Daily Archives: July 5, 2020

Lockheed: SpaceX’s Dragon can’t go to the moon – Politico

Posted: July 5, 2020 at 10:54 am

With help from Bryan Bender and Connor OBrien

Lockheed Martin pushes back on the claim that SpaceX Dragon could bring astronauts to the moon.

Congress is likely to approve of the Space Forces organization plan, but one expert cautions the structural changes are not enough to speed up acquisition.

The House Armed Services Committee approved amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act that focus on a Space National Guard, partnerships with universities and GPS interference.

WELCOME TO POLITICO SPACE, our must-read briefing on the policies and personalities shaping the new space age in Washington and beyond. Email us at [emailprotected], [emailprotected] or [emailprotected] with tips, pitches and feedback, and find us on Twitter at @jacqklimas, @bryandbender and @dave_brown24. And dont forget to check out POLITICO's astropolitics page for articles, Q&As, opinion and more.

A message from Northrop Grumman:

Space isnt just for exploring. Its an international proving ground and vital for national security. At Northrop Grumman, our work in intelligence, surveillance, communications, and early warning systems ensures America always has the ultimate high ground. Find out more about how were defining possible in space. Learn more

TWO VERY DIFFERENT MISSIONS: A recent op-ed in The Washington Post from a pair of leading space experts proposing that SpaceXs Dragon capsule could be an alternative to take astronauts to the moon clearly struck a nerve at Lockheed Martin, which is building the Orion spacecraft that NASA plans to use for the mission.

Robert Zubrin, founder of the Mars Society and president of Pioneer Astronautics, and Homer Hickam, a career NASA engineer and author, argued that the Dragons recent success in transporting astronauts to the International Space Station has shown that a well-led entrepreneurial team can achieve results that were previously thought to require the efforts of superpowers, and in a small fraction of the time and cost.

But Tony Antonelli, a retired space shuttle pilot and naval aviator who is now the Orion Artemis mission director for Lockheed Martin, says not so fast. A spacecraft is more than a collection of hardware bolted together, he writes in a rejoinder in POLITICO. Low-Earth orbit and deep space exploration are two very different missions.

Spaceflight is a tough business, he explains. When things go sideways in harsh environments, we need backup systems, and backups to those backups, and backups to those. That is more than just redundancy. Its what in the military we call survivability. Dissimilar systems, manual overrides, and layers of options at every turn cant be just bolted onto an existing system.

You cant turn a Prius into a pick-up truck by changing the tires out, Antonelli adds. Its this capability, the ability to handle the unknown unknowns built literally from the ground up, that sets Orion apart as humanitys first exploration class spaceship.

SPACE IN THE NDAA: The House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday adopted a few space-focused amendments during the markup of the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.

The chief of space operations must create a plan for the Space Force to establish a university consortium for national space research. The amendment from Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) would direct the Space Force to brief Congress on the plan no later than Jan. 31, 2021. The Air Force may not transfer any personnel into a Space National Guard unless either the chief of space operations certifies that doing so will not diminish the space capabilities of the Air Force or until the Air Force submits a report to Congress on the plan to establish a reserve component of the Space Force. That report is due Jan. 31, 2021, and troops can begin moving 180 days after that, according to the amendment from Rep. Trent Kelly (R-Miss.) In a swipe at Ligado Networks, the panel adopted an amendment from Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) that would bar the Pentagon from spending money to mitigate GPS interference caused by the company. Instead, the financial burden would fall on the company causing the problems.

SPACE FORCE ORGANIZES: The Space Force will be organized into three major commands in charge of operations, acquisition and training, the new branch announced this week. Space Operations Command and Space Systems Command will both be led by a three-star general, and Space Training and Readiness, or STAR, Command will eventually be led by a two-star general when it is fully established. The Space Force will also establish deltas led by officers in place of the space wings and groups that existed in the Air Force.

What will Congress think? The Space Force will have three layers of bureaucracy commands, deltas and squadrons compared with five layers within the Air Force major commands, numbered Air Forces, wings, groups and squadrons which seems in line with lawmakers mandate to keep the new service lean and agile, according to Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor at the Naval War College. That certainly provides the potential for more organizational efficiency, if the strong natural tendencies of bureaucracies to expand can be resisted, she told us. I am optimistic that the new structure can potentially streamline the internal portion of the process.

But the lean structure wont automatically speed up acquisition, warns Frank Rose, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former State Department official, who added that broader change across the Pentagon is needed. Unless you fix and streamline DOD acquisition processes and requirements processes, its going to be difficult for the Space Force to overcome the challenges the Air Force had when it was responsible for space acquisition.

TOP TWEET: .@NASA & @SpaceForceDoD have signed an agreement to share data from the USSF Space Surveillance Telescope in Australia with NASA's Planetary Defense program. Together, NASA, USSF, & RAAF will find & track near-Earth objects (NEOs) to be ready for any potential impact threat, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted Monday.

SPACE SUSTAINABILITY SUMMIT GOES VIRTUAL: The government has been issuing new space policy despite the ongoing pandemic. That makes the Secure World Foundation even more committed to holding its annual Space Sustainability Summit in September to unpack all the changes, said Krystal Azelton, the chair of the event.

From the new NOAA commercial remote sensing regulations to the FCCs decision on Ligados operations, its clear that the space world has not ground to a halt because of coronavirus, Azelton said. Launch is happening. The government is still pumping out regulations. We didnt feel comfortable canceling. Our driver has always been to have important conversations.

Some conference speakers will be announced next week, Azelton said. While holding a virtual event has some drawbacks, she said the foundation has had more luck than we expected with senior-level engagement because scheduling has been easier. Its also opened the door for more international participation since travel isnt required.

Our goal has always been to break through silos, she said of driving conversation among the military, civil and commercial space communities. To do that, I need people to participate in more than just the panel theyre interested in. The foundation is also holding an essay competition as a way to increase involvement by students, who are typically invited to the conference to participate and network.

ALSO: The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics announced Wednesday that its ASCEND conference will be fully virtual. The conference, which was originally scheduled for Nov. 16-18 in Las Vegas, will take place about two weeks after the Space Symposium, an international gathering in Colorado Springs that is still expected to be held in person.

