Breakthrough in assessing quarantine time

Canadian mathematical biologists, including Jianhong Wu, York Canada Research Chair in Applied Mathematics, have unveiled a breakthrough formula they said can predict whether someone with an infectious disease has been quarantined long enough to prevent passing along the illness, according to a CanWest News Service story published in the Calgary Herald June 30. The formula pinpoints whether hospital infection-control measures will be comprehensive enough to contain an outbreak, and how strict a quarantine need be to prevent releasing an infected individual into the community while the patient is still contagious. “Really, you’re trying to predict the effectiveness of quarantine when you don’t know much about the disease,” said Wu, leader of the team that developed the statistical model. “The formula is especially useful for dealing with emerging infectious diseases when there are so many unknown factors, and so little experience.” The formula, discussed publicly for the first time on June 29 in Banff, will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal of the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia.

Why Julian Fantino had to go

Don’t cry for [police] Chief Julian Fantino, said Kyle Grayson in a Toronto Star opinion piece June 30. Grayson, a postdoctoral fellow with the Canadian Consortium on Human Security at York’s Centre for International & Security Studies, added: “Above all else, he was a political opportunist who fell victim to his own managerial and ideological imperatives. His approach to policing was underscored by a myopic interpretation of how to control crime that rested on the contentious assumptions espoused by the right-wing American authors of law-and-order agendas. Thus, rather than seeking to address social factors that would prevent criminal activity, such as fixing the city’s tattered social safety net or revitalizing community programs for youth, Fantino stressed increasing the reactionary capability of the Toronto Police Services by hiring more police officers and procuring expensive equipment.”

Tough issues explored at York-Ipperwash symposium

The June 30 Toronto Star carried an article about the hot issues discussed at a symposium organized jointly by York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and the Ipperwash Inquiry, held at the Osgoode Professional Development Centre in Toronto. Political interference in the policing of protests is fraught with dangers,  University of Toronto law professor Kent Roach told the inquiry commission, which is looking into the police shooting of native protester Dudley George. “The danger here is that the politicians may be tougher on protest than the police,” he said.  Roach and five other academics had been asked to provide the inquiry, headed by Ontario Court Justice Sidney B. Linden, with theoretical papers that would help clarify the degree to which police are required to be free from political control in Canada.

Ottawa ‘addicted’ to airport rent revenues

Fred Lazar, economics professor at York’s Schulich School of Business and one of the biggest critics of the federal government on airport policy, says airport rents have created “unregulated and uncontrollable monopolies”, and that Ottawa is addicted to the revenues, said the June 7-13 issue of The Hill Times. Lazar figures that if Ottawa were to abolish the rents, user fees to airlines would be reduced by 42 per cent, said The Hill Times.

More election comments by York experts

As the media continued its focus on the recent election results, several York faculty members were asked their opinions. The Leader-Post (Regina) on June 30 picked up rcomments by James Laxer, political science professor in the Atkinson School of Social Sciences, on the minority Liberal government: “There will be a lot of manoeuvering, there will be dancing around, there will be a lot of rhetoric and there will be care taken not to bring the government down.” On CBC-TV’s “Canada Now” June 29, Laxer also said Prime Minister Paul Martin pitched his message to centre-left voters. On June 29, Ian Greene, political science professor in the Faculty of Arts, spoke on “Global News” about the election results’ impact on healthcare; and Edmund Fowler, retired Glendon political science professor, was on “Global News” June 29, saying it may be hard for the prime minister to push through his new deal for cities.

On air:

  • Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, political science professor in the Faculty of Arts, appeared on OMNI.2 (South Asian) on June 29, discussing current peace negotiations between India and Pakistan.
  • Saeed Rahnema, professor in the Atkinson School of Social Sciences, was on OMNI.2 (South Asian) June 29 with an analysis of the situation in Iraq.