(NewsUSA) – In 1918, a mutated, deadly strain of the "Flu" (or Influenza), swept around the world to cause the third deadliest plague in recorded human history. Published research suggests the final global death toll may have arguably been as high as 100 million. Yet, despite two decades of biologic event preparedness at the cost of well over $80 billion, the U.S. remains unprepared to handle a flu pandemic of a similar scale if one should occur, contends Dr. Steven Hatfill, a specialist physician and virologist with training in mass casualty management and emergency response.His view is supported by a National Intelligence Estimate, multiple Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports and testimony, and the recently released new Global Health Security Index by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.After more than a decade of study, Dr. Hatfill and his team have published a comprehensive book, "Three Seconds Until Midnight" which revisits the challenges of the 1918 pandemic and highlights the limitations of the current U.S. public health system while offering some possible solutions. With an introduction written by the famous virus-hunter C.J. Peters, MD, the book also delves into the causes and problems caused by the continuing emergence of new human infectious diseases previously unknown to science."The overwhelming majority of Americans assume that the CDC and public health authorities will rapidly detect a new outbreak of a lethal infectious disease and quickly respond with a vaccine, drugs, and other measures to contain the event. In reality, none of this is guaranteed," Dr. Hatfill emphasizes.The latest Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) documents show that in a 1918-type pandemic Influenza event, a minimum of 123 to 125 million Americans will not receive any anti-viral drugs or vaccine until after the peak period of infections and deaths. As these individuals watch some of their neighbors, co-workers, or family members become ill and some die around them, all there will be is government advice to frequently wash their hands, cough or sneeze into their sleeve, and if sick, to stay home from work.In the book, Dr. Hatfill and his team point out how the U.S. has an insufficient public health workforce and lacks the "surge" medical capacity needed for a lethal pandemic situation and that no programs are currently in place to train volunteers on how to safely work in an infectious disease environment.To decrease hospital overcrowding during a 1918-type pandemic, the DHHS will advise communities to set up Neighborhood Emergency Help Centers to triage which patients can be nursed at home. Yet most adults are uninformed on how to care for ill family members if they contract a contagious and possibly lethal infection, and entire households will become ill, Dr. Hatfill says. Historically, the poor, socially disadvantaged urban communities will have the highest infection, hospitalization, and death rates.The major problems in pandemic preparedness occur with the local city authorities who are largely unprepared to manage an outbreak of a serious lethal infectious disease on a 1918-type scale. This includes developing methods to manage essential worker absenteeism, pre-planning alternate care sites, gross rapid expansion of mortuary capabilities and teaching non-pharmaceutical interventions to the public."There are worse viruses in nature than another 1918-type influenza strain. These viruses are simply waiting for the right conditions to adapt and jump species into man," says Dr. Hatfill. "We are the only large mammal to have ever achieved such a high-density global population level and we have no precedent to indicate if we are nearing a threshold or not." As a consequence, we are all participating in a huge on-going biological experiment."His book outlines the urgent need for a universal flu vaccine and more effective antiviral drugs. It also describes a disaster train concept for improved military support to disadvantaged communities acting in a disaster response mode, similar to the role played by the Armed Forces after Hurricane Katrina in 2005."Three Seconds Until Midnight" is available for purchase online via Amazon or Kindle.For more information, visit www.threesecondsuntilmidnight.com.
(NewsUSA) – How would you like to relive and let others experience the most important moments of your life? The dance floor at your wedding, your child’s first birthday, your team’s victory parade? Now, you cannot only watch these events but feel as if you were actually there, right in the middle of the action. With today’s technology, it’s possible, and it’s never been easier to get started.Humaneyes Technologies, an innovator in camera technology, has developed a consumer-friendly, dual camera that combines 360-degree photography with immersive 3D Virtual Reality (VR), all in one simple-to-use solution that costs about the same as a decent DSLR camera."360-degree pictures and video continue to change how we use cameras to capture the world around us," says media expert Jim Malcolm of Humaneyes Technologies, "and the global adoption of VR headsets, combined with 3D cameras is providing even more ways to create virtual content and virtual memories.""We’ve done it with the best; from documenting Mako sharks with The Discovery Channel, to weightless experiences in the International Space Station, floating more than 250 miles above the horizon." Says Malcolm, "we’re now excited to watch, firsthand, as consumers create their own immersive personal stories." The Vuze XR flips easily from a 360-degree camera to a VR180 camera and shoots both virtual video and photos.Whether recording or live streaming, users can create and share virtual experiences at the moment, and then save them to revisit next week or next decade. Special features of the VUZE include built-in image stabilization, filters, and a VR editing suite. Plus, it doesn’t get more portable."Everything can be viewed, controlled and edited, right from your phone, so that you can shoot, create and share virtual videos at a moment’s notice," says Malcolm.But not everything needs to be virtual; therefore, the VUZE also functions as a 5.7K and 4K up to 60fps 2D camera for capturing high-resolution videos and 18-megapixel pictures to fill out your photo album.So think ahead to the holidays and the way the latest in VR technology can help make unforgettable memories and connect far-flung family and friends. The VUZE camera also features live streaming and social sharing features for platforms, including Facebook and YouTube, so that you can bring your social media audience into the scene with you.For more information on the VUZE XR camera and how to create your own virtual experiences and memories, visit humaneyes.com.
(NewsUSA) -Today’s sophisticated travelers can enjoy once-in-a lifetime experiences in luxurious locations that are off the beaten path. If you crave the ultimate in adventure, eco-conscious settings, and magnificent service, put these unique destinations on your travel bucket list for 2020.1. Hangaroa Eco-Village + Spa, Easter Island, Chile (hangaroa.cl). Located on the mysterious Easter Island in the South Pacific (home to mythical Moai statues), Hangaroa allows adventure-seeking travelers to get an inside look at the Rapa Nui culture and history. Guides lead guests to centuries-old archeological sites to unravel the mystery of how the giant, hand-carved heads came to be. Must-sees include the Rano Raraku volcanic crater (home to the island’s largest statue) and Anakena Beach, where Polynesian culture first came ashore 800 years ago. For those wanting something more adrenaline pumping, opt for an ATV to explore the island.The hotel stays true to its eco-friendly ethos. The 75 oceanfront rooms feature handmade clay tubs, stone showers and lots of natural light. After a day of exploring, head to the spa to be pampered with ancient rituals. A new added bonus: Full Experience guests can choose to dine at one of two local restaurants, including Kana Hau, which has a traditional Rapa Nui dance show!2. The Singular Patagonia, Chile (thesingular.com). Situated in the heart of Southern Patagonia, The Singular is indeed a singular experience.Once a cold storage plant at the epicenter of the sheep farming industry a century ago, the property has been resurrected as a luxury hotel (and a museum)! However, mother nature is the real draw. Just as previous explorers did, guests immediately fall in love with the surrounding awe-inspiring nature, as this bucket list hotel sits on the shores of a Fjord overlooking the snow-capped Andes. Guests feel like pioneers as they explore the area by private boat discovering glaciers and hidden waterfalls. Other once-in-a-lifetime excursions include trekking through Torres del Paine National Park, horseback riding across an “Estancia” with real-life gauchos or kayaking down winding rivers.Any adventure wouldn’t be complete without incredible food. The Singular uses locally sourced ingredients to deliver local favorites with a french flair. Try the hotel’s traditional “Asador” (barbecue), set in a former Blacksmith’s workshop serving a variety of locally raised meats.3. Careyes, Pacific Coast (careyes.com). Careyes is a destination unto itself where the jungle meets the sea, spanning more than 20,000 acres of nature reserve. A vibrant community of international residents and visitors spread across the property’s Ocean Castle villas, Casitas and El Careyes Club & Residences along the cliffside, Careyes is more than just a beautiful resort. It is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to commune with nature, explore your sense of spirituality and appreciate the beauty of the earth and sea.Rest assured, all of the unique accommodations are bucket-list worthy. The Ocean Castle Villas feature infinity pools, lush gardens and luxurious furnishings. The beachfront El Careyes Club features five infinity pools, the La Duna restaurant and spacious one- to four-bedroom suites perfect for families or groups. Careyes is an ideal location for a winter getaway, especially at one of their annual special events, including ArteCareyes Film Festival, Agua Alta Polo Tournament and the Ondalinda Festival.4. Le Torri di Bagnara, Umbria, Italy (letorridibagnara.it/). If life in a sprawling castle sounds appealing, visit this 1,500-acre Italian estate owned by descendants of Napoleon Bonaparte. This restored medieval castle accommodates groups from 15 to 30 people, who enjoy the privacy of a private home coupled with the safety, security and amenities of a luxury hotel.Le Torri di Bagnara has an official hotel license guaranteeing the highest standards, setting it apart from other Italian villa rentals. The estate boasts an infinity saltwater pool, stone barbeque, and vegetable gardens. Savor locally grown ingredients from the estate’s working farm, including extra virgin olive oil, as well as truffles and mushrooms foraged right on the grounds.Special activities include cooking classes, wine tastings, mountain biking, truffle hunting and photography. For families, a kids’ playground keeps the little ones entertained. A must: soar high above the estate and surrounding countryside in a hot air balloon, followed by a gourmet picnic.5. Costa Rican Vacations, Costa Rica (vacationscostarica.com/). Travelers seeking the ultimate in eco-travel, adventure and luxury can find it all through Costa Rican Vacations, which create complete and customized Costa Rican experiences. A popular place to start is Playa Cativo Lodge on the Osa Peninsula, which fronts a mile of pristine beach offering plenty of wildlife. Use the personal binoculars to catch close-ups of birds and sea turtles, plus a can’t miss, whale-watching tour. Other must-do activities include a private air tour of the Sirena Ranger Station at Corcovado National Park or a visit to Nayara Springs, where the villas have private terraces with private plunge pools overlooking the Arenal volcano.For the ultimate luxury experience, check out Costa Rica’s Four Seasons in Guanacaste, where visitors can expect the ultimate in amenities and service, with offsite adventures, including zip lining, horseback riding and ATV tours.6. Manoir Hovey, Quebec, Canada (manoirhovey.com/). Manoir Hovey, a five-star Relais & Châteaux resort in the Eastern Townships region of Quebec, was built in 1900 and inspired by George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.The property is 90 minutes from Montreal and retains its historic charm; most of the 36 luxurious rooms feature wood-burning fireplaces, private balconies, and views of Lake Massawippi.Foodies will have a field day at Manoir Hovey. Le Hatley, the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, is ranked among the best in the world, and chef Alexandre Vachon presents modern and diverse menus that showcase regional ingredients.Guests can enjoy the bucolic country scenery and a range of activities year-round, including kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddle boarding in the warmer months, as well as guided speedboat tours and fly fishing.Fall is an excellent time for foliage tours and hiking nearby, while in the winter, guests enjoy ice fishing with a local guide who sets up a sheltered area on the frozen lake, complete with a pizza oven on skis. Complete a bucket- list item with a thrilling dogsledding experience.
(NewsUSA) – Chris Deffenbaugh first saw the potential in repurposing old oak barrels when he saw pieces of an old one in the corner of a friend’s basement."Looking at the curve of the old barrel staves, the wooden lids and the rusty rings that once held it all together, I was struck by the shapes and threw it in my pickup truck to take home and see what I could do with it," Deffenbaugh recalls.Despite having no barrel-making experience, Deffenbaugh put the barrel back together and decided to take it a step beyond serving as an unusual table in his home. He cut out one side and turned the pieces into a bar cabinet that could store wine and liquor bottles on the deck when he had guests.Then, when the guests started asking him to make something similar for them, he had an inspiration that led him to quit his career in human resources, draw up plans, rent a truck and head for Kentucky, returning with 90 barrels and an idea that would become The Oak Barrel Company.The Oak Barrel Company, based in the heart of Amish country in Berlin, Ohio, takes recycling seriously. In keeping with its motto, "Reclaim, Reuse, Recreate," the company does its best to use the entire barrel, with little or nothing wasted.Deffenbaugh learned woodworking from members of the local Amish community and contracted with several Amish craftsmen and other local woodworkers to partner with him on various phases of creating art and furniture from the components of the barrels, including the staves, lids and rings. The company has chosen to use wine barrels to create beautiful tables instead of whiskey. While whiskey barrels are very popular, they run the risk of producing a black mold if not properly cleaned, both inside and out, whereas wine barrels are already clean and do not run the risk of any mold, creating a better product in the long run.The company’s product line is always evolving and includes small benches with curved seats and legs from barrel staves as well as stools with barrel-lid seats. Also available are bistro-style, wooden-topped tables made from whole barrels, with matching chairs made from barrel components. Wine enthusiasts may appreciate the wine barrel wine rack and even the wine slate wine rack, designed to hang on the wall or sit on the counter.All Oak Barrel Company products come with a lifetime guarantee, and many of the products can be customized with choices of stain color, type of metal fixture, and indoor or outdoor finish. The Oak Barrel team can create a custom piece in four to six weeks.For more information visit theoakbarrelcompany.com to view some of the company’s unique designs.
(NewsUSA) – Beauty, like health, goes beyond the visible surface. While many of us manage our wellness via diet, exercise and check-ups, we don’t apply the same 360-degree approach to our beauty regimen. It’s possibly due to lack of viable options.Neauvia International Group recognizes this incongruity and aims to transform the way we practice beauty and solve skin care challenges by extending its premium energy-based devices into the United States.In the hands of trained medical aesthetics professionals, Neauvia devices leverage sophisticated technology such as thermo-lifting and water peeling to deeply target your areas of concern. With years in the global skin care market, Neauvia’s approach pairs this advanced technology with specially formulated skin care for remarkable results."Over a decade of Neauvia’s international skin care success has taught us that a single product does not meet the overall demands of and desired outcomes for patients or providers," says Sean Wilson, President of newly launched Neauvia North America. Best-in-class treatments do, however. They also require training and certification. So, take time to research your local plastic surgeons, dermatologists, aestheticians and med spas because they offer you access to these revolutionary non-invasive treatments that are not available for home use, and to professionals qualified to use them. They’ll work with you to customize an optimal treatment plan to achieve your desired results.Often, using multiple technologies per session yields a marked difference. The Zaffiro treatment combines thermo-lift technology with the gentle exfoliation of water-resurfacing and specific solutions for your skin type and desired results. It delivers lifted, tightened and hydrated skin with less visible lines and wrinkles.Energy-based devices strengthen and surpass home treatments. Let’s say you love the fresh feeling and smooth, even texture of your skin after you do an at-home face scrub. Try adding a water-peeling facial like the Zaffiro treatment once a month for more deeply cleansed and revitalized skin.Treatments can rejuvenate beyond your face and neck. Zaffiro’s thermo-lift technology gradually heats the deep layers of the skin, stimulating collagen and prompting lifting and tightening effects. It can be applied to tighten the décolleté and upper arm skin, give the tummy and derriere a firm appearance and even help tighten up post-pregnancy belly skin.Innovative energy-based devices can yield beautiful effects by working with the body’s natural functions in a way that is safe, reliable, and non-invasive. They’re less costly and require little to no downtime. This makes them an excellent way to fine tune your appearance and delay signs of aging without a lengthy recovery time. In fact, many of these innovative treatments provide results when done over a lunch hour! Dr. Joshua Weitz, MD, CEO of Dermatology Associates of Rochester sees them growing in appeal and use. "The non-invasive market is the future, and I anticipate Neauvia will be a guiding light in providing exceptional solutions," Weitz says.A well-rounded skin routine ensures that your actions – daily, monthly, over time – compound for outstanding outcomes. Incorporating treatments using Neauvia energy-based devices is simple yet addresses the complexity of your skin and helps attain your best overall skin health and appearance.To learn more and connect: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn.
(NewsUSA) – Small Business Saturday casts a national spotlight each year on independently-owned businesses, which includes a wide variety of shopping options, from the mom-and-pop storefronts in your local community to home-based e-commerce businesses. Since its inception in 2010, Small Business Saturday spending has reached an estimated $103 billion, according to American Express.
Motivated by the potential for growth, small businesses across the country are taking advantage of this movement with more enthusiasm year after year, given strong consumer response. GS1 US, an information standards organization that helps small brands identify their products for commerce, recently spoke with small business owners who have run successful Small Business Saturday campaigns. They discussed three big benefits to buying from small businesses this holiday season.
(NewsUSA) -If you are a veteran considering Medicare options, you have the opportunity to maximize your coverage by electing to have a Medicare Advantage plan along with your Veterans Affairs (VA) health care benefits.Fortunately, finding a Medicare Advantage plan that works in tandem with VA health care benefits is easier than you think, as you can enroll in plans that are available to everyone eligible for Medicare, but that are designed to complement VA health care benefits.As a veteran, it’s important that you understand how a Medicare Advantage plan may balance out any VA benefits you have in order to maximize your health benefits.* Can Medicare Advantage and VA benefits work together? A Medicare Advantage plan that does not interfere with existing VA benefits you have may be an excellent fit for those who want to enhance their benefits and coverage. Enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan may provide access to additional services and benefits, such as urgent care and dental coverage, which complement VA benefits for prescription drugs and primary care. Each time you receive care, you will need to choose whether to use your VA benefits or your Medicare Advantage plan.* Are there any specific Medicare Advantage plans for veterans? While most Medicare Advantage plans are available to anyone with Medicare, be sure to speak with a licensed insurance agent about plan options that are designed with veterans in mind.For example, the new Humana Honor Medicare Advantage plan is designed to complement VA coverage and provide beneficiaries with extensive coverage, such as robust dental care, at a $0 plan premium. This plan also offers access to a broad network, including access to urgent care and non-VA facilities, which is advantageous if you need to travel far to receive care at a VA facility or experience long wait times.And you don’t have to be a veteran to enroll in the Humana Honor Medicare Advantage plan.* How would the Humana Honor Medicare Advantage plan work with my VA prescription drug coverage? Typically, VA prescription drug benefits will serve as your primary prescription drug coverage when you add a Medicare Advantage plan that does not include prescription drug coverage, such as the Humana Honor plan. These Medicare Advantage plans cover certain injectable drugs and infusions at in-network, non-VA facilities, which may be beneficial depending on your health needs.Additionally, some Medicare Advantage plans also include Part D prescription drug coverage, which may be beneficial if you get medications from non-VA doctors and would like to fill your prescriptions at your local pharmacy instead of through the VA mail-order service.Along with geographical location, veterans and all those with Medicare should consider their health, medical and budget needs and visit www.Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE or TTY 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also visit www.HumanaMedicare.com to learn more about Humana plans or call toll-free 1-800-457-4708 (TTY: 711). Licensed sales agents are available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.Humana is a Medicare Advantage HMO and PPO organization with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any Humana plan depends on plan renewal. Y0040_GCHKNAWENc_M
(NewsUSA) – A national housing survey found 88 percent of Hispanics felt homeownership was a good long-term investment, with 92 percent reporting they planned to be homeowners.Jocelyn Vasquez is living proof of those statistics.At a young age, her parents instilled the belief that if you owned a home, you had achieved the American dream. That dream of homeownership carried a lot of weight for her Hispanic parents, who had immigrated from El Salvador in 1977.Jocelyn turned the dream into an aggressive goal for herself:"My goal, as a U.S. citizen, was to graduate college and get a house before turning 30," says Jocelyn. "And, I wanted to do it on my own."To accomplish this, the Los Angeles, California resident made a roadmap for herself. She saved, attended college and kept her student loan debt as low as possible – all without burdening her parents.After she graduated, Jocelyn got a job as a loan officer assistant. It wasn’t until she had worked there for three years that she fully understood what was needed to qualify for a mortgage. The lightbulb went off when she realized, "I really could buy my own home someday."That was when she got serious. Because California real estate is so expensive, Jocelyn got a second job. She earned her real estate license and worked part-time as an agent, determined to save all her commission checks for a down payment.It took her three years to