Advertisements


Health experts back rejection of PH-wide MGCQ

Health experts back rejection of PH-wide MGCQ.....»»

Category: newsSource: cnnphilippines cnnphilippinesFeb 23rd, 2021

Task Force agrees to PH-wide MGCQ; it’s now up to Duterte

The government’s pandemic response managers have agreed to further relax quarantine restrictions nationwide, and it’s now up to President Duterte to approve their recommendation amid calls within his Cabinet to reopen more businesses and put millions of breadwinners back to work. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management […] The post Task Force agrees to PH-wide MGCQ; it’s now up to Duterte appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsFeb 20th, 2021

DOH may recommend delaying revised age restrictions in MGCQ areas

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) may recommend delaying the implementation of eased age restrictions in modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) areas due to the threat of new Covid-19 variants. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said Monday that health experts consulted by the DOH have suggested delaying the implementation of revised age restrictions […] The post DOH may recommend delaying revised age restrictions in MGCQ areas appeared first on Cebu Daily News......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 25th, 2021

Duterte appoints Galvez as vaccine czar; ‘good choice’, say lawmakers

By Genalyn D. Kabiling and Charissa Luci-Atienza In a meeting with government officials on the disaster response Monday, President Duterte announced he wanted former AFP chief and now Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez Jr Galvez to lead the government’s vaccine acquisition and distribution effort.  Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. (NTF AGAINST COVID-19 / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) Duterte said Galvez would be the only authorized official to negotiate for the country’s’ vaccine supply. He expressed his dislike with the creation of committees since the process will take long.  “As I have said earlier during the start of the COVID, I only want one line of authority coming from dito sa the Task Force sa pagbili ng bakuna, the negotiation, manufacture, negotiation, production or distribution is ibinigay ko ‘yan kay Secretary Galvez,” he said. “I have great faith in Charlie to really come up with the solutions for the problem,” he added. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque defended the additional assignment given to Galvez, saying the planned immunization drive would involve “more of a logistics challenge than a medical challenge.” Galvez, who joined the Duterte Cabinet in 2018, also currently serves as chief implementer of the government’s plan to fight the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, members of the House of Representatives lauded Galvez’s designation as vaccine war, among them: Representatives Michael Defensor, Roger Mercado, Ronnie Ong, Alfred Vargas and Rosanna Vergara. “It’s more of a logistics challenge than a medical challenge,” Roque explained. He said the only medical issues involved in the vaccine purchase are related to safety and efficacy of the drugs. This matter, he said, will be handled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  He said Galvez is expected to continue his close coordination with the Department of Health and other agencies that will be involved in the vaccination drive. “Gen. Galvez would have the hindsight of what happened and the understanding of the COVID baseline. What we need is the leadership and managerial skills in taking the lead of the COVID vaccine campaign,” Defensor, chairperson of the House Committee on Public Accounts, said in a text message when asked if the vaccine czar should have been a medical doctor.  “I support the President’s appointment of Sec Galvez.  Galvez is an innovative  administrator. He can be trusted to implement the program well,”  Mercado said in a separate text message.  “We are happy that the president is preparing early and appointing someone to lead is good news,” Ong said.  Vargas also rallied behind the  the decision of President Duterte to appoint Galvez, saying that “we don’t need a doctor but a manager for this job.” Vergara also gave her vote of confidence to Galvez.  “Being the COVID-19 policy chief implementer, he has a clear overview of the COVID-19 situation in the county and such knowledge is very crucial in the distribution of the vaccine. I am sure, there are medical experts who advise the good Secretary,” she said.  “I am assuming  the vaccine chosen has already passed all testing and FDA approvals , the challenge will be to properly allocate and distribute it fairly across the country to the most vulnerable  and this is the challenge anyone who heads this Task Force will face– how do you properly allocate this should the vaccine supply be limited because of world wide demand? Thus, the need to plan for equally expedited distribution and delivery. Building a delivery system that is quick, fair and will not result to inequitable distribution,”  Vergara added......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsNov 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

