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Coronavirus is the ultimate demonstration of the real-world impact of racism – The Guardian

A

s coronavirus continues to rampage across the globe, it has become apparent that, while biologically the virus may not discriminate, it is having a much worse effect on people from ethnic minorities. As the researcher Omar Khan has noted, BAME Covid-19 deaths track existing social determinants of health such as overcrowding in homes, insecure work and lack of access to green spaces. In other words, the virus is hitting people harder not because it can see their race but because racialised people those who are categorised by societies as, say, black or brown are more vulnerable.

And this is not the only way that race is playing a role in the crisis. All around the world, minority communities are disproportionately targeted by ramped-up policing that has accompanied the enforcement of lockdown measures. Data from New South Wales in Australia reveals that, although the richer, whiter Sydney beach suburbs have the majority of Covid-19 infections, it is in the neighbourhoods with larger numbers of people of migrant origin and indigenous Australians that people have received the most fines for breaching social distancing directives. The US has seen a business-as-usual approach to police brutality targeting black people while, at the same time, groups of overwhelmingly white people in New Yorks West Village freely breached social distancing.

Some voices are uninterested in this connection between race and the virus or treat it with derision. Campaigners are twisting BAME Covid data to further their victimhood agenda, reads a commentator in the Daily Telegraph. An article in Quillette the online magazine of the so-called intellectual dark web asks the question Do Covid-19 racial disparities matter? before concluding: The fact is our culture is obsessed with race. These responses are the product of a discourse in the west that for decades has claimed that making it about race unnecessarily sensationalises an issue. But as BAME people die and suffer disproportionately from a virus, it is clear that race is about power which is very much contrary to the way that it is usually discussed.

The usual discussion of race in Britain is exemplified by conservative academics and political commentators who argue against what they see as an unhelpful leftwing moralism around issues of race and migration, which silences the concerns of a working class that they portray as uniquely white. In 2018, the online publication UnHerd organised a panel discussion originally titled Is rising ethnic diversity a threat to the west?, before this was changed following a backlash. In response to an open letter against the event signed by more than 230 academics, two of the organisers, Eric Kaufmann and Matthew Goodwin, wrote that large numbers of people across western democracies do feel under threat from immigration and rising ethnic diversity. There is no point shying away from it.

Labelling those concerned about immigration racists is unhelpful. But through books, media appearances and social media, these commentators created a climate where the conversation around race is defined by free-speech rationalists pitted against irrational antiracists. These antiracists see race everywhere, supposedly demonising and silencing everyone with concerns about migrants, Muslims or black people the same people who are now dying disproportionately of Covid-19. But race is not a category that antiracists impose on the world, or a debating point about individual morality: it is a factor that shapes the lives of the people who are racialised.

At its most extreme, this discourse has enabled a return of eugenics treating the pseudoscience as just another part of the marketplace of ideas. The seemingly benign term race realism is defended by a growing circle of pundits who argue for the spurious claims of behavioural genetics and differential IQ dividing the middle class from the poor; white and Asian from black people.

The British associate editor of Quillette magazine, Toby Young, epitomises the worrying nexus between free speech advocacy, eugenics cheerleading and now coronavirus scepticism. Young has advocated for genetically engineered intelligence to be offered to parents on low incomes with below-average IQs. He has now started Lockdown Sceptics, a website opposing measures to stem the spread of Covid-19 by staying home. It publishes links to articles by other sceptics whose past output has the common thread of opposing antiracism in the name of free speech.

Racial inequality is expressed in all dimensions of life. But given that it takes the form during the coronavirus pandemic of disproportionate deaths, the growing calls to relax social distancing measures across the global north further signal societies disregard for the lives of racialised people. This disregard was made possible in societies that declare themselves post-race by the treatment of racism as a matter of mere opinion, with commentators and activists given carte blanche to vilify migrants and Muslims, double down on anti-blackness and anti-Roma racism, and ramp up antisemitism in the interests of media balance.

The pandemic shows us that race is not a biological fact, as the race realists believe, since there is no meaningful biological explanation for the BAME experience of Covid-19. Instead it is a technology of governance that shapes the life chances of many racialised people and maintains white supremacy.

Alana Lentin is an associate professor in cultural and social analysis at Western Sydney University and author of Why Race Still Matters

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Coronavirus is the ultimate demonstration of the real-world impact of racism - The Guardian

The Folly of Trumps Blame-Beijing Coronavirus Strategy – The New Yorker

Illustration by Joo Fazenda

When an Ebola epidemic erupted in West Africa, in 2014, the United States and China, the worlds two largest economic powers, responded in starkly different fashions. The Obama Administration dispatched the 101st Airborne and other troops to build treatment hospitals, and donated more than half of the $3.9 billion in relief funds collected from governments worldwide. Within six months, the outbreak was under control, and the U.S.-led effort was hailed as a template for handling future epidemics.

Chinese mining and construction firms had big businesses in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, but Beijing struggled to mount a humanitarian response. Between August and October of that year, nearly ten thousand Chinese nationals fled those countries in a panic. China, unaccustomed to such missions, sent medical teams and supplies, but, over all, it contributed less than four per cent of the relief funds.

Six years later, however, neither nation can claim to have led the way in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, which has so far killed more than a quarter of a million people around the world. The efforts of both have been marred by denial, coverup, and self-deception. President Donald Trumps trade war and President Xi Jinpings hostility to Western influence had already frayed the countries relationship to its most fragile point in decades. Now, in a bid to deflect criticism, they are turning against each other in perilous ways.

For President Xi, containing the disease, which first emerged in Hubei Province four months ago, has been a race against both a public-health and a political calamity. After initially silencing doctors who reported the virus, Beijing gained control of the outbreak by locking down Hubei, testing millions of people, and quarantining suspected cases, even if it required forcibly removing residents from their homes. By mid-March, China was reporting nearly no new cases, a claim that outside experts considered doubtful but in the neighborhood of truth.

Shaping the narrative of Chinas role in the pandemic will be more difficult. In April, the Associated Press obtained government documents showing that leaders in Beijing knew the potential scale of the threat by January 14th, but Xi waited six days before warning the publica catastrophic interlude of dinners, train rides, and handshakes that helped unleash the pandemic. The government staged a public-relations offensive, touting Chinas exports of medical gear to other nationsa tactic dubbed mask diplomacy. It also suggested, with no evidence, that the source of the virus was a delegation from the United States that had participated in the Military World Games in Wuhan in October. The offensive backfired: buyers complained of faulty or undelivered shipments, and U.S. officials accused China of using social media to promote divisive and false information.

The Trump Administration, for its part, has cut off funds to the World Health Organization and declined to join the European-led fund for vaccine research. Trumps delusionsthat the virus would vanish in a miracle, that an antimalarial drug would shortcut science, that ingesting disinfectant could helphave further reduced the Administrations reputation to a baleful farce. Last week, Kevin Rudd, the former Prime Minister of Australia, wrote in Foreign Affairs that the Administration had left an indelible impression around the world of a country incapable of handling its own crises, let alone anybody elses. In Rudds view, the uncomfortable truth is that China and the United States are both likely to emerge from this crisis significantly diminished.

The Administration could credibly have criticized Chinas early mishandling of the virus, and its efforts to control international scrutiny of the viruss origins. Instead, the White House seized on a blame-Beijing strategy to undermine Chinas growing global power and shore up Trumps bid for relection. (An ad from a pro-Trump super PAC says, To stop China, you have to stop Joe Biden.) Unnamed Administration officials floated revenge fantasies to reporters, such as abandoning U.S. debt obligations to China, an act that, investors noted, would gut Americas financial credibility. As Adam Posen, the president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, told the Washington Post, In economic terms, this is worse than telling people to drink bleach.

In the riskiest line of attack, members of the Administration, conservative lawmakers, including Senator Tom Cotton, and Fox News have promoted an unverified theory that the coronavirus may have originated in an accidental leak from a Chinese virology lab. On April 30th, Trump said that he had seen convincing evidence of this, but gave no details. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo followed up three days later, claiming simply that there was enormous evidence to support the theory. More credible voicesincluding those of Anthony Fauci, the governments top expert on infectious diseases, and General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffhave declined to endorse that view.

Yet Trump and Pompeos rhetoric has some in the intelligence community concerned that the Administration may try to push on the origins of the virus much the way that, in 2002, Vice-President Dick Cheney and his chief of staff, Scooter Libby, pressured intelligence agencies to provide material that might support the theory that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Chris Johnson, a former China analyst at the C.I.A. who now heads the China Strategies Group, said, If we have a smoking gun, the Administration would have leaked it. There are specters of Libby and Cheney, and it worries me.

More worrying, perhaps, this month in Beijing the Ministry of State Security presented to Xi and other leaders an assessment that reportedly describes the current hostilities as creating the most inhospitable diplomatic environment since the Tiananmen Square massacre. According to Reuters, some members of Chinas intelligence community regard the assessment as a Chinese version of the Novikov Telegram, a 1946 dispatch that the Soviet Ambassador to Washington, Nikolai Novikov, sent to Moscow, forecasting the advent of the Cold War.

To John Gaddis, the dean of Cold War historians, Americas advantage over the Soviet Union hinged less on aggression than on competent governance. The country can be no stronger in the world than it is at home, he said. This was the basis for projecting power onto the world scene. Weve lost that at home right now. If the Trump Administration uses the coronavirus to heighten its conflict with China, it will not only have ignored a basic lesson of U.S. history; it will expose America to yet another crisis for which it is plainly unprepared.

More here:

The Folly of Trumps Blame-Beijing Coronavirus Strategy - The New Yorker

Tony Shalhoub reveals that he and his wife have recovered from coronavirus – CNN

The "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" actor revealed the news on the new Peacock web series, "The At-Home Variety Show," and compared his real life experience to playing germaphobe detective Adrian Monk, who lives with obsessive compulsive disorder on the TV series "Monk."

"I hope you are all being careful and following the protocol. We really are all Monk now," he said. "Last month, my wife Brooke and I came down with the virus, and it was a pretty rough few weeks. But we realize that so many other people have and had it a lot worse."

Now recovered, Shalhoub remains hunkered down in New York City, he said. He participates in city's nightly ritual of cheering for the frontline workers.

"Time to go out and show our appreciation to all our heroes -- the health care workers, the first responders. Let's go. Stay safe and stay sane," he said.

The show, hosted by Seth MacFarlane, is aiming to bring awareness and raise money to support essential workers and communities most in need.

Link:

Tony Shalhoub reveals that he and his wife have recovered from coronavirus - CNN

This Baseball Mascot Was Struck Out By The Coronavirus Pandemic – NPR

David Edwards was the team mascot for the Quad Cities River Bandits in Davenport, Iowa. David Edwards hide caption

David Edwards was the team mascot for the Quad Cities River Bandits in Davenport, Iowa.

