Democrats bust down ancient GOP stronghold in Atlanta’s diversifying suburbs

first_img– Advertisement – Gwinnett County, which dominates this seat (82% of the district is located here, with the balance in Forsyth County), spent decades as a GOP stronghold up and down the ballot. The suburb decisively voted for Ronald Reagan even as he was losing statewide in 1980 to Georgia’s former governor, President Jimmy Carter; Gwinnett County also backed Mack Mattingly 68-32 that year in his narrow victory over Democratic Sen. Herman Talmadge, a contest that made Mattingly the Peach State’s first Republican senator since Reconstruction.Campaign Action- Advertisement – However, things dramatically changed during the Donald Trump era in this well-educated and rapidly diversifying suburb. Trump outright lost Gwinnett County 50-44, and while he did win the 7th District, his 51-45 showing in 2016 was a big drop from what the GOP was accustomed to. Woodall himself easily turned back an underfunded Democratic foe that year in a contest that attracted no outside attention, and he seemed ardently convinced that he would remain safe despite Trump’s drop. In May of 2017, Woodall even glibly said of his own race, “It’s gerrymandering that makes these things noncompetitive, right?”That obliviousness to his seat’s changing politics almost cost him re-election in 2018. Bourdeaux, a Georgia State University public policy professor, won the Democratic nomination after a crowded primary, and she proved to be a strong fundraiser. Woodall, though, didn’t run any ads for most of the campaign or even do many advertised campaign events. However, he got something of a wake-up call late in the campaign when Independence USA, a super PAC funded by former New York City Mayor and gun safety advocate Michael Bloomberg, dropped $913,000 on him in the last days of the race. Finally, on the Friday before Election Day, Woodall went up with his first TV spot.Bourdeaux ended up losing to Woodall by just 433 votes in a performance that shocked both parties. It wasn’t an outlier, though: Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, despite the taint of Republican voter suppression that marred her election, performed well in Gwinnett County and other Atlanta suburbs, and she even won the gerrymandered 7th District  by a 50-49 margin.- Advertisement – Gwinnett County would continue to overwhelmingly support every Republican presidential nominee well into the first decade of the 21st Century, and the rapidly growing community was also a major source of strength for Team Red’s gubernatorial and Senate candidates during this time. The county also soon became very friendly turf for Republican congressmen. Woodall spent years working as an aide to local Rep. John Linder, who never had any trouble winning re-election during his nearly two decades in Congress, and Woodall himself faced no serious general election opposition when he ran to succeed his boss in 2010.Gwinnett County became more competitive during the 2000s, with John McCain carrying it just 55-45 four years after George W. Bush overwhelmingly won it 66-33, but that didn’t seem to matter much for Woodall. Republican mapmakers did all they could to make sure the 7th District remained safely red when they gerrymandered the maps in 2011, and he was left with a redrawn seat that included just over 70% of Gwinnett County as well as the same portion of Forsyth County, a smaller but far more conservative area. (About 22% of Gwinnett County, including its more Democratic areas, was assigned to the safely blue 4th District, while the balance went to the dark red 10th District.)For a time, the GOP gerrymander worked exactly as intended. The new 7th District backed Mitt Romney by a strong 60-38 margin even as he was carrying all of Gwinnett County only 54-45, which was Team Red’s weakest showing in a presidential race since Carter won it back in 1976. National Democrats also didn’t make any serious effort to unseat Woodall, who seemed completely safe.- Advertisement – Bourdeaux quickly made it clear that she’d be running again, and this time, both parties were aware that they’d have a fight in the 7th. Republicans reportedly weren’t keen on having Woodall stick around after he almost sleepwalked to victory, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in early February of 2019 that some unnamed GOP officials were pressuring him to “consider his options” for the cycle. Woodall seems to have gotten the message, and he announced his retirement days later.A number of candidates from both parties soon entered the race to succeed Woodall, but neither primary ended up going to a runoff. Bourdeaux’s opponent this time was Rich McCormick, an emergency room physician who received serious support from the far-right anti-tax Club for Growth. The general election also proved to be a very expensive affair, with the DCCC and House Majority PAC spending a total of $6.5 million on the Democratic side compared to $5 million from the NRCC and Congressional Leadership Fund.Ultimately, while House Democrats didn’t make the gains in the suburbs they were hoping for, Bourdeaux pulled off a victory. This pickup came as once solidly Gwinnett County continued to move hard to the left: Joe Biden led countywide by a 58-40 margin on Sunday evening, and Democrats will also be looking for a strong performance here in January as they try to win two U.S. Senate runoffs. Called RacesBelow we’re recapping a host of lesser-known but important elections that took place Tuesday, as well as a number of races that were called after Election Night. Quite a few contests remain uncalled, but we’re tracking all of them on our continually updated cheat-sheet, and of course we’ll cover each of them in the Digest once they’re resolved.HOUSE● NJ-02: Freshman Republican Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who was elected as a Democrat in 2018 but switched parties last year, has defeated Democratic challenger Amy Kennedy.● NV-04: Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford has defeated Republican challenger Jim Marchant.● PA-07: Freshman Democratic Rep. Susan Wild has defeated Republican challenger Lisa Scheller.● PA-08: Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright has defeated Republican challenger Jim Bognet.● WA-03: Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler has won her rematch against Democrat Carolyn Long.STATEWIDE OFFICE● PA-AG: Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro won re-election by beating Republican Heather Heidelbaugh 50-47.● PA Auditor: Republican Timothy DeFoor flipped this office by defeating Democrat Nina Ahmad 50-46.● WA-SoS: Republican incumbent Kim Wyman won a third term by defeating Democrat Gael Tarleton 53-47. Wyman’s victory allows her party to keep control of an office they’ve held since the 1964 election.BALLOT MEASURES● AZ Ballot: Voters passed Proposition 208, which creates a new tax on high earners to fund schools, by a 52-48 margin.PROSECUTORS● Larimer and Jackson Counties, CO District Attorney: Democrat Gordon McLaughlin flipped this open seat by defeating Republican Mitch Murray 53-47. McLaughlin is the first Democrat to serve as district attorney for this jurisdiction, which includes Fort Collins, in more than 80 years.● Los Angeles, CA District Attorney: Former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón secured a win on Friday when incumbent Jackie Lacey conceded to her fellow Democrat. Gascón, who won 54-46, emphasized his support for criminal justice reform in the nonpartisan race to become district attorney of America’s largest county, which is home to 10 million people.Mayoral● Anchorage, AK Mayor: The Anchorage Assembly voted on Wednesday not to hold a January special election for the final months of now-former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s term. Voters in Alaska’s largest city will next go to the polls in April for the regularly-scheduled contest for a three-year term.While we now know that Anchorage won’t be hosting two mayoral elections just months apart, it remains to be seen if acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson, whom the Assembly appointed last month following Berkowitz’s resignation, will run next year. The filing deadline is Jan. 29.Grab Bag● Deaths: Former Rep. Jim Ramstad, a Minnesota Republican who represented the southern Twin Cities suburbs from 1991 until his retirement in 2009, died Thursday at the age of 74. Ramstad, who was a recovering alcoholic, was best known for his advocacy for legislation to aid addiction recovery.Ramstad got his start in elected office by unseating a Democratic state senator 54-46 in 1980, which turned out to be the closest race of his career. Ramstad went on to decisively win Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District in 1990 by a 67-33 margin, and he would go on to win re-election every two years with at least 64% of the vote.Democrats hoped that Ramstad’s retirement during the 2008 cycle would finally give them a shot at a district that George W. Bush had carried just 51-48, though he reportedly considered sticking around after he made his announcement. The congressman didn’t end up reversing course, though, and Republican Erik Paulsen would decisively hold it despite Obama’s 52-46 victory. Ramstad himself showed some interest in a 2010 gubernatorial run but didn’t go forward with it, and he never again sought office.last_img read more

