Ohio Family Offers Drive-Thru Conversations Amid Quarantine Struggles

Can we get fries with that?

As many around the world struggle with loneliness and lack of face-to-face communication while isolating amid the coronavirus pandemic, one Ohio family has launched a new way for locals to get their social fix.

Corrine and Matt Roush, their 8-year-old son, Charlie, and 6-year-old daughter, Louetta, have set up a drive-thru chat that has been operating for the last week.

Locals are invited to drive, walk or cycle up the family’s U-shaped driveway any time between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., during which the clan will talk to visitors while maintaining social distancing from their living room.

“Several people have told us that it was the highlight of their day and it’s just been so wonderful to be able to talk face-to-face,” Corinne said, according to Tank’s Good News.

The mom added that the idea was born as Charlie struggled with being stuck at home and kept telling her he was “losing his mind.” He and his sister were also getting “too much screen time.”

While video calling has helped, Corinne noted there’s something special about spending time together in person, so they put a sign at the end of their driveway and launched the drive-thru chat, which has already been visited by police officers, teachers and neighbors they had previously never met.

“We’ve got a U-shaped driveway, so it’s perfect!” Corinne said. “Cars, bikes, even walkers can just come up and stop in front of our living room window and we can chat from a safe distance. We’ve had breakfast, coffee, lunch with family and friends, and it’s getting us through this time together.”

“We have a sign just out front of our living room window that says ‘Stop & Beep,’” she added. “It doesn’t matter what room of the house we’re in, when we hear that beep, we come running to that window with huge smiles on our faces. It’s been such a light during what has felt like such a dark time.”

See more on how people are coping with self-isolation below.

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Charli XCX Announces 'DIY' Quarantine Album 'How I'm Feeling Now'

Charli XCX is keeping herself busy this quarantine by recording a whole new album — and she needs your help.

The British pop star announced in a video on Monday that she’ll be releasing the LP, with the working title: How I’m Feeling Now, on May 15th, and that she’ll be making the entire process collaborative with her fans.

“For me, staying positive goes hand-in-hand with being creative, and so that’s why I’ve decided that I’m going to use this isolation time to make a brand new album from scratch,” she said. “The nature of this album is gonna be very indicative of the times, just because I’m only gonna be able to use the tools that I have at my fingertips to create all music, all artwork, all videos, everything. In that sense, it’ll be very DIY.”

She continued, “I’ll also be reaching out to people online to collaborate with. And I’m going to keep the entire process super open so that anybody who wants to watch can. I’ll be posting demos, I’ll be posting a cappellas, text conversations with any collaborators. I’ll be filming myself in the studio, I’ll be doing Zoom conferences to ask fans or anyone watching for opinions or ideas. I’m going to set up an email address so that fans or anyone can send me beats or references.”

So far, Charli has spent quarantine hosting a daily Instagram Live series where she chats with other artists, including Orville Peck and Rina Sawayama. Her last album, Charli, was released in 2019.

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Roseanne Thinks Coronavirus Is a Ploy to ‘Get Rid of’ Her Generation

Wherever Roseanne Barr goes, controversy follows. The comedian shared a hot take on the coronavirus pandemic while appearing on Norm Macdonald’s new YouTube series.

“You know what it is, Norm? I think they’re just trying to get rid of all my generation,” Barr, 67, speculated on Quarantined With Norm Macdonald on Sunday, April 5. “The boomer ladies that, you know, that inherited their, you know, are widows. They inherited the money, so they got to go wherever the money is and figure out a way to get it from people.”

The Saturday Night Live alum, 60, seemed to agree, responding, “There’s so many boomers that have money and do no work. So if you got them out of society, that would be a good thriller.”

COVID-19 has taken the lives of more than 73,000 people worldwide since December 2019, with cases reported in nearly every country.

Later in Sunday’s episode, Barr ranted to Macdonald that she is working on “the perfect lawsuit” against all of Hollywood that would “f–k over everybody in the f–king world over there.”

The actress has kept a relatively low profile since ABC canceled the Roseanne reboot in May 2018 over her racist tweet calling former Barack Obama aide Valerie Jarrett the child of “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes.” She later blamed her “stupid tweet” on Ambien and slammed her costars for throwing her “under the bus” amid the scandal.

ABC picked up the Roseanne spinoff The Conners in June 2018 starring John Goodman (Dan), Laurie Metcalf (Jackie), Sara Gilbert (Darlene), Lecy Goranson (Becky) and Michael Fishman (D.J.). The show debuted that October, with Barr’s title character being killed off by an opioid overdose.

Barr tweeted after the premiere that she “AIN’T DEAD, BITCHES,” while her longtime rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, called her character’s demise unnecessarily “grim and morbid.”

Even without its onetime star, The Conners has been a huge success. It is the highest-rated comedy on ABC with an average 7.9 million viewers, per Deadline. The series is expected to be renewed for a third season.

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Coronavirus second wave fears as 20,000 tourists cram into Chinese park after officials offered free entry – The Sun

FEARS of a second wave of the coronavirus have grown after 20,000 tourists crammed into a Chinese park as officials offered free entry.

Huangshan National Park in China's eastern province of Anhui shut on 25 January as the virus spread throughout the country, but is now open for free in a bid to boost the region's tourism industry.

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Video footage shows visitors flocking to the scenic park – also known as the Yellow Mountains- with huge queues clogging up pathways.

Many are seen not observing the two metre social distancing guideline still in place to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

The park usually charges 190 RMB – about £21- for entrance but got rid of the fee for residents of Anhui province in a bid to revive the region's tourism industry after weeks of stagnation.

After a whopping 20,000 visitors made it into the park, it was forced to close its gates and turn tourists away.

