Lockdown is making it so hard to hide my cross-dressing secret from my family – The Sun

DEAR DEIDRE: RECENTLY, I went out dressed as a woman for the first time in my life.

My wife had taken our two kids to the park and I walked around outside for an hour. It felt great.

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I am 33 and my wife is 29. I have been cross-dressing since about 15.

I cannot ignore this side of my life.

It is part of who I am. I feel so magical when I am dressed as a woman that I can’t fight the urge to want to do it more and more.

My family still don’t know. I fear telling my wife too because she would not approve.

The lack of private time during lockdown has been agony.

I don’t want to lose my wife and kids over this but I am becoming increasingly desperate.

DEIDRE SAYS: It is an agonising secret and you can’t just wish away these ­feelings.

I’m afraid your wife may find your ­revelation threatening and distressing so get help to find the right words to start explaining to her.

The Beaumont Society (beaumontsociety.org.uk, 01582 412220) supports the trans community and can help you break this to your family.

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Docs said it was tonsillitis but my son nearly died of new Covid-linked ‘Kawasaki-like disease’ – The Sun

WHEN Hannah Fields' five-year-old son fell ill with a high temperature and a sore throat – little did she know he'd be fighting for his life days later. 

The young mum, 26, had been told by her local GP that little Harry just had tonsillitis and to expect it to clear up in a few days.

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However, days later, Harry, from Leeds, West Yorks., was left on the brink of death and was diagnosed with the new inflammatory syndrome linked to coronavirus.

The condition is similar to toxic shock syndrome (TSS) and Kawasaki disease, a disorder that causes inflammation to the heart.

Harry's parents were forced to watch as doctors hooked their little boy up to drips and took numerous blood tests in a desperate bid to keep him alive.

Thankfully, Harry is now recovering from the mysterious illness, which has left countless kids across the globe needing intensive care amid the coronavirus pandemic.

What we went through was absolutely terrifying

His mum Hannah, who works as a mobile hairdresser, is now sharing his terrifying ordeal in a bid to raise awareness for the new condition, which has affected about 100 children in Britain.

"What we went through was absolutely terrifying and if talking about it can help anyone else then that's what I want to do," Hannah said.

"If Harry had been left untreated any longer the outcome could have been very different, we were very lucky.

"I just want to make more people aware of the dangers, as I don't think they know enough about how this virus can affect children."

Hannah's nightmare began on April 24 when Harry developed a high temperature and a sore throat as well as having a lack of energy and a loss of appetite.

Concerned, his mum Hannah phoned their local GP who diagnosed the schoolboy with tonsillitis and prescribed antibiotics.

However, just one week later, on April 30, Harry's condition dramatically deteriorated.

His temperature shot up beyond 40 degrees and he could barely stand up due to crippling stomach pain and hallucinations.

Crippling stomach pain

Harry's dad Luke, 27, rang 999 and the couple were advised to take their little boy to hospital.

On arrival at at Leeds General Infirmary, the youngster was placed on a Covid-19 ward.

Doctor's measured Harry's heart rate, which should be between 90 and 110bpm – but it had surged to 169bpm – and blood tests showed inflammation in Harry's heart, kidney and bowels.

He was twice tested for coronavirus – but the results came back negative.

However, the doctors told Hannah her son had likely had the disease some weeks earlier but since recovered.

We were both in this room surrounded by people in PPE with visors over their faces, it was really scary

Hannah said: "We were both in this room surrounded by people in PPE with visors over their faces, it was really scary."

Harry went on to have ECGs, heart scans, chest x-rays and a a number of blood tests.

He was eventually diagnosed with 'variant multi system vascular inflammatory response', which is suspected to have come in the aftermath of contracting coronavirus.

According to experts the symptoms appear similar to Kawasaki disease, a potentially fatal syndrome that affects the blood vessels.

What are the symptoms of new Covid-linked 'Kawasaki-like disease'?

Health chiefs said in an alert to GPs the signs include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms – like vomiting and diarrhoea

The mysterious condition has been compared to toxic shock syndrome (TSS) and Kawasaki disease.

The signs of TSS are:

  • High temperature
  • Flu-like symptoms, like headache, feeling cold, aches, sore throat and cough
  • Feeling and being sick
  • Diarrhoea
  • Widespread burn-like rash
  • Lips, tongue, and whites of the eyes turning bright red
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion

Signs of Kawasaki disease include:

  • A rash
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Red fingers or toes
  • Red eyes

Harry was given steroids, antibiotics and fluids through a drip over the next five days.

