Posts tagged with "Medicine"

SAMI-Aid Offers Free Appointment to Those Affected by Wildfires

California telehealth company wants to ensure people’s health needs are met during historic wildfire crisis

SAMI-Aid, a patient-focused telemedicine platform and healthcare concierge company, announced that it is offering free telehealth appointments to those who have been affected by the wildfires raging across the state of California and other western states. The California-based company saw an opportunity to use its platform to help those who have been affected by the fires.

“As a San Jose-based company, we’ve seen firsthand how this summer’s wildfire season has affected Californians in the Bay Area and across the state,” said Bijan Farhangui, SAMI-Aid Founder and CEO. “Whether you’ve been displaced by the wildfires or aren’t able to visit your doctor’s office due to the poor air quality, we realized we could do something to help ensure people’s health needs were met during this difficult time.”

According to the California Air Resources Board, particulate matter is the largest health concern relating to wildfires. Particles from wildfire smoke can be inhaled into different parts of the lung, potentially resulting in negative lung and heart health effects. Those who suffer from respiratory issues or illnesses have been advised to remain indoors as much as possible while particulate matter from the wildfires remains a concern.

“Patients in need of prescriptions, medical advice, or regular behavioral health consultations should not have to sacrifice their health and wellbeing because of the wildfires,” added Farhangui. “Our telemedicine platform can help Californians get the health services they need in a safe and easy way.”

Those who have been affected by the California wildfires can call SAMI-Aid at 844-726-4243 to redeem the code for a free consultation through their telehealth platform. SAMI-Aid offers on-demand access to medical professionals of a variety of specialties including general physicians as well as mental and behavioral health specialists. SAMI-Aid also recently launched its new at-home COVID-19 testing program where patients can confirm their COVID-19 status from the safety and convenience of their own home. More information is available at samiaid.com.

About SAMI-Aid:

Founded in 2014, SAMI-Aid is an online healthcare concierge platform that features a searchable medical procedure pricing database, a dedicated call center for patient support, and 24/7 access to telemedicine doctors and nurses. Its platform is secure, HIPAA-compliant, user-friendly, and mobile-friendly, offering members 24/7 access to doctors and nurses, and exclusive medical pricing information which helps them save money on care. Based in San Jose, California, SAMI-Aid serves the entire US. The acronym SAMI stands for Smart Affordable Medical Information. For more information, visit samiaid.com.

Jean Button illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

Covid-19 on Clothes

By Eamonn Burke

As a relatively new virus, new information is coming out about Covid-19 every day. While much is known, such as the fact that it spreads through air and is most dangerous to the elderly, there is much that remains unknown.

One of these unanswered questions is that if clothing: can the coronavirus survive on clothing? What we do know from evidence is that the virus can in fact live on other surfaces like plastic and steel for up to nine days. There is no evidence, however, that answers the question about clothes.

What we do know is that viruses similar to Covid – MERS, SARS – do not survive on clothes, as they are porous surfaces that can trap the virus and dry it out. A study from Johns Hopkins Medicine corroborates this, finding the probability of the virus being transferred through clothing is low. However, another study did find that the virus can live on shoes.

While the most important protective measures against COVID-19 remain social distancing and wearing masks, the CDC still recommends to air on the side of caution and wash clothes, specifically on the warmest setting to dry them out. The findings also pose issue for companies who need to handle clothing returns. Many large companies like Macy’s and Gap have amended their return policies to consider this, but it is also important for small businesses to do the same.

Covid and health illustration

Oxford Vaccine Shows Promising Signs

By Eamonn Burke

A vaccine developed by The University of Oxford in the UK and major pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has shown early signs of being a potential success. According to data posted today in The Lancet medical journal, a strong immune response was invoked by early testing of the vaccine in a large human trial of over 1,000 participants.

The vaccine, named ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, produced higher levels of antibodies and T-cells that fight the virus, according to the data. In other words, “We’re stimulating both arms of the immune system,” says Oxford’s head of the Jenner Institute Adrian Hill.

By no means does this data guarantee an effective vaccine, but human testing is a major step in the right direction, especially one with positive results. Another good sign is the lack of serious side effects, with most volunteers only reporting fatigue, headache, and soreness at the injection site. Big questions that remain, however, are how the body will react once infected, and if someone can get infected again.

