Monthly ArchiveNovember 2020

Biden Covid advisor says U.S. lockdown of 4 to 6 weeks could control pandemic and revive economy

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first_imgOn Wednesday, Osterholm said such a lockdown would help the country bring the virus under control, “like they did in New Zealand and Australia.” Epidemiologists have repeatedly pointed to New Zealand, Australia and other parts of Asia that have brought the number of daily new cases to under 10 as an example of how to contain the virus.“We could really watch ourselves cruising into the vaccine availability in the first and second quarter of next year while bringing back the economy long before that,” he said Wednesday.On the current trajectory, Osterholm said the U.S. is headed for dark days before a vaccine becomes available. He said health-care systems across the country are already overwhelmed in places like El Paso, Texas, where local officials have already closed businesses and the federal government is sending resources to handle a surge in deaths caused by Covid-19.Osterholm said the country needs leadership. The president-elect is up to the task of providing that leadership, Osterholm said, adding that it could also come from local and state officials or those in the medical community. He referenced the fireside chats broadcast over radio during former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s terms, through which Roosevelt addressed the country on issues ranging from the Great Depression to World War II.“People don’t want to hear that El Paso isn’t an isolated event. El Paso, in many instances, will become the norm,” he said. “I think that the message is how do we get through this. We need FDR moments right now. We need fireside chats. We need somebody to tell America, ‘this is what in the hell is going to happen.’” Shutting down businesses and paying people for lost wages for four to six weeks could help keep the coronavirus pandemic in check and get the economy on track until a vaccine is approved and distributed, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus advisor to President-elect Joe Biden.Osterholm, who serves as director of the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said earlier this week that the country is headed toward “Covid hell.” Cases are rising as more people grow tired of wearing masks and social distancing, suffering from so-called “pandemic fatigue,” he said Wednesday. Colder weather is also driving people indoors where the virus can spread more easily.A nationwide lockdown would drive the number of new cases and hospitalizations down to manageable levels while the world awaits a vaccine, he told Yahoo Finance on Wednesday.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Dr. Michael Osterholm, Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, announced advances for COVID-19 testing in Minnesota, Wednesday, April 22, 2020 in St. Paul, MN.Glen Stubbe | Star Tribune | Getty Imagescenter_img “We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers for losses to small companies to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that,” he said. “If we did that, then we could lockdown for four-to-six weeks.”He referenced an August op-ed he wrote with Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari in which the two argued for more restrictive and uniform lockdowns across the nation.“The problem with the March-to-May lockdown was that it was not uniformly stringent across the country. For example, Minnesota deemed 78 percent of its workers essential,” they wrote in the New York Times. “To be effective, the lockdown has to be as comprehensive and strict as possible.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

Pavilions Hotels launches franchise model to property owners | News

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first_imgNewerEmirates Group slumps to US$3.8bn six-month loss Guests are looking more to branded properties that offer safety and known standards in the post Covid-19 world. Key advantages for owners under the Pavilions Hotels & Resorts franchise model include that they can maintain full operational control of their property.At the same time, the group says, owners gain immediate market presence and global distribution from the brand website and other sales channels, access to development, sales, marketing and operational support. – Advertisement – The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts has launched a franchise model to hotel owners and operators.The group aims to add to its existing portfolio of nine hotels and resorts across Asia and Europe under ownership and management. – Advertisement – OlderSO/ Moscow set for 2023 opening in Russia For the launch of the new franchise model, up until January the company is waiving the initial joining fee for all new properties.Within Asia, use of the franchise model has been limited, compared with the United States, where it is estimated that over 70 per cent of hotels are franchised, rather than under traditional hotel management agreements. For independent hotel operators, it is becoming increasingly competitive and harder to stand out amongst the international brands. – Advertisement – The Pavilions’ first franchise property joined the group earlier this year as the Pavilions El Nido Resort, on Palawan island in the Philippines.The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts began 20 years ago by passionate founder and owners Gordon and Danielle Oldham. “We are seeing a definite change in expectations from owners in Asia.  “There are many great boutique properties across the region, delivering great experiences to guests in their properties. “However they are struggling to attract business to the property without being a known brand and seeing the high costs involved in the marketing of a stand-alone property,” said Scot Toon, the Pavilions Hotels & Resorts managing director, Asia. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Next FA chairman: Paul Elliott backed to replace Greg Clarke by Sue Smith | Football News

