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Steps to protect yourself during sex 

Here are some ways to lower the chances of being exposed to COVID-19 during sex with others:

  • Ask your partner(s) if they’re feeling unwell or have any  symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Consider keeping contact information for your partner(s) so that you can reach them if one of you develops symptoms.
  • Before and after sex:
    • Wash your body with soap and water.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Wash sex toys thoroughly per the manufacturer’s instructions. Most, but not all, can be cleaned with mild unscented soap and water. Do not share them with multiple partners.
  • Wear a face covering or mask. Heavy breathing during sex can create more droplets that may transmit COVID-19.
  • Avoid or limit kissing and saliva exchange.
  • Choose sexual positions that limit face-to-face contact.
  • Use barriers, like walls (e.g., glory holes), that allow for sexual contact but prevent close face-to-face contact.
  • Using condoms, lubricant, and dental dams may help to further reduce the chances by minimizing contact with saliva, semen, feces, blood and/or internal genitalia/vaginal fluids during sex.

http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/prevention-risks/covid-19-and-sex?fbclid=IwAR1R4D0XLflRWaSF9mbAgPHxZ6VF4_b3LgHWRlAGjrOP3aT4A70pcdDF4KM

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China, Germany Suffer Alarming Jump In New COVID-19 Cases As "Second Wave" Spreads: Live Updates

 

Summary: 

  • China reports another 105 new cases
  • Hong Kong suffers new COVID record
  • Japan reports another 1,200+ cases
  • Melbourne suffers new record
  • Germany sees cases at 6 week high
  • Dutch gov't declines to advise face mask wearing
  • Local lockdowns reported in parts of UK
  • Poland suffers new daily record

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/china-germany-suffer-alarming-jump-new-covid-19-cases-second-wave-spreads-live-updates

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Links to the scientific reports are in the article...

https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/family-the-novel-coronavirus-belongs-to-has-been-lurking-in-bats-for-decades/

Family The Novel Coronavirus Belongs To Has Been Lurking In Bats For Decades

The family of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, has been lurking in the bat caves of China for decades and most likely includes other relatives that could infect humans. That’s according to a new study published in the journal Nature Microbiology this week.

An international team of scientists from the UK, Belgium, China, and the US traced the evolutionary history of SARS-CoV-2 by studying genetically related coronaviruses found in bats and pangolins. Understanding the evolutionary origins of the novel coronavirus can be fiddly as they undergo a process known as recombination, in which two different viruses both infect the same host cell and interact during replication, resulting in genetic material being swapped. This means their genome does not have a straight-forward lineage and can come from multiple sources. 

According to the new findings, the lineage of viruses to which SARS-CoV-2 belongs to genetically is split between related bat coronaviruses that diverged in 1948, 1969, and 1982. One of these divergences, in 1969, eventually gave rise to RaTG13, a coronavirus that's 96.1 percent genetically similar to SARS-CoV-2. Researchers first identified this virus in 2013 after sampling a horseshoe bat in China’s Yunnan province.

Another key feature analyzed by the researchers was the receptor-binding domain (RBD) on the virus’ spike protein, an important part of the virus that's effectively the “key” used by the pathogen to recognize and enter host cells. The researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 and its relatives — such as RaTG13 and a pangolin virus sampled in Guangdong in 2019, Pangolin-2019 — all share a similar RBD and spike protein. However, these features do not appear to be the product of recombination. This suggests the protein and its RBD are an ancestral trait of the lineage leading to SARS-CoV-2, RaTG13, and Pangolin-2019.

It also hints that there could be other members of this family that are capable of infecting humans.

“This means that other viruses that are capable of infecting humans are circulating in horseshoe bats in China,” David L Robertson, study author and professor of computational virology at MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, explained in a statement.

The findings also throw doubt on the theory that pangolins, scaly-skinned mammals from Asia and Africa, were the intermediary animal that harbored the virus before it jumped to humans. Previous research suggested SARS-CoV-2’s RBD sequence was more similar to pangolin viruses than RaTG13. However, the team found there was no evidence that pangolins helped to arm SARS-CoV-2 with the RBD during its evolutionary history. Although pangolins may have played a role in the transmission to humans, they are unlikely to be the chief intermediate host for the virus.

The study also highlights a final damning question: if these potentially deadly viruses have been circulating in bats for decades, then why did the Covid-19 pandemic catch the world off guard? To protect against the next coronavirus pandemic, the study authors say their findings further highlight how the world must carry out more research and surveillance to identify novel pathogens.

“We were too late in responding to the initial SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, but this will not be our last coronavirus pandemic. A much more comprehensive and real-time surveillance system needs to be put in place to catch viruses like this when case numbers are still in the double digits,” added Maciej Boni, study author and associate professor of biology at Penn State University.

 
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Six months into the pandemic, the United States continues to suffer the worst outbreak of COVID-19 in the developed world. Considerable blame belongs to a federal response that offloaded responsibility for the crucial task of testing to the states. The irony is that, after assembling the team that came up with an aggressive and ambitious national testing plan, Kushner then appears to have decided, for reasons that remain murky, to scrap its proposal. Today, as governors and mayors scramble to stamp out epidemics plaguing their populations, philanthropists at the Rockefeller Foundation are working to fill the void and organize enough testing to bring the nationwide epidemic under control.

Inside the White House, over much of March and early April, Kushner’s handpicked group of young business associates, which included a former college roommate, teamed up with several top experts from the diagnostic-testing industry. Together, they hammered out the outline of a national testing strategy. The group—working night and day, using the encrypted platform WhatsApp—emerged with a detailed plan.

Rather than have states fight each other for scarce diagnostic tests and limited lab capacity, the plan would have set up a system of national oversight and coordination to surge supplies, allocate test kits, lift regulatory and contractual roadblocks, and establish a widespread virus surveillance system by the fall, to help pinpoint subsequent outbreaks.

The solutions it proposed weren’t rocket science—or even comparable to the dauntingly complex undertaking of developing a new vaccine. Any national plan to address testing deficits would likely be more on the level of “replicating UPS for an industry,” said Dr. Mike Pellini, the managing partner of Section 32, a technology and health care venture capital fund. “Imagine if UPS or FedEx didn’t have infrastructure to connect all the dots. It would be complete chaos.”

The plan crafted at the White House, then, set out to connect the dots. Some of those who worked on the plan were told that it would be presented to President Trump and likely announced in the Rose Garden in early April. “I was beyond optimistic,” said one participant. “My understanding was that the final document would make its way to the president over that weekend” and would result in a “significant announcement.”

But no nationally coordinated testing strategy was ever announced. The plan, according to the participant, “just went poof into thin air.

They saw themselves as the “A-team of people who get shît done,”

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BRITISH COLUMBIA

In bid to reduce COVID-19 risk, Ottawa will require all Alaskan travellers through B.C. to provide exit date

Ian Bailey

Vancouver 

UPDATED JULY 30 2020, 10:09PM

Canada is cracking down on U.S. citizens passing through British Columbia to Alaska with newly announced rules that include travellers having to display signs in their vehicles identifying themselves as Americans and naming a date for their exit from Canadian territory.

The new rules take effect on Friday.

