Maine Wedding Infected 177 People With COVID-19, and Killed 7 People Who Weren’t Even Guests!

A Maine wedding reception of 55 people left more than half of its guests infected with COVID-19, affecting a total of 176 people despite Maine’s current public health guideline of a 50-person limit for indoor gatherings. Seven people have already died, but what’s more disturbing is that they did not even attend the wedding.

The management of Big Moose Inn, where the wedding was held, said that they misinterpreted the state’s 50-person cap for indoor events. “We did make an error in the interpretation of that rule,” the management said in a statement. “Our interpretation was that we could take a wedding party of more than 50 persons, and split them between two rooms as long as it didn’t exceed our total capacity or a specific room’s capacity.”

How Did It Spread So Far and So Fast?

According to Dr. Nirav Shah, the director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the guests who attended the event infected their parents, who then infected one of their children, who infected their co-workers. All of these events happened within a span of 2 ½ weeks.

Outbreaks at the Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Living Center and the York County Jail were connected to the wedding after one staff member from each facility was found to have attended the event. The York County Jail, which is 200 miles away from the wedding reception, now has 80 cases confirmed while 39 people from the rehabilitation center have tested positive.

Health officials have traced cases linked to the wedding throughout August, with 24 cases initially. By the end of the month, it grew to 123 cases and by September 3, the recorded number was at 143.

Maine has recorded 4,415 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with an average of 29 per day. The US has had 11.3 million cases of COVID-19 to date, with 247,000 deaths and counting.

Mass Gatherings: How Many is Too Many?

Social distancing has been a key phrase in the past months, being the most important factor in preventing the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, despite social distancing measures, other factors come into play, such as how susceptible we are to infection, the frequency of contact we have with people, and the duration of those contacts.

Respiratory infections appear to be the most common infectious disease transmitted during gatherings. The World Health Organization has advised governments to seriously consider postponing any gathering that brings people together, potentially amplifying the virus through close contact.

And while everyone wants to know what exact number of people is too many, what really matters is keeping gatherings small and considering the social dynamics that may be involved in the crowd. The sheer size of the group is not the only factor to consider; for example, small groups of five people can be as risky as a big event with 100 people. There is no magic number that we can consider safe for gatherings, but reducing the amount of contact

Read more

Austin’s mayor told people to stay home. He was vacationing in Cabo after hosting his daughter’s wedding.

When the number of new coronavirus cases in Texas began to rise in early November, the mayor of Austin urged residents to avoid socializing and traveling, especially as the holiday season approached.

“We need to stay home if you can,” Democratic Mayor Steve Adler said in a Nov. 9 video. “We need to try to keep those numbers down. This is not the time to relax.”

Days before he offered that warning, Adler had hosted at a downtown hotel for his daughter and about 20 guests. Then, he and eight wedding guests took a private jet to Cabo San Lucas, where they stayed together in a timeshare.

After the Austin American-Statesman first reported Adler’s trip, which he had not previously disclosed to the public, the mayor apologized Wednesday for taking the trip to Mexico and setting a poor example as coronavirus cases spiked across Texas.

“I regret that travel,” Adler said in a video he posted to Facebook on Wednesday evening. “I wouldn’t travel now, I didn’t over Thanksgiving, and I won’t over Christmas. And no one should.”

His mea culpa is the latest in a string of apologies from public officials across the U.S. this week, after several city and state leaders have been caught flouting their own coronavirus warnings by dining out and attending parties after issuing guidance discouraging the public from doing those same activities.

Texas broke the nationwide record for new coronavirus cases reported in a day about two weeks after Adler posted the Nov. 9 video, when it reported 16,100 new cases on Nov. 25, about 1,000 more than the previous record. (California reported 18,350 new cases that same day, also breaking the previous record.)

Some areas of the Lone Star State have been hit harder than others. Near the border with Mexico and New Mexico, El Paso has resorted to airlifting patients to other cities as its hospitals have been overwhelmed with critically ill people. The state paid prisoners to move hundreds of bodies to mobile morgues in the city, then it deployed National Guardsmen to help.

