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Over 11.4 million doses of vaccine given, 569 new cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania on July 20


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) – The Pennsylvania Department of Health reports that more than 11.4 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in Pennsylvania. 61.9% of Pennsylvanians aged 18 and over are now fully vaccinated.

569 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported since Monday, bringing the state total to 1,217,332 known cases since the start of the pandemic.

10 new deaths have been identified by the Pennsylvania death registry since Monday, bringing our state’s total to 27,805 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

There are 274 people hospitalized with COVID-19. Of that number, 49 patients are in the intensive care unit with COVID-19. More data is available here.

The statewide percentage of positivity for the week of July 9-15 was 1.7%.

Ninety-seven (97) percent of Pennsylvania’s cases were considered cured from COVID-19.

To date, 4,852,775 people have tested negative.

Our central region has 35 new cases since Thursday. This brings our total to 78,591 known cases of COVID-19.

Below is the departmental breakdown:

Percentage of people who received at least one dose of vaccine per county:

BEDFORD: 34.4%
BLAIR: 46.8%
CAMBRIA: 50.2%
CENTER: 54.8%
ELK: 54.5%

Total number of COVID-19 related deaths by county:

BEDFORD: 142 (+0)
BLAIR: 344 (+0)
CAMBRIA: 441 (+0)
CAMEROON: 9 (+1)
CENTER: 228 (+0)
CLEAR FIELD: 156 (+0)
ELK: 41 (+0)
HUNTINGDON: 136 (+0)
JEFFERSON: 99 (+0)
SOMERSET: 219 (+0)


Federal data representing the 67 counties:

  • According to the CDC, as of Monday, July 19, Pennsylvania ranks 5e among the 50 states for total doses administered.
  • According to the CDC, as of Monday, July 19, 61.9% of Pennsylvanians aged 18 and over were fully vaccinated.

State-wide data representing the 66 counties within the vaccine jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health:

  • The Pennsylvania Vaccine Dashboard was updated on Friday, July 9 to more accurately reflect the number of people partially and fully vaccinated in each county outside of Philadelphia, as well as the demographics of those vaccinated. For state-to-state comparisons, see the CDC’s Vaccine Data Tracker.
  • Vaccine suppliers have administered 11,442,686 total doses of vaccine as of Tuesday, July 20.
  • 5,621,779 people are fully vaccinated; with a seven-day moving average of over 11,400 people per day vaccinated.

The department continues to urge Pennsylvanians to follow CDC guidelines for wearing a mask when required by law, rules and regulations, including health care, local businesses and location guidelines. of work. For their protection and that of others, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people are always encouraged to wear a mask in public.

There are 164,383 people who have a positive viral antigen test and are considered probable cases and 639 people who have a positive serologic test and either have COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure.

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Police: Knife-wielding Somerset man attacked driver | Local News


SOMERSET – A Somerset man was jailed on Monday on charges of running down the middle of a street brandishing a knife and attempting to stab a motorist who had stopped his vehicle at an intersection, authorities said.

Police said they were called to the 600 block of North Edgewood Avenue on July 7 with a report of a man running down the street wielding a knife, according to a criminal complaint.

Police said the 31-year-old was wearing underpants and was covered in blood.

Police said the man then left on a pink and white bicycle.

A motorist told police he was driving around Autumn Drive and Felgar Road when he saw the man running down the street with no shirt on and blood on his neck.

The man allegedly tried to stab the driver through an open window. The driver accelerated the vehicle, striking the man. The motorist went to the police station to report the incident.

Police arrested the man when he ran up the steps to the police station, carrying a shovel. Police said the man’s neck injuries were self-inflicted.

He was charged with aggravated assault, terrorist threats, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief.

The man was arraigned by District Guard Judge Sandra Stevanus, of New Centerville, and sent to Somerset County Jail after failing to post $ 10,000 bail.

Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter for La Tribune-Démocrate. He can be reached at 532-5061. Follow him on twitter @PatbrucknowskiTD.

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Border authorities told not to carry out Covid checks on green and orange list arrivals | Coronavirus


Border officials are no longer required to perform basic Covid checks on arrivals to England from Green and Orange List countries, according to leaked instructions that have prompted the government to turn a blind eye to the risk of import cases of Covid.

