Archive for June 13th, 2020

CDC posts long-awaited tips for minimizing everyday virus risk – WKRN News 2

June 13th, 2020

NEW YORK (AP) — Take the stairs, not the elevator, down from your hotel room. Encourage people to bring their own food and drinks to your cookout. Use hand sanitizer after banking at an ATM. Call ahead to restaurants and nail salons to make sure staff are wearing face coverings. And no high-fives — or even elbow bumps — at the gym.

These are some of the tips in long-awaited guidance from U.S. health officials about how to reduce risk of coronavirus infection for Americans who are attempting some semblance of normal life.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted the guidelines Friday, along with a second set for organizing and attending big gatherings such as concerts, sporting events, protests and political rallies.

But the guidelines are “not intended to endorse any particular type of event,” the CDC’s Dr. Jay Butler said in a Friday call with reporters.

The staging and attendance of such events should be in accordance with what local health officials are advising, based on much the coronavirus is spreading in a particular community, he added.

The guidelines are long overdue, some health experts say.

Julia Marcus, a Harvard Medical School infectious disease researcher, has likened stay-at-home suggestions to “abstinence-only” messaging and has pressed for advice to help people minimize risk. She said she was delighted by the CDC’s tips.

“I think it’s a huge step in the right direction,” Marcus said. “These guidelines are really directed toward ordinary Americans trying to make decisions about risk every day.”

But there are notable omissions. There’s nothing about precautions to take before going to church, no guidance about dating and sex and no explicit advice on a topic that some doctors say they get asked all the time: Is it OK to take the kids to visit grandparents?

“Visiting grandma is something I must address three times a week,“ said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University infectious disease expert.

“My empathy goes out to the CDC. It’s very, very difficult to have a precise answer for every circumstance,” he added.

Stay-at-home orders, school shutdowns and business closings were followed by a national flattening in the rate of new cases. In recent weeks, many states have started reopening as they face pressure to get the pandemic-damaged economy going again. And cases are rising in nearly half the states, according to an Associated Press analysis.

The CDC has put out many sets of guidelines, including some for churches, camps, schools and transit agencies. But until now, the organization hasn’t offered specific advice to people trying to decide whether to take vacations, get their nails done, host barbecues, visit a bank or library, go out to eat or exercise at a gym.

The CDC’s director, Dr. Robert Redfield, called the new guidelines “common sense suggestions,” not mandates. State or local governments may want to reimpose stricter measures if new outbreaks occur, but that’s a call for them to make, CDC officials said.

The guidelines repeat earlier advice about wearing face coverings, especially if it’s difficult to keep at least 6 feet away from other people.

They also offer a list of questions people should consider before going out and some things to think about in particular situations. For example, it suggests that house parties be held outside, guests be greeted with a wave instead of a hug and that everyone bring their own food and drinks.

© 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


The ‘Resident Evil’ series has sold over 100 million copies – Engadget

June 13th, 2020

Mutated coronavirus strain is much more transmittable, study shows – The Jerusalem Post