AstraZenaca has received support from the U.S., pledging $1.2 billion dollars to vaccine work, and from the U.K., who has made a deal for 90 million doses of it. It is one of over 100 being developed globally, with 23 in the human trial phase. One of them is Moderna’s, which also showed promising signs in data last week and is set to start a Phase 3 of development on July 27.

Doctor illustration

Nurse Hospitalized Despite Negative COVID Test

By Eamonn Burke

Heather Valentine, a 24 year old ICU nurse in Houston, is now in the ICU with a case of the novel coronavirus. After noticing heightened exhaustion during her shifts and later a fever and cough, she got an antibody test. She came back negative, but according to the CDC these tests can be wrong around 50% of the time. A viral test for COVID, taken the next day, also came back negative. Her doctor, however, asked her to come in for a CT scan, and based on these results he was certain that she had the illness.

Initially skeptical that she had the virus, Valentine now spreads an important message. “You never think it’s going to happen to you, but I’m a perfect example,” she said. “Take every precaution, wear a mask, don’t go out if you don’t have to, it’s not worth it.”

This comes as Texas sees one of the worst bouts of COVID-19 in the world, seeing new records in cases daily. The hospitals are overrun and running out of supplies, as are many others across the country with the recent surge of the coronavirus across the nation.

Cannabis and Quality of Life

Improving Life Quality with CBD

There are many different things that contribute to our quality of life, and sometimes you may find that your life quality starts to wane as a result of these things. For instance, things such as not getting enough sleep, being in pain, or always feeling low can all have a negative impact on your quality of life. They can also affect key aspects of your life such as your focus, your work, relationships, and health among other things.

The good news is that there are solutions that can help with these problems, and this includes the use of CBD products. CBD has gained a lot of positive press and popularity over recent years, and changes in legislation have made these products even more accessible. You can also choose from many different products to suit your needs such as CBD oil or CBD edibles. Many people take CBD because it makes a stark difference to their life quality, and in this article, we will look at how CBD does this.

Improvements You Can Look Forward To

One of the reasons CBD has become so popular is because it can improve your quality of life in so many ways. Some of the ways in which it can help to achieve better life quality are:

Improving Your Sleep

One of the things that CBD can help with is improving your sleep, and this in turn can then improve your health and quality of life. Lack of sleep can have a huge negative impact on your life, so you need to get the right amount of sleep on a regular basis. By increasing serotonin levels, CBD can help to regular your sleep patterns, which means you can look forward to plenty of rest to recharge your body and mind.

Dealing with Pain and Inflammation

Many people take CBD oil for pain, as it has been proven to be an excellent painkiller as well as a very effective anti-inflammatory. Many believe that it could become a big player in the future of painkillers, and many have found it to be hugely effective. So, if you have problems with pain and inflammation due to injuries or health conditions, this could prove highly beneficial. Reducing pain and inflammation will help to boost your quality of life considerably.

Helping You to Relax

When you find it hard to switch off and relax, it can leave you feeling really stressed and uptight. This can then impact your general health and your mental wellbeing. CBD is a great way to help you to unwind and relax, which can then benefit your overall wellbeing and improve your quality of life as a result.

Boosting Your Mood

We all feel low from time to time, but some more often than others. If you fall into the latter group, it can really affect your life. However, CBD can boost serotonin levels, which can then boost your mood. This then has a positive impact on your life quality.

These are some of the ways in which CBD can help to improve your quality of life.

Covid and health illustration

PFCD × Antimicrobial Resistance

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) today announced a new initiative to advance awareness on the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR, aka “superbugs”) and to drive action for policy changes to address the threat AMR poses to our health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2.8 million drug-resistant infections occur in the U.S. each year and more than 35,000 people die as a result. The COVID-19 crisis has increased public awareness on the importance of having the right treatments available to treat public health crises as they arise. The threat of AMR looms large as an existing and growing public health need.

In addition to educating and drawing attention to AMR as a pressing public health issue, the Partnership to Fight Infectious Disease (PFID) will:

* Advocate for policy changes to encourage research and development of new treatments and therapies for infectious diseases, * Motivate broad change in the way antimicrobial treatments (e.g. antibiotics, antifungals) are developed, distributed, and consumed, and * Reinforce awareness about the value of antimicrobial treatments, the impact to the practice of modern medicine, and the threat to individual health.