A change that came into effect on Monday means border forces officers no longer have to check whether new arrivals have received a negative Covid test, have booked a test in the next few days, or have a passenger locator form showing an address where they will isolate themselves if necessary.

Border Force sources contacted the Guardian on condition of anonymity to express serious concerns about the change in approach and said it was to reduce queues as trips to the foreign reboot.

The government said it would not comment on the leaked documents and stressed that airlines are legally required to carry out all necessary checks.

One of the most criticized aspects of the government’s Covid strategy has been the ministers’ approach to the border. Critics say it has been slow to act to close the borders to arrivals from India this year, ultimately allowing the more infectious Delta variant to take hold.

Reports previously suggested the cabinet was frequently divided over the best approach, with Home Secretary Priti Patel calling for tighter controls as early as March 2020.

An instruction sent to border force personnel, seen by the Guardian, explains that for arrivals from countries on the Amber and Green Lists:

  • Agents are not required to routinely verify a passenger locator form or pre-departure tests or tests to be performed on the second and eighth days after arrival.
  • When the computer system indicates that a passenger locator form was not found, officers are not required to verify the form or question the passenger unless the passenger displays other “warning indicators” or behavior suggesting non-compliance ”.
  • Electronic gates (eGates) will no longer direct passengers to face-to-face checks by border enforcement officers if a passenger tracking form is not found.

The Passenger Tracking Form is designed to be used to trace people who may have come in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid.

It is also used to monitor the self-isolation of people who have been abroad and returned to the UK and who are not exempt from quarantine measures.

Border forces officers told The Guardian the changes were made because the computer systems used at the border struggled to cope with the number of checks and the new policy allowing fully vaccinated passengers to avoid the car. – isolation on return from the countries on the orange list. There were fears of an increase in arrivals and a significant increase in wait times, they said.

One officer said, “The only rationale for this change is to speed up wait times when travel is expected to increase. As the country unlocks, this is the time when we should use all the tools available to mitigate risk, not literally close our eyes. “

Another officer disputed the government’s claim that the checks carried out by the airline were sufficient. “The official line is that airlines are so good at checking forms that we can trust them and we don’t need to check ourselves. However, the empirical evidence shows that we get passengers who arrive with positive tests and are allowed to travel because no one has read their forms correctly, ”they said.

Double-vaccinated passengers returning from Amber List countries, including much of Europe, are no longer required to self-isolate for 10 days but still have to pass a test before landing in England and on the second day after their arrival. Unvaccinated passengers must self-isolate and pass the same tests, plus an additional test on the eighth day after arrival.

The testing regime has been criticized as being prohibitively expensive. Research published by Which? earlier this month, the current cost of testing was probably too high for most people, especially families. An unvaccinated traveler on a return trip to Spain currently requires four tests totaling around £ 233 per person or for a family of four, £ 932.

A government spokesperson said: “Our top priority is to protect the health of the public and our improved border regime helps reduce the risk of transmission of new variants.

“All passenger tracking forms are still verified by carriers, as they are legally required to do, and to suggest otherwise is wrong. This legal requirement on carriers is underpinned by a strong compliance regime, which is overseen by regulators.

“Compliance with these rules is essential in order to protect the population from new variants of Covid-19, and there will therefore be severe fines for those who do not follow the rules. “

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North Somerset issues Covid warning after highest cases on record


The North Somerset Council declared a Covid warning after recorded cases in the district hit an all-time high – and continue to rise.

The seven-day average in North Somerset has now reached 470.1 cases, which is higher than the UK rate of 399.6 cases and the South West’s rate of 386.4 cases.

Deputy Chief and Executive of the Board for Health, Cllr Mike Bell, stressed that although it is no longer mandatory after July 19, people should obey social distancing rules where possible to reduce the spread of Covid .

Cllr Bell said: “The risk of coming into contact with Covid in our community has never been higher.

“Those who were doubly vaccinated at least two weeks ago will have the best protection against illness or serious illness if they come in contact with the virus.

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“Our vaccination rates are excellent, with almost 70% of people having had two injections, but that still leaves thousands of people with little or no protection, having had only one or none.