David Edwards thought he'd be spending this baseball season prowling the ballpark in Davenport, Iowa, trading high-fives and cheering the home team.

After all, it would be his second season playing mascot for the Quad Cities River Bandits.

"I am the big raccoon," Edwards says. "It's the most fun I've ever had."

But there's no joy in Davenport the River Bandits aren't playing ball this year because of the pandemic. While major league teams hope to revive their season for a TV-only audience later this year, Single-A clubs like the River Bandits depend on in-person ticket sales and concessions to pay the bills.

David Edwards (left) and Ray Hernandez, manager of the Quad City River Bandits. David Edwards hide caption

David Edwards (left) and Ray Hernandez, manager of the Quad City River Bandits.

Edwards lost a second job, showing visitors around a regional zoo, when that also closed to the public.

"All the plans for this year went out the window," Edwards says. "Guest relations aren't essential when nothing is open."

Edwards, who majored in music at Iowa State University, also planned to audition for classical singing gigs this summer. But with most big cities under lockdown, that's on hold, too. That's three strikes, and Edwards is worried.

"I feel very scared about my future," he says. "I just don't know what funding is going to be, what festivals or programs are going to survive."

For now, Edwards is living off savings, trying to figure out what life's going to look like after the summer and keeping a positive attitude.

"Just trying to do what's right and what's recommended and what's healthy," he says. "I just don't want to be part of the problem."

Read more stories in Faces Of The Coronavirus Recession.

The rest is here:

This Baseball Mascot Was Struck Out By The Coronavirus Pandemic - NPR

What Donald Trump can learn from Boris Johnson as coronavirus cases are found in White House – CNN

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CNN's Scott McLean reports on what the pandemic means for the Spanish party island."},{"title":"Hear from Covid-19 patient who had virus in December","duration":"01:38","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com ","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/world/2020/05/07/first-covid-19-case-europe-france-melissa-bell-pkg-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"world/2020/05/07/first-covid-19-case-europe-france-melissa-bell-pkg-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200507120716-first-covid-19-case-europe-france-melissa-bell-pkg-intl-ldn-vpx-00002422-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/world/2020/05/07/first-covid-19-case-europe-france-melissa-bell-pkg-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus-intl/","description":"Some of the first indications of Covid-19 in Europe seemed to hit in February. But a group of doctors in Paris have re-checked old samples and found that one patient they treated in December for pneumonia, actually had Covid-19. CNN's Melissa Bell speaks with that patient, Amirouche Hammar. ","descriptionText":"Some of the first indications of Covid-19 in Europe seemed to hit in February. But a group of doctors in Paris have re-checked old samples and found that one patient they treated in December for pneumonia, actually had Covid-19. CNN's Melissa Bell speaks with that patient, Amirouche Hammar. "}],'js-video_headline-featured-fy4uhc','',"js-video_source-featured-fy4uhc",true,true,'coronavirus-intl');if (typeof configObj.context !== 'string' || configObj.context.length

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What Donald Trump can learn from Boris Johnson as coronavirus cases are found in White House - CNN

Coronavirus in Chicago: A running list of restaurants that have closed – Eater Chicago

A large number of Chicagos restaurants have shut down for the duration of Illinoiss ban on dining room service, now slated to potentially end in late June as part of Gov. J.B. Pritzkers Restore Illinois plan, but a growing group has closed permanently as the hospitality industry across the country grapples with an uncertain future.

Among the losses are beloved neighborhood institutions like Jeris Grill, as well as more recent establishments like Luellas Gospel Bird in Bucktown.

These closures are likely to mount in the coming months as restaurant owners face ongoing rent and utility payments. Some Chicago hospitality leaders are calling on the governor to allow dining rooms to open as early as June 1, but much still remains unclear about what a return will look like for workers and diners.

Below, Eater is cataloging permanent restaurant closures in Chicago. If you know of a restaurant, bar, or other food establishment that has permanently closed since the start of the pandemic, please email chicago@eater.com. We will continue to update this post.

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Bowmanville: Barbecue spot Baobab BBQ, which served ribs, rib tips, and brisket, is closed after two years. The restaurant added a South African touch to American barbecue, borrowing from several regions. Chef Andrew Dunlop made the announcement via Facebook on May 4.

Bucktown: Luellas Gospel Bird, chef Darnell Reeds (Luellas Southern Kitchen) fried chicken restaurant, is closed permanently, he told Eater Chicago on April 8. Prior to the pandemic, Reed was handling operations at both of his restaurants while also caring for his children. The restaurant relied in large part on catering orders, but the pandemic lead to mass cancelations and Reed decided to close the business.

Bucktown: Lauded local chef Mindy Segal told Eater Chicago on April 29 that shed permanently closed her popular restaurant Mindys Hot Chocolate after 15 years. Segal already had plans to close the restaurant by the end of May before the COVID-19 pandemic, but mandated dining room closures expedited the process. Shes transitioning toward converting the space into Mindys Bakery selling bagels, coffee, hot chocolate, and pantry items.

Bucktown/Lincoln Park: Toast, a much-loved 24-year-old breakfast and brunch restaurant with two Chicago locations, is permanently closed due to the impact of the coronavirus, according to owner Jeanne Roeser. She announced the closures on April 22.

Edgewater: The owners of Income Tax, a popular neighborhood restaurant and wine bar, announced it would not reopen in a Facebook post on May 9. The North Side restaurant managed to deliver an adventurous menu without alienating residents. Owners say theyll continue to sell alcohol to go while thinning inventory.

Hyde Park: Local dessert mini-chain Vanille Patisserie closed its Hyde Park storefront permanently on March 17. In a Facebook post, ownership pointed to the devastating economic situation caused by COVID-19. The business also has locations in Lincoln Park and in Chicagos French Market.

Lincoln Park: Specialty chocolate company Vosges Haut Chocolat has closed its retail location in Lincoln Park. Prior to the pandemic, the company operated another store on Michigan Avenue and two shops inside OHare International Airport. The Armitage shop served coffee and hot chocolate.

Lincoln Square: Iconic North Side 24-hour diner Jeris Grill is permanently closed after nearly 60 years. Jeris Grill was a part of the past living in a modern world, owner Di Piero writes in the closing announcement, posted May 9. Unfortunately the past can no longer survive in this post pandemic world...if these walls could talk they would tell beautiful and sad stories of many lives.

North Center: Gastropub and sports bar Monty Gaels Tavern and Grill is permanently closed after seven years. A for-sale sign hangs in the window.

Logan Square: Pioneering Macanese restaurant Fat Rice is closed for the foreseeable future after eight years. Adrienne Lo and James Beard Award-winner Abe Conlon also operated a neighboring bakery and a cocktail bar, and last year debuted a stall inside Fulton Markets Time Out Market Chicago. The pair have since transitioned the Fat Rice space into Super Fat Rice Mart, a general store sells $99 meal kits, groceries, and more.

Rogers Park: Family-owned Mexican restaurant Restaurante Cuetzala Gro is permanently closed after owner Saul Moreno died of coronavirus on April 15 at age 58, Block Club Chicago reported. Family members told reporters that the restaurant would never be the same without him and they felt it was best to shut down completely.

Streeterville/Lombard: Chicago-based 4 Star Restaurant Group has permanently closed two of its venues the Windsor in Streeterville and D.O.C. Wine Bar in suburban Lombard because of the coronavirus-related dine-in closures, according to social media posts from May 4. With a heavy heart, we are sad to announce that we are closing our doors for good due to the challenges surrounding the coronavirus shutdown, one post reads.

West Loop: New Orleans-style lounge the Front Room is for sale, according to a Facebook post from March 9. The spot opened in 2018 along Randolph Restaurant Row.

1747 N Damen Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647 773 489 1747

3243 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60657

160 E Huron St, Chicago, IL 60611

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Coronavirus in Chicago: A running list of restaurants that have closed - Eater Chicago

The Problem With Stories About Dangerous Coronavirus Mutations – The Atlantic

Read: Should you get an antibody test?

We have evidence for one strain, says Brian Wasik at Cornell University.

I would say theres just one, says Nathan Grubaugh at Yale School of Medicine.

I think the majority of people studying [coronavirus genetics] wouldnt recognize more than one strain right now, says Charlotte Houldcroft at the University of Cambridge.

Everyone else might be reasonably puzzled, given that news stories have repeatedly claimed there are two, or three, or even eight strains. This is yet another case of confusion in a crisis that seems riddled with them. Heres how to make sense of it.

Whenever a virus infects a host, it makes new copies of itself, and it starts by duplicating its genes. But this process is sloppy, and the duplicates end up with errors. These are called mutationstheyre the genetic equivalent of typos. In comic books and other science fiction, mutations are always dramatic and consequential. In the real world, theyre a normal and usually mundane part of virology. Viruses naturally and gradually accumulate mutations as they spread.

Read: The best hopes for a coronavirus drug

As an epidemic progresses, the virus family tree grows new branches and twigsnew lineages that are characterized by differing sets of mutations. But a new lineage doesnt automatically count as a new strain. That term is usually reserved for a lineage that differs from its fellow viruses in significant ways. It might vary in how easily it spreads (transmissibility), its ability to cause disease (virulence), whether it is recognized by the immune system in the same way (antigenicity), or how vulnerable it is to medications (resistance). Some mutations affect these properties. Most do not, and are either silent or cosmetic. Not every mutation creates a different strain, says Grubaugh. (Think about dog breeds as equivalents of strains: A corgi is clearly different from a Great Dane, but a black-haired corgi is functionally the same as a brown-haired one, and wouldnt count as a separate breed.)

Theres no clear, fixed threshold for when a lineage suddenly counts as a strain. But the term has the same connotation in virology as it does colloquiallyit implies importance. Viruses change all the time; strains arise when they change in meaningful ways.

New strains of influenza arise every year. These viruses quickly acquire mutations that change the shape of the proteins on their surface, making them invisible to the same immune cells that would have recognized and attacked their ancestors. These are clearly meaningful changesand they're partly why the flu vaccine must be updated every year.

Read: Why some people get sicker than others

But influenza is notable for mutating quickly. Coronaviruseswhich, to be clear, belong to a completely separate family from influenza viruseschange at a tenth of the speed. The new one, SARS-CoV-2, is no exception. Theres nothing out of the ordinary here, says Grubaugh. Yes, the virus has picked up several mutations since it first jumped into humans in late 2019, but no more than scientists would have predicted. Yes, its family tree has branched into different lineages, but none seems materially different from the others. This is still such a young epidemic that, given the slow mutation rate, it would be a surprise if we saw anything this soon, Houldcroft says.

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The Problem With Stories About Dangerous Coronavirus Mutations - The Atlantic

Coronavirus: CSU to have mainly online classes in fall 2020 – Los Angeles Times

The 23-campus California State University system plans to all but cancel in-person classes in the fall and instead will offer instruction primarily online, Chancellor Timothy White announced Tuesday.

