Beauty and Fashion

We're due to give birth during coronavirus lockdown – now we're terrified we'll have to do it alone

TERRIFIED mums fear giving birth alone after Britain went into lockdown just days before they were due to deliver. 

It comes as New York hospital Columbia University Medical Center revealed it had BANNED dads from attending their partners’ births amid the coronavirus outbreak and the Royal College of Midwives telling Fabulous any birthing partner showing signs of coronavirus would be forbidden from the delivery room. 

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Birte Harlev-Lam, Executive Director for Professional Leadership at The Royal College of Midwives, urged expectant mums to plan for a backup birthing partner as the coronavirus gripped Britain.

However, Jenny Meecham, 33, from  Grimsby, North Lincs., who is due with a girl tomorrow, hasn't anyone available.

"There's only my mum Janet and my sister Lucy and if mu husband, Rob, gets sick then mum'll look after the kids and Lucy has her own family," she said.

"I'll be on my own."

Meanwhile, Emily Scott, 28, from York, who is 38 weeks pregnant, also worries she will be delivering alone.

Emily, mum to 17-month-old Lucas, said: "I just have to keep thinking it will be okay in the end."

Jenny, already mum to Emma, 11, and Greg, five, is due to attend Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in the town to discuss a possible induction tomorrow. 

She is concerned as, as well as suffering from asthma, she will have a big baby.

Her first two children weighed in at a hefty 10lb 8oz and 10lb 9oz respectively.

Scans indicate this baby, a girl, is likely to measure a similar weight – so doctors might forgo a natural labour in favour of an induced birth or even a c-section.

Jenny, a blogger and freelance writer, told how she hoped writer husband Rob, 38, would be there with her when she gives birth, but admitted she could be delivering alone if either he, or their only childcare – mum Janet – displayed any symptoms of corona and couldn’t care for the children.

“The plan is for Rob to drive me to hospital and the kids to go to my mum’s home,” said Jenny. “She is 70 – so in the risk category – but healthy and has been self-isolating. 

“It isn’t ideal but we haven’t got a lot of options as my dad has passed away, Rob’s dad died a few months ago and his mum is poorly.

“I just really don’t want to be in hospital too long. 

“One doctor said to me, ‘the safest place you can be right now is at home’.

“My fear is that more and more coronavirus patients will come into hospital while I am giving birth or have a newborn.

“But I am likely to have a big baby, so I might have to be induced or have a c-section and then I will be there for days.

“I’m dreading that because I was told I was safest at home, not in hospital.

“I want her to arrive sooner, rather than later, as I think it will only get worse.”

Jenny, who has been self-isolating along with her family for three weeks, told how she was sad her mum would not meet her new granddaughter immediately, as she had her previous grandchildren.

“But it is simply not safe,” she added. “My sister, Rob’s siblings and my nieces and nephews won’t either as they attend three different schools and they are being kept separate from us.

“It’s really sad as I would love them to see her.

“Having a new baby is so special, but we can’t risk it. Me, Rob and Greg are asthmatic so we have to be extra cautious.”
She told – how despite Brits being allowed to go out once a day to exercise – she intended not to take her daughter for walks in the pram.

“That’s what mums do,” she said. “Walk for miles so their baby sleeps. But I just can’t risk that.

“So I will only be taking her out in the garden. I am worried, of course I am, but I am trying to be calm.”

However, Jenny has had to turn to Amazon to buy baby essentials including breast pads for double the price.

“I paid £4 for 20 which I will get through in a couple of days, so I don’t know what to do,” she said. 

“You bleed a lot after giving birth and we had totally run out of toilet roll so we used our business account and spent £43 on a couple of industrial sized rolls.”

She’s also seen midwife appointments cancelled and is worried about her healthcare visits post-birth, where the baby’s weight and progress is checked, disappearing.

Emily’s husband, who asked not to be named, is a key worker in food production and his parents are nearly 70, placing them in a difficult situation.

We know this is a really worrying time for pregnant women and having the reassurance of their birth partner is more important than ever. However, if they do have COVID-19 or symptoms of it, they won’t be able to be at the birth.

She said: “We had been relying on them to take our boy but my father-in-law has heart and lung conditions so is high risk.

“If we all stay symptom free, they say they will still take our son when I go into labour, but if my husband and I get symptoms we cannot risk infecting his parents so have no idea what we will do.

“It's all very scary and is giving me lots of anxiety.

"My first birth was pretty traumatic – four days of contractions and nine hours of pushing.

"I'm anxious about having endless contractions again this time.

"My midwife told me last week that if I were to have virus symptoms and when I go into labour, everything would be the same but the midwives in the hospital would be wearing full protective suits. But otherwise nothing will be different. That was before these tighter restrictions though.

