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Coalition of Undocumented Immigrant Families Calls on Biden to Stop Deportations | The State

Vice President Biden promised deep immigration reform.

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Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

A coalition of advocates for undocumented immigrants and their families called on the president-elect Joe biden help them in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and stop the persecution for their deportation.

“I am here today to personally ask Joe Biden to deliver on his campaign promises and to act immediately when he takes office next week to protect families like mine who have been persecuted and terrorized simply for daring to exist on this’ earth. of freedoms’ ”, expressed Jeanette Vizguerra, an undocumented activist who has been living in a sanctuary at Denver’s First Unitarian Society since 2015.

She joined a group that traveled to Wilmington, Delaware, to ask the Democrat for a meeting, even though she and other applicants were in danger of being detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents (ICE).

“I hope that the people, and especially the president-elect, understand the seriousness of the suffering we face and that led me to take risks today.”Vizguerra explained.

Among the organizers of the Familia coalition are the Trans Queer Liberation Movement, Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition, Never Again Action, RAICES, Immigrant Justice Network, among others.

They demanded a moratorium on all deportations, as well as administrative relief for all undocumented, a group targeted by President Donald Trump, they charged.

“From your first week in office to your last, Donald trump it has mercilessly attacked immigrants, systematically undermined our rights and unleashed a torrent of abuses against us, ”he said. Nancy meza of RAICES.

The group was supported by religious groups leading the same fight and provided hospitality at Grace United Methodist Church.

“Our scriptures remind us that we should treat the stranger among us as one of our own,” said the Reverend Edwin Estevez, Grace’s senior pastor.

The president-elect Biden has promised that one of his priorities will be immigration reform, which would include a citizenship plan for the undocumented, in addition to redirecting ICE’s actions, to focus on the arrest of immigrants with criminal records.

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Health

Grandkids Often a COVID Conundrum for Families


Jan. 11, 2021 — The pandemic has revealed a new generational divide that has baby boomers and their children at odds over safety, and grandchildren are often a point of disagreement.

Gen Xers have complained during the pandemic that their “boomer” parents aren’t taking COVID-19 seriously enough and think that they need to protect them and/or their children.

“I hear people who complain that their father will not wear a mask or socially distance or quarantine. They’re not willing to have that grandparent be around their children,” says F. Diane Barth, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in New York City and Massachusetts.

When parents say they’re not visiting to protect the grandparents, the elders often “get upset because they don’t feel they need to be protected. There are some boomer parents who do not believe the danger is real or that they’re in danger,” says Barth.

But it works both ways. Some boomer parents are being careful and have decided against visiting the grandchildren in person because they’re going to school.

Other boomer grandparents feel that it’s safe to visit in person but complain about the rules their children have imposed.

David, 69, of New York City, who asked that only his first name be used to protect his privacy, wanted to visit his daughter and infant granddaughter on his birthday in November. But when his daughter told him that he could not come inside under any circumstance, he was surprised and upset. They have since met in a nearby park and shared the lighting of Hanukkah candles over Zoom.

Mike, a Midwestern boomer who spends his winters in Florida, recently complained that his daughter has asked him to get tested twice and quarantine before he can visit his young grandchildren. Mike also asked that only his first name be used.

Barth suggests that grandparents weigh whether visiting grandkids is worth these inconveniences. “My thought is to make the adjustments to follow through on what the children/in-laws want so they can be with their grandchildren.”


Although some grandparents may be tempted to lie and say they have quarantined, that approach can backfire and create trust issues, says Barth. “Even if you think your son or daughter-in-law is being neurotic, this is not the time to do that. If your kids don’t trust you, your relationship will be in trouble, even with the grandchildren.”

Barth advises parents to be “really honest with themselves about how realistic their expectations are.”

Then, communicate. “I think that being able to talk about the expectations and about the conflicts is everything. I talked to so many families over the holidays where the grandparents desperately wanted the children and grandkids to come over, and the parents thought that might not be a good idea.”

What worked was the parents saying, “We don’t want to disappoint you, but we don’t want the kids or you to be in danger; can we figure out how to do this safely?” says Barth.


Visiting Newborns

Parents of newborns should be more protective about visitors, especially during the pandemic. “Newborns do not have the same immune capacity to fight off infections as older children. Their immune system is still developing, which is why they don’t get their first vaccines until they are 2 months old. That puts them at high risk of infections, and COVID-19 is no exception,” says Ashlesha Kaushik, MD, medical director of pediatric infectious diseases at UnityPoint Clinic in Sioux City, IA, and clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.



Grandparents who want to visit newborns should start taking precautions at 36 weeks of the daughter’s or in-law’s pregnancy. This includes quarantine if they have traveled recently, wearing masks, social distancing, hand hygiene, and avoiding sick people and crowded places, says Kaushik, who is also a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

She recommends staying at the parents’ home if possible, to lessen contact with outsiders. If they want to hold the newborn, the grandparents should practice good daily hygiene — hand-washing, showering, and wearing clean clothes. They should never kiss the baby’s face, and “it’s a good idea to wear a mask. If these practices are followed, the newborn will be safe.”


Children Infecting Grandparents

Children over the age of 2 can be silent carriers of COVID-19 and in some instances become very sick with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) and infect their grandparents, says Kaushik.

Parents may be very anxious about letting their children meet in person with the grandparents because the consequences of COVID-19 are so high. “They may think, ‘I don’t want to be the one to give my mom COVID or have my child give it to her grandmother,’” says Charles Kalish, PhD, a developmental psychologist and senior adviser to the Society for Research in Child Development in Washington, DC.

Parents of young children also have to weigh the health risk of having contact with the grandparents vs. the benefits of seeing the grandchildren.

Some parents agree to visits with the grandparents as long as they maintain their physical distance, which can be a challenge, especially for young children.

“If the risk of contact is small and the benefit of seeing the grandchild is high, then parents have to accept a certain degree of risk because social distancing will not be perfect in the beginning,” says Kalish.

“Even if they prepare the child ahead of time to not run up and hug the grandparent, the child may not remember to do that,” he explains.

If the parent can’t accept any risk, then “they can’t expect the interaction to go well because they will be so nervous, they may start yelling any time the child approaches the grandparent, or discipline the child,” says Kalish.

Although it may take a few reminders, Kalish reassures parents that children can learn new behaviors and that different rules apply to different situations.


Helping Grandkids With Online School

Christine Brown, 65, of Aurora, OH, near Akron, lives about 20 minutes from her son, a police officer, and his wife, a nurse manager, and their two daughters, ages 6 and 8. Brown has her granddaughters over every Monday to help with their online elementary school classes.

“My son was worried about my risk of COVID-19 early on in the pandemic because I have Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder, but I reassured him that I was cautious,” says Brown.


She kept her physical distance from her granddaughters, and they all wore masks. Months later, they hug but do not kiss each other. “I think I got tired of being afraid, and they’re such lovebugs.”

Brown thinks grandparents can help with online school remotely.

“If you’re retired, this is a great time for grandparents to ask parents, ‘How can I be helpful?’ For example, if a child is supposed to do math homework and the parents can’t be there to supervise, that could be done over Zoom, where the grandparent can watch the child do schoolwork,” says Kalish.



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Birmingham Headlines UK Liverpool London

Boris Johnson begs families to stay home and Chris Whitty appears in TV ad as part of new campaign

Boris Johnson last night begged families to stay at home as the Covid-19 death toll hit a grim new record – with the Government launching a new campaign blitz to scare people into obeying lockdown rules.

England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has appeared in adverts urging us to stay at home as the new variant of the virus rips across the country.

Two terrifying new posters also show a patient dying in hospital and a healthcare worker wearing full PPE, warning Britons: ‘If you go out, you can spread it. People will die.’

Mr Johnson said that infections were rising at an alarming rate, despite the new national lockdown imposed at the start of the week.

And he warned the only way to prevent thousands more deaths was to follow the rules. The Prime Minister said: ‘I know the last year has taken its toll.

‘But your compliance is now more vital than ever. Once again, I must urge everyone to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.’

Another 1,325 Covid deaths were reported on Friday – nearly one a minute – and more than the peak of 1,224 in the first wave last April.

The grisly death toll – which has doubled in a week – takes the UK to the brink of almost 80,000 victims. 

Experts fear the daily death counts will continue to spiral because of rocketing cases and hospitalisations, piling further pressure on Boris Johnson to speed up the sluggish vaccination programme designed to start getting  Britain out of lockdown by mid-February.

Department of Health figures show the UK has recorded more than 50,000 cases for 11 days in a row, with the five worst days of the pandemic all occurring since the start of 2021. Cases have risen by almost 30 per cent week-on-week.

But a senior SAGE official today warned the actual number of Britons currently getting infected every day is closer to 150,000, claiming that the size of the second wave is now way worse than the first. 

The source also fears England’s third national lockdown will not ‘slam the R rate down as it did in March’ because the country was dealing with a more infectious mutated strain and because adherence to the rules has dwindled. 

 No10’s advisory panel revealed that the R rate could be as high as 1.4 across the seven regions of England.

Amid calls for even tougher restrictions, ministers are considering making face masks mandatory in busy outdoor locations, such as supermarket queues.

As London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a major incident, saying the virus was ‘out of control’ and threatening to overwhelm hospitals in the capital:

  • Confirmed coronavirus infections hit a record high of 68,053;
  • One in every 15 people in the London borough of Barking and Dagenham may have the virus, according to an official survey;
  • A new highly infectious variant now makes up 81 per cent of cases in the capital;
  • Senior officials warned its virulence meant the current lockdown was likely to be less effective at curbing the virus than the first;
  • More hospitals cancelled other treatments, even cancer operations;
  • Police were put on standby to drive ambulances in London;
  • Constabularies launched a crackdown on lockdown-breakers;
  • A study suggested the Pfizer vaccine works against the new strain;
  • UK regulators approved a third vaccine but it will not be available until spring;
  • Vaccine tsar Kate Bingham vowed the target to inoculate the 13million most vulnerable by February 15 would be met.

