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Malcolm Turnbull on Murdoch, lies and the climate crisis: ‘The same forces that enabled Trump are at work in Australia’

2 días 18 horas ago

Systematic partisan lying and misinformation from the media, both mainstream and social, has done enormous damage to liberal democracies, the former PM writes

The United States has suffered the largest number of Covid-19 deaths: about 600,000 at the time of writing. The same political and media players who deny the reality of global warming also denied and politicised the Covid-19 virus.

To his credit, Donald Trump poured billions into Operation Warp Speed, which assisted the development of vaccines in a timeframe that matched the program’s ambitious title. But he also downplayed the gravity of Covid-19, then peddled quack therapies and mocked cities that mandated social distancing and mask wearing.

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Malcolm Turnbull

England to open walk-in Covid clinics for children aged 12-15 within weeks

2 días 21 horas ago

Move to speed up vaccinations follows rising infection rates in secondary schools

Walk-in vaccine clinics for 12- to 15-year-olds are expected to be launched in England within weeks, to stem rising rates of Covid-19 infections within secondary schools.

The news came as the UK recorded 45,140 new Covid cases – the highest daily number since the middle of July – and 57 new deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

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Linda Geddes

It’s bizarre to see a Covid patient deny Covid exists while gasping for breath | ICU nurse

2 días 22 horas ago

We’ve cared for people in their 20s and 30s, and that has been confronting – most of my colleagues are the same age

Working as a nurse in an intensive care unit is busy at the best of times. It becomes something else entirely during a pandemic.

This second wave is a lot different to the first wave. Last year when we were caring for Covid patients we had one layer of protection, which was our PPE. It turned out to be very effective, given that no one in the unit contracted the virus.

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ICU nurse

Australia could see Covid surge from new variants even after 80% vaccination when border reopens

2 días 22 horas ago

Modelling shows increased risk of outbreaks if a mutation similar to the transmissibility of Delta were to circulate with international arrivals

If the Australian international border is reopened while highly transmissible Covid-19 variants are circulating overseas or locally, large and disruptive outbreaks will still be possible after 80% of people aged 16 years are fully vaccinated, modelling published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday says.

It comes after the New South Wales premier, Dominic Perrottet, announced on Friday that from 1 November, returning Australians and tourists would be able to travel to Sydney without needing to hotel quarantine. However, later on Friday the prime minister Scott Morrison said the international border would only open to vaccinated Australian citizens and their immediate families and not tourists, saying “we will not rush”.

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Melissa Davey Medical editor

NSW is opening up further from Monday – what extra freedoms do people have now?

2 días 22 horas ago

Schools are open, up to 20 people can gather in homes, and vertical drinking and dancing are back. Here’s what you need to know about the 80% vaccination roadmap

New South Wales now has more than 80% of its adult population fully vaccinated, which means a raft of new freedoms came into effect from Monday 18 October.

Some students are returning to their classrooms, community sport can resume, more friends and family members can gather at home, and vertical drinking and dancing is allowed at hospitality venues (but not nightclubs).

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Justine Landis-Hanley

The WHO is letting down long Covid patients | Ziyad Al-Aly

3 días 4 horas ago

Failure to recognize the scope of the illness will harm countless people around the globe

The WHO recently released its clinical case definition for what it called “post-Covid-19 condition”. This definition is too little too late, its myopic scope does not recognize the breadth of disability and disease caused by long Covid and its long term implications on quality of life and life expectancy. The millions of people around the globe suffering from long Covid deserve better.

It is unclear why the WHO definition snubs and does not embrace the term “long Covid”. The term was coined by patients who also refer to themselves as long-haulers. These patients-advocates-researchers galvanized attention around the existence of this disease and brought long Covid to the spotlight. In a short few months, they created a formidable patient-led advocacy and research movement that changed the arc of medical history. They were the first to survey their membership and catalogue the broad array of clinical problems caused by Covid-19. Their contributions will go down in the annals of history as an important inflection point.

Ziyad Al-Aly is a physician-scientist and long Covid researcher

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Ziyad Al-Aly

The next global economic emergency? Deepening debt in the developing world

3 días 4 horas ago

Poorer nations were more fragile before Covid-19, had less scope to stimulate economies, and are on the wrong side of the vaccine divide

A global pandemic. Rising inflation. The threat posed by climate change. Global policymakers have enough to keep them occupied without a developing country debt crisis adding to their list of problems.

That is a real possibility. Both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund used their annual meetings to stress the pressure poorer countries were under and the need for urgent, collective action. They are right to be worried because debt is at record levels, defences against a crisis are inadequate and the clock is ticking.