“So even though you no longer need to legally follow Covid’s safety rules, it is still extremely important that you do everything possible to avoid catching or spreading the virus.”

Cllr Mike Bell called on residents to “do all you can” to stop the spread of Covid.
– Credit: Under

Cllr Bell also said it’s also important to isolate if you are showing symptoms of coronavirus, if you’ve tested positive, or if the NHS Test and Trace app has told you to self-isolate.

The council’s director of public health Matt Lenny echoed the call, adding that vaccines alone are not enough to stop the coronavirus.

Mr Lenny said: ‘Vaccinations alone are not enough to end Covid, especially when we have rising infection rates.

“Please continue to wash your hands, wear face coverings, get tested, isolate yourself if you need to and stay outside as much as you can.

“The virus spreads most quickly in closed environments that have very little ventilation, where there are a lot of people, and where you have close contact with people that you usually don’t mix with.

“With the easing of restrictions, it is not always possible to avoid these kinds of situations, but there are things you can do to reduce your own risk.”

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Do you have a new business idea? Don’t start it in New Jersey


Thanks to COVID-19, more than 200,000 businesses have closed shop permanently.

While it is true that the United States is slowly starting to recover from the financial and economic impacts of the pandemic, that does not say much for New Jersey. We Jerseys should NOT rush to act on what we see as our “brilliant” new business idea. Why?

New Jersey ranked as the worst possible state for new businesses in 2021, according to a brand new study. Wallethub recently compared the odds of each state for a new business to succeed and, needless to say, New Jersey did not do very well. The dimensions analyzed in the survey are the business environment of each state, access to resources and the average costs of businesses.

In terms of metrics, the Business Environment category could score up to a total of 50 points, while the other two categories had a maximum score of 25.

After counting the totals for each state, New Jersey has never exceeded the top 20 in any area considered. In fact, in more than one metric, we fell into the top 10 WORST.

Starting a Business in New Jersey (1 = Best; 25 = Avg.):

  • 41st – Avg. Growth in the number of small businesses
  • 45e – Affordability of office space
  • 49e – Labor costs
  • 28e – Avg. Duration of the working week (in hours)
  • 42sd – Cost of life
  • 35e – Industry variety
  • 23rd – Tests positive for COVID-19 in the last week per capita

These stats aren’t necessarily meant to crush your small business dreams, but if you’re trying to weigh the risk against the reward, right now NJ is riskier. Do what you want with this information.

Source: Wallethub.com

7 posts you’ll find on the South Jersey community’s Facebook pages

Words from NJ that should be added to the dictionary

13 words submitted by supporters of Steve Trevelise for inclusion in the Dictionary – because someone has to explain New Jersey to the rest of the country.

Have you even heard of the 30 smallest towns in New Jersey?

What not to do during a traffic stop according to an NJ police officer

My husband is a police officer. He is an extraordinary man who saves lives and upholds the law. He makes me proud every day.

I know that being a police officer can come with a lot of criticism, especially when there are bad eggs that give police officers a bad name. I can assure you that there are a lot of law enforcement officers who do not abuse it, and my husband is one of them.

I hear stories when my husband comes home and he tells me he meets crazy people. I have the impression that it is very easy not to be stopped by a police officer once you are arrested or have a meeting with a cop. I went straight to my husband’s house and he gave me some advice to share with all of you.

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Somerset County schedules four more free vaccination clinics


With a less than 1% increase in COVID-19 cases over the past four weeks, the Somerset County Department of Health is offering four free vaccination clinics this week.

No appointment is necessary for the clinics.

The following clinics will take place:

Somerset County Elderly Welfare Center, 876 E. Main St., Bridgewater, Wednesday 4 to 5:30 pm Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be administered. Residents of Somerset County aged 12 and over can receive the vaccine. Children under 18 need parental permission.

Bridgewater Commons, Lower Level near Sephora, Vera Bradley and Williams-Sonoma, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. The J&J vaccine will be administered.

After:Few groundbreaking COVID cases in New Jersey, but infections among the unvaccinated continue to rise

Somerset County Elderly Welfare Center, 876 E. Main St., Bridgewater, Friday 4 to 5:30 pm Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be administered. Residents of Somerset County aged 12 and over can receive the vaccine. Children under 18 need parental permission.

