On virus, Trump and health advisers go their separate ways

WASHINGTON (AP) — A multi-state coronavirus surge in the countdown to Election Day has exposed a clear split between President Donald Trump’s bullish embrace of a return to normalcy and urgent public warnings from the government’s top health officials.

It’s the opposite of what usually happens in a public health crisis, because political leaders tend to repeat and amplify the recommendations of their health experts, not short-circuit them. “It’s extremely unusual for there to be simultaneous contrary messaging,” said John Auerbach, who heads the nonpartisan Trust for America’s Health.

The president and the health officials appear to be moving farther apart since White House chief of staff Mark Meadows declared last Sunday “we’re not going to control the pandemic.”

Since then, Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Adm. Brett Giroir has done a round of interviews warning that the country’s situation is “tenuous” but that Americans can indeed control the virus by practicing what he calls the “3W’s” — watching your distance from others, wearing a mask, and frequently washing your hands.

White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Deborah Birx, touring the states to raise prevention awareness, lamented in Bismarck, North Dakota, that she hadn’t seen such disdain for mask wearing elsewhere. “We find that deeply unfortunate because you don’t know who’s infected and you don’t know if you’re infected yourself,” she told reporters. The state’s positive test rate is 11%, above the level indicating widespread transmission.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar, for his part, has a profile photo of himself masked up on his Twitter account.

But Trump continues to ridicule masks and mask-wearing as he insists the U.S. has turned the corner on the virus. At a reelection rally Wednesday in Bullhead City, Arizona, the president painted a sardonic word picture of left-coast Californians trying to eat through their masks.

“How about California … where you are supposed to eat with the mask (and) can’t take it off?” Trump said. “You see people and, boy, you know when you have spaghetti and meat sauce … you walk out it looks like you got into a fight.”

That’s not actually what the California governor’s office recently recommended to restaurant goers. The advice was to keep the mask on when not eating, or “between bites.” An illustration showed a diner masked while reading the menu and, later, while wiping her hands with a napkin after eating.

It might all be considered political theater if the nation’s situation weren’t so serious.

“We are in a third wave,” said Marta Wosinska of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. “We are seeing pretty dramatic increases in the number of people hospitalized and an uptick in deaths.”

The White House insists there’s no conflict between Trump and the health advisers who back in the spring shared the briefing room podium with the president on many an occasion.

“As the president has said, the cure cannot be worse than the disease and this country should be open armed with best practices, such as social distancing, good hygiene,

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Ways to cash in on regenerative medicine

Despite the ethical questions, the field of stem cell research has not slowed – particularly within the field of regenerative medicine where the potential for cellular regeneration to kickstart the body’s repair mechanism is huge.

But is it as simple as gathering stem cells, putting them into the human body and seeing how things go?

First let’s understand the balance within our bodies. Take for example bones, made up by the balance of two types of cell, osteoblasts (builders) and oesteoclasts (dissolvers).

If the body has excess osteoblasts it can lead to abnormal bone growth such as bunions through to Paget’s disease. And too many osteoclast cells can lead to bone degeneration conditions such as osteoporosis. Stem cells as the natural building blocks of the body could be used to tell the existing cells how they should be acting to get the balance back and avoid these issues.

While in principle this sounds good, when it comes to degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, neurodegeneration and cancer, these are complex conditions where imbalances in cell development and chronic inflammation need a more detailed and complete “message” to resolve these issues.

In short, and in keeping with the theme of the US election, rather than rely on multiple random and chaotic tweets from the President, what is required is a more detailed email explaining what each cell should be doing to ensure a harmonious operating environment.

The email – exosomes

In the 1990’s researchers identified that exosomes that secrete naturally from cells were not nanoparcel debris as first thought. Rather, exosomes are bioactive and have the specialised function of carrying messages to other cells in the body instructing them on how they should act.

So if exosomes could be harvested and then delivered to the specific area of the body that needs them, they could aid the body’s healing process.

Excitingly there is a listed Australian company at the forefront of this field of work. Exopharm is the owner of proprietary manufacturing technology called LEAP, which performs the exosome extraction and purification process.

