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If you were offered a COVID-19 vaccine, would you take it? Research paints a mixed picture. In one poll mentioned by The Drum, 28% of 18- to 34-year-old respondents in the UK said they would reject a vaccine if offered one. However, marketers can play a major part in encouraging vaccine uptake.

Ultimately, the success of vaccines in helping to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to a close will depend on how many people take them. Here is how pharmaceutical companies, medical providers and healthcare agencies could persuade members of the general public to do exactly that.

Vaccine hesitancy: a challenge predating the COVID-19 pandemic

You don’t have to look far beyond the COVID-19 picture to see examples of skepticism about vaccines in general. Such reticence has, in some instances, led an array of vaccine-preventable diseases, like measles, to re-emerge.

In 2019, long before the current pandemic erupted, the World Health Organization ranked vaccine hesitancy among the ten leading threats to global health.

The world's first malaria vaccine could be approved for use in 2015
The world’s first malaria vaccine could be approved for use in 2015

It’s unsurprising, then, that Glen Halliwell, business unit director at Publicis healthcare agency Langland, believes that government and health services must engage in “broad education” about the COVID-19 vaccine – including “what it is for, what it will protect you against, how to get it and how many injections are required to be protected.”

He added: “Critical here is ensuring we reach the members of the community where English is not their first language, or where cultural or religious concerns regarding vaccine ingredients may lead to some hesitation.”

What threshold do we need to reach to achieve herd immunity?

Lee Fraser, who has served as Digitas Health’s chief medical officer since 2014, insists: “In order for vaccines to be successful in ending the pandemic, we will need to get vaccination rates into the mid-70% range at a minimum.”

However, he warned: “In a climate where we have seen a decline in the public’s belief in science and erosion of fact in favor of social and public opinion, studies suggest only 60% of people are currently willing to get a vaccine.”

Which marketing strategies could help – and which probably wouldn’t?

While some individual vaccines have been given their own branding by marketers, WPP Health Practice’s international chief executive officer Claire Gillis says: “I actually think that the important brand is the corporate brand. Go to the doctor and ask for the ‘Pfizer vaccine’.”

Meanwhile, though the UK government’s reported attempt to apply patriotic livery to each AstraZeneca vaccine kit would unlikely have been of much use, the UK’s National Health Service has, more encouragingly, decided to partner with influencers to promote vaccine adoption.

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The EU is launching a co-ordinated mass vaccination to fight Covid-19, in what the bloc’s top official Ursula von der Leyen says is a “touching moment of unity”.

On December 26, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had been delivered to all 27 member states.

Some countries started administering the jabs on the same day, saying they were not prepared to wait another day.

The EU has so far reported more than 335,000 coronavirus-related deaths.

More than 14 million people have been infected, and strict lockdown measures are currently in place in nearly all the member states.

The EU mass vaccination comes as cases of the more contagious variant of the virus are confirmed in several European countries as well as Japan and Canada.

Mass vaccination for the EU’s 446 million people is due to begin in the coming hours.

This comes after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Commission authorized the German-US Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The EU has secured contracts for more than two billion vaccine doses from a range of drug companies.

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Ursula von der Leyen tweeted: “Today, we start turning the page on a difficult year. The #COVID19 vaccine has been delivered to all EU countries. Vaccination will begin tomorrow across the EU. The #EUvaccinationdays are a touching moment of unity. Vaccination is the lasting way out of the pandemic.”

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on December 26: “This really is a happy Christmas message. At this moment, trucks with the first vaccines are on the road all over Europe, all over Germany, in all federal states. Further deliveries will follow the day after tomorrow.

“This vaccine is the crucial key for defeating the pandemic. It’s the key for us getting back our lives.”

Health workers in north-east Germany decided not to wait for December 27 and started immunizing elderly residents of a nursing home in Halberstadt.

The authorities in Slovakia also said they had begun vaccinating.

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio urged his compatriots to get the vaccine: “We’ll get our freedom back, we’ll be able to embrace again.”

In Hungary, the first recipient of the vaccine was a doctor at Del-Pest Central Hospital on December 26, the state news agency says.

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Image source: AP

Joe Biden has received his first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine live on TV.

The president-elect said he was getting the vaccine to show Americans it is “safe to take”.

Joe Biden joins a growing number of political leaders getting the jab, including VP Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

On December 20, the roll-out began for a second vaccine, by Moderna, which was approved last week.

More than 500,000 Americans are said to have now been vaccinated.

Joe Biden said from Newark, Delaware, where he got the vaccine live on TV: “I’m doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared when it’s available to take the vaccine.

“There’s nothing to worry about.”

The president-elect said the Trump administration “deserves some credit” for launching the country’s vaccine program.

His wife, Jill Biden, received her first dose earlier in the day, the president-elect said.

VP Mike Pence Receives Covid Vaccine on Live TV

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Joe Biden Sets 100M Covid Vaccinations Goal for First 100 Days

Joe Biden’s running mate, VP-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff are expected to receive their first shots next week.

The Biden team has set a goal of 100 million Covid-19 vaccinations during the administration’s first 100 days in the White House.

During the pandemic, the US has recorded more than 18 million cases and 319,000 deaths.

President Donald Trump, who spent three days in hospital with the coronavirus in October, has not said when he intends to get the vaccine.

He is now one of last of the country’s top elected officials to have not received the first of the course of two jabs.

President Trump wrote in a December 13 tweet: “I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time.”

Some of the president’s advisers have defended the delay, saying he is still protected by the treatments he received to beat the virus.

According to the CDC, roughly three million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been shipped and more than 500,000 Americans have been vaccinated so far.

On December 20, distribution of the Moderna vaccine began in the country too, with some six million vaccine doses available for immediate shipment.

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Image source Wikimedia

France’s President Emmanuel Macron is just the latest world leader to test positive for coronavirus.

Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) died on December 14, four weeks after he tested positive for Covid-19.

US President Donald Trump contracted the virus in October. He was given an experimental drug cocktail and returned to the White House after three nights in hospital.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda contracted the virus in October and went into self-isolation.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has spent two months in hospital in Germany after catching the disease in October – last week he appeared in video for the first time since testing positive, saying he hopes to return to Algeria soon.