“The launch of PFID is an extension of PFCD’s work for over a decade to advance a vision for a healthier future. The significant impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic on the millions of Americans living with one or more chronic conditions is a long-overdue wake-up call that demands an answer,” stated PFCD Chairman Ken Thorpe. “PFCD stands committed to our goals of addressing the burden of chronic disease, motivating calls for change, and challenging policymakers to create sustainable progress for both chronic and infectious disease threats that exact a heavy human and economic toll in America.”

According to a recent national poll of 1,000 likely voters, there is considerable urgency around and support of policy changes on issues related to AMR.

“The level of concern voters have about antimicrobial resistance is intense and remarkably consistent across the country,” said Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners. “They want this issue to be a high priority for policymakers.”

When presented with some background on AMR, 85 percent of respondents said they were very or somewhat concerned about the issue and 76 percent believe that the development of new antibiotics should be a top or high priority.

More than 50 percent of respondents strongly agree that the government, universities, and drug companies need to all work together to deal with antimicrobial resistance. The strongest predictor of concern for this issue is if a voter has been impacted by COVID-19.

Fifty-nine percent of those who have been seriously impacted by COVID-19 are much more likely to say they are very concerned about AMR, and are also more likely to feel the development of new antibiotics should be a top or high priority (87%) compared to those who haven’t been seriously impacted (64%).

Levels of concern were notably higher among people of color and older Americans, those most impacted by the current pandemic. Further, supporting a candidate who makes the development of new antibiotics a priority was a likelihood for many, and a strong majority believe investment in antibiotics is too low.

“Everyone needs antibiotics to work, whether you are living with chronic disease, are having a routine surgery or undergoing cancer treatment or dialysis. Antibiotics are the safety net of modern medicine, and every procedure becomes more dangerous if we lose them,” said Kevin Outterson, Executive Director of CARB-X, a global non-profit partnership that funds the early development of new antibiotics, vaccines, and rapid diagnostics urgently need to treat superbugs. “There are solutions. We need to invest in new antibiotics to address drug-resistant pathogens.”

While the causes for the existing shortfall are many, the PFID initiative will prioritize prevention and translate knowledge into action by stakeholders across the health care continuum – patients, providers, employers, policymakers, payers, pharmaceutical companies, and many others. In doing so, the end goal is to cultivate collaboration among both public and private stakeholders to expand education and awareness of the issues and related impact areas, and to encourage and support innovation and development of quality treatments and therapies that can address the health threats of today and protect patients at large into the future.

“Without effective antibiotics many of the advances of modern medicine are in jeopardy. We must curtail the overuse and misuse of antibiotics that is driving the development of resistance and invest in new antibiotics that can treat superbugs. IDSA welcomes the PFID partnership to help drive the policy changes we need,” stated Amanda Jezek, Senior Vice President, Public Policy and Government Relations, Infectious Diseases Society of America.

For more information about the PFID and efforts to address AMR throughout the U.S. and across the globe, click HERE.

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is an international coalition of hundreds of patient, provider, community, business, and labor groups, and health policy experts, committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability and rising health care costs: chronic disease.

Entrepreneur Of The Year

Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is named EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2020 

Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson of India-based Biocon Limited, was this evening named EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2020 at a ground-breaking, virtual award ceremony. Kiran was picked from among 46 award winners from 41 countries and territories vying for the world title. In the award’s 20-year history, Kiran becomes the third EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winner from India. She follows former Indian world title winners Uday Kotak of Kotak Mahindra Bank (2014) and Narayana Murthy of Infosys Technologies Limited (2005). She also becomes the second woman to hold the title, following Olivia Lum of Hyflux Limited from Singapore in 2011.

Kiran, 67, founded Biocon, a bio-enzymes company, in 1978 with just two employees and $500. Since its inception, Biocon has grown to employ more than 11,000 people and become one of the strongest innovation-driven biotechnology companies in Asia with revenues of $800m for FY19. Biocon and its subsidiaries are making a lasting impact on global health care. Millions of people living with diabetes now have access to affordable insulin, while millions more who are battling cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and other debilitating diseases now have access to affordable biosimilars.

