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Variant COVID-19 gives the European pandemic a new level



European pandemic

The first week of December, Portugal’s Prime Minister gave an early Christmas present to his pandemic-weary citizens, restricting the number of visits and travelling activities due COVID-19 from 23 to 26 December to allow them to stay with family and friends in the holiday season.

The pandemic quickly got out of control shortly after those visits.

By January 6, for the first time in Portugal, there were 10,000 cases of the latest daily COVID 19 cases. In mid-January the government ordered lock-ups for at least a month and the schools of the nation were suspended a week later. With an alarm ringing, as new illness and death reports were released every day.

It’s been too small, too late, though. According to figures obtained by John Hopkins University, Portugal has seen the most cases and deaths per 100,000 people every day for nearly a week.

Now long emergency queues wait hours to deliver COVID-19’s patients outside of overloaded hospitals of the world.

The problems in Portugal are symbolic of the possibility of pandemic guards slipping off when a modern, quickly expanding version is invisible.

A highly infectious virus mutation first observed in Southeast England last year is accelerating the pandemic across Europe. Health experts say. The hazard leads to harsh new blockades and curfews being imposed by governments.

The latest variant is a game changer said Viggo Andreasen, assistant mathematical epidemiology professor at Roskilde university, west of Copenhagen.

“There may be good things on the surface, but the (new) variant underneath the surface is coming up,” the Associated Press reported. “All in the company know that a new game is under way.”

In Denmark, despite comparatively early progress in managing the virus outbreak, the strain threatens to turn the pandemic out of balance. Prime Minister Friedrichssen this month said “it’s a race against time” to vaccinate citizens and to delay the development of the variant, since it’s now too popular to postpone.

Last week, the Netherlands National Institute for Health and the Environment reported growing cases of this variant and cautioned that the number of admissions and deaths in hospitals will rise.

“The epidemic is essentially two COVID-19 epidemics: the ‘old’ epidemic where infections are decreasing, and the (new) epidemic with increasing infection,” she said.

In mid-December, the Netherlands began a rough lockout lasting five weeks and shut down schools and non-essential industries as new pathogens escalated. Prime Minister Mark Rutte, citing reservations about the current variant, prolonged his lock-down for another three weeks on January 12.

The government of the Netherlands took one step further last week and introduced a 9 p.m.-4:30 a.m. both curfew and restricting visitor numbers to one a day at home.

Other EU countries have noticed the latest variant that has contributed to tightened down lock-up initiatives. Belgium has prohibited all movement for inhabitants until March and, if its 12-hour maximum restraint does not delay the spread of new diseases, France could soon be laying off its third lock-down.

In Brazil and South Africa, other mutant forms of the virus existed.

By March, analysts say, the British strain will possibly become the leading infection vector in the United States. It has been registered in over 20 countries so far.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. top infectious disease expert, said scientists are working to update vaccine COVID-19 in the UK and South Africa.

Moderna, one of the two US vaccines, claims that a potential booster dose of the South African formulation is now being studied — a form named Fauci is “more ominous” than the British. The vaccine was used in the United States.

In Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, the shot seems to be successful against Britain’s strain but there remain concerns regarding South Africa.

In the face of these concerns, the USA reinstates COVID-19 visa limits on non-US travel. United Kingdom tourists, 26 other European countries and Brazil and South Africa added to the list.

For Portugal it was a steep study curve.

The Portuguese government should have improved arrangements for January before we relax the constraints at Christmas, Ricardo Mexia, president of Portugal’s National Association of Doctors of Public Health said, but not.

He told the AP, “The problem was not just that it was reacting promptly, but also that it was not proactive.” “Better assertive” officials.

A study by the National Institute of Health, Dr. Ricardo Jorge, on January 3, which studies the virus in Portugal, said that studies detected 16 different variants in continental Portugal, ten of them in Lisbon Airport travellers. It didn’t say where it came from.