Latin America to bear worst impact from coronavirus: World Bank

Latin America and the Caribbean will suffer the worst economic and health impact from the coronavirus, the World Bank said Friday, forecasting a nearly 8.0 percent drop in regional GDP. “Our region is suffering the worst economic and health impacts of Covid-19 of anywhere in the world,” according to Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, the Bank’s regional vice president. He said the findings in the report “calls for clarity on how to combat the pandemic and put the economies back on track for a swift recovery.”  In its report, “The Cost of Staying Healthy” the Bank addresses the impact of the pandemic in a region with with high Covid-19 mortality and infection rates such as Brazil, Mexico and Peru. “The number of deaths per million people is as high as in advanced economies, if not more, but the resources available to counter the shock are much more constrained,” it said.  The bank forecasts a recovery with growth of 4.0 percent in 2021. The report forecasts a region-wide 7.9 percent drop in GDP, a slightly more negative outlook for 2020 than its last assessment in June of a likely 7.2 percent contraction. Crisis-wracked Venezuela — in acute recession for several years and with a government that at least 50 countries refuse to recognize — is not taken into account in the figures. The Covid-related economic crisis follows “several years of disappointing economic growth and limited progress on social indicators, and right after a wave of social unrest,” the report said. “The social damage is immense” the institution warned, adding that unemployment rates had soared across the region, “sometimes substantially.”  Surveys conducted in 13 countries in the region showed that the share of households suffering a decline in income is higher than the share experiencing job losses, it said. The findings suggest that “the impact of the crisis is not only severe but also potentially long-lasting.”.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsOct 9th, 2020

Former Health officials back distancing cut in public rides

Despite a dire warning from Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, former Department of Health officials and several other medical experts said on Tuesday that evidence from several studies support the gradual reduction of social distancing inside public transportation vehicles......»»

Category: newsSource:  thestandardRelated NewsSep 15th, 2020

Doubt remains as experts back distancing reduction on public transport

"By imposing these strict measures, we believe we can gradually relax social distancing rules, in order to double or even triple our current public transport capacity, without compromising public health.".....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsSep 15th, 2020

Chooks-to-Go 3x3 to observe strict protocol in bubble

Strict health protocols will be practiced and observed once the Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 gets the green light to practice, and eventually, hold its actual tournament. This was assured by league commissioner Eric Altamirano on Tuesday during his appearance in the online session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum. Altamirano, who was joined by player Alvin Pasaol, said the league is taking all the necessary steps and precautions to assure the safety and welfare of players, officials, and staff from contracting the COVID-19. “We’re ensuring that we will cover everything from testing to contact tracing,” said Altamirano. All involved personnel will be required to undergo swab testing (PCR-testing) especially those who are going to enter the 3x3 bubble at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna once competition in the newly-turned pro league gets going hopefully, by September. Practices among 12 participating teams are supposed to start within the month, but had to be pushed a little back when the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjacent provinces including Laguna, reverted back to a Modified Enhance Community Quarantine (MECQ) status. “Right after ma-lift ‘yang MECQ, we will resume our testing and training,” Altamirano said. The league official added he has been in close consultation with Dr. Tony Leachon, the former special adviser to the National Task Force Against COVID-19, and other health experts about the protocols the league will have to observe before and during the tournament. The league is on the lookout for a centralized training facility where all teams would be able to workout under strict monitoring. “Pag isang venue lang ang pagpa-practisan, now we can have contact tracing, we can ensure the safety of the facility in terms of cleaning and disinfecting. May scheduled protocol when it comes to that. For every practice, may cleaning gap bago (mag-practice) yung next group,” he explained in the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), and powered by Smart with Upstream Media as webcast partner. In the league’s bubble, meanwhile, protocol is even stricter. A single person who just showed even a single symptom of the virus will be immediately isolated. A maximum of around 150 persons to be inside the Inspire Sports Academy in the entire duration of the meet......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 11th, 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

