Will Smith Wants You to Know He’s in the ‘Worst Shape’ of His Life

Baring it all. Will Smith revealed on social media that he thinks he isn’t in the best shape right now.

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“I’m gonna be real wit yall – I’m in the worst shape of my life,” Smith, 52, captioned the photo via Instagram on Sunday, May 2. The actor was sporting an unzipped hoodie and tight black shorts in the post.

The Grammy winner received instant support on his shirtless post.

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“You look good!” Amy Schumer wrote in response to Smith.

His The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air costar Nia Long showed the actor some love, writing, “You still got it baby!!!” British singer Sonna Rele, meanwhile, wrote: “You’re Will Smith!! You can be in whatever shape you want.”

Jersey Show star Jenni Farley revealed that she felt the same way and shared some advice in the comments section. “Live your best life,” she wrote.

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Filmmaker Ava DuVernay, for her part, wrote: “I see no ‘worst’ here.”

The Philadelphia native has often talked about getting in shape for his movie roles. In January 2020, he spoke about his career-defining shirtless scene in 1995’s Bad Boys.

“For this scene, I wanted to have my shirt on, and Michael [Bay] was like, ‘Dude, I’m going to make you a freaking movie star, take your shirt off,’” Smith explained during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at the time. “And I was like, ‘Michael, come on man,’ and he was like, ‘Dude, you don’t know, I know!’”

Bay, 56, and Smith did end up finding a compromise, with The Pursuit of Happyness star opening his shirt in the scene but not completely taking it off.

Stars Who’ve Hit Back Against Body-Shamers

“To this day, every time I see Michael he’s like, ‘Dude, I should be in for half. I made your career,’” Smith added.

Years later, Smith had to get in tip top shape for his role in Suicide Squad too. “I knew from the very beginning that this was going to be a big movie for me,” Smith told Men’s Journal in 2016.

The Cobra Kai alum ended up with a torn leg muscle early into training for the film. “It was really scary to be in that position,” he said at the time. “When you’re 47 years old, no injury is a mild injury anymore. I was stepping back to throw a blow, and my calf popped. Everyone heard it. The doctor there told me that I was going to be down for six weeks, but I couldn’t allow that.”

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UK researchers will deliberately reinfect people with COVID-19 in new ‘challenge study’

Researchers in the U.K. are looking for volunteers who have already had COVID-19 for a “challenge study” that will deliberately reexpose them to the novel coronavirus.

The goal of the study is to understand what immune response is needed to protect against reinfection with COVID-19, according to a statement from the University of Oxford, which has received approval to conduct the trial.

“If we could understand, in this really careful controlled way, exactly what kind of immune response is needed for protection [against reinfection], then we will be able to look at people who have natural infection and say whether or not they’re protected” against another infection, study chief investigator Dr. Helen McShane, a professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said in a video about the study

In a challenge study, people who are at low risk of serious outcomes are intentionally exposed to a pathogen in a controlled lab environment. Earlier this year, other researchers in the U.K. began challenge studies in people who hadn’t been infected with COVID-19, deliberately exposing them to very small doses of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. 

For the new study, the researchers are recruiting healthy people ages 18 to 30 who were infected with COVID-19 at least three months prior to entering the study and have antibodies against the novel coronavirus, according to The Guardian.

The study will have two phases. The first phase, which will include 24 volunteers, aims to determine the lowest dose of SARS-CoV-2 that can cause an infection while producing little or no symptoms in the volunteers. 

“We start with a really, really small amount of the virus … and we check that that’s safe,” and then increase the dose if necessary (if it’s too low to cause an infection in any of the volunteers), McShane said in the video. 

“Our target is to have 50% of our subjects infected but with no, or only very mild, disease,” McShane told The Guardian.

The second phase will involve another 10 to 40 participants who will receive the dose determined in the first phase. The researchers hope to learn what levels of antibodies, T cells and other immune system components protect against reinfection.

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After being exposed to the virus, all of the participants will be quarantined for 17 days and  monitored closely. They will undergo numerous tests, including CT scans of their lungs and MRIs of their hearts, the researchers said.

Any participants who develop symptoms of COVID-19 will be treated with Regeneron’s monoclonal antibodies, which have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalizations from COVID-19.