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NBA 2020-21 season: Who will benefit from December 22 start date? | NBA News

first_img Relive the NBA restart’s best dunks in super slow motion. While the prospect of continuity as a result of the quick turnaround will favour some, others will no doubt be feeling the effects of a truncated period in which to prepare.Who benefits?First and foremost, the NBA will be beneficiaries from a financial standpoint having seen its revenue drop 10 per cent to $8.3 billion for the 2019-20 season due to losses caused by the pandemic. According to the Associated Press, the league came in $1.5 billion short of revenue projections.A pre-Christmas return is no doubt partly in view of boosting things in that department, likely ensuring the playoffs are wrapped up by the Summer Olympics and enhancing the chances of being able to begin the 2021-22 campaign in October. BJ Armstrong, Mo Mooncey and Ovie Soko agree the LA Clippers’ playoff collapse against the Denver Nuggets makes them the biggest disappointment of the NBA season. And while the bubble proved a physically and mentally strenuous experience for the Miami Heat, a reduced period in which to reflect might be key in helping them harness the same grit and heart that led them to the NBA finals.A Booker, a T.J. Warren or a Damian Lillard also all had phenomenal bubble experiences they would do well to build off straight away.Then there is a player like Russell Westbrook, who was rusty upon his return from injury for the Houston Rockets in the bubble but would likely be aided by a hasty return as he looks to rediscover his top form.Who won’t benefit?The same argument made for the Heat might have been made for the Lakers given that their season ended in triumph, but they currently own the third oldest team in the league and certainly could have done with the added recovery time.LeBron James defied age once more this year, but even the 35-year-old is prone to fatigue. The four-time champion recently joked he would be ‘cherry picking’ games for the first half of the season, while team-mate Danny Green admitted he wouldn’t anticipate James featuring too often at the beginning. 0:50 LeBron James is mobbed by his team-mates after leading the Los Angeles Lakers to the 2020 NBA championship “If we start in December, I think most guys [are like], ‘I’m not gonna be there,’” said Green.“If I had to guess, because we have a lot of vets on our team, it’s not like we have a lot of young guys or rookies, to have that quick of a restart, I wouldn’t expect to see [LeBron] there. I wouldn’t expect to see him probably for the first month of the season.“He’ll probably be working out with us, probably do some playing, but I just don’t expect guys to want to be there, or show up willingly.”Green’s sentiments might well apply to a number of players still in the process of resting on the back of the restart, with many having pushed back against proposals for a pre-Christmas return to action.Newly-appointed head coaches are meanwhile faced by a limited window in which to galvanise demoralised teams and shape their rosters as they had hoped. Free agency itself beckons as a challenge. Few teams have the cap space to invest heavily in significant pieces, and should free agents rebuff any potential landing spots they risk missing out on the lucrative deals they had been in line for.Furthermore, the prospect of a domino effect of players seeking moves in a perhaps unappealing market could open the door to recognised playoff contenders swooping in as easy assurance.Those on the search for new homes may be put off by the reality of relocating their families in the middle of a pandemic, while those that do find new homes could have a matter of weeks to get up to speed.The setup favours the settled and familiar rosters, while putting those eyeing an overhaul or those adapting to new schemes to the test.Want to watch even more of the NBA and WNBA but don’t have Sky Sports? Get the Sky Sports Action and Arena pack, click here. 2:33 Bam Adebayo throws down a dunk against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals– Advertisement – 1:33 2:00 LeBron James throws down a two-handed dunk for the Lakerscenter_img LA Clippers New Orleans Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy was greeted by an exciting young core consisting of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, but also defensive issues that need to be ironed out. He has just under two months to get started on that.Of the nine teams that had head coaching vacancies entering the offseason, the Oklahoma City Thunder are the only ones yet to fill the job as they continue their hunt for a successor to Billy Donovan.The Thunder become even more relevant to the conversation when considering the, albeit uncertain, prospect of them trading Chris Paul along with the fact that Danilo Gallinari, Nerlens Noel and Andre Roberson are all due to become free agents later this month.With Steven Adams, Dennis Schröder and Terrance