It had been ferrying 5,300 tourists to its ticket gates every hour using 120 shuttle buses, before it started encouraging people to visit other sites nearby after it hit 80 percent capacity at 9.22am that day.

The national park’s official Weibo social media account issued a number of statements over the long weekend as China marked Qingming Festival, also known as tomb-sweeping day, on Saturday April 4.

Huangshan is rated as a 5A tourist site, and was later forced to apologise to large crowds who didn't make it in and asked them to visit another tourist destination.

Everyone visiting had to present their health status and also undergo temperature tests and anyone with coronavirus symptoms was immediately turned away.

The park reopened on February 21.

Other famous tourist sites in China including The Great Wall have also reopened, as the country fears it that its annual income loss from tourism could hit 1.2 trillion yuan (US$169 billion) this year.

LIFE AFTER LOCKDOWN

The news comes after China has begun to ease restrictions in many areas after months of strict lockdown.

In the region of Hubei, where the virus is believed to have originated in the 'wet markets' of Wuhan city,

For two months, the country was the epicentre of the virus but has recently seen its cases plummet.

As of April 6, there were over 80,000 cases confirmed in China and 3,331 reported deaths.

The majority of the country's new cases have been imported, as residents celebrated the lifting of the lockdown in Hubei.

 

Fearing a new wave of infections from imported cases, authorities have ramped up quarantine and screening measures in other major cities including Beijing, where any travellers arriving from overseas must submit to centralised quarantine.

There have been only six deaths in Anhui province, which borders Hubei, according to official government figures.

The last infection recorded was on February 27.




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Knotts Berry Farm Extending All 2020 Annual Passes Through 2021

Like all theme parks across the United States, Knott’s Berry Farm is currently closed due to the efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus. It’s undoubtedly a necessary precaution, but it does short change those customers who purchased annual passes for 2020. Thankfully, Knott’s Berry Farm is going the extra mile to make sure their annual passholders don’t get screwed by what will likely be several months of closure. The 2020 Knott’s Berry Farm annual pass is being extended through 2021.

Here’s the letter posted to the theme park’s website for Knott’s Berry Farm annual pass holders.

As we all continue to navigate this unprecedented situation, we want to thank you for your continued patience and support of Knott’s Berry Farm.  Our team would like nothing more than to open our park and welcome you back.  Clearly that is not an option for us right now, and our priority is to keep everyone safe — our valued guests, our amazing associates, and our cherished communities.

Given the uncertainty around our park reopening, we want to share how we will manage 2020 Season Passholder benefits:

  • 2020 Season Passes and purchased 2020 Season Pass Add-On Products (if applicable) will be valid for the remainder of 2020 when our park is able to reopen.
  • Additionally, 2020 Regular, Gold and Platinum Season Passes (as well as purchased 2020 Season Pass Add-On Products) will remain valid through the 2021 Season, ending December 31, 2021. *
  • For 2020 Passholders participating in our Easy Pay Program, we have automatically suspended monthly billing as of today, April 4, 2020, and will continue to do so while the park is closed.   When the park reopens, billing will resume.   Passholders will need to be current on payments in order to receive both 2020 and 2021 Season Pass admission and associated benefits.

Our Season Passholders represent some of our most loyal guests, and we want to ensure that you receive a full season of fun as promised when you purchased your 2020 Season Pass.  This is a very unusual time for all of us, and we again thank you for your understanding and loyalty to Knott’s Berry Farm.

*Scary Farm Pass Add-On will be valid during 2020 only.

This is an extremely generous offer for Knott’s Berry Farm to make. It means that there’s an entire group of customers who won’t be paying for their annual passes next year. That feels like a lot of revenue to give up, especially when they’re already going to lose a ton of money from not being open for at least two or three months this year, maybe more. But at the same time, it’s probably the best decision to keep annual passholders happy when the park won’t be accessible for a decent chunk of the year. This could be an indicator that the theme park is planning to stay closed for longer than anticipated, maybe through the summer.

Meanwhile, Disneyland and Walt Disney World offered refunds for the time that they’re closed and they’re halting payment plans for annual passes until they re-open again. That’s pretty much the least they could do in this situation, and it’s exactly what customers would expect. There’s always a chance they’ll change their mind if they end up having to be closed through the summer, but that’s doubtful. Considering the size of both Disney resorts, the number of employees who work there, and the amount of money they bring in for The Walt Disney Company each year, they probably can’t afford to extend annual passes through 2021.

Many are hoping that theme parks and other assorted businesses will be able to re-open late this summer, but at the rate the spread of coronavirus is going, especially in the higher populated states and their cities, that may not be in the cards. It all depends on how the next month or two goes.

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How does coronavirus affect annual leave and can I carry over holiday?

EMPLOYEES might not be able to travel abroad at the moment due to coronavirus, but what does this mean for your annual holiday allowance from work?

Some Brits might be wondering if they can carry their annual holiday allowance into next year, given they can't go away right now.

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How much holiday am I entitled to?

The amount of holiday you get each year will depend on the type of contract you're on.

In the UK, full-time workers and employees are entitled to a minimum of 28 days' paid holiday a year.

This is equivalent to 5.6 weeks, and this can include bank holidays.

Zero hour and agency workers have the same entitlement to paid holiday, based on the average hours they have worked.

Part time members of staff get get paid holiday too, but it will be the number of days worked a week multiplied by 5.6.

Self-employed workers don't usually get paid annual leave.

Holiday pay – what happens if you can't take holiday

HERE'S what options you have if you're unable to take holiday.

    When can your boss deny your holiday request?

