Last night, Dead & Company guitarists John Mayer and Bob Weir were the guests on Bravo series Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. The two musicians stopped by the show’s clubhouse after their sets at NYC’s Citi Field, talking about music, fame, Mayer’s guitar face and more, as well as treating fans to a special performance.After the thirty-minute program, the two sat down for a brief version of the hit Grateful Dead song, “Friend Of The Devil.” Watch the two famed musicians at work in the clip below.You can also watch Weir and Mayer talk about gay bars, out of body experiences, Mayer’s solo album, and Jerry Garcia.
Despite world-class hospitals and an army of highly trained medical personnel, the local health establishment doesn’t have the excess “surge” capacity to handle a flu pandemic outbreak.And Boston isn’t alone. A panel of experts on pandemics and public health said Wednesday that not only is such capacity lacking in Boston, it is in short supply around the world and would affect everything from providing beds for the sick to the ability to make and distribute vaccines.“There’s just little wiggle room in today’s health care system,” said Anita Barry, the director of Boston’s Infectious Disease Bureau.Barry spoke at the Harvard School of Public Health as part of a discussion about whether heath specialists are ready to handle the next pandemic. Though many people are thinking hard about the problem and keeping an eye on worrisome developments, such as a bird flu outbreak in China that has killed 45 and an outbreak of the SARS-like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) that has killed 64, the global capacity to handle a major outbreak is still a work in progress.The discussion, held by The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health, was presented in collaboration with Public Radio International’s “The World” and WGBH, and was part of the Forum’s Andelot Series on Current Science Controversies.Joining Barry at the event were Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology and director of HSPH’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics; Klaus Stohr, vice president and global head of influenza franchises for Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics; and Robert Huebner, director of the Influenza Division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The moderator was Peter Thomson, environment editor for PRI’s “The World.”Lipsitch provided an overview on pandemics, saying that to qualify, a virus has to be both easily transmissible between humans and new to the human immune system. The last flu pandemic occurred in 2009, with the H1N1 virus. The 2002-2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was caused by a coronavirus and killed more than 700.Much of the event focused on flu, as past pandemics have killed millions. Vaccines are the best protection against a new flu virus. Though technology has improved production, it still takes weeks to create a new flu vaccine, months to get it to the public, and as long as a year to make it widely available around the world, Stohr said. Vaccine production remains dependent on the industrial capacity used to produce seasonal flu vaccine, and developing nations’ lack of capacity won’t change any time soon.The news isn’t all bad, however. Stohr said there are new technologies on the horizon that can cut initial vaccine development to just a week from the current four to six weeks. It may take as long as a decade, but other production technologies are being developed that may make it affordable to build and maintain idle capacity in case of a pandemic.Huebner, whose organization’s mission is to speed promising new technology to market in case of a pandemic, pointed to new ways to make vaccines and new types of medical devices, such as ventilators to help people in respiratory distress, as promising fields of research.In addition to technological tools, public health officials are armed with low-tech options, such as surveillance of current threats and closing schools and other gathering places to stop the spread of disease.Barry cautioned that such measures have to be implemented with an understanding of the potential effects — parents working jobs that don’t provide sick days may be forced to choose between staying home with their child and the income needed to provide for their families, she pointed out. In such a case, a child could be left home alone or sent to a day care where he or she would still be exposed to others or, worse, potentially carry infection to a new group of children.Careful deliberation over implementation is important, she stressed. Recommendations that public health workers wear specific masks during the 2009 bird flu outbreak worked well in hospitals, for example, but in schools, health workers didn’t have masks and were still faced with lines of sick students. Such measures have to be communicated well or they’ll fail, Barry said. Communicators, in turn, have to strike the right balance between caution and panic.Panelists agreed that national borders — whether closed in an emergency or not — are not a defense against a pandemic. Air transportation, for one, settles that. One study of closing borders in the United Kingdom estimated that it would slow the spread of a pandemic only by days.“It’s a global problem, we have to face it,” Lipsitch said.The event was covered via webcast.
