Surging flu cases may herald tough season in England

first_imgDec 24, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – While the US influenza season has started slowly, cases are surging in England, raising concern that the country could have its toughest season since 1999-2000.In England and Wales last week, about 68.5 people per 100,000 saw a general practitioner for influenza-like illness (ILI), a 73% increase over the 39.5 per 100,000 the week before, according to the latest weekly report from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). A BBC News report said the number also is73% higher than the same week a year ago.Dr. Douglas Fleming, director of the RCGP Research Unit in Birmingham, said the increase was significant, according to BBC News. “In the past 10 years, the only substantial outbreak was in 1999-2000,” he said. “I think we could be looking at something that approaches that this year.”The RCGP report says ILI visit rates of 30 to 100 per 100,000 population per week are “usual when influenza viruses are circulating,” rates above 100 are above average, and rates exceeding 200 are “exceptional.” The RCGP data are drawn from about 85 general practitioner clinics around the country, representing an at-risk population of about 840,000.ILI rates rose in all age-groups and regions in the week of Dec 15 to 21, the RCGP report says. The highest rates were seen among 15- to 44-year-olds, with 79.7 cases per 100,000, and 45- to 64-year-olds, with 75.6 cases. The 65-and-older group had 44.7 cases per 100,000, which was more than double the 18 cases seen the week before.The BBC report said experts believe the unusually cold weather might have contributed to the surge in cases.British public health officials define a flu epidemic as an ILI rate of 200 per 100,000, according to the BBC story. The last time that happened in England was in 1989-90, the report said.”That one caught everyone a bit off guard but there’s been a big push on flu vaccination since then,” virologist John Oxford of Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry in London told the BBC.Oxford and others quoted in the story urged people to get a flu shot if they haven’t done so yet.David Salisbury, director of immunization at the UK Department of Health, told the BBC, “We have had a very unusual run of winters with almost no flu, so we should not be surprised that here is a winter with more flu. It is very difficult to predict what makes the change winter to winter.”In contrast to the situation in England, flu activity in the United States has remained low so far this season, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, issued Dec 19. The report, for the week that ended Dec 13, said only three states—Texas, Virginia, and Hawaii—were reporting local flu activity. Thirty-six states reported sporadic cases and 11 states were reporting none.Google Flu Trends, a Web site that estimates US flu activity from the volume of Internet searches for flu information, currently shows “moderate” activity only in Hawaii, Maryland, and Virginia, with the rest of the country having low activity.See also: CDC flu surveillance updatehttp://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/Google Flu Trendshttp://www.google.org/flutrends/last_img read more

Cricket News Allen, Pooran, Thomas handed West Indies contracts for first time

first_imgNew Delhi : World Cup returnees Fabian Allen, Nicholas Pooran and Oshane Thomas have been handed West Indies central contracts for the first time while seven players have been given all-format contracts.The number of all-format contracts for the men has now increased from four to seven with Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul joining those in the Test and ODI formats — captain Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph and Kemar Roach — on the list.In total, 19 men have been retained for the upcoming contract year which runs from July 1 this year to June 30 next year including first-timers Allen, Pooran and Thomas who were part of the West Indies team which finished ninth out of 10 teams in the World Cup.Meanwhile, 15 women an increase of three have also earned central contracts  including veteran all-rounder Stacy-Ann King, fellow left-hander Kycia Knight and newcomers Shabika Gajnabi, Shawnisha Hector, Chinelle Henry, Natasha McLean and Karishma Ramharack.Cricket West Indies (CWI) policy allows up to 22 contracts to be offered each contract year to men’s players, so the selection panel may decide to offer additional central contracts throughout the year.CWI director of cricket Jimmy Adams said verbal offers had been made to all players, and contracts will be issued in the next few weeks, as soon as the board has concluded a new four-year Memorandum of Understanding with the West Indies Players Association.This is the third year that CWI will award central contracts to West Indies men under three different categories.WEST INDIES MEN CENTRALLY-CONTRACTED PLAYERS 2019-20:All-Format Contracts:Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Keemo Paul, Kemar RoachRed-Ball Contracts: Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Jomel WarricanWhite-Ball Contracts: Fabian Allen, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Oshane Thomas. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Mixed fortunes for Irish fighters at World Championships

