Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Less than a month after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a limited medical marijuana bill into law, he’s requesting the acting health commissioner to determine whether the process for distributing the drug can be accelerated for children suffering from epilepsy.Cuomo’s inquiry, detailed in a July 30 letter, comes after two children from Western New York, 9-year-old Anna Conte and 3-year-old Olivia Marie Newton, died after battling the disorder, which causes frequent seizures.The bill, which the governor signed into law earlier this month, goes into effect in 18 months.“Striking the right balance to ensure public safety and public health are protected are protected is crucial,” Cuomo wrote to Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “That said, I ask that you review the eighteen month implementation timeline to determine if there is any way to accelerate the process for this specific dire population.”According to Cuomo, Zucker this week met with advocates to discuss the issue.“Families with children struggling from epilepsy have fought for years” for the bill’s passage, the governor wrote. “Now that it is finally law, the children struggling with this condition deserve every consideration we can make that could potentially ease their pain and suffering.”Conte of Orchard Park died July 17, according to a post on her mother’s Facebook page.“After 9 yrs. (sic) of fighting her little body just had enough,” Wendy Conte wrote. “She is flying with the angels and most important she is seizure free forever.”Wendy Conte was in the visitors gallery at the state Legislature in June when the state Senate voted in favor of the medical marijuana bill, according to the Buffalo News. Her daughter suffered through hundreds of seizures a day, the paper reported.Newton, the 3-year-old, also battled “close to 100 seizures a day,” according to a Facebook page in her honor. She was medication-resistant, according to the page, which meant that prescriptions were futile.On July 14, her family posted a photo of a tiny angel, glowing and seemingly in peace. The photo read: “I’m in the hands of God.” The law, as written, covers: cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication on intractable spasticity, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, Huntington’s Disease, “or as added by the DOH commissioner,” according to the governor’s office.Patients must receive certification from a licensed practitioner, which then enables them to receive a registry identification card for medical cannabis.Read Cuomo’s Letter To Acting Health Commissioner Zucker:Cuomo Medical Marijuana Letter
The city will use tests made by BioReference Laboratories for the free program.Nearly 27,000 workers at health care centers in the New York City area have already been tested for antibodies.Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday that those health care workers tested positive for antibodies at a lower rate than the general population.Cuomo added the outcome from those tests shows the effectiveness of protective masks and gloves for front-line workers.“That is amazingly good news,” he stated. “We were afraid of what was going to happen.”The survey found that 12 percent of health care workers in New York City tested positive for antibodies, compared with 20 percent for the general population in the city.New York is the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, with more nearly 333,000 cases and more than 26,000 deaths as of Thursday. Officials in New York City are setting high goals for testing in the coming weeks.Mayor Bill de Blasio says he wants to have 140,000 people tested for coronavirus antibodies by early next month.The antibody tests, which can show whether a person has been infected with COVID-19 at any point, will be offered for free by appointment.The results, which will be available in one to two days, will also be used for research, according to the mayor.Researchers are unsure whether coronavirus antibodies provide immunity from being exposed again.The human body typically produces antibodies days or weeks after fighting off an infection.“We are not promising people a rose garden here,” de Blasio said. “We’re not saying the antibody test is the last word. It’s not. But it tells you something.”We’ve made real progress in the COVID-19 battle, but we haven’t won the war yet. But thanks to frontline heroes like the team at Interfaith Medical in Brooklyn I’m confident we’ll overcome this crisis.#ClapBecauseWeCare pic.twitter.com/SkRZ9rFIG8— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) May 7, 2020
