Hopewell graduation likely postponed but not canceled – News – Progress Index

Bill Atkinson Progress-Index Staff @BAtkinsonpi


School superintendent says the system will honor the achievements of its class of 2020 in some manner once the health emergency has subsided

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HOPEWELL While the high school graduation might be out of sight because of the coronavirus pandemic, it is not out of mind as far as the schools chief is concerned.

School Superintendent Dr. Melody D. Hackney said Wednesday that the state-mandated closure of public and private schools is likely to postpone this years Hopewell High School commencement with the key word being postpone.

I dont want anyone sitting at home thinking that after 13 years of education, were not going to make it to graduation, Hackney said, adding that the system is committed to recognizing the academic achievements of the Class of 2020.

Hackney said plans are in the works for an observance at a later date when the area, the state and the nation emerge from their virus-forced social hibernation.

When Gov. Ralph S. Northam announced Monday that schools across Virginia would shutter for the remainder of the academic year, one of the first questions many began asking was how it would affect local commencement exercises. Northam said the state Department of Education would provide guidance to systems about how to handle events such as graduation.

Hackney said she was advised graduations would be a localized decision by each school system. So far, no other Tri-City area school system has announced commencement plans.

For the first time, Hopewell seniors were going to graduate at the Virginia State University Multipurpose Center in June, joining other local systems in doing so.

As for the new balanced-calendar schedule Hopewell plans to implement in July, Hackney said that is still on schedule to happen. The city School Board voted last year to have year-round education in all of its schools beginning with the 2020-21 year the first public system in the state to utilize it in all its schools.

Bill Atkinson can be reached at batkinson@progress-index.com. On Twitter: @BAtkinsonpi


Hopewell graduation likely postponed but not canceled - News - Progress Index

Fennovoima changes spur progress with Hanhikivi project : New Nuclear – World Nuclear News

25 March 2020

Finland's Fennovoima said operational changes made in 2019, both within the company and throughout the Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant project, have brought significant progress in different areas of the plant design and preparatory work. In a newly-published report, the company describes the project's progress and the sustainability work it carried out last year.

Fennovoima signed the plant supply contract for Hanhikivi with Rusatom Overseas - Rosatom's subsidiary concerned with exports of nuclear power plants - in December 2013. Rosatom offered to build a plant using a 1200 MWe AES-2006 VVER under a fixed-price contract. The Hanhikivi project is owned by Fennovoima, in which a 34% stake is held by RAOS Voima Oy, the Finnish subsidiary set up in 2014 by Rosatom for the purpose of buying a share in the company.

"We started the year by launching our development programme, with the target of reprogramming both ourselves and our plant supplier RAOS Project Oy," said Fennovoima Chief Operating Officer and Interim CEO Timo Okkonen. "This had become necessary due to the severe project delays that we had faced during the previous years. We had already been carefully analysing the situation in 2018, so our priorities were clear as we headed into 2019."

As part of the development efforts, Fennovoima's organisation has been restructured and responsibilities have been clarified, particularly between technical and project operations. The company said it hadchanged its approach so that the design solutions as well as the entire project were examined in stages andtook into consideration the entire plant lifecycle.

"During the year, we resolved key plant-level safety issues together with the plant supplier," said Okkonen. "Based on this work, we could state that our Hanhikivi 1 plant design will support a very high level of nuclear safety and security. At the end of 2019 we also submitted the first batch of the preliminary safety analysis report (PSAR) to the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK). This marked the start of the technical construction licence activities."

A new technical cooperation plan was prepared together with the plant supplier to agree on a multi-stage basic design process and related quality plans. Fennovoima said it had reviewed most of the systems design and started to review building layouts by the end of 2019. As of 15 January this year, Fennovoima had conditionally accepted 134 documents it had received from RAOS Project Oy, rejected 54 and was reviewing 34 more. At the end of 2019, the company was still waiting for the delivery of the basic design packages of the turbine island and buildings, of which the basic design documents for buildings are - except for the control room building - almost complete.

We have now achieved a more proactive mode of leading the project and our operations," Okkonen said. "In practice, this means that we do not only react to problems, but we can see the big picture and prepare ourselves for the next stages." He added, "As a new company, we need to constantly develop and renew ourselves as our project goes ahead. This can be accomplished by a combination of innovative dialogue and careful decision making."

Fennovoima began excavation work at the Hanhikivi site in Pyhjoki in northern Finland in January 2016. It had originally anticipated receiving the construction licence for Hanhikivi 1 in 2018, with operation beginning in 2024. However, in September 2017 the company announced it did not expect to receive the licence until 2019 as the review of documentation related to its application was taking longer than originally envisaged. In December 2018, Fennovoima said it now expects to receive the construction licence in 2021.

Preparatory construction work of the infrastructure in the project area on the Hanhikivi headland has reached a point where Fennovoima is ready for the construction of the nuclear power plant as soon as the construction license is granted, construction director Jouni Sipilinen said. "However, before beginning the construction of the plant, some 700,000 cubic metres of rock must still be extracted from the excavation pit and the levelling concrete for the plant foundation must be poured."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

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Fennovoima changes spur progress with Hanhikivi project : New Nuclear - World Nuclear News

Stocks Rally 9% As Wall Street Hopes For Progress On Coronavirus Stimulus Bill – Forbes

The market is eagerly waiting for a deal from Congress.

Topline: The stock market rallied on Tuesday morning, opening higher amid renewed optimism that Congress can finally reach an agreement on a $2 trillion fiscal stimulus bill to cushion the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Key background: The market is having its worst month since 1931, falling up to 35% over the last four weeks. That decline, in such a short period of time, is the steepest drop since the Great Depression, according to Bespoke Investment Group. During trading on Monday, stocks slumped after Congress again failed to pass the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package. Both the Dow and S&P 500 hit their lowest levels since December 2016.

What to watch for: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday introduced a separate, $2.5 trillion economic response bill to deal with the coronavirussince the one currently being negotiated initially excluded Democrats. This version of the stimulus bill aims to send $1,500 to individual Americans and provides additional funds for measures like unemployment insurance. Pelosi said it takes responsibility for the health, wages and well-being of Americas workers.

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Stocks Rally 9% As Wall Street Hopes For Progress On Coronavirus Stimulus Bill - Forbes

Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2020 – World – ReliefWeb

Striking lack of progress on environmental SDGs in Asia-Pacific, reveals new UN report

There is overwhelming evidence that the Asia-Pacific region needs to accelerate action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and substantially reverse current negative trends, especially those which are depleting and degrading its environmental resources, according to a new report released today by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2020 draws attention to the regions poor performance on most of the measurable environmental targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For example, the share of renewable energy has dropped to 16 per cent, one of the lowest rates globally. The region also emits half of the worlds total greenhouse gas - a number which has doubled since 2000. 35 per cent of countries continue to lose their forests.

Our analysis finds that the Asia-Pacific region has struggled the most with two Goals: advancing responsible consumption and production, and climate action. In fact, the region is not even moving in the right direction, underscored United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana.

These findings sound the alarm for the region to urgently foster sustainable use of natural resources, improve the management of chemicals and wastes, increase its resilience against natural disasters, and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change through integrated policies, added Ms. Alisjahbana.

On a positive note, many countries are moving decisively and showing remarkable progress in improving the quality of education (Goal 4) and providing access to affordable and clean energy (Goal 7). The Report suggests that achieving these two Goals is well within reach. The region is also making good progress on targets related to economic growth. Real GDP per capita growth in the Asia-Pacific was more than double the world average in 2017, and at the same time, at least 18 countries in the region are experiencing less income inequality.

Yet, to grow more sustainably and equitably, the current economic progress of the region must be coupled with human well-being and a healthy environment. Progress has been far too slow in areas such as gender equality (Goal 5) and building sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11). ESCAP warns that the region remains unlikely to meet any of the 17 SDGs by 2030 without concerted and extra efforts from all stakeholders.

