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Technogym bets on home fitness boom as virus empties gyms

* H1 revenues suffered as empty gyms postpone orders

* Home fitness equipment sales jumped 50% in H1

* Home & Consumer sales could rise to 50% of total

* Sees pandemic opening up new business opportunities

MILAN, Oct 23 (Reuters) – Italian fitness-equipment maker Technogym is working to supply more of its exercise machines and virtual trainers to peoples’ homes to offset a drop in sales to gyms and studios due to the pandemic.

Restrictions to contain the new coronavirus, or even just fears of contagion, have prompted many people to give up training at their local gym. Italy has not ruled out closing gyms and swimming pools again to fight a COVID-19 resurgence.

“We are seeing a strong acceleration in the home fitness segment,” Technogym founder and Chief Executive Nerio Alessandri told Reuters in an interview.

Technogym has been the official supplier of the last seven Olympic games and its client book includes several top soccer clubs. Alessandri said the company had been selling equipment to professional athletes stuck at home.

It also received an order from a big company that bought a “Technogym package” for its staff, offering employees working from home training programmes and equipment.

“We think that the Home & Consumer segment could come to represent around 50% of our total revenues in four years from now. And profit margins match those of the professional segment,” added Alessandri, 59.

Companies such as exercise bike business Peloton have successfully tapped into the home workout market as people try to stay fit during lockdowns.

Technogym, which supplies equipment to gyms, hotels and spas in around 100 countries, can offer home-friendly products. An “entry level” treadmill costs 3,250 euros ($3,850) and an exercise bike 2,950 euros.

In September, Technogym reported that first-half revenue fell to 222 million euros from 295 million a year earlier. By contrast, the group recorded a jump in sales of its home fitness equipment.

Sales of exercise machines and online training programmes directly to customers soared by 50% in the first half. They now account for 30% of group revenues, twice the level of 2019.

Alessandri said Technogym would invest to support growth at its home fitness division, using budget savings linked to the cancellations of trade fairs and business trips due to COVID-19.

He said the pandemic had impressed upon people the importance of keeping fit, and he pointed to a boom in medical fitness centres, which combine healthcare and gym facilities.

“We see new markets opening up,” he said. “People are increasingly aware that good health is the true luxury.” ($1 = 0.8442 euros) (Reporting by Elisa Anzolin; editing by Valentina Za and Jane Merriman)

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Families sue Pennsylvania nursing home in wake of 73 COVID deaths

The families said staff failed to take proper measures to stem the outbreak.

The families of some of the 73 residents residents who have died from COVID-19 while living at a Pennsylvania nursing home have filed a lawsuit against the facility, accusing it of recklessly handling the virus outbreak.

The families of 10 deceased residents teamed up with the families of five current residents at the Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in a lawsuit against the nursing home, saying staff failed to take proper measures to stem the outbreak.

“They show clear evidence of poor infection control, poor training, poor supervision, transparency problems, cross-contamination, lack of supplies — it goes on and on,” Bob Daley, one of the attorneys representing the families, said Thursday. “What happened at Brighton was nothing short of a tragedy. … Brighton as an entity systematically failed its residents.”

The lawsuit names Brighton Rehab’s owners and its medical director and accuses leaders of “managerial and operational negligence, carelessness, recklessness and willful and wanton conduct,” according to the complaint. The suit seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.

PHOTO: Rob Peirce speaks during a news conference about a lawsuit filed against Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center for its response to the Covid-19 outbreaks in the facility in Beaver, Pa., Oct. 21, 2020.

Rob Peirce speaks while surrounded by other lawyers involved and family members of residents during a news conference about a lawsuit filed against Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center for its response to the Covid-19 outbreaks in the facility in Beaver, Pa., Oct. 21, 2020.

Brighton allegedly failed to separate infected residents from the general population, allowed infected workers to continue working and shared misinformation about the outbreak to family members and health officials, according to the suit.

Lawyers for the residents also claimed Brighton was severely understaffed during the pandemic, which forced workers to “cut corners while struggling to care for hundreds of residents during the pandemic,” according to the suit.

In response to the lawsuit, a Brighton spokesperson denied the claims and said the facility followed the guidance of local governmental health officials throughout the pandemic.

