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Southwest Airlines Collaborating with Stanford University School of Medicine for Guidance Regarding the Southwest Promise

DALLAS, Oct. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) is working with the Stanford University School of Medicine to review the carrier’s multi-layered approach to supporting the well-being of Customers and Employees during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Southwest Promise encompasses the changes the airline has made to its around-the-clock operations, cleaning procedures, and physical-distancing measures, and representatives from Stanford Medicine will now offer medical advice and protocol recommendations to guide the airline’s ongoing and future efforts during the pandemic.

As part of the collaboration, Southwest will have access to an advisory council comprised of Stanford Medicine’s physician-scientists with knowledge and expertise in infectious diseases, prevention and testing protocols, and the latest medical research about COVID-19. This advisory council will provide insights to support Southwest’s commitment to keeping Safety as an uncompromising priority.

“We look forward to working with Stanford Medicine as we continue utilizing a science-based approach to develop and bolster our operational policies and practices during the ongoing pandemic,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. “This collaboration adds to our advisory partners and brings a team of physician-scientists into our ongoing discussions and will infuse the latest medical research and public health recommendations into our mission of supporting the well-being of our Customers and Employees.”

Stanford Medicine is advising organizations and companies like Southwest as they evaluate their practices during the ongoing pandemic,” said Lloyd Minor, MD, Dean of the Stanford School of Medicine. “We look forward to providing our insights to the airline.”

The Southwest Promise: A Multi-Layered Approach to Cleaning and Comfort

Stanford Medicine will serve as a trusted advisor, in addition to Southwest’s current relationship with UT Southwestern Medical Center, to review elements of The Southwest Promise, which are implemented to create a comfortable travel experience and support the well-being of Employees and Customers. The commitment to cleaning and distancing measures encompasses the following elements:

Prior to Travel:

Face Coverings Required: All Southwest Customers and Employees over the age of two are required to wear a covering over their mouth and nose throughout the travel journey. If a Customer does not have a face covering, Southwest will have face masks available at the airport and onboard its aircraft.

Customer Health Declaration: Customers are required to acknowledge an awareness of the carrier’s face covering policy and confirm they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been diagnosed with, or exposed to, COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to travel. They also are required to confirm they do not have a fever when they travel. The declaration appears during the online check-in process via the Southwest app, Southwest.com, the carrier’s mobile website, SWABIZ.com, and airport kiosks.

At the Airports:

Airport Cleaning: Southwest is cleaning ticket counters, gates, kiosks, and baggage claim areas multiple times a day. Additionally, the airline is utilizing electrostatic sprayers to apply a disinfectant to airport areas at least once per week. 

Physical Distancing in Airports: Southwest is boarding

Remdesivir study shows promise for COVID-19, but no magic bullet

Oct. 12 (UPI) — The results of the ACTT-1 trial, which looked at the effectiveness of remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19, have finally been published. So far the only drug that has been shown to reduce deaths from the disease has been dexamethasone, a steroid that suppresses the immune system through its anti-inflammatory effects. Steroids have a secondary effect on the disease — they don’t target the virus itself. Remdesivir, on the other hand, goes straight to the cause of the disease by inhibiting the virus.

The drug, which was developed by Gilead Sciences, was approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under an “emergency use authorization” on May 1. It was recently used to treat President Donald Trump.

Gilead Sciences has claimed that the drug has significant benefits for patients — but robust data has been lacking until now. This makes the long-awaited results of the ACTT-1 trial important. Having read the study, most physicians treating patients with COVID-19 will be asking themselves the same question: “Should I be using remdesivir for my patients?”

Who should get it?

The trial follows a gold-standard design of being double blind, randomized and controlled, and like most trials published in top medical journals, at first glance the outcomes are fairly impressive. They found that patients receiving the drug improved and recovered more quickly, were less likely to progress to severe disease, were discharged from hospital sooner, and had a lower death rate of 11.4% compared with 15.2% in patients receiving “usual” treatment.

Based on these positive findings, it would be tempting to conclude that all patients who have the disease should receive the drug, but since it costs around $2,340 to treat one patient, and is likely to be in short supply in the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future, the question warrants a more considered analysis.

The use of any drug also has potentially negative consequences. Remdesivir has not been around long enough to have a track record for safety, and the reports of side effects in COVID-19 patients continue to grow.

When we unpick the data and look at analyses of smaller groups (subgroup analyses), the only patients for whom benefit was conclusively demonstrated were those who were less severely ill and receiving only supplemental oxygen rather than being on a ventilator. It is worth remembering that ACTT-1 is a relatively small trial and sicker patients may well benefit, but it has yet to be proven. Another interesting subgroup analysis showed that patients receiving dexamethasone showed added benefit with the addition of remdesivir, which is good news.

