The EPA Is Coming Under Fire For Using The Coronavirus As An Excuse To Relax Rules Against Big Polluters

EPA head Andrew Wheeler testifies at a Congressional hearing in March 2020.

Lawmakers are pushing back against a sweeping rollback of pollution regulations recently announced by the Environmental Protection Agency in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a letter from Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey shared with BuzzFeed News.

On March 26, the EPA announced a temporary relaxing of enforcement rules, allowing factories, power plants, and other companies to stop conducting routine tests for pollutants and reporting them to the agency if they could claim the pandemic had led to a shortage of staff or other operational challenges.

“This pandemic isn’t an excuse for polluters to ignore the law and for EPA to let them get away with it,” Warren told BuzzFeed News in an email. “It’s absurd that Donald Trump and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler are using this public health and economic crisis as a cover to roll back environmental laws. The government should be focused on protecting public health now, not making it worse.”

The new EPA rule states that the agency would not issue fines for “violations of routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification obligations in situations where the EPA agrees that COVID-19 was the cause of the noncompliance.” The guidance is retroactively effective to March 13 with no current end date in place.

Companies are still being required to maintain various records and must turn them over to the agency upon request, according to the EPA. Moreover, companies are being told to “make every effort to comply with their environmental compliance obligations.” EPA has said it will review all identified violations on a case-by-case basis.

“The claims made by the Senators’ are false,” an EPA spokesman told BuzzFeed News in an email. “EPA’s enforcement authority and responsibility remains active. It is not a nationwide waiver of environmental rules.”

In their letter, Warren and Markey asked the EPA to respond to six questions about the rationale for the new policy and who weighed in on it, clarification on how it will be carried out, and what will factor into the decision to end it.

“Did you meet with or communicate with officials or lobbyists representing the oil and gas, coal, automobile, or other polluting industries prior to announcing this decision? Please provide a record of all meetings and communications regarding this decision with these industry representatives,” the senators wrote.

The EPA is refusing to say how many companies have requested non-compliance waivers under the new policy, E&E News has reported.

The senators also asked about whether the agency conducted any analyses to determine how the policy will impact pollution levels, and what that could mean for environmental justice communities.

Some public health experts have warned that people suffering from lung damage due to poor air quality, such as from air pollution, could experience serious complications if they contract the coronavirus.

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  • Zahra Hirji is a science reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC

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The Countess and the Russian Billionaire: Socialite breaks down

Countess whose Russian oligarch ex was known as ‘Putin’s banker’ admits she ‘lost herself’ in the ‘vulgar’ life of private jets and no-limit shopping and says she now lives in fear of eviction after he cut off her and their children

  • Cameras followed Alexandra Tolstoy, 45, and Sergei Pugachev, 57, for five years 
  • Follows the demise of their once lavish lifestyle and happy marriage 
  • Relationship fell apart when Sergei got in trouble with Russian government 
  • Billionaire accuses wife of stealing their children and cutting her off financially 
  • Alexandra breaks down as she admits the situation is ‘a nightmare’   
  • The Countess and the Russian Billionaire airs on BBC2 on 8 April at 9pm 

An English countess tells how she ‘lost herself’ in a ‘vulgar’ life of excess during her relationship with a Russian oligarch in a new BBC documentary. 

Aristocratic beauty Alexandra Tolstoy, 45, daughter of Count Nikolai Tolstoy and a distant relation of author Leo Tolstoy, fell in love with billionaire Sergei Pugachev, 57, while working as his English tutor in Russia and immediately fell for him. 

The couple went onto have three children together and Alexandra enjoyed all of the trappings of a billionaire’s girlfriend – the pair never married – including no-limit credit card shopping sprees and jaunts on private jets between their homes in Moscow, Paris, London and St Barts. 

Speaking in TV documentary The Countess and the Russian Billionaire, which airs on BBC2 on Wednesday, Alexandra tells how her world came crumbling down around her when Pugachev fled to France in fear of his life after the Kremlin issued an arrest warrant, claiming he owes the state £1billion. 

Alexandra Tolstoy, 45, and Sergei Pugachev, 57, were followed by cameras for five years for the documentary The Countess and the Russian Billionaire, which airs on BBC2 on Wednesday at 9pm

She brands her old life ‘vulgar and not me’, saying: ‘As an adult you can lose yourself. I really never thought I could lose myself. But I’m 45, I’m not old, and really I have my whole life ahead of me and this is who I am.’ 

The former couple, who allowed cameras into their lives for five years for the documentary, are now completely estranged. Pugachev has cut off Alexandra and their children financially, she claims, and she now faces being left with ‘nothing’ after the Kremlin threatened to evict them from their £12million London townhouse.  

‘My worst fear is that we have nowhere to live and no money,’ she says on camera. ‘It’s really stressful, it’s a nightmare.’  

As filming began in 2015, Alexandra offered cameras a tour of her lavish home in Battersea, south London, where her neighbours included Brian Ferry. ‘We have a PA, two housekeepers, two drivers, an English nanny, a Russian nanny and a French tutor,’ she says. 

Sergei once owned two major shipyards, the world’s biggest mine and large chunks of real estate in Moscow and St Petersburg, as well as the Mezhprombank, which he co-founded in the 1990s.

The couple met in 2008 after Sergei hired Alexandra to help improve his English while both living in Russia, where Sergei was once-close friends with Putin. 

Sergei said he enjoyed a ‘very close’ friendship with Russian president Vladimir Putin before falling out with the state 

Speaking of her relationship with her husband, she reveals on camera: ‘When I met Sergei it was electric. It was amazing. I fell so in love with him. I’ve never felt such a connection to someone ever.’   

But when Sergei revealed to ‘very close friend’ Putin that he was dating an English woman, the Russian leader was ‘very surprised’.

WHO IS ALEXANDRA TOLSTOY? 

Before she met Sergei, Alexandra was married to a penniless Cossack named Shamil Galimzyanov. 

The pair met whilst travelling along the Silk Road on horse in 1999.

He was an Uzbek showjumper employed as a guide on the trip. They married in 2003 in London.

Tolstoy first met Sergei, then a Russian senator and trusted friend of Putin who had separated from his wife, when asked to give him English lessons while she was living in Moscow with Galimzyanov.

A year later, they met again at an awards ceremony attended by the Russian president.

Within months, Tolstoy and was pregnant with Sergei’s child. They had three children together – Alexei, known as Aliosha, Ivan and Maria.

Alexandra is the eldest of Anglo-Russian historian and writer Nikolai Tolstoy’s four children.

