Questions over virus models that prompted lockdowns

first_img“We gave far too much weight to the models,” Jean-Francois Toussaint, director of France’s Irmes medical research center told AFP. “These mathematical models depend on too many factors to be accurate,” he said.Toussaint said that with COVID-19 a heretofore unknown disease, there were many variables in the models that could drastically affect their outcomes.”The most egregious case was [the prediction] of 500,000 deaths that forced governments’ hands. It’s a typical example of a not very serious application of science,” said Laurent Toubiana, an epidemiologist who has spoken against lockdowns. When the novel coronavirus began to circulate globally at the beginning of March, scientists turned to statistical models to predict the severity of the pandemic. The news was stark.The epidemiological models showed that COVID-19 could infect hundreds of millions of people and kill millions worldwide, prompting governments to enter lockdown in a bid to avoid the worst. Now, as much of Europe gingerly exits confinement, questions are being asked about the methods used and the results produced in the calculations that shocked authorities into taking unprecedented measures to enforce social distancing.  He was referring to a model by researchers at London’s Imperial College, released on March 16, which showed that without any action, COVID-19 could kill 510,000 people in Britain and 2.2 million in the United States.The study, led by epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to enforce strict social distancing measures in the days that followed.”We always prefer to listen to the alarmists,” said Toubiana, pointing out that the death toll from COVID-19 is currently at least one order of magnitude lower than what Ferguson and colleagues’ model showed.The authors at the time did point out that their model did not take into account changes in behavior such as social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing, all of which have proved successful in reducing COVID-19’s spread. ‘Models aren’t absolute’ The model immediately came in for criticism for its methodology, but the university has stood by the research, saying this month that it had passed an evaluation by independent experts.On Monday a new Imperial study concluded that lockdowns had prevented 3.1 million COVID-19 deaths across 11 European nations. Toussaint claimed Imperial was “trying to retrospectively justify its mistakes”.Whereas Imperial’s initial study was released directly by the university, Monday’s appeared in the prestigious journal Nature and had been subjected to review by a host of the researchers’ peers.Modelers themselves are keen to stress that they don’t have crystal balls: they simply use maths to simulate various outcomes — and in doing so may confront decision makers with the worst case scenario they may wish to avoid.”A model doesn’t have to be interpreted as absolute: it’s a snapshot that rests on what we know at the time,” said Nicolas Hoertel, a psychiatrist and modeler at the Corentin-Celton hospital near Paris.”It’s a bit like an opinion poll,” he told AFP.”There are major limits [to models] but at this stage they are the only scientific tool we have to inform decisions regarding public health,” Hoertel said.A recent model in France showed that lockdown had saved 100,000 lives, but policymakers have said models were not the only reason the country entered radical social distancing in March. “Of course we relied heavily on models… one for example said that without confinement we were going to have 120,000 or 150,000 deaths,” Jean-Francois Delfraissy, president of France’s scientific council advising the government on COVID-19, told French television this month. “But models are only models,” he said, adding that on-the-ground observations from the massive influx of patients to hospitals also guided the government.Ultimately, “it’s a political decision,” Delfraissy said. Topics :last_img read more

