COVID-19 Strategies

first_imgA literature review by University of Georgia researchers has helped identify the most effective antimicrobial agents for preventing the spread of COVID-19 within the food supply chain.As COVID-19 began to spread throughout the U.S. earlier this year, Govind Kumar, an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology and a faculty member in the UGA Center for Food Safety, Laurel Dunn and Abhinav Mishra, assistant professors in the Department of Food Science and Technology, and Center for Food Safety Director Francisco Diez collaborated to determine ways they could contribute to the knowledge base for members of the food industry regarding the novel coronavirus.“Meat manufacturing plants began to shut down because so many people in these industries were getting sick. We are not virologists, but this is a medical problem that definitely affected the food chain,” Kumar said.With information and scientific studies about the virus being released at a rapid rate, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences researchers decided to examine relevant studies to identify and share practicable information for use in the food industry. The research team looked at studies on a range of biocides effective in eliminating or reducing the presence of coronaviruses from surfaces that are likely to carry infection, such as clothes, utensils and furniture, as well as skin, mucous membranes, air and food contact materials.After reviewing and synthesizing the information from more than 100 sources, the online journal Frontiers in Microbiology published the researchers’ findings in “Biocides and Novel Antimicrobial Agents for the Mitigation of Coronaviruses” in late June.“We wanted to go through the whole food supply chain — from processing to packaging to retail — to look at interventions to limit the spread of coronaviruses. This is not limited to handwashing, but looks at everything — how you can remove it from the air, from food contact surfaces. We asked a lot of tough questions and we feel we have answered those in this paper,” Kumar said.Since it was published, the paper has received interest from all over the world. According to the journal, the article has more views than 67% of all Frontiers articles on the website at frontiersin.org.“One of the main research areas we work on is the development of novel sanitizers and I do a lot of outreach on their proper use,” said Dunn. “For me, it has been industry — mostly in Georgia, but others from around the world — who stumbled on this and had questions.”The research team specifically focused on the effects of alcohols, povidone iodine, quaternary ammonium compounds, hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), peroxyacetic acid (PAA), chlorine dioxide, ozone, ultraviolet light, metals and plant-based antimicrobials. The review highlights the differences in the resistance or susceptibility of different strains of coronaviruses, or similar viruses, to these antimicrobial agents. The team also worked with microbiologists Charles Gerba and Kelly Bright from the University of Arizona who are currently performing research on detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater.While the review reinforced the effectiveness of certain antimicrobials — such as bleach and alcohol — on surfaces, it also addressed studies on agents that can be used to protect workers themselves.“A lot of what I’ve gotten have been questions about what can be used on the skin. We got crazy questions like, ‘Can we spray our workers with chemicals?’  A lot of questions have been about what steps they can take in certain types of facilities. It is not necessarily about sanitizer selection, but what to do in general,” said Dunn, who does outreach and extension work in on-farm and packinghouse microbial safety.While handwashing and the use of sanitizers are commonly implemented practices in food production plants, to address the spread of COVID-19 from asymptomatic workers, who often work in crowded conditions, the team focused on a number of studies of two substances — povidone iodine and iota carrageenan — that were of particular interest in preventing person-to-person transmission of coronaviruses.“Povidone iodine is very effective against coronaviruses and, in Europe and Asia, people use povidone iodine for oral rinses and nasal sprays. Because this is an airborne virus, the first place it goes is into the nose and it attaches to the cell receptors in the nose,” Kumar said.A seaweed-based antimicrobial polymer, iota carrageenan is commonly used as a food thickener and, in a 2018 study, demonstrated the ability to inhibit coronaviruses and other respiratory viruses.“When sprayed in the nose in nasal spray form, iota carrageenan can form a protective film over the nasal membranes and keep the virus from attaching,” Kumar said.While not performing any direct research, Kumar and Dunn said the synthesis of information from a variety of studies — some from this year and others done over the past 20 years — can serve as a sort of “CliffsNotes” for industry members seeking the most relevant and useful information on preventing transmission of COVID-19.“We were very excited about that and we want to get that information out for industry to investigate further or do more research,” Kumar said.The group shared their findings with Atlanta-area anesthesiologist Constantine Kokenes, with whom they connected when donating personal protective equipment from their labs to local frontline healthcare workers, an effort spearheaded by Dunn.Through conversations with Kumar, Kokenes obtained and studied papers about the potential benefits of povidone iodine rinses and iota carrageenan nasal spray. Using specific formulations, he purchased the materials and mixed his own preparations to use when treating and intubating COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit at Emory Decatur Hospital.“Before elective surgeries were cancelled — from early March through mid-April — I did this for six weeks,” said Kokenes, who also followed recommendations to protect himself, including using masks and face shields and shaving his beard of 30 years to ensure a proper seal on his face mask.“I did this for my own good. It is only logical and rational to explore all options and protect yourself,” he said. “There is a lot of groundwork that has been done since the early to mid-2000s after the first SARS and MERS virus outbreaks. Dr. Kumar and his team have been on top of that.”The team’s full paper is available at www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2020.01351/full#F2. More information on the Center for Food Safety is available at cfs.caes.uga.edu.last_img read more

