Restrictions tightened, but no new virus lockdown in Belgium

Belgian Prime minister Alexander De Croo stopped short Friday of imposing another full lockdown, as the country did in March, but introduced a series of new restrictive measures as the number of COVID-19-related hospital admissions and deaths continues to soar.

Already severely hit during the first wave of the pandemic, Belgium is now the second-worst country in the European Union in terms of coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants.

“We want to ensure that our doctors and hospitals can keep doing their work, that children can continue attending schools and that businesses can continue working while preserving as much as possible the mental health of our population,” De Croo said as he unveiled the new restrictions during a press conference.

Belgium had already introduced a list of measures aimed at slowing infections, including a night-time curfew and closing bars and restaurants. Visits at nursing homes have also been limited, but many health experts think the new curtailment won’t be enough to break the contagion chain.

“We were told strong and hard measures would be announced, we don’t see them,” epidemiologist Yves Coppieters told broadcaster RTBF.

According to the latest official figures, some 10,000 new people are infected on a daily basis by the virus, which has already killed more than 10,500 people in the small nation of just 11.5 million. The health situation is so dramatic in nine out of 10 of Belgium’s provinces that authorities have recently warned intensive care units will hit their capacity by mid-November if new coronavirus cases continue to soar at the same pace.

To avoid a collapse of the health system, health minister Frank Vandenbroucke said that the number of beds available in ICUs will be increased to 2,300, while nonurgent operations will be postponed over the next four weeks.

Following government talks held via video conference after several ministers got infected by the virus, De Croo decided to reinforce the sanitary protocols mainly in the culture and sports sectors. Until Nov. 19, theaters and cinemas will be allowed to accommodate a maximum audience of 200, while sports fans are banned from attending matches. In amateur sports, competitions involving over-18 athletes are suspended.

“It’s a tough blow, but the moment is serious and we need to show solidarity,” said Mehdi Bayat, the president of the Belgian soccer union.

Detailing the measures, Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon said attendance at universities will be limited to 20 percent of capacity in lecture halls, while amusement parks will be closed from Friday.






De Croo also sent a message of support to business owners and workers affected by the measures who struggle financially and are losing their jobs.

Source: Read Full Article

Ryan Lochte: When Kayla and I Will Consider Having Baby No. 3

Room for one more? Ryan Lochte dished on when he and his wife, Kayla Rae Reid, will consider expanding their brood further with a third child.

Full House! Jude Law and More Celeb Parents With Big Broods

“I am so happy right now with [what we have]. We wanted a boy and then a girl afterwards, and it worked out in our favor,” the 36-year-old pro swimmer told Us Weekly exclusively on Thursday, October 15, while promoting the Piñata app. “Like, it was just perfect. We had the perfect family right now.”

Lochte continued, “But, I mean, it’s not really up to me [if and when we have more kids]. It’s up to the boss lady. And if she wants more, we’re gonna have more. … But I said, ‘Let’s wait after 2021, the Olympics.’ Then we can start popping out more kids if we want.”

The 12-time Olympic medalist married the 29-year-old model in 2018. They welcomed their son Caiden, 3, in 2017 and daughter Liv, 15 months, in 2019.

Ryan Lochte and Kayla Rae Reid’s Baby Boy: See the First Photos!

Last year, Lochte spoke to Us exclusively about how much his life has changed since becoming the father of two young children. “Kids have changed everything,” he said at the time. “It’s not just me and her anymore. We have to always wake up and care for our little ones.”

The athlete added, “One was hard, two is very hard, but it’s so much fun knowing every time we see our kids, we created this. … It’s pretty awesome to see them grow into people that they’re going to become.”

One thing that hasn’t changed for Lochte and Reid since becoming parents is the strong foundation they have in their romantic relationship. Speaking to Us on Thursday, he explained that the key to their successful marriage is making sure to “do something nice” for your partner every day.

Hottest Celebrity Dads

“I have little Post-it notes in the cupboard. So, when she opens up to get coffee or something, she sees like, ‘You’re beautiful,’ stuff like that,” he explained. “So, I still do a lot of things like that and just being there all the time as much as I can when I’m not swimming. I mean, she’s, like, my best friend. So, that’s awesome.”

Instead of gearing up to expand his family with Reid, Lochte currently has his sights focused on his new partnership with Piñata alongside pal and Celebrity Big Brother costar Jonathan Bennett. Through the unique app, users are rewarded for paying their rent on time.

