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Coronavirus Live Updates: Cruise Companies Cancel Trips Through End Of 2020

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Read the latest updates below. (To see the latest updates, you may need to refresh the page. All times are Eastern. For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.)

U.S. Sets Record For COVID-19 Cases Amid Election Battle — 11/5/20, 6:30 a.m. ET

States around the country set all-time highs Wednesday and the U.S. set another record for daily confirmed coronavirus cases as the country awaited results of the presidential race, the AP reports.

In the time until President Donald Trump’s term expires on Jan. 20, 100,000 more Americans will likely die from the virus if the country doesn’t change strategy, said Dr. Robert Murphy, executive director of the Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Daily new confirmed deaths are at a record 7-day average of 86,352, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Deaths are up to an average of 846 a day.

“Regardless of the outcome of the election, everyone in America needs to buckle down,” said Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association.

— Liza Hearon

Cruise Companies Cancel Trips Through End Of Year — 11/3/20, 6:45 a.m. ET

Royal Caribbean Group, Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings and Carnival Corp. will cancel most cruises through the end of the year, the companies said Monday.

The companies had already suspended cruises through Nov. 30 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, USA Today reported.

The cancellations follow a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order,” issued Friday. It stipulates that cruises sailing in U.S. waters would first need to do simulation sailings with no paying passengers on board to show compliance with CDC standards.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, some cruises have restarted in Asia and Europe with COVID-19 protocols, but ocean cruises have yet to restart in U.S. waters.

Cruise ships were vectors for the spread of the coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic with several outbreaks on board ships. Hundreds of passengers were quarantined off Japan for weeks on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

— Liza Hearon

Record Number Of U.S. Children Diagnosed With COVID-19 Last Week — 11/3/20, 5:40 a.m. ET

More than 61,000 children were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the week ending Oct. 29, the highest number since the pandemic began, the American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday.

While it appears at this time that severe illness due to the coronavirus is rare among children, there’s a need to research the long-term impacts on children, including on mental and physical health, the academy said.

Children represented 11.1% of cases in states that reported their cases by age. The report found that, in October, the Western states of Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Utah reported the greatest rises in the number of children with the coronavirus. Overall, the percentage of pediatric cases nationwide has crept up, from around 2% in mid-April.

“It just keeps going from horrible to even worse,” said Dr. Greg Demuri, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, NBC News reported.

The U.S. has reported about 9.3 million cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, with more than 231,000 deaths.

— Liza Hearon

WHO Indirectly Helped China Whitewash Its Early Failures In Handling Outbreak: NYT — 11/2/20, 7:45 a.m. ET

The World Health Organization may have botched its early investigation into the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic by bending to pressure from China, indirectly helping the country whitewash its initial failures in handling the outbreak, The New York Times reported Monday.

Though the WHO has led the world on COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccine science, its quiet concessions to China have created a geopolitical divide: European leaders wants to reform the organization in light of its recent blunders while U.S. President Donald Trump has essentially abandoned it, withdrawing the U.S. from the group in May.

Meanwhile, the world ― with perhaps, the exception of China ― remains in the dark about the virus’s origins, which could be key to curbing its spread, preventing future outbreaks and shaping the global response to pandemics. Many scientists now doubt the initial theory that the outbreak began in a wet market in Wuhan, though evidence suggests the virus passed naturally from animals to humans, according to the Times.

Read more here.

— Hayley Miller

WHO Chief Self-Quarantines After Exposure To COVID-19 — 11/2/20, 5:45 a.m. ET

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, said Sunday that he will self-quarantine after being identified as a contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

He said that he is well and without symptoms but will work from home in line with WHO protocols. The WHO director-general has been at the forefront of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also on Sunday, Geneva, where the WHO is headquartered, declared a fresh state of emergency and imposed tougher lockdown restrictions than the rest of Switzerland, closing all bars, restaurants and non-essential shops. The Geneva region, which includes about 500,000 people, has recorded more than 1,000 new cases a day recently.

— Liza Hearon

COVID-19 Surge Ahead Of Election Day Creates Concerns For Polling Places — 11/01/2020, 3:10 p.m. ET

A surge in coronavirus cases across the country, including in key presidential battleground states, is creating mounting health and logistical concerns for voters, poll workers and political parties ahead of Election Day.

Iowa election official Joel Miller said he is concerned about contracting the virus after spending hours this week assisting voters. He said he was worried about the virus spreading at polling places Tuesday, noting that voters cannot be required to wear masks.