    As a general rule you need to give your boss a notice period of twice the amount of time you are taking for your holiday.
    For example if you request five days of holiday you have to provide a minimum of ten days’ notice.
    Your boss can force you to take holiday at certain times of year like Christmas and New Year or bank holidays when your workplace may be closed.
    Companies can also set limits on how many days in a row you can take off to stop just taking a whole month off at once.

    My boss won't let me take any of the dates off that I have suggested

    See how much time off the people you work with have taken off as well as how far in advance they let their boss know they were going to take time off.

    See if they got similar treatment or if you are being unfairly treated.
    You have a statutory right to your holiday and if you feel that is being infringed upon you can go to court.

    Before you make a claim you need to talk to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).
    They will try one last time to reconcile the issue, and if that fails they will give you guidance on how to make an employment tribunal claim

    How do I calculate my holiday entitlement? 

    You can use this tool to calculate your holiday entitlement depending on your work status.

    Can I carry my holiday allowance into next year because of coronavirus?

    You may be able to carry over any unused holiday days, but the decision will ultimately be down to your employer.

    The government has just introduced a temporary new law allowing workers to carry over up to four weeks’ paid holiday over a two-year period.

    This has been designed for staff who've been affected by coronavirus – for example, those who've had to self-isolate or key workers who've had to cancel holiday so they can keep working.

    But again, it'll be up to your employer to allow you to do this – they don't have to let you carry holiday over.

    If you're worried about using all your holiday, it's worth discussing your options with your boss.

    Despite coronavirus, workers should still try and take holiday days as normal if they can.

    Tom Neil, senior adviser at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), said: "During the coronavirus outbreak, it may not be possible for staff to take all their holiday entitlement during the current holiday year.

    "In most situations, employees and workers should use their paid holiday in their current leave year.

    "This is important because taking holiday helps people get enough rest and keep physically and mentally healthy."

    What about if I've been furloughed?

    If you've been furloughed, Acas says holiday can be taken as usual but again, this will be up to your employer to approve any time off.

    We've asked Acas if furloughed workers are covered by the new two-year holiday carry over law and we'll update this article when we know more.

    Can my employer tell me when to take holiday?

    Technically yes, your boss usually has the right to tell you when to take holiday – the rules haven't changed in light of coronavirus.

    If your boss wants you to take holiday, they must give you at least twice as many days notice as the amount of days they want you to take off.

    For example, if they want you to use five days' worth of your holiday allowance, they should give you ten days' notice.

    Your boss can also cancel pre-booked paid holiday.

    If they decide to do this, they must give staff at least the same number of days’ notice as the original holiday request.

    So if you have a five days off booked, your employer must give you five days' notice to cancel these plans.

    We've rounded up what help is available if you're struggling to pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus crisis.

    What is statutory sick pay and how much will you get due to coronavirus?

    Here are your financial rights if you or your family get coronavirus and cannot work.


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    Germany's coronavirus outbreak peaked at fewer than 1,500 deaths

    As Germany’s coronavirus outbreak appears to peak at fewer than 1,500 deaths – why HAS it performed so much better than most of Europe?

    • German officials recorded 92 deaths in one day, the fewest fatalities in a week
    • Italy’s death toll at its ‘peak’ was 9,140 compared to Germany’s 1,434
    • That’s despite both countries reporting over 6,000 cases on their worst days 
    • The UK, France, Sweden and Denmark all seem to either be nearing their peak
    • Currently the UK’s daily death doll is doubling around every two to three days 

    Germany today saw a sharp drop in its daily death and case toll count, sparking hope that the unprecedented coronavirus lockdown is working.

    Health officials recorded just 3,677 new cases – the lowest total since March 22 – and 92 deaths, the fewest single day of fatalities in a week.  

    But Germany, which has recorded fewer than 1,500 deaths, is not the only European country whose outbreak has appeared to have flattened.

    Data collated by the World Health Organization shows Italy’s outbreak of the deadly virus is slowing down or at least stabilising. 

    But Italy’s cumulative death toll by the time it appeared to reach its ‘peak’ was more than six times that of Germany, at 9,140.

    Spain, Belgium, Norway and Austria all also appear to have hit their peak cases and deaths in the past fortnight.

    Despite the promising improvements, the possibility of a new record daily increase cannot be ruled out because the pandemic is not over.  

    Elsewhere in Europe, the UK, France, Sweden and Denmark all seem to either be within their peak, or nearing it. 

    Currently the UK’s daily death doll is doubling around every two to three days. But cases and deaths do appear to be growing at a slower rate. 

    How many cases European countries are recording per day: Some appear to be coming out the other side of their outbreak, including Italy, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands

    Germany’s daily death toll today dropped to just 92. Its dramatic drop in daily deaths comes nine days after its peak in cases on March 28, suggesting the worst of its outbreak has passed. Spain and Italy are also reporting lower deaths by day

    Germany’s daily death toll today dropped to just 92, just 24 hours after the country reported its highest daily death toll of 184. 

    New infections also fell for the fourth day running to 3,677, raising hopes that the coronavirus lockdown is working.  

    Its dramatic drop in daily deaths comes nine days after its peak in cases on March 28, suggesting the worst of its outbreak has passed.

    Germany

    Peak of cases: March 28, 6,294 new cases recorded

    Peak of deaths: April 5, 184 new deaths recorded

    Italy

    Peak of cases: March 22, 6,557 new cases recorded

    Peak of deaths: March 28, 971 new deaths recorded

    Spain

    Peak of cases: April 1, 9,222 new cases recorded

    Peak of deaths: April 3, 950 new deaths recorded

    Netherlands

    Peak of cases: March 28, 1,172 new cases recorded

    Peak of deaths: April 1, 175 new deaths recorded

    Belgium

    Peak of cases: March 29, 1,850 new cases recorded

    Peak of deaths: April 1, 192 new deaths recorded

    Norway

    Peak of cases: March 28, 425 new cases recorded

    Peak of deaths: April 3, 10 new deaths recorded

    Austria

    Peak of cases: March 27, 1,141 new cases recorded

    Peak of deaths: March 21, 22 new deaths recorded

    Data shows the death rate lags behind cases by around four to seven days, which is why for a period of time cases appear to be slowing while deaths continue to rise. 