She grew up in Oxfordshire before going to Edinburgh University to study philosophy. She spent her gap year in Russia. 

She has also taken extensive riding trips through Mongolia and Siberia and organises riding holidays in central Asia as well as being a writer.

Alexandra said: ‘Many of these problems are because he is with me. Putin has said to him at some point, “You’re a traitor”.’ 

Putin’s frustration over the relationship didn’t stop it from progressing and, within a year of meeting, they had a baby and another on the way,  and were living a life of luxury in London, Moscow and Paris.

Alexandra said: ‘It was incredible, he would give me his credit card and I would go shopping, I had a private jet. I just had to pack my suitcase and I could go.’

The family moved between an array of properties including a £12million family home in Battersea, a 200-acre country estate in Hertfordshire, and a £40million beachfront villa in St Barts.

Alexandra revealed: ‘All that money meant I didn’t have to work, clean, I could spend as much time as possible with my children.’

But in 2008, Sergei’s bank hit problems and the Russian bank bailed it out with $1 billion loan.

Sergei, who left Russia in 2011, claims that after relations between him and Putin cooled, the Kremlin tried to seize or destroy his business empire.  

The Russians then accused him of profiting from vast sums of taxpayers’ money given to Mezhprombank by the Russian central bank at the height of the 2008 economic crisis. 

The Russian authorities froze his assets, put him on Interpol’s wanted list and obtained a court order in Britain forcing him to hand over his passports.

By 2015, he was dividing his time between France and the family home in London and reputed to be number 3 on Kremlin’s hitlist.

The billionaire revealed: ‘It’s clear this is a war. I need bodyguards to feel safe. It’s not some kind of whim, it’s a necessity for life.’ 

Alexandra breaks down in the documentary as she admits she is terrified of being left homeless after her relationship with Sergei fell apart 

In Nice, he was visited by the DIA who demanded repayment of the billion dollar loan and threatened his family, saying they could ‘cut off his son’s finger and send it back to him.’

Meanwhile in London, the family become aware that they were being followed. Later, police discovered GPS trackers on their cars.  

Sergei was summoned back to the high court in London but remained in France, deciding to go head-to-head with the Russian state and suing them for his business assets of $12 billion. 

Alexandra reveals: ‘I do feel very frightened for Sergei and for me and the children. especially in London….but I chose him and I chose this life and I love him. It’s my choice.’   

Sergei was accused by the Russian state of stealing $1 billion, and became an enemy of the country (pictured, with Putin during their friendship)

Alexandra said her partner fell out with Putin after they started dating, with the politician calling Sergei ‘a traitor’

In December 2015, three police officers arrived late at night looking for Sergei, with a search and arrest warrant, leaving Alexandra terrified to stay in the country.

She said: ‘I feel so out of control. I don’t regret it [my relationship with Sergei] because I love my children so much, I do really love Sergei.

WHO IS SERGEI  PUGACHEV? 

The Russian state has been pursuing Sergei Pugachev through the High Court claiming he illegally siphoned hundreds of millions of pounds from a government bailout of the Mezhprombank he co-founded.

Mr Pugachev denies the allegations and claims Moscow is trying to steal £11billion of his assets, including two shipyards and the world’s largest mine.

Mr Pugachev has previously been declared to be in contempt of court, with a two-year prison sentence left hanging over his head should he return to this country.

He had been living in France for the past five years after being ordered to give up his passports in 2014 and having his assets frozen. 

He also claims ‘credible attempts’ had been made on his life in the UK. 

The tycoon is in another legal battle with Russia in The Hague where he is suing the Federation for £11billion.

He claims he is being targeted because of his knowledge of state secrets.

 

‘We have had a very turbulent relationship and I feel regret for my children that it hasn’t been more peaceful and calm.’ 

Bursting into tears, she added: ‘Some people look at me and think, “Your life is so easy. Your children are so privileged.”

‘But the most privileged upbringing is to be in a safe family unit where you’re all together.’ 

Later that month, Sergei was sentenced to two years in prison for leaving the country without permission. If he sets foot in the UK, he’ll go straight to prison. 

But while Sergei remains living in Nice, Alexandra admits the chateau makes her feel ‘too isolated’ and she resists moving the family to France.

She said: ‘I guess I just feel concerned about how our future as a family work.

‘Sergei wants us to live in France and I don’t know if I can do that really. Everything in life you’re able to cope with, if you have any idea of what will happen.  

‘But I just have no idea of what will happen and I just found that very stressful. That I can’t plan, or envisage what will happen.’ 

Alexandra leaves the chateau in the Spring of 2016 abruptly, claiming Sergei ‘physically attacked’ her, before locking the children in one room and hiding her passport.

She said: ‘Something in me snapped, and I said, “I cannot ever do this ever again”. At that point I was wavering, should I go and live there, but that was just the end.’

Meanwhile Sergei revealed: ‘She had security, I organised everything for her. Even a private plane but she said no i’ll take a BA flight, we’ll be back in two weeks. And she never came back. The mother of my children stole them.’

Alexandra toyed with moving to France to be with Sergei in exile in the country, but ended up deciding to stay in the UK (pictured) 

The countess was left devastated after Sergei cut her family off financially completely and was left terrified she and her children would have nowhere to live 

In London, Alexandra lives in fear of both the Russian state and of Sergei, having seen someone standing outside her home 24 hours a day for six months.

She said: ‘He talks really loudly in Russian. I do find it really really odd. It’s the style of person who Sergei would get to spy on us.’  

Now permanently separated, Sergei is consumed by his multi-billion dollar lawsuit against the Russian lawyers. 

Sergei once owned two major shipyards, the world’s biggest mine and large chunks of real estate in Moscow and St Petersburg, as well as the Mezhprombank, which he co-founded in the 1990s 

The children haven’t seen their father since they left France in 2016, with Alexandra saying Sergei has cut her off financially completely.

She said: ‘Our relationship is non-existent really, except he occasionally writes me abusive emails.

‘He accuses me of working with the Russian government, He says I’m a KGB spy. He thinks that because I went to the family court and sued for maintenance. Obviously he never ever paid for a penny of that maintenance. He completely cut us off.’

On the order of the high court, the family home is put on the market, Alexandra makes a deal with the Russian government to drop her claim to his fortune.

Sergei amassed enormous wealth from his companies, and lived a lavish lifestyle before becoming an enemy of the Russian state 

After Sergei cut her off, Alexandra returned to organising travel holidays and working as a writer, calling her old lifestyle ‘vulgar’

She revealed: ‘The Russian government said to me, “If you agree to waive your maintenance, we will let you stay in the house for one year”. What was i meant to do? I either signed the agreement or I left the house the next day.’ 