“Being an Olympian, I was always traveling [and] going to different places, always on the road. Renting was the best thing that fit my lifestyle at the time,” he told Us. “Then, when I found out about Piñata and the rewards that you can get while paying rent, I was, like, my mind was blown. I was like, ‘What? Are you serious? I can actually get rewards for paying rent?’ This is unheard of. So, I immediately teamed up with them.”

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!

Source: Read Full Article

Fostamatinib in chronic immune thrombocytopenia: No comparison—added benefit not proven

Fostamatinib is approved for the treatment of chronic immune thrombocytopenia in adults who are refractory to other treatments (in particular to treatment with corticosteroids). The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) examined in an early benefit assessment whether fostamatinib offers an added benefit for these patients in comparison with eltrombopag or romiplostim.

The drug manufacturer recognized both drugs as appropriate comparator therapy, but presented neither direct nor indirect comparisons between fostamatinib and the appropriate comparator therapy. IQWiG therefore concluded that an added benefit is not proven.

Comparisons with appropriate comparator therapy necessary

The approval studies, the data of which the manufacturer cited in its dossier, compared fostamatinib with placebo. Randomized controlled trials with direct comparisons between fostamatinib and eltrombopag or romiplostim are not available. The manufacturer did not identify any suitable data for an adjusted indirect comparison.

Comparisons with the appropriate comparator therapy are necessary, however, to understand the benefit and harm that the different treatment options have for the patients in relation to each other. They are the backbone of the early benefit assessment: There is no other way to determine an added benefit of the drug in comparison with the current standard treatment.

G-BA decides on the extent of added benefit

Source: Read Full Article

No Race Difference Found in COVID-19 Mortality Rates at Same Medical Center

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 30, 2020 — For admitted COVID-19 patients presenting to the same urban medical center, risk-adjusted outcomes were no worse for non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic patients versus non-Hispanic White patients, according to a study published online Sept. 25 in JAMA Network Open.

Rafi Kabarriti, M.D., from the Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, and colleagues examined whether presenting comorbidities in patients with COVID-19 in New York City differed by race/ethnicity and whether case fatality rates varied by race/ethnicity in 5,902 patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) presenting to the Montefiore Medical Center.

The researchers found that 15.5 percent of patients died within the study time frame. The death rates were 16.2, 17.2, 20.0, and 17.0 percent for Hispanic, non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic White, and Asian patients, respectively. Compared with non-Hispanic White patients, a higher proportion of Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black patients had more than two medical comorbidities (34.3 and 39.5 percent, respectively, versus 28.9 percent). The likelihood of testing positive for COVID-19 was higher for Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black versus non-Hispanic White patients (65.3 and 68.5 percent, respectively, versus 53.0 percent). Compared with non-Hispanic Whites, patients identifying as Hispanic or non-Hispanic Black had slightly improved survival (hazard ratios, 0.77 and 0.69, respectively) after controlling for age, sex, socioeconomic status, and comorbidities.

“These findings may provide some reassurance that access to the services available in comprehensive health care environments may attenuate, if not eliminate, racial/ethnic differentials in COVID-19 mortality rate,” the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text
Editorial

Source: Read Full Article

There’s No Magic Formula to Slow Your Dog’s Aging

FRIDAY, Sept. 18, 2020 — Despite the deep desire to help your dog age gracefully and stay mentally sharp, new research suggests that even the best diet and training won’t slow the ravages of time for your furry friend.

Just like their human owners, dogs can experience thinking declines and behavioral changes as they age. They might display less curiosity about novel objects and show decline in social responsiveness, memory and attention, the researchers explained.

Studies have suggested that lifelong training and an enriched diet could slow dogs’ mental aging, but few have explored aging in pet dogs in real-life settings.

In this latest study, an international team of researchers led by Durga Chapagain, from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria, found that middle-aged to elderly dogs who were trained throughout their life and fed a nutrient-enriched diet for a year performed no better on thinking tests than dogs who received less training and ate a regular diet.

The study included more than 100 pet dogs over the age of 6 years and of varying breeds. The participating dogs were split randomly into two groups: half were fed a nutrient-enriched diet, including antioxidants and omega fatty acids, while the other half consumed a regular diet. The researchers also collected information from the pets’ owners about their dogs’ previous training.

After a year on the diet, the researchers evaluated the dogs’ mental capacities using a cognitive test that is designed for older canines.

Sadly, diet and training were found to have no significant impact on mental decline, the study authors said.

The aging dogs experienced declines in four particular areas: problem-solving, sociability, boldness and dependency. However, the findings showed that their trainability and activity independence appeared to remain sharp.

The study was published online Sept. 16 in the journal PLOS ONE.

