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Joe Biden criticises Donald Trump for renewed Fauci attack over Covid – US politics live | US news


CNN Poll of Polls averages across 10 key battleground states suggest tight races heading into the final two weeks of the campaign in seven states and former Vice President Joe Biden ahead in the averages of the other three, all of which President Donald Trump won in 2016.

In Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, the averages suggest Biden holds the support of a majority of voters and a sizable advantage over Trump.

The Pennsylvania average shows Biden’s largest lead. The Democratic nominee averages 52% support to Trump’s 43% in polling conducted between September 20 and October 5. In both Wisconsin and Michigan, the averages show Biden with 51% support to 43% for Trump. Trump’s victory in each of these states in 2016 came via a margin of less than a percentage point. Except for 2016, all three states broke for the Democratic candidate in each presidential election since 1992.

In 2016, Trump carried all 10 states where CNN Poll of Polls averages are being released Tuesday: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin. He is numerically ahead of Biden in the averages of current polling in just one of these states, Texas, where his support averages 49% to Biden’s 45%.



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The U.S. is conducting millions more rapid coronavirus tests, but are results reported? – National


After struggling to ramp up coronavirus testing, the U.S. can now screen several million people daily, thanks to a growing supply of rapid tests. But the boom comes with a new challenge: keeping track of the results.

All U.S. testing sites are legally required to report their results, positive and negative, to public health agencies. But state health officials say many rapid tests are going unreported, which means some new COVID-19 infections may not be counted.

And the situation could get worse, experts say. The federal government is shipping more than 100 million of the newest rapid tests to states for use in public schools, assisted living centres and other new testing sites.

Read more:
U.S. to ship millions of coronavirus tests in effort to reopen schools through 12th grade

“Schools certainly don’t have the capacity to report these tests,” said Dr. Jeffrey Engel of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. “If it’s done at all it’s likely going to be paper-based, very slow and incomplete.”

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Early in the outbreak, nearly all U.S. testing relied on genetic tests that could only be developed at high-tech laboratories. Even under the best circumstances, people had to wait about two to three days to get results. Experts pushed for more “point-of-care” rapid testing that could be done in doctors offices, clinics and other sites to quickly find people who are infected, get them into quarantine and stop the spread.

Beginning in the summer, cheaper, 15-minute tests — which detect viral proteins called antigens on a nasal swab — became available. The first versions still needed to be processed using portable readers. The millions of new tests from Abbott Laboratories now going out to states are even easier to use: they’re about the size of a credit card and can be developed with a few drops of chemical solution.

Federal health officials say about half of the nation’s daily testing capacity now consists of rapid tests.


Click to play video 'Is rapid testing the solution to Canada’s 2nd wave?'



Is rapid testing the solution to Canada’s 2nd wave?


Is rapid testing the solution to Canada’s 2nd wave?

Large hospitals and laboratories electronically feed their results to state health departments, but there is no standardized way to report the rapid tests that are often done elsewhere. And state officials have often been unable to track where these tests are being shipped and whether results are being reported.

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In Minnesota, officials created a special team to try and get more testing data from nursing homes, schools and other newer testing sites, only to be deluged by faxes and paper files.

“It’s definitely a challenge because now we have to do many more things manually than we were with electronic reporting,” said Kristen Ehresmann, of the Minnesota Department of Health.

Even before Abbott’s newest rapid tests hit the market last month, undercounting was a concern.

Read more:
Health Canada approves rapid coronavirus test after feds put 7.9M on order

Competitors Quidel and Becton Dickinson have together shipped well over 35 million of their own quick tests since June. But that massive influx of tests hasn’t showed up in national testing numbers, which have mostly ranged between 750,000 and 950,000 daily tests for months.

Besides tallying new cases, COVID-19 testing numbers are used to calculate a key metric on the outbreak: percentage of tests positive for COVID-19. The World Health Organization recommends countries test enough people to drive their per cent of positives below 5 per cent. And the U.S. has mostly been hovering around or below that rate since mid-September, a point that President Donald Trump and his top aides have touted to argue that the nation has turned the corner on the outbreak. The figure is down from a peak of 22 per cent in April.