“These measures are put in place to further reduce the the risk of introduction of COVID-19 cases and to minimize the amount of time that in-transit travellers are in Canada,” the Canada Border Services Agency said in a statement Thursday in announcing the new rules.

B.C. Premier John Horgan, who has advocated for keeping the Canada-U.S. border closed during the pandemic and expressed concerns about Alaskan-bound travellers lingering in B.C., welcomed the new measures.

“We look forward to the day when our borders are open and we can welcome travellers from all over, but we aren’t there yet. These enhanced measures will ensure those travelling to Alaska take the fastest route possible with minimal contact in communities that are working hard to contain COVID-19,” Mr. Horgan said in a statement.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the B.C. Health Officer, also said she was pleased with the new policy. “I think that’s great. That’s a really helpful step,” she told a daily COVID-19 briefing.

Although the Canada-U.S. border was closed to most travel on March 21, Americans travelling for what have been deemed essential reasons can cross.

Under the rules announced Thursday and aimed at travel to and from Alaska, in-transit foreign nationals must enter Canada at one of five identified CBSA ports of entry – three in B.C., one in Saskatchewan and one in Alberta – and are limited to the most direct route north to their exit while avoiding all national parks, leisure sites and tourism activities.

Before entering the United States, the travellers must report to the nearest CBSA point of exit to confirm they are departing Canada.

En route, travellers are to display an issued vehicle “hang tag” on their rear-view mirror that show they are transiting, and the date of their exit from Canada, while the back of the tag will feature conditions imposed upon entry and public-health tips.

The measures also apply to foreign nationals travelling through Canada from Alaska.

According to a statement from the spokesperson for the federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, travellers who fail to exit Canada as scheduled would be the subject of a follow-up investigation by the enforcement and intelligence operations division of the CBSA. A traveller could be removed, and be issued a one-year exclusion order.

Discretionary and optional travel across the Canada-U.S. border remains banned.

Staff Sergeant Janelle Shoihet of the British Columbia division of the RCMP said, in a statement, that the new tags will help Mounties determine why American travellers are in Canada, and whether they are required to be travelling directly to Alaska.

She said that if a traveller is found to be contravening the Quarantine Act requirements, the RCMP could issue a $1,000 violation ticket. Staff-Sgt. Shoihet said, so far during the pandemic, six violation tickets have been issued in B.C. for failure to comply. However, she said she did not know the nationality of those ticketed.

Last Sunday, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in the state to date – a total 231 newly diagnosed individuals in the state, which is home to about 731,000 people. The agency linked the case count to widespread community transmission from social gatherings, several seafood industry outbreaks and a backlog of test results that have entered the system.

The commissioner for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services warned that the surge had to be stopped, noting daily cases over 100 will soon diminish hospital bed capacity.

As of Wednesday, there were 84 new resident cases and 36 non-resident cases. A spokesman for the Alaska Governor was unavailable for comment on Canada’s new measures.

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https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/2020/08/02/victoria-stage-four-lockdown/?utm_source=Adestra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=News Alert - 20200802

Victoria increases coronavirus lockdowns, declares ‘state of disaster’

Premier Daniel Andrews has placed Victoria in stage four lockdown. Photo: AAP Photo: AAP

Josh Butler Political Editor

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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has bowed to the realities of his state’s spiralling coronavirus infections and introduced the nation’s toughest lockdown restrictions.

More important announcements are on the way for Victoria on Monday also, with Mr Andrews saying incoming rules for specific industries will force some businesses to close, and others to slow down operations.

The state recorded 671 new cases on Sunday, and seven more elderly Victorians have died.

Six of the fatalities were connected to virus outbreaks in aged-care homes.

On Sunday, Mr Andrews declared a “state of disaster” will be in place from 6pm and metro areas will be put under stage four lockdown restrictions, including a strict night-time curfew.

“Absolutely straight up … if we don’t make these changes we are not going to get through this,” he said.

Victorian students will return to “flexible and remote learning” from Wednesday, with a pupil-free day declared for Tuesday.

Statement on Melbourne moving to Stage 4 restrictions: pic.twitter.com/mFu1Kr1NO0

— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) August 2, 2020

Mr Andrews said the advice had been that if the government did not change tactics now, Victoria would continue to see cases growing and would need to be under the current rules until Christmas.

Instead, a tougher stage four lockdown will be in place for six weeks.

“Six weeks versus a slower strategy … that takes up to six months, I’m not prepared to accept that,” Mr Andrews said.

These are very significant steps – they’re not taken lightly.’’

Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton was asked if a further six-week lockdown would be enough to curb the state’s issues.

“I hope so. It is entirely contingent on everyone in Victoria to make sure it is enough,” he said.

“If we do the things we know work … six weeks should be enough.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison posted a message to his Facebook and Instagram accounts on Sunday night that “today is a tough day for Victorians”.

“Australians all around the country are backing you in, because we all know for Australia to succeed, we need Victoria to get through this,” he posted.

Mr Andrews has been under mounting pressure to further lock down Victoria as the previous stay-home orders and mandatory face mask restrictions fail to curb the steepening curve of new infections.

The Premier confirmed stage four lockdown restrictions for metro areas would include stopping people going further than five kilometres from their homes and limiting exercise to one hour per day.

Only one person per household will be allowed to go shopping.

From 8pm on Sunday, a curfew will exist in metropolitan Melbourne.

People will only be allowed out of home between 8pm and 5am to go to work, or give and receive care.

“Going to a mate’s place, going and visiting friends, being out and about for no good reason … that will spread the virus,” Mr Andrews said.

From midnight on Wednesday, regional areas will be moved to stage three.

“We cannot let this virus tear through regional aged care in the way it has with private-sector aged care in Melbourne,” Mr Andrews said.

“We cannot let it mean more Victorians in hospital beds. More Victorians hooked up to machines just to breathe.

And more Victorians – more grandparents, parents, sons, daughters, partners and loved ones – choked to death by an invisible enemy.’’

It means non-essential businesses such as restaurants, gyms and bars must close from midnight on Wednesday.

The new stage four lockdown restrictions for Melbourne include:

  • From Sunday, an 8pm-5am curfew in Melbourne. “The only reasons to leave home during these hours will be work, medical care and caregiving,” Mr Andrews said

  • People will be limited to staying within five kilometres of their home

  • Only one person, per household, per day will be allowed to go shopping

  • Exercise will be limited to a maximum of one hour per day and no more than five kilometres from your home, with a group size limited to a maximum of two – “you and one other person – whether you live with them or not.”

  • TAFE and uni study must be done remotely

  • From Wednesday at 11.59pm, weddings in Melbourne cannot occur.

From 11.59pm on Wednesday, regional Victoria is also returning to its stage three ‘stay home’ orders, meaning people must remain in their house unless going out for essential shopping, care and caregiving, daily exercise, and work or study.

Regional businesses will also be affected, with food businesses restricted to delivery and takeaway.

Beauty and personal services, entertainment and cultural venues, and community sport will have to close.

Statement on regional Victoria moving to Stage 3 restrictions: pic.twitter.com/wzUOIG769X

— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) August 2, 2020

Mr Andrews said Mitchell Shire, which was previously linked with the Melbourne restrictions, will now be classed among the rules for regional Victoria.