INDUSTRY INTEL: Amazon Web Services on Tuesday launched a new Aerospace and Satellite Solutions business segment, which will sell cloud services to government and commercial space customers. The company, which can help customers quickly process and analyze large amounts of data collected in space, will be led by retired Maj. Gen. Clint Crosier, who served as the director of Space Force planning at the new branch just before leaving the Air Force.

The companys first customer will be Capella Space, a San Francisco-based Earth imaging company founded in 2016. The typical process from the initial tasking request for a certain image to the customer actually getting back the image can take multiple days, according to Capella Space CEO Payam Banazadeh. But using the cloud can speed that up so customers get back the information within a couple of hours.

This partnership with AWS is bringing everything to the cloud, Banazadeh told us. What ultimately this means to the customer is now we can do things very, very fast.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Congratulations to Ed LaCroix, a trustee of the National Association of Rocketry, for being the first to correctly answer that it took six months for the European Space Agencys Mars Express mission to reach Mars.

This weeks question: On July 4, 2016, NASA put a spacecraft into orbit around which planet?

The first person to email [emailprotected] gets bragging rights and a shoutout in next weeks newsletter!

NASA delays Perseverance rover launch to Mars for the third time: Popular Mechanics

The case for exploring Venus before Mars: Mashable

Astronauts conducted a spacewalk Wednesday to replace lithium ion batteries: CNN

NASA is using artificial intelligence to design its new space suit for the moon: Syfy Wire

NASA invests $51 million in more than 300 small businesses: NASA

The coronavirus pandemic isnt slowing SpaceX down: Ars Technica

Senate panel wants alternative GPS by 2023: Breaking Defense

Northrop Grumman gets $222.5 million contract to support legacy missile warning satellites: C4ISRNET

Americans will be able to see a lunar eclipse this weekend: USA Today

The smell of space is now available as a perfume: Engadget

A message from Northrop Grumman:

Space isnt just for exploring. Its an international proving ground to show off the best of what America has to offer and it is vital for national security. Thats why Northrop Grumman is always pushing the boundaries in space, whether through reliable navigation systems or powerful, integrated C4ISR to give our warfighters the complete picture. Because building and maintaining the very best in intelligence, surveillance, communications, and early warning space systems is what gives America ultimate high ground and thats what we do best. Find out more about how were Defining Possible in space. Learn more

TODAY: The Aerospace Corporation hosts a virtual event on the future of commercial spaceflight.

TUESDAY: Astronauts aboard the International Space Station participate in media events with The New York Times, Fox News and USA Today.

THURSDAY: The Aerospace Corporation hosts a virtual event on cybersecurity in space.

THURSDAY: Astronaut Bob Behnken conducts an educational event from aboard the station for the Artemis Student Challenge.

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Lockheed: SpaceX's Dragon can't go to the moon - Politico

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SpaceX launches new satellite that will make GPS three times more accurate (eventually) – ZME Science

Posted: at 10:54 am

Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite navigation could eventually be subject to a major upgrade as Elon Musks SpaceX has launched a satellite that promises to make GPS three times more accurate. Nevertheless, this doesnt necessarily mean that improvements will be seen overnight.

Usually taken for granted, GPS satellite navigation has become an essential tool for anything from military operations to a road trip. Every GPS device determines its position, navigation and timing information by receiving signals from a constellation of satellites orbiting the Earth 20,000 kilometers away.

The technology already works pretty well already and it feels like its always been there, despite its actually quite new, with the first such satellites launched in 1978 by the United States. Since then, many organizations have been involved in trying to refine it. Now, it was time for SpaceX to join that group.

Earlier this week, a Falcon 9 rocket delivered its first payload for the United States Space Force mission, carrying a state-of-the-art new GPS satellite. The mission sent up the third satellite for the so-called GPS III project, which seeks to upgrade the constellation of GPS satellites currently orbiting the planet.

Your GPS just got slightly better, Musk wrote on Twitter moments after the GPS III satellite was deployed. But thats not actually true since GPS doesnt get better automatically just because SpaceX launched a new satellite into space. Still, when more such satellites are deployed, the improvement should be more visible.

The current GPS technology can narrow down a location within 28 inches (about 71 centimeters). While thats quite an achievement, GPS III technology will narrow that range down even further, offering accuracy within nine inches (about 22 centimeters). Thats almost three times as accurate as now.

Coverage will also improve. This might mean that the dreaded searching for signal message on a cellphone while trying to get to a restaurant or a party could eventually be something of the past. Or maybe even forget about the difficulties of getting a GPS signal when you are in a forested or mountainous region during a hike.

The new satellites have a 15-year lifespan, which is twice as long as the current ones. They can be launched two at once, making them cheaper. And, most importantly, they will be harder to jam. So far, only one of the three that are in orbit is fully operational and the manufacturer Lockheed Martin is now building ten more.

GPS technology essentially uses signals from satellites in the sky to pinpoint the location of a user. A receiver, usually a smartphone, measures how long it took for a given satellites signal to reach Earth and then multiplies the time by the speed of a radio wave to work out the distance.

Nowadays GPS applications arent limited to simple, though widespread, auto-navigation, or as personal mapping; theyre used by manufacturing industries, supply chains, drilling oil, various other logistics, banks, and virtually anything you can imagine. A report warned in 2017 that the world might depend too much on the technology.

While the United States GPS constellation first started in 1978, the US is just one player in this global field. In 1982, the Soviet Union launched GLONASS, or Global Navigation Satellite System, and China followed with Beidou in 2000. Then came the European Space Agency with its first experimental satellite positioning system, Galileo, in 2005.

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SpaceX explosion, the Boston Dynamics Zeus robot in the area: there is also a small house! – InTallaght

Posted: at 10:54 am

Elon Musk and SpaceX never cease to amaze. Today we are dealing with one of those incredible ideas that are probably the fruit of the atypical CEOs mind. Indeed, the company is using a domestic robot (who has a lot of little house) to get help during his tests. Yes, you got it right.

