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Oil Trades at Six-Week High on Supply Cuts and Demand Recovery – Yahoo Canada Finance

Posted: May 15, 2020 at 8:02 am

(Bloomberg) -- Oil is heading for a third weekly gain on signs the market is slowly rebalancing as major producers slash supply and consumption recovers after a historic collapse in demand due to the coronavirus.

Futures in New York are up about 13% this week and traded near a six-week high on Friday around $28 a barrel. Chinas industrial output increased in April for the first time since the outbreak, signaling economic recovery aided by government stimulus efforts. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has slashed supply to its customers in the U.S., Europe and Asia as OPEC and its allies reduce production sharply.

Oil is down more than 50% this year after a rout that pushed prices below zero and the road back to pre-virus levels of demand looks long and uncertain. Still, bright sports have emerged this week, with BP Plc seeing oil demand surging back and the International Energy Agency saying the markets outlook has improved. OPEC+ has cut daily exports by almost 6 million barrels during the first 14 days of this month, according to Petro-Logistics, buoying the global Brent benchmark above $30.

We believe stocks will be reduced gradually over the next 12 months or so, said Rystad Energy head of oil markets Bjornar Tonhaugen. Brent stabilizing above $30 gives the market confidence that frightening days of negative prices and record daily declines are behind us.

Signs of a tighter market are increasing across the globe. Timespreads -- market indicators that point to the level of oversupply -- are the least bearish in about two months in Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East. Options markets have also turned their least bearish since March.

Industrial output in China rose 3.9% from a year earlier, reversing a drop of 1.1% in March, data showed Friday. In spite of the improvement, the Chinese economy hasnt returned to normal level, said Liu Aihua, a spokeswoman for the National Bureau of Statistics.

Read: Oil Likely to Avoid Repeat of Aprils Negative Price Shock

The market recovery remains fragile. Over 30 tankers laden with Saudi Arabian oil are set to reach the U.S. in May and June, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg, putting fresh pressure on storage just as a glut in America shows signs of easing

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FBI serves warrant on senator in investigation of stock sales linked to coronavirus – Yahoo Parenting

Posted: at 8:02 am

Federal agents seized a cellphone belonging to a prominent Republican senator on Wednesday night as part of the Justice Departments investigation into controversial stock trades he made as the novel coronavirus first struck the U.S., a law enforcement official said.

Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, turned over his phone to agents after they served a search warrant on the lawmaker at his residence in the Washington area, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a law enforcement action.

The seizure represents a significant escalation in the investigation into whether Burr violated a law preventing members of Congress from trading on insider information they have gleaned from their official work.

To obtain a search warrant, federal agents and prosecutors must persuade a judge they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. The law enforcement official said the Justice Department is examining Burr's communications with his broker.

Such a warrant being served on a sitting U.S. senator would require approval from the highest ranks of the Justice Department and is a step that would not be taken lightly. Kerri Kupec, a Justice Department spokeswoman, declined to comment.

A second law enforcement official said FBI agents served a warrant in recent days on Apple to obtain information from Burr's iCloud account and said agents used data obtained from the California-based company as part of the evidence used to obtain the warrant for the senators phone.

Burr sold a significant percentage of his stock portfolio in 33 different transactions on Feb. 13, just as his committee was receiving daily coronavirus briefings and a week before the stock market declined sharply. Much of the stock was invested in businesses that in subsequent weeks were hit hard by the plunging market.

Burr and other senators received briefings from U.S. public health officials before the stock sales.

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A spokesperson for the FBI did not return phone messages seeking comment. A spokeswoman for Burr declined to comment. Burr has said he does not plan to run for reelection in 2022.

Burrs sell-off which was publicly disclosed in ranges amounted to between $628,000 and $1.72 million. The stock trades were first reported by the Center for Responsive Politics and ProPublica.

After the sales became public, Burr said that he would ask the Senate Ethics Committee to review them.

Burr is not the only senator who has come under fire for dumping stock as the virus neared the United States.

In late February and early March, Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) sold stocks valued at between $1.25 million and $3.1 million in companies that later dropped significantly, including ExxonMobil. She also bought shares in Citrix, which makes telework software.