He has now returned home, to recover with his parents and one-year-old brother George but is still receiving treatment with aspirin and regular heart echos and ECGs.

Hannah said: "He was one very poorly five-year-old boy but is thankfully now making a good recovery.

"Hopefully people can learn more about this disease and spot the signs as early as possible."

About 100 children in Britain have been treated for the disease, which causes persistent fever, skin rashes, abdominal pain and cold hands or feet.

Multi-system inflammatory state

The new syndrome emerged last month, with UK health officials warning of "a multi-system inflammatory state, requiring intensive care across London and also in other regions of the UK".

The Paediatric Intensive Care Society issued the alert to the NHS, telling GPs: "There is growing concern that a [Covid-19] related inflammatory syndrome is emerging.

"Please refer children presenting with these symptoms as a matter of urgency."

Some, but not all kids with signs of this new condition have tested positive for coronavirus.

But, it’s not yet clear if there is a direct link with Covid-19.

Public Health England are investigating, as NHS England’s medical director Prof Stephen Powis said: “It is really too early to say whether there is a link.”

England’s Chief Medical Officer, Prof Chris Whitty added: “This is a very rare situation, but I think it is entirely plausible that it is caused by this virus, at least in some cases.

"We know that in adults who of course have much more disease than children do, big problems are caused by an inflammatory process."

I think it is entirely plausible that it is caused by this virus

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and clinical director of Patientaccess.com, told The Sun children can end up needing treatment in intensive care, and the illness could prove fatal in severe cases.

It’s been likened to Kawasaki disease, which cause inflammation to the heart and can lead to aneurysms, heart attack and heart disease.

In rare cases patients with Kawasaki disease can suffer internal bleeding if an aneurysm bursts.

Around 25 per cent of cases go on to experience heart complications, which can result in fatality in about two to three per cent of cases, if not treated.

If you are worried your child could be suffering from the symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice, as soon as possible.

Contact your GP or call NHS 111.

Dr Jarvis told The Sun: "The NHS is very much open for business.

"If you have a child who is seriously unwell, you should call an ambulance – your child is much better off in hospital if they’re seriously unwell."


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It Won't be a Chore Eating These Delicious Lactation Cookies

If you’ve been struggling to produce enough milk to feed your little one or are seeking an alternative to breastfeeding tea, you should try lactation cookies. Yes, you could potentially boost your milk supply by eating cookies. Lactation cookies are fortified with oats, brewer’s yeast and flaxseed. Oats are a great source of nutrients and provide you with fiber, protein and whole grain. Meanwhile, brewer’s yeast has iron, protein, B vitamins, which are said to help milk production. Flaxseed oil has omega-3 fatty acids which will help boost your baby’s brain and provide them with nutrients through your milk. These cookies are usually prepackaged or premixed, but there is always the option to try to make your own. 

Lactation cookies can serve as a snack while also helping you breastfeed. The cookies we’ve rounded up are supposedly yummy and delicious, so convincing your body to make more milk shouldn’t be too much of a chore. Your kids and partner might even sneak one or two—and it’s OK if they do, these nutrient-rich cookies won’t harm them. But don’t get us wrong, those are your cookies, so they should stay to their side of the cookie aisle. 

Unlike lactation teas, the cookies are easy to take with you everywhere and snack on throughout the day. You just need to pack a little bag of cookies, rather than having to brew tea if you want to produce more breast milk.

Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.

1. Milkmakers Lactation Cookie Bites

The Milkmakers cookie bites packages include 10 pre-packaged mini-bags that you can take with you anywhere. These are ideal for busy moms. The cookies are made primarily of oats, brewer’s yeast and flax seed. Together, these ingredients help give mom nutrition and help mom produce more milk. There are three different flavors available, including chocolate salted caramel, oatmeal chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin. If you aren’t sure what cookie you’d prefer, you can also order the Milkmakers Sampler Pack.

2. Mommy Knows Best Lactation Cookies Mix

This premixed package of lactation cookies will help boost your milk supply, and you don’t need to do much to make them. You just need an egg and a stick of butter to bake these cookies. Unlike pre-packaged cookies, yours will be hot and fresh. Mommy Knows Best has a variety of flavors to choose from, including oatmeal chocolate chip, cinnamon raisin, salted caramel and white chocolate chip. The 16 oz. packages make up to 24 cookies.

