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China still allowing use of pangolin scales in traditional medicine | Illegal wildlife trade

The Chinese government continues to allow the use of pangolin scales for traditional medicine despite promises to crack down on a trade that has made them the most illegally trafficked mammals in the world.

A report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reveals online sales platforms such as eBay and Taobao continue to advertise pangolin products, while major pharmaceutical companies, including the leading China Beijing Tong Ren Tang Group, offer similar items directly on their websites.

The researchers behind the Smoke and Mirrors report found 221 companies had been licensed to sell items containing pangolin scales, which appeared as an ingredient in 64 different products.

The watchdog group said this revealed major loopholes in China’s regulations that needed to be closed if the government is serious about protecting endangered wildlife.

Pangolin have almost disappeared in China because of a medically unproven belief that a broth containing the scales has medicinal qualities, including helping women who have problems lactating. Over recent decades the circle of slaughter and smuggling has steadily widened to neighbouring nations, then south-east Asia, and now Africa.

An estimated 200,000 pangolins are consumed each year in Asia, of which Chinese traditional medicine is the main driver. The latest world wildlife crime report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says 71% of pangolin scale seizures were destined for China. Vietnam is another major market.

Hopes for change were raised this summer when the Chinese government, which is due to host a global biodiversity summit, announced that pangolin scales had been removed from the official listing of approved ingredients in the traditional pharmacopoeia.

This won international kudos and, along with President Xi Jinping’s announcement of more ambitious cuts to carbon emission, prompted optimism that China was ready to take on an environmental leadership role, in contrast to the negligence of the US under Donald Trump.

But the EIA report reveals huge gaps in Chinese enforcement. The government continues to allow pharmaceutical companies to use pangolin scales from the national stockpile, which is “shrouded in secrecy and never seems to run out”. A related report earlier this year found China’s medical insurance system was still reimbursing users for traditional remedies containing pangolin, which undermined the broader goal of reducing the illegal trade.

“China has taken some half measures but not gone the full way in banning the use of pangolin scales in medicine,” said Chris Hamley, a senior pangolin campaigner at the EIA. “Given the massive illegal trade and weak regulation internally, it is very likely that pharmaceutical companies are using illegal scales. Our report found a whole bunch of those.”

He called on the National People’s Congress to close the loopholes when it reviews China’s wildlife protection law. Companies and their European investors could also make declarations not to use pangolin scales, which can be replaced by other herbal products. The international community could also use the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) to encourage nations to take tougher action

Lead-in or No, Switch to Long-Acting Monthly ART Is Safe

Individuals who have virologic suppression of HIV with daily oral dolutegravir/abacavir/lamivudine (DTG/ABC/3TC) can be switched safely with or without an oral lead-in phase to monthly injectable cabotegravir plus rilpirivine (CAB/RPV) with comparable efficacy and safety, new data suggest.

Among 232 patients who had virologic suppression (HIV-1 RNA less than 50 copies/mL) following 100 weeks of therapy with DTG/ABC/3TC, the safety and tolerability of the long-acting CAB/RPV formulation was similar whether patients were immediately switched to it or transitioned over 1 month with an oral lead-in phase, reported Ronald D’Amico, MD, from ViiV Healthcare, and colleagues during the annual HIV Glasgow drug therapy meeting, which was held virtually this year because of the pandemic.

Virologic suppression rates 24 weeks after the switch were 99.1% for patients switched directly to the long-acting CAB/RPV and 93.4% for patients who had an oral lead-in; virologic data at this time point was not available for 7 patients (5.8%) in the oral lead-in arm vs 0% of patients in the direct-treatment group.

The investigators reported results of the extension phase of the FLAIR trial. In this study, 629 treatment-naive study participants started on DTG/ABC/3TC, and those who achieved viral suppression at 20 weeks, were then randomly assigned to continue with that regimen or to switch to long-acting CAB/RPV. Participants in the switch group began with a 30-day lead-in regimen of daily oral cabotegravir 30 mg plus rilpivirine 900 mg and then switched to monthly intramuscular injections.

In the current study, the investigators reported on the extension switch population. At week 100 of the study, patients initially assigned to DTG/ABC/3TC could opt to switch to intramuscular CAB/RPV either directly (111 patients) or with 1 month of oral CAB/RPV (121 patients).

