Trump Contracts COVID: Here’s What We Know And What We Don’t

US President Donald Trump wears a mask as he visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland' on July 11, 2020. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN / AFP)
File photo: US President Donald Trump wears a mask as he visits Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland’ on July 11, 2020. (Photo by ALEX EDELMAN / AFP)

 

President Donald Trump’s diagnosis as COVID-19 positive adds extraordinary drama to an already fast-moving and tumultuous US election campaign.

Here is a summary of the current state of events:

– Where is Trump now? –

Trump will spend the coming days in a military hospital just outside Washington to undergo treatment for the coronavirus, but will continue to work, the White House said Friday.

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Trump “will be working from the presidential offices at Walter Reed for the next few days.”

The president’s campaign manager Bill Stepien said earlier in the day that all previously announced campaign events ahead of the November 3 election would be held virtually or postponed.

The positive Covid-19 test also raises questions about whether two debates with Democrat Joe Biden later this month will go ahead as planned.

– What treatment is he receiving? –

White House physician Sean Conley said that the president was “fatigued but in good spirits” and was taking an experimental Covid-19 treatment.

Trump received a single dose of Regeneron’s antibody cocktail, Conley said in a letter.

The treatment is undergoing clinical trials but is not yet approved by regulators.

Later on Friday, McEnany said Trump was receiving the anti-viral drug Remdesivir following consultation with specialists. The president was “not requiring any supplemental oxygen,” she said in a statement late Friday.

Earlier in the day Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows said that the president had “mild symptoms.”

As a 74-year-old man, Trump is “at higher risk for severe illness” from the virus, according to the US health agency CDC.

Trump will be monitored closely for the wide range of common symptoms which include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle ache and headache.

– What are his symptoms? –

On Thursday, Trump did not immediately isolate after his close aide Hope Hicks tested positive.

Instead, he boarded a plane to New Jersey, where he attended a fundraiser at his golf club and delivered a speech surrounded by dozens of people before returning to the White House.

The New York Times quoted unnamed sources saying Trump showed mild symptoms at the Thursday night event, seeming lethargic.

One source told the paper he had displayed cold-like symptoms.

– How did he get it? –

It is unknown how Trump contracted the coronavirus, but he has defied medical advice by seldom wearing a mask and often meeting with large groups of people.

White House alarm bells started to ring when Hicks tested positive. She is a central figure in Trump’s inner circle and travelled with him several times over the last week.

She was also closely involved in his preparations for Tuesday’s debate against Biden. At the televised event, many of Trump’s guests did not wear masks.

– Who else in the White House has it? –

Vice President Mike Pence, who would step in if Trump falls seriously ill, tested negative on Friday, as did Trump’s teenage son Barron.

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in-law who are top White House advisors, also tested negative, as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

Former White House top aid Kellyanne Conway, however, announced late Friday she had tested positive with “mild” symptoms.

Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, tested positive several days ago, it was announced Friday.

Trump’s campaign manager 42-year-old Stepien also said Friday he had tested positive, US media reported, and was in quarantine with mild symptoms.

Many other senior politicians, officials and military officers who work or visit the White House were getting tested on Friday.

Edo Governorship Election In Pictures

 

Over 480,000 Edo residents, came out to partake in the state governorship election on Saturday.

This is the first major election organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the COVID-19 era.

To ensure a safe exercise, INEC officials were on the ground to enforce the use of face masks as part of COVID-19 guidelines.

Security officials were also deployed to a free, fair and safe exercise.

Below are major sights from the Edo State governorship election.

 

Voters Begin To Vote

 

Godwin Obaseki and Osagie Ize-Iyamu Vote

 

 

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Slow Motion Recovery: Cautious Hollywood Edges Back To Work

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 13: PAM & NMA Magnet Coordinator Ali Nezu (L) disinfects the New Media Academy Magnet center at Hollywood High School on August 13, 2020 in Hollywood, California. With over 734,000 enrolled students, the Los Angeles Unified School District is the largest public school system in California and the 2nd largest public school district in the United States. Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images/AFP

 

When veteran Hollywood actor Gregg Daniel was offered an audition for a new movie in Los Angeles, he nearly didn’t show up — the pandemic was well underway, and “no one was shooting.”

