Monthly Archives: July 2020

Three states along with Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico are now on the travel advisory list following a Tuesday announcement from Governor Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that three more states have been added to the state’s travel advisory list.

Illinois, Kentucky and Minnesota were added to the list on Tuesday. In addition, the NYS Department of Health added Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Travelers coming from any of the states listed with high infection rates will have to quarantine for two weeks upon arriving in New York State.

These are all states where, based on a seven day rolling average, the number of positive cases is more than 10 per 100,000 residents or they are states with a 10-percent or higher positivity rate over that same rolling average.

If you fly back from one of these states, you have to fill out a form at the airport. If you don’t fill out the form, you’ll be fined $2,000.

This morning, the Governor talked about enforcement of all of the rules, including crowd control.

“I once again appeal to the local governments to do their job. This has been their prime function all through this COVID crisis. Their prime function has been to ensure compliance with the rules that we know are working. Our economy is reopening, the infection rate has stayed down because we have done compliance. If we do not do compliance, if we get lazy, if we get sloppy, you will see those numbers go up,” said Gov. Cuomo.

Cuomo says the state doesn’t have enough resources to do it alone.

The Governor also proposed hosting more major league baseball games in the state, and a reporter asked how the travel advisory would work for the MLB players and staff if that was the case.

“You get on a private plane in a high-risk state, you land in New York, you are transported directly from the plane to a quarantine hotel. You are in the quarantine hotel and tested in the quarantine hotel. If you are negative, you play ball. If you are positive, you get back on the plane and go to where you came from. Or, being a little facetious, but you’d go to the quarantine hotel. We would do the testing in the quarantine hotel,” said Cuomo.

 

    Además, el administrador de FEMA resaltó que el Departamento de Seguridad Pública no goza de su confianza

    El administrador de la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA, en inglés) para la Región II, Thomas Von Essen, le dejó claro a la gobernadora Wanda Vázquez Garced en una misiva que su gobierno no está preparado para la temporada de huracanes.

    La carta -enviada a la mandataria el pasado 14 de julio- fue revelada esta noche por el periodista de CBS News, David Begnaud, quien informó que al día de hoy la agencia de Estados Unidos no ha recibido una contestación por parte del gobierno de Puerto Rico.

    “Me preocupa que nos encontramos en medio de la temporada de huracanes de 2020 en el contexto de COVID-19, y el Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, según expertos de FEMA, no está preparado ni tiene la habilidad de responder y manejar un evento de gran envergadura”, se desprende de la misiva.

    Esta revelación se da minutos después de que la primera ejecutiva del País realizara una conferencia de prensa en la que alentó a la ciudadanía a estar tranquilos ante la llegada de una eventual tormenta esta semana. Vázquez Garced manifestó que su administración estaba preparada para enfrentar el fenómeno atmosférico.

    Sin embargo, entre las deficiencias señalas en la carta se encuentran: la inhabilidad de contratar personal para el Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia del País, falta de contratos de generadores y falta de contratos de comunicación satelital, entre otros.

    Asimismo, Von Essen indicó que su equipo recibía constante comunicación sobre actualizaciones, preocupaciones y planes de acción del entonces comisionado del Negociado para el Manejo de Emergencias y Administración de Desastres (Nmead), José Burgos.

    Además, el funcionario resaltó que el Departamento de Seguridad Pública no goza de su confianza.

    “Es de nuestro entendimiento que de manera regular estas preocupaciones fueron presentadas al secretario [Pedro] Janer. Luego de nuestra conversación con el señor [Antonio] Pabón [secretario de la Gobernación] tal parece que estas conversaciones no fueron transmitidas a La Fortaleza generándole a la Región II de FEMA una falta de confianza en el Departamento de Seguridad Pública del Estado Libre Asociado. Han pasado cuatro semanas desde mi conversación con el señor Pabón y para mi entender ninguna de las observaciones y preocupaciones en la carta se han resuelto y por esto quise levantar estar preocupaciones directamente con usted”, señaló el administrador de la agencia federal.

    Se espera que el fenómeno atmosférico que se avecina comience a sentirse desde la noche de mañana, miércoles, hasta el viernes. Se pronostica que se convertirá en tormenta tropical antes de tocar tierra en Puerto Rico.

    También puede leer: Gobernadora solicita declaración de emergencia para encarar el sistema atmosférico

    De acuerdo al meteorólogo Roberto García, del Servicio Nacional de Meteorología, podrían caer hasta 10 pulgadas de lluvia en la zona central del País y esto causaría inundaciones repentinas extensas, en gran parte de Puerto Rico, y deslizamiento de terrenos. Asimismo, advirtió que las condiciones marítimas serán “bastante peligrosas”.