“Heck yes I’m concerned,” Miller said. “I’m going to have 500 people working on Tuesday. I don’t want it on my conscience that somebody caught COVID at a polling place and got sick. … It could happen. It could happen to me.”

Read more from The Associated Press.

― Hayley Miller

Boris Johnson Announces New National Lockdown For England — 10/31/20, 4:05 p.m. ET

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday that England will return to a lockdown next week as COVID-19 cases in the country are quickly rising.

The new lockdown will begin Thursday and last until Dec. 2.

Nonessential retail, leisure, and entertainment businesses will be closed. Restaurants, bars, and pubs will be allowed to offer take-out and delivery only.

Schools, including universities, will stay open, as will workplaces, where working from home is impossible — like those in the manufacturing and construction sectors.

Johnson said that people may only leave home for specific reasons, including education, work, outdoor recreation, medical appointments, shopping for essentials, and providing care for vulnerable people.

“No one wants to be imposing these kinds of measures anywhere,” said Johnson. But, he added, “no responsible prime minister can ignore” the rising numbers.

— Hilary Hanson

Boris Johnson Expected To Announce New National Lockdown For England — 10/31/20, 10:20 a.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce Saturday that England will return into a lockdown next week as COVID-19 cases are soaring.

“Unlike the first wave, where we had a national lockdown which protected huge swathes of society, this outbreak is now running riot across all age groups,”   Calum Semple, a professor and member of Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies said on BBC Radio 4 Today ahead of the announcement.

Semple noted that women between the ages of 20 and 40 were were three to four times likely as men in the same age group to end up in the hospital because of their increased likelihood of working in hospitality, retail or educational fields where they could be exposed.

The expected lockdown could last until Dec. 1.

— Hilary Hanson

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Says He’s Under Quarantine After Potential COVID-19 Exposure — 10/30/20, 3:30 p.m. ET

Brian Kemp, the Republican governor of Georgia, announced Friday that he and his wife, Marty Kemp, were quarantining after “direct exposure within the last 48 hours to an individual who recently tested positive” for the coronavirus.

Kemp — who earlier in the pandemic was criticized by President Trump for allowing the reopening of some businesses in the state too quickly — also announced Friday that he was extending the state’s COVID-19 emergency order into December.

According to a statement from Kemp’s office, the governor was not “currently experiencing any symptoms.”

Georgia has reported more than 350,000 cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began. More than 7,900 people in the state have died from the virus to date.

— Dominique Mosbergen

U.S. Coronavirus Cases Hit New Record With Nearly 90,000 New Infections In 1 Day — 10/30/2020, 10:35 a.m. ET

The United States has set yet another grim milestone as the deadly coronavirus continues to surge throughout the country.

John Hopkins University reported more than 88,000 new U.S. cases of the coronavirus in the past day, surpassing the previous record of 80,000 cases on Wednesday. The university on Thursday also recorded 982 deaths in the country, which is leading the world’s death toll with nearly 230,000 deaths. Experts have warned that by the end of the year, the number of deaths in the United States could double to 400,000.

President Donald Trump, who has downplayed the pandemic from the start, continued to dig his heels into falsehoods earlier this week when he inaccurately claimed that the United States is “rounding the turn” even as nationwide cases of COVID-19 continue to shatter records.

— Sebastian Murdock 

Boston Mayor Encourages All Residents To Take Coronavirus Test — 10/30/20, 6:30 a.m. ET

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Thursday encouraged all residents of his city to take a coronavirus test under a new program called “Get The Test Boston.”

City workers will receive one paid hour every 14 days to get tested during their normal work hours, Walsh said. Several city businesses such as the Boston Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics have committed to ensuring their employees get tested.

Coronavirus cases have been rising in Boston, with the city’s positivity rate rising to 7.8% on Saturday compared with 6.2% the previous week.

The Massachusetts health department reported more than 1,000 new cases in the state for a fifth consecutive day on Wednesday.

— Liza Hearon





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Sex Toy Company Receives Award From Queen For ‘Outstanding Continuous Growth’

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British sex toy company Lovehoney has received a royal seal of approval.

The adult retailer was this week honored with The Queen’s Award for Enterprise “for outstanding continuous growth in overseas sales over the last six years,” per a press release on its website.

The accolade, announced by the official journal of record The London Gazette, allows the company in Bath, southwest England, to fly The Queen’s Awards flag at their office and use its emblem on marketing and packaging materials for five years. It also won the award in 2016.

