By Tom Miles GENEVA (Reuters) - Ebola's rapid spread through West Africa has been quickened by the difficulty of keeping track of the deadly disease, and filling in the huge gaps in knowledge about the epidemic is key to eventually containing it, health experts say. U.N. and World Health Organization data show the number of cases across the region had reached 7,423 by Sept 29, including 3,355 deaths. That is widely agreed to be an underestimate. Many patients are not counted because they never get medical help, perhaps hidden by fearful families or turned away by overwhelmed clinics. Some villages have turned into "shadow zones" where villagers' resistance or the remote location makes investigating numerous deaths impossible. In Liberia, a surge of previously unknown patients who appear whenever a medical facility opens "suggests the existence of an invisible caseload of patients", the WHO said in August. Last week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimated there would be 8,000 cases reported in Liberia and Sierra Leone by Sept. 30, but said the true figure would likely be 21,000 after correcting for under-reporting. The WHO says its information is the best there is, but admits its figures are under-reported and says "substantial efforts" are going into cleaning up the data. Recounts can make a huge difference, as shown by a revision of the number of health workers killed by the virus. Two weeks ago the WHO said 31 health care workers had died in Sierra Leone, but after a recount the figure more than doubled to 81. Questions are now being asked about Sierra Leone's total death toll, which appears far too low, equivalent to 24 percent of the cases the country has suffered. In Liberia and Guinea the equivalent figures are 54 percent and 61 percent, respectively, closer to the traditionally high fatality rates for the disease. One reason is that Sierra Leone's case numbers are largely laboratory-confirmed cases counted in health care facilities, WHO epidemiologists Eric Nilles and Stephane Hugonnet said in an emailed reply to a Reuters question. PAPERWORK RISK By reporting almost exclusively the cases that can be quickly confirmed by lab tests, Sierra Leone is almost entirely ignoring "suspected" cases in the wider community, which account for a huge portion of cases reported by Liberia and Guinea. Between Aug. 31 and Sept. 28, Sierra Leone's count of "suspected" and "probable" cases rose by 119, compared to a rise of 1,474 in Liberia. Over the same period, Sierra Leone only declared two deaths that were not laboratory-confirmed, suggesting a too narrow view of the real toll. While a quarter of Sierra Leone's recorded cases are known to have died, it would be wrong to assume the rest had survived, WHO spokeswoman Nyka Alexander told a U.N. briefing on Sept. 30, since about 60 percent had "no confirmed outcome". At a case fatality rate of around 70 percent, as estimated by experts writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, that would suggest at least 700 more deaths among the recorded cases, taking the country's toll from 575 to over 1,300. The infectiousness of the disease means the mere handling of the paper record of a patient's history, which has followed them around during their treatment, may itself be a contamination risk, said Alexander. "In some places somebody will read that information from inside the ward to somebody outside the ward and then that piece of paper is destroyed so you never get contamination. So it can be quite labour intensive to get all the information," she said. The weak chain of data means even some known cases simply drop out of the records, and trying to recover the lost history of the disease is painstaking work that involves hunting down names and case stories in local communities. "You have to go back into the communities and ask 'do you remember Amadou Diallo?' and 'Do you remember what happened to him?' and 'Is he still alive?' And how do you know for sure if their answer is right? He may have moved to another village. So it's very hard to go back and clean up," Alexander said.
- The Independent
A 70-year-old woman was getting off a bus in LA when another passenger dragged her to the other end of the vehicle and beat her, her son says
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Federal judge says Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians had no basis for claims against Catawba casino.
- The Independent
‘Thank God the light finally changed and I was able to drive off’, said victim after abuse
In November, the Canadian government said it would make it easier for Hong Kong youth to study and work in Canada in response to new security rules imposed by China on the former British colony. "In the first three weeks that the program was open (Feb. 8 to Feb. 28), IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) received 503 applications for work permits and 10 applications for work permit extensions," press secretary Alexander Cohen said in an emailed statement.
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The Frederick County Sheriff's Office is looking for whoever shot and killed a teenager at a hotel in Frederick. The Sheriff's Office said deputies were called around 2 a.m. Friday to the Country Inn and Suites on Spectrum Drive, across from the Francis Scott Key Mall, where a boy was fatally shot.
- The Independent
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- Architectural Digest
For some people, earbud headphones are difficult to wear largely because their ears are either too big or too small. When users place these headphones in their ears for the first time, the buds are custom-molded to the contours of the wearer’s ears within 60 seconds. Get it now! There’s a chance you’ll fall asleep wearing Sony’s latest noise-canceling headphones.