     

    By: Donald G. McNeil Jr.

    There’s not just one coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Now there are many, each requiring its own mix of solutions 

    Once again, the coronavirus is ascendant. As infections mount across the country, it is dawning on Americans that the epidemic is now unstoppable, and that no corner of the nation will be left untouched.

    As of Tuesday, the pathogen had infected at least 4.3 million Americans, killing almost 150,000. Many experts fear the virus could kill 200,000 or even 300,000 by year’s end. Even President Trump has donned a mask, after resisting for months, and has canceled the Republican National Convention celebrations in Florida.

    Each state, each city has its own crisis driven by its own risk factors: vacation crowds in one, bars reopened too soon in another, a revolt against masks in a third.

    “We are in a worse place than we were in March,” when the virus coursed through New York, said Dr. Leana S. Wen, a former Baltimore health commissioner. “Back then we had one epicenter. Now we have lots.

    To assess where the country is heading now, The New York Times interviewed 20 public health experts — not just clinicians and epidemiologists, but also historians and sociologists, because the spread of the virus is now influenced as much by human behavior as it is by the pathogen itself.

    Not only are American cities in the South and West facing deadly outbreaks like those that struck Northeastern cities in the spring, but rural areas are being hurt, too. In every region, people of color will continue to suffer disproportionately, experts said.

    While there may be no appetite for a national lockdown, local restrictions must be tightened when required, the researchers said, and governors and mayors must have identical goals. Testing must become more targeted.

    In most states, contact tracing is now moot — there are simply too many cases to track. And while progress has been made on vaccines, none is expected to arrive this winter in time to stave off what many fear will be a new wave of deaths.

    Overall, the scientists conveyed a pervasive sense of sadness and exhaustion. Where once there was defiance, and then a growing sense of dread, now there seems to be sorrow and frustration, a feeling that so many funerals never had to happen and that nothing is going well. The United States is a wounded giant, while much of Europe, which was hit first, is recovering and reopeningalthough not to us.

    “We’re all incredibly depressed and in shock at how out of control the virus is in the U.S.,” said Dr. Michele Barry, the director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford University.

    With so much wealth and medical talent, they asked, how could we have done so poorly? How did we fare not just worse than autocratic China and isolated New Zealand, but also worse than tiny, much poorer nations like Vietnam and Rwanda?

    “National hubris and belief in American exceptionalism have served us badly,” said Martha L. Lincoln, a medical anthropologist and historian at San Francisco State University. “We were not prepared to see the risk of failure.”

    What We’ve Learned

    Since the coronavirus was first found to be the cause of lethal pneumonias in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, scientists have gained a better understanding of the enemy.

    It is extremely transmissible, through not just coughed droplets but also a fine aerosol mist that is expelled when people talk loudly, laugh or sing and that can linger in indoor air. As a result, masks are far more effective than scientists once believed.

    Virus carriers with mild or no symptoms can be infectious, and there may be 10 times as many people spreading the illness as have tested positive for it.

    The infection may start in the lungs, but it is very different from influenza, a respiratory virus. In severely ill patients, the coronavirus may attach to receptors inside the veins and arteries, and move on to attack the kidneys, the heart, the gut and even the brain, choking off these organs with hundreds of tiny blood clots.

    Most of the virus’s victims are elderly, but it has not spared young adults, especially those with obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes. Adults aged 18 to 49 now account for more hospitalized cases than people aged 50 to 64 or those 65 and older.

    Children are usually not harmed by the virus, although clinicians were dismayed to discover a few who were struck by a rare but dangerous inflammatory version. Young children appear to transmit the virus less often than teenagers, which may affect how schools can be opened.

    Among adults, a very different picture has emerged. Growing evidence suggests that perhaps 10 percent of the infected account for 80 percent of new transmissions. Unpredictable superspreading events in nursing homes, meatpacking plants, churches, prisons and bars are major drivers of the epidemic.

    Thus far, none of the medicines for which hopes were once high — repurposed malaria drugs, AIDS drugs and antivirals — have proved to be rapid cures. One antiviral, remdesivir, has been shown to shorten hospital stays, while a common steroid, dexamethasone, has helped save some severely ill patients.One or even several vaccines may be available by year’s end, which would be a spectacular achievement. But by then the virus may have in its grip virtually every village and city on the globe.

    Some experts, like Michael T. Osterholm, the director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, argue that only a nationwide lockdown can completely contain the virus now. Other researchers think that is politically impossible, but emphasize that localities must be free to act quickly and enforce strong measures with support from their state capitols.

    Danielle Allen, the director of Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, which has issued pandemic response plans, said that finding less than one case per 100,000 people means a community should continue testing, contact tracing and isolating cases — with financial support for those who need it.

