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Coronavirus: Church leaders call for wearing of face coverings


A sign directing people located inside a church

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Church leaders ask worshipers to wear face coverings

The leaders of NI’s four main Christian churches have asked parishioners to wear face coverings during services.

The heads of the Church of Ireland, Methodist Church, Catholic and Presbyterian Churches said it was their responsibility “to ensure that our services of worship are safe places”.

The move comes following consultations with health authorities.

The statement said face coverings should be used alongside two-metre social distancing.

“We join with Christian church leaders all over this island in formally recommending and encouraging the use of face coverings at all services of worship, along with the ongoing maintenance of two-metre physical distancing, from Sunday 30th August 2020, and earlier if practicable,” the statement said.

“It has become increasingly clear that the wearing of face coverings, in conjunction with hand washing etc… is likely to reduce the spread of coronavirus, thus helping to protect others.

“Their use is therefore one way in which we can evidence protection for the most vulnerable, support for our health workers, and practical love for our neighbours.”



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Where to buy a face covering as they become compulsory in England’s shops



Ever since coronavirus began spreading across the world, there has been some debate on the use of face masks, including who should wear them and the benefits of them. The advice in England remains that the general public shouldn’t try to buy medical face masks, as these need to be reserved for frontline staff and key workers only.

However, it was recently announced that from 24 July, face coverings will be mandatory in all shops and supermarkets in England. People who don’t wear one will face a fine of up to £100, apart from people with medical conditions and children under 11.

On 14 July, Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said: “We want to give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops,” while noting the disproportionate impact that the pandemic has had on shop workers.


“The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75 per cent higher amongst men and 60 per cent higher amongst women than in the general population,” he said.

Since 15 June in England, it has been mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport, with the same exemptions applying, as well as people who lip-read.

In Scotland, it’s compulsory to wear one in shops and has been on public transport since June – including the Glasgow Subway, Edinburgh trams and taxis – except for people with certain medical conditions and children under five.

In Wales, face coverings will be mandatory on public transport from 27 July, including in taxis. The Welsh Government is also advising people to wear masks in crowded places where social distancing is not possible, but this is not compulsory. Face coverings are also compulsory on public transport in Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland.

Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, president of the UK’s national science academy, said everyone should carry a face covering when they leave home. “Not wearing a face covering should be regarded as ‘anti-social’ in the same way as drink driving or failing to wear a seatbelt,” he said.

Wearing a face covering will be even more important as lockdown measures start to lift, as from 4 July in England pubs, restaurants, hotels, cinemas, museums and art galleries started to reopen, and social distancing guidance has been reduced from 2m to 1m.

Uber has also made face coverings compulsory for customers and drivers, while taking additional safety measures such as regularly sanitising their cars. Customers will also be reminded to sit in the backseat only and to roll down the windows for ventilation.

The latest guidelines extend to hospitals, where all visitors and outpatients in England are advised to wear face coverings. Health staff will now wear surgical masks at all times. These coverings can be made from things you’ve already got at home, like an old T-shirt, or even a sports sock with just a few well-made snips with scissors and a little bit of sewing. But if you’re not so confident in your creative abilities, there are plenty of brands are creating their own too, which we’ve rounded up below.

What is the difference between a face covering and a medical face mask?

According to professor Trish Greenhalgh, professor of primary care health sciences at the University of Oxford, a medical face mask is designed to protect healthcare workers from germs emitted by sick patients.

“Many infections are spread by droplets, which are relatively large when they first come out as a cough or a sneeze but become much smaller as they travel through the air and become aerosolised. A medical mask must have a very fine weave because its job is to protect the wearer from tiny aerosolised particles,” she told The Independent.

A cloth face mask, however, works by blocking the bigger droplets before they become aerosolised. “Its job isn’t to protect the wearer but to block the source of infection (what’s known as ‘source control’). Woven fabrics like cotton are very good at source control but less good at protecting the wearer,” she says.

The government was clear in its guidelines that face coverings are not the same as a face mask such as the surgical masks or respirators used as part of personal protective equipment by healthcare and other workers, and it reiterated that these supplies must continue to be reserved for those who need it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) updated its guidelines on 5 June to recommend that governments ask everyone to wear fabric face masks in public areas where there is a risk of transmission of Covid-19, in order to help reduce the spread of the pandemic disease. However, it has stressed that face coverings are only one of a range of tools that can reduce the risk of viral transmission, and should not give a false sense of protection.