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first_img England manager Gareth Southgate will not endorse any one candidate to be the new FA Chairman but says the FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board Chair Paul Elliott has shown a willingness to put in the hard work that such a role requires “He is committed to football administration, I know he’s been the driving force behind the FA’s new diversity code, I know he sits on the board.“He has been a leading voice in speaking out against racism. He knows how much work and effort it takes to take a role like that.“Whether he wants the job I don’t know, but if he does I think he’d be a great candidate.”Elliott developed the FA’s Football Leadership Diversity Code, which launched last month, with the aim of tackling racism in English footballSouthgate: Elliott’s efforts deserve commendationEarlier this week, Southgate said the next FA chair should share the qualities Elliott has shown during his time in the organisation. Manchester United Women head coach Casey Stoney says the comments made by Greg Clarke that led to his resignation as FA chairman show ‘how much work we’ve still got to do’ regarding diversity in English football 2:06 – Advertisement – LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 02: Paul Elliott attends the London Football Awards on March 2, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by John Phillips/John Phillips/Getty Images– Advertisement – Elliott, the chairman of the FA’s inclusion advisory board, is being touted as a potential successor to Clarke, with England manager Gareth Southgate speaking of his admiration for the former Chelsea defender.It remains unclear with Elliott is interested in the role, but Smith said the 56-year-old would be capable of taking it on.“I think there has been a lot of names put forward. The one that stands out for me is Paul Elliott, a former player for Celtic and Chelsea,” Smith told Friday’s edition of The Women’s Football Show. Casey Stoney, Man Utd Women's manager 1:51center_img – Advertisement – Asked if the next FA chair should be black or a woman, Southgate said: “It has to be the right person.“I think whoever comes in has to have an understanding of governance and operating at a high level at an important organisation.“What I admire about someone like Paul Elliott is that he has committed himself to football administration. There are a lot of hours to that and a lot of meetings to attend that people don’t want to do. So the reforms that Paul has helped to put in place over the last few months deserve a lot of commendation.“I don’t know if Paul is the right person for the role – that’s not a decision for me. But I’m just pointing out the type of qualities football administrators have to have.”White: FA can promote diversity with Clarke successorEngland striker Ellen White believes the Football Association has a ‘massive opportunity’ to promote diversity throughout English football with their appointment of the next FA chair. Greg Clarke (left) pictured while attending the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in 2017 Former England international Sue Smith believes Paul Elliott would be a “great candidate” to succeed Greg Clarke as FA chairman.The FA is aiming to hire a replacement for Clarke, who resigned after making a string of offensive comments when giving evidence to MPs on Tuesday, by the end of March 2021 and is promising an open and diverse recruitment process.- Advertisement – “It was the right decision for him to step down and we have to look to the future now of educating and moving forward to eradicate these comments,” White said.“It’s all about being educated, even when you are at the top, and also throughout football, the grassroots, and everyone, the way that we speak.“I think it is a massive opportunity to highlight more diversity within the whole FA.“It will be a really important appointment, who comes in next. But I think it will be really, really important to have more diversity in the whole FA really.” Chief reporter Bryan Swanson takes us through the day’s events that have seen former FA chairman Greg Clarke stand down as FIFA vice-president 0:44last_img read more

Turkish GP driver ratings: Experience pays for Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez, Sebastian Vettel

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first_imgQualified 2nd, Finished 6thUltimately this just wasn’t Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s weekend. Sixth place was a shame for the both the Dutchman and Red Bull given he had set the pace in the dry and the wet up to Saturday’s pole shootout, when his shot at P1 on a day Mercedes were nowhere slipped away on the intermediate tyres. Still, a front-row start meant he stayed right in the picture although, as it turned out, starting on the other side of the grid in third would have been more beneficial.Was swamped at the lights, but recovered some of the lost ground further around the first lap to run fourth behind Vettel, where he stayed until running three laps longer on his full wets compared to the Ferrari’s fresh intermediates. Six laps later and it was all looking rather promising. Verstappen was right on Perez’s trail for second and within 10s of Stroll’s lead with more than a third of the race to go. But then the front of his Red Bull washed out following the second-placed Racing Point and sent the Red Bull into a lurid spin. Game over for the victory, with an emergency stop for new tyres required. Verstappen had a later spin en-route to that sixth-place finish.Rating out of 10: 7.5

