I had my feet up, watching a new Amazon TV show with a custard cream in one hand and a cuppa in the other.Arguably, things were going well – until a message popped up on my phone in the Cineworld staff group chat. I wish I hadn’t checked it. All my friends from work were typing furiously: “Not again”; “Seriously…?”; ”Guys check Twitter”.So I checked, and just like that I found out I was losing my job – by social media.I’ve worked for Cineworld for four years as a team leader. I’ve given my hardest work, the longest hours and all my efforts to that company unfalteringly. But this is how their staff found out they would be losing their livelihoods in the midst of a global pandemic: through a leaked report in the Sunday Times.  The worst part is, this isn’t even the first time it’s happened. At the beginning of the pandemic, Cineworld asked the general manager of every site to pop their employees a quick phone call. ′Hey pal, yeah sorry, you don’t have a job any more′.Last time, we were bailed out by the furlough scheme. But this time, it was the media who told us, and there was no government bailout package to cushion the blow.We all begin furiously spamming our managers late into the evening, demanding answers. But no one had anything to tell us.We all begin furiously spamming our managers late into the evening, demanding answers. But no one had anything to tell us. They were just as upset and outraged as we were. It quickly became apparent that this decision, that would affect thousands of employees, had been made in a boardroom by faceless executives, and not a single bit of communication had been relayed to those it would hurt.The next day, we were emailed an apology that “internal discussions have leaked”. It hardly felt like the apology we deserved – especially as it didn’t acknowledge the impact of these job losses, only that they had been caught short. Worse, the email didn’t clarify the situation – would we be losing our jobs or not?On Monday, we were back at work. Customer after customer approached us: “Sorry to hear you’re not going to have a job”. It was so painful. No one should have to work like that. I didn’t know whether I should be applying for jobs or not.The managers did their best to keep spirits up, but even they were absolutely appalled at Cineworld’s lack of empathy for their staff.Later, we were pulled aside and explicitly told “not to talk to the press”, or else you “face losing pay”. But no one asked if we were okay. I stayed at Cineworld because my colleagues are my family, our managers are our friends – but the love stops there. I have seen time and time again Cineworld treat its staff as disposable – we are undervalued, unappreciated and disenfranchised.Cinema is an escape from a harsh reality, and we need that now more than ever.Finally, we received an email from the CEO confirming what most of us already knew by this point: Cineworld’s cinemas would be closing.But still no clarity about our jobs. Are we being made redundant? Or are we going to be laid off? Unpaid leave? It’s been four days and we still have no information. The staff feel as though we are screaming into an abyss and no-one is listening. I ask you to imagine yourself as someone like me, who pays £1,000 a month in rent, bills, phone, car, food and general expenses. How would losing your £1,100 job a month affect you? Yeah, devastating.And now, get another job, they say. But where? Nowhere is hiring. They haven’t even made team members redundant, they’re keeping the zero-hour contract staff on unpaid leave. Members with families can’t file for unemployment or Universal Credit. They don’t get redundancy. They get nothing, and it’s deplorable.The only reason Cineworld kept us on last time is because of the government’s divine intervention. Thus, I implore Rishi Sunak or Boris Johnson or anyone to look at our position and help us. The arts sector is dying a slow and painful death in this climate, and we urgently need help. Cinema simply will not survive if you don’t step in. Do you remember how you felt enveloped in darkness, with the scent of sweet popcorn in the air, when Frodo threw the ring into Mount Doom? When Chewbacca and Han returned to the Millennium Falcon? When the Delorean sped off into the distance? When Woody and Buzz made their way back to Andy? When Hogwarts took its last stand against the Dark Lord? When Captain America picked up Mjolnir?Don’t take that away from future generations. Cinema is an escape from a harsh reality, and we need that now more than ever.Cineworld doesn’t seem to care about us. But please, for the sake of cinema, for the sake of our livelihoods and hard work, someone has to. Or else we will all suffer. This author, who has asked to remain anonymous, is a Cineworld team leader based in south EnglandHave a compelling personal story you want to tell? Find out what we’re looking for here, and pitch us on [email protected] from HuffPost UK Personal Non-Binary People Like Me Won’t Fit In Until We Change Our Exclusionary Language Women With HIV Can Go Unheard. But I’m Determined To Stand Up And Be Seen My Housemate Has Covid. The Rest Of Us Are Just Waiting In Fear
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Keir Starmer has brushed off a decision by Unite to cut funding to Labour and is set instead to turn to other unions, party members, donors and the general public to plug the gap.The UK’s second biggest union voted to slash its party affiliation fees by just under 10% on Tuesday, a reduction that would mean a fall in income of around £150,000 on the £1.5m it donates in an average non-election year.Despite wilder speculation that the move would result in a £750,000 annual cut, the union’s executive committee voted to cut by 50,000 its number of affiliates, with each affiliate paying £3.Some 500,000 affiliates will now be helping fund Labour per year, rather than 550,000. The union gave a further £3m to the election campaign in 2019.Starmer’s spokesman refused to deny that Unite’s decision could even help his drive to make Labour more electable because it would put distance between the leadership and general secretary Len McCluskey.“Unite has taken their decision, we have seen Len’s remarks. We acknowledge that decision,” the spokesman said.“Labour will continue to take decisions in the best interest of the country, that means tackling coronavirus, protecting people’s jobs and restoring public trust in Labour so we can win in 2024.”Former cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw said that the move was welcome because McCluskey had kept the Tories in power for the last decade.“Few people have done more to keep the Tories in power for the last 10 years than Len McCluskey”Labour MP Ben Bradshaw said the Unite leader has “done our movement so much damage” as the union plans to reduce its donation to Labour by 10%#politicslivehttps://t.co/PcfOkpnII9pic.twitter.com/LDTSoQ2BFR— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) October 7, 2020Asked if the decision would benefit Labour because it was a visible break with leftwinger McCluskey, the spokesman replied: ”Len has taken this decision, it’s for others to speculate and analyse that decision.”“The party has a long history of raising money through its members, and through the trade unions and through individual supporters. We’ll continue doing that, we have a fundraising strategy in place.”On the suggestion of public crowdfunding to raise cash, he added: “We will look at everything. Even before the Unite decision we were looking at how we can raise the funds to win in 2024. We are looking at various different models.”Allies of Starmer pointed out that he had actually won a majority of Unite members’ votes in the leadership election earlier this year, when he easily beat its nominated candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey.Meanwhile, HuffPost UK has learned that senior Unite figures dismayed by the funding cut have vowed that Jeremy Corbyn-backing group Momentum will not be benefiting from the money diverted away from Labour.Sources said that the spare cash would go instead to groups like the Tribune magazine and “the energetic, intellectual left” rather than Momentum.One member of the union’s executive committee had raised the grassroots group as a possible recipient in a debate about the kind of organisation that would get Unite support.But it is unlikely that the committee would approve such a move because many Unite members were wary of Momentum not least because of its moves to cut trade union influence in Labour, insiders said.“There is definitely no proposal to affiliate or donate to Momentum. It’s certainly not going to happen,” said a source. “Many Unite members are active in CLPs [constituency Labour parties] and have seen the chaos caused by Momentum internally,” another added.Some within the United Left grouping of the union fear that the decision to cut affiliates weakens the union’s influence within the party and paves the way for other unions to edge it out.The split within the union over the move to slash funding to Starmer was laid bare at the committee meeting on Tuesday, when it was approved narrowly by 25 votes to 23.HuffPost UK understands that several weeks ago, there was pressure within the union to go even further and cut affiliate numbers by half – a move that would have led to the loss of £825,000 a year.McCluskey told the BBC’s Newsnight that the deeper cuts could occur if the party veered away from Jeremy Corbyn’s agenda. “My activists will ask me, ‘Why are we giving so much money’?”McCluskey, who is due to step down in 2022, expressed dismay that Unite funds had been spent by Labour paying damages to whistle-blowers who contributed to a Panorama programme about Labour’s handling of the anti-Semitism crisis.But some Unite members are understood to be much more worried about the large sums spent on defending a libel case won by ex-Labour MP Anna Turley last year against the union and a leftwing blog Skwawkbox.At a further meeting of the union executive on Wednesday, some members from its South East region asked who had authorised the spending on the legal case, which resulted in a £75,000 damages payout to Turley and in which the court costs have been speculated as being up to £2m. Costs have yet to be agreed.McCluskey is understood to have said that as general secretary he had authority on behalf of the committee. He also warned members not to believe “right wing media” reports of the alleged multi-million pound costs.Assistant general secretary Howard Beckett, a fierce critic of Starmer’s who backed the funding cut, told the meeting that the union had had several legal successes and justified defending the Turley case, sources said.Euan Philipps, spokesperson for Labour Against Antisemitism, said: “If Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, is threatening the further removal of financial support in order to dictate Labour Party policy then that should be welcomed by Labour leader Keir Starmer, not resisted.“The issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party was a significant contributory factor to the party’s record defeat in last December’s general election. For the Labour Party to move forward it has to be courageous and ignore these manoeuvres by Mr McCluskey.”Related... McCluskey Warns Starmer Unite Could Slash More Labour Cash Will New Trade Union Bosses Help Keir Starmer Or Hinder Him? Starmer Critic Beckett Loses Bid To Succeed Len McCluskey
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When Amanda Litman first heard the words: “When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy,” she was at Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, New York. It was October 7, 2016, a Friday afternoon, and The Washington Post published a bombshell: Donald Trump, then the Republican presidential nominee, had boasted about sexual assault in 2005. And it was on tape. “It was almost a feeling of: ‘Oh my god, we just won the election,’ complicated by the fact that so many of the women on our staff were deeply traumatised,” Litman said. She remembers female staffers listening to the audio over and over again, then leaving the office for 10-minute walks around the block. When they came back, they looked as though they had been crying.The audio, taken from an “Access Hollywood” shoot, seemed like a turning point in the election. Republican politicians quickly condemned Trump, many of them noting that as fathers of daughters, they had to speak up. Then-House Speaker Paul Ryan reportedly urged the party’s chair to get the nominee out of the race. Trump’s daughter Ivanka reportedly pleaded with him to offer a full apology. Karen Pence, the wife of Trump’s running mate Mike Pence, was reportedly livid, but her husband decided it was too late to leave the ticket. In the 20 days that followed, 15 women came forward to say Trump had sexually abused them. Democrats thought this might be their shot to cement the election for Clinton, who would have been the first female president in US history.But come November, Trump won nonetheless.The same Republican politicians who claimed they couldn’t abide his words continued to back him. Then-congressman Jason Chaffetz, who said after the tape’s release that he couldn’t look his 15-year-old daughter in the eyes and still endorse Trump, announced 19 days later that he still planned to vote for the nominee. Once Trump became president, Ryan and other Republicans helped push through his priorities, which they shared. Trump went on to appoint Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual assault, to the Supreme Court.Four years later, the “Access Hollywood” tape is buried under Trump’s record in office, including mishandling the coronavirus pandemic, dismantling the immigration system, derailing climate change efforts and much, much more. This September, when former model Amy Dorris accused Trump of sexually assaulting her at the 1997 US Open, the charge was simply added to the list. Few, if any, Republicans spoke out, and the news cycle moved on.But women haven’t forgotten. Activists and former Clinton staffers say that the “Access Hollywood” tape (and Republicans’ subsequent inaction) helped lay the groundwork for a seismic national shift in both the dialogue surrounding sexual abuse and the political mobilisation of many women who had previously been passive observers.“It’s one of the reasons why the Women’s March was such a galvanising thing,” said Litman. “[Trump] didn’t just beat a woman candidate; he did so while denigrating women, which lays the cultural groundwork – along with the work Tarana Burke had been doing for years – for the Me Too movement.”At Least He’s Not ClintonWhen David Fahrenthold, the Washington Post reporter who first uncovered the “Access Hollywood” tape, reached out to the Trump campaign before publishing, they at first thought the transcript wasn’t real.