It’s also important to note that while valves are a common sight in some face coverings, avoid buying a face covering with a valve, as they do very little. Marisa Glucoft, director of infection prevention Children’s Hospital Los Angeles explained why they’re ineffective: “When you wear a mask with a valve, people around you are not protected because the valve lets all of your breath into the air.”

What are the benefits of wearing a homemade face covering?

“The main benefit is most of your germs will be caught in it, making you less of an infection risk to others. My mask protects you; yours protects me”, explains professor Greenhalgh.

“I think we will soon see more and more people wearing face coverings in public places and that these coverings will soon become a sign that it’s safe to interact,” she adds.

Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading however, stresses that evidence of the effectiveness of wearing face masks to prevent spread of infection is limited.

“If not universally enforced as a recommendation it will do virtually nothing to prevent spread, and the risks of increasing infection might even outweigh the benefits,” he told The Independent, adding that mask-wearing is much less important than social distancing measures and proper hand hygiene.

Who should be wearing a face covering?

The official advice from the government’s Covid-19 recovery strategy document explains that face coverings shouldn’t be worn by everyone.

“Face-coverings should not be used by children under the age of two, or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly, for example primary age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions.”

​Wearing a face covering is going to be part of daily life, and although we can’t speak for the effectiveness of these mask coverings, we’ve rounded up some brands who are making their own.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

While occasionwear fashion brand Needle & Thread is best known for its beautifully embroidered dresses, it has recently launched two face covering designs, costing £15 each.

Stylish and comfortable, this floral mask will look and feel nice (Needle &Thread)

It’s double-lined with elastic ear loops, with a pretty floral pattern. Each purchase also supports mothers2mothers, an organisation that is working to eliminate childhood Aids, with 50 per cent of all the profits going to their emergency Covid-19 appeal.

Visit Needle & Thread now

When shopping for a face mask, consider the 100% human face mask 5-pack (Everlane, £21) and stock up for your whole household in one order.

Buy a multipack so you never run out (Everlane)

They’re made from a double-layer knit cotton with soft fabric straps. From every purchase, Everlane will be donating 10 per cent of the American Civil Liberties Union too as part of their 100% human collection, whose aim is to raise awareness of human rights issues.

Visit Everlane now

You can now buy these double-layered crepe fabric masks from online retailer Revolve, costing £20 for a pack of two.

There’s an array of prints, colours and patterns to shop from when it comes to face masks (Revolve)

Available in brightly coloured patterns of flowers and polka dots, they also come with elasticated ear loops too.

Try this too shall pass protective face mask for £17 which has a reassuring embroidery messaging.

This sweet style has a comfortable fit and simple design (Revolve)

Made in double-layered cotton with elastic ear loops and an adjustable nose bridge, it’ll feel comfortable on the skin and look good too.

Revolve is home to many different designs too, such as pastel shades, tie-dye prints, monochrome stripes and leopard print, so if you have a preferred style, you’ll be sure to find one that suits you best while keeping you safe.

Visit Revolve now

Born in Hackney, Pucker Masks was created by three friends during lockdown, Nik, Joe and Cathy.

All its masks, costing £17, are made in colourful designs by UK seamstresses who have been out of work due to the coronavirus and are paid a living wage. The fabric is three layers of breathable cotton with a shaped nose and chin, adjustable nose bridge and a pocket which you can insert a filter if you wish.

Colourful and fun, these comfortable cotton masks are an eye-catching, feel-good purchase (Pucker)

It’s also donating 25 per cent of all profits made to three charities; Mind, Refuge and Crisis.

Visit Pucker Masks now

If you’re looking to buy a multipack this Lost + Wander 3 pack face covering (Shopbo, £23.90) offers three assorted fabric designs with varying prints.

Choose from breathable linen or soft cotton and rayon materials (Shopbop)

There’s a cotton style, rayon and rayon and linen, each with elastic straps to keep them securely in place.

Visit Shopbop now

Contemporary British womenswear brand Isabel Manns works with sustainably conscious seamstresses who ensure the fabric is cut to minimise waste for their scarves, dresses, jumpsuits and more. All are reversible too.

You can still be stylish while staying safe, thanks to the many fun designs available (Isabel Manns)

It has since created vibrant lines cotton masks for £12 in three varying colours, in different pinks and blue with elastic ear loops and room to add in a filter if you choose.

Visit Isabel Manns now

This UK-based charity has teamed up with 10 artists, including Camille Walala and Mike Perry to create reversible, reusable and washable face masks for £19 each or £79 for a pack of 5.

Its #masksformeals campaign has been set up for 100 per cent of its net profits from the masks sold, to be sent to Refugee Community Kitchen to help them feed the UK’s homeless.

