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SARS-CoV-2 Virus Can Infect the Inner Ear, Study Suggests

Study: SARS-CoV-2 Virus Can Infect Inner Ear

A study provided by MIT and Massachusetts Eye and Ear suggests that the inner ear can be affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The study worked with 10 adult patients who suffered from symptoms such as tinnitus, hearing loss and dizziness in the space of three weeks following their COVID-19 diagnosis. Analysis was made with both human and mouse inner ear tissue by researchers and they  established that the human inner ear tissue contains the “molecular machinery to allow SARS-CoV-2 entry.”

Researchers went onto state that their findings suggested that “inner ear infection may underline COVID-19-associated problems with hearing and balance.”

To view the full story, click here to visit the MIT News website

US Colleges To Make COVID-19 Vaccinations Mandatory

US Colleges To Make COVID-19 Vaccinations Mandatory

A substantial number of US colleges and universities have stated that students will require to have a COVID-19 vaccination prior to returning to campus this fall. This would allow students to return to in-person classes as well as move into the provided campus housing.

According to information from the Chronicle of Higher Education, in excess of 680 public and private colleges covering the length and breadth of the US, will make receiving a COVID-19 vaccination compulsory to their students. Some of the first institutions to announce this mandate included the likes of Duke University and Cornell University.

Similar mandates have already been put in place, requiring college students to be vaccinated against other diseases including measles and mumps, with a COVID-19 jab set to be next made statutory.

Why Are Colleges Requiring their Students to be Vaccinated?

Towards the beginning of the pandemic, when the virus spread across the US at an alarming pace, colleges and universities across the US shut down, declaring the beginning of online learning for their students. Some colleges did decide to allow students to return to their campuses towards the end of the year, however there were various restrictions established in different institutions such as limited capacity classrooms and residence halls as well as mandatory mask wearing across campus.

“Campuses really want to get back to normal operations as quickly as possible,” declared Chris Marsicano, an education professor and founding director of the College Crisis Initiative at Davidson College in North Carolina.

With the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccination against the virus evident, there is increasing hope that students will be able to return to their in-person lectures and study groups besides to enjoying the extra-curricular activities, and therefore having a more regular college experience.

Chief health officer at the University of Michigan, Dr Preeti Malani, said: “If you can ensure a highly vaccinated community, you can get back to a lot of those things safely”

Dr Malani continues by stating that the vaccinations will not only be able to protect the individual but also protect whole communities. She express her opinion on the available vaccine as “safe and effective” and she motivates students to think about other people when deciding whether to get the vaccination.

There can be exemptions given to certain students due to laws put in place in numerous states and religious beliefs. Therefore, institutions might have to push unvaccinated students to enroll in course available online instead.

For the full list of Colleges Requiring a COVID-19 Vaccine, CLICK HERE

SEE ALSO: Starship Technologies declare food robot deliveries to more US Campuses



j crew

J Crew Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Fashion firm J Crew has filed for bankruptcy protection, making it the first big US retailer to do so amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The retailer announced that its parent company, Chinos Holdings, had filed for Chapter 11 protection in federal bankruptcy court for the Eastern District of Virginia. It is the first major retailer to fall during the coronavirus pandemic, but given the economic situation in the United States, J Crew probably won’t be the last.

Under the terms of the Transaction Support Agreement (“TSA”), the Company’s lenders will convert approximately $1.65 billion of the Company’s debt into equity. They are also providing about $400m of fresh financing to keep J Crew’s operations afloat.

“This agreement with our lenders represents a critical milestone in the ongoing process to transform our business with the goal of driving long-term, sustainable growth for J.Crew and further enhancing Madewell’s growth momentum,” said Jan Singer, Chief Executive Officer, J.Crew Group in the statement. “Throughout this process, we will continue to provide our customers with the exceptional merchandise and service they expect from us, and we will continue all day-to-day operations, albeit under these extraordinary COVID-19-related circumstances. As we look to reopen our stores as quickly and safely as possible, this comprehensive financial restructuring should enable our business and brands to thrive for years to come.”

Next Steps

The Company has filed a series of customary “first day” motions with the Bankruptcy Court seeking to maintain its operations during the restructuring process to help facilitate a smooth transition into Chapter 11. Its 500 stores have been closed by the pandemic and some will not reopen.