3. Fertile Goddess Lactation Cookie Mix

This cookie mix from Fertile Goddess requires very little ingredients to make these delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Just simply add one large egg, butter and a little water. In less than 20 minutes, you’ll have 24 lactation cookies. These cookies don’t have any GMOs, preservatives, fenugreek, white flour or artificial colors or flavors. This certified organic cookie will quench your lunch and help you produce more milk.

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Retired doctor makes it to £1m question on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? — 14 years since show last made a millionaire – The Sun

A DOCTOR makes it to the £1million question on Tuesday night's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Viewers will see Andrew Townsley, 53, attempt to be the first to scoop the top prize in 14 years.

Andrew, who has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair, breezes through the early questions without using a lifeline.

He uses his 50/50 for the £125,000 question, before also relying on Ask The Host and Ask The Audience.

As he reaches the 15th and final question, with just Phone A Friend left, host Jeremy Clarkson tells him: “This is it, the £1million question.

“You’d be the sixth person ever to do it in all the years this show has been on.

“There can’t be that many, I don’t know how many, who even got to half a million.”

Glaswegian Andrew, now retired, calmly replies: “This is what we are here for.” His final question is about the history of motor sport.

And Jeremy, 60, last week predicted it would be remembered as one of the show’s greatest moments.

He added: “I wouldn’t want to do a spoiler — but there are occasionally precious moments that make you later say, ‘I remember that’. And there’s one coming up — a truly brilliant, brilliant bit of television.”

The last contestant to take home the show’s £1million jackpot was Ingram Wilcox in 2006.

Other champions include Pat Gibson in 2004, David Edwards and Robert Brydges in 2001 and Judith Keppel in 2000.

Army Major Charles Ingram also won in 2001 — but was found to have cheated. He was eventually convicted of fraud.

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NSYNC's Lance Bass Speaks Out About Viral It's Gonna Be May Meme

It’s not gonna be May—it is May!

While many of us are inside practicing social distancing and losing track of what day it is amid the coronavirus pandemic, a familiar meme has been popping up to remind us of the upcoming month—and that is, of course, the Justin Timberlake “It’s gonna be May” meme. 

As fans well know, the meme is a play on how the singer pronounced “me” on NSYNC‘s hit track, “It’s Gonna Be Me.” On the first day of May on Friday, alum Lance Bass reminisced about how the meme came to fruition. 

“Who knew it would become a national holiday this many years later?” he quipped on Good Morning America via video. “But it’s thanks to a fan Kianna—she’s the one who created it back in 2012, that meme, and it just blew up.”

It’s such a pop culture staple that Spotify features the track with both titles, “It’s Gonna Be Me” and “It’s Gonna Be May.”

While we usher in a new month with help from the boy band crooners’ beloved tune, being apart in quarantine has actually strengthened their bond. 

“We’ve all discovered zoom—this is a new zoom world,” Bass said. “[We] like to have cocktail parties and really kind of catch up with each other.”

Bass previously revealed on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen that the bandmates have been getting together every week for Zoom happy hours. 

“It really has bonded us more—I think, with all of our friends and family,” Bass said on Good Morning America, referencing all the communication happening on Zoom right now. “I think we’re really just bonding and building our relationships a lot stronger.”

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Chris Hemsworth Says It Was 'Jarring' For His Family to See Him Play Thor

Today, Chris Hemsworth is known globally for portraying the Norse God of Thunder, Thor, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). He first joined the landscape in 2011 under Kenneth Branagh’s Shakesperean-inspired direction, before appearing in Thor 2 under a misguided Alan Taylor. He then went on to star in multiple mash-ups, as well as a third standalone installment.

Speaking of the third Thor movie, Taika Waititi transformed the character into the sarcastic and quippy savior we know him to be today. The third Thor movie was bombastic and unpredictable, leading to a version of Thor more suitable to the MCU, and more in-line with the other superhumans. 

Over time, Hemsworth fans have grown used to seeing the actor in hypermasculine roles — Thor, Heart of the Sea, 12 Strong, Snow White and the Huntsman, and more. Yet, such illustrations don’t exactly align with the man behind the camera; thus, the actor’s family members were quite surprised to see him placed in such roles — despite his Hollywood good looks — when he began climbing the Tinseltown ladder.