Alexandra tries to support herself and the children by writing and reviving her old travel business but, after a year, her deal with the Russian government comes to an end.

49.53 Alexandra said she felt she had ‘lost’ herself during her relationship with Sergei after regaining her independence 

She says: ”Each month, I sign a document saying I promise to get out by the 31st. My worst fear is that we have nowhere to live and no money. I’ve tried to shield the children… they know that I don’t know where we’ll live.’  

These days Alexandra and the children spend whatever time they can at her cottage in Oxfordshire, with lawyers telling her not to take the children to France. 

Meanwhile Sergei remains living in isolation in France, with Alexandra refusing to let her children travel to see him 

She revealed: ‘Of course the children have asked me, “Why does he never come here?” so I told them that he has a prison sentence here. And they say, “Why can’t we go there? and I say “It’s dangerous. his life is under threat”.’

She said she does plan to tell her children about their father in the future, revealing: ‘I’m going to say that he needs to sort out the situation that he’s in, and maybe when you’re older you can go find him yourself. And it’s not your fault.’ 

 

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The untold truth of Colton Underwood and Tia Booth

Viewers learned a lot about Colton Underwood during his (relatively tough, bully-attracting) time on The BachelorThe Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise. But the reality TV star decided to give fans even more info about his life in his new book, The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV. Among other personal details that will surely thrill readers — like insight into his situation with Cassie Randolph (which included a breakup!) — Colton revealed the truth behind his past relationship with fellow Bachelor Nation member, Tia Booth.

It turns out that Colton was interested in Tia before the two even met, according to Us Weekly. While he was going through the casting process for The Bachelorette, he was asked to look at the women who were competing on The Bachelor at the time and pick three that he liked. He chose Becca Kufrin (who went on to become the Bachelorette), Lauren Burnham (who ended up with former Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr.), and Tia.

Colton also followed each of the women on Instagram, which is where Tia first reached out to him when she replied to a story he had posted about Stranger Things. “We exchanged numbers and texted fast and furiously throughout the day and night. It didn’t seem like either of us slept. Two days later, I FaceTimed with her,” he wrote in his book. “I couldn’t believe that we were doing this. It seemed crazy.” And things were only getting started.

Colton Underwood admits he was 'trying to scheme a little' when he met Tia Booth

Before Becca Kufrin earned her turn as the Bachelorette during Season 14 of the franchise, Tia Booth was also in the running for the role. When Colton Underwood found out that he’d been cast for that particular season, he arranged to meet with Tia in person. He admits in his book, The First Time: Finding Myself and Looking for Love on Reality TV, “Was I trying to scheme a little? Yes.”

“If Tia was going to be the Bachelorette, I wanted a head start on all the other guys,” he wrote (via Us Weekly). “I knew the importance of preparing for a big game, and all I was really doing was preparing.”

Colton goes on to explain that he “wanted to get to know Tia in person,” while at the same time giving her a chance to get to know him better as well. He figured, “Maybe we’d even really like each other. I think Tia had similar thoughts.”

They certainly did like each other, which is why they went on to date during Bachelor in Paradise. However, fans will recall they had a bumpy ride on the spinoff series and broke up in time for him to nab the main gig as the Bachelor on Season 23. Relationships and romance are wild roller coasters, amirite?

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Divorced woman marries the waiter she danced with at her first wedding

A divorced mum has married the plate-smashing Greek waiter she danced with at her first wedding.

Natalie Perry, 37, met waiter Fred Kasa, 36, at the reception after tying the knot with her first husband following a beach wedding in Crete.

Photos show her in her wedding dress holding his hand – and her husband’s – while they all perform the traditional ‘Zorba’ dance at her reception.

Five years later Natalie from Gloucestershire revisited the restaurant after splitting up with her husband – and instantly bonded with Fred.

They developed a romance and just last month, they got married.

Natalie said: ‘I cant believe still that my husband danced with me at both my weddings!

‘It’s funny how life can turn out – you just don’t know what’ll pan out.’

Mum-of-two Natalie has holidayed in Crete annually for the past 25 years.

Her love for the Greek island saw her marry her first husband there in 2012, in a beach ceremony.

In the restaurant nearby, Fred was working as a waiter.

The whole group burst into the Zorba – a popular dance where people hold arms and kick their legs – for ten minutes.

During the performance Fred and Natalie danced side by side.

She continued to take yearly visits to the Greek island with her husband until they separated in 2016.

The next year Natalie went back to Crete on a family holiday – this time without her ex-husband – and returned to the restaurant she had partied at on the night of her wedding.

Natalie explained: ‘That night the Greek dancer was watching me – I could feel his eyes.

‘I went to the toilet to wash my hands and he came up to me and we started chatting.

‘He asked me out for a coffee the next day. We just had this connection and we clicked right away.

‘I recognised him immediately from before, I knew it was him.’

Fred had remembered Natalie from the wedding and the pair spent the rest of the week together before Natalie flew back to the UK.

They then began a long-distance relationship.

In 2017, Fred moved to the UK and six months later proposed.

The pair booked a slot at the registry office as soon as Fred received a letter of permission to marry Natalie from the Home Office, and got married in early February.

The pair are now planning their honeymoon later in the year – to Crete.

Fred said: ‘I knew she was the one I wanted to marry. The feeling was crazy. I had never been so in love with anyone. Every day I missed her more.

‘Now she is my wife, I am just so happy and we are so happy together.

‘To think I danced with her at her first wedding and then we had a dance at our own wedding is crazy!’

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The White House Is Encouraging Americans To Wear Face Coverings In Public. But Trump Says He Won't Wear One.

  1. politics
  2. Coronavirus

Trump emphasized wearing a mask is voluntary under a new CDC recommendation.

ByAddy Baird and Miriam Elder



The journalists at BuzzFeed News are proud to bring you trustworthy and relevant reporting about the coronavirus. To help keep this news free, become a member and sign up for our newsletter, Outbreak Today.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for all Americans to wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus Friday, pushing for people to wear cloth coverings like a bandana or a scarf.

President Trump, though, in announcing the recommendation emphasized that it was just “voluntary.”

“So it’s voluntary, you don’t have to do it,” he said. “They suggest it for a period of time. This is voluntary, I don’t think I’m gonna be doing it.”