More on the COVID-19 pandemic

As of early Thursday, more than 9,000 people are hospitalized with COVID in Texas.

Yet even as the numbers mount, officials in the state have been inconsistent in enacting and enforcing coronavirus restrictions.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, a Democrat, ordered a shutdown of the hard-hit city, but El Paso Mayor Dee Margo and the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, both Republicans, challenged the legality of those restrictions.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott declared last month that he would not institute a statewide shutdown, even as cases spiked. He has issued a statewide executive order allowing restaurants to reopen at 75 percent capacity and allowed bars to partially resume business with permission from local county leaders. Even where bars have been ordered closed by county officials, many have kept their doors open under a loophole that allows them to be classified as restaurants if they serve food and alcohol sales account

Read more

Austin mayor told people to stay home as he vacationed in Cabo and attended his daughter’s wedding

Days before he offered that warning, Adler had hosted at a downtown hotel for his daughter and about 20 guests. Then, he and eight wedding guests took a private jet to Cabo San Lucas, where they stayed together in a timeshare.

After the Austin American-Statesman first reported Adler’s trip, which he had not previously disclosed to the public, the mayor apologized Wednesday for taking the trip to Mexico and setting a poor example as coronavirus cases spiked across Texas.

“I regret that travel,” Adler said in a video he posted to Facebook on Wednesday evening. “I wouldn’t travel now, I didn’t over Thanksgiving, and I won’t over Christmas. And no one should.”

His mea culpa is the latest in a string of apologies from public officials across the U.S. this week, after several city and state leaders have been caught flouting their own coronavirus warnings by dining out and attending parties after issuing guidance discouraging the public from doing those same activities.

Texas broke the nationwide record for new coronavirus cases reported in a day about two weeks after Adler posted the Nov. 9 video, when it reported 16,100 new cases on Nov. 25, about 1,000 more than the previous record. (California reported 18,350 new cases that same day, also breaking the previous record.)

Some areas of the Lone Star State have been hit harder than others. Near the border with Mexico and New Mexico, El Paso has resorted to airlifting patients to other cities as its hospitals have been overwhelmed with critically ill people. The state paid prisoners to move hundreds of bodies to mobile morgues in the city, then it deployed National Guardsmen to help.

Yet even as the numbers mount, officials in the state have been inconsistent in enacting and enforcing coronavirus restrictions.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, a Democrat, ordered a shutdown of the hard-hit city, but El Paso Mayor Dee Margo and the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, both Republicans, challenged the legality of those restrictions.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) declared last month that he would not institute a statewide shutdown, even as cases spiked. He has issued a statewide executive order allowing restaurants to reopen at 75 percent capacity and allowed bars to partially resume business with permission from local county leaders. Even where bars have been ordered closed by county officials, many have kept their doors open under a loophole that allows them to be classified as restaurants if they serve food and alcohol sales account for less than half of their revenue, the Texas Tribune reported.

Although Adler defied his own advice to stay home when he took a family vacation in Cabo last month, the Democrat has asked Austin residents to stay home, practice social distancing and wear masks.

The Austin mayor said neither the wedding nor the trip to Mexico violated local or statewide coronavirus guidelines in place at the time. He told the American-Statesman that the wedding guests had taken rapid coronavirus tests before the event and

Read more

Couple uses food from canceled wedding to feed 200 people on Thanksgiving

Like many weddings this year, Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis’ nuptials didn’t go as planned. Because of coronavirus restrictions, the couple decided to get married at City Hall in Chicago instead of having a big ceremony. And instead of taking the deposits for their reception back, they decided to repurpose them. 

The couple put their $5,000 worth of reception food to a good use on Thanksgiving, according to a local charity. Bugg and Lewis donated the 200 meals to Thresholds, an organization that provides services and resources for people with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders in Illinois. 

emily-packaging-meals.jpg
Emily Bugg packing Thanksgiving meals for Thresholds clients.