June 13th, 2020

A marginal genetic mutation in the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 significantly increases the ability of the virus to infect cells, according to lab experiments carried out by Scripps Research. Coronaviruses take their name from spikes on the surface of the virus, giving them a crown-like appearance and allowing them to bind to and infect host cells. The mutation found by Scripps significantly increases the number of spikes, making it far easier for the virus to attach to cells. “Viruses with this mutation were much more infectious than those without the mutation in the cell culture system we used,” explained Scripps Research virologist Hyeryun Choe, PhD, senior author of the study. “The number – or density – of functional spikes on the virus is four or five times greater due to this mutation.”In a report posted to the pre-publication site bioRxiv, Choe and her fellow authors state that the mutation, labelled D614G, is the reason why some regions such as New York and Italy have seen a rapid outbreak of the disease, overwhelming local health systems, while other areas such as California experienced a more manageable spread rate. The report is currently being peer reviewed. All viruses develop tiny mutations in their genetic code as they reproduce and spread, although rarely do these changes affect the virus’s fitness – it’s ability to flourish in an environment – either positively or negatively. Yet the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, did not have the D614G mutation in the early stages of the spread. The variant with the mutation is now the dominant strain worldwide – in February, none of the sample viruses genetically sequenced by scientists globally were showing the mutation; by March, a quarter of samples were showing the change. By May, this number had grown to 70%. The question before scientists was whether that finding was down to the “founder effect,” seen when a small number of variants spread simultaneously into a wide population. “There have been at least a dozen scientific papers talking about the predominance of this mutation,” said co-author Michael Farzan, PhD, co-chairman of the Scripps Research Department of Immunology and Microbiology. “Are we just seeing a ‘founder effect?’ Our data nails it. It is not the founder effect.”Rather, the authors believe that the mutation provides greater flexibility to the spikes, making them less susceptible to breakage. “Our data are very clear, the virus becomes much more stable with the mutation,” Choe says.The findings are based on research using a harmless virus engineered to re-create key coronavirus proteins. Having studied coronaviruses for nearly 20 years, Choe and Farzan noted a key structural difference between the SARS-CoV-2 virus and an earlier coronavirus, SARS. The pair were the first to discover that SARS binds to the ACE2 receptor on cells, and SARS-CoV-2 is no different. However, whereas the spike proteins on the SARS virus have a tripod shape when viewed under an electron microscope, the new virus’s tripod is divided into two discrete sections. This produces inherently unstable spikes, with only about a quarter of the spikes on each virus maintaining their structure long enough to bind onto a host cell. But the mutation alters the properties of the spike, making it more flexible and therefore less likely to break. “Over time, it has figured out how to hold on better and not fall apart until it needs to,” Farzan says. “The virus has, under selection pressure, made itself more stable.”It is not known whether the mutation has an effect on the severity of symptoms experienced by those infected with SARS-CoV-2, nor whether it increases mortality. To find out, much more data, ideally from controlled studies, needs to be gathered, Choe said. However, the team did note that immunity transmitted via the serum of infected people appears to work equally well on both variants of the virus, although they added that real world studies are required to fully understand how the mutation effects transmissilibilty.


Canada’s coronavirus death toll up by 27 as COVID-19 cases surpass 98,000 –

June 13th, 2020

For the second time in a month, the daily coronavirus death toll in Canada fell below 30.

Technically, the official COVID-19 numbers released on Saturday show a daily death toll of 58. But Quebec reported 31 deaths that were prior to June 5, leaving the actual death toll from the past 24 hours much lower, at 27.

COVID-19 cases across the country increased by 465, with the bulk of them originating in Ontario (266) and Quebec (158).

READ MORE: How many Canadians have the new coronavirus? Total number of confirmed cases by region

Overall, Canada has seen 8,107 deaths from COVID-19 and 98,392 cases. More than 59,000 people are considered recovered. The country has conducted 2.2 million tests so far.

Ontario marked the sixth-consecutive day in which less than 300 cases were reported, bringing the province to nearly 32,000 cases and 2,507 deaths, including nine new deaths.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll now 2nd highest in the world

Quebec reported 16 new deaths from the past 24 hours, bringing its death toll to nearly 5,200. The province has seen close to 53,900 cases, with Montreal accounting for more than 26,000 of them.

Alberta saw one new death from COVID-19 — a man in his 90s — raising the death toll to 150. The province added 37 new cases, for a total of 7,383.

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Saskatchewan reported one new case, bringing its total caseload to just over 650. Thirteen people have died.

READ MORE: Daycares are opening across the country, but can they really operate safely?

Manitoba announced two new cases of COVID-19 on June 13, though the province hasn’t specified whether the new cases are lab-confirmed or presumptive. Not including those two cases, the province’s confirmed case total stands at 290, while an additional 11 cases in the province have been counted as presumptive. Seven people have died, though 289 have recovered.

