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Who is a good boy? Ask those Westminster judges.



On a cold February afternoon more than two decades ago, Ted Eubank, a Texas dog breeder, stepped into the ring for the first time at a Westminster Kennel Club dog show. This was the first year that Cavalier King Charles Spaniels—the silky-eared, saucer-eyed dogs that were Mr. Eubank’s specialty—were allowed to compete in the prestigious dog show then held at Madison Square Garden. The crowd around the ring numbered 10 people, he recently recalled.

“Speak of adrenaline, oh my god,” he said.

From then on, Mr. Eubank became a seasoned rival for Westminster; his cavaliers, including one indomitable champion named Rocky, were recognized several times as the best of their breed.

But on Monday, Eubank will be a rookie again when he makes his Westminster referee debut. He expects to feel the familiar flutter when he enters the ring. “I will have butterflies,” he said.

More than 2,500 dogs – miniature pinschers, mastiffs and more – will take part in this year’s Westminster Dog Show, the second oldest regularly held sporting event in the United States. Westminster is a show for winners; only dogs that have scored points in other competitions are allowed.

For a judge at a dog show, the invitation to judge these champion dogs is a prize in itself. “I felt like I won the lottery when the letter arrived” said Michael Faulkner of Center Cross, Virginia, who first judged at Westminster in 2001. “I really cried.”

When Sharon Redmer of Whitmore Lake, Michigan, received her invitation, she was so excited that she “almost dropped the envelope,” she recalls. And Betty-Ann Stenmark, a judge from California, wasn’t ready when she was called to judge Best in Show in 2018. “I wished there was champagne in the fridge,” she said.

The Westminster judges said that choosing the best of the best is both a science and an art. The challenge requires the application of strict, rigorous (sometimes seemingly arbitrary) standards, but also, in the end, often comes down to personal taste.

“We all see things differently,” said Cindy Vogels, who will referee Westminster for the ninth time this year. “That’s the beauty of it. And that’s what keeps people coming back.”

Westminster is what is known as the conformation show, and it is the job of the conformation judge to judge how well a purebred dog represents its breed: is this curled-up dog the Platonic ideal of a poodle? Does this golden retriever look like it can hunt?

“You look at the dogs and try to identify which dog is signaling to you that it could fulfill its original job description,” he said. Patricia Craige Trotter, 2021 Best in Show winner: “We’re trying to reach a level of near-perfection in creating a working animal.”

Conformation judges must be well versed in the breed standards, which formulate in great detail the ideal version of each breed, specifying everything including desired nose pigmentation and preferred facial expression.

In the United States, becoming an approved judge typically requires over a decade of participation in dog shows, breeding and raising multiple dog litters, producing multiple champions, taking canine anatomy courses, passing at least two tests and an interview, and attending a dog show. judging institution, among other requirements.

“To tell you the truth, becoming a dog judge is harder than being a neurosurgeon,” Mr. Faulkner said.

Some judges only work for a few shows a year; others employ over 40 people traveling across Europe, Asia and Australia on assignment. To earn a seat at Westminster, which sends out invites two years in advance, the judge must be reputable and experienced, said Donald Sturz, who judged Best in Show in 2022 and is now president of the Westminster Kennel Club. According to him, the Best in Show nomination, in particular, is “the pinnacle for a dog show judge.”

Referees can spend months preparing for Westminster. Mr. Eubank, who will be judging eight breeds and varieties of miniature dogs this year, is reviewing official breed standards, watching past show judging videos and reconnecting with some of his mentors who first helped him learn the art of dog judging. .

Being a good referee also requires quick and clear analytical thinking, said Houston’s Britt Jung, who will referee for the first time at Westminster this year. Ms Jung, a former soccer player, feels the responsibility of being in top shape to the dog owners and trainers who put in so much effort to get to Westminster, so she’s gearing up like an athlete for the event.