“This doesn’t sound like me,” Trump said, according to a retelling of the weekend by Politico’s Tim Alberta. Then the campaign received the audio, and it was clear that it was Trump speaking. The campaign went into spin mode. “This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago,” Trump said in a statement to the Post, before quickly turning to his opponent’s husband. “Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologise if anyone was offended.”That non-apology didn’t quell the public outrage after the story was published, and Trump appeared on video later that night to try again. In a markedly un-Trump-like performance, he said he never claimed to be a perfect person. “I said it, I was wrong, and I apologise,” he said, before claiming the video was “a distraction from the important issues we’re facing today” and attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton for the former president’s sexual misconduct and alleged assaults, as well as accusing the former first lady of having bullied her husband’s victims. One person faced swift consequences: Billy Bush, the “Access Hollywood” host who laughed along with Trump on tape, was suspended from his job at the “Today” show and fired a week and a half later. It looked like Trump might face consequences too. Republican after Republican issued statements condemning him. “As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the 11-year-old video released yesterday,” Pence said in a statement, notably emphasising that the remarks were made a long time ago. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Trump’s comments “repugnant, and unacceptable in any circumstance”.Speaker Ryan uninvited Trump from a campaign event set to take place the next day. During a call with House Republicans on October 10, he told the lawmakers that he would not campaign with Trump or defend him. If others wanted to, that was up to them. “I’m going to spend the next 28 days working hard with all of our members to get re-elected because we need a check on Hillary Clinton if Donald Trump and Mike Pence don’t win the presidency,” Ryan said at the time, according to audio later published by Breitbart News.Some House Republicans agreed. Others didn’t – and the ones who wanted to defend Trump were some of the loudest voices. On the call, member after member said, “I don’t care how bad this is, you can’t let Hillary Clinton win,” according to a then-Republican aide. “It was very clear that everyone was still thinking in highly political terms.” That was the calculus: sure, what Trump said was bad. But at least he wasn’t Clinton.“It demonstrated what was to come in terms of being able to rationalise anything as long as you compare it to Democrats,” the former party aide said. Outrage, Pain And MotivationThe next episode of “Saturday Night Live” featured a sketch about the “Access Hollywood” tape that cut to Clinton campaign headquarters, where the candidate, played by Kate McKinnon, and her staff pop champagne.But in reality, learning about the tape wasn’t a gleeful moment for the Clinton team. “I was like: ‘Wow, they don’t usually get that wrong,’” said Jess McIntosh, who was a senior communication adviser to the campaign.Today, McIntosh likens the moment to learning last week that the president had been diagnosed with Covid-19: a pre-election shock that might impact the race, but certainly nothing to cheer over.In fact, for many Democrats, the tape was a sobering reminder of just how much was at stake in the election. Both Clinton and vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine responded swiftly to the audio. On October 7, Kaine told reporters that Trump’s words made him “sick to my stomach,” adding: “I’m sad to say that I’m not surprised.” Clinton tweeted the Washington Post story along with the comment: “This is horrific. We cannot allow this man to be president.” Two days later, Trump and Clinton were in St Louis facing off at the second presidential debate. When the tape came up, Clinton attempted to hammer home the idea that Trump’s denigration of women made him unfit to hold the highest office in the nation. “With prior Republican nominees for president, I disagreed with them, politics, policies, principles, but I never questioned their fitness to serve,” she said. “Donald Trump is different.” During the same debate, Trump stood behind Clinton and followed her across the stage – a physical posturing that many compared to stalking.Democrats and activists alike were also grappling with the larger cultural implications of a Republican nominee for president who bragged about sexual assault. At 7.48pm on the night the audio was published by The Washington Post, author Kelly Oxford tweeted, “Women: tweet me your first assaults. They aren’t just stats. I’ll go first: Old man on city bus grabs my ‘pussy’ and smiles at me, I’m 12.” Women began responding, many using the hashtag #NotOkay. According to NPR, within a day, a million women had responded to Oxford’s callout.For so many, Trump’s words felt sickeningly familiar. They felt personal.Jess Morales Rocketto, who was working on the Clinton campaign in 2016 and is now the civic engagement director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the executive director of Care in Action, told HuffPost that the Trump tape – and working with fellow Clinton staffers to make people see the enormity of the moment – pushed her to grapple with her own sexual assault.“Engaging in that work [...] is what enabled me to understand what had happened to me,” Rocketto said.“And to make it something that was not just about what had happened to me, and instead use it as fuel and transformation for keeping myself safe, and keeping other women like me safe.”For Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of UltraViolet, and other activists who focus on women’s and survivors’ issues, the “Access Hollywood” tape was a loud, clear and “rude awakening” to the ways that “American society continues to degrade women and reward people who abuse them.” Thomas also saw an opportunity for a larger conversation to come out of Trump bragging so brazenly about sexual assault. Because, as many pointed out in the days and months after the “Access Hollywood” tape dropped, sexually abusive “locker-room talk” was reflective of a cultural rot much larger than Donald Trump.“I remember thinking, like, that this was a pivotal exposure of what we knew was likely true about him and about his attitudes, but also the attitudes and the beliefs and behaviour of so many men like him,” said Thomas. “And that it was a hugely important opportunity for having a national conversation about why that attitude and behaviour is so toxic [and] so damaging.” ‘But Her Emails’ Takes OverBut the Trump campaign had a secret weapon. Trump and the campaign, via unofficial adviser Roger Stone, knew as of August that WikiLeaks had obtained hacked emails from Democratic Party staffers, including Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta, according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report published in August of this year. The hack was unrelated to Clinton’s previous email controversy, which had to do with her use of a private server for some official business as secretary of state. But given the sensitivity of “email” and “Clinton”, it could still be highly damaging. According to US intelligence, the hack was carried out by Russians, whom Trump had openly courted to find Clinton’s “missing” emails.On October 7, Stone learned about the “Access Hollywood” tape before its release and called Jerome Corsi, an infamous conspiracy theorist, to ask him to get in touch with WikiLeaks, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee report. Stone “[w]anted the Podesta stuff to balance the news cycle,” Corsi told the committee.“According to Corsi, Stone also told him to have WikiLeaks ‘drop the Podesta emails immediately,’” the committee report states. Later that day, WikiLeaks did. McIntosh, the former Clinton adviser, was dismayed at how quickly the media seized on the hacked emails even amid the news that Trump had admitted to sexual assault. The media’s focus on the “Access Hollywood” tape “only lasted until everybody got into John Podesta’s risotto recipe,” McIntosh said. “They played journalists so perfectly with that release. They had that in their back pocket for their ‘break glass in case of emergency’. This was clearly the emergency. They broke the glass and everybody scattered for it.”In the following weeks, even as multiple women accused Trump of sexual assault, reporters continued to question him on other matters, which McIntosh found disappointing. “I am pretty sure if Hillary Clinton had been accused of assaulting somebody, that would be the last time someone asked her about her climate change plan,” McIntosh said. “The only questions would be: ‘When are you going to drop out of the race?’ And that was simply not what happened.” They had that in their back pocket for their ‘break glass in case of emergency.’ This was clearly the emergency. They broke the glass and everybody scattered for it.Jess McIntosh, a former Clinton staffer, on the WikiLeaks release of Democratic Party emailsAbout a week before the election, then-FBI Director James Comey released a letter saying the agency was examining more of Clinton’s emails – an announcement that Clinton blames, in part, for her ultimate loss. The Democratic candidate’s emails remained in the news. The same Republicans who had condemned Trump’s remarks continued to back him.And then, a month and approximately a million news cycles later, Trump won. Despite the polls, despite the “Access Hollywood” tape, despite the allegations of 15-plus women. The man who openly denigrated women, immigrants and people of colour was going to ascend to the highest office in the nation. Litman remembers thinking about Trump’s “grab ’em by the pussy” comments on election night as she watched the returns come in from the Javits Center in New York City. “I could not stop thinking about: what does this tell little girls and what does this tell little boys,” said Litman.“[For little girls], you can be talked about this way, you can be treated this way, you can be assaulted this way, and there will be no punishment. For little boys, you have to behave this way to gain power. What a horrible message.”The Birth Of The ‘Pussy Hat’However, after the initial shock and grief subsided, something else happened. Lots of American women who had once observed politics from the sidelines were angry. Furious, even. And they started organising. Within four weeks, thousands of women had signed up for programmes designed to help people run for political office.Litman sees the mass, sustained effort as a response to the obvious lack of consequences for egregious behaviour, like openly bragging about sexual assault, coupled with more than 15 women telling the country that this man had assaulted them.“He did this and then he got rewarded,” said Litman. “There were tapes. It wasn’t just a ‘he said, she said’. He bragged about [assault] and then he got the highest office in the land. There’s no sense of justice.” On November 8, just hours after Trump was elected, retired attorney Teresa Shook posted on Facebook suggesting that women march on Washington. The post lit a spark that turned into the Women’s March – the largest single-day protest in US history. Thanks to seasoned organisers Carmen Perez, Tamika Mallory and Linda Sarsour, who stepped in early to help, the Women’s March brought an estimated 500,000 people to DC on January 21, 2017, the day after Trump’s inauguration. (The New York Times reported that crowd scientists thought the march drew a crowd three times larger than that on Inauguration Day.) Sister protests happened around the nation and the world. Many of the participants showed up wearing handmade pink “pussy hats”, a direct response to the president’s “grab ’em by the pussy” comment.Less than three months later, organisers showed up again, this time to protest the continued employment of Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, after news broke that the network had settled five separate sexual harassment lawsuits on his behalf since 2002. On April 19, 2017, O’Reilly was officially ousted from Fox.“There was a [new] opportunity for holding people in positions of power accountable for abusing or harassing their staff,” said Thomas. “We were ready. The survivors came forward, the evidence was overwhelming, but it was also Fox News. It was an important moment to demonstrate the public lack of patience and disinterest in continuing to see institutions protecting abusers from accountability.”Trump’s Republican Party TakeoverThe opposition from women didn’t seem to greatly affect Trump, who soon after his election began to suggest to Republican senators and other allies that the tape wasn’t real, The New York Times reported in 2017.Trump went on to push policies that harmed women and to back powerful men in spite of allegations that they had harmed women. He supported Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore of Alabama in 2017 as Moore faced allegations of sexual assault and misconduct, including against teenage girls. Trump stuck with Kavanaugh when the now-Supreme Court justice was accused of sexual assault. He defended his former aide Rob Porter after Porter resigned from the White House due to accusations he had abused his ex-wives. All three men have denied the allegations against them.The “Access Hollywood” tape continued to come up. UltraViolet Action played the tape on loop outside the Capitol in 2018 to protest Kavanaugh’s nomination.Activists stress that there isn’t one straight line from the “Access Hollywood” tape to a movement, but that it is all connected.“There’s no way of knowing all the ways this stuff ripples out,” Rocketto said. If the Trump tape hadn’t been exposed by The Washington Post, she’s not sure if she would have ultimately organised against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. “I wouldn’t have confronted Senator [Ted] Cruz in an elevator,” Rocketto said. “You don’t have Christine Blasey Ford coming forward [about Kavanaugh] without Me Too. And you don’t have a wave of women being elected.”During the 2018 midterm elections, 125 women were elected in House, Senate and governor races. And not only did women run for elected office, they also spoke out about their own experiences with sexual harassment and abuse. Litman, who is now the executive director of Run for Something, an organisation that helps recruit and support young Democrats running for office, told HuffPost that the shift in candidates’ openness about surviving sexual abuse has been significant. “We work with these candidates who incorporate their experience as survivors into their campaigns,” Litman said. “I don’t think that would have happened before four years ago.”Four years after the “Access Hollywood” tape was revealed, Trump remains president and Republicans still control the Senate, where they are fighting to confirm a new Supreme Court justice who could put abortion rights at risk. Except now, we are also in the midst of a global pandemic, in which more than 200,000 Americans have died, millions have lost their jobs, and women – especially women of colour – have been hit especially hard.There’s still plenty to fight for.“If you were scared by that tape, you should be really scared right now,” said Rocketto. “And if you’re scared, the only way to get past that is to do something about it.”