Trump snubs Senate Republicans in Georgia after they sold their souls to him

first_img“I want to reiterate that the procedure that has been outlined by the secretary of state at our request is not part of a political strategy, but the absolute best opportunity to determine exactly what happened in the state,” said Trump campaign counsel Stefan Passantino.That’s what happens when you sell your soul to the devil.  In fact, Trump is doing nothing but sucking energy, attention, and money away from their reelections. He hasn’t agreed to make any trips to the state yet. He’s tweeted only narrowly about the Georgia recount but not its runoffs. Trump’s campaign has also been soliciting donations to supposedly contest the election (but actually settle debts), and he has established a leadership PAC to vacuum up grassroots donations moving forward. Politico reports Republicans have grown “frustrated that the GOP’s preeminent figure is leaving his party in the lurch at a critical moment.” What’s fascinating is that any Republicans at all were under the impression Trump cared about the party. Apparently, some are invested in trying to convince Trump that his self interests actually align with the party’s interests.   – Advertisement – “Several people have told him it’s important Loeffler and Perdue win because they will help keep his legacy intact. We’ve made the point to him that Republicans slowly dismantled parts of Obama’s legacy when we had control of the Senate in 2016 and a Democratic Senate would do the same to Trump,” a Republican close to Trump told Politico.Good luck with that. The only legacy item Trump cares about is trying to overcome his loser status so he can keep masses of people in thrall to him. That and not going to jail are likely the only two things that ever enter his mind. Trump has never given a lick about governing and therefore couldn’t care less about the fates of Loeffler and Perdue. For now, the only people in Trump’s orbit who have given any attention to the Georgia runoffs are Don Jr. and Mike Pence. In fact, on a call with reporters Wednesday, Trump’s campaign explicitly divorced its own recount efforts from the Senate runoffs.  – Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement –last_img read more

Gobernador Wolf: El estado continúa la reapertura gradual: 16 condados más listos para pasar a la fase verde el 5 de junio