The vast majority of classes across the Cal State system will be taught online, White said, with some limited exceptions that allow for in-person activity. The decision comes as schools throughout the country grapple with how long to keep campuses closed amid the coronavirus crisis.

Our university when open without restrictions and fully in person is a place where over 500,000 people come together in close and vibrant proximity, White said at a meeting of Cal States Board of Trustees. That approach sadly just isnt in the cards now.

Whites announcement came the same day that infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force, told a Senate panel it would be a bridge too far to think treatments or vaccines could be available in time to facilitate students reentry into schools this fall.

It also follows an earlier move by Cal State Fullerton, which in late April became one of the first universities in the nation to announce it was planning for remote instruction this fall.

White said that for the small number of classes where in-person instruction is indispensable and can be justified such as clinical nursing courses, biology labs or merchant marine training sufficient resources and protocols will have to be in place to ensure the health and safety of students and teachers.

The enrollment per section will be less; for instruction and research laboratories the distance between participants greater; the need for personal protective equipment appropriate to the circumstance prevalent; and the need to sanitize and disinfect spaces and equipment between users essential, White said.

On some campuses and within some departments, course offerings will be exclusively virtual.

White said planning for an online fall term was necessary because of the forecast of additional waves of COVID-19 outbreaks later this year, possibly coupled with a difficult flu season. He said it would be irresponsible to wait until August to make a decision only to scramble and not be prepared to provide a robust learning and support environment.

He also acknowledged that the university system currently lacks the resources to provide coronavirus testing for everybody and trace the contacts of infected people should there be an outbreak on a campus.

CSU students and families, along with faculty and staff, can expect to receive more information this month from their respective campuses about instruction in the fall.

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Coronavirus: CSU to have mainly online classes in fall 2020 - Los Angeles Times

10-4: How to Reopen the Economy by Exploiting the Coronaviruss Weak Spot – The New York Times

If we cannot resume economic activity without causing a resurgence of Covid-19 infections, we face a grim, unpredictable future of opening and closing schools and businesses.

We can find a way out of this dilemma by exploiting a key property of the virus: its latent period the three-day delay on average between the time a person is infected and the time he or she can infect others.

People can work in two-week cycles, on the job for four days then, by the time they might become infectious, 10 days at home in lockdown. The strategy works even better when the population is split into two groups of households working alternating weeks.

Austrian school officials will adopt a simple version with two groups of students attending school for five days every two weeks starting May 18.

Models we created at the Weizmann Institute in Israel predict that this two-week cycle can reduce the viruss reproduction number the average number of people infected by each infected person below one. So a 10-4 cycle could suppress the epidemic while allowing sustainable economic activity.

Even if someone is infected, and without symptoms, he or she would be in contact with people outside their household for only four days every two weeks, not 10 days, as with a normal schedule. This strategy packs another punch: It reduces the density of people at work and school, thus curtailing the transmission of the virus.

Schools could have students attend for four consecutive days every two weeks, in two alternating groups, and use distance-learning methods on the other school days. Children would go to school on the same days as their parents go to work.

Businesses would work almost continuously, alternating between two groups of workers, for regular and predictable production. This would increase consumer confidence, shoring up supply and demand simultaneously.

During lockdown days, this approach requires adherence only to the level of distancing already being demonstrated in European countries and New York City. It prevents the economic and psychological costs of opening the economy and then having to reinstate complete lockdown when cases inevitably resurge. Giving hope and then taking it away can cause despair and resistance.

A 10-4 routine provides at least part-time employment for millions who have been fired or sent on leave without pay. These jobs prevent the devastating, and often long-lasting, mental and physical impacts of unemployment. For those living on cash, there would be four days to make a living, reducing the economic necessity to disregard lockdown altogether. Business bankruptcies would also be reduced, speeding up eventual economic recovery.

The cyclic strategy is easy to explain and to enforce. It is equitable in terms of who gets to go back to work. It applies at any scale: a school, a firm, a town, a state. A region that uses the cyclic strategy is protected: Infections coming from the outside cannot spread widely if the reproduction number is less than one. It is also compatible with all other countermeasures being developed.

Workers can, and should still, use masks and distancing while at work. This proposal is not predicated, however, on large-scale testing, which is not yet available everywhere in the United States and may never be available in large parts of the world. It can be started as soon as a steady decline of cases indicates that lockdown has been effective.

The cyclic strategy should be part of a comprehensive exit strategy, including self-quarantine by those with symptoms, contact tracing and isolation, and protection of risk groups. The cyclic strategy can be tested in limited regions for specific trial periods, even a month. If infections rates grow, it can be adjusted to fewer work days. Conversely, if things are going well, additional work days can be added. In certain scenarios, only four or five lockdown days in each two-week cycle could still prevent resurgence.

The coronavirus epidemic is a formidable foe, but it is not unbeatable. By scheduling our activities intelligently, in a way that accounts for the viruss intrinsic dynamics, we can defeat it more rapidly, and accelerate a full return to work, school and other activities.

Uri Alon and Ron Milo are professors of computational and systems biology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Eran Yashiv is a professor of economics at Tel Aviv University and at the London School of Economics Center for Macroeconomics.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. Wed like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And heres our email: letters@nytimes.com.

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10-4: How to Reopen the Economy by Exploiting the Coronaviruss Weak Spot - The New York Times

My Coronavirus Patients Are Struggling to Recover – The New York Times

BOSTON Behind a closed door, an elderly man hopes a test will show that he no longer has an active coronavirus infection so that he can return home to his wife of six decades. Until then, he gazes out the window where he can see the trees. Sometimes his mind wanders to the lurid, delirious nightmares of the intensive care unit. He tries to distract himself with poetry.

Down the hall, a younger man works to get stronger so that he too can get back to his family. He feels better, he tells me, but he is so bored, and the Covid cough still bothers him, along with a burning in his hand likely a nerve injury from the days spent lying on his chest when he was intubated. His face bears the scars of that lifesaving maneuver, blackened ulcers on his cheeks, nose and forehead. He too looks out the window. Waiting.

This is life for the growing number of patients who have survived severe Covid-19 but have not yet recovered. As a critical-care doctor, I could easily avoid seeing this part of the story; it would be almost preferable to think that the removal of a breathing tube or a long-awaited discharge from the I.C.U. is the victorious end to the narrative. But that is not the case. Even as hospitals continue to care for the surge of critically ill patients, it is time to prepare for what comes after.

In a way, its strange that Covid-19 survivors must recover in places that look a bit like nursing homes, the very facilities that have been ravaged by this virus. In my own hospitals intensive care units, we have too often cared for patients transferred from nursing homes, coronavirus-positive and dying. It is little surprise, then, that many skilled nursing facilities refuse to take coronavirus patients after hospital discharge even when these patients are their own long-term residents. Until they have cleared the virus, these survivors are unable to go home again.

Which is why, in recent weeks, dedicated Covid-19 post-acute care facilities have sprung up throughout the country. Here in Boston, I recently started a rotation as the pulmonary consultant at a long-term acute care hospital that has shifted to care for recovering Covid sufferers. While some of our patients are nursing home residents, many are younger and previously healthy, debilitated now after days to weeks of deep sedation and mechanical ventilation. They need to learn to walk again. To dress themselves. We have more than 50 admissions already and a waiting list that is pages long.

At the same time, we are still caring for those without Covid too, transplant recipients and cancer patients, frail and vulnerable. To limit exposure, the Covid patients do not leave their rooms. And as in the acute care hospital, families cannot visit. Physical exams are kept to a minimum and most encounters take place via iPad.

On one recent afternoon, I sat at the central nurses station with a headset on while my patient, just a few paces away down the hall, talked to me through the iPad next to his bed. The machine was at an odd angle, it was nearly impossible to look at him head-on, and behind me the alarms blared and I could barely hear, but when I tried to sign off he asked me please not to go. An adult man with his hospital gown askew, socks halfway off, asking me to keep talking just a bit longer.

I told him how it was finally getting warmer outside and agreed that there really is never anything on television during the day. I did not hang up until a physical therapist in full personal protective equipment entered. It was time for his daily session in the room. The rehab gym down the hall remains empty.

At least we know how to track and treat the physical consequences of our patients prolonged I.C.U. stays. These outcomes are visible. More insidious are the potential psychiatric and cognitive dysfunction that some former I.C.U. patients describe anxiety and depression; hyperarousal and flashbacks to delirium-induced hallucinations that are characteristic of post-traumatic stress; poor planning skills and forgetfulness that might make it hard to remember medications or appointments.

These are far trickier to screen for and to treat. Of course, it is early still, and we do not yet know the burden of these outcomes in our Covid-19 survivors. But given their protracted critical-care stays and the persistent isolation that so many of them endure, these issues will be widespread.

At our hospital, before the coronavirus, we built a clinic for I.C.U. survivors. There, I worked with another critical-care doctor, a psychiatrist and a social worker to screen our patients for common post-I.C.U. problems and to offer them referrals.

Patients asked us to fill in missing details: What happened to me? How long was I on the vent? This scar, what was it from? On a few occasions, we even accompanied patients back to the intensive care unit. I remember how their expressions would shift, fear fading into relief, as they realized that this was just a place that they could now enter by choice and then leave again.

We do not have rigorous studies to tell us that these clinics help our patients. And it will be hard to set them up now, with so many of us critical-care doctors still doing the work of keeping our patients alive, keeping ourselves safe. I do not pretend to have the answers here. But we owe it to our survivors to try.

We have come to recognize that for many patients with coronavirus, the disease follows a characteristic pattern. For them, there is an initial constellation of symptoms fever and cough followed by a period of improvement and then a catastrophic decline. A disease with two waves. I think of us now, as a nation, at the end of our own first wave. We breathe a bit easier. Perhaps we will be OK, after all.

But the second wave is coming not of death this time, but of survival.

That afternoon at the long-term care hospital, I was startled in the middle of writing my notes by an unintelligible announcement on the overhead. I turned to one of the respiratory therapists. A Covid patient is being discharged, he explained. Want to go see?

We rushed down the stairs to join the group that had already gathered, all of us in scrubs and masks, waiting. Someone turned the music on and Here Comes the Sun filled the small lobby. Behind me, the patients two adult sons radiated excitement. When they last saw their father, he could not breathe.

I watched as the elevator doors opened and a nurse emerged, pushing a small man in a wheelchair. He scanned the crowd, spotted his sons and gave us all this proud little wave, like royalty. I clapped as loud as I could for him, mouthing the songs refrain, Its all right, behind my mask, not knowing what this virus would leave him with or what kind of life he would re-enter, but hoping the words were true.

Daniela J. Lamas is a critical-care doctor at Brigham and Womens Hospital.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. Wed like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And heres our email: letters@nytimes.com.