‘Nothing to hide’: Tour de France team leader denies doping

first_img“I have nothing to hide and have never had anything to hide,” Quintana added.Police detained two people from the Arkea-Samsic team on Monday. French daily Le Parisien reported that they were a doctor and physiotherapist.A source familiar with the matter told AFP that searches had targeted several riders including Quintana’s brother Dayer, as well as members of the medical team.It is the most significant investigation in years for the repeatedly scandal-hit Tour, which wrapped up Sunday in Paris with a surprise victory for 21-year-old debutant Tadej Pogacar, the youngest winner in more than a century.   Huge disappointment The French team’s general manager Emmanuel Hubert told AFP he was supporting his athletes and that the probe involved only “a very limited number of riders, as well as their close entourage who are not employed by the team”.”But if it turned out that at the end of the current investigation, elements came to confirm the truth of doping practices, the team would immediately dissociate itself from such acts and would take the necessary measures without delay,” Hubert said.He added that the investigation “does not target the team or its staff directly”.The probe will have come as a huge disappointment to organizers after positive headlines about the against-the-odds organization of the race and the drama that saw Pogacar seize victory late in the race.Many had predicted the COVID-19 pandemic would prevent the riders making it the 3,400 kilometers (2,100 miles) from the Mediterranean city of Nice to the French capital.The prosecutor’s statement said the investigation is focused on the prescription of a substance or banned method for athletes, as well as help and encouragement in its use.The charges can lead to up to five years in prison and a 75,000-euro ($88,000) fine.Quintana finished the Tour in 17th place, more than an hour behind the winner Pogacar. Quintana’s teammate Warren Barguil finished in 14th place. The leader of a Tour de France team caught up in a doping investigation said he had “nothing to hide” after two unnamed members of the French outfit were detained.Colombian rider Nairo Quintana, 30, leader of the Arkea-Samsic team and winner of the 2014 Giro d’Italia, said no drugs were discovered during the investigation.”No doping substance has ever been found,” he said in a statement late on Tuesday. Topics : One major probe was in 1998, when customs officials stopped a vehicle laden with doping products and the Festina team was thrown off the race as the peloton headed into Paris.Most notoriously, US star rider Lance Armstrong, who won from 1999-2005, admitted doping in 2013 and was stripped of his record seven titles.Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in the southern city of Marseille said the current investigation was targeting a “small part” of Arkea-Samsic.He added that the two detained had “many health products including drugs in their personal belongings, but also and above all a method that can be qualified as doping”.last_img read more

Governor Wolf Awards $1.5 Million to Counties to Combat Opioid Addiction, Recidivism for Inmates

first_img December 15, 2016 Governor Wolf Awards $1.5 Million to Counties to Combat Opioid Addiction, Recidivism for Inmates Press Release,  Prison Reform,  Results,  Substance Use Disorder Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced that the Department of Corrections has recently awarded $1.5 million to human service agencies serving 13 counties to provide Medication Assisted Treatment to offenders for substance abuse disorder.The awards will help more than 150 people fight opioid use disorder and re-enter the community as healthier and more productive citizens.“I have made addressing the opioid crisis a centerpiece of my administration,” Governor Wolf said. “Stopping the cycle of substance use disorder while an individual is in jail is critical to ensuring they don’t overdose when they are released and return to the community healthier than when they went in.”The grants are aimed at reducing relapse, recidivism, and overdoses by providing Vivitrol, a long-acting injectable form of naltrexone that blocks certain receptors to prevent a ‘high” and removes the craving for drugs or alcohol.Counties, through their first responders, law enforcement, human service agencies and jails, are on the frontline of the opioid epidemic and have faced increasing challenges as the number of overdoses has risen significantly in the last few years.The funding targets counties – particularly in rural areas – with high overdose rates and offenders with substance abuse disorder in order to address the problem before it leads to more serious crime or overdose death.The number of individuals entering state prisons with substance abuse disorder has doubled over the past 10 years, from 6 to 12 percent. Roughly 68 percent of inmates have substance abuse problems.“We believe these grants will be life savers in the war on opioid use disorder,” said Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. “If we can address substance use disorder while an individual is doing short time in a county jail, we can make sure they don’t end up doing hard time in state prison – or die from an overdose.The non-narcotic medication assisted treatment grant program was authorized by Act 80 (SB 524)The counties receiving funding are: Allegheny, Bradford, Carbon, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Huntington, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Pike and Schuylkill.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolfcenter_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