The technology created by the company’s chief executive, Ian Dixon, is designed to complete the purification process and facilitate the mass production of pharmaceutical-grade exosomes.

The company has candidates in testing and development, ranging from wound healing to curing dry age-related macular degeneration. Further, it recently signed exclusive IP agreements for the delivery of engineered extracellular vesicles (EEV) which can be designed to carry specific cargos to target particular cells or tissue to cure illnesses.

From an investment perspective, the exciting thing that Exopharm offers is the potential for numerous products to be commercialised using its manufacturing process. It will seek licensing arrangements and partnerships with other parties to deliver their drugs at scale using Exopharm technology

Dixon is supported by a team with experience from big pharma, including Alison Mew, previously a senior manager at CSL and now director of manufacturing and development at Exopharm.

While all biotech firms at the pre-revenue stages carry risks, specifically

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Ways To Help On Make A Difference Day In Clearwater

CLEARWATER, FL — The fourth Saturday of every October is National Make A Difference Day, when good works take center stage as volunteers nationwide and all over the globe set aside some time to help others.

With the coronavirus pandemic causing unprecedented hardships in 2020, donating to, or helping at, food banks and food pantries can be even more important this year. Make A Difference Day — celebrated this year on Saturday, Oct. 24 — is an ideal time to volunteer at one of them.

Just one hour of volunteer work with Feeding Tampa Bay generates exponential meals to feed neighbors in need.

“We’ve now moved from a crisis to a new normal,” said Thomas Mantz, president and CEO of Feeding Tampa Bay. “What we’d all thought to be a temporary situation has now materially changed the way we live. COVID has dominated the world of social services for longer than any of us would have imagined – and will continue to do so.

“Throughout the last six months, one thing is certain – our community stepped up for our neighbors in need more than ever before,” Mantz said. “Our volunteers jumped in to provide heroic service. Our agency partners battled hunger, putting millions of meals back into our community. Our donors increased their generosity exponentially. Our staff team worked tirelessly to innovate creative solutions to meet the need head-on. We completely changed our model to Mega Pantry Drive-Thru grocery distributions and began delivering meals directly to those who need it most. Trinity Cafe pivoted their efforts to provide prepared to-go style meals. And our warehouse team feverishly processed millions of pounds of food weekly.”

During the coronavirus pandemic, Mantz said Feeding Tampa Bay doubled its output to nearly two million meals distributed weekly for an anticipated total of 85 million meals served this year. The nonprofit also increased its monthly mobile pantries to 150, four times the amount before the pandemic and increased to-go-style meals from 500 to 40,000.

Metropolitan Ministries helps homeless and at-risk children and families, whether they need to get off the streets at night or they’re seeking education so they can get a job that will support their family.

These services are vital for the 32,000 homeless men, women and children in Tampa Bay.

“The scope of need is unprecedented,” said Tim Marks, Metropolitan Ministries’ president and CEO. “We’ve been so fortunate to have the communities’ support, and I have faith that we’ll rally together once again to meet this challenge.”

Here Are Some Ways To Make A Difference

Feeding Tampa Bay needs volunteers are needed to sort nonperishable goods in the warehouse at 4702 Transport Drive, Building 6, Tampa, or serve breakfast Saturday from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Trinity Cafe, 2202 E. Busch Blvd. and 2801 N. Nebraska Ave. in Tampa.

You can help Metropolitan Ministries by going through your closets and gathering clothes and shoes you no longer need to be dropped off at the Metropolitan Ministries Thrift Store,

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Yanga SC part ways with South African fitness coach

Tanzania giants Young Africans (Yanga SC) have parted ways with fitness coach Riedoh Berdien.

Berdien joined the Jangwani giants alongside Belgian coach Luc Eymael, who was later fired at the end of the 2019-20 Mainland Premier League season after finishing without silverware.

Despite the exit of Eymael, Berdien remained at Yanga and at one time worked as the assistant coach as the team searched for a successor to replace Eymael.

The team then hired Serbian Zlatko Krmpotic, who worked with Berdien, before he was also fired after only 37 days in charge.

