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Coronavirus: Charts suggest local lockdowns ARE working on eve of MPs’ vote


Charts show that England’s local lockdowns are bringing down coronavirus cases in badly affected areas and the country’s R rate could be as low as one, meaning the outbreak may have stopped growing.

On the eve of the country’s second national shutdown, on which MPs will vote later today, official data shows that measures already in place appear to be working and thwarting the spread of the virus, calling into question the toughness of the new rules.

Numbers of people testing positive in crisis areas such as Liverpool, Merseyside, Manchester, Lancaster and Blackpool have levelled off or even started falling in the weeks since the areas entered local lockdowns.

Many parts of the North of England are now in Tier Three restrictions, which effectively ban socialising in person, and now the spreading virus appears to have hit a roadblock in the region.

Professor Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, yesterday admitted to MPs that the reproduction rate (R) of Covid-19 in the North East could already be below one because of the effects of localised rules.

And the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app yesterday claimed that the R rate for the entire UK has dropped to one. Meanwhile, the number of people testing positive has declined in recent days, with the 20,018 cases confirmed yesterday pulling the daily average down to 22,330.

Researchers have pointed out that ‘flatlining’ data suggests that local restrictions do work but needed more time to be effective and for that to show through in statistics.  

Department of Health figures saw a 12.5 per cent decrease in the number of cases from last Tuesday when figures reached 22,885 but were higher than yesterday’s figures when cases reached 18,950

Top scientists at King's College London claimed yesterday that the R rate has already dropped to the crucial level of one in England

Top scientists at King’s College London claimed yesterday that the R rate has already dropped to the crucial level of one in England

The announcement that England would face a second national lockdown from this Thursday rattled the country on Saturday as Boris Johnson announced the return of drastic measures not seen since March.

He had stuck to his guns on the local three-tier strategy for weeks, insisting that it would work, but U-turned after being warned by scientists that NHS hospitals could be completely full before the end of the year.

His chief medical officer, Professor Whitty, said in a committee meeting with MPs yesterday: ‘It is difficult to be absolutely confident about how far their effect [the tiered systems] has gone. I am confident Tier Two has had an effect and that Tier Three has had a bigger effect. I am confident of that.

‘The communities in the North and Midlands in particular, obviously London, too, went into a Tier Two and some parts of eastern England, too, have responded remarkably to this. And because of that, I am confident the rates are substantially lower than they would’ve been if this had not happened.

‘But the early indications we have at the present is that this has not achieved getting the R below one – it has brought it much closer to one – but it is still doubling over a longer period of time.’ 

Government dashboard data shows that cases have dropped in multiple places subjected to local lockdowns.

Liverpool and Manchester and the areas around them have been the ones to face the toughest rules since the three-layer system was introduced.

In Liverpool, which was the first city to enter Tier Three, on October 14, the average number of people testing positive each day almost halved from 3,447 on October 7 to 1,828 on October 29.

Nearby Knowsley saw the same trend, with average daily cases dropping from 1,102 on October 9 to 637 per day by the 29th.

Other areas in Merseyside saw the same effect, with a shift in the outbreak’s trajectory from sharp increase to definite decline in the middle of October.

In nearby Manchester, which followed suit into Tier Three not long after, delayed by Government wrangling over financial compensation, cases also appear to have turned.

Cases plummeted at the start of the month from a high of 3,226 per day on October 3, to 2,363 on the 16th, but have since risen again but started to fall once more. The up-and-down figures suggest at least a stabilising of the outbreak there and the most recent numbers are trending downwards.

Other parts of Greater Manchester which faced the same rules at the same time have had mixed results. 

Cases appear to still be rising in Oldham and Bury, but have started to level off in Trafford and Tameside.

In Lancaster, which went into Tier Three on October 16, cases have clearly declined. They hit a peak of 615 per day, on average, on October 20, and have since dropped to 371 per day on October 29. 

The average number of people getting diagnosed with coronavirus each day has clearly declined in Lancaster since the Tier Three restrictions began there in mid-October. The same is true of numerous local authorities across the North of the country

The average number of people getting diagnosed with coronavirus each day has clearly declined in Lancaster since the Tier Three restrictions began there in mid-October. The same is true of numerous local authorities across the North of the country

The slide presented by the Government on Saturday shows at least half a dozen places in the North of England saw their coronavirus infection rates decline between October 12 and October 25, likely as a result of local lockdown rules

The slide presented by the Government on Saturday shows at least half a dozen places in the North of England saw their coronavirus infection rates decline between October 12 and October 25, likely as a result of local lockdown rules

Meanwhile, researchers on the Covid Symptom Study, run by health-tech company ZOE and King’s College London, yesterday announced that they believe the R rate for the UK has fallen to one.