At 24 weeks following the switch (study week 124), only one patient in each study arm had HIV-1 RNA of 50 copies/mL or greater, and as noted before 99% of patients in the direct-to-injection arm had maintained virologic suppression, as did 93% of patients in the oral lead-in group. One patient in the direct-to-injection arm had a confirmed virologic failure at week 112.

There was one grade 4 drug-related adverse event in the direct-to-injection group, a case of mixed cellularity Hodgkin lymphoma. Severe (grade 3) adverse events occurred in one patient in the direct arm, and five in the oral lead-in group.

Patients generally tolerated the long-acting injections well. Injection site reactions were the most common adverse events reported; most were mild or moderate in severity, the investigators reported.

Long-acting CAB/RPV is an investigational formulation. Last December, the US Food and Drug Administration denied approval to the formulation based on manufacturing and chemistry concerns, according to a company press release.

HIV Glasgow 2020 Virtual Conference: Abstract O414. October 5-8, 2020.

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Trump doctor says president ‘has tested negative’ for COVID-19 on consecutive days, won’t reveal when

President Donald Trump tested negative for COVID-19 at some point in the “recent” past, his personal doctor said Monday, though he didn’t specify what that meant.

Dr. Sean Conley, the White House doctor who has continued to offer misleading or incomplete information about Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis, offered the latest confusing update in a memo released shortly before the president was set to hold an evening campaign rally in Florida.

“In response to your inquiry regarding the president’s most recent COVID-19 tests, I can share with you that he has tested NEGATIVE, on consecutive days,” Conley wrote in the memo.

A White House spokesman did not return a request for clarity.

Conley wrote in the memo that Trump’s negative results came back using the so-called “Abbott BinaxNOW antigen card” — a rapid test known to not be as accurate as more sensitive swab tests.

However, Conley said the team of White House physicians also relied on “clinical and laboratory data” in assessing that “the president is not infectious to others.”

Since Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Oct. 1, Conley and White House officials have refused to say when he took his last negative test.

The obfuscation has raised concern that Trump could still be contagious.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says COVID-19 patients who experience severe symptoms — which Trump did — can be contagious for “up to 20 days.”

Nonetheless, Trump was not wearing a face mask as he boarded Air Force One on Monday afternoon for a rally in Sanford, Florida — his first public campaign event since being diagnosed with the virus that’s killed more than 215,000 Americans.


©2020 New York Daily News

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Mississippi virus indicators go ‘unwanted direction’

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s state health officer said Monday that he’s troubled by the state’s recent rise in COVID-19 cases, including a significant increase during the past week of people hospitalized because of the highly contagious coronavirus.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs said six hospitals have no beds available in their intensive care units, and clinics are seeing an increasing number of patients with COVID-19 symptoms.

“All of the indicators are starting to turn in an unwanted direction,” Dobbs said during an online news conference.

Although Republican Gov. Tate Reeves ended his statewide mask mandate Sept. 30, Dobbs said it’s important for people to voluntarily do simple things to slow the spread of the virus — wearing masks, keeping social distance of at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) and avoiding large gatherings.

Dobbs said Mississippi’s case numbers were “starting to creep up” before health officials expected any impact from the lifting of the mask mandate. He said the lack of a mandate could add to the problem of increasing cases.

“I will say, personally, I’ve been a little bit disappointed just hearing from churches and businesses that they feel like they are no longer empowered to have their members or visitors wear masks,” Dobbs said.

Cities and counties are allowed to set their own mandates for people to wear masks in public places.

The state health department will start offering rapid coronavirus testing in some counties this week. Dobbs said it should be available next week in the department’s other testing sites. Until now, tests done by the department have had results available in days rather than hours.

Dobbs also said that ahead of the Nov. 3 election, the department will hand out free paper masks that include a plastic guard to cover part of the face. Those will be available at testing sites to people who are at least 65 or who have health conditions that could make them more vulnerable to the virus, including diabetes, hypertension and lung disease.

The state health department said Monday that Mississippi, with a population of about 3 million, has reported more than 105,000 cases and at least 3,101 deaths from COVID-19 as of Sunday evening, with an increase of 296 confirmed cases and no deaths from numbers reported the day before.


Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at and

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Kentucky governor says he had busy work day in quarantine

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s governor said Monday that he kept up a busy work schedule despite being confined to the governor’s mansion after being around someone who later tested positive for COVID-19.

Gov. Andy Beshear said he will follow the advice of state public health officials in determining how long he and his family remain quarantined at the mansion. His next COVID test is expected to be Tuesday and then Friday, he said. He added he tested negative last week.

“I’ve asked them (health officials) to treat me like anybody else out there,” the Democratic said. “So I’m going to follow all the rules and all the guidelines.”

Beshear said he had one of his busiest Mondays in a while, and that the biggest challenge of working in quarantine — away from his staff — was all the time he spent “staring at a screen.”

“I’m working,” he said. “I’m just having to do it like many other families are having to do — remotely with sometimes my kids bouncing in and out, or a vacuum cleaner going.”

Beshear’s wife, Britainy, and their two children also are in quarantine.

“We’re doing great,” Beshear said. “I feel great. My family feels great. We are trying to be really positive about this situation.”

In his virtual briefing, the governor reported Kentucky’s highest number of coronavirus cases on a Monday since the pandemic began. He said that offers more evidence that the outbreak continues its recent escalation in the Bluegrass State.

Beshear announced Sunday that he and his family were potentially exposed the day before by a member of his security detail who later tested positive for COVID-19. Beshear has said they received a call from a contact tracer to alert his family of the possible exposure.

The member of his security team is showing mild symptoms of the virus, the governor said.

“He’s a tank,” the governor said. “He’s going to be great. We know he’ll make a full recovery, and we’re checking on him every day.”

While most people who contract the coronavirus recover after suffering only mild to moderate symptoms, it can be deadly for older patients and those with other health problems.

The governor — who has a statewide mask mandate in place — has said his family and the security official who drove with them Saturday all wore facial coverings. Beshear has said his family was not in contact with anyone else following the potential exposure.

Meanwhile, the governor reported 643 new coronavirus cases statewide Monday. It continues a string of increases on recent Mondays, when case numbers are typically lower than most other days in the week because many labs are closed on Sundays. Last week, Kentucky posted 543 virus cases on Monday, compared with 456 and 406 cases the prior two Mondays, he said.

“So you can see a steady increase,” Beshear said. “That means that we’ve got to do better, because we have more contacts out there — whether it’s our kids in schools,

COVID On The Rise In UK As More Patients In Hospitals Than In March


  • England’s emergency nightingale hospitals will be used again in the north of the country to provide extra capacity for local health services amid a steep rise in COVID-19 infections, The Guardian reported
  • Jonathan Van Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, argued that infection rates are rising fast in northern England due to the fact that the COVID infection rate never dropped as far as it did in the south during the summer
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson implemented new COVID-19 restrictions for specific England regions, where infection rates are spiking

COVID-19 admissions are rising in the U.K., with a growing number of elderly people needing urgent treatment. According to the Guardian, England’s emergency Nightingale hospitals will be used again in the north of the country to provide extra capacity for local health services amid a steep rise in infections.

Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said that temporary hospital establishments used at the height of the pandemic will be reopening and can accept patients within a few weeks. 

This is the first time any of England’s seven Nightingale hospitals have been brought back into service after being placed on standby as infection rates dipped during the summer months.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson implemented new COVID-19 restrictions for specific England regions, where infection rates are spiking. 

Jonathan Van Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, argued that infection rates are rising fast in northern England due to the fact that the COVID infection rate never dropped as far as it did in the south during the summer.

Powis, speaking alongside Van Tam at a press conference, said that there were now more coronavirus patients in England hospitals than before national restrictions were introduced on March 23.

Hospitals in the northwest and northeast had seen a significant increase in COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care in the past four weeks, he said. “If infections continue to rise, in four more weeks they could be treating more patients than they were at the peak of the first wave.”

“Pandemic fatigue” has set in across Europe, with France and Spain seeing a surge. Madrid has become a COVID hot spot.

In the U.S., 54% of rural counties are seeing a sharp uptick in COVID cases, according to the Daily Yonder, which covers rural America.

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The Best Fitness Tech To Buy at Walmart’s Major Sale, From Apple Watches to Treadmills

Treadmills and Apple watches aren’t exactly inexpensive, which means any time they go on sale is so incredibly exciting, making the investment all the more worthwhile. Walmart is in the midst of a huge sale where you can get fitness tech and tools at a massive discount.

