Month: November 2020

Month: November 2020

first_imgWASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden called on Americans to come together and heal Saturday in his first speech since winning the presidency. “This is the time to heal in America,” he said in a speech in Wilmington, Delaware that capped off a day of celebrations and impromptu parades nationwide. – Advertisement – – Advertisement – “We’ve won with the most votes ever cast for a presidential ticket … and we’re seeing all over this nation, and in all cities in all parts of the country, indeed across the world, an outpouring of joy.” Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden addresses supporters at an election rally, after news media announced that Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election, in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 7, 2020.Andrew Harnik | Reuters Biden said his first priority will be to bring the surging coronavirus pandemic under control. “On Monday, I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as Transition Advisors to help take the Biden-Harris COVID plan and convert it into an action blueprint that starts on January 20th, 2021.That plan will be built on a bedrock of science. It will be constructed out of compassion, empathy, and concern,” he said. “I will spare no effort — or commitment — to turn this pandemic around.”This is breaking news. Please check back for updates. Biden reached out to those voters who supported President Donald Trump, telling the crowd of supporters. “They are not our enemies. They’re Americans.” “I will work to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify. I won’t see red states and blue states, I will always see the United States.”“Let this grim era of demonization in America begin to end, here and now,” he said.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more


Month: November 2020

first_imgEarlier this week, Pam Bondi, the former attorney general of Florida, and Mr. Lewandowski attempted to hold a celebratory news conference after obtaining a favorable court order in Pennsylvania. But a local D.J. blasting Beyoncé completely overpowered Ms. Bondi, who was forced to simply hold up the order as most of the media gathered nearby could not hear her speaking. – Advertisement – “Lawyers News Conference Four Seasons, Philadelphia. 11:00 a.m.,” President Trump tweeted Saturday morning, before issuing a corrective and explaining that he did not mean the luxury downtown hotel near the city’s convention center and was referring instead to a business called Four Seasons Total Landscaping.The correction quickly met with derision and glee among many blue-checkmark Twitter users, who assumed the campaign had accidentally booked the wrong venue. The landscaping business, after all, was situated near a porn shop, Fantasy Island Adult Bookstore, and a crematorium. The apparent mishap went viral, with celebrities weighing in. “Four Seasons Total Landscaping is also my secret code name for a bikini wax,” the actress Emmy Rossum tweeted Saturday evening.- Advertisement – Dan Scavino, the keeper of the presidential Twitter feed and a deputy White House chief of staff for communications, eventually tweeted out the corrective, people familiar with the event said, while White House officials overall were rolling their eyes and dismissing the entire embarrassing episode as another “Rudy special.”The campaign declined to comment, as did the White House.On Saturday evening, while Mr. Biden was addressing the country in his first remarks as president-elect, Mr. Lewandowski tweeted: “All great Americans in PA use Four Seasons Total Landscaping. They love this country and are American Patriots. Thank you!!” The actual hotel issued its own corrective. “To clarify, President Trump’s press conference will NOT be held at Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia,” the corporate account tweeted. “It will be held at Four Seasons Total Landscaping— no relation with the hotel.”In reality, the mistake was not in the booking, but in a garbled game of telephone. Mr. Giuliani and the Trump campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski told the president on Saturday morning their intended location for the news conference and he misunderstood, assuming it was an upscale hotel, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.But the campaign had always intended to hold the news conference in a friendlier part of town. The president’s team had struggled with news conferences in this Democratic stronghold all week. Since Wednesday, the streets outside of the Convention Center have been filled with pro-Biden protesters chanting, “Count every vote!” On multiple occasions, the Trump campaign surrogates were drowned out and surrounded by the much larger pro-Biden crowd.- Advertisement – Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, was standing in the parking lot of Four Seasons Total Landscaping in far northeast Philadelphia, as close to a Trump enclave as a decidedly Democratic city gets, highlighting alleged examples of voter fraud when the networks called the presidential race for Joseph R. Biden Jr.The surroundings were humble for such a seminal moment — a podium set up in front of a closed garage door decorated with a campaign poster — especially after a presidential tweet in the morning had advertised something that sounded a lot more upscale.- Advertisement –last_img read more


