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It remains one of the most surprising facts about voting in the United States: While the popular vote elects members of Congress, mayors, governors, state legislators and even more obscure local officials, it does not determine the winner of the presidencythe highest office in the land.

That important decision ultimately falls to the Electoral College. This leads to an intense focus on battleground statesas candidates look to boost their electoral advantage by targeting states that can help them reach the needed votes of the up for grabs.

The Electoral College also inspires many what-if scenarios, some of them more likely than others. On Dec. Biden Jr. President Trump had earned electoral votes. Biden was leading in the popular vote, with more than 81 million votes. More than 74 million votes had been counted for Mr. The New York Times called the last two states on its map on Nov.

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Yes, and that is what happened in Although Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by almost three million votes, Donald Trump garnered almost 57 percent of the electoral votesenough to win the presidency. The same thing happened in Although Al Gore won the popular vote, George W. Bush earned more electoral votes after a contested Florida recount and a Supreme Court decision.

And inBenjamin Harrison defeated the incumbent president, Grover Cleveland, in the Electoral College, despite losing the popular vote. Cleveland ran again four years later and won back the White House. Other presidents who lost the popular vote but won the presidency include John Quincy Adams and Rutherford B. Hayes in the elections of and A special commission named by the House chose Hayes over Samuel J. Tilden, after 20 electoral votes in Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina were disputed.

The Electoral College has also awarded the presidency to candidates with a plurality of the popular vote under 50 percent in a number of cases, notably Abraham Lincoln inJohn F. Kennedy in and Bill Clinton in and Because there is now an even number of electoral votes, a tie is feasible. If that happens in the Electoral College, then the decision goes to the newly seated House of Representatives, with each state voting as a unit.The information in this article is outdated.

Read the story here. As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, experts have started to question official guidance about whether ordinary, healthy people should protect themselves with a regular surgical maskor even a scarf. The official guidance continues to recommend that masks should be reserved for people who are already sick, as well as for the health workers and caregivers who must interact with infected individuals on a regular basis. Everyone else, they say, should stick to frequent hand-washing and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from other people to protect themselves.

But the recent surge in infections in the United States, which has put the country at the center of the epidemic, with more confirmed cases than China, Italy or any other country, means that more Americans are now at risk of getting sick.

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And healthy individuals, especially those with essential jobs who cannot avoid public transportation or close interaction with others, may need to start wearing masks more regularly. Robert Atmar, an infectious disease specialist at Baylor College of Medicine. Atmar said. There is very little data showing that flat surgical masks, in particular, have a protective effect for the general public.

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That is why the W. Health workers wear masks because they interact with sick patients regularly and often have to lean close for important medical procedures, exposing themselves to higher amounts of viral particles.

And if healthy individuals start stockpiling surgical masks and high-grade N95 masksthey can also make it harder for health workers to get the resources they need to help on the front lines. But studies of influenza pandemics have shown that when high-grade N95 masks are not available, surgical masks do protect people a bit more than not wearing masks at all. And when masks are combined with hand hygiene, they help reduce the transmission of infections.

When researchers conducted systematic review of a variety of interventions used during the SARS outbreak inthey found that washing hands more than 10 times daily was 55 percent effective in stopping virus transmission, while wearing a mask was actually more effective — at about 68 percent.

Wearing gloves offered about the same amount of protection as frequent hand-washing, and combining all measures — hand-washing, masks, gloves and a protective gown — increased the intervention effectiveness to 91 percent. With the current coronavirus, researchers are also finding that there are more asymptomatic cases than were known early on in the pandemic.

Classified data from the Chinese government that was reported in the South China Morning Post indicated that up to a third of all people who tested positive for the coronavirus could have been silent carriers. Widespread testing on the Diamond Princess showed that half of the positive cases on board the cruise ship had no symptoms. And officials in Iceland, who have tested a high proportion of citizens in the country, have found similarly high percentages of asymptomatic infection.

