Pages

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lawmakers Grill Obama Administration Over Ebola Outbreak

Lawmakers Grill Obama Administration Over Ebola Outbreak


Lawmakers Grill Obama Administration Over Ebola Outbreak

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:14 AM PDT

Republican lawmakers pushed for stricter travel restrictions Thursday, firing questions at Obama Administration officials after revelations that a health care worker infected with the disease flew on a plane shortly after treating a patient who had died of the virus.

Amber Joy Vinson worked to help treat Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who died on Oct. 8, at Texas Presbyterian Hospital but rode on an airplane on Oct. 13, just a day before she developed a fever. It was revealed late Wednesday night that the CDC had actually cleared Vinson to fly; she was diagnosed with Ebola on Tuesday.

“None of us can understand how a nurse who treated an Ebola-infected patient, and who herself had developed a fever, was permitted to board a commercial airline and fly across the country,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman. “It’s no wonder the public’s confidence is shaken.”

Upton joined other lawmakers, who include Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and House Speaker John Boehner, want the Administration to consider travel restrictions between the U.S. and West African countries, where the outbreak has killed almost 4,500 people. “It needs to be solved in Africa but until it is, we should not be allowing these folks in, period,” Upton said at the hearing.

Embattled Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden countered that the Administration can better track people from the most vulnerable countries in West Africa without restrictions on travel.

“Right now we know who’s coming in,” said Frieden. If we try to eliminate travel… we won’t be able to check them for fever when they leave, we won’t be able to check them for fever when they arrive, we won’t be able—as we do currently—to see a detailed [medical] history to see if they’ve been exposed.”

When pressed by Murphy if the Administration would ever consider changing its mind, Frieden said it would “consider any option to better protect Americans.”

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said that he didn’t believe travel restrictions would be an effective protection measure, since people will find other avenues of travel. Waxman shifted blame from the CDC and the Obama Administration, instead focusing ire on Congress for “irrational budget cuts” that have dropped CDC’s funding by 12% when adjusted for inflation since 2006.

“We have our share of responsibility,” he said.

 

#TheBrief: Watch How the CDC Is Changing Its Ebola Protocol

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 11:14 AM PDT

As the Ebola virus continues to ravage parts of West Africa and two American health care workers begin to receive specialized care, we have to wonder: Are hospitals in the U.S. well-equipped to contain any further spread at home?

Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, assured Americans in September that the country’s hospitals could control and curb any threat. But after two nurses contracted the virus while helping to treat the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., who died in Dallas last week, criticism is piling on and answers to this question and more are in high demand.

Apple’s New OS X Yosemite Available Today for Free

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 10:51 AM PDT

Apple’s OS X Yosemite, its latest operating system for Mac computers, will available Thursday for free download, Apple said during an event at its Cupertino, California headquarters.

OS X Yosemite, available in beta since July, offers among other new features an updated design, a Notification Center that links to third party content, a powerful Spotlight search, and improved Safari functions including a new tab view and sharing functions on third party websites.

Apple emphasized that Yosemite will also work in conjunction with iOS 8, Apple’s latest operating system for mobile devices. Yosemite will use iCloud to provide a seamless cross-device experience, an initiative Apple calls Continuity.

While Apple already uses iCloud to sync the Calendar and Notes apps across devices, users will now have additional features with the Handoff feature. Users will be able to work on presentations or documents on one device, then pick up where they left off on another device. Additionally, SMS text messages—not just iMessages—will appear across Macs, iPads and iPhones. With OS X Yosemite, Macs will also be able to serve as a speakerphone for telephone calls.

And Apple Watch isn’t left out of the Continuity project either. Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of software engineering, showed how the Apple Watch can be used as a remote to control presentations on a Mac.

Deputies Shot, Suspect on the Loose Near Chicago

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 10:40 AM PDT

(HOLIDAY HILLS, Ill.) — Authorities were searching for a man suspected of shooting two sheriff’s deputies in suburban Chicago early Thursday, warning that he should be considered “armed and extremely dangerous.”

Investigators believe that 52-year-old Scott Peters fled after opening fire with a rifle as deputies responded to a domestic dispute around 1:30 a.m. at a home in Holiday Hills, McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren said. He said deputies are going door-to-door in the small village to make sure everyone is safe.

“We simply don’t know his whereabouts at this time,” Nygren said, adding that “many, many” deputies are involved with the search.

The sheriff said Peters, a military veteran, is being sought on two counts of attempted murder and should be considered “armed and extremely dangerous.”

Nygren said the two deputies who were shot are in stable condition, but no other details about their injuries were provided. The suspect’s wife and child, who were in the home, weren’t injured, he said.

Holiday Hills is about 45 miles northwest of downtown Chicago.

Nygren said he had little information about the circumstances surrounding the incident. He said Peters was a military veteran, and that local police didn’t have “much of a past history” with him.

Apple iOS 8.1 Will Bring the Camera Roll Back on Monday

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 10:40 AM PDT

Apple announced Thursday that the camera roll feature, which was removed with the launch of iOS 8, will return with the launch of iOS 8.1, to be released Monday.

The updated operating system will bring back the “beloved” feature as well as debut a beta version of the iCloud photo library, said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, at an event at Apple’s Cupertino, California headquarters. The new library will enable photos taken and edited on one device, like an iPhone, to be “instantly reflected on all devices,” like an iPad. The library will also share photos across devices in their original format and resolution.

 

 

More of America’s Foreign College Students Should Come From Mexico

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 10:29 AM PDT

My Mexican father applied to colleges in the United States in the late 1940s, and was offered scholarships by the University of Arizona and Western Reserve (now Case Western Reserve) in Cleveland. His father sat him down and drew a line from west to east across a map of the United States and said: “Below this line, they don’t like Mexicans.” It was a fateful moment, all but ensuring Dad would return to Mexico upon graduation. He did not like the cold. He would have loved Tucson.

Dad did enjoy his studies in Cleveland, and got a lot out of the experience, notwithstanding his nearly flunking music composition (not long ago I stumbled across a copy of his transcript). His was a classic liberal arts education, blending economics, history, and literature. Upon graduation, he returned to Mexico, got a job, and enrolled in an evening law school. He went on to have a successful business career, much of which involved connecting Mexico to the United States and (though not as a conscious matter) spreading American values to those who worked with him.

A fascinating new Brookings report on the foreign student population of the United States made me think of Dad’s experience, and what he and the United States got out of the deal. As Neil G. Ruiz, the author of the report, put it over the phone, migrant students build bridges between societies, and over time those bridges carry a lot of economic activity. This means that the United States is, in many cases, educating the future leaders of the world, particularly the future leaders of emerging nations. We currently take in about a fifth of all students worldwide who cross borders to study, though these students still make up less than 4 percent of the entire student population in the U.S.

Ruiz and his team looked not only at countries of origin for the 1,153,459 foreign students enrolled in higher education programs between 2008 and 2012, but their cities of origin and the metropolitan areas they cluster in within the U.S. So, for instance, the data compiled by Brookings shows there were 7,109 students (F-1 visa holders) from Seoul studying in the Los Angeles area during that four-year period. Looking into the future, it’s hard to imagine a more binding tie between the two cities than the presence of all those Korean students in Los Angeles, and their connection to the city long after they graduate.

It isn’t surprising that Asia dominates the census of foreign students in the United States, although I was stunned by just how much. China alone sent 284,173 students in that period. The top 20 hometowns of all foreign students in the United States are in Asia. Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Gulf states boast the fastest-growing contingent of students. Shockingly, the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, alone sent more students (17,361) than did the entire country of Mexico (17,171).

Mexico, ranked ninth among countries sending students here, is vastly underrepresented among foreign students when you consider that it is our neighbor, our second-largest trading partner, and home to almost 120 million people. The fact that the country lags behind cities like Riyadh and Taipei in the numbers of students it sends to American universities shows that Mexico and the United States remain “distant neighbors” in some ways, as Alan Riding termed the relationship in his book of that title three decades ago.

It also shows that money talks. In addition to having many families able to pay the high cost of tuition abroad, countries like China and Saudi Arabia offer lavish scholarships to promising kids. The U.S. has a strategic need to attract more students from Mexico and other countries who don’t have this kind of financial backing. But American universities prefer to see foreign students as a profit center. Texas has long been a welcome exception to the rule, offering Mexican nationals with financial need in-state tuition at public universities as a matter of policy. Meanwhile, the Obama administration and its Mexican counterpart have announced initiatives to increase the flow of students across the border to 100,000 in coming years, but the question of who pays for all those students remains an open one.

Our policy discussions about foreign students in this country also disproportionately focus on students focusing on science and technology. Lawmakers, analysts, and businesses are all advocating the creation of an easier path for those pursuing advanced STEM degrees to stay and work here once they obtain their degrees. There is widespread support, echoed by the Brookings report, for a law that would automatically grant these graduates a green card.

That makes a great deal of sense, but we shouldn’t take too utilitarian a view of foreign students in this country, writing off those incapable of writing code or finding their way around a lab. Yes, we want to be the world’s innovation hub, attracting the best and brightest to our great research universities. But we also benefit from having students come here from all over the world to learn our history, as well as our democratic and capitalist values.

And that’s true even—maybe especially so—if they go back home because it was too cold in Cleveland.

Here Is Who Is Being Monitored For Ebola

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 10:24 AM PDT

The key to containing spread of a virus like Ebola, public health experts tell us, is tracking down every person with whom an infected person had direct contact. Such contact tracing includes people in their family who might have shared hugs or kisses, or health care workers who handled any specimens.

Who is currently being traced in this way? Here’s what we know.