Month: November 2020

first_imgBush told Reid not everyone shares her set of priorities, but that it’s not damaging her relationships with her peers. “I have a relationship with all of the people on the caucus. A lot of them that are saying that this was hurtful, but what’s hurtful for me is the people in my community dying,” Bush said. “What’s hurtful is St. Louis being No. 1 for police killings since 2013, for six years straight, according to some research.”St. Louis had the most shootings per capita, according to a 2017 Vice News analysis of data from 50 of the nation’s largest police departments. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch listed 30 police shootings in the St. Louis area this year alone.- Advertisement – “I’m not trying to hurt anybody’s district or (prevent) anybody from keeping their seats,” Bush said. “I’m not looking at feelings though. I’m looking at life. I’m trying to save lives.”In her interview with Reid, Bush weighed in on a diverse set of topics from Democratic political strategy to health care as President Donald Trump’s administration vigorously tries to snuff out former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform effort, the Affordable Care Act, in a Supreme Court case. Get this: Republicans are actually attempting to argue that because Congress got rid of a penalty attached to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that most Americans get health insurance, that the whole act should be struck down. Even the court’s conservative justices aren’t buying that one.- Advertisement – “So many children have been knocked off of the Medicaid rolls, and it’s been OK by our local government,” Bush said. The registered nurse added that millions of people in her state are going to be affected by the Supreme Court’s decision, including those with preexisting conditions. Missouri residents voted 53.3% to 46.7% to approve a constitutional amendment that will expand who is eligible for Medicaid. The expansion, which covers Missouri residents earning up to 133% of the federal poverty level, is an optional part of the Affordable Care Act for states, and the federal government pays for 90% of the costs. Bush said complaints that Medicaid is “a burden on our system” miss the mark. “When your family member shows up to the hospital, I don’t pay attention to what insurance they have. I make sure that your family member is taken care of.”RELATED: Trump finds hostile audience in Roberts, Kavanaugh in effort to destroy Obamacare- Advertisement – RELATED: The Supreme Court hears one more ‘laughably weak’ challenge to ObamacareRELATED: Want to flip a state blue? Stacey Abrams drops major key, and she would knowThe Georgia runoff is Jan. 5. Request an absentee ballot by Nov. 18. Early in-person voting starts Dec. 14. And REGISTER TO VOTE here by Dec. 7.And give $3 right now to rip the Senate majority from Mitch McConnell’s cold dead hands. – Advertisement –last_img read more


