Art for episode 1225

1225: Toilet Preppers

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 0m
March 15th, 2020
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Executive Producers: Sir Matthew Janiszewski, Grand Duke of the Pacific Northwest Sir Dwayne Melancon, Baronettes Dame Laura, Sir Kevin McLaughlin Earl of Luna, Landan Dallyn

Associate Executive Producers: Kayla Ingraham, Emily Gaither, Levi Prinzing, Sofia Pandelea, Bob Ocegueda, Justin Monroe

Cover Artist: Tyler Brown

Chapters

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Woodstock
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TODAY
Beware the Ides of March!
Debate tonight
Cheer on Netflix
Kung Flu
Friends and Family calling ME to alleviate their fears
Drive Through Testing FTW!
Flatten The Curve was spot on
Influenza Reporting TimeLine
Feb 21 2020 - Flu Season That's Sickened 26 Million May Be at Its Peak
At least 14,000 people have died and 250,000 have already been hospitalized during the 2019-2020 flu season, according to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 26 million Americans have fallen ill with flu-like symptoms.
"There is a deadly respiratory virus that is circulating throughout the United States, and it is at its peak. It is not novel coronavirus," said Dr. Pritish Tosh, an infectious disease specialist with the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn.
This flu season has come in two waves and has been particularly hard on children, the experts said.
The season started early, in October, with an unusual wave of influenza B virus.
Influenza B is less likely than other strains to mutate and become more virulent. That means it poses a greater threat to young people than to older folks, who may have gained immunity because they encountered the strain before.
2019-2020 U.S. Flu Season: Preliminary Burden Estimates | CDC
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 00:00
CDC estimates* that, from October 1, 2019, through March 7, 2020, there have been:
*Because influenza surveillance does not capture all cases of flu that occur in the U.S., CDC provides these estimated ranges to better reflect the larger burden of influenza. These estimates are calculated based on CDC's weekly influenza surveillance data and are preliminary.
This web page provides weekly, preliminary estimates of the cumulative in-season numbers of flu illnesses, medical visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States. CDC does not know the exact number of people who have been sick and affected by influenza because influenza is not a reportable disease in most areas of the U.S. However, CDC has estimated the burden of flu since 2010 using a mathematical model that is based on data collected through the U.S. Influenza Surveillance System, a network that covers approximately 8.5% of the U.S. population (~27 million people).
*Based on data from October 01, 2018 through January 19, 2019Symptomatic IllnessesMedical VisitsHospitalizationsWeek 2 ending January 12, 2019 9,790,000 '' 11,400,0004,580,000 '' 5,420,000113,000 '' 136,000LimitationsThe estimates of the cumulative burden of seasonal influenza are subject to several limitations.
First, the cumulative rate of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations reported during the season may be an under-estimate of the rate at the end of the season because of identification and reporting delays.
Second, rates of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations were adjusted for the frequency of influenza testing and the sensitivity of influenza diagnostic assays. However, data on testing practices during the 2019-2020 season are not available in real-time. CDC used data on testing practices from the past influenza seasons as a proxy. Burden estimates will be updated at a later date when data on contemporary testing practices become available.
Third, estimates of influenza-associated illness and medical visits are based on data from prior seasons, which may not be accurate if the seriousness of illness or patterns of care-seeking have changed.
Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat does the cumulative burden of influenza for the 2019-2020 season mean?The cumulative burden of influenza is an estimate of the number of people who have been sick, seen a healthcare provider, been hospitalized, or died as a result of influenza since October 01, 2018. CDC does not know the exact number of people who have been sick and affected by influenza because influenza is not a reportable disease in most areas of the United States. However, these numbers are estimated using a mathematical model, based on observed rates of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations.
How does CDC estimate the cumulative burden of seasonal influenza?Preliminary estimates of the cumulative burden of seasonal influenza during the 2019-2020 season in the United States are based on crude rates of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations, reported through the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET), which were adjusted for the frequency of influenza testing during recent prior seasons and the sensitivity of influenza diagnostic assays. Rates of hospitalization were then multiplied by previously estimated ratio of hospitalizations to symptomatic illnesses, and frequency of seeking medical care to calculate symptomatic illnesses, medical visits, and deaths associated with seasonal influenza, respectively.
Why does the estimate of cumulative burden change each week?The estimates of cumulative burden of seasonal influenza are considered preliminary and may change each week as new laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations are reported to CDC. New reports include both new admissions that have occurred during the reporting week and also patients admitted in previous weeks that have been newly reported to CDC.
How does the number of flu hospitalizations estimated so far this season compare with previous end-of-season hospitalization estimates?The number of hospitalizations estimated so far this season is lower than end-of-season total hospitalization estimates for any season since CDC began making these estimates. This table also summarizes all estimated influenza disease burden, by season, in U.S. from 2010-11 through 2017-18.
Preliminary Cumulative Estimates of Hospitalizations in the U.S. 2019-2020 Flu Season *These estimates are preliminary and based on data from CDC's weekly influenza surveillance reports summarizing key influenza activity indicators.
Estimated number of influenza-associated hospitalizations
The y-axis extends from 0 to 1 million.
The x-axis is a timeline starting October 5, 2019 and extending to May 30, 2020.
There is a single blue-shaded curve labeled with ''2019/20''.
There are several other lines on the right side of the graph under Total hospitalizations at end of past seasons. The lines are labeled, from top to bottom, as 2018/19, 2017/18, 2014/15, 2016/17, 2012/13, 2013/14, 2015/16, 2010/11, and 2011/12 and represent the estimated burden for these seasons. This allows for the comparison of the current season to past seasons.
What Will the Rest of the 2019-2020 Flu Season Be Like? | Time
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 00:04
F lu season is always unpredictable. Different viral strains circulate each year, which makes forecasting the disease's spread'--and formulating the annual flu vaccine'--an educated guessing game.
Even so, the 2019-2020 flu season has been particularly unusual. Influenza B, the viral strain that usually circulates toward the end of flu season, instead emerged first this year, shifting usual transmission patterns. A vaccine mismatch and reduced immunity to influenza B may have contributed to the early and severe start of this flu season.
What does that mean for the months ahead? TIME asked Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist who leads domestic surveillance for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s influenza division.
What's the difference between influenza A and B?Influenza A and B are the two primary strains of the virus that cause illness in humans. They both cause classic flu symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose, chills, body aches and fatigue, and it's nearly impossible to tell which one you have without a lab test, Brammer says. Influenza A viruses are the only type known to cause pandemics, because they change rapidly and affect both humans and animals. Influenza B is slower-adapting and typically present only in humans.
Within each type, there are further subcategories. Influenza A subtypes are categorized by the combination of proteins on the virus' surface; the two most common in humans are H1N1 and H3N2. Influenza B, meanwhile, is divided into two lineages, Victoria and Yamagata.
So far this season, influenza B Victoria viruses have caused the most lab-confirmed flu diagnoses, followed by influenza A H1N1 viruses, according to CDC data. Both of those strains are known to primarily affect children and younger adults, rather than the elderly, Brammer says. Since older adults account for most flu deaths each year, that breakdown explains why lots of people have gotten sick with the flu (9.7 million and counting, according to the CDC) but a relatively small portion have been hospitalized or died (87,000 and 4,800, respectively). By contrast, about 61,000 people died during the 2018-2019 flu season.
Brammer says it's not totally clear why influenza B caused so many early infections this season, but it may be because the strain has been relatively scarce in recent years so ''you don't have a lot of immunity in the population.'' The type making the rounds this year may simply have evolved to be good at spreading, she adds. ''It's flu,'' Brammer says. ''It just does things that you're not expecting.''
Is the flu shot working well this year?The 2019-2020 flu shot was formulated to protect against strains of both influenza A and B. It's too soon to say exactly how effective the flu vaccine will be this year, Brammer says. Early indications suggest the vaccine is quite well-matched to circulating H1N1 and B Yamagata viruses'-- but much less so against the widespread influenza B Victoria viruses. That, too, may help explain the early-season diagnoses.
Despite the unusual transmission pattern this year, Brammer says most people do not need to get a second vaccine for the latter half of the season. (Children younger than nine who are getting vaccinated for the first time are the exception, as they're supposed to get two doses.) But those who haven't been vaccinated yet, should.
While it is possible to get the flu even if you get the shot, vaccination reduces your risk of getting sick and may lessen the severity of symptoms if you do.
Will the rest of this flu season be just as bad?
It's hard to predict what will happen later in the season, Brammer says, but she cautions that weeks, if not months, of flu season are still to come. ''Flu never really goes away entirely; there's just fewer and fewer cases during the warmer months,'' she says. ''It's not unusual to see a fair amount of flu into April and May.''
One promising sign: Nationwide, the share of doctor visits related to flu-like illnesses dropped from 7% to 5.8% during the week ending Jan. 4, according to CDC data. The share of lab samples testing positive for influenza also decreased from 26.4% to 23.3%.
What should I do if I have the flu?While most mild cases of the flu clear on their own, people with more severe symptoms or those who are at high risk of complications'--such as young children, elderly adults, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems'--may want to take doctor-prescribed antivirals that can speed up recovery time. These medications work particularly well if taken shortly after symptoms begin.
Whether you take medication or not, the CDC recommends staying home, resting and steering clear of other people until symptoms subside.
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Write to Jamie Ducharme at jamie.ducharme@time.com.
Influenza B Strain Dominating Early in the 2020 Flu Season
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 00:08
Dec. 30, 2019 -- This year's flu season started with a twist.
Normally, it starts around October and lasts through March or April, with the A strain of influenza dominating during the early months and the B strain showing up near the end.
But for the 2019-20 flu season, the B strain made a surprise early appearance.
The B strain is less complicated than the A strain and doesn't change, or mutate, as much, the CDC says. It's divided into two families, Yamagata and Victoria, with the large majority of American cases being Victoria. Type B flu only affects humans and doesn't cause pandemics, although it is seen as more dangerous to young children.
Type A has many variations, mutates all the time, and is responsible for flu pandemics. Type A can also infect animals. It's usually passed from human to human through airborne germs, but animals can pass the illness to humans, with wild birds commonly acting as the hosts for this virus.
If you've got the flu, you probably won't be able to tell which strain caused it. The symptoms may be a little milder for the B strain, but overall, they don't differ much: a cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and sometimes fever. The recommendations are the same, and the CDC says that everybody over 6 months old should get the flu vaccine, which will protect you against type A and type B. Medications, such as Tamiflu, work against both strains as well, the CDC says.
Experts don't know why the B strain leads the way this flu season, says William Schaffner, MD, a professor of infectious diseases and preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
''This season, that whole paradigm has been turned on its head,'' he says. ''This year is way odd.''
But every flu season is a little different, he says. Last flu season, the United States had back-to-back surges of A strain activity, with very little B activity.
Parents of small children should be concerned because the B strain is proving more dangerous for kids. A study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows the B virus killed proportionately more children than the A virus from 2010 to 2016.
Through the first 3 weeks of December, three children have died from flu-related illnesses, all of which were linked to type B, the CDC reported Friday. The CDC weekly flu tracker says that of Dec. 21, 22 children aged 16 and under have died this flu season, with 16 deaths associated with the B and six with the A strain.
Six children are known to have died in Texas from the flu, state health officials say. And the Oregonian newspaper in Portland reported that two children died in Oregon and one in Washington state.
Schaffner says he doesn't know why the B strain is affecting kids so harshly, but he suspects that children have come in contact with the A strain before and built up some protection. ''They've had less opportunity to experience the B strain,'' he says.
Schaffner offered two pieces of advice for parents:
It's never too late to have a child -- or the entire family -- vaccinated. If your child hasn't been vaccinated this year, get it done soon. The vaccine takes about 2 weeks to fully kick in, he says, and it protects against the A and B strains. If there's flu in your community and your child gets a respiratory illness, don't hesitate to call your health care provider. They may be able to treat the problem before it turns into influenza. Other groups that are vulnerable to the B strain of the flu are people over 65; people with other illnesses, such as heart disease or diabetes; and pregnant women.
''Any woman pregnant right now should be vaccinated,'' Schaffner says. ''It's safe. Women who get flu who are pregnant are more likely to have the complications of flu.''
Another benefit is that the flu vaccine protection passes through the placenta to newborns, one of the populations most vulnerable to influenza, he says.
Italy Hug a Chinese Person (Belt and Road Command)
Expect a Corona Baby Boom
Anonymous at John Hopkins
Lastly: Adam is right, Johns Hopkins is Spook
Central, though I have not heard anything about involvement from US
intelligence agencies. What I have heard: for the past few months, my
department of the hospital has been dealing with the fallout from at least 10
research doctors who were found to be spying for China. One of them was
specifically brought over with money from an endowment (set up via charitable
donation) that is specifically to be used to bring over post-doc fellows from
mainland China. There has been a push for more funds like this to be set up in
the department, with the loudest voices coming from docs who are Chinese
nationals.
The Great Toilet Paper Scare of 1973
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 07:15
For most Americans, 1973 was marred by shortages. In the year's first few months, the stock market crashed and lost over 45% of its value -- one of the worst declines in history. In October, an Arab oil embargo sparked an ongoing crisis that saw gas rise from $3 per barrel to nearly $12 per barrel. Quietly, the U.S. spiraled into a period of economic stagnation and malaise it hadn't seen since the Great Depression (albeit, much less serious).
Gasoline, electricity, and onions were heavily reported as goods and services that were in limited supply, and Americans cultivated a ''shortage psychology.'' Then, right in the midst of this economic turmoil, a toilet paper scare ignited a communal panic attack. Perhaps the most memorable shortage in a decade of shortages, it involved government officials, a famous television personality, a respected congressman, droves of reporters, and industrial executives -- but it was the consumers themselves who were ultimately blamed.
Like most scares, the toilet paper fiasco all started with an unsubstantiated rumor. In November of 1973, several news agencies reported a tissue shortage in Japan. Initially, the release went unnoticed and nobody seemed to put much stock in it -- save for one Harold V. Froelich. Froelich, a 41-year-old Republican congressman, presided over a heavily-forested district in Wisconsin and had recently been receiving complaints from constituents about a reduced stream of pulp paper. On November 16th, he released his own press statement -- ''The Government Printing Office is facing a serious shortage of paper'' -- to little fanfare.
However, a few weeks later, Froelich uncovered a document that indicated the government's National Buying Center had fallen far short of securing bids to provide toilet paper for its troops and bureaucrats. On December 11, he issued another, more serious press release:
''The U.S. may face a serious shortage of toilet paper within a few months...we hope we don't have to ration toilet tissue...a toilet paper shortage is no laughing matter. It is a problem that will potentially touch every American.''
In the climate of shortages, oil scares, and economic duress, Froelich's claim was absorbed without an iota of doubt, and the media ran wild with it. Wire services, radio hosts, and international correspondents all sensationalized the story; words like ''may'' and ''potentially'' were lost in translation, and the shortage was reported as a doomed truth. Television stations aired footage from the Scott Paper Company -- one of the ten largest producers in the U.S. -- of toilet paper rolls shooting off the production line.
The ground had been set for a consumer panic; all it needed was a spark to ignite it. When Johnny Carson cracked a joke about toilet paper on his television talk show, things got serious. ''You know, we've got all sorts of shortages these days,'' he told 20 million viewers. ''But have you heard the latest? I'm not kidding. I saw it in the papers. There's a shortage of toilet paper!''
Absolute madness ensued. Millions of Americans swarmed grocery outlets and hoarded all the toilet paper they could get their hands on. ''I heard it on the news, so I brought 15 extra rolls,'' one customer told The New York Times . ''For my baby shower,'' said another, ''I told my party guests to bring toilet paper.'' In the chaos, company officers and industry leaders told the public to remain calm; store owners ordered astronomical quantities of toilet paper, and set limits of two rolls per customer. Nobody seemed to play by the rules.
''If people wouldn't hoard and get so excited about this, everything would be okay,'' a supermarket executive told the St. Petersburg Times . He subsequently increased his toilet paper from 39 cents to 69 per roll, but customers still cleared his shelves each day. Merchandisers struggled to re-stock supplies, as the boxcars they relied on for shipments were in high demand by thousands of other stores.
For four long months, toilet paper was a rare commodity. It was bartered and traded, and a black market even emerged before the whole ordeal subsided in February of 1974. Slowly but surely, the American public realized that there had never been a shortage to begin with: rather, it had been artificially created by a pop culture frenzy.
In the aftermath, Johnny Carson received the brunt of the blame for propagating the shortage myth and issued a rather serious apology on his comedy talk show. ''I dont want to be remembered as the man who created a false toilet paper scare,'' he told viewers, directly facing the camera. ''I just picked up the item from the paper and enlarged it somewhat...there is no shortage.'' (Unfortunately, it wouldn't be his last run-in with the toilet industry: in 1976, he was embroiled in a lawsuit with a porta-potty company named '' Here's Johnny .'')
As for an explanation of what induced such panic, marketing professor Steuart Britt later enumerated on a theory, which is probably more relevant than ever in today's digital age:
''Everybody likes to be the first to know something. It's the did-you-hear-that syndrome. In the old days, a rumor took a long time to spread -- enough time to let people discover its validity. Now all it takes is one TV personality to joke about it.''
Last year, the Venezuelan government faced a similar crisis. When reports surfaced that the government's price controls may lead to a lack of toilet paper, citizens panicked and induced a shortage. In Caracas, the country's capital, lines flowed down the streets when new shipments of rolls came in. The situation got so out of hand that President Jorge Arreaza occupied a toilet paper factory, and issued a statement eerily reminiscent of America's situation in 1983. "[We] will not allow hoarding or failures in the production and distribution of essential commodities," he said. "There is no deficiency in production."
This post was written by Zachary Crockett. Follow him on Twitter here, or Google Plus here.
New Israeli app to notify users of potential coronavirus exposure - The Jerusalem Post
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 07:14
The app is already available on Android and will soon be rolled out for iPhones. However, it does not work retroactively, so it is important that users download it as soon as possible. The Track Virus app allows users to see if they had crossed paths with any confirmed coronavirus cases.
(photo credit: UNITED HATZALAH')
A new app developed in Israel in partnership with United Hatzalah will alert users if they have been in proximity with a confirmed
coronavirus patient.
The app, called Track Virus, works by tracking the user's location since it was downloaded, crosschecking their path with those of confirmed coronavirus cases through the use of data listed by the Health Ministry. Users will receive a notification should they have been near a case.
All information gathered in the app is stored anonymously on each phone and is not gathered into a cloud storage system. No identification is needed for downloading the app.
The app is already available on Android and will soon be rolled out for iPhones. However, it does not work retroactively, so it is important that users download it as soon as possible.
''As the number of coronavirus patients rises the harder it becomes for the public to keep track of all the different places that they have all been and the updates from the Health Ministry. Additionally, people often have a hard time recalling exactly where they have been and when,'' United Hatzalah of Israel's vice president of operations Dov Maisel explained in a statement. ''The app solves both of these problems.
''The app is updated in real-time whenever the Health Ministry issues notification regarding the whereabouts of a person confirmed to be a carrier of the virus. It crosschecks all the paths of the diagnosed patients with the whereabouts of the user. If the user has been to any of the locations identified by the Health Ministry, then the user will receive a specialized notification from the app. The user will then know that they are in danger of having been exposed to the virus and can act accordingly.''
''We are very excited that a large organization such as United Hatzalah has partnered with us in tracking and hopefully stopping the spread of the coronavirus by using advanced smartphone technology,'' the app's creator Uri Feldman said. ''Starting on Sunday, tens of thousands of users will receive the necessary information regarding the whereabouts of confirmed coronavirus carriers faster, in a more up-to-date manner and with more accuracy.''
The app can be downloaded on the Google Play store or on United Hatzalah's website.
The coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, but has since spread all over the world, infecting well over 100,000 people and killing thousands. Israel has close to 200 cases at the time of writing, with tens of thousands of people in quarantine.
In an effort to keep track of the number of domestic cases, the Health Ministry compiled different data together into a
map, which shows where coronavirus exposures have been recorded, as well as which flights, if any, that infected passengers have traveled on.
Tzvi Joffre contributed to this reprort.var cont = ` Sign up for The Jerusalem Post Premium Plus for just $5 Upgrade your reading experience with an ad-free environment and exclusive content Join Now >
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UK will have power to order people to quarantine - health secretary
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 06:39
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock leaves after a weekly cabinet meeting at Downing Street in London, Britain March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will have the power to force people to quarantine if necessary as part of its strategy to fight coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC television on Sunday.
''We are going to take the powers to make sure that we can quarantine people if they are a risk to public health,'' he said. ''I doubt we will need to use it very much because people are being very responsible and people need to be responsible.''
David Icke | REPORT: Gen Z Kids Have Nicknamed Coronavirus 'Boomer Remover'
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 06:30
'According to reports on social media, schoolkids have begun to nickname the deadly coronavirus the ''boomer remover'' after it has been revealed that the vast majority of the fatalities from the disease are elderly patients.
In the past 24 hours, several memes and posts concerning the new nickname have appeared, deriding potential responses from older internet users.
The tweet which brought the new trend to the public's attention was captioned: ''I have been informed by a relative who is a middle school teacher that students are now referring to coronavirus as the ''boomer remover''.''
The viral tweet, with almost half a million likes, was introduced by B.W. Carlin, an ex-Sports Illustrated employee, who now works at the XFL according to his Twitter bio.
He then joked about the wit of middle-schoolers, going on to say: ''You can absolutely always rely on 11-13 year olds with no understanding of the world to provide levity. Without fail.''
Read more:
REPORT: Gen Z Kids Have Nicknamed Coronavirus 'Boomer Remover' Did you like this article?Thank you for your vote!
Panic Buying: Why Has Coronavirus Pandemic Turned People Into Toilet Paper Hoarders? - Sputnik International
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 06:48
People around the world are feverishly stockpiling toilet paper amid the COVID-19 outbreak. International experts in psychology have attempted to explain why the commodity has unexpectedly turned into a hot item.
The coronavirus outbreak, which is continuing to gain pace around the world, has not only cut off global supply chains, nixed international travel and sent large-cap stock benchmarks low but also wiped out retail shelves with toilet paper being the top selling item.
While the high demand for hand sanitisers, medical face masks, and disinfecting wipes is at least somehow understandable given that the virus is characterised by a runny nose, sore throat, and a cough as initial symptoms, there is no clear explanation for the mysterious disappearance of toilet paper from the shelves in China, Britain, Australia, the US, and elsewhere. Meanwhile, the media say that the recent trend has already forced stores to limit purchases of the much needed item.
Control Deprivation & Social Media Pics The reports of toilet paper shortages have triggered a lot of memes on social media but fell short of answering the question as to what is behind buyers' behaviour.
'‹According to Andy Yap, a professor of organisational behaviour at the Singapore campus of the INSEAD business school, COVID-19 "threatens our sense of control, which led to similar patterns of panic buying all over the world". It is "control deprivation" that leads people to look "for some illusory patterns" and force them to feverishly buy toilet paper.
I was laughing at people stockpiling toilet roll.. But now that I actually need to buy some, it's getting a bit beyond a joke. Even the kleenex is all gone. Not happy. pic.twitter.com/Zql9wva7IO
'-- Rob (@ViewdataUK) March 14, 2020'‹The professor notes that one should not underestimate the influence of social media with vivid images and videos featuring panic buying of toilet rolls. When one sees those images, one feels the need to engage in the very same behaviour, he explains.
"We did not observe this during SARs because there wasn't social media back then", Yap believes.Nadine Kaslow, professor of psychiatry and behavioural services at the Emory Medical School, and chief psychologist of the Grady Health System, agrees that that the panic buying is an understandable response to the coronavirus outbreak as people are feeling that things are out of their control. She warns, however, that there needs to be a balance between appropriate action and "over-reaction" which is buying a year's supply of toilet paper.
Consumer psychologist Dr Paul Harrison echoes Kaslow by saying that while people, particularly those living in developed countries, have long taken for granted effective health systems, security and safety, they are now eyeing nothing short of an "existential crisis" and feeling like they are losing control. As they are yearning for the ability to manage the processes they have resorted to panic buying.
Established Habits Force People to Stockpile Toilet TissueTan Ern Ser, associate professor of sociology at the National University of Singapore, offers yet another explanation. According to him, toilet paper belongs to one of two basic categories of items '' i.e. consumption and personal hygiene '' people with established lifestyle habits need in their everyday life.
"I believe the usage of toilet paper can be rather high, and hence they felt the need to stock up or build up a buffer, which would help to reduce anxiety, unless people eventually learn from those who practice using water after they have cleared their bowels, and substitute toilet paper with water, thereby establishing a new social practice", the professor notes. "In which case, they may turn to panic storage of water, should there be water rationing".'‹'Fear' Makes Toilet Rolls a Sought After CommodityGordon Asmundson, a psychology professor at the University of Regina, Canada, who has been researching the impacts of fear and anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, says that "fear" could be the major reason why many people have become toilet paper hoarders.
"We are all currently faced with a fair degree of threat to our health and a large amount of uncertainty about what needs to be done to stop COVID-19", he says. "The unfortunate thing about fear is that it too is contagious and typically spreads faster than a virus. Fear leads to emotion-based decision making, and we are seeing this in the grocery stores".The fuss surrounding the global buying spree of toilet paper has created a false sense of urgency, he opines. To illustrate his point the psychology professor notes that much in the same vein people running toward a fire exit don't typically stop to ask why everyone is running.
Empty Toilet Roll Shelves are Especially ConspicuousDebra Grace, consumer psychology professor of Griffith University, Australia, and Baruch Fischhoff, a psychologist and professor of the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University, suggest that the truth of the matter is that there are no substitutes for toilet paper and therefore its shortage has become so conspicuous prompting consumer anxiety.
'‹"I believe that when news of the virus began to hit the media, there were a small proportion of people who over-reacted and went to the supermarket and stocked up on everything - not just toilet paper", Grace says. "However, as toilet paper packs are quite large, then the sale of say 20 large packs will become very noticeable on the shelves because the shelves will start to look empty".The first thing shoppers noticed were empty spaces where the toilet paper is sold which they perceived as a pending shortage of toilet paper. They started buying it en masse and the frenzy was further fueled by the media, according to the academics.
"It would be useful to hear assurances that the supply chain problems have been fixed '-- and that all the needed toilet paper will be in the stores soon, if that is true. Looking at the empty shelves, there is no way to know", Fischhoff presumes.
Global Media Outlets are Fanning the AnxietyNeil Greenberg, professor of defence mental health at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College London and President of the UK Psychological Trauma Society, echoes his fellow academics by saying that the media of course has a role in creating the people's anxiety. As a result, what has always been a sort of a survival instinct blew out of all proportion when people were forced into quarantine, he says.
"It is hard to predict quite what will be needed to be able to successfully navigate a period of quarantine and so some element of toilet paper and pasta buying actually makes sense. What makes less sense is stockpiling above and beyond what is likely to be needed for the period of quarantine", he emphasises urging people "to believe factual information only from trusted sources and not to overly expose yourself to continuous media articles which make you anxious".Why People Around Globe Demonstrate Same BehaviourJill Klein, professor of marketing at Melbourne Business School and a Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Medical School, echoes the Japanese professor, referring to the "social contagion" phenomenon.
To explain her point she offers an example of passengers being tossed around during turbulence: "One of the first things people do is they look at other passengers to see, should I be scared, should I be worried", she says. "And if everybody else is just continuing watching their movies or reading their books, then you decide, oh, there's nothing to be worried about".
However, if other people are looking really scared then one defines the situation as really threatening and difficult, she says, adding that a similar sort of thing is now happening in supermarkets around the world.
"Unfortunately, this causes all kinds of problems", Klein continues. "You know, if you buy 64 rolls of toilet paper and you are only going to need 8 at a certain period of time, that leaves somebody with no toilet paper and that's a problem".Ridiculous scenes in Tesco Colney Hatch this morning. Shelves cleared like there's been a riot. The selfishness of some people filling their trolleys with multiple packs and leaving none for others is staggering. (Plus so much for getting here early to avoid crowded spaces.) pic.twitter.com/CIhJexaYul
'-- Michelle Davies (@M_Davieswrites) March 14, 2020'‹Kazuya Nakayachi, a professor at the Psychology Department of Doshisha University, Japan, echoes Jill Klein by outlining three major stages of a contagious social behaviour. First, a rumour emerges; second, being uncertain what to do people resort to "conforming behaviour", i.e. taking the same actions of the reference group; third, the rumour snowballs into a real problem, since people buy a larger amount of the commodity than usual.
Meanwhile, supermarkets call upon shoppers to stop buying more than they need as they can leave others without much-needed goods, including hot button items like toilet rolls.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
Debbie Birx, AIDS Expert, To Help U.S. Coronavirus Response : NPR
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 14:53
U.S. global AIDS coordinator Debbie Birx was named as Vice President Pence's point person on the coronavirus response on Thursday. Riccardo Savi/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Riccardo Savi/Getty Images U.S. global AIDS coordinator Debbie Birx was named as Vice President Pence's point person on the coronavirus response on Thursday.
Riccardo Savi/Getty Images Updated at 5 :45 p.m.
The White House sought to show it was shoring up its efforts to corral the spread of coronavirus on Thursday, naming an internationally recognized HIV/AIDS expert as its new coronavirus response coordinator.
Debbie Birx is a State Department ambassador-at-large who works on global health diplomacy issues. Vice President Pence said Birx would be detailed to his office.
President Trump put Pence in charge of the response after the stock market plunged and federal health officials warned that Americans should prepare for disruptions if the new COVID-19 coronavirus worsens in the United States.
The issue has quickly become political, and Democrats in Congress and on the campaign trail have panned Trump for minimizing the risks and failing to appoint a "czar" to lead to the response.
Birx will also join Trump's coronavirus task force, led by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, which is charged with responding to the virus. On Thursday, Pence also bolstered its ranks by adding Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trump's economic adviser Larry Kudlow '-- signaling concerns about the growing economic threat posed by the virus. Surgeon General Jerome Adams will also join the task force, Pence said.
Pence toured the Health and Human Services operations center with Secretary Alex Azar after a coronavirus task force meeting. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption
toggle caption Andrew Harnik/AP Pence toured the Health and Human Services operations center with Secretary Alex Azar after a coronavirus task force meeting.
Andrew Harnik/AP Birx directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's global HIV/AIDS division before she became the U.S. global AIDS coordinator in 2014.
Her new role was applauded by former President Barack Obama's Ebola response coordinator Ron Klain, who was less formally known as the "Ebola czar." But Klain '-- a close adviser to former Vice President and current Democratic primary candidate Joe Biden '-- noted there are now layers of top responders to the virus.
Amb. Brix is great. But who, exactly, is in charge? Her? Pence? Azar?
'-- Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) February 27, 2020Pence sought to make clear on Thursday that he was in charge. "I'm leading the task force, will continue to rely on the secretary's role as chairman of the task force and the leader of Health and Human Services," Pence said after meeting with the task force.
"But the president wanted to make it clear to the American people that we're going to bring a whole-of-government approach to this," he said.
2020
Sanders names Jesse Jackson as special adviser to his campaign - CBS News
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 23:08
Bernie Sanders has named Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. as a special adviser to his campaign. Jackson, who ran for president in 1984 and 1988 and is a prominent civil rights activist, endorsed Sanders in Michigan last weekend.
"I'm humbled and proud to have Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. by my side in the fight to expand voting rights, create a single-payer health care system, and finally deliver full social and economic equality for those who have been left behind," Sanders said in a tweet on Saturday.
In a statement last weekend, Jackson said Joe Biden's campaign did not reach out to him or ask for his support. Sanders, to the contrary, did. As mayor of Burlington, Vermont, Sanders backed Jackson in his 1988 presidential campaign, when Biden was also a candidate.
Jackson said Sanders made several commitments to him, including introducing a constitutional amendment in Congress next week on the right to vote, expanding Pell Grants, nominating an African-American woman to the Supreme Court and naming black women to his cabinet if he is elected president.
The civil rights leader also challenged Sanders to select an African-American woman as his running mate, which Jackson said the senator would give "the highest consideration."
Jackson's support may come too late for Sanders, who has fallen short in several recent primaries. Sanders and Biden are facing off in the first one-on-one debate on Sunday.
Elites
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VIDEO - Journalist goes undercover at "wet markets", where the Coronavirus started | 60 Minutes Australia - YouTube
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 07:12
VIDEO-Coronavirus | How Taiwan deals with coronavirus: Tobie Openshaw - YouTube
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 06:04
VIDEO-Bill Maher Hosts Final 'Real Time' Before Show Goes Dark Over Coronavirus Concerns '' Latest Entertainment News | Top Celebrity News, Hollywood Headlines
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 23:11
Fans of Bill Maher's ''Real Time'' won't be seeing his HBO show for awhile, with Maher telling viewers that this will be his final show for awhile due to the encroaching coronavirus pandemic.
''So, I have never seen events move faster than during this last week,'' he said, speaking to an empty studio. ''As I said before, or maybe I didn't, so let me say it now: We are off next week.''
As he explained, the show had planned to go on hiatus for a week ''in about two weeks, but we said let's do it next week since everyone is freaking out and we want to see where this goes.''
RELATED: Trevor Noah Postponing All Upcoming Tour Dates In Response To Coronavirus Pandemic
Maher expressed his hope that the show returns ''the week after that,'' but wasn't making any promises.
In his ''Real Time'' monologue, Maher joked that '''Surreal Time' is what we're renaming this show. This country went from zero to crazy in about three seconds this week.''
He also referenced the lack of a studio audience for the first time in the show's history, explaining that ''we are trying to be on the safe side here and people don't want to come, around me, I could be the carrier.''
Story continues below
He added: ''Now, are we being overly cautious? Yes, but appropriately so, we don't know what this is yet. Everything is getting canceled'... I'm supposed to be in Vegas tonight. Sorry, can't be there.''
RELATED: Jimmy Fallon Delivers Awkward Monologue Without A Studio Audience As 'Tonight Show' Suspends Production Amid Coronavirus Crisis
Meanwhile, Maher's HBO cohort John Oliver will be airing a ''shortened episode'' on March 15, and then his show will also be taking a break for the time being.
It's not known when either show will be returning with new episodes.
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VIDEO-Tez on Twitter: "#CoronaVirusUpdates Remember when the Prime Minister's dad(!) admitted this on national television. Kinda explains Boris Johnson's #COVIDー19 strategy 🱠https://t.co/kOEb2VJSSS" / Twitter
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 20:38
Drew Jackson @ GGPCTU
9h its sort of sad to say that. when this kind of stuff happens, the rich with power and money can scoop up the assets of the dead and increase their wealth, land, and power en carte blanche; wars do that, and any pandemic like the black death (great Bubonic plague) is a war.
View conversation ·
VIDEO-De Blasio: You Know, We Need to Nationalize Businesses to Fight the Wuhan Virus
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 20:30
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Saturday said he believes the Wuhan coronavirus is a prime example of why it's important for the federal government to nationalize "crucial factories and industries."
According to the Big Apple's mayor, people can get tested for the virus, but it's being done on a "priority structure" due to the limited number of tests that are available.
"Here's the reality. This is a war-like situation. We're in a wartime scenario with a Mar-a-Lago attitude being used by the federal government. It's so laid back, and I don't understand it," he told MSNBC's Joy Reid. "By the way, testing. How about ventilators? Where is the federal government making sure our hospitals have the ventilators we're going to need? Where is the federal government when it comes to surgical masks, getting them distributed? This is a case for a nationalization of crucial factories and industries '' literally a nationalization '' that could produce the medical supplies to prepare this country for what we need."
The state of New York found a way to produce hand sanitizer but de Blasio said that doesn't go far enough.
"The point I'm saying is the federal government should recognize this is a crucial part of stopping this. There should be a national approach to ensuring every factory that can make hand sanitizer should be on 24/7 shifts and the distribution should go to the places that need it most," the mayor explained. "We're not into the discussion because we can't even get the testing.''
Nationalizing "crucial factories and industries" is a terrible, terrible idea. For one, who determines what's "crucial" and what's not? Is the government literally going to come in and tell business owners to hand over their keys? Once this kind of precedent exists, owning a business and taking part in the American dream will be a thing of the past. After all, the government could come in and sweep up your hard work, all in the name of "need."
What's sad is the Democrats constantly come up with dumb suggestions like this and their party can't even get the Iowa Caucuses completed in a timely manner. And we're supposed to trust the federal government with 100 times more power? Hard pass.
VIDEO-1min45 and 12min50-COVID-19: Johns Hopkins University Experts Discuss Novel Coronavirus - YouTube
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 16:43
VIDEO-Donald J. Trump on Twitter: "COVID-19 UPDATE https://t.co/xzSHlNiS9K" / Twitter
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 13:03
Log in Sign up Donald J. Trump @ realDonaldTrump COVID-19 UPDATE
pscp.tv/w/cTvAJzFvTlFs'... 10:54 AM - 14 Mar 2020 Jeffrey Guterman @ JeffreyGuterman
7m Replying to
@realDonaldTrump Your presser was the usual shit show.
View conversation · J' ' ' ' ef' ' ' fr' ey Gu' ' ' ' ter' ' ' ' ' maná… á… á… á… á… á… á… á… á… á… á… á… á… á… á… á… á… @ Marie0135Marie
1m Replying to
@JeffreyGuterman @realDonaldTrump I'm very thankful for this event!
pic.twitter.com/OLnMM99A7Q View conversation · Ecri' @ EcrisioFX
2m Replying to
@realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/8otZFSinIc View conversation · RD @ real_defender
7m Replying to
@realDonaldTrump President Trump and his team are doing an amazing job keeping the American public informed about the coronavirus. It seems we are getting a press conference every day now which is a great thing.
View conversation · Watch Hoaxed! @ Cernovich
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@realDonaldTrump Trump listens to criticism, the response is getting better every day!
View conversation · G্nżু McKek 🅥 @ Gonzoisfun
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@Cernovich @realDonaldTrump I noticed he took your advice to buy oil and restock the reserves 👍🏼
View conversation · ElElegante101 @ skolanach
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@realDonaldTrump Sing it with me
pic.twitter.com/PF4iELdWub View conversation · Javier🇺🇸🇲🇽 @ Javier___Torres
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@skolanach @realDonaldTrump Might have ?? He's been shaking everyone's hand ðŸ‚
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VIDEO - (328) Iranian, Russian and Chinese Officials Claim COVID-19 Is A Biological Weapon - YouTube
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 13:24
VIDEO - George Carlin - Germs, Immune System - YouTube
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 12:19
VIDEO - Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Press Conference on U.S. Economy and Potential Stimulus Measures'... | The Last Refuge
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 11:03
Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Press Conference on U.S. Economy and Potential Stimulus Measures'...Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin holds a brief media availability at the White House to discuss the potential economic impacts from Coronavirus and the direction of the treasury in response. Strong interview and Good interview.
Mnuchin notes there are some sectors who benefit and some that are negatively impacted. The key is to focus on the average American and ensure any negative impacts to U.S. workers are mitigated. Secretary Mnuchin is very sharp and he's exactly on point in this interview.
VIDEO - Brown_Jesus(@brwn_jesus) on TikTok: #coronavirus #corona #fyp #foryou #uk #foryoupage #featureme #health #usa #tiktokindia #MatteInkChallenge
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 10:38
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VIDEO-Union Worker Responds to Biden's Threat Against "AR-14" - YouTube
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 10:02
VIDEO - (9) Sky News on Twitter: "'People think that governments can take big actions to protect them from #COVID19 and it's simple not true... the most effective way of slowing down the spread of #coronavirus is changes in personal behaviour' says Irish
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 09:17
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VIDEO - Whoopi wants Hillary as VP; Trump will boot Pence if Biden picks female, McCain predicts
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 09:16
(Image: The View screenshot)Meghan McCain predicted that President Trump will ''go toe for toe'' with former Vice President Joe Biden if he chooses to add a woman as his running mate.
The ''View'' co-host forecasted Friday that former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley could be replacing Vice President Mike Pence as Trump's running mate if his Democratic challenger in the 2020 presidential race chooses a female as his vice presidential pick.
(Source: The View/YouTube)
''I still think, though, that if he chooses a woman, then Trump is going to kick Pence out and put in Nikki Haley,'' McCain said as ''The View'' co-hosts discussed Biden's potential running mates.
''Because I think they'll go toe for toe and they're going to be like, 'You want to identity politics me? I'll identity politics you.' And I just '... I think they're gangster,'' she added.
Haley, who has been a vocal supporter of the president, resigned from her position as United States Ambassador to the United Nations in 2018.
''I don't know if the party would like that, to take Pence out,'' co-host Joy Behar interjected, saying she thought the vice president was recently ''starting to look good.''
''I think they would. They need the win,'' McCain countered, poking fun at her co-host. ''It's amazing you're such a Mike Pence fan.''
''I'm not a fan of the whole Republican Party right now, at all,'' Behar responded, adding ''but compared to Trump, he seems like he's in MENSA.''
Although there has been previous speculation that Trump could drop Pence as his vice-presidential running mate in the reelection, the president reiterated that he was behind Pence ''100 percent.''
''Mike Pence '-- I know I've seen this rumor that keeps popping up, and Nikki would be great, but Mike Pence has done a phenomenal job as vice president,'' Trump told ''Fox & Friends'' in November. ''He's our guy, he's my friend, and look, we have a great team.''
CNN political analyst Paul Begala floated the ''certainty'' of Haley on the GOP ticket earlier this month.
''This is not a prediction. It's a certainty. On Thursday, July 16 '-- that's the date the Democrat gives his or her acceptance address '-- on that day, to interrupt that narrative, Donald Trump will call a press conference at Mar-a-Lago. He's going to dump Mike Pence and put Nikki Haley on the ticket to try to get those suburban moms,'' Begala pronounced during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's conference in Washington, D.C. at the beginning of the month.
''You watch. Guaranteed,'' Begala added. ''Trump put Pence in charge of coronavirus to throw him under the bus.''
As the discussion on ''The View'' unfolded, Behar and co-host Sunny Hostin emphasized the benefits of Biden choosing a woman as his running mate. Co-host Whoopi Goldberg, who has previously posited failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams for the role, floated a different possibility on Friday.
''You know who he should pick, but he won't,'' Goldberg asked, sparking a round of guesses ranging from Abrams to former First Lady Michelle Obama.
''No, no, no,'' she responded, shaking her head.
''Is she bigger than a bread box?'' Behar asked, prompting McCain to question, ''What's a bread box?''
''It's a place '-- in the olden days, that's where we used to put '--'' Goldberg began but soon abandoned the lesson
''The person who really is qualified to do it, and he cannot pick her, Hillary Clinton,'' she said, adding that the former Secretary of State would be ''brilliant.''
The women went on to gush about the recently released Hulu documentary on Clinton, with Hostin remarking that it was ''spectacular'' and showed how the failed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee ''has been so misread.''
McCain agreed that the documentary was ''intense'' but worth watching as the women continued discussing Clinton's potential as a vice president. Ultimately, McCain concluded that the former first lady had ''too much baggage'' to be a successful running mate.
The idea of Biden choosing Clinton for his administration has been floated in recent weeks as his campaign experienced a comeback of sorts to catapult him to frontrunner status after Sen. Bernie Sanders appeared to take the lead in the race for a while.
Outspoken conservative actor James Woods suggested Clinton has something up her sleeve with her recent public comments and television interviews, presenting what was seen as an eyebrow-raising theory recently.
So I pretty much predicted this. It'll be #Biden and #Hillary as his vice presidential candidate. He will eventually ''gracefully'' resign as his dementia worsens and'... Voila! #MadamePresident at last! (and in case he gets indicted for his Ukraine corruption, she'll pardon him'... pic.twitter.com/rNbvHyepbi
'-- James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) March 4, 2020
John Sununu, the former White House Chief of Staff to President George H. W. Bush, echoed the idea and recently said he believes Clinton is ''angling to be the vice presidential nominee.''
''I think as almost everything the Clintons do, there is a bigger purpose behind what's going on,'' Sununu told Fox News last week. ''I think she is actually angling to be the vice presidential nominee hoping the party will understand that if Biden is the nominee, they have to have a backup there that the public has confidence in.''
About Latest Posts Frieda PowersSenior Staff Writer
[email protected] Originally from New York, Powers graduated from New York University and eventually made her way to sunny South Florida where she has been writing for the BizPacReview team since 2015.
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VIDEO-Coronavirus national emergency in US: Trump holds press conference '' watch in full - YouTube
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 06:58
VIDEO-Don't Trust China, China is Asshoe Remix - Music Video - YouTube
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 00:44
VIDEO-Trump War Room - Text EMPOWER to 88022 on Twitter: "Joe Biden has no idea when he would be president: "But even I can't do that for another two year, another year, between now and November. Or actually January." https://t.co/UO1EbpElRe" / Twitter
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 00:38
Log in Sign up Trump War Room - Text EMPOWER to 88022 @ TrumpWarRoom Joe Biden has no idea when he would be president:"But even I can't do that for another two year, another year, between now and November. Or actually January."
pic.twitter.com/UO1EbpElRe 5:48 PM - 13 Mar 2020 Twitter by: Trump War Room - Text EMPOWER to 88022 @TrumpWarRoom Mel Rush @ MelRush6
5h Replying to
@TrumpWarRoom I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv, but there are some signs of dementia with old harry Joe.
View conversation · Judy...... Romans 5: 8. #StopTalkingStartDoing @ JudyRademacher4
5h Replying to
@MelRush6 @TrumpWarRoom Seriously, Joe had surgery for brain aneurysms in the 80's. I think it was 88, I'm not 100% sure. He's not well and getting worse
pic.twitter.com/ZFr1PaiG7W View conversation · Debbie King @ BICDking2
5h Replying to
@TrumpWarRoom @riptalkinsports This is so sad people. I'm not a neurologist, but there is a problem going on here. Dementia or something. He even had a video the other night asking people to vote and re-elect Trump.
View conversation · dirk diggler @ DirkRecker7676
2h Replying to
@BICDking2 @TrumpWarRoom @riptalkinsports Its sad his wife is allowing this to continue
View conversation · Charlene @ Charlen98054207
5h Replying to
@TrumpWarRoom I'm so happy to have you president Trump.
View conversation · 420 🚨 @ Cyclingat50
5h Replying to
@TrumpWarRoom @marypatriott Cornpop is sounding more and more like Forrest Gump
View conversation · I am SOFLO @ Ericote69
5h Replying to
@TrumpWarRoom They need to get this guy an ear mic so they can tell him what to say very sad
View conversation · Mr. Goodkat @ goodkat_mr
5h Replying to
@TrumpWarRoom Guy doesnt even know what planet he's on
View conversation · Anna Syjud @ AnnaSyjud
5h Replying to
@TrumpWarRoom This is sad 🞠really don't know what to say.
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VIDEO-🇺🇸Brenden Sir Hublife Dilley🇺🇸 on Twitter: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Joe Biden and his staff want to manage the Coronavirus outbreak. This is the poverty Virtual Town Hall he just finished broadcasting. I can't stop laughing. 🤣ðŸ‚🤣ðŸ
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 00:34
Log in Sign up 🇺🇸Brenden Sir Hublife Dilley🇺🇸 @ DilleyShow HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!Joe Biden and his staff want to manage the Coronavirus outbreak.This is the poverty Virtual Town Hall he just finished broadcasting.I can't stop laughing.🤣ðŸ‚🤣ðŸ‚ðŸ‚ðŸ‚ðŸ‚🤣ðŸ‚ðŸ‚
pic.twitter.com/CzbNeEQIWp 6:05 PM - 13 Mar 2020 Twitter by: 🇺🇸Brenden Sir Hublife Dilley🇺🇸 @DilleyShow 🇺🇸Brenden Sir Hublife Dilley🇺🇸 @ DilleyShow
4h Replying to
@DilleyShow I did better live streams from the corner of my bedroom 3 years ago...
View conversation · Praying Medic @ prayingmedic
4h Replying to
@DilleyShow Now that raht there is funny... I don't care who you are!
View conversation · Libby Kenjura @ libbyk1988
4h Replying to
@prayingmedic @DilleyShow 🤣ðŸ‚🤣
View conversation · Jonas @ jonascameronj
4h Replying to
@DilleyShow @lilangel2768 This is like the Jitterbug flip phone of streams. 🤣ðŸ‚
View conversation · Rosa Beaty @ beaty_rosalie
4h Replying to
@jonascameronj @DilleyShow @lilangel2768 Ohhhhh em GEE!! I burst out laughing And can't stop! That's freaking hilarious visual.
View conversation · Kevin Shipley @ CoachKShipley
4h Replying to
@DilleyShow @_hublette Text shitshowjoe30330
View conversation · JeannieHSSF @ HssfJeannie
4h Replying to
@DilleyShow If they can't produce a proper video he CANNOT possibly have the ability to be President!
pic.twitter.com/pCcaukf6a5 View conversation · Kathleen brilliant @ catharenne
4h Replying to
@DilleyShow pic.twitter.com/fufzisXCsB View conversation · Jeff Nichols @ jeffsnichols
4h Replying to
@DilleyShow And that folks, is there front runner!!!
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VIDEO-Zach Parkinson on Twitter: "This is part of the virtual town hall the Biden campaign wouldn't post Garbled/cut out audio, blank screens, randomly going live to unsuspecting participants A complete disaster https://t.co/eLGgHyPm91" / Twitter
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 00:30
Log in Sign up Zach Parkinson @ AZachParkinson This is part of the virtual town hall the Biden campaign wouldn't postGarbled/cut out audio, blank screens, randomly going live to unsuspecting participantsA complete disaster
pic.twitter.com/eLGgHyPm91 6:09 PM - 13 Mar 2020 Twitter by: Zach Parkinson @AZachParkinson Sandra @ SandraKM123
4h Replying to
@AZachParkinson While Joe Biden is criticizing the President for banning travel from Europe-The World Health Org, JUST THIS MORNING, announced that Europe is now the EPICENTER of the virus. President Trump was ahead of the curve in banning travel from Europe on Wednesday.
View conversation · jon abel @ jonabel6
4h Replying to
@AZachParkinson I can see Alyssa Milano tearing up now!!!!
View conversation · Ram Horn @ Ramr2m2
4h Replying to
@AZachParkinson "Amateur Hour" !!!!
View conversation · Col. Ben Bannister @ ColBannister
3h Replying to
@AZachParkinson Biden is lost
View conversation · RoseMary @ RoseMaryTBA
4h Replying to
@AZachParkinson @SeldenGADawgs Biden borrowed the blueprint for the Obamacare website.
View conversation · bigalpo @ bigalpo1
4h Replying to
@AZachParkinson This made my day. I hope he does this every single day during our Quarantine
View conversation · Esther Barrera @ EstherVBarrera1
3h Replying to
@AZachParkinson Hilarious! ''Am I on camera''-Joe Biden
View conversation · QAnon News Hub @ QAnonNewsHub1
2h Replying to
@AZachParkinson Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.You will make them turn their backs when you aim at them with drawn bow.Be exalted in Your strength, Lord; we will sing and praise Your might.---Psalms 21:11-13
#AnonsKnow #QAnon pic.twitter.com/4gvpyHnHyM View conversation · Joe Biden has dementia @ drdrjojo
4h Replying to
@AZachParkinson @AndrewHClark Joe is going to send out a replay to all of his supporters
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VIDEO-Joe Biden's 'confused crazy rants' should have discounted him years ago - YouTube
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 00:20
VIDEO - Brandon Straka on Twitter: "Of all the vile, disgusting things the liberal media has said & done since @realDonaldTrump got elected, I don't think anything is as disgraceful & appalling as this by @Lawrence O'Donnell. Lawrence, u have
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 11:15
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VIDEO-'Sh*t just got REAL': Geraldo Rivera tries getting all big and bad with Dan Bongino and WOW it goes SOOO wrong for him (watch)
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 10:32
This '...
This is crazy.
We have watched a LOT of interviews go down on CNN and Fox News (and even MSNBC!) but this eruption between Dan Bongino and Geraldo Rivera was SOMETHING ELSE.
HOOboy.
Watch.
.@GeraldoRivera: "You're lucky you're not in front of me, big guy."@dbongino: "Really? I'd strongly suggest you rethink that approach." pic.twitter.com/mglFoq7P5I
'-- Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) March 13, 2020
'Might wanna rethink that, Geraldo.'
Yeah, we're pretty sure we wouldn't want to confront Bongino verbally or physically.
I'd pay to see it.
'-- Ron McKinney (@macsmarts) March 13, 2020
As long as Geraldo keeps on his shirt.
Otherwise PASS.
pic.twitter.com/mqV8ZFAhe4
'-- Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) March 13, 2020
Since all of our sports are gone I'd pay good money to see Bongino v Rivera in a cage match
'-- Rob Arno (@rob_arno) March 13, 2020
Good point.
That would be like watching Mike Tyson fight one of the characters from The Big Bang Theory ðŸ‚
'-- Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) March 13, 2020
Best. Visual. Ever.
Geraldo has a case of the Biden. 🤣 Wants to fight people too when he's mad.
'-- Rachel 🇺🇸🏠(@racheld48040847) March 13, 2020
Take that, you lying pony-faced soldier!
@GeraldoRivera once again touting BS and then threats of violence when he runs out of facts to backup his BS.
'-- magalopes (@mlwelch31) March 13, 2020
Geraldo attacks Dan pic.twitter.com/k5TCX4MomO
'-- Text Trump to 88022 '''¸ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸'­'­'­ 🇺🇸 (@K1erry) March 13, 2020
Annnd we're dead.
But don't worry, it wasn't the coronavirus.
Geraldo released the virus when he opened Al Capone's vault.
'-- Donna (@BettyRage2) March 13, 2020
Dammit, we knew it.
***
Related:
'I didn't vote for him but you should STFU': Rick Wilson out-douchebags himself claiming Trump supporters deserve a 'day of reckoning'
FAKER than fake news: Seth Abramson gives Alex Jones a run for his 'it's turning the frogs gay' MONEY in Trump/coronavirus thread
Really, dude?! Matt Yglesias compares coronavirus to Trump's '1 big crisis Hurricane Maria' and leaves out YUGE part of the story
VIDEO-When Dems and media called Biden confused, cognitively declining and out of touch | SUPERcuts! #749 - YouTube
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 10:29
VIDEO - Biden 29 Minutes Late for Coronavirus Speech After 7 Staffers Mend Mic
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 09:23
Former Vice President Joe Biden was scheduled to speak at 1:00 p.m. on his proposal to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, but things were delayed when no fewer than seven staffers first had to mend the microphone.
A livestream feed from NowThis News began at about 12:55 p.m.
Minutes later, two women approached the podium.
''Is that buzz still here? Is the buzz gone?'' one asked members of the media.
The other woman took over. ''Who's still getting the buzz? It's a hiss? Where's my audio guy?'' she said, walking away.
A short time later, a man approached the microphone. ''Mic check, mic check. How is it in the mults?'' he asked, referring to the box networks use to capture the microphone audio.
''How do we sound? Good? Oh, I'm getting thumbs down. Worse than before, okay,'' he said. He then asked his comrade to go back to the original audio setting, before static marred the broadcast.
The second woman then approached the podium and asked if the media were still getting a buzz.
She confirmed the problem persisted.
''Hiss. We're still getting a hiss.'' She continued trouble shooting, to no avail.
She disappeared for several minutes, and then returned to ask, ''Everyone still has hissing? Can you hear me at all over the hissing? You can't hear me.''
She walked away again, agitated.
A short time later, two other individuals took to the podium, saying nothing. Three people then appeared before the cameras to rig a makeshift setup. She could be heard ripping pieces of tape to hold it all together.
''We're going to do the final mic check. Sorry for the hiss,'' she said. Another woman came in to assist with strips of tape as members of the media approached to use their own microphones.
Biden, the man who wants Americans to believe he can secure their health and well being, finally took to the podium at 1:29 p.m.
Kyle Olson is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @KyleOlson4.
VIDEO-2 coronavirus cases confirmed in Austin; man in his 60s, woman in her 30s | KXAN.com
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 07:40
Wes Wilson and KXAN Staff
5 hours ago
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- Austin has confirmed its first two cases of the coronavirus disease. Austin Public Health said early Friday morning it received two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Travis County. These are the first two confirmed cases in this area.
''Austin and Travis County has joined a seemingly growing number of cities and counties that have positive cases in their area,'' Austin Public Health interim health authority Dr. Mark Escott said.
''Austin Public Health has received two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 overnight in our jurisdiction. These represent the first two cases in our area,'' he said.
A man in his 60s is hospitalized, and a woman in her 30s is quarantined at her home, Dr. Escott said. Both tested positive for COVID-19.
''Our epidemiologists are working around the clock to track these individuals, their contacts, even before they got sick,'' Dr. Escott said. ''We're testing people every day.''
Neither case is believed to be community spread, which means the illness did NOT come from an unknown infected person with whom they had come into contact.
''At this stage, these do not represent community spread of the disease which means they are epidemiogicially linked to another case or to another jurisdiction,'' Dr. Escott said.
Escott said the two cases aren't related. One of the cases is linked to a case in Montgomery County near Houston, and the other case came from the person being transferred to the Austin area from a rural region of the state.
''We have no evidence that the person was ever outside of a hospital in Austin or Travis County,'' Escott said.
He continued to explain that patients are routinely transferred from rural regions to the Austin area because the hospitals are more equipped for advanced-level care.
''So individuals particularly from rural communities are often transferred to major cities because we have the tertiary care, we have the expertise,'' Escott said. ''We have a world-class healthcare system which means as this issues grows across the state, we can expect people from rural communities to be sent to major metropolitan areas to provide that expert level of care.''
A presumptive positive case means a local test has come back positive but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not confirmed the results with its own test.
Austin Public Health says these first two confirmed cases has elevated the city's response to Phase 3 of a five-phase plan, adapted from its pandemic flu plans:
Phase 1: Persons Under MonitoringPhase 2: Persons Under Investigation (Testing in Progress)Phase 3: Confirmed Case (No Person-to-Person spread)Phase 4: Limited Person-to-Person Spread (Close/Household Contacts)Phase 5: Person-to-Person Spread in the CommunityThe Austin-Travis County Emergency Operations Center remains activated.
APH says it will work to educate the city's elderly population and those with preexisting medical conditions. The average age of people who have died from the coronavirus disease in the United States is 78 years old.
Escott urged the public to be vigilant with hand washing, and when soap isn't available, to use hand sanitizer. If you feel sick, stay home.
''The virus isn't going to jump up and grab you,'' he said. ''If you're sick, you need to stay home.''
Austin Public Health interim authority Dr. Mark Escott. (KXAN photo/Todd Bailey)''The City of Austin and Travis County will be evaluating additional protections for the community based on these positive cases,'' the city said in a news release. ''At this time, we have not made any additional changes to current regulations around mass gatherings or other public health standards but will keep the public updated if this information changes.''
APH said it will continue to coordinate with local, state and federal public health and health care partners.
They also urged everyone in this area to continue to practice proper hygiene:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Stay home when you are sick. Cough or sneeze into your elbow or use a tissue to cover it, then throw the tissue in the trash. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. If you have symptoms of respiratory illness including cough, fever and shortness of breath, please contact your health care provider. It is important to call ahead before arriving at a clinic, urgent care or emergency department to avoid potential spread.Mayor Steve Adler
Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt
Austin Public Health interim authority Dr. Mark Escott
APH chief epidemiologist Janet Pichette
VIDEO-Read out of the College on the European Climate Law - YouTube
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 23:38
VIDEO-NU GAANDE! EU-machtsgreep van Timmermans' "Green Deal" - YouTube
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 23:38
VIDEO-BREAKING : EU Vice Pres Frans Timmermans Discussing The DESTRUCTION of European Nations - YouTube
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 23:30
VIDEO-Ohio health official estimates 100,000 people in state have coronavirus | TheHill
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 23:16
A top health official in Ohio estimated on Thursday that more than 100,000 people in the state have coronavirus, a shockingly high number that underscores the limited testing so far.
Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton said at a press conference alongside Gov. Mike DeWine (R) that given that the virus is spreading in the community in Ohio, she estimates at least 1 percent of the population in the state has the virus.
"We know now, just the fact of community spread, says that at least 1 percent, at the very least, 1 percent of our population is carrying this virus in Ohio today," Acton said. "We have 11.7 million people. So the math is over 100,000. So that just gives you a sense of how this virus spreads and is spreading quickly."
She added that the slow rollout of testing means the state does not have good verified numbers to know for sure.
"Our delay in being able to test has delayed our understanding of the spread of this," Acton said.
The Trump administration has come under intense criticism for the slow rollout of tests. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top National Institutes of Health official, acknowledged earlier Thursday it is "a failing" that people cannot easily get tested for coronavirus in the United States.
Not everyone with the virus has symptoms, and about 80 percent of people with the virus do not end up needing hospitalization, experts say. However, the virus can be deadly especially for older people and those with underlying health conditions.
The possible numbers in Ohio are a stark illustration of how many cases could be in other states as well, but have not been revealed given the lack of widespread testing.
More than 1,300 people in the U.S. have currently tested positive for the illness, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, while about three dozen people in the country have died.
Vice President Pence, who is overseeing the administration's coronavirus response, said earlier Thursday that the U.S. can expect "thousands of more cases."
Ohio officials said they are taking major actions to try to slow the spread of the virus. They are closing schools in the state for three weeks and banning large gatherings of 100 or more people.
The state currently has just five confirmed positive cases, and 30 negative tests. Acton said Thursday that it appears that the number of cases of the virus doubles every six days.
As other experts have as well, she urged actions to slow the spread of the virus to avoid overwhelming the capacity of hospitals. Banning large gatherings and stopping school is part of that process.
"We're all sort of waking up to our new reality," she said, adding later that the state is "in a crisis situation."
Noting the concerns about hospital capacity if the number of cases spikes too quickly, Acton said "there are only so many ventilators," referring to machines that allow people to breathe when they cannot on their own.
Models indicate the number of cases could peak in late April to mid-May, she said.
If people are not seriously ill, she urged them to stay home so that only the sickest people who most need help are showing up at hospitals.
"This will be the thing this generation remembers," she added.
VIDEO-CompoundBoss on Twitter: "Holy fuck already! None of these fossils can speak!!! Enough. We have to vote these people out. Why is this obviously impaired woman in charge of anything? Why is Alzheimer's @JoeBiden a candidate for President? Who isn'
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 23:14
Log in Sign up CompoundBoss @ CompoundBoss Holy fuck already! None of these fossils can speak!!!Enough. We have to vote these people out.Why is this obviously impaired woman in charge of anything?Why is Alzheimer's
@JoeBiden a candidate for President?Who isn't seeing that these people are not right???Say ''Enough!''
twitter.com/KateHydeNY/sta'... 6:36 PM - 12 Mar 2020 Brian @ treefortrichard
3h Replying to
@CompoundBoss @JoeBiden It's either because her jaw skin has been cranked as tight as a jib sail or it's Another
#Burtation View conversation · CAV @ CAV_124_II
2h Replying to
@CompoundBoss @JoeBiden Did she just have a stroke?
View conversation · Austere 🐯 Fan @ tyger429
2h Replying to
@CAV_124_II @CompoundBoss @JoeBiden Looks like it
View conversation · Stevie M 20x #ESDS CHAMP!!! @ BlingARoo1
2h Replying to
@CompoundBoss @JoeBiden She must've been hitting the bar before the presser.
View conversation · Charlie111 @ Ignatiusone
1h Replying to
@CompoundBoss @drmikehawke @JoeBiden The most comforting thing is she is 3rd in line of succession.If this doesn't cause everyone to pray for Trump to be healthy.Why can't we get term limits for Congress?We have them for the Pres We really need them for Congress.It needs to be on a ballot nationwide in 2022.
View conversation · AaronBerg'sBicycleSeat @ Skidmarkz
39m Replying to
@CompoundBoss @ImPaulRNelson @JoeBiden Hopefully this is just the first stage reaction to a big bowl of Bat-soup...
View conversation · wayne @ pawpaww64
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@CompoundBoss @JoeBiden Holy cow!
View conversation · Browns Analytics Dept @ FnGoldhammer
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@CompoundBoss @JoeBiden The speaker of the House, Nancy "Mushmouth" Pelosi
pic.twitter.com/M6XpaBSZdf View conversation · WAREZ SALESMAN @ CyberBandit416
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@CompoundBoss @JoeBiden Drain the swamp
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@CompoundBoss @JoeBiden Musta been a run on Fixodent
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VIDEO-#NewsNow Live | #EU Commission President on carbon neutral law | #ClimateChange #GlobalWarming - YouTube
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 21:32
VIDEO-Why capitalism needs to be reset in 2020 | Financial Times
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 21:29
You can enable subtitles (captions) in the video player
Trust is still low 10 or more years after the financial crisis, and that seems a good enough reason to say we need to rethink the various fixes that were put in place after the 2008-09 crisis and see what more profound change can be brought through into business and finance. A movement to reset capitalism is already underway. One opportunity in 2020 is that lots of business people are now talking about purpose and the need to instil new ways beyond pure shareholder value.
What you're seeing happening today is a very necessary return to stakeholder capitalism if you like, i.e., the idea that business and markets should be set within a wider social context, and a legal and political framework. We're not just moving from a world of narrow shareholder focus to stakeholder focus. We're also moving towards a world where investors increasingly recognise they need to look at the long term. You need to have a wider sense of what context you're operating in.
Investors and business executives are people just like you and me. They have children. Those children are skiving schools on Friday to go on strike against the environment. And this really sharpens the issue for people. Suddenly, investors are looking much more seriously at - how do we become good stewards of the global environment? How do we look ourselves in the eye in 20 years' time and think that we did the right thing?
Each year that we advance into the 21st century, a younger generation is worried about the purpose of the corporation, the purpose of capitalism. And that's an optimistic sign, I think, that people will be able to lead this change in 2020 in ways that they weren't necessarily in previous years.
So where is this change going to come from over the next year? Well, there's lots of statistics out there that show that the younger people are, the more they care about these issues. These young people are going to become customers of banks, of pension providers, of the entire financial services industry. The competitive pressure that's going to come from firms looking to snag business from these people as they develop wealth, as they become older, is getting increasingly intense.
There will be an increasing clamour of people asking for business leaders to deliver on promises that they made in 2019, notably, the Business Roundtable. People will start asking those 180 or so signatories of that statement, what have they actually done in 2020?
For the finance and market sectors that I'm primarily focused on, the real thing is figuring out how to get money to green projects. How do we issue green bonds? How do we help companies that are trying to transition away from being dirty, oily companies into green technology? Where does the money come from for that process? That's what bankers and investors are definitely grappling with now. And they know that if they don't get this right, that next generation - the Greta Thunberg generation - is not going to be interested in using their services.
On the downside, of course, although we might hope in 2020 for there to be more regulatory and policy change to try and reset and curb the worst excesses of capitalism, there are going to be distractions, notably the US presidential election and impeachment, and also, in a European scenario, Brexit, and in Asia, China and Hong Kong.
So, any investor who's looking at a company or the corporate landscape needs to recognise that if you ignore those risks, you're in danger of essentially seeing the value of your asset being impaired. So if you want to understand the reset that's going on right now it pays to think about fear and greed. The fear element is pretty clear cut.
Essentially, what you have are many C-suites that are waking up and realising that if they don't start paying attention to stakeholders they face regulatory pressure. They face consumer backlash. They sometimes face their own protest from their own employees. And they also face potential investor pressure. But the greed element is important too. Some companies also recognise that if they start looking at stakeholders more broadly, they can build for the long term.
If they can get ahead of the really important social and environmental changes right now, be that renewable energy, be that non-meat alternatives, be that other ways that you can tap into the growing concerns amongst consumers for sustainable products, if you can do that, then often you can make more money in the long term anyway.
VIDEO-CDC Director Robert Redfield says "Yes" to funding coronavirus testing after questioning by Rep. Katie Porter.
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 21:05
In a remarkable exchange from the second day of a House hearing on the coronavirus, Rep. Katie Porter, a Democratic from California, grilled the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday until he verbally—though reluctantly—committed to providing free coronavirus tests for all Americans, regardless of whether they have insurance.