“How do I prepare for the big game?” She said. “I eat well. I make sure I sleep well. I make sure to stick to the routine.”

When the day of judgment finally arrives, the event may seem important. Crowds in Westminster outshine people at many dog ​​shows. “You could just feel the electricity in the air as you stepped onto the mat to judge,” said Ms Vogels, who judged Best in Show in 2012.

The TV audience is upping the ante. “You hope you don’t fall on your head, get caught on your heel, and become famous for all the wrong reasons,” Mrs. Stenmark said.

But the judges said their nerves had calmed down, and the buzz of the crowd died down as soon as they began to do what they were trained to do: judge the dogs.

Since the dogs in Westminster are already seasoned champions, the Westminster title can depend on small details: the condition of the coat, the neatness of the cut, or the timing between the dog and its handler as they move around the ring. “Was it just pure poetry in motion?” Mr Faulkner said.

Often it is the inexpressible qualities that win. “It’s an extra shine,” Mrs. Stenmark said. When she judged Best in Show in 2018, she chose Flynn’s Bichon Frize, real dog cloud, as her winner. “This dog asked for it,” she said. “Every time I looked at him, he would come out on the tip of a leash, wag his tail at me, tilt his head and say:“ It will be me, right?

When dr. Fall judged Best in Show, he knew he’d found a winner when a bloodhound named Trumpet, who ruled the spotlight “in her own way, as befits a bloodhound,” gave him goosebumps, he said.

On another night, another dog might have climbed to the top. “Do you know how great athletes can relax? Well, great animals can too,” said Mrs. Trotter.

Although the breed standards provide for drawings, judges have their own preferences and priorities. For some judges, according to Mr. Eubank, scoring a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is primarily about looking for a pretty face. ( default breed requires a “sweet, gentle, melting expression.”) But for Mr. Eubank, who grew up with supersport dogs, a winning Cavalier also needs to move beautifully around the ring.

The public, which can be noisy in Westminster, often has its own preferences. But if there is wisdom in the crowd, the exterior judge cannot trust it. Audiences “just cling to something and they love it,” Mrs Vogels said. “They don’t have the experience to know if it’s great or not.”

Judging at dog shows has its drawbacks. Travel can be exhausting. Dog bites are an occupational hazard. And where there are winners, there are sometimes losers. “You’re a good man if the dog wins, and an idiot if he doesn’t,” said Mrs. Stenmark.

However, the judges stated that they could not refuse the chase, which they are drawn to for a variety of reasons. “I think it’s my favorite drug,” said Mrs. Stenmark, who said she was “in awe” when she saw the superb new dog entering the ring.

For Mr. Faulkner, who is also an artist, judging dogs engages the creative parts of his brain. “I like the part-to-whole Gestalt approach when evaluating breeding stock,” he said. “And I love balance and symmetry.”

And then, of course, dogs. Although Mr. Eubank remains a Cavalier, he loves all the breeds he will be judging on Monday.

“I love pugs, I love mini pins,” he said, referring to miniature pinschers. “I love Pekingese.”

Pomeranians? “They are the cutest.”

Havana? “Crazy about them,” he said. “I love you all.”

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Satin false nails are luxurious lingerie for your fingertips



We’re well versed in how satin eyeshadow is the perfect compromise between metallic sheen and washed out color. The same can be said for the “satin fake nails” that give that same aesthetic to the fingertips and let you go full Y2K the next time you wear that timeless staple of the ’90s: the satin slip dress.

The effect, according to the famous nail master Betina Goldstein, created by rubbing pearl powder into nail polish, is designed to mimic the sheen and texture of real satin. The easiest way is to use a varnish that already contains finely ground shimmer, for example, Manicurist Nail polish in carnation or OPI Intentions – Rose Gold.

As with any decent beauty trend, “satin nails”, “satin nail polish” and “satin nails” are all search terms that use viral numbers. on TikTok, cumulatively racking up over 130 billion views. So it’s no wonder the internet is flooded with nail artists sharing different iterations of the trend, from cool lilac to cozy nudes, including oyster and copper.

