Emmerdale: Lawrence White actor John Bowe, 70, ‘nearly dies’ from coronavirus

John Bowe yesterday revealed he had been battling coronavirus, saying he had “nearly died” from it. The former Emmerdale cast member said it had made him realise “the gauze between life and death is extremely thin”.

The gauze between life and death is extremely thin and oh so easy to pass through

John Bowe

The 70-year-old, who played Lawrence White in the ITV soap, explained all in a candid post to his 24,000 Twitter followers.

The soap regular also spoke out after it emerged Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in hospital after previously testing positive for COVID-19.

“#Coronavirus Sunday observations,” John started. “I have nearly died twice in my life. Once just last week.

“The gauze between life and death is extremely thin and oh so easy to pass through. Certainly in one direction. Not sure about the other. As yet.”

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The small sceen favourite continued: “People shout a lot on Twitter. Listen with care. There’s a lot of ‘hindsight comment’ going on.

“@Keir_Starmer does not help with his talk of ‘mistakes’. Any Government would have made mistakes. We’re in unknown territory here.”

John urged people to “support” the government, as “everybody from the top down is doing their utmost”.

He went on: “They’re trying to do it in the best possible way in the best possible order.

“We must support them. We must shut up and do as we’re told. Stay home/ help the nhs/save lives.”

The actor went on to issue a warning, to beware of “the fickleness, selfishness and stupidity of the masses”.

“Come on UK. We’re better than this,” he said. “Stand firm and strong behind our leaders who, together with us, are trying to find a way through this vicious clinging swamp. #StayHomeSaveLives.”

John also addressed the PM’s news, in response to a tweet by Homes Under The Hammer star, Lucy Alexander.

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The presenter posted: “What are they testing #boris for if he’s already tested positive for #COVID2019? He’s staying overnight? Hope he’s ok. Get well. #StayHomeSaveLives.

“More tests the better to be on the safe side. At least he doesn’t need to worry about catching it in hospital.”

He replied: “I can tell you that one of the worrying aspects of this pernicious virus is its ability to hang around and strike again, particularly if the host is weak and exhausted.

“I should think Boris is in just this sort of state. I wish him well.”

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Meanwhile, John went on to suggest he was still not 100 per cent health wise but it was down to a common problem.

He added this morning: “Coronavirus didn’t get me but this s***ing hayfever always does.”

John played Lawrence in Emmerdale from 2014 up until two years ago.

Many will also know him as Duggie Ferguson in fellow ITV long-running drama, Coronation Street.

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Experts warn the coronavirus can spread through 'aerosolized faeces'

Why you should flush the toilet with the lid down: Experts warn the killer coronavirus may spread through ‘aerosolized faeces’

  • Scientists claim flushing with the lid down can prevent the spread of coronavirus
  • A study in China has shown the virus is present in some patients’ stool 
  • ‘Toilet plume’ is when aerosols are stirred up by the flush and released into air
  • But studies showing that this leads to people catching disease are weak 

The coronavirus may spread through ‘aerosolized faeces’ if people leave the lid up when they flush the toilet, according to scientists.

A study from China has shown the virus can be found in patients’ stools because it takes hold in the digestive system in some people.  

Now, an American scientist said one of the ‘easiest ways’ to prevent more people catching the virus was to avoid creating a ‘toilet plume’.

The phenomenon is when faeces or urine particles are stirred up by the flush of water and are released into the air of the bathroom. 

Considering diarrhoea may be one of the initial symptoms of the coronavirus, it may be worth taking note in order to protect family members.  

Experts have warned the killer the coronavirus can spread through ‘aerosolized faeces’, urging those infected to close the lid when they flush the toilet

Like most respiratory illnesses, coronavirus is spread in tiny droplets of moisture that carry virus particles.

Experts warn these are expelled when sick people cough or sneeze. However, talking can send the droplets into the air, too. 

But the showering of bugs from not putting the toilet lid down can cause pathogens to settle on nearby surfaces, such as walls, towels and toothbrushes.

The virus is known to survive on different materials for several hours and even days, in some cases. 

The World Health Organization has already warned the virus may spread via fomites – when the infection survives on inanimate objects.

A study of 73 hospitalised patients in China found the virus is detectable in faecal samples, indicating that the virus sheds into the stool.

A total of 39 patients tested positive for faecal SARS-CoV-2, and the stool of 17 patients remained positive even after swabs from the throat or nose tested negative, according to the pre-proof paper in the journal Gastroenterology.

