Calculating possible fallout of Trump’s dismissal of face masks

first_img Medical, political analysts ponder Trump’s coronavirus battle, and what it means for the president and the nation “Causality here is not a billiard ball hitting another billiard ball. It’s a statistical thing. Causality in the same sense that tobacco causes lung cancer,” Hahn explained. But, “If any of those [25, 50, 75 percent] assumptions is correct, yes. Because we know that wearing a mask reduces the likelihood of infection or exposure and we know the proportion of people who die once they’re infected, so yes.”Trump wields such an unrivaled megaphone to reach the public and is especially good at getting his supporters to follow his advice, Hahn said he thought it was a useful exercise.“I think it’s important for people to know what the consequences of these messages from authority figures are,” he said. “Usually you look at what proportion of deaths are due to cigarette smoking or air pollution, not public statements, so that’s why I did this.”Even those public health officials who disagree with his views do not think presidents must take a back seat to the scientists.“In times of crises, especially public health crises, you want to encourage people to work together in a cooperative way,” said Viswanath. “But he is questioning the advice of his own scientific experts. Nobody is saying science gets it right all the time. Because this is such a new disease, everyone’s learning as we go along and developing the science for it. That calls for even more caution in what you tell people rather than undermining it.” Related ‘Viral history’ tool VirScan offers new insights into antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 Healthy buildings expert Joe Allen from the Chan School of Public Health weighs in on ways to help protect yourself from coronavirus When COVID and the election collidedcenter_img Using population attributable risk, an epidemiological method that estimates the proportion of an outcome that is attributable to a given cause, Hahn examined reported COVID deaths between April 3, the first date Trump spoke about the CDC’s new mask recommendation (“It’s voluntary. You don’t have to do it”) and July 21, when he momentarily endorsed masks (“I will use it gladly. And I say: If you can, use the mask”) before scorning them again and periodically forgoing them.Hahn took into account several factors, including rates of rarely or never wearing masks and relative risk of infection of those who do and do not mask up. He then calculated the number of non-mask wearers, along with those whom they infected, who died between April 3 and July 21 as a consequence of the president’s comments.“If you assume that 25 percent of the people who don’t wear masks are doing so because of Trump’s statements about masks, whether they hear it directly or whether they hear it through the media, then we can calculate that more than 4,200 people have died as a consequence of the president’s statements,” he said. If 50 percent or 75 percent did not wear masks because of Trump, 8,356 or 12,202 of those deaths, respectively, can be attributed to Trump. Hahn said 75 percent is “probably high” while 25 percent is “probably low.”Hahn cautions his is only a hypothetical estimate that rests on a number of assumptions that are “difficult, if not impossible” to verify, like the proportion of people who rarely or never wear masks solely because of the president’s comments and would otherwise wear them, or who never wear masks for different reasons. As COVID-19 deaths in the nation top 225,000, President Trump continues to downplay the severity of the pandemic, belittle government infectious disease experts such as Anthony Fauci, and display a cavalier attitude at times toward key public health measures like wearing face masks, despite having contracted the virus himself, along with about two dozen in his inner circle.Public health officials say that Trump’s attitude undermines their efforts to get Americans to embrace safety guidelines to prevent spread of the disease. “Whether it is his intention or not, the consequence is that he’s undermining scientific authority, trust in science, and trust in scientists,” said K. “Vish” Viswanath, Lee Kum Kee Professor of Health Communication at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). “We know from our data and other data that the greater the trust in scientists and researchers, the greater the likelihood of compliance with public health mitigation measures.”Trump’s remarks also set Robert Hahn, Ph.D. ’76, to thinking. He’d heard the president blithely suggest disinfectants, UV light, and hydroxychloroquine as potential COVID treatments during White House briefings in April. The veteran Centers for Disease Control (CDC) epidemiologist began wondering how Trump’s many scientifically unsupported pronouncements might be influencing public behavior, particularly with admirers. He was especially intrigued about the wearing of face masks because of how regularly the president questioned their efficacy and mocked those who wore them, despite that both the CDC and World Health Organization have urged their universal use.“While I know there’s no direct evidence of how many people act in response to his statements, I wanted to try and quantify this,” said Hahn, who published his estimates in a new paper in the International Journal of Health Sciences.Hahn estimates that as many as 12,000 COVID-related deaths can be attributed to Trump’s negative or false assertions about face masks, but he readily acknowledges that his results hinge on sets of assumptions of how much influence the president’s comments had on mask-wearing behavior. “Usually you look at what proportion of deaths are due to cigarette smoking or air pollution, not public statements, so that’s why I did this.” — Robert Hahn, CDC epidemiologist Infection detection How masks and buildings can be barriers to the coronaviruslast_img read more

