Though anthrax has turned American Media Inc's Florida headquarters into a 6,300m2 white elephant and workers are reluctant to return, experts in decontamination say new products can make such buildings safe again. \n"I, personally, would go into the building," says general counsel Mike Kahane, whose office was located in the three-story Boca Raton center that housed six of the nation's largest tabloids. "But I know many people don't feel the same way I do." \nBut experts say they can deal with anthrax-contaminated buildings, noting that no one would dream of abandoning such landmarks as the US Senate office building and NBC headquarters at New York's 30 Rockefeller Plaza just because traces of the deadly bacteria were found there. \n"You can't walk away from these buildings all over the United States," says Joan Dougherty, president of AA Trauma Cleanup in Pompano, Florida, an environmental cleanup company. \nIf the old reliable bleach and water method were the only thing available, it would be nearly impossible to clean up all the anthrax without gutting the affected areas. But people in the decontamination business are pinning their hopes on a new product developed at a government laboratory with congressional backing. \nOfficials are conducting tests on a bacteria-killing agent developed by Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is run by Lockheed Martin Corp for the US Department of Energy. The product, known in the industry as the "SNL formulation," can be used as a liquid, gel, foam, aerosol or fog. \nAnthrax spores are 1 to 5 microns in size and act like a hard shell for the bacteria. They are resistant to heat, cold, drought and radiation exposure, and can persist for decades or longer in soil. \nThe Sandia product is designed to break down the coating and attack the DNA. Ron Gospodarski, president of Bio-Recovery Corp in New York, says anthrax spores tend to clump and settle on surfaces, where this agent can reach them. \n"These spores can't burrow themselves into walls and can't burrow themselves into the flooring or the ceiling or anything like that," he says. "So when we come in and fog or we come in and foam or we come in and put topical applications of the SNL formulation, it's going to kill everything that's there." \nAMI employees are worried about anthrax in the air ducts and on computer keyboards, like the one used by deceased photo editor Robert Stevens. Gospodarski says the fog particles are smaller than the spores and can go anyplace anthrax can. \n"We're pushing that into all the little crevices that even the micron spores of anthrax couldn't fit," he says. \nCleanup at AMI in Florida is a moot point for now; the building is still an active crime scene. Even if the US$4.6 million structure could be fogged, Kahane says a "significant number of employees don't want to go back." \nGospodarski and a team were planning to enter the ABC News offices at Central Park West to do some precautionary cleanup. They were armed with the old standard -- 10 percent bleach solution. \nDespite his confidence in the technology, Gospodarski says he can understand why people are afraid. \n"That's like saying, `OK, let's rebuild the World Trade Center towers,'" he says. "But does anybody want to have that office on the 102nd floor? I don't think many hands would go up."
SECRET OUT: Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung yesterday accidentally revealed that the infections occurred at the ministry’s Taoyuan General Hospital The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported the fifth COVID-19 case in a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital, where four other medical workers were confirmed to have been infected over the past week. The latest case is a nurse who had tested negative on Tuesday last week, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, told a news conference. However, on Thursday, she developed symptoms, such as nasal congestion and a cough, and a second test yesterday found that she was infected, Chen said. She is the head nurse of a ward where two
VIGILANCE: While two of the cases are family members of a nurse, there is no sign of community spread and the source of infection is identifiable, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported four new domestic COVID-19 cases associated with a cluster infection at a Taoyuan hospital. Since the first case was identified on Tuesday last week, five healthcare workers — two doctors and three nurses — at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Taoyuan General Hospital have tested positive for the virus. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that two of the four new cases are the husband and daughter of a nurse (case No. 863) who had earlier been confirmed to have COVID-19. The husband (case No. 864)
Don Quijote, the biggest discount store in Japan, is opening its first store in Taiwan today. The three-story Don Don Donki store in Taipei’s Ximending (西門町) area, which operates 24 hours a day, has already created 400 jobs, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said in a press release. Many Taiwanese, including Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), consider a trip to Don Quijote an essential stop in Japan. “I have been to Don Quijote at least 10 times myself,” Huang said yesterday at a news conference announcing the store’s opening. “They are rendering an important service, because we cannot travel
CHANGE OF GUARD: Hsiao Bi-khim’s attendance at Joe Biden’s inauguration will come as a boost to those in Taiwan who feared that the new US administration would be less friendly than that of Donald Trump to the nation Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) is to attend US President Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony at the US Capitol after she was invited by the US Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, a news release issued by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the US said last night. The news came as a surprise as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been reticent about the matter, while Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) members had accused the Democratic Progressive Party administration of hedging its bets on the Republican Party. Asked about when Hsiao received the invitation, the ministry did not