New Delhi, Dec 24: As the world continues to grapple with the horrors of COVID-19, two coronavirus outbreaks recently devastated a community in south Oregon of the US, killing seven persons and forcing hundreds into quarantine, reported The Washington Post.
And guess what? These COVID-19 clusters did not spring from a “super spreader event.” Instead, public health officials say a single person who went to work sick sparked the spread through “super spreader actions.”
According to the report, Douglas County officials said last week that a person knowingly went to work while suffering symptoms and later tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Two recent outbreaks in the county, which were reported by the Oregonian on Tuesday, were traced back to that individual and the ensuing infections forced hundreds of county residents into self-quarantine.
“One of those outbreaks has resulted in seven deaths, and the other recent outbreak has placed over 300 people/families in quarantine,” Douglas County Public Health Officer Bob Dannenhoffer said in a statement last Thursday. “We can’t even imagine the tremendous remorse these people are feeling right now, and we sympathize with them,” he said.
Public health officials did not disclose the name of the workplace where the outbreak began or the name of the individual who passed the virus on to others.
The county, which touches the Oregon coast and encompasses a large swath of the Umpqua National Forest, has reported 37 deaths and at least 1,315 cases since the start of the pandemic. The death toll from one of the outbreak sparked by the infected worker accounts for nearly one-fifth of the county’s reported deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Oregon has reported 1,347 deaths and 103,755 cases, with the number of new daily cases increasing over most of November and December. Last week, the state declared Douglas County and 28 other jurisdictions to be at an “extreme risk” due to the spread of the virus.
Oregon Democratic Governor Kate Brown recently extended a state-of-emergency order until March 3, 2021, which allows a number of executive orders to continue restrictions on indoor dining, large gatherings and many businesses. Oregonians must also wear masks in public under a statewide order. The restrictions put in place by the governor have drawn anti-lockdown protests, including one on Monday afternoon where demonstrators shattered a door and tried to force their way into the state capitol.
Community spread of the coronavirus, including inside workplaces, has been an ongoing problem across much of the US.
Many offices closed early in the pandemic and employees have been working from home for months to stem the spread of the coronavirus. But as the pandemic has dragged on, some workplaces have reopened and some people have not been able to avoid going to work, including essential workers.
To prevent the virus from spreading, companies that needed employees to return to in-person work put up plexiglass barriers, implemented daily temperature checks and required workers to wear masks while in close proximity to others.
Despite those efforts, the virus has still spread. Workplace outbreaks have hit meat-packing plants, warehouses, grocery stores, schools, nursing homes and hospitals. Courthouses and city halls have shut down as cases spread among government employees.
And while “superspreader” events, like large weddings and holiday parties, have captured headlines, public health officials warn that people who choose to go to work sick are also driving outbreaks in their communities.
“In addition to the super spreader events, we also have super spreader actions,” Dannenhoffer said in a statement. “The top of the list for super spreader actions are people who are unwittingly and unconsciously choosing to go to work when they are sick,” he added.(Agencies)
New Taliban govt to uphold Islamic rules and Sharia law: Statement
(Asian News Hub) – Taliban soldiers walk towards Afghans shouting slogans, during an anti-Pakistan demonstration, near the Pakistan embassy in Kabul.
The Taliban’s religious leader, Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, hours after the announcement of the new Afghanistan cabinet, issued a statement saying the new cabinet will start its work immediately.
“As a caretaker and committed cabinet has been announced by the authorities of the Islamic Emirate to control and run the affairs of the country which will start functioning at the earliest, I assure all the countrymen that the figures will work hard towards upholding Islamic rules and Sharia law in the country, protecting the country’s highest interests, securing Afghanistan’s borders, and to ensuring lasting peace, prosperity and development,” Akhundzada said.
The statement also said the new government remains committed to protecting human rights.
“The Islamic Emirate will take serious and effective steps towards protecting human rights, the rights of minorities as well as the rights of the underprivileged groups within the framework of the demands of the sacred religion of Islam,” reads the statement.