Source: Read Full Article

There’s no evidence chloroquine helps treat or prevent COVID-19

In new Practice Points, the American College of Physicians (ACP) says that evidence does not support the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination with azithromycin to prevent COVID-19 after infection with novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), or for treatment of patients with COVID-19. The ACP Practice Points also state that physicians, in light of known harms and very uncertain evidence of benefit, may choose to treat the hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients with chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination with azithromycin in the context of a clinical trial using shared and informed decision-making with patients and their families. “Should Clinicians Use Chloroquine or Hydroxychloroquine Alone or In Combination with Azithromycin for the Prophylaxis or Treatment of COVID-19? Living Practice Points from the American College of Physicians (Version 1)” was published today in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The ACP Practice Points provide rapid clinical advice based on a concise summary of the best available evidence on the benefits and harms of the use of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination with azithromycin for the prophylaxis or treatment of COVID-19. The Practice Points are based on a rapid systematic review conducted by the University of Connecticut Health Outcomes, Policy, and Evidence Synthesis Group.

ACP Practice Points are developed by ACP’s Scientific Medical Policy Committee and provide advice to improve the health of individuals and populations and promote high value care based on the best available evidence derived from assessment of scientific work (e.g. clinical guidelines, systematic reviews, individual studies). ACP Practice Points aim to address the value of screening and diagnostic tests and therapeutic interventions for various diseases, and consider known determinants of health, including but not limited to genetic variability, environment, and lifestyle.

“With the rapid emergence of COVID-19, physicians and clinicians have found themselves managing the frontlines of the pandemic with a paucity of evidence available to inform treatment decisions,” said Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, president, ACP. “ACP rapidly developed its Practice Points as concise, synthesized summaries of the current state of evidence in order to address urgent questions related to the transmission, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19. As such, these Practice Points give frontline physicians guidance to provide patients with the care based on the best available evidence.”

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are used to manage other major ailments with a known benefit and are in short supply in the United States. These medications also have known harms in non-COVID patients such as cardiovascular effects; diarrhea; abnormal liver function; rash; headache; ocular issues; and anemia.

Using chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, with or without azithromycin, to prevent or treat COVID-19 infection began to receive attention following preliminary reports from in vitro and human studies. While several studies are planned or underway, the Practice Points provide details about the lack of and/or insufficient current research about the benefits and harms for prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

At this time, the authors of the Practice Points have identified that chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination with azithromycin to prevent COVID-19 after infection with novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), or for treatment of patients with COVID-19 should not be used. The Practice Points also state that the drugs may only be used to treat hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients in the context of a clinical trial following shared and informed decision-making between clinicians and patients (and their families) that includes a discussion of known harms of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine and very uncertain evidence of benefit for COVID-19 patients.

Source: Read Full Article

Pregnant Bekah Martinez Details Home Birth Plan Ahead of Baby No. 2

Happy at home! Pregnant Bekah Martinez is “really excited” about her upcoming home birth.

“With my first daughter Ruth, we had her at a birth center,” the Bachelor alum, 25, said on the new episode of Us Weekly’s “Here for the Right Reasons” podcast. “This time, [my boyfriend, Grayston Leonard, and I] decided we were going to do a home birth with midwives. So that was already the plan. Now with quarantine and COVID-19, it’s kind of nice that I don’t have to be at the hospital.”

The “Chatty Broads” podcast cohost went on to tell Us exclusively that “virtually nothing had to change” about her plan amid the coronavirus pandemic. “If anything, some people think I’m a little less crazy, so good,” the former ABC personality joked.

The former reality star and Leonard, 31, previously welcomed their daughter, Ruth, in February 2019. The 15-month-old has “no freaking clue” that she has a younger sibling on the way.

Martinez explained, “For her, it’s been pretty gradual. [My stomach] been slowly growing over half her life, basically, like I got pregnant when she was seven months old. So I don’t know if she really notices. But we tell her like, ‘Baby, there’s a baby inside,’ and we’ll point to pictures of babies.”

The California native announced in November 2019 that she and the rock climbing gym owner are expecting baby No. 2. Their baby boy is due in June.

Martinez has “noticed little differences here and there,” she told Us of her second pregnancy. “I don’t think I have any, like, preconceived notions of what it’s gonna be like to have a boy vs. a girl because I was I was a nanny for five years before. You have little girls who are crazy, energetic maniacs everywhere all at once, then you have little boys who are just super sweet and cuddly and easygoing and have sort of that stereotypical girl energy. I think it’s kind of a gamble.”

With reporting by Sarah Hearon

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!

Source: Read Full Article