Ferguson all set to hit free agency next year, any incoming head coach has food for thought with a rebuild seemingly on the cards. Relive all the drama from Game 6 of the NBA Finals in super slow motion courtesy of Phantom Cam. – Advertisement – James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards and Obi Toppin express what it will mean to be drafted into the NBA and how they’ve coped with the postponements. – Advertisement – December’s curtain-raiser should also work to the advantage of the eight teams that did not feature in the NBA bubble near Orlando over the summer, who have had since March to recharge physically compared to those still recovering from deep playoff runs.Among those are a Golden State Warriors side set to be boosted by the presence of a healthy Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Curry’s sole game this year came in March against the Toronto Raptors as he made his return from three months out with a broken second metacarpal, while Thompson has been absent since June 2019 due to a torn ACL.With Draymond Green still to add after a quiet year in their absence, the Warriors’ dynasty might not be done yet.The flip side to that is the swift turnaround enabling teams that flourished in the bubble to ride that wave of momentum into the new season.A Phoenix Suns outfit that won eight straight led by an inspired Devin Booker are prime examples as they look to retain that form, along with the Denver Nuggets after they worked their way to a spot in the Western Conference finals as one of the surprise packages of the restart. Little under a month since the Los Angeles Lakers clinched their 17th championship, the NBA already has the 2020-21 campaign in sight.The league is in the midst of its shortest offseason in history after reaching an agreement with players on a December 22 start date, before which teams will be tasked with navigating their way through the NBA Draft, free agency and training camp – all while continuing to deal with the challenges thrown their way by the coronavirus pandemic.- Advertisement – 5:33 Relive LeBron James’ most emphatic and athletic dunks from the NBA restart.last_img read more

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Samsung Galaxy M31s Getting One UI 2.5 Update in India With November 2020 Security Patch: Report

first_img– Advertisement – Last week, Samsung brought One UI 2.5 to the Galaxy M31. The company also released One UI 2.5 Core for the Galaxy M21 a few days back.Is this the end of the Samsung Galaxy Note series as we know it? 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. The next notable change that the latest software update brings to the Galaxy M31s is the Alt Z Life feature. It brings a secure folder and helps users quickly switch between private and public modes of apps including Camera, Gallery, and WhatsApp by double pressing the side key. The update also includes AI-based content suggestions to secure sensitive content.Samsung hasn’t made any changes to the operating system version of the Galaxy M31s that’s still Android 10. You can also expect some interface-level changes that were initially provided to flagship phones including the Galaxy S20 series earlier this month.The update is rolled out in stages, so it may take some time to reach all Samsung Galaxy M31s handsets. However, you can check its availability manually from the settings menu.- Advertisement – As per the official changelog, the update brings software build number M317FXXU2BTK1 and comes along with the November Android security patch. There is an improved Always On Display functionality with support for Bitmoji stickers. Samsung has also updated its keyboard with the ability to split it into two parts when using the landscape mode. The search function on the keyboard has been updated to let users easily find keyboard input languages.The new software update also brings an improved camera experience to Samsung Galaxy M31s. There are features including Pro video, AR Emoji, AR Doodle, Scene optimiser, and SmartScan.Samsung has also updated its Messages app. It now carries a feature to let users call a pre-configured SOS contact in case of an emergency. Users can also send SOS location-sharing messages every 30 minutes for 24 hours.- Advertisement – Samsung Galaxy M31s has started receiving One UI 2.5 update in India, according to a report. The new software update comes along with the November 2020 security patch. Samsung has also provided the privacy-focussed Alt Z Life feature that was initially launched on the Galaxy A51 and Galaxy A71 with a password-protected folder. The Galaxy M31s was launched as an upgrade to the Galaxy M31 in July. The smartphone comes with quad rear cameras as well as a 6,000mAh battery.The One UI 2.5 update for the Samsung Galaxy M31s is 748MB in size, according to a report by TizenHelp. Samsung’s official website carries the changelog of the latest update, though it doesn’t provide any details about the One UI version.- Advertisement –last_img read more