Loeffler, who was appointed to her seat to fill a vacancy and faces an election later this year, said after the sales became public that she and her husband would divest all individual stocks.

Burr, a longtime supporter of federal programs responsible for dealing with a pandemic, sits on two Senate committees that got early briefings on the coronavirus the Intelligence Committee and the Senate committee that handles health issues.

The health committee received a briefing on the virus on Feb. 12, one day before his stock trades.

The same day Burr sold his stocks, Burr's brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth, sold between $97,000 and $280,000 worth of six stocks, according to documents filed with the Office of Government Ethics. Fauth serves on the National Mediation Board, which provides mediation for labor disputes in the aviation and rail industries.

Burr has denied coordinating trading with his brother-in-law.

In 2012, Congress prohibited lawmakers from acting on intelligence they learn because of their privileged position, such as briefings with high-level federal officials.

Under the STOCK Act, lawmakers are required to disclose their stock market activity but are still allowed to own stock, even in industries they might oversee.

The law passed the Senate in 2012 in a 96-3 vote. Among the three senators to oppose the bill was Burr.

Times staff writer Sarah D. Wire contributed to this report.


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Man and woman ‘found walking on road with body parts in suitcases’ – Yahoo News Australia

Posted: at 8:02 am

Two people have been arrested after human remains were found inside two suitcases in the UK.

Police in Gloucestershire, in southwest England, were called after members of the public spotted the driver of a vehicle acting suspiciously, the BBC reported.

A man and woman were questioned by a responding officer in the Forest of Dean after they were allegedly spotted walking along the road with a suitcase, The Mirror reported.

The officer allegedly found a human torso inside the suitcase before other body parts were discovered in a second suitcase shortly after 10.30pm on Tuesday (local time).

Gloucestershire Police confirmed the two individuals were arrested on suspicion of murder.

Three tents were erected at the scene as investigations are ongoing. Source: BPM Media

"A woman from Birmingham aged in her 20s and a man from Wolverhampton aged in his 30s have been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the investigation and remain in police custody, they said in a statement.

Police believe the victim to be a woman, however forensic examinations to identify the victim are ongoing, the BBC reported.

Detectives continue to question the two individuals.

While several media reports said body parts had been found in the surrounding woodland, Detective Chief inspector John Turner said that was not the case.

Several roads in the area have been closed with investigations at the scene expected to continue into Friday.

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Moscow says it ascribed over 60% of coronavirus deaths in April to other causes – Yahoo News

Posted: at 8:02 am

By Andrew Osborn

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The city of Moscow said on Wednesday it had ascribed the deaths of more than 60% of coronavirus patients in April to other causes as it defended what it said was the superior way it and Russia counted the number of people killed by the novel virus.

At 242,271, Russia has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the world after the United States, something it attributes to a massive testing programme which it says has seen almost 6 million tests conducted.

But with 2,212 coronavirus deaths, Russia also has one of the world's lowest mortality rates. Moscow, the epicentre of the country's outbreak, accounts for 1,232 of those deaths.

The disparity between the high number of cases and the relatively low number of deaths has prompted Kremlin critics and various Western and Russian media outlets to question the veracity of Russia's official death statistics.

Data published at the weekend showing that the total number of deaths registered in Moscow rose sharply in April compared with the same month last year and was also significantly higher than the number officially confirmed as having been caused by the new virus raised further suspicions.

Moscow's Department of Health acknowledged in a statement on Wednesday that the number of deaths in April, 11,846, had been 1,841 higher than the same month last year and almost triple the number of people registered as having died of the virus.

But it flatly denied it had been dishonestly lowering the Russian capital's coronavirus death toll. Tatyana Golikova, Russia's health minister, has also denied any falsification of the statistics.

Unlike many other countries, Moscow's department of health said it and Russia conducted post-mortem autopsies in 100% of deaths where coronavirus was suspected as the main cause.

"Therefore, post-mortem diagnoses and causes of death recorded in Moscow are ultimately extremely accurate, and mortality data is completely transparent," it said.

