MichiganMr. Biden took a slim lead in the state early Wednesday, and some of the state’s major population centers had large numbers of ballots yet to be counted as of midday. And these could easily tip the state to Mr. Biden, as Democrats have said they expect.Polls taken before the election had shown the former vice president considerably ahead, outside the margin of error. Senator Bob Casey Jr., a Democrat, said, “I’m confident Joe Biden will carry the state because of the margins we’ll get in those counties.”Though Mr. Trump had a roughly 470,000-vote advantage in Pennsylvania, Democrats in the state were confident that they could make up the margins with votes from Philadelphia and the “collar counties” surrounding it still to be counted.The delays in results in Pennsylvania, however, might extend beyond the simple challenge of counting the outstanding ballots. Republicans filed multiple lawsuits in the state on Tuesday, including one regarding provisional ballots for voters who had their absentee ballots rejected.Early Wednesday, national Democrats filed a motion intervening in Montgomery County. Hearings were scheduled in both state and federal court on Republican lawsuits, and lawyers on both sides were anticipating further litigation in Pennsylvania. PennsylvaniaPerhaps no state is staring down a longer counting period than Pennsylvania. As of midday Wednesday, 5.7 million votes had been counted in Pennsylvania, which represented roughly 80 percent of the estimated vote total in the state.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – In all three states, the numbers did not include votes from some of the largest and most heavily Democratic areas. The so-called blue wall states — Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — were long expected to play a pivotal role in the 2020 election, and that is indeed coming to pass.By midday on Wednesday, Joseph R. Biden Jr. held narrow leads in Michigan and Wisconsin. In Pennsylvania, President Trump had a slight edge, but a larger share of the vote remained uncounted.- Advertisement – Here is a look at where things stand as the counting continues and each state remains too close to call. WisconsinEarly returns had been inconclusive on Tuesday evening, with the key population center of Milwaukee yet to report vote tallies. But early Wednesday, a large vote count from that city was announced, and Mr. Biden edged ahead of Mr. Trump based on roughly 97 percent of estimated votes statewide. An earlier edge for Mr. Trump reflected his advantage in the Election Day vote — not the early vote, which was a larger share of the overall ballots cast in the state and favored Mr. Biden.In Detroit, the city clerk had counted only about half of what was expected. The clerk’s office reported having 125,000 votes tallied just after 2 a.m.For comparison purposes, Detroiters cast 248,000 ballots in 2016, when turnout was low. This year, election officials have said they expect turnout to easily surpass that, potentially exceeding 2008 and 2012, when President Barack Obama was on the ballot.Mr. Biden is expected to easily get 90 percent of the vote in Detroit.In Michigan’s bellwether Macomb County, which voted twice for Mr. Obama and then for Mr. Trump in 2016, the president was ahead because of a large advantage with voters who went to the polls on Tuesday. But only around half of the precincts had fully counted their early and Election Day ballots, leaving Mr. Biden considerable opportunity to close that gap.And in Oakland County, the state’s second-largest, what began as a significant lead for Mr. Trump on Tuesday evening vanished into an advantage for Mr. Biden by Wednesday as more and more precincts reported their early votes.Democrats have won Oakland County in every recent presidential election. Hillary Clinton carried it by eight points in 2016, and Mr. Biden appeared on track to surpass that margin of victory. Updated Nov. 4, 2020, 1:23 p.m. ET Senator Tammy Baldwin, the Democrat who won in 2018 by energizing her party’s constituencies while limiting losses in the suburbs and rural regions, said in an interview on Election Day that she believed Mr. Biden would be successful.