Could coronavirus lockdowns be worse for our health than disease itself?

How is the coronavirus lockdown impacting people’s mental health

Coronavirus lockdown is fraught with danger from a psychological standpoint, dean of the University of Buckingham medical school Dr. Karol Sikora says.

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Continuing the lockdowns to prevent the spread of the coronavirus could be threatening the health of those not sickened by COVID-19, according to a top British doctor.

Dr. Karol Sikora, dean of the University of Buckingham medical school, told FOX Business' Gerry Baker on "WSJ at Large" that the longer the economy is shut down, the more serious the collateral damage to people’s mental health.


“Lockdown is … fraught with danger from a psychological standpoint,” he said. “People will lose their jobs, unemployment will go up, self-esteem is absolutely vital to get out of this crisis.”

“We can never get back to where we were with travel, hotels and holidays quickly, it will take a year or two, but we can get a semblance of normality,” he pointed out. “We just got to get systems in place to allow people to do what they normally do safely.”


In addition, Sikora said our laser focus on dealing with the virus has led to people not getting proper treatment for other dangerous diseases.

“As an oncologist, I’m really upset, and the reason I got into understanding corona and being very vocal about it is we’ve now got to make the shift away from corona, which we’ve dealt with, there’s been a surge but it’s all gone, into other diseases, and cancer is perhaps the biggest challenge now,” he argued. 

And he fears many more deaths will occur unless we return to spending more time on other major diseases such as cancer.

“It’s not that cancer has simply taken Easter off, it’s simply not being diagnosed,” he explained. “The longer it goes on, the worse the mortality and the suffering we’re going to see from cancer. So we’ve got to move.”


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Hackers could be reading your WhatsApp chats – but huge new update will stop them

WHATSAPP is reportedly planning a huge new update that will make its two billion users even more secure.

Until this update is available, your messages probably aren't as secure as you might think.

However, WABetaInfo reported that too major changes are being trialled in the beta version of the app and may be rolled out soon.

The first change will apparently enable "the encryption for your chat history hosted on iCloud".

This is good news for iPhone users who may not realise that when their WhatsApp chats back up to iCloud they're not protected by WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption.

The fact that this doesn't already happen is a vulnerability that has been exposed before.

Currently, if you back up an iPhone with WhatsApp chats stored on an iCloud the chats become decrypted without a password being required on WhatsApp.

This could enable cybercriminals who have hacked an iCloud to then see those chats.

The second new feature that could be coming soon has also been long awaited.

WhatsApp is said to be working on a personal QR code that can load your WhatsApp contact details into another phone.

This reportedly aims to be available for both iOS and Android users and will make saving contacts much easier.

Instead of sharing phone numbers, users could share and also revoke specific codes.

This would go someone in severing WhatsApp's connection to phone numbers and specific smartphones.

There's no need to get excited just yet though as we don't know when or if these features will be rolled out in the mainstream.

WhatsApp – a quick history

Here's what you need to know…

  • WhatsApp was created in 2009 by computer programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum – former employees of Yahoo
  • It's one of the most popular messaging services in the world
  • Koum came up with the name WhatsApp because it sounded like "what's up"
  • After a number of tweaks the app was released with a messaging component in June 2009, with 250,000 active users
  • It was originally free but switched to a paid service to avoid growing too fast. Then in 2016, it became free again for all users
  • Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc in February 2014 for $19.3billion (£14.64bn)
  • The app is particularly popular because all messages are encrypted during transit, shutting out snoopers
  • WhatsApp has over 2billion users globally

In other news, Netflix is going to start automatically cancelling "inactive" accounts – even if you're still paying for it.

Apple's long-rumoured "smart spectacles" are expected to cost around $499/£410 when they launch in March 2021, insiders claim.

And, Instagram will now delete your videos for playing music ‘you don’t hold copyright for’.

Do you update your apps regularly? Let us know in the comments…

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Inside dubious driver David Beckham’s ‘£3million’ car collection, from sleek convertibles to armour-plated rides – The Sun

FEW celebrities have built up a car collection quite like David Beckham's over the years, with the sports star spotted driving round in everything from swanky sports cars to Rolls-Royces, Hummers and more.

But despite shelling out an estimated £3million on his impressive stash since first bursting into the limelight, the dad-of-four has still managed to get embroiled in a fair few controversies on the road too.