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‘One World: Together At Home’ Raises $127.9 million for COVID-19 Crisis

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one world

‘One World: Together At Home’ Raises $127.9 million for COVID-19 Crisis

Global Citizen teamed up with Lady Gaga to create One World: Together At Home, a global broadcast & digital special to support COVID-19 frontline healthcare workers and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The full broadcast ended up lasting a little over eight hours and is now available on YouTube. The star-studded line-up featured dozens of celebrities around the globe, allowing viewers to see a home performance from artists like Alanis Morissette, Billie Eilish, Finneas, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Charlie Puth, David Beckham, John Legend, Kacey Musgraves, Lizzo, Maluma, Paul McCartney, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Taylor Swift, Stevie Wonder, and a whole lot more.

By the end of the televised event, the broadcast raised over $127.9 million towards the cause. However, as of writing, the COVID-19 Response Fund total now sits at $194.6 million!

According to the event’s website, the money will be going towards frontline workers and vaccine development:

“The World Health Organization (WHO) is leading and coordinating the global effort with a range of partners, supporting countries to prevent, detect, and respond to the pandemic. Donations support WHO’s work, including with partners, to track and understand the spread of the virus; to ensure patients get the care they need and frontline workers get essential supplies and information; and to accelerate research and development of a vaccine and treatments for all who need them.”

Missed the broadcast? Check out the full stream below. And if you want to donate yourself, visit COVID-19 Response Fund.

See also:

Yungblud Live Streams Concert Following Show Cancellations

Indoor Gardening: Tips During Social Distancing

Social Media Distancing: Protecting Your Mental Health During Chaos



Tekashi 6ix9ine may receive early prison release due to coronavirus risks

Tekashi 6ix9ine May Get Early Prison Release

Convicted rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine may be released early from prison as soon as the end of the week. As COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly across the country, those imprisoned are beginning to fear for their safety with being enclosed in a space with over hundreds of people who have the potential to have the virus.

Experts have warned that the prison symptoms could explode with the virus, which has promoted all prison systems to announce that every inmate will be under a 14-day mandated isolation period in order to contain the virus. Celebrity inmates, such as R. Kelly have requested early release in order to avoid exposure to COVID-19.

Tekashi 6ix9ine is considered a medical risk because of his asthma

Last week, Tekashi 6ix9ine made this request with the judge overseeing his case, Judge Engelmayer. His lawyer, Lance Lazzaro, relayed in a statement that Tekashi 6ix9ine was fearful for his health due to being a part of the high-risk group because of his asthma diagnosis. Judge Engelmayer ultimately denied his request, but told him that his lawyer would have to take that up with the Bureau of Prisons.

Bureau of Prisons denied him after judge turnover

On Wednesday, April 1, Inner City Press reported that the Brooklyn-bred rapper was having issues figuring out which establishment would be able grant the early release. Once Tekashi 6ix9ine’s legal team went to the Buereau of Prison’s as suggested by Judge Engelmayer, it was then revealed that he must take it up with the United States Marshals Service due to his status as a witness.

Lazzaro explains the systems release process

On Wednesday, Lazzaro talked to Complex about the Bureu of Prisons decision and next steps.

“The remedy at that point was to apply to the Bureau of Prisons, which I knew would more than likely deny him,” he explained. “But they had up to 30 days to issue that denial. I kept pushing them to make a decision immediately because, in today’s environment, with the virus spreading in a way that nobody could have imagined, it was imperative to get a quick decision. So the Bureau of Prisons through the general counsel this morning denied my request for compassionate release. That now becomes an appealable decision in front of Judge Engelmayer.”

Judge & government both agree Tekashi 6ix9ine should get early release

Well, Judge Engelmayer seems to be leaning towards his release with a statement that suggests that he plans to let 6ix9ine serve the rest of his sentence at home unless the government has any major obections. However, the government said in their decision that they would not get in the way of Tekashi 6ix9ine being released. “In the event the Court finds ‘extraordinary and compelling reasons’ presented by the defendant’s medical condition, placing him at high risk during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government does not oppose the defendant’s motion for compassionate relief.”

If released, Tekashi 6ix9ine will be on home confinement until the end of his sentence, which was initially set to be early July due to a portion of his time already having been served prior to his sentencing.

