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The coronavirus challenge: how not to not touch your face | World news



“I haven’t touched my face in weeks,” said Donald Trump, at a meeting with airline CEOs about the coronavirus crisis on Wednesday. “I miss it.”

Twitter users promptly found recent photos of the president with his hands all over his chops, claiming to have caught him in a lie. But in this case, Trump may have revealed a fundamental truth of life in the time of Covid-19: it is really, really hard to resist touching your face.

𝓒𝓪𝓷𝓭𝔂 𝓗𝓮𝓪𝓻𝓽 🍬❤️

Wait for it….
Wait for…

March 5, 2020

On Friday morning #CoronavirusChallenge was trending on Twitter, sparked by footage showing a health official from Santa Clara county, California, licking her finger during a briefing. She had just advised the public: “Start working on not touching your face, because one main way viruses spread is when you touch your own mouth, nose or eyes.”

It is a simple strategy of prevention: the virus can live for at least nine hours, and possibly days, on hard surfaces. But it is easier said than done.

As many of us have become uncomfortably aware, not touching your face is like The Game, wherein as soon as you think of it, you lose.

Told not to touch your face, I guarantee: you will be able to do little else – even with the risk of becoming a coronavirus casualty.

I tried for a day on Thursday, sightseeing on holiday with a friend. “I’m trying not to touch my face,” I told her. “If you see me doing so, please stop me.”

This did not work, for reasons that are obvious in hindsight: if your friends notice where you are putting your hands, your hands are either somewhere entirely inappropriate, or your friends’ attention is too close.

I myself became excruciatingly conscious of where my grubby mitts were going – but only with something like a two-second delay.

I applied too much lip balm. My fringe settled unflatteringly. I felt an overpowering and, I am quite certain, psychosomatic urge to itch my ear, my eyebrow, my nose. Every time, I instinctively touched my face – and every time, I checked myself too late.

My friend watched in bemusement. While I spasmed whenever my hand drifted north of my collarbone like a woman possessed, she had landed on an elegant solution: keeping her hands as clean as possible, draping them in a scarf before she touched the grab bar on the tram or exchanged money.

Simply adjusting my own scarf seemed impossible to do without coming into contact with my face – if indeed my scarf, going between covering the backs of restaurant chairs to the lower third of my face, was not a potential Covid-19 carrier.

My new awareness of my extremities served as a reminder: even for those of us fortunate enough to have not been directly affected by coronavirus, every gesture has become loaded.

Out in public – on the train, or on a bank note – you might imagine you can see the infectious fingerprints. It is a distressing way to view the world, but it may be the necessary prompt to take the threat seriously.

With willpower alone proving inadequate, I have now resorted to machine learning to help me practice vigilant hygiene. The website uses your computer’s webcam to train an algorithm to recognise when you are touching your face.

When you do so, the screen flashes red and a disembodied voice sternly tells you “NO”, like you are a disobedient dog. When the tool is open in a background tab, a pop-up notifies you: “You touched your face.”

The idea is that, over time, “you learn to stop touching your face”, say the tool’s developers. Their answer to the frequently asked question: “Will this stop me from getting Covid-19?” is a tentative: “Not for sure, but it might help.”

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Entertainers discuss disability representation in Hollywood | World News




It’s an old cliche that if an actor wants to win an Oscar, he or she should consider playing a character with a disability. And it’s not entirely unfounded advice: 61 actors have been nominated for playing a character with a disability and 27 have walked away winners. But only two of those actors actually had a disability — Marlee Matlin in “Children of a Lesser God” and Harold Russell in “The Best Years of Our Lives.”

That’s just one of the things that needs to change, according to a group of entertainment industry professionals with disabilities including actors Danny Woodburn, “A Quiet Place’s” Millicent Simmonds and “Peanut Butter Falcon’s” Zack Gottsagen. They and other creatives with disabilities, from directors to VFX artists, spoke about the state of representation in front of and behind the camera in series of virtual panels organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that debuted Monday night. The panels, funded in part by a grant from the Ruderman Family Foundation, coincides with the 30th anniversary year of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It would be really helpful to have a disabled (Disney) princess,” said actor and comedian Maysoon Zayid, who has cerebral palsy.

Zayid noted that people with visible and invisible disabilities make up about 20% of the American population but a miniscule number of characters on television and in film.

“The message being sent out to disabled kids is you do not belong in this world,” Zayid said. “People with disabilities face enormous amounts of bullying, violence and discrimination. Positive images of disability can stop that.”

