Province issues COVID-19 exposure alert for stores in Winnipeg, Brandon – Winnipeg Free Press

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Manitoba public health officials say people who shopped and ate at five places in Winnipeg and Brandon last week may have been exposed to COVID-19.

An individual who tested positive for the novel coronavirus had been out and about in public while symptomatic, a provincial news release late Friday said.

On July 8, the individual was at:

Dollarama, 1560 Regent Ave. W., between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.; 
Walmart (1576 Regent Ave. W.) between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.; and 
Smitty’s restaurant (1512 Regent Ave. W.) between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.

On July 10, the individual visited Tim Hortons at 3965 Portage Ave. between 3:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.

On July 11, in Brandon, the person visited Safeway/Starbucks at 921 18th St. N. between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.

People visiting those locations during the listed times should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, Shared Health said.

While the risk is low, officials want to ensure people are aware of the possible exposure and to seek testing if symptoms develop.

If they develop symptoms, they should self-isolate and visit www.manitoba.ca/covid19 to use the online screening tool, or call Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or toll-free at 1-888-315-9257 for health guidance on how to seek testing.

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Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: Indian actress taken to hospital with Covid-19 – Yahoo News Canada

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has been taken to hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this week.The Indian actress, a former Miss World and one of Bollywood’s most famous faces, is being treated at Mumbai’s Nanavati Hospital, ANI agency reports.Her daughter Aaradhya has also been taken to hospital, PTI agency reports.Aishwarya’s husband Abhishek and father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan, both also famous actors, have been in hospital since Saturday with the virus.On Sunday, 77-year-old Amitabh Bachchan – a Bollywood superstar who has achieved global fame during his long and illustrious career so far – tweeted that he had tested positive for the virus.View photosAishwarya Rai and Aaradhya have both been taken to hospital in MumbaiAnother series of tweets from his son Abhishek, also a famous actor, confirmed that he, his 46-year-old wife Aishwarya and eight-year-old daughter Aaradhya had also tested positive.Jaya Bachchan, also a famous actress and Amitabh Bachchan’s wife, tested negative.India’s Covid-19 cases surge past one millionVirus hits three generations of Bollywood familyBollywood star Amitabh Bachchan Covid positiveUntil now Aishwarya Rai and Aaradhya have been isolating at home.News that the family, often described as Bollywood royalty, had been affected by the coronavirus sent shockwaves across India. This week, thousands of fans have held prayers for the family’s recovery.On Friday India recorded a record 35,000 new cases of coronavirus cases in 24 hours, surpassing the one million mark.The country now has the third-highest number of cases in the world, after the US and Brazil. The current death toll is 25,602.The western state of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located, is still the biggest hotspot with the highest case count – more than 280,000 – of all the states.
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SC reports 1,964 cases, 25 deaths Friday as percent positive drops – WIS10