Chris Hemsworth talks ‘Thor,’ action movies, and his family’s expectations 

As GQ notes, Chris Hemsworth looks like a typical Hollywood leading man: he’s got the bright piercing blue eyes, the wavy blonde locks that blow in the wind, the strong chiseled jawline, and the demanding stature required to play an action hero — required to play the guy who saves the day and gets the girl.

Yet, behind the scenes, he’s a bit of a soft one, a bit of a family man — not exactly the bachelor type. He doesn’t exactly fit the bill — the illustration tabloids and publications tend to put forth when such men begin to rise in Hollywood. Hemsworth explained how his family responded to his early roles, noting:

It was quite jarring for my family and friends when I was on-screen doing a straight, heroic, sort of overly masculine kind of thing.

MCU star Chris Hemsworth tried the bad boy thing on for size, but it didn’t really work out

Chris Hemsworth gave the bad-boy persona his best shot; he explained to GQ that he tried to emulate Colin Farrell, yet the actor was quick to note that the closest he ever got was a few drunken nights. In short, it’s simply not who Hemsworth is. He’s a family man who loves kids and isn’t exactly the brawny brute-type guy that some roles have forced him to become on-screen. 

Hemsworth and Pataky married quickly, and Pataky was partially drawn to Hemsworth for she could see how much he loved kids, as GQ notes. He wasn’t a young bachelor with a sexcapade-aimed future ( as much as he may have attempted to appear as such, and as much of his publicist may have wanted him to be). It just isn’t who he is. Hemsworth is not the hypermasculine guy you’ve seen on-screen, which is why his family members were surprised to see him get his big break in a role like Thor.

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It was the notorious Soho hangout for some of Britain's louchest stars

Misfits floating on a sea of booze: It was the notorious Soho hangout for some of Britain’s louchest stars. And when they weren’t bitching about each other, they were drinking themselves stupid

  • Darren Coffield writes about The Colony Room at the top of a staircase in Soho
  • It was founded as a drinking club by a lady called Muriel Belcher in 1948 
  • The book is an oral history of the club by its members and hangers-on 



by Darren Coffield (Unbound, £25, 464pp) 

 The Colony Room was a shabby and cluttered little space at the top of a dingy staircase in the heart of Soho.

It was founded as a drinking club by a lady called Muriel Belcher in 1948 and, during its 60-year existence, exerted a spell and influence over the artistic, cultural and social life of the capital far in excess of its size.

This riveting book, an oral history of the club by its members and hangers-on and put together by an artist who joined in the mid-1980s, is an attempt to explain why.

Christine Keeler (pictured) was one of the glamorous society members who visited The Colony back in the 1960s

It is hard to imagine the grey conformity of post-war Britain. This is how Daniel Farson, once a well-known TV personality and long-term associate of the painter Francis Bacon, describes it: ‘In the post-war gloom of Britain — God, it was gloomy — Soho was a light, sometimes a red light.

‘Here there were no rules, no conventions of sexuality, class, money or age that divided the rest of Britain. To be young and different in the regions was hell. But in Soho it was heaven because you could be yourself.’

The book is an elegy to that vanished world; not necessarily the best of times for everyone, but a world where people talked to each other, not just their mobile phones. And always there at the Colony bar would be the members, propping it up, slumped over it or, later in the day, asleep under it.

The Club became a haven for non-conformity — sexual, personal, professional. Here, artists, writers, playwrights, poets and general misfits and dissolutes could meet.

Most of the time they were afloat on a sea of booze that would drown most of us. You wonder, how could they survive this assault by alcohol? And most of them didn’t.

Notorious London gangsters the Kray Twins, Reggie (left) and Ronnie were known to frequent the drinking club

This was when pubs closed between 3pm and 5.30pm and shut for the night at 10.30pm or 11pm. But thanks to the Colony Room anyone could spend the whole day drinking.

Homosexuality was still against the law: it was not legalised till 1967, and only in 1992 did the World Health Organisation stop classifying same-sex attraction as a mental illness.


How many bottles of vodka Colony stalwart Jeffrey Bernard downed in a day. 

Parts of the country may have been afflicted with terrible racism, but in the Club you could be who you wanted to be. There were numerous immigrant members and owner Muriel had a long-term Jamaican girlfriend.

Muriel also had a ferocious tongue which she wielded mercilessly on anyone she didn’t take to. Her regular greeting to members was a four-letter word. The main pronoun used in the Club was always ‘she’, irrespective of gender, age or sexuality.