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Only one Atlantic province reported new cases and deaths on Saturday. New Brunswick reported its second death and three new cases. The province is dealing with an outbreak in the Campbellton region and has so far seen 157 cases, out of which 126 are recovered.

No new cases

Nova Scotia reported no new cases, leaving it with a little over a thousand cases, most of whom are recovered. The province has seen 62 deaths.

4:49COVID-19 PANDEMIC: Ask the Expert

COVID-19 PANDEMIC: Ask the Expert

Newfoundland and Labrador has two active cases left, out of 261.

Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon have had all their cases resolved for some time now. Nunavut remains the only region in Canada that has yet to see a confirmed case of COVID-19.

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British Columbia had no update on Saturday, leaving its tallies at just over 2,700 cases and 168 deaths.

The virus has resulted in more than 7.7 million cases and more than 429,000 deaths worldwide, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

— With files by Global News reporter Kerri Breen

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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‘We are not experiencing isolated incidents’: Calls for justice for Chantel Moore, Rodney Levi – News1130

June 13th, 2020

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Tabatha Frank wants people to know that her niece Chantel Moore was loved, and she spoke at a rally Saturday to amplify calls for answers –and justice–  after Moore was shot by police.

Moore, a 26-year-old mother and member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation on Vancouver Island, was killed on June 4 in Edmunston New Brunswick.

Police were dispatched to Moore’s home do a “wellness check” because a friend in B.C. was concerned for her safety.

“The police need to be held accountable for their actions,” Frank said.

“The person that shot my niece, the police officer has never come forward to apologize, or to say how things went down. He doesn’t feel remorse for our family, he doesn’t know what we’re going through. This was supposed to be a wellness check. She left her five-year-old daughter. Gracie’s going to grow up with no mother, and the [police] haven’t even come forward to say anything aside from her being shot.”

Frank said Moore’s death needs to be understood in the context of violence against Indigenous women, and systemic racism within police forces and Canadian society.

“I’m angry, I’m frustrated. As an Indigenous woman, I don’t even know how safe I am just walking these streets. I’m doing it anyway because of my niece and I want to make sure that she gets the justice that she deserves, and for all our Nuu-chah-nulth people. The entire community is mourning for her, everybody on the Island is mourning for her because she was loved. She was cared for because she was a nice person. So I’m angry, I’m frustrated.”

The shooting is being investigated by Quebec’s independent police investigation agency, but the chiefs of the Wolastoqey First Nation, on whose territory Chantel was shot, are demanding a review of the province’s entire justice system.

“Canada has a long and tragic history of violence and unequal legal treatment towards Indigenous people, and particularly towards Indigenous women and girls, as documented by the recent national inquiry,” the chiefs wrote in a statement.

“South of the border, and here in Canada, many thousands of people are protesting the systematic mistreatment of racial minorities by police and the justice system. Considering this context, a completely independent and unbiased review of this incident is critical and we insist that one occur.”

Lorelei Williams, a Vancouver advocate for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls accompanied Frank to Saturday’s rally.

“I don’t even know Chantel but I do a lot of work around the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls,” she said.

“I know how it feels with my missing aunt, my murdered cousin, growing up around violence. It hurts my heart just to think about Chantel and what she went through. I get so emotional. These are my people.”

The Union of BC Indian Chiefs is also demanding an inquiry into Moore’s death, pointing out that Indigenous people are disproportionately likely to become victims of fatal police violece.

“A recent access to information request revealed that one-third of the people shot to death by RCMP officers over a 10-year period are Indigenous, despite indigenous people only making up 5 per cent of the population,” said UBCIC in a statement. 

Police union responds to Moore’s death

In a statement released after Moore’s death, police said that Moore “charged” the officer who was attending “with a knife as soon as the door opened.”