Buy your mask and give to a good cause with these unique designs created by some the world’s top artists (Migrate Art)

Each mask is double-layered and made in breathable 100 per cent cotton.

This Midlands-based casual wear label has designed face coverings to buy from £9.99, having diverted its manufacturing process to create a range of different styles.

The brand is donating the profits of some of the kids’ multipacks to the NHS (Just Hype)

They come in varying machine washable prints, such as camo and tie-dye, and can be bought individually or in packs of three.

Made in sizes for both adults and kids, some packs for the latter donate all profits to the NHS, too.

Visit Just Hype now

The health and beauty retailer is selling reusable face masks that give back during the pandemic.

For every covering sold, 30 per cent of the profits will be split equally between its five charity partners, which include domestic abuse charities Women’s Aid and Refuge, and breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel!

These face coverings give back to charity (Avon)

Available in a pale blue or geometric pattern, the ply cotton masks cost £3.50 each and are machine washable at 40C. You can also purchase them in bundles, as Avon offers three for £9 and five for £14 deals.

Visit Avon now

Known for its high quality silk eye masks and pillows that protect your skin and hair as you sleep, this luxury brand has turned its hand to face coverings.

Available in four designs black, leopard print, blush pink and lip print the mask is crafted from 100 per cent mulberry silk.

These coverings are made from mulberry silk (Slip)

It features adjustable ear straps which make for a comfier fit, and an adjustable nose wire inside to keep the covering secure.

At £39 each, they are pricey, but you’re paying for the premium materials which will make these masks last.

Visit SpaceNK now

This brand is headed up by 27-year-old freelance theatre prop maker and set designer, Alice Cox, who started creating bespoke face masks from old designer fabrics from her spare room in Kennington, London.

She has designed them with a pocket large enough to fit a filter and non-elastic band that will minimise irritation around your ears.

There’s a space to put a reusable filter inside this mask (Alice Cox)

To place an order, email your choice of colour and material to [email protected] One mask will cost you £10, unless you want the liberty-printed style, which is £15.

Visit Alice Cox Creative now

This London-based fashion designer and label, Florence Bridge, creates contemporary womenswear pieces with a sustainability focus at its centre.

In light of the coronavirus outbreak, the brand has created unisex face masks for £12 in a myriad of colours, prints and fabrics, which are machine washable.

Each one has a 100 per cent cotton lining for maximum comfort against your skin.

These are made with a cotton lining to prevent it irritating your skin (Florence Bridge)

A portion of profits from the sale of the masks will be going to Fuel Our Frontline charity, who are delivering essential groceries to hospital workers around the UK.

Visit Florence Bridge now

Manchester-based apparel brand, Wawa Clothing, has diverted its production towards making face masks made from 100 per cent organic ripstop cotton.

This brand uses thick ripstop cotton (Wawa Clothing)

It’s washable, can be kept securely around your mouth and nose with the elastic loops and the label is made from recycled polyester.

They are available in black or forest green and cost £12.

Visit Wawa Clothing now

For £13, Good Ordering is selling reusable face covers made from two layers of 100 per cent natural fabric, with at least one layer that is densely woven for more protection and elastic straps, which also allows you to insert a filter on the inside. They’re currently sold out, but you can leave your email here to be contacted when they become available again.

With elastic ear loops, this mask will stay securely fitted to your face  (Good Ordering)

The face covers come in one size for adults, but you can request extra-large as well as children’s sizes. They are also selling filters too, which you can buy here.

All the fabrics used to make the face covers are made from recycled or remnants of material in collaboration with a local costume professional, and while it washes the fabrics at a high temperature before production, Good Ordering advises to wash the product before use too.

Visit Good Ordering here

Here you can buy a four-pack of masks for £15 and even design your own artwork to decorate them. If you’re not feeling creative, you can also shop designs that are already made.

The masks are available in small, medium, large or extra-large – so pick the size you want and you’ll get four of the same in your pack.

You can design your own mask, or pick from already made prints (Contrado)

The brand advises to wash the masks after each use, at 60 degrees.

It describes the fabric of the masks as high-quality and breathable, lasting up to 100 washes, but advises not to tumble dry.

Visit Contrado now

Luxury womenswear label, Plumo, has made protective masks costing £10 each, with four layers of organic linen, which the brand uses for its naturally antibacterial properties, as it’s not an easy environment for germs to breed in

Germs find it harder to breed in linen, making it a good fabric for a face covering (Plumo)

Available in 19 different colours and prints, they can be washed at 90 degrees and are reusable.