"I've heard that only your birth partner can enter the ward and visit, but that is to be expected in this situation.

"I have no idea what I would do without my husband there through the birth. It's not something I want to think about really as it would be very tough and emotional without him.

"The thought of holding my newborn baby without him there is devastating. But I expect the midwives would be even more caring and helpful if I had to be alone.

“My parents are in London so unable to step in. 

“Knowing it is unlikely they will be able to come and meet the newborn is absolutely devastating, plus I have constant fear of not being able to get milk for my son or nappies for the baby.

"I just have to keep thinking it will be okay in the end."


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Anonymous mums-to-be  have also voiced their concern on Mumsnet.

One woman said: “I'm due a baby, but in the UK. I'm terrified of this, but understand it may happen, and trying to get my head round it.”

Another added: “My daughter is pregnant, not due yet, but we have no idea how long this will go on.

“I imagine this is something she's very worried about as her husband has always been very important to her feelings of comfort and support during birth.

“I also don't know if I would be permitted to go and look after their other children either while she's in labour, it's all very worrying.”

Ms Harlev-Lam from The Royal College of Midwives, said: “We know this is a really worrying time for pregnant women and having the reassurance of their birth partner is more important than ever. If your birth partner does not have COVID-19 or any symptoms, then there should be no barriers to them being with you.

"However, if they do have COVID-19 or symptoms of it, they won’t be able to be at the birth. This is for your and your baby’s safety, as well as that of the midwives and maternity staff.

“If it’s possible that your birth partner may not be at the birth, start thinking about an alternative birth partners as a back-up. This could be a friend, another family member or a doula.

“This is a new disease, and, as such, we are developing our knowledge quickly, which means the guidance may change. Remember, you can speak to your midwife to discuss your options.”

Desperate mums were forced to turn to eBay for baby milk after shops sold out – and were shocked to find it on sale for £155.

And this mum told how she battled swine flu, as coronavirus grips the world.


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Traces of coronavirus were found in cruise ship cabins 17 days after they were vacated – The Sun

TRACES of coronavirus have been found on a contaminated cruise ship 17 days after passengers left, a new study has found.

The study was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on the Diamond Princess which previously reported more than 700 cases of coronavirus.

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The research looked at rooms which were vacated by infected passengers, both those with symptoms and those without.

However, the study could not confirm whether this meant the virus could be transmitted from the surfaces to people, depending on it's survivability.

It explained: "SARS-CoV-2 RNA was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted.

"Although these data cannot be used to determine whether transmission occurred from contaminated surfaces, further study of fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 aboard cruise ships is warranted."

Previous studies found the virus survived for much shorter times, depending on the surface they were located on.

For example, the active virus appeared to survive three days on plastic and stainless steel, and just 24 hours on cardboard.

Yet many experts are conflicted over how long the virus survives on surfaces – British doctor Professor Chris Whitty suggests a timeframe of 72 hours – meaning people could be at risk for up to three days.

However, German scientist, Professor Gunter Kampf, found it could survive for up to nine days on plastic and fives days on glass, metal, and wood.

To compare, normal flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces and infect another person for 24 to 48 hours.

The Diamond Princess was put on lockdown just off the port of Yokohama in January after more than 700 cases of coronavirus were confirmed on the ship.

Another Princess Cruises liner, the Grand Princess, was also quarantined on the coast of the US after a number of coronavirus cases on board.

Princess Cruises has since suspended their entire fleet of ships.


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More than 600 Brits are currently stuck on a Caribbean cruise ship due to a coronavirus outbreak.

One worried relative explained on social media: "My father-in-law, 85 with one lung, is on Braemar with his wife. He will be running short of medication."

We've explained what to do if you have a cruise holiday booked for the future, and how you can get a refund or reschedule it.

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Turns Out, We're All Terrible at Washing Our Hands

When it comes to washing our hands, Americans need a bit of work. In fact, a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that 97 percent of the time, we’re not washing our hands correctly during food preparation. Considering that 100 percent of us need to eat, this is a problem. And, with cold, flu season and concerns about the novel coronavirus leading to experts imploring people to practice better hand hygiene, we feel it’s necessarily to explore what exactly is up here.

So, what are we doing wrong? We’re rushing, the USDA says, which can lead to cross-contamination of food and other surfaces, potentially resulting in foodborne illness. Specifically, we’re not spending the minimum of 20 seconds washing our hands, and many people aren’t using a clean towel to dry their hands. Both of those are problematic and can contribute to the spread of bacteria.

