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Experts weigh in on cyberbullying in the time of pandemic

With schools forced to implement alternative education modalities such as online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, incidences of cyberbullying are expected to soar even higher in the coming months.  To help parents as well as education practitioners learn how both online and offline communities can protect children and youth from cyberbullying, a panel of local and international experts shared suggestions on how to prevent this phenomenon. Experts from the Philippines and South Korea exchanged views on cyberbullying and how this can be prevented especially with the rising cases among youth in a webinar on cyberbullying organized by Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation recently. During the webinar, 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee and Blue Tree Foundation (BTF) founder Kim Jong-ki shared how he and his foundation has been battling school violence in the past 20 years. The BTF was very instrumental in curbing incidences of violence against students in schools. BTF Preventive Education Center Head Park Ju-han shared that in South Korea, school violence has declined for 15 years but has risen again since 2015. “The main factors are the low aging and the increase of cyberbullying,” he said. Meanwhile, BTF Research and Counseling Team Leader Lee Sun-young discussed how the foundation has been working with schools on the prevention of violence among students and shared some best practices that can be adopted by other countries like the Philippines. “We need to teach children when to respond when cyberbullying is happening,” she said.  “Digital literacy is the first key on how to be nice in the world,” she added.  In the Philippines, UP Manila-Philippine General Hospital Child Protection Unit (CPU) head Dr. Bernadette Madrid noted that “bullying has been increasing.” Based on the results of the national baseline survey on violence against children in 2016, she shared that “bullying in the Philippines was quite high” with 65 percent of the youth – ages 13 to 17 years old – have experienced some form of bullying. Same goes for the prevalence of cyberbullying wherein 44% of the students reported cyber violence. “It is a real problem here in our country, it is harmful but it can be prevented,” Madrid said. Given this, she noted that in terms of prevention, a single program is not enough to address cyberbullying. “We need multiple programs to be more successful,” she added. Meanwhile, Don Bosco Technical College Cebu president and dean Fr. Fidel Orendain noted that protecting students from violence and abuse especially with the shift to e-learning is a challenge for many schools. “This topic is a hot issue for us right now,” he admitted. Since schools are familiar with face-to-face familiarity, he noted that online learning is “challenging our identity and the way we educate.” To resolve this, he urged schools to increase their presence by way of talks and conferences. “We can also make ourselves available for counseling,” he added. For Stairway Foundation, Inc. Senior Advocacy Officer Ysrael Diloy, protecting children at this time is more crucial than ever. In the past 18 years, he has been working with key government agencies in the Philippines, via national level councils and working groups, advocating for child protection policy, and programmatic changes. “We are at an age wherein the current generation of children has known technology as the norm,” he said. Diloy has initiated the CyberSafe program which is currently the flagship child online protection program of the Department of Education (DepEd). “Now more than ever, we need to ensure that we are all contributing to make the Internet a safe space for and with children, so that they can reap all the benefits and opportunities that technology presents – this is the very essence the CyberSafe program hopes to achieve,” he ended......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnAug 3rd, 2020

Biden knocks Trump as rivals barnstorm heartland in election finale

Joe Biden intensified his attacks Friday on President Donald Trump as they battled over the American Midwest, chasing every last vote with four days to go in a region that propelled the Republican to victory in 2016. RUS President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Rochester International Airport October 30, 2020 in Rochester, Minnesota. With Election Day only four days away, Trump is campaigning in Minnesota despite the recent surge in coronavirus cases in the state. In accordance with state orders, only 250 people will be able to attend the rally with Trump while thousands of others will gather outside the airport to watch on a large television screen. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP) Trump and Biden barnstormed three heartland states each — with a resurgent coronavirus passing the milestone of nine million cases as they hit the stump — highlighting their differences in a race overshadowed by the pandemic. Trump, heralded a “big day” of campaigning as he left the White House, then held a rally in Michigan before heading to Wisconsin and Minnesota, all states battling climbing numbers of virus cases. “We just want normal,” Trump told supporters — many of them unmasked — at an outdoor rally near Detroit as he pushed states to relax public health restrictions and resume daily life. He again bucked his own administration’s health experts as he downplayed the Covid-19 threat, saying “if you get it, you’re going to get better, and then you’re going to be immune.” Covid-19 has killed nearly 230,000 people in the US, which is experiencing surges in most states as the winter flu season looms. The outbreak has ravaged the economy, and while there have been signs of recovery, millions remain jobless. Biden was also stumping in Wisconsin and in Minnesota, where he sharpened his attacks on the president on everything from Trump seeking to dismantle Obama-era health care protections and keep his taxes secret to climate change and trade policy with China. “We can not afford four more years of Donald Trump,” the 77-year-old Democrat said at a socially distanced drive-in rally in St. Paul, Minnesota. “So honk your horn if you want America to lead again!” he said, embracing the awkward pandemic-era campaign trend of rallying supporters in their vehicles. “Honk your horn if you want to have civility again, and honk your horn if you want America to be united again!” Earlier in Iowa he attacker Trump over his handling of the pandemic. “Donald Trump has given up (and) waved the white flag,” Biden told a drive-in rally with more than 300 cars in Des Moines. – ‘Less divided’ – Trump flipped Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin from the Democrats to clinch his shock victory four years ago.  Now polls show Biden leading in all three, albeit narrowly in Iowa. It was Biden’s first visit to Iowa since his inauspicious campaign start in February, when he placed a dismal fourth in the opening Democratic nominating contest. So can Biden win over enough voters to prevail in the Hawkeye State? “I wouldn’t put money on it,” Iowa attorney Sara Riley, 61, said at Biden’s event, although she was more confident about him clinching the White House. “I think Americans, even Trump supporters, want to get to a place where the country is less divided,” Riley said. With voters concerned about the health hazards of crowded polling stations on November 3, a record 86 million have already cast early ballots by mail or in person. Even as the US hit a grim new high in daily Covid-19 infections Thursday, Trump has stuck to his guns, downplaying the dangers and branding Democrats as rampaging “socialists” intent on shuttering the country. And while Trump has touted the economic successes of his presidency, including positive GDP figures Thursday, US stocks closed out their worst week since March, highlighting concerns about a shaky recovery. – ‘Turn Texas blue?’ – After a campaign largely muted by the pandemic, Biden is on the offensive, pushing Trump onto the back foot in unexpected battlegrounds like Texas, a large, traditionally conservative bastion now rated a toss-up by multiple analysts. On Friday the state reported that a staggering nine million residents had already voted, surpassing its entire 2016 total. Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris visited Texas Friday in a bid to turn the state Democratic for the first time since president Jimmy Carter in 1976. “We have a chance to turn Texas blue,” the 96-year-old Carter said in a fundraising email. Biden winning there would be a dagger to Trump, but the president dismissed the notion, saying: “Texas, we’re doing very well.” Trump and Biden are focusing their greatest efforts on traditional battlegrounds that will decide the election — such as Florida, where both campaigned on Thursday. On Saturday Biden returns to the Midwest bringing with him perhaps his strongest surrogate: ex-president Barack Obama, making his first joint in-person campaign appearance of the year with his former VP. Motown music legend Stevie Wonder will join them, the Biden campaign said. Trump will spend the day campaigning in the critical state of Pennsylvania, where he narrowly trails Biden in polls. Biden will follow suit there both Sunday and Monday in a clear sign that his campaign sees the Keystone State as absolutely crucial to his victory......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 31st, 2020