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei tested positive in September – despite calling himself “high-risk” he did not appear to suffer a severe case.

President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro,tested positive in July and spent more than two weeks quarantining in his residence.

In June, the outgoing President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, died of an illness suspected by many to be Covid-19.

Russia’s PM Mikhail Mishustin contracted the virus in April and was admitted to hospital with moderate to severe symptoms.

UK PM Boris Johnson tested positive in March – he spent three nights in intensive care in a London hospital, later saying he owed the health workers there his life.

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(Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

Vice-President Mike Pence has received the coronavirus vaccine live on TV.

He told the audience and doctors: “I didn’t feel a thing.”

According to the White House, the aim of the move was to “promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and build confidence among the American people”.

Mike Pence’s wife and Surgeon General Jerome Adams also received the jab at the televised White House event.

On December 14, the US began rolling out the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The Pfizer vaccine is the first to be approved in the US. It offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19.

The first three million vaccine doses are being distributed to locations across the 50 US states.

Meanwhile, a second vaccine, developed by Moderna, has come a step closer to receiving emergency approval after it was endorsed by a panel of experts.

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As Mike Pence was receiving his vaccine, President Donald Trump incorrectly said on Twitter that the Moderna vaccine was “overwhelmingly approved” with “distribution to start immediately”. It is still awaiting final approval from the FDA.

More than 310,000 people have died with coronavirus in the US, which has recorded more infections and fatalities than any other country. More than 17 million cases have been recorded in the country since the start of the pandemic.

VP Pence, 61, received the first of two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab at 08:00 local time, along with his wife Karen and Dr. Adams. He is the most senior US official to be vaccinated so far.

He said: “We gather here today at the end of a historic week to affirm to the American people that hope is on the way.”

“Karen and I were more than happy to step forward before this week was out to take this safe and effective coronavirus vaccine that we have secured and produced for the American people,” he continued, calling it “a truly inspiring day”.

Top infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, and CDC Director Robert Redfield were in the audience to observe the doctors from Walter Reed hospital perform the injections.

Both men elbow-bumped Mike Pence and his wife after their jabs. President Trump did not attend the event.

Dr. Fauci said in brief remarks: “We want virtually everyone eligible to get this vaccine ultimately.

“By the time we get to several months into this [coming] year we will have enough people protected that we can start thinking seriously about the return to normality.”

Earlier this week, President Trump reversed a plan for senior members of his administration to be among the first to receive the vaccine “unless specifically necessary”.

The president, who contracted coronavirus in October and recovered after hospital treatment, said he was not scheduled to take the jab but looked forward to doing so “at the appropriate time”.

Many of his support base have doubts about the efficacy and safety of vaccines.

President-elect Joe Biden, who at 78 is in a high-risk group from Covid-19, is expected to be vaccinated next week.

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Image source: Getty Images

The US Covid-19 vaccination has began, as the country gears up for its largest ever immunization campaign.

Sandra Lindsay, an intensive care nurse in Long Island, New York, is believed to have been the first person to be given the vaccine.

Millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine are being distributed, with 150 hospitals expected to receive them on December 14.

The US vaccination program aims to reach 100 million people by April.

Covid-19 fatalities are nearing 300,000 in the US, which has by far the world’s highest death toll.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine received emergency-use authorization from the FDA on December 11.

President Donald Trump tweeted following the news from New York: “First Vaccine Administered. Congratulations USA! Congratulations WORLD!”

The roll-out of the vaccine comes as the epidemic continues to ravage the US. Deaths have been rising sharply since November and the number of people in hospital with the disease has also continued to grow steadily, with more than 109,000 people currently admitted, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

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Sandra Lindsay, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, received the vaccine live on camera. Footage was streamed on the Twitter feed of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose state was the epicenter of the US epidemic in the first wave earlier this year.

She said: “It didn’t feel any different from taking any other vaccine.

“I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history. I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe. We’re in a pandemic and so we all need to do our part.”

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine – a collaboration between a US pharmaceutical giant and a German biotechnology company – offers up to 95% protection and is the first Covid-19 vaccine to be approved by US regulators.

The vaccine is already being rolled out in the UK, while Canada is also beginning its inoculation program on December 14, with an initial 30,000 doses going to 14 sites across the country.

Anita Quidangen, a caregiver at the Rekai Centre nursing home in Toronto, was the first to receive the vaccine in Canada.

The first three million doses in the US are being distributed to dozens of locations across all 50 states by cargo plane and truck.

British and Russian scientists are teaming up to trial a combination of the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccines to see if protection against Covid-19 can be improved.

According to the researchers, mixing two similar vaccines could lead to a better immune response in people.

The trials, to be held in Russia, will involve over-18s, although it’s not clear how many people will be involved.

Oxford recently published results showing their vaccine was safe and effective in trials on people.

The researchers are still collecting data on the effectiveness of the vaccine in older age groups while waiting for approval from the UK regulator, the MHRA.

AstraZeneca said it was exploring combinations of different adenovirus vaccines to find out whether mixing them leads to a better immune response and, therefore, greater protection.

The Oxford vaccine, developed in partnership with AstraZeneca, and the Russian Sputnik vaccine, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute in Moscow, are similar because they both contain genetic material from the Sars-CoV-2 spike protein.

They work differently to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has been approved in the UK, Canada, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and recommended for approval by medical experts in the US.

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Early results from late-stage trials of the Russian vaccine have shown promising results.

Russia was the first country to register a Covid vaccine for emergency use – in August, despite only having been tested on a few dozen people.

Sputnik V is now being offered to Russians as part of a mass vaccination campaign.

AstraZeneca said it was “working with industry partners, governments and research institutions around the world, and will soon begin exploring with Gamaleya Research Institute in Russia to understand whether two adenovirus-based vaccines can be successfully combined”.

Joe Biden has vowed 100 million Covid-19 vaccinations in his first 100 days in office.

The president-elect said his first months in office would not end the outbreak and gave few details on a rollout plan but he said he would change the course of Covid-19.

Introducing his health team for when he takes office on January 20, Joe Biden urged Americans to “mask up for 100 days”.

On December 8, a report paved the way for a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be approved and rolled out for Americans.

Emergency authorization for its use could be issued by the FDA on December 10, with the country’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci saying mass vaccination could start as soon as next week.

