Art for episode 1226

1226: Bat's True!

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 8m
March 19th, 2020
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Executive Producers: Baroness Kathy & Baron Greg Simunich, Sir Stephen of Oswego, Soon to be former manager of Dudes Named Ban, Baron of the Fox River Valley, Sir Curity, Knight of the Slums of Shaolin, Stephen Draper, Philip Wurth, Linda O'Connor

Associate Executive Producers: Christopher, Sir Beijing Vampires, Anthony Nist, Stephen Sorrell, Justin Duiguid, Anonymous

Cover Artist: Mountain Jay

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
Suggest a new chapter
Kung Flu
Be Happy we are independent
2 Strains
L and S
S was spread widely to create immunity from L, which is not airborne
Chemtrails?
Dec-Jan spread world wide registered as flu, but tested negative
Tina gets credit for the December January threads
Approach seems flawed to shut down economy instead of protecting those vulnerable
Like 9/11 we must be on te lookout of the 'WMD's"
Cashless
Tracking
Forced vaccinations
Vaccination tracking
Net Neutrality Changes
EU net neutrality laws prohibit the throttling of entertainment services, but
several telecoms executives from across the continent have suggested a
co-operative plan to safeguard the system was possible.
Italy, one of the countries worst hit by the pandemic, has seen
a threefold increase in video teleconferencing, but this has had
to compete with streaming and gaming – a combination that resulted in a
75 percent rise in home broadband traffic and mobile networks over
the weekend.
STORIES
vicissitudes - Google Search
Thu, 19 Mar 2020 07:43
synonyms: change, alteration, alternation, transformation, metamorphosis, transmutation, mutation, modification, transition, development, shift, switch, turn, reversal, reverse, downturn, inconstancy, instability, uncertainty, unpredictability, chanciness, fickleness, variability, changeability, fluctuation, vacillation, ups and downs
(4) Bill Gates' AMA: Mandatory microchip implants coming to "mark the vaccinated". : conspiracy
Thu, 19 Mar 2020 07:23
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level 1Not today satan, or ever.
level 2Yup, I'll never let them implant something into me. Fuck that.
level 2Not really hard to get everyone chipped. Lets just play this out really quick shall we.
Don't get chipped
All currency over this pandemic has crashed.
New global dollar is started.
You are allowed through your chip to convert all the old dollars to the new one
Eventually you can only buy using the new currency
New currency is done off your chip, Internet is off the chip, tv is off the chip, phones are off the chip, everything is off the chip
Accept chip or you are basically removed from society till you starve and die. Or shot by a cop for being a vagrant
Media will NEVER report on you except as some crazy person who didn't want the chip that saved our species.
The above is just off the cuff. Not saying it is happening but you know if I wanted to drive the above - it would be pretty easy.
level 2Eugenicist, GMO fag, Epstein buddy, billionaire that doesn't solve world hunger, and inventor of nothing(mouse was invented in the 60s). He stinks and I don't like him.
r/Bill_Gates_is_Evil
level 2I remember when people said credit cards were the mark of the beast. No, Karen, this more likely is.
level 2Holy Bible: ''Told you so!''
level 2Come implant my cold, dead hands after you've pried my rifle from them, commie Zionist new world order satan
level 2Religious exemptions coming in 3,2,1...
I predict many Christians just won't go for this. People will call them primitive and try and make them out to be putting the rest of society at risk.
But it will be interesting to see what happens when (at least a few) conservative Jewish sects decide to opt out as well. I'm guessing a goodly number of Muslims won't want to play along either.
tldr; Bill Gates is a cunt
level 1I literally cannot believe how he gets his shaft stroked there without any scrutiny whatsoever.
level 2Yeah it was bad. I read some of his non- answers amd all that praise -- it was sad.
level 2I'm sure there was some scrutiny, but it was instantly cleaned. Reddit jannies are on patrol 24/7 to remove any comments that contain wrongthink (and they do it for free, pathetic pieces of shit)
level 2Did anyone ask him about event 201? How convention he knew about this since October and did 'drills' for it. And how he has a patent for the virus. Now the vaccine? How convenient
level 2Reddit is full of sad suckasses. Celebrity culture fan boys
The 7th CISM World Games 2019 are launched
Thu, 19 Mar 2020 07:17
WUHAN CITY (CHN) - From 1 to 4 December, the Coordination Committee for the 7th CISM World Games 2019 was in Wuhan City, China for the inspection visit of the preparations for the 7th edition of the CISM World Summer Games in 2019.
On that occasion, the CISM President signed jointly with Major General Ma Kaipin, Chief of the CISM Chinese Delegation and Mr. Wang Fon, Mayor of Wuhan City, the final contract of organization of the event.
The 7th CISM World Games '' the 7th PEACE GAMES '' will be held in Wuhan City from 15 to 30 October 2019 with 23 CISM Disciplines and one Demonstration sport, Tennis! CISM is also very pleased to confirm jointly with the Organizing Committee that at least Track and Field and Archery will be organized for para athletes. For the first time in the CISM World Games history, Boxing competitions will be opened to female military boxers!
During the 4 days visit, the CISM Coordination Committee composed by the CISM President, Colonel Abdulhakeem Alshino, the CISM Secretary General, Colonel Dorah Mamby Koita, the 7th CISM World Games Director, Mr. Olivier Verhelle and the President of the CISM Sports Commission, Lieutenant-Colonel Walter Borghino, visited some of the sports infrastructures already selected for hosting competitions in 2019. The complete planning for sports events and venues identifications was discussed and approved.
The CISM Pentathlons will receive a lot of attention during the Games. To that purpose, the presidents of these sports committees, Lieutenant-Colonel Gagliardi (Aeronautical Pentathlon), Lieutenant-Colonel Trono (Military Pentathlon) and Commander Nummila (Naval Pentathlon) joined the visit to select together with their Chinese homologues the locations for the constructions of the various venues, obstacle tracks and sports tracks for their specific disciplines.
All participants were blessed to be the guests of honor of a ceremony marking the commencement of the construction of the athletes' village in Wuhan. That village will be ready to accommodate 12.000 athletes and officials as well as organizing staff in 2019. It is designed in a spirit of eco-sustainability and conviviality for all participants.
Officials of Wuhan City will attend the 3rd CISM World Winter Games in Sochi and the 72nd CISM GA in Athens next May and the 3rd CISM World Cadet Games 2018 in Indonesia, to promote with CISM officials all information on the Games.
The following sports disciplines will be programmed during the 7th CISM World Games:
(1) Aeronautical Pentathlon (M & F)
(2) Archery (M & F) (partly open to para-athlete)
(3) Basketball (M & F)
(4) Boxing (M & F)
(5) Cycling (M & F)
(6) Equestrian (M & F)
(7) Fencing (M & F)
(8) Football (M & F)
(9) Golf (M & F)
(10) Judo (M & F)
(11) Military Pentathlon (M & F)
(12) Modern Pentathlon (M & F)
(13) Naval Pentathlon (M & F)
(14) Orienteering (M & F)
(15) Parachuting (M & F)
(16) Sailing (M & F)
(17) Shooting (M & F)
(18) Swimming (M & F) (including Diving, Life-saving)
(19) Table Tennis (M & F)
(20) Taekwondo (M & F)
(21) Track & Fields (M & F) (including Marathon) (partly open to para-athlete)
(22) Triathlon (M & F)
(23) Volleyball (M & F) (including beach volleyball)
D(C)mo Sport
(1) Tennis (M & F)
(Source: Mr. Olivier Verhelle, CISM World Summer Games Director)
PRstallion 🇺🇸🇵🇷 45 is the 2nd coming. #MAGA on Twitter: "I love Texas, and our governor @GregAbbott_TX https://t.co/QgkzOwHVHM" / Twitter
Thu, 19 Mar 2020 06:31
V for Vendetta @ Texgalleslie
8h Replying to
@PRstallion78 @Love_On70 @GregAbbott_TX Me too!
View conversation · Bob @ ArcticChar16
6h Replying to
@PRstallion78 @SexyAssPatriot2 @GregAbbott_TX How many ridiculous state and/or federal regulations that are being suspended in the wake of this crisis will eventually be permanently repealed?
View conversation · Robin @ RobinDallasTX
3h Replying to
@PRstallion78 @GregAbbott_TX The cities need the liquor tax revenue too badly. This will help a tiny bit, anything is better than nuttin.
View conversation · DATA VNVLV '­'­'­ @ JohnBasso16
8h Replying to
@PRstallion78 @GregAbbott_TX Best Gov in US!
View conversation · PRstallion 🇺🇸🇵🇷 45 is the 2nd coming. #MAGA @ PRstallion78
8h Replying to
@JohnBasso16 @GregAbbott_TX Hell yeah!
View conversation · PersistentFeisty'­¸'­¸'­¸ @ FeistyGriffin
8h Replying to
@PRstallion78 @GregAbbott_TX God bless Texas!! Thank you, Governor!
View conversation · Mary Miller 🌟 🌟 🌟 @ RealVeryMary
7h Replying to
@PRstallion78 @GregAbbott_TX He's a great governor! Your new adopted Dad is a Texan.
View conversation ·
Waters Announces Committee Plan for Comprehensive Fiscal Stimulus and Public Policy Response to Coronavirus Pandemic | Financial Services Committee
Thu, 19 Mar 2020 06:21
Waters Announces Committee Plan for Comprehensive Fiscal Stimulus and Public Policy Response to Coronavirus Pandemic
Washington, DC, March 18, 2020
Today,
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, released
plans for a legislative package to provide a comprehensive fiscal stimulus and public policy in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
''As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, we have seen the devastating effects on workers, consumers, investors, markets, and the economy,'' said Chairwoman Waters. ''Low income communities were already struggling before this crisis began and will likely be hit particularly hard by the coming recession. This is an urgent public health crisis that has quickly harmed our entire economy, and it demands swift and bold action. The Financial Services Committee will play a central role in that response.'¯ ''Media reports have indicated that the Trump Administration plans to request upwards of $850 billion in aid for certain impacted industries. If true, it is apparent that this Administration is missing the point '' families must come first. That is why I am proposing a bold fiscal stimulus package and public policy response that will benefit hardworking and vulnerable Americans who may face financial hardship or even eviction or foreclosure as a result of the coronavirus crisis.'¯ ''The circumstances we are facing are unprecedented and will require creative approaches. The response should not include financial deregulation; regulators must not roll back the safeguards that have been put in place to protect the financial system and economy. In fact, this crisis has demonstrated that the safeguards Democrats enacted as part of the Dodd-Frank Act are working. By requiring higher capital and liquidity buffers, banks are well-positioned to continue lending and play an important countercyclical role. However, America's consumers, small businesses, and vulnerable populations are suffering. It is time for a policy and fiscal response to address their needs.''
The legislative package would:'¯ Protect Consumers and Bolster the Economy
1. At Least $2,000/month for all adults and $1000 for each child. The Federal Reserve would be directed through a money-financed fiscal program, to fund automatic stabilizers in the form of at least $2,000 for every adult and an additional $1000 for every child for each month of the crisis. Adults would be eligible to withdraw these funds from financial institutions or receive them directly in the mail via the IRS. This funding tool would enable the Federal Reserve to more directly stimulate the economy and provide families with the ability to purchase necessities like food and medicines. This provision would also prevent payments from going to millionaires and billionaires. 2. Suspend all consumer and small business credit payments (mortgages, car notes, student loans, credit cards, small business loans, personal loans, etc.) during the pandemic. This bold step would enable consumers and small businesses, including small farms, to weather the crisis by eliminating debt payments for the duration of the crisis at a time when many Americans will be confined to their homes and unable to work or bring in income. Borrowers who make payments during this period, should have their payments applied to their accounts as timely. Borrowers with payment suspensions should not accrue any interest or fees during the payment suspension period, and should be provided with affordable options to repay arrearages. 3. Establish a facility by the Federal Reserve or Treasury to reimburse creditors, and servicers for lost revenue and expenses, including payment advances. This provision would finance the suspension of the credit products listed above to ensure that financial institutions remain solvent as a result of millions of consumers not paying their bills. 4. Suspend all negative consumer credit reporting during the pandemic. There would be a total moratorium on negative reporting during the pandemic and for 120 days thereafter. Afterwards, consumers could add their names to a database for continued protection, similar to Chairwoman Waters' legislation related to suspending reporting during a government shutdown. In addition, consumer credit reporting agencies would be prohibited from lowering a consumer's credit score. Rep. Sherman introduced a version of this bill last week, and the House passed similar legislation focused on consumers affected by a government shutdown as part of H.R.3621, Comprehensive CREDIT Act of 2020. 5. Prohibit debt collection, repossession, and garnishment of wages during the pandemic. This provision would ban the collection of all consumer debt, including medical debt, and prohibit the garnishment of wages or repossession of assets during the pandemic, and for 120 days after the pandemic ends. 6. Ensure protections for territories. This provision would ensure that persons residing in U.S. territories receive the same protections and relief of this Act as persons residing in states. Support Renters, Homeowners, and People Experiencing Homelessness 7. Provide $5 billion in emergency homeless assistance. This funding would enable state and local governments to finance housing and health related services including by paying for emergency use of hotels and motels, for the hundreds of thousands of people currently experiencing homelessness, and as a result, are at greater risk of contracting the disease. 8. Ban all evictions, foreclosures, and repossessions--including manufactured homes, RVs, and cars-- nationwide. Because businesses are closing and many people do not have access to unemployment insurance or paid sick leave, an eviction and foreclosure ban is needed to ensure that people can safely quarantine in their homes, if necessary. Vehicles should not be repossessed during the pandemic as Americans will need their transportation in order to obtain food or medical care. A foreclosure moratorium should include a ban on initiating judicial or non-judicial foreclosures, moving for order of sale, continuing any foreclosure process, or executing foreclosure sales and post-foreclosure evictions. Los Angeles County is among several jurisdictions that have already instituted a ban on evictions. 9. Suspend rental and utility payments for assisted renters and provide rental and utility payment assistance for non-assisted renters. The Federal government should immediately suspend rental and utility payments for Federal public and assisted housing residents to ensure they have the financial resources necessary to address the expected economic hardships of the crisis. The Federal government should provide sufficient funding for housing providers to account for this loss of revenue as well as increased administrative costs associated with mitigating COVID-19 risks in assisted housing developments. Similarly, the Federal government should provide $100 billion to help non-assisted renters who meet certain economic conditions cover their rent and utility payments. 10. Require forbearance for mortgages on rental properties. To the extent that owners of rental properties continue to have trouble servicing their debt during the suspension of rental and payment and evictions even with the rental assistance fund, they should get forbearance on their mortgages as necessary. The National Community Stabilization Fund, National Multifamily Housing Council, and National Apartment Association support this proposal. 11. Provide $10 billion for Community Development Block Grants. This funding will allow state and local governments to have a flexible resource to address the needs of their communities when mitigating the impacts of COVID-19, including establishing teams to perform mobile testing of vulnerable populations, such as people experiencing homelessness, delivering meals to people with mobility issues, and purchasing cleaning supplies. The federal government should waive the cap on the amount of CDBG funds that can be spent on services, including for funds that have previously been appropriated, to allow communities more flexibility to respond to COVID-19. 12. Provide waivers and authorities to modify existing programs to respond to the crisis. The federal government should enable communities, and housing and homeless service providers to tap into current resources to quickly respond to COVID-19 by providing the necessary waivers and authorities to utilize federal funds that have previously been appropriated, including unused CDBG funds. Federal housing programs should also be modified as necessary to ensure appropriate responses to the pandemic. For example, in-person inspection requirements should be waived for the Housing Choice Voucher program, as should in-person appraisal requirements for federally backed mortgages. 13. Suspend the Work and Community Service Requirements in Federal Housing Programs. 13. Suspend the work and community service requirements in Federal housing programs. This provision would suspend the work and community service requirements in Federal housing programs for the duration of the crisis to ensure residents do not feel compelled to go to work or participate in other activities to keep their housing. 14. Provide $300 million for servicer coordinators to assist elderly households. The Service Coordinator Grant program funds the work of service coordinators to support seniors and people with disabilities living in HUD-assisted housing, and will need additional funding to ensure medical and other services are provided to elderly residents who are the most vulnerable to the health impacts of the virus. 15. Provide $290 million for fair housing enforcement. $90 million to ensure that fair housing organizations as well as state and local agencies have sufficient resources to deal with an expected increase in fair housing complaints and to investigate housing discrimination, including financial scams that target protected classes, which are already starting to occur. $200 million to ensure that HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity has sufficient resources to ensure robust enforcement of the Fair Housing Act in light of the pandemic, including ensuring that funding amounts in this relief package are implemented in a way that affirmatively furthers fair housing. Assist Small Businesses
16. Suspension of commercial rental payments by private sector actors. This would support small businesses and non-profit organizations that are struggling with the decision to stay open in the face of significant changes in public and consumer demand and with paying their bills. 17. Support additional grants for small businesses. This provision would support at least $50 billion in new grants for the Small Business Administration to provide to negatively affected small businesses, including minority- and women-owned small businesses. (Small Business Committee) 18. Tax rebates for small businesses. This provision would rebate 100% of pay roll taxes paid by small businesses this year, and 200% of pay roll taxes paid by small businesses in ''hot spots.'' (Ways and Means Committee) 19. Utilize the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund to support small businesses as well as low-income communities. This provision would provide a supplemental appropriation of $500 million for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, and similar to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, matching funds and limitations on awards would be waived to provide flexibility in deploying resources to vulnerable populations and impacted small businesses. Support State, Territory, and Local Governments
20.
Support state, territory, and local government financing. This provision would authorize a program that requires the Federal Reserve to support state, territory, and local debt issuance in response to the coronavirus outbreak given the critical role these governments are playing.
21.
Waive matching requirements for municipal governments. This provision would waive the requirement that state, territory or local governments first obtain matching funds prior to receiving certain federal grants.
