Prosecutors probe ex-NASA official, Boeing over space contract: sources – Fox Business

August 14th, 2020

Epic Games’ Founder Tim Sweeney Is Fighting Apple, Google. He’s Been Preparing For Years. – The Wall Street Journal

August 14th, 2020

Another 84 COVID-19 cases announced in B.C.’s final update of the week – CTV News Vancouver

August 14th, 2020

VANCOUVER — At the end of another week of a spike in COVID-19 cases, B.C. health officials announced another 84 on Friday.

In a news release sent out in the afternoon, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry added there have been no new deaths since the update that came the day before.

There are now 629 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, including 12 people who are in hospital with the coronavirus, four of whom are in intensive care.

Two of the cases announced Friday are epidemiologically linked, meaning health officials believe the person had the virus because of their proximity to a known case, but the person was never tested.

More than 2,000 people are currently being monitored by public health officials as a result of exposures to known cases of the virus, Dix and Henry said Friday.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 4,358 cases in B.C., and 3,533 people who have previously tested positive are now recovered.

Friday’s update also included one new outbreak in a health-care facility in the Fraser Health region. That outbreak is at Queen’s Park Care Centre in New Westminster.

There are now nine ongoing health-care outbreaks in B.C. Seven are in long-term care homes and two are in acute care facilities.

The update comes after a week in which B.C. saw its recent surge in cases continue, with three consecutive days of at least 75 additional confirmed cases announced. Friday marks the first time B.C. has ever announced more than 75 new cases of COVID-19 on three consecutive days.

Much of the recent surge in cases has been seen among people under the age of 40, a fact underscored during a live briefing on the province’s modelling of the virus on Thursday.

On Friday, Dix and Henry reiterated their call for people to be role models for their friends and family members who might have become less diligent in practising COVID-19 safety measures.

“Remember that each new interaction outside your bubble holds a risk that you then bring back to your family and friends,” the officials said. “In these circumstances, we must stand together, by staying apart.”

The vast majority of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases continue to be located in the Lower Mainland, with 2,276 confirmed in the Fraser Health region and 1,354 in Vancouver Coastal Health.

Elsewhere in the province, there have been 399 confirmed cases in Interior Health, 150 in Island Health and 107 in Northern Health. There have also been 72 cases recorded in B.C. among people who reside outside of Canada.

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Some neck gaiters may be worse than not wearing a mask at all, study shows – CBS News

August 14th, 2020

Using thin, stretchy neck gaiters as a face covering might be ineffective at stopping the spread of the coronavirus, and could even spread the virus further than not wearing a covering at all, according to a new study. Researchers from Duke University found that the neck gaiter they tested was “worse than nothing.” 

“The neck gaiter that we tested did essentially nothing, and worse than nothing, because it appeared to make large droplets into small droplets,” Isaac Henrion, the study’s co-author, told CBS News. Henrion is also the coordinator of Cover Durham, a community project to distribute tens of thousands of masks to vulnerable people.

The experiment involved only a small number of speakers and face coverings, and the researchers stressed that more testing is needed — some gaiters might work better than others, depending on how they’re made.

The neck gaiter is a circular piece of fabric that sits around a person’s neck and can be pulled up to cover their mouth and nose. The issue with the convenient cover-up is likely not with its design, but with the fabric it is typically made from. 

According to Henrion, the study tested a neck gaiter made of a thin, stretchy polyester, which is a commonly sold style. Instead of stopping droplets that can contain the virus from escaping into the air, the fabric appeared to turn large droplets into smaller ones known as aerosols. 

An employee wearing a face-covering walks through the concourse at Waterloo Station in London on June 15, 2020. Niklas Halle’n / Getty

Aerosols are microscopic droplets that are produced when people cough, sneeze or talk, but they do not fall to the ground in the same way larger, visible droplets do. Henrion described an aerosol’s path like that of a paper airplane flying through the air and getting caught on currents that are invisible to the naked eye. 

“They’re really tiny, they’re really invisible, they’re buoyant, they don’t fall to the ground, gravity doesn’t act on them,” Kimberly Prather, distinguished chair in atmospheric chemistry at UC San Diego and an expert on aerosols, told CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jonathan LaPook in June. 

“And so when (aerosols are) released by someone who’s infected, doesn’t know it, and is talking in a room, they can just build up in a room over time and whoever’s in that room can inhale those and become infected,” according to Prather.

The danger of creating aerosol droplets is that it’s harder to protect ourselves from aerosols than from larger droplets. 

“If you inhale tiny aerosols, those go deep into your lungs and can bypass your immune system … that’s why you don’t have symptoms [at first],” Prather explained. “The virus just takes off and your body is under attack, and you don’t know it for five days until it grows up in your upper respiratory tract, then it triggers your immune system, and then you have symptoms.”

“Aerosols are increasingly considered to be a major source of transmission, especially in unventilated and crowded spaces where a strong concentration can build up over time,” according to Henrion. The extent to which aerosols may carry the coronavirus is still being researched, but evidence suggests they play a role.

Study: Multi-layer face masks work better 02:09

Duke’s study focused on droplet production while talking, as opposed to coughing or sneezing, because research has shown that more than half the people infected with COVID-19 do not have symptoms, and therefore are generally not coughing or sneezing, according to Henrion.

“Talking really is the way that asymptomatic transmission happens,” he said. 

Dr. Neeta Ogden told CBSN on Wednesday that numerous coronavirus outbreaks, including those among passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, in Boston’s homeless population and the workers at a Tyson poultry factory, happened when “there was a high level of infection and a great percentage of people who were asymptomatic.”

