WHO to set up centre for traditional medicine in India; PM Modi calls it ‘matter of pride’- The New Indian Express


NEW DELHI: The World Health Organisation announced on Friday that it will set up a Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India, with Prime Minister Narendra expressing confidence that just like the country has emerged as the ‘pharmacy of the world’, the WHO institution will become the centre for global wellness.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the announcement in a video message at an event in which Prime Minister Modi dedicated two future-ready Ayurveda institutions in Jaipur and Jamnagar to the nation via video conferencing on the occasion of the 5th Ayurveda Day.

The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (ITRA), Jamnagar (Gujarat) and the National Institute of Ayurveda (NIA), Jaipur (Rajasthan) are both premier institutions of Ayurveda in the country.

The Jamnagar institute has been conferred the status of an Institution of National Importance (INI) by an act of Parliament and the one at Jaipur has been designated an Institution Deemed to be University (De novo Category) by the University Grants Commission (UGC), according to the AYUSH ministry.

In his video message, Ghebreyesus said, “I am pleased to announce that we have agreed to open a WHO Global Centre of Traditional Medicine in India to strengthen the evidence, research, training and awareness of traditional and complementary medicine.

” “This new centre will support WHO’s efforts to implement the WHO traditional medicine strategy 2014-2023 which aims to support countries in developing policies and action plans to strengthen the role of traditional medicine as part of their journey to universal health coverage and a healthier, fairer and safer world,” he said.

Traditional systems of medicine such as Ayurveda can play an important role in integrated people-centric health services and healthcare, but they have not received enough attention, the WHO DG said.

Ghebreyesus also lauded Prime Minister Modi for his commitment to the universal coverage under Ayushman Bharat and evidence-based promotion of traditional medicines to achieve health related objectives.

Modi said Ayurveda is India’s heritage whose expansion entails the welfare of humanity and all Indians will be happy to see that the country’s traditional knowledge is enriching other countries.

“It is a matter of pride for all Indians that the WHO has chosen India for establishing its Global Centre for Traditional Medicine.

Now work will be done in this direction from India,” Modi said.

“I would like to thank the WHO and particularly its Director General Tedros for giving this responsibility to India.

I am confident that just like India has emerged as the pharmacy of the world, in the same manner this centre for traditional medicine will become the centre for global wellness,” he said.

Stressing on bringing ayurveda knowledge out of books, scriptures and home remedies and developing this ancient knowledge as per modern needs, Modi said new research is being done in the country by combining information received from modern science of the 21st century with India’s ancient medical knowledge.

Noting that three years ago, the All India Ayurvedic Institute was established here, he said

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Fitness coach calls to fight against street harassment after experience at Navotas City park

A female fitness coach is calling on the public to stand against street harassment after her experience at a park in Navotas City last week.

(Photo courtesy of Seannah Swift)

“Street harassment is about power, there is no right or wrong response when you’re already in a situation. Just do something for yourself, show assertiveness and strength. Ask for help if you need to. Be also vigilant if ever you will be put in a situation like what I’ve experienced. Be alert and think of the best way to save yourself,” coach Seannah Swift said in a Facebook post.

This came after Swift shared her experience while jogging at the Navotas Centennial Park on November 7 when three unidentified men, two of which were apparently minors, “physically” harassed her through “bumping on” her “left boob” and trying to intimidate her.

“What happened…was a physical harassment. Start of my training, 5:34pm… Just seconds after I turned on the GPS on my watch, someone’s shoulder bumped really hard on my chest. He hit my left boob,” she said.

Seeing the man, Swift said, she tried to avoid him after “perceiv[ing] what was in his mind” but he still blocked her “way and dang…. He was with two other guys, ages are around 16 to 20.”

“I knew it was a plan,” she continued in mixed English and Filipino. “The moment I felt I was harassed, I pushed him and punched. He got speechless for few seconds, finally he said ‘You’re brave, Miss, aren’t you?… ‘What I did was unintentional.’ [But] I stood tall and acted brave, ‘What you did was intentional, are you insane? [while] showing my fist ‘Are you going to fight?’”