The questioning came before the House Oversight and Reform Committee during a hearing in which the CDC director, Robert Redfield, joined Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, in answering questions about the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
To launch her line of questioning, Porter quizzed Redfield on the individual costs—a complete blood test, a metabolic panel, two flu tests, an emergency room visit—involved in an individual getting tested and tallied the numbers up on a whiteboard. She came up with a sum of $1,330, excluding possible medical isolation. “Fear of these costs are going to prevent people from being tested, from getting the care they need, and from keeping their communities safe,” she said. “Dr. Redfield, do you want to know who has coronavirus and who doesn’t?”
When Redfield agreed he didn’t want just “rich” Americans to get tested, she cited a federal code. “This provides—the director may authorize payment for the care and treatment of individuals subject to medical exam, quarantine, isolation, and conditional release.” After Redfield said he was familiar with the code, she pressed on. “Dr. Redfield, will you commit to the CDC right now using that existing authority to pay for diagnostic testing free to every American regardless of insurance?”
Redfield attempted to dodge the question and said he could ensure “everyone can get the care they need.”
“No, not good enough,” she cut across. “Dr. Redfield, you have the existing authority. Will you commit right now to using the authority that you have, vested in you under law that provides in a public health emergency for testing, treatment, exam, isolation, without cost? Yes or no?”
Redfield again tried to avoid answering directly, instead promising to “review it in detail.”
“No,” Porter said. She asked again.
“What I was trying to say is the CDC is working with HHS now to see how we operationalize that,” Redfield said. Porter then, essentially, wore Redfield down:
PORTER: Dr. Redfield, I hope that that answer weighs heavily on you. Because it is going to weigh very heavily on me and on every American family.
REDFIELD: Our intent is to make sure every American gets the care and treatment they need at this time of this major epidemic and I’m currently working with HHS to see how to best operationalize it.
PORTER: Dr. Redford, you don’t need to do any work to operationalize it. You need to make a commitment to the American people so they come in to get tested. You can operationalize the payment structure tomorrow.
REDFIELD: I think you’re an excellent questioner, so my answer is yes.
Porter did not hesitate to take Redfield on his word. “Excellent,” she said. “Everybody in America, hear that. You are eligible to go get tested for coronavirus and have that covered regardless of insurance.”
One thing that should be noted, though, is that Redfield could not ensure that there would be enough tests available to cover everyone who needs one. It’s also unclear what, exactly, the CDC could cover. It’s possible, for example, that it could just include the actual tests and not the emergency room visit, which is typically the most expensive part of the testing process.
For more on the impact of the coronavirus, listen to this discussion about the cascading shutdowns in the sports world in response to the global pandemic.
VIDEO-Could COVID-19 be a staged epidemic? - YouTube
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 17:15
VIDEO-Brian Tyler Cohen on Twitter: "Holy shit. Katie Porter holds the CDC Director's feet to the fire and gets him to commit to FREE TESTING for coronavirus for ALL AMERICANS. Watch every second of this. https://t.co/dQMbhR5Oaa" / Twitter
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 16:48
Brian Tyler Cohen @ briantylercohen
35m Replying to
@briantylercohen Katie Porter managed to do IN FIVE MINUTES what this administration couldn't do for WEEKS. Might be something to consider when you decide how to cast your ballot in November.
View conversation · Pantalaimon Silvertongue ðŸ"¸'ðŸŒðŸ'🌊 @ PantalaimonSil1
4h Replying to
@briantylercohen It amazes me that so many Americans are using this to slander universal healthcare in Europe.The point is Europeans aren't having this discussion because they can just drive and get tested in their own cars at hospitals.
View conversation · JKDAnthony10 @ JKDAnthony10
4h Replying to
@PantalaimonSil1 @briantylercohen Actually this is totally an argument FOR universal healthcare.
View conversation · JazzAlley @ JazzAlley03
4h Replying to
@briantylercohen She never disappoints.
View conversation · Mind over matter 24/7. Fear nothing @ rajak101210
4h Replying to
@JazzAlley03 @briantylercohen didn't fumble, didn't stutter .Did her home work put on her super human halo and delivered for all of America.
View conversation · Erica @ erozett
3h Replying to
@briantylercohen @katieporteroc @katieporteroc is a badass but she needs our help! Her seat is being targeted by republicans who are flooding money into this district. Please take a look at her site and send her a donation
katieporter.com View conversation · priralyn @ priralyn
2h Replying to
@erozett @briantylercohen @katieporteroc i love her! for her position, her constituents, her state, our country! ''¤¸
View conversation · Kendrick Perkins @ KendrickPerkins
2h Replying to
@briantylercohen pic.twitter.com/0OrcimHSd8 View conversation · David Israel @ RealDavidIsrael
2h Replying to
@KendrickPerkins @briantylercohen @RepKatiePorter @RepKatiePorter is an American Treasure. California is lucky to have her.
View conversation · JKDAnthony10 @ JKDAnthony10
4h Replying to
@briantylercohen @joncoopertweets This. Is. The. President. We. Want.
View conversation · Chris Kuhi @ ChrisKuhi
2h Replying to
@JKDAnthony10 @briantylercohen and
2 others If only people had given more consideration to her mentor,
@ewarren, who was on the ballot :-|
View conversation ·
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VIDEO-Dr. Drew Pinsky: Coronavirus Panic Must Stop, Press Needs to Be Held Accountable for Hurting People | Video | RealClearPolitics
Thu, 12 Mar 2020 15:20
Dr. Drew talks with CBS Local's DJ Sixsmith about coronavirus: ''The panic must stop. And the press, they really somehow need to be held accountable because they are hurting people.''CBS NEWS: ''So you've seen pandemics over the decades, how does this one compare with everything?''DR. DREW: ''A bad flu season is 80,000 dead, we've got about 18,000 dead from influenza this year, we have a hundred from corona. Which should you be worried about influenza or Corona? A hundred versus 18,000? It's not a trick question. And look, everything that's going on with the New York cleaning the subways and everyone using Clorox wipes and get your flu shot, which should be the other message, that's good. That's a good thing, so I have no problem with the behaviors. What I have a problem with is the panic and the fact that businesses are getting destroyed that people's lives are being upended, not by the virus, but by the panic. The panic must stop. And the press, they really somehow need to be held accountable because they are hurting people.''CBS NEWS: ''So, where do you think the panic started? Besides the press, like what was the impetus in terms of mass hysteria?''DR. DREW: ''I saw it, there's a footage of me on a show called The Daily Blast Live a month ago, going 'shouldn't we be scared about this?' and me going 'no, there's gonna be as potential for panic here, shut up everybody, stop talking about it, I could see the panic brewing, and I could just see it the way the innuendo and the every opportunity for drama by the press was twisted in that direction. Let me give you an example: so the World Health Organization is out now saying the fatality rate from the virus is 3.4%, right? Every publication from the WHO says 3.4% and we expect it to fall dramatically once we understand the full extent of the illness. No one ever reports the actual statement. We go 3.4% that's 10 times more than the, whatever five times more than the flu virus and yeah it's gonna be a little more [than the] flu probably. Still not a bad flu season.''CBS NEWS: ''Right, we're gonna hear about more cases, more people died.''DR. DREW: ''There are probably several people in this building that probably have it and don't know it.''CBS NEWS: ''Right, well it was also just the process of letting the public know, the stock market, the number of tests that were available, there was so much happening, I think people were freaking out as a result of that.''DR. DREW: ''I think there was it was a concerted effort by the press to capture your eyes and in doing so they did it by inducing panic. There's, listen, the CDC and the WHO, they know what they are doing, they contain pandemics, that's how they know how to do it, they're doing an amazing job.''CBS NEWS: ''What about the global implications of this because we were talking off-camera about Italy, there's China as well, there's some little outbreaks where you should avoid.DR. DREW: ''There are, I would look out where there flus out breaking bad to. I ended up getting the bird flu, I got H1N1 and it was horrible. It was no fun. '... There's certain things having been a physician for almost forty years, there are certain things I just know '... and there's certain things I just know by virtue of all the experience I've had and so when I saw this one coming, the corona, I thought I know how this is gonna go, I see kind of what it is and then I saw the excessive reaction the press, so I have to respond and then people, the weird part on social media towards me as people are angry with me, angry with me for trying to get them to see reality and calm down.''
STORIES
Space Force Just Received Its First New Offensive Weapon - The Drive
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 07:33
U.S. Space Force has begun operating a new offensive weapon system, an upgraded version of a ground-based satellite communications jamming system, for the first time in its short history. The first iteration of the Counter Communications System entered U.S. Air Force service in 2004 and the program has now gotten transferred to the newest branch of the American military.
The Space Force declared it had reached initial operational capability with the Counter Communications System Block 10.2, or CCS B10.2, on Mar. 9. The Harris Corporation, which merged with L3 Technologies last year to form L3Harris Technologies, had received the contract from the Air Force to develop this upgraded variant of the system in 2014.
The National Defense Authorization Act for the 2020 Fiscal Year, which Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed in December 2019, officially established Space Force as a separate service within the Department of the Air Force. Units and assets previously assigned to Air Force Space Command now form the core of the new service, which is still very much in the process of standing up.
"CCS is the only offensive system in the United States Space Force arsenal," Lieutenant Colonel Steve Brogan, the Combat Systems branch materiel leader within the Space Force's Space and Missile Systems Center's (SMC) Special Programs Directorate, said in an official news piece about the system in January 2020. "This upgrade puts the 'force' in Space Force and is critical for Space as a warfighting domain."
The Air Force introduced CCS in 2004 and fielded the Block 10.1 upgrade in 2014. Last year, Harris also received a $72 million contract to begin developing the new iteration, the Block 10.3 variant. As of September 2019, the Air Force reportedly had at least seven complete CCS packages, which are intended to be rapidly deployable.
''CCS has had incremental upgrades since the early 2000's, which have incorporated new techniques, frequency bands, technology refreshes, and lessons learned from previous block upgrades," Major Seth Horner, the CCS B10.2 Program Manager, also said in January. "This specific upgrade includes new software capabilities to counter new adversary targets and threats."
The various versions of the system all include a number of trailer-mounted dishes and associated equipment. Details on exactly how the CCS functions are limited, but it is understood to be a jamming system that disrupts transmissions from enemy communications satellites. This could give U.S. forces valuable advantages on the battlefield by disrupting the ability of enemy units to rapidly communicate and share information using satellite-based systems.
DIA
A Defense Intelligence Agency graphic depicting the generic concept of ground-based satellite jamming.
The Air Force has described the effects as "reversible" in the past, meaning that when the jammer shuts off, the target satellite would go back to functioning are normal. The service had specifically chosen a non-kinetic anti-satellite weapon in order to avoid having to physically destroy hostile assets in space, which would create debris that could pose risks to friendly systems in orbit. This is notably different from Russian and Chinese anti-satellite efforts, among others, which include ground-based and air-launched kinetic interceptors, as well as possible dual-use "killer satellites." There are also reports that both countries are working on ground-based anti-satellite directed energy weapons.
"We are not going down that path," U.S. Air Force General John Hyten, then-head of Air Force Space Command, told lawmakers in 2016, referring to the development of capabilities that would totally destroy enemy satellites and create debris. Hyten is now Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Hyten's comments would not necessarily preclude the development of offensive space capabilities that could create non-reversible effects and effectively destroy a target in space without totally disintegrating it. This could still include kinetic attacks, such as using a directed energy weapon, possibly mounted on another satellite, to destroy certain components without creating any substantial amount of debris.
DIA
A Defense Intelligence Agency graphic showing the basic modes by which one satellite might attack another in space.
Regardless, Space Force reaching initial operational capability with a new offensive weapon system for the first time is certainly a notable milestone for the still extremely young service. Beyond that, it's also a rare public announcement regarding the development of an American anti-satellite capability of any kind.
The Counter Communications System has long been the only such capability the United States publicly acknowledges having, though it is understood that it has other offensive counter-space capabilities. Space Force Vice Commander Lieutenant General David Thompson told lawmakers the new service was working on new capabilities "to protect and defend" America's space-based assets during a hearing on Mar. 4.
"We began prototyping, and demonstrating, and preparing for what I'll call abilities to protect and defend our assets, and we did that extensively in the budget in [the 2020 Fiscal Year]," he said. ''In [the 2021 Fiscal Year], we are now taking steps to extend that across the fleet, as well as look at other capabilities to be able to continue to defend those assets that we have and defend adversary use of space."
USAF
Members of the 4th Space Operations Squadron, an element of the 50th Space Wing, load a trailer-mounted Low Profile Antenna, used to support deployed satellite communications activities, on a U.S. Air Force C-5 Galaxy airlifter during an exercise in 2018.
In February 2020, the Air Force mentioned another counter-space system, called Bounty Hunter, in a news story about recent tests that the 17th Test Squadron had conducted. "The 17th TS' [Test Squadron] Operating Location-Charlie [OL-C] conducts testing on the base's higher classification systems," that official news item said.
''Recent tests we've done have been on the Bounty Hunter and the Counter Communications System, which are both electronic warfare systems located at Peterson [Air Force Base]," Technical Sergeant Tricia Benson, the OL-C Flight Chief and Project Manager, said in an official interview. There was no further information on Bounty Hunter or its capabilities.
In its first-ever budget request, for the 2021 Fiscal Year, Space Force asked for nearly $54.7 million in funds for research and development of "counterspace systems," including almost $50.5 million for continued work on the CCS program and just under $2 million for upgrades to Bounty Hunter. The remaining funds would support the development of a new and improved command and control architecture for counterspace capabilities. Details about all of these projects in the publicly available budget documents were extremely limited.
USAF
USAF
Other U.S. military officials have alluded to the still-classified capabilities recently, as well. Former Secretary of the Air Force ominously stated last year that it might be necessary to conduct a show of force using unspecified systems to deter potential adversaries, such as Russia or China, from attacking American satellites.
"We have a capability called a Counter Communications System that is built to deny an adversary the use of space communications," General Hyten had also said in an interview with CBS News' "60 Minutes" back in 2015. "All I can say is it's a capability that exists on the ground and it does not create debris in any way."
"The only two things you told me about the U.S. ability to fight in space, are the ability to maneuver your satellites and to jam other satellites. Is that it?" CBS News' David Martin then asked the general.
"That's not it, but that's all I can tell you," Hyten responded.
Ensuring the United States has the ability to conduct a conflict in space, including as part of a larger crisis on Earth, and what such a conflict might actually look like are certainly among the most pressing issues facing Space Force, something the War Zone has discussed in detail in the past. The fledgling service has now publicly acquired its first new counter-space system and it will likely take over other existing top-secret offensive space capabilities, and the development of future ones, soon, if it hasn't already.
Contact the author: joe@thedrive.com
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Hollywood Could Take $20 Billion Hit From Coronavirus Impact | Hollywood Reporter
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 07:23
Taking wide-release tentpoles off the schedule doesn't come cheap, nor does shuttering production on hundreds of scripted and unscripted TV series '-- and what happens to the unemployed workers?On March 12, the London premiere of Mulan had just wrapped when the film's director Niki Caro received the call everyone was anticipating. Executives in Los Angeles had made the decision to pull the Disney tentpole and were about to make the announcement, scuttling plans for a European junket that had just kicked off. The move didn't come as a surprise. After all, less than a day before, President Donald Trump announced a new ban on most travel from Europe, aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus. That travel ban torpedoed any plans to promote the $200 million film in the lucrative European market. And with 70,000 theaters still shuttered in China and U.S. cinemas looking iffier by the minute, Disney had no alternative.
The dust is far from settling on the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. But early estimates indicate that the blow will be unlike anything Hollywood has experienced before and losses will well eclipse the eleven-figure mark, even if conditions remain the same instead of taking a turn for the worse.
As it stands now, the global box office has already taken a coronavirus hit of at least $7 billion. If the remainder of March, April and May are included, lost revenue would climb another $10 billion, making a total loss of approximately $17 billion. And if the crisis continues beyond May, all bets are off.
But taking wide-release films off the schedule also doesn't come cheap. MGM pushed the upcoming James Bond outing No Time to Die to November, a move that will likely cost $30 million to $50 million considering that ad buys are made in advance and make-goods are not a given as several studios are in the same boat, having pulled ads at the last minute. A Quiet Place II's abrupt cancellation eight days before release will cost Paramount some $30 million (unlike with Mulan, A Quiet Place II director John Krasinski and the producers were involved in the decision-making process to hold off on releasing the film until the global pandemic has subsided).
With A Quiet Place II, insiders were stunned by how fast the postponement happened. "As of [Wednesday], we were all systems go. In less than 24 hours, it was over," a source said. One source pegged the total at less than $10 million. Mulan, No Time to Die and Universal's Fast and Furious 9, which is shifting to 2021, all took out Super Bowl ads, a collective $15 million wiped out. Because F9 was more than two months from release, its losses will be smaller than those of others.
But with large swaths of theaters across the world having been shuttered in recent weeks, stretching from Japan to Italy, studios were looking at major box office losses if they released the films. In the case of No Time to Die, that could have resulted in a minimum of 30 percent shaved off the final box office tallies '-- a possible $300 million out of a likely $1 billion global haul. Mulan likely was looking at an even greater sum given that the film was specifically aimed at Chinese moviegoers.
That's to say nothing about the number of big-budget films that have seen production interrupted. On Friday, Disney announced that it will "pause" a number of productions for "a short time," including Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which is shooting in Australia, and the live-action Little Mermaid film in London. Warner Bros. halted preproduction on its Elvis Presley biopic '-- also slated to shoot in Australia '-- after star Tom Hanks tested positive for COVID-19. Sources say a production shutdown on films like Shang-Chi and Little Mermaid would set back Disney about $300,000-$350,000 a day. "It's not like you can stop on a dime," says one producer. "You need to keep department heads going and maybe a level down from there through the hiatus."
Meanwhile, it is unclear any of the losses will be covered by insurance. "If we are talking in terms of protecting lost revenue due to enforced shutdown or scale-down of operations, some property policies may offer limited amounts of coverage, although many have specific communicable diseases exclusions," said attorney John Tomlinson, who specializes in insurance and risk management law.
On the TV side, putting a price tag on any losses '-- or gains given that the amount of time spent tuning in may rise among the newly homebound '-- may be harder to pin down. Per sources, hundreds of scripted and unscripted series have shut down production for at least two weeks as a precautionary measure. Many scripted series, specifically on the broadcast side, were nearing the end of production on their current seasons. Some accelerated production to wrap the season, while others may see their orders trimmed in a bid to cut costs associated with resuming production following a shutdown.
Then there's the industry's annual upfronts in April and May, with all major companies abandoning live presentations for streaming events. With scores of pilots having also shut down production, it's unclear if there will be any new fare to present to Madison Avenue ad buyers who typically spend north of $6 billion during the May upfront period. It's also fair to expect sizable financial losses as events like March Madness (CBS) and possibly the NBA Finals (ABC) are also being impacted. ''I don't want to see broadcast TV fall apart. Thank God it's not football season, if it was, they'd be fucked,'' groused one top agency source, who noted that the pandemic has not yet impacted deal making.
Broadway, too, is being hammered. The monthlong shutdown will result in lost revenues conservatively estimated at $100 million. What remains to be seen, meanwhile, is if cast and crew will be paid as plays, TV shows and film shoots increasingly go dark.
As THR reported, the stage performers union Actors Equity called on federal and local officials to help affected arts and entertainment workers as they face lost income, health insurance and retirement savings.
''Equity members are dedicated professionals who earn their health care and pensions one week of work at a time,'' Equity executive director Mary McColl said in a statement Thursday. ''Today's decision [by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo] means tremendous uncertainty for thousands who work in the arts.... Now is the time for Congress and local governments to put workers first to ensure that everyone who works in the arts and entertainment sector has access to paid leave, health care and unemployment benefits.''
Likewise, IATSE also is urging the federal government to step in to address the economic fallout for entertainment workers whose events and projects have been canceled because of the pandemic.
''Right now, thousands of our members across all sectors of the entertainment industry are suffering financial hardship because of government mandated cancellations. Entertainment workers shouldn't be collateral damage in the fight against the COVID-19 virus,'' said IATSE international president Matthew D. Loeb. ''But this isn't just about us. Economic studies demonstrate that entertainment spending reverberates throughout our communities nationwide. Film and television production alone injects $49 billion into local businesses per year, and the overall entertainment industry supports 2.1 million jobs in municipal and state economies.''
The American Federation of Musicians weighed in as well.
"To minimize the damage the virus response will have on musicians and other gig economy workers," said union president Ray Hair, "AFM is calling on Congress and other lawmakers for immediate action to provide economic relief including expanding leave benefits, unemployment benefits, and an immediate moratorium on evictions, foreclosures and utility shut-offs."
Other entertainment unions, notably SAG-AFTRA, the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America West and East, do not appear to have joined the calls for government relief.
Pamela McClintock, Ashley Cullins and Jonathan Handel contributed to this report.
Police to get powers to detain coronavirus victims in sweeping emergency laws | Metro News
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 06:31
Coronavirus victims who refuse to self-isolate could be detained, it has been reported.
The government is set to introduce emergency legislation next week which would see a ban on large gatherings.
Alongside that, police could be handed powers to detain suspected virus victims 'for a limited period' if necessary to stop them spreading the infection.
There could also be new powers to close ports if immigration and border staff fall sick with the disease.
Councils are also likely to be able to lower standards in care homes to deal with staff shortages.
And further measures are expected to be announced to speed up burials and cremations to cope with the 'worst case scenario.'
Ministers believe the virus will infect the majority of the country and the laws will stay in place for two years, according to the Times.
The number of infections in the UK is now nearing 800 and 11 people have died.
While gatherings of more than 500 people will be banned, schools are set to remain open.
Late on Friday a Whitehall source said: 'Ministers are working with the chief scientific adviser and chief medical officer on our plan to stop various types of public event, including mass gatherings, beginning next week.
'We are also talking to businesses and other bodies about the timing of moving towards much more widespread working from home.
'There are many complex considerations to make all these measures as effective as possible.
'We will make the right decisions at the right time based on the best scientific evidence.
'We have drafted emergency legislation to give the government the powers it needs to deal with coronavirus, including powers to stop mass gatherings and compensate organisations.
'We will publish this legislation next week.'
Boris Johnson has come under criticism for not following other European countries and introducing tougher restrictions.
The World Health Organisation has said that Europe is now the epicentre of the pandemic.
Yesterday, the London Marathon was postponed until October while the Football Association announced the premier league will be suspended until April 4.
Next week's Champions League and Europa League matches were also postponed as was the Wales v Scotland Six Nations rugby match.
England's cricket tour of Sri Lanka was also called off.
The local and mayoral elections in May have also been postponed for a year.
England's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said the peak of the outbreak is most likely still 10 to 14 weeks away.
Coronavirus latest updates: UK over 70s to have to self-isolate 'within weeks' | World news | The Guardian
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 06:23
6.16am EDT 06:16
Helena Smith
Greece has closed all its archaeological sites including the 5th century BCE Acropolis. With few other places to go, Athenians this weekend gathered on rocks beneath the ancient monument.
In a first, the 5th century BC Acropolis is closed. With few other places to go, Athenians take in the site on rocks beneath the ancient site. Photograph: Helena Smith 6.06am EDT 06:06
Lack of ventilators in the UK 'consequence of NHS under-funding', BMA saysThe chairman of the British Medical Association, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, has suggested that sustained cuts left the UK's public healthcare system far more unprepared than other European countries at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.
He said the UK's relative lack of ventilators was ''a result of a decade of under-funding'' and urged the government to provide ''clear, decisive plans'' to ensure that healthcare workers can provide the care patients need.
Our starting position unfortunately has been far worse than many other of our European nations '' we have about a quarter of the critical care beds that Germany has, as an example, so it's really critical, it's really important that we now see transparently what plans the government has to expand that capacity.''
Asked whether the whole GP system needs to be looked at, Nagpaul added:
We need to have clear plans how patients can be remotely managed and how the technology can support that.
Yes. And one of the most immediate priorities of course is we don't have enough doctors. Before the outbreak we were 10,000 doctors short, so we're very worried and the doctors I represent are very concerned that they don't, for example, have adequate protection.
Meanwhile, the Labour leadership contender Lisa Nandy accused the government's response to the coronavirus outbreak of being a ''shambles''.
She criticised ministers for ''going to ground'' after an apparent U-turn on banning mass gatherings and reports that powers may be handed to police and immigration officers to arrest sick people who will not self-isolate.
She told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show:
I think even he [Matt Hancock] will accept that the last 48 hours has been a real shambles. This is causing serious concern out in the public. People just don't know what to do for the best.
There is no reason to panic but we need far more information from the Government. This is a public health crisis and so the public must have confidence in the strategy the government is following.
Updatedat 6.42am EDT
5.55am EDT 05:55
More than 150 ''mutual aid'' groups have been formed across the UK to provide support from shopping, dog walking and picking up prescriptions within communities.
The groups, which number at least 174 and are being coordinated nationally by 'Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK', have organised online meetings today and are handing out flyers in streets.
As well as practical support the groups are offering telephone calls with people who are self-isolating due to infection or increased vulnerability.
Anna Vickerstaff, one of the coordinators of the national network, said:
Groups are being set up and run entirely by volunteers - and our hope is that they can help to make sure people who need support get it. With the NHS and public services having been so ruthlessly underfunded in the last decade, we really just want to make sure that people don't end up suffering alone, or without the basics and support that they need from the outside world.
There's some pretty big questions about whether or not the government's response to this crisis has been fit for purpose. So it's even more important that so many ordinary people across the country are keen to offer solidarity to each other in a moment of need.
5.49am EDT 05:49
Releasing low-risk prisoners is not yet part of government plans to limit the spread of the coronavirus in ''grossly overcrowded'' prisons, according to the Prison Officers Association.
When asked by Sky News's Sophy Ridge if releasing some prisoners was in the contingency plan, Steve Gillan, general secretary of the association, said:
Not as yet but previous governments have done what was called an executive release of prisoners, that may come in the future to free up spaces in prisons.
He explained this could be in the form of temporary release or a decision by the secretary of state to release low-risk category prisoners towards the end of their sentences.
He added there were problems caused by a limited amount of single-capacity cells in the prison system.
No one to my knowledge as of this morning has actually been tested positive but they have been isolated in single-cell accommodation. We all know prisons are grossly overcrowded and that can only happen for a period of time.
5.43am EDT 05:43
People in Norway have been ordered to leave their countryside cabins and return to their homes, due to fears rural hospitals could be ovewhelmed, according to Norwegian media.
The municipalities that have many cottages should be able to take care of their own inhabitants in a very demanding situation, health minister Bent H¸ie reportedly said.
This means that everyone now has to follow the strong request of the prime minister to pack their cases and go home. If they do not, we will prohibit them from staying in the cabin.
It comes after prime minister Erna Solberg threatened to deploy the civil defence to bring people home from their cabins.
Updatedat 5.47am EDT
5.32am EDT 05:32
An 83-year-old British national has tested positive for coronavirus after disembarking a cruise ship in Chile, local media reported.
The man, who was travelling on the Silver Explorer, is in a ''good condition'' in hospital in Coyhaique, Patagonia, the country's health minister Jaime Manalich said, as quoted in La Tercera.
Chile has quarantined nearly 1,300 passengers on board the Silver Explorer and another ship in the port of Chacabuco.
Following the man's diagnosis, the 500 residents of Caleta Tortel have also been made subject of restrictions for a fortnight after the passenger was in contact with several members of the community, the Chilean health ministry said.
5.30am EDT 05:30
UK over-70s to be asked to self isolate for up to four monthsHere is some from Matt Hancock's announcement earlier. He said requesting all over 70-year-olds to self-isolate is a ''very big ask'', but is a measure which is for their own ''self-protection''.
In the coming weeks, over-70's will be asked to self-isolate for up to four months, in order to protect them from the virus, he told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday.
That is in the action plan, yes, and we will be setting it out with more detail when it is the right time to do so, because we absolutely appreciate that it is a very big ask of the elderly and the vulnerable, and it's for their own self-protection '... Certainly in the coming weeks, absolutely.
Our generation has never been tested like this. Our grandparents were, during the second world war, when our cities were bombed during the Blitz.
Despite the pounding every night, the rationing, the loss of life, they pulled together in one gigantic national effort. Today our generation is facing its own test, fighting a very real and new disease.''
Experts on the UK's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies have set out the need for extra action to slow the spread of the disease. The panel advised that the next interventions ''will need to be instituted soon''.
Those measures will include steps to shield the vulnerable from the virus, including the elderly and those with existing health problems, by telling them to stay in their houses or care homes. There could also be a shift to household isolation rather than individual self-isolation.
Meanwhile, a new-born baby in England who has tested positive for coronavirus is likely to be one of the world's youngest patients with the disease. The infant and its mother both tested positive at a north London hospital and staff who had contact with them have been advised to self-isolate.
The developments come as the UK's approach to developing ''herd immunity'' against Covid-19 has been called into question.
But Hancock denied that achieving herd immunity was part of the government's policy. Responding to criticism from parts of the scientific community, and when asked by Ridge if he was playing ''roulette'' with public safety, Hancock replied: ''No, obviously.''
What we will do is listen to all the credible scientists and we will look at all the evidence. Herd immunity is not our goal or policy, it's a scientific concept. Our policy is to protect lives and to beat this virus.
Updatedat 6.44am EDT
5.18am EDT 05:18
The UK is unlikely to have a vaccine for this round of the coronavirus pandemic, according to former chief scientific adviser Mark Walport
He told Sky's Sophy Ridge:
Vaccines are being developed at a very fast rate so there are a number of candidates: large companies, small companies, universities all working. The challenge here is to make sure the vaccine is safe and it works, and unfortunately, that takes a period of time to do so realistically.
It's very unlikely that we are going to have a vaccine for the present round of this epidemic. We are talking months, up to a year.
Walport added it was ''quite likely'' that a large percentage of the population would get coronavirus, but many would be mild or sub-clinical.
Meanwhile, shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth called on Boris Johnson to hold another press conference today if the coronavirus situation has changed.
Speaking on the same programme earlier, he said:
The World Health Organization is saying that we should continue testing and contact tracing. They're saying that is the best way to break the chain of contagion.
The UK have taken a different view that if you feel ill that you just stay at home for seven days and won't be tested.
Many people are saying to me that they need a Covid-19 test if they're ill because they need to know whether they should be interacting with other people in a few weeks' time.
So I just need to understand better why the government is taking a different approach, based on its science, from other countries and I think that's why it is so important that all the scientific modelling for example is published.
If things have changed since Thursday, and things are changing quickly, if things have changed since the prime minister's press conference on Thursday then the prime minister should be doing another press conference today and explaining why things have changed.
Updatedat 5.52am EDT
Disclose.tv 🚨 on Twitter: "BREAKING - Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announces a ban on assembly in the country. No more than 5 people are to be allowed to meet at any one place at once. Special law to be passed by parliament on Sunday amid the #CO
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 05:48
BREAKING - Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announces a ban on assembly in the country. No more than 5 people are to be allowed to meet at any one place at once. Special law to be passed by parliament on Sunday amid the
#COVID19 outbreak.
Google says it is developing a nationwide coronavirus website
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 23:53
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Google is seen in Davos, Switzerland Januar 20, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Alphabet's Google (GOOGL.O ) said on Saturday that it was working with the U.S. government to develop a nationwide website that would help Americans with questions about coronavirus symptoms, risk factors and testing.
''We are fully aligned and continue to work with the U.S. government to contain the spread of COVID-19, inform citizens, and protect the health of our communities,'' Google said in a statement on Twitter.
President Donald Trump had thanked Google on Friday for developing a website that he said would help people determine whether they needed a coronavirus test, saying that 1,700 engineers were working on it.
That prompted the search and advertising giant to respond that, in fact, a life sciences division, Verily, was in the early stages of developing a tool to help triage Americans who may need testing for the coronavirus and that it would be tested in the Bay Area and expanded over time.
Alphabet's shares closed up more than 9% after the Friday announcement by the president.
Pressure has been rising on U.S. officials to increase and improve testing for the fast-spreading virus, which has reached almost every U.S. state, closed schools and forced the cancellation of thousands of sporting events, conferences and concerts amid efforts to stop its spread by keeping Americans out of big crowds.
Like Google, Verily is a subsidiary of Alphabet, which is based in Mountain View, California.
The cooperation with the Trump administration comes as Alphabet faces antitrust investigations by federal and state agencies over its search and digital advertising businesses, among others.
Additionally, Trump has accused Google of skewing its search results to portray him negatively. The company has also attracted the administration's ire for not renewing a contract to provide its artificial intelligence technologies for a military drone program.
Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Daniel Wallis
US Intel Agencies Played Unsettling Role in Classified Coronavirus Response Plan
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 23:51
A s the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis comes to dominate headlines, little media attention has been given to the federal government's decision to classify top-level meetings on domestic coronavirus response and lean heavily ''behind the scenes'' on U.S. intelligence and the Pentagon in planning for an allegedly imminent explosion of cases.
The classification of coronavirus planning meetings was first covered by Reuters, which noted that the decision to classify was ''an unusual step that has restricted information and hampered the U.S. government's response to the contagion.'' Reuters further noted that the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, and his chief of staff had ''resisted'' the classification order, which was made in mid-January by the National Security Council (NSC), led by Robert O'Brien '-- a longtime friend and colleague of his predecessor John Bolton.
Following this order, HHS officials with the appropriate security clearances held meetings on coronavirus response at the department's Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF), which are facilities ''usually reserved for intelligence and military operations'' and '-- in HHS' case '-- for responses to ''biowarfare or chemical attacks.'' Several officials who spoke to Reuters noted that the classification decision prevented key experts from participating in meetings and slowed down the ability of HHS and the agencies it oversees, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to respond to the crisis by limiting participation and information sharing.
It has since been speculated that the decision was made to prevent potential leaks of information by stifling participation and that aspects of the planned response would cause controversy if made public, especially given that the decision to classify government meetings on coronavirus response negatively impacted HHS' ability to respond to the crisis.
After the classification decision was made public, a subsequent report in Politico revealed that not only is the National Security Council managing the federal government's overall response but that they are doing so in close coordination with the U.S. intelligence community and the U.S. military. It states specifically that ''NSC officials have been coordinating behind the scenes with the intelligence and defense communities to gauge the threat and prepare for the possibility that the U.S. government will have to respond to much bigger numbers'--and soon.''
Little attention was given to the fact that the response to this apparently imminent jump in cases was being coordinated largely between elements of the national security state (i.e. the NSC, Pentagon, and intelligence), as opposed to civilian agencies or those focused on public health issues, and in a classified manner.
The Politico article also noted that the intelligence community is set to play a ''key role'' in a pandemic situation, but did not specify what the role would specifically entail. However, it did note that intelligence agencies would ''almost certainly see an opportunity to exploit the crisis'' given that international ''epicenters of coronavirus [are] in high-priority counterintelligence targets like China and Iran.'' It further added, citing former intelligence officials, that efforts would be made to recruit new human sources in those countries.
Politico cited the official explanation for intelligence's interest in ''exploiting the crisis'' as merely being aimed at determining accurate statistics of coronavirus cases in ''closed societies,'' i.e. nations that do not readily cooperate or share intelligence with the U.S. government. Yet, Politico fails to note that Iran has long been targeted for CIA-driven U.S. regime change, specifically under the Trump administration, and that China had been fingered as the top threat to U.S. global hegemony by military officials well before the coronavirus outbreak.
A potential ''9/11-like'' responseThe decision to classify government coronavirus preparations in mid-January, followed by the decision to coordinate the domestic response with the military and with intelligence deserves considerable scrutiny, particularly given that at least one federal agency, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), will be given broad, sweeping powers and will work closely with unspecified intelligence ''partners'' as part of its response to a pandemics like COVID-19.
The CBP's pandemic response document, obtained by The Nation, reveals that the CBP's pandemic directive ''allows the agency to actively surveil and detain individuals suspected of carrying the illness indefinitely.'' The Nation further notes that the plan was drafted during the George W. Bush administration, but is the agency's most recent pandemic response plan and remains in effect.
Though only CBP's pandemic response plan has now been made public, those of other agencies are likely to be similar, particularly on their emphasis on surveillance, given past precedent following the September 11 attacks and other times of national panic. Notably, several recent media reports have likened coronavirus to 9/11 and broached the possibility of a ''9/11-like'' response to coronavirus, suggestions that should concern critics of the post-9/11 ''Patriot Act'' and other controversial laws, executive orders and policies that followed.
While the plans of the federal government remain classified, recent reports have revealed that the military and intelligence communities '-- now working with the NSC to develop the government's coronavirus response '-- have anticipated a massive explosion in cases for weeks. U.S. military intelligence came to the conclusion over a month ago that coronavirus cases would reach ''pandemic proportions'' domestically by the end of March. That military intelligence agency, known as the National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI), coordinates closely with the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct ''medical SIGINT [signals intelligence].''
The coming government response, the agencies largely responsible for crafting it and its classified nature deserve public scrutiny now, particularly given the federal government's tendency to not let ''a serious crisis to go to waste,'' as former President Obama's then-chief of staff Rahm Emanuel infamously said during the 2008 financial crisis. Indeed, during a time of panic '-- over a pandemic and over a simultaneous major economic downturn '-- concern over government overreach is warranted, particularly now given the involvement of intelligence agencies and the classification of planning for an explosion of domestic cases that the government believes is only weeks away.
Feature photo | A Medical University of South Carolina public safety officer walks by the hospital's drive-through tent for patients who are being tested for the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Citadel Mall parking lot, March 13, 2020, in Charleston, S.C. Mic Smith | AP
Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.
Adam Housley on Twitter: "Here's the latest: cautious optimism. Spoke with several senior members of government in both parties and also some medial public health first responders and while they not say to be vigilant and measured and sanitize and all t
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 23:44
Adam Housley @ adamhousley
4h that if it's true that China knew of CoronaVirus in early November, the likelihood that it has already run through parts of this country is massive. Meaning we are way past testing and mitigation. It also means we may...may...have moved through it in parts of the U.S.
View conversation · Adam Housley @ adamhousley
4h Again..this is very cautious optimism. The first responders I spoke with and several doctors say that flu was rough this winter and many people with very similar symptoms to Covid were sent home to recover. Did they already have it? Has it already been thru here?
View conversation · Adam Housley @ adamhousley
4h Thus the rough flu season we've experienced already. These are all questions we will know answers to soon enough. I suggest to my colleagues in the media, these are the questions and investigations we should be doing/asking. Politics aside for a couple of weeks. Try it.
View conversation · Haley @ hay_stone3
4h My whole family had a ''viral upper respiratory infection'' it has taken my husband and I 6 weeks to recover, it only took our kids a 1 week. We were flu negative, but felt like the flu. I'm certain we had it. No runny nose, dry cough,fever, and aches
View conversation ·
Trump Has No Idea Who Fired His Pandemic Response Team
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 23:37
President Donald Trump denied on Friday that he was in any way responsible for his administration's failure to make coronavirus testing widely available, and professed to have absolutely no idea who had disbanded the White House pandemic response team two years ago (John Bolton), or even if that had happened (it did).
The president's insistence that the buck very much does not stop with him was overshadowed by his false claim that Google had 1,700 engineers working to create a nationwide website that would direct Americans to testing sites nationwide.
On Saturday, Trump appeared briefly at another news conference and revealed that he has been tested for the illness, Covid-19, after being exposed last weekend to at least two Brazilian officials who have subsequently tested positive.
But Trump's testy, wounded response to being asked on Friday if he shared the blame for the federal government's halting effort to stem the spread of the virus is worth pausing on for a moment, because it suggests that he still has little idea, and less interest, in what happens in his own White House.
The revealing exchange began when Kristen Welker of NBC News asked Trump about the lag in testing, which Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had described as ''a failing,'' the day before.
''Do you take responsibility for that?'' Welker asked.
''Yeah, no,'' Trump replied. ''I don't take responsibility at all.''
When Yamiche Alcindor of PBS Newshour followed up by pointing out that Trump's National Security Council had eliminated a team responsible for global health security, which was created by his predecessor to coordinate the response to pandemic threats, the president took offense and denied even knowing if such a thing had taken place.
''You said that you don't take responsibility, but you did disband the White House pandemic office, and the officials that were working in that office left this administration abruptly. So what responsibility do you take to that?'' Alcindor asked. ''And the officials that worked in that office said that you, that the White House lost valuable time because that office was disbanded. What do you make of that?''
WATCH: @Yamiche asked the president about a reorganization of the National Security Council that dismantled a key pandemics team in 2018.President Trump: "I just think it's a nasty question... You say we did that, I don't know anything about it." pic.twitter.com/lWo0YKS1rl
'-- PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) March 13, 2020''Well, I just think it's a nasty question,'' Trump replied. ''And when you say me '-- I didn't do it. We have a group of people I could''''
''It's your administration,'' Alcindor interjected.
''I could ask perhaps,'' Trump continued. ''It's my administration, but I could perhaps ask Tony about that, because I don't know anything about it,'' the president said, gesturing towards Dr. Fauci, who was not involved in disbanding the team, but had expressed regret that it was no longer there. ''I mean, you say we did that. I don't know anything about it,'' Trump added.
''You don't know about the reorganization that happened at the National Security Council?'' Alcindor asked.
''It's the administration. Perhaps they do that,'' Trump replied. ''You know, people let people go. You used to be with a different newspaper than you are now,'' he said, referring, in confused terms, to the reporter having been hired by PBS, which is not a newspaper, from The New York Times, which did not fire her. ''You know, things like that happen,'' the president said, before the White House staff cut off the reporter's microphone to make her next question inaudible.
Many observers assumed that Trump was feigning ignorance when he insisted that he had no idea that his White House had eliminated the positions of the health security and biodefense experts hired by the Obama administration to deal with pandemics. But there is evidence to support the more troubling possibility that he was telling the truth.
Last Friday at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Trump seemed entirely unaware that he had ever had such experts on his staff when Peter Baker of The New York Times referred to them in a question.
''Mr. President,'' Baker said, ''you said you had not anticipated this kind of thing happening. Would you rethink then having an office of pandemic preparation in the White House?''
''I just think this is something, Peter, that you can never really think is going to happen,'' Trump replied, as if the question had been hypothetical. ''You know, who'' I've heard all about, 'This could be,' you know, 'This could be a big deal,' from before it happened. You know, this'' something like this could happen'.... But who would have thought, look, how long ago is it? Six, seven, eight weeks ago? Who would have thought we would even be having the subject? We were going to hit 30,000 on the Dow like it was clockwork, right? It was all going, it was right up, and then all of a sudden, this came out'.... And the thing is, you never really know when something like this is going to strike and what it's going to be. This is different than something else. This is a very different thing than something else.''
''But would there be a value in having an office in the White House that's preparing for this?'' Baker asked.
''Well, I just don't think,'' Trump responded, again not seeming to grasp the reason for the question. ''I just don't think that somebody is going to, without seeing something '-- like we saw something happening in China. As soon as they saw that happening, they essentially '-- not from the White House. I mean, you know, we don't need a lab in the White House.''
Last month, when he was asked a related question '-- if he now regretted budget proposals that called for enormous cuts to the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health and and the World Health Organization '-- Trump said no. ''Some of the people we cut, they haven't been used for many, many years, and if, if we have a need, we can get them very quickly,'' he said. ''And rather than spending the money '-- and I'm a business person, I don't like having thousands of people around when you don't need them '-- when we need them, we can get them back very quickly.''
President Trump Proclaims Sunday March 15th A National Day of Prayer'....
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 23:33
[White House] ~ A PROCLAMATION~In our times of greatest need, Americans have always turned to prayer to help guide us through trials and periods of uncertainty. As we continue to face the unique challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans are unable to gather in their churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship.
In this time we must not cease asking God for added wisdom, comfort, and strength, and we must especially pray for those who have suffered harm or who have lost loved ones. I ask you to join me in a day of prayer for all people who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and to pray for God's healing hand to be placed on the people of our Nation.
As your President, I ask you to pray for the health and well-being of your fellow Americans and to remember that no problem is too big for God to handle. We should all take to heart the holy words found in 1 Peter 5:7: ''Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.'' Let us pray that all those affected by the virus will feel the presence of our Lord's protection and love during this time. With God's help, we will overcome this threat.
On Friday, I declared a national emergency and took other bold actions to help deploy the full power of the Federal Government to assist with efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
I now encourage all Americans to pray for those on the front lines of the response, especially our Nation's outstanding medical professionals and public health officials who are working tirelessly to protect all of us from the coronavirus and treat patients who are infected; all of our courageous first responders, National Guard, and dedicated individuals who are working to ensure the health and safety of our communities; and our Federal, State, and local leaders.
We are confident that He will provide them with the wisdom they need to make difficult decisions and take decisive actions to protect Americans all across the country. As we come to our Father in prayer, we remember the words found in Psalm 91: ''He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.''
As we unite in prayer, we are reminded that there is no burden too heavy for God to lift or for this country to bear with His help. Luke 1:37 promises that ''For with God nothing shall be impossible,'' and those words are just as true today as they have ever been.
As one Nation under God, we are greater than the hardships we face, and through prayer and acts of compassion and love, we will rise to this challenge and emerge stronger and more united than ever before. May God bless each of you, and may God bless the United States of America.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 15, 2020, as a National Day of Prayer for All Americans Affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic and for our National Response Efforts. I urge Americans of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers for all those affected, including people who have suffered harm or lost loved ones.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.
DONALD J. TRUMP
White House: Donald Trump Tests Negative for Coronavirus
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 23:30
President Donald Trump has tested negative for the coronavirus, the White House announced on Saturday evening.
''Last night after an in-depth discussion with the President regarding COVID-19 testing, he elected to proceed. This evening I received confirmation that the test is negative,'' White House physician Dr. Sean Conley said in a statement released via White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. ''One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation in Mar-a-Lago, the President remains symptom-free. I have been in daily contact with the CDC and White House Coronavirus Task Force, and we are encouraging implementation of all their best practices for exposure reduction and transmission mitigation.''
The announcement comes hours after President Trump revealed at a press briefing addressing his administration's latest measures to combat the coronavirus that he underwent testing for the deadly illness and that the results were pending. ''I also took the test last night, and I decided I should, based on the press conference yesterday. People were asking, 'Did I take the test?''' he told reporters.
Vice President Mike Pence announced at the briefing that the United States to expanding its European travel ban to include the United Kingdom and Ireland and that it will take effect at midnight on Monday. ''Americans in the U.K. or Ireland can come home. Legal residents can come home. But as the secretary will detail, they will be funneled through specific airports and process,'' he explained.
President Trump took the test after dining at Mar-a-Lago last weekend with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his press secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, who tested positive for the coronavirus. On Friday, Bolsonaro tested negative for the disease that originated in Wuhan, China.
Earlier Saturday, the White House began conducting temperature checks for reporters ''in close contact'' with President Trump or Vice President Pence. ''Out of an abundance of caution, temperature checks are now being performed on any individuals who are in close contact with the President and Vice President,'' White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere confirmed in a statement.
McClatchy White House correspondent Francesca Chambers reported that ''around 11:30 am a man in a suit with a no contact thermometer came through the White House press briefing room and workspaces, taking the temperature of reporters in the building.''
As of Saturday, 2,400 Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus and 50 people have died from the illness, reports the New York Times.
Coronavirus by the numbers - American Thinker
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 23:28
March 12, 2020
I have always been fascinated by numbers, so looking at data on the coronavirus spread and its lethality is revealing and also raises lots of questions I cannot answer, since I am not a virologist, nor am I on top of what each country is doing to contain the spread of the virus. There are several good sources of information on the numbers if this interests you.
'); googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1345489840937-3'); }); }
A 17-year-old prodigy from Seattle has created an excellent database, which updates every minute. Here is an article on the young software designer. Johns Hopkins University, recipient of the largest gift ever made by one person to a university (Michael Bloomberg's gift of $1.8 billion), also has good data.
The country-by-country information, especially when examined over time, suggests that there are some disparities. First: the incidence rate '-- that is, the number of cases compared to a country's population. This virus began in China and grew rapidly there, particularly in one area of the country, but case volume now has leveled off with very small growth in the caseload, and well over half recovered. This is encouraging, or should be; it suggests that containment is possible.
Now, an authoritarian country has tools at its disposal that democracies do not. In any case, China has a total caseload of 80,000 that has been quite steady for a few weeks. China has a population of 1.4 billion. In other words, 1 in every 17,000 Chinese has come down with the disease. Obviously, the incidence rate in the Wuhan area is higher than the national incidence rate in China '-- maybe more than 25 times higher. This is also the area where the disease spread rapidly, since almost nobody early on knew what the population was dealing with.
'); googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1567099776462-0'); }); } Yesterday, Germany's Angela Merkel predicted that 60''70% of that country's population of roughly 85 million would come down with the virus. Really? Based on what? One in 17,000 in China but 7 in 10 in Germany?
In the United States, the caseload has grown tenfold in little over a week. That is a very high growth rate. We now have just over 1,000 identified cases (the number infected is undoubtedly considerably higher, since few people have been tested). The U.S. population is close to 330 million, meaning our incidence rate so far is 1 in 330,000, about 1/20 of China's rate. In other words, if our incidence rate grew to match China's before leveling off, we would get to about 20,000 cases. If our rate grew to match that of the Wuhan area, it might be 500,000 cases. Why the U.S. incidence rate should grow to match the Wuhan area rate is not at all clear to me. Some of the data in the country tables seems suspect. Why would Russia have only 15 cases? The world's highest incidence rate could be in Iran, if the official numbers represent just a small fraction of the actual caseload as some non-government sources in the country suggest. Iranian leadership has been decimated by the virus, which has not occurred anywhere else.
This year's "regular" flu season has been a busy one. This is from yesterday's New York Times, which makes clear that what we are now seeing with the coronavirus is not a repeat of the 1918 "Spanish Flu," nor as prevalent as a regular seasonal flu.
"But so far this year, the annual epidemic of seasonal flu in the United States is proving much more devastating than the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there have been at least 34 million infected with flu this season, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths. So far, coronavirus has killed 27 people in the United States."
So, as many people have died from the seasonal flu in the United States as would be affected by the coronavirus if the incidence rate were 20 times higher than it is so far.
Several countries are experiencing higher incidence rates than China. Among them are South Korea, Italy, Iran. These countries are also experiencing highly differentiated death rates from the disease. The head of the WHO stated the other day that the death rate is 3.4% worldwide. I think he is wrong, and the real death rate is likely lower.
In China, the death rate was near 5% in Hubei Province, which includes Wuhan. But in other areas of the country, the death rate has been 1%. South Korea, which has tested a large number of people, has a high incidence rate but a death rate of only 0.75%, less than 1%. Italy has a similar caseload to South Korea's but a death rate nearly ten times higher. Both are developed countries, with similar populations and population density. I won't even try to explain this wide gap. I can't. There are apparently different strains of the virus, with different degrees of lethality. Cultural differences and differing government policies on quarantining, testing, and treating victims could all be contributors.
In the cases around the world, the death rate is far higher for those 70 and older, than for those under that age who contract the disease. It is even higher among those 80 and older and highest among those 90 and older. Young children do not seem to catch the virus. Most of the deaths in the United States so far have been associated with one nursing home in a Seattle suburb. The typical nursing home population has a median age in the mid 80s.
You will note that I have left politics completely out of this analysis, which is where I think they belong. Our own government should become as familiar as it can with what other countries have done to contain the virus, especially if they have had some success doing so. Taiwan has had a particularly positive experience:
Singapore had an initial burst of cases, which has not grown much. They early on issued some directives, which as this article suggests might be difficult to replicate in most places.
News coverage of stories like this are similar to stories concerning natural disasters. The media flood the zone with nonstop coverage. For this virus, the coverage undoubtedly has increased fears among many people. The stock market collapse and concern about an economic decline are also worrisome. If you work in the travel sector, the energy business, or the restaurant industry, things have gotten tough very quickly.
It is troubling for a respected national leader like Merkel to make the comments she did. Best I know she is an economist, not a scientist nor a virologist. I cannot predict how many people in the US or anywhere else will be impacted by this. Here are a few things to consider: every day in the United States, 6,000-7,000 people die (over 2 million a year). In China, about 25,000 die every day (9 million a year). The great majority of those who die every year in both countries are older people. The virus added about 50 deaths per day in China for two months. Italy has just over 1,000 deaths a day from all causes. In the past few weeks, that number has grown by close to 50 per day from the virus. In other words, the Wuhan area of China experienced the same supplemental death toll from the virus for about 60 days that Italy has now experienced for close to two weeks. It is understandable why Italy has chosen a quarantine type approach for the entire country, as case volumes grow, and the death toll climbs.
In short, the world is not showing signs that the end is near (though it may be for some of us). The virus is a scary thing for many people for good reasons, and precaution is a good thing, as are active measures to deal with the economic fallout as well as testing, and treatment and speedier than normal adoption of any vaccines which prove effective. I do not have the scientific background to know whether warmer months will slow the growth of the virus, as some have argued.
Image credit: Annie Pilon.
I have always been fascinated by numbers, so looking at data on the coronavirus spread and its lethality is revealing and also raises lots of questions I cannot answer, since I am not a virologist, nor am I on top of what each country is doing to contain the spread of the virus. There are several good sources of information on the numbers if this interests you.
A 17-year-old prodigy from Seattle has created an excellent database, which updates every minute. Here is an article on the young software designer. Johns Hopkins University, recipient of the largest gift ever made by one person to a university (Michael Bloomberg's gift of $1.8 billion), also has good data.
The country-by-country information, especially when examined over time, suggests that there are some disparities. First: the incidence rate '-- that is, the number of cases compared to a country's population. This virus began in China and grew rapidly there, particularly in one area of the country, but case volume now has leveled off with very small growth in the caseload, and well over half recovered. This is encouraging, or should be; it suggests that containment is possible.
Now, an authoritarian country has tools at its disposal that democracies do not. In any case, China has a total caseload of 80,000 that has been quite steady for a few weeks. China has a population of 1.4 billion. In other words, 1 in every 17,000 Chinese has come down with the disease. Obviously, the incidence rate in the Wuhan area is higher than the national incidence rate in China '-- maybe more than 25 times higher. This is also the area where the disease spread rapidly, since almost nobody early on knew what the population was dealing with.
Yesterday, Germany's Angela Merkel predicted that 60''70% of that country's population of roughly 85 million would come down with the virus. Really? Based on what? One in 17,000 in China but 7 in 10 in Germany?
In the United States, the caseload has grown tenfold in little over a week. That is a very high growth rate. We now have just over 1,000 identified cases (the number infected is undoubtedly considerably higher, since few people have been tested). The U.S. population is close to 330 million, meaning our incidence rate so far is 1 in 330,000, about 1/20 of China's rate. In other words, if our incidence rate grew to match China's before leveling off, we would get to about 20,000 cases. If our rate grew to match that of the Wuhan area, it might be 500,000 cases. Why the U.S. incidence rate should grow to match the Wuhan area rate is not at all clear to me. Some of the data in the country tables seems suspect. Why would Russia have only 15 cases? The world's highest incidence rate could be in Iran, if the official numbers represent just a small fraction of the actual caseload as some non-government sources in the country suggest. Iranian leadership has been decimated by the virus, which has not occurred anywhere else.
This year's "regular" flu season has been a busy one. This is from yesterday's New York Times, which makes clear that what we are now seeing with the coronavirus is not a repeat of the 1918 "Spanish Flu," nor as prevalent as a regular seasonal flu.
"But so far this year, the annual epidemic of seasonal flu in the United States is proving much more devastating than the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there have been at least 34 million infected with flu this season, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths. So far, coronavirus has killed 27 people in the United States."
So, as many people have died from the seasonal flu in the United States as would be affected by the coronavirus if the incidence rate were 20 times higher than it is so far.
Several countries are experiencing higher incidence rates than China. Among them are South Korea, Italy, Iran. These countries are also experiencing highly differentiated death rates from the disease. The head of the WHO stated the other day that the death rate is 3.4% worldwide. I think he is wrong, and the real death rate is likely lower.
In China, the death rate was near 5% in Hubei Province, which includes Wuhan. But in other areas of the country, the death rate has been 1%. South Korea, which has tested a large number of people, has a high incidence rate but a death rate of only 0.75%, less than 1%. Italy has a similar caseload to South Korea's but a death rate nearly ten times higher. Both are developed countries, with similar populations and population density. I won't even try to explain this wide gap. I can't. There are apparently different strains of the virus, with different degrees of lethality. Cultural differences and differing government policies on quarantining, testing, and treating victims could all be contributors.
In the cases around the world, the death rate is far higher for those 70 and older, than for those under that age who contract the disease. It is even higher among those 80 and older and highest among those 90 and older. Young children do not seem to catch the virus. Most of the deaths in the United States so far have been associated with one nursing home in a Seattle suburb. The typical nursing home population has a median age in the mid 80s.
You will note that I have left politics completely out of this analysis, which is where I think they belong. Our own government should become as familiar as it can with what other countries have done to contain the virus, especially if they have had some success doing so. Taiwan has had a particularly positive experience:
Singapore had an initial burst of cases, which has not grown much. They early on issued some directives, which as this article suggests might be difficult to replicate in most places.
News coverage of stories like this are similar to stories concerning natural disasters. The media flood the zone with nonstop coverage. For this virus, the coverage undoubtedly has increased fears among many people. The stock market collapse and concern about an economic decline are also worrisome. If you work in the travel sector, the energy business, or the restaurant industry, things have gotten tough very quickly.
It is troubling for a respected national leader like Merkel to make the comments she did. Best I know she is an economist, not a scientist nor a virologist. I cannot predict how many people in the US or anywhere else will be impacted by this. Here are a few things to consider: every day in the United States, 6,000-7,000 people die (over 2 million a year). In China, about 25,000 die every day (9 million a year). The great majority of those who die every year in both countries are older people. The virus added about 50 deaths per day in China for two months. Italy has just over 1,000 deaths a day from all causes. In the past few weeks, that number has grown by close to 50 per day from the virus. In other words, the Wuhan area of China experienced the same supplemental death toll from the virus for about 60 days that Italy has now experienced for close to two weeks. It is understandable why Italy has chosen a quarantine type approach for the entire country, as case volumes grow, and the death toll climbs.
In short, the world is not showing signs that the end is near (though it may be for some of us). The virus is a scary thing for many people for good reasons, and precaution is a good thing, as are active measures to deal with the economic fallout as well as testing, and treatment and speedier than normal adoption of any vaccines which prove effective. I do not have the scientific background to know whether warmer months will slow the growth of the virus, as some have argued.
Image credit: Annie Pilon.
Coronavirus Dashboard
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 23:26
Quick Facts
updated: a few seconds ago
(NOTE: Not all countries update at the same time)
155,937
Total Confirmed Cases
5,827
Total Deceased
5,425
Total Serious
77,917
Total Recovered
109'195
Total Countries Infected
NEW: The first 59 U.S. coronavirus deaths by state and age | Sharyl Attkisson
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 23:13
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March 14, 2020 by Sharyl Attkisson Leave a Comment
Note: the numbers change quickly. These figures are current as of March 14, 2020. Visit CDC.gov for the latest government information.
68% of U.S. deaths were in Washington StateAlmost half of total U.S. deaths occurred at the same Washington State nursing homeFifty-nine U.S. coronavirus deaths were reported as of Saturday, March 14. The numbers increase daily, but the profiles below provide a snapshot in time of the victims.
For the latest government information, visit CDC.gov.
59 U.S. Coronavirus DeathsWashington State40 of total, or 68%, from Washington State
35 Washington State deaths are from King County (88% of Wash. State deaths) 27 deaths from Life Care Center, Kirkland (46% of total US deaths)Newly reported on March 14, 2020
2 men, 80s, Life Care CenterWoman, 70sNewly reported on March 13, 2020
2 women, 90s, Life Care Center, died 3/6/2020Woman, 80s, Life Care Center, died 3/6/2020Man, 70s, at Overlake Medical Center, died 3/4/2020Man, 80s, at Swedish Issaquah hospital, died 3/9/2020Woman, 70s, with underlying health conditions, died 3/11/2020First two deaths in US, reported earlier
Woman, 80s, Life Care Center, died 2/26/2020Man, 50s, Life Care Center, died 2/26/20204 Washington State deaths are from Snohomish County
Woman, 70s, with underlying health conditions, died 3/11/2020Woman, 80s, with underlying health conditions, died 3/10/2020Man, 80s, with underlying health conditions, died 3/9/2020, Josephine Caring Community assisted livingMan, 40s, with underlying health conditions1 Washington State death is from Grant County, a patient in their 80s
California6 (10%) from California
Woman, 90s, in assisted living, with underlying health conditions, died 3/10/2020 Woman, 60s, who had been hospitalized in Santa Clara, died 3/9/2020 Man, 71, with underlying health conditions, Grand Princess cruise ship, died 3/4/2020 Woman, 80s, Santa Clara, died 3/13/2020 Woman visitor to L.A. County who had layover in S. Korea, died 3/11/2020 Death announced 3/13/2020, no details givenFlorida4 (6.7%) from Florida: Both 70s, who had traveled overseas
New York2 (3.3%) from New York: Woman, 82 and Man, 64
New Jersey1 (1.6%) from New Jersey: Man, 69, diabetic who suffered two cardiac arrests
South Dakota1 (1.6%) from South Dakota: Man, 60-69, with underlying medical conditions
Georgia1 (1.6%) from Georgia: Man, 67, with underlying medical conditions
Kansas1 (1.6%) from Kansas: Man, 70s, with underlying health conditions, Life Care Center, Kansas City
Colorado1 (1.6%) from Colorado: Woman, 80s with underlying health conditions
Virginia1 (1.6%) from Virginia: Man, 70s
Louisiana1 (1.6%) from Louisiana: Patient, 58, with underlying health conditions
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About Sharyl Attkisson Emmy-Award Winning Investigative Journalist, New York Times Best Selling Author, Host of Sinclair's Full Measure
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Travelers returning home from overseas waiting for hours at DFW Airport due to enhanced screening procedures
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 23:11
Thousands of international travelers returning to North Texas reported long lines and cramped conditions in the Customs line at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Saturday as staff took extra precautions to guard against coronavirus.
Airport officials urged patience as people had to fill out questionnaires from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of a travel ban the Trump administration instituted in an effort to halt the spread of the virus.
The screenings are necessary because the airport is one of the few accepting flights from areas affected by the travel ban, officials said.
''DFW Airport is one of 13 U.S. airports identified by the Department of Homeland Security to screen American citizens, legal permanent residents and their immediate families who are returning home from European and other regions,'' airport spokesman Bill Begley said. ''These federally mandated enhanced procedures are part of the effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.''
Another look at what's happening inside @DFWAirport and the lines at customs. Travelers say they've been in line 3-5 hours... Airport telling people delays are due to "enhanced screening for passengers" who have been abroad. @NBCDFW Video: Dorothy Lowe pic.twitter.com/beVj4TAsDM
'-- Katy Blakey (@KatyBlakeyNBC5) March 15, 2020The problem, returnees say, is that the long lines make it impossible to maintain ''social distancing,'' a preferred measure to thwart the spread of coronavirus.
One traveler, a 33-year-old Dallas resident returning from Cancun with her family, waited in line for three hours until a Customs officials asked if anyone was returning from Mexico.
Those travelers were then immediately ushered through the line and sent home, she said.
''They booted me out. I never even saw a Customs agent,'' said the woman, who asked to be identified only by her first name, Larrissa.
Adding to her concerns, she said she was coughing and sneezing and walked past at least three CDC officials who never took notice.
''I got sick a couple of days into the trip,'' Larrissa said. ''I'm not sure if it's hay fever or what.''
Her doctor told her to follow CDC guidelines, which indicated that her symptoms were not generally associated with the new coronavirus.
Wait times at the airport were as long as four hours, according to WFAA-TV (Channel 8).
''I can see nothing but people for as far as I can see,'' Longview resident Dorothy Lowe told the station.
Lowe, who was returning from Mexico, said she was still in line three hours after getting off the plane.
''I'm less concerned about having to stand here for the amount of time that I am, and more concerned about where the people are traveling from that are around me and what they may or may not have been exposed to," Lowe told WFAA.
People in customs line at @DFWAirport are saying they've waited for HOURS. There is no hand sanitizer and obviously no way to wash hands. What happens if a single one of these people goes on to test positive? (@wfaa) pic.twitter.com/3KsrBupQkS
'-- William Joy (@WilliamJoy) March 15, 2020DFW wasn't the only airport facing a crowd crunch Saturday. Travelers returning to Chicago O'Hare International Airport complained about long lines at multiple locations, including baggage claim.
The wait for baggage was as long as six hours, one passenger said on Twitter. Then a wait of at least two to four hours was next in Customs.
Police at O'Hare handed out water and disinfectant wipes, tweeted Brooke Geiger McDonald, a Chicago-area reporter.
Larrissa, the traveler returning from Cancun, said others in line were frustrated, worried about the health and of themselves and others.
''They were concerned about being with other people from all over the world coughing around them, and they're stuck there with no way to get to their connecting flights," she said.
Begley said that he sympathized but that the screenings were unavoidable.
''The necessary additional procedures may cause delays in processing through Customs but are of the utmost importance for the health and safety of everyone,'' he said.
Staff writer Kyle Arnold contributed to this report.
Report: Rush Has Important "Red Flags" He Needs to Share Right Now Regarding the Media
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 20:49
PoliticsRush Limbaugh is convinced the media and Dems are using the Coronavirus as their weapon to ''finally bring down Trump.''
Rush Limbaugh is convinced the media and Dems are using the Coronavirus as their weapon to ''finally bring down Trump.''
I believe him. It's painfully obvious.
He says that coronavirus is the answer to Democrats' anti-Trump prayers.
Rush went on to blast the ''gleeful'' media coverage that is reporting on the virus nonstop, and he says liberals are secretly celebrating this virus.
Some not so ''secretly'' I see these happy people online.
''I just can't look at this as an isolated thing,'' Rush said. ''I have to put it in context of everything that I know has happened in the last four years. Finally, something has come along that is accomplishing everything every enemy of Donald Trump, and us has wanted to accomplish for the last four years.''
RELATED: [VIDEO] McCain Hopes Coronavirus Will Destroy Trump While Behar Calls For Him to Resign
He also talked about the massively overblown hysterical panic that has gripped the nation. People have gone bonkers, literally changing every aspect of their lives over the virus based on this media panic.
Now, that's not to say that we shouldn't use common sense and be cautious and careful and have a great deal of respect for the virus and the folks in charge, but it's the mass hysteria that Rush is referring to.
''I'm telling you, folks, I'm I that there's so many red flags about things happening out there,'' he claimed. ''This coronavirus, all of this panic is just not warranted. I'm telling you. When I tell you what I've told you that this virus is the common cold when I said that it was based on the number of cases.''
Limbaugh dismissed the idea that the virus itself was severe enough to cause as much concern as the media would have people believe.
''That's also based on the kind of virus this is,'' he continued. ''Why do you think this is called COVID-19 it's the 19th coronavirus. They're not uncommon. Coronaviruses are respiratory cold and flu viruses.''
He took a moment to work over the media and liberals at large for their less-than-courteous reaction to the pandemic
''To me, this is just a gigantic series of question marks and red flags, all this stuff that is'... It's just the timing of it. The gleeful, gleeful attitudes in the media about this, the gleeful attitudes that Democrat leaders have about this,'' he accused. [Bizpacreview]
Folks, this could be one of the hardest challenges Trump has yet to face. The level of panic that has set in has placed him at a disadvantage.
What we must do is remain calm, listen to people President Trump has placed in charge '' and hear their words for yourself, don't take the fake news' word for it, be careful, wash your hands, steer clear of big crowds if you can, and spread the proper info. Debunk the fake info out there (there's so much it's almost impossible to keep up) and inform others who may be confused or scared.
It will be over soon, but for a short period of time, things may get dicey.
Also, pray for the country and President Trump.
Attn: Wayne Dupree is a free speech champion who works tirelessly to bring you news that the mainstream media ignores. But he needs your support in order to keep delivering quality, independent journalism. You can make a huge impact in the war against fake news by pledging as little as $5 per month. Please click here Patreon.com/WDShow to help Wayne battle the fake news media.