Thresholds


Bugg is an outreach worker with the nonprofit, which helps people dealing with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and major depression, according to the organization.

Thresholds usually holds a communal Thanksgiving dinner for clients, but it was canceled due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions. Instead, Bugg and Lewis’ wedding caterer, Big Delicious Planet, put the couple’s $5,000 deposit to use to prepare special Thanksgiving meals for delivery.

The caterers worked alongside Threshold staff members to box individual meals, which where then delivered to the client’s homes. Big Delicious Planet cooked turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans and other Thanksgiving staples. 

thanksgiving-meals-2.jpg
200 individual meals were provided to  clients, whose Thanksgiving meal through Threshold was originally cancelled due to the pandemic.

Thresholds


The couple’s wedding venue, Salvage One, also agreed to repurpose their deposit for a future event for the Epilepsy Foundation. 

“In the grand scheme of things, canceling a big wedding isn’t the worst thing that could happen,” Bugg said. “We’re happy to be married, and we’re so happy that we could help Thresholds’ clients feel the connection of a Thanksgiving meal as a result of the wedding cancellation.”

Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug said the couple’s donation is “an incredible example of the generosity and creativity that the pandemic has inspired in so many.”

“I know that Emily’s act of kindness will inspire others to do the same and build love and connection in a difficult time, in any way we can. Thresholds is so grateful for our staff, like Emily, who are so dedicated to their work serving those with mental illnesses,” he said.

The couple’s wedding may have been canceled, but their generosity helped bring many others joy on Thanksgiving.

Source Article

Read more

Elliot Page’s wife says trans people are ‘gift to the world’ as she pledges support for husband

Watch: Elliot Page shares trans identity

Emma Portner, the wife of Elliot Page, has said that trans people are ‘a gift to the world’, following the news that Page has come out as transgender.

Portner, who is a dancer, shared Page’s heartfelt announcement on her Instagram page, adding: “I am so proud of @elliotpage.

“Trans, queer and non-binary people are a gift to this world.



Ellen Page holding a sign posing for the camera: Ellen Page and Emma Portner arrive at the LA Dance Project Annual Gala and Unveiling of New Company Space on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)


Ellen Page and Emma Portner arrive at the LA Dance Project Annual Gala and Unveiling of New Company Space on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

“I also ask for patience and privacy but that you join me in the fervent support of trans life every single day. Elliot’s existence is a gift in and of itself. Shine on sweet E. Love you so much.”

Page, star of movies like Juno, Inception and Netflix series The Umbrella Academy, revealed the news yesterday.

“I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot,” he said.

“I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life. I also ask for patience.

“My joy is real, but it is also fragile. The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now and knowing how much privilege I carry, I am also scared. I’m scared of the invasiveness, the hate, the ‘jokes’, and of violence,” he said.

Read more: 2021 Oscars to be an ‘in-person’ event

Page and Portner married in 2018.

The news of Page’s decision has been met with a wave of support from friends and colleagues in Hollywood.

Netflix, which produces The Umbrella Academy, called him a ‘superhero’.

GLAAD, the campaign and media monitoring group, added: “@TheElliotPage has given us

Read more

Startups like Papa, which pairs elderly people with ‘grandkids on demand’ to help them with common tasks like grocery shopping, could be the future of healthcare. Here’s an inside look at how it works.

The gig economy is coming for healthcare.



Courtesy of Papa; Yuqing Liu/Business Insider


© Courtesy of Papa; Yuqing Liu/Business Insider
Courtesy of Papa; Yuqing Liu/Business Insider

Startups like Papa, which provides “grandkids on demand” to seniors, hire mostly young part-time workers as outside contractors to help with chores, troubleshoot technology issues, or just sit and talk with seniors, many of whom have remained isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.