Of the more than 11,000 tests reported Thursday, 17.4% people tested positive CDC recommends masks in public settings By Laurel Mallory | July 17, 2020 at 4:52 PM EDT – Updated July 17 at 4:52 PM COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control announced 1,964 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and 25 newly-reported deaths on Friday. This brings the total number of people with confirmed cases since the outbreak began to 65,857 and confirmed deaths to 1,078. Of the new deaths, 23 were elderly people (65 and older) from Aiken (1), Anderson (4), Berkeley (1), Dillon (1), Dorchester (2), Georgetown (1), Greenville (1), Greenwood (1), Horry (1), Lexington (1), Pickens (1), Richland (3), Spartanburg (2), Sumter (1), and Williamsburg (1), York (1) counties. Two of the deaths were middle-aged individuals (35 to 64) from Greenville (1) and Kershaw (1) counties. This chart shows COVID-19 deaths in South Carolina by the date the person actually died. (Source: DHEC) DHEC also announced five new probable cases, as well as one new probable death. That means there is a total of 212 probable cases and 18 probable deaths in the state since the outbreak began. The probable death was an elderly person from Horry County (1). For more information about why DHEC reports probable cases and deaths, keep reading. RECENT COVID-19 HEADLINES Included in this article is context on testing, recoveries, hospitalization, death rates, and more. That information is provided in detail below the info on new cases. New confirmed cases by county as of Friday, July 17: Abbeville (6) Aiken (20) Allendale (12) Anderson (50) Bamberg (7) Barnwell (7) Beaufort (55) Berkeley (117) Calhoun (13) Charleston (305) Cherokee (12) Chester (12) Chesterfield (5) Clarendon (8) Colleton (18) Darlington (21) Dillon (11) Dorchester (105) Edgefield (4) Fairfield (5) Florence (61) Georgetown (21) Greenville (171) Greenwood (56) Hampton (7) Horry (114) Jasper (8) Kershaw (17) Lancaster (19) Laurens (45) Lee (10) Lexington (89) Marion (10) Marlboro (4) McCormick (4) Newberry (8) Oconee (19) Orangeburg (54) Pickens (46) Richland (207) Saluda (15) Spartanburg (84) Sumter (26) Union (3) Williamsburg (7) York (66) New probable cases by county: Greenville (2) Richland (1) Spartanburg (2) COVID-19 TESTING IN SOUTH CAROLINA* Negative diagnostic tests (all labs) – 470,536 Positive diagnostic tests (all labs) – 82,636 Total diagnostic tests – 553,172 Negative serology (antibody) tests – 44,524 Positive serology (antibody) tests -2,358 Total serology (antibody) tests – 46,882 Negative tests of unknown type** – 1,551 Positive tests of unknown type** – 5 Total tests of unknown type** – 1,556 Total number of tests performed in South Carolina by DHEC and private labs – 601,610 *These numbers represent the volume of tests received and not distinct individuals tested. Individuals could have multiple tests. **Unknown test types refer to tests with an unrecognized type. As (DHEC) continues to investigate unknown test types they will be reassigned as more information becomes available.
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Trump admin orders hospitals to bypass CDC and send COVID-19 info to Washington database closed to public

[CDC]

“Hospitals have been ordered to bypass the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and send all patient information to a central database in Washington, raising questions about transparency.”

The Trump administration is ordering hospitals around America to bypass the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and send COVID-19 info to a database that is not open to the public, with access to reporters and researchers unlikely and unclear.

Here’s the official order.

Beginning on Wednesday, hospitals are told they must send all Covid-19 patient information to a central database in Washington, rather than the CDC.

This is highly unusual, and the New York Times reports “The move has alarmed health experts who fear the data will be politicized or withheld from the public.”

From Sheryl Gay Stolberg at the New York Times:

The new instructions were posted recently in a little-noticed document on the Department of Health and Human Services website. From now on, the department — not the C.D.C. — will collect daily reports about the patients that each hospital is treating, the number of available beds and ventilators, and other information vital to tracking the pandemic.

Officials say the change will streamline data gathering and assist the White House coronavirus task force in allocating scarce supplies like personal protective gear and remdesivir, the first drug shown to be effective against the virus. But the Health and Human Services database that will receive new information is not open to the public, which could affect the work of scores of researchers, modelers and health officials who rely on C.D.C. data to make projections and crucial decisions.

“Historically, C.D.C. has been the place where public health data has been sent, and this raises questions about not just access for researchers but access for reporters, access for the public to try to better understand what is happening with the outbreak,” said Jen Kates, the director of global health and H.I.V. policy with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

“How will the data be protected?” she asked. “Will there be transparency, will there be access, and what is the role of the C.D.C. in understanding the data?”

Read more at the New York Times:Trump Administration Strips C.D.C. of Control of Coronavirus Data

By ordering hospitals not to send COVID19 data to @CDCgov, the Trump Admin is rejecting transparency and undermining the public health officials & agencies we should be listening to.

The WH fatally mishandled COVID19. Now they’re trying to hide the numbers from the public. https://t.co/THGmQFyZ9X

— Rep. Nadler (@RepJerryNadler) July 16, 2020

We’re in the middle of the worst pandemic in 100 years. More than 137,000 Americans have died. Covid is exploding in Arizona, Texas, South Carolina, Florida, and other states. And the administration has chosen to sideline the CDC. Where did this data go? https://t.co/NEErh7Nbbw

— Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrTomFrieden) July 16, 2020

NEW: Trump administration is stripping C.D.C. of control of coronavirus data. Hospitals will now report info directly to DC. Health experts are alarmed.