Everyone in England is being urged to stay at home and ‘act like you’ve got it’ as part of a major advertising campaign. including posters (pictured) encouraging the public to control the spread of the virus and protect the NHS and save lives

A commuter wears a facemask as he sits in a bus shelter with signage promoting "Stay Home, Save Lives" in central London

A commuter wears a facemask as he sits in a bus shelter with signage promoting ‘Stay Home, Save Lives’ in central London

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a plea to families and begged them to stay home to save lives as the UK recorded its highest death toll since the pandemic began today and the NHS launches a new ad campaign fronted by Chris Whitty

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a plea to families and begged them to stay home to save lives as the UK recorded its highest death toll since the pandemic began today and the NHS launches a new ad campaign fronted by Chris Whitty

Health chief warns London faces ‘biggest threat’ of pandemic so far 

London is facing the biggest threat of the pandemic so far as the NHS buckles under the strain of coronavirus cases, experts warned today as a major incident was declared in the capital. The city is one of the main hotspots of the latest wave of the virus which saw deaths reach a record high today, with its spread now ‘out of control’ in the metropolitan area.

Mayor Sadiq Khan warned that more than 1 per cent of the city’s nine million residents tested positive for Covid last week, with one in 30 residents currently estimated to be infected. In the worst-hit boroughs, it is feared the rate is as high as one in 20 and startling figures also show that hospital admissions rose by a quarter in the first week of January.

More than 7,000 NHS beds across the capital are currently occupied by Covid patients – 35 per cent higher than the busiest day of the pandemic in the spring.

The hard-hitting ad campaign was launched on TV last night, fronted by Chief Medical Officer Professor Whitty. He said that while vaccines provided ‘clear hope for the future… for now we must all stay at home’.

Professor Whitty, who is the most trusted government figure on Covid, said the rapid spread of the virus was putting ‘many people at risk of serious disease and is placing a lot of pressure on our NHS’.

Dramatic images will carry the stark message: ‘Coronavirus. If you go out, you can spread it. People will die.’

Prof Whitty says: ‘Covid-19, especially the new variant, is spreading quickly across the country. This puts many people at risk of serious disease and is placing a lot of pressure on our NHS.

‘Once more, we must all stay home. If it’s essential to go out, remember: wash your hands, cover your face indoors and keep your distance from others.

‘Vaccines give clear hope for the future, but for now we must all stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.’ The campaign also urges people to ‘act like you’ve got it’ adding that ‘anyone can spread it’.

England is now in its toughest and longest lockdown since last spring and may not emerge from it until all the most vulnerable groups have been vaccinated against Covid-19. 

The Prime Minister has called in the Army to ramp up Britain’s vaccination roll out, which offers the only glimmer of hope for ending lockdowns. The sluggish programme has been dogged by staffing and supply issues and bureaucratic barriers that have strangled it in the early stages.

It comes as police were accused of cracking the lockdown whip too hard after a force threatened to fine people £200 for playing in the snow – while elsewhere officers swooped on two friends for driving just seven miles to go for a walk at a beauty spot. 

And No 10 fears that Mr Johnson’s stay-at-home order is being flouted – a suspicion backed up by figures from Transport for London.

Passenger levels on the Underground were running at 18 per cent yesterday, compared with just 5 per cent last April. Bus use is at 30 per cent of capacity, compared with around 18 per cent in the first lockdown.

And traffic levels on main roads in the capital were at 76 per cent of normal compared with 30-40 per cent nine months ago.

Apple Mobility Trends shows driving down by 44 per cent, walking down by 62 per cent and transit down by 68 per cent in London

Apple Mobility Trends shows driving down by 44 per cent, walking down by 62 per cent and transit down by 68 per cent in London 

Tom Tom figures also has commuters driving into work at rush hour as remaining steady at just 25 per cent

Tom Tom figures also has commuters driving into work at rush hour as remaining steady at just 25 per cent

Most seats were taken up at Canada Water on the Jubilee Line heading into the city centre and some people had to stand

Most seats were taken up at Canada Water on the Jubilee Line heading into the city centre and some people had to stand

Pictured is driving, walking and transit data from Apple Mobility for the capital over the course of the last year

Pictured is driving, walking and transit data from Apple Mobility for the capital over the course of the last year

Pupils swab themselves while a nurse watches on

Pupils have been swabbing themselves as school nurses watch on despite proof rapid tests only work if they are administered properly. Students at Oasis Academy in Coulsdon, Surrey, were sent the kits on Monday and given instructions by nurses on how to carry out the tests themselves.

Only vulnerable children or those whose parents are key workers are allowed to attend lessons in person during the latest national lockdown. It comes as figures suggest schools could still be attended by up to 20 per cent of pupils. But children are now being supervised by nurses, similar to how some walk-in testing centres are run, rather than having a nurse carry out the tests themselves.

The idea is that fewer medical experts or volunteers are needed allowing a larger number of people to be test more quickly. But multiple studies show lateral flow tests – when self-administered – could miss cases, due to the force and depth needed to collect a sample. It comes as calls to limit the number of children in school is growing, with attendance levels surging to more than 50 per cent in some areas.

The major incident declared by Mr Khan yesterday is a procedure previously invoked following the Grenfell Tower disaster and major terrorist attacks.

The mayor called for the closure of places of worship and for face masks to be worn routinely outside the home. Downing Street sources said there were ‘no more new lockdown measures on the way’.

But the Mail understands that Health Secretary Matt Hancock and other ministers have been examining the case to extend the use of masks.

Mr Khan said the situation in the capital was dire, with an estimated one in every 50 Londoners infected. ‘It’s like being in a theatre of war,’ he said. ‘Unless we reduce the spread, the NHS will run out of beds.’

City Hall said Covid cases in the capital had exceeded 1,000 per 100,000 and there were 35 per cent more hospital admissions with the virus than last April.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England’s regional director for London, said: ‘This is the biggest threat our city has faced in this pandemic to date.

‘The emergence of the new variant means we are setting record case rates at almost double the national average, with at least one in 30 people (in London) now thought to be carrying the virus.

‘Our NHS services are under immense pressure and currently another 800 people are being admitted to our hospitals every day.’

The London Ambulance Service is taking up to 8,000 emergency calls a day and at one east London hospital patients were apparently waiting 24 hours for a bed after arriving at A&E.

NHS London said a record 977 patients were admitted to hospitals over 24 hours.

Cases per day in London

Cases per day in London

People being hospitalised in London

People being hospitalised in London 

Coronavirus deaths in London

Coronavirus deaths in London

He said that over the last three days alone the NHS has announced 477 deaths in London hospitals following a positive test for Covid-19 (Piccadilly Circus pictured today)

He said that over the last three days alone the NHS has announced 477 deaths in London hospitals following a positive test for Covid-19 (Piccadilly Circus pictured today)

Nurse catches Covid three weeks AFTER getting vaccine as expert warns it takes time for immunity to build up

A nurse in Wales caught coronavirus three weeks after getting the vaccine, prompting experts to warn that it takes time for immunity to the virus to build up.

The nurse, who has been working for the Hywel Dda University Health Board area, said that she contracted Covid-19 while waiting for the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech developed vaccine.

While the vaccine ‘reduces your chance of suffering,’ the health board said, ‘no vaccine is 100 percent effective.’

Experts have warned that vaccines can take weeks to build immunity, and that people must still be careful to follow coronavirus rules after having the jab.

Speaking to the BBC, the nurse – who chose not to be identified – said she was ‘angry and heartbroken’ to have caught Covid at this stage.

She said that she was initially relieved to be offered the chance to be given the vaccine, and while she struggled to get an appointment, she was given her first dose of the Pzizer-BioNtech vaccine in December last year.

‘It gave me peace of mind. It made me feel safer and that I was doing the right thing for my family… but it gives a false sense of security,’ she told the broadcaster.

The nurse said that it was explained to her that it would take 10 days for the vaccine to offer some protection against Covic-19, and reduce the risk of transmission.

But three weeks after being given the jab, she said she began to feel unwell, suffering from ‘quite severe symptoms’ of a bad cough, high temperature and breathlessness, and was ‘shocked’ when she tested positive for the coronavirus – followed by her partner and one of her children.

Vaccinations have been shown to prevent severe infection, so even if people do become infected, they would be protected from becoming seriously unwell. 

The virus is also spreading rapidly outside the capital. Six out of ten hospitals in England are now reporting more Covid patients than in the first wave – a situation doctors say is ‘cataclysmic’.

Fewer than 500 were in hospital at the start of September but yesterday the figure stood at 28,246. That is an increase of more than 11,000 in a fortnight.

A doctor from Merseyside said her hospital is ‘almost at the limit’ with patients having to wait in corridors or ambulances.

Scientists advising the Government believe the current lockdown may lead to a plateau of cases across the UK rather than the dramatic cut seen in the March and April lockdown.

They estimate there are currently more than 100,000 new infections per day and possibly higher than 150,000.

They believe this estimate puts the current number of daily cases at a higher level than during the first wave of the pandemic. Hospitals are now seeing far more younger people than during the first wave.

There are also mounting fears about the knock-on effects on wider public health.

Experts expect there to be thousands of deaths as a result of disruption to cancer surgery in this wave, with some patients having vital operations cancelled even while they were heading to hospital.

Campaign group Catch up with Cancer: ‘If you have got Covid you can have a bed, but if you’ve got cancer you can’t have an operation. These cancer patients are dying at home and will be for the next five years.’

But there was an extra glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as a third vaccine in the fight against coronavirus was approved for use in the UK on Friday.

The jab, from US biotech firm Moderna, has been given the green light by the MHRA – joining the vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca.

The approval of the Moderna vaccine means the UK should have three vaccines to use when it comes on stream in spring.

The Government has increased its order of the vaccine to 17 million doses – enough to vaccinate 8.5 million people – with batches expected to be released in phases.

It has been shown to be 94 per cent effective against Covid-19 in clinical trials. Mr Johnson tweeted: ‘Excellent news the @MHRAgovuk has approved the use of the @moderna-tx vaccine.

‘Our national vaccine effort is accelerating to vaccinate priority groups with our existing two vaccines, and the Moderna doses will add to that when they become available in spring.’