Month: November 2020

first_imgThis treadmill has basically every improvement and innovation you can think of. It claims to be 33% faster than other treadmill motors when it comes to speed and incline changes, and it has a 22×60-inch deck so you won’t have to worry about falling off. This deck also has three-zone cushioning to keep you from finishing up your workout with achy knees.The 7.8 AT has a full color display with options for phone or tablet placement, along with Bluetooth connectivity and speakers so you can track your heart rate, play fitness classes or listen to your favorite podcast or playlist. There’s an included Bluetooth chest strap too! And as for your actual workout, you’ll be able to easily adjust your speed and incline with the QuickDial controls, or switch things up with the one-touch Interval Keys. And when you’re ready to go hard? Try the Sprint 8 HIIT program. It claims to “engage fast-twitch muscle fibers and naturally stimulate Human Growth Hormone (HGH). This triggers a response in the body that melts fat, encourages lean muscle mass and increases energy.” When you’re done, just fold the treadmill up in one step and store it away, out of sight, until your next workout! See it!Get the 7.8 AT Treadmill (originally $2,699) for just $1,899 with code BF100 at Horizon Fitness with free shipping! Code valid through November 29, 2020.7.0 AE Elliptical7.0 AE EllipticalHorizon FitnessWhether you’re more of an elliptical person or want to really go full out with your home gym, you won’t be sorry that you checked out the 7.0 AE. If you’re looking for a smooth ride and a durable machine (Who isn’t?), then you’ve found the one. Just as with the 7.8 AT Treadmill, this elliptical has Bluetooth connectivity and integrated speakers, as well as a rapid-charge USB port so your phone won’t die mid-workout!This elliptical is specifically designed to “encourage ideal body position and movement” so your workouts are pain-free, efficient and comfortable — which means they will last longer. The more comfortable you are, the less likely you are to quit mid-push! Speaking of push, this elliptical can push data to top tracking apps, which is especially important if you’re tracking your food for the day too. More working out equals more food! Your purchase includes a free Horizon app too, letting you control your workout from your phone or tablet.This elliptical has an advanced power incline, which basically means it’s not messing around. It has 20 levels of resistance! Your glutes, hamstrings and calves will thank you (once they’re finished feeling the burn). The transitions are smooth too, and they can be done with the touch of a button.Reviewers say having this 7.0 AE elliptical in their life “has been wonderful,” and they’re even calling it “better than the ones [they’ve] used at gyms.” It’s super quiet too, making it perfect for a home environment. They say it’s “worth every penny” — and they said that before the Black Friday deal even started! See it!Get the 7.0 AE Elliptical (originally $1,999) for just $899 with code BF100 at Horizon Fitness with free shipping! Code valid through November 29, 2020.Looking for something else? Shop everything else at Horizon Fitness here!Check out more of our picks and deals here!This post is brought to you by Us Weekly’s Shop With Us team. The Shop With Us team aims to highlight products and services our readers might find interesting and useful, such as face masks, self tanners, Lululemon-style leggings and all the best gifts for everyone in your life. Product and service selection, however, is in no way intended to constitute an endorsement by either Us Weekly or of any celebrity mentioned in the post.The Shop With Us team may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. In addition, Us Weekly receives compensation from the manufacturer of the products we write about when you click on a link and then purchase the product featured in an article. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product or service is featured or recommended. Shop With Us operates independently from advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback at [email protected] Happy shopping! Sponsored content. Us Weekly receives compensation for this article as well as for purchases made when you click on a link and buy something below.Was your fitness routine completely thrown off course this year? Many of us experienced an unexpected halt to our daily exercises all the way back in March, whether we were simply grabbing a few thousand steps on our commute to work or hitting the gym every morning. Suddenly we were working from home, our gym was closed and the stress of everything was really impacting our daily life. It was tough even finding healthy groceries in stock for a while!- Advertisement – 7.8 AT Treadmill7.8 AT TreadmillHorizon FitnessThe first thing we want to point out about this treadmill (and all from the 2020 Studio Series) is that it’s designed to be used with any streaming fitness class or training app. That means you can connect to Zwift, Peloton, Studio.live and more without having to commit solely to one specific program. You can change it up without having to buy an entire new machine!Reviewers say this treadmill is “just enjoyable to use” and that “its responsiveness is like no other.” It’s “a real workhorse” too, one shopper saying it “feels like a high end treadmill you would find in a commercial gym”!- Advertisement – Even now, many people are still working from home, and if your gym is open, it’s probably limited capacity — or you just don’t feel like renewing your membership is worth the risk. Your experience and feelings are valid, and so many are in the same boat as you. But that doesn’t change the fact that you’re ready to dive back into the health and wellness world. The thing is, if you can’t go back to your old routine, what is your new one going to look like?The best place to start (and stay)? Horizon Fitness. It’s time to bring the gym to you. Some people have trouble finding the motivation for an at-home cardio workout, but there’s a good chance they’re only working with a yoga mat and maybe a couple of dumbbells or bands. Just imagine how much that would change if there were a gym-grade treadmill or elliptical in the picture — and how thrilled you’d be to buy one (or both) for a major sale price!Black Friday 2020 has already begun at Horizon, and with holiday meals and desserts on our own horizon, we’re grateful to be able to go in with a plan. From now through November 29, 2020, Horizon is offering an extra $100 off its 7.8 AT Treadmill and its 7.0 AE Elliptical with code BF100! The 7.8 AT is from the new, wildly successful 2020 Studio Series treadmill lineup, while the 7.0 AE is from the brand’s Advanced series. Both have futuristic smart technology, and they’re both ready to change your life for the better. Learn more about both below — and don’t forget your discount code!- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more