“As a mother of three young children, I am very familiar with the mad dash families go through to put dinner on the table,” Carmen Rottenberg, acting deputy under secretary for food safety at USDA, said in a statement. “You can’t see, smell or feel bacteria. By simply washing your hands properly, you can protect your family and prevent that bacteria from contaminating your food and key areas in your kitchen.”

Foodborne illness is a pretty big deal: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million Americans get sick with them each year, resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. People with compromised immune systems as well as children and older adults are particularly at risk of getting sick from food that’s not properly handled.

Tips for effective handwashing

So, how should you be washing your hands? Mayo Clinic provides these steps:

  • Wet your hands with running water — either warm or cold.
  • Apply liquid, bar or powder soap to a cupped hand.
  • Lather well.
  • Rub your hands, palm to palm, vigorously for at least 20 seconds. (Sure, go ahead and sing “Happy Birthday” in your head if it helps.) Remember to scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
  • Rinse well.
  • Dry your hands with a clean towel.
  • Use the towel to turn off the faucet.

This is especially important when you’re preparing food to ensure you don’t get yourself or other people sick. Unlike so many things in life, washing your hands properly is something we can all do — it’s well worth the extra 20 seconds.

A version of this story was originally published in July 2018.

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This is where we’re at with Henrik Lundqvist

This was not Willie Mays falling down in center field. Not even in the ballpark. So let’s get that straight.

But to have to issue that disclaimer up front about Henrik Lundqvist’s first start since Feb. 3 and fourth in 60 days is disheartening enough in itself.

For imagine having the obligation to inform the audience that the greatest goaltender in franchise history did not embarrass himself on the Garden ice.

For a few brief shining moments, when the announcement of the starting goaltender’s name was greeted by a spirited ovation and then when the building rocked with bygone chants of “Henrik … Henrik …” when Lundqvist turned away Jake Voracek’s 40-foot drive on the power play, it sounded like 2012.

But then not so long after, with the Flyers not only capitalizing on that early power play to score on a rebound at 1:52 but on a second man-advantage to score on a rebound at 11:19, and then on a Rangers’ power play to score shorthanded on an odd-man rush for a 3-0 lead at 17:53 of the opening period, it sounded and looked like 2004.

“When you haven’t played in a long time, personally, you want to go out there and try to grow and build a good feeling, but obviously that was pretty tough when you give up three first-period goals,” said the reflective and realistic Lundqvist. “I don’t think I was very good.

“I was hoping for a better feeling personally coming out there but a lot of times you create that feeling by doing a lot of good things. I felt like I was doing a few good things and then when you put yourself in that kind of hole, three or four goals [down], it’s hard to play a patient game.

“So it is what it is. I knew coming into this game it would be a great challenge for me to be on top of my game,” said the King, who will turn 38 on Monday. “I’ve been working hard, but in the end it’s about how you focus and making good decisions.”

Lundqvist did appear to move and react more instinctively as the match evolved instead of looking wooden in his movements as he had early in the contest. Of course he did and of course he did. It is impossible to say whether October’s Lundqvist would have yielded those three in the first period, or whether 2014’s Lundqvist would have been able to prevent Derek Grant from scoring on a semi-breakaway 83 seconds into the second period, or whether February’s Igor Shesterkin or Alex Georgiev would have stopped any or all of Philadelphia’s filthy five.

Impossible to say and also immaterial, for this is the scenario the Rangers created when the hierarchy chose to consign Lundqvist to third-wheel status in the aftermath of Shesterkin’s promotion on Jan. 6 and Georgiev’s outstanding work in a backup role. This isn’t about next year. This isn’t about an offseason conversation. This is about the push to the playoffs, which has been entrusted to and enabled by the two young guys, who have combined for a .929 save percentage, 2.49 GAA and 15-5 record while the senior citizen has gone 1-3 with a .865 save percentage and 3.75 GAA.

Of course, some of this as it relates to Lundqvist has become an organizational self-fulfilling prophecy/vicious circle. The less the Swede plays, the less likely he is to play well. The less likely he is to play well, the less likely coach David Quinn is likely to tab him for a starting assignment. There is no question that Lundqvist’s self-confidence is at a low ebb. How could it not be?

If Shesterkin had not suffered that non-displaced rib fracture in last Sunday’s car crash, Lundqvist might not have gotten another start until after the Blueshirts either clinched or were mathematically eliminated from a playoff spot. The Rangers had their rotation.

Georgiev, who has never started more than three straight games, will all but certainly get the call for Tuesday’s Garden match against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Blues. The Caps are in on Thursday, then the Devils on March 8. Would the Rangers be comfortable giving Lundqvist either of those games?

Or, barring disastrous results, would they be more comfortable riding Georgiev until Shesterkin, who is already back on the ice taking low shots, is able to return, which could be sooner rather than later?