In a recommendation published online Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that because the virus can “spread between people interacting in close proximity,” they would recommend “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”

The cloth masks, the CDC said, could “help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”

Trump, asked about his stance on masks later in Friday’s press briefing, said “I just don’t want to wear one myself. It’s a recommendation, they recommend it. I’m feeling good. I just don’t want to be doing, I don’t know, somehow, sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute Desk, the great Resolute Desk, I think wearing a face mask as I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens, I don’t know, I don’t see it for myself.”

The Washington Post first reported Thursday that the White House would soon issue the guidance. The call represents a shift from earlier recommendations from the White House and comes in response to studies that found people without symptoms can still spread the virus.

BuzzFeed News reported earlier this week on concerns about the availability of face masks and questions about how effective home-made or fabric masks are in stopping the spread of the virus. Previously, the CDC has said that people do not need to wear masks unless they are coughing or sneezing, in part to preserve a short supply of masks for health care workers. But public heath officials told BuzzFeed News that the CDC’s guidance, while appropriate at the time, should evolve to encourage the use of masks.

Trump emphasized Friday that the CDC was not calling for people to wear surgical masks or N95 respirators, saying they should be reserved for health care workers on the frontlines.

In recent days, Los Angeles County and New York state have encouraged residents to wear face coverings in public places to help stop the spread of the virus, but officials warned that masks should not give people a false sense of security.

“Face coverings could provide some additional protection against COVID-19, but Californians should not have a false sense of security if they choose to wear them. Make sure you’re also staying 6 feet away from other people if you have to leave your home to get groceries or prescriptions,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a statement Thursday.

But there is not much information on how much protection fabric or other home-made face masks can offer. While they may block larger droplets of water, they don’t protect against smaller particles in the air. One small study from 2013 suggested fabric masks are three times less effective than surgical masks.

As Roger Shapiro, a Boston doctor and an associate professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard, told BuzzFeed News this week, “The first reason to wear a mask is so we all protect each other,” and so that “you don’t infect someone else.”

If you’re someone who is seeing the impact of the coronavirus firsthand, we’d like to hear from you. Reach out to us via one of our tip line channels.

More on this

  • What You Need To Know About The Great Face Mask DebateZahra Hirji · April 2, 2020
  • “Silent Carriers” Are Helping Spread The Coronavirus. Here’s What We Know About Them.Stephanie M. Lee · April 2, 2020
  • The Victims Of COVID-19BuzzFeed News · April 2, 2020
  • Jo-Ann Staff Said The Free Masks Kits Are A Mess Designed To Keep The Stores OpenAmber Jamieson · April 2, 2020
  1. Donald Trump
  • Addy Baird is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

    Contact Addy Baird at [email protected]

    Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

  • Miriam Elder is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Her secure PGP fingerprint is 5B5F EC17 C20B C11F 226D 3EBE 6205 F92F AC14 DCB1

    Contact Miriam Elder at [email protected]

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'Young and the Restless' and 'Bold and the Beautiful' Are on Hiatus

When the coronavirus hit the United States, life as you knew it changed almost overnight. Not only are you likely stuck at home trying to figure out how to fill your time, but one of America’s pastimes has found itself on hold as well. Before TV shows could even finish their seasons, many had to cancel production for the remaining episodes to adhere to social distancing rules. As celebrities began testing positive for coronavirus, it proved to be a smart decision.

Social distancing for soap operas

The same rules apply to soaps, but they have a trick up their sleeve that not all shows have. Two CBS soaps, The Young & the Restless and The Bold & the Beautiful, are both now on hiatus, joining ABC’s General Hospital as the latest shows to make this decision. It makes sense, especially with one The Young & the Restless star testing positive soon after. Here’s what it means for fans. 

The Young & the Restless and The Bold & the Beautiful will still air

Because soaps tape well in advance and usually have a backlog of four to six weeks of shows filmed, fans won’t notice a disruption in their daily viewing as long as the hiatus ends before the backlog is used up. This cushion is there for a reason, and you’re getting to see a perfect use for it right now. 

If the cushion gets burned through, there will be a period of time where fans will have to go without their daily soap opera fix. Until production can start up again and episodes can begin filming, those time slots will likely be filled with repeats or something new. There is good news if this happens, though.

Things are still running in the background

Even if the backlog of episodes runs out, production can pick up faster than it would typically because only the filming is on hiatus. The writers and other background pieces are still in play. The story is most likely continuing to be written, with edits and adjustments being made to get it ready for the actors, who may even be practicing their lines from home. This way, everything can pick back up as quickly as possible, even if it just means they fill up a new backlog for another time. 

Fans need not worry, though. The shows aren’t canceled, they’re just on hiatus. The Bold and the Beautiful was just renewed for four more years, while The Young & the Restless will run until at least 2022. That means that as soon as the social distancing rules loosen up enough for production to begin again, it will. 

What the actors and actresses are saying

During a live tweet session on March 26th, actress Katherine Kelly Lang responded to a fan to assure them that the show would go on. Along with telling fans to stay safe, she tweeted, “We are on our hiatus right now. There are plenty of shows that we already filmed.”

The Bold and the Beautiful cast also put together a video that was posted on Twitter. The video helped fans feel connected to the stars and made sure fans knew that everyone was in this together. You can see the video here. If you’re a The Young & the Restless fan, they’ve got a video for you as well, featured below.

Moving forward

Hopefully, the coronavirus will be a thing of the past soon, and everyone can get back to their lives. Perhaps even a few lessons might be learned. And hopefully, the time away from your normal, everyday life will have given you time to catch up on your to-do list, with family and friends, and your reading!

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CNCO Reveals The Surprising Way They Connected With Natti Natasha For Their Song ‘Honey Boo’

After having one of their biggest years ever, CNCO has teamed up with Natti Natasha for the sweet new jam, ‘Honey Boo.’ They share with us EXCLUSIVELY about how this collab came together.

A bright ray of sunshine arrived on April 3. Amid all the chaos and panic affecting the world, CNCO and Natti Natasha whisked us all away to the enchanting sights of Puerto Rico for their new banger, “Honey Boo.” CNCO — Christopher Vélez, Richard Camacho, Zabdiel de Jesús, Joel Pimentel De Leon, and Erick Brian Colon – continue the momentum of the prior year by teaming up with Natti, a pop powerhouse and stunning singer in her own right. Together, they just dropped a track guaranteed to make you dance around your home. Not only that — CNCO and Natti released a video that, at points, is what West Side Story would be if it took place in old San Juan. It’s the burst of joy that the world needs right now, a jam that will be blasting in the clubs over the summer and beyond.