Month: November 2020

first_imgHe was retweeted by the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. And Mr. DeSantis, the Florida governor, urged voters in Michigan and Pennsylvania, both with Republican-majority legislatures, to call lawmakers, who have it in their power to “provide remedies,” he said on Fox News. – Advertisement – At the same time, election law experts said none of the lawsuits presented evidence of widespread fraud that could reverse Mr. Trump’s deficits. With Arizona added to Mr. Biden’s column on Thursday, he has comfortably won the election with at least 290 projected electoral votes, 20 more than needed for a majority. Two states, North Carolina and Georgia, remain undecided.Bob Bauer, a leading Democratic elections lawyer and senior adviser to the Biden campaign, dismissed the notion of legislatures picking electors. “When all is said and done, you can’t stop the process from coming to the inevitable conclusion,” he said.- Advertisement –center_img The idea of legislatures intervening for Mr. Trump gained currency in the days after Election Day, following months of Mr. Trump’s raging that the election would be “rigged,” a baseless accusation, although one embraced by many of his supporters.On Nov. 5, as Pennsylvania’s gradual counting of mail-in ballots eroded Mr. Trump’s edge in the votes cast on Election Day, the Fox News commentator Sean Hannity suggested the results should be invalidated. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a staunch Trump supporter, responded, “I think everything should be on the table.”Earlier that day, Mr. Levin, the conservative radio host, had urged Republican state lawmakers to “get ready to do your constitutional duty,” writing in all capital letters on Twitter.- Advertisement –last_img read more


Month: November 2020

first_imgOnePlus 9 render suggesting its key design elements has surfaced on the Web. The CAD-based render shows that similar to the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8T, the next-generation OnePlus phone will come with a hole-punch display. The OnePlus 9 also appears to have triple rear cameras at the back. Alongside the render, a benchmark listing surfaced online that suggests the OnePlus 9 specifications. The new OnePlus smartphone is rumoured to debut sometime in the middle of March — some weeks earlier than the launch of the OnePlus 8 series that took place in April.The OnePlus 9 render, courtesy 91Mobiles, shows the front and back of the unannounced phone. It highlights the hole-punch display design that we already saw on the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8T models. At the back, the phone appears to have the triple rear camera setup in a vertical alignment — with two camera sensors featuring a large circumference. An LED flash is also visible next to the camera sensors. The OnePlus 9 may have one less camera sensor at the back when comparing with the OnePlus 8T that carries quad rear cameras.- Advertisement – OnePlus has not yet revealed any official details about the OnePlus 9. It is, thus, safe to consider the surfaced details with a pinch of salt.Is OnePlus 8T the best ‘value flagship’ of 2020? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below. – Advertisement –center_img OnePlus also appears to retain its alert slider and volume rocker on the OnePlus 9. The render also suggests that the new phone could also ditch the headphone jack.OnePlus 9 specifications (expected)Apart from the CAD-based render suggesting the design of the OnePlus 9, 91mobiles has leaked some of its key specifications. The phone is said to have a 6.55-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate and will be powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 875 SoC. It is also speculated to have 65W fast charging support. In addition to the leaked details, a phone carrying a model number LuBan LE2117 has appeared on benchmark site Geekbench. The model number is associated with the OnePlus 9, as noticed by a Weibo user.The Geekbench listing suggests that the OnePlus 9 runs on Android 11 and comes with 8GB of RAM. The listing also seems to have suggested the Snapdragon 875 SoC on the smartphone. Furthermore, the phone receives a single-core score of 1,122 and a multi-core score of 2,733.- Advertisement –last_img read more