The participants will be followed for at least eight months after they recover from their second infection. Each participant will receive nearly $7,000 (£5,000) for being included in the study, The Guardian reported.

The first phase of the study is expected to start this month, and the second phase is expected to begin in the summer, the researchers said.

Originally published on Live Science.   

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Will we need COVID-19 booster shots? Study considers more vaccinations

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As people across Maryland and the country seek their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Jean Armstrong got her third.

The Baltimore County public school administrator was one of the first people to get a pair of shots of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine last May as studies began to test its safety and efficacy. She returned this week to the University of Maryland in Baltimore to help researchers understand whether a booster could continue to keep her from getting seriously sick from the coronavirus.

“I’m a believer in vaccines and think they work, and it’s important to be involved,” Armstrong said of her willingness to be vaccinated again. “It seems like realistically we have to be prepared for boosters and vaccines for variants.”

Researchers and vaccine manufacturers are actively preparing for the possibility that people will need to get another vaccination or regular ones to keep at bay the current coronavirus or a mutated and more nefarious version.

The vaccines now approved for use are considered highly effective at staving off infection, particularly severe infection, but no one knows how long immunity lasts. It’s widely believed that it wanes at least somewhat over time.

And data is beginning to show that the vaccines are at least somewhat less potent against emerging variants. There are several now widely circulating, including ones discovered first in South Africa, Brazil and the United Kingdom. Others with potentially concerning mutations have been logged in the United States in California and most recently in New York.

The research seeks to answer some questions and “grease the wheels” for others, said Dr. Kirsten E. Lyke, who is helping oversee the study at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health.

Specifically, Lyke, director of the Malaria Vaccine and Challenge Unit, said researchers will look at immunity before and after a booster, which is a regular dose of the Pfizer vaccine. They also will assess how well people tolerate another shot.

Twenty-four hours after her third shot, Armstrong, a Harford County woman in her 40s, said she’s not had side effects except a bit of arm soreness. She had more flu-like symptoms from the first two shots she received last May.

Federal regulators gave the Pfizer vaccine authorization for emergency use in December after a remarkably speedy development period of just months rather than years. It continues to be evaluated for full approvals.

A similar vaccine from Moderna also has been authorized and a third from Johnson & Johnson is expected to get the go-ahead for use within days.

All are considered highly effective against severe disease. Researchers say, however, that the public may need another shot eventually. People may even need to have annual shots, as they do for the flu.

The vaccine makers are preparing for that possibility now, as well as moving quickly to adapt the vaccines for variants.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offered guidance this week to assure the public that the adapted vaccines will be tested, but the process won’t be delayed. The vaccine makers will be permitted to do small-scale studies of maybe a few hundred people to test the upgrades, rather than repeat large studies with tens of thousands of people for each vaccine.

“We know the country is eager to return to a new normal and the emergence of the virus variants raises new concerns about the performance of these products,” said Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting FDA commissioner, in a statement. “By issuing these guidances, we want the American public to know that we are using every tool in our toolbox to fight this pandemic, including pivoting as the virus adapts.”

Pfizer and Moderna both said this week that work is underway.

Pfizer said Thursday that it was studying a third dose in its initial phase 1 participants, who include Armstrong, to evaluate the safety and tolerability of a booster shot of the existing vaccine. The vaccine was initially tested at four sites, including Maryland.

That study also will inform efforts to adapt the vaccine to address emerging variants, said officials with the New York-based pharmaceutical giant.

“While we have not seen any evidence that the circulating variants result in a loss of protection provided by our vaccine, we are taking multiple steps to act decisively and be ready in case a strain becomes resistant to the protection afforded by the vaccine,” said Albert Bourla, Pfizer chairman and CEO, in a statement.

“This booster study is critical to understanding the safety of a third dose and immunity against circulating strains,” he said.

Moderna is following a similar path, and its officials said this week that the Massachusetts drugmaker already had sent a vaccine adapted for the variant found in South Africa to the National Institutes of Health for study.

The officials said the company would update its vaccine as many times as necessary.

“As we seek to defeat COVID-19, we must be vigilant and proactive as new variants of SARS-CoV-2 emerge,” said Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO, in a statement. “Leveraging the flexibility of our mRNA platform, we are moving quickly to test updates to the vaccines that address emerging variants of the virus in the clinic.”

