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Covid-19: In U.S., Virus Instances Have Just lately Dropped in Over Half of States

Credit score…Stephen Speranza for The New York Occasions

Greater than half of U.S. states have seen a big decline in new coronavirus circumstances over the previous two weeks, as federal well being officers have begun to counsel that the virus’s trajectory is enhancing. Nonetheless, the uneven ranges of vaccination throughout the nation level to the problem of reaching these individuals who haven’t gotten pictures.

As of Tuesday, the US was averaging virtually 54,000 new circumstances a day, a 24 % decline from two weeks in the past, and similar to the extent of circumstances reported in mid-October earlier than the lethal winter surge, in accordance with a New York Occasions database. Since peaking in January, circumstances, hospitalizations and deaths nationwide have drastically declined.

Over the previous two weeks, case numbers have fallen by 15 % or extra in 27 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with drops of 30 % or extra in 11 states. As of Tuesday, Oklahoma reported a 55 % decline within the common variety of new circumstances a day, whereas Michigan, which had one of many nation’s most extreme latest outbreaks, is now seeing speedy enchancment with circumstances there down practically 40 %.

In New York Metropolis, which had seen stubbornly excessive caseloads for months, the second wave is receding a half-year after it began, the town’s well being commissioner mentioned.

Federal well being officers have taken word. After expressing a recurring sense of “impending doom” final month, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, mentioned on Wednesday that she was starting to see indicators of progress.

“Instances are beginning to come down. We predict that that is associated to elevated vaccination, elevated individuals taking warning, and so I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re turning the nook,” she mentioned on “Good Morning America.”

However she warned that “the virus is an opportunist” and will strike in communities with low vaccination charges. Persistent vaccine hesitancy stays a problem, and the tempo of vaccination will ebb, officers have acknowledged, amid problems with provide and demand.

About 43 % of individuals have obtained at the least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and 30 % have been totally vaccinated. Suppliers are administering about 2.67 million doses per day on common, as of Wednesday, a couple of 21 % lower from the height of three.38 million reported on April 13.

The C.D.C.’s transfer to calm down masks steerage outdoor this week is a mirrored image of the rise within the whole variety of vaccination — and an incentive to get a shot, consultants mentioned.

“It’s one other demonstration of what science has been telling us over the past many months, which is that vaccines are efficient in stopping the Covid-19 virus from infecting us. And the extra individuals who get vaccinated, the extra rapidly we are able to resume our actions,” Dr. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon normal, mentioned in a Tuesday interview on CNN.

As President Biden addresses a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night, he has set a goal date of July 4 for the nation “to get life in America nearer to regular.” However public well being consultants have emphasised that the expertise of the pandemic the world over isn’t common. India, for instance, is experiencing a catastrophic second wave that might have international implications.

“Pandemics require international cooperation and mutual assist,” Dr. Murthy mentioned. “When there’s uncontrolled unfold of the virus in any a part of the world, that implies that variants can come up, variants which can over time grow to be proof against the safety that we get from vaccines, which may imply an actual downside for us right here in the US.”

United States › United StatesOn Apr. 27 14-day change
New circumstances 51,938 –24%
New deaths 764 –5%
World › WorldOn Apr. 27 14-day change
New circumstances 815,788 +15%
New deaths 14,391 +6%

U.S. vaccinations ›

Where states are reporting vaccines given
A patient receives oxygen inside a car in Delhi.
Credit score…Atul Loke for The New York Occasions

As provides run dangerously low and hospitals in India are compelled to show away the sick, scientists try to find out what position variants of the coronavirus could be taking part in.

Docs, the general public and the media are citing anecdotal — however inconclusive — proof to counsel {that a} homegrown variant referred to as B.1.617 is driving the nation’s worsening outbreak. However researchers exterior of India say the restricted information to this point suggests as an alternative {that a} better-known variant, B.1.1.7., that walloped Britain late final yr could also be a extra appreciable issue.

Authorities in India reported practically 3,300 every day deaths on Wednesday. That brings the official whole to just about 201,200 individuals misplaced, although consultants consider the true determine is far larger. Day by day new infections additionally surged to just about 357,700, one other document.