Also on December 8, President Donald Trump attended a summit at the White House of his Covid-19 vaccination program, Operation Warp Speed, and hailed the expected approval of vaccines. His administration hopes to vaccinate as many as 24 million people by mid-January.

According to Johns Hopkins University research, the US has recorded more than 15 million cases so far and 285,000 deaths, both global highs.

Many parts of the US are seeing peak infections, with record numbers of people in hospital, with some experts blaming travel by millions over the recent Thanksgiving holiday.

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At a news conference in Delaware on December 8, Joe Biden laid out how he plans to address the pandemic in his first 100 days in office. That period is traditionally seen as a benchmark for new presidents to make their mark with new policies and ideas.

He vowed to get “at least 100 million Covid vaccine shots into the arms of the American people”.

Last week, Joe Biden complained he had been given no rollout plans by the Trump administration. Operation Warp Speed’s top scientist Moncef Slaoui has still to meet the Biden team and is expected to do so this week.

Getting children back to school would also be a priority, he said.

Joe Biden also introduced California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as his nomination for health secretary and his choice of Rochelle Walensky as head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Among his other aides will be Dr. Anthony Fauci as chief Covid medical adviser. The expert also advised the Trump team and often fell foul of the president for his views.

Getting 100 million vaccines to Americans in just over three months is not expected to be easy. The large geographical size of the US and the logistics of rolling out a new vaccine could present challenges in achieving the goal.

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Image source Wikimedia

Rudy Giuliani is being treated in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.

President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer is the latest person close to the president to be infected.

Since November, Rudy Giuliani, who has led the Trump campaign’s legal challenges to the election results, has been on a cross-country tour in an effort to convince state governments to overturn the vote.

Like other Trump officials, he has been criticized for shunning face masks.

President Trump, who got the virus in October, announced the diagnosis in a tweet, writing: “Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!”

The former New York mayor was admitted to the Medstar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington DC on December 6.

The news came after he had visited Arizona, Georgia and Michigan all in the past week – where he spoke to government officials while not wearing masks.

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Following news of Rudy Giuliani’s diagnosis, the Arizona legislature announced sudden plans to shut down for one week. Several Republican lawmakers there had spent over 10 hours with him last week discussing election results.

Following Rudy Giuliani’s visit to Phoenix, Arizona, the state’s Republican party tweeted a photo of him with other mask-less state lawmakers.

In a tweet, the 76-year-old thanked well-wishers for their messages, and said he was “recovering quickly”.

He wrote: “Thank you to all my friends and followers for all the prayers and kind wishes. I’m getting great care and feeling good. Recovering quickly and keeping up with everything.”

Rudy Giuliani’s son, who works at the White House and tested positive for the virus last month, tweeted that his father was “resting, getting great care and feeling well”.

He wrote: “My Dad @RudyGiuliani is resting, getting great care and feeling well. Thank you to all the friends who have reached out concerned about his well being.”

On December 6, Dr Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, criticized the Trump administration for flouting guidelines and peddling “myths” about the pandemic.

She told NBC: “I hear community members parroting back those situations, parroting back that masks don’t work, parroting back that we should work towards herd immunity.”

“This is the worst event that this country will face,” she said.

Dozens of people in President Trump’s orbit are said to have tested positive for Covid-19 since October.

Boris Epshteyn, another Trump adviser, tested positive shortly after appearing alongside Rudy Giuliani at a news conference on November 25.

Others include the president’s chief of staff Mark Meadows and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, along with First Lady Melania Trump and sons Donald Jr. and Baron.

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Image source Wikimedia

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has tested positive for Covid-19, the president has announced.

The president tweeted: “Get better soon Rudy, we will carry on!”

Rudy Giuliani, who has been leading the Trump campaign’s legal challenges to the 2020 election results, is the latest person in the president’s inner circle to be infected.

President Trump and his team have been criticized for shunning safety guidance. He got ill in October.

Nearly 14.6 million people have been infected with Covid-19 in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University, and 281,234 people have died – the highest figures of any country in the world.

On December 6, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force co-ordinator, criticized the Trump administration for flouting guidelines and peddling “myths” about the pandemic.

She told NBC: “I hear community members parroting back those situations, parroting back that masks don’t work, parroting back that we should work towards herd immunity.”

“This is the worst event that this country will face,” she said.

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Rudy Giuliani, 76, has not commented publicly on his diagnosis.

It is not clear whether the former New York mayor is experiencing symptoms, whether he is self-isolating or when he caught the virus.

Since the November 3 election, Rudy Giuliani has travelled the country as part of efforts to overturn Donald Trump’s election defeat. During many of his events, he was seen without a face mask and ignoring social distancing.

On December 3, he travelled to Georgia where he repeated unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud at a Senate committee hearing about election security.

Dozens of people in Trump’s orbit are said to have tested positive for Covid-19 since October, including his chief of staff Mark Meadows and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

First Lady Melania Trump and sons Donald Jr. and Baron also contracted the virus.

President Trump’s own diagnosis upended his unsuccessful campaign for a second term in office, less than a month before he faced Joe Biden in the presidential election.

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Image source: AP

President-elect Joe Biden has announced he will ask Americans to wear masks for his first 100 days in office to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

Joe Biden told CNN he believed there would be a “significant reduction” in Covid-19 cases if every American wore a face covering.

He also said he would order masks to be worn in all government buildings.

The US has recorded 14.1 million cases and 276,000 deaths from Covid-19 – the highest of any country in the world.

Joe Biden is preparing to take office as pharmaceutical giants are poised to ship millions of doses of coronavirus vaccines to the American public.

In his first joint interview with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris since the election, Joe Biden said: “The first day I’m inaugurated to say I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask. Just 100 days to mask, not forever. One hundred days.

“And I think we’ll see a significant reduction if we occur that, if that occurs with vaccinations and masking to drive down the numbers considerably.” 

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The first 100 days of a new presidency is symbolically important in the US and is seen as a gauge of how a president will get things done.

However, constitutional experts say the president has no legal authority to order Americans to wear masks, but Joe Biden said during the interview he and his Vice-President Kamala Harris would set an example by donning face coverings.

The president’s executive authority does cover US government property, and Joe Biden told CNN he intended to exercise such power.