CORONAVIRUS ‘COULD SPREAD VIA FAECES’ 

Research from China indicates that the coronavirus may spread by faecal-oral transmission, not just via coughs, sneezes and skin-to-skin contact.

Dr Hong Shan, of Sun Yat-sen University, in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, and colleagues noted that the gastrointestinal tract is a welcoming environment for the virus, and therefore could exit the body in faeces.

A study looked at 73 patients hospitalized for possible COVID-19 and tested from February 1 to 14, 2020. 

A total of 39 patients tested positive for the virus in the faeces. The duration of stool positivity ranged from one day to 12. Furthermore, the stool of 17 patients remained positive even after respiratory samples tested negative.

The pre-proof study was published online in Gastroenterology. 

Although it is highly unlikely someone would catch coronavirus directly from another person’s stool, scientists said extra precautions can be taken.

Qingyan Chen, an engineer at Purdue University who has studied virus spread through transit ventilation systems, told Forbes there’s ‘one very easy way to help prevent the spread of coronavirus’ – close the lid and then flush.

He said 80 per cent of particles that escape from faecal matter into the air can be prevented this way. 

The release of stool or urine particles into the air from flushing is known as ‘toilet plume’.

A 2012 paper, by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, suggested that toilet plume can spread disease. 

Their review of literature found ‘infectious aerosols may be produced in substantial quantities during flushing’. 

The team added: ‘Aerosolization can continue through multiple flushes to expose subsequent toilet users.’

The aerosols could linger in the air, or, according to a number of studies, contaminate toilet seats and lids, the surrounding floors, and nearby surfaces.

The US based researchers said there was no evidence at the time of publication that toilet plume was a source of disease spread – but said it was a possibility.  

To avoid catching the coronavirus in a public bathroom, Mr Chen said people should wait two minutes after someone has finished anyway.

He even said someone who knows they have the virus should ‘disinfect the entire washroom with alcohol or ultraviolet light’ between uses at home. 

Some scientists urge for the recognition of diarrhoea as a symptom of COVID-19, along with other stomach issues and loss of appetite.

A study of 204 patients in Wuhan, ground-zero for the COVID-19 outbreak, found 99 patients (48.5 per cent) went to hospital with digestive issues as their main ailment. 

Loss of appetite (83 per cent) and diarrhoea (29 per cent) were the main symptoms for patients exhibiting digestive problems.

Other digestive issues reported include vomiting (0.8 per cent) and abdominal pain (0.4 per cent), according to the study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. 

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS?

What is the coronavirus? 

A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.

The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.

Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a ‘sister’ of the SARS illness which hit China in 2002, so has been named after it.

The disease that the virus causes has been named COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.

Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: ‘Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals. 

‘Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses). 

‘Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.’ 

The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started publicly reporting infections on December 31.

By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.

The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000. 

Where does the virus come from?

According to scientists, the virus almost certainly came from bats. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.

The first cases of COVID-19 came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in Wuhan, which has since been closed down for investigation.

Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat. 

A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published in February 2020 in the scientific journal Nature, found that the genetic make-up virus samples found in patients in China is 96 per cent identical to a coronavirus they found in bats.

However, there were not many bats at the market so scientists say it was likely there was an animal which acted as a middle-man, contracting it from a bat before then transmitting it to a human. It has not yet been confirmed what type of animal this was.

Dr Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved with the research but said: ‘The discovery definitely places the origin of nCoV in bats in China.

‘We still do not know whether another species served as an intermediate host to amplify the virus, and possibly even to bring it to the market, nor what species that host might have been.’  

So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so worried about it? 

Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.

It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans’ lungs. It is less deadly than SARS, however, which killed around one in 10 people, compared to approximately one in 50 for COVID-19.

Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they’ve never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.

Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: ‘Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.

‘Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we’re talking about a virus where we don’t understand fully the severity spectrum but it’s possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.’

If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die. 

‘My feeling is it’s lower,’ Dr Horby added. ‘We’re probably missing this iceberg of milder cases. But that’s the current circumstance we’re in.

‘Two per cent case fatality rate is comparable to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 so it is a significant concern globally.’

How does the virus spread?

The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms.

It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky. It can also live on surfaces, such as plastic and steel, for up to 72 hours, meaning people can catch it by touching contaminated surfaces.

Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person. 

What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?

Once someone has caught the COVID-19 virus it may take between two and 14 days, or even longer, for them to show any symptoms – but they may still be contagious during this time.