    Up to 25 cases per 100,000 requires greater restrictions, like closing bars and limiting gatherings. Above that number, authorities should issue stay-at-home orders, she said.

    Testing must be focused, not just offered at convenient parking lots, experts said, and it should be most intense in institutions like nursing homes, prisons, factories or other places at risk of superspreading events.

    Testing must be free in places where people are poor or uninsured, such as public housing projects, Native American reservations and churches and grocery stores in impoverished neighborhoods.

    None of this will be possible unless the nation’s capacity for testing, a continuing disaster, is greatly expanded. By the end of summer, the administration hopes to start using “pooling,” in which tests are combined in batches to speed up the process.

    But the method only works in communities with lower infection rates, where large numbers of pooled tests turn up relatively few positive results. It fails where the virus has spread everywhere, because too many batches turn up positive results that require retesting.

    At the moment, the United States tests roughly 800,000 people per day, about 38 percent of the number some experts think is needed.

    Above all, researchers said, mask use should be universal indoors — including airplanes, subway cars and every other enclosed space — and outdoors anywhere people are less than six feet apart.

    Dr. Emily Landon, an infection control specialist at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, said it was “sad that something as simple as a mask got politicized.”

    “It’s not a statement, it’s a piece of clothing,” she added. “You get used to it the way you got used to wearing pants.”

    Arguments that masks infringe on personal rights must be countered both by legal orders and by persuasion. “We need more credible messengers endorsing masks,” Dr. Wen said — just before the president himself became a messenger.

    “They could include C.E.O.s or celebrities or religious leaders. Different people are influencers to different demographics.”

    Although this feels like a new debate, it is actually an old one. Masks were common in some Western cities during the 1918 flu pandemic and mandatory in San Francisco. There was even a jingle: “Obey the laws, wear the gauze. Protect your jaws from septic paws.”

    “A libertarian movement, the Anti-Mask League, emerged,” Dr. Lincoln of San Francisco State said. “There were fistfights with police officers over it.” Ultimately, city officials “waffled” and compliance faded.

    “I wonder what this issue would be like today,” she mused, “if that hadn’t happened.”

    Images of Americans disregarding social distancing requirements have become a daily news staple. But the pictures are deceptive: Americans are more accepting of social distancing than the media sometimes portrays, said Beth Redbird, a Northwestern University sociologist who since March has conducted regular surveys of 8,000 adults about the impact of the virus.

    “About 70 percent of Americans report using all forms of it,” she said. “And when we give them adjective choices, they describe people who won’t distance as mean, selfish or unintelligent, not as generous, open-minded or patriotic.”

    The key predictor, she said in early July, was whether or not the poll respondent trusted Mr. Trump. Those who trusted him were less likely to practice social distancing. That was true of Republicans and independents, “and there’s no such thing as a Democrat who trusts Donald Trump,” she added.

    Whether or not people support coercive measures like stay-at-home orders or bar closures depended on how scared the respondent was.

    “When rising case numbers make people more afraid, they have more taste for liberty-constraining actions,” Dr. Redbird said. And no economic recovery will occur, she added, “until people aren’t afraid. If they are, they won’t go out and spend money even if they’re allowed to.”

    The Danger Indoors

    As of Tuesday, new infections were still rising in 28 states, according to a database maintained by The Times.

    Weeks ago, experts like Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, were advising states where the virus was surging to pull back from reopening by closing down bars, forbidding large gatherings and requiring mask usage.

    Many of those states are finally taking that advice, but it is not yet clear whether this national change of heart has happened in time to stop the newest wave of deaths from ultimately exceeding the 2,750-a-day peak of mid-April. Through Tuesday, the seven-day average was 1,078 virus deaths nationwide.

    Deaths may surge even higher, experts warned, when cold weather, rain and snow force Americans to meet indoors, eat indoors and crowd into public transit.

    Oddly, states that are now hard-hit might become safer, some experts suggested. In the South and Southwest, summers are so hot that diners seek air-conditioning indoors, but eating outdoors in December can be pleasant.

    Several studies have confirmed transmission in air-conditioned rooms. In one well-known case cluster in a restaurant in Guangzhou, China, researchers concluded that air-conditioners blew around a viral cloud, infecting patrons as far as 10 feet from a sick diner.

    Rural areas face another risk. Almost 80 percent of the country’s counties lack even one infectious disease specialist, according to a study led by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

    At the moment, the crisis is most acute in Southern and Southwestern states. But websites that track transmission ratesshow that hot spots can turn up anywhere. For three weeks, for example, Alaska’s small outbreak has been one of the country’s fastest-spreading, while transmission in Texas and Arizona has dramatically slowed.