The presence of the variant may complicate the taming of India’s Covid-19 catastrophe. Numerous medical doctors level to anecdotal proof that individuals who have been totally vaccinated are getting sick.

“The present wave of Covid has a unique medical conduct,” mentioned Dr. Sujay Shad, a senior cardiac surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, the place two of the medical doctors wanted supplemental oxygen to recuperate. “It’s affecting younger adults. It’s affecting households. It’s a brand new factor altogether. Two-month-old infants are getting contaminated.”

Scientists say that totally different variants appear to dominate particular components of India. For example, the B.1.617 variant has been detected in numerous samples from the central state of Maharashtra whereas the B.1.1.7 variant is rising rapidly in New Delhi.

“There are variants which might be extra transmissible than what all of us coped with a yr in the past,” mentioned Dr. Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid-19 genomics initiative on the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Britain. “Issues can change actually rapidly, so if a rustic doesn’t react rapidly sufficient, issues can go from unhealthy to very unhealthy in a short time.”

Past the variants, scientists consider there are different, probably extra apparent components that could possibly be powering India’s lethal second wave.

India has simply scraped the floor by way of vaccinating its inhabitants, with lower than 2 % totally vaccinated. Consultants additionally blame lax public conduct after final yr’s first wave and missteps by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And so they word that India’s faculties had began reopening in latest months — a doable issue behind rising infections amongst younger individuals.

A broad lack of information plagues the scientific chase for variants and whether or not they’re contributing to the severity of India’s disaster. Quick-moving mutations complicate the image as a result of it isn’t instantly clear how rapidly they unfold or how they reply to vaccines.

In India, the well being care system wasn’t on alert for the influence of variants at house, at the same time as they started to unfold globally, mentioned Dr. Thekkekara Jacob John, a senior virologist within the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

“We weren’t in search of variants in any respect,” he mentioned. “In different phrases, we missed the boat.”

A staff member at a vaccination center prepares a vial of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.
Credit score…Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Occasions

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines are 94 % efficient at stopping hospitalization in totally vaccinated adults 65 or older, in accordance with a small research launched by the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention on Wednesday.

The findings, that are in line with the medical trial outcomes, are the primary real-world proof from the US that the vaccines defend towards extreme Covid-19. Older adults are on the highest danger of hospitalization and loss of life from the illness. Greater than 573,000 individuals have died throughout the nation associated to the virus, in accordance with a New York Occasions database, and as of Wednesday, 142.7 million individuals have obtained at the least one dose of considered one of three federally approved vaccines, together with about 98 million individuals who have been totally vaccinated.

“These findings are encouraging and welcome information for the two-thirds of individuals aged 65 and up who’re already totally vaccinated,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the C.D.C. director, mentioned in a press release. “Covid-19 vaccines are extremely efficient and these real-world findings affirm the advantages seen in medical trials, stopping hospitalizations amongst these most susceptible.”

The research is predicated on information from 417 sufferers who have been admitted to 24 hospitals in 14 states between January 1 and March 26. Roughly half have been 75 or older.

Each the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two pictures, spaced three to 4 weeks aside. Older adults who have been partially vaccinated — that’s, they’d obtained one dose of the vaccine greater than two weeks prior — have been 64 % much less more likely to be hospitalized with the coronavirus than unvaccinated seniors, the researchers reported.

The vaccines didn’t scale back hospitalization charges in individuals who had obtained their first dose lower than two weeks prior. The physique requires time to mount an efficient immune response, and individuals are thought-about totally vaccinated two weeks after the final dose within the collection.

“This additionally highlights the continued danger for extreme sickness shortly after vaccination, earlier than a protecting immune response has been achieved and reinforces the necessity for vaccinated adults to proceed bodily distancing and prevention behaviors,” the scientists wrote.

Police officers carrying off a demonstrator who was protesting coronavirus restrictions at a rally in Berlin on April 21.
Credit score…Filip Singer/EPA, by way of Shutterstock

Germany’s home intelligence service mentioned on Wednesday that it could surveil members of the more and more aggressive coronavirus denier motion as a result of they posed a danger of undermining the state.