“They figured out a way to be here virtually, even if they weren’t here in person,” she said. “We’ve learned a lot of lessons about how we conducted 2016, from the party all the way on down.” The state legislature refused to allow election officials to begin processing absentee ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day, and officials across the state were laboring through the tedious process of counting ballots.In Philadelphia, only 76,000 absentee ballots out of more than 350,000 were processed in the first 14 hours that officials were allowed to count ballots. Though Philadelphia election officials were working around the clock on the absentee ballots, the pace indicated that the count could last into Thursday.Other major counties, like Chester, Montgomery and Delaware, suburban counties outside of Philadelphia and a growing source of strength for Democrats, also had not reported the majority of their mail-in ballots. Allegheny County, home to Pittsburgh and another Democratic base of support, still had a large share of ballots to count. There are several reasons Democrats remain confident in Wisconsin. The state saw increased turnout in Madison, reaching more than 80 percent, according to election officials. In Milwaukee, another of the state’s liberal strongholds, turnout seemed better than four years ago but below the expectations of the state’s left wing.Mr. Biden built a political campaign focused on Midwestern voters, aimed at clawing back many of the ideological moderates who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016. For all the talk about winning states like Florida, Iowa or Texas, Democrats in Wisconsin say the campaign will be decided as it began — with Mr. Biden betting his political future on the region of the country that he is most associated with. – Advertisement –
You can learn more about it here – Advertisement – – Advertisement –
– Advertisement – Bring your creativity anywhere when you have the Viviva Colorsheets Single Set portable watercolor kit. Including 16 premium and vibrant watercolors, the Single Set comes in a booklet that’s great for travel. In fact, it’s so compact at just about three inches wide and five inches tall that it’ll fit nearly anywhere. Slide this watercolor set in your purse or backpack for use wherever you are. And you’ll love the water-resistant sheets that separate different colors, keeping your setup nice and clean. Moreover, this portable watercolor kit also has a built-in, reusable mixing palate. Handmade by women, these eco-friendly kits include color-coded sheets so it’s easy to flip right to the color you need. From Sap Green to Chrome Yellow and Persian Blue to Vermillion, this kit has all you need to paint something beautiful.
Mr Trump has been among Twitter’s most vocal critics and has seen many of his tweets hidden and labelled as misleading during the election period.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –
Buy now for: Rs. 50,999 (MRP Rs. 64,900)Samsung Galaxy M51 (Rs. 22,499)Samsung’s Galaxy M51 is still available at its lowest price ever on Amazon right now. The phone is listed at Rs. 22,499 and SBI credit card users can avail an additional instant discount worth Rs. 3,000, bringing the overall effective price below Rs. 20,000. You can also swap an old mobile phone and receive another discount worth up to Rs. 16,400.Buy now for: Rs. 22,499 (MRP Rs. 28,999)- Advertisement – – Advertisement – OnePlus 8 (Rs. 39,999)OnePlus 8 (6GB, 128GB) is still selling at Rs. 39,999 (MRP Rs. 41,999) on Amazon during the Great Indian Festival 2020 sale this week. State Bank of India credit card users can avail an additional instant discount worth 10 percent. Amazon is also bundling its exchange offer that can further sweeten the deal by up to Rs. 16,400.Buy now for: Rs. 39,999 (MRP Rs. 41,999)Redmi Note 9 Pro (Rs. 12,999)Redmi Note 9 Pro, the affordable Xiaomi phone, is down to Rs. 12,999 (MRP Rs. 14,999) during Amazon’s Great Indian Festival sale. You can exchange an old mobile phone and receive another additional discount of up to Rs. 11,950. Redmi 9 Pro comes with a large 6.67-inch full-HD+ display, and is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G SoC, supported by 4GB of RAM.