He said: “I’m going to issue a standing order that in federal buildings you have to be masked.”

He added: “Transportation, interstate transportation, you must be masked, airplanes and buses, et cetera.”

US airlines, airports and most public transit systems already require all passengers and workers to wear face coverings.

The Trump administration has rejected calls from American health experts to mandate masks in transportation as “overly restrictive”.

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Donald Trump Jr. has tested positive for coronavirus, according to his spokesman.

President Donald Trump’s oldest son was diagnosed at the start of this week and has been quarantining at his hunting cabin since the result, the spokesman said.

The statement said: “He’s been completely asymptomatic so far and is following all medically recommended Covid-19 guidelines.”

Donald Trump Jr., 42, is the second of the president’s children to test positive.

Barron Trump, 14, was also diagnosed last month, but made a swift recovery.

A firebrand speaker, Don Jr. played a major role in his father’s presidential campaign.

There has also been speculation that Donald Jr. is interested in running for the White House, conjecture he hasn’t tried to tamp down.

His partner, Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News host, tested positive for the disease in July, and also recovered. He apparently did not contract the infection at the time.

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Earlier on November 20, Andrew Giuliani, a special assistant to President Donald Trump, announced he had tested positive for coronavirus.

Andrew Giuliani, the son of the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, tweeted that he was experiencing mild symptoms after receiving his positive test on November 20.

According to CBS News, at least four other White House aides have tested positive for Covid-19 in a new outbreak there.

Earlier this month, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was among several aides who tested positive for the infection. https://emp.bbc.com/emp/SMPj/2.36.3/iframe.html President Trump spent three nights in hospital at the beginning of October after being hit by Covid-19. First Lady Melania Trump also had a bout of the infection.

Last month, Donald Trump Jr. was criticized for downplaying the US coronavirus death toll.

In an interview with Fox News, he argued that the media was focusing on the caseload, while ignoring the mortality rate.

Donald Trump Jr. said: “I was like, ‘Well, why aren’t they talking about deaths?’ Oh, oh, because the number is almost nothing. Because we’ve gotten control of this, and we understand how it works.”

The virus has infected 11.8 million Americans and killed more than 253,000.

On November 20 alone, 192,000 people tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

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According to recent reports, Prince William contracted Covid-19 earlier this year.

It is believed the Duke of Cambridge tested positive in April at a similar time to his father, Prince Charles.

According to the Sun, which first reported the story, Prince William, 38, kept his diagnosis private to avoid alarming the nation.

Kensington Palace, the office and home of Prince William, refused to comment officially.

According to the Sun, Prince William, second in line to the throne, did not tell anyone about his positive test result because “there were important things going on and I didn’t want to worry anyone”.

The prince was treated by palace doctors and followed government guidelines by isolating at the family home Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, the paper added.

He reportedly carried out 14 telephone and video call engagements during April.

Prince Charles contracted coronavirus in March and spent seven days self-isolating in Scotland after displaying mild symptoms.

At the time, the Duchess of Cornwall tested negative for the virus and self-isolated for 14 days.

Prince Chrles, 71, later said he “got away with it quite lightly”.

During his first public engagement after recovering from coronavirus, the Prince of Wales said he had not fully regained his sense of taste and smell.

In April, PM Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital after testing positive for the virus.

The prime minister was moved to intensive care and later thanked healthcare workers for saving his life, saying it “could have gone either way”.

News of Prince William’s diagnosis comes days before England is due to enter a second national lockdown, with four-week measures to start on November 5.

On November 1, the UK recorded another 23,254 confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 1,034,914.

Another 162 people were reported to have died within 28 days of a positive test. It brings the total number of UK deaths to 46,717.

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President Donald Trump’s son Barron had Covid-19 but has since tested negative, First Lady Melania Trump revealed.

Melania Trump said her “fear came true” when 14-year-old Barron tested positive for the new coronavirus.

However, the first lady said, “luckily he is a strong teenager and exhibited no symptoms”.

Both the president and first lady also tested positive for coronavirus – as well as other White House staff – but have since recovered.

At a rally in Des Moines, Iowa, President Trump said: “He [Barron] had it for such a short period of time.”

The president said his son had had a mild case of the virus: “I don’t even think he knew he had it because they’re young and their immune systems are strong and they fight it off.”

He added: “Barron is beautiful and he is free.”

President Trump cited his son’s recovery as a reason why American schools should reopen as soon as possible, a move opposed by teachers’ unions who fear their members could be infected by students.

He told the crowd: “Barron’s tested positive. Within, like, two seconds it was Barron is just fine now. He’s tested negative, right?

“Because it happens. People have it and it goes. Get the kids back to school.”

Melania Trump revealed Barron’s positive test result in an essay entitled “My Personal Experience with Covid-19” on the White House website.

After the first lady and the president received their positive results two weeks ago, she said “naturally, my mind went immediately to our son”.

Melania Trump said it was a “great relief” when Barron initially tested negative, but was concerned he would later test positive for the virus.

“My fear came true when he was tested again and it came up positive,” she said, adding that Barron exhibited no symptoms.

“In one way I was glad the three of us went through this at the same time so we could take care of one another and spend time together,” the first lady wrote.

Melania Trump also reflected on her own diagnosis. She said she experienced a “roller coaster of symptoms”, including body aches, a cough and fatigue.

“I chose to go a more natural route in terms of medicine, opting more for vitamins and healthy food,” she wrote.

In her statement, Melania Trump also said the “most impactful part” of her recovery was “the opportunity to reflect on many things – family, friendships, my work, and staying true to who you are”.

She said she would be resuming her duties as soon as she could.

While the first lady remained in the White House, President Trump spent three days at Maryland’s Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after his own Covid-19 diagnosis. He received a number of different drug treatments, including dexamethasone, a steroid, antiviral treatment remdesivir and monoclonal antibody therapy.

The president’s personal doctor said on October 11 that he was no longer a Covid transmission risk to others, and he returned to the campaign trail on October 12, telling supporters he felt “powerful”.

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An event at the White House on September 26, for the unveiling of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, was thought to be the root of the localized outbreak of coronavirus.

The White House press secretary, former Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway and two senators were among the people around the president who tested positive for the virus.

