WHO raises pandemic alert to phase 4 [updated 7:15 p.m. CST]

first_imgEditor’s note: Includes two new sections, on phase change considerations and on possible impact.Apr 27, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) today raised its official pandemic alert level from the current phase 3 to phase 4 on its 6-phase scale, saying the newly identified swine influenza virus has made a pandemic more likely but not inevitable.”We think we have taken a step in that [pandemic] direction, but a pandemic is not considered inevitable at this time,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health security and environment, at a press conference from Geneva.By the WHO’s definition, phase 4 means that a novel flu virus has become sufficiently transmissible to cause sustained community outbreaks. Phase 3 signals that a new virus is causing sporadic illness cases or small clusters of cases but is not spreading enough to cause larger outbreaks.WHO Director-General Margaret Chan decided to raise the alert phase on the recommendation of the agency’s Emergency Committee, which met today.Fukuda said it was clear to the committee that person-to-person transmission of the swine flu virus is going on. Confirmed swine flu cases have been reported in Mexico, the United States, Canada, and Spain (one case).”Given the widespread presence of the virus, the director-general considered that containment of the outbreak is not feasible,” the WHO said in a statement. “The current focus should be on mitigation measures.”The WHO also recommended today that governments not close borders or restrict travel, saying those steps would likely cause major disruptions while doing little to keep the virus from spreading. However, the agency said it is prudent for sick people to delay international travel and for those who get sick after travel to seek medical attention.In addition, the WHO advised that production of seasonal flu vaccine should not be interrupted in favor of making a swine flu vaccine at this point. The recommendation comes as flu season in the southern hemisphere is getting under way.At the same time, Fukuda said the Emergency Committee advised the WHO “to take all steps to facilitate development of a vaccine that could protect people against this new virus.” He estimated it will take 4 to 6 months to develop and begin producing such a vaccine, and several more months to make it in large quantities.The WHO move came the same day the US swine flu count doubled to 40 cases with the addition of 20 more cases associated with a school in New York City and as federal health officials advised against nonessential travel to Mexico, the epicenter of the outbreaks.Phase change considerationsIn raising the alert phase, the WHO committee “felt that, given the rapidly evolving situation, it was important to send a strong signal to countries that now is a good time to strengthen preparedness for pandemic influenza if it continues to evolve in that direction,” said Fukuda.Although the WHO’s official guidance on pandemic phases and related actions suggests that containment of a new virus may still be possible in phase 4, the agency made clear today that it does not believe it’s still possible to contain the virus to a small geographic area. This agrees with what US health officials have been saying.”The committee discussed the situation in depth and decided that . . . really this virus is too widespread to make containment a feasible consideration,” Fukuda said.The WHO ventured no predictions about how long the pandemic alert will remain at phase 4. “As further information becomes available, WHO may decide to either revert to phase 3 or raise the level of alert to another phase,” the agency statement said.When Fukuda was asked why the WHO didn’t move the alert to phase 5, he indicated the committee had some doubts about the extent of community outbreaks. Phase 5 is defined as a situation involving sustained community outbreaks in two or more countries within one WHO region. Phase 6 means sustained community outbreaks in more than one WHO region.In carefully reviewing the epidemiologic data, including the confirmed and suspected cases, the WHO committee was convinced that person-to-person transmission is going on, said Fukuda. “But there’s a recognition that we’d really like more information on the sustainability of the virus, and one of the signs would be widespread community outbreaks. If you look at the case reported in Spain, this was a case in a traveler returning from Mexico, and we don’t really have any evidence of community spread of infections occurring within a country.”Commenting on the recommendation against travel restrictions, he said, “At this point, with the virus widespread . . . closing borders or restricting travel really has very little effect if any effect at stopping the movement of this virus; however it would cause a great deal of disruption of countries.” He said modeling studies have indicated it would take “very, very draconian restrictions on travel” to slow the virus’s spread.Possible impact of WHO movePeter M. Sandman, PhD, a risk-communication expert and business consultant, welcomed the WHO’s phase change as a step that may increase preparedness efforts by many countries and companies and should increase preparations by individuals.Although the WHO has been criticized for not raising the alert level sooner, the system has worked much as expected, given that the agency had to get a consensus, Sandman commented by e-mail.”It matters a lot that the WHO caught up this evening,” he said. “US government officials have been saying for two days now that they’re responding to conditions on the ground, not to any ‘label’ the WHO might decide to apply or not apply. That may be true for the CDC and other US agencies. But it’s not true for health officials in countries without any confirmed cases so far, many of which have written pandemic plans that specify a different response to phase 4 than to phase 3. And it’s not true for companies, especially multinational companies, many of which have their own pandemic plans keyed to the WHO stages. Ditto for cities and states with pandemic plans but no local cases; the WHO phase shift may trigger a response from them as well.”And a lot of smaller companies and smaller communities without pandemic plans have been waiting for a signal to start taking precautionary action. This may be the signal they have been waiting for.”Sandman said that in their messages to the public, US health officials so far have recommended only hygiene practices, not more concrete preparedness steps such as stockpiling supplies. He said he hopes that the shift to phase 4 will inspire the public to do much more.”We are losing precious preparedness time—time to go out and buy supplies before there’s a real emergency, while the shelves are still full and the stores can still replenish; and time to think through what life might be like in a week or two if all schools are closed, most businesses are closed, and many people are very, very sick,” Sandman said.”The trick is to do all that preparing while bearing in mind that this swine flu outbreak may very well fizzle. In other words, we must prepare for the worst without committing ourselves to expecting the worst,” he added.Sandman concluded, “Here’s the secret of preparedness that fearful government leaders tend to forget: It’s a calming experience to prepare. People who have been working hard not to worry about the pandemic that might be looming, people who have spent today holding back that gathering knot in their guts, will feel more in control after they have taken some concrete steps to get themselves and their family ready. I hope they read tonight’s WHO decision as advice to do that tomorrow.”See also: Apr 27 WHO statementhttp://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2009/h1n1_20090427/en/index.htmlWHO press briefing pagehttp://www.who.int/mediacentre/multimedia/swineflupressbriefings/en/index.htmllast_img read more

