Pandemic threatens to veer out of control in U.S., public health experts say

first_img Cellphone data shows Americans moving around at near pre-pandemic rates “We should be wanting to be able to open schools, and schools should have a higher priority, arguably, than other parts of the economy,” Hanage said. “What those [other parts of the economy to reopen] are, ought to be debated. … What we should be thinking about in reopening is not reopening everything in a safe way, but which things we want to reopen and being able to do that without enhancing community transmission.”Even well-honed strategies will fail if citizens are noncompliant, however, Bloom said. In New York City, contact tracing programs have run into people not answering phones or refusing to isolate after hearing they’ve been exposed to infection.“If people are ignoring the epidemic, it’s going to be very hard to control,” Bloom said, “and leadership should be inspiring people to be more cautions.” “When political leaders wait until it gets really bad, that’s where we are now,” Bloom said. “If you only look at what you see today, you’re three weeks behind the curve. … It’s trying to imagine what will be three weeks from now — rather than what you see today — that should be determining policy.”Hanage said he understands political leaders’ reluctance to reimpose lockdowns, but with few tools to fight the coronavirus and more moderate steps like masking and hand-washing most effective when numbers are also more moderate, a shutdown may turn out to be what’s needed.“Let me be clear: I do not like shutdowns. But if they’re the only thing to prevent a worse catastrophe, you have to use them,” Hanage said.A bright spot in the current epidemic is that the age of those contracting COVID-19 appears to be declining. Hanage said that he didn’t view it as a sign of the epidemic evolving, but rather a marker of testing being more widespread and catching more cases than during the March-April spike. Though younger people have better survival rates, that good news is tempered by the fact that we’ve been largely ineffective at keeping the virus away from those most susceptible for severe illness: the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions. But that may nonetheless mean there is a window of opportunity to suppress the epidemic before it takes hold among those more vulnerable populations. “Let me be clear: I do not like shutdowns. But if they’re the only thing to prevent a worse catastrophe, you have to use them.” — William Hanage, Harvard Chan School Harvard’s Summers says national pandemic response lacking Lockdown? What lockdown? “If there is a window of action, it’s now,” Hanage said.Hanage struck a similar note on lower death rates in the current spike, saying deaths lag behind cases, so we should wait for a few weeks before concluding that anything different is going on.Bloom said the difference between the U.S. and nations where the pandemic appears to be controlled is that those countries had uniform national policies and didn’t lift lockdowns until case numbers were very low. The fact that some of them have experienced new outbreaks — like the recent spate of cases in Beijing — is to be expected. Once the local epidemic is controlled, easing the lockdown will inevitably lead to new cases. The strategy then is to use testing to quickly identify cases and use contact tracing and isolation to contain outbreaks before they become widespread. In a state like California, with 7,000 new cases reported Tuesday, tracing the contacts of each positive test becomes a monumental task.Rather than flinging the doors wide, the two said reopening should more closely resemble refining the shutdown, letting some things resume with safeguards in place that can be tightened should cases rise. Leaders should consider risk versus value to society in deciding what to reopen and when. For instance, bars, casinos, and churches, where people are crammed together and which have been shown to be hotspots of infection in some instances, may need to stay closed in order to keep the overall infection rate in the community low enough that we can safely reopen places with broad societal benefit, Bloom and Hanage said. Related The risks of ‘not trying enough’ against COVID-19 Experts are thinking through the options as a jump is possible in fall This is part of our Coronavirus Update series in which Harvard specialists in epidemiology, infectious disease, economics, politics, and other disciplines offer insights into what the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak may bring.Harvard public health experts said the nation’s COVID-19 epidemic is getting “quite out of hand” and that, with cases rising rapidly in the hardest-hit states and a two-week lag between infection and hospitalization, the situation appears set to worsen quickly.“I have this awful feeling of déjà vu, like it’s March all over again,” said William Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.Hanage, who spoke with reporters during a conference call Thursday morning, said that hospitals are nearing capacity in Arizona and Houston and are likely to be stressed elsewhere soon. And, in contrast to the nation’s early spike in COVID-19 cases that were concentrated in a few states, the current surge is much more widespread and so has greater potential to take off.“The increases that we’re seeing right now have the capacity to cause far more disease in the future,” Hanage said.Barry Bloom, the Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson Research Professor of Public Health, who also fielded reporters’ questions Thursday, said other countries have shown that the epidemic can be contained by acting swiftly when cases appear. Even Italy, once on the verge of health system collapse, has regained control of its epidemic, Bloom said. Italy on Tuesday reported just 113 new cases and 18 deaths. “If you only look at what you see today, you’re three weeks behind the curve. … It’s trying to imagine what will be three weeks from now … that should be determining policy.” — Barry Bloom, Harvard Chan School Finding COVID clues in movement Americans are weary of lockdowns, but if COVID surges, what then? Tracking mobility of individuals offers hints of whether a problem is rising or falling last_img read more

