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COVID-19

Hollywood Star Nicole Kidman Exempt from Hong Kong’s COVID Rules Sparking Anger

Oh the irony when art imitates life

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Nicole Kidman

Oh, the irony when art imitates life. Hollywood star and actress Nicole Kidman is not only getting special treatment, but Hong Kong is granting her an unheard of COVID-19 quarantine exemption while she films her new Amazon-funded series.

Ironically, the series is about the lives of wealthy ex-pats. China’s decision has sparked public anger, as “the Chinese financial hub maintains some of the strictest quarantine measures in the world, an approach that has kept virus cases low but left most residents cut off from overseas loved ones for the last 18 months” reports the Associated Foreign Press.

For us laymen who are not celebrity millionaire Hollywood A-list actresses, the typical rules are as follows: arrivals from high-risk countries have to stay in hotel quarantine for 21 days. Individuals coming from lower-risk countries are to be quarantined for seven days in a hotel, then an additional seven days of self-monitoring.

Kidman, however, gets to “circumvent those rules.” Hong Kong’s Commerce and Economic Development Bureau confirmed Kidman was granted an exemption “to carry out designated professional work.” Reportedly those exempted just need to take three coronavirus tests over the first two weeks upon arrival.

The AFP reports:

The city’s tabloids have closely followed Kidman’s appearances in Hong Kong since touching down last Thursday in a private jet from Australia, including shopping two days after her arrival and later filming in the city’s Sai Wan district.

Kidman has been announced as an executive producer on “Expats”, a show based on a 2016 book by Janice YK Lee about the gilded lives of three American women in the city.

Social media has since filled with comments by expats and local Hong Kongers over Kidman’s quarantine exemption — and the decision to film a series about the city’s wealthy foreign elite at a time when China is purging dissent in the financial hub.

“Right then, that’s it. My Mum is changing her name to ‘Nicole Kidman’ and I’ve just sent my Gulfstream G650 to pick her up,” @webbhk, an account popular with expats, wrote on Twitter.

One popular support group on Facebook utilized by people quarantining in Hong Kong was filled with angry comments from both local and foreign residents who have been unable to see relatives and loved ones for almost two years because they have not been so fortunate as to be exempt from Hong Kong’s rules.

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COVID-19

Biden Says He Doesn’t Think COVID Is ‘Here To Stay’

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Joe Biden

On Friday, President Biden said he doesn’t think that COVID-19 is here to stay, but added that he does think the virus will remain around the world.

“No, I don’t think COVID is here to stay, but having COVID in the environment here and in the world is probably here to stay,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
“COVID as we’re dealing with it now is not here to stay, the normal doesn’t have to be. We have so many more tools we developed and we continue to develop that can contain COVID and other strains of COVID,” he added.

Biden’s comments come shortly after six of his former health advisers, who helped him with the COVID-19 pandemic during his presidential transition, published three opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association urging Biden to change his strategy in responding to COVID-19 to one accepting that the virus was here to stay and learning how to live with it.

“They say the first thing the administration needs to do is take a broader vision, by recognizing that Covid-19 is here to stay. In one article, Dr. Emanuel and two co-authors — Michael T. Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert at New York University — pointedly note that in July, Mr. Biden proclaimed that ‘we’ve gained the upper hand against this virus,’ which in retrospect was clearly not the case,” The New York Times reported.

Biden’s comments suggest he has not yet listened to the advice of these experts, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened to reaching over 1 million new daily cases.

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COVID-19

Former COVID Advisory Board tells Biden corona now ‘one of several circulating respiratory virus’ like flu

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Covid-19

Doctors who once advised President Biden on how to handle the coronavirus are now telling him to change his strategy via a series of published articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The six doctors, Drs. Ezekiel Emanuel, Michael Osterholm, Celine Gounder, David Michaels, Rick Bright and Luciana Borio were members of the advisory board that worked with Biden during his transition period before taking office.

“As the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates, COVID-19 is here to stay” and therefore Biden’s national strategy must be “updated.”

“The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, eg, the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appears to confer lifelong immunity,” they wrote.

“Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection.”

The “new normal,” they explained, should be “recognizing that SARS-CoV-2 is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more.”

The doctors also pointed out there are many treatments with varying levels of effectiveness such as remdesevir and dexamethasone, monoclonal antibody treatment, and oral treatments like Molnupiravir and Paxlovid.

“Finally,” Fox News reports, they said it is imperative “to rebuild trust in public health institutions and a belief in collective action in service of public health.”

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