After the confrontation, Swift said, she continued her activity while the men walked away.

However, moments later, she said, she saw the men again “approaching” her.

“I slowed down. I thought if I continue running fast he might suddenly stab me then jump off to the sea. So I slowed down, jogged towards where they were as there is no other way for a reroute. The same guy blocked my way for the second time, I stopped but kept a distance.” she said.

“Paulit ulit silang nagsorry but body language is giving me a hint that they are trapping me. ‘Yong isa umiikot sa likod ko (They kept apologizing but their body language was giving me a hint that they would trap me. One of them was already going behind me),” she added.

Luckily, two police officers in civilian clothing witnessed the incident and intervened.

Although the three men managed to escape, Swift expressed her gratitude to the police officers for their assistance. She said, the lawmen even tried to chase the harassers and launched a manhunt against them, but they already jumped off the Manila Bay. 

“I hope that this will serve as a warning to many harassers who think that a simple bump or catcall can be set aside. It is against women’s rights and against the

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Pence absent from Covid-19 planning calls for more than a month

When Vice President Mike Pence first took charge of the White House’s coronavirus task force, among his earliest moves was establishing a standing call with all 50 governors aimed at closely coordinating the nation’s pandemic fight.

Yet as the U.S. confronts its biggest Covid-19 surge to date, Pence hasn’t attended one of those meetings in over a month.

Pence – who has been touting the Trump administration’s response effort on the campaign trail for weeks – is not expected to be on the line again Friday, when the group holds its first governors call since Oct. 13, said a person with knowledge of the plan. It’s a prolonged absence that represents just the latest sign of the task force’s diminished role in the face of the worsening public health crisis it was originally created to combat.

Once a driving force behind the White House’s coronavirus messaging, the group hasn’t held a collective press briefing in months. Inside the West Wing, task force members’ growing alarm over the virus’ resurgence has gone largely ignored. And among health officials on the front lines, there is mounting consensus that the federal government has little new aid to offer – leaving states to face the pandemic’s third and potentially worst wave increasingly on their own.

“There’s not any acknowledgment or appreciation of the severity of the surge,” said an official in one governor’s office long frustrated with the federal response. “The stark reality that we’re facing is the White House – from top to bottom – has stopped governing and is only campaigning.”

The task force’s shrinking stature comes amid warnings that the nation is headed toward its darkest days since the beginning of the pandemic, as cases hit record highs and hospitals across several states struggle to deal with a fresh crush of Covid-19 patients.

The U.S. on Thursday recorded a record 88,452 cases, bringing its average over the past week to around 76,000 — the highest point so far this year. Hospitalizations are on the rise too, reaching numbers not seen since mid-August.

It’s a more expansive outbreak than during previous waves, when the coronavirus swamped the Northeast in April and tore through the South and West in July. On Thursday, cases were increasing across three dozen states.

Hospitals in states like Idaho, Utah, Texas and Wisconsin, which had been left relatively untouched by the pandemic in its early days, are now at risk of being overrun – with governors preparing to have the National Guard repurpose convention centers as field hospitals. In Montana, the nearly 300-bed Kalispell Regional Medical Center found itself so short-staffed earlier this month that it stopped quarantining employees exposed to Covid-19.

Indiana, meanwhile, has nearly 1,700 people in its hospitals and 470 patients in the ICU, the latter figure up 70 percent in the five weeks since Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb removed most coronavirus-related restrictions.

“This is the most worrisome of the three surges so far,” said Bruce Siegel, the CEO of America’s Essential

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Fauci Calls for National Mask Mandate | Health News

By Ernie Mundell and Robin Foster HealthDay Reporters


THURSDAY, Oct. 29, 2020 (HealthDay News) — America’s leading infectious diseases expert called for a national mask mandate on Wednesday as coronavirus cases surged across the country.

After expressing regret that face masks haven’t been more widely adopted, Dr. Anthony Fauci said for the first time on Wednesday that the United States needs a nationwide mask mandate to combat the rising tide of coronavirus infections, the Washington Post reported.

