Third-grader Kairi Okubo, 8, was struck by a van and killed on a crosswalk at an intersection in Tokyo’s Minato Ward in February last year. The driver was reportedly watching the car’s navigation system while behind the wheel. But his view was also partially blocked by opaque white temporary fencing and signs surrounding the construction site. “I am so sad about the loss of Kairi’s life,” said Yuzo Okubo, 47, Kairi’s father. “But I am happy to see changes, albeit small, taking shape to prevent similar accidents.” He said construction officials explained to him that they had walled off the area partly because they wanted to block machinery from being seen by passers-by and potential thieves. At Yuzo’s request, the contractor replaced the walls surrounding the site with transparent ones. “I would have wanted them to put safety ahead of everything else,” Yuzo said. “I think the see-through fencing walls are certainly preventing accidents. I want similar walls used at all work sites.” Transparent construction barriers are increasingly turning up across Tokyo and beyond. In the capital’s Setagaya Ward, work is under way to elevate the railroad tracks near a three-way intersection not far from Keio Meidaimae Station. There are no traffic signals or crosswalks in sight, and construction fencing around the perimeter of the work stretches for dozens of meters. But pedestrians are not concerned about oncoming vehicles thanks to the see-through walls. “I can walk here free of anxiety,” said a 71-year-old woman who was returning home after shopping. “(The see-through fencing) is helpful, because so many pedestrians here are hurrying toward the station,” said a 24-year-old food-delivery worker who passes this additional hints spot frequently on his motorbike. In March 2019, the Metropolitan Police Department began asking contractors who apply for road-use permission to erect transparent walls at construction sites as part of efforts to reduce traffic accidents. It came amid a rush of redevelopment this guy and construction projects in the runup to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. But the MPD stepped up the urgency of its calls after the accident that claimed young Kairi’s life. There are no accurate figures available on the number of transparent walls set up at work sites that face crossings and bends. But more than one Tokyo-based building-materials dealer told The Asahi Shimbun that orders have surged in recent years. “Contractors are coming to show more understanding,” said an official with the MPD traffic affairs division. “We will continue encouraging them to use see-through fencing walls.” But the official also warned the use of transparent walls alone does not ensure safety.


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‘This was preventable’: Cone Health sees increase in COVID patients GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Cone Health could need more staff to deal with a climbing COVID hospitalization rate. What’s happening today? Get your daily news wrap-up with the FOX8 newsletter. 100 people were hospitalized by the end of July, and Cone Health analysts predict the number of hospitalizations could double every 10 to 14 days. FOX8’s Tess Bargebuhr spoke with a doctor treating some of sickest COVID patients about their plan for an influx of them. “We’re handling the wave of patients with our staff, with current staff, without travel nurses, but we’re prepared to bring on more should it get to that point,” said Dr. Brent McQuaid, the lead COVID physician with Cone Health. He says the hospital has enough ventilators and negative pressure rooms for an expected spike in hospitalizations.  “As we’d seen declining numbers, we had not needed to staff things like our infusion center as frequently and as heavily as we had before. So we’ll need to provide more services for things like that,” McQuaid said. Cone Health reports 52 patients hospitalized as of midnight across the system.  This is compared to the peak on Jan. 12 when doctors and nurses were caring for 266 people.  Cone’s Green Valley Campus closed its doors March 5 after caring for more than 4,700 patients.   McQuaid says there are no plans to reopen the facility.  “We now have a very large number of negative pressure rooms throughout our health system that can handle a large number of patients,” he said. He’s seeing many of the same symptoms as last year: shortness of breath, muscle aches, fever and fatigue. what has changed is the age of the patients. Some of them are in their 50s.  FOX8 asked if doctors and nurses are getting frustrated treating people who chose not to get vaccinated.  “You have to understand you’re talking to a pulmonologist. So…I make my living by taking care of folks who have emphysema lung cancer. In healthcare, we deal with the consequences of folks’ decisions on a day-to-day basis,” McQuaid said. “I wouldn’t say that we’re angry. We’re certainly not. We still care for our patients.