Here’s the actor John Hurt, no mean drinker in his day: ‘This was Soho to me, this artistic community was so much more generous and so much more interesting than anything I had known.

‘But don’t imagine … it was just crazy dissipation. Of course we knew how to get drunk, but at the same time the intellectual vigour was extraordinary — feverish conversation.’

British actor Sir John Hurt (pictured) remembered the club being a place of extraordinary and feverish conversation

George Melly, the singer and writer and a big presence in this book, says Soho was ‘the only area in London where the rules didn’t apply: tolerance its password, where bad behaviour was cherished.’

Not everyone shared those views. There’s an uneasy overlap between the concept of a ‘real character’ and absolute pain in the backside.

This is what the (very good) Liverpool poet Brian Patten thought: ‘The romance of the place passed me by,’ he said. ‘It was a bit like standing in a small urinal full of fractious old geezers bitching about each other.’ 

But bitching in the bogs or not, the Colony was also a substitute family for many members, looking after them as their relationships collapsed and they fell victim to their various addictions.

Francis Bacon (pictured) was very generous to the Colony staff, paying the not-infrequent medical bills as their list of life-threatening illnesses grew ever more serious

It’s Francis Bacon — his talent, his acerbity, his assorted boyfriends and his jaw-dropping amounts of money — who is the biggest figure in the book. Here he is picking up £20,000 in cash from his gallery and blowing it on gambling. Here he is standing drinks all round, £50 notes cascading out of his pocket. Here he is settling a £2,000 bar bill — the price of a small house then — with a painting.

He was also very generous to the Colony staff, paying the not-infrequent medical bills as their list of life-threatening illnesses grew ever more serious.

The eminent journalist Paul Johnson describes the Colony Club’s one and only loo: ‘I found it locked and a female voice said prissily, “It’s occupied.” Soon Francis Bacon, drunk and bursting to pee, arrived.

‘I said: “There’s a woman inside.” And he shouted, “Come out of there you bitch.” Then he began to kick the door. Nothing happened, so more kicking and shouting. Eventually the door opened and a beautiful woman emerged, nose in the air. It was Christine Keeler. She strode back to the bar. All she said was, “Men!” A lifetime of experience went with that one contemptuous word.’

A gifted but malevolent presence is John Deakin, the implacably self-destructive Vogue photographer. An alcoholic who died in poverty in the early Seventies, he took many of the photographs which Bacon used for his paintings: his portrait of Lucian Freud was used for Bacon’s 1969 painting which fetched more than £100 million in 2013.

Deakin was eventually sacked from Vogue for drinking. He was described by the Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton as ‘the second nastiest little man that I have ever met’. Very understandable, though judging by how Deakin emerges from this book (pure poison), you would like to know who the nastiest was.

It was a tough time in London as well. The Krays popped in, but didn’t like swearing, certainly not in front of women. Bacon and his circle knew real criminals.

Cartoonist Michael Heath remembers: ‘These were the kind who would pull your fingernails out. If you’d bought a painting from Francis or Lucian and not paid, it was made quite clear to you that you were going to be in serious trouble. They could crush people.’

TALES FROM THE COLONY ROOM by Darren Coffield (Unbound, £25, 464pp)

In a part of London where racketeering, gangsters and extortion were never far from the surface, nobody tried to mess with Muriel. ‘When a racketeer remarked, “Busy little joint you have here, we must have a chat”, Muriel said, “P*** off, we’ve got the police and Press on our side.” He was found down the road three days later, hanging dead outside the French House.’

But it’s all the people who flit through the pages that make it so riveting. David Bowie with his wife Iman ordering tea only: something of a first for the Colony. The communist spies Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean were regulars, constantly drunk, whether in or out of the Colony Room, usually on the pick-up.

Madness musician Suggs’s mother Eddi McPherson was a legendary Club member and had been part of Soho since 1959. She started as a jazz singer and worked in numerous clubs. She was never averse to shouting her mind, and it was said she could castrate a man at 20 paces with one lash of her tongue. She was known as ‘Big Eddi’, but no one dared to say it to her face. Not surprisingly.

In the end, the Colony Room with its untidy lives and even untidier deaths, its stained carpets and unpaid bills, its alcoholics and its heroic smokers, could not survive the more conformist world of the 21st century.