O’Driscoll decides to play on

first_img Press Association Brian O’Driscoll will continue to play for Ireland and Leinster next season after agreeing a new one-year deal with the Irish Rugby Football Union. O’Driscoll’s contract, which was set to expire after the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia this summer, has been extended until the end of June 2014. “I want to thank the IRFU and Leinster for allowing me the time to think about my future and discuss my options with my family,” O’Driscoll said. center_img The decision concludes the debate over O’Driscoll’s future amid intense speculation that he would retire this summer. The 34-year-old hinted strongly during the RBS 6 Nations that this season would be the climax to his decorated career, with his fitness and family commitments having the ultimate say. But the recent appointment of Joe Schmidt to succeed Declan Kidney as Ireland’s new head coach has contributed towards his willingness to play on for a further year. “The support my family and the Irish and Leinster fans have shown me over the past few months, and indeed years, has been phenomenal and I’m now very much looking forward to one more year playing with Ireland and Leinster,” he said. O’Driscoll was a candidate to lead the forthcoming Lions tour and initially led the betting for the post at the start of the Six Nations, only for his form to dip. He was included among the 37 players named by head coach Warren Gatland last month and is a leading contender to make the Test team on what will be his fourth Lions tour. Schmidt, who has worked closely with O’Driscoll at Leinster, has welcomed his decision. “It’s great that Brian has agreed to continue playing. He’s an inspirational player, not only on the pitch, but also on the training ground,” Schmidt said. “He’s played well again this season and other players continue to learn from him.” last_img read more

GOP Ponders Length of FY17 Continuing Resolution

first_imgRepublican leaders to date have not made any decision as to how long a fiscal 2017 continuing resolution (CR) would extend, but House conservatives are making clear their preference for a stopgap spending measure that lasts until March 2017.A CR almost certainly will be needed for most, if not all, spending bills to avoid a government shutdown when the new fiscal year begins in October, as the regular appropriations process appears to be coming to an end. Conservatives are pushing for a CR that lasts about six months to avoid the last-minute negotiations on an omnibus spending measure that typically take place behind closed doors as the December holidays approach.“The last thing we want to see is some kind of a shutdown scenario in December, and then basically giving the president everything that he asks for,” Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) told CQ.Other Republicans, especially appropriators, favor a shorter stopgap, including Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.“I would, yeah,” Rogers told reporters. But he added, “It’s just beginning to be talked about.”Discussion of a six-month stopgap has largely taken place only in the House, with at least one Senate appropriator leaning toward finishing work on FY 2017 appropriations before the end of the congressional session.“The problem with pushing these things out too far [is] you’ve got the old year to consider and you’ve got the new year to consider, and you really get into a time crunch,” Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) told CQ.Democrats similarly favor finishing the process in 2016. Placing spending on autopilot for the first half of the fiscal year cheats agencies out of the opportunity to start new programs, said Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), the chamber’s Democratic whip and a senior appropriator.“Try to run the Department of Defense on a CR. You know the bottom line or top dollar number, but to put into each one of your agencies, sub-agencies, the same amount of money as last year, is not a good way to govern and it’s certainly not a good way to respect the taxpayers’ dollars,” Durbin said. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Mukesh and Anil Ambani A storied billionaire sibling rivalry is finally ending

