The Archbishop of Canterbury has signalled his deep concern over the Government’s “rule of six” restriction and its impact on family life.
Urging ministers to stop controlling people’s lives from Westminster, the Most Rev Justin Welby warned that living with coronavirus over the winter months “will only be sustainable – or even endurable – if we challenge our addiction to centralisation and go back to an age-old principle: only do centrally what must be done centrally”.
Writing in the Telegraph, the most senior bishop in the Church of England urged the Government to follow the clergy’s centuries-old commitment to “localism” rather than “determining the daily details of our lives”.
A source close to the Archbishop said he was “deeply concerned about Christmas and the impact of the ‘rule of six’ (watch Boris Johnson announcing the measure in the video below) on the vulnerable, the needy, the poor and the elderly”.
“He is concerned about families being kept apart and the knock-on effect that has, particularly on people who are on their own,” the source added. “The heart of the Christian faith is to love thy neighbour, which is increasingly difficult when strict rules are imposed by the centre.”
It follows mounting criticism of the ban on social gatherings of seven people or more amid fears the new rules will “cancel Christmas” by preventing larger family gatherings.
Indicating his preference for a localised approach rather than a blanket national ban, Archbishop Welby said: “We are not immune to the temptation to pull more decisions into the centre, to feel that ‘something is being done’. But it is a temptation that should be resisted. Often that ‘something’ might not be as effective as what could be done locally.
“When it comes to Covid-19, the importance of local networks and communities becomes even greater. Scotland and Wales have shown that local public health is the best qualified to deal with local outbreaks.
“Local government, schools and voluntary agencies – including churches – can communicate well, act swiftly and measure risk and consequences on the ground.”
Writing with Sarah Mullally, the Bishop of London, Archbishop Welby added: “What began as a national – and international – crisis has been the top priority of Westminster, Whitehall, Holyrood and Cardiff, and will remain so for some time to come.
“But in many ways the ‘on-the-ground’ response has been the most vital. Let’s place our trust in the local, and make sure it is resourced, trained, informed and empowered.”
Archbishop Welby’s intervention came as Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, warned that families would be breaking the “rule of six” if they “mingle” in the street (see video below).
The regulations say it is against the law to “mingle with any person who is participating in the gathering but is not a member of the same qualifying group as them”.
Asked whether it was a breach if two families of four stopped to chat to each other on their way to a park, Ms Patel said: “It’s mingling – I think it is absolutely mingling.”
It prompted the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Scriven to tell the House of Lords: “For the first time since the 1300s, mingling is an offence under English law.”
Ms Patel also said she would report gatherings of more than six people, but the Police Federation of England and Wales called for guidance over enforcement of the measures.
The Police Federation chairman, John Apter, said officers on the front line were “trying to interpret” the rules, which came into effect on Monday (watch the chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council reacting to the new measures in the video below).
He said: “Maybe we should have guidance, because we haven’t had any yet… my colleagues who are on the front line trying to interpret this law, trying to educate and work with the public, are now being accused of asking [people] to snitch on their neighbours.”
Tory grandee Lord Dobbs suggested “Covid marshals” announced by Boris Johnson could become “busybodies, score settlers and simply social gunslingers”.
Meanwhile, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said he was “keeping an open mind” about the possibility of relaxing the rule to exclude children, which would bring England into line with Scotland and Wales.
It came as seven local authorities requested tighter controls that would see social freedoms restricted further.
Councils in the north-east have urged the Government to give them more powers to reduce opening hours for pubs and restaurants and limit the number of people allowed to meet outside their household.
2020 is an American nightmare that’s wearing us out
It’s too much.
First the pandemic, which divided us, economically devastated us, and has killed nearly 200,000 of us. Then the racial unrest, erupting at the deaths of more Black Americans at the hands of police: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Daniel Prude.