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"It's impossible in other COVID-19 cases to name the cause of death. So, for example in over 60% of deaths the cause was clearly for different reasons such as vascular failures (such as heart attacks), stage 4 malignant diseases, leukaemia, systemic diseases which involve organ failure, and other incurable fatal diseases."

It said 639 people in Moscow had died in April as a direct result of the coronavirus and its complications like pneumonia.

The Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday that the Russian Foreign Ministry wanted official retractions from two Western newspapers who had published what it said was incorrect information about the country's coronavirus death rate.

(Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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Letters to the Editor: Ahmaud Arbery’s killing was heinous, but it wasn’t a surprise – Yahoo News

Posted: at 8:02 am

A woman wears a sign during a rally to protest the February shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man, last week in Brunswick, Ga. (John Bazemore / Associated Press)

To the editor: I was pleased to learn of the arrest of Gregory and Travis McMichaels 74 days after they allegedly shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was jogging in Brunswick, Ga.

While many Americans were shocked by this wanton cruelty, committed in broad daylight on a quiet residential street, most black people were not at all surprised. As a collective, we have been bedeviled by such terrorism sometimes sanctioned by the government since the founding of this nation.

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Tianna Bartoletta, a black woman, expressed the challenges facing African American joggers in a recent New York Times interview: "I've run through streets in Morocco, Italy, Barcelona, Netherlands, China and Japan, and it's only in my home country that I wonder if I'll make it back home."

What a pity.

Legrand H. Clegg II, Compton


To the editor: Some can try to rationalize the recent shooting of an unarmed young man in Georgia, but isnt it evident that racism played an important part, if not the only part? Isn't it also clear that racism is on the rise and being fueled by some high-level political leaders?

The only way to fight racial intolerance is to stand up to it. Some simply lack the courage to do so.

Edward A. Sussman, Fountain Valley


To the editor: The coronavirus has struck the world just as the 1918 influenza pandemic did a little more than 100 years ago. Unfortunately, the shooting death of Arbery in Georgia last February also took us back 100 years.

The vicious attack on a black runner, shot down by two white men, should shock all Americans. The video of the shooting makes Arbery's death look like a modern-day lynching, and it took more than two months for his attackers to be arrested.

I'm sure we'll get a vaccine that will conquer the coronavirus long before we discover a cure for racism and hatred.

Richard H. Katz, Los Angeles

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The pandemic may have solved MLB’s most polarizing debate: Get ready for the universal DH – Yahoo Sports

Posted: at 8:02 am

There are some divisive topics people will never agree on Coke vs. Pepsi, toiler paper over or toilet paper under, Star Wars vs. Star Trek. In baseball, the longest running, most polarizing debate for decades has been the designated hitter.

Some people love it and want it adopted universally around the game. Some people loathe it. Theres very little middle ground. Its downright partisan.

And yet, after all the years, an easy solution may be on its way because of the coronavirus pandemic.

MLB Networks Jon Heyman is reporting that the universal DH is expected to be adopted as part of the plan to restart baseball that the league and the players union are currently working through. There are contentious topics in the plan mainly related to money. Safety also is a very important topic.

And the DH? After all these years of arguing, it sounds like it might just slide right into both leagues without much trouble.

Its kind of wild what a pandemic can do, isnt it? Make everyone buy toilet paper and throw down their gloves regarding the DH.

This isnt official yet, its pending approval of the larger deal to restart baseball, but with so many other things up for debate, it makes sense that the league and the union wouldnt raise too much of a stink. It makes sense in a time of chaos and transition.

A DH gives pitchers one less thing to worry about. But its effects are much wider ranging than just fans losing out on seeing Madison Bumgarner or Clayton Kershaw at the plate. It affects the way bullpens are used, how lineups are constructed and as Heyman points out how rosters are built. Kyle Schwarber as a DH? Cubs love that. Dodgers, Mets, Nats? Happy. Happy. Happy.

The flip side of that is we lose the unexpected joy of when Bartolo Colon hits a homer.