Google Communications on Twitter: "''Google is partnering with the US Government in developing a nationwide website that includes information about COVID-19 symptoms, risk and testing information. (2/6)" / Twitter
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 20:26
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43m ''We are fully aligned and continue to work with the US Government to contain the spread of COVID-19, inform citizens, and protect the health of our communities. (1/6)
twitter.com/Google_Comms/s'... View details · Google Communications @ Google_Comms Replying to @Google_Comms ''Google is partnering with the US Government in developing a nationwide website that includes information about COVID-19 symptoms, risk and testing information. (2/6)
5:44 PM - 14 Mar 2020 Google Communications @ Google_Comms
42m Replying to
@Google_Comms ''This is in addition to other measures we are taking, including: a Google ''home page promotion'' to promote greater awareness of simple measures citizens can take to prevent the spread of the disease; (3/6)
View conversation · Google Communications @ Google_Comms
42m Replying to
@Google_Comms ''Work being done by our sister company Verily to launch a pilot website that will enable individuals to do a risk assessment and be scheduled for testing at sites in the Bay Area; (4/6)
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@Google_Comms ''Promoting authoritative information through Google Search and YouTube; taking measures to protect users from misinformation, including phishing, conspiracy theories, malware and misinformation; (5/6)
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@Google_Comms ''Rolling out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally until 7/01/20; advancing health research and science; and financially supporting global relief efforts.'' - Google Spokesperson (6/6)
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@Google_Comms Media and Libs hardest hit
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@Google_Comms Thank You, President Trump!
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@Google_Comms @threadreaderapp @threadreaderapp please unroll
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@AnnieT852 @Google_Comms Hello, the unroll you asked for: Thread by
@Google_Comms: ''We are fully aligned and continue to work with the US Government to contain the spread of'...
threadreaderapp.com/thread/1238989'.... Talk to you soon. 🤖
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Save the planet & die alone: Swedish prof says we should ditch pet cats & dogs, for climate's sake
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 16:58
Helen Buyniski
is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23
With human populations already on the decline in the West, climate-conscious academics have now taken aim at carnivorous pets. But even if ditching canine and feline companionship helps save the planet, is the loneliness worth it?
A Swedish agricultural studies professor has joined the growing chorus of environmentally-conscious academics scolding pet owners about their four-legged friends' carbon pawprints. Cats and dogs eat meat, which produces significant emissions, and therefore should be replaced with herbivorous pets when possible, Sigrid Agen¤s recently told Swedish outlet Expressen. While Agen¤s does not join her more militant colleagues in insisting cat and dog owners attempt to feed their pets a vegan diet '' a death sentence for cats, and a risk to dogs' health for the uninitiated in canine nutrition '' anyone who owns a carnivorous pet can testify that it is not as simple as trading in Fluffy for a goat or rabbit. They aren't called "fur babies" for nothing '' cats and dogs are increasingly the only living things keeping humans company in ever-more-atomized industrial societies.
Also on rt.com The next endangered species? US fertility rates drop to 30-year low Why are the climate militia setting their sights on pets? Birth rates are plummeting in Europe and the US, where record low fertility has long since dipped past the rate needed for the population to replace itself. While this trend was underway long before the climate brigade came along demanding women put off childbearing to save the planet, enough celebrities have taken up that line of argument that they can claim it as a victory and move on to people's four-legged children.
But if pets are one of the last things standing between an increasingly large slice of humanity and utter alienation '' and if, as medical experts are saying, loneliness is truly worse than obesity in predicting future health problems '' those who would replace our cats with goats are asking us to make a very difficult choice.
As we get used to the lonely green future without our furry friends, we can take comfort in the fact that we've kept planet-wide warming to a manageable level, though, right? Not quite '' the carbon footprint of the world's domesticated cats and dogs pales in comparison to that of the US military, for example, which produces more emissions than most countries. Why, with elephants like this in the room, is the environmental movement setting its sights on dogs and cats? Aren't we already lonely enough?
It's not an idle question when nearly four out of five members of Generation Z report that they are lonely, more even than their notoriously disaffected older siblings the millennials ("only" seven in 10 of whom report feeling loneliness). More than any other issue, Generation Z is concerned with climate change, according to a December survey conducted across 22 countries in which 41 percent named the phenomenon as their chief concern; a further 36 percent named pollution. But while "eco-anxiety" likely contributes to the spike in depression and anxiety witnessed in Generation Z, the future presented as climate-friendly living, with no children, no pets, and an ascetic lifestyle that frowns on any form of carbon-emitting leisure, is liable to overwhelm them with feelings of loneliness.
But the misery that accompanies climate-change doomsaying is probably part of the attraction for some. Extinction Rebellion rallies have all the trappings of religious revivals '' some play host to actual religious rituals '' and the climate-change-obsessed preaching their low-consumption lifestyles can be likened to medieval devotees wearing hair shirts and whipping themselves in the public square. Guilt-stricken children of privilege can rush to absolve themselves in the eyes of some hypothetical Gaia by eating bugs, gluing themselves to trains, and renouncing the creature comforts their peers take for granted.
And with no children, no pets, and '' apparently '' no real-life friends to distract today's young adults from the all-consuming quest to save the planet, environmental groups have never had more fertile recruiting grounds. Political movements the world over have long known that alienation is a feature, not a bug, when it comes to filling their ranks with soon-to-be ideological zealots.
Also on rt.com Party like it's 1299 with these medieval eco-innovations If ditching cats and dogs fails to save the planet, there's always a silver lining. Before our pets' carnivorous diets heat Earth beyond habitability, Big Business stands to make a killing in psychiatric medication. After all, loneliness kills '' kills worse than smoking, if the experts are to be believed. Generation Z is going to need medical intervention on a grand scale when they come out the other side of this green 'phase.'
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
sally on Twitter: "Government scientists from China, Taiwan, and Japan - 3 countries hostile to each other have independently concluded that #COVIDー19 originated in the United States... A 2015 article in Nature raises the possibility that NIH funded sci
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 16:56
Log in Sign up sally @ sallyKP Government scientists from China, Taiwan, and Japan - 3 countries hostile to each other have independently concluded that
#COVIDー19 originated in the United States...A 2015 article in Nature raises the possibility that NIH funded scientists created the
#coronavirus pandemic.👇🏼
pic.twitter.com/DknFqsde4l 6:45 PM - 13 Mar 2020 Twitter by: sally @sallyKP sally @ sallyKP
20h Replying to
@sallyKP pic.twitter.com/0VIiuedZZA View conversation · sally @ sallyKP
20h Replying to
@sallyKP pic.twitter.com/uSXrk2wzC6 View conversation · Momma Barss @ BarsnessSyrie
19h Replying to
@sallyKP Cooking up the disease and the cure in the same lab my friends.
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@BarsnessSyrie @sallyKP pic.twitter.com/R9mIOCtyZi View conversation · Khan, BA @ leonbakhan
16h Replying to
@sallyKP 1.
globalresearch.ca/china-coronavi'...2.
straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia'...3.
globalresearch.ca/covid-19-furth'... View conversation · Chora @ Chora80945257
7h Replying to
@leonbakhan @sallyKP I never seen the media said that "Japan's Media: The Coronavirus May Have Originated in the US" as far as know, though I'm a Japanese.Also I can't found such a news in google search in Japanese.
View conversation · Knight Life @ QKnightLife
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@sallyKP 2 words, Bill Gates.Watch the water...
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@QKnightLife @sallyKP That's five words
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@sallyKP This has the aroma of a
#Poison4ProfitSystem scheme.... Just Say'n ðŸ·
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13h Replying to
@sallyKP Did they find the CDC patent for the
#coronavirus too?
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@enlightened_aj @sallyKP Patent is owned by Pirbright (Pharmaceutical firm) connected to/funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Fdn, Bloomberg, and some other DS players as well.
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Trump bio defense plan 2018
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 16:53
NATIONAL BIODEFENSE STRATEGY 2018
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THE NATIONAL BIODEFENSE STRATEGY O N A L S T R A T E G Y T O C O M B A T T E R R O R I S T T R A V E L i FOREWORD It is a vital interest of the United States to manage the risk of biological incidents. In today's interconnected world, biological incidents have the potential to cost thousands of American lives, cause significant anxiety, and greatly impact travel and trade. Biological threats'--whether naturally occurring, accidental, or deliberate in origin'--are among the most serious threats facing the United States and the international community. Outbreaks of disease can cause catastrophic harm to the United States. They can cause death, sicken, and disable on a massive scale, and they can also inflict psychological trauma and economic and social disruption. Natural or accidental outbreaks, as well as deliberate attacks, can originate in one country and spread to many others, with potentially far-reaching international consequences. Advances in science promise better and faster cures, economic advances, a cleaner environment, and improved quality of life, but they also bring new security risks. In this rapidly changing landscape, the United States must be prepared to manage the risks posed by natural outbreaks of disease, accidents with high consequence pathogens, or adversaries who wish to do harm with biological agents. Health security means taking care of the American people in the face of biological threats to our homeland and to our interests abroad. The significant infectious disease outbreaks of recent decades, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), pandemic influenza, Ebola virus disease, and Zika virus disease, have revealed the extent to which individual countries and international communities need to improve their preparedness and biosurveillance systems to detect and respond to the next health crisis. The health of the American people depends on our ability to stem infectious disease outbreaks at their source, wherever and however they occur. America's biodefense enterprise needs to be nimble enough to address emerging infectious disease threats, the risks associated with the accelerating pace of biotechnology, and threats posed by terrorist groups or adversaries seeking to use biological weapons. The National Biodefense Strategy is aligned with the 2018 National Security Strategy of the United States. Pillar One of the 2018 National Security Strategy explicitly calls for protecting ''the American people, the homeland, and the American way of life.'' One component of this goal is achieved by detecting and containing biothreats at their source, supporting and promoting the responsible conduct of biomedical innovation, and improving emergency response. Pillar Two calls for ''promot[ing] American prosperity,'' which increasingly will depend on a vibrant life sciences and biotechnology enterprise. This National Biodefense Strategy highlights the President's commitment to protect the American people and our way of life, laying out a clear pathway and set of objectives to effectively counter threats from naturally occurring, accidental, and deliberate biological events. It is broader than a Federal Government strategy. It is a call to action for state, local, territorial, and tribal (SLTT) entities, other governments, practitioners, physicians, scientists, educators, and industry.
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ii TABLE OF CONTENTS FOREWORD ....................................................................................................................................... i VISION .............................................................................................................................................. 1 PURPOSE........................................................................................................................................... 1 THREATS AND CONSEQUENCES ....................................................................................................... 2 BIOLOGICAL RISK MANAGEMENT .................................................................................................. 2 ASSUMPTIONS .................................................................................................................................. 3 GOVERNANCE .................................................................................................................................. 4 GOALS AND OBJECTIVES ................................................................................................................. 6 CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................................... 8 ANNEX I: NATIONAL BIODEFENSE STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION PLAN ..................................... 9 ANNEX II: DEFINITIONS ................................................................................................................ 28 ANNEX III: SCOPE, STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS, AND AGENCIES ............................................. 29
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THE NATIONAL BIODEFENSE STRATEGY O N A L S T R A T E G Y T O C O M B A T T E R R O R I S T T R A V E L 1 VISION The United States actively and effectively prevents, prepares for, responds to, recovers from, and mitigates risk from natural, accidental, or deliberate biological threats. PURPOSE This National Biodefense Strategy brings together and puts in place for the first time, a single coordinated effort to orchestrate the full range of activity that is carried out across the United States Government to protect the American people from biological threats. With National Security Presidential Memorandum (NSPM)-14, this strategy explains how the United States Government will manage its activities more effectively to assess, prevent, detect, prepare for, respond to, and recover from biological threats, coordinating its biodefense efforts with those of international partners, industry, academia, non-governmental entities, and the private sector. The mission of the Federal Government during a biological incident is to save lives, reduce human suffering, protect property and the environment, control the spread of disease, and support community efforts to overcome the physical, emotional, environmental, and economic impacts. This federal mission is contingent upon the coordination with and the success of the community response. This strategy describes the goals and objectives that will guide the United States in assessing, preventing, detecting, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from a biological incident, consistent with its international obligations, including those identified in the World Health Organization's International Health Regulations (2005). Enhancing the national biodefense enterprise will help protect the United States and its partners abroad from biological incidents, whether deliberate, naturally occurring, or accidental in origin. It will simultaneously build the U.S. innovation base for cutting edge medical countermeasures (MCMs), biosensors and diagnostics, and biosurveillance information technologies, and advance the biomedical industry.
2 THREATS AND CONSEQUENCES Naturally Occurring Biological Threats. Infectious disease threats do not respect borders. Urbanization, habitat encroachment, and increased and faster travel, coupled with weak health systems, increase the ability of infectious diseases to spread rapidly across the globe. Antimicrobial resistance, novel infectious diseases, and the resurgence and spread of once geographically limited infectious diseases can overwhelm response capacities and make outbreaks harder to control. An infectious disease outbreak'--even in the most remote places of the world'--could spread rapidly across oceans and continents, directly impacting the U.S. population and its health, security, and prosperity. Deliberate and Accidental Biological Threats. The use of biological weapons or their proliferation by state or non-state actors presents a significant challenge to our national security, our population, our agriculture, and the environment. Multiple nations have pursued clandestine biological weapons programs and a number of terrorist groups have sought to acquire biological weapons. In many countries around the world, pathogens are stored in laboratories that lack appropriate biosecurity measures where they could be diverted by actors who wish to do harm. Similarly, some laboratories do not have appropriate biocontainment or biosafety protocols, which could lead to an outbreak through a laboratory acquired infection or if a pathogen is accidentally released into the environment. Biological material is ubiquitous and can self-propagate; pathogens are found all over the world'--in the environment, animal reservoirs, humans, and laboratories. A natural outbreak can lead quickly to not only a public health crisis, but also a biosecurity vulnerability due to the thousands of clinical samples that are generated during an epidemic, which, if handled without appropriate biosecurity measures, could facilitate the development of a biological weapon. BIOLOGICAL RISK MANAGEMENT Biological risk management requires understanding and assessing biological risks, and taking steps to prepare for, prevent, and respond to them, regardless of whether they originate in the United States or abroad. It also requires shared international recognition that the risk is global to empower effective, collective mitigation. In our interconnected world, it is not if, but when, the next biological incident will occur. As the biological threat continues to evolve, so must our biodefense capabilities. If all countries could prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks at the local level, we can minimize the risk of global health emergencies, saving both lives and resources. Preventing acquisition of dangerous pathogens, equipment, and expertise for nefarious purposes, and maintaining the capability to rapidly control outbreaks in the event of a biological attack, are strategic interests of the United States. These must be strategic interests for partners around the world as well. The United States cannot carry the burden alone. Finally, as we reap the benefits from biotechnologies, we must also understand and consider the risks they may pose. The United States will pursue an efficient and coordinated biodefense enterprise to protect the American people. Domestic action alone is insufficient to protect America's health and security. The rapid globalization of science and technology and the interconnectedness of travel and trade necessitate
3 a strong biodefense enterprise that has global reach to effectively prevent, detect, and respond to biological incidents. The United States Government works at home and abroad to ensure that the United States and its partners are protected from natural, accidental, or deliberate biological threats. While the desired outcomes at home and abroad are the same, the conditions and avenues available to achieve these outcomes can be very different. Internationally, our efforts to protect the United States and our partners include direct investment in sustainable, context-appropriate capacity building that leads to self-reliance. We will work with multilateral organizations, partner nations, private donors, and civil society to control disease outbreaks at their source by supporting the development and implementation of biodefense and health security capabilities, policies, and standards. The United States has long been an innovation leader. Whether augmenting our ability to provide health care and protect the environment, or expanding our capacity for energy and agricultural production towards global sustainability, continued research and development in life sciences is essential for a brighter future for the American people. To ensure that the United States is poised to meet the evolving biological risk landscape, at a time when unparalleled advancement and innovation in the life sciences globally continue to transform our way of life, we are committed to promoting innovation throughout the national biodefense enterprise. We will promote innovative technologies and systems; encourage innovative technology communities and industry leaders to meet our targeted biodefense and health capacity needs; link stakeholders with new ideas, tools, and products; and pursue innovative approaches and partnerships to achieve, at home and abroad, the desired goals articulated in this National Biodefense Strategy. Through the National Biodefense Strategy, the United States will use all appropriate means to assess, understand, prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from biological incidents'--whatever their origin'--that threaten national or economic security. The National Biodefense Strategy recognizes that a collaborative, multi-sectoral, and trans-disciplinary approach to the national biodefense enterprise is necessary to counter biological threats effectively and efficiently. ASSUMPTIONS The evolving biological threat landscape requires a comprehensive approach, and the United States recognizes the following principles: ‚· Biological Threats are Persistent. Pathogens have emerged and spread throughout history, and as new naturally occurring threats develop, the risk from them grows more acute as the world becomes more urbanized, travel increases, and habitats change. Separately, nation-states and terrorist groups have found value in pursuing biological weapons, and there can be no confidence that will change in the future. Advances in the life sciences will both reduce the technological hurdles to such weapons and expand the number of individuals with relevant skills to effectuate threats. ‚· Biological Threats Originate from Multiple Sources. The United States will include, within the scope of biodefense, not just countering deliberate biological threats, but also the threats that stem from naturally occurring and accidental outbreaks. This approach will allow the United States Government to fully utilize, integrate, and coordinate the biodefense enterprise and ensure the most efficient use of all biodefense assets.
4 ‚· Infectious Diseases Do Not Respect Borders. An interconnected world increases the opportunity for pathogens to emerge and spread so that a disease threat anywhere is a disease threat everywhere. Infectious diseases travel without visas and cross borders indiscriminately; infected travelers may not manifest any symptoms. The United States Government will mitigate biological incidents both here in the United States and work with partners abroad because the United States cannot counter biological threats nationally without addressing them internationally. We will also seek to improve our ability to prevent the spread of infectious diseases to the United States through inbound travelers and goods. The Ebola outbreaks of 2014 and 2018 demonstrated that the United States Government must be prepared to act swiftly, and unilaterally if necessary, to respond to public health emergencies abroad if multilateral institutions and partners are not prepared to do so. ‚· Multi-sectoral Cooperation is Critical for Prevention and Response. This strategy calls for engagement and cooperation across all levels of government, to include SLTT governments, as well as internationally. It involves partnership with multiple sectors, including the medical; public, animal, and plant health; emergency response; scientific and technical; law enforcement; industrial; academic; diplomatic; defense and security; intelligence; and nonproliferation and counterproliferation sectors, among others. Engagement with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector is critical to prevent the spread of disease and respond to the next outbreak before it becomes an epidemic. ‚· A Multidisciplinary Approach Will Help Prevent Disease Emergence. The health of people, animals, plants, and the environment are linked, and diseases affecting one component can soon affect others. At least 75 percent of infectious disease threats to human health are of animal origin. Threats to animals and plants can cause economic disruption and physical harm to health and well-being. A coordinated, multidisciplinary approach, representing the collaborative efforts across local, national, and global jurisdictions, is a best practice for understanding, communicating, and mitigating biological threats swiftly and efficiently. Such an approach is necessary to prevent and detect early inter-species cross-over of infectious diseases. ‚· Science and Technology Will Continue to Advance Globally. The ongoing revolution in the life sciences and biotechnology will continue at an ever-increasing rate, offering solutions to many of the challenges of ensuring the health, prosperity, and security of a growing global population. These technologies, no longer confined to sophisticated research laboratories, are being developed and utilized all over the world and the necessary expertise, materials, and equipment are available widely. Advances in science and technology bring revolutionary cures and progress, but they also have the potential to facilitate intentional misuse. The United States has a responsibility to ensure our technology, development, and assistance programs do not exacerbate this risk unintentionally. GOVERNANCE The NSPM that accompanies the issuance of this National Biodefense Strategy creates a dedicated mechanism, housed within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to coordinate federal biodefense activities and assess the effectiveness with which the National Biodefense Strategy's goals and objectives are being met. Led by the President of the United States and coordinated by the National Security Council staff in the Executive Office of the President, with day-
5 to-day coordination and execution by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, this mechanism will continually assess how effectively the objectives of the National Biodefense Strategy are being met. The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs will, in acting through the process described in NSPM-4, Organization of the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and Subcommittees, serve as the lead for policy coordination and review, providing strategic input and policy oversight for federal biodefense efforts. The Biodefense Steering Committee, chaired by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and comprising the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, will be responsible for overseeing and coordinating the execution of the strategy and its implementation plan, and ensuring federal coordination with domestic and international government and non-governmental partners. The Chair of the Biodefense Steering Committee, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, will serve as the federal lead for implementation of the strategy. The heads of other agencies with responsibilities or capabilities pertaining to biodefense shall participate in the Biodefense Steering Committee, as appropriate. This coordination and oversight mechanism also has a mandate to reach beyond the Federal Government to engage with SLTT, non-federal, and non-governmental stakeholders. Further, the recommendations and feedback stemming from this governance mechanism will be communicated back to departments and agencies in synchronization with the annual budget cycle. Recognizing that threats, actors, and biodefense-related science and technology are constantly evolving, the governance mechanisms will be adaptive, reviewing and recommending changes, as appropriate, in the National Biodefense Strategy and its implementation plan.
6 GOALS AND OBJECTIVES The National Biodefense Strategy has five goals with associated objectives for strengthening the biodefense enterprise, establishing a layered risk management approach to countering biological threats and incidents. GOAL 1: ENABLE RISK AWARENESS TO INFORM DECISION-MAKING ACROSS THE BIODEFENSE ENTERPRISE. The United States will build risk awareness at the strategic level, through analyses and research efforts to characterize deliberate, accidental, and natural biological risks; and at the operational level, through surveillance and detection activities to detect and identify biological threats and anticipate biological incidents. OBJECTIVES: 1.1: Ensure decision-making is informed by intelligence, forecasting, and risk assessment. 1.2: Ensure that domestic and international biosurveillance and information-sharing systems are coordinated and are capable of timely bioincident prevention, detection, assessment, response, and recovery. GOAL 2: ENSURE BIODEFENSE ENTERPRISE CAPABILITIES TO PREVENT BIOINCIDENTS. The United States will work to prevent the outbreak and spread of naturally occurring disease, and minimize the chances of laboratory accidents. The United States will also strengthen biosecurity to prevent hostile actors from obtaining or using biological material, equipment, and expertise for nefarious purposes, consistent with the United States Govermenent's approach to countering weapons of mass destruction (WMD) terrorism. Goal 2 will ensure we have the capabilities necessary to disrupt plots, degrade technical capabilities, and deter support for terrorists seeking to use WMD. This goal also recognizes the "dual use" natures of the life sciences and biotechnology, in which the same science and technology base that improves health, promotes innovation, and protects the environment, can also be misused to facilitate a biological attack. The United States seeks to prevent the misuse of science and technology while promoting and enhancing legitimate use and innovation. OBJECTIVES: 2.1: Promote measures to prevent or reduce the spread of naturally occurring infectious diseases. 2.3: Deter, detect, degrade, disrupt, deny, or otherwise prevent nation-state and non-state actors' attempts to pursue, acquire, or use biological weapons, related materials, or their means of delivery. 2.2: Strengthen global health security capacities to prevent local bioincidents from becoming epidemics. 2.4: Strengthen biosafety and biosecurity practices and oversight to mitigate risks of bioincidents.
7 GOAL 3: ENSURE BIODEFENSE ENTERPRISE PREPAREDNESS TO REDUCE THE IMPACTS OF BIOINCIDENTS. The United States will take measures to reduce the impacts of bioincidents, including maintaining a vibrant national science and technology base to support biodefense; ensuring a strong public health infrastructure; developing, updating, and exercising response capabilities; establishing risk communications; developing and effectively distributing and dispensing medical countermeasures; and preparing to collaborate across the country and internationally to support biodefense. OBJECTIVES: 3.1: Ensure a vibrant and innovative national science and technology base to support biodefense. 3.6: Enhance preparedness to limit the spread of disease through Community Mitigation Measures (CMMs). 3.2: Ensure a strong public and veterinary health infrastructure. 3.7: Enhance preparedness to support decontamination. 3.3: Develop, exercise, and update prevention, response, and recovery plans and capabilities. 3.8: Strengthen preparedness to operate and collaborate across the United States, including the U.S. territories. 3.4: Develop, exercise, and update risk communication plans and promote consistent messaging to inform key audiences, expedite desired response actions, and address public uncertainty and fear. 3.9: Strengthen international preparedness to support international response and recovery capabilities. 3.5: Enhance preparedness to save lives through MCMs. GOAL 4: RAPIDLY RESPOND TO LIMIT THE IMPACTS OF BIOINCIDENTS. The United States will respond rapidly to limit the impacts of bioincidents through information-sharing and networking; coordinated response operations and investigations; and effective public messaging. OBJECTIVES: 4.1: Compile and share biothreat and bioincident information to enable appropriate decision-making and response operations across all levels of government and with non-governmental, private sector, and international entities, as appropriate. 4.3: Conduct operations and investigations, and use all available tools to hold perpetrators accountable. 4.2: Conduct federal response operations and activities in coordination with relevant non-federal actors to contain, control, and rapidly mitigate impacts of biothreats or bioincidents. 4.4: Execute risk-informed, accurate, timely, and actionable public messaging. GOAL 5: FACILITATE RECOVERY TO RESTORE THE COMMUNITY, THE ECONOMY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT AFTER A BIOINCIDENT. The United States will take actions to restore critical infrastructure services and capability; coordinate recovery activities; provide recovery support and long-term mitigation; and minimize cascading effects elsewhere in the world. OBJECTIVES: 5.1: Promote restoration of critical infrastructure capability and capacity to enable the resumption of vital U.S. activities. 5.3: Provide recovery support and conduct long-term mitigation actions to promote resilience. 5.2: Ensure coordination of recovery activities across federal and SLTT governments and, as appropriate, international, non-governmental, and private sector partners to enable effective and efficient recovery operations. 5.4: Reduce the cascading effects of international biological incidents on the global economy, health, and security.
8 CONCLUSION The risks from biological threats cannot be reduced to zero '' but they can and must be managed. Wide-ranging threats require a comprehensive approach to minimizing the risks. Through this National Biodefense Strategy, the United States Government will optimize its own efforts, and harness the work of essential partners'--inside government and outside, domestically and internationally'--to understand, prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from the full range of biological threats that can harm the American people and our partners.
9 ANNEX I NATIONAL BIODEFENSE STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION PLAN GOAL 1: ENABLE RISK AWARENESS TO INFORM DECISION-MAKING ACROSS THE BIODEFENSE ENTERPRISE. 1.1 Ensure decision-making is informed by intelligence, forecasting, and risk assessment. 1.1.1 Enhance Intelligence and Analysis Activities. ‚· Provide timely intelligence analysis and information that identifies and assesses current and future biological threats posed by nation-state and non-state actors. ‚· Provide strategic warning for, and assess the potential impacts of, diseases with the potential to affect U.S. national security or interests abroad, including assessments of the potential cascading effects (e.g., economic, societal, and governmental impacts). ‚· Incorporate forecasting and modeling into intelligence products and processes, as appropriate. ‚· Routinely evaluate developments and advances in the life sciences, biotechnology, and related fields to identify emerging hazards and mitigation options. 1.1.2 Conduct Research and Modeling Activities. ‚· Conduct research to characterize biological hazards, production methods, and dissemination methods that could be used in deliberate threats, when: o The results of that research are critical to informing risk assessments and plans to prevent or respond to deliberate bioincidents; and o The responsible department or agency utilizes a process to ensure that the research complies with treaties, laws, and policies and follows applicable nationally recognized guidance for best practices. ‚· Improve the ability to model and forecast the likelihood and impact of bioincidents, including accidental releases. 1.1.3 Assess Risks and Capabilities. ‚· Conduct periodic national bioincident risk assessments to evaluate the risks, including relative risks, of deliberate, accidental, and naturally occurring bioincidents. ‚· Assess the security risks posed by the deliberate misuse of biotechnologies and life sciences research and training with dual-use potential. ‚· Assess the risks posed by research, such as with potential pandemic pathogens, where biosafety lapses could have very high consequences. ‚· Provide all levels of government with a common basis for understanding biological risks to support operational planning and preparedness actions. ‚· Develop risk-informed planning scenarios to facilitate capability and capacity assessments and identify gaps.
10 ‚· Assess the potential impacts of bioincidents on critical infrastructure and supply chains, and how disruption of these systems might affect the ability to respond to bioincidents. 1.2 Ensure that domestic and international biosurveillance and information-sharing systems are coordinated and are capable of timely bioincident prevention, detection, assessment, response, and recovery. 1.2.1 Enhance the Integration and Evaluation of Biosurveillance Systems. ‚· Improve development, interoperability, integration, and evaluation processes for domestic biosurveillance systems, including opportunities to better-leverage multi-sectoral information. 1.2.2 Improve Information-sharing and Reporting. ‚· Using a multi-sectoral approach, promote timely sharing of biosurveillance information among federal and SLTT biosurveillance programs and other federal programs designed to investigate biothreats and bioincidents. ‚· Coordinate and exchange relevant information between environmental biological detection systems and biosurveillance networks. ‚· Strengthen foreign governments' and international bodies' capability and commitment to identify, characterize, and report biothreats and bioincidents rapidly and transparently. ‚· Integrate international disease reporting data with domestic biosurveillance systems to enable early action that limits potential impact. ‚· Create biosurveillance and situational awareness reports tailored to inform decision-makers, the public, partner nations, and other audiences routinely and during a bioincident response. ‚· Ensure that the Federal Government, SLTT governments, partner nations, and the private sector have appropriate access to relevant information and analysis. ‚· As appropriate, ensure rapid downgrade of classified or otherwise sensitive intelligence information and write intelligence products for release, as appropriate, to enable sharing with those who need to act on it. 1.2.3 Develop and Deploy Enhanced Biosurveillance and Bioincident Characterization Capabilities. ‚· Maintain and enhance public health, medical, animal, and plant surveillance systems for disease outbreaks that pose a risk to national security. ‚· Promote the sustainable development, maintenance, and improvement of SLTT, private sector, federal, regional, and international (United States Government and other national) surveillance systems and networks with reliable access to trained workforces and essential infrastructure for human, animal, and plant diseases. ‚· Identify and incorporate new technologies, data sources, analytic methods, and partnerships that include public, private sector, and non-traditional sources of data. ‚· Maintain and enhance biosurveillance capabilities for the identification of emerging biothreats, and monitor and assess short- and long-term post-bioincident health effects using traditional and non-traditional methods. ‚· Enhance capability to characterize bioincidents rapidly with respect to biohazards involved, populations and areas affected, and consequences (e.g., health, economic, societal, and environmental). 1.2.4 Develop and Deploy Enhanced Environmental Detection Systems, as Appropriate. ‚· Monitor and evaluate the capability and effectiveness of systems for the environmental identification and detection of human, animal, and plant biohazards, and disease vectors.
11 ‚· Develop improved environmental identification and detection systems, ensuring that they: o Are aligned with assessments of evolving and emerging biothreats; and o Can provide information that is timely, accurate, and relevant for response decisions. ‚· Assess options to ensure the effectiveness of environmental biodetection systems deployed by governmental or non-governmental entities. 1.2.5 Enhance Biosurveillance Laboratory Operations. ‚· Promote the sustainable development, maintenance, and improvement of SLTT, private sector, federal, regional, and international (United States Government and partner nation) laboratory networks, with reliable access to trained workforces and essential infrastructure, for human, animal, and plant diseases. ‚· Promote interoperability of laboratory reporting systems at all levels of government. ‚· Strengthen capabilities and address appropriate needs for sharing'--under both routine and crisis conditions'--timely information (e.g., data and results), samples, and reagents among sectors including research; human, animal, and plant health; emergency services; and law enforcement. ‚· Address impediments to the timely sharing of information, samples, and reagents among countries and international organizations under both routine and crisis conditions.
12 GOAL 2: ENSURE BIODEFENSE ENTERPRISE CAPABILITIES TO PREVENT BIOINCIDENTS. 2.1 Promote measures to prevent or reduce the spread of naturally occurring infectious diseases. 2.1.1 Strengthen Infection Prevention Measures Domestically and Internationally. ‚· Using a multidisciplinary approach, strengthen medical, public health, animal health, and plant health capacities to improve infection prevention and control. ‚· Strengthen vaccination and other health intervention activities. 2.1.2 Reduce the Emergence and Spread of Antimicrobial-resistant Pathogens Domestically and Internationally. ‚· Strengthen awareness of drug-resistant pathogens and their associated diseases, and improve stewardship of medically important drugs. ‚· Strengthen understanding of the drivers of drug resistance and improve the development and adoption of effective mitigation measures. ‚· Promote the use of preventive and therapeutic options other than antimicrobial drugs. ‚· Accelerate basic and applied research and development of new antimicrobials, novel preventatives and therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostic tests. 2.1.3 Strengthen Multidisciplinary Efforts to Control Vector-borne Disease Domestically and Internationally. ‚· Identify the risk of the vectors transmitting disease to humans, animals, and plants. ‚· Develop and disseminate, as appropriate, measures that will safely limit the exposure of humans, animals, and plants to disease vectors and the ability of vectors to transmit disease to humans and animals. ‚· Address resistance of vectors to vector control or mitigation measures. 2.1.4 Limit Trans-border Introductions and Domestic Spread of Biohazards, Including Those Responsible for Food-borne Illness. ‚· Identify, locate, and destroy or contain contaminated/infected plant, animal, and food prior to entry into the United States, and within the United States, that: o Contain biohazards that could give rise to bioincidents, including food-borne illness; or o Harbor economically and environmentally significant pests. ‚· Improve capabilities and protocols for screening, isolation, and quarantine of humans, plants, and animals to reduce disease spread. ‚· Develop programs and policies to encourage plant and animal producers to report suspected or actual biohazards and encourage full compliance with response guidance to limit the spread of plant or animal diseases and reduce their impact on the overall industry. 2.1.5 Strengthen Animal Disease Detection and Prevention Capacity. ‚· Strengthen capacity to detect and prevent the spread of animal and zoonotic diseases. ‚· Support the development and deployment of diagnostics and countermeasures for use in animals as well as the development of disease-resistant animals.
13 ‚· Strengthen international partnerships regarding awareness, detection and control, and eradication of animal diseases before they reach the United States. 2.1.6 Strengthen Plant Disease Prevention Capacity. ‚· Strengthen the capacity to prevent establishment and spread of plant pests. ‚· Support the development and deployment of new disease-resistant crops. ‚· Strengthen international partnerships regarding detection and management of plant diseases before they reach the United States. 2.1.7 Strengthen the Resilience of the Water Sector to Prevent or Contain Water-borne Disease Outbreaks. ‚· Identify water system vulnerabilities that increase the risk of drinking water contamination, and promote the development of engineering controls and best practices to reduce the risk. ‚· Develop plans and procedures to reduce the spread of contaminants in a compromised water system and reduce public exposure to contaminated water. ‚· Improve the ability to detect biohazardous agents in source and finished drinking water. 2.2 Strengthen global health security capacities to prevent local bioincidents from becoming epidemics. 2.2.1 Promote Global Health Security. ‚· Promote the development and implementation of national legal frameworks adequate to support and enable the implementation of the World Health Organization's International Health Regulations (2005) and the World Organisation for Animal Health reporting requirements. ‚· Promote transparent, independent, and objective assessments of country capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to bioincidents. ‚· Strengthen timely surveillance and monitoring for core syndromes and confirmed reportable infections as outlined by international bodies to ensure quick identification and reporting of bioincidents. 2.2.2 Strengthen Country Capacity to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Bioincidents. ‚· Promote a prepared public health and animal health workforce appropriate for the population. ‚· Strengthen capacity and promote policies and best practices to minimize transmission of disease between humans and animals. ‚· Promote incident management systems capable of activating an emergency operations system in response to public health emergencies. ‚· Promote the development of a system for specimen referral and effective diagnostics to ensure timely testing of biological specimens, and work to remove barriers to the sharing of samples among countries and international organizations. ‚· Promote national laboratory systems capable of timely receipt and testing of biological specimens from all jurisdictions in a country. 2.3 Deter, detect, degrade, disrupt, deny, or otherwise prevent nation-state and non-state actors' attempts to pursue, acquire, or use biological weapons, related materials, or their means of delivery.
14 2.3.1 Deter Nation-state and Non-state Actors. ‚· Ensure accountability by increasing and communicating the political, economic, and other consequences for actors that develop, acquire, produce, or use biological weapons, or assist in such efforts. ‚· Ensure domestic and international capabilities to identify, investigate, and attribute development or use of biological weapons in order to hold accountable those who are responsible. ‚· Demonstrate reduced vulnerability through enhanced U.S. and partner-nation capacity to prevent, respond to, and recover from bioincidents. ‚· Reinforce the obligations in the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BWC) (1975) and United Nations (U.N.) Security Council Resolution 1540, as well as other standards and norms against nation-state or non-state development, acquisition, or use of biological weapons, related materials, or means of delivery. 2.3.2 Detect, Degrade, or Deny Acquisition, Development, or Transfer of Biological Weapons. ‚· Strengthen nations' commitment and support their efforts to implement their obligations under the BWC and U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540 to establish and enforce appropriate and effective laws prohibiting and preventing the acquisition, development, or transfer of biological weapon-related materials, equipment, and means of delivery for purposes proscribed by these instruments. ‚· Strengthen domestic and international capabilities to identify, deny, and disrupt biological weapon-related transfers, and to identify and disrupt adversary proliferation networks. ‚· Deny the acquisition of pathogenic material, equipment, knowledge, or expertise for illicit purposes, and promote appropriate measures to impede misuse of life sciences and biotechnology, while facilitating legitimate use and innovation. 2.3.3 Prevent, Disrupt, Degrade, or Deny Use of Biological Weapons. ‚· Identify and locate threat actors and proliferation networks, and preempt or disrupt deliberate biothreats and bioincidents. ‚· Ensure robust capabilities to interdict, disable, destroy, render safe, and attribute responsibility for biological weapons and weapons-related equipment, material, means of delivery, and facilities. ‚· Strengthen the engagement of the law enforcement and security communities with other stakeholders to facilitate recognition and mitigation of situations involving deliberate biothreats and bioincidents. 2.3.4 Develop, Exercise, and Update Prevention and Disruption Plans and Capabilities. ‚· Ensure prevention and disruption capabilities and plans are developed, routinely exercised, evaluated, and updated, as appropriate. 2.4 Strengthen biosafety and biosecurity practices and oversight to mitigate risks of bioincidents. 2.4.1 Strengthen Biosafety and Biosecurity. ‚· Maintain and continuously improve biosafety, biosecurity, and oversight programs and practices for laboratories and other facilities, and for the end-to-end management of samples and specimens (e.g., collection, transport, inactivation, disposal, and waste management).
15 ‚· Promote appropriate national and facility-specific biosafety, biosecurity (including cybersecurity), and oversight programs, policies, practices, and legislation in partner nations while facilitating legitimate research and innovation. ‚· Coordinate and conduct basic and applied biosafety and biosecurity research to provide an evidence base for improving safety and security practices. ‚· Encourage facilities working with biohazards to engage in pre-incident response planning, training, and exercises, including with local responders, to minimize impacts from accidental releases. 2.4.2 Support and Promote the Responsible Conduct of the Life Science and Biotechnology Enterprise. ‚· Support and promote a culture of global biosafety, biosecurity, ethical, and responsible conduct in the life sciences. ‚· Promote effective global oversight of: o Dual-use research, to prevent misuse; and o Research for which biosafety lapses could have very high consequences, such as with potential pandemic pathogens. ‚· Encourage engagement among the health, scientific, biotechnology, enthusiast, and security communities in the United States, and with international partners, to reduce the risk of misuse. ‚· Promote the development and implementation of relevant national and international policies, guidance, training, and other resources across the health, scientific, biotechnology, enthusiast, and security communities to reduce the risk of misuse.
16 GOAL 3: ENSURE BIODEFENSE ENTERPRISE PREPAREDNESS TO REDUCE THE IMPACTS OF BIOINCIDENTS. 3.1 Ensure a vibrant and innovative national science and technology base to support biodefense. 3.1.1 Enable U.S.-led Innovation for Biodefense Through Robust Scientific, Technical, and Industrial Bases. ‚· Support investments and U.S. leadership in emerging technologies. ‚· Maintain laboratory capabilities required for biodefense preparedness and response, including: o Assured United States Government access to laboratory infrastructure, including a trained workforce capable of supporting United States Government biodefense programs and decision-making; and o A secure and dedicated United States Government laboratory capability for conducting forensic analysis of biological agents and traditional forensic examinations of contaminated evidence up to the highest biosafety levels. ‚· Strengthen U.S. processes to prevent industrial espionage and other actions that would weaken the U.S. biodefense enterprise. 3.1.2 Integrate Research and Development (R&D) into Federal Planning. ‚· Identify and facilitate sharing of tools, practices, policies, and incentives across interagency response R&D efforts. ‚· Establish capabilities to conduct rapid-response, real-time R&D during bioincidents to inform ongoing response measures and to understand phenomena that only occur during bioincidents. ‚· Establish procedures for prioritizing, funding, and coordinating R&D efforts during bioincidents. 3.2 Ensure a strong public and veterinary health infrastructure. 3.2.1 Ensure Public and Veterinary Health Critical Capacities. ‚· Establish capability to provide surge staffing, resources, and supplies to SLTT public and veterinary health departments. ‚· Advance and sustain a highly-skilled public and veterinary health workforce. 3.2.2 Modernize Public and Veterinary Health Laboratories. ‚· Ensure core public and veterinary health laboratories have access to modern and updated diagnostic tests, methods, equipment, and technologies. 3.3 Develop, exercise, and update prevention, response, and recovery plans and capabilities. 3.3.1 Develop and Exercise Policies, Plans, Guidelines, and Recommendations to Support Prevention, Response, and Recovery Activities. ‚· Establish policies, plans, guidelines, and recommendations with multi-sectoral input (and
17 international stakeholder input, as appropriate) to inform appropriate and timely federal and SLTT response actions to biothreats and bioincidents. ‚· Develop plans that implement or support surge capabilities across response sectors in coordination with SLTT entities, health care coalitions, foreign governments, international organizations, NGOs, and private sector partners, to include the following: o Medical surge response, including to augment specialized clinical care, behavioral and mental health care, transition to crisis standards of care, and provision of mass care and mass fatality management; o Clinical guidance to assist with appropriate triage and medical management of illnesses; o Transport and reception system and capabilities for crossing borders and U.S. jurisdictions with highly infectious disease patients and materials related to incident response o Augmenting provision of human services, including shelters, housing, and commodity distribution; o Implementing enhanced surveillance and public health measures for disease control; o Clinical, environmental, food testing, and forensic surge laboratory operations; o Controlling, responding to, and recovering from animal and plant disease; o Engineering response for managing water, land, waste, and air systems; and o Routinely conducting and evaluating biothreat and bioincident response exercises for all incident management phases of the response at the federal and SLTT levels. 3.3.2 Ensure that Emergency Funding Mechanisms Exist to Support Urgent Responses to Bioincidents. ‚· Establish, as appropriate, dedicated funding processes and mechanisms to respond to an actual or imminent bioincident. ‚· Establish processes to access funds in a timely manner. 3.3.3 Support the Effective Deployment of the MCM Stockpiles. ‚· Conduct pre-incident planning for distribution and dispensing of the MCM stockpiles to ensure such activities can be accomplished in a timely manner, are informed by appropriate guidance, and can be supported operationally by federal and SLTT agencies during a bioincident. ‚· Ensure plans consider the provision of MCMs to personnel performing mission-essential functions to help ensure that mission-essential functions continue to be performed after a bioincident. ‚· Ensure the safety, security (including cybersecurity), and reliability of supply chains to provide necessary MCMs and other materiel support during bioincidents. ‚· Ensure the capability to monitor the safety and effectiveness of deployed MCMs. ‚· Integrate the access and functional needs of at-risk individuals in planning for MCM distribution and dispensing. ‚· Ensure that operational plans, clinical guidance, regulatory mechanisms, and operational capacity are in place to administer stockpiled MCMs effectively. 3.3.4 Support the Provision of Health Care and the Conduct of Clinical Research During Bioincidents. ‚· Establish procedures and guidelines for the use of MCMs, including personal protective equipment (PPE), and infection control strategies. ‚· Ensure plans address the needs of all populations, including at-risk individuals. ‚· Establish and identify medical centers capable of providing specialized care, including at the initial stages of bioincidents. ‚· Strengthen healthcare system preparedness to enhance hospital and health care facilities' ability to maintain health care operations and provide necessary care during bioincidents.
18 ‚· Identify existing mechanisms to protect health care workers from financial liability during federally-led responses. ‚· Establish capabilities to conduct clinical research at the onset of a bioincident to inform optimal clinical care strategies for current and future bioincidents and to support MCM development. ‚· Establish and pre-position protocols for the conduct of ethical, efficient, and interpretable clinical trials to test promising investigational MCMs during domestic or international bioincidents. ‚· Establish mechanisms for the collection and sharing of clinical samples to support development of diagnostic tests. ‚· Establish a regional aid system that will improve national healthcare readiness and medical surge for bioincidents. 3.3.5 Support the Continuity of Operations. ‚· Further refine, exercise, and evaluate Continuity of Operations plans (including the mitigation of impacts on critical infrastructure located within and outside the United States) to ensure continuation of National Essential Functions during and after bioincidents. 3.3.6 Support Provision of Essential Services and Long-term Recovery. ‚· Protect the continuity of critical infrastructure, and restore infrastructure and services disrupted by the bioincident. ‚· Restore critical infrastructure to minimize cascading effects. ‚· Provide an environment in which essential businesses can continue to operate. ‚· Support or restore transportation pathways and infrastructure to facilitate supply chains and movement of people. ‚· Facilitate movement/delivery of supplies critical to response and recovery. 3.4 Develop, exercise, and update risk communication plans and promote consistent messaging to inform key audiences, expedite desired response actions, and address public uncertainty and fear. 3.4.1 Improve Federal Messaging Coordination for Biothreats and Bioincidents. ‚· Develop a government-wide strategy that institutionalizes the use of risk communication principles to provide clear, consistent, and coordinated information. ‚· Train spokespersons for federal departments and agencies on risk communications. ‚· Clarify roles of lead agencies for risk communication messaging to key sectors (e.g., public health, medical, animal, plant, and the environment). 3.4.2 Develop and Exercise Communications Plans. ‚· Develop and test messaging strategies, platforms, and materials for all sectors and stakeholders to synchronize messaging, address public fear and uncertainty, encourage appropriate response actions, and empower the public during biothreats and bioincidents. ‚· Develop messaging for non-English speaking populations and in formats that accommodate the access and functional needs of all individuals. ‚· Establish a national ''brand'' where stakeholders may routinely seek information on biodefense activities and response actions. ‚· Routinely exercise communication strategies during pre-incident planning to prepare for real-time biothreat and bioincident response communications.
19 3.4.3 Enhance Messaging Partnerships. ‚· Identify a cadre of academic and private sector experts who would be encouraged to interact with traditional and social media and provide accurate information on biothreats and bioincidents. ‚· Strengthen pre-incident relationships between government communication specialists and the media who specialize in bioincidents and related topics. ‚· Strengthen pre-incident relationships with private sector social media and other non-traditional media partners capable of broadly disseminating information. 3.5 Enhance preparedness to save lives through MCMs. 3.5.1 Improve Diagnostic Capabilities. ‚· Advance diagnostic capabilities, including for plants and animal diseases, to enable timely and accurate biohazard and disease detection. ‚· Maintain a core capability to develop, produce, and refine diagnostic tests rapidly to meet outbreak response needs. ‚· Develop instructions for public health and medical stakeholders regarding the use of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized or -cleared diagnostic tests, if available. ‚· Enhance capability to rapidly characterize bioincidents to help inform ongoing or future response to biothreats and bioincidents. ‚· Establish standardized Material Transfer Agreements for sample sharing. 3.5.2 Enhance MCM Development, Sustainment, and Availability. ‚· Use risk and intelligence assessments, epidemiologic analysis, and anticipated operational capacities to inform the life cycle of research, development, evaluation, manufacturing, acquisition, stockpiling, and sustainment of MCMs for humans and animals. ‚· Support and strengthen mechanisms to comprehensively evaluate and make changes, as needed, across the portfolio of MCMs. ‚· Prioritize the development and procurement of MCMs with the highest potential to reduce severe morbidity and mortality. ‚· Prioritize the development of modular platform and innovative technologies to support timely development, production, and availability of MCMs for bioincidents. ‚· Identify additional incentive mechanisms to engage MCM developers and stimulate private sector investment and innovation across the range of the MCM technology base. ‚· Improve or develop affordable, flexible, and multi-functional PPE for responders, health professionals, and the general population. ‚· Establish manufacturing surge capacity for MCMs, including diagnostic tests and PPE. 3.6 Enhance preparedness to limit the spread of disease through CMMs. 3.6.1 Enhance Development of and Capabilities for Implementing CMMs. ‚· Develop and assess the effectiveness of CMMs to mitigate the impact of bioincidents. ‚· Establish and promote best practices for implementing CMMs during bioincidents. 3.7 Enhance preparedness to support decontamination. 3.7.1 Conduct Research and Develop Verified Technologies. ‚· Conduct research to understand the persistence and potential for secondary transmission of biological contaminants in a variety of environments and the ability of various disinfection
20 technologies to inactivate or remove biological contaminants. ‚· Develop and verify technologies for all phases of environmental cleanup that address various types of infrastructure, equipment, and environments. ‚· Develop readily available and scalable technologies and software tools to support water and wastewater infrastructure decontamination and the treatment of contaminated water. 3.7.2 Develop and Exercise Decontamination Plans. ‚· Develop and verify plans for all phases of environmental cleanup for facilities, equipment, and the environment through drills and exercises that incorporate relevant partners and stakeholders. ‚· Establish pre-incident decontamination and waste management recommendations for: o Impacted community members, patients, and response personnel; o Contaminated drinking water; o Waste collection, handling, and packaging methods suitable for waste transport (including interstate transport), temporary storage, off-site treatment, and disposal; o Handling and disposition of human remains; o Disposition of animal remains; and o Environmental decontamination practices, as warranted. 3.8 Strengthen preparedness to operate and collaborate across the United States, including U.S. territories. 3.8.1 Establish Collaborative and Resource Sharing Policies and Operational Frameworks. ‚· Establish mechanisms to facilitate rapid deployment of federal and SLTT response personnel and response resources across jurisdictional boundaries. ‚· Establish and augment mechanisms by which the Federal Government can use assistance from non-federal and foreign sources with medical products, qualified public health, medical, or other personnel, or other resources during a bioincident. ‚· Establish protocols for timely sharing of samples, specimens, and related clinical information among federal departments and agencies and across public health, animal health, and environmental jurisdictions in the United States and U.S. territories. 3.9 Strengthen international preparedness to support international response and recovery capabilities. 3.9.1 Strengthen Foreign Governments and International Organizations' Commitment to, Preparedness for, and Capacity to Respond to Bioincidents. ‚· Promote global health security as a leadership priority and a national responsibility to accelerate bioincident detection, response, and recovery capacity-building. ‚· Support health emergency response teams of qualified personnel to respond rapidly to international health emergencies. ‚· Support workforce preparedness in emergency management principles, exercised on an Emergency Operation Center platform. ‚· Promote multi-sectoral and trans-disciplinary collaboration across diverse stakeholders to facilitate rapid and comprehensive response to bioincidents. ‚· Improve international access to and promote use of: best practices, model procedures, reporting templates, and training materials to facilitate rapid identification and notification of, and response to, potential biothreats or bioincidents. ‚· Promote and enhance mechanisms for sharing specimens, samples, and information.
21 ‚· Ensure that international mechanisms are prepared fully for the unique challenges of responding to deliberate biothreats and bioincidents. ‚· Support transparent, independent, and objective assessments of the international community's capacity to respond to bioincidents. ‚· Coordinate with partner countries to develop and implement multi-sectoral plans to address identified gaps in health security and ensure adherence to standards outlined in the International Health Regulations (2005) and by the World Organisation for Animal Health. ‚· Support country and regional development and sustainment of public and veterinary core capacities and standards. 3.9.2 Enhance International Preparedness through MCMs. ‚· Promote increased global capacities for research, development, evaluation, manufacturing, acquisition, stockpiling, deployment, and distribution of MCMs, including through collaborative arrangements. ‚· Address legal, regulatory, administrative, and financing barriers for international sharing of MCMs, other medical products, and qualified personnel. ‚· Ensure that international coordination and planning for bioincidents include consideration of the constraints to the ability of the United States to provide MCMs to other countries to address international bioincidents. ‚· Expand the international deployment and utilization of FDA-authorized or -cleared diagnostic tests. ‚· Develop appropriate plans and agreements to facilitate the rapid international deployment and distribution of MCMs under the appropriate regulatory mechanisms, or for the rapid development, including clinical trials, of investigational MCMs during a crisis. ‚· Strengthen international protocols for the conduct of clinical trials in a crisis. 3.9.3 Enhance International Preparedness Through CMMs. ‚· Promote the implementation of CMMs that can prevent transmission of communicable disease (e.g., voluntary isolation, hand washing with soap, covering mouth when coughing or sneezing, voluntary home quarantine). ‚· Support international partners in developing the authority to invoke and the capacity to implement threat-appropriate travel and border health measures, such as travel warnings and restrictions. ‚· Enhance engagement with community leaders to promote understanding of CMMs. ‚· Strengthen whole of society approaches through promoting multi-sectoral civil society, government, and private sector partnerships to improve incident reporting, and early action and response, and to mitigate the impact within communities by expanding coordination and response networks. 3.9.4 Further Develop, Exercise, and Update United States Government Plans for Responding to and Recovering from International Bioincidents. ‚· Develop bioincident response plans for response and recovery at the international level with key international stakeholders as well as key SLTT, non-governmental, and private sector partners. ‚· Ensure that international coordination and planning for bioincidents consider the constraints to the ability of the United States to provide response capabilities to address international bioincidents. ‚· Prepare and exercise plans for repatriation of personnel and materiel during a bioincident.
22 GOAL 4: RAPIDLY RESPOND TO LIMIT THE IMPACTS OF BIOINCIDENTS. 4.1 Compile and share biothreat and bioincident information to enable appropriate decision-making and response operations across all levels of government and with non-governmental, private sector, and international entities, as appropriate. 4.1.1 Ensure Access to Timely, Accurate, and Useful Information. ‚· Coordinate and exchange biothreat and bioincident information and analysis across multi-sectoral stakeholders nationally and internationally. 4.1.2 Coordinate Federal Decision-making to Augment and Support Response Operations. ‚· Coordinate and communicate decision-making during biothreat and bioincident prevention, response, and recovery operations. ‚· Rapidly identify and resolve at the federal level any resource and policy issues related to on-going response and recovery activities, both nationally and internationally. ‚· Utilize intelligence, biosurveillance, diplomacy, healthcare capacity and capability data, and modeling capabilities to maintain situational awareness and support decision-making across sectors and between local, national, and international organizations and partners throughout the response. ‚· Notify, share information, and coordinate with international organizations and partners in accordance with the International Health Regulations (2005) and World Organization for Animal Health reporting requirements, and relevant frameworks throughout the bioincident response. 4.1.3 Enhance Situational Awareness Through Real-time, Incident Information Sharing. ‚· Rapidly share modeling, detection, healthcare capacity and capability data, and diagnostic information with appropriate stakeholders to monitor the bioincident continually and support multi-sectoral decision-making throughout the response. ‚· Utilize all sources of data, as appropriate, including social media and intelligence feeds, electronic medical records/health information exchanges, and new data analytic technologies, such as artificial intelligence, to further support incident awareness. ‚· Provide timely information to domestic and international stakeholders regarding utilization of border measures, prioritization of MCM dispensing, epidemiological control measures, and re-occupation of decontaminated areas. 4.2 Conduct federal response operations and activities in coordination with relevant non-federal actors to contain, control, and to rapidly mitigate impacts of biothreats or bioincidents. 4.2.1 Ensure Appropriate Oversight and Coordination. ‚· Identify a lead federal department or agency to provide overall coordination for the United States Government response to a national or international bioincident and to ensure coordination of response at the national/international interface level.
23 ‚· Provide federal bioincident coordination to improve incident management across sectors and with all key stakeholders. ‚· Coordinate support to international bioincident response operations through the Department of State, including Chiefs of Mission, to prevent the spread of bioincidents. ‚· Identify mechanisms for access to budgetary resources to support the rapid response to a large-scale bioincident. ‚· When necessary, integrate coordinated federal activities into SLTT response efforts. ‚· Coordinate domestic assistance from international entities and from the private sector. ‚· Plan to use the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (2009) (50 U.S.C. 2061-2071) to obtain and facilitate distribution of resources that are urgently needed to respond to biological threats and incidents. 4.2.2 Deploy MCMs and Implement CMMs. ‚· Rapidly identify potentially exposed populations to begin triage, preventive healthcare activities, and treatment. ‚· Ensure that access and functional needs of at-risk individuals are integrated into rapid deployment. ‚· Implement CMMs and other multidisciplinary bioincident control measures, to include addressing service animal and wildlife concerns, animal vaccination, and agricultural depopulation. ‚· Deploy MCMs and support SLTT and medical supply distribution systems in the dispensing of MCMs, PPE, and medical equipment, under the appropriate regulatory mechanisms. ‚· Monitor the safety and effectiveness of deployed MCMs. ‚· Supplement, as necessary, the capabilities of affected jurisdictions to rapidly deploy MCMs following a bioincident, via a rapid response capability. ‚· Ensure provision of MCMs, as appropriate, to personnel performing or supporting mission-essential functions following a bioincident. ‚· Ensure resources to maintain or develop clinical guidance and utilization policies to prepare for MCM deployment in crisis situations. ‚· Assess deficiencies in the health care system in the United States and U.S. territories to address these threats and coordinate in extremis. 4.2.3 Conduct Real-time Research. ‚· Conduct real-time research during response to characterize emerging biothreat agents and develop response tools in order to improve response and recovery capacity, capability, and future preparedness. ‚· Rapidly identify and disseminate guidelines and clinical approaches during a bioincident for the purpose of decreasing transmission, morbidity, and mortality; and rapidly identify and disseminate analogous approaches for animals and plants. ‚· Conduct real-time clinical research to evaluate promising investigational MCMs, and identify potential novel diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. ‚· Establish processes to accelerate protocol development, clinical sites identification, and institutional review board and regulatory review.
24 4.2.4 Implement or Support Response Operations. ‚· Deliver and distribute response equipment and supplies, including healthcare resources and trained personnel, and provide for the availability of security capabilities to support response operations domestically and internationally. ‚· Facilitate implementation of crisis standards of care as needed and return to conventional care, as appropriate. ‚· Provide available federal medical, public health, and veterinary surge capacity and capabilities in a timely, coordinated manner to implement or support public and animal health, behavioral, and medical and veterinary services, including by augmenting SLTT capabilities. ‚· Provide mass fatality management including mortuary affairs, as appropriate. ‚· Augment transportation and reception systems and provide capabilities to support movement of highly infectious disease patients and response-generated materiels across borders and U.S. jurisdictions. ‚· Provide oversight and assistance for carcass management services, as appropriate. ‚· Conduct decontamination operations and the management of waste and contaminated materials in a manner that is protective of human, animal, and plant health, the environment, and the economy. ‚· Ensure the health and safety of federal, SLTT, private sector, and NGO responders involved in response operations. 4.2.5 Preserve the Continuity of Operations. ‚· Maintain comprehensive and effective continuity of operations, including appropriate devolution, to ensure the preservation of the United States Government's structure under the U.S. Constitution and the continuing performance of National Essential Functions under all conditions. ‚· Secure, protect, and restore, as needed, critical infrastructure assets that have the potential to impact or be impacted by the spread of the bioincident. ‚· Secure and protect critical information and communications systems necessary for biodefense. 4.3 Conduct operations and investigations, and use all available tools to hold perpetrators accountable. 4.3.1 Conduct Incident Operations and Investigations. ‚· Utilize secure advanced communications capabilities between specialized response assets, technical experts, and senior decision-makers. ‚· Strengthen federal and SLTT law enforcement, medical, public health, animal, and plant health stakeholder capacity and capabilities to conduct joint criminal-epidemiologic investigations for suspect and confirmed intentional biothreats or bioincidents. ‚· Rapidly assess interdicted biological materials contained within a weapon or dispersal device, disable it, and contain the materials to prevent further dissemination. ‚· Transport biological weapons, materials, and means of delivery to an appropriate location for further characterization. ‚· Draw from national and international tools, including applicable laws and agreements, where appropriate and consistent with prosecutorial discretion, to hold perpetrators of intentional bioincidents accountable.
25 4.3.2 Forensics and Attribution. ‚· Utilize forensic tools and investigation capabilities to conduct forensic examinations to support attribution of a biothreat or a bioincident. ‚· Use applicable protocols and memoranda of agreement to facilitate transport of potentially bio-contaminated evidence and classified materials to appropriate, predesignated facilities for analysis. 4.3.3 Support International Investigations. ‚· Provide appropriate technical and logistical support to investigations of alleged biological weapons, materials, and means of delivery under international auspices. 4.4 Execute risk-informed, accurate, timely, and actionable public messaging. 4.4.1 Deliver Public Messaging to Facilitate Public Understanding and Decision-making During a Bioincident. ‚· Provide timely, regular, coordinated, and consistent risk communication, including information on response and recovery procedures and personal protective measures, across a range of media for the public. ‚· Provide mechanisms for stakeholders and members of the public to ask questions and provide comments and feedback. ‚· Use accessible communication strategies to maximize participation in appropriate response measures that address the needs for messaging in multiple formats and languages to accommodate the access and functional needs of the entire population. ‚· Identify and combat misinformation, including information regarding movement restrictions and re-entry of health workers and other incident responders.
26 GOAL 5: FACILITATE RECOVERY TO RESTORE THE COMMUNITY, THE ECONOMY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT AFTER A BIOINCIDENT. 5.1 Promote restoration of critical infrastructure capability and capacity to enable the resumption of vital U.S. activities. 5.1.1 Restore Capability and Capacity. ‚· Ensure that safety measures are in place to enable and help restore health, social, and economic activity. ‚· Address the loss of critical infrastructure capability and capacity as quickly as possible to limit cascading effects by working with owners and operators, SLTT entities, and international partners, as appropriate. ‚· Support restoration of critical infrastructure in addition to continued performance of National Essential Functions through recovery of the federal, military, local first responders, and other critical workforces. ‚· Facilitate health monitoring and surveillance for emergency responders, health care providers, federal personnel, and the public, including through the provision of post-exposure evaluations and medical monitoring. 5.2 Ensure coordination of recovery activities across federal and SLTT governments and, as appropriate, international, non-governmental, and private sector partners to enable effective and efficient recovery operations. 5.2.1 Coordinate and Oversee. ‚· Coordinate recovery planning and information-sharing among federal, SLTT, non-government, and health care coalition partners. ‚· Support SLTT officials in decision-making and implementation of services such as relocation, alternative housing, and re-occupancy strategies, and access to health and social services. ‚· Support SLTT officials in decision-making regarding re-habitation and re-introduction of wildlife, livestock, service animals, and pets in the environment, homes, or commercial market. ‚· Conduct impact assessments, develop recovery strategies, and implement operational capabilities. ‚· Restore public confidence in community and environmental safety through frequent strategic communications via various media and other messaging partners. 5.3 Provide recovery support and conduct long-term mitigation actions to promote resilience. 5.3.1 Conduct Recovery and Mitigation Activities. ‚· Support SLTT officials in decision-making about long-term recovery operations, including remediation of remaining contaminated areas, long-term environmental monitoring, and assessing and communicating the appropriateness for re-occupancy of impacted areas.
27 ‚· Support provision of long-term medical and behavioral health services to affected populations, including for emergency responders. ‚· Support effective and timely risk communication to promote public awareness of recovery operations. ‚· Provide necessary support and augmentation of SLTT civilian capabilities to maintain and sustain public safety protection assurances. ‚· Assist recovery of private entities that cannot operate because of a bioincident, as funding and authorities permit. ‚· Support partner countries in decision-making about long-term recovery operations. ‚· Support SLTT officials and private-sector responders involved in determining how to integrate mitigation considerations into long-term recovery operations. ‚· Coordinate the activities of the Federal Government in support of SLTT officials to assess, restore, and initiate necessary interventions to re-establish critical capabilities in health and social services. 5.4 Reduce the cascading effects of international biological incidents on the global economy, health, and security. 5.4.1 Reduce International Economic, Health, and Security Impact. ‚· Promote the provision of recovery support and related activities to mitigate the second order impacts of a bioincident. ‚· Assess impacts'--such as severe disruptions of health services, economic and social activity and the decline of essential governmental services'--caused by an international bioincident. ‚· Support activities to strengthen host governments' ability to deliver critically needed services and to retain democracy and governance. ‚· Support households, communities, and agriculture markets to recover from the food safety impacts of the bioincident.
28 ANNEX II DEFINITIONS The terminology used throughout the strategy is consistent with the following definitions: Biodefense: Actions to counter biological threats, reduce risks, and prepare for, respond to, and recover from bioincidents. Biodefense enterprise: Stakeholders with a role in the prevention, preparedness for, detection, response, and recovery from bioincidents (e.g., federal and SLTT governments, non-governmental and private sector entities, and international partners). Biological hazard (biohazard): A biological agent or biologically active substance'--excluding toxic chemical substances that are considered solely as chemical weapons agents, regardless of origin (e.g., naturally occurring or bioengineered)'--that represents an actual or potential danger to humans, animals, plants, or the environment. Biological incident (bioincident): ‚· Any act of biological warfare or terrorism; ‚· A crime involving a biohazard consistent with the scope of this strategy; or ‚· Any natural or accidental occurrence in which a biohazard harms humans, animals, plants, or the environment consistent with the scope of this strategy. Biological threat (biothreat): An entity involved with, or a situation involving, a biohazard that can potentially cause a bioincident. Biosurveillance: The process of gathering, integrating, interpreting, and communicating essential information and indications related to all-hazard threats or disease activity affecting human, animal, plant, and environmental health to achieve early detection and provide early warning, contribute to overall situational awareness of the health aspects of the incident, and to enable better decision-making at all levels. Bioweapons-related: Materials, equipment, information, or technology covered by relevant multilateral treaties and arrangements, or included on national or international control lists, which could be misused for the design, development, production, or use of biological weapons and their means of delivery. Clinical Guidance: Recommendations that define prevention, triage, and medical management of individuals who are at-risk or affected by biothreats. Community Mitigation Measures (CMMs): Behaviors or actions that people and communities can take to help slow the spread of a biological hazard, to include threat-appropriate travel and border health measures. Delivery system: Any apparatus, equipment, device, or means of delivery used or intended to be used to deliver or disseminate biological material. Dual''use: Intended for legitimate purposes but having the potential for both benevolent and malevolent applications. Healthcare coalition: A collaborative network of healthcare organizations and their respective public and private sector emergency response partners, including, but not limited to, hospitals, emergency medical services, and emergency management and public health agencies, that serves as a multiagency coordinating group to assist with preparedness, detection, response, recovery, and mitigation activities related to healthcare service delivery during bioincidents. Medical Countermeasures (MCMs): Pharmaceutical products, such as vaccines, antimicrobials, and antitoxins, and non-pharmaceutical products, such as ventilators, diagnostic tests, PPE, and patient decontamination materials, that may be used to prevent, mitigate, or treat the adverse health effects from a bioincident.