    Deaths now may rise more slowly than they did in spring, because hospitalized patients are, on average, younger this time. But overwhelmed hospitals can lead to excess deaths from many causes all over a community, as ambulances are delayed and people having health crises avoid hospitals out of fear.

    The experts were divided as to what role influenza will play in the fall. A harsh flu season could flood hospitals with pneumonia patients needing ventilators. But some said the flu season could be mild or almost nonexistent this year.

    Normally, the flu virus migrates from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere in the spring — presumably in air travelers — and then returns in the fall, with new mutations that may make it a poor match for the annual vaccine.

    But this year, the national lockdown abruptly ended flu transmission in late April, according to weekly Fluview reportsfrom the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. International air travel has been sharply curtailed, and there has been almost no flu activity in the whole southern hemisphere this year.

    Assuming there is still little air travel to the United States this fall, there may be little “reseeding” of the flu virus here. But in case that prediction turns out be wrong, all the researchers advised getting flu shots anyway.

    “There’s no reason to be caught unprepared for two respiratory viruses,” said Tara C. Smith, an epidemiologist at Kent State University’s School of Public Health.

    Experts familiar with vaccine and drug manufacturing were disappointed that, thus far, only dexamethasone and remdesivir have proved to be effective treatments, and then only partially.

    Most felt that monoclonal antibodies — cloned human proteins that can be grown in cell culture — represented the best hope until vaccines arrive. Regeneron, Eli Lilly and other drugmakers are working on candidates.

    “They’re promising both for treatment and for prophylaxis, and there are companies with track records and manufacturing platforms,” said Dr. Luciana Borio, a former director of medical and biodefense preparedness at the National Security Council. “But manufacturing capacity is limited.”

    According to a database compiled by The Times, researchers worldwide are developing more than 165 vaccine candidates, and 27 are in human trials.

    New announcements are pouring in, and the pressure to hurry is intense: The Trump administration just awarded nearly $2 billion to a Pfizer-led consortium that promised 100 million doses by December, assuming trials succeed.

    Because the virus is still spreading rapidly, most experts said “challenge trials,” in which a small number of volunteers are vaccinated and then deliberately infected, would probably not be needed.

    Absent a known cure, “challenges” can be ethically fraught, and some doctors oppose doing them for this virus. “They don’t tell you anything about safety,” Dr. Borio said.

    And when a virus is circulating unchecked, a typical placebo-controlled trial with up to 30,000 participants can be done efficiently, she added. Moderna and Pfizer have already begun such trials.

    The Food and Drug Administration has said a vaccine will pass muster even if it is only 50 percent effective. Experts said they could accept that, at least initially, because the first vaccine approved could save lives while testing continued on better alternatives.

    “A vaccine doesn’t have to work perfectly to be useful,” Dr. Walensky said. “Even with measles vaccine, you can sometimes still get measles — but it’s mild, and you aren’t infectious.”

    “We don’t know if a vaccine will work in older folks. We don’t know exactly what level of herd immunity we’ll need to stop the epidemic. But anything safe and fairly effective should help.”

    Still, haste is risky, experts warned, especially when opponents of vaccines are spreading fear. If a vaccine is rushed to marketwithout thorough safety testing and recipients are hurt by it, all vaccines could be set back for years.

    A Focus on People of Color

    No matter what state the virus reaches, one risk remains constant. Even in states with few Black and Hispanic residents, they are usually hit hardest, experts said.

    People of color are more likely to have jobs that require physical presence and sometimes close contact, such as construction work, store clerking and nursing. They are more likely to rely on public transit and to live in neighborhoods where grocery stores are scarce and crowded.

    They are more likely to live in crowded housing and multigenerational homes, some with only one bathroom, making safe home isolation impossible when sickness strikes. They have higher rates of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and asthma.

    Federal data gathered through May 28 shows that Black and Hispanic Americans were three times as likely to get infected as their white neighbors, and twice as likely to die, even if they lived in remote rural counties with few Black or Hispanic residents.

    “By the time that minority patient sets foot in a hospital, he is already on an unequal footing,” said Elaine Hernandez, a sociologist at Indiana University.

    The differences persist even though Black and Hispanic adults drastically altered their behavior. One study found that through the beginning of May, the average Black American practiced more social distancing than the average white American.

    Officials in Chicago, Baltimore and other communities faced another threat: rumors flying about social media that Black people were somehow immune.

    The top factor making people adopt self-protective behavior is personally knowing someone who fell ill, said Dr. Redbird. By the end of spring, Black and Hispanic Americans were 50 percent more likely than white Americans to know someone who had been ill, her surveys found.