“Right now, the facility’s sole focus remains on ensuring the health and well-being of all residents and staff,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The facility has been

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fitness

Fitness equipment that offers on-demand, at home classes

Fitness equipment that offers on-demand, at home classes

Erika Tarantal tests out the latest in fitness technology from Cambridge-based Hydrow and Mirror, an interactive home gym


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TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMING THE EXERCISE WORLD. >> A PICTURE-PERFECT DAY BY THE CHARLES RIVER, EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK, FOLKS PURSUE PEAK FITNESS. THIS IS THE FITNESS GOES TO SHAKE UP THE EXERCISE. >> WE HAD THIS IDEA THAT WE COULD BUILD A BETTER ROWING MACHINE FOR A FEW YEARS. WE WANTED TO MAKE ROWING REALLY ACCESSIBLE FOR EVERYBODY. THIS ALSO DELIVERED AT LEAST SOME OF THE FUN YOU HAVE OUT ON THE WATER. THAT FUN IS LIVE ROWING. THE HYDR IS A NEW MACHINE. IT LIVESTREAM’S CLASSES TAUGHT BY ROWERS. RUTH SMITH IS NOT JUST ANY ON-CHIP IN R. >> WE ARE GOING IN THAT 24 INTO STROKES. QUITE THE LEAD TRAINER, DANNY HANSEN, 2020 A LIPID HOPEFUL. >> I STARTED ON THE U.S. TEAM WHILE I WAS IN COLLEGE IN 2014. I AM CURLY ON THE TEAM THIS YEAR. QUITE HOW OFTEN ARE YO TRAINING? >> THIS IS JUST FRESHMAN YEAR. >> DEVICES VARY IN INTENSITY. PRE-RECORDED ARE AVAILABLE ON-DEMAND. IT INCREASES YOUR BONE DENSITY. BECAUSE IT IS SUCH A FLUID MOTION, IT IS LOW IMPACT. THIS IS THE HOME TURF. THEY FILMED IN MIAMI AND NEW YORK CITY AND THEY HAVE PLANS TO TRAVEL THE WORLD. >> WE ARE AT HERE THREE OR FIVE TIMES A WEEK. MOST OF THE TIME, I TRY TO BE OUT ON THE WATER EACH AND EVERY DAY. >> JAM COMES FROM A FAMILY OF ROWERS. HIS FATHER MAY DELIVER TEAM THIS CONNECTED WITH THE COMPANY THAT ALLOWS ME TO BE OUT ON THE WATER IN THIS CAPACITY. >> PART OF THE EXCITEMENT COMES FROM BEING LIVE. >> YOU DON’T KNOW I PEOPLE WILL HAVE IT WHEN THE. >> SMITH DESIGNED HYDRO TO FIT INTO TIGHT SPACES. >> IT IS A COMFORTABLE SEAT. THE ADJUSTMENTS ARE REALLY SIMPLE. IT USES 86% OF YOUR MUSCLES. >> SO FAR, SO GOOD SINCE THE COMPANY’S LAUNCHED IN 2018. YOU REALLY FEEL LIKE THIS BOND AND THIS OTHER TRUST WITH HUMANS BEINGS. I THINK THAT IS WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS THE MOST RIGHT NOW. IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT BELONGS THERE, IT IS N THE SAME AS HAVING A ROWING MACHINE OR A BIKE. >> STILL LOOKING FOR AN IN-HOME CONNECTION FITNESS EXPER MIRROR MIGHT BE THE RIGHT FIT AT 52 INCHES TALL, 22 INCHES WIDE AND JUST OVER AN INCH DEEP. NO THIS WAS LAUNCHED IN DECEMBER OF 2018. THIS STARTED A CHAIN OF BOUTIQUE FITNESS STUDIOS BUT FOUND EVEN SHE WAS HAVING TROUBLE GETTING TO THE GYM. >> I FOUND MYSELF NEWLY PREGNANT AND RUNNING AN INCREASE IN LARGE BUSINESS. I DO NOT WANT TO PUT A LARGE TREADMILL OR BIKE INTO MY DEPARTMENT — APARTMENT. I FOUND THE EXPERIENCE TO BE REALLY AWKWARD, LOOKING AT A SMALL SCREEN. >> CONTENT ON MIRROR IS UPDATED CONSTANTLY WITH NEW CLASSES BEING

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health

Amid Wisconsin coronavirus outbreak, researchers explore link between college cases, nursing home deaths

For most of 2020, La Crosse’s nursing homes had lost no one to covid-19. In recent weeks, the county has recorded 19 deaths, most of them in long-term care facilities. Everyone who died was over 60. Fifteen of the victims were 80 or older. The spike offers a vivid illustration of the perils of pushing a herd-immunity strategy, as infections among younger people can fuel broader community outbreaks that ultimately kill some of the most vulnerable residents.

“It was the very thing we worried about, and it has happened,” Kabat said.