For every mask sold, Plumo is donating to Masks for NHS Heroes, a crowdfunding campaign raising money to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect healthcare workers.

Visit Plumo now

If you want bold, colourful designs for your face covering, head to Newt, which has designed reusable, washable face masks in its signature fun prints on biodegradable fabrics.

The material has a tight weave like cotton, but absorbs moisture better than cotton does.

Each design is reversible too (Newt)

All its masks are made for adults, have adjustable ear straps and are reversible too.

There’s six designs and each one is £15.

Visit Newt now

Husband and wife duo, Tim and Ara, are behind Aeibe, creating filtered face masks for £45.

It follows scuppered plans for a new collection with material coming from Italy before the coronavirus hit, so Tim and Ara got creative and sourced fabric from Liberty of London instead. The result are pretty floral patterned masks that add a bit of fun to trying times.

Aeibe have designed its masks using vibrant fabrics from Liberty of London with built-in filters (Aeibe)

Every mask is made in England with 100 per cent cotton lining and 100 per cent non-woven polypropylene filters from Korea on the inside. It also has a soft nose clip to help it shape to your face and stretchy ear loops to keep it secure.

They also come with a cotton bag to keep it safe when you’re not wearing it and a spare filter.

Just make sure to remove your filter and hand wash it at 30 degrees before you put the mask in the washing machine.

Visit Aeibe now

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.



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What are the new rules on wearing face coverings on public transport in England?



Since the coronavirus outbreak began there has been significant debate as to whether face masks and face coverings are effective at containing or preventing the spread of Covid-19.

In May, the government advised that people in England should wear face coverings in ”enclosed public spaces”, such as in shops and on public transport.

However, on 4 June the government announced that face coverings will be compulsory in England on public transport, in anticipation of further relaxing of coronavirus measures.


So who will need to wear a face covering, where do you need to wear one, and from when?

What are the new rules surrounding face coverings in the England?

It will become compulsory to wear a face covering on public transport in England from the 15 June.

The move is designed to prevent an upsurge in coronavirus infections as the country continues to relax lockdown measures, with non-essential shops also being allowed to reopen from 15 June.

The government has stipulated that people should continue working from home if they can do so and avoid public transport where possible.

Where exactly do I need to wear a face covering?

In light of the new rules, everyone will now be required to wear a face covering on public transport, with some exemptions for children, disabled people, and those with breathing difficulties.

Until now the government has also advised that people wear face coverings in a number of other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may not be possible, such as shops.

“We need to ensure every precaution is taken on buses, trains, aircraft, and on ferries,” transport secretary Grant Shapps said.

Wearing a facemask does not substitute for two-metre social distancing, which should still be observed in public wherever possible.

Who should wear one?

Face coverings are not recommended for very young children, disabled people, or those who have breathing difficulties and respiratory problems that may be exacerbated by wearing a face covering.

These groups will be exempt from the new regulations regarding public transport.

What is the difference between a face covering and a face mask?

The government has stressed that face coverings should not be confused with medical face masks or respirators, which should be reserved for medical professionals and other frontline workers.

Face coverings are typically made of cloth and are intended to block bigger droplets before they become aerosolised.

Where can I get one?

A face covering can be easily made at home from a T-shirt or even a sock either by cutting the mask to size or sewing fabric together to create a piece of fabric that covers your mouth and nose comfortably. You can find out how to make one at home here.

Anyone can also purchase a range of patterned and fitted face coverings online from a number of handmade and professional retailers, find out some of the places you can buy coverings here.

A face covering can also be something as simple as using a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head to cover your mouth and nose.

The government stressed people should not purchase medical face masks. Face coverings should be washed after use as soon as possible.

What will happen if I don’t wear one?

Wearing a face covering would be made a “condition of travel” on public transport, Mr Shapps said. The transport secretary said that fines will be imposed on those who fail to wear them.

It is not immediately clear how the rule regarding face coverings will be enforced, as they are not currently included in regulations police use to action lockdown breaches.

Everyone should continue to wash their hands frequently and not touch their face at all times, whether or not you are wearing a face covering. Social distancing measures should continue to be observed in public where possible.



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David Shrigley and Yinka Shonibare create face masks to raise funds for emerging artists and local museums



David Shrigley and Yinka Shonibare are among those designing limited edition face masks to raise money to support emerging artists and local museums during the pandemic.

The face masks, also created by Eddie Peake and Linder, are on sale for three weeks, with money going towards Contemporary Art Society’s Rapid Response Fund.