It closed in 2008 and is now a luxury apartment. Is that a loss? You decide — and this splendid and beautifully illustrated book will help you make your mind up.


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After 10 days of hell, take it from me: you don’t want to catch this virus

London: The days had a grim rhythm before I got sick. As coronavirus tightened its grip on Europe, Spain's latest death toll would come in mid-morning, France and the United Kingdom would follow mid-afternoon and Italy at 5pm. Thousands would be dead by the time I filed my story before dinner.

It's strangely easy to become desensitised to death on an industrial scale, and I fear that is happening to some degree in Australia as well as here in the UK. Distracted by Boris Johnson’s brush with mortality, Britain seems to have not fully come to grips with the scale of the unfolding disaster. More than 13,000 have now died, although the true figure is much higher because thousands of deaths in the community aren't included in the tally. The epidemic in the UK is tracking disturbingly close to Italy, whose plight once shocked the world.

A police officer outside St Thomas’ Hospital, where Boris Johnson was being treated.Credit:Bloomberg

It was the right call: that night I improved and within two days it felt like the virus had given up and moved on. The fever has gone and my breathing has been improving. But I worry deeply about how many people also tried to do the right thing by avoiding emergency departments, only to leave it too late.

'That night I improved and within two days it felt like the virus had given up and moved on.'

Around the world, debate about the virus is shifting to how to return to some semblance of normality. It's an important discussion but one that must be carefully balanced with an understanding that people are still suffering from this disease, often alone. And that many who have been fortunate enough to avoid this virus so far will have a horrible ordeal, or even die, if the easing goes too far too soon.

Australia's own track record in suppressing the virus is remarkable. Prime Minister Scott Morrison and state premiers have done a good job in protecting the public from the sort of carnage Europe is experiencing daily. The risk of that success is that Australians become restless about the heavy economic costs of the strategy, and complacent about how easily COVID-19 spreads and how dangerous it can be.

Those grim daily death tolls have arrived for today: another 1438 deaths have been recorded in the past 24 hours in France, 761 in Britain, 578 in Italy and 523 in Spain. That's 3300 in a day in just four countries. Don't be complacent. You don't want to catch this.

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It wasn’t the government that flattened the curve — it was you and me

There is an intense, often ugly debate over the response to the pandemic. In broad brushstrokes, some contend that the lower-than-predicted death toll proves the models forecasting massive fatalities were needlessly sensational. Some even suggest they were deliberately so, to scare politicians into taking drastic and unnecessary action.

A few conspiracy theorists — so-called “coronavirus truthers” — see more sinister motives at play. But these cranks and grifters are best ­ignored, so I won’t shine a light on them. The serious debate centers around whether the initial models were always exaggerated, or whether the response to them is driving down fatalities more effectively than ­epidemiologists predicted. For what it’s worth, my opinion is “both.”

Many of the people denouncing the initial projections want to make the case that our response was deliberately misguided from the beginning — so much media hype, partisan point-scoring and ideologically-motivated crisis exploitation — and that we never should have shuttered the economy.

I think these people are mostly on the wrong side of the argument, but I don’t begrudge anyone who’s desperate to get the country working again. The economic toll of this pandemic is staggering and will be felt for a generation or more, even if we get the much-craved “V”-shaped recovery when the all-clear sounds.

The first error is assuming that the scientists at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, ­Imperial College London, National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were acting in bad faith. Just because a cashier makes a math ­error when giving you change doesn’t mean he’s trying to steal from you. And just because these models weren’t perfectly oracular doesn’t mean anyone was lying.

Of course, predicting the spread of a new virus across the globe isn’t remotely like calculating the correct change for a bag of potato chips. We’re talking about the­­ ­interdependent behavior of hundreds of millions of Americans, and billions globally, across institutions, communities, borders.

It’s almost surely the case that the models were wrong to one degree or another for the simple reason that any model is only as good as the data fed into it. With imperfect information — partly thanks to the outrageous dishonesty of the Chinese government and the grave missteps of the World Health Organization — it was inevitable that the models would never be more than best guesses.

We’re far from out of the woods, but the fact that “only” 60,000 Americans may die instead of 240,000 seems like something to celebrate, not an excuse to scapegoat officials scrambling to save lives.

Still, there’s an interesting assumption common to both sides of the debate: that the government is responsible for all of this. Both ­defenders and critics start from the premise that government diktats are the only variable here.