Now the extreme weather. For only the second time in history, the National Hurricane Center has moved into the Greek alphabet for storm names. This season’s wildfires are bigger, deadlier and more frequent than in years past. In the West, people can’t breathe.
Dual disasters: How climate change is worsening wildfires and hurricanes
Add the headlines: Feminist icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, lost to complications of cancer on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, 46 days before the presidential election. “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman, a hero in the Black community, gone at 43 after quietly battling colon cancer. Another woman accuses the president of sexual assault. A whistleblower claims federal immigration detainees underwent full hysterectomies without their consent.
And the polarization, worse than ever. We don’t agree on masks, on reopening schools, on what to do when a vaccine becomes available.
Many of us are vacillating between horror and disbelief at what can only be described as an American nightmare. Devastation doesn’t cover it. It’s impossible to know if the worst is behind us or still lies ahead.
Apart from our own suffering, constant exposure to suffering of others exacts a toll. Experts say what many of us are experiencing is “disaster fatigue.”
“It’s a sense, essentially, of psychological overwhelm,” said Patrick Hardy, a certified emergency manager and risk manager. “You’re being constantly bombarded with negative information. … It creates this sense of doom.”
When disasters occur sequentially, it can make it seem as though our problems are insurmountable. It’s getting worse and worse, we think. It’s never going to get better.
A strict interpretation of “disaster fatigue,” Hardy said, puts disasters into three major categories: Natural disasters (such as COVID and hurricanes), technological emergencies (chemical spills and power outages) and security emergencies (acts of terrorism and active shooters).
But Hardy said what qualifies as a “disaster” can also be subjective.
“What may be a disaster to someone else, isn’t a disaster to you and me,” he said.
While all of us are tapped into the disasters that become national news, community events can add to the mental load. A plant closing in your town that puts hundreds of people out of work is a disaster, too.
Many are personally suffering and bearing witness to even more suffering, which can lead to another condition called “compassion fatigue.”
“It’s really referring to the stress or the emotional strain of having that high level of empathy, and exposing yourself to this level of suffering, and when that happens over long periods of time, it can manifest in a variety of different psychological ways,” said Vaile Wright, director of clinical research and quality at the American Psychological Association.
Old mental health issues, new challenges
Lisa Phillips, 57, who lives with depression, says she’s “sick” over what’s happening to the country.
Her husband’s dental practice was on mandatory closure for two months, and since she works there, too, both incomes stopped. They’ve since re-opened, but many of the staff have been struggling with health issues and lack of childcare, which has ripple effects for Phillips and her husband.
Her daughter’s university moved exclusively online. Wildfires in Oregon forced her brother and sister-in-law to evacuate their home. The day after their evacuation, her father died in California. The family didn’t gather for a funeral.
To cope, Phillips went back to counseling and increased her medication.
‘A culmination of crises’: America is in turmoil, and a mental health crisis looms next
“It kind of feels like when something else can’t possibly happen, it does,” she said. “I put one foot in front of the other but it takes quite a bit of effort.”
Political differences have also divided her family, compounding tangible losses. Stress and conflict are the new normal.
“I don’t feel apathetic, I feel overwhelmed and I’m very discouraged about the polarization in our country,” she said. “I’m fearful we won’t get back to who we were.”
Matt Wunderli, 36, was in the middle of building a technology startup when he went into lockdown with his wife and kids in Salt Lake City. Now, he’s surrounded by wildfires.
“In the beginning, I think we were all kind of sheepishly laughing about this, like ‘what is going on’?,” he said. “From the pandemic to the civil unrest to the political divides. As a country we’re sort of being slowly unwoven.”
Wunderli says he’s often overwhelmed by the negativity on Twitter, and can find it hard to stay optimistic. Living in a very religious state, he said, people around him often talk about this as the end of times.
“It’s a very stressful time for me as a founder, an entrepreneur, a husband, a father, a neighbor thinking about all the calamity around me and what’s next,” he said.