Covid-19 reinfection casts doubt on virus immunity: study

Covid-19 patients may experience more severe symptoms the second time they are infected, according to research released Tuesday confirming it is possible to catch the potentially deadly disease more than once. A study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal charts the first confirmed case of Covid-19 reinfection in the United States — the country worst hit by the pandemic — and indicates that exposure to the virus may not guarantee future immunity. The patient, a 25-year-old Nevada man, was infected with two distinct variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, within a 48-day time frame. The second infection was more severe than the first, resulting in the patient being hospitalised with oxygen support. The paper noted four other cases of reinfection confirmed globally, with one patient each in Belgium, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Ecuador. Experts said the prospect of reinfection could have a profound impact on how the world battles through the pandemic. In particular, it could influence the hunt for a vaccine — the currently Holy Grail of pharmaceutical research. “The possibility of reinfections could have significant implications for our understanding of Covid-19 immunity, especially in the absence of an effective vaccine,” said Mark Pandori, for the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory and lead study author. “We need more research to understand how long immunity may last for people exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and why some of these second infections, while rare, are presenting as more severe.” Waning immunity?Vaccines work by triggering the body’s natural immune response to a certain pathogen, arming it with antibodies it to fight off future waves of infection. But it is not at all clear how long Covid-19 antibodies last. For some diseases, such as measles, infection confers lifelong immunity. For other pathogens, immunity may be fleeting at best. The authors said the US patient could have been exposed to a very high dose of the virus the second time around, triggering a more acute reaction. Alternatively, it may have been a more virulent strain of the virus. Another hypothesis is a mechanism known as antibody dependent enhancement — that is, when antibodies actually make subsequent infections worse, such as with dengue fever. The researchers pointed out that reinfection of any kind remains rare, with only a handful of confirmed cases out of tens of millions of Covid-19 infections globally. However, since many cases are asymptomatic and therefore unlikely to have tested positive initially, it may be impossible to know if a given Covid-19 case is the first or second infection. In a linked comment to The Lancet paper, Akiko Iwasaka, a professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University, said the findings could impact public health measures. “As more cases of reinfection surface, the scientific community will have the opportunity to understand better the correlates of protection and how frequently natural infections with SARS-CoV-2 induce that level of immunity,” she said. “This information is key to understanding which vaccines are capable of crossing that threshold to confer individual and herd immunity,” added Iwasaka, who was not involved in the study......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 13th, 2020

