Georgia refuses to reveal where new virus strain is lurking

first_imgLocal NewsStateUS News Georgia refuses to reveal where new virus strain is lurking Twitter Facebook Pinterest Previous articleFrance’s Sanofi to help rival Pfizer-BioNTech make vaccinesNext article$683.8 Million Growth in Recruitment Software Market During 2020-2024 | 33% Growth to Come from Europe | Technavio Digital AIM Web Support By Digital AIM Web Support – January 27, 2021 Facebookcenter_img WhatsApp WhatsApp ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia health officials are refusing to say where in the state they have detected a mutant coronavirus strain from the United Kingdom. The Department of Public Health refuses to say which cities or counties have had people infected by the new variant, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. That makes it impossible for Georgians to know whether it is spreading in their community. Georgia has now identified at least six cases of a COVID-19 variant in the state, raising the urgency to get people vaccinated, the newspaper reported. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced late Tuesday the state will get more coronavirus vaccines each week from the federal government. Georgia’s weekly allotment will rise by nearly 26,000 doses to 145,900 doses, Kemp said. That’s a 16% jump from the current number of 120,000 doses. The announcement came hours after state officials said they may not see a boost in their weekly vaccine allocation until April. “Although we still expect demand to far exceed supply for the foreseeable future, this is no doubt welcome news, and we will work around the clock to get these vaccines distributed and safely administered as quickly as possible,” Kemp said in a statement. On the variant, the state’s health department contends that revealing where it’s been found could lead to discovery of the names of patients, violating their privacy. Several other states, however, are identifying counties or cities where variant cases have been detected. “It is more than likely that this variant and others are circulating in Georgia just as they are across the country,” public health department spokeswoman Nancy Nydam told the newspaper in an email. Government transparency advocates say the agency is misusing privacy laws to withhold vital health information. It would be impossible to identify a specific COVID-19 patient based on a city or county alone, they say. “Basically, I think they are trying to cover their (backsides), to put it bluntly,” said Joe Larsen, a lawyer with the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. “I think that they are wary of too much public scrutiny on how well they are responding,” he said. The Texas foundation faced a similar argument when a state commission refused to release the names of nursing home facilities with confirmed COVID-19 cases. The state attorney general ultimately ruled that the information should be released. Mutations of the virus are emerging quickly, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said a new version first identified in the United Kingdom may become dominant in the U.S. by March. Although it does not cause more severe illness, it spreads much more easily and will therefore lead to more hospitalizations and deaths, according to the CDC. The current vaccines seem to provide protection against new variants, but health experts warn that the potential for a variant that eludes current vaccines increases the longer it takes to vaccinate people. Georgia’s vaccine rollout has gotten off to a slow start, but Kemp has said providers are getting better at administering the vaccines. The state has administered just over 746,000 doses as of Tuesday — about 56% of the vaccine it’s received. The best-performing states have used more than 85% of their vaccine doses. ——— Follow AP’s coverage of the pandemic at and Pinterest TAGS  Twitterlast_img read more