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Dr. Fauci says it appears outbreak in minks won’t be a problem for vaccines

first_img– Advertisement – – Advertisement – “It does not appear, at this point, that that mutation that’s been identified in the minks is going to have an impact on vaccines and affect a vaccine-induced response,” Fauci said.“It might have an impact on certain monoclonal antibodies that are developed against the virus, we don’t know that yet. But, at first cut, it doesn’t look like something that is going to be really a big problem for the vaccines that are currently being used to reduce an immune response.”It is hoped a vaccine could help bring an end to the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 1.29 million lives worldwide.Political outcryDanish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in a press conference on Nov. 4 that health authorities had discovered virus strains in humans and in mink that showed decreased sensitivity against antibodies, potentially lowering the effectiveness of future vaccines.Frederiksen described the situation as “very, very serious,” warning the mutated virus could have “devastating consequences” worldwide.The prime minister swiftly ordered a cull of the mink population in Denmark, one of the world’s main mink fur exporters. The move has led to political outcry, however, after Frederiksen conceded on Tuesday that there was no legal basis to do so.The Danish government has said it will now bring forward legislation to support its order. The United Nations health agency said it is a “long, long way” from deciding on whether the mutation may have any implications for diagnostics or vaccines and has urged for people not to jump to any conclusions.Six countries have reported Covid outbreaks among mink farms since the coronavirus pandemic began, namely: Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Italy, and the U.S.Greece has also found Covid-19 in two mink farms in the north of the country, Reuters reported on Friday, citing an unnamed agriculture ministry official.- Advertisement – “What Denmark has done is a precautionary measure, they don’t understand completely what the impact might be and so they’ve decided to sacrifice the minks, which is an acceptable precautionary measure,” Dr. David Heymann, who led the WHO’s infectious disease unit during the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003, said during the same online event.“I think what has been very difficult for many people to understand though is that this virus is in every country and it is mutating differently in every country,” he continued. “And so, in order for this virus from the minks to be able to replace (the) virus in other countries and impact on vaccines, it would have to be more fit than the other viruses that are around now and spread easier, more rapidly and replace those viruses in other countries.”“This never was just one outbreak, it is a whole series of outbreaks in different countries, with mutations occurring at different rates and different manners,” Heymann said.“Unfortunately, we are all building the ship at the same time and don’t know what will work and what won’t work.” Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in Marienborg in Kongens Lyngby, north of Copenhagen, Denmark, in November 2020.LISELOTTE SABROE | AFP | Getty Imagescenter_img LONDON — America’s leading expert on infectious disease said a mutated version of the coronavirus found in Denmark’s mink farms does not appear to have derailed hopes for a vaccine.The Danish government ordered a mass cull of all 15 million minks in farms nationwide earlier this month, shortly after it was discovered a new coronavirus strain had passed from the animals to humans.The WHO has since launched a review of biosecurity measures in mink farms across the globe to prevent further spillover events.- Advertisement – Minks are seen at a farm in Gjol, northern Denmark on October 9, 2020.HENNING BAGGER | Ritzau Scanpix | AFP via Getty Images “Whenever you see something like that, you need to pay attention to it. You certainly can’t just blow it off,” Fauci said on Thursday, referring to Denmark’s outbreak of Covid in mink farms.Speaking during a webinar hosted by think tank Chatham House, Fauci added: “You have got to look at it, you have got to take a look at what it means, what the mutation has to do with various aspects of the molecules that are responsible for the binding of antibodies.”The White House coronavirus advisor, who has worked as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for 36 years, said the institute’s vaccine research center had taken “a first look” at the discovery of a new coronavirus strain on Danish mink farms. Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, testifies during a US Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine Covid-19, focusing on an update on the federal response in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2020.Graeme Jennings | AFP | Getty Imageslast_img read more