The Office for National Statistics found in its mass testing programme that almost two thirds (61 per cent) of the positive tests it found in England appeared to be linked to the new variant of the virus. The figure was higher for some regions - particularly in London and the South - but lower in others

The Office for National Statistics found in its mass testing programme that almost two thirds (61 per cent) of the positive tests it found in England appeared to be linked to the new variant of the virus. The figure was higher for some regions – particularly in London and the South – but lower in others

 

Positive cases appeared to be starting to fall or level off in London, the East and South East of England in this week's ONS data, which Professor Christ Whitty picked up on in a press briefing earlier this week

Positive cases appeared to be starting to fall or level off in London, the East and South East of England in this week’s ONS data, which Professor Christ Whitty picked up on in a press briefing earlier this week

The new variant of coronavirus (blue line) has become the dominant strain in England but is not yet more common than other types of the virus in the UK's other countries, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, ONS testing shows

The new variant of coronavirus (blue line) has become the dominant strain in England but is not yet more common than other types of the virus in the UK’s other countries, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, ONS testing shows

The Kent variant of the virus (blue line) has become dominant in London, the East of England and the South East, but not yet in other parts of the country, although it is narrowing the gap in most places

The Kent variant of the virus (blue line) has become dominant in London, the East of England and the South East, but not yet in other parts of the country, although it is narrowing the gap in most places

A graph presented by Professor Chris Whitty this week showed that the number of people testing positive for the new variant of coronavirus (blue line) appeared to start coming down in London and the South East towards the end of December, although it has risen in other regions

A graph presented by Professor Chris Whitty this week showed that the number of people testing positive for the new variant of coronavirus (blue line) appeared to start coming down in London and the South East towards the end of December, although it has risen in other regions

The Covid Symptom Study, which uses reports from around one million people who have the app on their phones, showed that cases have been surging non-stop since the effects of England's second lockdown wore off in early December

The Covid Symptom Study, which uses reports from around one million people who have the app on their phones, showed that cases have been surging non-stop since the effects of England’s second lockdown wore off in early December

Prince William thanks frontline NHS workers during a video call with staff at Homerton University Hospital

Prince William has paid tribute to NHS staff working on the Covid frontline and thanked them for their continued efforts during a particularly challenging time.

The Duke of Cambridge, 38, spoke to staff from Homerton University Hospital via video call on January 7 to hear more about their experiences responding to the pandemic in recent weeks.

In the past week, Homerton University Hospital has seen their highest number of admissions since the pandemic began, with over 200 Covid patients currently being cared for and staff being moved to new roles within the hospital to cope with the ongoing pressure on frontline staff.

During the call, William heard from staff about the significant challenges that they are currently facing, and how this time compares to their experiences during previous spikes in transmission rates.

He told staff: ‘You’re all in my thoughts and Catherine and I, and all of the children, talk about all of you guys every day.

‘We’re making sure the children understand the sacrifices that all of you are making.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: ‘This is fantastic news and another weapon in our arsenal to tame this awful disease.’

Nearly 1.5 million people in the UK have already been vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccines, with the Government aiming to jab 15 million of those most at risk by mid-February.

With the current lockdown and vaccine rollout, deaths from coronavirus are expected to start dropping in February, while hospital admissions should drop.

Coronavirus cases are expected to drop in the spring due to vaccination plus the fact people spend more time outdoors, making it harder for the virus to spread.

Elsewhere, research published on Friday suggests the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech appears to protect against a mutation in two coronavirus variants.

The pharmaceutical giant and researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch carried out lab tests on the strains -from the UK and South Africa.

Both variants contain mutations including N501Y, an alteration in the spike protein of the virus, which is a target for vaccines.

In the study, not yet peer-reviewed, people given the Pfzier jab had neutralising levels of antibodies which appeared to work against N501Y in the new strains.

But one of the mutations in the South Africa variant, named E484K, has not yet been studied and is still causing concern for experts.

While scientists at the top of Government increasingly believe the UK variant can be tacked with existing vaccines, there is concern that the South African variant has the potential to make them less effective, though studies are ongoing.

In future years, it is thought that Covid-19 vaccines will need to be tweaked annually much in the same way the winter flu jab is.

Meanwhile, papers released by the Government from the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), which advises ministers, suggests communication campaigns will be needed to ensure those who are vaccinated continue to adhere to lockdown rules.

It said there was some evidence that, ‘in the absence of any mitigation policies, some of those who have been vaccinated will show a reduction in personal protective behaviours’ such as mask-wearing and social distancing.

It is not yet known whether vaccination can prevent people passing the virus onto other people.

Problems by the armful… but at last we’re saving lives with Pfizer’s ‘pizza boxes from heaven’: Thousands of phone calls and up to a fifth of patients refusing jabs – one medic reveals the reality behind all the rhetoric

It is the logistical challenge of a lifetime: the roll-out of essential Covid-19 vaccines at a rate that, hopefully, will help free the country from the endless cycles of lockdowns. 

With 1.5 million doses dispensed so far — and the promise of two million a week to come — Louise Kyle, a nursing leader in a large inner-city practice, gives an insight into the gargantuan effort required for just one vaccine ‘hub’ to play its part.   

Mon, December 7

The usual business of a Monday morning is compounded by news that our proposed vaccine ‘hub’ has been given the OK to ‘go live’ in eight days.

We’d volunteered to be an active ‘wave one’ site for the Pfizer jab from the moment we were able. Now, here we were, at the coal face of this history-making exercise.

Louise Kyle, (pictured) a nursing leader in a large inner-city practice, gives an insight into the gargantuan effort required for just one vaccine ‘hub’ to play its part

Louise Kyle, (pictured) a nursing leader in a large inner-city practice, gives an insight into the gargantuan effort required for just one vaccine ‘hub’ to play its part

It’s exciting, but daunting given the huge challenge that lies ahead, the scale of which becomes apparent almost immediately when, within a day of receiving our news, NHS England changes its guidelines to say that all vaccinated patients will have to stay behind for 15 minutes after receiving their jab, in case of an allergic reaction — something that simply isn’t possible in the site we’d prepared, given the need for social distancing.

It means a hasty pivot to a new arrangement, in our case asking our district nurses to vacate their clinical rooms — the best we can do at a week’s notice. Still, it gives us some practice thinking on our feet, which I’m sure, given what lies ahead, will prove useful.

Wed, December 9

With our vaccine site confirmed the focus is on logistics. Given the vaccine’s strict ‘shelf life’ once it comes out of its deep-freeze storage, we have a 90-hour window to vaccinate 1,000 people. That means reaching some 2,000 registered patients in our area who are aged over 80 to get those who wish to take up the offer booked in.

Time constraints mean there’s no time to reach them by post and, given that we can’t rely on the mass-texting system we use to reach younger patients, we have a team of 12 staff across our practices phoning patients solidly from dawn until dusk. I even recruit my 19-year-old son, now at home from university, to help man the lines.

It’s a complex business, not least because English is not the first language for some of our patients, while others are lonely and want to chat for hours.

It’s one reason we give our team a script to stick to. Happily, most patients are only too eager to accept their proffered appointment, but it’s dismaying that one in five of them either decline to have the jab at all, or say they want to wait a bit longer before making their decision.

It is the logistical challenge of a lifetime: the roll-out of essential Covid-19 vaccines. Pictured: Taking delivery of the first batch in its takeaway-style box

It is the logistical challenge of a lifetime: the roll-out of essential Covid-19 vaccines. Pictured: Taking delivery of the first batch in its takeaway-style box

Is Britain’s great Covid vaccine roll-out finally picking up pace? 

Britain’s sluggish coronavirus vaccine roll out may finally be starting to gather steam as pictures emerged today of dozens of elderly residents queuing in the freezing cold to get their jabs, after Boris Johnson brought in the Army to ramp up delivery to 200,000 doses a day by the end of next week.

The pensioners were snapped standing in line outside a vaccination centre in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, today as they patiently waited to get their first dose.

But many are still yet to be called for an appointment, with 99-year-old RAF veteran Arthur Clark who is classed as extremely vulnerable to Covid because of his age, saying he is still yet to be offered a jab by the NHS despite trying to get a slot since Christmas.

The widower and great-grandfather-of-four told MailOnline from his home in Beckenham, south east London: ‘It’s very annoying, I thought I’d been lost in the system.’ He added: ‘I appreciate it takes a while to get round to everyone, but I would have thought they’d have tried to give people of my age priority.’

And in yet more chaos to the lackluster scheme, a housebound 89-year-old widow was asked to travel 16 miles to a vaccination centre despite being unable to drive. Her daughter claimed the 80-minute journey from her home in rural Harleston, South Norfolk, was out of the question. 

One elderly Briton in her nineties also claims she hasn’t yet been able to get vaccinated because health bosses are going down the list in alphabetical order, instead of age priority. 

It comes as a patients’ rights group warned that some elderly Britons may be missing their Covid jabs because of AWOL reminder letters and text alerts amid reports of people not turning up to get either the Pfizer/BioNTech jab because they were waiting ‘for the English one’.

Fri, December 11

Two days of our first three-day vaccine schedule are now fully booked, with more than 600 patients scheduled to receive a jab on the coming Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving only Thursday to be sorted.

There’s a palpable sense of excitement among the team.

As I go home for a well-earned glass of wine I hope this is the moment that we turn the corner to combat Covid in our area, where it has been running rife.

Along with many of my colleagues, I caught the virus back in March — before the first national lockdown — and though I pulled through fine, it was still a wretched experience. For others, of course, it can be a matter of life or death.

I’ve lost several much-loved patients to this cruel disease over the past months.

Sun, December 13

I spoke too soon! My peaceful Sunday morning is overturned by an email informing us there’s been a 24-hour delay to the vaccine’s arrival. Cue a hasty scramble to get colleagues in to work to contact all of Tuesday’s patients and tell them to come in on Friday instead.

Since many of them had relatives or friends who had taken time off work to bring them in, it’s a major inconvenience, but mercifully most understand it’s not our fault.

Mon, December 14

Our ‘telephone terriers’ hit the phones again to book Thursday’s remaining slots, while I visit a local hospital to see how the vaccine vials arrive and are mixed to ensure the correct dosage.

The answer to the former, I discover, is that they come in what looks strangely like a small pizza box — rather different to the sci-fi cube emitting clouds of dry-ice that I’d half been expecting.

