Risk of COVID-19 Virus Infections by Touching Surfaces Relatively Lower: Reports

Risk of getting infected in other ways such by touching surfaces and objects may be relatively lower

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COVID risk from touching surfaces and objects may be relatively lower, suggests new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. Pixabay

While the virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people, the risk of getting infected in other ways such by touching surfaces and objects may be relatively lower, suggests new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.

This, however, does not mean that people should stop washing their hands frequently.

“It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus,” the CDC said.

Knowledge about how long the virus survives on surfaces is still evolving.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier found that viable coronavirus could live on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for three days and it can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours.

Barely a couple of weeks after this finding, a CDC report said that genetic material from coronavirus was found on surfaces of Japan’s Diamond Princess cruise ship 17 days after passengers disembarked.

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Is the concept of COVID spread from surfaces a myth? Researches say not much. Pixabay

However, neither of these studies confirmed that coronavirus spread easily on surfaces, according to a report in USA Today on Thursday. The CDC in its guidance also said that the risk of COVID-19 spreading from animals to people is considered to be low at this point of time.

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But it warned that the COVID-19 virus is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. “Information from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic suggests that this virus is spreading more efficiently than influenza, but not as efficiently as measles, which is highly contagious,” the CDC said. (IANS)

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Sony Plans to Unveil First Set of PlayStation 5 on June 3

Sony is all set to reveal its first few PlayStation 5 games on June 3

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Sony is all set to unveil its first set of PlayStation 5 games on June 3. Pixabay

Sony is reportedly planning to unveil its first set of PlayStation 5 (PS5) games on June 3.

While the June 3 reveal may provide the best look yet at the PS5, the company would not give away every detail about its next-gen system, and could withhold price and release timing for another date, reports VentureBeat.

Sony hasn’t revealed much about their next-generation console that is still slated for a holiday 2020 release.

However, the company has confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic will not cause a delay with the system launch window.

Sony earlier revealed few specifications and hardware details of its next-generation home console, the PlayStation 5.

The PS5 will feature a custom eight-core AMD Zen 2 CPU clocked at 3.5GHz and a custom GPU based on AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture hardware that promises 10.28 teraflops and 36 compute units clocked at 2.23GHz.

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The company has confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic will not cause a delay with the system launch window. Pixabay

Also Read: 40.7 Million American Workers Seek Unemployment Benefits

It will also have 16GB of GDDR6 RAM and a custom 825GB SSD.

It will also feature 4K Blu-ray drive and will still support discs, but those games will still require installation to the internal SSD.

PS5 will also allow games to offer a much deeper sense of immersion through 3D audio. (IANS)

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40.7 Million American Workers Seek Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment has increased worldwide as bussinesses remain shut due to COVID-19 pandemic

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People who lost their jobs are reflected in the door of an Arkansas Workforce Center as they wait in line to file for unemployment following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Fort Smith, Arkansas. VOA
By Ken Bredemeier

 

Applications for unemployment compensation eased again in the U.S. last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, as some employers started to reopen businesses after the coronavirus pandemic forced their closure.

Even so, another 2.1 million more workers sought cash benefits after being laid off as other businesses curtailed their operations in the face of the continuing threat from the virus and less demand for their products.

In all, since mid-March, 40.7 million workers have now sought unemployment compensation, nearly a quarter of the U.S. labor force of more than 164 million.

However, the current actual number of jobless workers is unknown since some who sought unemployment benefits in previous weeks have now been called back to work by their employers. All 50 state governors have begun to ease restrictions on businesses opening in a patch-work array of directives that varies widely throughout the country.

The U.S. death toll from the virus topped 100,000 on Wednesday and health experts predict tens of thousands more will die in the coming months. But President Donald Trump, facing a November re-election contest against former Vice President Joe Biden, is predicting the country will have a robust economic recovery.

“States should open up ASAP,” Trump said on Twitter this week as the stock indexes advanced sharply. “The Transition to Greatness has started, ahead of schedule. There will be ups and downs, but next year will be one of the best ever!”

