COVID-19 Situation: 24 November 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 Situation: 24 November 2020

Welcome to this special issue of the newsletter where we highlight latest research and policy news and literature on COVID-19 situation

Please send your feedback, articles and reports, or questions you would like to share to Dr. Chadia Wannous via email  cwannous@yahoo.com  

Wishing you useful reading!
Chadia

COVID-19 Outbreak Situation 

 
Situation updates:

Weekly update on COVID-19- 20 November 2020
https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/weekly-operational-update-on-covid-19---20-november-2020
 
WHO COVID-19 dashboards for most up-to-date figures
Global dashboard https://covid19.who.int/

COVID-19 Partners Platform & Supply Portal
https://covid19partnersplatform.who.int/
 
Updates from WHO regional offices
 
WHO PAHO
COVID-19 Situation in the Region of the Americas
November 22nd, 2020 15:00 (EST)
An additional 251,783 cases and 3,072 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours, representing a 1.03% relative increase in cases and a 0.44% relative increase in deaths, compared to the previous day. 
On 21 November, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of COVID-19.
PAHO Situation Reports
https://www.paho.org/en/topics/coronavirus-infections/coronavirus-disease-covid-19-pandemic
 
WHO EURO
-The cumulative cases across the Region increased 14% to 15 137 883 cases in week 46/2020 (from 13 246 730 cases in week 45/2020) and cumulative deaths increased by 9.5% to 342 964 deaths (from 313 239 deaths in week 45/2020)
- As of 16 November 2020, 14 countries in the Region had an effective reproductive number significantly over 1 (See EpiForecasts and the CMMID COVID working group COVID-19 Global Summary for latest estimates)
-12 countries in the Region each reported a cumulative incidence of ≥3000 cases per 100,000 population: Andorra (7421), Belgium (4658), Montenegro (4404), Czech Republic (4287), Luxembourg (4211), Armenia (3967), Israel (3797), San Marino (3700), Spain (3193), Holy See (3190), Switzerland (3032) and France (3001)
https://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19/weekly-surveillance-report
 
ECDC new COVID-19 situation dashboard
Provides users with a simple, user-friendly platform to explore and interact with the latest COVID-19 data from Europe and worldwide. 
https://qap.ecdc.europa.eu/public/extensions/COVID-19/COVID-19.html
 
WHO AFRO
https://who.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/0c9b3a8b68d0437a8cf28581e9c063a9
 
https://www.afro.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus-covid-19#sitreps
 
WHO EMRO
http://www.emro.who.int/health-topics/corona-virus/index.html
 
WHO SEARO
https://www.who.int/southeastasia/outbreaks-and-emergencies/novel-coronavirus-2019
 
WHO WPRO
 https://www.who.int/westernpacific/emergencies/covid-19
 
All information about COVID- 19 can be found here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
 
Latest updates - Live press conference (Geneva)
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
 
=========================
Coronavirus: WHO warns of COVID-19 third wave, says Europe failed to learn from Asia
https://www.dw.com/en/coronavirus-who-warns-of-covid-19-third-wave-says-europe-failed-to-learn-from-asia/a-55690325

COVID-19 spikes in US as global total tops 57 million
Also, Pfizer and BioNTech submitted an EUA request for their vaccine, offering hope it will be available this year.
More »

====================
Countries Measures
 
G20 leaders pledge to distribute Covid vaccines fairly around world
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/22/g20-leaders-pledge-to-spare-no-effort-to-distribute-covid-vaccines-fairly
 
Countries struggling with 2nd coronavirus wave
https://www.cbsnews.com/video/countries-struggling-with-2nd-coronavirus-wave/
 
Europe Announces Return Of Resrictions Amid Coronavirus Surge
https://www.npr.org/2020/11/22/937708537/europe-announces-return-of-resrictions-amid-coronavirus-surge
 
Italy is again seeing one of the world’s highest coronavirus death tolls, but it no longer registers as a national tragedy
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/italy-coronavirus-deaths/2020/11/21/28474e1e-29cc-11eb-9c21-3cc501d0981f_story.html
 
France to ease Covid rules as Asian countries consider stricter action
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/22/france-to-ease-covid-rules-as-asian-countries-consider-stricter-measures
 
