(Reuters) – Manchester United said on Monday that they will be provide 5,000 free school meals during the October half-term holidays to help forward Marcus Rashford’s campaign to end child food poverty in the United Kingdom.
Rashford has campaigned for the government to provide food vouchers during school holidays to children who normally receive free meals during term time if their parents receive welfare support.
Dozens of local organisations all over the country came forward last week to supply free school meals in response to the 22-year-old’s plea on social media.
Now, working together with the charity FareShare, meals will be prepared and packaged individually at Old Trafford by club staff before being shipped to local Manchester United Foundation partner schools.
Six local schools will receive the meals while others will be delivered to local charities.
“Many of Manchester’s children are going hungry and they are particularly vulnerable during school holidays when they cannot benefit from the meal voucher programme,” Collette Roche, Chief Operating Officer at United said.
“In parallel with the brilliant work being done individually by Marcus Rashford, we’re proud that the club continues to step in alongside FareShare, the Foundation and their partner schools to help fill this void.”
Rashford forced a government U-turn in July when he won his battle to ensure free school meals during the summer holidays. He then proposed extending the campaign for families receiving financial assistance from the government.
Parliament on Wednesday rejected a Labour Party motion to extend free school meals until Easter 2021 from the cut-off before the half-term and winter holidays, prompting the England international to launch his campaign on social media.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday he fully accepted that children going hungry during school holidays was a problem during the COVID-19 pandemic but said he had not spoken to Marcus Rashford over his plans to tackle it.
Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Christian Radnedge
“Covid doesn’t care that it’s a holiday, and unfortunately covid is on the rise across the nation,” she said. “Now is not the time to let our guard down and say it’s the holiday and let’s be merry. I think we need to maintain our vigilance here.”
The coronavirus pandemic numbers have been going the wrong direction for more than a month, topping 80,000 newly confirmed infections daily across the country, with hospitalizations rising in more than three dozen states and deaths creeping upward. Now, the United States is barreling toward another inflection point: a holiday season dictated by the calendar and demanded by tradition.
The anticipated surge in interstate travel, family gatherings and indoor socializing is expected to facilitate the spread of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. This isn’t like the run-up to Memorial Day or Independence Day: Barbecues outdoors, or pool parties, aren’t on the itinerary of many people.
The fall and winter holidays are homey by nature. Respiratory viruses thrive in dry, warm indoor conditions in which people crowd together. The statistical peak of flu season typically comes close on the heels of Christmas and New Year’s. Colder weather is already driving people indoors.
The government’s top doctors have said they believe the recent national spike in infections has largely been driven by household transmission. Superspreader events have gotten a lot of attention, but it’s the prosaic meals with family and friends that are driving up caseloads.
This trend presents people with difficult individual choices — and those choices carry societal consequences. Epidemiologists look at the broad effect of a contagion, not simply the effects on individuals. Thanksgiving, for example, is an extremely busy travel period in America. The coronavirus exploits travelers to spread in places where it has been sparse or absent.
“I am nervous about Thanksgiving,” said Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist at the University of California at Irvine. “I’m nervous because I know what happens when you multiply the risks by millions of households.”
The scientists are not telling people to cancel their holiday plans, necessarily. But they are urging people to think of alternative ways to celebrate. They do not say it explicitly, but they are encouraging a kind of rationing of togetherness.
“This is not the cold. This is not the flu. This is much worse. People are dying. Our well-being as a country depends on us getting this thing under control,” Alexander said.
Public-health officials doubt an elegant way exists to finesse the 2020 pandemic-shrouded holidays with minimal disruption — for example, by working through a checklist of best practices that include timely testing, scrupulous social distancing and disciplined mask-wearing. Instead, people will need to make serious adjustments as they calculate the risks and rewards of holiday gatherings.
“There’s no easy answer here, just like with everything else. It’s not about safe or unsafe. It’s about figuring out how to balance various risks and keeping risks as low as possible,” Harvard epidemiologist Julia Marcus said.
