Tag Archives: threshold

Australia’s Black Summer bushfires herald a new ice age, say fire historians | Instant News


Players train at the Auckland ASB Tennis Center in January under an orange sky, due to smoke emanating from Australian bushfires. Photo / Jason Oxenham

The unusual nature of Australia’s Black Summer bushfires may have marked the beginning of a fire-fueled “ice age” and the world appears to have “crossed the threshold” into a more dangerous future, said a global fire historian.

Professor Emeritus Stephen Pyne at Arizona State University is a former firefighter in the US who has previously studied Australian fires for his 1991 book, Burning Bush: A Fire History of Australia.

Pyne said the 2019/2020 fires, which tore through 24 to 40 million hectares of scrub in several states and territories, marked the start of a global fire year.

“I think there will be a legacy because the fires are not limited to Australia, they continue to hit the western United States, they are in Europe and Siberia.”

Pyne said the scale of the Black Summer fires set it apart from fires in previous years.

“While there are no individual fires in Australia or elsewhere that are unprecedented, I think the scale is different because they come as a herd.”

Pyne previously thought the Black Saturday fires, which claimed the lives of 173 people in Victoria in 2009, had set a limit for what a single fire can do, but last year’s fire season swelled to months of continuous burning.

“What makes fires different in general is the large-scale swarm effect. It’s not two or three days apart outbreaks, they continued.

“I think of it as the ‘rolling thunder effect.’ When they come in a sequence like that, it just keeps expanding.”

A fire lights up in view of a Canberra suburb on January 31, 2020 in Canberra, Australia.  Photo / Getty Images
A fire lights up in view of a Canberra suburb on January 31, 2020 in Canberra, Australia. Photo / Getty Images

Pyne said California is also a spectacular example of this, with the state experiencing the fourth consecutive year of historic fires.

He said that not all fires have the same cause, the fires in the Amazon are also related to land clearing and those that occur in Indonesia are related to draining tropical peatlands.

“But everywhere, fire seems to be a manifestation of the broken relationship between humans and nature,” he said.

“I think we have the potential to cross the threshold this year.”

NEW ‘AGE OF FIRE’

Pyne believes the way humans manage natural landscapes, combined with the treatment of fossil fuels, may have given birth to a new “ice age”.

“We take stuff from our geological past and burn it without understanding the effect, and this is released into our future.”

He said that the increasing severity of fire was a manifestation of this activity, which also changed sea levels and caused widespread extinctions of plants and animals.

“We are reshaping the planet directly and indirectly.”

In the same way that ice is seen as a physical manifestation of changes in Earth’s temperature during the Pleistocene era, fire can be a manifestation of a new era that Pyne calls the Pyrocene era.

“For the fires in Australia, it turns out to be what led to an extraordinary global fire year, and it can also be taken as an indisputable marker for what I think of as our new fire age.”

The fire line leaves a trail of destruction through the forests of Queensland.  Photo / NZ Herald
The fire line leaves a trail of destruction through the forests of Queensland. Photo / NZ Herald

Pyne believes that the smoke from fires, which obscure cities like Sydney and Canberra for days, could eventually get people to notice what’s going on around them, just as the dust storms of the 1930s sparked action in the dust bowl in America. .

He said action was being taken about agricultural practices when Washington DC began to feel the effects of massive dust storms spreading far from central US areas.

“This changed the discourse and suddenly it became a national issue. This gives extra urgency to many conservation programs and makes the issue visible to the public and Congress.

“My feeling is the smoke will do it for this last year’s fire.

“It makes visibility of impact clear to a larger audience and it can lead to change.”

Smoke from the Australian fires reached New Zealand and was reported to other areas around the world, while the smoke from the US fires was spreading to places people said were immune to fire, making it an unprecedented public health problem.

“I think people have a very high tolerance for fire images – they’re dramatic but limited to certain places, but smoke can spread widely,” said Pyne.

This way, the Black Summer fires can have a longer impact.