Manville pantry, Manville Reformed Church, 238 S. Fifth St., Manville. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

As of July 16, the county health department had reported 24,025 cases in Somerset County, up from 23,810 cases as of June 18. The death toll remained at 737.

The number of cases statewide over the past four weeks has increased from 891,071 to 898,254, also an increase of less than 1%.

Email: mdeak@mycentraljersey.com

Mike Deak is a reporter for mycentraljersey.com. To get unlimited access to his Somerset and Hunterdon Counties articles, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

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Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Lidl and AldI update face mask rules for buyers


SUPERMARKET chains Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Lidl and Aldi have provided an update on face mask rules for shoppers across the UK.

It comes as the UK government eased coronavirus rules on Monday July 19 across England.

Since the law change, the nation’s largest grocery chains have shared the latest rules and guidelines for those considering shopping in their stores.

Do shoppers always have to wear masks inside a supermarket?

The social distancing rules which in one form or another have governed people’s lives for over a year – ended across England on July 19 at midnight one minute.

This now means that it is no longer mandatory to wear a mask inside a store, but the government has replaced the law with guidelines.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said workers and customers are still “expected and recommended” to wear masks in crowded interior areas – and the government’s official message is of “personal responsibility” and ” informed choice ”.

Face masks are also no longer mandatory on public transport, assembly limits have disappeared, and home guiding work has also ended.

Nightclubs, theaters and restaurants can reopen completely, while pubs are no longer limited to table service only.

Which supermarkets keep wearing the mask in store?

Tesco says they want to continue with certain measures “to be on the safe side”.

Staff and buyers will be encouraged to continue to wear face coverings in crowded and confined spaces, if possible.

In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, face coverings will remain mandatory unless exempted, as stated in government guidelines.

Tesco stores also maintain enhanced hygiene and cleaning measures, such as hand sanitizer at the entrances.

Somerset County Official Gazette:

Asda will continue to provide face shields at the front of the store for people who forget to bring their own mask.

A spokesperson said, “We encourage customers to be respectful of each other and follow government guidelines for face coverings when shopping in our stores after July 19.”

Somerset County Gazette: Morrisons

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Morrisons said: “In England, while face coverings will no longer be a legal requirement, guidelines encourage everyone to wear one in crowded areas.

“We will encourage all customers and colleagues to follow this advice in store, maintain social distancing and exercise their own judgment. We will also continue to offer a free face cover to any client or colleague who forgot theirs. ”

Protective screens and disinfection stations will remain in place in all stores.

In Scotland and Wales, face coverings remain a legal requirement and from July 19 a one-meter social distancing rule in Scotland and a two-meter social distancing rule in Wales will apply .

Somerset County Official Gazette:

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said wearing a face cover would become a personal choice in England from July 19 – but the store will still encourage shoppers to continue wearing a face mask if they can.

The retailer plans to keep screens between customers and coworkers at checkouts, hand sanitizing stations and all strict cleaning regimes.

Somerset County Official Gazette:

Waitrose has recommended that customers in England continue to wear face coverings, unless they are exempt.

The decision of whether or not to do this, once in their stores, will be up to each individual, based on their own judgment.

In Scotland and Wales, Waitrose said it would follow legislation that requires customers to continue to wear masks, unless waived.

Somerset County Official Gazette:

Lidl will keep signs at the entrances to its stores reminding customers that the government expects shoppers to wear masks in crowded areas.

Masks will still be available to collect at store entrances to then be purchased at the checkout when customers have completed their store.

Wearing a face cover in stores in Scotland and Wales is still mandatory in accordance with government regulations.

Somerset County Official Gazette:

Beyond July 19, Aldi staff will continue to encourage customers and coworkers to wear face coverings while in stores.

Other measures like hand sanitizer and screens will also remain in place.

Face masks are still required for customers and colleagues in their Welsh and Scottish stores, following the latest guidelines.

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Tuesday briefing: Government could soften NHS England wage offer |


Headline: Vaccine passport compulsory for nightclubs

Hello, Warren Murray with your first readings.

