More than 37,000 new cases of Covid-19 were reported on Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The numbers superseded the previous darkest day of the pandemic, on April 24. The new data suggests that the sacrifices made by tens of millions of Americans who stayed at home, that cost many of them their jobs, might have been in vain. It also suggest that the aggressive state re-openings championed by Trump, who wants a quick economic reboot to boost his reelection hopes, exacerbated a situation that now seems close to tipping out of control across a swathe of southern states.
A total of 30 states are now reporting a rise in new daily cases of the novel coronavirus while others keep setting new records in each 24-hour period. And while the President lives in a bubble of his own obsessive political feuds and the embrace of conservative media that rarely dwells on the virus, the reality of a pandemic that may still be in its early changes is beginning to squeeze in on his world.
In a sign that the White House needs to get control of the worsening situation, Vice President Mike Pence will chair the first public briefing of the White House coronavirus task force on Friday in two months. Senior government public health officials have faded from the scene in recent weeks as Trump has tried to send a message that the US has “prevailed” over the virus and is reopening.
On Thursday alone, Texas — the poster child for Trump’s reopening strategy — paused its transition to restoring normal life, alarmed by rising hospital admissions and a surge in new infections. Apple closed stores across Texas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina to protect customers and workers from virus spikes. Dozens of Secret Service agents are now self-isolating after several of their colleagues were found to have the virus after traveling to the President’s rally in Oklahoma over the weekend. Multiple Trump campaign staffers have taken the same step, after eight of their co-workers tested positive in the latest sign that Trump’s plans for a full resumption of campaign rallies are not only reckless but may prove logistically impossible.
Across the country, as California struggles through an awful time, Disneyland put back its plans to reopen, in a symbolic illustration of the plight of an entire state — and indeed a nation that has seen leisure and frivolity disappear amid the worst domestic crisis since the Second World War.
There are more signs that the rocket-like economic recovery that Trump has been projecting is not materializing either. Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Thursday that unemployment could dip below 10% by the end of the year, meaning that it would be still at an elevated level when Trump faces reelection in November. And US retail giant Macy’s announced it would cut around 3,900 jobs as part of a restructuring effort amid an economic crisis that Trump’s early denial about the pandemic and mismanagement of it when it arrived in the US may have exacerbated.
All of this came a day after the President welcomed Poland’s President to the Oval Office for what he said was “the first after Covid” encounter with a foreign leader and after a week in which he has said, falsely, that the only reason that cases of the coronavirus are rising is because his government has pushed more testing. Trump has mostly ignored the virus in recent days, preferring to stoke racial and social divides over the felling of statues — even ordering the reinstatement of a monument in Washington, DC, that honors a Confederate general who was recognized for his contribution to the Freemasons.
Yet on Thursday, Trump climbed aboard Air Force One for the third time in five days for a cross country trip — to swing state Wisconsin — that flouted his own government’s guidelines on the use of masks and social distancing, and that in itself was a massive deflection from the building national tragedy that the President appears determined to ignore since it contradicts his great comeback narrative he is determined to use for his reelection campaign.
At no time on Thursday did Trump model the use of a mask — despite it being a precaution scientists say could do the most to slow the spread of the disease, which is intensifying its first wave assault ahead of a feared second attack in the fall. But even in the friendliest possible territory — a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity — members of the audience sat on stools that were spaced apart and did wear masks on the orders of the TV station.
The President, who has previously said the virus was fading away and dying out, got a predictably easy ride on the show, as he was teed up for his campaign lines on immigration, protecting statues that anti-racism protesters want to tear down and attacks on Democrats and presumptive nominee Joe Biden, as well as false claims about the dangers of fraud from mail-in balloting.
The President predicted that the US would have a vaccine for the coronavirus before the end of the year, in contravention of the advice of most scientific experts. And at times, he seemed to strike an almost valedictory note, as he made meandering arguments about the mental capacity of his rival.
“I mean, the man can’t speak,” Trump said. “And he’s going to be your president because some people don’t love me, maybe.”
Biden, who is seizing on Trump’s failures on the pandemic to try to oust him after a single term, earlier lambasted the President’s behavior.
“He’s like a child who can’t believe this has happened to him. All his whining and self-pity. Well, this pandemic didn’t happen to him. It happened to all of us. And his job isn’t to whine about it, his job is to do something about it. To lead,” Biden said.