A country unrecognizable
Christina Cuevas, 35, lives with her husband and two sons in Gardena, California, and recently recovered from postpartum depression. Then the pandemic hit.
Her anxiety spiked. Cuevas, who has asthma, is having panic attacks. She’s stressed about her family’s businesses – she and her husband are in real estate development –and she’s worried for her children and their futures.
“Every day you’re bombarded with something new,” she said. “I’m of Mexican descent, and I was born in America. Yesterday was Mexican Independence Day. I had tequila with my husband. We were celebrating the culture and then I read that news article about hysterectomies being performed on immigrant women. I was sick. It’s repulsive that this can happen in America.”
Right now, she says “there is no hope.” There is only the election.
Abbey Barton, 26, lives in New Orleans, which is often hard-hit during the hurricane season. New Orleans has had a couple of close calls in 2020, on top of the pandemic.
“We’re in the peak of hurricane season, and there’s no outlet for stress fatigue,” she said. “Can 2020 just be over?”
She knows people so overwhelmed they’re not preparing for storms as they typically would. Defeat, she says, seems all around.
I’m not even in Louisiana and I can feel the #nola metro area from here reacting to #Sally: “Whatever. I don’t have it in me to deal with this on top of everything else. Just let me park my car on high ground and leave me alone.”
— Kevin Allman (@KevinAllman) September 13, 2020
“I’ve had people say to me ‘I was exhausted by everything before the hurricane season. If it gets me, it gets me,'” she said.
Barton worries about what her city, in some ways already unrecognizable, may look like when the pandemic is finally over.
“Walking downtown, you don’t hear the music anymore,” she said.
Worried for the kids
Austin Sargent, 29, is an English teacher and high school football coach in South Carolina. There are times he’s felt overwhelmed, but mostly he’s focused on his students, who often seem paralyzed by their circumstances.
School was a release for a lot of kids. And while in-person instruction has resumed where he teaches, they are now dealing with new and different stressors. Friends who’ve been apart for months are adjusting to new protocols and social norms.
The kids, he said, are struggling just as much as adults.
“I’m an English teacher. We read, and then we ask ourselves, ‘What is the author really trying to say?’ In the first couple of weeks of school, we’re going over literary terms, talking about the mood of the text, how it makes the reader feel. And one of my students raised their hand and said ‘I don’t watch the news, because it makes my mood so terrible.'”
‘Not in this together’
Denys Williams, 48, moved from San Leandro, California, to Reno, Nevada, about a year ago, when it all felt different. Now, she’s living in a new city much less diverse than her previous one, which can be isolating.
“It’s not only that 2020 is a dumpster fire, it’s that there’s no one around me who I can really relate to or talk to about it,” she said. “We couldn’t breathe in Reno for a good week and a half, add to that the political unrest, the racial injustice, not feeling like anyone is in my corner — it’s been so difficult.”
George Floyd video adds to trauma: ‘When is the last time you saw a white person killed online?’
This summer, she said the KKK showed up in a town about 20 minutes from where she lives. She’s dealing with stressors some of her non-minority friends and co-workers can’t fathom.
“My co-workers will say, ‘How are you?’ and I’ll say, ‘It’s tough.’ They’re like, ‘Hang in there, we’re all in this together.’ But we’re not. I want to say, ‘You have no idea.'”
Hardy says when feeling overwhelmed, look for positive stories. They’re out there, even when they’re difficult to find.
Cut yourself slack: It’s called decision fatigue
“There are stories of people surviving disasters, people doing the right things, people enduring,” he said.
So much of what feels surreal and absurd about this moment is how much is out of our control. Making a plan, for what to do in a disaster or even what to do to feel productive amid the chaos, can help people wrest back some control.
We all want to know how this ends: How do we cope with uncertainty?
COVID has robbed us all: Let yourself mourn the loss, experts say
The greatest danger, experts say, is a descent into apathy. That people will start to believe that the things they do don’t matter.