first_img IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPauseMute0:00/0:51Loaded: 0%0:01Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE-0:51?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio Trackdefault, selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading … Close Ericsson later earned a verdict from the Supreme Court that signalled immediate crisis for cash-strapped Anil Ambani. The court ordered Anil and two RCom directors to clear Ericsson’s dues worth Rs 4.5 billion within four weeks or face a three-month jail term for contempt of court. The last date of making the payment was March 19.With the wireless sale deal stalled, Anil frantically sought other ways to pay off the debt and escape impending jail term. But he suffered another blow when National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) refused to free up to Rs 260 crore tax refunds withheld by lenders saying it did not have jurisdiction to do so. Banks had opposed the release of the tax refunds. Anil was now looking down the barrel.Dramatic turnHowever, a day before the expiry of the apex court’s deadline, RCom said it paid a whopping Rs 458.77 crore to Ericsson, clearing outstanding dues. The money came from Mukesh. A long-standing rivalry apparently ended with the victor bailing out the one who fell.Anil then profusely thanked Mukesh, his brother and Asia’s richest man, and his wife Nita, for extending timely support. “My sincere and heartfelt thanks to my respected elder brother, Mukesh, and Nita, for standing by me during these trying times, and demonstrating the importance of staying true to our strong family values by extending this timely support,” Anil said in a statement issued by Reliance Communications. “I and my family are grateful we have moved beyond the past, and are deeply grateful and touched with this gesture.” Mukesh Ambani (left) with brother Anil Ambani.ReutersOne of the biggest sibling rivalries in the corporate world has apparently come to end with Anil Ambani publicly thanking elder brother Mukesh and his wife Nita for throwing a lifeline at the last minute that saved him from going to jail in the Ericsson case. The nearly two-decades-long struggle for one-upmanship between the billionaire brothers started when their rags-to-riches father Dhirubhai Ambani died without leaving a will in 2002.When India’s biggest ever corporate satrap died, he left his gigantic company in the hands of his sons Mukesh and Anil, whose personalities were a study in contrast. A long saga of internal conflicts wracked the company for years, with bad blood between the brothers occasionally spilling out in the open. After years of pushing and shoving, which was worsened by the coteries of professional managers loyal to each of the Reliance scions, the matriarch, Kokilaben Ambani, stepped in and brokered a truce between them in 2005.The formal division of the empire left both Mukesh and Anil evenly rich but their onward journey was destined to witness different tones of success and fortune. Mukesh got control of the flagship oil-refining and petrochemicals business, while Anil got the newer businesses such as power generation, financial services and telecom.Quirks of destinyIn one of the quirks of destiny, while the wealth of Mukesh grew exponentially, Anil saw his riches dwindling over the years. His ranking in the international rich list suffered first and what we saw next was that he slipped horrendously in the India rich list as well.Anil was still leading a charge in the new businesses of the Reliance empire but Mukesh saw future threats in his core business, with crude oil prices climbing, threatening to erode refiners’ margins. He waited for the end of a non-compete clause with the brother, which had kept him out of the telecom arena. When the agreement was scrapped in 2010, Mukesh quickly returned, pumping in more than $34 billion over the next seven years to build a speedier 4G wireless network for his Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.And thus, finally, the killer blow to Anil’s business empire came from Mukesh himself. The elder Ambani’s re-entry into the telecommunications business with Reliance Jio Infocomm served a grim notice not just to Anil’s Reliance Communications, but a lot of other competitors as well. His nationwide 4G network, which debuted with free services in 2016, disrupted the business, forcing rivals including RCom to bleed, merge or exit the industry.”It was a very, very big bet,” said James Crabtree, a professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore. Jio also gave Mukesh the chance to forge his own legacy beyond the shadow of the businesses he had inherited. “Jio in that sense was an all-in bet,” he added.Like his elder brother, Anil had also invested billions to expand his portfolio, but the younger brother didn’t have a cash cow like the oil refinery to finance growth. Instead, like other businesses in India and elsewhere, many of his firms increased debt. The Jio onslaught was the proverbial last straw on the camel’s back. The already indebted Anil had to seek ways to shed assets in order to service debts and pay them off eventually. Under pressure from lenders, Anil broached selling RCom assets to quell investor concerns and deal with a sinking stock. The shares of Reliance Naval & Engineering Ltd saw the worst decline last year, losing 75 percent. Bought in 2015 as part of his bet on defence as the next engine of growth, the warship and submarine maker has proven hard to turn around.First signs of a thaw in sibling rivalryAnother of Anil’s defence firms also came under scrutiny over the 2016 negotiations between France and India for the $8.7 billion deal for Rafale warplanes from France. In a statement on August 20, Anil and his firm denied allegations from opposition lawmakers that the Rafale deal unfairly benefited his firm, saying the lawmakers had been “misinformed, misdirected and misled by malicious vested interests and corporate rivals.”Amid all this crisis, the first signs of a thaw in the sibling rivalry emerged when Mukesh agreed to buy the wireless assets of RCom for a whopping Rs 18000 crore, a deal that would help Anil lighten his debt load and stay in the business. However, it was not meant to be a fairytale ending for Anil Ambani. The wireless asset deal went into a tailspin after the DoT insisted it that its liabilities would be passed off onto the buyer, who would have to pay off the creditors and associates.Meanwhile, Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson was tightening the noose around the neck of the fallen business magnate. Back in 2017, Ericsson moved a bankruptcy court alleging it had not been paid dues of around Rs 1,600 crore after signing a deal in 2013 to operate, maintain and manage the telco’s nationwide network. It extracted a personal guarantee from Ambani to pay the dues. Mukesh Ambani helped his younger brother Anil Ambani to pay off debt owed to Sweden’s Ericssonlast_img read more