The motion — fueled partly by wild conspiracy theories — has grown from criticizing coronavirus lockdown measures and hygiene guidelines to concentrating on the state itself, its leaders, companies, the press and globalism, to call a number of.

“Our primary democratic order, in addition to state establishments corresponding to parliaments and governments, have confronted a number of assaults for the reason that starting of the measures to include the Covid-19 pandemic,” the Inside Ministry mentioned in a press release confirming that components of the denier motion have been below remark. The Inside Ministry oversees the intelligence company, the Workplace for the Safety of the Structure.

In saying the choice to maintain tabs on conspiracy theorists, intelligence officers famous the motion’s shut ties to extremist teams just like the Reichsbürger, who refuse to simply accept the legitimacy of the fashionable German state.

The information comes days after Germany instituted new virus guidelines that apply nationwide and permit the federal authorities to implement lockdowns. (Such regulation had beforehand been within the fingers of the nation’s 16 states.) It additionally means that the authorities consider coronavirus denier teams may proceed to flourish and pose a menace after the pandemic ends.

The motion, referred to as Querdenken, German for lateral considering, communicates and recruits over social media and has a big presence on the encrypted chat service Telegram, the place its essential channel has 65,000 subscribers.

Per week in the past, when Parliament handed the legislation giving the federal government powers to impose the newest lockdown, about 8,000 of the motion’s activists took to the streets in Berlin earlier than being dispersed by the police for ignoring masks and distancing guidelines. Germany has seen a persistently excessive variety of new every day circumstances just lately, averaging about 19,000, up from about 8,000 two months in the past.

Pia Lamberty, a psychologist and knowledgeable within the German conspiracy scene, warned of connections between the deniers and far-right extremists. “The hazard of Querdenken,” she mentioned, “has lengthy been underestimated.”

The seven-day citywide positive test rate has been falling since a peak in January and is now between 3 and 4 percent.
Credit score…Jeenah Moon for The New York Occasions

After months of persistently excessive coronavirus caseloads, New York Metropolis seems to have lastly reached a turning level. The metropolis’s second wave is ebbing, a half-year after it started, New York Metropolis’s well being commissioner, Dr. Dave Chokshi, mentioned.

All through April, virus circumstances, hospitalizations and deaths have all been declining, which epidemiologists attribute to the climbing price of vaccination in addition to the arrival of heat climate, drawing individuals outdoor.

From a second-wave peak of practically 8,000 circumstances in a single day in January, New York Metropolis, as of final week, was averaging about 2,000 virus circumstances per day. The seven-day constructive take a look at price has fallen, too, and is now between 3 and 4 %, in accordance with the town’s information, the bottom it has been for the reason that fall — however nonetheless rather a lot larger than its low of 1 % final summer time.

Public well being officers say that by July, if the town stays on its present trajectory, that quantity may drop to beneath 600 circumstances a day, maybe decrease.

However epidemiologists and metropolis officers warn that the epidemic isn’t near over in New York, although there are promising indicators.

Hospitalizations have dropped sooner for individuals over 65 — a gaggle prioritized for vaccinations early on — than for different teams. But greater than 1,500 Covid-19 sufferers stay hospitalized in New York Metropolis, and the loss of life toll on some days remains to be round 40.

Whereas some neighborhoods now have positivity charges of below 1 %, in others that price is six or seven instances larger. Officers additionally fear that uneven vaccination protection may result in a scenario the place the virus persists in some corners of the town, however not others. Manhattan, the borough with the very best median family earnings, is much extra vaccinated than the Bronx, the poorest, reflecting vaccine hesitancy in some components of the town and underscoring the longstanding inequalities in well being care that the virus has laid naked.

And there are indicators that the tempo of vaccinations is slowing. To this point 52 % of adults throughout the town have obtained at the least one dose.

“I really feel good that we’re starting to see a vaccine impact on transmission right here,” mentioned Dr. Denis Nash, an epidemiologist on the Metropolis College of New York’s College of Public Well being. “However we nonetheless have an extended method to go, and there are such a lot of New Yorkers and so many neighborhoods which might be extra affected by this pandemic which might be being left behind.”