The satin overlay manicure was also recently spotted by a celebrity at the Met Gala. Goldstein coated one layer Chanel Le Verney in 167 Ballerina with pearl powder Inventing Anna actress Julia Garner, which provided fashion with a new legion of fans.

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While nail art – think watercolor nails another sunflower nails– Like catnip for maximalists in manicure, satin manicure is a chic alternative for minimalists, especially in the run-up to wedding season. It’s also perfect if you want a pearly sheen but aren’t ready for vanilla chrome nails or completely iridescent pearlescent nails.

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Here’s how to track US COVID-19 levels after May 11



COVID-19 has caused the most recent public health crisis, but unlike the three years of the pandemic, there are signs that governments and public health authorities are ready to start putting the threat back into the past. May 5 World Health Organization (WHO) announced that COVID-19 is no longer a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” but is now “an established and ongoing public health problem.” The WHO based its decision on the decline in deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 worldwide, as well as the growth of immunity against SARS-CoV-2 from both vaccines and infections.

In the US, President Joe Biden is pushing ahead with plans to end public health and national emergencies on May 11, which would mean the end of a number of disease containment measures.

These decisions do not mean that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, but that it is moving into a more manageable phase. In the US, this will mean the end of things like free tests and vaccines that have been provided by the federal government (and will continue to be provided until they run out). To receive and pay for them, people will now use insurance coverage or, for those who are not insured, public health services.

How the US monitors and controls COVID-19 will also change. “We have lived through a historic moment that forced the federal government to mobilize tremendous support to respond to COVID-19,” says Jen Cates, director of global health and HIV at the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. “When the public health emergency is over, we will return to the normal system and not all of our problems will be solved.”

Here’s how COVID-19 data will change after the end of the public health emergency on May 11.

What will change:

Color cards will disappear

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will stop tracking community levels of COVID-19: PCR-confirmed case counts down to the county level that states were required to report to the CDC. This aggregated information allowed the agency to provide people with an easy-to-understand color-based metric to determine whether cases are low (green), moderate (yellow) or high (red) where they live. This system has helped individuals, as well as organizations such as schools and hospitals, make decisions about whether to recommend behavioral changes, such as wearing a mask.

After May 11, states and jurisdictions will no longer be required to report cases to the CDC, so the data the agency receives will not allow them to accurately determine the burden of COVID-19 cases in any county.

Hospitalization data will replace it

The CDC will now rely on hospitalization data that hospitals will continue to report to the CDC. Hospitalization is “a major factor in the spread of COVID-19 in the community,” the doctor said. Brendan Jackson, CDC COVID-19 Response Lead, during a briefing. 5 May report, CDC scientists conducted an analysis comparing hospitalization data and its correlation with infection rates in the community, and found a 99% agreement between the two. “We’ll still be able to tell it’s snowing even if we no longer count every snowflake,” the doctor said. Nirav Shah, Chief Deputy Director of the CDC.

But instead of reporting admissions daily, as hospitals do now, they will report weekly.

Other systems, such as wastewater surveillance, will help provide insight into how COVID-19 cases can decrease and decrease across communities. CDC National Wastewater Surveillance System, launched in 2020, involves collecting wastewater and testing it for SARS-CoV-2 at hundreds of facilities covering 140 million people (about 40% of the US population). “Wastewater allows us to gain insight not only into COVID-19 but other infectious diseases as well,” Shah said. “This is one of those early sentinel markers that we use to see where things are going, and we intend to continue the investment the CDC has made in this system.”

PCR lab tests will no longer be tracked

After May 11, we will also no longer have information on the “positive rate” or percentage of positive COVID-19 tests in a given area. This is because to calculate this measure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention needs to have data from all lab results, including negative ones, to determine what percentage of the total is positive. But after May 11, most labs will no longer be required to report negative test results.