Melbourne was placed into lockdown for a second time on July 9, as cases began to balloon.

It was hoped the new restrictions would help flatten the curve of new cases, but even after the mandatory masks order, Victoria’s numbers continued to grow, with several days of more than 600 new cases in the past week.

Mr Andrews and Prime Minister Scott Morrison had flagged last week that tougher rules were on the way for Victoria, when the Premier said Melbourne was already at “essentially stage four”.

Mask orders in Victoria have not been enough to slow the virus spread yet. Photo: AAP

Mr Andrews said on Saturday he was worried about potential “mystery cases” of community transmission in Victoria, above and beyond what was being detected in tests and official data.

“That is in some respect our biggest challenge,” he said.

Earlier, a senior federal cabinet minister said the Morrison government is “absolutely” behind Victoria in imposing the stricter restrictions.

“We’re working collaboratively and closely with them as they seek to address this second wave,” federal Education Minister Dan Tehan told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda.

“We’ll continue to offer as much support as we can and work with the Victorian state government.”

The new rules come as authorities remain enraged over numerous examples of people blatantly flouting COVID rules.

Police said they had fined Victorians found driving far from home, who have given unacceptable excuses such as needing to buy McDonald’s or get fresh air hundreds of kilometres away.

In response to a growing number of infections outside Melbourne, Victorians in some regional shires were barred from having people over to their houses from midnight on Thursday last week.

And masks are mandatory for all Victorians – not just those in Mitchell Shire and Melbourne – from Sunday night.

The Premier has been pleading for workers to stay home if they are sick, pointing to outbreaks being directly linked to workplaces.

Unions and the federal Labor opposition have been calling for paid pandemic leave to be supplied by the federal government, to help encourage people to stay home if they are unwell or isolating while waiting for a test result.

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Federal government support for Victoria as hard lockdown looms

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6:00am, Aug 2, 2020 Updated: 10:40am, Aug 2

Federal government support for Victoria as hard lockdown looms

Australian Defence Force personnel at the Epping Gardens aged care facility in the Melbourne. Photo: Getty

The New Daily @TheNewDailyAU

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Victorians are on the brink of an extreme lockdown amid rising numbers of untraceable “mystery” COVID-19 cases and anger at blatant disobedience.

The state’s cases rose by 397 on Saturday – with 49 of those from no known source – bringing suspected community transmission to nearly 2000 cases.

Total fatalities rose to 201 on Saturday following the deaths of a man and two women aged in their 80s and 90s.

A senior federal cabinet minister says the Morrison government is “absolutely” behind Victoria should it impose even stricter restrictions.

“We’re working collaboratively and closely with them as they seek to address this second wave,” federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, and himself a Victorian, told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda.

“We’ll continue to offer as much support as we can and work with the Victorian state government.”

Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to announce new restrictions as early as Sunday, believing they could be a “circuit breaker” for rising cases.

NSW recorded its first death in more than a month amid 17 new infections while Queensland’s latest case has been linked to the three women who returned infected from Victoria.

In Victoria, wearing masks will be compulsory right across the state from midnight Sunday.

The tighter lockdown restrictions are anticipated to lead to a massive economic shutdown, with all but essential businesses told to close.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton confirmed discussions were underway about a harder lockdown as authorities met on Saturday night to discuss the next step to curb Victoria’s high daily infections.

Under possible New Zealand-style restrictions, only supermarkets, pharmacies and service stations would be allowed to operate.

Schools would go back to remote learning and residents’ movements would be strictly limited.

Experts spent the weekend analysing infection data from the first half of Victoria’s six-week lockdown, with Premier Daniel Andrews saying further restrictions could be a “circuit breaker” to hundreds of daily infections.

A man is fined by Victoria Police for refusing to wear a face mask. Photo: Getty

Mr Andrews expressed frustration at people disregarding existing public health orders, including positive cases who weren’t home when defence force members came knocking.

One person was fined on Saturday for leaving Melbourne to drive to Wodonga for a hamburger while another tried to drive from Werribee to Springvale – opposite sides of Melbourne – for groceries.

Further fines were issued to a Victorian who was caught driving from Melbourne to Ballarat for “fresh air”, a group who hosted an AirBnB party, patrons and staff of a brothel that had continued operations and a man who drove from Thornbury to Werribee to get a haircut from his favourite barber.

The aged care crisis continues in Victoria with 1008 active cases currently linked to the sector. Photo: Getty

Mr Andrews said the time for warnings had passed and a “much bigger fine” through the courts was being considered as an alternative to on-the-spot fines.

The premier said one of the biggest concerns was tracing community transmission, particularly in relation to the growing number of infections from an unknown source.

“We can’t be certain there’s not even further community transmission, even more mystery cases out there,” he said.

“That is in some respect our biggest challenge.”

NSW first new death

NSW has confirmed its first coronavirus-related death in more than a month as authorities seek to suppress a number of growing clusters.

The state had 17 new cases on Saturday, coinciding with the closure of several Sydney venues for deep cleaning and contact tracing after being linked to coronavirus. At least one of the 17 new cases has no known source of infection.

An 83-year-old man connected to the Crossroads Hotel cluster in southwest Sydney died on Saturday morning, taking the NSW death toll to 52.

It was the first coronavirus-related death confirmed by NSW Health since late June.

Meanwhile a NSW duo has been arrested after entering South Australia after they were turned back.

The 25-year-old man and 20-year-old woman tried to cross the border at Pinnaroo on Thursday, claiming they were headed interstate to sell a dog.

They were refused entry and turned back to NSW, but police stopped their NSW-registered car in the Adelaide suburb of Kilburn on Saturday afternoon.

The pair were charged with breaching COVID-19 directions and have been denied bail ahead of a court appearance on Monday.

NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty said most cases in the past week have been associated with local clusters and close contacts of known cases.

However seven cases were of unknown origin.

“These unlinked cases have been in people from southwestern Sydney, western Sydney, southeastern Sydney and Sydney local health districts.”

Public health officials watch over as members of the Muslim community wait in line to celebrate the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha at the Auburn Gallipoli Mosque in Sydney. Photo: AAP

The Thai Rock Wetherill Park cluster is nearing 100 COVID-19 cases, while the cluster in Potts Point has reached 24 and the funeral events cluster sits at 25.

A popular venue on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, meanwhile, was on Saturday forced to shut after hosting a COVID-positive patron on the afternoon of July 24.

The Bavarian in Manly underwent deep cleaning and reopened to the public on Saturday afternoon. Patrons on the afternoon of July 24 should monitor for respiratory symptoms.

The Harpoon & Hotel Harry in Surry Hills, Matinee Coffee in Marrickville and Tan Viet in Cabramatta are among other venues required to undertake deep cleaning in recent days.

Harris Farm Market in Leichhardt and Darlo Bar in Darlinghurst also on Friday confirmed they were frequented on July 26 by COVID-positive people and have undergone deep cleaning.

Qld infection nursing home link

Diana Lasu (left) and Olivia Winnie Muranga (right) are under police investigation.

Queensland’s latest case of COVID-19, confirmed on Saturday, is a woman who may have been infectious while working at a Brisbane nursing home.

