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Renew the Savings Clause: protect water supply

COVD-19 still wreaks havoc in Florida, but South Floridians are engaged in a battle for our health and safety on another front — water scarcity. While most residents do not worry about their water supply as long as they get water when they turn on their tap, it is not guaranteed. On Thursday, Sept. 24, a subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment held a Congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. on the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and water management in Florida. The hearing was held as lawmakers are considering the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).

U.S Rep. Brian Mast wants to pass legislation in the WRDA that would drastically alter Lake Okeechobee’s regulation schedule in an attempt to curb toxic algae blooms in our coastal estuaries. Mast’s proposal would direct the Army Corps of Engineers to drain Lake Okeechobee’s crucial water supply to unprecedented low depths during the dry season. This would be a major departure from the Savings Clause, the provision in the WRDA that has safeguarded South Florida’s water supply for 20 years.

The continued debate surrounding the management of our water and its impact on our health and safety is important to all of us. As these crucial conversations happen remotely from Washington, D.C., Tallahassee and our regional water management district, it is important to find solutions to environmental problems that benefit all citizens and communities, not just the one with the loudest political voice.

Originally enacted in 2000, CERP remains the primary vehicle for guaranteeing that our state’s greatest natural treasure remains viable for generations to come. CERP’s implementation was approved by the passage of federal legislation known as the Water Resources Development Act. This legislation was significant for a number of reasons. First, it provided baseline protections to South Florida’s water supply. Lawmakers in 2000 recognized the needs of water users in the area — most critically the more than 6 million residents in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Second, the passage of WRDA put politics aside and showed that it’s possible to do two big things at once — restore the Everglades while meeting all of the water-related needs of the region, including water supply and flood control.

Unfortunately, politics has disrupted both sensibility and science in 2020. Instead of uniting to do big things, it has left us divided on how to create a safer environmental future. But now is the worst possible time to ignore sound water management practices. Water is more essential than ever, not only for everyday living but for life-saving hygiene. It’s necessary for our recovering businesses and the viability of our drinking water supply.

Politicians like Brian Mast are good at creating simplified talking points to address complex issues, but they fail to understand larger consequences beyond the boundaries of their own districts. Mast has loudly proclaimed that water-users permit rights should end when they infringe on the health and safety of others. That sounds reasonable but is simply untrue and not supported by science.

U.S. signs agreement with AstraZeneca to develop, supply COVID-19 antibody treatment

(Reuters) – The U.S. government on Friday signed an agreement with AstraZeneca Plc <AZN.L> worth $486 million to develop and secure supplies of up to 100,000 doses of COVID-19 antibody treatment, a similar class of drugs that was used to treat President Donald Trump.

The U.S. health agency will provide the funding to AstraZeneca for two Phase 3 clinical trials under operation Warp Speed, which is aimed at speeding up treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

One trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the experimental treatment to prevent infection for up to 12 months, in about 5,000 participants, while the second trial will evaluate post-exposure preventative and pre-emptive treatment in roughly 1,100 participants.

AstraZeneca said it plans to supply up to 100,000 doses starting towards the end of 2020 and the US Government can acquire up to an additional one million doses in 2021 under a separate agreement.

In a video posted on Twitter on Wednesday, Trump credited Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc’s <REGN.O> therapeutic for his recovery. Trump received Regeneron’s treatment last week after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

Source Article

U.S. Signs Agreement With AstraZeneca to Develop, Supply COVID-19 Antibody Treatment | Top News

(Reuters) – The U.S. government on Friday signed an agreement with AstraZeneca Plc

worth $486 million to develop and secure supplies of up to 100,000 doses of COVID-19 antibody treatment, a similar class of drugs that was used to treat President Donald Trump.

The U.S. health agency will provide the funding to AstraZeneca for two Phase 3 clinical trials under operation Warp Speed, which is aimed at speeding up treatments and vaccines for COVID-19.

One trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the experimental treatment to prevent infection for up to 12 months, in about 5,000 participants, while the second trial will evaluate post-exposure preventative and pre-emptive treatment in roughly 1,100 participants.

AstraZeneca said it plans to supply up to 100,000 doses starting towards the end of 2020 and the US Government can acquire up to an additional one million doses in 2021 under a separate agreement.

In a video posted on Twitter on Wednesday, Trump credited Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc’s

therapeutic for his recovery. Trump received Regeneron’s treatment last week after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.

(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

Source Article

UK’s COVID-19 Testing System Hit by Roche Supply Problems | World News

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s COVID-19 testing system, already struggling with a surge in new cases, was facing fresh disruption on Wednesday after Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche

said problems at a new warehouse had delayed the dispatch of some products.