Solons to gov’t: Heed the plea of medical workers

Lawmakers expressed all-out support on Sunday (August 2) to the appeal made by Philippine College of Physicians and the Philippine Medical Associationto shift Mega Manila back to a 15-day enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), even as they sought a change in leadership in the Department of Health (DOH) and other agencies handling the country’s response against COVID-19. (JANSEN ROMERO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, Anakalusugan partylist Rep. Michael Defensor, Bayan Muna partylist Rep.  Carlos Isagani Zarate, and Quezon City  2nd District Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo called on the government to heed the plea of the medical experts and frontliners for more stringent health protocols in critical areas. “While both the health and economic crisis wrought by  the still ravaging COVID-19 pandemic must be both effectively addressed, the relief and recovery of the people’s health must be prioritized. Lives lost are forfeited forever but businesses lost can be redeemed,” Lagman said in a statement.“We must learn from the bitter lesson experienced by other countries like Japan which prematurely reopened economic, leisure and domestic travel activities only to be besieged later by a resurgence of the viral contagion,” he stressed.  Defensor, chairperson of the House Committee on Public Accounts, said, “If our leading doctors are prescribing it, then as good patients, we are all for Mega Manila’s brief return to an ECQ.” “Our sense is, our public health system is on the verge of collapse, and the momentary return to an ECQ will buy everybody more time to gird for a longer battle against the coronavirus disease,” he said. He said once the government gives in to the appeal, the COVID-19 National Task Force should take that opportunity to fix the lack of hospital staff due to doctors, nurses and other personnel getting infected and still recovering, or undergoing routine seclusion after possible exposure; expand the bed capacities of makeshift hospitals and quarantine facilities; and improve case-finding and the isolation of suspected cases. Defensor said the government should also step up contact-tracing and quarantining; upgrade public transportation options and safety; strengthen workplace protection; build up enforcement of and public compliance with self-protective measures such as the wearing of face masks and face shields, handwashing as well as social and physical distancing; and increase financial and livelihood support to distressed households. Zarate said they are one with our frontliners in demanding a reprieve from the overwhelming cases of COVID-19, particularly in the National Capital Region. “Reverting back to ECQ or whatever level of lockdown is useless or will be for naught if the primary recommendation of frontliners like free mass testing, pro-active contact tracing, isolation and treatment will not be seriously implemented by the government,” he said in a statement. For her part, Castelo said, “Let us listen to them. They are the ones on the frontline. Indeed, after five months of fighting this pandemic, they are exhausted physically, emotionally and mentally.” She laments that several doctors and nurses have died and many others have fallen sick while battling COVID-19. “Our medical workers are asking for a short time to recuperate. Let us give it to them,” she said. In a radio interview, Surigao del Norte 2nd district Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said the government should strike a balance between the economy and health of the Filipinos, but it should be tilted somehow, in favor of health amid the appeal made by physicians to shift Mega Manila back to a 15-day ECQ. He asked the DOH to come up with “a system, a policy, or even perhaps a strategy” to reinforce the country’s health system by augmenting the medical force.  In a separate statement, Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro said the Inter Agency Task Force for COVID-19 should be headed by medical experts instead of generals who have done nothing but to impose military solutions to combat a public health crisis.  “Our frontliners are already pleading to the Duterte administration to implement a comprehensive medical plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The government needs to listen and take concrete actions with the demands of our healthcare workers,” she said.   “It is high time that medical experts lead in the fight against COVID-19 instead of military generals. Medical experts who will not twist data and try to sanitize the numbers. We need medical experts who use science and not allow an entire population to be used as guinea pigs in a failed response and inadequate policies for public health safety.”.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsAug 2nd, 2020

Helping creators adapt to uncertain times

YouTube and mobile services provider Smart Communications, Inc. have teamed up to bring Creator Camp Live, a series of online events and workshops where established and aspiring creators can learn from the broader YouTube community, industry experts, and leading content creators on how to pivot and be effective in the time disrupted by the pandemic. .....»»

Category: entertainmentSource:  thestandardRelated NewsJun 24th, 2020

Fan experience to change profoundly amid COVID-19 pandemic

By DAVE SKRETTA AP Sports Writer KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Dayton Moore remembers so clearly the vast sections of empty seats inside Kauffman Stadium when he took over as general manager of the Kansas City Royals, and he remembers just as vividly — nearly a decade later — how those seats filled and fans roared as the long-suffering club won the World Series. Those dueling memories make the thought of playing games in empty stadiums hard for Moore to fathom. “I know how much strength all players draw from the fans and environment,” he said, when asked about plans to play a shortened season without crowds, “and you need that support to get through an entire Major League Baseball schedule.” As lockdowns are lifted and restrictions eased, sports are finally starting to emerge in the coronavirus pandemic. But in virtually every situation, fans are not yet being allowed to attend and the only consensus for now is that there could be a long period of empty or nearly empty seating. Some U.S. universities are modeling for 25% capacity for the upcoming football season or maybe half-full arenas for the ensuing basketball season. “I think for most sports, a reduced crowd wouldn't negatively impact the overall experience, especially in a situation like baseball or even the NFL,” said Katy Lucy, a digital marketing agent from Atlanta whose fandom is split between all things Georgia Bulldogs and the Washington Capitals. “But it would be different for sure for those who attend in person." Count her family among those who would pause before heading to the ballpark. “For me personally, I’m not sure I would feel comfortable attending a live sporting event until there is a known treatment or widely available vaccine,” Lucy said. “I trust the institutions to put the proper measures in place; however, making sure that they are enforced is another matter.” Many college and pro sports teams already were dealing with declining ticket sales. Watching at home or streaming games are factors, as is the changing social makeup of fan bases. Dynamic pricing, increases in parking and concession prices, and a push toward luxury seating have exacerbated the problem. Major League Baseball attendance has declined six of the past seven seasons. In college football, 13 of the 130 schools that played in the Football Bowl Subdivision reported average crowd sizes of 50% or less last season. Even the NFL has seen an increase in empty seats despite its generally rock-solid popularity. So as coronavirus concerns linger, how are teams going to lure fans back when stadiums do reopen? Loyalty and engagement apps, widespread around the major leagues and colleges even before the pandemic, will become even more common and interactive as teams try to recapture lost revenue. There also will be more behind-the-scenes content and enhancements available via smartphones that will only be available to those in the stadium or arena, offering fans something unique over fans watching at home. “Fans want that experience to be top-notch, period. That's why teams are thinking about this,” said Britton Stackhouse Miller, senior vice president at Fortress U.S., a developer of engagement and integration systems with clients in European soccer, baseball, the NBA, NFL and NHL. Temperature checks, hand sanitizer distribution stations and touchless vending will become the norm for a while. Even concessions will change, though one big difference — gulp — could lead to a lot of grumbling. “If you don't sell beer the number of visits to the bathroom drops dramatically,” said Marc Ganis, the director of sports consulting firm Sportscorp. “So for a time we may have to think about not selling beer.” It won't just be the vast oceans of bench seats left open, either. Many experts believe those hardy fans will be the first to return. It's the corporate suites from which many colleges and pro franchises derive so much of their gameday revenue that may end up being empty until long after games have resumed. Economic woes may last for some time. For fans who stay home, leagues are looking for ways to keep them engaged, too. When Germany's top soccer league returned without fans, broadcaster Sky knew it had a problem with silence coming through the TV. Engineers created “carpet audio” from previous games between the same teams, then teased out roars for specific events such as goals and red cards, giving those watching at home the option of a more realistic experience. “This was the only idea that we thought could be most respectful to the fans,” said Alessandro Reitano, vice president of sports production for Sky Deutschland. “To be honest, it's a major success.” Old crowd noise is a bit like an old game, though. It lacks a certain authenticity. So along came ChampTrack, which created an app that utilizes the microphones of fans. It captures their every roar and groan and sends the audio to its server, which then aggregates the noise into a single stream. That stream is then returned to the viewer using proprietary algorithms to provide the broadcast with real-time sound, which is then immediately erased to ensure personal privacy. “Once they press play on our web app, they can hear what everyone else is cheering about and their own cheer,” said ChampTrack chief executive Elias Anderson, adding the system could soon handle as many as 150,000 fans for each game. Sound is one element of the fan experience. Optics is another. “When it was clear there would be no audience this season, the fans had the idea of bringing their images to the stadium,” said Lubbo Popken, deputy press secretary for German soccer club Borussia Monchengladbach, which affixed fan likenesses to their seats. “We were surprised how many people wanted to be part of this idea and have their images in the stadium. It really changed the atmosphere in the empty stadium.” Of course, none of that is the same as having real fans creating real noise......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2020