The City of Edmundston and the Edmundston Police Force said Friday they will make no further comment.

The New Brunswick Police Association, the union representing municipal police officers in New Brunswick, however, has released a statement.

“We are saddened that one of our members was involved in a fatal shooting and our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected. No police officer wants to be put in a life and death situation that can result in injury or death but they do occur. We are very aware of the split-second life and death situations our officers are called upon to deal with,” it reads.

“It is unfortunate that a number of public statements have been made before a full independent investigation has been conducted. Making uninformed statements regarding a serious and emotional situation does a disservice to the public relations between police officers and the citizens they serve.”

The statement says the union fully supports the independent investigation into Moore’s death, and will not comment further until it is concluded.

‘We are not experiencing isolated incidents’

On Friday, Rodney Levi was shot and killed by the RCMP in New Brunswick.

Chief Bill Ward of the Metepenagiag Mi’kmaq Nation says Rodney Levi shouldn’t have become the province’s second victim of a fatal police shooting in less than a month.

He says he had his demons — but he never tried to harm anybody.

“He didn’t talk or have an intimidating voice, or intimidating gestures. He wasn’t that type of person, he was very friendly, he could be very polite,” Ward said.

He commented after Levi was shot dead by police Friday near Miramichi when he went to his church looking for help.

Quebec’s Bureau des enquetes independantes is investigating Levi’s killing.

It says RCMP responded to a report of a disturbed person in the Miramichi area and that  indicates RCMP officers found the man armed with a knife in a building and used an electronic stun gun on him several times without success.

Investigators say the man was allegedly shot when he charged police, was given first aid and transported to hospital where he was declared dead.

The Chiefs of the Wolastoqey Nation issued a statement on Levi’s death Saturday.

“As we have said all week, we are not experiencing isolated incidents. This is just further proof that systemic discrimination is pervasive in this province,” it reads.

“Today we walk across the region to heal and honour Chantel Moore, and now Rodney Levi, and all those that have fallen victim to injustice. We hold silent vigils for our fallen sister and brother and we pray for a better day.”

Williams said that the pair of police shootings in New Brunswick can’t be isolated from institutionalized, systemic mistreatment of Indigenous people in Canada.

“It’s not just Chantel and [Rodney Levi], this is happening all the time.”

With files from Bethlehem Mariam and The Canadian Press

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Lauren Jauregui Closes Out Billboard’s Pride Prom With ‘50ft.’ Performance – Billboard

June 13th, 2020

Every prom has to come to an end, and Lauren Jauregui has just the song to tie things up.

On Saturday (June 13), the former Fifth Harmony star closed out Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter’s first-ever Pride Prom with a stunning performance to her R&B slow-jam “50ft.”

Performing in her home and dressed in a glittering mesh top, the singer let her voice shine through on the smooth breakup song as she casually flipped back and forth between English and Spanish. “Naturally inclined to love/ But when the love ain’t flowing back/ I pull away and reassess/ Gotta protect me,” she sings.

Jauregui released “50ft.” back in April, and explained in a statement that she wanted to capture the actual feeling of distance. “I wrote it from a space of reflection on how I interact with the world energetically and this artwork truly encapsulates the feeling of distance spoken about in the song while asserting the closeness of my relationship to my loved ones,” she said.

Watch Lauren Jauregui’s full performance of “50ft.” here.


Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 updates come with nasty printer bugs – Engadget

June 13th, 2020

29 more Alaskans test positive for virus in highest daily count yet as active cases continue to rise – Anchorage Daily News

June 13th, 2020

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Alaska has surpassed its record for coronavirus cases recorded in a day, with 29 new resident cases spread around the state, according to new data from the state’s health department Saturday.

The number of Alaskans who have tested positive for COVID-19 now totals 654, with another 70 nonresidents in the state — an increase of five from the previous day — confirmed to have the virus.