Month: November 2020

first_img See also: The United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are seeking more information from China about its reported use of amantadine in poultry, according to reports today by the Associated Press (AP) and Agence France-Presse (AFP). The Washington Post reported on Jun 18 that Chinese farmers, with the knowledge and support of government officials, used amantadine on chickens as long ago as the late 1990s. The report called the drug use a violation of international livestock guidelines. Jun 20, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – International health agencies are questioning China about a report that the country has used a human antiviral drug in poultry for years, thereby causing the H5N1 influenza virus to become resistant to the drug. The FAO’s Beijing office was seeking information from China’s agriculture ministry, AFP reported today. Roy Wadia, a WHO spokesman in Beijing, said it’s premature to blame China for spurring resistance to amantadine, AFP reported. The drug dates back to 1976, and human resistance has been a problem. But Wadia added that China’s use might have hastened the development of resistance. Bui Quang Anh, animal health director in Vietnam’s agriculture ministry, called for “very high vigilance” against avian flu and said that some provinces were not taking the problem seriously, AFP reported. But he said there were no plans for mass poultry vaccinations. However, the story said researchers in Hong Kong found outbreaks in China in 1997, 2001, and 2003. News Editor Robert Roos contributed to this article. Amantadine and rimantadine make up an older class of antiviral medications used to reduce the impact of influenza. Some nations have made stockpiling amantadine part of their flu pandemic preparedness plans. A newer and more costly class of antiviral drugs, the neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir and zanamivir), is also used against flu. According to the Post, pharmaceutical executives in China confirmed that amantadine had been used since the late 1990s to treat or prevent avian flu in chickens. China first reported an outbreak of avian flu to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on Feb 2, 2004, according to the OIE listing of H5N1 outbreaks. Researchers found last year that the strain of H5N1 found in Vietnam and Thailand had become resistant to amantadine. The Post story quoted health experts outside China as saying they had suspected the link between resistance and use in poultry. The story said international researchers now believe the Chinese use of the drug is to blame. Halvorson emphasized that flu outbreaks in poultry must be addressed on a country-by-country basis because of national laws. He said the international community needs to reach out to those countries willing to get help. Halvorson could have predicted that resistance would arise if the drug were used in poultry. He worked on research with amantadine in turkeys about 20 years ago. “We found that resistance occurred quite quickly,” he said. Dave Halvorson, DVM, a veterinarian in avian health at the University of Minnesota in S. Paul, registered little surprise at the news today.center_img News out of Vietnam today served to underscore his point. Veterinary officials there announced that another 6,000 chickens were infected with H5N1, the first outbreak there in 2 months, according to AFP. The outbreak occurred in the southern province of Ben Tre, southwest of Ho Chi Minh City, the story said. Chinese authorities denied the report. OIE avian flu reportshttp://www.oie.int/downld/AVIAN%20INFLUENZA/A_AI-Asia.htm Amantadine targets the “M” protein of flu viruses, explained Osterholm, who is director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of this Web site. If a pandemic virus arose through the combination, or reassortment, of the H5N1 avian virus with a human flu virus, the M gene would come from the human virus, he said. As a result, “That [new virus] should still be relatively susceptible to amantadine,” he said. “These other countries are just overwhelmed,” he said. “Just finding avian flu is a big enough problem, let alone getting rid of it.” The government has never allowed farmers to use amantadine, said Xu Shixin, director of the agriculture ministry’s veterinary bureau, as quoted today in the newspaper China Daily. He added that the government will take action soon to curb illicit use. He also said avian flu in China was under control. If the H5N1 virus gives rise to a pandemic strain of flu, the resistance to amantadine might not necessarily carry through to the new strain, according to infectious disease expert Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH. It would depend on the process that produced the pandemic strain. “People who thought about it must have figured out they were using amantadine in poultry,” he said. “The resistance is not new information.” However, “Either way it’s bad,” because even if a pandemic virus is susceptible to amantadine, the drug will be in short supply, he added. The impact of the amantadine treatment isn’t clear. One FAO official quoted by AFP said it’s important to find out whether China had found a safe way to deliver the drug to animals, but warned that underdosing causes resistance. Use of amantadine in livestock is banned in the United States and other countries, the newspaper reported. Yet veterinarians explained to Chinese farmers how to use the drug and even supplied it, the story said. However, if the H5N1 virus adapted to humans gradually through a series of mutations, rather than through reassortment, it could remain resistant to amantadine. “If it continues to mutate, and we see a pandemic strain arise through slow human adaptation, that could mean amantadine is all but done,” Osterholm said. “Amantadine is widely used in the entire country,” the Post quoted Zhang Libin, head of the veterinary medicine division of Northeast General Pharmaceutical Factory in Shenyang, as saying. “Many pharmaceutical factories around China produce amantadine, and farmers can buy it easily in veterinary medicine stores.”last_img read more


