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Fauci sees U.S. gaining control over pandemic by next autumn

The leading U.S. infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on Wednesday he foresees America achieving enough collective COVID-19 immunity through vaccinations to regain “some semblance of normality” by autumn 2021, despite early setbacks in the vaccine rollout.

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -The leading U.S. infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on Wednesday he foresees America achieving enough collective COVID-19 immunity through vaccinations to regain “some semblance of normality” by autumn 2021, despite early setbacks in the vaccine rollout.

Fauci made his remarks during an online discussion of the pandemic with California Governor Gavin Newsom, who announced at the outset that a more infectious coronavirus variant originally found in Britain has been detected in his state, a day after the first known U.S. case was documented in Colorado.

Newsom said the coronavirus variant B.1.1.7 had been confirmed earlier in the day in a Southern California patient. He did not provide further details. But the California Department of Public Health said in statement later that the person, a San Diego County patient, has no known travel history, suggesting the variant is spreading within the community.

Fauci said he was “not surprised,” adding that additional cases of the variant would likely surface around the country and that the mutating nature of such viruses is normal.

“It appears that this particular mutation does make the virus better at transmitting from one person to another,” he said. However, individuals infected with earlier forms of SARS-CoV-2 “don’t seem to get re-infected by this,” meaning that any immunity already acquired “is protective against this particular strain,” Fauci added.

He also stressed that the so-called UK variant is believed to be no more severe in the illness it causes, and that newly approved COVID-19 vaccines will prove just as effective against it as against earlier known forms of the virus.

The same is believed to be true for a second new variant, also more infectious and first reported in South Africa, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Still, the emergence of a more highly transmissible variant could make a swift rollout of immunizations all the more critical.

President-elect Joe Biden warned on Tuesday it could take years to inoculate most Americans given an initial vaccine distribution rate that has lagged behind the promises of the Trump administration. He called on Congress to approve greater funding for the endeavor.

FILE PHOTO: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar before receiving his first dose of the new Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, U.S., December 22, 2020. Patrick Semansky/Pool via REUTERS

‘WE’RE GOING TO CATCH UP’

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Wednesday he was confident that early glitches in distribution of the vaccine will be overcome.

“As we get into January, the feeling is that we’re going to gain momentum to be able to catch up,” he told Newsom, saying he expected immunizations to become widely available to the general public on demand, by April.

Assuming that the broad vaccination campaign progresses as it should through May, June and July, “By the time we get to the early fall, we will have enough good herd immunity to be able to really get back to some strong semblance of normality – schools, theaters, sports events, restaurants,” Fauci said.

Nevertheless, the prospect of fighting a more contagious form of the virus comes as the pandemic has raged largely out of control across much of the United States for weeks. California, the most populous state with 40 million, has become the latest flashpoint, as hospitals in and around Los Angeles report intensive care units filled to capacity.

Medical experts attribute a worsening of the pandemic in recent weeks to the arrival of colder weather and the failure of many Americans to abide by public health warnings to avoid social gatherings and unnecessary travel over the year-end holiday season.

The result has been an alarming surge of infections and hospitalizations that have strained healthcare systems to their limits, and a steadily mounting U.S. death toll, surpassing 338,000 lives lost nationwide to date.

In addition to upending daily social life in America, the pandemic has stifled the economy, idling millions of workers at numbers not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The first U.S. case of the UK variant was announced by Colorado Governor Jared Polis on Tuesday. At a news conference on Wednesday, Polis described the patient infected as a National Guard soldier in his 20s who had been assigned to help deal with a COVID outbreak at a nursing home in Simla, Colorado, on the outskirts of the Denver metropolitan area.

The patient, isolating and recuperating at home, has no recent travel history, which Dr. Henry Walke, incident manager for the CDC’s COVID response, said is a sign of person-to-person transmission of the variant within the United States.

The director of Colorado’s Public Health and Environment Department told reporters that a second member of the National Guard may also have contracted the UK variant, though final laboratory confirmation was still being awaited.

The new variant has been detected in several European countries, as well as in Canada, Australia, India, South Korea and Japan, among others.

The U.S. government on Monday began requiring all airline passengers arriving from Britain – including U.S. citizens – to test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of departure.

The government may expand coronavirus testing requirements for international air travelers beyond Britain as early as next week, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

Reporting and writing by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York, Rich McKay in Atlanta, Keith Coffman in Denver and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool

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Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa/fauci-sees-us-gaining-control-over-pandemic-by-next-autumn-idUSKBN2942D3

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Reuters

Facebook apologizes for second outage in a week, services back up

Facebook Inc apologized to users for a two hour disruption to its services on Friday and blamed another faulty configuration change for its second global outage this week.

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Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Instagram logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Oct 8 (Reuters) – Facebook Inc (FB.O) apologized to users for a two hour disruption to its services on Friday and blamed another faulty configuration change for its second global outage this week.

The company confirmed its social media platform, Instagram, Messenger and Workplace were impacted by the latest outage.