At the University of Maryland, the first few people out of the hundreds who initially participated in the phase 1 trial got their third dose this week

All of those participants are being followed for more than two years as part of the FDA’s final approval process for the vaccine. Armstrong said she was surprised to be called back already for another shot, but wanted to help researchers as the pandemic evolved.

Despite her discomfort with needles, she had agreed to participate in another study years before, one that produced a vaccine for the H1N1 flu outbreak in 2009. She volunteered again last year.

Scientists don’t know why some people have more adverse reactions than others. The previous COVID-19 shots had given Armstrong chills, body aches and a fever, which are typical and normally short-lived responses.

“I was pleasantly surprised this time,” she said. “It’s 24 hours later and my arm hurts just a little bit. It’s been easy so far.”

Lyke said that as researchers were searching initially for the right vaccine makeup and dose, participants were given any of four versions of the Pfizer vaccine in three different amounts. Others were given a placebo, but they have since been fully vaccinated.

She said all the versions induced an immune response in people, but by June researchers had narrowed the vaccine and dose to the most effective and best-tolerated one.

Messenger RNA vaccines had long been studied for infectious diseases and even cancer, but the technology had never been approved for use. Instead of weakened or dead virus, mRNA vaccines deploy a bit of the virus’ genetic code to instruct cells to produce more of the viral protein, which in turn induces an immune response. The resulting antibodies fight the virus when they later come into contact with it.

All participants getting a booster shot at Maryland are at least six months past their second vaccination. Researchers took blood before and after the latest shots to determine the effects.

“If the immune response waned we’d know they needed a booster,” Lyke said. “And we wanted to see how they would respond to a booster, meaning they tolerated it and had another good immune response.”

She said it’s unknown whether anyone will need a booster, will need seasonal boosters or will need adapted shots for variants.

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Significant drop in Australians who will get COVID jab

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There has been a substantial increase in COVID-19 vaccine resistance and hesitancy among Australians, according to new analysis from the Australian National University (ANU).

The survey of more than 3,500 Australians is the only longitudinal study available tracking individuals from prior to the pandemic, and the only study that doesn’t rely solely on people volunteering to participate.

It is the most robust survey data available on whether or not someone expects to get vaccinated, finding a large decline in the number of people who are likely to take a vaccine once it becomes available.

The findings, based on Australia’s longest running study of Australians’ experiences of and attitudes to the coronavirus, come as Australia begins rolling out the first dosages of the Pfizer vaccine.

According to the study, more than one-in-five Australians (21.7 percent) said in January 2021 that they probably or definitely will not get a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine once health officials notify the public that one is available.

“This is a large and significant increase from the 12.7 percent of Australians who said the same thing in August 2020 when vaccines were still being developed and trialed,” study co-author Professor Nicholas Biddle said.

“We also found more than three-in-10 Australians, some 31.9 percent, became less willing to get a vaccine between August 2020 and January 2021.

“In contrast, less than one-in-10 Australians, 9.9 percent, became more willing to get vaccinated.”

The largest single change in willingness was the 19.7 percent of Australians who went from being ‘definitely willing’ to get a COVID vaccine to ‘probably wiling’ to get one.

Between August 2020 and January 2021, the number of Australians who said they won’t get the vaccine jumped from 5.5 percent to 8.4 percent.

The analysis shows the groups who became less willing to take a vaccine were females, Indigenous Australians, those who speak a language other than English at home and those who have not completed Year 12.

“These population groups are arguably the most urgent focus of any public health campaigns to improve willingness,” Professor Biddle said.

“This is because they have low willingness to start with, but also because there is the potential opportunity to bring their willingness back to what it was in August 2020 when there was a smaller gap with the rest of the Australian population.

“There is a real need to consider a significantly enhanced public health campaign in languages other than English.

“There is also a need to convey information to the general public in a way that is informative, reassuring and salient for those without a degree.

“We have been tracking Australians’ attitudes to getting a vaccine for months now, giving us powerful insights into what potential uptake will be like.

“Worryingly, as we get closer to administering a vaccine more Australians have cooled on the idea of getting one. The challenge now is to work out why and how we can address that.”

The study also provides key insights into why Australians say they won’t or are less likely to take a vaccine. These include people thinking too much is being made of COVID-19, low confidence in hospitals and those who are not optimistic about the next 12 months.