No magic bullet

So when I go into my hospital this week and am confronted on the wards with patients who are ill with COVID-19, ACTT-1 tells me that, provided I can find remdesivir on the pharmacy shelf, I should be confident to use it in any patients who are receiving oxygen alone, in the hope that they will recover sooner and, more importantly, avoid progression to needing ventilation

Canada, biggest provinces promise new steps to fight second COVID wave

By Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s federal authorities and its two biggest provinces on Tuesday promised new measures to combat a second COVID-19 wave that is notching up as many cases as during the pandemic’s peak in April.

Canada reported new 2,176 infections on Monday, taking the total to 155,301. The death toll rose by 10 to 9,278.

Government minister Dominic LeBlanc, who chairs the cabinet’s coronavirus committee, called the surge “very worrying”.

Ontario, the most populous of the 10 provinces, said it would limit visitors to long-term care homes for the elderly in areas with high community spread. Most deaths in Canada have taken place in homes for seniors.

In Quebec, the second most populous, premier Francois Legault said financial support for businesses hurt by new COVID-19 restrictions would be announced soon. The province is closing bars and dine-in services at restaurants in hot spots for 28 days.

“The situation is still critical,” Legault told reporters in Quebec City.

In Ottawa, health officials said they expected to authorize new antigen tests for COVID-19, which can provide rapid results outside of a lab. This should provide additional testing as the second wave overwhelms laboratories, they said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who last week said the government would provide C$440 million ($329 million) to a global program designed to ensure fair access to COVID-19 vaccines, on Tuesday said Canada was giving an additional C$400 million in humanitarian and development funding.

Separately on Tuesday, the federal government said it had signed an agreement up to buy 7.9 million Abbott ID NOW rapid point of care tests, pending Health Canada approval.

The ID NOW is not an antigen test, but the instruments used to analyze it can be run outside of a major lab, giving rapid results at a clinic or hospital.

(With additional reporting by David Ljunggren and Steve Scherer in Ottawa, Allison Lampert in Montreal and Moira Warburton in Vancouver, writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum, David Gregorio and John Stonestreet)

Source Article

Sandy Hook Promise Celebrates Passage of Youth Suicide Prevention Legislation by the United States House of Representatives

Sandy Hook Promise Celebrates Passage of Youth Suicide Prevention Legislation by the United States House of Representatives

PR Newswire

NEWTOWN, Conn., Sept. 30, 2020

House of Representatives Votes Unanimously in Favor of the STANDUP Act (H.R. 7293)

NEWTOWN, Conn., Sept. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously in favor of the Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention (STANDUP) Act of 2020. The bill encourages states to expand access to evidence-based suicide prevention training to students in grades 6 through 12.   

(PRNewsfoto/Sandy Hook Promise)
(PRNewsfoto/Sandy Hook Promise)

“I can’t think of a better way to recognize National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month than the House of Representatives voting to expand access to evidence-based suicide prevention programs for young people. It’s more important than ever to prioritize this kind of training,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. “We are deeply grateful to the bipartisan sponsors of the STANDUP Act—Representatives Scott Peters (D-CA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA— who championed this life-saving legislation.”

“Teaching students and school personnel to understand and recognize signs of violent or suicidal ideation in youth and their peers is crucial to stem the crises of youth suicide and violence,” said Rep. Peters. “Early prevention can mean the difference between life or death, and giving schools the tools they need to prevent and react to threats before tragedy occurs ensures we are protecting our children and school safety.”

“There is no higher priority than keeping our children safe.  By providing high quality screening and prevention training to school staff and peers, we can identify threats before they materialize, and ensure that those who are at risk get the mental health treatment they need,” said Rep. Bilirakis.

In addition to the STANDUP Act, the House voted in favor of three other suicide prevention bills supported by Sandy Hook Promise to help prevent youth suicide:

  • Mental Health Services for Students Act (H.R. 1109), which would provide funding for public schools across the country to partner with local mental health professionals to establish on-site mental health care services for students;

  • Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act (H.R. 4861) which would assist emergency departments to develop better suicide risk protocols through the Department of Health and Human Services; and

  • Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act of 2019 (H.R. 5469), the first comprehensive federal legislation to addresses increasing suicide rates and mental health disorders among Black youth by providing grants for culturally appropriate mental health services in schools and community settings.

In June, Arriana Gross, a high school junior in Covington, Georgia and a Sandy Hook Promise Youth Advisory Board member, spoke to members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee during a hearing on mental health about the importance of addressing teen suicide and mental wellness. In her testimony, Arriana asked the Committee to