C.D.C. will take part in data collection, HHS spox says: “They will simply no longer control it.” https://t.co/q0dkgnwNoY

— Sheryl Gay Stolberg (@SherylNYT) July 15, 2020

Russia is using 3 English-language websites to spread coronavirus disinformation: US government officials

US government officials told the Associated Press today that three different English-language websites are spreading disinformation about the novel coronavirus directly from Russia.
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Bill Barr: ‘I don’t pay attention to [Donald Trump’s] tweets unless they’re brought to my attention’

At a hearing on Capitol Hill today, Bill Barr, Trump’s attorney general and acting Roy Cohn, said something that’s sure to ruffle the boss’s ego.
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This fitness-centric smartwatch has all your Google app favorites for under $80 

As the Wear OS revolution chugs on, we can expect to see more diversity in smartwatch design, including more stylish and elegant models for business or a night out; as well as those better suited to the rough and tumble of sports and workouts. The TicWatch Sport Smartwatch definitely fits into the later category, engineered […]
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For small businesses, QuickBooks Essentials remains an accounting gold standard

 Every company needs to have a firm grasp on their bottom line. But while every company used to have their official ledger books or one of those old-school physical world accountings of a company’s every asset and expenditure, many firms don’t work that way anymore. Oh, they all still balance their “books” (if they want […]
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Are you ready to write and publish your own book? It’s not as crazy as it sounds…

For all its downsides, you have to admit all this extra time spent at home has to have boosted your creativity. More time to sit and think means more time to develop new original ideas. Trust us, you wouldn’t be the first to find that a global emergency has fueled the need to start a […]
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What After Surviving COVID-19? Brain Fog, Fatigue & Pain

It is true that COVID-19 is a new disease and we don’t know enough about it. It is true that the virus has not been around long enough to learn about its specific long-term effects. However, we can certainly extrapolate from available data on past similar pandemics and viruses. Revisiting the existing research on the trajectories of similar viruses is essential for devising a prevention program.

For example, there is data on survivors of previous public health emergencies. One study conducted in Ontario, Canada investigated the one-year outcomes in survivors of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome SARS (another type of coronavirus), a global epidemic in 2003. Of 117 survivors, 17% did not return to work by the one-year mark. Fifty-one percent of survivors required 668 visits to psychiatry or psychology practitioners and 33% reported a significant decrement in mental health. Although most of the survivors had good physical recovery, some patients and their caregivers reported notable reductions in mental health one year after SARS-related hospitalization. Another study on SARS reported that one year after hospitalization, survivors had higher levels of stress, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic symptoms.

Research on Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) shows that complications such as muscle weakness, reduction in ability to exercise, and emotional distress may last for many years after recovery. Other research shows clinically significant symptoms of fatigue at six and 12 months following ARDS. These findings strongly point to a concomitant mental health crisis for at least these respiratory viruses. It is only responsible to learn from the aftermath of public emergencies such as SARS to circumvent potential COVID-19 (also a coronavirus) psychological burdens.

Obviously, COVID-19 has not been around for years to investigate long-term effects. Nonetheless, various avenues point to potential non-pulmonary long-term complications. The CDC lists a range of symptoms for COVID-19 including fever/chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea/vomiting and/or diarrhea. While the list does include some neurological symptoms such as headache and loss of smell, recent evidence suggests that there may be many other neurological and cognitive deficits that plague survivors for months after recovery.

In one recent study conducted in China, the researchers found that nearly 40% of COVID-19 patients suffered various neurological symptoms such as nerve damage, muscle injury, conscious disturbance and confusion. Stokes in young patients in the USA and in China, have also been reported. According to one study, about 5% of hospitalized young COVID-19 patients had strokes. Unfortunately, many of these patients delay going to the hospital because of fear of the pandemic, and social isolation further complicates the recovery and leads to long-term issues.

Why would a respiratory virus cause neurological problems? Because coronaviruses activate a receptor called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The receptor is also found in the nervous system and skeletal muscles. This would explain neurological and muscular symptoms found in many COVID-19 patients beyond recovery. Also, the virus may damage the brain through the nose, blood circulation, or indirectly as a result of an aggressive immune system response.

The more severe the symptoms, the more likely that the patient will develop ongoing neurological pathology. In a study examining autopsies of COVID-19 patients, they found neuronal degeneration in deceased patients. Also, researchers found the virus in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients (the fluid circulating in the spinal cord and brain). It is worth mentioning that coronavirus antibodies were found in the CSF of people with Parkinson’s disease (coronavirus has affinity to attach to the brain area directly implicated in Parkinson’s). Also, some inflammatory factors such as interleukin (IL-6) have been positively correlated with severity of COVID-19 symptoms. In addition, COVID-19’s activation of the immune cells in the brain may cause chronic inflammation and brain damage.