29 ANNEX III SCOPE, STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS, AND AGENCIES SCOPE The National Biodefense Strategy addresses biothreats and bioincidents that have the potential to cause significant harm (as measured by injury or death, or damage to property, the environment, or the economy) to the United States or to U.S. interests; or that otherwise affect U.S. national security. The National Biodefense Strategy is intended to inform the policy development process and is not a budget document. The commitment of federal resources to support activities associated with this document will be determined through the annual budget process, which will be informed by this strategy. STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS Section 1086 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (Pub. L. No. 114-328; enacted December 23, 2016), codified at 6 U.S.C. 104, provides: SEC. 1086. NATIONAL BIODEFENSE STRATEGY. (a) STRATEGY AND IMPLEMENTATION PLAN REQUIRED.'--The Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Agriculture shall jointly develop a national biodefense strategy and associated implementation plan, which shall include a review and assessment of biodefense policies, practices, programs and initiatives. Such Secretaries shall review and, as appropriate, revise the strategy biennially. (b) ELEMENTS. The strategy and associated implementation plan required under subsection (a) shall include each of the following: (1) An inventory and assessment of all existing strategies, plans, policies, laws, and interagency agreements related to biodefense, including prevention, deterrence, preparedness, detection, response, attribution, recovery, and mitigation. (2) A description of the biological threats, including biological warfare, bioterrorism, naturally occurring infectious diseases, and accidental exposures. (3) A description of the current programs, efforts, or activities of the United States Government with respect to preventing the acquisition, proliferation, and use of a biological weapon, preventing an accidental or naturally occurring biological outbreak, and mitigating the effects of a biological epidemic. (4) A description of the roles and responsibilities of the Executive Agencies, including internal and external coordination procedures, in identifying and sharing information related to, warning of, and protection against, acts of terrorism using biological agents and weapons and accidental or naturally occurring biological outbreaks. (5) An articulation of related or required interagency capabilities and whole-of-Government activities required to support the national biodefense strategy. (6) Recommendations for strengthening and improving the current biodefense
30 capabilities, authorities, and command structures of the United States Government. (7) Recommendations for improving and formalizing interagency coordination and support mechanisms with respect to providing a robust national biodefense. (8) Any other matters the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Agriculture determine necessary. (c) SUBMITTAL TO CONGRESS.'--Not later than 275 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Agriculture shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees the strategy and associated implementation plan required by subsection (a). The strategy and implementation plan shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may include a classified annex. (d) BRIEFINGS. Not later than March 1, 2017, and annually thereof ter until March 1, 2019, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of Agriculture shall provide to the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives a joint briefing on the strategy developed under subsection (a) and the status of the implementation of such strategy. (e) GAO REVIEW.'--Not later than 180 days after the date of the submittal of the strategy and implementation plan under subsection (c), the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a review of the strategy and implementation plan to analyze gaps and resources mapped against the requirements of the National Biodefense Strategy and existing United States biodefense policy documents. (f) APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES DEFINED. In this section, the term ''appropriate congressional committees'' means the following: (1) The congressional defense committees. (2) The Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate. (3) The Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate. (4) The Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate. AGENCIES Consistent with the requirements of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, the primary drafters for the National Biodefense Strategy are the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Agriculture. In addition, the National Security Council Staff coordinated the review and finalization of the National Biodefense Strategy with the Departments of State, Treasury, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Labor, Transportation, Energy, and Veterans Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
'Not a single EU country' responded to Italian plea for help with coronavirus
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 16:38
| March 11, 2020 05:18 PM
| Updated Mar 11, 2020, 06:05 PM
A top Italian official knocked the European Union for leaving Italy's plea for medical assistance unanswered while the coronavirus outbreak cripples the country.
Italy's permanent representative to the EU, Maurizio Massari, wrote an op-ed in Politico on Tuesday asking for aid from EU members. The Italian official said that while the EU has ignored Italy's requests for aid, China has begun assisting Italy bilaterally.
"Italy, the European country struck hardest by the coronavirus, has done everything it can to contain and manage the epidemic," Massari wrote. "We must ensure, under EU coordination, the supply of the necessary medical equipment and its redistribution among those countries and regions most in need. Today, this means Italy; tomorrow, the need could be elsewhere."
"Italy has already asked to activate the European Union Mechanism of Civil Protection for the supply of medical equipment for individual protection," Massari added. "But, unfortunately, not a single EU country responded to the Commission's call. Only China responded bilaterally. Certainly, this is not a good sign of European solidarity."
Italian doctors are scrambling to make room for an influx of thousands of coronavirus patients. The country has over 12,000 confirmed cases of the virus, with most of those concentrated in the northern region of Lombardy. Italy had reported over 800 deaths from the coronavirus by Wednesday afternoon, the most of any country other than China, where the disease originated.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced an emergency lockdown of the region last week and on Monday expanded the lockdown to all of Italy. Most travel across the country is banned, as are sporting events and other public gatherings. On Wednesday, Conte announced that all businesses except for pharmacies and grocery stores must close.
List of African countries with coronavirus grows as Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan report cases
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 13:23
Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Guinea and Mauritania all confirmed their first cases of the new coronavirus on Friday, giving the disease a foothold in 19 countries on the African continent.
Africa had until now largely been spared the rapid spread of COVID-19, which has infected at least 135,000 people and killed around 5,000 worldwide.
Most of Africa's reported cases were foreigners or people who had travelled abroad. Rapid testing and quarantines have been put in place to limit transmission.
But concerns are growing about the continent's ability to handle the disease.
Cases have been reported in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Mauritania's health ministry said late on Friday that its first coronavirus patient is a European man - nationality not specified - who had returned to Nouakchott on March 9 and had since been in quarantine.
The numbers of cases in most of the countries are still in single figures.
Senegal confirmed 11 new cases on Friday, raising the total in that West African nation to 21. Its health ministry said 16 had been infected by the same man who had returned from Italy.
Among those confirming first cases on Friday, Kenya is the richest economy in East Africa and a hub for global companies and the United Nations, while Ethiopia is Africa's second-most populous nation, with 109 million people. Addis Ababa and Nairobi are regional transit hubs.
In Nairobi, the Kenyan authorities banned all major public events and said they would restrict foreign travel. The mayor of Addis Ababa urged citizens to avoid close personal contact but Ethiopia's health minister said there were no plans to cancel flights.
Travellers fall sick
Kenyan Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said the country's first case, a 27-year-old Kenyan, was diagnosed on Thursday after travelling home via London on March 5.
He said the government had traced most of the people she had been in contact with, including fellow passengers on her flight, and a government response team would monitor their temperatures for the next two weeks.
Today, #Kenya announced their first case of #COVID19. The patient is a Kenyan national who arrived in Nairobi on 5 March from the USA. @WHO has been working with the Kenyan gov't to prepare. This week, WHO experts trained hospital staff in Nairobi on protective equipment. pic.twitter.com/zQBWaJQAd7
'-- WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) March 13, 2020The Ethiopian case was a 48-year old Japanese national who arrived in Ethiopia on March 4, the health ministry said.
Guinea's first case was an employee of the European Union delegation who had self-isolated after she felt ill upon returning from Europe, the EU delegation said.
Sudan's first confirmed coronavirus case was a man who died on Thursday in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, the Health Ministry said. He had visited the United Arab Emirates in the first week of March.
Halting the spread
Kenyan Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe said the government had suspended all public gatherings, sporting events, open-air religious meetings and events ''of a huge public nature''. Schools will remain open but inter-school events were suspended.
Public transport operators must install hand sanitisers in their vehicles and clean them regularly, Kagwe said, while foreign travel would be restricted.
Soon after the announcement, shoppers in one Nairobi supermarket were buying up cart loads of staples such as maize flour and water, as well as hand sanitisers and soap.
Kenya Airways suspended flights to China last month and on Thursday added Rome and Geneva to the list of suspended destinations.
Kenya, which relies heavily on Asian imports, has seen disruptions to its supply chain and a decline in tourism, an important source of hard currency and jobs.
''We are going to be hit badly,'' Tourism Minister Najib Balala told journalists.
The Nairobi Securities Exchange halted trading in the afternoon after the main NSE 20 share index dropped by more than 5% following the news.
Mauritius, an island nation off the coast of East Africa whose economy depends on tourism and financial services, has yet to report any COVID-19 cases but said it was offering liquidity to banks to support struggling firms hit by the impact of the virus and cutting banks' cash reserve requirements.
(REUTERS)
Hal Turner Radio Show - PROOF: The "Novel Coronavirus" Infecting the World is a MILITARY BIO-WEAPON Developed by China's Army
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 12:58
PROOF: The "Novel Coronavirus" Infecting the World is a MILITARY BIO-WEAPON Developed by China's Army
The "novel Coronavirus" outbreak affecting China and many other countries right now, has been determined to be a military BIO-WEAPON, which was being worked on at the Wuhan Virology Laboratory by China's People's Liberation Army, Nanjiang Command. Somehow, it got out. The world is now facing a massive wipe-out of humanity as a result.
The proof that this virus is a genetically-modified Bat-SARS-Like Virus, manipulated by the Chinese Army, appears below. The evidence is irrefutable.
Two separate components of genetic sequencing from HIV-1, the virus which causes AIDS, were added to Bat-SARS-Like coronavirus in the laboratory, thereby allowing it to infect human lungs via the ACES2 receptors in our lungs, and to disrupt the human body ability to fight it off, by reducing human leukocytes.
BIO-WEAPON PROOF
Make no mistake: this disease is, in fact, a MILITARY biological weapon. The disease sequence from the original Bat coronavirus was uploaded to the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the US National Library of Medicine, in the year 2018 by China's Institute of Military Medicine, Nanjing Command. The image below from the National Center for Biotechnology Information proves the upload (Click image to enlarge):
That Bat-SARS-Like coronavirus was issued Reference ID: AVP 70833.1 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information at the U.S. Library of Medicine.
The present outbreak of "novel Coronavirus" was uploaded to that same National Center for Biotechnology Information in January of this year by the Shanghai Public Heath Clinical Center and was issued Reference ID: QHD3418.1. Here is proof of THAT upload (Click image to enlarge):
Using the test facilities known as BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) from the U.S. National Library of Medicine researchers have determined that the "virus envelope" of those two separate diseases, are 100% identical! Here is the BLAST Test result (Click image to enlarge):
MORE: a new study shows that elements of HIV have been found in the new "novel coronavirus!" From that study:
We are currently witnessing a major epidemic caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019- nCoV). The evolution of 2019-nCoV remains elusive. We found 4 insertions in the spike glycoprotein (S) which are unique to the 2019-nCoV and are not present in other coronaviruses. Importantly, amino acid residues in all the 4 inserts have identity or similarity to those in the HIV-1 gp120 or HIV-1 Gag. Interestingly, despite the inserts being discontinuous on the primary amino acid sequence, 3D-modelling of the 2019-nCoV suggests that they converge to constitute the receptor binding site. The finding of 4 unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV, all of which have identity /similarity to amino acid residues in key structural proteins of HIV-1 is unlikely to be fortuitous in nature.
LINK TO STUDY HERE
There is no way in nature that the Bat coronavirus could fortuitously acquire the HIV genetic sequences, without causing a mutation of the Virus Envelope. The ONLY way the virus envelope could obtain the HIV genetics and still remain 100% identical to the 2018 sample, is if the HIV genes were added in a laboratory.
So what the human race is now facing, is an accidentally-released military bio-weapon. The original Bat-SARS-Like Coronavirus was identified by China's People's Liberation Army, through the Institute of Military Medicine, Nanjiang Command in the year 2018. They uploaded the virus sequence and they were the sole entity in possession of the virus.
Here we are, two years later, and the virus they had has been changed in a way that cannot occur in nature without mutating the virus envelope protein.
This isn't rocket science; this is as plain as day. China conducted genetic manipulation of their Bat-SARS-like virus and created a new virus capable of infecting humans. That new virus was apparently accidentally-released and is the "novel coronavirus" the world is now battling.
I am sorry to have to report, many of us are very likely to LOSE this battle. Just like many are already losing their battle inside China and elsewhere.
QUARANTINE
Within the first month of this outbreak in China, the government there effectively QUARANTINED more than fifty-six MILLION people (56,000,000) in nineteen (19) major cities, even though China reported publicly that only a few hundred were infected and only about 25 had died by that time.
WHY?
Why would China lockdown 19 cities and effectively Quarantine 56 Million people for such a trivial disease? Because China KNEW it wasn't trivial. China KNEW it was a military bio-weapon which had accidentally gotten out. And China also KNEW how far this would spread and how fast. China is guilty as sin.
DISEASE FACTS:
Here are the now-established FACTS about this disease:
This disease has an eighty-three percent (83%) infection rate. That means if 100 people are EXPOSED to this virus, 83 WILL get sick from it.
The Disease can spread by AIR. It is HIGHLY, HIGHLY contagious.
When a person breathes, virus comes out with those breaths. Same thing when a person sneezes or coughs. Same when urinating or having a bowel movement. ALL OF IT HAS VIRUS IN IT.
The virus can live OUTSIDE a person, in the air or on a surface, for a minimum of five days, and a maximum of twenty eight days.
So if an infected person goes into a store or supermarket, or public bathroom, or a school, office, warehouse . . . . or anywhere . . . . touches products on shelves and puts anything back, or sneezes or coughs, his virus gets on the products in that store or supermarket, bathroom, school, office, warehouse, etc., and can survive.
YOU walk-in a couple minutes, hours or even DAYS later, and pick up the same item, or even smell their stink in the bathroom - POW, you're infected.
WORSE: This virus can infect others through the eyes and ears.
Let's say you're walking inside somewhere and an infected person was there minutes earlier and coughed or sneezed. The cough or sneeze threw microscopic droplets into the air, which float for awhile. A few minutes later, you walk through that air. One or more of the microscopic droplets gets on your eye. You don't even KNOW it because the things are so small.
You blink. We all blink.
Your eye lid pushes the virus off the surface of your eye, down into the bottom eye area, and the virus washes down into your tear duct. POW- you're infected.
It cannot be overstated that this virus is the worst public disease crisis the world has faced in over 100 years. Not since the Spanish Flu of 1918 has the world faced such death and this is already heading toward being far WORSE than the Spanish Flu.
The Spanish Flu spread worldwide during 1918-1919. In the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in spring 1918. It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world's population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States.
When a disease outbreak occurs, one of the measurements that scientists use to see how badly the disease will spread is known as R0.
The 1918-1919 pandemic-causing Spanish flu is estimated to have had an R0 ranging from 1.4 '' 2.8, with a mean of 2. This means that for every person infected, that person could be expected to infect another 1.4 to 2.8 additional people.
I regret to report that the R0 of this Bio-Weapon is already showing itself to be R4.08 . . . FAAAAAAR Worse than the 1918 Spanish Flu.
Here's where things get very bad, very fast.
According to Satistia, the n umber of all hospital beds in the U.S. 1975-2017, is decreasing. In 1975, there were about 1.5 million hospital beds in the U.S., but until 2017 the number dropped to just about 931 thousand. Aug 9, 2019 (HERE)
According to TrendingEconomics, Hospital beds (per 1,000 people) in United States was reported at 2.9 in 2013, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognized sources. Hospital beds include inpatient beds available in public, private, general, and specialized hospitals and rehabilitation centers. (Here)
Using the Infection Rate of 83% listed above, out of 1,000 people exposed to this Bio-Weapon, 830 will become infected.
There are 2.9 Hospital beds per thousand US citizens. So when 830 people get infected, how many can those 2.9 hospital beds hold??????? Yea. 2.9
What happens to the rest? They cannot get hospital care.
Right now, when a person cannot get hospital care for this disease, the death rate for such people is 65-70%.
That means me and you. Dead.
IT CAN (AND PROBABLY WILL) HAPPEN HERE
Many of the 56 Million people in 19 Quarantined cities have not eaten in days because there is no food remaining in the cities. This is causing rioting.
Delivery trucks are prohibited from entering these contaminated cities, for fear of spreading the Coronavirus to outlying areas. People are literally FIGHTING each other to get food:
People are trying virtually anything they can to ESCAPE the quarantine, to get food:
Roadblocks erected by bulldozers, bucket loaders and backhoes, consisting of large piles of dirt, rocks, and other obstructions, now appear on most roads into and out of Quarantined cities.
Some of these barriers were erected by government while others were erected by people in small towns and villages to keep the infected OUT.
In the meantime, people throughout China are still simply DROPPING DEAD in their tracks:
In Shopping Malls:
On the public streets:
All over the public street:
In other places, people are engaging in fist fights to get their hands on Filter Masks:
People in some areas are attacking others for merely COMING IN to their neighborhood; WARNING: People hit in head with PIPES:
Those who are not dropping dead, are literally fighting each other for food:
Meanwhile, the lines to just get IN to a hospital are . . . . unimaginable:
OUTSIDE CHINA, people are also dropping dead from this virus.
In Mexico, this poor man waited far too long, until the disease became Hemorrhagic; THIS is how this disease ends (GRAPHIC):
Things inside China are getting so bad, Police are now BOARDING-UP People inside their apartments to KEEP THEM IN!
And MORE people Nailed-in to their own homes:
And once the police leave, other people are coming and SETTING THE HOMES ON FIRE to burn the infected people to death!
CHINA ORDERS ALL PETS KILLED
Residential committees, village officials and companies from various provinces and municipalities issued a strict order to locals after receiving instructions from their superiors to tackle the epidemic, it has emerged. They have ordered citizens to "get rid of" their pets or face having them culled.
One village in Hebei urged all households to 'deal with' their pets within five days, otherwise officials would 'handle' them altogether; while another residential committee in Shaanxi instructed people to 'consider the overall situation' and dispose of their cats and dogs immediately.
China says pets can carry the bio-weapon virus and spread it to others.
China is only about 30 Days into this outbreak, and their entire country and society are already collapsing. What you see above OVER THERE, is just 30 days away from happening OVER HERE.
Are you preparing?
Bear in mind that all this is just ONE MONTH into the outbreak. ONE MONTH!
What we see happening in China, can -- and very likely WILL -- happen here, in America.
Today (Saturday February 1) A California man has tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the seventh confirmed case in the United States.The unidentified man is a resident of Santa Clara County, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Friday afternoon, according to local news reports.
Health officials have documented two other cases in California; two in Illinois; one in Arizona and one in Washington state.
UPDATE 4:43 PM EST -- The eighth confirmed US case of the coronavirus is in a man in his 20s who lives in Boston, according to a press release from Boston and Massachusetts health officials. The man recently returned from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak.
Yesterday, The Hal Turner Radio Show was told that Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh had a patient who tested positive for Corona Virus, who had been in the city for over a week, doing business. The source reported that federal government people came and took the patient away, then FORCED Nurses, Doctors and Staff to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements which threatened them with criminal prosecution and prison, if they revealed anything about the existence of this patient to anyone!
Thus, the American people must now start to wonder whether other Doctors, Nurses, and health care providers are being intimidated into staying silent too? FOR THESE REASONS AND OTHERS, MOST FOLKS DO NOT BELIEVE THE "OFFICIAL" NUMBERS REGARDING THE NUMBER OF INFECTED OR THE NUMBER OF DEATHS.
Most people who have been following this situation closely say they think we are smack dab in the middle of a global cover-up.You don't:
- Quarantine around 65 million people (figures vary, but multiple large cities in China are involved)- Stop people traveling on highways to check their temperatures- Extend the Lunar New Year holiday so people don't go back to work- Delay the start of spring semester classes- Shut down the stock marketAll because 259 people have died. The actions taken by not only China, but by dozens of other countries around the globe, are not a logical response to 259 fatalities.
The best way to avoid this is to protect yourself and your family. Here's how:
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
The Medical Infrastructure of the United States (and pretty much every other country) simply CANNOT HANDLE THIS from the perspective of how many get infected and how fast that happens. There simply are not enough hospital beds, respirators, negative-pressure infectious disease isolation rooms. Once the virus gets here in earnest (it probably already is but we won't know for ten days) the medical system will be quickly overwhelmed. We could see Medical Infrastructure COLLAPSE here in the USA the same as it is happening in China.
When things go wild weasel here in America, there will be all sorts of unanticipated service disruptions.
The general public remains blissfully unaware of the utter disaster coming at us, because the mass-media is keeping rather quiet about the situation. But when they can't keep quiet any longer, there will be PANIC.
You should PREPARE NOW because once the SHTF, it will be too late.
Here are suggested "Preps" to try to get yourself and your family through what's coming. There is precious little time left . . .
The best strategy for this is NOT to be exposed. Fat chance of that; we ALL go out: Work, school, shopping, recreation, and so forth.
So how might we protect ourselves while we're out?
Well, the fact this virus can be spread by air, in addition to staying alive on surfaces like counter tops, desks, water fountains, door handles, inside cars and buses, product packages on store shelves that someone else handled, or sneezed-on or coughed-on, - including ones that get delivered by mail, FedEx, UPS, etc. -- complicates things greatly.
Step One: Stay home. Do not go out unless you absolutely MUST.
Step Two: Presuming you have to go out (we ALL do) wear a filter mask eye and hand protective gear (below).
The N-95 filter masks are almost completely sold out already, nationwide. So you can get a better mask rated as N-100 or P-100 for the time being until THEY sell out. Links to various suppliers are HERE-N-95 and HERE N-100. (I am NOT the seller)
You can also get the VASTLY AVAILABLE 3M 7500 (HERE) which uses 3M 2091 filters (HERE) This mask system is more expensive, but it works and is widely still available . (Again, I am NOT the seller)
Get Eye Protection, either cheap swimmer goggles (HERE) or better safety goggles (HERE)
Get a box of rubber/nitrile Gloves (Here)
Wear this gear when you go out.
Yes, you'll look and feel ridiculous. But you are much more likely to have the last laugh because YOU are protecting yourself.
THIS IS URGENTLY IMPORTANT:
The absolute moment you get home, take off your shoes and leave them in the foyer. DO NOT WALK AROUND YOUR HOUSE IN SHOES YOU WORE OUTSIDE.
You may have walked on a large amount of infected material as you were out and if you wear those shoes in the house, the virus will spread in the house.
Next: Go into the bathroom, take off your clothing, put it in a hamper or plastic bag, and take a shower. You HAVE TO WASH OFF any virus that may have landed on your body or hair, while you were out.
Put on clean garments. You cannot go sit in your chair or lay on your couch or bed in clothing you wore outside. The virus will come off the clothing, onto the furniture and pow, someone in the house catches it.
Make every person in your household do this the absolute moment they come home. This virus is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS and it KILLS people. We cannot skimp or get lazy protecting ourselves.
Eat right, take vitamins (I use Centrum), and, I don't want to sound hokey, or like some Bible thumper, pray to Almighty God that you be protected by Him during this crisis. I'm not kidding. I mean it: PRAY.
Even if you haven't prayed in decades, start now. "Hi God, it's me (so and so). I know I haven't prayed to you in a long time, but I'm coming back to you now. . . . ."
And then talk honestly and earnestly to him, in a very quiet voice.
Just remember, this is God, not a magician to be summoned to do tricks or render services at our beckon call. He made us. We are HIS to do with a HE sees fit.
OTHER "PREPS" with Links
Have Emergency food (HERE, HERE, and HERE) in the house in case Quarantine gets implemented, so you and your family can eat for the 6 weeks or so such Quarantines are likely to last.
Have Emergency Water (HERE) stored up in case the water supply gets contaminated.
Here is a complete list of "Preps" that folks might consider for themselves.
Please pass this article along to those you care about; No other source is providing this type of self-help advice and there isn't much time left before all hell breaks loose.
UPDATE SUNDAY 10:15 AM EST --
CHINA PUBLICLY DENIES THIS STORY
Chinese experts on Sunday denied rumors that the novel #coronavirus originated from lab-grown samples. Shi Zhengli, Chinese virologist and researcher at the #Wuhan Institute of Virology, said the outbreak was due to improper lifestyle choices rather than sample leaks from a lab. pic.twitter.com/zO4q2JZEeR
'-- People's Daily, China (@PDChina) February 2, 2020China is now publicly DENYING the virus outbreak was caused by a leaked virus from the Wuhan Virology lab. Yet the proof above about them having this exact virus, and the 100% genetic envelope match, gives LIE to China's denial. MOREOVER, that precise lab, even published a scientific paper on Combining BAT-SARS-like Virus with inserts from HIV to make it MORE INFECTIOUS. That scientific paper is HERE for all to read.
Now, I ask you, is it more likely their Frankenstein-type Virus got out, or that some people lived lifestyles which caused the EXACT same illness?
Sorry China, your lab lost this virus into the public and now you're trying to save face by shifting blame. Nobody believes you.
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Conerns about democracy in the digital age | Pew Research Center
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 12:35
About half of the experts responding to this canvassing said people's uses of technology will mostly weaken core aspects of democracy and democratic representation, but even those who expressed optimism often voiced concerns. This section includes comments about problems that were made by all respondents regardless of their answer to the main question about the impact of technology on democracy by 2030. These worries are organized under seven themes.
Empowering the powerful: Corporate and government agendas generally do not serve democratic goals or achieve democratic outcomes. They serve the goals of those in powerAn internet pioneer and technology developer and administrator predicted, ''My expectation is that by 2030, as much of 75% of the world's population will be enslaved by artificial intelligence-based surveillance systems developed in China and exported around the world. These systems will keep every citizen under observation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, monitoring their every action.''
Dan Gillmor, co-founder of the News Co/Lab at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and professor of practice in digital media literacy commented, ''Governments (and their corporate partners) are broadly using technology to create a surveillance state, and what amounts to law by unaccountable black-box algorithm, far beyond anything Orwell imagined. But this can only happen in a society that can't be bothered to protect liberty '' or is easily led/stampeded into relinquishing it '' and that is happening in more and more of the Western democracies. The re-emergence of public bigotry has nothing to do with technology, except to the extent that bigots use it to promote their malignant goals. Meanwhile, the institutions that are supposed to protect liberty '' journalism among them '' are mostly failing to do so. In a tiny number of jurisdictions, people have persuaded leaders to push back on the encroachments, such as a partial ban on government use of facial recognition in San Francisco. But the encroachments are overwhelming and accelerating.''
Leah Lievrouw, professor of information studies at the University of California-Los Angeles, wrote, ''To date, virtually no democratic state or system has sorted out how to deal with this challenge to the fundamental legitimacy of democratic processes, and my guess is that only a deep and destabilizing crisis (perhaps growing out of the rise of authoritarian, ethnic or cultural nationalism) will prompt a serious response.''
Seth Finkelstein, programmer, consultant and EFF Pioneer of the Electronic Frontier Award winner, wrote, ''Warren Buffett has said, 'There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning.' We can examine how this class warfare changes with advances in technology, analogous to how military warfare has been affected by technology. But no weapons technology to date has inevitably produced democracy over dictatorship (or vice-versa). For example, there once was a type of boosterism that talked about how ordinary people could make websites and promoted its very rare cause c(C)l¨bre success. But that storyline is now going out of fashion. It's finally getting to be pundit knowledge that there's a whole system behind which material gets promoted. Paid professional liars can both make websites themselves and work this system better than amateurs. There's currently a national panic over Russian trolls. But native fiends can do the same thing, with more skill, incentive and opportunities.''
David Bray, executive director for the People-Centered Internet Coalition, commented, ''The power of narratives is exactly their ability to shape and institutionalize norms and power distribution in our human communities. '... Now, however, our world is much broader than our immediate environment, and this has dangerous side effects, such as challenges in reaching consensus or disputing the relevant facts for a situation. We are seeing increasing polarization in open societies, partly as a result of these questions of where we want to go not being considered in ways that can translate to action. An even larger question is where do different localities want to go in terms of progress in parallel to what values or norms they want to hold dear? This is a question that spans sectors. No one organization or influencer or group with power can either solely answer or execute actions toward that desired future state. In the absence of finding ways to build bridges that span sectors, power '' through narratives, laws, or technologies '' will be grabbed by whomever aspires to this. An important question for the future is can we build such bridges across sectors? Will our divisions be our undoing as open, pluralistic societies? Can we develop narratives of hope for open, pluralistic societies that bring people together?''
Technology can improve or undermine democracy depending on how it is used and who controls it. Right now, it is controlled by too few.Kevin Gross
Miguel Moreno, professor of philosophy at the University of Granada, Spain, an expert in ethics, epistemology and technology, commented, ''There is a clear risk of bias, manipulation, abusive surveillance and authoritarian control over social networks, the internet and any uncensored citizen expression platform, by private or state actors. There are initiatives promoted by state actors to isolate themselves from a common internet and reduce the vulnerability of critical infrastructures to cyberattacks. This has serious democratic and civic implications. In countries with technological capacity and a highly centralized political structure, favorable conditions exist to obtain partisan advantages by limiting social contestation, freedom of expression and eroding civil rights.''
Richard Jones, an entrepreneur based in Europe, said, ''Government will lag exploitation of data by state and corporate actors in unforeseen ways. Biased censorship (both well-intentioned and corrupt) and propaganda onslaughts will shape opinions as '' combined with an anti-scientific revolution '' confidence in the institutions and establishment figures essential to peaceful orderly improvement of societies crumbles further. Hysterical smear attacks will further intensify as attempts to placate minority pressure groups continue. Biased technocratic groupthink will continue its march toward authoritarianism. Charismatic leadership will flourish in truly liberal systems. Authoritarianism will take root elsewhere. Online preference surveys may be developed to guide many choices facing government, but it is not clear that can correct the current democratic deficit in a helpful way. As during the Gutenberg process, accompanying the digestion of 'free-range' information will be the reevaluation of secular and religious values and objectives.''
John Sniadowski, a systems architect based in the United Kingdom, wrote, ''It is proving very difficult to regulate multinational corporations because of the variety of different national government agendas. A globally enacted set of rules to control multinationals is unlikely to happen because some sovereign states have very illiberal and hierarchical control over agendas and see technology as a way to dominate their citizens with their agendas as well as influence the democratic viewpoints of what they consider to be hostile states. Democracy in technological terms can be weaponized.''
Kevin Gross, an independent technology consultant, commented, ''Technology can improve or undermine democracy depending on how it is used and who controls it. Right now, it is controlled by too few. The few are not going to share willingly. I don't expect this to change significantly by 2030. History knows that when a great deal of power is concentrated in the hands of a few, the outcome is not good for the many, not good for democracy.''
Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, said, ''As of 2015, the outcomes of upward of 25 of the national elections in the world were being determined by Google's search engine. Democracy as originally conceived cannot survive Big Tech as currently empowered. If authorities do not act to curtail the power of Big Tech companies '' Google, Facebook and similar companies that might emerge in coming years '' in 2030, democracy might look very much as it does now to the average citizen, but citizens will no longer have much say in who wins elections and how democracies are run. My research '' dozens of randomized, controlled experiments involving tens of thousands of participants and five national elections '' shows that Google search results alone can easily shift more than 20% of undecided voters '' up to 80% in some demographic groups '' without people knowing and without leaving a paper trail (see my paper on the search engine manipulation effect). I've also shown that search suggestions can turn a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split '' again, without people knowing they have been influenced. The content of answer boxes can increase the impact of the search engine manipulation effect by an additional 10% to 30%. I've identified about a dozen largely subliminal effects like these and am currently studying and quantifying seven of them. I've also shown that the 'Go Vote' prompt that Google posted on its home page on Election Day in 2018 gave one political party at least 800,000 more votes than went to the opposing party '' possibly far more if the prompt had been targeted to the favored party.''
A longtime internet-rights activist based in South Africa responded, ''Whether the powers of states and tech corporations can be reined in effectively is the current struggle. The genie is out of the bottle and it does not bode well for systems of democracy that have already been undermined in Western states. A state of global cyber war now exists and is likely to persist over the next decade. The oligopoly of state-supported tech companies, whether in the U.S. or China, will be difficult to break. It is trite to differentiate between a Google or an Alibaba '' both received substantial state support from their respective governments '' the Googles by failure to apply antitrust law to prevent monopolization, the Alibabas by state protection against competition in China.''
David P. Reed, a pioneering architect of the internet expert in networking, spectrum and internet policy, wrote, '''Democracy' in 2030 will be democracy in name only. The mechanisms of widespread corporate surveillance of user behavior and modification of user behavior are becoming so sophisticated that the citizen interests of democratic-structured countries will no longer be represented in any meaningful way. That is, by collecting vast amounts of information about user preferences and responses, and the use of highly targeted behavior modification techniques, citizens' choices will be manipulated more and more in the interests of those who can pay to drive that system. The current forms of democracy limit citizen participation to election events every few years, where issues and candidates are structured by political parties into highly targeted single-vote events that do not represent individuals' interests. Instead, a small set of provocative 'wedge' issues are made the entire focus of the citizen's choice. This is not representation of interests. It is a managed poll that can easily be manipulated by behavior modification of the sort that technology is moving toward.''
A pioneering technology editor and reporter for one of the world's foremost global news organizations wrote, ''I do not have great faith that the institutions tasked with ensuring that online discourse is civil and adheres to standards of truth and fairness will be able to prevail over tendencies of autocratic governments and powerful private sector actors to use cyberspace for narrow political ends. '... The internet has never had an effective governing body with any considerable clout to set policy that might guarantee network neutrality on a global scale, inhibit censorship and apply such conventions as the Universal Bill of Human Rights. Further, a handful of platforms whose moral compass has been questioned have come to dominate the online world. Some are dominated by governments. Others owe allegiance only to shareholders.''
Jerry Michalski, founder of REX, the Relationship Economy eXpedition, wrote, '''Capital G' Government has devolved into a phony consumer mass-marketing exercise. 'Small g' governance could involve active, ongoing collaboration among citizens, but it won't as long as the major platforms they use have as their business models to addict them to TikTok videos, and to sell off their private data to companies that want to stalk them.''
Jonathan Kolber, author of ''A Celebration Society: Solving the Coming Automation Crisis,'' said, ''Deepfakes will completely muddy the difference between facts and falsehood, a distinction that few citizens are equipped to make even now. This will have devastating effects upon democratic institutions and processes. '... We are increasingly seeing George Orwell's nightmare unfold as governments learn to use internet-enabled smart devices (televisions, smartphones, etc.) for surveillance. When the Internet of Things extends to smart cars, smart homes and so forth, the surveillance will be universal and unending. Governments are also increasingly redefining facts and history.''
A professor of computer science said, ''Artificial intelligence technology, especially machine learning, has a feedback loop that strongly advantages first movers. Google's advantages in being a better search engine have now been baked in by its ability to accumulate more data about user search behavior. This dynamic is inherently monopolistic, even more so than prior technological advances. Persuasive technologies built using these technologies are capable of refining and shaping public opinion with a reach and power that totalitarian governments of the 20th century could only dream of. We can be sure that today's regulatory mood will either dissipate with nothing done, or more likely, become a driver that entrenches existing monopolies further by creating technical demands that no competitor can surmount. Democratic institutions will have a very difficult time countering this dynamic. Uber's 'greyball' program, intended to defeat regulation and meaningful audit, is a harbinger of the future.''
Jonathan Taplin, author of ''Move Fast and Break Things: How Google, Facebook and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy,'' said, ''Social media will continue to enable new and more-sophisticated forms of propaganda and disinformation. Artificial intelligence will enable deepfake videos that the average citizen will be taken in by. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter will continue to enable this content in their unending chase for revenue. Politicians will make noises about regulation, but since these platforms will become their primary source of advertising and publicity, they will never commit to the elimination of Safe Harbor and other rules that protect the social networks.''
Bulbul Gupta, founding adviser, Socos Labs, a think tank designing artificial intelligence to maximize human potential, responded, ''Given the current state of tech and artificial intelligence ownership, I expect democracy to be even more unequal between the haves and have-nots by 2030, and a major uprising happening from the masses who are being quickly left behind. Tech and AI are owned by their creators, the top 1%, with decisions made about the 100% in every sector of society that have little to no transparency, human judgment or much recourse, and that may not get made the same if they were being forced to happen face to face. People will need their own personal AIs in their corner to protect their basic civil and human rights.''
Carlos Afonso, an internet pioneer and digital rights leader based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, wrote, ''Thomas Piketty and others demonstrate that inequality is, if anything, rising everywhere. Democracy understood as pluralist participation in political processes involving the electoral (supposedly unbiased) choices of government representatives, and the decision-making processes in building policies, legislation and regulation, cannot survive in these conditions. '... One of the greatest achievements of the UN community was the consensus agreement on trying to reach the 17 sustainable development goals by 2030. However, conflicts of all kinds, internal and inter-country, give us no hope that the essential components of those goals will be achieved worldwide. Also, there is (partly in consequence of the various manifestations of a growing economic crisis with the financial speculators at the head of these processes) little chance that resources will increase to cover the essential needs of the majority.''
Even former pillars of democracy, Britain and France, are challenged by forces misusing digital tools.Norton Gusky
James Sigaru Wahu, assistant professor, media, culture and communication, New York University and fellow at Harvard's Berkman Klein Center, wrote, ''As we have seen across the Global North, tech has only worked to make worse offline tension. This has resulted in multiple challenges toward notions of democracy as shown by the Brexit debacle, 2016 presidential elections and violence against immigrant groups. We have also seen states get in the act through the use of technology to expand their surveillance powers, as is the case in China and in the UK (with its large CCTV camera presence). States in the Global South have also gotten into the surveillance game, which does not bode well for organizations and people advocating for human rights. What we have thus seen is countries like Russia and China growing in strength in tech surveillance and misinformation/disinformation while the United States and several police departments across the country rely on companies such as Palantir to expand their surveillance on citizens. Both of these have led to disastrous results.''
Lokman Tsui, professor at the School of Journalism and Communication of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, formerly Google's Head of Free Expression in Asia and the Pacific, said, ''The political economy of new technologies that are on the horizon leaves me with many concerns for how they will impact democracy and its institutions. First, many of the new technologies, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data, are closed and centralized in nature. Unlike the open web before it, these technologies are closed and centralized, both in terms of technical design and also in terms of business model. The technology can indeed be used to improve democratic institutions and processes, but it will be hard and there will be many obstacles to overcome. Second, the new technologies are not only not helping democracies, but they, by their design, are also helping and strengthening non-democracies to further censorship and surveillance. While there are also technologies to counteract these tendencies, the balance tends to tip (heavily) in favor of the other side. Third, I'm concerned there is a global rat race toward the bottom when it comes to the collection of (personal) data, which has the potential to enable the suppression of many other rights.''
Norton Gusky, a futurist and advocate for implementing technology to empower people, commented, ''For many years I truly believed that the internet would bring greater access to information that would strengthen democracy. However, in the past four to five years, I've witnessed a darker side to the internet. We now see countries like Russia interfering in the elections of not just the United States, but other countries throughout the world. I think there will be a swing, but for the next two to four years, the darker forces will prevail. We'll see countries like Turkey, China and Egypt limiting the access to the 'truth.' Even former pillars of democracy, Britain and France, are challenged by forces misusing digital tools.''
Paola Ricaurte, fellow, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, wrote, ''Even after we are aware of the negative implications that technology can have on democratic processes, we have not seen significant actions by the U.S. government to limit the power of tech corporations. The extraterritorial control of technology companies will be further expanded and will continue to have consequences for the democracies of the Global South. The knowledge gap between data-rich countries and data-poor countries will deepen.''
Ian O'Byrne, assistant professor of education at the College of Charleston, wrote, ''Power and money ultimately influence decisions made by democratic bodies. With growing unrest, citizens can use social media and current/new digital tools to make themselves heard. Ultimately this will be pushed back again by existing powerholders and nothing may ultimately change. The existing powerholders will continue to exert their influence, and citizens will be left to continue to voice their opinions by shouting into the cyberverse.''
Jeffrey Alexander, senior manager for innovation policy at RTI International, said, ''In societies where people are accustomed to power being centralized in a few institutions, and where central governments already exert power through surveillance and state authority, digital technology will facilitate intimidation, disinformation and other mechanisms for reducing individual liberty, suppressing minority opinion and enforcing authoritarian control. This will enable such governments to enhance the appearance of following democratic norms, such as offering 'free and open' elections, but use those mechanisms to reinforce their power by suppressing dissent well before voters reach the polls. In societies with strong individual education and a tradition of liberty and citizen-driven initiatives, digital technology could help thwart the rise of authoritarian rule, improve oversight and governance of law enforcement and policy processes, and enhance citizen involvement in government and politics.''
John Pike, director and founder of GlobalSecurity.org, said, ''Democracy in 2030 will face the best of times and the worst of times. All the optimistic predictions about social media and other online implementations strengthening citizen participation will be realized. All the pessimistic predictions about the ease with which the surveillance state can manipulate public opinion will also be realized. Autocratic regimes such as Russia and China are skilled at such dark arts at home and will practice them globally. In the old days it was pretty obvious that the Communist Party USA member hawking the Daily Worker was working for Moscow, but now attribution is difficult and contested.''
Shane Kerr, an engineer for an internet security firm, said, ''Those with resources will be able to harness technology more effectively to influence opinion and policies, ultimately working against democratic ideals. We already see this in a nascent form today, but it will likely evolve into such a pervasive narrative that the average citizen will not even be aware of it, unless they study history (assuming that '1984'-style revisionist history does not become the norm).''
David Golumbia, an associate professor of digital studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, wrote, ''Unless there is a massive change to democratic control over digital technology, that technology will continue to erode democracy as it was designed to do and as its most ardent advocates openly say they want, despite [the fact that they] sometimes use the language of democracy and allied values like free expression to justify their antidemocratic actions. I am cautiously hopeful that governments and citizens are waking up to the powerful antidemocratic forces that are coded into our technology and the culture that informs and empowers it. '... While I hope that things will improve, the tremendous amounts of money and power dedicated to making sure they don't improve frighten me, as do the uses of this technology in states that do not even try to appear to be democracies.''
Sasha Costanza-Chock, associate professor of civic media at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote, ''Core aspects of the democratic process are deeply stressed or broken. In the United States, we need significant reforms to enable broader and more meaningful participation in democratic decision-making, such as instant runoff or rank-order voting, expansion of voting days and times, expanded voting rights for formerly incarcerated people, campaign finance reform, rethinking the electoral college and much more. Unfortunately, most of these are extremely unlikely. Instead, we seem locked into an elitist and extremely expensive electoral system where the players with the most money and connection to wealthy backers rig the system to their advantage. In this context, many technological tools primarily advance those who can develop and customize them for their own ends '' again, the biggest players. There are some countervailing forces such as the ability of insurgent candidates to leverage social media.''
Denise N. Rall, academic researcher of popular culture, Southern Cross University, New South Wales, Australia, said, ''I believe technology will help the dictators that we now have stay on top and control more aspects of all of our lives, worsening the prospects for democracy as has already happened in most economic powerhouses of the world (U.S., Russia, China, and right-wing elections in Europe, the absurdity of Brexit in the UK, North Korea, etc.). I think environmental degradation will increase exponentially and people will be fighting over resources like energy, water and food quite soon. I do not think technology will have the power to change these outcomes without real desire by governments to reduce resource consumption and a global birth control program of some kind.''
An anonymous respondent commented, ''China has the potential to stall trends toward democracy and regime change through increased monitoring of their citizenry and refinement of their 'social credit' legislation/monetization of following the whims of their single party. There is a potential for China to help prop up regimes in developing countries where they have vested interests by distributing such technologies to undemocratic regimes that want to remain in power. I think that India could go either way depending on whether or not widespread corruptions in their political environment exploit or are thwarted by increased access to technology and information by their citizenry.''
Technologies of identification and surveillance will expand in usage, eating away at the private sphere of social life.Retired professor
Richard Lachmann, professor of political sociology at the State University of New York-Albany, said, ''Democracy will continue to weaken but technology is only a secondary factor. More important in the decline of democracy are the disappearance or weakening of labor unions, the growing power of corporations in all sectors due to mergers, extreme levels of inequality and the ability of the rich and of political actors to manipulate 'veto points' to paralyze government initiatives, which then increases citizens' cynicism about politicians and lessens their participation. All of these preceded the expansion of the internet and will not be significantly lessened by citizens' online activities.''
Vince Carducci, researcher of new uses of communication to mobilize civil society and dean at the College of Creative Studies, wrote, ''Institutional changes are occurring more as a function of power and money rather than technology, particularly in the selection of candidates and in the judicial system. Those are more of threat than technology.''
A cofounder of one of the internet's first and best-known online communities wrote, ''Democracy is under threat. The blame can't ultimately go to the internet or to computer-aided automation or to artificial intelligence. The vast power of personal and corporate wealth to wield these technologies in support of their selfish interests will increasingly suppress egalitarian and democratic values.''
A research scientist for a U.S. federal agency wrote, ''We are in a period of growing isolationism, nativism and backlash that will weaken democracies around the world, and it will probably have reached a peak by 2030. Although technology and online dissemination of information will be a tool of information and disinformation, and it will be a tool of policing populations, the underlying economic and environmental shifts are mostly responsible for changes resulting in weaker democracies.''
A retired professor commented, ''Corporations will have more power over employees and customers. This will be achieved as part of the ongoing corporate takeover of democratic institutions, which U.S. President Eisenhower warned of long ago. Technologies of identification and surveillance will expand in usage, eating away at the private sphere of social life. Social media will continue to reinforce strong social ties among family and friends while reducing the formation of the weak social ties among acquaintances that support intergroup cooperation necessary in a diverse society. Worsening climate and its consequences for health, agriculture and infrastructure will create increasing irrational forms of blame and global conflict. Global conflicts will include electronic and biological forms of aggression against the militarily powerful countries. More citizen backlash is to be expected, but will likely be directed against inappropriate targets. Societies as we know them will stumble from disaster to disaster, toward a massive die-off of our species. I hope I'm wrong. I would like to see our species survive with its democratic values intact. I have grandchildren. I would like their grandchildren to inherit a better world than the one that our present technocratic capitalist economy is racing toward.''
Anonymous respondents commented:
''The internet under capitalism will only serve the few, not the many, and democracy will weaken as a result. The problem is about competitive economic imperatives rather than technological affordances.''''It's not the technology that will cause the changes, but the systems and structures that create various tech.''''The loudest voices will continue to be those that are heard. While the media may change, the elite will still run everything.''''Technology companies and governments have incentives to avoid doing things to address the damaging ways in which internet platforms damage democratic institutions.''''Power corrupts. Look at the tech giants today '' manipulation and propaganda. They are elitists who think they know best.''''The combination of big data and supercomputing power seems to be having a negative effect on democracy, and I see no signs that that can be effectively policed or regulated, particularly given the power (and data troves) of very large internet companies and of governments.''''I do not believe that governments understand the tools, and they will fail repeatedly to regulate or organize them properly; I also do not have faith the private companies are democratic, and therefore they are apt to reinforce capitalism alone, not democracy.''Diminishing the governed: Digitally networked surveillance capitalism creates an undemocratic class system pitting the controllers against the controlledCharles Ess, professor of digital ethics, at the University of Oslo, said, ''Democracy '' its foundational norms and principles, including basic rights to privacy, freedom of expression and rights to contest and conscientiously disobey '' may survive in some form and in some places by 2030; but there are many strong reasons, alas, to think that it will be pushed to the margins in even traditionally democratic countries by the forces of surveillance capitalism, coupled with increasing citizen feelings of powerlessness against these forces, along with manipulation of information and elections, etc. Not to mention China's increasingly extensive exports of the technologies of 'digital authoritarianism' modelled on their emerging Social Credit System.''
There is simply no reason to believe that technology can strengthen democracy.Gina Neff
Rob Frieden, a professor of telecommunications law at Penn State who previously worked with Motorola and has held senior policy positions at the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said, ''Technological innovations appear better suited for expanding government power versus improving the ability of individuals to evade surveillance. Across the entire spectrum of political ideology, national governments can justify increased budgets for ever-more-sophisticated surveillance technologies based on noble-sounding rationales, such as national security. Governments have little incentives and incur even fewer penalties when they fail to calibrate surveillance technology for lawful reasons. Innocent people will have reasonable privacy expectations eroded, particularly with technologies that have massive processing power and range coupled with an ambiguous mandate. Unless and until citizens push back, governments will use surveillance technologies to achieve goals beyond promoting national security. We risk becoming inured and numbed by ubiquitous surveillance, so much so that pushback seems too difficult and unproductive.''
Gina Neff, senior research fellow, Oxford Internet Institute, studying innovation and digital transformation, wrote, ''There is simply no reason to believe that technology can strengthen democracy. Western democracies are grappling with the power from the increased concentration of financial capital and its response in the form of the rise of populism. Without attention to strengthening our core technology and communications infrastructure, those forces will continue to damage how people participate in '' and indeed make '' democracy.''
Zizi Papacharissi, professor of communication and political science, University of Illinois-Chicago, responded, ''Our present system of governance supports strong capitalism/soft democracy. Until this balance is reorganized, to support soft capitalism/strong democracy, any technology we create will continue to underserve democracy. In short, the technology we have created was designed to generate profit, not to support democracy. It is possible to do both. We just have not designed it that way, however. By 2030, we will see a weakening of democratic and political processes facilitated by technology. This will happen not because there is something inherently bad or undemocratic about technology. It is because most technology is designed, implemented and/or deployed through mechanisms that support a strong capitalist model that was created centuries ago and needs to be updated in order to be compatible with contemporary societies, democratic and non.''
John Harlow, smart-city research specialist in the Engagement Lab at Emerson College, said, ''Although there is rising anti-monopoly sentiment, 2030 is soon, and the dominant digital commons for speech (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) are likely to draw out (in the courts) any regulatory action to change their business models and/or practices. Currently, they are governed by algorithms designed to maximize 'engagement' time and thereby advertising revenue, and those algorithms have prioritized extreme content over accurate content (among other problems). This has enabled and supported the rise of the authoritarian far right the world over, and has destabilized faith and participation in democratic institutions and processes.''
An expert on online trust and identity active in the multistakeholder organizations that build and maintain the internet said, ''Uses are shaped by social and economic factors that drive toward consolidation and control. Having created a prefect panopticon that maps every endpoint and every device on the network, and with the rise of middle-box collectors that use massive computing power to correlate identifiers, the end result will tilt toward command and control.''
An expert in socio-technical systems wrote, ''Social media tech firms will continue to resist control and meaningful regulation in order to preserve their core business, aptly described by Shoshana Zuboff as 'surveillance capitalism.' The oligarchs, perhaps still aided by foreign interests, will continue to manipulate public opinion for their own benefit. Economic inequality will continue to increase, as will resentment, misdirected toward immigrants and the 'elites.'''
An expert in human-computer design wrote, ''The decay of democracy should be attributed foremost to capitalism itself, and thus only in a secondary way to technology. Capitalism seems overdue for major shock, enough so that predicting much of anything so far ahead as 2030 seems foolish. The present moment witnesses the close of a decade of ever-intensified distraction engineering.''
An expert in the law who previously worked for a U.S. government agency wrote, ''Increasingly sophisticated marketing based on data and inferred data on every individual threatens to cross the line between persuasion and manipulation and coercion, and the First Amendment restraints on government will require a substantial degree of proof of coercion before the government will be able to intervene to safeguard individuals from clear overreaching. The threat of manipulation '' and we saw the first signs of that in 2018 with the Cambridge Analytica fiasco '' is real and growing. Whether industry or government can curb it is an open question. Industry of course has a conflict of interest '' the more successful its manipulation is, the more money industry makes. And government has the restraints of the First Amendment that limit its role.''
J.M. Porup, a cybersecurity journalist, said, ''Information technology disrupts democracy and redistributes power to the so-called intelligence community (a euphemism for the secret police). Mass surveillance makes possible totalitarian dictatorship with a thin veneer of Kabuki theater to make people think they still live in a free country. The impossibility of building perfectly secure software, networks or devices means that gangsters and spies (but I repeat myself) will hack those devices and seize control of them to accrue yet even more power. Cybersecurity is the central political question of our times, and political organization on the fifth domain [cyberspace as a venue for war, along with land, sea, air, space] looks a lot like martial law. Low-tech journalists reporting on these issues to low-tech audiences often confuse the issue. Major networks employ former spies to lie to the American people in what can only be called de facto state TV. The outlook is grim, and without more tech-savvy journalists to raise the alarm, I am pessimistic about the future of our political liberty. For more of my thoughts on this, see my book-length work in progress, '95ThesesofCyber.com.'''
The problem with everyone having a megaphone is that we get drowned in more noise than useful information.Sam Adams
Emilio Velis, executive director, Appropedia Foundation, said, ''The way user participation has been shaped by technological platforms for the past 10 years turned the power of decentralized information back to the big corporations, platforms and stakeholders. Or, even worse, it has weakened the capacity of individuals of action while maintaining a false perception that they have control.''
Peter Lunenfeld, professor of design, media arts and digital humanities, University of California-Los Angeles, and author of ''Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine,'' wrote, ''Commercial platform-driven communication technologies like Facebook, Twitter and their eventual successors are unlikely to strengthen representative democracy in the coming decades of the 21st century. They may add 'voices' to the conversation, but they will be unlikely to support and sustain the 20th century's dominant forms of successful democracies '' those that designated representatives to debate and legislate on their behalf, from coherent parties that had established ideologies and platforms. What we are starting to see is the development of dialoguing 'communities' that mimic the give and take of true democratic action without offering actual power to its participants, like the Italian Five Star Movement, or the emergence of personality-driven, single-issue pop-ups like Nigel Farage's Brexit Party. Like Five Star and the Brexit Party, future political movements will use social media to offer the affordances of democratic dialogue without actually empowering participants to control or direct the movements. Social media technologies are creating skeuomorphs of democracies; they will have design attributes that look and feel democratic, but they will be authoritarian to the core.''
An anonymous respondent commented, ''The degree of tracking of comments by individuals will increase dramatically in the future as DeepMind-style algorithms are applied to internet-based material. It will become much harder for people to make comments without knowing that their attitudes are being logged and accumulated by organisations of all manner, so there will be a reluctance to speak one's mind. Hence 'free speech' will be constrained and thus the democratic process hindered.''
A distinguished professor of electrical engineering and computer science who is an expert in the future of communications networks at a U.S. university wrote, ''Social media makes it possible to reach voters in targeted ways and deliver information from a distance that is tailored to specific goals, rather than fostering local community discussion and participation. The lack of privacy in internet service platforms, along with artificial intelligence and big data, now make it possible for candidates to identify and influence voters in ways that could not have been imagined only a few years ago. Without corrective action (such as new election rules limiting the use of private citizen information), these new capabilities could lead to increased political instability and possibly the breakdown of entire democratic systems. The U.S. appears to be the first such casualty in the Western world.''
Sam Adams, a 24-year veteran of IBM now working as a senior research scientist in artificial intelligence for RTI International, architecting national-scale knowledge graphs for global good, said, ''The internet provides a global megaphone to everyone in that anyone can publish their opinions and views instantly and essentially for free. The problem with everyone having a megaphone is that we get drowned in more noise than useful information. This is even more problematic since interest groups from all sides have used their power and resources to amplify their own voices far above the average citizen, even to the point of effectively silencing the average citizen by burying their smaller voice under a landslide of blaring voices controlled by wealthy interest groups. Given the interest-driven news cycles and echo chambers of social media, only the loudest or most extreme voices get repeated. This further exacerbates the level of emotion in the public discussion and drives listeners to the extremes instead of more common ground. A democracy must fairly represent its people's views if it is to succeed. And part of that fairness in this technology-dominant world must include balancing the volume of the voices.''
Philip Rhoades, a business futurist and consultant based in Australia, wrote, ''The neoliberal, developed Western world is sliding into fascism as the world's sixth mass extinction reaches its inevitable conclusion. As this ecological collapse and political regression proceeds, modern technology will mostly be used for suppression of the great majority of people/citizens. Some technology may help defend the populations against state suppression and terror, but its effectiveness will be minor in the greater scheme of things.''
David Noelle, professor and researcher into computational cognitive neuroscience, University of California-Merced, wrote, ''In the U.S., policy and public opinion have been increasingly shaped so as to support powered interests rather than the interests of the people. Regulation is dismissed as a threat to our troubled economy, encouraging corporate powers to pursue dangerous short-sighted strategies for producing return for investors. The unrepresented have been all but muted by electoral processes designed to sustain those in power. The most influential technologies of our times have been designed to depend on large centralized infrastructure. Data drives many new innovations, and few are in a position to collect and aggregate extensive data on the people. The focus on technologies that depend on controllable infrastructure, whether privately held or manipulated by political powers, will strengthen the positions of those currently in power, increasingly limiting the ability of the people to demand democratic representation. Note that this opinion is not intended as a call to limit technology but as a cry to radically alter political and economic institutions so as to provide representation to all of the people. A more democratic system will produce more democratic technologies.''
Deirdre Williams, an independent internet activist based in the Caribbean, commented, ''We are being taught that convenience is the most important priority. 'Innovation' is killing ingenuity. I would expect that over the next 10 years the pendulum will swing in the opposite direction, but it will take a while to repair the divide that has been (deliberately?) introduced between citizen and government, and to remind governments of their duty of care to all of the citizens.''
Giacomo Mazzone, head of institutional relations, European Broadcasting Union and Eurovision, wrote, ''I don't believe that internet platforms will be able to self-reform, despite all announcements and efforts shown. And so only a break-up solution or 'publicization' of the internet giants could change the future. The amount of power that has been transferred by citizens and by states to these actors that are not accountable to anybody (even to the U.S. government) is too big to think that they could renounce voluntarily. Do you remember 'Sliding Doors' '' the 1998 movie with Gwyneth Paltrow as leading actor? The future could (in a 50/50 chance) go totally wrong or fantastically well. A digital interconnected society based on trust and respect of individual and human rights could be the next arcadia. A digital interconnected and mass-surveillance-oriented society based on exploitation of human weakness and on polarization of society could be the perfect implementation of the Orwell dystopia of '1984.' The two futures are equally possible. It's up to government and civil society to decide in which direction we shall go.''
Scott B. MacDonald, an experienced chief economist and international economic adviser, said, ''The future has a very real potential to be a dark Orwellian place, transfixed between strong technology under the control of a few wealthy and powerful and the great unwashed masses made economically redundant by machines and waiting for their daily dose of Soylent Green. One big change is that people may no longer have to go and vote but vote from hand-held or implanted communications devices. If we are not careful technology will be a device for greater control, not democracy, much as in China. Facial recognition anyone?''
Estee Beck, author of ''A Theory of Persuasive Computer Algorithms for Rhetorical Code Studies,'' commented, ''Unless Congress takes action and passes protective consumer legislation to limit private industry powers with technological growth, i.e., surveillance and privacy erosion, democratic institutions will face greater dangers from domestic and foreign threats, loss of trust among the American public and devaluation of private technological companies among the marketplace. The infrastructure of technology, with faulty programming that allows for penetration and deep hacks, the decisions made now with select leaders in technology companies driving pro-China surveillance growth, anti-U.S. and Mexico relations via border surveillance, marketing of biosecurity technologies and the eventual promotion of artificial intelligence consumer goods and services will divide the faith of the nation and leave the American public ill-trusting of Congress to take action for the public good.''
Matt Colborn, a freelance writer and futurist based in Europe, said, ''I do not deny the potential for technology to strengthen or even revolutionise democracy. In fact, this is what I hoped for at the beginning of the revolution in the 1990s. However, from a citizen perspective, the new technology seems to me to have already reduced mental autonomy and the capacity for intelligent choice. Why? 1) Platforms like YouTube seem to be more appropriate for distributing propaganda and for involuntary brainwashing because of the algorithms used. 2) Extreme tribalism has also increased because of the 'echo chamber' nature of personalised media. 3) Government and corporations are demolishing any kind of privacy. Neurotech, where thoughts are read, is the 'final frontier' of this. The problem, too, is the toxic interaction between archaic authoritarian institutions, right-wing populism and new tech. These effects mean that democracy is diluted whilst a 'surveillance' state is strengthened and while deep tribal divisions are exacerbated. Although there are certainly counter movements to this, economic inequality is such that basically the rich and powerful are in a position to cash in on these developments and the rest of us are not. Those who want political innovation will find it tough in this environment.''
Democratic regimes could become less democratic from the misuse of surveillance systems with the justification of national security.Anonymous respondent
An artificial intelligence expert predicted, '''Democracy' is likely to be even more of an elitist endeavor by 2030 than it is now. Life is good if you're a big corporation, but not if you're an ordinary working-class citizen. Who has a voice in this world will depend even more on money and power. Civic technologists will first promise to save democracy with technology but then start charging for it after five years because 'someone has to pay for maintenance.' And they will get away with it, because no one will remember that political rights are a basic right and not a commodity.''
An anonymous respondent wrote, ''Recently Hong Kong protesters had to buy single-trip transit cards with cash to be able to exercise democratic power; this will be impossible when mass face-recognition technology is implemented. Essentially, it is becoming almost impossible to behave democratically.''
Anonymous respondents commented:
''Technology is going to aggregate people's individual voices and remove individual democracy.''''Democratic regimes could become less democratic from the misuse of surveillance systems with the justification of national security.''''I am sadly confident that democratic institutions will not be affected in any positive way in future by citizen's perspectives; instead, technology will continue to create disenfranchised, disempowered citizens.''Exploiting digital illiteracy: Citizens' lack of digital fluency and their apathy produce an ill-informed and/or dispassionate public, weakening democracy and the fabric of societyJames S. O'Rourke IV, a University of Notre Dame professor whose research specialty is reputation management, said, ''As Neil Postman wrote in 1985, 'We no longer engage in civil public discourse. We are simply amusing ourselves to death.' Among the more insidious effects of digital life has been a reduction in tolerance for long-form text. People, particularly the young, will read, but not if it involves more than a few paragraphs. Few among them will buy and read a book. News sites have discovered that more people will click on the video than scroll through the text of a story. Given how easy it now is to manipulate digital video images, given how easy it is to play to people's preconceptions and prejudice, and given how indolent most in our society have become in seeking out news, opinion and analysis, those who seek to deceive, distract or bully now have the upper hand. Jesuits have long cautioned that 'No man can understand his own argument until he has visited the position of a man who disagrees.' Such visits are increasingly rare. The long-predicted 'filter bubble' effect is increasingly visible. People will simply not seek out, read or take time to understand positions they do not understand or do not agree with. A sizeable majority now live with a thin collection of facts, distorted information and an insufficient cognitive base from which to make a thoughtful decision. Accurate information is no longer driving out false ideas, propaganda, innuendo or deceit.''
Bernie Hogan, senior research fellow, Oxford Internet Institute, said, ''Technology without civics is capitalism with crystallised logic and unbounded scope. Democratic institutions and civic societies are premised on boundaries and intelligible scales, like the 'local paper' or the 'provincial radio.' Technology is allowing for the transcendence of scale, which we might think is great. Certainly, from a logistics and delivery side it is very impressive. But social cohesion requires levels of understanding that there's a coherent bounded population to care about and define one's identity through and against. It requires people seeing and doing things as more than consumers and occasional partisan voters.''
People don't know what to believe, so they often choose either to believe nothing or to believe whatever their gut tells them.Research scientist
Larry Rosen, a professor emeritus of psychology at California State University-Dominguez Hills, known as an international expert on the psychology of technology, wrote, ''I worry that many in the public will and do not have the skills to determine truth from fiction, and twisted truth can and does lead to misunderstanding the content.''
Carolyn Heinrich, professor of education and public policy at Vanderbilt University, said, ''As internet content is increasingly customized for us by who we know and where we click, the range of information and perspectives we are exposed to will narrow unless we make the effort to read more widely ourselves. To minimize the negative effects, we have to proactively make the effort to broaden our circles of communication and sources of information/knowledge. As technology increasingly pervades our K-12 school curricula, we also need to examine exactly what technology vendors are conveying in their content, and who is the 'face' of that content in instructional videos. That is something we are currently investigating in our research.''
Cliff Zukin, professor of public policy and political science, Rutgers University, responded, ''In the U.S. anyway, increasing political apathy has accompanied increasing use of technology. It has, on the one hand, been diversional from attention to matters of governance and citizenship. On the other, the centrifugal forces of interests made more available by increasing technology has eroded the core knowledge base of citizens, as well as the norms of citizenship. It does allow for mass movements to organize more quickly and put pressure on leaders, but the right-wing, post-recession populism and withdrawal from globalism is not, in my judgment, a good thing.''
An anonymous respondent said, ''Unfortunately, fundamentally undemocratic processes in the United States, like the electoral college, will continue to be undermined by fake news and technology-backed manipulation of rural states, which have outsized electoral college voting power but typically lack education and will likely remain vulnerable to such exploits.''
A fellow at a major university's center for internet and society wrote, ''I am worried that the ease with which hostile powers and trolls can manipulate public opinion will only increase and become more sophisticated, leading to voters having increasingly lower levels of factual information at their disposal or, worse yet, increasing apathy toward or cynicism about voting and the democratic process entirely.''
Eric Royer, assistant professor of political science, Saint Louis University, said, ''The breakdown of norms creates an environment of false truths that is directly tied to political polarization, especially among the fringes, and citizen mistrust and apathy with anything 'government.' Technology, especially in social media platforms, holds unlimited potential to make the world less of an unfamiliar place, however, its manipulation and influence in our daily lives is truly misunderstood at the current expense of democratic processes and institutions globally and domestically.''
A research scientist focused on fairness, transparency and accountability in artificial intelligence said, ''The rise of fake news and manipulated media like deepfakes has sown a greater distrust of media and institutions that is undermining democracy, leading to a less-informed and less civically engaged population. People don't know what to believe, so they often choose either to believe nothing or to believe whatever their gut tells them. Moreover, foreign actors that use social media manipulation tactics to sway elections further undermine democracy's legitimacy.''
Continuous media weakens people's ability to seek information and form their own opinion.Gretchen Steenstra
Mark Andrejevic, associate professor of communications, University of Iowa, wrote, ''Much of my career has been built around my profound concerns about the impact that technology is having on democratic processes of deliberation, public accountability and representation. This is because technology needs to be understood within the context of the social relations within which it is deployed, and these have been conducive to privileging an abstract consumerist individualism that suppresses the underlying commitment to a sense of common, shared or overlapping interests necessary to participation in democratic society. I see the forms of hyper-customization and targeting that characterize our contemporary information environment (and our devices and mode of information 'consumption') as fitting within a broader pattern of the systematic dismantling of social and political institutions (including public education, labor unions and social services) that build upon and help reproduce an understanding of interdependence that make the individual freedoms we treasure possible. Like many, I share concerns about rising political polarization and the way this feeds upon the weaponization of false and misleading information via automated curation systems that privilege commercial over civic imperatives. These trends predate the rise of social media and would not have the purchase they do without the underlying forms of social and civic de-skilling that result from the offloading of inherently social functions and practices onto automated systems in ways that allow us to suppress and misrecognize underlying forms of interdependence, commonality and public good. I am not optimistic that anything short of a social/political/economic disaster will divert our course.''
Carlos Afonso, an internet pioneer and digital rights leader based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, wrote, ''Thinking here of a planet with 7 billion-plus persons, most of them (including many of the supposedly 'connected') are unable to discern the many aspects of disinformation that reaches them through traditional (entrepreneurial) media, social networking apps and local political influences.''
A longtime CEO and internet and telecommunications expert commented, ''Citizens will increasingly act absent of any understanding of critical analysis and reasoning, fact-checking or even rule of law. Under the guise of 'acting out against injustice' we will continue to see cyber vigilantism, whereby social media firestorms effectively 'try and convict' anyone accused of word or deed not supportive of their values.''
Gretchen Steenstra, a technology consultant for associations and nonprofit organizations, wrote, ''I am concerned about higher velocity of information that does not include all critical and supporting information. Data is used to inform one view without context. Consumers do not fact-check (on many issues regardless of party). Americans are not focused on social responsibility or downstream impacts '' they only want instant results. Continuous media weakens people's ability to seek information and form their own opinion. Constant connectedness prevents reflection and allows your brain to relax. No one can argue with the desire for understanding.''
A fellow at a think tank's center for technology and innovation wrote, ''Democracy will be driven by more artificial intelligence systems, which will automate a range of decisions. Consequently, individuals may have limited input into their own decisions because data will be extrapolated from machines. What this will mean is a looser connection to democratic processes or connections driven by what one sees, hears and senses through dominant platforms. Without some level of policy restraint when it comes to specific use cases, such as voting, technology may serve to erode public trust, while simultaneously relying less on actual public input due to the level of sophistication that emerging technologies offer.''
Ayden F(C)rdeline, technology policy fellow, Mozilla Foundation, responded, ''Technology will continue to be exploited by those who seek to increase political apathy and undermine our trust in established institutions. This may happen more subtly than in the past, but the corrosive effect on democracy will be just the same.''
The internet amplifies trends that have been with us for a while '' extremism and apathy.Pamela McCorduck
Philip J. Salem, professor emeritus, Texas State University, expert in complexity of organizational change, said, ''People will become increasingly more careful about how they use the internet. Each person must be more mindful of use. My concern is that reflexive, non-mindful reactions can spread so fast and have more tragic consequences with the speed of the internet.''