CDC will now rely on labs to voluntarily report data

While the CDC has agreements with some labs to continue reporting negative results, the agency is moving to include COVID-19 in its National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System, a network of 450 labs across the country that test and voluntarily report respiratory disease results. . . The network does not include all laboratories testing for COVID-19, but it is a representative sample that will continue to provide information to the CDC on when and where new cases of COVID-19 may appear.

In addition, the agency will also receive data from its National Syndrome Surveillance Program, which collects emergency department data from 6,300 health facilities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam. The network covers about 75% of all emergency visits in the US, and weekly estimates of how many people test positive for COVID-19 during visits could provide early clues as to whether cases are on the rise.

What will remain the same:

Vaccination data will continue to be tracked in the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracking System. Nearly all of the 64 states and jurisdictions (such as the Marshalls and Virgin Islands) that work with the CDC have signed data use agreements in which they will continue to provide information about how many shots they have received.

The CDC also wants to continue monitoring the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. WAERS system. V safe The system, which was created specifically to monitor side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine via a smartphone app, will no longer accept new reports, but the CDC plans to release a new version of V-safe later this year.

Deaths from COVID-19 will also continue to show up in the COVID-19 data tracker, but more accurately, Jackson said. Until now, deaths have been recorded by the date they were reported, which allowed for some lag and inaccuracies in comparing them with peak incidence. The CDC will move to reporting COVID-19 deaths based on death certificates that list the date of death, which is a more timely indicator.

The CDC will continue to conduct genomic sequencing of positive samples – both from people in the US and from travelers who have arrived from abroad and tested positive – to track new variants. Samples from the National Wastewater Surveillance System are also genetically sequenced, and together these sources are early indicators of new variants that may be causing infections in the US.

The CDC plans to launch a new COVID-19 data tracking website incorporating these changes on May 11, which will be updated weekly to keep the public informed of changing COVID-19 trends.

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What does the end of the COVID-19 pandemic mean?



Dr. Joseph Varon comforts a patient in the COVID-19 ICU on Thanksgiving Day at the United Memorial Medical Center on November 26, 2020 in Houston. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images)

The World Health Organization’s announcement Friday that the coronavirus emergency is “over” marked the end of a three-year journey in which the world has changed due to a pandemic that has killed at least 7 million people, and sparked a lot of speculation about what it will look like. life in the 21st century.

This unpleasant journey began on January 30, 2000, when Dr. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says new coronavirus was a serious enough threat to cause a worldwide public health emergency..

At that time, 170 deaths were confirmed in China, where the virus arose somewhere at the end of 2019but Tedros said he expected things to get worse.

“All countries must be ready for containment,” he said.

The virus has swept from China to Iran to Italy. The United States braced for the strike, hoping to somehow avoid the strike. Twenty-one people on the Grand Princess cruise ship fell ill. Trump said he was glad passengers would remain quarantined off the coast of Northern California.

World Health Organization Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks at a press conference marking the organization’s 75th anniversary in Geneva April 6. (Fabris Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

“I love it when the numbers are where they are,” he said during a March 7 visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta. “I don’t need the numbers to double because of one ship.”

But the virus has been relentless, thriving in a globalized world of easy travel dotted with crowded cities crisscrossed by commercial aviation routes. If the disease was a metaphor, then the coronavirus was too fitting for a hot and crowded planet.

On March 11, Tedros announced that the coronavirus was a pandemic. United States went into isolation. Europe followed suit, and the apparent fullness of human civilization came to a halt. The big cities are empty, the rich are fleeing to the countryside, the tourists are gone. The planes were empty. Restaurants passed takeout orders through plastic screens. People are disinfected and washed. The handwashing video has gone viral.

At the time, the Trump administration implemented what it called strategy “15 days to slow down the spread”. Health experts have assured the public that the incidence curve will flatten. Over time, herd immunity will prevail.