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Leaf Spot Disease

first_imgGeorgia peanut growers are experiencing problematic leaf spot diseases this year due to susceptible varieties and weakening fungicide treatments, according to Albert Culbreath and Tim Brenneman, plant pathologists at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus.Brenneman said this year’s dry conditions should have set up an environment that’s less favorable for leaf spot.“It displays the magnitude of the problem,” Brenneman said. “If we’re having trouble in a dry year, we could really have a serious problem in a wetter year.”According to the 2014 Georgia farm gate report, peanuts are the sixth-highest grossing commodity in Georgia, bringing in nearly $564 million for growers. Nine of the top 10 peanut-producing counties are in the southwest part of the state.Brenneman said that leaf spot could hurt overall peanut yields in some places this year, but that the dry conditions will be the biggest factor.“The irrigated crop is not bad,” Brenneman said. “Some dryland areas are horrendous and have been zeroed out for insurance already. The earlier United States Department of Agriculture crop estimate predicted very high yields for Georgia, but as the crop has been coming in, it looks like that projection was optimistic.”Almost all varieties grown in Georgia, Alabama and north Florida are susceptible to leaf spot, including Georgia-06G, Georgia’s most commonly produced variety, according to the UGA Peanut Team.“Growers must be aware of their cultivar selection,” said Brenneman. “Some of the high-oleic peanuts are especially susceptible to leaf spot. Certain buyers are willing to pay a premium for growing those cultivars with that oil chemistry since the products made from them have a better shelf life. Growers must realize that if they choose to grow those varieties, they must stay on top of their spray programs and not cut any corners.”Leaf spot produces hormonal changes in the plant, which causes the leaves to wither, turn yellow and fall off the plant. It also causes lesions to appear on the stem and other parts of the plant.Culbreath and Brenneman are working to combat leaf spot in the short and long terms. Culbreath said that improving fungicide efficacy is his short-term solution for stopping the disease. He said mixing the less effective fungicides has been more effective than spraying them separately.“We’re working with experimental fungicides with multiple companies,” Culbreath said. “Some of the experimental fungicides are much more effective than what we have now and represent a lower risk in terms of applicator and environmental exposure. They’re still going to be expensive, but fungicides are a very important part of our leaf spot management program.”Culbreath said his long-term goal for leaf spot is to help develop varieties that are resistant to the disease. He has been working with several breeders and geneticists with UGA, the USDA and the University of Florida to help develop the new varieties and improve techniques for selection that should help with that process.“We’re helping determine the relative resistance levels in hundreds of peanut lines from multiple mapping populations. In most cases, this is being done with huge field trials. The levels of resistance in those lines are matched with gene sequences from the respective lines to determine which genes or gene groups are responsible for the resistance,” Culbreath said. “Hopefully, with that information, the geneticists can develop molecular markers for those genes that a breeder can use to screen a lot of lines quickly for resistance. Hopefully, we will find multiple types of resistance and will be able to use the markers to combine multiple types of resistance into one variety.”Culbreath said that part of the challenge in evaluating a peanut field is the large number of plots that must be rated. Sarah Beth Pelham, a master’s degree student at UGA, has been using a drone to see whether aerial imagery can evaluate the severity of leaf spot damage.Without the use of fungicide treatments, Culbreath said peanut varieties must be resistant to leaf spot diseases in order to thrive in south Georgia.Culbreath has also been working on improving leaf spot control in organic peanut production, which involves no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.“Brian Jordan, another graduate student in our program, has much of his research focused on organic production. Brian has found that several advanced breeding lines from University of Georgia peanut breeder Bill Branch, as well as Dr. Branch’s released cultivar Georgia-12Y, have the potential to do well without fungicides for leaf spot control when used with good rotation and early planting dates to dodge the epidemic,” Culbreath said. “Resistance or tolerance and crop rotation is essential for that type of production, but I think we can put together an integrated system that will work for organic production.”last_img read more

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E.ON to build major wind farm in Sweden

