Coronavirus updates: American Red Cross will soon use antibody tests to ID plasma donors

first_imgvchal/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A global pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 183,000 people worldwide.Over 2.6 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks. Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected nation, with more than 842,000 diagnosed cases and at least 46,785 deaths. Here’s how the news is developing Thursday. All times Eastern:7:02 a.m.: All frontline workers in Los Angeles can now get tested for COVID-19The city of Los Angeles is expanding its criteria for who is eligible to get free testing for the novel coronavirus.Starting Thursday, all of the city’s frontline workers can get tested for COVID-19 whether they have symptoms or not.Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who made the announcement at a press briefing Wednesday night, said the frontline workers include health care professionals, first responders, grocery store workers and critical government personnel.“We wish we could open that up to everybody, but I think we all know that we have firefighters and police officers, doctors, nurses, janitors at hospitals, folks that are in grocery stores and pharmacies that are putting themselves out on the line,” Garcetti said. “And we want to make sure they are healthy, that they have the peace of mind knowing they’re healthy, and because they interact with so many people, that we can make sure they are not spreading it.”The city’s public testing sites have the capacity to test 12,200 people per day, according to Garcetti.6:25 a.m.: France wants all retailers to reopen next monthThe French government wants all shops — except bars, cafes and restaurants — to be able to reopen once a nationwide lockdown ends next month.“We want all retailers to be able to open on May 11 in the same way out of fairness,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France Info radio on Thursday. “I would only set aside restaurants, bars and cafes that will need special treatment because they are a place of mixing.”Le Maire noted that protocols would have to be implemented to protect both workers and customers. It’s still unclear whether the reopening would be feasible nationwide or only by region, he said.French President Emmanuel Macron announced last week that the country’s lockdown, which was put in place on March 17 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, will be extended until May 11 and gradually lifted thereon.France has recorded more than 157,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 and over 21,000 deaths, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.5:50 a.m.: Germany is on ‘thinnest ice,’ Angela Merkel warnsGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that her country is “still at the beginning” of the coronavirus pandemic and citizens must maintain discipline.“We are still far from out of the woods,” Merkel said while addressing the German parliament Thursday.More than 150,000 people in Germany have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and 5,315 of them have died from the disease so far, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. It’s a relatively low death toll compared to other European countries like France and Italy that have similar caseloads but fatalities have soared past 20,000.Germany’s federal and state governments recently agreed to relax some of the social distancing measures put in place to combat the outbreak, including permitting smaller shops to reopen this week.“It is precisely because the figures give rise to hope that I feel obliged to say that this interim result is fragile,” Merkel said. “We are on thin ice, the thinnest ice even.”3:30 a.m.: American Red Cross will soon use antibody tests to ID plasma donorsStarting next week, the American Red Cross will offer antibody tests for people who suspect they were previously infected with the novel coronavirus and are interested in donating their blood plasma — a potential game-changer in the treatment for seriously ill COVID-19 patients.“That completely changes the landscape,” Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer for the American Red Cross, told ABC News in an interview Wednesday.While there is no guarantee that antibodies to this new virus actually provide immunity, doctors are hopeful that patients severely sickened with COVID-19 can benefit from infusions of blood plasma collected from those who have recovered from the disease. The therapy, known as convalescent plasma, is a century-old technique used for treating epidemics.At the moment, an individual who wishes to donate blood plasma for the experimental convalescent plasma therapy must have documentation of a positive COVID-19 test. The lack of diagnostic tests available has led hospitals and donation centers to say they are in desperate need of donors.“Qualifying and getting the right donors into our centers to donate is one of the biggest hurdles in this in this endeavor,” Young said.More than 30,000 people have requested to donate on the American Red Cross website, but only 2 to 3% actually qualify and meet the current criteria set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. That donor pool could increase dramatically with the implementation of antibody testing at American Red Cross donation centers.“All of those (potential) donors who don’t have confirmed testing can now be tested,” Young said. “We can really cut through that time, which is so important.”Young explained that researchers and medical professionals have been in uncharted territory, “building the plane as you’re flying it.” But she said they’ve been working around the clock to streamline the process.“We really didn’t know what we were dealing with at the beginning as we were standing this up,” she told ABC News. “Now we’ve really resourced this project.” Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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Oshkosh sees four first-time 2017 winners

