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'Here and Now': Kenny Chesney savors life’s most exhilarating moments in performance video

No Comments Country Music News

Warner Music NashvilleKenny Chesney gives fans a peek into what it feels like to perform to a sold-out crowd in the music video for “Here and Now,” a pumped-up anthem that’s all about staying present in the moment.

With help from director Shaun Silva, Kenny captures the excitement of stepping out onstage in front of a crowd of screaming fans. The video utilizes the same scrim the superstar takes on tour with him, with extreme sports footage projected onto the backdrop in order to up the drama and excitement. 

“There’s a rush of adrenaline when you’re doing one of these sports that’s beyond measure,” Kenny tells CMT. “It’s the way it feels for us, waiting for the Kabuki to drop. I wanted to give people a sense of how that feels, that crazy wild sense of being totally alive, because I think that’s what we’re all seeking.”

It’s an especially poignant video at a time when country fans are stuck indoors, unable to attend live shows, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even, or maybe especially, in times like these, we need to remember how blessed we are to be alive, and to make every second count,” the singer reflects. “… Love the people you’re with, find something to smile about; be mindful, but be happy — and obviously take care of yourself and others.”

“Here and Now” is the title track off of Kenny’s next album. The full project is due out on May 1.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Minnesota doctor engaged in FDA-approved Hydroxychloroquine trials lacks volunteers

No Comments National News

HaizhanZheng/iStock(MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.) — A Minnesota doctor is calling on healthcare workers and people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are showing early symptoms of infection to participate in two of the first trials of the malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus patients.

Dr. David Boulware, an infectious disease specialist from the University of Minnesota, is one of the first doctors to receive approval from the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct a pair of clinical trials of the drug, which has been heavily promoted by President Trump as a potential antidote to the outbreak.

The first trial will be comprised primarily of healthcare workers and others with a high risk of exposure to the virus, while the second will be open to the general public who have already tested positive for COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine is being studied both as a way to prevent COVID-19 infection as well as a way to treat people who are already sick.

But one of his biggest problems? He needs volunteers, and lots of them. Boulware is seeking 1500 volunteers for the first trial, but in the week since he obtained FDA approval, he has managed to recruit only 411. Recruitment for the second trial, which is also seeking 1500 volunteers, is going even slower. As of this writing, he has only 25.

Recruitment of participants for clinical trials is typically slow, as participation can be a burdensome process, but the speed of the outbreak and the promotion of the drug at the highest levels of government have raised the stakes for Boulware and his researchers.

“With all the excitement about the Hydroxychloroquine, there’s no actual data that it makes any clinical benefit in actual humans,” Boulware told ABC News. “We’re going to test whether it reduces the severity of symptoms, reduces hospitalizations, and severity and duration of illness to see – Does the drug actually work? And is it safe?”

Researchers will send some participants Hydroxychloroquine (and others a placebo) in the mail and monitor their progress remotely through daily questionnaires.

According to Boulware, healthcare workers and others with a high risk of exposure to the virus, as well as anyone who has recently tested positive (within four days of the test), can learn more about the trials by emailing covid19@umn.edu.

In the meantime, experts are stressing patience as researchers determine whether the drug is safe and effective. Some leaders desperate for a treatment for those infected, however, have not adopted that cautious tone.

In a press conference last week, President Donald Trump said that he had a good “feeling” about the use of Hydroxychloroquine as treatment for coronavirus. At the time of that statement, however, the only data doctors had been looking at was a study of 20 patients with Coronavirus in France.

President Trump later tweeted, “HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine.”

But several doctors, including Boulware, are warning that people should not try this drug on their own, as reports of overdoses, and people self-medicating, have begun to arise.

Following Trump’s praise of the drug’s potential, one Arizona man died and his wife hospitalized after the couple ingested a fish tank cleaning substance that contained chloroquine phosphate. Two people have also reportedly died in Nigeria as a result of chloroquine poisoning.

“Overdoses are possible,” he told ABC News. “Knowing the correct dose is important.”

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News chief medical correspondent, noted that Hydroxychloroquine is just one drug being tested right now and warned that it carries some potentially serious risks and side effects.

“This is not candy,” Ashton said. “Regular people should not just be taking it. We have no idea if it even works. It’s promising, but needs trials.”

New York State has also started testing the efficacy of the drug, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing on Monday that New York State has acquired 750,000 doses of chloroquine, 70,000 doses of hydroxychloroquine and 10,000 doses of Zithromax for its own trial.