Asked and answered, don’t you think?

Again. This is not about next year, it is not about the summer, it is not about the King’s legacy. It is about now as the Rangers attempt to reassert themselves in the race following consecutive subpar performances against a superior team.

It is about Henrik Lundqvist finally getting a chance to play and not embarrassing himself, and did I just write that?

Good grief.

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TV and Movies

How Old Were the Spider-Man Actors When They Started Playing Peter Parker: Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland?

Within the last two decades, three actors have taken on Marvel’s iconic web-slinger. Tobey Maguire’s depiction still holds its own among Spider-Man comparisons, while Andrew Garfield boasts a select group of admirers, who often claim his Spidey persona was spot-on. And finally, Tom Holland’s Parker — coming onto the scene much younger than his predecessors — has played Stark’s protege in the MCU. Holland plays a young Spider-Man whose geeky and awkward Peter Parker is just as perfect as his quick-tongued and combat-confident Spidey. 

While all three actors played a high school student, some were a bit older when they jumped into the suit than you may have realized. While the character-to-actor age differences between the first two Parkers and their portrayers were not on the Rizzo to Stockard Channing level (the actor was 33 in Grease), they were just about there! So, how old was each actor when they began playing Parker? 

Tobey Maguire played Spider-Man into his thirties 

Tobey Maguire first appeared as Spider-Man in Sam Raimi’s 2002 directorial take on the Marvel character. Tobey Maguire played in the most familiar Spidey narrative (to those knowledgeable concerning the source material). He battled the Green Goblin and was always rescuing Mary Jane — a cliche damsel in distress — from life or death situations. 

Tobey Maguire was born in 1975, which made him 27 when the first Spider-Man hit silver screens. By the time Spider-Man 3 came out, Tobey Maguire was 32 years old! While he definitely has a young face and did not appear his age, he was still quite older than the character he was portraying. 

Andrew Garfield was 29 when ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ premiered 

Andrew Garfield was even older than Tobey Maguire when he took on Peter Parker. He first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012; born in 1983, he went on to appear in the sequel two years later, making him another 30-something-year-old actor to appear as a high school student. 

While Garfield and Tobey Maguire were solid web-slingers (according to different criteria), Kevin Feige knew that the MCU’s Spidey would have to stand the test of time — he would have to be much younger given the journey he would endure, and they cast the character appropriately (in comparison to the others). 

Tom Holland was 20 in ‘Captain America: Civil War’

While Marvel Studios failed to cast an actual high school student to play Peter Parker, they came much closer with Tom Holland’s iteration. Tom Holland was born in 1996, and he first appeared as “underoos” in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, making him 20 years old when he began playing the character. 

Holland will likely finish off his run as Spidey before turning 30, hopefully leaving less than a decade gap between the character he plays and his actual age (depending on release dates and MCU narrative choices). This time around, the actor behind Parker likely still remembers what high school feels like! 

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Chelsea were gutless and weak-minded vs Bayern but focus is long-term and Lampard needs transfers to make that happen – The Sun

REALISATIONS of the big task Lampard has triggered after Bayern defeat, focus must be long term.

As I reflect on the loss against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, it really was a case of men versus boys despite both sides having a similar average age on the night.

I started this season full of excitement when Frank Lampard took charge, and that feeling is still there because I believe he is the one to bring Chelsea back to the top again.

Although my expectations were not high this season, Tuesday night bought home a reality to Chelsea fans like myself.

I perhaps had a clouded judgement at the start of the season due to the excitement surrounding Lampard’s return.

Chelsea were non-existent after Bayern scored their first goal. They didn’t give up as such, but they just faded away gradually like the sunset going down.

There were no leaders even attempting to hype the players up and give them belief that they could get straight back into the game. They were gutless, and weak-minded. This is an issue that has been breeding in certain players in this squad for years, and now Lampard is the one trying to pick that up.

But you have to look at the reality of the situation and see that this defeat and the manner of it, is really what we should have expected this season. Let’s look at the facts:

  • Lampard is coaching in his first season in the Premier League.
  • He could not sign any players to improve a squad that already lacked quality due to the summers transfer ban.
  • He lost Chelsea’s best player, a player that carried this team for years in the shape of Eden Hazard.
  • Despite asking, he was not given any new signings in January.

Lampard’s position is much more difficult than Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte, and Maurizio Sarri before him, purely because he does not have a star game changing player like Hazard, and he is yet to make any of his own signings.

In fact, Lampard doesn’t even really have a world class player as such, with N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic perhaps being the only two with a claim for that name.

Lampard cannot be judged for his work at Chelsea until the end of next season, after 2-3 transfer windows that allows him to build his own squad.

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