The Wider World

Flu epidemic rages; do the shots help?

THE FLU EPIDEMIC continues, with some doubting that the flu vaccine was effective.

The flu epidemic is still sending people to doctor’s offices, hospitals and their beds. According a report issued Friday by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every 13 visits to a physician last week was for symptoms of the flu, such as fever and cough.

The report added that 43 American states were experiencing high patient traffic for the flu. It’s widespread in all states except for Hawaii and Oregon.

Some studies have suggested that the flu vaccines – much promoted by pharmacies and physicians – have not much of much of an effect in curbing the illness.  In Australia and Canada the effectiveness rate is put at 10 and 20 percent.

Democrats help budget bill passage

With the unusual support of dozens of Democrats, the House of Representatives voted early Friday for a budget deal for more spending for the military and disaster relief.

A TWO-YEAR budget deal was finally passed and signed into law on Friday.

Many Democrats initially opposed it because it did not include protections for “Dreamers” – those brought illegally into the United States as children – until House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) spoke in favor of a debate on the issue.

Seventy-three Democrats in the house supported the bill, against 67 Republicans who opposed it, ending a brief government shutdown.

Stocks up and down and finally up

Wildness continued to reign on Wall Street on Friday as stocks dropped in the morning then rose to a small improvement in the afternoon after Thursday’s dismal showing.

At Friday’s closing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 330 points, after being down 500 points earlier in the day. The S&P 500 was up 38.55 points and the Nasdaq composite rose by 97.33 points.

Foreign markets reflected the uncertainty in the U.S. with stock exchanges in Germany, France, Britain, Tokyo and Hong Kong showing declines.


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