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California lightens up: three of its most drinkable wines

Two reds and a white that redeem one of the world’s most self-important wine regions

Lo-Fi Gamay Noir, Santa Barbara County, 2018 (£25, Les Caves) It took me a long time to set aside my preconceptions and give Californian wine a fair chance. In my defence, California’s vintners (as they insisted on calling themselves while the rest of the world seemed happy with winegrower or producer) had been doing a good job of feeding my prejudice. Over the years, they’d given the world some of its least appetising yet inexplicably high-selling brands and some of its most ludicrously overpriced and pretentious ‘fine’ wines – the latter made in an overblown style that made them the vinous equivalent of a gas-guzzling SUV. But the past decade has seen another side of the state rise to prominence, a side well represented by the unforced, fluent, natural-tasting drinkability of Lo-Fi’s take on Beaujolais’ red gamay grape.

Giornata Fiano, Paso Robles, 2018 (£19.89, All About Wine) As befitting a state that is larger than most European countries, California has started to get to grips with the diversity of its growing conditions, with a much greater range of grape varieties to match. At a recent tasting of more than 150 Californian wines put on by wine trade magazine the Wine Merchant in London, for example, there were still plenty of wines made from the traditional big gun regions (Napa, Sonoma) and varieties (cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, zinfandel, pinot noir), but also convincing wines made from a range of southern European varieties, such as an Italian pair from Brian and Stephanie Terrizzi’s Giornata project in Paso Robles: the tangy-plummy red Barbera (£19.99, All About Wine) and the pristine, stony-peachy dry white Fiano.

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People wearing face masks walk past the USNS Mercy Navy hospital ship after it arrived in the Port of Los Angeles to assist with the coronavirus pandemic on March 27, in San Pedro, California. | Mario Tama/Getty Images There is some evidence that the public should wear masks. But let doctors and nurses get them first. During the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, experts and officials cautioned against widespread public use of face masks. US Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted, “STOP BUYING MASKS!” He added that masks “are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!” But as the outbreak has worsened, experts have increasingly acknowledged that public use of masks could help prevent the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), previously resistant to encouraging mask use by the general public, is now reportedly considering it. The shift in expert guidance has come in the past couple of weeks — as the coronavirus has spread through the US, with more than 160,000 reported cases and 3,000 reported deaths as of March 31. A recent report by public health experts for the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute (AEI) was unequivocal: “everyone, including people without symptoms, should be encouraged to wear nonmedical fabric face masks while in public.” This all comes with a big caveat: When it comes to traditional medical masks, we still need to address a supply shortage for doctors, nurses, and other health care workers before people buy their own masks. A big public run on masks could make an already critical shortage of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for doctors and nurses even worse. The shortage doesn’t just hurt health care workers, but all of us — because we need as many doctors and nurses as possible to stay healthy so they can treat and save people who are sick, not just with Covid-19 but with other illnesses too. “I am worried that telling people to wear masks will strain already weak supplies that are needed by doctors and nurses,” Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, told me. “If we are able to fix that supply chain, I’d feel less worried about this. But some of the shortages initially were due to members of public and medical staff raiding medical offices’ and hospitals’ supplies for home use.” There’s also a concern that public masks could give people an exaggerated sense of security. Masks don’t make you invincible, and they absolutely can’t replace good hygiene — Wash your hands! Don’t touch your face! — and social distancing. Even in Asian countries where widespread mask use is common, good hygiene and social distancing have been necessary to combat Covid-19. Epidemiological models also suggest coronavirus cases will rise if social distancing measures are relaxed, potentially causing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of deaths in the US alone. Still, there is evidence that more mask use by the greater public could prevent the spread of coronavirus. Some studies in households and colleges “show a benefit of masks,” Raina MacIntyre, head of the Biosecurity Research Program at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, told me, “so it would be plausible that they would also protect in lower intensity transmission settings such as in the general community.” Steve Pfost/Newsday via Getty Images Doctors from the North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, collect boxes filled with donated masks on March 26. It’s straightforward: Coronavirus appears to mostly spread when germ-containing droplets make it into a person’s mouth, nose, or eyes. If you have a physical barrier in front of your mouth and nose, that’s simply less likely to happen. But the best protection masks offer