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Gobernador Wolf: El estado continúa la reapertura gradual: 16 condados más listos para pasar a la fase verde el 5 de junio Español,  Press Release,  Public Health Con más del 80 por ciento del estado en alguna fase de reapertura, el Gobernador Tom Wolf anunció hoy que 16 condados adicionales darán un paso más y entrarán en la fase verde a partir de las 12:01 a.m. del 5 de junio. Los condados incluyen Allegheny, Armstrong, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Clinton, Fayette, Fulton, Greene, Indiana, Lycoming, Mercer, Somerset, Washington y Westmoreland.Los primeros 18 condados pasaron hoy a la fase verde. Estos incluyen Bradford, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango y Warren.Ocho condados pasaron hoy a la fase amarilla. Estos incluyen Dauphin, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lebanon, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike y Schuylkill.Los condados que permanecen en fase roja y que se espera que pasen a la fase amarilla para el 5 de junio incluyen Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, Northampton, Montgomery y Philadelphia.Con más de la mitad del estado listo para estar en fase verde el 5 de junio, esta semana el Gobernador presentó una orden actualizada para los condados que pasan a la fase verde con el fin de darles a las empresas y los residentes un panorama más claro de lo que está permitido en esa fase de reapertura. La orden incluye estos aspectos destacados:Las reuniones grandes de más de 250 personas están prohibidas.Los restaurantes y bares abren al 50% de su ocupación.Los servicios de cuidado personal (que incluyen peluquerías y barberías) abren al 50% de su ocupación y solo con cita previa.La recreación en interiores, los centros de salud y bienestar, y los servicios de cuidado personal (como gimnasios y spas) abren con una ocupación del 50%. Se recomienda enfáticamente la implementación de citas previas.Todos los entretenimientos (como casinos, teatros y centros comerciales) abren al 50% de su ocupación.La actividad relacionada con la construcción puede volver a su capacidad total con la implementación constante de protocolos.Las visitas a prisiones y hospitales pueden reanudarse sujetas al criterio de la institución/del centro médico. Los visitantes que interactúan con residentes y pacientes deben ser diligentes con respecto a la higiene. Dada la importancia crucial de limitar la exposición a la COVID-19 en los hogares de ancianos, los hogares de cuidado personal y centros de cuidado prolongado, las restricciones a las visitas se mantendrán vigentes en primera instancia.También se actualizaron las preguntas frecuentes respecto de las empresas y están disponibles aquí.El Gobernador Wolf también brindó más opciones a los condados que están en la fase amarilla al permitir los restaurantes con servicio al aire libre a partir del 5 de junio y ofreció una guía sobre campamentos de verano para proveedores, padres y cuidadores.La guía sobre campamentos de verano incluye información sobre qué tipos de programas para niños están permitidos durante la reapertura gradual, la situación de los parques públicos y el funcionamiento de las piscinas comunitarias, y la situación de los deportes organizados en equipos.El estado continúa usando las métricas basadas en riesgos de la Carnegie Mellon University, junto con la capacidad de rastreo de contactos y de la realización de pruebas, y una reducción sostenida en las hospitalizaciones a causa de la COVID-19 para tomar las decisiones sobre los cambios en los condados. Se siguen considerando los 50 nuevos casos por cada 100,000 habitantes, pero no son el único factor decisivo.Para ver los datos actualizados sobre los recuentos de casos y los datos demográficos, la preparación de los hospitales y las pruebas, vea el Panel de datos de COVID-19.A medida que más condados y residentes disfrutan de las restricciones más flexibles, el Gobernador resaltó la necesidad de equilibrar la reanudación de las actividades con los bajos recuentos de casos y asumir la responsabilidad personal al usar una máscara o elegir mantenerse alejado de las multitudes para reducir la probabilidad de entrar en contacto con portadores de COVID-19.“Si tomamos los simples pasos de usar una máscara, quedarnos en casa cuando estamos enfermos e implementar las tácticas del distanciamiento social, podemos ayudar a eliminar la propagación de la COVID-19 y hacer una gran contribución para que nuestro estado retome su rumbo”, dijo el Gobernador Wolf.View this information in English.center_img May 29, 2020last_img read more

