Election Live Updates: With Votes Still Being Counted, an Anxious Nation Awaits a Winner

first_imgBattle for the Senate The argument President Trump made early Wednesday — that he had won an election in which millions of validly cast ballots remained to be counted — was a blatant misrepresentation of the electoral process.No state ever reports final results on election night, no state is legally expected to, and if the Supreme Court were to force states to stop counting ballots simply because midnight on Tuesday has passed — as Mr. Trump said he would ask the justices to do — it would be an extraordinary subversion of the democratic process that would disenfranchise millions of voters who cast valid, on-time ballots.There is nothing new or unusual about prolonged vote counts. In 2008, it took two weeks for Missouri to be called for John McCain. In 2012, it took four days for Florida to be called for Barack Obama. There was no dispute about the legitimacy of these results; it simply took time to finish counting the votes.In fact, one of Mr. Trump’s own cherished victories, in Michigan in 2016, was confirmed only after two weeks of counting.Americans are accustomed to knowing who won the presidency on election night because news organizations project winners based on partial counts, not because the entire count is completed that quickly. Because so many people voted by mail this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, it is taking longer in some states to make accurate projections. But the final, official results will come exactly when they always do: by the certification deadlines each state has set, ranging from two days after the election in Delaware to more than a month after in California.Mr. Trump sought in his speech from the White House, just as he and his campaign sought in the weeks leading up to Election Day, to conflate two separate things: the casting of ballots after Election Day, and the counting of ballots after Election Day.“We want all voting to stop,” he said, but it already has; no votes are currently being cast. What Mr. Trump is suggesting is that states not count ballots that were already cast.The bald political nature of his speech was clear in the contradiction between his comments on Arizona, where Mr. Trump is trailing, and his comments on Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where he has the illusion of large leads because huge numbers of votes from Democratic-leaning areas, like Detroit, Philadelphia and Milwaukee, haven’t been counted yet.He complained that Fox News had called Arizona for Joseph R. Biden Jr. when many votes were still outstanding. Then, in the next breath, he suggested that he had definitively won Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin despite the far larger numbers of votes still outstanding. Control of the House President Trump has been declared the winner in Florida after pulling off a remarkable turnaround from 2016 in the Miami area, wooing conservative Cuban-American voters and other Latino groups in numbers sufficient to overcome Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s middling gains with white Floridians.This is a big, though not huge, moment for his re-election hopes, mainly because it would have been all but impossible for him to win back the White House without capturing this state’s 29 Electoral College votes again.Four years ago, Mr. Trump lost the Miami-Dade area by nearly 30 percentage points to Hillary Clinton. As of late Tuesday, that margin had shrunk to about eight percentage points with Mr. Biden at the top of the ticket — with Mr. Trump’s vote totals in that critical area increasing from 334,000 in 2016 to around 500,000 this year.Mr. Biden spent far more time and resources courting Black voters, and he began to heavily invest in a major Latino outreach operation only late in the campaign. He had hoped he would come close to Mrs. Clinton’s benchmark, while siphoning off votes from Mr. Trump among disenchanted suburban whites and older voters.If Mr. Biden could take any consolation from the loss, it was the fact that he marginally outperformed Mrs. Clinton in the county that includes Jacksonville, defeating Mr. Trump there, while exceeded her performance in Tampa and its suburbs, again by a small amount.But while it was too early to draw any definitive conclusions about other states, one thing is clear: Mr. Biden had focused, since securing the nomination, on attracting white voters in the Midwest and elsewhere. He spent less time and resources on outreach to Latino voters.Florida has been a heartbreak state for Democrats since George W. Bush narrowly defeated Al Gore there in 2000 after a partial recount and an intervention on the part of the Supreme Court that effectively handed the election to Mr. Bush.Polls had shown the race very tight — with many showing Mr. Biden with a lead — but Democrats were hardly confident going into the night, given the closeness of the polls. Although many winners may quickly be evident on election night, the increase in mail voting because of the pandemic is expected to push back the release of full results in many key states.The New York Times asked officials in every state and the District of Columbia about their reporting processes and what share of votes they expect to be counted by noon on Wednesday, Nov. 4. There is a fair amount of uncertainty surrounding results in any election, but here’s what they said to expect:Many states will not have complete results tonight.Even once the early and in-person ballots are counted, a significant number of votes could still be outstanding. Only nine states expect to have at least 98 percent of unofficial results reported by noon the day after the election. Officials in Michigan and Pennsylvania, two key battleground states, have said full official counts could take several days.The increase in mail voting could also lead to more provisional votes cast, increasing the number of ballots counted later.Results are never official until final certification, which occurs in each state in the weeks following the election.The results at the beginning and at the end of the night will be skewed in some places.The order in which different types of votes are reported could also make one party look stronger at various points in the night. Democrats are more likely to vote by mail this year, so in states where those will be the first type of ballots released, like Arizona, Florida and North Carolina, initial results could skew in favor of Joseph R. Biden Jr. Places that report in-person Election Day votes first, like most parts of Virginia, will probably look better for President Trump.But the initial skew in a state’s results may last only a short while, and it will be influenced by which counties or precincts in the state are the fastest to report.After election night, there could also be misleadingly positive results for Mr. Trump in certain states, with mail ballots trickling in over the following days favoring Mr. Biden. Senator Kelly Loeffler, Republican of Georgia, is headed to a runoff against the Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, a Democrat, on Jan. 5.Credit…Nicole Craine for The New York Times An election watch party at a bar in Canberra, Australia.Credit…Lukas Coch/EPA, via ShutterstockIn Australia and Indonesia, crowds gathered around televisions in restaurants and cafes, trying to get a glimpse of American states turning red or blue. In Iran, the hashtag #Elections_America was trending on Persian Twitter, while in Japan, Fuji Television spent a good portion of Wednesday morning covering the election with graphics that mixed old-school cardboard cutouts with video-game-like avatars.All over the world, as results trickled in across the American electoral map, it made for confounding, fascinating must-watch drama. The stakes are global, and so was the audience, glued to the sort of blanket news coverage most often reserved for elections closer to home.