France finds COVID-19 in mink at Eure-et-Loire region farm, 1,000 to be culled
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-france-finds-covid-19-in-mink-at-eure-et-loire-region-farm-1000-to/
 
German doctor arrested on suspicion of killing two Covid patients
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/20/german-doctor-arrested-on-suspicion-of-killing-two-covid-patients
 
Boris Johnson ‘acted illegally’ over jobs for top anti-Covid staff
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/nov/21/boris-johnson-acted-illegally-over-jobs-for-top-anti-covid-staff
 
Over 1 million U.S. travelers flew on Friday, despite calls to avoid holiday travel
https://www.axios.com/1-million-air-travel-friday-holiday-plane-coronavirus-033f9f0e-5c13-40aa-a6b6-0affe81dbf60.html
 
The U.S. Has Lots of Ventilators -- but Too Few Specialists to Mind Them
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/22/health/Covid-ventilators-stockpile.html
 
Rising staff shortages in the US
1,000+ hospitals across the US are “critically“” short on staff; 21% of all hospitals anticipate critical staffing shortages in the next week, according to the first federal data released on the topic.
NPR

COVID-19 has been smoldering in rural America for months. How did we miss it?
A dangerous combination of limited resources, stigma, and politics made the coronavirus difficult to track in rural areas, allowing its spread to go largely unnoticed all summer.
READ THE STORY
 
In Shanghai, 17,000+ airport cargo workers were sealed inside the facility for coronavirus testing after 7 cases were linked to the unit.
The Washington Post
 
===========================
 
Scientific Publications, Reports and News
 
UN Research Roadmap for the COVID-19 Recovery: Leveraging the Power of Science for a More Equitable, Resilient and Sustainable Future
Below is one example of a research priority for each of the five pillars:
1. Health Systems and Services: What strategies and financing models are most effective in expanding universal health coverage?
2. Social Protection and Basic Services: What are the most effective and equitable ways of ensuring basic income protection for all?
3. Economic Response and Recovery: How can food supply chains be secured for the world’s most marginalized populations to ensure food security and nutrition in all circumstances?
4. Macroeconomic Policies and Multilateral Collaboration: What lessons from past economic crises can inform the design of national, regional and global recovery strategies?
5. Social Cohesion and Community Resilience: What are the best strategies for building sustainable, inclusive and resilient cities that protect people from future pandemics and climate change?
https://bit.ly/LEquidad202015
 
UNEP joins three international organizations in expert panel to improve One Health
nternational organizations are taking steps to strengthen multilateral health architecture. Four entities, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as well as a number of key international experts, have agreed to set up a One Health High-Level Expert Council to collect, distribute and publicize reliable scientific information on the links between human, animal and environmental health. The aim is to assist public officials in making appropriate decisions to avoid future crises and to inform citizens.
https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/unep-joins-three-international-organizations-expert-panel-improve-one-health
 
Read more on The One HealthHigh-Level Expert Counciland the Fight against Infodemics
https://multilateralism.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/2020-11-11-Press-release-meeting-AfM-12-November-2020-final-version-EN.pdf
 
Modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors for COVID-19, and comparison to risk factors for influenza and pneumonia: results from a UK Biobank prospective cohort study
10.1136/bmjopen-2020-040402
 
UN agencies uphold human rights considerations in COVID-19 data collection
https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/11/1078182
 
How renewable energy can drive a post-COVID recovery
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/09/renewable-energy-drive-post-covid-recovery/
 
Ct values and infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30883-5/fulltext
 
Kinetics and seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in children
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30884-7/fulltext
 
SARS-CoV-2 and the human-animal interface: outbreaks on mink farms
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30912-9/fulltext
 

COVID-19 most contagious in first 5 days of illness, study finds
The findings may explain why COVID-19 spreads quickly and is difficult to contain.
More »
 
How art helps us make sense of COVID-19's incomprehensible toll
As the United States reaches 250,000 deaths, people are finding creative and symbolic ways to come to terms with the tragic milestone.
READ ON

What those studies on mouthwash and coronaviruses actually mean
Contrary to some of the recent buzz around mouthwash, a daily gargle is probably not going to protect you from the novel coronavirus. Instead, experts say new research has “promising” implications for the potential of mouthwash to help infected individuals reduce their risk of spreading the deadly virus.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/mouthwash-inactivate-covid-study/2020/10/22/1735cdd4-13c5-11eb-bc10-40b25382f1be_story.html
 