Climate change: PRI develops ‘inevitable policy response’ forecast

first_imgOne of the main parts of the IPR work is a “Forecast Policy Scenario”, which the project partners say is primarily aimed at demonstrating latent risk in investor portfolios. It is said to differ from climate scenarios in that it does not work back from a pre-defined target temperature, but works up from probable policy and technology developments.Speaking on the conference panel, Jason Eis, executive director at consultancy Vivid Economics, emphasised that a forecast was not a hypothetical future scenario but “a hard-nosed business planning tool to really prepare corporate action, corporate investments and also investor action and investor decisions for what is likely to happen in the future”.According to the project organisations, the forecast of an IPR provided an alternative to the widely used International Energy Agency (IEA) “New Policies Scenario” as a business planning case for investors, regulators and companies.Critics of the IEA NPS see it as a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario that is out of line with the ambition of the Paris Agreement goals. According to the Forecast Policy Scenario, there will be an acceleration of policy announcements related to climate change in 2023-25, coinciding with a stocktake of all announced policy agreements that is foreseen under the Paris Agreement.Other developments forecast by the IPR work include a ban on internal combustion engine cars in “first mover countries” by 2035, and carbon pricing of $40-60 per tonne of carbon dioxide by 2030, also for first movers. Sharon Hendricks, chair of CalSTRS, the US public pension fund for teachers in the state of California, said the IPR was “critical”.“This work helps us on the policy level because ultimately as board members we’re not investors – we direct our staff, we have lots of policies that guide us and it’s the board’s job to modify and change policy,” she said.“I would say the biggest thing we’re talking about right now is making sure our policies include language around the materiality of climate change and making sure we are thinking about that in terms of the risk and returns of our portfolio”.The PRI released five papers last week, one explaining the Inevitable Policy Response, one covering the policy forecasts themselves, another providing “a unique meta-analysis of public corporate support” for the low carbon transition, another focusing on renewable energy, and another on the need for a just transition.Modelling results about the impact of the forecasted policy scenario are due to be released from later this month. Investors should be braced for governments to act forcefully but in an uncoordinated fashion on climate change within the next five years, according to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).The organisation last week released major research papers related to modelling the financial impact of what it has called the ‘Investable Policy Response’ (IPR).Introducing a panel dedicated to the IPR work at the PRI’s annual conference, Sagarika Chatterjee, director of climate change at the PRI, said: “Signatories around the world are very concerned that markets are not pricing in climate risks and investors tell us that they believe it’s not about if governments will act but when, how and with what impact.”The project is a collaboration between the PRI, Vivid Economics and Energy Transition Advisors, with contributions from 2° Investing Initiative, Carbon Tracker and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.last_img read more

Bolger in no doubt of Aquam class

first_img Odds-on favourite Port Douglas tried to give chase under Joseph O’Brien, but was no match for the imposing winner, who had four and three-quarter lengths in hand at the line. Bolger said of his 11-8 winner: “I would have liked another week or 10 days, but he ran tonight as I wanted another run into him before the Futurity. He can go anywhere. “I didn’t do anything with him since the Curragh. I took it on trust and let him look after himself. “He’s the oul fella (Teofilo) reincarnated. He does everything he does and does it the same way. That’s where he’s at at the moment except he’s two weeks ahead of the father.” Teofilo finished his career unbeaten, numbering the Futurity, National Stakes and Dewhurst among his five victories. He did not race as a three-year-old. Bolger and Manning made it a double when Stellar Glow (8/13 favourite) landed the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden. Aidan O’Brien’s On A Pedestal led entering the final furlong but again flashed her tail when asked for maximum effort by Ana O’Brien, and Manning drove Stellar Glow upsides, before winning a shade cosily by a neck. Bolger said: “She was always going to get it (the win) but made us wait a little while. “I still think there is a big day in her and hopefully we’ll fish it out of her before her career is over. “Eventually she’ll go for something big but if there’s a handy Listed race going we’ll give it a go – if there is such a thing any more!” Press Association The youngster was taking his record to two wins from as many starts – and in the process earned comparisons with his sire, Teofilo. Racing in second behind his stablemate Gleine, Kevin Manning’s mount swept to the front inside the two-furlong marker. center_img Jim Bolger was full of praise for Sanus Per Aquam in the aftermath of his impressive success in the Racecourse Of The Year Race at Leopardstown.last_img read more