They can be bought via a new crowdfunding campaign, launched today in partnership with Frieze, and are on sale for £35 each or £120 for all four.


More than £100,000 has already been raised already, with the crowdfunder aiming to raise a further £20,000 by June 10. The money will be used to purchase artworks that will then go into gallery collections, providing financial support to artists, technicians and art handlers, many of whom work on a freelance basis and have seen their income taken away over past weeks.

Shrigley said: “My design perhaps acknowledges that our emotions are more difficult to see when we wear a mask. The fund will provide incredible support to emerging artists at a time when the art world entirely ground to a halt, but also the technicians, the assistants, the small galleries that do so much to support younger artists in turn.”

The masks can be bought here: crowdfunder.co.uk/rapidresponsefund



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Coronavirus live news: Europe halts delivery of faulty Chinese face masks; WHO says Covid-19 may never go | World news


Medical workers in Indonesia are complaining of persistent delays to an increase in coronavirus testing promised by their president, Joko Widodo, Reuters reports.

The south east Asian nation, the world’s fourth most populous, has the highest coronavirus death toll in east Asia outside China, and one of the lowest global testing rates.

Indonesia reported 568 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, taking the total to 16,006, with 1,043 deaths. It has so far conducted around 50 tests per 100,000 people, compared with 2,500 per 100,000 in neighbouring Singapore.

Widodo promised in April that 10,000 tests would be performed each day, but the goal is yet to be reached, with testing rates on average hovering at less than half that figure. Health experts have urged Jakarta to rapidly increase its testing rate to determine the true spread of the virus across the Indonesian archipelago, saying that without sufficient data the full extent of the outbreak will remain unknown.

A man covers his face with a shirt instead of a face mask while in a queue to get the Takjil, food for breaking the Ramadan fast, in central Jakarta.

A man covers his face with a shirt instead of a face mask while in a queue to get the Takjil, food for breaking the Ramadan fast, in central Jakarta. Photograph: Muhammad Zaenuddin/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

“We can’t even get the results after two weeks,” Meneldi Rasmin, a consulting doctor at Persahabatan Hospital in Jakarta, told Reuters.

“So we cannot determine whether it’s COVID-19 or not. We can only judge them (the patients) from clinical symptoms,” he said, attributing the delay to limited equipment capacity.

In between his rounds at Persahabatan Hospital where medical staff move about in white protective gear, Rasmin called for testing capacities to be scaled up not only in the capital, but across the sprawling country.

“Early detection by rapid testing should take place in every small district. Local clinics should take control, instead of (centralized) rapid testing,” he said.
“It should be organized at the community level, working together with the district authority.”



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Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick Face Sick Degrees Of Grossness In Coronavirus Lockdown



Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, one of Hollywood’s most enduring couples, are navigating the coronavirus lockdown with what they call “corona rules.” (See the video above.)

In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel Wednesday, Sedgwick said that one of the rules is to make the bed daily. Bacon hasn’t fully bought in, she added, but that may change after a disgusting incident just hours before their talk show appearance.

Sedgwick said the couple returned from walking the dog Wednesday morning to make the bed, “and there’s poop on the bed inside the sheets.”

Bacon immediately joked that it might have come from his wife after a Cinco de Mayo meal. But Sedgwick was all business after the discovery.

“I took a picture and sent it to the exterminator. It’s roof rat poop,” “The Closer” star said. “So those things are coming into the house onto the bed. So this is why we’ll never ever forget to make that bed for the rest of our lives.”

Right, Kevin?





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Face masks pose communication hurdle for deaf community


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When will it hit and what will it look like? Those are just a few unanswered questions about a possible second wave of COVID-19.

USA TODAY

Mary Beth Pagnella, who has lived with profound hearing loss most of her life, prides herself on being an excellent lip reader.

But, amid the coronavirus outbreak, reading lips has become more difficult with state and federal officials recommending, and some requiring, people to wear masks in public.

“I feel so lost and out of place because [people] are wearing masks and I cannot read their lips,” Pagnella told USA TODAY. “Not being able to hear is hard enough. Now, lip reading is hard, too.”

Wearing face masks has become the new normal for daily living — and it will continue to be as more states begin to loosen social distancing restrictions to reopen their economies.

It’s a challenge not lost on the deaf community.

The second wave of coronavirus: When will it hit, and what will it look like?

“In American Sign Language, the grammar of the language exists in facial expression,” said Peter Cook, chair of the Department of American Sign Language at Columbia College Chicago.

“So, in order to truly communicate in language, you need the facial expression,” Cook, who is also deaf, told USA TODAY.