Manny Stul, Chairman and Co-CEO of Moose Toys and Chair of the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year judging panel, says, “Kiran is an inspirational entrepreneur who demonstrates that determination, perseverance and a willingness to innovate can create long-term value. The judging panel were impressed by her ability to build and sustain growth over the past 30 years and by her integrity and passion for philanthropy that has delivered huge global impact. She has built India’s largest biopharmaceutical company on a foundation of compassionate capitalism and putting patient needs before profits.”

Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson of Biocon Limited, says, “At its core, entrepreneurship is about solving problems. The greatest opportunities often arise at the toughest times, and that’s been my experience throughout my entrepreneurial journey. My business focus is global health care and the provision of universal access to life saving medicine; however, my responsibility as an entrepreneur is greater than simply delivering value to shareholders. Wealth creation can be a catalyst for change, and all entrepreneurs have a responsibility to the world around them and the communities in which they operate. Women also play a hugely important role in economic development, and for too long their contribution has been ignored. It’s important that we use the platform of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year to encourage more women to participate in entrepreneurial pursuits. I’m truly honored to receive this prestigious award.”

Carmine Di Sibio, EY Global Chairman and CEO, says, “Entrepreneurs are the unstoppable visionaries who inspire innovation and fuel growth and prosperity by building remarkable companies and services. Kiran’s passion to develop low-cost, cutting-edge pharmaceutical alternatives has brought affordable health care to patient communities all around the world. Her drive to innovate has created huge growth for Biocon Limited and helped diversify the company’s portfolio of therapies for chronic diseases. Kiran is a truly inspiring EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year winner.”

Stasia Mitchell, EY Global Entrepreneurship Leader, says, “With an exceptional record in creating long-term value, Kiran’s clear vision of making a difference to the lives of millions of people around the world make her a worthy EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year winner. Her impact on improving global health access and affordability will endure for decades to come. She is a beacon for other entrepreneurs to follow.”

About Dr. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Biocon Limited
A first-generation entrepreneur, Kiran graduated as a Master Brewer from a brewing school in Australia and returned to her native India in 1975 to find work as a brew master. After two years of unsuccessfully trying to overcome the hurdles of entering a male-dominated brewing industry, Kiran started Biocon Limited, producing bio-industrial enzymes in the garage of her rented house in Bengaluru, India. A year later, Biocon became the first Indian company to export enzymes to the US and Europe.

Now, Biocon and its subsidiaries are the pioneers in areas less frequented by Indian pharmaceuticals companies, including fermentation-based small molecules, human insulin and insulin analogs, biosimilars for key antibody drugs, novel therapies, and high-end contract research services. With customers in over 120 countries, the company is a world leader in biosimilars and APIs for statins, immunosuppressants and other specialty molecules. In 2014, Biocon was India’s first biotech company to go public and only the second Indian company to pass the US$1b mark on its first day of listing. The company’s market capitalization is currently over US$4b.

Biocon is also leading the way on universal access to affordable life-saving medicine. For example, in September 2019, the company announced that it would supply rh-insulin at less than US$0.10 per day (for the average 40 units of insulin required per patient per day) to low- and middle-income countries — less than a third of current rh-insulin prices. The company has supplied more than 2 billion affordable doses of biosimilar insulins to patients globally in the last 15 years.

Compassionate capitalism that addresses inequality is at the center of Kiran’s business and leadership philosophy. Founded in 2004, the Biocon Foundation provides basic health care, sanitation and early diagnosis and treatment of common cancers and non-communicable diseases to marginalized communities. Kiran has also been an angel investor for numerous successful health care startups in areas such as affordable breast cancer screening, chemotherapy determination, and low-cost warming devices for premature and low-birth-weight babies. The Mazumdar Shaw Center for Translational Research, a nonprofit research institute established by Kiran and dedicated to developing scientific breakthroughs for treating a wide range of human diseases, has also developed several advanced yet affordable cancer diagnostics. In 2016, Kiran signed The Giving Pledge, committing 75% of her wealth to philanthropy and giving back.

10 Books Every Nursing Student Should Read

When preparing for a new career, having up to date information is essential.

Whether you’re a seasoned nurse with mastery over a lot of skills or you’re a newbie just embarking on a new career path, these ten books are a must-read for every nurse.