So, how did CNCO and Natti come together for this jam? Credit Twitter – really. “We’re massive fans of hers,” CNCO tells HollywoodLife when dishing on the “Honey Boo” creation process. “One day, Natti was answering fan questions on Twitter about if she would ever collaborate with us, and she was telling fans that she would! We had a song that we were working on that we thought she would sound really good on, so we sent it over to her. She happened to be in the studio [at the time]. Within 24 hours, she recorded [her vocals], and 4 days later, we were in Puerto Rico shooting the video.” And that’s that. Sometimes, CNCO proves, you just have to shoot your shot and see what happens.

2019 marked CNCO’s crossover into the United States’ mainstream consciousness, as the band made landmark performances on Good Morning America, at the Teen Choice Awards, and at the MTV Video Music Awards. Named a “Breaking” artist by Rolling Stone in October 2019, CNCO also made history by landing the first Vevo LIFT and MTV Push campaigns for a Latin artist.

Last year, CNCO also picked up a pair of Latin AMAs – Favorite Dup or Group and Favorite Pop Artists – and three Billboard Latin Music Awards, including Latin Pop Artist of the Year, Duo or Group. They even won the Billboard Latin Music Award for Latin Pop Album of the year for the multi-platinum CNCO. As great as 2019 has been for CNCO, “Honey Boo” shows that the band is not slowing down.

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After The Coronavirus Passes, Your World Will Not Go Back To Normal

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I ruined the mood in a family group chat last week. Someone shared a meme that read, “This #Coronavirus is turning me into a democrat. I’m staying at home, not working, complaining about everything, and waiting for a check from the government.”

Another family member used the yearly death rate of the flu to dismiss concerns over the coronavirus. Then someone else argued that millions of people die around the world every year in car accidents. “Will cars be banned,” they snarkily asked.

I tried not to react emotionally, but it’s hard to keep your cool after weeks of trying to convince older relatives every day to stay inside and socially distance. “We’re currently at half as many American coronavirus deaths as the number of people who died on 9/11,” I replied, using the only statistic I’ve found that communicates the kind of world-changing loss that this pandemic will cause. “If Dr. Fauci’s projections are correct, it will be the equivalent of 30–60 9/11s.”

The chat went quiet for a while after that.

The numbers I was referring to have quickly gone out of date — they’re much higher now. But comparing this pandemic to other mass casualty, world-shaping events is the only way I know to make them resonate.

As of this week, more than 5,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus — more than the 2,977 who died on September 11, 2001. More than any other event in my life, 9/11 changed the world: inspiring national security policies like the Patriot Act, jump-starting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — the latter of which has become the longest-running war in US history — and leading to the creation of the Transportation Security Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Department of Homeland Security, effectively militarizing the United States’ borders and immigration services.

On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, optimistically, if we continue practicing social distancing, between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans would die of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Projections are always bounded by inaccuracies (and there have been plenty in the past few months) — but if Fauci were correct, the death toll would be as if there were a 9/11 attack every day for the next two to three months.

My grandmother was born in 1928; she spent the first 10 years of her life living through the Great Depression in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and the last five years of her life hoarding food until it rotted in her fridge and pantry. The trauma never left. Neither will the trauma of thousands upon thousands of deaths once it’s safe to leave our homes. When we emerge, we will be different people in a different world.

A child wearing a face mask looks over a barricade in Wuhan, China, April 2. Rows of plastic barriers prevented movement throughout the city while it was under total lockdown.

“The Authoritarian Creep”

If China’s claim to have won supremacy over the virus is to be believed, the country was able to make up for a botched early response by mobilizing its vast and intricate surveillance infrastructure to carry out an authoritarian crackdown, the terrifying scale of which is only matched by the terrifying fear among Western liberals that it was necessary.

Payment apps like Alipay and WeChat installed software to track users’ movements. China’s state-run telecom color-coded users’ phones in red, green, and yellow, based on their risk of possible infection — which were then checked by guards at train stations. Those who broke quarantine were reported to the police. Chinese social media platforms like Weibo and WeChat were heavily censored to quell conspiracy theories and rumors.

Those efforts may be working. The country is reporting that its case numbers are decreasing, and it has banned virtually all foreigners from entering the country as it attempts to return to normal without a second spike.

Yet it’s hard to know exactly how real the claims are that China has flattened its curve. Three US officials told Bloomberg on Wednesday that the US intelligence community had concluded China’s numbers are actually much higher than what’s been reported.

But with the US and Europe struggling to contain the outbreak, analysts have started asking whether China will emerge from this pandemic as the new global superpower. Jeremy Lee Wallace, a Cornell professor and leader of the university’s China’s Cities research group, told BuzzFeed News the country is definitely attempting to position itself as a new global leader amid the pandemic.

“[China] styled itself a leader in climate change and international trade following the election of Donald Trump and is proudly boasting of its successes in fighting COVID-19,” Wallace said. “Whether it will work depends on the outcomes in other countries and how those outcomes are perceived.”

Presenting itself as a responsible custodian is now central to the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda strategy. Chinese diplomats and state media outlets are sparring directly with President Donald Trump’s own ad hoc online army on platforms like Twitter and YouTube, criticizing the US for its inability to mitigate the damage of the outbreak.

Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire cofounder of the multinational tech company Alibaba Group, recently tweeted two photos of medical supplies being loaded onto a China Cargo Airlines flight. “The first shipment of masks and coronavirus test kits to the US is taking off from Shanghai. All the best to our friends in America,” Ma wrote.

According to the Jack Ma Foundation, the shipment contained 500,000 testing kits and 1 million masks. Ma’s foundations have already claimed to have shipped 1.8 million masks and 100,000 test kits to other heavily affected countries.

Chinese state media is very aware it’s a Chinese billionaire shipping tests and masks around the world, not an American one. “China has shared its experience, but many Western countries are just not willing to follow. When the pandemic is over, these countries will find that it was not China that had led to the severe conditions in the US and Europe, but their own wrong judgments and choices,” the Global Times wrote Wednesday.

David Jacobson, professor of global business strategy at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business and a visiting professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, told BuzzFeed News he worries China’s test-and-mask diplomacy could fall apart, citing reports of European countries sending back faulty equipment.

“In the world of the Communist Party state propaganda, which is probably the most powerful arm right now because it’s trying to globally set the narrative of how China’s viewed, they’re saying, ‘We’re here to help, we learned all these lessons, and we’re here to help the world.’” he said.

Jacobson said he’s optimistic that countries will see through the spin. “The world is seeing the sham,” he said. “If the tests don’t work, test diplomacy doesn’t work.”

