• Lifestyle
    Bloomberg

    McConnell Expects New Virus Relief Bill by End of Month

    (Bloomberg) -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell predicted Congress will pass one final coronavirus rescue package later this month and appealed to everyone in public life to urge people to wear masks to control the spread.“This is not over. We are seeing a resurgence in a lot of states,” McConnell said at one of three press conferences he held Monday in Kentucky. “I think the country needs one last boost.”McConnell said he’s “pretty sure” that a bill will come together in the next couple of weeks. He said it will be crafted in his office with consultation from the administration and then negotiated with Democrats, who endorsed a $3.5 trillion package approved by the House in May. Senate Republicans have dismissed that plan and are discussing a package of as much as $1 trillion in total spending.Whatever the final number, McConnell said it will be harder to get the unanimous Senate support that accompanied the last bill, the $2.2 trillion Cares Act. “The atmosphere has become a bit more political than it was in March,” he said.McConnell reiterated his insistence that the bill must include liability protections for businesses, schools and others that reopen. He said more broadly that he was focused on measures that would help reopen schools, and boost jobs and health care.That could include additional payments to individuals, McConnell said. He added that the people hit the hardest make about $40,000 or less and work in the hospitality industry.He said lawmakers will be looking at additional state and local aid, but cautioned that the soaring federal debt is a reason the next bill must be the last one.On masks and the virus generally, McConnell’s tone differed sharply from President Donald Trump, who has avoided wearing masks in public and has repeatedly tried to minimize the pandemic.“Look, the single most important thing each of us can do to not only help ourselves but protect our friends and neighbors and everyone around us is not complicated — to wear a mask,” McConnell said. “It ain’t confusing. It’s really simple.”While McConnell didn’t back a national mask mandate, he said everyone in public life should set an example by wearing masks and urging people to wear them.“We all need to echo that all across the commonwealth and all across the country,” he said.McConnell blamed soaring case counts on people not taking the virus seriously enough.“Clearly a lot of people thought when we started opening up the economy again, let the good times roll,” he said. Still, he added, “We can’t shut the economy down again.”White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked at her Monday press briefing about Republican lawmakers’ statements that the most important thing Americans can do is to wear a mask in public.“The president was very clear last week if he were in a situation where he wasn’t tested daily and he was in close proximity and unable to social distance, he would wear a mask,” she said. Trump, who plans an outdoor rally in New Hampshire on Saturday, has made clear that “masks are not only handed out but they are recommended,” McEnany.Asked about his face-off in November’s election against Democrat Amy McGrath, McConnell noted he is the only congressional leader not from California or New York and said “the fundamental question” for voters is whether they want a senator who will help Kentucky “punch above its weight” or one whose first vote “will be to make Chuck Schumer majority leader.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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  • Celebrity
    SheKnows

    Brie & Nikki Bella Just Did a Totally Naked Twin Pregnancy Photoshoot Together

    Naked Bella twin pregnancy pics are nothing new to the internet at this point; Nikki Bella has been sharing nude or nearly-nude pregnant selfies since March at least. And Brie Bella hopped on the bandwagon soon after, sharing a barely-clad baby bump in May. But this week the former wrestlers and current Total Bellas stars […]

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  • U.S.
    The Independent

    Man 'pulls gun' on Black Lives Matter protester after Trump supporters deface mural

    A man has been arrested in Martinez, California after reportedly pulling a gun on protesters protecting a Black Lives Matter mural that had previously been vandalised by Trump supporters.Speaking to local media, one protester described how he saw the man drive past the demonstration yelling “all lives matter” and “flipping us off”; he followed the man’s car on his skateboard, at which point the man allegedly made a u-turn and and pointed a gun in the protester’s face.

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  • Business
    The New York Times

    The Pandemic's Big Mystery: How Deadly Is the Coronavirus?