With liquor shops locked down, 10 die in India drinking sanitizer

first_imgTen men died in a southern Indian state on Friday after consuming alcohol-derived sanitizer, as local liquor shops were closed due to a coronavirus-related lockdown, police said.The deaths in the town of Kurichedu, in Andhra Pradesh, came as India reported another record surge in daily COVID-19 cases, taking the total to 1.64 million.”Some people who are heavily addicted to alcohol had been consuming hand sanitizers for the high,” Siddharth Kaushal, the top police official in the district where Kurichedu is located, told Reuters. “Alcohol is not available because of the lockdown, but hand sanitizers are easily available.” He said some other people who had also consumed sanitizer had been discharged from the hospital. Some of the dead had other health conditions, he added.The federal government has allowed the reopening of most economic activities to try to stave off financial disaster.Many states including Andhra Pradesh, however, are still isolating certain pockets where coronavirus infections have jumped. Kurichedu is one such area where a strict lockdown is in place.Reported coronavirus cases in Andhra Pradesh have leapt nine-fold in a month, compared with about a three-fold increase in the country as a whole in the same period. The state has the highest rate of testing per million people in the country.Across India, infections jumped by 55,078 in the past 24 hours, while the death toll rose by 779 to 35,747, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on its website.The ministry also said it aimed to raise the country’s capacity to 1 million coronavirus tests per day in the medium term, from a record 600,000 on Friday.The federal government this week announced the reopening of yoga institutes and gymnasiums, and removed restrictions on the movement of people and goods.Topics :last_img read more