Progress has also been uneven across the five Asia-Pacific subregions, most especially in reducing inequalities (Goal 10), responsible consumption and production (Goal 12), and peace, justice and strong institutions (Goal 16). A positive example of collective progress across all five subregions however is on access to electricity, where steady improvement is noticeable, particularly in rural areas.

Data availability for the SDG indicators has substantially increased over the past few years in Asia and the Pacific, from 25 per cent in 2017 to 42 per cent in 2020. But data is still lacking on over half of the SDG indicators, especially those Goals with slow progress. This, according to ESCAP, highlights the urgent need to strengthen the policy-data nexus in the region.

A flagship annual publication produced by ESCAP, in partnership with five other UN agencies, the Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report uses the latest data for global SDG indicators to determine where additional effort is needed in the region and where momentum for future progress is building.

The full Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2020 can be accessed at: https://www.unescap.org/publications/asia-and-pacific-sdg-progress-repor...

For media enquiries and spokesperson interviews, please contact:Ms. Kavita Sukanandan, Public Information OfficerStrategic Communications and Advocacy Section, ESCAPT: (66) 2 288 1869 / E: sukanandan@un.org

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Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2020 - World - ReliefWeb

New Canaan: Progress is impossible without change – New Canaan Advertiser

The new New Canaan Library is viewed from above in a rendering by Centerbook Architects. The site includes a town green on space occupied by the current building.

The new New Canaan Library is viewed from above in a rendering by Centerbook Architects. The site includes a town green on space occupied by the current building.

Photo: New Canaan Library / Contributed Photo

The new New Canaan Library is viewed from above in a rendering by Centerbook Architects. The site includes a town green on space occupied by the current building.

The new New Canaan Library is viewed from above in a rendering by Centerbook Architects. The site includes a town green on space occupied by the current building.

New Canaan: Progress is impossible without change

Editor, Advertiser:

I am writing as a lifelong resident of New Canaan and a real estate agent. I grew up here feeling privileged and certainly grateful. Our family benefited from all the Town had to offer for years. I believe we can agree that New Canaan is truly unique.

Has the town changed? Indeed, it has. There was a time when we had one restaurant and now, we have many. Things Change! Needs for the community change and expectations change. We have an opportunity to make a very positive change in town. I have heard a masterful and professional presentation and seen an impressive virtual video of the proposed new Library. The Development committee has raised over $16 million in 15 months from committed and generous New Canaan residents who believe in this project. My husband and myself have also contributed. The time has come to transition from the old, tired and falling apart, busting out at the seams building, to a forward thinking and innovative multi-purposeful and functional library.

Progress for the enhanced future of our town is impossible without this change. As an agent, I can say without hesitation, this new, visionary structure will attract many more people coming to town and add to the appeal for new buyers with a state-of-the-art library. This will result an increase in visibility to our town, further use and will bring additional commerce for our shops and restaurants. The library will offer space for business services, meeting rooms, computer rooms, study, quiet rooms, performing arts, lots of books, underground parking and even a town green. Something for everyone and a library that serves the needs of a community of all ages. It will become a hub!

We are the last town in Fairfield County to make this change to their library and I believe we will be the envy. I am not speaking on behalf of myself but in hopes of a bright future for our town and generations to come. It is time for an inspiring new library that will meet the everchanging needs of our community and will be a magnet long after I am gone. The towns investment and support will be crucial for a successful change.

Suzie Binch

Halstead Real Estate

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New Canaan: Progress is impossible without change - New Canaan Advertiser

Coronavirus Update: Testing Drops Off Nationally, But New Jersey and Louisiana Make Progress – National Review

Health workers put on personal protective equipment inside a new drive-thru coronavirus testing center in Staten Island N.Y., March 19, 2020. (Mike Segar/Reuters)Last updated March 25, 10am EST

Testing in the U.S. decreased from Monday to Tuesday for the first time since last week. In recent days, the U.S. has been making substantial progress in ramping up testing capacity, which would be integral to eventually rolling back social-distancing measures and implementing alternative measures, such as the test and trace strategy that has been successful in South Korea. We shouldnt read into single-day measures too much, as the trend is most important, and the trend indicates that the U.S. is on pace to test more than 100,000 people a day by the end of the month.

New York continues to see consistent growth in infections, with 30,000 confirmed cases as of this morning. The White House Coronavirus Task Force has suggested that anyone leaving New York should self-quarantine for two weeks, and Florida governor Ron DeSantis extended an order requiring anyone entering the state from New York to self-isolate for three weeks. New Jersey and Louisiana have also become hotspots, both surpassing Washington in per-capita cases.

Testing disparities between states persist, with New York and Washington growing testing capacity while California lags behind. Massachusetts, Louisiana, and New Jersey saw encouraging increases in testing on Tuesday.

The below map gives an overview of the severity of outbreaks across states.


Coronavirus Update: Testing Drops Off Nationally, But New Jersey and Louisiana Make Progress - National Review

‘We are making good progress with a vaccine’ says JNJ Chief Scientific Officer on coronavirus – Yahoo Money

Dr. Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific Officer at Johnson & Johnson joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss progress on a coronavirus vaccine, the possible timeline for distribution, and the outlook for 12 months from now.

MYLES UDLAND: You mentioned the coronavirus. That's really the main event right now the market is keying off of. And right now, we are joined by Dr. Paul Stoffels. He is the chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson. We're also joined by Yahoo Finance's Adam Shapiro right now. So, Dr. Stoffels, thanks for joining the program. And I would just like to start with the question I think a lot of us citizens outside the medical community are wondering, which is where do we stand on the virus and maybe getting something like a vaccine so that we can begin thinking about going back to living a normal life? Which I think here in New York, we know is going to be many months away, but it's certainly something on the minds of folks all around the globe.

PAUL STOFFELS: Well, can you understand me-- can you hear me?

MYLES UDLAND: We got you just fine.

PAUL STOFFELS: OK, thank you. So yeah, we are making good progress with a vaccine. We started early January as soon as the virus was known to us, and we are now close to selecting a candidate vaccine, which we then bring forward for preclinical and clinical testing. At the moment, that testing is planned to start large scale in November. In the meantime, we are upscaling, doing all the preclinical work with the regulators.

A vaccine, because you need to administer to many, many healthy people, it has to be very safe and effective. And that's why we need some time to test. But I'm pretty comfortable that within 12 months, we will be in a different situation, and probably will be able to start vaccinating people. In the meantime, it will be prevention, social distancing, and whatever we can do to alleviate people who are sick.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Dr. Stoffels, it's Adam Shapiro, and thank you for joining us. I heard you just say that you believe that in about 12 months we will begin large scale vaccination against the coronavirus. I'm curious-- is this being coordinated with BARDA, that office within the Department of Health and Human Services-- the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority-- to get this done quickly? And how long would it take to vaccinate the entire US population?

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PAUL STOFFELS: Well, so it's-- yeah, BARDA is very much involved in this national-- or international coordination. We have been working with BARDA on several viruses since long time. So we are partners with BARDA on Ebola, on flu, on different diseases in a long time. And now we kicked off with BARDA this collaboration six weeks ago, and we are working very hard together in involving many of the government capabilities as well as pharmaceutical vaccine capabilities.

So if you talk about large scale, of course, you can't vaccinate everyone at once. You can't produce vaccines to a level that everyone can be vaccinated at once. So what needs to be done is first vaccinating the high risk people who have highest risk-- like the health care workers, like the elderly people, and those people who are most at risk to get very sick or even die from the disease. And it's up to the health care system and the health authorities in every country, and especially also in the US, to determine who should get vaccinated first. And hopefully-- we have technology to produce very large quantities, and we will activate that system very quickly as we have a vaccine which we are going to develop. So more news about that soon.

