COVID-19 worsens in Florida, with 4,637 new cases, 56 deaths and more people hospitalized

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida’s key coronavirus indicators worsened Tuesday with signs the virus is spreading more out of control across the state.

As another 4,637 people tested positive for COVID-19, the seven-day average for new cases (4,341) rose to its highest level since Aug. 20, according to state health department data.

Hospitalizations for a primary diagnosis of COVID-19 have increased 6.1% in the past week statewide. It’s a nearly 20% increase just in Broward County, which had 251 patients midday Tuesday, up from 210 the previous week.

And Florida had its worst day for COVID-19 testing positivity since Aug. 17. The rate for new infections only went up to 7.58%, based on the state’s reporting. Public health experts say anything over 5% shows the virus is more prevalent in the community.

For now, COVID-19 deaths are continuing to trend downward. The seven-day average for fatalities linked to the virus was down to 47 on Tuesday, the lowest it’s been since it was at the same level on July 6.

But epidemiologists say pandemic deaths are certain to increase, because fatalities follow periods of higher cases like the state has been experiencing. After the July surge of cases in Florida, the state had a peak seven-day average of 184 deaths on Aug. 5.

To date, at least 17,099 people have died from COVID-19 in Florida, including 209 nonresidents who died in the state. Most of the 56 deaths reported Tuesday happened in recent weeks but were just confirmed in the past day.

Without explanation, the state posted its daily coronavirus numbers more than four hours late on Tuesday.

When the report was finally posted, it showed Florida still trending higher with virus infections. There have now been at least 4,000 new cases on six of the past eight days.

The total is 816,700 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March.

The number of people hospitalized in Florida for COVID-19 remained mostly unchanged in the past day, updated state records show.

As of noon Tuesday, 2,488 people across the state were hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COVID-19. That’s an increase of 16 patients from the same time the day before.

The online report from the state Agency for Health Care Administration updates frequently throughout the day. Hospitalizations hit a peak in late July of about 9,500 patients. Four weeks ago, the number was about 2,100.

Since the pandemic began, 49,715 residents have been hospitalized for the disease, state health officials say.

Tuesday’s report shows a total of 16,890 Floridians have died, including the 209 nonresidents.

Florida has the fourth-highest total of COVID-19 deaths among the states, behind California, Texas and New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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130+ Days Hospitalized And Often Near Death

EAST HAVEN, CT — “Just let me go,” John Ormond told his daughter on the phone.

“When he said, ‘Just let me go,’ I knew it was out of desperation,” said Savonna Ormond, the assistant director of nursing for Whispering Pines Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. “I knew it was him suffering at the moment. I knew it wasn’t about anything else. You know when you’re in those situations, it’s easy to give up. But I wasn’t giving up on him.”

And, it turns out, he was not ready to either. He had a lot to live for. And so, for more than four months, he fought to stay alive, with help from doctors and nurses at Yale New Haven Hospital’s St. Raphael campus.

And when Ormond finally awakened fully, he didn’t know what had happened. He told Patch he has virtually no memory of those many months on a ventilator. If he knew he was close to death, he has no memory of that. In fact, he said, “When I came out of it, I didn’t know where I was. I asked what happened. What day it was. It was August. All I knew I went in into the hospital in April.”

But one thing he does remember vividly is seeing a quote from the Bible on a wall. Whether it was there or not, he doesn’t know, but it was John, 3:16, he said: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

So he prayed. And he survived COVID-19 after being in the hospital for 132 days.

On April 6, it was confirmed that six people had died at Whispering Pines. East Haven’s mayor said at the time there were a number of positive cases, including staff members.

One of those nursing home workers was then-66-year-old John Ormond. Working at the nursing home part time after retiring from a long career as a master machinist by trade, Ormond, father of five and grandfather of seven, contracted the virus that causes COVID-19.

When Ormond arrived at St. Raphael’s on April 4 with a fever, stomach pain, body aches and hypoxia — a condition that happens when your body doesn’t get enough oxygen — he’d already had the COVID-19 test, but it wasn’t until he went to the emergency room that he found out his test was positive. Within hours, he was admitted to the intensive care unit.

Ormond would remain hospitalized — almost continuously on a ventilator, and then, in an induced coma — for many months.

His daughter the nurse said, “I knew that if he got this sickness — you know we saw on the news all the time — but I knew that if he got this, it would be a long road. I never thought I would lose him, but I knew it would be a long road.”

