COVID19

Georgia House candidates clash over health care, COVID-19

ATLANTA (AP) — Candidates in two closely contested suburban Atlanta U.S. House districts continued to clash Tuesday over their views on health care, the pandemic response and the size of government.

Those disagreements were aired in two debates sponsored by the Atlanta Press Club. One was between 6th Congressional District incumbent Lucy McBath, a Democrat, and Republican Karen Handel, the woman McBath unseated in a narrow 2018 victory. Slightly less sharp was a debate between candidates in the neighboring 7th District, where Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux is trying to claim an open seat after falling just short of beating Republican incumbent Rob Woodall in 2018. With Woodall stepping down, Republican Rich McCormick is trying to hold the seat for his party.

Both races are among the most competitive in the nation, with Democrats gaining ground in what was once reliably Republican turf. The 6th District, Georgia’s most affluent, stretches across parts of Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties. The rapidly diversifying 7th District includes parts of Gwinnett and Forsyth counties.


McBath labeled Handel as a threat to health care access, saying it’s not a “privilege” but a “right as an American.”

“Your record on health care is absolutely dismal,” McBath told Handel. “You have supported bills that would drive up the cost of health care for people that have pre-existing conditions, not only their treatment, their care and prescription drugs.”

Handel said that portrayal was unfair, and said McBath herself could have done more in Congress to protect people from suffering insurance consequences because of earlier disease or infirmity.

Handel attacked McBath, saying it was the Democrats’ fault that Congress hadn’t been able to approve a new bill for COVID-19 relief

“There is nothing preventing Democrats like you and Speaker Pelosi from getting to the table on that COVID relief package. You

Silver Lake apartment garden brings COVID-19 relief

When Jamie Renee Williams wanted to learn more about soil and permaculture, she volunteered at several urban farms throughout Los Angeles: Cottonwood Urban Farm in Panorama City, Huarache Farms in Sierra Madre and Farm L.A., located in Elysian Valley. When she wanted to implement what she was learning in the community, she began working with a community-led compost pick-up service to expand its reach. And when the coronavirus outbreak forced her to shelter in place, she transformed a tiny stretch of dirt next to her apartment into an edible garden.

“I thought for many years that it would be amazing to work on restoring it in some way,” Williams, 37, said of the garden in Silver Lake that she planted in March. “I had been reading books on permaculture such as “The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming,” and when I started going to a bunch of different farms they were all doing something different. I was afraid of growing food. I have killed plenty of plants. But the pandemic and quarantine pushed me to do it. I figured I have all this time and nothing to lose.”

Before the pandemic, Williams juggled UX design work, volunteering and helping broaden the Compostable pickup service. But with more free time on her hands — and like so many who have struggled with isolation while sheltering in place — the garden offered her an opportunity to navigate her way through the pandemic.

“I felt like I had a partner through this pandemic,” she said. “It’s been really rewarding. I have learned that plants, like people, need to be together in a community.”

For Williams, who will be offering a guided virtual tour of the garden on Thursday as part of this week’s annual LA Design Festival, the garden is “reclaimed space

Trump tests negative for COVID-19, is not infectious

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump has tested negative for COVID-19 and he is not infectious to others, the White House physician said on Monday, 10 days after Trump announced he had contracted the coronavirus.

In a memo released by the White House just hours before Trump was due to resume holding campaign rallies, Dr. Sean Conley said the president had tested negative on consecutive days using an Abbott Laboratories <ABT.N> BinaxNOW antigen card.

Conley said the negative tests and other clinical and laboratory data “indicate a lack of detectable viral replication.”

Trump’s medical team had determined that based on the data and guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “the president is not infectious to others,” Conley said.

Trump returns to the campaign trail on Monday night with a rally in Sanford, Florida, his first since he disclosed on Oct. 2 that he tested positive for COVID-19.

Critics fault Trump for failing to encourage supporters at campaign events, and even White House staff, to wear protective masks and abide by social-distancing guidelines. At least 11 close Trump aides have tested positive for the coronavirus.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Chris Reese and Bill Berkrot)

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Argentina surpasses 900,000 COVID-19 cases, virus spreads to the interior

FILE PHOTO: Men recovered from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) donate convalescent plasma, at the Hemotherapy Institute in La Plata, Argentina October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina surpassed 900,000 cases of coronavirus on Monday, with strong growth of infections in large populated centers in the interior of the country after months of the virus’ being concentrated in Buenos Aires and its suburbs.

The government late last week tightened restrictions on the movement of people in 18 provinces for two weeks due to the growth of COVID-19 cases. On Monday, the Health Ministry said the death toll reached 24,186 and the number of infections totaled 903,730. During the previous 24 hours, 318 deaths and 9,524 new cases were reported.

As an example of the virus’ spreading outside of Buenos Aires, in areas untouched by the virus in the early days of the pandemic, more than 90% of the intensive-care beds at the Centenario hospital in the city of Rosario, 300 kilometers north of Buenos Aires, are occupied by COVID-19 patients, hospital staff told Reuters.

Rosario is the main ports hub carrying agricultural commodities from the Pampas farm belt to export markets. Argentina is a major global soybean, corn and wheat supplier.

“Hopefully we continue as we are, with 95% to 97% occupancy (of ICU beds) and that narrow margin will allow us to have a reasonable turn-over of beds,” Rosario intensive care doctor Juan Pendino, 62, told Reuters.

Over the last week Argentina registered almost 100,000 new cases, with a positive rate of 72.5% as of Sunday, one of the highest levels in the world.

“We are not going to have normalcy again – neither in the short- nor medium-term – until we have a high rate of immunization of the population, either naturally or through a vaccine,”

Trump Holds Florida Rally After White House Physician Reports Negative COVID-19 Tests

On Monday, White House physician Sean Conley said that President Trump had registered consecutive days in which he’s tested negative for COVID-19. The news came on the same date that Trump headed to a packed campaign rally in Sanford, Florida. 

“In response to your inquiry regarding the President’s most recent COVID-19 tests, I can share with you that he has tested NEGATIVE, on consecutive days, using the Abbott BinaxNOW antigen card,” said Conley. He added that those tests occurred “in context with additional clinical and laboratory data.”

Speaking of this data, Conley wrote that it was made up of “viral load, subgenomic RNA and PCR cycle threshold measurements, as well as ongoing assessment of viral culture data.”

The letter concluded that the president is “not infectious to others,” which echoes a similar message that Conley issued on Saturday. He also stated, on Saturday, that the president is cleared for an “active schedule.” 

CNN adds that it’s not clear what consecutive days Trump tested positive, while also noting that the Abbott BinaxNOW test he reportedly took may lack precision, as it’s only proven accurate in people being tested within the first week of their symptoms starting to show. The FDA has also said they’re not certain of how accurate Abbott BinaxNOW results are. 

Trump’s positive test was first announced on Thursday, October 1. The White House has not said when the president last tested negative prior to that announcement. 

As for that aforementioned rally, a large crowd gathered for the event. The campaign was issuing temperature checks and distributed masks/hand sanitizer, but social distancing remained absent.