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Trump's insult to Biden after he drops out of presidential race

<p>Joe Biden has officially withdrawn from the presidential race against former president Donald Trump. </p> <p>Biden, who is the oldest US president at 81, has been facing mounting calls to drop out of the election from both his opponents and supporters, amid fears of his failing health, mental clarity and age. </p> <p>On Sunday, the 46th president shared a lengthy statement to share that he would be dropping out of the race, saying it is "in the best interest" for both his Democratic Party and the country to take a step back. </p> <p>“While it has been my intention to seek re-election, I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term,” Mr Biden wrote in a letter he posted on his X account.</p> <p>“I will speak to the Nation later this week in more detail about my decision. It has been the greatest honour of my life to serve as your President.”</p> <p>Biden shared a second announcement to social media following his bombshell withdrawal, saying he would be endorsing his Vice President Kamala Harris as the Democratic nominee to run for President in the November election against Trump. </p> <p>"My very first decision as the party nominee in 2020 was to pick Kamala Harris as my Vice President, and it’s been the best decision I’ve made," he began.</p> <p>"Today I want to offer my full support and endorsement for Kamala to be the nominee of our party this year. Democrats — it’s time to come together and beat Trump. Let’s do this."</p> <p>Mere hours after Biden's announcement, former President Donald Trump reacted to the news on TRUTH social, his own social media platform, exactly as many expected. </p> <p>“Crooked Joe Biden was not fit to run for President, and is certainly not fit to serve — And never was!” Trump said.</p> <p>“All those around him, including his doctor and the media, knew that he wasn’t capable of being President, and he wasn’t. We will suffer greatly because of his presidency, but we will remedy the damage he has done very quickly.”</p> <p>In a phone call with CNN minutes after Biden announced his exit from the 2024 race, former Trump described Biden as going “down as the single worst president by far in the history of our country”.</p> <p>Mr Biden will remain President until the end of his term next January.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Bonnie Cash / Pool via CNP/ Ron Sachs/CNP /Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

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Joe Biden has COVID. Here’s what someone over 80 can expect

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hassan-vally-202904">Hassan Vally</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p>If US politics leading up to the 2024 presidential election was a Hollywood thriller, it would be a movie full of plot twists and surprises. The latest twist is President Joe Biden has <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2024/07/17/politics/joe-biden-tests-positive-covid-19/index.html">COVID</a> and is isolating at home.</p> <p><a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2024/07/17/statement-from-press-secretary-karine-jean-pierre-3/">Biden’s doctor says</a> his symptoms are mild and include a runny nose, cough and generally feeling unwell. His temperature, oxygen levels and respiratory rate are said to be normal.</p> <p>Biden, who has <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/articles/cv2gj8314nqo">been diagnosed</a> with COVID twice before, <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2024/07/17/statement-from-press-secretary-karine-jean-pierre-3/">has received</a> his COVID vaccine and booster shots, and has taken the first dose of the antiviral drug Paxlovid.</p> <p>No doubt, Biden will be receiving the best of medical care. Yet, as much <a href="https://theconversation.com/is-joe-biden-experiencing-cognitive-decline-heres-why-we-shouldnt-speculate-234487">recent media coverage</a> reminds us, he is 81 years old.</p> <p>So let’s look at what it means for an 81-year-old man to have COVID in 2024. Of course, Biden is not just any man, but we’ll come to that later.</p> <h2>Luckily, it’s not 2020</h2> <p>If we were back in 2020, a COVID diagnosis at this age would have been a big deal.</p> <p>This was a time before COVID vaccines, before specific COVID treatments and before we knew as much about COVID as we do today. Back then, being over 80 and being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID) represented a significant threat to your health.</p> <p>It was very clear early in the pandemic that your chances of getting severe disease and dying <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-are-older-people-more-at-risk-of-coronavirus-133770">increased with age</a>. The early data suggested that if you were over 80 and infected, you had about a 15% likelihood of dying from the illness.</p> <p>Also, if you did develop severe disease, we didn’t have a lot in the toolkit to deal with your infection.</p> <p>Remember, former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson <a href="https://theconversation.com/scott-morrison-has-covid-its-a-big-deal-but-not-how-you-think-178298">ended up in the ICU</a> with his COVID infection in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/17/boris-johnson-and-coronavirus-inside-story-illness">April 2020</a>, despite being 55 at the time. That’s a much younger age than Biden is now.</p> <p>Former US President Donald Trump also had what was understood to be a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/11/trump-coronavirus-ventilator-covid-illness">very severe case</a> of COVID in October 2020. He was 74 at the time.</p> <h2>How things have changed</h2> <p>So let’s wind the clock forward to 2024. A lot has happened in four years.</p> <p>COVID is still a disease that needs to be <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/ncird/whats-new/changing-threat-covid-19.html">taken seriously</a>. And for some people with other health conditions (for instance, people with heart disease or diabetes) it poses more of a threat. And of course we know more about the well-publicised <a href="https://theconversation.com/i-have-covid-how-likely-am-i-to-get-long-covid-218808">longer term effects</a> of COVID.</p> <p>But the threat COVID poses to an individual is far less now than it has ever been.</p> <h2>More of us have some immunity</h2> <p>First, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/03/who-estimates-90-of-world-have-some-resistance-to-covid">most people</a> have some immunity to COVID now, whether this has come from vaccination or prior infection, and for many both.</p> <p>The fact that your immune system has had some exposure to the virus is transformative in how you respond to infection. Yes, there’s the ongoing problem of waning immunity over time and the virus mutating meaning you need to have regular booster vaccines. But as your immune system has “seen” the virus before it allows it to respond more effectively. This means the threat posed by infection has fallen drastically.</p> <p>We know Biden has received his booster shots. Boosters have been shown to offer <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-are-the-new-covid-booster-vaccines-can-i-get-one-do-they-work-are-they-safe-217804">substantial protection</a> against severe illness and death and are particularly important for older age groups.</p> <h2>Now we have antivirals</h2> <p>Second, we also have antiviral medicines, such as Paxlovid, which is effective in reducing the likelihood of severe illness from COVID if taken soon after developing symptoms.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2118542">one study</a>, if taken soon after infection, Paxlovid reduced the likelihood of severe illness or death by 89%. So it is <a href="https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov/therapies/antivirals-including-antibody-products/ritonavir-boosted-nirmatrelvir--paxlovid-/">highly recommended</a> for those at higher risk of severe illness. As we know, Biden is taking Paxlovid.</p> <p>Paxlovid has also been associated with rebound symptoms. This is when a person looks to have recovered from infection only to have symptoms reappear. Biden experienced this <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-do-some-people-who-take-paxlovid-for-covid-get-rebound-symptoms-or-test-positive-again-like-president-biden-188002">in 2022</a>.</p> <p>The good news is that even if this occurs in most instances the symptoms associated with the recurrence tend to be mild.</p> <h2>Biden would have the best care</h2> <p>The other factor of course is that Biden would have access to some of the world’s best medical care.</p> <p>If his symptoms were to become more severe or any complications were to develop, you can be assured he would get the best treatment.</p> <p>So is Biden’s diagnosis news? Well of course, given all the speculation about his health. But in terms of COVID being a major threat to Biden’s health, there are no indications it should be.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/234999/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/hassan-vally-202904"><em>Hassan Vally</em></a><em>, Associate Professor, Epidemiology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/deakin-university-757">Deakin University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Bonnie Cash/Pool via CNP/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/joe-biden-has-covid-heres-what-someone-over-80-can-expect-234999">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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"The pain is unbearable": Nick Campo's family speaks out