Roche is one of the main suppliers of diagnostic tests to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) Test and Trace programme, which only days ago was hit by a technical glitch that delayed the reporting of 15,000 positive results.

Roche said the delay in dispatching some of its diagnostic products to the NHS was caused by unforeseen problems that arose during a switch from an old warehouse to a new UK distribution centre in September.

“We deeply regret that there has been a delay in the dispatch of some products and apologise to any of our customers who have been impacted,” Roche said in a statement.

“We are prioritising the dispatch of COVID-19 PCR and antibody tests and doing everything we can to ensure there is no impact on the supply of these to the NHS,” the company added, without specifying whether other products were affected.

Allan Wilson, president of Britain’s Institute of Biomedical Science, said Roche was a major supplier of materials such as reagents needed for routine blood tests, coagulation tests and in cancer diagnostics, as well as COVID-related materials.

“So it’s fair to say that laboratories are already running into supply problems,” Wilson said during an interview on BBC Radio 4. “We’re being very innovative in what we do, and we’re moving stuff around between laboratories, within the NHS, to make sure that all critical tests are fulfilled.”

Wilson said materials would be rationed when appropriate and the NHS was working closely with Roche to try and plug any gaps in the testing pathway.

Roche said staff at the new facility were working day and night to resolve the issue as soon as possible, and that extra staff had been recruited to help.

The timing of Roche’s problems could hardly be worse for Britain, which has seen a surge in new coronavirus infections in September and the testing system struggling to meet demand.

Wilson said a significant drop in Roche’s capacity could potentially have a major impact on NHS Test and Trace.

“The key to this, we’re not sure the duration of this, we’re hearing days or weeks. If it’s days, it will probably have minimal impact, but if it’s weeks, then yes, that could have a considerable impact on our ability to deliver tests across the whole gambit of diagnostic tests in the UK,” he said.

Trade minister Liz Truss said the problem did not appear to be causing delays in the Test and Trace programme at this point.

“There’s no evidence that those tests have been delayed,” Truss told Sky News.

However, British media reported the problem was already causing disruption, with hospital managers unsure whether expected deliveries of swabs and reagents would materialise.

The BBC quoted Tom Lewis, lead clinician for pathology at North Devon District

The Latest: US: Remdesivir Supply Outstripping Demand | World News

WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials say hospitals bought only about a third of the doses of remdesivir that they were offered over the last few months to treat COVID-19, as the government stops overseeing the drug’s distribution.

Between July and September, 500,000 treatment courses were made available to state and local health departments but only about 161,000 were purchased.

Dr. John Redd of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday that “we see this as a very good sign” that supply now outstrips demand and it’s OK for hospitals to start buying the drug, also known as Veklury, directly from maker Gilead Sciences Inc.

The government will buy some of the excess for the national stockpile. Redd did not say how much.

Several studies suggest remdesivir can shorten time to recovery and hospital stays by four days on average.

At $3,200 per treatment course, it’s price might be playing a role in reduced demand. Hospitals do not get reimbursed separately for the drug. Instead, it’s included in an overall payment Medicare makes for a hospital stay.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Italy tallies 2,540 coronavirus cases, highest in 5 months

— New York City school district, largest in nation, to test monthly for virus

— NFL postpones Steelers-Titans game after more positive tests

— The White House is backing a $400 per week pandemic jobless benefit and possible COVID-19 relief bill with a price tag above $1.5 trillion.

— France’s health minister is threatening to close bars and ban family gatherings, if the rise in virus cases doesn’t improve.

— Americans seeking unemployment benefits declined last week to a still-high 837,000, suggesting the economy is struggling to sustain a tentative recovery from the summer.

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

LONDON — A British lawmaker has apologized for travelling to London to attend a coronavirus debate in Parliament despite having COVID-19 symptoms. She also took a train home to Scotland after getting a positive test.

The Scottish National Party suspended Margaret Ferrier on Thursday after she said that “there is no excuse for my actions” and that she had reported herself to police.

Ferrier said she took a test Saturday after experiencing mild symptoms, but she still took a train to London on Monday. After learning Monday evening that he had tested positive, she said, she caught a train home Tuesday “without seeking advice.”

People in Britain are told they must self-isolate if they have COVID-10 symptoms and while they are waiting for a test result.

Earlier Thursday, Stanley Johnson, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s father, apologized after he was photographed shopping without a face covering.

Britain’s government recently raised fines for not wearing masks in places like shops in a bid to curb a spike in infections.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Republican state lawmaker’s positive test for the coronavirus has prompted legislative leaders to cancel the Pennsylvania House’s voting session.

Human resources workers were