ADAM SHAPIRO: You know, you're the chief scientific officer at the world's third-largest pharmaceutical company, Johnson & Johnson. And I'm curious-- is it realistic to expect a vaccine to safeguard all of us? Because we keep hearing different doctors and news programs talk about this is like the flu or this is like the cold. And yet, we don't have a vaccine that prevents the cold. So which is it?

PAUL STOFFELS: Will, the cold is-- the cold is something different. The flu, yes, there, we have vaccines, as you know. And people get infected, get sick, but also over time, people build immunity as well as if you go for your annual shots, you do better in protecting yourself. This is a totally new virus, which nobody has seen before. Therefore, there's no immunity. And most of the people-- many people who go to the infections without symptoms.

But as we see now, a lot of people go to the infection with symptoms-- and especially the elderly people. And that's why this is a unique, high risk virus which is going around the world where, hopefully, it gets to a stop before we need a vaccine. But if that's not the case, then at least there is a vaccine to put a stop to the epidemic at a certain point. And I think that's important. We all hope we don't need this vaccine-- that it is done as soon as possible.

But seeing the evolution of what happened over the world since Wuhan and now Europe, Italy, Spain, and England and more and more countries getting in this wave of very high number of new cases, the likelihood that this will be under control soon is low. And that is-- it's not up to me to predict the epidemiology, but it does look like that.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Doctor Stoffels, this is Anjalee Khemlani. I just wanted to follow up on that because there is also debate in the health care community about whether or not this is going to be a seasonal outbreak and what your thoughts are on that. Because if you're looking at a vaccine 12 months from now, that will be well past what an outbreak would be, even if we do see some sort of seasonality, correct?

PAUL STOFFELS: Well, seasonality most probably, it will-- if it is the same virus, it will come in waves until a large majority of the people get infected and get antibodies. So that's where it could go away, but it also could come back in waves with the season waves coming from new areas in the world. It's very difficult to predict at this moment. And hopefully, it is one virus where there's no seasonality, and the next mutation comes next year, because now we have a bigger problem than we have to make sure that we have vaccines to vaccinate every year or second or third year to protect people for the next variation of the virus.

But up till now, I think-- but again, I'm not an expert in the world on that-- it doesn't look like that. So hopefully it stays with one virus going around the world and making sure that we get this under control as soon as possible. If not, with the vaccine, at a certain point, we can put a stop to this.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Fair enough. And additionally, I know that, generally speaking, vaccines are not revenue-generating products, right? We know that if you do develop one, the amount of time it takes, you never really recover that. I'm curious on your thoughts, though, switching to treatment, actually-- Gilead's move to rescind that orphan drug designation-- knowing what we do about the vaccine side of it, I just want to know what your thoughts are on how this is all playing out for the world as we watch the pharma sector play up with this.

PAUL STOFFELS: Well, you say we are the third-largest pharma company. We are the largest health care company in the world-- J&J. We existence in more than 35 years. For us, the main goal is serve now the public and make sure that this epidemic comes to an end. This is absolutely not our first objective and even not our objective to make this-- do this from commercial purposes. We have the capabilities. We did an HIV vaccine and Ebola vaccine, a Zika vaccine, and an RSE vaccine.

We know to put-- if we put the next train on the-- a train on the rails here for the vaccine, we know time, hour, and day what we need to do to get there. And so that's why we say, we have to do this for the benefit of the world. And this is not from commercial-- absolutely not commercial purposes. We are all human beings in our company, and in the community of J&J, people who is committed to make this happen for the benefit of the world.

MYLES UDLAND: All right, Dr. Paul Stoffels is the chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson. Really appreciate you taking the time-- thanks so much for calling in today.

PAUL STOFFELS: My pleasure. Thank you.


'We are making good progress with a vaccine' says JNJ Chief Scientific Officer on coronavirus - Yahoo Money

The coronavirus in Italy: Sobering hospital video; signs of progress? – SILive.com

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- After two weeks in a national lockdown, Italy is seeing what officials hope is the light at the end of the tunnel.

For the second day in a row, Italy recorded a decrease of positive cases and fatalities.

On Monday, the peninsula recorded 601 new deaths, 50 fewer than the day before, when 651 deaths were reported, according to data from the Italian government.


Italy recorded 3,780 new cases on Monday, 177 fewer new positive tests than the day before.

On Sunday, the country also saw a decline, with 142 fewer new deaths than the 793 recorded on Saturday, the data shows.

Overall there were 864 fewer new positive cases on Sunday, with 3,957 new tests as opposed to 4,821 on Saturday.

Lombardia, the northern region with the highest number of cases overall, also saw a decline in hospitalizations with 173 fewer.

We can say that today is the first positive day. It is not yet the moment to say we won, but can finally start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, said Giulio Gallera, the Health Commissioner for the region.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to the media at the Javits Convention Center which is being turned into a hospital to help fight coronavirus cases on March 24, 2020 in New York City. New York City has about a third of the nations confirmed coronavirus cases, making it the center of the outbreak in the United States. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

Not many cars for coronavirus testing in Ocean Beach, 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, March 25, 2020 (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

Spring-like activities continue in the openers of Miller Field. Tuesday, March 25, 2020 (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

Spring-like activities continue in the openers of Miller Field. Tuesday, March 25, 2020 (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

Construction work in New Dorp Beach goes on. Tuesday, March 25, 2020 (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

Paper towels not at ShopRite, Charleston, on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.

The front of a New York City bus is cordoned off to keep passengers and the driver separated, Monday, March 23, 2020. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered most New Yorkers to stay home from work to slow the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) AP

People line up outside Elmhurst Hospital Center to be tested for the coronavirus, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the number of positive coronavirus cases in the state surged to more than 20,000, with more than half the cases in New York City. Cuomo promised 1,000 temporary hospital beds will be swiftly placed inside a vast Manhattan convention center as officials raced to prepare for an overwhelming number of coronavirus patients. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) AP

Journalists practice social distancing during a news conference with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the Jacob Javits Center that will house a temporary hospital in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in New York. Gov. Cuomo sounded his most dire warning yet about the coronavirus pandemic, saying the infection rate in New York is accelerating and the state could be as close as two weeks away from a crisis that projects 40,000 people in intensive care. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) AP

Victory Boulevard and St. Marks Place, bus riders enter the buses starting today from the rear door for the safety of the drivers during the coronavirus pandemic. Monday, March 23, 2020 (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

Scott LoBaido erects a thank you sign along Seaview Avenue across from Staten Island University Hospital in Ocean Breeze. (Staten Island Advance / James Yates)

Ava Libretti from PS 36 starts her day with the Pledge of Allegiance accompanied by music teacher Mr. LaRocca. New York City schools began remote learning on Monday, March 23, 2020. (Courtesy/Danielle Libretti)

Great Kills residents and realtors Jesse Aronovich and Roman Kats of the Elite Real Estate Team of Mark International Realty, and Jie Qin Zheng or Rockland Improvement, Inc., a local contractor, have collaborated together to donate 2,000 surgical masks to front liners in the battle against the coronavirus crisis. (Staten Island Advance)

All non-essential businesses are to stay closed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Macys in New Springville shut its doors early last week. Monday, March 23, 2020. (Staten Island Advance/ Alexandra Salmieri) - - Alexandra Salmieri

A large thank you sign was put up outside of Richmond University Medical Center. Monday, March 23, 2020 (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

Commuters pass through Grand Central Terminal during the morning rush hour, Monday, March 23, 2020, in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered most New Yorkers to stay home from work to slow the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) AP

Times Square, which is usually very crowded on a weekday morning, is mostly empty Monday, March 23, 2020 in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered most New Yorkers to stay home from work to slow the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) AP

U.S. National Guard members walk through the Jacob Javits Center, Monday, March 23, 2020, in New York. New York City hospitals are just 10 days from running out of "really basic supplies," Mayor Bill de Blasio said late Sunday. De Blasio has called upon the federal government to boost the city's quickly dwindling supply of protective equipment. The city also faces a potentially deadly dearth of ventilators to treat those infected by the coronavirus. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) AP

Most of the stores in the Pergament Enterprises Mall shopping center in New Springville had to close when Gov. Cuomo initiated P.A.U.S.E throughout New York State. Monday, March 23, 2020. (Staten Island Advance/ Alexandra Salmieri) - - Alexandra Salmieri

Italy overall has recorded 63,927 cases, 6,077 deaths and 7,432 recoveries, according to the data.