On April 9, he was intubated and placed

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Hospitalized People Can Still Vote in Most Parts of the Country | Healthiest Communities

Johnathon Talamantes, of South-Central Los Angeles, broke his hip in a car accident on Oct. 22 and underwent surgery five days later at a public hospital near downtown.

His post-op recovery will keep him in the hospital, L.A. County+USC Medical Center, beyond Election Day, and as he prepared himself for the surgery, he wondered what that would mean.

“One of the first things I asked my nurse this morning was, ‘Oh, how am I going to vote?'” Talamantes, 30, said from his hospital bed the day before the operation.

He initially thought of asking his mom to rummage through a pile of papers at the home he shares with her and bring him the mail-in ballot that he, like all registered California voters, received for this election.

But then staffers at LAC+USC told him about another option: They could help him get an emergency ballot and cast his vote without having to get out of bed. So Talamantes told his mom not to bother.

“I don’t want her coming down here, because of the COVID restrictions,” he said.

California law protects the rights of voters who are in the hospital or other care facilities, or confined at home. It allows them to get help from anyone they choose — other than an employer or a union representative — and to cast an emergency ballot.

In some states, only family members can assist hospitalized patients with voting from the hospital.

Photos: Will They Vote For Trump, Again?

Scott Rice sits in his living room watching a Fox News Channel interview with President Donald Trump in Appleton, Wis., Aug. 20, 2020. Nothing can shake Rice's faith that Trump will save the U.S. economy, not seeing businesses close or friends furloughed, not even his own hellish bout with the coronavirus. But in Appleton, a city of 75,000 people along the Fox River, the health of economy isn't judged on jobs numbers, personal bank accounts or union contracts. Instead, it's viewed through partisan lenses, filtered through the facts voters want to see and hear, and those they don't. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

In California, New York and several other states, hospital employees and volunteers can help a patient complete an emergency ballot application. They can pick up the ballot for the patient and deliver the finished ballot back to the election office or deposit it in an official drop box.

In 18 states, the law allows local election boards to send representatives directly to patients’ bedsides, though six of those states have canceled that service this fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. Kelly Wong, founder of Patient Voting, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to increasing turnout among registered voters unexpectedly hospitalized around election time.

The group’s website features an interactive map of the United States with state-by-state information on voting while in the hospital. It also allows patients to check whether they are registered to vote.

Wong, an emergency room resident at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, recalled that when she was a medical student working in an ER, patients who were about to be admitted to the hospital would tell her, “‘I can’t be admitted; I have let the dogs out, or I’m the sole caretaker of my grandmother.'” Then during the election of 2016, she heard, “‘I can’t stay. I have to go vote.'”

“That really caught my attention,” Wong said. She did research and learned patients could vote in the hospital using an emergency ballot — something none of her co-workers knew. “Our patients don’t know this, she said. “It should be our job to tell them.”

Some U.S. hospitals have been

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Nearly 50,000 hospitalized with Covid-19 as experts warn of growing healthcare pressure

The fall surge has left nearly 50,000 people hospitalized across the US due to Covid-19, and experts say the strain healthcare systems are under could soon get worse.

a person in a blue blanket: HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 31: A medical staff member grabs a hand of a patient to reposition the bed in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) on October 31, 2020 in Houston, Texas. According to reports, Texas has reached over 916,000 cases, including over 18,000 deaths. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

© Go Nakamura/Getty Images
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 31: A medical staff member grabs a hand of a patient to reposition the bed in the COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at the United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) on October 31, 2020 in Houston, Texas. According to reports, Texas has reached over 916,000 cases, including over 18,000 deaths. (Photo by Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

Hospitalizations were on the rise in 47 states last month, according to the Covid Tracking Project, and a total of 47,502 people were hospitalized as of Sunday. The rates come alongside a surge of cases that made October a record setting month for coronavirus infections in the US.


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The US recorded its highest number of new cases on Friday with a reported 99,321, the record for any nation in the world. And experts have said that the impacts will likely continue to get worse as colder months drive up infections.

“We’re right at the beginning of what looks like exponential growth in a lot of states,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “This is very worrisome as we head into the winter.”

Gottlieb expects Thanksgiving to be an inflection point, and from there he said the hospital system is going to be facing pressure similar to the early spikes — when hospitals around the country were reaching capacity and healthcare workers were stretched thin.

Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said hospitalizations are the best measure of how the nation is faring against the pandemic and are often an indicator of how the number of deaths will trend.

The seven-day average for new cases currently is more than 81,300 — higher than any other time in the pandemic. The surge has brought cases to more than 9.2 million in the US since the pandemic began, and 230,996 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Coronavirus accelerating in states

Covid-19 spread and hospitalizations have reached staggering levels across states.

This week, there were more new coronavirus cases in Kentucky than any other week since the pandemic began, Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement Sunday.

“I know we’re tired, but if we do not get the spread of this disease under control, we risk a darker, more deadly period this winter than we ever experienced in the spring,” Beshear said.

Illinois is working to manage the virus by putting the entire state under resurgence mitigation measures, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health said Sunday. The state reported nearly 7,000 new cases on Sunday.

“As cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising across our state, across the Midwest and across the nation, we have to act responsibly and collectively to protect

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Lilly Stops Antibody Trial in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

Eli Lilly announced it will halt its ACTIV-3 trial evaluating the antibody bamlanivimab in combination with remdesivir for people hospitalized with COVID-19, after new evidence regarding efficacy emerged.

The new data from the National Institutes of Health suggest that the experimental neutralizing antibody therapy does not offer significant clinical benefit for people with more advanced COVID-19 illness, according to a company statement.

Eli Lilly also announced it plans to continue its other trials evaluating the antibody, including those assessing a potential role in treating people in the earlier stages of COVID-19.

“While there was insufficient evidence that bamlanivimab improved clinical outcomes when added to other treatments in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, we remain confident based on data from Lilly’s BLAZE-1 study that bamlanivimab monotherapy may prevent progression of disease for those earlier in the course of COVID-19,” the statement reads.

The ACTIV-3 trial was paused on October 13 after a data and safety monitoring board cited safety concerns.

The most recent data update that triggered an end to the trial did not reveal any significant differences in safety, though.  

Damian McNamara is a staff journalist based in Miami. He covers a wide range of medical specialties, including infectious diseases, gastroenterology, and rheumatology. Follow Damian on Twitter:  @MedReporter.

For more news, follow Medscape on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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Nurses Make Up Most Hospitalized Coronavirus Health Care Workers, CDC Finds | Health News

Most of the health care workers hospitalized with the coronavirus are nurses, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

The report found that nearly 6% of all patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were health care workers, with 36.3% of those patients being nurses. More than two-thirds, 67.4%, had direct patient contact and more than 4% of the health care workers who were hospitalized died.

Photos: Daily Life, Disrupted

TOPSHOT - A passenger in an outfit (R) poses for a picture as a security guard wearing a facemask as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus stands nearby on a last century-style boat, featuring a theatrical drama set between the 1920s and 1930s in Wuhan, in Chinas central Hubei province on September 27, 2020. (Photo by Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

The CDC’s report included medical records from nearly 7,000 coronavirus patients who were in the hospital between March 1 and May 31.

Nearly 90% of health care workers who were hospitalized with the virus had at least one underlying medical condition, with the most common, 73%, being obesity.

According to the report, the median age of the hospitalized health care worker was 49, compared to 62 among the general population. Most health care workers in the hospital with COVID-19 were women, with a large proportion being Black.

Additionally, the report found that the median length of hospitalization among the providers with COVID-19 was four days and 27.5% of providers were admitted to the intensive care unit for a median of six days.

The CDC said the findings were comparable to those reported among health care providers with COVID-19 in China.

In the U.S., nursing-related occupations account for a large proportion of the health care workplace, and in 2019 registered nurses represented approximately one-third of health care providers.

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Few Women Hospitalized for Influenza Have Been Vaccinated

Fewer than one third of women hospitalized with influenza receive the recommended flu vaccine, according to a study using data over nine flu seasons.

Researchers analyzed data from 9652 women ages 15-44 who were hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza from October through April during the 2010-2019 influenza seasons. Data were pulled from the US  Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET).

Of those women, 2697 (28%) were pregnant. Median age was 28 and median gestational age was 32 weeks. Those studied included 36% who were non-Hispanic white; 29% non-Hispanic black; and 20% Hispanic women.

Some 89% of the women, pregnant and nonpregnant, received antivirals while in the hospital but only 31% reported they had received the flu vaccine in the current season, despite guideline recommendations citing clear evidence that vaccination is safe for mother and baby.