“It’s kind of like the World Cup finals,” said Moch Faisal Karim, an international relations professor at Binus University in Indonesia.The intense worldwide interest reflects the still-considerable power of America and the unpredictability that has shaped the last four years. President Trump has been a global disrupter in chief, seeking to redefine relations with American allies in Europe and Asia, working to blunt the rise of China and cozying up to autocrats in North Korea and Russia.After surprise upon surprise during his first term, much of the world is desperate to know if the Trump era will continue, or if the United States will shift back toward the more traditional course that Joseph R. Biden Jr. has promised.But while many viewers would have liked nothing more than a quick resolution, there instead was uncertainty and angst. First came the quadrennial refresher courses on the complicated American approach to electing a president, and then, as votes were counted, the hours of waiting, as news websites and television channels filled with the 50-state maps and sliding charts familiar to Americans.People around the world found themselves doing difficult Electoral College math, while trying to keep up with the patchwork of vote-counting procedures all over the United States. They tried to make sense of images of stores boarded up against the potential for violence, and, like Americans, they wondered what voters would decide and what each candidate would say to the world.“The biggest issue for me is just how deeply divided the United States continues to be,” said Geoff Raby, a former Australian ambassador to China, who admitted he had been watching television all day on Wednesday. “People just have not been able to shift their positions — it was this divided four years ago, and Trump fell over the line and not much has changed.” Vote counting continued into the morning from Pennsylvania to Nevada, as election officials labored to process a flood of mail-in ballots and huge numbers of in-person votes in an election that was sure to shatter records.So far, Mr. Trump was holding off Mr. Biden in two Southern states that the former vice president had hoped to snatch back from the Republican column: Georgia and North Carolina. These were not must-win states for Mr. Biden, but he spent heavily in both and visited them in the final stretch of the campaign.Mr. Biden lost Texas, a long-shot hope that some Democrats invested in late in the campaign in hopes of earning a landslide repudiation of Mr. Trump that did not arrive. The former vice president also fell short in Florida after Mr. Trump made inroads with Cuban-American voters in the Miami area.But Mr. Biden offset those loses by amassing a solid lead in Arizona, a state Mr. Trump won in 2016. That, plus his pick up of a single electoral vote in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, could prove crucial. It opens a potential pathway for Mr. Biden to the presidency without winning Pennsylvania, if he carried all the states that Mrs. Clinton did, and added Michigan and Wisconsin.Arizona’s strategic importance was clear when Mr. Trump’s campaign expressed fury after Fox News called it for Mr. Biden while many votes were still out. Yet the president appeared determined to cut off counting in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, where Mr. Biden expressed hope that he would close the gap.“They are trying to STEAL the election,” Mr. Trump declared on Twitter shortly after Mr. Biden had spoken. Twitter immediately marked it as content that was “disputed and might be misleading.” President Trump spoke to staffers at his campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va., on Tuesday.Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times Democrats’ path to seizing the Senate continued to narrow into the early hours of Wednesday as Republicans held onto a cluster of seats in critical states and the two parties continued to fight to control the upper chamber of Congress in close contests across the country.Democrats won a crucial seat in Arizona early Wednesday, with Mark Kelly, a former astronaut, defeating Senator Martha McSally, and former Gov. John Hickenlooper defeated Senator Cory Gardner Tuesday night in the high-profile fight for Colorado’s Senate seat. Those victories were essential to Democrats’ push to take the Senate majority.In Georgia, the Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, a Democrat, advanced to a runoff election against Senator Kelly Loeffler, the Republican incumbent. The other race in the state, between Jon Ossoff, the Democratic challenger, and Senator David Perdue, a Republican, was too close to call.But Republicans across the country were successful in holding off well-funded challengers in a number of key races, casting a pall over the night for Democrats. In Montana, Senator Steve Daines defeated Gov. Steve Bullock and in Iowa, Senator Joni Ernst defeated Theresa Greenfield, a businesswoman who had styled herself as a “scrappy farm kid.” Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, hung onto his seat in South Carolina, fending off the toughest challenge of his political career from Jaime Harrison, a Black Democrat whose upstart campaign electrified progressives across the country and inspired a record-setting onslaught of campaign cash.Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, defeated a challenge from M.J. Hegar, a former Air Force pilot who Democrats hoped could have an outside chance of winning in the rapidly changing state. In Kentucky, Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, easily won re-election, defeating Amy McGrath, a Democrat who struggled to gain ground despite an outpouring of financial support from her party’s supporters around the nation. And Republicans succeeded in ousting Senator Doug Jones, Democrat of Alabama, who came to power in a 2017 special election against Roy S. Moore, who was accused of sexually assaulting and pursuing teenage girls.And early returns showed Senator Thom Tillis, Republican of North Carolina, with a lead over his Democratic challenger, Cal Cunningham, in a seat that strategists in both parties identified as a possible tipping point.There were still several crucial Senate races that were not yet called that Democrats hope to win, including Maine, and Democrats remained bullish on their chances in Georgia. House Democrats are poised to maintain their majority but faced a series of early blows Tuesday night as Democrats in rural districts faced headwinds and Republican incumbents in suburban districts held their own.House Democrats appeared to be running strong in most competitive districts they snatched up in 2018, and had begun the night confidently predicting that they would expand their majority, citing polling that showed a dismal national environment for Republicans and a revolt of affluent, suburban voters in traditional