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Trump says disinfectant comments were sarcasm

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

US President Donald Trump says his comments suggesting people can ingest or inject disinfectant to fight COVID-19 was an attempt at sarcasm.

Chris Hemsworth Discovers A Python In His Helmet During Quarantine

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

What Chris Hemsworth found in his motorcycle helmet while self-isolating might be enough to scare even Thor. (Fast forward to 3:00 above.)

The Australian actor, who of course plays the hammer-wielding Marvel superhero, said Wednesday on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” he was cleaning out the garage the other day where his family has hunkered down amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The home sits in the “jungle” in Australia, Hemsworth said, but he wasn’t thinking about that when he saw a flash of colour in his riding gear.

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“I thought, oh, that’s a nice green scarf that’s been shoved into my motorbike helmet,” he told host Jimmy Kimmel.

“And this is all within a second or two as I’m reaching for it. And as I put my hand on it, it’s not a scarf. It’s a python,” he said.

Hemsworth reacted by pulling his hand back quickly. No need to summon the Avengers, but it gave him a start.

“I’m more wary of snakes than my wife is,” he said.

Hemsworth, who stars in the kidnap drama “Extraction” premiering Friday on Netflix, mentioned a tree snake later. So perhaps it was a green tree python, which is found in Australia.

If it looked anything like this green tree python, we might have been a wee bit more terrified.

A green tree python. Eek!

Barack Obama Takes A Not-So-Subtle Swipe At Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Response

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Former President Barack Obama joined the chorus of criticism being leveled at President Donald Trump for his administration’s slow and sloppy response to the coronavirus crisis, commenting on Twitter about the lack of “a coherent national plan to navigate this pandemic.”

Obama did not mention Trump by name in his tweet on Wednesday, pointing out how “states like Massachusetts are beginning to adopt their own public health plans to combat this virus –– before it’s too late.”

But for many tweeters, it was crystal clear who Obama was talking about:

While we continue to wait for a coherent national plan to navigate this pandemic, states like Massachusetts are beginning to adopt their own public health plans to combat this virus––before it’s too late. https://t.co/Eb2Hz8H8vU

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 22, 2020

For weeks, Trump and his administration (buoyed by Fox News prime-time personalities Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham) downplayed the threat of the contagion that has killed more than 47,000 people nationwide. The US is now the epicenter of the virus, with almost 850,000 confirmed cases.

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Trump has used his daily coronavirus briefings to hype unproven cures and attack journalists, while also trying to shift blame for his failures to the Obama administration.

Obama last month criticised Trump’s pandemic response with the tweet below, urging voters to “demand better of our government.”

We’ve seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic. We can’t afford any more consequences of climate denial. All of us, especially young people, have to demand better of our government at every level and vote this fall. https://t.co/K8Ucu7iVDK

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 31, 2020

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The Kardashians

Rolling Stones Release Song That May Become Anthem Of Self-Isolation

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

NEW YORK (AP) — The Rolling Stones have unveiled a new song the band thinks is perfect for these coronavirus times.

The legendary band released the four-minute slow-burning bluesy and harmonica-driven “Living in a Ghost Town” on Thursday.

“I’m a ghost/ Living in a ghost town/ You can look for me/ But I can’t be found,” sings frontman Mick Jagger, who wrote it with guitarist Keith Richards.

The band explained that the song was one they were working on before the global lockdown and they decided to revisit it in isolation, thinking it “would resonate through the times that we’re living in right now.”

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The lyrics do certainly sound timely: “I’m going nowhere/Shut up all alone/So much time to lose/Just staring at my phone.”

The Stones’ recently joined forces remotely to perform “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” for the “One World: Together At Home,” concert.

Other musicians who have recorded coronavirus-related songs include Twenty One Pilots, who released a new standalone single, “Level of Concern.”

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Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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Jersey Shore

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Trump Reportedly Wants Out Of The White House And Everyone’s Making The Same Jokes

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

President Donald Trump is reportedly “frustrated” about being holed up in the White House as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds. 