Plight of Texas encapsulates growing national crisis
The increasing chasm between Trump’s version of America and the reality of a nation falling back into an exhausting fight with the disease after a hopeful period in early May and June raises the question of how long the President can go on ignoring the situation. This is especially the case when even his allies, like Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, are now admitting they’re dealing with a serious problem. In places like Texas, filling hospital wards and intensive care units — that could in a few weeks, given the normal course of the illness, be expected to lead to higher death rates — contradict optimistic talk from politicians and especially Trump’s fictional narrative that the worst is past.
“It’s pretty dire,” Dr. Peter Hotez, professor and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Texas’s Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
“We’ve got an enormous amount of community transmission. If you look at the curve of the numbers going up, it’s following what we call an exponential curve, which is it looks initially flat, and then it accelerates very sharply, almost vertically. And that’s where we’re at right now,” Hotez added.
Abbott had hoped to pursue an opening plan that envisaged getting the state mostly back to normal by July 4.
“The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses. This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business,” Abbott said.
The bad news that contradicts Trump’s rosy version of a post-Covid America is not confined to Texas. Arizona’s governor said Thursday the state’s reopening plans are now “on pause” as a result of a major spike in coronavirus cases. Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, said Arizona will not be rolling back its business reopening plans, but will be requiring businesses to follow social distancing rules that are still in effect. “If they choose not to, there will be accountability, and there will be enforcement.”
In California, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom warned he would slow the state’s opening if hospitals become strained as his state announced another 5,000 infections. In Ohio, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine implicitly rejected Trump’s rationale for rising infections. “We have increased testing, but we do not believe this increase in cases is completely due to testing,” DeWine said, confirming that hospitalizations are up.
Mississippi established its highest single-day increase of new coronavirus infections on Thursday. There are now at least 30 states reporting an increase in new cases in the past week. Of those states, 13% are reporting a 50% or greater increase.
‘I don’t think he’s going to change where he’s at on masks’
The worsening picture is not yet convincing Republican leaders to require their constituents to wear masks, which appears still to be a leap too far.
“I urge all Texans to do their part to help contain the spread by washing their hands regularly, wearing a mask, and practicing social distancing,” said Abbott, one of a number of Republican leaders urging people to wear masks but who won’t mandate the step, which some conservatives argue is an infringement on their personal rights, despite evidence that many people are ignoring medical advice.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is another member of that group, even though he habitually wears a mask while navigating Capitol Hill. “I think that’s what people ought to do. And that’s what we’re doing in the Senate and what I’m counseling other people to do,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters Thursday.
Many Americans have an innate and genuine skepticism of government mandating that they do anything. That is why Trump could provide such a valuable role by demonstrating the use of masks. But the President, despite his legendary appeal to his base, often appears loath to use that political capital and convince his supporters to change their behavior.
One of Trump’s closest political friends, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, is not holding his breath for a change of heart on Trump’s part.
“Listen, I don’t think he’s going to change where he’s at on masks. But he might, I don’t know,” Graham said.