Facilitate the Mobilization of Essential Health and Safety Supplies
22. Additional funding for emergency production of medical supplies. This provision would appropriate an additional $1 billion for FY 2020 to the Defense Production Act fund, which can be used to prioritize the domestic production capacity for goods such as personal protective equipment and vaccines to bolster government efforts to stem the COVID-19 pandemic. Protect Financial Stability and Transparent Markets
23. Disclose supply chain disruption risk. This provision would require the SEC to implement a rulemaking that would require public companies to identify and disclose risks in their global supply chains; the impacts a supply chain disruption would have on their workforce, suppliers, and customers; and to develop and disclose contingency plans they will take to mitigate these risks and impacts. 24. Disclose global pandemic risk. Mandate the SEC to implement a rulemaking that would require public companies to publicly disclose their risks and exposures to public health events that the World Health Organization classifies as ''pandemics,'' and the steps they are taking to mitigate these risks and exposures. This would provide clarity to market participants and would have the effect of codifying SEC Chairman Clayton's guidance stating that ''how companies plan and respond to the events as they unfold can be material to an investment decision.'' 25. No Federal rulemaking during the crisis. Federal financial regulators would be prohibited from adopting rules not directly related to responding to the coronavirus for the length of the crisis. 26. Temporary ban on stock buybacks and dividends. This provision would impose a temporary ban on corporate stock repurchase activities and paying dividends until the impacts of the coronavirus on the American financial system have ended to ensure that companies are using their excess cash to pay workers, shore up their bottom lines, and invest in their communities. 27. Promoting responsible use of government assistance to corporations. This provision would require large corporate beneficiaries of government assistance to comply with restrictions on executive compensation, golden parachutes, stock buybacks, and dividend payments. In addition, such corporations would be required to make additional human capital disclosures, environmental, social and governance disclosures, and political campaign contribution disclosures. Finally, such companies would be required to publicly describe how the financial assistance provided to the company was used to support the company's employees. 28.
Support global economic cooperation:
Authorize the Administration's requests to participate in the replenishments of two concessional windows at the multilateral development banks'--the 19th replenishment of the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA-19), to which the U.S. has pledged $3 billion; and the fifteenth replenishment of the African Development Fund (AfDF-15), to which the U.S. has pledged $514 million. Authorize the Administration's request for the U.S. to participate in the 7th general capital increase for the African Development Bank, to which the U.S. has pledged approximately $437 million of paid-in capital. Authorize the Administration's request to double the U.S. commitment to IMF's emergency backstop facility, known as the New Arrangements to Borrow, or NAB (from $39 billion to approximately $78 billion), in order to provide additional resources to the IMF in the event of a major financial crisis or to deal with exceptional situations that pose a systemic threat. Early authorization of the U.S. commitment to this agreement would demonstrate U.S. support for global financial stability and also send a positive signal to shareholders and to the markets that developing countries will be supported during a global downturn. Rebuilding the Economy Post-COVID-19
1. Pass H.R. 5187, the Housing Is Infrastructure Act. This provision would support $100 billion in infrastructure spending to support the long-term availability of affordable housing. 2. Reauthorize the state small business credit initiative. This provision would provide $10 billion to promote recovery post-pandemic. This program was initially created in 2010 to support small businesses in the wake of the 2008 recession and provides states with grants to finance new and existing small business growth. 3. Forgive a minimum of $10,000 of student loan debt for each indebted borrower. While Trump announced that he will waive interest on student loans during the crisis, without a reduction in principal, student loan borrowers will continue to struggle to make payments, jeopardizing a fragile economic recovery. Forgiveness of this debt will stimulate the economy by freeing up funds that borrowers would have spent on debt service. Now, these funds could be spent on goods and services, allowing millions of people to support our nation's small businesses and jumpstart the economy. 4. Minimize the economic impacts on women, minorities and diverse-owned businesses. This provision would provide financial literacy education and access to banking services for unbanked women and minorities; require companies to publicly report their board diversity and their spending with diverse asset managers; create lending and capital opportunities focused on diverse owned businesses, including supporting minority depository institutions (MDIs) by passing H.R. 5322, the Ensuring Diversity in Community Banking Act (Meeks), and requiring the Federal Reserve to temporarily provide zero percent interest rate loans to MDIs and CDFIs. This provision would also establish a new technical assistance facility for MDIs and Impact Banks to support investments into technology and branch expansion, similar to a program available to credit unions. This provision would also provide the Minority Business Development Agency $3 billion to support full implementation of the Initiative to Build Growth Equity Funds for Minority Businesses. Immediate funding of the Initiative will allow the grant awardee to quickly respond to capital needs of minority businesses that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 health crisis. 5. Pandemic Risk Insurance Act. This provision would create a reinsurance program similar to the Terrorism Risk Insurance act for pandemics, by capping the total insurance losses that insurance companies would face. This is a request from the National Retail Federation. 6. Reinstate the FHA-FFB Partnership. This Partnership was an Obama-era initiative that supports financing for affordable multifamily housing that was arbitrarily discontinued under the Trump Administration. Advocate and industry stakeholders support requiring HUD to reinstate this Partnership to help stimulate the economy in response to the pandemic. 7. National strategy. This provision would update the 2017 ''Pandemic Influenza Plan'' and the National Planning Frameworks to add the requirement that preparedness and recovery planning include a pre-crisis menu of options focused on economic, monetary, and consumer financial issues (such as those discussed in this memo). 8. Regulatory guidance. Requiring agencies to automatically issue guidance when a pandemic is declared. 9. Require flexible repayment options. Borrowers should be provided with affordable opportunities to repay arrearages over time without late fees or back interest. ###
Conan O'Brien on Twitter: "I am going back on the air Monday, March 30th. All my staff will work from home, I will shoot at home using an iPhone, and my guests will Skype. This will not be pretty, but feel free to laugh at our attempt. Stay safe." / Twitt
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 22:37
I am going back on the air Monday, March 30th. All my staff will work from home, I will shoot at home using an iPhone, and my guests will Skype. This will not be pretty, but feel free to laugh at our attempt. Stay safe.
8:09 PM - 18 Mar 2020
In China, TikTok is another tool for the government to spread its message - Promo video of a Chinese military drill in Hong Kong started making the rounds on patriotic sections of China’s TikTok | Abacus
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 22:05
Promo video of a Chinese military drill in Hong Kong started making the rounds on patriotic sections of China's TikTokThe first thing Jeffrey Ding saw when he opened his new account on the Chinese version of TikTok, known as Douyin, was a video of the Chinese army seemingly attacking protesters on the streets in Hong Kong.
The muscle-flexing promo shoot featuring an anti-riot drill was released this week by the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong garrison after weeks anti-government protests in the city. Inside the special administrative region, many saw it as saber rattling. In the parallel universe of Douyin, however, the short video got 88 million likes.
The three minute video of the PLA participating in an anti-riot drill has been trending online at a very sensitive time for Hong Kong. (Picture: CCTV via YouTube)In the West, ByteDance-owned TikTok is usually seen as goofy fun for tweens wanting to shoot videos of themselves singing along to their favorite pop stars. In China, things are a little different.
Douyin still has the silly dance moves, comical skits and stunts. But over the last few years, dozens of state-owned media outlets like People's Daily and China Daily have created their own accounts. So have government agencies, including police and military outposts, giving them an outlet to directly share their own points of view.
Among short videos of teenage lip-syncers and farmers doing the robot dance, you're now likely to stumble across statements from Chinese government supporters or speeches from Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying accusing the US of playing a role in the Hong Kong anti-extradition protests.
Patriotic Douyin delivered me carefully curated content featuring government-approved viewpoints on the Hong Kong protests. (Picture: Screenshots from Douyin)And as it usually goes with social media, sharing and liking certain types of content only surfaces more of the same. A few swipes may lead not only to videos of officials explaining the latest government directives, but also to Chinese military officials claiming jurisdiction over disputed islands in the South China Sea.
It could even bring up promo videos for the Chinese army and police, such as the one posted by the PLA's garrison in Hong Kong. Videos of soldiers exercising, running military drills or just generally looking tough are a big part of patriotic Douyin. It's the part of the social network people turn to for nationalist content, like military videos that play like modern renditions of Rambo movies.
This music video showing a police SWAT squad in China's restive region of Xinjiang features a catchy hip hop beat. (Picture: Screenshots from Douyin)It's not really clear how Douyin chooses what it recommends to users. ByteDance suggested it was about quality content.
"Douyin encourages creativity and a merit-based system," a ByteDance spokesperson told Abacus. "The following that accounts are able to build over time is based on content quality and user preferences."
In Ding's case, the PLA video showed up as the most searched item. But Chinese social media platforms have steadily been filling up with content from state-approved sources. Some see the algorithms as aiding that content.
''The rise of recommendation engines means that internet content is no longer about removing what is not acceptable on the Chinese web, but about tailoring propaganda specifically for each user,'' said Elliot Zaagman, corporate trainer and host of the China Tech Investor Podcast.
State media outlets in China aren't known for producing captivating content, and the government is aware of this. So state media have been recruiting young, tech-savvy new media specialists to promote what is usually described as ''positive energy,'' replacing bureaucratic droning with something more palatable.
Some videos are more serious, like the ones warning Taiwan that it belongs to China. Others are more light-hearted, such as the amateur comedic skits about the dangers of money laundering. (Picture: Screenshots from Douyin)Hosting all this patriotic content doesn't save Douyin from Beijing's watchful eye, though. Like any other social media platform in China, Douyin is subject to strict content monitoring. ByteDance already had a brush with the government in 2018 when it got into trouble over content on its news platform Jinri Toutiao. The company later promised to hire 10,000 censors.
The push to create patriotic content is even stronger in restive areas. In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the Xinjiang government started collecting patriotic-themed short videos for social media, nationalist tabloid Global Times reported. The Chinese government has been accused of human rights violations against the Muslim Uygur minority in the region, and it's recently stepped up efforts to counter criticism.
+toktok showing horrific corona virus videos - Google Search
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 22:01
Mar 4, 2020 · As of March 4, the novel coronavirus linked to Wuhan, China, has infected nearly ... As shocking as the biowarfare lab theory might be, experts have told the ... For instance, one YouTube video posted on January 25 shows ...
The Coronavirus Racism Has Made Its Way to TikTok - FLARE
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 22:01
(Illustration: Elham Numan)
If you have any faith left in humanity, prepare to have it completely erased. Because judging by the way people are reacting to the coronavirus crisis, most of us are definitely trash. With 170 deaths and thousands of confirmed cases in China, the coronavirus has been on everyone's mind in recent weeks. ICYMI, the coronavirus refers to a series of viruses (there are seven potential coronaviruses you can be infected with) that range in seriousness from the common cold to more viral and serious diseases like SARS. Speaking to Chatelaine, Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at Toronto General Hospital, said that ''This particular coronavirus (aka 2019-nCoV) is emerging somewhere in the middle.''
Per Bogoch, what makes this particular strain of coronavirus so scary is how rapidly it's spreading since the first cases were confirmed on December 31, 2019. With all of this information circling about, it's easy to see why the public is so frightened. And with travel bans increasing in countries across the world and news of mass quarantines, what started out as a quiet murmur is quickly turning into a frantic panic about the threat of the coronavirus. Which is understandable. What's not so understandable? The racism linked to it. Because the first confirmed cases of the virus were in Wuhan, China, people have taken it upon themselves to espouse xenophobic and racist sentiments towards members of the Chinese community around the world, including Chinese-Canadians here in Canada, regardless of whether or not said people have recently been to the country (and thus, in theory, could be at a higher risk of potentially being infected). These actions have ranged from barring anyone Chinese from entering an establishment to having people scramble away from them on public transit.
And now, it seems that the coronavirus racism has made its way'--like all things'--to social media, in the form of TikTok videos. While scrolling through the Gen Z-friendly app, tons of tasteless videos appear when you search ''coronavirus.'' And while some of these vids are created by Asian content creators and seem aimed at showing how legit bonkers and stupid everyone else is being'...
@jeenie.weenieBetter safe than sorry #coronavirus #besafe #foryou #fyp #trending #news #lysol #viral #asianstruggles'¬ Hell 2 da Naw '' Bullwinkle Boyz'...a lot are pretty frickin' offensive. Several videos make fun of Chinese restaurants, showing TikTok users miming horror when they see the chef sneeze (into their elbow, I might add!), while others lean into viral songs and trends on the app. Take @mikethecop, whose video of himself running in horror through the airport after seeing a plane land from China is a) not funny and b) xenophobic.
@mikethecopI don't want no virus! (Don't let this flop) #fyp#coronavirus#offduty'¬ Run '' AWOLNATIONAnd these vids are not only seriously disappointing (I thought younger generations were better than this?!), but also kind of dangerous.
Honestly, we shouldn't be surprised at the coronavirus reactionWhile the proliferation of racist sentiments via viral videos on TikTok might be initially shocking, we should check ourselves (and our expectations) because if recent history is anything to go off of, we shouldn't be all that surprised that people are using an illness that has caused over 150 deaths for comedic content. Just look at the reason World War III was trending at the beginning of January. For those who missed it, the trend was sparked after Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani was killed by an American airstrike on January 3. The strike, which was carried out at the behest of President Donald Trump, further strained already fragile relations between the United States and Iran, with the latter vowing ''harsh retaliation.''
They were serious, fighting words, and of course, the internet reacted how it knows best: with jokes and memes. Tons of people online started tweeting about being drafted into the army, joking that dying in a war would be better than living through 2020 and pretty much just making a mockery of a serious issue.
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The responses online could have been linked to a lot of things, paramount among them our desensitization to warfare, humour as a coping mechanism (because the world is pretty fucked up) and the idea that people felt they could joke about World War III because they assumed it would never actually affect them in the Western world.
And this response to the coronavirus feels like a similar thing. It's easy to make light of something scary when you're safe in the knowledge (or at least assume) that it likely won't affect you. (The Public Health Agency of Canada says that the risk to Canadians and Canadian travellers is relatively low, and the severity is pretty low-key compared to the flu). Which is great for us here in Canada, but completely overlooks the fact that people in China have died or are very sick.
And joking about the virus at all is incredibly offensive to people who are actually affected by it and belittles the grievousness of an urgent health concern.
But that doesn't make it OKWhile it might be easy to write off videos like @mikethecop's as harmless'--after all, one could argue, some flight routes to China were suspended for fear that anyone may have come in contact with the virus'--the fact remains that they're still harmful, because they spread stereotypes and stigma about Chinese people as a whole. In a personal essay for The Guardian on the stigma associated with the coronavirus, Sam Phan, a master's student from the U.K. wrote: ''This week, my ethnicity has made me feel like I was part of a threatening and diseased mass. To see me as someone who carries the virus just because of my race is, well, just racist.''
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And viewing people en masse in this way can have dangerous repercussions. Since the coronavirus was first detected, people have reported the spread of anti-Chinese sentiment and instances of violence towards people who are'--or simply appear like they could be'--Chinese.
Today my son was cornered at school by kids who wanted to ''test'' him for #Coronavirus just because he is half-Chinese. They chased him. Scared him. And made him cry.
I was the same age when I was bullied for being Pakistani.
It's 2020. I thought things had changed by now'... ðŸ'--
'-- Dr. Nadia Alam (@DocSchmadia) January 30, 2020
But this racism doesn't come from nowhere; it's steeped in stereotypes of Asian people as fearsome figures (linked to ''yellow peril''). The panic over the coronavirus only further perpetuates and validates these stereotypes, which just empowers racist people and their views TBH.
And not only are these TikTok videos harmful for spreading racist ideologies, but they're also spreading disinformation about the virus itself. According to Forbes, since the outbreak of the virus, people have been using the app to spread false info, including videos that purport the virus was started by the Chinese government as a form of population control. Which is *actually* horrible. Honestly, what has the world come to?!
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So please TikTok users, let's just go back to making viral dance videos with our moms'--it's safer and much less problematic.
33 YEAR AGO - The Anatomy of the Crash of 2020 | AIER
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 21:25
After decades of predictions, warnings, wagers, prophecies, and what must be many trillions of dollars expended upon short sales, long puts and written calls, hedges and directional bets of every sort: the long-awaited ''big Kahuna'' '' a crash in equities markets '' came yesterday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 2,997 points to 20,188: a -12.93% one-day decline.
I remember the Crash of '87 (-22.6% in one day), although I wouldn't reach the trading desks in the canyons of Wall Street until a bit less than a decade later. My family didn't have any investments and I really didn't know what to make of it '' other than some people in my blue collar, suburban neighborhood seeming to experience a sudden bout of profound, hideous schadenfreude at the ''capitalist pigs.'' I read a bit about it, but resources and life being what they were then, my interest soon faded.
Others, mostly in the media, worried that a recession would shortly follow. One did, but by the time it arrived the Dow Jones Industrial Average was far away from those lows. I was far away, too: Hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of miles from New York City and New Jersey, and about as far from financial markets, derivatives, and trading as one can get: as an infantryman in the United States Army. Markets, the crash, all of it '' never part of my life, anyway '' couldn't have been further from my mind.
Some years later I returned: not just to the tri-state area, but to the very arenas which not many years before I had heard so much ire and loathing directed at. The Dow was at 5,000, a handful of new ''dot com'' stocks were undertaking initial public offerings and vaulting to supreme heights on their first day of trading. (''Don't get used to this; it's not usually like this,'' was the advice frequently offered by older traders.)
Far from being uncommon, volatility came frequently, whether in certain sectors or hitting the entire market. There were concerns about the market rising too quickly, or too slowly; there were debates over valuation, then debates over the debates over valuations; and then a few years in a private hedge fund in Connecticut with a Nobel Prize winner or two as advisors got in big trouble and I saw real market turmoil: rarely the worse for wear, but over time wiser, gaining experience.
There must have been some point at which I asked, or was told, or read, what a ''crash'' was. Today, any time the market declines sharply, a few hundred points, it's breathlessly described as a crash. What I was told '' now decades ago '' is that a crash is a decline of more than 10% in a single trading session. Most of what have been called ''crashes'' have not been. Not the decline when markets re-opened after 9/11 (-7.13%); not the sudden drop when the bailout bill was rejected on September 29th, 2008 (-6.98%); not the May 6, 2010 ''Flash Crash'' (which doesn't even register in the top 20 of point losses or percentage losses); and certainly nothing that was predicted the day that Trump unexpectedly defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential election. (The day after the election, US equities rose slightly more than 1%.)
Yesterday's fall constitutes a stock market crash. The Crash of '29, which took place over two days '' October 28th and 29th, 1929 '' respectively netted daily returns of -12.82% and -11.73%. Yesterday's fall in prices (as conveyed through stock indices) of -12.93% is bested only by the Crash of 1987 (-22.6%).
A lot of people (people that I know, at least) are saying that a fall of this magnitude is long overdue. Some believe that a sharp, painful decline in indices serves to wring out excesses by driving the ''weak hands'' '' investors or traders with few funds, who are usually leveraged and easily driven to sell '' out of the market. Others convey that a price correction of significant magnitude is essential to the continued appreciation of prices. By what measure? There were 58 years between 1929 and 1987, and as someone who saw three-quarters of the period between the 1987 crash and yesterday's: we may not have had a severe decline meeting this particular definition, but we certainly had more than our share of volatility.
Most market declines, and certainly all crashes, bring about some form of political opportunism. For countless Americans to whom tales of the Great Depression were passed, the connection between the Crash of '29 and the ensuing economic collapse is inseparable. (Less successful were attempts to connect the 1987 crash to the 1990-1991 recession.)
Causation
The collapse in '87 has been attributed to many causes, foremost among them automated strategies that had by some accounts become disproportionately impactful forces within financial markets. Often cited among those are portfolio insurance and index arbitrage. And over the years I've met and worked closely with NYSE floor traders who extended the thread of causation to everything from comments made by then-Treasury Secretary James Baker on the weekend before the crash to a number of apocryphal ''fat finger'' errors.