- Advertisement – Amazon and Flipkart Diwali 2020 special sales have entered their last day. Amazon Great Indian Festival and Flipkart Big Diwali sales will end at midnight tonight. Both the festive season sales have been offering great discounts on popular mobile phones, laptops, TVs, and other electronics. In case you missed the first few phases of these sales, today is your last chance to grab that last-minute Diwali 2020 gift for a loved one, or something new for yourself. We’ve handpicked some of the best Diwali deals you can grab on Amazon and Flipkart today.Amazon Great Indian Festival sale – Best offers on the last dayiPhone 11 (Rs. 50,999)Apple iPhone 11 is still selling at Rs. 50,999 (MRP Rs. 64,900) during the Great Indian Festival sale’s ‘Finale Days’ phase on Amazon. The listing assures EarPods and wall charger in the box. In case you missed the deal earlier, you have another chance to grab the iPhone 11 at a discounted price.- Advertisement – Buy now for: Rs. 12,999 (MRP Rs. 14,999)Netgear Orbi RBK50 mesh Wi-Fi system (Rs. 21,799)If dead Wi-Fi spots around your house are making working from home harder for you, it’s time to switch to a mesh-based Wi-Fi router system. Netgear’s Orbi RBK50 mesh Wi-Fi system is down to Rs. 21,799 (MRP Rs. 37,999) on Amazon during the Great Indian Festival sale today. The system consists of two routers that can be placed around your house to cover an area of approximately 5,000 square feet. The Wi-Fi router system is extremely easy to set up and maintain.Buy now for: Rs. 21,799 (MRP Rs. 37,999)JBL Infinity Sonic B100 soundbar (Rs. 3,999)Looking for an affordable soundbar? JBL’s Infinity Sonic B100 2.0 channel soundbar is currently down to Rs. 3,999 (MRP Rs. 11,999) on Amazon’s Great Indian Festival sale. This is one of the lowest prices we’ve seen on this model. It comes with a multi-function remote and Bluetooth connectivity options as well.Buy now for: Rs. 3,999 (MRP Rs. 11,999)Fire TV Stick models (Rs. 2,099 onwards)Fire TV Sticks are a great way to convert your dumb TV into a smart one. You can install and run just about any major online streaming app on the platform, as well as games and other apps too. Fire TV Stick Lite is down to Rs. 2,099 (MRP Rs. 3,999) while the all-new Fire TV Stick model is selling at Rs. 2,499 (MRP Rs. 4,999). If you’ve got a 4K TV, grab the Fire TV Stick 4K instead at a discounted price of Rs. 3,599 (MRP Rs. 5,999). Buy now for: Starts at Rs. 2,099Echo smart speakers (Rs. 2,249 onwards)Amazon’s Echo lineup of smart speakers is also available with attractive discounts during the Great Indian Festival sale right now. The third-generation Echo Dot is down to Rs. 2,249 (MRP Rs. 4,499). The all-new Echo Dot (fourth generation) is down to Rs. 3,249 (MRP Rs. 4,499) on Amazon right now. Amazon’s Echo smart speakers are powered by the company’s Alexa virtual assistant.Buy now: Starts at Rs. 2,249Kindle e-readers (Rs. 6,499 onwards)Amazon is also offering discounts on its Kindle e-readers during the Great Indian Festival sale this week. Kindle Paperwhite is available for Rs. 9,999 (MRP Rs. 12,999). This variant comes with a built-in light and it’s waterproof. The 10th generation Kindle with built-in light is also down to Rs. 6,499 (MRP Rs. 7,999). Kindle e-readers are perfect if you love to read, especially when you’re on the move. They’re also perfect for gifting purposes, with Diwali around the corner.Buy now: Starting at Rs. 6,499Jabra Elite 65t TWS earphones (Rs. 3,999)Jabra’s Elite 65t TWS earphones are still available at their lowest price this year, at Rs. 3,999 (MRP Rs. 15,499). These true wireless earbuds come with a charging case, and a promised total battery life of up to 15 hours.Buy now for: Rs. 3,999 (MRP Rs. 15,499)Apple Watch Series 3 42mm (Rs. 18,900)Apple Watch Series 3 is still available at a discounted price of Rs. 18,900 (MRP Rs. 23,900) during the last phase of the Great Indian Festival sale this week. You can avail additional discounts with bank offers, along with no-cost EMI options available with major payment methods. In case you’re unwilling to spend nearly double the amount on the new Apple Watch SE, the Series 3 model is still a pretty decent option at this price.Buy now for: Rs. 18,900 (MRP Rs. 23,900)LG 43-inch 4K smart TV (Rs. 34,990)LG’s 43-inch 4K smart LED TV is selling at Rs. 34,990 (MRP Rs. 52,990) on Amazon this week. The bundled exchange offer comes with another instant discount worth up to Rs. 11,000. The TV includes three HDMI ports and two USB ports.Buy now for: Rs. 34,990 (MRP Rs. 52,990)Flipkart Big Diwali sale 2020 – Best deals