Scale of flu pandemic not predictable, WHO says

first_img In response to the statement, Osterholm critiqued the WHO for not repudiating its previous estimate of 2 million to 7 million deaths and for not presenting at least a range of mortality numbers that could guide health policymakers. “Even in the best case scenarios of the next pandemic, 2 to 7 million people would die and tens of millions would require medical attention. If the next pandemic virus is a very virulent strain, deaths could be dramatically higher.” “Because of these factors, confidently narrowing the range of estimates cannot be done until the pandemic emerges,” the WHO said. “Therefore, response plans need to be both strong and flexible. Dec 9, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization weighed in yesterday on the debate about the potential magnitude of the next influenza pandemic by saying it’s impossible to confidently predict how many lives a pandemic might claim. Estimates based on previous pandemics “are problematic because the world in 2004 is a different place from 1918. The impact of greatly improved nutrition and health care needs to be weighed against the contribution the increase in international travel would have in terms of global spread.” “Experts’ answers to this fundamental question” of the likely scale of a pandemic “have ranged from 2 million to over 50 million,” the WHO said. “All these answers are scientifically grounded. The reasons for the range are manyfold.” The WHO and flu experts around the world are worried that the widespread H5N1 avian influenza in Asia could spark a human flu pandemic, conceivably on the scale of the devastating Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1920, which killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million people. The level of preparedness will influence the death toll. US Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson, in announcing his resignation plans last week, cited what he said was a WHO estimate that a pandemic could cause 30 million to 70 million deaths. Important details about past pandemics, including death tolls, are disputed. Even for the most recent pandemic, in 1968, estimates range from 1 million to 3 million deaths. On the lower end of the scale is a 1999 estimate cited in HHS’s pandemic preparedness plan, released in August. It said that a pandemic could cause up to 207,000 deaths in the United States. If the global death rate were the same as in the United States, that would mean a world toll of roughly 4.4 million.center_img The WHO today listed four reasons why it’s hard to predict how bad a flu pandemic might be: The characteristics of a future pandemic virus can’t be predicted. It could affect anywhere from 20% to 50% of the population. No one knows how pathogenic the virus would be or which age-groups it would affect. Henry L. Niman, a Pittsburgh medical researcher who is described as a critic of the WHO, said a pandemic could conceivably kill a billion people if the 72% mortality rate seen in recent confirmed human H5N1 cases prevailed, according to a Nov 29 New York Times report. In the same story, Klaus Stohr, chief of the WHO’s influenza program, rejected Niman’s estimate as unscientific and unjustified, saying the H5N1 death rate may be overstated because less severe cases might have gone undiagnosed. Osterhom asserted that the WHO should explore “a wide range of numbers that reflect what would be considered a relatively mild world pandemic to what could realistically be considered a serious world pandemic . . . if for no other reason than that planners could get a sense of the morbidity and mortality they need to address in their plans. In short, the WHO needs to do more to provide better definition even in the context of a “While it is impossible to accurately forecast the magnitude of the next pandemic, we do know that much of the world is unprepared for a pandemic of any size,” the WHO said in a prepared statement. At the same time, the agency said a pandemic virus could “affect between 20-50% of the total population.” The agency went on to say it will convene a meeting on preparedness planning next week and will publish an assessment tool in the next few weeks “to evaluate and focus national preparedness efforts.” Many WHO member countries have not even begun to plan for a pandemic, the statement added. Some other experts have gone higher. Disease expert Michael T.Osterholm, PhD, MPH, has estimated publicly that a pandemic could kill up to 1.7 million people in the United States and as many as 177 million worldwide. Osterholm is director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), publisher of this Web site. He said current global deaths from ordinary flu total roughly 1.8 million every 2 years, which is about how long a pandemic would be expected to last. Therefore, “No one believes 2 million to 7 million is a remotely realistic situation” in a pandemic, he said. Until recently the WHO had been estimating the possible global death toll in a potential pandemic at 2 million to 7 million. But in a Nov 29 speech, Dr. Shigeru Omi, the WHO’s Western Pacific regional director, said that a pandemic could kill 20 million to 50 million people, or even up to 100 million.last_img read more