    Dr. Hernandez, whose parents live in Arizona, said their neighbors who had not been scared in June had since changed their attitudes.

    Her father, a physician, had set an example. Early on, he wore a mask with a silly mustache when he and his wife took walks, and they would decline friends’ invitations, saying, “No, we’re staying in our bubble.”

    Now, she said, their neighbors are wearing masks, “and people are telling my father, ‘You were right,’” Dr. Hernandez said.

    This Is the Beginning

    There was no widespread agreement among experts about what is likely to happen in the years after the pandemic. Some scientists expected a quick economic recovery; others thought the damage could persist for years.

    Working at home will become more common, some predicted, while crowded, open-plan offices may be changed. The just-in-time supply chains on which many businesses depend will need fixing because the processes failed to deliver adequate protective gear, ventilators and test materials.

    A disease-modeling system like that used by the National Weather Service to predict storms is needed, said Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Right now, the country has surveillance for seasonal flu but no national map tracking all disease outbreaks. As Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, a former C.D.C. director, recently pointed out, states are not even required to track the same data.

    Several experts said they assumed that millions of Americans who have been left without health insurance or forced to line up at food banks would vote for politicians favoring universal health care, paid sick leave, greater income equality and other changes.

    But given the country’s deep political divisions, no researcher was certain what the outcome of the coming election would be.

    Dr. Redbird said her polling of Americans showed “little faith in institutions across the board — we’re not seeing an increase in trust in science or an appetite for universal health care or workers equity.”

    The Trump administration did little to earn trust. More than six months into the worst health crisis in a century, Mr. Trump only last week urged Americans to wear masks and canceled the Republican convention in Florida, the kind of high-risk indoor event that states have been banning since mid-March.

    “It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better,” Mr. Trump said at the first of the resurrected coronavirus task force briefings earlier this month, which included no scientists or health officials. The briefings were discontinued in April amid his rosy predications that the epidemic would soon be over.

    Mr. Trump has ignored, contradicted or disparaged his scientific advisers, repeatedly saying that the virus simply would go away, touting unproven drugs like hydroxychloroquine even after they were shown to be ineffective and sometimes dangerous, and suggesting that disinfectants or lethal ultraviolet light might be used inside the body.

    Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and their health insurance, and are in danger of losing their homes, even as they find themselves in the path of a lethal disease. The Trump presidency “is the symptom of the denigration of science and the gutting of the public contract about what we owe each other as citizens,” said Dr. Joia S. Mukherjee, the chief medical officer of Partners in Health in Boston.

    One lesson that will surely be learned is that the country needs to be better prepared for microbial assaults, said Dr. Julie Gerberding, a former director of the C.D.C.

    “This is not a once-in-a-century event. It’s a harbinger of things to come.”

     

     

     

    People wait in line outside of a COVID-19 testing site during the coronavirus pandemic, Thursday, July 16, 2020, in Opa-locka, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

    Lynne Sladky/AP

    When the coronavirus pandemic began, public health experts had high hopes for the United States. After all, the U.S. literally invented the tactics that have been used for decades to quash outbreaks around the world: Quickly identify everyone who gets infected. Track down everyone exposed to the virus. Test everyone. Isolate the sick and quarantine the exposed to stop the virus from spreading.

    The hope was that a wealthy country like the United States would deploy those tried-and-true measures to rapidly contain the virus — like quickly dousing every ember from a campfire to keep it from erupting into a forest fire.

    Today, that hope has been extinguished — not the fire. A return to more restrictive shutdowns of businesses and public gatherings is likely necessary in many places, public health leaders say, to bring the number of cases low enough that “test, trace and isolate” can be used to douse epidemic embers.

    “Right now we are experiencing a national forest fire of COVID that is readily consuming any human wood that’s available to burn,” says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota

    Testing, contact tracing and isolation are the tactics being used successfully to crush outbreaks in countries such as South Korea and Germany. But those places never had the level of case surges that many U.S. states are now experiencing.

    “When you have something like this happening, there’s no way that traditional testing and tracing is going to have any meaningful impact,” Osterholm says. “I liken it to trying to plant your petunias in the middle of a Category 5 hurricane.”

    Others agree. At this point, there are just too many new infections occurring too quickly for underfunded, understaffed public health departments to effectively use testing and contract tracing, according to Dr. Jeffrey Engel, the senior adviser for the COVID-19 response for the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.

    “It’s just this massive effort,” he says. “It’s just not feasible.”

    That has become especially true because of the long delays in getting the results of coronavirus tests, which can now take days or even weeks because of the surge in demand for testing. By that time, anyone who’s infected could have already spread the virus to other people.