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My Coronavirus Patients Are Struggling to Recover - The New York Times

Travel Reopenings Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic – The New York Times

Covid-19 has upended daily life in much of the world for so long that the idea of traveling to another country or state seems like the stuff of dreams. But in the last week or so, as the idea of opening up to travelers has gained traction, some countries are taking concrete steps. Yesterday, Australia announced a three-stage plan to reopen the economy, which includes a focus on tourism. And some countries are forming regional alliances designed to minimize the risk of the virus, including an Australia-New Zealand travel bubble, and, in Europe, a travel corridor shared by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

But for many places, international flights carrying leisure travelers remain on hold or are banned outright, and the process of reopening remains speculative. The focus, instead, is on internal tourism, to be followed at some point by foreign tourism.

Here is a look at 10 top tourist destinations and the beginnings of their plans for reopening in the weeks and months ahead.

On May 8, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia announced a three-step plan for reopening, in which the country will gradually take steps to resume normal life. The third and final step of that plan includes the trans-Tasman bubble, which will eventually allow for travel between Australia and New Zealand. The alliance, in addition to geographic proximity, stems from their similarly successful handling of Covid-19 both countries continued to report low total case numbers, deaths and growth rates (New Zealand has declared the coronavirus eliminated, meaning the small number of new cases can all be tracked and traced).

Is there an opening date? On May 7, Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, announced the possibility of reducing the countrys lockdown measures to Level 2 as soon as next week, pending cabinet approval. This would allow many Kiwis to go back to work, visit friends and family, and for businesses like markets, museums and dine-in restaurants to reopen, provided social distancing and hypervigilant hygienic practices are followed. Travel within the country will be allowed.

What are the current restrictions? New Zealand and Australia have both shut their borders to all international travel and non-residents, in addition to greatly restricting movement within the countries themselves. The countries have since begun to slowly open up; in New Zealand, thats meant allowing outdoor exercise, small family gatherings and takeout and delivery service at restaurants and cafes.

In Australia, restrictions vary by state in New South Wales, for example, cafes and restaurants are open for takeout only, gatherings in public places are limited to two people and parklands are open for socially distant exercise. Disobeying current rules is considered a criminal offense and can lead to fines or imprisonment.

Australias stage one allows a gradual reopening of retail stores, parks and outdoor sporting facilities. Dine-in restaurants and cafes can reopen, but are limited to 10 patrons at a time, and social distancing of four square meters per person. Hotels and hostels may reopen and travel within states will be allowed, though state borders will likely remain closed. All reopening timelines will be determined by individual states and territories currently, Queensland plans to begin its stage one May 15 and Tasmania on May 18.

As of now, there is no firm date for the proposed trans-Tasman Bubble, or for more advanced phases of opening in both countries. Per Prime Minister Morrisons recent remarks, he is hopeful that Australia will reach its third phase, which may include trans-Tasman travel, by July. When travel within the trans-Tasman Bubble has been deemed safe, both nations are interested in potentially expanding to include other Pacific island countries.

How will they open safely? When trans-Tasman travel is allowed, its likely that a 14-day quarantine will be required following any travel between the two nations.

What are the major obstacles? Much of Australia and New Zealands success in containing Covid-19 can be attributed to the strictness of their lockdowns. Any easing of these measures comes with the possibility that the virus could begin circulating again. Proceeding with extreme caution, while attempting to effectively reopen their economies, will guide the coming weeks and months.

Thanks to fast action and restrictions put in place before a major outbreak, Greece has avoided the major outbreaks of nearby Italy as of May 6, the country has reported 2,663 cases and 147 deaths.

Is there an opening date? The first phase of Greeces two-month plan began May 4, with the opening of some shops and services, according to VisitGreece.gr. More businesses are expected to open on May 11 and 18; next steps will be announced on May 18, with the opening of other businesses, including restaurants and hotels, starting June 1.

What are the current restrictions? As restrictions continue to lift, Greeks are required to wear masks on public transit, in hospitals and in shops. Residents are still not allowed to travel beyond their wider region of residence; travel from outside the European Union, plus Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany, is banned. All arrivals are subject to a 14-day quarantine.

How will they open safely? In addition to maintaining a gradual cadence of openings over the next one to two months, there are no plans to resume sporting events, festivals, concerts or other large, crowded gatherings. According to a government presentation on the easing of restrictions, May and June will be dedicated to a coordinated return to a new normal with continuous monitoring, while the focus in July and beyond will be on sustaining the new normal yet remaining alert, while simultaneously preparing for a second wave in the fall.

Still, according to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the country hopes to open to tourists in the fall, using extensive testing and contact tracing, and placing emphasis on more easily distanced accommodations and activities, including agritourism and boating.

What are the major obstacles? Balancing the need for tourism with safety. While Greece has fared better than many European nations, its economy, having only just recovered from years of debt and collapse, is at great risk. Tourism has been a major part of the recent economic improvements, welcoming more than 34 million visitors in 2019 while employing 20 percent of Greek workers.

After requiring some of the strictest confinement measures in the United States, including a nightly curfew, Puerto Rico is beginning to look forward; in addition to a gradual easing of the lockdown and reopening of businesses, the Puerto Rican Tourism Company announced a new two-step program that will allow businesses to be recognized for exercising high standards of cleanliness and safety. As of May 6, Puerto Ricos confirmed case count is 1,757, with 95 deaths.

Is there an opening date? If the first round of openings, which started May 4, goes well, restaurants may be allowed to open between May 18 and 25. The curfew is still in place, until at least May 25.

What are the current restrictions? Puerto Ricos initial lockdown restrictions, which went into effect March 16, included a closure of most businesses, the curfew and threats of fines or imprisonment for anyone who violated its terms. As of May 4, restrictions are loosening somewhat some smaller businesses are allowed to open, as long as they enforce social distancing and provide protective gear to employees. Parks and beaches remain closed (though exercise is allowed), and a curfew is still in effect between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. All visitors to the island are being screened for symptoms and are also requested to self-quarantine for 14 days.

What are the major obstacles? Puerto Ricos population of older people, and a shaky health care system that was strapped during Hurricane Maria. Fears of a similar collapse make the possibility of a surge even more worrisome, particularly one occurring in concert with hurricane season. A recent earthquake disturbed residents, too, damaging some buildings and briefly knocking out power.

Thanks to an extensive program of testing and contact tracing, Icelands response has been quite successful, with about 1,800 cases, 10 deaths and no new cases as of May 6. With an economy thats hugely reliant on tourism, the island nation is eager to find ways to safely reopen to the rest of the world.

Is there an opening date? Travel restrictions banning most foreigners are in place until May 15; there is currently not a final decision on extending those restrictions or beginning the process of reopening on or after that date.

What are the current restrictions? Iceland, more so than many countries, has remained relatively open two-meter (about 6.5 feet) social-distancing rules are emphasized, but many businesses and primary schools have remained open, and residents may go outside. As of May 4, high schools and universities have reopened and gatherings of 50 people and under are allowed, with expectations for gatherings under 100 to be allowed by the end of May. Since March 20, most foreign nationals have been banned from entering the country (with the exception of citizens of the European Union, Britain and the European Free Trade Association); as of April 20, all visitors were required to quarantine for 14 days.

How will they open safely? Details are scarce, but the government has deployed a task force to determine how to safely reopen the country this spring or summer.

What are the major obstacles? Obstacles are all health-related, Elias Bj. Gislason, the director of the Icelandic Tourism Board, said. Can we open up the borders only for citizens from countries that have had success in handling the spread of the virus? And so on.

Tourism is a major industry in Mexico the country saw close to 50 million visitors in 2018, with the vast majority from the United States. But with a steady rise of Covid-19 cases and a health care system that is at risk of being overwhelmed, a return to normal may be far off.

Is there an opening date? There is no official opening date for tourist services, said Enrique Vega Vzquez, the publisher of VisitMexico.com, but many hotels and restaurant owners are hoping to open by June 1. Although everyone is confident that they will be able to reopen, the reality is that it is only what they have in mind, he said. While President Andrs Manuel Lpez Obrador has expressed his desire to reopen parts of the country by May 17, and the country in full by June 1, details of how that will happen remain scarce.

What are the current restrictions? All citizens and visitors are encouraged to stay home, maintain social distance and wash hands frequently. Gatherings over 100 people have been banned, and schools are closed until May 30. As of March 21, Mexico and the United States entered a joint agreement limiting all movement between the U.S.-Mexico land border to essential travel. Air travel, however, is still operational all travelers entering the country are subject to health screenings. Hotels were ordered to cancel new and existing reservations on April 3, save those made by people carrying out essential business (with a letter from their employer stating their purpose); those hotels must limit occupancy to 15 percent. Restrictions also vary by state and municipality.

How will they open safely? A joint statement from Miguel Torruco Marqus, the secretary of tourism, and Jorge Alcocer Varela, the secretary of health, was published on April 23 and laid out details for the hospitality industry to insure cleanliness and safety, and to allow hotels and restaurants to safely function once the threat of Covid-19 has waned. Details include how frequently to disinfect spaces, procedures for disinfection and cleanliness requirements for employees, including providing them with protective equipment.

What are the major obstacles? Mr. Vzquez is unsure how these protocols will be enacted. In reality, they are only plans, he said, because business owners do not really know how they will apply these measures.

One of the harder hit European nations, Frances early Covid-19 surge has slowed, as the number of patients requiring hospitalization has steadily decreased. But while movement within the country may become less restricted in the coming weeks, international travel will take much longer to resume.

What are the current restrictions? A containment and confinement program was announced on March 17, and further extended on April 28 until May 11. Residents are not allowed to leave their homes without a written certificate stating that they are engaging in one of a few approved activities, including purchasing food, assisting a family member or limited exercise. Borders outside of the European/Schengen area were also closed.

How will they open safely? The opening process will be gradual, said Kate Schwab, the media relations manager at Atout France, Frances national tourism development agency. Small museums, libraries, stores and open-air markets will be allowed to open first, starting on May 11, with social distancing rules in place, but restaurants, cafes, major museums and beaches will be closed until early June. Masks will be required on public transportation, and gatherings will be limited to 10 or fewer people. Travel between regions in France will continue to be limited. Each region will be classified as either red (high infection zone/not safe to relax confinement) or green (OK to relax confinement) but the ultimate decision will rest with the local authorities, Ms. Schwab said. Paris, Calais, Strasbourg and Dijon are currently classified as red areas.

What are the major obstacles? Keeping gatherings small and avoiding crowded public transportation. French destinations are working at implementing sanitary measures to adapt their cultural offerings to allow smaller groups, Ms. Schwab said. A 20 million euro (about $21.6 million dollars) government initiative to encourage cycling over using public transportation was recently announced, with particular focus on opening up Paris. Mayor Anne Hidalgo has announced that 30 miles of streets normally used for cars will be reserved for cyclists, including Rue de Rivoli and Boulevard Saint-Michel, said Ms. Schwab. Furthermore, another 30 streets will be pedestrian only, particularly around schools to avoid groups of people.