Month: November 2020

first_imgFeb 20, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The rapidly growing list of countries facing H5N1 avian influenza in birds has swelled to include Egypt, France, and India in the past 4 days, and the virus is suspected in Bosnia as well.Egyptian officials first reported on Feb 17 that about 20 dead birds had tested positive for the virus, according to an Associated Press report that day. A United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization official said the virus had reached Cairo via an infected turkey taken to market there, and outbreaks had been found in backyard chickens and rooftop coops in Giza, across the Nile River from Cairo.In addition, Egypt’s health minister said the disease had been found in three provinces in the Nile delta and in Fayoum, a farming region southwest of Cairo, according to a Reuters report today.The report said the sudden arrival and spread of the virus had caused widespread panic among Egyptians. The economic impact could be severe, because the poultry industry in Egypt supports 2.5 million to 3 million people, and Egyptians are heavily dependent on poultry for protein, according to UN officials quoted in the story.In France, a wild duck found near Lyon tested positive for H5N1 on Feb 18, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report published today. France became the sixth European Union (EU) member to find the virus in birds, after Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy, and Slovenia. (Infected birds have also been found in several non-EU countries in Europe, including Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, and Ukraine.)India confirmed its first avian outbreak of H5N1 the same day as France, Feb 18. The virus was found in chickens in the western state of Maharashtra, where 50,000 birds died last week, according to an AFP report.A Feb 19 Bloomberg News report said the virus had affected as many as 52 poultry farms at Nawapur in the northern part of the state, of which Mumbai is the capital. State officials said they had created 60 teams to destroy poultry on 48 farms in 19 villages, the story said.About 20,000 of an estimated 500,000 birds near Nawapur were destroyed yesterday, according to an AFP report published today. The report said teams of inexperienced agricultural were struggling to slaughter the chickens, beating and strangling some.One farmer said the government had promised to pay farmers the equivalent of US 80 cents per bird, little more than a third of the cost of raising them, AFP reported.In Bosnia, tests confirmed an H5 virus in two wild swans, prompting the government to order the slaughter of about 4,400 poultry, according to an AFP report today. The swans were found at a lake near the town of Jajce in the central part of the Balkan country.Samples from the swans were sent to a laboratory in Weybridge, England, to determine if the virus is H5N1, the story said.In Hungary, two more wild swans tested positive for an H5 virus, AFP reported today. Samples will be sent to Weybridge for further testing. Hungarian authorities were still waiting for the results of further tests on swans that tested positive for an H5 virus last week, AFP reported.Malaysia has confirmed its first poultry outbreak of H5N1 since late 2004, according to another AFP report published today. The story said tests were run after 40 chickens on a farm north of the capital, Kuala Lumpur, died last week.The country’s agriculture minister called the outbreak an “isolated case.” He said authorities had destroyed all the chickens on nearby farms and had taken steps to ensure that no poultry were moved out of the area.Malaysia had declared itself free of avian flu in January 2005, according to AFP.last_img read more