Jeff Johnson, a professor of computer science, University of San Francisco, who previously worked at Xerox, HP Labs and Sun Microsystems, said, ''Today's social media encourages the spread of unverified information, which can skew policymaking and elections. People tend to be lazy and do not even read most of the articles they comment on, much less check the truth of the articles. In the TV era, before social media, putting out false information about a political opponent or ballot measure was expensive and subject to laws against 'false advertising.' Political hit pieces had to be well-funded, vaguely worded and carefully timed (to just before the election) in order to sway elections. That is no longer true. Strong regulation of social media could perhaps mitigate this, but such regulation seems unlikely in the foreseeable future.''
Pamela McCorduck, writer, consultant and author of several books, including ''Machines Who Think,'' said, ''I am not sanguine about democracy right now. The internet amplifies trends that have been with us for a while '' extremism and apathy. Our proportion of potential voters who actually vote only rose once or twice in the past few elections. Mostly it is dismal. Partly this is a result of voter suppression (not just removing voters from the rolls, but also making the process of voting far more cumbersome than it needs to be). Partly this is the realization by voters that elected officials are more beholden to dark money than to the people who elected them. I hope I am wrong about the future of this country I love.''
Luis German Rodriguez, researcher and consultant on knowledge society and sociotechnical impact based at Universidad Central de Venezuela, commented, ''Democracy is likely to be weakened by 2030. '... Authoritarian rule seems to be growing stronger wherever you look, supported by the emerging technologies.''
Anonymous respondents commented:
''People will not use the internet to research the issue, rather, they will simply go with whatever biased opinion is put in front of them.''''The problem is that with the erosion of critical-thinking skills, true journalism versus opinion journalism (and the prevalence of 'sound bites' in lieu of serious debate based on facts) lack of proper policy and governance principles, these tools are being used to spread false information.''''The public made more gullible by a short attention spans, eroding reasoning skills, becomes a malleable target for those who seek to erode the fundamental institutions of our democracy.''''I'm less concerned about technology than I am the ability and willingness of my fellow citizens to educate themselves about the sources of information they consult.''''The biggest threat to democracy is people's lack of critical-thinking skills to be able to distinguish between information and misinformation.''Waging info-wars: Technology can be weaponized by anyone, anywhere, anytime to target vulnerable populations and engineer electionsRichard Bennett, founder of the High-Tech Forum and ethernet and Wi-Fi standards co-creator, wrote, ''The economic model of social media platforms makes it inevitable that these tools will do more harm than good. As long as spreading outrage and false information generates more profits than dealing in facts, reason, science and evidence, the bad guys will continue to win. Until we devise a model where doing the right thing is more profitable than exploiting the public's ignorance, the good guys will keep losing. '... One hypothetical change that I would like to see would be the emergence of social media platforms that moderate less for tone and emotion and more for adherence to standards of truthfulness and evidence. Making this approach succeed financially is the major obstacle.''
Mutale Nkonde, adviser on artificial intelligence at Data & Society and fellow at Harvard's Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, wrote, ''Without significant regulation, our future elections will be ruled by the parties that can optimize social media recommendation algorithms most effectively. In the present moment, those are parties like Cambridge Analytica who used fear, racism and xenophobia to influence elections across the world.''
Eduardo Villanueva-Mansilla, associate professor of communications at Pontificia Universidad Catolica, Peru, and editor of the Journal of Community Informatics, said, ''The lack of agreement about how to deal with these issues among governments is a serious threat to democracy, as much as the potential for misuse of technological innovations. In the next decade, the complete control by a few multinational firms will be completely outside of regulatory and policy reach of developing countries' governments. This will increase the instability that has been normalized as a feature of governance in these countries.''
This is not like armed revolution; this is small numbers of employees able to affect what thousands, if not millions, see.Rich Salz
An expert in the ethics of autonomous systems based in Europe said, ''Digital devices provide more and more new means to enhance the power of leaders to control people and to manipulate an inferior substitute for democracy to their benefit. They simulate and broadcast false flavours of democratic representations to the population. Decisions that restrict people's rights, autonomy and freedom are promoted as necessary for enhancing the security, care and well-being of the population, while in fact the purpose is to protect the interests of those who seek power and influence. New digital means (biometrics, facial recognition, big data, deep learning, artificial intelligence) allow those in power to recognize and to profile people (position, behavior, location, ways of thinking, ideas, political opinions, level of life, health, origins, money, social relationships and so on). Stakeholders can use these devices to make appropriate decisions concerning what they consider subversive people and moreover to fight them if necessary. Robots and autonomous AI systems will be very efficient slaves to help to educate people who will not fit the requirements and rules imposed by the dominant class. This model will be developed in more and more states in the world and will progressively narrow freedom and decrease the quality of life of ordinary people belonging to medium and low social classes. At the same time, the field of available jobs will be more and more narrow because AI and robots will replace human beings in most areas and lead the majority of people to be unable to find means to work to support and fulfill themselves.''
Larry Masinter, internet pioneer, formerly with Adobe, ATT Labs, Xerox PARC, who helped create internet and web standards with IETF and W3C, said, ''Traditional democracy and democratic institutions rely on geographically defined boundaries for constituencies. Enabling technology will accelerate the rise of cross-jurisdictional malfeasance, whether it's called collusion or something else.''
An anonymous respondent warned, ''Authoritarians will weaken checks and balances, turn courts into extensions of those in power and thus undermine representative democracy '' enabled by the manipulation of digital media to stoke fear and mask inconvenient truths. '... Extreme partisanship is putting all of our democratic institutions at risk to the point that shared power and orderly transitions may not exist in 10 years. Civil unrest seems inevitable.''
Rich Salz, senior architect, Akamai Technologies, wrote, ''Individual citizens cannot stand up to the organized 'power' of other countries. This is not like armed revolution; this is small numbers of employees able to affect what thousands, if not millions, see.''
Heywood Sloane, entrepreneur and banking and securities consultant, said, ''The current U.S. administration is leading the way to misuse technology. It permeates the public air with disinformation and lies, while putting a heavy hand on the scale in the background. It welcomes trolls to conferences in the White House and encourages them. Even if the administration changes it will take time and work to undo the damage. Media technology corporations have lost control of their platforms and marketing staffs '' witness Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Already we have rogue state sponsors altering our dialogues, yet we ignore them and chortle away with their leaders.''
An associate dean of research for science and engineering said, ''Over the next 10 years, we will see an increase in the current trend of using technology to further engineer elections (including gerrymandering) and to target those most vulnerable to manipulation (on all political sides). A result is overrepresentation in elected government of self-interested minority points of view (extremes on many sides), increased obstacles to ousting parties from power (especially in two-party systems like the U.S.), and, for a while at least, the continued divisiveness of political discourse.''
A consultant who works for U.S. government agencies said, ''The biggest fear of technology will be the use of artificial intelligence. While at present we have control of AI, in time we will lose that control. As systems are augmented with AI, it will remove the human element over time. We can say what we like about technology and our control of technology, but in time external forces will replace the human element. This will happen in all areas of technology, including the governmental technology world. At some point it will go beyond its own programing doing what it believes is in our best interest.''
Sowing confusion: Tech-borne reality distortion is crushing the already-shaky public trust in the institutions of democracyThe leader of a technology innovation group at one of the world's top five technology organizations wrote, ''Technology has already and will continue to place huge strains on democracy. First, digital technology makes it immensely easy for a small number of leveraged actors to exercise great control over our public discourse. We see this as they exercise control over the information made available and presented to citizens. Second, digital technology makes it immensely easy for actors to hide or obscure their involvement and their intent. Third, digital technology makes it immensely easy to erode truth through fabrications or amplifications.''
Hate, polarization, oversimplification and lack of well-considered thought are and will be on the increase.Alejandro Pisanty
Nigel Cameron, president emeritus, Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies, said, ''I fear deepening distortions in public perception by the leveraging of digital media on the part of governments (our own and foreign), tech corporations and other actors '' as new technologies like fake video make it even easier to shape opinion. It will be some time before (assuming it happens) we have the will and the tech to rein in these abuses. As things stand, partisanship by politicians and the 'sorry, not sorry' approach of Mark Zuckerberg and the other tech leaders portend deepening problems.''
Richard Forno, assistant director, Center for Cybersecurity at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, wrote, ''[Technology] will weaken democracy; it will continue to reinforce echo chambers that disallow acknowledgment of, let alone tolerance of, alternative views, new discoveries, facts and/or realities. This will contribute to further tribalism among citizens and also be reflected in the views/actions of their elected officials.''
Alejandro Pisanty, professor at UNAM, the National University of Mexico, and an activist in multistakeholder internet governance, wrote, ''Hate, polarization, oversimplification and lack of well-considered thought are and will be on the increase. They are orders of magnitude easier to construct and propagate than the ways of countering them (the 'bullshit asymmetry' principle, on steroids). Manipulation of elections and other processes will continue to be rife as long as there exist those who want to do it and those susceptible to manipulation. Among the hardest hit will be the U.S., which has a gullible population unable to see the meta-layers of attack they are subjected to. There is hope for improvement in a smaller, smarter, more-democratic sector of society fighting the acritical reactions of the naive and uneducated. Better information, resilient systems (by design) and deliberations nested at all levels from the ultra-local to the global, an architecture of multistakeholder deliberations and decisions, and a lot of luck, may lead to improvement. Otherwise splintering and other forms of dark days loom.''
Rich Ling, professor, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; expert on the social consequences of mobile communication, said, ''The forces that want to confuse/undercut legitimate information are learning how to best use these systems. They are also learning how to calibrate the messages they send so as to enhance their divisiveness. This division plays on confirmation bias and, in turn, undercuts the common ground that is needed for effective governing and democracy.''
Karl Auerbach, chief technology officer, InterWorking Labs, active in internet design since the early 1970s, had less faith in multistakeholder organizations, writing, ''Democracy is dying at the hands of a concept called 'stakeholder.' This has little to do with technology except that people are being led to believe that they are not skilled enough or smart enough to decide for themselves, that technological experts ought to decide on their behalf. We are moving toward not improved democracy (direct or indirect) but closer to an oligarchy of 'stakeholders.'''
Glyn Moody, a prolific technology journalist, blogger and speaker based in Europe, said, ''Lies propagate more easily than truth. It is proving far easier to use the latest technology to undermine the things we thought were safe and stable. It is proving very hard to counter that abuse of technology.''
A computing science professor emeritus from a top U.S. technological university wrote, ''As artificial intelligence technologies are employed to create ever-more-realistic disinformation videos and as multiplication of software AI disinformation bots can be replicated and spread easily by individuals or small groups, more and more people will be fooled by disinformation, thus weakening our democracy.''
A professor of sociology at a major California university said, ''Powerful governments and their allies are using technology to destroy the concept of a single, accepted truth. While not always succeeding in implanting particular beliefs in the minds of citizens and residents, the constant assault on truth leads to fatigue and resignation, that the actual truth cannot be known, or that all political actors are equally bad. This resignation, moving into apathy, allows those in power to behave badly and centralize their power. The wild card is whether new technologies can detect bots and fake video/audio, and whether mainstream media and social media companies behave responsibly to bring an accepted truth back to life.''Alan Honick, project director for PROSOCIAL, said, ''My work is focused on the need to make the internet and associated information technologies trustworthy and reliable. '... The most important variable for the question at hand is whether or not information technology can move in the direction of becoming a trusted and reliable source of information, and at present the trend seems to indicate not.''
Annemarie Bridy, professor of law specializing in the impact of new technologies on existing legal frameworks, said, ''Social media platforms have a steep hill to climb over the coming years when it comes to dealing effectively with disinformation and coordinated inauthentic behavior aimed at manipulating voters and electoral outcomes. Viral disinformation online will continue to be a serious threat to democratic institutions and the integrity of elections.''
Garth Graham, a longtime leader of Telecommunities Canada, said, ''The digital age is characterised by a disintermediation of authority. Authority as a principle for structural organization is disappearing. Democracy is predicated by the agreement to accept authority to represent. Most people are no longer willing to accept that anyone else can represent them.''
Stephanie Fierman, partner, Futureproof Strategies, said, ''Many parties have an incentive to issue false and damaging statements and content that people believe. Until we return to a world in which a fact is a fact is a fact, we will see a continuing degradation of truth and the existence of checks and balances, both of which being so vital to the presence of democracy.''
Stuart Umpleby, retired professor of management and director of research at George Washington University, commented, ''The operators of social media platforms, such as Facebook, need to take responsibility for content. Otherwise they benefit by distributing falsehoods.''
Viral disinformation online will continue to be a serious threat to democratic institutions and the integrity of elections.Annemarie Bridy
Satish Babu, founding director of the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software, said, ''If the world does not recognize the pitfalls and take corrective action, technology is likely to adversely impact the quality and practice of democracy. In particular, the pragmatics of democracy will deteriorate into an 'anything goes,' free-for-all fight where artificial intelligence will be used to dig up or magnify or even create antecedents of candidates from historical records and social media will be used to push such 'facts' to every citizen.''
A professor of sociology and public policy wrote, ''Bot armies and databases of persuadable people that include information on what sets them off empower the worst nationalistic and international actors to tear down democracies. Via technology, people can enter alternate realities where others reinforce their fantasies and strengthen them '' flat earthers, those who believe in vaccine and climate conspiracies, moon landing hoaxers and so forth. These are problematic in their own right, but also lend themselves to further manipulation, destruction of trust in institutions, scapegoat seeking, and the rejection of science.''
Filippo Menczer, a grantee in the Knight Foundation's Democracy Project and professor of informatics and computer science at Indiana University, said, ''Technology '... mediates our access to information and opinions. This will in part strengthen democracy, for example making it easier to check facts. It will also weaken democracy, as vulnerabilities due to the interplay of cognitive, social and algorithmic biases continue to be exploited and new ones are discovered. On balance, my prediction is that things will get worse before they get better. We are only just beginning discussions about the legal implications of countermeasures, for example the issues related to social bots, disinformation campaigns, suppression of speech and the First Amendment in the U.S.''
Nancy Heltman, manager of a state agency based in the U.S., wrote, ''The negative aspects of bots and influencers driving opinions are likely to outweigh the positive aspects of increasing involvement in the political process.''
David Gans, musician, songwriter and journalist, said, ''I fear that deliberate falsehoods will continue to crowd objective reality out of the discourse. The social networks seem neither able nor particularly willing to intervene on behalf of the truth, and there are powerful and well-funded entities with a strong interest in misinforming the public.''
A research leader for a U.S. federal agency said, ''Working to be respectful of First Amendment rights while not allowing the perpetuation of mis- or disinformation is of critical concern. I don't expect that to be resolved within the next 10 years. We are living in the times of 50 shades of gray. In many cases, the determination is not black and white. The headline may be misleading, but not entirely untrue. I think that's appealing to the media right now.''
Kenneth R. Fleischmann, associate professor at the School of Information at the University of Texas-Austin, wrote, ''Technology will have complex effects on society that will be difficult to predict, that depend on the decisions of tech companies, governments, the press and citizens. '... Trust will be key, not just blind trust, but trust based on transparent provenance of information that can help users exercise their autonomy and agency.''
Anonymous respondents commented:
''Technology will weaken our ability to come to consensus; by nurturing smaller communities and fringe ideas, it will make compromise and finding a modus vivendi much more difficult.''''Social media will continue to erode faith in facts and reason; echo chambers and emotion-driven communications plus security problems in voting will undermine public discourse and faith in elections.''''There seems to be no realistic way to check the effects of IT on polarization and misinformation. The true beliefs and actions of political leaders will continue to have decreasing influence on voting.''''Foreign countries and hate groups will grow more sophisticated in their ability to infiltrate the web with biased stories and ads designed to suppress or sway voters and negatively impact public opinion.''''While it enables voices to be heard, tech has already weakened democracy by enabling governments and corporations to erode privacy and silence those who might otherwise speak out.''''We don't need mass armies anymore. New technology enables centralized control to a degree never imagined before.''''In 2030, there will still be splintering and increased political polarization as individuals are able to challenge democratic ideals and influence political processes through anonymous activities.''''Democracy is, and will always be, filled with fake news and preposterous bloviation.''Weakening journalism: There seems to be no solution for problems caused by the rise of social media-abetted tribalism and the decline of trusted, independent journalismChristopher Mondini, vice president of business engagement for ICANN, commented, ''The decline of independent journalism and critical thinking and research skills resulting from easy reliance on the internet make citizens more susceptible to manipulation and demagoguery. A growing proportion of politically active citizens are digital natives with no recollection of life before social media became the primary medium for debate and influence. The pursuit of clicks, retweets and page views encourages extremist or provocative rhetoric. Viral memes and soundbites distract from thoughtful analysis, deliberation and debate. Of course, the vast majority of citizens are not politically active, but they increasingly consume news and adopt a worldview shaped by their online communities. Participation in political processes may rise because of newly inflamed passions brought about by online discourse, but they may crowd out more measured voices.''
Yaakov J. Stein, CTO, RAD Data Communications, based in Israel, responded, ''Social media as they are at present have a polarizing effect that destabilizes democracy. The reason is that advertising (and disinformation) is targeted at and tailored to people according to their preexisting views (as predicted based on their social media behavior). This strengthens these preexisting views, reinforces disparagement of those with opposing views and weakens the possibility of being exposed to opposing views. The result is that free press no longer encourages democracy by enabling people to select from a marketplace of ideas. Instead the right to free press is being used to protect the distribution of disinformation and being manipulated to ensure that people are not exposed to the full spectrum of viewpoints. Perhaps an even more insidious result is that people attempting to keep open minds can no longer trust information being offered online, but that free information online has led to the bankruptcy of traditional news outlets that spend resources on fact-checking.''
The decline of independent journalism and critical thinking and research skills resulting from easy reliance on the internet make citizens more susceptible to manipulation and demagoguery.Christopher Mondini
Rey Junco, director of research at CIRCLE in the Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University, said, ''We can expect that attempts to influence public perceptions of candidates and elections are not only ongoing, but that they will continue to be successful. Technology use by citizens, civil society and governments will first weaken core aspects of democracy and democratic representation before there is a restructuring of technological systems and processes that will then help strengthen core aspects of democracy. There are two issues at play: 1) Ideological self-sorting in online spaces that is bolstered by algorithmic polarization and 2) The relative unwillingness of technology companies to address misinformation on their platforms. Individuals who get their news online (a larger proportion who are young '' Pew Research) choose media outlets that are ideologically similar and rarely read news from the opposing side (Flaxman, Goel, & Rao, 2018). In fact, these individuals are rarely exposed to moderate viewpoints (Flaxman, Goel, & Rao, 2018). Social media, in turn, allow for not just informational self-sorting as with online news, but such self-sorting is bolstered through algorithmic curation of feeds that promotes ideological separation. '... Although major technology companies are aware of how misinformation was promoted and propagated through their networks during the 2016 elections and resultant congressional hearings on the topic, little has been done to mitigate the impact of such deliberate spreading of misinformation. Analyses from the security and intelligence communities show that state actors continue their attempts to manipulate public sentiment in social spaces, while the increased polarization of traditional outlets has minimized the impact of these reports. State actors are emboldened by the fact that the United States has not addressed the spread of misinformation through technological change or through public education.''
An associate professor of computer science who previously worked with Microsoft, said, ''I worry about three related trends: 1) the increasing decentralization of news generation, 2) the lack of easy-to-use, citizen-facing mechanisms for determining the validity of digital media objects like videos and 3) personalization ecosystems that increase the tendency toward confirmation bias and intellectual narrowing. All three trends decrease the number of informed voters and increase social division. Governments will eventually become less averse to regulating platforms for news generation and news dissemination, but a key challenge for the government will be attracting top tech talent; currently, that talent is mostly lured to industry due to higher salaries and the perception of more interesting work. Increasing the number of technologists in government (both as civil servants and as politicians) is crucial for enabling the government to proactively address the negative societal impacts of technology.''
Kenneth Sherrill, professor emeritus of political science, Hunter College, said, ''When I'm pessimistic, I believe that the fragmentation of information sources will interact with selective attention '' the tendency only to follow news sources that one expects to agree with. This will generate even greater polarization without any of the moderating effects and respect for democratic processes that come from genuine participation. This can lead to the collapse of democratic processes. Right now, I'm pessimistic. The 2020 election may be the test.''
Eric Keller, lecturer in international relations and U.S. foreign policy, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, wrote, ''Social media will heighten the current strong polarization that we already have. This is mainly from 'information stovepipes' and mutually reinforcing narratives that demonize the opposition. This creates the danger of democratic institutions being degraded in the name of 'saving' them from the opposing political party.''
A Europe-based internet governance advocate and activist said, ''If current trends continue, there won't be a real democracy in most countries by 2030. The internet's funding model based on targeted advertising is destroying investigative journalism and serious reporting. More and more of what is published is fake news. Citizens cannot make informed decisions in the absence of reliable information.''
The coordinator of a public-good program in Bulgaria wrote, ''By 2030 we will still see fighting between small groups and communities that leads to extremes. This will give ground to governments to become more authoritative and build up even stronger control via the internet.''
Bill D. Herman, researcher working at the intersection of human rights and technology said, ''The combination of news fragmentation, systematic disinformation and motivated reasoning will continue to spiral outward. We're headed for a civil war, and the hydra-headed right-wing hate machine is the root of the problem.''
An internet pioneer and technology developer and administrator said, ''The foundation of democracy is an informed public. By undermining the economic foundation of journalism and enabling the distribution of disinformation on a mass scale, social media has unleashed an unprecedented assault on the foundation of democracy. The decline of newspapers, to just highlight one downside, has had a quantifiable effect (as measured in bond prices) on governmental oversight and investor trust.''
A professor and expert in learning in 3D environments said, ''The explosion in the volume of information has led to the majority of people tending to rely on or trust the major platforms to filter and distribute information rather than managing their own personal learning environments with feeds from trusted independent sources. '... As the filtering mechanisms become more sophisticated and more personalized to the individual, the opportunities for the wealthy to manipulate opinion will become even greater. The democratic system depends fundamentally on free access to reliable information, and once this is gone the system will effectively become less and less democratic.''
Mike Douglass, an independent developer, wrote, ''Facebook sold people on the idea that a race to accumulate 'friends' was a good thing '' then people paid attention to what those 'friends' said. As we now know, many of those 'friends' were bots or malicious actors. If we continue in this manner, then things can only get worse. We need to reestablish the real-life approach to gaining friends and acquaintances. Why should we pay any attention to people we don't know? Unfortunately, technology allows mis/disinformation to spread at an alarming rate.''
Eric Goldman, professor and director of the High-Tech Law Institute at the Santa Clara University School of Law, commented, ''Our politicians have embraced internet communications as a direct channel to lie to their constituents without the fact-checking of traditional media gatekeepers. So long as technology helps politicians lie without accountability, we have little hope of good governance.''
Janet Salmons, consultant with Vision2Lead, said, ''The internet, with unregulated power in the hands of commercial entities that have little sense of social responsibility, will continue to unravel Western-style democracies and civic institutions. Companies profiting from sales of personal data or on risky practices have little self-interest in promoting the kinds of digital and advanced literacy people need to discern between fact and fiction. In the U.S., the free press and educational systems that can potentially illuminate this distinction are under siege. As a result, even when presented with the opportunity to vote or otherwise inveigh on decision-making, they do so from weak and uninformed positions. The lowest common denominator, the mass views based on big data, win.''
A researcher and teacher of digital literacies and technologies said, ''In the early internet days, there was a claim it would bring a democratization of power. What we're seeing now is the powerful having larger and more overwhelming voices, taking up more of the space rather than less. This leads to polarization, rather than a free-flowing exchange of ideas. Anyone falling within the middle of a hot issue is declared a traitor by both sides of that issue and is shamed and/or pushed aside.''
An anonymous respondent commented, ''Increased engagement is largely a product of the media environment, and '' in places where the press is absent, restricted or has become blatantly politicized '' that engagement will bear the marks of a distorted information environment.''
Responding too slowly: The speed, scope and impact of the technologies of manipulation may be difficult to overcome as the pace of change acceleratesThe core concepts of democracy, representation, elections and tenure of government will be greatly undermined by artificial intelligence.Emmanuel Edet
Kathleen M. Carley, director of the Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems at Carnegie Mellon University, said, ''Disinformation and deepfakes in social media as well as the ability of individuals and media-propaganda teams to manipulate both who is and can communicate with whom and who and what they are talking about are undermining democratic principles and practice. Technological assistants such as bots, and information tools such as memes, are being used in ways that exploit features of the social media and web platforms, such as their prioritization rules, to get certain actors and information in front of people. Human cognitive biases, and our cognitive tendencies to view the world from a social or group perspective, are exploited by social media-based information maneuvers. The upshot is that traditional methods for recognizing disinformation no longer work. Strategies for mitigating disinformation campaigns as they play out across multiple media are not well understood. Global policies for 1) responding to disinformation and its creators, and 2) technical infrastructure that forces information to carry its provenance and robust scalable tools for detecting that an information campaign is underway, who is conducting it and why do not exist.''
Jason Hong, professor of Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie-Mellon University, said, ''Basically, it's 1) easier for small groups of people to cause lots of damage (e.g., disinformation, deepfakes), and 2) easier for those already in power to use these technologies than those who need to organize. In the early days of the internet, new technologies empowered new voices, which led to a lot of utopian views. However, we've seen in recent years that these same technologies are now being used to entrench those already in power. We see this in the form of targeted advertising (being used for highly targeted political campaigns), analytics (being used for gerrymandering), disinformation and fake news (being used both domestically and by foreign powers, both unintentionally and intentionally) and filter bubbles where people can seek out just the information that they want to hear. All of this was possible before the internet, but it was harder because of natural barriers. We also haven't seen the political effects of deepfakes and are just starting to see the effects of widespread surveillance by police forces.''
Mark Raymond, assistant professor of international security, University of Oklahoma, wrote, ''Over the next 30 years, democracy faces at least three kinds of technology-based risks. First, actual or apparent manipulation of voting data and systems by state actors will likely undermine trust in democratic processes. Second, social media manipulation (by states and by political campaigns and other nonstate actors) will compound echo chamber effects and increase societal polarization. Decreased trust will heighten social conflict, including, but not limited to, conflict over elections. Third, 'deepfakes' will undermine confidence even in video-based media reports. Taken together, there is the risk that these trends could increase the willingness of voters to accept fundamentally authoritarian shifts in their politics. Absent that, it is still likely that increased polarization will make the operation of democratic systems (which are heavily dependent on mutual acceptance of informal norms) incredibly difficult.''
Emmanuel Edet, legal adviser, National Information Technology Development Agency, Nigeria, said, ''The core concepts of democracy, representation, elections and tenure of government will be greatly undermined by artificial intelligence. The use of social media coupled with faceless artificial intelligence-driven opinions can manipulate popular opinion that will deny people the right to express their choice for fear of going against the crowd.''
Matt Moore, innovation manager at Disruptor's Handbook, Sydney, Australia, said, ''The issue is not that essential democratic institutions will change, it is that they will not change enough. Elections, voting, representatives, parties '' none of these things will go away. They may mean more or less (likely less) than they used to. The number of democracies in the world is likely to decrease as weak or destabilised states fall into authoritarian populism. Western democracies will continue to age and grow more economically unequal. States like China will continue to grow in power, often using new technologies to control their populations. Everyone is talking up the potential of blockchain for democracy. This is mostly nonsense. The issue is not that people do not have the opportunity to vote enough. It is that no one really knows what that vote means. Many of those who vote '' or rather, who do not vote '' have no sense of what their vote means. Many of those who are voted for, also do not know what that vote means '' which is why they rely on polling and focus groups. Deliberative democracy offers a potential new form of political engagement and decision-making '' if (and this is a big 'if') it can be made to work beyond isolated experiments.''
Mike O'Connor, retired, a former member of the ICANN policy development community, said, ''There is cause for hope '' but it's such a fragile flower compared to the relative ease with which the negative forces prevail. 'A lie can get around the world while truth is getting its boots on' '' pick your attribution.''
A longtime technology journalist for a major U.S. news organization commented, ''Our laws and Constitution are largely designed for a world that existed before the industrial age, not to mention the information age. These technologies have made the nation-state obsolete and we have not yet grasped the ways they facilitate antidemocratic forces.''
Hume Winzar, associate professor and director of the business analytics undergraduate program at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, said, ''Corporations and government have the information and the technology to create highly targeted messages designed to favour their own agendas. We, as citizens, have demonstrated that we rarely look beyond our regular news sources, and often use easily digested surrogates for news (comedy shows, social media). We also seem to have very short memories, so what was presented as a scandal only a year ago is usual, even laudable, now. '... None of this is new. The British and the U.S. have been manipulating foreign news and propaganda for many decades with great success, and the church before them. But now the scale and the speed of that manipulation is perhaps too great to combat.''
Ian Fish, ICT professional and specialist in information security based in Europe, said, ''I expect the imbalance of power between the major global corporations and democratic national governments will increase to the detriment of democracy. I also expect non-democratic governments' disruption of democratic norms to increase faster than the democracies can react.''
Puruesh Chaudhary, a futurist based in Pakistan, said, ''Democracy needs to develop the capacity to negotiate in the interest of an ordinary citizen, who may not have direct influence on how key decisions play out in geopolitics but is invariably affected by it. The democratic institutions have to have systems that operate at the pace of technological advancements that have an impact on the society.''
Trust suffers when people's infatuation with technology entices them away from human-to-human encountersSeveral respondents argued there were circumstances when humans' ''slowness'' was an advantage, but that technology was thwarting that side of life. They believe that a major cause of the loss of trust is the fact that many people are spending more time online in often-toxic environments than they spend in face-t0-face, empathy-enabling non-digital social situations.
Angela Campbell, professor of law and co-director, Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University, said, ''We are just seeing the beginning of how technology is undercutting democracy and social relations necessary to a democratic society. We don't have good ways of telling what is true and what is false, what is opinion and what is fact. Most people do not yet understand how power technologies (especially combined with a lack of privacy protections) allow them to be manipulated. In addition, as people spend more time using technology, they spend less time interacting with other people (in person) and learning important social skills like respect and empathy.''
Yves Mathieu, co-director at Missions Publiques, Paris, France, responded, ''Technology creates new forms of communications and messaging that can be very rough and divisive. Some contributors are rude, violent, expressing very poor comments, insulting or threatening elected citizens. There will be a strong need for face-to-face format, as the technologies will not allow process of deliberation. There will be need for regular meetings with voters, in meetings where people will have the time and the possibility to exchange arguments and increase their understanding of each other's position. Being associated with media, this will reduce the divide that we know today, as it will increase mutual understanding.''
An anonymous respondent commented, ''The expanded use of technology with respect to the democratic processes will tend to weaken one of the most important aspects of democracy and the democratic processes '' the use of technology instead of person-to-person dialogue seriously degrades (or removes altogether) meaningful dialogue and exchange of ideas between individuals. When individuals use technology to express their political views/opinions instead of having direct human interactions, these views tend to be more extremely stated than if that person is speaking a view/opinion to another person. Also, in many cases, if someone else expresses a different view from what the original individual expressed, the first person is much less likely to pay any attention to a view expressed using technology than if that view were expressed in a person-to-person discussion. Additionally, the increased use of technology for analyzing segments of society to 'shape' delivery of messages for particular segments will result in an increase of messages that distort the reality of the message or distort the results of what the message is describing.''
The future will include a complex interplay of increased online activity but also increased skepticism of those virtual interactions and an enhanced appreciation of offline information and conversations.Melissa Michelson
A futurist and consultant said, ''Democracy currently has a crisis in global leadership. Without significant change in 2020, for which I am hopeful, I can't hold a lot of hope for democracy in 2030. I'm afraid the question is not what will change, but what must change. Without changes in democratic institutions, the future of democracy itself is in question. There is an urban/rural split at work in tandem with a severe disparity in the distribution of wealth '' with climate change overshadowing it all. Technology will have a hand in providing as well as impeding solutions.''
Arthur Asa Berger, professor emeritus of communications, San Francisco State University, commented, ''People who use Facebook are affected in negative ways by a 'net effect,' in which they exhibit impulsivity, grandiosity, etc., as explained in my book, 'Media and Communication Research Methods' (Sage). Some young people text 100 times a day and never talk on the phone with others, leading to a radical estrangement from others and themselves. The internet is used by hate groups, neofascists, right-wing ideologues, terrorist organizations and so on.''
An anonymous U.S. policy and strategy professional said, ''Technology allows the creation of a bullying environment that polarizes people to the point at which they do not attempt to understand other opinions or views, weakening public discourse and driving outrage and attacks on minority views.''
Japheth Cleaver, a systems engineer, commented, ''At the moment, the major social media networks function not by neutrally and dispassionately connecting disparate communicators (like the phone system), but are designed reinforce engagement to sell as many targeted ads as possible. This reinforcement creates resonant effects throughout a society's culture, and in-person contextual interaction drops away in favor of the efficiencies that electronic communication offers, but without any of the risk of the 'bubble' of the like-minded being dropped, as that would hurt engagement. Internet as communications overlay is fine. Internet as a replacement for public space seems detrimental.''
Melissa Michelson, professor of political science, Menlo College, and author, ''Mobilizing Inclusion: Redefining Citizenship Through Get-Out-the-Vote Campaigns,'' said, ''The future will include a complex interplay of increased online activity but also increased skepticism of those virtual interactions and an enhanced appreciation of offline information and conversations. As more adults are digital natives and the role of technology in society expands and becomes more interconnected, more and more aspects of democracy and political participation will take place online. At the same time, the increasing sophistication of deepfakes, including fake video, will enhance the value of face-to-face interactions as unfiltered and trustworthy sources of information.''
Anonymous respondents commented:
''Unless there is transparency, tech will be the new digital atomic bomb '' it has moved faster than individuals' or the law's understanding of its unintended consequences and nefarious uses.''''At the current rate of disregard and lack of responsibility by those who own and run large tech companies, we are headed toward a complete lack of trust in what is factual information and what is not.''''Public institutions move slowly and thoughtfully. People doing nefarious things move more quickly, and with the internet, this will continue to challenge us.''''It is the personal and social norms that we're losing, not the technology itself, that is at the heart of much of our problems. People are a lot less civil to each other in person now than they were just a few decades ago.''''More access to data and records more quickly can help citizens be informed and engaged, however more information can flood the market, and people have limited capacity/time/energy to digest information.''
How the Liberal Media Earned Their 'Enemy of the People' Title Today at Trump's Wuhan Virus Presser
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 11:19
More people will be glued to their television sets as schools and sporting events are being canceled, along with legions of people now being told to work from home. As such, more potential eyeballs could venture into the twisted realms of MSNBC and CNN who are just thirsting for the Wuhan virus death toll to increase and markets to collapse to better the Democrats' chances of booting Trump from office in 2020. It's predictable. It's grotesque. They've earned their new title with gusto: enemies of the people.
If Trump does anything, it's terrible. He can't win'--and he knows that, so he toys with them. And we mock accordingly because they are an insufferable bunch of self-righteous scumbags that are too blinded to their stupidity. I'm sure you've noticed that CNN has the Dow Jones ticker when the market is in freefall, but it magically vanished once a rebound begins. Today, the stock market ended with a nice rally of almost 2,000 points nearly wiping away yesterday's losses, the worst since Black Monday 1987.
The media threw a tantrum because the markets rebounded upon news that the Trump administration declared a national emergency concerning the Wuhan Virus and outlined an agenda to handle the crisis. Even then, some clowns complained. Like this Jim Roberts guy from The New York Times, who had to quietly delete a tweet that noted the stock market going down as Trump spoke. When the Dow Jones ends 1,900+ points up, you're going to get a face full of buckshot. Ace of Spades noticed, but also this point he made about Trump established a protocol for future drive-thru tests.
''Serious question about drive-thru testing: What happens if you don't have a car?'' he tweeted. Apparently, not serious enough because he also deleted that one. He then pivoted toward bashing Trump for causing the market to have a good day:
Has this guy been partying with Andrew Gillum and HoneyHammock?
He started celebrating, immediately, that the Dow had a brief small fall. He claimed it was due to Trump's speech -- Without Evidence, as CNN would say.
As the Dow zoomed higher and higher, his grave-dancing tweet appeared premature.
So he just deleted it. He didn't explain why. He just zapped it, and hoped no one noticed.
Well, I did.
After deleting his tweet, he shifted tactics: He now acknowledge the markets were rising, but claimed this was because Trump was passing out various undeserved goodies to corporations
Trump has made this a very pro-business news conference. And the markets seem to approve. pic.twitter.com/mgvSzxe9cY
'-- Jim Roberts (@nycjim) March 13, 2020Oh, and then there was the Q&A portion of the press conference, which once again showed that the media is just abjectly awful:
BREAKING: Pres. Trump declares national emergency.'-- Opens up to $50 billion for states, territories and localities.
'-- Calls for states to set up emergency centers.'-- Calls on hospitals to activate emergency preparedness plans.'-- Confers new authorities to HHS secretary. pic.twitter.com/AMLe2eOjWX
'-- ABC News (@ABC) March 13, 2020This sums up how out of touch the mainstream media isMarkets: Surge to biggest point gain ever
CNN: That was "odd" pic.twitter.com/Pwl6psIWZm
'-- Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) March 13, 2020Isn't it curious that MSNBC and CNN aren't mentioning that the markets SURGED ??It surged because of the new measures and the progress against the #WuhanVirus announced during the President's press conference pic.twitter.com/vfhibd2tom
'-- Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) March 13, 2020The entire press conference now appears to be an attempt to pump up stocks of big american companies right before the close. Astonishing. https://t.co/BPNQ1DviVK
'-- Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 13, 2020Left-wing media turned on a dime from screaming Trump wasn't doing anything to having a meltdown that he's working with the private sector to screen and test to slow the spread of the Wuhan virus.Their derangment is driven entirely by politics. https://t.co/LXucrdSf8X
'-- Sean Davis (@seanmdav) March 13, 2020REPORTER: "You disbanded the White House pandemic office. What responsibility do you take for that?"TRUMP: "Well, I just think it's a nasty question..." pic.twitter.com/mcBJX7Zfdv
'-- Breaking911 (@Breaking911) March 13, 2020Post-press conference, where a bunch of important news was made, MSNBC is talking about whether Trump has the virus and saying Fauci is ruining his reputation.
'-- Brent Scher (@BrentScher) March 13, 2020So weird how after being obsessed by the stock market for two days @CNN is suddenly bored by the 2,000 point gain during Trump's press conference. Maybe @brianstelter can explain it.
'-- David Marcus (@BlueBoxDave) March 13, 2020MEDIA: How come Trump won't allow drive-thru Wuhan virus testing?TRUMP: Today we are working towards rolling out drive-thru Wuhan virus testing.MEDIA: Trump hates people who don't drive.https://t.co/DPj8LpyHt0
'-- Sean Davis (@seanmdav) March 13, 2020The media hate you, they hate this country and what it stands for, they hate that they failed to rig 2016, failed to make Russian collusion stick, and failed to make impeachment stick, and their last-ditch 2020 play is to destroy the economy.
'-- Sean Davis (@seanmdav) March 13, 2020Media who spent 3+ years peddling the Russia hoax, doxxing random meme makers, harassing grandmothers, defaming Catholic teenagers, lying about Kavanaugh, and claiming Net Neutrality was Armageddon didn't magically start telling you the truth last week. https://t.co/tgK1SCY7DN
'-- Sean Davis (@seanmdav) March 13, 2020The Swine Flu killed 12,000 people and infected around 60 million. Could you imagine the media coverage if a Republican were president? Right now, Wuhan Virus has killed nearly 40 people and infected at least 1,250'--and the media is painting an apocalyptic picture with glee. If there is one institution that is preventing a national unity in handling this crisis, it's the liberal media. As The Federalist's Sean Davis aptly noted, they hate you. They hate this country. They want it to be punished, they want us to be punished for not believing their fake news for the past four years. Trump is still president, losers. Deal with it. We won.
TREASURIES-Yields fall after strong U.S. 30-year bond auction
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 11:10
(New throughout)
NEW YORK, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Treasury yields fell on Thursday afternoon after strong demand at a $16 billion auction of 30-year bonds drove prices higher.
Primary dealers, who are obliged to absorb any supply not bought by bidders, took 19.09% of the offering, below the 25.10% average for the prior 12 months of auctions. There was notable demand from indirect bidders, a proxy for foreign interest, who took 63.03% versus an average 59.46%.
Prices across maturities continued to rise after the auction.
"We started rallying a little bit before the 30-year auction. But the 30-year auction, which was quite strong, really pulled the markets higher today," said Guy LeBas, chief fixed income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott.
"The primary dealer take was pretty low, which means customers were buying."
The strong demand was likely attributable to the low prices of bonds prior to the sale. Treasury prices had fallen since early Wednesday following a de-escalation in tension between the United States and Iran. The drop continued on Thursday and was accelerated by a strong weekly jobless report.
"There wasn't an obvious catalyst here. We were set up for, at least year-to-date, a decent increase in yields, though not a massive one. Valuations are ok, not spectacular but ok, and that may have helped spur demand," said LeBas.
The U.S. killing of an Iranian general last week and Tehran's retaliatory missile strikes had sparked concern the Middle East was primed for a wider war. That initially drove investors into safe-haven assets like Treasury debt. That money was then pulled out after U.S President Donald Trump refrained from ordering more military action on Wednesday and Iran's foreign minister said missile strikes "concluded" Tehran's response.
The 10-year Treasury yield has swung nearly 20 basis points this week on the headlines, dropping to a month low of 1.705% in overnight trade between Tuesday and Wednesday. It was last trading down 1.4 basis points at 1.860%.
The 30-year bond yield was down 2.3 basis points at 2.337%. The short end of the yield curve was less affected, with the two-year yield last down 0.7 basis point at 1.576%.
An auction of $24 billion of new 10-year notes on Wednesday was met with soft demand; the auction occurred just an hour after a Trump press conference on Iran and the newly returned risk appetite kept investors away from government debt.
The federal government will publish its closely watched report on monthly nonfarm payrolls for December on Friday.
(Reporting by Kate Duguid; editing by Nick Macfie)
Deborah L. Birx - Wikipedia
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 11:02
Deborah Leah Birx (born April 4, 1956) is an American physician and diplomat who serves as the coronavirus (COVID-19) response coordinator in the White House.[1]
Birx has served as Ambassador-at-Large and United States Global AIDS Coordinator since 2014. In this role she has been responsible for PEPFAR's US$6.6 billion program in 65 countries supporting HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs.[2]
Early life and education [ edit ] Birx majored in chemistry at Houghton College in 1976 and then earned her medical degree from the Hershey School of Medicine at Pennsylvania State University.[3] In 1980 she began in internal medicine and basic and clinical immunology at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health.
Career [ edit ] Birx served as a physician in the United States Army, rising to the rank of colonel[4] before she retired from military service. She started her career with the United States Department of Defense as a clinician in immunology, focusing on HIV/AIDS vaccine research. She then served as an Assistant Chief of the Hospital Immunology Service at Walter Reed Army Medical Center from 1985 to 1989. In 1996, she became the Director of the United States Military HIV Research Program at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, a role she held until 2005.[5]
From 2005 to 2014, Birx served as the director of CDC's Division of Global HIV/AIDS (DGHA), which is part of the agency's Center for Global Health.[6]
She was nominated by President Barack Obama as United States Global AIDS Coordinator and confirmed by the Senate; she was sworn in April 4, 2014.[7] In her role as ambassador she has led the organization to meet the HIV prevention and treatment targets set by Obama in 2015 with the goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.[8] She says that PEPFAR has cut pediatric HIV infection rates by 50 percent in several African countries.[9]
On February 27, 2020, Vice President Mike Pence named Ambassador Birx as the coronavirus (COVID-19) response coordinator for the White House. During a March 13, 2020 Emergency Declaration Press Conference, Birx and Donald Trump created a lie regarding Google developing a website to assist with the COVID19 pandemic. At the event, Birx held up a flow chart and Donald Trump stated Google was developing a nationwide website to help people determine whether and how to get a novel coronavirus test. Google later stated no website was in development and they had no plans to develop a nationwide website as Donald Trump or Dr. Birx described. [1][10][11]
Other activities [ edit ] Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Member of the Board[12]References [ edit ] ^ a b "Pence announces White House coronavirus response coordinator". Washington Post. 27 February 2020 . Retrieved 27 February 2020 . ^ Six Prominent Women Scientists Making a Difference in the AIDS Fight AIVI Report, Volume 19, 2015 ^ Remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry U.S. Department of State, April 25, 2014 ^ PN194 '-- Army Congressional Record, June 27, 1997 ^ Deborah L. Birx, M.D. U.S. Department of State, accessed May 20, 2016 ^ Deborah L. Birx, MD Ambassador at Large Designate and Coordinator Designate, Department of State, United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS Globally U.S. Senate, March 6, 2014 ^ Dr. Deborah Birx Sworn-In as New U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS relief, April 4, 2014 ^ Harnessing the Data Revolution for an AIDS-Free Generation The Huffington Post, April 14, 2016 ^ U.S. official calls for focus on gender equality as means to end AIDS The Daily Bruin, February 4, 2016 ^ https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/public-global-health/486331-new-coronavirus-phase-puts-spotlight-on-white-house ^ https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/13/21179118/google-coronavirus-testing-screening-website-drive-thru-covid-19 ^ Members of the Board Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. External links [ edit ] Appearances on C-SPAN
Wetenschappers Rotterdam en Utrecht claimen vondst antilichaam tegen corona | NOS
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 09:51
Wetenschappers van het Erasmus Medisch Centrum en de Universiteit Utrecht zeggen dat ze een antilichaam hebben gevonden tegen de ziekte die wordt veroorzaakt door het coronavirus, meldt Erasmus Magazine.
"Dit is het allereerste antilichaam waarvan we weten dat het de infectie blokkeert en er is een goede kans dat dit ook een medicijn wordt dat op de markt komt", zegt de Rotterdamse hoogleraar celbiologie Frank Grosveld in het universiteitsblad.
De onderzoekers hadden het antilichaam nog in het laboratorium staan na eerder onderzoek naar vergelijkbare virusinfecties. "We moeten iets doen en misschien hebben we wat", dachten ze volgens Grosveld. "Daarom zijn we onmiddellijk aan de gang gegaan en hebben we de klok rond gewerkt."
Nog niet gepubliceerdEr is een aantal kanttekeningen te maken. Het antilichaam moet nog op mensen worden getest, wat maanden duurt. Ook is het onderzoek nog niet beoordeeld door vakgenoten. Dat gebeurt op dit moment. Als die het goedkeuren, dan wordt het naar verwachting gepubliceerd. Nu staat het al online op een site waar biologen hun onderzoek delen.
Onderzoeksleider Berend-Jan Bosch (Universiteit Utrecht) wil geen valse verwachtingen wekken. "Het is een eerste belovende stap, maar het is nog te vroeg om te speculeren over de eventuele werkzaamheid in mensen", zegt hij in een reactie aan de NOS. "Het onderzoek ligt ter beoordeling bij een vooraanstaand wetenschappelijk tijdschrift. Verder commentaar kan gegeven worden zodra het artikel is geaccepteerd.
'' Een echte oplossing is een vaccin.
Grosveld legt uit dat het antilichaam voorkomt dat het virus nog kan infecteren. Het kan worden gebruikt om een medicijn tegen deze corona-infectie (COVID-19) te ontwikkelen.
De onderzoekers proberen een farmaceutisch bedrijf zo ver te krijgen om het geneesmiddel op grote schaal te produceren. "Als je dit als patint zou nemen dan is de verwachting dat de infectie in de patint gestopt kan worden. En de patint dus de kans krijgt om te herstellen."
"Voorkomen is natuurlijk beter dan genezen", zegt Grosveld. "Een echte oplossing is daarom een vaccin, daar werken anderen aan. Een vaccin ontwikkelen duurt echter al gauw twee jaar."
Why Trump isn't getting the payroll-tax cut he wanted for the coronavirus - The Washington Post
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 09:46
If you want to get money into the hands of people quickly & efficiently, let them have the full money that they earned, APPROVE A PAYROLL TAX CUT until the end of the year, December 31. Then you are doing something that is really meaningful. Only that will make a big difference!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2020One thing President Trump has been consistent about in his coronavirus response is that he wants Congress to cut payroll taxes for all Americans and employers until the end of the year. He mentioned it in his national address Wednesday and tweeted about it Friday, and The Washington Post reports it was a reason a coronavirus aid package was held up in Congress for much of the week.
But the one thing both parties in Congress immediately agreed on is they don't want to give it to him. Why? On the surface, it sounds nice: More money in Americans' and employers' pockets to help stem a nosediving stock market and an economy that soon will feel the weight of cancellations everywhere, and is possibly already in a recession.
But Congress says it's an expensive, unrealistic effort that could paper over the real economic struggles that the coronavirus brings to Americans. Here's why Trump didn't get his payroll-tax cut in this round of legislation and probably won't:
Any tax break on paychecks would come out of the Social Security fund: That would risk seriously denting it or even depleting it, meaning people who depend on their Social Security check each month might not get it in a worst-case scenario. That's the primary reason Republicans oppose a cut, said a senior Republican Senate aide.
It's super expensive: Eliminating the payroll tax for both employees and employers would cost the government about $90 billion a month, aides in Congress estimated. Multiply that over the entire year and you're looking at about $1 trillion in lost government revenue. The New York Times Jim Tankersley put that in perspective: That's more than the 2008 Wall Street bailout or the 2009 stimulus bill to prop up the economy after the crash that ignited the Great Recession.
It would increase most paychecks by 7.65 percent, but that doesn't help shift workers or those who rely on tips, said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, on Wednesday. That's because most of their money doesn't come from paychecks.
It only helps people who are working now: So if you're unemployed '-- or lost your job because of the coronavirus '-- this wouldn't help you. And from Democrats' perspective, it could distract from the real goal they want: mandatory paid sick leave.
''If a single mom gets a notice from school her child has to stay home, her getting a payroll-tax deduction or refund isn't going to help her if she loses her job,'' Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said Friday on MSNBC.
Here's how Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) describes the idea of a payroll-tax cut: ''We don't think they should just throw money out of an airplane and hope some of it lands on the people who are affected.''
Republicans aren't quite as vocal about their opposition to this, given their reluctance to upset Trump. But behind the scenes, this isn't something that they're seriously considering, no matter how much Trump tweets it or asks Congress for it in national addresses.
And it looks like in the next week, Republicans and Democrats could pass a coronavirus aid package that gives Americans everything from extended unemployment insurance to some paid sick leave to food aid '-- but not a break on their payroll taxes.
Text - H.R.6201 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Families First Coronavirus Response Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 09:33
There is one version of the bill.
H. R. 6201
Making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, and for other purposes.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mrs. Lowey (for herself, Mr. Scott of Virginia, Mr. Neal , Mr. Bishop of Georgia, Ms. DeLauro , Mr. Pallone , and Mr. Peterson ) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Appropriations, and in addition to the Committees on the Budget, and Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
A BILL
Making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of theUnited States of America in Congress assembled,
SHORT TITLE
section 1.
This Act may be cited as the ''Families First Coronavirus Response Act''.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Sec. 2.
The table of contents is as follows:
REFERENCES
Sec. 3.
Except as expressly provided otherwise, any reference to ''this Act'' contained in any division of this Act shall be treated as referring only to the provisions of that division.
The following sums are hereby appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2020, and for other purposes, namely:
TITLE I
For an additional amount for the ''Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children'', $500,000,000, to remain available through September 30, 2021: Provided, That such amount is designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
For an additional amount for the ''Commodity Assistance Program'' for the emergency food assistance program as authorized by section 27(a) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2036(a)) and section 204(a)(1) of the Emergency Food Assistance Act of 1983 (7 U.S.C. 7508(a)(1)), $400,000,000, to remain available through September 30, 2021: Provided, That of the funds made available, the Secretary may use up to $100,000,000 for costs associated with the distribution of commodities: Provided further, That such amount is designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
Sec. 101. (a) Public Health Emergency .'--During fiscal year 2020, in any case in which a school is closed for at least 5 consecutive days during a public health emergency designation during which the school would otherwise be in session, each household containing at least 1 member who is an eligible child attending the school shall be eligible to receive assistance pursuant to a state agency plan approved under subsection (b).
(b) Assistance .'--To carry out this section, the Secretary of Agriculture may approve State agency plans for temporary emergency standards of eligibility and levels of benefits under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.) for households with eligible children. Plans approved by the Secretary shall provide for supplemental allotments to households receiving benefits under such Act, and issuances to households not already receiving benefits. Such level of benefits shall be determined by the Secretary in an amount not less than the value of meals at the free rate over the course of 5 school days for each eligible child in the household.
(c) Minimum closure requirement .'--The Secretary of Agriculture shall not provide assistance under this section in the case of a school that is closed for less than 5 consecutive days.
(d) Use of ebt system .'--A State agency may provide assistance under this section through the EBT card system established under section 7 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2016).
(e) Release of information .'--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Agriculture may authorize State educational agencies and school food authorities administering a school lunch program under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) to release to appropriate officials administering the supplemental nutrition assistance program such information as may be necessary to carry out this section.
(f) Waivers .'--To facilitate implementation of this section, the Secretary of Agriculture may approve waivers of the limits on certification periods otherwise applicable under section 3(f) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2012(f)), reporting requirements otherwise applicable under section 6(c) of such Act (7 U.S.C. 2015(c)), and other administrative requirements otherwise applicable to State agencies under such Act.
(g) Availability of commodities .'--During fiscal year 2020, the Secretary of Agriculture may purchase commodities for emergency distribution in any area of the United States during a public health emergency designation.
(h) Definitions .'--In this section:
(1) The term ''eligible child'' means a child (as defined in section 12(d) or served under section 11(a)(1) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1760(d), 1759(a)(1)) who, if not for the closure of the school attended by the child during a public health emergency designation and due to concerns about a COVID''19 outbreak, would receive free or reduced price school meals under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 175l et seq.) at the school.
(2) The term ''public health emergency designation'' means the declaration'--
(A) of a public health emergency, based on an outbreak of SARS''CoV''2 or another coronavirus with pandemic potential, by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d); or
(B) of a domestic emergency, based on an outbreak of SARS''CoV''2 or another coronavirus with pandemic potential, by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
(3) The term ''school'' has the meaning given the term in section 12(d) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1760(d)).
(i) Funding .'--There are hereby appropriated to the Secretary of Agriculture such amounts as are necessary to carry out this section: Provided, That such amount is designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
Sec. 102. In addition to amounts otherwise made available, $100,000,000, to remain available through September 30, 2021, shall be available for the Secretary of Agriculture to provide grants to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa for nutrition assistance in response to a COVID''19 public health emergency: Provided, That such amount is designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
TITLE II
For an additional amount for ''Program Administration'', $5,000,000, to remain available through September 30, 2022, to administer the emergency paid sick days program: Provided, That such amount is designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
For an additional amount for ''Aging and Disability Services Programs'', $250,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2021, for activities authorized under subparts 1 and 2 of part C, of title III, and under title VI, of the Older Americans Act of 1965, of which $160,000,000 shall be for Home-Delivered Nutrition Services, $80,000,000 shall be for Congregate Nutrition Services, and $10,000,000 shall be for Nutrition Services for Native Americans: Provided, That such amount is designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
TITLE IIIGENERAL PROVISIONS'--THIS ACT
Sec. 301. Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the head of each executive agency that receives funding in this Act shall provide a report detailing the anticipated uses of all such funding to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate: Provided, That each report shall include estimated personnel and administrative costs, as well as the total amount of funding apportioned, allotted, obligated, and expended, to date: Provided further, That each such plan shall be updated and submitted to such Committees every 60 days until all funds are expended or expire.
Sec. 302. Each amount appropriated or made available by this Act is in addition to amounts otherwise appropriated for the fiscal year involved.
Sec. 303. No part of any appropriation contained in this Act shall remain available for obligation beyond the current fiscal year unless expressly so provided herein.
Sec. 304. Unless otherwise provided for by this Act, the additional amounts appropriated by this Act to appropriations accounts shall be available under the authorities and conditions applicable to such appropriations accounts for fiscal year 2020.
Sec. 305. Each amount designated in this Act by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 shall be available (or rescinded or transferred, if applicable) only if the President subsequently so designates all such amounts and transmits such designations to the Congress.
Sec. 306. Any amount appropriated by this Act, designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 and subsequently so designated by the President, and transferred pursuant to transfer authorities provided by this Act shall retain such designation.
This division may be cited as the ''Second Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020''.
TITLE I '-- Maintaining Essential Access to Lunch for Students Act
SEC. 101. Short title .
This title may be cited as the ''Maintaining Essential Access to Lunch for Students Act'' or the ''MEALS Act''.
SEC. 102. Waiver exception for school closures due to COVID''19 .
(a) In general .'--The requirements under section 12(l)(1)(A)(iii) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1760(l)(1)(A)(iii)) shall not apply to a qualified COVID''19 waiver.
(b) Allowable increase in Federal costs .'--Notwithstanding paragraph (4) of section 12(l) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1760(l)), the Secretary of Agriculture may grant a qualified COVID''19 waiver that increases Federal costs.
(c) Termination after periodic review .'--The requirements under section 12(l)(5) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1760(l)(5)) shall not apply to a qualified COVID''19 waiver.
(d) Qualified COVID''19 waiver .'--In this section, the term ''qualified COVID''19 waiver'' means a waiver'--
(1) requested by a State (as defined in section 12(d)(8) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1760(d)(8))) or eligible service provider under section 12(l) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1760(l)); and
(2) to waive any requirement under such Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.), or any regulation issued under either such Act, for purposes of providing meals and meal supplements under such Acts during a school closure due to COVID''19.
TITLE II '-- COVID'--19 Child Nutrition Response Act
SEC. 201. Short title .
This title may be cited as the ''COVID''19 Child Nutrition Response Act''.
SEC. 202. National school lunch program requirement waivers addressing COVID''19 .
(a) Nationwide waiver .'--
(1) I N GENERAL.'--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary may establish a waiver for all States under section 12(l) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1760(l)), for purposes of'--
(A) providing meals and meal supplements under a qualified program; and
(B) carrying out subparagraph (A) with appropriate safety measures with respect to COVID''19, as determined by the Secretary.
(2) S TATE ELECTION.'--A waiver established under paragraph (1) shall'--
(A) notwithstanding paragraph (2) of section 12(l) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1760(l)), apply automatically to any State that elects to be subject to the waiver without further application; and
(B) not be subject to the requirements under paragraph (3) of such section.
(b) Child and adult care food program waiver .'--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary may grant a waiver under section 12(l) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1760(l)) to allow non-congregate feeding under a child and adult care food program under section 17 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1766) if such waiver is for the purposes of'--
(1) providing meals and meal supplements under such child and adult care food program; and
(2) carrying out paragraph (1) with appropriate safety measures with respect to COVID''19, as determined by the Secretary.
(c) Meal pattern waiver .'--Notwithstanding paragraph (4)(A) of section 12(l) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1760(l)) the Secretary may grant a waiver under such section that relates to the nutritional content of meals served if the Secretary determines that'--
(1) such waiver is necessary to provide meals and meal supplements under a qualified program; and
(2) there is a supply chain disruption with respect to foods served under such a qualified program and such disruption is due to COVID''19.
(d) Reports .'--Each State that receives a waiver under subsection (a), (b), or (c), shall, not later than 1 year after the date such State received such waiver, submit a report to the Secretary that includes the following:
(1) A summary of the use of such waiver by the State and eligible service providers.
(2) A description of whether such waiver resulted in improved services to children.
(e) Sunset .'--The authority of the Secretary to establish or grant a waiver under this section shall expire on September 30, 2020.
(f) Definitions .'--In this section:
(1) Q UALIFIED PROGRAM.'--The term ''qualified program'' means the following:
(A) The school lunch program under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq.).
(B) The school breakfast program under section 4 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1773).
(C) The child and adult care food program under section 17 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1766).
(D) The summer food service program for children under section 13 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1761).
(2) S ECRETARY.'--The term ''Secretary'' means the Secretary of Agriculture.
(3) S TATE.'--The term ''State'' has the meaning given such term in section 12(d)(8) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1760(d)(8)).
TITLE III '-- SNAP Waivers
SEC. 301. SNAP Flexibility for low-Income jobless workers .
(a) Beginning with the first month that begins after the enactment of this Act and for each subsequent month through the end of the month subsequent to the month a public health emergency declaration by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act based on an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID''19) is lifted, eligibility for supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits shall not be limited under section 6(o)(2) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 unless an individual does not comply with the requirements of a program offered by the State agency (as defined in section 3 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008) that meets the standards of subparagraphs (B) or (C) of such section 6(o)(2).
(b) Beginning on the month subsequent to the month the public health emergency declaration by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act based on an outbreak of COVID''19 is lifted for purposes of section 6(o) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, such State agency shall disregard any period during which an individual received benefits under the supplemental nutrition assistance program prior to such month.
SEC. 302. Additional SNAP flexibilities in a public health emergency .
(a) In the event of a public health emergency declaration by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act based on an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID''19)and the issuance of an emergency or disaster declaration by a State based on an outbreak of COVID''19, the Secretary of Agriculture'--
(1) shall provide, at the request of a State agency (as defined in section 3 of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008) that provides sufficient data supporting such request, as determined by the Secretary, for emergency allotments to households participating in the supplemental nutrition assistance program under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to address temporary food needs not greater than the applicable maximum monthly allotment for the household size; and
(2) may adjust at the request of State agencies or in consultation with State agencies, by guidance, issuance methods and application and reporting requirements under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to be consistent with what is practicable under actual conditions in affected areas. (In making this adjustment, the Secretary shall consider the availability of offices and personnel in State agencies, any conditions that make reliance on electronic benefit transfer systems described in section 7(h) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 impracticable, any disruptions of transportation and communication facilities, and any health considerations that warrant alternative approaches.)
(b) (1) The Secretary of Agriculture shall make any requests submitted by State agencies under subsection (a), the Secretary's approval or denial of such requests, and any guidance issued under subsection (a)(2) publicly available on the website of the Department of Agriculture.
(2) The Secretary of Agriculture shall post the information described in paragraph (1) on the website of the Department of Agriculture not later than 10 days after receipt or issuance of such information.
(c) The Secretary of Agriculture shall, within 18 months after the public health emergency declaration described in subsection (a) is lifted, submit a report to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees with a description of the measures taken to address the food security needs of affected populations during the emergency, any information or data supporting State agency requests, any additional measures that States requested that were not approved, and recommendations for changes to the Secretary's authority under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to assist the Secretary and States and localities in preparations for any future health emergencies.
SHORT TITLE
Sec. 1.
This Act may be cited as the ''COVID-19 Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2020''.
FINDINGS
Sec. 2.
Congress finds the following:
(1) The infectious disease COVID''19 presents a grave danger to health care workers who are the first line of defense of the United States against this epidemic.
(2) Hundreds of health care workers in the United States have been infected or quarantined due to exposure to patients with COVID''19. Surveys conducted by health care worker unions and others have found that many health care facilities are inadequately prepared to safely protect health care workers who are exposed to the virus.
(3) Inadequate infection control precautions have a detrimental impact on health care workers, patients and the public, and if there is breakdown in health care worker protections, the nation's public health system is placed at risk.
(4) The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (hereinafter referred to as ''SARS'') epidemic of 2003 and 2004 in Canada, which involved a coronavirus, resulted in a disproportionately large number of infections of both health care workers and patients in Ontario, Canada, hospitals due to insufficient infection control procedures involving SARS.
(5) The Occupational Safety and Health Administration began rulemaking on a standard to protect health care workers from airborne and other infectious diseases in 2009. In 2017, the Trump Administration suspended work on this rulemaking, removing it from the active Regulatory Agenda.
(6) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a document entitled, ''2007 Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings'' in July, 2007. However, the guideline in such document is not binding.
(7) Absent an enforceable standard, employers lack mandatory requirements to implement an effective and ongoing infection and exposure control program that provides protection to health care workers from COVID''19.
(8) Section 6(c)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act authorizes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an ''Emergency Temporary Standard'' if employees are exposed to grave danger from harmful agents or new hazards and if an emergency standard is necessary to protect employees from such danger. The widespread outbreak of COVID''19 clearly satisfies these two conditions.
(9) The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has received two petitions in March 2020 calling on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to protect workers from COVID''19.
(10) An Emergency Temporary Standard is necessary to ensure the immediate protection of workers in health care workplaces and other high-risk workplaces identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from infection related to COVID''19.
TITLE I '-- COVID''19 EMERGENCY TEMPORARY STANDARD
COVID''19 EMERGENCY TEMPORARY STANDARD
Sec. 101.
(a) Emergency temporary standard .'--Pursuant to section 6(c)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 655(c)(1)), not later than 1 month after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Labor shall promulgate an emergency temporary standard to protect from occupational exposure to SARS''CoV''2'--
(1) employees of health care sector employers; and
(2) employees in other sectors whom the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration identifies as having elevated risk.
(b) Permanent standard .'--Upon publication of the emergency standard under subsection (a), the Secretary of Labor shall commence a proceeding to promulgate a standard under section 6(c)(3) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 655(c)(3)) with respect to such emergency temporary standard.
(c) Requirements .'--Each standard promulgated under this section shall'--
(1) require the employers of the employees described in subsection (a) to develop and implement a comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plan; and
(2) at a minimum, be based on the precautions for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the ''2007 Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings'' of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and any subsequent updates; and
(3) provide no less protection for novel pathogens than precautions mandated by standards adopted by a State plan that has been approved by the Secretary of Labor under section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 667).
TITLE II '-- AMENDMENTS TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT
APPLICATION OF COVID''19 EMERGENCY TEMPORARY STANDARD TO CERTAIN FACILITIES RECEIVING MEDICARE FUNDS
Sec. 201.
(a) In general .'--Section 1866 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395cc) is amended'--
(1) in subsection (a)(1)'--
(A) in subparagraph (X), by striking ''and'' at the end;
(B) in subparagraph (Y), by striking the period at the end and inserting ''; and''; and
(C) by inserting after subparagraph (Y) the following new subparagraph:
''(Z) in the case of hospitals that are not otherwise subject to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (or a State occupational safety and health plan that is approved under section 18(b) of such Act) and skilled nursing facilities that are not otherwise subject to such Act (or such a State occupational safety and health plan), to comply with the standards promulgated under section 101 of the Covid''19 Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2020.''; and
(2) in subsection (b)(4)'--
(A) in subparagraph (A), by inserting ''and a hospital or skilled nursing facility that fails to comply with the requirement of subsection (a)(1)(Z) (relating to the standards promulgated under section 101 of the Covid''19 Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2020)'' after ''Bloodborne Pathogens Standard)''; and
(B) in subparagraph (B)'--
(i) by striking ''(a)(1)(U)'' and inserting ''(a)(1)(V)''; and
(ii) by inserting ''(or, in the case of a failure to comply with the requirement of subsection (a)(1)(Z), for a violation of the standards referred to in such subsection by a hospital or skilled nursing facility, as applicable, that is subject to the provisions of such Act)'' before the period at the end.
(b) Effective date .'--The amendments made by subsection (a) shall apply beginning on the date that is 1 month after the date of promulgation of the emergency temporary standard under section 101 of the COVID''19 Health Care Worker Protection Act of 2020.
SEC. 101. Short title .
This division may be cited as the ''Emergency Paid Leave Act of 2020''.
SEC. 102. Emergency paid leave benefits .
The Social Security Act is amended by inserting after title V the following:
''TITLE VI '-- Emergency Paid Leave Benefits
''SEC. 601. Definitions .
''In this title, the following definitions apply:
''(1) E MERGENCY LEAVE DAY.'--
''(A) I N GENERAL.'--The term 'emergency leave day' means, with respect to an individual, a calendar day in which the individual is not able to engage in employment due to any of the following reasons:
''(i) The individual has a current diagnosis of COVID''19.
''(ii) The individual is under quarantine (including self-imposed quarantine), at the instruction of a health care provider, employer, or a local, State, or Federal official, in order to prevent the spread of COVID''19.
''(iii) The individual is engaged in caregiving for an individual who has a current diagnosis of COVID''19 or is under quarantine as described in clause (ii).
''(iv) The individual is engaged in caregiving, because of the COVID''19-related closing of a school or other care facility or care program, for a child or other individual unable to provide self-care.
''(B) L IMITATION.'--No calendar day may be treated as an emergency leave day with respect to an individual if the individual'--
''(i) received any form of compensation from an employer (other than State or private paid leave), including wages or any form of accrued paid leave, for such day; or
''(ii) was eligible for unemployment compensation for the week in which such day occurs.
''(2) C OMMISSIONER.'--The term 'Commissioner' means the Commissioner of Social Security.
''(3) E LIGIBLE INDIVIDUAL.'--The term 'eligible individual' means an individual who had wages or self-employment income during the 30-day period ending on the first emergency leave day with respect to such individual.
''(4) S ELF-EMPLOYMENT INCOME.'--The term 'self-employment income' has the meaning given the term in section 1402(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 for purposes of the taxes imposed by section 1401(b) of such Code.
''(5) S TATE.'--The term 'State' means any State of the United States or the District of Columbia or any territory or possession of the United States.
''(6) S TATE OR PRIVATE PAID LEAVE.'--The term 'State or private paid leave' means a benefit which provides full or partial wage replacement to employees on the basis of specifically defined qualifying events described in section 102 of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 or defined by a written employer policy or State law and which ends either when the qualifying event is no longer applicable or a set period of benefits is exhausted.
''(7) U NEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION.'--The term unemployment compensation means'--
''(A) 'regular compensation', 'extended compensation', and 'additional compensation' (as such terms are defined by section 205 of the Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act (26 U.S.C. 3304 note)); and
''(B) assistance under section 410 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5177).
''(8) W AGES.'--The term 'wages' has the meaning given such term in section 3121(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 for purposes of the taxes imposed by sections 3101(b) and 3111(b) of such Code.
''SEC. 602. Emergency paid leave benefits .
''(a) In general .'--The Commissioner shall pay an emergency paid leave benefit, to be paid electronically or, if necessary, by mail, to each eligible individual for each 30-day period beginning and ending in the benefit period (not to exceed 3) for which the eligible individual has filed an application containing such certifications as required under subsection (e).
''(b) Benefit amount .'--
''(1) I N GENERAL.'--Subject to paragraph (2), the amount of the emergency paid leave benefit to which an individual is entitled under subsection (a) for a 30-day period shall be an amount (not to exceed $4,000) equal to 2/3 of the individual's average monthly earnings.
''(2) R EDUCTION BASED ON RECEIPT OF STATE OR PRIVATE PAID LEAVE.'--The amount of an emergency paid leave benefit to which an individual is entitled under subsection (a) for a 30-day period shall be reduced by $1 for each dollar of State or private paid leave received by the individual for such period.
''(3) A VERAGE MONTHLY EARNINGS.'--For purposes of this subsection, an individual's average monthly earnings shall be equal to the quotient obtained by dividing'--
''(A) the total of the wages and self-employment income received by the individual during the most recent calendar year preceding an application for an emergency paid leave benefit under this section for which data is available to the Commissioner; by
''(B) 12.
''(c) Benefit period .'--For purposes of this section, the benefit period begins on January 19, 2020, and ends on the date that is 1 year after the date of enactment of this title.
''(d) Retroactive benefits .'--An application for benefits for any month beginning and ending in the benefit period may be filed at any time prior to the date that is 180 days after the end of such benefit period.
''(e) Application .'--
''(1) I N GENERAL.'--An application for an emergency paid leave benefit under this section for a 30-day period shall include'--
''(A) an attestation by the individual'--
''(i) that he or she is an eligible individual;
''(ii) that at least 14 emergency leave days with respect to the individual occurred, or are expected to occur, during such period; and
''(iii) that the individual has informed his or her employer of the individual's need to take emergency leave, if the individual has an employer.
''(2) A VAILABILITY.'--The Commissioner shall accept applications online, by telephone, and by mail.
''(3) A UTHENTICATION OF IDENTITY.'--The Commissioner is authorized to take such steps as are necessary to authenticate the identity of applicants.
''(4) P ENALTIES FOR FRAUD.'--Any fraud or misrepresentation relating to an application for benefits under this title shall be treated as a violation of section 208.
''(f) Ineligibility based on fraud and criminal activity .'--
''(1) I NELIGIBILITY FOLLOWING CERTAIN CONVICTIONS.'--An individual who has been convicted of a violation under section 208 or who has been found to have used false statements to secure benefits under this section shall be ineligible for benefits under this section.
''(2) I NELIGIBILITY OF PRISONERS.'--An individual shall be ineligible for a benefit under this section for any 30-day period with respect to which the individual is an individual described in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) of section 202(x)(1)(A).
''(g) Review of eligibility and benefit payment determinations .'--
''(1) B URDEN OF PROOF.'--An application for benefits under this section shall be presumed to be true and accurate, unless the Commissioner demonstrates by a preponderance of the evidence that information contained in the application is false.
''(2) R EVIEW.'--
''(A) I N GENERAL.'--An individual may request review of an adverse determination with respect to such application or of a benefit payment determination and shall have the same appeals rights as provided under title II.
''(B) F INAL DETERMINATIONS.'--All final determinations of the Commissioner under this subsection shall be reviewable according to the procedures set out in section 205.
''(3) P ROGRAM INTEGRITY.'--The Commissioner shall have the authority to conduct random sample audits of benefits provided under this title to ensure compliance with the eligibility requirements for such benefits.
''(h) Protection of existing benefit rights .'--
''(1) I N GENERAL.'--This title does not preempt or supercede any provision of State or local law that authorizes a State or local municipality to provide paid leave benefits similar to the benefits provided under this title.
''(2) G REATER BENEFITS ALLOWED.'--Nothing in this title shall be construed to diminish the obligation of an employer to comply with any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or any employment benefit program or plan that provides greater paid leave or other leave rights to employees than the rights established under this title.
''(i) Reimbursement grants to States .'--Not later than July 1, 2021, the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Commissioner of Social Security, shall make a grant to each State in an amount equal to the total amount, for all 30-day periods beginning and ending in the benefit period, by which benefits under this title were reduced under subsection (b)(2) as a result of State and private paid leave paid by such State or under the law of such State.
''(j) Applicability of certain title II provisions .'--The provisions of sections 204, 205, 206, and 208 shall apply to benefit payments made under this section in the same way that such provisions apply to benefit payments made under title II.
''(k) No effect on eligibility for SSI .'--Any benefit paid to an individual under this title shall not be regarded as income or resources for any month, for purposes of determining the eligibility of the recipient (or the recipient's spouse or family) for benefits or assistance, or the amount or extent of benefits or assistance, under the Supplemental Security Income program.
''SEC. 603. Funding and expedited implementation authority .
''(a) Funding .'--There are appropriated such sums as necessary to the Commissioner of Social Security to administer and pay benefits under the program established under this title, and to the Secretary of the Treasury for reimbursement grants under section 602(i).
''(b) Expedited implementation authority .'--In order to expedite the implementation of the emergency paid leave program under this title, the Commissioner is authorized to waive existing Federal requirements regarding paperwork reduction, system of records notices, contracting and acquisitions, and hiring.
''(c) Protection of existing employee rights .'--This title does not preempt or supersede existing collective bargaining agreements.
''SEC. 604. Protection of Social Security trust funds .
''No funds from the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund or the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, or appropriated to the Social Security Administration for the administration of titles II or XVI, may be used for any purpose under this title.
''SEC. 605. Taxation of emergency leave benefits .
''No amount received by an individual under this title shall be included in gross income for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.''.
SEC. 103. AMENDMENTS TO THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT OF 1993 .
(a) Public health emergency leave .'--Section 102(a)(1) of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (29 U.S.C. 2612(a)(1)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
''(F) During the 2-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of the Emergency Paid Leave Act of 2020, because of a qualifying need related to a public health emergency in accordance with section 110.''.
(b) Requirements .'--Title I of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (29 U.S.C. 2611 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:
''SEC. 110. Public health emergency leave .
''(a) Definitions .'--The following shall apply with respect to leave under section 102(a)(1)(F):
''(1) A PPLICATION OF CERTAIN TERMS.'--The definitions in section 101 shall apply, except as follows:
''(A) E LIGIBLE EMPLOYEE.'--In lieu of the definition in section 101(4)(A), the term 'eligible employee' means an individual who has been employed for at least 30 days by the employer with respect to whom leave is requested under section 102(a)(1)(F).
''(B) E MPLOYER THRESHOLD.'--Section 101(4)(A)(i) shall be applied by substituting '1 or more employees' for '50 or more employees for each working day during each of 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year'.
''(C) H EALTH CARE PROVIDER.'--In section 101(6), the term 'health care provider' includes a nurse practitioner.
''(D) P ARENT.'--In lieu of the definition in section 101(7), the term 'parent', with respect to an employee, means any of the following:
''(i) A biological, foster, or adoptive parent of the employee.
''(ii) A stepparent of the employee.
''(iii) A parent-in-law of the employee.
''(iv) A parent of a domestic partner of the employee.
''(v) A legal guardian or other person who stood in loco parentis to an employee when the employee was a child.
''(2) A DDITIONAL DEFINITIONS.'--In addition to the definitions described in paragraph (1), the following definitions shall apply with respect to leave under section 102(a)(1)(F):
''(A) Q UALIFYING NEED RELATED TO A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY.'--The term 'qualifying need related to a public health emergency', with respect to leave, means that a public health emergency has been declared in a location that includes the employee's work (including the commuting route of the employee), residence, or community, and the employee has a need for leave for one of the following:
''(i) To comply with a recommendation or order by a health authority having jurisdiction or a health care provider on the basis that'--
''(I) the physical presence of the employee on the job would jeopardize the health of others because of'--
''(aa) the exposure of the employee to coronavirus; or
''(bb) exhibition of symptoms of coronavirus by the employee; and
''(II) the employee is unable to both perform the functions of the position of such employee and comply with such recommendation or order.
''(ii) To care for a family member of an eligible employee with respect to whom a health authority having jurisdiction or a health care provider makes a determination that the presence of the family member in the community would jeopardize the health of other individuals in the community because of'--
''(I) the exposure of such family member to coronavirus; or
''(II) exhibition of symptoms of coronavirus by such family member.
''(iii) To care for the son or daughter of such employee if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a public health emergency.
''(B) P UBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY.'--The term 'public health emergency' means an emergency with respect to coronavirus declared by a Federal, State, or local authority.
''(C) C HILD CARE PROVIDER.'--The term 'child care provider' means a provider who receives compensation for providing child care services on a regular basis, including an 'eligible child care provider' (as defined in section 658P of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 9858n)).
''(D) C ORONAVIRUS.'--The term 'coronavirus' has the meaning given the term in section 506 of the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020.
''(E) S CHOOL.'--The term 'school' means an 'elementary school' or 'secondary school' as such terms are defined in section 8101 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7801).
''(F) F AMILY.'--The term 'family member', with respect to an employee, means any of the following:
''(i) A parent of the employee.
''(ii) A spouse of the employee.
''(iii) A sibling of the employee.
''(iv) Next of kin of the employee or a person for whom the employee is next of kin.
''(v) A son or daughter of the employee.
''(vi) A grandparent or grandchild of the employee.
''(b) Leave taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule .'--
''(1) I N GENERAL.'--Subject to paragraph (2), leave taken under section 102(a)(1)(F) may not be taken intermittently or on a reduced work schedule.
''(2) C ARE FOR SON OR DAUGHTER.'--Paragraph (1) shall not apply with respect to leave taken for the purpose described in subsection (a)(2)(A)(iii) if the son or daughter of the employee with respect to whom the subsection applies has not been exposed to coronavirus.
''(c) Relationship to paid leave .'--
''(1) I N GENERAL.'--An employee may elect to substitute any of the accrued vacation leave, personal leave, or medical or sick leave for leave under section 102(a)(1)(F) in accordance with section 102(d)(2)(B).
''(2) E MPLOYER REQUIREMENT.'--An employer may not require an employee to substitute any leave as described in paragraph (1) for leave under section 102(a)(1)(F).
''(d) Notice .'--In any case where the necessity for leave under section 102(a)(1)(F) for the purpose described in subsection (a)(2)(A)(iii) is foreseeable, an employee shall provide the employer with such notice of leave as is practicable.
''(e) Certification .'--
''(1) I N GENERAL.'--An employer may require that a request for leave under section 102(a)(1)(F) be supported by documentation described in paragraph (2). An employer may not require such documentation until not later than 3 weeks after the date on which the employee takes such leave.
''(2) S UFFICIENT CERTIFICATION.'--The following documentation shall be sufficient certification:
''(A) With respect to leave taken for the purposes described in clause (i) or (ii) of subsection (a)(2)(A)'--
''(i) a recommendation or order from a health authority having jursidiction or a health care provider that the relevant individual has symptoms of coronavirus or should be quarantined; or
''(ii) documentation or evidence that the relevant individual has been exposed to coronavirus.
''(B) With respect to leave taken for the purposes described in clause (iii) of subsection (a)(2)(A), notice from the school, place of care, or child care provider of the son or daughter of the employee of closure or unavailability.
''(f) Restoration to position .'--
''(1) I N GENERAL.'--Section 104(a)(1) shall not apply with respect to an employee of an employer who employs fewer than 25 employees if the conditions described in paragraph (2) are met.
''(2) C ONDITIONS.'--The conditions described in this paragraph are the following:
''(A) The employee takes leave under section 102(a)(1)(F).
''(B) The position held by the employee when the leave commenced does not exist due to economic conditions or other changes in operating conditions of the employer'--
''(i) that affect employment; and
''(ii) are caused by a public health crisis during the period of leave.
''(C) The employer makes reasonable efforts to restore the employee to a position equivalent to the position the employee held when the leave commenced, with equivalent employment benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment.
''(D) If the reasonable efforts of the employer under subparagraph (C) fail, the employer makes reasonable efforts during the period described in paragraph (3) to contact the employee if an equivalent position described in subparagraph (C) becomes available.
''(3) C ONTACT PERIOD.'--The period described under this paragraph is the 1-year period beginning on the earlier of'--
''(A) the date on which the qualifying need related to a public health emergency concludes; or
''(B) the date that is 12 weeks after the date on which the employee's leave under section 102(a)(1)(F) commences.''.
SEC. 101. Short title .
This division may be cited as the ''Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020''.
SEC. 102. Emergency transfers for unemployment compensation administration .
(a) In general .'--Section 903 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1103) is amended by adding at the end the following:
''Emergency Transfers In Fiscal Year 2020 For Administration
''(h) (1) (A) In addition to any other amounts, the Secretary of Labor shall provide for the making of emergency administration grants in fiscal year 2020 to the accounts of the States in the Unemployment Trust Fund, by transfer from amounts reserved for that purpose in the Federal unemployment account, in accordance with succeeding provisions of this subsection.
''(B) The amount of an emergency administration grant with respect to a State shall, as determined by the Secretary of Labor, be equal to the amount obtained by multiplying $1,000,000,000 by the same ratio as would apply under subsection (a)(2)(B) for purposes of determining such State's share of any excess amount (as described in subsection (a)(1)) that would have been subject to transfer to State accounts, as of October 1, 2019, under the provisions of subsection (a).
''(C) Of the emergency administration grant determined under subparagraph (B) with respect to a State'--
''(i) not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this subsection, 50 percent shall be transferred to the account of such State upon a certification by the Secretary of Labor to the Secretary of the Treasury that the State meets the requirements of paragraph (2); and
''(ii) only with respect to a State in which the number of unemployment compensation claims has increased by at least 10 percent over the previous calendar year, the remainder shall be transferred to the account of such State upon a certification by the Secretary of Labor to the Secretary of the Treasury that the State meets the requirements of paragraph (3).
''(2) The requirements of this paragraph with respect to a State are the following:
''(A) The State requires employers to provide notification of the availability of unemployment compensation to employees at the time of separation from employment. Such notification may be based on model language issued by the Secretary of Labor.
''(B) The State ensures that applications for unemployment compensation, and assistance with the application process, are accessible in at least two of the following: in-person, by phone, or online.
''(C) The State notifies applicants when an application is received and is being processed, and in any case in which an application is unable to be processed, provides information about steps the applicant can take to ensure the successful processing of the application.
''(3) The requirements of this paragraph with respect to a State are the following:
''(A) The State has expressed its commitment to maintain and strengthen access to the unemployment compensation system, including through initial and continued claims.
''(B) The State has demonstrated steps it has taken or will take to ease eligibility requirements and access to unemployment compensation for claimants, including waiving work search requirements and the waiting week, and directly or indirectly relieving benefit charges for claimants and employers directly impacted by COVID''19 due to an illness in the workplace or direction from a public health official to isolate or quarantine workers.
''(4) Any amount transferred to the account of a State under this subsection may be used by such State only for the administration of its unemployment compensation law, including by taking such steps as may be necessary to ensure adequate resources in periods of high demand.
''(5) Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020, each State receiving emergency administration grant funding under paragraph (1)(C)(i) shall submit to the Secretary of Labor, the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Finance of the Senate, a report that includes'--
''(A) an analysis of the recipiency rate for unemployment compensation in the State as such rate has changed over time;
''(B) a description of steps the State intends to take to increase such recipiency rate.
''(6) (A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of the Treasury shall transfer from the general fund of the Treasury (from funds not otherwise appropriated) to the employment security administration account (as established by section 901 of the Social Security Act) such sums as the Secretary of Labor estimates to be necessary for purposes of making the transfers described in paragraph (1)(C).
''(B) There are appropriated from the general fund of the Treasury, without fiscal year limitation, the sums referred to in the preceding sentence and such sums shall not be required to be repaid.''.
(b) Emergency flexibility .'--Notwithstanding any other law, if a State modifies its unemployment compensation law and policies (including with respect to work search, waiting week, good cause, and employer experience rating) on an emergency temporary basis as needed to respond to the spread of COVID''19, such modifications shall be disregarded for the purposes of applying section 303 of the Social Security Act and section 3304 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to such State law.
(c) Regulations .'--The Secretary of Labor may prescribe any regulations, operating instructions, or other guidance necessary to carry out the amendment made by subsection (a).
SEC. 103. Temporary assistance for States with advances .
Section 1202(b)(10)(A) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1322(b)(10)(A)) is amended by striking ''beginning on the date of enactment of this paragraph and ending on December 31, 2010'' and inserting ''beginning on the date of enactment of the Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020 and ending on December 31, 2020''.
SEC. 104. Technical assistance and guidance for short-time compensation programs .
The Secretary of Labor shall assist States in establishing, implementing, and improving the employer awareness of short-time compensation programs (as defined in section 3306(v) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) to help avert layoffs, including by providing technical assistance and guidance.
SEC. 105. Full federal funding of extended unemployment compensation for a limited period .
(a) In general .'--In the case of sharable extended compensation and sharable regular compensation paid for weeks of unemployment beginning after the date of the enactment of this section and before December 31, 2020 (and only with respect to States that receive emergency administration grant funding under clauses (i) and (ii) of section 903(h)(1)(C) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1102(h)(1)(C))), section 204(a)(1) of the Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1970 (26 U.S.C. 3304 note) shall be applied by substituting ''100 percent of'' for ''one-half of''.
(b) Temporary federal matching for the first week of extended benefits for states with no waiting week .'--With respect to weeks of unemployment beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act and ending on or before December 31, 2020, subparagraph (B) of section 204(a)(2) of the Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1970 (26 U.S.C. 3304 note) shall not apply.
(c) Definitions .'--For purposes of this section'--
(1) the terms ''sharable extended compensation'' and ''sharable regular compensation'' have the respective meanings given such terms under section 204 of the Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1970; and
(2) the term ''week'' has the meaning given such term under section 205 of the Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1970.
(d) Regulations .'--The Secretary of Labor may prescribe any operating instructions or regulations necessary to carry out this section.
SHORT TITLE
Sec. 101.
This division may be cited as the ''Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal and Family Care Act''.
DEFINITIONS
Sec. 102.
In this Act:
(1) C HILD.'--The term ''child'' means a biological, foster, or adopted child, a stepchild, a child of a domestic partner, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis.
(2) D OMESTIC PARTNER.'--
(A) I N GENERAL.'--The term ''domestic partner'', with respect to an individual, means another individual with whom the individual is in a committed relationship.
(B) C OMMITTED RELATIONSHIP DEFINED.'--The term ''committed relationship'' means a relationship between 2 individuals, each at least 18 years of age, in which each individual is the other individual's sole domestic partner and both individuals share responsibility for a significant measure of each other's common welfare. The term includes any such relationship between 2 individuals, including individuals of the same sex, that is granted legal recognition by a State or political subdivision of a State as a marriage or analogous relationship, including a civil union or domestic partnership.
(3) D OMESTIC VIOLENCE.'--The term ''domestic violence'' has the meaning given the term in section 40002(a) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (34 U.S.C. 12291(a)), except that the reference in such section to the term ''jurisdiction receiving grant monies'' shall be deemed to mean the jurisdiction in which the victim lives or the jurisdiction in which the employer involved is located. Such term also includes dating violence, as that term is defined in such section.
(4) E MPLOYEE.'--The term ''employee'' means an individual who is'--
(A) (i) an employee, as defined in section 3(e) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 203(e)), who is not covered under subparagraph (E), including such an employee of the Library of Congress, except that a reference in such section to an employer shall be considered to be a reference to an employer described in clauses (i)(I) and (ii) of paragraph (5)(A); or
(ii) an employee of the Government Accountability Office;
(B) a State employee described in section 304(a) of the Government Employee Rights Act of 1991 (42 U.S.C. 2000e''16c(a));
(C) a covered employee, as defined in section 101 of the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1301), other than an applicant for employment;
(D) a covered employee, as defined in section 411(c) of title 3, United States Code; or
(E) a Federal officer or employee covered under subchapter V of chapter 63 of title 5, United States Code.
(5) E MPLOYER.'--
(A) I N GENERAL.'--The term ''employer'' means a person who is'--
(i) (I) a covered employer, as defined in subparagraph (B), who is not covered under subclause (V);
(II) an entity employing a State employee described in section 304(a) of the Government Employee Rights Act of 1991;
(III) an employing office, as defined in section 101 of the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995;
(IV) an employing office, as defined in section 411(c) of title 3, United States Code; or
(V) an employing agency covered under subchapter V of chapter 63 of title 5, United States Code; and
(ii) engaged in commerce (including government), or an industry or activity affecting commerce (including government), as defined in subparagraph (B)(iii).
(B) C OVERED EMPLOYER.'--
(i) I N GENERAL.'--In subparagraph (A)(i)(I), the term ''covered employer'''--
(I) means any person engaged in commerce or in any industry or activity affecting commerce who employs 1 or more employees;
(II) includes'--
(aa) any person who acts, directly or indirectly, in the interest of an employer to any of the employees of such employer; and
(bb) any successor in interest of an employer;
(III) includes any ''public agency'', as defined in section 3(x) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 203(x)); and
(IV) includes the Government Accountability Office and the Library of Congress.
(ii) P UBLIC AGENCY.'--For purposes of clause (i)(IV), a public agency shall be considered to be a person engaged in commerce or in an industry or activity affecting commerce.
(iii) D EFINITIONS.'--For purposes of this subparagraph:
(I) C OMMERCE.'--The terms ''commerce'' and ''industry or activity affecting commerce'' mean any activity, business, or industry in commerce or in which a labor dispute would hinder or obstruct commerce or the free flow of commerce, and include ''commerce'' and any ''industry affecting commerce'', as defined in paragraphs (1) and (3) of section 501 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (29 U.S.C. 142 (1) and (3)).
(II) E MPLOYEE.'--The term ''employee'' has the same meaning given such term in section 3(e) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 203(e)).
(III) P ERSON.'--The term ''person'' has the same meaning given such term in section 3(a) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 203(a)).
(C) P REDECESSORS.'--Any reference in this paragraph to an employer shall include a reference to any predecessor of such employer.
(6) E MPLOYMENT BENEFITS.'--The term ''employment benefits'' means all benefits provided or made available to employees by an employer, including group life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, sick leave, annual leave, educational benefits, and pensions, regardless of whether such benefits are provided by a practice or written policy of an employer or through an ''employee benefit plan'', as defined in section 3(3) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 1002(3)).
(7) H EALTH CARE PROVIDER.'--The term ''health care provider'' means a provider who'--
(A) (i) is a doctor of medicine or osteopathy who is authorized to practice medicine or surgery (as appropriate) by the State in which the doctor practices; or
(ii) is any other person determined by the Secretary to be capable of providing health care services; and
(B) is not employed by an employer for whom the provider issues certification under this Act.
(8) P AID SICK TIME.'--The term ''paid sick time'' means an increment of compensated leave that'--
(A) can be'--
(i) earned by an employee for use during an absence from employment for a reason described in any paragraph of section 3(b); or
(ii) provided by an employer during a public health emergency for use during an absence from employment for a reason described in any paragraph of section 3(b); and
(B) is compensated at a rate that is not less than the greatest of'--
(i) the employee's regular rate of pay;
(ii) the minimum wage rate provided for in section 6(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206(a)(1)); or
(iii) the minimum wage rate provided for in the applicable State or local law for the State or locality in which the employee is employed.
(9) P ARENT.'--The term ''parent'' means a biological, foster, or adoptive parent of an employee, a stepparent of an employee, parent-in-law, parent of a domestic partner, or a legal guardian or other person who stood in loco parentis to an employee when the employee was a child.
(10) P UBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY.'--The term ''public health emergency'' means a public health emergency'--
(A) declared by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for a jurisdiction, or by a State public health official with authority to declare such an emergency for the State or jurisdiction within the State; and
(B) due to a public health condition that is'--
(i) emergent and acute; and
(ii) not a longstanding, chronic public health condition.
(11) S ECRETARY.'--The term ''Secretary'' means the Secretary of Labor.
(12) S EXUAL ASSAULT.'--The term ''sexual assault'' has the meaning given the term in section 40002(a) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (34 U.S.C. 12291(a)).
(13) S POUSE.'--The term ''spouse'', with respect to an employee, has the meaning given such term by the marriage laws of the State in which the marriage was celebrated.
(14) S TALKING.'--The term ''stalking'' has the meaning given the term in section 40002(a) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (34 U.S.C. 12291(a)).
(15) S TATE.'--The term ''State'' has the meaning given the term in section 3 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 203).
(16) V ICTIM SERVICES ORGANIZATION.'--The term ''victim services organization'' means a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that provides assistance to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking or advocates for such victims, including a rape crisis center, an organization carrying out a domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking prevention or treatment program, an organization operating a shelter or providing counseling services, or a legal services organization or other organization providing assistance through the legal process.
PAID SICK TIME
Sec. 103.
(a) Earning of paid sick time .'--
(1) I N GENERAL.'--
(A) E ARNING.'--Subject to subsection (c) and paragraph (2), an employer shall provide each employee employed by the employer not less than 1 hour of earned paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, to be used as described in subsection (b).
(B) L IMIT.'--An employer shall not be required to permit an employee to earn, under this subsection, more than 56 hours of paid sick time in a year, unless the employer chooses to set a higher limit.
(2) E XEMPT EMPLOYEES.'--
(A) I N GENERAL.'--Except as provided in paragraph (3), for purposes of this subsection, an employee who is exempt from overtime requirements under section 13(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 213(a)(1)) shall be assumed to work 40 hours in each workweek.
(B) S HORTER NORMAL WORKWEEK.'--If the normal workweek of such an employee is less than 40 hours, the employee shall earn paid sick time under this subsection based upon that normal workweek.
(3) D ATES FOR BEGINNING TO EARN PAID SICK TIME AND USE.'--
(A) I N GENERAL.'--Employees shall begin to earn paid sick time under this subsection at the commencement of their employment. An employee shall be entitled to use the earned paid sick time beginning on the 60th calendar day following commencement of the employee's employment. After that 60th calendar day, the employee may use the paid sick time as the time is earned. An employer may, at the discretion of the employer, loan paid sick time to an employee for use by such employee in advance of the employee earning such sick time as provided in this subsection and may permit use before the 60th day of employment.
(B) P UBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY.'--Subparagraph (A) shall not apply with respect to additional paid sick time provided under subsection (c). In the event of a public health emergency, an employee may immediately use the additional or accrued paid sick time described in subsection (c), regardless of how long the employee has been employed by an employer.
(4) C ARRYOVER.'--
(A) I N GENERAL.'--Except as provided in subparagraph (B), paid sick time earned under this subsection shall carry over from 1 year to the next.
(B) C ONSTRUCTION.'--This subsection shall not be construed to require an employer to permit an employee to earn more than 56 hours of earned paid sick time at a given time.
(5) E MPLOYERS WITH EXISTING POLICIES.'--Any employer with a paid leave policy who makes available an amount of paid leave that is sufficient to meet the requirements of this subsection and that may be used for the same purposes and under the same conditions as the purposes and conditions outlined in subsection (b) shall not be required to permit an employee to earn more paid sick time under this subsection.
(6) C ONSTRUCTION.'--Nothing in this section shall be construed as requiring financial or other reimbursement to an employee from an employer upon the employee's termination, resignation, retirement, or other separation from employment for earned paid sick time that has not been used.
(7) E MPLOYMENT UNDER MULTIEMPLOYER BARGAINING AGREEMENTS.'--
(A) An employer signatory to a multiemployer collective bargaining agreement may fulfill its obligations under this Act by making contributions to a multiemployer fund, plan or program based on the hours each of its employees accrues pursuant to this subsection (a) while working under the multiemployer collective bargaining agreement, provided that the fund, plan or program enables employees to secure pay from such fund, plan or program based on hours they have worked under the multiemployer collective bargaining agreement and for the uses specified under subsections (b)(1), (2), (6) and (7).
(B) Employees who work under a multiemployer collective bargaining agreement into which their employers make contributions as provided in subparagraph (A) may secure pay from such fund, plan or program based on hours they have worked under the multiemployer collective bargaining agreement for the uses specified under subsections (b)(1), (2), (6) and (7).
(8) R EINSTATEMENT.'--If an employee is separated from employment with an employer and is rehired, within 12 months after that separation, by the same employer, the employer shall reinstate the employee's previously earned paid sick time under this subsection. The employee shall be entitled to use the earned paid sick time and earn more paid sick time at the recommencement of employment with the employer.
(9) P ROHIBITION.'--An employer may not require, as a condition of providing paid sick time under this Act, that the employee involved search for or find a replacement employee to cover the hours during which the employee is using paid sick time.
(10) S CHEDULING.'--An employee shall make a reasonable effort to schedule a period of accrued paid sick time under this subsection in a manner that does not unduly disrupt the operations of the employer.
(b) Uses .'--Paid sick time under this section may be used by an employee for any of the following:
(1) An absence resulting from a physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition of the employee.
(2) An absence resulting from obtaining professional medical diagnosis or care, or preventive medical care, for the employee.
(3) An absence resulting from the closure of an employee's place of employment by order of a Federal or State public official with jurisdiction, or at the employer's discretion, due to a public health emergency.
(4) An absence because a Federal or State public official with jurisdiction or a health care provider has determined that the employee's presence in the community may jeopardize the health of others because of the employee's exposure to a communicable disease during a public health emergency, regardless of whether the employee has actually contracted the communicable disease.
(5) An absence for the purpose of caring for a child, a parent, a spouse, a domestic partner, or any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship'--
(A) who is a child, if the child's school or place of care has been closed by order of a Federal or State public official with jurisdiction or at the discretion of the school or place of care due to a public health emergency, including if a school or entity operating the place of care is physically closed but is providing education or care to the child remotely; or
(B) because a Federal or State public official with jurisdiction or a health care provider has determined that the presence in the community of the person receiving care may jeopardize the health of others because of the person's exposure to a communicable disease during a public health emergency, regardless of whether the person has actually contracted the communicable disease.
(6) An absence for the purpose of caring for a child, a parent, a spouse, a domestic partner, or any other individual related by blood or affinity whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship'--
(A) who has any of the conditions or needs for diagnosis or care described in paragraph (1) or (2);
(B) who is a child, if the employee is required to attend a school meeting or a meeting at a place where the child is receiving care necessitated by the child's health condition or disability; or
(C) who is otherwise in need of care.
(7) An absence resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, if the time is to'--
(A) seek medical attention for the employee or the employee's child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or an individual related to the employee as described in paragraph (6), to recover from physical or psychological injury or disability caused by domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
(B) obtain or assist a related person described in paragraph (6) in obtaining services from a victim services organization;
(C) obtain or assist a related person described in paragraph (6) in obtaining psychological or other counseling;
(D) seek relocation; or
(E) take legal action, including preparing for or participating in any civil or criminal legal proceeding related to or resulting from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
(c) Additional paid sick time for public health emergency .'--
(1) A DDITIONAL PAID SICK TIME.'--On the date of a declaration of a public health emergency, an employer in the jurisdiction involved shall provide each employee of the employer in that jurisdiction with additional paid sick time, in addition to any amount of paid sick time accrued by the employee under subsection (a) (including paid leave referred to in subsection (a)(4)).
(2) A MOUNT OF PAID SICK TIME.'--In receiving additional paid sick time under paragraph (1), the employee shall receive'--
(A) for a full-time salaried employee, a specified amount of paid sick time that is sufficient to provide the employee with 14 continuous days away from work without a reduction in pay; and
(B) for a part-time or hourly employee, a specified amount of paid sick time equal to the number of hours that the employee was scheduled to work or, if not so scheduled, regularly works in a 14-day period.
(3) U SE OF LEAVE.'--The additional sick time and accrued sick time described in this subsection shall be available for immediate use by the employee for the purposes described in any paragraph of subsection (b) beginning on the date a public health emergency is declared, regardless of how long the employee has been employed by an employer.
(4) S EQUENCING.'--During the public health emergency, an employee may first use the additional sick time for those purposes. The employee may then use the accrued sick time during the public health emergency, or retain the accrued sick time for use after the public health emergency. An employer may not require an employee to use the accrued sick time, or any other paid leave provided by the employer to the employee, before using the additional sick time.
(5) P ERIODS.'--An employee may take the additional sick time on the schedule that meets the employee's needs, consistent with subsection (b), including taking the additional sick time intermittently or on a reduced leave schedule, and an employer may not require an employee to take the additional sick time in a single period or on any other schedule specified by the employer.
(6) R EIMBURSEMENT FOR WAGES.'--
(A) D EFINITION.'--In this paragraph, the term ''qualified employer'' means an employer who employs 50 or fewer employees.
(B) R EIMBURSEMENT.'--A qualified employer of an employee who uses additional paid sick time under this subsection during a public health emergency shall be reimbursed by the Secretary of the Treasury for the wages paid to the employee for the period during which the employee used the additional paid sick time.
(C) P ROCESS.'--To be eligible to receive such reimbursement, the qualified employer shall submit to the Secretary of Labor an affidavit that attests that the employer provided such additional paid sick time, and related records showing the period of and wages associated with the additional paid sick time. On the Secretary's determination that the employer provided an amount of such additional paid sick time to an employee, the Secretary shall transmit the affidavit and records to the Secretary of the Treasury, and that Secretary shall provide timely reimbursement.
(d) Procedures .'--
(1) I N GENERAL.'--Paid sick time shall be provided upon the oral or written request of an employee. Such request shall'--
(A) include the expected duration of the period of such time;
(B) in a case in which the need for such period of time is foreseeable at least 7 days in advance of such period, be provided at least 7 days in advance of such period; and
(C) otherwise, be provided as soon as practicable after the employee is aware of the need for such period.
(2) C ERTIFICATION IN GENERAL.'--
(A) P ROVISION.'--
(i) I N GENERAL.'--Subject to subparagraphs (C) and (D), an employer may require that a request for paid sick time under this section for a purpose described in paragraph (1), (2), or (6) of subsection (b) be supported by a certification issued by the health care provider of the eligible employee or of an individual described in subsection (b)(6), as appropriate, if the period of such time covers more than 3 consecutive workdays.
(ii) T IMELINESS.'--The employee shall provide a copy of such certification to the employer in a timely manner, not later than 30 days after the first day of the period of time. The employer shall not delay the commencement of the period of time on the basis that the employer has not yet received the certification.
(B) S UFFICIENT CERTIFICATION.'--
(i) I N GENERAL.'--A certification provided under subparagraph (A) shall be sufficient if it states'--
(I) the date on which the period of time will be needed;
(II) the probable duration of the period of time;
(III) the appropriate medical facts within the knowledge of the health care provider regarding the condition involved, subject to clause (ii); and
(IV) (aa) for purposes of paid sick time under subsection (b)(1), a statement that absence from work is medically necessary;
(bb) for purposes of such time under subsection (b)(2), the dates on which testing for a medical diagnosis or care is expected to be given and the duration of such testing or care; and
(cc) for purposes of such time under subsection (b)(6), in the case of time to care for someone who is not a child, a statement that care is needed for an individual described in such subsection, and an estimate of the amount of time that such care is needed for such individual.
(ii) L IMITATION.'--In issuing a certification under subparagraph (A), a health care provider shall make reasonable efforts to limit the medical facts described in clause (i)(III) that are disclosed in the certification to the minimum necessary to establish a need for the employee to utilize paid sick time.
(C) P UBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCIES.'--No certification or other documentation may be required under this Act by an employer during any public health emergency.
(D) R EGULATIONS.'--Regulations prescribed under section 12 shall specify the manner in which an employee who does not have health insurance shall provide a certification for purposes of this paragraph.
(E) C ONFIDENTIALITY AND NONDISCLOSURE.'--
(i) P ROTECTED HEALTH INFORMATION.'--Nothing in this Act shall be construed to require a health care provider to disclose information in violation of section 1177 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d''6) or the regulations promulgated pursuant to section 264(c) of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C. 1320d''2 note).
(ii) H EALTH INFORMATION RECORDS.'--If an employer possesses health information about an employee or an employee's child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or an individual related to the employee as described in subsection (b)(6), such information shall'--
(I) be maintained on a separate form and in a separate file from other personnel information;
(II) be treated as a confidential medical record; and
(III) not be disclosed except to the affected employee or with the permission of the affected employee.
(3) C ERTIFICATION IN THE CASE OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, OR STALKING.'--
(A) I N GENERAL.'--An employer may require that a request for paid sick time under this section for a purpose described in subsection (b)(7) be supported by any one of the following forms of documentation, but the employer may not specify the particular form of documentation to be provided:
(i) A police report indicating that the employee, or a member of the employee's family described in subsection (b)(7), was a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
(ii) A court order protecting or separating the employee or a member of the employee's family described in subsection (b)(7) from the perpetrator of an act of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or other evidence from the court or prosecuting attorney that the employee or a member of the employee's family described in subsection (b)(7) has appeared in court or is scheduled to appear in court in a proceeding related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
(iii) Other documentation signed by an employee or volunteer working for a victim services organization, an attorney, a police officer, a medical professional, a social worker, an antiviolence counselor, or a member of the clergy, affirming that the employee or a member of the employee's family described in subsection (b)(7) is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
(B) R EQUIREMENTS.'--The requirements of paragraph (2) shall apply to certifications under this paragraph, except that'--
(i) subclauses (III) and (IV) of subparagraph (B)(i) and subparagraph (B)(ii) of such paragraph shall not apply;
(ii) the certification shall state the reason that the leave is required with the facts to be disclosed limited to the minimum necessary to establish a need for the employee to be absent from work, and the employee shall not be required to explain the details of the domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking involved; and
(iii) with respect to confidentiality under subparagraph (E) of such paragraph, any information provided to the employer under this paragraph shall be confidential, except to the extent that any disclosure of such information is'--
(I) requested or consented to in writing by the employee; or
(II) otherwise required by applicable Federal or State law.
NOTICE REQUIREMENT
Sec. 104.
(a) In general .'--Each employer shall notify each employee and include in any employee handbook the information described in paragraphs (1) through (4). Each employer shall post and keep posted a notice, to be prepared or approved in accordance with procedures specified in regulations prescribed under section 12, setting forth excerpts from, or summaries of, the pertinent provisions of this Act including'--
(1) information describing paid sick time available to employees under this Act;
(2) information pertaining to the filing of an action under this Act;
(3) the details of the notice requirement for a foreseeable period of time under section 5(e)(1)(B); and
(4) information that describes'--
(A) the protections that an employee has in exercising rights under this Act; and
(B) how the employee can contact the Secretary (or other appropriate authority as described in section 6) if any of the rights are violated.
(b) Location .'--The notice described under subsection (a) shall be posted'--
(1) in conspicuous places on the premises of the employer, where notices to employees (including applicants) are customarily posted; or
(2) in employee handbooks.
(c) Violation; penalty .'--Any employer who willfully violates the posting requirements of this section shall be subject to a civil fine in an amount not to exceed $100 for each separate offense.
PROHIBITED ACTS
Sec. 105.
(a) Interference with rights .'--
(1) E XERCISE OF RIGHTS.'--It shall be unlawful for any employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of, or the attempt to exercise, any right provided under this Act, including'--
(A) discharging or discriminating against (including retaliating against) any individual, including a job applicant, for exercising, or attempting to exercise, any right provided under this Act;
(B) using the taking of paid sick time under this Act as a negative factor in an employment action, such as hiring, promotion, reducing hours or number of shifts, or a disciplinary action; or
(C) counting the paid sick time under a no-fault attendance policy or any other absence control policy.
(2) D ISCRIMINATION.'--It shall be unlawful for any employer to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against (including retaliating against) any individual, including a job applicant, for opposing any practice made unlawful by this Act.
(b) Interference with proceedings or inquiries .'--It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against (including retaliating against) any individual, including a job applicant, because such individual'--
(1) has filed an action, or has instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding, under or related to this Act;
(2) has given, or is about to give, any information in connection with any inquiry or proceeding relating to any right provided under this Act; or
(3) has testified, or is about to testify, in any inquiry or proceeding relating to any right provided under this Act.
(c) Construction .'--Nothing in this section shall be construed to state or imply that the scope of the activities prohibited by section 105 of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (29 U.S.C. 2615) is less than the scope of the activities prohibited by this section.
ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY
Sec. 106.
(a) In general .'--
(1) D EFINITION.'--In this subsection'--
(A) the term ''employee'' means an employee described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of section 2(4); and
(B) the term ''employer'' means an employer described in subclause (I) or (II) of section 2(5)(A)(i).
(2) I NVESTIGATIVE AUTHORITY.'--
(A) I N GENERAL.'--To ensure compliance with the provisions of this Act, or any regulation or order issued under this Act, the Secretary shall have, subject to subparagraph (C), the investigative authority provided under section 11(a) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 211(a)), with respect to employers, employees, and other individuals affected.
(B) O BLIGATION TO KEEP AND PRESERVE RECORDS.'--An employer shall make, keep, and preserve records pertaining to compliance with this Act in accordance with section 11(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 211(c)) and in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary.
(C) R EQUIRED SUBMISSIONS GENERALLY LIMITED TO AN ANNUAL BASIS.'--The Secretary shall not require, under the authority of this paragraph, an employer to submit to the Secretary any books or records more than once during any 12-month period, unless the Secretary has reasonable cause to believe there may exist a violation of this Act or any regulation or order issued pursuant to this Act, or is investigating a charge pursuant to paragraph (4).
(D) S UBPOENA AUTHORITY.'--For the purposes of any investigation provided for in this paragraph, the Secretary shall have the subpoena authority provided for under section 9 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 209).
(3) C IVIL ACTION BY EMPLOYEES OR INDIVIDUALS.'--
(A) R IGHT OF ACTION.'--An action to recover the damages or equitable relief prescribed in subparagraph (B) may be maintained against any employer in any Federal or State court of competent jurisdiction by one or more employees or individuals or their representative for and on behalf of'--
(i) the employees or individuals; or
(ii) the employees or individuals and others similarly situated.
(B) L IABILITY.'--Any employer who violates section 5 (including a violation relating to rights provided under section 3) shall be liable to any employee or individual affected'--
(i) for damages equal to'--
(I) the amount of'--
(aa) any wages, salary, employment benefits, or other compensation denied or lost by reason of the violation; or
(bb) in a case in which wages, salary, employment benefits, or other compensation have not been denied or lost, any actual monetary losses sustained as a direct result of the violation up to a sum equal to 56 hours of wages or salary for the employee or individual, or the specified period described in section 3(c)(3), or a combination of those hours and that period, as the case may be;
(II) the interest on the amount described in subclause (I) calculated at the prevailing rate; and
(III) an additional amount as liquidated damages; and
(ii) for such equitable relief as may be appropriate, including employment, reinstatement, and promotion.
(C) F EES AND COSTS.'--The court in an action under this paragraph shall, in addition to any judgment awarded to the plaintiff, allow a reasonable attorney's fee, reasonable expert witness fees, and other costs of the action to be paid by the defendant.
(4) A CTION BY THE SECRETARY.'--
(A) A DMINISTRATIVE ACTION.'--The Secretary shall receive, investigate, and attempt to resolve complaints of violations of section 5 (including a violation relating to rights provided under section 3) in the same manner that the Secretary receives, investigates, and attempts to resolve complaints of violations of sections 6 and 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. 206 and 207).
(B) C IVIL ACTION.'--The Secretary may bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction to recover the damages described in paragraph (3)(B)(i).
(C) S UMS RECOVERED.'--Any sums recovered by the Secretary pursuant to subparagraph (B) shall be held in a special deposit account and shall be paid, on order of the Secretary, directly to each employee or individual affected. Any such sums not paid to an employee or individual affected because of inability to do so within a period of 3 years shall be deposited into the Treasury of the United States as miscellaneous receipts.
(5) L IMITATION.'--
(A) I N GENERAL.'--Except as provided in subparagraph (B), an action may be brought under paragraph (3), (4), or (6) not later than 2 years after the date of the last event constituting the alleged violation for which the action is brought.
(B) W ILLFUL VIOLATION.'--In the case of an action brought for a willful violation of section 5 (including a willful violation relating to rights provided under section 3), such action may be brought within 3 years of the date of the last event constituting the alleged violation for which such action is brought.
(C) C OMMENCEMENT.'--In determining when an action is commenced under paragraph (3), (4), or (6) for the purposes of this paragraph, it shall be considered to be commenced on the date when the complaint is filed.
(6) A CTION FOR INJUNCTION BY SECRETARY.'--The district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction, for cause shown, in an action brought by the Secretary'--
(A) to restrain violations of section 5 (including a violation relating to rights provided under section 3), including the restraint of any withholding of payment of wages, salary, employment benefits, or other compensation, plus interest, found by the court to be due to employees or individuals eligible under this Act; or
(B) to award such other equitable relief as may be appropriate, including employment, reinstatement, and promotion.
(7) S OLICITOR OF LABOR.'--The Solicitor of Labor may appear for and represent the Secretary on any litigation brought under paragraph (4) or (6).
(8) G OVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE AND LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.'--Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, in the case of the Government Accountability Office and the Library of Congress, the authority of the Secretary of Labor under this subsection shall be exercised respectively by the Comptroller General of the United States and the Librarian of Congress.
(b) Employees covered by Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 .'--The powers, remedies, and procedures provided in the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1301 et seq.) to the Board (as defined in section 101 of that Act (2 U.S.C. 1301)), or any person, alleging a violation of subsection (a)(1) of section 202 of that Act (2 U.S.C. 1312) shall be the powers, remedies, and procedures this Act provides to that Board, or any person, alleging an unlawful employment practice in violation of this Act against an employee described in section 2(4)(C).
(c) Employees covered by chapter 5 of title 3 , United States Code .'--The powers, remedies, and procedures provided in chapter 5 of title 3, United States Code, to the President, the Merit Systems Protection Board, or any person, alleging a violation of section 412(a)(1) of that title, shall be the powers, remedies, and procedures this Act provides to the President, that Board, or any person, respectively, alleging an unlawful employment practice in violation of this Act against an employee described in section 2(4)(D).
(d) Employees covered by chapter 63 of title 5, United States Code .'--The powers, remedies, and procedures provided in title 5, United States Code, to an employing agency, provided in chapter 12 of that title to the Merit Systems Protection Board, or provided in that title to any person, alleging a violation of chapter 63 of that title shall be the powers, remedies, and procedures this Act provides to that agency, that Board, or any person, respectively, alleging an unlawful employment practice in violation of this Act against an employee described in section 2(4)(E).
(e) Remedies for State employees .'--
(1) W AIVER OF SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY.'--A State's receipt or use of Federal financial assistance for any program or activity of a State shall constitute a waiver of sovereign immunity, under the 11th Amendment to the Constitution or otherwise, to a suit brought by an employee of that program or activity under this Act for equitable, legal, or other relief authorized under this Act.
(2) O FFICIAL CAPACITY.'--An official of a State may be sued in the official capacity of the official by any employee who has complied with the procedures under subsection (a)(3), for injunctive relief that is authorized under this Act. In such a suit the court may award to the prevailing party those costs authorized by section 722 of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C. 1988).
(3) A PPLICABILITY.'--With respect to a particular program or activity, paragraph (1) applies to conduct occurring on or after the day, after the date of enactment of this Act, on which a State first receives or uses Federal financial assistance for that program or activity.
(4) D EFINITION OF PROGRAM OR ACTIVITY.'--In this subsection, the term ''program or activity'' has the meaning given the term in section 606 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d''4a).
EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
Sec. 107.
The Secretary may conduct a public awareness campaign to educate and inform the public of the requirements for paid sick time required by this Act.
COLLECTION OF DATA ON PAID SICK TIME AND FURTHER STUDY
Sec. 108.
(a) Compilation of information .'--The Commissioner of Labor Statistics shall annually compile information on the following:
(1) The amount of paid sick time available to employees by occupation and type of employment establishment.
(2) An estimate of the average sick time used by employees according to occupation and the type of employment establishment.
(b) GAO study .'--Not later than 5 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study to evaluate the implementation of this Act. Such study shall include an estimation of employees' access to paid sick time, employees' awareness of their rights under this Act, and employers' experiences complying with this Act. Such study shall take into account access, awareness and experiences of employees by race, ethnicity, gender, and occupation.
(c) Report .'--Upon completion of the study required by subsection (b), the Comptroller General of the United States shall prepare and submit a report to the appropriate committees of Congress concerning the results of the study and the information compiled pursuant to subsection (a).
EFFECT ON OTHER LAWS
Sec. 109.
(a) Federal and State antidiscrimination laws .'--Nothing in this Act shall be construed to modify or affect any Federal or State law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, or any other protected status.
(b) State and local laws .'--Nothing in this Act shall be construed to supersede (including preempting) any provision of any State or local law that provides greater paid sick time or leave rights (including greater amounts of paid sick time or leave, or greater coverage of those eligible for paid sick time or leave) than the rights established under this Act.
EFFECT ON EXISTING EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
Sec. 110.
(a) More protective .'--Nothing in this Act shall be construed to diminish the obligation of an employer to comply with any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or any employment benefit program or plan that provides greater paid sick leave or other leave rights to employees or individuals than the rights established under this Act.
(b) Less protective .'--The rights established for employees under this Act shall not be diminished by any contract, collective bargaining agreement, or any employment benefit program or plan.
ENCOURAGEMENT OF MORE GENEROUS LEAVE POLICIES
Sec. 111.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to discourage employers from adopting or retaining leave policies more generous than policies that comply with the requirements of this Act.
REGULATIONS
Sec. 112.
(a) In general .'--
(1) A UTHORITY.'--Except as provided in paragraph (2) and subject to subsection (e), not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall prescribe such regulations as are necessary to carry out this Act with respect to employees described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of section 2(4) and other individuals affected by employers described in subclause (I) or (II) of section 2(5)(A)(i).
(2) G OVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE; LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.'--Subject to subsection (e), the Comptroller General of the United States and the Librarian of Congress shall prescribe the regulations with respect to employees of the Government Accountability Office and the Library of Congress, respectively, and other individuals affected by the Comptroller General of the United States and the Librarian of Congress, respectively.
(b) Employees covered by Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 .'--
(1) A UTHORITY.'--Subject to subsection (e), not later than 90 days after the Secretary prescribes regulations under subsection (a), the Board of Directors of the Office of Compliance shall prescribe (in accordance with section 304 of the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1384)) such regulations as are necessary to carry out this Act with respect to employees described in section 2(4)(C) and other individuals affected by employers described in section 2(5)(A)(i)(III).
(2) A GENCY REGULATIONS.'--The regulations prescribed under paragraph (1) shall be the same as substantive regulations promulgated by the Secretary to carry out this Act except insofar as the Board may determine, for good cause shown and stated together with the regulations prescribed under paragraph (1), that a modification of such regulations would be more effective for the implementation of the rights and protections involved under this section.
(c) Employees covered by chapter 5 of title 3 , United States Code .'--
(1) A UTHORITY.'--Subject to subsection (e), not later than 90 days after the Secretary prescribes regulations under subsection (a), the President (or the designee of the President) shall prescribe such regulations as are necessary to carry out this Act with respect to employees described in section 2(4)(D) and other individuals affected by employers described in section 2(5)(A)(i)(IV).
(2) A GENCY REGULATIONS.'--The regulations prescribed under paragraph (1) shall be the same as substantive regulations promulgated by the Secretary to carry out this Act except insofar as the President (or designee) may determine, for good cause shown and stated together with the regulations prescribed under paragraph (1), that a modification of such regulations would be more effective for the implementation of the rights and protections involved under this section.
(d) Employees covered by chapter 63 of title 5 , United States Code .'--
(1) A UTHORITY.'--Subject to subsection (e), not later than 90 days after the Secretary prescribes regulations under subsection (a), the Director of the Office of Personnel Management shall prescribe such regulations as are necessary to carry out this Act with respect to employees described in section 2(4)(E) and other individuals affected by employers described in section 2(5)(A)(i)(V).
(2) A GENCY REGULATIONS.'--The regulations prescribed under paragraph (1) shall be the same as substantive regulations promulgated by the Secretary to carry out this Act except insofar as the Director may determine, for good cause shown and stated together with the regulations prescribed under paragraph (1), that a modification of such regulations would be more effective for the implementation of the rights and protections involved under this section.
(e) Immediate compliance .'--The rights and responsibilities specified in this Act shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act and employers and other persons subject to those responsibilities shall comply immediately, without regard whether regulations have been prescribed under this section.
AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS
Sec. 113.
There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2020 and each subsequent fiscal year.
EFFECTIVE DATES
Sec. 114.
(a) In general .'--This Act takes effect on the date of enactment of this Act.
(b) Previous declarations .'--If a public health emergency was declared before and remains in effect on the date of enactment of this Act, for purposes of this Act (and in particular section 3(c) of this Act) the public health emergency shall be considered to have been declared on the date of enactment of this Act.
SEC. 101. Coverage of testing for COVID''19 .
(a) In general .'--A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage (including a grandfathered health plan (as defined in section 1251(e) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act)) shall provide coverage, and shall not impose any cost sharing (including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance) requirements or prior authorization or other medical management requirements, for the following items and services furnished during any portion of the emergency period defined in paragraph (1)(B) of section 1135(g) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320b''5(g)) beginning on or after the date of the enactment of this Act:
(1) In vitro diagnostic products (as defined in section 809.3(a) of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations) for the detection of SARS''CoV''2 or the diagnosis of the virus that causes COVID''19 that are approved, cleared, or authorized under section 510(k), 513, 515 or 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and the administration of such in vitro diagnostic products.
(2) Health care provider office visits, urgent care center visits, and emergency room visits that result in an order for or administration of an in vitro diagnostic product described in paragraph (1).
(b) Enforcement .'--The provisions of subsection (a) shall be applied by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Labor, and Secretary of the Treasury to group health plans and health insurance issuers offering group or individual health insurance coverage as if included in the provisions of part A of title XXVII of the Public Health Service Act, part 7 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, and subchapter B of chapter 100 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as applicable.
(c) Implementation .'--The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Labor, and Secretary of the Treasury may implement the provisions of this section through sub-regulatory guidance, program instruction or otherwise.
(d) Terms .'--The terms ''group health plan''; ''health insurance issuer''; ''group health insurance coverage'', and ''individual health insurance coverage'' have the meanings given such terms in section 2791 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300gg''91), section 733 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (29 U.S.C. 1191b), and section 9832 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as applicable.
SEC. 102. Waiving cost sharing under the Medicare program for certain visits relating to testing for COVID''19 .
(a) In general .'--Section 1833 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395l) is amended'--
(1) in subsection (a)(1)'--
(A) by striking ''and'' before ''(CC)''; and
(B) by inserting before the period at the end the following: '', and (DD) with respect to a specified COVID''19 testing-related service described in paragraph (1) of subsection (cc) for which payment may be made under a specified outpatient payment provision described in paragraph (2) of such subsection, the amounts paid shall be 100 percent of the payment amount otherwise recognized under such respective specified outpatient payment provision for such service,'';
(2) in subsection (b), in the first sentence'--
(A) by striking ''and'' before ''(10)''; and
(B) by inserting before the period at the end the following: '', and (11) such deductible shall not apply with respect to any specified COVID''19 testing-related service described in paragraph (1) of subsection (cc) for which payment may be made under a specified outpatient payment provision described in paragraph (2) of such subsection''; and
(3) by adding at the end the following new subsection:''(cc) Specified COVID''19 testing-related services .'--For purposes of subsection (a)(1)(DD):
''(1) D ESCRIPTION.'--
''(A) I N GENERAL.'--A specified COVID''19 testing-related service described in this paragraph is a medical visit that'--
''(i) is in any of the categories of HCPCS evaluation and management service codes described in subparagraph (B);
''(ii) is furnished during any portion of the emergency period (as defined in section 1135(g)(1)(B) (beginning on or after the date of the date of the enactment of this subsection); and
''(iii) results in an order for or administration of a diagnostic test described in section 1852(a)(1)(B)(iv)(IV).
''(B) C ATEGORIES OF HCPCS CODES.'--For purposes of subparagraph (A), the categories of HCPCS evaluation and management services codes are the following:
''(i) Office and other outpatient services.
''(ii) Hospital observation services.
''(iii) Emergency department services.
''(iv) Nursing facility services.
''(v) Domiciliary, rest home, or custodial care services.
''(vi) Home services.
''(2) S PECIFIED OUTPATIENT PAYMENT PROVISION.'--A specified outpatient payment provision described in this paragraph is any of the following:
''(A) The hospital outpatient prospective payment system under subsection (t).
''(B) The physician fee schedule under section 1848.
''(C) The prospective payment system developed under section 1834(o).
''(D) Section 1834(g), with respect to an outpatient critical access hospital service.
''(E) The payment basis determined in regulations pursuant to section 1833(a)(3) for rural health clinic services.''.
(b) Claims modifier .'--The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall provide for an appropriate modifier (or other identifier) to include on claims to identify, for purposes of subparagraph (DD) of section 1833(a)(1), as added by subsection (a), specified COVID''19 testing-related services described in paragraph (1) of section 1833(cc) of the Social Security Act, as added by subsection (a), for which payment may be made under a specified outpatient payment provision described in paragraph (2) of such subsection.
(c) Implementation .'--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services may implement the provisions of, including amendments made by, this section through program instruction or otherwise.
SECTION 103. Coverage of testing for COVID''19 at no cost sharing under the Medicare Advantage program .
(a) In general .'--Section 1852(a)(1)(B) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395w''22(a)(1)(B)) is amended'--
(1) in clause (iv)'--
(A) by redesignating subclause (IV) as subclause (VI); and
(B) by inserting after subclause (III) the following new subclauses:
''(IV) Clinical diagnostic laboratory test administered during any portion of the emergency period defined in paragraph (1)(B) of section 1135(g) beginning on or after the date of the enactment of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act for the detection of SARS''CoV''2 or the diagnosis of the virus that causes COVID''19 and the administration of such test.
''(V) Specified COVID''19 testing-related services (as described in section 1833(cc)(1)) for which payment would be payable under a specified outpatient payment provision described in section 1833(cc)(2).'';
(2) in clause (v), by inserting '', other than subclauses (IV) and (V) of such clause,'' after ''clause (iv)''; and
(3) by adding at the end the following new clause:
''(vi) P ROHIBITION OF APPLICATION OF CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS FOR COVID''19 TESTING.'--In the case of a product or service described in subclause (IV) or (V), respectively, of clause (iv) that is administered or furnished during any portion of the emergency period described in such subclause beginning on or after the date of the enactment of this clause, an MA plan may not impose any prior authorization or other utilization management requirements with respect to the coverage of such a product or service under such plan.''.
(b) Implementation .'--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services may implement the amendments made by this section by program instruction or otherwise.
SECTION 104. Coverage at no cost sharing of COVID''19 testing under Medicaid and CHIP .
(a) Medicaid .'--
(1) I N GENERAL.'--Section 1905(a)(3) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d(a)(3)) is amended'--
(A) by striking ''other laboratory'' and inserting '' (A) other laboratory'';
(B) by inserting ''and'' after the semicolon; and
(C) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
''(B) in vitro diagnostic products (as defined in section 809.3(a) of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations) administered during any portion of the emergency period defined in paragraph (1)(B) of section 1135(g) beginning on or after the date of the enactment of this subparagraph for the detection of SARS''CoV''2 or the diagnosis of the virus that causes COVID''19 that are approved, cleared, or authorized under section 510(k), 513, 515 or 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and the administration of such in vitro diagnostic products;''.
(2) N O COST SHARING.'--
(A) I N GENERAL.'--Subsections (a)(2) and (b)(2) of section 1916 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396o) are each amended'--
(i) in subparagraph (D), by striking ''or'' at the end;
(ii) in subparagraph (E), by striking ''; and'' and inserting a comma; and
(iii) by adding at the end the following new subparagraphs:
''(F) any in vitro diagnostic product described in section 1905(a)(3)(B) that is administered during any portion of the emergency period described in such section beginning on or after the date of the enactment of this subparagraph (and the administration of such product), or
''(G) any medical visit for which payment may be made under the State plan, that is furnished during any such portion of such emergency period, and that relates to testing for COVID''19; and''.
(B) A PPLICATION TO ALTERNATIVE COST SHARING.'--Section 1916A(b)(3)(B) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396o''1(b)(3)(B)) is amended by adding at the end the following new clause:
''(xi) Any in vitro diagnostic product described in section 1905(a)(3)(B) that is administered during any portion of the emergency period described in such section beginning on or after the date of the enactment of this clause (and the administration of such product) and any visit described in section 1916(a)(2)(G) that is furnished during any such portion.''.
(C) C LARIFICATION.'--The amendments made this paragraph shall apply with respect to a State plan of a territory in the same manner as a State plan of one of the 50 States.
(3) S TATE OPTION TO PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR UNINSURED INDIVIDUALS.'--
(A) I N GENERAL.'--Section 1902(a)(10) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396a(a)(10)) is amended'--
(i) in subparagraph (A)(ii)'--
(I) in subclause (XXI), by striking ''or'' at the end;
(II) in subclause (XXII), by adding ''or'' at the end; and
(III) by adding at the end the following new subclause:
''(XXIII) during any portion of the emergency period defined in paragraph (1)(B) of section 1135(g) beginning on or after the date of the enactment of this subclause, who are uninsured individuals (as defined in subsection (ss));''; and
(ii) in the matter following subparagraph (G)'--
(I) by striking ''and (XVII)'' and inserting '', (XVII)''; and
(II) by inserting after ''instead of through subclause (VIII)'' the following: '', and (XVIII) the medical assistance made available to an uninsured individual (as defined in subsection (ss)) who is eligible for medical assistance only because of subparagraph (A)(ii)(XXIII) shall be limited to medical assistance for any in vitro diagnostic product described in section 1905(a)(3)(B) that is administered during any portion of the emergency period described in such section beginning on or after the date of the enactment of this subclause (and the administration of such product) and any visit described in section 1916(a)(2)(G) that is furnished during any such portion''.
(B) R ECEIPT AND INITIAL PROCESSING OF APPLICATIONS AT CERTAIN LOCATIONS.'--Section 1902(a)(55) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396a(a)(55)) is amended, in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking ''or (a)(10)(A)(ii)(IX)'' and inserting ''(a)(10)(A)(ii)(IX), or (a)(10)(A)(ii)(XXIII)''.
(C) U NINSURED INDIVIDUAL DEFINED.'--Section 1902 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396a) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
''(ss) Uninsured individual defined .'--For purposes of this section, the term 'uninsured individual' means, notwithstanding any other provision of this title, any individual who is'--
''(1) not described in subsection (a)(10)(A)(i); and
''(2) not enrolled in a Federal health care program (as defined in section 1128B(f)), a group health plan, group or individual health insurance coverage offered by a health insurance issuer (as such terms are defined in section 2791 of the Public Health Service Act), or a health plan offered under chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code.''.
(D) F EDERAL MEDICAL ASSISTANCE PERCENTAGE.'--Section 1905(b) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: ''Notwithstanding the first sentence of this section, the Federal medical assistance percentage shall be 100 per centum with respect to (and, notwithstanding any other provision of this title, available for) medical assistance provided to uninsured individuals (as defined in section 1902(ss)) who are eligible for such assistance only on the basis of section 1902(a)(10)(A)(ii)(XXIII) and with respect to expenditures described in section 1903(a)(7) that a State demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary are attributable to administrative costs related to providing for such medical assistance to such individuals under the State plan.''.
(b) CHIP .'--
(1) I N GENERAL.'--Section 2103(c) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1397cc(c)) is amended by adding at the end the following paragraph:
''(9) C ERTAIN IN VITRO DIAGNOSTIC PRODUCTS FOR COVID''19 TESTING.'--The child health assistance provided to a targeted low-income child shall include coverage of any in vitro diagnostic product described in section 1905(a)(3)(B) that is administered during any portion of the emergency period described in such section beginning on or after the date of the enactment of this subparagraph (and the administration of such product).''.
(2) C OVERAGE FOR TARGETED LOW-INCOME PREGNANT WOMEN.'--Section 2112(b)(4) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1397ll(b)(4)) is amended by inserting ''under section 2103(c)'' after ''same requirements''.
(3) P ROHIBITION OF COST SHARING.'--Section 2103(e)(2) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1397cc(e)(2)) is amended'--
(A) in the paragraph header, by inserting '' , COVID''19 testing, '' before '' or pregnancy-related assistance ''; and
(B) by striking ''category of services described in subsection (c)(1)(D) or'' and inserting ''categories of services described in subsection (c)(1)(D), in vitro diagnostic products described in subsection (c)(9) (and administration of such products), visits described in section 1916(a)(2)(G), or''.
SEC. 105. Laboratory reimbursement for diagnostic testing for COVID''19 in uninsured individuals .
(a) Reimbursement .'--Through the National Disaster Medical System under section 2812 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300hh''11), and in coordination with the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall, subject to the availability of appropriations under subsection (c), pay the claims of laboratories for reimbursement, as described in subsection (a)(3)(D) of such section 2812, for health services consisting of diagnostic testing to detect or diagnose COVID''19 in uninsured individuals. The amount that will be paid shall be equal to the amount that would have been paid to a physician or laboratory under Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule under section 1833(h)(8) of the Social Security Act.
(b) Definition .'--In this section, the term ''uninsured individual'' means an individual who is not enrolled in'--
(1) a Federal health care program (as defined under section 1128B(f) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320a''7b(f)); or
(2) a group health plan or health insurance coverage offered by a health insurance issuer in the group or individual market (as such terms are defined in section 2791 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300gg''91)) or a health plan offered under chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code.
(c) Funding .'--To carry out this section, there is authorized to be appropriated, and there is hereby appropriated, out of amounts in the Treasury not otherwise obligated, $1,000,000,000, to remain available until expended.
SEC. 106. Treatment of personal respiratory protective devices as covered countermeasures .
Section 319F''3(i)(1) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d''6d(i)(1)) is amended'--
(1) in subparagraph (B), by striking ''or'' at the end; and
(2) in subparagraph (C), by striking the period at the end and inserting ''; or''; and
(3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
''(D) a personal respiratory protective device that is'--
''(i) approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health under part 84 of title 42, Code of Federal Regulations (or successor regulations);
''(ii) subject to the emergency use authorization issued by the Secretary on March 2, 2020, or subsequent emergency use authorizations, pursuant to section 564 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (authorizing emergency use of personal respiratory protective devices during the COVID''19 outbreak); and
''(iii) used during the period beginning on January 31, 2020, and ending on October 1, 2024, in response to the public health emergency declared on January 31, 2020, pursuant to section 319 as a result of confirmed cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).''.