Golf makes a conservative return with an eye on the long run

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan went from wondering if any golf would be played this year to a schedule that resumes next week with a calendar filled through Thanksgiving. What hasn't changed is his belief that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic isn't over just because golf is back. “I don't think it's over," Monahan said Friday in a telephone interview. “I'm really confident in the plan. But you spend a lot of your time, given the uncertainty, thinking through scenarios that could play out. That's what we'll continue to do. We won't be comfortable until we're told we can be comfortable. That will be when we have a vaccine and there's no risk.” Golf is the second major sports league to return behind NASCAR, which began racing three weeks ago and ran nine national series races in a span of 14 days. The Charles Schwab Challenge next week in Fort Worth, Texas, has one of the strongest fields in Colonial's rich history, starting with the top five players from the world ranking. There will be no spectators for at least a month, even though Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week moved the state to Phase III in the recovery that allows outdoor events at 50% capacity. “We've developed a safety plan that doesn't include spectators. That's what we stand by,” Monahan said. “We want to have a sustained return. If you think about a run to go through the FedEx Cup, we want to make sure week to week we're not taking on unnecessary risk.” Monahan said he is “not the arbiter of confidence,” rather it comes from guidance of health experts at all levels and a plan that involves testing players, caddies and essential personnel as much as twice a week — trying to create a bubble for the traveling circus that is golf. Players were mailed a test kit and were recommended to use it before they travel. They will be tested when they arrive at tournaments and before they leave if they're on charter flights the tour has arranged, and then the process is repeated at the next tournament. Thermal readings and health surveys are required daily, along with sanitizing and social distancing. “It's the only manner we could return,” he said. The tour added another layer this week in a deal with South Dakota-based Sanford Health to have mobile labs at every tournament, with capacity to get results in a matter of hours without taking away resources from the markets where they play. Monahan said CBS Sports is creating its own bubble for the telecast, with Jim Nantz the only person in the booth and other analysts working remotely. Ninety days will have passed from the opening round of The Players Championship, which was canceled the next day, until the first tee shot at Colonial. “We all went home dealing with the same questions,” he said. “How do I get a complete understanding of where we are with the virus and all the elements? How do we recognize that we're turning off (canceling) 11 events? How do you think about resumption and at the same time develop a safety and testing program, not our area of expertise?" The reset began with the majors picking new dates — the British Open was canceled — with the PGA Championship in San Francisco moving to Aug. 6-9, the U.S. Open in New York on Sept. 17-20, and the Masters on Nov. 12-15. “At that time it was very unclear where we would be with safety and testing,” Monahan said. “It could have been earlier than we are, it could have been through points of next year. Information was changing by the minute.” Now that golf is returning, Monahan couldn't predict when spectators would return. He said the tour has worked with tournaments the last several years on building a reserve fund for a crisis such as this. “If you’re not selling tickets, and there’s not hospitality, you don’t have the pro-am experience or the honorary observer program for the sponsor ... that’s a significant financial impact on those tournaments, and the impact on the way tournaments connect with their communities,” he said. Tournaments and their title sponsors still have managed to raise money for their local charities. The Zurich Classic matched last year's donation of $1.5 million to a children's services foundation. The John Deere Classic expects $10 million in donations, even though it canceled its July event. The pandemic is not the only talking point as golf tries to get back on track. The tour on Friday posted Monahan's letter to staff and players on the nation's civil unrest, which the AP first reported on Tuesday. He had a 10-minute video conversation with Harold Varner III, one of three PGA Tour members of black heritage, who wrote passionately on social media on George Floyd, killed when a white police officer held a knee to the back of Floyd's neck while the black man was handcuffed. The conversation was scheduled before the protests began, and Varner was chosen because he's on the Player Advisory Council and golf was ready to resume. “We'll be talking about COVID and civil and social unrest for some time,” Monahan said. “Next week will not be an exception on that front.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 6th, 2020

UN experts condemn police violence, abuses amid COVID-19

Both UN experts called on everyone to denounce governments’ failure to respond to the needs of the people in the time of the pandemic. By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL Bulatlat.com MANILA – United Nations experts have encouraged Filipino human rights defenders and the public to continue to raise their voices especially in this time of… The post UN experts condemn police violence, abuses amid COVID-19 appeared first on Bulatlat......»»