Month: November 2020

first_img(CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing) – It’s been a busy 10 days on the H5N1 front. Indonesia reported two new human cases and Egypt reported one new human case; there are new confirmed poultry outbreaks in South Korea, Pakistan, and Turkey; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued its long-awaited community mitigation strategies document; the Occupational Safety and Health Administration introduced its first workplace guidelines for pandemic influenza; and CIDRAP hosted its second national summit on pandemic influenza and business preparedness in Orlando, FL.But I believe that one particular H5N1 event during this time stands out as an important “teachable moment”—unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons. An H5N1 poultry outbreak in the United Kingdom (UK) raised many questions about how prepared governments and the private sector in developed countries are to respond to new and emerging influenza issues.Here is what we know. H5N1-infected turkeys were documented in the Bernard Matthews Holdings Ltd. production facility outside of a Suffolk farm in England. On Feb 5, approximately 160,000 turkeys were culled from the operation. Bernard Matthews and the UK agency responsible for investigating and responding to H5N1 infections issued statements that the culling was complete and the situation posed no risk to humans. The agency—the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)—and Bernard Matthews also emphasized that biosecurity efforts on the farm would limit any other transmission of the virus, despite the fact that there was no explanation as to how the virus got to the birds.This is where things get interesting. Government officials have determined that the H5N1 virus found in the Suffolk turkeys is virtually identical to the H5N1 strain that caused a poultry outbreak in January at a Hungarian farm about 30 miles from a slaughterhouse from which Bernard Matthews imported turkey meat. We have evidence that truckloads of poultry products from both the Hungarian and UK locations had been transported between countries after the outbreaks were identified. For several days, the UK media had a mild feeding frenzy on a series of confusing statements from DEFRA and Bernard Matthews about these events, the risk of H5N1 spreading to other poultry, and the risk posed to humans.For example, The Times of London reported on Feb 12:Despite the imposition of quarantine rules, six trucks of poultry products from the farm owned by Bernard Matthews were said to have arrived in Hungary on Thursday.[DEFRA] launched an investigation into the claims made last night by Lajos Bognar, Hungary’s Deputy Chief Vet. The movement of meat from a site infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu was said by a DEFRA spokeswoman to be within the rules, but caused astonishment among opposition groups. David Miliband, Secretary of State for the Environment, has already been forced to defend DEFRA’s handling of the outbreak and will come under pressure to explain the latest revelation today. Peter Ainsworth, the Shadow Environment Secretary, said: “I’m increasingly bemused at the unfolding saga and finding it increasingly difficult to understand what’s going on. “It’s exactly how you turn a drama into a crisis. I can’t think of anything more calculated to damage public confidence.” Strict rules came into force 10 days ago at the farm and meat processing site in Holton to ensure that the virus was contained, but a loophole in the regulations allows limited exemptions. Live birds, eggs, and carcasses cannot be moved from infected sites, but processed meat in storage is exempt from the isolation rules. Among the possibilities being examined by DEFRA is the suggestion that exported poultry products may have originally come from Hungary and been stored in a refrigeration unit in the same meat processing building that the infected turkeys were taken to in order to be gassed, before being returned to the Continent.In short, this situation is still being sorted out. But there are some real lessons for government and private sector officials responsible for responding to such situations in the future.First, the US and European poultry industries have maintained that current biosecurity efforts on their farms would greatly reduce the risk of similar situations happening. Based on this situation, do we need to reevaluate that premise and respond accordingly?Second, this situation is a classic example of horrible risk communication. Assurances that the public not worry has reminded every British citizen of similar statements made more than a decade ago about cattle and mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE). Initial confident assurances that there was no “Hungarian connection” to the UK outbreak have been discredited.And finally, the UK government missed a golden opportunity to emphasize the critical nature of pandemic preparedness while the public’s attention was focused on the H5N1 issue. The turkey outbreak was a teachable moment, a chance to tell the UK population what they really needed to know to be prepared for the next influenza pandemic.Unfortunately, UK government officials not only squandered that chance, they shot themselves in the foot. Businesses should take a closer look at this situation, even if their enterprises have nothing to do with turkeys. There are some real lessons to be learned about risk communication and outbreak investigations for a real crisis in the future.last_img read more