Walmart’s major sale on fitness items is perfect for anyone who is looking to outfit their home gym or introduce more tech into their routine. Shop the very best deals below.

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Walmart fitness

The best fitness tech to buy at Walmart

1. Apple Watch Series 3 GPS, $169

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Apple Watch Series 3 GPS, walmart fitness

Originally released in September 2017, the Apple Watch Series 3 normally sells for $199. This watch allows you to measure your workouts, track and share your daily activity, better manage everyday stress, and monitor your heart rate more effectively. You can also sync it with your favorite playlists and use it to stay in touch with friends and family. This watch is available in white and black.

Shop now: Apple Watch Series 3 GPS, $169

To learn more about wearables, watch What the Wellness Host Ella Dove try them out:

2. Zimtown Ktaxon Fitness Blue Yoga Stability Balance Trainer Ball with Resistance Bands, $55

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Zimtown Ktaxon Fitness Blue Yoga Stability Balance Trainer Ball with Resistance Bands

A stability ball can make all of your workouts harder and more effective. Add in the resistance bands and this tool is like a mini gym. Use just the ball for crunches à la Kate Hudson or stand on it while doing bicep curls or arm raises to work your arms and core at the same time.

Shop now: Zimtown Ktaxon Fitness Blue Yoga Stability Balance Trainer Ball with Resistance Bands, $55

3. Echelon Connect Sport Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike, $499

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Echelon Connect Sport Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike


Originally priced at $599, this Echelon indoor cycling bike is perfect for getting your cardio in at home. The bike comes with six months of free access to the Echelon Fit App, where you’ll have access to over 1,600 cycling classes of all fitness levels and music genres. You can filter by length, music, language, instructor, and more to find the best class for you.

Shop now: Echelon Connect Sport Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike, $499

4. Apple Air Pods, $129

Apple Air Pods

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Apple Air Pods

These earbuds took over as soon as they launched, and for good reason. Having the comfort of earbuds without the hassle of a cord is a game-changer. This pair, typically sold for $159, comes with a standard charging case. The AirPods with Wireless Charging Case ($160) and the AirPods Pro ($199) are also on sale.

Shop now: Apple AirPods, $129

5. Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones II, $299

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Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones II

If you prefer headphones to earbuds, this pair

Nurses at Backus Hospital in Norwich plan to strike Tuesday in protest over contract talks

Nurses at Backus Hospital in Norwich are set to strike Tuesday and Wednesday to protest what they say is the company’s refusal to negotiate a contract.

The hospital and Backus Federation of Nurses, part of AFT Connecticut that represents more than 400 nurses have been in contract talks since June. The two sides differ on compensation, improved distribution of personal protective equipment and recruiting and keeping new nurses, according to the union.

A spokeswoman for parent company Hartford HealthCare did not immediately respond to questions about staffing at Backus Hospital during the walkout. Donna Handley, president of the hospital, said earlier this month Backus will remain open during a strike and will work to reach an agreement.

Union President Sherri Dayton said recent negotiations led to progress on improved protective gear policies, expanded access for breastfeeding by new mothers and accountability for safe patient limits.

But the company has not yielded on calls by the union to improve recruitment and retention of nurses, the union said.

The union has organized a rally Tuesday at the hospital and will be joined by U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and other labor leaders and elected officials.

Nurses at the not-for-profit hospital are seeking higher pay and more staff to relieve nurses who often work hours after the end of their shifts, the union said. They also say they are forced to reuse personal protective equipment kept in paper bags until it’s compromised or soiled and are demanding Hartford Healthcare keep a three-month supply of N95 masks.

Hartford HealthCare insists personal protective equipment is always available to patients and staff.

Stephen Singer can be reached at [email protected]


©2020 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

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Hours before Trump campaigns in Florida, Fauci cautions against holding rallies, saying it is ‘asking for trouble.’

Hours before President Trump was set to return to the campaign trail in Florida on Monday, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, warned that holding large rallies was “asking for trouble” with cases of the coronavirus surging in many states.