Opinion polls suggest President Trump is trailing his Democratic opponent Joe Biden barely three weeks before the November 3 presidential election, but polling is close in several key states.

Joe Biden did not have any public campaign events on October 14, but held a virtual fundraiser and delivered taped remarks to an American Muslim association. The Biden campaign announced that it had raised a record-breaking $383 million in September.

The Democrat was expected to spend much of the day preparing for October 15, when he and President Trump will take part in rival televised town hall-style events.

The two candidates have struck different tones on the pandemic, with President Trump downplaying its severity and Joe Biden criticizing him for not encouraging Americans to wear masks and social distance.

The US has recorded more than 7.8 million coronavirus cases and more than 215,000 deaths – the highest figures of any country in the world.

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Nearly 6,000 scientists and health experts have joined the Great Barrington Declaration – a global movement warning of “grave concerns” about Covid-19 lockdown policies.

They say the approach is having a devastating impact on physical and mental health as well as society.

Experts are calling for protection to be focused on the vulnerable, while healthy people get on with their lives.

The declaration has prompted warnings by others in the scientific community.

Critics have pointed out that a more targeted approach could make it difficult to protect vulnerable people entirely and the risk of long-term complications from coronavirus mean many others are also at risk.

The movement – known as the Great Barrington Declaration – started in the US.

The declaration has now been signed by nearly 6,000 scientists and medical experts across the globe as well as 50,000 members of the public.

They say keeping the lockdown policies in place until a vaccine is available would cause “irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed”.

The health harms cited include lower childhood vaccination rates and worsening care for heart disease and cancer patients.

They point out the risk from coronavirus is 1,000 times greater for the old and infirm, with children more at risk from flu than Covid-19.

As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls, they say.

This would be a much more “compassionate” approach.

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The declaration recommends a number of measures to protect the vulnerable, including regular testing of care-home workers, with a move as far as possible towards using staff who have acquired immunity.

Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered, it says.

When possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside.

Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick, should be practiced by everyone.

However, young low-risk individuals should be allowed to work normally, schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching, sports and cultural activities could resume and restaurants reopen.

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Image source Flickr

President Donald Trump has been released from hospital and returned to the White House to continue his treatment for coronavirus after a three-night hospital stay.

The president, who is still contagious, removed his mask on the balcony of the White House, while posing for pictures.

Donald Trump’s physician said he would continue treatment from there, and he “may not entirely be out of the woods yet”.

Several of President Trump’s staff and aides have also tested positive for the virus in recent days.

Questions remain over the seriousness of the president’s illness after a weekend of conflicting statements.

The US remains the country worst-hit by Covid-19, with 210,000 deaths and 7.4 million cases.

President Trump’s diagnosis has upended his campaign for a second term in office, less than a month before the Republican president faces Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the presidential election.

Wearing a navy business suit, tie and mask, President Trump walked out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the Washington DC suburbs on Monday evening pumping his fist.

After a short helicopter ride, the president was pictured alone on the Truman Balcony of the White House. He removed his protective face mask, before giving a thumbs-up and a military-style salute.

A couple of hours later, he tweeted a campaign-style clip of his return set to stirring music.

President Trump also recorded a video message, urging Americans to get back to work.

“You’re going to beat it [coronavirus],” he told them.

“We’re going to be out front. As your leader, I had to do that. I knew there’s danger to it, but I had to do it. I stood out front, and led.”

President Trump also speculated: “Now I’m better, maybe I’m immune, I don’t know”.

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President Trump Flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Center

President Trump and First Lady Test Positive for Covid-19

The WHO says it is too early to know if people who have recovered from Covid-19 are protected from a second infection, and if so, how long this protection might last. President Trump’s own medical team does not consider him to be fully recovered yet.

He also promised that vaccines were “coming momentarily”, although the CDC has said no vaccine is expected to be widely available before the middle of next year.

Before leaving hospital, President Trump told Americans in a tweet not to fear the disease and said he would be back on the campaign trail “soon”.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden said he was “glad” the president appeared to be “coming along pretty well”.

However, Joe Biden criticized President Trump, saying: “Anybody who contracts the virus by essentially saying masks don’t matter, social distancing doesn’t matter, I think is responsible for what happens to them.”

According to US public health guidelines, President Trump should remain in isolation for up to 10 days after symptoms first appear. The White House says the president first started to appear ill on October 1, and later tested positive.

His physician, Dr. Sean Conley, said on October 5 that the president, whose oxygen levels dipped twice over the weekend, would be “surrounded by world-class medical care 24/7” at the White House.

Dr. Conely refused to answer questions about when President Trump last received a negative test or to go into the specifics of his treatment. He would not offer details regarding the president’s scans to check for pneumonia, citing patient protection laws.

Image source Flickr

President Donald Trump has been flown to Walter Reed Military Hospital for treatment after testing positive for coronavirus.

The president tweeted after his arrival: “Going well, I think!”

According to recent reports, his symptoms include a low-grade fever.

President Trump has so far been treated with an experimental drug cocktail injection and the antiviral medication remdesivir after both he and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19.

In exactly one month, President Trump faces Joe Biden in the presidential election.

His diagnosis has upended his campaign and also cast doubt on his attempt to get a new Supreme Court judge confirmed before polling day.

The latest update from President Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, in a memorandum late on October 2, read: “I am happy to report the president is doing very well.”

He said the president was not in need of supplemental oxygen.

President Trump was taken to hospital “out of an abundance of caution” with “mild symptoms” and would be there for the “next few days”, the White House said.

The list of other people to have tested positive around the president include close aide Hope Hicks – believed to be the first to show symptoms – campaign manager Bill Stepien and former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. Republican Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis have also tested positive.

President Trump and First Lady Test Positive for Covid-19

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President Donald Trump remains in charge. VP Mike Pence, to whom under the constitution the president would transfer power temporarily should he become too ill to carry out his duties, tested negative.

Wearing a mask and suit, President Trump walked out across the White House lawn on October 2 at 18:15 to his helicopter, Marine One, for the short flight to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center close to Washington DC.

He waved and gave a thumbs-up to reporters but said nothing before boarding the aircraft.

In an 18-second video posted to Twitter, President Trump said: “I think I’m doing very well. But we’re going to make sure that things work out. The first lady is doing very well. So thank you very much.”