The facility at Pinjarra Hills in Brisbane’s west had already been locked down and staff and residents are being tested after the woman’s husband tested COVID-positive on Friday.

The case has been linked to the women who flouted quarantine after a trip to Melbourne, roaming across Brisbane while possibly infected.

The sunshine state on Saturday imposed tighter border restrictions, adding visitors from greater Sydney to the banned list, along with all people from Victoria.

Adelaide is set to receive 170 people on Saturday on a repatriation flight from India, with all going into hotel quarantine. Officials are expecting at least some to have COVID-19.

South Australia also recorded a new case of COVID-19 on Saturday – a man aged in his 20s who had returned from interstate and has been in quarantine.

The Northern Territory has reported one new case of coronavirus – a woman who travelled from Melbourne.

Doctors’ safety plea

Victorian anaesthetists are calling for ‘fit testing’ of personal protective equipment, citing concerns that not enough is being done to protect health workers from coronavirus.

Three doctors are reportedly among those in intensive care as the state struggles to contain the virus.

And as hospitalisations grow in the state, the level of infection risk and the effectiveness of PPE is worrying many.

Anaesthetists are commonly called on to intubate patients needing help to breathe, and so they are among those face-to-face with the most severe COVID-19 cases.

The Australian Society of Anaesthetists says it has made “numerous approaches” to federal and state health departments asking that fit-testing of PPE become mandatory in all hospitals.

Fit testing involves checking whether airborne particles can penetrate an N95 mask and other safety gear.

One method involves spraying a solution at the face, which if able to be smelled or tasted, means the mask has failed.

Melbourne anaesthetist Bob Cox said the astronaut-like suits worn by overseas doctors are better because they don’t obstruct vision and are more comfortable.

“At the moment we’re using equipment that is totally disposable but it has its limitations in that it may not be as safe,” Dr Cox said.

“To have doctors ending up in intensive care on ventilators is not good, let alone anyone else.”

-with AAP

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Coronavirus: Melbourne police 'assaulted and baited' over lockdown rules

  • 4 August 2020
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Officers patrol central Melbourne on 2 August 2020, after the curfew is introducedImage copyrightEPA

Authorities in the Australian city of Melbourne have warned of a "dangerous" rise in people resisting lockdown measures, sometimes violently.

Police said this trend included so-called "sovereign citizens" - who espouse an anti-government ideology - confronting officers.

In one case a woman repeatedly smashed a policewoman's head into the ground.

Authorities have increased fines for repeated rule breaches as Melbourne endures a deadly virus second wave.

More than half of Australia's 18,300 cases have been recorded in the past month in Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital. There have been 226 deaths nationally.

Melbourne has recently mandated wearing masks and tightened a stay-at-home order to reduce transmissions.

But authorities said many people were breaking rules, including some who claimed to be "above the law".

Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said Victoria Police had seen an "emergence" of "concerning groups of people who classify themselves as 'sovereign citizens'".

The sovereign citizen movement - which has roots in the US - is typically used by those who don't believe in their government's legitimacy, often arguing their rights are being suppressed by public orders.

Mr Patton said the attack on the policewoman "highlights the type of challenges that we're experiencing", adding that people were "baiting" police at checkpoints and refusing to disclose basic information.

"On at least four occasions in the last week we've had to smash the windows of cars and pull people out to provide details," he said.

What rules are people breaking?

"Most Victorians are doing the right thing, no question," said Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews.

 

"But we have this continual minority of people who are knowingly - not by mistake, but are knowingly - doing the wrong thing and putting people's lives at risk by doing so."

Random checks by police on 3,000 infected people had found more than 800 were not home isolating, as they were supposed to be.

On Tuesday, the state government increased fines for repeated lockdown breaches from A$1,652 (£900; $1,200) to A$5,000.

Under the current "stage four" lockdown, Melburnians can leave home only to shop, exercise, give essential medical care or do frontline work.

Residents must shop and exercise within 5km (3 miles) of their home, for no longer than one hour at a time.

 

An additional curfew for between 20:00 and 05:00 was implemented on Sunday. The only exemptions are for work, medical care or care-giving, and workers must have a permit.

Authorities said recent breaches included "Airbnb parties" and people breaking the curfew to get alcohol and fast food.

Mr Patton said the policewoman had been attacked in a shopping centre after stopping a woman for not wearing a mask.

"After a confrontation and being assaulted by that woman, those police officers went to ground and there was a scuffle," he said.

"And during that scuffle, this 38-year-old woman smashed the head of the policewoman several times into a concrete area on the ground."

Since masks became compulsory about two weeks ago, there have been other prominent incidents involving "anti-maskers" and others questioning the legality of lockdown.

Widely shared videos include two women loudly defending not wearing a mask inside a hardware shop, and one woman deceiving police at a state border checkpoint.

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Melbourne is a Case Study in Navigating a Second Wave of Coronavirus

 

Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, grappling with a spiraling coronavirus outbreak in a country that once thought it had the pandemic beat, has now imposed some of the toughest restrictions in the world.

a person is walking down the street: A nearly deserted Melbourne railway station on Monday.© William West/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images A nearly deserted Melbourne railway station on Monday.

But as officials cast about for ways to break the chain of infections, the city has become a confounding matrix of hefty fines for disobedience, minor exceptions for everything from romantic partners to home building, and endless versions of the question: So, wait, can I ____?

Restaurant owners are wondering about food delivery after an 8 p.m. curfew began on Sunday night. Teenagers are asking if their boyfriends and girlfriends count as essential partners. Can animal shelter volunteers walk dogs at night? Are house cleaners essential for those struggling with their mental health? Can the Covid-tested exercise outside?

“This is such a weird, scary, bizarro time that we live in,” said Tessethia Von Tessle Roberts, 25, a student in Melbourne who admits to having hit a breaking point a few days ago, when her washing machine broke.

“Our health care workers are hustling around the clock to keep us alive,” she said.“Our politicians are as scared as we are, but they have to pretend like they have a better idea than we do of what’s going to happen next.”

Pandemic lockdowns, never easy, are getting ever more confusing and contentious as they evolve in the face of second and third rounds of outbreaks that have exhausted both officials and residents. With success against the virus as fleeting as the breeze, the new waves of restrictions feel to many like a bombing raid that just won’t end.

For some places, risk calculations can change overnight. In Hong Kong, officials banned daytime dining in restaurants last month, only to reverse themselves a day later after an outcry. Schools in some cities are opening and closing like screen doors in summer.

But in many areas where the virus has retreated and then resurged, the future looks like a long, complicated haul. Leaders are reaching for their own metaphors to try to explain it.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has compared his opening and shutting of businesses to a “dimmer switch.” Dan Andrews, the premier in Victoria, where Melbourne is the capital, has repeatedly referred to “pilot light mode” for industries like construction and meatpacking, which have been ordered to temporarily reduce their work forces.

 

Whatever the metaphor, it’s dark. Melbourne, a city of five million that is considered a capital of food and culture, is becoming a prime example.

It, and the rest of Australia, was once a shining victor, believing the virus to have been licked as of late June. Then Melbourne’s hotel quarantine program broke down, with returning travelers passing the virus to security guards, who carried the contagion into their neighborhoods.