DILG: NCR ECQ proposal to be discussed in meeting

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Sunday assured that calls for Metro Manila to be reverted back to the stricter enhanced community quarantine will be tackled during the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) meeting on Aug. 3. DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya issued the clarification after some medical workers requested that the National Capital Region (NCR) be under the more restricted quarantine rules due to the surging coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases. DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN) On Aug. 1, Philippine Medical Association (PMA) president Dr. Jose Santiago in an online press conference headed by the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) noted that the health workers are overwhelmed by the upsurge of COVID-19 cases they are handling. He relayed that the concerned health workers had urged the government to give them at least two weeks of “breathing space by shifting Mega Manila back to a strict lockdown.’’ “We’re waging a losing battle against COVID-19 and we need to draw up a consolidated, definitive plan of action,” the letter read by Santiago said. With President Duterte on the brink of placing Metro Manila under the modified general communits quarantine (MGCQ) in middle of July, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año and the other Cabinet members convinced the President that the move is not feasible citing the need to open businesses to reinvigorate the economy. Año insisted that the way to curb the spread of the disease starts in every individual who should follow the minimum health standards of wearing masks, observing physical distancing, and practicing proper hygiene. He emphasized that no country can claim they have won their fight against COVID-19 since there is no available vaccine for the virus yet. But on the bright note, Duterte in a meeting on Friday said that the COVID-19 vaccine will be available in the country this December. Año noted that the country has to live with the virus momentarily until the vaccine is found. He added that the local government units (LGUs) have the power to impose localized lockdowns on parts of the barangays, streets, and buildings which they have identified as high-risk areas......»»

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

Harm reduction

As we slowly move back to our normal lives even with the virus still very much a threat, public health experts are now more openly talking about ways of mitigating risks of infection other than reverting to lockdowns......»»

Category: financeSource:  philstarRelated NewsJul 10th, 2020

Damian Lillard emerges from shutdown ready for playoff push

By ANNE M. PETERSON AP Sports Writer PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Grieving the death of a cousin and missing his mother, Damian Lillard struggled emotionally after the NBA shut down because of the coronavirus. But he also found inspiration in his activism for Black Lives Matter and his flourishing music career. The Trail Blazers were just out of the playoff picture, sitting ninth in the Western Conference standings on March 11 when the league was shuttered. The team will be among 22 that will depart next week for Orlando as part of the re-start. Portland will have eight games to secure a playoff berth, starting on July 31 with Memphis. “We don’t have time to ease our way in, we don't have time to try and figure stuff out, we’ve got to come in assertive and aggressive and just go after it,” he said. “And if we fail, we fail, but we gotta at least come out there with that mentality of we don’t have time to kind of ease into it.” Lillard welcomes the chance to resume playing after a difficult few months. He admittedly had no idea how serious the virus was when the league closed down. He went to Phoenix with his family, intent on finding a gym to stay in shape during the layoff. But the NBA said players couldn't go to third-party facilities or trainers because of health concerns. While grateful that he had his fiance and son with him, Lillard essentially sheltered in place once he got back to Portland. He didn't see his mom for more than a month. And then his cousin and personal chef, Brandon Johnson, suddenly passed away. “It was tough, man. I think that was when I got to the point where I was like, if I was waking up and it wasn’t a sunny day, it was messing with my mood. It was just tough,” Lillard said. “I got through it, just from having a lot of my family around. That really helped. So I can see why somebody who is with one person or by themselves would have a really hard time. Definitely a tough few months.” Always diligent about his fitness, Lillard found a way to train. Then George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, touching off nationwide protests over police brutality. Lillard marched in Portland. He also released a powerful rap "Blacklist,'' under his music persona, Dame D.O.L.L.A. “I grew up with Oscar Grant, who was killed at a BART station while handcuffed facedown. I’ve been racially profiled by cops, before I was in the NBA. So I have thoughts and feelings about this stuff. That’s what Blacklist was about,” he said. Lillard was averaging 28.9 points and 7.8 assists this season. In January he scored 61 points in a game against the Warriors and he had seven games with 40 or more points. He'll be among those sequestered at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex for games, but the resumption of the season comes as cases of COVID-19 are spiking in Florida. Some players have opted out, including Portland's Trevor Ariza and Caleb Swanigan. But Portland will see the return of big men Jusuf Nurkic, now recovered from a broken leg last season, and Zach Collins, who was sidelined with a shoulder injury. One thing that's not a concern for the Blazers is fitness. “They’ve been very diligent about taking care of themselves, both in the weight room and on the court, and treatment. So I’ve been very impressed with all of their conditioning," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “They’re not an NBA game shape yet, but I think with a month to go, with the practices that we’re going to have, and the way they’ve taken care of themselves so far, I don’t think it’s a stretch that they’ll be more than ready.” Lillard is confident in his own ability to stay healthy, but he doesn't quite trust everyone else. The NBA announced this week that nine additional players had tested positive for the virus, bringing the total of league players who have contracted it to 25. “I feel like it’s still a possibility for something to spread within that bubble, just with there been so many people and so many different things that we’ve got to follow to be safe, even though we’re not exposed to the public,” he said. “So for me, it’s gonna be, `What time is practice? What time can I get in the weight room, What time can I get some shots up? What’s the plan for game day?' I’m going to be in the room. I’m going to have my PS3, my PS4. I’m going to have my studio equipment, my mike, my laptop. I’m going to have all my books. I mean, that’s it. I’m going to be in the room, chillin'.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2020

