Outbreak region passes full week with no new Ebola cases

first_imgFor the first time since March 2014 when the World Health Organization (WHO) was first notified of a rapidly growing Ebola outbreak in southeastern Guinea, the affected region went a full week without any new lab-confirmed cases, according to an update today.The WHO, however, cautioned about a remaining risk due to several high-risk contacts linked to recent transmission chains that have been lost to follow-up in both Guinea and Sierra Leone.The encouraging further drop in cases means the outbreak region has stayed below 10 confirmed cases for 11 straight weeks and comes just 2 days after the WHO’s Ebola emergency committee recommended that the situation still warrants a public health emergency of international concern as defined by the International Health Regulations.Country-specific situationsGuinea’s drop to zero cases last week followed a spurt of four cases the week before, all of them with links to the country’s last known transmission chain, based in Conakry’s Ratoma area. The WHO said 509 contacts are still being monitored in three of Guinea’s districts: Conakry, Coyah, and Forecariah.The WHO warned that over the past 42 days, responders have identified but haven’t been able to trace 290 contacts from four of Guinea’s districts: Conakry, Coyah, Dubreka, and Forecariah. The country’s four most recent cases were reported in late September from two villages in Forecariah district. All were infected by an unregistered contact of a probable case linked to the Ratoma transmission chain.Door-to-door case finding efforts have been under way in Conakry and in several villages in Forecariah district to address the risks posed by the contacts who were lost to follow up.Meanwhile, Sierra Leone has gone 3 weeks without a new case, and as of Oct 4 all contacts related to the country’s last two known transmission chains completed their monitoring. The last patient was discharged from treatment in Kambia district on Sep 26, which started the country’s 42-day countdown toward Ebola-free status.Officials, however, still haven’t been able to trace two high-risk contacts, one each from Bombali and Kambia district. The WHO said responders will continue to search for them until 42 days have passed since the last case in each district.Overall totalsOverall, the number of confirmed, probable, and suspected Ebola cases in the two countries and Liberia is at 28,421 cases, with Sierra Leone reporting the most illnesses, followed by Liberia. So far 11,297 deaths have been reported, with the highest number in Liberia, followed by Sierra Leone.No new healthcare worker infections have been reported since Aug 26, keeping that total at 881, with 513 of them fatal.See also:Oct 7 WHO situation updateOct 5 CIDRAP News scan “WHO committee continues Ebola emergency, temporary measures”last_img read more

USC coaches hitting recruiting trail

first_imgCOLUMBIA – What do college football coaches do when they have no idea if they’ll be remaining at a school, or who the leader of the program will be?South Carolina interim head coach Shawn Elliott yells out instructions in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium, Saturday, November 28, 2015.South Carolina interim head coach Shawn Elliott yells out instructions in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium, Saturday, November 28, 2015.They go on the road to recruit.The next question is what do you tell potential recruits.If you’re South Carolina Interim Head Coach Shawn Elliott, or any of the Gamecock football assistants who headed out on Monday, that’s an easy question to answer.“We’re going out to send the message that the University of South Carolina, this great institution and the opportunities they have here, the academic structure we have in place, our athletic department with a great administration that leads us and this program” said Elliott. “We’re going to talk about a lot of great things.”What does Elliott and company going on the road to recruit mean as far as the timetable for Athletics Director Ray Tanner naming a new coach?There will probably be at least a week before anything is finalized as several potential candidates are coaching in conference championship games.Rather than allowing South Carolina’s name to get cold with recruits during that period, it probably doesn’t hurt to have coaches attempting to reassure them positive change is coming.It has appeared Tanner’s top two candidates to take over at USC are Houston coach Tom Herman and Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.That seemed to still be the case following Saturday’s 37-32 loss to instate rival Clemson.Thins may or may not have changed Sunday afternoon when long time Georgia coach Mark Richt and the institution chose to part ways.It has been reported that Georgia also has Herman and Smart, a UGA graduate, on its radar.That should make for an interesting week as both coaches have league title games this weekend.Herman has also been offered a much more lucrative deal than the one he entered the season with from Houston to remain its coach.For the time being, however, Elliott and company are happy to sing the praises of the Gamecocks despite probably not having jobs with the school in a week.“We’re going to go recruit Monday and continue to send the message about the University of South Carolina,” said USC co-defensive coordinator Jon Hoke. “It has been a great experience. I’ve met a lot of good people.”Hoke gave a lot of praise to Elliott.“There are a lot of good men in that room,” said Hoke. “I think Shawn Elliott showed you what kind of man he is. The way he has led this team has been absolutely incredible to watch it.”Hoke said Elliott’s leadership was best displayed in the last week as he transformed Carolina from a team that lost to The Citadel into one that gave the number one team in the country all it could handle on Saturday.“It was a tough loss last week,” said Hoke. “They came out (against Clemson) and didn’t play perfect, but they played hard as a team. That speaks about (Elliott’s) character and the character of the men in the locker room.”While hiring a new coach is job one, USC had work to do. The biggest is upgrading its level of talent.If this week’s work of the coaching staff manages to keep at least one recruit on board, or attract potential new athletes to the program, the time will have been well spent.That’s what Elliott is determined to make sure happens as the love he has grown up having for Carolina has not changed.If anything, it has intensified.“This is a first class place,” said Elliott. “That is the first thing I’m going to relate to each and every person I come in contact with.”last_img read more

Freddie Mac Getting Fat

first_imgFreddie Mac Getting Fat Freddie Mac’s total mortgage portfolio has increased once again, this time rising at an annualized rate of 1.8 percent for the month, according to the government-sponsored entity’s May 2017 Monthly Volume Summary released today. That’s up from the 0.5 percent jump the portfolio experienced in April.Still, despite the uptick, Freddie’s growth rate pales in comparison to a few months prior. In March, the portfolio rose at an annualized rate of 4.8 percent, in December of 2016, it jumped 10 percent over the year.In total, Freddie completed $28.5 billion in mortgage purchases and issuances, $2.4 billion in sales, and $23 billion in liquidations in May. Its mortgage portfolio ended the month with a total balance of just more than $2 trillion.The total aggregate unpaid principal balance of Freddie’s mortgage-related investments portfolio dropped by $7.1 billion, while its mortgage-related securities and guarantees rose at an annualized rate of 4.2 percent. As a part of its mortgage-related investments portfolio, the GSE completed $17 billion in purchases, $20 billion in sales, and $4 billion in liquidations. The ending balance on the portfolio came in at $282 billion—about $7 billion under the previous month.Under its mortgage-related securities and guarantees portfolio, Freddie completed $27 billion in issuances and $21 billion in liquidations. The ending balance rose $6 billion over the month, closing out with an ending balance of $1.8 trillion.For the month of May, Freddie’s total volume for single-family refinance loan purchases and guarantees came out to $9.4 billion, equaling about 40 percent of the company’s total single-family portfolio—a share that has remained steady since April. Relief mortgages accounted for 8 percent of Freddie’s total refinance volume for the month—down from 9 percent in April.The GSE completed 3,559 single-family loan modifications for the month—down from April’s 4,588. To date, Freddie has completed just over 20,000 modifications to date this year.Overall, the company’s seriously delinquent rate on single-family loans dropped from 0.92 percent to 0.87 percent. Multifamily delinquencies declined from 0.03 percent in April to 0.01 percent in May.The GSE has funded $155 billion in mortgages year-to-date. in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines June 23, 2017 625 Views center_img Freddie Mac freddie mac portfolio GSE HOUSING mortgage 2017-06-23 Aly J. Yale Sharelast_img read more