If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients will recover from these without any issues, and many will need no medical help at all.

In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.

Figures are showing that young children do not seem to be particularly badly affected by the virus, which they say is peculiar considering their susceptibility to flu, but it is not clear why. 

What have genetic tests revealed about the virus? 

Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world. 

This allows others to study them, develop tests and potentially look into treating the illness they cause.   

Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much – changing is known as mutating – much during the early stages of its spread.

However, the director-general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.

This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it.   

More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.

How dangerous is the virus?  

The virus has a death rate of around two per cent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.

Experts have been conflicted since the beginning of the outbreak about whether the true number of people who are infected is significantly higher than the official numbers of recorded cases. Some people are expected to have such mild symptoms that they never even realise they are ill unless they’re tested, so only the more serious cases get discovered, making the death toll seem higher than it really is.

However, an investigation into government surveillance in China said it had found no reason to believe this was true.

Dr Bruce Aylward, a World Health Organization official who went on a mission to China, said there was no evidence that figures were only showing the tip of the iceberg, and said recording appeared to be accurate, Stat News reported.

Can the virus be cured? 

The COVID-19 virus cannot be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.

Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can work, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.

No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it’s not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.

The National Institutes of Health in the US, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical Technology.

Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.

People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.

And airports around the world are putting in place screening measures such as having doctors on-site, taking people’s temperatures to check for fevers and using thermal screening to spot those who might be ill (infection causes a raised temperature).

However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so there is only a small likelihood that patients will be spotted up in an airport.

Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?   

The outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11. A pandemic is defined by the World Health Organization as the ‘worldwide spread of a new disease’. 

Previously, the UN agency said most cases outside of Hubei had been ‘spillover’ from the epicentre, so the disease wasn’t actually spreading actively around the world.

 

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Greedy sellers hike price of cough medicine by 10% in 2 weeks as shops cash in on coronavirus


GREEDY sellers have hiked the price of cough medicine by 10 per cent in a fortnight as shops cashed in on the coronavirus crisis.

The price of paracetamol, pet food, nappies and anti-bacterial hand wipes also soared amid the scramble to stockpile.

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The Office for National Statistics, which put out the alarming numbers, also warned the deadly virus is already hammering business.

Nearly half (46 per cent) of businesses surveyed said their profits have slumped because of the lockdown.

While over half (56 per cent) said they have cut or furloughed staff or slashed their hours because of the crisis.

Furious MPs tore into greedy sellers for profiteering from a catastrophe.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman blasted: “Nobody should be seeking to profiteer from this pandemic and we will need to pull together through this incredibly difficult time.”

Tory MP Alex Stafford fumed: “People should not be penalised for getting the medicines they need.

“We shouldn’t just be pushing medicines into the hands of rich people.

“Shops have a moral duty to ensure prices are stable.

“I have seen big price increases myself.

“I have seen a 75ml bottle of hand sanitizer on sale for £24, and when I went out looking for a baby thermometer the other day I saw one being sold by a private seller for £150.

“It is not right for people to make huge profits out of others misfortune.”

He called for the big shops, including Boots, Superdrug and the supermarkets, to agree to keep their prices down during the Covid-19 crisis.

Analysis of prices by the ONS found cough medicine had rocketed 10.7 per cent between March 9 and March 22.

Pet food was up 3.1 per cent and paracetamol by 2.8 per cent.

Nappies and rice were both nearly 2 per cent higher.


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Petrolhead revamps VW camper can with fighter plane's jet engine

Petrolhead revamps classic VW camper van with fighter plane jet engine that can do 300mph… (but he’s not dared do above 157mph)

  • The owner of a garage has managed to turn an van from the 1950s into an incredible rocket-powered vehicle 
  • He used a fighter jet engine to give the rusty Volkswagen a makeover after a six year project to put it together 
  • The 50,000 pick-up is capable of reaching a top speed of 300mph and is ‘like riding on top of a firework’
  • Perry Watkins, from Buckinghamshire came up with the idea following a chat with some friends in a pub 

This is the rusty Volkswagen van that was transformed into a stunning rocket-powered truck by a British car enthusiast. 

Perry Watkins, 55, from Buckinghamshire, took six years to build the £50,000 vehicle, which boasts 5,000 horsepower, a top speed of 300mph and is like ‘riding on top of a firework’, according to the man himself.

Originally starting as a pick-up truck that spent most of its life on an Oklahoma farm, the 1958 vehicle now gleams with a shiny red and cream base colour and silver wheels rims – but it’s the back of the invention that really amazes.