A rate of one means the outbreak will continue at the same size and speed, with each infected person passing the virus to one other. Below one and it will shrink, and above one it will grow. This was the first time since August that the team estimated the R to be at one.

Professor Tim Spector, a King’s College epidemiologist running the study, hailed the data as ‘good news’. 

He had already cast doubt on the need for a national lockdown in a tweet on Saturday when he said: ‘Will we have a national lockdown just as we see early signs of the wave running out of steam in the worst affected areas of UK?’

Politicians and scientists have acknowledged that the country’s outbreak is being led by surging cases and hospital admissions in the North of the country, but that this is creeping into other regions.

Official estimates of the R rate, produced weekly by SAGE, also suggest that the speed at which the epidemic is growing has declined.

Last week the Government’s scientists predicted that the R was between 1.1 and 1.3 for England the UK as a whole and could be as low as 1.0 in the worst-hit North West. Yesterday Professor Whitty admitted it might even be below one in the North East.   

Signs that the second wave of coronavirus could be at a turning point made an appearance in the national data yesterday as the UK recorded a 12.5 per cent week-on-week decrease in the number of people testing positive. 

The Department of Health figures, which initially were delayed in their release, saw a further 20,018 people test positive for the virus, taking the total number of confirmed cases during the pandemic to 1,073,882.  

Meanwhile fatalities rose by 8.17 per cent from last Tuesday after it was announced that another 395 people had died from the virus today – bringing the total death toll to 47,250. 

The latest death figure marks a rise from yesterday when 136 deaths were recorded in Britain and are also higher than last Tuesday when the number of deaths reached 367.   

A leaked NHS report suggests there are still fewer than average numbers of beds in use in NHS hospital, despite normal hospital care resuming and a surge in the number of people who are being treated for Covid-19

A leaked NHS report suggests there are still fewer than average numbers of beds in use in NHS hospital, despite normal hospital care resuming and a surge in the number of people who are being treated for Covid-19

Even during the peak of the first wave of coronavirus in the UK, Covid-19 patients never accounted for more than 30 per cent of all hospital patients and tens of thousands of vacated beds went unused during the spring

Even during the peak of the first wave of coronavirus in the UK, Covid-19 patients never accounted for more than 30 per cent of all hospital patients and tens of thousands of vacated beds went unused during the spring

The all-settings figures – which covers cases in care homes, hospitals and the wider community across the home nations – will now call into question whether the Government’s tier structure restrictions were already beginning to have an effect on the nation’s rates of transmissions prior to the announcement of a second lockdown.  

Boris Johnson has appealed for Tories to back his coronavirus lockdown and told his Cabinet that the draconian month-long restrictions in England were essential to avoid ‘fatalities running in the thousands’.

He said the R rate was currently ‘only just above one’, but acting to reduce it would give more space to deploy mass testing, new treatments and make progress on a vaccine. 

However, Mr Johnson is up against a growing backlash with many MPs questioning the scientific basis for the squeeze. 

Amid fears of a growing rebellion, the Prime Minister has desperately tried to sooth anger on his backbenches by giving a firm commitment that the curbs will expire on December 2.

‘Whatever happens these restrictions end on December 2,’ he told the Commons.

‘I think there is the prospect of a much brighter future ahead if we can make a success of these national measures and open up again in December, to give people the chance of some shopping and economic activity in the weeks leading up to Christmas and beyond.’           



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Glasgow Headlines UK

Ministers suggest Nicola Sturgeon WON’T get powers to pay furlough


Ministers today suggested Nicola Sturgeon will not get powers to pay 80 per cent furlough to Scots after lockdown ends in England – despite Boris Johnson hinting she would yesterday.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said it would be down to the Treasury whether the coronavirus support package continued after December 2.

The comments tee up a major row, with Ms Sturgeon complaining that she needs more financial freedom to respond to the crisis.

She tweeted this morning: ‘I’m sorry to say that @scotgov has no more detail now than we did before PM statement yesterday. Woolly words don’t pay people’s wages.’

The Westminster government is desperately scrambling to find a way of combating a spike in support for independence north of the border, as the SNP calls for a fresh referendum as early as next year. 

As a new five-Tier local lockdown system came into force in Scotland yesterday, Ms Sturgeon said she is considering a nationwide squeeze depending on whether she can pay full furlough.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the UK-wide scheme in England during the looming blanket clampdown, which is due to run from Thursday until December 2.

Nicola Sturgeon

Ministers today suggested Nicola Sturgeon (pictured right) will not get powers to pay 80 per cent furlough to Scots after lockdown ends in England – despite Boris Johnson (left) hinting she would yesterday

Scotland has already received billions from Westminster coffers for coronavirus fight

Scotland has already received more than £6.5billion from the UK Government in direct response to the coronavirus crisis, figures reveal.