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WHO calls H5N1 ‘unpredictable,’ seeks China field visit

first_imgJun 10, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus is behaving in new and unpredictable ways, a World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman said today.Shigeru Omi, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, spoke today in Beijing, according to news service reports. China this week announced an outbreak of H5N1 among domestic geese in a far northwestern province. An earlier outbreak in May killed more than 1,000 migratory birds in China.The virus appears to be more pathogenic in birds in China than elsewhere, Omi said. Conversely, it appears to have become more transmissible to humans in Vietnam, but less pathogenic.”All of this shows the virus remains unstable, unpredictable and very versatile,” Reuters quoted Omi as saying. “It may have new and unpleasant surprises in store for all of us.”Media reports since late May indicate that people continue to contract avian flu in Vietnam, although the scant details and sometimes unclear reports make it difficult to determine how many people have fallen ill in recent weeks.”The outbreak has slowed recently,” Trinh Quan Huan, head of the Health Ministry’s Preventive Medicine Department, said in a Reuters quote attributed to a Vietnamese online service.China has not reported any human cases of H5N1, and officials there said the domestic poultry outbreak had been brought under control through culling, quarantine, and vaccination, Reuters said.However, Reuters cites a report by the official Xinhua Chinese news agency that said 17,014 birds were slaughtered in the affected area of Xinjiang Province, Tacheng City. China’s report to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on June 8 said only 13,457 birds had been destroyed in the domestic outbreak.Omi urged heightened vigilance around the avian flu virus, emphasizing that countries must share information, research, and virus samples with international agencies, according to an Associated Press (AP) story today.The WHO is looking forward to getting samples from China’s outbreaks because “sharing samples is very critical,” Omi said. In addition, WHO officials are awaiting Beijing’s permission to travel with Chinese authorities to Qinghai province, the scene of the migratory bird deaths.Gao Qiang, China’s health minister, was quoted by the AP as telling reporters in Hong Kong that WHO teams would be able to visit infected areas.last_img read more

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CDC puts flu vaccine supply at 115 million doses

first_imgOct 18, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today increased its estimate of the flu vaccine supply for this season but said many healthcare providers don’t have their full supply yet because of distribution issues.At a press conference today, Jeanne Santoli, MD, MPH, deputy director of the CDC’s immunization services division, said about 115 million doses of flu vaccine will be available this season, which is 15 million more than the agency’s September projection. She said 40 million doses were distributed by the end of the second week of October, and that 75 million doses would be distributed by the end of the month.”That’s 15 million more than last October,” Santoli said.The CDC’s revised estimate follows the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Oct 5 approval of another flu vaccine, ID Biomedical’s FluLaval. The CDC had said in September that licensing of FluLaval could boost the US supply for this year to 115 million doses.The CDC has received some complaints from heathcare providers who have received only partial shipments of the vaccine they ordered, Santoli said. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics said this week that most doses of the only flu vaccine approved for use in children aged 6 months to 3 years, Sanofi’s Pasteur’s Fluzone, won’t be available until at least November. Sanofi announced last week that delivery of the vaccine would be about 3 weeks later than last year.Though some vaccine manufacturers said earlier this year that they had trouble with a slow-growing strain of one of the viruses used in this season’s vaccine, Santoli said the companies have told the CDC that they’ve since overcome those problems.”The most important thing is how many doses, and 75 million in October is a lot of vaccine,” she said. “To us, it feels like the vaccine will get out there when it’s needed.”Because flu vaccine sales and distribution are handled by private companies, the CDC can’t control the flow of the product to customers. Many vaccine distributors voluntarily submit product tracking information to the CDC, but the distribution status is often unclear. “It’s hard to predict when orders will be delivered, and this uncertainty presents providers a challenge in planning vaccine activity,” Santoli said.”There’s no mechanism to know how many doses providers have received,” she said.Vaccine distributors take a phased approach to product delivery, so that all customers receive some of their doses early in the season and can begin immunizing high-risk patients and their household contacts, Santoli said.The CDC is making a point of not calling distribution issues a delay, she said. When that language was used last year, it “caused people to step aside and not get the vaccine,” she said, adding that the CDC wants to give providers as much information about distribution as possible so they can plan their immunization activities accordingly.Also, the CDC is not recommending that high-risk people be immunized first this year. “With the large amount available, we want as many people as possible to be immunized,” she said.Administering the flu vaccine in November, December, January and beyond is consistent with federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommendations, Santoli said, noting that flu cases often peak in February or later.Santoli said the 3-week delay of Fluzone should not impair the benefits of vaccination for young children, and she advised parents to continue seeking the vaccine from their children’s’ healthcare providers.In June, federal health officials recommended that toddlers aged 2 through 4 years be immunized against influenza each year, adding millions of people to the groups included in flu vaccination recommendations.See also:Oct 17 CIDRAP News story “Flu vaccine delay affects toddlers”Oct 5 CIDRAP News story “FDA approves 5th flu vaccine”last_img read more

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Lawmakers press for tougher border measures to curb virus spread