Portugal’s governments tried to make up for lost time and just three days after the lock-down was declared, adding even stricter controls. However, there have been recent incidents and fatalities.

Just over two weeks later, the VICA estimated in early December that the latest version had been detected in Portugal and warned that the proportion of COVID-19 cases had been due to the United Kingdom. By the beginning of February the pressure could hit 60%.

Only on Saturday did the Government suspend flights to and from the United Kingdom and blame the now crippling COVID-19 wave.

The Chief Emergency Officer of the World Health Organisation said earlier this month that the Body tests the effects of emerging versions, but warns that they are also seen as scapegoats.

“To blame a variant is just to easy and say ‘this was the virus’,” Dr. Michael Ryan told the Geneva-based reporters. “It’s also, unfortunately, what we haven’t done.”

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Pearl Harbor survivors gather on 80th anniversary of attack



Pearl Harbor survivors gather on 80th anniversary of attack

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — A few dozen survivors of Pearl Harbor and other veterans gathered Tuesday at the site of the bombing 80 years ago to remember those killed in the attack by Japan that launched the U.S. into World War II.

The USS Chung-Hoon, a guided missile destroyer, passed in front of the pier with its sailors “manning the rails,” or lining the ship’s edge, to honor the World War II veterans present.

David Russell, a 101-year-old from Albany, Oregon, who survived the attack while on the USS Oklahoma, stood to salute to the destroyer on behalf of the veterans.

Herb Elfring, 99, said he was glad to return to Pearl Harbor considering he almost didn’t live through the aerial assault.

“It was just plain good to get back and be able to participate in the remembrance of the day,” Elfring told reporters over the weekend.

Elfring was in the Army, assigned to the 251st Coast Artillery, part of the California National Guard on Dec. 7, 1941. He recalled Japanese planes flying overhead and bullets strafing his Army base at Camp Malakole, a few miles down the coast from Pearl Harbor.

Elfring, who lives in Jackson, Michigan, said he has returned to Hawaii about 10 times to attend the annual memorial ceremony hosted by the Navy and the National Park Service.

About 30 survivors and about 100 other veterans of the war joined him this year. Veterans stayed home last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and watched a livestream of the event instead. Most attendees this year wore masks.

They observed a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the same minute the attack began decades ago.

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro recounted in his keynote address how Petty Officer 1st Class Joe George tossed a line to the USS Arizona that six men trapped by fire in the battleship’s control tower used to cross to his ship, the USS Vestal. Five of the six survived. Among them was Donald Stratton of Red Cloud, Nebraska, who died last year. Del Toro said he recently met with Stratton’s family.

“We sometimes talk about our victory in World War II as though it was inevitable. Only a matter of time. But there was nothing inevitable about one sailor’s decision to toss that line,” Del Toro said.

He said it took millions of individual acts of valor and courage at home and overseas to get the nation through the war.

The bombing killed more than 2,300 U.S. troops. Nearly half — or 1,177 — were Marines and sailors serving on the USS Arizona.

David Dilks, 95, traveled to Hawaii from Hatfield, Pennsylvania, with his son-in-law. Dilks enlisted out of high school in 1944, going from playing basketball one day to serving in the Navy the next.

Dilks said his battleship, the USS Massachusetts, bombarded targets like Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Philippines during the war.

He recalls one day in March 1945 when he and his shipmates were watching the movie “Stage Door Canteen” on the ship’s fantail when a loud noise interrupted the film. They then saw a Japanese kamikaze plane crash into the USS Randolph aircraft carrier next to them.

“We never had a movie up topside after that,” he said.

Sitting at Pearl Harbor on the 80th anniversary of the attack, he said he’s thinking in particular about those that died.

“All of the sailors and soldiers who fought here — you should be proud of them. But more proud of those who didn’t make it,” he said.

Several women who helped the war effort by working in factories have come to Hawaii to participate in the remembrance this year.

