he said.

Experts in Tennessee are also concerned about people from other states beginning to flock to Nashville and Memphis on summer vacations. If a surge happens, Aronoff said, “the tricky part will be putting the toothpaste back in the tube” by shutting down again.

In Texas, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he consults with doctors and experts from area hospitals, “and what they tell us is that we’re reopening too fast, and we’re reopening in the wrong order.”

Local jurisdictions in Texas do not have the authority to issue more stringent restrictions than the state, which began aggressively reopening this month. So Dallas has focused on messaging. The county has a daily “covid-19 risk level” that is currently red, for “stay home, stay safe.” Officials are working on seals that businesses can display to indicate they are meeting local public health guidelines, not just state mandates.

The Imperial College estimates for Texas are in line with internal modeling conducted by university experts advising state leaders.

Rebecca Fischer, an epidemiologist at Texas A&M University and part of a team partnering with the governor’s office, said the daily caseload was fluctuating, but “it looks like we’re not cresting a peak and coming down the other side.”

A week ago, Texas reported a single-day high in new cases as well as deaths — about 14 days after the beginning of the state’s phased reopening. The state has now reported more than 52,000 cases and nearly 1,500 deaths.

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iOS Bug Preventing Some Apps From Opening With ‘This App is No Longer Shared’ Message – MacRumors

May 22nd, 2020

Pac-Man Celebrates 40th Anniversary With Minecraft DLC, a Game You Play on Twitch, and Weird AI Programs – IGN – IGN

May 22nd, 2020