Ivanka and Eric Trump re-tweeted his post, praising him as a “warrior”. Ivanka Trump added: “I love you dad.”

Donald  Trump Jr. said his father was “obviously taking it very seriously”.

The president was admitted to the presidential suite at Walter Reed, which is where US presidents usually have their annual check-up.

Shortly before midnight, he tweeted again: “Going well, I think! Thank you to all. LOVE!!!”

Dr. Sean Conley, said the president was “not requiring any supplemental oxygen, but in consultation with specialists we have elected to initiate remdesivir therapy. He has completed his first dose and is resting comfortably”.

Tests have shown remdesivir, originally developed as an Ebola treatment, disrupts the new coronavirus’s ability to duplicate and can cut the duration of symptoms.

On October 2, Dr. Conley said President Trump had “as a precautionary measure received an 8g dose of Regeneron’s antibody cocktail” at the White House.

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Edificio Metropolis

Spain’s federal government has imposed new restrictions on more than three million people living in Madrid as the country tries to control the most serious second wave of Covid-19 infections in Europe.

From this weekend, people living in the Spain’s capital can travel outside their home districts for essential journeys only.

Bars and restaurants cannot serve after 10PM. A maximum of six people are permitted to meet in any setting.

The measures have been demanded by Spain’s federal government.

They also take effect in nine towns around Madrid.

The restrictions have been resisted by Madrid’s city authorities, which tried to use the courts to block their imposition. Madrid’s justice minister said it would cost the capital’s economy €8 billion and regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso wrote on Twitter: “Thanks for the chaos, [Prime Minister] Pedro Sánchez.”

Signs of the second wave of coronavirus infections now breaking over Spain can be seen at the emergency admission unit of the 12 de Octubre hospital, one of the biggest in Madrid.

Every hour ambulances arrive with new patients.

Some of the patients are helped into wheelchairs; others, already needing oxygen, have to be stretchered in by medical staff wearing full protective gear.

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A red warning signal indicating the seriousness of Spain’s predicament is that, at many hospitals across Madrid, existing ICU’s are again full with Covid-19 patients.

Hospitals are being forced to use overflow capacity prepared at the height of the pandemic, including beds usually reserved for burns patients and for post-operative recovery.

At La Paz Hospital, another of Madrid’s biggest, all 30 ICU critical care beds are occupied.

Some 10,000 new Covid-19 cases are now being identified in Spain each day.

On October 2, there were 11,325 new infections and 113 deaths.

Around one in four of all tests being done have been coming back positive, another warning signal about the prevalence of the new coronavirus.

Image source Wikimedia

President Donald Trump has announced that he and First Lady Melania Trump have tested positive for Covid-19 and are now in quarantine.

Donald Trump, aged 74, and therefore in a high-risk group, tweeted: Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”

It comes after Hope Hicks, one of the president’s closest aides, tested positive.

President Trump’s announcement comes just over a month before the presidential elections on November 3 where he faces Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Hope Hicks, 31, travelled with President Trump on Air Force One to the first presidential TV debate with Joe Biden in Ohio on September 29. Some of Donald Trump’s family members who attended the debate were seen not wearing masks.

President Trump has mostly spurned mask-wearing and has often been pictured not socially distanced with aides or others during official engagements.

More than 7.2 million Americans have been infected so far and the new coronavirus killed more than 200,000 of them.

Donald Trump’s physician, Dr. Sean Conley, released a statement on October 1, saying the president and the first lady were “both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence”.

“Rest assured I expect the president to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments,” the statement said.

The physician provided no further details.

According to President Trump’s most recent physical examination earlier this year, he weighed 244lb. This is considered to be obese for his height of 6.3ft.

However, Dr Conley stated at the time that the president “remains healthy”. President Trump will also have the best medical care available.

The CDC says a person must go in quarantine for 10 days after a positive test.

President Trump said he and his wife, who is 50, were going into quarantine after Hope Hicks’s positive test.

The president tweeted: “Hope Hicks, who has been working so hard without even taking a small break, has just tested positive for Covid 19. Terrible!

“The First Lady and I are waiting for our test results. In the meantime, we will begin our quarantine process!”

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It is not clear how President Trump’s positive test will affect arrangements for the second presidential debate, which is scheduled for October 15 in Miami, Florida.

Donald Trump is not the first world leader to have tested positive. Earlier this year, British PM Boris Johnson and Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro were infected. They both have since recovered, although Boris Johnson had to receive regular oxygen treatment to help his breathing during hospitalization.

In May, VP Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller tested positive and later recovered.

That same month, a member of the US Navy who was serving as one of President Trump’s personal valets tested positive.

The White House said at the time that neither the president nor vice-president were affected.

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, a number of Secret Service agents, a Marine One pilot and a White House cafeteria worker have also tested positive.

The White House tests aides and anyone else who comes into contact with the president daily.

Trials of Astra Zeneca’s and Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine will resume after being paused due to a reported side effect in a patient in the UK.

On September 8, AstraZeneca said the studies were being paused while it investigated whether the adverse reaction was linked with the vaccine.

However, on September 12, Oxford University said it had been deemed safe to continue.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock welcomed the news that the trials would resume.

He said: “This pause shows we will always put safety first. We will back our scientists to deliver an effective vaccine as soon as safely possible.”

Oxford University said in a statement that it was “expected” that “some participants will become unwell” in large trials such as this one.

The university added that the studies could now resume following the recommendations of an independent safety review committee and the UK regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

It would not disclose information about the patient’s illness for confidentiality reasons.

However, the New York Times reported that a volunteer in the UK trial had been diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammatory syndrome that affects the spinal cord and can be caused by viral infections.

The WHO says nearly 180 vaccine candidates are being tested around the world but none has yet completed clinical trials.

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Hopes have been high that the vaccine might be one of the first to come on the market, following successful Phase 1 and 2 testing.

The move to Phase 3 testing in recent weeks has involved some 30,000 participants in the US as well as in the UK, South Africa and Brazil. Phase 3 trials in vaccines often involve thousands of participants and can last several years.

According to official figures released on September 12, a further 3,497 people have tested positive with the virus in the UK. It is the second day in a row that number of daily reported cases has exceeded 3,000.