“We are thrilled to have received official recognition from the Queen,” said Debbie Bond, Lovehoney’s chief commercial officer. “Her Majesty has been a wonderful supporter of Lovehoney as we have grown into being the world’s leading sexual wellness brand.”

“Royal patronage will help us to create more jobs at our Bath headquarters and in our international offices and spread the sexual happiness message globally,” added Bond, who said royal approval shows how shoppers “are embracing sexual wellness products as never before and appreciating their importance in improving overall well-being ― a particularly important message as we come out of lockdown after a stressful year living with the pandemic.”

The first Queen’s Awards — described on the United Kingdom government’s website as “the most prestigious awards for UK business” — were issued in 1966. This year, some 205 companies were honored for their work in innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promotion of opportunity through social mobility.





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Joe Rogan Admits He’s A ‘F**king Moron’ After Offering Selfish COVID-19 Vaccine Advice

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Wildly popular podcast host Joe Rogan admitted he’s a “f**king moron” and “not a respected source of information, even for me” when he addressed his selfish comments about young, healthy people not needing to get vaccinated from COVID-19.

Rogan, whose audience is in the hundreds of millions, drew backlash — and a rebuke from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert — when he said on an episode of his “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast released on Spotify last week that “if you’re a healthy person and you’re exercising all the time and you’re young and you’re eating well, I don’t think you need to worry about this.”

On Thursday, Rogan clarified in a video shared on YouTube that he was “not an anti-vaxx person.” “In fact, I said I believe they’re safe and I encourage many people to take them. My parents were vaccinated,” he explained. “I just said, ‘I don’t think that if you’re a young, healthy person that you need it.’ Their argument was, you need it for other people.”

“So you don’t transmit the other virus,” said his cohost.

“That makes more sense,” agreed Rogan. “But that’s a different argument. That’s a different conversation.”

Rogan, whose show was snapped up by Spotify in a $100 million deal last year, later attempted to explain away the comments by saying how he doesn’t plan what he says on air.

He’s often high or drinking alcohol during the shows, he said, before accusing “clickbaity” journalists of blowing his comments out of proportion.

“I’m not a doctor, I’m a fucking moron and I’m a cage fighting commentator who’s a dirty standup comedian who just told you I’m drunk most of the time and I do testosterone and I smoke a lot of weed but I’m not a respected source of information, even for me,” he said.

“If I say things, I’m always going ‘check on that Jamie, I don’t know if that’s true,’” Rogan added. “But I at least try to be honest about what I’m saying.”

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus



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Dozens Killed In Stampede At Jewish Religious Festival In Israel

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JERUSALEM (AP) — The director of an Israeli ambulance service has confirmed that nearly 40 people died in a stampede at a religious festival in northern Israel.

Eli Beer, director of Hatzalah, said he was shocked by the size of the crowd at the Lag BaOmer celebrations at Mount Meron. Police were quoted as saying some 100,000 people were there.

He told Army Radio that there were four to five times the number of people that should have entered a location like this. “Close to 40 people died as a result of this tragedy,” he said.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS EVENT. AP’s earlier story is below.

A stampede broke out early Friday at a Jewish religious gathering attended by tens of thousands of people in northern Israel, leaving 150 hospitalized, authorities said. Israeli media reported that as many as 44 people were killed and published photos of rows of bodies.

The disaster occurred at Mount Meron at the main celebrations of Lag BaOmer, a holiday when tens of thousands of people, mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews, gather to honor Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a 2nd century sage and mystic who is buried there. Large crowds traditionally light bonfires, pray and dance as part of the celebrations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “great tragedy,” and said everyone was praying for the victims.

 The incident happened after midnight, and the cause of the stampede was not immediately clear. Videos circulating on social media showed large numbers of ultra-Orthodox Jews packed together in tight spaces.

A 24-year-old witness, identified only by his first name Dvir, told the Army Radio station that “masses of people were pushed into the same corner and a vortex was created.” He said a first row of people fell down, and then a second row, where he was standing, also began to fall down from the pressure of the stampede.

“I felt like I was about to die,” he said.

Zaki Heller, spokesman for the Magen David Adom rescue service, said 150 people had been hospitalized and confirmed there had been some deaths. Army Radio, citing anonymous medical officials, said the death toll had risen to 44.

Heller told the station “no one had ever dreamed” something like this could happen. “In one moment, we went from a happy event to an immense tragedy,” he said.

Photos from the scene showed rows of wrapped bodies.

The Israeli military said it had dispatched medics and search and rescue teams along with helicopters to assist with a “mass casualty incident” in the area. It did not provide details on the nature of the disaster.