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Pub giant Greene King has said it plans to cut around 800 jobs and shut dozens of pubs and restaurants after trade slumped following the 10pm hospitality curfew.A spokesperson said: “The continued tightening of the trading restrictions for pubs, which may last another six months, along with the changes to government support, was always going to make it a challenge to reopen some of our pubs.“Therefore, we have made the difficult decision not to reopen 79 sites, including the 11 Loch Fyne restaurants we announced last week.“Around one third will be closed permanently and we hope to be able to reopen the others in the future.“We are working hard with our teams to try and find them a role in another of our pubs wherever possible.“We urgently need the government to step in and provide tailored support to help the sector get through to the spring and prevent further pub closures and job losses.”This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.Related... Keir Starmer Demands Boris Johnson Justify 10pm Pub Curfew Ahead Of Crunch Vote Northern Leaders Rage At 'Disastrous' Covid Measures That Will Deepen North-South Divide
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Keir Starmer has demanded Boris Johnson publish the scientific evidence behind the 10pm curfew ahead of a crunch Commons vote next week on the law.Speaking during PMQs on Wednesday, the Labour leader gave a strong indication he may withhold his support.If Labour joins Tory rebels, there is a chance the government could be defeated in any bid to keep the curfew in place.“One question is now screaming out: is there a scientific basis for the 10pm rule?” Starmer said.“If there is, why doesn’t the government do itself a favour and publish it? If not, why doesn’t the government review the rule?”He added: “Will the prime minister commit to publishing the scientific basis for the rule before this House votes on it?”Johnson sidestepped the call for any science behind the curfew to be published and told MPs the point of the law was “to reduce the spread of the virus”.The government has been under increasing pressure to scrap the curfew from Tory MPs and the hospitality industry.Steve Baker, the leading backbench rebel, told HuffPost UK: “It is not clear what the evidence is to support the 10pm curfew or that it is effective.”Kate Nicholls, the CEO of UK Hospitality, said the curfew and other restrictions had a “severe and devastating” impact on pubs, restaurants and other venues.Pub giant Greene King said on Wednesday it plans to cut around 800 jobs and shut dozens of pubs and restaurantsLocal Labour leaders have also warned the curfew is counter-productive as it has led to people all leaving bars at the same time, gathering together outside, holding more house parties and cramming on to public transport.Read more: Pub Bosses Explain Why 10pm Curfew Isn’t WorkingHuffPost UK revealed today ministers are considering shifting the curfew back an hour, with supermarkets being ordered to stop selling alcohol after 11pm.The plan would transplant the rules operating in Northern Ireland to England, which see last orders being called at 10.30pm.During PMQs, Starmer also said Labour analysis showed 19 out of 20 areas in England that have been under restrictions over the last two months have seen an increase in infection rates anyway.Bolton, which has been under restrictions since July 30, has seen its infection rate increase almost 13 times from 20 to 255 per 100,000.Burnley, which has been under restrictions since July 31, has seen its infection rate increase over 20 times from 21 to 434 per 100,000.Bury, which has also been under restrictions since July 31, has seen its infection rate increase over 13 times from 20 to 266 per 100,000.An analysis of government data by HuffPost UK also showed there are now only seven areas of the UK with levels of Covid-19 under the government’s own threshold for foreign countries that require travel restrictions.People visiting countries with more than 20 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day average are required to quarantine for 14 days upon their return to the UK.Related... Northern Leaders Rage At 'Disastrous' Covid Measures That Will Deepen North-South Divide 11pm Pub Closing Time In England Could Return, Ministers Believe Greene King To Shut 79 Pubs And Restaurants Due To Slump Caused By 10pm Curfew
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Families of people who have died in police custody have expressed serious concerns about a new policy which gives anonymity to officers linked to the deaths.Campaign groups and relatives say it will be harder to hold police accountable under the ramped up policy, which came into force in July.They believe it is misguided for forces in England and Wales to take extra steps to protect anonymity at a time of global calls for greater transparency following the killing of George Floyd in the United States.The new guidance gives officers involved in custody deaths the same level of anonymity as firearms officers following a fatal shooting.Leading campaigner Tippa Naphtali, whose cousin Mikey Powell died whilst in the custody of West Midlands Police in 2003, said: “At a time like this, in the limelight of racial issues and the Black Lives Matter issues, it’s appalling.“It’s really disrespectful that they should even be thinking of a policy of this type, which is basically to afford police even more protection than they currently have, which makes them almost untouchable.”The new “Death or Serious Injury Authorised Professional Practice” policy was announced on the Police Federation website in July.A statement on the site said: “Officers involved in deaths or serious injuries will be given protection in College of Policing policy – akin to colleagues who carry firearms.”The policy sets out clear steps that should be taken by forces to “protect officers legally, ensure their welfare is looked after as well as assist with the investigation that follows”.But the charity Inquest said the new guidance “could undermine the integrity of investigations into police related deaths”.Naphtali, who runs the 4WardEver UK and Friends of Mikey Powell campaigns, said the system is already heavily weighted against bereaved families.His cousin Powell died aged 38 of asphyxiation shortly after being arrested by police in Birmingham in 2003 while suffering a psychotic episode. His death has parallels to that of George Floyd, the family say.Ten officers were charged with criminal offences after Powell’s death, but all were cleared of wrongdoing in 2006.Naphtali pointed to the fact that there has been no conviction of a police officer related to a death in custody for more than five decades in this country.“The first recorded death in custody was David Oluwale in 1969,” he said.“That’s the last time ever, in 1969, that a police officer was actually imprisoned in the UK for a death in custody. That’s disgraceful.” There have been 1,755 deaths in police custody or otherwise following police contact in England and Wales since 1990, according to Inquest.While the risks faced by officers are acknowledged, as witnessed with the fatal shooting of Sgt Matt Ratana at Croydon Police Station last month, families argue that people who die in police custody should have the same access to justice.Acclaimed poet Benjamin Zephaniah, the brother of Naphtali and cousin of Mikey Powell, said: “We just ask for the same amount of consideration when civilians die at the hands of police.”“When I see the outpouring of compassion and feeling for those officers, I want the same to happen for people that die at the hands of police, because the police should be subject to the same laws.”Debbie Whelan, of the Justice for Cameron Whelan campaign, also condemned the changes, saying equivalent support is not available to families of the dead.“[They] slipped that one in under the radar didn’t they,” she said, speaking to the 4WardEver UK campaign. “It’s a shame they don’t afford the same to the families of the people they kill.” Her son Cameron, 26, was pursued by Warwickshire Police in May 2018 and entered the water of the River Avon before his body was found four days later.The Independent Office of Police Conduct investigated the force’s contact with Cameron prior to his drowning and a jury inquest into his death found no critical findings in relation to police, despite the serious concerns of the family.The Angiolini Report In 2017, a report on deaths in police custody by Dame Elish Angiolini QC, made 110 recommendations to minimise the risks of future deaths.Commenting on the new policy, Dame Elish told HuffPost UK she “had no difficulty” with officers having access to legal advice and anonymity was not unusual in the UK at the early stages of an investigation.But she expressed concern about “the persistence of the practice” of bringing officers together following an operation, a practice that has been criticised because of the risk of testimony becoming tainted or collusion occurring.“My concern is about a group of officers being kept together for several hours after the incident is over but before they have provided their own independent account of the circumstances,” she said.“That practice in England is wholly contrary to the guidance issued by the Independent Office for Police Conduct and is often not in the longer term interests of all the officers involved.”  Inquest director Deborah Coles echoed the concern saying “conferral and separation of police officers, and preservation of the scene” were both raised as critical issues in the Angiolini review.There has been a heightened global focus on deaths in police custody, particularly the disproportionate deaths of Black people, since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.Floyd died aged 46 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes as he cried out “I can’t breathe”.Inquest, which carries out casework and monitoring on custody deaths in England and Wales, says its data shows Black people die disproportionately as a result of the use of force or restraint by police.The Police Federation did not comment when approached by HuffPost UK in relation to criticism of its new policy.But Steve Hartshorn, Police Federation of England and Wales’ post incident procedure lead, said at the time the policy was announced: “There has been a deaths or serious injury policy in place for firearms for many years which has been tested through the courts and has set a standard that protects officers and assists with the provision of best evidence.“I am pleased to say this new policy from the College of Policing will afford those same protections to all our officers and staff.”Related... Alesha Dixon Applauded For Wearing Statement Black Lives Matter Necklace On BGT Black Lives Matter: Activists Commemorate George Floyd’s Life in London Gathering Wake Up To How You're Treating Black Men, Top Custody Deaths Lawyer Urges Police
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A policy launched in March allowing one parent to unilaterally withhold child contact from a co-parent on safety grounds is causing concern among domestic abuse campaigners and family support services who say it is “dangerous” and enabling abusers to control their victims further.According to current guidance, if one parent is “sufficiently concerned” that complying with arrangements set out in a child arrangements order would be against current health advice, they “may exercise their parental responsibility and vary the arrangement to one that they consider to be safe”.Any parent disagreeing with an ex-partner’s decision to withhold contact can apply to the Family Court – but only after the decision to stop contact has been enforced.Dame Vera Baird, the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, is now calling on the government to scrap the policy, launched at the start of lockdown, after a House of Commons briefing confirmed that it was still in place.Speaking to HuffPost UK, Dame Baird said: “This exception is much less needed, perhaps not needed at all now, because the Family Court is up and running with phone and Skype hearings said to be commonplace.“Therefore the need to give one parent unilateral licence to change child parenting arrangements no longer exists. It is time this policy was scrapped.” Related... A Second National Lockdown Seems Inevitable. Here's What Stands In The Way Rosie Duffield MP, who moved the House of Commons to tears in 2019 with a speech where she opened up about her experiences with a violent ex-partner, said the guidelines were “clearly open and liable for abuse”.“If, for example, a coercive former partner’s shared custody time coincided with a change of rules or tightening of lockdown, they could easily exploit this and refuse to hand the child back or take them home,” she told HuffPost UK. Parents across the UK have been voicing their concerns on Facebook since discovering the rule was still in force. Michele Simmons, a researcher who specialises in the adoption process wrote: “I’m living and seeing the consequences of what can happen when a child has been isolated from a parent’s care for extensive periods. They can be poorly for life, and as a mother that makes me very concerned.”A father, also on Facebook, said: “I suspect there will be legal challenges to it and we may find that in certain circumstances it might be seen as fair, for example where there is a high R rate in an area, or where travel is restricted and the other parent cannot travel within a local lockdown area.”Laura Baxter, who produced the first UK database looking at contact arrangements during lockdown, said the guidance is “open to misinterpretation and abuse, particularly by separated parents playing a tit-for-tat custody game”.Charities in the UK offering support to families have noted a significant increase in parents claiming they have been unjustly denied contact during lockdown. More than a third of respondents to a survey carried out by Women’s Aid who had child contact arrangements said contact had been used to further abuse, with children not returned as arranged or a mother’s access being restricted.Lucy Hadley, campaign and policy manager at the charity, said it was trying to raise awareness of the dangers faced by adult and child victims of domestic abuse. “We are concerned about the safety of child contact arrangements for survivors of domestic abuse during the pandemic, and we are also concerned that the current guidance does not address these challenges,” she said.  Related... Surviving On £7 A Day With Four Children: ‘How The Benefits Cap Is Penalising Single Parents Like Me’ Billy McGranaghan, founder of the DadsHouse charity, which offers support and advice for single fathers, said dads were also being blocked from seeing their children during the pandemic.“We have seen a rise in fathers facing allegations, which are often false, over their conduct. As every accusation made has to be checked by social services or Cafcass [Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service], these investigations take up a lot of time, which means dads are blocked from seeing their children for even longer periods. This policy is clearly dangerous, and will be used as a delay tactic by angry parents,” McGranaghan said. Despite the introduction of remote court hearings for contact disputes on March 23, some lawyers say the help available to parents who find contact withheld is limited – and often out of reach. Simon Bruce, senior counsel at law firm Farrer & Co, which specialises in family cases and also runs the law clinic at DadsHouse, said victims of abuse were being let down by the justice system.“The government’s own coronavirus advice suggests that a parent who is not getting to see their children can make an application to the court to get redress or seek out the help of a mediator, but this ignores the reality that many clients don’t have the resources to invest in legal assistance and other forms of dispute resolution. Estranged parents are now left with nowhere to turn,” he said. People will now use this as a carte blanche to breach orders.Anne Neale, who leads Legal Action for Women, an organisation that offers vulnerable mothers legal assistance, agrees with Dame Baird that the policy is not fit for purpose. “Preventing children having contact with their mothers is devastating for them, as well as their mothers, and this guideline should be scrapped and replaced with one emphasising that Covid must not be an excuse to renege on court agreements by denying contact with children,” she said.Rosie Duffield back calls to update the policy. “I would support clarification in the guidance to prevent potential exploitation of the pandemic with regard to family separation and child care,” she told HuffPost UK.This follows a meeting on October 1 in which domestic abuse victims spoke to members of the House of Lords about their experiences in the family courts.Victims told peers they were often ignored in court, and made to share child contact with abusive ex-partners. After the meeting, the Victims’ Commissioner for London, Claire Waxman, said the treatment of domestic violence victims in the family courts amounted to “state-sanctioned abuse.” The government’s Domestic Abuse Bill, which includes creating a statutory definition of domestic abuse and training for professionals to spot controlling and coercive behaviour, awaits its second reading in the House of Lords.Meanwhile, parents around the country have been left angry and confused. “I thought that contact was to continue unless one family is showing symptoms or has been around a person who has tested positive,” wrote one parent on social media. “People will now use this as a carte blanche to breach orders.”Related... 'Rosie Speaks Truth' – 5 Women Explain Why MP's Domestic Abuse Speech Was So Powerful This Is What A Socially Distanced Protest Against Domestic Violence Looks Like 6 Months Of Working From Home Has Divided Us Into Lovers And Haters
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Your housemate or partner has a fever and a cough – the classic Covid-19 symptoms – so is it inevitable you’ll become infected, too? The chances are high, but it’s not a foregone conclusion.  Due to ventilation, Covid-19 transmission is more likely to occur indoors than outdoors, says Oksana Pyzik, an infectious diseases expert and senior teaching fellow at UCL. We also know the risk of infection increases with prolonged contact, meaning you’re more likely to catch Covid-19 from someone you spend a lot of time around (such as a housemate) than you are from passing someone with Covid-19 in the supermarket. READ MORE: My Housemate Has Covid. The Rest Of Us Are Just Waiting In Fear While the risk of becoming infected if you live with someone is considered high, not everyone who comes into contact with Covid-19 will become infected. “A study conducted in New York demonstrated that approximately 38% of household contacts tested positive for SARS-Cov-2 [the virus that causes Covid-19], which is comparable to the secondary infection rates reported in China,” Pyzik says. “Although the public view household visits as a low-risk activity, a significant number of super spreader events are linked to contact within households when widespread community control measures are in place.”More then 3,000 UK students have faced university lockdowns due to virus outbreaks, but your risk of catching Covid on campus will depend on your housing set-up – and your housemates.“Students who have part-time jobs as essential or key workers place higher risk on household contacts as they are more frequently exposed to infectious individuals than the general population,” says Pyzik. Related... The Virus Behind Covid Can Relieve Pain In The Body. Here's How. The risk of transmission decreases in halls of residence and off-campus housing when shared spaces such as kitchens and common areas are closed, adds Pyzik, although this isn’t always possible. “The lessons learned from US universities is that viral transmission between asymptomatic students on campus occurs more quickly than we can stop it without resorting to locking down students,” she adds.  Because of this, Pyzik, believes we need screening of asymptomatic students, plus a “blended” curriculum featuring online learning and small, socially distanced classes, to reduce the risk of transmission between housemates. In a family home, there are also things you can do to reduce your risk of transmission from the 38% average.Opening windows and trying to stay at least one metre apart from family members or housemates is a good place to start, especially if you can’t avoid mixing with others outside the home. Closing the toilet seat before flushing may also reduced the “cloud of virus-containing aerosol droplets” from circulating around your bathroom.  Related... 13 Tips For Staying Covid-Safe As We Start Socialising More Indoors It’s also important to maintain good hand and surface hygiene – even before anyone in the household has started to show symptoms. “If any one in the group is infected, a) they will be expelling droplets which will settle on to surfaces and b) they will likely be touching their mouth or nose and have the virus on their hands,” Professor Sally Bloomfield from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine previously told HuffPost UK. “Avoiding transmission via their hands and contact surfaces is key.”Ultimately, try to avoid coming into contact with the infected person – and avoid sharing kitchen and bathroom essentials like hand towels, tea towels, plates, bowls, cups and cutlery. Other experts have even recommended wearing face masks in the home to protect loved ones if you’ve picked up the virus – but we can’t imagine many will take up that advice 24/7.  READ MORE: PSA: Face Masks Don't Work Very Well In The Rain I’m Living In One Of The Most Locked-Down Places In The World Due To Covid-19 Why Are Covid-19 Cases High, But Deaths Remain Quite Low?