<p>The parents of a Perth teenager who tragically died in a car crash have started an emotional campaign for road safety in the name of their late son. </p> <p>Budding footballer Nick Campo, who had just turned 18, was the rear passenger in a Toyota HiLux that rolled and collided with a Jeep Patriot in Perth’s southern suburbs on Saturday night and was pronounced <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/rising-star-footy-player-dies-at-just-18" target="_blank" rel="noopener">dead</a> at the scene. </p> <p>Campo's parents Daniel and Bianca told <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/nick-campo-parents-speak-of-unbearable-pain-after-losing-son-to-horror-crash/a5ab695f-d536-4fbb-9a95-088e155e3cba" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>9News</em></a> of their "unbearable pain" since the sudden and tragic loss of their son. </p> <p>"My Nick, he was definitely one of a kind," his mum Bianca said. "I knew he was special, but he was really special to a lot of people."</p> <p>"And he was a beautiful boy, and he's going to be missed by so many, so many people."</p> <p>His father Daniel said his son was "the complete package" but was best known for his quick wit cheekiness.</p> <p>"If you had to sum Nick up in one word, 'cheeky'," he said. "From day dot .... Cheeky, cheeky."</p> <p>Sitting in the ute alongside Nick at the time of the crash were two of his teammates from the South Fremantle Football club, as well as the 17-year-old driver and one other young man.</p> <p>"He loved footy, he loved cricket, he just was so committed," his mum said.</p> <p>"He loved getting around all the boys, you know all the teammates. He loved being in the clubs."</p> <p>The 17-year-old boy accused of being behind the wheel, who was also injured in the crash alongside one of the other passengers,  is facing serious charges.</p> <p>Another boy is fighting for his life in Royal Perth Hospital.</p> <p>Nick's parents are praying their son's friend pulls through and don't want other families to go through what they have gone through.</p> <p>"(Because) It is, it is the worst nightmare that you can imagine and the pain is unbearable," his mum said.</p> <p>The family is now channelling their grief towards a road safety campaign called "Call Out for Nick".</p> <p>"If it doesn't look right, that person doesn't look right to drive, the habits - it's got to be called out," his father said.</p> <p>"We see it every day - young kids they think they're bulletproof, they're not."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine</em></p>

Caring

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Woman cops hefty fine after "checking out surf"

<p>A woman has lashed out at her local council after she copped a fine for $136 for a five-minute stop at a popular beach to assess the surf conditions. </p> <p>Amy Sloane stopped her car at The Esplanade at NSW's Caves Beach to get a sense of the surf conditions on July 6th, and was unknowingly being watched by a parking inspector. </p> <p>Ms Sloane was shocked to receive the fine in the post a few weeks later, arguing that her actions didn't justify the fine.</p> <p>"How do I feel? P***ed off," she told <em>Yahoo News</em>. "Rangers can't fine people who don't pick up after their dogs on our beaches, but can secretly fine you without you knowing for just checking out the surf for five minutes."</p> <p>She also called the council workers "cowards", saying the area she stopped in is often used by locals and tourists to get a look at the surf, and even whale watch occasionally during migration season.</p> <p>As she continued to defend her actions, Lake Macquarie City Council clarified that the infringement stated the driver parallel parked in the opposite direction of travel, which is a  known "safety offence under Australia Road Rules".</p> <p>It is illegal in all Australian states and territories to park your car in the opposite direction of traffic on any road.</p> <p>"The fine at hand was issued for not parallel parking in the direction of travel, which is a safety offence under Australian Road Rules. The driver's vehicle crossed double white lines and was parked near a bend, facing oncoming traffic, which further heightened safety concerns," a council spokesperson said.</p> <p>After expressing her annoyance on social media, many agreed the fine was warranted, saying she had done the wrong thing, regardless of how long she was there for.</p> <p>Other locals chimed in and said "it happens all the time" despite it being a fineable offence.</p> <p>"If you think the fine is wrong, fight it. If you were parked incorrectly, wear the fine," another said.</p> <p>Sloane confirmed to <em><a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/woman-fined-136-after-checking-out-surf-at-popular-beach-084002221.html?guccounter=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Yahoo News</a> </em>she will begrudgingly pay the fine.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook / Shutterstock </em></p>

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"They lied": Kerri-Anne Kennerley blasts I’m A Celeb

<p>Kerri-Anne Kennerley has opened up on her dramatic appearance on <em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! </em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> last year, claiming that she was "lied to" ahead of her decision to sign up. </span></p> <p>Speaking to Tammin Sursok on her podcast, <em>The Sh*t Show</em>, Kennerly alleged that Network Ten made promises they couldn't keep. </p> <p>“[Ten] came to me and promised me this, this and this … and I had nothing else to do at the time,” the TV veteran claimed.</p> <p>“I got promised a bunch of stuff and they lied. And so instead of being in there, the three weeks I committed to, I got out in three days. They lied.”</p> <p>Sursok asked her to elaborate on the promises they made, but Kennerley refused. </p> <p>“I don’t want to go into it now. History. And I’m even dumbfounded that I said to myself after I’ve gone, oh my God. I avoided exactly what happened for 10 years.</p> <p>“ … If I had thought about it for one more nanosecond and the things that were said to me were not said to me, I wouldn’t have done it in a heartbeat.”</p> <p>Kennerley tearfully quit <em style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">I'm A Celebrity</em><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> last year after clashing with </span>MAFS star Domenica Calarco, who she claimed called her "the most self-centred b***h” she’d ever met during an eating challenge.</p> <p>The TV veteran added that going on the show was the "dumbest" decision she has ever made. </p> <p>“Comes out as absolutely number one dumb and as backed by several of my friends – especially straight after [I left IAC], them going, ‘You didn’t tell us, we would’ve locked you in a room if you had said you were going’,” she admitted.</p> <p>“But I don’t know … I’ve always thought I was pretty bulletproof, and then you get wounded and move on. But no … dumb, dumb, dumb – and lies. That’s what I put it down to.”</p> <p><em>Images: Ten</em></p>

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Are you up to date with your COVID, flu and other shots? It might depend on who your GP is

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-breadon-1348098">Peter Breadon</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anika-stobart-1014358">Anika Stobart</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a></em></p> <p>Too many older Australians are <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/A-fair-shot-How-to-close-the-vaccination-gap-Grattan-Institute-Report.pdf">missing out</a> on recommended vaccinations for COVID, flu, shingles and pneumococcal that can protect them from serious illness, hospitalisation and even death.</p> <p>A new <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/">Grattan Institute report</a> shows vaccination rates vary widely from GP to GP, highlighting an important place to look for opportunities to boost vaccination.</p> <p>Many people get vaccinated at pharmacies, and those vaccinations are counted in our analysis. But we looked at GPs because they have a unique role overseeing someone’s health care, and an important role promoting vaccination.</p> <p>We found that for some GPs, nine in ten of their older patients were vaccinated for flu. For others, the rate was only four in ten. The differences for shingles and COVID were even bigger. For pneumococcal disease, there was a 13-fold difference in GPs’ patient vaccination rates.</p> <p>While some variation is inevitable, these differences are large, and they result in too many people missing out on recommended vaccines.</p> <h2>Some GPs treat more complex patients</h2> <p>A lot of these differences reflect the fact that GPs see different types of patients.</p> <p>Our research shows older people who aren’t proficient in English are up to 15% less likely to be vaccinated, even after other factors are taken into account. And the problem seems to be getting worse.</p> <p>COVID vaccination rates for people 75 years and older fell to just 36% in May 2024. But rates were even lower – a mere 11% – for people who don’t speak English proficiently, and 15% for those who speak a language other than English at home.</p> <p>Given these results, it’s no surprise that GPs with fewer patients who are vaccinated also have more patients who struggle with English. For GPs with the lowest vaccination rates, one-quarter of their patients aren’t proficient in English. For GPs with the highest vaccination rates, it is only 1%.</p> <p>GPs with fewer vaccinated patients also saw more people who live in rural areas, are poorer, didn’t go to university, and don’t have regular access to a GP, all of which reduce the likelihood of getting vaccinated.</p> <p>Many of these barriers to vaccination are difficult for GPs to overcome. They point to structural problems in our health system, and indeed our society, that go well beyond vaccination.</p> <p>But GPs are also a key part of the puzzle. A <a href="https://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(14)01379-4/fulltext">strong</a> <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21645515.2020.1780848">recommendation</a> from a GP can make a big difference to whether a patient gets vaccinated. <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/primary-health-care/general-practice-allied-health-primary-care">Nearly all</a> older Australians visit a GP every year. And some GPs have room for improvement.</p> <h2>But GPs seeing similar patients can have very different vaccination rates</h2> <p>We compared GPs whose patients had a similar likelihood of being vaccinated, based on a range of factors including their health, wealth and cultural background.</p> <p>Among the GPs whose patients were least likely to get a flu vaccination, some saw less than 40% of their patients vaccinated, while for others in that group, the rate was over 70%.</p> <p>Among GPs with patients who face few barriers to vaccination, the share of their patients who were vaccinated also varied widely.</p> <p>Even within neighbourhoods, GP patient vaccination rates vary a lot. For example, in Bankstown in Sydney, there was a seven-fold difference in COVID vaccination rates and an 18-fold difference for pneumococcal vaccination.</p> <p>Not everything about clinics and patients can be measured in data, and there will be good reasons for some of these differences.</p> <p>But the results do suggest that some GPs are beating the odds to overcome patient barriers to getting vaccinated, while other GPs could be doing more. That should trigger focused efforts to raise vaccination rates where they are low.</p> <h2>So what should governments do?</h2> <p>A comprehensive national reform agenda is <a href="https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/A-fair-shot-How-to-close-the-vaccination-gap-Grattan-Institute-Report.pdf">needed to increase adult vaccination</a>. That includes clearer guidance, national advertising campaigns, SMS reminders, and tailored local programs that reach out to communities with very low levels of vaccination.</p> <p>But based on the big differences in GPs’ patient vaccination rates, Australia also needs a three-pronged plan to help GPs lift older Australians’ vaccination rates.</p> <p>First, the way general practice is funded needs to be overhauled, providing more money for the GPs whose patients face higher barriers to vaccination. Today, clinics with patients who are poorer, sicker and who struggle with English tend to get less funding. They should get more, so they can spend more time with patients to explain and promote vaccination.</p> <p>Second, GPs need to be given data, so that they can easily see how their vaccination rates compare to GPs with similar patients.</p> <p>And third, Primary Health Networks – which are responsible for improving primary care in their area – should give clinics with low vaccination rates the help they need. That might include running vaccination sessions, sharing information about best practices that work in similar clinics with higher vaccination rates, or offering translation support.</p> <p>And because pharmacies also play an important role in promoting and providing vaccines, governments should give them data too, showing how their rates compare to other pharmacies in their area, and support to boost vaccination uptake.</p> <p>These measures would go a long way to better protect some of the most vulnerable in our society. Governments have better data than ever before on who is missing out on vaccinations – and other types of health care.</p> <p>They shouldn’t miss the opportunity to target support so that no matter where you live, what your background is, or which GP or pharmacy you go to, you will have the best chance of being protected against disease.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/234175/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/peter-breadon-1348098"><em>Peter Breadon</em></a><em>, Program Director, Health and Aged Care, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/anika-stobart-1014358">Anika Stobart</a>, Senior Associate, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/grattan-institute-1168">Grattan Institute</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/are-you-up-to-date-with-your-covid-flu-and-other-shots-it-might-depend-on-who-your-gp-is-234175">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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"Cut this rubbish out": Channel 7's fresh "news" segment slammed