NHS staff in England could be offered a 3% pay rise, although the government has previously insisted it can only afford 1%. An announcement is widely expected today before the House of Commons rises for its summer recess. Doctors and nurses who asked for increases of 5% and 12.5% ​​respectively to reward their efforts to fight Covid-19. A health union official said a 3% price would be “difficult” for unions such as the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Unison.

Vaccine passports will be required to enter crowded places such as nightclubs in an extraordinary U-turn announced by Boris Johnson hours after clubs were allowed to open for the first time in 16 months. In a move that prompted an immediate reaction from Tory backbench and entertainment MPs, the PM said that from the end of September, once all adults have had a chance to receive two vaccines , Covid vaccine certificates would be made mandatory in England. Dominic Cummings once again unloaded on the Prime Minister, this time telling the BBC that the Prime Minister denied that the NHS would be overwhelmed and insisted on reimposing the Covid restrictions because “the people who die are basically over 80 years old “.

National Grid disconnected – The government plans to strip National Grid of its role in keeping Britain fires as part of a proposed “revolution” of the electricity grid. Government officials have proposed replacing it with an independent “future network operator”. The plans are part of a series of new proposals to help connect electric cars, smart devices and other green technologies to the energy system, which government officials say could help save £ 10 billion a year by 2050 and create up to 10,000 jobs for electricians. , data scientists and engineers. The regulations aim, for example, to make it easier for electric cars to export electricity to the grid or to homes when needed, and to supply energy to storage batteries when energy production levels are low. solar and wind are weak.

The forecaster goes to the extreme – The Met Office has issued its first ever extreme heat warning for the UK, with temperatures reaching 33 ° C in western regions. The orange warning is in place for much of Wales, all of South West England and parts of southern and central England. He also warns of growing water safety concerns as six people died in incidents over the weekend. An orange warning is the second highest level of the Met Office’s new extreme heat warning service launched in June. He said temperatures in most areas covered by the warning would be between 20 and 30 degrees. A note accompanying the alert warned of the effects on the health of vulnerable people as well as heat exhaustion and sunburn in general.

“Just and sovereign” – Pedro Castillo, a rural teacher turned politician, became the winner of Peru’s presidential election after the country’s longest electoral count in 40 years. In his first comments as president-elect, he called for national unity. “I ask for efforts and sacrifices in the struggle to make this country a just and sovereign country,” he said.

Pedro Castillo makes a triumphant appearance on the balcony of the Peru Free party headquarters in Lima. Photograph: Gian Masko / AFP / Getty Images

Castillo defeated right-wing politician Keiko Fujimori by just 44,000 votes. Election authorities released the final official result in a televised ceremony on Monday, more than a month after the run-off election. Castillo will take office on July 28 for a five-year term as the head of the world’s second-largest copper-producing country.

Latest Pegasus project – The revelations about the use of spy tools sold to governments by NSO Group have sparked furious political feuds around the world. Apple’s stock price fell and the company insisted iPhones are “the safest and most secure consumer mobile device on the market.” Amazon said it stopped providing network services to NSO after learning of potential abuse of its technology. Other revelations from the Project Pegasus media consortium include that at least 50 people close to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador were included in the list of possible targets when he was an opposition politician. Rahul Gandhi, rival of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been selected twice as a potential target in the phone number data leaks. Carine Kanimba – the American daughter of Paul Rusesabagina, the imprisoned Rwandan activist who inspired the movie Hotel Rwanda – has been the victim of multiple NSO spyware attacks, according to a forensic analysis of her cell phone, although that Rwanda denies having NSO technology. Here are the responses from the NSO Group and national governments mentioned in the Pegasus Project report.

Clinton wanted naan no ma’am – Tony Blair’s “apologies” for the Irish famine on his 150th birthday were hastily drafted by assistants because they could not reach him to approve, reveal classified documents released by the National Archives. The words, read by actor Gabriel Byrne on County Cork TV, proclaimed: “Those who ruled in London at the time let their people down by standing idly by as a bad harvest turned into a enormous human tragedy. ” In other revelations, Bill Clinton turned down tea with the Queen and dinner at Checkers because he wanted to “be a tourist” and try an Indian restaurant on his first official visit to the UK during the Blair era. ; and Blair considered turning the Millennium Dome into a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales.