“I almost hesitated even going to the audition,” said Daniel. “I’m African-American, I’m over 50 and disproportionately black people were dying of COVID-19… but the script was so good, and I’m an actor at heart.”

Fast-forward to today, and Daniel has completed boxing drama “7th & Union,” filmed in the streets of the eerily quiet California entertainment capital.

Thanks to relentless testing, on-set “COVID officers,” sanitation stations and enforced social distancing between takes, “everything went smoothly” and safely, said executive producer Jolene Rodriguez.

Yet it is one of just a handful of film productions to resume in Hollywood since Governor Gavin Newsom gave the green light back in June.

Health fears, uncertainty and a second wave of coronavirus cases have meant few movie producers braving a return so far — with some heading elsewhere or even overseas.

No US state has suffered more than California, which has so far recorded more than 610,000 coronavirus cases, including more than 11,000 deaths.

“At one point we were like… ‘Do we hold off for the safety of people?'” said Rodriguez. “But it ended up where we were able to pull it off.”

– Cautious optimism –

Permits to film in Los Angeles remain stalled at one-third of usual numbers, according to nonprofit FilmLA — and the vast majority of those are for making advertisements and reality television.

The main hold-up for movie studios is talks between employers and unions to agree on a new set of standard, industry-wide safety protocols.

“We’ve been working on it for many, many weeks… there are a lot of complicated issues,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, chief operating officer of actors guild SAG-AFTRA, which has joined forces with Hollywood’s directors, technicians and Teamsters unions.

Among discussions are daily testing for actors performing “the more dangerous work from a COVID perspective,” such as intimate sex or fight scenes.

Once negotiations are completed — a deal is expected by next month — the major problem of coronavirus insurance persists.

The cost of restarting a production only to shut down again due to an outbreak is so high that insurers are excluding COVID-related claims from new policies.

“What we’re hearing… is that there’s going to need to be governmental involvement,” said Crabtree-Ireland, pointing to similar measures in California to incentivize earthquake coverage.

“There are discussions going on at both federal and state levels about how that might happen.”

– Creative locations –

For now, the trickle of film productions going ahead need to be approved by unions on a case-by-case basis — leading to wrangling over issues such as the frequency and type of COVID testing, especially on low-budget shoots.

A “cottage industry of boutique testing companies” have sprung up to service film sets that can’t afford in-house testing, said Crabtree-Ireland.

Meanwhile, producers have learned to be creative about filming locations, with busy public areas not feasible, said FilmLA president Paul Audley.

“Writers are really clever — so we know some of the shows may be writing for areas that are more isolated, like an industrial area,” he told AFP.

Another, far riskier approach has sprung up — filming without permission at all.

“Right now, the number one complaint that we’ve had on the books is for illegal filming,” said Audley, adding that coronavirus-wary Los Angeles residents are more vigilant than ever in reporting guerrilla shoots.

Still, despite the growth of other filming hubs such as the state of Georgia — where mogul Tyler Perry has set up a self-contained, 330-acre (133-hectare) production “campus” — many filmmakers appear determined to remain in Los Angeles.

The silver screen’s spiritual home boasts an abundance of support services, including six companies dedicated to movie-set recycling and garbage disposal alone, said Audley.

“Our members prefer to work close to home, and I think especially in times of uncertainty like this they feel more comfortable,” Crabtree-Ireland said.

“In terms of what the prospects for Los Angeles are, I wouldn’t suggest anyone should count LA out.”

AFP

Ogun Cancels COVID-19 Test Requirements For Returning SS3 Boarding Students

Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, briefing journalists about the recent development of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state.

 

The Ogun state government has stepped down its stand which held that the COVID-19 test is to be used as a mandatory requirement for returning students in exit classes. 

Governor Dapo Abiodun announced the cancellation of the initial injunction via a Twitter statement on Monday.

In his communique which was titled “Ogun Makes COVID-19 Test Free For All Returning SS3 Boarding Students”, Governor Abiodun further stated that the admittance of students into boarding houses in private secondary schools will be at the discretion of the management and the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of such private schools.