Until now, Fauci has been reluctant to back such a sweeping policy, telling reporters in September that a national mandate “probably would not work,” the Post reported. But in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, Fauci said that he had hoped “we could pull together as a country” and recognize the importance of mask-wearing without the government getting involved, the Post reported.

When questioned whether it was time for a national mask mandate, Fauci said, “You know, yes. If we don’t get one, I would hope that the mayors and the governors do it locally.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Fauci was also asked about a potential mask mandate during a question-and-answer session hosted by the Journal of the American Medical Association. He stressed the key to avoiding future lockdowns was getting 90 percent or more of the population to wear masks, the Post reported.

Calling the prospect of a new round of stay-at-home measures “almost radioactive,” Fauci said that Americans would have to “at least do the fundamental, basic things” if they want to avoid additional shutdowns. “What we can’t have is this very inconsistent wearing that you see, where some states absolutely refuse to wear a mask,” he said.

Meanwhile, hospitals across America were struggling as the new coronavirus struck with a vengeance in parts of the country that had been spared the worst in the early days of the pandemic.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has climbed an estimated 46 percent in the past month, straining the capacity of regional health care systems to respond to overwhelming demand, The New York Times reported.

Twenty-six states are at or near record numbers for new infections, the newspaper reported. More than 500,000 new cases have been announced in the past week, and no states are seeing sustained declines in case numbers.

The situation is grim in the Texas town of El Paso: The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has more than tripled over the past three weeks, and doctors at University Medical Center there have started airlifting some patients to hospitals as far away as San Antonio while treating others in a field hospital in a nearby parking lot, the Times reported.

States, cities and towns are responding to this latest coronavirus surge with new restrictions that range from a nightly business curfew in Newark, N.J., to a two-week stay-at-home order in El Paso, to a halt to indoor dining in Chicago, the Times reported.

COVID-19 continues to spread around the globe

By Thursday, the U.S. coronavirus case count

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Congressman Calls For Federal Crackdown On Unproven Coronavirus Treatment : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat, is calling on the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate sales of a non-FDA approved drug marketed as a treatment for COVID-19.

Tom Williams/AFP via Getty Images

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Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, an Illinois Democrat, is calling on the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate sales of a non-FDA approved drug marketed as a treatment for COVID-19.

Tom Williams/AFP via Getty Images

A member of Congress, who has led efforts to investigate alleged coronavirus scams, is calling for the federal government to crack down on an unproven treatment for COVID-19. Widespread sales of that purported treatment – a drug known as thymosin alpha-1 – were first identified by an NPR investigation earlier this month. More than 30 doctors in more than a dozen states around the country have marketed the drug as a treatment for the coronavirus, despite the fact that it has never been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for any condition and such claims are, in the words of the FDA, “not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.”

The congressman, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), leads the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy. He is now calling for the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission to take action against one prominent doctor who has marketed the drug: Dr. Dominique Fradin-Read of Los Angeles.

Fradin-Read is known for her work with the actor Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness brand Goop. Fradin-Read helped formulate a dietary supplement called “Madame Ovary” for the brand. She also runs the practice VitaLifeMD, and had falsely marketed thymosin alpha-1 as an “FDA approved” drug, which she claimed was “one of the best ways to prevent and fight COVID-19.”

“Such false claims appear to be illegal and ought to be subject to strict enforcement by FDA and FTC,” Krishnamoorthi wrote in his letter to the leaders of those agencies. “I ask you to open an investigation into VitaLifeMD, and to take all appropriate action against VitaLifeMD and its principals.”

Fradin-Read did not respond to messages from NPR for this story. But she has previously defended prescriptions of the drug, saying she had prescribed it to members of her staff, her mother, and had even taken it herself without any negative effects.

The FTC and FDA are responsible for enforcing laws against false and misleading advertising. A spokesperson for the FTC declined to comment, and the FDA did not respond to a message NPR.