Even watching televised press conferences can be difficult, Cook said. While some local governments have ASL interpreters available, many don’t — including at the near-daily White House coronavirus task force briefings.

The National Association of the Deaf and the National Council on Disability have sent letters to the White House asking for ASL interpreters to be available, CNN reported.

“So we rely on each other,” said Cook. “It’s been crucial for us using things like social media and even Twitter [and] apps like Marco Polo [for] keeping us connected and keeping us informed as a community.”

Making a mask? Here’s where to buy the materials to make your own at home

Many organizations, including the National Association of the Deaf, are providing services like videos with an interpreter sharing updates on COVID-19.

The Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center in Seattle, Washington, partnered with Hypernovas Productions to create a video series called “WHAT IS HAPPENING!?!?!?!?” providing coronavirus updates in ASL. The show’s host, Joshua Castille, a deaf performance artist, also shares tips on things like working on your mental health during the crisis.

Lindsay Klarman, the center’s executive director, told USA TODAY that they worked closely with state officials to ensure press briefings and other videos included an interpreter or closed captions.

“I think the main thing to remember is that we don’t all get information the same way,” Klarman said. “We don’t have access to language through spoken English, and so the more that we can do to support diversity within our community, the better off we’ll all be.”

Both Cook and Pagnella are also looking for creative ways to help their communities. One of them is by creating clear masks.

American Sign Language interpreter Terry Dockter, right, signs as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee sits at his desk and rehearses a speech on April 21. (Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP)

Pagnella emailed a college student in Kentucky who created reusable clear masks for the deaf and hard of hearing. Ashley Lawrence, a student at Eastern Kentucky University studying education for the deaf and hard of hearing, created a GoFundMe account to help ship the masks for free. 

The news inspired Pagnella to create masks with her friends using a how-to guide by Lawrence to share with the deaf and hard to hear community in her hometown of Alexandria, Virginia. Some of them will be sent to students at Gallaudet University, a private university for the education of the deaf and hard of hearing in Washington, D.C.

“I can’t sew, but I’m so willing to learn that one of my friends is going to loan a sewing machine to me,” Pagnella said.

Fact check: What’s true and what’s false about coronavirus?

For Cook, he’s reaching out to the fashion studies department at Columbia College Chicago to have students make masks for his students, or possibly to create a class for the fall semester.

“There’s a sense of collectivism and information sharing and I think that’s something that has across the country really bonded the deaf community,” said Cook.

“At the same time, [it is] acknowledging that there are some very critical and serious issues that we need access to as a community.”

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Biden’s former rivals face questions about Tara Reade’s assault claim from the media before he does


As the mainstream media had finally began acknowledging the sexual assault allegation that was made against former Vice President Joe Biden, a bizarre development has his former 2020 rivals being asked about the controversy before the presumptive Democratic nominee is.

Since Tara Reade, a former staffer of the then senator, spoke out about the alleged 1993 assault in her March 25 interview with podcast host Katie Halper, Biden had made ten appearances on various news networks and did not face a single question about her claims.

However, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who have both endorsed Biden, were asked to weigh in on the controversy during their televised interviews on Thursday.

Klobuchar, who is also on Biden’s shortlist of potential VP picks, suggested that Reade’s allegation was put to bed during her appearance on MSNBC, pointing to a report The New York Times ran on Easter Sunday.

BIDEN SKATES THROUGH TV INTERVIEWS AS ANCHORS AVOID QUESTIONS ABOUT TARA READE’S ASSAULT CLAIM

“He has said, and I agree with this, ‘You’ve got to get to the bottom of every case and all allegations.’ I think The New York Times — I haven’t read all the stories. I read that one,” Klobuchar told “The Beat” anchor Ari Melber. “Your viewers should read that. It was very thorough. They interviewed people. And I have done a lot of work on this. I actually led the effort to change the rules in the U.S. Senate so that it is easier to bring these cases forward and so that we have taxpayers not paying for bad conduct.”

She continued, “I think this case has been investigated. I know the vice president as a major leader on domestic abuse, I worked with him on that. And I think that, again, the viewers should read the article. It was very thorough.”

Hours earlier, Biden appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” alongside his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, but was not asked about the allegation.

Sanders, who suspended his presidential campaign last week and officially endorsed Biden on Monday, was asked about remarks made by his progressive ally Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who said on Tuesday that Reade’s allegation is “legitimate to talk about.”

“Do you agree?” Tony Dokoupil of “CBS This Morning” asked.