Exactly this again. Algorithms, derivatives, ''speculators,'' ''greed,'' margin calls, the lack of a fabled ''Plunge Protection Team'' to act, villainous hedge funds, and every other pathetic explanation or conspiracy theory will, over the next few months, be dragged out, dusted off, and touted to explain the recent declines.
The better explanation is vastly simpler.
Since Trump's election, there has been a contingent who have sought to blame the President any time the market declines; many of them simultaneously, and shamelessly, crediting Obama for the longer-term bull market and the strong economy. Having said that, a decisive portion of yesterday's historic decline '' the second largest percentage decline ever for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and the largest ever for the NASDAQ '' should be laid at the feet of Trump.
The original plan, evidently, was to hold the press conference '' a release of updates from the Coronavirus Task Force '' at 10:30am; the meeting was then moved to 3:30pm before being moved back to 3:15pm. In any case, the current administration seems to have not learned from countless previous Administrations that news which is likely to foment volatility is better delivered after market hours. Oval Office addresses (and other major announcements) have typically been made at 8pm EST to maximize viewership, not interrupt dinners or after-school activities, and not unnecessarily roil markets.
Whether the President's advisors are unaware of that or he for whatever reason refused to heed them, it comes across, flatly, as bumbling and amateur. A look at the intraday chart from yesterday tells the tale: the market was down on the day, and mostly stable '' down between 7 and 8 percent for most of the afternoon. And with a few comments about a recession in the immediate future, and additional comments about essentially shutting down the U.S. economy until August, we find ourselves here: with the first stock market crash of the 21st century, 33 years after the last one.
Remember What's Real
It is not exactly true, as is often said at these times, that stock prices and volatility in various financial markets have no bearing upon, or don't reflect, the ''real world.'' Most people, understandably, don't make the connection between things they encounter in their daily lives and such arcane economic functions as price discovery, fund mobilization, capital formation, and the provision of liquidity, but they would certainly feel their absence.
Certainly, people close to retirement who are depending on their 401Ks and IRAs will rightfully be concerned about their financial wherewithal after the drawdown of the last few days '' in particular, yesterday. And no doubt across the vast diaspora of financial market participants, professional and amateur, yesterday's drop made and broke fortunes.
The crash, though '' in fact, all of the recent tumult in equity, fixed income, derivative, commodity, and crypto markets '' is just the scenery, as it was in 1987 and 1929. If a recession is on its way, it was with or without yesterday's sharp downturn. The more critical elements are the fear mongering all around us and the seeming effort of politicians from mayors to governors to heads of state to one-up each other in draconian measures.
Domestic military deployments '' whatever their rationalization '' should chill the spine more than a stock cut down by 25% in a matter of days. And no, most unfortunately, it is not surprising that once again the American people are being told that a massive spending bill must be passed to save the world '' without a word of discussion, and absent transparency. In different words, just over ten years after the last time, the colossally insulting banality that a bill ''has to be passed to see what's in it'' is again quickly taking form.
The real history of this crash is that the market began to fall exactly as the political class began to panic, speak of shutdowns, demand flight cancellations, talk of closing up and stopping history. Whatever you think about the virus threat, and even if you think all this is justified in the name of stopping the spread, let's not be confused about what drove this disaster from the beginning: the fear that politics would attack commercial society at its root.
For some years ago, the apocalyptic mentality has been gaining in our politics, with the right wing screaming about rampant immorality, globalism, and the breakdown of nations, while the left has been calling for the end of fossil fuels, wealth, and capitalism itself. They share a common enemy, the free and peaceful commercial society that empowers individuals over collectives. That the social order that has made everyone rich must be destroyed is something on which they agree. And now these gangs are demanding your allegiance in a time of grave crisis.
The calamity before our eyes is beginning to look like some version of their imagined dystopia while the rest of us are left to struggle through this disaster the old-fashioned way, not with ideological delusion but with intelligence, calm, and rational planning for the future. There is indeed a virus among us, one far more damaging than that which goes by the name COVID-19.
Iran And Italy Are Paying A Hefty Price For Ties With Communist China
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 21:10
The coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, has now swept through 126 countries, infected close to 170,000 people worldwide, and is responsible for more than 6,400 deaths as of March 15. China is leading the world in the number of confirmed cases and deaths. What many people find shocking is that Italy and Iran are the second- and third-hardest hit nations in this outbreak.
By any common-sense measure, both countries should have much lower numbers of confirmed cases and deaths because they are geographically far from the epicenter of the outbreak. The reason these two countries are suffering the most outside China is mainly due to their close ties with Beijing, primarily through the ''One Belt and One Road'' (OBOR) initiative.
OBOR is Beijing's foreign policy play disguised as infrastructure investment. Here's how it works: China and country X agree to do an infrastructure project in country X. Country X has to borrow from a Chinese bank to finance the project. A contract is always awarded to Chinese companies, which then bring supplies and Chinese employees to country X to build the project. Clearly, the country that benefits most from this initiative is China.
The OBOR provides new markets and consistent demand for China's goods and services, creates employment opportunities for Chinese workers, and gives China access to strategically important locations and natural resources. Beijing's real objective is to leverage its newly gained financial power to greatly expand its geopolitical influence as well as its economic and military footing from Asia to Europe and Africa.
While this initiative has worked out well for China's strategic interests, it hasn't done the same for participating countries. At least eight countries that signed on the OBOR initiative are so indebted to the Chinese that they had to hand over their strategic assets to China to offset their debt. Despite these worrisome precedents, leaders in both Italy and Iran eagerly signed up to OBOR in 2019, hoping the red capital from Communist China would rescue their nations from economic woes. Now they are paying a dear price for it.
What Has Happened in ItalyItaly's economy has been struggling for two decades. It has seen three recessions in 10 years. Its unemployment rate stood at 10.3 percent, and its youth unemployment rate was 33 percent as of 2018. According to Marco Annunziata of Forbes, the living standards in Italy today are roughly the same as they were 20 years ago because very little growth has occurred.
Italy's economic woes are caused by aging industries, ruinous regulations (especially its overly rigid labor laws), an inefficient banking system, high levels of corruption, and constant political turmoil. From 1946 to 2016, Italy had 65 governments. No matter who was in charge, he lacked resolve to implement serious structural reform and deregulation to boost the economy.
Instead, every one of the 65 governments hoped they could spend their way out of an economic mess. Italy's debt burden as a percentage of annual economic activity measured by GDP is at 132 percent as of 2018, the second highest in the EU, only slightly better than Greece.
The most recent political upheaval in Italy took place in May 2018. Weeks after an election, the anti-establishment groups and pro-EU lawmakers failed to produce a new coalition government. The final compromise resulted in a virtually unknown law professor, Giuseppe Conte, becoming the new prime minister.
Like his predecessors, Conte has been unwilling to implement any structural reform. Instead, he sought an ''easy'' way out. Almost exactly a year ago in March 2019, against warnings from the EU and the United States, Italy became the first and only G7 country to sign onto OBOR. As part of the deal, Italy opened an array of sectors to Chinese investment, from infrastructure to transportation, including letting Chinese state-owned companies hold a stake in four major Italian ports. The deal gave communist China a foothold in the heart of Europe, but Conte downplayed it as ''no big deal at all.''
Lombardy and Tuscany are the two regions that saw the most Chinese investment. Nearly a year later, the first Wuhan coronavirus infection case in Italy was reported in the Lombardy region on Feb. 21. Today, Italy is experiencing the worst coronavirus outbreak outside China, and Lombardy is the hardest-hit region in the country. As of March 14, Italy reported 24,747 cases and 1,809 deaths. Now the entire country is in lockdown until at least April 3. Its economy is expected to contract 7.5 percent in the first quarter, opposite what Conte had hoped.
What Has Happened in IranIran faces some of the worst economic and political challenges it has in decades. The Trump administration re-imposed economic sanctions in 2018, which has worsened an already crumbling economy. In 2019, Iran's inflation rate was 40 percent. The regime had to introduce a ration to limit meat consumption last year. Its currency, the rial, has lost 70 percent of its value to U.S. dollars. The overall unemployment rate was 15 percent but between 40 and 50 percent among young people.
Fed up with economic hardship, Iranians took to the streets in late 2017 to 2018 and then again between 2019 and early 2020. Initially, they protested to voice economic grievances about government corruption, but the protests quickly shifted to demands for fundamental political reform. They rejected their government's policy of supporting terrorists in countries like Syria while ignoring economic hardship at home, and called both for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down and for ''death to the Revolutionary Guards,'' a powerful military force loyal to him.
The Iranian government responded to these protests with an iron fist. In 2019 alone, the Iranian government reportedly killed more than 1,000 protesters, arrested thousands more, and shut down internet nationwide for six days to block news of the crackdown from being shared domestically and internationally.
Facing domestic economic and political challenges and international isolation, Iran has sought out China as an ally against the United States, relying on economic ties and military cooperation with Beijing to fend off U.S.-imposed sanctions. China has been keeping the Iranian regime afloat by purchasing Iranian oil, selling the Iranian regime weapons, and transferring nuclear technologies.
But 2019 was the year Iran officially signed up to OBOR. China sees Iran as a crucial player to this initiative because Iran is not only rich in oil but also lies in a direct path of an ambitious 2,000-mile railroad China wants to build, which will run from western China through Tehran and Turkey into Europe.
Today, Iranian health officials trace the country's coronavirus outbreak to Qom, a city of a million people. According to the Wall Street Journal, ''China Railway Engineering Corp. is building a $2.7 billion high-speed rail line through Qom. Chinese technicians have been helping refurbish a nuclear-power plant nearby.'' Iranian medical professionals suspect either Chinese workers in Qom or an Iranian businessman who travelled to China from Qom caused the spread of the coronavirus in Qom.
But religious leaders and the Iranian government were slow to take action. Religious leaders in Qom refused to cancel Friday prayers until the end of February, which allowed infected pilgrims to quickly spread the virus to other parts of the nation. Although on Feb. 1 the Iranian government banned its airlines from flying to China, it made an exception for Mahan Air, an unofficial airline for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The WSJ reported that Mahan Air ''had carried out eight flights between Tehran and China between Feb. 1 and Feb. 9 to transfer Chinese and Iranian passengers to their respective home countries.'' This explains why so many high-level Iranian officials are infected by the coronavirus, including First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri and more than 20 lawmakers. Mohammad Mirmohammadi, an adviser to Khamenei, was the most senior Iranian official who died of the coronavirus as of today.
Iran is now the third-worst hit country in the coronavirus pandemic, with close to 14,000 cases and 724 deaths. Given the secretive nature of the regime, many suspect the actual numbers of cases and deaths are much higher. Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council, says, ''Coronavirus has exacted an even higher political toll on the regime, because it has exposed the country's ruling clerical elite as incompetent and out-of-touch.'' He predicts the coronavirus may accomplish what years of actions by the West have failed to achieve: the collapse of Iran's clerical authoritarian regime.
Italy and Iran have very different social, economic, and political systems. Yet both nations share something in common: Their leaders refused to implement economic and political reforms in their nations. Instead, they sought close ties with communist China in recent years, selling out their countries and their people's interests, hoping Beijing's red capital would rescue their failing economies. Now their economies are worsening and their people are suffering most in this outbreak '-- all because of these leaders' short-sighted and foolish decisions.
Copyright (C) 2020 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.
Questioning the Clampdown - WSJ
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 21:06
Will people lose faith when they find out they are expected to get the virus anyway?
March 17, 2020 6:49 pm ETExperts now agree the virus's spread can be slowed but not contained. It will take its place among mostly seasonal respiratory infections. After a time, recurrent outbreaks will be moderated by a large number of potential carriers who have immunity from their last infection.
And then we can ask some questions. The cost to Americans of the economic shutdown is vast. What are they getting for their money? Essentially less excess demand for respiratory ventilators and other emergency care than can currently be supplied.
...
Experts now agree the virus's spread can be slowed but not contained. It will take its place among mostly seasonal respiratory infections. After a time, recurrent outbreaks will be moderated by a large number of potential carriers who have immunity from their last infection.
And then we can ask some questions. The cost to Americans of the economic shutdown is vast. What are they getting for their money? Essentially less excess demand for respiratory ventilators and other emergency care than can currently be supplied.
This demand will come largely from the elderly and chronically ill, who would be competing for these resources with the usual large number of old and ill people already suffering from acute respiratory distress as a result of routine flu and cold infections. A silver lining will be fewer cold and flu victims overall thanks to social distancing to fight Covid-19.
Some number of respiratory deaths will be avoided (really delayed since we all die) but we'll be spending a lot more than we've ever been willing to spend before to avoid flu deaths. Eighty-three percent of our economy will be suppressed to relieve pressure on the 17% represented by health care. This will have to last months, not weeks, to modulate the rate at which a critical mass of 330 million get infected and acquire natural immunity. Will people put up with it once they realize they are still expected to get the virus? Wouldn't it make more sense to pour resources into isolating the vulnerable rather than isolating everyone? Basically aren't we really just praying that summer will naturally suppress transmission and get us off the hook of an untenable policy?
But then multiple experiments are under way. China seems to have quashed the spread beyond Hubei province and spared 99.9% of its population from infection'--for now. Can China really hold off the virus from being reintroduced or re-exploding during the 18 months it may take for a vaccine to be invented and distributed?
Italy is the test case for being a day late and dollar short in voluntary social distancing'--the steps people can take to reduce their risk of contracting and spreading the disease. But Italy may also be the first to emerge from the tunnel, with everyone having had their chance to get sick, and the country being able to get back to work.
Britain is wavering on what seemed a modified, limited Italian strategy. Until Tuesday, it was considering letting its health-care sector absorb as much stress as necessary to avoid a sweeping, draconian shutdown of the economy.
The U.S. may or may not be a test case of a large continental country where hot spots of contagion shock other places into buttoning up and hunkering down, curbing excess local demand for intensive-care beds. But the cost will be astronomical. Essentially we are killing other sectors indefinitely to manage the load on the health-care sector.
Understandably, politicians believe faith in government requires avoiding Italy-like scenes. But turned on its head here is the 50-year-old ''QALY'' revolution: the idea of measuring the burden of disease and benefit of health care based on ''quality-adjusted life year,'' typically valued at $50,000 to $150,000. In the present instance, the cost isn't just medical intervention (e.g., ventilator use) but the cost of an economywide shutdown to limit the number of candidates for ventilation at any one time. I don't know what the figure is, but the QALY value we are placing on avoiding Italy-like deaths is surely a high multiple of any figure previously considered realistic.
America's shutdown strategy is interesting because it was not a choice that any one person or authority made. You can't blame the NBA or Tom Hanks or Congress. Donald Trump is being pilloried for leaning against panic, urging comparisons to the flu, suggesting the stock market is overreacting. Like the bus, another reason to pillory Mr. Trump will come along in five minutes and not one of his critics will engage in soul-searching over whether he might have had a point.
Even the fuss over testing is a bit overdone. Nowhere in the world has there been enough testing to detect most coronavirus cases amid millions of seasonal colds and flu cases. This problem exists in China, Europe and the U.S. A British estimate is that 12 people have the virus for every one found by testing. In any case, testing becomes a tad mootish now if the goal is to isolate even young and healthy people.
There's a vast gap between people washing their hands, avoiding crowds, shielding the old and using good judgment, and sweeping lockdowns and curfews. Anything government spends now will be a good investment if it prepares the economy quickly to resume its growth and healthy functioning. But there are known unknowns. Elections will be held. Politicians will stake out stands in response to the applause meter, not logic. If I could take out one insurance policy on behalf of the country, it would be this: Joe Biden should immediately name Amy Klobuchar as his running mate so she can step in if the success of his campaign so far is not so rejuvenating of Mr. Biden as it now seems.
Why the Coronavirus Hit Italy So Hard | WIRED
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 21:04
With the world descending deeper and deeper into coronavirus chaos, we all face unnerving unknowns: how long we'll have to remain in isolation, when the pandemic will peak, the depths to which the stock market will tumble. But what's abundantly clear is that this novel disease is most deadly for the elderly. The young may not present any symptoms at all, and this is especially dangerous to their elders, because they can pass the virus on to them without realizing it.
Italy has been hit particularly hard, with some 2,000 deaths thus far. Overwhelmed hospital staffers have had to make devastating decisions about who to treat and who they must let perish. The reason why Italy is suffering so badly, write University of Oxford researchers in a new paper in the journal Demographic Science, may be twofold: The country has the second-oldest population on earth, and its young tend to mingle more often with the elderly, like their grandparents. Such demographic research will be critical in facing down the threat elsewhere, as more countries grapple with a deadly pandemic that's just getting started and we learn more about how the virus is transmitted within families and communities.
In Italy, 23 percent of the population is over age 65, compared to the US, where that population is 16 percent. ''Extended longevity has played some role in changing the population structure,'' says University of Oxford demographer and epidemiologist Jennifer Beam Dowd, lead author of the new paper. ''But it actually has most to do with how rapid the decline in fertility has been in a population.'' That is, it's affected more by Italians having having fewer children than it is by them living longer.
At the same time, young Italians tend to interact a lot with their elders. Dowd's Italian coauthors note that young folks might live with their parents and grandparents in rural areas but commute to work in cities like Milan. Data on the composition of Italian households bears out this familial arrangement too.
What Is the Coronavirus?Plus: How can I avoid catching it? Is Covid-19 more deadly than the flu? Our in-house Know-It-Alls answer your questions.
The study's authors argue that this frequent travel between cities and family homes may have exacerbated the ''silent'' spread of the novel coronavirus. Young people working and socializing in urban areas interact with large crowds, where they may pick up the disease and take it home. If they have no symptoms, they'll have no clue that they're infecting their elders, the most vulnerable population.
''We know now that the mortality is higher in older individuals, but what's not clear yet is why,'' says Carlos Del Rio, executive associate dean of the Emory School of Medicine at Grady Health System, who wasn't involved in this research. For example, it could be a matter of older people having weaker respiratory systems, which could also lead to a higher mortality rate among seniors for diseases like pneumonia.
Other researchers studying why children don't seem to get that sick from Covid-19 have pointed out the corollary: Kids tend to have ''pristine'' lungs that have not already been damaged by a lifetime of inflammation caused by allergies, pollutants, and diseases. This might make them more resistant to attack by the new virus.
Despite a full lockdown in place in Italy since the weekend, the virus has already spread far and wide. But with this kind of demographic knowledge, public health officials can better confront the threat elsewhere, Dowd says. ''One of the points that we were trying to make is that it's not necessarily just about isolating the older population'--we are identifying that they're the most vulnerable'--but the general social distancing that's being encouraged to flatten the curve,'' says Dowd. Flattening the curve means slowing the rate of new infections, buying researchers time to develop treatments and vaccines, and giving hospitals some respite. ''I think our point was that's actually more important when you have a higher fraction of your population that is vulnerable,'' she says.