Category: newsSource:  bulatlatRelated NewsJun 2nd, 2020

Virus-proofing sports facilities presents a big challenge

By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The jersey-wearing camaraderie. The scent of sizzling sausages. The buzz before a big game. The distinctive atmosphere of live sports, that feeling in the air, will return in time as pandemic restrictions are eased. But will that very air be safe in a closed arena with other fans in attendance? The billions of dollars spent on state-of-the-art sports facilities over the last quarter-century have made high-efficiency air filtration systems more common, thanks in part to the pursuit of green and healthy building certifications. Upgrades will likely increase in the post-coronavirus era, too. The problem is that even the cleanest of air can’t keep this particular virus from spreading; if someone coughs or sneezes, those droplets are in the air. That means outdoor ballparks have high contaminant potential, too. “Most of the real risk is going to be short-distance transmission, people sitting within two, three or four seats of each other,” said Ryan Demmer, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. “It’s not really about the virus spreading up, getting into the ventilation system and then getting blown out to the entire stadium because this virus doesn’t seem to transmit that way. It doesn’t aerosolize that well.” The three hours spent in proximity to thousands of others is part of the fan experience. It's also why major sports leagues have been discussing plans to reopen in empty venues, for now. High-touch areas with the potential to spread the virus — called fomite transmission — are plentiful at the ballgame, of course. Door handles. Stair rails. Restroom fixtures. Concession stands. Hand washing by now has become a societal norm, but disinfectant arsenals need to be brought up to speed, too. “I can’t really find good hand sanitizer easily in stores. So think about trying to scale that up, so everybody who comes into U.S. Bank Stadium gets a little bottle of Purel. Things like that can be modestly helpful,” Demmer said. There is much work to be done. Vigilant sanitizing of the frequent-touch surfaces will be a must. Ramped-up rapid testing capability during pre-entry screening could become common for fans. Minimizing concourse and entry bottlenecks, and maintaining space between non-familial attendees, could be mandatory. Mask-wearing requirements? Maybe. Most experts, including those at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, believe the primary mode of transmission for COVID-19 is close person-to-person contact through breathing, coughing or sneezing but there's no consensus on some of the details. “There’s still widespread disagreement between experts on which mode of transmission dominates for influenza. So the likelihood of us figuring this out soon for this virus is low,” said Joe Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings Program and an assistant professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health. “We may never figure it out, but I also think it’s irrelevant because it’s a pandemic and we should be guarding against all of them.” Including, of course, the air. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers designed the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) scale to measure a filtration system's effectiveness (from 1-16) at capturing microscopic airborne particles that can make people sick. Not just viruses, but dust, pollen, mold and bacteria. Most experts recommend a MERV rating of 13 or higher, the minimum standard for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. An emerging technology in this area is called bipolar ionization. Connecticut-based AtmosAir has a bipolar ionization air treatment system in about 40 sports venues. Staples Center in Los Angeles was one of the first major sports customers. TD Garden in Boston and Bridgestone Arena in Nashville are among the others who’ve signed on. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority approved last year a 10-year contract for a little more than $1 million with AtmosAir to install its system in U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Vikings and the first indoor NFL stadium to use it. The building, which measures 1.8 million square feet, has 53 air handling units with AtmosAir tubes installed, including 30 in the seating bowl. The ions act like fresh air, reducing the amount of outside air needed to be introduced for the cleansing process. The protein spikes in the coronavirus particles make them easier to catch and kill, said Philip Tierno, a New York University School of Medicine professor of microbiology and pathology. Said AtmosAir founder and CEO Steve Levine: “We’re never going to create a mountaintop, but we’re going to put in maybe three to four times the ions over the ambient air and then let those ions attack different pollutants in the air. The ions grab onto particles and spores and make them bigger and heavier, so they’re much easier to filter out of the air." The next time fans do pass through the turnstiles, in a few weeks or a few months, in most cases they will probably encounter an unprecedented level of cleanliness. “There will be some controls that are visible, extra cleaning and disinfection, but some of it will be invisible, like for what’s happening in the air handling system,” said Allen, the Harvard professor. “The consumers will decide when they feel comfortable going back, and that’s going to depend on what strategies are put in place in these venues and stadiums and arenas and, most importantly, how well these organizations communicate that to the paying public.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 1st, 2020

China UN envoy says no intl virus source probe before pandemic over

GENEVA, Switzerland–China will not prioritise inviting international experts in to investigate the source of COVID-19 until after the pandemic is beaten, Beijing’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva said Wednesday. “The top priority, for the time being, is to focus on the fight against the pandemic until we win the final victory,” Chen Xu told […] The post China UN envoy says no intl virus source probe before pandemic over appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 6th, 2020