US cases of depression have tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic
A large study finds a dramatic increase in the number of adults in the United States reporting symptoms of depression during the COVID-19 pandemic.Share on PinterestRecent data indicate that the number of adults with depression symptoms in the U.S. has increased threefold during the pandemic.The number of adults experiencing depression in the U.S. has tripled,…
A large study finds a dramatic increase in the number of adults in the United States reporting symptoms of depression during the COVID-19 pandemic.Share on PinterestRecent data indicate that the number of adults with depression symptoms in the U.S. has increased threefold during the pandemic.The number of adults experiencing depression in the U.S. has tripled, according to a major study. Researchers estimate that more than 1 in 4 U.S. adults now report experiencing symptoms of depression.Before the pandemic, 8.5% of U.S. adults reported being depressed. That number has risen to 27.8% as the country struggles with COVID-19.Prof. Sandro Galea, a dean at Boston University (BU) School of Public Health, MA, is senior author of the study.Stay informed with live updates on the current COVID-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.“Depression in the general population after prior large-scale traumatic events has been observed to, at most, double,” he notes.While reports of depression have increased in response to earlier crises, such as the 9/11 attack and the spread of Ebola in West Africa, the extent of this recent finding is something new.The study features in the journal JAMA Network Open. The Rockefeller Foundation–Boston University 3-D Commission and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provided funding for the research.The BU study is the first large-scale investigation into America’s mental health in response to COVID-19.To measure the prevalence of depression symptoms among the population, the researchers worked with mental health professionals’ leading tool for this purpose: the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9).The researchers used the 2017–2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) as a baseline measurement of depression rates before the beginning of the pandemic. A total of 5,065 individuals responded to that survey.They compared these data with the findings of the COVID-19 and Life Stressors Impact on Mental Health and Well-being (CLIMB) study, which surveyed 1,441 U.S. adults between March 31 and April 13, 2020. This study also used PHQ-9, facilitating the comparison of changes in the prevalence of depression among the population.Although the 2020 survey took place relatively early in the pandemic, by the time it was complete, stay-at-home advisories and shelter-in-place orders were in place for about 96% of the public.The CLIMB survey also questioned participants regarding the various stressors associated with the pandemic. These stressors included the death of a friend or loved one and financial worries, such as the loss, or potential loss, of personal income.The survey found that symptoms of depression had risen in response to the pandemic across all demographic groups.According to the survey participants, the predominant driver of depression was concern regarding personal financial well-being. Lead study author Catherine Ettman says, “Persons who were already at risk before COVID-19, with fewer social and economic resources, were more likely to report probable depression.”Specifically, the team found that individuals with less than $5,000 in savings were 50% more likely to be experiencing symptoms of depression than those who had more.Ettman says that the study underscores the value of a society “where a robust safety net exists, where people have fair wages, where equitable policies and practices exist, and where families can not only live on their income but can also save money toward the future.”As for what the authorities can do now to lessen the emotional toll of the ongoing pandemic in the U.S., Ettman suggests:“There may be steps that policymakers can take now to help reduce the impact of COVID-19 stressors on depression, such as eviction moratoria, providing universal health insurance that is not tied to employment, and helping people return to work safely — for those able to do so.”Ettman hopes that her study can, at the very least, deliver some comfort to people struggling with depression by making them realize that they are far from alone.For live updates on the latest developments regarding the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, click here.
The best robot vacuum for 2020: iRobot Roomba, Electrolux, Neato, Eufy and more – CNET
Machines that automatically keep your home clean were once pure fantasy. That’s no longer the case. Today robot vacuums are real. They’re also more advanced than they’ve ever been. They boast arrays of sophisticated sensors, lasers, CPUs, even AI-enhanced software. The fact is these robots are useful tools to keep your home nice and tidy.Living the…
Machines that automatically keep your home clean were once pure fantasy. That’s no longer the case. Today robot vacuums are real. They’re also more advanced than they’ve ever been. They boast arrays of sophisticated sensors, lasers, CPUs, even AI-enhanced software. The fact is these robots are useful tools to keep your home nice and tidy.Living the robot vacuum dream can set you back a healthy pile of cash — some cost as much as four figures. While you don’t have to spend that much, you do get a lot in return. That includes multiple room and floor mapping, self-emptying dust bins, powerful suction and thoughtfully designed hardware. Despite all this sophistication, however, none of these machines can really replace a mop.
Battling bot vacs: iRobot Roomba S9 Plus vs. Neato Botvac…
To choose the best robot vacuum, I spent over 120 hours (that’s a lot of time) torture-testing a group of 12 robotic cleaning vacuums for things like suction power, their ability to perform on carpets and hard floor and how well each performed during each cleaning cycle. Among them are brand-new models that have recently launched, flagship models and compelling options offered across numerous online retailers. I excluded older models that likely won’t be sold for much longer. I update this list periodically.