“I think it’s relevant and to talk about anything. And I think any woman who feels that she was assaulted has every right in the world to stand up and make her claims,” Sanders responded. “I think that she has the right to make her claims and get a public hearing and the public will make their own conclusions about it. I just don’t know enough about it to comment further.”

CNN MISSING IN ACTION ON BIDEN ASSAULT ACCUSER TARA READE’S STORY

Katie Halper, the progressive podcast host who interviewed Reade last month, slammed the media, saying it has given Sanders a “harder time than Biden” on Biden’s own sexual assault allegation.

While Klobuchar and Sanders were asked about Reade’s allegation, Biden skated through 10 different interviews, including with CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Brooke Baldwin, MSNBC anchors Nicolle Wallace and Brian Williams, ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, and NBC News’ Chuck Todd.

“If the liberal media think they can put to rest the calls for coverage of Tara Reade’s allegations by asking major Democratic Party figures other than Biden, they’re severely mistaken,” NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck told Fox News. “The person at the center of this story has yet to be asked in broadcast and cable network interviews. And for that, the liberal media will continue to beclown itself in failing to educate voters about the 2020 campaign and instead bolster the notion that they are willingly putting their thumb on the scales for Biden.”

AOC SAYS BIDEN ASSAULT CLAIM ‘LEGITIMATE TO TALK ABOUT’

Progressive journalist Walker Bragman said it is “immensely revealing” that Biden has done so many interviews since Reade came forward and faced “a total of zero questions on the subject.”

“Back in January, a private dinner conversation between Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren sparked a week-long news cycle. Reade’s allegation was ignored for weeks,” Bragman told Fox News, referring to the sexism-charged feud between the two candidates earlier this year. “When it was covered, it was downplayed with the New York Times stealth editing its report to remove references to the other accusation of impropriety Biden has faced from multiple other women.”

NY TIMES EDITOR SUGGESTS REPORT ON BIDEN ACCUSER WAS CHANGED AFTER BIDEN CAMPAIGN COMPLAINED

For nearly three weeks, there was a complete media blackout of Reade’s claim. The tides began to shift following Rich McHugh’s report in Business Insider last Friday that Reade had filed a criminal complaint against Biden.

The New York Times ran its first report on the morning of Easter Sunday while The Washington Post and NBC News published theirs hours later.

ABC News republished a report from the Associated Press but has yet to mention it on-air. CBS News reported the allegation on its website on Tuesday and on-air during Thursday’s “CBS This Morning.”

CNN is the only major news outlet to have completely avoided Reade’s claims.

Reade’s story first resurfaced in an article in The Intercept. Podcast host Katie Halper then interviewed Reade, who said that in 1993, a more senior member of Biden’s staff asked her to bring the then-senator his gym bag near the Capitol building, which led to the encounter in question.

“He greeted me, he remembered my name, and then we were alone. It was the strangest thing,” Reade told Halper. “There was no like, exchange really. He just had me up against the wall.”

Reade said she tried to share her story last year, but nobody listened to her. This past Thursday, she filed a criminal complaint against Biden with police in Washington, D.C.

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

The Biden campaign vehemently denied Reade’s allegation.

“Women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims. We encourage them to do so, because these accusations are false,” Kate Bedingfield, the deputy campaign manager and communications director for the Biden campaign, said in a statement to Fox News.

Fox News’ Sam Dorman, Tyler Olson, and Brooke Singman contributed to this report. 



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No luck for the Irish as closed U.S. pubs face coronavirus losses on St. Patrick’s Day


NEW YORK/BOSTON (Reuters) – Orla Sweeney, manager of Connolly’s Irish pub in New York City, expected St. Patrick’s Day to once again be one of her bar’s most profitable days of the year.

A sign is seen on the window at McSorley’s Old Ale House, which, established in 1854, is referred to as New York City’s oldest Irish saloon and was ordered to close at 8:00pm as part of a city-wide order to close bars and restaurants in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus the day before Saint Patrick’s Day in Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S., March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Instead, the pub near Times Square was shuttered on Tuesday, like hundreds of thousands of dining establishments across the United States as state governments enforced closures to control the spread of COVID-19. Sweeney broke the news to her employees on Monday after Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered all restaurants to close that night, and they broke down in tears.

“They were like, ‘Well when can I come back to work?’ And I’m like, I’m not really sure,” Sweeney said. “In this industry, they live week to week, day to day, and right now they have nothing.”

There should have been corned beef, bagpipe music and parades, but the streets of major U.S. cities on Tuesday were mostly desolate as local authorities banned parades in cities from New York to San Francisco to slow the spread of the virus that has infected more than 4,400 Americans and killed at least 80.