<p>Channel 7's major bulletin shake up has not been well received by some viewers. </p> <p>On Friday night, they kicked off their new comedy segment with Mark Humphries, whose satirical humour was intended to be used to "cut through political spin and translate current affairs in the universal news language of taking the piss” according to appointed news director Anthony De Ceglie. </p> <p>Humphries’ three minutes comedy segment premiered under the banner <em>The 6.57pm News</em>, and was made to look like a continuation of the news. </p> <p>That night, they were discussing US President Joe Biden's press conference which aired earlier in the day. </p> <p>“His press conference was delayed for over an hour, presumably because the President was running late … or more likely waddling late,” Humphries said in the segment. </p> <p>“Biden who is 81 – but doesn’t look a day over 90 – spoke smoothly on a variety of issues and allayed voters fears about his age … is what I wish I could tell you.</p> <p>“Instead, this happened …”</p> <p>He then played a clip of Biden confusing  Kamala Harries with Donald Trump, followed by another clip of him whispering on the lectern. </p> <p>“Very reassuring and not weird at all,” the comic said.</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/C9TGVSTTozZ/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/C9TGVSTTozZ/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Mark Humphries (@humphriesmark)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Humphries then tried to make a joke out of it saying that Biden was suffering from a condition called “that guy old” with symptoms including confusing names, long pauses, “and keeping your mouth just that little bit open with that slightly disappointed look like Bunnings just told you the sausage sizzle is closed”.</p> <p> “But if you think that’s bad, wait till you find out the condition the other candidate has ‘that guy convicted felon’,” he concluded. </p> <p>While some Channel 7 viewers "loved" it and thought it was “better than <em>The Project</em>,” a few others were less impressed. </p> <p>“This was an appalling segment … hire, rather than sack, journos,” read one comment on social media. </p> <p>“It was a deplorable segment that has no place in a news bulletin,” another added. </p> <p>"It was absolutely ridiculous. I hope channel 7 cut this rubbish out," wrote a third. </p> <p>"This was cringe," another said. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

TV

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Father of fallen footy star speaks out

<p>The father of a talented young footballer killed in a devastating crash over the weekend has expressed a selfless wish for the tragedy to serve as a vital reminder about road safety.</p> <p>Nick Campo, a South Fremantle Colts player, was the rear passenger in a Toyota HiLux that rolled and collided with a Jeep Patriot in Perth’s southern suburbs on Saturday night. Having recently turned 18, Campo <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/rising-star-footy-player-dies-at-just-18" target="_blank" rel="noopener">tragically died at the scene</a>.</p> <p>A 17-year-old HiLux driver faced Perth Children's Court on Monday from his hospital bed, charged with several dangerous driving offences. Despite the heartbreaking loss, Campo's father <a href="https://7news.com.au/news/father-of-nick-campo-sends-remarkable-message-after-tragic-death-of-south-fremantle-footballer-c-15363644" target="_blank" rel="noopener">told 7NEWS</a> that the family is not angry at the driver accused of causing the crash and wants the incident to serve as a crucial reminder about road safety.</p> <p>Dozens of loved ones gathered at the crash site on Farrington Rd in North Lake to lay flowers and remember the talented sportsman known for his cheeky sense of humour.</p> <p>“Nick was one of a kind. A lot of people loved him,” one friend remarked. Another added, “He had a really good heart and was really funny. No matter what situation he was in, he could always make a joke.”</p> <p>Nick's heartbroken sister, Eva, also remembered her brother, expressing gratitude for the support she has received. “I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that’s reached out,” she said. “A lot of people loved him. I think a piece of him lives in a lot of people, including me.”</p> <p>Campo's school reached out to parents to offer support for those needing it. <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">“There are no adequate words to express our grief and sympathy around the loss of this wonderful young man.” Cockburn Cricket Club added, “We are thankful for the time we spent with Nick. A life well lived but gone way too soon.”</span></p> <p>Tyler Rowe, another 18-year-old passenger in the HiLux, remains in critical condition in Royal Perth Hospital’s intensive care unit. The charged driver was granted bail on the condition he does not operate a motor vehicle and will face court again in September.</p> <p><em>Images: 9 News | 7 News</em></p>

Family & Pets

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"Beyond devastated": Four-month-old baby dies after family outing

<p>A four-month-old baby girl has died after being exposed to extreme heat during a July 4 outing with her family. </p> <p>Weather records show that temperatures in the region soared to 120°F (48<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">°C) last Friday. </span></p> <p><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">The infant, identified as T</span>anna Rae Wroblewski, had been out on a boat on Lake Havasu with her parents when she suddenly fell ill and lost consciousness on Friday evening.  </p> <p>Her family performed CPR until first responders arrived and were able to rush her to a local medical centre. </p> <p>She was then airlifted to Phoenix Children's hospital, where she was pronounced dead. </p> <p>Her parents are struggling to come to terms with their daughter's death, with mum Tanya Wroblewski saying: “We are beyond devastated, heartbroken, there are just no words.” </p> <p>“I will never understand why you had to leave us, you were just too perfect. I love you endlessly and I will look for you everywhere angel,” she shared in a Facebook post. </p> <p>The medical examiner has yet to release the infant's official cause of death, but authorities suspect that her death was brought on by a heat-related illness according to local news outlet, <em>News 12</em>. </p> <p>Tannas mum has also shared how difficult it was trying to explain her death to the infant's older sister. </p> <p>“We don’t understand why you had to leave, how could she?” she wrote. </p> <p>“She’s left out toys for you and made sure your favourites were all in the bassinet before bed the last couple nights. We are so heartbroken without you baby girl.”</p> <p>Her death is still being investigated by local authorities. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook / Alyssa Wolf Wroblewski/ NY Post</em></p> <p> </p>

Travel Trouble

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We finally know why some people got COVID while others didn’t

