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Americans should be prepared for 1-2 lakh death toll: White House

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New York, April 1 The Donald Trump administration revealed for the first time multiple predictive models that are being used to estimate its grim assessment of a 100,000-200,000 coronavirus death toll in the country and stressed that community adherence to social distancing guidelines will be the game changer that will flatten the curve.

“There’s no magic bullet. There’s no magic vaccine or therapy. It’s just behaviours. Each of our behaviours, translating into something that changes the course of this viral pandemic over the next 30 days,” Dr Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response co-ordinator, said at a briefing on Tuesday.

“Americans should be prepared for that (death toll). Yes, it is a projection but that’s what it is and we have to be prepared for that,” America’s top infectious diseases doctor Dr. Anthony Fauci said at the same briefing headlining charts that have guided Trump administration’s decision to extend social distancing guidelines until April 30. The first phase of the 15-day stay-at-home guidelines came on March 16.

“This is the thing that we must anticipate,” Fauci said pointing to the peak death toll projections, “but we don’t want to accept that is what will happen.”

“We can influence this to the maximum degree.”

In all of the graphs, New York and New Jersey are the standout lines, inching sharply upwards as the rest of the states cluster closer to the X-axis.

Projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle are closest to the White House take on the situation.

The IHME graph is heavily laden with data from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, said Birx, because that is where caseload is highest.

As of Tuesday morning, the IHME forecast predicted about 84,000 US deaths through early August, with the highest number of daily deaths occurring April 15. That would be three days after Easter.

The 100,000-200,000 death toll projection “assumes full mitigation measures” currently in place, according to Birx and Fauci. Those guidelines stop short of a complete lockdown, still allowing people to go outside the home for solitary activities and for essential tasks.

“We trust the American people to keep that six feet distance when they go out, meet people. That is why we have not issued a complete lockdown”, Birx said. She said that if people maintain “that six feet distance”, they have controlled the virus.

Dr. Deborah Birx said data coming from Italy offers hope for the US experience.

“You can see that they’re beginning to turn the corner in new cases. They’re entering their fourth week of full mitigation and showing what is possible when we work together as a community, as a country, to change the course of this pandemic together.”

The US government is calling on “every American in every state” to follow the mitigation guidelines for the next 30 days. The guidelines are not mandatory.

Responding to questions on the alarming numbers on the charts, Fauci said, “Everytime we get more data, we put it back into the model and see if the model is making sense.”

The models use statistical analysis to predict the outbreak’s ferocity and impact in terms of infections, hospital caseload and death toll.

Fauci remains confident that mitigation “is going to be doing the trick for us”. The effects, he said, would come in a series of steps and therefore won’t show on the charts in real time.

“When the increase in new cases begin to level off, a secondary effect is less hospitalisations. The next effect is less intensive care. And the next effect is less deaths. I don’t want to jump the gun on it, we’re seeing little inklings of this right now in New York,” Fauci said.

Fauci and Birx have cautioned that cases will continue to go up in the “next several days to a week or so” reflecting caseload that came in before states issued stay-at-home orders.

“We cannot be discouraged by that because the mitigation is actually working, and will work.”

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Chidambaram hails decision to skip Ganesh fest amid Covid pandemic

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P Chidambaram

New Delhi, July 1 : After it was announced that the iconic Lalbaugcha Raja Ganesh idol in Mumbai will not be established during the upcoming 11-day Ganeshotsav starting August 22 in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister P. Chidambaram on Wednesday hailed the decision taken by the organisers.

“I congratulate the organisers of the annual Ganesh festival for the decision to call off the celebrations this year and instead organise a plasma donation camp over the 11 days,” Chidambaram said in a statement.

Earlier, while announcing its decision to cancel this year”s annual event that draws unprecedented crowd each year, the Lalbaugcha Mandal informed that instead of celebrating the Ganesh festival, it has decided to celebrate it as a health festival. Apart from organising blood donation camps and running a campaign for plasma donation, it has also decided to donate Rs 25 lakh to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ganesh idol at Lalbaugcha in Mumbai’s Parel area is considered to be the tallest in the city and is among the biggest crowd-pullers.

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Congress slams eviction notice to Priyanka Gandhi

He said, “the land was to be vacated from the Chinese but government chose to vacate a house in Delhi.”

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Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

New Delhi, July 1 : Congress leaders have reacted sharply on the eviction notice served to party General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra though sources close to her said she will comply with the notice.

The government on Wednesday asked Priyanka, daughter of interim Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, to vacate her government accommodation at 35, Lodhi Estate here within a month as she is no longer on the list of protectees of the Special Protection Group (SPG).

Jitin Prasada, Congress working committee member said, “I fail to understand the timing of the government”s actions however Priyanka Gandhi is on a mission to fight and work for the people of UP and is unfazed and not bothered by these diversionary tactics.”

Another Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said it’s unfair and quoted former Prime Minister IK Gujral that ruler should be large-hearted.

He said, “the land was to be vacated from the Chinese but government chose to vacate a house in Delhi.”

Congress leader Vishwanath Chaturvedi said this is a new low in politics and the Modi government has insulted a “daughter of a martyr”. Congress leader Naseeb Pathan demanded that newly elected member in Rajya Sabha KC Venugopal should resign and Priyanka Gandhi should be sent to Rajya Sabha.

Secretary AICC Dheeraj Gurjar said “those who could not evict Chinese are bent on evicting Priyanka Gandhi , remember Indira Gandhi too was evicted but later on those responsible had to lose their seat.”

The government in an order said that it has cancelled the accommodation allotted to Priyanka with the direction to vacate the house within one month.

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Priyanka to vacate 35 Lodhi Estate bungalow within time

The government has maintained that she is not entitled to a government accommodation, but the Congress sees it as an act of revenge after Priyanka Gandhi started taking the government head on.

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Priyanka Gandhi Congress

New Delhi, July 1 : After being served an eviction notice by the government here on Wednesday, sources close to Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi said she would vacate the house within the stipulated time.

“The government had earlier withdrawn the Special Protection Group (SPG) cover, which was necessary given the security threat as her father and grand mother (both Prime Ministers) were assassinated,” sources said.

The struggle against both (Narendra) Modi and Yogi (Adityanath) would go on, a source said and added, even Indira Gandhi had to go through such phases.

The government has maintained that she is not entitled to a government accommodation, but the Congress sees it as an act of revenge after Priyanka Gandhi started taking the government head on.

The government on Wednesday asked Priyanka Gandhi, daughter of party chief Sonia Gandhi, to vacate her government accommodation of 35 Lodhi Estate within a month as she was no longer in the list of Special Protection Group (SPG).

In its order, the government said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had informed vide its communication dated June 30 that Priyanka Gandhi had been assigned ”Z plus” security with the CRPF cover on all-India basis, which did not have any provision for allotment or retention of government accommodation.

“In view of this, she is no longer entitled a government accommodation and her allotment has been cancelled by the Directorate of Estate on July 1, 2020 with the direction to vacate the house within one month,” the order said.

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