Dr. Fauci, in an interview with CNN, said that Americans needed to be more cautious in the fall and winter months, and warned that rising rates of infections in a number of states suggested Americans should be “doubling down” on precautions rather than casting them aside.

“We know that that is asking for trouble when you do that,” Dr. Fauci said of Mr. Trump’s decision to begin a full schedule of campaign rallies. “We’ve seen that when you have situations of congregate settings where there are a lot of people without masks, the data speak for themselves. It happens. And now is even more so a worse time to do that, because when you look at what’s going on in the United States, it’s really very troublesome.”

He noted that many states were now seeing increases in positive tests. “It’s going in the wrong direction right now,” he said.

He said that people should continue to wear masks and practice social distancing — and avoid large gatherings — to prevent new outbreaks. “That’s just a recipe of a real problem if we don’t get things under control before we get into that seasonal challenge,” he said.

Dr. Fauci’s comments came one day after he objected to a new Trump campaign television ad that portrayed him as praising the president’s response to the pandemic.

Dr. Fauci reiterated on Monday that the ad had taken his past remarks out of context, and called his inclusion in it “very disappointing.” He said he had been speaking more broadly about the collaborative efforts of the federal government and was “not a political person.” Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper whether the ad should be taken down, something the Trump campaign says it has no intention of doing, Dr. Fauci said, “I think so.”

In an interview with The Times on Monday, Dr. Fauci said that he had been unsuccessful so far in having the ad removed.

“I wouldn’t know who to contact in the campaign to tell them to pull it down,” he said. “I spoke to someone who I know well in the White House to figure it out for me and tell me how to get it down. I haven’t heard back from them yet.”

Dr. Fauci said that he did not want to be pulled into the fray of the campaign.

“I never in my five decades ever directly or indirectly supported a political candidate and I’m not going to start now,” he said. “I do not want to be involved in it.”

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Prime Day Golf, Fitness & Sports Deals 2020: Early Treadmill, Exercise Bike, Nike & Adidas Apparel, Golf & Gym Equipment Sales Identified by Save Bubble

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Amazon Prime Day 2020 researchers at Save Bubble have shared the latest early sports and fitness deals for Amazon Prime Day 2020, featuring deals on golf apparel and equipment, stationary bikes, treadmills, ellipticals, running shoes, sportswear and more. Check out the full range of deals in the list below.

Best golf deals:

Best sport & fitness products deals:

Best exercise bike & treadmill deals:

Best Nike & Adidas sports gear:

Want some more Adidas, Nike, and more fitness gear deals? Click here to shop the entire selection of deals on the Amazon Prime Day page.

Amazon Prime Day 2020 discounts last for a certain length of time. Save Bubble earns commissions from purchases made using the links provided.

Prime Day gives shoppers an exciting opportunity to take advantage of a huge number of deals across Amazon’s broad range of products.

Not yet an Amazon Prime member? Start your 30-day free trial now and unlock all the best Prime Day deals.

Prime Day gives shoppers an excellent opportunity to save on golf and sports equipment, fitness and exercise machines, and gym clothing and footwear. As a hobby, golf requires numerous specialty equipment such as golf club drivers and iron sets. Complete golf club sets from Strata, Pinemeadow, and PreciseGolf are available in sizes for men, women, and children. Golf balls from Titleist, Callaway, and TaylorMade, as well as various training equipment such as putting greens and golf chipping nets can allow enthusiasts to practice their swings and putts at home.

Fitness equipment such as exercise bikes and treadmills are also highly popular on Amazon. Schwinn exercise bikes and Marcy recumbent bikes are some of the top-selling exercise equipment, along with under-desk pedal exercisers from DeskCycle, which allow indoor cycling even while you’re working. NordicTrack and Sunny Health & Fitness treadmills are highly rated and come in folding variants for easier storage.

Sports footwear and fitness clothing are necessary for enhanced freedom of movement while working out. adidas, Nike, Under Armour, Reebok, and similar active wear brands all have extensive lines of running shoes, activewear apparel, and more.

This year’s Prime Day sale taking place later in the year marks a first in Prime Day history.

Want some more sports and fitness deals? Click here to browse the full selection of deals on the Amazon Prime Day sale page.

About Save Bubble: Save Bubble round-up the latest online sales news. As an Amazon Associate Save Bubble earns from qualifying purchases.

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