But while separating younger and older people might work in theory, it can create practical problems. For example, desperate to flatten the curve, local officials in the US are closing schools. If parents can't look after their children'--because they're still working out of the home, or because they're ill themselves'--that care might fall on grandparents.
To complicate matters even further, a study in Italy doesn't exactly track with what we might expect in a massive country like the US, where the demographics vary greatly from place to place. Some cities might have far more young people than seniors, and some suburbs are likely just the opposite. Or think about Florida and its masses of retirees. ''Florida is like an uber-Italy,'' says Andrew Noymer, a demographer at the University of California, Irvine, who wasn't involved in this research. ''Florida is going to be a tough situation, I would predict.''
In a place with so many elderly people, many of them living close together in retirement homes, social distancing will be extra important to avoid disaster. ''It's not destiny to say Florida is going to be absolutely clobbered by this,'' Noymer says. ''There is time with social distancing to flatten the peak. Maybe we can make this the dog that didn't bark, so to speak.''
An aging population doesn't have to mean a devastating Covid-19 outbreak. In Japan, where over 28 percent of the population is over age 65, by March 16 there had been only 814 confirmed cases and 24 deaths, compared with Italy's 24,747 cases and 1,809 deaths, according to WHO figures. Japan, along with neighbors including Hong Kong and Singapore, had rapidly ramped up testing in the early days of the outbreak and instituted strict travel controls.
But Dowd says we can use Italy's example to take practical steps in fighting the pandemic. We might pinpoint areas with older populations and try ''to anticipate a little bit where the burden of care is going to be the most severe.''
After a long delay in the rollout of mass testing in the US, on Friday the FDA approved the use of two commercial coronavirus tests. This may help Americans keep infected young people and healthy elders apart. In the meantime, if you want to check in with your grandparents, do it by phone.
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More From WIRED on Covid-19
What's a pandemic? Your coronavirus questions, answeredEverything you need to know about coronavirus vaccinesHow to work from home without losing your mindThe smartest (and dumbest) movies to watch during an outbreakCan't stop touching your face? Science has some theories whyRead all of our coronavirus coverage here
Defense Production Act Authorities | FEMA.gov
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 20:55
The Defense Production Act (DPA) is the primary source of Presidential authorities to expedite and expand the supply of resources from the U.S. industrial base to support military, energy, space, and homeland security programs. Homeland security programs eligible for DPA support include:
Efforts to counter terrorism within the United States;Emergency preparedness activities conducted pursuant to title VI of the Stafford Act;Protection and restoration of critical infrastructure; andContinuity of Government.The President's DPA authorities are delegated to the heads of various federal departments and agencies in Executive Order (E.O.) 13603.
DPA Title I - Priorities and AllocationsSection 101 of the DPA authorizes the President to require acceptance and priority performance of contracts or orders and to allocate materials, services, and facilities to promote the national defense or to maximize domestic energy supplies. The President's priorities and allocations authority is delegated, in E.O. 13603, to the Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Energy (DOE), Health and Human Services, Transportation, Defense (DOD), and Commerce (DOC) (referred to as "Resource Departments") with respect to resources within each department's jurisdiction. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been delegated authority by DOC and USDA to use the priorities authority to ensure on-time procurement of materials and services needed for DHS Approved Programs.
Use of the priorities and allocations authorities is limited to support for programs determined to be ''necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense'' by DOD (for military and space programs), by DOE (for energy resources), or by DHS (for all other national defense programs, including civil defense and continuity of government).
Section 101(d) of the DPA directs the head of each Resource Department to issue final rules that establish standards and procedures by which this authority is used to promote national defense, under both emergency and non-emergency conditions. Together, these rules constitute the Federal Priorities and Allocations System.
The priorities authority is used extensively to ensure timely performance of military and space contracts and orders. Use in support of homeland security programs is more limited, but growing, to: ensure timely procurement of resources to save lives and property under emergency conditions; protect or restore critical infrastructure operations; and to counter threats of terrorism within the United States. While the allocations authority has not been used since the end of the Cold War, standards and procedures for use of this authority have been established to support effective use of this authority, when needed.
DPA Title III - Expansion of Productive Capacity and SupplyTitle III of the DPA provides various financial measures, such as loans, loan guarantees, purchases, and purchase commitments, to improve, expand, and maintain domestic production capabilities needed to support national defense and homeland security procurement requirements. Title III also authorizes Federal Government procurement and installation of equipment in plants, factories, and other industrial facilities owned by the Government or private persons. A typical Title III project is focused on increasing production capacity and reducing production costs for new, state-of-the-art technologies needed for military and homeland security purposes.
DOD is the only federal agency with an active Title III Program, but, from time to time, other departments and agencies have partnered with DOD in sponsoring individual Title III projects. The authority to undertake Title III projects is delegated, in E.O. 13603, to federal agencies, including DHS, engaged in procurement for the national defense.
DPA Title VII - General Provisions (including voluntary agreements)Section 708 of the DPA authorizes the President to consult with representatives of industry, business, financing, agriculture, labor, and other interests to provide for development of voluntary agreements and plans of action to help provide for the national defense. A voluntary agreement is an association of private interests, approved by the Government to plan and coordinate actions in support of the national defense. Under Section 708, Participants in a voluntary agreement are granted relief from antitrust laws . Voluntary agreements enable cooperation among business competitors to plan and coordinate measures to increase the supply of materials and services needed for military and homeland security purposes. For example, a voluntary agreement could be used to enable cooperation among suppliers of critical materials and services to plan and carry out emergency preparedness, response, and recovery activities.
Other Title VII Provision
Section 705 '' Investigations; Records; Reports; Subpoenas; Right to Counsel '' provides authority to obtain information from businesses, as necessary or appropriate, for the administration of the DPA, including information needed for industry studies.
Section 710(e) '' authorizes establishment of the National Defense Executive Reserve (NDER), a cadre of persons with recognized expertise for employment in executive positions in the Federal Government in the event of an emergency.
Section 721 '' Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) '' establishes CFIUS to determine the effects on national security of certain mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers related to foreign investment in the United States. (The DPA Program Division has no CFIUS responsibilities.)
Section 722 '' Defense Production Act Committee (DPAC) '' establishes DPAC to advise the President on effective use of DPA authorities by Federal agencies and to report to Congress on such use. (DPAC is chaired by the Administrator of FEMA.)
Section 723 '' Annual Report on Impact of Offsets '' requires an annual report to Congress on the impact of offsets on the defense preparedness, industrial competitiveness, employment, and trade of the United States. (The DPA Program Division has no involvement with this report.)
Coronavirus Perspective | Hoover Institution
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 20:36
The world is in a full state of panic about the spread and incidence of COVID-19. The latest world-wide tallies, as of 12 PM March 2020 are:
The most dramatic news of the day has been the sudden spike in the number of Italian cases, totaling 24,747 with 1,809 deaths, which may grow to exceed the 3,099 in China.
Overlooked is the good news coming out of China, where the latest report shows 16 new cases and 14 new deaths, suggesting that the number of deaths in the currently unresolved group will be lower than the 5.3 percent conversion rate in the cases resolved to date. In my view, we will see a similar decline in Italy, for reasons that I shall outline in the remainder of this article.
From this available data, it seems more probable than not that the total number of cases world-wide will peak out at well under 1 million, with the total number of deaths at under 50,000 (up about eightfold). In the United States, if the total death toll increases at about the same rate, the current 67 deaths should translate into about 500 deaths at the end. Of course, every life lost is a tragedy'--and the potential loss of 50,000 lives world-wide would be appalling'--but those deaths stemming from the coronavirus are not more tragic than others, so that the same social calculus applies here that should apply in other cases.
These are deeply contrarian estimates. In dealing with any future prediction it is necessary to develop some model. Right now, the overwhelming consensus, based upon the most recent reports, is that the rate of infection will continue to increase so that the most severe interventions are needed to control what will under the worst of circumstances turn into a high rate of death. This pessimistic view is well captured in an op-ed by Nicholas Kristof and Stuart Thompson, who offer this graph to stress the importance and the immediacy of the looming crisis.
The model here projects a slow takeoff, a sharp rise, and an equally dramatic decline, with a huge cumulative total of deaths. The authors allow that if moderate precautions are taken, these totals might be reduced by about half. The key assumption of this model is a replication rate of 2.3, whereby each person who is infected then infects two others, seemingly without end. But the model does not specify the periodicity of the replication rate or allow it to vary with any downward changes in viral toxicity or human behavioral responses that delay interaction. Nor does the model recognize that if the most vulnerable people are hit first, subsequent iterations will be slower because the remaining pool of individuals is more resistant to infection. And finally, the model explicitly ignores the possibility that the totals will decline as the weather gets warmer.
The writer Tomas Pueyo has struck a similar chord with his viral post ''Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now.'' That article contains graph after graph indicating an exponential expansion of cases in the last several days, and then claims that these infections will translate themselves into a similar number of deaths down the line unless radical countermeasures are taken.
Much of the current analysis does not explain how and why rates of infection and death will spike, so I think that it is important to offer a dissenting voice. In what follows, I look first at the trends in the American data, and then, building on my conclusions there, I construct a theoretical framework to evaluate the evolution of the coronavirus in other places.
Based on the data, I believe that the current dire models radically overestimate the ultimate death toll. There are three reasons for this.
First, they underestimate the rate of adaptive responses, which should slow down the replication rate. Second, the models seem to assume that the vulnerability of infection for the older population'--from 70 upward'--gives some clue as to the rate of spread over the general population, when it does not. Third, the models rest on a tacit but questionable assumption that the strength of the virus will remain constant throughout this period, when in fact its potency should be expected to decline over time, in part because of temperature increases.
As of March 16, the data from the United States falls short of justifying the draconian measures that are now being implemented. As of two days ago, 39 states have declared states of emergency, and they have been joined at the federal level with President Trump's recent declaration to the same effect. These declarations are meant to endow governments with the power to impose quarantines and travel bans, close schools, restrict public gatherings, shut down major sporting events, stop public meetings, and close restaurants and bars. Private institutions are imposing similar restrictions. The one-two punch of public and private restrictions has caused a huge jolt to the economy.
The irony here is that even though self-help measures like avoiding crowded spaces make abundant sense, the massive public controls do not. In light of the available raw data, public officials have gone overboard. To begin with, the word pandemic should not be lightly used. Recall that the Spanish influenza pandemic, fully worthy of the name, resulted in perhaps as many as a half-billion infections and between 50 and 100 million deaths, world-wide, of which some 675,000 were Americans, many coming back from Europe in the aftermath of the First World War. The World Health Organization recently declared coronavirus a pandemic at a time when the death count was at 4,000, presently being just over 6,500. It will surely rise no matter what precautions are taken going forward, but what is critical is some estimate of the rate.
By way of comparison, the toll from the flu in the United States since October ran as follows: between 36 to 51 million infections, between 370 thousand to 670 thousand flu hospitalizations, and between 22 thousand to 55 thousand flu deaths. That works out to between roughly between 230,000 to 320,000 new infections per day, and between 140 to 350 deaths per day for an overall mortality rate of between 0.044 percent to 0.152 percent.
As we think about the mortality rate of COVID-19, there are some important pieces of data to consider. The chart below documents the most current numbers reported by the New York Times (as of March 16) for the four hardest hit states:
Note that Washington state, with 676 reported cases and 42 deaths, has a mortality rate of 6.21 percent, which can be traced to a nursing facility in Kirkland Washington. While only contributing 57 cases, it was the source of 27 of the reported deaths, almost two-thirds of the fatalities. (We should expect, as has been the case, that the mortality rate in Washington will decline as the newer cases will not come exclusively from that high-risk population.) The next three states have 1,577 diagnosed cases and 11 deaths for a mortality rate of 0.69 percent, a number which has trended lower over the last few days. Unlike the deadly exposures in Kirkland, the exposures in New York state produced many documented illnesses, but only two deaths even after two weeks of exposure. And while it is easy to miss latent cases, it is harder to miss any virus-related death. Given that the incubation period is about two-weeks, the pool of cases before March 1 should be small.
Many of the dire media accounts do not mention evolution. After the initial outburst in Kirkland, the target population was fitter. It is instructive therefore to look at the total number of cases, which spiked from 70 cases on March 5 to 672 cases on March 15. But those figures do not presage an increase into the thousands of daily cases that would be needed to reach the totals of the flu season. The current numbers are about 3 per cent of the rate of new flu cases in the 2019-2020 virus season. Even if there is some undercounting, it is highly unlikely, given the relatively short (two-week) incubation period, that the number of current cases will more than double or triple. It is also unlikely that most of the increase in reported cases (as opposed to deaths) will be in the population over age 70. More importantly, these numbers, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control, do not give any indication of heightened severity.
What, then, does all of this portend for the future of COVID-19 in the United States? Good news is more likely than bad, notwithstanding the models that predict otherwise. The deaths in Washington have risen only slowly, even as the number of infections mount. The New York cases have been identified for long enough that they should have produced more deaths if the coronavirus was as dangerous as is commonly believed.
But why might the dire predictions be wrong? Consider the New York Times graphic below, which catalogs the daily totals of new coronavirus cases:
The theoretical answer to the question of how deadly the virus will turn out lies in part in a strong analytical relationship between the rate of spread and the strength of the virus. Start with the simple assumption that there is some variance in the rate of seriousness of any virus, just as there is in any trait for any species. In the formative stage of any disease, people are typically unaware of the danger. Hence, they take either minimal or no precautions to protect themselves from the virus. In those settings, the virus'--which in this instance travels through droplets of moisture from sneezing and bodily contact'--will reach its next victim before it kills its host. Hence the powerful viruses will remain dominant only so long as the rate of propagation is rapid. But once people are aware of the disease, they will start to make powerful adaptive responses, including washing their hands and keeping their distance from people known or likely to be carrying the infection. Various institutional measures, both private and public, have also slowed down the transmission rate.
At some tipping point, the most virulent viruses will be more likely to kill their hosts before the virus can spread. In contrast, the milder versions of the virus will wreak less damage to their host and thus will survive over the longer time span needed to spread from one person to another. Hence the rate of transmission will trend downward, as will the severity of the virus. It is a form of natural selection.
One key question is how rapidly this change will take place. There are two factors to consider. One is the age of the exposed population, and the other is the rate of change in the virulence of the virus as the rate of transmission slows, which should continue apace. By way of comparison, the virulent AIDS virus that killed wantonly in the 1980s crested and declined in the 1990s when it gave way to a milder form of virus years later once the condition was recognized and the bath houses were closed down. Part of the decline was no doubt due to better medicines, but part of it was due to this standard effect for diseases. Given that the coronavirus can spread through droplets and contact, the consequences of selection should manifest themselves more quickly than they did for AIDS.
It is instructive to see how this analysis fares by taking into account the Korean data, which is more complete than the American data. South Korea has been dealing with the coronavirus since January 20. Since that time, the Korean government has administered a total of 261,335 tests to its citizens. In press releases updated every day, the Korean CDC is reporting (as of March 15) 8,162 total infections against 75 deaths for an overall mortality rate of 0.92 percent. But as shown in the table below, the age-disparity in outcome is striking:
Clearly, the impact on elderly and immunocompromised individuals is severe, with nearly 90% of total deaths coming from individuals 60 and over. But these data do not call for shutting down all public and private facilities given the extraordinarily low rates of death in the population under 50. The adaptive responses should reduce the exposures in the high-risk groups, given the tendency for the coronavirus to weaken over time. My own guess is that the percentage of deaths will decline in Korea for the same reasons that they are expected to decline in the United States. It is highly unlikely that there will ever be a repetition of the explosive situation in Wuhan, where air quality is poorer and smoking rates are higher.
So what then should be done?
The first point is to target interventions where needed, toward high-risk populations, including older people and other people with health conditions that render them more susceptible to disease. But the current organized panic in the United States does not seem justified on the best reading of the data. In dealing with this point, it is critical to note that the rapid decline in the incidence of new cases and death in China suggests that cases in Italy will not continue to rise exponentially over the next several weeks. Moreover, it is unlikely that the healthcare system in the United States will be compromised in the same fashion as the Italian healthcare system in the wake of its quick viral spread. The amount of voluntary and forced separation in the United States has gotten very extensive very quickly, which should influence rates of infection sooner rather than later.
Perhaps my analysis is all wrong, even deeply flawed. But the stakes are too high to continue on the current course without reexamining the data and the erroneous models that are predicting doom.
Oil prices could fall below zero: Analyst | Fox Business
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 20:21
Plunging oil prices could be headed a lot lower '' possibly below zero, according to one Wall Street analyst.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, fell by more than 10 percent Wednesday to near $24 a barrel, a level last seen in April 2002.
''Oil prices can go negative,'' wrote Paul Sankey, managing director at Mizuho Securities.
CORONAVIRUS CHOKEHOLD ON US WORSENS OIL INDUSTRY'S PAIN
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the U.S. and global economy to a standstill by prompting ''shelter in place'' orders, social distancing between people and the cancellation of non-essential travel. The sharp slowdown in economic activity has curtailed the need for oil.
If that weren't enough, Saudi Arabia recently slashed oil prices and raised output after Russia refused to join OPEC in deepening production cuts.
Oil is a 100 million barrel-per-day market, but Sankey says it's possible that the economic fallout from the pandemic could zap demand, creating a 20 million barrel-per-day surplus.
He says the ''physical reality'' of the market is that oil is pumped out of the ground and has to be consumed or stored. When the cost of storage goes high enough -- or space runs out -- companies might pay customers to take it.
For now, President Trump has ordered the Department of Energy to take advantage of low prices by stepping into the market and buying oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
The reserve can build at 2 million barrels per day, meaning that it has four months until it's at capacity, Sankey said.
By then, he added, high-cost oil from the Bakken shale formation in the U.S. or bitumen from the Canadian oil sands, "prices negatively because it exceeds needs" and requires storage, Sankey wrote. ''Negative prices are simply a higher cost of storage than market.''
Sankey isn't the only one on Wall Street who is sounding the alarm about the coming flood of oil.
Excess supply from OPEC and Russia, coupled with crumbling demand "are leading to concerns about a surplus that could overwhelm global storage,'' wrote Francisco Blanch, a commodity strategist at Bank of America.
He warns the demand destruction caused by COVID-19 and the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia could cause inventories to swell by 900 million barrels in the second quarter alone. He estimates the world currently has about 1.5 billion barrels of available storage.
Blanch's worst-case scenario isn't as dire as Sankey's.
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''In a severe scenario, if the market struggles to find a home for surplus barrels, then oil prices might have to trade down into the teens,'' he wrote.