They can play an instrumental role in helping you plan your career.

1. What I Wish I Knew About Nursing: Real Advice From Real Nurses on How Deeply Care for Patients While Still Caring for Yourself

This book details some first-time experiences of past nurses.

These real-life stories are both encouraging and inspirational and will reveal some of the lesser-known facts about the profession you won’t get in any of your classes.

2. The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age

In today’s modern age of digital devices, healthcare has changed in many surprising ways.

Before you start working towards getting your family nurse practitioner degree, it would be worth taking the time to take a look at the faster processes and streamline methods the digital world has to offer. 

3. Cooked: An Inner City Nursing Memoir

In this non-fiction book, the writer gives some details about the life of a nurse working in a clinical facility on the west side of Chicago.

She outlines her experience as a new nurse and how she dealt with the stresses of the industry to give you a rare insider’s view of this industry.

4. Care Coordination: The Game Changer – How Nursing Is Revolutionizing Quality Care

Dr. Gerrie Lamb discusses the importance of coordinating under the Affordable Care Act.

Written from a view of more than 20 of the nation’s foremost healthcare programs and professional institutions giving their perspectives, the reader gets valuable insight into what’s in store for new nurses entering the field.

5. Nursing Leadership From The Outside In

This book offers valuable tidbits of information from those who have to interact with nurses regularly.

Those in other disciplines give you their perspective on nursing leadership. While, as a nurse, you will have to master many skills, the interactions and relationships you develop with those you have to work with will be equally important.

6. Ross and Wilson Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness

In this book on human physiology, you not only learn about the anatomy of the human body, but you also get an inside look at what happens to physiology when the patient suffers through various ailments.

7. I Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse

Here, you get an inside view from a wide range of first time nursing experiences with frank and honest opinions on why they kept going despite everything.

These stories tell of the ups and downs that all nurses face and help you to find ways to deal with burnout, bureaucratic red tape, and how to balance professionalism with empathy.

8. Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis

Dr. Sanders of the New York Times and the genius behind the show Diagnosis, has compiled a collection of mysterious cases and what it took to diagnose them.

She explains how getting to the root of a problem doesn’t always involve technical equipment but sometimes only needs to listen to a patient’s details and match them with similar cases around the world.

9. Compilations: A Surgeon’s Notes On An Imperfect Science

Here, you get a close-up view of a surgeon’s experiences and interactions while working.

He points out the advantages and disadvantages he has to deal with, giving you a balanced view of what it’s like for anyone engaged in that particular field.

10. Operation Flight Nurse: Real-Life Medical Emergencies

In emergencies, acute care nursing is usually the first one in the case.

In the examples listed in this book, readers get a close-up view of what happens in real-life medical emergencies.

Dr. Kaniecki details examples from his own experience dealing with critical care conditions and experiences.

No matter where you are in your pursuit of a nursing career, head to the nearest bookstore to get these books to motivate yourself.

They will help you to see exactly what’s happening in your chosen profession, so you can get a real picture of what to expect when starting out.

Rice University on COVID-19

Rice U. experts available to discuss COVID-19’s wide-ranging impact

As the COVID-19 pandemic grows and impacts the lives of people across the globe, Rice University experts are available to discuss various topics related to the disease.

Joyce Beebefellow in public finance at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, can discuss paid leave programs.

“COVID-19 highlights the importance of paid (sick) leave programs to workers,” she said. “The issue is not whether we should have a paid leave program; it is how to design a program that provides nationwide coverage to all American workers instead of waiting until the next pandemic.”

Robert Bruce, dean of Rice’s Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, is an expert in online and distance learning, community education and engagement and innovative models for personal and professional development programs.

“The field of continuing and professional studies is uniquely positioned to help the public during a crisis that requires social distancing,” he said. “Our core mission is to empower people to continue to learn and advance, regardless of location or age or learning style.”

Utpal Dholakia, a professor of marketing at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business, is available to discuss consumer behavior and panic-buying during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone is panic-buying, not just all over the country, but basically all over the world,” Dholakia said. “That makes the sense of urgency even more. Are all these suppliers going to be able to keep up with the demand?”