ATP makes near 30% annual return on investment portfolio

first_imgSource: Christian Hyldahl, CEO, ATPWithin this, the hedging portfolio – which is invested in bond-like instruments designed to protect the pension guarantees ATP gives – shrank to DKK650.8bn from DKK658.8bn, and the investment portfolio grew to DKK117.7bn from DKK100.4bn.ATP, which uses a risk-factor approach to manage its investment portfolio, produces results that are not easily comparable to other pension funds because it is able to operate in a hedge fund-like manner, effectively borrowing from its huge hedging portfolio to generate return for the investment portfolio.Within ATP’s investment portfolio, private equity produced a return of DKK5.3bn, listed international equities contributed DKK4.9bn and Danish listed equities returned DKK4.2bn, the fund said.During 2017, ATP reduced its risk allocation to the equity ‘factor’ to 44% at the end of the year, from 50% at the end of 2016. It increased exposure to both inflation and interest-rate factors, to 15% and 31% respectively, from 9% and 25%.Hyldahl told IPE these changes had been made in order to achieve a more balanced portfolio.In 2018, ATP plans to focus on real estate acquisitions and its environmental, social and governance (ESG) policy, he said.“We are putting a lot of focus on generating good returns and continuing to add to the portfolio,” Hyldahl said. “If we find good real estate assets that can be a good investment for us over the long-term, then we will go for them, and we are also working on integrating ESG into our operation, both as an asset owner, and also by monitoring all kinds of risks in the portfolio.”The pension fund also announced its supervisory board had ramped up ATP’s long-term performance target to 11%, from 7%, to bolster the aim of maintaining the purchasing power of its pensions.This meant the target return for 2018 was equivalent to DKK12.9bn.Hyldahl said the new target was achievable over the long term but there were likely to be some individual years when it would not be reached.Of the profit the pension fund made on its investment portfolio, DKK1bn was transferred to its guarantees as a result of increased life expectancy, and DKK6.4bn went to members in the form of a 1% increase in their bonus.This led to a net profit for the year of DKK17.3bn, up from 2016’s loss of DKK649m.Although ATP said its hedging strategy was successful in 2017, with its hedging portfolio making a profit of DKK1.5bn before the effect of the break in its yield curve, the fund said hedging had resulted in a DKK1.5bn loss overall.The yield curve break refers to guarantees extending beyond 40 years being valued at a fixed rate of 3%, as opposed to shorter guarantees which are valued at market rates. On these longer guarantees, when the market rate is lower than 3% ATP takes a loss, but when it is higher, it gains. “The strong performance is due to positive contributions from virtually all asset classes, which has made it possible to increase pensions for all members, while also being able to build up our bonus potential by DKK17.3bn.”ATP’s total assets increased to DKK768.6bn at the end of 2017, from DKK759.2bn the previous year. Denmark’s largest pension fund ATP generated its best investment return for many years in 2017, with a gain of 29.5%.This translated to a DKK29.5bn (€3.96bn) gain for on its investment portfolio.The return relates to assets in ATP’s investment portfolio, which consists of the pension fund’s bonus potential – only around a seventh of its total assets. The gain was driven mainly by strong returns on equities, the pension fund said.Christian Hyldahl, ATP’s chief executive, said: “We achieved an exceptionally solid return in 2017 and generated the best investment return in many years.last_img read more

Danes and Norwegians Bolster Offshore Wind Bond

first_imgThe Technical University of Denmark (DTU), the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the Norwegian research institute Sintef have further solidified their cooperation in offshore wind with the start of a new joint research center.Photo: SintefThe new center, Nordic Offshore Wind R&I Center – NOWRIC, is expected to develop better and reasonable solutions for offshore wind farms together with the industry.Topics for the collaboration include:Foundations, materials and marine operations;Network connection, system integration and energy storage; andDigitization, operation and maintenance and management system for offshore wind farms.“Offshore wind is an important, environmentally friendly energy source. There has been a fantastic development globally in recent years,” said CEO of Sintef, Alexandra Bech Gjørv.“At the same time, the technology is constantly evolving and continued research and innovation is crucial for us to succeed with more affordable and better solutions. When we further reinforce the connection between DTU’s significant knowledge of wind energy with our Norwegian top mission systems and support for the marine industry, we will be able to contribute significantly to achieving this in cooperation with the industry.”In December 2018, DTU and Sintef signed a Memorandum of Understanding as the first step towards a partnership on offshore wind energy R&D.“For many years, we have had strong research collaboration with NTNU and SINTEF. With this co-operation agreement in offshore wind, we are now establishing a powerful partnership that will be able to deliver research and innovation of the highest quality for the benefit of business and society,” Anders O. Bjarklev, President at DTU, said.last_img read more