Sports leagues seek return to play but with no guarantees

By EDDIE PELLS AP National Writer With no games being played, recent sports headlines have centered around hopes and dreams — namely, the uncharted path leagues and teams must navigate to return to competition in the wake of the pandemic. Virtually all leagues talk publicly about their desire to return before summer. But behind closed doors, they are hatching different potential plans: all 30 baseball teams playing in Arizona; home run contests to decide tie games; the Stanley Cup being hoisted in an empty arena that neither team calls home; end-of-season soccer standings decided by vote; college football games in spring. Over the past week, The Associated Press spoke to more than two dozen policymakers, coaches and players across the globe to get their candid assessments of plans to return from the stoppages caused by the coronavirus. The conclusion: While it’s critical to put optimistic restart scenarios in place, there is no certainty any of these plans will work without buy-in from politicians and an OK from players and medical experts. Underpinning it all would have to be a drastic ramp-up in testing, a vaccine or treatment breakthrough, or some other solution. In short, the return of any sports, no matter how innovative the plan, will be risky and uncertain for the rest of this year and into 2021. “It’s not about 22 players walking onto a pitch and throwing a ball out,” said FIFA Vice President Victor Montagliani, whose concerns about restarting soccer mirror those of all sports worldwide. The organizers of the Olympics were among the last to postpone their event, then among the first to set a new date – exactly 52 weeks after the original July 24 cauldron lighting had been scheduled. The decision to reschedule for a date 15 months down the road came just before an unexpected spike in cases hit Japan. The worry that followed underscored the many open questions about the arc of the outbreak. “I think everyone’s probably working on multiple options. It’s ’If this, then what?'” said Tim Hinchey, the CEO of USA Swimming, the sport's governing body in the United States. Virtually all the big-time team sports are coming up with scenarios to play games with no fans in the stands. The Washington Post reported that while the NFL is publicly committed to its usual kickoff date in September, it is looking into contingencies that include shortening the season or playing in front of half-full or empty stadiums. College athletic directors have come up with a half-dozen or more scenarios for football season, including, according to Oklahoma's Joe Castiglione, a scenario in which part of the season would be played in spring. One theme gaining wide acceptance: If it's not safe enough for students to return to school or attend games, then athletes shouldn't be asked to return either. Without the millions from football, all college sports are in peril. NASCAR, which has been holding virtual races, has given teams a tentative schedule under which the season would resume May 24 without fans. The NHL has drawn up plans that include resuming the season this summer, going directly to the playoffs and/or playing games in empty arenas in neutral-site cities. The PGA Tour announced a mid-June restart and meshed its schedule with the already reworked majors calendar. In a nod to the precariousness of it all, Andy Pazder, the tour’s chief officer of tournaments and competition, said if events cannot be held in compliance with health regulations, then “we will not do anything.” That's also where the NBA appears to be for now. The league that got in front of the coronavirus pandemic first, calling off games on March 11, is in a holding pattern. Most of the league’s conversations center on how to resume the season, not whether to cancel it. In Australia, ambitious plans to resume play in the National Rugby League by the end of May got shot down by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. England’s Premier League also says it wants to finish its season but would only do so “with the full support of the government” and when “medical guidance allows.” Meanwhile, in Scotland, a wild round of voting has already taken place to decide whether to lock in standings for leagues there and get ready for next season. Major League Baseball in the U.S. is talking about bringing all 30 teams to Maricopa County, Arizona, for a regular season at spring training sites. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert who has been calling for restraint in resuming any normal activities, offered a glimmer of hope when he suggested sports could conceivably return. He suggested no fans in arenas and constant testing for the players, who would likely need to be quarantined in hotels for weeks or months. Not all the players are on board. “I’m going to go four or five months without seeing my kid when it’s born? I can tell you right now that’s not going to happen,” Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals wrote in a diary for AP. Zimmerman’s third child is due in June. Whether Zimmerman shows or not, baseball could be a vastly different game if it returns in 2020. Some other ideas floated include wrapping up the season in December, scheduling a multitude of doubleheaders with seven-inning games and quickly deciding ties with home run derbies. Yet for all those scenarios, nobody's quite sure what will happen if, despite all the precautions, an outbreak hits a team. Could one positive test eviscerate an entire season? Before setting anything in motion, all the leagues are waiting for a consensus to emerge from government and health experts, to say nothing of players and owners. Right now, Montagliani said, "the paramount skill set required from us is risk management and nothing else.” ___ Reporting by AP Sports Writers Doug Ferguson, Jenna Fryer, Rob Harris, Stephen Wade, Ron Blum, Steve Douglas, Ben Walker, Dennis Passa, Stephen Whyno, Tim Reynolds, Brian Mahoney, Howard Fendrich, Ben Walker, Rob Maaddi, Ralph Russo, Larry Lage......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 19th, 2020

UN Security Council approves resolutions remotely

UNITED NATIONS, United States — The UN Security Council on Monday for the first time approved resolutions remotely after painstaking negotiations among diplomats who are teleworking due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Security Council unanimously voted for four resolutions, including one that extended through April 2021 the expiring mandate of UN experts who are monitoring […] The post UN Security Council approves resolutions remotely appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMar 31st, 2020

