Walt Disney World Preps July Reopening

Despite having more than 52,255 coronavirus cases in the state of Florida, Walt Disney World plans to reopen in July.

Florida’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will reopen to limited capacity on July 11th, while Epcot and Hollywood Studios (previously known as MGM Studios) will reopen on July 15th. Walt Disney World presented a proposal to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force on Tuesday. SeaWorld also plans to reopen to the public on June 11th.

According to Disney World senior vice president of operations Jim McPhee, reopening to the public means taking necessary precautions. All visitors will be given temperature checks and face coverings upon arrival, while hand-washing and sanitizing stations and social-distancing will be practiced throughout the parks.

Contactless payments and mobile orders will also be made at the parks’ restaurants and stores. Sadly, meet-and-greets with Disney characters will be suspended until further notice, as well as parades and other events.

Walt Disney World closed in early March amid the pandemic, its first time shutting down since the September 11th attacks in 2001.

The Florida Department of Health releases daily reports on COVID-19 cases. According to Tuesday’s report, there have been a total of 2,259 deaths related to coronavirus in the state. Florida recently partnered with private laboratories to ensure more testing around the panhandle.

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COVID-19 'most likely to spread between 41 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit'

Coronavirus is most likely to spread between 41 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit, study finds

  • 60% of COVID-19 cases occurred in the temperature range, researchers said
  • They also warned of a second wave in autumn in big cities in middle latitudes
  • A Chinese university released the findings with a COVID-19 prediction platform
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

The novel coronavirus is most likely to spread in places with air temperatures between five and 15 degrees Celsius or 41 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit, a study has discovered.

More than half of the COVID-19 cases have occurred in such condition, according to Chinese researchers.

The team also warned of a second outbreak in autumn in big cities in middle latitudes. The region covers most of North America, Europe, Russia, China and part of Australia and South America.

More than half of the COVID-19 cases have occurred in places with air temperatures between five and 15 degrees Celsius, researchers from China’s Lanzhou University have discovered. Pictured, Chinese commuters wear protective masks at an intersection in Beijing on May 18

Lanzhou University in north-western China announced the findings yesterday as it released its COVID-19 pandemic global prediction platform. 

The researchers said they were hoping to better understand the virus’s transmission pattern by learning about the environment in which the killer pathogen could survive more easily.

Their research shows that the ideal temperatures for the virus’s transmission are between five and 15 degrees Celsius or 41 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit.

More than 60 per cent of the confirmed global COVID-19 infections were registered in the temperature range, according to a social media post from the university. 

The study was carried out based on the data of approximately 3.75million global confirmed COVID-19 cases in 185 countries and regions from January 21 to May 6, Xinhua reported. Pictured, people eat lunch behind protective plastic barriers in a cafeteria in Seoul on May 20

The experts also found that the virus’s transmission rates were linked to an area’s humidity.

Around 73.8 per cent of the diagnosed cases were concentrated in regions with an absolute humidity of three to 10 grams in each cubic meter, said a report of the study from state news agency Xinhua.

The study was carried out based on the data of approximately 3.75million global confirmed COVID-19 cases in 185 countries and regions from January 21 to May 6, Xinhua added.

The coronavirus pandemic emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December before sweeping across the world.

So far, more than 346,000 people have died of the disease, and around 5.5 million have caught the bug worldwide.

Chinese health authorities registered no new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday, marking the first time it saw no daily rise since January. Pictured, people wear face masks to avoid catching coronavirus as they ride bicycles in the central business district in Beijing on May 26

Chinese health authorities registered no new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday, marking the first time it saw no daily rise in the number of native or imported infections since authorities began reporting data in January. 

Seven people were diagnosed with the deadly disease on Monday. All of them were classified as ‘imported cases’, people who bring the virus into China from overseas, said the country’s national health commission today. 

According to official figures, 4,643 people in China have lost their lives in the pandemic and 82,992 have contracted the illness.

More than 80 per cent of the country’s COVID-19 deaths took place in Wuhan, the former epicentre of the pandemic, authorities said.