We’re similarly underwhelmed back at base by the arrival of the storage fridge, which we’d all pictured as some futuristic number but, in reality, is like a small under-the-counter affair you might keep your drinks in at home: ‘A G&T or a dose of Pfizer, darling?’ With the delivery of all the aprons, syringes and wipes we’re going to need, things are gearing up, although I’m anxious that with just hours to go until ‘V-Day’ we’re still awaiting the national protocol which allows our healthcare assistants and other junior staff or ‘lay vaccinators’ to help us administer it quickly and safely.

Ralph Evans, 88, receives the vaccine in Merthyr Tydfil. He is among the 1.5million to have been given the NHS jab

Ralph Evans, 88, receives the vaccine in Merthyr Tydfil. He is among the 1.5million to have been given the NHS jab

Scientists warn of rise in infections over government allowing arrivals to choose ‘less accurate’ lateral flow tests to prove they are infection-free

Coronavirus cases could be missed at Britain’s border following the government’s decision to let travellers choose ‘less accurate’ lateral flow tests to prove they’re Covid-free, scientists have warned.  

Those arriving in the UK will be able to present negative PCR or lateral flow Covid tests as proof that they do not have coronavirus. 

Grant Shapps has said nobody will be able to depart for Britain by plane, train or ferry unless they present a ‘recognised’ test result at check-in along with a valid passport and visa if required. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also adopt the measure.  

PCR tests can take longer because they are sent off to a lab to check for Covid, with some critics saying 72 hours could be too tight. Rapid ‘lateral flow’ tests can be turned around in minutes, but missed cases and false positives are more common.

The difference has sparked concerns that Covid-positive travellers could present a negative test at the border to gain entry to Britain.  

Professor Jon Deeks, a testing expert at the University of Birmingham, said: ‘The lateral flow test, we know, is not very sensitive so it will miss cases and it isn’t suitable.’

He added: ‘Other countries are using PCR and I would be concerned if we didn’t. There are alternatives, but we need something with similar accuracy to PCR.’

Dr Alex Edwards, a pharmacy researcher at the University of Reading, told MailOnline: ‘Given that this is a screening programme particularly for asymptomatic people, you want the most sensitive tests available, and PCR tests are the most sensitive available.

‘But even different manufacturers have varying levels of accuracy and not everyone is positive if they’re infected, which can cause enormous problems.

‘I think the problem is that, in general, the lateral flow tests are almost always less sensitive. If you have a really good PCR tests you might catch 80 per cent of people so you can reduce the number cases coming in five-fold.

‘We’ve seen huge variations in accuracy [of lateral flow]. Accuracy is always compared to PCR and when they were used in the real world, for example the study in Liverpool, it showed it was only capable of picking up half of the PCR cases, and that’s half of 80 per cent, so you can’t even reduce the number of people coming in by two-fold.’

Dr Edwards added that using lateral flow tests would prevent scientists from being able to detect or monitor new strains being brought into the country from abroad.

The negative Covid test for all travellers to the UK will be imposed ‘next Wednesday or Thursday’ as stars including Amanda Holden slammed the Government’s plan as too little too late as mutant strains from countries like South Africa entered the country.

Tue, December 15

It’s here! The vaccine arrives mid-morning, and given all the fuss, I’d been braced for an elite squad of specialists, bearing it forth with all the awe of a holy relic. Instead, it’s a man-in-a-van: more Amazon delivery than Indiana Jones. Nonetheless we’re all excited to have what one colleague quips is the ‘Pizza Box from Heaven’.

Inside are 195 precious vials, each containing five doses, meaning 975 separate vaccines.

We’re all keenly aware that every second now is vital, as the countdown to beat the strict five-day expiry date has already begun, starting from the moment they leave the laboratory freezer.

Unlike the vintage pots of hummus in my fridge back home, there’s no wriggle room on ‘best before’ dates here.

Our schedule is based on three vaccinators working 9am to 7pm, giving a jab every five minutes. On paper, that looks do-able, until you think about the reality of dealing with elderly, sometimes frail, patients who need time to move around, remove their layers of winter clothing and so forth.

Throw in the strict social distancing requirements and it becomes trickier still, especially when you consider the additional personnel in the building required by the guidelines: as well as our three vaccinators, there has to be a GP on site, two healthcare professionals and a team of five marshals to shepherd the patients around.

Wed, December 16, V-Day One

The big day arrives. My job is to take the vials and convert them into syringe-dosages, following a labyrinthine series of procedures which require such delicate handling we have taken to calling them our little ‘V-babies’.

First the vials are removed from the fridge into a light-proof bag — they are light-sensitive as well as heat-sensitive.

I then take out the first six vials, mark them with a special time label, and leave them for ten minutes to get them to room temperature, before inverting each vial ten times and adding 1.8 millilitres of sterile saline and withdrawing the same amount of air.

They then have to be inverted another ten times before another date and time label is added.

With over 20 years’ experience, I’m used to this kind of painstaking procedure, but I can’t help thinking that for many of the groups proposing to join the ‘vaccine army’ it would be somewhat daunting and time-consuming. Unlike the flu jab, which comes ‘arm-ready’ as it were, this is more complicated. If the Government’s going to hit its targets, there will need to be some swift training factored in.

I’m intrigued by the instruction to only take five 0.3 millilitre doses out of each vial and throw away what’s left.

Out of interest I drew the last dose out of one vial and discovered it was 0.5 millilitres, which strikes me as a dose wasted. But rules are rules.

The day passes quickly, and it’s heartening to learn from my vaccinating colleagues that every single one of their patients was so grateful to receive it, although some of them expressed guilt at being at the front of the queue and said they felt key workers and teachers should have been vaccinated first.

The day ends on a happy note when we learn that the traffic warden we’d spotted hovering outside wasn’t handing out tickets, but helping our elderly patients out of their cars and taxis.

It’s a Christmas miracle!

Thu, December 17

Another change from NHS England: overnight they decide we can now take six doses from each vial. That means we suddenly have 65 extra doses spare, and can vaccinate more patients. Our team hit the phones again. Every dose used is another life protected.

One step forward . . . two little hiccups back. Our IT system goes on the blink for an hour and a half, while we learn one of our marshals has called in sick with Covid.

Fri, December 18

Another busy day, and by 4pm, as we count the number of patients left waiting, with a handful of no-shows through the day, we realise we’ll have a few vaccine shots left over.

But as the clock runs down, we’re nearing the use-by deadline. Quick! We hit the phones to rally local healthcare professionals within a one-mile radius who, unlike more elderly patients, can get here pronto. We want to ensure not a precious drop is wasted.

We finish at 9pm, following an exhausting 12-hour shift: everyone had fitted the equivalent of a standard full NHS working week into three days.

Rishi Sunak examining plans for a £3billion scheme to help a MILLION small business owners

Rishi Sunak is examining plans for a £3billion scheme to help a million small business owners who have fallen between the cracks of other coronavirus help programmes.

The Chancellor is looking at proposals for a Directors Income Support Scheme that would pay sole directors up to 80 per cent of lost profits for three months, up to a ceiling of £7,500.

The scheme, targeting those earning less than £50,000 a year, would help entrepreneurs as well as plumbers, engineers and musicians.

Known as the #forgottenltd they pay themselves through dividends rather than a salary – a tax move that is legally allowed.

But it has left them unable to claim furlough or business loans.  

A source told the Sun that the Treasury was examining a plan put forward by the Federation of Small Businesses, the Forgotten Ltd campaign, former Office for Tax Simplification adviser Rebecca Seeley-Harris and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). 

‘It’s under active consideration,’ they said.

Lib Dem MP Tim Farron said it was ‘encouraging news’, but added: ‘After 10 months of broken promises it’s vital the Chancellor now delivers. ‘The small business owners that make up the #ForgottenLtd and all of the three million #excluded are crucial to our economic recovery. We won’t stop fighting until they are ALL supported.’ 

We’ve administered 1,031 doses, we’re all knackered, and my knees hurt, but there’s a real buzz.

I spend much of Saturday morning trying to catch up on the Christmas shopping I’ve had no time to do, only to discover that afternoon that my area is to be plunged into Tier 4 rules, meaning non-essential shops will have to close. Sorry, kids, Santa’s been a bit busy.

Mon, December 21

It’s a return to normal business, as I try to catch up with all the patients I’ve had to cancel from my usual clinics to work on the vaccine roll-out.

That means everything from smear tests to ‘frailty reviews’ — managing elderly patients’ end of life plans, and whether or not they would like to be resuscitated in the event of cardiac failure. There’s a slightly grim irony in undertaking the latter with a patient who, just a few days earlier, had been given a life-saving jab.

It feels like saying: ‘We’ve helped save your life, now how would you like to die?’

Wed, December 23

I thought I was off for Christmas, a time to recharge the batteries, but lo and behold the holiday’s interrupted with another goalpost-moving missive from NHS England, this time informing us they are going to extend the period between the two vaccine doses from three weeks to 12 weeks.

This means that any area which started administering their vaccines on or after Wednesday 16th needs to cancel those patients due their second jab, and book a thousand new patients in for their first instead.

Oh, and we can’t even tell the first thousand when they should come back, as the vaccine supply is so patchy at the moment we can’t make plans that far ahead.

How on earth can we make those 2,000 phone calls in time? On a good day, one ‘telephone terrier’ working flat out can reach about 120-150 patients a day.

Frantic conversations between health chiefs ensue, until a pragmatic solution is reached. Huge relief!

Nonetheless, given all the coverage in the media, we still have to call all 1,000 patients to reassure them their appointments are going ahead.

Tue, January 5, 2021

Hallelujah! The second lot of vaccines arrive at our hub on schedule. This time I’m at least expecting a man-in-a-van, not the Messiah.

Wed, January 6

Round two gets under way. It feels calmer this time as we’ve established a good working rhythm. With a fair wind, we’ll pick up speed, but the fiddly nature of the Pfizer jab means it’s surely going to be a huge challenge to scale-up on a national level.

The Government are making promises to have administered 12 million doses by mid-Feb.

As my eye-rolling teenager would say: good luck with that.

Fri, January 8

Another day of mixed news. Our final tranche of Pfizer jabs is marred by the IT system used to register all vaccinations — called Pinnacle — going down for most of the morning.

Now all 480 patients due in will have to be logged by hand and inputted onto the database at a later date.

I worry the system is struggling to cope as more and more hubs join the national roll-out.