Month: November 2020

first_img(CIDRAP Business Source Osterholm Briefing) – After seeing the pandemic alert level sit at phase 3 for years, suddenly witnessing the World Health Organization (WHO) accelerate from phase 3 to phase 5 in mere days feels terribly unnerving. Unfortunately, it’s the nature of the beast—literally.Influenza viruses are notoriously unpredictable. And now this novel swine-origin virus is proving the case I’ve tried to make for years. If you haven’t already done so, activate your pandemic plan now. All your preparations, your tabletops exercises, your months of meeting and revising and refining are about to prove of great value. If you don’t have a plan, I urge you to move quickly to do as much as you can to get ready.That said, here’s what bears repeating: This virus remains unpredictable. It may surge ahead into a deadly pandemic in days, weeks, or months. Then again, it may fizzle out completely. Or it could disappear for a while, then return in a few months with a vengeance. We all need to practice these words: We just don’t know.Changing to the most useful mindsetProbably the hardest part of this pandemic phase is helping your employees make a psychological adjustment. Panic is a waste of energy. And ignoring the warnings is foolhardy. In other words, this phase is a big deal. Period. No getting around it. Time to get used to that idea.International risk communication consultant, Peter M. Sandman, PhD, Deputy Editor of CIDRAP Business Source, has some useful observations about how the US government has been handling communications with the public. He credits officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for being candid about the facts, though he’d like to see them urge people to make more individual preparations. Still, the gold standard of crisis communication, he says, “is to say alarming things in a calm tone.” Richard Besser, MD, CDC’s acting director, is doing exactly that.That’s an excellent takeaway message for the business community. Be candid and don’t back off from explaining the full range of possibilities. Employees need to understand that coping with the outbreak could be more like a marathon than a sprint.Encourage your employees to do somethingNow is the time to remind employees to take care of their household’s needs: extra food, water, prescription medications, a full tank of gas in the car, and, if possible, cash in their wallets. For both logistical and psychological reasons, everybody should be asked to take action, not simply “cover their cough and watch while the authorities cope,” to quote Peter. It’s much more “calming to prepare.”How will CIDRAP Source help you?We’re just at the beginning of phase 5 and much is still unclear—vaccine manufacturing, when to deploy antivirals, supply-chain issues, and more. We’re watching these developments closely and using our expertise to translate complicated healthcare and scientific information into authoritative, reliable intelligence you can use.To that end, you can expect to receive:Osterholm Briefings, when I can give you helpful context or interpretation or I’m hearing the same question coming from multiple business leadersOsterholm Briefing Updates, which will give you the latest-breaking newsAlerts, when a new development requires immediate actionFor now, we’re going to pay special attention to the categories of Employee Protection, Government Watch, and Communication. We know that you are trying to sort through chaotic messages coming from media outlets that have suddenly taken an interest in what looks to be an emerging pandemic. So we will stay focused on what the latest developments mean to business. And we’ll keep the communication succinct.Expect to see updates like this:Dr. Margaret Chan, head of the WHO, today raised the agency’s pandemic alert level to phase 5, one notch below a full-scale influenza pandemic, signaling that it’s time for all countries to prepare. [Margaret Chan’s statement]The CDC today reported a total of 91 confirmed cases of swine flu in 10 states, with 51 cases in New York City. Besides New York, affected states and case numbers are Arizona, 1; California, 14; Indiana, 1; Kansas, 2; Massachusetts, 2; Michigan, 2; Nevada, 1; Ohio, 1, and Texas, 16. [CDC swine flu page]WHO said it knew of 148 confirmed swine flu cases in nine countries as of 18:00 GMT today. These included 13 in Canada, 91 (with 1 death) in the United States, 26 (with 7 deaths) in Mexico, 2 in Israel, 4 in Spain, 5 in the United Kingdom, 3 in New Zealand, 1 in Austria, and 3 in Germany.A 22-month-old boy from Mexico City died in a Houston, Tex., hospital earlier this week, marking the first swine flu death in the United States and the first outside Mexico, the Texas Department of Health Services (TDHS) reported today. The boy’s close contacts have remained healthy, officials said. [TDHS news release]Germany reported three swine flu cases and Austria reported one, according to a Reuters report today. The patients included a Bavarian couple in their 30s, a 22-year-old woman from Hamburg, and a 28-year-old Austrian.New York and Indiana have received their full allotments of influenza antivirals from the Strategic National Stockpile, and all other states will receive theirs by May 3, Dr. Richard Besser, acting CDC director, said in a press briefing held by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).A “reference strain” of the swine flu H1N1 virus has been isolated by the CDC and sent to vaccine manufacturers, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at the HHS briefing, adding that limited pilot lots of vaccine could be available for human trials in “early fall.”The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has organized its swine-flu response into an “incident management” structure of seven teams—vaccine, antivirals, personal protective equipment, blood needs, diagnostic research, shortages, and consumer protection—acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein said at the HHS briefing.Only 3 of 14 US swine flu patients with known travel histories had been in Mexico, the CDC said in an MMWR Dispatch last night. Forty of the 64 confirmed cases were not linked to travel or to another confirmed case. [Apr 28 MMWR Dispatch]Between Apr 19 and 27, federal officials checked 15 sick travelers entering the United States from Mexico and confirmed that 2 of them had swine flu, the CDC said in the MMWR Dispatch. Nine travelers remained in isolation pending further evaluation, and four travelers were released.Bottom line for businessPut your plans into action. Help your employees make a critical psychological shift and prepare their households. And stay tuned.last_img read more


Recent Comments