Singapores early success in containing Covid-19 was upended in April with news of major outbreaks in migrant worker dormitories. Still, while the countrys positive case number climbs at more than 20,000, its currently the highest in Southeast Asia aggressive testing and contact tracing has kept the death toll low (with 20 reported as of May 6).

Is there an opening date? Currently, restrictions are in place until June 1, though select services, including barbers and hairdressers, laundry services and cake and confectionary shops, will be permitted to open May 12.

What are the current restrictions? All foreign, short-term visitors have been denied entry into Singapore since March 23. On April 7, strict circuit breaker measures were enacted throughout the country all meetings and large gatherings are canceled; residents are to stay home as much as possible (face coverings are mandatory when leaving the house for essentials or emergency medical services); schools and nonessential businesses are closed; and dining establishments are restricted to delivery and takeout.

How will they open safely? According to Rachel Loh, the Singapore Tourism Boards regional director of the Americas, the board is working with the National Environmental Agency to create an SG Clean certification process for hotels, food and beverage establishments, tourist attractions and more. Starting May 12, the government is also requiring open businesses to participate in the SafeEntry system, which will track all employees and visitors who enter and exit a location, to continue contact tracing efforts. The country is also testing the efficacy of using a robot dog to enforce social distancing.

What are the major obstacles? Opening up safely, Ms. Loh said, will be dependent on ramping up testing and harnessing technology for faster contact tracing. But tourism comes with its own brand of risk. We recognize that tourism businesses attract high human traffic and social interactions.

While cases remain relatively low 625 total with 17 deaths as of May 5 the states government has proceeded cautiously. The economic losses from tourism are worrisome, too, in a place that relies so heavily on the industry. A 2020 Strategic Plan published by the Hawaii Tourism Authority at the beginning of this year credited tourism with $17.75 billion spent in the state in 2019, and 216,000 local jobs.

Is there an opening date? On May 7, the first wave of nonessential businesses were allowed to open, including astronomical observatories, carwashes and some retail services. The required 14-day quarantine for air arrivals was also extended until at least May 31.

What are the current restrictions? Residents and visitors to Hawaii are asked to stay home, or in their place of residence, as much as possible, venturing out only for essential business or activities. Outdoor exercise, including running, walking and surfing, is allowed, as long as social distancing is practiced. While there is not currently an active ban on traveling to Hawaii, it is strongly discouraged. Visitors and residents who arrive by airplane are required to self-quarantine for 14 days (some of those who havent followed the rules have received a free ticket home); the same applies to travel between the Hawaiian islands.

How will they open safely? Gov. David Iges reopening plan differs by island. For example, retail establishments will not open on Oahu until May 15; retail in Maui still does not have a targeted opening date. All openings may be rolled back or paused if cases begin to sharply increase.

Few countries have been hit harder by Covid-19 than Italy (the United States being a notable exception), which, as of May 6, has seen well over 200,000 cases and some 30,000 deaths. As the country cautiously begins to reopen, tourism officials insist that tourism in Italy will start again this year.

Is there an opening date? Following the recent limited openings of some establishments, further openings are planned for May 18 namely, additional shops, museums and libraries and June 1, when bars and restaurants may be allowed to reopen for eat-in service, if infection rates continue to slow.

What are the current restrictions? This week, Italys lockdown, which began March 10, slowly began to lift, as parks reopened along with bars and restaurants for takeout. Some Italians are allowed to return to work, and while group gatherings are still banned, family visits are allowed. Residents may travel across different provinces to return home, but cannot go back and forth. In a televised statement on April 26, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte urged Italians to maintain one-meter social distancing, or about three feet. Anyone who enters Italy from outside the country must self-quarantine for two weeks. Travelers from the United States have not been explicitly banned, but travelers must prove that they are returning to their residence or entering the country for justifiable work reasons, special needs or health emergencies.

How will they open safely? Social distancing rules stand, and masks are required, even for the family visits mentioned above. Schools are expected to remain closed until September.

What are the major obstacles? Again, the need to balance health considerations and a desperate need to boost the economy. Italys already suffering economy has taken an enormous hit following nearly two months of shutdown and a 95 percent drop in tourism (the national tourism industry is predicting 20 billion euros in losses from tourism this year in comparison to 2019).

Lauren Sloss is a San Francisco-based writer who covers travel, food and music. Follow her on Instagram: @lsloss and Twitter: @laurensloss

View original post here:

Travel Reopenings Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic - The New York Times

May 8 evening update: The latest on the coronavirus and Maine – Bangor Daily News

Andree Kehn | AP

Andree Kehn | AP

Nancy Leeman assembles Mother's Day bouquets for customers at Blais Flower & Garden Center during the coronavirus pandemic, Friday, May 8, 2020, in Lewiston, Maine.

Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which the BDN has made free for the public. You can support our critical reporting on the coronavirus by purchasing a digital subscription or donating directly to the newsroom.

Another 44 cases of the new coronavirus have been detected in the state and one more Mainer has died after testing positive for COVID-19.

There have now been 1,374 confirmed and likely coronavirus cases across all of Maines counties, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Thats up from 1,330 on Thursday.

[Our COVID-19 tracker contains the most recent information on Maine cases by county]

The most recent death was a resident of Hancock County, according to the Maine CDC. Its the first death reported in that county. The statewide death toll now stands at 63.

So far, 194 Mainers have been hospitalized at some point with COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Of those, 44 people are currently hospitalized, with 23 in critical care and 10 on ventilators, according to the Maine CDC.

Meanwhile, another 836 people have fully recovered from the coronavirus, meaning there are 475 active and likely cases in the state. Thats down from 481 on Thursday.

Heres the latest on the coronavirus and Maine.

On Friday, Gov. Janet Mills announced that in 12 of the states more rural counties, retail establishments would be able to reopen on Monday and restaurants would be able to open for limited dine-in service on May 18, so long as they follow a number of new health guidelines.

Maine has become one of at least a dozen states that are beginning to ease restrictions on businesses in rural areas with fewer cases of the coronavirus while many rules will be in place in more heavily populated areas until June.

A group of Maine business owners on Friday sued Gov. Janet Mills over her unprecedented shutdown orders to limit the spread of the coronavirus, claiming they are unconstitutional.

Read the full lawsuit from Maine business owners against Gov. Janet Mills.

Maines agriculture commissioner has called on the federal government to loosen the rules about the interstate shipping of meat during the coronavirus pandemic. She said that would smooth out bottlenecks in the local food chain, reduce the need to cull healthy livestock and poultry and support our food-insecure during this extremely difficult time.

While the full extent of the economic impact that all the licensed sugarhouses around Maine will face from the pandemic is still unknown, its likely to take a big bite out of maple syrup consumption this year.

Despite the global halt of all cruise ship operations, a near-empty 785-foot cruise ship could be on its way to Maine to tether at a large breakwater pier in Eastport for much of the summer. There have not been any passengers on board the ship, Oceania Cruises Riviera, for more than a month. After being moved to Eastport the ships crew would be reduced to maintain basic ship operations only, according to the citys port authority.

Uncle Andys Diner in South Portland, which has twice appeared on the Food Network, is closing for good after 66 years in business. Owner Dennis Fogg said Friday hell keep the diner open until the end of May for takeout. Being closed to sit-down customers by pandemic restrictions has devastated his business, since the diner is mostly known for serving breakfast and lunch.

To survive coronavirus lockdowns, this Richmond food truck set up shop in its owners front yard. Then the complaints began.

As of early Thursday morning, the coronavirus has sickened 1,281,246 people in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as caused 76,901 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

Elsewhere in New England, there have been 4,702 coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts, 2,874 in Connecticut, 399 in Rhode Island, 121 in New Hampshire and 53 in Vermont.

Watch: Gov. Janet Mills, Maine CDC coronavirus press conference, May 8

Read more:

May 8 evening update: The latest on the coronavirus and Maine - Bangor Daily News

Once the coronavirus ‘epicenter,’ this American city reversed course – CNN

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"},{"title":"How morgue worker honors the dead in her care","duration":"02:57","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/health/2020/05/07/new-jersey-morgue-attendant-daffodils-honors-deceased-tanisha-brunson-malone-intv-ctn-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"health/2020/05/07/new-jersey-morgue-attendant-daffodils-honors-deceased-tanisha-brunson-malone-intv-ctn-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200507005229-new-jersey-morgue-attendant-daffodils-honors-deceased-tanisha-brunson-malone-intv-ctn-vpx-00001729-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/health/2020/05/07/new-jersey-morgue-attendant-daffodils-honors-deceased-tanisha-brunson-malone-intv-ctn-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"Tanisha Brunson-Malone, a morgue attendant at a hospital in New Jersey, is honoring the dead in her care by placing a yellow daffodil on each body bag. 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Once the coronavirus 'epicenter,' this American city reversed course - CNN

Coronavirus has created a rift between the US and China that may take a generation to heal – CNN

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Read the rest here:

Coronavirus has created a rift between the US and China that may take a generation to heal - CNN

Youll Probably Never Know If You Had the Coronavirus in January – The Atlantic

SARS-CoV-2 is highly contagious, but a few dozen imported cases would probably not be enough to spark many major undetected outbreaks. Based on related diseases such as SARS and MERS, epidemiologists suspect that the coronaviruss spreading potential is irregular. In all likelihood, some sick people infect many others, but most infect just a handful. Alessandro Vespignani, a network scientist and public-health professor at Northeastern University, estimates that in each American city that later became a hot spot for COVID-19, perhaps 10 to 20 local transmission events occurred in January. Aside from the one or two infections that did seed major outbreaks in places such as Seattle and New York, most infections that arrived from outside the country in January would have been transmitted to at most a few people, then quickly fizzle out, Bedford told me.

Read: Why America is uniquely unsuited to dealing with the coronavirus

Establishing a more precise number of how many sick people carried SARS-CoV-2 to the U.S. early this year would require data that can be difficult or impossible to collect, especially during a major global-health crisis. For one: how many people were actually sick with COVID-19 around the world in January (or earlier). The official data out of Wuhan have been unreliable from the start. And countries that have since ramped up their coronavirus-detection efforts were not looking as carefully for cases at the beginning of the year. The World Health Organization did not declare a global-health emergency until January 30.

Researchers would also need to know where people traveled around the world in the early weeks of the pandemic. One of the big challenges of looking at actual global spread of this disease is that, from January on, travel patterns have been massively disrupted, Gardner said. When researchers dont have perfect travel data for a time and place theyre studying, she explained, they often substitute or extrapolate from data in the recent past. Sometimes you can say, Well, I dont have 2016 data, but Im using 2015 data. Thats representative. That does not apply anymore. The Chinese government shut down Wuhan on January 23; even before then, individual peoples movement patterns might have begun to shift in ways that are difficult to track.