State: Thousands of Sick New Yorkers are Taking Hydroxychloroquine

first_imgLast month, Governor Andrew Cuomo said healthcare workers would be allowed to use the drug in combination with antibiotics to treat patients with severe cases of the virus.Trump would not let Fauci answer the question about efficacy of hydroxychloroquine.— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) April 6, 2020 It is likely that Governor Cuomo’s younger brother, CNN Prime Time host Chris Cuomo, who has the coronavirus, has also been prescribed anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to help fight his high fever. To the chagrin of CNN reporters and anchors, New York state health officials say as many as four-thousand coronavirus patients across the state have been given the “unproven” anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to help fight off the coronavirus. President Donald Trump has been touting the potential life-saving benefit of the newly FDA approved drug against COVID-19.After @JDiamond1 asks him some intelligent questions about his touting of hydroxychloroquine, Trump concludes his response by saying, “Only CNN would ask that question. Fake news.”— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) April 5, 2020last_img read more

City players to decide new captain, says Guardiola

first_imgSpanish international midfielder Rodri, who joined City earlier this month on a five-year deal from Atletico Madrid, made his debut.The 23-year-old officially became a City player a day after the La Liga club revealed the 70-million-euro ($78.5 million) release clause in his contract had been triggered.City’s arrival in China for the Premier League Asia Trophy was twice put back because of an “administrative issue” — likely to have infuriated a perfectionist like Guardiola.But if it bothered the English champions it did not show, Sterling sealing a handsome City win with composed finishes on the hour and then again soon after.In the other match in the exhibition tournament, the scale of the task facing new head coach Steve Bruce was laid bare as Newcastle United were thrashed 4-0 by Wolverhampton Wanderers.Bruce, whose appointment was confirmed just hours before kick-off, will jet over to take charge of Newcastle’s next friendly, against West Ham, in Shanghai on Saturday.It was only a low-key friendly, but the heavy defeat to Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves was more evidence that Newcastle are likely to be battling relegation this season.City face Wolves in the final, also on Saturday in Shanghai.Share on: WhatsApp Manchester City in pre-season action. PHOTO via @ManCityNanjing, China | AFP | Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola said on Wednesday that he will let his players decide who will captain the Premier League champions next season following the departure of long-time skipper Vincent Kompany.The captain’s armband is up for grabs at City after Kompany left at the end of last season after 11 years in Manchester to take up a player-coach role at Anderlecht, the club at which the 33-year-old started his career.“We will choose the team captain. We will wait until everyone is back and they will choose their captain,” said Guardiola.David Silva led City on Wednesday as they came from behind to beat West Ham United 4-1 in a friendly in the Chinese city of Nanjing.England international Raheem Sterling, who enjoyed his best season last year for club and country, scored a brace in the second half as West Ham’s defence went AWOL.West Ham took the lead with a Mark Noble penalty before City levelled through Silva, then Lukas Nmecha scored from the spot to give Guardiola’s side the halftime lead.“We were lucky to go 2-1 in front,” said Guardiola, bemoaning the sticky conditions in Nanjing and City’s late arrival in China following a two-day delay because of a paperwork issue related to their flight.Guardiola fielded a mixture of first-team regulars and youngsters with Kevin De Bruyne, who missed most of last season injured, a second-half substitute.He was joined after the break by German winger Leroy Sane, who has been linked with a big-money move to Bayern Munich.last_img read more

QPR failed with Alves bid – report

first_imgQPR failed in a bid to sign Portugal international Bruno Alves from Zenit St Petersburg, according to the Daily Mail.It is claimed that Alves was one of the defenders targeted by Rangers, who are set to complete the signing of Chris Samba today.The Daily Mirror report that West Brom want QPR’s Junior Hoilett in exchange for Peter Odemwingie.The Mail say Rangers are looking to sign Peter Crouch from Stoke for £6.5m, while the Mirror say a £4m bid has been made.And a number of papers report that Tottenham are set to hand QPR David Bentley, Jermaine Jenas and Andros Townsend.Meanwhile, Anzhi Makhachkala are trying to sign Chelsea outcast Florent Malouda, the Mirror say.It is claimed the Russian club are looking to buy him for £5m.This page is regularly updated.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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