On the plus side, we get the first arrival of 400 doses of the alternative ‘Oxford’ or AstraZeneca vaccine, which are to go to local care homes as they’re more transportable and require less gentle care than our Pfizer V-babies.

On paper, this is good news — if only we weren’t all so hampered by NHS England’s obsession with running all vaccinations through specific designated ‘hubs’ like ours.

The reality of this is that the maximum number of front-line vaccinators we can have working from the hub at any one time is four, whereas if we were allowed to give it out at our usual local GP surgeries too, I could have two vaccinators working at each of our ten sites — taking that number up to 20.

That’s a huge potential to upscale, if only NHS England would listen. Overnight, we got another missive from them saying the Oxford vaccine can at least be delivered to different sites, but still no clarity on whether it can be administered there, too.

If it can’t, then I’m afraid Boris’s pledge of delivering two million doses a week doesn’t stand a chance, especially given the baffling reality that by the time you read this, our hub will stand empty and unused.

At the time of writing, we have no further vaccine deliveries scheduled. And so we wait . . .

After all our efforts, it’s disheartening. And very worrying.

Now police ban SNOWBALLS! Officers threaten to fine people £200 for playing in the snow – after swooping on friends for driving just SEVEN miles to go for a walk in the park – and claiming their cups of tea counted as a picnic

Police today faced criticism they were taking the lockdown crackdown too far after a force threatened to fine people £200 for playing in the snow – while elsewhere officers swooped on two friends for driving just seven miles to go for a walk at a beauty spot.

The Broseley and Much Wenlock division of West Mercia Police tweeted last night: ‘There have been two reports of snowballs being thrown last night between 11 and 11.30pm.

‘This is obviously not a justifiable reason to be out of your house, this behaviour is likely to result in a £200 Fixed Penalty Notice for breaking the lockdown rules.’

Meanwhile, Derbyshire Police fined beautician Jessica Allen and her British Airways flight attendant friend Eliza Moore £200 each for driving for a socially distanced stroll at Foremark Reservoir, which despite not being her nearest park is only 10 minutes from her house. 

Ms Allen, 27, said she assumed ‘someone had been murdered’ when she saw a police van, a police car and several officers at the entrance of the open space. 

Neighbourhood officers for the Broseley and Much Wenlock tweeted on Thursday night: 'There have been two reports of snowballs being thrown last night between 11 and 11.30pm'

Neighbourhood officers for the Broseley and Much Wenlock tweeted on Thursday night: ‘There have been two reports of snowballs being thrown last night between 11 and 11.30pm’

Jessica Allen (left) and Eliza Moore were stopped by officers from Derbyshire Police while they were enjoying a socially distanced walk at a Derbyshire beauty spot

Jessica Allen (left) and Eliza Moore were stopped by officers from Derbyshire Police while they were enjoying a socially distanced walk at a Derbyshire beauty spot 

Jessica Allen

Eliza Moore

Ms Allen (left) and Ms Moore (right) were taking a stroll at Foremark Reservoir when they were surrounded by Derbyshire Police, read their rights and hit with £200 fines each

Ms Allen, a beautician from nearby Ashby-de-la-Zouch, said she assumed ‘someone had been murdered’ when she saw a police van, a police car and several officers at the entrance of the open space. This map shows the proximity between her house and the reservoir 

‘It was a short journey and only took about ten minutes,’ she said. I genuinely thought someone had been murdered or a child had gone missing; the place is normally so quiet. 

‘The next thing, my car is surrounded. I got out of my car thinking ”There’s no way they’re coming to speak to us”. Straight away they start questioning us. One of them started reading my rights and I was looking at my friend thinking ”This must be a joke”. 

‘I said we had come in separate cars, even parked two spaces away and even brought our own drinks with us. He said ”You can’t do that as it’s classed as a picnic”.

‘Crossing into a different county seems to have caused the issue but the border into Derbyshire is only a minute away from my house.’

Ms Moore, who is 27 and alongside her work for BA runs a make-up business, said she was ‘stunned at the time’ so did not challenge police and gave her details so they could send a fixed penalty notice.

‘Just seeing a police officer anyway is quite scary for some people and we were really not expecting to be approached and to be told we were doing something wrong,’ she said.

‘We don’t want to get away with it if we have broken the rule, but it seems a bit unfair that you can be fined on something that’s so vague.’

The pair were also told their cups of Starbucks peppermint tea, which they bought at a drive-thru, were not allowed because they were ‘classed as a picnic’. 

All car parks in Snowdonia National Park have now been closed to visitors. Pictured is a police car patrolling the beauty spot last night

All car parks in Snowdonia National Park have now been closed to visitors. Pictured is a police car patrolling the beauty spot last night  

A police officer stopped a group of three walkers as they headed through Birmingham City Centre amid lockdown

A police officer stopped a group of three walkers as they headed through Birmingham City Centre amid lockdown

Police officer took a picture of one man

Officers crowded around a person out walking in Birmingham City Centre

A police officer took a picture of one man, as others crowded around another person while they were out walking in Birmingham City Centre despite coronavirus lockdown

The Met has vowed not to warn people any longer and punish them with fixed penalty notices of at £200 for first offences, and these officers were also stopping cars

The Met has vowed not to warn people any longer and punish them with fixed penalty notices of at £200 for first offences, and these officers were also stopping cars

Guidance for the current lockdown says people can travel for exercise ‘as long as it is in their local area’, but does not specify how far people can travel. 

Derbyshire Police insisted the distance was ‘at the discretion’ of individual officers and the trip was ‘not in the spirit of the rules’.

It later said all fixed penalty notices issued during the new national lockdown will be reviewed after it received clarification about the coronavirus regulations.

The force has previously been criticised for its heavy-handed approach to enforcing the restrictions, and in March released drone footage of dog walkers in the Peak District in an attempt to ‘shame’ them. 

And in March, the force dumped black dye into a famous blue lagoon in Harpur Hill near Buxton to prevent Instagrammers from posing for snaps during the lockdown. 

It comes as police forces nationwide upped up their enforcement of Covid regulations.     

In Aberdeen, two policeman knocked on a family’s front door after complaints from a neighbour and stormed inside as a woman shouted ‘this is my house, get out of my house’ and children screamed in the background. 

Two women, aged 18 and 48, and a 43-year-old man were charged in connection with assaulting police officers and threatening and abusive behaviour.

The footage immediately sparked controversy, with critics accusing the police of ‘oppressive’ behaviour for storming into a private house – while others argued they were just trying to enforce the Covid rules.  

At Euston, officers were seen stopping passengers this morning to ask where they were going. Barrister Alex Wright tweeted: ‘Good to see lockdown being taken seriously, but a sad sight that I’d have dreamed of seeing in London.’ 

Snowdonia National Park has now closed all its car parks to visitors to ‘protect our communities and the NHS’, as officials slammed the public for ‘disregarding’ the law. 

In an attempt to clarify the guidance, Leicester City Council’s public health director Professor Ivan Browne today urged residents to visit ‘your nearest park, not your nicest park’, Leicester Live reported. 

Categories
Bollywood

Seema Khan on nepotism debate: We have actors in Bollywood, who hailed from big film families but haven’t made it, including my own husband


She never wanted to join films, even though she married into a family where almost everyone is associated with the film industry. Fashion designer Seema Khan found herself in the limelight when she starred in the recently released OTT show, Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives.

Wife of actor Sohail Khan, she emphasises that she’s a very “private person”, but her problem wasn’t that she wouldn’t open up in front of the camera.

“I’ve a different problem, I don’t know when to hold back. When I decided to do this show, I was sure that whatever I do, I’ll do a 100 percent and won’t make anything up. I’m not an actress and have never faced the camera in my life. It was definitely a little daunting. The only thing was I wasn’t going to be insensitive to anyone,” she says.

 

And Seema certainly was herself on the show. No holds barred is how she talked about her personal life, and even termed hers and Sohail’s marriage as “unconventional”. All she says about that is, “I will just say this much, because it’s out there, that whatever you see in the show, is the absolute truth. It is what it is, that’s all I want to say about that.”

What also got talked about a lot is the fact that all the star kids — her sons Nirvaan and Yohan, Sanjay Kapoor’s daughter Shanaya and son Jahaan, Shah Rukh Khan’s daughter Suhana Khan and more, were featured on the show as well. People thought it was like an audition showreel.

Seema has a very clear take on this. “It’s a reality show, about our lives. These children are our lives. The biggest part of any woman’s life is her family and children. To not have them would be going completely against reality!,” she quips.

So tomorrow, will she be okay with her sons getting into acting and the nepotism debate that will follow them?

She questions how far can that get you eventually. “Talent has to speak. We have actors in the industry, who’ve hailed from big families, who haven’t made it, including my own husband. Nepotism doesn’t mean you’re going to make it. At the end of the day, you’ve to be sincere, keep trying. It applies to every field in life. That’s the mantra I go by too, and told my son as well, whatever he does,” concludes Seema.

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Headline USA New York

Anguish among Latino families at the end of the moratorium on evictions due to the COVID crisis | The State

For Maria Najera 2020 was a very difficult year. The COVID-19 pandemic left a lot of pain among families in the Big Apple, who saw loved ones lose, and at her home in Brooklyn, the coronavirus not only attacked her head on, her two teenage children, and more seriously her husband, who got sick, but left them all out of work.

Stress, poverty, sadness, depression, uncertainty and an anguish that does not leave her alone for a single minute, too are in the memories of 2020.

And although with a year like this, the immigrant from Puebla confesses that deep down in her heart she would like her to leave soon 2020May 2021 begin and may the nightmare that his family and thousands of New Yorkers have lived through be left behind in oblivion, at the same time, ironically, He is terrified that the calendar continues to advance.

On December 31, the moratorium given by the Government to prevent landlords from evicting expires to tenants who have not been able to pay their rents. Technically, as of January 1, home and apartment owners in the Big Apple have the power to go to housing courts and initiate actions against tenants before the breach of its obligations. In the words of María, January 1 means the fear of being soon on the street with her children, her husband and their puppy Polo, who, if the family ended up in a shelter, would not be admitted.

“We are worried, very anxious because if they throw us out of here, we will end up without a home. And then where do we end up? That is the question I ask myself every day and I die of sadness knowing that I can end up in a shelter, and I don’t know if I will be able to go to one if I find myself in that situation ”, confesses the Mexican, who before From the pandemic, he made a living selling mango with salt and chili on 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue in manhattan.