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If someone were to give you a blank check and tell you to buy the best robot vacuum, this is the bot to get. That said, the iRobot Roomba S9 Plus costs a whopping $1,099. For that staggeringly steep sticker price though, this robotic vacuum delivers powerful suction and superb dirt and dust removal. On hardwood floors this Roomba picked up an average of 93% of our test sand, the highest amount in our test group, but it struggled a bit cleaning sand from low-pile carpeting and area rugs, earning a low average dust and sand pickup of 28%. That said, the Roomba robot vac removed an average 71% of sand from our mid-pile carpet while vacuuming. Again, this is the best result that we saw on this specific test. It also cleaned up more dog hair, pet dander and allergens than any vacuum in this test group, and the bot navigates and maps multiple rooms and floors. iRobot has also updated its app to let you designate “keep out zones” that you want the S9 Plus to avoid when cleaning. The app also lets you use voice commands to immediately clean a room using Alexa or Google Voice Assistant.The robot zipped through our test room in a short average time of 25 minutes, too. You can link the S9 Plus to the Roomba app and your home Wi-Fi as well. Best of all is the Roomba S9 Plus’ CleanBase docking station. The dock both charges the robot’s battery and empties its dustbin automatically, making cleaning even easier and keeping you from worrying about battery life. Now that’s convenient.
Read our first impressions of the Roomba S9 Plus.
For roughly half the price of the Roomba S9 Plus, the $550 Neato’s D7 vacuums up dirt, dust and messes almost as well, making it the best robot vacuum at a midrange cost. On average this robotic cleaner picked up a greater amount of sand (36%) across low-pile carpet and rugs than the Roomba did. This automatic vacuum cleaner narrowly beat the S9 Plus for cleaning power on hardwood bare floors, too, collecting an average of 95% of the sand we put down. The vac cleaned dirt, dust and sand from midpile rugs less effectively though, notching a pickup average of 47% while cleaning. While the Neato can’t match the Roomba’s prowess at removing pet hair or empty its own dust bin, the D7 navigates more efficiently around furniture yet covers more ground thanks to smart robot vacuum built-in lidar laser navigation mapping. You can also control the cleaning robot using the Neato app as a remote control, as well as link it to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The app allows you to designate areas of your home as off-limits to cleaning, too.
Here’s a robotic vacuum that proves you don’t need to blow your budget to purchase a solid robot vacuum cleaner. Even though the Robovac 11S Max costs just $165 right now, it cleans floors effectively. That’s especially true when cleaning bare hardwood floors. It managed to remove an average of 71% of our test sand from this type of surface. The bot didn’t work as well cleaning carpets, earning sand-pickup averages of 21% and 27% on low-pile and mid-pile, respectively. And thanks to this vacuum’s basic navigation system, it took well over an hour to negotiate our test room. As far as time goes, that’s a lot. Still, the Eufy used its runtime wisely. The vacuum covered the space well, cleaning up and leaving almost no spots untouched. The Eufy is also self-charging, so again, no need to worry about battery life or factor that into overall cleaning time. It’s the best robot vacuum for value.
How we test robot vacuumsOur method for evaluating robot vacuums is straightforward, yet grueling. There are two types of tests we run. The first trial is to figure out how well a robot covers the floor while cleaning. We built an industry-standard testing room as specified by the International Electrotechnical Commission, just for this purpose. The IEC is an international standards body responsible for managing robot vacuum testing procedures, among other things, for vacuum manufacturers. Obstacles in our test room mimic what robot vacuums run into in the real world.
Inside this room are objects designed to simulate typical obstacles a robot vac encounters for navigation as it cleans. These obstacles include wall edges, table and chair legs, couches and other furniture, and so on, plus bare tile and hardwood floors, as well as carpet. Here’s a coverage photo of the iRobot Roomba S9 Plus as it moved through our test room. You can see the Roomba S9 covered the floor well, except for one slight section in the center (left, bottom).
We mount LED lights to the top of each vacuum cleaner. The dimensions of the lights correspond to the measured nozzle width of each particular robot vacuum we test.
Lasers, sensors and robots, oh my: Some robot vacuums…
As robots move through the room while cleaning, a camera overhead captures a long-exposure image of the entire room in low light. That photo will then have a light trail, created by the LEDs, that shows the exact areas where the robot traveled (and its nozzle position) during its runtime. We can also see areas of the floor the vacuum may have missed or gotten stuck. This is the coverage pattern created by the Neato D7. Its movement through our test room was very orderly, logical and effective.
You can see the navigation results of all the robot vacuums in our test group in the gallery below.
Some robot vacuums have a better sense of direction than others
See all photos
The second type of test reveals exactly how much physical debris a vacuum is able to pick up off of the floor. To mimic dirt of small particle size, we use a mixture of play-sand and landscaping sand. For bigger particle soil, we use grains of uncooked black rice. Robots then run in straight line mode across three types of flooring (low-pile carpet, medium-pile carpet and hardwood bare floors). We test robot vacuums on three types of floor surfaces.