Documented trajectories of COVID-19 have also been non-empirically published across various online outlets. For example, more exhaustive lists of issues (beyond CDC’s list) have been discussed in various Facebook and self-help groups. Some of the symptoms frequenting many online groups (even with mild to moderate severity) include:

Memory loss
Difficulties in focus, concentration, and attention
General malaise
Mental/brain fog (very common)
Neuropathy (such as pins-and-needles sensations)
Muscle pain
Anxiety, depression, and exacerbation of pre-existing psychological disorders
In conclusion, positivity over recovered cases ought to be tempered by emerging studies of the long-term effects of COVID-19. Currently, the numbers reflect patients who have it, ones who died from it, and ones who recovered. We need to redefine recovery beyond categorical mortality codes. Quality of life beyond “recovery” must be assessed. Health care professionals should encourage more comprehensive ways of treatment and probe for mental health concerns. I have not even addressed the lurking mental health epidemic; there is “very limited data available for COVID-19 related psychiatric symptoms” (p. 36). Here is one troubling reliable finding, exposure to viral infections in utero has been associated with increased risk of developing schizophrenia. Current research and stories suggest that even when COVID-19 departs, its ghost will remain for years. The public needs to be aware of a much longer list of potential symptoms and their effects on quality of life. This may be the case for even asymptomatic individuals with COVID-19.

Can we stop saying that people with no pre-existing conditions don’t need to worry? We are simply lying and do not know—at least that is what research suggests. Wear a mask and frequently wash your hands.

References
Troyer, E.A., Kohn, J.N. & Hong, S. (2020). Are we facing a crashing wave of neuropsychiatic sequelae of COVID-19? Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 87, 34-39.
Wu, Y., Xu, X., Chen, Z., … Yang, C. (2020). Nervous system involvement after infection with COVID-19 and other coronaviruses. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 87, 18-22.
Mao, I., Wang, M.D., Chen, S.H., et al., (2020). Neurological manifestation of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective case series study. MedRxiv. 02.22.20026500,

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Mangaluru: Councillor touts rum, fried eggs as cure

MANGALURU: Rum with pepper and two bulls eye eggs — that’s the home remedy for Covid-19 recommended by Congress councillor Ravichandra Gatti in a video that has gone viral. Gatti, who belongs to the Ullal city municipal council, was widely trolled for the misleading video, and, for promoting a brand of rum as a potential cure. “There are many people who drink rum in Bengaluru and Madikeri, but I don’t drink and I eat no fish. You just put one teaspoon-full of pepper powder into 90ml of rum, stir it well using your hands and drink it. Also eat two half-boiled omelettes along with it to ensure that coronavirus vanishes. I tried many medicines, but only this worked. I am suggesting this not as a politician, but as a member of the corona committee,” Gatti said, referring to the civic body’s panel. Watch: Congress councillor Ravichandra Gatti touts rum and fried eggs as home remedy for #COVID19 https://t.co/QkALq1DaN6— TOI Mangaluru (@TOIMangalore) 1594955320000Mangaluru MLA UT Khader said,“The district administration should find out why he shared such a video on social media. Gatti has been a social worker for the past 15 years. We will also discuss the matter with party leaders and take a decision.” In Video:Mangaluru: Congress councillor touts rum and fried eggs as covid-19 cure
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Doug Ford Ditches The ‘Sheep Dog’ Mullet In Long-Awaited Haircut – HuffPost Canada

Doug Ford is no longer sporting the pandemic mullet that he once said made him look like a “sheep dog.”

