US lockdown protests may have spread virus widely, cellphone data suggests

Devices associated with protesters travelled up to hundreds of miles after rallies where few precautions were taken

Cellphone location data suggests that demonstrators at anti-lockdown protests – some of which have been connected with Covid-19 cases – are often traveling hundreds of miles to events, returning to all parts of their states, and even crossing into neighboring ones.

The data, provided to the Guardian by the progressive campaign group the Committee to Protect Medicare, raises the prospect that the protests will play a role in spreading the coronavirus epidemic to areas which have, so far, experienced relatively few infections.

The anonymized location data was captured from opt-in cellphone apps, and data scientists at the firm VoteMap used it to determine the movements of devices present at protests in late April and early May in five states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado and Florida.

Related: Protesters descend on Michigan capitol but rain washes away demonstration

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Australia coronavirus live news: Albanese sets Labor’s vision for recovery; deficit could grow to $143bn – latest updates

In a speech to caucus, the Labor leader will say Australia should not ‘snap back’ to insecure work. Follow all the latest news and updates, live

The Australian Association of Social Workers want the government to increase the number of mental health sessions allowable under Medicare, given the increased pressure people are living under – and will have to live under, for sometime to come.

At the moment, you can get up to 10. The AASW wants that doubled (at least). From national president Christine Craik:

Accredited Mental Health Social Workers (AMHSWs) have reported instances of their clients rationing their sessions despite significant concerns about their mental health and a worsening of symptoms as this pandemic continues. Social workers have reported observing an increase in service users presenting with suicidal thoughts and concerning behaviours. This is not surprising given the current circumstances, however supporting someone through this is difficult with the limited number of sessions available at the present time.

People are experiencing heightened anxiety with this pandemic, due to many stressors including, loss of income, financial pressure, isolation, uncertainty about the future and for some, dealing with this alongside existing mental health issues. We are seeing an increase in incidents of family violence and worsening drug and alcohol abuse. It is clear that if we are to work to support the mental health of Australians through this pandemic and into recovery, there needs to be adequate service provision.

It’s been a slow start to the sixth day of hearings in the Ruby Princess special inquiry. But commissioner Bret Walker SC has passed some interesting comment on the responsibility of the NSW Port Authority.

The inquiry is deciding whether or not to ask more questions of Cameron Butchart, who was the duty harbourmaster on March 18 and 19. The legal team for Carnival Australia, who are the operators of the Ruby Princess, want to question Butchart on some of his evidence.

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