That is more than half of all the Covid-cash handed out to devolved administrations to help fend off the worst of the crisis.

And it is on top of UK-wide schemes like furlough and the Job Support Scheme that was unveiled by Mr Sunak in September.

According to the most recent figures, in comparison to Scotland’s £6.5billion, Wales received £4billion and Northern Ireland £2.2billion.

Additionally the devolved administrations are also receiving over £950 million in the 2020-21 financial year to maintain direct payments to farmers. 

The amount of money is determined by a system called the Barnett Formula

It is a system used by the UK Government to figure out how much funding should be given to the other home nations when it decides to spend more or less on something in England. 

It was devised by the former Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury Joel Barnett back in 1978. 

While it has no standing in law it has now been used by the Treasury for more than 40 years to calculate funding figures. 

It is controversial because the amount of money handed out to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the form of a block grant from Westminster is calculated based on population and what powers have been devolved Whitehall.

This should mean that in theory spending should go up and down equally.    

But the calculations are complicated and Scotland started with higher spending per head when the formula was first used which means that discrepancy is baked into the system. 

The formula was only ever supposed to be temporary and even its architect said in 2014 that it was ‘unfair and should be stopped’.  

In August Tory MPs slammed the ‘funding discrepancy’ after official statistics showed public spending per person north of the border was almost £2,000 more than the UK average.  

They showed that total public sector expenditure for the benefit of Scotland, including both UK and Scottish government spending, has increased by just over three per cent to £81 billion.

That is equivalent to £14,829 being spent on public services per person in Scotland, some £1,633 per person greater than the UK average. 

Conservative backbenchers in Westminster said that if the SNP government in Holyrood believed in independence then it should refuse to accept English taxpayers ‘subsidising their services’. 

They claimed that Nicola Sturgeon and her party ‘berate everything that comes out of Westminster – apart from the money’. 

It pays 80 per cent of usual salary to workers whose jobs are put on hold by the measures, up to a ceiling of £2,500 a month. 

Ms Sturgeon said: ‘I made clear last week, when I set out the levels that would apply initially, that we might yet have to go further and that we can’t rule out – and shouldn’t rule out – a move to Level 4 for all or parts of the country.

‘And while that decision would never be easy, there is no doubt that the availability of a more extensive furlough scheme of the kind that the Prime Minister announced on Saturday would make it slightly less difficult because workers would have more of their wages paid.’

Describing the ‘dilemma’ the Scottish Government now faces, Ms Sturgeon added: ‘The decision we have to weigh up in coming days is this one – should we take the opportunity of more generous financial support to step harder on the brakes now, to try to drive infection rates down faster and more firmly?

‘The potential benefit of that would be suppressing Covid further and faster, at a time when financial support is available and possibly – I don’t want to overstate this – but possibly opening up a bit more breathing space over the Christmas period.

‘At this stage, the indication is that the more generous funding scheme is only going to be available for the next month during the period of England’s lockdown.’

The First Minister said she and her counterparts from Wales and Northern Ireland pressed at a Cobra meeting yesterday for the furlough scheme to be available for the devolved administrations whenever they require.

She added she hopes to ‘get absolute clarity on that point from the Treasury’.   

Mr Johnson came under fire from his own side in the Commons yesterday, when Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross called on him to extend availability of the furlough scheme. 

‘The PM is right, the furlough scheme is UK-wide for next month, but the crucial answer we need is will it be available to other nations of the UK if in the future the science demands that further lockdowns are required anywhere in the country?’ Mr Ross said.

‘And if he can’t give that commitment, will he explain why it seems an English job is more important than a Welsh, Northern Irish or Scottish one?’

In response, Mr Johnson suggested that the scheme could be available in Scotland beyond December 2.

‘The furlough is a UK-wide scheme,’ he said. ‘If other parts of the UK decide to go into measures which require the furlough scheme then of course it’s available to them, that has to be right and that applies not just now but of course in the future as well.’

Ms Sturgeon tweeted: ‘If this bears out, it is v welcome. However @scotgov seeking urgent confirmation from Treasury that it will be exactly as we asked for – furlough beyond 2 December, non time-limited and on same basis as available through Nov, inc on eligibility and 80% wages paid.’

But Mr Jenrick appeared to row back the commitment in a round of interviews this morning.

He stressed furlough was a ‘UK-wide scheme’, adding: ‘It will be available to everybody in the UK until the 2nd December.

‘At that point I think the Chancellor quite rightly will have to decide what its future is.’

Scotland has already received more than £6.5billion from the UK Government in direct response to the coronavirus crisis, figures reveal.

That is more than half of all the Covid-cash handed out to devolved administrations to help fend off the worst of the crisis.