FDA to ban some cattle parts from animal feed

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first_img Mechanically separated beef derived from materials banned under the rule Canada is proposing a more comprehensive rule that would ban all SRMs from animal feeds, Sundlof said. FDA officials have talked regularly with their Canadian counterparts about the rules, he added. The proposal announced today is the result of comments received after the July 2004 proposal and discussions since then, officials said. Oct 4, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today proposed new animal feed rules to reduce the risk of spreading bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), but they don’t go as far as some earlier FDA proposals. See also: The reason the ban on brain and spinal cord excludes cattle younger than 30 months “is that all the studies tell us that materials from cattle less than 30 months of age do not have the infectious agent in a concentration sufficient to cause disease in other cattle,” Sundlof said. In January 2004, shortly after the first US BSE case surfaced, the FDA announced plans to ban SRMs from animal feeds and halt the feeding of mammalian blood to calves and feeding of poultry litter and restaurant scraps to cattle. But the agency never followed through on those plans. In July 2004 the agency announced a “preliminary” decision to ban SRMs from all animal feeds and called for comments on possible restrictions on blood, poultry litter, and restaurant plate waste. The brains and spinal cords of cattle of any age not inspected and approved for human consumption “There’s no good way of disposing of all that material presently in the Untied States,” he said. “That would’ve been an environmental issue for very little risk reduction.” Dr. Steven Sundlof the FDA said removing just the brain and spinal cord would greatly reduce any remaining risk while minimizing waste disposal problems. “By removing the brains and spinal cords from the animal feed stream, you’ve taken out 90% of the risk,” he said during a teleconference today. The agency has banned the use of cattle protein in feed for cattle and other ruminant animals since 1997, but it allows cattle parts in feed for other animals such as pigs and poultry. Today the agency proposed to ban the use of brains and spinal cords of older cattle from all animal feeds and pet foods. Further, the US Department of Agriculture’s ban on SRMs in human food makes restaurant scraps safer, he said. The agency said removing high-risk materials from all animal feed will help prevent the possible spread of BSE through accidental mixing of ruminant and nonruminant feed during feed manufacturing or through misfeeding of nonruminant feed to ruminants. Sundlof said the FDA would take comments on the proposed rule for 75 days after its publication in the Federal Register, scheduled for Oct 6. He wouldn’t predict when the rule might take effect. Sundlof said the international expert panel that advised the government after the first US BSE case concluded that eliminating high-risk materials from all animal feeds was the most effective way to prevent misfeeding or cross-contamination that could allow the BSE agent to find its way into cattle. The entire carcass of cattle not approved for human consumption if the brain and spinal cord have not been removed “If the high-risk materials are removed from the feed stream, they never get into poultry feed, so therefore poultry litter becomes safer,” he said. Under the new rule, brains and spinal cords from cattle older than 30 months would be banned from all animal feeds, the FDA said. The brain and spinal cord are among the “specified risk materials” (SRMs)—the tissues most likely to contain the BSE (mad cow disease) agent if an animal is infected. Tallow derived from materials banned under the rule if it contains more than 0.15% insoluble impurities The FDA estimates that the amount of brain and spinal cord that would have to be disposed of in alternate ways under the proposal is about 64 million pounds annually, Sundlof said. The increase in waste would be much larger if the FDA banned all SRMs from animal feeds, he said. In addition, the FDA is proposing to ban from animal feed: The estimated cost of the proposed rule is $14 million a year, he said. But the FDA has decided not to ban other high-risk cattle parts, such as the tonsils, part of the small intestine, eyes, and certain nerve bundles, from animal feed. Also, the agency has decided to continue to allow the use of cattle blood, poultry litter, and restaurant plate waste in cattle feed, officials said. FDA news releasehttp://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2005/ucm108496.htm “And [cattle] blood just doesn’t seem to transmit the disease among cattle,” Sundlof added. “So that was the reason for moving away from those early proposals.” He asserted that the current proposal is “much more protective” than what was proposed in 2004.last_img read more