In particular, according to what is reported by the Daily Mail and as you can see in the video published by the LabPadre YouTube channel, following the now-iconic explosion of the Starship SN7 test tank (made specifically to understand its limits), SpaceX has decided to send Zeus, a Boston Dynamics robot, to check for damage. In fact, carefully watching the video in which you see the tank, immediately after the explosion you see a figure moving near the involved area.

Some fans, therefore, wondered what it was, since it almost looked like a dog. Afterwards, the Twitter profile RGVAerialPhotography has published a photo that shows from above the place where SpaceX performed the test. Analyzing the photo, at the top right you can see it a yellow silhouette which refers in all respects to the robots of Boston Dynamics. As previously mentioned, the one used in this context seems to be called Zeus.

By the way, the operator of the Twitter profile Cooper_Hime managed to track down a house for Zeus in the test area of Elon Musks company. In short, there seems to be little doubt as to what the CEO of SpaceX is doing, that is, to use a robot so as not to risk the lives of human employees.

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SpaceX explosion, the Boston Dynamics Zeus robot in the area: there is also a small house! - InTallaght

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Are Gyms Safe Right Now? What To Know About COVID-19 Risk While Working Out : Shots – Health News – NPR

Posted: at 10:50 am

Peet Sapsin directs clients inside custom built "Gainz Pods", during his HIIT class, (high intensity interval training), at Sapsins Inspire South Bay Fitness, Redondo Beach, California, Wednesday, June 17, 2020. Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images hide caption

Peet Sapsin directs clients inside custom built "Gainz Pods", during his HIIT class, (high intensity interval training), at Sapsins Inspire South Bay Fitness, Redondo Beach, California, Wednesday, June 17, 2020.

Exercise is good for physical and mental health, but with coronavirus cases surging across the country, exercising indoors with other people could increase your chance of infection. So, as gyms reopen across the country, here are some things to consider before heading for your workout.

Assess your own risk

It starts with you, says Dr. Saadia Griffith-Howard, an infectious disease specialist with Kaiser Permanente.

"You have to make your own assessment of how risky it is based on knowing your medical situation and whether you are someone who's at high risk for an infection," Griffith-Howard says.

People 65 years and older are at higher risk for getting a severe case of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So are people with certain underlying health conditions, like diabetes, heart or lung disease, or those who are immunosuppressed.

So if you fall in a high risk category, Griffith-Howard says it may not be worth the risk.

"If it was someone in my family [who was high risk] I would suggest that they not go to a gym," she says.

Consider alternatives for working out

If you want to exercise indoors, it's safer to do it at home, says Doug Reed, an immunologist and aerobiologist at the University of Pittsburgh.

"That's what I'm doing now," he says. "When the weather's nice, I'm jogging outside, but when it's not, I'm doing some weights and stretches and exercise indoors."

Exercise outdoors is a great low-risk alternative, agrees Dr. Nikita Desai, a pulmonologist with the Cleveland Clinic. When you are outside it's easier to control how close you get to other people.

"I would be less worried about the jogger who is running past you for a split second and more worried about the person who's working out next to you without a mask for half an hour," she says.

And the risk of transmission is lower outside than inside, says Joshua Santarpia, a microbiologist who studies biological aerosols at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

"Outdoors you have sunlight which has been shown to quickly inactivate the virus," he says. And outside airflow and humidity help dilute it.

If you do go: Assess your gym's safety measures

There are things gyms can do to help mitigate the risk of infection, so Griffith-Howard suggests making a checklist before you go.

"Are they taking your temperature?" she asks. "Are you seeing them regularly clean equipment? And are staff and other clients in the gym wearing a mask?"

Official guidance for how gyms should proceed varies state by state. Gyms are not open yet in some states, or open with restrictions in others find your state's restrictions here. Most guidelines suggest limiting capacity to keep the gym from getting crowded, routine disinfection of all equipment including machines and weights before and after use, posting signs to reinforce hygiene and other policies, and all recommend physical distancing.

In fact, that should be the number one thing on your checklist: Is there at least six feet of physical distance between everyone who is working out? Even more would be better. Another tip: Go during off hours when they'll be fewer people.

Some clubs have constructed exercise pods to ensure physical distancing. Others have gone touchless and are encouraging members to use a mobile app to check-in, says Sami Smith, Communications and Public Relations Assistant for the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, which has developed guidelines for clubs to use as a reference when planning their reopening.

Stay far apart. Really

This bears repeating stay at least six feet away from other people while you are exercising. And, if people are breathing heavily, "it would be preferable to double that to 12 feet," says Dr. Lou Ann Bruno-Murtha, division chief of infectious diseases at Cambridge Health Alliance in Cambridge, Mass.

That's because we don't know exactly how far virus particles travel when people are breathing heavily," says Doug Reed, an immunologist and aerobiologist at the University of Pittsburgh.

"When you are exercising and exerting yourself, you're going to be breathing out and breathing in more than you normally would, he says.

"And so the potential for being infected or spreading the infection would be that much higher," says Reed.

And if you're thinking about taking a group exercise class, think again, says Griffith-Howard, because it can be very difficult to keep six feet apart when moving around quickly.

"You may be breathing harder, people may be coughing, it may be hard to keep on masks," she says. "I would have some concerns about that."

A small study from South Korea looked at coronavirus spread at 12 different sports facilities. It found that infection spread rapidly among high intensity fitness dance classes with up to 22 students. Whereas yoga and pilates classes, with just seven or eight participants and little moving around, saw no spread.

So if you really want to take a group exercise class make sure it's small and that you can maintain a distance of six to 12 feet away from others.

Pay attention to air flow

Steer clear of small gyms and those with little ventilation, says Desai of the Cleveland Clinic.

"Your best bet is going to be a gym that is larger, able to have windows open or have multiple floors or levels to allow for physical distancing," she says.

That's because more space and more air flow dilute the concentration of the virus in the air and likely reduce the risk of transmission.

"If you're strenuously exercising then you're tending to draw in and exhale more air," says aerobiologist Reed.

This is especially important because there's increasing evidence to suggest "that people who are not symptomatic are, in fact, transmitting the infection," says Reed.