What remains to be seen is whether the DH sticks around permanently in both leagues. Will the return of baseball be such a relief that even the biggest DH haters stop their years-long fight? Or, when life is back to normal, will we trudge up the old DH arguments like we used to?

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Philippines evacuates hundreds of thousands as typhoon makes landfall – Yahoo News

Posted: at 8:02 am

MANILA, May 14 (Reuters) - Philippine authorities started moving 200,000 people away from their homes in coastal and mountainous areas because of fears of flooding and landslides as a typhoon made landfall on Thursday, disaster officials said.

Typhoon Vongfong, the first to hit the country this year, slammed into the eastern Philippines packing winds of 155 kph and gusts of up to 190 kph, the state weather bureau said.

Social distancing measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus are likely to complicate efforts to move thousands of people into evacuation centres, such as classrooms and school gymnasiums.

Provincial disaster officials said they had asked the education department for more schools they could use as temporary shelters.

The Philippines has reported more than 11,000 cases of the new coronavirus, most in the capital Manila, and more than 700 deaths.

Authorities told people in areas in the path of the Category 2 typhoon to brace for intense rain and to be on alert for landslides, storm surges and floods.

An average of 20 typhoons a year hit the Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands. (Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Karen Lema)

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Coronavirus: Scientists want to investigate if mouthwash kills the infection – Yahoo Lifestyle

Posted: at 8:02 am

Gargling with mouthwash may prevent infected patients spreading the coronavirus, scientists have claimed. (Getty Images)

Scientists from Cardiff University are calling for research into whether high-street mouthwashes could reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

The virus is surrounded by a fatty membrane. The scientists have argued the membranes of similar pathogens were disrupted when exposed to ingredients commonly found in mouthwashes, like ethanol, povidone-iodine and cetylpyridinium.

Gargling with mouthwash could inactivate the coronavirus in the throat, helping to prevent it spreading via coughs and sneezes, they added.

Although it is unclear whether this would be the case, the team argued there has been no discussion on the potential role of mouthwash in combatting the outbreak.

Early research suggests the coronavirus is mild in four out of five cases, however, it can trigger a respiratory disease called COVID-19.

Safe use of mouthwash as in gargling has so far not been considered by public health bodies in the UK, said Professor Valerie ODonnell, lead author of a paper on the subject.

In test tube experiments and limited clinical studies, some mouthwashes contain enough of known virucidal ingredients to effectively target lipids in similar viruses.

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What we dont know yet is whether existing mouthwashes are active against the lipid membrane of [the coronavirus].

Ourreview of the literature suggests research is needed as a matter of urgency to determine its potential for use against this new virus.

This is an under-researched area of major clinical need and we hope research projects will be quickly mobilised to further evaluate this.

Studies have suggested the coronavirus replicates in the salivary glands and throat, the scientists wrote in the journal Function.

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They argued the pathogen is highly sensitive to agents that disrupt lipid bio-membranes.

The circulating coronavirus is one of seven strains of a virus class that are known to infect humans.

Other strains cause everything from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which killed 774 people during its 2002/3 outbreak.

The scientists argued past research has demonstrated inactivation of coronaviruses by biocidal agents.

Mouthwashes vary widely in composition, with an ethanol content that typically ranges from 14% to 27%.

Ethanol the chemical compound in alcohol has been shown to kill fellow coronaviruses severa acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) at concentrations of 60% or higher, like in hand sanitisers.

The scientists set out to uncover the effectiveness of oral-based ethanol solutions at dampening or reducing viral load.

They concluded there is a paucity of data on whether lower, and therefore less toxic, ethanol concentrations inactivate viruses with a fatty membrane.

Most studies simply reiterate the use of higher concentrations.

One 2007 paper found 20% ethanol completely inactivated three viruses in the laboratory.

In 2017, scientists found exposing a coronavirus to 34% ethanol completely prevented subsequent viral replication.

Research has also suggested low-concentration ethanol can kill off viruses like herpes and flu when combined with anti-viral essential oils.

These studies indicate that relatively dilute ethanol will be highly effective against enveloped viruses, wrote the Cardiff scientists.