Four more bird flu cases confirmed in Indonesia

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first_imgFeb 6, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – As the number of human cases of avian influenza in Indonesia continues to climb, the country is ramping up efforts to stem its spread.The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed four more H5N1 infections, including two fatalities.Of the two fatal cases, one was in a 22-year-old West Java man who died Jan 26, WHO reported. He sold bananas at a market in East Jakarta that also features poultry vendors. The other was in a 15-year-old boy, also from West Java, who died Feb 1, about a week after poultry deaths were reported in his neighborhood.One nonfatal case was that of a 9-year-old girl from West Java who was hospitalized on Jan 19 and has fully recovered, WHO said. The other confirmed illness was in a 5-year-old boy from Lampung province who fell sick in October 2005. He is the brother of a 20-year-old man who had a confirmed case and also recovered fully.The boy and his brother were both exposed to sick poultry in the course of slaughtering birds. The boy’s initial tests were inconclusive, WHO said, but the infection was confirmed retrospectively from antibody levels in blood samples taken while he was sick and during his recovery.The confirmatory testing brought WHO’s case count for Indonesia to 23, including 16 deaths. Yet even before the organization updated its records, Indonesia was reporting another death. The country announced its 17th fatality (and 24th case) after a 38-year-old woman died in West Java on Feb 4, according to a story today from United Press International (UPI). Local tests found the woman had H5N1 infection, but samples were being sent to the WHO-affiliated laboratory in Hong Kong for confirmation.Concerned by the continuing human cases, the Indonesian government is planning door-to-door poultry surveillance efforts, the agriculture minister said today, according to The Jakarta Post.The goal of the inspections is to prevent the spread of the H5N1 virus, said the minister, Anton Apriantono. Door-to-door visits are already being conducted for poultry in Sumedang and Purwakarta districts in West Java, and other regions could receive the same treatment soon, he said.”We are trying to be proactive,” Apriantono said.Elsewhere it appears that the virus may be continuing its march among people and poultry.In Iraq, a second fatal human case of H5N1 infection has been confirmed, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) story published today. The second case involves Hamma Sur Abdullah, 40, who is the uncle of the first case-patient, a 15-year-old girl who died in January. A Cairo laboratory confirmed his death was the result of H5N1 infection, a senior Kurdish health official told AFP. Additional testing is being conducted at a lab in Britain on samples from the uncle, as well as on samples from a woman from the same region who is currently hospitalized in Iraq.Seven patients with suspected H5N1 cases were being treated in Iraq, AFP reported, as international experts began an on-the-ground assessment in the Kurdish north. Other news agencies put the figure as high as a dozen suspected cases. Samples from the suspected cases are being tested in Cairo.Since the first Iraqi died of H5N1 in January, more than 900,000 chickens and migratory birds have been culled, according to the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) of the United Nations. Farmers in the Sulaimaniyah area are seeking compensation for their losses, IRIN reported today. More than 200 farmers protested peacefully on Feb 4.Poultry infected with an H5 virus have been found in Bulgaria, a discovery that prompted officials there to block people’s access to a wetlands area, according to Reuters news service.A Reuters story published today said samples from a paralyzed, infected swan were being sent to Britain for further testing. H5 has been confirmed in the swan, but authorities await more tests to determine if it is H5N1.”Scores of birds” died in the wetlands area, and about 30 ducks died at a farm near Varna on Sunday, the Reuters report said. Samples from the ducks were being sent to a lab in Sophia, the head of the veterinary office in Varna told Reuters.”We’re getting ready for a possible outbreak,” Alexander Alexandrov, head of the regional veterinary office in Dobrich, told UPI. “People should forget about taking farm animals to water at the two lakes until spring, when the last [migratory] duck is gone.”See alsoFeb 6 WHO update on Indonesiahttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_02_06/en/index.htmllast_img read more