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The Straits Times: 'In This Together' Daily Colouring Challenge

Beat the Covid-19 stay-at-home blues by taking part in the ‘In This Together’ colouring challenge

  • Every day, from May 18 to 24, one drawing will appear in the Life section of The Straits Times.
  • This is a daily challenge.
  • Each daily challenge has a different deadline and online submission form. Refer to the daily illustration for details.  
  •  Each artwork will be judged individually.
  • You can take part in one challenge or many challenges. But you can win only once.
  • You can use pencils, crayons and so on. Be creative! Artworks will be judged on creativity, composition and attention to details.
  • The colouring can be done on the actual newsprint page of the Life section. We also accept hand colouring on a printed copy of the artwork downloaded from the e-paper version of The Straits Times. No digital colouring will be accepted.
  • The contest is open to both young and old. There is no age limit.
  • You may do the challenge alone or as a family.
  • To submit your entry, take a photo of the finished artwork.
  • Maximum file upload size is 5MB. Only pdf, jpg and png file extension formats will be accepted.
  • For each daily challenge, there will be 10 winners. Each winning entry will win $500 in cash, sponsored by Pulse by Prudential.
  • The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entertained.
  • Employees of SPH and its related corporations (“SPH Group”) or of SPH’s partners and/or sponsors for the colouring challenge (if applicable) and their immediate family members (including spouses, children, parents, brothers and sisters) are not eligible.
  • Other terms and conditions apply.  

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5 things to do today: Share your family's stories, watch incredible trick shots and more

1. SHARE: Your family’s stories

Get your family – from grandparents to extended family members – to share their stories using the Get Curious: My Family’s Stories online kit by the National Museum of Singapore.

It covers topics such as food, school, popular culture and festivals, and includes a preparation guide and conversation cards for a fun family bonding session.

Submit your stories by June 1 and stand a chance to be featured in the museum’s upcoming exhibition – Home, Truly: Growing Up With Singapore, 1950s To The Present. The exhibition is held in collaboration with The Straits Times as part of ST’s 175th anniversary and will open at the museum in the second half of this year.

Info: #MuseumFromHome: Get Curious!

2. LISTEN: Dr Seuss gets a hip-hop makeover


PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

The Dr Seuss children’s books, written by the late American author Theodor Seuss Geisel, have never sounded so cool.

Film-maker Wes Tank raps the Dr Seuss stories over American rapper Dr Dre’s beats, accompanied by a good dose of drama and animated facial expressions, for a perfect mash-up.

Videos on Tank’s YouTube channel feature popular stories such as One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; Cat In The Hat; Fox In Sox; and Green Eggs And Ham.

Info: Tank’s YouTube channel

3. WATCH: Incredible trick shots


PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

A basketball thrown from a moving car swooshes through the hoop; a ping pong ball finds the back of a paper cup placed horizontally. Enjoy all kinds of trick shots by the guys from Dude Perfect – a group of friends from Texas in the United States, who have built a huge following online by performing seemingly impossible sports stunts.

4. DO: Activities with an airport theme


PHOTO: CHANGI AIRPORT

Write in

We would also like to hear from you, our readers, on how you are coping and keeping busy while at home. Please send us videos, pictures, stories, poems or other contributions at [email protected] or on ST’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. We will curate and showcase some of these, including at str.sg/stayhomeST

Little ones can discover more about Singapore’s world-class Changi Airport with a series of activity books.

Download printable colouring sheets featuring the airport’s beautiful Butterfly Garden, Sunflower Garden and Cactus Garden. This is suitable for kids aged three to five.

Older children can design and decorate a suitcase, learn about the baggage-handling process or do a Changi-themed crossword puzzle.

Info: Changi stay-home activities

5. BAKE: Like a pro


PHOTO: DOMINIQUE ANSEL BAKERY

France-born pastry chef Dominique Ansel – best known as the inventor of the cronut (croissant meets doughnut) – offers a selection of easy recipes for home bakers. These include the must-do banana bread, double chocolate pecan cookies and yogurt cake.

More videos, featuring both sweet and savoury dishes, are available for viewing on his Instagram page.

Info: Dominique Ansel’s website

With input from David Lee

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Up to one in five COVID-19 patients 'caught the virus in hospital'

Up to a FIFTH of Britain’s COVID-19 patients caught the virus while in hospital for another illness, health chiefs admit as senior official says spread of illness within the NHS is ‘concerning’

  • Hospital bosses say between 10 and 20 per cent of cases caught inside building
  • This is thought to be lower nationwide but higher in specific hospitals
  • Around 170,000 hospital patients and medical staff have tested positive
  • Doctors said it was ‘concerning’ that there was so much internal spread 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Up to one in five coronavirus patients in NHS hospitals caught the virus while they were there being treated for something else.