In fact levels of the virus found in the nose or throat of asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals "can be considerable and are equivalent" to the amount of virus found in individuals with symptoms of coronavirus, he says.

So people who feel well enough to exercise may not realize they are infected, and may be on the weight machine next to you.

Should I wear a mask?

Our experts say it's best wear a mask as much as possible in the gym, including at the front desk, in the locker room and the bathroom and even while doing light exercise. But of course, when you're working out hard and breathing heavily it can be difficult to keep a mask on.

"Physical exercise doesn't lend itself well to the idea of wearing a mask," says Reed, because it can make it harder to breathe.

And while many gyms recommend masks, most don't require them.

"If you're doing aerobic type exercises on an aerobic type machine, you probably are not wearing a mask," says Bruno-Murtha of the Cambridge Health Alliance in Cambridge.

And even if people don a mask when they enter the gym, Bruno-Murtha still highly recommends maintaining at least a minimum 6-foot physical distance, "because I suspect at some points people may inadvertently remove their mask," she says which can be risky for others.

"Physical exercise is important for your physical and mental health but you still have to be smart," says Bruno-Murtha. "Wearing a mask is part of being smart, along with physical distancing, disinfecting equipment and vigilant hand washing."

Location, location, location

And, finally consider your geographic location. Exercising indoors in hot spots where cases are surging is more risky than in areas with low infection rates says Bruno-Murtha. So check out this color coded tracker to look up the COVID-19 risk in your county, and nearby counties.

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Are Gyms Safe Right Now? What To Know About COVID-19 Risk While Working Out : Shots - Health News - NPR

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COVID-19 Daily Update 7-3-2020 – 10 AM – West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

Posted: at 10:50 am

TheWest Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR)reports as of 10:00 a.m., on July 3, 2020, there have been 179,995 totalconfirmatory laboratory results receivedfor COVID-19, with 3,077 total cases and 93 deaths.

In alignment with updated definitions fromthe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the dashboard includes probablecases which are individuals that have symptoms and either serologic (antibody)or epidemiologic (e.g., a link to a confirmed case) evidence of disease, but noconfirmatory test.

CASES PER COUNTY (Case confirmed by lab test/Probable case):Barbour(15/0), Berkeley (444/18), Boone (20/0), Braxton (3/0), Brooke (8/1), Cabell(139/6), Calhoun (2/0), Clay (10/0), Fayette (67/0), Gilmer (13/0), Grant(15/1), Greenbrier (60/0), Hampshire (42/0), Hancock (21/3), Hardy (44/1),Harrison (66/0), Jackson (143/0), Jefferson (230/5), Kanawha (323/9), Lewis(19/1), Lincoln (8/0), Logan (26/0), Marion (61/3), Marshall (40/1), Mason (19/0),McDowell (6/0), Mercer (46/0), Mineral (55/2), Mingo (19/3), Monongalia(181/14), Monroe (13/1), Morgan (19/1), Nicholas (12/1), Ohio (100/1),Pendleton (12/1), Pleasants (4/1), Pocahontas (28/1), Preston (68/15), Putnam(59/1), Raleigh (54/1), Randolph (161/1), Ritchie (2/0), Roane (11/0), Summers(2/0), Taylor (16/1), Tucker (6/0), Tyler (4/0), Upshur (20/1), Wayne (114/1),Wetzel (10/0), Wirt (4/0), Wood (102/8), Wyoming (7/0).

As case surveillance continues at thelocal health department level, it may reveal that those tested in a certaincounty may not be a resident of that county, or even the state as an individualin question may have crossed the state border to be tested.Such is the case of Kanawha County in this report.

Please visit thedashboard at http://www.coronavirus.wv.gov for more information.

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FDA commissioner refuses to defend Trump claim that 99% of Covid-19 cases are ‘harmless’ – CNN