The van is kitted out with a refurbished Rolls Royce Viper 535 fighter jet engine and an afterburner, giving Perry’s Volkswagen a new futuristic look.

But surprisingly for such a complex creation, the idea for ‘Oklahoma Willy’ was born during a simple chat in the pub with some friends.

Perry Watkins poses with his stunning Volkswagen van that he has transformed into a £50,000 rocket-powered vehicle

A look at the back of the futuristic-looking invention shows an after-burner fitted to it, with a Rolls Royce fighter jet engine

The van is capable of reaching a top speed of 300mph, although Perry has only travelled at 157mph, which he said was ‘hairy’

‘We sit at the pub and come up with stupid ideas,’ said Perry. ‘I’ll then lock myself in the garage for five years and build it.’

So off Perry went. First he purchased the fighter jet engine, which was originally made in 1978 – stripping it down, polishing it in aluminium and taking around two years to finish. Then he added the after burner – which was another six months of work – before finally importing the old Volkswagen pick-up. It took three more years before the project was wrapped up.

Perry, who owns Perrywinkle Customs and is no stranger to wild automotive creations, doesn’t like to do something that’s been done before, and holds the rare and iconic vehicle close to his heart. 

The 1958 Volkswagen pick-up has been revamped with a makeover inside and out after spending most of its life on a farm

Incredibly, the invention is street legal due to the original engine sitting in its place – as long as the jet engine isn’t fired up

Perry came up with the idea for the Oklahoma Willy during a chat with friends in a pub and it is a prized possession for him

He has created a host of other bizarre vehicles including a nine foot Dalek and a 24 inch tall replica of the Batmobile dubbed the Flatmobile.

In 2009, he also secured a Guinness World Record for the world’s smallest road legal car called the Wind Up, which was the size of a washing machine.

And in 2010 he claimed another world record for the world’s fastest furniture – creating a car made from a dining table and chairs.

Perry has taken the van out for a spin, but despite its top speed of 300mph, he has only done 157mph – a thrill ride he said was ‘a bit hairy’ albeit ‘exhilarating’.

The truck has previously been tested in Bedfordshire, with footage of it racing down a track racking up over one million views

He has previously tested its speed at the Santa Pod raceway in Bedfordshire, with the incredible footage of him soaring down the track amassing more than one million views. 

‘It was extremely nerve racking the first time I drove the car under jet power,’ he said. ‘I had no idea how the car would react, it is after all 60 years old and as aerodynamic as a brick.

‘The car could have spun out of control, flipped or even taken off as the 5,000 lbs of thrust was applied.’ 

Incredibly, the Oklahoma Willy is street legal – thanks to the original engine that sits in place – providing you don’t fire up the jet. Perry describes the power as ‘one of the most incredible things you can ever experience’. 

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Man shot by NYPD said he had coronavirus, tried to attempt suicide by cop

The man shot by NYPD cops in the Bronx after threatening the officers with a knife early Wednesday morning told police he has coronavirus and was attempting to commit suicide by cop, authorities and sources said.

Ricardo Cardona, who was shot near the corner of Zerega and Westchester avenues in Westchester Square at about 4 a.m., said he tested positive for the virus yesterday, sources said.

Cardona feared he was going to die because he was overweight and diabetic, according to sources.

He allegedly called 911 to report a person with a weapon and had poured ketchup on his knife to make it appear bloody before cops arrived.

Two officers shot him four times in the legs, police sources said.

He was taken to NYC Health and Hospitals/Jacobi in stable condition. Neither of the cops was injured.

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3 Re-Commerce Sites on How They're Handling Buying and Selling During the Coronavirus

How Has the Coronavirus Impacted Re-Commerce Businesses?

Cleaning out your closet is one of the most productive and mind-busying activities you can do amid the coronavirus pandemic, and many indeed are. As a result, piles of used clothing and accessories are mounting. But the big question: Can you sell used items during the spread of the coronavirus? With non-essential services shutting down nationwide, it would seem as though operations at re-commerce sites The RealReal, Vestiaire Collective, and Fashionphile would, too. But in fact, they’re staying open, though their day-to-day business operations are shifting to comply with social distancing regulations. Furthermore, if you’re the type to shop vintage and secondhand and want to support your favorite re-commerce sites right now, you might be wondering if it’s safe to buy from these sites. The short answer? Yes. But we’ll dive into this a bit deeper ahead.