“I was tempted to think that it was a historical fire, but it might also be a fire depending on our response.”

Smoke and flames from wildfires run out of control over a 1500km edge across East Gippsland, in January.  Photo / Dale Appleton
Smoke and flames from wildfires run out of control over a 1500km edge across East Gippsland, in January. Photo / Dale Appleton

Pyne said that fire is in our future no matter what we do.

“We have to control the fossil fuel burning party but even after this stabilizes or reverses, there will still be a lot of fires and we have to do a lot more than we did before.

“They are not leaving… we have a huge debt and we also have to put a lot of fire back into the environment.

“Even if we stop burning fossil fuels and step up our action on climate change, there will be a lot of fires in our future.

“It can be wild or devastating, or it can be controlled and actually produce good benefits.

“But it won’t go away.”

With the US still facing the repercussions of the presidential election, which Donald Trump still rejects, Pyne said Australia was in a better position to take action.

“You are really at the forefront, you are equipped with world-class fire science and forest fire fighting skills,” he said.

“I hope Australia can make the move and start responding in an engaged and informed way, in a way that the US and even Canada cannot.

“This is something that Australia can really lead, can engage with landscapes and fires, and cultural discussions are an interesting part of that too.”

Pyne said it’s not just about doing one big thing to solve climate change and fix the problem, there are lots of little things that can be done too, and these actions may differ in many areas.

“We need to decide what the problem is in each particular place and what kind of treatment suite makes sense there.”

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Simplifying Lockups Making Daily Choices More Complicated – NBC New York | Instant News


Many things become clearer when almost everything is locked.

Now, with countries lifting restrictions on their coronavirus little by little and according to their own schedule, often arbitrary, Americans face many confused decisions about what they should and shouldn’t do to protect their health, their livelihoods and neighbors they.

Is it safe now to join the crowd at the beach or eat at a restaurant? To visit elderly parents that you haven’t seen in nearly two months? To reopen a business that is struggling?

In many cases, unsatisfactory answers from experts are: Dependent.

“There will never be a perfect amount of protection,” said Josh Santarpia, a microbiologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center who studies coronavirus. “This is a personal risk assessment. Everyone has to decide, person by person, what risks they want to tolerate. “

Jill Faust, 53, from Council Bluffs, Iowa, said he would hesitate to eat at an indoor restaurant when such a business was allowed to reopen in his community on Friday.

“We have to know in advance what precautions they are taking,” he said, citing the way some restaurants rely on limited seating, tables with a good distance, masks for employees and disposable glasses and plates. Even then, he said, it might not be worth the problem.

“Going to a restaurant for me is a beautiful and relaxing experience where you can sit with people and relax after a long day. If your experience will be limited by all these security issues, why spend money?” she says.

Such decisions will become far more frequent in the coming weeks as officials in Europe and the US move to reopen schools and businesses.

With the crisis easing in many places, France, Spain and Greece were among the latest countries Tuesday to announce a road map to restart their economy. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom said school children could be allowed to return to classrooms in early July, even though an official decision had not been made.

When restrictions are relaxed, health authorities will be closely watching for signs of a virus awakening.

On Tuesday, for example, Germany reported an increase in infection rates since several small businesses were allowed to reopen more than a week ago. But it is too soon to say whether easing is to blame.

Worldwide, confirmed infections reach more than 3 million – including 1 million in the US – and the number of confirmed global deaths reaches 210,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The actual toll is believed to be much higher due to limited testing, differences in counting the dead and hiding the government.

In the U.S., uncertainty ahead was in the spotlight in Georgia after businesses such as barber shops and tattoo parlors were given the green light to reopen.

Mayor Savannah Van Johnson said people could find the change confusing.

“In fact we are under orders to stay home until April 30,” Johnson said. “But you can finish your nails, you can get a tattoo, you can go to the movies, you can go to the bowling alley. Things like that make people confused. “

The decisions that people make tend to vary greatly depending on where they live, and how close they are to a known group of viruses. In Georgia, where COVID-19 has killed at least 1,000, many new cases are still being reported.