available on the last dayApple iPhone XR (Rs. 38,999)iPhone XR is still selling at a discounted price during Flipkart’s Big Diwali 2020 sale. The 64GB variant is currently down to Rs. 38,999 (MRP Rs. 47,900) on Flipkart. An exchange offer can fetch you another instant discount worth up to Rs. 14,100. Paying with the bundled bank payment offers will sweeten the deal further by 10 percent.Buy now for: Rs. 38,999 (MRP Rs. 47,900)iPhone SE (Rs. 32,999)If you missed the last Diwali special sale, Apple’s iPhone SE 64GB is again down to Rs. 32,999 (MRP Rs. 39,900) during Flipkart Big Diwali sale 2020. This is one of the lowest prices we’ve seen on iPhone SE (2020) since it launched in India. The bundled exchange offer can further sweeten the deal by up to Rs. 14,100.Buy now for: Rs. 32,999 (MRP Rs. 39,900)iPhone 11 Pro (Rs. 79,999)iPhone 11 Pro is down to Rs. 79,999 (MRP Rs. 1,06,600) during Flipkart’s Big Diwali 2020 sale. This is one of the lowest prices we’ve seen on the iPhone 11 Pro during the festive sale season this year. With the bundled exchange offer, you can get another instant discount worth up to Rs. 14,100.Buy now for: Rs. 79,999 (MRP Rs. 1,06,600)Poco M2 Pro (Rs. 12,999)Poco M2 Pro is available for Rs. 12,999 (MRP Rs. 16,999) during the Big Diwali sale on Flipkart. That’s around Rs. 2,000 lower than its usual selling price online. With the bundled exchange offer, you can knock off another Rs. 12,450 (maximum) from the discounted price. Poco M2 Pro comes with a 6.67-inch full-HD+ display and a quad rear camera setup, highlighted by a 48-megapixel primary sensor. The phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G chipset, paired with 6GB of RAM.Buy now for: Rs. 12,999 (MRP Rs. 16,999)Moto G9 (Rs. 9,999)Moto G9 is still down to Rs. 9,999 (MRP Rs. 14,999) during the Big Diwali sale on Flipkart. The phone comes with a large 5,000mAh battery and a triple rear camera setup headlined by a 48-megapixel primary shooter. Moto G9 is powered by the Snapdragon 662 SoC, supported by 4GB of RAM. If you’re eyeing a new budget phone with stock Android, the Moto G9 seems like a pretty decent choice at this price.Buy now for: Rs. 9,999 (MRP Rs. 14,999)Philips 50-inch 4K smart TV (Rs. 33,999)If you’re eyeing a big-screen smart TV this Diwali, the Philips 50-inch 4K smart LED TV is down to Rs. 33,999 (MRP Rs. 1,05,990) during the Flipkart Big Diwali sale this month. You can also swap your old TV and get up to Rs. 11,000 off. The TV supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos surround sound. It comes with three HDMI ports and two USB ports.Buy now for: Rs. 33,999 (MRP Rs. 1,05,990)Asus VivoBook 14 (Rs. 55,990)The Asus Vivo 14-inch laptop is down to Rs. 55,990 (MRP Rs. 66,990) during the latest phase of Flipkart’s Big Diwali sale 2020. The laptop is powered by the 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, supported by 8GB of RAM. It comes with a 1TB hard drive along with 256GB SSD and runs Windows 10 Home out-of-the-box.Buy now for: Rs. 55,990 (MRP Rs. 66,990)Apple AirPods Pro (Rs. 17,999)Apple’s premium AirPods Pro true wireless stereo (TWS) earphones with active noise cancellation are down to Rs. 17,999 (MRP Rs. 24,900). This is one of the lowest prices we’ve seen on the AirPods Pro this year. Combine it with the Axis Bank cards payment offer, and you’ll end up with a great overall deal.Buy now for: Rs. 17,999 (MRP Rs. 24,900)JBL Moviebar 80 soundbar (Rs. 6,999)If you got yourself a big-screen TV this festive season, and are worried about the awful sound experience, get the JBL Moviebar 80 soundbar as an affordable add-on to your setup. The soundbar is currently down to Rs. 6,999 (MRP Rs. 13,999) on Flipkart’s Big Diwali sale 2020.Buy now for: Rs. 6,999 (MRP Rs. 13,999)MSI GF63 15.6-inch gaming laptop (Rs.66,990)For those eyeing a gaming laptop, the MSI GF63 is down to Rs. 66,990 (MRP Rs. 1,04,990) on Flipkart during the Big Diwali sale today. The laptop comes with a big 15.6-inch display and is powered by the 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, supported by 8GB of RAM. It comes with 512GB SSD and runs Windows 10 Home. For graphics, there’s Nvidia’s GeForce GTZ 1650 Max-Q graphics card, supported by 4GB of video RAM.Buy now for: Rs. 66,990 (MRP Rs. 1,04,990)Affiliate links may be automatically generated – see our ethics statement for details.
Tata Sky has once again reduced the prices of its set-top boxes in India. This is not a permanent price cut, and has been introduced as part of its latest Diwali offer. The discounts have been offered on the Tata Sky HD set-top box, Tata Sky Binge+ set-top box, and Tata Sky +HD set-top box in India. The Tata Sky Binge+ gets a price discount of Rs. 200 whereas the Tata Sky+ HD set-top box gets a price discount of Rs. 400 in India.After its last price cut in September, the Tata Sky Binge+ was priced in India at Rs. 2,999, but it can now be grabbed for Rs. 2,799 by using a coupon online. The Tata Sky Binge+ set-top box is still listed for Rs. 2,999, but users can get a discount of Rs. 200 by entering the coupon code TSKY200 at checkout from the official site. This price cut is only applicable on the online site, and additional offers include Mobikwik cashback of Rs. 50 and PayZapp cashback of Rs. 50 to further sweeten the deal.- Advertisement – The company hasn’t said how long these offers will be available for but as a festive season deal, it will probably not be for very long.Which is the best TV under Rs. 25,000? 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. With the Tata Sky Binge+ set-top box, users get six months of Tata Sky Binge service subscription and three months of Amazon Prime subscription for free. The price of Tata Sky Binge subscription is Rs. 299 per month. Users will have to shell this amount once the free period is over. Tata Sky Binge subscription includes eight OTT apps like Disney+ Hotsar, SunNXT, Hungama Play, Shemaroo, and Eros Now.Coming back to the discounts, the Tata Sky HD set-top box is listed for Rs. 1,499, but it can be purchased for Rs. 1,349 by entering the coupon code TSKY150 at checkout. A Rs. 150 discount is listed with the coupon code. Similar Mobikwik and PayZappp cashback offers were listed for this set-top box as well.Similarly, the Tata Sky+ HD set-top box gets a discount of Rs. 400 and can be purchased for Rs. 4,599, instead of its listed price of Rs. 4,999. The coupon code to be used for this set-top box is TSKY400 at checkout. Again, the same Mobikwik and PayZapp cashback offers are listed with this set-top-box as well. These discounts were first spotted by TelecomTalk.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –
A second death possibly linked to the outbreak, that of a patient from Ohio, has not been confirmed as of today, said Acheson. Infections involving the virulent strain have claimed one life and led to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure and death, in 18 patients, said David Acheson, MD, chief medical officer of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, at a press conference this afternoon. Nationwide, he said, 60 patients have been hospitalized with the illness. Acheson estimated that people’s exposure to spinach dropped late last week, and with an average 7-day incubation period for the infection, he predicted that new cases will begin to drop off by the end of this week. Sep 17 CDC press releasehttp://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2006/september/updates/091706.htm In a press release yesterday, Natural Selection Foods voiced its concern for people who are ill and said that so far, packaging retained by patients is only from its nonorganic spinach products. Today’s case count is more than double the 50 cases the FDA reported when it first warned about the outbreak on Sep 14. At that point there were eight cases of HUS. The infection resolves in 5 to 10 days but causes HUS in 2% to 7% of patients. Children and older people are most likely to develop HUS. Recalls expandNatural Selection Foods of San Juan Bautista, Calif., yesterday recalled all of its products that contain spinach with best-if-used-by dates between Aug 17 and Oct 1. The recall affects 31 different brands. Natural Selection products are distributed in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Sep 18, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The number of people affected by a nationwide Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak, apparently linked to fresh spinach, has climbed to 114 in 21 states, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said today. At a news conference yesterday, Acheson said samples from the states matched genetically and that an investigative team from California and the FDA has been gathering grower and distribution information. Indications so far are that contaminated spinach came from California, he said today. Of the infected patients, 75% are women, Acheson said today, adding that women are likely to have greater exposure to fresh spinach. He said the age range of the patients is from 20 to 64 years. In the preliminary analysis, the team determined that a separate company, River Ranch, had obtained bulk mixed spring greens for its products from Natural Selections Foods. The FDA said River Ranch is recalling its spring mix, which contains spinach. Three River Ranch brands are involved: Farmers Market, Hy Vee, and Fresh and Easy. “There’s no indication that the contamination was deliberate, but if we see things that don’t add up, we’ll pursue that possibility,” he said. Serious health concernsAcheson reported that the E coli outbreak is one of the largest in US history. He said he was particularly alarmed by the number of patients who developed HUS. The