MMR vaccine may help prevent COVID-19
A small study today in mBio demonstrates that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine may protect against COVID-19, as researchers found that levels of mumps immunoglobulin (Ig) G antibodies are inversely correlated with COVID-19 severity in MMR-vaccinated patients.
Nov 20 mBio study
Nov 20 ASM news release
 
===================
Testing

Rapid Testing Is Less Accurate Than the Government Wants to Admit
Rapid antigen testing is a mess. The federal government pushed it out without a plan, and then spent weeks denying problems with false positives. The scientific community remains divided on the potential of antigen tests.
https://www.propublica.org/article/rapid-testing-is-less-accurate-than-the-government-wants-to-admit
================
Treatment

WHO recommends against the use of remdesivir in COVID-19 patients
WHO has issued a conditional recommendation against the use of remdesivir in hospitalized patients, regardless of disease severity, as there is currently no evidence that remdesivir improves survival and other outcomes in these patients.
https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/who-recommends-against-the-use-of-remdesivir-in-covid-19-patients

FDA Authorizes Monoclonal Antibodies for Treatment of COVID-19
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for casirivimab and imdevimab to be administered together for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age or older weighing at least 40 kilograms [about 88 pounds]) with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19. This includes those who are 65 years of age or older or who have certain chronic medical conditions.
https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-authorizes-monoclonal-antibodies-treatment-covid-19

Data show hospitalized Covid-19 patients are surviving at higher rates
Comparing Covid-19 death rates from different points in the pandemic can be tough. The limited availability of testing last spring meant that many cases were missed, which made mortality numbers seem starker. But when the nonprofit FAIR Health looked at comparable groups of hospitalized patients at STAT’s request, the analysis found a drop in mortality rate from 11.5% in March to below 5% as of June. That suggests a better understanding of the disease and how to treat it, as well as hospitals’ improved ability to provide care when they aren’t inundated with patients. But clinicians warn that the current surge may erode such progress.
More here.

 
Priority medical devices list for the COVID-19 response and associated technical specifications
https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-2019-nCoV-MedDev-TS-O2T.V2

Continuity of essential health services: Facility assessment tool
https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-2019-nCoV-HCF_assessment-EHS-2020.1
 
Designated COVID-19 Hospitals: Case Studies and Lessons Learned
ASPR TRACIE recently interviewed decision makers and lead physicians at four designated COVID-19 hospitals. Designating one facility within the system or area to exclusively treat confirmed COVID-19 patients is one strategy to help standardize care, optimize resource utilization, and protect non-COVID-19 patients and healthcare workers. This document summarizes lessons learned and key planning considerations relevant to COVID-19 designated hospitals but can be used by all hospitals that have designated units for COVID-19 care.
https://files.asprtracie.hhs.gov/documents/designated-covid-19-hospitals-lessons-learned.pdf

Study details tracheal injuries in long-term ventilated COVID patients
A study yesterday found that 47% of COVID-19 patients who required prolonged mechanical ventilation developed potentially life-threatening tracheal (airway) complications.
The authors advocate for weekly bronchoscopy to detect tracheal lesions, cautious use of high-dose steroids, and careful monitoring of cuff pressure to prevent tracheal injury in ventilated COVID-19 patients.
Nov 19 JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg study
 
=============
Vaccines

AstraZeneca said early data showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90 percent effective, becoming the third drugmaker to announce promising results.
The drugmaker AstraZeneca announced on Monday that an early analysis of some of its late-stage clinical trials, conducted in the United Kingdom and Brazil, showed that its coronavirus vaccine was 70.4 percent effective in preventing Covid-19, suggesting that the world could eventually have at least three working vaccines — and more supply — to help curb the pandemic. The company said its early analysis was based on 131 coronavirus cases. The trials used two different dosing regimens, one of which was 90 percent effective in preventing Covid-19 and the other of which was 62 percent effective.
Read the latest

Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator commitments reach US$ 5.1billion following new contributions, including at Paris Peace Forum
https://www.who.int/news/item/13-11-2020-access-to-covid-19-tools-accelerator-commitments-reach-us-5.1billion-following-new-contributions-including-at-paris-peace-forum
 