Also Read: Harvey Weinstein Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Social media distancing is needed to curb anxiety

Social Media Distancing: Protecting Your Mental Health During Chaos

Social media distancing may be the only way some of us can mentally survive the current state of the world. As many of us are getting familiar with the indoors due to social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, most of us turn to our phones to scroll social media and attempt to take our minds off of the gushing outpour of madness that is happening.

We log on and see the annoying aunt we avoid on Thanksgiving posting conspiracy theories and panic propaganda in the droves. We feel the familiar pit in the center of our stomach grow as the dread of impending anxiety turns into reality. We keep scrolling hoping you will see something funny or a cute kitten video to put us in better spirits, instead we see a friend from high school has posted a strongly worded manifesto about the mishandlings of the government and how the far left or the far right are singlehandedly dismantling the country. Pending anxiety is now turning into a full-fledged panic.

Those of us who suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, depression and/or PTSD have most likely been feeling this a lot lately. Fear and uncertainty are big triggers for some, and the stockpiling of panic information, false news, politicalized debates are weighing heavy on the brains for those of us who overthink or become overloaded with empathic thoughts and feelings.

Staying informed and connected to the world is important as we take this new normal in day-by-day. However, putting yourself first is the number one priority, and to do this practicing healthy social media distancing is key. 

Here are some tips on how to enact social media distancing:

Reducing your social media intake to an hour or two a day and giving your brain a break can do wonders for curbing anxiety triggers and rediscovering yourself, the individual.

Find and discover new ways to reconnect with yourself

Yoga, painting, reading a book, meditation, watching a cartoon, writing a list of future goals, and more are all things you can do while taking control of your life and reducing the whirlwind of information being thrown at you daily.

Turn off news notifications

Turn off the news push notifications on your phone. Having headlines thrown at you like hard rocks daily throughout the day can be damaging, limit your news intake to only 30 minutes to an hour a day.

If you have a therapist, continue your routine

If you go to therapy continue your normal therapy routine if possible. Check if your therapist or if any local therapists offer remote therapy sessions and continue your everyday journey of healing even through these times of social distancing.

Set boundaries with loved ones or even strangers

If you see a loved one who is constantly posting theories or information that triggers your anxiety then it is okay to “unfollow” or “unfriend” them for a while until you feel comfortable reconnecting again. You can do this without explanation or if you do explain just explain that although they can post whatever they want for your mental health you have to disengage for a bit.

If loved ones engage in conversation with you that you feel is draining you mentally or making you uncomfortable. You can respectfully explain that to protect your mental welfare you would like to talk about something else or you would like to end the conversation. If they do not understand then this is probably someone you may want to distance yourself from for a bit.

Engage in lighthearted activities

Watch a nostalgic cartoon on sites like DisneyPlus, play a board game on Skype or FaceTime with your friends, or even engage in a solo cooking or baking session. Scrapbook or color in a coloring book. Engage in activities that aren’t so harsh on the brain. Give your thoughts a break.

No matter what you choose to do, know that you deserve mental peace and sometimes social media distancing is the best way to do that.

Also Read: How to Cope with Coronavirus Anxiety



Idris Elba tests positive for coronavirus

Idris Elba is Latest Coronavirus Victim

Idris Elba is the latest celebrity to share that he has tested positive for the coronavirus. The 47-year-old English actor took to Instagram in a video with his wife, Sabrina Dhowre Elba to explain that he did test positive for COVID 19.

“I feel ok”, Idris Elba Says

He explained, “I feel OK. I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus.” He added, “Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I am doing No panic.”

Elba might have contracted from Prime Minster Trudeau’s wife

He found out about the diagnosis on Monday morning, and revealed that he had been exposed to someone who had tested positive for the virus as well. On March 4 Idris Elba had an appearance at the WE Day 2020 Event in London where he posed with a picture with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Her positive test was revealed last week.

Although his wife was by his side in the video he posted, he revealed that she is feeling okay and has not yet been tested for the virus.

He touched on the need for solidarity and thinking of others in the time of crisis. “Look we live in a divided world right now…but this is the time for solidarity. Now is a time for thinking about each other. There are so many people whose lives have been affected.”

Tom Hanks gave update on his coronavirus contraction

Idris isn’t the first actor to be met with a positive test for the coronavirus in Hollywood. Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson both tested positive for the virus and have been on isolation ever since.

In a Sunday Instagram post on Tom Hanks page he wrote, “Thanks to the Helpers. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other.”