first_imgApr 29, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Top US officials responsible for managing the nation’s response to the swine influenza outbreak today faced increasing pressure to implement more aggressive measures at the Mexico border and reveal more details about the status of a vaccine.Two officials testified at the Senate homeland security hearing: Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), designated as the lead federal official in influenza epidemic response, and Anne Schuchat, MD, interim deputy director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) science and public health program.Questions from SenatorsSen Susan Collins, R-Maine, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, praised the government’s overall level of preparedness but said the committee has expressed concerns over the past few years about the nation’s ability to provide mass medical care, procure needed countermeasures, and coordinate border-related medical issues, such as travelers with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB), between federal departments.She asked Napolitano about the number of US swine flu cases that have had links to Mexico travel and whether the heavy volume of daily traffic across the border should prompt the DHS to reconsider passive surveillance measures that are in place and evaluate if tools such as temperature scanners could help identify more sick patients at ports of entry. “We should be going beyond routine procedures, given the threat,” she said.”I’m not advocating closing borders,” Collins said. “But I am advocating a stepped-up medical presence and use of technology—even if it’s not perfect.”Napolitano said so far that the DHS travel recommendations—it has discouraged nonessential travel to Mexico—have been guided by scientific findings and the public health community. She added that though surveillance is called “passive,” border control agents visually inspect incoming travelers, question them about symptoms and recent illnesses, and isolate and test those who appear to be sick.Schuchat told legislators that the focus of mitigation strategies is on where US illnesses are being reported and on patients’ families and the communities that surround them. She suggested that greater efforts at the border might divert from those efforts.CDC officials have also said that containment strategies aren’t workable, because the virus has already spread extensively.Sen John McCain, R-Ariz., asked the officials if they could foresee a situation in which the Mexican border would be closed to prevent further spread of the disease.Schuchat said she couldn’t picture a scenario that would warrant such a closure.However, Sen John Tester, D-Mont., said he supported the medical literature guidance on the efficacy of border closures. “I agree we need to let science lead the way,” he said.Sen Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., pointed out that, with the coming growing season, guest workers will be coming across the border from Mexico, a crucial element of the US farming sector. He asked if the DHS has any protocols in place for screening the guest workers.Napolitano said currently, the guest workers are treated the same as travelers, but she said it might be reasonable to consider more intensive screening.Vaccine progressLawmakers asked how the CDC was progressing with preparing a vaccine against the H1N1 swine flu virus. Schuchat said that if every step goes smoothly with production and testing, a vaccine could be ready by September. However, she said vaccine production can be problematic.The vaccine against the H5N1 avian influenza virus has been somewhat disappointing, because a large amount of antigen is needed for a protective effect, and two doses are needed. Also, Schuchat said some flu viruses don’t grow very well during production.She said the decision about making a vaccine and giving the vaccine will be two separate decisions, both with many factors to weigh, particularly given the problems that occurred with the vaccine during the 1976 swine influenza outbreak.  “It’s humbling to look at the complexity of the decision making. You have to look at all sides: health, social, economic.””We hope to step back and seek wise counsel from dissenting views,” she said, adding that the CDC has a groups called “team B” that are tasked with identifying problems with CDC policy approaches.Napolitano said President Obama’s $1.5 billion request to the Senate appropriations committee includes money for vaccines, more antivirals, and public health activities. “That’s a rough estimate gauged on perhaps having to purchase more antivirals. The initial request from the president will be sculpted to be best used,” she said.last_img read more

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Cases in cookie dough E coli outbreak grow to 70

first_img Jun 2009 North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit E coli investigation report The update reflects an increase of four cases and two states since the CDC’s first statement on the outbreak on Jun 19. The cases are distributed broadly among all 30 of the states, with Minnesota (6), Colorado (5), and Washington (5) reporting the most. The outbreak appears to be ongoing, with cases rising above the expected baseline in May and continuing into June. The FDA also said in an update that its investigators are at the plant where the dough is made, reportedly in Danville, Va., inspecting the facility and examining records and procedures to determine how the suspected contamination could have occurred. Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said yesterday that it is working with Nestle to ensure that products that might be contaminated with E coli O157:H7 are removed from distribution and retails shelves. The E coli outbreak stain has not turned up in microbiological tests that federal officials are conducting on cookie dough samples. However, the CDC has said preliminary epidemiological studies indicate a strong association between the E coli sicknesses and eating raw prepackaged Nestle Toll House cookie dough. The reports said 47 confirmed cases were linked to that outbreak, as well as 59 probable, 118 suspected, and 11 secondary cases. Twenty-six people were hospitalized, and 1 child developed HUS. No deaths were reported. The CDC said that, of the 70 people who were sick with the same E coli outbreak strain, advanced DNA testing has confirmed the link in 41, and test results are pending in the other cases. The ages of the patients range from 2 to 65 years, though 66% are younger than 19. Seventy-five percent are female. Of 30 patients who were hospitalized, 7 developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially fatal kidney condition. No deaths have been reported. Elsewhere, district health officials in Ontario yesterday released a report on an E coli O157:H7 outbreak that sickened hundreds of northern Ontario residents who ate at a fast food restaurant in the fall of 2008, the Canadian Press reported. They identified contaminated raw Spanish onions as the probable source and said inconsistent cleaning of a dicer might have been a contributing factor. Jun 19 CIDRAP News story “Federal officials link E coli outbreak to raw cookie dough” See also: Jun 22 FDA E coli outbreak update Nestle voluntarily recalled all varieties and sizes of its prepackaged cookie dough products on Jun 19 after it learned of the epidemiologic findings. Jun 22 CDC E coli outbreak update Jun 23, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The number of patients sickened in a multistate Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to prepackaged Nestle cookie dough has grown to 70 from 30 states, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday.last_img read more

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I admit, I was motivated by Spritz: Snow – a problem or an opportunity?

