IDSA President Martin J. Blaser said in the news release, “It’s important to keep in mind that there is no pandemic right now. Even the H5N1 virus that is currently circulating in Asia and Europe primarily causes a disease affecting birds. There have been very few cases of bird-to-human transmission. Most of those who became sick were in very close contact with poultry.” “The threat of a pandemic to the American people is so low right now that it simply doesn’t justify personal stockpiles of antivirals,” said Leonard Mermel, DO, SCM, president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). “We need this drug to treat sick people who will suffer from human strains of flu this winter.” He made the statement in a joint news release from SHEA and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). The statement follows recent reports of people trying to stockpile the antiviral drug for protection in case a flu pandemic erupts. Scores of governments are stockpiling oseltamivir, but supplies are limited and production is slow. Last week the manufacturer, Roche, suspended shipments of the drug to US pharmacies in an effort to prevent hoarding and save supplies for those who will need it for seasonal flu this winter. Oseltamivir and zanamivir (Relenza), called neuraminidase inhibitors, are the only antiviral drugs considered likely to be of some help if the H5N1 avian flu virus leads to a human flu pandemic. Oct 31, 2005 (CIDRAP News) Two major organizations of infectious disease experts today warned the public against hoarding oseltamivir (Tamiflu), saying the threat of an influenza pandemic is not high enough to warrant it. IDSA-SHEA position statement US officials say they currently have a stockpile of about 2.3 million treatment courses of oseltamivir and expect to have about 2 million more by the end of this year. The government’s current goal is to have enough to treat 20 million people, which is less than 10% of the population. The IDSA advocates storing up enough to treat 25% to 40% of the population. “Given the current shortage of antiviral drugs, institutions should not stockpile drug for prophylaxis of health care workers, as this strategy requires much greater drug supplies than early treatment, and could deplete the reserve necessary for treatment on a national level,” the statement adds. In related news, Canadian pharmacies today stopped cross-border sales of oseltamivir to the United States to allay public concern about the potential for shortages, according to a Bloomberg News report. In announcing the move, the Canadian International Pharmacy Association said there is no evidence of a shortage now, the story said. According to the story, Roche Chairman and Chief Executive Franze Humer said he had discussed the idea with Chinese officials. But reports in Chinese newspapers said Roche had not received any formal proposals from Chinese drug companies to produce the drug, the AP reported. See also: In a position statement also issued today, IDSA and SHEA said, “Personal stockpiling would likely lead to inappropriate use and wastage, as well as foster antiviral drug resistance emergence under some circumstances.” The groups suggested that healthcare facilities consider building a rotating stockpile containing about five times as much oseltamivir and zanamivir as they need in an average flu season, since the shelf life of the two drugs is about 5 years. Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong said Roche has been talking with the Chinese government about the possibility of jointly producing oseltamivir, according to an Associated Press (AP) report today.
Topics : To make room at hospitals for severely ill patients, some local governments have begun monitoring those with milder symptoms in hotels or at their homes – a move that proved fatal for one man in his 50s in Saitama prefecture who died at home on Wednesday while waiting for a hospital bed.Asked about the man’s death, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday the health ministry was working to find out how many COVID-19 patients were being monitored at home.On the Costa Atlantica, 48 positive cases have been found out of 127 people tested so far, bringing the infection rate to 38%. Those showing only mild or no symptoms remain on board, and officials said they hoped to complete testing of all 623 crew this week. The Costa Cruises-operated ship was taken into a shipyard in Nagasaki in western Japan in late February by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries after the COVID-19 pandemic had scuttled plans for scheduled repairs in China.The latest cases have raised concern about the potential impact on Nagasaki residents after revelations some crew had left the restricted area despite assurances from the ship operator that they would stay within the wharf, according to Nagasaki officials.Authorities are also concerned about the potential rise in patients who require hospitalization, as an increase in domestic coronavirus cases strain medical services around the country.Japan has seen more than 11,500 infections and close to 300 deaths from the new coronavirus, excluding figures from the Diamond Princess. Nearly 50 crew members on an Italian cruise ship docked for repairs in Japan’s Nagasaki have tested positive for the new coronavirus, raising concern about the strain on the city’s hospitals if conditions worsen for those infected.Results on Thursday showed 14 more aboard, all either cooks or those serving food, were infected with the virus, an official in Nagasaki prefecture said. One patient who had been taken to hospital previously was now in a serious condition and on a ventilator, he told a live-streamed news conference.The Costa Atlantica infections come after the cases on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama two months ago, where more than 700 passengers and crew were found to be infected, although this time only crew members were on board.