It was the first huge religious gathering to be held legally since Israel lifted nearly all restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. The country has seen cases plummet since launching one of the world’s most successful vaccination campaigns late last year.

Health authorities had nevertheless warned against holding such a large gathering.

But when the celebrations started, the Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, police chief Yaakov Shabtai and other top officials visited the event and met with police, who had deployed 5,000 extra forces to maintain order.

Ohana, a close ally of Netanyahu, thanked police for their hard work and dedication “for protecting the well-being and security for the many participants” as he wished the country a happy holiday.

Netanyahu is struggling to form a governing coalition ahead of a Tuesday deadline, and the national tragedy is sure to complicate those efforts.





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Gabrielle Union Talks Baby Kaavia’s Free Spirit: ‘Shade Is Her Super Power’

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Gabrielle Union recently talked about her daughter, Kaavia James, and her funny “shady” moments, characterizing those times as her 2-year-old’s “super power.”

“Shade is her super power because when Kaavia gives you a look, it’s either you’re not respecting her boundaries or something is happening that she doesn’t like,” the actor told People in an interview published Wednesday.

Union and her retired NBA star husband, Dwyane Wade, welcomed Kaavia in November 2018.

The couple has since poked fun at the toddler’s occasional adorably shady facial expressions — and hilarious side-eyes — like when a photo of Kaavia seated on a couch looking pensive and slightly unbothered became a meme last year.

Or when the little one looked less than pleased with the outcome of her face paint design at her second birthday party:

Inspired by Kaavia’s witty personality, Wade and Union created an Instagram account for the little girl, often using the hashtag ”#Shadybaby” in the posts’ captions. The couple also collaborated to write a Kaavia-influenced children’s book titled “Shady Baby” due for release next month.

Union explained in Wednesday’s People interview that she celebrates Kaavia’s freedom to be her authentic self amid a long history of harmful ways Black women and girls have been treated in society.

“The main takeaway is that she’s free to be this amazing, dynamic, shady at times, loving at times Black little girl when the world has not been so kind to Black girls and women,” she added.

In addition to Kaavia, Wade is father to Zaya, Zaire and Xavier. Union and Wade also parent his nephew Dahveon Morris.

Wade told People that he and Union make a point to encourage their children to be their true selves.

“If we allow our kids to be their true selves we don’t have to worry about them conforming with anything or anyone,” he said. “Why wouldn’t we push our kids to be their authentic selves?”

Last month, Kaavia took a side-eyeing break to enjoy a sweet play date with 2-year-old Cairo, the daughter of actors Tia Mowry and Cory Hardrict.

After some hugs, Kaavia generously took Cairo for a spin in her toddler-sized electric car:





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Anne Heche Says Ellen DeGeneres Didn’t Want Her To ‘Dress Sexy’

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Anne Heche took an unexpected swipe at former girlfriend Ellen DeGeneres this week during an online fashion retrospective.

In a short TikTok video Tuesday, Heche looked back at some of her favorite looks from years past, including the 1998 VH1 Fashion Awards and a memorable “Dancing with the Stars” routine from last fall.

The actor’s enthusiasm for nostalgia, however, notably dipped when she came upon a photo of her and DeGeneres from the 1998 Golden Globe Awards. The pair appear to have color-coordinated their outfits, with DeGeneres in a navy suit and Heche in a blue velvet gown and matching coat.

“Why do I look like a hippie? It’s because Ellen didn’t want me to dress sexy,” Heche, who has starred in films like “Donnie Brasco” and “Six Days, Seven Nights,” declared. After giving the look a zero out of 10 and a thumbs down, she added, “Bye, no!”

Heche and DeGeneres dated from 1997 to 2000. During their time together, the women were among Hollywood’s most-buzzed-about same-sex couples.

The former couple has remained mostly tight-lipped about the specifics of their relationship in the media. Heche, however, touched on her ex in a number of interviews timed to her appearance on “Dancing with the Stars” last year.

Chatting with Mr. Warburton magazine last year, she recalled angering Hollywood executives when she brought DeGeneres as her date to the premiere of 1997’s “Volcano.”

“I was told by Fox Studio executives that if I brought Ellen to the premiere, my contract would be terminated,” she told the publication. “I brought Ellen despite those threats, and we were escorted out of the theater before the lights came on by security and not allowed to attend the premiere party because they did not want any photos of us together.”



Ellen DeGeneres (left) and Anne Heche at the 1998 Golden Globe Awards.

“I was a part of a revolution that created social change,” she added, “and I could not have done that without falling in love with her.”