So I headed down to State Street Brats to grab a bite last Monday, which represented one of the most fun days in all of sports: Opening Day for Major League Baseball.I sat down with my white brat and spicy fries, and began to enjoy watching about six different games at once (you gotta love Brats for that, no doubt about it).But I quickly became a little confused at something. The Braves were playing the Dodgers, and I noticed that Rafael Furcal seemed to have wandered into the wrong clubhouse before the game.Then the 270-pound dude with the mustard-stained Brewers shirt sitting nearby informed me that the budding star shortstop moved from the Atlanta to Los Angeles in the offseason.Okay, that’s fine. But I started to see more of the same as I turned my attention back to the games.Mike Piazza plays for the San Diego Padres? Alfonso Soriano for the Washington Nationals? Bronson Arroyo, the Cincinnati Reds?My god, since when is Frank Thomas anything but a member of the Chicago White Sox? He’s an Oakland Athletic now.I couldn’t stop thinking about how different each team looked with the birth of this new season. This validates two drawbacks of America’s pastime: baseball a.) is a team sport at heart but an individual sport in reality and b.) has no salary cap, so George Steinbrenner could purchase the WBC Champion Japanese national team if he really wanted to, along with the National League All-Star team.That night, I conducted a little research. This matter was so pressing at the time that I was willing to give up watching the NCAA championship game. I hear I didn’t miss much.I looked at the past week’s Opening Day rosters for all 30 MLB squads and counted up how many of the nine starters for NL teams and 10 starters for AL teams (including the designated hitter) were NOT on that same team’s roster for last year’s opener.Needless to say, the results were pretty staggering. Forty-three players in the National League and 35 guys in the American League weren’t on that team a year ago. That’s 30 percent in the NL and 25 percent in the AL.To me, those are incredible numbers. I’d be willing to bet that the same statistic stays under 10 percent on a yearly basis in the NFL.Thirty percent in the National League! That means that baseball players had better take a good look around at their teammates on Opening Day because three of them will likely be gone in 365 days.A large part of this is due to the greedy nature of pro-baseball players. They can easily find more money with other teams, and they don’t hesitate to take the raise when it’s offered.This is also representative of the impatient personalities of MLB owners. They don’t like how things are going, so they rebuild without considering the advantages of team chemistry.I do, however, enjoy the fact that recent history has shown a restocked lineup doesn’t always bring success. The Chicago White Sox won the 2005 World Series with team ball and without superstars; this year, the world champs brought back eight starters from last year’s title team.As a matter of fact, the eight playoff teams last year retained just under 80 percent of their rosters, and the Padres — who have five new faces this year — don’t really count since they, well, they play in the NL West.Of course, there are teams like the Florida Marlins, who kept only Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis in their Opening Day lineup from a year ago. But then again, they’re the Marlins, who’d probably rather see Ryan Seacrest and the eight remaining American Idols in the lineup if it cost them less money.The most entertaining part of figuring this stuff out was seeing the routes some players have taken. Kenny Rogers, a starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, has won 191 games in his career, an impressive total in this day and age.But how has Rogers been treated for his troubles? After spending seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, he then played for the Yankees, Athletics and Mets over the next four years.Here’s where his story gets interesting. Rogers gets dealt by the Mets back to the Athletics and then returns to the Rangers for the start of 2000. But Rogers ends up on the Minnesota Twins in 2003 and comes back to Texas for a third time.You’d think the Rangers would keep Rogers now, as he won 32 games in the last two years for them. Nope. As I mentioned before, he’s now in Detroit.But that’s the nature of baseball, and I’m disappointed.Finally, there’s the unfortunate case of Reggie Sanders, a Kansas City Royal as this column went to print. You might, however, want to check where he is this morning.Sanders has donned eight different uniforms for the last nine Opening Days. The NL champion St. Louis Cardinals were kind enough to retain him for a year in 2005 but promptly dealt him to the lowly Royals for this season.Don’t fret it too much, Reggie. You’ll probably be somewhere else next year.Aaron is a freshman who currently plays for The Badger Herald … nope, wait, he just got traded to The Daily Cardinal. Seriously, though, any comments about this story or Aaron’s stunning good looks can be directed to [email protected]
BILL NEAL:10—The hardest losses to take are the ones you should have won! Pitt should have beat Iowa. Matter of fact, they did beat them…in the first half. But you gotta play that second half and Pitt didn’t show up for that part. There’s a lot that can be said about the loss and I’m sure there will be. No sacks. No pressure on the QB. Predictable offense and horrible D-Back coverage. But the good news is this. They’re 3-1 and they’ve got the #1 rusher in the nation in James Conner. And a side note for ya — I met “Mr. Conner” at the Fed-Ex office in Oakland and trust me when I tell ya, he’s the beast you see on the screen. Every bit of 6’2” and 250 lbs.:09—Don’t lie. You had them written off after the death march last week in Baltimore, but last night your Pittsburgh Steelers bounced back to show the nation they are in fact the 11 and 5 playoff team I said they would be.:08—Speaking of the Steelers, and I was, all you Coach Tomlin haters, be you Black or White (Yeah, there are some of both) put the bus ticket back in your hip pocket. He ain’t going no-where!!!