'NBA Together' Campaign Launched in Response to Coronavirus Pandemic

While the coronavirus pandemic has suspended the 2019-20 NBA season, it has not lessened the league's global impact and reach. Over the past week, 20 NBA and WNBA players created public service announcement videos to share important health and wellness information about ways to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Those videos have generated more than 37 million views across the league's social media accounts. The league is using its vast digital footprint and the powerful voices of teams, players, coaches, doctors and others across the NBA family to launch "NBA Together" - a global community and social engagement campaign that aims to support, engage, educate and inspire youth, families and fans in response to the coronavirus pandemic. As part of NBA Together, the NBA family is committed to contributing and helping raise more than $50 million to support people impacted by the coronavirus and community and healthcare organizations providing vital services around the world, which includes the more than $30 million financial commitment already made by NBA and WNBA teams and players to date. NBA Together is centered on four key pillars that will amplify the latest global health and safety information, share guidelines and resources, and keep people and communities socially connected through digital tools and virtual events as everyone copes with the impact of the pandemic: 1. Know the Facts: The NBA launched its  Coronavirus Information For NBA Fans webpage, which is updated daily with the latest information in their regions on how they can best protect themselves and stop the spread, featuring infographics and shareable resources with guidance from the CDC, WHO, former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and local and federal health experts. We have produced 20 public service messages to date featuring current and former NBA and WNBA Players. The NBA and WNBA will continue to use the influential voices of players, coaches and legends through public service announcements to inform fans on the best ways to stay safe and healthy in both their body and mind as the world faces the rapidly changing and evolving pandemic. 2. Acts of Caring: “Acts of Caring” will aim to inspire 1 million big and small acts of kindness to support those impacted, including community and healthcare organizations providing relief.  Using #NBATogether, we will call on players, fans and the general public to share ways they are sacrificing in this time of crisis to support friends, families and communities.  These acts can include teaching virtual classes, buying groceries for neighbors in need and donating supplies to local health centers.  Visit  cares.nba.com/actsofcaring to learn more. 3. Expand Your Community: “Jr. NBA at Home” – a new, interactive content series – will include daily posts on Jr. NBA social channels and NBA digital properties around the world to provide at-home basketball skills and drills that promote physical activity and character development and can be completed individually and in limited space.  The program features curated content and messages from NBA and WNBA players to inspire boys and girls around the world to stay active in a healthy and safe way. The program will feature daily posts on the @jrnba social media channels (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) and NBA digital properties across the globe, and integration with NBA technology partner and mobile basketball training application HomeCourt. Jr. NBA Philippines Facebook will integrate these content pieces and feature additional videos in the future. In addition to "Jr. NBA at Home," the NBA will engage education and wellness partners, such as  Scholastic Inc., Discovery Education, and NBA Math Hoops, to promote existing resources for students and parents that have been adapted for at-home learning. NBA personalities and educators will create short virtual lessons that will make learning at home fun. And in an effort to combat the higher levels of anxiety and stress during these uncertain times, the NBA, in partnership with  Headspac, will provide mental wellness and resiliency resources and tools to encourage fans to be mindful of their mental wellness and the wellbeing of those around them. 4. NBA Together Live: Every day at 3 p.m. ET (3 a.m. PHT) on the league’s official Instagram account, members of the NBA family, including current and former players, coaches and others, will join live broadcasts for engaging interviews.  Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love tipped off the series last Saturday, March 21 PHT and we will soon be adding other platforms where we will have daily live content at a set time.  We will also be streaming classic games every night at 8 p.m. ET (8 a.m. PHT) on NBA social platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Twitch.  To further help NBA fans stay connected with their favorite players and teams, the NBA continues to offer a free preview of NBA League Pass, the league’s premium subscription-based product, until April 22 (April 23 12 nn PHT).  This complimentary offering features access to full length and condensed replays of all games from the 2019-20 season, as well as an expansive archive of classic games and content. Fans can redeem this free offer by signing into their NBA account through NBA.com or the NBA App on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android mobile and tablet devices, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and other supported devices. The phrase “bigger than basketball” is often used when discussing the efforts of a player or team to make a positive impact in their community. The response to this global pandemic is the epitome of “bigger than basketball” as the NBA looks to do its part to help people across the globe come together and work through these tough times......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 26th, 2020

Social distancing has Serena on edge amid coronavirus pandemic

  LOS ANGELES, USA – Tennis great Serena Williams says she is "on edge" as she practices social distancing recommended by health experts in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus. The 23-time Grand Slam champion posted a series of videos on TikTok describing her concerns for her two-year-old daughter, Olympia. "Now ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMar 22nd, 2020

