Expert Pitch

PM Johnson’s hospitalization triggers concern of succession

Cornell University
6-Apr-2020 5:40 PM EDT, by Cornell University

On Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved into an intensive care unit after his coronavirus symptoms worsened. Johnson, who secured his premiership last December with a landslide victory for the Conservative Party, ran on a populist and pro-Brexit platform. As coronavirus started to spread in the country, Johnson initially opposed lockdown-type measures suggesting that a speedy spread of the virus would create “herd immunity.”

Alexandra Cirone, professor in Cornell University’s department of government and an expert in European politics, says that Johnson’s worsening condition poses the question of what an emergency leadership selection would look like for U.K.’s Conservative Party. Bio: https://government.cornell.edu/alexandra-e-cirone Cirone says: “This high-profile hospitalization comes after a wave of politicians have also been diagnosed with COVID-19, including the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, the French Minister of Culture Franck Riester, and at least 24 members of the Iranian parliament.

However, Boris Johnson’s case is notable because his government was slow to act in response to COVID-19. He seemed to ignore expert evidence on mitigating the pandemic using lockdown and social distancing measures, in favor of a misguided ‘herd immunity’ approach. “Politicians are arguably at risk — leaders work long hours (particularly during a crisis), come in contact with a wide range of constituents, and sometimes lead unhealthy lifestyles. Yet these and other high-profile cases demonstrate, among other things, that no one is immune from the virus, and that every single government should be taking drastic measures to slow the spread. “Note that in the event a U.K. prime minister dies in office, there is no written order of succession.

They are not succeeded by the deputy prime minister (as the vice president would, in the case of the U.S.). Instead, the queen would need to appoint a replacement prime minister, from a choice of candidates (ideally one) submitted by the governing party. “If the Conservative Party can ensure a clear-cut emergency leadership selection, then the government could better adapt; however, the choice is not obvious.

Dominic Raab is the deputy prime minister, but there are other prominent ministers who could also fill the position. Citizens, on the other hand, either don’t know or surprisingly seem to support the newly appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak. Given the crisis, the Conservative Party would be well served to ensure that any emergency leadership selection is efficient and uncontroversial.” - 30 -

 




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Released: 29-May-2020 6:50 AM EDT
Those with IDD more likely to die from COVID-19, study shows
Syracuse University

A new study published recently in ScienceDirect by researchers from Syracuse University and SUNY Upstate Medical University shows that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are more likely to die from COVID-19 than those without IDD.

Newswise: Invention by a Finnish start-up speeds up coronavirus testing
Released: 29-May-2020 6:25 AM EDT
Invention by a Finnish start-up speeds up coronavirus testing
Aalto University

An Aalto University spinoff company has come up with a way to use existing lab microscopes in a completely new and much more effective way with their innovation of nanocoated glass. While this is very relevant to covid19 research, it holds great promise for many other viruses and diseases

Newswise: Tourism: what’s our new normal?
Released: 29-May-2020 6:20 AM EDT
Tourism: what’s our new normal?
University of South Australia

After months of lockdown, it’s no surprise that people are itching to get out and about. But with ongoing debates about how and when to open Australia’s state and territory borders, it’s hard to know what to expect.

Newswise: Calibrated approach to AI and deep learning models could more reliably diagnose and treat disease
Released: 29-May-2020 6:05 AM EDT
Calibrated approach to AI and deep learning models could more reliably diagnose and treat disease
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

In a recent preprint (available through Cornell University’s open access website arXiv), a team led by a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory computer scientist proposes a novel deep learning approach aimed at improving the reliability of classifier models designed for predicting disease types from diagnostic images, with an additional goal of enabling interpretability by a medical expert without sacrificing accuracy. The approach uses a concept called confidence calibration, which systematically adjusts the model’s predictions to match the human expert’s expectations in the real world.

Newswise: Researchers Develop Experimental Rapid COVID-19 Test Using Innovative Nanoparticle Technique
Released: 28-May-2020 6:35 PM EDT
Researchers Develop Experimental Rapid COVID-19 Test Using Innovative Nanoparticle Technique
University of Maryland Medical Center

Scientists from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) developed an experimental diagnostic test for COVID-19 that can visually detect the presence of the virus in 10 minutes. It uses a simple assay containing plasmonic gold nanoparticles to detect a color change when the virus is present. The test does not require the use of any advanced laboratory techniques, such as those commonly used to amplify DNA, for analysis. The authors published their work last week in the American Chemical Society’s nanotechnology journal ACS Nano.

Released: 28-May-2020 6:05 PM EDT
Tackling airborne transmission of COVID-19 indoors
University of Surrey

Preventing airborne transmission of Covid-19 should be the next front of the battle against the virus, argue experts from the University of Surrey.

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Embargo will expire: 1-Jun-2020 11:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 28-May-2020 5:40 PM EDT

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Released: 28-May-2020 5:10 PM EDT
Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association

Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Newswise: fimmu-11-01208-g001.jpg
Released: 28-May-2020 4:45 PM EDT
Genetics May Explain High COVID-19 Mortality in Italy, Inform Global Pandemic Response
Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO)

On March 11th 2020 the World Health Organization declared Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) a pandemic.

Released: 28-May-2020 3:55 PM EDT
Finding working capital is key to small businesses efforts as reopening accelerates
RAND Corporation

As small businesses reopen after a lengthy pandemic shutdown, one key challenge will be finding working capital to replenish inventories and pay employees until revenue returns to normal, according to a new RAND Corporation perspective based on interviews with a select group of small business owners.


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