Big technology companies like Uber and Instacart popularized the gig model, but contract workers are nothing new in the world of home healthcare. With the advent of the gig economy, new home care startups have become empowered to introduce more flexibility and cost-savings into the industry by relying on a constantly rotating cast of always-on workers accessible via an app. 

Business Insider spoke with nine Papa Pals, as Papa’s fleet of on-demand grandkids are called, and Papa founder and CEO Andrew Parker to get a sense for what it’s like to work as a gig worker in healthcare during a pandemic.



a man and a woman taking a selfie: Florida-based Papa Pal Dejah Cason with Papa member Evelyn Perl. Papa


© Papa
Florida-based Papa Pal Dejah Cason with Papa member Evelyn Perl. Papa


Most joined this summer after hearing friends’ positive experiences working with Papa, but others have worked for Papa on and off for years as they finished up school or managed their outside obligations. Business Insider reached out to Pals independently in addition to three conversations with Pals that were facilitated by Papa.

Here’s the inside look of what it’s like to work as a Papa Pal.

The Pals shared a near-unanimous belief that they were doing good through their work providing companionship on-demand to elderly individuals. Many said they would continue calling or running errands once the pandemic subsides.

Others voiced some concerns with not being able to schedule shifts in advance, an issue Parker said an updated version of the app will address later this year. 

There is also some concern among experts that the gig model won’t be sustainable once the pandemic ends if health plans don’t see enough impact to warrant continued support of this type of care.

Subscribe to Business Insider to read the full story:

Investors are betting $1.4 billion that gig workers can transform an essential but invisible part of healthcare. Here’s an inside look at one startup leading the charge.

Continue Reading

Source Article

Read more

Rosslyn BID Hosts Annual Clothing Drive To Aid People In Need

ROSSLYN, VA — With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, many people are looking ahead to the season of giving. As such, the Rosslyn BID (Business Improvement District) is hosting its annual clothing food drive to help those in need in the Arlington community.

From Monday until Dec. 15, members of the public are invited to drop off new or gently used winter coats, sweaters, sweatshirts, hats and gloves in plastic bags to a gift-wrapped donation box in the lobby of the following residential buildings around Rosslyn:

  • 1800 Oak Apartments. (1800 N Oak St.)
  • Bennett Park (1601 Clarendon Blvd.)
  • Homewood Suites (1900 N Quinn St.)
  • River Place North (1121 Arlington Blvd.)
  • River Place East (1021 Arlington Blvd.)
  • River Place South (1011 Arlington Blvd.)
  • River Place West (1111 Arlington Blvd.)
  • Turnberry Tower (1881 N Nash St.)
  • Waterview (1111 19th St.)

Each participating building will provide two to eight gift-wrapped donation boxes. Those who don’t live in these buildings can drop off their donations Monday-Friday, from 9-5 p.m., outside the Rosslyn BID Office (1911 North Fort Myer Drive, LL-10).

All of the items collected will go to A-SPAN, an organization dedicated to ending homelessness in Arlington, to help keep people in need warm through the winter.

Source Article

Read more

South Dakota’s governor encouraged people to go shopping the same day the state reported its highest single-day COVID-19 death total



a close up of Kristi Noem in a striped shirt: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Republican National Convention in August. Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images


© Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty…
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Republican National Convention in August. Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images

  • The South Dakota Department of Health on Saturday reported 54 new deaths from COVID-19, surpassing the state’s previous record death total of 53.
  • The same day, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem encouraged state residents in a tweet to go shopping, writing that small “businesses are the lifeblood of so many South Dakota communities.”
  • Noem, a Republican, has refused to issue a statewide mask mandate and has otherwise disputed science and calls to enact stricter measures to contain the virus in the state.
  • Over the past week, more than 42% of COVID-19 tests in South Dakota administered have come back positive, according to data analyzed by Johns Hopkins University. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The South Dakota Department of Health on Saturday reported 54 new COVID-19 deaths since Friday, the highest single-day increase in deaths of all time in the state as cases of the virus surge statewide.