After weeks of taking the virus seriously, Trump lost his patience. He predicted that the pandemic would be over by Easter. Some Republican state governors have rushed to reopen restaurants and other establishments.

President Donald Trump with a wry smile and Vice President Mike Pence next to him holding a stack of papers.

Then-President Donald Trump speaks at the start of a new conference with members of his coronavirus task force, including Vice President Mike Pence, at the White House on February 26, 2020. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

It will be three years of masks, swabs and vaccinations before the coronavirus becomes a global dormant. The availability of vaccines, combined with the protection gained from prior infection, simply gave the virus fewer and fewer opportunities to spread.

Much of the country remained cautious well into 2021, especially in Democratic-controlled states and cities. But then they, too, became impatient, especially after the widespread availability of vaccines greatly reduced the risk of death and serious illness. And, as the Republicans’ surprising victory in Virginia’s gubernatorial election showed, dissatisfaction with pandemic-related restrictions can lead to serious political losses.

After the worst part of the Omicron wave passed in January 2022, the restrictions were gradually lifted and in most places have never returned. Others have been challenged in court, as was the case with the Biden administration. travel mask requirements and corporate vaccine mandates. In the late 2020s, the “we’re in this together” spirit dissipated, revealing a nation as highly polarized as ever.

However, when Tedros briefed the media on Friday, he had to pretty much acknowledge what had become clear: “With great hope,” he stated, “I declare COVID-19 a global health emergency.” transition to long-term management of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Shoppers, some wearing masks, look at a mobile phone as they wait for a table outside a restaurant in a busy shopping area on April 18, 2023 in Beijing, China.  China's National Bureau of Statistics reported 4.5 percent year-over-year GDP growth in the first quarter of 2023 as the world's second-largest economy showed signs of growth after the three-year strict zero regime of Covid measures ended earlier this year.  (Kevin Fryer/Getty Images)

A couple checks their mobile phones as they wait for a table outside a restaurant in a busy shopping area on April 18 in Beijing. (Kevin Fryer/Getty Images)

His statement was symbolic. Just when a virus becomes endemic, forming a predictable pattern, is a matter of epidemiological debate that Tedros has not attempted to resolve. He also noted that the virus continues to kill and infect thousands of people around the world every day. “This virus is here to stay. It still kills and it still changes,” Tedros said.

Now most people seem ready to live with this reality. Even China, long the most cautious of countries, abandoned its onerous zero-COVID policy after public anger over lockdowns and relentless testing escalated into public protests late last year.

In the US, the public health and national emergency regime is also coming to an end. Vaccination Requirements for Federal Employees and Travelers dropping next week. President Biden now travels frequently and hosts large gatherings at the White House, where mask-wearing is increasingly rare.

on Friday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, often criticized by Republicans for its unwavering support for vaccines and masks, announced that she was leaving the agency. The CDC’s coronavirus dashboard is also shrinking as most people don’t check infection rates before making weekend plans.

Malik Jaffer, the head nurse, in blue nitrile gloves, prepares a syringe.

Malik Jaffer, Chief Nurse, prepares to administer the COVID vaccine at the People’s Congregational United Church of Christ, on the grounds of the Covid Center in D.C. Ward 4, in Washington, D.C. on March 31, which was due to close shortly. (Eric Lee for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

However, many Americans still remain cautious, disguising themselves even on the street, continuing to be tested at the slightest hint of illness, and avoiding large gatherings indoors. Although they are a dwindling minority, they believe that Americans are too easy to give up on the vulnerable — the elderly, those with weak immune systems — because they want to crowd restaurants and sports arenas again.

The end of the WHO emergency may give some courage to those who say that any remnants of pandemic life – for example, many institutions are left with useless plastic screens – should be ended.

There remains a hidden desire to return to the world as it was in 2019, when no one thought to hoard KN-95 face masks.

However, this world is no more.

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