Ontario’s Premier visited Mastronardi Barbering in Leamington, Ont., Thursday morning to get his long-awaited trim. Ford previously said he wouldn’t cut his hair until every region in the province had entered Stage 2 of reopening in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the middle of May, responding to a question from a reporter about personal services reopening, he joked he should go to a dog groomer to get a trim. I’m happy to finally be at Mastronardi Barbering in #Leamington for a haircut! Stay tuned – we’ll be posting pictures of the results. 💇🏼‍♂️ pic.twitter.com/hMSXMXPeXR— Doug Ford (@fordnation) July 16, 2020In a video posted to Twitter, Ford introduced barber Henry Mastronardi, who has worked in Leamington for 56 years, calling him an “incredible person.”“[He] came here from Italy with nothing, started a great business, and I’m just so happy to be here with the people of Leamington and Kingsville, they’re just down to earth people, I absolutely love them,” Ford said.The pair appear to have chatted during the cut, with Ford sharing what he learned about his barber in a video debuting his new look.It’s so great to be here in #Leamington with my new friend and champion barber Henry! While he was giving me my great cut I learned about his family and how his business are recovering from #COVID19.💈 pic.twitter.com/72jmBkUW4G— Doug Ford (@fordnation) July 16, 2020“Henry, he’s the champ, he’s an absolute champion, true leader, he tells me he has three beautiful girls and seven great grandchildren,” Ford, who has four daughters, said. “What more can you ask for? What an incredible man.”Before the cut, Mastronardi told CTV Windsor it was exciting to have the chance to cut the premier’s hair. He said he wasn’t nervous about it, and didn’t have any advance details about what cut Ford would request. “It really fulfills my heart,” he said. Ivana Yelich, Ford’s director of communications and press secretary, told HuffPost she believes the premier asked for a “number four” haircut.Some people on social media took issue with the focus on Ford’s haircut while other aspects of the province’s reopening are unclear.Education restart planning and LTC crisis management …. nothing a little haircut and cheesecake won’t solve.— Barney Panofsky’s Best Intentions (@mynamesnotgordy) July 16, 2020So you’re driving around Ontario to get a haircut instead of working on a plan to keep my children safe in school? I walk by my kids’ school every day and I haven’t seen any work being done to make it safe, no plexiglass barriers, no new portables, no new hand washing stations!— Rhonda Marco (@RhondaMarco40) July 16, 2020@CBCAlerts So Doug Ford waited until everyone in the province could get a haircut before he cut his? Residents of LTC homes still waiting🙏— Lesley Carson (@LesleyCarson) July 16, 2020Windsor-Essex was the last region in the province to fully enter Stage 2, with Leamington and Kingsville the last two communities to reopen, because of COVID-19 outbreaks among migrant workers on farms in the region. Ford did his daily press conference from Craven Farms in Chatham, praising the work of Ontario farmers during the pandemic. After the premier announced that he would get his hair cut in Windsor-Essex, his office was flooded with emails from local barbershops and hair salons, Yelich said.

Also on HuffPost:
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Fact check: COVID-19 symptoms are not always ‘mild’; mask use and 5G will not weaken the immune system – Reuters.com

An image shared on social media outlines a three-phase conspiracy theory linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. The text in the image contains several false claims. Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS/Axel SchmidtThe image was shared on social media (examples here here and here) and receiving hundreds of shares as of July 16, 2020. There are numerous elements of speculation in the text but this fact check will focus on four key claims made by the author. “Mild symptoms at most” Within the first ‘phase’ described in the text is a claim that COVID-19 causes only “mild symptoms at most”. The World Health Organization (WHO) does indeed state that “most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization” (here). However, it also lists “serious symptoms” of the disease as difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure and loss of speech or movement. As reported by Reuters in April 2020, doctors described seeing patients deteriorate rapidly (here). “Patients might enter the hospital with strong oxygen levels and be engaged in happy conversation,” a resident emergency doctor at New York-Presbyterian Hospital said, only to be “gasping for breath” and intubated a few hours later”. As of July 16, 2020, the WHO said over 580,000 COVID-19 deaths had been reported to the organization (covid19.who.int/). “Flawed testing system utilized, which picks up any genetic material in the body and triggers a positive result” The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test is widely used in detecting COVID-19. PCR identifies substances qualitatively not quantitatively, detecting the genetic sequences of viruses, but not the viruses themselves. As Reuters previously reported (here), this is a feature of the test that has been misidentified as a flaw. A spokesperson for Public Health England told Reuters: “Molecular diagnostic tests, such as real-time PCR, are the gold standard methods for identifying individuals with an active viral infection, such as SARS-CoV-2 (the cause of COVID-19 disease), in their respiratory tract. These tests are rapid and produce results in real-time.” “The first phase will lead to weakened immune systems through lack of food, social distancing, wearing of masks and lack of contact with sunlight and healthy bacteria” Reuters found no expert evidence to support the claim that wearing face masks weakens the immune system (here). Research has found that loneliness and social isolation can have a direct adverse effect on health. Adequate food and sunlight are important for general health, including immune function, and some people may have experienced food insecurity (here) or reduced opportunity to be outdoors (here) during the lockdown period. “Exposure to 5G radiation will further attack the immune system” The World Health Organization says no research has linked exposure to wireless technology with negative health effects (here). Reuters has previously written about misleading attempts to links COVID-19 and 5G networks (here) and (here). VERDICT Partly false. Most people with COVID-19 develop mild to moderate symptoms, but for some the symptoms are severe and can lead to death. PCR tests detect the genetic sequences of viruses, allowing the test to show a particular virus is present. Face mask use and 5G networks do not weaken the immune system, but deprivation of food, sunlight and social support may do. This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .
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U.S. extends non-essential travel restrictions with Canada, Mexico through August 20 – Reuters UK