first_imgBy Dave PanskeOSHKOSH, Wis. (May 19) – Four feature events produced as many different first-time 2017 win­ners Friday at Oshkosh SpeedZone Raceway.Automotive Supply Company IMCA Modified checkers flew for Steve Schneider after a long battle with Dan Roedl.Jeremy Christians took the lead on the seventh lap of the Outlaw Chassis IMCA Stock Car main and left the rest of the field to race for second place.Brock Saunders got the best of the Don Herman Auto Repair IMCA Northern SportMod field for the first time locally since July 31 of 2015.Mike Meier took the lead in the Lynn’s Service Center IMCA Sport Compacts on lap four and de­spite heavy pressure from Chris Maas for much of the second half of the race, was able to win his first feature of the season.A solid field of 121 cars filled the pit area on a windy night at Oshkosh.last_img read more

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Number of U.S. homes in foreclosure doubles in 3rd quarter

first_img160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.The latest figures amount to one foreclosure filing for every 196 households in the nation and reflect a 33.9percent jump from the 333,731 properties in foreclosure in the second quarter of this year. California led the nation in total foreclosure filings and reported one filing for every 88 households. Nevada and Florida followed. The state had 148,147 filings on 94,772 properties, an increase in filings of 36 percent from the previous quarter and nearly four times the year-ago period. All but five states – Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Utah – reported a year-over-year increase in foreclosure filings, which include notices of default, auction sale notices or bank repossessions, RealtyTrac said. The total number of filings reported for the nation in the third quarter reached 635,159, up 99.5 percent from the year-ago quarter and up 30 percent from the second quarter of this year. The number of U.S. homes in foreclosure more than doubled in the third quarter, a surge that analysts said likely will drive already weak prices even lower in the hardest-hit areas. While that amounts to good news for would-be buyers, it spells trouble for builders with projects languishing on the market and for other homeowners desperate to unload property to avoid foreclosure. “A wave of foreclosures is not going to be good for the broader market, and it will contribute to the weakness in pricing,” said Raphael Bostic, associate director of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at the USC. A total of 446,726 homes nationwide were targeted by some sort of foreclosure activity from July to September, up more than 100 percent from 223,233 properties in the year-ago period, Irvine-based RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday. last_img read more

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Are We Lost on a Speck of Cosmic Dust?

first_imgA new Copernican revolution seems to be in the works, not another “demotion” of man from the center of the universe, but a promotion back to the ancient idea of plan or purpose for our existence.  The demotions reached their nadir with Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and other books that declared we are nothing special, that we occupy no privileged position in the universe.  Signs that such notions went too far, far beyond what Copernicus himself ever dreamed, began with the Anthropic Principle– admissions by many cosmologists, including materialists, that we owe our existence to numerous lucky accidents of physics, astronomy, chemistry and geology.  Then books like Rare Earth proposed that advanced civilizations like ours might be few and far between, even among billions of possible planets.    The latest revolutionary salvo comes from Illustra Media, producer of the highly successful film Unlocking the Mystery of Life, that showed evidence for intelligent design in the living cell.  Now they have taken the concept of intelligent design to the ends of the cosmos in their latest film, The Privileged Planet, just released this month.  Based on the new book of the same title by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards, the film explores a revolutionary thesis that would make Copernicus himself nod in agreement: the universe not only appears designed for our existence, but shows an uncanny number of “coincidences” that make scientific discovery possible.  If so, science has uncovered evidence of a purpose to the existence of mankind on this “privileged” planet.    On a related subject, JPL and news organizations like The Toronto Star have been reporting the discovery of Neptune-sized planets around other stars.  These are much smaller than earlier exoplanets found so far, which all rivaled or exceeded Jupiter.  But none of these new planets would be suitable for advanced life; the reports only indicate that progress is being made toward finding earth-sized worlds.  As the film explains, however, there is a lot more to making a planet habitable than just size, to say nothing of making it a suitable platform for discovery.  It takes the right kind of star, the right kind of moon, the right kind of position in the galaxy, and about 20 other improbable things.  Luck, or design?  And if it was the result of a plan or purpose, is there any way we could know?This is a film worth watching on a big-screen home theater with surround sound, and one that after watching, will prompt you to rush out and buy copies for your friends.  The DVD version contains a wealth of interesting and important bonus features, such as answers to 15 questions viewers might have from the main program.  The film’s excellent videography and top-notch editing is surpassed by the content.  Tastefully and non-dogmatically presented, the main thesis is supported with a wealth of uncontroversial facts.  Numerous scientists on various sides of the origins issue appear in the film.  The point is all the more convincing when made by scientists who have no religious bias, and admit to the superiority of the design argument in spite of themselves.  Get this superb film; watch it, think about it, and share it.(Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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Empowering the rural woman