    Italy’s outbreak shows a similar pattern – the highest jump in new cases was recorded on March 22. Eight days later, on April 5, its daily death toll was at an all-time high.

    The country has recorded consistently lower figures every day for longer than a week – around 4,500 new cases and 700 new deaths – giving hope that it’s finally out of the dark.

    Both countries had the same ballpark figure for new daily cases during its peak – 6,300 for Germany and 6,560 for Italy. But Germany was testing far more people.

    Their total cases are also not far from each other, with Italy reporting 124,632 as of today, and Germany 95,391. 

    But the two nation’s mortality counts differ dramatically. On Italy’s worst day for recorded deaths, it already had a total of 9,136 deaths, compared to Germany’s 1,434. 

    Spain also had more than 10,000 total deaths on its bleakest day so far – on April 3, when it reported 950 deaths in 24 hours.

    Italy continues to unwillingly take the lead for coronavirus deaths, with 15,362 altogether.   

    Figures suggest the UK’s peak is looming, with officials predicting it to be six to nine days away, possibly on Easter Sunday.

    Last week, NHS England was announcing new daily death highs, reaching a pinnacle of 708 on Saturday.

    For the past two days, it has dropped to 621 and 403. The statistics are a glimmer of hope as the increase in death numbers today is the lowest it has been since March 31, when it was 381. 

    However, yesterday cases soared by 5,903 – the highest yet. With the death toll lagging some days behind, it may be too early to say the brunt of the outbreak is over. 

    Yesterday, the UK’s cases soared by 5,903 – the highest yet. With the death toll lagging some days behind, it may be pre-empt to feel hopeful the peak of the outbreak is behind us

    HAS GERMANY ESCAPED LIGHTLY? 

    Germany has appeared to escape the global pandemic lightly in comparison to its neighbouring countries. 

    Although its cases aren’t far behind Spain and Italy, its mortality rate is considerably lower – at around 1.6 per cent, when dividing reported cases by deaths.  

    Germany’s daily death toll today dropped to just 92, just 24 hours after the country reported its highest daily death toll of 184. 

    New infections also fell for the fourth day running to 3,677 amid hope that coronavirus lockdown is working. 

    But Dr Derek Gatherer, an infectious disease expert, said it was too early for Germany to be victorious over its figures.

    He said: ‘Today is a Monday, and if there is less testing over the weekend, there are always lower numbers on a Monday, so we should watch Germany tomorrow to see if this applies there too.’ 

    Here’s why Germany’s death toll may be lower:  

    Testing 

    This has been put down to Germany’s  decision to implement widespread testing of people suspected as having the coronavirus. 

    Some 500,000 citizens are being tested a week, according to Professor Christian Drosten, the virologist in charge of the country’s response.

    Germany is seemingly able to acquire tests from domestic manufacturers while Britain is having to import them.

    Germany is home to a strong network of biotech and pharmaceutical companies, including Landt, which has made and helped distribute four million COVID-19 tests, Bloomberg reports.

    It’s believed Germany will also lead the way with the highly sought-after antibody testing, which can see if a person has already had the virus and built immunity. 

    Such checks could potentially allow people to be issued with certificates saying they are safe to go back to work, allowing the economy to get started again.  

    Private labs nationwide have been free to offer tests. But in the UK, Public Health England have been reluctant to expand testing facilities outside its own 12 centralised labs. 

    Germany had already established testing by mid-February, epidemiology professor Nathan Grubaugh, at Yale School of Public Health, told Business Insider.

    As of April 2, private labs in Germany had already helped the country test one million people for COVID-19. 

    The age of infected people 

    The average age of its patients is lower than in countries like Italy, which has a particularly old population, meaning they are less likely to die.

    The majority – 80 per cent – of all people infected in Germany are younger than 60, official figures from Robert Koch Institute show. 

    There is speculation the first cluster of cases stemmed from ‘super spreaders’ who returned from skiing trips in Austria and Italy, who may have been fitter and younger. 

    The robust healthcare system 

    Hospitals in Germany have been better prepared, Wired reports.

    The country had the most intensive care beds per person than any country in Europe.

    A study in 2011 found it had 29.2 intensive care beds per 100,000 people – considerably more than the 12.5 per 100,000 in Italy, 9.7 in Spain or just 6.6 in the UK.  

    Officials say Germany’s hospitals were already in shape to cope with an epidemic, with enough intensive care beds and ventilators. Meanwhile, Italy’s hospitals have been overwhelmed and there are fears the UK’s health system will buckle under the pressure. 

    How the country reports deaths

    Dr Gatherer said that every country reports its deaths differently, which may be behind the varying mortality rates.

    ‘It’s really difficult to know why different countries in Europe have different death totals,’ he said. ‘It may be something to do with the way that deaths are recorded, for instance a distinction might possibly be made between deaths with COVID-19 and deaths from COVID-19.’  

    France, Sweden and Denmark are in a similar position, having seen a leap in daily cases the past few days.

    At such an early stage in the pandemic, it’s difficult to draw firm conclusions on how countries are coping in comparison to each other.