Scrubbed: March Madness leads long list of canceled sports

By EDDIE PELLS AP National Writer The world's sports schedule cratered at warp speed Thursday, with one of the biggest events on the U.S. calendar, the fun-filled and colorful college basketball tournament known as March Madness, becoming the first mega-event to be scrubbed due to fear of the spread of the coronavirus. Leaders at all levels of sports, including the NCAA, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, tennis and soccer, decided the risk of playing games with the threat of the virus hanging over them was too great despite the billions of dollars — to say nothing of the trophies, pride and once-in-a-lifetime experiences — hanging in the balance. By late in the afternoon of an extraordinary, headline-a-minute day across a pandemic-rattled globe, the NCAA, which regulates March Madness and virtually all major U.S. college sports, basically had no choice. With conferences and individual teams calling off their basketball seasons at breakneck pace, the NCAA followed suit. They scrapped all college winter and spring championships, the highlight of which is the men's basketball tournament — a three-week extravaganza that stands as the biggest event this side of the Super Bowl on the U.S. sports calendar. The cancellation leaves a massive hole in American sports — from campuses across the country, to a growing passel of sports-betting businesses that rely on college hoops money, to say nothing of the hearts of players who were poised to get their first, or last, or only chance to shine on the big stage. All of it was to be covered by CBS and its partners; about 80 percent of the NCAA's $1.05 billion annual budget is bankrolled by the money the networks pay to present the 68-team tournament over the air, on cable and online. “This is bigger than a sport or championship,” said Kansas University coach Bill Self, whose team would've been the likely favorite to win it all. Hours earlier, Kansas and Duke had each taken matters into their own hands, announcing they wouldn't be sending any of their teams to games, no matter the stakes. It wasn't even the most jaw-dropping moment of the morning. That came, fittingly, at one of the world's most renowned sports venues — Madison Square Garden — where at halftime of a Big East Conference tournament game, the PA announcer came on and said the tournament had been called. By then, every major conference, and virtually all of the minor ones, had done the same thing. They were prompted in part by the NCAA's decision a day earlier to hold all its tournament games — which had been scheduled to start next week in nine cities and close April 6 at a 71,000-seat stadium in Atlanta — in front of friends and family and limited “essential” personnel. Only 24 hours later, with the stock market tanking, mixed messages coming out of Washington and no promise of quick relief being offered by world health experts, it became even more clear that gatherings involving thousands of people were hard to justify. Also clear: The NCAA would have trouble assembling an equitable bracket for its tournament, given that most games designed to suss out the most-deserving teams and automatic qualifiers had already been scrubbed. “I’m not a researcher in immunology or infectious disease, but those who are engaged at the NCAA level provided some stark information yesterday,” said Greg Sankey, the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. The March Madness news meant it will be a world free of basketball for the foreseeable future. A day after the NBA put its season on temporary hiatus, a second member of the Utah Jazz — Donovan Mitchell — tested positive for the coronavirus. The league said its suspension would last for at least 30 days — possibly a conservative guess, as teams undertake the task of identifying any player or referee who has had recent contact with the Jazz, then putting them into isolation for the required two weeks. “What would kill the NBA season is if more players catch it,” Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in an interview on CNBC. He called the hiatus a matter of “us being vigilant, as all businesses should be. Businesses are going to have to be incredibly vigilant, and that's hard.” The NHL also suspended its season, though it did not report any positives for COVID-19. Major League Baseball scrapped spring training and postponed the start of its season, currently scheduled for March 26, for at least two weeks. Before the start of one of the biggest golf tournaments on the calendar, the PGA Tour announced that the last three rounds of The Players Championship, best known for the rowdy gatherings around the island green on the 17th hole, would be played without fans. The same goes for the three events that follow, all of which lead into the Masters, which was, for the time being, slated to go on as scheduled the week of April 6. The LPGA postponed three tournaments, beginning next week, including its first major of the season. Tennis will also be canceling events. The ATP called off men's tournaments for the next six weeks; the WTA said its tournament in South Carolina, set for April 6-12, would not be held as scheduled, with decisions about the rest of the season to come in the next week. NASCAR announced it would race the next two weekends, in Atlanta and Miami, without fans, and IndyCar made the same decision for its race this weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida. Horse races were going on in several states, though without fans in the stands — leaving the parimutuel wagers to be made online; organizers of the Kentucky Derby were moving forward with plans for the May 2 race. The NFL, never off the radar even in the depths of the offseason, announced a number of changes and cancellations on its schedule of meetings, fan fest and scouting trips — all related to coronavirus. The U.S.-based Major League Soccer said it would shut down for a target period of 30 days. Earlier in the day, soccer leagues and teams scrambled to make changes: —Belgium's soccer league backpedaled on an earlier decision, and decided to close stadiums to fans. —A Champions League game involving Real Madrid was postponed after the Spanish team puts its players in quarantine. —Dutch soccer authorities canceled all matches through the end of the month, including friendlies against the United States and Spain. —Also, a second player from Italy's top soccer division tested positive. All sports in that hard-hit country have been suspended through April 3. For once, there were no major announcements coming out of Tokyo, where conflicting messages about the status of this summer's Olympics have come out of the country, and the IOC, for weeks. Instead, the IOC went ahead with its ceremonial lighting of the Olympic flame, an event held in front of the ruined Temple of Hera in Ancient Olympia. "We are strengthened ... by the many authorities and sports organizations around the world which are taking so many significant measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” IOC president Thomas Bach said......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 13th, 2020

James Bond movie ‘No Time to Die’ delayed again amid pandemic

LOS ANGELES – The global release of the James Bond movie “No Time to Die” was postponed to October from April, its producers said on Thursday, another setback for movie theaters trying to rebuild a business crushed by the coronavirus pandemic. The movie’s new debut date is Oct. 8, according to an announcement on the […] The post James Bond movie ‘No Time to Die’ delayed again amid pandemic appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated News21 hr. 8 min. ago

Docs know COVID-19 better than pols do

When debating which vaccine(s) to deploy against the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed more than 2,060,000 lives – 9,980 of them in the Philippines – we should listen more to doctors and public health experts than to politicians and generals......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 21st, 2021

Mix and mask

As pandemic restrictions slowly ease, people have begun to go outside for recreational activities like visiting tourist sites or strolling in malls while following safety protocols, of course. With the long months spent at home, clad only in loungewear or pajamas all day long, now is the time to bring out the outfits. New normal […] The post Mix and mask appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJan 20th, 2021

Dealing with the New Normal Healthy Lifestyle

As months pile up and the COVID-19 pandemic still remains a threat, people have no choice but to make lifestyle adaptions to deal with it and health is of top priority. According to NPC Dr. Parolita A. Mission, with the new strain of the virus, which experts fear is more contagious, we should be more […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated NewsJan 20th, 2021

‘Philippines imminent recovery best time for economic Cha-cha’

Now is the “best time” to introduce amendments to the prohibitive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution, as the country has started to show signs of recovery from the global pandemic, leaders of the House of Representatives maintained yesterday......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 20th, 2021

Willie’s charity work not ‘politically motivated’

Time and time again, especially as the election season approaches, rumors spread that Willie Revillame is being lured by different political parties to run in 2022, thanks to his various charity projects during calamities, continuing on his GMA show Tutok To Win (a spinoff of his bigger show Wowowin which is on hold due to the pandemic)......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 18th, 2021