“This is not a
Home improvement retailer Lowe’s Cos. (LOW) is adding a number of fitness brands to the merchandise lineup heading into the holidays, including Echelon Fitness, Spirit Fitness and Body Flex Sports.
Echelon Fitness offers items like connected stationary bikes and “smart” rowing machines. Spirit Fitness and Body Flex Sports sell treadmills, elliptical machines and more.
These are among the “unexpected brands” that Bill Boltz, Lowe’s executive vice president of merchandising, said the company will stock for the holiday season.
See: Walmart will spread Black Friday deals over multiple days as retailers try new ways to drive holiday traffic
Customers are “making their homes work harder and smarter for them this year” due to the coronavirus, he said in a statement. Lowe’s says that it aims to sell the items that will help shoppers’ homes meet all of the needs of this “unique” year.
In addition to fitness equipment, the second largest home improvement chain in the U.S. has also added a number of toy brands, like Crayola and KidCraft Toys. And items like air hockey tables, record players and projectors are available.
Lowe’s, like most other retailers, is already jumping into the holiday shopping season, with promotions scheduled to begin on Thursday and last until December.
Starting on Oct. 30, Lowe’s will also offer free fresh Christmas tree delivery. And the home improvement retailer is offering a variety of contactless ways for customers to pickup their purchases.
An NPD Group report says that home improvement projects and purchasing, which has increased during COVID-19, are expected to continue well into the future.
Also: Target giving workers a $200 bonus
“The heightened attention paid to where we live, and spend so much of our time, has resulted in increased consumer demand for home improvement solutions, but also an expanded customer base,” said Shay Krafft, NPD’s president of U.S. home improvement & major appliances.
“The home improvement industry has an opportunity to strengthen these new consumer relationships that will support future success.”
Lowe’s stock has gained 48.8% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index (SPX) is up 7% for the period.
Thanksgiving kicks off the annual season of celebration, but it will be no holiday for the coronavirus.
With the United States climbing toward what epidemiologists are calling a third peak of pandemic infections, public health experts fear gatherings of families and friends could make an already bad situation worse.
“Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, we’re having what I see as potentially six weeks of superspreader events, right, in which we’re going to be getting together with family and friends,” Dr. Carlos del Rio, an infectious diseases expert at the Emory University School of Medicine, warned. “And we can see a lot of disease happening.”
Del Rio sounded the alarm during an NBC News Facebook Live interview with Dr. John Torres, NBC News contributor, as the number of new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. surged past 8 million and deaths due to the coronavirus climbed to a world-leading 218,097.
“So, I’m really worried that we are facing some of the toughest times in this pandemic in our country,” del Rio said.
He said President Donald Trump was sending the wrong message to Americans with his cavalier attitude toward Covid-19, his repeated boasts about being “immune” since he was released from the hospital and his refusal to consistently wear a mask at public events and campaign rallies.
“The president got infected and did remarkably well for his age,” del Rio said of Trump, who is 74. “He was treated with everything but the kitchen sink, but he’s recovered. He’s done well. So the president at this point in time is saying, ‘Hey, this is no big deal. If you get infected, nothing happens.’”
In other coronavirus news:
Trump made the inaccurate claim that “85 percent of the people wearing masks” still catch the coronavirus, during an interview Thursday on the Fox Business Network. He cited as evidence a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. But a day earlier, the CDC tweeted that “the interpretation that more mask-wearers are getting infected compared to non-mask wearers is incorrect.”
While the White House has been pushing for approval of a Covid-19 vaccine before Election Day, the drugmaker Pfizer said it will not apply for emergency use authorization for its vaccine candidate until at least the third week of November. “We are operating at the speed of science,” Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla said.
Hawaii is saying aloha to tourists again, but only if they test negative before they get on the plane.
The Navajo Nation in Arizona is using the sun and the wind to power the digital tablets hard-pressed students on the reservation are using for virtual education due to the pandemic.
Many of the new infections erupted in Midwestern states, such as Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Indiana, that have been reporting record numbers of Covid-19 cases.
“What’s happening in the Upper Midwest is just a harbinger of things to come in the rest of the country,” Michael Osterholm, an infectious diseases expert at