The longest mile in the Covid-19 vaccine cold chain                                                                 
The big challenge in delivering the Covid-19 vaccine lies in the last leg of its journey, say cold chain experts.
https://www.eco-business.com/news/the-longest-mile-in-the-covid-19-vaccine-cold-chain

Using blockchain to monitor the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/11/using-blockchain-to-monitor-covid-19-vaccine-supply-chain/

With scant power or freezers, Pfizer vaccine brings little cheer to coronavirus-hit India
India's crippling heat, erratic electricity and limited cold storage make Covid-19 vaccine logistics a challenge.
https://www.eco-business.com/news/with-scant-power-or-freezers-pfizer-vaccine-brings-little-cheer-to-coronavirus-hit-india

Can vaccines reach the world’s poorest?
Pfizer says its experimental Covid-19 vaccine is over 90 per cent effective, raising global hopes of ending the pandemic. But what are the obstacles to a vaccine reaching the world’s poorest?
https://www.eco-business.com/news/can-vaccines-reach-the-worlds-poorest
 
Is this the beginning of an mRNA vaccine revolution?
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/22/mrna-vaccines-covid-signal-new-era-disease-prevention-science
 
US vaccine expert predicts life could be back to normal around May
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/22/us-vaccine-expert-life-could-be-back-to-normal-may
 
Covid-19 pandemic: Merkel 'worried' about vaccines for poor countries
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-55037760
 
Safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in healthy adults aged 18–59 years: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 1/2 clinical trial
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30843-4/fulltext
 
Expecting the unexpected with COVID-19 vaccines
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30870-7/fulltext

Experts: COVID-19 vaccine distribution needs collaboration, transparency
For equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution, the United States needs diverse clinical trial populations, data transparency—especially around emergency use authorization—universal accessibility, and collaboration, according to a five-point recommendation paper published in Health Affairs yesterday. Currently, the authors say, children and teens have 95% and 80% representation, respectively, in the IIS, but only about 56% adults are documented within the system.
Nov 19 Health Aff study
Nov 19 Children's Hospital of Philadelphia press release

Dilemma of emergency vaccine approvals
Scientists are concerned that the early deployment of promising COVID-19 vaccines could compromise ongoing clinical trials that seek to show conclusively how well they work. Following the release of early data from phase III trials on 9 November, vaccine makers Pfizer and BioNTech have sought regulatory permission to deploy their vaccine under emergency-use rules. The developer of another leading vaccine, Moderna, is expected to do the same within weeks. Once a vaccine is granted emergency approval, trial participants who received a placebo will be understandably keen to get the real thing. But if too many people cross over to the vaccine group, the companies might not have enough data to establish the long-term effects of the vaccines, including safety, how long protection lasts and whether the jab prevents infection or just the disease.
Nature | 6 min read

Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine is effective
Early data show that a vaccine candidate from the University of Oxford, UK, and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca is highly effective. But the analysis found a striking difference in efficacy, depending on the dose. A regimen of two full doses was 62% effective. Among around 3,000 people who were given a half-sized first dose and a full-sized second dose, protection was 90%. A top priority for researchers is finding out why.

Like results reported for the Pfizer–BioNTech, Moderna and Sputnik V vaccines, the exciting news is based on data that have not yet been peer reviewed. Despite not matching the lofty 95% efficacy bar set by Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech, the Oxford–AstraZeneca option has its advantages. It can be stored at standard fridge temperatures and it might be cheaper to manufacture than some others. And AstraZeneca has pledged to sell doses at no profit, at least during the pandemic.
Nature | 6 min read

SARS-CoV-2 relatives found outside China
Samples from lab freezers in Cambodia and Japan have yielded the first known relatives of SARS-CoV-2 found in bats outside China. The finding contributes to growing evidence that SARS-CoV-2-like viruses are relatively common in horseshoe bats both inside and outside China. Studying such viruses could contribute to understanding of SARS-CoV-2’s animal origin.
Nature | 6 min read
Reference: Emerging Infectious Diseases paper
========================
 
Consequences of the Outbreak on Society and Economy

Pandemic hikes concern over much-needed climate finance for poorest
Rich nations urged to meet promise to raise US$100 billion a year from 2020 to help vulnerable states tackle climate change, as Covid-19 hits budgets hard.
https://www.eco-business.com/news/pandemic-hikes-concern-over-much-needed-climate-finance-for-poorest
 
