The new Amazfit Band 5 fitness tracker drops to $30 (save $20)


The Amazfit Band 5 is slim, capable and affordable, and it lets you choose between dozens of slick faces.

Rick Broida/CNET

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Looking for a budget fitness band to slap on your wrist? The new Amazfit Band 5 deserves careful consideration, and not just because it’s only $50. It’s because for a limited time, and while supplies last, the Amazfit Band 5 is on sale for just $30. That’s the best deal to date; just last week, it was $35. (If Amazon’s supply runs out, you can get the Band 5 from Amazfit proper for the same price and with more color options.)

If this looks a bit familiar, perhaps you’re thinking of the Xiaomi Mi Band 5. You’re not wrong: The two are virtually identical. (Fun fact: Amazfit is owned by Huami, which is a manufacturing partner of Xiaomi.) I’d go so far as to say they’re indistinguishable, though there are a couple key internal differences:


The Band 5 on the left is a little better than the Band 5 on the right. And they’re priced within about $5 of each other. 


The Band 5 — the Amazfit Band 5 — ticks an impressive number of fitness boxes. It measures heart rate, blood oxygen level, steps, sleep, women’s health and more. It can also monitor your stress levels and run guided breathing exercises.

On the watch front, you get a choice of over 45 colorful faces, plus the typical stuff like notifications, call alerts, meeting reminders and so on. You can’t reply to a text message, but you can decline a phone call. You can also control music playback and your phone’s camera shutter. Good stuff.

Amazfit promises up to 15 days of operation on a charge with typical usage, or 25 days of power-saving usage. (That means no HR monitoring or the like.) I wasn’t able to put the battery to the test, but even if those estimates are high, the Band 5 will outlast many other fitness bands.

Another notable feature: built-in Alexa. This was very much in beta during my tests, and it showed: A while after authorizing the Band 5’s app to work with my Alexa account, that authorization was lost; I had to set it up again. After that, I’d get “server is busy” or “could you repeat that” messages when trying to issue certain commands. It just didn’t work reliably.

Meanwhile, it’s not a hands-free implementation — to use it, you swipe right from the clock screen — and because the Band 5 has no speaker, you won’t hear audible responses. Of course, your phone needs to be in proximity as well, with the Zepp app running.

Yep: Zepp. That’s the new name for Amazfit’s app, just to keep things good and

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Study suggests coronavirus immunity drops after 3 months

A new study suggests immunity to coronavirus may drop over several months.

Over 365,000 people across England took finger prick tests from late June to September, as part of Imperial College London’s Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission (REACT) study. Findings were published ahead of peer review on Thursday.

Findings stemmed from finger prick tests, researchers said. (iStock)

Findings stemmed from finger prick tests, researchers said. (iStock)

The finger pricks tested for coronavirus antibodies, and results revealed a drop from nearly 6% to 4.4% over a three-month span, which researchers said translates to a 26.5% decline.

If a person tests positive for antibodies, it means they were once infected.


“Our study shows that over time there is a reduction in the proportion of people testing positive for antibodies,” Paul Elliott, study author and professor at Imperial College London, said in a university news release. “It remains unclear what level of immunity antibodies provide, or for how long this immunity lasts.”

The study and university release included suggestions over declining immunity.

“These findings suggest that there may be a decline in the level of immunity in the population in the months following the first wave of the epidemic,” per the university release. Likewise, the study says: “These data suggest the possibility of decreasing population immunity and increasing risk of reinfection as detectable antibodies decline in the population.”

More specifically, the study tested for detectable IgG antibodies. When a virus attacks, the body first produces IgM antibodies, which indicate active or recent infection. IgG antibodies develop later, and often indicate a past infection.


Across three rounds in the REACT study, 17,576 results returned positive, and 30% of people were asymptomatic. The largest reduction in antibody prevalence was among the oldest age group, 75 and above, at 39%, per the university release. The youngest age group saw the least reduction at nearly 15%. 

A lead study author stressed the importance of mitigation measures. 

“This very large study has shown that the proportion of people with detectable antibodies is falling over time,” said Helen Ward, professor at Imperial College London. “We don’t yet know whether this will leave these people at risk of reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19, but it is essential that everyone continues to follow guidance to reduce the risk to themselves and others.”


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Idaho county drops mask mandate despite warning of overwhelmed hospital

Boise, Idaho — Moments after hearing an Idaho hospital was overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients and looking at sending people as far away as Seattle for care, members of a regional health department board voted Thursday to repeal a local mask mandate.
“Most of our medical surgical beds at Kootenai Health are full,” Panhandle Health District epidemiologist Jeff Lee told board members in the state’s third most populated county.

The hospital in Coeur d’Alene reached 99% capacity a day earlier, even after doubling up patients in rooms and buying more hospital beds. Idaho is one of several states where a surge of COVID-19 infections is overwhelming hospitals, likely in part because cooler weather is sending people indoors, U.S. health officials said.