Two sun bears break out of rescue center in Yogyakarta

first_imgTwo sun bears recently placed under quarantine at the Wildlife Rescue Center (WRC) in Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta, escaped from their cages on Wednesday afternoon.WRC manager Tarko Sudiarno said the two bears managed to escape their enclosures because a keeper forgot to lock their cages after feeding them.A security officer saw one of the bears, 4-year-old Vegan, roaming the complex at around 6 p.m., he said. Workers of the rescue center immediately caught and returned the bear to its cage. Sun bears, also known as honey bears, are a protected species in Indonesia. Bedu and Vegan were rescued from an illegal online trader several years ago and are due to be returned to their natural habitat in Kalimantan.WRC serves as a conservation center for a variety of wildlife, including those saved from illegal trade. The rescue center is currently home to around 160 animals, including orangutans and crocodiles.Tarko said the rescue center would conduct an internal evaluation of the incident.“However, we wouldn’t impose any sanction on the keeper [responsible for the incident] considering their extraordinary dedication throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing fasting month,” he said. (rfa)Topics : The other bear, 8-year-old Bedu, managed to climb over a fence surrounding the rescue center.A joint search unit comprising WRC officers and local police and military personnel was promptly deployed to find the missing animal. Three hours later, the search team found Bedu milling about in a garden owned by a local resident.Read also: Wildlife agency rescues bear cub ensnared in trap in Riau oil palm plantation“We have caught them,” Tarko told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. “We finally managed to capture it with a webbing and then had it sedated.”last_img read more

Swiss draft law paves way for pure DC funds

first_imgThe Swiss Federal Council has proposed changes to the investment regulations governing pension schemes that could allow sponsors to establish pure defined contribution (DC) funds.The changes, proposed as part of a new law on vesting in pension funds, would provide investment choice to plan members. The proposals transfer, under certain conditions, the burden of investment risk in non-mandatory occupational pension schemes to plan members by waiving certain legal guarantees.At present, non-mandatory pension schemes may, under certain conditions, allow members earning above CHF 126,900 per year to choose from a selection of investment strategies.However, under the current rules (FZG/LFLP), members are assured of a minimum return, even if they opt for a risky strategy that delivers poor returns. The draft revision of the FZG/LFLP revokes these safeguards, provided certain conditions are met. This means all members would receive the actual value of their retirement savings capital when leaving the fund. Under the draft, there would still be a requirement for the pension fund to provide at least one low-risk strategy among the investment options offered to members, although the precise definition of a “low-risk strategy” has so far not been provided by the Federal Council. In addition, members must be provided with information about the costs and risks of each investment strategy.At present, under international financial reporting standards (IFRS), Swiss pension plans are considered to be defined benefit (DB) plans because of the in-built guarantees.Olivier Vaccaro, partner, Aon Hewitt Switzerland, said: “As long as the parliamentary bill is not modified, the changes would allow sponsors to introduce pension schemes that might qualify as defined contribution (DC) under IAS19, and thus to move some pension liabilities off their balance sheets.“So this would be worth considering for those companies reporting under these accounting standards and who wish to reduce risk on their balance sheet.” He concluded that the move would only affect around 5% of the Swiss working population.“But it is likely in particular to affect accompanies in the financial sector because salaries are higher there, and such companies are sensitive about their balance sheet because they are subject to solvency requirements.”The legislation is not considered contentious, but has yet to be approved by either parliamentary chambers. Any resulting law would be unlikely to take effect before 2017.Read more about the shift towards investment choice in Switzerland in the recent issue of IPElast_img read more

Malawi has officially banned child marriages

first_imgEmma Watson visits Malawi to fight child marriages TALK AFRICA: Africa’s child marriages Malawian President Peter Mutharika has signed into law a ban on child marriage, months after lawmakers passed a bill raising the marrying age to 18.Rights activists say Malawi has one of the world’s highest rates of child marriage, with some girls as young as nine or ten are married off even though the marriage age was previously set at 16.The new law carries a 10-year prison sentence for anyone who marries under the age of 18.A coalition of local and international NGOs promoted the bill, saying child marriage traps girls, their families and communities into a cycle of inter-generational poverty.Women rights campaigners hailed the move as “a great day for Malawian girls” and said the law would help boost development in one of the world’s poorest countries.But they warned Malawi would not end child marriage without concerted efforts to tackle poverty and end harmful traditional practices like early sexual initiations.Relatedcenter_img Zimbabwe to ban child marriageslast_img read more