Becks has been involved in three nasty crashes, been caught using his phone behind the wheel – resulting in a six-month ban and a hefty fine – and more recently he was spotted driving without a seatbelt and parking on double yellows.

It seems despite boasting more than 30 cars and motorbikes in his garage over the years, practice doesn't always make perfect.

Just recently the former England footballer was caught parking on a double yellow line – twice in a matter of days.

The 45-year-old is currently isolating at his Cotswolds property with wife Victoria Beckham and three of their children, but was pictured abandoning his black Land Rover Defender across the lines as he headed into upmarket deli Mr Bumbles in Burford, Oxon, Oxfordshire.

And it's not the first time the sports star has been caught out by driving laws…

Forgetting to wear a seatbelt

Just days before his latest yellow lines incident, Beckham took another trip in a green 4×4 to his favourite delicatessen with eight-year-old daughter Harper.

But while the youngster was safely buckled up, her dad appeared to forget to strap in as they pulled away.

According to reports, he was also spotted parking briefly on some double yellow lines on this occasion too.

A source told The Sun: “David has visited Mrs Bumbles at least three times in the last three weeks, he really likes the produce and always spends a lot of money.

“He looked very happy and relaxed with his little girl – so much so that he forgot to buckle up.”

6-month driving ban and hefty fine

Perhaps Beckham's most notable nightmare on the roads came in 2018 when he was caught using a mobile behind the wheel of his £100,000 Bentley.

The Sun revealed at the time how he was seen on his phone while driving through the West End of London in November that year.

He was eventually banned from driving for six months last year.

While his lawyer claimed his children would be deprived of him picking them up from school, his argument cut no ice and Beckham, who already had six points on his licence, was hit with the ban.

Gerrard Tyrrell, defending, said Beckham had “no recollection of the day in question or the particular incident” but conceded there was no excuse.

He was also fined £750, ordered to pay £100 to prosecution costs and a £75 surcharge.

Narrowly avoiding speeding fine

In 2018, months before being caught with the mobile, Beckham was accused of "shirking his responsibility" as a role model when he beat a speeding fine on a technicality using “Mr Loophole” celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman.

The father-of-four accepted he drove a £200,000 on-loan Bentley at 59mph in a 40mph zone in west London, but Mr Freeman got him off because his speeding notice arrived one day late.

Traffic laws state drivers must be informed of a pending action against them within a fortnight – but Beckham's came too late.

He was cleared after a court heard the delay voided the charge.

As she cleared the footballer after a five-and-a-half hour case, District judge Barbara Barnes said: “The notice of intended prosecution was one day outside the legal limit.”

She added: “As a result of my finding then the defendant in this case can’t be convicted.”

Beckham said through his lawyer after the case: "I am very relieved with the verdict and very happy with my legal team."

Involved in three nasty car crashes

Beckham was involved in a nasty car crash in his Audi RS6 outside Arsenal’s training ground in Hertfordshire in 2014.

Police confirmed at the time that a grey Audi RS6 had collided with a silver Mitsubishi Colt, while photos showed both cars badly smashed on the road.

The Telegraph reported that Beckham's son Brooklyn was also in the car, but the pair escaped serious injury thanks to the car's airbags.

Meanwhile, months before he was involved in another collision in LA – again with Brooklyn in the car at the time.

The Beckhams were in their black Range Rover Sport at the time and it was claimed that the accident happened as he was pulling out of the driveway.

Beckham was also involved in a smash in 2011 on the southbound 405 Freeway, which reportedly saw his black Cadillac collide with a gold Mitsubishi.

A look inside his '£3million car collection'…

Beckham has been pictured behind the wheel of some very impressive cars over the years – with them all thought to total around £3million overall.

But some of his swanky and very expensive purchases in recent years are a far cry from his first car – a 1994 Volkswagen Golf that he sold in 2015 to raise money for charity.

His first supercar was famously a 1997 Porsche 911 Carrera, which he was often pictured with then-new girlfriend Victoria. While he bought it new, it was eventually auctioned off in 2008, with bids coming in around £50,000.

And it wasn't the only Porsche the sports star got his hands on over the years, with him also being spotted in a 911 Turbo and a replica of Steve McQueen's famous 911, which he's said to have bought for around £70,000.

Meanwhile, Becks has been known for his love of Jaguars – so much so he previously because brand ambassador for Jaguar China in 2014.