View this post on Instagram


Thanks to the Helpers. Let’s take care of ourselves and each other. Hanx

A post shared by Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) on

United States is largely behind in worldwide containment

As the future of the coronavirus and health measures unfold across the country. We find Illinois, Ohio, and New York are all following protocols to close all bars and restaurants to dine-in patrons.

The United States has been criticized on the slow response to the coronavirus pandemic and many are worried that a lot more people are positive for the virus, as testing has barely begun.

With Italy, France, Denmark, South Korea, China, and most recently Puerto Rico, on forms of lock-down it wouldn’t be surprising if the US followed suit in the coming week.

Also Read: Ultra Music Festival & SXSW Canceled From Coronavirus

Europe Travel Ban

President Trump Announces Travel Restrictions for Europeans in Oval Office Address

In a televised Oval office address last night, President Donald Trump announced a temporary travel ban, limiting most Europeans from coming to the U.S.

After weeks of playing down the spread of COVID-19, a novel coronavirus, President Trump finally issued a word of caution, telling Americans to be “very, very careful.”

The travel ban will take effect at midnight on Friday, and will initially be in place for 30 days.

“I am confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures, we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens and we will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus,” Trump said.

The address was only his second time speaking to the nation from the Oval office, the first being in January 2019 during a partial government shutdown when President Trump asserted that funding for a border wall was essential for the nation’s security.

The specifics of the travel ban

Although it was unclear in President’s Trump address, the travel ban will not prevent Americans abroad from coming home. U.S. citizens, permanent residents and their families, health professionals that are part of international efforts to combat the spread of the virus, diplomats and air or sea crew are all excluded from the ban.

Although Americans travelling abroad at the moment should take note of the spreading virus, yesterday classified as a global pandemic by the WHO, and return home immediately, regardless of whether the travel ban applies to them or not.

Which countries are included?

The 26 European countries in the Schengen zone—Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland are included in the travel ban.

Which countries aren’t?

The U.K., despite having almost 600 cases and hardly any social-distancing restrictions in place to stop its spread, and Ireland are not included in the ban. This technically means that if you are a European foreign national flying to the U.S., you could schedule a stay in the U.K. for more than 14 days and then be cleared to enter the U.S.

It’s interesting to note that the U.K. and Ireland both host Trump golf resorts.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is due to meet the President on Thursday, and that meeting is still scheduled to go ahead.

Trade and cargo under a Europe travel ban

During his Oval office address, the President suggested that trade with Europe would be affected, saying “these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval.”

However on Twitter afterwards, he said it was “very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe. The restriction stops people not goods.”

The second assertion is correct—trade and cargo will not be affected. The exemption for air and sea crew from the ban in meant to keep goods moving smoothly.

Trump attacks Europe

The President accused Europe of spreading a “foreign virus” on American soil, saying the EU “failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travellers from Europe.”

In fact, COVID-19 reached the U.S. a full 11 days before it reached Italy, the epicenter of Europe’s outbreak. And many clusters of infection in the U.S. are now caused by community transmission, rather than foreign travel. Despite this, little to no social distancing measures have been put in place, and testing remains inaccessible to most.

The EU, in turn, condemned the President’s unilateral ban. In a joint statement on Thursday, the presidents of the European commission and European council defended Europe’s record in managing the pandemic and sharply criticised the White House for its failure to consult its allies.

“The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent, and requires cooperation rather than unilateral action,” Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel said in a statement.

Markets are not assured

Always sensitive to the stock market, the President said in his address that “this is not a financial crisis. This is just a temporary moment in time that we will overcome as a nation and a world.”

However, the markets seemed to be unassured by this statement, tumbling further when they opened today.

Other developments

In other coronavirus news, many were saddened to learn that Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, had tested positive for coronavirus. Hanks is one of the highest-profile celebrities to contract the virus as it has spread through the globe. At 63, he is more at risk, falling into a range where the fatality rate is estimated to be 3.6 percent.

In happier news, China has passed the peak of its outbreak, according to a spokesman for the country’s health ministry. COVID-19 was detected in Wuhan in December 2019, and saw a rapid spread through the country in the months since—Chin has recoded about two-thirds of the cases worldwide. However, on Thursday, there were just 15 new cases from the previous day.