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Larry Elliott

The dark side of wellness: the overlap between spiritual thinking and far-right conspiracies

3 días 5 horas ago
Extreme right-wing views and the wellness community are not an obvious pairing, but ‘conspirituality’ is increasingly pervasive. How did it all become so toxic?

It was the afternoon of 4 July 2020, and Melissa Rein Lively’s video was about to go viral. A PR executive in Arizona, she already had the appearance of a person for whom a viral video was part of the plan, but with the super-groomed blondeness better suited to a branded beauty tutorial than a clip of face masks being torn from their racks. “Finally we meet the end of the road. This shit is over, we don’t want any of this any more!” she screams, holding the phone camera in one hand and tossing face masks with the other, in a video that swiftly became known as QAnon Karen. When two employees at the Scottsdale branch of Target confront her, she continues, “Why? I can’t do it cause I’m a blonde white woman? Wearing a fucking $40,000 Rolex? I don’t have the right to fuck shit up?”

Rein Lively had always thought of herself as a spiritual person. Her interests were grounded in “wellness, natural health, organic food”, she lists for me today from her home in Arizona, “yoga, ayurvedic healing, meditation, etc.” When the pandemic hit she started spending more time online, on wellness sites that offered affirmations, recipes and, on health, the repeated message to “Do your research.” She’d click on a video of foods that boost immunity and she’d see a clip about the dangers of vaccines. “A significant number of influencers previously focused on wellness and spirituality,” she noticed, “seemed to become dominated with what we now understand to be QAnon content.” QAnon is the conspiracy theory that Donald Trump is fighting a deep-state cabal of Satanic paedophiles. It originated on far-right message boards before entering online wellness communities, where it found a largely female following, who continue to share phrases like “Save the Children”. The phrase was first used by QAnon believers spreading the false claim that Hillary Clinton abused children and drank their blood. Today that phrase is seen on social media posts by yoga teachers and wellness influencers speaking out against human trafficking.

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Eva Wiseman

The debilitating effects of long Covid have just begun to hit economies | Torsten Bell

3 días 5 horas ago
A study of German footballers revealed they still weren’t fighting fit six months after recovering from infection

The impact of the pandemic on our economy as we attempt to reopen is top of the agenda, with ships on the wrong side of the globe, gas prices rising and surging demand for many goods going unmet. How big and long lasting these effects will be dominated discussions of global financial leaders at last week’s annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

But what is hardly discussed and still poorly understood is the continuing impact of Covid-19, specifically on the millions of people who have had it. Governments are only just starting to worry about long Covid’s impact on their disability benefits bill, while we know little about Covid’s direct effect on productivity.

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Torsten Bell

What’s the value of a confirmatory PCR test? | David Spiegelhalter and Anthony Masters

3 días 6 horas ago
A positive lateral flow test, followed by a negative PCR, still means a reasonable chance of Covid-19

After a wave of cases in which a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test was followed by a negative PCR test, a private laboratory handling swab tests has been suspended.

But conflicting results are not a new problem. Back in June, when secondary school students with a positive LFD were retested with a PCR check, over one in eight came back negative. And even without laboratory problems, it is unclear why a negative PCR should trump a positive LFD.

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David Spiegelhalter and Anthony Masters

I rejoiced in Blair’s triumph in ’97. Will I ever get the chance to cheer again? | Will Hutton

3 días 6 horas ago
A TV series reminds us of Labour glories past. But polls suggest history may not repeat itself

That first Saturday of May 1997 after New Labour’s stunning election victory and after we’d seen the second edition of the Observer off-stone – “Goodbye xenophobia” ran the huge, now sadly doleful headline – we took to the courtyard of a local pub for a celebratory drink. We shared the same ache for change as our readers, and Tony Blair’s top pollster Philip Gould, along with an eclectic bunch of new cabinet ministers, showed up to celebrate with us.

It was a joyous moment. But the open question, prompted by watching the riveting if flawed BBC Two documentary series Blair & Brown: The New Labour Revolution, is whether any of us will ever experience it again. Do we live in a de facto, one-party state under “King” Johnson?

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Will Hutton

Pregnant women at risk from NHS workers’ mixed messages over safety of jab

3 días 7 horas ago

Expectant mothers tell helpline that midwives are advising them against vaccines despite threat posed by virus

Coronavirus – latest updates

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Pregnant women are being advised by some health professionals not to have the Covid vaccine despite an edict from the NHS that they should encourage them to get the jab. One in six of the most critically ill Covid patients requiring life-saving care are unvaccinated pregnant women, figures released last week show.