COVID-19 exacerbated the plastic pollution crisis. Here’s how we’re fighting back.
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/09/covid-19-plastic-pollution-crisis-informal-waste-sector-gpap-sustainable-development-impact-summit-2020/
 
Health
 
COVID-19 Healthcare Professional Stress and Resilience
ASPR’s Rachel Kaul highlights the importance of recognizing and managing stress, strategies for recognizing at-risk employees, and how to foster resilience in healthcare professionals in this introductory video. You can also learn how CHAMP (a Center of Excellence at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Uniformed Services University) applies the “Total Force Fitness” approach and “HOPE” framework to healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out the entire speaker series and our upcoming issue of The Exchange, which will feature these and other experts sharing their lessons learned over the past several months.  
 
COVID-19 and preterm birth
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(20)30457-5/fulltext
 
Effect of COVID-19 on maternal and neonatal services
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(20)30482-4/fulltext
 
==============================
Risk Communication

Changes in COVID-19 Prevention Behaviors Over Time
The findings, culled from surveys of more than 720,000 people in 23 countries, allow researchers, public health programmers and policymakers to see and respond to trends.

Read more »

Updated WHO Myth buster
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters
UNESCO Mythbusting
https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/disinfodemic_deciphering_covid19_disinformation.pdf
 
EPI-WIN: tailored information for individuals, organizations and communities
https://www.who.int/teams/risk-communication
=========================

Resources

WHO Technical guidance
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance

Sex, gender and COVID-19: overview and resources
https://globalhealth5050.org/covid19

COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker
https://data.undp.org/gendertracker/
 
New COVID-19 Tracker
Reuters is collecting daily COVID-19 infections and deaths data for 240 countries and territories around the world, updated regularly throughout each day. With this project we are focusing on the trends within countries as they try to contain the virus’ spread, whether they are approaching or past peak infection rates, or if they are seeing a resurgence of infections or deaths.
https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/

Lancet Coronavirus Resource Centre
This resource brings together new 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) content from across The Lancet journals as it is published. All content listed on this page is free to access.

https://www.thelancet.com/coronavirus

Elsevier’s free health and medical research on novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
https://www.elsevier.com/connect/coronavirus-information-center
CIDRAP COVID-19 Resource Center
CIDRAP has created a one-stop comprehensive compilation of the most current, authorititive information available on the novel coronavirus.
Visit the Resource Center often, as the outbreak is constantly evolving

COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv
https://connect.medrxiv.org/relate/content/181
 
The Health System Response Monitor (HSRM)
has been designed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to collect and organize up-to-date information on how countries are responding to the crisis. It focuses primarily on the responses of health systems but also captures wider public health initiatives. This is a joint undertaking of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, the European Commission, and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.
Click here for policy recommendations and technical guidance from the WHO Regional Office for Europe on how to strengthen the health systems response to COVID-19 and click here for the EU coronavirus response in the area of public health.
https://covid19healthsystem.org/mainpage.aspx
==============

Training courses:
WHO training
https://openwho.org/courses
 
PAHO sources and materials on COVID19
https://www.campusvirtualsp.org/en/covid-19

ECDC COVID-19 Micro learning 
https://eva.ecdc.europa.eu/mod/forum/discuss.php
============================

Research and Development
Global research on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Database of publications on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/global-research-on-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov
 
“Solidarity” clinical trial for COVID-19 treatments
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/global-research-on-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov/solidarity-clinical-trial-for-covid-19-treatments
 
“Solidarity II” global serologic study for COVID-19
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/global-research-on-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov/solidarity-2-global-serologic-study-for-covid-19
 
Accelerating a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/global-research-on-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov/accelerating-a-safe-and-effective-covid-19-vaccine
 
COVID-19 technology access pool
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/global-research-on-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov/covid-19-technology-access-pool
=============================
 
Help Fight Coronavirus- Donate Now
Everyone can now support directly the response coordinated by WHO. People and organizations who want to help fight the pandemic and support WHO and partners can now donate through the COVID-Solidarity Response Fund for WHO at www.COVID19ResponseFund.org.

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Knowledge Sharing

Thank you for reading. If you have thoughts, feedback, story ideas, or questions you would like to share or interested in partnering with us on a special event coverage, please send a note to Chadia Wannous via email cwannous@yahoo.com  

 

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