HONG KONG (Reuters) – Veteran goalkeeper Zeng Cheng faces a race against time to be ready for Shanghai Shenhua’s opening fixture in the rescheduled 2020 Asian Champions League group phase next month after breaking the little finger on his right hand.
The 33-year-old, who joined Shenhua on loan from Guangzhou Evergrande ahead of the current season, is expected to be sidelined for at least three weeks after damaging his finger, according to a Shenhua club official.
That means Zeng, who won the Asian title with Guangzhou in 2013 and 2015, is a doubt for his club’s opening fixture of the competition in Doha against Australian side Perth Glory on Nov. 18.
Zeng is one of the most successful players in the history of Chinese football, having won the Chinese Super League title with Guangzhou on six occasions between 2012 and 2019. He has also represented China 42 times.
The group phase of the Asian Champions League featuring clubs from the east of the continent was due to be held from February until May but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is now being played in the Qatari capital from Nov. 18 until Dec. 13 with the final, against already-qualified Persepolis of Iran, also in Doha on Dec. 19.
Reporting by Michael Church, Editing by Clare Fallon
LONDON (Reuters) – More than a half million people in the United States could die from COVID-19 by the end of February, but around 130,000 of those lives could be saved if everybody were to wear masks, according to estimates from a modelling study on Friday.
The estimates by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed that with few effective COVID-19 treatment options and no vaccines yet available, the United States faces “a continued COVID-19 public health challenge through the winter.”
“We are heading into a very substantial fall/winter surge,” said IHME Director Chris Murray, who co-led the research.
He said the projections, as well as currently rising infection rates and deaths, showed there is no basis to “the idea that the pandemic is going away,” adding: “We do not believe that is true.”
President Donald Trump said in Thursday’s election debate of the pandemic: “It’s going away.”
The Friday update was the first time the IHME has projected deaths beyond Feb. 1. Its current forecast on its website is for 386,000 deaths as of Feb 1.
Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 221,000 Americans so far, has become the top issue for him and Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the Nov. 3 election. Polls have shown that Americans trust Biden more than Trump to handle the crisis.
The IHME study forecast that large, populous states such as California, Texas and Florida will likely face particularly high levels of illness, deaths and demands on hospital resources.
“We expect the surge to steadily grow across different states and at the national level, and to continue to increase as we head towards high levels of daily deaths in late December and in January,” Murray said.
The modelling study, which mapped out various scenarios and their projected impact on the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States, found that universal mask-wearing could have a major impact on death rates, potentially saving 130,000 lives.
Current mask use in the United States varies widely. While some states, like New York, set strict rules on when to wear masks, others have no requirements. The issue has become political, in which some supporters have taken their cues from Trump, who is often seen without a mask and has repeatedly questioned their usefulness.
“Expanding mask use is one of the easy wins for the United States … and can save many lives,” Murray said.
He added that, just as parts of Europe and some local U.S. areas of high transmission are doing now, many U.S. states would need to re-introduce social distancing measures to curb the winter surge.
(Reporting by Kate Kelland, additional reporting by Caroline Humer, editing by Steve Orlofsky and Cynthia Osterman)
Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.
Any coronavirus vaccine that could be authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) faces several additional hurdles after completing the final stage of clinical trials.
That was the theme of key issues addressed today by the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee — which includes a group of health and science experts who advise the regulatory agency on the best way to approach the path forward for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Among the more immediate hurdles, the path to receive an emergency use authorization remains somewhat murky for the pharmaceutical industry, as the agency has not nailed down specifics for things such as labeling and what qualifies as sufficient monitoring of individuals who have enrolled in clinical trials.
In separate letters to the committee, Pfizer (PFE), Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) Janssen and trade group BIO all asked for more clarity on the follow-up period for participants following the final dose of the vaccine.
J&J wrote that the current guidelines ask for 50% of the trial population to be monitored for two months following the final dosing. With J&J enrolling 60,000 participants, and other competitors only enrolling 30,000, that provides an uneven playing field.
“Specifying a minimum required follow-up in terms of subjects and months … would ensure consistency across all studies,” the company wrote.
Another concern is what happens to trial participants — especially in a placebo group — after an emergency use authorization is awarded. The FDA’s guidelines require that the placebo group is maintained so that collection of data for safety and efficacy continues on through until the vaccine can be fully approved — especially since the vaccine would still be considered “investigational” at the point.
Pfizer had said it anticipates offering the vaccine to the placebo participants once it receives an emergency use authorization (EUA) — which is an ethical obligation, according to BIO.
“Additional discussion is needed to determine how placebo-controlled trials can be maintained after an EUA is granted. As an industry, we have an ethical obligation to make our trial participants aware that a vaccine may be available,” wrote BIO’s senior director of infectious disease policy Gregory Frank.