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I believe Donald J. Trump is the most dangerous person in the world. I believe he is also the most callous. What kind of a monster witnesses a pandemic kill over 210,000 people in just over eight months and then, after he himself contracts it from his own brazen carelessness and is given the best medical treatment available, has the gall to claim the rest of us shouldn’t “be afraid” of the disease or “let it dominate our lives”? It’s nothing short of a proverbial pissing on the graves of every American ― including my own father, Mark Urquiza ― who didn’t have the luxury to “Walter Reed and chill” and are now missing from the lives of the people who loved them.Adding insult to injury, the symptoms Trump is reported to have experienced before his trip to the hospital last weekend ― low-grade fever, fatigue, chills and cough ― are eerily similar to my dad’s own symptoms. But this is all that their stories have in common. Unlike the president, my dad, an essential worker in the manufacturing industry, was not admitted to the hospital out of an “abundance of caution” when he fell ill. Instead, my dad, like tens of thousands of others, was told, “go home and come back if you reach a point when you cannot breathe.” Each person who is sent home loses precious time to get ahead of the virus, rest their lungs and receive life-saving treatment. Each person who is sent home must wait and worry and hope that they do not die or infect their families.Trump, on the other hand, was admitted to Walter Reed just a day after testing positive for Covid-19 (that is, if we are to believe the suspicious timeline that the White House has laid out for us), where he received top-notch medical care, including experimental remedies not yet available to the public, as well as 24/7 monitoring from a large team of doctors and nurses. Unsatisfied with merely relishing the fortune of receiving those gifts and concentrating on healing so that he can continue (or perhaps finally start) to lead our country, he decided to leave the hospital for a joyride on Sunday night where he waved his at supporters from his hermetically sealed SUV, while potentially exposing the Secret Service detail with him to the virus. But Trump can do these sorts of things because he’s the president, and so, unlike the rest of us, not only does he get the best of everything, he gets to take the best of everything and then rub our faces in it and tell us that we shouldn’t be afraid of the very thing that is not only attacking and killing us and our families and friends, but has also turned our country upside down and destroyed so many lives — economically and socially too.Regular people, like my dad, who was a lifelong Republican and believed Trump and other GOP leaders who told him not to worry about Covid-19, didn’t have access to the same medical care that Trump (or the countless others in his administration who have now fallen sick) do. Now he’s dead. And he’s not alone.Trump can do these sorts of things because he’s the president, and so, unlike the rest of us, not only does he get the best of everything, he gets to take the best of everything and then rub our faces in it and tell us that we shouldn’t be afraid of the very thing that is not only attacking and killing us and our families and friends but has also turned our country upside down.Take, for example, Fiana Tulip’s mom, Isabelle Papadimitriou, who died on July 4, after battling Covid-19 for just one week. Isabelle was a health care worker and had spent nearly 30 years helping others breathe as a respiratory therapist. When she contracted Covid-19 from a patient she was working with, she didn’t have the luxury of a hospital because Texas’ system was overwhelmed.The level of care Trump is receiving was not available to Marcos Reyes’ dad, Juan Reyes, either, and he died on Sept. 4, after battling Covid-19 for several weeks. Juan was a Cuban refugee who endured torture in Cuba and escaped to the United States in the 1980s, where he became a citizen and proud member of the Republican Party. Juan, an independent and healthy 84-year-old, started feeling Covid-19 symptoms in August. He went into his Miami clinic for a test and was informed that he would receive his test results in 14 days. A week later, before the results had even returned, Juan was admitted to the hospital because he couldn’t breathe. Shortly thereafter, he was intubated and died.Isabelle, Juan, and my dad are among the 210,000 people and counting who have died from this virus. How many of them would be alive right now if they would have received even a fraction of the care the president or his cronies are receiving?What’s more, how many of those 210,000 would have never been infected in the first place if over the last nine months they had received smart, cautious, science-based information from their leaders instead of the sloppy, conflicting reports we’ve all had to try and pick apart in hopes of staying safe ― and alive? How many of those 210,000 would still be with us if this pandemic had not been turned into political fodder for these men and women who we have entrusted with protecting our lives and the lives of our families and friends? How many of those 210,000 would not have died if Trump and those who prop him up hadn’t done whatever they could to pretend that this deadly disease wasn’t a big deal so that they could keep the stock market soaring and could con us into reelecting him and his regime in November?But now it is clearer than ever before: If we reelect him, we are doomed.Don’t take my word for it. Scientists at Cornell University last week published a scathing body of research that concluded the single largest spreader of misinformation on Covid was none other than Donald Trump. This man has done whatever he can to downplay the devastation this pandemic can and will continue to cause and he does not seem to care how many of us die as long as he is president for another four years. He will continue to do whatever he can to make us believe that we are safe and shouldn’t worry ― that Covid-19 is “nothing to be afraid of” and shouldn’t “dominate” our lives ― even as he did the exact opposite of what he preached and admitted himself into the hospital for what was supposedly a very mild case of the disease.At this point, there is nothing I will be shocked by. In fact, I’m honestly waiting for the president to insist that my dad and anyone else who died from Covid-19 is “loser” or a “sucker,” in the same way he reportedly spoke about soldiers who went off to fight to protect our country. I mean, that’s really what he’s essentially already said, right? Covid-19 is nothing to be afraid of and so, if you are, you’re a chump and if you can’t beat it like he has, then you’re obviously not as tough as he is.It’s sick, and after everything we’ve been through ― so much of it at the hands of this madman and this administration ― we deserve so much better. How can someone go through this and come out on the other end with even less compassion than they had before? What is wrong with him and how many more people will die because he refuses to put humanity before party? Because he refuses to put humanity before himself?And it’s not over! We know that the president is still infectious at this point and should be quarantined for up to 14 more days to protect others from being infected ― just like I’m currently forced to do after being potentially being exposed to Covid-19 last week when I was in the same room as the president and first lady at the presidential debate. But, instead of putting others’ lives ahead of his own and staying put like he’s supposed to do, he took the aforementioned joyride and then, upon returning home from the hospital, took off his mask before entering the White House, thereby endangering anyone who came into contact with him there. I am frightened for the maids, cooks, janitors and maintenance people, most of whom I suspect are Black and people of color, who have no other option than to go to work in this unsafe environment. As I shared in my statement last Friday, this is beyond irresponsible. It is criminal. He knows he is putting lives in danger and he just doesn’t care.The Republicans don’t seem to care either. So, since no one else is going to clean up this mess as it continues to spread and defile our country, it’s up to all of us. I have already lost my dad to this disease ― and to the negligence and cruelty of the people who are supposed to care for and protect us ― and I refuse to lose more people that I love. I refuse to lose more of this country that I love. I refuse to lose more years of my life while our leaders play political games instead of following common sense and science. This disease has dominated my life. And I am scared. But I’m going to take my fear and try and turn it into something even more powerful: hope. And I hope you’ll join me.Kristin Urquiza is an activist and advocate. After her dad died from Covid-19 she co-founded Marked by COVID. This article first appeared on HuffPost Personal.Have a compelling personal story you want to tell? Find out what we’re looking for here, and pitch us on [email protected] from HuffPost UK Personal My Housemate Has Covid. The Rest Of Us Are Just Waiting In Fear Covid Killed My Wife Six Months Ago. We’re Still Learning How To Grieve Her Loss When Trump Went After Hunter Biden For His Addiction, He Went After Me Too
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A three-year-old boy, a woman aged in her 30s and a man in his 40s have been found dead at an address in Brentford, west London.The Metropolitan Police said officers were not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.Officers forced entry to the property in Clayponds Lane, Brentford at about 12.50am on Tuesday, following concerns for the welfare of people inside.The male was suffering from stab injuries. London Ambulance Service attended but he was pronounced dead at the scene.It is thought all three people were known to each other.Anyone who has information that could assist police with their investigation are asked to call 101 ref CAD 7365/6 Oct.An investigation is underway following the deaths of three people in #Brentford#Hounslow.The bodies of a woman in her 30s and a 3yo boy were found, along with a man aged in his 40s.Officers remain at the scene.https://t.co/PMxryjShIP— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) October 6, 2020This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.Related... The Forgotten Ones: What It’s Like To Lose Your Brother To A Brutal Knife Attack Matt Ratana Shooting: Suspect Still Critical As Police Search Surrey Farmland
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After I found out one of my housemates had tested positive for Covid-19, my initial response was to ask if he was joking. He wasn’t. My housemates and I had all been anxiously waiting on the results for the past 24 hours but we still couldn’t quite believe it. I called my mum in tears, then rang my boyfriend, who has been travelling abroad, to say he still couldn’t visit me. My four other housemates were having similar conversations in their rooms. I knew the self-isolation would only last for two weeks, most likely. But time feels so precious when you’re a student, and the sudden, total loss of freedom can be so painful. My housemate who tested positive said he felt guilty. We reassured him that it wasn’t his fault, it could have happened to anyone.It’s true – we’d visited the same friends, the same shops, the same pubs. Besides, a sour atmosphere in the house would just make the remainder of our self-isolation more difficult. Even though the rest of my household have since tested negative, the shadow of Covid will be hanging over us for the rest of our time in quarantine. The constant worry is draining. You feel like every surface you touch could be contaminated. You start to think your general fatigue is a symptom, and you wonder if your tight chest warrants urgent medical care, or if it’s just plain old anxiety.Even though the rest of my household have since tested negative, the shadow of Covid will be hanging over us for the rest of our time in quarantine.The only temporary solution is to distract yourself, but it can be much easier said than done – especially when there is, quite literally, no escape. One housemate – who had to take an exam virtually – has already experienced isolation with a Covid-positive family member. She feels cursed. Another is managing her demanding role in our college committee, while negotiating a long-term, long-distance relationship. Self-isolation, on top of the national restrictions, has made everyone in our household feel the weight of their burdens more acutely. It’s hard not to be melodramatic when the fear is very real – but at least my household and I are in the same boat. Our morning cups of coffee and Netflix binge-sessions have become small but vital rituals which make our circumstances a bit more bearable. Fortunately, the general gloom is still peppered with moments of light, which come from living with your close friends. One housemate and I end up in hysterics as we attempt to renovate our spider-infested garden-shed and, as awful as it is, it’s hard not to laugh at my Covid-positive housemate donning a dressing gown and mask in the kitchen, frantically disinfecting our Henry Hoover. I’m trying to focus on these moments. But our term hasn’t started officially, and my household and I know that the huge workload will bring with it new challenges.How can you stay motivated when you have so little to look forward to? Will my housemates and I still be patient with each other when the stress starts to take its toll?How can you stay motivated when you have so little to look forward to? Will my housemates and I still be patient with each other when the stress starts to take its toll? Worst of all, what happens if one of us tests positive later, and our self-isolation is prolonged? My household and I are lucky to have multiple support networks. We also chose to live together. If we are still struggling, what about the others in our age group who are truly isolated? This year’s university intake, many of whom are living away from home for the first time, are especially vulnerable. The impending mental health crisis among young people is not something our government can wilfully ignore. With cases rapidly rising among 18-24 year olds, more must be done to ensure that all young people feel supported.Although this experience so far has not been a wholly pleasant one, it has shown us how resilient we can be, and how it is possible to make peace with factors outside of your control. That being said, we can’t wait to go outside again.Natalya Robinson is a second-year history student at the University of Oxford and a freelance writerHave a compelling personal story you want to tell? Find out what we’re looking for here, and pitch us on [email protected] from HuffPost UK Personal I’m Living In One Of The Most Locked-Down Places In The World Due To Covid-19 Covid Killed My Wife Six Months Ago. We’re Still Learning How To Grieve Her Loss When Trump Went After Hunter Biden For His Addiction, He Went After Me Too