- The Independent
Pfizer is 95 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19 disease and Moderna is 94 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19 disease
- The Independent
‘America is a nation with a border, and a culture, strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions,’ an America First pamphlet says
- The New York Times
Joye Hummel Murchison Kelly was the first woman to write scripts for the Wonder Woman comic-book franchise, but hardly anyone was aware of that for almost 70 years. Then Jill Lepore tracked her down while writing her 2014 book, “The Secret History of Wonder Woman,” and suddenly Hummel was a cause célèbre in the fan universe. The late-life acclaim mystified her a bit. “She was amazed that people made such a big deal over it,” her son Robb Murchison said in a phone interview. “She’d say, ‘It’s just a comic book.’ She kind of played it down.” Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times She was 19 and known as Joye Hummel in March 1944, when she went to work for William Moulton Marston, a psychologist who had created Wonder Woman three years earlier and found himself with a product that was in such demand that he couldn’t keep up. “At first, Hummel typed Marston’s scripts,” Lepore, who teaches at Harvard University, wrote in “The Secret History.” “Soon, she was writing scripts of her own.” Hummel said she wrote the scripts for more than 70 Wonder Woman adventures (though her name appeared on none of them), helping to form what became the most enduring and widely recognized female figure in the superhero universe. Then, in 1947, shortly after Marston died of polio, she stopped. She had just married David Murchison, a widower with a young daughter; being at home for that child, Hummel thought, was more important than her work on Wonder Woman. Hummel became largely invisible as far as the comic-book world was concerned. Robb Murchison said that her family and a few others knew of her role, but that she didn’t advertise it. Lepore, though, researching her book, came across Hummel’s name and went looking for her. “I found her by the usual detective work,” she said by email. “Ancestry.com, online directories. I wrote her a letter, and then I called her up. She told me she’d never agreed to speak with anyone about Wonder Woman.” Lepore’s book brought Hummel overdue recognition. Mark Evanier, a noted comic-book writer and historian, helped arrange to bring her to Comic-Con in San Diego in 2018 to accept the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing. (Finger, too, was late in being recognized for his accomplishments; he helped create Batman but went uncredited for years.) It was Hummel’s first appearance at a comics convention. “In all my years of Comic-Conning,” Evanier said by email, “I can’t recall another moment when the audience was so eager to give someone a long, loving ovation and the recipient was so delightfully surprised to be at an event like that, receiving one.” Hummel — Kelly since her 2000 marriage to Jack Kelly — died on April 5, the day after her 97th birthday, at her home in Winter Haven, Florida. Her son confirmed the death. Hummel said that back when she was writing Wonder Woman scripts, “we could not show a corpse, we could not show somebody putting a knife in somebody, somebody shooting somebody, nothing against any race, anything like that.” “There were 10 of these restrictions,” she said in a panel discussion at the 2018 Comic-Con. “I didn’t get in much trouble,” she added, but Marston sometimes did. Lepore interviewed Hummel by phone in 2014 and then visited her in Florida. “She told me about her rules for writing Wonder Woman,” she said. “The plot: ‘There was a bad man and this good woman is going to stop him. You don’t admire the bad man. You admire her.’” Hummel thought that some later Wonder Woman writers had lost sight of that guiding principle, Lepore said. “She said she thought the character and the comics had gotten worse after Marston died, because of viciousness,” she added. “Everyone got vicious. That drove her nuts. Her most important rule for writing Wonder Woman: ‘You can have excitement without glorifying evil and violence.’ She wanted people to know that, as a rule for everything.” Joye Evelyn Hummel was born on April 4, 1924, on Long Island. Her father, Quenten, managed a grocery chain, assisted by her mother, Mavis Hummel. Hummel attended Middlebury College in Vermont for a year, then switched to the Katharine Gibbs School, a secretarial school in New York, where Marston taught psychology. (“It’s closed of course now,” she told Lepore, “because nobody has to be accurate now.”) Her performance on an exam in his class made such an impression that he offered her a job on his Wonder Woman staff. “She liked his intellect, and they just clicked,” her son said. “It was like this mind meld.” In her book, Lepore wrote that Marston had thought that Hummel could help in particular with the slang of the day. But she also understood his vision. “He was not writing just an adventure book,” Hummel told The San Diego Union Tribune in 2018. “He wanted those who read ‘Wonder Woman’ to be inspired — that the young women who read the stories would be inspired to study and enter the world and have confidence they could accomplish things. I think he felt that a woman’s touch would make the world better.” Hummel was paid $50 per script. In August 1944, just months after she had started working for him, Marston was found to have polio. Thereafter, she shuttled from the office he had established in New York City to his home in Rye, New York, where he was increasingly confined. They would look over the scripts each was working on, give each other suggestions, and try to make sure that there was nothing that would run afoul of the 10-person panel that reviewed each script. (Among the panel’s members, Hummel said, was writer Pearl S. Buck.) Churches, too, were beginning to take notice of this alluring female character and express concern about her. “There was always a battle of the shorts,” Hummel said in the Comic-Con panel discussion. “One of the churches: ‘The shorts are too short. We want the shorts longer.’ And Marston said, ‘I don’t want them to look like men’s underwear.’” The early comics were drawn by Harry G. Peter. Hummel’s son, Robb Murchison, said she was again a pioneer in the 1960s, when she passed a stockbroker’s exam at a time when there were few women in that field. Her first husband died in 2000. In addition to Kelly and her son, she is survived by a stepdaughter from her first marriage, Sally Boyd; two stepchildren from her second marriage, Kimberly Hallberg and Jeffrey Kelly; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. A second son from her first marriage, David Jr., died in 2015. Evanier said that when he first called Hummel about coming to Comic-Con, “I think she thought at first it was some phone scam deal and I’d be asking her for her credit card number.” The welcome she received at the event, he said, was inspiring. “It was thrilling to see what she meant to the women in the audience or waiting in line to meet her,” he said. “She was truly a heroine — as great in her own way as Wonder Woman — to those who understood what a career woman was up against in that era.” Near the end of the panel discussion, cartoonist Trina Robbins, who along with Evanier was interviewing Hummel, asked everyone in the packed audience who was dressed in some version of a Wonder Woman costume to stand so that Hummel could see how influential she had been. A wave of applause followed, and Evanier asked the guest of honor how the reception made her feel. “You don’t want to see the writer of Wonder Woman cry, do you?” she said. This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
- The Independent
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- The Independent
Respondents’ preference in 2020 election is good indicator of opinion of royals embroiled in controversy
- USA TODAY
'We will not stop until there is justice': Over a thousand in Chicago gather to remember Adam Toledo, boy killed in police shooting
The 13-year-old's death from a police bullet has sparked a city-wide look at use of force policies in Chicago.
- The Independent
Artemis will land the first woman and person of colour on the moon
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- USA TODAY
Amazon deals to shop today include the Google Nest thermostat, a eufy smart robot vacuum and more—get the details.