Phillips, Wunderli, Cuevas, Barton, Sargent and Williams all said they plan to vote in November. Wunderli started a podcast addressing mental health issues for founders and entrepreneurs. Phillips said she joined the board of a local non-profit and has continued to support local charities. And even though she always wears a mask when she’s out, she says she still tries to smile, with her eyes, at everyone she sees.
“What if everybody just gave up?” Wright said. “Then the world would really be in trouble. Individual actions do count because they accumulate. The worst thing that we could do is throw up our hands and say, ‘Nothing matters, so why even bother?’ Because if every single person did that, what would this world look like?”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID, hurricanes, wildfires, politics: Is 2020 the worst year ever?
3 Coronavirus Stocks to Buy if a Relief Bill Gets Done
At this point, it’s difficult to find good coronavirus stocks to buy. After all, at this point the market has priced in both the direct and indirect effects of the pandemic.
Biotech and pharmaceutical firms racing to develop a vaccine have seen their stock prices soar. “Work from home” beneficiaries like Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:ZM) and DocuSign (NASDAQ:DOCU) have been among 2020’s best tech stocks. If anything, the strategy now would seem to be find stocks that either have been left out of the rally, or that could benefit from a successful vaccine and/or improved treatments.
But there are a few coronavirus stocks out there that still look intriguing — if investors know where to look. And these three stocks look more intriguing recent news.
InvestorPlace – Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips
After months of stalled negotiations, a federal stimulus bill seems at least possible. President Donald Trump has expressed some support for a $1.5 trillion plan released by a bipartisan caucus in the House of Representatives.
A package of that size can create some winners. Here are three of them:
- Lakeland Industries (NASDAQ:LAKE)
- Owens & Minor (NYSE:OMI)
- Dollar General (NYSE:DG)
Coronavirus Stocks to Buy: Lakeland Industries (LAKE)
Source: BAO-Images Bildagentur / Shutterstock.com
When the pandemic first came into broader view, personal protective equipment manufacturers like Lakeland were the early winners. LAKE stock, along with peer Alpha Pro Tech (NYSEAMERICAN:APT) actually saw something like a bubble in late February.
It’s possible that frenzied trading still colors the LAKE story in the minds of some investors — because the stock at this point seems too cheap. Earnings for the first half of fiscal 2021 (ending January) have been unsurprisingly spectacular. Lakeland has earned $2.23 per diluted share in the first six months, against just 11 cents the year before.
The question is whether that demand will persist. Certainly, there will be some tapering as normalcy returns. But Lakeland profits almost certainly don’t go back to past levels. The company has won a significant amount of new customers, as a worldwide manufacturing footprint has allowed it to fill orders others can’t. Many of those new customers, as Lakeland management has noted, won’t go back to relying on a single supplier.
Margins have improved and plans for fewer products going forward should maintain some of that improvement. Meanwhile, the pandemic has hit demand for Lakeland’s industrial products, and that demand should return as normalcy does.
This still should be a company that can easily earn $1 per share annually going forward, which makes a current price below $21. And the stimulus bill could be a boon for Lakeland. State and local governments, in particular, need help to rebuild depleted PPE inventories. The federal government likely has to provide that help.
If it does, strong earnings continue into the second half of this year and calendar 2021. And if Lakeland keeps earning over $1 per quarter, instead of annually, LAKE stock isn’t going to stay near $20.
Owens & Minor (OMI)
Source: theskaman306 / Shutterstock.com
The same catalyst holds for Owens & Minor, which too produces personal protective equipment. The company already has a significant contract with the U.S. government and could be well-positioned to garner additional business if local and state funding improves.
That aside, however, the two stories are quite different. Owens & Minor’s core business is in medical distribution — and that business has been under pressure for some time. The risk is that those struggles offset PPE growth.