But it’s not just in an ascendant China — an authoritarian COVID-19 creep is on the rise everywhere.

NPR called semi-authoritarian city-state Singapore a “coronavirus model.” The country flattened its curve by setting up early proactive measures like a virus-fighting task force, strict hospital and home quarantines, and a ban on large gatherings. It also used a technique called contact tracing, building a movement log of the infected through surveillance footage, digital signatures left by ATM card withdrawals or credit card payments, and a Bluetooth-tracking smartphone app called TraceTogether.

The European Union now has its first dictatorship. On Monday, the Hungarian Parliament passed a bill giving Prime Minister Viktor Orbán the right to rule by decree indefinitely, establishing a COVID-19 state of emergency without a time limit, suspending both Parliament and elections, and instituting prison time for spreading “fake news” or rumors.

Countries like Israel, Italy, and Austria are working with their telecommunications networks to use anonymized location data to track people in infection hot spots and monitor if citizens are breaking stay-in-place orders. Russia is using its massive 170,000-camera facial recognition system to catch people who violate quarantine and self-isolation. Hong Kong has deployed electronic bracelets for those who test positive for the virus. Turkmenistan’s state-controlled media outlets are no longer allowed to use the word “coronavirus,” and it has been removed from health information brochures.

India has been particularly aggressive about containing the pandemic and tracking the infected. The country has experimented with stamping people who have been infected with ink that doesn’t wash off for weeks. The Indian central government is seeking a ruling from the country’s Supreme Court that would force all media outlets to receive approval to print, publish, or telecast content about COVID-19. And in the country’s southern state of Karnataka, quarantined people are now required to download an app on their phones, through which they must take and send a selfie — which includes GPS coordinates in its metadata — every hour to government officials.

US companies like Facebook and Google are discussing how to track infection hot spots using anonymized location data, while American leaders are asking if the coronavirus is the kind of emergency that requires setting aside privacy and civil liberties.

A pigeon crosses an empty Powell Street during the coronavirus pandemic in San Francisco, March 30.

“A Greater Depression”

The immediate effects of the pandemic — postponed weddings, canceled vacations, empty supermarket shelves, sinking housing prices, salary cuts, layoffs — suggest no one will come out of this period without losing something. But we are only at the beginning.

Predicting how bad things will get economically is difficult. A viral outbreak of this scale has only happened once before in the industrialized world: the 1918 influenza pandemic that hit the world in two seasonal waves, killing 50 million people worldwide and 675,000 in the US. That pandemic occurred during World War I, which makes it hard to compare to now, even setting aside all the other changes in the past century.

But according to a 2007 research paper on the economic effects of the 1918 pandemic, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the economic effects of the outbreak only lasted for a short time.

“Many businesses, especially those in the service and entertainment industries, suffered double-digit losses in revenue,” the paper read. “Society as a whole recovered from the 1918 influenza quickly, but individuals who were affected by the influenza had their lives changed forever. Given our highly mobile and connected society, any future influenza pandemic is likely to be more severe in its reach, and perhaps in its virulence.”

While the 1918 pandemic isn’t a perfect comparison to the modern coronavirus pandemic, Kevin Kruse, a history professor at Princeton University, told BuzzFeed News that last century’s outbreak exacerbated national problems that were already building up.

“The 1918 flu was part of a broader wave of disruptions and crises that rocked America. The spike in unemployment and inflation after World War I, the 1919 ‘bloody summer’ of race riots, major labor strikes that fall, the First Red Scare that winter,” Kruse said. “There was such a national sense of unease and uncertainty.”

Two months into this current outbreak, massive layoffs have started, American industries have demanded bailouts, and unemployment rates have surged. Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis are projecting total employment reductions of 47 million — an unemployment rate of 32.1%.

According to Forbes, every sector of the American economy is shrinking: Hotel chain Marriott International is furloughing tens of thousands of workers, Landry’s, the parent company of Del Frisco’s and Bubba Gump Shrimp, laid off 40,000 workers. Air Canada plans to lay off 5,100 members of its cabin crew. Shoe retailer DSW put 80% of its workers on a temporary unpaid leave of absence.

The US news industry’s advertising spending is in free fall. Digital outlets like BuzzFeed and Vice have already announced salary cuts, and the mass media company Gannett — which owns titles like USA Today, the Arizona Republic, and the Des Moines Register — announced many staffers will be furloughed for five days a month through June.

The news media may receive low-interest loans, but airlines will receive nearly $60 billion in financial assistance as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Trump signed into law last Friday, but there are already questions from industry leaders about whether that’s enough to keep the industry aloft.

Luigi Zingales, a finance professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and cohost of the podcast Capitalisn’t, told BuzzFeed News that we don’t know yet how effective the CARES Act will be but added it wasn’t targeted at the right industries.

“I see this as purely an electoral move, which is not justified from an economic point of view,” he said. “The goal of the package is to redistribute and preserve the existing production capacity of the US economy.”

He said one immediate issue is that no one knows how it will help gig workers, which make up about 7% of the country’s total employment. “My understanding is basically nobody knows,” he said. “Imagine I work as a cab driver and through this program I get paid my regular wage, but I work as an Uber driver and I get nothing.”

American workers are already reacting to this economic downturn, striking and protesting. More fundamentally, the way we understand labor and class in this country is changing more than it has since the Great Depression.

A student attends an online class at home in New York City after schools closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, March 24.

“Streaming Everything”

In the same way the pandemic has affected the global supply chain for physical goods, it has caused an immediate halt — and reinvention — of global pop culture. Production on blockbusters like Mission: Impossible 7, the live-action Little Mermaid, and Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings have shut down. And completed films like A Quiet Place Part II, F9, and the James Bond film No Time to Die have all had their release dates pushed back.

Every sector of the entertainment industry is on pause. HBO has halted production on the third seasons of Succession and Barry. Music festivals like the Governors Ball and Coachella have been canceled. The 2020 South by Southwest conference and festivals have been canceled. Musicians like Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, Haim, and Sam Smith have delayed their album releases, hoping to release them and tour again once it’s safe.

Which means we’ll likely see a deluge of prepandemic content next fall and winter. It will feel strange. Many critics have already pointed out that TV shows and movies filmed before the outbreak carry an unintentional nostalgia for a world full of crowds, busy restaurants, and public displays of affection. Already, films shot a year ago feel as dated as movies where a character runs through a pre-9/11 airport empty of metal detectors and TSA agents.