Topics : “Everyone talking about ‘how do we fix this?’ They say ‘go out and vote?'” James tweeted Tuesday. “What about asking if how we vote is also structurally racist?”James said the group aims to combat apathy among younger blacks, who showed a drop-off in turnout in 2016 compared with 2012, but also will alert minority voters to efforts to keep them from the polls.Georgia’s Republican leadership, for their part, rejected the suppression accusations and said responsibility for the “unacceptable” conditions in certain local districts, including faulty machines and lack of ballots, fell on local organizers, often Democrats.The problems extend beyond Georgia. Experts say about two dozen states have taken steps to restrict voting, with a disproportionate impact on minority groups.The group Fair Fight said it looks forward to working with James and other stars “to stop voter suppression and protect the right to vote for Black voters across the country.”The general effort is a priority for congressional Democrats too. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was imperative to “inoculate” communities against an erosion of voting rights. The Los Angeles Lakers power forward will finance the group, called More than A Vote, as the nation prepares to decide whether to stick with President Donald Trump for four more years or replace him with Democrat Joe Biden.Basketball colleagues Trae Yong and Jalen Rose, football player Alvin Kamara, and actor/comedian Kevin Hart are among those who will help James with outreach in places like Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida.The move comes on the heels of a voting fiasco in the state of Georgia this week that multiplied concerns about voter suppression, particularly affecting people of color.James highlighted activists’ observations that voters in some black neighborhoods in Atlanta stood in line for several hours to cast their ballots, while those in white areas barely had to wait. ‘Steal’ the election In today’s online age, James’s massive social media reach — he has more than 135 million followers across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook — will serve as a powerful platform for mobilizing minority groups.James has waded into politics before. He appeared at a Hillary Clinton rally in 2016, and has sharply criticized Trump.Through his family foundation, the 35-year-old star has set up a school for at-risk youths in his home town of Akron, Ohio and funds their university studies.”Hopefully, someday down the line, people will recognize me not only for the way I approached the game of basketball, but the way I approached life as an African-American man,” he told the Times.That approach, for now, is focused on preserving and expanding rights in the electoral sphere, which has been rocked by Trump’s repeated assertions that mail-in ballots are fraudulent and unfounded accusations that Democrats are seeking to “rig” the election.Biden expressed alarm Wednesday about Trump’s effort to discount vote-by-mail, use of which is expected to surge due to the coronavirus pandemic.”My single greatest concern: this president’s going to try and steal this election,” Biden told The Daily Show.Progressive organizations for years have denounced obstacles that hinder participation, such as voter identification laws, hurdles for registration and reduction of polling stations.Such obstacles particularly hit minorities, who often vote Democratic, the groups say. Voting difficulties have only been amplified by the precautionary measures imposed during the pandemic.The period leading up to the November 3 poll “will be marked by extreme disruption and hardship,” warned Myrna Perez of the Brennan Center for Justice.While the COVID-19 risk will prompt more voters to cast ballots by mail, “some communities — more typically communities of color — rely on polling places,” she said. A conservative commentator once advised him to “shut up and dribble,” but basketball legend LeBron James is bringing star power to a voter mobilization movement as concerns over disenfranchisement swell ahead of November’s presidential election.”This is the time for us to finally make a difference,” James recently told The New York Times, speaking during a period of historic protests following the death of an unarmed African American, George Floyd, in police custody.With barely 20 weeks before Americans cast their ballots, “King James” is making a foray into US politics to protect voting rights of blacks and upend what he calls a “structurally racist” system.
Follow @NewPghCourier on Twitter https://twitter.com/NewPghCourierLike us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Pittsburgh-Courier/143866755628836?ref=hlDownload our mobile app at http://www.appshopper.com/news/new-pittsburgh-courier DEFENDING J. J. WATT—Several Steelers offensive linemen try to keep J. J. Watt away from the quarterback.The Steelers revamped their defensive line with kids who had not played and made changes in their secondary and the result was an outstanding performance by the defense that led to a 30-23 victory over the Houston Texans.Now they must face one of the hottest teams in football, the Indianapolis Colts, 5-2.If the Steelers can pull off victories over the Colts and Baltimore Ravens the following week they will have put themselves back in the driver’s seat in the playoff race with a 6-3 record.Next to Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck has been the best quarterback in football as he has led the Colts to five straight victories on their way to a 6-2 record.Luck was 27 of 42 for 319 yards and two touchdowns as he led the Colts to a 27-0 shocker of the Cincinnati Bengals. If the Steelers offense don’t step up the same may be in store for trhem.For the season he’s completed 199 of 302 for 2331 yards and 19 touchdowns.The Steelers secondary will have their hands full once again with T. Y. Hilton 47 catches for 711 yards and Reggie Wayne 38 catches for 434 yards. The young kids must once again put pressure on the quarterback to give the secondary some help. But they will not be able to rattle Luck as easily as they did Ryan Fitzpatrick.The Colts running game is just enough to keep the defense honest with Ahmad Bradshaw, 336 yards on 50 carries, and Trent Richardson, 356 yards on 101 carries.So the young guys will have to continue to mature on defense because the Colts have one of the best offenses in the NFL.On the other side of the ball the Steelers offense wasn’t that impressive against the Texans, having to have the defense set them up in the red zone and then having to use trick plays to get the ball into the end zone.Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell continue to look great but the rest of the cast needs to step their game up. And even though Ben Roethlisberger is still being sacked because he holds onto the ball too long, the offensive line appears to be getting better as the season progresses.Brown and Bell are among the league leaders in receiving and rushing. Brown has 50 catches for 719 yards, on his way to another 100 plus reception season, and Bell has 599 rushing yards on 117 carries plus 339 yards on 36 receptions putting him among the league leaders in total yardage.If the Steelers are going to move among the elite teams in the NFL they must get more help for Brown and Bell and better decision making by Ben Roethlisberger. He almost cost the Steelers the game when he chose to pass the ball with seconds left instead of running the clock out. It almost back fired on the team.This weekend’s NFC North predictions: Steelers over the Colts, the Cleveland Browns will bounce back with a victory over the lowly Oakland Raiders, and the Bengals will upset the Ravens, thus opening the door for the Steelers.BEN ROETHLISBERGER FUMBLES BALL (Photos by Julio Torres)