My American Enterprise Institute colleague Lyman Stone, an economist based in Hong Kong, makes the case that the essential variable in “flattening the curve” isn’t central planning but behavior change. Many businesses closed down well before they were ­ordered to. Millions of people practiced social distancing and ­refused to get on planes not ­because they were commanded to, but because they were convinced this was a wise course of action.

People change their behavior when they are given clear information about risks. Various countries have flattened the curve of COVID-19 cases in different ways, Stone explained on my podcast, The Remnant. Some relied heavily on contact tracing, others on quarantining the sick, others through lockdowns — or all of the above. “But what we’ve seen in every country is that what really does it is information,” Stone said.

Information doesn’t just come from governments. The death tolls in Italy and New York probably did more to change behavior on the ground than all of President Trump’s press conferences or Dr. Anthony Fauci’s TV appearances.

And this raises another complication for those who think the government can just “reopen” the economy with the flick of a switch. Trump and all of the governors could lift the stay-at-home orders and federal advisories tomorrow. That wouldn’t necessarily fill the restaurants, airplanes or stadiums. People would still need to be convinced it’s safe. Such persuasion comes via clear, believable information, not orders from on high.

And that’s how it should be in a free society.

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GP, 76, who ‘felt it was his duty to help’ becomes 21st medic to die of coronavirus – The Sun

A RETIRED GP who returned to work to help the NHS in the battle against coronavirus has died aged 79 after contracting Covid-19. 

Fayaz Ayache, who said he "felt it was his duty to help",  was taken by ambulance to Ipswich Hospital on April 2 and died six days later.

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The grandfather, who lived in Raydon in Suffolk, had been diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia and coronavirus.

His eldest daughter Layla Ayache, 35, said her father retired around two years ago but his retirement was short-lived.

She said he was back working "a couple of days a week" as a GP with North Clacton Medical Group soon after as he wanted to help people.

He also ran an ear, nose and throat clinic at Ipswich Hospital.

Dr Ayache had stopped working about three and a half weeks ago due to the risk of coronavirus, his daughter said.

She said she did not know where he had contracted the virus, but believed he may still have been seeing people to give medical advice.

"My dad was very, very commonly phoned and people would say 'my daughter's ill' or 'my son's ill' or 'my husband's ill'," she said. "He would often pop round and just check people were OK.

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"He was a rural village GP at heart and that's the sort of thing that he would do.

"I wholeheartedly believe that if someone had called him with a concern he would have gone over and checked they were OK, because that's what he wanted to do for everybody.

"His entire life was split between his family and his work. That was all he lived for really, was those two things.

"He was the most dedicated GP that I've ever met."

She said her father had expressed concern for people's safety during the pandemic.

"All he ever said was that he was concerned for everyone's safety and that he wanted to help," Ms Ayache said. "He felt it was his duty to help."

Dr Ayache had worked for the NHS in Suffolk for more than 40 years and helped raise funds for refugee charities to help people in his birth country of Syria.

He is survived by his two daughters Layla and Sarah, Sarah's wife Katie and his granddaughter Paisley.

This tragedy comes as tributes flooded in yesterday for Rebecca Mack, 29, after she became the latest medic to be killed by the deadly virus.

Rebecca, of Morpeth, Northumberland, worked at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary before becoming a 111 medic.

Alice Kit Tak Ong, 70, died at the Royal Free Hospital in London on Tuesday after she contracted Covid-19 from working in surgery without the right equipment.

Her daughter, Melissa Ong, described her mother as a "wonderful woman" who was "generous to everyone else before herself".

Dr Anton Sebastianpillai, died aged 75 on Saturday at Kingston Hospital having been cared for in the hospital's intensive care unit.

The consultant geriatrician, who qualified as a doctor in Sri Lanka in 1967, finished his last shift on March 20.

His death came after heart surgeon and dad-of-two Jitendra Rathod, who worked at the University Hospital of Wales, died on Monday morning in Cardiff after testing positive for Covid-19.

The dad-of-two was described as an "incredibly dedicated surgeon" who cared deeply for his patients and was highly regarded in the medical profession in Wales.

Elsewhere, a British Pakistani GP based in East London died in hospital on Monday after it is believed he developed coronavirus symptoms.

According to The News International, a newspaper in Pakistan, Dr Syed Haider had been receiving treatment at Queen's Hospital in Romford where he passed away.


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