“Clearly our leaders, policymakers and health experts need to work out why more Australians are unlikely to get a vaccine, particularly as it is about to be administered across the country,” Professor Nicholas Biddle said.

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When will the world be vaccinated against COVID-19?

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The global effort to find vaccines for COVID-19 has been incredibly successful, with multiple vaccines demonstrating high efficacy in clinical trials less than a year after the disease was discovered.

But it will take several years to manufacture and distribute enough vaccine doses to cover the almost eight billion people on earth.

Current estimates are that it will probably take well into 2023-24 for everyone who needs a vaccine to receive one.

So how should the global community prioritize the distribution of vaccines to give us the best chance of ending the pandemic and saving lives?

Decisions on how to prioritize vaccine doses have to balance the needs in each country, and the world.

COVID-19 vaccines will have the biggest impact on reducing strain on our health services, and reducing restrictions on other parts of society, if we use them to protect the most vulnerable first.

It’s a bit like if you had a family gathering of nine relatives, but you only have three doses of a vaccine now, you’re expecting three more in six months and three more next year. You’d have to decide who to vaccinate first, second and third.

You would probably give it to your grandparents first, because they would be most at risk of dying from COVID-19.

Once they’ve had it, you could see them with much less risk of hurting them.

But what if you had a sibling with asthma? Or those most likely to be traveling around who might bring it into the house from outside?


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The World Health Organization have a recommended priority order starting with health care workers, the oldest (who are most at risk of serious illness and death) and those who are vulnerable due to other health conditions. Most countries are basing their response on this. As more vaccine doses become available, it will be possible to work down by age and vulnerability range. We may also need to review recommendations taking into account new virus variants and outbreaks that occur due to them

It’s a tricky decision for which there is no way to make everyone happy, but most countries now have a clear plan in place.

The global perspective

It’s vital that we think globally as well as nationally when distributing the vaccine. Without worldwide measures, COVID-19 could remain active, and continue to spread.

A virus often mutates and creates new strains as it spreads. We have seen this play out in recent weeks, with two highly transmissible new strains being found in the UK and South Africa, increasing the number of patient cases. Although mutations will always occur, by limiting the presence of the virus worldwide we can reduce both the spread of all strains, and help reduce the risk of new strains forming that could further threaten the global population.

We need to quickly distribute the vaccines to the most vulnerable people, everywhere, and then to the remaining population. If some countries hoard the vaccines, doses will be less available to others.

COVAX is a global initiative that’s been designed to help create global vaccine access. Its aim is to provide 2 billion doses by the end of 2021, with the aim of providing coverage to at least 20% of the population in 195 countries across the world, from X to Y to Z. COVAX needs support from governments around the world to provide critical funds to make sure its work can continue.

Economic recovery is predicted to take much longer if we don’t distribute the vaccines around the world, because we cannot have a healthy global economy if there is still a risk of COVID-19 spreading. By using the vaccines fairly, it’s estimated we could see economic benefits of up to $466 billion in the next five years.

The good news

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What will Australia’s COVID vaccination program look like? 4 key questions answered

The Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca/University of Oxford groups have all recently announced their COVID vaccine candidates have demonstrated high levels of efficacy in phase 3 trials. These developments have focused attention on how a COVID vaccine might be rolled out in Australia.

It’s important to emphasize these trials have not yet been completed, and we only have a few headline results. But the information we do have is promising, and pending scrutiny from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), it’s looking increasingly hopeful we’ll have several COVID vaccines available in Australia during 2021.

To make this happen, a lot goes on behind the scenes. Australia’s national strategy for the delivery of a COVID vaccine encompasses the whole process: from research and development, to purchase and manufacturing, to international partnerships, to regulation and safety, to administration and monitoring.

Here’s a summary of some of the things you might be wondering about how this all works.

1. Which vaccines will we get?

Currently, there are more than 200 vaccine candidates around the world, 48 of which are in clinical trials.

To ensure Australians will have access to COVID-19 vaccines, the federal government has established agreements with suppliers of four of the most promising vaccine candidates. The vaccines have been carefully assessed on advice from a Science and Industry Technical Advisory Group.

So far, the vaccines we’ve signed up to include the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford vaccine, the CSL/University of Queensland vaccine, the Novavax vaccine, and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

These agreements will only progress should the vaccines prove safe and effective, as assessed by the TGA, which will look at the quality of the vaccine, the degree of protection it offers, and its safety.