The tenant, who has lived in her apartment for 15 years in Bushwick, property of a large corporation in the real estate business, she warns that she does not want to sound daring, but assures that the only option not to end up on the street, would be for the State to assume the payments of the back rents that she and thousands of tenants in the five boroughs they have with their landlords.

They suffer harassment from the landlord

As are the current finances at home, with her carpenter husband also unemployed, her children at school and the family living off food they claim in pantries and organizations like Make the road and churches, could not meet eventual payment arrangements. They owe for now 8 months of rent, with amounts of $ 1,200 each.

“We receive constant calls from the landlord asking when we are going to pay the rent, now they have begun to send letters and the truth is that unfortunately we will not be able to pay anything, because our savings have already run out. And with the moratorium ending in January, they will be able to evict us, so our only hope is for the State to help us ”, is the cry of the anguished mother.

And faced with the bleak outlook that would mean not adopting new measures to curb evictions starting in January, community organizations, leaders and activists are raising their voices to demand action from legislators in Albany and the Cuomo Administration.

The answer of the Cuomo Administration is that with the approval of the “Safe Harbor Law for Tenants”, that Albany signed last June, families who have been unable to pay their rents due to lost income from the pandemic are protected.

Criticism from activists is that despite the law preventing the courts from evicting tenants with financial hardships filed after March 7, do not prohibit landlords from filing eviction cases in court. It also makes for families that depend on informal jobs, who do not receive unemployment insurance or have documentation that support that the cause of not paying rent has been the loss of their jobs, prove it is impossible.

That law does not protect us all, and one without understanding how the court system works here, would have to get a lawyer and there are not so many free to help usSo, without knowing about the laws, it’s like sending us to lose the cases and also the houses ”, says José Morales, a food delivery man, who does not have papers to show that the delay in his rents has been due to the pandemic, and who fears be thrown into the street.

On the difficulties of state law protections fully benefiting all affected tenants, including undocumented families, contrary to what activists and undocumented tenants claim, Jack Sterne, Spokesperson for the Cuomo Governorate, assured that it also shelters them.

“The Safe Harbor for Tenants Act protects anyone facing difficulties related to the eviction pandemic for nonpayment of rent, regardless of their immigration status,” said the Cuomo Administration official. “We encourage the courts to consider a wide range of situations and provide relief so that all New Yorkers who have been affected by this public health emergency can remain in their homes.”

The official explained that said law deliberately allows judges to consider many factors when determining whether someone is in financial difficulties related to the pandemic.

Among those aspects to consider are the income of the tenant or legal occupant before the period covered by the COVID-19 crisis, the tenant’s income, the tenant’s liquid assets and their eligibility for cash assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs, Supplemental Security Income, New York State Disability Program, Home Energy Assistance Program or unemployment insurance or benefits under state or federal law.

The hope, in addition to the call for the state government to forgive the back rent, is in January, when it returns to sessions, the Legislature approves other pieces of law that are on the table. One of them is the Law for the Prevention of Displacement and Stability of Emergency Housing, a state initiative that would slow down all eviction processes until at least the end of the pandemic is decreed.

“New Yorkers are speeding toward a catastrophe with a homeless crisis as rent is overdue and evictions looming,” he said. Jawanza james williams, director of the organization VOCAL-NY, mentioning that to have more resources used for the most vulnerable families, it is urgent that the billionaire tax law be passed. “This reminds us that we need New York State to tax the rich so that we can take care of vulnerable communities, and anything other than that is unacceptable.”

Anu Joshi, Vice President of Policies of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), reminded Albany that the most unprotected families who are at risk of being left homeless, after the expiration of the moratorium on evictions, have also been the ones that have helped the most to move the city forward in the midst of the pandemic, without receiving incentives or financial aid, so they must already be taken into account. In addition to demanding action from the state government, he asked Washington to reach out for them.

“As temperatures drop and a second rise in COVID-19 hits New York, millions of immigrant families are at risk of losing their homes,” said the activist. “These are the same New Yorkers who have kept the rest of us fed, healthy and safe while we were excluded from all federal relief. Congress must immediately provide stimulus checks to these working New Yorkers and our state and city leaders must extend the moratorium on evictions. The collective health and well-being of all New Yorkers demands action now. “

100 thousand tenants the number of tenants who have not been able to pay their rents in NY is estimated.

They propose a total moratorium

State Senator Michael Gianaris, was on the side of the tenants and asked Albany to advance measures beyond temporary moratoriums, which can give low-income families a break, preventing them from increasing the number of homeless that some already estimate at 100,000 people.

“New York has not done enough to protect tenants from eviction during this difficult time. We must establish a total moratorium on evictions so that no one is expelled from their homes during the pandemic, “said the legislator.

On the part of the Assembly, they assure that they continue to fight to ensure that families affected by the pandemic do not lose their homes.

“The Speaker of the Assembly and the Democratic majority in the Assembly are working tirelessly to ensure that people can stay in their homes. According to the talks, the Assembly and the Senate are in the same place on how to handle evictions ”, mentioned Michael Whyland, communications director for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

The Speaker of the New York City Council, Corey Johnson, joined the call for greater protections to be given to remove tenants who have not been able to pay their rents from the tightrope, and stressed that durable solutions are required and not warm water cloths.

“Before COVID-19 hit, we were already facing a housing crisis. We must stop evictions and keep New Yorkers in their homes and in their neighborhoods. This crisis is far from over, so tenants need long-term protection and immediate relief, ”said the politician.

Data to take into account

  • 100 thousand tenants is estimated the number of tenants who have not been able to pay their rent in NY
  • If a tenant receives an eviction letter after November 3, they will have to respond within 10 days after the date of notification.
  • If received before November 3, you have until January 2, 2021 to reply
  • If you have questions about how to act if your landlord wants to evict you for not paying your rent, you can call 311 and request the tenant helpline or contact a nearby community organization
  • Approximately 15,000 tenants did not respond to requests until last month
  • To answer the letters sent by the court, you can answer it by calling the courts of each county at the following numbers:
  • Manhattan: 646-386-5505
  • Bronx: 718-466-3000
  • Brooklyn: 347-404-9201
  • Queens: 718-262-7300
  • Staten Island: 718-676-8455

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Categories
Entertainment USA

8 Stars & Their Families In Matching Christmas Pajamas: Celine Dion & More

Taking photos in matching holiday-themed pajamas is a classic festive tradition for families, and stars like Celine Dion, Kylie Jenner, Heidi Montag and more have all taken part!

While some celebrities like to keep their holiday traditions private, others love sharing pics on social media from their time spent with loved ones. Over the years, tons of celebrities have dressed up in matching festive pajamas with their families and posted photos of the looks online. Whether it’s in front of the tree on Christmas morning, or in the days leading up to Dec. 25 in anticipation of the holiday, these stars killed it with their matching family looks!

Celine Dion

Celine Dion‘s sons looked all grown up in her Christmas Day photo! The legendary French Canadian singer posed with her eldest son René-Charles Angélil, 19, and twin boys Eddy Angélil and Nelson Angélil, 10 — whom Celine shares with her late husband René Angélil, who passed away in 2016 — as they all wore matching starry print pajamas.

“May this holiday season bring all of you the gifts of love, peace, good health, and the  promise of brighter days in the New Year ahead!,” Celine captioned the sweet holiday photo, which she and her boys took by their beautiful Christmas tree. Celine also offered a similar message in French, which translated in English to, “May this holiday season bring you love, peace and health, and the promise of better days for the new year to come!”

Kylie Jenner

In 2020, Kylie Jenner teamed up with her two-year-old daughter, Stormi Webster, for a holiday-themed baking video. In honor of Kylie’s collaboration with the Grinch for a Christmas makeup collection, she and Stormi dressed up in matching green and white striped pajamas to film the video. They made yummy cookies and Stormi did a LOT of talking in the video, which really revealed how much she’s grown up right in front of our eyes!

That wasn’t the only time that Kylie and Stormi were matchy-matchy in their Christmas pajamas, though. On Christmas morning in 2019, Kylie shared a picture of the pair wearing matching white PJs with images of Santa Claus, Christmas trees and more on them. Kylie planted a kiss on Stormi’s lips as they posed for a pic in front of their massive tree. Oh, and Kylie even took her look to the next level with candy cane socks, as well!

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey is the queen of Christmas, so it’s no surprise that she’s getting her twins, Moroccan and Monroe, on-board, too. In 2016, she snuggled up to her little ones for a sweet pic with Santa. The twins wore matching onesie pajamas for the shot, although Mariah was a bit more dressed up in her red lacy outfit. But, hey, when you sing the biggest Christmas song of all-time…go for it, right!?

Kyle Richards

Kyle Richards and her four daughters already all look SO much alike, but throw them in matching ‘jammies and they’re practically identical! Ahead of Christmas 2020, Kyle posted photos of her girls in simple red pajamas. For a second pic, Kyle herself even jumped in with the same set on. The silky PJs looked so comfortable, and the family looked TOO good.

Jade Roper & Tanner Tolbert

With three kids under three, it isn’t always easy for Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert to wrangle everyone up for a family photo. However, in mid-December 2020, they managed to do just that for a family Christmas pic. Jade, Tanner and their three little ones — Emerson, Brooks and newborn Reed — all wore black and white plaid PJs for the shot. “We love our tradition of matching holiday jammies!” Jade wrote in the photo’s caption.

James Van Der Beek

Speaking of busy families, James Van Der Beek and his wife, Kimberly, have FIVE kids to dote on during the holiday season. In 2019, the whole crew dressed up in matching candy cane PJs, but James’ Instagram pics showed what life is really like behind the scenes for the Van Der Beek clan. “Is a Nightmare Before Christmas Card a thing?” he joked in the photo’s caption, which showed the family goofing off instead of posing nicely in their PJs. Whatever works, right?!

Steph Curry

Even when Steph Curry has a basketball game on Christmas Day, he always manages to make it home for family time. That was the case in 2017, but after the game, he rushed home to be with his wife, Ayesha Curry, and their two daughters, Riley and Ryan (the pair’s son, Canon, was not born yet at this time). All four family members wore green striped pajamas for a family photo on the special day.