Vaccine protects ferrets against 3 H5N1 strains

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first_imgJun 13, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – An avian influenza vaccine made through reverse genetics produced an immune response not only to the target H5N1 virus strain but to two other H5N1 strains in a study in ferrets, according to a report published by the Journal of Infectious Diseases.The findings, according to the study’s authors and an accompanying editorial, signal that an H5N1 vaccine may be protective even when the vaccine strain does not precisely match the strain of H5N1 challenge virus. This bolsters the strategy of stockpiling such a vaccine to prepare for a pandemic.The study was done by a team from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, with Elena A. Govorkova as first author. The investigators used reverse genetics to produce an inactivated, whole-virus vaccine that combined the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase genes of the H5N1 strain A/HK/203/03 with the remaining genes of a strain of H1N1 virus called A/PR/8/34.The researchers vaccinated groups of three or four ferrets with either a single dose (7 or 15 micrograms [mcg]) of HA with aluminum hydroxide adjuvant or two doses of HA (7 mcg each, 3 weeks apart) without adjuvant.The ferrets studied were healthy young adults that tested negative for H5N1 and H1N1 viruses, though 90% tested positive for H3N2 virus obtained through natural infection, according to the report. Four control ferrets received phosphate-buffered saline instead of vaccine.The researchers tested serum antibody responses after vaccination. The single-dose ferrets had a mean anti-HA titer of 1:107 and 1:120 for the 7-mcg and 15-mcg doses, respectively. The mean anti-HA titer for animals receiving two doses were 1:115 after one dose and 1:982 after two.Controls and ferrets that received the single dose of vaccine were inoculated intranasally 4 weeks later with the target subtype of H5N1 virus. Those receiving two doses were challenged 1 week after the booster dose.After viral challenge, all control ferrets exhibited fever and weight loss, while two had respiratory signs and two showed lethargy. Six days after viral challenge, controls had lost 4% to 12% of their weight. In contrast, 1 of 3 ferrets that received a single dose of 7 mcg of HA had an elevated body temperature and weight loss, but none of the other vaccinated animals had either.Ferrets that received a single 7-mcg dose of vaccine had significantly (P<.05) lower virus titers than did controls on day 3, and only 1 of 3 shed virus 5 days after viral challenge. Among those receiving a single 15-mcg dose, 2 of 3 animals were shedding virus on day 3, and none by day 5.The authors state, "All vaccinated ferrets were protected against systemic spread of homologous virus [the vaccine strain]," which was not detected in the lung, brain, or olfactory bulb. In addition, they said, all vaccine regimens effectively reduced replication of the target H5N1 virus subtype in the upper respiratory tract.When tested against different H5N1 strains, the vaccine also proved effective, according to the article. Separate groups of ferrets were tested against both the HK/156/97 and Vietnam/1203/04 strains of H5N1.The vaccine provided protection against the HK/156/97 subtype, although those receiving a single 7-mcg dose showed minor clinical signs. Also, greater protection was noted for ferrets receiving two doses of the vaccine. All four control ferrets showed signs of disease but survived.The vaccine similarly protected against the Vietnam/1203/04 subtype, which killed the three control animals. Again, the two-dose regimen provided the greatest benefit.The authors report, "Our findings confirmed that a two-dose regimen is preferable for vaccination of an immunologically naïve population against a novel H5N1 strain. The second dose of vaccine significantly increased serum antibody production and conferred complete protection against challenge with a high dose of the homologous H5N1 virus."They conclude, "The results of our study show that protection can be gained even when the vaccine strain does not match the challenge virus. . . . Therefore, the strategy of stockpiling pandemic vaccines for administration to groups at high risk offers promise. Reverse-genetics technology allows for the rapid generation of a broad spectrum of vaccine virus libraries."In an accompanying editorial, Alan W. Hampson, Msc, deputy director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne, Australia, concurs. "Possibly the greatest significance of Govorkova et al's study," he writes, "is the demonstration of a significant cross-strain protective effect even in the presence of minimal antibody levels. This, together with human serological data generated with an H5N3 vaccine, strengthens the argument for stockpiling vaccine prepared from currently available H5N1 vaccine strains."Govorkova EA, Webby RJ, Humberd J, et al. Immunization with reverse-genetics-produced H5N1 influenza vaccine protects ferrets against homologous and heterologous challenge. J Infect Dis 2006 Jul 15;194(2):159-67 [Full text]Hampson AW. Ferrets and the challenges of H5N1 vaccine formulation (editorial). J Infect Dis 2006 Jul 15;194(2):143-5 [Full text]last_img read more