A 1-day plan to get back on track for weight loss

first_imgFood & DiningHealthLifestyle A 1-day plan to get back on track for weight loss by: – August 25, 2014 Share Share Sharing is caring! Sharecenter_img Tweet 183 Views   no discussions There are times, like after a food-filled vacation or a big holiday, when I feel like my typically healthy diet needs a bit of a refresh. Instead of skipping meals, feeling guilty or drastically cutting calories—habits that can be detrimental to your health—try making some small changes to each meal to get back on track without a diet overhaul. Here’s a daily plan with tricks for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks that will save some calories and help you get right back on track.BreakfastI always start my day with a healthy breakfast—but when I’m trying to restart my healthy habits, I use a few tricks to cut calories without missing out on any of my favorites. My first trick is swapping my typical two pieces of whole-wheat bread for one whole-wheat English muffin to save about 35 calories. That’s not a huge savings on its own, but if I also use slightly less peanut butter on my toast and use low-fat milk instead of cream in my coffee, I can save about 100 calories without feeling deprived. Another sneaky trick to use at breakfast: have a slightly smaller portion of oatmeal or cereal (e.g., downsizing from a ½ cup to 1/3 cup of oats) and bulk up your bowl with more fruit.LunchIf a sandwich is on the menu, swap the mayo for mustard and ditch the top slice of bread (making both switches can save about 180 calories). Pile on plenty of veggies like lettuce, tomato slices and cucumbers to add bulk for very few calories. (Added bonus: a large piece of lettuce is a great stand-in for a missing slice of bread.) Eating a sandwich that’s loaded with veggies and has only a small amount of meat or cheese can be a good lunch choice.Or, opt for a hearty salad, The key to making a satisfying salad without a lot of calories is to start with about two cups of greens (I like baby spinach), then add lots of colorful vegetables, such as diced cucumbers, bell peppers and artichoke hearts. Next, add a source of lean protein (which will help keep you full), like beans, grilled chicken or tuna (hold the mayo). Include a small serving of healthy whole-grain carbs, such as quinoa or a whole-wheat pita on the side—the fiber will also help you feel fuller longer. Finally, add a little bit of dressing for flavor—no more than two tablespoons. (But don’t skip it altogether, since the fat in the dressing helps your body absorb nutrients from your salad.)SnackYou can—and should—still enjoy snacks on a day where you’re trying to eat fewer calories. If you choose wisely, snacks can help you manage your hunger and pack lots of nutrients into your day without adding too many calories. I use my snacks as an opportunity to pump up my intake of fruits and veggies, so I’ll have celery sticks with a little peanut butter, or blueberries with a dollop of plain yogurt. Snacking on fiber-filled produce with a bit of protein (nuts, hummus, low-fat cheese) is a pairing that can help fill you up until your next meal. If you’re craving something crunchy and savory, munch on popcorn instead of chips. Three cups of air-popped popcorn can save you about 75 calories over a snack-size bag of chips.DinnerWhen I’m minding calories and still want to feel satisfied, I turn to low-calorie veggies to bulk up a meal. Try swapping mashed cauliflower for potatoes (cup for cup, cauliflower saves 90 calories), or use spaghetti squash in place of pasta (to save 130 calories per cup). I usually aim to fill half my dinner plate with vegetables, then round out the meal with a serving of lean protein (think salmon or tofu). A whole-grain side like farro or brown rice can round out the meal and provide additional fiber, which, like protein, helps fill you up.DessertIf you’re still hankering for something extra at the end of the day, you don’t have to deprive yourself. And in fact, you shouldn’t: small treats may actually help you stick to your weight-loss goals. Try a small piece of dark chocolate or a 100-calorie sweet treat.A day like this one allows you to eat lots of delicious food while still cutting calories to get back on track to losing weight. Incorporating these swaps throughout the day can add up to a 500-calorie savings, which over the course of a week can help you lose about 1 pound.Healthy Livinglast_img read more