Mae Krier, who built B-17s and B-29s at a Boeing plant in Seattle, said it took the world a while to credit women for their work.

“And we fought together as far as I’m concerned. But it took so long to honor what us women did. And so of course, I’ve been fighting hard for that, to get our recognition,” said Krier, who is now 95. “But it was so nice they finally started to honor us.”

This year’s ceremony took place as a strong storm with extremely heavy rains hit Hawaii, flooding roads and downing power lines. The ceremony was conducted under a pier with a metal roof. Skies were overcast but it was not raining during the ceremony.

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Denver weather: Will it finally snow this week? Here’s what to expect.



Denver weather: Pleasant Saturday, windy Sunday, chance for snow Tuesday

It’s been a long time coming but Denver may finally get its first snow of the season. Although it’s very late and we’ve waited nearly a record number of days in between accumulating snows, the streak could come to an end this week.

The weather this season has been concerning. The overall lack of snow and precipitation, in general, is enough to have sent Denver back into severe drought. While the upcoming storm isn’t going to be a blockbuster, it is at least something and any kind of moisture is very much needed.

Denver as of Tuesday has gone 231 days without seeing measurable snow. The only year with a longer span between measurable snows in Denver was all the way back in 1887 when the city went 235 days without accumulating snow. With the way this forecast may pan out, it’s possible we could get a tenth of an inch of snow Thursday, which would snap the streak at 233 days. It is more likely Denver will receive measurable snow Friday, meaning we will fall one day shy of the all-time record. Regardless of when snow officially happens, it has been a very long time since Denver has seen snow.

The record latest date of the first snow in Denver has come and gone and is almost a distant memory at this point.

Latest first snow dates in Denver

1) 2021 — TBD
2) 1934 — Nov. 21
3) 1931 — Nov. 19
4) 2016 — Nov. 17
5) 1894 — Nov. 16


A cold front associated with this system will push across the region late Thursday night into Friday morning. Above-average temperatures are expected Thursday before the cold front moves in, so we have nice weather expected until then.

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Avalanche leads NHL in scoring but ranks 27th in defense. “We got to be better defensively. Doesn’t matter who’s in net”



Avalanche leads NHL in scoring but ranks 27th in defense. “We got to be better defensively. Doesn’t matter who’s in net”

NEW YORK — Jared Bednar’s demeanor after Monday’s 7-5 victory at Philadelphia bordered on somber. The Avalanche had just improved to 2-1-1 on its five-game road trip, but its head coach wasn’t too thrilled for the third time in four games.

Sure, the high-scoring Avs can score goals. They lead the NHL at 4.14 goals per game and have reached seven goals a league-high four times. But they rank 27th in goals-allowed (3.45) and they’ve given up more goals (20) than they’ve scored (19) on the trip, which concludes Wednesday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

“I know what we’re selling in the locker room,” Bednar said of defensive structure. “I think our team has a real good idea on what we have to do to have success long-term, but it just doesn’t seem like we’re following through on it for 60 minutes.”

The structure appears off, with the Avs allowing far too many opportunities on their send of the ice so far this season. Colorado had a league-low 25.4 shots against average last season. Currently, it is allowing 30.3, tied for ninth.

Goaltending could also be part of the problem, although Bednar didn’t acknowledge that. Throughout the trip, Colorado has used two guys who were pegged to begin the season in the minors (Jonas Johansson and rookie Justus Annunen) while Darcy Kuemper recovers from an upper-body injury and Pavel Francouz completes his minor-league conditioning assignment.

Johansson has a .884 save percentage in eight appearances and Annunen is at .892 in two. Kuemper (.903) isn’t much better and Francouz has yet to play in the NHL this season after suffering a lower-body injury in the preseason.

“We got to be better defensively. Doesn’t matter who’s in net,” Bednar said.

Avs players realize the problem — particularly the two defensemen who spoke at the post-game news conference in Philly.

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