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Brexit could cause a resurgence in the threat from Northern Irish terror groups who are loyal to the UK, parliament’s spy agency watchdog has warned.The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) drew its conclusion after taking evidence from MI5 on terrorism in Northern Ireland.In a heavily redacted report, the ISC did not give many details on why it feared an increased threat from loyalists, who have held a ceasefire for years.But unionists have long held concerns that Boris Johnson’s Brexit withdrawal agreement could leave Northern Ireland in a more distant relationship with the rest of the UK – due to the need for new checks on trade across the Irish Sea between the province and Great Britain. The prime minister is currently attempting to disapply the need for some of these checks via his law-breaking Internal Market Bill. But the committee warned that new border infrastructure between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK could “reignite the threat from loyalist groups that have previously held a ceasefire”.The ISC, which is bound by the Official Secrets Act and takes evidence in secret, added: “MI5 noted that ‘[loyalist] ceasefires have held for a long time now [redacted]’.“We queried whether MI5 were prepared for a potential shift in the threat level across various Northern Ireland-related terrorist groups, and were told: ‘I think we can be reasonably confident [redacted]’.”The threat of violence from dissident republicans who want a united Ireland has long been a major concern in Brexit talks.It led Johnson to sign a withdrawal agreement giving Northern Ireland a special status, following both EU rules and UK rules, to avoid the reestablishment of border posts on the frontier with the Republic.But it also means new checks on trade across the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) last year warned any Brexit deal that threatens the union between the province (NI) and Great Britain (GB) has “the potential to bring violence back on to the streets” via loyalist groups.The prime minister is now trying to get out of key checks via the Internal Market Bill, having promised that there would be no effective border in the Irish Sea.ISC members Kevan Jones and Stewart Hosie said: “We commend the efforts of MI5 and the Police Service of Northern Ireland. However, Northern Ireland-related terrorism has not gone away. “The threat requires sustained pressure more, now, than ever since any border infrastructure resulting from the UK’s future relationship with the EU will be both a target and a recruiting badge for dissident republican groups, and may also reignite the threat from loyalist groups that have previously held a ceasefire. “Whilst we welcome the government’s focus on preventing individuals turning to terrorist activity in the first place, MI5 and police resources on the terrorist threat need to be maintained.”Related... EU Launches Legal Action Over UK's Law-Breaking Brexit Plan Peers Set To Vote Again To Block Chlorinated Chicken Post-Brexit Opinion: Boris Johnson Made A Promise To Child Refugees. Now He Must Keep It
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White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany has tested positive for coronavirus. It comes after president Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were diagnosed with coronavirus on Friday – with just a month to go until the US election. McEnany said in a statement posted on Twitter that she had tested positive on Monday morning and is not experiencing any symptoms.pic.twitter.com/SKT9xq8rqs— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) October 5, 2020She spoke briefly with reporters Sunday evening, but says that no members of the White House press corps spent enough time around her to be considered close contacts.She says that she is beginning the quarantine process and “will continue working on behalf of the American people remotely.”McEnany has given White House press briefings – without wearing a mask – since Trump’s diagnosis.On Sunday she was filmed being asked whether the figure of how many White House staffers are infected with Covid-19 will be released, and what it is.She replied: “No. You know, there are privacy concerns. We take very seriously safeguarding the information of the personnel here in the White House. So that’s basically where we stand right now.”When asked for specifics as to when the president was tested, including if he was tested before the debate, she said: “Yeah, I’m not going to give you a detailed read out with time stamps every time the president’s tested. He’s tested regularly and the first positive test he received was after his return from Bedminster.”Trump, who has perpetually downplayed the severity of the coronavirus even as more than 200,000 Americans have died from it, has repeatedly ridiculed Democratic opponent Joe Biden for wearing face masks during campaign events.During Tuesday night’s debate, Biden pointed out that Trump rarely wears masks in public. Trump mocked Biden for doing so, despite widespread scientific consensus that wearing masks greatly reduces the spread of the coronavirus.This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.Related... Wales Is Considering Banning Visitors From Covid-Hit Parts Of The UK Kate Garraway Says Trump Is 'Lucky' To Benefit From Covid Treatments Her Husband Didn’t Have Access To Piers Morgan Blasts Trump For 'Ridiculous' Drive-By After President Temporarily Leaves Hospital
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The Welsh government is “actively considering” imposing quarantine restrictions on people travelling into Wales from areas of the UK with high levels of coronavirus.First minister Mark Drakeford had previously called on Boris Johnson to introduce travel restrictions for people in areas of England under local lockdown.In Wales, people must not enter or leave an area subjected to such restrictions without a reasonable excuse – which does not include travelling for a holiday.Health minister Vaughan Gething told a press conference: “We’re actively considering what we should do and I’ve discussed it this morning with the first minister.“We have quarantine regulations for international travel.“So for some of the hotspot areas in the north of England – the north-east and north-west, and the West Midlands – if they were other countries or territories, we would have quarantine regulations for them to return to the UK.”It comes after the weekly rate of new Covid-19 cases soared in dozens of areas of England, following the addition of nearly 16,000 cases that went unreported because of a technical error with an Excel spreadsheet.The problem has led to a delay in efforts by NHS Test and Trace to find the contacts of those who tested positive for the virus, in some cases by around a week.Related... This Is Why The Latest Test And Trace Shambles Is The Most Disturbing Yet Revealed: Soaring Covid Rates In UK Cities After 'Missing' Cases Are Added To Total Why Are Covid-19 Cases High, But Deaths Remain Quite Low? This is a breaking news story and will be updated. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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A creeping feeling of déjà vu has been haunting Westminster with the arrival of autumn as bulletin after bulletin carries more bad news about the dreaded resurgence of Covid-19. Case numbers, hospitalisations and, of course, deaths are rising and the R value has stayed stubbornly above 1.0, meaning that the pandemic continues to grow across the country. The UK map is a patchwork quilt of varying social distancing restrictions, reflecting how Boris Johnson wants to stick to his “whack-a-mole” strategy of stamping out outbreaks and avoiding blanket bans. But with around a third of the entire UK population now living under some form of local lockdown, the question many are asking is: why doesn’t the prime minister “go the whole hog” and back a full second national lockdown? Chief medical officer Chris Whitty, who with the PM and chief scientific officer Patrick Vallance, led a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday, has warned the country faces a “six-month problem”. There are “significant rates of transmission” in “great majority” of areas where the virus is spiking, he said. Pointing to alarming graphs showing that hospital admissions were rising sharply among the over-65s, Vallance warned it would be “wrong” to think that the problem was only in areas under local lockdowns.“It is worst in certain areas but there is evidence of spread everywhere,” he saidSo what is stopping the PM from a full lockdown – and could a two-week “circuit-breaker” compromise be on the cards? The devastating impact on the economy Covid-19 has already ravaged the UK economy and the Bank of England warned last month that the resurgence of the virus will hit the country hard. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is thought to oppose a second lockdown “for any long period of time” amid fears job losses could soar and unemployment in 2021 could spiral out of control. “It’s a constant balancing act, trying to keep the country moving forward without the hospitals filling up with critically ill patients with Covid so that other services can continue to run, but achieving that is the key point,” said one MP. “And if that isn’t happening [to the NHS], then keeping people running their businesses and employing people is equally important.” Data released by the Office for National Statistics revealed that the number of redundancies in the UK has risen at its fastest pace since the financial crisis. Many economists think Sunak’s new wage subsidy scheme is unlikely to stem further job losses this winter.“The economic challenges are huge,” said the MP. “If the economy slows down too much – well, we use it to pay all of our public sector, it’s not for the fun of it. It pays for the wages for all of the services we want for our constituents.” Libertarian ‘Brady bunch’ Tory backbenchers One thorn in Johnson’s side should he move for a second shutdown is a grouping of backbench Tory MPs known informally as “the Brady brunch”. Notionally led by the chair of the powerful 1922 committee, Graham Brady, they oppose new restrictions by the state, both due to the limits on individual freedoms and the strain on business. Or, as Brady recently put it, they feel the government has “got into the habit of ruling by decree” during Covid-19, with many measures, including hefty fines, announced without parliamentary scrutiny. One moderate Tory MP, who doesn’t back the would-be rebels, told HuffPost UK other MPs were more trenchant in their view: “The Hitchenite wing, or lockdown-sceptic wing of the party, is growing stronger and stronger. “They are very hardline and there are more and more of them. They have increasing influence via people like Toby Young and Laurence Fox and then Nigel Farage on the fringe.” They added: “Some of it is for libertarian reasons – they don’t want people to be bossed around by the state – but for others it is genuine worry. “I don’t care about the libertarian arguments but I really do worry about businesses in my constituency and job losses.” The group, which is thought to be around 50 strong, won a concession from the government last month after threatening a rebellion over the continuation of emergency measures.  Now, any second national lockdown must be put to a vote in the Commons. While backbench voices may chip away at Johnson’s authority, they have little chance of sinking a second lockdown, given the Tories’ 80-seat majority. But the PM may also look to swerve a face-off with his detractors by brokering a compromise. How to save Christmas“There is a fundamental belief in central government that the British public will not stand for a fully locked-down Christmas or even the rule of six, frankly,” one source close to the government told HuffPost UK. Instead of “cancelling Christmas”, a two-week “circuit breaker” national lockdown, starting October 23, is on the table and may allow the country to avoid tighter restrictions later, it is said.A government source told HuffPost UK a range of data is used to make decisions, and that there is no “specific point” at which a second shutdown would be triggered.Setting an end date on a “full fat” lockdown would solve more than one problem for the PM. October 23 is the start of half term, meaning schoolchildren – who have missed out since March, with those from poorer backgrounds hit hardest – could avoid having a great deal more of their classroom education interrupted. So the move may satisfy working parents and teachers who fear youngsters are falling behind with lessons. This “third way” plan is said to have been briefed to hostile MPs already as a “light at the end of the tunnel” this winter. “I think with backbenchers you can sell drastic measures in the short term, that are time limited, by saying: if all goes well, we will open up at Christmas,” the source added. Retail and hospitality businesses, struggling to keep their head above water, would similarly be more inclined to swallow measures if they had an end in sight.Brady, meanwhile, told BBC Radio 4′s Westminster Hour on Sunday that “people were told that it was a finite thing” when lockdown was first imposed. He added piecemeal regional lockdowns were now being questioned by the public. Brady said: “People were remarkably tolerant in being prepared to go along with that, I think for that reason. And when you then start to get to speculation about a second lockdown or all of these regional things, I think patience really does start to wear thin and I can understand that.”The government on Sunday revealed that as many as 16,000 cases from last week were not added to government figures, with the UK recording a huge 22,921 lab-confirmed cases in the 24 hours up to 9am on Sunday. The news flatly contradicts suggestions that the second wave may have been “levelling off”, as it is now known the country reached 10,000 new daily cases on September 30.Ministers are being shown more drastic figures by chief medical officer Chris Whitty and chief scientific office Patrick Vallance, one source said. “The numbers that [the cabinet] are seeing are very, very bad and the thing that is always repeated to them by Whitty and Vallance in the meetings they have, is this [data] is two weeks’ old, so what is happening now is worse than what I’m showing you,” they said. “So they show ministers a lot of numbers that are bad but say that ‘before I do, know this, it is worse’.” Rumblings of disquiet in the Red Wall  With vast swathes of the north under local lockdown already and widespread confusion, not least by Johnson himself, over what measures are in place where, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham sounded the alarm on Sunday.Telling the government it is “in danger of losing the public in the north of England”, he said: “We need a bit of a reset.” The Labour mayor’s view is shared by several Tory MPs representing his party’s former heartlands, HuffPost UK understands.Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, the former health minister – who has previously claimed Covid-19 could do more damage to the north than Margaret Thatcher – added: “Actually if [the government] carry on imposing restrictions on the north without proper support for the businesses and the employees affected in the north, we will see a winter of ‘levelling down’ and the north-south divide getting bigger.”Meanwhile, Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth has pointed out that – by contrast – few Tory ministers have seen local lockdowns in their constituencies, suggesting there even may be “political interference”.It is feared the economic long-term impact could disproportionately leave the Red Wall – across the midlands, north and Wales – much worse off, with many jobs lost in retail and hospitality. “They expect this to hit the Red Wall worse than anywhere,” said one insider. “There are MPs who think the government worries too much about the Red Wall, and say there are other areas of the country and other people who voted Tory, but it’s definitely true that the first test of any policy outside of Covid is the Red Wall test.” One northern Tory simply added: “It’s a constantly moving challenge of keeping the economy moving and ensuring the NHS is not overwhelmed. “I think we all need to accept that we will be living a quiet life for the next year.” Related... Huge Jump In Daily Covid Cases To 22,961 As UK Infection Number Passes 500,000 UK Coronavirus R-Rate Jumps Again To Between 1.3 and 1.6 'Suspicion' Of 'Political Interference' Over Local Lockdowns, Says Labour