Even in the holiday’s native country of Ireland, the government on Sunday ordered all pubs to shut down after videos of crowded pubs in Dublin ignited a social media uproar over the possibility of contagion.

Some persistent revelers took their festivities to social media, sharing videos of Irish step dancing on Twitter and posting photos of themselves holding beers in self-quarantine.

A few dozen members of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizing committee donned green and marched with an American flag and bagpipes, following city guidelines to cap gatherings at 50 people.

One Boston Irish musician, Geoff Roman, had been slated to play two fiddle and guitar gigs at pubs on Tuesday before the closures. Instead, he holed up in his Whitman, Massachusetts, apartment and livestreamed half-hour music sessions on Facebook, playing between an Irish flag and a pint of Guinness.

“I’m trying to make people feel like it’s a pub,” Roman said.

Pubs and bars across the United States normally count on St. Patrick’s Day and the March Madness college basketball tournament to bring in a large part of their annual revenue.

U.S. consumers had been forecast to spend some $6 billion on St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation conducted in early February, before the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States in earnest.

The respiratory disease’s spread has left the hospitality industry in the lurch, as workers are barred from their jobs that involve person-to-person contact but have no livelihood without them.

Connolly’s in New York also feeds its staff daily, meaning that its laid-off staff must now find other ways to eat in addition to paying their bills.

“You’re trying to do the right thing by society, but people have to live,” Sweeney said. “I just hope that when it all calms down and settles, that we’ll have places to come back to.”

‘I WOULD HAVE BEEN HURTING’

Several Irish pubs had excess food ready for St. Patrick’s Day customers and needed to find other places for it when they heard the decisions by governors to close restaurants and bars just before the holiday.

Some, like Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub in Alexandria, Virginia, near Washington, were considering selling family meals for delivery, while others, like O’Shaughnessy’s in Chicago, sold off as much corned beef and cabbage as they could at a 25% discount on Monday before splitting up the leftovers and giving them to staff.

Slideshow (11 Images)

Nothing would stop Walter Szarowicz, 81, from getting a St. Patrick’s Day dinner for his wife who has Parkinson’s disease and whose birthday was Tuesday. He drove 30 minutes to Harrington’s Irish Deli on the north side of Chicago to get her corned beef.

Patrons were not permitted to eat at the deli on Tuesday under Chicago’s temporary health regulation, but a few were lined up for takeout.

“If I didn’t go today and get dinner, I would have been hurting,” Szarowicz said. “When I get home, I will be drinking. I got Irish booze.”

Reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York, Ross Kerber in Boston, Brendan O’Brien and PJ Huffstutter in Chicago and Brad Heath in Alexandria, Virginia; Writing by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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Bumblebees face extinction as population drops by 46%


A bumblebee draws nectar from the flowers of a cherry tree in a garden outside Moscow on May 12, 2018.
  • Bumblebees are the best pollinators we have in wild landscapes.
  • Bee populations are declining, and if they continue at this pace, ‘many of these species could vanish forever,’ researchers say.
  • Hotter and more frequent extremes in temperatures are responsible for the declining population.

Climate change contributed to drastic declines in the population and diversity of bumblebees across North America and Europe, according to a long-term study of more than 60 bee species published Thursday in the journal Science.

Researchers discovered bumblebees are disappearing at rates “consistent with a mass extinction.”

The scientists said North America’s bumblebee populations fell by 46% during the two time periods the study used – from 1901 to 1974 and from 2000 to 2014.

Bee populations were hardest hit in warming southern regions such as Mexico, because of more frequent extreme warm years, which exceeded the species’ historical temperature ranges, according to the study.

“If declines continue at this pace, many of these species could vanish forever within a few decades,” study lead author Peter Soroye, a Ph.D. student at the University of Ottawa, said in a statement.

“We’ve known for a while that climate change is related to the growing extinction risk that animals are facing around the world. In this paper, we offer an answer to the critical questions of how and why that is,” Soroye said. “We find that (bee) species extinctions across two continents are caused by hotter and more frequent extremes in temperatures.”

The study found that in the course of a single human generation, the likelihood of a bumblebee population surviving in a given place has declined by an average of more than 30%.

Environment news:Monarch butterfly population at critically low levels in California

Bumblebees are the best pollinators in wild landscapes and the most effective pollinators for important crops such as tomato, squash and berries, Soroye said. “Our results show that we face a future with many less bumblebees and much less diversity, both in the outdoors and on our plates.”



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