La Castellana town reuses plastics for Christmas display

first_imgThe municipal hall grounds of La Castellana in Negros Occidental is transformed into a garden-like attraction using colorful floral accents reused from plastic materials, lit up by light-emitting diode lights. PHOTO BY ERWIN P. NICAVERA “Through this environment-friendlyChristmas attraction, we hope to inculcate positive values and spur awarenesson environment protection among our residents, especially the youth,”Manguilimutan added. Mayor Rhumyla Nicor-Manguilimutan ofLa Castellana, who led the switch-on ceremony on Saturday, said the “floralfantasy” setup aims to draw tourists as they showcase the creativity andcraftsmanship of the students and teachers. Also known as the “Festival ofLights,” it is a celebration of thanksgiving highlighted by 10 groups competingin the street and arena dance competition this year, including six from thebarangays and four representing the schools. “Since we have yet to establish ourown sanitary landfill, we have to look for strategies to lessen our garbage.Plastic is non-biodegradable, we have to recycle it,” she added. The champion will receive a cash prizeof P100,000 while second and third placers will get P75,000 and P50,000,respectively. A consolation prize of P20,000 each will be given to the otherparticipating groups. The home of “Bailes de Luces” utilizeslight-emitting diode (LED) lights to brighten up the municipal hall groundsamid the colored blossoms created by students of participating elementary andhigh schools. BACOLOD City – A garden-like displaymade of reused plastic materials is the main Christmas attraction in LaCastellana, Negros Occidental.  center_img Manguilimutan said the municipalgovernment is implementing measures toward environment protection andconservation like reducing plastic footprint. Ordinances have been proposed tostrengthen the solid waste management initiative of the municipality, includinga “plastic holiday” in the market and other establishments, she said. The competing schools were clusteredinto six groups to create the Christmas display that will run until Jan. 5. Meanwhile, the event on Saturday alsocoincided with the kickoff of the 21st Bailes de Luces Festival. The project also seeks to engage thecommunity in collecting and reusing plastics to prevent the clogging of canalsand to reduce pollution in the environment.   The champion will also get a P100,000cash; second, P75,000; and third, P50,000.(Witha report from PNA/PN)last_img read more

AFCON 2021 qualifier: Osimhen, Kalu fire Eagles past Squirrels

first_imgRelatedPosts Napoli Coach: Osimhen young lad with old brain Super Eagles stars model new national team jersey Super Eagles soar on FIFA ranking Goals from Victor Osimhen and Samuel Kalu were all the Super Eagles needed to sail past the Squirrels of Benin in the AFCON 2021 qualifier opening group game at the Goodwill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Wednesday. The Nigerian side came from behind to beat Benin 2-1 to top Group L, while Sierra Leone and Lesotho shared spoils in Freetown. Nigeria suffered a blow after just three minutes in when sloppy defending allowed Stephane Sessegnon beat Daniel Akpeyi to put the visitors ahead. Nigeria levelled scores from the spot, after Ola Aina was hacked down in the vital area. Osimhen stepped up and sent Fabien Farnolle the wrong way. The Nigerian lads upped their ante after the restart and sustained pressure on the opposition before Kalu beat the goalkeeper with a low strike into the bottom left corner in the 63rd minute. The Squirrels, however, nearly grabbed an equaliser late on when Jordel Dossou pranced through the Nigerian defence and crashed a powerful shot off the under side of the crossbar. At the other end, Farnolle also palmed away a sizzling drive from Alex Iwobi in the closing stages as Nigeria opened their qualifying adventure with a victory.Tags: AFCON 2021alex iwobiSamuel KaluSuper EaglesVictor Osimhenlast_img read more