But even in places with lesser known infections, people face difficult choices.

In Omaha, Nebraska, where businesses can reopen next week, teachers Michelle and Mark Aschenbrenner say they want to return to the restaurant they visit often. Mark Aschenbrenner has made an appointment for a long-delayed haircut.

“I think we are four weeks too early,” he said of plans to lift restrictions. But “I thought I might go anyway because we had been stuck at home for seven weeks and we were going crazy.”

With warmer weather attracting more people to explore in the next few weeks, it depends on individuals to be careful.

“You cannot swear that if someone coughs on a beach chair on your left and then you get a gentle breeze that hits you, that you don’t have that kind of exposure,” Dr. Marybeth Sexton, an infectious disease specialist at Emory University School of Medicine.

Even following guidelines for keeping a distance of 6 feet may not be enough. The rule is based on how far the coronavirus, SARS, is spread among aircraft passengers.

When doctors treated more than a dozen COVID-19 patients at the Omaha hospital, researchers found genetic material from the virus at greater distances – on the edges of windows, cellphones, in the aisles and on toilet seats, Santarpia said.

That doesn’t mean people can’t leave. But they must be very careful in doing so, limiting visits with relatives and friends for important moments, said Dr. Emily Landon, who leads infection control at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Mother’s Day – May 10 in the United States – may qualify if you live nearby, he said. But limit the number of people involved and wear masks all the time. Even if you check to make sure everyone present feels good, accept that there will be risks, he said.

In Germany, where lockouts were reduced earlier this month, the number of people infected by each operator has increased from around 0.7 to 0.96 still managed, said Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute. He urged people to keep abiding by distancing social rules, including wearing a mask when on public transportation or shopping.

Elsewhere around the world, New Zealand reported only three new infections Tuesday, and the government loosened the key. Surfers hit the waves at dawn, builders returned to the construction site and the barista started the espresso machine.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said people had done extraordinary work in breaking the chain of transmission but warned they must remain vigilant.

“Maybe there is still burning ash out there, and they have the potential to become a fire again, if we give them a chance,” he said, quoting a microbiologist.

In Australia, hundreds of people returned to waters after Sydney’s Bondi Beach reopened for swimmers and surfers. However, people can use the beach only during the day and must keep their distance from each other. Australia has recorded 83 deaths from the virus, fewer than reported by most U.S. states.

But this virus is still a long-term enemy. The president of the Japan Medical Association, Yoshitake Yokokura, said he thought it would be difficult to hold the Tokyo Summer Olympics which was rescheduled even in 2021 without an effective vaccine.

In a shorter period of time, it depends on individuals and also policy makers to make decisions that will help map the course of the virus.

“I think everyone still needs to use their judgment. I don’t have a book club in my house. “I’m going to see a doctor for an allergy injection because it’s safe to do,” said Landon, a Chicago infection control expert. “You can try and make it political, make it about freedom, but it’s a virus. This is biology. Biology does not negotiate. “

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This story has been corrected to show that Jill Faust’s hometown is Council Bluffs, Iowa.

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AP Haven Daley video reporter in San Francisco contributed.

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

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New Zealand Taming the Virus as France, Spain Reveal Lockout Out – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth | Instant News


France and Spain, the two countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, compiled separate roadmaps on Tuesday for lifting their locks, while signs emerged that the virus had been defeated in New Zealand and Australia.

But on the other side of the world, Brazil is emerging as a new hotspot for infection. And new doubts arise about whether Japan will be able to host the Summer Olympics which has been postponed next year without developing vaccines.

The key question is when to reopen soaring schools around the world when countries try to restart their devastated economy.

Although coronavirus seems to affect children far more seriously than adults, many officials, teachers and parents are worried about the health risks that can be posed by opening schools. Some pointed out the difficulty in ensuring that children remained at social distance and washed their hands frequently, and health risks for teachers.