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marko-nikolic-1543289">Marko Nikolic</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/ucl-1885">UCL</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kaylee-worlock-1543639">Kaylee Worlock</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/ucl-1885">UCL</a></em></p> <p>Throughout the pandemic, one of the key questions on everyone’s mind was why some people avoided getting COVID, while others caught the virus multiple times.</p> <p>Through a collaboration between University College London, the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Imperial College London in the UK, we set out to answer this question using the world’s first controlled <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-022-01780-9">“challenge trial” for COVID</a> – where volunteers were deliberately exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, so that it could be studied in great detail.</p> <p>Unvaccinated healthy volunteers with no prior history of COVID were exposed – via a nasal spray – to an extremely low dose of the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. The volunteers were then closely monitored in a quarantine unit, with regular tests and samples taken to study their response to the virus in a highly controlled and safe environment.</p> <p>For our <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-024-07575-x">recent study</a>, published in Nature, we collected samples from tissue located midway between the nose and the throat as well as blood samples from 16 volunteers. These samples were taken before the participants were exposed to the virus, to give us a baseline measurement, and afterwards at regular intervals.</p> <p>The samples were then processed and analysed using single-cell sequencing technology, which allowed us to extract and sequence the genetic material of individual cells. Using this cutting-edge technology, we could track the evolution of the disease in unprecedented detail, from pre-infection to recovery.</p> <p>To our surprise, we found that, despite all the volunteers being carefully exposed to the exact same dose of the virus in the same manner, not everyone ended up testing positive for COVID.</p> <p>In fact, we were able to divide the volunteers into three distinct infection groups (see illustration). Six out of the 16 volunteers developed typical mild COVID, testing positive for several days with cold-like symptoms. We referred to this group as the “sustained infection group”.</p> <p>Out of the ten volunteers who did not develop a sustained infection, suggesting that they were able to fight off the virus early on, three went on to develop an “intermediate” infection with intermittent single positive viral tests and limited symptoms. We called them the “transient infection group”.</p> <p>The final seven volunteers remained negative on testing and did not develop any symptoms. This was the “abortive infection group”. This is the first confirmation of abortive infections, which were previously <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04186-8">unproven</a>. Despite differences in infection outcomes, participants in all groups shared some specific novel immune responses, including in those whose immune systems prevented the infection.</p> <p>When we compared the timings of the cellular response between the three infection groups, we saw distinct patterns. For example, in the transiently infected volunteers where the virus was only briefly detected, we saw a strong and immediate accumulation of immune cells in the nose one day after infection.</p> <p>This contrasted with the sustained infection group, where a more delayed response was seen, starting five days after infection and potentially enabling the virus to take hold in these volunteers.</p> <p>In these people, we were able to identify cells stimulated by a key antiviral defence response in both the nose and the blood. This response, called the “interferon” response, is one of the ways our bodies signal to our immune system to help fight off viruses and other infections. We were surprised to find that this response was detected in the blood before it was detected in the nose, suggesting that the immune response spreads from the nose very quickly.</p> <h2>Protective gene</h2> <p>Lastly, we identified a specific gene called HLA-DQA2, which was expressed (activated to produce a protein) at a much higher level in the volunteers who did not go on to develop a sustained infection and could hence be used as a marker of protection. Therefore, we might be able to use this information and identify those who are probably going to be protected from severe COVID.</p> <p>These findings help us fill in some gaps in our knowledge, painting a much more detailed picture regarding how our bodies react to a new virus, particularly in the first couple of days of an infection, which is crucial.</p> <p>We can use this information to compare our data to other data we are currently generating, specifically where we are “challenging” volunteers to other viruses and more recent strains of COVID. In contrast to our current study, these will mostly include volunteers who have been vaccinated or naturally infected – that is, people who already have immunity.</p> <p>Our study has significant implications for future treatments and vaccine development. By comparing our data to volunteers who have never been exposed to the virus with those who already have immunity, we may be able to identify new ways of inducing protection, while also helping the development of more effective vaccines for future pandemics. In essence, our research is a step towards better preparedness for the next pandemic.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/233063/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/marko-nikolic-1543289">Marko Nikolic</a>, Principal Research Fellow/Honorary consultant Respiratory Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/ucl-1885">UCL</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kaylee-worlock-1543639">Kaylee Worlock</a>, Postdoc Research Fellow, Molecular and Cellular Biology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/ucl-1885">UCL</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/we-finally-know-why-some-people-got-covid-while-others-didnt-233063">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

Body

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"Felt like a criminal": Mother and disabled son "kicked out" of Pink concert

<p>A distraught mother has taken to social media to recall the moment her and her seven-year-old son, who has Down syndrome, were asked to leave a concert venue. </p> <p>Vanessa Vasey, 48, spent over $1,000 to take her son Jesse to see Pink in London during her UK stadium tour, but when the pair arrived at the venue, things took a turn. </p> <p>Jesse struggled to stay still in his seat and was soon surrounded by "six security guards" who ordered the disabled boy to sit down, otherwise they would have to leave.</p> <p>She said she tried to explain her son’s condition to the guards but they ended up being “escorted from the premises” just as Pink took to the stage.</p> <p>On Facebook, Vasey wrote in detail about what happened, saying her son had been “robbed” of a special experience.</p> <p>“Music is his life and Pink is one of his absolute favourites,” she wrote.</p> <p>“We successfully saw her perform at BST Hyde Park last year and were thrilled to learn of her return again this year.”</p> <p>Vasey said she purchased more expensive “hospitality tickets” allowing people to move between bars and food outlets during the night “so that Jesse wouldn’t be pressured into remaining in one seat all night, as he gets overwhelmed in busy environments and finds it hard to sit still.”</p> <p>“We spent some time in the bar leading up to the main act, and Jesse was having a wonderful time, until about 45 minutes before Pink was due to come on, they suddenly shut all the blinds, obstructing us from seeing anything,” she wrote.</p> <p>“I tried to consult with the hospitality managers over this, and explained Jesse’s needs, but they wouldn’t budge on it. So not wanting Jesse to stare at a blind all night, we attempted to go into the seating zone."</p> <p>“We couldn’t get him to sit in his seat, but he was happy dancing and singing at the front railings, and even interacting with some of the other guests."</p> <p>“Doing no harm to anyone, or obstructing anyone’s view. This seemed OK for about half an hour or so. Then ... just as Pink dropped from the sky in her opening number, we had six security guards come into the zone and ask us to leave or sit in our seats.”</p> <p>Vasey said the security guards were “abrupt, intimidating and unpleasant”, as they "tried to force us to take Jesse to a sensory room which was soundproof, and watch Pink on a screen.” </p> <div> </div> <p>“Something we could do at home, robbing us of the whole experience, as if my son was some sort of inconvenience, and better off shut in a room out of sight.”</p> <p>When Vasey complained to venue staff, she claims that more security guards appeared and they had no choice but to leave. </p> <p>“We were escorted out of the building like criminals and saw no more of the Pink show. Jesse was utterly devastated, and they showed absolutely zero care or understanding."</p> <p>“Shame on you Tottenham Stadium,” she concluded. “My poor boy deserved so much better than this!”</p> <p>After UK media picked up Vasey's story, Tottenham Stadium released a statement explaining their actions. </p> <p>“Following further investigation, we can confirm that Ms Vasey was offered assistance by our Safeguarding and Welfare teams throughout the night to provide Jesse with a comfortable viewing experience, including access to our dedicated Sensory Room,” the statement read.</p> <p>“The offers of assistance were declined by Ms Vasey and the party chose to leave the event.”</p> <p>Vasey was soon set upon by online trolls who condemned her choice to take Jesse to the concert in the first place, to which she issues a lengthy statement about inclusivity and not singling people out for their disabilities. </p> <p>“Why do we take them [to events]? Because, as parents, we have the same dreams and aspirations for our children as any other parent,” she wrote.</p> <p>“We have the same desires to see our children’s faces light up, as any other parent would. Our children are exposed to the same world as other children, and they enjoy the same things."</p> <p>“They have the same likes and desires. The only thing that’s different is their needs, their abilities and their way of accessing their dreams."</p> <p>“Why should these things deny them of fulfilling these dreams and passions? This is meant to be a world of inclusion. So let’s start including!"</p> <p>“That means adapting, understanding, supporting and most importantly; changing the way we deliver these privileges so that they are privileges for all of us, and not just some of us.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Facebook/Richard Isaac/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p> <div class="hide-print ad-no-notice css-qyun7f-StyledAdUnitWrapper ezkyf1c0" style="box-sizing: border-box; caret-color: #292a33; color: #292a33; font-family: HeyWow, Montserrat, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 15px;"> </div>

Caring

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John Farnham steps out at son's wedding for first time since jaw surgery