Arie Luyendyk Jr. & Lauren Burnham

Things are going to be a lot busier in Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Lauren Burnham’s household in 2021 once they welcome their twins in July! However, for now, they’re soaking up special moments with their first born daughter, Alessi. In 2019, that included dressing up in wintry pajamas — and even the family dog was included in the fun! “Are you even family if you don’t have matching jammies?” Arie captioned the pic. “Yes to this new family tradition.”

Categories
Headlines UK

Christmas Dinner is ruined after families discovered their turkeys had GONE OFF

Rotten luck! Families complain Christmas Dinner is ruined after discovering their turkeys had already GONE OFF when they went to cook them

  • Disgusted families posted photographs of their rotten turkeys on Christmas Day 
  • Shoppers from Lidl, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s found meat was smelly and yellow
  • Has your Christmas lunch been ruined by rotten food? Email [email protected]

Christmas dinners across the country have been ruined after families discovered their turkeys were ‘rotting and smelling’ when they went to cook them.

Turkeys sold by various supermarkets including Lidl, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s were found to be yellow and stinking when they were opened to be cooked this morning.

Furious customers have taken to social media to post pictures of the rotten birds with some saying it meant no Christmas dinner for their family.

Disgusted families were left disappointed with their rotten turkeys on Christmas Day

Furious customers have taken to social media to post pictures of the rotten birds with some saying it meant no Christmas dinner for their family

Furious customers have taken to social media to post pictures of the rotten birds with some saying it meant no Christmas dinner for their family

'Thanks @Tesco and 2020!!' wrote an angry shopper. 'Rotten and Smelling Turkey means no Christmas Dinner for my family! #ChristmasRuined'

 ‘Thanks @Tesco and 2020!!’ wrote an angry shopper. ‘Rotten and Smelling Turkey means no Christmas Dinner for my family! #ChristmasRuined’

Shoppers from Lidl, Tesco, and Sainsbury's found meat was smelly and yellow

Shoppers from Lidl, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s found meat was smelly and yellow

One person wrote that Christmas was now 'ruined' in what was already one of the worst years of their life

One person wrote that Christmas was now ‘ruined’ in what was already one of the worst years of their life

One Lidl customer named Jim posted pictures of their rotten £25 bird on Twitter on Christmas morning, claiming it had ‘ruined’ Christmas dinner.

They claimed to have bought the meat from the budget supermarket in Guisborough, North Yorkshire three days ago but found it was gone off and this morning – despite the sell-by-date being December 26.

‘Cheers @LidlGB. Bought this Turkey crown from Guisborough store 3 days ago, straight in the fridge, sell by date boxing day,’ he wrote.

‘Absolutely stinks, rotten meat. £24.18 for a ruined Christmas Dinner.’

Other disgusted customers who bought their festive poultry in Tesco claimed that it was ‘rotten and smelling’ and ‘yellow’ when they went to put it in the oven this morning.

‘Thanks @Tesco and 2020!!’ wrote an angry shopper. ‘Rotten and Smelling Turkey means no Christmas Dinner for my family! #ChristmasRuined’

Another customer who bought their turkey in Tesco said they took it out of the fridge to find it had gone yellow and it ‘stinks’. 

Sarah Waite took to Twitter to complain about her Sainsbury’s-bought turkey which she found out was gone off this morning, writing it was ‘absolutely disgusting’.

Families were disgusted with their rotten turkeys on Christmas Day after discovering they were 'rotting and smelling' when they went to cook them

Families were disgusted with their rotten turkeys on Christmas Day after discovering they were ‘rotting and smelling’ when they went to cook them

Furious customers have taken to social media to complain to the supermarkets about the rotten birds

Furious customers have taken to social media to complain to the supermarkets about the rotten birds

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said: ‘The quality of our products is extremely important and we’re looking into a very small number of complaints.’

A Tesco spokesperson said: ‘We have exceptionally high standards for our Christmas turkeys so we’re sorry to hear about these concerns. 

‘We’ve sold hundreds of thousands of great quality British turkeys this Christmas and will investigate these few incidents.’

Tesco have asked customers with complaints to return their turkey to their nearest large store so they can investigate the issues further.

Lidl have been contacted for comment.

Common traits of a gone off turkey are dull, slimy flesh and a sour smell.

One disgruntled Tesco customer said that their turkey smelt so bad it made them sick

One disgruntled Tesco customer said that their turkey smelt so bad it made them sick

Tesco have asked customers with complaints to return their turkey to their nearest large store so they can investigate the issues further.

Tesco have asked customers with complaints to return their turkey to their nearest large store so they can investigate the issues further.

Categories
Headline USA New York

Hispanic Families in Queens Celebrate Christmas with the Lurking Threat of the Second Wave of COVID-19 | The State

In a toy store on bustling Rooselvet Avenue in Queens, a few hours before Christmas Eve, there was only one customer. The Dominican Sofía García, 62, she was looking for gifts for her four grandchildren. In the row of shops and restaurants between the 74th and 85th streets of Jackson Heights the reality was no different: “in previous years one could not even walk, but it is normal, we are in a pandemic,” said the islander.

The Asian owner of the business, from where for 25 years hundreds of requests for ‘Santa’ or the ‘Child Jesus’, manages to say resigned in Spanish: “A bad year, a bad year!”

One of the most multi-faceted and Hispanic-majority neighborhoods in the Big Apple is coming off very tough months in emotionally and economically.

The recovery of hundreds of small food restaurants Mexican, Colombian, Ecuadorian and Peruvian on which many family budgets depend, received another blow to the wing when the Health authorities decided on December 4 close the service inside due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.

“With the tips of these days I thought I could please my two children with what they had put in their traditional menu, but it will not be possible. Sure they will have their gifts but not exactly what they wanted. In a few days you have to pay the rent“Said the Mexican 42-year-old José Felix, who was unemployed again in early December amid pandemic restrictions.

The Quisqueyana Sofía García is not surprised that the stores are empty. (Photo: F. Martínez)

“They take it lightly”

Also in ‘The Rooselvet’ the Colombian merchant and writer Oscar Garcia, 52, observed the “most peculiar” Christmas Eve of which has witnessed in 30 years, since he settled in that New York neighborhood.

“Somehow you see that people have lost their fear of COVID-19. Although we have terrible days here in April and May, there is a new threat that is emerging. People are taking it lightly”Explained the immigrant who sells jewelery with the tricolor of his country, as well as books and traditional Christmas music.

One of the books José sells is of his own authorship. It is an account of the experiences of immigrants in New York, casually titled ‘Dream or nightmare?’

“This economic depression that we live in this city, was not lived even with Christmas that was celebrated the same year of attack on the twin towers. Now we suffer a true nightmare, but worldwide. This year we will celebrate differently, hoping that the consciousness of our Hispanic community will rise and take steps to take care of itself. Now with technology we can hug in another way”Said the Colombian.

Oscar García: “It is worrying that our people have lost their fear of the virus.” (Photo: F. Martínez)

Pandemic christmas

Neighborhoods Jackson Heights, Corona and Elmhurst Last spring they became the ‘epicenter of the epicenter’ of the coronavirus in the country. Until last December 20, these three areas added 988 official deaths associated with complications with COVID-19, according to statistics from the City Department of Health (DOHMH).

At the complicated crossroads of a second wave of the pandemic in the city And with the turmoil of these holidays, the positivity rate is between the 6 and 7., 99%, prior to Christmas Eve in this bastion of Latin American families. These records do not make it the areas of most concern in Queens to the authorities.

In localities like Far rockaway It has climbed, in recent days, to an average of 13% infected.

“We hope that do not close again completely after New YearWell, rather, that would be the thrust, ”Garcia exclaimed.

The Ecuadorian Elena Poapanda is not surprised by the low sales this season. (Photo: F. Martínez)

Crowded streets, low sales

In the run-up to one of the most important commemorations of Hispanic families, the commercial heart of Jackson Heights, accompanied by the incessant noise of train 7, It looked crowded on its sidewalks with street vendors full of beanies. Santa claus and reasons to accompany festivities, which may no longer be of interest from tomorrow.

Of course, it was notorious streets congested with passers-by, but with diminished sales. This is how it is described by both commercial establishments and informal vendors.

“This year everything has been very calm. It is what was expected by the virus “, counted the Ecuadorian Elena Poapanda while giving the prices of a sculpture of the God child. In his inventory, other figures of the traditional manger also stood out, such as the figures of José and Mary and the Three Wise Men. It is one of the items most exhibited on the streets of this side of the Big Apple that was preparing for the Christmas.

Latin American Catholics in New York, particularly those in Ecuador and Colombia, maintain as one of their traditions the ‘Novena to the Child Jesus ’or‘ Strenna Novena ’, a set of prayers that are prayed in groups during the nine days before Christmas. A kind of spiritual preparation for the “arrival of Jesus” that gives meaning to this religious ritual. This year, it also had to be postponed due to social distancing rules.

In the midst of the cultural diversity that characterizes Latino immigrant communities, there are also those who distance themselves from the traditions of this time.

“In this neighborhood we Hispanics are the majority, the word we have to remember the most is loss: we lost jobs, we lost relatives, we lost our health, we lost our peace of mind. Today many are depressed because they are seeing things that they cannot buy. This is precisely the moment to remember, that that’s not Christmas “, highlighted the Bogota woman Alicia Ferrer, 65, when leaving a supermarket.

Dominican taxi driver Roberto Franco estimates that “better times” are coming. (Photo: F. Martínez)

“To bad weather, good face”

The Dominican taxi driver Roberto Franco, 69, who resides in Jackson Heights, commented this Thursday that he has returned home “without having earned a penny” since he left at 6:00 in the morning. He regretted that this year he could not travel to the island as he usually scheduled in December.

“To bad weather, good face. We are in a global health emergency and we must adapt. It’s a different Christmas, this is going to happen. Everything is complicated, but we must be optimistic that the vaccine is coming and we here in New York will possibly be the first to receive it in the world. When it’s my turn, I’ll put it on and go ahead! ”, Expressed optimistic immigrant with 40 years in the Big Apple.