may be protection from the wearer. While the evidence is thin on how much masks protect the wearer from coronavirus — since it’s unclear if the virus spreads much through airborne droplets — it’s true that the masks stop people from spreading their own droplets: When you breathe, talk, laugh, sigh, yawn, sneeze, or cough in public, you’re less likely to get droplets on a checkout machine, dining table, or anywhere else if you have a mask on. That could stop people, even those who are asymptomatic, from spreading infection. That’s especially important for Covid-19, since at least some spread happens when people are asymptomatic, when they have few symptoms, or before they develop symptoms. Universal mask use could stop these asymptomatic carriers — many of whom might not even know they’re sick — from inadvertently infecting other people. Some members of the general public would also benefit more. People who know they’re sick or interacting with someone who’s sick are already advised to use a mask. People who frequently interact with others as part of their jobs, like a first responder or a grocery store clerk, are more likely to get good use out of masks too. The logic is similar to why masks are so important for health care workers: Masks are most useful during prolonged, close interactions involving potentially sick people. The priority, though, is to ensure health care workers can get masks. In the meantime, people can use cloth masks (which can be made at home). Until the PPE shortage is addressed, it’s important to leave as much supply as possible for health care workers who are literally saving lives in the fight against Covid-19. There’s some research in favor of everyone wearing masks Here’s the gist of the evidence on public mask use: Masks don’t offer full protection —but some protection is better than none. Masks can’t replace all the other approaches needed to fight the coronavirus, like washing your hands, not touching your face, and social distancing. But when paired with all these other tactics — and when used correctly, which may not be as easy as you think — masks offer an extra layer of protection. The quality of the research on this topic is weak, with a lot of small, underpowered studies. “There’s not this overwhelming body of evidence that says that’s exactly what we should be doing right now,” Saskia Popescu, an epidemiologist focused on hospital preparedness, told me. “That’s why there hasn’t been an earlier push from public health agencies.” But the studies that do exist generally favor more people wearing masks. A 2008 systematic review, published in BMJ, found medical masks halted the spread of respiratory viruses from likely infected patients. In particular, studies on the 2003 outbreak of SARS — a cousin to the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 — found that masks alone were 68 percent effective at preventing the virus. By comparison, washing hands more than 10 times a day was 55 percent effective. A combination of measures — hand-washing, masks, gloves, and gowns — was 91 percent effective. A 2015 review, also published in BMJ, looked at mask use among people in community settings, specifically households and colleges. Some studies produced unclear results, but the findings overall indicated that wearing a mask protected people from infections compared to not wearing a mask, especially when paired with hand-washing. A big issue was adherence; people were often bad at actually wearing masks, which, unsurprisingly, diminished their effectiveness. But if masks were used early and consistently, the authors concluded, they seemed to work. Other studies have produced similar results, typically finding at least some protective value from masks as long as they’re used consistently and properly. Getty Images People are seen wearing face masks in New York City on March 27. There are some risks. If people start feeling like masks make them invulnerable and begin acting recklessly — ignoring social distancing or failing to wash their hands — that could actually make wearing masks worse than not wearing them. But if people take all the other precautions and add masks to their repertoire, as other countries’ experiences suggest people can do, then masks seem to help. There’s no good research on how masks affect people’s behaviors. “It could be good. It could be bad,” Popescu said. “But either way, we need to have that knowledge.” There’s also a risk of improper use actually exposing people to more illness. If people don’t put on the masks correctly, they won’t be as protective (though some barrier is likely better than none). If people touch the front of their masks and then touch other parts of their face, they can infect themselves with droplets their mask caught. If people reuse masks, they can breathe in virus-containing droplets from the masks while putting them on or taking them off. The results also vary depending on the type of mask. One kind of mask that’s been talked about a lot lately is the N95 respirator, which is a more complex, expensive mask meant to fit more tightly on the face. N95 respirators in theory outperform surgical masks (which are the more traditional, looser-fitting medical masks), but they’re genuinely difficult to fit and use properly — to the point that a 2016 review in CMAJ couldn’t find a difference among health care workers using N95 respirators versus surgical masks for respiratory infection, likely due to poor fitting. Given how difficult these are to use, and the extra layer of protection they can provide, experts argue these masks should, above all, be saved for health care workers. Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times A single-use N95 mask. Noam Galai/Getty Images People New York City wearing surgical masks for protection. Cloth masks, meanwhile, are much less effective than the modern alternatives, as a 2015 study in BMJ found. And they can be extra risky, since they can trap and hold virus-containing droplets that wearers can then breathe in. But they still, in general, offer more protection than no mask at all, several studies concluded. Experts also offered some advice for proper mask use: Wash your hands before and after taking off a mask — before to avoid getting anything on your face and mask, and after to get rid of anything that was on your mask. Don’t fidget with your mask while it’s on. If possible, throw away masks after using them. And if you can’t throw a mask away, make sure to thoroughly disinfect it with ultraviolet light sterilizers — not something most people have around — or, if using a cloth product, soap and water. Based on the evidence, masks appear to help both the wearer and other people. The latter is particularly important for the coronavirus, since the disease can spread from those with few to no symptoms. So whether it’s for selfish or altruistic reasons, there could be a benefit to everyone, even the asymptomatic, wearing masks — as is standard and recommended by public officials in many Asian countries (including Taiwan and South Korea, both of which have done a better job containing Covid-19 than the US). George Gao, director general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said as much in an interview with Science magazine: The big mistake in the US and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren’t wearing masks. This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact. Droplets play a very important role — you’ve got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth. Many people have asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others. But part of persuading people to wear masks in these countries was simply more people wearing masks in public, removing the stigma that only sick people wear masks and making masks more socially acceptable. That’s an argument for everyone wearing a cloth mask now — and medical masks once supply shortages are fixed — when we go out. Not only could that help protect ourselves and those around us, it might help instill a healthier norm for the rest of society too. Masks aren’t a cure-all — and doctors and nurses need them more Despite the evidence for more public use of masks, the CDC, along with the rest of the federal government, has historically avoided recommending the widespread use of masks. I asked the CDC why. What followed was a frustrating exchange. Why shouldn’t the public use masks if they provide some protection? “CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19,” CDC spokesperson Arleen Porcell responded.Okay, but why? “The science says that surgical masks won’t stop the wearer from inhaling small airborne particles, which can cause infection. Nor do these masks form a snug seal around the face.” Sure, masks don’t stop everything, but isn’t some protection better than none? I got no response after that. Since I had that exchange with the CDC, the agency has reportedly started to reconsider its stance on masks. 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As coronavirus has spread, experts have talked up “flattening the curve.” The idea is to spread out the number of coronavirus cases — through social distancing, testing, contact tracing, and other protective measures — to avoid overwhelming the health care system. Here’s what that looks like in chart form: Christina Animashaun/Vox The PPE shortage could make it harder to flatten the curve of new cases if doctors and nurses get sick. But the line representing health care system capacity also isn’t a constant. If we develop more capacity, it can handle more cases at once. If capacity falls — if doctors and nurses get sick because of a lack of protective equipment, or refuse to work without conditions that can ensure their safety — even a flatter curve will be hard for the system to handle. 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'20Fieldwork: 16-17 March 2020Sample size: 1,028#Conte #Coronavirusitalia— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) March 20, 2020 Smaller but still large approval bumps are also evident for Merkel and Macron. Germany, Forschungsgruppe Wahlen poll:Angela Merkel (CDU-EPP) Job ApprovalApprove: 79 (+11)Oppose: 18% (-11)+/- vs. 3-5 MarFieldwork: 23-26 March 2020Sample size: 1,473#Politbarometer #btw21 #COVID19deutschland— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) March 27, 2020 France, Ifop poll:President Macron Approval RatingApprove: 43% (+11)Disapprove: 56% (-10)Field work: 19-28 Mar. '20Sample size: 1,930— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) March 29, 2020 UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s approval ratings have also soared into the high 70s, despite a policy approach characterized by a confusing back-and-forth on whether to even try to contain the virus, leading to a situation where the prime minister himself has been infected. 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“We are all living in such uncertain times and I’m just as scared as anyone else. I don’t know if this explanation helps, but I am trying to do my best to take care of my kids and my family," she said.
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foxnews.com
State-by-State Coronavirus Projections Show How COVID-19 Could Impact U.S. Over Next Four Months
Modeling from the UW Medicine Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation suggests U.S. cases of COVID-19 could peak around April 15, 2020.