WASHINGTON/OTTAWA (Reuters) – Restrictions on non-essential travel at U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico will be extended through Aug. 21, Canada and the United States announced on Thursday. “Canada and the United States have agreed to extend the current border measures by one month until August 21, and we’re going to keep working closely with our American neighbours to keep people safe on both sides of the border,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference. Earlier, acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced the 30-day extension on Twitter that “close collaboration with our neighbours has allowed us to respond to #COVID19 in a North American approach and slow the travel-related spread of the virus.” Reuters reported Monday that Canada and the United States were set to extend a ban imposed to fight the coronavirus outbreak. The rules, first issued in March, have been repeatedly extended in 30-day blocks. The restrictions do not cover trade across a U.S.-Canada border that stretches 5,525 miles (8,891 km) or air travel. Passenger crossings have fallen by 90% or more at many border crossings and hit tourist destinations along U.S. borders. In May, passenger traffic in Detroit fell to 45,000 people crossing, down from 502,000 passengers crossing in February. At San Ysidro, California, on the U.S.-Mexico border, passenger and pedestrian traffic fell from more than 2.9 million people crossing in February to 1.3 million in May. The restrictions do not apply to travellers who are getting to work, or people travelling for family care, educational or humanitarian reasons. Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Aurora Ellis
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U.S. extends non-essential travel restrictions with Canada, Mexico through August 20 – Reuters

WASHINGTON/OTTAWA (Reuters) – Restrictions on non-essential travel at U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico will be extended through Aug. 21, Canada and the United States announced on Thursday. FILE PHOTO: Two closed Canadian border checkpoints are seen after it was announced that the border would close to “non-essential traffic” to combat the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the U.S.-Canada border crossing at the Thousand Islands Bridge in Lansdowne, Ontario, Canada March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Alex Filipe/File Photo“Canada and the United States have agreed to extend the current border measures by one month until August 21, and we’re going to keep working closely with our American neighbors to keep people safe on both sides of the border,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference. Earlier, acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced the 30-day extension on Twitter that “close collaboration with our neighbors has allowed us to respond to #COVID19 in a North American approach and slow the travel-related spread of the virus.” Reuters reported Monday that Canada and the United States were set to extend a ban imposed to fight the coronavirus outbreak. The rules, first issued in March, have been repeatedly extended in 30-day blocks. The restrictions do not cover trade across a U.S.-Canada border that stretches 5,525 miles (8,891 km) or air travel. Passenger crossings have fallen by 90% or more at many border crossings and hit tourist destinations along U.S. borders. In May, passenger traffic in Detroit fell to 45,000 people crossing, down from 502,000 passengers crossing in February. At San Ysidro, California, on the U.S.-Mexico border, passenger and pedestrian traffic fell from more than 2.9 million people crossing in February to 1.3 million in May. The restrictions do not apply to travelers who are getting to work, or people travelling for family care, educational or humanitarian reasons. Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Aurora Ellis
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Non-essential travel restrictions extended at U.S. borders with Canada, Mexico