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For 10 years, the Israeli surveillance firm NSO has been helping governments steal secrets. Today we take a look at how a small team of cyber detectives helped expose them.

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Reading at lunchtime: what it really is to be a refugee in Britain

“As a child, I fled Afghanistan with my family,” writes Zarlasht Halaimzai. “When we arrived in Britain after a grueling journey, we thought we could start our new life in a safe way. But the reality was very different.

Zarlasht Halaimza
Zarlasht Halaimza. Photograph: Sarah Lee / The Guardian


Our Tokyo 2020 newsletter is underway, bringing you the best of Olympic and Paralympic preparation and competition. Get a head start by registering here!

The Olympic softball teams of Japan and Australia will need to produce something close to a classic this week if they are to divert attention from an increasingly chaotic build-up towards the Tokyo Games. While Jennifer and Jessica Gadirova, the most promising young British gymnasts, carry out their final preparations before their first Olympics. They say their anticipation is further heightened by the possibility of finally being able to compete alongside Simone Biles. For the first time in several days, Table Mountain has disappeared under a veil of ominous gray cloud. The weather is expected to be clear and beautiful again by the weekend, but growing tension within the British and Irish Lions is in tune with the weather.

David Lappartient, president of the International Cycling Union (UCI), insists that there is “no reason to be in doubt” about the performance of Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar. Matt Parkinson had dark times earlier this year when he was the only English cricketer to undertake the entire three-month tour of Sri Lanka and India and did not win any selection for his problems. But on Tuesday, the effervescent Lancashire leg-thrower is set to play an international first at his Old Trafford home ground, with a Twenty20 streak against Pakistan on the line and a chance to assert his claims for a place in the England team for the World Cup in October. .


Large, wealthy economies such as the US, EU states, Japan and South Korea have invested in renewables to ensure a ‘green recovery’ from Covid and are on track to reduce their emissions – but countries like India, Indonesia, Latin America and other emerging economies are falling behind in investments in clean energy, according to forecasts released today by the International Energy Agency . In the markets, Asian stocks have fallen and the FTSE appears to be open flat. The pound is worth $ 1.367 and € 1.159 as we hit send during today’s briefing.

The papers

The specter of vaccine passports for crowded places is making headlines this morning. the Guardian continues his coverage of the abuse of the Pegasus phone hacking software with a “furious reaction” to the spy revelations, which he says have “sparked political feuds across the world.” It also gives pride of place to the announcement of Johnson’s U-turn that vaccine passports will be required to enter nightclubs and other crowded places. the I and the Independent also lead on passports with fairly straight holds. The Independent also has pride of place for ‘UK’s first’ extreme heat ‘warning’. “No jab no entry, Johnson warns youngsters” is the Time‘ big title.

Front page of the Guardian, Tuesday July 20, 2021
Front page of The Guardian, Tuesday, July 20, 2021.

the The telegraph of the dayS take on passports is that they will “make kids get stung”. the FTJohnson’s main story is the announcement of “key workers in the industry will be exempt from isolation rules” in an effort to alleviate staff shortages. the Daily Express asks “Freedom: but at what price?” in its title, while the Daily mail responds, calling the jab passports the “price of freedom.”

the Daily Mirror leads with Dominic Cummings’ assertion that the Prime Minister said “we cannot kill the economy just because of people dying after 80 years”. the Sun leads with the announcement of Prince Harry’s book which she says has “blinded” the palace. Subway covers clubbers, with the title “Free cheers”.

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Blues Traveler Helps MMF Return With Record Crowds | New


I didn’t meet the Executive Director of the Master Musicians Festival, Tiffany Finley, before Blues Traveler’s closing night on Saturday.

It’s a little unusual. Normally I see her several times a day over the two day Somerset Outdoor Music Festival, running around and making sure everything is copacific, and I will stop to ask her for a quote for our first MMF article from the weekend. Of course, this time around we don’t have a Sunday edition, so I could wait until Monday to catch up with her on how things turned out.

But at the end of a record breaking Saturday, with a cheerful and energetic crowd behind us and Blues Traveler performing their most familiar hit “Run-Around” in front of us, I found her in front of the main stage at Festival Field.

“The festival is great this year! I said to him, screaming over the swirling sound mass around us.