Broadcast access letter
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 20:18
CIOCCCISA Integrated Operations Coordination Center NCC National Communications Coordination Branch CISA CYBER + INFRASTRUCTURE UNCLASSIFIED March 16, 2020 To Whom It May Concern: The bearer of this letter is providing emergency communications sustainment and restoration support to critical communications infrastructure facilities in response to: COVID-19 Declaration of National Emergency These critical communications facilities are necessary to ensure first responder, emergency responders, public messaging, and 911 communications providing lifesaving capabilities are functional during this period of National Emergency. In the course of providing this support, the bearer must be able to travel to and access the infrastructure facilities during curfews and restricted travel periods in order to prevent loss of service or restore of critical communic ations services. The Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency's (CISA) National Communications Coordination Branch (NCC) requests any courtesy that can be extended be offered to the bearer of this letter during this response. Request support through the following date: From: March 16, 2020 To: May 28, 2020 CISA /NCC greatly appreciates your cooperation and is working with the bearer to coordinate the rapid restoration of critical communications networks and continuance of communications retail capabilities supporting responders and community at large during this national emergency . The bearer is responsible for payment of services received. The CIOCC '' Comms has a 24-hour point of contact to address any questions or concerns related to this request and can be reached at (703) 235 -5080 or at NCC@hq.dhs.gov . J ohn O'Connor Director, National Communications Coordination B ranch Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
COVID-19 U.S. Dept. Homeland Security Issues Letters for Broadcasters Access & Fuel - New York State Broadcasters Assocation
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 20:17
Yesterday the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's issued two letters to help broadcasters maintain access to their facilities during these uncertain times. The letters are from John O'Connor, Director of the National Communications Coordination Branch of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The first letter indicates that the broadcasters are part of emergency infrastructure and must be able to travel during curfews and restricted travel periods. The second letter concerns access to fuel. (Broadcasters must pay) The letters are valid from March 16th through May 28th.
Importantly, federal law (42 U.S.C. § 5189e) includes radio or television broadcasting within the definition of an ''essential service provider.'' The statue states further that a federal agency, ''to the greatest extent practicable,'' shall not deny or impede access to the disaster site to an essential service provider. Thus broadcast employees should be allowed access to their facilities during the COVID-19 emergency. The complete statute can be found HERE.
We are working with the Governor Cuomo's office and the New York Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Information to obtain similar letters and/or ''passes'' for stations. There is agreement that stations should not be hindered from providing vital information to the community. We are the ''First Informers'' connecting public health officials to the community. As of last Friday, we were told by the Governor's office that NY State would not quarantine or force the closure of businesses. (It would limit access to restaurants, bars and meeting places) At his morning press conference, the Governor stated he had no plans to quarantine NY City or any other city. Nonetheless, this is a fluid situation and we are aware that NJ has imposed a curfew.
Employees working at stations should have some form of ID or letter indicating they work at a broadcast station. That information, combined with the letters below, should help if there are any questions. We are watching this issue closely and will communicate any changes to you immediately.
To see a copy of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security letter regarding access click HERE.
To see a copy of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security letter regarding fuel access click HERE.
Click HERE for next story
March 24 is a KEY DATE - Coronavirus: World Bank 'pandemic bond' investors face big losses
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 20:06
South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant on the street to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a residential area in Seoul on March 9, 2020.
Jung Yeon-Je | AFP | Getty Images
Investors are looking at big losses in two World Bank-issued "pandemic bonds," which have fallen under the spotlight as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread worldwide.
Those bonds, issued by the World Bank's International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) in 2017, were designed to pay out funds to countries that need help to contain a pandemic. The World Health Organization classified the current coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic earlier this month.
The bonds offer investors high interest payments in return for taking on the risk of losing a certain amount or all of their money if pandemics occur. That includes the current coronavirus pandemic.
But prices of those bonds have plunged as investors flee with the number of infection cases surging. Growing fear about the economic fallout of the outbreak has driven a sell-off in risk assets as investors seek the perceived safety of government bonds like U.S. Treasurys.
According to ratings agency DBRS Morningstar, investors who hold the riskier of the two bonds could be losing their entire principal amount soon, with the firm telling CNBC that the price should have dropped more than 80%.
Pricing for the less risky bond has probably fallen less than 50%, said Marcos Alvarez, senior vice president and head of insurance '-- global financial institutions at DBRS Morningstar. Pricing information on these bonds is not public as they were privately placed three years ago.
"Similar to other catastrophe-linked bonds in the market, investors could lose their principal if a set of parametric triggers, such as outbreak size, growth rate and spread across borders, are met," the firm wrote in a report earlier this month.
According to the World Bank, the outbreak would need to last at least 12 weeks, and have more than 2,500 deaths for the riskier of the two bonds, and 250 deaths for the other. There must also be more than 20 deaths in a second country.
When all those conditions are fulfilled, it triggers a payout to selected countries in need of help to contain the outbreak, and investors lose some or all of their money. That date works out to be Mar. 24, going by the 12-week period, and the start date of the outbreak '-- Dec. 31, according to the WHO, said DBRS Morningstar.
The World Bank did not respond to CNBC's request for comment.
Globally, there are at least 184,976 cases and 7,529 deaths, according to the latest data from the WHO.
"You have the risk out there, we have the coronavirus out there. But you look at the last 50 years, you have SARS, you have MERS, you have Ebola, it's not that rare. It happens," says Amiyatosh Purnanandam, professor of finance at the University of Michigan.
What are the World Bank's pandemic bonds?
Pandemic bonds are essentially debt that's tied to catastrophic events, designed to raise money for issuers if natural disasters occur.
Investors typically buy catastrophe bonds because they offer much higher yield than other fixed income products. They also aren't linked to the usual stock market performance '-- but are instead tied to disaster events '-- and hence offer investors' portfolios some diversification.
But DBRS Morningstar cautioned: "The typical investor in catastrophe bonds is attracted to this asset class because it is generally uncorrelated with the general markets; however, the current coronavirus outbreak is showing that the valuation of pandemic bonds is highly correlated with the performance of global financial markets when it matters most."
Stock markets have been very volatile since the outbreak rapidly gained pace this month, with the Dow having its worst decline on Monday since the "Black Monday" crash 30 years ago.
On Monday, the Cboe Volatility Index closed at a record high, topping its peak during the 2008 financial crisis. The index looks at options prices for the S&P 500 and is sometimes referred to as the "fear gauge" of Wall Street.
Here are more details about the World Bank's pandemic bonds:
Two bonds worth a total of $320 million: Dubbed Class A and the riskier Class B.
Interest payments: Class A dishes out interest payments of 6.5% plus 6-month U.S. dollar Libor rate. Class B pays out 11.10% plus 6-month U.S. dollar Libor rate. These interest payments are funded by donor countries including Japan and Germany.
Viruses covered: The six that are "most likely to cause a pandemic," the World Bank said, which could trigger a payout to countries '-- Influenza, coronaviruses, Filovirus, Lassa Fever, Rift Valley Fever and Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever.
Countries that could receive that payout: 76 countries are eligible for funding under the World Bank's International Development Association.
If that payout is triggered, that's when investors stand to lose their money. For investors of Class A notes, that loss is 16.67% of their principal amount, while those invested in Class B notes stand to lose everything.
Investors in those bonds reportedly include French asset management firm Amundi, and U.K.-based asset manager Baillie Gifford. According to DBRS Morningstar, the bonds are owned by asset managers, pension funds, among others. Investors are mostly based in the U.S. and Europe.
The bonds were more than 200% oversubscribed in 2007 when they were issued.
Bonds under fire
Despite the stated basic parameters, critics say that it's not that simple to determine when a pandemic can trigger a payout. And even if that happens, it may be too late for countries that need help.
"Similar to other catastrophe bonds, defining parametric triggers is not an easy task and IBRD pandemic bonds are no exception," said DBRS Morningstar, pointing to its 400-page prospectus. "Another objection from public health experts is that pandemic bonds are not designed to help poor countries prevent an outbreak as funding might be available too late."
Purnanandam added: "The pandemic bonds were supposed to help the countries fight infectious diseases, but there have been some serious issues with the way the contracts were designed."
"By the time bond investors will pay money towards ... the developing countries ... It's a case of too little, too late because the way these contracts are designed, they are too complex," he said.
Chloroquine for COVID19
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 19:58
BREAKING UPDATE: Clinical trial by Gautret, Raoult, et al. (2020)
What is this initiative?We're an independent group of scientists and physicians working on an open-data clinical trial for prevention of COVID-19, through the use of hydroxychloroquine in combination with other therapeutic agents.
Unlike a typical commercial drug trial, our objective is to share trial data with the public* and health-care professionals as close to real-time as possible (with a reasonable level of data quality assurance).
Given the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic, we're looking for every possible means to fast-track the effort.
> Read our draft paper
* Data will be de-identified to preserve participants' privacy and conform with regulatory requirements.
How can I participate in the trial?Objective: Evaluate the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in the prevention of COVID-19 infection.
Current Phase: We're first focusing on a cohort study of healthy medical professionals.
Status: Active / Recruiting
Join the study: If you're a front-line healthcare worker (physician, nurse, etc.), and willing to participate in the trial (or already taking hydroxychloroquine), please send us an email.
Future phase: Case-control study of hydroxychloroquine in the prevention of COVID-19. Stay tuned.
Can my company / organization participate in the trial?We'd be happy to discuss.
Could I support the project in other ways?If you're interested to support or partner on regulatory front, clinical trial, or funding, please send us an email.
BackgroundA recent well controlled clinical study conducted by Didier Raoult'‹ M.D/Ph.D, et. al in France has shown that 100% of patients that received a combination of HCQ and Azithromycin tested negative and were virologically cured within 6 days of treatment.
In addition, recent guidelines from South Korea and China report that hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are effective antiviral therapeutic treatments for novel coronavirus.
A therapeutic agent that prevents infection with novel coronavirus is highly desirable--especially for persons with high-risk exposure (e.g healthcare professionals) as well as persons with comorbidities (heart disease, diabetes, etc) and compromised immune systems. Ground-breaking in vitro studies demonstrate potential efficacy of hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic for novel coronavirus infection in primate cells.
Note: Hydroxychloroquine (brand name Plaquenil) is an inexpensive, globally available drug (tablet) that was approved for widespread medical use since 1955. It is commonly used today to treat malaria, systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Project LeadGregory J. Rigano, Esq
Mr. Rigano is an Advisor to the Stanford University School of Medicine SPARK Translational Research Program. He's led a biotech firm for the past five years in research and clinical evaluation of Chloroquine in various diseases.
Gregory has provided counsel to over $1 billion in transaction volume at global scale with a strong focus on the sciences involving multi-national corporations and the federal government. Gregory's experience includes advancing various pharmaceutical assets through laboratory, animal, formulation, manufacturing, clinical trials (Phase I - III) as well as commercialization. Mr. Rigano received his Juris Doctor degree from Hofstra University, and studied at Johns Hopkins University.
Consulting Scientists & PhysiciansDidier Raoult'‹, MD & Ph.D
Didier Raoult created the Rickettsia Unit at Aix-Marseille University. Since 2008, Dr. Raoult has served as the director of URMITE (Research Unit in Infectious and Tropical Emergent Diseases), collaborating with CNRS (National Center for the Scientific Research), IRD (Research for the Development Institute), INSERM (National Institute of Health and Medical Research) and Aix Marseille University. His laboratory employs more than 200 people, including nearly 100 active researchers who publish between 250 and 350 papers per year and have produced over 50 patents.
Dr. Chandra Duggirala, MD
Chandra is a Physician, clinical investigator, inventor and serial entrepreneur.
He's been treating patients in the hospital, ER and ICU and is working to find prophylactic drugs for high risk health care workers. Chandra is focused on alleviating and eliminating Covid-19 pandemic by using therapeutic, prophylactic and system design approaches to reduce the burden on our healthcare system and reduce morbidity and mortality caused by SARS-COV2.
He founded Novobionics, a medical device company to treat diabetes and obesity non-invasively and invented it's double sleeve technology. He lead the company through preclinical trials and several US and international patents. He is also the Principal Investigator of the Reset-Youth trial, one of the largest clinical trials for investigating the reversibility of epigenetic markers of aging. He also founded a software company at the intersection of nutritional biology and A.I.
Timeline: The early days of China's coronavirus outbreak and cover-up - Axios
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 15:59
Axios has compiled a timeline of the earliest weeks of the coronavirus outbreak in China, highlighting when the cover-up started and ended '-- and showing how, during that time, the virus already started spreading around the world, including to the United States.
Why it matters: A study published in March indicated that if Chinese authorities had acted three weeks earlier than they did, the number of coronavirus cases could have been reduced by 95% and its geographic spread limited.
This timeline, compiled from information reported by the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the South China Morning Post and other sources, shows that China's cover-up and the delay in serious measures to contain the virus lasted about three weeks.
Dec. 10: Wei Guixian, one of the earliest known coronavirus patients, starts feeling ill.
Dec. 16: Patient admitted to Wuhan Central Hospital with infection in both lungs but resistant to anti-flu drugs. Staff later learned he worked at a wildlife market connected to the outbreak.
Dec. 27: Wuhan health officials are told that a new coronavirus is causing the illness.
Dec. 30:
Ai Fen, a top director at Wuhan Central Hospital, posts information on WeChat about the new virus. She was reprimanded for doing so and told not to spread information about it.Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang also shares information on WeChat about the new SARS-like virus. He is called in for questioning shortly afterward.Wuhan health commission notifies hospitals of a ''pneumonia of unclear cause'' and orders them to report any related information.Dec. 31:
Wuhan health officials confirm 27 cases of illness and close a market they think is related to the virus' spread.China tells the World Health Organization's China office about the cases of an unknown illness.Jan. 1: Wuhan Public Security Bureau brings in for questioning eight doctors who had posted information about the illness on WeChat.
Jan. 2: Chinese researchers map the new coronavirus' complete genetic information. This information is not made public until Jan. 9.
Jan. 7: Xi Jinping becomes involved in the response.
Jan. 9: China announces it has mapped the coronavirus genome.
Jan. 11''17: Important prescheduled CCP meeting held in Wuhan. During that time, the Wuhan Health Commission insists there are no new cases.
Jan. 13: First coronavirus case reported in Thailand, the first known case outside China.
Jan. 15: The patient who becomes the first confirmed U.S. case leaves Wuhan and arrives in the U.S., carrying the coronavirus.
Jan. 18:
The Wuhan Health Commission announces four new cases.Annual Wuhan Lunar New Year banquet. Tens of thousands of people gathered for a potluck.Jan. 19: Beijing sends epidemiologists to Wuhan.
Jan. 20:
The first case announced in South Korea.Zhong Nanshan, a top Chinese doctor who is helping to coordinate the coronavirus response, announces the virus can be passed between people. Jan. 21:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms the first coronavirus case in the United States.CCP flagship newspaper People's Daily mentions the coronavirus epidemic and Xi's actions to fight it for the first time.China's top political commission in charge of law and order warns that ''anyone who deliberately delays and hides the reporting of [virus] cases out of his or her own self-interest will be nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity."Jan. 23: Wuhan and three other cities are put on lockdown. Right around this time, approximately 5 million people leave the city without being screened for the illness.
Jan. 24''30: China celebrates the Lunar New Year holiday. Hundreds of millions of people are in transit around the country as they visit relatives.
Jan. 24: China extends the lockdown to cover 36 million people and starts to rapidly build a new hospital in Wuhan. From this point, very strict measures continue to be implemented around the country for the rest of the epidemic.
The bottom line: China is now trying to create a narrative that it's an example of how to handle this crisis when in fact its early actions led to the virus spreading around the globe.
Go deeper: China's coronavirus cover-up was among worst in history, congressman says
Carly on Twitter: "@Real_Housebear @adamcurry Why this theory will take hold: 'Dummies were too dumb to hide their expressions when notified of SOMETHING at Bush's funeral. 'Harvey is a rat and they never take responsibility, you can bet he blabbed
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 15:39
Why this theory will take hold: 'Dummies were too dumb to hide their expressions when notified of SOMETHING at Bush's funeral.'Harvey is a rat and they never take responsibility, you can bet he blabbed and blabbed or lied and lied. 'Everyone is after Oprah for Cosby.
10:19 AM - 18 Mar 2020
GeenStijl: Minister Bruins stort in tijdens #Coronadebat
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 15:35
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World Health Organization (WHO) on Twitter: "Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China🇨ðŸ‡". https://t.
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 15:32
Log in Sign up World Health Organization (WHO) @ WHO Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel
#coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in
#Wuhan,
#China🇨ðŸ‡".
pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG 3:18 AM - 14 Jan 2020 Twitter by: World Health Organization (WHO) @WHO Cho Ramaswamy Fan... @ RakeshRagavendr
Mar 17 Replying to
@WHO @WHOThailand and
2 others Do not TrustChinese VirusChinese doctors Chinese newsChinese goodsAndChinese food
View conversation · james Azmeer @ AzmeerJames
7h Replying to
@RakeshRagavendr @WHO and
3 others But some Chinese doctor are very trustworthy like the whistle blower doctor that manage to inform the world about the Covid19. Unfortunately, he also perish by the virus it self
View conversation · Varun Gautam @ varun_gautam
Mar 17 Replying to
@WHO @WHOThailand and
2 others No clear evidence of human to human transmission but
@WHO incompetence is clear.
View conversation · God Bless America @ Amora_808
6h Replying to
@varun_gautam @WHO and
3 others Their tests also are 48% false positive. This feels like coordinated terrorism.
View conversation · Jennifer HY Chan 🇭🇰'›± @ JenniferHYChan
Jan 14 Replying to
@WHO @ezracheungtoto and
3 others Conducted by Chinese doctors! ðŸ¤-- Can't really be trusted. Everyone should stay alert of this new virus.
View conversation · Anand Walunjkar @ anandwalu
Mar 17 Replying to
@JenniferHYChan @WHO and
4 others How prophetic
View conversation · Agnostic Front_Exploring @ AKhatri25
Mar 17 Replying to
@WHO @WHOThailand and
2 others World Health Organisation..... seriously?? Remove Health and add Chinese instead. World Chinese Organization - WCO
View conversation · Yash Malik @ _y_maalik
11h Replying to
@AKhatri25 @WHO and
3 others Wuhan Health Organisation
View conversation · Alex VanNess @ thealexvanness
5h Replying to
@WHO @WHOThailand and
2 others pic.twitter.com/FdcPxyShFf View conversation · jltee @ jltee2
4h Replying to
@thealexvanness @WHO and
3 others This man is the hero we all need right now!
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We've got the coronavirus vaccine, says Pentagon-funded company
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 11:20
(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Matthew Lotz)
A Canadian company says that it has produced a COVID-19 vaccine just 20 days after receiving the coronavirus's genetic sequence, using a unique technology that they soon hope to submit for FDA approval.