In addition to the four pre-purchase agreements, the federal government has signed up to the global vaccine initiative COVAX, which supports vaccines for all participating countries and grants us access to a range of additional leading candidates.

2. Once we get a vaccine, who will receive it first?

The intent is that a vaccine will eventually be available for anyone who wants to be vaccinated. But it’s likely the initial supply will be limited, so we’ll need to make decisions around which groups will receive the vaccine first.

This will depend on the characteristics of the available vaccines as well as principles we use to define priority populations. These include using vaccines in those who will benefit the most, ensuring equitable access, and reciprocity (the obligation to those who bear additional risks as part of the COVID-19 response).

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination policy sets out target groups including people who are at higher risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 (especially older people), those at greater risk of exposure and transmission (health-care and aged-care workers) and other essential workers required to maintain the functioning of society (such as police).

The exact priority order may depend on whether the vaccine works as well in older people, whether it protects against infection (and therefore transmission) or only severe disease, and where infections are occurring when vaccines become available.

3. How will people get it?

We’re likely to need a range of vaccination providers and sites to ensure timely access for the population.

Distribution may be complicated by different storage requirements—for example, the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at -70℃. While this might sound like a major hurdle, the Ebola vaccine required similar storage conditions and was successfully delivered in West Africa. But this is something we need to take into account.

People involved in vaccine distribution and administration will need additional training in the specifics of these new vaccines. This workforce will be crucial to a successful COVID-19 vaccine program, particularly if we need to set up additional clinics.

As it’s likely we’ll need two vaccine doses, keeping records on who has received a vaccine so reminders can be sent for the second dose will be important.

4. How will we know if it’s safe?

Current clinical trials are including up to 30,000-40,000 participants, of which roughly half receive the vaccine.

Studies of this size are sufficient to identify common adverse events (like a sore arm or fever, which we’re seeing reported in some patients). But to pick up serious but very rare side effects, ongoing monitoring of vaccine safety will be important.

Existing national and state-based surveillance programs will monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. For example, the AusVaxSafety system sends text messages to those who have received vaccines to check on side effects, and SAFEVAC is a network of experts who assess reports of adverse events and can provide clinical advice.

Using the Australian Immunization Register to record COVID vaccinations will also be crucial to monitoring safety and effectiveness.

Finally, we’ll need to communicate with the public about what we know, as well as the uncertainties, as a vaccine is rolled out. This involves identifying which groups need information, developing and disseminating evidence-based resources, and supporting health-care providers to facilitate discussions with patients. We’ll also need strategies to manage negative messaging and misinformation.

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Will social distancing weaken my immune system?

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Will social distancing weaken my immune system?

In short, no.

Some worry a lack of contact with others will weaken their immune system by reducing its active contact with germs.

Some worry a lack of contact with others will weaken their immune system by reducing its active contact with germs.

But even when we're staying 6 feet from others or spending most of our time at home, our bodies are continuously responding to plenty of bacteria and other germs that inhabit indoor and outdoor environments.

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“We’re constantly exposed to microbes,” said Akiko Iwasaki, an immune system researcher at Yale University. "Our immune system is always being triggered.”

The effects of childhood vaccines and other built-up immunity are also long-lasting, Iwasaki said, and won't disappear overnight because we're keeping our distance from others during the pandemic.

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Experts say anyone looking to boost their immune health during the pandemic should practice habits such as stress management, healthy eating, regular exercise and getting enough sleep.

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"These are the things that actually affect the immune system," Iwasaki said.

A seasonal flu shot will also help protect you from one more potential illness.

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How Milo Ventimiglia Thinks 'This Is Us' Will Handle Mandy Moore's Pregnancy

Bringing her baby bump to set! Milo Ventimiglia exclusively told Us Weekly about working with pregnant Mandy Moore on This Is Us.

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“I’m sure as she’s evolving in her birth, as her belly is growing, then we’ll probably be playing some of those notes up to the Big Three’s birth,” the actor, 43, said on Tuesday, October 20, referencing Kate, Randall and Kevin Pearson on the NBC show.

The California native added, “As far as I understand it, Mandy’s not really showing right now, but I think … it’s gonna creep up on all of us!”