Pandemic could cause deep, uneven recession, group predicts

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first_imgMar 22, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – An influenza pandemic as severe as the great flu of 1918 could cost the United States $683 billion and plunge the American economy into the second-deepest recession since World War II, a nonprofit health advocacy group warned today.If rates of illness and death matched those of 1918—when one third of the population fell ill and 2.5% of those who were sickened died—US production of goods and services could shrink 5.5% in a year, according to an analysis released by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH).But the pain would not be spread evenly across the country. States whose economies depend on tourism and entertainment would be hit hardest, with losses as large as 8% of their economic production, the group said. But areas that depend on other sectors—from agriculture and finance to real estate and government—might hold their losses to half that much.”Businesses, governments, schools and other sectors could all face serious disruptions,” said Jeff Levi, PhD, executive director of the TFAH, a nonpartisan group that has published several reports on pandemic preparedness.While the analysis released today focuses on the impact of a pandemic on the US economy, the consequences would ripple worldwide, Levi said in a briefing for reporters: “In today’s global economy, almost every aspect of commerce relies directly or indirectly on an interconnected, worldwide network of workers, products and services. A major shock to this network could have serious negative consequences on trade and commerce worldwide.”The TFAH report, “Pandemic Flu and Potential for U.S. Economic Recession,” is the latest in a string of analyses that have attempted to forecast the potential economic impact of a pandemic as severe as the 1918 onslaught.In December 2005, the Congressional Budget Office predicted that a 1918-like pandemic would cut US gross domestic product (GDP) by 5% in a year, while a milder pandemic similar to the worldwide flu of 1968 would shrink the GDP 1.5%.A team from the Australian National University has set the impact of what they call an “ultra” pandemic at 5.5% of GDP in a year, while an analysis by BMO Nesbitt Burns Cooper, a brokerage firm, has forecast a loss of up to 6%.Similar analyses have sought to assess the potential impact on other parts of the world and on the globe as a whole. In November 2005, the Asian Development Bank predicted a loss of 2.3% to 6.5% of GDP just in Asia.In February 2006, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that the “economic impact is likely to be significant,” without assigning percentage estimates of potential losses, and added, “A severe pandemic could pose risks to the global financial system.” And last winter, World Bank economists predicted a worst-case scenario of a 4.8% decline in global GDP and worldwide losses of up to $1.5 trillion.”What we do know is that it is highly likely that during the peak of a pandemic, even if the mortality rate is low, you are going to have a lot of people not coming to work because they or family members are sick. This will lead to supply side disruptions,” Charles Blitzer of the IMF told CIDRAP News today. “On the demand side, many people will not go out and expose themselves, leading to less demand for nonessentials,” said Blitzer, assistant director in the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets Department and coauthor of the Fund’s pandemic-impact report.”Quite a sharp drop in economic activity is likely during the peak of the pandemic, much bigger than the 5 to 6% annual average declines the studies have estimated,” he added. “In all likelihood, once the pandemic wave passes, people will return to work and also catch up with some of their postponed purchases, leading to a spike up in economic activity.”The analysis released today relies on the economic models and assumptions made by the Congressional Budget Office, the Australian National University, and BMO Nesbitt Burns Cooper. It combines predictions of death rates and loss of productivity—due to workers’ illness, family members’ illness, and fear of getting sick—with estimates of the impact on 20 different business sectors.Demand for arts, entertainment, and recreation is likely to drop by 80%, the report estimates, compared with 67% for transportation and warehousing and 10% for agriculture, mining, construction, manufacturing, finance, and education.It is the first pandemic economic forecast to break down potential impact by state, Levi said.The hardest-hit states are likely to be those whose economies rely on entertainment, tourism, and food service, the report says. Entertainment mecca Nevada would fare the worst, losing 8% of its GDP and $9 billion in a single year. Nevada would be closely followed by other high-tourism states: Hawaii (6.6% loss, $3.6 billion), Alaska (6.59% loss, $2.6 billion), Wyoming (6.4% loss, $1.7 billion), and Nebraska (6.22% loss, $4.4 billion).The states at the lowest risk of major losses would be those with diverse economies, as well as those that depend on the services most likely to be in use during a pandemic, such as healthcare and government. Governments are busier during crises, Levi said, and use of healthcare is likely to rise during a pandemic, even though healthcare workers would be at higher risk of contracting the flu and missing work.Leading the list of least-impacted places is Washington, DC, which would risk 4.62% of its GDP and lose potentially $3.8 billion. Close behind come Maryland (5.09% loss, $12.5 billion), Virginia (5.13% loss, $18.1 billion), New York (5.2% loss, $49.8 billion), and Massachusetts (5.2% loss, $16.9 billion).The TFAH recommends a menu of actions to mitigate a pandemic’s potential economic impact, from improving state pandemic plans to encouraging continuity planning for business sectors as well as individual businesses. It will be particularly important to address the healthcare needs of the underinsured and uninsured who may forgo healthcare or come to work while ill, perhaps by creating a temporary entitlement such as a national “emergency health benefit,” the group says.See also:TFAH statement with link to full report and related materialhttp://healthyamericans.org/reports/flurecession/last_img read more