    “I think it’s the right response when you have a nearly controlled epidemic and you’re trying to mop up the spills. But we’re not there in most places,” says Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. “In many places, I think, we’re engaging in collective wishful thinking.”

    Another problem is that test results in the U.S. often don’t include basic information needed to find people who test positive, such as phone numbers and addresses. And even if public health workers can find infected people in time, it’s often difficult to persuade their contacts to quarantine, Engel says.

    “It’s voluntary. And they have other things to do,” Engel says. “They may be essential workers. They may need to get to work. Life takes over.”

    So if testing, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine won’t work, what will?

    “Given our basic failure to fix the gaps in testing and the bottlenecks, that really puts us on a path where there is no viable alternative beyond shutdowns,” says Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

    Now, Nuzzo doesn’t think all hope is lost. If enough people finally start wearing masks, and get vigilant about staying at least 6 feet away from other people, especially indoors, there may still be hope in at least some places of avoiding new shutdowns, she says.

    “I do really worry about forcing an entire state or country to retreat to our homes for extended periods. These are harmful measures in themselves,” Nuzzo says.

    And there may still be some places where the virus may not have yet spread widely, or has been suppressed low enough, for testing and contact tracing to be effective, some say.

    “Hawaii!” wrote Caitlin Rivers of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in an email to NPR. “They have the advantage of being an island, though.”

    Massachusetts has also built an effective public health workforce, she notes.

    And in places that can’t avoid new shutdowns, some hope they won’t have to be as draconian as the first time. Outdoor spaces — such as parks, playgrounds and beaches — could remain open, for example, as long as people wear masks and maintain 6 feet of physical distance from anyone outside their household.

    “We know more about the virus and how it spreads now then we did in the spring,” says Rivers. “So, I think, for jurisdictions that take steps backward toward closing — I don’t think it will have to look like it did in the spring.”

    Other scientists have proposed that lockdowns could be avoided if 95% of the U.S. population would start to wear masks consistently in public. But currently mask usage is much lower than that. And some public health experts doubt masks alone could be enough.

    “The degree to which masking will drop transmission has been unfortunately overstated substantially by a number of people,” Osterholm argues. He points to Hong Kong, which has a big surge despite widespread masking.

    “Use masks. They’re a complementary part of our response. But they’re not going to get us to the level where we can control this virus,” Osterholm says.

    Now, none of this means testing and contact tracing is useless, experts say. Far from it. Indeed, experts say they want to see it continued and expanded. It can be used strategically to determine how to target shutdowns more selectively in situations and locations where the virus is spreading the most. For example, specific bars where people frequently infect each other can be identified and closed.

    Osterholm hopes more measured lockdowns may work in some places too. But he’s skeptical, especially about the hottest of the hot spots.

    “If we want to be like other countries in the world that have successfully contained the virus, then we have got to take the medicine now,” Osterholm says.

    “We will not get there unless we bring this virus level down again. And there’s just no other way to do it literally but a kind of second lockdown,” he says. “And this time let’s get it right.”

    That could knock the virus back enough to let schools safely reopen, get some people back to work, and give the nation time to hopefully, finally get enough tests and hire enough contact tracers. It could help the U.S. get off the current roller-coaster of case surges and regain as least some version of normalcy.

    “Those countries that were on fire last spring and then did a lockdown are now the ones that have been successfully reopening,” Osterholm says. “Their economies are back, they’re enjoying life — and they’re still maintaining control over the virus.”

     

    EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

     

    The Town of Amherst is assisting renters with a one-time grant (up to $3,000.00) towards their rent. This program assists low income renters whose income has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Eligible applicants must be:

    • renters within the Town of Amherst or Village of Williamsville; and,
    • have household income at or below 60% of Erie County’s Area Median Income; and,
    • are unemployed or under-employed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

    Gross Income Limits:

    Family size – Income

    1 – 32,640

    2 – 37,260

    3 – 41,940

    4 – 46,650

    5 – 50,340

    6 -54, 060

    7 – 57,780

    8 – 61,550

    FOR MORE INFORMATION….

    Amherst Community Development

    http://www.amherst.ny.us/etbra

    (716) 631-7053

    APPLY ONLINE at

    http://www.amherst.ny.us/etbra

    Funded by the CARES Act & the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Home Investment Partnerships Program

    *Priority given to households that are homeless or at risk of homelessness (i.e. facing eviction, owe back rent, or inability to pay upcoming rental payments due to lack of income).

     

     

     

     

    On July 17, 2020 The Gabriel A. Rodriguez Legion Post 1928 membership gathered at The Pucho Olivencia Center in Buffalo, NY to install a new board of directors.