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CNN's Brian Stelter examines the message of his speech. ","descriptionText":"President Donald Trump used the backdrop of Mount Rushmore the night before the Fourth of July to deliver a speech to his base. CNN's Brian Stelter examines the message of his speech. "},{"title":"Why Europe's trust in Trump's America is tanking","duration":"03:55","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https:/www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/world/2020/07/03/us-coronavirus-covid-19-post-american-world-robertson-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"world/2020/07/03/us-coronavirus-covid-19-post-american-world-robertson-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200703155238-trump-nato-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/world/2020/07/03/us-coronavirus-covid-19-post-american-world-robertson-pkg-intl-hnk-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/","description":"Covid-19 is ravaging the United States, just as much of the developed world is getting it under control. 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CNN's Nic Robertson reports on how the country's virus response is the latest in a long line of President Trump's policies that has reduced America from respected partner to unreliable ally."},{"title":"'On another planet': Tapper reacts to Trump's virus comment","duration":"01:58","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2020/07/02/trump-coronavirus-response-jake-tapper-lead-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"politics/2020/07/02/trump-coronavirus-response-jake-tapper-lead-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200702172445-trump-coronavirus-response-jake-tapper-lead-vpx-00000000-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/politics/2020/07/02/trump-coronavirus-response-jake-tapper-lead-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/","description":"President Trump continues to falsely suggest that the coronavirus is under control in the United States. Health experts have repeatedly contradicted this false claim.","descriptionText":"President Trump continues to falsely suggest that the coronavirus is under control in the United States. Health experts have repeatedly contradicted this false claim."},{"title":"GOP lawmaker breaks with President Trump","duration":"03:11","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com/","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2020/07/03/rep-liz-cheney-speaking-out-against-president-trump-serfaty-ebof-pkg-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"politics/2020/07/03/rep-liz-cheney-speaking-out-against-president-trump-serfaty-ebof-pkg-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200703193941-trump-cheney-split-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/politics/2020/07/03/rep-liz-cheney-speaking-out-against-president-trump-serfaty-ebof-pkg-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/","description":"Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), a notable member of the Republican Party, is speaking out against President Trump on a series of issues. CNN's u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/profiles/sunlen-serfaty-profile" target="_blank">Sunlen Serfatyu003c/a> reports. ","descriptionText":"Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), a notable member of the Republican Party, is speaking out against President Trump on a series of issues. CNN's u003ca href="https://www.cnn.com/profiles/sunlen-serfaty-profile" target="_blank">Sunlen Serfatyu003c/a> reports. "},{"title":"Trump's former adviser says President is trying to avoid responsibility","duration":"01:37","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2020/07/02/bolton-trump-russian-bounty-intel-lead-tapper-sot-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"politics/2020/07/02/bolton-trump-russian-bounty-intel-lead-tapper-sot-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200702153253-bolton-the-lead-0722020-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/politics/2020/07/02/bolton-trump-russian-bounty-intel-lead-tapper-sot-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/","description":"Former national security adviser to President Trump, John Bolton, says that it is hard for him to believe that the President was not informed about intelligence that suggested Russia might be offering bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan. ","descriptionText":"Former national security adviser to President Trump, John Bolton, says that it is hard for him to believe that the President was not informed about intelligence that suggested Russia might be offering bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan. "},{"title":"Police unions have shielded their officers, experts say","duration":"03:54","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/us/2020/07/02/police-union-contracts-impact-officers-griffin-pkg-tsr-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"us/2020/07/02/police-union-contracts-impact-officers-griffin-pkg-tsr-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200608165232-police-unions-pkg-murray-lead-0608-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/us/2020/07/02/police-union-contracts-impact-officers-griffin-pkg-tsr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/","description":"Police unions are facing backlash across the country and experts say in many cities their u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/2020/07/02/us/police-unions-contracts-shielding-bad-cops-invs/index.html" target="_blank">contracts protect police from being held accountableu003c/a> for bad behavior. CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/drew-griffin-profile" target="_blank">Drew Griffinu003c/a> reports.","descriptionText":"Police unions are facing backlash across the country and experts say in many cities their u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/2020/07/02/us/police-unions-contracts-shielding-bad-cops-invs/index.html" target="_blank">contracts protect police from being held accountableu003c/a> for bad behavior. CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/drew-griffin-profile" target="_blank">Drew Griffinu003c/a> reports."},{"title":"Former Trump supporter: Based on my friends, he doesn't have a chance ","duration":"02:52","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2020/07/02/florida-voters-zeleny-pkg-lead-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"politics/2020/07/02/florida-voters-zeleny-pkg-lead-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200702172109-john-dudley-zeleny-pkg-florida-voters-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/politics/2020/07/02/florida-voters-zeleny-pkg-lead-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/","description":"CNN's Jeff Zeleny speaks to longtime Republicans in Florida who say they will not vote for President Donald Trump in November because of his response to the coronavirus pandemic. ","descriptionText":"CNN's Jeff Zeleny speaks to longtime Republicans in Florida who say they will not vote for President Donald Trump in November because of his response to the coronavirus pandemic. "},{"title":"US sets a new single-day record of coronavirus cases","duration":"02:53","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"https://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2020/07/02/coronavirus-new-single-day-record-trump-masks-boris-sanchez-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"politics/2020/07/02/coronavirus-new-single-day-record-trump-masks-boris-sanchez-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200702082152-map-0702-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/politics/2020/07/02/coronavirus-new-single-day-record-trump-masks-boris-sanchez-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/","description":"CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/boris-sanchez-profile" target="_blank">Boris Sanchezu003c/a> reports on the United States u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/2020/07/02/us/florida-coronavirus-thursday/index.html" target="_blank">setting a new recordu003c/a> for most Covid-19 cases reported in one day.","descriptionText":"CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/boris-sanchez-profile" target="_blank">Boris Sanchezu003c/a> reports on the United States u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/2020/07/02/us/florida-coronavirus-thursday/index.html" target="_blank">setting a new recordu003c/a> for most Covid-19 cases reported in one day."},{"title":"Lawmaker: I'm out of words describing this lack of leadership","duration":"01:25","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2020/07/02/coronavirus-american-deaths-donald-trump-leadership-inability-shalala-sot-ac360-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"politics/2020/07/02/coronavirus-american-deaths-donald-trump-leadership-inability-shalala-sot-ac360-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200701203245-coronavirus-american-deaths-donald-trump-leadership-inability-shalala-sot-ac360-vpx-00000301-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/politics/2020/07/02/coronavirus-american-deaths-donald-trump-leadership-inability-shalala-sot-ac360-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/","description":"Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) tells CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/jim-sciutto" target="_blank">Jim Sciuttou003c/a> she's "running out of words" to describe the "lack of leadership" from the White House as the u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/2020/07/01/health/us-coronavirus-wednesday/index.html" target="_blank">nation reels from the coronavirus pandemicu003c/a>.","descriptionText":"Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL) tells CNN's u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/profiles/jim-sciutto" target="_blank">Jim Sciuttou003c/a> she's "running out of words" to describe the "lack of leadership" from the White House as the u003ca href="http://www.cnn.com/2020/07/01/health/us-coronavirus-wednesday/index.html" target="_blank">nation reels from the coronavirus pandemicu003c/a>."},{"title":"Susan Rice: Trump is derelict in his duty","duration":"02:39","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2020/07/02/susan-rice-intel-report-russia-bounty-ac360-vpx.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"politics/2020/07/02/susan-rice-intel-report-russia-bounty-ac360-vpx.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/160515210257-susan-rice-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/politics/2020/07/02/susan-rice-intel-report-russia-bounty-ac360-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/","description":"President Obama's former national security adviser Susan Rice discusses President Trump's response to US intelligence reports of potential Russian bounties on US troops.","descriptionText":"President Obama's former national security adviser Susan Rice discusses President Trump's response to US intelligence reports of potential Russian bounties on US troops."},{"title":"Mayor received racist texts after mandating masks","duration":"02:11","sourceName":"CNN","sourceLink":"http://www.cnn.com","videoCMSUrl":"/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2020/07/02/kansas-city-quinton-lucas-mayor-death-threats-masks-sot-vpx-ebof.cnn/index.xml","videoId":"politics/2020/07/02/kansas-city-quinton-lucas-mayor-death-threats-masks-sot-vpx-ebof.cnn","videoImage":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200701201621-mayor-lucas-large-169.jpg","videoUrl":"/videos/politics/2020/07/02/kansas-city-quinton-lucas-mayor-death-threats-masks-sot-vpx-ebof.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/","description":"Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas describes receiving a death threat and racist text messages after mandating the use of face coverings while in public. 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FDA commissioner refuses to defend Trump claim that 99% of Covid-19 cases are 'harmless' - CNN

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Why tick season could be worse in the summer of Covid-19 – CNN

Posted: at 10:50 am

Noting the mild winter on the East Coast, Sapi says, "We do have a bad year for the ticks."