Medicago CEO Bruce Clark said his company could produce as many as 10 million doses a month. If regulatory hurdles can be cleared, he said in a Thursday interview, the vaccine could start to become available in November 2021.
An Israeli research lab has also claimed to have created a vaccine. But Clark says his company's technique, which has already been proven effective in producing vaccines for seasonal flu, is more reliable and easier to scale.
''There are a couple of others who are claiming that they have '-- well, we will call them vaccine[s]'' for COVID-19, he said. ''But they're different technologies. Some are RNA- or DNA-based vaccines that have not yet been proven in any indication yet, let alone this one. Hopefully, they'll be successful.''
How did Clark's team create one so quickly,? They use plants, not chicken eggs, as a bioreactor for growing vaccine proteins.
Traditional vaccine production requires eggs, a lot of them. Vaccine manufacturers inject the virus into the eggs, where it propagates. But using eggs is expensive, takes a long time, and is far from perfect. Mutations can yield vaccines that don't match up to the virus they aim to shut down, Clark said
So Medicago doesn't work with a live virus. Instead, it uses plants, a relatively new approach that has seen much advancement in the past decade. It inserts a genetic sequence into agrobacterium, a soil bacteria, which is taken up by plants '-- in this case, a close cousin to tobacco. The plant begins to produce the protein that can then be used as a vaccine. If the virus begins to mutate, as is expected for COVID-19, they can just update the production using new plants.
''That's the difference between us'' and egg-based methods, he said, ''we go directly to producing the vaccine or the antibody without having to propagate the virus.''
Using plants and genetically engineered agrobacteria works faster than eggs also makes the vaccine much easier to produce at scale, which, in part, is why the U.S. military has invested in the company.
In 2010, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, put together a $100 million program dubbed Blue Angel to look into new forms of vaccine discovery and production. A big chunk of that money went to Medicago to build a facility in North Carolina, where they showed that they could find a vaccine in just 20 days, then rapidly scale up production.
Clark says that once they get the green light, they will be able to produce 10 million vaccine doses a month.
He said the only obstacles at this point are regulatory. The company's technique isn't yet FDA-approved and would need to go through clinical trials.
''Our basic plan is to be in human studies, phase one, by the July time frame; and then, it would depend, quite extensively, on the decisions the regulators make in terms of the hurdles they want us to have in the normal course of development,'' he said.
Clark says that he understands that cutting corners in drug development invites risk. But, he says, ''There's a lot of room for negotiation with the regulators. I won't put words in their mouths'...I will say our intention, taking a very standard approach, is that by November [of 2021] we will have completed phase III,'' in clinical trials '-- allowing the vaccine to be made widely available to the public.
Also on Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health, told the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee that human trials for a vaccine (he did not specify the manufacturer) would be possible ''within a few weeks.'' However, he said that a vaccine would not be available to the broader public for another 12 to 18 months.
___
(c) 2020 By National Journal Group, Inc.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Amazon tells suppliers it won't accept new shipments of nonessential items until April 5 | Ad Age
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 10:52
Amazon is taking drastic steps to prioritize delivery of essential items while pausing shipments of non-essential products to its warehouses as it tries to manage its supply chain strained by coronavirus-related demand.
Amazon will still deliver products purchased by consumers for any category that is in stock. It has just asked sellers and retailers not to ship more nonessential items to its warehouses until at least April 5.
On Tuesday, Amazon sent an email to marketers and sellers outlining its new emergency response measures, reacting to shortages and delays on high-demand products, including groceries and cleaning supplies.
''We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result some products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock,'' Amazon wrote in its email to brands and sellers. ''With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers.
''For products other than these, we have temporarily disabled shipment creation,'' the email said. ''We are taking a similar approach with retail vendors.''
Ad Age received a copy of the email from a marketing executive on condition of anonymity.
Here is what is changing: Amazon told brands and sellers to temporarily pause shipments of nonessential products to its warehouses, so it can focus on handling high-priority goods, like food, medical supplies and household cleaning supplies. Amazon is accepting items that have already been shipped to its warehouses and will deliver those to consumers, as well as fulfill new orders on goods it already has in stock. However, Amazon is not taking on new inventory for nonessential products until at least April 5. Amazon has not given a detailed list of all the products it considers essential. Vendors and brands that don't use Amazon to ship their products'--those that rely on other distribution channels'--are not expected to be affected by the new order.
''We understand this is a change for our selling partners and appreciate their understanding as we temporarily prioritize these products for customers,'' an Amazon spokesman said in an email statement.
Amazon has faced shortages of goods like Clorox and Lysol disinfectant wipes. Also, food stocks have dwindled. This week, Amazon said it would hire an additional 100,000 people to keep its deliveries moving to consumers who are shut in during the coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus has been a global concern since January, when it first emerged in China. It has since led to a state of emergency in the U.S.
Retailers have come to rely on Amazon as their main distribution point to consumers as its platform takes a growing share of the e-commerce market. EMarketer estimates that Amazon accounts for close to 40 percent of all e-commerce in the U.S.
''Brands need to be very flexible during these uncertain times,'' says Mark Power, CEO of Podean, an Amazon marketing services firm. ''They may push into Amazon aggressively because that's the way consumers are reacting now, gravitating toward these marketplaces to deliver items essential to their daily lives. But Amazon also needs to be realistic about what it can do now, responding to this huge demand coming from the world of consumers.''
Supermarkten: kabinet, verbied contant geld | Geld | Telegraaf.nl
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 10:47
Door Redactie DFT
Updated Vandaag, 12:31
Vandaag, 12:28 in GELD
Woerden - Supermarkten willen hulp van de overheid om contant geld tijdelijk nog verder uit te bannen. Dat schrijft brancheorganisatie CBL in een brief aan premier Rutte en de rest van het kabinet.
Het verbod is nodig, vindt de brancheclub, om de 300.000 werknemers in de sector goed te beschermen tegen het coronavirus. In de brief aan Rutte staat dat er sprake is van 'groeiende onrust'.
Om de voedselvoorziening op gang te houden, willen de supermarkten dat er ook 's nachts geleverd kan worden. Ook moeten de regels rond flexwerk voor de sector worden versoepeld, aldus het CBL.
Ten slotte wil de sector dat consumenten kunnen gaan winkelen bij groothandels. Die leveren normaal aan de horeca, maar die is grotendeels op slot door kabinetsmaatregelen tegen het coronavirus.
Elke ochtend het laatste financile nieuws in je inbox?Ongeldig e-mailadres. Vul nogmaals in aub.
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Oprah Winfrey debunks QAnon sex trafficking conspiracy theory - The Washington Post
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 10:40
Late Tuesday night, as results trickled in from Democratic primary elections and the number of people infected by the novel coronavirus continued to climb, Oprah Winfrey's name began trending on Twitter.
An unhinged conspiracy theory had taken root, claiming that she was arrested for her role in a global sex trafficking ring. It reached a point where Winfrey felt compelled to address the rumors, which quickly spread across the Internet as people bored and trapped at home searched for some form of entertainment.
''Just got a phone call that my name is trending,'' Winfrey wrote on Twitter early Wednesday morning. ''And being trolled for some awful FAKE thing. It's NOT TRUE. Haven't been raided, or arrested. Just sanitizing and self distancing with the rest of the world. Stay safe everybody.''
Just got a phone call that my name is trending. And being trolled for some awful FAKE thing. It's NOT TRUE. Haven't been raided, or arrested. Just sanitizing and self distancing with the rest of the world. Stay safe everybody.ðŸðŸ¾
'-- Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) March 18, 2020The outlandish allegations were reportedly propagated by online devotees of QAnon, the bizarre conspiracy theory that ''centers on the idea that an anonymous government official, or 'Q,' has been secretly sharing messages and symbols that serve as evidence of a hidden plot to overthrow Trump,'' as The Washington Post's Tony Romm and Colby Itkowitz previously reported. Followers, most of them enthusiastic supporters of President Trump, believe many elite politicians and celebrities belong to an international cabal of pedophiles and will soon be arrested.
Welp, Oprah is the top trend in the United States because QAnon people completely made up that she was arrested as part of their fictitious baby eating ring.These people's delusions are extremely unwelcome at this moment. https://t.co/7W3ree2c6D
'-- Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) March 18, 2020Over the past few days, QAnon adherents have been sharing a viral Facebook post that claims coronavirus is ''the biggest covert U.S. intelligence operation that the world has ever seen.'' The author predicted the disease would provide cover for the arrests of prominent individuals including actor Tom Hanks, who was recently released from an Australian hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and, of course, Winfrey.
Trump retweets QAnon conspiracy theorist, via Larry the Cable Guy, to slam the TSA
The conspiracy theory gained steam on Sunday, when one Facebook user posted photos of caution tape surrounding a Mediterranean villa, claiming it was Winfrey's home in Boca Raton, Fla., and that authorities were ''excavating the property and digging up the tunnels.'' (Winfrey owns many houses, but none of them are in Florida.) On YouTube, a man going by ''Tank'' gave a live dispatch from a random parking lot, claiming to have received word that ''Hollywood pedophiles'' were being arrested and Winfrey's house was suspected to be ''some kind of child trafficking location.''
Trump tweets a meme of himself fiddling, drawing a comparison to Roman emperor Nero
Another user posted a video of armed police officers kicking in the door of an ordinary-looking bungalow, claiming it was leaked body camera footage from the ''raid'' on Winfrey's home.
i thought i was ready for quarantine twitter but then oprah started trending at 1130 on a tuesday bc a qanon facebook post claiming she was arrested for sex trafficking was picked up by normies and then i realized i was not ready for quarantine twitter
'-- Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) March 18, 2020Under ordinary circumstances, the easily debunked story might not have spread beyond the usual fringe online communities. But with most of the country under self-imposed quarantine and eager for a distraction on Wednesday night, the conspiracy theory reached a captive audience. By early Thursday morning, ''#opraharrested'' was trending alongside ''OPRAHDIDWHAT.''
We live in such bizarre times that Oprah just had to post a tweet at two in the morning to prove she hasn't been arrested. https://t.co/Gn5P3eEDba
'-- Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) March 18, 2020Finally, Winfrey stepped in to dispel the rumor, prompting HuffPost and New York Magazine reporter Yashar Ali to tweet, ''I can't believe Oprah had to even acknowledge the existence of a QAnon hoax''
The director Ava DuVernay, a friend and occasional collaborator of Winfrey's, wrote: ''Trolls + bots began this disgusting rumor. Mean-spirited minds kept it going. #Oprah has worked for decades on behalf of others. Given hundreds of millions to individuals + causes in need. Shared her own abuse as a child to help folks heal. Shame on all who participated in this.''
At a time when many tech platforms are struggling to fight the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus, some observed that seeing people spread a baseless hoax didn't exactly inspire confidence.
''Folks believing that Oprah story just made the necessity of relying on each other for survival feel a lot more daunting,'' tweeted the writer Jamilah Lemieux.
Coronavirus: Kansas Becomes 1st State To End School Year '-- But May Not Be Last : Shots - Health News : NPR
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 10:30
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly addresses a news conference Tuesday in Topeka, Kan., after announcing the closure of schools K-12 throughout the state for the rest of the school year. John Hanna/AP hide caption
toggle caption John Hanna/AP Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly addresses a news conference Tuesday in Topeka, Kan., after announcing the closure of schools K-12 throughout the state for the rest of the school year.
John Hanna/AP The school year has come to an abrupt end for students across Kansas.
Gov. Laura Kelly announced that she has ordered classes K-12 to be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year, citing fears about the spread of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 and the "unprecedented emergency" it presents.
"This was not an easy decision to make," Kelly said in a statement issued Tuesday.
"It came after close consultation with the education professionals who represent local school boards, school administrators and local teachers," she explained. "These unprecedented circumstances threaten the safety of our students and the professionals who work with them every day and we must respond accordingly."
Kelly's executive order makes Kansas the first state to shut down its public schools for the remainder of the school year '-- an extraordinary step that other states so far have been reluctant to take, despite a raft of temporary class closures across the U.S.
All told, three-quarters of all K-12 students in the U.S. '-- including those in Michigan, Massachusetts and Kentucky '-- have seen their schools shuttered for a span of several weeks, though officials there hope students will still be able to return before summer sets in. It's worth noting that the school year in Kansas begins and ends several weeks earlier than it does in most other states.
Governors in Ohio and California, however, suggested that it might be just a matter of time before their states follow Kansas' lead. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has stopped short of making it official, but at a news conference Tuesday, he told reporters that "it's unlikely that many of these schools '-- few if any '-- will open before the summer break."
"This is a very sobering thing to say," Newsom added. "I don't want to mislead you."
Trump announces temporary closure of U.S.-Canada border
President Trump has announced that the border between the U.S. and Canada will be closed in an attempt to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The president announced the closure in a tweet posted Wednesday.
"We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic," Trump said, adding that "trade will not be affected."
We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected. Details to follow!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2020Trump gave no further details on the border closure. The announcement came just hours after the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 crossed a sobering threshold, topping 100 deaths.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not yet independently confirmed Trump's statement; he is expected to deliver a statement from self-isolation later Wednesday. Canada has seen a much smaller '-- though also increasing '-- number of confirmed cases than the U.S.
The move is just the latest of a series of border shutdowns announced recently across the world, as countries seek to tamp down on travel in an effort to slow the spread of the global pandemic.
Trump administration asks for tens of billions in emergency funds
The request to Congress, which asks for an additional $45.8 billion, is intended to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, states' public health response and research resources at the National Institutes of Health. It is in addition to a House-approved relief package that's expected to go before the Senate on Wednesday.
"The aim of this request is to maintain that capacity and ensure that resource needs created by the pandemic response are met," Russ Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, said in a letter to Vice President Pence
Vought noted that his office is "currently in active dialogue" with lawmakers about the additional proposal, which is separate from a massive stimulus package that's expected to include payments to individuals, families and businesses affected by the outbreak.
"It is not intended as a broad-based solution to the major economic dislocation wrought by the virus, nor is it the primary means by which the Federal Government plans to address the hardships of families, individuals, and communities who have been touched by the disease."
President Trump leads a meeting with travel and tourism industry executives at the White House on Tuesday, to discuss the federal economic response to the coronavirus outbreak. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Drew Angerer/Getty Images President Trump leads a meeting with travel and tourism industry executives at the White House on Tuesday, to discuss the federal economic response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images Puerto Rico asks the FAA to halt flights to the island
Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vzquez revealed that she has asked the Federal Aviation Administration to suspend domestic and international flights to the U.S. territory, as local authorities seek to contain the virus.
Vzquez said the requested ban would exempt emergency services. Puerto Rico has already imposed some of the strictest restrictions in the U.S., including a curfew and the two-week closure of most businesses across the island.
"Until a few days ago, we had no cases of COVID-19 coronavirus, and now, due to the arrival of tourists, both by boat and by plane, we have five positive cases," she said in a statement Wednesday.
"We do not want more cases in Puerto Rico, and the only way to prevent more people infected with this virus from arriving is by taking greater controls regarding the arrival of travelers. We need assistance from the federal government to allow us to control air travel."
What is the coronavirus that causes COVID-19?
The name comes from the crownlike spikes the virus has on its surface '-- "corona" is Latin for "crown." Common human coronaviruses cause mild to moderate upper respiratory symptoms, including the common cold, while more severe types can cause pneumonia and death.
This particular virus, officially known as SARS-CoV-2, is only the third strain of coronavirus known to frequently cause severe symptoms in humans. The other two are Middle East respiratory syndrome and severe acute respiratory syndrome.
What are the symptoms?
The primary symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Some people also experience fatigue, headaches and, less frequently, diarrhea. Cases can range from mild to moderate to severe. About 80 percent of cases so far seem to be mild, according to the World Health Organization.
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 WHO says people should wear face masks only if they're sick or caring for someone who is.
What should I do if I think I'm sick?
If you think you've been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms, call your doctor. Many state and local health departments have set up hotlines to answer questions, so that's another good place to start. It's important that you don't expose others. Call your doctor before you go to their clinic so they can take necessary precautions.
How do I protect my home?
Wash your hands as soon as you walk through the door. Avoid sharing personal items such dishes, cups, utensils. Clean and disinfect "high-touch" surfaces like door handles and cellphones every day.
How does coronavirus spread?
The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close proximity to one another: within about 6 feet. It spreads primarily through respiratory droplets that are spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those droplets can land in the mouth or nose of someone nearby, and possibly infect them.
Does coronavirus spread through contact with surfaces?
According to the CDC, it may be possible for a person to become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. But experts believe the virus spreads mostly through contact with other people.
How do I self-quarantine? And what does it mean?
The CDC has a guide for caring for yourself at home if you have a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
Officials cancel the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 64 years / Twitter
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 10:24
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Russia Is Pumping Out Coronavirus Disinformation to Create Panic, EU Officials Say
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 06:20
Russia is carrying out a ''significant disinformation campaign'' in an attempt to create more panic and distrust in Western countries as they deal with the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a document created by European Union officials. ''A significant disinformation campaign by Russian state media and pro-Kremlin outlets regarding COVID-19 is ongoing,'' said the document, which was sent to European lawmakers Monday and has been seen by Reuters news agency. ''The overarching aim of Kremlin disinformation is to aggravate the public-health crisis in Western countries... in line with the Kremlin's broader strategy of attempting to subvert European societies.'' The document was created by the EU's foreign-policy arm, the European External Action Service. Russia's official statistics seem to show that the country has virtually no coronavirus cases within its borders'--but medical experts have said those numbers are probably very misleading, as Vladimir Putin seeks another term as president.
Read it at Reuters
The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : The Coronavirus Hoax
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 05:57
Governments love crises because when the people are fearful they are more willing to give up freedoms for promises that the government will take care of them. After 9/11, for example, Americans accepted the near-total destruction of their civil liberties in the PATRIOT Act's hollow promises of security.
It is ironic to see the same Democrats who tried to impeach President Trump last month for abuse of power demanding that the Administration grab more power and authority in the name of fighting a virus that thus far has killed less than 100 Americans.
Declaring a pandemic emergency on Friday, President Trump now claims the power to quarantine individuals suspected of being infected by the virus and, as Politico writes, ''stop and seize any plane, train or automobile to stymie the spread of contagious disease.'' He can even call out the military to cordon off a US city or state.
State and local authoritarians love panic as well. The mayor of Champaign, Illinois, signed an executive order declaring the power to ban the sale of guns and alcohol and cut off gas, water, or electricity to any citizen. The governor of Ohio just essentially closed his entire state.
The chief fearmonger of the Trump Administration is without a doubt Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. Fauci is all over the media, serving up outright falsehoods to stir up even more panic. He testified to Congress that the death rate for the coronavirus is ten times that of the seasonal flu, a claim without any scientific basis.