Keep scrolling ahead for more on how The RealReal, Vestiaire Collective, and Fashionphile are handling buying and selling used clothing and accessories during the coronavirus pandemic. If you haven’t already cleaned out your closet, may we suggest doing so with friends to make it more fun?

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Tipping Point: ITV viewers stunned as they spot Ben Shephard innuendo

Tipping Point viewers witnessed another three contestants fall by the wayside this evening as Ben Shephard brought his regular mix of tough and complex brainteasers. After a brutal battle between the four players on the ITV show, just one was left to take on the final round of Tipping Point: Nuala. Nuala fought diligently to take home vast sums of money but ultimately went home with just under £3,000.

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It was one of the questions before the show came to an end which prompted some outcry from viewers, however.

Host Ben Shephard was tasked with asking Nuala the collection of questions set to stump her and get between her and her potential prize money.

One question, however, saw Ben asking which of the displayed answers was used to give aircrafts a substantial “thrust” in flight.

Viewers quickly began noting Ben kept saying the word “thrust” in an invigorated manner, and with great gusto.

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Because of this, they instantly began speaking out on Twitter regarding this odd innuendo.

One wrote: “#TippingPoint Loving the way Ben emphasised ‘thrust’.” (sic)

Another joked: “Love a bit of thrust… #tippingpoint.”

With a third pointing out: “The way Ben said ‘thrust’ #tippingpoint.”

The answer to the question was, of course, an afterburner.

A fan of the show instantly wrote out why this answer was correct on Twitter, amid the plethora of tweets about Ben’s “thrust” pronunciation.

They explained: “An afterburner is a component present on some jet engines, mostly those used on military supersonic aircraft. Its purpose is to provide an increase in thrust, usually for supersonic flight, takeoff, and combat situations #TippingPoint.”

Unfortunately for Nuala, she got it wrong and was eventually sent home with less money than she had anticipated.

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Thankfully, she confessed it was an amount she was happy with and was eager to spend it with her children.

Earlier this week, Ben snapped at one of his contestants after they made a huge mistake.

Whilst debating with Ben over whether the answer to the geography question on the screen was Arthur’s Seat or Arthur’s Table, he confessed he had once walked up Arthur’s Seat.

Ben pointed this out, saying: “You’ve walked up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh in the park…”

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Contestant Owen then added: “And I’ve been to a chip van called ‘Arthur’s Eat’.”

Prompting Ben to reply: “You’ve been to Arthur’s Eat, you’ve walked up Arthur’s Seat, you’ve ignored what you’ve done and you’ve gone with Arthur’s Table.”

Owen quipped that fans of the show may be a little angry at him for not selecting the correct answer, despite obviously knowing it, leaving Ben to respond: “I’m angry with you! I mean…”

Tipping Point airs weekdays at 4pm on ITV.

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Over 50s at higher risk from coronavirus, new study reveals

MIDDLE-AGED Brits could be at greater risk of severe coronavirus than experts first thought, it has emerged.

A new study found while the overall death rate of Covid-19 in China was 1.38 per cent – that rate increased with age, reaching 7.8 per cent in the over 80s.

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In the UK anyone over the age of 70 has been told to self-isolate for 12 weeks, to reduce the risk of catching the bug.

That comes as evidence from China and countries like Italy suggested older people were at much greater risk – along with those with underlying health conditions.

But new analysis, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, has showed an increase in risk for coronavirus once a person reaches middle age.

It found 3.43 per cent of people in their 30s needed hospital treatment for Covid-19, rising to 4.25 per cent in their 40s and 8.16 per cent in their 50s.

It jumped to 11.8 per cent in their 60s; 16.6 per cent in their 70s; and 18.4 per cent for over 80s.

Professor Azra Ghani, a co-author of the study, said: "Our analysis very clearly shows that at aged 50 and over, hospitalisation is much more likely than in those under 50, and a greater proportion of cases are likely to be fatal."

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The study was based on analysis of 70,117 laboratory-confirmed and clinically-diagnosed cases in mainland China, combined with 689 positive cases among people evacuated from Wuhan on repatriation flights.

The latest study estimates the number of undetected cases and suggests an overall death rate of 0.66 per cent – that's higher than swine flu, which had a death rate of 0.02 per cent.

Using data on 24 deaths that occurred in mainland China and 165 recoveries outside of China, the study indicated it took an average of 17.8 days from the onset of symptoms to death, and 24 days for survivors to be discharged from hospital.

The study revealed a very low death rate in those under the age of 20, although it found they are not at a lower risk of infection than older adults.

Professor Ghani said: "Our estimates can be applied to any country to inform decisions around the best containment policies for Covid-19."

As of 5pm on Sunday, 1,408 people are confirmed to have died in UK hospitals after testing positive for Covid-19.

Professor Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London, said Britain's outbreak may be starting to slow with almost two million people infected.

He said as the UK epidemic peaks, similar age groups in the UK are likely to be hospitalised and die as seen in China.

It came as Belgian research suggested the true number of people infected without realising it could be far higher than thought, with a study indicating it could be 85 times greater than official estimates.

The findings echo controversial estimates from a group at Oxford University which has suggested half of Britain could already have been infected.

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Susanna Reid makes GMB comeback after coronavirus isolation: ‘Thank God!’

Susanna Reid, 49, is set to return to the Good Morning Britain panel this morning following her a 14-day break away from the show to self-isolate during the coronavirus outbreak. It comes after one of the presenter’s children developed symptoms of the deadly illness, and in line with government advice took precautions and quarantined herself at home.

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Thank god, you’re on your last day of self-isolating. We get you back tomorrow!

Piers Morgan

But her brief departure from the studio didn’t mean she wasn’t still involved.

Appearing via video calls, she would still contribute from her sofa and viewers still got their daily dose of bickering and eyerolls from both Susanna and her outspoken co-host Piers Morgan.

Speaking on yesterday’s show, it was confirmed that viewers would see her back in her regular seat today.

Piers seemed overly happy that his on-screen partner would be back by his side, saying: “Thank god, you’re on your last day of self-isolating.

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  • Lorraine Kelly’s wardrobe error in co-star Susanna Reid’s absence

“We get you back tomorrow!”

Two weeks ago, Susanna broke the news that she would be going into self-isolation on Twitter, telling her 683.4k followers: “I am currently well but due to the new advice today I will be self-isolating for two weeks due to symptoms in my household,” she wrote.

“Stay well everyone.”

Last week the ITV presenter stated she was showing “no symptoms” during one of her video calls with the GMB studio, and believed her son’s illness was only a “seasonal cold”.

“One of the boys – one of my children – has a cough, a persistent cough, and that came on yesterday,” she said.

She added that her decision to stay home came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to stay away from social places such as pubs, clubs and theatres and to avoid all non-essential travel.

“Before the briefing yesterday afternoon, the advice had been the person themselves would be confined to the house for seven days,” Susanna continued to explain.

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“Well, suddenly with these new drastic action measures that changed yesterday afternoon, it meant if one member of your household had the cough or fever you would all have to go in self isolation for 14 days.

With her thoughts running wild, she admitted that her work predicament immediately crossed her mind.

“Immediately, I thought I can’t go into work and work with you guys for 14 days.

“All the children are off. We’re two households. It’s a very unusual situation. I am very, very lucky. I’m paid even when I’m sick. I’m in a privileged position.”

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  • Susanna Reid: GMB star responds to Kate Robbins’ ‘complaint’

Piers, who has become a figurehead in lobbying to save the NHS since the outbreak began, took the precaution as a stab in the back.

He joked at the news of her isolation: “I have heard of some ways of avoiding working with me but this is ridiculous,” he giggled.

But not to worry, he’ll get his pal back this morning and it’ll sure put a smile back on his face.

Good Morning Britain continues this morning at 6am on ITV.

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Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin can keep working during coronavirus shutdown

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is deemed an essential business by the US government because ‘its future value to national security’, allowing it to continue operations amid the coronavirus outbreak

  • Many companies around the US are forced to close due to the coronavirus
  • However, Blue Origin has been deemed essential by the US government
  • It falls under aerospace and defense sectors making it vital to national security 
  • It is working on rockets for space travel and a halt would delay the timeline 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, Blue Origin, will continue to operate during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Blue Origin has been deemed essential because it falls under aerospace and defense sectors for ‘its future value to national security’.

It received several billion dollar contracts over the past two years that aim to bring both humans and cargo into Earth’s orbit, along with one for developing a lunar lander for the 2024 mission back to the moon.  

An expert told the Financial Times that suspending operations at this time could impact timelines and launch schedules for space exploration.

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, Blue Origin, is still operating. A report reveals the firm has been deemed an essential business by the government for ‘its future value to national security’

As of Monday, there have been more than 143,000 cases and over 2,500 deaths reported in the US due to coronavirus.

The virus has caused a lockdown in the US as the virus is quickly spreading across the country.

Many states have issued stay-at-home policies and have forced non-essential business to close – President Trump said this could last until April 30th. 

However, Blue Origin has been given the green light to continue operations.

Blue Origin falls under aerospace and defense sectors, and has been labeled as ‘mission essential’ by the Departments of Homeland Security and of Defense. It is currently working on a lunar lander (pictured is concept drawing)

A Blue Origin spokesperson told DailyMail.com: ‘Blue Origin’s work is considered mission essential as all the work we do resides within the aerospace and defense sector and is one of the 16 designated infrastructure sectors deemed as mission essential. 

‘The Departments of Homeland Security and of Defense have issued guidance pertaining to mission essential activities necessary to preserve the defense industrial base.’

In 2018, the US Air Force awarded the firm $2.3 billion in contracts for the development of rocket launch systems which will be used in national security missions.

The three contracts are part of a Department of Defense initiative to assure constant military access to space and curb reliance on foreign-made rocket engines.

Last year, Bezos revealed his company was developing a lander that will bring humans to the moon by 2024.

The plan could ultimately serve as a stepping stone for colonization of the moon and deeper space targets, Bezos suggested.

‘While Blue Origin continues to operate as an essential business, the safety and health of our employees is our highest priority,’ the Blue Origin spokesperson told DailyMail.com in an email.

An expert told the Financial Times that suspending operations at this time could impact timelines and launch schedules for space exploration

The coronavirus has caused a lockdown in parts of the the US as the virus is quickly spreading across the country. There are more than 143,000 cases and over 2,500 deaths reported in the US

‘We are financially supporting self-quarantine actions, and encouraging all employees who can effectively work from home to do so. 

‘For those who need to come onsite, we have implemented measures to social distance our workforce and keep our facilities clean and safe.’

Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000 with the hopes of making space tourism a reality.

The firm has offices in Texas, Florida, Virginia, Alabama, Washington and California.

However, its California and Washington are part of the lockdown, mandating employees must work-from-home.

Nearly 738,000 people have been infected by the coronavirus worldwide, and the global death toll has passed 35,000.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS?

What is the coronavirus? 

A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.

The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.

Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a ‘sister’ of the SARS illness which hit China in 2002, so has been named after it.

The disease that the virus causes has been named COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.

Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: ‘Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals. 

‘Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses). 

‘Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.’ 

The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11million people live, after medics first started publicly reporting infections on December 31.

By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.

The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000. 

Where does the virus come from?

According to scientists, the virus almost certainly came from bats. Coronaviruses in general tend to originate in animals – the similar SARS and MERS viruses are believed to have originated in civet cats and camels, respectively.

The first cases of COVID-19 came from people visiting or working in a live animal market in Wuhan, which has since been closed down for investigation.

Although the market is officially a seafood market, other dead and living animals were being sold there, including wolf cubs, salamanders, snakes, peacocks, porcupines and camel meat. 

A study by the Wuhan Institute of Virology, published in February 2020 in the scientific journal Nature, found that the genetic make-up virus samples found in patients in China is 96 per cent identical to a coronavirus they found in bats.

However, there were not many bats at the market so scientists say it was likely there was an animal which acted as a middle-man, contracting it from a bat before then transmitting it to a human. It has not yet been confirmed what type of animal this was.

Dr Michael Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London, was not involved with the research but said: ‘The discovery definitely places the origin of nCoV in bats in China.

‘We still do not know whether another species served as an intermediate host to amplify the virus, and possibly even to bring it to the market, nor what species that host might have been.’  

So far the fatalities are quite low. Why are health experts so worried about it? 

Experts say the international community is concerned about the virus because so little is known about it and it appears to be spreading quickly.

It is similar to SARS, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800 in an outbreak in Asia in 2003, in that it is a type of coronavirus which infects humans’ lungs. It is less deadly than SARS, however, which killed around one in 10 people, compared to approximately one in 50 for COVID-19.

Another reason for concern is that nobody has any immunity to the virus because they’ve never encountered it before. This means it may be able to cause more damage than viruses we come across often, like the flu or common cold.

Speaking at a briefing in January, Oxford University professor, Dr Peter Horby, said: ‘Novel viruses can spread much faster through the population than viruses which circulate all the time because we have no immunity to them.

‘Most seasonal flu viruses have a case fatality rate of less than one in 1,000 people. Here we’re talking about a virus where we don’t understand fully the severity spectrum but it’s possible the case fatality rate could be as high as two per cent.’