The Advance/SILive.com previously reported on how Venetians are dealing with the lockdown.

Its like being at war, said Stefano Spezzamonte, who works in Venice and whose daughter is an Advance/SILive.com reporter.

Veneto is currently the third region with the highest number of cases in Italy with 5,505 positive cases and 192 deaths.

Emilia Romagna is the second region overall with 8,535 cases and 892 deaths.


Meanwhile, footage by Sky News posted on March 19 shows the critical status of packed hospitals in the country as they attempt to treat patients.

It includes disturbing scenes of critically-ill patients being treated as doctors fight to save their lives.

What we are living are heavy and difficult days. All of us are making small and big sacrifices, giving up habits and [contact with] our loved ones, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. But this is a battle we win remaining united.


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The coronavirus in Italy: Sobering hospital video; signs of progress? - SILive.com

Elephant-progress in Thailand faces threat with viral outbreak – NWAOnline

BANGKOK -- More than a decade ago, it was common for elephant owners to take their animals into Thailand's cities and beg in the streets. Other elephants were put to work by illegal loggers to harvest timber and haul it out of the forest.

Gradually, Thailand succeeded in reducing illegal practices and improving the lives of domesticated elephants. But now, the coronavirus that is sickening humans around the world may threaten to undo that progress.

A sudden drop in foreign tourists has forced the closing of dozens of elephant parks and similar tourist attractions, putting more than 1,000 elephants in Thailand out of work and endangering their futures, operators of the attractions said.

For many owners, keeping them fed is an urgent concern. Feeding an elephant can cost as much as $40 a day -- more than three times the minimum daily wage in Thailand.

[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage arkansasonline.com/coronavirus]

Theerapat Trungprakan, president of the Thai Elephant Alliance Association, a group of elephant attraction operators, said he feared that unless the government intervened, some elephants would be forced back onto the streets or even into illegal logging operations.

"We don't want that loop of survival alternatives to come back," Theerapat said. "It will endanger the welfare of the elephants, such as having the elephants roaming the streets begging for bananas or sugar cane."

Thailand, which as of Tuesday had reported 827 coronavirus cases and four deaths, has sought to stop the spread of the virus by closing schools and entertainment venues and by encouraging people to stay home.

The initial outbreak in China led to a sudden drop in visitors to Thailand, as both countries restricted travel. In 2019, China contributed more than a quarter of Thailand's 40 million tourists.

In February, overall tourist arrivals in Thailand were down by 44% compared with a year earlier. Tourism has plunged even further in March with new limits on travel and activity.

The elephant attractions have been hit hard, operators say.

In northern Thailand, 85 such businesses have temporarily halted operations because of a lack of visitors, said Borpit Chailert, general manager of Maetaeng Elephant Park, north of the city of Chiang Mai.

He said the Maetaeng park, one of the country's larger operations, was still open, but visitors were down by 90%, forcing the company to reduce employees' hours. The park used to get as many as 1,000 visitors a day. On Saturday, there were only four.

Thailand has about 3,800 domesticated elephants. Releasing them into the forest, where about 3,000 wild elephants live, is not an option because it is illegal under Thai law; in the forest, domesticated elephants would compete with wild counterparts.

"They cannot look for food in the forest because they are used to being fed," Borpit said. "Imagine if we released around 3,000 domesticated elephants into the forest at the same time. There would be no food to feed all the elephants."

Elephants are Thailand's national symbol.

A Section on 03/25/2020

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Elephant-progress in Thailand faces threat with viral outbreak - NWAOnline

Progress Is the Promise in National Cybersecurity Strategy – Lawfare

How can progress be measured when it comes to shifts in national security strategy and practice? Several assessment variables might include changes in official national guidance, legal authorities, types of campaigns or operations, lexicon used in national security discourse, and early results of the application of those changes. Since 2016, with the introduction of the construct of persistent engagement and the subsequent development of defend forward, all these variables have changed in a positive manner.

National guidance has certainly shifted since 2016. The 2017 U.S. National Security Strategy recognizes that cyberspace is enabling strategic competition. The 2018 National Defense Strategy claims a role for the U.S. Department of Defense in managing cyber competition below the threshold of armed attack. The 2018 Defense Department Cyber Strategy recognizes that the majority of cyber activity is taking place short of war in pursuit of strategic ends. While noting the continued need to deter cyber-enabled war, the Defense Department strategy calls for engaging simultaneously against persistent activity that is short of armed conflict. Finally, U.S. Cyber Command publicly provided articulation of the operational strategypersistent engagementthat aligns with these shifts in guidance.

Legal authorities and presidential directives have also changed. Congressional legislation treating cyber operations as traditional military activities, along with reported new authorities under National Security Presidential Memorandum 13, are enabling continuous defensive and offensive operations. These align with the expectations of persistent engagement and its partnering construct of defend forward. The latter was initially introduced as a concept within persistent engagement, but the Defense Department has embraced defend forward as its strategy and understands it as encompassing both persistence against cyber malicious activity below the threshold of armed conflict and deterrence of war.

Additionally, the empirical record has shifted as cyber operations in the 2016 contest with the Islamic State, in relations with Iran, and in defense of the 2018 midterm election successfully advanced the core strategic principle behind persistent engagement, seizing the initiative in cyberspace. All three examples reportedly relied on aspects of persistent engagement, including introducing organizational friction to unbalance adversaries and reorient them away from attacking the U.S. and toward having to find the weaknesses in their own networks. These operations all incorporated the core of persistent engagement as an operational strategy: anticipating the exploitation of U.S. vulnerability before it is exploited, while simultaneously exploiting adversary vulnerabilities to advance, primarily, an overall defensive objective.

The Cyberspace Solarium Commission report now can be added to the list of evidence that change in U.S. national cybersecurity thinkingalthough neither linear nor easyis occurring. In 2016, while serving as scholar-in-residence at U.S. Cyber Command, I wrote a short white paper calling for a Cyber Solarium exercise. The core framework and language of that precis, including the notion of persistence, was translated into the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act section establishing the commission. The commissions 75 recommendations, some if acted upon today and others studied more deeply, can improve U.S. cybersecurity and sustain the momentum that has been occurring in the United States when the construct of persistent engagement first began to shape U.S. government thinking in 2016. (I served as a red team member to the commission; however, this post reflects my own analysis and not that of the commission.)

The commission includes persistent engagement and defend forward in the reports six organizing strategic pillarsspecifically in Pillar Six, Preserve and Employ the Military Instrument of Power. The report adopts the central importance of interconnectedness as an organizing principle, finding that growing connections between states and societies are core to cyber vulnerability. Moving from theory to strategy, the report sees persistent engagement with adversaries as part of an overall integrated effort to apply every authority, access, and capability possible (e.g., laws, financial regulation, diplomacy, education) to the defense of cyberspace in a manner consistent with international law. This aligns very well with what Michael Fischerkeller and I have called for during the past few yearsan overall whole-of-nation-plus model for national cybersecurity. As we concluded prior to the commissions work,

this is why a Whole of Nation+ approach (in which all instruments of national power are involved in numerous ways) should be used to blunt the adversarys achievement of strategic endsif persistent engagement makes cyber means and/or ways less effective, adversaries will naturally gravitate to using other means and/or ways in other domains and sectors, and the U.S. should anticipate and be prepared for that possibility.