The corona virus pandemic is taking more and more casualties on the nation’s meat suppliers. Last week the biggest Tyson pork factory announced a temporary halt to operations after nearly 200 workers there fell ill. Tyson said millions of pounds of meat would disappear from store shelves until the plants could be reopened safely.

But many parents will struggle to return to work without an open school, hampering efforts to fight the deep economic downturn in the world.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron wants schools to reopen on May 11, but teachers, parents and some mayors raise alarms. The government says parents can decide whether to send their children back to class and will release more details Tuesday night.

Joel Wilmotte is among a growing number of French mayors who refuse to reopen their schools, at least for now.

“I am not against reopening schools,” he said on the northern Hautmont city Facebook page.

Pug Carlina Utara named Winston has tested positive for corona virus along with three human members from her family after a study at Duke University.

But he listed seven reasons why he was not prepared to do so, including incomplete teachers and cleaning staff and a poll showing that most French parents opposed the reopening of schools. So he closed six schools in his city “until further notice.”

Greece, which has managed to keep its coronavirus mortality rate low at 136 people, also released more details on Tuesday about reducing its locking but schools remain a complicated topic.

Schools will be reopened “gradually, with conditions” and will be reviewed continuously, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Health coronavirus, specialist in infectious disease Sotiris Tsiodras. No opening date has been set yet.

Scientists agree children are less at risk of contracting the virus and seem to transmit it less than adults, said Tsiodras.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added six new symptoms – including chills, muscle aches, headaches, and loss of taste or odor – to the symptoms of the new corona virus. Lucy Bustamante of NBC10 reports why this new symptom can get more people tested for COVID-19.

The devastated Italy, however, kept schools closed until September. That is what makes parents in a difficult position to return to work without access to their child’s caregivers: grandparents, who are now considered forbidden because they are the most vulnerable to viruses.

Emer McCarthy, who works in the Vatican’s child protection office, tweeted that Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had discussed locking out “for everyone except for Italian children. Incredible. There was no mention of schools, childcare options, no. But football is yes. #ChildrenNotSeenNotHeard. “

In China, where the pandemic began, schools began to open on Monday, but only for seniors at the middle and middle school level who were preparing for exams. The class size is cut no more than 30.

The number of new cases every day in China has fallen to a single figure, but the authorities remain wary of the possibility of a second wave of infection.

In the United States, which has the highest mortality rate in the world of more than 56,000, President Donald Trump said countries must “seriously consider” reopening their public schools before the end of the academic year, despite dozens already said it’s not safe for students to return until summer or fall.

“Some of you might start thinking about opening a school, because many people want to have a school opening,” Trump said. “Young people have done very well in this disaster.”

Trump also acknowledged the number of virus deaths could reach 70,000 in the US, after citing 60,000 in recent months.

The number of confirmed infections worldwide has risen to more than 3 million and the number of confirmed deaths has reached 211,000, according to the calculation by Johns Hopkins University. The actual number of pandemics is likely to be much higher because of limited testing, minor cases that are missed, deficiencies in counting the dead and a government that might try to hide the extent of its spread.

Italy, Spain, France and the UK each contributed more than 21,000 virus-related deaths.

In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro insisted that COVID-19 was only a “small flu” and said there was no need for a type of restriction that slowed the spread of infection elsewhere.

Brazil, the most populous country in Latin America with 211 million people, has reported 4,600 deaths and 67,000 confirmed infections. But the true number is believed to be much higher given the lack of tests and many people who have not sought hospital treatment.

Medical officials in Rio de Janeiro and at least four other major Brazilian cities have been warned But their hospital system is on the verge of collapse or too overwhelmed to take more patients. There are also signs that more and more Brazilian victims have died at home.

The federal government is urging that some countries begin to loosen COVID-19 restrictions. Many don’t seem to follow the guidelines issued by the White House. Member of the Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Deborah Birx said the state needed to find a county-by-county to determine whether it was safe to reopen or not.