John Diamond, the Edward A. and Hermena Hancock Kelly Fellow in Tax Policy at the Baker Institute and an adjunct assistant professor in Rice’s Department of Economics, can discuss the economic impact on Houston and Texas, particularly unemployment.

Elaine Howard Ecklund, the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences, professor in sociology and director of Rice’s Religion and Public Life Program, studies the intersection of science and religion. She can discuss how these two entities can work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and recently authored an editorial about this topic for Time magazine. It is available online HERE.

Christopher Fagundes, an associate professor in the department of psychological sciences, is available to discuss the link between mental and immune health.

“In my field, we have conducted a lot of work to look at what predicts who gets colds and different forms of respiratory illnesses, and who is more susceptible to getting sick,” Fagundes said. “We’ve found that stressloneliness and lack of sleep are three factors that can seriously compromise aspects of the immune system that make people more susceptible to viruses if exposed. Also, stress, loneliness and disrupted sleep promote other aspects of the immune system responsible for the production of proinflammatory cytokines to overrespond. Elevated proinflammatory cytokine production can generate sustained upper respiratory infection symptoms.”

And while this research has centered on different cold and upper respiratory viruses, he said “there is no doubt” that these effects would be the same for COVID-19.

Mark Finley is a fellow in energy and global oil at the Baker Institute.

“The U.S. and global oil market is simultaneously grappling with the biggest decline in demand ever seen (due to COVID-19) and a price war between two of the world’s largest producers, Russia and Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Bill Fulton, director of Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, an urban planner, an expert on local government and the former mayor of Ventura, California, can speak to both the short-term and long-term changes in city life and the way government works.

What will the effect be on transportation and transit? Retail and office space? Will people walk and bike more? How will they interact in public spaces in the future? How will government function and hold public meetings during the crisis, and will this fundamentally alter the way government interacts with the public in the long run? How will local governments deal with the inevitable revenue loss — and, in the long run, with the fact that they will probably have less sales tax?

Vivian Ho, the James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics, director for the Center of Health and Biosciences at the Baker Institute and a professor of economics, can discuss insurance coverage as families experience lost income and jobs during the crisis.

“Policymakers should temporarily expand subsidies for middle class workers who buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace,” Ho said. “Families experiencing lost income due to the pandemic shouldn’t have to worry about losing access to health care in the midst of a pandemic.”

“Hospitals in states that did not expand Medicaid coverage to able-bodied adults under the Affordable Care Act are bearing tougher financial burdens, which may damage their ability to respond to the current health crisis,” she said.

Mark Jones, a professor of political science and fellow at the Baker Institute, is available to discuss how the spread of COVID-19 is impacting elections, including runoffs in Texas.

“COVID-19 has already resulted in the postponement of local elections originally scheduled for May 2, with the elections now to be held in November with current officeholders’ tenure extended until their successors are confirmed in November,” Jones said. “It is increasingly likely that COVID-19 will affect the Democratic and Republican primary runoff elections scheduled for May 26, with a growing possibility that the elections will be conducted entirely via mail ballots or at the minimum will involve the adoption of no-excuse absentee voting whereby any Texan, not just those 65 or older, hospitalized or out of the county, will be able to obtain an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

“The emergency adoption of no-excuse absentee voting would change the composition of the May primary runoff electorate by expanding turnout among many voters who otherwise would have been unlikely to participate, as well as increase pressure on the Texas Legislature to reform the state’s electoral legislation to allow for no-excuse absentee voting when it reconvenes in January of 2021 for the next regular session.”

Danielle King, an assistant professor of psychological sciences and principal investigator of Rice’s WorKing Resilience Lab, is an expert on the topic of resilience to adversity. Her research focuses on understanding the role individuals, groups and organizations play in fostering adaptive sustainability following adversity. She can discuss how individuals can remain resilient and motivated in difficult circumstances.

“Though we are still in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can begin to enact adaptive practices that foster resilience such as remaining flexible to changing circumstances, practicing acceptance of the present realities, seeking social support in creative ways while practicing social distancing, and finding and engaging with experiences and thoughts that elicit positive emotions during trying times,” King said.