The commission captures the complementarity of a strategy of deterrence and persistent engagementwhich Fischerkeller and I have argued links the two strategic environments of competition and warin the reports strategic framework. The framework comprises three layerscost imposition (layer 3), deny benefits (layer 2) and shape behavior (layer 1). Persistent engagement populates layer 3 in this framework but contributes, through its execution, to deterrence in layers 2 and 1. We have recently explained on Lawfare how understanding cost imposition within a persistent engagement framework can expand options for U.S. security.

To offer but two examples of the influence of persistent engagement, in a recent speech discussing the legal analysis behind the approach, the Defense Department general counsel explained that [p]ersistent engagement recognizes that cyberspaces structural feature of interconnectedness and its core condition of constant contact creates a strategic necessity to operate continuously in cyberspace. And, as noted in that speech, NSA Director and Commander of Cyber Command Gen. Paul Nakasone has said, If we find ourselves defending inside our own networks, we have lost the initiative and the advantage.

The recognition of persistence as a new component of national cybersecurity has created a different focus on the types of activities, partnerships and authorities required to support the operations needed to achieve U.S. strategic objectives. There is now enough of an open-source literature from practitioners, analysts, and academics concerning both cyber persistence theory and persistent engagement for a straightforward assessment of progress and ongoing development. To sustain momentum toward a more secure cyberspace, the U.S. must continue to critically assess elements of this progress. Specifically, the government should continue to develop persistent engagement and defend forwardin both their definition under Defense Department strategy and their application by U.S. Cyber Commandas the Cyberspace Solarium Commission report recommends. And outside analysts should seek to improve understandings of how cyber operations informed by these constructs can continue to make an impact.

All in all, there is much to explore in how persistent engagement and defend forward can continue to contribute to overall U.S. national cybersecurity and that of U.S. allies (who represent the plus in the whole-of-nation-plus model). However, as with any new paradigm, misunderstandings of core elements remain, and so I offer here a short comparative synopsis lexicon taken from what has been published to date that reflects how persistent engagement is recasting thought and action. (I am indebted to Emily Goldman for this analysis of the lexicon.)

As the U.S. moves forward in assessing how persistent engagement can advance the commissions recommendations, consider these fundamental conceptual contrasts when thinking within this new paradigm: Interconnectedness is no longer treated as a mere description (that is, the internet is global and interconnected) but is rather understood as the core structural feature of cyberspace. Interconnectedness, along with the condition of constant contact between entities that it creates, are not choices but defining features of cyberspace. Discourse now talks of campaignsnot incidents, intrusions or hacks. Interaction among cyber actors is pervasive but no longer equated with escalation. Operators recognize the need for rules of cyber engagement, not contingency planning options, because activity in cyberspace is continuous, not episodic, and costs and benefits are cumulative, not event based. Security flows from being active and anticipatory, which is not the same as being aggressive (rather, it is just being active); and from seeking initiative rather than privileging inaction and restraint until attacked, and then acting only in response. Action focuses on seizing targets of opportunity because the dynamic terrain of cyberspace makes it virtually impossible to hold targets at risk. The empirical record shows that the most effective cyberspace campaigns and operations have been exploitative, not coercive; that cost imposition is an effect of changing the cyberspace environment, not a strategy to primarily influence adversary cost-benefit analysis/decision-making; and that competition below the level of armed conflict is as strategically consequential as war and territorial aggression.

Admittedly, there are a few future dissertations packed into that paragraph. But the point here is simply that, taken together, the theory of persistent engagement and its operational applicationwhen accurately characterized and assessedare contributing to the improvement of U.S. national cybersecurity, which the commission seeks. From the beginning, the construct of persistent engagement has shifted the governments mindset as much as it shifts actual campaigns and operations. Viewed as a framework for assessing cyber challenges, the combination of persistent engagement and defend forward have contributed to positive change over the past several yearsshifts in guidance, authorities, policies, planning, and campaigns and operations. U.S. operations defending the 2018 midterm elections were fundamentally different than the approach taken in 2016 or earlier. That is positive progress. What is most new in the Cyberspace Solarium Commission report fits well with and can bolster these positive developments.

The Cyber Solarium Commission report offers 75 recommendations. Each will have to be evaluated on its own merits, but the release of the report creates an opportunity to accelerate the progress that already has been made in guidance, authorities, organization, planning of campaigns and operations, and applications. Lets hope that working together, academics, practitioners and analysts can seize this initiativejust as persistent engagement would counsel.

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Progress Is the Promise in National Cybersecurity Strategy - Lawfare

Animal Crossing: New Horizons owners surprised to find island progress tied to first resident – Eurogamer.net

By now, it should be common knowledge Animal Crossing: New Horizons only features one island per Nintendo Switch console. Multiple users can each have their own character, but all inhabit the same shared location.

This opens up the possibility of seeing your mutual home flourish when you're not around (other users can share the load when it comes to daily chores, for example, or leave messages and gifts for you to come back to).

But it also, as players are finding out, results in the situation of the first person who plays - who becomes the game's primary user - then being relied upon to keep the game progressing.

Decisions such as where to open and place buildings such as the island's Museum and Nook's Cranny shop are the work of the primary player, or "island representative".

That title is bestowed on the first person to play the game - which has led to reddit threads popping up warning players not to let siblings/partners/housemates/pets have a quick go first.

"This might not seem like a big deal, until your first resident happens to be your kid, who will grow tired of it after a month or two," one Eurogamer reader explained to me in an email. "[It seems like the] only workaround is to restart your whole island."

The Animal Crossing franchise has frequently kept to the formula of having a single player act as a settlement's primary resident - the mayor, or campsite manager. With the game's design formed around all players on a single console sharing a singular town, this limitation appears to be Nintendo's workaround.

There's plenty to celebrate in New Horizons, however - with players already putting on cosplay shows and finding devious ways to get rich quick.


Animal Crossing: New Horizons owners surprised to find island progress tied to first resident - Eurogamer.net

Detroit Red Wings prospect Joe Veleno making progress in first year in pro hockey – Detroit Free Press

Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman touched on numerous topics during a rare news conference. Filmed Feb. 24, 2020 in Detroit. Detroit Free Press

With the hockey world on pause because of the coronavirus pandemic, this is an opportunity to check in on Detroit Red Wings prospects.

This edition takes a look at forward Joe Veleno. The Wings drafted himat 30th overall in 2018, painting him as a top-notch playmaker and gifted skater.

He spent the 2018-19 season with Drummondville in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, cramming 104 points into 59 games. This season was his first year of pro hockey; when the American Hockey League shut down, hehad 11 goals and 12 assists in 54 games for the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Joe Veleno was selected 30th overall by the Detroit Red Wings at the 2018 NHL draft at American Airlines Center on June 22 in Dallas.(Photo: Tom Pennington, Getty Images)

Like many young players, the jump from juniorto pros has been a learning curve for Veleno, who turned 20 on Jan. 13. He had just started to look more like the player the Wings hoped they drafted when the season was postponed. Now he, along withhis strength and conditioning program, are on hold. As part of the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19, players have been told tostay home as much as possible. The Wings are trying to come up with alternate strength and conditioning routines.

Though Veleno looked better in the second half of the season, he projects to spend more time in the AHL learning how to be the two-way center the Wings want him to be.

More on Wings: Steve Yzerman in daily contact as coronavirus pandemic halts NHL

The Free Press spoke to Shawn Horcoff, the Wings director of player development, about Velenos progress.

Red Wings forward Joe Veleno participates the Detroit Red Wings 2019 development camp at Little Caesars Arena on Wednesday, June 26, 2019.(Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Free Press)

Hes had a really good second half of the year, Horcoff said. Theres been so much emphasis for him from the coaching side and the development side on his defensive game. He put a lot of hard work into that and hes come a long way. Hes much more comfortable at that now. Hes playing big PK minutes, hes on the ice at the end of the game important minutes. So defensively we are really happy with his game.