By David Shepardson and Steve SchererWASHINGTON/OTTAWA (Reuters) – Restrictions on non-essential travel at U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico will be extended through Aug. 21, Canada and the United States announced on Thursday.”Canada and the United States have agreed to extend the current border measures by one month until August 21, and we’re going to keep working closely with our American neighbors to keep people safe on both sides of the border,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference.Earlier, acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced the 30-day extension on Twitter that “close collaboration with our neighbors has allowed us to respond to #COVID19 in a North American approach and slow the travel-related spread of the virus.”Reuters reported Monday that Canada and the United States were set to extend a ban imposed to fight the coronavirus outbreak.The rules, first issued in March, have been repeatedly extended in 30-day blocks.The restrictions do not cover trade across a U.S.-Canada border that stretches 5,525 miles (8,891 km) or air travel.Passenger crossings have fallen by 90% or more at many border crossings and hit tourist destinations along U.S. borders.In May, passenger traffic in Detroit fell to 45,000 people crossing, down from 502,000 passengers crossing in February.At San Ysidro, California, on the U.S.-Mexico border, passenger and pedestrian traffic fell from more than 2.9 million people crossing in February to 1.3 million in May.The restrictions do not apply to travelers who are getting to work, or people travelling for family care, educational or humanitarian reasons.(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Aurora Ellis)
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Georgia’s Dumbass Governor Abolishes Local Mask Requirements as Covid-19 Cases Soar

File photo of Georgia’s dimwitted Governor Brian Kemp on April 27, 2020.Photo: Kevin C. Cox (Getty Images)Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed an executive order on Wednesday banning all cities and counties in the state from requiring people to wear masks during the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes as Georgia has experienced a steep rise in covid-19 infections over the past two weeks, with 3,871 new cases and 37 new deaths on Wednesday alone.Strangely, the governor’s new executive order encourages people to wear masks, which help slow the spread of the virus, but bans any local municipality from actually requiring that people wear them when they’re out in public. The order also specifically exempts Georgia schools from bans on large gatherings.Governor Kemp, a Republican, has been slow to understand the most basic facts about the pandemic since it began, and infamously didn’t know that asymptomatic transmission of the virus was possible until April 1, long after it was common knowledge in the public health community. Kemp closed down some businesses at the time, but the state opened back up after just three weeks and Georgians are now paying the price.In early April, Georgia had identified just 4,748 identified cases and 154 deaths from covid-19. Today, the state has recorded 127,834 cases and 3,091 deaths total, well below the actual number of cases and deaths according to health experts. The U.S. currently has the worst outbreak in the world with over 3.49 million cases and more than 137,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker.Even more bizarrely, Kemp is trying to position his latest executive order as a win for public health.G/O Media may get a commission“Today I issued Executive Order 07.15.20.01, which extends the gatherings ban of more than 50 people, renews business restrictions, protects the medically fragile, and strongly encourages Georgians to wear masks in public,” Kemp wrote in a Facebook post. “To flatten the curve, I urge all local elected officials to enforce the terms of this order. Together, we will keep fighting #COVID19, weather this storm, and emerge stronger than ever.”Even Walmart has more common sense than a simple “strong encouragement” that everyone wear masks. The company announced on Wednesday that it would require all customers across the country to wear masks in an effort to keep both its workers and the general public safe during the pandemic. Walmart is even going to deploy what it calls “health ambassadors” in black polo shirts at the front of every store to enforce the mask requirement starting on Monday, July 20. The company didn’t use the term “mask bouncer,” but that’s precisely what they will be.Kemp isn’t the only governor in the U.S. showing off his idiocy this week. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt announced on Wednesday that he’s tested positive for covid-19. Stitt said he was feeling fine but had been achy the day before and he only got the diagnosis because he’s tested routinely. Governor Stitt famously attended President Donald Trump’s neo-fascist rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma without wearing a mask on June 20. Public health experts believe that rally was a major source of infection in the region, but it’s not clear whether Stitt was infected there or if he contracted the virus someplace else.Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt at President Donald Trump’s June 20, 2020 rally in Tulsa.Photo: Nicholas Kamm (Getty Images)For all we know, Stitt could’ve been infected while going out to eat, something that he encouraged Oklahomans to do in mid-March while posting (and then deleting) a tweet of his family at a packed restaurant. One restaurant in Tulsa where Stitt dined last week has closed its doors temporarily yesterday after the governor made his covid diagnosis public.Unsurprisingly, more people are being hospitalized across the country for covid-19, with Miami, Florida running out of ICU beds, Alabama hospitals running at near capacity with only 12% of the entire states’s ICU beds available, and doctors in Houston, Texas warning there’s “no end in sight” to the ICU shortage.Georgia saw 417 new patients admitted to the hospital for the virus yesterday, bringing the number of people currently hospitalized with covid-19 in the state to 14,102. And if local governments aren’t able to require that people wear masks it’s only going to get worse out there.Your government has failed you. There are plenty of anti-mask idiots in the world, even in countries like Taiwan and Hong Kong, but their respective governments haven’t simply given up on fixing the problem like the Trump regime apparently has.“Personal responsibility” and wearing a mask may not pull the U.S. completely out of the pandemic—since every other country that suppressed the virus employed many other tools only available to governments—but masks are the only tool the average American has left.Stay safe, friends. Or as safe as anyone can be during an uncontrolled pandemic.
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Anglo sticks to most of its 2020 output targets but second-quarter hit by COVID19 – Reuters UK