Miami Mayor Says Trump Should Wear a Mask, Rolls Back Reopenings

first_imgMeanwhile, Biden has said that as president, he would make wearing face masks mandatory for Americans.Gimenez also emphasized that wearing face coverings is the major factor to ensuring that Miami-Dade County does not need to shut down again.“Wearing a mask is actually a symbol of respect,” he said. “The respect that I have for you, and you have for me.”Palm Beach County, which is home to President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, also recently enacted a mask order, as coronavirus cases rise across South Florida.Mayor Gimenez also expanded a countywide curfew and rolled back some re-openings on Thursday.Beginning Friday, July 3, Miami-Dade County will have a 10 p.m. countywide curfew until 6 a.m. every day, until further notice.Essential workers, including first responders, hospital workers, food delivery services and media, will be exempted from the curfew.Additionally, Gimenez announced that he is “rolling back the reopening of entertainment facilities, such as movie theaters, arcades, casinos (with the exception of tribal casinos, over which the County does not have jurisdiction), adult entertainment, concert houses, bowling alleys and other establishments that have recently had their plans approved by the County.” President Trump should wear a face mask when he comes to Miami for a presidential debate this fall, if the current county rules are still in effect at that time.That’s the word from Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.Gimenez, who is a Republican, was asked about that issue on Thursday, as he discussed a newly expanded countywide order requiring face coverings to be worn even outdoors when social distancing is actually possible.“I believe the president like every other leader should follow what the rules are of the locality,” Gimenez told reporters. “And so depending on the locality, if he comes to Miami-Dade I would expect that he would be wearing a mask, because that’s our rules down here.He continued, “So, as the leader of Miami-Dade I’ll be wearing a mask. You’ll see me wearing the mask all the time. You have always seen me wear the mask when it’s appropriate. That’s what we should be doing … every citizen should be playing their part.”Trump is scheduled to debate former vice president and Democratic candidate Joe Biden on Oct. 15 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.The commander-in-chief has declined to wear a mask at public appearances up to this point.We wear masks out of respect for one another’s health. I respect you and you respect me by keeping each other safe from the spread of COVID-19. Today’s New Normal Dashboard numbers show just how important this is: https://t.co/EuCk5Ld1c2— Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez (@MayorGimenez) July 2, 2020last_img read more

Cricket News WATCH: Broadcasters had displayed Shahid Afridi’s age as 21, not 16 during his debut ODI innings

first_imgShahid Afridi revealed his actual age in his autobiography. Afridi captained Pakistan in World Cup 2011. Afridi has been the part of World T20 winning team.  “Also, for the record, I was just nineteen, and not sixteen like they claim. I was born in 1975. So, yes, the authorities stated my age incorrectly,” the statement from the book read.Ever since Shahid Afridi has revealed his real age in his autobiography, the video showing his 37-ball ton is going viral. The fans are going through it yet again to confirm and a shocking thing has come up in the process. The broadcaster of the series played in Nairobi when the former Pakistan cricketer slammed a century, had shown his age as 21.Many cricket pundits are now with the fact that how did he manage to become the youngest to score a century then? If the broadcasters had displayed the age correctly, then why and when was the age changed? Well, a lot of questions are surfacing regarding the matter and only Afridi can answer those. Moreover, his claim of scoring a century while he was 19 is confusing.Here’s the video: highlights New Delhi : Pakistan’s former all-rounder, Shahid Afridi has made some startling revelations in his autobiography ‘Game Changer’. One of them which is making headlines is his ‘actual’ age. Afridi himself has revealed that he wasn’t 16 years old when he hit the century in the ODI format back in October 1996 on his debut. The game was against Sri Lanka which was played at the Gymkhana Club Ground in Nairobi.In his book, Afridi has clearly stated that he was born in 1975 and not in 1980. According to that, he should be currently 44 years old (If that is rightly quoted by him) and the record of the youngest to score a century shouldn’t belong to him. Afridi has, moreover, claimed that he was 19 years old when he scored the famous century and not sixteen which has confused a lot of people. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Yamaha Caribs forfeit game against Police Falcons

first_img…Panthers faceoff against Pepsi Hornets todayTHE Guyana Police Force (GPF) Falcons picked up their first win in the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) Bounty Farm 15s Rugby Championship, after their opponents, the Yamaha Caribs, was a ‘no show’ for their showdown yesterday  afternoon at the National Park.Having suffered a humiliating 67 – 7 defeat at the hands of the Panthers in their opening game of the tournament, the GPF Falcons were hoping to bounce back against the Caribs, but the Theodore Henry-led Caribs team failed to show-up for their first taste of the round-robin formatted championship.Meanwhile, today, the Panthers, who recently turned into one of Guyana’s most hated rugby teams, will match skills with the Pepsi Hornets.After winning consecutive Sevens titles, Panthers, a flashy, young and very talented group of players, turned their to the game’s longer format, and they used the Guyana Police Force as a perfect example to demonstrate their will to claim the GRFU’s final 15’s tournament for the year, hammering the lawmen 67 – 7.The Laurie Adonis-coached Panthers team will certainly have their hands full against a seasoned and well-oiled Pepsi Hornets, led by national Captain Ryan Gonsalves, who will want to preserve their rich history in the game locally.The Bounty Farm 15’s tournament will conclude on November 12. The tournament will see five teams playing two rounds of matches.last_img read more