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Moore, 36, announced last month that she is pregnant with her and husband Taylor Goldsmith’s first child. “Baby Boy Goldsmith coming early 2021,” the actress captioned a September Instagram slideshow.

Later that same month, the New Hampshire native described the food aversions she was experiencing during her pregnancy. “Just sitting here thinking: will I ever enjoy coffee again?” the “When I Wasn’t Watching” singer said on her Instagram Story. “It makes me feel sad because I used to dream about coffee before bed. I am fully expecting that my love of coffee will come back. If not, all good. Small price to pay. The food aversions, though, can we talk about that? Coffee’s not the only one. … I had the worst food aversions, I still can’t think about some things or look at them in the fridge.”

The Princess Diaries star added that she had a “really tough first 15 weeks,” praising her husband’s help.

While Moore films season 5 of This Is Us, she and her fellow cast members are taking precautions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Ventimiglia explained to Us on Tuesday: “Mandy and I were inches away on Saturday doing a few scenes together. She’s regularly tested [and] I’m regularly tested because of the seriousness of COVID and knowing that Mandy’s pregnant. We have 150 souls on our crew and nobody wants to put them at risk. I trust Mandy and how she goes about her life away from work, and I think Mandy trusts me for how I go about my life away from work. We’re always mindful of that.”

The Gilmore Girls alum went on to say that fans wouldn’t see “Mandy kissing [a] Jack dummy or Milo kissing [a] Mandy dummy” in future episodes.

With reporting by Emily Longeretta

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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“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

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Millions will need mental health help in the wake of coronavirus, experts warn

We’re on the brink of a major crisis of mental health, a new report warns.

Around 8.5 million adults and 1.5 million children in England will need mental health support in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, predicts new analysis from the Centre For Mental Health, which consulted experts from NHS England and NHS trusts.

They warn that many will have lost jobs, lost loved ones, or will be dealing with the long-term effects of having Covid-19.

Add in the general rise of issues such as health anxiety and agoraphobia due to Covid-19, and it’s clear to see that we’re heading for trouble.

The reports suggests that while two-thirds of people will already have existing mental illness and may be receiving support, others will need help for the first time, creating an even greater strain on mental health care by the NHS.

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That’s without considering the mental impact of coronavirus on NHS staff, who the report suggests will need treatment for issues such as post-traumatic distress, high psychological distress, and burnout.

The report says: ‘Among people who have not experienced mental ill health prior to the pandemic, demand for services is forecast at 1.33 million people for moderate-severe anxiety and 1.82 million for moderate to severe depression.’

From the total number of people needing support, researchers estimate more than 230,000 NHS workers may need treatment, including for post-traumatic distress (36,996), high psychological distress (120,372) and burnout (81,499).

Among patients recovering from severe Covid-19, an estimated 630 will need mental health support for anxiety, 454 for depression and 354 for PTSD, according to the report.

Meanwhile, 36,000 people who lost loved ones will need treatment, with depression being the most common condition.

At present unemployment levels, which could rise, around 30,000 people who lost their job will need support for major depression.

And of the 1.5 million children estimated to need support, 458,922 will need help for depression and 407,623 for anxiety.

Children who have lost parents to Covid-19 will also require help, plus those who suffered other mental distress during lockdown.

Nick O’Shea, the chief economist at the Centre For Mental Health, who led the research, said: ‘The numbers are stark. Covid-19 is a disaster for every country that has been badly affected, and the consequences for our mental health are just as severe.

‘The challenge of meeting the mental health needs arising out of the pandemic may be as great as the many difficulties of responding to the virus.

‘So it must be taken as seriously. We must prepare now for what lies ahead.’

The team behind the report want to prepare us for the looming crisis ahead and make sure that plans are put in place to identify people who need mental health support and ensure they receive the right care quickly.

‘Unresolved mental health needs can escalate to crisis point without effective early help,’ Nick added.

‘We cannot afford to wait and see or to leave it until after the pandemic has subsided.’

Centre For Mental Health chief executive Sarah Hughes said: ‘We have identified the risks and the unequal impacts of Covid-19 on both mental and physical health

‘The extent of the crisis is becoming clearer every day.

‘There is a rising tide of distress that will over time require effective and compassionate care and support.

‘The Government and the NHS must act now. We must not leave the nation’s mental health to chance.’

Need support? Contact the Samaritans

For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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