If the death rate is truly two per cent, that means two out of every 100 patients who get it will die. 

‘My feeling is it’s lower,’ Dr Horby added. ‘We’re probably missing this iceberg of milder cases. But that’s the current circumstance we’re in.

‘Two per cent case fatality rate is comparable to the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 so it is a significant concern globally.’

How does the virus spread?

The illness can spread between people just through coughs and sneezes, making it an extremely contagious infection. And it may also spread even before someone has symptoms.

It is believed to travel in the saliva and even through water in the eyes, therefore close contact, kissing, and sharing cutlery or utensils are all risky. It can also live on surfaces, such as plastic and steel, for up to 72 hours, meaning people can catch it by touching contaminated surfaces.

Originally, people were thought to be catching it from a live animal market in Wuhan city. But cases soon began to emerge in people who had never been there, which forced medics to realise it was spreading from person to person. 

What does the virus do to you? What are the symptoms?

Once someone has caught the COVID-19 virus it may take between two and 14 days, or even longer, for them to show any symptoms – but they may still be contagious during this time.

If and when they do become ill, typical signs include a runny nose, a cough, sore throat and a fever (high temperature). The vast majority of patients will recover from these without any issues, and many will need no medical help at all.

In a small group of patients, who seem mainly to be the elderly or those with long-term illnesses, it can lead to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in which the insides of the lungs swell up and fill with fluid. It makes it increasingly difficult to breathe and, if left untreated, can be fatal and suffocate people.

Figures are showing that young children do not seem to be particularly badly affected by the virus, which they say is peculiar considering their susceptibility to flu, but it is not clear why. 

What have genetic tests revealed about the virus? 

Scientists in China have recorded the genetic sequences of around 19 strains of the virus and released them to experts working around the world. 

This allows others to study them, develop tests and potentially look into treating the illness they cause.   

Examinations have revealed the coronavirus did not change much – changing is known as mutating – much during the early stages of its spread.

However, the director-general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, said the virus was mutating and adapting as it spread through people.

This means efforts to study the virus and to potentially control it may be made extra difficult because the virus might look different every time scientists analyse it.   

More study may be able to reveal whether the virus first infected a small number of people then change and spread from them, or whether there were various versions of the virus coming from animals which have developed separately.

How dangerous is the virus?  

The virus has a death rate of around two per cent. This is a similar death rate to the Spanish Flu outbreak which, in 1918, went on to kill around 50million people.

Experts have been conflicted since the beginning of the outbreak about whether the true number of people who are infected is significantly higher than the official numbers of recorded cases. Some people are expected to have such mild symptoms that they never even realise they are ill unless they’re tested, so only the more serious cases get discovered, making the death toll seem higher than it really is.

However, an investigation into government surveillance in China said it had found no reason to believe this was true.

Dr Bruce Aylward, a World Health Organization official who went on a mission to China, said there was no evidence that figures were only showing the tip of the iceberg, and said recording appeared to be accurate, Stat News reported.

Can the virus be cured? 

The COVID-19 virus cannot be cured and it is proving difficult to contain.

Antibiotics do not work against viruses, so they are out of the question. Antiviral drugs can work, but the process of understanding a virus then developing and producing drugs to treat it would take years and huge amounts of money.

No vaccine exists for the coronavirus yet and it’s not likely one will be developed in time to be of any use in this outbreak, for similar reasons to the above.

The National Institutes of Health in the US, and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say they are working on a vaccine based on what they know about coronaviruses in general, using information from the SARS outbreak. But this may take a year or more to develop, according to Pharmaceutical Technology.

Currently, governments and health authorities are working to contain the virus and to care for patients who are sick and stop them infecting other people.

People who catch the illness are being quarantined in hospitals, where their symptoms can be treated and they will be away from the uninfected public.

And airports around the world are putting in place screening measures such as having doctors on-site, taking people’s temperatures to check for fevers and using thermal screening to spot those who might be ill (infection causes a raised temperature).

However, it can take weeks for symptoms to appear, so there is only a small likelihood that patients will be spotted up in an airport.

Is this outbreak an epidemic or a pandemic?   

The outbreak was declared a pandemic on March 11. A pandemic is defined by the World Health Organization as the ‘worldwide spread of a new disease’. 

Previously, the UN agency said most cases outside of Hubei had been ‘spillover’ from the epicentre, so the disease wasn’t actually spreading actively around the world.

 

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