Steve July 25, 2020
44 min ago

Brazil’s president tests negative for coronavirus

From CNN’s Tatiana Arias

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro says he has tested negative for coronavirus on Saturday, according to a tweet he sent.

“RT-PCR for Sars-Cov 2: negative. Good day to all,” Bolsonaro tweeted.

Some context: On Wednesday, the Brazilian president said he tested positive for the third time after announcing on July 7 that he was infected.

1 hr 18 min ago

England’s gyms and indoor pools reopen

From CNN’s Hilary McGann

Gyms and indoor swimming pools in England reopened on Saturday for the first time since restrictions were imposed in March amid the pandemic.

Facilities reopened with social distancing measures in place, complying with official government guidance that says venues should keep “as many people as possible appropriately distanced from those they do not live with.” 

The reopening comes as England continues to ease lockdown measures.

On Friday, face masks in the country became mandatory in shops, supermarkets, banks, post offices, enclosed transport hubs and shopping malls.

The UK has recorded 45,762 coronavirus-related deaths, the third highest fatality toll globally, according to Johns Hopkins University.

1 hr 47 min ago

MIT researchers create reusable face mask that works like an N95 respirator

From CNN’s Scottie Andrew

Nurses and doctors have gone to creative extremes to reuse the same masks, gloves and scrubs they need to treat contagious coronavirus patients. But if a prototype mask created by researchers proves widely effective, it may be a safer alternative for health care workers.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston have developed the iMASC, a new silicone mask that can be safely reused without fear of contamination. Researchers still need to analyze how effectively it catches viral particles, but it’s a promising step toward addressing the critical health care supply shortages.

The iMASC offers a level of protection comparable to N95 respirator masks, its creators say. That’s partially because it uses an N95 filter without all the additional material of N95 masks that catches particles.

The masks are based on the shape of a typical N95 mask, too, but they’re made with a silicone rubber that can be sterilized after each use. The dual filters that cover the mouth can be replaced after each use, too, the researchers said.

Read more here.

2 hr 17 min ago

These are some of the 91,000 people who’ve died since the US reopened

From CNN’s Jacque Smith and Christina Zdanowicz

Ninety-one thousand.

Ninety-one thousand lives snatched by an unrelenting pandemic since the first state in the US reopened on April 24.

Ninety-one thousand whose dreams were cut short, plans ended prematurely.

Each one a son or daughter. Someone’s uncle. A best friend. A person who left others to grieve, cry and try to carry on.

Read their stories here.

2 hr 47 min ago

Emirates airline will cover medical expenses if passengers catch Covid-19

From CNN’s Maureen O’Hare

Mark Evans/Stringer/Getty Images
Mark Evans/Stringer/Getty Images

Emirates, the United Arab Emirates flag carrier, has become the world’s first airline to offer to cover customers’ medical expenses and quarantine costs should they contract Covid-19 during their trip.

The airline will pay medical expenses up to €150,000 ($173,000) and quarantine costs of up to €100 for 14 days, should they be diagnosed with coronavirus during their travel, while away from home.

The cover will be available to all customers, at no extra cost, from now until October 31, 2020. It’s valid for 31 days from the moment they fly the first leg of their trip, so passengers can continue to have the benefit even if they travel onwards from their Emirates destination.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates group chairman and chief executive, said in a statement: “Emirates has worked hard to put in place measures at every step of the customer journey to mitigate risk of infection, and we have also revamped our booking policies to offer flexibility.

“We are now taking it to the next level, by being the first in the industry to offer our customers free global cover for Covid-19 medical expenses and quarantine costs should they incur these costs during their travel.”

Read more here.

3 hr 16 min ago

Covid-19 is shaping how weather experts issue hurricane forecasts

From CNN’s Allison Chinchar

The US National Hurricane Center and other NOAA agencies are among those essential organizations that are trying to protect their employees from Covid-19 so they can keep working and putting out life-saving information for American families.

The problem isn’t so much with normal, day-to-day operations, but rather with big events, when staffing at National Weather Service (NWS) offices can often double or triple what it normally is.