Parents of pupils in private secondary schools in Ogun had protested over the request of N25,000 COVID-19 test fee by the government, but the governor has assured that the test will now be carried out free of charge for all returning students.

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The governor ordered the Government Laboratories in the state to carry out tests for all returning SS3 boarding students at no cost.

He also directed that all those who have paid for tests be refunded.

According to the governor, the new directive has become imperative because the health of children remains an utmost priority to his administration.

The governor, however, noted that in view of the total number of boarding students to be tested (5,340 private and 500 public), and bearing in mind the limitation of the state’s installed testing capacity of 500 tests per day, it may not be feasible for all boarding students to get tested and get their results prior to the resumption or even exams which commences on 17th August 2020.

He recommended that students who do not have to stay in boarding houses should attend school from home, especially those with underlying health conditions. Adding that face masks will be availed to all students in both private and public schools.

Global Coronavirus Infections Top 13 Million

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File photo: Medical personnel prepare to test people for Coronavirus at National Arena stadium in Bucharest June 10, 2020. Daniel MIHAILESCU / AFP

 

More than 13 million coronavirus infections have now been recorded across the world, with more than half in the United States and Latin America, according to an AFP tally of official sources at 2000 GMT on Monday.

At least 13,000,166 cases and 569,990 deaths have been recorded and the United States is the worst-hit country with 3,341,838 cases and 135,425 deaths, the tally showed.

The number of cases stood at 3,380,218 in Latin America and the Caribbean, including 144,847 fatalities. And in Europe, 2,849,335 infections have been recorded and 202,780 deaths.

The spread of the pandemic is accelerating across the globe, with more than 2.6 million new cases detected since July 1.

The tallies probably reflect only a fraction of the number of infections as many countries test only the most serious cases.

AFP

WHO Warns Malaria Deaths Could Double Amid COVID Pandemic

 

The new coronavirus pandemic could severely disrupt access to anti-malaria nets and drugs in sub-Saharan Africa, the World Health Organization said Thursday, warning that malaria deaths risked doubling if efforts are not urgently scaled up.

The UN health agency called on countries in sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly 95 percent of all the world’s malaria cases and deaths occur, to rapidly distribute malaria prevention and treatment tools now, before they become too overwhelmed with novel coronavirus cases.

“Severe disruptions to insecticide-treated net campaigns and access to antimalarial medicines could lead to a doubling in the number of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa this year compared to 2018,” the WHO warned, citing new modelling analysis.

The analysis, it said, considers nine scenarios for potential disruptions in access to core malaria control tools during the pandemic across 41 countries, and the resulting possible increases in cases and deaths.

Under the worst-case scenario, in which all campaigns to distribute insecticide-treated nets are suspended and there is a 75-percent reduction in access to effective antimalarial medicines, “the estimated tally of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 would reach 769,000,” WHO said.

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That is twice the number of deaths reported in the region in 2018, it stressed, adding that such an increase would mean returning to malaria mortality levels not seen in two decades.

The hike would have particularly dire consequences for young children, with those under five making up more than two-thirds of all malaria deaths in 2018.

– ‘Critical window’ –

WHO stressed that so far, sub-Saharan African countries had reported relatively few cases in the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 180,000 people globally and infected more than 2.6 million.

But the agency, which has long warned that weak health systems in the region risked becoming seriously overwhelmed as cases increase, said the disease was picking up pace there.

“This means that countries across the region have a critical window of opportunity to minimise disruptions in malaria prevention and treatment and save lives at this stage of the COVID-19 outbreak,” it said.

“Mass vector control campaigns should be accelerated, ensuring protection for both health workers and communities against COVID-19 transmission,” it said.

In a separate statement Thursday, the WHO also reiterated its call to maintain immunisation services worldwide to ensure the measures taken to halt the pandemic do not end up sparking a resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and polio.

“While the world strives to develop a new vaccine for COVID-19 at record speed, we must not risk losing the fight to protect everyone, everywhere against vaccine-preventable diseases,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the statement.

“These diseases will come roaring back if we do not vaccinate.”

AFP