U.S. Spherical up

Customers dined outdoors at Good Bar in Brooklyn earlier this month.
Credit score…Gabby Jones for The New York Occasions

New York will finish a longstanding curfew subsequent month that compelled bars and eating places to shut early in a bid to struggle the unfold of the coronavirus, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo mentioned on Wednesday.

The announcement got here as state lawmakers voted to droop an unpopular directive that required clients to order meals when buying alcohol at bars and eating places.

The curfew, which at present requires institutions to cease serving clients at midnight, will finish statewide on Might 17 for out of doors eating areas and Might 31 for indoor eating.

Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat, first ordered the restriction final November because the state tried to stave off a second surge of the virus, saying on the time that indoor eating at eating places was a possible explanation for the unfold. He loosened the curfew in latest months as circumstances have fallen, shifting it from 10 p.m. to midnight.

The hospitality business and a few state lawmakers have lengthy criticized the curfew as arbitrary, pointing to a scarcity of proof that late-night eating was contributing in any significant method to the virus’s unfold.

The state may also permit individuals in New York Metropolis to take a seat at bars beginning on Monday, for the primary time since Mr. Cuomo applied a statewide shutdown final March. At the same time as institutions have been allowed to welcome clients indoors, patrons have been required to be seated at tables.

The restaurant business welcomed the information.

“It’s nice information that the state will lastly undo the bar stool ban and elevate the arbitrary midnight curfew,” mentioned Andrew Rigie, the manager director of the New York Metropolis Hospitality Alliance, an business group. “These outdated insurance policies made it too tough for too many small enterprise homeowners and employees to assist themselves and their households, and have been a grave inconvenience to clients.”

The state may also loosen restrictions on catered occasions at residences. Starting on Monday, they’ll have greater than 10 individuals indoors and 25 individuals outdoor, supplied occasions observe any obligatory masks and social-distancing directives. Curfews on all catered occasions may also be lifted subsequent month.

Officers within the state have progressively taken steps to roll again virus-related restrictions as extra New York residents have been vaccinated and circumstances of the virus fell.

The town’s second wave is lastly ebbing, a half-year after it started, with virus charges and hospitalizations plunging, although metropolis officers warn that the epidemic isn’t near being over within the metropolis.

On Monday, Mr. Cuomo mentioned that subsequent month the state would elevate the capability limits on places of work statewide to 75 % from 50 % and on gyms exterior New York Metropolis to 50 % from 33 %.

Final month he raised the most capability for indoor eating at eating places in New York Metropolis to 50 %, up from 35 %. Eating places within the the rest of the state are allowed to serve clients at 75 % occupancy.

Luis Ferré-Sadurní contributed reporting.

In different information from round the US:

  • Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland introduced Wednesday he would elevate the state of Maryland’s out of doors masks mandate, efficient instantly, citing latest steerage from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. Beginning Might 1, restrictions surrounding out of doors eating, together with capability limits and social distancing, may also be lifted. Coronavirus circumstances in Maryland have dropped 29 % up to now two weeks, in accordance with a New York Occasions database.

  • In Atlanta, sure sports activities venues are making a return to 100% capability. On Wednesday, the house stadium of the Atlanta Braves, Truist Park, introduced it could permit 100% capability at video games beginning Might 7. Capability on the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, house of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, may also transfer as much as 100% capability, AMB Sports activities and Leisure, the corporate that owns the 2 skilled groups, mentioned in a press release on Wednesday. The change in restrictions for the Mercedes-Benz Stadium will begin Might 15.

A candlelight vigil on March 25 for nursing home residents who died of the coronavirus.
Credit score…Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

The trouble by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s workplace to obscure the pandemic loss of life toll in nursing properties in New York State was far higher than beforehand recognized, with aides repeatedly overruling state well being officers over a span of at the least 5 months, in accordance with interviews and newly unearthed paperwork.

Mr. Cuomo’s most senior aides engaged in a sustained effort to forestall the state’s personal well being officers, together with Howard Zucker, the well being commissioner, from releasing the true loss of life toll to the general public or sharing it with state lawmakers, these interviews and paperwork confirmed.