SEC. 107. Application with respect to Tricare, coverage for veterans, and coverage for Federal civilians .
(a) Tricare .'--The Secretary of Defense may not require any copayment or other cost sharing under chapter 55 of title 10, United States Code, for in vitro diagnostic products described in paragraph (1) of section 101(a) (or the administration of such products) or visits described in paragraph (2) of such section furnished during any portion of the emergency period defined in paragraph (1)(B) of section 1135(g) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320b''5(g)) beginning on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
(b) Veterans .'--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may not require any copayment or other cost sharing under chapter 17 of title 38, United States Code, for in vitro diagnostic products described in paragraph (1) of section 101(a) (or the adminsitration of such products) or visits described in paragraph (2) of such section furnished during any portion of the emergency period defined in paragraph (1)(B) of section 1135(g) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320b''5(g)) beginning on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
(c) Federal civilians .'--No copayment or other cost sharing may be required for any individual occupying a position in the civil service (as that term is defined in section 2101(1) of title 5, United States Code) enrolled in a health benefits plan, including any plan under chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code, or for any other individual currently enrolled in any plan under chapter 89 of title 5 for diagnostic tests'' after ''including any plan under chapter 89 of title 5, United States Code), for in vitro diagnostic products described in paragraph (1) of section 101(a) (or the administration of such products) or visits described in paragraph (2) of such section furnished during any portion of the emergency period defined in paragraph (1)(B) of section 1135(g) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320b''5(g)) beginning on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 108. Coverage of testing for COVID''19 at no cost sharing for Indians receiving contract health services .
The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall cover, without the imposition of any cost sharing requirements, the cost of providing any COVID-19 related items and services as described in paragraph (1) of section 101(a) (or the administration of such products) or visits described in paragraph (2) of such section furnished during any portion of the emergency period defined in paragraph (1)(B) of section 1135(g) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 320b''5(g)) beginning on or after the date of the enactment of this Act to Indians (as defined in section 4 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. 1603)) receiving health services through the Indian Health Service, regardless of whether such items or services have been authorized under the contract health services system funded by the Indian Health Service or is covered as a health service of the Indian Health Service.
SEC. 109. Temporary increase of Medicaid FMAP .
(a) In general .'--Subject to subsection (b), for each calendar quarter occurring during the period beginning on the first day of the emergency period defined in paragraph (1)(B) of section 1135(g) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320b''5(g)) and ending on the last day of the calendar quarter in which the last day of such emergency period occurs, the Federal medical assistance percentage determined for each State, including the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands, under section 1905(b) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d(b)) shall be increased by 8 percentage points.
(b) Requirement for all States .'--A State described in subsection (a) may not receive the increase described in such subsection in the Federal medical assistance percentage for such State, with respect to a quarter, if'--
(1) eligibility standards, methodologies, or procedures under the State plan of such State under title XIX of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq.) (including any waiver under such title or section 1115 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1315)) are more restrictive during such quarter than the eligibility standards methodologies, or procedures, respectively, under such plan (or waiver) as in effect on January 1, 2020;
(2) the amount of any premium imposed by the State pursuant to section 1916 or 1916A of such Act (42 U.S.C. 1396o, 1396o''1) during such quarter, with respect to an individual enrolled under such plan (or waiver), exceeds the amount of such premium as of January 1, 2020;
(3) the State terminates or denies the enrollment of any individual under such plan (or waiver) during such quarter for a reason other than a failure to satisfy financial, categorical, and State residency requirements (as applicable) under such plan (or waiver);
(4) the State does not provide coverage under such plan (or waiver), without the imposition of cost sharing, during such quarter for any testing services and treatments for COVID''19, including vaccines, specialized equipment, and therapies; or
(5) the State conducts during such quarter periodic income checks, including automated income checks, or eligibility redeterminations under such plan (or waiver) at a rate more frequent than once every 12 months.
(c) Requirement for certain States .'--Section 1905(cc) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1396d(cc)) is amended by striking ''American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.'' and inserting ''and section 109 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, except that in applying such treatments to the increases in the Federal medical assistance percentage under section 109 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the reference to 'December 31, 2009' shall be deemed to be a reference to 'March 11, 2020'.''.
SEC. 110. Increase in Medicaid allotments for territories .
Section 1108(g) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1308(g)) is amended'--
(1) in paragraph (2)'--
(A) in subparagraph (B)'--
(i) in clause (i), by striking ''and'' at the end;
(ii) in clause (ii), by striking ''for each of fiscal years 2020 through 2021, $126,000,000;'' and inserting ''for fiscal year 2020, $129,500,000; and''; and
(iii) by adding at the end the following new clause:
''(iii) for fiscal year 2021, $128,500,000;'';
(B) in subparagraph (C)'--
(i) in clause (i), by striking ''and'' at the end;
(ii) in clause (ii), by striking ''for each of fiscal years 2020 through 2021, $127,000,000;'' and inserting ''for fiscal year 2020, $132,000,000; and''; and
(iii) by adding at the end the following new clause:
''(iii) for fiscal year 2021, $130,500,000;'';
(C) in subparagraph (D)'--
(i) in clause (i), by striking ''and'' at the end;
(ii) in clause (ii), by striking ''for each of fiscal years 2020 through 2021, $60,000,000; and'' and inserting ''for fiscal year 2020, $64,000,000; and''; and
(iii) by adding at the end the following new clause:
''(iii) for fiscal year 2021, $63,000,000; and''; and
(D) in subparagraph (E)'--
(i) in clause (i), by striking ''and'' at the end;
(ii) in clause (ii), by striking ''for each of fiscal years 2020 through 2021, $84,000,000.'' and inserting ''for fiscal year 2020, $87,000,000; and''; and
(iii) by adding at the end the following new clause:
''(iii) for fiscal year 2021, $86,000,000.''; and
(2) in paragraph (6)(A)'--
(A) in clause (i), by striking ''$2,623,188,000'' and inserting ''$2,743,188,000''; and
(B) in clause (ii), by striking ''$2,719,072,000'' and inserting ''$2,804,072,000''.
BUDGETARY EFFECTS
Sec. 101.
(a) Statutory PAYGO scorecards .'--The budgetary effects of division B and each succeeding division shall not be entered on either PAYGO scorecard maintained pursuant to section 4(d) of the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010.
(b) Senate PAYGO scorecards .'--The budgetary effects of division B and each succeeding division shall not be entered on any PAYGO scorecard maintained for purposes of section 4106 of H. Con. Res. 71 (115th Congress).
(c) Classification of budgetary effects .'--Notwithstanding Rule 3 of the Budget Scorekeeping Guidelines set forth in the joint explanatory statement of the committee of conference accompanying Conference Report 105''217 and section 250(c)(8) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, the budgetary effects of division B and each succeeding division shall not be estimated'--
(1) for purposes of section 251 of such Act; and
(2) for purposes of paragraph (4)(C) of section 3 of the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 as being included in an appropriation Act.
Newsroom | Verily Life Sciences
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 08:50
Verily receives FDA 510(k) clearance for Study Watch with Irregular Pulse Monitor
By finding new ways to collect, organize and activate data, we can have a meaningful...
Growing the virtual care model across the spectrum of health.
Learn about our end-to-end platform for mapping the molecular geography of tissue biopsies.
Reimagining the participant experience for people with type 2 diabetes.
Exploring one of the first applications of deep learning to the field of mass spectrometry.
Engineering drug delivery with nanoparticle technology in coronary artery disease
Meaningful use of data in healthcare, and the precautions that come with it
Reversing the course of the opioid crisis with a new care model
Launching an investigational device to capture health info for clinical research
Developing smart ocular devices with Alcon to help improve everyday health routines
Contrary to Trump's claim, Google is not building a nationwide coronavirus screening website - The Verge
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 08:41
Google is not working with the US government in building a nationwide website to help people determine whether and how to get a novel coronavirus test, despite what President Donald Trump said in the course of issuing an emergency declaration for the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, a much smaller trial website made by another division of Alphabet, Google's parent company, is going up. It will only be able to direct people to testing facilities in the Bay Area.
More than an hour after Trump's press conference, a Google communications Twitter account passed along the following statement from Verily, which is a different company inside the Alphabet corporate umbrella:
We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing. Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time. We appreciate the support of government officials and industry partners and thank the Google engineers who have volunteered to be part of this effort.
Carolyn Wang, communications lead for Verily, told The Verge that the ''triage website'' was initially only going to be made available to health care workers instead of the general public. Now that it has been announced the way it was, however, anybody will be able to visit it, she said. But the tool will only be able to direct people to ''pilot sites'' for testing in the Bay Area, though Wang says Verily hopes to expand it beyond California ''over time.''
The triage site should be put live within a few days, and it will be hosted at Project Baseline, the Verily website where people can sign up to take part in clinical trials. That's a seemingly odd place for the triage tool to live, but Wang says that Project Baseline already has certain necessary tools like an informed consent agreement, so it makes sense to put it there.
''Google is going to develop a website '-- it's going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past '-- to determine if a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location,'' Trump said at the press conference. ''We have many, many locations behind us, by the way. We cover this country and large parts of the world, by the way. We're not gonna be talking about the world right now, but we cover very, very strongly our country. Stores in virtually every location. Google has 1,700 engineers working on this right now. They have made tremendous progress.''
As for the 1,700 Google engineers Trump referenced in the press conference, that appears to be related to a call for volunteers Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai put out in a company-wide memo earlier this week.
In all, the difference between the reality of what is being built and what was promised during the press conference is very large.
''We appreciate the support of government officials and industry partners and thank the Google engineers who have volunteered to be part of this effort."
'-- Google Communications (@Google_Comms) March 13, 2020Debbie Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, showed a flowchart during the press conference that explained what the proposed functionality of the website would be. Nobody from Alphabet or Google spoke at the event, although many executives from other health and retail companies did.
As Birx described the website, citizens would be able to enter their symptoms and, depending on what the results are, be directed to a ''drive thru'' testing facility. That same website would apparently also be where people can go to find their results.
Unfortunately, we don't know much about the website Birx described '-- not its URL, when it will launch, or how it will work. The only thing we do know is that Google did not build it; it is being built by another division of Alphabet instead.
Alongside the website, the president's emergency declaration should open up to $50 billion in funding, new testing facilities, and new partnerships with private companies to provide testing services. You can read more on the government's response in our story.
Update March 13th, 5:30PM ET: Updated with Google's tweet
Update March 13th, 6:15PM ET: Added clarification that Google is not building the website President Trump described
Cynthia Fodor on Twitter: "TSA now allowing 12 ounce bottles of hand sanitizer in your carry-on. '...@KCCINews'(C) https://t.co/86woiqnx1W" / Twitter
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 08:30
Log in Sign up Cynthia Fodor @ CFodorKCCI TSA now allowing 12 ounce bottles of hand sanitizer in your carry-on. '...
@KCCINews'(C)
pic.twitter.com/86woiqnx1W 3:45 PM - 13 Mar 2020 Twitter by: Cynthia Fodor @CFodorKCCI Nick Brown 🌐ðŸšðŸ—½ @ nwbvt
14h Replying to
@CFodorKCCI @KCCINews It's almost as if small bottles of liquids really weren't the threat they claim they are...
View conversation · Kerri Wachter @ knwachter
13h Replying to
@nwbvt @CFodorKCCI @KCCINews And it's not like 12 oz bottles of alcohol-based hand sanitizer are flammable or anything. Let's start there for allowing larger bottles to get through security.
View conversation · Dylan M. Austin @ dylanmaustin
14h Replying to
@CFodorKCCI @yashar @KCCINews But what about the security theater?!
View conversation · Det Insp Spacetime @ dream_king
12h Replying to
@dylanmaustin @CFodorKCCI and
2 others Closed along with Broadway
View conversation · IshmaelStreet @ ygb79
14h Replying to
@CFodorKCCI @KCCINews pic.twitter.com/CIgPvKAKx9 View conversation · Emerson Wen ðŸ‘(C)🏼'ðŸš @ EmersonWen
12h Replying to
@ygb79 @CFodorKCCI @KCCINews The sink is literally in front of them. Americans will do everything but wash their hands.
View conversation · Agent Smith @ TSAgov
12h Replying to
@CFodorKCCI @KCCINews NOTE THAT BOTTLES OF VODKA ARE NOT "FAIR" SUBSTITUTES. LOOKING AT YOU, FLORIDA.
View conversation · Doug @ DougJC28
11h Replying to
@TSAgov @CFodorKCCI @KCCINews *Someone* needs to buy some food coloring
View conversation · ðŸðŸ§ðŸ–¤ðŸ§ðŸ–¤ðŸ§ðŸCynnbad @ mmaniac90
14h Replying to
@CFodorKCCI @yashar @KCCINews See, I knew that 3 ounce thing was CRAP.
pic.twitter.com/x9QncWANgq View conversation · Amin Salemi @ aminsalemi
14h Replying to
@CFodorKCCI @KCCINews Wait! Is it possible to fly with that much liquid...safely??? ðŸ¤...ðŸ>>''‚¸
View conversation · Rose 🌹 🚎 @ rartortata
11h Replying to
@aminsalemi @CFodorKCCI @KCCINews Always was!
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Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act - Wikipedia
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 08:27
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act)[1] is a United States federal law designed to bring an orderly and systemic means of federal natural disaster assistance for state and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to aid citizens. Congress's intention was to encourage states and localities to develop comprehensive disaster preparedness plans, prepare for better intergovernmental coordination in the face of a disaster, encourage the use of insurance coverage, and provide federal assistance programs for losses due to a disaster.[2][better source needed ]
Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance ActOther short titlesDisaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Amendments of 1988Great Lakes Coastal Barrier Act of 1988Great Lakes Erosion Damage Assistance and Prevention Act of 1988Great Lakes Planning Assistance Act of 1988Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance ActLong titleAn Act to amend the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 to provide for more effective assistance in response to major disasters and emergencies, and for other purposes.NicknamesMajor Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Amendments of 1987Enacted bythe 100th United States CongressEffectiveNovember 23, 1988CitationsPublic law100-707 Statutes at Large 102 Stat. 4689CodificationTitles amended42: The Public Health and WelfareU.S.C. sections amended42 U.S.C. ch. 68 § 5121 et seq.Legislative historySen. Robert T. Stafford (
R,
VT)
The Stafford Act is a 1988 amended version of the Disaster Relief Act of 1974. It created the system in place today by which a presidential disaster declaration or an emergency declaration triggers financial and physical assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency[3] (FEMA). The Act gives FEMA the responsibility for coordinating government-wide relief efforts. The Federal Response Plan includes contributions from 28 federal agencies and non-governmental organizations, such as the American Red Cross. It is named for Sen. Robert Stafford (in Senate 1971''89), who helped pass the law.
Congress amended it by passing the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, in 2006 with the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act, and again in 2018 with the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA).
Titles Edit Title I: Findings, Declarations and Definitions Edit Title I provides the intent of Congress to provide continued and orderly assistance from the federal government to state and local governments to relieve hardship and damage that result from disasters. As defined by Title I, an emergency is any instance, or thought that is determined by the President, in which state or local efforts need federal assistance to save lives and protect the health and welfare of the people in a community. A major disaster is defined as any natural catastrophe, fire, flood, or explosion, determined by the president to warrant the additional resources of the federal government to alleviate damages or suffering they cause.[2]
Title II: Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation Assistance Edit Title II authorizes the President to establish a disaster preparedness program that utilizes the appropriate agencies and gives the President the right to provide technical assistance to states in order to complete a comprehensive plan to prepare against disasters. The President can also administer grants to states to provide funding for the preparation and revitalization of emergency plans.
Title II articulates the necessity of a disaster warning system. This includes the readiness of all appropriate federal agencies to issue warnings to state and local authorities and the disbursement of warnings to the public. This title authorizes the President to make use of either the civil defense communication system or any commercial communications systems that are voluntarily given to the president to issue warnings to the public.[2]
Predisaster hazard mitigation plans were also detailed in Title II. Under this title, the President can establish a program to provide financial assistance to states through the National Predisaster Mitigation Fund. States can then develop a mitigation plan that can lessen the impact of a disaster on the public health, infrastructure, and economy of the community. The President can also establish a federal interagency task force to implement predisaster mitigation plans administered by the federal government. The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) serves as the chairperson of the task force. Other members of the task force include relevant federal agencies, state and local organizations, and the American Red Cross.[2]
Title III: Major Disaster and Emergency Assistance Administration Edit Title three explains that upon the declaration of a major disaster or emergency, the President must appoint a federal coordinating officer to help in the affected area. This coordinating officer helps make initial appraisals of the types of relief most needed, establishes field offices, and coordinates the administration of relief among the state, localities, and nonprofits. The President must also form emergency support teams staffed with federal personnel. These support teams are sent to affected areas to help the federal coordinating officer carry out his or her responsibilities. The President also helps with the establishment of regional support teams. Title three also explains the reimbursement process for expenditures by federal agencies under the Act.
The federal government is not liable for any claims based on "the exercise or performance of or the failure to exercise or perform a discretionary function or duty on the part of Federal agency or an employee of the Federal Government in carrying out the provisions of this Act".[2] In general, the expenditure of federal funds for debris clearance, reconstruction, or other emergency assistance which is carried out by contract with private organizations or firms is given to those organizations and firms already residing in or doing business in the affected area.
Title three explains the government's nondiscrimination requirements. The President has the right to issue and alter regulations affecting the guidance of personnel carrying out federal assistance in affected areas. These regulations include provisions for insuring that the distribution of supplies, processing of applications, and other relief activities is accomplished in fair and impartial way without discrimination on the grounds of color, race, nationality, sex, religion, age, disability, economic status, or English proficiency.[2] It also explains that no geographic areas can be precluded from federal assistance by any type of scale based on income or population.
Penalties are set forth in this title. Any person who misuses the funds obtained under the Act may be fined up to one and one-half times the amount that they misused. The Attorney General may also bring a civil action for relief. Any individual who knowingly violates any part of this Act can be subject to a civil penalty of no more than $5,000 per violation.
The last portion of Title three sets forth the requirements of mitigation plans. Each plan developed by a local or tribal government must both describe actions to mitigate hazards and risks identified under the plan and it must establish a strategy to implement those actions. State plans must do four things. The first is to describe the actions to mitigate hazards and risks identified under the plan. Then it must show a way to support the development of a local mitigation plan. The plan must then show how it will provide technical assistance to its local and tribal governments for mitigation plans. Lastly, it must identify and prioritize the mitigation actions that it will support as its resources become available.[2] The President must allow for sufficient public notice and time for public comment before implementation any new or modified policy under this Act that governs the implementation of any public assistance program or that could result in a major reduction of assistance under the public assistance program.
The President shall appoint a Small State and Rural Advocate whose main responsibility is to ensure the fair treatment of small states and rural communities in the provision of assistance under the Act. The advocate may also help small states prepare requests for emergency declarations.
Title IV: Major Disaster Assistance Programs Edit The procedures for declaring a major disaster are to be made by the governor of the state. When a disaster occurs, the governor executes the state's emergency plan. If the Governor then decides that the disaster is of such severity that the state and affected local governments cannot possibly handle the effects of the disaster, the Governor will make a request to the President explaining the amount of resources they currently have available and commit to the cost-sharing requirements in the Stafford Act. The President can then declare a major disaster or emergency in the affected area.
Title IV sets out the authority of the President during major disasters or emergencies. The president has many powers under this act. These powers include, but are limited to: directing any federal agency to help the affected area (including precautionary evacuations), coordinating all disaster relief assistance, providing technical and advisory assistance (issuing warnings, providing for the public health and safety, and participating in recovery activities), distributing medicine, food and other supplies, and providing accelerating federal assistance when the President deems it necessary. Lastly, the President can also provide any emergency communications or public transportation that an affected location might need. The federal share of these types of assistance is no less than 75 percent of the eligible costs.[2] The President has the ability to contribute up to 75 percent of the cost of any state or local hazard mitigation effort that is deemed as cost-effective and substantially reducing the risk of a major disaster.
U.S. Navy sailors stationed at Naval Air Station Pensacola load supplies on a UH-3H helicopter before it is transported to New Orleans to aid in disaster relief efforts for the Hurricane Katrina victims.
During a major disaster the Governor may request that the President direct the Secretary of Defense to use the resources of the United States Department of Defense for the purposes of any emergency work. This work is only allowed to be carried out for 10 days. Emergency work is defined as "clearance and removal of debris and wreckage and temporary restoration of essential public facilities and services".[2]Title IV also provides a framework for many essential governmental functions during an emergency including legal services, relocation assistance, distribution of food coupons and unemployment assistance.
If, during an emergency, a local government has lost such a substantial amount of revenues that they cannot perform essential government responsibilities, the President is authorized to provide Community Disaster Loans. The loan amounts are based on need and cannot exceed either (1) 25 percent of the annual operating budget of that local government for the fiscal year in which the disaster occurs and not exceeding $5,000,000, or (2) if the loss of tax and other revenues of the local government as a result of the disaster is at least 75 percent of the annual operating budget of the local government for that fiscal year, 50 percent of the annual operating budget of that local government for the fiscal year in which the disaster occurs, not exceeding $5,000,000.[2]
The federal government will not have the authority to impede the access of an essential service provider to an area impacted by a major disaster. A major service provider is defined as either: a telecommunications service, electrical services, natural gas, water and sewer services, or, is a municipal entity, nonprofit entity, or private entity that is responding to the disaster.[2]
Types of housing assistance are identified under this title. The President can provide financial assistance to be used for individuals wishing to rent alternate housing during a time of emergency. The President may also provide temporary housing units directly to the displaced citizens affected by a major disaster. This type of assistance ends after the 18-month period beginning on the date the President declares the major disaster. The President does have the authority to extend the period if he deems it necessary. The President may also provide funds for the repair or replacement of owner-occupied housing damaged by a major disaster. The federal share of the costs eligible for housing assistance is 100 percent.[2]
Title V: Emergency Assistance Programs Edit Title V explains the process a state must follow to request that the President declare an emergency. Every request for the President to declare an emergency must come from the governor of the state. In order for a request to be made, the Governor must deem that the situation is beyond the potential for the state to manage. To do this, the Governor must begin execution of the state's emergency plan and detail the types and amount of federal aid that will be required. Upon receiving this information the President can then decide if the situation qualifies as an emergency. The President does have the authority to declare an emergency without the Governor's request if the President determines that the emergency falls within the primary responsibility of the United States exclusive or preeminent responsibility as governed by the United States Constitution or laws.[2]
The specific abilities of the President are also explained in this Title. The President can direct any federal agency to use its resources to aid the state or local government in emergency assistance efforts. He also has the responsibility to coordinate all disaster relief assistance and assist with the distribution of food, medicine and other vital supplies to the affected public. The President can provide assistance with debris removal and provide any needed emergency assistance. This Title also gives the President the authority to provide accelerated federal assistance when it has not yet been requested.
The federal share of the costs of such efforts is to be no less than 75 percent of the eligible costs.[2] Total assistance under this Act for one emergency is to be limited to no more than $5 million, except when the President determines additional funds are needed. If additional funds are needed, the President must report to Congress on the extent of the additional need.[2]
Title VI: Emergency Preparedness Edit Title six explains the measures that have to be undertaken to prepare for anticipated hazards including creating operational plans, recruiting and training personnel, conducting research, stockpiling necessary materials and supplies, creating suitable warning systems, and constructing shelters. During a hazard, governments are expected to evacuate personnel to shelter areas, control traffic and panic, and control use of civil communications. After a hazard has occurred, governments must provide services such as fire fighting, rescue, emergency medical, health and sanitation. They must also remove debris and repair or restore essential facilities.
Title six also sets out the authority and responsibilities of the director of FEMA. The director may prepare and direct federal plans and programs for U.S. emergency preparedness. The director should also delegate emergency responsibilities to federal agencies and state and local governments. Conducting research and training is another responsibility of the director of FEMA. Research should address issues such as shelter design, effective design of facilities and the standardization of those designs, and plans that acknowledge the needs of individuals with pets and service animals during an emergency.[2] Training should be provided for emergency preparedness officials and other organizations who participate in emergency situations.
FEMA - 13132 - Photograph by Bill Koplitz taken on April 5, 2005 in District of Columbia
One responsibility of the FEMA director is to oversee the development and follow through of emergency preparedness compacts, otherwise known as Emergency Management Assistance Compacts (EMACs). "The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) is an interstate mutual aid agreement that was developed out of the need to assist and coordinate resources across states in the event of a disaster situation."[4] These compacts strive to deliver materials and services quickly to affected areas during an emergency. These plans must be submitted to the Senate and House of Representatives.[2]
The FEMA director has the ability to give financial contributions to the states for emergency preparedness purposes. These purposes typically include construction, leasing, and renovating of materials and facilities.[2] The amount contributed by the director must be equally matched by the state from any source it finds is consistent with its laws.[2] Any contribution given to a state for shelters or other protective facilities is determined by taking the total amount of funds available to the FEMA director for these facilities in a fiscal year and apportioning it among the states in a ratio. "The ratio which the urban population of the critical target areas (as determined by the Director) in each state, at the time of the determination, bears to the total urban population of the critical target areas of all of the States."[2] The states must also equally match these funds. If they cannot, the director may reallocate the funds to another state. The director must also report to Congress at least once a year regarding all the financial contributions made for emergency preparedness.
Title six then explains the requirements for an emergency preparedness plan. The plan must be in effect in all political subdivisions of the state. It must also be mandatory and supervised by a single state agency. The plan must make known that the state must share financial responsibility with the federal government from any source it has determined is consistent with its state laws. It must also provide for the creation of a state and local emergency preparedness plan and the employment of a full-time emergency preparedness director or deputy director by the state. An emergency preparedness plan must also make available to the director of FEMA and the Comptroller General any records, books, or papers necessary to conduct an audit. Lastly, a plan must include a way to provide emergency preparedness information to the public (included limited English speakers and those with disabilities) in an organized manner.[2]
The last portion of Title six addresses security regulations. No FEMA employee is allowed to be in a position of critical importance, as defined by the director of FEMA, until a full field investigation of the employee is completed. Every federal employee of FEMA acting under the authority of Title Six, except those in the United Kingdom or Canada, must complete a loyalty oath as follows:
"I______, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.
"And I do further swear (or affirm) that I do not advocate, nor am I a member or an affiliate of any organization, group, or combination of persons that advocates theoverthrow of the Government of the United States by force or violence; and that during such time as I am a member of ________ (name of emergency preparedness organization), I will not advocate nor become a member or an affiliate of any organization, group, or combination of persons that advocates the overthrow of the Government of the United States by force or violence."[2]
Title VII: Miscellaneous Edit Title VII gives the President the authority to determine any rule or regulation that may be necessary to carry out the powers that he is given in the Act. This can be either through a federal agency, or any other means the President sees fit.
Payment deadlines were also established under this Title. Payment of any approved assistance is to be distributed within 60 days of the approval.[2] Any donation, bequest, or gift received under the subsection is to be deposited into a separate fund on the books of the United States Department of the Treasury.[2] Disaster grant closeout procedures under this Title explain that there should be no administrative action in an attempt to recover any payments made to state or local governments for emergency assistance under the Act until three years after the final expenditure report has been transmitted for that emergency.[2]
Firearm policies prohibit the confiscation of firearms for any reason other than failure to comply with federal law or as evidence in an investigation. It also prohibits the forced registration of a firearm for which registration is not required by any federal, state, or local law.[2] The Title also lays out the rights and legal framework for citizens who feel their gun rights have been violated during a time of emergency.
The Act also dictates that, in matters of disasters, the federal government is to treat Puerto Rico as a state.[5]
Amendments Edit The Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 (DRRA) Edit Inadequate disaster preparation and response motivated the 2018 DRRA, which significantly amended the Stafford Act. Mainly, it expanded eligibility for hazard mitigation funding by allowing the President to contribute up to 75% of the cost of hazard mitigation measures that they determine to be cost effective and increasing resilience, and to set aside funding for pre-disaster mitigation from the Disaster Relief Fund. It also expanded eligibility for both recipients and providers of disaster relief funds in certain areas.[6]
Criticism Edit There are diffuse criticisms of the Stafford Act. The Institute for Southern Studies has stated that the Act needs to give greater latitude to FEMA on how it responds to disasters that are extraordinarily devastating such as Hurricane Katrina.[7] This is especially true for FEMA's ability to provide financial assistance in the form of grants to states and localities suffering after such a disaster. The Institute for Southern Studies has also noted the red tape that has been associated with the Stafford Act in the Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. In an article for Frontline, many others agreed that the process of handing out aid was hindered by bureaucratic red tape.[8] This leads to a rather slow response from Washington to diagnose and resolve issues with recovery efforts.
Returning buildings to exact pre-disaster conditions was the basis of a criticism by the authors of the Frontline article. Including the provision in the Stafford Act that requires buildings that are destroyed to be rebuilt the same way that they were standing before the disaster occurred. For example, if a 50-year-old hospital was destroyed during a disaster, the Stafford Act would require the building to be constructed exactly how it was without any updates to the building. This was remedied by the 2018 DRRA.
Other criticisms of the Stafford Act focus on human rights issues that are present during emergencies and recovery efforts. The Stafford Act does not require that the federal government ensure displaced persons have the ability to participate in governmental decisions that affect the recovery efforts.[9] This includes not only access to public forums about recovery planning and management, but the Stafford Act also does not address voting rights or civic participation issues for those who are displaced during a disaster.[9]
Some argue that while the Stafford Act allows the government to provide housing and medical assistance, it does not require it to do so. Any housing, education, or healthcare provided during an emergency and the recovery efforts are provided at the sole discretion of the federal government.[9] Even the rebuilding of medical facilities is discretionary.[9]
While the Stafford Act gives instructions about the needs of the disabled and animals during an emergency, it does not specify any requirements for children or the elderly. These groups may have extenuating circumstances that could prevent them from following the same emergency protocol as an average adult.[3]
Relevant court cases Edit La Union del Pueblo Entero v. Federal Emergency Management AgencyDavis v. United StatesFreeman v. United StatesSaint Tammany Parish v. Federal Emergency Management AgencyMcCue v. City of New YorkDavidson v. VenemanHawaii v. Federal Emergency Management AgencyCougar Business Owners Association v. Washington StateProposed amendments Edit One proposed amendment to the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act is the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act of 2013 (H.R. 592), a bill that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on February 13, 2013, during the 113th United States Congress. The bill would make religious organizations and religious non-profits eligible to receive federal funding for repairs and rebuilding of their facilities after a major disaster.[10] The bill passed the House by a large margin, but was criticized by opponents for using taxpayer money to help tax-exempt organizations and for violating the principle of separation of church and state.
In popular culture Edit In 2015, the Stafford Act was used in an episode of House of Cards as a way for President Frank Underwood to fund his signature jobs program, AmericaWorks. In the episode, Underwood used Stafford Act funds under a Title V declaration of emergency for the District of Columbia, citing high unemployment as a disaster in the District. Under Title V of the Act, the president may make an emergency declaration on behalf of an area that is under Federal jurisdiction, which includes Washington, DC. He directed FEMA and other cabinet departments to use the Stafford Funds for jobs programs in the District.
References Edit ^ "FDA Emergency Operations Plan" (PDF) . USFDA Office of Crisis Management. 2.0. March 2014. p. 88. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 11, 2015 . Retrieved February 11, 2016 . ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Act". June 2007. Archived from the original on September 25, 2012 . Retrieved April 1, 2011 . ^ a b "The Legal Landscape for Emergency Management in the United States" (PDF) . New America Foundation. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 19, 2011 . Retrieved April 5, 2011 . ^ "Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) Operations". United States Department of Homeland Security. May 2005 . Retrieved March 28, 2011 . ^ Statehood for Puerto Ricans: Billions More in U.S. Programs'--and in Taxes. Jo Craven McGinty. The Wall Street Journal. 4 November 2017. Accessed 15 February 2020. ^ CRS Report on DRRA 2018 ^ Evans, Desiree. "Study on Government Response to Katrina Highlights need for Stafford Act Reform". The Institute for Southern Studies. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011 . Retrieved April 5, 2011 . ^ "The Old Man and the Storm". PBS Frontline. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012 . Retrieved April 5, 2011 . ^ a b c d "Protecting the Human Right to Return with Dignity and Justice After Hurricane Katrina". Advocates for Environmental Human Rights. Archived from the original on April 8, 2011 . Retrieved April 5, 2011 . ^ "H.R. 592 - 113th Congress". United States Congress . Retrieved 15 April 2013 . External links Edit Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 93-288) as amended '-- FEMA websiteCRS Report for Congress '-- Federal Stafford Act Disaster Assistance: Presidential Declarations, Eligible Activities, and Funding
Fox Business Benches Trish Regan After Outcry Over Coronavirus Comments - The New York Times
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 08:25
The Fox Business anchor Trish Regan, whose on-air dismissal of the coronavirus as ''another attempt to impeach the president'' left her cable network facing a firestorm of criticism this week, has been removed from her prime-time slot for the foreseeable future, the network said on Friday.
Ms. Regan's 8 p.m. program, ''Trish Regan Primetime,'' is ''on hiatus until further notice,'' Fox Business said in a statement. The network declined to say if Ms. Regan would continue to appear on its other programs, saying that its coverage plans for the coronavirus crisis remained in flux.
Fox Business attributed the move to ''the demands of the evolving pandemic crisis coverage,'' saying it was shifting resources toward daytime coverage of the pandemic and global markets. Both ''Trish Regan Primetime'' and its follow-up at 9, ''Kennedy,'' will be replaced by general-interest programs.
Still, the abrupt removal of Ms. Regan '-- a reliably pro-Trump personality who has twice interviewed the president '-- came as right-wing media stars have faced growing scrutiny for commentary that played down fears about the coronavirus and suggested that the illness had been overhyped by President Trump's critics.
Ms. Regan's remarks, delivered on her Monday show, caused many colleagues at Fox Business and its corporate cousin Fox News to cringe. In front of a graphic reading, ''Coronavirus Impeachment Hoax,'' she accused Democrats of creating ''mass hysteria to encourage a market sell-off'' and sowing fear about the virus ''to demonize and destroy the president.''
Her monologue ran at the same time that the anchor Tucker Carlson, on his Fox News program, was exhorting elected officials to respond more aggressively to the virus. ''People you know will get sick; some may die,'' Mr. Carlson told his audience, which is significantly larger than Ms. Regan's.
Off the air, Mr. Carlson has been urging Mr. Trump to take the threat of coronavirus more seriously. Last Saturday, Mr. Carlson drove from his residence in Florida to Mar-a-Lago, the president's Florida resort, and spoke directly with Mr. Trump about the virus, according to a person with knowledge of their conversation.
In a memo this week, the Fox News chief executive, Suzanne Scott, and the network's president, Jay Wallace, said that employees would predominantly work from home and that they expected programming changes ''in the coming days'' to accommodate a spike in audience interest in the coronavirus.
Among other changes, Fox News is planning to add four additional hours of live overnight programming to its lineup to keep up with developments.
''Please keep in mind that viewers rely on us to stay informed during a crisis of this magnitude,'' Ms. Scott and Mr. Wallace wrote. ''We are providing an important public service to our audience by functioning as a resource for all Americans.''
On Friday night, Ms. Regan did not address her impending hiatus in the opening moments of her show. And her on-air remarks were strikingly more placid than her fiery monologue from Monday.
''Our path forward right now is together, the left and the right united to fight this crisis,'' Ms. Regan told viewers. ''We're all in this together, and we need to stay safe.''
Ben Smith and Jeremy W. Peters contributed reporting.
Updated March 13, 2020
What is a coronavirus? It is a novel virus named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to lung lesions and pneumonia. How contagious is the virus? It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can travel through the air, enveloped in tiny respiratory droplets that are produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes. Where has the virus spread? The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 142,100 in at least 113 countries and more than 5,300 have died. The spread has slowed in China but is gaining speed in Europe and the United States. World Health Organization officials said the outbreak qualifies as a pandemic. What symptoms should I look out for? Symptoms, which can take between two to 14 days to appear, include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Milder cases may resemble the flu or a bad cold, but people may be able to pass on the virus even before they develop symptoms. How do I keep myself and others safe? Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you're sick and avoiding touching your face. How can I prepare for a possible outbreak? Keep a 30-day supply of essential medicines. Get a flu shot. Have essential household items on hand. Have a support system in place for elderly family members. What if I'm traveling? The State Department has issued a global Level 3 health advisory telling United States citizens to ''reconsider travel'' to all countries because of the worldwide effects of the coronavirus. This is the department's second-highest advisory. How long will it take to develop a treatment or vaccine? Several drugs are being tested, and some initial findings are expected soon. A vaccine to stop the spread is still at least a year away.
EXPOSED: Italy's Deadly Recipe for Coronavirus Pandemic: Weaponized Socialist Healthcare & Open Borders (Must Watch) '' RAIR
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 00:46
''Those who are too old to have a high likelihood of recovery, or who have too low a number of 'life-years' left even if they should survive, would be left to die.'' '' The Atlantic, discussing Italian Socialist Healthcare Guidelines for an escalation of the Wuhan coronavirus
As shown in the below RAIR Foundation USA exclusively-translated videos, socialist Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, a strong advocate of unchecked migration, announced measures to contain the coronavirus by quarantining the northern province of Lombardy, resulting in panicked Italians fleeing the area. The healthcare in Italy's government run system is also being heavily rationed, with elderly people literally being turned away from treatment.
Open borders Italy has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic with the latest media reports indicating that more than 10,000 people in the country have been infected, making it the country with highest infection rate outside of China.
On March 8, 2020, Conte announced a travel lock-down and a quarantine in Lombardy:
Corriere della SeraAfter the announcement of the closure of Lombardy, hundreds of distraught people rushed to the station storming the intercity night train leaving from Milano Porta Garibaldi Station:
Fanpage.itAn article in Scientific American touches on the factors that may account for the high death rate in Italy including the demographics of an older population, while the spread of the infection may be attributed to bad luck in experiencing the infection early before there was a high degree of awareness of the virus.
But another critical piece of the puzzle of why Italy is particularly hard hit which isn't discussed by the mainstream media is offered up by David Vance at AltNewsMedia:
''Many Italians in Northern Italy have sold their leather goods and textiles companies to China. Italy then allowed 100,000 Chinese workers from Wuhan and Wenzhou to move to Italy to work in these factories, with direct flights between Wuhan and Northern Italy. This continued post outbreak, so is it mere coincidence that Northern Italy is now Europe's hotspot for Corona Virus?
One of the most terrifying aspects of the coronavirus pandemic in Italy, however, is the outrageous and extreme rationing citizens face by the socialist healthcare system. A set of ''guidelines'' by the Italian College of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care makes chilling recommendations to be followed as the crisis deepens. ''Instead of providing intensive care to all patients who need it,'' the Italian experts suggest that ''it may become necessary to follow 'the most widely shared criteria regarding distributive justice and the appropriate allocation of limited health resources.'''
As reported in an article a The Atlantic everyone advocating Single Payer in America should read:
'Informed by the principle of maximizing benefits for the largest number,' they [the authors of the report] suggest that 'the allocation criteria need to guarantee that those patients with the highest chance of therapeutic success will retain access to intensive care.'
['...]
Those who are too old to have a high likelihood of recovery, or who have too low a number of 'life-years' left even if they should survive, would be left to die. This sounds cruel, but the alternative, the document argues, is no better. 'In case of a total saturation of resources, maintaining the criterion of 'first come, first served' would amount to a decision to exclude late-arriving patients from access to intensive care.'
There's no question that Europe's open borders put it at an extra risk for devastating outcomes from this virus, especially when one considers the latest migrant crisis unfolding on the Turkey-Greek border and the impossibility of testing illegals for the virus.
Greek Citizens come together to fight against construction of a migrant reception centerGlobal Pandemic
Italy is not feeling this burden alone. As reported at the Gates of Vienna, ''[A] French government minister has tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus, and a top German general has self-quarantined because of the disease.'' As reported Friday, the World Health Organization has declared Europe as the ''Epicenter'' of the pandemic. Europe's socialist healthcare and European Union's policy of open borders is fostering an atmosphere ripe for a pandemic.
According to an article in the Washington Examiner, Angela Merkel predicts 60% to 70% of Germans will be infected by coronavirus:
''During a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday, Merkel revealed that authorities expect 60% to 70% of Germany's population to be infected with the coronavirus. She announced that lawmakers would meet on Thursday to address the illness as Germany's health minister, Jens Spahn, warned that the illness could overwhelm the country's health system.''
Meanwhile, President Trump announced, ''I am officially declaring a national emergency. Two very big words.'' Trump says the action he is taking will open up access to up to $50 billion to fight the pandemic. Flights between Europe and the USA have been suspended for thirty days. Also, the NBA had been suspended the rest of its season after two players on the Utah Jazz contracted the coronavirus.
The coronavirus is exposing the globalist adherents for the reckless, anti-human lunatics they are when they demand open borders and free healthcare for illegals yet offer no explanation for who will pay for it, nor do they show any concern for those citizens who pay the ultimate price with their lives when a virus goes global.
Support our work at RAIR Foundation USA! We are a grassroots activist team and we need your help! Please consider making a donation here: https://rairfoundation.com/donate/
33 National Guard to deploy 1,000 troops in six states in response to coronavirus | Fox News
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 00:41
The National Guard announced Friday that it is deploying 1,000 troops across six states by the end of the day as part of the national response to the coronavirus pandemic.
A statement said that as of Friday morning, 400 Air and Army National Guard personnel were present in six states -- Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, New York, Rhode Island and Washington -- having been requested at the direction of their respective governors.
TRUMP EXPECTED TO DECLARE NATIONAL EMERGENCY ON CORONAVIRUS, AT PRESS CONFERENCE
The National Guard Bureau serves as a national coordinating agency if a state needs assistance from the National Guard present in another state.
''By the end of the day we expect that number to approach 1,000,'' it said in a statement.
So far 33 states have declared emergencies in response to the spread of the virus, and President Trump was expected to declare a national emergency on Friday afternoon. The announcement comes as major sporting and other events are called off or postponed, businesses across the country institute telework policies, government buildings and schools shutter, and other disruptions rock the nation amid efforts to curb the transmission of the virus.
National Guard personnel stand beside a line of motorists waiting for COVID-19 coronavirus infection testing at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle, N.Y., on Friday, March 13, 2020, (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
More than 1,600 Americans have tested positive for the virus, and experts expect that number to rise significantly. So far 41 people have died in the U.S.
CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP
The Guard said in the statement that members are being trained on responding to the virus, including identifying and preparing facilities for isolation housing and compiling medical supplies.
''The National Guard's first priority is to protect our people while saving lives. National Guard personnel will provide assistance to the states that include logistical support, disinfection/cleaning, activate/conduct transportation of medical personnel, call center support, and meal delivery,'' the statement said.
Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
Biden 'Virtual Town Hall' Marred by Tech Issues, Durbin's Wailing Baby
Sat, 14 Mar 2020 00:37
The man who wants to save America from coronavirus struggled mightily Friday evening with cameras, computers, and microphones.
Due to the restrictions on crowds because of coronavirus, Joe Biden scheduled a ''virtual town hall'' in Illinois on Friday at 4:00 p.m. Central.
Then it was moved to 6:00 p.m. Central.
When Breitbart News tuned in, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth was fiddling with her camera phone, at one moment setting it on the table pointed straight up at the ceiling so America could see her light fixture.
A short time later, the text ''Senator Dick Durbin'' appeared on the otherwise black screen, accompanied by the wails of a baby in the background.
At 6:19, a moderator announced Durbin, who wasn't visible. He introduced Biden, who appeared before American and Illinois flags.
Biden began speaking, but there was no audio. Then suddenly, Durbin appeared in a separate screen holding a small child.
Biden seemed to be reading from a teleprompter, but the broadcast suffered from severe tech issues, as Biden's words were caught in a feedback loop, muddying the whole presentation and making the candidate nearly indecipherable.
Biden tossed it to former Obama Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who offered hygiene recommendations.
It then went back to Biden, who took questions. But when the campaign sorted out Biden's audio issues, he never appeared on screen again.
The first person called on to ask a question said, ''Mr. Biden's speech was garbled the entire time.'' The moderator promptly moved onto another person.
One asked how Biden would ''satisfy'' Bernie Sanders supporters, and he said they are aligned on many issues, so it would not be difficult. Another asked how Biden's health care plan would solve ''the current health crisis.'' The final woman asked if Biden supported the Endangered Species Act.
He confirmed he did.
''I'm sorry this is such a disjointed effort here,'' Biden said, signing off.
Here is the full video:
The event ended at 6:43 p.m. Duckworth never appeared again.
It's not clear how many people actually were watching the virtual meeting.
Kyle Olson is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @KyleOlson4.
Why Are Fancy Groceries Madhouses, But Regular Chains Humming Along As Usual?
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 22:04
Fancy grocery stores like Trader Joe's in affluent neighborhoods have lines out the door, regular stores, not so much.
Different types of people handle situations differently, especially when it comes to stuff like a pandemic of a deadly Wuhan virus. But in New York City and elsewhere, an interesting pattern is emerging in regard to fancy chain grocery stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods which have been picked over like a carcass and still have long lines. Meanwhile, regular neighborhood chain stores have a few shortages, but are operating pretty normally.
The evidence is anecdotal, but it's reflected on social media as well. I went to my local grocery this morning and there were a few people hoarding, but it wasn't packed, it was well stocked, and seemed to be humming along.
COVID-19 has officially hit NYC.
There's not a single piece of food left at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. pic.twitter.com/L5mF15LmRs
'-- Yano (@JasonYanowitz) March 12, 2020
Over at Trader Joe's, multiple news reports have made the popular millennial hot spot sound like a post apocalyptic hellscape.
Here is video of the line inside one Manhattan location.
There is probably more than one reason that these differences are occurring, but it seems highly likely that the dispositions and incomes of the two sets of customers are playing a role in the run on Trader Joe's and the slow steady traffic of old school grocers. The former are almost all in affluent sections of the city, the latter more often in middle and lower middle class neighborhoods.
But it's not just in New York City.
This pattern is also happening in DC. Costco and big-box stores much worse than neighborhood grocers. https://t.co/mq9XzZaUfm
'-- Inez Stepman (@InezFeltscher) March 13, 2020
Whole Foods, Los Angeles. 8:00pm Thursday, March 12. pic.twitter.com/fpVJb4yHK3
'-- Arezou Rezvani (@ArezouRezvani) March 13, 2020
In the industrial part of Houston supermarkets are stocked with light traffic. In the expensive parts of town the whole foods are packed. It doesn't pay to be extremely online.
'-- Chris Raab (@ChrisRaab3) March 13, 2020
Welp.
This is what the Trader Joe's on 14th street in DC looks like this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/31BDKERnEn
'-- Peter Suderman (@petersuderman) March 13, 2020
The scene this afternoon from the Trader Joe's in Cambridge. pic.twitter.com/wysIrl8Ujz
'-- Jonathan Yuan (@jyuanathan) March 13, 2020
There is something to be said for the fact that more affluent people may be paying closer attention to the virus, but before we get to that, there are a few practical reasons this could be happening.
The first is income. New Yorkers who aren't wealthy are not known for being swimming in savings. For many, the idea of dropping $500 right now for a stockpile would interfere with tight budgets. Another factor is space, people in small apartments don't have storage for 27 twelve packs of toilet paper. And small apartments mean small fridges and freezers compared to those in new luxury buildings.
But it's not completely off base to point to some psychological differences as well. For one thing, white collar professionals are far more likely to have jobs that allow them to stay tuned in constantly to the updates that cause anxiety and panic buying. The wage-worker, who isn't on a device all day, is watching a severe pandemic occur, but not in a constant cascade of panic. The affluent in these areas also tend to be more progressive than middle class New Yorkers, and the progressive media has leaned very hard into the worst possible outcomes, whether for political reasons or not.
Whatever the reasons for the disparity, there seems to be two different realities playing out in the city regarding the Wuhan virus. Everyone might be taking precautions, but in different ways across socio-economic lines.
In the working class neighborhoods rules and advice from officials are being followed, but not exceeded to the point of baring the the shelves of the stores. Ultimately, this is probably a much more responsible approach, as local stores will have better control of their supply lines.
It's a tale of two cities, one experiences a bit of a panic-driven freak out and another takes a more measured approach. I find myself in the latter camp, and I could be wrong, but at least I won't be spending two hours on line at Whole Foods.
David Marcus is the Federalist's New York Correspondent. Follow him on Twitter, @BlueBoxDave.
Trump executive order expected on American-made medical supplies amid coronavirus outbreak - Chicago Tribune
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 18:57
President Donald Trump is expected to announce an executive order Wednesday insisting on American-made medical supplies and pharmaceuticals in response to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a person familiar with the plan, as the White House begins to come to grips with the severity of the situation.
Word about the planned announcement, from a person who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity, comes amid another tumultuous day in the unfolding crisis. Confirmed cases in the United States are topping 1,000, fluctuations in the financial markets are continuing and Washington is straining to respond.
The White House is also considering a host of more aggressive responses, including a declaration of a national disaster, to free up additional federal dollars and to address concerns that the administration's initial response to the pandemic was insufficient.
That includes efforts to dramatically increase the number of American-made protective facial masks sold to hospitals by giving companies legal cover to sell masks made for industrial use to hospitals so doctors and nurses can use them while other masks are in short supply.
President Donald Trump talks to reporters about coronavirus after meeting with Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Washington.(Evan Vucci/AP)
''Those industrials will work for medical,'' said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. ''We can just do that for an 18-month period and there'd be millions more available."
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three weeks to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., raised concerns about diversifying the supply chain and reducing the U.S. reliance on imports, including from China, during a private lunch with Trump and GOP senators this week.
Trump appeared to agree with the senator's outlook, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to publicly discuss the private session and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Rubio praised the forthcoming announcement.
He called the expected order ''a very strong first step toward increasing domestic production by enforcing Buy American requirements for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, as well as fast-tracking approval'' by the Food and Drug Administration of "critical products impacted by the coronavirus outbreak's strain on the supply chain.''
China is a key supplier of drug active ingredients, the chemical components that make drugs work, and finished medicines for the U.S. market. Those include the active ingredients for antibiotics and pills to treat common chronic conditions such as heart disease.
Many of China's active ingredients are shipped to India, which makes much of the global supply of generic drugs. India recently restricted all exports of 13 active pharmaceutical ingredients, and finished drugs made from those chemicals, to protect its domestic drug supply.
The restricted drugs are mostly antibiotics, antiviral drugs and a fever reducer, all of which are used for supportive care of patients with coronavirus symptoms, because there is no approved medicine to treat the virus. U.S. regulators have stressed that alternative medicines are available to treat patients.
Members of Congress and others since last fall have been raising concerns that the U.S. has become much too dependent on medicines made in Asia, as U.S. and European drugmakers increasingly have outsourced much of their manufacturing to Asia, where labor and materials are far cheaper.
Associated Press writers Linda A. Johnson in Trenton, N.J., and Zeke Miller, Andrew Taylor, Jill Colvin and Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.
Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak | The White House
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 18:44
In December 2019, a novel (new) coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 (''the virus'') was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, People's Republic of China, causing outbreaks of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 that has now spread globally. The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared a public health emergency on January 31, 2020, under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d), in response to COVID-19. I have taken sweeping action to control the spread of the virus in the United States, including by suspending entry of foreign nationals seeking entry who had been physically present within the prior 14 days in certain jurisdictions where COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred, including the People's Republic of China, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Schengen Area of Europe. The Federal Government, along with State and local governments, has taken preventive and proactive measures to slow the spread of the virus and treat those affected, including by instituting Federal quarantines for individuals evacuated from foreign nations, issuing a declaration pursuant to section 319F'‘3 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 247d'‘6d), and releasing policies to accelerate the acquisition of personal protective equipment and streamline bringing new diagnostic capabilities to laboratories. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced that the COVID-19 outbreak can be characterized as a pandemic, as the rates of infection continue to rise in many locations around the world and across the United States.
The spread of COVID-19 within our Nation's communities threatens to strain our Nation's healthcare systems. As of March 12, 2020, 1,645 people from 47 States have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. It is incumbent on hospitals and medical facilities throughout the country to assess their preparedness posture and be prepared to surge capacity and capability. Additional measures, however, are needed to successfully contain and combat the virus in the United States.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 201 and 301 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) and consistent with section 1135 of the Social Security Act (SSA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 1320b-5), do hereby find and proclaim that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States constitutes a national emergency, beginning March 1, 2020. Pursuant to this declaration, I direct as follows:
Section 1. Emergency Authority. The Secretary of HHS may exercise the authority under section 1135 of the SSA to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements of the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children's Health Insurance programs and of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule throughout the duration of the public health emergency declared in response to the COVID'‘19 outbreak.
Sec. 2. Certification and Notice. In exercising this authority, the Secretary of HHS shall provide certification and advance written notice to the Congress as required by section 1135(d) of the SSA (42 U.S.C. 1320b-5(d)).
Sec. 3. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This proclamation shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This proclamation is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.
DONALD J. TRUMP
Research team has isolated the COVID-19 virus - Sunnybrook Research Institute
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 17:29
A team of researchers from Sunnybrook, McMaster University and the University of Toronto has isolated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the agent responsible for the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.
Thanks to nimble collaboration, the team was able to culture the virus from two clinical specimens in a Level 3 containment facility.
''We need key tools to develop solutions to this pandemic. While the immediate response is crucial, longer-term solutions come from essential research into this novel virus,'' said Dr. Samira Mubareka, microbiologist and infectious diseases physician at Sunnybrook.
The isolated virus will help researchers in Canada and across the world develop better diagnostic testing, treatments and vaccines, and gain a better understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology, evolution and clinical shedding.
''Researchers from these world-class institutions came together in a grassroots way to successfully isolate the virus in just a few short weeks,'' said Dr. Rob Kozak, clinical microbiologist at Sunnybrook. ''It demonstrates the amazing things that can happen when we collaborate.''
Dr. Arinjay Banerjee, NSERC post-doctoral fellow at McMaster University, said he knows the collaboration won't stop there.
''Now that we have isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we can share this with other researchers and continue this teamwork,'' he said. ''The more viruses that are made available in this way, the more we can learn, collaborate and share.''
Congratulations to the researchers from these three Canadian institutions: Dr. Samira Mubareka and Dr. Rob Kozak of Sunnybrook and University of Toronto; Dr. Arinjay Banerjee and Dr. Karen Mossman of McMaster University.
With gratitude to the CL3 team and Biosafety Officers.
Read more:
McMaster researcher plays key role in isolating COVID-19 virus for use in urgent research
U of T and Sunnybrook virologists work on tools to combat coronavirus outbreak
Dr. Samira Mubareka: a leading expert in Sunnybrook's response to COVID-19
Media Contacts:Alexis DobranowskiCommunications Advisoralexis.dobranowski@sunnybrook.ca
Wade HemsworthPublic Relations Manager, McMaster University hemswor@mcmaster.ca
To improve the US coronavirus response, Donald Trump should resign - The Verge
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 14:35
We are facing a pandemic about which US President Donald Trump appears incapable of telling the truth '-- assuming he even knows it '-- and without quick action, a lot of people are going to get sick. Some of them will die. The president's incoherence has reached a level that is a hazard to public health. The best thing Trump can do for the country, to speed its response to the novel coronavirus, is resign and let someone capable take over.
Is that Mike Pence? At this point, I'm willing to find out.
Trump won't, of course. But as the markets plunge and people become increasingly frightened, there is a helpful course of action he could take immediately: stop talking. Trump should not open his mouth '-- he makes things worse every time he does it.
Here's where we're at, as of yesterday: the president accidentally started a trade war with Europe during a televised address about the novel coronavirus pandemic, which was then walked back with a tweet. He was trying to announce a travel ban.
''These prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo,'' he said in his speech. An hour later, he tweeted: ''Very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe. The restriction stops people not goods.''
Also in his speech yesterday, Trump told the nation that all insurers ''have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments.'' This is also, apparently, not true. ''For testing. Not for treatment,'' a spokesperson for the insurers' lobby, America's Health Insurance Plans, told Sarah Owermohle, a reporter for Politico. During no part of the speech were ventilators, hospital beds, or other preparedness measures discussed.
Nor were people who didn't have insurance discussed, a significant hazard. People who are likely to get stuck with bills from coronavirus testing or treatment may be less likely to seek care. This is to say nothing of workers who cannot afford to stay home because they do not have sick leave. Lots of Americans are frightened and want to know that our government will care for them and their loved ones. Does the president know or care about this? It doesn't seem like it.
''Bottom line, it's going to get worse.''Currently, there are more than 1,000 people in the US who have confirmed cases of the illness COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and 28 people are known to have died from it. ''Bottom line, it's going to get worse,'' Anthony Fauci, who has been the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, told members of the House of Representatives yesterday.
The American Hospital Association, a national organization that represents hospitals, told its members to expect 96 million cases of COVID-19 in the US within two months, resulting in 480,000 deaths. Fauci echoed that assessment in his statements about the number of cases to expect. ''If we are complacent and don't do really aggressive containment and mitigation, the number could go way up and be involved in many, many millions,'' Fauci said yesterday.
To date, Trump's responses to the virus run the gamut from denial to wishful thinking. ''The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA,'' Trump tweeted on February 24th. ''I think that whole situation will start working out,'' Trump said on February 25th at a press conference in India. ''We're very close to a vaccine.'' In reality, producing a vaccine will likely take more than a year.
The White House insisted that the disease was contained, that it was not a threat, and that we should thank Trump for the travel ban. ''It's going to disappear,'' Trump told the American public on February 28th. ''One day it's like a miracle, it will disappear.'' Criticism of his response was ''a new hoax,'' he told a South Carolina rally.
''Every one of these doctors said, 'How do you know so much about this?''' Trump said of his own understanding of the virus on March 6th. ''Maybe I have a natural ability.''
It is scarier to contemplate what may be happening that we haven't yet discoveredMeanwhile, ''dozens'' of classified discussions about quarantine and travel restrictions have been held since January. But because the discussions were classified, many experts were excluded, according to Reuters. This may have delayed the response to the epidemic. Further, instead of using the World Health Organization's tests for coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) '-- for reasons best known to itself '-- chose to create its own test. Unfortunately, a part of the test kits was contaminated. The US Food and Drug Administration only gave states permission to create their own tests on February 29th.
The delays in testing mean delays in response. That slow response has hurt patients in two places that we know of: California and Washington. It is scarier to contemplate what may be happening that we haven't yet discovered. But by March 6th, only 1,895 people had been tested, according to The Atlantic. As of today, March 12th, just 11,000 tests have been conducted. By way of comparison, South Korea has been conducting 10,000 tests a day.
A possible first case of the new coronavirus acquired from the community was announced on February 26th. The patient, from Solano County, California, was already on a ventilator when she was admitted to the University of California Davis Medical Center on February 19th. Though her health care team requested testing for the novel coronavirus, the CDC didn't get around to testing the patient until February 23rd, according to the Davis Enterprise. (The CDC said it hadn't denied any testing requests.)
An earlier outbreak in Washington was found only because a group of scientists, led by Helen Chu, went rogue and began performing coronavirus tests without government approval on February 25th. More than 370 people have been confirmed as having the novel coronavirus in the Washington outbreak, and 30 people have died. The earliest death occurred on February 26th, but it wasn't detected for a week. On March 9th, the federal government told Chu's group to stop testing.
Drive-thru tests, which have been used successfully in South Korea, may limit the exposure of health care workers to the virus. On March 11th, Robert Redfield, the head of the CDC, told the House Oversight Committee that there were no plans from the CDC to create drive-thru tests because ''we're trying to maintain the relationship between individuals and their healthcare providers.''
U.S. President Donald Trump is a danger to public health as Americans prepare to face down an epidemicDo I need to keep going through the lies and misinformation and the generally bungled response, or have you started to get the picture? Donald Trump is a danger to public health as Americans prepare to face down an epidemic. Not only is he untrustworthy as a source of information in a time of crisis '-- which would be bad enough! '-- but he won't declare a state of emergency to free up funding to deal with the novel coronavirus because he's concerned about his narrative. ''The president isn't persuaded because [an emergency declaration] contradicts his message that this is the flu,'' a Republican told Politico.
We are desperately short on time to fend off a new illness that could kill hundreds of thousands. We are far behind on testing and are essentially going into this pandemic without a playbook. And the president is concerned about his narrative.
Every time the president speaks about the novel coronavirus, the markets plunge, so I know I'm not the only person longing for an adult in the room. If Donald Trump won't resign, he should just shut up and let an adult do the talking. We don't need someone ''presidential'' anymore. We need a real president.
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Heidi Klum Says She Can't Get the Coronavirus Test After Experiencing Symptoms
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 14:34
Tom Hanks may have had no trouble getting tested for COVID-19 in Australia, but Heidi Klum is learning that the process is much more difficult in the United States.
In a series of Instagram Stories posted on March 13, the America's Got Talent judge expressed concerns that she has fallen ill to the coronavirus on the set of the competition show. She describes her symptoms as ''a chill, feeling feverish, cough, runny nose.''
Although it's been reported that AGT will continue production (without a studio audience), Klum is self-quarantining. ''Um, I'm just not feeling good, so that's why I've stayed home to not infect any other people,'' she said.
Unfortunately, she has no idea if she's actually suffering from COVID-19, which has been labeled a pandemic by the World Health Organization. ''I hope it's just a cold, I would love to do the corona test, but there just isn't one here,'' she said. ''I've tried with two different doctors and I just can't get one.''
Instagram/@heidiklumAccording to Time, there are many factors working against the United States when it comes to testing for the virus. When the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in the U.S., only two labs at the CDC were permitted to conduct COVID-19 testing, using a test developed by the agency's own researchers. When the CDC tried to expand testing by providing its test kits to state and local public health labs, there were problems with the initial version of the kits, which the CDC then reworked, Time reports.
This week, two of the largest diagnostic commercial labs have begun testing but are still conducting only a few thousand a day.
Meanwhile, over in Australia, Hanks and Rita Wilson have tested positive for the virus and are keeping us posted on their condition via Instagram. On Friday, March 13, they posted a new message of thanks to their doctors.
''Hello folks. @ritawilson and I want to thank everyone here Down Under who are taking such good care of us,'' he wrote in an Instagram caption. ''We have COVID-19 and are in isolation so we do not spread it to anyone else. There are those for whom it could lead to a very serious illness. We are taking it one day at a time. There are things we can all do to get through this by following the advice of experts and taking care of ourselves and each other, no? Remember, despite all the current events, there is no crying in baseball. Hanx''
3 Men Sentenced to 125 Years Each in Drowning of Syrian Refugee Boy - The New York Times
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 11:50
Middle East | 3 Men Sentenced to 125 Years Each in Drowning of Syrian Refugee BoyA Turkish court sentenced each man to 125 years in jail for the death of five refugees, including Alan Kurdi, 2, whose body washed up on a beach.
This image of Alan Kurdi's tiny body washed up on a beach in Turkey led to an outpouring of concern for Syrian refugees in 2015. Credit... Nilufer Demir/Dogan News Agencyia Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images March 13, 2020Updated 8:46 a.m. ET
Three Turkish men were sentenced this week to 125 years in jail for their part in the drowning of a boy whose death in 2015 became a worldwide symbol of the suffering caused by the Syrian war and the European refugee crisis it triggered.
A photograph of the tiny body of Alan Kurdi, 2, facedown on a Turkish beach appeared on the front pages of newspapers across Europe and around the world, fueling an upsurge in public sympathy and anger at the plight of refugees.
Alan, whose forename appeared in initial reports with its Turkish spelling, Aylan, died with his brother, Galip, 5; their mother, Rihan; and two other refugees when a dinghy carrying 14 migrants toward the Greek island of Kos capsized. From his immediate family, only the father survived.
In 2016, two Syrians, Muwafaka Alabash, 36, and Asem Alfrhad, 35, were convicted of smuggling refugees in the case. A separate investigation was initiated into the organizers of the illegal crossing.
The Turkish police had been seeking three more suspects, and they were eventually captured in the southern city of Adana. A court in Bodrum, the popular holiday spot where the bodies of the children were found, convicted them of manslaughter with probable intent in the deaths of the five migrants.
The state-run Anadolu news agency identified the men on Friday as Cebrail E., Ecevit Bulent G and Ali Can S. Their precise role in the refugees' deaths has not been publicly confirmed; the final hearing in the case was on Wednesday.
The case was particularly important in Germany, then in the first months of welcoming what would eventually be more than a million refugees from the crisis. The country's best-selling tabloid, the usually conservative Bild, printed the image of Alan's body on an otherwise black back page, with text declaring it a message to the world to unite and save migrants. When readers complained, it removed all photographs from a subsequent edition.
Around six months after the children's deaths, Turkey and the European Union brokered a deal that has largely succeeded in stemming the flow of migrants to Europe. But the politics of migration in the continent has become increasingly toxic in Germany and elsewhere.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has long accused the European Union of failing to send the funding it promised in the deal and of leaving his country alone in tackling the migration crisis.
Finally, last month, Turkey opened the doors for migrants who want to cross into Europe, sending thousands of refugees to the Greek border. It set off clashes with Greek police and led to the drowning this month of a child when a dinghy carrying 48 migrants capsized while trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos from the Turkish coast, the Greek Coast Guard said.
Proclamation'--Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus | The White House
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 11:38
On January 31, 2020, I issued Proclamation 9984 (Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus and Other Appropriate Measures To Address This Risk). I found that the potential for widespread transmission of a novel (new) coronavirus (which has since been renamed ''SARS-CoV-2'' and causes the disease COVID-19) (''SARS-CoV-2'' or ''the virus'') by infected individuals seeking to enter the United States threatens the security of our transportation system and infrastructure and the national security. Because the outbreak of the virus was at the time centered in the People's Republic of China, I suspended and limited the entry of all aliens who were physically present within the People's Republic of China, excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, subject to certain exceptions. On February 29, 2020, in recognition of the sustained person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the Islamic Republic of Iran, I issued Proclamation 9992 (Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus), suspending and limiting the entry of all aliens who were physically present within the Islamic Republic of Iran during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States, subject to certain exceptions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a component of the Department of Health and Human Services, has determined that the virus presents a serious public health threat, and CDC continues to take steps to prevent its spread. But CDC, along with State and local health departments, has limited resources, and the public health system could be overwhelmed if sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus occurred in the United States on a large scale. Sustained human-to-human transmission has the potential to cause cascading public health, economic, national security, and societal consequences.
The World Health Organization has determined that multiple countries within the Schengen Area are experiencing sustained person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2. For purposes of this proclamation, the Schengen Area comprises 26 European states: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The Schengen Area currently has the largest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of the People's Republic of China. As of March 11, 2020, the number of cases in the 26 Schengen Area countries is 17,442, with 711 deaths, and shows high continuous growth in infection rates. In total, as of March 9, 2020, the Schengen Area has exported 201 COVID-19 cases to 53 countries. Moreover, the free flow of people between the Schengen Area countries makes the task of managing the spread of the virus difficult.
The United States Government is unable to effectively evaluate and monitor all of the travelers continuing to arrive from the Schengen Area. The potential for undetected transmission of the virus by infected individuals seeking to enter the United States from the Schengen Area threatens the security of our transportation system and infrastructure and the national security. Given the importance of protecting persons within the United States from the threat of this harmful communicable disease, I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States. The free flow of commerce between the United States and the Schengen Area countries remains an economic priority for the United States, and I remain committed to facilitating trade between our nations.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f) and 1185(a), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, hereby find that the unrestricted entry into the United States of persons described in section 1 of this proclamation would, except as provided for in section 2 of this proclamation, be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and that their entry should be subject to certain restrictions, limitations, and exceptions. I therefore hereby proclaim the following:
Section 1. Suspension and Limitation on Entry. The entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States is hereby suspended and limited subject to section 2 of this proclamation.
Sec. 2. Scope of Suspension and Limitation on Entry.