But the coronavirus has had a major effect on U.S. commerce, with 27 companies already filing for bankruptcy protection in May and some companies announcing they were closing permanently.

The official April unemployment rate was 14.7%, with Trump economic advisers acknowledging that the May figure, when it is announced in early June, is likely to be 20% or more. They say the rate could remain in double digits on Election Day Nov. 3 and could still be about 10% at the end of 2021.

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White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow talks to reporters. VOA

The government at first said the national economy dropped 4.8% in the first quarter, but that was before the full impact of the pandemic became apparent. It raised the figure to 5% on Thursday and economists expect a further decline in the April-to-June quarter.

Larry Kudlow, director of the White House National Economic Council, told the Washington Post recently that there are some “small glimmers of hope” in the economy. But he also acknowledged the ongoing difficulties the coronavirus pandemic poses to the world’s largest economy.

“Look, it’s really hard to model a virus, a pandemic, the likes of which we have not seen for 100 years,” Kudlow said. “The numbers coming in are not good. In fact, they are downright bad in most cases. But we are seeing some glimmers, perhaps … there’s a lot of heartbreak here. There’s a lot of hardship here. There’s a lot of anxiety here. It’s a very difficult situation.”

Numerous states still require social distancing of at least two meters between people in stores and some major retail outlets are requiring their employees and customers to wear face masks. Some governors are limiting restaurants to half capacity.

But in other states, the restrictions have been significantly lifted and crowds have quickly emerged to resume life, shopping or enjoying a day at Atlantic and Pacific beaches, often ignoring the admonitions of health experts to maintain a safe distance from others or to wear a face mask.

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell has warned that the American economy could endure a multi-year recession if more aid is not authorized for workers. He said that 40% of American households earning less than $40,000 a year lost jobs in March.

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In a few states, the restrictions have been significantly lifted. VOA

But Trump and Republican lawmakers are balking at approving more government assistance until it can be determined how much effect the already-approved funding is helping the economy.

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U.S. workers filing for jobless benefits normally are paid slightly less than half their normal salaries. But these payments are currently being augmented during the pandemic with $600-a-week supplements from the federal government for four months, through July.

The peak of the unemployment benefit claims likely came in late March with 6.9 million workers filing for the jobless compensation.

The weekly pace of claims has diminished each of the last 10 weeks since then, but the millions of claims have still been unparalleled over decades of U.S. economic history, reaching back to the Great Depression in the 1930s. The number of claims has far exceeded those made during the Great Recession in 2008-2009. (VOA)

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Scam Spotter: Google Launches Programme to Stop Scammers Exploiting Covid-19

Google has launched a new programme to stop COVID-19 scammers

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Google launches a new programme to spot stop Covid-19 scammers. Pixabay

Google on Thursday launched a new programme called Scam Spotter to spot and stop scammers who are exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic with alarming speed, taking advantage of fear and uncertainty.

The programme simplifies expert advice with three rules when you receive a suspicious phone call or message to figure out if it’s a scam.

The three rules are: “Slow it down, spot check and stop! Don’t send.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), people reported $1.9 billion lost to scams in 2019.

Every minute, more than $3,600 disappeared from wallets and bank accounts in response to made-up stories of urgently overdue tax payments, bogus contest winnings, or a smooth-talking online suitor who suddenly needs some gift cards.

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According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), people reported $1.9 billion lost to scams in 2019. Pixabay

“A high-pressure phone call or exciting message can overcome many people’s judgment, especially if they are caught at a vulnerable moment,” said Google.

Also Read: The New Trends Of Fashion World Post-Pandemic

While people ages 25-40 are most likely to be scammed, research shows it’s seniors who stand to lose the most, with their median losses more than double the average.

The company also unveiled a new website ScamSpotter.org.

“If we learn how to spot the bad actors, we can spend our time focusing on those moments that matter,” said the company. (IANS)