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newsweek.com
The Collapse of Community During the Spanish Flu
When officials in Seattle announced a citywide lockdown, 15-year-old Violet Harris was overjoyed that she no longer had to go to school. “Good idea? I’ll say it is!” she wrote in her diary, excerpted at length in USA Today. “The only cloud in my sky is that the [School] Board will add the missed days on to the end of the term.” But as the reality of quarantine set in, Harris grew bored. Unable to leave home, she whiled away the hours by sewing a dress to wear to school when it reopened and experimenting with new recipes from the local paper, producing a particularly dreadful batch of fudge, half of which she ended up throwing out. It seems that the full weight of the crisis dawned on her only when she received the startling news that her best friend, Rena, was sick with the Spanish Flu. A week later, after Rena had recovered, the two spoke on the phone. “I asked [Rena] what it felt like to have the influenza, and she said, ‘Don’t get it.’”If history repeats itself, it’s only because human nature stays relatively constant. Reading through newspaper articles and diaries written during the 1918 influenza pandemic, I felt an eerie flash of recognition. The dark jokes, anxious gossip, and breathless speculation reminded me of scrolling through Twitter over the past few weeks, watching people wrestle with life under quarantine by memeing through the crisis. Despite many similarities to the present moment, lockdown in 1918 was nevertheless a much lonelier experience than it is today. Lacking the many communication technologies that have allowed us to stay in contact with friends and family, early-20th-century Americans also struggled with the sudden loss of strong community ties, an experience that, to many, even outweighed the fear of a deadly and contagious disease.As hospitals filled with patients and American cities went into lockdown, many people alternated between alarm and amusement, panicking about the pandemic one moment and joking about it the next. Harris was especially entertained by a directive requiring Seattle residents to wear masks in public. “Gee!” she wrote. “People will look funny—like ghosts.” She drew doodles of people in face masks in the margins of her diary and pasted in an article about the latest face-mask fashions.Many people quickly grew furious with the inconveniences of isolation. “We were quarrentined [sic] on account of the Spanish Influenza and everyone is mad,” reads a letter written by a soldier stationed in South Carolina. Another soldier was annoyed that the quarantine prevented him from sending his family a Christmas gift. In St. Louis, Health Commissioner Max Starkloff made the controversial decision to order the closure of schools, movie theaters, bars, and—most devastatingly—public sporting events. The papers were in an uproar: “INFLUENZA THREATENS FOOTBALL HERE,” blared the St. Louis Globe Democrat. “MEASURES OF THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT CAUSING THE TEAMS MUCH UNEASINESS.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch dedicated article after article to the subject: “QUARANTINE MAY LAST FOUR WEEKS; FOOTBALL SET BACK,” read one headline. “THE FOOTBALL GAMES ARE ALL OFF. THE SPANISH ‘FLU’ HAS PUT A DAMPER ON THE GRIDIRON,” read another.[Read: I miss sports so, so, so much]During the initial stage of the crisis, people worried loudly about the ways in which public-health measures were rupturing their daily routines, unwilling or perhaps unable to anticipate the more severe ramifications of the crisis. But in certain places, as the death toll began to rise, a sense of desperation set in, resulting in dark consequences for human relationships.Because of the isolated nature of quarantine, the 1918 pandemic was suffered largely in private. Unable to lean on their friends and neighbors for support, people experienced the crisis alone in houses with shuttered windows. “I stayed in all day and didn’t even go to Rena’s,” Harris wrote in her diary. “Mama doesn’t want us to go around more than we need to.”These individual feelings of loneliness compounded, in some cases eroding once-strong community bonds. “People were actually afraid to talk to one another,” said Daniel Tonkel, an influenza survivor, during a 1997 interview for PBS’s American Experience. “It was almost like Don’t breathe in my face; don’t look at me and breathe in my face, because you may give me the germ that I don’t want, and you never knew from day to day who was going to be next on the death list.”[Read: Photos of the 1918 flu pandemic]John M. Barry, the author of The Great Influenza, told me that feelings of loneliness during the pandemic were worsened by fear and mistrust, particularly in places where officials tried to hide the truth of the influenza from the public. “Society is largely based on trust when you get right down to it, and without that there’s an alienation that works its way through the fabric of society,” he said. “When you had nobody to turn to, you had only yourself.” In his book, Barry details reports of families starving to death because other people were too scared to bring them food. This happened not only in cities but also in rural communities, he told me, “places where you would expect community and family and neighborly feeling to be strong enough to overcome that.” In an interview