“We have all the conditions here for a pandemic to be far more serious,” said Paulo Brandão, a virus expert at the University of Sao Paulo.

Bolsonaro said Brazilians need to continue their lives to prevent an economic crisis, but most state governors have implemented restrictions to keep people home and slow the spread of the virus.

New Zealand, on the other hand, reported only three new infections Tuesday. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said people had done extraordinary work in breaking the chain of transmission of the virus, but warned they needed to remain vigilant.

“Maybe there is still burning ash out there, and they have the potential to become a fire again, if we give them a chance,” he said, quoting a microbiologist.

The government is loosening its key, which has closed schools and most businesses. Surfers hit the waves at dawn on Tuesday, the builder returned to the construction site and the barista started the espresso machine.

In Australia, hundreds of people returned to the waters after Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach reopened for swimmers and surfers. However, people can only use the beach during the day, cannot linger and are limited to ensure social distance. Australia has reported only 83 deaths from the virus, less than the number of victims reported by more than 25 U.S. states.

But this virus is still a long-term enemy. The president of the Japanese Medical Association, Yoshitake Yokokura, said he thought that would happen it is difficult to hold the Tokyo Summer Olympics which are rescheduled even in 2021 without an effective coronavirus vaccine.

Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics until July 2021 because of a pandemic. Japan has been in a state of emergency for a month amid increasing infections and medical workers say hospitals are too burdened.


Becatoros reports from Athens, Greece and Perry from Wellington, New Zealand. Associated Press reporters around the world contributed to this report.

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New Zealand Taming the Virus as France, Spain Reveal Lockout Out – NBC Connecticut | Instant News


France and Spain, the two countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, compiled separate roadmaps on Tuesday for lifting their locks, while signs emerged that the virus had been defeated in New Zealand and Australia.

But on the other side of the world, Brazil is emerging as a new hotspot for infection. And new doubts arise about whether Japan will be able to host the Summer Olympics which has been postponed next year without developing vaccines.

The key question is when to reopen soaring schools around the world when countries try to restart their devastated economy.

Although coronavirus seems to affect children far more seriously than adults, many officials, teachers and parents are worried about the health risks that can be posed by opening schools. Some pointed out the difficulty in ensuring that children remained at social distance and washed their hands frequently, and health risks for teachers.

The corona virus pandemic is taking more and more casualties on the nation’s meat suppliers. Last week the biggest Tyson pork factory announced a temporary halt to operations after nearly 200 workers there fell ill. Tyson said millions of pounds of meat would disappear from store shelves until the plants could be reopened safely.

But many parents will struggle to return to work without an open school, hampering efforts to fight the deep economic downturn in the world.

In France, President Emmanuel Macron wants schools to reopen on May 11, but teachers, parents and some mayors raise alarms. The government says parents can decide whether to send their children back to class and will release more details Tuesday night.

Joel Wilmotte is among a growing number of French mayors who refuse to reopen their schools, at least for now.

“I am not against reopening schools,” he said on the northern Hautmont city Facebook page.

Pug Carlina Utara named Winston has tested positive for corona virus along with three human members from her family after a study at Duke University.

But he listed seven reasons why he was not prepared to do so, including incomplete teachers and cleaning staff and a poll showing that most French parents opposed the reopening of schools. So he closed six schools in his city “until further notice.”

Greece, which has managed to keep its coronavirus mortality rate low at 136 people, also released more details on Tuesday about reducing its locking but schools remain a complicated topic.

Schools will be reopened “gradually, with conditions” and will be reviewed continuously, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Health coronavirus, specialist in infectious disease Sotiris Tsiodras. No opening date has been set yet.

Scientists agree children are less at risk of contracting the virus and seem to transmit it less than adults, said Tsiodras.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added six new symptoms – including chills, muscle aches, headaches, and loss of taste or odor – to the symptoms of the new corona virus. Lucy Bustamante of NBC10 reports why this new symptom can get more people tested for COVID-19.