Part of that is casting actors with disabilities to play characters with disabilities. Simmonds, who is deaf, said she’s had to go up against non-disabled actors for disabled roles. She recalled that her “A Quiet Place” director John Krasinski had to fight to cast a deaf actor and that producers wanted someone who was hearing.

“Deaf roles should be played by deaf actors,” she said through an interpreter.

At times she’s even taken it a step forward to advocate for herself.

“I’m not above calling directors or producers and suggesting that they have a deaf actress for a particular role,” she said.

But another part of the equation is giving actors rich and nuanced storylines that go beyond the three they usually get: “’You can’t love me because I’m disabled,’ ‘heal me’ or ‘kill me,’” said Zayid.

Woodburn, who has dwarfism, remembers watching actors like Michael Dunn when he was young and seeing only stereotypes and tropes like the “sad little man” or the “devious little man” and storylines that were the same.

There is also the issue of working and how productions can be more accommodating to people with disabilities both on screen and behind the scenes. Many noted that they don’t want to ask for special accommodations.

Zayid remembered being unable to get into her trailer on the set of “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” and basically had to ask a production assistant to help hoist her up.

“Adam Sandler saw and said, ‘What is happening? Make her trailer accessible!” I said I didn’t want to be high maintenance,” she said. “He said ‘look around, we’re in Hollywood.’”

Jim LeBrecht, who directed the Netflix documentary “Crip Camp,” said it could help if the industry re-thought its own barriers to entry, like starting as a production assistant who has to carry 14 cups of coffee and work 20 hour days to get a foot in the door.

“Instead of asking what you won’t be able to do, ask is there anything I can do to help you do the best work you can,” LeBrecht said. “None of us got to your door by being oversensitive and mad at everybody…we are comfortable with our disability.”

VFX supervisor Kaitlyn Yang said that people with disabilities can be particularly effective in post-production roles. She’s also found a silver-lining in the video conferencing realities of COVID-era filmmaking: She doesn’t have to wonder now if she should address her wheelchair.

“Video conferencing is taking away the uncomfortableness that people might have if I were to take a meeting and roll into the conference room,” Yang said. “It puts us on an equal playing field.”

Talent manager Eryn Brown hopes that disability representation reach the same level of discussion as LGBTQ and racial and ethnic diversity. She said the ingrained stigma around it has even made her reticent to discuss it with her clients.

“A raised awareness in this moment of cultural reckoning is imperative,” Brown said. “Anyone at any moment can become disabled so it’s in everyone’s best interests in the world to be accommodating.”

The film academy, which puts on the Oscars, has been working to increase diversity in its own ranks and in the industry and recently set inclusion standards for best picture nominees.

“As the Academy continues to examine longstanding issues of representation within the film industry, it’s imperative we bring conversations about disabilities to the forefront,” said Christine Simmons, who heads the Academy’s office of representation, inclusion and equity.


Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter:

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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Coronavirus live news: ‘We cannot give up’ warns WHO chief; protests flare in Italy | World news




Morning, I’m taking over from Helen to update the blog this morning. As ever, please do send me any stories, tips and even any ideas of what you think we should be covering. Email me at or follow me on Twitter to send me a DM


That’s it from me for today. It’s been Very Nice!

Helen Sullivan

Kazakhstan has embraced Borat with ads that show tourists hiking with a selfie stick, (“Very nice!”), drinking fermented horse milk (“Mm, that’s actually very nice!”), marvelling at the architecture (“Wow, very nice!”)

October 27, 2020


Structural racism led to the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, a review by Dame Doreen Lawrence has concluded.

The report, commissioned by Labour, contradicts the government’s adviser on ethnicity, Dr Raghib Ali, who last week dismissed claims that inequalities within government, health, employment and the education system help to explain why Covid-19 killed disproportionately more people from minority ethnic communities:

Police in Italy have fired tear gas to disperse angry crowds in the northern cities of Turin and Milan after protests against the latest round of anti-coronavirus restrictions flared into violence.

As the head of the World Health Organization urged countries “not to give up” in their fight to contain the virus, luxury goods shops, including a Gucci fashion shop, were ransacked in the centre of Turin as crowds of youths took to the streets after nightfall, letting off firecrackers and lighting coloured flares.

Police responded with volleys of tear gas as they tried to disperse the crowds and there were also clashes in Milan, the capital of the neighbouring Lombardy region, an area that has borne the brunt of the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy.

“Freedom, freedom, freedom,” crowds chanted as they confronted police in the city centre:

Trump to announce plan to cover vaccine costs – report

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Trump and Africa: How Ethiopia was ‘betrayed’ over Nile dam




“I saved a big war. I’ve saved a couple of them,” he said, shortly after

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abi Ahmed was awarded the prize.

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