He was previously snapped with wife Victoria in a metallic blue Jaguar XK8 in 1998, while he's also enjoyed an XJ too.

Perhaps most notably, he was previously the proud owner of a £200,000 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, along with a Ferrari 360 Spider and 550 Maranello – both thought to be well over £100,000 each too.

Elsewhere, the footballing legend has also previously had a Lamborghini Gallardo, thought to be worth around £149,000, to his name too.

And he's no stranger to American muscle, as he had an armour-plated Hummer delivered to Villa Park while he played with England against Holland.

Whilst Stateside with LA Galaxy, Becks drove around Beverly Hills in a matte black 2011 Chevrolet Camaro.

And it seems he likes to treat himself to something new wherever he goes.

Beckham is previously thought to have had a 1988 Aston Martin V8 Volante convertible in Madrid, which he shipped from the UK – before it later starred at a classic car show.

Meanwhile, he's been spotted in three BMWs over the years – an M3, a 645 and an X5, along with at least four Audis (including the RS6 which was involved in the accident).

Of course there was the Bentley he was caught using his mobile phone in too, while he was also spotted driving a flashy Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe in America previously, which according to Car Buzz hit the market for around £326,000 in 2012.

More cars spotted in his possession over the years include a Jeep Wrangler, a Range Rover Sport – a favourite of Victoria's – a Cadillac Escalade and a Mercedes CLK, according to Complex.

Last year he was pictured in a silver McLaren 720S in LA, which can reportedly sell for upwards of £208,000, while he's also previously had a custom Harley-Davidson 93 Knucklehead and a confederate F131 Hellcat.

Is there anything he hasn't driven over the years?

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Cattle farmers will soon be able to herd cows with a smartphone – The Sun

CATTLE farmers will soon benefit from moo technology — and herd cows with a phone.

The animals will have collars fitted allowing them to be tracked via an app using GPS.

The kit also allows farmers to create virtual fences to stop them wandering off.

Any trying to do so will first get an audible warning, then a mild electric shock.

The kit is being tested in the Scottish Highlands, where many farmers have stock scattered across the countryside.

Researchers at Scotland’s Rural College came up with the idea, which was revealed at the National Farmers Union Scotland’s AGM in Glasgow.

Project co-ordinator Malcolm MacDonald said: “It saves time and labour, can protect environmentally sensitive areas and improves herd management as farmers can monitor their stock from their smartphone or tablet.”

Dr Tony Waterhouse, the college’s head of mountain and beef research, added: “This is a sophisticated means of managing their stock with the peace of mind of being able to see it all working on their smartphones.

“Research shows that stock learns the system in 24 hours and is not stressed by it.

“So, overall, from the findings so far, I think the system is also better for animal welfare than wire-based systems.”

Similar technology has been tested on cows in New Zealand, Australia and Norway.

However, animal rights groups have opposed electric shock collars on cats and dogs — and are likely to do the same with cattle.

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JC Penney said to be exploring bankruptcy as hopes for recovery fade

US retailer JC Penney is exploring filing for bankruptcy protection after the coronavirus pandemic forced the US retailer to temporarily shut its 850 department stores, upending its turnaround plans, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company has access to enough cash to survive in the months ahead, even as revenue dries up because of the store closures, the sources said. Still, the company is contemplating a bankruptcy filing as one way to rework its unsustainable finances and save money on looming debt payments, which include significant annual interest expenses, the sources added.

JC Penney has been hit hard by retail disruption. The company last week announced plans to close 138 stores. Credit:John Roark

Concerns about prolonged store closures and customers remaining sparse even when outlets eventually reopen have also factored in to JC Penney's deliberations, some of the sources said.

JC Penney has not made any final decisions on how to address its strained finances, the sources said. The retailer is also considering asking creditors for breathing room through transactions that would rework debt outside of bankruptcy court proceedings, the sources added. There is also a possibility that JC Penney will be able to secure rescue financing, one of the sources said.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential deliberations.

JC Penney "has been engaged in discussions with its lenders since mid-2019 to evaluate options to strengthen its balance sheet and maximise its financial flexibility, a process that has become even more important as our stores have also closed due to the pandemic," a company spokeswoman said in a statement.

The pandemic "has created unprecedented challenges," she said, adding the company remains focused on its turnaround plan and looks forward to reopening stores.