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight last October, Heche noted that she hadn’t spoken to DeGeneres “in years,” but would be open to a reunion under the right circumstances.

“With relationships, I think many of us have [been there], you come to a fork in the road, ‘What do you want and what do I want?’” she said. “Those goals, that intent in life, is determined by the individual. Her intent and my intent were different and that’s why we separated.”



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Elliot Page Emotionally Shares What’s Given Him The Most Joy Since Coming Out As Trans

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Elliot Page is sharing the moment that has brought him the most joy since he announced he was a transgender man in December 2020.

In a peek at an interview with Oprah Winfrey slated for release on her Apple TV+ series “The Oprah Conversation” on Friday, the 34-year-old said that he’s found “the most joy.”

“Getting out of the shower and the towel’s around your waist and you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and you’re just like, ‘There I am.’ And I’m not having the moment where I’m panicked,” he said, before breaking down in tears. “It’s being able to touch my chest and feel comfortable in my body for the — probably the first time.”

The actor added his tears were “tears of joy.”

Earlier this year, Page talked to Time magazine about his decision to get top surgery and described the experience as something that allowed for him to recognize himself. Page recalled puberty as “total hell” and told the publication that the surgery “has completely transformed my life.”

He also told the publication that he spent much of his energy being uncomfortable with his body and the surgery has helped bring that energy back.

Page notably came out to fans last year with a heartfelt Instagram post, sharing that he would be using the pronouns “he” and “they” and said: “I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived at this place in my life.”

He went on to say: “I love that I am trans,” Page wrote. “And I love that I am queer. And the more I hold myself close and fully embrace who I am, the more my heart grows and the more I thrive.”  



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India Adds Another 379,257 Virus Cases As Vaccines Open To All Adults

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NEW DELHI (AP) — India set another global record in new virus cases Thursday, as millions of people in one state cast votes despite rising infections and the country geared up to open its vaccination rollout to all adults amid snags.

With 379,257 new infections, India now has reported more than 18.3 million cases, second only to the United States. The Health Ministry also reported 3,645 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 204,832. Experts believe both figures are an undercount, but it’s unclear by how much.

India has set a daily global record for seven of the past eight days, with a seven-day moving average of nearly 350,000 infections. Daily deaths have nearly tripled in the past three weeks, reflecting the intensity of the latest surge. And the country’s already teetering health system is under immense strain, prompting multiple allies to send help.

A country of nearly 1.4 billion people, India had thought the worst was over when cases ebbed in September. But mass public gatherings such as political rallies and religious events that were allowed to continue, and relaxed attitudes on the risks fed by leaders touting victory over the virus led to what now has become a major humanitarian crisis, health experts say. New variants of the coronavirus have also partly led the surge.

Amid the crisis, voting for the eighth and final phase of the West Bengal state elections began Thursday, even as the devastating surge of infections continues to barrel across the country with a ferocious speed, filling crematoriums and graveyards.



A coronavirus patient is shifted to a ward after admission at GTB hospital in New Delhi on April 29, 2021. 

More than 8 million people are expected to vote in at least 11,860 polling stations across the state. Election Commission has said social distancing measures would be in place.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party have faced criticism over the last few weeks for holding huge election rallies in the state, which health experts suggest might have driven the surge there too. Other political parties also participated in rallies.

The state recorded more than 17,000 cases in the last 24 hours — its highest spike since the pandemic began.

Starting Wednesday, all Indians 18 and older were allowed to register on a government app for vaccinations, but social media were flooded with complaints the app had crashed due to high use, and once it was working again, no appointments were available.

The vaccinations are supposed to start Saturday, but India, one of the world’s biggest producers of vaccines, does not yet have enough doses for everyone. Even the ongoing effort to inoculate people above 45 is stuttering.

One state, Maharashtra, has already said it won’t be able to start on Saturday.

Since January, nearly 10% of Indians have received one jab, but only around 1.5% have received both required doses.

Amid the acute shortage of oxygen and other hospital supplies, the White House said the U.S. will send more than $100 million worth of items, including 1,000 oxygen cylinders, 15 million N95 masks and 1 million rapid diagnostic tests. It said they will begin arriving Thursday, just days after President Joe Biden promised to step up assistance.

The U.S. and Britain have already sent a shipment of medical items. France, Germany, Russia, Ireland and Australia have also promised help.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has advised its citizens to leave India. An alert on the U.S. Embassy’s website warned that “access to all types of medical care is becoming severely limited in India due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.”

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus



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