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Europe learns to live with coronavirus despite rising cases

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Europe learns to live with coronavirus despite rising cases

PARIS – In the early days of the pandemic, President Emmanuel Macron called on the French to wage a “war” against coronavirus. Today, his message is to “learn to live with the virus.”

From full-scale conflict to containment of the Cold War, France and much of the rest of Europe have made the choice to coexist as infection continues to grow, summer turns into a perilous fall and possibility of a second wave haunts the continent.

Having abandoned hopes of eradicating the virus or developing a vaccine within weeks, Europeans have largely returned to work and school, leading lives as normal as possible amid the ongoing pandemic that has already begun. killed nearly 215,000 people in Europe

This approach is in stark contrast to the United States, where restrictions to defend against the virus have caused political division and where many regions have moved forward, reopening schools, shops and restaurants with no basic protocols. The result was almost as many deaths as in Europe, albeit among a much smaller population.

Europeans, for the most part, are leveraging hard-won lessons from the early phase of the pandemic: the need to wear masks and practice social distancing, the importance of testing and tracking, and the critical benefits of flexible local responses. All of these measures, tightened or loosened as necessary, are designed to stave off the national constraints that paralyzed the continent and crippled the economy earlier this year.

“There is no way to stop the virus,” said Emmanuel André, a leading virologist in Belgium and a former spokesman for the government’s Covid-19 task force. “It’s about maintaining balance. And we only have a few tools for that. “

He added: “People are tired. They don’t want to fight anymore. “

Combat language gave way to more measured assurances.

“We are living with a virus,” said Roberto Speranza, Italy’s health minister. the first country in Europe to impose national isolation… In an interview with La Stampa, Mr Speranza said that while “there is no zero infection rate,” Italy is now much better equipped to deal with the surge in infections.

“There will be no re-isolation,” Speranza said.

Nevertheless, risks remain.

The number of new infections has skyrocketed in recent weeks, especially in France and in Spain… More than 10,000 cases were reported in France last week in one day. This jump is not surprising, since the total number of tests being performed – now about a million per week – is constantly growing and is now more than 10 times what it was in the spring.

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The death rate of about 30 people a day is a small fraction of what was at its peak, when hundreds, and sometimes more than 1000 people died every day in France. This is because those infected now tend to be younger and health officials have learned to better treat Covid-19, said William Dub, an epidemiologist and former French director of national health.

“The virus is still circulating freely, we have little control over the infection chain, and people at high risk – elderly, obese, diabetics – will inevitably suffer,” said Mr Dab.

In Germany, young people are also too high among the rising infections.

While the German health authorities testing over a million people a weekdebate has begun over the importance of infection rates in obtaining a snapshot of a pandemic.

In early September, only 5 percent of confirmed cases were hospitalized, according to the country’s health authorities. At the height of the pandemic in April, up to 22 percent of those infected were hospitalized.

Hendrik Strick, head of the virology department at a research hospital in Bonn, Germany, warned that a pandemic should be judged not only by the number of infected, but by deaths and hospitalizations.

“We have reached a point where the number of infections no longer matters,” said Mr Strick.

Most of Europe was unprepared for the arrival of coronavirus, without masks, test kits and other basic equipment. Even countries that did better than others, such as Germany, recorded much higher death tolls than Asian countries that were much closer to the source of the outbreak in Wuhan, China, but reacted faster.

National restrictions helped bring the pandemic under control across Europe. But infection rates started growing again over the summer after countries opened up and people, especially young people, resumed communication, often without adhering to the principles of social distancing.

Despite the rise in infections, Europeans have returned to work and school this month, creating more opportunities for the virus to spread.

“We control the infection chains better than we did in March or April, when we were completely powerless,” said Mr Dub, former French director of national health. “The challenge now for the government is to find a balance between reviving the economy and protecting human health.”

“And it’s a tricky balance,” added Mr Dub. “They want to reassure people to get back to work, but at the same time, we need to make them worry so they continue to take preventive measures.”