first_imgKatie Taylor has set up an Olympic final rematch, with victory this morning in the last-16 of the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. The Bray fighter will face Russian Sofya Ochigava tomorrow, the woman she beat to claim gold in London two years ago. There was disappointment for Belfast’s Michaela Walsh, who lost her 54 k-g bout on a split decision to Azerbaijan’s Anna Alimardanova.last_img

Ten years after Trout: Looking back at the 2009 MLB Draft

first_imgCareer WAR: N/AWheeler was a two-sport athlete and was well regarded by Baseball America, rocketing up the Rockies’ organizational charts. Despite being a solid bat, Wheeler never broke through to the next level, reaching Triple-A but never making the majors.Wheeler was considered to be a solid-not-great player, and at 32 was a good pick. He just never developed the way the Rockies wanted, especially after breaking his hand in the minors in 2012. The MLB Draft is basically like a 40-round lottery drawing.All 30 teams enter in a chance to win, but as you’ll see below, there’s no rhyme or reason why guys pan out or why they don’t.  With the 10-year anniversary of the 2009 MLB Draft upon us — the Trout Draft, if you will — it’s time to take a look back to see how other teams fared in the first round. Spoiler alert: It’s not pretty.MORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNEditor’s note: All WAR numbers are through 2018 and courtesy of Baseball Reference. This also does not include first-round supplemental picks.1. Stephen Strasburg, pitcher, Washington NationalsHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 26.3The “How good is Stephen Strasburg?” debate will rage for a long time, but in nine seasons Strasburg has generally either been good or hurt. Entering 2019, he had a career ERA of 3.14 and a 10.6 K/9 mark.Those marks are both great, but consider this: Strasburg has only made 30-plus starts twice in his career — 2013 and 2014 — and finished in the top five in Cy Young voting just once, in 2017. Aces don’t grow on trees, and Strasburg’s stuff and numbers certainly feel ace-like, but does he live up to No. 1 overall billing? Hindsight is 20/20, but at this point he’s not necessarily on a Hall-of-Fame arc.2. Dustin Ackley, outfielder, Seattle MarinersHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 8.7Ackley’s agent, Scott Boras, didn’t agree to the Mariners’ deal with Ackley until 15 minutes before the deadline after he was drafted. The UNC product had a somewhat nondescript career despite being one of college baseball’s most polished players coming out of college.Ackley was given ample opportunity to break out with Seattle, playing in 584 games between 2011 and 2015 before being traded to the Yankees in 2015, but hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2016.3. Donavan Tate, outfielder, San Diego PadresHighest level reached: High-ACareer WAR: N/ATate was a super athlete coming out of high school; he was an All-American in both baseball and football in Cartersville High School in Georgia. Unfortunately, injuries and personal demons derailed Tate’s minor league career, as he hit just .226 in six seasons in A-ball. After unsuccessfully trying to revive his career with the Dodgers, Tate would leave baseball and go on to play college football at the University of Arizona.4. Tony Sanchez, catcher, Pittsburgh PiratesHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 0.1Sanchez was considered one of the best hitters coming out of Boston College in 2009, ranking high in many of the Eagles’ offensive catagories in his tenure behind the dish.On Sanchez’s way up, he flashed some power through Triple-A, eventually resulting in a call up to Pittsburgh in 2013. Sanchez played in just 22 games with the Buccos in 2013, seemingly losing his offense along the way, striking out at a high rate. Sanchez only played in 52 major-league games across four seasons in The Show.5. Matt Hobgood, pitcher, Baltimore OriolesHighest level reached: Double-ACareer WAR: N/AWhen Hobgood was drafted, he made some waves by saying he would have loved to strike out A-Rod in order to bring glory back to the Inner Harbor. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out for Hobgood, who couldn’t really strike out anyone, let alone A-Rod, in his minor league career.In six minor league seasons, Hobgood pitched to a 4.98 ERA across 110 games. He started early on in his career in the minors before transitioning to the bullpen, where he continued to have difficulty getting guys out. Before the draft, some thought Hobgood would fall to the second or third round, so it was a bit of a surprise that the Orioles took him at No. 5 in 2009. Hobgood hasn’t played professionally since 2017.6. Zack Wheeler, pitcher, San Francisco GiantsHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 6.2The flamethrowing righty rocketed up the minors, eventually being traded in a deal for Carlos Beltran in 2011. Wheeler made his debut with the Mets in 2013 and has dealt with injury issues since. In 2018, Wheeler seemed to come into his own and live up to the top-10 prospect billing: He pitched to a 3.31 ERA across 29 starts — one of the first seasons he was almost fully healthy — and acrrued a 3.9 WAR during the season as part of a very talented Mets rotation.Wheeler entered his Age 29 season in 2019, and is a free agent after the season. There’s a good chance he won’t be a Met, and it’s going to be interesting to see how he finishes out the year and how much he gets in free agency.7. Mike Minor, pitcher, Atlanta BravesHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 10.1Minor was a highly touted lefty pitching prospect for the Braves, rocketing up Atlanta’s farm system and debuting in 2010, a year after he was drafted. Then 22, it took a little bit for Minor to find his groove: He came into his own in his Age 25 season, pitching to a 3.21 ERA in 32 starts, helping the Braves win their first division title since 2005.Minor dealt with shoulder injuries, not pitching in the majors for two seasons (2015-2016), eventually finding a home — and his fastball — in the Royals’ bullpen in 2017. Now 31, Minor is in the midst of his best season as a starter for the Texas Rangers, and is on pace to have his best season (by WAR) yet.8. Mike Leake, pitcher, Cincinnati RedsHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 12.6Leake was originally drafted by the Athletics in 2006, but chose not to sign and instead attended Arizona State University. A serviceable starting pitcher, Leake pitched with the Reds for six seasons before finding himself with the Mariners, Cardinals and Giants his last three seasons in the majors.9. Jacob Turner, pitcher, Detroit TigersHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: -2.5Another Scott Boras client, Turner signed for a hefty $5.5 million and never quite lived up to his top-prospect billing. He was a top 50 prospect by many publications and was also considered the best prospect in the Tigers’ system before making his major league debut.After tearing up the minors in the months after the draft, Turner was added to the Tigers’ 40-man roster in November 2009. Making his major league debut in 2011, the 20-year-old pitched to an 8.53 ERA across three starts, and was subsequently traded from the Tigers to the Marlins in 2012 for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante.Turner spent time with the Nationals, Marlins and both Chicago teams before signing with the Kia Tigers of the KBO before 2019.10. Drew Storen, pitcher, Washington NationalsHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 4.9The relief extraordinaire was drafted as a reliever and stayed a reliever throughout the duration of his career. He pitched to a 3.45 ERA, with his best season coming in 2014, a 2.5-WAR year for the first-place Nationals.Storen lost his touch before the Nats’ acquisition of Jonathan Papelbon in 2015, struggling in the setup role, eventually breaking his thumb and ending his season after slamming a locker.Storen last pitched in the majors in 2017, pitching to a 4.45 ERA with the Reds before succumbing to an elbow injury. In 2019, he was signed by Kansas City and is with the Royals Triple-A affiliate, recovering from Tommy John surgery.11. Tyler Matzek, pitcher, Colorado RockiesHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 2.5Matzek signed for $3.9 million, significantly more than the average price of players in that slot, and it took until the 11th hour to get it done.Drafted as a starter, Matzek appeared in 25 games for Colorado (24 as a starting pitcher) between 2014 and 2015 before being sent down in 2015 with control issues. He was eventually released by Colorado and hasn’t appeared in a major league game since.12. Aaron Crow, pitcher, Kansas City RoyalsHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 2.6Crow was originally drafted by the Nationals in 2008, but didn’t sign, resulting in the compensation pick that allowed Washington to draft Drew Storen.In four seasons with the Royals, Crow pitched solely out of the bullpen, pitching to a 3.43 ERA (4.16 FIP) in 254 appearances. Crow was traded to the Marlins in November 2014, underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015, was signed by the Cubs in 2016, los Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League in 2018 and los Pericos de Puebla later in 2018. MORE: Every MLB team’s biggest draft regret13. Grant Green, infielder, Oakland AthleticsHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: -1.6The first position player taken since the No. 4 pick, Green was another Scott Boras guy and many expected the USC product to be one of the best hitters in the draft. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.Green was traded to the Angels in 2013 for Alberto Callaspo as the A’s were chasing a championship. Green played in 45 games in 2013 between the A’s and the Angels, going hitless in five games with the A’s and batting .280 with the Angels. Green would play with the Angels through 2015, landing with the Giants in 2016 and the Nationals in 2017. He also signed minor league deals with the White Sox and Marlins in 2017 before winding up in the Mexican League in 2018. In five seasons, he played in 129 games and slashed .248/.283/.336 with a 75 OPS+.14. Matt Purke, pitcher, Texas RangersHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: -0.1Purke was taken by the Rangers, but didn’t sign and instead enrolled to play college baseball at TCU.He was later selected by the Nationals in 2011, this time in the third round, and only had 12 major league appearances with the White Sox in 2016.15. Alex White, pitcher, Cleveland IndiansHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: -0.5White was considered one of the best prospects in all of baseball, adorning many top-10 listings across the sport.White started 30 games in two years between the Indians and the Rockies, pitching to a 6.03 ERA. He was eventually traded to the Rockies, along with Drew Pomeranz, in a package for Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez.16. Bobby Borchering, infielder, Arizona DiamondbacksHighest level reached: Double-ACareer WAR: N/ABorchering was considered to be one of the best hitters coming out of high school, some believing his switch-hitting prowess would pave the way to make him one of the more complete bats in the draft. He was also the recipient of the Gatorade Florida Player of the Year award in 2008.As can be the case with the first round, this didn’t come to pass. In 51 games at Double-A, Borchering hit just .163 with six home runs and a .544 OPS, and is currently out of baseball.17. A.J. Pollock, outfielder, Arizona DiamondbacksHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 20.5Pollock has been a very good major leaguer, although he’s dealt with injuries throughout his career. Spending the first seven seasons of his career with the team that drafted him, Pollock signed with the Dodgers prior to 2019.Regarded as one of the best college hitters in the 2009 draft, Pollock has been a solid offensive contributor with a plus glove in the outfield. While not a gamebreaker, Pollock showed flashes of greatness with the Dbacks before moving on after 2018.18. Chad James, pitcher, Florida MarlinsHighest level reached: Double-ACareer WAR: N/AThe Marlins took James out of Yukon High School in Yukon, Okla., and gave him the second-highest signing bonus ever ($1.7 million) for an 18th overall pick.James would never see a major league field, failing three drug tests. He hasn’t played in affiliated baseball since 2015. 19. Shelby Miller, pitcher, St. Louis CardinalsHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 8.2It was a tale of two careers for Miller. From 2012 to 2015, he pitched to a 3.32 ERA (3.82 FIP) in 102 games for the Cardinals and Braves. After a trade to Arizona and subsequent signing with Texas, Miller has pitched to a 7.06 ERA in 38 games. But before the draft, Miller was heralded as a power pitcher’s power pitcher and was reaching that potential. Now, Miller is with the Rangers 20. Chad Jenkins, pitcher, Toronto Blue JaysHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 1.5Jenkins was heralded as one of the Blue Jays’ top prospects heading into 2010, but he struggled at Double-A and never quite became the horse that scouts thought he would be. He had good command of a fastball, slider and changeup, but with no clear role on the Blue Jays, he was doomed to bullpen purgatory.In 2013 and 2014, Jenkins pitched out of Toronto’s bullpen with good results, but couldn’t catch on with the Jays after 2016, eventually being released from his minor league deal. He hasn’t played in affiliated ball since 2016.21. Jiovanni Mier, infielder, Houston AstrosHighest level reached: Triple-ACareer WAR: N/AMier, a high-school pick, was heralded for his defense, which makes sense, because he never really hit well enough to reach the majors in his career.Mier hit just .226 at Double-A in 324 games, so he had ample time to improve, something that just never happened. Some scouts believed that Mier would have developed into a consistent 10-15 home run guy, but the power never came, either. In 10 seasons between the minors and Mexican league ball, Mier hit just 43 home runs.After stints in the Toronto and New York Mets farm systems, Mier signed with the Mexican League in 2018, never reaching the majors.22. Kyle Gibson, pitcher, Minnesota TwinsHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 9.3Gibson has been a stalwart in the Twins’ rotation, though never quite living up to the No. 2 starter billing. Gibson had his best season as a major league pitcher in 2018, amassing a 3.8 WAR with a 3.62 ERA. 23. Jared Mitchell, outfielder, Chicago White SoxHighest