    The new board members elected are below:

    Commander- John Acevedo

    First Vice Commander – Benny Rodriguez

    Second Vice Commander – David Rivera

    Sergeant at Arms  – Maria Cruz

    Adjutant- Ricardo Estrada…

    In 1985, the Hispanic community decided to dedicate American Legion Post 1928 in the honor of Gabriel A. Rodriguez who served in military during Vietnam but later took his own life due to untreated PTSD. The community has always remembered Gabriel as a kindhearted community driven man who was suffering from untreated PTSD. At this time, the military did not properly support veterans suffering from this illness and many took their lives as a consequence. The American Legion was also where the Boy Scouts of America held their meetings and the venue was open to the community for special events.

     

    Giovanna L. Claudio-Cotto llegó a la ciudad de Buffalo en la primavera del 1990 a los 7 años de edad.

    Comenzó su jornada educacional en la Escuela 77 con los maestros Srta. Avilez y el Sr. Galarza. Terminó la escuela elemental en Nazareth Lutheran School y culminó sus estudios secundarios en Hutchinson Central Technical High School en el año 2000.

    Luego adquirió su bachillerato en Ciencias Políticas de la Universidad de Buffalo en el 2004. Al terminar su bachillerato, comienza a trabajar como maestra sustituta en las Escuelas Públicas de Buffalo. Allí comienza a crecer un anhelo por mostrarle a la juventud que sí pueden buscar superarse. Es donde toma la decisión de regresar a la universidad y termina su maestría en Enseñanza de Español como Segundo Idioma mientras continúa trabajando como maestra en la Escuela Secundaria McKinley.  En la Escuela Secundaria McKinley se desarrolla como maestra y luego toma un interés en la administración de escuelas. Sus superiores le brindan la oportunidad de servir en varios comités que expanden su experiencia en la escuela y en el Distrito.

    En el 2014, culminó su segunda maestría en Liderazgo Educativo de la Universidad de Buffalo a través del programa LIFTS. En el 2016 comienza como Decana de Estudiantes en la Escuela Superior McKinley. Allí trabaja con las estructuras socio-emocionales, sistemas de referencia y conecciones con agencias comunitarias que brindan ayuda a los estudiantes. En el verano del 2016 asciende en posición como Asistente de Principal en la misma escuela.

    Como Asistente de Principal, Giovanna trabajó arduamente con los profesores buscando maneras de proveer a los estudiantes un currículo relevante que exalte sus experiencias como individuos y conecte su aprendizaje a su cultura. Su trabajo con los estudiantes se giró a través de buscar oportunidades para superarse basado en sus intereses, fuese en carreras cortas o estudios post-secundarios.

    Sirvió como mentora de varios estudiantes en McKinley y a través de la ciudad de Buffalo junto al Instituto de Liderazgo para Jóvenes Hispanos Angelo del Toro, dirigido por Denise Goñez Santos.

    Actualmente, Giovanna fue nombrada Principal de Frederick Law Olmsted School 156 donde va a dirigir programación para estudiantes talentosos, educación en lenguaje dual (Ingles y Español) y educación de estudiantes con necesidades especiales.

    Giovanna es la primera Directora Hispana a nivel secundario en la ciudad de Buffalo, dirigiendo una escuela de quinto grado hasta duodécimo grado. Con todos sus logros, su motivación y orgullo son su familia, especialmente sus hijos Gianna, Nayeli, Isaias y Gian.

    LEGAL NOTICE

    7/24/2020

    TOWN OF HAMBURG

    DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

    “ADVERTISEMENT FOR BIDDERS”

    Sealed Bids Are Hereby Requested For Project 2020 – 01: “Infrastructure Reconstruction”

    all in accordance with specifications on file with the Hamburg Town Clerk’s Office, Hamburg Town Hall, 6100 South Park Avenue, Hamburg, New York 14075. Said specifications may be obtained from the Hamburg Town Clerk during regular business hours, Monday through Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (One (1) “Bid Package” may be collected at no charge. Additional “Bid Packages” can be purchased for $50.00 each. Funds paid for additional Bid Packages will NOT be returned. Checks for additional Bid Packages should be made payable to the: “Hamburg Town Clerk”.

    Said bids will be publicly opened and read aloud in the Hamburg Town Hall conference room at 11:00 a.m. local time (according to the clock within Hamburg Town Clerk’s Office) on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 and thereafter considered by the Town of Hamburg. Attention is called to the fact that Community Development Funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are being used to reconstruct approximately 300 linear feet of road within the Village of Blasdell. Due to the use of federal CDBG funds, compliance with Title VI and other applicable provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Executive Order 11246 (Buffalo Plan); Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 as amended; Section 109 of Order 11625 (Utilization of Minority Business Enterprises); Davis-Bacon and Related Acts is required. “The Town reserves the right to reject all bids and to waive any informalities.”