On Face the Nation, Fauci did his best to further damage an already tanking economy by stating, ''Right now, personally, myself, I wouldn't go to a restaurant.'' He has pushed for closing the entire country down for 14 days.
Over what? A virus that has thus far killed just over 5,000 worldwide and less than 100 in the United States? By contrast, tuberculosis, an old disease not much discussed these days, killed nearly 1.6 million people in 2017. Where's the panic over this?
If anything, what people like Fauci and the other fearmongers are demanding will likely make the disease worse. The martial law they dream about will leave people hunkered down inside their homes instead of going outdoors or to the beach where the sunshine and fresh air would help boost immunity. The panic produced by these fearmongers is likely helping spread the disease, as massive crowds rush into Walmart and Costco for that last roll of toilet paper.
The madness over the coronavirus is not limited to politicians and the medical community. The head of the neoconservative Atlantic Council wrote an editorial this week urging NATO to pass an Article 5 declaration of war against the COVID-19 virus! Are they going to send in tanks and drones to wipe out these microscopic enemies?
People should ask themselves whether this coronavirus ''pandemic'' could be a big hoax, with the actual danger of the disease massively exaggerated by those who seek to profit '' financially or politically '' from the ensuing panic.
That is not to say the disease is harmless. Without question people will die from coronavirus. Those in vulnerable categories should take precautions to limit their risk of exposure. But we have seen this movie before. Government over-hypes a threat as an excuse to grab more of our freedoms. When the ''threat'' is over, however, they never give us our freedoms back.
Lame Cherry: Europe needs a President like Donald Trump
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 05:53
We must all work to protect the endangered bioweapon called Coronavirus. As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.I honestly expect that nutty Greta Thunberg, the poster child for all that is wrong in the world, to appear with her activists demanding that Coronavirus be placed on the endangered species list as a new life form, and demand that Europeans become infected with Coronavirus as their lives are not as important as the virus, as she has had communications with mother earth, as Corona is a thoughtful child ridding the world of humanity to save itself.Now that this blog has stated this, you just wait, as some Prince Philip and Oprah, George Soros, Bill Gates nuts will start lamenting about that poor virus the world wants to make extinct.Europe is in a meltdown over Coronavirus as it reveals what the United States learned after 1776, and had the genius of future President, James Madison to address in Philadelphia with other founders, that a Confederate government is worthless, as all it does is spend money, has no power, and takes forever to move by committee to save the people it represents.Experts are blaming Italy for the deaths of Coronavirus, but the fact is Italy, and other European nations are dying, because of the European Union. Italy requested help and the EU did nothing for weeks. Italians needed respirators, and not one European state offered to share their supply to save lives in Italy.Counter that with the bold, swift and decisive measures which Donald Trump initiated. While under attack for being a racist by his political foes in shutting down American carriers bringing Chinese into America, the President coordinated a Nazi response, and no not all Nazi responses are bad, as the Nazism of Donald Trump melded the Government led by Germ Lord Pence to the United States industry to prepare for Coronavirus for 3 weeks.Dr. Fauci has led a concise response for the President in guiding thee American People to limit contacts, without resorting to national quarantines and martial law. Big Brother Fauci watching over Americans with the strong hands of President Trump, is answering the need of Americans for leadership.Added to this, the United States has marshaled the State Governors and their emergency management teams, and from liberals like Governor Cuomo of New York to Conservatives in Governor Noem of South Dakota, America has been placed on the necessary footing to deal with this epidemic in this coming 3rd wave peak. What Americans need to do, is for 2 weeks, to stop spreading the virus by exposing large groups, because American hospitals are already dealing with heart attacks and seasonal flu. Limiting Corona will not repeat the problems of China, Italy and Spain where people died, due to lack of ventilators.The United States under Donald Trump is producing the Taiwan and South Korean model, which had great success at containment and treatment.Scarborough Praises Trump: 'Who Is That Man' at the Press Conference?  ∞ nwsbstrs  Donald Trump was mocked in the New York Times as incapable and blundering at the beginning of Coronavirus, but the fact is, Donald Trump has shown for his failures at MAGA, that he is a pandemic president. He simply leads and organizes well naturally as this is a business in dealing with Corona. That is the fact in this, Obama the messiah politician failed horribly with Joe Biden a US senator in dealing with pandemic. Donald Trump instead, once he removed the Obama holdovers, and placed former Governor Pence in charge, produced the perfect Nazi or melding of government and business response. Donald Trump is every bit the equal of the American dictators in Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt in a national crisis and is succeeding as these past leaders have .Europe needs a President Trump.But today, Covid-19 has exposed Europe's lack of thrust to a whole other level: Italy's cry for help to replenish something as basic as mouth masks, remained for weeks unanswered by all other European member states. It was China who rushed to help first. While some European countries were closing bars, restaurants, schools and even (partially) borders, others kept on carrying on as if nothing had happened. Donald Trump did not blink when discriminating in his travel ban between European countries. Covid-19 showed how little it means to be European in times of crisis. It made one thing clear: the eurosceptic mantra of the 'European Superstate' becoming more ridiculous by the day. People see the European Directorate for Health and Food Safety and the European Medicine Agency and think: they have the tools and money, why don't they act? The answer is: because – just like Europol is not a real police force – these European health administrations do not have any real powers to act. They are largely – you get it – "coordinating" bodies; assembling information and data from all over Europe and sending it back and forth between member states; the most what they can do, is issuing recommendations. What is absolutely insufficient in times of pandemic. Then it is the 27 health ministers who take it over and are supposed to launch decisive collective action. Or more correctly – as we have seen – mainly fail to streamline their actions.There was one person who stood for 2 years as leader of Europe, railing against the system and calling for reform of Europe from a confederate bureaucracy to a federated state and that was Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.Europe has shown form the pandemic disasters in Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Britain and France that these balkanized national leaders are of no use to Europe. They have not protected their peoples and have instead spread the pandemic as the kings of the Black Death did.Angela Merkel of Germany is one of the worst, in her response was to isolate Germany from the sister states after she created the rape cock Muslim problem of Europe. Europe does not need to be isolated more, Europe needs to COOPERATE MORE.It is for that reason the Lame Cherry calls upon a 10 nation core, a nucleus be formed around Germany and Austria, which as a Senatorial body, will oversee the House of European Parliament, with full executive authority in Sebastian Kurz. Kurz must nationalize supplies and stockpiles in Europe, in order to stop the pandemic and save lives.I would offer that Europeans should enact thee American model of the Trump Presidency. Sebastian Kurz should lead by mandate in cutting through red tape and forcing 2 hour decisions from European regulatory agencies, with full authority to remove those who delay. There must be a central leader. There must be an economic leader as Steve Mnuchin in the Trump cabinet, and there must be a Vice President to deal with Coronavirus as Mike Pence has to coordinate between medical, states and business.What Europe has, has caused this epidemic. Italy refused to take measures, as Chinese money was more important to Italy, so the pandemic had time to incubate and spread. There must be a Euro centric federal leadership with emergency powers to deal with Coronavirus.I would submit as Chancellor Kurz saved Europe, that Europeans would begin to appreciate a centralized leader who solves their problems immediately and does not cost a fortune in committee studies.The facts are in this, that the two most successful international leaders against Corona have been President Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump, due to centralized authority and coordinated direction.China with a Peking bent on cover ups and repercussions spread the virus to the world and is a disaster.Europe must have Sebastian Kurz as leader of a federated Europe, not after months of debate over million page documents, but a simple declaration that he is leader, and has the authority to solve the problems of Coronavirus.This once again, is another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.Merkel is the face of CoronavirusNuff SaidagtG
The British government is massively fucking up its coronavirus response | The Outline
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 05:45
Last week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to let up to 500,000 of his own citizens die. ''I must level with the British public,'' Johnson said in a statement following an emergency meeting over the coronavirus crisis last Thursday. As the virus continues to spread, he continued, ''many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time.''
In large part, this was because Britain's response, unlike that of basically every other nation, was designed around accepting that almost everyone in the country '-- up to 80 percent of the population, according to one leaked document '-- will at some point become infected with the virus. The idea, such as it was, was that this sort of stiff upper lip fatalism would allow Britain to generate a ''herd immunity'' other nations would not have, protecting the elderly and immunocompromised who are most at risk from the virus and allowing the British economy to ride out additional waves in future.
''Our aim is to try to reduce the peak, broaden the peak, not suppress it completely; also, because the vast majority of people get a mild illness, to build up some kind of herd immunity so more people are immune to this disease and we reduce the transmission, at the same time we protect those who are most vulnerable to it,'' the UK's chief science advisor, Patrick Vallance, said on the BBC.
The only problem, of course, is that it quickly became apparent to everyone that this was epidemiological nonsense. ''Herd immunity'' is something public health officials typically seek to generate by vaccinating populations (you know, once an effective vaccine has been developed, which is not the case here), not by allowing diseases to infect people largely indiscriminately; it's a bit like trying to fireproof your house by burning the most flammable bits down. In practice, the Johnson's policy would have meant that up to 7.9 million people would be hospitalized. The 500,000 figure came from a working assumption of a one percent death rate '-- Italy's currently stands somewhat higher than that, as health care services have become overwhelmed '-- so the number could easily have been far worse (a 3.8 percent death rate in an infected population of 54 million would mean more than two million dead).
This all assumes that the most deadly thing about coronavirus will be coronavirus itself, when an overwhelmed health care system means many more people dying of preventable conditions; when fear and isolation will take an incalculable toll on the nation's mental health; when economic disaster will mean many people lose their normal means of support.
The Bengal Famine of 1943 '-- for which Johnson's often-invoked inspiration, former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, was ultimately responsible '-- had a death rate of two to three million. The 1932 Holodomor in Ukraine, which is recognized by the country as a genocide, had a likely death toll of around 3.5 million (and some scholars argue that it led to the Holocaust). Perhaps it would sound hyperbolic to suggest that Johnson was inviting his country to experience a preventable disaster of similar proportions, but I cannot figure out what, beyond the wishful thinking that such things just ''don't happen here,'' would have excluded these figures from the realm of material possibility.
Basically no one in the upper echelons of British government knows what they're doing. So it's not especially surprising that the government have mostly spent their time since Thursday walking their own deadly nonsense back. On Sunday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock apparently decided that herd immunity was not ''the goal'' in itself, only a ''scientific consequence'' of their real goal, namely, protecting public health. And yesterday, Johnson did finally announce that he was advising people to avoid non-essential travel and contact '-- apparently after, uh, being told that his approach, which involved accepting that there might be hundreds of thousands of deaths, was likely to result in hundreds of thousands of deaths. He did stop short of enforcing the sort of formal ban on congregation would have allowed workers and small businesses to claim any sort of compensation (so what we can say about the new policy, I suppose, is that the government has stopped trying to make everyone lose their lives, and decided that they should simply lose their livelihoods instead). They also have some half-baked notions about asking private industry to help them manufacture more ventilators.
Clearly what all of this implies is that basically no one in the upper echelons of British government knows what they're doing. The crisis which has emerged in the wake of this pandemic is rapidly leading to a post-Chernobyl style reckoning with/unraveling of an economic system which has already had its shortcomings brutally exposed, and they are treating it as one might do one of those Oxford seminars in which they all got their start, where it is perfectly fine just to say whatever you think might sound clever to see if it sticks.
Part of the reason why this political style works '-- and given that the Tories have been governing this way for a decade now, and just got re-elected in a landslide, it's certainly clear that it has been working '-- is that once the mistake has been ''rectified'' by the government announcing a u-turn, no one ever wants to dwell on the mistake. So I want to do something other than assume that the government's current plan is now the ''real'' one: I want to continue to think about those three or four days, when the official line was that it was perfectly fine for hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people to die; when people were still defiantly sharing tweets showing huge crowds of people going to see plodding '90s coffee table rockers the Stereophonics, as if such an event was very obviously worth turning oneself into a vector of disease for; with the London Times publishing thinkpieces whose stance effectively amounted to ''RIP to ur grandma but im different.''
Cardiff is rockin'! #stereophonics#Kind2020Tourpic.twitter.com/vndm4MeD71
'-- stereophonics (@stereophonics) March 14, 2020Perhaps the strangest thing about those few days was that none of it seemed in any way out of the ordinary. The prime minister said that it was fine for loads of people to die, and everyone just kind of went along. Establishment journalists even started discussing the plan as if letting everyone die of coronavirus was simple common sense: taking it upon themselves to gloat over the government denying scrutiny of their plans to the general public on the basis that a non-negligible percentage of the public have ''humanities degrees'', archly mocking the public's entirely understandable fears over what might happen, and warning people not to ''politicize'' what is very obviously a political crisis. (As others have pointed out before me, for the mainstream of the British media, it is all-too-often the public '-- not politicians '-- who must be held to account).
In many ways, the Blitz continues to define British national identity '-- perhaps more so, now so few people are still alive who are able to remember it. This is a country, after all, whose government continues to command wildly solid electoral support despite being essentially the same government which was found guilty by a United Nations report of inflicting ''great misery'' on its own people with ''punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous'' austerity policies (if we're talking about preventable deaths here, the figure for Tory austerity is 130,000). At a certain point, it has simply been taken for granted that the government is actively hostile to the interests of the majority of the British population, and people in general have decided that they are perfectly happy with this, that in truth they love the pain.
Maybe nothing has changed since the London Blitz of 1940 to 1941, during which levels of ''suicide and drunkenness'' declined, pub visits increased in number, and ''cheerful crowds visiting bomb sites were so large they interfered with rescue work.'' ''Some people even told government surveyors that they enjoyed air raids if they occurred occasionally, perhaps once a week,'' Wikipedia tells us. In many ways, the Blitz continues to define British national identity '-- perhaps even more so now so few people are still alive who are able to remember it.
And certainly there is something very British about feeling more at ease in a world where you could find yourself suddenly killed from the sky at any point '-- a reasonable trade-off, perhaps, for the possibility that the friends and neighbors one secretly hates might find themselves eliminated instead. This sort of resentment, more than anything else, explains the persistent success of British Toryism: the pain that exists unchecked across everything is fine, the average voter reckons, so long as I (with my good job, mortgage, able to send my kids to private school, etc.) am navigating it relatively better than most.
I remember my grandparents talking about the Blitz; they lived in what is now the commuter belt south of London, and their street got bombed a couple of times. I remember my granddad, in particular, talking about excavating a house on their street that had been leveled during a raid and finding his neighbors, who had a daughter the same age as his own, lying dead under the rubble in what had been their bed, with their four year-old daughter crouched between them, terrified and still alive. I never heard my granddad tell that story without crying, and that was the only thing I ever saw make him cry. If my grandparents remembered the Blitz fondly, it was because it was a time when people came together to help one another, when they forgot what drove them apart and stood in solidarity against a common foe.
Any crisis presents an opportunity for something different, something better to emerge. Coronavirus is leading to a more general reckoning of our economic and political institutions. As far as I can tell, there are two broad ways in which this crisis might be resolved.
The first is that coronavirus intensifies our society's current logic of atomization '-- with the economy re-constituting itself definitively around the conditions of social isolation that the virus is now making it necessary to enforce. Already, coronavirus is turning out brilliantly for big tech companies, as theaters and cinemas must be substituted wholesale for TV and computer games, and restaurants and pubs must be swapped for food sent by Deliveroo. On this resolution, working from home will become the universal norm, and even gatherings of friendship groups will be conducted via video chat. It is entirely possible that this sort of existence, where no one would ever need to be bugged by any fellow human being they cannot simply block, would even be actively preferred by many. The problem, of course, is that it would render us helpless '-- pure consumers who would be left unable to engage with anyone except on the terms of the tech companies we now rely on to provide everything we need to survive.
But the second is that the crisis turns out to be the perfect moment for atomization to give way to solidarity. This will be difficult since, by its very nature, the virus means we must exercise our duties towards one another by making sure we keep at enough of a distance to prevent infection. But this just in itself involves a recognition that we do exist in a shared world, with shared interests '-- that even if, as a younger person, the disease is unlikely to prove fatal to me, there is every reason to self-isolate because it might prove fatal to older or immunocompromised loved ones, or the loved ones of loved ones (of loved ones of loved ones of loved ones). And already there are calls for what look like essentially socialist policies in order to curtail the economic damage the virus is going to do.
But if solidarity does emerge, then it will not only be through love and care and those sort of things. Solidarity must also exist through the recognition that we need to come together to resist a common enemy. In the case of Britain, at least, that enemy is not only a disease: it is also the people we have invested with the state power necessary to fight it, whose malicious incompetence implies a murderous irresponsibility.
Tom Whyman, a contributing writer at
The Outline, is a writer and philosopher from the UK.
Austin homeless shelters face hard choices as coronavirus spreads - News - Austin American-Statesman - Austin, TX
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 05:31
Christopher Huff, 26, stands outside of a homeless camp located at West Ben White Boulevard Frontage Road in Austin on Monday. Huff wasn't aware of the coronavirus until he walked into Walmart and saw barren shelves. "Some things I need for daily life were gone," Huff said. [BRONTE WITTPENN/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]'–²
Tents are part of a homeless camp that can be seen under the bridge of Texas State Highway 71. [BRONTE WITTPENN/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]'–²
As the novel coronavirus spreads, Austin's homeless shelters are weighing safety changes to their operations that could leave the city's most vulnerable residents with even fewer options.
The Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, which provides shelter, storage, bathrooms and showers to hundreds of people each day, took initial steps toward limiting access this week. Those coming through its doors now are required to sanitize their hands. Staff are also asking clients how they are feeling, and cleaning more frequently in high-traffic areas like stairwells and common spaces.
But stricter measures could be put in place in coming days. To protect those staying and working in the dormitory-style shelter, which houses around 130 people each night, Greg McCormack, executive director of Front Steps, which runs the ARCH, said management is considering changes. The ARCH could limit access to day services, like mail, storage and restrooms, for people not staying in the shelter. Staff also are weighing whether to turn away people who are sick in coming weeks.
Such a move from any of Austin's care providers could further leave those who are homeless at risk at a time when bars, restaurants and many local businesses have closed their doors, and restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people go into effect. Shelters, however, are considered critical facilities, and are exempt, a city spokeswoman said. McCormack says the choices shelter leaders make are about weighing the risks to clients and staff with providing the care people so desperately need.
"We had some real difficult conversations (Monday) as our leadership team and managers," he said. "What would happen if we started taking temperatures for everyone who came in the doors and someone had a temperature. Are we willing or thinking that we might not allow access to our building?
"We're kind of one of the last places that someone can be and be safe."
Next door at the Salvation Army's downtown shelter, which houses close to 250 people, similar questions are being raised.
Major Lewis Reckline, Salvation Army Austin Area Commander, said people still come and go as they please for overnight stays, but he has concerns about what he would do if the coronavirus found its way inside.
"If it does become an epidemic in our shelter, how (do) we quarantine and kind of segregate all that from the rest of the population," he said. "We would probably just quarantine the entire population."