<p>Beloved Aussie rock legend John Farnham exuded pride and joy as he stepped out in style at his son Robert's wedding on the weekend. After enduring extensive surgery due to oral cancer, Farnham, now cancer-free, appeared in high spirits at the intimate wedding of his oldest son and his new wife, Melissa.</p> <p>The 74-year-old icon looked remarkably well and largely unchanged since his challenging surgery in August 2022. In the heartwarming photos shared on Instagram, John posed alongside his son, both beaming with happiness. John looked dapper in a black suit with a bronze tie and matching pocket square, while Rob opted for a stylish white tux with black accents.</p> <p>The joyous occasion was beautifully captured in a series of family photos, including John's wife, Jill, and other close family members. Fans flooded the comments with heartfelt messages, celebrating the happy family and John's remarkable recovery. "Such a beautiful father and son pic," one fan wrote, while another added, "Congratulations to you both. It's so nice to see your Dad, he looks fantastic! Love to you all."</p> <p>The bride, Melissa, looked stunning in an off-the-shoulder ivory gown, posing for romantic photos with her new husband against the lush backdrop of their wedding venue. Rob's touching caption on Instagram encapsulated the joy of the day: "Shared the happiest moment with my favourite person in the universe and she said I do. Melissa, my life is forever better that you’re apart of it. You looked radiant, beautiful and elegant. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us and I’m truly honoured to have you by my side as my wife for life❤️."</p> <p>The couple had announced their engagement in November 2022, with Rob expressing his excitement about their future together: "My best friend and love of my life said yes to marrying me. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you."</p> <p>John Farnham's presence at the wedding was particularly special, as it marked a year since his successful battle against cancer. In August 2023, Farnham revealed he was cancer-free, a triumph after numerous surgeries and a challenging recovery process. In a heartfelt statement, he shared his gratitude: "It's been a year since my first surgery and to be honest, I've lost count as to how many other procedures there have been since then. But, I'm home now and I'm a very grateful and happy man. I'm sitting here in my living room lapping up the attention from my beautiful wife, Jill, my boys Rob and James, and my mini Schnauzer, Edmund."</p> <p>Throughout his recovery, John's family provided updates on his progress. His son Robert shared that his father was "doing fantastic" after a 12-hour surgery for throat cancer and was even dancing a little and walking his dog regularly. "He's really, really happy. He's doing really good, he's super positive," Robert said in an interview.</p> <p>While it is unlikely that John will perform again after his extensive surgery, the love and joy he shared at his son's wedding are a beautiful reminder of life's precious moments.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Relationships

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Uber driver makes pensioner fork out thousands after minor accident

<p>In a distressing incident, 80-year-old pensioner Judy Libby has claimed that she was coerced into handing over $2,500 to an Uber driver following a minor car accident in Melbourne's CBD.</p> <p>Judy recounted her ordeal on Melbourne's 3AW Radio on Friday morning, describing the alarming sequence of events that unfolded after she accidentally hit the back of the Uber driver's car.</p> <p><a href="https://www.news.com.au/technology/motoring/motoring-news/an-absolute-nightmare-uber-drivers-sickening-act-to-80yo-pensioner/news-story/f77aa3e46c41532268a712cfc4764877" target="_blank" rel="noopener">According to News.com.au</a>, Judy explained that the driver was stationary when the accident occurred, causing a dent in the boot of his vehicle. The driver, claiming the damage had rendered him unable to work and support his family, demanded compensation. "He said, 'I’m an Uber driver, you’ve ruined the back of my car. I’ve got a wife and child to support; now I can’t work,'" Judy told the radio station.</p> <p>Initially, the driver demanded $4,000, allegedly stating he had obtained a quote from a friend who was a panel beater. When Judy expressed her inability to pay such a sum, the driver proposed a reduced amount of $2,500. They arranged to meet at her local bank, but when the teller grew suspicious and refused the transaction, the Uber driver reportedly drove her to another bank where she was made to withdraw the money.</p> <p>Judy described the driver's demeanour as very angry and the experience as a "nightmare". The situation took a further turn for the worse when she later received a legal letter demanding an additional $8,800 for the damage, with no mention of the $2,500 she had already handed over.</p> <p>Concerned and distressed, Judy informed her daughter, who then reported the incident to the police. The case is now being investigated by the fraud squad. "I wasn’t travelling at a speed to do huge damage. I had no damage on my car, just a few scratches," Judy said. "And he had an older car too, so $8,800; no. I didn’t write it off, I just hit his boot."</p> <p>3AW host Russel Howcroft condemned the incident as "disgraceful", particularly criticising the driver's actions of taking Judy to a bank against her will. "Fancy putting someone in their car and driving them to a bank branch," he remarked.</p> <p>The investigation by the fraud squad will hopefully bring clarity and justice to Judy Libby's troubling experience.</p> <p><em>Image: Lutsenko Oleksandr / Shutterstock</em></p>

Legal

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"Love is love": Vietnam veteran reveals lifelong secret in obituary

<p>A Vietnam veteran has kept a heartbreaking secret from his loved ones his entire life, and only revealed the truth in his obituary. </p> <p>Col. Edward Thomas Ryan died at the age of 85 in his home in Albany, New York, after serving as a firefighter in the city of Rensselaer for most of his life. </p> <p>In a final message to the world that he penned before succumbing to cancer, Ryan shared that he had always known he was gay, but was was “afraid of being ostracized" by his loved ones. </p> <p>"I must tell you one more thing. I was Gay all my life: thru grade school, thru High School, thru College, thru Life," he wrote in his obituary, published by the <em>Albany Times Union</em>. </p> <p>"I was in a loving and caring relationship with Paul Cavagnaro of North Greenbush," he confessed.</p> <p>"He was the love of my life. We had 25 great years together. Paul died in 1994 from a medical Procedure gone wrong. I'll be buried next to Paul."</p> <p>The former soldier, who served with the Army's 10th Brigade and received several military awards, including the National Defense Service Medal and the Defense of Liberty Medal "for participation to the State" following 9/11, explained that he had never revealed his secret out of fear of being disowned. </p> <p>"I'm sorry for not having the courage to come out as Gay. I was afraid of being ostracized: by Family, Friends, and Co-Workers," he recalled. </p> <p>"Seeing how people like me were treated, I just could not do it. Now that my secret is known, I'll forever Rest in Peace."</p> <p>Aside from serving in the war and being a firefighter, he was also one of the founders and owners of the local Albany radio station WGY-FM.</p> <p>Additionally, he was a chef at the East Greenbush, American Legion Post, and a lifelong member of the Vietnam Veterans of America.</p> <p>Ryan is survived by his 14 nieces and nephews who call him "Uncle Ed". </p> <p>His obituary has since gone viral and many have paid tribute to the Vietnam veteran on his obituary. </p> <p>"Col. Ryan. you lived your life with such bravery and carry it with you in the afterlife. I don't know if we will ever truly feel free. As a gay woman over 60, I struggle with this still. Half out and half in. Thank you for showing us the way to leave this life with dignity while being true to ourselves. The world needs more men like you. True hero," wrote one commenter. </p> <p>"Rest in Power Ed. Thank you for your service to your country. Thank you for the example of how much work we still need to do to honour and respect our brothers and sisters like you," added another. </p> <p>"Love is love. Glad you are finally reunited with yours and you are both resting in peace," wrote a third. </p> <p>"May you rest peacefully in the arms of your forever love. I'm so sorry that you never felt safe to be your authentic self. Your bravery followed you beyond death," added a fourth. </p> <p>"I hope Edward and Paul are reunited now, in love for eternity. Nobody should have to spend a lifetime hiding who they are and who they love," another commenter wrote. </p> <p><em>Image: Legacy.com</em></p> <p> </p>

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COVID vaccines saved millions of lives – linking them to excess deaths is a mistake