The spread continued even after Melbourne started a so-called Stage 3 lockdown in early July — until recently, the highest level of restrictions — with no large gatherings and most people working from home. Officials grew increasingly angry as they discovered that the perception of a problem solved had produced complacency.

Traffic data showed people in Melbourne driving more in July than they had during the first Stage 3 lockdown, in March and April. Even worse, almost nine out of 10 people with Covid-19 had not been tested or isolated when they first felt sick, Mr. Andrews, the state’s top leader, said in late July. And 53 percent had not quarantined while waiting for their test results.

“That means people have felt unwell and just gone about their business,” Mr. Andrews said.

He made face masks mandatory the next day, on July 22.

Still, infections have continued to rise. They peaked at 753 new cases on July 30 and have hovered around 500 a day ever since, with the death toll in Victoria now standing at 147, after 11 deaths were recorded on Monday.

Those figures have paved the way for a Stage 4 lockdown — what officials are calling a “shock and awe” attack on the virus — that will last at least six weeks.

Overwhelming force, with precision, seems to be the goal. The chief modelers of the pandemic response in Australia have found that the virus can be suppressed only if more than 70 percent of the population abides by social distancing guidelines and other public health rules.

Mr. Andrews said the new restrictions would take 250,000 more people out of their routines, in the hopes of reaching the necessary threshold.

So retail stores will be closed. Schools will return to at-home instruction. Restaurants will be takeaway or delivery only. Child-care centers will be available only for permitted workers.

Those are the restrictions that are already well understood. The rules requiring more explanation are tied to the curfew and industries that have to cut back.

Large-scale construction projects of more than three stories, for example, will have to reduce their on-site work force by 75 percent, and workers will not be able to work at more than one location. Small-scale construction cannot have more than five workers.

All of which sounds clear. But does bathroom renovation, for example, amount to home building in an apartment with one bathroom? And what about fixing things that break, like Ms. Von Tessle Roberts’s washing machine?

Some businesses, such as cleaning services, are already emailing customers to say they think they can do some work, for people who pay through welfare or who need help for mental health reasons. But, like many others, they are still seeking official clarification.

Mr. Andrews, a Labor politician sometimes described as awkward and paternal, has become the dad everyone needs answers from. He now oversees, under the lockdown rules, what may be the country’s most intrusive bureaucracy since its days as a penal colony.

On Tuesday, he answered questions from reporters about dog-walking (allowed after curfew, sort of, only near home) and other subjects of great confusion at a news conference in Melbourne.

Thanking those who complied with the new rules and scolding those who did not, he announced that no one in self-isolation would now be allowed to exercise outdoors. A door-knocking campaign to check in on 3,000 people who had Covid-19 found that 800 of them were not at home.

All 800 have been referred to the Victoria police for investigation. The fine for violators going forward, he said, will be 4,957 Australian dollars ($3,532).

Working, even legally, will also become trickier. Other than, say, hospital workers with formal identification, everyone traveling for a job deemed essential during the lockdown must carry a formal document — a work permit signed by the employer and employee.

For Cara Devine, who works at a wine store that closes at 8 p.m., that means carrying a government form with her everywhere, and hoping that the police recognize her task as essential when she heads home after the curfew. But she also worried about the Uber drivers who take her back and forth.

“Even before the newest restrictions, I’ve had two Uber drivers being really late picking up from the shop because they got stopped by the police, taking about an hour out of their work time,” she said.

The police are already confronting opposition. On at least four occasions in the last week, they reported having to smash the windows of cars and pull people out after they refused to provide a name and address at a police checkpoint. The Victoria police commissioner, Shane Patton, said a 38-year-old woman had also been charged with assault after attacking a police officer who had stopped her for not wearing a face mask.

Some criminologists are questioning whether the harsher enforcement will help. Mostly, though, Melburnians are just trying to endure.

Walking to get groceries, Peter Barnes, 56, said he welcomed the stricter rules, though he admitted his city was starting to feel like George Orwell’s “1984,” with the heavy hand of the state around every corner.

Those focused solely on the economics, he said, should remember the obvious: “You can’t hire a corpse. Very bad employment prospects for people who are dead.”

By Monday night, the city seemed to be in listening mode. The streets were emptying out, silent in hibernation.

“It’s like a Sunday in the 1950s,” said Mark Rubbo, the owner of Readings, Melbourne’s largest independent bookstore. He also noted that people were stocking up again on books through online orders, with a memoir called “The Happiest Man on Earth,” about a Holocaust survivor, becoming a runaway hit.

Ms. Von Tessle Roberts has found another solution, perhaps just as likely to grow in popularity: Stand on your front porch and scream. That’s the name she has given to an event she posted on Facebook, set for Friday at 7 p.m. By Tuesday afternoon, 70,000 people had expressed an interest in joining her collective shout in anguish.

“Yelling is great,” she said. “It’s less dehydrating than crying.”

______

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‘Too many are selfish’: US nears 5 million virus cases

By PHIL MARCELO, CARLA K. JOHNSON and LISA MARIE PANEan hour ago
 
 
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BOSTON (AP) — Fourth of July gatherings, graduation parties, no-mask weddings, crowded bars — there are reasons the U.S. has racked up more than 155,000 coronavirus deaths, by far the most of any country, and is fast approaching an off-the-charts 5 million confirmed infections, easily the highest in the world.

Many Americans have resisted wearing masks and social distancing, calling such precautions an overreaction or an infringement on their liberty. Public health experts say the problem has been compounded by confusing and inconsistent guidance from politicians and a patchwork quilt of approaches to containing the scourge by county, state and federal governments.

“The thing that’s maddening is country after country and state after state have shown us how we can contain the virus,” said Dr. Jonathan Quick of the Duke Global Health Institute, who is leading a pandemic initiative for the Rockefeller Foundation. “It’s not like we don’t know what works. We do.”

The number of confirmed infections in the U.S. has topped 4.7 million, with new cases running at over 60,000 a day. While that’s down from a peak of well over 70,000 in the second half of July, cases are rising in 26 states, many in the South and West, and deaths are climbing in 35 states.

On average, the number of COVID-19 deaths per day in the U.S. over the past two weeks has gone from about 780 to 1,056, according to an Associated Press analysis.

In Massachusetts, health officials are investigating at least a half-dozen new clusters of cases connected to such events as a lifeguard party, a high school graduation party, a prom party, an unsanctioned football camp and a packed harbor cruise trip.

One recent house party on Cape Cod attended by as many as 60 people led to more than a dozen new cases and prompted some restaurants to close or limit service at the height of tourist season.

Hot spots around the U.S. are popping up in what once seemed like ideal places to ride out the outbreak: rural, less populated and with lots of outdoor space. In South Dakota, a spike erupted at a Christian youth summer camp in the Black Hills, with cases growing to 96 among 328 people who attended.

Full Coverage: Virus Outbreak

A Bible camp east of Portland, Oregon, saw an outbreak among at least 25 youngsters and staff members. The Trout Creek Bible Camp’s executive director, Joe Fahlman, said the cases popped up even though it followed all requirements set by state officials, including daily temperature checks, frequent hand-washing and hand-sanitizer stations throughout the grounds. He said the children were split into groups of no more than 10 campers each.