In Twin Paradox Twist the Accelerated Twin is Older

first_img LSU professor resolves Einstein’s twin paradox This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. The scientists then considered a situation where the large body that the twins orbit decreases in mass, while the twins’ orbiting radius stays the same. Under these circumstances, twin B’s orbiting velocity no longer follows Kepler’s laws, and so he experiences an acceleration like twin A. However, the ratio of the twins’ proper times still depends only on their velocities, not on their acceleration. Since the twins’ velocities stay the same, with twin B orbiting at a larger velocity than twin A (who is not moving at all), twin B is still younger.“According to Einstein’s relativity theory, the time measured by moving clocks runs more slowly,” Abramowicz and Bajtlik explained. “If two twins move relative to each other, for each of them the time measured by the other one runs more slowly. There is nothing contradictory or paradoxical about that. Note that, quite similarly, two twins who look at each other from a distance both have the impression that the brother looks smaller. For the twin paradox to occur, they should be brought to the same place. At the reunion the twins will find that they do not differ in size, but they may differ in age. What breaks the symmetry here? The standard answer is the acceleration. However, in many situations in which the absolute motion may be defined, the moving twin is younger, regardless of acceleration.”In the examples so far, the faster twin is younger, regardless of any acceleration. However, if the mass of the large body decreased to zero, the situation becomes the original twin paradox: twin A is not accelerated, and twin B is accelerated. In this special case, twin B is still younger – but not because he is moving faster. As the scientists explain, when the mass of the large body is zero, the explanation for the paradox changes: time dilation here is due to twin B’s acceleration, not his velocity.“The mass causes a non-zero curvature of the spacetime, and curvature gives the spacetime a structure that defines the absolute standard of rest,” the scientists explained. “In Minkowski spacetime there are no such structures, and there is no way to tell who of the twins in moving faster in an absolute way.”This version of the twin paradox is not the first to suggest that the paradox can be explained by a difference in velocity between the twins. As in the current version, previous versions also show that the twin who moves or orbits faster is younger. As the scientists emphasize, this explanation holds true for all situations in which the absolute motion of the twins can be defined in terms of some global properties of spacetime. Possibly, the scientists suggest, the explanation might even be extended to the traditional version of the twin paradox by referring to the sky, although this would require further investigation.More information: Marek A. Abramowicz and Stanislaw Bajtlik. “Adding to the paradox: the accelerated twin is older.” arXiv:0905.2428v1.Copyright 2009 PhysOrg.com.All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of PhysOrg.com. Citation: In Twin Paradox Twist, the Accelerated Twin is Older (2009, June 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2009-06-twin-paradox-older.html Physicist Marek Abramowicz of Goteborg University in Sweden and astronomer Stanislaw Bajtlik of the Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center in Warszawa, Poland, have proposed the surprising new version of the twin paradox, which at first seems to run contrary to the traditional version. However, the scientists show that the traditional version is actually a specific case of a more general concept.“In the best known version of the twin paradox, the twin who is accelerated is younger,” Abramowicz and Bajtlik told PhysOrg.com. “In the version discussed by us the accelerated twin is older. It is quite surprising. It is almost as to say that ‘the older twin is younger.’”In 1905, Einstein described the ideas behind the twin paradox to demonstrate the effects of time dilation according to special relativity. In 1911, physicist Paul Langevin turned the concept into a concrete story involving two hypothetical twins. Ever since then, scientists have offered various explanations for exactly why this aging paradox occurs, and whether it is even a true paradox at all. As Abramowicz and Bajtlik note in their study, it is often claimed that the twin paradox can be explained by the acceleration of the traveling twin that occurs when he turns around to go back to Earth. Abramowicz and Bajtlik show, however, that it is not the acceleration that causes the age difference in most cases. By presenting a scenario in which the accelerated twin is older at the reunion, the scientists show that the final time difference between the twins often depends only on their velocities as measured with respect to an absolute standard of rest, and not on acceleration.In the new scenario, both twins are in circular orbit at different velocities around a large body, with the velocities measured by observers rotating with zero angular momentum with respect to the sky. Abramowicz and Bajtlik considered what happens when twin A stops moving, and so has a velocity of zero, and therefore a non-zero acceleration. Twin B continues to orbit at a set velocity corresponding to Keplerian free orbit and therefore has zero acceleration. Twin A is the accelerated twin, and twin B is not accelerated. As the scientists calculate, contrary to the classical version of the paradox, twin B is younger. center_img Just when you thought you were beginning to understand the twin paradox (maybe), scientists have found something new to ponder. In the original version of the famous thought experiment on time dilation, one twin stays on Earth while the other twin takes a rocket at nearly light speed into space, and returns to find that he is younger than his twin on Earth. But a new version of the story now shows that the twin who experiences an acceleration can be older than the twin who doesn’t accelerate, under slightly different conditions. Explore further Scientists have found that, when twins are orbiting a massive object, time dilation can cause the accelerated twin to be older if that twin is moving slower than the other twin; in this case, velocity is the deciding factor of age, and the twin with the greater velocity is younger. ©2005 Cetin Bal.last_img read more