OUSU in trouble over Mi-Voice handling

first_imgColleges have been left in confusion after OUSU withdrew the online voting system Mi-Voice without informing JCRs, failing to get an alternative system up and running in time for the new term.The Student Union’s failure to renew the service’s subscription — following difficulties with the system over the botched NUS referendum vote in May — also means that, for colleges whose constitution only permits an online vote, JCR elections have had to be postponed. Somerville and Oriel, who were hoping to hold JCR elections in second week, have had to opt for a paper ballot system.Wadham’s SU, meanwhile, has had to postpone elections due to take place this week. Andrew McKay, who is currently assuming Returning Officer (RO) responsibilities following the resignation of Vice President Alex Walker, explained that nobody on last year’s committee was informed of the fact that the Mi-Voice subscription would be cancelled. He confirmed to Cherwell that he submitted an official complaint over OUSU President Louis Trup’s handling of the situation. In response, McKay told Cherwell, “Given OUSU do provide common rooms with the platform upon which they elect officers, they should have informed us that they were cancelling the subscription and moving to a new system. By not doing this properly, they have caused much disruption in the common rooms that they are meant to represent.”McKay added, “Because we were not informed of the cancellation of Mi-Voice, we couldn’t complete the election for a Vice President, which means we are still Vice President-less two weeks into term.”Wadham is not alone in their frustrations. St Edmund Hall RO, Omar Rana, commented, “It is very annoying to see that Mi-Voice, which is an essential resource used by Teddy Hall to administer our elections, has failed to work, without there being any communication with JCR returning officers, whatsoever. I hope that whatever went wrong will be resolved as soon as possible”. However, another JCR Returning Officer, who wished to remain anonymous was more critical: “It is just intolerable. My JCR isn’t alone in relying on the Mi-Voice software to conduct our elections smoothly and Louis Trup’s failure to notify us in a timely order has meant that we are having to change the rules in a needlessly rushed and chaotic way” After making a complaint to OUSU, the Student Union suggested that they hold no responsibility for common room elections, as each common room is independent. He stated, “We feel particularly let down by OUSU that we weren’t properly informed of this change. It has caused a great deal of inconvenience and means that we go into week two without being able to elect a Vice President or a Charities, Environment and Ethics Officer which are both important positions on our SU. We want to know why common rooms were seemingly not informed of this change.” He explained, “Regrettably, no nominations were received for the position anyway so we’re going to be re-running the ballot in third week. I am in contact with OUSU over whether an online system will be rolled out in time. If not, we will have no choice but to run a paper ballot again.“In terms of the delay in renewing the online system, I have been told that it is due to the University’s encountering difficulties in releasing the data to OUSU so that it can roll a new online system out to colleges.”Oriel were also hoping to run an election for their Facilities Officer this week. RO George Wiffin told Oriel JCR, “When I went to create the Facilities Election yesterday on Mi-Voice it told me that our lease ran out in August. This lease is given to us from OUSU, but when contacted yesterday evening, they replied telling us that ‘it’s not up and running yet, but will be by Sixth Week’, which isn’t exactly helpful.”After looking at alternatives, Wiffin decided to “run the election using a ballot box the ol’ fashioned way”.OUSU’s cancellation of its subscription to the e-voting service Mi-Voice — a service previously used by both colleges and OUSU for online elections — follows an incident last May when the NUS referendum election result was declared void after electoral malpractice came to light.center_img However, OUSU has admitted it did not intend for JCRs to be without a replacement online system at the beginning of term. OUSU President Louis Trup told Cherwell, “OUSU was working on a new and secure voting system over the long vac and had hoped to be able to launch it during Fresher’s Week. “Unfortunately, this has not been possible due to the complexities of the data and its ownership. We have put all available resources into resolving the issues as soon as possible.”Speaking to affected colleges, Trup assured students that a replacement system would be working “in the coming days. In the meantime, we will be discussing the issue with common room presidents this week and our Democratic Support Officer will be available to provide advice.”The University itself was quick to remind OUSU of their responsibilities to ensure elections run smoothly. A spokesperson told Cherwell, “The University Proctors take student democracy and the legitimacy of student democratic processes very seriously. OUSU is responsible for those processes and is keeping the Proctors updated on what steps it is taking to ensure the fair and transparent conduct of elections this year.”A similar situation threatens to causes difficulties at Brasenose, where elections for the role of JCR President are scheduled to take place on Tuesday of Third Week. Their constitution states, “Voting will be by means of the online Mi-Voice system between 9am and 7pm on the day in question.”Brasenose’s RO and JCR President were both however unavailable for comment. The election, carried out using the service provided by Mi-Voice, saw over one thousand fake ballots being cast. A Proctors’ report on the alleged electoral malpractice was apparently due to be released earlier this term, but as yet remians unpublished. In a statement, Trup explained, “Our mistake was in not being more transparent about the work going on to make this happen. We apologise to the colleges for any inconvenience caused and will notify you as soon as the elections module is available.”Meanwhile, Somerville were hoping to hold an election on Thursday of second week for a new Domestic Officer, planning to run the election online. However, after discovering the loss of Mi-Voice, Somerville’s JCR Returning Officer Joe Smith told Cherwell that the “contingency plan was to run a paper ballot”. last_img read more