More interesting are the kinds of entertainment that are flourishing right now. Movies like Sonic the Hedgehog, DC’s Birds of Prey, and the Ben Affleck sports drama The Way Back are all getting early releases on video-on-demand platforms. Streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ are seeing huge audience spikes. Musicians Sufjan Stevens and Dua Lipa have dropped albums during the quarantine. Many more artists are livestreaming regular concerts for bored fans, trapped at home.

Josh Gondelman, stand-up comedian and co–executive producer and writer for Showtime’s late-night show Desus & Mero, told BuzzFeed News that retooling the show to air remotely was a big change, especially because its two hosts are self-isolating in different states — Daniel “Desus Nice” Baker in New York, Joel “The Kid Mero” Martinez in New Jersey. They recently interviewed Dr. Anthony Fauci via a three-way video conference.

Gondelman said that so far the pandemic hasn’t inspired anything new for the show creatively, but the new production workflow is a lot stronger than it was before. “I guess it would be the same if they lived four blocks apart. But ‘two different states’ is a more fun quote! We’re getting into a rhythm now,” he said.

“This whole situation has felt so unexpected and destabilizing that I’d hate to make some proclamation and have it be like…180 degrees off,” he said about predicting what the show — or the entertainment industry — will look like after the pandemic. “I guess one surefire thing would be: People will continue to see [actor] Judy Greer onscreen and think, Wow! She’s great in everything!

But our concept of what visual entertainment looks like has been transformed almost overnight, whether it’s Stephen Colbert performing a monologue from his bathtub or the Backstreet Boys performing “I Want It That Way” from the five members’ individual homes. A cat can jump into a Skype interview on CNBC. Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato can casually talk about probably hooking up during one of Cyrus’s daily Instagram Lives. Andrew Lloyd Webber can sit at his piano and takes song requests from Twitter.

Robert J. Thompson, trustee professor of television and popular culture at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse, told BuzzFeed News there’s no precedent for how this pandemic has shifted the entertainment world.

“[The 1918 pandemic] was an era of the phonograph and the silent film,” he said. “We were just moving into the period of potentially live-in-the-home technology.”

Thompson said the previous pandemic didn’t have any technology or emergent media to compare with what we’re seeing now. We’re in uncharted territory. None of the media trends we’re embracing in quarantine were born during the crisis, he said, but it will accelerate them.

“In terms of the way in which we use technology for information and entertainment, it’s going to be a big jump forward,” Thompson said. “To believe that once we’re given the go-ahead to go outside that everything is going to go back to normal, I think that’s an incorrect assumption.”

In the short span of a little less than two months, pop culture has changed shape. No longer well lit and sleekly produced, the content we want now resembles the videos on the one app that has fared better than any other during this crisis — the short-form video app TikTok. The platform, owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based tech company, has long been central to China’s soft power, and it’s now the defining app of this era. It’s become a near-infinite repository of COVID-19 content, including memes from self-isolated teenagers, handwashing dance challenges, and doctors and nurses using it to share outbreak updates.

But what’s happening to our entertainment is only reflecting what is happening to the way society works now: We have moved online, and it is hard to imagine going back.

Neighbors of cellist Jodi Beder practice social distancing and watch her perform a daily concert on her front porch in Mount Rainier, Maryland, March 30.

“We Live Online Now”

Right now, for one of the first times in modern history, huge swaths of the Earth’s population are being told to stay indoors. Workers who can conduct business remotely are. Group videoconferencing platforms like Zoom and Houseparty have blossomed. We spend our days switching back and forth between different inboxes, emails, family group chats, Slack messages, WhatsApp groups, and Instagram DMs — the bad screen and the good screen are now the same screen. There is a strong possibility we will not suddenly revert back to full offices when the world turns back on.

Christopher McKnight Nichols, history professor and director of the Center for the Humanities at Oregon State University, told BuzzFeed News that the 1918 pandemic’s biggest impact on American media was how seriously the press began to take public trust following the outbreak.

“The lessons learned were largely about [news] coverage when the federal government is suppressing honest, open speech,” Nichols said. “There were rampant false cures and treatments peddled by large firms as well as those who could best be understood as charlatans. Attempting to crack down on advertising of some of this false medicine was a result.”

This wave of mistrust is happening now as well. Except — contrary to the countless pieces fretting about an end to globalization, which cite the general breakdown in the rule-based global order and the deteriorating relationship between the US and China — we’re combating misinformation on a global scale we’ve never seen before.

As the pandemic left China, an unverified video of a Chinese nurse overreporting the virus’s death toll spread from Chinese messaging platform WeChat to Twitter, where it was subtitled in English and then shared in huge numbers on YouTube. The same hoax about helicopters being used to disinfect cities was spotted in Italy, the Netherlands, the US, Turkey, and Argentina by fact-checkers. (While in Mumbai, workers really were being sprayed with an unknown chemical disinfectant.) Twitter’s US-based moderation team took down two of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s tweets on Sunday for promoting the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which Trump has touted as a possible COVID-19 cure.

By removing the ability to meet in person, by shuttering traditional entertainment, and because we are facing an increasingly undeniable and inescapable existential terror, the internet has become a global monoculture. But it’s not all hoaxes and conspiracy theories. The two most viral songs about the coronavirus outbreak are from Vietnam and the Dominican Republic.

We go online to commiserate about whatever’s on Netflix (even if it’s a seven-part docuseries about a gay zookeeper who was arrested for murder-for-hire) or argue with each other about whether New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is hot (or has nipple piercings). This is not totally different to how we lived before — except there’s nothing else now.

Restrictions are listed for those who want to donate blood during a blood drive at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library amid the coronavirus pandemic in Yorba Linda, California, March 30.

Our leaders have struggled to properly mitigate this crisis: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson initially planned to build herd immunity at the cost of millions of lives, Trump downplayed the outbreak, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador ignored social distancing policies to publicly hug the mother of Mexico’s most infamous drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a total lockdown of the country, which resulted in a heartbreaking and dangerous mass exodus of migrant workers walking hundreds of miles home.

On Good Morning Britain earlier this month, Piers Morgan compared the coronavirus to World War I.

“You’re not having to fight anybody. You’re not having to risk your life being gunned down on trenches,” the host shouted at the camera, raging against Britons who refused to socially distance. “You’re being asked to just go home sit there and do this, just watch telly.”

It’s true, bombs aren’t dropping. Trenches aren’t being summited. But the comparison doesn’t reflect the anxious mundanity of watching quiet and invisible slow-motion tragedy play out every second across our phone screens. But we also don’t really know where we’re going.