“Sincere apologies to anyone who wasn’t able to access our products in the last couple of hours,” the company said. “We fixed the issue, and everything should be back to normal now.”

During the latest outage, some users were unable to load their Instagram feeds, while others were not able to send messages on Facebook Messenger.

People swiftly took to Twitter to share memes and jokes about the second service disruption this week. “Looks like Facebook went to a 3-day work week. Monday and Friday shutdowns?” a Twitter user said.

Instagram thanked users for their patience and “for all the memes this week”.

On Monday, the social media giant blamed a “faulty configuration change” for a nearly six-hour outage that prevented the company’s 3.5 billion users from accessing its social media and messaging services such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

The outage on Monday was the largest that web monitoring group Downdetector had ever seen and blocked access to the apps for billions of users, leading to a surge in usage of rival social media and messaging apps. read more

Moscow officials said Monday’s outage showed Russia was right to develop its own social media networks, while EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager highlighted the repercussions of relying on just a few big players, underscoring the need for more rivals. read more

Both the outages piled pressure on Facebook this week after a former employee turned whistleblower accused the company on Sunday of repeatedly prioritizing profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation. read more

Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru and Sheila Dang in Dallas; Additional reporting by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

“Sincere apologies to anyone who wasn’t able to access our products in the last couple of hours,” the company said. “We fixed the issue, and everything should be back to normal now.”

Source: https://www.reuters.com/technology/instagram-feeds-not-loading-some-users-2021-10-08/

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Reuters

Chinese social media platforms to “rectify” financial self-media accounts

China’s top social media platforms, Wechat, Douyin, Sina Weibo and Kuaishou, said on Saturday they would begin to rectify irregular practices of “self-media” accounts that publish financial information, reported state media Global Times.

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WeChat app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

SHANGHAI, Aug 28 (Reuters) – China’s top social media platforms, Wechat, Douyin, Sina Weibo and Kuaishou, said on Saturday they would begin to rectify irregular practices of “self-media” accounts that publish financial information, reported state media Global Times.

This follows an announcement by China’s cyberspace regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), that it would look into accounts that have repeatedly released financial news illegally, distorted economic policy interpretation, badmouthed financial markets, spread rumours and disrupted network communications.

The term “self-media” is mostly used on Chinese social media to describe independently operated accounts that produce original content but are not officially registered with the authorities.

Wechat said in a statement on Saturday that from now until Oct. 26, it would investigate and shut down financial self-media accounts that “badmouth the financial market” and “blackmail and spread rumors.”

Sina Weibo, Douyin and Kuaishou also released similar statements on Saturday, reported the Global Times, with Sina Weibo and Kuaishou adding that they would severely crack down on accounts that violate the rules.

The announcements come amid a recent crackdown by Beijing on the tech sector, with the latest regulations targeting “chaotic” celebrity fan culture and algorithms that technology companies use to drive their business. read more

China is also framing rules to ban internet companies whose data poses potential security risks from listing outside the country, including in the United States. read more

Reporting by Emily Chow. Editing by Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The term “self-media” is mostly used on Chinese social media to describe independently operated accounts that produce original content but are not officially registered with the authorities.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/china/chinese-social-media-platforms-rectify-financial-self-media-accounts-2021-08-28/

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Reuters

Death toll rises to 77 from Turkey floods, 47 reported missing

The death toll from flash floods that swept through several towns in Turkish Black Sea provinces last week has risen to 77 people and emergency workers are continuing to search for 47 who are missing, authorities said on Monday.

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A damaged vehicle and a partially collapsed building are seen following the flash floods that swept through towns in the Turkish Black Sea region, in the town of Ilisi, in Kastamonu province, Turkey, August 15, 2021. REUTERS/Mehmet Emin Caliskan

ISTANBUL, Aug 16 (Reuters) – The death toll from flash floods that swept through several towns in Turkish Black Sea provinces last week has risen to 77 people and emergency workers are continuing to search for 47 who are missing, authorities said on Monday.

The floods last week brought chaos as torrents of water tossed dozens of cars and heaps of debris along streets, destroyed buildings and bridges, closed roads and damaged electricity infrastructure.

Sixty-two people died as a result of floods in Kastamonu province. Another 14 people died in Sinop and one in Bartin, the Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) said.

Forty-seven people were reported missing in Kastamonu and Sinop, it said, adding that seven others were receiving treatment in hospital.

Drone footage showed massive damage in the town of Bozkurt in Kastamonu province, where rescue teams searched demolished buildings at the weekend.

More than 2,000 people were evacuated from affected areas, some with the help of helicopters and boats, AFAD said, adding that more than 8,500 personnel were involved in the emergency response efforts.

Weather forecasters warned of further flooding due to expected heavy rainfall on Monday in Black Sea provinces to the east of the regions affected last week.

Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Dominic Evans and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Drone footage showed massive damage in the town of Bozkurt in Kastamonu province, where rescue teams searched demolished buildings at the weekend.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/death-toll-rises-70-turkey-floods-47-reported-missing-2021-08-16/

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