Sterling hits $1.40 for the first time in nearly three years
LONDON — Sterling reached $1.40 against the U.S. dollar for the first time since April 2018 on Friday morning. The dollar has been in decline on the back of a weak U.S. jobs report Thursday, while the pound is reacting positively to the U.K.'s uniquely successful Covid-19 vaccination rollout. Despite nationwide lockdown measures having been in place since the turn of the year, economists are hoping for a swift recovery later in the year. The U.K.'s flash composite PMI (purchasing managers' index) reading for February, which combines both services and manufacturing activity, came in at 49.8 on Friday, up from 41.2 in January. Any figure below 50 represents a contraction, but this month's was much more slight than anticipated.cnbc.com
U.S. processes over $500 billion in small business loans to stem coronavirus fallout
FILE PHOTO: George Washington is seen with printed medical mask on the one Dollar banknotes in this illustration taken, March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo(Reuters) - The United States has made over $500 billion in loans to small businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and about $145 billion remains in the congressionally approved fund, the U.S. Small Business Administration and Treasury Department said Sunday. The second round of funding was launched on Monday, allowing lenders to issue forgivable, government-guaranteed loans to small businesses shuttered by the outbreak. The U.S. governments $660 billion small business rescue program has stumbled on missing paperwork, technology failure, and the misdirection of funds to big corporations. Over the past week some U.S. states have begun to allow some businesses to reopen.feeds.reuters.com
Seattle Children's Hospital again closes operating rooms
Ferre' Dollar/CNN(CNN) - Operating rooms and other areas at Seattle Children's Hospital were shut down for the second time this year due to mold problems, according to the hospital. In a statement, the hospital said routine air tests revealed Aspergillus contamination Sunday "in three of our operating rooms and two procedural areas." Several operating room at the hospital closed in May after a similar contamination led to the death of one patient and the illness of five others in the previous months, hospital officials said. The hospital said the rooms will remain closed as it investigates the air-handling system. In May, the hospital shuttered several operating rooms after air tests showed Aspergillus contamination.
CDC: No new measles cases in US last week
Ferre' Dollar/CNN(CNN) - For the first time since early January, no new measles cases were reported in the United States last week, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of measles cases in the United remained at 1,241 for the year as of last Thursday. The majority of cases were among people who were not vaccinated against measles, and more than 75% of cases were linked to outbreaks in New York and New York City. Measles cases have been confirmed in 31 states. It includes the number of cases reported by state health departments as of the end of the day the previous Thursday.
USPS worker cooks steak inside mail truck
Bolick sent a letter to the president of the American Postal Workers Union, Mark Dimonstein, urging him investigate reports of hazardous working conditions for mail carriers because of the Arizona heat. "Working conditions must be improved immediately to ensure the safety of mail carriers subjected to these dangerous temperatures." According to Bolick, a worker in her district has sent her daily updates of temperature readings inside a mail carrier vehicle that average 128 degrees. Bolick said several Phoenix area postal service employees have been sent to the hospital recently for treatment after becoming disoriented on the job. She ended the letter by asking for a cause of action from the postal service "to remedy the current situation."
11 cases of polio-like illness AFM confirmed in 8 states, CDC says
Last year saw the highest number of cases of acute flaccid myelitis so far -- 233 confirmed cases in 41 states. So far this year, there have been 11 confirmed cases in eight states out of 57 patients under investigation. The CDC estimates it affects fewer than 1 or 2 in a million children each year in the United States. "AFM is a devastating illness for patients and their families," Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC's principal deputy director, told reporters Tuesday. The CDC escalated its response to the illness, more than doubling the number of staffers working on AFM late last year.
This bacteria may help people with obesity live healthier lives
Ferre' Dollar via CNN(CNN) - The bacteria got its name -- Akkermansia muciniphila -- just 15 years ago. But the species, which breaks down gel-like proteins in the intestines, may soon offer hope to those with obesity-related disorders. The small sample size may explain why researchers couldn't definitively report that the bacteria, and not other factors, led to the weight loss. The pancreas then produces more insulin to compensate for the resistance, which can lead to prediabetes, or higher than normal blood sugar levels. In the new study, the bacteria "prevented the deterioration of the health status of the subjects by targeting several cardiovascular risk factors," said Cani.