And it is on top of UK-wide schemes like furlough and the Job Support Scheme that was unveiled by Mr Sunak in September.

According to the most recent figures, in comparison to Scotland’s £6.5billion, Wales received £4billion and Northern Ireland £2.2billion.

Additionally the devolved administrations are also receiving over £950million in the 2020-21 financial year to maintain direct payments to farmers. 

The amount of money is determined by a system called the Barnett Formula

It is a system used by the UK Government to figure out how much funding should be given to the other home nations when it decides to spend more or less on something in England. 

It was devised by the former Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury Joel Barnett back in 1978. 

While it has no standing in law it has now been used by the Treasury for more than 40 years to calculate funding figures. 

It is controversial because the amount of money handed out to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the form of a block grant from Westminster is calculated based on population and what powers have been devolved Whitehall.

This should mean that in theory spending should go up and down equally.    

But the calculations are complicated and Scotland started with higher spending per head when the formula was first used which means that discrepancy is baked into the system. 

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said it would be down to the Treasury whether the furlough package continued after December 2

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said it would be down to the Treasury whether the furlough package continued after December 2

The formula was only ever supposed to be temporary and even its architect said in 2014 that it was ‘unfair and should be stopped’.  

In August Tory MPs slammed the ‘funding discrepancy’ after official statistics showed public spending per person north of the border was almost £2,000 more than the UK average.  

They showed that total public sector expenditure for the benefit of Scotland, including both UK and Scottish government spending, has increased by just over three per cent to £81 billion.

That is equivalent to £14,829 being spent on public services per person in Scotland, some £1,633 per person greater than the UK average. 

Conservative backbenchers in Westminster said that if the SNP government in Holyrood believed in independence then it should refuse to accept English taxpayers ‘subsidising their services’. 

They claimed that Ms Sturgeon and her party ‘berate everything that comes out of Westminster – apart from the money’. 

A postcode checker has been launched to help people in Scotland check where their area is in the new five-level system, which came into force at 6am.

The levels have been graded from 0 to 4, with no local authorities currently placed in the highest tier.

Levels 1, 2 and 3 are broadly comparable to the three tiers of restrictions set in England – before their national lockdown later this week – while Level 0 is similar to what was in place across Scotland in August when the virus was suppressed to very low levels.

Home visiting, with some exceptions, is banned across Scotland.

The central belt – including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Stirling and Falkirk – has been joined by Dundee and Ayrshire in Level 3, where hospitality businesses are banned from selling alcohol and must close at 6pm.

Six people from two households can meet in public outdoors, which is the same rule as in Level 2, which applies to Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen, Fife, the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Argyll and Bute, Perth and Kinross and Angus.

In these areas indoor hospitality venues must close at 8pm and outdoor areas by 10.30pm.

Elsewhere, Highland, Moray, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland have entered Level 1.

Hospitality businesses must close by 10.30pm, both inside and outside.



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Sports UK

Van Dijk’s stats that suggest defender’s absence will be big blow to Liverpool


There’s no doubting the hugely important role Virgil van Dijk has played in Liverpool’s recent success.

Since arriving in January 2018 from Southampton, when the Reds’ paid £75million – a then world record for a defender – to sign the Dutchman, the club have won the Champions League and the Premier League.

Indeed, the statistics back-up the belief that Van Dijk is arguably the most important member of Jurgen Klopp’s first-team squad.

The 29-year-old defender has missed just one Premier League game since arriving at Anfield and has helped them amass a whopping 196 points in his two full seasons with the club.

Liverpool face the prospect of being without Virgil Van Dijk for several months

In his 95 top-flight starts for Liverpool, Klopp’s side have conceded just 78 goals and kept 44 clean sheets.

Unsurprisingly, the Dutch centre back is top for the most Premier League clean sheets since his first appearance.

And he also has the best success rate – 74.4 per cent – of any player involved in at least 100 duels in the top flight, competing in 812 and winning 604.

He’s been a consistent figure too; during the 2018/19 season, he was the only player to figure for more than 1,000 minutes in any of Europe’s top five leagues without being dribbled past once.

Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk is challenged by Everton’s Jordan Pickford

There’s no forgetting the club’s success on the pitch either; Liverpool’s win rate with Van Dijk (130 games) stands at 70 per cent, while without him (13 games) it is 46 per cent.

And so, Liverpool will undoubtedly miss Van Dijk, who is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after it was confirmed their key defender requires knee surgery.

News of anterior cruciate ligament damage to the 29-year-old, sustained in a controversial high challenge by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in Saturday’s 2-2 Merseyside derby draw, is the nightmare scenario for the Reds.