conservative strongholds thronging the country from the Midwest to Texas. In the final days of the race, Republican strategists had privately predicted losing anywhere from a handful of seats to 20 and focused their efforts on offsetting their losses in largely rural, white working-class districts.But early returns did not appear to reflect the scale of losses that strategists in both parties had anticipated in the closing days of the race, as a number of Republican incumbents in suburban districts — that Democrats had hoped to take — held onto their seats, and as some Democratic incumbents who won in 2018 in districts where President Trump is popular faced defeat.In the Midwest, Representatives Ann Wagner of Missouri, Don Bacon of Nebraska, and Rodney Davis of Illinois all retained their seats in districts where Democrats were confident they could win.In Iowa, Representative Abby Finkenauer, a Democrat representing the northeastern swathe of the state, lost to Ashley Hinson, a former state legislator and television reporter. Representative Joe Cunningham, Democrat of South Carolina, also lost in a race against Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from Citadel.With Mr. Trump making significant inroads with Cuban-Americans in the Miami area, Democrats were dealt twin surprise blows, with Representatives Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Donna Shalala, a former Health and Human Services secretary, both conceding their races early in the night in their adjoining districts. A line of voters in Norcross, Ga., on Tuesday. Results will be delayed in the state because of a burst pipe at a site where election workers were counting absentee ballots in Atlanta.Credit…Audra Melton for The New York Timescenter_img After a long election night rife with dramatic twists and victories by both candidates, Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden battled to a near draw in electoral votes, each several dozen votes shy of the 270 needed to capture the presidency.The field of battle had dwindled to a trio of northern states — Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin — that vaulted Mr. Trump to victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, as well as Arizona and Nevada, where Mr. Biden had narrow leads, and Georgia, where he trailed but was gaining ground with every vote counted. Mr. Trump prematurely declared victory and said he would petition the Supreme Court to demand a halt to the counting. Mr. Biden urged his supporters — and by implication, Mr. Trump — to show patience and allow the process to play out.Their dueling, post-midnight appearances captured the raw struggle of a contest that many feared would leap from the campaign trail to the courts, as Mr. Trump’s lawyers readied legal maneuvers.- Advertisement – The president’s statement, delivered in the White House, amounted to a reckless attack on the democratic process during a time of deep anxiety and division in the country. Mr. Biden, speaking from a flag-draped stage in Wilmington, Del., appealed for calm and tried to reassure supporters rattled by a vote that was much closer than the pollsters or political analysts had predicted.“It’s not my place or Donald Trump’s place to declare who has won this election,” Mr. Biden said, to a chorus of honking car horns at a drive-in rally. “That’s the decision of the American people.”Mr. Trump, however, derided the vote-counting as “a major fraud on our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner,” he said. “We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.”- Advertisement – Large numbers of ballots remain to be counted in Milwaukee.Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times – Advertisement – Voters in line to cast their ballots on election day in Texas, a state where Democrats hope to add house members to solidify their majority.Credit…Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times Dawn broke over the United States on Wednesday with the presidential election undecided and the specter of hours or even days of uncertainty ahead, as seven states counted millions of ballots in razor-thin contests that could tip the balance to President Trump or former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.- Advertisement – Watching election results in Brooklyn. Credit…Kirsten Luce for The New York Times A major national voter protection hotline has received more reports of voter intimidation than it did in 2016, and results will be delayed in Georgia because of — what else would you expect in 2020? — a burst pipe at a site where election workers were counting absentee ballots.But no ballots at the site in Atlanta were damaged by the water, election officials said. And despite the disconcerting increase in intimidation reports, with polls closed in more than half the country, voting and vote-counting continued to go more smoothly than many voting rights advocates had feared.The night was shaping up to be, in other words, a mixed bag.“I think it’s fairly safe to say that the extraordinary voter protection effort that we have seen this year, which proved strong and robust — combined with litigation that focused with laser precision on tearing down the restrictions and burdens faced by voters during the pandemic — has made today a relatively smooth Election Day across the country,” Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told reporters around 7 p.m. Eastern. “There indeed have been issues and may be issues as we move into the final hours of Election Day, but no doubt we were bracing for the worst and have been pleasantly surprised.”The reports of intimidation include armed Trump supporters standing outside some polling places — including at least one in Charlotte, N.C., where the man was ultimately arrested, and one in Baker, La., where voters called the Lawyers’ Committee’s hotline to report a man waving a Trump flag and holding a large gun.“The isolated incidents of voter intimidation have been problems that we cannot ignore,” Ms. Clarke said. “They have not been widespread and systematic, but they have been far greater in number than we have seen in recent elections and are a reflection of the dark times we are in as a nation.”Republicans were also, as expected, trying to challenge ballots in some states — particularly Pennsylvania, where they were attempting to stop election officials from contacting voters whose mail ballots were rejected on technicalities to offer them provisional ballots. Some machines in Philadelphia malfunctioned early in the day. Voting hours were extended at some polling sites, including in Georgia and North Carolina, because of delays.And yet, for all the anxiety and abnormality of this election — the masks, the six-foot divides, more than 100 million people casting ballots before the day even started — the voting machines worked, for the most part. The lines were at times long, but they moved quickly, for the most part.Turnout appeared to be very high. Many states have already surpassed their vote totals from 2016, and Michael P. McDonald, a University of Florida professor who compiles data from across the nation, said earlier Tuesday that the country appeared to be on track for roughly 160 million total votes cast.That would mean a turnout rate of about 67 percent of the eligible voting population — higher than the United States has seen in more than a century. Here’s what you need to know:last_img read more