The devastated Italy, however, kept schools closed until September. That is what makes parents in a difficult position to return to work without access to their child’s caregivers: grandparents, who are now considered forbidden because they are the most vulnerable to viruses.

Emer McCarthy, who works in the Vatican’s child protection office, tweeted that Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had discussed locking out “for everyone except for Italian children. Incredible. There was no mention of schools, childcare options, no. But football is yes. #ChildrenNotSeenNotHeard. “

In China, where the pandemic began, schools began to open on Monday, but only for seniors at the middle and middle school level who were preparing for exams. The class size is cut no more than 30.

The number of new cases every day in China has fallen to a single figure, but the authorities remain wary of the possibility of a second wave of infection.

In the United States, which has the highest mortality rate in the world of more than 56,000, President Donald Trump said countries must “seriously consider” reopening their public schools before the end of the academic year, despite dozens already said it’s not safe for students to return until summer or fall.

“Some of you might start thinking about opening a school, because many people want to have a school opening,” Trump said. “Young people have done very well in this disaster.”

Trump also acknowledged the number of virus deaths could reach 70,000 in the US, after citing 60,000 in recent months.

The number of confirmed infections worldwide has risen to more than 3 million and the number of confirmed deaths has reached 211,000, according to the calculation by Johns Hopkins University. The actual number of pandemics is likely to be much higher because of limited testing, minor cases that are missed, deficiencies in counting the dead and a government that might try to hide the extent of its spread.

Italy, Spain, France and the UK each contributed more than 21,000 virus-related deaths.

In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro insisted that COVID-19 was only a “small flu” and said there was no need for a type of restriction that slowed the spread of infection elsewhere.

Brazil, the most populous country in Latin America with 211 million people, has reported 4,600 deaths and 67,000 confirmed infections. But the true number is believed to be much higher given the lack of tests and many people who have not sought hospital treatment.

Medical officials in Rio de Janeiro and at least four other major Brazilian cities have been warned But their hospital system is on the verge of collapse or too overwhelmed to take more patients. There are also signs that more and more Brazilian victims have died at home.

The federal government is urging that some countries begin to loosen COVID-19 restrictions. Many don’t seem to follow the guidelines issued by the White House. Member of the Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Deborah Birx said the state needed to find a county-by-county to determine whether it was safe to reopen or not.

“We have all the conditions here for a pandemic to be far more serious,” said Paulo Brandão, a virus expert at the University of Sao Paulo.

Bolsonaro said Brazilians need to continue their lives to prevent an economic crisis, but most state governors have implemented restrictions to keep people home and slow the spread of the virus.

New Zealand, on the other hand, reported only three new infections Tuesday. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said people had done extraordinary work in breaking the chain of transmission of the virus, but warned they needed to remain vigilant.

“Maybe there is still burning ash out there, and they have the potential to become a fire again, if we give them a chance,” he said, quoting a microbiologist.

The government is loosening its key, which has closed schools and most businesses. Surfers hit the waves at dawn on Tuesday, the builder returned to the construction site and the barista started the espresso machine.

In Australia, hundreds of people returned to the waters after Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach reopened for swimmers and surfers. However, people can only use the beach during the day, cannot linger and are limited to ensure social distance. Australia has reported only 83 deaths from the virus, less than the number of victims reported by more than 25 U.S. states.

But this virus is still a long-term enemy. The president of the Japanese Medical Association, Yoshitake Yokokura, said he thought that would happen it is difficult to hold the Tokyo Summer Olympics which are rescheduled even in 2021 without an effective coronavirus vaccine.

Japan and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics until July 2021 because of a pandemic. Japan has been in a state of emergency for a month amid increasing infections and medical workers say hospitals are too burdened.


Becatoros reports from Athens, Greece and Perry from Wellington, New Zealand. Associated Press reporters around the world contributed to this report.

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