PBA return a difficult process says Chairman Vargas

It'll be a little over a month before the PBA Board's crucial August meeting to determine the fate of the league's 45th season amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the rising numbers in positive cases in the country, Chairman Ricky Vargas remains hopeful that the PBA can finish out at least its 2020 Philippine Cup later this year. "We are still positive and our players are also very hopeful that we can start," Vargas said during the most recent forum by the Philippine Sportswriters Association. "Kasi alam din naman nila na we are protecting their health interest," Vargas added of the players. Early in June, the PBA started dialogue with the IATF as the league seeks clearance to have players already do some light workouts per small batches. It doesn't appear that the IATF has given the PBA a proper response, but according to government protocols, the lowest quarantine level allows for sporting events and the like to push through but only at 50 percent venue capacity. "Closest we can get is if we got to [MGCQ]. Kapag [MGCQ], sinasabi nila you may go back to practicing," Vargas said. "Also, the more positive note is yung statement ng GAB [Games and Amusements Board] is they're also working for professional sports to begin," he added. Nevertheless, the PBA returning this year will not be an easy process. The decision will involve many concerned parties, not just the league and the IATF. "Marami. GAB, IATF, DOH, LGU, at tsaka yung owner ng coliseum. Medyo mahirap din ang proseso. Plus, the protocol that we have to agree on," Vargas said.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 30th, 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

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

MLS players agree to salary cuts, possible tournament

By ANNE M. PETERSON AP Sports Writer The Major League Soccer Players Association voted to approve economic concessions for this season, including across-the-board salary cuts, while also agreeing to play in a proposed summer tournament in Orlando, Florida. The proposal, made public by the union Sunday night, will now be sent to back to the league for approval by team owners. “While a difficult vote in incredibly challenging times, it was taken collectively to ensure that players can return to competition as soon as they are safely able to do so,” the MLSPA said in a statement. The MLS season was suspended March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Teams had played just two games of the season. Major League Soccer gave its teams the go-ahead Thursday to begin small voluntary group training sessions outdoors. Teams must follow a strict protocol, as well as local public health and government restrictions. Not all of the league's teams have returned to training. Details of the Orlando tournament were still under consideration, but the league’s 26 teams and limited staff would be sheltered at hotels with games played without fans at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World. In addition to salary cuts, the union's proposal includes reduced team and individual bonuses, as well as concessions to the existing and future terms of the collective bargaining agreement. Details were not immediately available. MLS did not immediately comment on the proposal. MLS first announced last month it was exploring possible “changes to player compensation” because of the financial hit the league and teams were facing with the extended suspension in play. “We are seeking to work collaboratively with the MLSPA to find a solution that provides a safety net for all players, opportunity to earn full salary in the scenario where all matches are played with fans, and in particular provides protection for the players at the lower end of the salary scale,” the league said in a statement at the time. MLS and the players’ union agreed to terms of a new contract in early February, but it had not been ratified when the season was put on hold......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 1st, 2020