    It’s also worth noting that the figures don’t adjust for a reporting delay, which is the time between a death occurring, and it being announced. Reporting-delay is not necessarily the same in each country.

    But there is an evident link between a countries response to the pandemic, and the scale of its outbreak so far.

    Germany has been praised for its handling of the unprecedented situation, and the UK government ridiculed for not following its lead. 

    Its low death rate – around 1.6 per cent – has been attributed for the most part due to its rigorous testing regime, tracing anyone who has had contact with a positive case. 

    Around half a million people are being tested per week. In comparison, the UK’s testing capacity is around 70,000 a week. 

    This is due to a number of reasons, including Germany being able to scale up its testing capacity domestically. 

    Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist and professor of molecular oncology, University of Warwick, noted that Germany’s testing isn’t provided by one central authority – like Public Health England – but by approximately 400 public health offices.

    This allows for labs to be stretched out across the nation which act largely autonomously of central control. As of April 2, private labs had already tested an astonishing one million people, Business Insider reports. 

    Professor Young told MailOnline: ‘Robust surveillance (testing) to find, isolate, trace, and treat every case is what’s happened in Germany and South Korea. 

    ‘German public health services have also helped with 400 public health offices run by municipal and rural district administrations throughout the Federal republic.

    ‘But also the fact that the Robert Koch Institute in Germany is supporting these public health offices and facilitated engagement with the German biotech industry to produce a test in mid-January and then rolled it out across the country. 

    ‘Germany also has more virologists who were mobilised early and responded quickly to work together with industry to produce the diagnostic test.’

    Official figures from Robert Koch Institute shows the majority of infected people in Germany are under the age of 60, which may explain why less people are dying. 

    Italy has a particularly old population, which experts believe explains its higher mortality rate – 12 per cent when dividing reported cases by deaths.

    Dr Derek Gatherer, an infectious disease expert, said it was too early for Germany to be victorious over its figures.

    He said: ‘Today is a Monday, and if there is less testing over the weekend, there are always lower numbers on a Monday, so we should watch Germany tomorrow to see if this applies there too.

    ‘I think we’ll probably be revising these figures for a while to come. However, a consistent drop off in number of deaths, however they are recorded, in any country, will be one of the signals that lockdown could be eased.’ 

    Figures suggest Belgium and the Netherlands have come out the other side, reporting a total of 1,283 and 1,651 deaths respectively.

    At their peak, on April 1, they each reported between 150-200 deaths per day, fairly unscathed compared to their European neighbours.

    Even further behind are Austria and Norway, who reported 22 and 10 deaths respectively on their worst days. They have 186 and 50 total deaths respectively.

    Both countries imposed lockdowns when the number of cases were under 3,000.

    In comparison, Prime Minister Boris Johnson shut Britain down on March 24, when there were already 6,650 cases and 335 deaths. 

    Their testing capacity is also unparallelled in Europe – authorities test between 12,000 and 19,000 per million inhabitants every day.

    The UK’s testing regime, reaching a fraction of people in hospital, has been criticised heavily because it has failed to paint an accurate picture of how many people are infected.

    Imperial College London mapped how each country responded to the pandemic 

    HOW DO EACH COUNTRY’S MEASURES COMPARE? 

    UK

    Lockdown imposed: March 24

    Cases and deaths on lockdown: 6,650/335

    Testing: 2,895 per 1million

    Germany

    Lockdown imposed: March 22

    Cases and deaths on lockdown: 21,463/67

    Testing: 11,046 per 1million

    Italy

    Lockdown imposed: March 11

    Cases and deaths on lockdown: 10,149/631

    Testing: 10,896 per 1million

    Spain

    Lockdown imposed: March 14

    Cases and deaths on lockdown: 4,231/120

    Testing: 7,596 per 1million

    Austria

    Lockdown imposed: March 16

    Cases and deaths on lockdown: 959/1

    Testing: 12,502 per 1million

    France

    Lockdown imposed: March 17

    Cases and deaths on lockdown: 6,573/148

    Testing: 3,346 per 1million

    Belgium

    Lockdown imposed: March 18

    Cases and deaths on lockdown: 1,486/14

    Testing: 1,594 per 1million

    Denmark

    Lockdown imposed: March 18

    Cases and deaths on lockdown: 977/4

    Testing: 8,306 per 1million

    Switzerland

    Lockdown imposed: March 20

    Cases and deaths on lockdown: 3,863/33

    Testing: 17,904 per 1million

    Norway

    Lockdown imposed: March 24

    Cases and deaths on lockdown: 2,371/8

    Testing: 19,000 per 1million

    Netherlands

    Lockdown imposed: March 15

    Cases and deaths on lockdown: 959/12

    Testing: 4,328 per 1million

    Sweden

    Lockdown imposed: Hasn’t imposed a lockdown

    Cases and deaths currently: 6,443/373

    Testing: 4,306 per 1million

    How Europe is planning to lift the lockdown: Austria will open small shops next week, Denmark wants ‘staggered’ return to work and Germany could re-open schools if infection rate stays low 

    By Tim Stickings

    As Britain and America start to draw up plans for life after the lockdown, they may look for inspiration from European countries where the coronavirus crisis has already showed signs of peaking.  

    Austria today became the first country to set out detailed plans for ending the standstill, with smaller shops re-opening on April 14 and larger ones on May 1. 

    Denmark also plans to start lifting restrictions after Easter, but wants people to ‘work in a more staggered way’ to avoid crowding into trains and buses. 

    Meanwhile Germany is willing to re-open schools on a regional basis and allow a limited number of people into restaurants if the infection rate stays sufficiently low.  

    In Italy, which has been under lockdown longer than any other European country, officials are talking about a ‘phase two’ where society learns to ‘live with the virus’ by wearing masks and carrying out more tests. 