It brings the overall number of confirmed cases so far to 365,174. Meanwhile, the government figures revealed that a further nine people have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bring the UK death toll to 41,623.

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Photo Getty Images

Before the worldwide COVID virus pandemic hit in early 2020, retail gasoline prices were already relatively low compared to the prior four years. But once the historically unique economic impact of the virus sank in, the cost of a gallon of fuel dropped by about 50 percent for most consumers. Plus, that entire and massive plunge in value took place within a four-week window of time. Necessity of the mother of invention, as the old saying goes. In this case, millions of individual investors started thinking about investment opportunities in oil, assuming COVID wouldn’t last forever and that per-gallon costs would eventually bounce back.

It’s important for every investor to understand the way the health crisis affect the fuel market, who some of the key players are, how the overall economic shutdown is continuing to change the world, and what at the pump prices are likely to do in the near future. The good news for people who wish to turn a crisis into an opportunity is that oil prices still have room to rise before they’re back at pre-crisis levels. Anyone who wants to know how to buy crude oil should consider such diverse methods as ETFs (exchange-traded funds), corporate stocks, futures, options, and CFDs (contracts for difference).

The COVID Effect on Recent Prices

Why did a worldwide virus lead to a huge drop in the price of crude, and by extension, gasoline? The primary factor was economic shutdown, which took place in most developing and developed nations. With millions of people either not working or doing their jobs from home, there was a gigantic drop in the need for vehicle fuel, which meant an over-supply situation. Like a 1,000-pound boulder in a pond, the value of the world’s most preferred fossil fuel sank about 50 percent within a couple of weeks.

The Iran Effect

Political turmoil in producer nations can lead to unusual changes in the energy markets, as the recent Iranian situation clearly demonstrates. After the U.S. pulled out of a large international coalition and decided to impose trading sanctions on Iran, the market reacted quickly, anticipating a possible oil shortage if Iran decides to cut production in retaliation for the U.S. move. For at least 30 years, the volatile leadership in Iran has wreaked havoc on the worldwide energy markets, which is one reason investors always keep a close eye on that nation’s financial news.

OPEC+ and Russia

There has been a recent change at the top of the global energy-producing hierarchy. For decades, Saudi Arabia, as the leading member of OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), was in near-total control of international supply. However, OPEC is now only number three in a trio of the globe’s top petroleum producers, which includes the U.S. at the top and Russia in the second spot. But investors should remember that OPEC still has a lot of power because its members act in unison, while U.S. and Russian producers do not.

The Economic Shutdown

In the second half of 2019, the per-barrel cost of crude petroleum sat at about the $55 mark. Now that the virus effect is slowing, that $55 level is still about $12 above the current $43 cost. That’s good news for anyone who still wants to take part in what could be a rise back to the normal, or at least pre-crisis values.

Prices at the Gas Pump

For consumers who worry about their monthly transportation budgets, there is an upside and a downside. As the national and world economies rebound and employment numbers get back to financially healthy levels, the price of petrol at the pump is also going back to its 2019 averages, slowly but surely.

For Investors to Consider

Before heading to your favorite trading platform to place orders for fuel-based CFDs, futures, and industry stock shares, consider some key facts about recent price activity and industry behavior, including the following:

  • Since 2014, the price, in U.S. dollars, of a barrel of crude oil dropped from $104 to $30.
  • The huge fall in per-barrel values were only partly due to COVID-related factors.
  • The new trio of top producers, the U.S., Russia, and OPEC are the predominant influencers behind global production and supply.
  • When the world economy is doing well, per-barrel prices usually go up due to increased industrial demand.
  • Natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes can have profound temporary effects on the industry.
  • At-the-pump costs for consumers are affected by at least a half-dozen factors, including retail demand, inflation, supplies, economic headlines in producing countries, and political turmoil. That makes it difficult to predict future market behavior.

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2020 has become a year of radical change, shifts in perspective, and the sobering reminder that all of us are mortal, prone to disease and ailments that can, and sometimes will end our lives. From wildfires engulfing en entire continent to political scandals, a biblical plague, and everything in between, the term “dumpster fire” doesn’t even begin to cover the year 2020.

Most of us take a few major events per year in stride. That’s just how it goes, right? Things happen, people die, and the world keeps turning. So, why are you feeling extra emotional this year? Could it be that there’s more to it? Perhaps these new changes are more traumatic than we might have thought. Why am I so emotional? Let’s look closer at some of the reasons you might be feeling more emotional than usual.

1. Can You Say…COVID?

COVID-19 came sweeping out of the east with a fury no one saw coming (except everyone did, just not the US). If you’re in the United States, you’re probably still feeling terrified of the virus, which has claimed more than 160,000 peoples’ lives and continues to spread, despite areas of the world being in recovery.

With five million confirmed cases and counting, the end of the COVID crisis is nowhere in sight for the United States, and experts are suggesting that we may experience a resurgence as winter approaches. How can one not feel emotional under these circumstances? We feel neglected by our leaders, uncertain of the future, and afraid to even visit a grocery store for fear of catching the virus.

The hierarchy of needs comes into play here. Maslow suggests that all people have a hierarchy of needs, and until the basic needs are met, you can’t be creative, happy, or fulfilled. These basic needs are physiological needs (food, air, water, etc.), safety needs (personal security, employment, resources, health), and then love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.

Notice how safety and things like food and air come before everything else. If your most basic needs aren’t met, it’s incredibly difficult to feel safe or satisfied; and lets’ be honest, none of us are feeling very safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Social Media

The unfortunate truth about our favorite way to connect with friends, family, and our favorite brands is that it may not be a healthy habit to engage in. Studies have shown that people who spend a lot of time on social media tend to suffer from lower self-esteem, a sense of sadness or even depression, and increased social withdrawal. That’s a bit alarming, no doubt, but there’s a good chance your social media usage has increased during quarantine.

Social media can be a stressful place. Not only are you seeing doctored versions of everyone else’s lives (that always seem to look “better”), but you’re also getting a ton of misinformation on things like COVID restrictions. How can anyone feel good getting bombarded with conflicting information, political opinions, and Jane’s constant posting about how amazing her life is?

Cutting down on social media might actually help improve your mental health and help you through this year without having a major breakdown. We all miss our friends and family, but there are plenty of other ways to stay connected until we can meet in-person once more.