Global coronavirus infections have doubled in just six weeks and climbed past 20 million, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than half of those positive cases come from just three countries: the United States, Brazil and India. Since the first cases were detected in the U.S. in January, more than 5 million Americans have been diagnosed and more than 165,000 have died. 

Henrion noted that countries where a large percentage of the population wears masks were able to stop community transmission. 

“The evidence now from many fields is overwhelmingly that masks work,” he said. 

While the study did not set out to create a definitive ranking of masks, Henrion said that N95 and standard surgical masks released the least amount of droplets. N95s yielded the best results, and surgical masks came in second, stopping 90-95% of droplets. Simple two-layer cotton masks were effective at stopping 80% of droplets from getting out when participants spoke. 

As for neck gaiters, Henrion stressed that the study was preliminary, and did not conclusively determine whether a gaiter’s fabric or construction was responsible for producing smaller droplets. A neck gaiter with two layers of cotton could be more effective.

Without easy access to PPE, many people have turned to making their own masks. The study showed that homemade versions can be effective, but people should be mindful of their mask construction and fit. 

“Further research is needed to investigate the performance of bandanas and neck gaiters, since our study is only a proof of concept for the experimental method,” Henrion said.

Martin Fischer, an associate research professor in Duke’s chemistry department who took part in the study, told WRAL-TV it wasn’t meant to rate different face coverings, adding that “Not all … neck gaiters are bad. There are plenty good ones out there. It depends so much on the material, on how many layers you wear.”


US developing coronavirus strain for human ‘challenge’ trials – Yahoo News

August 14th, 2020
US developing coronavirus strain for human 'challenge' trialsUS developing coronavirus strain for human 'challenge' trials
US government scientists are considering deliberately infecting volunteers with a strain of the new coronavirus in order to test vaccines more quickly

US scientists are developing a strain of the coronavirus that could be used to deliberately infect volunteers in so-called “challenge studies,” a government agency said Friday.

The work is preliminary and the government is continuing to prioritize randomized clinical trials of vaccine candidates, the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said.

Several of these have entered their final stages, including the vaccines developed by Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

But NIAID has nonetheless “begun efforts to manufacture a strain that could be used to develop a human challenge model, if needed,” it said in a statement.

In normal clinical trials, volunteers receive either a medicine or a placebo and their health is then followed over the course of months of years.

Scientists look for how well the vaccine or treatment worked when the person was naturally exposed to the pathogen.

A quicker way to test whether a drug works is by deliberately infecting volunteers, as has been done in the past for influenza, malaria, typhoid, dengue fever, and cholera.

In the US, advocacy groups like 1DaySooner support challenge studies for COVID-19, but the subject is controversial because of how serious the disease can be and because its effects aren’t fully understood.

NIAID said it would probably reach a decision toward the end of 2020, when the late-stage clinical trials that are underway start reporting their results.

This would help it determine whether challenge studies are needed, safe and ethical, it added.

David Diemert, the director of George Washington University’s vaccine trial research unit who is overseeing a trial of Moderna’s vaccine in the US capital, told AFP he did not think challenge trials were appropriate for COVID-19.

“I think they’re a critical tool, but only under the right circumstances,” he said.

Diemert is himself leading a challenge trial into a hookworm vaccine.

But he said that for COVID-19, “we don’t have a very clear understanding of who is at risk of developing severe disease and we have no treatment that is guaranteed to cure someone if they do develop severe disease.”

There’s also enough widespread community transmission in the US — the worst hit country in the world with 5.3 million confirmed cases — to mean challenge trials are not necessary, he added.



Apple and Google remove Fortnite from their app stores—Here’s the impact – CNBC

August 14th, 2020

Fatal vehicle explosion in front of Kitchener courthouse – 680 News

August 14th, 2020

A chaotic scene in front of the Kitchener courthouse Friday morning.

One person is dead following a vehicle fire and explosion in the Frederick and Duke Street area of Kitchener.

Regional Police and Kitchener Fire crews were called to the scene at around 10:30 a.m., and were able to quickly extinguish the blaze.

The vehicle itself was parked on Duke Street, across from the parking garage.

Mike Sylvester is a construction worker at a highrise building going up at the corner of Duke and Frederick.

“I just came back to the job site, and heard this loud bang and looked up at the building to see what it was,” he said, “I had seen the flames shooting out from over here.”

He said it sounded “almost like a tail gate on a dump truck slamming shut.”

Aaron McComb works with Sylvester, but wasn’t working and was checking out the area with his wife and children when it happened.

He, along with another bystander, went to the vehicle and realized someone was inside.

However when the car door was opened up, the flames were too much to handle.

“The flames were so intense, they were so hot,” he said, “It was really tough, so I backed off and we tried to call 911.”

McComb notes there were a couple smaller explosions when he contemplated going back over, and with his loved ones at the scene, he decided against it.

Instead, he helped to block off the road and got his wife to move their vehicle, parked beside the courthouse on Frederick.

“The smoke was very thick, very black,” he said, “And the wind was blowing it…directly over us.”

“We were getting the full effect, and there was shrapnel.  A couple of the explosions sent shrapnel in the air, and I absolutely didn’t want my family to be a part of that.”

The identity of the deceased, as well as a cause, is unknown.

Roads are closed in the area with a large police presence on scene.

With files from Christine Clark.

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In Battle Royale against Apple, Spotify and Match Group throw support behind ‘Fortnite’-developer Epic Games – MarketWatch

August 14th, 2020

How to use Google’s free transcription tools – The Verge

August 14th, 2020

OnePlus releases trailer for ‘feature film’ Nord documentary – Android Police

August 14th, 2020