Earlier on in the pandemic, Krishnamoorthi called on the Trump Administration to take action against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of InfoWars for marketing colloidal silver-infused toothpastes as a supposed COVID-19 prevention measure. (The National Institutes of Health say colloidal silver is not safe or effective for treating any condition, and can even permanently turn a person’s skin blue at high doses.) The FDA then warned Jones that such claims were misleading and could violate federal law.

Krishnamoorthi’s current

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Fauci Calls Situation ‘Quite Precarious,’ Tamps Down Vaccine Expectations


  • Fauci said the nation is “at the highest baseline” after officials reported more than 80,000 new cases in a single day two days in a row
  • The top health official expressed optimism over the ongoing coronavirus vaccine trials
  • A potential vaccine would likely only prevent symptomatic cases of coronavirus

The coronavirus situation in the U.S.  is “quite precarious” amid a resurgence of new cases across multiple states, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, on Monday.

The U.S. is “at the highest baseline” it has ever been during the pandemic after health officials recorded more than 80,000 new coronavirus cases on both Friday and Saturday, Fauci said. The previous single-day record of 74,818 cases was set in July. 

“We came back up again to the worst that we’ve ever had, which was over 80,000 per day,” Fauci, who is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious, said. “It’s been up and wavering up and down till now, we’re at the highest baseline we’ve ever been, which is really quite precarious.”

Fauci expressed optimism over the results from various ongoing coronavirus vaccine trials. He said results should be available at the end of November or the beginning of December. However, he noted that a vaccine would not eradicate the virus. Instead, it would only decrease a person’s chances of having symptoms.  

“The primary thing you want to do is that if people get infected, prevent them from getting sick, and if you prevent them from getting sick, you will ultimately prevent them from getting seriously ill,” Fauci said. 

The infectious disease expert also emphasized the importance of observing preventive measures, including wearing face masks, avoiding large gatherings, social distancing, and frequent handwashing, Business Insider reported. 

“We can do this. I’m absolutely convinced that as a nation, if we pull together and do some fundamental common-denominator public-health measures, that we can get through this with a lot of help in the future from vaccines and adequate therapies,” he said. 

American health officials have reported nearly 8.7 million coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. The number of cases recorded globally is also inching closer to 43.5 million. More than 225,000 people in the country have died due to COVID-19. 

The U.S. continues to have the highest number of reported coronavirus cases worldwide. It is followed by India, which has recorded 7.9 million cases, Brazil with 5.4 million cases, and Russia with 1.5 million COVID-19 cases, Johns Hopkins University reported.    Fauci said the government would not make any future COVID-19 vaccine obligatory for the general public Fauci said the government would not make any future COVID-19 vaccine obligatory for the general public Photo: POOL / Al Drago

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Health Agency Calls Off COVID-19 Vaccine Ad Campaign Set to Feature Santa Claus

A federal health agency offered early access to coronavirus vaccines if Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and Christmas elves participated in a $250 million public service COVID-19 ad campaign— which is no more.

Paid for by taxpayer money, the ads were set to promote the benefits of vaccinations with the goal to recruit celebrities to urge Americans to get inoculated once a vaccine is available. However, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services told the Wall Street Journal that the plan has since been abandoned.

The campaign was conceived by Michael Caputo, a former H.H.S. assistant secretary. Caputo took medical leave last month after he denounced other federal health officials for “sedition” and made other bizarre allegations in a Facebook post.

A H.H.S. spokeswoman said that its director, Secretary Alex M. Azar II, “had no knowledge of these outreach discussions.”

According to the Journal, Caputo reached out to Ric Erwin, chairman of the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas, in late August to ask if the organization’s members would participate in the initiative. Caputo was looking to run ads on TV, radio, social media, and podcasts, as well as host live events in 35 cities.

A recording of the pair’s conversation revealed that Erwin gladly accepted the proposal in exchange for early access to the vaccine: “If you and your colleagues are not essential workers, I don’t know what is,” Mr. Caputo says, to which Mr. Erwin replies, “Ho! Ho! Ho! I love you!”

Erwin also guaranteed to bring 50 fully outfitted Santas to an event in southern California, telling Caputo, “My friend, we will pull this sleigh uphill ourselves if we have to.”