    More than six months into the pandemic, the coronavirus has infected more than 11 million people worldwide, killing more than 525,000. But despite the increasing toll, scientists still do not have a definitive answer to one of the most fundamental questions about the virus: How deadly is it?A firm estimate could help governments predict how many deaths would ensue if the virus spread out of control. The figure, usually called the infection fatality rate, could tell health officials what to expect as the pandemic spreads to densely populated nations like Brazil, Nigeria and India.In even poorer countries, where lethal threats like measles and malaria are constant and where hard budget choices are routine, the number could help officials decide whether to spend more on oxygen concentrators or ventilators, or on measles shots and mosquito nets.The question became even more complex last month, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data suggesting that for every documented infection in the United States, there were 10 other cases on average that had gone unrecorded, probably because they were very mild or asymptomatic.If there are many more asymptomatic infections than once thought, then the virus may be less deadly than it has appeared. But even that calculation is a difficult one.On Thursday, after the World Health Organization held a two-day online meeting of 1,300 scientists from around the world, the agency's chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, said the consensus for now was that the IFR is about 0.6% -- which means that the risk of death is less than 1%.Although she did not note this, 0.6% of the world's population is 47 million people, and 0.6% of the U.S. population is 2 million people. The virus remains a major threat.At present, countries have very different case fatality rates, or CFRs, which measure deaths among patients known to have had COVID-19. In most cases, that number is highest in countries that have had the virus the longest.According to data gathered by The New York Times, China had reported 90,294 cases as of Friday and 4,634 deaths, which is a CFR of 5%. The United States was very close to that mark. It has had 2,811,447 cases and 129,403 deaths, about 4.6%.Those percentages are far higher rates than the 2.5% death rate often ascribed to the 1918 flu pandemic. Still, it is difficult to measure fatality rates during pandemics, especially at the beginning.In the chaos that ensues when a new virus hits a city hard, thousands of people may die and be buried without ever being tested, and certainly without them all being autopsied.It is never entirely clear how many died of the virus and how many died of heart attacks, strokes or other ills. That has happened in both New York City and in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began.Normally, once the chaos has subsided, more testing is done and more mild cases are found -- and because the denominator of the fraction rises, fatality rates fall. But the results are not always consistent or predictable.Ten sizable countries, most of them in Western Europe, have tested bigger percentages of their populations than has the United States, according to Worldometer, which gathers statistics. They are Iceland, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Britain, Israel and New Zealand.But their case fatality rates vary wildly: Iceland's is less than 1%, New Zealand's and Israel's are below 2%. Belgium, by comparison, is at 16%, and Italy and Britain at 14%.Both figures -- the infection fatality rate and the case fatality rate -- can differ quite a bit by country.So far, in most countries, about 20% of all confirmed COVID-19 patients become ill enough to need supplemental oxygen or even more advanced hospital care, said Dr. Janet Diaz, head of clinical care for the WHO's emergencies program.Whether those patients survive depends on a host of factors, including age, underlying illnesses and the level of medical care available.Death rates are expected to be lower in countries with younger populations and less obesity, which are often the poorest countries. Conversely, the figures should be higher in countries that lack oxygen tanks, ventilators and dialysis machines, and where many people live far from hospitals. Those are also often the poorest countries.The WHO and various charities are scrambling to purchase oxygen equipment for poor and middle-income nations in which the coronavirus is spreading.And now, new factors are being introduced into the equation. For example, new evidence that people with Type A blood are more likely to fall deathly ill could change risk calculations. Type A blood is relatively rare in West Africa and South Asia, and very rare among the Indigenous peoples of South America.Before this past week's meeting, the WHO had no official IFR estimate, Oliver Morgan, the agency's director of health emergency information and risk assessment, said in an interview in early June.Instead, it had relied on a mix of data sent in by member countries and by academic groups, and on a meta-analysis done in May by scientists at the University of Wollongong and James Cook University in Australia.Those researchers looked at 267 studies in more than a dozen countries, and then chose the 25 they considered the most accurate, weighting them for accuracy and averaged the data. They concluded that the global IFR was 0.64%.The CDC relies on a "symptomatic case fatality ratio" that "is not necessarily equivalent to the number of reported deaths per reported cases." The best estimate for the United States is 0.4%, according to a set of planning scenarios released in late May. The agency did not respond to requests to explain how it arrived at that figure, or why it was so much lower than the WHO's estimate. By comparison, 0.4% of the United States population is 1.3 million people.The 25 studies that the Australian researchers considered the most accurate relied on very different methodologies. One report, for example, was based on diagnostic PCR tests of all passengers and crew aboard the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship that docked in Japan after it was overcome by the coronavirus. Another study drew data from an antibody survey of 38,000 Spaniards, while another included only 1,104 Swedes.The current WHO estimate is based on later, larger studies of how many people have antibodies in their blood; future studies may further refine the figure, Swaminathan said.But there is "a lot of uncertainty" about how many silent and untested carriers there are, Morgan of the WHO said.To arrive at the CDC's new estimate, researchers tested samples from 11,933 people for antibodies to the coronavirus in six U.S. regions. New York City reported 53,803 cases by April 1, but the actual number of infections was 12 times higher -- nearly 642,000, the agency estimated.New York City's prevalence of 7% in the CDC study was well below the 21% estimated in a state survey in April. But that number was based on people recruited at supermarkets, and so the results may have been biased toward people out shopping during a pandemic -- often the young, who have been less affected.The global fatality rates could still change. With one or two exceptions, like Iran and Ecuador, the pandemic first struck wealthier countries in Asia, Western Europe and North America where advanced medical care was available.Now it is spreading widely in India, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria and other countries where millions are crowded into slums, lockdowns have been relatively brief and hospitals have few resources.But the death rates may also shift in wealthier northern countries as winter approaches. Most of the spread of the virus in Europe and North America has taken place during mild or warm weather in the spring and summer.Many experts fear that infections and deaths will shoot up in the fall as colder weather forces people indoors, where they are more likely to infect one another. Discipline about wearing masks and avoiding breathing on one another will be even more important then.In each of the eight influenza pandemics to hit the United States since 1763, a relatively mild first wave -- no matter what time of year it arrived -- was followed by a larger, much more lethal wave a few months later, noted Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.More than a third of all the people killed by the Spanish flu, which lasted from March 1918 to late 1920, died in the stretch between September and December 1918 -- about six months after a first, relatively mild version of what may have been the same virus broke out in western Kansas."We will go much higher in the next 12 to 18 months," Osterholm said. Because this is a coronavirus, not influenza, it may not follow the same pattern, but it is "a much more efficient transmitter than influenza."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

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  • Lifestyle
    In The Know

    Woman captures eerie animal behavior on video during beach trip: 'I can’t handle this'

    Seems like everyone is headed to the beach nowadays.

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  • U.S.
    Reuters

    Predominantly Black armed protesters march through Confederate memorial park in Georgia

    Many of the protesters carried rifles, including military-type weapons, and some wore ammunition belts slung over their shoulders. Although African Americans appeared to account for the vast majority of the marchers, protesters of various races, men and women alike, were among the group. One video clip showed a leader of the demonstrators, who was not identified, shouting into a loudspeaker in a challenge to white supremacists who historically have used Stone Mountain as a rallying spot of their own.

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  • U.S.
    CBS Chicago - WBBM TV

    Former CTA Bus Driver Charged With Body Slamming Man In Incident Caught On Video

    A former CTA bus driver has been charged with aggravated battery, after he was caught on video picking a man up and slamming him to the pavement last month on the South Side. Katie Johnston reports.

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  • Monthly Market Commentary | June 2020

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