A new report from the C. Since identifying and isolating people with infections plays a major role in breaking the chain of transmissions, people who do not have any symptoms or do not develop symptoms until later may continue to inadvertently spread the disease.

Neil Fishman, the chief medical officer of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Wearing a mask can also reduce the likelihood that people will touch their face, which is another mode of transmission of the virus from contaminated surfaces to unsuspecting individuals, Dr.

Fishman said. In many Asian countries, everyone is encouraged to wear masks, and the approach is about crowd psychology and protection.

If everyone wears a mask, individuals protect each other, reducing overall community transmission. The sick automatically have one on and are also more likely to adhere to keeping their mask on because the stigma of wearing one is removed. They serve as a visual reminder to improve hand hygiene and social distancing. They may also serve as an act of solidarity, showing that all citizens are on board with the precautionary measures needed to bring infections under control.

And places like Hong Kong and Taiwan that jumped to action early with social distancing and universal mask wearing have gotten their cases under much greater control.

Deaths SurpassF. Home Page World Coronavirus U.Rectangles are sized according to the number of people in the top 1 percent.

Color shows the percentage of people within that occupation and industry in the top 1 percent. Note: The chart counts the number of individual workers living in households with an overall income in the top 1 percent nationwide. Managers All construction. Security, commodity brokerage and investment companies.

Real estate, including real estate-insurance offices. Computer and data processing services. Management and public relations services. Eating and drinking places. Health services. Credit agencies. Colleges and universities. Electrical machinery, equipment and supplies. Elementary and secondary schools. Engineering, architectural and surveying services. Business services. Membership organizations. Printing, publishing and allied industries except newspapers.

Telephone communications. Research, development and testing services. Medical, dental and optical instruments and supplies. Accounting, auditing and bookkeeping services. Services incidental to transportation. Radio and television broadcasting and cable. Computers and related equipment. Oil and gas extraction. Offices and clinics of physicians. Theaters and motion pictures. Personnel supply services.

Industrial and miscellaneous chemicals. Guided missiles, space vehicles and parts. Hotels and motels. Other industries. Physicians Offices and clinics of physicians. Chief executives and public administrators All construction.Half of the people got the vaccine, while the other half got a placebo of salt water. The companies then waited for people to get sick to determine if the vaccine offered any protection. So far, 94 participants out of nearly 44, have gotten sick with Covid An independent board of experts looked at how many of those people got the vaccine, and how many got the placebo.

That early analysis suggests the vaccine is over 90 percent effective. Given the estimate that the vaccine is over 90 percent effective, however, we can safely assume very few people who were vaccinated got Covid It is.

The Top 1 Percent: What Jobs Do They Have?

The Food and Drug Administration had set a bar of 50 percent efficacy for vaccine makers who wanted to submit their candidates for emergency authorization. On the low end, influenza vaccines are 40 to 60 percent effective at best, because the influenza virus keeps evolving into new forms year after year. By contrast, two doses of the measles vaccine are 97 percent effective. So far Pfizer and BioNTech have reported no serious safety concerns from their vaccine.

They tried out four versions of their vaccine and selected the one that produced the fewest cases of mild and moderate side effects, such as fever and fatigue. If their vaccine receives an emergency authorization from the F. Exactly who will qualify for the initial doses has not been decided, but groups that are at higher risk for infection, or are more vulnerable to the virus, are likely to get priority.

That could include health care workers as well as older adults and those who have risk factors like obesity or diabetes. Pfizer and BioNTech say they could ramp up to 1. If other vaccines also prove effective, companies will be able to manufacture them as well and help meet the demand. Pfizer has said that it will likely apply for emergency authorization in the third week of November, after it collects the two months of safety data that the F.

The vaccine could be authorized for certain high-risk populations before the end of the year, but that would only happen if everything goes as planned and there are no unforeseen delays. The trial will continue until it reaches cases of Covid At that point, the study will be complete and the results analyzed.

They can only allow scientists to make an estimate based on statistics — an estimate known as efficacy. The effectiveness of a vaccine can only be firmly determined once millions of people get it. But experts say that the preliminary data indicates that the effectiveness should be very high.