He also told the Journal that he thought the campaign’s cancellation was “extremely disappointing.”

The actors who play Santas are having a tough season as many stores have called off seasonal exhibits where children visit with Santa and share their Christmas wishes. Stores are afraid these displays could become superspreader events— not to mention that many Santa actors are at a higher risk to contract the virus since they tend to be elderly and overweight and are immunocompromised due to heart disease and diabetes.

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State reports more than 1,100 new coronavirus cases, prompting calls for a new state plan

The 1,128 new cases reported Saturday represented the highest one-day hike since late May and along with the growing number were demands the state start laying out what officials plan to do as the weather grows colder and people gather indoors more frequently.

Dr. Robert Horsburgh, a professor of epidemiology at Boston University, expressed frustration Saturday that the state hasn’t rolled out specific plans, even as the governor anticipates more cases.

“He hasn’t told us what his plan was. He’s confident that they can handle it, great. But what’s the plan?” Horsburgh said.

The latest number of new cases “means more people are catching it, and we should be thinking about how to stop it, otherwise we’ll end up looking like Wisconsin,” Horsburgh said.

Dr. Sam Scarpino, a Northeastern University epidemiologist, said scientists have some evidence that the coronavirus could spread more easily in colder, drier weather.

“It could be that we’re going to have to make modifications as we go into the winter,” Scarpino said of the state’s ongoing reopening effort. “And far as I can tell, we don’t have a clear plan for that being communicated from the state around what the triggers would be [and] what they would target first.”

The increase reported Saturday brought the state’s total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to 146,023, according to state data from the state Department of Public Health.

The death toll in Massachusetts due to confirmed cases of the coronavirus totaled 9,616 as of Saturday, according to the state.

The most recent three-day average of new COVID-19 deaths, for Wednesday, was 19, the state reported Saturday.

The latest figures from state officials also come after the US coronavirus caseload grew by more than 83,000 new cases Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Across the United States, nearly 225,000 people have died from the virus, and more than 8.5 million cases have been reported, according to Johns Hopkins University Saturday.

On Saturday, the state reported 19,168 new people received molecular tests for the virus, bringing the total number of people who received that test to more than 2.6 million.

The state’s seven-day average positive rate, calculated from all those tests administered, was at 1.5 percent Friday, the state reported Saturday. That figure has steadily increased since late last month, when the state reported a rate below 1 percent.

A separate measure of positivity that is based on daily positive tests per people tested was at 6.6 percent Thursday, according to the state. That daily rate can fluctuate, and has dipped as low as 3.3 percent earlier in October. But it has been on an upward trajectory since mid-September, when that rate ranged between 1.8 percent and 2.9 percent, according to state data.

In separate phone interviews, both Horsburgh and Scarpino criticized the state for not releasing further details about COVID-19 infections — data both experts said is critical to stopping the spread of the virus.

Apart from the latest state data, Scarpino pointed to other signs of the virus’s

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Fitness Australia calls on Daniel Andrews to reopen Victorian gyms

A top chief executive in Victoria’s fitness industry is demanding the government reopen the struggling sector, claiming current restrictions preventing gyms opening their doors are “based on ignorance”.

In an open letter to the state Premier Daniel Andrews, Fitness Australia chief executive Barrie Elvish called for an end to “archaic” restrictions and implored that gyms were able to enforce COVID-safe strategies.

“This consistent ‘anti-gym’ messaging leads me to conclude it can only be based on ignorance or a deliberate strategy to use the sector as some form of litmus test for ‘proving’ an ongoing extension of draconian lockdown restrictions are justified,” Mr Elvish wrote.

“You have once again persisted in maintaining gyms are unsafe and cannot be made safe. This is despite evidence to the contrary in every other Australian state where the sector is safely operating with a range of COVID-safe protocols.

“But Premier, how would you, or your department, know? To date the Victorian government’s engagement with the fitness sector has been the worst in Australia.

“Your recent comments also ignore the most recent data that indicates the hospitality sector has more than five times the number of transmissions as the fitness sector.”