NHS officials have admitted that there has been a significant problem of inpatients catching COVID-19 from staff or other patients at hospitals around the country.

The director of patient safety for NHS England said he was ‘concerned about the rates of… spread within our hospitals’.   

So far 24,739 people are known to have died with COVID-19 in hospitals in England and around 175,000 patients and staff have tested positive since the outbreak began. 

Thousands of those people may have picked up the virus in hospital, The Guardian reports, even if they were there for completely unrelated conditions.

Bosses in the health service say that between 10 and 20 per cent of hospitalised COVID-19 patients were catching the virus while in a hospital. 

This is believed to be unevenly spread across the country, with some hospitals having worse infection control than others, although none have been named. Nationally, in-hospital infection is thought to account for five to seven per cent of patients.

Patients are spreading the coronavirus between themselves and it is also spreading between patients and staff in NHS hospitals, bosses at the health service have warned. Pictured: NHS staff in protective gear at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge

One anonymous surgeon told The Guardian: ‘Multiple patients my department treated who were inpatients pre lockdown got the bug and died.

‘Obviously the timeline supports that they acquired it from staff and other patients.’

NHS staff and hospital patients have been the focus of government testing efforts since the start of the outbreak but there are still concerns the virus is spreading unchecked.

Some staff members may catch the illness but not develop any symptoms, or develop ones which don’t fit the criteria for a test, and be required to keep working.

There have also been reports of shortages of personal protective equipment, putting medical workers at extra risk of catching the coronavirus from patients.

Meanwhile, the virus is known to be able to live on surfaces for hours or even days so it is easy to transmit in confined spaces where a lot of people are.

Hospitals are giving their best efforts to quarantine infected patients but some do not develop any sign of illness until days after they became infectious.

Dr Aidan Fowler, director of patient safety at NHS England, said he is ‘concerned about the rates of nosocomial spread within our hospitals,’ the Health Service Journal reported.

Nosocomial infection is that which takes place inside a medical facility.

Dr Fowler said around 5,000 NHS staff with symptoms are being tested every day for COVID-19, but efforts to track down and stop infection spread must increase.

 ‘There’s been an enormous amount of work being done to increase what is a very complex system.

‘We’ve now got multiple labs doing COVID-19 testing on 22 different platforms using a multitude of different swabs. That’s been quite a challenge.’ 

NHS hospitals are now testing all new patients who are admitted to their wards in a bid to stop people bringing coronavirus in without being detected.

The Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, a professional body representing critical care doctors, said it was concerned about the findings.

APRIL WAS QUIETEST MONTH EVER IN A&E IN ENGLAND 

April was the quietest month ever for A&E departments across England, NHS statistics have revealed.

Only 916,581 emergency department visits were recorded in the month that Britain’s coronavirus crisis peaked – the first time on record the number has dipped below one million.

The number of times people sought emergency help fell by more than half in just two months as COVID-19 gripped the nation.

People have been avoiding hospitals out of fear of adding extra pressure to the NHS or catching the virus while they’re in the hospital, doctors say.

Medics warn the massive change in behaviour is a ‘ticking time bomb’ which may result in more people ending up seriously ill or dying in the near future because they avoided getting medical help when they needed it.

There are also concerns that people with cancer will be delayed casualties of the crisis, with urgent referrals for treatment for the disease down eight per cent on last year.

NHS England, which published the figures, said the falls were ‘likely to be a result of the COVID-19 response’ – an indication that people have been staying away from A&E departments because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The number of people being admitted to hospital beds through A&E also fell sharply last month, down 39 per cent from 535,226 in April 2019 to 326,581 in April 2020.

This is the lowest number reported for any calendar month since current records began.

Dr Alison Pittard, the dean of the faculty, told The Guardian: ‘I’m very concerned that the incidence of [hospital-acquired] infection has gone up during this pandemic.

‘It’s conceivable that asymptomatic staff may unintentionally infect some patients and that could be a mode of transmission and help explain the rise in intra-hospital infection.’  

An NHS spokesperson said: ‘This new global health emergency means hospitals faced an unprecedented challenge, but they have established and effective mechanisms for infection prevention and control. 

‘These are continually being supplemented in new ways, as the science regarding the specific features of this coronavirus develops.’ 

The worrying statistics come as the NHS has started to plan a return to business as normal.