We control for the specific nozzle width of each vacuum, too. We constructed an adjustable tool to soil our test floors. It lets us lay down a strip of precise area of soil to match the nozzle dimensions for every robot. The mass of soil isn’t chosen at random either. We measure a proportional amount that’s related to the flooring material, type of debris, plus each vacuum’s nozzle width. Our custom-built tool lets us match soil area to a robot vacuum’s nozzle width.
We conduct three cleaning runs (at minimum) on each floor type. We also perform cleaning tests with sand and rice separately. That comes to at least 18 tests per robot vac. We weigh the robot’s dust bin both before and after each run. From there we can calculate the percentage of debris pickup for every cleaning run and the average amount of soil a machine manages to remove. Additionally we run anecdotal (visual) pet hair tests for each robot, on all three floor types. We run robot vacuums in a straight line during the debris pickup tests.
The chart below shows the fine particle cleaning performance data for all of the robot vacuums we tested. It should give you a pretty good idea about their cleaning performance on different kinds of flooring surfaces. Our rice-based, medium-size particle test didn’t show enough differentiation between each cleaner, which says they can all handle larger particles without trouble. For fur removal for pet owners, we judged anecdotally. Percent soil removed
Neato Botvac D6 Connected
Sand from low-pile
Sand from hardwood
Sand from medium-pile
Results listed are the average percentage of total material removed from test surface
Want more robot vacuum options? Here’s a list of the other robot vacuums we tested besides the models listed above. More vacuum advice and recommendations
Microsoft Surface Pro X to Get SQ2 Chip Upgrade, Platinum Colour Option: Report
Microsoft Surface Pro X, the company’s ARM-powered tablet, is reportedly getting a refresh with an upgraded Microsoft SQ2 processor, a new platinum colour option, and new Type Cover colours. The updated version is expected to launch in October this year, and Microsoft reportedly aims at pushing the Surface Pro X to the mainstream market with…
Microsoft Surface Pro X, the company’s ARM-powered tablet, is reportedly getting a refresh with an upgraded Microsoft SQ2 processor, a new platinum colour option, and new Type Cover colours. The updated version is expected to launch in October this year, and Microsoft reportedly aims at pushing the Surface Pro X to the mainstream market with the new processor, hue variant, and accessories. The original Surface Pro X debuted last year and the upgraded version seems to be coming right on time.In a report, Windows Central cited sources that the Microsoft Surface Pro X will soon start shipping with the company’s latest SQ2 processor. This is a significant upgrade from the SQ1 chip that powered the earlier Surface Pro X model. It is being speculated that the new SQ2 chip is based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen2 SoC that promises to offer a notable boost in performance.The report also suggests that Microsoft is planning to announce x86 64-bit app-emulation. As of now, the ARM version of Windows 10 can only emulate 32-bit apps. Given the improved performance of the SQ2 chip, the 64-bit app-emulation could boost demand for the Surface Pro X.Apart from the new chip, the Surface Pro X could also be getting a platinum colour option, similar to the one already available on the regular Surface Pro offerings. Currently, the Surface Pro X is only available in a black colour option. The Surface Pro X Type Covers are also reportedly getting colour variants similar to the regular Surface Pro Type Covers. With the new colours and accessories, the report suggests that the tech giant plans to promote the Surface Pro X as “ready for mainstream.”The report also points out that there are no significant design changes in the refreshed Surface Pro X variant.Microsoft Surface Pro X price in IndiaThe Surface Pro X is currently available in two storage variants in India. The 8GB + 128GB storage option is priced at Rs. 98,990. On the other hand, the 8GB + 256GB storage variant carries a price tag of Rs. 1,43,950.Microsoft Surface Pro X specificationsThe Surface Pro X is touted as the company’s thinnest and lightest 2-in-1 device to date. With a thickness of 7.3mm, it weighs only 774 grams. It features a 13-inch display with a resolution of 2,880×1,920 pixels and an aspect ratio of 3:2. It boasts of a battery life of up to 13 hours, with support for fast charging. The compatible Surface Pro X Signature Keyboard and Surface Slim Pen are sold separately.Is Android One holding back Nokia smartphones in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.