Connect with us

National

Rogers has concerns about global response to coronavirus

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

Tuesday, Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Saks) addressed the evolving coronavirus outbreak and expressed his concerns about the global response to the coronavirus during a meeting of the House Homeland Security Committee.

“Our hearts go out to those who have lost their loved ones and those who are currently undergoing treatment,” Rogers said. “This pandemic is a global event and I’m concerned not only with our preparedness but the global response.”

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses common to a large variety of animals: including cattle, bats, and man. This previously unknown strain apparently existed within the bat population of China where bats are commonly consumed as food. It is believed that this strain of coronavirus “COVID-19” crossed over into humans exposed to the animals in a large animal market in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

“I remain concerned that Chinese officials knowingly withheld essential information from both the public and the international health community in the most critical stages of this outbreak,” Rogers said. “I’m sure that the early days of this outbreak will be under intense scrutiny once the crisis is over. My deepest concern for the moment is the level of preparedness at the state and local level.”

Rogers said that he hopes to hear from witnesses over the next week about our efforts to prepare communities.

“Last week, I urged the House to act in a swift and non-partisan fashion to approve an emergency supplemental for this public health emergency,” Rep. Rogers continued. “Hopefully the House can live up to this moment and act quickly.”

ADVERTISEMENT

U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome Adams serves on the task force preparing the U.S. response to the outbreak.

“We have the very best medical experts and scientists working with Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, all taking the necessary steps to protect the public,” Admiral Adams said. “The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Bob Redfield, is an internationally recognized clinical virologist. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is a world-renowned and respected immunologist who has helped our country navigate viral outbreaks in the past. While we must not become complacent, the public can be assured that we have the best scientific team in the world working day and night to keep our country safe.”

“Because COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, there are basic public health measures that can limit its spread,” Adams said. “Washing hands frequently, staying away from sick people or staying home if sick yourself and covering your cough or sneeze are scientifically proven as some of the best and most practical ways for individuals to stay disease-free. Masks are not recommended for use by most Americans and hoarding of masks can actually hurt our response by reducing the supply available for medical professionals who need them.”

“There have been many comparisons of coronavirus to flu,” Adams said. “It is worth noting that we are in the midst of a severe flu season and the flu is still a significant risk to many Americans. Getting your flu shot not only decreases the likelihood you will get or be hospitalized from the flu but preventing the flu can support our response to COVID-19. Community capacity to respond to COVID-19 will be all the stronger if we prevent excess seasonal flu cases through higher flu vaccination.”

Public Service Announcement

The U.S. has had 108 diagnosed cases of COVID-19; but nine of those people have died with three of those deaths occurring in the last 24 hours. Globally there have been 92,862 cases of COVID-19 that have been diagnosed. 3,168 people have died with China suffering 2,945 deaths. Italy has had 79 deaths, Iran 77, South Korea 34, Japan 6, and France 4.

To date, there have been no cases diagnosed in Alabama.

Rep. Mike Rogers is the Ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee. Rogers represents Alabama’s Third Congressional District.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

Advertisement

National

USDA is seeking rural energy grant applications

The deadlines to apply for grants is Feb. 1, 2021, and March 31, 2021. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

United States Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand on Wednesday invited applications for loan guarantees and grants for renewable energy systems, and to make energy efficiency improvements, conduct energy audits and provide development assistance.

The funding is being provided through the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program, which was created under the 2008 Farm Bill and reauthorized under the 2018 Farm Bill. This notice seeks applications for Fiscal Year 2021 funding.

The deadlines to apply for grants is Feb. 1, 2021, and March 31, 2021. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.

REAP helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations.

Eligible systems may derive energy from wind, solar, hydroelectric, ocean, hydrogen, geothermal or renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters).

USDA encourages applications that will support recommendations made in the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to help improve life in rural America.

ADVERTISEMENT

Applicants are encouraged to consider projects that provide measurable results in helping rural communities build robust and sustainable economies through strategic investments.

Key strategies include achieving e-Connectivity for rural America, developing the rural economy, harnessing technological innovation, supporting a rural workforce and improving quality of life. For additional information, see the notice in the Federal Register.

Continue Reading

National

Trump says that coronavirus vaccine deliveries will begin within two weeks

Trump said that front-line workers, medical personnel and senior citizens would be the vaccine’s first recipients.

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

President Donald Trump said Thursday that coronavirus vaccine deliveries will begin as early as next week.

“The whole world is suffering, and we are rounding the curve,” Trump said. “And the vaccines are being delivered next week or the week after.”

Trump made the announcement during a special Thanksgiving holiday message to U.S. troops overseas via teleconference. Trump said that front-line workers, medical personnel and senior citizens would be the vaccine’s first recipients. He also argued that his election opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, should not be given credit for the vaccines, which were developed during the Trump administration.

Trump referred to the vaccines, which were developed and tested in less than ten months as a “medical miracle.”

