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If You’re Thinking About Hosting a Sleepover, Read This First

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Illustration for article titled If Youre Thinking About Hosting a Sleepover, Read This First

Photo: Corbis/VCG (Getty Images)

Sleepovers and pandemics don’t really go together. They are a wonderful childhood rite of passage, what with all that pizza-eating, soda-drinking, movie-watching, and late-night giggling. But all those things (potentially sharing food and beverages! cuddled up next to each other! with respiratory droplets hovering in the air!) are also what make them risky.

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However, there may be reasons you’re considering having other children sleep over in your home, or sending your child to a sleepover at another house. It may be out of necessity or desire, but either way, there are some things to consider and some precautions you can take to make the event at least a little bit safer.

First, consider individual risk levels

When we’re considering the risk levels involved in planning or participating in a sleepover, there are two aspects to consider, says Ellie Murray, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at Boston University. First, consider whether anyone involved—or anyone who lives in the homes of the families involved—are at a high risk due to their age or medical condition.

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“If anyone in either of any of the families that are participating is at really high risk, that would be more of a reason to discourage a sleepover,” Murray says.

Secondly, families should also consider whether anyone involved works in a high-exposure environment, such as a hospital, nursing home or meat-packing plant. If that is the case, you might consider altering course and attempting a virtual sleepover instead.

Tighten your “contact budget”

Assuming everyone is at an “average risk,” Murray says you might then consider whether—or how—to proceed. Part of that should include tightening up your “contact budget” as much as possible:

A contact budget is a way to think about your overall risk in a holistic way, one which factors in all of your daily interactions. Just as we make a budget for our finances, we can think of our daily interactions, and our overall risk, in a similar fashion.

At the end of the day, when you think on all of the different people you came into contact with, and under what circumstances, what was the sum total of these interactions? Are there ways in which you can reduce your overall number of interactions?

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“If you’re sort of gearing up to attend a sleepover, you would want to make sure that for at least a week—maybe two weeks—before that … the kids are really minimizing all of their contact so that there’s very little risk that they’re infected when they show up at the sleepover,” Murray says. “That could help reduce the likelihood that anybody’s infected and that there’s any transmission.”

And once the sleepover is done, wrap up the experience with another 7-14 days of limited “contact budgeting.” If 2-4 total weeks of limiting contact with others outside of the home isn’t worth it to them (or you) for one sleepover, that might help you make the decision on whether to participate.

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Think, “person, place, time, and space”

When it comes to lowering the risk of infection, it’s helpful to think of all our interactions in terms of “person, place, time and space.” Allow me to explain how that applies to a sleepover setting:

Person

We know that the more crowded a space is, the more likely the virus will spread. That means 2020 (and probably at least part of 2021) will not be the year your daughter invites over nine of her best friends for the Most Epic Sleepover Ever. Tell her she can pick one or two super-extra-special besties instead. (If she insists it’s gotta be nine, take it virtual.)

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The risk assessment you did earlier also factors into this—how likely are those involved to have potentially bad outcomes from the virus, and how likely is it they may show up infected themselves.

“And are these people that you’re in contact with regularly?” Murray says. “If you’re having a sleepover with cousins that you’re also homeschooling with, that can be a much lower addition to your risk than if it’s someone you haven’t seen in six months, because that’s a contact you didn’t have before.”

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Place

We know that indoor interactions are less risky than outdoor interactions; this obviously gets tricky with a sleepover, where at least some, if not most, of the activities will take place inside. Much of the country is entering a season in which it’s too cold to, say, camp outside, but if that’s an option for you, it’s better than sleeping lined up side-by-side on the living room floor.

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If you’re mostly keeping to the indoors, Murray suggests looking at ways to limit the sharing of objects and being cognizant of the potential for surface transmission.

“Is it possible to have a bathroom that the guests use, but that the rest of the household members don’t use to limit any transmission between household members and the guests?” she asks.

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Time

The more time you spend near someone, the higher the risk of transmission—which, again, is tricky when you’re talking about a sleepover. So the more you can limit the amount of close contact they have, the better. Keep them distanced from each other whenever possible by implementing the six-foot rule if they’re lounging and watching a movie and especially when they’re eating. (The more you can have them keep their masks on when they’re not eating or sleeping, the better.)

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To limit the time they’re in close proximity, you might consider having the guest(s) sleep in a guest bedroom or separate area of the house. Or skip the sleep part altogether by making it an “un-slumber party”:

An un-slumber party is basically a late night pajama party. It has all the makings of a real slumber party—the pizza, the movies, the popcorn, the pajamas, the sugar, the shrieking—except that nobody actually sleeps over. You pick the kids up extra late when they’re just at the point of collapse. They’ve had their fill of slumber-party fun without the added stress of figuring out how to sleep on an air mattress or in a sleeping bag.

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Space

And finally, Murray says, we need to consider the environmental conditions of the location—particularly how small the space is and how well-ventilated it is. Opt to set them up in a larger room where you could open up a patio door or some windows for air flow, rather than in a smaller room with limited ventilation that will have staler air.

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The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda’s adventures continue in brand new look at season two

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The Mandalorian’s second season is just days away from premiering on Disney Plus, and a new trailer for the Star Wars series teases what fans can expect.

Most of the trailer focused on the Mando’s continued adventures with the Child, including an ominous moment where he’s warned that the worlds he’s trying to visit are no places for a child. Much like executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni teased in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the show looks like it will tackle more substantial narrative lines than we got in the first season.

Picking up essentially where the last season left off, The Mandalorian’s second season will explore a much “larger story in the world,” according to Favreau. While many of the episodes in the first season could stand on their own as one-offs, the second season will see storylines intertwine even more, Favreau and Filoni told Entertainment Weekly ahead of the second season’s debut.