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Every Monday we’ll answer your questions on Covid-19 and health in a feature published online. You can submit a question here.This week, HuffPost UK reader Jason asked: “Why are cases rising, but the death rate remains so low?”The UK has been witnessing around 50 deaths a day from Covid-19 (sometimes less) – and while this is already far too many, people have noticed the number of deaths seems disproportionate to the recent rise in cases, of which we’re now averaging about 9,700 a day.For context, at the height of the pandemic, we saw more than 1,000 deaths in a day, but only 5,100 recorded confirmed cases. Over the past few weeks we’ve watched as cases have almost doubled on a weekly basis. Deaths have risen slowly and steadily, but – on the whole – remained relatively low. So, why is this?There are a few factors at play here, say scientists. Let us break them down.Submit a coronavirus health question to HuffPost UK.Related... Your Self-Care Toolkit For Dealing With The Tough Months Ahead Testing is more widely availableIn March, we saw lower levels of Covid-19 recorded to what we have now, says Dr Stephen Griffin, associate professor in the School of Medicine at University of Leeds. But back then, we were only testing those who were very unwell – predominantly those hospitalised with the virus. “So they were the tip of the iceberg and the most severe cases,” he says.It’s likely we had far more cases in March than we do now – they just weren’t recorded, as testing wasn’t widely available. “Now, we have testing in the community, as well as at hospital,” says Dr Griffin, “so the number we have in tests is a greater proportion of the number of cases that we’re actually seeing.“Proportionately, back in spring, it would’ve seemed as though there were far more fatalities in relation to the number of tests coming back positive.”Now, we have a better grasp of data and a fairer picture of how the virus is impacting our communities broadly – not just those with the most severe symptoms. We’re getting better at protecting othersWe’re also seeing more precautions taken to protect the most vulnerable members of society. This includes regular hand-washing, wearing face masks in public settings and keeping 2m away from others. On top of that, some families will be limiting their contact with others in order to be able to spend time, safely, with vulnerable family members.Related... Why 'Chain Of Trust' Is The Next Covid-19 Term You Need To Know About We’ve actually got treatments nowDr Griffin points out there are better ways of treating people now. “You get admitted, you’re on a ward, there are measures we can now put in place to hopefully stop you developing a really bad disease and having to go to intensive care,” he explains.“And of course, if you’re in a really bad way and you’re on a respirator in intensive care, we also have the option of treating you with steroids – but that only works when you’re at the nasty end of Covid.”There are various treatment trials underway across the UK, meaning current Covid-19 patients can receive antibody rich blood plasma from previous Covid patients as well as other options. This might also be having some effect.As cases rise, we will inevitably see more fatal cases, says Dr Griffin. Typically we’re seeing a lag of a few weeks between people testing positive for the virus, then a bump in hospitalisations, and then a bump in deaths.Related... What It's Like To Receive Blood Plasma To Treat Covid-19 The virus is spreading among younger peopleAnother factor likely contributing towards fewer deaths is that those testing positive have predominantly been young, wealthy white people. The rise appears to correlate with people going out and socialising more in pubs and restaurants, but also mixing at home. The chances of becoming severely ill with the virus is less likely the younger you are, so it would make sense there are fewer deaths as cases in this group rise. But Dr Griffin says we shouldn’t just look at fatalities – “we know this virus can cause profound, long-lasting issues,” he says, referring to the 600,000 people in the UK suffering with long Covid. So far, studies have shown the virus can cause damage to the heart, lungs, and other areas of the body. So there is still a risk among younger age groups.One of the biggest worries is that young people may be fuelling the spread among their parents and grandparents. Data from September 30 showed the number of over-65s admitted to hospital or intensive care with coronavirus was rising sharply – and this is a worry.There are concerns over what happens if the virus spreads through care homes again. Professor Rowland Kao, an expert in data science at the University of Edinburgh, points out that care homes drove the deaths in the early phase, but are not yet a factor in the more recent rise.“The worry is that, as the epidemic now is increasing exponentially, we’ll see in a few months more deaths, but also a greater probability of infection jumping into the care homes,” he says, “and therefore higher death rates there as well.” Related... When Will Routine NHS Dentist Appointments Return To Normal? The virus is the same strengthThere are some theories that the virus has weakened in strength and is not as deadly anymore. As far as scientists can tell, this is not the case.Speaking at a recent press conference, the government’s scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said explicitly: “The virus has genetically moved a bit but it has not changed in terms of its propensity to cause disease and deaths.”Dr Griffin fiercely agrees that the virus hasn’t mutated to become weaker or less deadly. While viruses do change gradually over time, he points out that coronaviruses don’t change as rapidly as, for example, the flu. There are no indications that there is less virulence of the virus, he says.Experts are still learning about Covid-19. The information in this story is what was known or available at the time of publication, but guidance could change as scientists discover more about the virus. To keep up to date with health advice and cases in your area, visit gov.uk/coronavirus and nhs.uk.Related... What Are Super-Spreader Events – And How Can You Avoid Them? The Science Behind Why Singing Could Spread Coronavirus I’m Worried How Growing Up In A Pandemic Will Affect My Baby
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There’s no shortage of articles advising you how to “boost” your immune  system against Covid-19 – and no shortage of companies claiming their snack bar/smoothie/supplement/fermented tea is the solution.But if staving off coronavirus was as simple as eating a few blueberries or downing some kombucha, wouldn’t world leaders be telling us to do it?“There’s no way you can scientifically ‘boost’ your immune system,” Dr Jenna Macciochi, an immunologist based at the University of Sussex, tells HuffPost UK. “Medically, it doesn’t really make sense – the immune system isn’t a switch that you turn on and turn up high.”READ MORE: The Disgusting Truth About Birthday Candles In A Covid-19 World Why do scientists hate the term ‘boosting’ your immune system?Broadly speaking, the immune system works in two ways. Firstly, by sparking a first-line defence to help us cope with infections such as Covid-19, then secondly – at around five to seven days – the body will start making antibodies and have a more specific immune response tailored to the virus.If someone’s immune system is operating at a higher level than normal, this is actually a bad thing. Having an overactive immune response can cause an autoimmune reaction, when the body mistakingly starts to attack its own healthy tissues and organs.“If it goes into overdrive, we’ll actually damage our own bodies and that’s what we see with severe Covid,” explains Dr Macciochi. “With a lot of the people who are hospitalised with Covid, it’s actually because their immune system has gone a bit over the top.” Okay, but isn’t having a strong immune system a good thing?It’s a common misconception to talk about the immune system as a binary of “weak” or “strong”, says Dr Macciochi. Instead, the system represents a “hugely complex dance that’s happening between many different components”.“It’s like an orchestra,” she explains, “it all has to play together for the song to sound correct. If one of the instruments is screeching in the background, it knocks everything else out.”We inherit some of the key components of our immune systems through our genes, making them unique. “Some people suffer colds really badly, for example, but they never get a stomach upset,” explains Dr Macciochi. “There’s inherent differences in us.”Everyone has their own individual base level of immunity, let’s call this 100%. While you can’t “boost” your immune system to work at 110% – or make yourself magically immune to Covid-19 – you can support it to function at its fullest. “Potentially, you’re sort of giving yourself the best chance of not having Covid-19 too severely and recovering,” explains Dr Macciochi. How can you give your immune system the best shot? Eating a balanced diet to ensure you’re not deficient in any key nutrients is a key way to help your immune system function at its best.“That’s not just the classic vitamin C and zinc, but all the essential nutrients and getting enough protein, because that’s the building block of all the cells and antibodies of our immune system,” says Dr Macciochi.Taking care of the gut is a good idea for health in general, as is aiming for 30 different plant foods per week, she says. You should also focus on “diversity of dietary fibre”, which means eating a variety of fruit, veg, legume, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Unfortunately, psychological stress has been found to hinder the immune system – something unavoidable in the global pandemic. But Dr Macciochi says getting enough rest and good quality sleep can help. READ MORE: Long Covid Isn't Just Leaving People Sick – It's Taking Everything They've Got What about those vitamin D headlines?  In short, the jury is still out. There’s been much debate about the use of vitamin D supplements to fight Covid-19 and even Matt Hancock seems a little confused about the research that has and hasn’t happened. A paper published in the Lancet journal casts some doubt on the evidence to date, saying “laboratory data relating to effects of vitamin D on host responses to SARS-CoV-2 specifically are scarce”. The authors say we need further studies before making firm conclusions, but add “there is nothing to lose” from considering vitamin D supplements. Dr Macciochi says vitamin D is the one supplement people may want to consider taking, as it’s hard to get from food alone. But she urges caution in seeing any supplement  – including vitamin D – as a solution and emphasises that we need to follow guidelines on social distancing, masks and good hygiene practices as the priority. “Be aware of marketing claims as supplements are able to state their product is good for immunity if it contains a key nutrients needed by our immune system,” she says. “No supplement will be a magic quick fix because health is complex – and the immune system is mind-bogglingly complex.”READ MORE: How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep Is It Safe For Grandparents To Look After Their Grandkids Right Now? 16 Easy One-Pan Recipes For The Days You're Running On Empty
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Louisa was one of a kind. A caring soul and a natural leader, if you had a problem, it became her problem too. I can’t count how many kids back home in India she had got educated, how many poor girls had got married because Louisa picked up their dowry tab, or how many families had food on their tables each day because she had worked her butt off.Louisa fussed over her family no end – she doted on me like I was the son we never had, showered our granddaughter Inara, showering her with gifts, cuddles and kisses, and made every  visit to us feel like Christmas. At work, she was a well-loved, well-respected teacher, Louisa taught English in three countries on two continents – India, Singapore and here in England, notching the highest GCSE grades in English for her east London school several years running. Her students just loved her,and they would carry her bags as she walked to the bus stop from school. She could tame any rowdy behaviour at school with a tongue lashing that would instantly hard wire discipline into anyone’s brain. If looks could kill, Louisa would be convicted many times over.It was returning from school one day in March that everything changed. Louisa came home shivering, and I remember her being unable to hold her coffee steady as she swore under her breath about Boris Johnson, a “stupid, reckless b*****d. Why can’t the fool close everything down?” The pandemic was suddenly right here, and our hearts were sinking.She insisted her illness was not related to coronavirus but the lack of heating at her school. Nonetheless, I had a very bad feeling, and told her firmly she wouldn’t go in until this fever cleared. Louisa nodded. Days later, I hear her struggling to breathe. She sounds asthmatic with audible wheezing as I sit beside her and rub her back. I call 111 and, after a 90-minute wait, I’m told that “if she can talk sensibly it’s not serious. Just keep giving her paracetamol every four hours. Wait for another 24 hours and if it doesn’t improve call 999.” Then, the phone went abruptly dead. I winced. That was it? Two days later, Louisa could barely breathe. I knew instantly that Covid-19 had struck her. After calling 999, I led her gently down the stairs and into the ambulance. As they closed the doors, Louisa waved goodbye. It would be the last time I would see my wife alive.