    Italy and Germany are among the countries looking at smartphone tracking, which could allow them to jump on new outbreaks without sending everyone back inside.

    All of those countries, along with Spain, have seen signs of improvement in their recent figures which offer hope that the crisis is past its peak. That moment is still to come for Britain and America, which are bracing for one of their bleakest weeks. 

    However, health officials across Europe warn that life cannot go back ‘from 0 to 100’ immediately and many lockdown measures will remain in place for several more weeks at least.  

    Spain plans more tests and a partial return to work 

    135,032 confirmed cases, 13,055 deaths  

    Spain has been in lockdown since March 14 as it battles one of the world’s worst outbreaks, with the total caseload now higher than in Italy. 

    However, the rate of new infections has fallen to a record low, offering hope that the measures are working.  

    Prime minister Pedro Sanchez has said that some economic restrictions could be lifted after Easter, allowing some people in non-essential jobs to return to work.  

    However, shops, bars and restaurants will remain closed, and many lockdown measures are likely to last beyond their current deadline of April 26. 

    Nadia Calvino, the economy minister in Sanchez’s government, told El Pais that ministers have begun discussing a way out of the lockdown.

    ‘We will have to establish measures and conditions that minimise the risk of having an extended contagion, which will allow us to keep the virus at bay. It cannot be a 0 to 100 process in one day,’ she said. 

    Calvino declined to answer whether workers would have to return to their jobs wearing masks and gloves.  

    The government says one million testing kits were due to arrive in Spain on Sunday and Monday, and would act as ‘rapid screening’ in places such as hospitals and nursing homes.    

    Spain’s daily infection count has fallen sharply from its peak, and today’s rise of 3.3 per cent is the smallest yet 

    This chart shows the daily number of deaths in Spain, which has similarly shown signs of coming down from a peak recently

    Austria will re-open shops but keep public gatherings banned  

    12,008 cases, 220 deaths

    Small shops such as these in a Viennese market are set to re-open next week in Austria  

    Austria’s chancellor Sebastian Kurz today became the first European leader to provide specific dates for the end of lockdown measures.  

    Kurz said the aim was to let smaller shops re-open as soon as April 14, with larger ones and shopping malls opening on May 1 if all goes well. 

    ‘The aim is that from April 14… smaller shops up to a size of 400 square metres, as well as hardware and garden stores can open again, under strict security conditions of course,’ Kurz said at a press conference. 

    Customers will be required to wear masks when shops re-open, extending a requirement which already applies to supermarkets. Masks will also be compulsory on public transport.  

    Hotels and restaurants could start to re-open in mid-May, with a decision later this month. Schools will remain closed until mid-May and public events will remain banned until the end of June, Kurz said. 

    Austria’s health ministry says the rate of new infections has fallen significantly, and Kurz wants to ‘gradually and cautiously return to normality after Easter’ as long as ‘we all remain disciplined during Easter week’.

    If the numbers get worse again, the government ‘always has the possibility to hit the emergency brake’ and re-introduce restrictions, he said.   

    Denmark wants ‘staggered’ return to work as restrictions ease after Easter 

    4,647 cases, 179 deaths 

    Denmark wants to avoid overcrowding on trains such as the Copenhagen metro service (pictured) 

    Denmark has been in lockdown since March 11, but wants to start lifting the measures after Easter if there is no surge in new cases.  

    In an interview with DK last night, prime minister Mette Frederiksen said the government was hoping for a ‘gradual, controlled and quiet reopening of Denmark’.  

    She suggested that people could go to work ‘in a more staggered way’ in order to avoid excessive crowds on public transport. 

    The PM did not provide details of what a ‘staggered’ return to work might look like.  

    However, she warned that ‘we will not return to Denmark as it was’ when the first restrictions are lifted.  

    ‘We are not going to be able to squeeze up close together in trains, buses and subways in the way we have become accustomed to,’ she said. 

    ‘Or stand very close together with a whole lot of other people and have a good party together.’   

    Italy plans to ‘live with the virus’ using more masks and dedicated hospitals 

    128,948 confirmed cases, 15,887 deaths  

    Italy is openly talking about a ‘phase two’ in which society will have to ‘create the conditions to live with the virus’ until a vaccine is developed. 

    Health minister Roberto Speranza says more testing and a beefed-up local health system would be necessary to allow an easing of the lockdown. 

    He said social distancing would have to remain in place, with more widespread use of personal protective equipment such as face masks.

    Testing and ‘contact tracing’ would be extended, including with the use of smartphone apps, in order to contain new outbreaks. 

    A network of hospitals would also be set up which are specifically dedicated to virus patients, after doctors on existing wards described having to make life-or-death decisions over access to intensive care. 

    ‘There are difficult months ahead. Our task is to create the conditions to live with the virus,’ at least until a vaccine is developed, the health minister told La Repubblica newspaper.

    The national lockdown, strictly limiting people’s movements and freezing all non-essential economic activity, will officially last until at least April 13 but it is widely expected to be extended.  

    Italy’s daily infection count reached a peak of 6,557 on March 21, but has not been above 5,000 in recent days 

    Italy recorded 969 deaths in one day on March 27, but the figure has fallen since then, as shown on this graph 

    Germany plans to open schools, shops and restaurants if infection rate stays low 

    95,391 cases, 1,434 deaths

    Germany has set out plans to lift restrictions as long as the infection rate remains below 1. That means each patient is infecting less than one other person on average.

    If that is achieved, schools could be re-opened on a regional basis, shops could open their doors and restaurants could open with a limit on the number of people in closed rooms. 

    The plans were set out in an interior ministry document which also says that masks may become compulsory in any public building or on trains and buses. 