first_img8 March 2012 International Women’s Day, 8 March 2012 – the 101st International Women’s Day – this year places a strong emphasis on empowering rural women, with the aim of bringing an end to hunger and poverty worldwide. The 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations headquarters, which opened on 27 February, focused on the theme of empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication and sustainable development. Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana led South Africa’s delegation at the CSW, which seeks to map the actions needed to make a real difference in the lives of millions of rural women. “South Africa has prioritised the empowerment of rural women through the mainstreaming of gender as part of a Comprehensive Rural Development Programme,” Xingwana said in New York. “Elements include providing access to funding, training, transfer of technology, building partnerships, ensuring food security, access to land as well as monitoring inequality in the redistribution of land.”For rural women, life is tougher Rural women, who constitute one-fourth of the world’s population, continue to face more difficulty than men in accessing public services, social protection, employment and markets, due to cultural norms, security issues and lack of identification documents. According to the United Nations, rural women account for a great proportion of the world’s agricultural labour force, produce the majority of food grown, especially in subsistence farming, and perform most of the unpaid care work in rural areas. Agriculture provides a livelihood for 86 percent of rural women and men and employment for about 1.3-billion smallholder farmers and landless workers – 43 percent are women. Their rights and contributions have been largely overlooked to date. The UN’s World Food Programme Gender Policy and Strategy have indicated that gender inequality is a major cause and effect of hunger and poverty, estimating that 60 percent of chronically hungry people are women and girls. Facts and figures drawn from the inter-agency report, “Rural Women and the Millennium Development Goals”, show that men’s average wages are higher than women’s in both rural and urban areas. Rural women typically work longer hours than men – they also have domestic and child care responsibilities. In Benin and Tanzania, women are said to work 17.4 and 14 hours more than men per week, respectively. In some countries, the amount of time spent collecting water alone significantly impacts on women’s employment opportunities. In sub-Saharan Africa, women collectively spend about 40-billion hours a year collecting water. If rural women had equal access to productive resources, agricultural yields could reduce the number of chronically hungry people by between 100 and 150-million. However, studies show persistent gaps that impact the lives of rural women.Education, literacy key Education remains another area in which more has to be done to help reduce the rate of illiteracy. Women make up more than two-thirds of the world’s 796-million illiterate people. According to global statistics, just 39 percent of rural girls attend secondary school. This is far fewer than rural boys (45 percent), urban girls (59 percent) and urban boys (60 percent). Staying in primary school alone means, every additional year increases girls’ eventual wages by 10-20 percent. It also encourages them to marry later and have fewer children, and leaves them less vulnerable to violence. The UN indicated that progress has been made in reducing the gender gap in urban primary school enrolment, but data from 42 countries shows that rural girls are twice as likely as urban girls to be out of school. In Egypt, Indonesia and several African countries, building local schools in rural communities increased girls’ enrolment. Educating women would also mean that a large gender gap in their access to decision-making and leadership can be curtailed.Women and climate change As highlighted by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development ahead of COP 17 last year, climate change impacts on women are visible, especially on women living in rural areas. Natural disasters and climate change can undermine the health, education and livelihoods of rural women, differently to men. “Women are disproportionately impacted by the negative effects of climate change due to their social roles, discrimination and poverty,” Xingwana told the CSW in New York “As women are powerful agents of change, we must ensure active participation and consultation of women in environmental planning, financing, budgeting and policy-making processes,” she said. “Women also have the indigenous knowledge needed to increase food security, prevent environmental degradation and maintain agricultural biodiversity. Rural women must therefore be involved in all aspects of adaptation and mitigation efforts in their communities.”South Africa makes progress The South African government has made progress in helping empower women. “We have 44 percent women representation in Parliament and 43 percent women Cabinet Ministers,” Xingwana said. “We are striving for parity and this year, my department will table the Gender Equity Bill in Parliament.” The government has also indicated its commitment, including budget allocations, to fund a massive infrastructure development programme, as announced by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation address in February, Xingwana told delegates. “This will be rolled out over a number of years. Government recognises education for women and girls as essential if we are to break the cycle of poverty and access to women’s health, especially decreasing maternal and child mortality and the negative impact of HIV/Aids on women and girls. “We are happy to report that in the past year, as a result of an intensive advocacy programme, we have successfully reduced Mother to Child Transmissions (MTCT) of HIV by 50 percent,” Xingwana said. “We will continue to build strong partnerships with civil society in working towards the objective of zero mother-to-child transmission.” Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will head the National Council Against Gender Based Violence, to be established later this year, to increase governments efforts to empower women. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