Regulators at the FDA will review Pfizer’s request for an emergency use authorization for its vaccine developed with BioNTech during a meeting on Dec. 10. The director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research says a decision is expected within weeks, possibly days after that key meeting.

The latest trial data for Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine showed that it was 90 percent effective.

ADVERTISEMENT

The CDC plans to vote next week on where the distribution of approved vaccines will begin and who will be allowed to get the first vaccines when they become available.

Dr. Celene Gounder, a member of Biden’s COVID Advisory Board, warned against rushing a vaccine to market.

“The single biggest risk of rushing an approval would be Americans’ distrust the vaccine,” Grounder said. “It’s essential people feel confident this is a safe and effective vaccine.”

Moderna said that its vaccine is 94.5 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

Public Service Announcement

AstraZeneca says its preliminary results showed its vaccine ranged from 62 percent to 90 percent effective depending on the dosage amount given to participants. AstraZeneca is having to launch a second round of global trials to clear up the discrepancies.

Many Americans appear to have ignored CDC warnings to scale back Thanksgiving holiday plans. More than six million Americans flew over the holiday week, raising fears by public health officials that the surge in coronavirus cases we are experiencing now will be followed by a bigger surge in the next three weeks.

As of press time, there have been 62 million diagnosed cases of coronavirus cases in the world, including nearly 13.5 million in the United States, but many cases are mild and go undiagnosed.

A CDC researcher estimates that the real number of infections in the U.S. has topped 53 million since February. More than 1.4 million people have died around the world since the virus first appeared in China late last year. The death toll includes 271,029 Americans and 3,572 Alabamians.

Continue Reading

Health

Vaccines should protect against mutated strains of coronavirus

Public health experts say it will be some time before vaccines are available to the wider public.

Eddie Burkhalter

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

Multiple vaccines for COVID-19 are in clinical trials, and one has already applied for emergency use authorization, but how good will those vaccines be against a mutating coronavirus? A UAB doctor says they’ll do just fine. 

Dr. Rachael Lee, UAB’s hospital epidemiologist, told reporters earlier this week that there have been small genetic mutations in COVID-19. What researchers are seeing in the virus here is slightly different than what’s seen in the virus in China, she said. 

“But luckily the way that these vaccines have been created, specifically the mRNA vaccines, is an area that is the same for all of these viruses,” Lee said, referring to the new type of vaccine known as mRNA, which uses genetic material, rather than a weakened or inactive germ, to trigger an immune response. 

The U.S. Food And Drug Administration is to review the drug company Pfizer’s vaccine on Dec. 10. Pfizer’s vaccine is an mRNA vaccine, as is a vaccine produced by the drug maker Moderna, which is expected to also soon apply for emergency use approval. 

“I think that is incredibly good news, that even though we may see some slight mutations,  we should have a vaccine that should cover all of those different mutations,” Lee said. 

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Wisconsin-Madison found in a recent study, published in the journal Science, that COVID-19 has mutated in ways that make it spread much more easily, but the mutation may also make it more susceptible to vaccines. 

ADVERTISEMENT

In a separate study, researchers with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation found that while most vaccines were modeled after an earlier strain of COVID-19, they found no evidence that the vaccines wouldn’t provide the same immunity response for the new, more dominant strain. 

“This brings the world one step closer to a safe and effective vaccine to protect people and save lives,” said CSIRO chief executive Dr. Larry Marshall, according to Science Daily

While it may not be long before vaccines begin to be shipped to states, public health experts warn it will be some time before vaccines are available to the wider public. Scarce supplies at first will be allocated for those at greatest risk, including health care workers who are regularly exposed to coronavirus patients, and the elderly and ill. 

Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, speaking to APR last week, urged the public to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing for many more months, as the department works to make the vaccines more widely available.

Public Service Announcement

“Just because the first shots are rolling out doesn’t mean it’s time to stop doing everything we’ve been trying to get people to do for months. It’s not going to be widely available for a little while,” Harris said.

Continue Reading

National

UAB cancels third game

The only remaining game on UAB’s schedule is a game at Rice on Dec. 12.

Brandon Moseley

Published

on

(STOCK PHOTO)

The UAB Department of Athletics on Thursday announced that it is canceling its final home game of the season. UAB was scheduled to play Southern Mississippi on Friday at Legion Field, but the game was canceled due to continuing problems with COVID-19.

UAB has said that it will “continue to work with Conference USA on the remaining regular-season schedule.”

The only remaining game on UAB’s schedule is a game at Rice on Dec. 12.

UAB currently has a record of just four wins and three losses.

A win at Rice would guarantee the Blazers a winning season, but in this COVID altered season, a four and three or four and four record is probably good enough to be bowl eligible.

Southern Miss has had a dreadful season. They are two and seven and have two remaining games, against UTEP and Florida Atlantic. Both of those games were postponed from earlier in the season.

ADVERTISEMENT

Unless the season is extended a week to the 19th, there is no way for UAB and Southern Miss to make up the canceled game.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement