Straight talk on business travel, working smart, school closures, and realistic expectations

first_img(CIDRAP Business Source Osterholm Briefing) – The media may have deflected their focused attention away from the novel H1N1 influenza virus (what they’ve called swine flu) for the moment, but I know you’re still on high alert, and with good reason.So let’s talk about what’s reasonable. Perhaps the best guiding principle to keep in mind is that of proportional response. Right now, this virus is behaving like seasonal influenza. So our decisions need to be proportionate to the risk. If we invoke extreme measures when they are not warranted, we lose all credibility for when the situation truly calls for such measures. So keep that top of mind as we go into the next week.TravelingMuch ado has been made over Vice President Joe Biden’s remark on the “Today” show suggesting he wouldn’t encourage his family to travel on planes or subways, which did not jibe with official government advice and was quickly corrected by his spokesperson.But was the vice president wrong? Was his response in proportional to the current risk? Yes, he was wrong because his response was not in proportion. Had there been tens of thousands of people dying at the moment, however, he might well have been right. Will the virus continue to behave like a seasonal strain? I’m afraid the answer is the one I’ve recommended we practice: We don’t know yet. But the VP’s faux pas reminds us of how important our credibility is and how our responses must be carefully measured.I know that you’re hearing questions about business travel right now. Should employees plan to go to big conventions this month or next, for example? Current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is sound. Use it to make your best judgment.And what if an employee is anxious about traveling and expresses that concern? First, realize that in current economic times, it took courage for the employee to raise the question. The best risk communicators, says expert Peter M. Sandman, PhD, remind people about the range of options. Share with worried employees the CDC stance, show them the recommendations posted right on the Source page. Talk about minimum protection, and if that’s not enough to quell worries, discuss what even stronger precautions could look like.After you’ve shared all the options and the employee just can’t cope with the idea of travel, then I’d encourage you to cut your employee some slack. It’s far better in the long term, and you have options, too, like sending someone else if you absolutely need this trip to happen.Know that we’ll keep you continually up to date about travel recommendations as the situation unfoldsDealing with the fallout from school closuresSeveral districts this week in places like Fort Worth and San Antonio shuttered schools after the novel H1N1 influenza virus was confirmed. And that has implications for you as parents scramble to take care of children or make other arrangements.Right or wrong? We don’t know yet. Remember that we haven’t watched a potential pandemic unfold like this in more than 30 years. Mistakes are going to be made, but this is a work in progress and a lesson in process. We’re learning and adjusting guidance as we go, and that’s the frame of mind we need right now—flexibility. Will more schools close? It’s likely, but we really have to take a look at what we’re accomplishing in terms of preventing transmission and severe disease by closing them. If closing schools doesn’t make a difference, then we have to ask if such  actions are in proportion to the risk.Working smartI can’t let this week pass without making sure you know of a business practice I find impressive and would go so far as to say is promising. I know of a group of human resource professionals from multinational corporations who have been meeting regularly to share how they’re planning. Some of them might even be considered competitors. Thus, what they’ve accomplished is truly remarkable, especially as the pandemic alert levels have risen so quickly.They share without hesitation the questions they’re struggling with and share solutions that have worked. They have included a representative from the state’s health department who is able to keep their ideas grounded in what’s real and possible. What makes the process work so well is complete confidentiality. Just a one-hour phone call was enough to help one company rethink some communication it was going to send that would have put employees and the organization in an impossible fix. Imagine the hassle and expense that they saved. The group members have even decided to ramp up their 1-hour conference calls to 3 times a week, knowing that if nothing is pressing, they can cancel, but if they need each other, the time is held in reserve.This group was smart enough to get the initiative off the ground during the planning stage, so now their relationships are strong and mutual trust is a given. But it’s not too late to do the very same thing among your peers. Perhaps your chamber of commerce could facilitate. Please consider how much effort and expense you will save if you give this a try. We all need to work smart right now to keep up our stamina.A heads-upAs you enter the weekend, I want to make sure you know that the CIDRAP Source may be offline for a period of time on Sunday as technical experts at the university cope with a potential hot spot. If the site isn’t be available during this time, know that we will still send out alerts and e-mail communication if something warrants your attention.If the site is down, I’d encourage you to visit this CDC site for updates and Peter Sandman’s site for risk communication advice.Still to comeOur webinar this week and conversations we’ve had with you have raised many questions you’re struggling to answer. Among them are such issues as:Coping without a plan. How do you protect your business at this point?Masks and respirators. You’re coping with conflicting information and need some clarity.Antivirals and vaccine. How do you use antivirals now and how should they be used during a severe pandemic? Do we have enough? And what’s the straight story on vaccine manufacturing capacity and plans?Presenteeism. How do you deal with employees whose economic insecurity has them showing up at work when they should be home?Recovered workers. It’s unrealistic to think all employees will be tested for swine flu and given a clean bill of health from their physicians later, so how will you deal with returning workers and the worried well at work?Employees who cross the Mexican/US border daily. How can you realistically apply stay-at-home guidance for these workers?We will be addressing these questions and topics in the days to come, gathering the best guidance and real-world examples we can find.And finally, for the latest breaking news….The World Health Organization (WHO) reported 331 cases of swine influenza H1N1 in 11 countries as of 6 a.m. GMT today. The case numbers by country are United States, 109 (1 death) (these are yesterday’s totals); Mexico, 156 (9 deaths), Canada, 34; Spain, 13; United Kingdom, 8; New Zealand, 3; Germany, 3; Israel, 2; and 1 each in Austria, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. [WHO update 7]The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 141 confirmed US cases in 19 states as of 11 a.m. ET today. New York leads the list with 50, followed by Texas, 28; South Carolina, 16, and California, 13. Other states have 4 or fewer cases. [CDC H1N1 flu page]The US government will buy 13 million treatment courses of antiviral drugs to battle the swine flu, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced last night. The new supplies will replace 11 million courses that HHS released to the states this week and add 2 million more, at a cost of $251 million, she said. She also said the government is sending 400,000 courses to Mexico. [HHS news release]Hospitals and clinics in some parts of the country, including New York, California, and Alabama, are seeing a surge of the worried well—patients who have minor symptoms but major worries about swine flu, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. For example, a pediatric hospital in San Diego is seeing up to 50% more patients than usual. [AP report]The first person in Mexico who became ill with what turned out to be the new flu virus got sick on Mar 17, according to an MMWR Dispatch from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The first outbreak was reported to the Pan American Health Organization Apr 12. Mexico had a total of 1,918 suspected cases from Mar 1 through Apr 30, of which 286 were probable and 97 were confirmed. [MMWR Dispatch]Nearly 300 schools nationwide were closed yesterday because of concern about the new virus, the Washington Post reported today. Most of the schools were in Texas, where all 147 schools in the Fort Worth district were closed for 10 days after one case was confirmed and three probable cases were reported.Hong Kong has imposed a 7-day quarantine on about 200 guests and staff members of a hotel where a Mexican man who tested positive for swine flu stayed, according to the ChannelNewsAsia website. Authorities were also trying to trace passengers who were on the man’s flight from Shanghai. A Hong Kong hotel was the launching pad for the international spread of SARS in 2003last_img read more

Newcastle to offer Granit Xhaka exit route from Arsenal in January transfer window

first_img PLAY Manchester United captain Harry Maguire Newcastle to offer Granit Xhaka exit route from Arsenal in January transfer window Xhaka appears set to leave Arsenal (Picture: Getty)Newcastle United are prepared to offer Granit Xhaka an escape route from Arsenal in January, according to reports.Xhaka is expected to ask for a move away from Arsenal once the winter transfer window opens after being stripped of the captaincy.The midfielder’s furious clash with Arsenal fans at the Emirates last month has completely derailed his career at the club just a few weeks after he was named skipper.Unai Emery appointed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as captain after axing Xhaka and the Times claim the Gunners expect the Swiss to leave in January.ADVERTISEMENT Advertisement SPONSORED 1/1 Full Screen Read More About Connatix V67539 Coming Next 1 min. story Comment Advertisement Read Morecenter_img Read More / Rio Ferdinand tells Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop struggling Read More Video Settings Read More Top articles Skip Coral BarryFriday 8 Nov 2019 12:31 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link386Shares Skip Ad Xhaka has been sidelined from playing since his outburst (Picture: Getty)Newcastle are keen to take advantage of the turmoil at Arsenal and are poised to offer Xhaka a way out of the Emirates.AdvertisementAdvertisementSteve Bruce is a fan of Xhaka and is desperate to add some steel to his midfield as he aims to steer Newcastle to Premier League safety this season.Xhaka’s £130,000-a-week wages could be stumbling block to the deal, but Newcastle are seeking a short-term deal that would see Arsenal pay part of his salary.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityNewcastle’s current top earner is Miguel Almiron, who pockets around £80,000 a week at St James’ Park.Xhaka is desperate to resume playing regularly and it is unclear if he will feature for Arsenal again after his outburst.The 27-year-old is the captain of Switzerland and the European Championships take place next summer.He has continued to train with Arsenal as normal and Emery has praised his attitude in the sessions.However, Xhaka is ‘upset’ with how he has been treated by Emery and the club in recent weeks and refused to issue an apology in the immediate aftermath of the controversy.Xhaka was then caught surprised to see his Instagram apology appear in the matchday programme notes for the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend.He was further annoyed to discover Arsenal had added an ‘introductory sentence’ to his statement without his consent.MORE: Brendan Rodgers insists he is ‘loving it’ at Leicester despite calls for him to replace Unai Emery at ArsenalMORE: Arsenal star Dani Ceballos to miss Leicester City clash with hamstring injury by Metro Visit Advertiser website GO TO PAGE last_img read more

DeMarcus Cousins reminds us of his potential in vintage performance vs. Rockets

first_imgHe’s 20 games back from an injury that often robs players of their peak explosiveness. He has 15 more regular-season games with which he can continue his recovery, and then likely two playoff rounds before he would need to face the Rockets over a full series. In other words, his body won’t need to be Western Conference finals ready for two more months, which is a longer period than he has been active so far this season.“We’ve got to remind ourselves that this is still pretty early in the process,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the game. “We’re all learning, me too. I’ve got to learn how to use him better. I thought we used him better tonight, and I thought he did a phenomenal job.”MORE: Breaking down NBA’s tight MVP raceFlashes of the old Boogie became sustained bursts of light Wednesday. He reminded us what he can be when his body feels good: a bully on the block who warps defenses inward as all-time great shooters fan out around him. Defensive stalwarts P.J. Tucker and Clint Capela did their best to harry Cousins, often swarming together to form an imposing double-team. Cousins had little trouble finishing through their contact. He then flexed and scowled and did the things we’re accustomed to seeing from him when he’s at his best.With about five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Cousins faced up Capela, shimmied a couple of times to throw the center off-balance and then drove straight past him for a pretty reverse layup. On the very next possession, Cousins pulled up for a midrange jumper in Capela’s face. All net, and a season-high in points.His scoring paired with a willingness to hit teammates on the perimeter for open 3-pointers was a welcome sight for Golden State.”To be that big and strong and to be able to hit you right in your shooting pocket, it’s incredible,” Klay Thompson told ESPN’s Doris Burke after the game. “The last center I played with who