When the living cannot be fully accounted for, one way to move forward is to tally the dead. Testing shortages mean that some COVID-19 deaths have gone undetected, but researchers can get a better handle on just how many people the virus killed during a given time period by looking at the excess mortality: how many more people died than would have been expected to under normal circumstances.

Last week, the National Center for Health Statistics published preliminary data on weekly excess deaths since January 2017, which will be updated as the pandemic wears on. Bob Anderson, the chief of the NCHSs mortality-statistics branch, told me that its the first time weve done something like this before the data were final. The hope is that researchers can use the gross numbers to estimate how many Americans died of COVID-19 over a particular period, and from there estimate how many Americans were infected. But picking out excess deaths in the first few weeks of this year will be difficult. Compared with the hundreds of thousands of deaths the country experiences in a typical month, a handful of COVID-19 deaths would hardly be a blip. Indeed, by the NCHSs count, the United States did not exceed the expected number of deaths by a significant margin until the week of March 22.

See more here:

Youll Probably Never Know If You Had the Coronavirus in January - The Atlantic

One of Trump’s personal valets has tested positive for coronavirus – CNN

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","descriptionText":"After Vice President Pence's press secretary Katie Miller tested positive for coronavirus, President Trump questioned the "whole concept of tests." 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Can it spread through sex?","duration":"01:33","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/health/2020/05/08/coronavirus-mens-semen-baldwin-intv-nr-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"health/2020/05/08/coronavirus-mens-semen-baldwin-intv-nr-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/131227133923-man-silhouette-restricted-story-top.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/health/2020/05/08/coronavirus-mens-semen-baldwin-intv-nr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"New research in China shows thatu003ca href="/2020/05/07/health/coronavirus-semen-china-health/index.html" target="_blank"> coronavirus can remain in the semen of menu003c/a> who have been formerly diagnosed with the illness.","descriptionText":"New research in China shows thatu003ca href="/2020/05/07/health/coronavirus-semen-china-health/index.html" target="_blank"> coronavirus can remain in the semen of menu003c/a> who have been formerly diagnosed with the illness."},{"title":"Man creates rolling pulpit for pandemic funerals","duration":"01:29","sourceName":"WTVR","sourceLink":"https://www.wtvr.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2020/05/08/virginia-mobile-rolling-funeral-pulpit-pkg-vpx.wtvr/index.xml","videoId":"us/2020/05/08/virginia-mobile-rolling-funeral-pulpit-pkg-vpx.wtvr","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200508154203-rolling-funeral-pulpit-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2020/05/08/virginia-mobile-rolling-funeral-pulpit-pkg-vpx.wtvr/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"A man in Petersburg, Virginia, saw a need for those who have lost loved ones and cannot have a traditional funeral due to social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. ","descriptionText":"A man in Petersburg, Virginia, saw a need for those who have lost loved ones and cannot have a traditional funeral due to social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. "},{"title":"Manufacturer: Only enough remdesivir for 200K patients worldwide","duration":"02:24","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/health/2020/05/08/remdesivir-shortage-coronavirus-drug-cohen-newday-dnt-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"health/2020/05/08/remdesivir-shortage-coronavirus-drug-cohen-newday-dnt-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200507151802-01-gilead-remdesivir-0408-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/health/2020/05/08/remdesivir-shortage-coronavirus-drug-cohen-newday-dnt-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"Remdesivir is the only drug shown to be effective against Covid-19 in a rigorous trial. 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CNN's u003ca href="/profiles/athena-jones-profile" target="_blank">Athena Jonesu003c/a> reports.","descriptionText":"The Trump administration willu003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/07/politics/cdc-guidance-coronavirus-reopen-america/index.html" target="_blank"> not implement the CDC's 17-page draftu003c/a> recommendation for reopening America, a senior CDC official confirmed to CNN Thursday. CNN's u003ca href="/profiles/athena-jones-profile" target="_blank">Athena Jonesu003c/a> reports."},{"title":"Birx: We're working with CDC to edit reopening guidelines","duration":"02:26","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/health/2020/05/08/cdc-guidelines-birx-sanjay-cooper-intv-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"health/2020/05/08/cdc-guidelines-birx-sanjay-cooper-intv-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200507201013-03-cnn-town-hall-0407-birx-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/health/2020/05/08/cdc-guidelines-birx-sanjay-cooper-intv-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"CNN'su003ca href="/profiles/anderson-cooper-profile" target="_blank"> Anderson Cooperu003c/a> andu003ca href="/profiles/sanjay-gupta-profile" target="_blank"> Dr. Sanjay Guptau003c/a> speak to Dr. Deborah Birx about the CDC revising their guidelines for reopening states amid the coronavirus pandemic.","descriptionText":"CNN'su003ca href="/profiles/anderson-cooper-profile" target="_blank"> Anderson Cooperu003c/a> andu003ca href="/profiles/sanjay-gupta-profile" target="_blank"> Dr. Sanjay Guptau003c/a> speak to Dr. Deborah Birx about the CDC revising their guidelines for reopening states amid the coronavirus pandemic."},{"title":"Rollout of antibody tests met with confusion, little oversight","duration":"03:16","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2020/05/07/tracking-antibody-testing-coronavirus-griffin-tsr-pkg-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"us/2020/05/07/tracking-antibody-testing-coronavirus-griffin-tsr-pkg-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200430091452-atlanta-antibody-tests-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2020/05/07/tracking-antibody-testing-coronavirus-griffin-tsr-pkg-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"The rollout of millions of antibody tests in the US has created frustration and division among state health departments due to a mix of questionable tests, shifting federal rules, and a hodgepodge of different methods for tracking results. CNN's u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/profiles/drew-griffin-profile" target="_blank">Drew Griffinu003c/a> reports. ","descriptionText":"The rollout of millions of antibody tests in the US has created frustration and division among state health departments due to a mix of questionable tests, shifting federal rules, and a hodgepodge of different methods for tracking results. CNN's u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/profiles/drew-griffin-profile" target="_blank">Drew Griffinu003c/a> reports. "},{"title":"How morgue worker honors the dead in her care","duration":"02:57","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/health/2020/05/07/new-jersey-morgue-attendant-daffodils-honors-deceased-tanisha-brunson-malone-intv-ctn-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"health/2020/05/07/new-jersey-morgue-attendant-daffodils-honors-deceased-tanisha-brunson-malone-intv-ctn-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200507005229-new-jersey-morgue-attendant-daffodils-honors-deceased-tanisha-brunson-malone-intv-ctn-vpx-00001729-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/health/2020/05/07/new-jersey-morgue-attendant-daffodils-honors-deceased-tanisha-brunson-malone-intv-ctn-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"Tanisha Brunson-Malone, a morgue attendant at a hospital in New Jersey, is honoring the dead in her care by placing a yellow daffodil on each body bag. CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/don-lemon-profile" target="_blank">Don Lemonu003c/a> speaks with her about the gesture.","descriptionText":"Tanisha Brunson-Malone, a morgue attendant at a hospital in New Jersey, is honoring the dead in her care by placing a yellow daffodil on each body bag. CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/don-lemon-profile" target="_blank">Don Lemonu003c/a> speaks with her about the gesture."},{"title":"How Washington state kept coronavirus deaths under 1,000","duration":"03:33","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2020/05/07/washington-state-coronavirus-sidner-pkg-lead-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"us/2020/05/07/washington-state-coronavirus-sidner-pkg-lead-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200507174229-seattle-skyline-washington-coronavirus-sidner-pkg-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2020/05/07/washington-state-coronavirus-sidner-pkg-lead-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"CNN's u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/profiles/sara-sidner-profile" target="_blank">Sara Sidneru003c/a> explains how Washington state, the first state to confirm a coronavirus case in the US, has been able to keep the death toll relatively low, compared to other states. ","descriptionText":"CNN's u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/profiles/sara-sidner-profile" target="_blank">Sara Sidneru003c/a> explains how Washington state, the first state to confirm a coronavirus case in the US, has been able to keep the death toll relatively low, compared to other states. "},{"title":"McDonald's employees shot over coronavirus restrictions","duration":"01:07","sourceName":"KFOR","sourceLink":"https://kfor.com/news/local/at-least-2-people-taken-to-hospital-following-shooting-in-oklahoma-city/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2020/05/07/customer-shot-mcdonalds-employees-oklahoma-city-pkg-vpx.kfor/index.xml","videoId":"us/2020/05/07/customer-shot-mcdonalds-employees-oklahoma-city-pkg-vpx.kfor","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200506224453-mcdonalds-employees-shot-coronavirus-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2020/05/07/customer-shot-mcdonalds-employees-oklahoma-city-pkg-vpx.kfor/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"Two McDonald's employees in Oklahoma City were shot by customers after being told the dining area was closed due to coronavirus restrictions. 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","descriptionText":"Former CDC chief Tom Frieden, testified on Capitol Hill that he believes the number of coronavirus deaths in the US will exceed 100,000. 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Can it spread through sex?","duration":"01:33","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/health/2020/05/08/coronavirus-mens-semen-baldwin-intv-nr-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"health/2020/05/08/coronavirus-mens-semen-baldwin-intv-nr-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/131227133923-man-silhouette-restricted-story-top.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/health/2020/05/08/coronavirus-mens-semen-baldwin-intv-nr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"New research in China shows thatu003ca href="/2020/05/07/health/coronavirus-semen-china-health/index.html" target="_blank"> coronavirus can remain in the semen of menu003c/a> who have been formerly diagnosed with the illness.","descriptionText":"New research in China shows thatu003ca href="/2020/05/07/health/coronavirus-semen-china-health/index.html" target="_blank"> coronavirus can remain in the semen of menu003c/a> who have been formerly diagnosed with the illness."},{"title":"Man creates rolling pulpit for pandemic funerals","duration":"01:29","sourceName":"WTVR","sourceLink":"https://www.wtvr.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2020/05/08/virginia-mobile-rolling-funeral-pulpit-pkg-vpx.wtvr/index.xml","videoId":"us/2020/05/08/virginia-mobile-rolling-funeral-pulpit-pkg-vpx.wtvr","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200508154203-rolling-funeral-pulpit-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2020/05/08/virginia-mobile-rolling-funeral-pulpit-pkg-vpx.wtvr/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"A man in Petersburg, Virginia, saw a need for those who have lost loved ones and cannot have a traditional funeral due to social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. ","descriptionText":"A man in Petersburg, Virginia, saw a need for those who have lost loved ones and cannot have a traditional funeral due to social distancing guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic. "},{"title":"Manufacturer: Only enough remdesivir for 200K patients worldwide","duration":"02:24","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/health/2020/05/08/remdesivir-shortage-coronavirus-drug-cohen-newday-dnt-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"health/2020/05/08/remdesivir-shortage-coronavirus-drug-cohen-newday-dnt-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200507151802-01-gilead-remdesivir-0408-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/health/2020/05/08/remdesivir-shortage-coronavirus-drug-cohen-newday-dnt-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"Remdesivir is the only drug shown to be effective against Covid-19 in a rigorous trial. But the drug's maker, Gilead Sciences, says there's only enough of it in the world for about 200,000 patients. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen reports.","descriptionText":"Remdesivir is the only drug shown to be effective against Covid-19 in a rigorous trial. But the drug's maker, Gilead Sciences, says there's only enough of it in the world for about 200,000 patients. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen reports."},{"title":"The machines helping hospitals fight coronavirus","duration":"02:22","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/health/2020/05/04/coronavirus-intensive-care-equipment-lon-orig.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"health/2020/05/04/coronavirus-intensive-care-equipment-lon-orig.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200504140650-covid-critical-care-equipment-dv-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/health/2020/05/04/coronavirus-intensive-care-equipment-lon-orig.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"Intensive care units around the word are caring for patients with Covid-19, this is the equipment medical workers need to treat one severe patient.","descriptionText":"Intensive care units around the word are caring for patients with Covid-19, this is the equipment medical workers need to treat one severe patient."},{"title":"Trump administration rejects CDC reopening guidelines","duration":"03:16","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/health/2020/05/07/cdc-guidance-on-safe-reopening-coronavirus-nr-pkg-jones-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"health/2020/05/07/cdc-guidance-on-safe-reopening-coronavirus-nr-pkg-jones-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200424144736-01-trump-signing-coronavirus-aid-package-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/health/2020/05/07/cdc-guidance-on-safe-reopening-coronavirus-nr-pkg-jones-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"The Trump administration willu003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/07/politics/cdc-guidance-coronavirus-reopen-america/index.html" target="_blank"> not implement the CDC's 17-page draftu003c/a> recommendation for reopening America, a senior CDC official confirmed to CNN Thursday. CNN's u003ca href="/profiles/athena-jones-profile" target="_blank">Athena Jonesu003c/a> reports.","descriptionText":"The Trump administration willu003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/07/politics/cdc-guidance-coronavirus-reopen-america/index.html" target="_blank"> not implement the CDC's 17-page draftu003c/a> recommendation for reopening America, a senior CDC official confirmed to CNN Thursday. CNN's u003ca href="/profiles/athena-jones-profile" target="_blank">Athena Jonesu003c/a> reports."},{"title":"Birx: We're working with CDC to edit reopening guidelines","duration":"02:26","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/health/2020/05/08/cdc-guidelines-birx-sanjay-cooper-intv-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"health/2020/05/08/cdc-guidelines-birx-sanjay-cooper-intv-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200507201013-03-cnn-town-hall-0407-birx-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/health/2020/05/08/cdc-guidelines-birx-sanjay-cooper-intv-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"CNN'su003ca href="/profiles/anderson-cooper-profile" target="_blank"> Anderson Cooperu003c/a> andu003ca href="/profiles/sanjay-gupta-profile" target="_blank"> Dr. Sanjay Guptau003c/a> speak to Dr. Deborah Birx about the CDC revising their guidelines for reopening states amid the coronavirus pandemic.","descriptionText":"CNN'su003ca href="/profiles/anderson-cooper-profile" target="_blank"> Anderson Cooperu003c/a> andu003ca href="/profiles/sanjay-gupta-profile" target="_blank"> Dr. Sanjay Guptau003c/a> speak to Dr. Deborah Birx about the CDC revising their guidelines for reopening states amid the coronavirus pandemic."},{"title":"Rollout of antibody tests met with confusion, little oversight","duration":"03:16","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2020/05/07/tracking-antibody-testing-coronavirus-griffin-tsr-pkg-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"us/2020/05/07/tracking-antibody-testing-coronavirus-griffin-tsr-pkg-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200430091452-atlanta-antibody-tests-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2020/05/07/tracking-antibody-testing-coronavirus-griffin-tsr-pkg-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"The rollout of millions of antibody tests in the US has created frustration and division among state health departments due to a mix of questionable tests, shifting federal rules, and a hodgepodge of different methods for tracking results. CNN's u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/profiles/drew-griffin-profile" target="_blank">Drew Griffinu003c/a> reports. ","descriptionText":"The rollout of millions of antibody tests in the US has created frustration and division among state health departments due to a mix of questionable tests, shifting federal rules, and a hodgepodge of different methods for tracking results. CNN's u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/profiles/drew-griffin-profile" target="_blank">Drew Griffinu003c/a> reports. "},{"title":"How morgue worker honors the dead in her care","duration":"02:57","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/health/2020/05/07/new-jersey-morgue-attendant-daffodils-honors-deceased-tanisha-brunson-malone-intv-ctn-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"health/2020/05/07/new-jersey-morgue-attendant-daffodils-honors-deceased-tanisha-brunson-malone-intv-ctn-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200507005229-new-jersey-morgue-attendant-daffodils-honors-deceased-tanisha-brunson-malone-intv-ctn-vpx-00001729-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/health/2020/05/07/new-jersey-morgue-attendant-daffodils-honors-deceased-tanisha-brunson-malone-intv-ctn-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"Tanisha Brunson-Malone, a morgue attendant at a hospital in New Jersey, is honoring the dead in her care by placing a yellow daffodil on each body bag. CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/don-lemon-profile" target="_blank">Don Lemonu003c/a> speaks with her about the gesture.","descriptionText":"Tanisha Brunson-Malone, a morgue attendant at a hospital in New Jersey, is honoring the dead in her care by placing a yellow daffodil on each body bag. CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/don-lemon-profile" target="_blank">Don Lemonu003c/a> speaks with her about the gesture."},{"title":"How Washington state kept coronavirus deaths under 1,000","duration":"03:33","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2020/05/07/washington-state-coronavirus-sidner-pkg-lead-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"us/2020/05/07/washington-state-coronavirus-sidner-pkg-lead-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200507174229-seattle-skyline-washington-coronavirus-sidner-pkg-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2020/05/07/washington-state-coronavirus-sidner-pkg-lead-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"CNN's u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/profiles/sara-sidner-profile" target="_blank">Sara Sidneru003c/a> explains how Washington state, the first state to confirm a coronavirus case in the US, has been able to keep the death toll relatively low, compared to other states. ","descriptionText":"CNN's u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/profiles/sara-sidner-profile" target="_blank">Sara Sidneru003c/a> explains how Washington state, the first state to confirm a coronavirus case in the US, has been able to keep the death toll relatively low, compared to other states. "},{"title":"McDonald's employees shot over coronavirus restrictions","duration":"01:07","sourceName":"KFOR","sourceLink":"https://kfor.com/news/local/at-least-2-people-taken-to-hospital-following-shooting-in-oklahoma-city/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2020/05/07/customer-shot-mcdonalds-employees-oklahoma-city-pkg-vpx.kfor/index.xml","videoId":"us/2020/05/07/customer-shot-mcdonalds-employees-oklahoma-city-pkg-vpx.kfor","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200506224453-mcdonalds-employees-shot-coronavirus-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2020/05/07/customer-shot-mcdonalds-employees-oklahoma-city-pkg-vpx.kfor/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"Two McDonald's employees in Oklahoma City were shot by customers after being told the dining area was closed due to coronavirus restrictions. Another employee was injured and the victims are expected to survive.","descriptionText":"Two McDonald's employees in Oklahoma City were shot by customers after being told the dining area was closed due to coronavirus restrictions. Another employee was injured and the victims are expected to survive."},{"title":"Scientists hopeful for monoclonal antibody treatment","duration":"02:26","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/health/2020/05/06/monoclonal-antibody-coronavirus-treatment-cohen-pkg-newday-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"health/2020/05/06/monoclonal-antibody-coronavirus-treatment-cohen-pkg-newday-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200505220349-coronavirus-virus-swab-samples-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/health/2020/05/06/monoclonal-antibody-coronavirus-treatment-cohen-pkg-newday-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/coronavirus/","description":"Scientists hope monoclonal antibodies from plasma will be an effective treatment in the fight against Covid-19. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen has more.","descriptionText":"Scientists hope monoclonal antibodies from plasma will be an effective treatment in the fight against Covid-19. 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Read the rest here:

One of Trump's personal valets has tested positive for coronavirus - CNN

Federal Watchdog Says Coronavirus Whistle-Blower Should Be Reinstated as It Investigates – The New York Times

WASHINGTON A federal investigative office has found reasonable grounds to believe that the Trump administration was retaliating against a whistle-blower, Dr. Rick Bright, when he was ousted from a government research agency combating the coronavirus and said he should be reinstated for 45 days while it investigates, his lawyers said Friday.

The lawyers, Debra S. Katz and Lisa J. Banks, said in a statement that they were notified late Thursday afternoon that the Office of Special Counsel, which protects whistle-blowers, had made a threshold determination that the Department of Health and Human Services violated the Whistleblower Protection Act by removing Dr. Bright from his position because he made protected disclosures in the best interest of the American public.

The finding comes just days after the lawyers filed a whistle-blower complaint saying that Dr. Brights removal last month as head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority was payback. They said Dr. Bright, who was reassigned to a narrower job at the National Institutes of Health, had tried to expose cronyism and corruption at the Department of Health and Human Services while pressing for a more robust coronavirus response and opposing the stockpiling of antimalaria drugs championed by President Trump.

It will now be up to the secretary of health and human services, Alex M. Azar II, to decide whether to send Dr. Bright back to BARDA during the Office of Special Counsel inquiry.

If Mr. Azar refuses, Dr. Brights complaint would ordinarily be sent to the Merit Systems Protection Board, an independent quasi-federal agency charged with deciding claims of whistle-blower reprisal. But the Senate has not confirmed Mr. Trumps nominees to the board, leaving it with no members. A frequently asked questions document about the lack of members has been removed from the boards website.

Dr. Bright should not be denied the right to have his complaint investigated fully and fairly before he is formally transferred to N.I.H. a move that will harm not only him, but the country as well, the lawyers statement said. This country is in an unprecedented health crisis and needs the expertise of Dr. Bright to lead the nations efforts to combat Covid-19. A spokeswoman for the Health and Human Services Department, Caitlin Oakley, declined to say what Mr. Azar would do.

This is a personnel matter that is currently under review, she said. However, H.H.S. strongly disagrees with the allegations and characterizations in the complaint from Dr. Bright.

Ms. Banks and Ms. Katz said it was a common occurrence for agencies to heed the Office of Special Counsels requests to stay personnel actions when it finds evidence that retaliation occurred. In its budget request to Congress for the 2021 fiscal year, the office reported negotiating 31 stays with federal agencies in the last year and said it had achieved 27 disciplinary actions, upholding accountability and sending a clear message that the government does not tolerate whistle-blower reprisals.

Dr. Bright is scheduled to testify next week before a House panel led by Representative Anna G. Eshoo, Democrat of California, who helped create BARDA and has called for an investigation into his removal. Ms. Eshoo has said she would also like to hear from Dr. Robert P. Kadlec, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response, and Mr. Azar.