Finley just smiled and clapped his hands. “We did it!”

Yes, yes you did. After the 2019 MMF was cut short by a sudden, violent storm and the 2020s… well, you know… getting a full festival under the proverbial belt was an accomplishment.

But this party? It was special.

Participation confirmed this. Paid attendance set a new milestone, beating the previous record by a good stretch; Finley said 4,000 people showed up on Friday night and 6,500 for the one-day event on Saturday. By comparison, the busy previous year – 2013, starring Willie Nelson – only saw 4,500 people come on Saturday.

“I think (the high attendance was due to the fact that) people were ready to get back to normal after COVID, and probably Blues Traveler was a big factor as well,” Finley said. “Just the line-up in general. So many local and regional acts are becoming so popular in Kentucky that people want to go out to see them.

From my perspective, Blues Traveler is a big draw. I’m not someone who knows a lot about who’s popular in today’s music world, especially the American kingdom where MMF derives a lot from their actions, but if you were a big one on MTV in the ’80s or’ 90s, I know who you are, and Blues Traveler fits that bill. I associate their music with my high school days, and everyone of a certain age understands the power of nostalgia well, so speaking for me, it was cooler than usual to be in front of the stage on the train. to take pictures of a thin John Popper. work this harmonica like nobody’s business. Remember the video for “Run-Around” and the “Wizard of Oz” theme with maniacal pixie Dorothy and her pals showing up at the club? Well, I felt like I saw the wizard in the Emerald City.

What drives my musical engine are genres like funk, soul and R&B, and this year’s MMF had some great examples of that. Robert Randolph may have been my all-time favorite headliner for MMF, but Friday night Bee Taylor brought some of that dirty, low sound, and Devon Gilfillian kept the vibe going on Saturday, making two of my favorite performances in my About 15 Years Covering Festival for the Commonwealth Journal.

Bee Taylor (not to be confused with the character “Andy Griffith”) is not from Pulaski County, but she has been somewhat adopted as a local favorite, having made numerous appearances in the area, including previously at MMF. Believe me, she loves fans in this area as much as they love her for her smart writing, energetic performances, and soulful sound.

“I tell you what, Somerset is one of the most amazing, unique and diverse places where there are still people who love each other and people who want to be together, and it’s just an honor to be here in Somerset to MMF, ”Taylor said in his honey-like Southern Fry stamp. “I feel like family. They made me feel like family. And you can’t buy this. You can’t find this in most places in the world. I feel lucky and blessed.

Taylor’s philosophy is to give audiences “every ounce of soul you have” and fellow Nashville artist Gilfillian did the same on Saturday night, and again by joining Blues Traveler on stage to sing Bob Marley’s favorite. , “No Woman, No Cry.” (Blues Traveler also had friends from the Kentucky band Magnolia Boulevard who came over and jammed as well). The same goes for another local talent who got shot on the MMF scene.

Maddy Hopson won the last McNeil Music Center audition to give a young singing student the opportunity to perform a song on Friday night. Hopson would have continued in 2020 if the festival hadn’t been canceled, but returned this year to speed things up with an exceptional rendition of the classic “I Put a Spell on You”, accompanied by guitarist Kevin Dalton.

“My arms and legs were shaking all the time,” Hopkins said after his performance. “It’s super fun. My friends were in front (of the crowd), and that was really cool. … (This song) is my reference.

Hopson performed just before Friday night’s bluegrassy headliner The Wooks, which closed the night with a special tribute to John Prine, MMF alumnus and country folk music legend. That Friday night was a particularly memorable experience, as the crowd collectively seemed to want the rain and lightning to stay away so that the night could end in the right way.

“I think Bee Taylor surprised everyone on Friday night,” Finley said. “I really like that a lot of fans were there to see The Wooks but were surprised (by Taylor).

“It was really special,” she added of the tribute to John Prine. “I don’t think I’ve seen a crowd stay this late on a Friday night before. The next day several people told me how special it was.

As it all happened on top of the hill in “Art Valley,” Young Mary Records’ stage was bigger and better than ever – and garnering more attention for its roster of more promising artists.