3. Life Brought Into Perspective

Major traumatic events often have the effect of bringing life into sharp focus. When mortality comes knocking, and the threat of illness and potential death lingers in the air like a foul stench, we tend to look back on our lives and take measure of what we’ve done; and everything we haven’t. For some, this means facing mistakes or decisions that have potentially led to happiness or unfulfillment. For others, this means getting their act together and finally deciding to get that degree, ask that girl out, or just do better for themselves.

There’s no guarantee that we’ll have a future. Even tomorrow isn’t something we can be sure of, but if COVID has taught us anything, it’s that life is short. Too short to waste on petty quarrels, pointless scrolling online, and other trifles. If reflecting on your life has caused you to feel sad, unfulfilled, or generally unhappy with where you’re at, now’s the time to make some important choices to ensure the rest of your life is exactly what you want.

4. The News

Fear-based media; what is it? To properly explain it, we’d need an entire article. Luckily, this article explains the concept in-depth. The basic premise is that fear sells papers, column inches, and keeps people coming back for more. If you’ve ever watched the news, you’ll notice it’s riddled with fear-based headlines, commentary, and a general focus on the negative. Why? Because it preys on the anxieties we all have.

This year has been a treasure trove of fear for the mainstream media. If you’ve been watching the news consistently, you’re probably starting to feel the effects of this fear-mongering, to the detriment of your mental health. Yes, you should still keep yourself informed, but where you get your information is just as important as the information itself.

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Press release 

The City of Houston wants to keep critical safety information about the coronavirus pandemic a secret. Wait till you find out one of the reasons why.

Dolcefino Consulting asked for records on any events or locations where contract tracers found community spread.  It was part of our investigation into any real evidence Houston bars had been linked to coronavirus outbreaks. We didn’t ask for patient information, just locations, like the huge protest rallies downtown and other large gatherings.

The City of Houston Legal Department and the City Attorney are now refusing to tell you where coronavirus outbreaks have happened. Why? One reason, according to the City, is Homeland Security.

“The release of this information could alert a criminal or terrorist to potential vulnerabilities in the Cities emergency response plan to COVID-19,” said City Attorney Rebekah Wendt. Wendt went on to claim that the release of certain information could “allow a criminal or terrorist to have intimate details concerning the City’s evolving plans to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and allow them to exacerbate COVID-19 and future disasters.” 

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Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is also keeping the contact tracing results a secret, even though the taxpayers are the people footing the bill. In the span of just two hours, the County Health Department claimed they had no records of congregate settings related to the coronavirus. An hour and a half later, the County Health Department did admit that they had records but claimed that they were too busy with the spread of the coronavirus to tell us where the coronavirus was spreading.

“On one hand we have a statewide order and a local order telling us that we have to wear masks to wear masks to control the spread of the coronavirus and we are spending millions of dollars to try to keep people safe but meanwhile our local government won’t tell us which places we need to avoid,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.

“The public has every right to evaluate how the government is handling this pandemic and the City of Houston and Harris County Health Department should be ashamed of themselves.”

New lockdown measures have been imposed in the Australian state of Victoria after a surge in coronavirus infections.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the restrictions would come into effect on August 2 at 18:00.

Under the new rules, residents of the state capital Melbourne will be subject to a night-time curfew.

Melbourne’s stay-at-home order will be enhanced, giving residents fewer exemptions for leaving home.

Residents will not be allowed to travel further than 3 miles from their home, exercise will be restricted to once a day, and one person will be able to go shopping for essentials at a time.

After early success in suppressing the new coronavirus, Australia has had fewer cases than many other countries, recording about 17,000 infections and 200 deaths.

However, cases are rising rapidly in Victoria, accounting for many of Australia’s new infections in recent weeks, promoting the return of lockdown restrictions in early July.

Imagine de Pete Linforth de la Pixabay

Coronavirus: Australia in Nationwide Shutdown

Coronavirus: Melbourne Begins Second Lockdown

On August 2, Victoria reported 671 new Covid-19 cases and seven deaths. Those increases brought the totals to 11,557 infections and 123 deaths.

PM Andrews said the lockdown measures introduced in Victoria – Australia’s second most populous state – were working but too slowly.

“We must do more. We must go harder. It’s the only way we’ll get to the other side of this,” he said at a news conference.

He said the changes to lockdown rules announced on August 2 will remain in place until at least September 13.

PM Andrews said Melbourne will move into stage-four restrictions on August 2, placing further limits on the movement of people.

That will include a night-time curfew, which will be implemented across Melbourne from 20:00 to 05:00 from August 2.

The only reasons for leaving home during these hours will be work, medical care or care-giving.

Melbourne residents will only be allowed to shop and exercise within 3 miles of their home. Exercise outside of the home will only be allowed for one hour at a time.

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Thousands of protesters have gathered in the German capital Berlin to demonstrate against the country’s coronavirus restrictions.

Protesters said measures including the wearing of facemasks violated their rights and freedoms.

Police broke up the protest, saying organizers had not respected coronavirus hygiene regulations.

Germany has been less badly affected by the pandemic than some European countries, but cases are rising.

On July 31, Germany recorded more than 900 new cases and seven deaths.

According to officials, about 20,000 people attended the Berlin protest on August 1.

Organizers had declared August 1 a “day of freedom” from months of coronavirus restrictions.

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Demonstrators held up banners featuring such slogans as “Corona, false alarm” and “We are being forced to wear a muzzle”.

Some participants were from the far right and some were conspiracy theorists who do not believe Covid-19 exists, but others were ordinary people who simply object to the government’s approach to the pandemic.

Police ordered demonstrators to disperse at the end of the afternoon. They said they had launched legal action against organizers for not respecting coronavirus hygiene rules.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn criticized people for failing to adhere to regulations, including the 1.5m (5ft) social distancing requirement.

“Yes, demonstrations should be allowed even amid the pandemic. But not like this,” he wrote on Twitter.

Social distancing rules and hygiene requirements apply throughout Germany, and people must wear face-coverings in shops and on public transport. Mandatory testing has been introduced for holidaymakers returning from high-risk areas.

Germany has had more than 210,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 9,000 related deaths since the pandemic began.