Whatever happens next, Americans are pretty sure they want to be stoned when it does

first_imgTourists Laura Torgerson and Ryan Sheehan, visiting from Arizona, smell cannabis buds at the Green Pearl Organics dispensary on the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales in California, January 1, 2018 in Desert Hot Springs, California. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)And can you blame them?Americans turned out in massive numbers this election, and while the details are still in doubt, we now know the broad themes of their message: Americans want soft drugs and entrenched political incompetence, damn it, and they want them both right now.Five states had ballot measures loosening or removing restrictions on marijuana usage in 2020. All five of them won. Recreational usage will soon be legal in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. South Dakota and Mississippi passed separate measures legalizing medical use.- Advertisement – Washington, D.C., and Oregon went farther. Measures to legalize psychedelic mushrooms for medical use passed in both, due to heightened interest in therapeutic usage. Oregon also decriminalized the position of “harder” drugs like methamphetamines, in small “non-commercial” amounts, in a move intended to shift law enforcement resources away from the prosecution of petty offenders. Those offenders will instead be redirected towards anti-addiction programs.None of this resolves the continued conflict between the states, which continue to steadily shift towards soft-drug legalization, and a conservative federal government resistant to those moves. Voters, however, seem sure of the direction the nation needs to go. No matter what happens in America for the next four years, voters in 15 states are certain they don’t want to go through it without significant amounts of (ahem) marijuana on hand. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Thanksgiving Will Soon Empty Campuses. Will Students Bring Coronavirus Home?