Tom Kolditz, founding director of Rice’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders, is a social psychologist and former brigadier general who has done extensive research on how best to lead people under perceived serious threat. His work is widely taught at military service and police academies globally, and he did extensive work with the banking industry during the 2008 financial crisis. His expertise is in articulating what people need from leaders in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times and what leaders must do to gain and maintain people’s trust. His book, “In Extremis Leadership: Leading As If Your Life Depended On It,” teaches people to lead in crisis, when people are anxious or afraid.

“Leadership when people are under threat hinges far less on managerial principles, and far more on trust,” Kolditz said. “Whether in a company or their own family, people who lead in the same way now as they did two months ago will experience a significant decline in their influence.”

Jim Krane, the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies at the Baker Institute, is an expert on energy geopolitics and Middle East economies and societies. He can comment on the effect on OPEC and its production decisions, relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia, and how low oil prices will affect policy inside producer countries.

Ken Medlock, the James A. Baker III and Susan G. Baker Fellow in Energy and Resource Economics at the Baker Institute, senior director of institute’s Center for Energy Studies and an adjunct professor and lecturer in Rice’s Department of Economics, can discuss COVID-19’s impact on oil prices and the oil industry.

Kirsten Ostherr, the Gladys Louise Fox Professor of English and director of Rice’s Medical Futures Lab, can discuss the representation of outbreaks, contagion and disease in public discourse and the media. She is also an expert on digital health privacy. She is the founding director of the Medical Humanities program at Rice, and her first book, “Cinematic Prophylaxis: Globalization and Contagion in the Discourse of World Health,” is one of several titles made available for open-access download through June 1 by its publisher, Duke University Press.

Peter Rodriguez, dean of the Jones Graduate School of Business and a professor of strategic management, can discuss the economic impact of COVID-19 in Houston, the state of Texas and around the world.

Eduardo Salas, professor and chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences, is available to discuss collaboration, teamwork, team training and team dynamics as it relates to COVID-19.

“We often hear that ‘we are in this together’ and, indeed, we are,” Salas said. “Effective collaboration and teamwork can save lives. And there is a science of teamwork that can provide guidance on how to manage and promote effective collaboration.”

Kyle Shelton, deputy director of the Kinder Institute, can discuss how the economic impact of COVID-19 closures and job losses can amplify housing issues, and why governments at every level are opting for actions such as halting evictions and foreclosures and removing late fees. He can also speak to some of the challenges confronted by public transportation, why active transportation like biking and walking are so important now, and how long-term investments in these systems make cities and regions more adaptive and resilient.

Bob Stein, the Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of Political Science and a fellow in urban politics at the Baker Institute, is an expert in emergency preparedness, especially related to hurricanes and flooding. He can also discuss why and when people comply with government directives regarding how to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, and the political consequences of natural disasters.

“Since God is not on the ballot, who do voters hold accountable before and in the aftermath of natural disasters?” he said.

Laurence Stuart, an adjunct professor in management at Rice Business, can discuss unemployment in Texas, how people qualify for it and what that means for employers and employees.

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,962 undergraduates and 3,027 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for lots of race/class interaction and No. 4 for quality of life by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

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Coronavirus × Weather’s Impact

Daily coronavirus briefing: Global mortality rate for COVID-19 is 3.4%, WHO says

Weather and its potential impact on how COVID-19 behaves has remained a consistent focus since the outbreak erupted.

Coronavirus, officially recognized as COVID-19, took less than three months to travel around the world. After surfacing in late 2019, the virus has spread to more than 50 countries and claimed thousands of lives. After weeks of slowly spreading around the United States, the first American fatality from the virus occurred outside Seattle, Washington in King County just before the calendar flipped to March. As of Wednesday, nine deaths were blamed on the COVID-19 in the U.S., all in Washington state.

While the World Health Organization (WHO) has avoided deeming the virus a pandemic, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “This virus has pandemic potential.”

Weather and its potential impact on how COVID-19 behaves has remained a consistent focus since the outbreak erupted.

Spreading Coronavirus
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, alongside Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist and the MERS-CoV technical lead for the WHO Health Emergencies Programme. (WHO)

Hong Kong University pathology professor John Nicholls said that he suspected three factors would potentially kill the virus, according to the transcript of a private conference call in early February.

“Three things the virus does not like: 1. Sunlight, 2. Temperature, and 3. Humidity,” Nicholls said in remarks that were leaked on social media. “The virus can remain intact at 4 degrees (39 degrees Fahrenheit) or 10 degrees (50 F) … But at 30 degrees (86 degrees F) then you get inactivation.”