build her savings, pay off bills and get her debt-to-income (DTI) ratio low enough to qualify for a loan. (Many lenders don’t want a borrower’s debt to be greater than 45 percent of their gross income.) Once she achieved this, it was time to execute her plan.Jocelyn searched for a house that was less than $300,000 – not an easy task in the Greater Los Angeles Area. She looked at 16 homes before she found a 2-bed, 2 ? bath townhouse, with a 2-car garage for $285,000. Even though it was perfect for her, she took the weekend to think it over before making an offer. Unfortunately, her hesitancy cost her. By Sunday night, the seller had already accepted an offer. Jocelyn was devastated."I felt so discouraged, I didn’t know what to do," she admitted."After all my hard work and determination, I couldn’t believe I had missed out on this house. But I told myself what I tell all my buyers, ‘If it’s meant to be, it will be.’"It must have been meant to be: Five days later, Jocelyn got an alert on her phone informing her the house was back on the market – for $7,000 less. Jocelyn immediately called the seller’s agent, who told her the first buyer had backed out of the deal because his truck didn’t fit in the garage. This time, Jocelyn didn’t hesitate to offer the new asking price of $278,000.Jocelyn used conventional financing with private mortgage insurance, which allowed her to put down less than 20 percent. By saving diligently, she was able to make a five-percent down payment of $13,900. Her current monthly payment of $2,020 is exactly what she paid to rent her previous 1-bed, 1-bath, 640-sq.-ft apartment in downtown LA."This is the best investment I’ve ever made," says Jocelyn. "In the two years I’ve owned my home, its value has increased by almost 15 percent. It took a very long time, but I knew my plan would work eventually. And, I did it all on my own at age 28. My goal now is to help other Hispanic homebuyers realize the American dream of owning their own home."For more first-time homebuyer stories, visit readynest.com. 1 According to Fannie Mae’s 2018 National Housing Survey
(NewsUSA) – Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cancer killer, expected to claim more than 142,000 lives this year alone. That is more than the lives lost due to breast, colon and prostate cancers combined.Doctors and patient groups say it doesn’t have to stay this way."Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women. Finally, we have a screening exam that will make a major impact and change the face of lung cancer for the future to a survivable cancer, not a death sentence," says Ella Kazerooni, MD, MS, chair of the National Lung Cancer Roundtable and Professor of Radiology and Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan.Screening older current and former smokers each year with low-dose computed tomography or "CAT" scans is a cost-effective system proven to significantly reduce lung cancer deaths.CT lung cancer screening exams for high-risk individuals are recommended by the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the National Lung Cancer Roundtable, The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer and many other medical and scientific organizations."After decades of having little to offer adults at high risk for lung cancer, we’ve entered a new era where we now have evidence that lung cancer screening saves lives, and new targeted therapies and immunotherapy are offering new hope to patients diagnosed with advanced lung cancer," says Richard Wender, MD, Chief Cancer Control Officer at the American Cancer Society."CT lung cancer screening is a game changer. We finally have a weapon to fight back against this terrible disease – if patients who need this screening get tested," says Debra Dyer, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology Lung Cancer Screening 2.0 Committee."Most lung cancers are not diagnosed until it is too late. This screening provides critical early detection that saves lives," says Carolyn Aldigé, founder and chief executive officer of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.Insurance companies cover these exams with no copay for people 55-80 years of age with a history of heavy smoking who are current or former smokers. Medicare ends coverage at age 77. If you were a heavy smoker, meet the age specifications and stopped tobacco use in the last 15 years, you are covered.However, unlike breast and colon cancer screening, if you are covered by Medicare, your health care provider must discuss the risk and benefits of a lung cancer screening CT exam with you during a "shared-decision making visit" before ordering your first screening CT.Lung cancer care advocates urge those who think lung cancer screening can help them or a loved one to have that conversation with their doctor."Lung cancer screening is a proven, valuable tool in finding the number-one cancer killer at its most treatable, and even curable, stage," says Laurie Fenton Ambrose, Co-Founder of the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer.For more lung cancer screening information, visit NLCRT.org and RadiologyInfo.org Source: National Lung Cancer Roundtable (NLCRT.org)