The previous record, 53, was set earlier this month on November 14, the Rapid City Journal reported. As the outlet noted, there have been 942 deaths in the state from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus since the pandemic began, with more than half of those — 517 — occurring in the month of November. There were more than 800 new cases diagnosed in the state Saturday.

But hours earlier, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, encouraged state residents to go shopping to support local businesses.

“Remember, today is #SmallBusinessSaturday,” Noem tweeted Saturday morning. “These businesses are the lifeblood of so many South Dakota communities. Please support them today and every day! #shopsmall.”

Earlier in the week, Noem, who has been in office since 2019, celebrated the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions that imposed limits on capacity at religious services to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“Another thing to add to the list of reasons to be very thankful today,” Noem said in a tweet Thursday.

In addition to refusing to issue a statewide mask mandate, Noem has also defended individuals who neglect to wear masks despite repeated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and health experts who have pleaded that widespread adoption of mask-wearing would curb the spread of the disease.

A CDC study in Kansas reported last week reaffirmed that mask mandates are effective in curbing the spread of COVID-19.

“We talk often about the government’s role in a situation like this in dealing with a pandemic,” Noem said on November 18, disputing that the lack of a mask mandate was responsible for a surge in cases, according to The Associated Press. “At this point, frankly, I’m getting more concerned about how neighbors are treating neighbors.”

Read more

In Japan, more people died from suicide last month than from Covid in all of 2020. And women have been impacted most | World News

“They lost their jobs, and they need to raise their kids, but they didn’t have any money,” Ozora said. “So, they attempted suicide.”

Most of the calls come through the night — from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. The nonprofit’s 600 volunteers live around the world in different timezones and are awake to answer them. But there aren’t enough volunteers to keep up with the volume of messages, Ozora said.

They prioritize the texts that are most urgent — looking for keywords such as suicide or sexual abuse. He said they respond to 60% of texts within five minutes, and volunteers spend an average of 40 minutes with each person.

Anonymously, over online messaging, people share their deepest struggles. Unlike most mental health hotlines in Japan, which take requests over the phone, Ozora says many people — especially the younger generation — are more comfortable asking for help via text.

In April, he said the most common messages were from mothers who were feeling stressed about raising their kids, with some confessing to thoughts of killing their own children. These days, he says messages from women about job losses and financial difficulties are common — as well as domestic violence.

“I’ve been accepting messages, like ‘I’m being raped by my father’ or ‘My husband tried to kill me,'” Ozora said. “Women send these kinds of texts almost every day. And it’s increasing.” He added that the spike in messages is because of the pandemic. Before, there were more places to “escape,” like schools, offices or friend’s homes.

Source Article

Read more

In Japan, more people died from suicide last month than from Covid in all of 2020. And women have been impacted most | World

“They lost their jobs, and they need to raise their kids, but they didn’t have any money,” Ozora said. “So, they attempted suicide.”

Most of the calls come through the night — from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. The nonprofit’s 600 volunteers live around the world in different timezones and are awake to answer them. But there aren’t enough volunteers to keep up with the volume of messages, Ozora said.

They prioritize the texts that are most urgent — looking for keywords such as suicide or sexual abuse. He said they respond to 60% of texts within five minutes, and volunteers spend an average of 40 minutes with each person.

Anonymously, over online messaging, people share their deepest struggles. Unlike most mental health hotlines in Japan, which take requests over the phone, Ozora says many people — especially the younger generation — are more comfortable asking for help via text.

In April, he said the most common messages were from mothers who were feeling stressed about raising their kids, with some confessing to thoughts of killing their own children. These days, he says messages from women about job losses and financial difficulties are common — as well as domestic violence.

“I’ve been accepting messages, like ‘I’m being raped by my father’ or ‘My husband tried to kill me,'” Ozora said. “Women send these kinds of texts almost every day. And it’s increasing.” He added that the spike in messages is because of the pandemic. Before, there were more places to “escape,” like schools, offices or friend’s homes.

Source Article

Read more