Bosses are keen to get operating theatres open again and start routine treatments in a bid to clear a backlog of patients who had therapy delayed because of the crisis.

Health officials and charities have raised concerns that cancer patients are missing treatments and diagnoses, and that the impact the coronavirus is having on slowing down medical services is putting lives at risk among people who don’t even catch the virus.

CEO of the Nuffield Trust, a health think-tank, said he thought the surgery waiting list in England would have doubled by the autumn because of treatment delays.

Nigel Edwards said hospitals have only been able to carry out around ’15 to 20 per cent’ of elective procedures, meaning up to 1.3million patients are missing out every month.

Last August there were a record 4.41million patients in England on waiting lists for routine operations, a rise of 250,000 from the same month a year earlier.   

Speaking at a virtual House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee meeting last week, Mr Edwards said: ‘Between 1.5 and 1.7million people a month start a new care pathway, or at least they did before March.

‘We can already see in the March data, the number of patients starting new pathways or being referred has fallen very significantly.

‘Of course that’s going to be more the case in April and May. Various hospitals I’ve been speaking to say they’ve been able to do 15, maybe 20 per cent of their elective work.

‘So the maths of that is absolutely brutal. It means between 1.2 and 1.3million people each month, who you’d expect to be starting a pathway, who have not been referred yet… it seems very likely we will have doubled the waiting list to over eight million by the late autumn.’

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First German Cinemas Re-Open Today, But For Many The Numbers Just Don’t Add Up

Germany has become the latest country to allow a proportion of its cinemas to re-open as authorities begin to relax the nation’s coronavirus lockdown.

The federal government has outlined a gradual easing of restrictions but the decisions are being made on a regional level, with the worst hit areas such as Bavaria unlikely to allow venues to re-open for a while.

Hessen (Hesse in English), a central German state which has a little over six million inhabitants and includes the cities of Wiesbaden and Frankfurt, has become the first region to allow cinemas to open their doors and welcome back members of the public as of today (May 15), albeit under coronavirus preventative conditions.

The region has 346 screens (as of 2019), but the majority of those are staying shut, with several operators saying it simply isn’t viable to re-open under the current conditions, particularly considering the max occupancy rate of 25%-30% (depending on the area).

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At least two cinemas have, however, decided to give it a go.

The Astor Film Lounge in the MyZeil shopping center in Frankfurt has re-opened, allowing a maximum of 100 guests inside at any one time across its five screens. The films on offer are primarily successful releases from the last couple of years, such as Knives Out, Bohemian Rhapsody and Parasite, as well as more recent releases like The Gentlemen and German pics The Kangaroo Chronicles (Die Känguru-Chroniken) and System Crasher. There will also be classics on offer, beginning with Breakfast At Tiffany’s.

Entrance to the cinema is only permitted with a face mask, but it can be taken off once the guest has taken their seat. There is distancing between audience members in the screens, and the venue’s bar is currently closed, though visitors receive a free drink on arrival.

Also open today is the Kronberger Lichtspiele in Taunus, Hessen. The single-screen venue has a total of 181 seats and is limited at 60 max occupancy, and according to its website, is just showing the one film at present, The Kangaroo Chronicles.

However, the majority of cinemas are remaining closed, and the economic challenge of re-opening with such limited capacity is a concern across the wider exhibitor landscape. German chains such as Kinopolis and Metropolis do not appear to have opened any of their venues in the region. Alongside the limited seating issue, there are also concerns about a lack of audience-enticing films available from distributors.

In German press this week, several significant German operators expressed concerns about a lack of a joined up approach to the re-openings. Cineplex, an association of independent German theaters, has said it is aiming for June 4, while the guild of German art house cinemas has indicated July 2 as its preferred date.

Christian Bräuer, CEO of AG Kino, describing it as a “patchwork quilt” that was “no use”. There is a feeling that exhibitors should set a date for re-opening that is four-six weeks in the future, giving everyone time to get on the same page and plan appropriately.

As Deadline reported recently, an initial 15% of venues in Norway re-opened last weekend, though the admission numbers were positive enough for local sources to forecast that there would be increased confidence this weekend and more would follow suit. Earlier this week, Deadline interviewed the owners of Norway’s top cinema chain to discuss how they approached the re-opening.

Previously, the CEO of HDF Kino, Germany’s largest theater organization, told Deadline that they expected July to be a realistic timeframe for a more widespread re-opening of cinemas in the country.

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