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US health officials urge Americans to prepare for spread of coronavirus

first_imgTopics : The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday alerted Americans to begin preparing for the spread of coronavirus in the United States after infections surfaced in several more countries.The announcement signaled a change in tone for the Atlanta-based US health agency, which had largely been focused on efforts to stop the virus from entering the country and quarantining individuals traveling from China.”The data over the past week about the spread in other countries has raised our level of concern and expectation that we are going to have community spread here,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the CDC’s head of respiratory diseases, told reporters on a conference call. What is not known, she said, is when it will arrive and how severe a US outbreak might be. “Disruption to everyday life might be severe” and businesses, schools and families should begin having discussions about the possible impact from the spread of the virus, Messonnier cautioned.In a teleconference later on Tuesday, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s principal deputy director, said that while the immediate risk in the United States was low, the current global situation suggested a pandemic was likely.”It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when and how many people will be infected,” Schuchat said.Separately, US Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar told a Senate subcommittee there will likely be more cases in the United States, and he asked lawmakers to approve $2.5 billion in funding to fight the outbreak after proposing cuts to the department’s budget.center_img “While the immediate risk to individual members of the American public remains low, there is now community transmission in a number of countries, including outside of Asia, which is deeply concerning,” Azar said, adding that recent outbreaks in Iran and Italy were particularly worrying.Believed to have originated from illegal wildlife sold in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, the new coronavirus has infected some 80,000 people and killed close to 2,700 in China.Although the World Health Organization says the epidemic has peaked in China, coronavirus cases have surfaced in about 30 other countries, with some three dozen deaths reported, according to a Reuters tally.Growing outbreaks in Iran, Italy and South Korea have raised concerns that coronavirus will surface in other nations and worsen in those that have already reported infections, further denting a global economy that had already been hit by a dependence on China.Global and US stock markets fell sharply again on Tuesday, as investors feared the epidemic would further damage an already slowing world economy.The White House’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said the US economy would be able to ride out any disruption from the global spread of coronavirus, adding that he did not expect the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates to blunt the disease’s economic impact.US Senator Chuck Schumer, however, said Republican President Donald Trump and his administration had been caught “flat-footed” and lacked a comprehensive plan to deal with the coronavirus. He called for at least $3.1 billion in additional funding to fight it.”The Trump administration has shown towering and dangerous incompetence when it comes to the coronavirus,” said Schumer, the Senate’s top Democrat. “Mr. President, you need to get your act together now. This is a crisis.”Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it would be at least a year before a coronavirus vaccine could be made available to the public.But Fauci said testing Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug remdesivir for potential treatment of coronavirus could be done in a “reasonable amount of time.”‘Deadly Consequences’US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that Iran may have covered up information about the spread of coronavirus there, and he accused China of mishandling the epidemic through its “censorship” of media and medical professionals.”The United States is deeply concerned by information indicating the Iranian regime may have suppressed vital details about the outbreak in that country,” Pompeo told reporters as Iran’s coronavirus death toll rose to 16.”All nations, including Iran, should tell the truth about the coronavirus and cooperate with international aid organizations,” Pompeo said.His remarks, coming less than two months after a short-lived US-Iranian military clash and the signing of a US-China trade deal, could inflame tensions with Tehran and Beijing.Beijing last week revoked the credentials of three Wall Street Journal correspondents over a column China said was racist. The United States has said it was considering a range of responses to their expulsion.”Expelling our journalists exposes once again the government’s issue that led to SARS and now the coronavirus: namely censorship. It can have deadly consequences,” Pompeo said, referring to the 2002-2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which also emerged from China.”If China permitted its own and foreign journalists and medical personnel to speak and investigate freely, Chinese officials and other nations would have been far better prepared to address the challenge” of coronavirus, he added.Despite the coronavirus epidemic, Pompeo said the United States still planned to host a special meeting with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Las Vegas in March.last_img read more

Lakers’ 114-109 over Atlanta shows plenty of positive signs

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error ATLANTA >> The Lakers needed to clear the air. So they worked their frustration over their league-worst defense into having an extended film session, both to watch and talk about their problems.The Lakers needed some energy. So as Nick Young returned after sitting out the past six weeks with a surgically repaired right thumb, he playfully talked trash with his teammates by proclaiming himself as the best all-time 3-point shooter. The Lakers also needed a win. So they ensured a 114-109 victory on Tuesday over the Atlanta Hawks (5-5) at Philips Arena by outlining a blueprint lacking in their four-game losing streak. In what marked the Lakers’ first road win, they provided an offense that went beyond Kobe Bryant shooting at a high volume. His 28 points on an efficient 10-of-18 shooting represented a strong supporting cast that also included Carlos Boozer (20 points), Jordan Hill (18 points), Young (17 points) and Jeremy Lin (15 points, 10 assists). “It’s like my swag rubbed off on everybody,” Young said afterward. “It’s unbelievable.” “The question to the guys was, ‘Are we asking you to do things that are impossible for you to do,’” Scott recalled. “‘Or are there things you have to think about too much? Because we’ll try to simplify everything as much as possible.’ The answer they gave was no. It’s not impossible and not difficult. When you say that, I’m anxious to see how we play tonight.”It turns out Lakers guard Ronnie Price both spearheaded the meeting and represented the lone player who talked.“Everyone shares things differently each time,” Price said. “I just talked about the same things we’ve been talking about for the past four weeks.”That entailed both guards and frontcourt players equally communicating on defense. Granted, the Lakers still allowed Atlanta to shoot 47 of 57 from the field. The Hawks also stormed out of the third quarter with a 13-0 run. Bryant also delayed in contesting Pero Antic’s missed 3-pointer that could have tied the game. But the Lakers still held Atlanta in the first quarter with a season-low 20 points. The Lakers also limited the Hawks to only two field goals in the final two minutes. What triggered the change?“The fact I told them that if they didn’t play, I would take them out,” Scott said. “That had something to do with it.” It also helped Bryant still led the way, becoming the fourth player to reach 32,000 points along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan. Bryant provided a left hook shot that put the Lakers up 105-100 with 2:30 left. Bryant then drew a foul on a patented 20-foot fade-away, a three-point play that extended the lead to 108-102 with 1:11 remaining and sparked the partisan Lakers’ crowd into endless “Kobe” chants.“That’s my job,” said Bryant. He was then asked if his high-volume shooting stemmed from remaining only 292 points from eclipsing Jordan for third place on the league’s all-time scoring list. “There’s always something,” Bryant said. “I’m not going to waste my time trying to shut people up.”Instead, the Lakers spent their time making the small but significant first step into climbing out of the Western Conference cellar. center_img Young’s return to the lineup injected all sorts of energy. He provided the Lakers (2-9) a definitive scoring option to complement Bryant. Young also lightened the Lakers’ mood with his playful personality that included plenty of smiles and trash talk. That partly entailed Young ranking himself ahead of Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, either Golden State’s Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson and Larry Bird as the best 3-point shooter. “It lifts the spirit of the guys,” Bryant said of Young’s presence. “It keeps things light. I think it’s great. That’s great leadership from that standpoint.”Yet, the Lakers positive presence also traces elsewhere. The Lakers’ worst start in franchise history had looked so abysmal through three weeks that they have already resorted to something most teams have during a moment of crisis. They held a meeting.Granted, Lakers coach Byron Scott stressed the dialogue took place in on Monday evening in what he called “a normal film session.” But the circumstances changed. In normal cases, Scott said his film sessions entail reviewing both offensive and defensive plays. On Monday night, Scott held a film session he described as “long” that solely entailed the Lakers’ defense, which has averaged a league-worst 112 points per game.last_img read more