COVID-19 in Jackson Heights – Corona

  • 6% is the average of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 between December 14 and 20 in the 11372 ZIP code corresponding to Jackson Heights in Queens.
  • 2,033 people have been tested in this time span of Christmas Eve.
  • 122 have been positive in coronavirus in the last seven days in this town.
  • 7.99% is the rate of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 between December 14 and 20 in the 11368 ZIP code corresponding to Corona in Queens.
  • 2,404 people have been tested in this period of time on the eve of Christmas Eve.
  • 192 have returned positive tests in the last seven days in this area.

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Categories
Headline USA New York

In the Big Apple, Hispanic families choose not to celebrate Christmas ‘a full house’ for fear of COVID-19 | The State

The family of the Honduran Alba Artica is very large. In the past 40 years since living in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood, he only remembers Christmas and New Year greetings “A full house”. This 2020 the Central American changed all plans and preferred to comply with the warnings of the Health authorities to the letter, to contain the rising curve of contagions of COVID-19.

“Usually we meet a total of fourteen of my relatives who live here in New York. But this year we are clear that it will not be possible. We must be aware. It is worth doing it differently for the health of all. The hugs and dinners will be different, ”says Irene, who is preparing to retire in 2021 after decades working hard.

The festivals of next December 25 and 31 They are synonymous in the Christian and Hispanic calendar, of large congregations, dances, parties and the sharing of special dishes from each country. But New York authorities are almost imploring that that celebration style is canceled, while trying to flatten a second wave of infections which was precisely one of its triggers the last Thanksgiving family commemoration.

“I understand, based on what I see on the news, that after ‘Thanksgiving’ cases started to rise. Fortunately, my loved ones have remained healthy and we want to keep it that way. There are many families that are no longer complete, because they were affected by this virus. It is preferable to take it seriously ”, reasoned Alba who will prepare your Honduran tamales to “not lose tradition”.

Honduran Alba Artica will reduce her Christmas dinner. (Photo; F. Martínez)

Indeed, Governor Andrew Cuomo last Friday in his update on the progress of the pandemic reminded New Yorkers that the mobilizations and meetings on the Thanksgiving weekend triggered the cases.

“Celebrate Christmas, but once smart way!He exclaimed.

These calls make more sense when there is certainty of a new strain of the virus already present in Europe and a dramatic spike in infections globally that has forced executive orders from ‘Curfews’ and tougher bans in various countries of the world.

In New York only the conscience of its residents has been trusted.

Stay in your ‘bubble’

The recommendation is very clear: do not travel, do not meet and don’t share with people outside of your domestic ‘bubble’.

In case the decision is to travel, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a COVID-19 discard test one to three days before the trip. And another three to five days after the trip.

In addition, it is suggested reduce non-essential activities for seven days after the trip. Those who don’t get tested should cut back on nonessential activities for 10 days after their transfer, the federal agency insists.

On the eve of Christmas in the Big Apple the coronavirus has acquired a second wind with more hospitalizations, more infected and more deaths. The worst is expected in January.

On the streets of Sunset Park, a New York enclave of Hispanic familiesespecially Mexican and Central AmericanDespite restrictions and the pandemic economic crisis, which is furiously punishing its residents, the tradition of decorate houses and shops in the commercial epicenter of this Brooklyn neighborhood, it didn’t lose steam at all.

This week, the Mexican Lucia Perea was looking for the last details for gifts from his four grandchildren on Fifth Avenue in that neighborhood, in an effort to keep a commemoration at all costs that in his native country unites families like no other.

“This year it was not easy. Many lost jobs. But even so with the little we always have the opportunity to offer some detail, no matter how small, to our loved ones, especially children. What we value the most is that we are alive and healthy. This year there will be no big meetings. Nor will relatives come from other places”, Says Perea.

Most of the Christmas traditions were suspended in Sunset Park (Photo: F. Martínez)

A religious experience

In Sunset Park, in these December dates, the ‘posadas’ were very common, a Mexican tradition that consists of large gatherings between neighbors and family to share songs, piñatas and typical dances during the nights before Christmas. In 2020, the coronavirus also prevented this ‘sharing’ deeply rooted in Aztec culture since colonial times.

Also the religious activities in Catholic churches from this town in Brooklyn, both for Christmas Eve and Christmas Eve, will be totally shocked.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help located on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, one of the central axes of the Catholic faith in this town, crossed out the ‘living nativity scenes’ from its program of activities. In addition, it suggests to “older adults and people with underlying conditions stay home, ”as specified in a communication from the Diocese of Brooklyn.

“U.S Mexicans are very catholic. The pandemic limits us greatly due to social distancing. I used to like going to my church at Christmas time, but now they even suggest that we follow our rituals on the internet. Is not the same. I hope that with the vaccine already next year let’s have some normalcy “, said Lucrecia Chacón, 65 years old, a poblana resident in the Big Apple since she was a child.

Despite the economic depression, the tradition of decorating facades was not extinguished in 2020 in Sunset Park (Photo: F. Martínez)

Tamales for a few

Despite the efforts of Hispanic business entrepreneurs who reside on this side of Brooklyn, the restrictions enacted by the pandemic and the possibilities of more closures, exacerbate even more the trend of negative numbers in the economy, especially in the heart of hundreds of small restaurants that since last Monday, December 14, were again banned from indoor service.

“I doubt that many small, traditional restaurants here see light in 2021 if they are forced to shut down completely after Christmas, as the authorities said. Many people like me depend on these businesses. This Christmas will be very sad for my family. We will hardly have to eat. There are no gifts ”, says the Costa Rican Luis Matamoros who is a waiter at a ‘taquería’ on 45th Street and Fourth Avenue in that neighborhood.

In the words of Mexican Jesús Alfonzo, 35, the ‘economic reality’ of the majority of its ‘countrymen’ in that locality will prevent mobilizations, trips and “we will do the tamales, of course, but for a few”.

“We do nothing with complaining. The world is facing a pandemic and our community here was hit hard as well. Next year will be much better. With having our parents and children healthy that is more than enough ”, he concluded.

Business entrepreneurs on Sunset Park’s Fifth Avenue, battered by the pandemic, fear other general closures in the city. (Photo: F. Martínez)

CDC Recommendations for Christmas:

  • This holiday season, consider how you can modify your plans to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep your friends, families, and communities healthy and safe.
  • Celebrate virtually or with members of your own household (who consistently take steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19) pose the least risk of spread.
  • Your household is anyone who currently lives and shares common spaces in your housing unit (such as your house or apartment). This can include family members as well as roommates or people who are not related to you.
  • In-person meetings that bring together family members or friends from different households, present different levels of risk.
  • Indoor social gatherings, especially in poorly ventilated spaces, pose more risk than outdoor meetings.
  • Meetings that last longer are more dangerous than shorter social gatherings. Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more greatly increases the risk of getting sick.

If traveling outside of NY:

  • For travelers who were out of state for more than 24 hours: Must obtain proof within three days of departure before arriving in New York.
  • Travelers should be isolated for three days upon arrival in New York.
  • On the fourth day of isolation, individuals must obtain a second COVID-19 test. If both tests are negative, you can stop isolating yourself before receiving the second negative discard test.
  • For travelers who were out of state for less than 24 hours: The traveler does not need a COVID-19 test prior to their out-of-state departure and does not need to isolate themselves upon arrival in New York.
  • However, those travelers must complete the state traveler form when entering New York and taking a COVID-19 diagnostic test four days after arriving in New York.

COVID-19: Three weeks after Thanskgiving

  • 30% increased new infections throughout New York State.
  • 90% was the rise of deaths after the Thanksgiving Holidays.
  • 65% increased hospitalizations for complications associated with COVID-19.

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Categories
Football UK

Football star Bale buys Christmas hampers for 300 families in incredible gesture

Christmas won’t really be the same this year but it would have been even more grim for Carl and Janice Lewis if it hadn’t been for the generosity of football superstar Gareth Bale.

The Wales and Tottenham Hotspur player, 29, acted as Santa to 300 families across Swansea and stumped up the £15,000 cost of £50 hampers for every one of them.

He also offered up one of his shirts to help spread the Christmas cheer even further, as part of the South Wales Evening Post’s Everyone Deserves A Christmas appeal.

The aim of the appeal was to offer families who would otherwise struggle to meet the cost of buying a festive dinner a hamper packed full of Christmas treats.

Carl and Janice have received a hamper for two years running and they love finding out what surprises are tucked inside on the big day.

Carl and Janice Lewis, of Waun Wen in Swansea, have been treated to a Christmas hamper thanks to the generosity of Gareth Bale

The couple both suffer with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which makes it a challenge to walk far and are living on benefits as a result of their ill health.

Carl, 65, of Waun Wen, Swansea, said: “I really, really want to thank Gareth Bale, he’s doing a marvellous job – he doesn’t have to do anything.

“He cares about people who are struggling. He does not have to do it – they should have more people like him around.

“I am over the moon- he doesn’t know me, I don’t know him – he’s doing it for strangers. I can’t fault him, it’s brilliant.”

He added: “I do not go anywhere or do anything or drink – for someone to do that, I am over the moon. We would have just had the basics on Christmas Day. I will have to buy a can and give him a toast.

Media Wales
Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris with one of the hampers

“We did not expect it at all, we are very thankful. It’s very hard at Christmas, so it’s a nice surprise going into the hamper and seeing what you can’t afford.”

He said that everything in the hamper they didn’t need for Christmas Day, they would use in the future.

His wife Janice, 63, added: “It was great, it will make such a difference – tremendously. Christmas would be more of an everyday thing for us. We wouldn’t have anything special, we don’t go spending money that we can’t afford.

“The hamper has made Christmas more special. It would have just been normal food, the hamper really helps a lot. It’s surprising people are so kind.”

She added: “I am looking forward to Christmas because it has been a terrible year. It’s something to look forward to at least now. It will be more enjoyable this year.”

Bale’s gesture has been welcomed in South Wales

They said this year had been a struggle due to the knock-on effect of the Covid-19 crisis as it had been harder for them to go out due to the health risk.

Carl said: “We haven’t been going out – both of us are high-risk as we both have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and can’t walk far.

“We are on special pumps and are on benefits, so things are a bit hard.”

He added: “Anything we get is a bonus.

“It was a surprise to have the hampers last year, I can’t say thank you enough.

“We have been relying on food parcels because of Covid.”