    The ministry announced plans today to put all arriving travellers in quarantine for 14 days, though not including health workers who live nearby. 

    Germany is also among the countries to suggest that antibody tests could signal a way out of the lockdown, by allowing people with immunity to leave home.  

    These so-called ‘immunity passports’ could allow people to return to work and travel around Germany without fear that they will spread the virus. 

    Christian Drosten, the head of virology at Berlin’s Charite hospital, says the tests could also ease the supply of medical equipment, because doctors who are immune would need less protective gear. ‘These tests are the only practical way to get things back to normal,’ he told an NDR podcast recently.   

    Ministers are also looking to South Korea as a model for how to use smartphone tracking, despite the tough privacy laws in Germany where surveillance is a sensitive subject. 

    One German institute is developing an app that would enable the proximity and duration of contact between people to be saved for two weeks on phones anonymously and without the use of location data. 

    Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she will recommend the use of tracking apps if tests on them prove successful.  

    Germany’s biggest jump in cases so far was the 6,294 which were announced on March 28, but today’s figure is only 3,677  

    Germany’s daily death toll fell sharply to 92 today after previously showing signs of peaking by flattening around 140 a day 

    France says lockdown cannot happen ‘in one go and for everyone’ 

    70,478 cases, 8,078 deaths

    France appears less close to ending the lockdown, with the figures improving less clearly than in Italy or Spain. 

    Deputy interior minister Laurent Nunez has warned that ‘the end of confinement is not yet on the cards, a deadline has not been set’.   

    ‘I remind you of the rule… one goes out only when it is strictly necessary,’ he said. 

    Questioned about the subject last week, prime minister Edouard Philippe warned that the lockdown could not be lifted in one stroke. 

    ‘It is likely that we are not heading towards a general deconfinement in one go and for everyone,’ he told parliament by video link. 

    Philippe said the government is ‘fighting hour by hour’ to ward off shortages of essential drugs used to keep patients alive in intensive care. 

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    Trump Attacks NY Times and Washington Post for Advertising Being 'Way Down'

    Trump blamed the papers’ coverage for low advertising numbers, but advertising is suffering everywhere as businesses close

    Since most U.S. movie theaters have shuttered in response to the coronavirus pandemic, studios are rushing out VOD home releases of movies that were only just in theaters.

  • “Trolls World Tour” 

    The sequel to the 2017 animated hit announced it would be available for digital download on April 10 — the same day it was supposed to land in theaters. Now it’s a VOD exclusive.

    Universal Pictures

  • “Birds of Prey” 

    The Margot Robbie spinoff of 2017’s “Suicide Squad” debuted on demand on March 24. The film grossed $84 million since opening on Feb. 4.

    Warner Bros.

  • “The Hunt”  

    The Universal/Blumhouse horror film was first delayed from release last fall due to controversy over its violent content — and then sidelined after its March 13 opening by the coronavirus. It’s available to stream now.

    Universal Pictures

  • “The Invisible Man” 

    The Universal horror film starring Elisabeth Moss grossed nearly $65 million since its Feb. 26 release in theaters. It’s available to stream now.

    Universal Pictures

  • “Emma.” 

    Focus Features’ adaptation of the Jane Austen novel opened in limited release Feb. 21 — and picked up $10 million in ticket sales until the pandemic shut down theaters. It’s available to stream now.

    Focus Features

  • “Bloodshot” 

    The Vin Diesel comic-book movie opened March 6 and grossed $10 million before theaters shut down. It’s available on VOD now.

    Sony Pictures

  • “I Still Believe” 

    Lionsgate’s biopic starring K.J. Apa as Christian music star Jeremy Camp hit VOD on March 27 — just two weeks after it opened in theaters.

    Lionsgate

  • “The Way Back” 

    Warner Bros. released the Ben Affleck drama “The Way Back” — which grossed $13 million in theaters since its March 6 opening — on VOD less than three weeks later, on March 24.

    Warner Bros.

  • “Onward”

    Disney and Pixar’s animated feature was made available for purchase on Friday, March 20, and the film hit Disney+ on April 3. 

    Disney/Pixar

  • “Sonic the Hedgehog”

    Paramount Pictures’ “Sonic the Hedgehog” set a new record for video game adaptations with a $58 million domestic opening weekend on Feb. 14 and has grossed $306 million worldwide theatrically. It’s available on demand now.

    Paramount Pictures

  • “The Call of the Wild”

    20th Century Studios’ feel-good film starring Harrison Ford and a giant CGI dog is available on demand now.

    20th Century

  • “Downhill”

    Barely escaping an avalanche during a family ski vacation, a married couple (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell) is thrown into disarray as they are forced to reevaluate their lives and how they feel about each other. It’s available on demand now.

    Fox Searchlight

  • “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”

    “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” is the story of two teenage cousins from rural Pennsylvania who journey to New York City to seek an abortion. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and walked away with a Special Jury award. It will be available for VOD on April 3.

    Focus Features

  • “Endings, Beginnings”

    “Endings, Beginnings,” a romantic drama from Drake Doremus starring Shailene Woodley, Sebastian Stan and Jamie Dornan, will open early on digital on April 17 and on demand on May 1. It was meant to open theatrically on May 1.

    Samuel Goldwyn Films

  • “To the Stars”

    “To the Stars,” a period drama set in 1960s Oklahoma that stars Kara Hayward, Liana Liberato, Jordana Spiro, Shea Whigham, Malin Akerman and  Tony Hale, was bumped up to a digital release on April 24 and an on demand release on June 1. Martha Stephens directed the film that premiered at Sundance in 2019 and was meant to be released theatrically by Samuel Goldwyn Films.