The problem is sometimes when you do that, it can affect the offensive side. It can take time to figure out how to play at both ends of the rink properly. For Joe, he really started to figure it out in the second half. The biggest thing I noticed is his skating.He is starting to separate himself down there, hes starting to have confidence to move the puck through the neutral zone, drive wide on D. Thats going to be an asset for him as he gains more strength and maturity.

Our awards: The best and worst of the Red Wings from this season

Veleno was quiet offensivelywith just three points his first 14 games. Then came a spurt with five points in four games in mid-November, after which heshowed better consistency, recording nine points his last 16 games.

For the offensive chances he is getting, his production should probably be even higher, Horcoff said. Thats a good sign. We know that part of the game is going to come for him.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter.

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Detroit Red Wings prospect Joe Veleno making progress in first year in pro hockey - Detroit Free Press

Help Us Flatten the Curve – lexingtonprogress.com

Both Lexington City Mayor, Jeff Griggs, and Henderson County Mayor, Eddie Bray, are asking the public to help with decreasing the spread of the coronavirus by participating in social distancing.Photo Submitted / The Lexington Progress

Article by W. Clay Crook-

Lexington City Mayor Jeff Griggs, in conjunction with Henderson County Mayor Eddie Bray and Emergency Management Agency Director Drew Cook, broadcast a special social media announcement on Sunday evening, March 22, 2020. Earlier in the day, Governor Bill Lee had signed Executive Order 17 calling for businesses across the state to utilize alternative business models through April 6, 2020.

Nearby Carroll County had one confirmed case by Friday, March 20th, which was soon followed by a confirmed case in Chester County. The mayors emphasized that there were not any confirmed cases in Henderson County, however, they were asking that everyone follow the governors precautionary measures of limiting groups of less than ten people in social venues, and curbside service and drive through only at restaurants. In reference to a popular graph demonstrating how social distancing can limit the spread of the virus, Mayor Griggs encouraged everyone to Help us flatten the curve.

Lexington City Hall and the Henderson County Courthouse had both closed to in person transactions and walk through by the public, but offices remain open to conduct business. The public is urged to use drop off points and mail for the courthouse and for city hall. Lexington additionally has

For complete coverage, see the March 25th edition of The Lexington Progress.

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Help Us Flatten the Curve - lexingtonprogress.com

Life Without Sports-the March Sadness Edition – lexingtonprogress.com

With the COVID-19 pandemic occurring, a world without sports has become accustomed in present day life.File Photo / The Lexington Progress

Article Submitted-

As America battles the Coronavirus, much of what we have become accustomed to in our daily life is being cancelled, postponed or is much different from what we are used to. Life without sports is one of those daily things. It is so incredibly strange to millions of us to have to exist without it, but it is also so necessary at this time of pandemic. That doesnt mean we have to like it though. We are so used to turning on our TVs or using our electronic devices to watch any number of sports. It doesnt matter if you are a football, baseball, soccer or tennis fan you can watch any time of the day or night. Sports junkies, like myself, and so many others are going through withdrawals right now. We would be right in the midst of one of Americas greatest sporting events, March Madness.

Instead we are experiencing March Sadness. No selection Sunday, no brackets, no miracle upsets or even that one shining moment when

For complete coverage, see the March 25th edition of The Lexington Progress.

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Life Without Sports-the March Sadness Edition - lexingtonprogress.com

ESA signals progress in hunting for water on the Moon – Electronics Weekly

It is developing a map based on temperature data from NASAs Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

The agency writes:

ESA is preparing a surface sampling payload that will prospect for lunar water among other resources. It is due to be flown to the Moon aboard Russias Luna-27 lander in 2025.

The payload is called Package for Resource Observation and in-Situ Prospecting for Exploration, Commercial exploitation and Transportation, or PROSPECT. A drill called ProSEED will extract samples, expected to contain water ice and other chemicals that can become trapped at the extremely low temperatures expected; typically -150 C beneath the surface to lower than -200 C in some areas.

Samples taken by the drill, says the ESA, will then be passed to the ProSPA chemical laboratory, being developed by an Open University team, for follow-up analysis of the chemical traces. This will test processes that could be applied for resource extraction in the future, it adds.

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ESA signals progress in hunting for water on the Moon - Electronics Weekly

Some Progress Made in Push to Find Coronavirus Treatment – NBC Bay Area

Some encouraging progress was made Thursday in the quest for a coronavirus treatment, but a cure or vaccine is still far away.

Bay Area biotech companies received a boost thanks in part to some optimistic words from President Donald Trump about the fight against the virus.

Clinical trials are already underway for many new therapies, Trump said.

San Francisco biotech giant Genentech also talked progress and partnerships, announcing a phase-three trial with the FDA to see if one of its existing medicines can be used to combat the virus.

We are starting a clinical trial with one of our medicines called Actemra to see if it might work against the coronavirus pneumonia, Dr. Levi Garraway, Chief Medical Officer for Genentech, said.

Claes Gustafsson, co-founder of Newark-based ATUM, said their lab is busier than ever and has been working with other local labs to try to find a cure.

Looking where we were, at least the projects Ive seen, and we look at, I don't know, at any given time maybe 20, 30 different projects, we certainly see that many of them have come a long, long way because of the amount of resources that are being pushed into making this happen, he said.

One drug that came up in Trumps news conference is called Chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that was briefly linked to a Stanford University researcher. Stanford told NBC Bay Area it was not part of a study involving that drug and denied the report or any link to the researcher.

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Some Progress Made in Push to Find Coronavirus Treatment - NBC Bay Area

The Daily Progress is committed to delivering the best local coronavirus coverage available – The Daily Progress

In less than two months, the novel coronavirus has gone from a distant worry for Virginians to a full-blown crisis.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Virginia now has 290 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and seven people around the state have succumbed to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Locally, the Thomas Jefferson Health District has reported 16 cases between Charlottesville and Albemarle, Greene Louisa and Fluvanna counties. Globally, there are over 415,000 cases and more than 18,000 people have died from the disease.

We are early in the lifespan of the pandemic by most accounts, but already the crisis has felt like a lifetime. No matter how the situation evolves, The Daily Progress will be there for our readers at every turn.

With the help of our sister publications across the state, The Daily Progress has for weeks been bringing our audience up-to-the-minute, reliable and thorough coverage on the outbreak and its far-reaching ramifications.

As the first cases were confirmed in the state at the beginning of March, we covered the University of Virginia's initial response to the outbreak, as well as local school divisions' contingency plans. Then, we wrote about how local schools and UVa made the hard decision to close their doors to in-person learning.

Our reporters may not be able to be out and about town as much, but they're committed to holding government accountable in this unprecedented time, describing how neighbors are helping each other and keeping you informed.

There will be more stories like those to come, and we will cover each of them with the care and attention to detail our readers expect.

The grueling shifts, long hours, endless tips and prolific news cycle show no signs of abating, but our commitment is clear: We will keep our readers informed in the face of any odds, and we will succeed.

We are proud of the work weve done, and we are not going to stop.

If you have story ideas, tips or suggestions, please send them to news@dailyprogress.com. Well continue to devote nearly all of our resources to covering this developing story every day. Were also looking to tell the everyday human impact stories how people are adjusting to this new normal.

Thank you for supporting us. If you don't subscribe, we have made it easy, with digital subscriptions available for just $3 for 13 weeks of The Progress online. We are also offering introductory pricing of up to 50% off on new digital + print subscriptions.