Rachel Holstein

Rachel Holstein, MPH, an epidemiology and information science fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who presented her team’s work as part of IDWeek 2020, explained that the mother’s vaccination can help protect the baby from flu infection for several months after birth, before the baby can be vaccinated.

She noted that pregnant women are at high risk for influenza-associated hospitalization.

“Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women, and women up to 2 weeks postpartum, more prone to severe illness from flu, including illness resulting in hospitalization,” she told Medscape Medical News,

“Vaccination has been shown to reduce the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection in pregnant women by up to one half,” she said. “A 2018 study showed that getting a flu shot reduced a pregnant woman’s risk of being hospitalized with flu by an average of 40%.”

FluSurv-NET data show hospitalizations were more common in the third trimester of pregnancy compared with the first and second, Holstein said. The most common underlying conditions among these women were asthma (23%) and obesity (10%), and 12% were current tobacco smokers. Overall, 5% of pregnant women with flu required ICU admission, 2% needed mechanical ventilation, and 6% developed pneumonia.

Vaccine Uptake Lowest in First Two Trimesters

Holstein said vaccine coverage was lowest among women in their first or second trimesters for all 9 seasons, and overall vaccination coverage increased significantly over time.

Uptake also differed by age. The data showed coverage was lower among women aged 15-34 years compared with women 35 years and older (34% vs 50%).

“It was as low as 15% among pregnant women aged 15-34 years in the 2011-12 season,” she added.

Jeanne Sheffield, MD, director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, told Medscape Medical News the low uptake of vaccine shown in this study is both familiar and frustrating.

Dr Jeanne Sheffield

She said education from healthcare providers has improved, but women are nonetheless frequently fearful. She pointed out the widespread phenomenon of vaccine hesitancy in the general population.

Coverage was 45.3% among adults in the 2018-2019 flu season, 8.2 percentage points higher than

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New Landmark Study at UM School of Medicine Finds Aspirin Use Reduces Risk of Death in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

BALTIMORE, Oct. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Hospitalized COVID-19 patients who were taking a daily low-dose aspirin to protect against cardiovascular disease had a significantly lower risk of complications and death compared to those who were not taking aspirin, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). Aspirin takers were less likely to be placed in the intensive care unit (ICU) or hooked up to a mechanical ventilator, and they were more likely to survive the infection compared to hospitalized patients who were not taking aspirin, The study, published today in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia, provides “cautious optimism,” the researchers say, for an inexpensive, accessible medication with a well-known safety profile that could help prevent severe complications.

“This is a critical finding that needs to be confirmed through a randomized clinical trial,” said study leader Jonathan Chow, MD, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at UMSOM. “If our finding is confirmed, it would make aspirin the first widely available, over-the-counter medication to reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients.”

To conduct the study, Dr. Chow and his colleagues culled through the medical records of 412 COVID-19 patients, age of 55 on average, who were hospitalized over the past few months due to complications of their infection. They were treated at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore and three other hospitals along the East Coast. About a quarter of the patients were taking a daily low-dose aspirin (usually 81 milligrams) before they were admitted or right after admission to manage their cardiovascular disease.

The researchers found aspirin use was associated with a 44 percent reduction in the risk of being put on a mechanical ventilator, a 43 percent decrease in the risk of ICU admission and – most importantly – a 47 percent decrease in the risk of dying in the hospital compared to those who were not taking aspirin. The patients in the aspirin group did not experience a significant increase in adverse events such as major bleeding while hospitalized.

The researchers controlled for several factors that may have played a role in a patient’s prognosis including age, gender, body mass index, race, hypertension and diabetes. They also accounted for heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease and the use of beta blockers to control blood pressure.

COVID-19 infections increase the risk of dangerous blood clots that can form in the heart, lungs, blood vessels and other organs. Complications from blood clots can, in rare cases, cause heart attacks, strokes and multiple organ failure as well as death.

Doctors often recommend a daily low-dose aspirin for patients who have previously had a heart attack or stroke caused by a blood clot to prevent future blood clots. Daily use, however, can increase the risk of major bleeding or peptic ulcer disease.

“We believe that the blood thinning effects of aspirin provides benefits for COVID-19 patients by preventing microclot formation,” said study co-author Michael A. Mazzeffi, MD, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at

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Hospitalized coronavirus patients who take daily aspirin have lower death risk, study finds

Hospitalized coronavirus patients who took daily aspirin for cardiovascular health had a lower death risk than those who did not take aspirin, according to the findings of a new study conducted by researchers with the University of Maryland School of Medicine. 