FDA’s deputy director of vaccines, Doran Fink, said the trial has to remain blinded because that isn’t a step that can be walked back and it could jeopardize the integrity of the massive trials.
When asked what can be done to ensure that participants don’t simply then drop out of the trial or choose to take the vaccine, Fink said the FDA had no idea and is asking the companies to figure it out and describe their plan in any emergency use authorization filings.
Distribution and administration
What happens after an EUA is also of concern, as the distribution process for two frontrunners — Moderna (MRNA) and Pfizer — requires extra cold temperatures. While Moderna has
Businesses closed across Ireland on Thursday for a second national coronavirus lockdown, as record infection surges in Germany and Italy helped to spread gloom across the continent.
Most European governments have been reluctant to reimpose national stay-at-home orders, after previous restrictions led to deep recessions and widespread bitterness.
But Ireland’s five million people have been ordered to stay at home for six weeks, with non-essential businesses told to shut up shop, among other rules.
“It’s devastating to see us locked down again… during our busiest line-up for the Christmas period,” Dublin antique jeweller John Farrington told AFP this week.
Germany and Italy are both facing record surges, registering their highest one-day tallies since the pandemic began.
While German health experts said it was still possible to combat the outbreak by observing recently-toughened rules on distancing and gatherings, Italy ordered curfews in regions that cover the capital Rome and business hub Milan.
As Europe suffers, China — where the virus first emerged at the end of last year — continues to make strides back to normality, announcing it would allow 10,000 fans to watch the final of its Super League football competition.
“It’d be that kind of ceiling because it’s a big game for sure,” Chinese Football Association secretary-general Liu Yi told AFP.
The virus has killed more than 1.1 million people and prompted a catastrophic economic downturn — the International Monetary Fund predicting a 4.4 percent drop in global output for 2020.
Germany, along with most European countries, has already banned large gatherings and made face masks compulsory in certain areas.
“The overall situation has become very serious,” said Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute disease control centre, adding that it was still possible to bring the virus under control through “systematic compliance with restrictive measures”.
In a symbol of Germany’s woes, Health Minister Jens Spahn — widely praised for his calm stewardship during the pandemic — tested positive and went into home isolation.
In Belgium, which has one of the worst records of virus infections per person, Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes is being
Former Blue Bell Creameries CEO faces charges in connection with alleged listeria contamination coverup
A Texas grand jury charged Paul Kruse, Blue Bell Creameries’ former CEO and president, was charged with wire fraud and conspiracy in connection with an alleged cover-up of the company’s 2015 listeria outbreak, the Department of Justice announced on Wednesday.
Kruse, who served as the company’s CEO and president from 2004 to 2017, was charged with seven counts of wire fraud and conspiracy for an alleged scheme to cover up what the company knew about the listeria contamination in Blue Bell products, according to the Department of Justice.
“We firmly believe the charges will be dismissed because they are untimely,” said Chris Flood, who represents Kruse. “We look forward to a jury hearing what really happened in 2015 and Blue Bell’s response to the unfortunate events.”
Blue Bell said it would be inappropriate for the company to comment on Kruse’s legal situation since he is no longer with the company.
According to the indictment, Kruse allegedly directed employees to remove potentially contaminated products from store freezers without notifying retailers or consumers of the real reason. Kruse instructed employees to tell customers who asked about the removed items that there was an “unspecified issue with a manufacturing machine,” the indictment alleges.
Blue Bell did not issue an immediate recall of the products nor did the company inform customers about the listeria contamination, according to the indictment.
“US consumers rely on food producers and suppliers to ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply.The charges announced today show that if an individual violates food safety rules or conceals relevant information, we will seek to hold them accountable,” said Judy McMeekin, associate commissioner for regulatory affairs at the Food and Drug Administration, in a news release.”We will continue to investigate and bring to justice those who jeopardize public health.”
The ice cream was linked to 10 listeria cases in four states and resulted in three deaths in Kansas. In May, the company pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors for distributing adulterated food products and agreed to pay $19.3 million in fines for shipping contaminated ice cream during the 2015 listeria outbreak. The company shut down all its plants in 2015 cleanings and updates, according to the news release.
Listeriosis is a potentially fatal infection caused by the germ listeria, which is found in soil, water, raw milk and some animals like poultry and cattle. Unlike many other germs, it can grow in the cold temperature of a refrigerator or in a food processing plant.
– Shannon Liao contributed to this report
New Kent children’s hospital faces $127M lawsuit; 20 former patients accuse doctors, staff of sexual, physical assault
Cumberland Children’s Hospital in New Kent faces a $127 million lawsuit after 20 former patients and their families came forward alleging years of sexual and physical abuse.