Yet messages sent to the Vaccines and Pregnancy helpline, launched on 20 August to help pregnant women navigate information about the vaccine, suggest that some midwives are advising against the jab.

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Hannah Summers

New Victoria Covid restrictions: update to Melbourne lockdown, curfew and regional Vic coronavirus rules explained

3 días 8 horas ago

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has announced Melbourne’s lockdown will end from Friday 22 October. Here’s what you need to know about schools, travel, childcare and work, then and now

Covid restrictions across Victoria will change again from Friday 22 October when Melbourne’s lockdown will end after the state reaches a full vaccination rate of 70%.

In metropolitan Melbourne, from Friday curfew will end and there will be no more travel limits (although travel to regional Victoria will still not be permitted). There will no longer be only six reasons you can leave your home. Home visits with restrictions will be allowed and hospitality businesses will reopen. All students will attend classrooms part-time.

Reasons to leave home and curfew no longer in place.

10 people, including dependants, can visit a home each day.

15 people can gather outdoors.

Pubs, clubs and entertainment venues can open to 20 fully vaccinated people indoors and 50 fully vaccinated people outdoors.

Funerals and weddings allow for 20 fully vaccinated people indoors and 50 fully vaccinated outdoors.

All students to return to school at least part-time.

Hairdressing and beauty salons to open for up to five fully vaccinated people at a time.

Shopping for essentials.

Authorised work, if you cannot work from home, or education.

Exercise for up to four hours.

Caregiving, compassionate and medical reasons.

To get vaccinated.

For limited outdoor social interaction.

Queensland

New South Wales

South Australia

Western Australia

Tasmania

Australian Capital Territory

Northern Territory

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Guardian staff

Australia’s travel bubble with New Zealand’s south island to resume – as it happened

3 días 8 horas ago

Lockdown restrictions will ease in Victoria from 11.59pm Thursday as NSW records 301 infections and 10 deaths ahead of schools reopening on Monday. This blog is now closed

Federal health minister Greg Hunt has announced Australia has purchased 15,000 units of a new anti-viral treatment, Ronapreve.

Hunt says the drug has a 70% reduction in hospitalisation and loss of life rates. They are expected to arrive sometime this month in Australia and will be made available to patients to slow the development and reduce the consequences of Covid-19.

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Nino Bucci (now) and Justine Landis-Hanley (earlier)

Victoria Covid update: Melbourne lockdown to end on Friday after state reaches 70% vaccination rate

3 días 10 horas ago

Premier Daniel Andrews says it’s ‘absolutely amazing’ Victoria is so closely aligned to NSW when it comes to vaccination rates and reopening

Melbourne’s lockdown will end five days earlier than anticipated – and with a greater easing of restrictions than planned – as Victoria races to its 70% fully vaccinated target.

The state’s premier, Daniel Andrews, made the announcement on Sunday and said Victorians could celebrate the imminent end of their sixth lockdown.

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Nino Bucci and Australian Associated Press

Gordon Brown urges emergency Covid vaccine airlift to Africa

3 días 15 horas ago

Former UK prime minister says operation could be under way within days if world leaders signed off

More than 100,000 lives can be saved in Africa by undertaking the emergency airlift of 240m unused vaccines in the next fortnight, Gordon Brown has urged.

The former prime minister called on a group of rich nations to back “the biggest peacetime public policy decision” by supporting an October airlift that would see unused vaccines handed to parts of the global south struggling the most.

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Michael Savage

Convicted murderer Robert Durst on ventilator after testing positive for Covid-19

3 días 17 horas ago

The real estate heir was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Susan Berman just two days ago

Robert Durst, the wealthy New York real estate heir and convicted murderer, is on a ventilator after testing positive for Covid-19, his attorney has confirmed to the Los Angeles Times.

Durst’s attorney Dick DeGuerin told the newspaper his client was in “very bad condition” during the sentencing hearing and “was having difficulty breathing and he was having difficulty communicating”.

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Edward Helmore

Victoria and NSW schools are reopening amid Covid outbreaks – what can be learned from overseas?

3 días 19 horas ago

Experts say there are important lessons for Australia in order to reduce the rate of transmission and hospitalisation

As Victoria and New South Wales prepare to reopen schools for face-to-face learning, experts who have studied the experiences of other countries are warning that not all lessons have been learned, particularly on mask-wearing and ventilation.

NSW, which has about 5,500 active cases of the virus, and where 75% of the eligible population over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated, is preparing for students in kindergarten, years 1 and 12 to return to school on Monday.

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Melissa Davey Medical editor