Cap on Auckland liquor stores supported

first_imgOneNews 18 June 2014Ninety percent of Auckland residents would support a cap on the number of off-licences in the city, a survey suggests.The Auckland Regional Public Health Service report, released today, shows 91% of residents want no increase to the number of liquor stores.But opinions were split over earlier closing times for bars.Auckland Council’s local alcohol policy opened for public submissions this week and has proposed tighter controls on where and how alcohol can be sold – including putting a two-year freeze on new bottle shops in central city and high-priority areas, as well as a 3am closing time for on-licence venues in central city, Ponsonby and Newton.It has already run into opposition from different groups concerned about the impact of restricted liquor sales.Sixty one percent of people surveyed in the report said they wanted alcohol venues to close by 2am in the CBD.http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/cap-auckland-liquor-stores-supported-6006160last_img read more

Man found dead

first_imgOfficers of the Police Station 1 werestill investigating the incident as of this writing./PN According to police investigators, Laurico’slifeless body was found by his colleagues around 4 a.m. on March 27. It wasalso reported that he was under the influence of alcohol prior to the accident. Rainier Mahilom of Barangay Banica,Roxas City, Capiz was believed to have fallen into a machine of a boat. Hesustained head injuries, a police report showed.center_img ILOILO City – A boat crew member wasfound dead in Barangay Bay Bay Tanza, City Proper.last_img

Keown: Gunners can kick on

first_imgMartin Keown insists Arsenal can be Chelsea’s main title challenger next season. The former Gunners defender reckons Arsene Wenger’s side have progressed since winning the FA Cup last season. They are second in the Barclays Premier League, seven points behind leaders Chelsea with six games left. Press Association And while Keown believes Jose Mourinho’s side have wrapped up the title this time they will be threatened by Arsenal next season. “Chelsea will win it now but if you ask them next season they won’t fear anyone but they will be aware of Arsenal,” he said. “They will want to challenge next season and they will want to start well next year. “They need to strengthen in one or two positions but I’m not talking about wholesale changes which some others may have to make if they want to compete.” The Gunners finished fourth last season and won their first trophy for nine years after beating Hull 3-2 in the FA Cup final. They face Reading in the semi-final at Wembley on Saturday aiming to defend the trophy against either Aston Villa or Liverpool in the final. They are on their best run – winning eight straight league games – since the Invincible season of 2003-04 when Keown played 15 times. And the 48-year-old said the Gunners are a more complete side than they have been for a while. “It has to represent progress if you’re finishing two positions higher and still in the FA Cup,” said the ex-England international, who made 451 appearances for the club and won the Premier League three times. “They look more convincing as a team than they did last year. The players look together. “The squad is better equipped now, Gabriel is putting (Per) Mertesacker under huge pressure and (Francis) Coquelin is in midfield instead of (Mikel) Arteta and (Mathieu) Flamini who are maybe coming to the end of their careers. “They have a whole array of players who can play off the front and (Olivier) Giroud and (Danny) Welbeck are vying for the centre forward position. The competition for places creates intensity.” Keown is involved in the McDonald’s Accredited Club Kit scheme and over 70,000 kits will be handed to clubs in the UK this year. He added: “You see the look on their faces and they are very proud of their kit and we want as many clubs to benefit as possible.” :: Martin Keown was speaking at the launch of the McDonald’s Accredited Club Kit scheme, in association with the four Home Nation football associations. Throughout 2015, over 70,000 kits will be given away and to find out how your club can claim a free kit visit www.mcdonalds.co.uk/kitscheme last_img read more