The special counsels finding is a first step but a victory nonetheless for Dr. Bright, who was transferred to N.I.H., he has said, after he tried to put controls on the use of a malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, that Mr. Trump had heralded as a treatment for the coronavirus but was unproven for that use.

In his 89-page complaint, Dr. Bright said his boss at the Health and Human Services Department, Dr. Kadlec, repeatedly pressured him to steer millions of dollars worth of contracts to the clients of a well-connected consultant. He also described what he called opposition from department superiors including Mr. Azar when he pushed as early as January for the necessary resources to develop drugs and vaccines to counter the emerging coronavirus pandemic.

John Clerici, the health care consultant singled out, has said the allegations are baseless. Dr. Kadlec and Mr. Azar have not responded directly, though Mr. Trump has called Dr. Bright disgruntled.

On Tuesday, after Dr. Brights complaint was filed, Ms. Oakley, the spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said that Dr. Bright had been transferred to N.I.H. to work on diagnostics testing critical to combating Covid-19 where he has been entrusted to spend upward of $1 billion to advance that effort.

We are deeply disappointed that he has not shown up to work on behalf of the American people and lead on this critical endeavor, she added.

Dr. Bright, an influenza expert, ran BARDA for nearly four years. The tiny agency, created in 2006 as a response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, teams up with industry in developing medical countermeasures that can be stockpiled by the federal government to combat biological or chemical attacks and pandemic threats.

BARDA has spent billions of dollars on contracts with dozens of different suppliers, including major pharmaceutical companies and smaller biotechnology firms. In February, it awarded $456 million to Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a part of Johnson & Johnson, to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

In a brief statement when the whistle-blower complaint was filed, Dr. Bright said the last several years of working under Dr. Kadlec, who became his boss after Mr. Trump became president, had been beyond challenging.

Time after time, I was pressured to ignore or dismiss expert scientific recommendations and instead to award lucrative contracts based on political connections, Dr. Bright said.

The tensions between the two culminated last month when Dr. Bright, alarmed at the administrations push to make the malaria drug widely available, leaked emails to a reporter for Reuters. Dr. Bright was removed in days.

I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the Covid-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit, he said in a statement at that time. I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science not politics or cronyism has to lead the way.

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Federal Watchdog Says Coronavirus Whistle-Blower Should Be Reinstated as It Investigates - The New York Times

Do Antibodies Against The Novel Coronavirus Prevent Reinfection? : Shots – Health News – NPR

A medical worker walks in front of Transform MD Medical Center in White Plains, N.Y., where antibody testing was being offered. Pablo Monsalve/VIEW press/Corbis via Getty Images hide caption

A medical worker walks in front of Transform MD Medical Center in White Plains, N.Y., where antibody testing was being offered.

Most people infected with the novel coronavirus develop antibodies in response.

But scientists don't know whether people who have been exposed to the coronavirus will be immune for life, as is usually the case for the measles, or if the disease will return again and again, like the common cold.

"This to me is one of the big unanswered questions that we have," says Jeffrey Shaman, a professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University, "because it really says, 'What is the full exit strategy to this and how long are we going to be contending with it?' "

He's one of many scientists on a quest for answers. And the pieces are starting to fall into place.

Antibodies, which are proteins found in the blood as part of the body's immune response to infection, are a sign that people could be developing immunity. But antibodies are by no means a guarantee a person will be protected for life or even for a year.

Shaman has been studying four coronaviruses that cause the common cold. "They're very common and so people seem to get them quite often," Shaman says. Ninety percent of people develop antibodies to those viruses, at least in passing, but "our evidence is those antibodies are not conferring protection."

That may be simply because colds are relatively mild, so the immune system doesn't mount a full-blown response, suggests Stanley Perlman, a pediatrician who studies immunology and microbiology at the University of Iowa. "That's why people get colds over and over again," he says. "It doesn't really tickle the immune response that much."

He's studied one of the most severe coronaviruses, the one that causes SARS, and he's found that the degree of immunity depended on the severity of the disease. Sicker people remained immune for much longer, in some cases many years.

For most people exposed to the novel coronavirus, "I think in the short term you're going to get some protection," Perlman says. "It's really the time of the protection that matters."

Perlman notes that for some people the symptoms of COVID-19 are no worse than a cold, while for others they are severe. "That's why it's tricky," he says, to predict the breadth of an immune response.

And it's risky to assume that experiences with other coronaviruses are directly applicable to the new one.

"Unfortunately, we cannot really generalize what kind of immunity is needed to get protection against a virus unless we really learn more about the virus," says Akiko Iwasaki, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at the Yale University School of Medicine.

An immunobiologist, she is part of a rapidly expanding effort to figure this out. She and her colleagues are already studying the immune response in more than 100 patients in the medical school hospital. She's encouraged that most people who recover from the coronavirus have developed antibodies that neutralize the coronavirus in a petri dish.

"Whether that's happening inside the body we don't really know," she cautions.

Research like hers will answer that question, eventually.

But not all antibodies are protective. Iwasaki says some can actually contribute to the disease process and make the illness worse. These antibodies can contribute to inflammation and lead the body to overreact. That overreaction can even be deadly.

"Which types of antibodies protect the host versus those that enhance the disease? We really need to figure that out," she says.

The studies at Yale will follow patients for at least a year, to find out how slowly or quickly immunity might fade. "I wish there was a shortcut," Iwasaki says, "but we may not need to wait a year to understand what type of antibodies are protective."

That's because she and other immunologists are looking for patterns in the immune response that will identify people who have long-term immunity.

Researchers long ago figured out what biological features in the blood (called biomarkers) correlate with immunity to other diseases, says Kari Nadeau, a pediatrician and immunologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine. She expects researchers will be able to do the same for the new coronavirus.

Nadeau is working on several studies, including one that seeks to recruit 1,000 people who were previously exposed to the coronavirus. One goal is to identify people who produce especially strong, protective antibody responses. She says the antibody-producing cells from those people can potentially be turned into vaccines.

Another critical question she's zeroing in on is whether people who become immune are still capable of spreading the virus.

"Because you might be immune, you might have protected yourself against the virus," she says, "but it still might be in your body and you're giving it to others."

It would have huge public health implications if it turns out people can still spread the disease after they've recovered. Studies from China and South Korea seemed to suggest this was possible, though further studies have cast doubt on that as a significant feature of the disease.

Nadeau is also trying to figure out what can be said about the antibody blood-tests that are now starting to flood the market. There are two issues with these tests. First, a positive test may be a false-positive result, so it may be necessary to run a confirmatory test to get a credible answer. Second, it's not clear that a true positive test result really indicates a person is immune and, if so, for how long.

Companies would like to be able to use these tests to identify people who can return to work without fear of spreading the coronavirus.

"I see a lot of business people wanting to do the best for their employees, and for good reason," Nadeau says. "And we can never say you're fully protected until we get enough [information]. But right now we're working hard to get the numbers we need to be able to see what constitutes protection and what does not."

It could be a matter of life or death to get this right. Answers to these questions are likely to come with the accumulation of information from many different labs. Fortunately, scientists around the world are working simultaneously to find answers.

You can contact NPR Science Correspondent Richard Harris at rharris@npr.org.

Original post:

Do Antibodies Against The Novel Coronavirus Prevent Reinfection? : Shots - Health News - NPR

The coronavirus appears to have mutated. What does that mean for contagiousness? – NBC News

A new study has sparked fears that the coronavirus has mutated to become more contagious, but experts say there is no evidence these changes make it any more dangerous or transmissible than it already is.

"Viruses mutate all the time, [and] most mutations have no significance even if they spread," said Adriana Heguy, director of the Genome Technology Center at New York University, who was not involved with the research.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

The study was posted on the preprint server bioRxiv on April 30. Preprints are studies that have not undergone the rigorous peer-review process required for publication in medical or scientific journals. In the rush to share new research on COVID-19, many scientists have been sharing their work online before undergoing the full review process.

The authors, who included researchers from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, analyzed the genetic sequences of samples of the virus gathered worldwide, zeroing in on a mutation called D614G.

"We were concerned that if the D614G mutation can increase transmissibility," the study authors wrote, "it might also impact severity of disease."

The corresponding author at the Los Alamos National Laboratory did not respond to an interview request from NBC News.

The hypothesis is concerning for a virus that has already infected millions and is responsible for more than 260,000 deaths worldwide.

But outside experts were quick to point out that changes in viruses especially coronaviruses are common, and may mean nothing at all.

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Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minnesota, explained viral mutations using the analogy of an automobile.

"If the mutation takes out your carburetor, the car can no longer operate," Poland said. "On the other hand, if the mutation changes one spark plug, the car can still operate."

What's unclear is whether the D614G mutation slows or speeds the viral "car" or, in fact, does nothing.

Download the NBC News app for full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Heguy said the D614G mutation had already been identified in viral sequences from around the globe, particularly in Europe.

The researchers "used that for their model to see if there was an indication that this particular mutation ... would make it more transmissible. According to their model, it is possible," Heguy said. "Having said that, it is only a model."

That is, models only reflect what could possibly happen in the future. Scientists have not found the virus has evolved to become any more dangerous or deadly in people.

Mutations are common in viruses, but the coronavirus "so far has been pretty darn stable with little mutations around the edges," Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, said.

"That's what these investigators are looking at," Schaffner said. "They're trying to determine whether these little mutations have implications for how well it's transmitted." But, there is "no evidence that this is happening that I can see clinically," he added.

Dr. Robert Gallo, the co-founder and director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said "the paper, I believe, is a strong paper by a quality group."

But, he said, "no conclusions can be made about biology or functionality" of the virus based on this study.

While the research may not be reflective of any impact on patients, scientists say it's still incredibly useful as a way to track how the virus acts over time.

Poland noted that experts tracking the virus through its genetic sequencing have found that while it is changing, it's not doing so very quickly.

"Unlike influenza, this virus accumulates mutations more slowly, which is a good thing," he said. "It gives us time to track it and to understand what's happening."

Rapidly mutating viruses make it more difficult for researchers to develop vaccines. Flu vaccines, for example, are notoriously difficult to get right because the various strains of influenza have a tendency to change and mutate quickly.

If this virus were to follow suit, it might mean trouble for ongoing COVID-19 vaccine research.

"It's possible that you'll get vaccines early enough and quick enough to prevent [a person's] first infection with the coronavirus," Gallo said. "We may look like heroes that stop this early on."

But, if the virus mutates too much, and the vaccine proves to be a poor match to future strains of the coronavirus, "we may be chasing our tail like with influenza. And that's not a bright prospect with a virus that is already so infectious."

Follow NBC HEALTH on Twitter & Facebook.

Erika Edwards is a health and medical news writer and reporter for NBC News and "TODAY."

Tonya Bauer and Judy Silverman contributed.

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The coronavirus appears to have mutated. What does that mean for contagiousness? - NBC News


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