first_imgI have to admit I was a little hesitant about writing this review. Around 200.000 Croats who go skiing abroad are “named” in the media this year as well.According to some, this is an indicator that we are still too good, according to others that Croatia does not have only 100 wealthy families, but many, many more. In the end, I decided to admit: I am also the one who goes skiing abroad with my family, as part of that “elite”. And so, instead of uninteresting statistical shares of 1.400.000 Croats who spent their holidays on the Croatian sea as tourists, we became part of a much more interesting mass of 200 Croats who decided to spend the winter in Austria.Saaalbach – Hinterglemm, an almost extinct areaSaalbach – Hinterglemm is a small town in the district of Zell am See, in the Pinzgauer region of the federal state of Salzburg, in its western part, just “at the gates of Tyrol”. Salbaška valley stretches in the east – west direction and is well protected from southern winds, which is conducive to good conditions for a long skiing season. The valley is bordered by the Kitzbühel Alps with the highest peak Hockhkogel – 2.249 m / nm. Saalbach was first mentioned as a settlement in 1222 and in 1489 received the charter of a fair town. The poor alpine agricultural town had a population of just under 20 at the beginning of the 1.000th century.40 years of perseverance on the road to rebirthProsperity begins with the arrival of the first tourists, in 1945. The fifties and sixties of the last century were marked by the development of skiing and winter tourism in the Alps, which gained additional acceleration in the seventies and eighties with the development of modern technology for transporting skiers, arranging trails, ski equipment and footwear…In 1987, Saalbach merged with Hinterglemm into a single municipality and for the 1991 World Cup, the Saalbach-Hinterglemm ski resort was merged with Leonberg.One of the most famous ski resorts in AustriaToday, the system has 200 kilometers of groomed ski trails equipped with 55 lifts and 470 snow cannons. The population reached 2.871, of which 86% were Roman Catholics, 5,5% Orthodox, 2,6% Evangelicals, 1% Muslims, 1% were of all other faiths and 3,3% declared themselves atheists. Basically, the development story in its beginnings does not differ significantly from similar stories in small coastal and island areas in Croatia. Until the moment when the State (former) became the bearer of the offer in our country, and in Austria private entrepreneurship continued to develop, guided by a clear vision of national and local authorities.Saaalbach – Hinterglemm / Photo: Booking.comFamily accommodationWe settled in the boarding house Patis, only a hundred meters away from the departure station of the cable car. The pension was built in 1973 and has remained the same to this day. The same furniture made of solid wood, gizana shower trays, toilet bowls equipped with “black boards”… as if time stood still. Everything made then and today looks like it is new. The furniture is extremely high quality, everything is immaculately clean. Half board in a double room costs 42 euros per person in this, our, lower season. In a nearby hotel with 4 **** half board costs 150 euros per person per day.Of course this hotel is incomparably more luxurious than our modest guesthouse. But we came to ski, just like Romanians, Poles, Hungarians and young Austrians accommodated in the same boarding house, and all we need is clean and tidy accommodation with a fair breakfast and dinner. That’s what we got.Statistical and actual consumptionWhen our experts make algebras of average tourist consumption per day then most of that formula rests on accommodation. Thus, tourists in Dubrovnik spend more on average than in Lovran due to the higher price of accommodation. The non-accommodation part of consumption actually rests on an estimate or on the testimony of the tourists themselves. In addition to basic living needs, such as bedding and meals, it is difficult to add any pre-sold content to the formula.When skiing, a ski pass is added to the accommodation, which costs an adult 7 euros for 220 days. With this ticket you can also use the free transport by ski buses that regularly connect the accommodation with the departure stations of the cable cars. So 7 half board + seven-day ski pass per person comes to 514 euros. If you add another 15 euros per person for one meal a day and the same amount for a few drinks, you need to add another 210 euros to the stated amount, which together makes 724 euros per person for 7 days. But since we are Croats and we either go on vacation “properly” or stay at home, we can freely calculate the seven-day average ski vacation on the basis of 1.000 euros per person, including the cost of the trip. So it would be, according to the above statistical algebra, 142 euros of consumption per tourist per day. Provided you don’t give in to the offerings of one of the many shops and boutiques.Imagine the unthinkableImagine that you can buy, for example, a seven-day ticket for a ride on comfortable boats and buses from island to island, and that these connections are more frequent and faster in summer… Maybe our average consumption per guest would bounce back from the elementary minimum…Experience tourismThe Austrians have long since realized that tourism is not just about a bed and a plate. The accommodation offer is varied, accessible to everyone’s requirements with a firm rule of value for money. In Austria, you always get exactly what you pay for. It is very clear why something is more expensive or cheaper. There is no confusion. There is really a lot of content in all seasons. In addition to the listed ski facilities, almost every hotel has its own wellness center, there is a city pool, special ski resorts for children, snowboard parks. , walkers and adventurers.Photo: Pexels.comBajte – a combination of tradition and impeccable serviceMountain shelters are arranged on the alpine heights – bytes, in fact fully equipped catering facilities decorated in a traditional alpine style. Each byte is interesting in its own way, and the most interesting for us was the byte-museum at 2000 meters above sea level. This stone-wooden building houses an old mini power plant, a smithy, a mini toilet museum… Imagine, in the men’s toilet behind the transparent glass of the urinal there is a shop window with museum specimens