Local efforts to contain the outbreak have been hamstrung by a statewide campaign to block public health measures, including mask requirements and limits on taverns, he added. “Your first responsibility as a local government is really to protect the health and safety and welfare of your residents,” he said. “When you feel like that’s not happening and you have few tools or resources available to change that, it’s more than frustrating.”

As the number of coronavirus infections continue to soar in the upper Midwest, few places embody the nation’s divisions over how to tackle the pandemic better than Wisconsin. Even as the state’s weekly caseload has quadrupled in the past six weeks, bar owners and Republicans have thwarted some restrictions on public indoor gatherings, leaving public health professionals scrambling to contain the virus.

Wisconsin ranks fourth among states in daily reported cases per capita, with 59 per 100,000 residents. According to The Washington Post’s analysis of state health data, in the past week new daily reported cases have gone up more than 20 percent, hospitalizations have increased more than 26 percent and daily reported deaths have risen 22 percent.

In recent briefings, Wisconsin health secretary designee Andrea Palm said the state is doing worse than it was in March and April and has pleaded with residents to avoid going to bars and to practice social distancing.

“Wisconsin is in crisis, and we need to take this seriously,” Palm said last week.

Last week a judge in Wisconsin’s Sawyer County temporarily blocked an order from Gov. Tony Evers (D) limiting crowds in bars, restaurants and other indoor spaces to 25 percent of capacity, though a judge in Barron County reinstated it Tuesday. The Tavern League of Wisconsin, which represents the state’s bars, argued it amounted to a “de facto closure.” In May, the state Supreme Court struck down Evers’s “Safer at Home” order after Republican lawmakers challenged it, and a conservative activist has just sued to block Wisconsin’s statewide mask mandate.

Elizabeth Cogbill, who specializes in geriatrics and internal medicine in the Gundersen Health System, has been working 14-hour days since the pandemic began, staying late to talk to families who can no longer visit their elderly relatives.

Since June, Cogbill has been working with the county, other medical professionals and nursing home officials to curb coronavirus infections. They had managed to stifle several flare-ups without a death, until September.

In an interview, the 41-year-old doctor said that as the

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medicine

Stanford Medicine launches home COVID-19 testing study covering greater San Francisco

Stanford University and its school of medicine have launched plans to survey the population of greater San Francisco for COVID-19, in an effort to build an early warning system for future outbreaks.

Using a combination of self-collection testing kits and online reporting, the Community Alliance to Test Coronavirus at Home, or CATCH Study, aims to estimate the true prevalence of the disease among the 8.5 million people living in the Bay Area.

Ultimately, the study hopes to scale up a diagnostic infrastructure that can provide fast remote testing to a broad and representative sample of the population, including among the underserved and vulnerable across 12 counties. 

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The program is currently seeking to enroll participants, who will report their exposures and symptoms daily through an online portal. 

RELATED: Stanford team deploys CRISPR gene editing to fight COVID-19

Home test kits—developed in collaboration with the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, which is also helping to fund the study—will be delivered through the mail within 24 hours at no cost, and will contain a gentle nasal swab for self-collection. Samples will then be processed at Stanford’s laboratories.

“Our main objective is to learn where and how the virus is spreading—whether people are displaying symptoms or not—and which communities are most vulnerable,” said co-lead researcher Yvonne Maldonado, an associate professor of health research and policy at Stanford Medicine. 

“These insights will help our scientists and local public officials gain a deeper understanding of the distribution of COVID-19 throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area so that they can stop its spread,” Maldonado said.

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COVID-19 Infects 62 Nursing Home Residents In Kansas, 10 Patients Die

KEY POINTS

  • 62 nursing home residents in Kansas have tested positive for COVID-19
  • 10 have died due to the virus
  • 51 are being quarantined in their rooms at the center, while one resident was brought to a hospital
  • Influx of new infections across U.S. may be what health experts believe to be “third wave” coronavirus cases

What health experts believe to be the third wave of COVID-19 cases has reached Kansas as the virus infected nearly an entire nursing home in its wake.

The Norton Country Health Department told NBC News the outbreak happened at the Andbe Home earlier this week. All 62 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, while 10 have died.

A total of 51 patients are being quarantined in their respective rooms at the center, while one resident was brought to a hospital. An “unspecified” number of staff members have also contracted the virus. Health officials said all staff members of the nursing home are being tested.

