Trump’s Covid-plagued White House proves testing alone can’t keep America safe

President Donald Trump’s White House continues to rack up positive tests, from Hope Hicks to Stephen Miller. On Tuesday, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany (and two of her aides) tested positive for SARS-CoV2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. Despite knowing that she was in close contact with both the president and top adviser Hope Hicks prior to their diagnoses, McEnany not only refused to quarantine, but even continued to give briefings with reporters without a mask.

Her stated reason for this behavior, up until Monday afternoon? She hadn’t tested positive yet.

This behavior highlights a fundamental and dangerous misunderstanding of the point of Covid-19 tests — and their limitations. If we don’t know how to interpret and respond to tests, we risk the kind of disaster now unfolding at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

To be clear, testing is not a prevention strategy. Just like a pregnancy test cannot take the place of birth control, Covid-19 tests should not be seen as substitutes for robust strategies to reduce community transmission. It is part of the public health approach, but not for the reasons people think.

The first and most familiar reason people get tested is to obtain a definitive diagnosis. This type of testing is most often done for individuals with symptoms — people who have a cough, fever, loss of taste or smell, or fatigue. Asymptomatic contacts of a known Covid-19 positive patient may also be tested to rule out infection. This type of testing is usually done with a “PCR” test, which amplifies the virus and which is currently considered the gold standard for testing, although other more rapid forms of molecular tests can also be used. Most tests on the market were approved for this type of “diagnostic” testing, and it has the most robust metrics.

The second reason to test is to monitor the disease on a population level. Individual-level accuracy is less important here. The goal is to detect positive cases before they spread. In this type of testing, we want to test frequently and widely; this is the strategy used by universities, sports teams and workplaces. Many groups are using rapid antigen tests, which are quicker but less accurate, and which have not (for the most part) been proven particularly effective in identifying asymptomatic patients; others are using novel strategies like “wastewater testing” (e.g., testing sewage).

Testing is also used to see if someone has recovered from an infection. For this purpose, an antibody test is used to see if you have mounted an effective immune response; or a repeat PCR test is used to see if you have eliminated the virus from your body. These tests are not completely accurate, though, and should not be used as the sole marker of whether it’s safe to be around other people.

The last main reason we test is to try

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Hack to stop kitchen food spills proves popular on TikTok

No matter how much you love getting your creative juices flowing in the kitchen, no one loves the clear up.

Kitchen counters covered in a sticky mess is one of the worst parts of the cooking aftermath.

Thankfully, a video posted on TikTok recently promises to make annoying food spills a thing of the past.

In the clip, TikTok user Andrew Gatt demonstrates a simple (yet not commonly known) way of avoiding kitchen spills while pouring liquids from a bowl to a pan, or vice versa.

It’s all about basic physics.

Read more: Turns out, you’ve been grating cheese wrong this whole time

To demonstrate his method for avoiding pouring pitfalls, Gatt filmed himself making scrambled eggs.

After tipping the eggs from a bowl into the pan, he tilts the bowl back and points out the leftover egg spilling over the lip, which would continue to drip down the side of the bowl and onto the counter.

However, Gatt explains that if he applies the law of basic physics and instead of tipping the bowl back, continued to turn it in the same direction, the drippings would fall back into the bowl, preventing any mess.

Read more: Have we been filling ice cube trays wrong this whole time

Illustrating the simple yet genius method, Gatt illustrates that by continuing to turn the bowl, he can avoid any spillage on the kitchen counter or whatever surface he places the bowl back down.

Watch: Woman’s clever hack to clean your kettle with cola

“How old were you when you learned this life hack?” Gatt captioned the video.

While this particular video shows Gatt using the technique while making eggs, you can use this hack for virtually any liquid that could be spilled on the kitchen counter. 

The video was viewed more than 1.2 million times within a week of being posted and has clocked up 69.7K likes from impressed home cooks.

“OMG thank you so much for this. You have no idea,” one person commented.

“My paper towels be like ‘thank you’,” another joked.

The hack could help prevent certain kitchen spills. (Getty Images)

Read more: Disgusting or genius? Mum’s hack for cleaning her toilet brush divides the Internet

Other people shared their own tricks for avoiding excess drippage.

“I instead use a spatula to get all the excess egg out of the bowl. I hate to see anything go to waste,” one person offered.

“I just put it in the sink while my hand is stopping the drip from hitting the floor,” another shared.

This video can join the host of other social media hacks helping to improve our kitchen skills.

Last month we learned how to make the crispiest roast potatoes using a magical store cupboard ingredient and back in August we solved the problem of cleaning stained tuppaware.

We were also impressed when a woman shared a clever trick for disposing of hot grease without having to pour it down the drain.

Watch: The life-changing kitchen hacks everyone

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U.S. House passes Democratic COVID-19 aid plan after bipartisan deal proves elusive

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $2.2 trillion Democratic plan to provide more economic relief from the coronavirus pandemic, as a bipartisan deal continued to elude House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House.

Objections from top Republicans are likely to doom the House Democrats’ plan in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called the $2.2 trillion price tag “outlandish,” although Democrats have reduced the cost of their proposal by over a trillion dollars since May. The House vote was 214-207.

No Republican voted for the Democratic plan, although 18 Democrats voted no, many of them moderates from swing districts who have been urging Pelosi to bring a bipartisan proposal to the House floor.

“Today’s package is another partisan exercise that will never become law,” Representative Abigail Spanberger, one of the Democrats who voted no, said.

Republican President Donald Trump’s negotiating team has suggested a $1.6 trillion response, and the White House on Thursday dismissed Democrats’ $2.2 trillion plan as not serious.

Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have talked every day this week, including a 50-minute phone call Thursday, in an effort to negotiate a bipartisan aid package to respond to the economic fallout from a pandemic that has killed more than 207,000 Americans and thrown millions out of work.

Congress and the White House approved more than $3 trillion worth of coronavirus relief measures earlier this year, but Mnuchin, as well as members of Congress from both parties, have argued more stimulus is needed.

Asked if there would be a resolution to her negotiations with the administration on Thursday evening, Pelosi told reporters, “No.” She gave no details of their talks but said: “Even if we came to some agreement, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. It’s the language.”

In the absence of a deal with the White House, and with lawmakers preparing to leave Washington for the remaining weeks of the 2020 presidential and congressional campaign, the Democratic-majority House went ahead and passed the Democrats’ proposal.

“Frankly if we had reached a bipartisan agreement…we wouldn’t have this bill on the floor,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said. “But we also want to let the American people know where we stand.”

Pelosi and Mnuchin differed over aid to state and local governments, Democratic demands for a child tax credit and stronger worker safety protections, healthcare provisions and help for small businesses.

After Pelosi and Mnuchin’s phone call Thursday afternoon, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill wrote on Twitter: “The two discussed further clarifications on amounts and language, but distance on key areas remain.”

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany dismissed the Democratic proposal as “not a serious offer.”

Pelosi said of the White House proposal on Bloomberg TV: “This isn’t half a loaf. What they’re offering is the heel of the loaf.”

Republican Senator Mike Braun told CNBC on Thursday that a deal worth over $1.6 trillion could be rejected by one-third

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