JC Penney attempted unsuccessfully to persuade creditors earlier this year to restructure and push out due dates on portions of its nearly $US4 billion ($6.2 billion) of long-term debt without the need for bankruptcy proceedings. It hoped to buy time for Chief Executive Jill Soltau's turnaround plan to bear fruit, as it faced fierce competition from e-commerce firms as well as discount retailers such as the TJX Cos Inc's Marshalls and TJ Maxx chains.

JC Penney had recently made some strides in its turnaround attempt, meeting or exceeding guidance on financial objectives for 2019 and improving sales at some stores. The company has been reducing inventory and refocusing on its core higher-margin business of selling mid-priced apparel to middle-class families.

The novel coronavirus outbreak threw a wrench in its plans. The 118-year old company, which has had to furlough some of its roughly 85,000 employees and slash spending, is now considering skipping looming debt payments and filing for bankruptcy to address its debt, the sources said. Its online business is still running, though it does not contribute to the lion's share of the company's sales.

The US economy has been paralysed by the coronavirus.Credit:AP

The coronavirus outbreak has hammered traditional brick-and-mortar department store operators and other retailers that had to close their doors to customers to curb its spread. They were already struggling as consumers shifted to online shopping, before the coronavirus infected more than half a million Americans, resulting in more than 23,000 deaths.

Macy's, the largest US department store operator by sales, has tapped advisers at investment bank Lazard and law firm Kirkland & Ellis to explore options including new financing, Reuters reported this week. Last week, peer Nordstrom said it borrowed $US600 million against its real estate. Neiman Marcus, another department store operator, is advancing bankruptcy preparations, Reuters reported earlier this month.

Debt payments due

JC Penney needs to make a debt payment of roughly $US12 million on Wednesday, followed by a $US105 million bond repayment due in June. The retailer must also contend with about $US300 million in annual interest expenses, and faces more than $US2 billion of debt maturing in 2023, according to regulatory filings.

JC Penney in March drew down $US1.25 billion from its revolving credit line. On March 31, it said it was also "evaluating other financial options," without providing further details.

But in another sign of JC Penney's financial woes, the company has added corporate turnaround experts at AlixPartners who specialise in urgently addressing stressed finances to its roster of advisers, one of the sources said. Bloomberg News reported on that appointment on Monday.

JC Penney's revenue could plunge more than 25 per cent this year, according to Fitch Ratings. The credit ratings firm predicts that could cause JC Penney's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation to turn "materially negative" to the tune of $US400 million in 2020.

JC Penney bonds due in 2023 were trading at roughly 43 cents on the dollar on Tuesday, according to Refinitiv Eikon data, indicating investor concerns about the company's ability to repay its debts.


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There may be some relief for the hospitality sector amid coronavirus

First, the good news for some workers in the hospitality business. In fact, this might be the only good news you can find these days in that industry.

A relatively new company called, headquartered downtown at 3 WTC, is in the process of hiring an army of new workers. And that army is going to be made up of people who’ve been laid off mostly by New York City restaurants and hotels.

“Our goal is to hire 1,000,” says Vishal Garg, the four-year-old mortgage company’s founder and chief executive. is in talks to hire furloughed workers from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, Marriott and the New York Sports Club.

“We’ve already hired 201 new employees since COVID-19 started,” Garg said. He thinks workers who were trained to be nice to people in restaurants and hotels would also treat mortgage seekers the right way.

Right now, of course, everyone is working remotely.

OK, that’s all the good news I could find about restaurants, hotels and any other company that makes its living mostly serving people face-to-face.

All the rest is bad news.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) summed it up nicely in its report about the employment situation in March, which showed a massive 701,000 drop in jobs in just that month. “Employment in leisure and hospitality fell by 459,000 mainly in food service and drinking places,” the BLS said.

Not surprising. And don’t be shocked if a million or more food service and booze jobs are lost when the April numbers come out early next month.

But if you stay with me through the bad news I’ll give a couple of predictions and suggestions that might offer some hope — hope that you’ll still be able to get a drink at your favorite bar, food at a place where you like to dine and maybe even a night at a hotel when this is all over.

At least you’ll be able to do all that if these places can survive the government’s frantic reaction to the tiny bug that’s ruining spring for all of us.