However, there is an urgent need to determine how coronaviruses are impacted by dilute alcohol under biologically-relevant conditions (mucosa, mouth etc), and whether in combination with non-toxic, membrane-disrupting agents, oral inactivation of [the coronavirus] could be achieved.

They argued existing mouthwashes and those specifically-tailored to combat the infection could be tested in the laboratory, clinical trials and at-home settings.

We highlight that already published research on other enveloped viruses, including [other strains of] coronaviruses, directly supports the idea that further research is needed on whether oral rinsing could be considered as a potential way to reduce transmission of [the coronavirus], wrote the scientists.

The team stressed, however, it is unclear whether mouthwashes would have any effect. Safety and length of exposure also need to be investigated.

While we await potential studies, they insisted the public continue to adhere to official guidance on how to ward off infection.

People should continue to follow the preventive measures issued by the UK government, including washing hands frequently and maintaining social distance, said Prof ODonnell.

Since the coronavirus outbreak was identified, more than 4.3 million cases have been confirmed worldwide,according to Johns Hopkins University.

Of these cases, over 1.5 million are known to have recovered.

Globally, the death toll has exceeded 297,400.

The coronavirus mainly spreads face to face via infected droplets expelled in a cough or sneeze.

There is also evidenceit is transmitted in faecesand cansurvive on surfaces.

Symptoms include fever, cough and slight breathlessness.

The coronavirus has no set treatment, with most patients naturally fighting off the infection.

Those requiring hospitalisation are given supportive care, like ventilation, while their immune system gets to work.


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Former MLB manager Art Howe in ICU with coronavirus – Yahoo Sports

Posted: at 8:02 am

Art Howe, a former MLB player who managed the Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics and New York Mets, is hospitalized in an intensive care unit due to the coronavirus, according to Houstons KPRC 2.

Howe reportedly confirmed the diagnosis himself to the outlet.

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

The 73-year-old Howe said he first felt symptoms on May 3, then was tested and told he had the virus two days later. His symptoms reportedly worsened this week and he was hospitalized on Tuesday.

Howe is reportedly still receiving treatment and needs to go 24 hours without a fever in order to be released, calling the wait for improvement slow.

All of the teams Howe has managed in the past sent out statements in support of the manager.

Known by many fans for his role as manager in the 2002 Oakland Athletics of Moneyball fame Philip Seymour Hoffman played him in the 2011 movie Howe enjoyed an 11-season career as an MLB player and a 14-season career as an MLB manager.

Howe got his start as a player in 1974 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, then broke through as a versatile infielder for the Astros. The Astros also gave him his start as a manager in 1989. He stayed in Houston until his firing in 1993, later managing the As from 1996 to 2002 and the Mets in 2003 and 2004.

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Surviving the coronavirus is one thing. Recovering is another – Yahoo News

Posted: at 8:02 am

Soprano Veronica Antonelli sings "Amazing Grace" from her balcony in Paris despite her continuing struggles with COVID-19. (Nicolas Garriga / Associated Press)

An angelic voice singing Hallelujah echoes off the stately stone and brick canyons of a narrow Montmartre street. It's the voice of Veronica Antonelli, who is still struggling with complications related to COVID-19 two months after falling ill.

The Parisian soprano wanted the impromptu performance from her third-floor balcony to project hope. Hours earlier, her doctor had delivered troubling news: The lung scarring that sometimes makes her too tired to sing may last for months. Or perhaps years.

It makes things a bit complicated, given my profession, Antonelli said.

The coronavirus that has sickened over 4 million people around the world and killed more than 280,000 others is so new that patients face considerable uncertainty about what they can expect in recovery and beyond.

The short answer is that were still learning, said Dr. Jay Varkey, an infectious disease specialist at Emory University in Atlanta. What we know has been gathered mostly by anecdotal reports from COVID-19 survivors.

In support groups created on social media sites, survivors post head-to-toe complaints that read like a medical encyclopedia: anxiety, heart palpitations, muscle aches, bluish toes. Its hard to know which ones are clearly related to the virus, but the accounts help fuel doctors increasing belief that COVID-19 is not just a respiratory disease.