Update on the latest sports

first_imgThe No Limits Trackdays director described Godfrey as “a fantastic young man” and said he was “friends with so many people in the paddock, he was always smiling and had time for everyone.”OBIT-MAX TUERKFormer NFL, USC offensive lineman Max Tuerk dies at 26LOS ANGELES (AP) — Max Tuerk, an All-America offensive lineman at Southern California who was drafted by the Chargers, has died. He was 26. USC announced his death on Twitter, but did not say when Tuerk died or provide a cause of death. Tuerk played for the Trojans from 2012-15.He was a freshman All-American and an All-Pac-12 first-team selection in 2014. His announcement led to the cancellation of an exhibition event in Croatia where Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich) was scheduled to play Sunday.Dimitrov is ranked No. 19 and a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist. He is the highest-profile current player to say he has the virus. His announcement on his Instagram page comes at the end of a week when the U.S. Open said it would go forward. The professional tennis tours have been suspended since March and are planning to resume in August.In other sports affected by the coronavirus pandemic:— There’s been a setback in the Russian soccer league’s restart this weekend. Dynamo Moscow postponed its game Sunday after three of its players tested positive for the coronavirus. It’s the second game to be disrupted by the coronavirus since the Russian league restarted Friday after a three-month pause.— Newcastle beat 10-man Sheffield United 3-0 in the Premier League to virtually guarantee its top-flight status for another year and make the club an even more attractive option for its controversial potential buyers. The win at an empty St. James’ Park lifted Newcastle to 38 points and 11 clear of the relegation zone. The future of Newcastle has been one of the big talking points during soccer’s three-month shutdown. League officials are deciding whether to approve a takeover of the northeast club by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund. Elsewhere in the Premier League, Chelsea rallied to beat Aston Villa 2-1. Chelsea strengthened its hold on fourth place and is five points clear of fifth-place Manchester United. Associated Press The California track’s spring-summer meet ends Sunday.BRITAIN-SUPERBIKERIDER DIESBritish superbike rider dies after crash at English trackDERBY, England (AP) — A British superbike rider has died after being involved in a collision with another bike at an event on the Donington Park track in central England Sunday.Organizers of the No Limits Trackday event say Ben Godfrey died from the injuries he suffered from falling from his bike. Godfrey was 25 and raced in the British Superbike Championship. June 21, 2020 HILTON HEAD IASLAND, S.C. (AP) — The PGA Tour ended another week with a packed leaderboard. Webb Simpson has finished the day at RBC in Hilton Head as the leader with 22 under par. Abraham Ancer came in second with 21 under and Daniel Berger was tied with Tyrrell Hatton both at 20 under par.The RBC Heritage’s final round got off to a late start following a storm delay.Webb Simpson started the day as part of a four-way for the lead.NASCAR-TALLADEGAWeather delays NASCAR race at Talladega SANTA ANITA-FATALITIESHorse injured, euthanized after race at Santa AnitaARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — A horse injured after crossing the finish line of a race at Santa Anita has been euthanized, making it the 15th fatality at the track since late December.Strictly Biz, a 4-year-old colt, fractured his right knee while galloping past the finish of the sixth race Saturday. The attending veterinarian determined it was an unrecoverable injury.Ridden by Jose Valdivia Jr., Strictly Biz finished sixth among eight horses in the $51,000 race on the turf. Trained by Brian Koriner and owned by Jay Em Ess Stable, the colt had one win in four career starts and earnings of $29,000, according to Equibase. Hamilton is the only Black world champion in F1. He has spoken widely about racism since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.Writing in British newspaper The Sunday Times, Hamilton said it would be a research partnership dedicated to exploring how motorsport can be used as a vehicle to “engage more young people from Black backgrounds with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and, ultimately, employ them on our teams or in other engineering sectors.”VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTSDynamo Moscow reports coronavirus cases, game postponedUNDATED (AP) — Tennis player Grigor Dimitrov (GREE’-gohr DIH’-mih-trahv) says he has tested positive for COVID-19. The Confederate flags that once flew openly around the infield and stands are now