Swiss voters reject plans to increase first-pillar pensions

first_imgA ‘yes’ vote on the AHV-plus referendum would most likely have sent the AV2020 proposal – which covers both the first and second pillars – back to the drawing board.After this weekend’s resounding ‘no’ vote, Berset called on all stakeholders to “break up the reform clogging retirement provision”, warning that it would become “increasingly difficult and expensive” the longer it took to reach an agreement.ASIP, which had rejected the AHV-plus proposal, welcomed the “clear result”.It told IPE the unions’ argument that a higher AHV pension was needed because Pensionskassen could not deliver on their promises was “unconvincing”.“This is a vote in favour of the more comprehensive ‘Altersvorsorge 2020’ reform,” it said. Like Berset, ASIP called on all parliamentary parties to find common ground on reform, rather than use it for political gain.“We need a reform that is accepted by the majority and stands a chance of being accepted in a public referendum,” ASIP said.Because parts of the reform package will require changes to the Swiss Constitution, the whole of the AV2020 proposal is likely to be put to a public vote.In the wake of the AHV-plus referendum, conservative politicians withdrew their support for a one-off increase in AHV pension payouts, which is currently part of the reform package.The Swiss people’s party SVP even announced that it would file a motion to break up the package into three parts.The parliamentary session is scheduled for three weeks; when exactly the debate on the AV2020 will take place remains unclear.For more on Switzerland’s pension reform process, read the November issue of IPE Voters in nearly all of Switzerland’s 26 cantons rejected proposals to increase first-pillar pensions by 10%.In a popular referendum over the weekend, nearly 60% of voters rejected the so-called AHV-plus model, which had proposed increasing the AHV basic state pension – known as the AVS in French-speaking Switzerland.The Swiss government, company representatives, economic think tanks and the country’s pension fund association (ASIP) welcomed the outcome, with Interior minister Alain Berset suggesting “the people have understood the major hurdle we are facing of creating a stable first pillar”.His remarks were made in a press conference after the results were published on Sunday – and just a day before the major chamber of Parliament, the Nationalrat, begins its autumn session, which includes discussions on the Altersvorsorge 2020 (AV2020) pension reform proposal.last_img read more

People of Kolkata have a very fond place in my heart: Pat Cummins

first_imgKOLKATA: With no cricket happening, Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins has been living in a farm and enjoy life in the country side as he manages to go for runs and also do basic weight training.Speaking to, the fast bowler said that he has been also engaging in gardening as the sporting world has come to a standstill due to the coronavirus outbreak. “Yeah, we are living in a farm just about an hour-hour and a half south of Sydney. We have a little plot of land we bought here a couple of years ago. In hindsight, quite lucky we did that, we have been here for about a month now. “Over here, I can still go for runs, and I have a basic weights setup. We have some cows here, who I have been feeding. I have also been doing some gardening jobs. So yeah, enjoying the fresh air quite a bit. There is absolutely no cricketer here on the farm. Hopefully it stays that way, it is my getaway spot from cricket. We are on the road so much usually, I come here to take those breaks,” he said. Asked about getting to catch up with the family, Cummins said: “Yeah, we were all living separately, in different places. But it’s nice now, we have all come together. It’s nice to have more time to dedicate to the family. We are 5 of us, I have four siblings (two brothers, two sisters). Generally, even to work out a dinner plan, it takes us months to plan. Now we know every night we are together at home. Saturday nights are like trivia nights now, so yeah, it’s been fun.” Cummins also got engaged recently and speaking on that he said: “Yes, that’s right. Just after I got engaged though, we (Australian cricket team) were on a tour to South Africa for about three weeks. My fiance Becky’s mom was here, and they got a lot of the planning done without me, which is great. It means I’m getting roped into a few things now, but most of the big decisions are already made. The wedding is next year sometime. I am not gonna tell you the exact date yet (laughs).” Cummins started off with KKR and back with the franchise, the pacer says he had a great time. “I am very, very excited. My first taste of the IPL, and my biggest taste of India was when I was in Kolkata representing the Knight Riders. I was a few years younger than I am now. I absolutely loved it. Within our team, we had so much experience.” IANS Also Read: I just want the IPL to get started: DC’s Alex Careylast_img read more