Governor Wolf Announces New Funding for Five Projects to Promote Energy Efficiency, Support Farmers, and Spur Economic Development

first_imgBedford CountyBedford County Development Association was approved for a $100,000 grant through the Pipeline Investment Program (PIPE) to extend natural gas pipeline into the Bedford County Business Park II in Bedford Township. The approximately 1,500-foot extension will make the lots within the business park more attractive to prospective clients while also providing gas service to YRC Freight. The total project cost is $200,000.Bucks CountyCouncil Rock School District was approved for a $2 million grant through the Alternative and Clean Energy (ACE) program for renovation and more than 10,000 square feet of additional construction on the Rolling Hills Elementary School located in Northampton Township. These improvements will lead to a U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification. The planned energy saving features include geothermal heating and cooling, energy-efficient lighting, automated energy control systems, low-flow water-saving fixtures, occupancy-based temperature and lighting, a 128.8 kW solar photovoltaic array, and an improved thermal envelope. The project is anticipated to reduce energy consumption by more than 1 million kBtu annually, and the low-flow water fixtures will reduce water consumption by nearly 54,000 gallons annually. The total project cost is $22,468,100.Chester CountyNeal B. King and Mary Lou King were approved for a $332,500, 15-year loan at a 3.75 percent rate through the Chester County Economic Development Council for the acquisition of a 41.5-acre parcel of farmland located in West Fallowfield Township. The Kings currently lease the land to grow feed for their dairy herd. The funding, approved through the First Industries program, will assist with the total project cost of $738,000.Franklin CountyThe Borough of Chambersburg was approved for a $584,100 grant through the PIPE program to expand multiple natural gas pipelines through the borough into neighboring Greene Township to provide new natural gas services for existing and future development including the site of the future Summit Health Care campus. The new construction will also provide natural gas service to the current First Church of God, the 190 homes within the Grand Point Crossing housing development, and a vacant 200-acre tract of developable land. Additionally, the borough plans to provide gas service through smaller extensions from the current natural gas pipeline to a hotel parcel and residential developments including Franklin Square, Chancellor Drive, Beechwood Lane, and Menno Haven retirement campus. The total project cost is $1,168,200.Lancaster CountyElisa and Patrick Fleming were approved for a $400,000, 15-year loan at a 2.5 percent rate through EDC Finance Corporation for the acquisition of a 60-acre crop and beef farm located in Paradise Township. The farm is located within the Lancaster County Amish Country tourism market and includes a bed and breakfast that offers educational tours to the public. The fourth-generation family farm is being purchased from the parent of Elisa Fleming. In addition to the bed and breakfast, the farm raises 25-30 beef cattle sold in the farm’s retail store and in bulk to restaurants. It also grows corn, hay, and soybeans that are sold locally. The funding, approved through the First Industries program, will assist with the total project cost of $947,598.A full list of approved projects and guidelines for each CFA program can be found on the DCED website. For more information about DCED, visit dced.pa.gov. July 17, 2018 Economy,  Energy,  Environment,  Infrastructure,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced five new project approvals through the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA), that will benefit Pennsylvania residents and businesses through promoting energy efficiency, providing farmers with crucial loan funding, and building out infrastructure to bring abundant energy to homes and commercial buildings.“To spur economic development in Pennsylvania, it is vital for us to support our small family farmers, develop of our natural gas energy infrastructure, and help promote the construction and renovation of high-efficiency buildings that lower energy costs and help our environment,” Governor Wolf said. “These five projects approved today support those goals and will help make Pennsylvania a better place to live and work.”The approved projects include grants to support the renovation and construction of a highly energy-efficient school building and the installation of pipelines that will bring Pennsylvania’s abundant natural gas energy resources to more than 190 residential and commercial customers, boosting economic development in the areas where the projects are located. Also, two low-interest loans were approved to small family farms that will enable the farmers to acquire land.The following five projects were approved: Governor Wolf Announces New Funding for Five Projects to Promote Energy Efficiency, Support Farmers, and Spur Economic Development SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Southeastern Career Center Hosts Open House, Career Fair

first_imgVERSAILLES – Students and parents are invited to attend an open house and career fair at the Southeastern Career Center Wednesday.The open house provides an opportunity for parents to tour classrooms and meet with teachers.A career fair gives students and parents a chance to meet with representatives from colleges and local industry.The open house and career fair s from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.last_img