The CDC has cautioned that not enough is known about the virus to say for sure that weather will affect the spread, but a spokesperson said, “I’m happy to hope that it [the threat] goes down as the weather warms up.”

As experts work toward a better understanding, the world shudders in fear of the unknown, a worry that has rocked global financial markets. In what was the worst financial week since 2008 in the U.S., jitters sent the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all plunging on Feb. 23. The markets rebounded a bit on Monday, March, 2, but volatility remained high through Tuesday’s trading session.

Here are the latest updates, listed in eastern time, and the most important things you need to know about coronavirus.

** March 4, 12:16 p.m.
During a press conference on Wednesday morning, officials declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles county in response to the coronavirus. This will help to open up funding from the state to combat the virus. This announcement came shortly after six new cases were reported in the county. “I want to reiterate this is not a response rooted in panic,” L.A. County supervisor Kathryn Barger said, according to The Los Angeles Times. “We need every tool at our disposal.”

** March 4, 11:29 a.m.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state has risen to six.

Cuomo said the four new cases are tied to a 50-year-old man from New Rochelle, a New York City suburb about 20 miles northeast of Manhattan in Westchester County. Officials said on Tuesday this was the second confirmed patient in the state.

The patient’s wife, two of his children and the neighbor who drove the man to the hospital are the latest confirmed to have the virus. The man remains hospitalized while his family is quarantined in their home.

On Tuesday, officials said the man, a lawyer who works in Manhattan, had not traveled to any of the countries where the number of COVID-19 cases is the highest, indicating this was a case of community spread.

Cuomo also said students with the State University of New York and the City University of New York that were studying abroad in China, Italy, Japan, Iran or South Korea were being transported home. Upon arrival they will be quarantined for 14 days.

“Remember: We have been expecting more cases & we are fully prepared,” Cuomo said. “There is no cause for undue anxiety.”

** March 4, 9:55 a.m.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. climbed past 125 on Wednesday, with 9 fatalities blamed on the virus — all in Washington state. It’s not time to panic, but being vigilant is always wise. Here’s a reminder on what coronavirus symptoms to look out for, according to the WHO.

Fever is a symptom in 90% of COVID-19 cases

70% of cases include a dry cough as a symptom

Symptoms usually do not include a runny nose

** March 4, 9:41 a.m.
The COVID-19 global mortality rate is 3.4%, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus told reporters at a press conference in Geneva on Tuesday. “Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died. By comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected,” he said.

** March 4, 9:20 a.m.
Italy’s government will close all of the country’s schools and universities from Thursday until mid-March as a result of the virus, according to a report from Italian newswire service ANSA.

Italy has reported more than 2,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the death toll in the country stands at 79. Only China, South Korea and Iran have a higher number of cases.

** March 4, 8 a.m.
After being closed for three days due to fears about the spread of COVID-19, Paris’ famed Louvre Museum reopened on Wednesday.

According to The Associated Press, museum employees voted to return to work on Wednesday after the museum’s management presented several new “anti-virus” measures. This includes wider distributions of disinfectants and more frequent staff rotations so employees can wash their hands, the AP said.

The Louvre is said to be the world’s most visited museum and in 2019 attracted more than 9.6 million visitors. The museum’s website states that about 25% of its visitors in 2019 were French, with “visitors from other countries representing almost three-quarters of total attendance.” Weather in Paris for the next week will be mostly rainy and chilly, according to the AccuWeather forecast.

** March 4, 7:42 a.m.
An Amazon employee in Seattle has tested positive for COVID-19.

“We’re supporting the affected employee who is in quarantine,” a company spokesperson told Reuters. The company also said two employees in Milan, Italy were infected and in quarantine.

In total, Washington state has 27 cases of COVID-19, the most of any state in the U.S., and all of the U.S. fatalities have occurred in Washington.

** March 4, 6:40 a.m.
Here are the latest updated numbers from around the world according to Johns Hopkins University:

Total confirmed cases: 93,455

Total deaths: 3,198

Total recovered: 50,743

Tuesday’s 2,500 new cases was the largest jump globally in new confirmed cases since Feb. 14.

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