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paul-hunter-991309">Paul Hunter</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-east-anglia-1268">University of East Anglia</a></em></p> <p>A recent <a href="https://bmjpublichealth.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000282">study</a> has sparked another <a href="https://nypost.com/2024/06/06/us-news/covid-vaccines-may-have-helped-fuel-rise-in-excess-deaths-since-pandemic-study/">round of</a> <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2024/06/04/covid-vaccines-may-have-helped-fuel-rise-in-excess-deaths/">headlines</a> <a href="https://www.gbnews.com/health/covid-vaccine-side-effects-deaths">claiming</a> that COVID vaccines caused excess deaths. This was accompanied by a predictable outpouring of <a href="https://x.com/DrAseemMalhotra/status/1797922073798717524">I-told-you-sos</a> on social media.</p> <p>Excess deaths are a measure of how many more deaths are being recorded in a country over what would have been expected based on historical trends. In the UK, and in many other countries, death rates have been higher during the years 2020 to 2023 than would have been expected based on historic trends from before the pandemic. But that has been known for some time. A couple of years ago I wrote an article for <a href="https://theconversation.com/summer-2022-saw-thousands-of-excess-deaths-in-england-and-wales-heres-why-that-might-be-189351">The Conversation</a> pointing this out and suggesting some reasons. But has anything changed?</p> <p>The authors of the new study, published in BMJ Public Health, used publicly available data from <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/COVID-vaccinations">Our World in Data</a> to determine which countries had “statistically significant” excess deaths – in other words, excess deaths that couldn’t be explained by mere random variation.</p> <p>They studied the years 2020 to 2022 and found that many, but not all, countries did indeed report excess deaths. The authors did not try to explain why these excess deaths occurred, but the suggestion that COVID vaccines could have played a role is clear from their text – and indeed widely interpreted as such by certain newspapers.</p> <p>There is no doubt that a few deaths were associated with <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/25166026211053485">the COVID vaccines</a>, but could the vaccination programme explain the large number of excess deaths – 3 million in 47 countries – that have been reported?</p> <p>Based on <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/excessdeathsinenglandandwales/march2020todecember2021">death certificates</a>, during 2020 and 2021 there were more deaths from COVID than estimated excess deaths in the UK. So during the year 2021 when most vaccine doses were administered, there were actually fewer non-COVID deaths than would have been expected. It was only in 2022 that excess deaths <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/deathregistrationsummarystatisticsenglandandwales/2022">exceeded COVID deaths</a>.</p> <p>If the vaccination campaign was contributing to the excess deaths that we have seen in recent years, then we should expect to see more deaths in people who have been vaccinated than in those who have not. The most reliable analysis in this regard was done by the UK’s <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/excessdeathsinenglandandwales/march2020todecember2021">Office for National Statistics (ONS)</a>. In this analysis, the ONS matched death registrations with the vaccine histories of each death recorded. They then calculated “age-standardised death rates” to account for age differences between those vaccinated and those not.</p> <p>What the ONS found was that in all months from April 2021 to May 2023, the death rate <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/redir/eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJpbmRleCI6MSwicGFnZVNpemUiOjEwLCJwYWdlIjoxLCJ1cmkiOiIvcGVvcGxlcG9wdWxhdGlvbmFuZGNvbW11bml0eS9iaXJ0aHNkZWF0aHNhbmRtYXJyaWFnZXMvZGVhdGhzL2RhdGFzZXRzL2V4Y2Vzc2RlYXRoc2luZW5nbGFuZGFuZHdhbGVzIiwibGlzdFR5cGUiOiJyZWxhdGVkZGF0YSJ9.Cot-XDe8Rr07paGllBNnVVz1nTqnXfVafn2woA3tk0c">from all causes was higher</a> in the unvaccinated than in people who had been vaccinated at least once.</p> <p>That deaths from all causes were lower in the vaccinated than the unvaccinated should come as no surprise given that COVID was a major cause of death in 2021 and 2022. And there is ample evidence of the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10492612/">protective effect of vaccines</a> against severe COVID and death. But what is even more convincing is that, even when known COVID deaths were excluded in the ONS report, the death rate in the unvaccinated was still higher, albeit not by very much in more recent months.</p> <p>Some COVID deaths would certainly not have been recognised as such. But, on the other hand, people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, were a high priority for vaccination. And these people would have been at increased risk of death even before the pandemic.</p> <h2>Possible causes</h2> <p>If the vaccine is not the cause of the excess deaths, what was?</p> <p>The major cause of the excess deaths reported in the first two years of the BMJ Public Health study was deaths from COVID. But by 2022, excess deaths exceeded COVID deaths in many countries.</p> <p>Possible <a href="https://theconversation.com/summer-2022-saw-thousands-of-excess-deaths-in-england-and-wales-heres-why-that-might-be-189351">explanations</a> for these excess deaths include longer-term effects of earlier COVID infections, the return of infections such as influenza that had been suppressed during the COVID control measures, adverse effects of lockdowns on physical and mental health, and delays in the diagnosis of life-threatening infections as health services struggled to cope with the pandemic and its aftermath.</p> <p>We do need to look very carefully at how the pandemic was managed. There is still considerable debate about the effectiveness of different behavioural control measures, such as self-isolation and lockdowns. Even when such interventions were effective at reducing transmission of COVID, what were the harms and were the gains worth the harms? Nevertheless, we can be confident that the excess deaths seen in recent years were not a consequence of the vaccination campaign.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/231776/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/paul-hunter-991309">Paul Hunter</a>, Professor of Medicine, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-east-anglia-1268">University of East Anglia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/covid-vaccines-saved-millions-of-lives-linking-them-to-excess-deaths-is-a-mistake-231776">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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The growing promise of cancer vaccines

