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Fatal, drug-resistant fungus targets hospital-bound New Yorkers

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

Photo of a drug-resistant, fatal superbug fungus strain that Doctors at the Nassau University Medical Center said has infected hundreds of hospital-bound people in New York and New Jersey. | Photo grabbed from Reuters footage

Doctors at the Nassau University Medical Center warned New Yorkers to take caution against a drug-resistant, sometimes fatal superbug fungus that has infected hundreds of people in the tri-state area and nationwide.

The recent outbreak of the fungus candida auris, which was discovered in 2009, has disproportionately affected New York and New Jersey, with 309 of the nation’s 617 cases in New York state alone.

Typically spread within healthcare facilities, the fungus kills 20 to 50 percent of patients.

“Anybody who has concerns about fevers, chills, sweats, wound infections, anything like that, should seek care as soon as possible. They should certainly let their healthcare provider know about their symptoms. They should let their healthcare provider know about prior use of antibiotics. They should let their healthcare provider know about travel,” Dr. Janice Verley, an Infectious Disease Specialist at Nassau University Medical Center said.

People in hospitals and nursing homes, particularly those with already suppressed immune systems, are at the greatest risk of becoming infected.

Infection can spread to the blood, heart or brain in severe cases.

The fungus is difficult to identify, as doctors frequently mistake it for other candida strains, and even harder to treat because it is resistant to common antifungal medications.

“This particular species is resistant to the Azole class, which is the class that we would use first-line. So it is possible, if you don’t know what it is, you may be treating it with an ineffective drug,” Verley explained.

According to the Center for Disease Control, several U.S. cases of the superbug may be linked to hospital stays in India, Kenya, Kuwait, Pakistan, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.

“The infections occur on two levels, one its introduction of the infections from other areas, and clearly the New York-New Jersey area has a high amount of immigrant populations coming from all over the world. And then, once it’s introduced then they’re spread within that community, within that organization,” Verley said.

“You know we know that we have seen it going from hospitals to long-term care facilities, so people who get admitted, transferred to a nursing home, transferred back to a hospital, these cases, if, you know, would be at an increased risk,” she added. (REUTERS)

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Fake heiress who dazzled New York elite sentenced to up to 12 years in prison

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 10th, 2019

Anna Sorokin, 28, posed as a wealthy heiress to scam banks for loans in millions | Courtesy: Reuters

A German woman who posed as a wealthy heiress to scam boutique, New York hotels and fashionable friends was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison.

Blinded by the glitter and glamour of New York City, Anna Sorokin, 28, was sentenced to prison for defrauding hotels, restaurants, a private jet operator and banks out of more than $200,000.

Sorokin, a would-be art collector, planned to open a members-only arts club but became known as the “soho grifter” after her deception upon New York’s glitzy social scene came to light. She was found guilty last month of grand larceny and theft of services.

She was also fined $24,000 and ordered to pay restitution of about $199,000.

At the hearing, Judge Diane Kiesel rejected the Defence Lawyers’ claim that Sorokin was merely trying to make it in New York, in the words of the Frank Sinatra song about the city.

“Sadly I agree with the people, if Miss Sorokin spent half as much time, half this much time, working legitimately to raise money for a foundation that sounded like a good addition to New York as she spent concocting phony bank statements, fake wire transfers, and non-existent financial advisers, she might have done quite well for herself. She’s clearly smart and very creative,” Judge Kiesel said.

Under her assumed name Anna Delvey, Sorokin falsely claimed she had a multi-million-dollar trust fund at her disposal, as she hired a private jet, attended elite parties, and lived in a luxury New York hotel. She maintained the scam for almost four years.

Meanwhile, prosecutors said, Sorokin had “not a cent to her name”.

Her father is reportedly a former trucker, who runs a heating-and-cooling business.

U.S. immigration and customs enforcement said in a statement that Sorokin was a German citizen who had illegally overstayed in the United States.

The agency said it will seek to send her back to Germany once her criminal proceedings are over.

Meanwhile, during the trial, she was admonished for throwing tantrums when she couldn’t get her stylist-curated outfits and drew unflattering sketches of the lead prosecutor during testimony.

“The defendant repeatedly delayed these court proceedings because she was not happy with the clothing that was offered to her by the department of corrections.

“She seemed to be basking in the press attention and rather than thinking seriously about the crimes she committed and how it affected people,” saidNew York Prosecutor Catherine Mccaw.

But at sentencing she was humbled.

“I apologize for the mistakes I made,” Sorokin said.

Sorokin’s story became a media sensation, and a tv series about her life was also planned.

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New York orders mandatory measles vaccinations

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

New York City declares public health emergency and orders mandatory vaccination amid rise in measles infection cases in the state. | Photo grabbed from Reuters footage

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency in parts of Brooklyn in response to a measles outbreak.

The declaration will require unvaccinated people living in the affected areas to get the vaccine or face fines.

The city’s largest measles outbreak since 1991 has mainly been confined to the Orthodox Jewish community in the borough of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood.

285 cases were confirmed since October.

While there have been no confirmed deaths so far, 21 people have been hospitalized, with five admitted to intensive care.

All but 39 of the confirmed cases are in children.

“Today we are declaring a public health emergency effective immediately. This will mandate vaccines for people living in the affected area. Department of health will issue violations and fines to people who remain unvaccinated,” de Blasio said.

“The only way to stop this outbreak is to ensure that those who have not been vaccinated get the vaccine. It’s crucial for people to understand, the measles vaccine works. It is safe, it is effective, it is time tested,” he added.

The outbreak is part of a broader resurgence in the United States, with 465 cases reported in 19 states so far this year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (REUTERS)

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Google to spend $1 billion on new campus in New York

by admin   |   Posted on Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

 

GOOGLE SIGN | REUTERS

Alphabet Inc’s Google is investing more than $1 billion (USD) on a new campus in New York, becoming the second major technology company after Amazon to pick America’s financial capital to expand and create thousands of jobs.

The 1.7 million square-foot campus, called Google Hudson Square, will include leased properties at Hudson Street and Washington Street, the company said in a blog post on Monday (December 17).

Google hopes to start moving into the buildings beginning in 2020 and plans to double its New York headcount to 14,000 in the next 10 years.

“What firms need to do is go where people want to work, where they can get the talent and New York is one of those cities that has sort of proved itself as being able to attract young, tech, millennial type talent,” said Peter Muoio, executive vice president and head of research at Ten-X Commercial, the nation’s largest online platform where commercial real estate is bought and sold.

Google plans to invest outside its home base mirror those of other U.S. tech giants such as Apple Inc., which said last week it would spend $1 billion to build a new campus in Austin, Texas.

Last month, Amazon.com Inc said it would open offices in New York and the Washington, D.C., area, creating more than 25,000 jobs.

“I think what really drives these decisions is the lack of enough workers to fill their needs just in Silicon Valley. And so I think what Amazon is doing and what Apple’s doing in Austin and what Google just announced in New York are just all manifestations of their need for a more diversified and broader workforce than what they can get in Silicon Valley,” Muoio said.

Google’s first New York office at 111 Eighth Avenue is one of the city’s largest buildings that it bought in 2010 for $1.77 billion.

Earlier this year, the company announced a $2.4 billion purchase of the Manhattan Chelsea Market. It also has leased space on Pier 57 jutting into the Hudson, which will create a four-block campus. — Reuters

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