(a) Section 1 of this proclamation shall not apply to:
(i) any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
(ii) any alien who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;
(iii) any alien who is the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident is unmarried and under the age of 21;
(iv) any alien who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21;
(v) any alien who is the child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
(vi) any alien traveling at the invitation of the United States Government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus;
(vii) any alien traveling as a nonimmigrant pursuant to a C-1, D, or C-1/D nonimmigrant visa as a crewmember or any alien otherwise traveling to the United States as air or sea crew;
(viii) any alien
(A) seeking entry into or transiting the United States pursuant to one of the following visas: A-1, A-2, C-2, C-3 (as a foreign government official or immediate family member of an official), E-1 (as an employee of TECRO or TECO or the employee's immediate family members), G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through NATO-4, or NATO-6 (or seeking to enter as a nonimmigrant in one of those NATO categories); or
(B) whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement;
(ix) any alien whose entry would not pose a significant risk of introducing, transmitting, or spreading the virus, as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, through the CDC Director or his designee;
(x) any alien whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee;
(xi) any alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their designees; or
(xii) members of the U.S. Armed Forces and spouses and children of members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
(b) Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to affect any individual's eligibility for asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the regulations issued pursuant to the legislation implementing the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, consistent with the laws and regulations of the United States.
Sec. 3. Implementation and Enforcement. (a) The Secretary of State shall implement this proclamation as it applies to visas pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, may establish. The Secretary of Homeland Security shall implement this proclamation as it applies to the entry of aliens pursuant to such procedures as the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may establish.
(b) Consistent with applicable law, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Transportation, and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall ensure that any alien subject to this proclamation does not board an aircraft traveling to the United States.
(c) The Secretary of Homeland Security may establish standards and procedures to ensure the application of this proclamation at and between all United States ports of entry.
(d) An alien who circumvents the application of this proclamation through fraud, willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or illegal entry shall be a priority for removal by the Department of Homeland Security.
Sec. 4. Termination. This proclamation shall remain in effect until terminated by the President. The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall recommend that the President continue, modify, or terminate this proclamation as described in section 5 of Proclamation 9984, as amended.
Sec. 5. Effective Date. This proclamation is effective at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020. This proclamation does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight time on March 13, 2020.
Sec. 6. Severability. It is the policy of the United States to enforce this proclamation to the maximum extent possible to advance the national security, public safety, and foreign policy interests of the United States. Accordingly:
(a) if any provision of this proclamation, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this proclamation and the application of its provisions to any other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby; and
(b) if any provision of this proclamation, or the application of any provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid because of the lack of certain procedural requirements, the relevant executive branch officials shall implement those procedural requirements to conform with existing law and with any applicable court orders.
Sec. 7. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This proclamation shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This proclamation is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fourth.
DONALD J. TRUMP
Democrats and the White House have struck a coronavirus relief package deal - Vox
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 11:37
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday night she was close to a deal with the White House on a coronavirus relief package after a full day of negotiating with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. As of Friday, that deal appears to have been struck.
''We resolved most of our differences, and those we haven't we will continue the conversation, because there will obviously be other bills,'' Pelosi told reporters.
The House is expected to vote on a multibillion-dollar coronavirus relief package Friday afternoon and send it over to the Senate (the upper chamber has canceled its planned recess to take up the coronavirus relief bill on Monday). But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are watching to see if President Donald Trump voices support, and House Republicans are reportedly nervous to back the bill unless they get a green light from the president.
Importantly, Friday's bill won't be the last stimulus or relief package Congress takes up; Pelosi alluded to the House beginning work on a ''third emergency response package'' in a letter to her House colleagues. Congress already passed an $8.3 billion aid package last week to help fund research and vaccine development.
For the package under consideration today, Pelosi's focus is on expanding paid sick leave and family leave to Americans impacted by Covid-19, as well as ensuring free coronavirus testing.
''It's about paid sick leave. It's about family medical leave. It's about unemployment insurance,'' Pelosi added, emphasizing the Democratic priorities in the bill. ''It's about feeding ... our children who are out of school and need to be fed. It's about seniors and people with disabilities.''
Despite Senate and House Republicans balking at some of the proposals in Democrats' first draft of their bill, and despite President Donald Trump using Twitter Friday morning to lobby for his desired payroll tax cut '-- Mnuchin sounded optimistic in a CNBC interview Friday morning.
''I think we're very close to getting this done,'' Mnuchin said. ''The president is absolutely committed that this will be an entire government effort, that we will be working with the House and Senate.''
What's in the House coronavirus relief packageHouse Democrats' opening bid was an expansive relief package, which Republicans objected to over two provisions: paid sick leave and paid leave.
Democrats had initially included a provision establishing a permanent paid leave program in case of public health emergencies, that would have required businesses to offer 14 days of paid leave to their workers (the provision also would have provided a refundable tax credit for small businesses to assist with costs). Democrats also wanted to create a permanent paid sick leave program, which Republicans wanted to be temporary to deal with the current coronavirus emergency.
''There are things in there that had nothing to do of what we are talking about,'' Trump said Thursday. ''It is not a way for them to get some of the goodies they haven't been able to get for the last 25 years.''
Ironically, Trump appeared to still be fixated on the idea of a payroll tax cut on Friday '-- something he has been floating for the past week. Democrats objected because the payroll tax cut would likely benefit only companies and a subset of workers, and would not help those already laid off due to the coronavirus and its economic impact. A senior House Democrat called the idea a ''nonstarter,'' and even members of Trump's party expressed skepticism that a payroll tax cut would be effective.
Here's are the main provisions of the House relief package thus far. These will be updated once the latest bill text is released.
Emergency paid sick days: The bill would require all employers to accrue seven days of paid sick leave and provide an additional 14 days to be available immediately during the coronavirus (many employers are asking employees to work from home for that amount of time). It ensures sick leave to those impacted by quarantine orders, or those who must stay home to care for their children. The bill reimburses small businesses (those with 50 or fewer employees) for the cost of the 14 additional days of leave.Emergency paid leave: The bill would create a new federal emergency paid leave program for those unable to work because they have Covid-19, are quarantined, are caring for someone with the disease, or are caring for a child due to coronavirus-related school closings. Eligible workers would receive benefits for a month (the program goes up to three months), and the benefit amount would be two-thirds of the individual's average monthly earnings. Those receiving pay or unemployment compensation directly through their employers aren't eligible. There is some precedent for this: Congress expanded unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks for Americans left unemployed by the 2008 financial crisis.Expanded unemployment insurance: The bill would direct $2 billion to state unemployment insurance programs and waive measures like work search requirements or waiting weeks to those either diagnosed with Covid-19, or those who have lost their jobs due to the spread of the virus. Expanding food security: The bill would direct $1 billion to expanding access to programs like WIC and the emergency food assistance program throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Progressive economists have long believed that expanding existing safety net programs is a highly effective way of stimulating the economy because the low-income people who benefit from them are highly likely to immediately spend any extra money they get '-- helping stabilize economy-wide demand. The 2009 stimulus bill featured many provisions along these lines. Conservatives, who are critical of those programs in general, tend to be highly skeptical of putting more money into them.Free coronavirus testing: Democratic leaders propose making coronavirus testing free to increase access by requiring private health insurers (plus government programs like Medicare and Medicaid) to cover the cost of testing, including emergency room visits and doctor fees. Free testing is being offered in a number of states, but there's no federal regulation mandating it so far.Increasing the capacity of the US medical system and ensuring affordable treatment: The bill also calls on insurance providers to reimburse coronavirus patients for any non-covered costs related to Covid-19. Again, they're hoping this gets more people treated and makes it so people don't put off going to the doctor because they are worried about costs.Timeline and what could come nextAs the House is preparing to pass the bill Friday afternoon, the Senate has left Capitol Hill for the weekend. That means the full Congress won't pass this bill until Monday at the earliest, unless Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calls senators back early.
On Thursday, McConnell canceled a previously scheduled Senate recess slated for next week to vote on the bill. But time is of the essence with a rapidly spreading virus, especially since this bill deals with things like free coronavirus testing. Public health officials fear even a few days of delay could hurt the country's overall response.
Even after this bill is passed, Congress's response to the coronavirus is far from over. In her remarks to reporters and her letter to House members, Pelosi mentioned there would be future bills to help combat the crisis.
These could be more economic stimulus measures targeted toward industries hit hard by the coronavirus, including the travel and airline industries, Mnuchin said during his CNBC interview. The White House is also considering temporarily suspending student loan payments for three months, Mnuchin added.
''That's on our list of 50 different items we're bringing to the president for a decision, so that will be something we're looking at,'' Mnuchin said.
Note: This is a developing story, and will be updated as new details become available.
'Lies in the media': Bolsonaro's son lashes out at reports, says Brazil president's coronavirus test NOT yet complete '-- RT World News
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 10:42
Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, has accused the media of peddling ''too much lies and little information,'' after a report claimed the Brazilian leader tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus.
After Bolsonaro's press secretary Fabio Wajngarten tested positive for the virus on Thursday, the Brazilian president entered self-isolation and was tested for the deadly illness himself. With the final results still outstanding, Brazilian newspaper O Dia reported on Friday that preliminary results showed Bolsonaro infected.
As the news spread, Eduardo Bolsonaro accused the media of spreading ''too much lies and little information.'' The younger Bolsonaro did not outright deny the report, but said that the examinations were not yet completed.
(ENG)Too much lies and little information. Coronavirus exam done with the team that were with JB in USA have not yet been completedThere are always those people who tell lies in the media and if the story is confirmed they say "I told you!", if not will be just 1 more fake news
'-- Eduardo Bolsonaro🇧🇷 (@BolsonaroSP) March 13, 2020''There are always those people who tell lies in the media and if the story is confirmed they say 'I told you!', if not will be just 1 more fake news,'' he added.
O Dia's report cited a source within the presidential palace, and was taken up by international news outlets within minutes. Despite his tweet, Fox News claimed that Eduardo Bolsonaro had confirmed the news to the network, adding that results from a second round of testing would be available later on Friday.
Neither of Eduardo Bolsonaro's statements directly reject the claim that a first test came back positive. Instead, they suggest that an official announcement will not be made until the results from the second examination are known.
Also on rt.com Brazil's Bolsonaro, who met Trump last week, tests 'POSITIVE' for Covid-19, local report claims Backing Bolsonaro, Brazilian journalist Leonardo Coutinho noted that while ''the chances are high'' that the president was exposed to the coronavirus, O Dia appears to be calling the diagnosis prematurely, adding that ''betting beforehand is a big risk.''
Both Bolsonaro and Wajngarten met with US President Donald Trump in Florida last Saturday, four days before Wajngarten was diagnosed with Covid-19. Fox News reported that an emergency meeting of White House officials has been called in Washington on Friday, but Trump himself seemed unbothered a day earlier, telling reporters he had ''no plans'' of being tested for the virus.
Also on rt.com 'I'm not concerned': Trump brushes off fears he got CORONAVIRUS after Bolsonaro's comms sec he met in Mar-a-Lago tests POSITIVE Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
Coronavirus: Trump Administration Announces Measures To Speed Testing : Shots - Health News : NPR
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 10:41
Medical workers at Kaiser Permanente French Campus test a patient for the coronavirus disease COVID-19 at a drive-through testing facility in San Francisco on Thursday. Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images Medical workers at Kaiser Permanente French Campus test a patient for the coronavirus disease COVID-19 at a drive-through testing facility in San Francisco on Thursday.
Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images The Trump administration has announced a series of measures intended to speed testing for the coronavirus disease COVID-19: a new federal coordinator to oversee testing, funding for two companies developing rapid tests, and a hotline for labs to call to get help finding needed supplies.
The moves come as the U.S. government has been sharply criticized for its slow response to the virus, particularly when it comes to testing. Only this week has testing become more widely available in the U.S., and kits remain in limited supply.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that it will fund two companies for the development of rapid diagnostic tests for coronavirus. It will provide $679,000 to DiaSorin Molecular of Cypress, Calif., and $598,000 to QIAGEN of Germantown, Md.
DiaSorin's test could be ready in six weeks, while QIAGEN's could be ready in 12 weeks, according to HHS. Both tests are designed to give a result within an hour. The projects were selected by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority at HHS.
"Americans need access to rapid diagnostic testing. The sooner clinicians, patients, and public health officials know whether someone is infected with the novel coronavirus, the sooner they can take action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19," said BARDA Director Rick A. Bright. "Rapid diagnostic tests are critical in this public health response. We are working with the private sector at an urgent pace to make these tests available on as many diagnostic platforms as we can in the coming weeks."
HHS also announced a new leader of COVID-19 testing efforts: Adm. Brett Giroir, who is a physician. He will coordinate the testing efforts by the CDC, FDA, state and local authorities, and public and private labs. Giroir was previously acting commissioner of food and drugs and senior adviser to the head of the HHS on matters involving the CDC.
In addition, the FDA tweeted Thursday that its general hotline is available for labs to call regarding difficulties obtaining test kits or other needs.
The FDA has also given New York state the ability to approve labs there for coronavirus testing without waiting for federal approval. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this week that the state would contract with 28 private labs to increase testing capacity for COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been inconsistent in its reporting of how many people a day are being tested in the U.S., but experts say the number is extremely low. By comparison, South Korea is testing some 15,000 people a day, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Seoul.
"Our response [in the U.S.] is much, much worse than almost any other country that's been affected," Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told NPR.
Coronavirus symptoms and prevention
To prevent the coronavirus from spreading, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer if a sink isn't available. The World Health Organization says people should wear face masks only if they're sick or caring for someone who is.
"For most people, COVID-19 infection will cause mild illness; however, it can make some people very ill and, in some people, it can be fatal," the WHO says. "Older people, and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease or diabetes) are at risk for severe disease."
The most common symptoms of COVID-19, according to the WHO: fever (in 88% of cases), dry cough (68%), fatigue (38%) and sputum/phlegm production (33%). Shortness of breath occurred in nearly 20% of cases, and about 13% had a sore throat or headache, the WHO said in a report drawing on more than 70,000 cases in China.
Russian Baltic Fleet corvettes hold anti-ship drills in North Sea
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 10:27
KALININGRAD, March 13. /TASS/. The Baltic Fleet's Project 20380 corvettes Steregushchiy and Soobrazitelny currently on their deployment in distant waters conducted notional missile launches in the North Sea, the Fleet's press office reported on Friday.
In the North Sea, the Baltic Fleet's naval group "conducted electronic launches from Uran missile systems against the targets that simulated a group of the notional enemy's combat ships," the press office said in a statement.
The corvettes delivered missile fire simultaneously, notionally striking all the designated targets. During the maneuvers, the ships' crews also practiced electronic warfare measures, the statement says.
After accomplishing their firings, the crews of the Steregushchiy and the Soobrazitelny held ship damage control and anti-saboteur defense drills and practiced ships' inter-operability and communications and joint deployment elements.
Project 20380 ships developed by the Almaz Central Design Bureau of Marine Engineering (St. Petersburg) are designed to accomplish green-water escort and strike missions, patrol coastal waters and provide fire support during amphibious assault operations.
The Project 20380 corvettes carry Uran anti-ship missile systems and Redut surface-to-air missile launchers as their main armament. They are also armed with 100mm A-190 artillery guns and 30mm AK-630 small-caliber air defense missile systems. The corvettes can carry a Ka-27 helicopter.
March 12, 2020
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 10:25
Trump's speech last night felt like a watershed. According to accounts today, he agreed to make the public address'--his second during his presidency'--because he wanted to calm the markets. Instead, the short speech made today's futures drop precipitously last night. According to reports, Trump's son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner wrote the speech, hastily over the course of the day, with input from advisor Stephen Miller. As you know, I was shocked by the speech and saw that it would tank the markets, so I wondered if there had been a concerted plan to do so and make money from the crash. It all seemed contrived. But it appears I was wrong and the disaster was, in fact, simply a reflection of extraordinary incompetence.
(Can I just say that Kushner has astonishingly bad political instincts? How much longer can he screw things up before Trump underbusses him?)
In any case, Trump's speech seemed to make it clear to people that there was no longer any point in looking to the federal government for aid in managing what the World Health Organization now calls a pandemic. It is still scrambling to provide test kits. While numbers are vague, it appears that America, with a population of about 327 million people, has tested about 8,000 people in total while South Korea, with a much smaller population of about 51 million, has tested more than 210,000 and is testing almost 20,000 people a day.
The realization that they had to take charge meant that today state governors, business leaders, sports team owners, university presidents, mayors, and so on, began quite suddenly to assume responsibility for managing the crisis. Schools closed, Broadway closed, Disneyland and Walt Disney World are closing, March Madness is off, the NBA has suspended its season, Major League Baseball will start at least two weeks late.
It remains unclear why United States officials refused to use the WHO coronavirus tests, which would have helped us get a better sense of where the virus was and to contain it. But while there is a continuing outcry about why there are still so few coronavirus test kits available, states are moving forward to stop social contact and try to stop the community spread of the disease.
The stock market today continued to decline after Trump's speech failed to reassure investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2,352 points, or almost 10%. Midday, the Federal Reserve decided to offer at least $1.5 trillion in loans to banks to smooth out financial markets, but that did not stop the day's slide.
I didn't get home until 1:00 tonight, and it is now 3:15 and I simply must go to bed, so no more now. Am now at home for the long-term, though, teaching on-line, so will do better tomorrow.
One last note: it has been my observation that people are angry and touchy and upset these days. We are all on edge. If you can be kind to someone, it will go a long way in this atmosphere. Someone did that for me today, surprising me with flowers when I left the deserted office for what will likely be months, and I promise, they brightened a very grim day.
Hang in there, everyone. I'll see you tomorrow (er, today. But later).
H.
'--'--
Notes:
Disney: https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/12/media/disney-world-close-coronavirus/index.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/03/12/coronavirus-live-updates/
tests: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/06/coronavirus-testing-failure-123166
Stock market: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/business/live-stock-market-today-updates.html
Coronavirus far more likely than Sars to bond to human cells due to HIV-like mutation, scientists say | South China Morning Post
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 09:15
Scientists say the new coronavirus may be significantly different from Sars. Photo: AP
Research by team from Nankai University shows new virus has mutated gene similar to those found in HIV and EbolaFinding may help scientists understand how the infection spreads and where it came fromTopic | Coronavirus outbreak
Published: 12:30am, 27 Feb, 2020
Updated: 7:42pm, 2 Mar, 2020
The Biden Plan to Combat Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Prepare for Future Global Health Threats '' Joe Biden for President
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 08:16
THE BIDEN PLAN TO COMBAT CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) AND PREPARE FOR FUTURE GLOBAL HEALTH THREATS
For more information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the coronavirus, please visit here .
The American people deserve an urgent, robust, and professional response to the growing public health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. That is why Joe Biden is outlining a plan to mount:
A decisive public health response that ensures the wide availability of free testing; the elimination of all cost barriers to preventive care and treatment for COVID-19; the development of a vaccine; and the full deployment and operation of necessary supplies, personnel, and facilities. A decisive economic response that starts with emergency paid leave for all those affected by the outbreak and gives all necessary help to workers, families, and small businesses that are hit hard by this crisis. Make no mistake: this will require an immediate set of ambitious and progressive economic measures, and further decisive action to address the larger macro-economic shock from this outbreak. Biden believes we must spend whatever it takes, without delay, to meet public health needs and deal with the mounting economic consequences. The federal government must act swiftly and aggressively to help protect and support our families, small businesses, first responders and caregivers essential to help us face this challenge, those who are most vulnerable to health and economic impacts, and our broader communities '' not to blame others or bail out corporations.
Public health emergencies require disciplined, trustworthy leadership grounded in science. In a moment of crisis, leadership requires listening to experts and communicating credible information to the American public. We must move boldly, smartly, and swiftly. Biden knows how to mount an effective crisis response and elevate the voices of scientists, public health experts, and first responders. He helped lead the Obama-Biden Administration's effective response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and the 2014 Ebola epidemic. Biden also helped lead the response to the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and ran point on implementation of the Recovery Act. He knows how to get relief out the door to families, as well as resources to state and local officials to deal with the challenges they are facing.
And, even as we respond to this crisis, we must prepare for the next one. As President, Biden will establish and manage a permanent, professional, sufficiently resourced public health and first responder system that protects the American people by scaling up biomedical research, deploying rapid testing capacity, ensuring robust nationwide disease surveillance, sustaining a first class public health and first responder workforce, establishing a flexible emergency budgeting authority, and mobilizing the world to ensure greater sustained preparedness for future pandemics.
Congress has taken a step forward by passing an initial bipartisan emergency plan to combat COVID-19. The Trump Administration must now heed the calls of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer to put the health and safety of the American people first. Much more needs to be done, now, to bring our country together, respond to this emergency, and set the groundwork for bold, long-term reforms, including ensuring quality, affordable health care and a comprehensive paid leave program for every American.
Biden will be ready on Day One of his Administration to protect this country's health and well-being. But he is not waiting until then to communicate his views on what must be done now to properly serve the American people. Biden believes the following steps must immediately be taken. If Trump does not take them, Biden will on Day One as President.
The Biden Plan calls for:
Restoring trust, credibility, and common purpose. Mounting an effective national emergency response that saves lives, protects frontline workers, and minimizes the spread of COVID-19. Eliminating cost barriers for prevention of and care for COVID-19. Pursuing decisive economic measures to help hard-hit workers, families, and small businesses and to stabilize the American economy. Rallying the world to confront this crisis while laying the foundation for the future. Biden understands that this is a dynamic situation. The steps proposed below are a start. As the crisis unfolds, Biden will build on this policy to address new challenges.
RESTORING TRUST, CREDIBILITY, AND COMMON PURPOSE
Stop the political theater and willful misinformation that has heightened confusion and discrimination. Biden believes we must immediately put scientists and public health leaders front and center in communication with the American people in order to provide regular guidance and deliver timely public health updates, including by immediately establishing daily, expert-led press briefings. This communication is essential to combating the dangerous epidemic of fear, chaos, and stigmatization that can overtake communities faster than the virus. Acts of racism and xenophobia against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community must not be tolerated.
Ensure that public health decisions are made by public health professionals and not politicians, and officials engaged in the response do not fear retribution or public disparagement for performing their jobs.
Immediately restore the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, which was established by the Obama-Biden Administration and eliminated by the Trump Administration in 2018.
MOUNTING AN EFFECTIVE NATIONAL EMERGENCY RESPONSE THAT SAVES LIVES, PROTECTS FRONTLINE WORKERS, AND MINIMIZES THE SPREAD OF COVID-19
Make Testing Widely Available and Free
Ensure that every person who needs a test can get one '' and that testing for those who need it is free . Individuals should also not have to pay anything out of their own pockets for the visit at which the test is ordered, regardless of their immigration status. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must draw on advice from outside scientists to clarify the criteria for testing, including consideration of prioritizing first responders and health care workers so they can return to addressing the crisis.
Establish at least ten mobile testing sites and drive-through facilities per state to speed testing and protect health care workers. Starting in large cities and rapidly expanding beyond, the CDC must work with private labs and manufacturers to ensure adequate production capacity, quality control, training, and technical assistance. The number of tests must be in the millions, not the thousands.
Provide a daily public White House report on how many tests have been done by the CDC, state and local health authorities, and private laboratories.
Expand CDC sentinel surveillance programs and other surveillance programs so that we can offer tests not only only to those who ask but also to those who may not know to ask , especially vulnerable populations like nursing home patients and people with underlying medical conditions. This must be done in collaboration with private sector health care entities.
Task the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to help establish a diagnosis code for COVID-19 on an emergency basis so that surveillance can be done using claims data.
Surge Capacity for Prevention, Response, and Treatment
Task all relevant federal agencies to take immediate action to ensure that America's hospital capacity can meet the growing need , including by :
Preparing to stand up multi-hundred-bed temporary hospitals in any city on short notice by deploying existing Federal Medical Stations in the strategic national stockpile and preemptively defining potential locations for their use as needed. Directing the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to prepare for potential deployment of military resources, both the active and reserve components, and work with governors to prepare for potential deployment of National Guard resources, to provide medical facility capacity, logistical support, and additional medical personnel if necessary. This includes activating the Medical Reserve Corps, which consists of nearly 200,000 volunteer health care professionals who stand ready to serve across America; training and deploying additional surge capacity, including U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs/DOD medical equipment and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Disaster Assistance Medical Teams; and directing and assisting existing hospitals to surge care for 20% more patients than current capacity through flexible staffing, use of telemedicine support, and delaying elective procedures. Instructing the CDC to establish real-time dashboards tracking (1) hospital admissions related to COVID-19, especially for ICUs and emergency departments, in concert with the American Hospital Association and large hospital chains, for which the HHS must ensure data is able to be shared, as needed; and (2) supply chain information '' including availability, allocation, and shipping '' for essential equipment and personal protective equipment, including in the various places where there may be federal reserves. The strategic national stockpile must be used to supplement any shortages that exist, especially for essential medical supplies, like oxygen, ventilators, and personal protective equipment. Ensuring that training, materials, and resources reach federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics, and safety-net hospitals, which are typically resource-poor and care disproportionately for vulnerable populations that will bear the brunt of COVID-19. This effort will lay the foundation for a deeper and more lasting public health infrastructure for accessible national health care for all. Surge tele-emergency room, tele-ICU care, and telemedicine through a concerted, coordinated effort by health care providers to enable staff to manage additional patients and save beds for the very sick. Leverage existing efforts like Project ECHO to ensure health professionals have tele-mentoring and other training resources they need to make informed decisions.
Support older adults, vulnerable individuals, and people with disabilities. Ensure essential home- and community-based services continue and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid works to provide the waivers necessary for those who rely on medication to have a sufficient supply.
Protect health care workers, first responders, assisted living staff, and other frontline workers .
Give all frontline workers high-quality and appropriate personal protective equipment '' and enough of it and appropriate training to use it '' so they don't become infected. If our health care workers, first responders, and essential workers like transportation and food workers cannot function, we cannot protect and care for the public. The Biden Plan calls for issuing guidance to states and localities to ensure first responders and public health officials are prioritized to receive protective personal equipment and launching an education campaign to inform the general public about equipment that should be reserved for professionals. Direct the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to keep frontline workers safe by issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard that requires health care facilities to implement comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plans; increasing the number of OSHA investigators to improve oversight; and working closely with state occupational safety and health agencies and state and local governments, and the unions that represent their employees, to ensure comprehensive protections for frontline workers. Ensure first responders, including local fire departments and Emergency Medical Services, can meet the staffing requirements needed to respond and are trained to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19.
Accelerate the Development of Treatment and Vaccines
Ensure the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority are swiftly accelerating the development of rapid diagnostic tests, therapeutics and medicines, and vaccines. NIH must be responsible for the clinical trial networks and work closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on trial approvals.
Ensure the FDA is working with the NIH to prioritize review and authorization for use of COVID-19 countermeasures and strengthen regulatory science at the FDA to make certain it has the needed resources to evaluate the safety and efficacy of new tools.
Provide Timely Information and Medical Advice and Guidance
Work with the CDC and HHS to ensure that health departments and health providers across the country give every person access to an advice line or interactive online advice so they can make an informed decision about whether to seek care or to stay at home. This will preserve the health care system for those who are sick and prevent people who may not need to see a provider from becoming needlessly exposed. Ensure all information provided to the public is accessible to people with disabilities, including through plain language materials and American sign language interpreters.
Instruct the CDC to provide clear, stepwise guidance and resources about both containment and mitigation for local school districts, health care facilities, higher education and school administrators, and the general public. Right now, there is little clarity for these groups about when to move toward social distancing measures, like cancelling school, mass gatherings, and travel and when to move to tele-work and distance learning models.
Ensure firefighters and other emergency responders are notified if they have been exposed to individuals infected with COVID-19.
Launching Urgent Public Health System Improvements for Now and the Future
Work with businesses to expand production of personal protective equipment, including masks and gloves, and additional products such as bleach and alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Incentivize greater supplier production of these critically important medically supplies, including committing, if necessary, to large scale volume purchasing and removing all relevant trade barriers to their acquisition.
Task the U.S. Department of Justice with combating price gouging for critical supplies.
Take steps in the aftermath of the crisis to produce American-sourced and manufactured pharmaceutical and medical supply products in order to reduce our dependence on foreign sources that are unreliable in times of crisis. The U.S. government should immediately work with the private sector to map critical health care supplies; identify their points of origin; examine the supply chain process; and create a strategic plan to build redundancies and domestic capacity. The goal is to develop the next generation of biomedical research and manufacturing excellence, bring back U.S. manufacturing of medical products we depend on, and ensure we are not vulnerable to supply chain disruptions, whether from another pandemic, or because of political or trade disputes.
Establish and fund a U.S. Public Health Service Reserve Corps to activate former Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers to expand medical and public health capacity. By creating the Reserve Corps, we will have a larger team of health professionals to deploy across the nation to help train health care systems in detection and response, educate the public, provide direct patient care as needed, and support the public health infrastructure in communities that are often under-resourced and struggling.
Expand the Staffing for the Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant program so that fire departments '' critical first responders in health emergencies '-- can increase staffing. As Vice President, Biden secured an expansion of the SAFER Act to keep more firefighters on the job during the Great Recession. He will expand the grants to build well-staffed, well-trained fire departments across the country.
Providing the Resources Necessary to Achieve These Outcomes
To implement this national emergency response, the Biden Plan calls for an immediate increase of federal resources to cover all necessary federal costs, as well as the creation of a State and Local Emergency Fund that gives state and local leaders the power to meet critical health and economic needs to combat this crisis. This Fund will be designed as follows:
Resources will be allocated according to a formula: 45% to state governments; 45% to local governments; and 10% reserved for special assistance for ''hot-spots'' of community spread.
Menus of Permissible Usages: Governors and mayors will be given significant flexibility to ensure that they can target their health and economic spending where it is most needed in their respective states and cities. Such usages include:
Paying for medical supplies and expanding critical health infrastructure, including building new or renovating existing facilities, if necessary; Expanding hiring where needed including health care and emergency services workers, caregivers in nursing homes, drivers, childcare workers, substitute teachers, and others; Providing overtime reimbursements for health workers, first responders, and other essential workers. The Fund will also be deployed to cushion the wider economic impact of the crisis, helping hard-hit families and communities, as described later in the fact sheet.
Bringing Our Country Together
Now is the time for empathy, decency, and unity. In times of crisis, Americans come together, and everyone steps up to meet our shared civic duty. We need that spirit now: volunteers standing ready to fill essential gaps, neighbors looking out for neighbors, business taking care of their workers, people contributing to frontline non-profit organizations, social media companies combating the spread of misinformation, universities and the private sector driving innovation in the search for new treatments and vaccines, and all of us following the guidance of health officials to take steps that reduce the spread of the virus. Biden believes this can't just be a government response '-- it has to be a whole-of-society response.
ELIMINATING COST BARRIERS FOR PREVENTION OF AND CARE FOR COVID-19
The cost of preventive care, treatment, and a potential vaccine could be an insurmountable economic barrier for many Americans. If we fail to remove this barrier, we will be turning our backs on these Americans in a time of crisis, and putting all Americans at risk by discouraging people from getting necessary testing and treatment. The Biden Plan:
Ensures that every person, whether insured or uninsured, will not have to pay a dollar out-of-pocket for visits related to COVID-19 testing, treatment, preventative services, and any eventual vaccine. No co-payments, no deductibles, and no surprise medical billing. This will be achieved by:
Amending the Public Health Service Act to immediately cover all testing, treatment, and preventive services that are necessary to address a Public Health Emergency for an infectious disease. Once triggered by the HHS Secretary in consultation with the CDC, all commercial plans in all markets will be immediately required to cover such services as COVID-19 testing and any eventual vaccine with no copayments and deductibles, including for the visits themselves. Amending the Social Security Act and other authorizing statutes to extend the same requirement to all public health programs. As such, there will be no co-pays for programs including but not limited to Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP, the Indian Health Service, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, DoD's TriCare program and the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan. Fully funding and expanding authority for the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) to reimburse health care providers for COVID-19-related treatment costs not directly covered by health insurance; this includes all copayments and deductibles for the insured as well as uncompensated care burdens incurred by uninsured and underinsured populations. Direct the HHS Secretary to direct NDMS, in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for administrative and enforcement support, to directly reimburse health care providers for: All uncompensated care associated with the testing, treatment, and vaccines that are associated with COVID-19 for uninsured. This includes Americans in so-called ''junk'' health plans that are not regulated as compliant with the standards for individual market coverage under the Affordable Care Act. All copayments, deductibles and any cost-sharing for treatment for COVID-19 for insured. Providers will submit cost-sharing claims to NDMS that document private insurance contractual arrangement for co-payments. To ensure maximum provider participation and minimum billing abuses to consumers, current Medicare law's ''conditions of participation'' and system-wide prohibitions against balance billing and surprise medical bills will apply. To guard against fraud and abuse by bad-apple health care providers, harsh civil and monetary penalties under the False Claims Act will apply. Secures maximum Medicaid enrollment for currently eligible populations by explicitly authorizing federal matching dollars for presumptive eligibility, simplified application processes, and eligibility criteria. In past public health crises, such as Hurricane Katrina and 9/11, the federal government provided matching dollars for states to expedite enrollment for individuals who are eligible for Medicaid but not yet enrolled. This option must be specifically made available to states for the COVID-19 public health crisis. These policies are consistent with and complementary to the FMAP policy included in the federal economic assistance package below.
Reverses the Trump Administration public charge rule, which places new, burdensome restrictions on documented immigrants who receive public benefits and discourages all immigrants from seeking health care services for COVID-19.
Supports bipartisan efforts to delay the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation , which forces states to change how they finance their Medicaid programs and leads to major reductions in funding for critically important health care.
Provides explicit authority for the HHS Secretary to approve the commercial price of vaccines that are developed in conjunction with federally funded research. This ensures that the private, as well as the public sector, will not be subjected to vaccine prices that fail a ''fair and reasonable'' cost standard and, even if the vaccine is available free of charge, will protect the taxpayer from being gouged.
Ensures federal workers are able to access workers' compensation and encourage states to do the same. Because it will be difficult for workers to prove that they were exposed to COVID-19 while on the job, the Biden Plan will ensure the Federal Employees' Compensation Act program presumes they were exposed while on the job if their job put them in direct contact with infected individuals. And, he will encourage states to do the same.
PURSUING DECISIVE ECONOMIC MEASURES HARD-HIT WORKERS, FAMILIES, AND SMALL BUSINESSES AND TO STABILIZE THE AMERICAN ECONOMY
The Biden Plan will provide both financial support for those who are economically harmed by the fall-out of the crisis and help strengthen our economy as a whole. This includes taking immediate, bold measures to help Americans who are hurting economically right now. It means we will need bigger and broader measures to shore up economic demand to ensure we can protect jobs; keep credit flowing to our job creators, and have the economic firepower we need to weather this storm and get our people and economy back to full strength as soon as possible.
These immediate measures include both direct federal support and a renewable fund to state and local governments. Both the federal and state/local relief will be designed to be automatically extended upon certification by the federal government of a continuing health or economic threat, determined by clear health and economic criteria. This is critical to ensure that our political and legislative stalemates do not prevent additional rounds of funding from moving out swiftly when it is needed most.
Joe Biden believes we must do whatever it takes, spend whatever it takes, to deliver relief for our families and ensure the stability of our economy. This is an evolving crisis and the response will need to evolve, too, with additional steps to come so that we meet the growing economic shocks. We must prepare now to take further decisive action, including direct relief, that will be large in scale and focused on the broader health and stability of our economy.
The immediate economic measures in Biden's plan consist of three parts, with additional measures to come as circumstances warrant, including further direct relief:
Providing Guaranteed Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Care-Giving Leave
As a nation, our goal must be to permanently provide the type of comprehensive 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave envisioned in the FAMILY Act sponsored by Senator Kristen Gillibrand and Representative Rosa DeLauro. We must also provide the type of coverage in the Healthy Families Act spearheaded by DeLauro and Senator Patty Murray, which will ensure workers receive seven days of paid sick leave for routine personal and family health needs, as well as time for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault to seek services.
Providing widespread access to paid sick leave not only allows families to recover from sickness, but it also keeps sick workers and children away from the general population and helps slow the spread of disease. The Biden Plan calls for an emergency paid leave program that will ensure that all workers can take paid leave during the COVID-19 crisis. It calls for passage of the Healthy Families Act with the addition of an emergency plan that will require 14 days of paid leave for those who are sick, exposed, or subject to quaratines'--while also ensuring that employers will not bear any additional costs for such additional leave in the midst of this crisis.
Types of Paid Leave that Must be Covered : Joe Biden's emergency paid leave plan will be tailored to cover the various types of leave needed for our nation to get through this crisis. The paid leave plan will create a federal fund to cover 100% of weekly salaries or average weekly earnings capped at $1,400 a week'--the weekly amount that corresponds with about $72,800 in annual earnings.
Paid Leave for Sick Workers ; Paid Leave for Workers Caring for Family Members or Other Loved Ones; Paid Leave for People Unable to Continue Work Because They Are At Increased Risk of Health Complications Due to COVID-19; Paid Leave and Child Care Assistance for Dealing with School Closings; and Paid Leave for Domestic Workers, Caregivers, Gig Economy Workers, and Independent Contractors. Reimbursements to Employers : This emergency plan will provide reimbursement to employers or, when necessary, direct payment to workers for up to 14 days of paid sick leave or for the duration of mandatory quarantine or isolation. This will be in addition to existing paid leave provided by a business's existing policies. No worker or contractor taking such leave during the crisis will impose any additional financial burden on a business. Businesses will be expected to support paid sick leave and seek reimbursement '' or deduct against expected tax payments '' to ensure workers are not discouraged from reporting symptoms of COVID-19. Direct payment will go to workers where needed due to their work arrangements.
Emergency Administration : Biden's plan will provide all necessary funding to ensure such paid sick leave will be available immediately. One potential option for workers who require direct paid sick leave payments will be to staff up existing Social Security Administration offices to assist with distribution of the emergency paid leave fund. These offices exist throughout our nation and are the vehicle proposed by the FAMILY Act for a national paid leave plan '' so this emergency legislation will also start building national infrastructure for a permanent and long-needed national paid leave benefit.
Federal Assistance to Hard-Hit Families
A Health Crisis Unemployment Initiative to Help all Workers Facing a Loss for Work Due to the COVID-19 Crisis. The reduction in demand for services such as hospitality, necessary closing of workplaces, and disruptions in supply chains will impact workers in all types of work arrangements. Just as the Obama-Biden Administration expanded regular unemployment insurance during the Great Recession, Joe Biden will again call for expanded Emergency Unemployment Compensation that will not only support workers facing extended spells of unemployment, but expand benefits and eligibility to address the nature of the job loss that will be impacted for the duration of the crisis. The Biden Plan calls for immediate expanded federal relief for impacted workers, that includes:
Ensuring Unemployment Benefits (UI) Are Available to Those Who Lose Jobs but Would Be Denied Benefits Due to Rules that Should Not Apply in a Major Health Crisis and Economic Downturn : The Biden Plan calls for expanded and broadened unemployment benefits that ensure our unemployment benefit policies are responsive to the depth and nature of this health and economic crisis. That means more support for state offices that will face far higher demand. It means waiving or relaxing work history, waiting and work search requirements that could prevent millions who might lose work due to no fault of their own from being left out in the cold. Current UI rules rightly require recipients to be actively looking for work. The nature of the COVID-19 crisis means, however, that many who lose their jobs will be prevented from looking for work due to public health rules related to containing community spread. The Biden Plan will ensure that workers who lose jobs but cannot meet search requirements due to this public health crisis are not denied benefits. This initiative can be combined with efforts to expand and reform our existing Disaster Unemployment Assistance program.
Employment Relief for Reduced Hours or Work-Sharing Arrangements : In addition to assistance for those who lose jobs, the Biden Plan will design unemployment insurance benefits to encourage expanded work-sharing arrangements for workers at businesses that are forced to cut back payroll due to lower economic demand, diminished travel, or cancelled orders. The Biden Plan will ensure that partial unemployment benefits are available to workers facing a significant reduction in hours so as to encourage employers to choose work-sharing over layoffs where possible. Such policies will build on those implemented by the Obama-Biden Administration during the Great Recession. The Biden Plan will require that this is implemented in a way that is consistent with existing collective bargaining agreements and that any employer with employees represented by a union create these arrangements in cooperation with the unions.
Provide Employment Relief for Domestic Workers, Caregivers, Gig Workers, or Independent Contractors who face Reduced Pay and Hours : Too often, our unemployment relief only helps those who are in more formal employer-employee relations. It leaves out too many of the hardest working, most hard-pressed Americans who drive cars, clean homes, and care for our younger and older loved ones. The Biden Plan will offer economic relief to all workers who can show hours have been cut back due to COVID-19 or to resulting economic impacts.
Expand Food Relief for Hard-Pressed Families and Children : The Biden Plan calls for a health crisis food initiative that addresses both the depth of potential economic hardship for families and the nature of this health crisis. Economic hardship caused by the crisis will stretch family budgets in ways that could reduce needed nutrition. Many students rely on free or discounted meals at schools, which may have to close. The Biden Plan health crisis food initiative will create a federal-state partnership '' fully funded by the federal government '' that will expand SNAP relief for the duration of the crisis, as well as broaden the type of food relief responses available to states '' from supporting food banks across the nation to increased home delivery of food to a broad effort to replace lost school meals. It will adjust current policies that will harshly cut off or deny food benefits to workers unable to find work in this crisis. It will allow schools to submit waiver applications before they are impacted by the crisis, making it easier for them to get permission to provide food even when school is closed.
Increase Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for the state-administered Medicaid program : The Biden Plan calls for an increase in the share the federal government pays of Medicaid '' the so-called FMAP. This is one of the fastest, most effective means to concurrently address the health and revenue burdens states face when confronting an economic crisis. The Biden Plan will increase the FMAP by at least 10 percent for all states during the crisis, with upward adjustments for states that are facing particularly high unemployment rates. It will also provide additional financial incentives for states that have not yet expanded their Medicaid program and will provide necessary additional support to Puerto Rico and other territories to ensure the health care needs of these populations are not neglected.
Establish a Temporary Small- and Medium-Sized Business Loan Facility : Many businesses that would otherwise thrive during normal economic times will face a severe shortfall in cash flow, potentially jeopardizing their ability to make payrolls, pay creditors, and keep their doors open. Working with the Small Business Association and Treasury Department, the Biden Plan proposes to establish a temporary small business loan program designed to address unanticipated shortfalls in revenue by offering interest-free loans to small- and medium-sized businesses around the country through the duration of the crisis. Biden's plan includes both increased funding capacity for the Small Business Administration, in addition to a new program '' modeled after the Obama-Biden State Small Business Credit Initiative''that provides funds to allow states to increase lending to small businesses. The Biden Plan also calls on the U.S. Treasury Department to coordinate with the Federal Reserve to monitor and consider policies to address severe credit and liquidity challenges related to the fall-out of COVID-19 and thus prevent small businesses and those in impacted industries from severe cutbacks, shutdowns, and layoffs.
Support for Child Care and Remote Student Learning : Potential school closings will create significant cost issues for parents seeking childcare and for schools and educators seeking to continue teaching remotely including online. The Biden Plan will expand assistance to federal child care centers and assistance to schools '' particularly Title I schools '-- for those facing schools facing extra costs, including efforts to continue remote education or remote activities normally done after-school.
Relief or Forbearance of Federal Student Loans and Federally Backed Mortgages : Congress must immediately use new legislation or existing authority to provide assistance of forbearance to students and homeowners to provide financial relief until the worst of the economic fall-out of the crisis is over. As proposed below, there must also be a federal partnership with states and cities to provide rental relief during the crisis, so no one faces evictions due to impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
Protecting union health funds. Union members have fought hard for their health insurance. Biden will commit to ensuring their Taft-Hartley health funds have the financial resources they need to continue despite the crisis.
A State and Local Emergency Fund
In addition to these federal initiatives, governors and mayors can access funds through the State and Local Emergency Fund to cushion the economic impacts in their communities. This Fund, as noted above, will also provide state and local leaders with resources and flexibility for responding to the immediate health crisis and economic fall-out in ways that best address the needs of their towns, cities, and states. The range of relief will include:
Mortgage & Rental Relief for Impacted Workers : No one should face foreclosure or eviction because they are affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The State and Local Emergency Fund will allow mayors and governors to implement rental assistance, no-interest forbearance or mortgage payment relief for workers who have had to reduce their hours, have been laid off, or are otherwise earning less because of COVID-19. Employer Assistance for Job Maintenance : Funds could provide help for employers to keep workers on the job '' or to do work-sharing with part-time relief to workers '' when they are impacted by falls in economic demand or recession. Interest-Free Loans for Small Businesses : Governors and mayors will also be able to supplement their existing programs to assist local employers who are facing temporary economic distress due to supply-chain disruptions, declines in travel or economic demand due to continuing economic uncertainty related to the COVID-19. To supplement the federal loan program, state and local leaders can access these resources to help small businesses cope with a potential sharp cutback in economic activity. Needed Jobs : To both deal with additional needs due to COVID-19 or to address resulting declines in employment, the fund will be authorized to fund existing or new local and state jobs initiatives. Cash Assistance or Targeted Refundable Tax Relief : Where governors and mayors determine it is necessary to adequately address the full range of economic pain created by the COVID-19, the fund will authorize such leaders to directly draw on it to implement broader progressive cash or tax relief '' that could include cash payments to working families, unpaid caregivers, seniors. those with disabilities, and children, or a child allowance. It could also be used to fund new legislation to expand State Earned Income Tax Credit relief. More Will Be Needed
Biden understands that the crisis will have broader economic impacts that will no doubt require further action. The steps outlined above must be taken immediately and then Congress must move to understand the broader economic implications and act accordingly. And, any relief provided to states or industries must include conditions to support workers, including protecting their jobs.
Making the Economy More Resilient for Future Crises
Biden has released several plans to build a stronger, more inclusive middle class that will increase the resilience of all Americans in the face of a crisis. His plan to create a new public option is the quickest, most effective way to achieve universal health coverage. He will invest in infrastructure, like broadband, essential for mitigating the impact of future pandemics. And, he will encourage union organizing and defend collective bargaining. Unions can help negotiate for better safety and health protections, provide better training for personal protective equipment, protect against layoffs, and help ensure generous wages and benefits to help workers in a crisis. And, unions can provide a critical voice in handling crises, especially those that represent the many workers that are exposing themselves to hazards in order to keep Americans safe. Read Joe Biden's labor plan here .
RALLY THE WORLD TO CONFRONT THIS CRISIS WHILE LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR THE FUTURE
The only way to stop the threat from infectious diseases like COVID-19 is to detect them early and contain them effectively in communities around the world. Even as we take urgent steps to minimize the spread of COVID-19 at home, we must also help lead the response to this crisis globally. In doing so, we will lay the groundwork for sustained global health security leadership into the future.
Leading the Global Response to COVID-19
Direct the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in coordination with the U.S. Department of State, DOD, HHS, and the CDC, to mobilize an international response that assists vulnerable nations in detecting, treating, and minimizing the spread of COVID-19, including deploying, when necessary, USAID Disaster Assistance Response Teams. Biden will empower the State Department to ensure the U.S. plays a major role in all global decisions about the outbreak and our experts have the access they need to COVID-19 hotspots. Staying on the sidelines or deferring to other nations ultimately makes us less safe and secure.
Call for the immediate creation of a Global Health Emergency Board to harmonize crisis response for vulnerable communities. The Board will convene leadership of the United States, our G7 partners, and other countries in support of the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure a coordinated health and economic response globally, especially with respect to vulnerable countries. The Board will bring together scientific experts from the WHO and CDC, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and other key CDCs, international financial institutions, and leading private sector and non-profit representatives to (1) offset the cost of bringing any eventual vaccines to developing countries, (2) harmonize economic measures with the emergency response globally, and (3) establish and ensure high standards for transparency and communication. In the future, the convening of the Board would be triggered by a public health emergency of international concern declaration by the WHO.
Protect America's troops and deployed citizens , by bolstering CDC and DOD's disease detection and protection programs overseas, planning for securing diplomatic and military assets and deployments in countries affected by COVID-19, and providing testing, care, and treatment and, if necessary, evacuation for military, public health service, foreign service, and deployed civil service personnel who become infected.
Advancing Global Health Security
Under the Obama-Biden Administration, the United States established the Global Health Security Agenda to mobilize the world against the threat of emerging infectious diseases. A Biden Administration will not only revitalize and elevate this Agenda after years of neglect under the Trump Administration, but also expand it to ensure it is suited to meet new challenges. Above all, we need to end the cycles of panic investment and neglect for our U.S. public health system and health systems around the world. They need to remain strong and ready to prevent, detect, and respond to pandemic threats whether caused by natural causes and climate change, bioterrorism, or laboratory accidents. Biden will:
Fully staff all federal agencies, task forces, and scientific and economic advisory groups focused on health security. This includes establishing an Assistant Secretary at the State Department to oversee an office of Global Health Security and Diplomacy, and engaging regional bureaus and embassies to improve health security readiness, governance, and global coordination.
Re-embrace international engagement, including prioritizing sustained funding for global health security '' above and beyond emergency appropriations '' to strengthen joint standing capacity for biosurveillance and health emergency response. Biden calls for the creation of a Permanent Facilitator within the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General for Response to High Consequence Biological Events, as recommended by experts , to facilitate crisis coordination among health, security, and humanitarian organizations. He also calls for fully resourcing the WHO, especially its Contingency Fund for Emergencies.
Support sustainable health security financing to urgently fill substantial gaps in global pandemic preparedness. The Biden Administration will build the global coalition necessary to fill urgent global gaps in pandemic preparedness, enhance accountability for those investments, and produce measurable results.
Build a global health security workforce for the 21st century. Biden will prioritize investing in and lifting barriers to the education of public health professionals, especially in less advantaged communities, including by strengthening the CDC's Field Epidemiology Training Program and Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Program . We must support opportunities for global experts to train together so they are ready to deploy to assist the WHO and partner governments in responding to infectious disease threats, regardless of origin, including to insecure or unstable environments.
Fight climate change as a driver of health threats. The link between climate change and health security is well-documented and will create a growing threat to Americans. A Biden Administration will recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement on day one and lead an effort to get every major country to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets. As President, Biden will fully integrate climate change into our foreign policy and global health security strategies, and prioritize efforts to mitigate disease and migration challenges caused by a warming planet. Read Biden's full climate change plan here .
Joe Biden's coronavirus plan, explained - Vox
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 08:14
By the time Joe Biden would actually take the oath of office, the coronavirus pandemic will likely be dramatically different '-- if it hasn't ended entirely.
But the Democratic presidential candidate still gave a speech and released a detailed plan on Thursday to combat the pandemic, drawing a sharp contrast to President Donald Trump and his administration's floundering response to the outbreak.
The plan and speech gave Biden a chance to reiterate the core message of his campaign: a promise to return to more normal, competent policymaking after years of chaos and uncertainty under Trump. It's a particularly effective contrast after Trump gave a speech on Wednesday night that almost immediately resulted in a slew of corrections by the administration and provided no ideas for how the administration will stop Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, from spreading within the US.
''The markets will respond to strong, steady, and capable leadership that addresses the root of the problem, not efforts to cover it up,'' Biden said.
Biden's plan takes a two-pronged approach to the coronavirus outbreak. First, he promises ''a decisive public health response'' focused on free testing, improved access to treatment, the development of a vaccine and treatments, and increased health care capacity. Second, he calls for ''a decisive economic response'' that prioritizes paid sick leave for anyone hit by the outbreak, as well as aid to hard-hit families and state and local governments.
Health care workers from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment check in with people waiting to be tested for Covid-19 at the state's first drive-up testing center in Denver, Colorado, on March 12, 2020.
Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images
It's largely in line with what experts have called for in response to the current coronavirus pandemic. That's in some ways not too surprising: Ron Klain, who headed President Barack Obama's response to the 2014-'15 Ebola outbreak, is a key adviser to Biden's campaign.
But it's also something Biden emphasized in his speech.
''We'll lead with science. We'll listen to the experts. We'll heed their advice,'' he said. ''And we'll build American leadership and rebuild it to rally the world to meet the global threats we're likely to face again.''
By comparison, Trump has repeatedly whiffed attempts to address the coronavirus. His administration's rollout of test kits has been botched, with the US testing a fraction of the people of countries with smaller outbreaks. He's focused largely on border control policies, like a travel ban for Europe, which critics call both xenophobic and ineffective now that the virus is transmitting within communities in the US, not coming from outside the country. And he's so far refused to support or act on measures that could help people stay at home and avoid spreading the disease, like paid sick leave.
''The virus is already in the United States,'' Jennifer Kates, a senior vice president and director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told me. ''Trying for containment at our borders is not a very effective use of resources or a way to really stem the tide. Most public health experts believe we need to be focusing on mitigation, on social distancing, on testing, on creating the systems that will support people within the US to get what they need and be prepared for social disruption.''
Biden, at least, is using this moment to focus on those policies that experts have pushed for. And while he likely won't be able to implement this plan before the current coronavirus pandemic recedes, the moment is letting him draw a huge contrast to Trump.
What Biden's plan would doAt the top of Biden's plan is a promise to ''establish and manage a permanent, professional, sufficiently resourced public health and first responder system that protects the American people.''
He'd do this, the plan states, by bringing back the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, which Trump previously cut.
According to experts, this kind of agency is crucial to responding to any disease outbreak. It would focus on coordinating efforts between the many agencies in the sprawling federal government, helping ensure they're doing the most they can and working toward a single goal.
But it's important to have this kind of agency set up before an outbreak. Setting up an agency takes time; it requires hiring staff, handing out tasks and expected workloads, creating internal policies, and so on. A preexisting agency is also going to have plans worked out before an outbreak, with likely contingencies in place for what to do. So it's important that Biden is promising that this type of groundwork will be permanent '-- in a contrast to Trump's approach.
Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Del. Stacey Plaskett arrive for the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Coronavirus Preparedness and Response on March 12, 2020.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag
''The basic systems need to be in place for global, state, and local responses,'' Kates said. ''When you don't shore those up, you're not starting from scratch, but you're catching up every single time.''
Biden's plan also calls for more free and widely available testing '-- ensuring that tests are free and available for everyone, establishing mobile test sites, providing public reports on how many tests have been done, and expanding government surveillance capabilities. This is crucial to stopping a pandemic: Through testing, public health officials and staff can detect who's sick, isolate them, trace anyone the sick person has come in contact with, and make sure those people are taking steps, such as staying at home, to prevent spreading the disease, too. But without testing, none of this is possible.
The plan promises other public health steps, including building up health care capacity and equipment, boosting telemedicine capabilities, and accelerating research and development of treatments and vaccines for Covid-19. It also calls for a large boost in funding, directed for the most part to state and local governments, to help impacted areas. Along with all of this, the plan promises ''timely information and medical advice and guidance'' as part of a broader effort to ''stop the political theater and willful misinformation that has heightened confusion and discrimination'' around Covid-19.
Biden also calls for several measures to help mitigate the impact the coronavirus is already having on the economy. That includes paid sick leave '-- both in an emergency program funded by the federal government and a longer-term proposal primarily implemented by employers. It also includes several steps to curb out-of-pocket costs for health care, including by making it easier to enroll in Medicaid. And Biden backs other efforts to provide relief to hard-hit workers, including expanded unemployment insurance benefits, assistance for schools, and increased food relief for low-income families and children.
These kinds of efforts are crucial not just to fight a recession, experts say, but to actually get people to follow safe practices that can help stop the spread of any disease. For instance, a person who's sick might not be willing to stay home and avoid going to work if they need all their income to keep food on the table or a roof over their head. Paid sick leave eliminates that risk, letting the sick person stay home and not contaminate any of their coworkers.
Biden also points to some of his previous policy proposals, such as his plan to create a public option and expand access to health care, to ''increase the resilience of all Americans in the face of a crisis.''
Finally, Biden calls on the US to play a role as a global leader, including by providing aid to countries to help them contain their own epidemics (and keep them from spreading to the US).
Some of the proposals could be implemented through executive action, but at least some parts would require Congress.
Hopefully, though, this isn't something Biden will need to fully implement '-- because the Covid-19 pandemic should recede before he potentially takes office in January 2021. But Biden's plan is a helpful guide for how the former vice president would handle a crisis like the one America is facing today, particularly compared to the current administration's fumbled response.
Trump's response so far has been a huge debacleIn many ways, Trump's botched response to the coronavirus pandemic began years before the current crisis, when his administration dismantled the White House agency in charge of coordinating a response to disease outbreaks.
That move can explain why the administration has been so slow to respond, even with what experts call ''low-hanging fruit'' like testing. As part of an investigation led by the Atlantic and independent researchers, the Covid Tracking Project has reported that as of March 12, the US had tested roughly 10,000 people. In comparison, South Korea tested more than 66,000 people within a week of its first case of community transmission '-- a target the US completely missed, despite a much larger population.
President Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office about the widening novel coronavirus crisis on March 11, 2020.
Doug Mills/AFP via Getty Images
The Trump administration promised to massively expand testing, but it's run into problems time and time again, from the technical to the more practical. So the country has continued to lag.
''These kinds of things are what you prepare for, why you do preparedness planning, so this kind of thing doesn't happen,'' Kates said. ''Right now everyone's playing catch-up to try to address these gaps, and every day matters. A good preparedness plan would be addressing that from the outset.''
Trump, however, has defended the elimination of the White House agency, saying at a press briefing that the administration can simply scale up staff for these kinds of crises whenever it needs to. As Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security director Tom Inglesby told the Washington Post, that's not how this works: ''You build a fire department ahead of time. You don't wait for a fire.''
Meanwhile, Trump has repeatedly tried to downplay the coronavirus pandemic. He's tweeted comparisons to the common flu, which in fact appears to be less deadly and spread less easily. He suggested, based on a self-admitted ''hunch,'' that the death rate is much lower than public health officials have projected. His administration requested $2.5 billion for the crisis '-- a fraction of what both Democrats and Republicans said is needed and ultimately passed.
The overall response has led even some conservatives to question Trump's approach. The National Review editorial board wrote:
[Trump] resisted making the response to the epidemic a priority for as long as he could '-- refusing briefings, downplaying the problem, and wasting precious time. He has failed to properly empower his subordinates and refused to trust the information they provided him '-- often offering up unsubstantiated claims and figures from cable television instead. He has spoken about the crisis in crude political and personal terms. He has stood in the way of public understanding of the plausible course of the epidemic, trafficking instead in dismissive clich(C)s. He has denied his administration's missteps, making it more difficult to address them. On Wednesday night, Trump appeared to finally confront the reality of the crisis in a televised statement from the Oval Office '-- acknowledging that the outbreak is now a pandemic. But even then, he only promised a limited travel ban for most of Europe, which won't address the spread of the disease within the US, and some economic relief measures.
This is exactly what Biden, as a presidential candidate, is now trying to draw a contrast with, trying to present an image of competent, serious leadership that Trump has for years failed to project.
The Trump presidential campaign, at least, appears to be taking the contrast seriously. Even before Biden's speech, the campaign sent out an email blast titled ''Joe Biden's Incompetence and Misinformation Risks American Lives.'' In a statement released after the speech, spokesperson Tim Murtaugh argued, ''President Trump acted early and decisively and has put the United States on stronger footing than other nations. His every move has been aimed at keeping Americans safe, while Joe Biden has sought to capitalize politically and stoke citizens' fears.''
So far, though, those kinds of assurances have done little to calm the criticism toward Trump.
Key Missteps at the CDC Have Set Back Its Ability to Detect the Potential Spread of Coronavirus '-- ProPublica
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 08:06
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Update, Feb. 29, 2020: On Saturday, the FDA announced an ''accelerated policy '... to achieve more rapid testing capacity in the United States,'' allowing academic hospital labs capable of performing high-quality testing to develop and begin using their own tests to detect COVID-19. Before now, hospital labs weren't sent test kits by the CDC and the FDA required an extensive review process even if the hospitals had internally validated their tests. Under the new policy, the FDA review will still be required, but labs will be able to start using their diagnostics once they are internally validated. On Saturday, officials in Oregon and Washington state said they had found new cases of COVID-19 that appeared to be instances of ''community spread,'' where the source of infection is unknown.
As the highly infectious coronavirus jumped from China to country after country in January and February, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lost valuable weeks that could have been used to track its possible spread in the United States because it insisted upon devising its own test.
The federal agency shunned the World Health Organization test guidelines used by other countries and set out to create a more complicated test of its own that could identify a range of similar viruses. But when it was sent to labs across the country in the first week of February, it didn't work as expected. The CDC test correctly identified COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. But in all but a handful of state labs, it falsely flagged the presence of the other viruses in harmless samples.
As a result, until Wednesday the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration only allowed those state labs to use the test '-- a decision with potentially significant consequences. The lack of a reliable test prevented local officials from taking a crucial first step in coping with a possible outbreak '-- ''surveillance testing'' of hundreds of people in possible hotspots. Epidemiologists in other countries have used this sort of testing to track the spread of the disease before large numbers of people turn up at hospitals.
This story is based on interviews with state and local public health officials and scientists across the country, which, taken together, describe a frustrating, bewildering bureaucratic process that seemed at odds with the urgency of the growing threat. The CDC and Vice President Mike Pence's office, which is coordinating the government's response to the virus, did not respond to questions for this story. It's unclear who in the government originally made the decision to design a more complicated test, or to depart from the WHO guidance.
''We're weeks behind because we had this problem,'' said Scott Becker, chief executive officer of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, which represents 100 state and local public laboratories. ''We're usually up-front and center and ready.''
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The CDC announced on Feb. 14 that surveillance testing would begin in five key cities, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. That effort has not yet begun.
On Wednesday, under pressure from health experts and public officials, the CDC and the FDA told labs they no longer had to worry about the portion of the test intended ''for the universal detection of SARS-like coronaviruses.'' After three weeks of struggle, they could now use the test purely to check for the presence of COVID-19.
It remains unclear whether the CDC's move on Wednesday will resolve all of the problems around the test. Some local labs have raised concerns about whether the CDC's test is fully reliable for detecting COVID-19.
In New York, scientists at both the city's and state's laboratories have seen false positives even when following the CDC's latest directions, according to a person familiar with their discussions.
''Testing for coronavirus is not available yet in New York City,'' city Department of Health spokeswoman Stephanie Buhle said in an email late Thursday. ''The kits that were sent to us have demonstrated performance issues and cannot be relied upon to provide an accurate result.''
Until the middle of this week, only the CDC and the six state labs '-- in Illinois, Idaho, Tennessee, California, Nevada and Nebraska '-- were testing patients for the virus, according to Peter Kyriacopoulos, APHL's senior director of public policy. Now, as many more state and local labs are in the process of setting up the testing kits, this capacity is expected to increase rapidly.
So far, the United States has had only 15 confirmed cases, a dozen of them travel-related, according to the CDC. An additional 45 confirmed cases involve people returning to the U.S. having gotten sick abroad. But many public health experts and officials believe that without wider testing the true number of infected Americans remains hidden.
''The basic tenet of public health is to know the situation so you can deal with it appropriately,'' said Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. He noted that Guangdong, a province in China, conducted surveillance testing of 300,000 people in fever clinics to find about 420 positive cases. Overall, Guangdong has more than 1,000 confirmed cases. ''If you don't look, you won't find cases,'' he said.
A video monitor inside the California Department of Public Health showed the number of coronavirus cases around the world on Thursday. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)Janet Hamilton, senior director of Policy and Science at Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, said that with the virus spreading through multiple countries, ''now is the time'' for widespread surveillance testing.
''The disease,'' she said, ''is moving faster than the data.''
It remains to be seen what effect the delay in producing a working test will have on the health of Americans. If the United States dodges the rapidly spreading outbreaks now seen in Iran and South Korea, the impact will be negligible. But if it emerges that the disease is already circulating undetected in communities across the country, health officials will have missed a valuable chance to lessen the harm.
The need to have testing capacity distributed across local health departments became even more apparent Wednesday, when the CDC said it was investigating a case in California in which the patient may be the first infected in the United States without traveling to affected areas or known exposure to someone with the illness.
Doctors at the University of California, Davis Medical Center, where the patient is being treated, said testing was delayed for nearly a week because the patient didn't fit restrictive federal criteria, which limits tests only to symptomatic patients who recently traveled to China.
''Upon admission, our team asked public health officials if this case could be COVID-19,'' UC Davis said in a statement. UC Davis officials said because neither the California Department of Public Health nor Sacramento County could test for the virus, they asked the CDC to do so. But, the officials said, ''since the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19, a test was not immediately administered.''
After this case, and under pressure from public officials, the CDC broadened its guidelines Thursday for identifying suspected patients to include people who had traveled to Iran, Italy, Japan or South Korea.
The debate over whether federal, state and local officials should have already been engaged in widespread surveillance testing has become more heated as the virus has spread globally. The CDC had said the purpose of its five-city surveillance program was to provide the U.S. with an ''early warning signal'' to help direct its response. The cities were selected based on the likelihood that infection would be present, Hamilton said.
But Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory, which began offering testing on Feb.11, said surveillance testing may not be the best use of resources right now. ''A lot of people look at lab tests like they are magic,'' Pandori said. ''But when you run lab tests, the more chances you have for getting false answers.''
There are other ways to expand the country's testing capacity. Beyond the CDC and state labs, hospitals are also able to develop their own tests for diseases like COVID-19 and internally validate their effectiveness, with some oversight from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. But because the CDC declared the virus a public health emergency, it triggered a set of federal rules that raises the bar for all tests, including those devised by local hospitals.
So now, hospitals must validate their tests with the FDA '-- even if they copied the CDC protocol exactly. Hospital lab directors say the FDA validation process is onerous and is wasting precious time when they could be testing in their local communities.
Alexander Greninger, an assistant professor in laboratory medicine at the University of Washington Medical Center, said after he submitted his COVID-19 test, which copies the CDC protocol, to the FDA, a reviewer asked him to prove that his test would not show a positive result for someone infected with the SARS coronavirus or the MERS coronavirus '-- an almost ridiculous challenge. The SARS virus, which appeared in November 2002, affected 26 countries, disappeared in mid-2003 and hasn't been seen since. The MERS coronavirus primarily affects the Middle East, and the only two cases that have been recorded in the U.S., in 2014, were both imported.
There are labs that can create parts of a SARS virus, but the FDA's recommended supplier of such materials said it would need one to two months to provide a sample, Greninger said. He spent two days on the phone making dozens of calls, scrambling to find a lab that would provide what he needed.
Greninger said the FDA was treating labs as if they were trying to make a commercially distributed product. ''I think it makes sense to have this regulation,'' he said, when ''you're going to sell 100,000 widgets across the U.S. That's not who we are.''
Commercial manufacturers are working to mass-produce coronavirus tests, but there isn't a precise timeline for their release. The drug company Cepheid, based in California, is targeting the second quarter of this year for the release of its test, a company spokeswoman said in an email. Massachusetts-based Hologic didn't have an estimated release date for its test, a company spokesman said. ''We're responding to the public health need as rapidly as possible,'' the spokesman said.
Correction, Feb. 28, 2020: This story originally misstated the number of positive COVID-19 cases found via surveillance testing in the Chinese province of Guangdong. The testing found 420 positive cases, not 1,000.
CDC Tests for COVID-19
Fri, 13 Mar 2020 08:04
CDC has developed a new laboratory test kit for use in testing patient specimens for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19. The test kit is called the ''Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Panel.'' It is intended for use with the Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast DX Real-Time PCR Instrument with SDS 1.4 software. This test is intended for use with upper and lower respiratory specimens collected from persons who meet CDC criteria for COVID-19 testing. CDC's test kit is intended for use by laboratories designated by CDC as qualified, and in the United States, certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) to perform high complexity tests.
On Monday, February 3, 2020, CDC submitted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) package to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to expedite FDA permitted use of the CDC diagnostic panel in the United States. The EUA process enables FDA to consider and authorize the use of unapproved, but potentially life-saving medical or diagnostic products during a public health emergency. The U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services declared the SARS-CoV-2 virus a U.S. public health emergency on Friday, January 31, 2020. FDA issued the EUA on February 4, 2020. IRR began distribution of the test kits to states, but shortly thereafter performance issues were identified related to a problem in the manufacturing of one of the reagents which led to laboratories not being able to verify the test performance. CDC is remanufacturing the reagents with more robust quality control measures. New tests will be distributed once this issue has been addressed. CDC continues to perform initial and confirmatory testing.
The Federal Reserve is not bailing out stock traders.