49ers RB Matt Breida, WR Pierre Garcon sustain injuries

first_imgSANTA CLARA — Running back Matt Breida and wide receiver Pierre Garcon exited with first-quarter injuries Sunday to further deplete a 49ers offense that lost Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon to ACL tears last month.Breida sustained an ankle injury on the final play of the first quarter and did not return, although he wasn’t ruled out until after halftime.One series earlier, Garcon left with a left-shoulder injury, and Garcon actually headed to the locker room with doctors when Breida got …last_img read more

Saving is a big deal

first_imgRay Maota Since July 2008 to date Teach Children to Save South Africa, through 15 banks and 28 financial sector institutions, has empowered more than 350 000 grade four to seven pupils in over 1 500 schools. (Image: Flickr) Fikile Kuhlase of Basa said that the rationale of the programme is that the earlier children learn about the importance of saving and spending money wisely, the better the chances that this culture will be engrained in them. (Image: The Banking Association South Africa) MEDIA CONTACTS • Teach Children to Save South Africa  + 27 11 645 6721/6740 RELATED ARTICLES • SA financial whiz is world’s best • Grooming future leaders: priceless • Young people: own your destiny! • All aboard the Youth ExpressThe need for a culture of saving has been reiterated countless times by financial institutions. How better to get one going than to instil it in young people who will benefit from the habit in their adult years?This is where the Teach Children to Save South Africa (TCTS SA) programme comes in. This year the initiative is celebrating five years of grooming youngsters to be savvy savers.Set up by the Banking Association South Africa (Basa), which partnered with the national Department of Education, the programme focuses mainly on primary school pupils under the age of 13 years.Basa represents local and international banks registered in South Africa, and currently has 34 members. Its fundamental mission is to provide banking services to as many South Africans as possible in the interest of developing growth in the country’s socio-economic sector.“Financial literacy is among the strategic objectives of the association,” said Fikile Kuhlase, senior GM of socio-economic growth and development at Basa.How the programme worksThis year’s edition of the programme will be rolled out nationally from 16 to 27 July, with the main event taking place on the 18th at the Booi Primary School in Port Elizabeth’s Zwide township.During the week of the campaign, pupils will participate in lessons and activities designed to create an understanding of crucial tools like budgets and savings plans.They will also be taught how to differentiate between needs and wants, track their daily expenses and learn how to make saving an integral part of their lives.“The lessons are delivered by volunteer bankers and financial sector professionals who have willingly traded the boardroom for the classroom to instil lifelong sound habits of saving,” said Kuhlase.Since July 2008 to date the programme, through 15 banks and 28 financial sector institutions, has empowered more than 350 000 grade four to seven pupils in over 1 500 schools.“The rationale is that the earlier children learn about the importance of saving and spending money wisely, the better the chances that this culture will be engrained in them,” said Kuhlase.Interested schools have to register with the South African Savings Institute (Sasi) to become part of the programme.Role modelWell-known television and radio personality Minnie Dlamini (22) has been appointed as the programme’s ambassador.“Minnie epitomises the type of behaviour we hope to instil with this programme,” said Kuhlase.“Not only is she financially savvy, but she is astute as well, and because of this, she is now financially independent.”Besides appearing in broadcaster M-Net’s popular television series The Wild, Dlamini is also the face of international hair-care brand Motions and presents a music programme on national radio station Metrofm.Financial literacy criticalFinancial literacy is critical in improving South Africa’s saving rate. According to Basa, 70% of South African adults do not save.In 2011 the country’s domestic savings rate had seen a drop of over 10% from 35% 23 years before, in 1988. The country is ranked among the lowest in the world at 20%.In contrast, consumers from developing countries such as China are saving more, with the Asian country boasting the highest rate in the world with 52% of national GDP.While the poor savings culture impacts individual households, it also affects the inclusive growth of the country’s economy, says Sasi, which celebrates national savings month every year in July.“The current domestic economic situation with slow growth and inflation at the top of its band has exposed South Africans’ vulnerabilities in terms of their income, expenditure, savings and debt,” said Sasi chairperson Prem Govender, at the launch of the campaign earlier in July.She said South Africans needed to take charge of their lives by saving.“Many South Africans still count on the state or their neighbours to bail them out of financial woes,” said Govender.last_img read more