<div class="copy"> <p>A cure for cancer — which is <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/burden-of-disease-by-cause" target="_blank" rel="noopener">second only to cardiovascular diseases</a> in its contribution to the global burden of disease — has long been a dream.</p> <p>While no magic bullet is yet in sight, three vaccines for particular skin and lung cancer types have advanced to the last stage of clinical trials in recent months.</p> <p>If successful, these vaccines should be available to patients in the next three to 11 years. Unlike vaccines which prevent diseases, these aim to cure them or prevent relapses.</p> <p>Cancer in every person is different because the cells in every cancerous tumour have different sets of genetic mutations. Recognising this, two of the vaccines are personalised and tailor-made for each patient. Oncologists working with pharmaceutical companies have developed these individualised neoantigen therapies.</p> <p>A vaccine typically works by training the immune cells of our body to recognise antigens – proteins from pathogens, such as viruses – against future attacks by the pathogen.</p> <p>In cancer, however, there is no external pathogen. The cells of a cancerous tumour undergo continuous mutations, some of which help them to grow much faster than normal cells while some others help them evade the body’s natural immune system. The mutated proteins in cancerous cells are called ‘neoantigens’.</p> <p>In individualised neoantigen therapy, the gene sequence of the tumour and normal blood cells are compared to identify neoantigens from each patient, and then a subset of neoantigens are chosen that are most likely to induce an immune response. The vaccine for an individual patient targets this chosen subset of neoantigens.</p> <p>These vaccines, jointly developed by pharma giants Moderna and Merck, have been shown in trials conducted so far to be significantly more effective in combination with immunotherapy than immunotherapy alone in preventing both the relapse of melanoma — a type of skin cancer — and non-small cell lung cancer after the tumours had been surgically removed.</p> <p>Following these promising results in phase II clinical trials, the vaccines are now being tested on a larger group of patients in phase III trials. The studies are expected to be complete by 2030 for <a href="https://clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT05933577" target="_blank" rel="noopener">melanoma</a> and 2035 for <a href="https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT06077760?intr=mRNA-4157&amp;rank=3" target="_blank" rel="noopener">lung cancer</a>.</p> <p>The Moderna-Merck cancer vaccine may not be the first to reach the market. The French company OSE Immunotherapeutics <a href="https://www.clinicaltrialsarena.com/news/ose-shares-pipeline-updates-with-plans-phase-iii-trial-for-tedopi/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">published positive results</a> last September from phase III clinical trials of a vaccine using a different approach for advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Its vaccine, Tedopi, is scheduled to start <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ose-immunotherapeutics-receives-8-4-160000694.html?guccounter=1&amp;guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&amp;guce_referrer_sig=AQAAADAX7Kqu7RTAEowvwOw2f-2cJ7SJ4uLpvjH-3tXzGtifqidaZfPs4eHLz23UqqjHDPjbVE1Vwel5qIKzKbmWvPLfLQzzH_PvKJAMsqTHuz8p5nPoR39RbIToLShEUG53eOeDFg6pWlRc2JPqrX7sGnc3ByO9FFfqXQYpZ4FZ-jgr" target="_blank" rel="noopener">confirmatory trials</a> – which are the last step before regulatory approval – later this year and may be available by 2027.</p> <p>Vaccines for pancreatic cancer being developed by BioNTech and Genentech, and for colon cancer by Gritstone, are also showing promising results in the early phases of clinical trials. Like the vaccines being developed by Moderna and Merck, these too are individualised neoantigen therapies based on messenger RNA (mRNA).</p> <p>There is another kind of RNA therapy also under development that uses small interfering RNA (siRNA) and microRNA (miRNA). Since 2018, six siRNA-based therapies have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of neural, skin, heart and renal diseases. Several more siRNA drugs are at various clinical trial stages for different types of cancer and a diverse range of other diseases.</p> <p>Within cells, there are two kinds of nucleic acid molecules that contain coded information vital to life: DNA and RNA. While DNA contains genetic information, mRNA — one among the different types of RNA — carries the codes for the proteins. In addition, there are also non-coding RNA, some of which are functionally important. siRNA and miRNA are examples of such non-coding RNA.</p> <p>The RNA vaccine for an individualised neoantigen therapy is a cocktail of mRNA carrying the codes for neoantigens — the mutated fingerprint proteins in cancerous cells. For the <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41591-023-00072-0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Moderna-Merck study</a>, scientists identified 34 neoantigens per patient. They delivered the corresponding mRNA vaccine cocktail packed in lipid nanoparticles, just like the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.</p> <p>When the vaccine is delivered after removing the tumour, it trains the immune system to recognise neoantigens and fight back against the cancer returning. Usually, the body’s natural immune system corrects mutations and prevents us from having cancers. However, in some cases this natural immune response is insufficient, leading to tumour growth. In individualised neoantigen therapy, these mutations in the tumour cells are used for vaccine development and for training the immune system to fight back against relapse after removal of the tumour.</p> <p>Recent advances in artificial intelligence are helping identify potential neoantigens and manage personalised therapies. Firstly, gene sequencing of tumours and normal blood cells of a patient and their comparison produces a huge amount of data. AI is used to find the genetic mutations of the patient’s cancer in such ‘big data’. Moreover, individualised therapy requires timely production and delivery of vaccines that are different for each patient. AI is also useful in the management of such data.</p> <p>The individualised nature of the treatment is probably why it has been <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41591-023-00072-0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">more effective in trials</a> than previous, unsuccessful RNA vaccine candidates. However, this personalisation is also likely to raise challenges for the timely and cost-effective delivery of treatment to populations around the world.</p> <p>The siRNA and miRNA treatments work in a way opposite to mRNA. While each mRNA in a vaccine carries the code for producing a protein from a pathogen (antigen) or tumour (neoantigen) to train our immune systems against future attacks by the pathogen or tumour, siRNA directly targets the mRNA of the antigen or neoantigen and terminates the production of the protein it codes. Thus, the effect of a siRNA is more direct and immediate (like a drug), rather than a protection against future attacks (like a vaccine).</p> <p>Discovered at the turn of this millennium, siRNA-based therapeutics attracted immediate attention, but their initial success was limited due to their inherent low stability, difficulties in delivering them to desired locations, and rapid clearance from the bloodstream. However, in recent years, siRNA therapies have been boosted through chemical modifications that have increased their stability and ability to be delivered to specific locations such as tumours, and improved delivery systems such as lipid nanoparticle encasings.</p> <p>These improvements led to recent successes in FDA approvals of siRNA-based therapies and further <a href="https://www.rockefeller.edu/news/35461-a-new-way-to-target-the-culprit-behind-a-deadly-liver-cancer/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">promising reports of advances</a> in the treatment of diseases including a type of liver cancer.</p> <p><em>Research scientist </em><em><strong>Dr Bidyut Sarkar</strong></em><em> is the DBT-Wellcome Trust India Alliance Intermediate Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at Shiv Nadar Institute of Eminence, Delhi NCR, India.</em></p> <p><em>Originally published under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Creative Commons</a> by <a href="https://360info.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">360info</a>™.</em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p> <div> <p align="center"><noscript data-spai="1"><em><img decoding="async" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-198773" src="https://cdn.shortpixel.ai/spai/q_lossy+ret_img+to_auto/cosmosmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/MICROSCOPIC-TO-TELESCOPIC__Embed-graphic-720x360-1.jpg" data-spai-egr="1" width="600" alt="Buy cosmos print magazine" title="the growing promise of cancer vaccines 2"></em></noscript></p> </div> <p><em><!-- Start of tracking content syndication. Please do not remove this section as it allows us to keep track of republished articles --> <img id="cosmos-post-tracker" style="opacity: 0; height: 1px!important; width: 1px!important; border: 0!important; position: absolute!important; z-index: -1!important;" src="https://syndication.cosmosmagazine.com/?id=304875&amp;title=The+growing+promise+of+cancer+vaccines" width="1" height="1" loading="lazy" aria-label="Syndication Tracker" data-spai-target="src" data-spai-orig="" data-spai-exclude="nocdn" /> <!-- End of tracking content syndication --></em></div> <div id="contributors"> <p><em><a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/the-body/the-growing-promise-of-cancer-vaccines/">This article</a> was originally published on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com">Cosmos Magazine</a> and was written by <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/contributor/360info-2/">360info</a>. Originally published under Creative Commons by 360info™.</em></p> </div>

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"I am so lost without you": Sam Rubin's son speaks out

<p>Sam Rubin’s son has delivered an emotional on-air tribute to his late dad just days after his <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/legendary-today-show-reporter-dies-unexpectedly" target="_blank" rel="noopener">passing</a>. </p> <p>The entertainment reporter died unexpectedly at the age of 64, after reportedly suffering a heart attack in his Los Angeles home last Friday. </p> <p>He worked for LA TV station KTLA as their entertainment reporter, and was a regular guest on Aussie programs like<em> Today</em> and <em>Today Extra</em>. </p> <p>Colby Rubin, the youngest of the reporter's four children, joined KTLA 5 Morning News on Monday to reflect on his father's death. </p> <p>“Hi dad. I wrote this under the desk in your cubicle – only you weren’t there to wake me up this time. Dad, I can’t believe you’re gone,” the 16-year-old began. </p> <p>“I love you so much. On the day you died, I hope you heard me say that. You were the kindest soul, the light in every room. I can’t imagine my life without you... You were always there.”</p> <p>He said he idolised his father calling him his hero, and said: “I never got to tell you that, and I’m so sorry dad.”</p> <p>Colby then shared some of their private texts showing how encouraging his father was when he was unsure of himself, telling him: "You can do this,” and "you have every gift. Respect your own talent." </p> <p>At this point, Colby was overwhelmed with emotion, with the hosts telling him he could take a break but the teen powered on. </p> <p>“I can’t believe I’ve lost you. I had more of a father in 16 years than some people get in their entire lives, and I’m so grateful.</p> <p>"You are a beautiful human and you will never be forgotten. Dad I love you. I am so lost without you, I’ll miss you every day. I hope you know how loved you are.”</p> <p>Colby's tribute left his father's colleagues in tears with one co-host telling him simply: “He knew.”</p> <p>“He would be so proud of you. All of us are parents, we all can say – that is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard,” another said as she fought back tears. </p> <p>Viewers praised Colby for his “strength and composure” in delivering such an emotional tribute just days after losing his father. </p> <p>“Amazing how Colby was able to do this with such grace, strength, and composure. You can tell Sam was an amazing father through Colby’s tribute,” TV anchor Stephanie Myers wrote on X. </p> <p>Sam is survived by his wife Leslie and four children: Perry, 28, Rory, 23, Darcy, 18, and Colby.</p> <p><em>Image: KTLA/ X</em></p>

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Too many Australians aren’t getting a flu vaccine. Why, and what can we do about it?