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNBC:German utility E.ON is to build what it describes as one of Europe’s “largest onshore wind farms.”In an announcement Friday, the business said it had decided to invest in the 475-megawatt Nysater wind project in Sweden. The facility will be built jointly with Credit Suisse Energy Infrastructure Partners (CSEIP).E.ON is to build and operate the project through a “long-term” operations and maintenance agreement, and will retain a 20 percent equity stake in the development. Total investment comes to approximately 500 million euros ($566.4 million).“It is part of our strategy to expand our position for onshore wind energy in Europe,” Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, CEO of E.ON Climate and Renewables, said in a statement. “Nysater means a significant expansion of our Scandinavian portfolio,” Dotzenrath added.E.ON said its new project is situated in the Vasternorrland district of Sweden, an area the company described as having “excellent wind conditions.” Construction is slated to begin this year and it’s expected the facility will be finished by the end of 2021. It will use 114 turbines from Nordex, a German manufacturer.More: E.ON announces plans to build large onshore wind farm in Sweden E.ON to build major wind farm in Swedenlast_img read more

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Rising consumer confidence raises spending, auto lending

first_imgRavaged by a weak job market, falling home prices, and tighter credit standards, U.S. consumers reigned in their spending in recent years. But after seven years of penny-pinching and coupon clipping, they are spending and borrowing again. Many are beginning home improvements, buying new homes and autos, or financing their children’s educations. What is driving the rosier outlook? Consumer confidence reached 101.5 percent in August 2015. Strong job growth and improved business conditions are also fueling consumer spending.Rising Confidence, Increased SpendingAs consumer expectations and spending increase, so does borrowing. Credit inquiries increased by three million, to 176 million, in just six months. Total household indebtedness reached $11.85 trillion, a 2 percent increase over the prior quarter.Consumer Borrowing—Led by Automotive—Is Heating UpSince the recession, both card and mortgage underwriting has remained relatively tight; however, mortgage originations have risen $97 billion to $466 billion since the previous quarter. Credit card accounts rose by five million, the largest increase since 2008, to 411 million. Auto loan originations reached $119 billion in August, a 10-year high. continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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4 steps to engineering a great culture

first_img continue reading » The credit union industry is dominated by logical thinking, tight adherence to processes, and extensive regulatory oversight. By comparison, the task of creating a world-class culture is often mis­perceived as a squishy, lovey-dovey, emotional thing. That perception is flat-out incorrect.Building a great culture requires every bit as much structure, measurement and refinement as any operational process. As a result, a culture can literally be “engineered” and executed in a predictable, high quality way. Note that because you are working to craft a sense of shared purpose and values, engineering a culture does take longer than most other organizational changes.Here are four key steps to take:Start at the top. Before you even begin with questions about mission, vision, and values, you need to be certain that you have senior executive team buy-in. Employees look to senior leadership for cues on what is valued. If there is any lack of stamina at the leadership level for sustaining the cultural change you seek to accomplish, you will fail. 19SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Teams hold practice games as Japan baseball league nears return

first_imgKyodo News reported that the Buffaloes allowed reporters into the stadium after requiring them to wear face masks and undergo temperature checks.With the number of coronavirus infections falling across Japan, the state of emergency was lifted in Osaka, along with two other western prefectures, last Thursday. The measures had already been lifted in Fukuoka.Japan will lift a state of emergency for Tokyo and remaining areas still facing restrictions on Monday.The COVID-19 pandemic also forced Olympic organisers to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Games by a year.Topics : Two Japanese teams held intra-squad practice games in empty ballparks on Monday as the Nippon Professional Baseball league nears a return from the COVID-19 shutdown.The NPB season was supposed to start on March 20 but has been delayed due to the pandemic. Earlier this month, NPB Commissioner Atsushi Saito suggested the season could start in the second half of June.The Osaka-based Orix Buffaloes and the SoftBank Hawks, who play further south in Fukuoka, both held intra-squad scrimmages at their grounds on Monday.last_img read more

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Cheap colour test picks up HIV

first_img Share Blue for yes, red for noA cheap test which could detect even low levels of viruses and some cancers has been developed by UK researchers. The colour of a liquid changes to give either a positive or negative result.The designers from Imperial College London say the device could lead to more widespread testing for HIV and other diseases in parts of the world where other methods are unaffordable.The prototype, which needs wider testing, is described in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.The test can be configured to a unique signature of a disease or virus – such as a protein found on the surface of HIV.If that marker is present it changes the course of a chemical reaction. The final result is blue if the marker is there, red if the marker is not.The researchers say this allows the results to be detected with “the naked eye”.Prof Molly Stevens told the BBC: “This method should be used when the presence of a target molecule at ultra-low concentration could improve the diagnosis of disease. “For example, it is important to detect some molecules at ultra-low concentrations to test cancer recurrence after tumour removal. “It can also help with diagnosing HIV-infected patients whose viral load is too low to be detected with current methods.”Early testing showed the presence of markers of HIV and prostate cancer could be detected. However, trials on a much larger scale will be needed before it could be used clinically.The researchers expect their design will cost 10 times less than current tests. They say this will be important in countries where the only options are unaffordable.Fellow researcher Dr Roberto de la Rica said: “This test could be significantly cheaper to administer, which could pave the way for more widespread use of HIV testing in poorer parts of the world.”BBC News Share Sharing is caring! Tweetcenter_img Share HealthLifestyle Cheap colour test picks up HIV by: – October 30, 2012 13 Views   no discussionslast_img read more