“What’s next? We wait,” says Barry Dry, owner of Parched Hospitality Group and Hole in the Wall restaurants. “Hopefully the CARES Act funding comes through and we can bring our core staff back into the mix and start planning on how to reopen in the most efficient way,” he told me.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act — or CARES Act — was signed into law by President Trump last week. It’s part of a multitrillion-dollar bailout package for companies that is likely to grow as time goes on.

But there’s a problem. Giving out all that money isn’t easy or efficient. And small businesses are already reporting trouble getting government money approved.

“Some banks are not participating in the loans program,” Des O’Brien, who owns and runs several restaurants and bars in Manhattan. “Banks that are will only service existing accounts. So, if your bank is not participating you are left high and dry without access to loans.”

O’Brien has a suggestion.

Rather than letting banks handle all the bailout money, the Trump Administration could order insurance companies to make good on so-called business interruption insurance policies.

Most businesses, including restaurants and bars, carry this type of insurance. But normally things like viruses aren’t covered by these policies.

If Washington needs an excuse to activate this insurance it could argue that these business weren’t shut down by the virus; they were closed by government edict.

But no excuse is really necessary. Washington could simply indemnify the insurers for the coverage and use insurance companies as middlemen to get aid more quickly to all small businesses that will get tangled up in bureaucracy if they go through banks.

Here’s another idea.

Once the leisure industry gets back up and running, the Trump Administration should restore the business entertainment deduction that was eliminated last year.

What does the future look like for the hospitality industry?

If you judge by how consumers are feeling, the industry should be very pessimistic. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index suffered its biggest drop in history last week.

But Jim Balis, managing director of strategic operations at CapitalSpring, is more upbeat.

“I think the restaurant business isn’t going anywhere. My belief is, it will come back. Human beings are social beings,” Balis said. But, he added, “It will take time.”

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Comet that may be the 'brightest in 20 years' will soar across sky this month – how to spot it

IF you've ever wanted to see a shooting star you stand a good chance this month.

Experts think that Comet Atlas will soon be visible to the naked eye for people in the Northern Hemisphere.

Comet Atlas, officially known as C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS), seems to be getting a tail.

Currently it can be observed through binoculars travelling between the constellations known as the Big Dipper and the Giraffe.

The comet hasn't reached its peak yet but when it does it may be the brightest comet seen from Earth in 20 years.

Some stargazers and planetary photographers have already observed the comet including Damien Peach who tweeted: "A tail is starting to develop. Lets hope it lives up to expectations – a decent comet is long overdue!"

Comet tails are made up of dust and gas.

This dust and gas gets illuminated by the Sun as the comet travels closer to Earth.

Nasa recently featured a picture of the comet taken at the end of March as its Astronomy Picture of the Day.

The comet was discovered by the NASA-funded ATLAS (Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System) survey.

It was the last comet to be discovered in 2019.

How to see Comet Atlas

The comet is currently travelling away from the Big Dipper.

It's predicted to be at its best at the end of April or the beginning of May.

This is because it will be closer to the Sun at this point.

If you can wait until April 30, there's a chance you'll be able to see the comet with your naked eyes.

Look west in the sky just after sunset.

Locate planet Venus and the bright star Capella and you should be able to spot the comet and its tail.

If you're struggling to see anything try using a pair of binoculars.

What's the difference between an asteroid, meteor and comet?

Here's what you need to know, according to Nasa…

  • Asteroid: An asteroid is a small rocky body that orbits the Sun. Most are found in the asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter) but they can be found anywhere (including in a path that can impact Earth)
  • Meteoroid: When two asteroids hit each other, the small chunks that break off are called meteoroids
  • Meteor: If a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere, it begins to vapourise and then becomes a meteor. On Earth, it'll look like a streak of light in the sky, because the rock is burning up
  • Meteorite: If a meteoroid doesn't vapourise completely and survives the trip through Earth's atmosphere, it can land on the Earth. At that point, it becomes a meteorite
  • Comet: Like asteroids, a comet orbits the Sun. However rather than being made mostly of rock, a comet contains lots of ice and gas, which can result in amazing tails forming behind them (thanks to the ice and dust vapourising)


In other space news, stargazers will be treated to the site of a Pink Moon next week.

Nasa astronauts could build Moon base using their own PEE and lunar dirt to make ‘space concrete’.

And, the Hubble Space Telescope has revealed new data about what may be the most powerful cosmic storm in the universe.

Will you be looking out for this comet? Let us know in the comments…

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