<div class="theconversation-article-body"> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/holly-seale-94294">Holly Seale</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>Australia’s childhood immunisation program gets very good uptake every year – <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/immunisation-data/childhood-immunisation-coverage">almost 94% of five-year-olds</a> have had all their routine vaccinations. But our influenza vaccine coverage doesn’t get such a good report card.</p> <p>Looking back over <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data/historical-national-influenza-vaccination-coverage-end-year-age">recent years</a>, for kids aged six months to five years, we saw a peak in flu vaccine coverage at the beginning of the COVID pandemic at 46%, which then declined to 30% by the 2023 season.</p> <p>While we’re still relatively early in the 2024 flu season, only <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data">7% of children</a> under five have received their flu shot this year so far.</p> <p>Although young children are a particular concern, flu vaccination rates appear to be lagging for the population as a whole. Reports indicate that <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2024-05-07/calls-to-vaccinate-young-children-against-flu-as-season-begins/103783508">from March 1 to April 28</a>, 16% fewer people were vaccinated against the flu compared with the same period last year.</p> <p>So what’s going on, and what can we do to boost uptake?</p> <h2>Why do we vaccinate kids against the flu?</h2> <p>Last year, <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/2023-12/aisr-2023-national-influenza-season-summary.pdf">reported cases of flu</a> were highest in children aged five to nine, followed by those aged zero to four. This is not a new trend – we record a high number of flu cases and hospital admissions in kids every year. So far <a href="https://nindss.health.gov.au/pbi-dashboard/">this year</a> children aged zero to four have had the highest number of infections, marginally ahead of five- to nine-year-olds.</p> <p>While kids are more likely to catch and spread the flu, they’re also <a href="https://theconversation.com/kids-are-more-vulnerable-to-the-flu-heres-what-to-look-out-for-this-winter-117748">at greater risk</a> of getting very sick from it. This particularly applies to children under five, and the flu vaccine is available for free for this age group.</p> <p>The flu vaccine isn’t perfect – it may not prevent infections entirely – but it’s definitely our best chance of protection. Research has shown influenza-related visits to the GP were <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27577556/">more than halved</a> in vaccinated children compared with unvaccinated children.</p> <h2>So why are kids not receiving the vaccine?</h2> <p>Often, it comes down to misunderstandings about who is eligible for the vaccine or whom it’s recommended for. But we can address this issue by nudging people via <a href="https://www.annfammed.org/content/15/6/507?sf174332549=1">a text message reminder</a>.</p> <p>Some parents <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X17318285">report concerns</a> about the vaccine, including the old dogma that it can cause the flu. The flu vaccine <a href="https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/flu-influenza-immunisation">can’t give you the flu</a> because it doesn’t contain live virus. Unfortunately, that myth is really sticky.</p> <p>For <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jpc.15235">some parents</a>, the challenge can be forgetting to book or accessing an appointment.</p> <h2>It’s not just kids at higher risk</h2> <p>Adults aged 65 and over are also <a href="https://theconversation.com/im-over-65-and-worried-about-the-flu-which-vaccine-should-i-have-204810">more vulnerable</a> to the flu, and can receive a <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/vaccines/influenza-flu-vaccine">free vaccine</a>. For this group, we usually get around <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data/historical-national-influenza-vaccination-coverage-end-year-age">65% vaccinated</a>. So far this year, <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data/national-influenza-vaccination-coverage-all-people-age-group">around 35%</a> of over-65s have received their flu vaccine.</p> <p>Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are likewise eligible for a free flu vaccine. While previously coverage rates were higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples compared to the overall population, this gap has narrowed. There’s even some movement backwards, especially <a href="https://ncirs.org.au/influenza-vaccination-coverage-data/historical-national-influenza-vaccination-coverage-end-year-age">in younger age groups</a>.</p> <p>The flu vaccine is also free for pregnant women and anyone who has <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/immunisation/when-to-get-vaccinated/immunisation-for-people-with-medical-risk-conditions">a medical condition</a> such as heart disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes or kidney disease.</p> <p>Past studies have found flu vaccine coverage <a href="https://www.phrp.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/PHRP31232111.pdf">for pregnant women</a> varies around the country from 39% to 76% (meaning in some jurisdictions up to 60% of pregnant women are not getting vaccinated). When it comes to adults with chronic health conditions, we don’t have a good sense of how many people receive the vaccine.</p> <p>The reasons adults don’t always get the flu vaccine overlap with the reasons for children. Often <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/08870446.2021.1957104">concerns about side effects</a> are cited as the reason for not getting vaccinated, followed by time constraints.</p> <p>We also know <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/primary-health-care/coordination-of-health-care-experiences-barriers/summary">accessing medical services</a> can be difficult for some people, such as those living in rural areas or experiencing financial hardship.</p> <h2>Filling the gaps</h2> <p>In Australia, GPs offer flu vaccines for all ages, while flu vaccination is also available at pharmacies, generally from age five and up.</p> <p>While some people make a conscious decision not to get themselves or their children vaccinated, for many people, the barriers are related to access.</p> <p>Programs offering vaccination outside the doctor’s office are increasing globally, and may assist in <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14760584.2019.1698955">filling gaps</a>, especially among those who don’t have regular access to a GP.</p> <p>For some people, their only point of contact with the <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34272104/">medical system</a> may be during emergency department visits. Others may have more regular contact with a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7046372/">specialist</a> who coordinates their medical care, rather than a GP.</p> <p>Offering vaccine education and programs <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0009922810374353">in these settings</a> has been shown to improve immunisation rates and may play a pivotal role in filling access gaps.</p> <p>Outside medical and pharmacy settings, the workplace is the most common place for Australian adults to receive their flu vaccine. A <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1326020023004272">survey</a> showed Australian adults find workplace vaccination convenient and cost-effective, especially where free or subsidised vaccines are offered.</p> <p>Expanding vaccination settings, such as with <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/19375867221087360?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&amp;rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&amp;rfr_dat=cr_pub%20%200pubmed">drive-through</a> and mobile clinics, can benefit groups who have unique access barriers or are under-served. Meanwhile, offering vaccination through faith-based organisations has been shown to improve uptake among <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37013523/">racial and ethnic minority groups</a>.</p> <p><em>Eleftheria Lentakis, a masters student at the School of Population Health at UNSW Sydney, contributed to this article.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/229477/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/holly-seale-94294"><em>Holly Seale</em></a><em>, Associate Professor, School of Population Health, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/too-many-australians-arent-getting-a-flu-vaccine-why-and-what-can-we-do-about-it-229477">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Dodgy tactic to keep driver's licence growing "out of control"

<p>A criminal lawyer has exposed an alarming trend, which has caused more and more people to seek legal advice. </p> <p>Over the past year, there has been an increase in the number of drivers off-loading their demerit points to strangers in exchange for cash, as Aussies desperately try to keep their licences. </p> <p>The illegal tactic is often advertised on social media, where users attract those looking for someone to falsely nominate and palm off their demerit points to. </p> <p>The price of one demerit point can go for $30-$150, and criminal lawyer Jahan Kalantar revealed that more people are seeking legal advice after getting involved in the trend. </p> <p>"This used to be a very tiny part of my practice, I do about eight to nine consultations a week on this," he told <em>7News Sunrise</em>. </p> <p>"This is becoming really out of control."</p> <p><a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/dodgy-drivers-licence-tactic-used-by-millions-growing-out-of-control-044254123.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Yahoo Australia</em> </a>shared a screenshot of a chat obtained from Facebook, which showed a person responding to an ad someone put up about selling their demerit points. </p> <p>"What fine is it?" the person advertising asked. </p> <p>"Speeding," the person replied. </p> <p>"Yeah I can sort it out for you," they said. </p> <p>When asked how it would work the advertiser replied: "If it's under 5 points it's $80 a point". </p> <p>There are tough penalties for those who choose to falsely nominate another driver, and for those who trade their demerit points for cash. </p> <p>In Victoria, offenders face fines of $9,000, while those in NSW and Queensland cop a maximum penalty of $11,000. </p> <p>In addition to hefty fines, imprisonment is also a risk, with one high-profile incident in 2006 landing former federal court judge Marcus Einfeld in prison after he was caught falsely declaring another driver for his speeding fine. </p> <p><em>Images: 7NEWS/ Facebook</em></p>

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"An insult to human dignity": Mother of Bondi stabbing victim hits out at the media

<p>The mother of Bondi stabbing victim Jade Young has hit out at how social media and major news outlets reported on her daughter's death. </p> <p>Jade Young, 47, was one of six people fatally stabbed by Joel Cauchi during his violent rampage at Bondi Junction Westfield on April 13th. </p> <p>Following the tragedy, graphic videos and images of the attacks were circulated online.</p> <p>Now, Jade's mother Elizabeth Young, writing in the <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/my-daughter-was-killed-in-the-bondi-junction-attack-how-my-family-found-out-is-shameful-20240429-p5fnbw.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Sydney Morning Herald</a> on Wednesday, said it was “shameful” how her family found out about Jade’s death.</p> <p>“Members of my family recognised Jade and her husband Noel in uncensored vision being played on a mainstream TV news feed, with vision of Jade lying on the ground at the shopping centre, receiving CPR,” she wrote.</p> <p>“The vision, shared on social media and picked up — and used by — multiple news media programs shared my daughter’s final moments with millions. Finding out that a loved one has been murdered is a horror that I do not wish on anyone. But seeing the vision of their last moments and knowing it has been broadcast to millions of people is an appalling breach of privacy and an insult to human dignity.”</p> <p>Ms Young went on to say how some of the major media organisations that shared violent images of the Bondi stabbing “approached our family within hours of the attack, offering their condolences … and the opportunity to share our family’s story”.</p> <p>“These same media organisations reported the failure of a certain popular social media platform to take down videos, without acknowledging their own complicity,” she said.</p> <p>“I am not surprised at their hypocrisy, but I am angry.”</p> <p>“Sharing violent images or personal material from the lives of victims of crime is not free speech — it is enormously profitable for some but it’s speech with a steep price for the victims,” she said.</p> <p>“Those who run social media platforms are remote from the pain inflicted by their uploads and the dystopia they have helped create. It is the victims who bear the cost.”</p> <p>Last week, hundreds of mourners attended a public memorial for Ms Young, an acclaimed architect and mother-of-two, where mourners were encouraged to wear colourful clothing “in memory of Jade”.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / Facebook </em></p>

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