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Details on Android Market’s New Billing Options

first_imgRole of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Yesterday, Google launched its highly anticipated Android Market refresh, an update which now offers consumers the ability to browse and search for mobile applications from their desktop computer and then download those apps to their phone or tablet wirelessly. The experience is a vast improvement over the previous version of the Android Market, which oddly enough, didn’t even offer search functionality.But while the front-facing features of the new Market got a lot of press, there were also two important changes for developers to take note of: added support for buyer’s currency and in-app purchases.In-App PurchasesGoogle had been promising in-app billing support for some time, but finally made good on that yesterday, with the announcement that in-app billing has now arrived in the Android Market. This means that developers who want to monetize their apps using a different paradigm than simply charging for the app itself now have the option to do so. The addition will give rise to a number of new business models for monetizing applications including in-app upgrades, virtual goods purchases, try then buy upgrades, subscriptions and more. sarah perez Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology This is arguably the most important change out of all the announced improvements yesterday, since clearly a poor Web experience has done nothing to stifle Android’s explosive growth. What has been affecting Android’s true potential, however, is the lack of app sales – and that’s according to Android Platform Manager Eric Chu. At last week’s Social Apps Conference in San Francisco, he even admitted that Google was “unhappy” about the purchases of paid applications in its marketplace.But in-app purchases have the potential to shake up the market. In fact, according to a recent report from billing and analytics firm Bango, in-app purchases will grow over 600% this year to account for nearly 30% of all mobile app payments.In addition, a separate report from analytics firm Flurry noted that in-app purchases accounted for 80% of revenues generated by mobile developers with apps in the social networking and social gaming categories.Prior to Google’s official support, mobile payments companies like Zong and Boku have been offering similar solutions for developers who couldn’t wait for Google to roll out this much-needed monetization option. Those alternatives will still remain useful, especially for developers limited by Google’s version of in-app billing – it requires developers to have a Google Checkout merchant account and consumers to have the most recent version of the Android Market application and a device running Android 2.3 or higher. Also, it cannot be used for selling physical goods, personal services or anything that requires a physical delivery.Google’s in-app billing support is not immediately available. Instead, the company will be rolling out updates to the Android Market client so developers can begin testing the new service. The goal is to have the service live for end users by the end of the quarter. Developers can read more about this option here or view the release information here.Buyer’s Currency ChangesAnother change in the Android Market’s billing options is the addition of Buyer’s Currency support. This means that developers can price their applications differently in different markets while also improving the end user experience by displaying prices in that person’s home currency.As an end user, you may have noticed that paid applications are denoted with this symbol “~” – the punctuation mark meaning “approximately”. Due to currency conversions, this leads to odd prices, like ~$3.17 (the price for the popular launcher app ADW) or ~$2.06 (the price for the top paid widget app Beautiful Widgets). With Buyer’s Currency support, those developers could make the app’s price seem more attractive to shoppers by sticking to the retailing designations we’re comfortable with – for example, in the U.S., that would be prices that end in $.99.This option will roll out to U.S. developers first, then other supported countries afterwards. Google says it expects the process to complete within fourth months. Related Posts Tags:#Android#mobile#news What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …last_img read more