“We’re at a point where there’s enough spread of COVID-19 that people throughout the U.S. are at an increased likelihood of encountering the virus and getting exposed,” University of Florida epidemiologist Dr. Cindy Prins said.

She added: “This is a behavioral disease right now for a lot of people.” Prevention means “changing our behavior, and it’s so hard for humans to do. We’re social creatures.”

President Donald Trump’s public pronouncements during the crisis have been infused with an optimism at odds with the facts on the ground. In April, he assured Americans that “we have passed the peak in new cases, we are starting our life again.” In May, as the death toll surpassed 80,000, he declared the country had “met the moment and we have prevailed.”

In Virginia, cases have surged so much in cities like Norfolk and Virginia Beach that Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam placed limits there last week on alcohol sales and gatherings of more than 50 people. Northam, the nation’s only governor who is a doctor, cited rising infections among young people and said the problem is that “too many people are selfish.”

“We all know that alcohol changes your judgment,” he said. “You just don’t care as much about social distancing after you’ve had a couple of drinks. That’s when the virus gets spread.”

Dr. Demetria Lindsay, the Virginia Department of Health’s district director for Virginia Beach and Norfolk, said there has been a pronounced spike among people ages 20 to 29. She said the factors behind the surge include gatherings of people not wearing masks or maintaining a safe distance.

“Father’s Day, Memorial Day, graduations, birthdays, backyard barbecues, you name it,” Lindsay said.

In Brandon, South Dakota, thousands of car racing fans packed the 9,000-seat Huset’s Speedway over the weekend. Many did not cover their faces or keep their distance from others.

“We’re kind of over this whole COVID thing. I won’t wear a mask unless I absolutely have to,” 21-year-old Veronica Fritz said. She added: “I am a very strong Christian and I know where I’m going, and I believe God will take me when I’m supposed to go. So if I get COVID and I die from COVID, it’s not my decision.”

Nearly a quarter of Wisconsin’s more than 55,000 total cases had been confirmed over the past 14 days. Much of the spike has occurred in the state’s densely urban southeastern corner, but the disease has also spread with amazing speed in rural and sparsely populated northern Wisconsin.

Zona Wick, a spokeswoman and contact tracer for Iron County’s health department, blamed the surge on July Fourth gatherings, birthday and graduation parties, out-of-county visitors and people crowding into bars.

“The Fourth of July was tough on us,” Wick said. “People had a bit of quarantine fatigue, is what I’m calling it. People got a bit tired of staying in. People just got together like they have for years on the Fourth of July and spread it to one another.”

The numbers are even more sobering in Barron County, a county of 45,000 people about 75 miles northeast of Minneapolis. As of Monday, it had seen 259 confirmed cases, more than 70% of them in the last two weeks.

Sarah Turner, a public health specialist with the county, attributed much of the spike to an outbreak at a food processing plant but also cited crowded bars and family gatherings.

“We were hoping that being rural and being more spread out” would protect the county, “but that’s proving not to be the case,” she said. “Like everywhere and anywhere right now, there are people who don’t buy into health measures. It’s a little bit of out-of-sight, out-of-mind. People don’t take it seriously when it’s not in your face.”

The wedding industry likewise is seeing no-mask receptions with busy dance floors and no social distancing.

Wedding planner Lynne Goldberg has a December wedding scheduled for 200 guests at the home of the bride’s parents in upstate New York.

“They have emphatically shared that this pandemic is not going to get in the way of their wedding plans and that there will be no masks handed out and no signs promoting social distancing at their wedding,” she said. “The bride has said that when she shows her children her wedding video, she doesn’t want it to be a documentary of the 2020 pandemic.”

__

Marcelo reported from Boston, Johnson from Washington state, and Pane from Boise, Idaho. AP journalists around the world contributed to this report.

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1 hour ago, Marshall said:

“They have emphatically shared that this pandemic is not going to get in the way of their wedding plans and that there will be no masks handed out and no signs promoting social distancing at their wedding,”

It's so cool to watch the narratives trump common sense because if you applied it to consumer goods/services/aviation (or whatever) people would instantly see the folly of it. 

If I cut all the roof trusses wrong does it matter if I used a Dewalt, Skil, Makita or Milwaukee  saw? How about revolting against quadrantal, emergency safe, MOCA and MEA altitudes. LOL, you can't tell me what altitude to fly at.... minimums are racist and the crash was Trump's fault

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3 hours ago, Wolfhunter said:

It's so cool to watch the narratives trump common sense because if you applied it to consumer goods/services/aviation (or whatever) people would instantly see the folly of it. 

If I cut all the roof trusses wrong does it matter if I used a Dewalt, Skil, Makita or Milwaukee  saw? How about revolting against quadrantal, emergency safe, MOCA and MEA altitudes. LOL, you can't tell me what altitude to fly at.... minimums are racist and the crash was Trump's fault

Instead of what you quoted, I think this applies: 

Quote

‘Too many are selfish’: US nears 5 million virus cases

 

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8 hours ago, Marshall said:

Instead of what you quoted, I think this applies: 

 

I would say that being selfish is a"condition whereas dangerous narratives are part of an ingrained belief system, (like religion) which cause people to become zealots.... unreasonable, unwilling to compromise and they will hurt you if you don't share their beliefs.

Selfish people will usually act in their own best interests and you can appeal to that sentiment. You can even manipulate the scenario to exploit their selfishness. Zealots and extremists are willing to burn it all down and put the blame on whoever they consider to be "The Great Satan." 

Some people seem to think it matters if the current violence is being perpetrated by the left or the right (ANTIFA or right wing groups). They fail to realize that it doesn't matter a bit.... the outcome doesn't change for innocent victims. The politics don't matter to me, if you carry weapon into the fray you're a declared player, a wolf that threatens the flock if you will....

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And so it begins.  It only goes to show that profit is more important than health and we will be in this a very long time.

https://thehill.com/policy/transportation/510415-southwest-cuts-back-on-between-flight-cleaning-narrows-focus-to-tray

Internal memo says Southwest cutting down COVID-19 cleaning to speed turnaround of flights: report

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/2020/08/03/southwest-airlines-reduces-cleaning-between-flights-turnaround-time-saving/5578918002/

Southwest reduces aircraft cleaning between flights, focusing on tray tables over seat belts

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The sad reality...

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/one-death-every-80-seconds-grim-new-toll-covid-19-n1235890

Over the last seven days, a grim new COVID-19 calculus has emerged: one person died every 80 seconds from the coronavirus in America.

And the pace at which those 7,486 people died appears to be accelerating, a new NBC News tally revealed Wednesday.

 

In July, a total of 26,198 deaths were reported, meaning one every 102 seconds. As of Wednesday morning, more than 158,000 people in the U.S. had died of the virus since the start of the pandemic.

 
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image.png.4e7c7552fb9b341ce5cef0ff9a7093fa.pnghttp://api-esp.piano.io/story/estored/vib-ckdioiz6i06kk1at677p1ifnt/498713750/-1?sig=0dfadb1c96cf3340cfdbe6e9a6450d78b4a9c8d2550766103ffc8423f90e8db9

 

 

Good morning. In today's AP Morning Wire:

 

·        A burst of terrifying power that ravaged Beirut in a horrific instant. 