urinary… It is difficult to imagine a more original idea.Daily life rhythm of catering facilitiesIn some bytes, the stars of the “Alpine Folk” – Oberkreiner, perform, somewhere their busty folk-pop stars perform, but there are also original performances on the alpine horn, diatonic harmonica and the like. We have most vividly convinced ourselves that Croats often do not stop being “bigger Catholics than the Pope” through the way in which smoking is organized in bars. We know how the action went in Croatia.In Austria, they have decided that there is no smoking where and when to eat. Thus, you must not smoke in the same bar, for example, until 16 pm (on the track) or until 21 pm (in the place) until the kitchen is open. At 16 pm, ie at 21 pm, ashtrays are brought to the tables, the kitchen is turned off and smoking is allowed. Almost every restaurant changes its offer several times a day. Until noon breakfast, from noon to 16 pm lunches, from 16 pm to 18 pm party after skiing and before dinner, from 18 pm to 21 pm dinner, from 21 pm disco…Apres ski or Apres swimm?Apres ski (French “after skiing”) is an original way of having fun in the time from the closing of the cable car (16 pm) to the beginning of dinner (approx. 19 pm). Many skiers are offered a cheerful atmosphere warmed by live music rhythms and local alcoholic beverages on the trail, in restaurants, at bars next to hotels… In a short time and an explosion of good mood after skiing, additional consumption is achieved “per tourist”. We hope that after modest attempts, the “Apres swimm” will come to life on the Croatian Adriatic after a full day of swimming from 16 to 19 p.m.Photo: Pexels.comSports events in the function of tourism promotionIt is already a well-known fact that alpine skiing is more than a national Austrian sport. Austrians invest a lot in athletes, but they invest even more in competitions that occasionally move to ski resorts in the World Cup to promote alpine winter tourism. The constant media focus on competitions in the midst of the ski season contributes significantly to the media promotion of Austrian winter tourism. Extremely well-coordinated sporting events in line with the seasonal tourist offer are an Austrian marketing patent. After the ski season, it is the turn of mountain biking, in which numerous sports events related to mountain biking also take place. Sports competitions, however, come to the fore only after the full function of the tourist infrastructure thematically related to these competitions. Here, unfortunately, we cannot draw a comparison with Croatian tourism. We mainly produce expensive sports events that do not continue through commercial tourist arrangements. Croatian athletes of world caliber do not have the opportunity to promote tourist facilities in line with the sport they play.By reforming the school system to extend the tourist seasonThe recent proposal to introduce another non-working day as part of the New Year’s holiday, which would aim to achieve a larger number of overnight stays of Croatian citizens in New Year’s Eve arrangements, may seem sympathetic. Yet the Austrian example shows a more thoughtful way of encouraging off-season tourist traffic in a way that benefits everyone. Carefully formed seasons have the goal of attracting certain target groups of tourists.Thus, the winter school holidays are divided into three parts – Christmas, New Year to the Three Kings and the carnival week in February. In these terms, prices are higher (second half of December to January 6, three weeks of February). From January 6 until the end of the month, the prices are lower and adjusted to the tourists of “New Europe”, but also to the organized arrivals of students from Austrian and German primary and secondary schools. Namely, the education program is reserved for a week of the school program “in nature” in which every primary and secondary school student learns to ski in the Austrian Alps in winter or swim in the lakes of the southern provinces or hike in the Alps in early summer. This seven-day program extends through the entire schooling of Austrian and German schools, so these days ski resorts are full of children and youth of all ages who acquire new, useful skills, and Austrian tourism is an additional incentive in the “lower seasons”. Of course, the prices of these arrangements are more favorable than the classic commercial ones, but the volume of turnover is significant.If by any chance the Croatian school system were similarly harmonized with the needs of Croatian tourism, Croatian students would probably get the opportunity to learn to ski on Petehovac, Platak, Sljeme or possible new small ski resorts during the winter, after the holidays but also to swim in the Adriatic in early June. summer holidays. Then there would be no need to introduce additional non-working days in order to increase tourist traffic in the “low seasons” in the mountains and at sea.The Austrian economy rests on micro and small entrepreneursThus, tourism in addition to agriculture is “held” by family hotels, boarding houses, peasant households or family accommodation in apartments and holiday homes as an additional activity in addition to regular work. Whole families work in catering, from grandparents to grandchildren, siblings. Income tax is paid as a lump sum, and VAT is 10% for all types of catering services.In this way, the business is maximally simplified, and in 15 years of occasional stays in Austria, I have NEVER encountered any inspection control that would work in front of guests in the way that is usual in our country. So there is no tension or nervousness. The job represents a long-term existence for the population, education and technology and an effective quality management system achieve a high level of service.The guest is the most important in every sense, he is also the main “inspector” whose remarks today in the era of digital technology can be disastrous. In the end, we were satisfied with our active vacation in the mountains, which for us from 0 meters above sea level has a stimulating effect on the regeneration of red blood cells. And that should be part of the story of encouraging off-season tourism in the mountains, which could include health care in addition to education. But about such German experiences on another occasion.Published by: Nedo Pineziclast_img read more

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