A scientific paper, which integrated the info, was by no means printed. An audit of the numbers by a prime Cuomo aide was completed months earlier than it grew to become publicly recognized. Two letters, drafted by the Well being Division and meant for state legislators, have been by no means despatched.

The variety of nursing house residents who died in first wave of the pandemic has been a very delicate query for the Cuomo administration, which initially put the quantity at round 6,000.

The complete information on nursing house deaths was not launched till this yr, after a report by the state lawyer normal in late January discovered that the official tally may need undercounted the true toll by as a lot as 50 %. That was one thing Mr. Cuomo’s aides had recognized for the reason that earlier spring, The New York Occasions discovered.

Watching the Stockyards Championship Rodeo in Fort Worth, Texas, where mask mandates have been lifted.
Credit score…Shelby Tauber for The New York Occasions

The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention recommends that totally vaccinated People can, normally, keep away from carrying masks outdoor. However this group of practically 100 million, scattered throughout the nation, stays for now below the authority of a patchwork of masks mandates, various by state and generally by county, dictating when and the place face coverings needs to be worn.

Some states, like Arizona and Texas, have already lifted masks mandates. However most indoor masks mandates could possibly be eased or eradicated by the summer time, mentioned Dr. Arthur Reingold, chair of the epidemiology division on the College of Public Well being on the College of California, Berkeley — so long as individuals proceed to get vaccinated, and so long as the US avoids the troubling waves it has endured over the previous yr.

About 2.7 million Covid-19 vaccine doses are being administered nationally every day on common — a drop from the height of greater than 3.3 million this month, when those that have been most keen and in a position to get pictures have been getting them rapidly.

By summer time, Dr. Reingold mentioned, “there received’t be massive regional variations” in masks carrying as there at the moment are. Strict out of doors masking has been commonplace conduct in city facilities like New York Metropolis and San Francisco, however much less widespread in different components of the nation.

The C.D.C. on Tuesday suggested that People who’re totally vaccinated towards the coronavirus not have to put on masks outdoor, besides in some circumstances, like throughout massive gatherings.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo mentioned that New York would undertake the C.D.C.’s steerage on out of doors masks carrying for vaccinated individuals, and Gov. Gavin Newsom of California mentioned, “Should you’re totally vaccinated, outdoor and never in a big crowd — you don’t want to put on a masks.”

A federal masks coverage “was at all times going to be someplace between tough and not possible to realize” in the US, Dr. Reingold mentioned. Nonetheless, exterior of locations like airports and shops — the place strictly enforced masks necessities have generally led to heated confrontations — masks carrying has typically been a person alternative, as native authorities masks mandates have hardly ever led to fines or punishment.

The C.D.C. is sustaining its recommendation on different security measures, saying that every one adults ought to put on masks and keep six toes aside at out of doors efficiency and sporting occasions and in indoor purchasing malls and film theaters.

President Biden mentioned on Tuesday at an outside information convention that the up to date steerage was a step towards getting “life in America nearer to regular.”

Xavier Becerra, the secretary of well being and human companies, mentioned on “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday, “The message is evident: You’re vaccinated? Guess what, you get to return to a extra regular way of life.”

Migrants were met by members of the Border Patrol after crossing from Mexico into the United States by inflatable raft at a short stretch of the Rio Grande.
Credit score…Peter van Agtmael for The New York Occasions

As the US vaccinates extra individuals and several other states start to reopen, public well being officers warn that the failure of U.S. authorities to check grownup migrants for the coronavirus in jam-packed border processing facilities is creating a possible for brand spanking new transmissions — even amongst migrants who could have arrived wholesome at America’s door.

Greater than 170,000 migrants crossed the border in March, many coming from international locations nonetheless grappling with excessive an infection charges. The federal government says it has inadequate time and area to check them upon their arrival, so testing is being postponed till the newcomers are launched to area people teams, cities and counties.

However that’s normally after they’ve spent days confined in tight areas with scores of strangers, typically sleeping shoulder-to-shoulder on mats on the ground.