in 1980, Glenn Hollar described the way the flu frayed social ties in his North Carolina hometown. “People would come up and look in your window and holler and see if you was still alive, is about all,” he said. “They wouldn’t come in.”By December 1918, the number of new cases tapered off, and American society began to return, gradually, to normal. (“PUBLIC WILL GET ITS FIRST LOOK AT 1918 FOOTBALL, WHEN BAN LIFTS, TOMORROW,” read a headline in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.) However, the solitary aspect of the epidemic also affected the way that it was memorialized. As the disease stopped its spread, the public’s attention quickly shifted to the end of World War I, undermining the cathartic rituals that societies need to get past collective traumas. In the decades after the sickness, the flu lodged in the back of people’s mind, remembered but not often discussed. The American writer John Dos Passos, who caught the disease on a troop ship, never mentioned the experience in any detail. “It never got a lot of attention, but it was there, below the surface,” Barry said. More than 80 years later, the novelist Thomas Mullen wrote The Last Town on Earth, a fictional account of the 1918 flu. In an interview after the book’s publication, Mullen commented on “a wall of silence surrounding survivors’ memories of the 1918 flu,” which was “quickly leading to the very erasure of those memories.” The historian Alfred W. Crosby deemed it “America’s forgotten pandemic.”In many places, the loneliness and suspicion caused by the flu continued to pervade American society in subtle ways. To some, it seemed that something had been permanently lost. “People didn’t seem as friendly as before,” John Delano, a New Haven, Connecticut, resident, said in 1997. “They didn’t visit each other, bring food over, have parties all the time. The neighborhood changed. People changed. Everything changed.”[Read: The coronavirus is no 1918 pandemic]However, Barry reassured me, this was not universally the case. In his research, he found that communities came together in places where local leadership spoke honestly about the danger of influenza. “There was certainly plenty of fear … nonetheless, you didn’t seem to find the kind of disintegration that occurred in other places,” he said. In cities where proactive public-health commissioners exhibited strong leadership, he argues in his book, people maintained faith in one another.Seattle Commissioner of Health J. S. McBride, for instance, rapidly imposed firm public-health measures and even volunteered his services at an emergency hospital. In November 1918, he commended Seattle residents for “their co-operation in observing the drastic, but necessary, orders which have been issued by us during the influenza epidemic.” McBride’s actions may have been what allowed Seattleites like Violet Harris to remember the epidemic as a somewhat boring time.After six weeks of lockdown, public gathering spaces in Seattle finally reopened for business. “School opens this week,” Harris wrote in her diary. “Thursday! Did you ever? As if they couldn’t have waited till Monday!”
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theatlantic.com
Russian Doctor Who Shook Hands With Vladimir Putin Last Week Tests Positive for Coronavirus
Dr. Denis Protsenko gave Putin a tour of a new hospital in Moscow set up to treat coronavirus patients.
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newsweek.com
Fed Up With Their Government, Brits Are Taking the Coronavirus Response Into Their Own Hands
A different kind of anarchy in the U.K.
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slate.com
C.D.C. Weighs Advising Everyone to Wear a Mask
Widespread use of nonmedical masks could reduce community transmission. But recommending their broad use could also cause a run on the kind of masks that health care workers desperately need.
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nytimes.com
Tom Brady, Peyton Manning eyed as partners in second Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson match: report
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are reportedly being eyed as partners for Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson for their rematch on the course.
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foxnews.com
Cop gives doctor masks instead of ticket after stopping her for speeding
Lead-footed cardiologist Sarosh Ashraf Janjua wrote that a Minnesota state trooper stopped her for speeding on I-35 last week.
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nypost.com
New York governor: Virus is "more dangerous than we expected"
More than 75,000 people in New York state have been infected with COVID-19.
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cbsnews.com
India police punish coronavirus lockdown-evaders with sit-ups
“Think before you step out during lockdown," one Indian tweeted along with a video of cops in Andhra Pradesh making people do sit-ups, according to The Economic Times.
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nypost.com
Lindsay Lohan announces comeback with eerie video
She's back — again.
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nypost.com
As the Pandemic Spreads, Battles Over Abortion Play Out In Court
Judges have blocked orders in three states suspending abortions during the pandemic.
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npr.org