Researchers create H5N1 mutations to pave way for new vaccines and treatments

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first_imgAug 10, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Global health officials have long feared genetic changes that would make the H5N1 avian influenza virus more easily transmissible among humans, but a new report from researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) predicts some of the crucial mutations, which could open the door to preemptive vaccines and treatments.The report, published in today’s issue of Science, details the work of a research group led by Gary Nabel, MD, PhD, director of NIAID’s Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center. The group created mutations in the region of the H5N1 hemagglutinin protein that directs the virus to bird or human receptor cells and elicits antibodies to it, according to a NIAID press release yesterday.”What Dr Nabel and his colleagues have discovered will help prepare for a future threat,” said National Institutes of Health director Elias A. Zerhouni, MD, in the press release. “While nobody knows if and when H5N1 will jump from birds to humans, they have come up with a way to anticipate how that jump might occur and ways to respond to it.”Typically, producing a vaccine to protect against H5N1 or another influenza virus strain is a laborious process that can take up to 6 months after a pandemic strain emerges. Scientists must isolate the strain, grow it in eggs or cell culture, and combine the purified virus with other vaccine components.However, Anthony Fauci, MD, director if NIAID, said in the press release that researchers’ findings on the artificially mutated viruses enable scientists to start considering the design of new vaccines and therapies to treat people who may someday be infected with an avian influenza virus that naturally mutates into a pandemic strain.”This research could possibly help to contain a pandemic early on,” he said.Nabel’s group focused on mutations that allow the H5N1 virus to better recognize and enter human cells, the press release said. To determine what mutations allow the virus to shift its adaptability, they compared proteins on the surface of the H5N1 virus, which are bird-adapted, with surface proteins on the human-adapted virus that caused the 1918 pandemic.Focusing on genetic changes to one portion of the H5 protein, called the receptor binding domain, they found that as few as two mutations could enhance the ability of H5N1 to recognize human cells, according to the press release.Nabel cautioned in the press release, however, that more mutations would likely be needed for the H5N1 virus to more easily spread between humans. He emphasized that the mutations he and his colleagues identified are probably just a subset of that dangerous group.To assess how the immune system responds to the mutated H5N1 viruses the authors ran mouse studies, which revealed that mouse antibodies were 10 times less potent against the mutants. Then they created vaccines and isolated new antibodies that might be used to fight the mutated virus, the press release stated. When they vaccinated the mice, they identified one broadly reactive antibody that could neutralize both the bird- and human-adapted H5N1 virus forms.The findings should improve H5N1 surveillance, Nabel said, because they make it easier for scientists to recognize dangerous mutations and identify structure-based vaccine candidates that might be more effective against the virus before it emerges.”Insight into the structure of the avian flu virus has enabled us to target a critical region of HA [hemagglutinin] that directs its specificity,” he said in the press release. “Such a structure-based vaccine design may allow us to respond to this future threat in advance of an actual outbreak.”Yang ZY, Wei CJ, Kong WP, et al. Immunization by avian H5 influenza hemagglutinin mutant with altered receptor binding specificity. Science 2007 Aug 10;317(5839):825-8 [Abstract]See also:Aug 9 NIAID press releasehttp://www.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/Archive/2007/Pages/nabel_flu.aspxlast_img read more

As of today, tolls have risen by 10 percent

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first_imgAs of April 3, tolls on HAC motorways have risen by 5 percent, and at the same time a decision on the “Summer Tariff” was introduced, which is introduced on July 01, ie today, and which brings a new “summer” toll increase of 10 percent. The summer tariff lasts until September 30, and an interesting increase will not apply to buses and freight carriers.The first weekend in July – the first real big crowds The first weekend in July, brings us new traffic jams on our roads, July and August, when there are a large number of tourists on our roads who will spend their holidays in our country or pass through Croatia to reach their summer destinations.It is most common to travel on weekends, from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening, but travel habits change to avoid the large crowds that are common on weekends, so many choose days of the week for their trip, especially Monday.The largest influx of vehicles, possible delays and slow driving are expected on Friday, June 30, in the afternoon, according to HAK, and on Saturday, July 01, throughout the day, especially in the morning (from 6 to 12 o’clock) , and during Sunday, July 02, throughout the day. This weekend in most European countries (Austria, Belgium, part of Switzerland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and part of Germany) summer holidays begin, and some tourists from these countries traditionally rest on the Adriatic.last_img read more

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