For those who are doing the math and estimating that their own personal lives may be affected for only two to three months, it’s worth noting that China adopted very aggressive quarantine, social distancing and public health policies—things that are not being adopted elsewhere.

See also: Ultra Music Festival & SXSW Canceled From Coronavirus
James Bond Movie “No Time to Die” Release Pushed Back Amid Coronavirus Fears
How To Cope With Coronavirus Anxiety
COVID-19: Everything We Know About Coronavirus Right Now


Justin Bieber downsizes tour due to low ticket sales

Justin Bieber Downsizes Tour Due to Low Sales

Justin Bieber is making some changes to his upcoming tour by downsizing to smaller venues. Dubbed The Changes tour, Justin Bieber had 45 dates set for the tour and was set to begin May 14 in Seattle. Out of the 45 dates, eight of the shows were downsized to smaller venues due to “unforeseen circumstances”

Low ticket sales may be due to long hiatus

These unforeseen circumstances are most likely lower than expected ticket sales. Before Justin Bieber’s album Changes, his last album Purpose was released almost five years ago. Where most people have the momentum to sustain a successful comeback, some pop stars do not translate well to new generations after taking long hiatuses.

Justin Bieber called for help streaming “Yummy”

When the first single from the album was released, Bieber posted videos and social media reposts from fans asking people to create a playlist on a streaming service like Spotify and put the song “Yummy” on repeat and stream it while they were sleeping in an effort inflate streaming numbers. Although the post was deleted it gave insight on the current desperation pop stars have when the spotlight on them dims.

The song ended up losing to Roddy Rich’s “The Box”, which Justin Bieber cautiously congratulated the rap star on Twitter.

Although Bieber may not be getting traction to his concerts due to dwindling popularity, the lack of sales might also be due to the coronavirus mayhem that the world is currently experiencing. With Ultra Music Festival, South by Southwest (SXSW), and now Coachella postponing their events it is also highly likely that ticket sales are low due to health fears.

Despite the venue changes, it is possible that the tour could experience entire cancellations with the ensuing coronavirus panic. Although eight venues have changes, the remaining venues will stay at the original arenas for now.

Also Read: Ultra Music Festival & SXSW Canceled From Coronavirus 

James Bond Movie “No Time to Die” Release Pushed Back Amid Coronavirus Fears

The latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, was meant to be released in April. Amid coronavirus fears, the 25th 007 will now be delayed until November.

In a statement, MGM, Eon and Universal say the decision was made “after careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace”.

The move comes after fears that coronavirus could impact the global box office by as much as $5 billion. There had been cinema closures in Italy, South Korea, China and Japan. The James Bond franchise is traditionally buoyed by international markets, with the last four films all making over 70 percent of their gross revenue outside of America.

The film will now be released in the U.S. on November 25, 2020, and internationally starting on November 12. Universal is handling the international rollout.

Although the delayed release date of the latest James Bond is meant to protect the film from a small box office return, its new date comes with its own challenges. No Time to Die will now open at the same times as Godzilla vs. Kong and Raya and the Last Dragon, two major films from Warner Bros. and Disney respectively.

A November release date might make more sense, argue some critics.

“November has been the traditional home for Bond in the modern era so it makes total sense to move ‘No Time To Die’ to that new date,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, said, “And it’s certainly in the best interest of the movie, given the current situation, to get creative and do what needs to be done to ensure the best outcome for the film and for the fans who will just have to wait a bit longer to get a hold of James Bond.”

No Time to Die cost a reported $200 million to make and has been beset with problems during production, including a late-in-the-day departure from original director Danny Boyle and a serious ankle injury for Daniel Craig. The movie was originally set for a November 2019 release date, which was then moved to February 2020 and then again to April.

The James Bond film is the first major flick to change its release date owing to coronavirus concerns, but its expected that it won’t be the last. Disney’s Mulan, due to be released in late March, has long been expected to perform well in China; however, if theater closures continue, its tally at the box office could take a hit.

Disney has not said the movie’s March release in China has been altered, but many are bracing for the announcement. The company’s biggest worry is that the film will be pirated over the internet, putting a dent in potential ticket sales.

Another hit the film industry may weather is related to shooting on location. U.S. film companies could begin to halt production of movies being shot internationally. Already, Paramount Pictures has halted production of Mission: Impossible VII in Italy. Sony Pictures has temporarily shuttered its offices in London, Paris and Poland due to coronavirus fears.