As his trials begin, Boulware and his team remain cautiously optimistic about hydroxychloroquine’s potential.

“We should have answers to these questions within three to four weeks,” Boulware said.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Kylie Jenner donates $1 million to buy masks for first responders

No Comments Entertainment News

Toni Anne Barson/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) — Kylie Jenner has donated $1 million to buy medical supplies for first responders, according to her doctor.

Jenner’s obstetrician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Dr. Thaïs Aliabadi, stated in an Instagram post Wednesday that the reality TV star’s donation will help buy “hundreds of thousands of masks, face shields, and other protective gear.”

Aliabadi added that due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, “too many masks at hospitals are disappearing before making their way onto the faces of our front line heroes.”

“I am speechless, my eyes are filled with tears of joy and my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude. I made a wish to the Universe to gather protective masks for our brave healthcare workers and today my dream came true,” she wrote.

“I have never felt more blessed to be a doctor, as helping our brave ER and ICU workers feels just as gratifying as helping my own patients. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU @kyliejenner. You are my hero.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were more than 61,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, and medical professionals are desperate for personal protective equipment needed to treat the growing number of patients.

The U.S. has a stockpile of 13 million N95 respirator masks, which protect against transmission of airborne particles and liquid contamination, but that supply is expected to be exhausted in short order.

The federal government has said up that up to one billion might be needed over the next six months.

Other celebrities including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rihanna have also made substantial donations towards the purchase of medical supplies, and fashion designers Christian Siriano and Brandon Maxwell have directed their teams to create masks.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

NYC officials confirm 1st homeless death from coronavirus

No Comments National News

Shooter_Sam/iStock(NEW YORK)– New York officials have confirmed the first homeless death from the novel coronavirus, a grim statistic that homeless advocates fear could rise in coming weeks.

“Tragically, one New Yorker experiencing homelessness succumbed to this virus after several days in the hospital – our hearts go out to this individual’s friends and family,” said Isaac McGinn, spokesperson for the city’s Department of Social Services.

“What we’re seeing continues to track the trends across our city, state, and country – with more testing taking place, we’re effectively identifying more positives, which gives us the ability to immediately connect each individual to the care they need, whether in hospital or in isolation,” McGinn said.

According to the statement from DHS, the homeless resident was a single adult male in his 60s and was hospitalized last week. The man’s identity was not revealed.

DHS also confirmed a total of 39 positive cases of COVID-19 among homeless New Yorkers as of March 24. According to the New York Department of Homeless Services, there were 17 coronavirus patients identified from 12 different shelters across the city as of Sunday night. The overall number of homeless residents in New York in 2019 was 78,604, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The case in New York follows the first death of a homeless person in California last week. The homeless population is particularly vulnerable because they are frequently in institutional settings and cannot always find easy access to handwashing stations and clean facilities.

New York City’s social service agency has mobilized special housing units that enable residents to isolate themselves. The rollout this week has included approximately 500 isolation units available across four locations, officials said. As of March 24, there are 65 individuals in isolation units at two of the locations.

“Unfortunately, we are well aware of the sad fact that our homeless population is 30 percent more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus than those who are healthy because of their compromised respiratory systems,” said Ivan Klassen, director of community partnerships of the Los Angeles Mission, which provides emergency services, housing, legal counseling and other services to the homeless.

At the Los Angeles Mission, staff members are allowing homeless people to stay at the shelter for a longer period of time than typically allowed.

“We usually give people 15-day bed tickets but given the situation, people can stay as long as they need,” said Klassen. “We are hoping that essential homeless service providers like us who are taking stringent measures will help stem the tide. Or we will unfortunately see more deaths like the one in NYC.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Theater chain AMC undergoes massive layoffs after COVID shutdowns

No Comments Entertainment News

iStock/Rawpixel(LOS ANGELES) — The theater chain AMC has furloughed 600 executives, including its CEO, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The move comes after 26,000 employees in total were furloughed or laid off altogether in the wake of the theater closures due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. 

In a statement quoted by the Hollywood Reporter, AMC insists it, “is not terminating any of its corporate employees,” but notes, “We were forced under the circumstances to implement a furlough plan…to preserve cash and to ensure that AMC can reopen our doors once this health crisis has dissipated.”

The plan requires the executives to work fewer hours, and in some cases, for no pay, “for the hopefully short period of time when AMC’s theatres are all closed.”

The movie industry has been devastated by the pandemic both in the U.S. and abroad, between theater closures, productions being closed down and major releases delayed. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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