Persistent exhaustion is a common theme, but every survivors story is different, said Brandy Swayze, a coronavirus sufferer who created a Facebook survivors group after developing pneumonia. She was hospitalized in late March and early April. Her fatigue comes and goes. Insomnia is another concern.

Were just people who have more questions than anybody else about this thing because were going through it, said Swayze, 43, of Cabin John, Md.

On top of her lung damage and fatigue, Antonelli has issues with her memory and diminished senses of taste and smell a common early symptom that lingers for many, which doctors say stems from the virus attacking nerves.

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Two-thirds of patients in a study in Italy had a loss of smell and taste. Some reports suggest these problems last only a few weeks, but its been almost two months for Antonelli. She said that when she asked a voice specialist when she would be able to smell again, his answer was, We know nothing. We just have to be patient. We have no solution.

Antonelli, 45, needs her stamina back to resume her offbeat career singing opera a capella at outdoor monuments and historic sites, a profession she chose because she liked how natural environments shaped her voice.

Stuck at home, she sings at her balcony when she can to bring happiness and thank health workers, grocers and others for their service during the pandemic. Some days, though, shes simply too tired to leave her bed.

In Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus emerged late last year, physicians first considered it a type of pneumonia. But they came to realize this virus is so smart. It just attacked everywhere in the body, said Dr. Xin Zheng of Wuhan Union Hospital.

Lungs, hearts, kidneys, even the brain can be affected. Some hospitalized patients develop blood clots, while others have elevated enzymes suggesting liver abnormalities.

Thats a very unique characteristic of it, said Dr. Thomas McGinn of Northwell Health hospitals in New York. He co-authored the largest U.S. study of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and a follow-up is planned to see how theyre faring in recovery.

Alex Melo, a retired Marine from York, Maine, became critically ill with COVID-19 last month. He spent a few days on a ventilator for pneumonia but also developed blood clots that threatened his heart and lungs. After two weeks in the hospital, he was sent home on blood thinners he must take for at least a few months.

The drugs make him prone to bleeding, and he worries how that will affect his work as a survival instructor for a Department of Defense contractor. But hes not ready for that work anyway. After two weeks at home, his lungs are still recovering, and he cant run without getting winded.

"I need to take this slow," Melo said.

Reports from China suggest those with mild infections recover two to three weeks after first showing symptoms. For those with more serious infections, recovery may take six weeks, said Varkey, the infectious disease specialist.

But recovery may take much longer for those with the most severe infections, including patients who spent time in intensive care on ventilators or dialysis.

Wuhan doctors have reported heart problems in a small portion of hospitalized patients, including inflammation of the heart muscle and irregular heartbeat, both of which can increase risks for heart failure, Varkey noted.

Many of the problems may be caused by the virus itself, a hyperactive immune response to the virus, the treatment involved, or a combination of all three, he said.

Some survivors who had long stays in intensive care may require oxygen therapy or dialysis at home. Some may develop a condition called post-intensive care syndrome, which can include persistent muscle weakness, fatigue, attention and memory problems, and anxiety. The condition has been seen in COVID-19 survivors who were put on ventilators, but it can happen after any critical illness and may be related to treatment, including sedation and prolonged bed rest.

Considering that most COVID-19 patients on ventilators dont survive, western Illinois truck driver Scott Dobbels is making a remarkable recovery.

Dobbels spent 17 days in the hospital, eight of them on a ventilator. He returned to his home in Silvis weighing 20 pounds less and pushing a metal walker. The next day, he went to check in on things out at the lumber yard where he works and returned exhausted.

It put me back in bed for three days. Too much, too soon, he said.

At first, just brushing his teeth was an effort. After several sessions with a physical therapist, hes regaining muscle and strength. And to exercise his damaged lungs, he blows into a special device several times a day.

Dobbels says he feels great, despite lingering muscle pain and some weakness, and plans to return to work this week.

He also has lingering questions about why his case was so severe when his wife, Elizabeth, became infected but experienced only mild symptoms.

Why me? he said. Why did I get it, why did I almost die, when others werent as severely affected?

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