“Normal staff for our office is about 2-4 people depending on the shift, but during big events such as tornado outbreaks and tropical systems our staff could surge to 7-8 people,” explains Kyle Thiem, meteorologist at NWS Atlanta office.

Yet adding more people into an enclosed space creates problems in a world with Covid-19. So how do they allow for the added staff while not compromising their safety or the life-saving information they put out?

Read more here.

3 hr 48 min ago

South Korea records largest daily increase in cases since March 

From CNN’s Yoonjung Seo

A medical worker collects a sample from a visitor at a testing center in Seoul, South Korea, on July 24.
A medical worker collects a sample from a visitor at a testing center in Seoul, South Korea, on July 24. SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg/Getty Images

South Korea recorded 113 new virus cases on Saturday, the biggest jump in daily new cases since March 31. 

Among the cases, 86 are imported and the other 27 are locally transmitted according to the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

The spike in cases was partially driven by a group of South Korean workers from Iraq who arrived in the country on Friday.

Of the 293 workers, at least 71 have tested positive. Another 211 tested negative and 11 people are still undergoing testing.

The country has 14,092 recorded cases of coronavirus and 298 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

4 hr 16 min ago

Indian state’s Chief Minister tests positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Manveena Suri

Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan (C) poses with his wife Sadhna Singh (L) on April 24, 2014.
Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan (C) poses with his wife Sadhna Singh (L) on April 24, 2014. STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

The chief minister of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, has tested positive for coronavirus.

In a series of tweets on Saturday, the 61-year-old wrote, “My dear countrymen, I was having COVID-19 symptoms and, after a test, my report came back positive. I am following all the guidelines and will quarantine myself based on doctor’s advice.”

Chouhan also appealed to colleagues and individuals to take precautions to avoid infection and urged those who had come into contact with him to get tested.

“I appeal to the people of my state to be careful, just a little carelessness invites the coronavirus. I made every effort to avoid the virus but people used to meet me on many subjects,” he posted.

Chouhan’s diagnosis comes as coronavirus continues to spread rapidly across India, which has recorded more than 1.3 million cases of the virus according to Johns Hopkins University.

Madhya Pradhesh has registered a total of 26,210 cases, including 17,866 recoveries and 791 deaths.

5 hr ago

Obesity increases risk of death from Covid-19, English health authority warns

Being obese or heavily overweight increases the risk of death from coronavirus, according to a new report from Public Health England.

Obese people are not at greater risk of catching the virus itself but are significantly more likely to become seriously ill and be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with the virus compared to those with a healthy body mass index (BMI).

The risk of hospitalization, ICU admission and death grows as a person’s BMI increases, the report found.

“The current evidence is clear that being overweight or obese puts you at greater risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19, as well as from many other life-threatening diseases,” said Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England Alison Tedstone in a statement.

“It can be hard to lose weight and even harder to sustain it, which is why people cannot easily do it on their own. Losing weight can bring huge benefits for health – and may also help protect against the health risks of Covid-19. The case for action on obesity has never been stronger.”

Researchers found that overall exercise levels in England had not increased during the pandemic and that sales of snacks and alcohol in high street shops grew during the same period of time.

The report summarises a range of evidence, including one study which found that for those with a BMI of 35 to 40, risk of death from coronavirus increases by 40% compared to those not living with obesity. That risk rises to 90% for those with a BMI over 40.

Almost two-thirds of adults in England are overweight or obese, with people aged 55 to 74, those living in deprived areas and certain black, Asian and minority ethnic groups more severely affected.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to maintain a healthy weight during a visit to a doctor’s surgery on Friday.

Johnson was questioned over a reports his government may ban television junk food adverts before 9 p.m.

“I’m not normally a believer in nannying or bossying type of politics but the reality is that obesity is one of the real co-morbidity factors. Losing weight is frankly one of the ways that you can reduce your own risks from Covid-19,” Johnson said.

The British leader was hospitalized and admitted to an ICU earlier this year after contracting coronavirus.

He told journalists on Friday that since his illness he had lost more than 6kg in weight by eating less and doing lots of exercise.

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