Berdien has exclusively told Goal he has also left the giants, who are now under another new coach – Cedric Kaze – who signed a three-year contract last Friday.

“I would like to thank Yanga supporters, players and sponsors for really making me be part of the Yanga family,” Berdien said in a signed statement obtained by Goal.

“As we come to an end of our journey, I will like to show my appreciation to all those who have supported the team in helping to build the club into the giants they are known to be.

“As we part ways I wish this great club all the best in the future.”

Yanga are currently preparing for their next league match against Polisi Tanzania set for Thursday at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium.

The Timu ya Mwananchi are currently enjoying a good run of form in the top-flight as they have managed to win five matches from the six played so far this campaign.

However, the team will miss the services of two players – Mapinduzi Balama and Ally Makame – due to injury and malaria, respectively.

According to Yanga team manager Hafidhi Saleh, both players were in line to play a role in the fixture but have now been ruled out.

“[Balama] is working his way back to full fitness and has started light exercise to make him fit, however, the medical team is yet to confirm his fitness if he can join the first team training,” Saleh told Goal.

“On the other hand, Makame is suffering from a bout of malaria and he has been excused from the squad, we will check him out if he will be available for the next match.”

Balama has become a regular in Yanga’s team where he scored three goals last season, including the game against rivals Simba SC which gave him a chance to be nominated for the goal of the season award.

Source Article

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How do pandemics end? In different ways, but it’s never quick and never neat

On 7 September 1854, in the middle of a raging cholera epidemic, the physician John Snow approached the board of guardians of St James’s parish for permission to remove the handle from a public water pump in Broad Street in London’s Soho. Snow observed that 61 victims of the cholera had recently drawn water from the pump and reasoned that contaminated water was the source of the epidemic. His request was granted and, even though it would take a further 30 years for the germ theory of cholera to become accepted, his action ended the epidemic.

text: Photograph: Print Collector/Getty Images

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Print Collector/Getty Images

As we adjust to another round of coronavirus restrictions, it would be nice to think that Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock have a similar endpoint in sight for Covid-19. Unfortunately, history suggests that epidemics rarely have such neat endings as the 1854 cholera epidemic. Quite the opposite: as the social historian of medicine Charles Rosenberg observed, most epidemics “drift towards closure”. It is 40 years since the identification of the first Aids cases, for instance, yet every year 1.7 million people are infected with HIV. Indeed, in the absence of a vaccine, the World Health Organization does not expect to call time on it before 2030.

However, while HIV continues to pose a biological threat, it does not inspire anything like the same fears as it did in the early 1980s when the Thatcher government launched its “Don’t Die of Ignorance” campaign, replete with scary images of falling tombstones. Indeed, from a psychological standpoint, we can say that the Aids pandemic ended with the development of antiretroviral drugs and the discovery that patients infected with HIV could live with the virus well into old age.

The Great Barrington declaration, advocating the controlled spread of coronavirus in younger age groups alongside the sheltering of the elderly, taps into a similar desire to banish the fear of Covid-19 and bring narrative closure to this pandemic. Implicit in the declaration signed by scientists at Harvard and other institutions is the idea that pandemics are as much social as biological phenomena and that if we were willing to accept higher levels of infection and death we would reach herd immunity quicker and return to normality sooner.

But other scientists, writing in the Lancet, say the Great Barrington strategy rests on a “dangerous fallacy”. There is no evidence for lasting “herd immunity” to the coronavirus following natural infection. Rather than ending the pandemic, they argue, uncontrolled transmission in younger people could merely result in recurrent epidemics, as was the case with numerous infectious diseases before the advent of vaccines.

‘Water! Water! Everywhere; and not a Drop to Drink’: Another Punch cartoon, this one on the London outbreak of 1849. Photograph: Print Collector/Getty Images

© Provided by The Guardian
‘Water! Water! Everywhere; and not a Drop to Drink’: Another Punch cartoon, this one on the London outbreak of 1849. Photograph: Print Collector/Getty Images

It is no coincidence they have called their rival petition “the John Snow memorandum”. Snow’s decisive action in Soho may have ended the 1854 epidemic, but cholera returned in 1866 and

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