Van Dijk starred as Liverpool clinched the Premier League title last season

Not only does the injury rob them of one of their most influential players for the majority of their Premier League title defence, but also leaves Liverpool with just two senior centre-backs in Joel Matip, who has been plagued by niggling injuries himself, and Joe Gomez.

Jurgen Klopp opted not to replace Dejan Lovren when he left for Zenit St Petersburg in the summer and was content to gamble on utilising midfielder Fabinho as cover.

The damage suffered in his clash with Pickford, for which the Everton goalkeeper escaped punishment due to VAR official David Coote overlooking the tackle after ruling on the Holland captain’s offside in the build-up, means Van Dijk will have to have an operation.





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Coronavirus COVID-19 Delhi The Buzz

Pan-India COVID-19 genome studies suggest no major mutation in virus: PMO


New Delhi, October 17

As the work continues to develop an effective vaccine for COVID-19, the government on Saturday said two pan-India studies on the genome of the virus in India suggest it is genetically stable and has shown no major mutation.

There had been concerns in some quarters that any major mutation detected in the novel coronavirus could hinder the development of an effective vaccine.  However, some recent global studies have said the vaccines currently being developed for COVID-19 should not be affected by recent mutations.

Mutation typically refers to the property of a virus to undergo changes when it multiplies and the virus may develop some new strains after it replicates. In cases, the new strains tend to be less effective and therefore die out soon, while more powerful strains may lead to faster spread of the virus.

After a review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the COVID-19 pandemic situation, and vaccine delivery, distribution and administration preparedness, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement that three vaccines are in advanced stages of development in India, out of which two are in Phase II and one is in Phase-III.

The PMO further said, “Two pan-India studies on the Genome of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 virus) in India conducted by ICMR and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) suggest that the virus is genetically stable and there is no major mutation in the virus.”

Last month, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had said no significant or drastic mutations have been found in strains of SARS-CoV-2 in India till now.

He had also said the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) was conducting large-scale sequencing of nationally representative strains collected over a few months and detailed results on mutations of the virus will be available in early October.

Replying to a query on mutations of SARS-COV2, ICMR Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava had said at a press briefing earlier this week that minor changes called “drifts” may happen from time to time, but major genetic mutations of viruses or “shifts” may happen in about a decade or two.

In this context, the effectiveness of a vaccine will not be determined by minor “drifts”, he had said.

A study by a group of researchers last month found that the coronavirus genomes in India have 5.39 per cent mutation similarity with 72 nations.

Mutations in an organism’s genetic material are natural ‘errors’ in the cell replication process that may give the virus new ‘powers’ of survival, infectivity, and virulence. It can affect the ability of vaccines and drugs to bind the virus or to create a specific immune response against it.

The study also revealed that the US, the UK and India are the top three nations with a geometric mean of 3.27 per cent, 3.59 per cent, and 5.39 per cent, respectively, of mutation similarity score with other 72 countries.

Indrajit Saha, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering of National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training and Research, Kolkata, and his team have also developed a web-based COVID-Predictor to predict the sequence of viruses online on the basis of machine learning.

The PMO statement said a National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) in consultation with state governments and all relevant stakeholders have prepared a detailed blueprint of vaccine storage, distribution, and administration.

The Expert Group, in consultation with states, is working actively on prioritisation and distribution of vaccines.

At the meeting, the prime minister directed that keeping in view the geographical span and diversity of the country, the access to the vaccine should be ensured speedily.

Modi stressed that every step in the logistics, delivery, and administration should be put in place rigorously and it must include advanced planning of cold storage chains, distribution network, monitoring mechanism, advance assessment, and preparation of ancillary equipment required, such as vials, syringes, etc. — PTI





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Sports UK

Wenger’s comments on Ozil suggest he fears Arteta will make same mistake


Arsene Wenger imploring Mikel Arteta to play Mesut Ozil so as to not waste his talent suggests he fears the Spaniard will make the same mistake he made.

Wenger signed Ozil from Real Madrid for a then club record £42million in 2013.

The Frenchman was under pressure to make the transfer a success, but Wenger didn’t always get the best out of Ozil.

Ozil would sometimes complain of illness or back pain, in the same way he did under both Unai Emery and now Arteta. This resulted in him missing a host of Arsenal matches, and saw him criticised by fans and pundits.

In 2019 The Times reported that Wenger – with the benefit of hindsight – wished he’d been harder on the German, and blamed himself for Ozil’s waning levels of motivation.

Arsene Wenger with Mesut Ozil in 2015

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Wenger’s recent comments on the BBC suggest he doesn’t want Arteta to make the same mistake he did and simply banish Ozil from his squad.

Instead, he believes the Spaniard should take the hard line he never did and look to incorporate Ozil because it’s a waste for all parties involved otherwise.

“I feel it is a waste for him,” Wenger explained.