Aside from a March 28 trip to Norfolk, Virginia to see the USNS Comfort depart for New York, Trump has been in Washington since a March 6-9 visit to Florida for fundraisers and golf. On Wednesday, NBC News reported that Trump’s aides were working on a plan to get him some time out of town, perhaps in the form of a visit to see health care workers or first responders.

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“Like many Americans, the president is looking to travel when it is safe to do so,” an unnamed senior administration official told NBC News.

On social media, Trump’s critics offered some suggestions about how he can get out of town, but they were looking to give the president more of a one-way trip:  

Has he considered resigning?

He can cut and paste this: pic.twitter.com/29ppjQX35g

— Speculawyer 🇳🇴-American (@speculawyer) April 22, 2020

I mean….it will fit within a tweet.

— Speculawyer 🇳🇴-American (@speculawyer) April 22, 2020

I for one am willing to help https://t.co/10k9nkdgkl

— George Conway (@gtconway3d) April 22, 2020

It’s a deal, on the condition he never goes back.

— Michael Marshall Smith (@ememess) April 22, 2020

He could resign. Has he considered that?

— Marc Goldstein (@marcgoldstein_) April 22, 2020

He is free to resign and move to Florida.

— Art Martin (@gartmartin9) April 22, 2020

Him leave forever in the January if you is do you job and make vote for the Joe. https://t.co/OZsSmyA6JV

— Rogue Melania🍸🍸🍸🍸 (@RogueFirstLady) April 23, 2020

He’ll quit 100%

— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) April 22, 2020

Sign right here, Mr. President pic.twitter.com/UvdLUv3aSU

— Battle Armor Dad (@BattleArmorDad1) April 23, 2020

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus
 

A Potential Game Changer In The Struggle Against Coronavirus

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

As the coronavirus pandemic has forced nations around the world to go into lockdown, Germany and South Korea have made headlines for their early responses to the crisis. In each country, officials moved swiftly to implement widespread testing and contact-tracing programs to identify individuals who had contracted the virus.

Those actions have helped both countries avoid the high death tolls that others have suffered. While there have been 150,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany, to date just over 5,000 people have died, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. By comparison, neighbouring France has a similar number of confirmed cases, but over four times as many deaths. South Korea, meanwhile, has recorded nearly 11,000 cases, but only 240 deaths.

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Now, the two nations are beginning to contemplate what life looks like after the immediate crisis has passed. Schools and small shops started to reopen in some parts of Germany this week, and the country has launched Europe’s first large-scale study to test for coronavirus antibodies — the results of which could shed light on how deadly the virus truly is, and whether people develop some form of immunity, information that could prove crucial to any long-term exit strategy. Initial results are expected next month.

Last week, millions of South Koreans wearing masks and disposable gloves, and standing a safe distance apart, lined up at polling stations to vote in national assembly elections — something that seems almost inconceivable in countries where residents remain under strict lockdown.

“We were very nervous. We believed that it could develop into a pandemic,” Lee Sang-won, an expert on infectious diseases at the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Reuters, about the country’s swift moves to develop a coronavirus test. “We acted like an army.”

A health care worker in Germany tests a patient for coronavirus at a drive-thru testing center on April 17.

South Korean health officials identified the country’s first positive coronavirus case on Jan. 20. Within days, they called a meeting with representatives from more than 20 medical companies, and urged them to develop a test for COVID-19. The country’s first diagnostic tests were approved in early February, and by the end of the month hundreds of testing sites were open around the country, including pioneering drive-thru testing centers. Currently there are 613 testing centers across Korea, including 71 drive-thru sites.

Germany moved quickly as well. A team of researchers at Berlin’s Charité hospital developed the world’s first diagnostic test for the coronavirus in mid-January. It was then rolled out to labs at universities, hospitals, government agencies and private firms across the country.

“We have a culture here in Germany that is actually not supporting a centralised diagnostic system,” Christian Drosten, the leader of the Charité hospital team, told NPR. “So Germany does not have a public health laboratory that would restrict other labs from doing the tests. So we had an open market from the beginning.”

That system allowed Germany to scale up its testing capacity quickly. “By the beginning or middle of February, testing was already in place, broadly,” Drosten said.