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Among these measures, masks are now widely available across Europe, and governments largely agree on the need to wear them. At the beginning of this year, faced with a shortage, the French government discouraged people from wearing masks, saying they did not protect those who wear them and could even cause harm.

Wearing a face mask has become part of the life of Europeans, most of whom, in March last year, were still suspicious and incomprehensible of masked tourists from Asia, where the practice has been widespread for the past two decades.

Instead of applying national restrictions without regard to regional differences, authorities – even in a very centralized nation like France – began to respond more quickly to local “hot spots” with specific measures.

On Monday, for example, Bordeaux officials announced that, faced with rising infections, they would limit private gatherings to 10 people, limit visits to nursing homes and ban standing in bars.

In Germany, while the new school year kicked off with compulsory physical activity across the country, authorities have warned that traditional events like carnival or Christmas markets may have to be scaled back or even canceled. Bundesliga football matches will be played without fans until at least the end of October.

In Britain where to wear masks not particularly common or strictly enforced, authorities have tightened rules for family gatherings in Birmingham, where the number of cases of infection is increasing. In Belgium, people can limit their social activity to six people.

In Italy, the government has blocked villages, hospitals and even migrant shelters to contain new clusters. Antonio Miglietta, an epidemiologist who conducted contact tracing in a quarantined building in Rome in June, said months of fighting the virus helped officials extinguish outbreaks before they spun out of control, as they did in northern Italy this year.

“We did it better,” he said.

Governments still need to improve in other things.

At the peak of the epidemic in France, as in many other European countries, there was a desperate shortage of test kits that many sick people could not get tested.

Today, although France runs a million tests a week, widespread testing has led to delays in appointments and results – up to a week in Paris. People can now get tested regardless of their symptoms or their history of exposure, and officials have not established priority tests that would speed up results for people at greatest risk to themselves and others.

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“We could have a more targeted testing policy that would probably be more helpful in fighting the virus than what we are doing now,” said Lionel Barran, president of the Union of Young Medical Biologists, adding that the French government should limit tests for people with a prescription and participate in targeted screening campaigns to combat clustering.

Experts said French health officials should also significantly improve contact tracing efforts, which have proven critical in containing the spread of the virus in Asian countries.

After two months of isolation ended in May, the French social security system put in place a manual contact tracing system to track infected people and their contacts. But a system that relies heavily on the skills and experience of contact trackers has produced mixed results.

At the start of the campaign, each infected person gave the contact tracer an average of 2.4 other names, most likely family members. The campaign has steadily improved as the number of names rose to more than five in July, according to data recent report from French health authorities

But since then, the average has gradually dropped to less than three contacts per person, while the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has increased tenfold, rising from a seven-day average of about 800 new cases per day in the middle. -July averaging around 8,000 per day now, according to figures compiled by The New York Times

At the height of the epidemic, most people in France were extremely critical of the government’s response to the epidemic. But polls show that the majority now believe that the government will handle the second possible wave better than the first.

Jérôme Carriere, a police officer who traveled to Paris from his home in Metz in northern France, said it was a good sign that most people are now wearing masks.

“At the beginning, like all French people, we were shocked and worried,” said Mr. Carriere, 55, adding that two of the family’s oldest friends had died of Covid-19. “And then we adjusted and returned to our normal life.”

The report was presented by Constant Meje and Antonella Francini from Paris, Matt Apuzzo from Brussels, Gaia Pianigiani and Emma Bubola from Rome, and Christopher F. Schueze from Berlin.

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Wagner group leader confesses to recruiting Zambian student murdered in Ukraine – Columnist

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whitefish here our liveblog from the war in Ukraine

The founder of the Wagner group and associate of the President of Russia Yevgeny Prigozhin confirmed that the Zambian student who died in Ukraine fought on the side of the mercenaries.

Lemehani Natan Nyirenda, 23, was supposed to serve a sentence of nine years and six months in a prison near Moscow, but was killed on September 22 at the front line. Zambia demanded an explanation from Russia about the case, and Prigozhin, who recruits prisoners in Russia, finally broke his silence. admitting that the young man was recruited by the Wagner group.

A Zambian student arrested in Russia died in combat in Ukraine. Zambia needs an explanation

“Yes, I remember him well. I spoke with him in the Tver region, ”he said, quoting Moscow Times🇧🇷 The oligarch said that he tried to dissuade him from participating in the military actions of Russia, but the young man voluntarily decided to fight in Ukraine, praising Russia for “helping Africans gain independence.”

I asked him: “Why do you need this war?” In a couple of years you will be ahead of your time, soon you will be able to be at home and see your family.”

The young man did not return home, but, according to Prigogine, he was one of the first who broke into the enemy trenches and “the hero died”.

According to Telegraph, Lemehani Nathan Nyirenda was admitted to the Engineering Physics Institute in Moscow in 2018. Two years later, he was arrested for drug possession after he was stopped by the police while he was working in time to have fun in the delivery service. He is one of the prisoners recruited by the Russian oligarch to reinforce troops on the war front in Ukraine.

“Putin’s boss” and leader of the Wagner group recruits prisoners for the war in Ukraine. And to those who do not like it, he answers: “Send your children.”

Ukraine accuses Prigozhin of sending thousands of militants recruited directly from Russian prisons to the front in exchange for the promise of salaries and amnesty.

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Zelensky says Russia is avenging military defeats with hundreds of terrorist attacks

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“In just one week, the enemy bombed 258 times 30 settlements in our Kherson region,” in the south of the country, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his usual evening message, which was broadcast on television.

“They are not capable of anything, only destruction. This is what they leave behind. What they are doing now against Ukraine is an attempt at revenge. Revenge for the fact that the Ukrainians defended themselves several times against them,” he said.

According to the official news agency Ukrinform, Russia has attacked Kherson 21 times over the past 24 hours, hitting residential buildings and civilian infrastructure with its missiles.

As in previous days, air raid sirens sounded again over Ukraine, but without a massive attack.

Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said flights by Russian strategic bombers had been recorded, but “threats of attack by ground-launched missiles” had also been recorded.

According to the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Russian troops are preparing to launch another wave of missile strikes on Ukraine next week.

“But most likely, these preparations are aimed at maintaining the pace of recent attacks, and not increasing them due to the limited Russian missile arsenal,” ISW said.

On Monday, Zelenskiy warned of a possible new massive attack later this week.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine has already caused the flight of more than 13 million people – more than six million internally displaced people and more than 7.8 million – to European countries – according to the latest UN figures. which classifies this refugee crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945).

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The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing them on Russia. political and economic sanctions.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,655 civilian deaths and 10,368 wounded since the start of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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DNA, Genealogy Solve Two Brutal 1983 Canadian Murders – Newsroom

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Erin Gilmour, a 22-year-old student, and Susan Theis, a mother of 45, were stabbed to death at their Toronto homes four months apart after being sexually assaulted.

Nearly four decades later, “scientific advances” have allowed the Toronto police to detain Joseph George Sutherland, Inspector Steve Smith told a news conference.

By linking two murders in 2000 with a suspect’s DNA collected at the scene, authorities used genetic genealogy “to identify the family” and thus “reduce the number of suspects,” Smith said.

This investigative method consists of comparing the suspect’s DNA with the family tree of a distant relative.

“If we hadn’t used this technology, we would never have known his name,” Smith explained, adding that Sutherland was never suspected.

“This is the day our family has been looking forward to for most of our lives,” said Sean McCowan, brother of Erin Gilmore.

“In a way, it’s a relief that someone has been arrested. But it also brings back so many memories of Erin and her brutal and senseless murder,” he added.

Aspiring fashion designer Gilmour was the daughter of David Gilmour, co-founder of Barrick Gold, one of the largest gold mining companies in the world.

She had no ties to the second victim, Susan Tice, a family therapist and mother of four, according to police.

Joseph George Sutherland, now 61, will appear in court in early December on charges of first-degree murder.

It may also be linked to other open cases, authorities said, who are continuing to investigate.

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