first_imgIndiana University in Bloomington — where dozens of fraternity and sorority houses had to quarantine in September — will open its weekly surveillance testing to all of the 42,000 students living on or near campus. But the testing will be voluntary for most.- Advertisement – Pennsylvania State University — where off-campus parties around the football opener last weekend drew a rebuke from President Eric J. Barron — will offer free exit tests and strongly encourage students to get them, but won’t make them mandatory for the more than 13,500 students in university housing or the tens of thousands off-campus.“We have found that students are responding well to our voluntary, convenient and free walk-up testing sites,” the university said in a statement.The University of Michigan — where infections recently spiked so severely that local health officials issued a stay-in-place order — will make exit tests mandatory for some 5,000 undergraduates in university housing, but voluntary for thousands more living off-campus.- Advertisement – So what are colleges and universities doing to reduce the chances that those students might carry the coronavirus with them?As has been true with so much of the nation’s response to the pandemic, the answer is a patchwork of policies, with a minority of schools mandating that students test negative on coronavirus tests before they can leave campus — and many more offering little more than optional testing and advice. As Thanksgiving approaches, millions of Americans are weighing the risk of pandemic travel against the yearning to visit friends and family. But one group seems all but certain to be heading home in large numbers just in time for turkey and holiday gatherings: College students.Since the start of the fall semester, most universities have planned to end in-person classes before Thanksgiving and require students to finish the term remotely, partly to avoid an expected wave of cold-weather infections. That means that in a couple of weeks, hundreds of thousands of students will be crisscrossing the country by plane, train, bus and car, streaming back to hometowns until the spring semester begins.- Advertisement – At the other end of the spectrum, a smaller number of schools are insisting on exit testing.New York State’s university system — whose Oneonta campus ceased in-person classes in September after more than 700 students tested positive for the virus — will require “all students using on-campus facilities in any capacity” to test negative for the virus within 10 days of their departure, and to quarantine according to county health rules if they test positive, whether they are on or off-campus. The plan will entail testing about 140,000 students at SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Nationally, the virus has continued to smash records, with more than 100,000 new cases recorded on Wednesday alone. People infected with the coronavirus are most contagious in the days before they display symptoms, and up to 40 percent of infected people are asymptomatic, according to C.D.C. research. That’s why epidemiologists cite fast, widespread and frequent testing of people with and without symptoms as the best way to pinpoint and contain outbreaks. Calling universities’ Thanksgiving plans “all over the map,” A. David Paltiel, a professor of health policy and management at the Yale School of Public Health, said colleges should be keeping quarantine dorms open for students who test positive just before Thanksgiving.“There’s a responsibility not to unleash little ticking time bombs,” said Dr. Paltiel, noting that recently exposed students can feel well and still shed large quantities of the virus. “But this has not yet hit the radar screen of many college administrators.”The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not issued guidance specific to holiday breaks for college students, though it has advised that “travel increases the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.” The American College Health Association,’ which represents college health officers, issued public health guidelines last week recommending that schools encourage students to get tested before their Thanksgiving departure, refrain from traveling if they test positive and quarantine for 14 days at home upon arrival. But the association stopped short of calling for mandatory testing.Gerri Taylor, co-chair of the organization’s Covid-19 task force, said that, while testing is key, many financially strapped colleges cannot afford it.“I was talking recently to a college in the Northwest, and they literally only had enough testing supplies for sick people,” Ms. Taylor said.More than a third of the country’s colleges and universities invited students back for the fall with some degree of socially distanced campus housing or face-to-face instruction, according to the College Crisis Initiative and the Chronicle of Higher Education, which have been tracking about 3,000 schools.The New York Times has documented more than 252,000 coronavirus cases and at least 80 deaths on college campuses since the pandemic began. Most of the deaths involved college employees in the spring. But at least four students — most recently, Bethany Nesbitt, a 20-year-old student at Grace College in Indiana — have died this semester after contracting Covid-19. Antibody: A protein produced by the immune system that can recognize and attach precisely to specific kinds of viruses, bacteria, or other invaders.Antibody test/serology test: A test that detects antibodies specific to the coronavirus. Antibodies begin to appear in the blood about a week after the coronavirus has infected the body. Because antibodies take so long to develop, an antibody test can’t reliably diagnose an ongoing infection. But it can identify people who have been exposed to the coronavirus in the past.Antigen test: This test detects bits of coronavirus proteins called antigens. Antigen tests are fast, taking as little as five minutes, but are less accurate than tests that detect genetic material from the virus.Coronavirus: Any virus that belongs to the Orthocoronavirinae family of viruses. The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is known as SARS-CoV-2. Covid-19: The disease caused by the new coronavirus. The name is short for coronavirus disease 2019.Isolation and quarantine: Isolation is the separation of people who know they are sick with a contagious disease from those who are not sick. Quarantine refers to restricting the movement of people who have been exposed to a virus.Nasopharyngeal swab: A long, flexible stick, tipped with a soft swab, that is inserted deep into the nose to get samples from the space where the nasal cavity meets the throat. Samples for coronavirus tests can also be collected with swabs that do not go as deep into the nose — sometimes called nasal swabs — or oral or throat swabs.Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR): Scientists use PCR to make millions of copies of genetic material in a sample. Tests that use PCR enable researchers to detect the coronavirus even when it is scarce.Viral load: The amount of virus in a person’s body. In people infected by the coronavirus, the viral load may peak before they start to show symptoms, if symptoms appear at all. Sheldon Jacobson, a risk assessment specialist and professor of computer science at the University of Illinois who has studied the pandemic’s impact on campuses, said many colleges are getting better at containing outbreaks and reducing infection levels, though some large ones continue to struggle.“Most of the students will be going to communities with higher infection rates than where they’re leaving,” Dr. Jacobson said.Even so, Dr. Paltiel said testing should be mandatory. Voluntary exit tests, he said, merely bring out “the worried well and the symptomatic.” And not testing and quarantining again when students get home ignores the real possibility that they could be infected while traveling. “The last thing you want to do is put a whole bunch of students on planes, trains and automobiles, with many of them potentially exposed but not yet exhibiting symptoms, and ship them home to mom and dad,” he said.Julie Halpert contributed reporting. Some schools — mostly small, rural schools with limited sports programs and Greek life — mandated frequent and widespread testing and contact tracing, sent scofflaws home and managed, often at significant cost, to allow students to keep attending face-to-face classes and living in dorms. Others have opted for less aggressive — and generally less successful — measures, such as testing only volunteers or people with symptoms.Colby College, which has required twice-a-week testing and largely kept the virus at bay throughout the semester, will test its roughly 2,000 students on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Thanksgiving week. If they test positive, the college will house and feed students for two weeks in quarantine dorms or work with Maine health authorities to work out alternate plans for isolation.It will also offer a free flu shot before sending students home with take-home finals and detailed instructions on health safety measures. They will be required to be tested before they return to campus early next year, and will be immediately tested upon their arrival at school — and then again two days later, remaining in quarantine until they are clear.Indiana University has been testing a sampling of its faculty, staff and students each week to identify and contain outbreaks. After starting the semester with nearly 6 percent of those tests returning positive, the Bloomington campus is now about 1 percent, considered very low, Chuck Carney, a university spokesman, said. The university has recorded more than 3,100 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.But while the university is offering testing to all students just before Thanksgiving, most students will not be required to take one.“I would rather give people as much information as possible and trust that they’re going to make a decision that’s best for them and their families instead of putting down rules that could be broken,” said Erika Cheng, the university’s deputy director for mitigation testing. “We can’t force anybody to do anything.” – Advertisement – That level of testing has posed an immense financial hurdle for the many colleges that have had to cut budgets, lay off or furlough faculty and spend millions on health measures during the pandemic. Tulane University in New Orleans will test undergraduates twice in the last week of class, including those living off-campus. Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., will require students to show a minimum of two negative Covid-19 tests on the week prior to departure. Those who test positive at Tulane will be offered housing and support and “strongly advised” not to travel, according to a school spokesman, while Hamilton has reserved quarantine rooms at a local hotel and plans to work with local health officials to track down any student who refuses to isolate.And in Massachusetts, where cases have been surging, Boston University has asked students not to leave campus, period, until Dec. 10, when classes end. “We are saying, ‘Stay here,’ plain and simple,” Kenneth Elmore, the associate provost and dean of students, said.Epidemiologists recommend that travelers isolate themselves before traveling for at least a week and receive one or more negative coronavirus test within three days of departure. Upon arrival, they should again quarantine until receiving one or more negative test results over three days. Those who do not test should quarantine for 14 days before and after traveling. The Coronavirus Outbreak ›Words to Know About TestingConfused by the terms about coronavirus testing? Let us help:last_img read more

Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough urges players to ‘create history’ in Slovakia Euro play-off | Football News

first_img“But maybe that’s something when you finish your career, you can look back on. We all want to play on that stage again.“We know how special it was for the ones involved and the ones who weren’t involved want to experience that. We’ve spoken many times about how much we enjoyed being in France. It’s left us wanting more and we will go out tomorrow night determined to do it again.”- Advertisement – “It’s something I always try to remind players: go and try to create history, whether that’s at club level or with the (under) 21s or now with the seniors,” Baraclough said. “By winning certain games, you put yourself in that position.“It’s for other people to judge but we know that to get to the Euros would be an unbelievable achievement for this group of players who started this two years ago.” But while the Greece match provides a positive blueprint for Thursday, Northern Ireland also have more painful memories of missing out on the 2018 World Cup, when their two-legged play-off against Switzerland was ultimately settled by a disputed penalty in the first leg in Belfast. Thursday 12th November 7:00pm – Advertisement – Captain Steven Davis scored twice on that famous night when Northern Ireland beat Greece 3-1 at Windsor Park to book their ticket to Euro 2016, and the Rangers midfielder now wants to write another chapter.- Advertisement – Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis is hopeful his teammates hold their nerve against SlovakiaImage:Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis says qualifying for Euro 2016 left the squad wanting more NI fans “It was a memorable night for all of us involved, a special night,” he said. “It’s very hard to compare success, ultimately the most important one is the one at the time. Kick off 7:45pm Northern Ireland’s goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell says it would be one of the ‘great nights’ should they beat Slovakia to book their place at next summer’s Euros 0:31 “That was a very sore one to take,” Davis added.” It was a little bit different in that it was over two legs and how we approached the first one. This game being all or nothing on that night will hopefully suit us in terms of that.“It’s difficult to look back, not go to a World Cup on the back of that decision was very difficult to take. VAR is going to be involved in this game, so that’s a positive for us.”“Once they come into camp, they’re amongst friends, amongst mates,” he said. “They love joining up as a group and if anyone has got a problem or got a personal issue, they know there are people they can turn to and it’s been great in that respect for the lads coming in.” Ian Baraclough has urged his Northern Ireland players to go out and make history in Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifying play-off final against Slovakia.Northern Ireland have the chance to build on the success of five years ago, when they reached Euro 2016 to end a 30-year wait for a trip to a major championships, and start the night in the unfamiliar position of favourites after a turbulent few weeks for the visitors.- Advertisement –last_img read more

‘Largest ever auctioned’ purple-pink diamond sells for $26.6m (£20.1m)

first_imgFlawless 102-carat diamond a ‘bargain’ at $16m- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img

WHO confirms Thai avian flu death; Indonesia reports fatality

first_imgAug 7, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A World Health Organization (WHO) reference laboratory confirmed today that a 27-year-old man who died on Aug 3 in central Thailand’s Uthai Thani province had H5N1 avian influenza.The WHO said investigators found that the man had contact with household chickens, which started dying about 1 week before the patient began having influenza symptoms.The man had symptoms beginning Jul 24 and was hospitalized Jul 30. The Bangkok Post reported today that the man developed flulike symptoms shortly after burying dead chickens in his backyard with his bare hands.The WHO announcement brings Thailand’s official avian flu toll to 24 cases, with 16 deaths. The man’s death marks Thailand’s second avian flu death in 2 weeks.The Post also reported six suspected cases in Uthai Thani province where the man died, which is about 137 miles north of Bangkok: the man’s wife and five of his neighbors. Thai agriculture minister Sudarat Keyuraphan told the Post that 200 fowl died on a poultry farm in the province yesterday, which prompted an order to cull nearly 20,000 chickens on the farm. She told The Nation, a Thai newspaper, that the culling would be postponed until laboratory tests confirmed an outbreak in the province’s poultry.The WHO notes that avian influenza outbreaks have been officially recorded in the northern provinces of Phichit and Nakhon Phanom. Thailand’s only confirmed human avian flu case so far this year was in a 17-year-old boy who died of the disease Jul 24 in Phichit province.  Thai news outlets, however, have reported poultry outbreaks in several northern and central provinces, and on Jul 31 all of Thailand’s provinces were put on avian flu alert.As of today, the Thai Health Ministry has reported that 122 patients from 16 provinces are under surveillance for possible avian flu.Thailand launched a week-long campaign today to check every house in 29 provinces to help slow a resurgence of bird flu in the country, Reuters reported today. Volunteers will inspect backyard farms for sick or dead birds and will educate residents about the H5N1 virus. Until last week, the country had reported no avian flu since 2005.In Indonesia, The Associated Press reported today that a 16-year-old boy died after testing positive for H5N1 virus. The boy was admitted to the hospital 2 days ago. Reuters reported earlier today that the boy lived on the outskirts of Jakarta and was being treated at a human bird flu facility at a local hospital.An Indonesian health ministry official told Reuters that the boy had been in contact with sick chickens. He said samples from the boy had been sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.If the results confirm the findings of the local test, Indonesia will surpass Vietnam as the country with the most avian flu deaths. Confirmation will mean the boy becomes Indonesia’s 55th human case and its 43nd death, according to a WHO tally. In July, Indonesia recorded its 42nd death, which ties it with Vietnam. All of Indonesia’s deaths have occurred in 2005 and 2006.last_img read more