How many people are being monitored?

48 people who had direct contact with Thomas Eric Duncan

For now, officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) say that 48 people had direct contact with Thomas Eric Duncan before he was isolated on Sept. 28 and diagnosed on Sept. 30. CDC has not clarified where those people might have had contact with Duncan. Four members of his immediate family who were staying in the same apartment as Duncan since he arrived in the U.S. have been quarantined for 21 days, the incubation period for the Ebola virus. But it’s not clear whether the remaining 44 include public citizens in the same apartment building or whether it also includes others in the community.

76 health care workers who cared for Duncan

Between Sept. 28, when Duncan was put into isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, and Oct. 8, when he died, 76 health care workers participated in his care, performing duties that potentially exposed them to his infectious body fluids. All are being monitored, according to the CDC. At the minimum, that involves having the health care workers take their own temperature twice daily, and report any fever above 100.4F or any other symptoms of Ebola, including nausea, headache, vomiting and diarrhea.

It’s not clear how many, if any, are being actively monitored, which involves public health officials performing the temperature checks twice daily and asking detailed questions about any other possible symptoms.

Can contacts travel?

According to CDC director Tom Frieden, people who are part of contact tracing are advised not to use public transport. They are limited to so-called controlled movement, such as a personal car.

Amber Vinson, the second nurse to test positive, however, traveled by plane from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 10, two days after Duncan’s death. Vinson had apparently been intimately involved in Duncan’s care while he was alive, including drawing his blood and inserting catheters. Even if she did not have a fever before she boarded the plane, Frieden said, “because she was in a group of individuals known to have exposure to Ebola, she should not have traveled on a commercial airline.”

While in Cleveland, Vinson reported a temperature of 99.5F. That is below the CDC threshold of 100.4F for Ebola isolation, but because of her direct contact with Duncan’s body fluids, Vinson was told by CDC to return to Dallas, according to a CDC spokesperson. She did, on Oct. 13, on a commercial flight.

Frieden said on Oct. 15 that Vinson reported no symptoms of Ebola; Ebola patients can only spread their disease when they are symptomatic and through direct contact with their body fluids, including vomit, diarrhea or blood.

Why isn’t every contact of Duncan’s under quarantine?

Because Ebola only spreads through contact with body fluids when the patient is symptomatic, the risk of contracting Ebola through casual interactions is very low. Passengers on the plane that brought Duncan into the U.S., for example, are not at risk because he was not symptomatic during this trip.

Passengers on Vinson’s flight from Cleveland to Dallas, however, are being monitored out of an abundance of caution. Because she had a fever, the CDC notified Frontier Airlines, the carrier, that Vinson “may have been symptomatic earlier than initially suspected, including the possibility of possessing symptoms while on board the flight,” according to Reuters. Those passengers are now being monitored for Ebola symptoms.

Duncan’s family members are under quarantine because they were in direct contact with Duncan when he first became ill, and have a high chance of having touched his infectious body fluids.

Health care workers are also at high risk, since they handled Duncan’s body fluids as he became more and more symptomatic in the hospital. They are supposed to be protected from exposure by personal protective equipment, but Frieden acknowledged that the gear used by health workers in the Duncan’s early hospitalization was “variable” and that both Vinson and Nina Pham, the first nurse to test positive for Ebola, might have been infected during this time.

Apple Pay Starts Monday for iPhone 6 Users

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 10:23 AM PDT

Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile payment platform, will start on Monday, allowing customers to make purchases in retail stores using only their iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. Apple CEO Tim Cook made the announcement Thursday at a live event at Apple’s Cupertino, California headquarters.

The program allows users to pay for items by holding their iPhone 6 or 6 Plus near a contactless reader in a participating stores. Major retailers and restaurants like Walgreen, Duane Reade, Subway and McDonald’s have signed on. Apple also partnered with American Express, MasterCard and Visa on the project. Apple Pay includes an online component as well, making it easier to partake in e-commerce.

“It’s going to change the way we pay for things,” said Cook.

Watch Jimmy Fallon and Brad Pitt Communicate Entirely Through the Art of Breakdance

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 10:06 AM PDT

Last night, Brad Pitt dropped by The Tonight Show to chat with Jimmy Fallon, catch up on life, talk about his current movie Fury, etc. They did all of this — but instead of using words, they used their dance moves.

Luckily, this segment included subtitles for those of us who are not fluent in breakdance. Fallon and Pitt both do a great job, but the true star here is clearly Brad’s mustache.

Stop What You’re Doing And Watch This Live Rescue Mission of a Baby Bear

Posted: 16 Oct 2014 10:06 AM PDT

You need to stop what you’re doing and watch this live-streaming video of a small baby bear who escaped from a dumpster in Pasadena, Calif. and is now being pursued—along with its mother—by animal rescue officers, and a helicopter news crew:

You’re welcome.

0 comments:

Post a Comment