That risk is amplified by O&M’s balance sheet — which too is very different. Lakeland paid off all its debt in the second quarter, while Owens & Minor still has significant borrowings to repay.
Of course, that risk creates reward as well. OMI’s leverage means more upside is possible on relatively modest changes in the valuation of the overall business. Indeed, that’s already played out: the stock has nearly tripled over the last year. It’s outperformed LAKE even though the PPE tailwind hits a far smaller portion of its business.
That can continue if PPE demand stays elevated. And so, while LAKE from here looks like the more attractive play on the two given its focus, OMI has the higher potential rewards given its leverage.
Dollar General (DG)
Source: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com
Investors might not think of Dollar General as a coronavirus stock. But they should. The company has seen much the same tailwind as grocers like Kroger (NYSE:KR), with “stay at home” orders driving demand.
Dollar General, however, focuses more on a lower-income demographic. That’s a demographic that would benefit most directly from further stimulus checks, which seem almost certain to be a part of any relief package. Indeed, the checks helped fiscal Q1 and Q2 results.
Those results have helped send DG stock to all-time highs. New stimulus likely means new highs as well.
And even if the stimulus doesn’t arrive, or is smaller than hoped, investors still own one of the country’s best retailers. Valuation is reasonable as well, at less than 21x forward earnings. There are other coronavirus stocks that get much more attention, but there are few more worth owning than DG.
On the date of publication, Vince Martin held a long position in LAKE.
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Madrid braces for partial lockdown as virus surges
Nearly a million Madrid residents were bracing Sunday for a partial lockdown with several hundred marching in protest as Spanish authorities seek to put a brake on a second wave of Covid-19.
The restrictions, which take effect Monday for two weeks, affect 850,000 people living mainly in densely-populated, low-income neighbourhoods in the south — or 13 percent of the 6.6 million people living in and around the capital.
Like many countries in Europe, Spain is battling a coronavirus surge and, once again, Madrid is the worst-hit region.
“We’re concerned with the data we’re seeing, because the number of cases is double that of the national average and the number of hospital admissions… is triple the national average,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a television interview Saturday.
But he stressed he was not contemplating a national lockdown.
Several districts of southern Madrid have counted more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants — around five times the national average, which in itself is the highest in the European Union.
Residents will be banned from leaving their district other than for essential travel like work, medical care or taking children to school, Madrid’s regional government said Friday.
They will be allowed to move around freely inside their zone but no one from outside will be allowed in unless absolutely essential.
Parks will be closed but shops, bars and restaurants will remain open at 50 percent capacity.
Meanwhile, gatherings of more than six people will be banned in the entire region, down from ten currently.
On Sunday, people took to the streets in some of the affected districts in protest against the new measures.
They sported placards reading “No to a class-based lockdown” or “They’re destroying our district and now they’re locking us up”.
Hundreds gathered in the districts concerned and outside the regional parliament to shout their displeasure.
“The health centres having been working for years with minimum staffing, they don’t have enough staff or nurses … and this crisis has made the situation worse,” lamented Victoria, a 63-year-old civil servant.
“You get the impression they take us for fools. We shall be able to continue to go and work in other non-confined zones at the risk of ramping up transmission, and we shall also be able to infect ourselves within our own zone,” Bethania Perez, a nurse aged 31, told AFP.
Madrid’s regional president Isabel Diaz Ayuso, who has been slammed for her management of the crisis, is due to meet Sanchez on Monday.
The meeting is a sign of central government concern over the crisis in Madrid, as the management of public health issues is normally the responsibility of Spanish regional authorities.
Regional health officials say Madrid’s healthcare system is under growing pressure, with one in five hospital beds occupied by Covid patients.
As such, experts fear a sharp increase in the regional mortality rate — which is currently much lower than in the spring — over the coming weeks.
Spain has so far recorded over 30,000 deaths — one of Europe’s worst tolls — and 600,000 confirmed cases, according to official figures.
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