banned. NASCAR hasn’t disclosed how it will handle fans flying flags. F1-HAMILTON-DIVERSITYF1 star Hamilton to set up commission to increase diversityLONDON (AP) — Six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton plans to set up a commission to increase diversity in motorsport.The Mercedes driver said the aim of the Hamilton Commission would be to make the sport “become as diverse as the complex and multicultural world we live in.” The executive committee of the players’ association was set to vote and reject Major League Baseball’s latest offer for a 60-game season on Sunday.Players want 70 games and $275 million more than teams are offering. They are worried that if a resurgence of the new coronavirus causes the 2020 season to be cut short, the deal being negotiated would lock in innovations for 2021 and lessen the union’s bargaining power.Manfred wrote that if fewer than the agreed-upon number of games are played this year, the 2021 changes would be voided in a manner that would leave them up for renegotiation, people familiar with the email told The Associated Press.PGA-RBCSimpson takes RBC As a three-year starter, he played under three head coaches — Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian and Clay Helton. He was taken by the Chargers in the 2016 NFL draft, and played one game for the Arizona Cardinals before being cut in 2018. TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Thunderstorms Sunday forced NASCAR to postpone the Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway that was to mark the return of more fans to the track. The race, which was pushed back to 2 p.m. CDT on Monday, is the first amid the coronavirus pandemic in which NASCAR opened the gates for up to 5,000 fans.The event was stopped several times for more than three hours of total delays.The race is the ninth for the elite Cup Series since the May 17 resumption, and restrictions are gradually being lifted.It was hardly an ordinary race day at Talladega Superspeedway, even before the lousy weather. The normal hordes of partying fans were nowhere to be seen.The Confederate flags were harder to find, too — except for a plane circling above the track with the message “Defund NASCAR” trailing behind the flag. It was a double whammy of change for the Cup series race. Update on the latest sports — Two-time major champion So Yeon Ryu (soh yahn yoo) closed with an even-par 72 to win the Korea Women’s Open in her first tournament in four months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ryu won for the first time since the Japan Women’s Open in 2018, and it was her first victory on the Korea LPGA since 2015. Upon winning, Ryu offered her entire prize money of just over $200,000 for coronavirus relief funds.TRIPLE CROWN-WHAT’S NEXTBelmont winner Tiz the Law eyes ambitious summer scheduleUNDATED (AP) — Having secured a victory in the Belmont Stakes, Tiz the Law now faces an 11-week wait until the Kentucky Derby in a reconfigured Triple Crown series. In between, the bay colt who became the first New York-bred to win the Belmont since 1882 is being pointed toward the Travers on Aug. 8 in upstate New York, which is his home turf.Tiz the Law has five wins in six career starts by an average of 19 1/4 lengths. His only loss came at Churchill Downs last year, and he’ll get a chance to avenge it over the same track in the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditVIRUS OUTBREAK-MLBBalk in baseball coronavirus talks as negotiations drag onNEW YORK (AP) — An email from baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to union head Tony Clark led to a balk in the drawn-out talks to start the pandemic-delayed season.last_img read more

Nine teams set for NAMILCO volleyball extravaganza

first_imgSEVEN male teams and two female sides will clash on Sunday in a volleyball extravaganza and fun day, as the National Milling Company of Guyana Inc. (NAMILCO) celebrates its 50th anniversary.The Independence Day battle, organised by the Berbice Volleyball Association (BVA), serves off at 09:00hrs at the Albion Estate Sports Complex and teams will battle for trophies, medals and other incentives.Among the teams scheduled to participate are Rollers, #52 Survivals, #47 Challengers, Port Mourant Training Centre (PMTC), Three Doors Strikers, Black Bush and Port Mourant females.In April, when the BVA teams last battled, the (PMTC) ‘A’ team and the Port Mourant females were crowned champions of the BVA ‘B’ division.Eight male teams (Number 52 Survivors, PMTC ‘A’, PMTC ‘B’, Rollers, Black Bush Polder Gemini, D’Edward Three Doors Strikers, Number 47 Challengers and Castrol Strikers) and two female teams (Port Mourant females and Castrol Strikers) had taken part in that competition, which was held at the GUYSUCO Apprentice Hostel compound.last_img read more