A Kootenai Health nurse works on a computer while caring for a patient on the COVID-19 isolation ward at the hospital in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in an undated photo provided by Kootenai Health. 

Kootenai Health/Handout

“We’re facing staff shortages, and we have a lot of physician fatigue. This has been going on for seven months — we’re tired,” Lee said.
He introduced several doctors who testified about the struggle COVID-19 patients face, the burden on hospitals and how masks reduce the spread of the virus.

But the board voted 4-3 to end the mask mandate. Board members overseeing the operations of Idaho’s public health districts are appointed by county commissioners and not required to have any medical experience.
Board member Walt Kirby said he was giving up on the idea of controlling the spread of coronavirus.
“I personally do not care whether anybody wears a mask or not. If they want to be dumb enough to walk around and expose themselves and others, that’s fine with me,” Kirby said. “Nobody’s wearing the damned mask anyway… I’m sitting back and watching them catch it and die. Hopefully I’ll live through it.”

Wisconsin sees record COVID-19 death toll


Another member, Allen Banks, denied COVID-19 exists.

“Something’s making these people sick, and I’m pretty sure that it’s not coronavirus, so the question that you should be asking is, ‘What’s making them sick?'” he told the medical professionals who testified.
Similar scenes — with doctors and nurses asking officials for help, only to be met with reluctance or even open skepticism — have played out across the conservative state. Idaho is sixth in the nation for new coronavirus cases per capita, with the average number of confirmed cases increasing by more than 55% every day over the past two weeks.
Still, Republican Gov. Brad Little has declined to issue a statewide mask mandate or limit crowd sizes beyond requiring social distancing at large events and in businesses, which is seldom enforced. Instead, Little has left it up to local health departments and school districts to make the tough decisions that sometimes come with blowback from the public.

Coronavirus cases surge in the Dakotas


In the southern city of Twin Falls, hospital officials told health board members this week that they too were

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VA Coronavirus Positive Test Rate Drops Below 5 Percent Again

VIRGINIA — The Virginia Department of Health reported 926 new cases of the coronavirus and 28 new deaths of people with COVID-19 on Tuesday. The new cases bring the cumulative total to 167,754 since the start of the pandemic. Across the state, 3,485 people have died from the disease.

The seven-day positive rate of PCR tests is 4.8 percent as of Oct. 16, down from 5 percent the previous day. There have been 2,411,940 PCR tests completed to date, a 12,829 increase from Monday. Positive averages of tests by region include 4.1 percent in the northern and northwest regions, 4.5 percent in the central region, 4.6 percent in the eastern region, and 7.1 percent in the southwest.

By region, Tuesday’s 926 new cases included 308 in the southwest region, 193 in the northern region, 155 in the central region, 149 in the eastern region, and 121 in the northwest region.

The VDH reported 937 hospitalizations on Tuesday, down from 972 on Monday. The regional breakdown is 228 in the central region, 202 in the northern region, 202 in the southwest region, 174 in the eastern region, 131 in the northwest region.

Across the state, 19,170 COVID-19 patients have been discharged to date, as reported by the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. No hospitals reported difficulty Tuesday obtaining personal protective equipment or other medical supplies in the next 72 hours.

There are 98 current COVID-19 patients on ventilators, up from 81 reported on Monday, according to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. Ventilator use among all Virginia hospital patients is at 23 percent, the association said.

ICU patients across Virginia totaled 194 on Tuesday, down from 210 the day before. ICU occupancy among all hospital patients stands at 79 percent, 12 percent higher than the 2019 average.

Here are the latest coronavirus data updates for our coverage area between Monday and Tuesday:

  • Alexandria: 4,133 cases, 324 hospitalizations, 75 deaths; increase of 10 cases and one hospitalization

  • Arlington County: 4,399 cases, 520 hospitalizations, 152 deaths; increase of 15 cases and one hospitalization

  • Fairfax County: 22,769 cases, 2,213 hospitalizations, 602 deaths; increase of 82 cases

  • Fairfax City: 155 cases, 13 hospitalizations, eight deaths; increase of one case

  • Falls Church: 75 cases, 13 hospitalizations, seven deaths; no changes

  • Loudoun County: 7,599 cases, 470 hospitalizations, 130 deaths; increase of 23 cases, two hospitalizations and one death

  • Manassas: 2,013 cases, 132 hospitalizations, 27 deaths; one case removed; increase of one death

  • Manassas Park: 632 cases, 57 hospitalizations, eight deaths; increase of one case

  • Prince William County: 13,674 cases, 977 hospitalizations, 221 deaths; increase of 62 cases, nine hospitalizations and three deaths

  • Fredericksburg: 573 cases, 51 hospitalizations, five deaths; increase of one hospitalization

  • Spotsylvania County: 2,343 cases, 150 hospitalizations, 47 deaths; increase of 16 cases and two hospitalizations

  • Stafford County: 2,279 cases, 168 hospitalizations, 19 deaths; increase of 12 cases


This article originally appeared on the Fairfax City Patch

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