It doesn’t take too long to figure out the key stretch in Wisconsin’s 2010 schedule.Week seven marks a showdown with the Buckeyes in Madison, and a week later the Badgers travel to Iowa City for a matchup the Hawkeyes.Everyone knows those two weeks will go a long way in defining this year’s team.Trouble is, the Badgers have struggled to beat ranked conference opponents in recent years. UW has a combined 1-5 record against OSU and Iowa in the last three seasons.Last year, the Badgers had a similar schedule, with Ohio State and Iowa featured in back-to-back weeks, and both games ended with hopeful Badger fans hanging their heads.A major reason for those two losses? UW’s inability to handle the opposing defensive lines.But that’s not something to be ashamed of, considering OSU and Iowa possess two stout units, featuring two of the best ends in the nation. Star senior Cameron Heyward anchors Ohio State’s line, while the relentless Adrian Clayborn leads the way for Iowa and both Heyward and Clayborn have been tabbed pre-season All-Americans by major publications.For any offense lining up against those two D-linemen to have success, the play of its left tackle (the man lined up across Clayborn and Heyward) is critical.Fortunately for UW, they possess one of the best in the country — senior captain Gabe Carimi. The Cottage Grove-native is one of the few linemen in college football with the ability to handle such forces off the edge. Possessing such a rare talent at left tackle gives UW a legitimate chance to upend the Big Ten’s top teams.In his final collegiate season, a year where UW has the talent and depth to contend for the conference crown, Carimi’s play against the Big Ten’s best defensive ends will be a determining factor in UW’s title chances.“This league is loaded with defensive ends,” senior quarterback Scott Tolzien said. “But it’s really comforting knowing we have Gabe, a guy we all trust, to get the job done.”Standing at 6-foot-7 and weighing over 320 pounds, Carimi is a pre-season all-conference selection and he’s caught the eye of NFL scouts who project him as a first-round pick.Carimi has flashed NFL potential throughout his years at UW, and he’s always been loaded with talent, but injuries and inconsistency have halted his play from reaching a truly dominant level. That dominant performance fans had been waiting for appeared in the Champs Sports Bowl, however, where Carimi paved the way for a 121-yard performance from John Clay and gave Tolzien the time he needed to carve up a skilled Miami defense.And the most impressive part about Carimi’s performance was the fact that he played despite limping off the field at one point with a gruesome knee injury.“My kneecap got dislocated, and when it came back into place there was some loose flaps of cartilage,” Carimi said. “It was painful, but it felt stable enough and I felt I needed to be out there with my team.”Initially, it looked like UW’s left tackle was going to watch the bowl game unfold from the sidelines.Instead, he sat out one series.“It sent a message to all of us. He gets injured and hops right back in there,” Tolzien said. “That right there is what this program is built on.”That was one of many difficult injuries Carimi played through last season. In games against Ohio State and Iowa, Carimi’s health caught up with him, and Heyward and Clayborn took advantage, constantly pressuring the UW backfield. The talented tackle was unable to compete at his highest level.In fact, a shoulder sprain suffered against OSU made him one-handed.“I sustained the shoulder injury at Ohio State, and I was gone from practice the whole next week. I was just running by people on blocks,” Carimi said. “Then the next week was Iowa where I reinjured it on the first play.“I couldn’t punch out with my left arm at all and it took two months after the season for me to start sleeping right on my bed.”Yet despite all the frustrating, debilitating injuries, in the final game of the season Carimi fought through the pain and delivered a heroic effort, as the Badgers earned their most impressive win in Orlando.Now, to reach the higher goals this team has set for the season, the Badgers must build off that Champs Sports Bowl victory, take care of business in conference play and get Carimi to consistently live up to his potential.Clayborn and the OSU line got the best of him and the Badgers last season, and the senior tackle remembers it well. But this is a new year, a year where Carimi is finally at 100 percent. Heading into 2010, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more anxious for another shot at the Big Ten’s toughest teams, where he’ll go head-to-head against the nation’s top defensive ends.“Last year I was just trying to get by with my injuries, but this year I plan on excelling in those big games,” Carimi said.For the Badgers to take down Ohio State and Iowa and win the conference, that’s exactly what they’ll need.Max is a senior majoring in journalism. Think Carimi and the Badgers are primed for a Big Ten title run? E-mail him at [email protected]