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The Daily Progress is committed to delivering the best local coronavirus coverage available - The Daily Progress

Development of Immunotherapy To Treat COVID-19 in Progress – Technology Networks

CEL-SCI Corporation recently announced that it is utilizing LEAPS peptide technology in efforts to develop an immunotherapy against the novel coronavirus caused by SARS-CoV-2.The technology utilizes conserved regions of the SARS-CoV-2 protein to stimulate a protective T cell response, reducing viral load. Furthermore, LEAPS can also be adopted to create peptides with antiviral and anti-inflammatory characteristics for immunotherapeutic applications. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that LEAPS immunogens are able to prevent infection by herpes simplex virus (HSV) and influenza A in animal models.Technology Networks spoke with Daniel Zimmerman, Ph.D. Senior VP of Research, Cellular Immunology at CEL-SCI Corporation, to learn more about the LEAPS technology and its potential application in treating COVID-19.Molly Campbell (MC): For our readers that are unfamiliar, please can you describe what immunotherapy entails?Daniel Zimmerman (DZ): Immunotherapy entails the administration of agents (e.g., cellular alone or better still complexes combined with another immune agent or better still with either proteins, better antibodies alone or even better still specific peptides, etc.) that activate the immune system or act to induce a desired endogenous immune response in the recipient.

Laura Lansdowne (LL): What parallels can be drawn between coronavirus and the other respiratory viruses you have previously dealt with?

DZ: The novel COVID-19 a very close cousin to SARS, and MERS is e like influenza A in that all these infect the lung and initiate tissue damaging inflammatory responses. The LEAPS (Ligand Epitope Antigen Presentation System) technology was previously used to develop immunotherapy for an influenza A (H1N1) in collaboration with the NIAID-NIH. In, these viruses target both the upper respiratory system and the lungs.

Virus replication and inflammatory responses result in the disease-causing tissue damage. Individuals whose immune system cannot defend against the virus quickly, or who overly respond to the virus with inflammation, are at highest risk of serious disease consequences, in addition to other at risk groups including elderly populations.LL: Can you elaborate on how the LEAPS peptide technology could be a tool against the COVID-19 coronavirus?DZ: Immunotherapy can be either antigen-specific or non-specific. In the case of the LEAPS Technology for the COVID-19 coronavirus, we envision an antigen-specific antigen disease specific immune therapy that uses hetero-conjugate of peptides designed to target specific viral epitopes while focusing on stimulation of the immune cells that drive the proper response.

Specific classes or sub-classes of T cells within the CD4 or CD8 categories will be targeted. These cells stimulate and may recruit other immune cells, leading to highly significant reduced virus levels and beneficial changes in cytokine (immunological hormones) profiles in the lung tissues of patients.

They either cells or cytokines may also cause lysis of virally infected cells to decrease the virus load affecting the body. It is equally important to elicit protective immune cellular responses while minimizing tissue damaging inflammation.

Our studies will build on previous immunotherapeutics that were developed against influenza A subtype H1N1 in collaboration with the NIAID-NIH. In this work, LEAPS peptides H1N1 peptides halted the progression of disease, reducing viral presence in the lung tissues and inducing cytokine profiles that provided a balance of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory regulatory responses.

In summary, LEAPS immunotherapy can be designed to stimulate the appropriate immune cells to deal with the virus infection in a balanced manner. We will be able to observe this by monitoring prevention or mitigation of viral disease and the nature of the cytokines that are present in the lung or blood after administration.

This digitally-colorized, negative-stained transmission electron microscopic (TEM) image depicts a number of Influenza A virions. Credit: Unsplash.

MC: The previous studies in collaboration with NIAID showed LEAPS peptides reduced morbidity and mortality in mice with pandemic influenza. As these are animal studies, how translational do you think the findings are to humans?

DZ: The influenza studies built on findings that arose from studies of LEAPS immunotherapies for herpes simplex virus (HSV). In these studies, the LEAPS peptides elicited equivalent immune responses in human and mouse cells. In addition, as for the influenza studies, the antigenic peptides to be selected for the LEAPS immunotherapy will be from highly conserved sequences (i.e., do not change in the virus) that are recognized by the immune systems of both humans and mice.

MC: What are the key challenges in developing an effective treatment for COVID-19?DZ: The first challenge in developing any immunotherapy is to select the peptides that contain the proper antigenic epitope sequences. These sequences need to be recognizable by the immune system in addition to the LEAPS immune cell binding ligand (ICBL) to drive the appropriate response. This has already been achieved.

Viral peptide sequences were chosen based on protein sequences that are very similar to MERS and SARS coronaviruses. The ICBL was chosen based on experience with HSV and influenza, TB, HIV and other studies, but another ICBL will also be tested as a control and to hedge our bets and expedite the development process.

MC: What are your key priorities in terms of taking a LEAPS/COVID-19 product forward?DZ: The first priority is to demonstrate that appropriate immune responses are elicited against the LEAPS immunotherapies in animal studies and then to demonstrate protection from lethal infection of Covid-19. Discussions have been initiated with several agencies and clinical research organizations (CROs) to develop studies designed to determine the potential of LEAPS immunotherapy against COVID-19 and for producing GMP grade materials for clinical studies after GLP safety studies in animals.

Daniel Zimmerman, Ph.D. Senior VP of Research, Cellular Immunology at CEL-SCI Corporation, was speaking to Molly Campbell and Laura Elizabeth Lansdowne, Science Writers, Technology Networks.

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Development of Immunotherapy To Treat COVID-19 in Progress - Technology Networks

Checking In: Progress of Mariners top prospects in spring training, part 2 – MyNorthwest.com

Jake Fraley has a pair of home runs in Cactus League play this spring. (Getty)

A lot has changed in the six days since we last checked in on the Mariners prospects. Obviously baseball, like the rest of the country, has taken a backseat to the COVID-19 pandemic, and theres no telling when MLB or any of the other major sports leagues will be back.

Part 1: What the Mariners top 4 prospects are doing in spring training

Before everything came to a standstill, we looked at what the Mariners top four prospects (as ranked by MLB.com) had done in 2020 Cactus League play and promised to do the same at a later date with the other prospects that are in Seattles top 10 and have seen time in major league spring training action. So thats what were going to do.

At the end of the post, well also identify a few other young standouts for the Mariners who either arent in the top 10 or no longer fit the definition of prospect.

Cactus League stats: Three appearances, 6.2 innings, 10 strikeouts, two earned runs, three walks, four hits, 2.70 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, .160 average against.

Notable highlight: Dunn struck out three over 1.2 innings against the Angels on March 4, including a punchout of Albert Pujols where he fooled the three-time MVP with a breaking ball that broke out of the zone.

A quick word: He had a couple of mechanical adjustments to make, Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Dunn before his first Cactus League start. When I saw him in January I thought it looked a little bit better; it looks way better now. Just trying to be more consistent on-line, hes kind of always fighting mechanically to get the ball to the glove side consistently. So far its looked pretty good this spring. I like where hes at right now, the balls coming out really good, hes got a lot of confidence, hes carrying himself really well around here.

2020 outlook: For a while during the offseason, the fifth spot in the Mariners initial five-man starting rotation appeared to be Dunns to lose. Then the Ms added Taijuan Walker as spring training began, which seemed to nudge the 24-year-old Dunn back to Triple-A, a level he skipped on his way to making four starts as a September call-up from Double-A in 2019. As Mariners insider Shannon Drayer put it, Dunn would have the chance to force the issue with his appearances in the spring, and you have to think what he did in his three Cactus League games were at least a step in the right direction. Considering command was an issue in his MLB outings last year, almost assuredly due to jitters in his first promotion to the big leagues, his 1.05 WHIP this spring is a welcome sight. The 10 strikeouts in just under seven innings are also quite impressive. It doesnt look like the 2016 Mets first-round pick is planning to spend much of his 2020 season in the minors, and hell be the first man up should an opportunity arise in Seattles rotation.

Cactus League stats: Eight games, 16 plate appearances, .188 average, .625 OPS, one home run, one double, three RBIs, no walks, five strikeouts.

Notable highlight: This is why hes the metaphorical lead singer of the Beef Boys group from the 2019 Double-A Arkansas Travelers team.