The personal injury law firm, Breit Cantor Grana Buckner, filed the nine-count lawsuit in Richmond’s Circuit Court on Tuesday.
The hospital is a residential treatment center for people between the ages of 2 and 22 with medical and behavioral diagnoses including brain injury, chronic illness and neurobehavioral issues.
The suit accuses the hospital, Hospital Director Daniel Davidow and Hospital Psychotherapist Herschel Harden of assault and battery, negligence, false imprisonment, fraud and reckless disregard as well as violations against state-mandated child protection rights.
As a result, the firm is seeking $127 million in compensation and punitive damages for bodily injuries resulting in physical pain, disfigurement and mental anguish as well as any future lost earnings and medical expenses.
“These defendants can never undo the harm they’ve caused to our clients, but this lawsuit seeks accountability and financial recovery that we hope will, in some way, make up for what they’ve suffered,” Attorney Kevin Biniazan said.
According to the 69-page complaint, the 20 former Cumberland Children’s Hospital patients experienced sexual abuse and physical abuse from both physicians, staff and other residents.
Among the abuses, the civil lawsuit states:
12 of the 20 alleged victims reported non-consensual and unwanted touching.
Davidow placed his hands beneath the undergarments of female patients 12 years and older and sexually abused them by intentionally touching their intimate parts.
Employees and fellow patients physically assaulted other residents resulting in long-term physical and mental pain resulting in PTSD, depression, sleep disorders and bodily injuries.
Roommates and other patients sexually abused younger, weaker plaintiffs after hours, entering the alleged victims’ rooms without intervention from staff. When they called for help, the staff did not respond.
Allegations of an employee scalding a patient with hot water and locking patients in rooms without access to bathrooms.
Additionally, the lawsuit accuses Cumberland Children’s Hospital and its owner, Universal Health Services, the largest facility-based behavioral health provider in the nation which operates nine other facilities in Virginia and 349 centers in the United States, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands and the United Kingdom, of fraud.
According to the complaint, United Health Services committed fraud by keeping patients at the hospital beyond the time necessary for treatment in order to maximize revenue; ignored reports from patients, families and employees of the ongoing abuse; and misled parents in order to keep children in its custody.
The suit also states that the hospital maintained inadequate staffing in order to reduce costs and maximize profits.
“As a general rule, we believe that the safety and protection of children should never take a backseat to corporate profits,” Biniazan said. “We’ll be able to show in the case of Universal Health Services and Cumberland Hospital that they put the wrong priorities first.”
According to a statement released by Briet Cantor, in 2019, Universal Health Services made $11.3 billion in revenue and more
Maybe opposites attract, but an infamous 20th-century study posited that partners grow to look more similar to one other over time.
However, new research has refuted the concept, debunking the theory laid out by the distinguished psychologist Robert Zajonc in the ’80s.
Published Monday in the journal Scientific Reports, Stanford Ph.D. candidate Pin Pin Tea-makorn and Stanford associate professor Michal Kosinski presented findings disproving that couples tend to morph to look like each other. The study, titled “Spouses’ faces are similar but do not become more similar with time,” argues that people are attracted to mates who look similar to themselves, but time together does not exacerbate these similarities.
1 IN 4 SINGLES ADMIT TO HAVING SEX WITH ROOMMATES DURING COVID LOCKDOWNS, SURVEY CLAIMS
Tea-makorn and Kosinski re-examined the theory, established by the late social psychologist Zajonc during a 1987 study conducted at the University of Michigan called “Convergence in the physical appearance of spouses.” For his study, Zajonc had volunteers rank photos of a dozen couples — an extremely small sample size — and deducted that their faces became more similar over the course of their marriages as a result of their shared environment, emotions and activities, The Guardian reported.
“Although plausible,” Tea-makorn and Kosinski cede in their abstract, their re-examination of Zajonc’s theory found it did not hold up. By comparing photos of 517 couples at the beginning of their marriages and photos of them 20 to 69 years later, they found their faces “do not converge over time.”
The study authors did find, however, that couples often look more similar to each other as a result of people seeking mates who look and act like themselves.
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“Romantic partners tend to be similar in a wide range of characteristics,” the authors wrote. “Long-term romantic partners have been shown to be similar in terms of height, weight, health, diet, age, physical attractiveness, education, ability, intelligence, psychological well-being, personality, attitudes, values, religion, social class, ethnicity, lifestyle and many other traits.”
Next, the researchers plan to find out if claims are true that a person’s name can be predicated from their face alone. “We’re skeptical,” Kosinski told the Guardian.
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This story was originally published by the New York Post.