“Dad, you have to stay strong for mom and the children”, our daughter Sandra pleads. The hospital reported she had scarring on her lungs, and was placed on oxygen and antibiotics. The next day, the registrar called again: “We have no choice but to put her on a ventilator. She will have to be in an induced coma to keep her comfortable.”The pandemic was suddenly right here, and our hearts were sinking. Sandra goes ballistic. Our three-year-old granddaughter Inara wails and demands to see her ‘Mahke’ (her nickname for grandma) “right now!” To perk up, I focused on the circles of family, friends, colleagues, and church groups from New Zealand to North America that all had to be updated continuously. A pulmonologist family friend told Sandra the survival rate once you’re on a ventilator is about 50%, and we began to brace ourselves for the worst, but I know deep in my heart we are losing Louisa to this heartless, vicious disease. At 5am on April 17, my phone rang and I knew instantly that it signalled the end. “You better come over, if you want to see Louisa”. I had not seen my wife for 25 days, and now they want me to go and say goodbye to her? As I kitted up with PPE at the hospital, I looked around and realised I was in the eye of the Covid storm. I was in the middle of an unfolding nightmare as the Covid ward bustled around me. Meanwhile, Louisa lay in absolute peace. Tubes were sticking out of her body and nearby monitors made strange electronic noises. I felt stunned, numb, before waves of anger, disbelief and shock engulfed me. This could not be real? I spent Louisa’s last 100 minutes with her, talking to her incessantly. “You fought the good fight, girl. Go in peace, my angel.”On a video call, Sandra sobbed as Paul, our son in law, lifted our brand new grandson up close to the camera. “Say bye to Skye, Mom”, he said through running tears. “What’s happened to Mahke,” queried Inara, in utter confusion. We hoped for a miracle, but Louisa’s vital signs continued gradually down. As her heartbeat came to zero, I squeezed her hand and said goodbye. My Louisa was no more. Covid had taken away another joyful, vibrant, bubbly soul. What’s going to happen to us?Louisa is still a prominent presence in the house. I still hear her booming voice everywhere I walk. I keep staring at my phone, expecting her to ring.Since that day, I have hardly gone out. I just want to stay put, surrounded by memories of Louisa. I cannot accept she is gone, that she will never come back. Sandra and Paul have grown paranoid of Covid, while Inara washes her hands twenty times a day – Sandra had said her Mahke went over to the skies to become a star, because those dirty germs here didn’t want her to be with the little one anymore. Now, when it gets dark, Inara cheekily opens the curtains and strains her eyes to look at the stars, asking Sandra to show where exactly her Mahke is in the galaxy now. Nothing can, or ever will, fill the hole in our hearts. Six months now since her passing, Louisa is still a prominent presence in the house. I still hear her booming voice everywhere I walk. I keep staring at my phone, expecting her to ring – she would call three times a day without fail, whichever part of the world I was in. I can hardly finish a meal now – she would always eat with me when we were at home. When people talk to me, I hear without listening. A deep-rooted numbness fills my very soul. I’ve learned grief is a hidden, living, unhealing wound – which no medicine can cure. Louisa was larger than life. She was unique in putting others before her, and I know her legacy will live on. She could never be reduced to a mere Covid statistic.Life has to go on, they say, but that feels impossible when this pandemic is going on too. How many more beautiful souls will it take away? How many more families like ours will lose their loved ones to this ruthless killer?History shows us the resilience of the human spirit is nothing if not remarkable. I know my family and others in the same boatshall surely overcome, with numbing pain in our hearts but with hope in our minds. Until then, it will be grief that fills our heart.Dr Gladius Kulothangan is a global management consultant and business management lecturerHave a compelling personal story you want to tell? Find out what we’re looking for here, and pitch us on [email protected] from HuffPost UK Personal I’m Worried How Growing Up In A Pandemic Will Affect My Baby I’ve Been Unemployed This Entire Pandemic. I’m Terrified About What A Second Wave Would Mean I Knew Uni Would Be Different. But I Wasn’t Prepared For This
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The coronavirus continues to rage through President Donald Trump’s inner circle and high-level Republican politics.Trump is hospitalised after testing positive for the virus. He and first lady Melania Trump announced their results Friday after appearing at a slew of events this week, including a presidential debate, a fundraiser at his Bedminster resort and a White House Rose Garden ceremony to nominate Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Many people who attended these events, including top Republican senators, have also tested positive for the virus this week.Trump is one of the more than 7.3 million Americans who have contracted the coronavirus since Chinese officials implemented the first coronavirus lockdown in the city of Wuhan in January. More than 208,000 Americans have died from the disease, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.HuffPost reporters are tracking Trump’s progress and the outbreaks stemming from events at which he appeared in the last week.Read the latest updates below. (To see the latest updates, you may need to refresh the page. All times are Eastern. For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.)Trump Leaves Hospital To Surprise Supporters Outside Walter Reed — 10/04/20, 5:50 p.m. ETDespite his sickness and infection, Trump decided to surprise his supporters gathered outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center as he recovers from the novel coronavirus.Early Sunday evening, Trump tweeted a video message to his followers saying that he was “going to pay a little surprise to some of the great patriots out on the street.”Shortly after, reporters tweeted videos of Trump wearing a mask and waving from the back of a black SUV with a driver and passenger in the front seats wearing personal protective equipment.Trump drives by the press and supporters outside Walter Reed hospital. pic.twitter.com/3phtKthqTH— Philip Crowther (@PhilipinDC) October 4, 2020Trump has spent the last three days at Walter Reed after he and first lady Melania Trump contracted the virus.Earlier Sunday, a White House doctor said Trump’s blood oxygen level dropped below normal to 93% twice on Saturday.— Carla RussoNew Jersey Health Officials Say At Least 206 Trump Fundraiser Guests Possibly Exposed To COVID-19 — 10/04/20, 4:40 p.m. ETNew Jersey health officials said Sunday that more than 200 guests may have been exposed to COVID-19 during President Donald Trump’s campaign fundraiser on Thursday, just hours before the administration announced his diagnosis.The state’s Department of Health tweeted that it has finally received enough information to contact trace those who attended the high-dollar event at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster. The White House supplied New Jersey officials with the names of at least 206 individuals, not including staff working at the golf course.Previously, reports said that Trump had come into contact with 100 people at the fundraiser and seemed “lethargic,” a common symptom of the virus. A senior aide to Gov. Phil Murphy (D) told HuffPost on Friday afternoon that the state was still waiting for the full roster of everyone who attended the event.Health officials said they’re reaching out to the attendees to make them aware of potential Covid-19 exposure, and recommending that the individuals self-monitor for any symptoms and quarantine if they were in close contact with Trump, who is currently hospitalised due to the virus. Health officials in Somerset County are interviewing club staff to assess how much contact they had with Trump and his staff, and providing appropriate health recommendations.“The contact tracing process is ongoing. Attendees that are seeking a test should consider waiting at least 5-7 days from the event. While the risk is low, a negative test earlier than that time cannot definitively rule out that COVID-19 will not develop,” the state’s Health Department tweeted on Sunday. “Those who are concerned that they were in close contact should quarantine for 14 days. New Jersey officials have been informed that the federal government is also conducting contact tracing.”— Sanjana KaranthPence Tests Negative Again — 10/04/2020, 1:45 p.m. ETVice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, on Sunday tested negative again for the coronavirus days after President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump revealed they contracted the virus, the vice president’s office reported.The Trump campaign has said Pence, who is tested daily for the virus, will continue to campaign following Trump’s hospitalisation on Friday.Pence is scheduled to face off against Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris of California on Wednesday in Salt Lake City.— Hayley MillerTrump’s Condition Improving Despite Blood Oxygen Level Dipping Twice, W.H. Doctor Says — 10/04/2020, 12:25 p.m. ETPresident Donald Trump’s blood oxygen level twice dipped below 95% — an important threshold — including a transient dip to 93% on Saturday, White House physician Sean Conley said Sunday.A normal blood oxygen level ― which indicates the oxygen saturation of someone’s blood ― usually ranges from 95% to 100%, according to the Mayo Clinic.In response to the second blood oxygen level drop, Trump’s medical team administered dexamethasone, a steroid that has been shown to save the lives of people seriously ill with COVID-19 in a clinical trial.Despite the transient blood oxygen level drops, Trump’s doctors said during a news conference Sunday that the president is doing “very well.” Conley said he hopes to discharge Trump “as early as tomorrow.””Read more here.— Hayley MillerTrump To Remain Hospitalised For ‘A Period Of Time,’ White House Aide Says — 10/04/20, 10:55 a.m. ETPresident Trump feels “very well” but will likely remain hospitalised for “a period of time” following his coronavirus diagnosis, national security adviser Robert O’Brien said Sunday.“I think he’s going to stay at [Water Reed National Military Medical Center] for at least another period of time,” O’Brien said during an appearance on CBS’s “Face The Nation.”“Day 7 and 8 are the critical days,” he added, referring to the timeline of Trump’s infection. “I think the doctors want to make sure they’re there for the president.”NEWS: National Security Adviser @robertcobrien tells @margbrennan that @realdonaldtrump “Will stay at Walter Reed for a period of time,” adds that the “president feels very well” pic.twitter.com/in7Z6FuGkq— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) October 4, 2020Trump and his doctors said Saturday that the president is feeling well and is continuing to govern from the hospital. Trump’s condition caused his aides to be “very concerned” on Friday as the president suffered a fever and his blood oxygen level dropped rapidly.Trump is not yet “out of the woods” but doctors are “cautiously optimistic” about his recovery, White House physician Dr. Sean Conley said in a statement late Saturday.— Hayley MillerTrump ‘Governing Actively’ During Day 3 Of Hospital Stay, Campaign Adviser Says — 10/04/20, 9:45 a.m. ETPresident Trump is “doing well” and “governing actively” as he heads into the third day of being hospitalisation after contracting the coronavirus, Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes told “Fox News Sunday.”Cortes on Sunday defended members of Trump’s family who refused to wear masks during Tuesday’s presidential debate. Attendees of the event were required to wear masks, per rules agreed upon by both the Trump and Biden campaigns ahead of the debate.First lady Melania Trump, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump entered the debate hall wearing masks but took them off after being seated. An official from the Cleveland Clinic, the health security adviser for the debates, reminded the Trumps of the mask policy, but they still refused to wear them.“We believe in masks,” Cortes said Sunday. “We also believe in some element of individual choice. People were distanced and they had been tested.”But host Chris Wallace pushed back: “No, Steve, they weren’t distanced, and there were rules, and there was no freedom of choice. They broke the rules.”Trump announced he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus early Friday morning.— Hayley MillerWhite House Chief Of Staff: Trump’s Blood Oxygen Level ‘Had Dropped Rapidly’ On Friday — 10/04/20, 7:30 a.m. ETTrump’s doctors were “very concerned” about the president on Friday when he had a fever and his blood oxygen level “had dropped rapidly,” White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro on Saturday.“The doctors said he’s not out of the woods the next 48 hours or so,” Meadows said. “But he’s made unbelievable improvements from yesterday morning when I know a number of us ― the doctor and I ― were very concerned.”He added: “The biggest thing that we see is, with no fever now and with him doing really well with his oxygen saturation level. Yesterday morning, we were real concerned with that he had a fever and his blood oxygen level had dropped rapidly.”Mark Meadows on Fox News: "Biggest thing that we see is with no fever now, and with him doing really well with his oxygen saturation level -- yesterday morning we were concerned with that. He had a fever, and his blood oxygen level had dropped rapidly." pic.twitter.com/hwrv0bj1QG— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) October 4, 2020Trump had a fever of 103 degrees and experienced heart palpitations on Friday night, Vanity Fair reported Saturday, citing sources familiar with his condition. The heart palpitations may have been a side effect of the experimental antibody treatment Trump received, the magazine said.― Hayley MillerWhite House Aide Nick Luna Tests Positive For COVID-19: Report — 10/04/20, 7:15 a.m. ETWhite House aide Nick Luna has tested positive for Covid-19, extending the list of people in Trump’s inner circle who have contracted the coronavirus, Bloomberg News reported Saturday.Luna, who serves as a personal attendant to Trump and runs Oval Office operations, accompanied Trump on his trip to Cleveland for the presidential debate on Tuesday and also travelled with Trump aboard Air Force One to his rally in Minnesota on Wednesday.― Hayley MillerTrump Reportedly Experienced Heart Palpitations And High Fever On Friday Night — 10/03/20, 8:10 p.m. ETTrump had a fever of 103 degrees and experienced heart palpitations on Friday night, Vanity Fair reported Saturday, citing sources familiar with his condition. The heart palpitations may have been a side effect of the experimental antibody treatment Trump received, the magazine said. Trump’s doctors said earlier the president had received “special antibody therapy” following his COVID-19 diagnosis. — Dominique MosbergenTrump Says He’s Feeling ‘Better’ In Video Statement — 10/03/20, 8:00 p.m. ETIn a video message from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he’s undergoing treatment, Trump thanked the medical staff at the hospital and said he was feeling “better.”“I came here, wasn’t feeling so well,” he said in the video, which he posted to his Twitter account on Saturday. “I feel much better now. We’re working hard to get me all the way back.”Trump added that he wasn’t out of the woods just yet, noting the “real test” is what happens over the next few days.pic.twitter.com/gvIPuYtTZG— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 3, 2020— Dominique Mosbergen Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Checks Himself Into Hospital After COVID-19 Diagnosis — 10/03/20, 6:05 p.m. ETFormer New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — President Donald Trump’s ally who announced on Twitter Saturday that he tested positive for COVID-19 — said in a follow-up tweet that he checked himself into Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, New Jersey, as a “precautionary measure.” Christie said he was “feeling good” and only had “mild symptoms” but decided to go to the hospital because of his history of asthma.