was able to do that was Andrew Bogut, and he’s coming back, too.”That’s not to say there won’t be challenges ahead for Cousins. His defense in the pick-and-roll, in particular, is a concern in extended matchups with wily ballhandlers, and one strong showing in Houston doesn’t completely alleviate that potential issue. There have been plenty of nights when he hasn’t looked as nimble. Let’s press pause on the DeMarcus Cousins chatter.Not just because he lit up the Rockets on Wednesday for 27 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and two steals, but also because he’s a six-time All-Star who contends his recovery from the torn Achilles he suffered last January is an ongoing progress. Wednesday’s outburst, of course, came with teammate Kevin Durant (ankle) sidelined. The Warriors were able to use Cousins as a focal point in the high post, low post and screen game in situations they might have otherwise leaned toward Durant. Maybe he’ll find it more difficult to hit this type of rhythm with Durant back in the lineup down the stretch. Maybe the defensive questions will continue to linger. But Cousins just bulldozed one of the best teams in the NBA in their building. He’s earned more time to get himself right and ready for an expected rematch with the Rockets in mid-May.last_img read more

Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch: Luis Severino moving down, Hunter Strickland moving up

first_imgMarco Gonzales, SP, Mariners. Gonzales did not shut down the Athletics offense in the opener, but he did pick up a quality start and a win by holding Oakland to three runs over six innings pitched. He only needed 69 pitches to get through the six innings and pick up four strikeouts. He is a solid pitcher, and this felt like the type of game we can expect more of from him, so his stock shouldn’t change much.Hunter Strickland, RP, Mariners. Strickland shut down the A’s offense in order in both games, picking up three Ks and two saves in the process. Strickland isn’t going to be a top closer this year by any means, but after these two outings I would be shocked if he continues to go at the 279 ADP mark that he had over the last week. Fantasy owners will always chase saves, and Strickland’s stock is going to rise with this strong showing.*ADPs are based on NFBC drafts. The MLB regular season is here! Well, sort of. However, fantasy baseball drafts are still taking place and perceived values will continue to change right up until opening day in the State. It’s important to pay attention to ADP trends and why rankings are fluctuating, be it because of injuries (Luis Severino) or particularly good/bad play.If your league already drafted, this piece can be used for trading and/or waiver wire purposes. Keeping up with the trends is crucial to fantasy success. So, whose values are changing and why? GET IT NOW: Fantasy Alarm Draft GuideFantasy Baseball Stock Watch: ADP risersMichael Conforto, OF, Mets. Conforto bashed his fourth spring training home run on Monday and the fantasy world is taking notice. Over the past week his ADP is inside the top 100 at 98, which is up five spots from his 103 mark in the previous week. To go along with the four home runs, Conforto has 10 RBIs, a stolen base, and is hitting at a .265 clip across 49 spring at-bats. He is coming off career-high totals in home runs (28), RBIs (82), runs scored (78), and stolen bases (3). All of which came despite a very sluggish April in which he hit .222 with just one home run as he was working his way back from his shoulder injury. If we just look at his post-break numbers, his stat line becomes very impressive, as he was able to hit .273 with 17 home runs and 52 RBIs across 256 at-bats. Conforto was my choice for “must-own” player in the Fantasy Alarm Bold Predictions, and even at his current increased price he is someone you will want to draft.Jack Flaherty, SP, Cardinals. Flaherty’s ADP has been on a pretty steady rise throughout the draft season, and it continued this week as it moved up another six spots to 53. Flaherty had a stellar rookie season last year, finishing with a 3.34 ERA and 182 strikeouts across 151 innings pitched. He was only 22 last year, but he already had the look of an ace in the making. His strong spring – 2.77 ERA and 19 strikeouts across 13 innings pitched – has done nothing but vault him further up draft boards as the season draws near. The Cardinals recently announced that he will pitch the second game of the season, and that also means that he will likely take the ball for their home opener on April 4. The Cardinals made improvements to their offense and to their bullpen this offseason, which should help the starters win more games and Flaherty could cross the 200-K mark, all of which make him a high upside grab in fantasy.Jorge