·        Seeking refuge in US, children fleeing danger are expelled.

·        N. Korea's escalating virus response raises fear of outbreak.

·        Exclusive: Lack of study, oversight of tear gas use at US protests.

 

 

TAMER FAKAHANY
DEPUTY DIRECTOR - GLOBAL NEWS COORDINATION, LONDON

 

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American bikers’ display of free-dumb is yet another reason to keep our border closed

When the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally opens Aug. 7 in South Dakota, it will probably be the largest gathering of humanity anywhere in the world this year. Organizers expect a quarter of a million people to attend over its 10 days. This is about half the number of last year’s attendees, but it still promises to be a raucous blend of loud bikes, louder bars and loudest-of-all rock bands, with daily races and nightly concerts throughout the week.

“The City of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an icon of American Freedom and Independence,” said the City Council in a June press release that confirmed the rally would go ahead, despite daily increases in recorded cases of the COVID-19 virus.

American Free-dumb, more like. The Black Hills will be a petri dish of contagion, spreading back through the United States after the partying rally-goers return home in mid-August. Contact tracing will be near-impossible and pointless. When American death rates surge in September among bikers and the countless people with whom they’ve come into contact, the blame will fall on the change of seasons, just as President Trump predicted months ago.

The City of Sturgis didn’t enter into this lightly. It spent several months surveying rally exhibitors, merchants and potential participants before making a commitment. It sent out a postal survey to the 7,000 residents of the small city, about an hour west of Rapid City and north of Mount Rushmore, and 62 per cent of the responses called for the rally to be either postponed or cancelled. But then, according to the local Sioux Falls Argus Leader, the city received a letter from a Rapid City merchandiser reminding it that a federal judge had ruled that no single entity “owns, produces or operates” the rally. If the city tried to shut things down, it would be “subject to claims of liability.”

Money talks. The city voted to go ahead with it, residents be damned.

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International aid vital to beating COVID-19 in Canada: expert

Nicole Bogart

Nicole BogartCTVNews.ca Writer

@nlynnbogart Contact

Published Thursday, August 6, 2020 12:02PM EDT

TORONTO -- Canada has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to the global fight against COVID-19, an investment that experts say is vital in helping bolster the value of the domestic response to the virus.

From bilateral aid and multilateral funding provided to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other agencies, to funds for the research and development of vaccines and treatments for the deadly respiratory virus, the international aid aims to strengthen the global response to the virus, in turn, helping the fight in Canada.

“We need to be thinking about the humanity of people in other parts of the world, presumably Canadians do care about people in other places and want to invest in supporting them,” John Cameron, professor of international development at Dalhousie University, told CTV’s Your Morning Thursday.

“But even from a self-interest perspective, I would argue that our investments in the domestic COVID-19 response plan will be undermined if Canada doesn’t support a global response.”

Cameron says that countries like Canada play a vital role in strengthening such institutions as the WHO, so that they can respond to global emergencies like COVID-19.

He notes that, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been criticized by some for pledging too much international aid, the response is vital to bolstering ongoing global vaccine research.

“We can have Canada locked down and a vaccine available for every Canadian, but if we don’t solve this issue globally, the value of that Canadian response is ultimately undermined,” he said.

In May, Trudeau announced an $850 million contribution to the global fight against COVID-19, vowing there would be “more to come” as the international community collaborates to fight the virus.

“In the fight against COVID-19, our first focus will always be here at home, but this is a global challenge. To keep Canadians safe and restart our economy, we need to defeat this virus not just within our borders, but wherever it is found. That’s how we’ll beat COVID-19 for good,” Trudeau said.

“The more we co-operate, the more likely that we find a cure, and find it quickly. And that’s something we all want to see.” 

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Coronavirus infections among younger populations are skyrocketing, WHO says

Madeline Holcombe

CNNDigital

Contact

Published Friday, August 7, 2020 8:56AM EDT
New York

Coronavirus infections among younger populations are skyrocketing, WHO says. (Noam Galai/Getty Images)

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The COVID-19 pandemic is moving into younger populations, health experts said Thursday, with cases skyrocketing among children, teens and young adults.

Early in the outbreak, health experts stressed that older adults were most at risk for the virus that has infected more than 4.8 million people in the United States, but new data from the World Health Organization shows that most cases -- by far -- are reported in people ages 25 to 64. The proportion of cases in teens and young adults has gone up six-fold, and in very young children and babies the proportion has increased seven-fold, WHO said.

The increase might be explained by broader testing, greater detection of milder cases and shifting demographics of hotspots, but "a rise in risky behavior after easing of public health and social measures" is also to blame, WHO said.

 

CTV News COVID-19 Coverage

Full coverage at CTVNews.ca/Coronavirus

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WHO says 'vaccine nationalism' cannot beat virus

Russia's race for virus vaccine raises concerns in the West

'Do our lives count for less?': COVID-19 exposes cracks in disability aid

Passports for purchase: How the elite get through a pandemic

India surpasses 2 million cases as health volunteers strike

Americans are dying after drinking hand sanitizer, CDC says

COVID-19 in the U.S.: How do Canada's provinces rank against American states?

Are you keeping your kids home from school in September? We want to hear from you

In Georgia a 7-year-old child with no underlying conditions became the youngest person in the state to die of the virus.

"This is a disease everyone should take seriously. Please watch out for each other," Dr. Lawton Davis, the Health Director for Georgia's Coastal Health District, said.

A resurgence of large parties and social outings have been a source of widespread infections following the loosening of restrictions, and they are most often attended by younger people, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday. They have recently become the hardest hit population in the county and continue to drive numbers up, she said.

In New Mexico, where one fifth of all cases are reported in people ages 20 to 29, the state's Human Services secretary, Dr. David Scrase, urged people not to plan big gatherings for Labor Day.

"Just do that cookout with the people you live with," Scrase said Thursday. "Don't get the family together. There will be more time to do that."

 

MASKS COULD SAVE 70,000 LIVES

 

More than 160,000 have died of coronavirus in the US so far and that number could nearly double by December, the director of a leading model said Thursday.

But consistently wearing masks could save nearly 70,000 of the 295,000 people projected to die of the virus by December 1, the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) director Dr. Christopher Murray said on CNN's Global Town Hall.

"It's rare that you see something so simple, so inexpensive, so easy for everybody to participate in can have such an extraordinary impact in the US and also all over the world," Murray said.

At least 39 states as well as Washington, DC and Puerto Rico have implemented mask requirements of some kind. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear extended his state's mask mandate by 30 days on Thursday, saying "It's working."

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated mask recommendations on its website, urging people not use masks with valves or vents. While the one-way valve keeps people cooler by allowing air to escape, that also means respiratory droplets that carry the virus can escape and infect others.

 

BALANCING RUSH FOR A VACCINE AND 'ETHICAL PRINCIPLES'

 

Vaccines are being developing quickly in hopes of getting the pandemic under control, but health experts caution they will only be released to the public once they are safe.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he is looking forward to getting the vaccine when it has reached a necessary standard.