There have been no reported situations of mass unfold at U.S. border services, and general numbers of circumstances are comparatively low, in accordance with the Division of Homeland Safety. However native officers and shelter operators say they concern the true variety of circumstances could possibly be a lot larger.

Reuben and Estafania Alarcon’s son Eric, who has autism, has been disadvantaged by virtual learning.
Credit score…Bryan Anselm for The New York Occasions

Maybe nobody feels the pressure of distant studying extra acutely than the youngest, highest-need college students, whose capability to entry in-person early intervention lessons, focused conduct evaluation and speech remedy is taken into account key to their tutorial success.

In New Jersey, faculty districts in two cities 5 miles aside — with related inhabitants sizes and equally excessive charges of coronavirus circumstances — made radically totally different selections about whether or not and reopen faculties throughout the pandemic.

In Rutherford, the place faculties have been principally open, younger kids with autism have spent greater than 700 hours at school since September. In Secaucus, the variety of hours is nearer to simply 100.

Reuben Alarcon, a part of a gaggle of oldsters who’ve criticized the Secaucus Public College District’s reopening insurance policies, mentioned he was frightened that the academic alternatives his son Eric, who might be 4 subsequent month, misplaced throughout an important yr of mind growth would trigger lifelong hurt.

“He’ll generally use one or two phrases to ask for one thing. Typically he surprises us and he blurts out a sentence,” Mr. Alarcon mentioned. “He can be a lot extra forward had he had the full-time class.”

A staff member distributes the second version of the Tokyo 2020 playbook before a press briefing earlier today.
Credit score…Pool picture by Franck Robichon

Organizers of the rescheduled Summer time Olympics launched a second spherical of so-called playbooks on Wednesday, with up to date protocols for these collaborating on the planet’s largest sporting occasion this July.

Among the many new guidelines: Athletes might be examined every day, however they won’t have to quarantine. Guests might be requested to remain off public transit. And members of the information media, together with different officers, might be urged to eat takeout meals alone.

Thomas Bach, the Worldwide Olympic Committee president, mentioned the revised protocols have been “primarily based on the perfect scientific and medical experience” and the expertise of lots of of sports activities occasions over the past yr, involving 1000’s of athletes.

Organizers haven’t mandated that Olympians be vaccinated, and won’t tackle whether or not home spectators might be allowed into Olympic stadiums and area till June. Abroad spectators are barred from the Video games, however tens of 1000’s of individuals will enter Japan this summer time after practically a yr wherein the nation’s borders have been principally closed to nonresidents.

Many in Japan are jittery that the Video games may flip right into a Covid superspreader occasion. In a number of public polls, a majority mentioned they would like the Olympics be postponed once more or canceled altogether, and a few public well being consultants have questioned whether or not the Video games are protected to stage below present pandemic circumstances.

Like many other television shows, “Law & Order: SVU” had to adjust to resume production during the pandemic. The actors Ice-T and Jamie Gray Hyder shot a recent episode.
Credit score…Virginia Sherwood/NBC

The unions representing tv actors and crews are in talks with the key studios about extending — and probably altering — the pandemic security protocols they agreed on final yr, like frequent testing and letting some staff document from inside closets.

The financial results of the pandemic on the leisure business have been felt most acutely within the cities like Los Angeles and New York, the place, at the least in prepandemic instances, roughly two thirds of the nation’s movie, tv and theatrical jobs have been situated. In New York Metropolis, as an example, officers have estimated that employment within the arts, leisure and recreation sector fell by 66 % from December 2019 to December 2020.

Aiming to revive the business throughout the pandemic, tv producers mentioned that they’ve needed to take a look at a number of instances every week, rent orange-vested “Covid officers” and produce on further cleansing firms — all of which have ballooned budgets by as a lot as 15 %.

However unions have generally struggled to discover a stability between preserving employees protected and serving to them earn a dwelling: some members have complained that one union’s security guidelines have made it too exhausting to search out work.

With vaccinations rising, tv executives at the moment are having to determine which improvements of the pandemic are price holding onto, like whether or not to allow voice actors to maintain working from house or holding digital auditions.

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