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Man U move:  Ighalo escapes compulsory military training

first_img Loading… The results of the surprise checks will be made public and clubs will be ranked to shame underachievers into action. Ighalo received a super welcome on joining Chinese Super League side Shanghai Greenland Shenhua As if that was not enough the order went into details saying “teams must train for at least 16 hours a week and meet targets in tests that include squats, bench presses and vertical jumps. All players must have a body fat percentage of less than 11%” Read Also Neville: Ighalo will have better impact at Man Utd than Lukaku,Sanchez Ighalo who first played for Changchun Yatai on joining the Chinese Super League in 2017, scored 36 goals for the side in 55 appearances before moving over to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua. He moved on loan to Man United late January till the end of the season has since scored three goals for the club including a brace in 3-0 defeat of Derby County in the FA cup. Manchester United face Austrian side LASK  in and Europa league clash on Thursday FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Nigeria international and Manchester United loanee, Odion Ighalo ,has been spared compulsory military training following his loan move to old Trafford early this year. Chinese authorities battling to contain the ravaging coronavirus have ordered compulsory Spring Military training for all footballers in the country insisting that footballers must train at least 16 hours a week to remain trim and fight the scourge. Officials in a statement said “Chinese football clubs and national teams must undertake “spring military training” to defeat the coronavirus and help fulfill President Xi Jinping’s dream of making the country a force in the sport” Matches in China are indefinitely suspended over the outbreak but the football association has issued detailed orders, telling clubs how long players must train each week, what exercises they must do and even how slim they must be. The strict instructions, the latest in a series handed down by the Chinese Football Association (CFA) in recent years, are likely to be met with surprise by coaches such as Rafael Benitez and Fabio Cannavaro with a background in European football. Interestingly Cannavaro, at Chinese Super League (CSL) champions Guangzhou Evergrande, and Benitez at Dalian Pro are among the coaches who will be held directly responsible for incorporating the training regime into their pre-season programmes. The order was made on Friday, and clubs had until Tuesday (today) to tell the CFA how they would adhere to it. They will also face random inspections to make sure they’re following the instructions.center_img Promoted Content18 Beautiful Cities That Are Tourist MagnetsBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made7 Most Beautiful Indian Top Models Ever6 Incredibly Strange Facts About HurricanesTop 10 Most Romantic Nations In The WorldAir Pollution Is Rapidly Decreasing Thanks To COVID-19Who Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme Parks7 Reasons Why You Might Want To Become A Vegetarian8 Ways Drones Will Automate Our FutureBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemTop 10 Tiniest Phones Ever Madelast_img read more

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Ox setback for Gunners and England

first_img The midfielder said he hopes to be “back playing in three months” following his knee injury, but he is set to miss crucial games for club and country in the meantime. The 20-year-old, who has become a regular member of Roy Hodgson’s England squad, limped out of the Gunners’ 3-1 home defeat by Aston Villa on the opening day of the new Barclays Premier League season, with reports suggesting he could be set for a lengthy spell of rehabilitation. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger attempted to allay fears of a serious injury when he spoke in Istanbul ahead of the Champions League play-off first leg against Fenerbahce, suggesting a six-week lay-off. But the player, who did not travel to Turkey and was due to see a specialist this evening, later gave an update on his official Twitter feed suggesting it was likely to be longer before he would be back in contention. “Gutted I’m injured so early in the season,” Oxlade-Chamberlain wrote on Twitter, “But I’m going to be working hard to hopefully be back playing in 3 months. Thanks 4 all ur support.” Oxlade-Chamberlain, therefore, can expect to miss England’s crunch Group H World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine. The midfielder also stands to miss the October dates against Montenegro and Poland as Hodgson’s team bid to reach next summer’s finals in Brazil, and important early games in Arsenal’s campaign. Earlier, Wenger had given an update on his player’s fitness. “He will be out for at least six weeks, he has a posterior cruciate problem, a ligament which is stretched,” said the Arsenal manager. “We don’t think it will need surgery.” England and Arsenal were dealt a major blow on Tuesday night when it emerged Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain expects to be out of action until November.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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