“Everything gets bigger, the stakes get higher, but also the personal story between the Child and the Mandalorian develops in a way I think people will enjoy,” Filoni said.

With The Mandalorian returning to Disney Plus, it’s an exciting time for Star Wars fans — but it’s also an important moment for the House of Mouse. The Mandalorian launched alongside Disney Plus in November 2019, and since then, Disney Plus has suffered from a lack of original, exciting programming that will bring in and keep subscribers happy. Part of that is because the pandemic made production nearly impossible on shows like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier until recently, but the fact remains: Disney needs something to get people talking again.

Executives are hoping that The Mandalorian’s second season, and its adorable star the Child — aka Baby Yoda — will do for Disney Plus in 2020 what the show did in 2019. If everything goes according to plan, The Mandalorian will roll into WandaVision, Marvel Studios’ next big show, which may roll into another big title. Disney Plus needs that continuous momentum to keep people around, especially as one year free offers from partners like Verizon start to end and Disney will start charging many customers who aren’t paying.

Regardless of whether The Mandalorian helps Disney amass and keep more subscribers, it’s exciting to have more new Star Wars back in our lives. The Mandalorian returns on October 30th.

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Call of Duty’s Halloween event has a Zombie royale and horror crossovers

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Activision today dropped the trailer for its Call of Duty Halloween event: The Haunting of Verdansk. We’re getting a few new game modes, a bunch of horror themed packs, and rewards, both in Modern Warfare and Warzone.

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Warzone players will get to experience Verdansk at night, and it’ll come withmore than a few Halloween-themed frights” — and I’d be content with that, to be honest. But Modern Warfare‘s also getting a fright-themed coat of paint. My favorite new addition is that, if you get three kills in a single life, your operator’s head will turn into a jack-o-lantern. Get ten kills, and it’ll light on fire. MW also gets two new modes: Snipers Only, which is just what it sounds like, and Onslaught-er, which involves finding and seizing a Juggernaut suit that spawns on the map and doing something with it — I imagine I’ll find out if/when I ever get that far.

CoD appears to be taking a leaf from Mortal Kombat‘s book, including some classic horror movie villains to spice up the roster: namely, Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Billy the Puppet from the Saw series. Both will get appropriate skins and content packs, as will a character called Dr. Karlov. I won’t pretend it’s not darned spooky to see some familiar faces in the trailer, and it appears Billy and Leatherface will both pop in Haunted Verdansk, if the above trailer is anything to go by.

And of course, there are zombies — it wouldn’t be a Call of Duty spook-fest without zombies. In this case, we’ll have Zombie BR, a limited-time mode in which dead players are resurrected as zombies, with potential to turn human if they slay enough of their fellow players. You can’t wield weapons as a zombie, but you can run, punch, and generally overwhelm with numbers, as zombies are wont to do.

The Haunting of Verdansk starts on October 20 and runs through November 3. Activision will also apparently drop some more themed bundles during the event, including one inspired by Dia de los Muertos.

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ShopUp raises $22.5 million to digitize millions of mom-and-pop shops in Bangladesh

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A startup that is aiming to digitize millions of neighborhood stores in Bangladesh just raised the country’s largest Series A financing round.

Dhaka-headquartered ShopUp said on Tuesday it has raised $22.5 million in a round co-led by Sequoia Capital India and Flourish Ventures. For both the venture firms, this is the first time they are backing a Bangladeshi startup. Veon Ventures, Speedinvest, and Lonsdale Capital also participated in the four-year-old ShopUp’s Series A financing round. ShopUp has raised about $28 million to date.

Like its neighboring nation, India, more than 95% of all retail in Bangladesh goes through neighborhood stores in the country. There are about 4.5 million such mom-and-pop stores in the country and the vast majority of them have no digital presence.

ShopUp is attempting to change that. It has built what it calls a full-stack business-to-business commerce platform. It provides three core services to neighborhood stores: a wholesale marketplace to secure inventory, logistics (including last mile delivery to customers), and working capital, explained Afeef Zaman, co-founder and chief executive of ShopUp​, in an interview with TechCrunch.

Image Credits: ShopUp

These small shops are facing a number of challenges. They are not getting inventory on time or enough inventory and they are paying more than what they should, said Zaman. And for these businesses, more than 73% (PDF) of all their sales rely on credit instead of cash or digital payments, creating a massive liquidity crunch. So most of these businesses are in dire need of working capital.

Zaman declined to reveal how many mom-and-pop shops today use ShopUp, but claimed that the platform assumes a clear lead in its category in the country. That lead has widened amid the global pandemic as more physical shops explore digital offerings to stay afloat, he said.

The number of neighborhood shops transacting weekly on the ShopUp platform grew by 8.5 times between April and August this year, he said. The pandemic also helped ShopUp engage with e-commerce players to deliver items for them.

“Sequoia India has been a strong supporter of the company since it was part of the first Surge cohort in early 2019 and it’s been exciting to see the company become a trailblazer facilitating digital transformation in Bangladesh,” said ​Klaus Wang, VP, Sequoia Capital, in a statement.

The startup has no intention to become an e-commerce platform like Amazon that directly engages with consumers, Zaman said. E-commerce is still in its nascent stage in Bangladesh. Amazon has yet to enter the country and increasingly Facebook is filling that role.

ShopUp sees immense opportunity in serving neighborhood stores, he said. The startup plans to deploy the fresh capital to deepen its partnerships with manufacturers and expand its tech infrastructure.

It opened an office in Bengaluru earlier this year to hire local tech talent in the nation. Indian e-commerce platform Voonik merged with ShopUp this year and both of its co-founders have joined the Bangladeshi startup. Zaman said the startup will hire more engineering talent in India.

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