NEWS SCAN: Flu antivirals, animal-disease spread, India adds labs, flu hits islands, handwashing and MRSA, climate and bluetongue

first_imgMar 31, 2009 Remote South Pacific islands hit hard by fluThe tiny islands of Tokelau, which lie about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, have been hit by an epidemic of seasonal flu that has affected about a tenth of their residents, according to a BBC News story today. Health officials from New Zealand and the World Health Organization are en route with vaccine to the isolated three-island archipelago, which has no airport. Most of the 150 infected are children, and schools have been closed and public gatherings canceled.[Mar 31 BBC story] Multiple antivirals advised to treat seasonal fluWhen antiviral treatment is indicated for seasonal influenza, more than one agent should be used, according to a recent commentary in Clinical Infectious Diseases. Using just one antiviral may increase resistance to antiviral drugs like oseltamivir (Tamiflu), say virologist Gregory Poland, MD, and colleagues at the Mayo Clinic. They recommend that physicians prescribe at least two antiviral drugs with different mechanisms of action, consider point-of-care testing, and use better treatment algorithms that may reserve prescriptions for patients likely to develop life-threatening complications.[Clin Infect Dis abstract] FAO calls for urgent efforts to stop boundary-hopping animal diseasesThough countries have made significant steps to limit the spread of avian influenza, governments need to urgently address the international spread of animal diseases, especially those that can infect humans, a United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) official said today. Carolyn Benigno made her comments at the biennial FAO conference for Asia and the Pacific, according to the UN’s IRIN News. Over the past decade, Benigno said, new disease outbreaks such as avian flu have affected millions of impoverished households that depend on livestock. She added that more than 75% of infectious agents known to be emerging in human populations are considered zoonotic. Other “priority diseases” mentioned in an FAO report distributed at the meeting are foot-and-mouth disease, swine fever, and hemorrhagic septicemia.[Mar 31 IRIN News story] FDA approves vaccine for Japanese encephalitisThe US Food and Drug Administration yesterday announced its approval of a new vaccine against Japanese encephalitis, a mosquito-borne viral disease found mainly in Asia. There, the disease afflicts about 30,000 to 50,000 people a year, causing 10,000 to 15,000 deaths, the agency said. US cases are rare, but a few occur in Americans who travel to Asia. In clinical trials, the new vaccine, called Ixiaro, was found to be more tolerable than an older US-licensed vaccine, JE-Vax, which is no longer made, the FDA said. Xiaro is made by Intercell Biomedical of Livingston, United Kingdom.[Mar 30 FDA press release] Handwashing more important than isolation for hospital MRSA controlHospital patients who have been identified as carrying methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) need not be isolated or grouped if visitors and healthcare workers practice rigorous hand hygiene, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Society for General Microbiology in Britain. In a year-long study in two intensive care units in which patients were checked weekly for MRSA colonization and hand hygiene was audited, researchers from University College Hospital, London found that transmission of MRSA within the units did not increase when colonized or infected patients were not moved into single rooms or housed together.[March 30 Eurekalert press release] Climate change blamed for spreading bluetongue in EuropeRising temperatures have led to increasing outbreaks of bluetongue, a potentially fatal viral disease of ruminants, by creating a climate more friendly to the biting midges that carry it, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the Society for General Microbiology in Britain. Some European countries vaccinate against one bluetongue serotype, but others have arrived in Europe since 1998 and have spread, thanks to greater midge activity and increased viral replication in the insects, according to researchers from the United Kingdom’s Institute for Animal Health.[March 30 Eurekalert press release] Intestinal parasites leave victims more vulnerable to choleraCholera patients who are also infected with parasitic intestinal worms have a significantly reduced immune response to the cholera toxin, according to a report published today in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. Results of the study suggest that parasitic infection could reduce immunity to future cholera infection and may compromise the effectiveness of cholera vaccines. Vibrio cholerae infections cause an estimated 5 million cases of cholera annually worldwide, primarily in impoverished areas with poor sanitation. Intestinal parasites are also common in these areas.[PLoS Negl Trop Dis study][Mar 30 press release] India adds four BSL-3 labs to fight avian fluIndia now has four biosafety-level 3 (BSL-3) labs, with two more on the way in the coming months, up from one such lab when the country faced its first avian flu outbreak in poultry in February 2006, according to a story today in The Times of India. The labs, meant to bolster India’s capability to diagnose avian flu quickly in humans, are each capable of testing 30 human samples a day, the story said. In addition, India, which has yet to register a human case of avian flu, has nine non-BSL-3 labs for preliminary testing of human samples, a health ministry official said.[Mar 31 Times of India story]last_img read more

Cappelli: By realizing our initiative for the first time, tourism would get its General Directorate within the EU budget