— Dominique MosbergenWhite House Says Trump Went Through ‘Very Concerning’ Period After COVID-19 Diagnosis — 10/03/20, 2:35 p.m. ETContradicting the rosy picture painted by President Donald Trump’s doctors about the president’s health, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Saturday that Trump went through a “very concerning” period after his Covid-19 diagnosis was revealed on Friday.Meadows said the next 48 hours will be critical for the president’s care. Trump is currently undergoing treatment for the coronavirus at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.— Dominique Mosbergen AG William Barr Won’t Quarantine Despite Contact With Positive Cases ― 10/03/20, 1:40 p.m. ETAttorney General William Barr said he doesn’t plan to quarantine after coming into contact with multiple people in President Donald Trump’s orbit who tested positive for the coronavirus.Barr tested negative for the virus on Friday but has been in close contact with several White House staffers who tested positive.— Sebastian MurdockPresident Trump Was Given Supplemental Oxygen Before Going To Hospital — 10/03/20, 1:10 p.m. ETPresident Donald Trump was given supplemental oxygen at the White House on Friday before he went to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a source told The Associated Press.In a news conference Saturday, doctors treating Trump would not clearly answer whether or not Trump was given oxygen but said he was not currently on oxygen and was breathing normally.— Sebastian MurdockHere Are The People In Trump’s Orbit With Confirmed COVID-19 — 10/3/20, 1 p.m. ETMany of the top officials coming down with COVID-19 are linked to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nomination event in the White House Rose Garden, including first lady Melania Trump, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and former senior adviser Kellyanne Conway.But not all of them were there. Top White House aide Hope Hicks, for example, began displaying symptoms shortly before a campaign rally Trump held Wednesday in Minnesota. She traveled with the president aboard Air Force One and was quarantined in the plane on the ride back before getting tested. Find a list of the people in Trump’s orbit who recently tested positive for the virus here.— Sara BoboltzSource: Trump’s Vitals In Last 24 Hours ‘Were Very Concerning’ — 10/3/20, 12:17 p.m. ETThe White House pool, the group of reporters who follow President Donald Trump throughout the day, passed along a statement on the president’s health from a source on background: “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning, and the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care. We’re still not on a clear path to a full recovery.”— Paige LavenderChris Christie Tests Positive For Coronavirus ― 10/03/2020, 12:10 p.m.Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) tested positive for the coronavirus.“I just received word that I am positive for COVID-19,” Christie wrote in a tweet Saturday. “I want to thank all of my friends and colleagues who have reached out to ask how I was feeling in the last day or two. I will be receiving medical attention today and will keep the necessary folks apprised of my condition.”Christie attended a White House event on Sept. 26, when President Donald Trump announced the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Video showed that he and others in the Rose Garden mingled without masks during the event.Christie also interacted with Trump during debate preparation last week.— Sebastian MurdockDoctor Says Trump Is ‘72 Hours’ Into Diagnosis, Contradicting The President — 10/3/20, 11:55 a.m. ETDr. Sean Conley, President Donald Trump’s physician, said in a news conference Saturday that he is doing “very well” 72 hours into his diagnosis.That timeline means Trump was positive as early as Wednesday. Trump attended campaign events on Thursday and did not disclose that he and the first lady tested positive for COVID-19 until early Friday morning.Another doctor said Trump received an antibody therapy about 48 hours ago, which would be Thursday morning. The physicians also did not disclose if Trump was on oxygen at any point this week, saying only that he is not currently on oxygen or having difficulty breathing.Conley said the medical team assisting with Trump’s care is “extremely happy” with his progress, noting the president’s “mild cough, fatigue and nasal congestion” are improving. He said Trump has been fever-free for more than 24 hours. — Paige LavenderSecret Service Agents Reportedly Frustrated With Trump Putting Them At Risk — 10/3/20, 11:35 a.m. ETMembers of the Secret Service — who rarely speak critically of the presidents they serve — reportedly expressed “anger and frustration” to colleagues Friday, worried that President Donald Trump’s actions have put them at risk of contracting the coronavirus, too.“He’s never cared about us,” one agent told a friend, who spoke to The Washington Post. Another agent reportedly said, “This administration doesn’t care about the Secret Service. It’s so obvious.” Secret Service agents complained about not being tested for the virus after returning from rallies with the president in recent weeks, the Post reported. Trump held three rallies in the days leading up to his positive test result.— Sara BoboltzPences Test Negative Again — 10/3/20, 10:51 a.m. ETWhite House officials said Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen both tested negative for COVID-19 on Saturday morning, according to Fox News.— Paige Lavender Trump’s Physician To Provide Update On President’s Health — 10/3/20, 10:25 a.m. ETDr. Sean Conley will speak from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where the president is currently hospitalised, to give an update on Trump’s condition at 11 a.m. ET.—Paige LavenderTrump Campaign Suspends In-Person Events Until Further Notice — 10/2/20, 2:11 p.m. ETTrump’s presidential campaign announced Friday afternoon that “all previously announced campaign events involving the President’s participation are in the process of being moved to virtual events or are being temporarily postponed.” Trump had already cancelled a scheduled rally in Florida Friday night.In addition, any events involving the president’s immediate family will also be “temporarily postponed,” and campaign events in general “will be considered on a case-by-case basis,” Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien said in a statement.— Marina FangBiden Tests Negative — 10/2/20, 12:23 p.m. ETDemocratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, have both tested negative for the coronavirus, their physician said Friday.Read more here.— Marina Fang A HuffPost Guide To CoronavirusGet the latest coronavirus updates here. What will life be like once a coronavirus vaccine arrives?Everything you need to know about face masks right now.What should you still be disinfecting to prevent COVID-19?Is it possible you had coronavirus earlier this year?Constantly arguing with your partner about coronavirus risks? You are not alone.Everyone deserves accurate information about COVID-19. Support journalism without a paywall — and keep it free for everyone — by becoming a HuffPost member today.Related... Trump Adviser Accuses Biden Of Using His Mask As A Political 'Prop' New Poll Caps Off Cataclysmic Few Days For Donald Trump's Reelection Campaign Canadian Armed Forces Trolled The Proud Boys In The Best Way
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President Donald Trump knew he may have been exposed to Covid-19, was experiencing mild symptoms and was tested Thursday, his doctor said at a news conference Saturday. Trump traveled to a fundraiser in New Jersey anyway, possibly exposing attendees, staff and others to the deadly virus that has killed more than 208,000 Americans. The timeline Trump physician Sean Conley outlined offered the clearest evidence yet that Trump had, at the very least, serious reason to suspect he had Covid-19 yet continued behaving as if he did not. Conley said Trump was tested Thursday afternoon after a positive test result from a close contact he declined to identify but is likely aide Hope Hicks. She received a result Thursday morning, though senior officials tried to keep it from the public, Bloomberg News reported.Trump had a fever “Thursday into Friday,” Conley said, as well as a “mild cough and some nasal congestion and fatigue.” He received the test result Thursday evening, Conley said. The president went through a “very concerning” period Friday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Saturday.Still, the timeline Trump’s medical team put forward is extremely muddled. Conley told the news conference that Trump was “72 hours” into his diagnosis, which would mean he knew as early as Wednesday, when he attended another fundraiser in Shorewood, Minnesota. Trumpbegan receiving antibody therapy about 48 hours ago, another member of the medical team said, which suggested it started on Thursday — even before Trump attended the New Jersey fundraiser and had a confirmed positive test. About two hours later, Conley issued a memo saying that was incorrect and that the doctors meant to say he was diagnosed Thursday evening and began treatment on Friday.  Conley declined to tell the news conference when and where Trump likely became infected: “We’re not going to go into that. As far as his care, it’s irrelevant.”But it’s not irrelevant to the countless others who may have been infected. Trump’s lax response to the virus, politicisation of masks and insistence on reopening businesses and public spaces has been a major factor in the US death toll. The latest news implicates Trump as a superspreader in an even more direct way: At least eight people who gathered at the White House on September 26 to celebrate Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court have tested positive after foregoing masks, hugging and shaking hands. Multiple other members of Trump’s inner circle tested positive this week, possibly because of exposure during preparations for Tuesday night’s debate or at other events. And for all of those confirmed cases, countless more may have been infected without willingly putting themselves at risk: people working the events, such as waiters, cleaners, support staff, Secret Service agents, military personnel and others who had little choice in attending. Those people run the risk of affecting their families and communities without the guarantee of medical care that the president, his family and high-ranking lawmakers can expect.The White House medical unit and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are currently doing contact tracing, Conley said. But as HuffPost reported Friday night, contact tracers in New Jersey were still trying to get a full list of those potentially infected at Trump’s fundraiser. When Trump became infected is essential for contact tracing and informing those whom he may have exposed to the virus. That his medical team refused to provide a clear answer means the public is in the dark about whom the president may have knowingly put in danger. Also unclear is when first lady Melania Trump first showed symptoms. The Virus Creeps Through The GOP’s Top RanksThe genesis of the spread among high-ranking GOP officials is also unclear. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel found out Wednesday that she tested positive for Covid-19. The last time she interacted with Trump was September 15, sources told The New York Times, and the RNC said she has been isolating at home since.On Tuesday, Trump showed up to the first presidential debate too late to be tested, moderator Chris Wallace said. Organisers relied on self-reporting symptoms and test results. As of Friday, at least 11 cases were tied to the debate, which host city Cleveland said were tied to “pre-debate planning and setup.” Trump’s family declined to wear masks despite pleas from organisers to do so. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who helped Trump prepare for the debate and attended the Supreme Court nomination event, has since tested positive for Covid-19.Trump has spent months downplaying and spreading misinformation about Covid-19, repeatedly insisting that the nation has “turned the corner”. At Tuesday’s debate, he mocked Biden for wearing a mask too much and insisted that Trump’s large, sometimes indoor campaign events have “had no negative effect”. A Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June was the “likely” source of a surge in coronavirus cases in the area, according to the Tulsa City-County Health Department. Former 2012 presidential candidate Hermain Cain and six of Trump’s campaign staffers tested positive for the virus after the event; Cain died a month later.But apparently as long as it doesn’t affect Trump, he seems to be OK with it. “I’m on a stage, and it’s very far away,” Trump told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in mid-September. “And so I’m not at all concerned.”Little Indication Of Change At The White HouseIt appears the White House and Republicans haven’t learned a lesson. Masks are still not mandatory at the White House and are considered a “personal choice,” a senior White House official told The Associated Press. Vice President Mike Pence, who has twice tested negative for Covid-19 but has been in contact with others who tested positive, is holding an in-person campaign event on Thursday in Peoria, Arizona. The event listing on the campaign site makes no mention of masks but does include the campaign’s standard language: “In attending the event, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to Covid-19, and waive, release, and discharge Donald J. Trump for President ... from any and all liability.”Attorney General Bill Barr, who has also tested negative, is reportedly declining to self-isolate even though he was in close contact with people who tested positive, and results can often change days after exposure. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday that he would push back other Senate business until after October 19 but that the Judiciary Committee would nevertheless begin confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on October 12. Three Republican senators have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past few days. Two of them — Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis — sit on the Judiciary Committee and may have already infected others. Both have said they intend to isolate for just 10 days, which is short of the 14 days the CDC recommends but would allow them to attend the hearing. Trump has spent months trying to ignore and downplay the virus. A Cornell University analysis this week concluded Trump is “likely the largest driver of the Covid-19 misinformation.” That much does not seem to be changing. A HuffPost Guide To CoronavirusGet the latest coronavirus updates here. What will life be like once a coronavirus vaccine arrives?Everything you need to know about face masks right now.What should you still be disinfecting to prevent COVID-19?Is it possible you had coronavirus earlier this year?Constantly arguing with your partner about coronavirus risks? You are not alone.Everyone deserves accurate information about COVID-19. Support journalism without a paywall — and keep it free for everyone — by becoming a HuffPost member today.Related... Questions Remain Over Donald Trump's Condition As He Releases Video From Hospital
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