Hikers, campers and anyone else eager for an escape could "just explode into the outdoors. And there may not be the same thoughtful approach" to preventing exposure, explains Dr. Sorana Segal-Maurer, director of the Dr. James J. Rahal, Jr. Division of Infectious Diseases at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens health care system.

"I'm a little nervous that their guard may be down just a slight bit," she adds.

Outdoor crowds were so big around Memorial Day weekend, that parks from southern California to North Carolina had to close early after hitting capacity.

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a rise in Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, with seven additional germs identified in the US in the last two decades, while the "lone star tick" expanded its footprint beyond the southeast to northern states and the Midwest.

But ignoring basic steps that reduce the risk of tick and vector-borne illnesses to focus solely on Covid-19 prevention is just one danger. Another is the possibility of confusing the symptoms if you start feeling sick.

Lyme disease and Covid-19: a tale of similar symptoms

Warning signs for tick-borne illnesses are "very similar to the severity that we've seen with Covid-19, which is that fever, the muscle aches, the headaches, the severe fatigue," says Dr. Segal-Maurer.

She believes a unique difference is that breathing problems are common in coronavirus patients, but not with those infected by tick diseases. Yet even that distinction is up for debate.

"Pulmonary involvement, even to a fatal degree, has been documented in a range of tick-borne infections," Dr. Steven Phillips of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation tells CNN. "Although serious pulmonary involvement with vector-borne infections is relatively uncommon, non-specific pulmonary complaints, such as shortness of breath, are extremely common."

Even if you follow the Covid-19 tips, heeding the advice to avoid bites is just as important. Dr. Segal-Maurer describes a "realistic" scenario if you're on a crammed hiking trail: "You're all going to be pushing into the vegetation ... you're going to be just a little bit off the path."

Ticks "hang off the very tip of the blade of grass or the leaf or the vegetation, and they have these little feelers that they ... sort of shake out there. So, the second you brush by, they latch on."

Last month, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced an increase in emergency room visits over the past several months "related" to tick bites. "Some symptoms of Lyme disease, such as fever, chills and headache, are similar to symptoms of COVID-19," Dr. Levine said in a statement, reiterating what other experts say.

Head outside -- but responsibly

Dr. Segal-Maurer says health care professionals always need to ask patients about their travel and other activities. "You have to cover all your bases... we don't want to be Covid-blinded."

Patients, in turn, should also be asking about both possibilities.

And when it comes to guarding yourself from ticks, she says, "You need to use DEET. It's gotta be 30%. You need to watch where you hike. And then you need to do a body check when you get back inside."

Dr. Phillips prefers Permethrin, which he says is stronger, but "can only be sprayed on clothes, not skin, and should be allowed to dry overnight before wearing."

Other tips include putting on hats, light-colored clothing to make ticks easier to spot, placing socks over your pants and choosing long-sleeved shirts to block ticks from getting near your skin.

That, of course, is in addition to wearing a mask to fight coronavirus spread.

Yet even with the extra hassle for a safer summer getaway, Dr. Segal-Mauer encourages people to head outside this summer because she believes "it's been such a traumatic several months. I think the great outdoors is a very healing place."

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Alaska reports 16th death tied to COVID-19 and 55 more resident and nonresident cases – Anchorage Daily News

Posted: at 10:50 am

We're making coronavirus coverage available without a subscription as a public service. But we depend on reader support to do this work. Please consider joining others in supporting local journalism in Alaska for just $3.23 a week.

As Alaskans commemorated Independence Day, the state reported another death associated with COVID-19 and 55 more cases among residents and nonresidents.

The 16th reported death of an Alaskan with COVID-19 involved an Anchorage man in his 70s with underlying health conditions, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services spokesman Clinton Bennett said Saturday. The man died in Alaska, though Bennett was not immediately able to clarify when his death occurred.

The state on Friday reported a 15th resident death involving an Anchorage man in his 80s who died in early June. In that case, the virus was listed as a contributing cause of death, the state health department said in a statement.

We are thinking of the loved ones of the person who died, the states chief medical officer, Dr. Anne Zink, said in statement Friday. We are concerned about Alaskas sharp rise in cases and hope everyone takes this as a warning call to limit contacts this weekend, stay six feet apart from non-household members, wear a face mask and wash your hands often.

If you are sick, even with mild COVID-19 symptoms, please isolate yourself and seek testing. We need all Alaskans working together to break infection chains.

Forty-eight residents and seven non-Alaskans newly tested positive for the illness caused by the coronavirus as of Saturday, according to the state health departments COVID-19 dashboard. Since the start of the pandemic, 1,111 Alaskans and 230 nonresidents have tested positive. Of those, 551 resident cases and 174 nonresident cases are active, meaning they are not considered to be recovered from COVID-19.

The new cases reported Saturday continue a surge in daily case counts and active cases since the state lifted most pandemic-related restrictions on businesses and social gatherings in late May. State officials have said they expect coronavirus case numbers to rise as people mix together, but they believed the state had the health care capacity and supply of personal protective equipment to manage an increase in cases.

The influx of new cases has strained the states ability to swiftly conduct contact tracing, however, with new cases now involving dozens or hundreds of contacts as opposed to just a few contacts per case, which was more often the situation earlier in the pandemic. In the states largest city, health officials this week said Anchorage had reached its maximum capacity to conduct contact tracing.

Investigating recent cases and tracking their contacts is a key component in helping limit the spread of the virus.