first_imgTwo weeks ago, at a meeting in Sofia on the occasion of Bulgaria’s presidency of the Council of the European Union, at the summit of all EU tourism ministers, Minister Cappelli proposed on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Croatia a unique initiative in the field of European tourism. He presented a proposal for the establishment of a special EU Tourism Fund which would facilitate the use of EU funds to finance investment and sustainable development in tourism, reduce the impact of climate change, education and other areas important for the development of tourism in Europe. He also introduced the idea of ​​founding Working groups for tourism within the EU institutionswithin which to discuss how to address the many challenges facing the tourism sector.And now the initiative has received support at the 5th Mediterranean Tourism Forum “Mediterranian Blue”, which gathered in Malta over a thousand guests from political life and the tourism sector around the world to promote peace, cooperation and prosperity through regional cooperation. During his stay in Malta, Minister Cappelli met with Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, President of the Republic of Malta which supported the Croatian proposal for the establishment of a single European Tourism Fund and the Working Group and committed to further present this initiative to fellow presidents from other European countries, but also to help gain the support of the Minister of Finance who should advocate this initiative in EU institutions.At the meeting, which was also attended by the President of the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation Tony Zahra pointed out that tourism for all the countries of the Mediterranean circle was a strong driver of economic recovery at a time when Europe was facing the challenges of the economic crisis. They also agreed that tourism is very important for generating employment and encouraging the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, which currently have limited opportunities to represent their interests within the EU institutions. “By realizing our initiative, for the first time, tourism would get its General Directorate within the EU budget, which would enable the Ministry of Tourism to directly finance tourism projects with EU funds. In cooperation with representatives of the tourism sector, they would then have the opportunity, in accordance with their needs, to create specific tenders for financing the hotel industry, tour operators and other investments in tourism.” pointed out Tourism Minister Gary Cappelli. In his official address to the participants, Minister Cappelli emphasized the importance of promoting peace in the Mediterranean and strengthening the security aspect for all visitors and the population. He also reminded of the important role of women who, with their vision, innovation and exceptional commitment, give additional value to tourism.Photo; MintMinister Cappelli pointed out that tourism is one of the fastest growing economic activities in the EU with a great impact on growth, society, development and employment, and that as such it deserves a better position within the institutions of the European Union. “The main goal of the European Union’s tourism policy must be to keep Europe as the world’s leading tourist destination. However, in previous EU documents, tourism is not considered a priority, but a tool for raising the competitiveness of the overall European economy. Tourism does not have its own Working Body within the European Commission and in the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020 there is no special position or possibility of direct financing of its activities, which we believe should be corrected in the new budget framework. Direct financing of the tourism sector would make it easier to respond to increasing challenges, while at the same time facilitating investments in tourism, which are also in the focus of the European Commission.” Cappelli pointed out.On the sidelines of the Mediterranean Tourism Forum, Minister Cappelli also met Taleb Rifai, until recently Secretary General of the UNWTO, who praised Croatia’s activities in the field of tourism so far and supported the initiative for stronger joint cooperation. Additionally, during his stay in Malta, Minister Cappelli met with István Ujhelyi, Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism. The meeting discussed further steps in presenting the initiative to establish the fund, to which Mr. Ujhely also provided strong support, according to the Ministry of Tourism. “Given that tourism is a horizontal sector, it often serves as a tool for faster development of other economic sectors and society, and is rightly considered the driving force of the economy and one of the pillars of sustainable development. However, European tourism is also facing increasing challenges, from political, through economic, to environmental. That is why it is very important to strengthen it with joint initiatives and I believe that the initiative to establish a single European Tourism Fund and Tourism Working Group within the EU institutions, which we further presented at this forum is an excellent impetus to ensure further tourism development in Europe., said Cappelli.The Mediterranean Tourism Forum “Mediterranian Blue” was established as a platform for the exchange of experiences, best practices and challenges of tourism in the Mediterranean region based on dialogue, education and promotion of cultural, entertainment and sporting events. The fact that almost one third of international tourist arrivals were recorded last year in this region, which generated 342 million arrivals, testifies to how attractive the Mediterranean is in terms of tourism.last_img read more

Valamar in Poreč is starting the construction of the largest resort in Croatia

first_imgThe Supervisory Board of Valamar Riviere dd has given its prior approval for the upcoming annual investment cycle in the amount of HRK 599 million, whereby Valamar continues its strategy of intensive investments in raising the quality of its portfolio and high value-added tourism services.  The construction of this resort is the largest single investment in Croatian tourism, and the completion of the investment is planned for 2021. Valamar thus continues to invest in the Pical zone, which together with Valamar Collection Marea Suites 5 *, opened this year, to become the flagship of Poreč tourism and one of the most attractive tourist zones in Croatia.  These days, the merger of Hotel Makarska with the Rab Imperial is expected to be completed after both companies have been successfully privatized in cooperation with Valamar and AZ pension funds. Also, the Supervisory Board of Valamar supported cooperation with pension funds in order to further invest in Croatian tourism and expand business. The newly established Imperial Riviera dd will be a joint venture for the investment and development of tourist property in the region, while Valamar will remain in charge of operating operations. Photo: Valamar Riviera Photo: Valamar Riviera Poreč hotel Pical 2 * will be totally transformed into a luxury year-round five-star resort with about 500 accommodation units. The resort, which will be able to accommodate as many as 1.700 guests, will have 7 bars and 7 restaurants, swimming pools with 2.200 m2 of water surface, and a beach with Sundance beach club, indoor pool and wellness center, Maro facilities for families and perhaps most importantly – build will be a convention center for 1.200 guests. Hotel Pical in Poreč is becoming a five-star resort and one of the largest congress centers in Croatia  Total investments so far 5,8 billion But certainly, the main news hiding around the new investment cycle is the announced start of construction of the largest Croatian resort with a total value of 790 million kuna, which was presented today at the Investors’ Day in Porec.  RELATED NEWS: By the end of this year, a new development strategy for the next three-year period will be presented and thus continue to realize the vision of a leader in holiday tourism that provides authentic experiences to guests in partnership with destinations, Valamar concludes.  Although significant, the investment cycle for 2020 is smaller than in previous years, and as Valamar Riviera points out, the reason for this is the global slowdown in market demand and rising operating costs.  “Valamar has successfully realized the investments and business goals set for the previous three-year period and is now entering a new phase of development. We plan to continue to develop our business in line with our formula for success, which is based on investments in employees, products and destinations, taking care of sustainable development and socially responsible business. However, it is still necessary to work on the general competitiveness of Croatian tourism compared to other destinations in the Mediterranean, if we want to strengthen the investment potential of the tourism sector and keep our employees in Croatian tourism.”, Said Željko Kukurin, President of the Management Board of Valamar Riviera. All this year’s investments worth HRK 793 million have been successfully realized in Valamar, which means that Valamar has so far invested a total of HRK 5,8 billion in Croatian tourism. Imperial Riviera dd – a new joint stock company in cooperation with pension funds Photo: Valamar Riviera VALAMAR OPENS TWO NEW FIVE-STAR RESORTS, INVESTMENTS WORTH ALMOST HALF A BILLION HRKlast_img read more