One week of new Covid-19 cases One week of new Covid-19 cases Photo: AFP / John SAEKI

“Steps are being taken to prevent any further outbreak including quarantining residents in their rooms and not allowing outside visitors into the facility,” said Health Department, adding that family members of the residents have been notified of their situation.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported that, as of early Monday, the state has 72,968 cases of COVID-19. A total of 872 deaths were reported state-wide, while 525,426 tests turned out negative.

A total of 2,113 new cases and 13 new deaths were also reported since Friday.

The grim increase of new COVID-19 cases that is sweeping across the United States and some countries in Europe is what experts claim to be the third – and possibly largest – outbreak of the virus. Business Insider wrote in an article over the weekend that the U.S. saw an average of more than 50,000 cases per day, with the country’s seven-day average of new cases have skyrocketed to about 25% since the beginning of the month.

“We’re clearly in the third wave if we’re looking at the true overall case counts in the country, realizing that our baseline has gotten higher and higher,” Columbia University emergency medicine physician Dr. Dara Kass told Yahoo. “So, as we head into this third wave over the country, we’re still now 40,000 to 50,000 cases a day.”

While reasons for the sudden rise of infections range from other states slowly loosening lockdown and stay-at-home guidelines and reopening of businesses and schools, Vanderbilt University epidemiologist Dr. William Schaffner also sees the country’s current plight will be made complicated this winter.

“During the summer, people went indoors for air conditioning, but they did spend more of their time outdoors. Nonetheless, it spread as people become lax in their attention to social distancing and mask-wearing. As far as I can tell, that’s growing,” Schaffner told CNBC.

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medicine

Stanford Medicine Launches Study Of Greater San Francisco Bay Area Using Safe, Convenient COVID-19 Testing From Home

STANFORD, Calif., Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Stanford University School of Medicine today announced the launch of the Community Alliance to Test Coronavirus at Home (CATCH) Study, an effort that seeks to estimate the true population prevalence of COVID-19 across the 8.5 million population of the greater San Francisco Bay Area, and ultimately aid in the effort to reopen schools, workplaces and communities.

The CATCH Study is now seeking participants. A key aim of the CATCH Study is to scale a simple, safe, convenient, and population-scale early diagnostic system to help stop further undetected spread of COVID-19. CATCH utilizes online surveys and home delivered self-collection kits that are able to be rapidly deployed to carry out remote testing in a broad and representative sample of the population, including those underserved and vulnerable populations that might otherwise not be reached or tested. The study is enabled by the Vera Cloud Testing Platform including its novel Vera Home Test Kit, a gentle nasal swab self-collection kit that can be delivered directly to the homes of study participants by existing couriers and package delivery services.

There is no cost to CATCH Study participation, and all residents in the San Francisco Bay Area are welcome to enroll. Every participant joins online, reports their symptoms and exposures to COVID-19 daily, and may also be offered a home test kit at no cost upon reporting. If accepted, within 24 hours a home test kit will be delivered safely and conveniently by express courier to their home, where they can self-collect a sample, which is then delivered to the Stanford Health Care laboratory and tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection. All tested participants are informed of their results privately and securely online via their personal password-protected account within the CATCH website. The unique approach removes any requirement to leave home or shelter-in-place. 

The study is being led by Stanford Medicine researchers Yvonne Maldonado, MD, professor of pediatric infectious diseases and of health research and policy, Lorene Nelson, MD, associate professor of health research and policy, as well as Dr. Stephen Quake, professor of bioengineering and of applied physics and co-president of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub.

“We encourage as many Bay Area residents as possible to sign-up for the CATCH Study to help increase our knowledge of a virus that has had significant impacts on our communities,” said Dr. Maldonado. “Our main objective is to learn where and how the virus is spreading — whether people are displaying symptoms or not — and which communities are most vulnerable. These insights will help our scientists and local public officials gain a deeper understanding of the distribution of COVID-19 throughout the greater San Francisco Bay Area so that they can stop its spread.”

With the effects of COVID-19 disproportionately affecting minority and vulnerable communities throughout the country, and specifically in the Bay Area, one of the key intentions of the study is to address inequities in testing by researching underserved populations. The testing kits will provide

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health

Every resident of Kansas nursing home infected with COVID-19

Every resident of a Kansas nursing home has tested positive for COVID-19, and 10 residents have died, according to area health officials. 

The Norton County Health Department confirmed on Monday that all 62 residents of the Andbe Home, a privately owned facility, tested positive for COVID-19. Of the 62 individuals, 10 have died, one is hospitalized and the others are being cared for at the facility. 

The department also confirmed that “some” staff members at the nursing home in Norton have tested positive for the virus, and others are being tested.