Three more Alaskans confirmed to be infected with the virus required hospitalization, bringing that total to 72 since the coronavirus was first detected in the state. There were 23 people with suspected or confirmed cases of the illness currently in the hospital, according to state data Saturday, which is down two from the previous day.

Fourth of July celebrations were canceled across the state, prompting Alaskans to celebrate on a smaller scale this weekend and organize their own festivities. Ahead of the holiday, state officials including Gov. Mike Dunleavy urged Alaskans to wear face coverings and maintain a physical distance of 6 feet from other people to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Southcentral Alaska saw the bulk of new cases reported by the state Saturday. The new cases involve 32 residents of Anchorage, where the city health department confirmed COVID-19 exposure at more than a dozen establishments on specific dates in June. Health officials urged anyone who visited those businesses mostly bars at the specified times to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested.

Elsewhere in Southcentral, four residents of Wasilla, one in Palmer, two in Willow and one in Soldotna also were confirmed to have COVID-19, according to state data.

The state reported no new cases out of Seward among test results returned Friday, but the city said four new cases emerged there Saturday. (The state reports new virus cases daily based on test results returned the previous day, and the new Seward cases will likely be included in the states count Sunday.) Officials in Seward this week limited gathering sizes, required masks in indoor public spaces and restricted capacity at businesses in an effort to contain an outbreak involving a couple dozen people.

The state on Saturday also reported four cases among residents of Fairbanks, one in Petersburg and one each in smaller communities in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Bethel Census Area and Bristol Bay plus Lake and Peninsula boroughs. The state doesnt report the name of communities smaller than 1,000 people as a means of privacy protection.

The Bristol Bay Area Health Corp. said in a statement that a Bristol Bay-area resident who developed symptoms of COVID-19 after traveling to Anchorage tested positive Friday. That person is self-isolating and several close contacts of theirs were instructed to remain in strict quarantine, the health corporation said, adding that the City of Dillingham and the affected village have also been notified of this new index case.

New nonresident cases include a seafood industry worker and another person in Anchorage, two seafood industry workers in Valdez, two people in Fairbanks and one individual in Juneau. The vast majority of nonresident cases confirmed in the state involve workers in Alaskas seafood industry, whose employees from out of state are generally required to undergo COVID-19 testing or quarantine before being allowed to work here.

On Friday 2,524 tests were run, out of 122,732 tests processed since the start of the pandemic, according to state data. Testing data reflects individual tests that were run, and not necessarily the number of individuals who have been tested.

Alaska health officials continue to urge Alaskans to maintain a distance of 6 feet from non-household members; frequently wash their hands; wear a mask in places where physical distancing is difficult to maintain; wipe down and sanitize frequently touched surfaces; stay home if they feel sick; and get a COVID-19 test if theyre experiencing symptoms of the illness.

Anchorage Daily News reporter Morgan Krakow contributed.

[Because of a high volume of comments requiring moderation, we are temporarily disabling comments on many of our articles so editors can focus on the coronavirus crisis and other coverage. We invite you to write a letter to the editor or reach out directly if youd like to communicate with us about a particular article. Thanks.]

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Alaska reports 16th death tied to COVID-19 and 55 more resident and nonresident cases - Anchorage Daily News

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Why Some Young People Fear Social Isolation More Than COVID-19 – NPR

Posted: at 10:50 am

Recent protests in Philadelphia and across the country have drawn young people. But for most of the pandemic, youth have been quarantined and away from their social circles, which could make depression and other mental illness worse. Cory Clark/NurPhoto via Getty Images hide caption

Recent protests in Philadelphia and across the country have drawn young people. But for most of the pandemic, youth have been quarantined and away from their social circles, which could make depression and other mental illness worse.

Audrey just turned 18 and relishes crossing into adulthood: She voted for the first time this year, graduated high school and is college-bound next month. The honors student typically wakes up "a bundle of nerves," she says, which had fueled her work volunteering, playing varsity sports and leading student government.

But for years, she also struggled with anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder all of which drove her to work harder.

"I was spending so much time on my homework, I felt like I was losing my friends so my thoughts would race over and over again about my friends," says Audrey. "And then I would have the difficult thoughts about suicide and some scarier stuff." (NPR agreed to use only her first name to protect her medical privacy.)

Audrey's psychological struggles landed her in mental health treatment last fall. There, she says, the coping skills she learned gave her perspective on quarantine: "I know all about how seeing friends and seeing people outside and social interaction is vital for survival."

There is a simmering tension between young people's desire to gather socially, and the growing threat from the coronavirus in the United States. The virus is now infecting more people in their teens and 20s than it had earlier in the pandemic, and that's contributing to outbreaks, especially in states in the South and West. As a result, public health officials are imploring young adults to limit social contact and take precautions to help protect their more vulnerable elders. But many young people see continued social isolation as a much greater risk than COVID-19 to their own mental health.

It's not that Audrey isn't worried about the pandemic; in fact, confirmed cases of the coronavirus are spiking in her hometown of Charlotte, N.C. So Audrey wears masks, washes her hands and stays 6 feet from friends. But for her generation, she says, infection isn't the primary threat.

"A lot of people are calling attention to coronavirus because it's right in front of us," she says. "But at the same time, teens' depression rate it's a silent threat."

The health risks of infection differ by generation. For many young adults, life lived at a social distance, with a lack of peer support, comes at a high cost to mental health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly half of people between 18 and 29 report feeling symptoms of anxiety or depression. That's significantly higher that the rate for both their parents and their grandparents. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people under 35.

Yet somehow, says Audrey, that's not talked about as much.

"We haven't seen the government or adults as passionate about the things we really care about, like mental health and climate issues," she says.

It might be tempting to think that FaceTime and Zoom provide substitutes for in-person social outlets, especially for a generation of digital natives who grew up with smartphones. But, therapists say, talking by small screen offers no replacement for a calming hug and can miss the subtleties of a compassionate expression.

Audrey's complaint is a common refrain among the adolescent and young adult patients whom psychologist Lisa Jacobs counsels. It is not that they aren't concerned about the risks of COVID-19, she says; it's just that their risk calculations differ.

"They are appropriately realizing that isolation is a risk for them as well it's a risk factor for depression, and depression is a risk factor for suicide," Jacobs says. "And 8% of American teens attempt suicide each year."

Jacobs says many of her young patients complain older generations failed to address the young people's fears of school shootings and climate change, for example.

"After not being protected, after not being taken seriously, they were asked to take extreme measures to protect other groups and to put themselves at risk by doing so," Jacobs says.

There is a biological basis for young people's need for socialization. Scientists say bonding isn't a luxury; it's critical for development.

Young brains need social connection to feel secure about their identity and place in the world, says Gregory Lewis, who studies the neurobiology of social interaction at Indiana University.

"We expect as a human being to have other people there to share the stressful times and to be our backup, and when they're not there physically, that in of itself tells our nervous system 'you're in a dangerous environment because you don't have these people here,' " he says.

That is less of an issue among older adults, Lewis says, who have had more time to develop their social networks both at work and around their community and more time to find partners who can help ground them emotionally. By contrast, he says, "younger people are missing a larger percentage of what previously was there to buffer them."

So the societal challenge, he says, is to find ways to help community members of all ages balance the risks of infection against the need to foster those essential social bonds.

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Why Some Young People Fear Social Isolation More Than COVID-19 - NPR

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Latin America sees half of all new Covid-19 infections as health systems flounder – CNN

Posted: at 10:50 am

Since then, similar scenes have played out across Latin America, which has seen an explosive spread of the coronavirus. In Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city, coffins were fashioned from cardboard boxes as bodies were left uncollected. In the Chilean capital Santiago, public hospitals were overwhelmed as lockdown was eased too soon.

The head of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Carissa Etienne, said this week: "The region of the America is clearly the current epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic."

There are many reasons for Covid-19's outsize impact on Latin America: high levels of inequality, the vast "gray" economy of informal workers, a lack of sanitation in crowded urban slums, as well as slow and uneven responses by governments.

Alejandro Gaviria, a former Colombian health minister, told CNN: "Latin America is very heterogeneous. In some cities, health infrastructure is similar to what you find in developed countries; in rural areas, infrastructure is poor in general. It is like having Europe and Africa in the same continent."

Latin American states have had dramatically different experiences with Covid-19. Uruguay, which has a well-funded public health system, embarked on an aggressive tracking and testing program when the pandemic arrived. Despite a change of government in the middle of the crisis, it has had a consistent policy on lockdown. Nearly 20% of the population downloaded a government app with guidance on the virus.

Paraguay, which is much poorer than Uruguay, appears to have benefited from an early lockdown. It also enforced quarantine measures for people entering the country from Brazil, the epicenter of infections in Latin America.

Crowded living conditions in poorer urban areas, where basic hygiene and social distancing are next to impossible, threaten the region with a growing tide of infections. As Dr. Marcos Espinal, chief of the Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis at PAHO, told CNN: "In the barrios of Lima it's going to be very difficult to do social distancing."

Espinal noted that in some countries only a third of the population have a fridge, meaning people must shop daily.

Low Investment

Gaviria says there are many differences between countries, "but most people have access to some type of care. In Colombia, for example, coverage is close to 100%."

Quality is a different issue, though, he says -- a point echoed by Espinal at PAHO. All but five or six governments fall well short of the WHO target of spending 6% of GDP on health, he says. Peru, for example, spends 3.3%.

Some Amazon towns in Brazil are more than 500 kilometers from the nearest ICU bed. In 2016, there were fewer than three beds per 100,000 inhabitants in some northern states in Brazil, but more than 20 beds per 100,000 in the wealthier south-east. The PAHO has warned that the region won't overcome the virus unless it improves care for marginalized communities, such as indigenous peoples in the Amazon. CNN reported a surge of infections this week among the Xavante people in the north-east of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso.

Coronavirus is just one of multiple health crises in Latin America. Studies shown that poorer people in the region have higher levels of diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease, all of which make them more vulnerable to Covid-19. This is especially problematic in Mexico and Brazil.

Fabiana Ribeiro, a Brazilian researcher currently at the University of Luxembourg, told CNN that a recent study showed the lowest survival rates were for rural patients of 68 and older, and for patients who were Black, illiterate or had previous conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

The winter months in the southern hemisphere bring other sicknesses, including flu and pneumonia. Francesco Rocca, president of the International Red Cross, said this week that Latin America's health emergency could worsen "with the arrival of the southern winter, the flu season in South America, and especially the hurricane season in the Caribbean."

Some governments -- Chile for example -- have warned private providers that they may take over beds as public hospitals buckle under the strain. Gaviria notes that in Colombia the government now controls access to ICU beds in both the private and public sectors -- "and decide where each new patient should go. They want to avoid rationing based on type of insurance or financial considerations."

The Pan American Health Organization has said that in the coming months robust testing and tracing programs will be critical. There are a few promising signs -- such as the mobile teams in Costa Rica checking on infections and quarantine. And in much of the region there is already a large network of labs established to test for flu that are being mobilized.

But testing capacity is hugely variable across the region. As of June 29, Chile had done nearly 5,800 tests per 100,000 population, according to the PAHO. Panama had done just under 3,000. But Brazil had done 230 -- and Guatemala 45.

"In Nicaragua, we don't even know how many tests are being done," says Espinal.

The impact of coronavirus in Latin America is likely to leave deep scars. The World Bank believes that more than 50 million people will see their incomes fall below the $5.50 a day poverty line. Some economists fear the economic damage may be on a par with the "lost decade" of the 1980s.

In the midst of a deep recession that may shrink the region's economy by one-tenth this year, the necessary investment in public health may not materialize. Espinal thinks that would be a big mistake. "There's no way," he told CNN, "countries can justify continuing investing at the same level even if the economy suffers."

Alejandro Gaviria, Colombia's former health minister and now rector of the University of the Andes, is apprehensive about what the rest of 2020 will bring. "Three problems overlap," he says, "a growing pandemic, a social devastation and an increasing fatigue with lockdowns. New lockdowns will only be possible with strict and repressive enforcement measures."

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Latin America sees half of all new Covid-19 infections as health systems flounder - CNN

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