"When the vaccine becomes available after a 30,000-person-or-more placebo-controlled randomized trial, and it's shown to be safe and effective, I would get it any time within the timeframe of the people who prioritize it according to ethical principles," Fauci told the POLITICO Pulse Check podcast.

He said he is "satisfied" with the first week enrollment in Moderna's Phase 3 clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine, which saw 1,290 people randomly assigned to get either the vaccine or a dummy shot. Moderna plans to enroll 30,000 people in its trial.

Fauci told CNN that he expects "to get an answer" about whether the vaccine works in November or December.

President Donald Trump hopes to get an answer much sooner. He said Thursday he is "optimistic" that a vaccine could be ready by election day on November 3.

But former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Thursday that giving specific dates for when a vaccine could be available is "very dangerous."

"We can't sacrifice our standards because if we do, it not only hurts people, but it's going to damage people's faith in vaccine efforts," Murthy said.

 

EXPERTS CALL FOR A NATIONAL PLAN

 

Federal officials have often been at odds with local leaders and health experts, and five former directors of the CDC said it is time for national leadership against the pandemic.

"It's unbelievable that six months into the pandemic, it's not clear who's in charge, federally," Dr. Thomas Frieden said during a roundtable hosted by ABC News Live. "There's no plan. There's no common data that we're looking at to see what's happening with the virus and what's happening with our response."

The CDC being sidelined early on and contradictory messages from the Trump administration has led to partisanship, confusion and increased spread of the virus, Frieden said.

Dr. Richard Besser, who was an acting CDC chief during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic in 2009, said return to school has been complicated by the mixed messages. "If you have politicians saying that CDC guidance is a barrier to getting children back into school, instead of the roadmap for doing it safely, then whole system breaks down," Besser said.

In the absence of national leadership, state officials have been taking measures against the virus into their own hands.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards extended bar closures Thursday and announced the state will stay in Phase Two of its reopening plan, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio extended the city's state of emergency, which was first signed in March, for another 30 days.

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Priceless!! Classic do as I say, not as I do.....for you with kids that are missing playing hockey with their friends, you’ll appreciate the irony.

 

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Stupid is as.......

Harleys everywhere, but masks not so plentiful at South Dakota biker rally

 

'This is a major experiment. It could be a major mistake,' says one attendee

The Associated Press · Posted: Aug 08, 2020 12:36 PM ET | Last Updated: 1 hour ago
 
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Thousands of bikers rode through the streets of Sturgis, a small community in South Dakota, for the opening day of the 80th annual Sturgis Motorcycle rally on Friday, Aug. 7. The festivities are to continue until Aug. 16. (Stephen Groves/The Associated Press)
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Thousands of bikers have gathered in the small South Dakota city of Sturgis for a motorcycle rally, despite fears it could lead to a huge outbreak of COVID-19.

The 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which began Friday, could become one of the largest public gatherings in the state since the pandemic began, with organizers expecting 250,000 people from all over the United States to make their way through Sturgis during the 10-day event.

 

That would be roughly half the number of previous years, but local residents — and a few bikers — worry that the crowds could create a "super-spreader" event.

Many who rode their bikes into Sturgis on Friday expressed defiance at the rules and restrictions that have marked life in many locales during the pandemic. People rode from across the U.S. to a state that offered a reprieve from coronavirus restrictions, as South Dakota has no special limits on indoor crowds, no mask mandates and a governor who is eager to welcome visitors and the money they bring.

"Screw COVID," read the design on one T-shirt being hawked. "I went to Sturgis."

Bikers rumbled past hundreds of tents filled with motorcycle gear, T-shirts and food. Harley-Davidson motorcycles were everywhere, but masks were almost nowhere to be seen, with an Associated Press reporter counting fewer than 10 in a crowd of thousands over a period of several hours.

 
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People cheer during a concert at the Full Throttle Saloon during the Sturgis biker festival on Friday. While it usually attracts around 500,000 people, officials estimate that more than 250,000 people will still show up to this year's week-long festival despite the coronavirus pandemic. (Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

For Stephen Sample, who rode his Harley from Arizona, the event was a break from the routine of the last several months, when he has been mostly homebound or wearing a mask when he went to work as a surveyor.

"I don't want to die, but I don't want to be cooped up all my life either," he said.

Still, Sample, who is 66, feared what could happen if he caught COVID-19 at the rally. He said he was trying to avoid indoor bars and venues, where he felt the risk of infection was greater. But on the opening day of the rally, he said he ate breakfast at an indoor diner.

 
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Many attending events in Sturgis, with a population of roughly 7,000, chose not to take precautions Friday against coronavirus, such as wearing face masks or social distancing. (Stephen Groves/The Associated Press)

As Sample weighed the risks of navigating the crowds, the same thrill-seeking that attracted him to riding motorcycles seemed to win out.

"I think we're all willing to take a chance," he said.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem has taken a largely hands-off approach to the pandemic, avoiding a mask mandate and preaching personal responsibility. She supported holding the Sturgis rally, pointing out that no virus outbreak was documented from the several thousand people who turned out to see U.S. President Donald Trump and fireworks at Mount Rushmore last month.

Daily virus cases have been trending upward in South Dakota, but the seven-day average is still only about 84, with fewer than two deaths per day.

The rally attracted crowds of retirees and people in age ranges considered to be at higher risk from the coronavirus. But for many who see the rally as an annual pilgrimage, the camaraderie and atmosphere couldn't be missed.

Avoiding bars

"I fell in love with the rally. I love the sound of the bikes," said Bill Sudkamp, who was making his 20th consecutive rally appearance.

He and his wife, who declined to give their ages but said they were at elevated risk for COVID-19, were among the handful of people seen wearing masks in downtown Sturgis, a community of about 7,000 that's roughly 40 kilometres northwest of Rapid City. They were also planning to avoid bars. Sudkamp felt it was inevitable that infections would spread in the packed bars and concert venues.

 
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Among the crowds of people in downtown Sturgis, a handful were wearing face masks on Friday to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Stephen Groves/The Associated Press)

"It looked like South Dakota was plateauing mostly," Sudkamp said. "It will be interesting to see what it looks like in two weeks."

Marsha Schmid, who owns the Side Hack Saloon in Sturgis, was trying to keep her bar and restaurant from becoming a virus hot spot by spacing out indoor tables and offering plenty of hand sanitizer. She also scaled back the number of bands hired for the rally, hoping the crowds would stay thin but still spend the cash that keeps her business viable for the rest of the year.

She pointed out that many of her employees depend on the rally and the tips they can make.

Hoping those who 'don't feel good' stay away

"You've got people coming from all over the world," she said. "I just hope they are being responsible and if they don't feel good, they stay away."

Several locals said they would spend the rally hunkered down at home. Carol Fellner stocked up on groceries and planned to stay away from any gatherings. Her husband suffers from bouts of pneumonia and kidney problems, and COVID-19 would be a "death sentence" for him, she said.

Fellner felt that the risk of an outbreak would be felt long after the bikers leave. The city plans to mass test residents to try to detect and halt outbreaks, but the area's largest hospital system is already burdened with the influx of tourists and bikers who inevitably need hospital care during this time.

Sample was aware his trip to the rally could end in the hospital, which seemed to weigh on him.

"This is a major experiment," he said. "It could be a major mistake."

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