PEC condoles demise of Afghan journalist Fahim Dashty
(Asian News Hub) – Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the Switzerland-based global media safety body, expressed condolences over the death of
prominent Afghan journalist Fahim Dashty, who fell prey to clashes erupted between the Taliban fighters and the national resistance force
in Panshir valley on 5 September 2021.
Associated with Kabul Weekly newspaper, Fahim was lately working as a spokesperson for Ahmad Massoud led National Resistance Front of
Afghanistan. The anti-Taliban front officials claimed that Fahim was targeted by the Pakistani air-force drones at Anaba locality in Panshir valley. As the Taliban militants invaded Afghanistan, he joined the resistance force, popularly known as Northern Alliance.
Besides pursuing professional journalism, Fahim was also associated with Federation of Afghan Journalists and Afghanistan National Journalists Union.
Born into a progressive family at Dashtak village
under Anaba district in 1972, Fahim graduated from Istiqlal high school and studied law and political science at Kabul university.
“Fahim Dashty becomes the tenth journalist killed in Afghanistan since January 2021 turning the south-Asian nation the most dangerous place
for working journalists. The PEC is gravely concerned about the wellbeing of local journalists as well as journalists reporting for
international media outlets,” said Blaise Lempen, general secretary of PEC.
PEC calls on Afghanistan’s new authorities to ensure the safety of journalists and to respect press freedom, stated Lempen adding that
the global organisation was very concerned by the rapidly changing socio-political situation in Afghanistan for some years. He added that
over the past 20 years, independent media proliferated in the trouble-torn country.
As the Taliban gains power almost across Afghanistan, the journalists are coming under increasing attacks. Those who defy the Taliban face threats, pressure, kidnapping and murder. Female journalists are at greater risk due to their public roles and all of them are now banned
from presenting news in television channels, asserted Lempen.
“Altogether 55 journalists have been killed so far this year around the world and Fahim Dashty emerges as the latest victim,” said Nava Thakuria, PEC’s south and southeast Asia representative adding that the armed militants had earlier killed Bismillah Adil Aimaq, Shahnaz Raoufi, Saadia Sadat, Mursal Waheedi, Mina Khairi, Toofan Omar,
Alireza Ahmadi, Najma Sadeqi and Danish Siddiqui (acclaimed photo-journalist from India).
Magnitude 7.0 quake strikes Mexico, no reports of serious damage
(Asian News Hub) – A powerful earthquake struck southwestern Mexico near the beach resort of Acapulco on Tuesday night, causing rock falls and damaging buildings, though there were no immediate reports of casualties.
The 7.0 magnitude quake, which struck 11 miles northeast of the resort of Acapulco, Guerrero, shook the hillsides around Acapulco, downing trees and pitching large boulders onto the road.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said while the quake had sent rocks tumbling down hillsides and damaged walls, it had not caused major damages in Acapulco’s home state of Guerrero or the neighboring region of Oaxaca, or Mexico City.
“Fortunately there hasn’t been serious damage,” he said. “We have no information so far about the loss human lives.” Acapulco is roughly 230 miles (375 km) from Mexico City.
In the Roma Sur neighborhood of Mexico City, lights went off and scared residents rushed out, some wearing little more than pajamas, a Reuters witness said. Residents huddled together in the rain, holding young children or pets, too worried to return to their homes in the dark.
“It was terrible. It really reminds me of the 1985 quake every time something like this happens,” said Yesmin Rizk, a 70-year-old Roma Sur resident.
The USGS said the quake, initially measured at a magnitude of 7.4 and later downgraded to 7.0, was very shallow, only 7.8 miles (12.5 km) below the surface, which would have amplified the shaking effect.
Reporting by Uriel Sanchez and Dave Graham, additional reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Writing by Shri Navaratnam; Editing by Sandra Maler, Christopher Cushing and Ana Nicolaci da Costa.
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