Gyms were not among the list of industries, announced on Sunday, where restrictions would be eased.

When questioned about when they could reopen, Mr Andrews maintained they were “high-risk environments”.

“That’s not my opinion, that’s not a matter that I’ve come up with, that’s the international evidence,” he said.

“We’ve gone further in relation to outdoor (exercise), but it is a very challenging environment, and it’s one of those things where no one’s taking any joy out of that.”

He said gyms were “unsafe” by nature and work was under way to determine when they could reopen.

“There’ll be a time when they can, and we’re looking at that closely, but I can’t just give them the news they want now because it wouldn’t be safe to do that,” he said.

But Mr Elvish contended all gyms interstate were operating safely and effectively with COVID-safe protocols in place.

“With 1500 facilities employing 40,000 Victorians and supporting 900,000 members, it is safe to say gyms are commercial enterprises,” he wrote.

“Unlike the hospitality sector, gyms have had hygiene protocols in place for 10 years; not months

“In some states COVID-safe protocols include a dedicated staff member not just ensuring social distancing but also cleaning.

“Our specific proposals for Victoria made allowance for the provision of temperature checks on entry, masks and gloves for members.”

Mr Elvish then pleaded with the Premier to review a specific COVID-safe plan fitness sector executives submitted to the deputy chief health officer on September 25.

As of Tuesday, Melbourne’s 14-day rolling virus average had fallen to 6.4.

Regional Victoria has a daily case average of just 0.4.

The Premier has this week hinted at more significant announcements to easing of restrictions this weekend if infections remain low.

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Trump calls Fauci an ‘idiot,’ says rallies are ‘BOFFO’ while coronavirus rages on

As hospitals fill up with COVID-19 patients in Wisconsin and Chicagoans face a second surge of coronavirus cases that could lead to new shutdowns, President Donald Trump is calling medical professionals “idiots.”

As most states across the country face rising coronavirus numbers and hospitalizations, the president effectively says he’s “tired” of it all.

Of course he didn’t use the first person. He always puts his own gripes in the mouths of others, pulling a page from the narcissist’s playbook, as he can’t imagine anyone thinking differently than he does.

In a call with his campaign staff Monday, Trump said: “People are tired of COVID. I have these huge rallies. People are saying whatever. Just leave us alone. They’re tired of it. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots.”

Ah, “people.” Those “people” who just say “whatever” about a deadly virus that has claimed more than 220,000 American lives and left millions with, at best, a preexisting condition and at worse lingering health issues.

Those “people” who say “leave us alone” without acknowledging their own health affects everyone they’re around, young and old, weak and strong, friend and stranger.

Those people are certainly out there. They’re the ones showing up maskless at Trump rallies and acting like COVID-19 is much ado about nothing while sneering at “people” like me and saying, “Get out of your mama’s basement, coward.” (Fun fact: Thanks to the virus, I, like millions of Americans, haven’t been able to see my mama all year, much less hang out in her basement. And when it comes to a pandemic, I am very much a coward. And proud of it.)

But hey, Trump and the people he’s using to channel his own childish, “I DON’T WANNA DEAL WITH THIS MEAN PANDEMIC ANYMORE!” attitude are tired of it all.

Well, let me find someone to play a sad trombone sound for them, one that can be heard from coast to coast. Because guess what? I’m tired of it too.

I don’t think there are any Americans who aren’t tired of COVID-19 and the pandemic that has thrown our lives wildly out of whack.

But rather than whining about it, denying science and wasting time deriding those who share best practices to slow the spread, many in this country are wearing masks, avoiding crowded gatherings and bending over backward to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe.

But it’s not enough. There are too many adopting the president’s “I’m SO over this” attitude.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to people like Melissa Resch, a registered nurse who works in a coronavirus medical unit in Wisconsin. She told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this week that she’s seeing patients ranging in ages from their 20s to their 90s.

“This doesn’t discriminate against age,” Resch told the newspaper.

She asked people to stay home, social distance and wear masks so she can avoid having to help families FaceTime with a loved one “as they take their

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