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But some disease-tracking specialists are skeptical. Engel said his group’s members think they aren’t getting all the results.

“So it may be a false conclusion,” he said.


Click to play video 'Canada signs deal to buy 7.9 million rapid COVID-19 tests'



Canada signs deal to buy 7.9 million rapid COVID-19 tests


Canada signs deal to buy 7.9 million rapid COVID-19 tests

One of the challenges to an accurate count: States have wildly different approaches. Some states lump all types of tests together in one report, some don’t tabulate the quick antigen tests at all and others don’t publicize their system. Because antigen tests are more prone to false negatives and sometimes require retesting, most health experts say they should be recorded and analyzed separately. Currently only 10 states do that and post the results online, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

The federal government is allocating the tests to states based on their population, rather than helping them develop a strategy based on the size and severity of their outbreaks.

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“That’s just lazy” said Dr. Michael Mina of Harvard University. “Most states won’t have the expertise to figure out how to use these most appropriately.”

Read more:
Millions of coronavirus rapid tests won’t arrive for months: Health Canada

Instead, Mina said the federal government should direct the limited supplies to key hot spots around the country, driving down infections in the hardest-hit communities. Keeping tighter control would also ensure test results are quickly reported.

Johns Hopkins University researcher Gigi Gronvall agrees health officials need to carefully consider where and when to deploy the tests. Eventually, methods for tracking the tests will catch up, she said.

“I think having the tools to determine if someone is infectious is a higher priority,” she said.

___

AP data journalist Nicky Forster contributed to this story




© 2020 The Canadian Press





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LACKIE: Outdated open houses no longer necessary, not worth the risks


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Being able to produce a well-attended open house is clear and demonstrable.

It’s also a great way for agents to get themselves in front of prospective buyer clients. Nice to meet you, are you currently working with an agent?

Here’s why I loathe open houses:

You have no idea who is there and why.

Unlike a buyer-broker showing where the buyer has been pre-qualified, open house attendees could be anyone.

The nosy neighbour who is dying to see your renovation. Someone looking for valuables. Someone with an hour to kill before brunch.

On a sunny day, you’re likely to have a slew of people out for walks who happen upon your sign and decide to pop in.

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If the weather is terrible, people will stay home and come with their agent at their convenience.

It seems like an excellent way to gauge interest, but it’s often not.

You can have fifty groups through an open house and still have no offers. You can have a poorly attended open house and still have a bidding war.

I will take a list of agents who have shown my property and can provide clear and instructive feedback to relay to my client any day.

Conversely, there is no upside to assuming the liability that comes with bringing strangers through a private residence in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s just not responsible.

You think you might be interested in a house you saw online? Skip the open house and repeat after me: just because it’s permitted, doesn’t make it wise.

— Brynn Lackie is a second generation realtor and life-long resident of Toronto

@brynnlackie





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COVID-19: Outbreak at Kelowna church as three deaths reported over past three days


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Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on Monday reported a five-case community outbreak linked to the Calvary Chapel Church in Kelowna.

This is the first community outbreak reported in over a week, though there continue to be community exposures in schools and other spaces.

The Calvary Chapel is located on the grounds of the Kelowna Christian School, however the outbreak only impacts people who attended the 10:30 a.m. service on Sept. 13 and 20.

Henry said there were 267 cases of COVID-19 reported between noon Friday and noon Monday (68/125/74) and three deaths. Those deaths occurred in Fraser Health, Vancouver Coastal Health and Island Health regions bringing that grim toll to 233.

Henry said the person who died on Vancouver Island was in his 50s with underlying conditions and died at home. She said it was not known he had COVID until after his death.

There are now 1,302 active cases of the disease in B.C., of which 69 were being treated in hospital including 22 in intensive care. Henry said there were 3,372 people in isolation and being monitored by health authorities across the province after being potentially exposed to COVID-19.



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Greek police move thousands of asylum seekers displaced by fire to new camp – National


A Greek police operation is underway on the island of Lesbos to move thousands of migrants and refugees left homeless after a fire destroyed their overcrowded camp into a new facility on the island.