While 405 Alaskans have recovered from the illness, the number of active cases totals 237 statewide, the highest tally since the state began tracking COVID-19 in March. At the start of the pandemic, cases began climbing and the number of active cases peaked April 2, at 188. Alaska, now progressing along a second curve of rising coronavirus infections, exceeded that threshold for the fourth straight day Saturday.

Starting in early April, daily case counts began dropping and recoveries steadily increased. For much of May, the number of active COVID-19 cases didn’t peak over 50 total and daily case counts remained in the single digits.

Then a second wave of cases began after the state relaxed pandemic-related restrictions in an effort to boost Alaska’s economy; state officials said they expected an uptick in cases but believed that Alaska had the health care capacity to manage it.

On May 31, the state recorded 27 new cases, which at that point was the highest daily increase seen yet. Some of those cases were tied to an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Providence Transitional Care Center in East Anchorage among residents and caregivers. The deaths of two Alaskans this week — the state’s 11th and 12th virus-related fatalities — occurred among residents of the facility.

Another cluster of recent cases is associated with the crew of the M/V Tustumena, where seven ferry crew members have tested positive for the virus.

There’s also been a steady increase in virus cases within the Kenai Peninsula Borough. On Wednesday, the state’s chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, said the state was sending more public health nurses to the area.

Of the 29 new cases reported Saturday, four involve Homer residents and two involve people from smaller communities in the southern part of the Kenai Peninsula.

Another of the new cases involves an Alaskan from a smaller community within the Nome Census Area. The Norton Sound Health Corp. announced Saturday that a resident of a Bering Strait region village was isolating after testing positive for the virus. The health corporation “will be sending out a response team to conduct testing for close contacts and other community members who wish to be tested,” the release said.

The new cases also include seven Anchorage residents, one person from Eagle River, one person from Houston and one person from Palmer.

In the Interior, one resident of Fairbanks and two residents of North Pole also tested positive for the virus.

In Southeast Alaska, three Ketchikan residents tested positive, as did two people from Craig, two people from Sitka and one person from Wrangell.

State data also shows one new hospitalization among people confirmed to have COVID-19.

The cases announced Saturday reflect positive test results recorded throughout Friday.

Five people who are not from Alaska also newly tested positive for the virus, data show. Those cases involve a seafood industry worker in the Kodiak Island Borough, a visitor to the Fairbanks North Star Borough, a tourism worker in the City and Borough of Juneau, and people who are listed under “other” categories in Wrangell-Petersburg Census Area and the City and Borough of Juneau.

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Samsung-sponsored BTS tweeted from an iPhone and Twitter is losing it – Business Insider – Business Insider

June 13th, 2020

Stassi Schroeder Steps Out With Beau Clark in First Sighting Since Pregnancy News – E! Online

June 13th, 2020

Reality TV star Stassi Schroeder is stepping out for the first time since E! News learned that she’s pregnant with her first child

The news of her pregnancy comes just days after Schroeder, along with Kristen Doute, were fired from Vanderpump Rules. Bravo cut ties with the two after former co-star Faith Stowers publicly accused Schroeder and Doute of reporting her to law enforcement over a false stealing claim. 

On Friday, the 31-year-old mother-to-be and her fiancé Beau Clark were spotted walking hand in hand in Los Angeles, Calif., in photos published by the Daily Mail. Schroeder was seen clad in a little black dress paired with a beige cardigan and accessorized with black sunglasses, a black leather handbag, black strappy heels and her hair pulled up in a bun. As for Clark, he was dressed casual in a t-shirt, bermuda shorts and sneakers. 

In a joint statement released on June 12 by their crisis manager, it read, “Stassi and Kristen acknowledged what they did was wrong, have apologized and been punished. Without casting aside their actions or the impact of those actions, they want to move forward as part of the solution in ways that are productive, meaningful and sincere. Both of them recognize actions speak louder than words and that is what will guide them as they move forward.”