Area Boys Basketball Scores (2-23)

first_imgArea Boys Basketball Scores.Thursday  (2-23)Shelbyville  63     Batesville  53Lawrenceburg  55     Oldenburg  44Switz. County  52     Madison  50Brown County  67     Edinburgh  47last_img

The Latest: Bologna says staff member may have virus

first_img May 27, 2020 ___The final Asian qualifying place for the women’s soccer tournament at the Tokyo Olympics is set to be decided in February.The Asian Football Confederation says the postponed two-leg series between China and South Korea will be played Feb. 19 and 24. No venues for the games were announced.The games were previously postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed for one year.The 12-team women’s tournament is scheduled to start in Japan ahead of the Olympic opening ceremony on July 23, 2021. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Bologna says a member of its staff may have coronavirus and if it is confirmed the entire squad will go into quarantine. The Latest: Bologna says staff member may have virus Premier League clubs have voted unanimously to resume contact training in the latest step toward restarting the soccer season amid the coronavirus pandemic.The league says players are now able to train as a group and “engage in tackling while minimizing any unnecessary close contact.”Play has been suspended in the world’s richest league since March 13.The league says “discussions are ongoing as work continues toward resuming the season.”Players returned to training last week and have been practicing in small groups with social distancing maintained. Associated Press ___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 Bologna says the latest series of tests revealed “a suspected positive case for COVID-19.”The club says that as a precaution the team will train individually on Thursday.It would be the first positive case in Serie A since the teams started training in groups if it is confirmed.Serie A has been suspended since March 9 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league is hoping to restart on June 13.___ The Spanish soccer federation says it will allow games to be played on Mondays and Fridays until the end of the season even though a judge has denied the Spanish league’s official request to play on those days.League president Javier Tebas has said he wants matches to be played every day but the federation had been against the idea.The federation says it “wants to clearly show its good will” and is also willing to extend the exception into the beginning of next season depending on how the pandemic progresses and if games will continue to be played without fans.The league says it will appeal the judge’s decision. It says it jeopardizes the soccer industry in Spain. The league was not able to schedule matches on Mondays before the competition was suspended in mid-March.___last_img read more

Positive signs: Syracuse officially welcomes 53rd-best recruiting class in country