In particular, for artist Morgan Wade’s prime-time Saturday set, Finley said, “I’ve never seen the valley so full. It was almost like Friday night on the main stage. She also noted that the more intimate SomerSessions tent has attracted a lot of attention; “They had 500 people there for a few artists.”

Music isn’t all there is to MMF, of course. The original artwork by local artist Marko Coomer for the 2021 festival was auctioned for $ 2,300 to Jayson Henderson of Henderson Fuel, a first-time sponsor – “It was his first taste of MMF, and he loved it, ”said Finley – as local musician (and Santa’s replacement) Tommy Cate received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“We thought it was particularly appropriate this year since our ‘Master Musician’ was John Popper (from Blues Traveler),” said Finley, referring to the fact that Cate and Popper are known to play the harmonica. “(Cate) was a sponsor, he was a volunteer, he was an artist, he was a fan. We just felt like he was a big supporter of MMF. Everyone knows he is a really good person and deserves this recognition.

In the VIP tent, people had the chance to buy and try out Horse Soldier Bourbon, one of this year’s major MMF sponsors with the city of Somerset. Finley said people enjoyed the experience and believe reliving it in the future will be another benefit for potential sponsors.

Finley also highlighted fun activities for the kids, like a “concert” of self-made instruments and a refreshing “water fight” on a hot day.

“We love to involve the kids because we have to find a new generation to take over the festival,” Finley said. “Having fun and making memories is what will make them want to get involved when they are older.”

Of course, the threat of bad weather was on everyone’s mind after 2019, but even though we all got a little wet on Saturday, it was nothing we couldn’t live with. Even Mother Nature wanted to hear this year’s line-up, apparently.

Finley was careful to thank all of MMF’s sponsors and artists – and of course the hard-working MMF Board of Directors and all the volunteers – who make the event possible. When I was told ‘We did it’, it was ‘us’ she was talking about – the massive community effort it takes to put on an event like this that attracts so much positive attention. over Somerset and Pulaski County. When I was in high school listening to Blues Traveler on MTV, I never imagined that one day I would hear these same artists perform the same song right here in my hometown. MMF made this kind of dream come true – just like the people who bring the festival to life in the best and worst times.

“We all know last year we were in a pretty tough spot,” Finley said. “Everyone rallied around us and supported us. As a result of that we had one of the best festivals we have ever had.

Hmmm. Dire Straits – now there’s a great idea for next year’s headliner …

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NHS Somerset urges people to take a cautious approach to relax social distancing


As most legal restrictions relating to COVID-19 were lifted this week across the country, Somerset’s NHS and Somerset County Council public health team are advising people to take a cautious approach to relax the guidelines for social distancing.

As positive cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the country and locally, the NHS recommends people continue to wear face masks or face covers in indoor spaces such as in stores and on transport public and maintain the two-meter distance rule where possible.

Public Health England’s infection prevention and control guidelines and hospital visitation guidelines will remain in place for all patients and visitors. This means that if you are attending an appointment with your GP, optometrist, dentist, pharmacy, or hospital, you must wear a face mask or face covering.

Patients and visitors will need to follow all social distancing rules in healthcare facilities, as before, to help protect the most vulnerable and support our healthcare and care teams.

Health and care facilities will continue to apply strict infection, prevention and control measures that include additional cleaning, wearing masks and other personal protective equipment, and maintaining additional space in waiting rooms.

Health services across the county have seen a surge in demand over the past few weeks and it is important that everyone play their part in choosing the most appropriate health services, following all social distancing guidelines and by supporting the health and care teams by being patient and kind.

Clinical Director of the NHS Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Alex Murray says: ‘We are currently seeing high demand on all health services and it is really important that we continue to help protect the most vulnerable and our health teams. and care by continuing socially at a distance, wear a face mask and have your vaccine when offered to help limit the spread of the coronavirus. ”

“The Somerset NHS is here for you and we are working hard to ensure access to everyone who needs us, but we need your support to help us do it. There is a range of health services throughout the county – and if you need medical advice or treatment and don’t know where to go – call NHS 111 first or go to www.111 .nhs.uk for immediate advice, 24 hours a day – 7 days a week. ”

More information on how to access advice through self-care, the NHS website, NHS111, community pharmacies, dentists, light care units, mental health services, GP offices and when to call 999 are available here.

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