Experts, LGUs back healthcare system bills

The Department of Health and Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines have expressed support for bills seeking to strengthen the country’s healthcare system, which were filed by Sen. Bong Go, chair of the committee on health and demography......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 27th, 2020

Team Lakay mentor Mark Sangiao looking forward to re-opening gym once lockdown is lifted

Following the May 15 deadline of the Luzon-wide Enhanced Community Quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some parts of the island have started to ease restrictions on the quarantine with the sole purpose of getting the economy back on track While the National Capital Region will remain under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine, other places like Baguio City have transitioned into General Community Quarantine, which means some restrictions will be eased up. Gym operations however, are not yet among those restrictions to be lifted. Still, the transition to GCQ is a start, and barring a second wave of infections to hit, a return to the gym could soon be on the horizon, which is welcome news to the members of Team Lakay. For Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao, once the lockdown has been lifted, re-opening the gym and returning to the regular routine is the primary goal. “I only have one plan after the lockdown, and that is to go back to our regular training program and routine. I know they are doing their own training at home, but of course things are different in the gym,” Sangiao said. The La Trinidad-based martial arts stable closed their gym doors during the height of the quarantine back in March, and have only returned there to do individual workouts or as a control center for their relief operations. The team hasn’t been able to work out as a group in months and have resorted to home training to keep themselves fit. “While we’re on lockdown, we continue training at home, and when needed for social responsibilities, we go out,” Sangiao stated.  “Then if there’s a chance, we drop by the gym and train. Whoever can go out and is within the vicinity, sometimes we meet up in the gym to work out and do sauna after. I also have more time in managing the team’s social media one thing that I wasn’t able to do in this pandemic,” he added. Still, even with things looking quite bleak right now, Sangiao says that he is grateful for good health. “I would say that we are very fortunate because we are all doing fine here amid the scary things that we’re seeing with COVID. I pray that we find a cure soon for this pandemic.” Obviously, the Team Lakay mentor is longing for things to return to normal so that they can once again enjoy even the little things, like going out for lunch as a team. “Like all the others, I miss a lot of things that we used to do before the lockdown, like eating with the team after training. There is a small restaurant near the gym and we often went there for lunch after our training,” Sangiao shared.  "That’s a very good restaurant, and it became our bonding. As they say, ‘Good memories, and good plans start at the dining table.’” Still, the number one thing that Sangiao, and the rest of Team Lakay want to be able to return to work. “We might visit the place after the ECQ, but just like what I’ve said, I have only one plan after the lockdown – that is to go back to our regular training program and routine and prepare the athletes for their future battles,” he concluded.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 19th, 2020

Lockdown lessened rate of coronavirus infections in PH – U.P. experts

MANILA, Philippines – Experts at the University of the Philippines (UP) said the Luzon-wide lockdown has helped slow down the rate of coronavirus infections in the country, but the health care system should be prepared for a "surge" in cases once the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) is lifted......»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 22nd, 2020

Luzon-wide lockdown after April 30 not needed, health experts tell Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – There was a near-consensus among health policy experts consulted by President Rodrigo Duterte that the current Luzon-wide lockdown be lifted on April 30, with only some parts of the region to remain under quarantine. "There was almost a consensus that an ECQ (enhanced ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 21st, 2020