Police said Thursday morning’s operation included 70 female police officers who were approaching asylum-seekers with the aim of persuading them to move to the new camp in the island’s Kara Tepe area. No violence was reported as the operation began.

Read more:
Thousands of asylum seekers left homeless after fire at refugee camp in Greece

The notoriously squalid Moria camp burned down last week in fires that Greek authorities said were deliberately set by a small group of the camp’s inhabitants angered by lockdown restrictions imposed after a coronavirus outbreak.

The blazes have left more than 1,200 people in need of emergency shelter. The vast majority have been sleeping rough by the side of a road leading from Moria to the island capital of Mytilene, erecting makeshift shelters made of sheets, blankets, reeds and cardboard.

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Fire destroys Greece’s largest refugee camp


Fire destroys Greece’s largest refugee camp

The new camp consists of large family tents erected in a field by the sea. By Wednesday night, it had a capacity of around 8,000 people, according to the UN refugee agency, but only around 1,100 mostly vulnerable people had entered.

New arrivals are tested for the coronavirus, registered and assigned a tent.

“This is an operation for the protection of public health and with a clear humanitarian content,” the police said in a statement.

Read more:
Thousands flee fires at migrant camp in Greece amid coronavirus lockdown

Six Afghans, including two minors, were arrested on suspicion of causing last week’s fires at Moria. The blazes broke out after isolation orders were issued during a generalized camp lockdown, when 35 people tested positive for the coronavirus.

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Moria had a capacity of just over 2,700 people, but more than 12,500 people had been living in and around it when it burned down. The camp and its squalid conditions were held up by critics as a symbol of Europe’s failed migration policies.



© 2020 The Canadian Press





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#CoronavirusGlobalResponse – EU Humanitarian Air Bridge to Peru and €30.5 million for Latin America and the Caribbean


As part of the EU’s global coronavirus response, an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge operation consisting of three flights to Lima, Peru this week is delivering a total of more than four tonnes of life-saving materials to humanitarian organizations active in the country. At the same time, the EU has announced €30.5 million in humanitarian assistance to support the most vulnerable in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2020.

“At this critical time, the EU continues to support those in need in Peru and in the whole of Latin America. The coronavirus pandemic places huge logistical pressure on the humanitarian community, while the needs remain high in critical areas. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the EU, Spain and the Peruvian authorities, vital assistance was delivered to help the people of Peru tackle this pandemic,” said Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič.

Of the funding announced today, €15.5m are for disaster preparedness of vulnerable communities across Latin America and the Caribbean and to ensure they are ready to face the multiple natural hazards hitting the region. The remaining €15m will continue supporting humanitarian projects in Central and South America and in the Caribbean. The full press release is available online.



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Dr Hilary Jones brands coronavirus pregnancy style test ‘unachievable’


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Dr Hilary Jones has branded Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new pregnancy style coronavirus test ‘unachievable’.

Just last night, the PM held a virtual conference where he explained the government are working on a new Covid-19 test which will deliver results in less that 20 minutes.

He told the nation that the government is hoping to increase the testing capacity in the UK to 500,000 a day by the end of October.

However, when appearing on Good Morning Britain today, Dr Hilary opened up on how he is wary about the new plans.

‘What all governments around the world are hoping for is a rapid test that gives you a reliable answer in 20 minutes or less that is the holy grail,’ he stated.

‘We need to know that these tests are as reliable as the ones we are using in the Test and Trace.’

Dr Hilary Jones brands Boris Johnson’s new pregnancy style test ‘unachievable’ (Picture: ITV)

The expert went on: ‘We have got problems with that system already, it would be great if we had a rapid test so people will know if they’re infectious in 20 minutes or not, but the technology is not yet there.

‘We need to know that it can be that reliable otherwise it could be misleading and potentially harmful.

‘If we’re going to be doing 10million tests a day, where are all these people going to come from carrying out these tests and processing them in the labs?

Boris Johnson plans to get out 500,000 tests by October (Picture: PA)

‘It is such a huge ask and I don’t think the experts believe it is achievable even by next spring, it’s a massive undertaking.’

Susanna Reid, who was hosting the show alongside Adil Ray, questioned Dr Hilary on the pregnancy style testing kits and Mr Johnson’s ‘Operation Moonshoot’, which would not need to go through labs.