Patients who took aspirin also had a lower risk of complications, while their chances of requiring admission into the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) and being ventilated also fell, according to a news release regarding the findings, which were published Wednesday in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia. 

Those who took aspirin also had a 47% reduced risk of dying in the hospital compared to those who did not take the drug. (iStock)

Those who took aspirin also had a 47% reduced risk of dying in the hospital compared to those who did not take the drug. (iStock)

For the study, the team looked at the medical records of some 412 patients who were hospitalized due to complications with COVID-19. The average age of patients was 55. All patients in the study were treated at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore or three other hospitals along the East Coast, per the release. Any of the patients’ preexisting conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, and others, as well as age, gender, body mass index and race, were all accounted for in the study. 

Roughly a quarter of the patients were taking daily, low-dose aspirin before they were admitted or began taking the drug shortly after they were admitted to the hospital.


Following their analysis, the study authors concluded that those who took aspirin had a 44% reduced chance of requiring ventilation, and a 43% less risk of requiring admission into the ICU. Most importantly, the researchers said, those who took aspirin also had a 47% reduced risk of dying in the hospital compared to those who did not take the drug. 

“The patients in the aspirin group did not experience a significant increase in adverse events such as major bleeding while hospitalized,” they added. (Daily use of low-dose aspirin, which is often recommended for those who have previously suffered a heart attack or stroke to prevent future blood clots, can increase the risk “of major bleeding or peptic ulcer disease,” the researchers explained.)

The researchers hypothesize that aspirin’s blood-thinning effects may have played a role in the positive outcomes for hospitalized patients taking the drug, as COVID-19 infections “increase the risk of dangerous blood clots that can form in the heart, lungs, blood vessels and other organs. Complications from blood clots can, in rare cases, cause heart attacks, strokes and multiple organ failure as well as death,” they said. 


“This is a critical finding that needs to be confirmed through a randomized clinical trial,” said study leader Dr. Jonathan Chow, an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, in a statement. “If our finding is confirmed, it would make aspirin the first widely available, over-the-counter medication to reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients.”


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Gilead’s remdesivir gets U.S. FDA approval for hospitalized COVID-19 patients

By Deena Beasley

(Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral drug remdesivir for treating patients hospitalized with COVID-19, making it the first and only drug approved for the disease in the United States.

Remdesivir, given intravenously, was one of the drugs used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump during his bout with COVID-19.

The FDA’s formal approval comes just hours before the president’s final debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Remdesivir has been available under an FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) since May, after a study led by the National Institutes of Health showed it reduced hospital stays by five days.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) last week said its global trial of COVID-19 therapies found that remdesivir did not have a substantial effect on patients’ length of hospital stay or chances of survival. That study has not been reviewed by outside experts.

Gilead has questioned the potential for bias in the WHO study, which was not “blinded,” meaning that patients and their doctors were aware of which treatments were being used.

Remdesivir, which will be sold under the brand name Veklury, costs $3,120 for a five-day treatment course, or $2,340 for government purchasers such as the Department of Veterans Affairs. Shares of Gilead rose 4.3% in after hours trading to $63.30.

Remdesivir has become the standard of care for patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 even though it has not been shown to improve survival. The drug also has not been proven to significantly help moderately-ill patients, and many doctors remain wary of using it in patients with less severe illness.

“The formal FDA approval doesn’t change our (sales) estimates or outlook for remdesivir given it has already been branded standard-of-care prior to formal approval,” Raymond James analyst Steven Seedhouse said in a research note, calling the prescribing guidelines and approval “pretty much a best case for Gilead,” given the WHO results questioning remdesivir’s benefits.

Gilead said it is currently meeting demand for the drug in the United States and anticipates meeting global demand by the end of October.

The company said Veklury has regulatory approvals or temporary authorizations in about 50 additional countries.

Also on Thursday, the FDA issued a new emergency use authorization for remdesivir to treat hospitalized pediatric patients under age 12 who weigh enough to receive an intravenous drug.

Gilead said it is still working to understand the full potential of remdesivir, in different settings and as part of combination therapy approaches. The company is also developing an inhaled version of the drug that might be used outside a hospital setting, if approved.

(Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru and Deena Beasley in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Bill Berkrot)

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