    Samuel Goldwyn Films

  • “Impractical Jokers: The Movie”

    truTV’s first-ever feature-length film is arrived early on digital on April 1. Follow James “Murr” Murray, Brian “Q” Quinn, Joe Gatto, and Sal Vulvano, aka The Tenderloins, playing themselves in a fictional story of a humiliating high school mishap from the early ’90s.

    truTV

  • “Artemis Fowl”

    Disney’s adaptation of the Eoin Colfer fantasy novel “Artemis Fowl” was meant to debut in theaters on May 29 but will now premiere exclusively on Disney+. The film is directed by Kenneth Branagh and stars Colin Farrell and Judi Dench.

    Disney

  • “The Infiltrators”

    The theatrical release of Oscilloscope’s docu-thriller “The Infiltrators” has been postponed, and the film will be released on both Cable On Demand and Digital Platforms starting June 2.

    Oscilloscope

  • “Working Man”

    The March 27th theatrical release of “Working Man” has been cancelled due to the theater closures, and the film will now premiere on May 5 via Video On Demand.

    Brainstorm Media

  • “Artemis Fowl” joins a list of big films heading to digital home entertainment platforms early

    Since most U.S. movie theaters have shuttered in response to the coronavirus pandemic, studios are rushing out VOD home releases of movies that were only just in theaters.

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    Boris Johnson Hospitalized for Having ‘Persistent Symptoms of Coronavirus’

    The U.K. prime minister has been admitted to hospital to undergo more covid-19 tests as he continues to have ‘persistent symptoms of coronavirus’ after testing positive for the illness.

    AceShowbiz -U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to the hospital 10 days after testing positive for the coronavirus.

    The politician, whose pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds is also battling COVID-19, is undergoing further tests and treatment as a “precautionary step” due to the fact his symptoms are persisting.

    “On the advice of his doctor, the Prime Minister has tonight been admitted to hospital for tests,” a Downing Street spokesman confirms. “This is a precautionary step, as the Prime Minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the virus.”

    “The Prime Minister thanks NHS (National Health Service) staff for all of their incredible hard work and urges the public to continue to follow the Government’s advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

    He was admitted just before Queen Elizabeth II gave a rare televised address to the commonwealth, urging Brits around the world to show strength and “self-discipline” throughout the crisis.

    Britain has recorded more than 48,000 confirmed cases of the potentially deadly virus, which has claimed the lives of 4,900 people.

    Johnson, who ordered a nationwide lockdown on March 23, has been working from self-isolation since testing positive for the virus four days later.

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    Scientists find coronavirus 'Achilles heel'

    Scientists find coronavirus ‘Achilles heel’ that could be targeted with drugs – opening a path for possible vaccine

    • A new study shows that scientists have discovered an ‘Achilles heel’ of the coronavirus that can be targeted with drugs and other therapies 
    • Scientists examined an antibody from a SARS patient and tracked how it latched onto a specific area of the SARS virus
    • The team then observed how the SARS antibody gripped on to the same spot on the coronavirus sample, identifying an area of weakness
    • Researchers are seeking former coronavirus patients who have recovered and are willing to donate blood to screen for antibodies

    Scientists have discovered an ‘Achilles heel’ of the coronavirus that could open a path for a potential vaccine. 

    A new study shows that a specific portion of the virus can be targeted with drugs and other therapies.   

    Scientists examined an antibody from a SARS patient and tracked how it latched on to a specific area of the SARS virus. 

    The team then observed how the SARS antibody gripped on to the same spot on the coronavirus sample at a ‘near-atomic-scale resolution.’

    The antibody that latched on in the coronavirus sample didn’t do so as hard as the SARS sample, but it did help identify a spot of weakness.   

    A new study shows that scientists have discovered an ‘Achilles heel’ of the coronavirus that an be targeted with drugs and other therapies 

    Scientists examined an antibody from a SARS patient and tracked how it latched onto a specific area of the SARS virus. The team then observed how the SARS antibody gripped on to the same spot on the coronavirus sample

    ‘The knowledge of conserved sites like this can aid in structure -based design of vaccines and therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2, and these would also protect against other coronaviruses—including those that may emerge in the future,’ the study’s lead author Dr Ian Wilson said.

    The studies lead author Dr Ian Wilson said they have found a possible ‘Achilles heel’

    Wilson told the San Diego Tribune that he described the area of the virus as a ‘possible Achilles heel’.

    The discovery, published Friday in the journal Science, suggests the virus would be vulnerable to certain drugs and is crucial to showing how it spreads, according to Scripps scientists.      

    The vulnerable area is difficult to find, however, ‘adding to the mystery’, the researchers said.  

    ‘We found that this region is usually hidden inside the virus, and only exposed when that part of the virus changes its structure, as it would in natural infection,’ co-author Meng Yuan said.

    Now researchers are seeking former coronavirus patients who have recovered and are willing to donate blood to screen for antibodies. 

    Another study shows that the blood of recovered patients could help the treat severe cases.     

    This comes as new graphs reveal the United States is still 11 days away from its coronavirus peak when it is predicted 2,644 people will die in 24 hours across the nation.

    The stark new model – created by researchers from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics – also shows the country is also 10 days from its peak resource use, when 262,092 hospital beds will be needed.

    That is 87,674 less than the number of beds the U.S. has to its disposal, the predictions show. A staggering 39,727 ICU beds will be required; the estimated shortage of these will be 19,863, it adds.

    Researchers also warn 100,000 Americans will die by August 4.

    Previous White House predictions have put the figure between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths in the US if the nation continues on its trajectory and current social distancing guidelines are maintained.

     

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