“Norton County Health Department has been working with the Andbe Home, Norton County Hospital and [the Kansas Department of Health and Environment] regarding this outbreak. Steps are being taken to prevent any further outbreak including quarantining residents in their rooms and now allowing outside visitors into the facility,” department officials said in a Monday statement, adding that family members of the residents have been notified of the outbreak. 

PRESS RELEASE

Posted by Norton County Health Department and Home Health on Monday, October 19, 2020

The department did not reveal how many residents are experiencing symptoms of the disease.

There have been over 250,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in nursing homes across the country, according to federal data, as well as over 143,000 suspected cases and over 59,000 fatalities.

Kansas has reported 74,616 cases of COVID-19 and 872 related deaths. Cases across the state have continued to spike since the summer, and at least 13 new coronavirus deaths and 1,894 cases were reported on Monday.

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All 62 residents at Kansas nursing home have COVID, 10 have died

Topeka, Kansas — A coronavirus outbreak has killed 10 residents in a Kansas nursing home, and the local health department said every one of the residents had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Monday, along with an unspecified number of staff. The affected home is in northwest Kansas’ Norton County, which has seen one of the largest proportional increases in confirmed coronavirus cases over two weeks in the country.
 
The Norton County health department confirmed Monday night that all 62 residents and some employees at the Andbe Home in Norton had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The agency also said one Andbe Home resident was hospitalized, while the remaining 51 were being treated at the home. 

PRESS RELEASE

Posted by Norton County Health Department and Home Health on Monday, October 19, 2020

It was not clear how many were experiencing symptoms of the disease, which is known to hit the elderly hardest.
 
The local health department said residents were being quarantined in their rooms and the home was not allowing outside visitors.
 
The outbreak at the nursing home came after the state Department of Health and Environment last week reported more than 100 cases at the state’s prison in Norton over the two weeks ending Wednesday.

andbe-home-norton-kansas-covid.jpg
A screenshot from Google’s Street View shows the Andbe Home nursing and care home in Norton County, Kansas. 

Google


Kansas is seeing an average of more than 700 new confirmed and probable coronavirus cases a day, its largest numbers since early March.

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UVA Health Seizing Patients’ Home Equity



 

Doris Hutchinson wanted to use money from the sale of her late mother’s house to help her grandchildren go to college.

Then she learned the University of Virginia Health System was taking $38,000 of the proceeds because a 13-year-old medical bill owed by her deceased brother had somehow turned into a lien on the property.

“It was a mess,” she said. “There are bills I could pay with that money. I could pay off my car, for one thing.”

Property liens are the hidden icebergs of patient medical debt, legal experts say, lying unseen, often for decades, before they surface to claim hard-won family savings or inheritance proceeds.

An ongoing examination by KHN into hospital billing and collections in Virginia shows just how widespread and destructive they can be. KHN reported a year ago that UVA Health had sued patients 36,000 times over six years for more than $100 million, often for amounts far higher than what an insurer would have paid for their care. In response to the articles, the system temporarily suspended patient lawsuits and wage garnishments, increased discounts for the uninsured and broadened financial assistance, including for cases dating to 2017.

Those changes were “a first step” in reforming billing and collection practices, university officials said at the time.

However, UVA Health continues to rely on thousands of property liens to collect old bills, in contrast to VCU Health, another huge, state-owned medical system examined by KHN. VCU Health pledged in March to stop seizing patients’ wages over unpaid bills and to remove all property liens, which are created after a creditor wins a court judgment.

Working courthouse-by-courthouse, VCU Health now says it has discovered and released 45,000 property liens filed against patients just in Richmond, its home city, some dating to the 1990s. There are an estimated 35,000 more in other parts of the state. Fifteen thousand of those have been canceled and they are working on the rest, officials said. These figures have not been previously reported. The system is part of Virginia Commonwealth University.

VCU Health’s total caseload is “a huge number” but perhaps not astonishing given the energy with which many hospital systems sue their patients, said Carolyn Carter, deputy director of the National Consumer Law Center.

Despite having suspended patient lawsuits, UVA Health has continued to create property liens based on older court cases, court records show. The number of new liens is “small,” said UVA Health spokesperson Eric Swensen.

An advisory council of UVA Health officials and community leaders is expected to deliver new recommendations by the end of October, Swensen said. The council, whose schedule has been slowed by the coronavirus crisis, has discussed property liens, Don Gathers, an activist and council member, said in an interview this summer.

Nobody knows how many old or new UVA Health liens are scattered through scores of Virginia courthouses. The health system, which has sued patients in almost every county and city in the state, has failed to respond to repeated requests over

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