    Sealed Bids Must Be Marked:

    “2020 INFRASTRUCTURE RECONSTRUCTION”

    Dated: July 24, 2020

    Catherine Rybczynski; Town Clerk

    Town of Hamburg

    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Five months after it kicked New Yorkers out of trusted traveler security programs in a spat over immigration policy, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reversed itself Thursday and told a court it had misrepresented the facts in a lawsuit over the matter.

    The department announced that New Yorkers would once again be allowed to enroll and re-enroll in Global Entry and other federal travel programs that allow vetted travelers to avoid long security lines at airports and the U.S. border.

    President Donald Trump’s administration in February booted New Yorkers from the programs, saying it was taking the action because a newly enacted state law allowing unauthorized immigrants to get driver’s licenses had cut off some federal access to state motor vehicle records.

    In its announcement Thursday, Homeland Security said it was reversing New York’s expulsion from the program because the state legislature in April had amended the law to allow federal officials to access the records of people applying for trusted traveler status.

    But in a court filing later Thursday, attorneys for the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, which had been representing the Department of Homeland Security in the legal fight over the state’s expulsion, disclosed that federal officials had also misled the court about some key facts in the dispute.

    The Trump administration had claimed that New York’s policy limiting access to criminal history information found in motor vehicle records was unique among the states, and made it impossible to determine whether someone qualified for trusted status.

    In truth, several states plus Washington D.C. also don’t provide access to driving history information, the lawyers wrote. And yet all of those states, including California, were allowed to remain in the program.

    “Defendants deeply regret the foregoing inaccurate or misleading statements and apologize to the Court and plaintiffs for the need to make these corrections at this late stage in the litigation,” the government attorneys wrote.

    They also asked the judge to permit them to withdraw motions and briefs that sought dismissal of the lawsuit, filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, and informed the court that New Yorkers were being let back into Trusted Traveler programs “effective immediately.”

    James said in a statement that the removal of the ban was “a victory for travelers, workers, commerce, and our state’s economy.”

    The announcement comes at a time when international travel has been severely curtailed because of the pandemic, and a number of countries have barred U.S. travelers because of the high number of cases in the country.

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who met with Trump at the White House to try to allow New Yorkers to rejoin the program and restart the importation and exportation of vehicles, said the fix protected New Yorkers’ privacy while addressing federal concerns.

    “I am glad that this issue has finally been resolved for all New Yorkers,” he said.

    In its announcement that the state was being readmitted to the program, DHS officials said New York’s amended law, while restoring some federal access, is still “antithetical” to the agency’s mission and data access policies.

    “Nonetheless, local New York law continues to maintain provisions that undermine the security of the American people and purport to criminalize information sharing between law enforcement entities,” Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said.

    CIUDAD DE MÉXICO, 22 jul (Reuters) – China ofreció el miércoles un crédito de 1,000 millones de dólares para apoyar el acceso de los países de Latinoamérica y el Caribe a una vacuna contra el COVID-19 una vez esté lista, dijo la cancillería mexicana en un comunicado.

    Además, el país asiático se comprometió a que la vacuna desarrollada en su territorio sea “un bien público de acceso universal”, en momentos en que la pandemia en la región no cede y los contagios sobrepasaron los cuatro millones.

    Los anuncios fueron hechos luego de una reunión virtual entre el canciller chino, Wang Yi, y sus homólogos de Argentina, Barbados, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, México, Panamá, Perú, República Dominicana, Trinidad y Tobago y Uruguay.

    “El canciller chino destacó que la vacuna desarrollada en su país será un bien público de acceso universal y que su país destinará un préstamo de mil millones de dólares para apoyar el acceso de las naciones de la región al antídoto”, dijo la cancillería mexicana en un comunicado.

    Más de 150 vacunas están siendo desarrolladas a nivel global con el objetivo de ayudar a poner fin a la pandemia que ha causado más de 616.000 muertes alrededor del mundo. Pero aún está por verse si alguna de ellas tendrá éxito.

    Datos iniciales de los ensayos de tres potenciales vacunas contra el COVID-19, incluida una de la empresa china Cansino Biologics, aumentaron la confianza en que el antídoto puede entrenar al sistema inmune para luchar contra el coronavirus sin efectos secundarios graves.

    Sin embargo, la Organización Panamericana de la Salud (OPS) ha dicho que el descubrimiento de una vacuna es apenas el primer paso y que es de vital importancia garantizar su acceso, sobre todo a los países más desfavorecidos y golpeados por la pandemia, como los latinoamericanos.

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