A quick word: If 2020 is his chance to play in the big leagues whether that is midseason or late season, we are going to let that happen because we think the development of our young core of players is the single most important thing we are doing, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said of Raleigh in December.

2020 outlook: Raleigh, a 23-year-old backstop who Seattle selected in the third round in 2018, is believed to be the Mariners catcher of the future. If that comes to fruition, hell have some time to settle into that role as the Ms have a pair of catchers in their prime years currently on their MLB roster in Tom Murphy (turns 29 next month) and Austin Nola (30). The switch-hitting Raleigh has the makeup of a baseball lifer, and his combination of skills behind the plate and power in the batters box could take him a long way. The Cactus League homer was a nice appetizer, but the rest of his spring numbers signal that hell need some extra seasoning in the minors before assuming his place on the MLB roster.

Cactus League stats: 10 games, 30 plate appearances, .231 average, .838 OPS, two home runs, two doubles, four RBIs, three walks, eight strikeouts, one stolen base.

Notable highlight: Dude pulled a 101-mph fastball for a home run.

A quick word: I know hes got some very high goals set for himself, Servais said. Jake is very, very serious. Theres no question how seriously he takes his game. The biggest thing for him and these guys who are so driven like that is to relax a little bit and smile once and awhile.

2020 outlook: Fraley will likely be in the starting outfield whenever the MLB season begins. The ongoing injury problems for Mitch Haniger have opened the door, and the 24 year old will get the chance to show if he can hit consistently against major league pitching. He was a star in 2019 Mariners spring training after coming to the team from the Rays in the trade that sent Mike Zunino to Tampa Bay, and his numbers have been strong this spring as well. Theres no question that Fraley is a great athlete who can cover ground in the outfield, has some pop in his bat (19 homers combined between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019) and can make things happen on the base paths (22 stolen bases in 2019). When the Mariners brass talk about giving the kids a chance to play in 2020 to get reps against MLB competition, Fraley is the exact kind of player theyre talking about.

Cactus League stats: 11 games, 32 plate appearances, .172 average, .733 OPS, three home runs, seven RBIs, three walks, seven strikeouts.

Notable highlight: How does an oppo-taco grand salami sound? (Honestly a salami taco might be worth trying. I mean, taco pizza is available all over the place and personally Im a big fan of a dish know as Mexican lasagna, so I have to believe a salami taco could be yet another success in Mexican-Italian fusion. Theres something for you adventurous cooks to try out while were all shut in at home.)

A quick word: He has power. He controls the strike zone in a different way than people look at. Kyle makes very good decisions on what to swing at, Dipoto said in January. There are empty swings, hes gonna come up empty, and thats part of the trade-off for getting the kind of power he has particularly his power to the opposite field. When you hit the ball as far Kyle Lewis hits it to right-center field, you have to allow the ball to travel deeper in the zone. As a result, you are gonna run a higher strikeout rate more often than not.

2020 outlook: The Mariners are going to take a good, long look at Lewis, who was Seattles initial first-round pick under Dipoto in 2016 and who will turn 25 around midseason. He took the big leagues by storm in 2019, becoming the second player in history to homer in each of his first three MLB games and finishing with six home runs in 18 games after joining the team as a September call-up. He had 75 plate appearances in his time with the Ms, which means every 12.5 times he stepped to the plate, the ball left the yard. Hes kept it up this spring as his three homers lead the team. But as the quote from Dipoto states and .172 average from spring training bears out, Lewis prodigious power does come with a drawback. Hell get all the chances he needs to figure out how to put that power to use in MLB action this year, likely figuring in as Seattles regular left fielder.

J.P. Crawford, shortstop: The key return in the Mariners trade that sent Jean Segura to Philadelphia prior to the 2019 season, Crawford had a few spurts of strong play in 93 games with Seattle last year. He had one of the shiniest web gems of the entire MLB season and at times looked like a prototypical No. 2 hitter. His glove and arm have continued to dazzle this spring, and the bat has been one of the best in camp for Seattle, as he is hitting .400 with a .989 OPS and five RBIs. And watching him run the bases for a triple, something hes done twice in Cactus League play, is about as fun as it gets.

Justus Sheffield, starting pitcher: Sheffield is still considered a prospect, ranking 13th on the Mariners list from MLB.com, but hes appeared in each of the last two MLB seasons and comes into 2020 as one of Seattles expected starting pitchers. Hes been a big bright spot this spring, holding opponents to two runs scored while maintaining a 0.63 WHIP in eight innings over three appearances. Hes also struck out a staggering 12 batters and walked none, and he turned heads by suddenly switching to a two-seam fastball and ditching his four-seamer to great success.

Tim Lopes, utility player: Theres been a lot of talk about the Mariners opting to use a utility player as their fourth outfielder after Braden Bishop was optioned to Triple-A, and Lopes seems like the top candidate if that ends up being the case. He is primarily a second baseman and only played the outfield once in eight seasons in the minors, but he was sent to the outfield 35 times and appeared at second only three times in his 41 games with the Mariners in 2019. The important thing, however, is that he has been hitting the cover off the ball this spring, almost assuredly playing himself into an opening day roster spot. He leads the team with a .440 average, 11 hits and five doubles in 11 games, and hes driven in seven runs, scored five and even has a pair of stolen bases and hasnt been caught stealing, either.

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Drayer: Ms choosing to stick together despite seasons delay Top Ms pitching prospect Logan Gilbert shines again in 2nd spring start Who have been the Mariners most impressive young hitters this spring?

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Checking In: Progress of Mariners top prospects in spring training, part 2 - MyNorthwest.com

Karen Balice-Gregory: A work in progress – The Daily Telegram

By Karen Balice-GregoryCommunity Columnist


There are not very many things that stop me in my tracks but this week something did. In the process of carrying out a fun and relaxing day out of town with one of my great nieces, we were literally plowed from behind by a huge truck on a busy road during rush hour. The driver in front of us was trying to get into the turn lane and I was patiently waiting behind her. It was a major jolt that neither of us saw coming. In all the years that Ive been driving there have been a few misses and a couple of bad weather slides but only one big one prior to this and that happened 50 years ago.

When something like this happens, the reaction to it is relative to all the details, ages, circumstances and perspectives. It took both of us a minute or two just to download what had just taken place. In the next minute, after you check each other out for injuries, you have to make a move both physically and mentally to determine what to do next. Can you safely get out of the way? Is your vehicle even drivable? Why didnt the airbags deploy? Is the guy that caused this going to stop or drive away? Why does my head hurt, it didnt hit anything? I waited for traffic to clear and then pulled into a roadside business followed closely by the driver behind me. He was on his phone the minute I looked back in the mirror and I assumed he was contacting the police.

It took quite a while for him to get out of his truck to talk to us and all the while I was more calm than I ever thought Id be under the circumstances. Unlike some other brushes Id had on the road, this time I was more relieved that nothing worse happened. When the other driver finally approached me and saw the damage he had done he said, One minute I looked down (I suspect at his phone) and the next minute, there you were. He didnt apologize, didnt ask if wed been hurt and had no comment about the obliteration of my car.

It wasnt long before the police showed up to take our statements. I gave my story to the officer and when I asked him whether or not hed be ticketed, he stated that he couldnt share that information with me without the other drivers permission. (Lesson No. 2: insist on permission; Lesson No.1: get the other drivers information.) Miraculously, my car was drivable, had operational brake lights and there was just enough daylight to get home. Im still waiting for the report, dealing with insurance, anxious to find out how much this is going to cost me and if it can even be repaired.

Its a relief that I can handle an emergency so calmly but oh, all those little things piling up now thats a work in progress!

Karen Balice-Gregory is a trustee of the Ionia Public Schools Board of Education and can be contacted at kgregory@ioniaschools.org or c/o Ionia Sentinel-Standard, 114 N. Depot St., Ionia, MI 48846.

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Karen Balice-Gregory: A work in progress - The Daily Telegram