Early clinical studies have suggested that older people produce a weaker immune response to coronavirus vaccines. Another open question is whether children will get protection from the vaccine. The trial run by Pfizer and BioNTech initially was open to people 18 or older, but in September they began including teenagers as young as Last month, they launched a new trial on children as young as 12 and plan to work their way to younger ages. Pfizer did not accept federal funding to help develop or manufacture the vaccine, unlike front-runners Moderna and AstraZeneca.

Pfizer has distanced itself from Mr. Trump and Operation Warp Speed. On Monday, a spokeswoman for Pfizer clarified that the company is part of Operation Warp Speed as a supplier of a potential coronavirus vaccine.

In fact, international health organizations have long used such market guarantees to encourage for-profit manufacturers to supply vaccines to the developing world. There are 10 other vaccines now in late-stage trials across the globe.

The fact that Pfizer and BioNTech have gotten encouraging results is making experts optimistic about the entire field. Pfizer and BioNTech are testing a vaccine that uses a genetic molecule called RNA to cause our own cells to make a viral protein.By Anemona Hartocollis. By Noah Weiland. Burrell, who has maintained his innocence, was 16 when an year-old was killed by a stray bullet. The case posed challenges for Senator Amy Klobuchar during her presidential campaign.

By Will Wright.

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Three people died in highway crashes in Pennsylvania and Virginia. New York expecting up to a foot of precipitation as the mess moved on to New England. By Lucy Tompkins.

Even as Americans Grew Richer, Inequality Persisted

Vaccines have now been administered at long-term care facilities in several states, but administrators warn that they will not bring a quick end to the long siege of the virus. By Rebecca R. Ruiz and Robert Gebeloff. See where the federal government is sending 5.

By Danielle Ivory, Jasmine C. By Kenneth P. Vogel and Eric Lipton. The emerging compromise would provide emergency stimulus payments, jobless aid and rental assistance, extending help to businesses and funding the distribution of a vaccine.

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But more is likely to be needed. Neighbors of the president say he has violated the agreement he made with Palm Beach that allowed him to convert a private residence into a moneymaking club. Pharmacists have found that they can squeeze an additional dose from some of the glass vials that were supposed to contain five doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Pete Buttigieg would be the first openly gay cabinet secretary, one of the firsts that President-elect Joe Biden cited in introducing him as his transportation secretary.

By Michael D. Shear and Thomas Kaplan.

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Latest Search Search. Clear this text input. By Emily Cochrane.

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By Maggie Haberman. By John Eligon. By Katie Thomas.ALBANY — Minor political parties in New York, many of which suffered a devastating blow with losing state ballot access, hope to tap into a growing number of New Yorkers who do not identify with a political party. While the major political parties saw enrollment increase during this past election cycle, minor party leaders say the latest enrollment figures suggest more New Yorkers are turned off by the major parties, and they believe it will open the door for more minor party influence.

Despite the increase in New Yorkers registering as unaffiliated, 50 percent of voters are enrolled in the Democratic Party; 22 percent are enrolled in the Republican Party; 22 percent are unaffiliated voters; and the remainder are enrolled in various minor parties. It has also created a divide in the state, with those further north feeling forgotten or ignored. The Upstate Jobs Party — as the name would suggest — focuses on rejuvenating the upstate economy through education and economic development reforms, government reforms like ballot access and term limits, and supporting entrepreneurs and the innovation economy.

Elizabeth Bennion, a political science professor at Indiana University South Bend, cautioned against concluding that voters registering as independents represents a repudiation of the major parties. According to an ongoing Gallup survey of party affiliation, 38 percent of Americans identify as independent as of early November, while the remainder are split around 30 percent each for the two major parties. But, when self-proclaimed independent voters are pressed to say whether they are Democratic or Republican leaning, partisanship becomes clearer.

Indeed, when independents are asked their political leanings, enrollment slightly tips to Democrats with 48 percent identifying as a Democrat or Democrat-leaning, and 45 percent identifying as Republican or Republican-leaning, the latest Gallup numbers show.