“Firstly because he’s in the years where a player of his talent can produce the most. And it’s a waste for the club as well because he’s a super talent, a creative talent that in the final third can create that killer pass.

Mikel Arteta has frozen Ozil out at Arsenal

“The way football is going at the moment it’s quick counter-pressing, quick transitions and everybody plays the same.

“It’s kicked out players like Ozil. Although let’s not forget who this guy is.

“A world champion who has played at Real Madrid. He’s been the record player of assists, so you have to find a way to get him involved again.”

Has Mesut Ozil played his last game for Arsenal? Have your say here.

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Headline USA Politics

Band-Aids on Trump’s Right Hand Suggest He Is Still Receiving COVID-19 Treatment | The NY Journal


President Trump claims he is cured of COVID-19.

Photo:
MANDEL NGAN / AFP / Getty Images

Although on Saturday the president Donald trump claimed to be cured of COVID-19, a pair of band-aids on the back of your right hand indicates that you may continue to receive intravenous medication.

“I feel very good. And you?”the president told his supporters at the White House.

Report of Daily Mail indicates that flesh-colored bandages on the hand are a common place used by doctors to administer intravenous fluids, suggesting that you could continue to be treated.

This sparks suspicions that the president has lied about suspending the drugs, as he has told Fox News.

The report adds that the White House has the facilities and staff to provide intravenous treatments to the president in the Medical Unit, a full suite that primarily has active duty military personnel.

This Sunday, President Trump told Fox News that he was “cured” of COVID-19, just over a week after diagnosis, in addition to claim to be “immune” to the virus, when there is no confirmed immunity, since dozens of patients have been infected again.

“So now they have a president who doesn’t have to hide in his basement.”he added in clear reference to his own accusations that the former vice president Joe biden he had been campaigning “from a basement.”

.



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California Headline USA Los Angeles Politics

Photos suggest president may be receiving IV fluids or drugs



President Trump has been given at least three potent drugs since announcing he tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday night: Regeneron’s cocktail of lab-made antibodies, the antiviral remdesivir, and the steroid dexamethasone. 

Two of those medications are still experimental for treating COVID-19, and have given emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

And White House physician Dr Sean Conley admitted on Monday that he would not disclose every single medication that the president is currently receiving (citing HIPAA patient privacy laws, which suggests that Trump himself gave Dr Conley permission to disclose some of his medications, but not all of them). 

Remdesivir, dexamethasone and the antibody cocktail are all in ongoing trials – but it’s unclear if anyone besides the US Commander-in-Chief has ever been treated with all three. 

Those three drugs are ‘as much as we know [about the president’s treatment regimen] – but I found it all really confusing, based on the reports,’ Dr Mark Poznansky, an infectious disease specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital told DailyMail.com. 

When asked if there was any precedent for treating a COVID-19 patient with all three drugs, Dr Poznansky replied, ‘no.’ 

‘But the individual decisions are based on the individual patient, and all bets are off when you’re dealing with the president, the commander-in chief,’ he added. 

‘The implication is that the doctors believe that the risk of using these is outweighed by the potential benefit.’ 

And while we have some clarity on the potential side effects of each of the  drugs, how they might interact is a mystery, ‘because they just haven’t been used frequently enough…we don’t know about the combination,’ Dr Poznansky said.  

But even on their own, the side effects of these drugs could be particularly concerning for the president, considering that the steroid can cause mood swings, confusion and aggression. 

The drugs he was treated with and their potential side effects are:  

REGENERON’S EXPERIMENTAL ANTIBODY COCKTAIL DRUG

WHEN HE GOT IT: Trump received a single 8 gram dose of Regeneron’s cocktail of lab-made antibodies on Friday. 

WHAT IT DOES: REGN-COV2 is a combination of two lab-made versions of antibodies that help block the coronavirus from entering cells. 

One of the antibodies in the ‘cocktail’ is based on an antibody that mice produce in response to coronavirus, while the other is based on an antibody isolated from the one of the first US COVID-19 patients. 

The hope is that the treatment drives down viral load, keeping it from overrunning the body and sending the immune system haywire, and preventing the infection from becoming severe. 

WHAT THE DATA SAYS: REGN-COV2 is still in early trial phases, but the first data from its clinical trial found that it dramatically lowered viral load within a week and cut recovery time in half in patients that weren’t sick enough to be hospitalized. 

Regeneron has not yet studied the drug in severely ill patients. 

THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: The main concern is these types of treatment occasionally trigger ‘antibody-dependent enhancement,’ which means the intended therapeutic actually helps the virus invade cells.

So far, the trials don’t suggest that REGN-COV2 is causing this phenomenon. 

Antibody treatments can also cause allergic reactions including anaphylaxis, as well as fever, chills, nausea, diarrhea, weakness, headache and low blood pressure. 

REMDESIVIR, GILEAD’S ANTIVIRAL DRUG 

WHEN HE GOT IT: President Trump was given his first dose of a five-day treatment course on Friday evening, after he was transferred from the White House to Walter Reed National Medical Center. 

He has since received his second and third dose of the drug. 

WHAT IT DOES: Remdesivir is an antiviral therapy originally designed to treat Ebola. 

Scientists are not entirely sure why, but it helps to prevent coronavirus from making more copies of itself. 

WHAT THE DATA SAYS: Late-stage clinical trials of remdesivir found that patients treated with the drug were more likely to recover within 11 days than those who did not get the drug. 

Their survival odds were about 40 percent better. In May, the drug became the first to get emergency use authorization from the FDA for treating severely ill patients. That approval has since been expanded to any hospitalized patients.

THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS: It can cause nausea, vomiting, chils, sweating or light-headedness. The drug also may harm liver function, meaning that patients have to be closely monitored. 

There was some suggestion the Trump’s liver and kidney function were suboptimal last night, but Dr Conley said Monday the president was just ‘dehydrated.’ 

DEXAMETHASONE, THE $6 STEROID WITH COMMON PSYCHIATRIC SIDE EFFECTS

WHEN HE GOT IT: The president got a dose of dexamethasone on Saturday after he developed a high fever and his blood oxygen levels dropped below 94 percent on two occasions. 

WHAT IT DOES: Dexamethasone is a cheap steroid known to tamp down inflammation. It’s already approved for use in other conditions in the US. 

WHAT THE DATA SAYS: Although it hasn’t yet been given emergency approval in the US, dexamethasone is the most promising treatment yet for coronavirus. 

In a major UK study, the steroid cut the risk of death by 36 percent for patients sick enough to need breathing machines and by 18 percent for patients needing just supplemental oxygen. 

However, it seemed harmful at earlier stages or milder cases of illness: 18 percent of those on the drug died versus 14 percent of those given usual care.

For that reason, many doctors were alarmed to see President Trump treated with the drug because using it suggested either that he was very sick, or that doctors were taking a risk in giving it to him early.  

THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS:  The steroid is potent, and can cause swelling, headaches, stomach pain, nausea, weakness, dizziness sleep problems, vision changes, skin problems, severe allergic reactions including mood changes. 

These mood changes include aggression, agitation and confusion. 

‘Steroids are always very dangerous medications to use,’ Dr Edward Jones-Lopez, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, told Reuters.

‘That is why it (dexamethasone) is used in severe to critical patients… There can be neuropsychiatric side effects. These are medications that we use very, very carefully.’  



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Football UK

Diego Forlan comments on Facundo Pellistri suggest Man Utd made transfer coup


Manchester United appear to have landed themselves a future star in Facundo Pellistri, if ex-Red Devils striker Diego Forlan’s comments are to be believed.

United secured a last gasp deadline day deal for the teenage winger on Monday, in what ended up being a busy day for the club.

Pellistri is understood to have cost around £9m from Penarol in Uruguay, where he hails from.

The 18-year-old broke through at his boyhood club last season.

And United have landed themselves a potential superstar with Pellistri, according to fellow countryman Forlan.

“Pellistri has huge potential,” Forlan said in April. “There is still a lot to work on. He is growing and he makes the difference.

Man United’s signed teenage winger Facundo Pellistri on deadline day

“We know it will be difficult to keep him for a long time. He has great pace and that is hard to handle.”

Meanwhile, Argentina legend Juan Roman Riquelme appeared to echo Forlan’s verdict with his comments even earlier in Pellistri’s career.

“He is young, talented, he hasn’t played that much but you can see he is a real rascal with the ball at his feet,” Riquelme said last December.

Diego Forlan didn’t enjoy his best time at Man Utd, but had a highly impressive career

“And that is important. There is not many like him around, who have the courage to be so cheeky on the pitch. That is highly valuable.”

Pellistri revealed his delight at signing with United shortly after joining last night, insisting he was ready to work hard to earn opportunities to impress.

“To join a club with the history of Manchester United is a dream come true,” he said. “I have learnt a lot at Penarol and I would like to thank them for everything they have done for me.

“To have the confidence of the manager is an amazing feeling and I know that working with him will be perfect for my development.

“I am coming into a squad full of great players who I will learn from every day. Everyone knows that Manchester United is a club that gives young players an opportunity and I am ready to work hard every day to earn those chances and prove myself in England.”