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Some things have so many explanations that they become hard to explain.The move to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Three bowl wins in four years. The savvy recruiting pair of 24-year-old Director of Recruiting Operations Eric White and Offensive Coordinator George McDonald. The snowball effect of one verbal commit attracting another, and so on and so forth down the line.They’re all possibilities. And whatever it was, it happened fast.Twelve months ago, Scout.com rated Syracuse’s 2013 recruiting class as the 73rd best in the country. On Wednesday — when a list of 25 players was ironed out by pens and hats in every corner of Eastern United States — Syracuse finished national signing day right outside the top 50, at No. 53.Twenty spots in a calendar year. The kind of leap that pleased Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer as he discussed the incoming class Wednesday afternoon.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It’s an exciting time for them,” Shafer said. “They’ve been dreaming since they were little kids to go play football at a prestigious university, and for them to sign and look their parents in the eye and say ‘I did it,’ it’s an endpoint and a start point at the same time.”The only person Shafer didn’t credit for the Orange’s recruiting success was himself, yet he was as entrenched in the process as the rest of the gang.It was a communal effort that grabbed players from as far south as Miami, and west as Chicago. It trended on Twitter on many occasions and will thrust the Orange into next season with a revamped roster.“For the most part we like to break it down by where we need positions to fill,” McDonald said, “and then we go to areas of need next, like areas that really need to be addressed.”But the Orange didn’t just fill needs. It established pipelines and brought in groups of players that will complement each other in play and personality.There’s the Chicago guys, headlined by offensive tackle Denzel Ward and rounded out by cornerback Lamar Dawson, linebacker Colton Moskal and another offensive lineman, Aaron Roberts.There’s the Florida group, strung together by quarterback Alin Edouard and encompassing wide receiver Steve Ishmael, tight end Adley Enoicy and defensive backs Cordell Hudson, Juwan Dowels and Antwan Cordy.There’s a talented pair from Philadelphia, two explosive running backs and a lot of size on the defensive line.“The class is so balanced and so good,” said Jalen Harvey, a defensive tackle who signed to SU on Wednesday. “It’s nice knowing that I’m going to get to go to battle with this group for four years, we’re going to do something big.”But what maybe makes the members of this class even more special than their rankings and 40-yard dash times is that they have already grown close. They recruited each other on Twitter and through texts, planned their official visits on the same weekends and frequently wrote in a group message with White on Facebook.They won’t all be together until they all break camp in August, but the chemistry is already palpable.“We all want everyone to see how great it’s going to be at Syracuse,” Edouard said. “That’s why we’re always talking about it with each other all the time.”The Orange started to shape the 2014 class a week after signing day last year, when No. 73 just wasn’t good enough.Now Feb. 5 — the date circled on the Syracuse football schedule for months — has come and gone, and what’s left is a group of players whose collective potential yields a brighter future in Central New York.“That’s what you do it for. You do it for a bunch of 17-, 18-year-old kids saying they want to go to Syracuse and be a part of something special up here,” McDonald said. “It’s very, very relieving and it makes it all worth it.” Comments Published on February 5, 2014 at 6:23 pm Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesselast_img read more

Tyus Battle to reportedly leave Syracuse for the NBA Draft

first_img Comments Last year, Battle entered his name into the NBA Draft process, went through the pre-draft combine but then pulled his name without signing an agent to return to SU. He averaged about 17 points per game as a junior for the Orange, and has slotted in the 50s of some publication’s NBA mock drafts.If Battle has played his final game for Syracuse, he’d finish with 1,647 career points, 16th in Syracuse history. And if he’s gone, the final shot of Battle’s SU career would be a right baseline, stepback jumper from about 15 feet that he hit off the front rim. View this post on InstagramAdvertisementThis is placeholder textA post shared by Tyus Battle (@tyusbattle) on Mar 22, 2019 at 10:02am PDT SALT LAKE CITY — Tyus Battle will leave Syracuse for the NBA Draft, per multiple reports on Friday morning.Battle said last night after Syracuse’s season ending at the hands of Baylor that he wasn’t “worrying about” his future at that moment. But with his junior season concluded, it appears Battle will test himself professionally. The reports gave no indication of whether Battle would be signing immediately with an agent or not.Battle posted the following on Instagram on Friday morning.www.instagram.com/p/BvUXl_4HhWn/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_medium=loading” data-instgrm-version=”12″>center_img Published on March 22, 2019 at 1:27 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Newport bow out of Munster Intermediate championship

first_imgThe Tipperary side went down 1-15  to 1-12 against Lismore of Waterford in the provincial semi-final, which was played at Fraher Field, Dungarvan.Eamon McCormack got their goal but Newport will be dissapointed they didn’t take other opportunities that came their way.Monaleen of Limerick and Kerry’s Kilmoyley meet in the other last four tie tomorrow afternoon.last_img

Successful weekend for Tipp clubs in Munster Junior League

first_imgClonmel remain at the top of the table after a 14-0 win in Galbally, Clanwilliam recorded a 10-5 triumph away to Cobh Pirates and Kilfeacle – who also travelled to the Rebel County – scored a 31-21 bonus point victory against Clonakilty.Meanwhile, Thurles defeated Crosshaven 10-8 in Division 2.last_img