Political party leadership tends to be older, which also can disenchant young voters, Lundberg said. Make sure you are listening to them and not treating them as tokens. Bennion said between independents often having left or right leanings — and the unknown of what would be a centrist approach to issues dominating the political arena — make it difficult to imagine independent voters will be easy to mobilize. Meanwhile, minor parties often stray further left or right from the major parties, despite voter sentiment being that the two major parties are too extreme, she said.

That does not mean minor parties do not have a place in political discourse, as over the years they have influenced the policies of the major parties, Bennion noted.

Upstate Jobs Party Chairman John Bullis expressed confidence that the shift to minor party or unaffiliated voter enrollment is a recognition that that a centrist approach will get things done.

Breaking News. By the numbers New York party enrollment Democrat: Top shopping picks. PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells are in stock but selling out. Among Us has come to the Nintendo Switch. Deals round up for Wednesday, Dec.Most of these people are not likely to be contagious, and identifying them may contribute to bottlenecks that prevent those who are contagious from being found in time.

But researchers say the solution is not to test less, or to skip testing people without symptoms, as recently suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Instead, new data underscore the need for more widespread use of rapid testseven if they are less sensitive. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health, referring to the C. In what may be a step in this direction, the Trump administration announced on Thursday that it would purchase million rapid tests. The most widely used diagnostic test for the new coronavirus, called a PCR test, provides a simple yes-no answer to the question of whether a patient is infected.

Mina said. The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample. The greater the viral load, the more likely the patient is to be contagious. This number of amplification cycles needed to find the virus, called the cycle threshold, is never included in the results sent to doctors and coronavirus patients, although it could tell them how infectious the patients are.

In three sets of testing data that include cycle thresholds, compiled by officials in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada, up to 90 percent of people testing positive carried barely any virus, a review by The Times found. On Thursday, the United States recorded 45, new coronavirus cases, according to a database maintained by The Times. If the rates of contagiousness in Massachusetts and New York were to apply nationwide, then perhaps only 4, of those people may actually need to isolate and submit to contact tracing.

One solution would be to adjust the cycle threshold used now to decide that a patient is infected. Most tests set the limit at 40, a few at This means that you are positive for the coronavirus if the test process required up to 40 cycles, or 37, to detect the virus. Tests with thresholds so high may detect not just live virus but also genetic fragments, leftovers from infection that pose no particular risk — akin to finding a hair in a room long after a person has left, Dr.

Unaffiliated voters grew 22 percent in New York since 2015

Any test with a cycle threshold above 35 is too sensitive, agreed Juliet Morrison, a virologist at the University of California, Riverside. A more reasonable cutoff would be 30 to 35, she added. Mina said he would set the figure at 30, or even less. The C. Officials at some state labs said the C. A spokeswoman for the lab said testers did not have access to the precise numbers.

This amounts to an enormous missed opportunity to learn more about the disease, some experts said. In July, the lab identified positive tests, based on a threshold of 40 cycles. With a cutoff of 35, about 43 percent of those tests would no longer qualify as positive. About 63 percent would no longer be judged positive if the cycles were limited to In Massachusetts, from 85 to 90 percent of people who tested positive in July with a cycle threshold of 40 would have been deemed negative if the threshold were 30 cycles, Dr.

Jha said he had thought of the PCR test as a problem because it cannot scale to the volume, frequency or speed of tests needed. Mina to discuss the issue. The F. A test with less sensitivity would miss these infections. But that problem is easily solved, Dr. A rapid test would find these patients quickly, even if it were less sensitive, because their viral loads would quickly rise. PCR tests still have a role, he and other experts said. For example, their sensitivity is an asset when identifying newly infected people to enroll in clinical trials of drugs.

But with 20 percent or more of people testing positive for the virus in some parts of the country, Dr. Mina and other researchers are questioning the use of PCR tests as a frontline diagnostic tool.

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