He said: ‘We haven’t yet got the technology that proves it works and even if we did and had these tests available at sporting events where people are screened before going into the event who is going to…

‘The logistics of that are so immense and so mind-blowing that it would cost an estimated £100 billion to do this a year, the same we spend almost on the NHS, £130 billion.

‘It is actually unachievable.’

Good Morning Britain continues weekdays at 6am on ITV.

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MORE: Even Dr Hilary Jones is confused by Boris Johnson’s rule of six as he tries to explain change in restrictions

MORE: Kate Garraway won’t see husband Derek Draper on 15th wedding anniversary: ‘It’s a tough day’





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France expecting intensive care spike in quarantine blow as Glasgow KFC forced to shut


FRANCE are facing another blow in their bid to become Covid-safe as their intensive care units expect a spike in cases.

They have been on the UK’s quarantine list since last month, and this will not be happy news for British holidaymakers.

Meanwhile, Glasgow have had to shut a KFC branch in the Scottish city after six members of staff tested positive for coronavirus – with the store now closed for two weeks as employees self-isolate.

And, Leeds could have new lockdown measures introduced following a spike in cases throughout the city.

Councillors have warned people in the city must make a “collective effort” to avoid being plunged back into a local lockdown.

The UK death toll increased by 13 yesterday to a total 41,537, and cases hit 342,351.

Follow our coronavirus live blog for all the latest news and updates…





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Ford forges ahead with back-to-school plan


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Teacher unions, school trustees and, according to polling, the majority of parents have concerns about school reopenings.

A committee of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) passed a motion Tuesday to ask Chair Alexander Brown to write to the Ford government for more resources to implement a COVID-19 plan.

Going before the full TDSB board Thursday is a motion to require all students including the youngest learners to wear masks in schools.

The Ministry of Education has made masks mandatory for students in Grades 4 and up, and recommended face coverings for those in Grade 3 or lower.

When asked about the issue Wednesday, Ford said that as a father of four daughters, he’s not convinced it will be easy to get kids in junior and regular kindergarten to safely wear masks.

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“When they’re four years old, five years old, it’s hard to keep the mask on them,” Ford said. “But, again, we’ll be there, we’ll support the board if that’s what they want to do, but keeping a mask on a JK or senior kindergarten[er] might be difficult. But we’ll support it.”

In Ontario, 2,564 people aged 19 or younger have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the latest public health data.

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#Kazakhstan proposes 15% tax on #Bitcoin mining to help combat #Coronavirus



Kazakhstan Proposes 15% Tax on Bitcoin Mining to Help Combat Coronavirus

Kazakhstan has proposed legislation that would see a 15% tax imposed on bitcoin mining firms. This is part of efforts to raise money to help with the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Proposed by the country’s ministry of economy, the new tax plan requires bitcoin (BTC) miners to first file an application for registration with the authorities, according to a recent report by a local Russian publication.

After this, the taxpayer must then indicate the 15% tax on their annual tax calculations. The report notes that “the clause on registration makes the bill unique… the taxpayer working with cryptocurrencies stands apart from the very beginning of filing a tax return”.

Funds raised from the draft tax will be channeled toward building the infrastructure that is needed to combat COVID-19 while also giving the economy a boost. The disease has so far killed nearly 1,300 Kazakhs, with more than 100,000 infected, official data shows.

Kazakhstan, a former Soviet state in central Asia, accounts for about 8% of the global bitcoin hashrate total, says crypto research company Bitooda. Together with Iran and Russia, the country boasts the world’s third-largest BTC mining industry.

Miners are typically drawn to Kazakhstan’s cheap electricity, which averages 3 cents per kilowatt-hour.

In June, Kazakh Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry Minister Askar Zhumagaliyev revealed that a total of 14 bitcoin mining companies were operating in the country’s north.

Over the next three years, the country is targeting up to $738 million of investment from crypto-related activities, particularly mining, he said.

According to the Russian publication, the Kazakh government is also planning to introduce legislation to regulate the cryptocurrency industry. The new laws are expected to set new electricity tariffs for the crypto mining sector.



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