O157:H7 strain produces a toxin that typically causes bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps but no fever. See also: People who experience diarrhea after eating fresh spinach or salad blends containing fresh spinach should contact their healthcare provider and ask that their stool sample be tested for O157:H7, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a press release yesterday. The team will be looking at sources of E coli infection including irrigation, harvest conditions, agricultural production, food storage conditions, topography, and wild bird activity, Acheson said, adding that the FDA will investigate all possibilities, including terrorism. Rinsing contaminated spinach with water or other cleaning solutions won’t destroy the E coli, said Acheson, because the organism can get inside the plant. Sep 17 FDA press releasehttp://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2006/ucm108735.htm The FDA has advised consumers to avoid eating fresh spinach or any products that contain fresh spinach, because early evidence suggested that bagged fresh spinach was the only food that all patients had in common. CIDRAP overview of pathogenic E colihttp://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/fs/food-disease/causes/ecolioview.html
Jan 8, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Two Indonesians have been hospitalized in less than a week with H5N1 avian influenza infections, the country’s first in more than a month, according to news services.Indonesia’s health ministry told Bloomberg News yesterday that a 14-year-old boy who tested positive for the H5N1 virus was being treated at Persahabatan Hospital in Jakarta after showing flulike symptoms on Jan 1.Muhammad Nadirin, an official at the health ministry’s avian flu information center, told Bloomberg the ministry received a report that the boy had had contact with a dead duck. The ministry launched in investigation in the boy’s west Jakarta neighborhood, Nadirin said.A 37-year-old woman is also being treated at Persahabatan Hospital and is from the same area—Tangerang on Jakarta’s western outskirts—as the 14-year-old boy, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. I Nyoman Kandun, the health ministry’s director of communicable disease control, told the AP that the woman was in critical condition and the health ministry is still trying to identify the source of her infection.If the two cases are confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), they will be the 75th and 76th human infections recorded in Indonesia. The latest previous case was that of a 35-year-old woman who died Nov 28.The Jakarta Post reported today that the H5N1 virus is suspected in 6 other patients who are awaiting test results.Indonesia has the most avian flu deaths of any country, 57 recorded by the WHO, but Vietnam still has the most cases with 93.
Jan 29, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Yesterday the US House of Representatives passed an $819 billion economic stimulus bill that included funding for pandemic influenza and bioterrorism countermeasures, and now the Senate will debate its version of the measure, which also includes spending on some of the same items.President Barack Obama and several Democratic legislators have hailed the public health spending provisions as a way to create jobs and boost the productivity of the American workforce. However, some lawmakers oppose spending provisions, particularly those aimed at government departments.The House bill includes $900 million for biomedical advanced research and development, pandemic flu, and cyber security to help the nation better prevent or respond to a natural or man-made biological threat, according to a Jan 15 statement from Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), a nonprofit health advocacy group in Washington, DC.The House plan also includes $3 billion for disease prevention, including funding for state and local health departments and immunization programs, and $20 billion for health information technology.Jeff Levi, PhD, executive director of TFAH, said in the statement, “This is an unprecedented one-time investment in public health.” In 2008, a TFAH expert panel reported that the country faces annual $20 billion shortfalls in critical public health program funding across state, local, and federal levels.The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) said in a Jan 15 statement that federal support for effective public health programs has eroded steadily over several years. “This (House) bill would reverse that course and set the stage for an emphasis on wellness in forthcoming discussions of reform of the nation’s health system,” the group said.On Jan 27 TFAH released a statement applauding the Senate Appropriations Committee for including $16 billion for public health in its version of the stimulus bill. “This funding is desperately needed to revitalize and modernize the country’s ailing public health system, and we’ll be putting more Americans to work in programs that will directly improve the health of communities where they live,” Levi said.The Senate bill includes $870 million to complete funding for the nation’s pandemic influenza plan. It also includes $5.8 billion for prevention and wellness efforts, including $600 million to boost the healthcare, and $5 billion toward the modernization of health