Soler, OF, Royals. Soler had a massive jump in ADP this week up to 312, 47 spots higher that his 359 mark in the week prior. When looking at players this late in the draft it doesn’t take much for big ADP swings and Soler’s torrid spring – .310 batting average, four home runs, 14 RBIs, 10 runs – has seemingly done just that. Soler has long been thought of as a guy with big-time power potential, but he has never been able to put it together. Through five big league seasons his career-high home run total is only 12, but he has also failed to ever surpass 366 at-bats. The potential is still there, though, and if he can stay healthy he could finally be in for a bit of a breakout campaign. He is going to hit fourth or fifth in the Royals lineup and a 20-plus HR season is a possibility.2019 Fantasy Baseball Rankings:Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Reliever | Top 300Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch: ADP fallersWilmer Flores, 1B/2B/3B, Diamondbacks. Flores (potential) owners are not fans of the Diamondbacks recent signing of Adam Jones, and it shows in his ADP dropping to 443, down 57 picks from his 386 mark in the week prior. Flores was a popular late-round pick, as he was slated to be the D-backs everyday second baseman and flashed some pop with the Mets in a limited role, but the recent addition of Jones puts a big damper on those aspirations. With Jones coming in, Ketel Marte will be spending less time in CF and more time at second base. Flores should still see a healthy amount of at-bats, but he is no longer a trendy fantasy pick.Luis Severino, SP, Yankees. Recent news came out that Sevy is out until at least May, and it has sent his draft stock into an even further downward spiral. This week he was being draft on average at pick 91, down 25 spots from his 66 mark in the week prior. Shoulder issues can be tricky, and there is good reason to worry about his injury in regards to your fantasy roster. Of course, leagues with DL spots make it a lot easier to sit on him and get strong production once he comes back, but in leagues without DL slots he is a tough sell right now. He is electric and the Yankees will win a lot of games, but that doesn’t do you a whole lot of good if he isn’t taking the mound. His ADP will likely continue to slide as the season approaches.Sean Newcomb, SP, Braves. Newcomb was a popular late-round pick in last year’s drafts after he posted a solid 9.7 K/9 across 100 innings as a rookie in 2017. He made good on that pick in the first half of last season as he was 8-5 with a 3.51 ERA and 97 strikeouts at the break. However, a weak second half in which he posted a 4.58 ERA and 1.42 WHIP had his stock a bit lower heading into this year. Fast forward to spring training and Newcomb has been absolutely horrendous, sinking his ADP. This week his ADP was down to 264, a 32-pick drop from his 232 mark in the week prior. Newcomb has a history of control issues, so his 10 walks across 12 innings pitched in spring training are very uninspiring. He also only has seven strikeouts and has given up seven earned runs. Newcomb still has upside, but his stock is fairly taking a big hit.GET IT NOW: Fantasy Alarm Draft GuideFantasy Baseball Stock Watch: Players to watchWith our first two regular season games in the books, we have some action to discuss! No, two gamse should not change anyone’s stock/value, but if you have played fantasy long enough, you know it is going to anyways!Ramón Laureano, OF, A’s. Laureano had an abysmal first game of the season, finishing 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. Strikeouts are a problem here, as he struck out 50 times across 156 at-bats as a rookie last season and already had 11 across 33 spring training at-bats before the opener. He was dropped to eighth in the order in Game 2, but he went 2-for-5 despite two more Ks.Tim Beckham, SS/3B, Mariners. Beckham had a really nice 2017, but he was a complete disappointment lastl year. However, it’s 2019 and Beckham is arguably the best player on the planet (kidding, of course). He had a monster first game as he finished 3-for-3 with a home run, three runs, two RBIs, and a walk. He turned in another two hits and a run in the second. I can bet you that you start seeing people pick this guy at the end of their drafts.Domingo Santana, OF, Mariners. Santana had a spot in this piece last week as a stock riser and went out and hit an opposite-field grand slam in his first game of the season. He then went 1-for-5 with an RBI and stolen base in the second game. You can expect his stock to continue to rise and it may get out of hand. I would not be surprised to see him start getting picked around 150 in drafts this week — and that might just be what it takes to get him if you want him.last_img read more