Hurricane Irma Leaves at Least 10 Dead Across Northern Caribbean
The most potent Atlantic Ocean hurricane ever, Irma weakened only slightly Thursday morning and remained a powerful Category 5 storm with winds of 180 mph (285 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
The storm was increasingly likely to rip into heavily populated South Florida early Sunday, prompting the governor to declare an emergency and officials to impose mandatory evacuation orders for parts of the Miami metro area and the Florida Keys. Forecasters said it could punish the entire Atlantic coast of Florida and rage on into Georgia and South Carolina.
"This could easily be the most costly storm in U.S. history, which is saying a lot considering what just happened two weeks ago," said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami, alluding to the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Relatively Low Harvey Death Toll is 'Astounding' to Experts
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Harvey has so far killed at least 70 people who drowned in floods, got crushed by trees and died during power outages — a surprisingly low toll that experts say reflects heeded warnings, swift action by first responders and volunteers, and no small amount of luck.
"It was astounding that we didn't have a much larger loss of life," said Phil Bedient, co-director of a Rice University effort to research severe storms and evacuations. "It is a relatively low number for as big a storm as this was."
The system intensified from an ordinary storm to a Category 4 hurricane in just over two days before striking Texas on Aug. 25 and dropping 52 inches of rain while parked over the Houston area.
Authorities and experts say lessons learned from previous disasters made a major difference. Floodgates installed around hospitals kept the power on. Search-and-rescue crews raced toward the coast ahead of time. Houston leaders did not call for a mass evacuation in an area with 6.5 million people, keeping them off highways that would ultimately be underwater.
On-The-Job Deaths Occurring at a Higher Rate Among Older Employees
Older people are dying on the job at a higher rate than workers overall, even as the rate of workplace fatalities decreases, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal statistics.
It's a trend that's particularly alarming as baby boomers reject the traditional retirement age of 65 and keep working. The U.S. government estimates that by 2024, older workers will account for 25 percent of the labor market.
Getting old — and the physical changes associated with it — "could potentially make a workplace injury into a much more serious injury or a potentially fatal injury," said Ken Scott, an epidemiologist with the Denver Public Health Department.
Gerontologists say those changes include gradually worsening vision and hearing impairment, reduced response time, balance issues and chronic medical or muscle or bone problems such as arthritis.
In 2015, about 35 percent of the fatal workplace accidents involved a worker 55 and older — or 1,681 of the 4,836 fatalities reported nationally.
U.S. Hospitals Set Record for Fast Heart Attack Care
There's never been a better time to be treated for a heart attack. U.S. hospitals have set a record for how quickly they open blocked arteries, averaging under one hour for the first time since these results have been tracked.
More than 93 percent of patients now have their arteries opened within the recommended 90 minutes of arrival.
"Things have definitely improved" from a decade ago, when less than half of heart attack patients were treated that fast, said Dr. Fred Masoudi, a University of Colorado cardiologist who led a recent report examining response times.
It's based on records from about 85 percent of U.S. hospitals that do the artery procedure, angioplasty . Through a blood vessel in the groin or an arm, doctors guide a tube to the blockage causing the heart attack. They inflate a tiny balloon to flatten the clog, and leave behind a mesh tube called a stent to prop the artery open.