information technology.TFAH said the Senate’s stimulus bill includes funding to modernize the nation’s capacity to respond to a pandemic outbreak, along with equipment and medications to detect, contain, and treat pandemic influenza.Yesterday the House passed its stimulus measure by a 244-to-188 margin, with Republicans unanimously opposing the bill. It’s unclear how the bill will fare in the Senate, where Democrats have a slimmer majority.Senate debate on the bill could begin as early as Feb 2, the Associated Press reported today.Once the Senate passes its stimulus bill, a conference committee made up of members from both Congressional chambers will meet to resolve differences between the House and Senate bills.During a US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) webcast yesterday on the status of the nation’s pandemic preparations, Robin Robinson, director of the HHS Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), addressed what would happen if legislators strip money for pandemic measures out of the stimulus package.”We need to continue to develop antiviral drugs, and some of the money in that request was earmarked for that,” he said. “Second, we need to finish buying adjuvants [immune-boosting chemicals] for our [vaccine] stockpile, and some of the money was for that. Those would be the two primary effects if we didn’t get the money.”In a Jan 8 pandemic plan progress report, former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said the HHS planned on adding prepandemic vaccine doses to the national stockpile and has plans to buy 5.2 million doses of a GlaxoSmithKline adjuvant that it will pair with the government’s existing supply of GlaxoSmithKline vaccine.See also:Jan 27 TFAH press releaseJan 15 TFAH press releaseJan 15 NACCHO press release
Mar 5, 2009Egypt reports H5N1 in another toddlerEgypt’s health ministry announced yesterday that a 2-year-old boy from Alexandria governorate was hospitalized with an H5N1 avian influenza infection, according to a report posted on Egypt’s Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR) Web site. He became ill on Mar 3 and was admitted the same day to the Alexandria Fever Hospital, where he received oseltamivir (Tamiflu). The ministry said his family had had contact with sick and dead poultry. The case will be listed as Egypt’s 57th if it is confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is the second H5N1 case in an Egyptian toddler this week.Report says wild birds likely caused Hong Kong outbreakThe source of an H5N1 outbreak at a Hong Kong chicken farm in December 2008, Hong Kong’s first farm outbreak since 2003, was probably wild birds, according to findings released by the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department (AFCD) today. Genetic analysis indicated that the H5N1 virus belonged to clade 2.3.4, which is commonly found in southern China. It closely resembled isolates obtained from Hong Kong poultry markets in June 2008 and from a wild bird found in March 2008. Scientists found no mutations that would make the virus more transmissible in mammals, the report said.[Hong Kong AFCD press release]Israel answers soldiers’ complaint about anthrax vaccineThe Israeli government, responding to complaints from two Israeli soldiers, said yesterday it took “full responsibility” for side effects suffered by participants in a trial of two anthrax vaccines from 1998 to 2006, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post. The trial compared Israeli and American vaccines and involved 716 soldiers, 11 of whom, representing both vaccine groups, later required treatment. Two soldiers submitted petitions claiming that the medical monitoring and care of participants were inadequate. The government said all the volunteers were educated about the vaccine in advance and that all who requested medical care received it.Thousands of suspected meningitis cases reported in NigeriaThe Nigerian government reported that the country had 5,323 suspected cases of meningococcal disease with 333 deaths between Jan 1 and Feb 22, the WHO said today. Suspected cases have been reported in 22 of 37 states. The WHO said the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision for Epidemic Meningitis has approved the release of about 1 million doses of vaccine for mass vaccination campaigns in affected parts of Jigawa and Katsina states. A sound vaccination strategy is important given the large population at risk and moderate global vaccine levels, the WHO said.[Mar 4 WHO statement]MRSA spread from zoo elephant to caretakersIn the first reported transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from a zoo animal to human caretakers, a baby elephant at a San Diego zoo passed the skin infection to at least five zoo workers last year, according to an article published today by Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). The report also documents the first known case of MRSA in an elephant. Analysis showed that the strain was USA300, the type most commonly involved in community-associated MRSA outbreaks in the United States. Investigators said the elephant calf probably acquired the skin infection from a colonized human caretaker. Three of the caretakers received oral antibiotics for their mild skin infections, but the prematurely born elephant was euthanized because it failed to thrive.[Mar 6 MMWR article]