The world of the 1918 pandemic — of silent films and phonographs — is so different to ours now that we cannot use it as a guide for how we will change. Nor can we use something like 9/11 to imagine the trauma and what it will do to us. The systems we use to govern our world, already strained, may not survive.

Our trust has been eviscerated. The only thing we’ve been able to count on through all of this is the pure networking power of the internet. Locally, individually, we are using it to quickly change the way we live to face the crisis. Governors are providing their constituents with emotional and much-needed daily livestreams. Teenagers are having proms on Zoom. DJs are throwing dance parties on Instagram. 3D printer hobbyists are learning how to make medical-grade masks.

The main lesson in all this is that we have an infinite capacity to connect with one another in the dark. Even if it’s as simple as sharing a funny video with your family group chat.

After I acted like a jerk in my family group chat, there was a bit of a back-and-forth about how bad things will get. We were collectively worried about whether my cousins working at Mass General would be safe. We talked about how our grandparents would have handled this if they were still alive. And then someone dropped in a tweet with a supercut of Italian mayors yelling at their citizens for breaking quarantine.

The tweet read, “the world needs Italian Mayors to sort the world out not passionless journos & clueless academics.” I have to admit, if only for a little bit, I felt better. ●

More on this

  • The Victims Of COVID-19BuzzFeed News · April 2, 2020
  • Social Distancing Might Stop. And Start. And Stop. And Start. Until We Have A Vaccine.Dan Vergano · April 1, 2020
  • The Coronavirus Death Toll Is Rising At Different Rates In Different Countries. These Charts Help Explain Why.Peter Aldhous · March 24, 2020
  • “Can’t Breathe. I Love You.” — The Last Words Of A Nurse Dying From The Coronavirus To His SisterClarissa-Jan Lim · March 31, 2020
  • The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Set Off A Massive Expansion Of Government Surveillance. Civil Libertarians Aren’t Sure What To Do.Rosie Gray · March 30, 2020
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  • Ryan Broderick is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York City.

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Queen to address the UK on coronavirus crisis in special TV broadcast this Sunday – The Sun

THE Queen has recorded a special broadcast on the coronavirus outbreak to be broadcast on Sunday, Buckingham Palace said today.

Her Majesty will address the nation as the deadly bug continues to spread across the UK, already claiming more than 3,000 lives.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Expectation has been growing about when the head of state would make a public statement about the unprecedented events that have seen the country go into lockdown to combat the pandemic.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "Her Majesty The Queen has recorded a special broadcast to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.

"The televised address will be broadcast at 8pm on Sunday 5th April, 2020.

"The address was recorded at Windsor Castle."

The 93-year-old is currently staying in Windsor with husband Prince Philip.

She left for Windsor two weeks ago – one week earlier than planned as the government issued the strict lockdown laws.

Prince Philip, 98, flew from Sandringham to be with her, with the couple expected to remain there for quite some time.

But despite self-isolating, the Queen has remained busy with her royal duties.

She even continued with her weekly audience with the PM – speaking to him over the phone.

And the precaution appears to have been wise after Boris Johnson later confirmed he had contracted the deadly bug.

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Buckingham Palace has previously confirmed the Queen was in good health.

It is also understood she is following all the appropriate advice with regards to her welfare.

The announcement of a national address comes after Prince Charles again resumed his royal duties after contracting the virus.

The 71-year-old had to self-isolate in Scotland after testing positive.

But the future king today officially opened the new NHS Nightingale Hospital in London – appearing via videolink.

Speaking from his Scottish home of Birkhall, Prince Charles said his thoughts and prayers would be with the patients who needed treatment for the deadly bug.

He told the crowd, which stood apart according to social distancing rules: "It is without doubt a spectacular and almost unbelievable feat of work in every sense – from its speed of construction as we’ve heard to its size and the skills of those who have created it.

"An example, if ever one was needed of how the impossible can be made possible and how we can achieve the unthinkable through human will and ingenuity."

 

 

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'The Masked Singer' Fans Are Convinced the Turtle Is Jesse McCartney

The Masked Singer has revealed some major celebrities this season. And now that the competition is coming into its final weeks, fans can’t wait to see who else is unmasked. One of the most popular contestants this season is the Turtle, and after the last episode, fans are convinced he’s none other than ’90s heartthrob, Jesse McCartney. 

The Turtle’s clues revealed on ‘The Masked Singer’ so far

From the very first time the Turtle took the stage, fans knew he was something special. Not only can he sing, but he is also an amazing performer with major dance skills and a lot of upbeat energy. 

But along with his killer performances, the Turtle’s clue packages contain a variety of helpful hints about his true identity. He has revealed that he has a connection to surfing and is passionate about food and cooking. The Turtle noted that when he started his career, he was “surrounded by other hungry newcomers,” but he now wants to “rebel.” 

In his latest clue package, the Turtle said that he’s “hardcore about being the best” and that he trained hard for all his performances. He told the judges that he’s not known for just one thing, implying he’s multitalented. For his super clue, the Turtle presented a comic book with a price label of $10.13. 

‘The Masked Singer’ fans think the Turtle is Jesse McCartney

After hearing the Turtle sing and breaking down his clues, some viewers think they pinned down his identity. Many believe he is All My Children star and Dream Street singer, Jesse McCartney. For starters, viewers felt they recognized his voice right away. 

“That Turtle is Jesse McCartney,” one fan tweeted. “I recognize that falsetto like it’s 2004.”

In his clue package, the Turtle shows a clue about surfing, which could be a nod to McCartney’s role on the WB series, Summerland. He also reveals a chalkboard with the sentence “Don’t Rave Ever At My School —Turtle.” When you put the first letter of each word in the sentence together, it spells “Dream St,” which is the name of McCartney’s ‘90s boy band.

The Turtle also mentioned that he spent a morning with judge Nicole Scherzinger, which could be a hint to the time McCartney was on a morning show with the singer. Fans think the comic-book super clue is a nod to McCartney’s role voicing Robin on the animated series, Young Justice. And one fan pointed out that the “$10.13” price on the comic book could reference his initials, J and M, which are the 10th and 13th letters of the alphabet.

Who else viewers think the Turtle could be

While Jesse McCartney is a great guess for the Turtle, not all viewers are convinced that’s who he is. “Everyone still guessing the turtle is Jesse McCartney but is big brains know it’s def Drake Bell,” wrote one Twitter fan. “I know the internet says the Turtle is Jesse Mccartney, but I want it to be Joey McIntyre so badly,” another fan tweeted.

Other popular guesses include Zac Ephron, Joey McIntyre, Drew Lachey, and Nick Lachey. 

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