level reached: Triple-ACareer WAR: N/AMitchell was originally selected by the Twins in the 2006 MLB Draft, but decided to attend Louisiana State University instead. The college time did him well, as the former 10th-round pick shot all the way up to the first round.Mitchell won the College World Series with the Tigers in 2009, also winning the CWS Most Outstanding Player award. Interestingly enough, he also played as a wide receiver for the LSU Tigers in 2007, winning a national championship.Unfortunately, Mitchell’s athleticism didn’t result in major league success. He came knocking on the door at Triple-A, but could never break through. At the highest level, he hit just .213 in 173 games with a .667 OPS.Mitchell last played with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League.24. Randal Grichuk, outfielder, Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 9.4Grichuk was hampered by injuries early in his minor league career, but prospect rankings still respected him. MLB Pipeline had Grichuk as the Angels’ No. 4 overall prospect — he was eventually traded, along with Peter Bourjos, to the Cardinals for David Freese and Fernando Salas.Grichuk has been a consistent power threat in the majors, hitting 91 home runs with the Cardinals between 2014 and 2018 before finding himself north of the border with the Blue Jays in 2019. 25. Mike Trout, outfielder, Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 64.2GOAT.Next.26. Eric Arnett, pitcher, Milwaukee BrewersHighest level reached: High ACareer WAR: N/AComing from IU Bloomington, Arnett was a sought-after arm, but he came with a heavy, heavy workload. In fact, here’s what SN had to say about Arnett:”Arnett has all the makings of a rotation workhorse. Despite his tall, big frame, he has a loose body. Got himself in much better shape this year after working out with the IU basketball team. Brings a mid-90s fastball and only started realizing his abilities this year. Lots of upside and could move quickly up the minor-league ranks.”That didn’t happen for Arnett, who never saw baseball above High-A and pitched to a 5.18 ERA in the minors.MORE: 2019 MLB Mock Draft roundup: 20 players to watch27. Nick Franklin, infielder, Seattle MarinersHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 1.4Franklin had one very good year with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2016, two years after the Mariners traded him. When coming up, Franklin showed lots of power in the minors, hitting to a .912 OPS in Triple-A before his callup to Seattle. At the major league level, Franklin couldn’t seem to figure it out. He dealt with injuries and lots of inconsistencies. In his last two seasons (2017-18), Franklin hit just .176 in 67 games with the Angels and the Brewers. He signed a minor league deal with the Pirates in 2019.28. Reymond Fuentes, outfielder, Boston Red SoxHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: -0.4Rey Fuentes was taken by the Red Sox but traded to the Padres in 2010 — along with Anthony Rizzo — as part of a package to acquire first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Fuentes never hit for power but hit for average in the minors, more known as a speed and stolen base threat coming up. In 100 major league games with Arizona, Kansas City and San Diego, Fuentes hit .238 with a .616 OPS. He played his last game in the majors in 2017.29. Slade Heathcott, outfielder, New York YankeesHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 0.4Heathcott played just 17 major league games with the Yankees in 2015, hitting .400 with two home runs in 25 at-bats. Heathcott last played in affiliated baseball in 2018 in the A’s organization, and played indy ball with the Sugar Land Skeeters the same year.Heathcott was a top prospect for the Yankees, and some considered him to have all five tools when developing in their minor league system. He also played affiliated baseball with the White Sox and Giants in his career.30. LeVon Washington, infielder, Tampa Bay RaysHighest level reached: High-ACareer WAR: N/AWashington was drafted by the Rays but didn’t sign, and was drafted again in 2010, this time by the Cleveland Indians. Washington dealt with injuries through his minor league career with the Indians, never playing above High-A ball because of it despite being a pretty good hitter.Washington has played indy ball over his past three seasons.31. Brett Jackson, outfielder, Chicago CubsHighest level reached: MLBCareer WAR: 0.0Jackson hit everywhere he went in the Cubs’ minor league system until being called up to the majors: In 2012, Jackson hit just .175 across 44 games with the Cubbies. It was something he never recovered from, eventually being shipped out to Arizona. Before the draft, Jackson was regarded as a guy whose bat would play just well enough but who would be a plus defender. The bat seemed to be coming around until it wasn’t. Then Theo Epstein came in, and, well, you know the rest.32. Tim Wheeler, outfielder, Colorado RockiesHighest level reached: Triple-Alast_img read more