May 22, 2009HHS funnels $1 billion toward vaccine for novel H1N1 fluHealth and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today that she is allocating about $1 billion in existing funds toward clinical vaccine studies this summer and for commercial-scale production of both antigen (active ingredient) and adjuvant (which boosts a person’s immune response) for a novel H1N1 influenza vaccine. “The actions we are taking today will help us be prepared if a vaccine is needed,” Sebelius said in a news release.[May 22 HHS news release]Global novel flu numbers rise slightlyGlobal novel H1N1 influenza totals pushed to 11,168 cases and 86 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today. The Philippines reported its first case, to push the number of affected countries to 42 as the global case total grew by 134 since yesterday. The numbers include 3,892 cases with 75 deaths in Mexico, 5,764 cases and 9 deaths in the United States as of yesterday, 719 cases and 1 death in Canada, and 20 cases and 1 death in Costa Rica.[WHO update 36]US case count tops 6,500The number of confirmed and probable novel H1N1 flu cases in the United States today swelled to 6,552, up 212 cases from yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported. No new deaths were reported. Also, no new states reported cases, to hold the total of affected states at 47, plus the District of Columbia.[Current CDC numbers]Cases underreported in Britain?Some influenza experts suspect that the number of novel H1N1 influenza cases may be higher than reported in Britain, the Associated Press reported today. The country is reportedly trying to contain the virus by blanketing suspect cases and their contacts with oseltamivir, which several experts, such as Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, at the University of Minnesota, said won’t work. According to the AP, Britain and Spain are also testing only those who have a travel history or are case contacts.[May 22 AP story]Mexico City downgrades alertMexico City yesterday lowered its novel flu alert, which removed restrictions on visiting public places, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported. The city’s mayor, Marcelo Ebrard, said resident no longer need to wear masks, and he noted that no new infections with the novel flu virus had been reported for a week in the city.[May 22 BBC article]Australia raises its pandemic alert levelAustralia’s health ministry today raised its pandemic alert to the “containment” phase, as the number of novel H1N1 influenza rose to 11 and the country detected its first instance of community transmission of the virus, Bloomberg News reported. Two schools closed for a week after student cases were confirmed, and health officials are testing 28 more suspected cases. The government also said it was considering ordering H1N1 vaccine from Australia-based CSL Ltd.[May 22 Bloomberg News story]
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“We are worried that people who are still unaware about the risks of COVID-19 will still attend public gatherings and conduct activities that can actually be avoided,” Doni said.In the past few weeks, there have been many reports of people violating the PSBB and physical distancing measures and thronging fast food outlets, airports, traditional markets and shopping malls.In West Java, the region’s COVID-19 task force secretary, Daud Achmad, reported a number of violations of PSBB measures on April 22, including failure to wear masks while driving and violations of the 50 percent occupancy limit for cars and motorcycles.In East Java, a recent online survey conducted by the alumni association of Airlangga University’s School of Public Health found that many places of worship, offices and factories mostly remained operational without health protocols. (dpk)Topics : National COVID-19 task force chief Doni Monardo has urged the public to adhere to large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) for the next two weeks to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 transmission and pave the way for a “new normal”.“If we want to break the chain of transmission and start living in the new normal, then these last few weeks are the most crucial moments,” Doni said on Wednesday. “But we cannot stop implementing the PSBB if the public does not comply with the regulations.”He bemoaned the fact that many people were still going out to crowded areas in defiance of PSBB protocols.
BROOKVILLE – Customers are getting hit with the water bill twice next month in Brookville.Residents received a letter in the mail stating the town is planning on billing two months of water bills in September.Utility employees are now able to read meters in one day and the billing can be done in one day, the Brookville-American Democrat reports.Customers have been paying the water bill for meter readings that were taken two months prior. By billing twice in one month the town can now send a water bill reflecting the previous month.If customers have trouble paying both bills in September a payment schedule can be set up on an individual basis. Utility workers ask for proof of financial burden before they are able to potentially work out an agreement.