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Real Madrid CF’s late surge appetite takes centre stage as they face Atletico Madrid in Champions League

first_imgAs Real Madrid CF and Atletico Madrid gear up to face each other tonight in the Champions League once again, albeit in semi-finals this time, the memories of their previous encounters will still be fresh.The city rivals have played each other twice in the Champions League before, both being the final and where Real Madrid emerged victorious. While the most recent 2015-16 final was won by Real Madrid on penalties after 1-1 draw in normal and extra time, the 2013-14 final was far more dramatic with Sergio Ramos’ 93rd minute goal ending the game at 1-1 in normal time and then Real Madrid went on to win the game 4-1 in extra time.Real Madrid’s consistent display of spirit:Real Madrid have consistently shown great appetite for late goals and this season particularly, Los Blancos have been one of the best examples of never letting go. 14 times they have scored points from losing or drawing positions (excluding 0-0) towards the end of the game. To top that, they’ve won a game after the 81st minute seven times.Football is loved for its spirit and passion across the world. It is often said that apart from the results, what defines a team is their spirit and passion till the final whistle and Real Madrid have defined themselves this season.Like Zinedine Zidane repeatedly says that at Real Madrid, they hate losing. Los Blancos have shown immense character and fighting spirit throughout the season and that has come to become their identity.advertisementStatistics of Real Madrid’s late surge:Ramos has been the leader of the pack in the truest sense, scoring late goals and rescuing the team at a phenomenal rate but he’s not the only one.Toni Kroos did it in week two of the La Liga 2016-17 against Celta Vigo. Alvaro Morata, Mariano Diaz, Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez have all followed suit and with Marcelo’s 85th minute winner against Valencia on Saturday, he’s joined the party.This season, Real Madrid have won 17 points from the 81st minute on, which is 21 per cent of their points. Also apart from the seven times they’ve won a match after the 81st minute, they have salvaged two draws from losing position in the same period that takes the tally to 9 – a quarter of a season.And of course, who can forget one of the most thrilling Champions League final – the one in 2013-14 season – where Sergio Ramos gave a deadly blow to Atletico Madrid in the 93rd minute, equalising the tie that Real won in extra time eventually.Even though recently Antoine Griezmann scored a late goal in the last Madrid derby in La Liga to snatch a draw and Lionel Messi netted a 93rd minute winner in El Clasico after James Rodriguez had equalised in the 85th minute, the number of times Real Madrid have achieved the feat is brilliant.What Real Madrid’s fighting appetite speaks of:Marcelo, after the match against Valencia, had said, “We had to show who we are; we had to reach for our soul.” It’s almost like Real Madrid become a much more ferocious team when they’re down. And that is a dangerous sign!Considering the Champions League history between the Spanish rivals, it will be interesting to see whose spirit will win the game.last_img read more

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