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Big Story Coronavirus COVID-19

COVID-19 And Flu: This Flu Season, Be Prepared Rather Than Being Worried, Suggest Experts


COVID-19 and flu cause symptoms that are quit similar to each other

Highlights

  • Get your flu shots this season
  • Practice physical distancing and wash your hands frequently
  • Wear a face mask whenever you go outside

The flu season is almost here. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it may be difficult for one to differentiate between the symptoms of the two. Common symptoms of flu include fever, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and vomiting and diarrhoea (mostly in children and adults). COVID-19, on the other hand, causes fever, dry cough, tiredness, aches and pains, diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell. In more severe cases, the infection can cause shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, chest pain or pressure, loss of speech or movement. 

Flu and COVID-19- Don’t be worried, be prepared

Dr Sylvie Briand, Director of WHO’s Department of Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness, explains how one can differentiate between COVID-19 and flu, and what are the precautions to be taken.

Also read: Coronavirus Vs Flu: How To Spot The Difference? Know The Exact Symptoms

“We shouldn’t be worried, we should rather be prepared. This is because we do have a vaccine for flu. We have antivirals and a set of measures that work for flu, and can reduce the morbidity and mortality linked to influenza,” Dr Briand says in the WHO’s IGTV.

Preventive tips COVID-19 like physical distancing, washing hands and avoiding close contact, can also work for influenza viruses, she adds. “The flu season was on in Southern hemisphere recently. These measures worked very well. The transmission of flu was very low,” she informs.

However, one cannot be certain that this will be the case for Northern hemisphere this fall and winter, or the flu season.

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This flu season, take necessary precautions to prevent falling sick
Photo Credit: iStock

COVID-19 and flu: How to differentiate?

These two viruses can infect the body and cause similar symptoms. When one sees a sign of severity, seeking medical advice is important. “For instance, if one experiences chest pain or difficulty to breathe, ask for medical advice. This is especially important for people with underlying conditions like cardiac disease or other chronic respiratory illness, asthma or diabetes,” says Dr Briand.

Speaking of symptoms, there are a few signs that are specific to COVID-19, like loss of taste or smell.

Also read: Weight Loss Diet: Following Keto Diet? Try These 5 Tricks To Get Rid Of Keto Flu

Precautions to be taken by pregnant women

Women experience change in their immunity during pregnancy, and hence it is important for them to be more cautious of flu and COVID-19. Pregnant women are at risk of developing a severe form of influenza, Dr Brian says.

“Pregnant women should avoid places that are crowded. Wash hands frequently and wear a mask whenever you are outside or in crowded places where physical distancing cannot be practiced. Get flu vaccine and check with your physician about their advice for this period” she adds. Watch the full video here: 

Consume a nourishing diet that helps in strengthening your immunity, follow an active and healthy lifestyle. Get your flu shots and be prepared rather than being worried about the flu season this year.

Also read: Post COVID-19 Care: 6 Things You Need To Do After Recovering From Coronavirus

(Dr Sylvie Briand, Director of WHO’s Department of Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness)

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.





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Technology US

Prepare for the ‘iPhone 12 mini,’ suggest recent leaks


We’re expecting Apple to announce four new iPhones later this year, and signs and portents increasingly suggest that the smallest will be named the iPhone 12 mini — a title new to the iPhone range but with a solid Apple heritage. Past and present mini Apple products include the iPod mini, iPad mini, and Mac mini. So it might be time for a mini iPhone, too.

The name was mentioned earlier this week by established leaker @L0vetodream, who suggested that the four new iPhones would be called the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Now another leaker, @duanrui1205, has shared images showing Apple’s “silicone case stickers,” complete with names and hand-labeled screen sizes. They match previous rumors for sizes and specs, with the line-up as follows:

  • Apple iPhone 12 mini — 5.4-inch screen
  • Apple iPhone 12 — 6.1-inch screen (the same as the iPhone 11)
  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro — 6.1-inch screen (but with presumably higher specs)
  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max — 6.7-inch model (larger than the 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max)

We saw the image via MacRumors, which notes that the model numbers are new for Apple, and that @duanrui1205 has had some leaking success recently. They shared a manual showing an all-screen iPad Air that turned out to be on the money.

An iPhone mini with a 5.4-inch screen might eventually take the place of the iPhone SE, currently the smallest handset in Apple’s iPhone line-up. But this would be a surprisingly difficult niche to occupy. The original SE and its 2020 successor have been widely praised for their value, tried-and-tested design, and pocketable screen sizes (4.7 inches for the 2020 model and 4 inches for the original SE). Not everyone wants a massive phone.

A 5.4-inch iPhone mini would be larger than both SE models but not outlandishly so. And if the rumors are true that the new iPhones will return to the industrial design of the iPhone 4 and 5 (think: a rounded rectangle with flat metal edges like the new iPad Pro) then it might even look like the original iPhone SE. You can see how the design and screen sizes compare in the image below, based on dummy iPhone 12 models sourced by MacRumors:





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