Biden announces COVID-19 advisory board as Pfizer announces promising early vaccine data

first_imgThe board also includes Dr. Luciana Borio, who was until 2019 director for medical and biodefense preparedness on Trump’s National Security Council; Dr. Rick Bright, the former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority who became a whistleblower over the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic; Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, of the University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Atul Gawande, of Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital; University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy director Dr. Michael Osterholm; University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine professor Dr. Eric Goosby, who was global AIDS coordinator under President Barack Obama; Dr. Celine Gounder, of New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation executive vice president Dr. Julie Morita; the Global Health Council’s Dr. Loyce Pace; and Dr. Robert Rodriguez, another UCSF School of Medicine professor.Biden is, as promised, taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously and putting together a group of scientists to advise him. Unfortunately, Team Trump can be expected to stay in Biden’s way as he tries to prepare a robust public health response to the pandemic while Trump himself has a sustained temper tantrum over losing. Mike Pence tried to take a victory lap, claiming credit for the vaccine news—but “We were never part of the Warp Speed,” Pfizer’s head of vaccine research had already said on the record. “We have never taken any money from the U.S. government, or from anyone.”The advisory board Biden announced is co-chaired by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former FDA Commissioner David Kessler, and Marcella Nunez-Smith, associate dean for health equity research at the Yale School of Medicine. Nunez-Smith is an especially significant choice, since she studies discrimination in the healthcare system, an important topic in a pandemic that has hit Black and Latino communities so hard.”Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” Biden said in a statement. “The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement –center_img At one time or another, Biden’s COVID-19 team will have to administer vaccine distribution. The Pfizer news suggests it may be sooner rather than later and that Biden may be inheriting a process Donald Trump has already messed up. “I congratulate the brilliant women and men who helped produce this breakthrough and to give us such cause for hope,” Biden said in a statement responding to the Pfizer news. But he also warned that “the end of the battle against COVID-19 is many months away,” because even if the timeline stays in place, “it will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country.” For that reason, Biden again emphasized the importance of continuing to wear masks and practice social distancing.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Gold Coast house and unit approvals up while Brisbane approvals are down

first_imgFirst-home owner Brie Gillett checks a GJ Gardner display house, Pimpama, Gold Coast. Photo: Regi Varghese“We may have that situation probably two years down the track but I think that’s a good thing as there will be stock to be sold. If we have a growing population they have to have somewhere to come to and I don’t believe we’re going to fall of a cliff or have a GFC towards the end of 2018 but we will have a level of pace where people can operate without a frantic situation.”First-home buyer Brie Gillett is building a house at Pimpama, the northern Gold Coast’s fastest growing region. Jupiters Casino extension. Photo: David ClarkThe soon-to-be first time mum and her fiance Trent Jesberg decided building was the only way to go — especially with the $20,000 first homeowners’ grant.“It was the best option financially for us, we could get a helping hand and have exactly what we wanted,” she said.“Having a house to suit our needs is important to us, we are starting a family.” First-home buyer Brie Gillett (right) discusses her house plan with Greg Palmer, Supervisor, GJ Gardner Builders, Pimpama, Gold Coast. Photo: Regi VargheseTHE Gold Coast is leading the state in residential construction following a bumper 2016 sparked by a Commonwealth Games building frenzy.House and unit approvals were up 20 per cent across the city, according to peak construction and building industry association Master Builders Qld.In comparison, Brisbane results are down — due to the unit oversupply, resulting in a 14 per cent drop in building approvals. Gold Coast City Marina and surrounding property. Picture Mike BatterhamMaster Builders Qld regional manager Gold Coast John Duncalfe said 2017 looked promising.“At the moment I have builders telling me every day they can’t get enough subcontractors,” Mr Duncalfe said.“Everyone is at a fairly good space as far as work in their books goes.”More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North11 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day agoHe said he didn’t expect an oversupply of units on the Gold Coast following the Games.“We did have a major oversupply years ago but we don’t have an it now,” he said.center_img The Gold Coast skyline. Picture: Queensland TourismThe association’s Building Industry Outlook 2017 reveals the Coast’s standout performance was sparked by employment growth and a thriving tourism industry.“The Gold Coast is going gangbusters and this is expected to continue through until the 2018 Commonwealth Games,” Master Builders deputy CEO Paul Bidwell said.The second stage of the light rail network, redevelopment of Jupiter’s Casino and the $1 billion Jewel development are also mentioned as bringing work to the region. Kurrawa Surf Club. Photo: David ClarkMiss Gillett said they chose Pimpama due to its proximity to the motorway.“It is close to the Coast and Brisbane — the new Coomera Town Centre they’re building was a plus,” she said.The couple collect the keys to their new home tomorrow and will move in this week. Key facts Unemployment rate 5.4 per centPopulation growth of 2.1 per cent a yearOne out of three people on the Gold Coast are paying off their own homeAverage mortgage repayment is $2,058 a month. This is $200 more than the Queensland average.last_img read more

Swedish pensions body calls for smaller-scale EU stress tests for IORPs

first_img“I’m rather afraid the people who want the stress tests conducted would like to test as many angles as possible and are not taking into account the additional costs that in the end pensioners have to bear,” Hansson said.Although he said EU pensions oversight was necessary, he said the new IORP law could not be the same for the whole of Europe because pensions in each EU member state were based on local social law.“If you had an IORP law that was the same for all of Europe, that would be a problem because there are so many different conditions in different areas,” he said.“Pensions are member-based contracts based on labour law, negotiated by employers and unions, and they are different across Europe.”Last week, IPE reported that Patrick Darlap, chairman of EIOPA’s Financial Stability Committee, said the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority was preparing stress tests for IORPs for some time in 2015. Early stress tests for institutions for occupational retirement provision (IORPs) in the EU – now likely to happen next year – must be designed in a limited format in order to keep costs down for pension funds, the Swedish Occupational Pension Fund Association has said.Peter Hansson, chairman of the association (Tjanstepensionsforbundet), told IPE: “If we are to have stress tests, the exercise needs to be very limited, and the cost of producing the stress tests needs to be very low.”He said that, at 170 pages in small print, the stress tests conducted last year were impossible for many IORPs to handle, and the outcomes were hardly representative of the European pension industry.He said it was unreasonable for pension funds, purpose-built to provide workplace pensions, to be burdened with huge additional costs as a result of the tests.last_img read more