Coronavirus live news: WHO urges caution over festive gatherings; Turkey imposes new curfews

Italy reports 672 new Covid-related deaths, a rise on Sunday’s figure, and Croatia’s PM tests positive

7.38pm GMT

Spending time with friends and family at Christmas is “not worth putting them or yourself at risk”, according to the head of the World Health Organization.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the body’s director general, said people should consider whether travelling during the festive period is necessary. Urging “extreme caution”, he said that “gains can easily be lost”.

7.22pm GMT

Colombia will keep its land and river borders closed until 16 January in an attempt to stem Covid’s spread.

The country has seen illegal crossings since it closed its borders in March, … Read more

Bias: Is pain all the same?

The topic of how we define pain, and how humans respond to pain has come up for me as I mull over the IASP definition of pain. The current (new) definition is this:

An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage.

Six key notes:

  • Pain is always a personal experience that is influenced to varying degrees by biological, psychological, and social factors.
  • Pain and nociception are different phenomena. Pain cannot be inferred solely from activity in sensory neurons.
  • Through their life experiences, individuals learn the concept of pain.
  • A person’s report of an experience as pain should be respected.
  • Although pain usually serves an adaptive role, it may have adverse effects on function and social and psychological well-being.
  • Verbal description is only one of several behaviors to express pain; inability to communicate does not negate the possibility that a
Read more

Were You Notified About Missing Tax Forms for Your ACA Subsidy? Blame COVID.

The notice from the federal health insurance marketplace grabbed Andrew Schenker’s attention: ACT NOW: YOU’RE AT RISK OF LOSING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE STARTING JANUARY 1, 2021.

As he read the notice, though, the Blacksburg, Virginia, resident became exasperated. Schenker, his wife and their teenage son have a bronze-level marketplace plan. Based on their income of about $40,000 a year, they receive tax credits that cover the $2,036 monthly premium in full.

When they file their annual taxes they complete an IRS form that reconciles how much they received in advance tax credits against their actual income for the year. The letter from the marketplace said they hadn’t filed for 2019, but Schenker knew they had — just as they have every year.

“I was more annoyed than anything else,” Schenker, 55, said, remembering an earlier enrollment problem that took months to resolve. “I didn’t want to get stuck in some sort … Read more

Coronavirus live news: Turkey's toll hits record for seventh day in row; UK deaths rise by 215

Numbers of deaths rise by another 185 in Turkey; UK cases go up by 12,155; Germany to decide in January which curbs can be lifted

7.17pm GMT

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 143,333 further coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s total to 13,142,997. This compares to 176,572 cases reported on Saturday.

Deaths have risen by 1,210 to 265,166 – a slight decrease from 1,283 on Saturday.

6.59pm GMT

NHS bosses plan to enlist celebrities and “influencers” with big social media followings in a major campaign to persuade people to have a Covid vaccine amid fears of low take-up.

Ministers and NHS England are drawing up a list of “very sensible” … Read more

Need a COVID-19 Nurse? That’ll Be $8,000 a Week

[UPDATED at 2:30 p.m. ET]

DENVER — In March, Claire Tripeny was watching her dream job fall apart. She’d been working as an intensive care nurse at St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, Colorado, and loved it, despite the mediocre pay typical for the region. But when COVID-19 hit, that calculation changed.

She remembers her employers telling her and her colleagues to “suck it up” as they struggled to care for six patients each and patched their protective gear with tape until it fully fell apart. The $800 or so a week she took home no longer felt worth it.

“I was not sleeping and having the most anxiety in my life,” said Tripeny. “I’m like, ‘I’m gonna go where my skills are needed and I can be guaranteed that I have the protection I need.’”

In April, she packed her bags for a two-month contract in then-COVID hot spot New … Read more

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