Officials in other countries have looked to Germany and South Korea’s testing prowess with envy.

“We all know that Germany got ahead in terms of its ability to do testing for the virus, and there’s a lot to learn from that,” Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, said earlier this month.

The UK is working to ramp up its testing capacity, with the goal of being able to conduct 100,000 tests a day by the end of April, but it is likely to fall well short of that target.

The UK initially adopted a centralised approach to testing using government labs, before switching to a “Dunkirk”-style strategy involving smaller private labs across the country. Scientists have criticised the government for failing to enlist smaller labs earlier on, saying that “precious time has been wasted.”

A passenger on the Tube in London on April 22. The United Kingdom has been slow to ramp up its testing capacity, but testing has become a central part of the government's strategy to ease the country's lockdown.

In the United States, which recorded its first positive case of the coronavirus in January, on the same day that South Korea did, testing has also lagged behind. The initial test kits developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were faulty, and labs across the country struggled to navigate the federal bureaucracy, severely delaying the U.S. response to the crisis.

“The idea of anybody getting [tested] easily the way people in other countries are doing it, we’re not set up for that,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a congressional committee last month. “That is a failing. Let’s admit it.”

More comprehensive testing early on in the pandemic might have allowed countries to avoid imposing paralyzing restrictions on social and economic activity. South Korea’s aggressive testing and contact-tracing program, for example, helped it avoid a nationwide lockdown.

Having failed to control the spread of the coronavirus in the pandemic’s early days, however, officials in other countries have acknowledged that increased testing is a key condition for reopening society.

“This is how we will defeat COVID-19 in the end,” U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

Mass community testing “is part of the strategy,” U.K. health secretary Matt Hancock said last week. “We will be introducing it when we can.”

Researchers at Harvard University recently estimated that U.S. testing capacity would have to triple over the next month in order for the country to reopen safely.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaking at a press conference on April 22.

Even as countries are working to increase their diagnostic testing capacity, many are following Germany’s lead by conducting antibody tests, in the hopes that these studies will help chart a path out of the crisis.

Boris Johnson has hailed antibody tests as a potential “game changer” in the battle against the coronavirus. This week, the U.K. launched a large-scale study to track the spread of the virus in the country and test whether previously infected people have developed antibodies. Around 1,000 people will have blood samples taken every month to test for antibodies.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration approved a coronavirus antibody test earlier this month, and this week, New York launched an ambitious antibody testing study involving 3,000 people.

“Any plan to start to reopen the economy has to be based on data and testing, and we have to make sure our antibody and diagnostic testing is up to the scale we need so we can safely get people back to work,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement, citing Germany’s own antibody testing study.

New York’s antibody testing would be done “in the most aggressive way in the nation,” Cuomo said.

“This will be the first true snapshot of exactly how many people were infected by COVID-19 and where we are as a population, and will help us to reopen and rebuild without jeopardizing what we’ve already accomplished.”

It is believed that people who have recovered from COVID-19 are likely to have developed some degree of immunity to it, but scientists remain uncertain about how widespread infections have been, how much protection antibodies may confer, and how long any immunity might last.

“There are a lot of countries that are suggesting using rapid diagnostic serological tests to be able to capture what they think will be a measure of immunity,” Maria Van Kerkhove, an American infectious diseases expert who is the World Health Organization’s technical lead on COVID-19, told The Guardian. “Right now, we have no evidence that the use of a serological test can show that an individual has immunity or is protected from reinfection.”

With reporting from HuffPost Korea and HuffPost UK.


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RHOBH

Published: (Updated: ) in Celebrity News by .

RHOBH

Elizabeth Warren says her oldest brother died of COVID-19

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced her oldest brother Donald Reed Herring died after testing positive for coronavirus.

NSW ramps up coronavirus testing as lockdown restrictions could soon be eased

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Anyone experiencing even the mildest symptoms of coronavirus are being urged to get tested in New South Wales in a new push to curb the spread.

Calls to be made on fate of Tasmania’s coronavirus restrictions

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Northwest Tasmanians will soon learn whether local coronavirus restrictions described as the “toughest in the country” will continue beyond the weekend.

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