LONDON (Reuters) – Global miner Anglo American is ramping up metals and diamond production to hit full-year targets it set in spring, it said on Thursday, as it reported a sharp slump in second quarter output caused by the coronavirus. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Anglo American is seen on a jacket of an employee at the Los Bronces copper mine, in the outskirts of Santiago, Chile March 14, 2019 Picture Taken March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Rodrigo GarridoThe firm said the targets were dependent on the course taken by the pandemic, which is spreading fast in South Africa where it make around half of its profits, while a drought in Chile affecting its largest copper mine shows little sign of ending. In the three months to June, overall production fell 18%, with diamonds, platinum, palladium, iron ore, coal and manganese all falling, while copper and nickel rose. Anglo said it was ramping up production and operating at about 90% total capacity by the end of June from around 60% in April, and maintained its 2020 outlook for all products apart from coal. It had cut capital expenditure and trimmed many of its full year output targets in April. Anglo said government lockdowns in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa hit second quarter output of diamonds, platinum group metals, iron ore and coal. Activity has since picked up in South Africa, where the government exempted mines during the quarter from curbs implemented to contain an outbreak that crossed the threshold of 300,000 cases on Wednesday. In addition to coronavirus-related shutdowns, Anglo American Platinum was hurt by repairs and ramp-up of a converter plant. Second quarter copper output rose 5% to 167,000 tonnes year on year, driven by a 38% rise at the Collahuasi mine in Chile. But output at Anglo’s largest mine in Chile, Los Bronces, fell 12% and continues to be impacted by severe drought. A gas explosion at the Grosvenor metallurgical coal mine in Australia hit coal output, Anglo said. Australia launched an inquiry into the blast, which injured five workers. “With expectations relatively low heading into the quarter, this result will likely be taken relatively positively,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Tyler Broda. Anglo’s shares were down 1% at 1130 GMT, compared to a 0.3% fall of an index of its mining peers Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Editing by Edmund Blair and John Stonestreet
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Cofense Detects HMRC #COVID19 Tax Relief Scam

The Cofense Phishing Defense Center (PDC) has observed a new email-based phishing scam that aims to harvest Her Majesties Revenue and Customs (HMRC) credentials and sensitive personal information by preying on UK workers who are expecting COVID-19 tax relief grants.

According to Cofense, the threat actors use a legitimate-looking email address (hmrc@hotmail.com) with the impersonated organization in the name and set the name to match (HM Revenue & Customs). They also use the somewhat poorly written subject line of “Helping you during this covid from government.”

Receivers of the email are presented with a notification that the government is offering between £2500 and £7500 in tax grants for those whose ability to work has been affected by the health crisis.

Jake Longden from Cofense PDC explained: “The email includes a link to check their [users’] eligibility. With the government publicly and repeatedly mentioning such sums, the email is believable to inattentive users. The attacker also mentions the ‘Open Government Licence v3.0,’ a legitimate copyright licence used by the Government and Crown Services, to provide additional credibility.”

Once the link is clicked, the user is presented with a realistic clone of the GOV.UK website and asked to enter personal and sensitive data.

“The volume and sensitivity of data requested far exceeds what is required to sign into a legitimate account,” Longden added. “The data requested here screams identity theft/impersonation.”

The user is then directed to a ‘loading page’ which is constructed to give the impression that the data entered is being processed and verified for the tax claim, however the information is in fact harvested by the scammers and no tax relief is generated.

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