Reckline said staff have been closely monitoring guidelines coming from the Centers for Disease Control on Prevention, and he would look to experts to help make those decisions if the time comes. But right now, the facility and many others are struggling to get supplies to keep both workers and clients safe and clean. He said he is short on cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and toilet paper, like everyone else.
"I've gotten several emails this morning of folks saying that they're running low on product and trying to see what we can do to to get some of that into our facilities," he said.
Risk for exposure
McCormack said officials know dormitory-style shelters, or anywhere large groups of people are held in close proximity, create some of the greatest risk for exposure and spread of coronavirus.
He said the homeless care community has been brainstorming other options to get people out of the elements, but not necessarily in confined quarters.
Reckline and McCormack said clients haven't expressed much fear over the virus yet. The same is true for many of the hundreds still living on the streets in Austin. Under Texas 71 in South Austin, people still live in tents in small clusters, sharing water, beer, food and space.
Christopher Huff, 26, said he has been living on the streets intermittently as the coronavirus has spread across the world, but he didn't know much about it until he went into a nearby Walmart and found bare shelves.
"Some things I needed for my daily life were gone," he said listing off necessities like bottled water and baby wipes.
Huff said he tries to stay by himself most of the time, but if the people near him got sick, he thinks he would too. There is little he could do to follow CDC guidelines on hand washing and other cleanliness measures, he said.
About a mile away, a man who frequently panhandles on South Lamar Boulevard lamented that people no longer were giving out money.
"I can't make a dime," he said. "Nobody will roll down their windows and give anything."
Cara Welch, a spokeswoman for Austin Homeland Security and Emergency Management, said the city has been working with partners to find places to offer showers or emergency shelter and other basic needs as the city closes more facilities. The details of those plans, however, were not immediately available.
Prepare for more homeless
In the meantime, Assistant City Manager Chris Shorter said care providers have been handing out kits with sanitizing wipes to help people wash their hands and disinfect their surroundings.
"As a city in the community, we need to be prepared, with closures and other things that are happening, that we might see more people outside who are homeless, gathering in different areas outside," he said. "I hope ... we can get through this supportively and not react to, potentially, that increased visual of people being homeless."
Lame Cherry: The Birth and Death of the Coronavirus Time Line
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 01:20
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.The Lame Cherry already produced an exclusive in the origins and transfer of Coronavirus, and has warned the Trump administration that they either will own the propaganda or the United States will be blamed for this outbreak.Once again this blog was proven right when the Chinese ambassador gave official voice to the charges coming out of the Iranian Republican Guard and the Chinese PLA that the United States was behind Coronavirus.This blog will once again set the narrative, beginning with this visual to explain the origins and the transfer of this virus. Previously I provided what a CIA White Paper would look like, and use that platform for you to follow the details. I want all of you non donating assholes to know as I have been saving your lives for years, that doing what I am doing is dangerous and deadly as you hide behind your keyboards. There is a great deal of effort involved to produce a "this just happened' scenario, as the real scenario is the act of multiple launches of a first strike biological weapon. This is more than criminals being hung. This is the stuff that starts world wars.Chinese diplomat accuses US Army of creating coronavirus epidemic in WuhanWhen you read the following, fully understand that the Chinese minister involved has seen the dissection of the Coronaviruses as there are two, has been informed as to the origins of this virus, as it contains the infamous American HIV and tuberculosis grafts, and the PLA is well aware of the genius of the American model, in a .........get this as a Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter as this has never been revealed previously.....When a biological weapon is released, there is not any way for a vacinne to ever be distributed in quantity in war or peace. The American model includes a controlled lethal strain which spreads by oral contact, and in order to contain the virus, which spreads through water  and excrement as cholera does, a second shedder virus is created, which is spread airborne and fluid contact, with a 15% critical rate, which is acceptable in biological 100% death warfare, to innoculate against the first lethal virus.This is the infamous L and S Strains China found, the Lethal and Safe Strains......and no in my knowing all things, I was not aware of that protocol of using humans as vaccine dispensers, to spread a cure, for a lethal biological weapon strain.It is pure genius.The chart flow is based on the original contracting for the virus.I will provide a simple time line for your simple minds.PHASE I The Islamocommunists of Iran contracted with a Dr. Germ of Switzerland to create a biological weapon to kill Saudi Sunni Muslims in the war that Obama started between Shia and Sunni.Israeli Mosaad alarmed at a nuclear Iran changing the balance of power in genocide of Arab Sunni, replaced the Swiss SARS, with one they created in the Israeli State, which would infect through sprays, but would not transmit in creating carriers.Saudi Arabia, sent the sample of Arabian SARS to the Dutch for testing.The Dutch sent the sample to Winnipeg Canada in the bioweapons lab there to dissect the virus.Chinese PLA stole the virus from the Canadian lab and sent it to Wuhan China.Wuhan China built from an Obama Clinton sanctioned Harvard professor a weapon's lab where the Arabian SARS was to be a white print for what would become Coronaviurs Wuhan.PHASE IIThe Chinese PLA in 2005 place a protocol to develop biological weapons as a first strike against the United States. Once crippled the PLA would invade and subdue the United States.The PLA's plague weapon, was to use Bat SARS, which humans did not have any immunity to. This Bat SARS would be transmitted through water supplies and not transfer out of the host, thereby making it attractive to kill Americans in their beds, not produce a nuclear retaliation as the PLA began an invasion of Alaska for oil, and in cyberwarfare and Chinese 5th columns established and brought into the United States cripple the US infrastructure and military, for the last phase of invasion.The PLA had created the Bat SARS, and was moving to vat production as PHASE III appeared.PHASE IIIElements of the world order in Europe were aware of what China was about to unleash in shattering the balance of power in the world, which would make Europe a vassal state, as much as Russia. They were aware through their intelligence wing in Mosaad that China had stolen an Israeli created "controlled virus" and were about to launch a first strike at India and the United States.Elements appeared in the same "contacts" which manage the shadowlands of the United States, in alerting this group that China was close on losing to President Trump's trade negotiations to go biological scorched earth.The American arsenal at Ft. Detrick is thorough and catalogued. Created samples were unofficially requested for plausible deniability, in the President was not informed, nor the cabinet, as the Pentagon was allowing this transfer which never happened, based upon the Chinese model of the Arabian SARS. It was a complex replica with hidden features which would not neutralize to PLA "remedies".Two virus were made available, the L strain in the water / excrement lethal and the S strain in the airborne inoculation strain.  Elements knew this would be a multi faceted operation, beyond blunting China and Iran for their attempt at changing the world order.The mirror virus were transferred to Europe and inserted into China Wuhan, where full vat production was ordered at two locations.Two "accidents" were created to neutralize the Chinese first strike at India and America, by infecting the Chinese first, and using the travel of the Chinese Lunar New Year to spread the contamination.Peking went into cover up mode, as this was a biological first strike weapon, and they knew it was lethal. They did not want the United States involved as thee Americans would understand this was a biological first strike weapon aimed at America.Contamination was allowed outside of China, in order for the other levels the elements were working in this complex operation. The United States was deliberately infected by elements, which Obama holdovers and the Pentagon assisted with, in order to innoculate the United States from this first strike biological weapon. The President was first made aware of the virus lethality and the roulette chances of 85% survival rate, but not the  origins. China losing control and knowing America was aware of the first strike manufacture, agreed to allow it's people to be used as guinea pigs for pharmaceutical experiments which would benefit other nations.PHASE IV is included in this in rudimentary form, as the virus spread was meant to punish China, Iran and Italy. Italy played a role in Arabian SARS for oil control in a new Italian Jewish led OPEC, which was a challenge to the balance of power.The virus is now in the process of genus created links, being deployed for the benefit of a European order, the order established form the chaos.Unless this narrative, which is based on the established facts prevails, the United States will be blamed for this, and the original bad actors in this, namely Iran will certainly retaliate as they were already in motion for terror events when the United States neutralized their chief terrorist.This concludes with the warning of the Farmer of Krems, who stated when a nuclear terror event struck the United States, the people of the world thought it was bad, but that the United States deserved it. That scenario would follow propaganda blaming the United States for Coronavirus.It must be established that Iran contracted for a biological weapon to genocide Arab Muslims. It must be established that the Chinese PLA had developed for production a biological first strike weapon against the United States and India for domination of the world.That must be established or the United States will become a pariah state, which the world will accept being lethally punished. Those who neutralized  the Iranian and Chinese first strike will to remain hidden to not become targets. The United States though must not become the target in any event.State Dept. 'hauled in' Chinese ambo—then put China 'on ... https://www.theblaze.com /news/state-department-hauled-in-chinese-ambassador-confronts-china-for-lying-to-world-blaming-america The State Department hauled in the Chinese ambassador to the United States on Friday to confront him over communist China's increased effort to blame America for the global coronavirus outbreak. Diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and China increased significantly this week after top Chinese propagandist Zhao Lijian, the Ministry of Foreign AfOnce again, another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.Nuff SaidagtG agtGagtG 
Coronavirus: Chinese scientists identify two types COVID-19
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 01:10
A medical worker produces traditional Chinese medicine to treat patients infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus at a hospital in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province on March 2, 2020.
STR | AFP via Getty Images
Researchers in China have found that two different types of the new coronavirus could be causing infections worldwide.
In a preliminary study published Tuesday, scientists at Peking University's School of Life Sciences and the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai found that a more aggressive type of the new coronavirus had accounted for roughly 70% of analyzed strains, while 30% had been linked to a less aggressive type.
The more aggressive type of virus was found to be prevalent in the early stages of the outbreak in Wuhan '-- the Chinese city where COVID-19 was first detected late last year.
But the frequency of this type of virus has since decreased from early January.
The researchers said their results indicate the development of new variations of the spike in COVID-19 cases was "likely caused by mutations and natural selection besides recombination."
"These findings strongly support an urgent need for further immediate, comprehensive studies that combine genomic data, epidemiological data, and chart records of the clinical symptoms of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)," they said.
Researchers cautioned that data examined in the study was still "very limited," emphasizing that follow-up studies of a larger set of data would be needed to gain a "better understanding" of the evolution and epidemiology of COVID-19.
The findings were published in the National Science Review, the journal of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Travel restrictionsThe study comes shortly after the WHO confirmed the fast-spreading virus had infected more than 93,000 people worldwide, with at least 3,100 deaths.
The vast majority of those cases have been reported in China, although the number of new daily infections overseas has now exceeded those in the world's second-largest economy.
South Korea, Italy, Iran and Germany have all recorded sharp upticks in cases of the flu-like virus in recent days, with many countries imposing travel restrictions on virus-hit areas worldwide.
The outbreak has now spread to more than 70 countries, while the WHO has warned that COVID-19 could soon reach most, "if not all," nations around the world.
Facebook blocking coronavirus articles, appears to be bug - Business Insider
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 19:21
Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg attends the annual Munich Security Conference in Germany, February 15, 2020. Andreas Gebert via Reuters Facebook is blocking users from posting some legitimate news articles about the coronavirus in what appears to be a bug in its spam filters.
On Tuesday, multiple Facebook users reported on Twitter that they found themselves unable to post articles from certain news outlets including Business Insider, BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, and the Times of Israel. It's not clear exactly what has gone wrong, and Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
In the face of the mounting COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook has sent many of its content moderators home, saying it will rely more on automated software instead. Alex Stamos, an outspoken former Facebook security exec, speculated that this shift might be to blame.
"It looks like an anti-spam rule at FB is going haywire," he wrote on Twitter. "Facebook sent home content moderators yesterday, who generally can't [work from home] due to privacy commitments the company has made. We might be seeing the start of the [machine learning going nuts with less human oversight."
Facebook denied that the bug was related to any changes to its content moderator workforce.
In a tweet, VP of Integrity Guy Rosen said: "We're on this - this is a bug in an anti-spam system, unrelated to any changes in our content moderator workforce. We're in the process of fixing and bringing all these posts back."
Here are some of the complaints:
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The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2 | Nature Medicine
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 16:13
To the Editor '-- Since the first reports of novel pneumonia (COVID-19) in Wuhan, Hubei province, China1,2, there has been considerable discussion on the origin of the causative virus, SARS-CoV-23 (also referred to as HCoV-19)4. Infections with SARS-CoV-2 are now widespread, and as of 11 March 2020, 121,564 cases have been confirmed in more than 110 countries, with 4,373 deaths5.
SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh coronavirus known to infect humans; SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 can cause severe disease, whereas HKU1, NL63, OC43 and 229E are associated with mild symptoms6. Here we review what can be deduced about the origin of SARS-CoV-2 from comparative analysis of genomic data. We offer a perspective on the notable features of the SARS-CoV-2 genome and discuss scenarios by which they could have arisen. Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.
Notable features of the SARS-CoV-2 genomeOur comparison of alpha- and betacoronaviruses identifies two notable genomic features of SARS-CoV-2: (i) on the basis of structural studies7,8,9 and biochemical experiments1,9,10, SARS-CoV-2 appears to be optimized for binding to the human receptor ACE2; and (ii) the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 has a functional polybasic (furin) cleavage site at the S1''S2 boundary through the insertion of 12 nucleotides8, which additionally led to the predicted acquisition of three O-linked glycans around the site.
1. Mutations in the receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2The receptor-binding domain (RBD) in the spike protein is the most variable part of the coronavirus genome1,2. Six RBD amino acids have been shown to be critical for binding to ACE2 receptors and for determining the host range of SARS-CoV-like viruses7. With coordinates based on SARS-CoV, they are Y442, L472, N479, D480, T487 and Y4911, which correspond to L455, F486, Q493, S494, N501 and Y505 in SARS-CoV-27. Five of these six residues differ between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV (Fig. 1a). On the basis of structural studies7,8,9 and biochemical experiments1,9,10, SARS-CoV-2 seems to have an RBD that binds with high affinity to ACE2 from humans, ferrets, cats and other species with high receptor homology7.
Fig. 1: Features of the spike protein in human SARS-CoV-2 and related coronaviruses.a, Mutations in contact residues of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 (red bar at top) was aligned against the most closely related SARS-CoV-like coronaviruses and SARS-CoV itself. Key residues in the spike protein that make contact to the ACE2 receptor are marked with blue boxes in both SARS-CoV-2 and related viruses, including SARS-CoV (Urbani strain). b, Acquisition of polybasic cleavage site and O-linked glycans. Both the polybasic cleavage site and the three adjacent predicted O-linked glycans are unique to SARS-CoV-2 and were not previously seen in lineage B betacoronaviruses. Sequences shown are from NCBI GenBank, accession codes MN908947, MN996532, AY278741, KY417146 and MK211376. The pangolin coronavirus sequences are a consensus generated from SRR10168377 and SRR10168378 (NCBI BioProject PRJNA573298)29,30.
While the analyses above suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may bind human ACE2 with high affinity, computational analyses predict that the interaction is not ideal7 and that the RBD sequence is different from those shown in SARS-CoV to be optimal for receptor binding7,11. Thus, the high-affinity binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to human ACE2 is most likely the result of natural selection on a human or human-like ACE2 that permits another optimal binding solution to arise. This is strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is not the product of purposeful manipulation.
2. Polybasic furin cleavage site and O-linked glycansThe second notable feature of SARS-CoV-2 is a polybasic cleavage site (RRAR) at the junction of S1 and S2, the two subunits of the spike8 (Fig. 1b). This allows effective cleavage by furin and other proteases and has a role in determining viral infectivity and host range12. In addition, a leading proline is also inserted at this site in SARS-CoV-2; thus, the inserted sequence is PRRA (Fig. 1b). The turn created by the proline is predicted to result in the addition of O-linked glycans to S673, T678 and S686, which flank the cleavage site and are unique to SARS-CoV-2 (Fig. 1b). Polybasic cleavage sites have not been observed in related 'lineage B' betacoronaviruses, although other human betacoronaviruses, including HKU1 (lineage A), have those sites and predicted O-linked glycans13. Given the level of genetic variation in the spike, it is likely that SARS-CoV-2-like viruses with partial or full polybasic cleavage sites will be discovered in other species.
The functional consequence of the polybasic cleavage site in SARS-CoV-2 is unknown, and it will be important to determine its impact on transmissibility and pathogenesis in animal models. Experiments with SARS-CoV have shown that insertion of a furin cleavage site at the S1''S2 junction enhances cell''cell fusion without affecting viral entry14. In addition, efficient cleavage of the MERS-CoV spike enables MERS-like coronaviruses from bats to infect human cells15. In avian influenza viruses, rapid replication and transmission in highly dense chicken populations selects for the acquisition of polybasic cleavage sites in the hemagglutinin (HA) protein16, which serves a function similar to that of the coronavirus spike protein. Acquisition of polybasic cleavage sites in HA, by insertion or recombination, converts low-pathogenicity avian influenza viruses into highly pathogenic forms16. The acquisition of polybasic cleavage sites by HA has also been observed after repeated passage in cell culture or through animals17.
The function of the predicted O-linked glycans is unclear, but they could create a 'mucin-like domain' that shields epitopes or key residues on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein18. Several viruses utilize mucin-like domains as glycan shields involved immunoevasion18. Although prediction of O-linked glycosylation is robust, experimental studies are needed to determine if these sites are used in SARS-CoV-2.
Theories of SARS-CoV-2 originsIt is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus. As noted above, the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 is optimized for binding to human ACE2 with an efficient solution different from those previously predicted7,11. Furthermore, if genetic manipulation had been performed, one of the several reverse-genetic systems available for betacoronaviruses would probably have been used19. However, the genetic data irrefutably show that SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from any previously used virus backbone20. Instead, we propose two scenarios that can plausibly explain the origin of SARS-CoV-2: (i) natural selection in an animal host before zoonotic transfer; and (ii) natural selection in humans following zoonotic transfer. We also discuss whether selection during passage could have given rise to SARS-CoV-2.
1. Natural selection in an animal host before zoonotic transferAs many early cases of COVID-19 were linked to the Huanan market in Wuhan1,2, it is possible that an animal source was present at this location. Given the similarity of SARS-CoV-2 to bat SARS-CoV-like coronaviruses2, it is likely that bats serve as reservoir hosts for its progenitor. Although RaTG13, sampled from a Rhinolophus affinis bat1, is ~96% identical overall to SARS-CoV-2, its spike diverges in the RBD, which suggests that it may not bind efficiently to human ACE27 (Fig. 1a).
Malayan pangolins (Manis javanica) illegally imported into Guangdong province contain coronaviruses similar to SARS-CoV-221. Although the RaTG13 bat virus remains the closest to SARS-CoV-2 across the genome1, some pangolin coronaviruses exhibit strong similarity to SARS-CoV-2 in the RBD, including all six key RBD residues21 (Fig. 1). This clearly shows that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein optimized for binding to human-like ACE2 is the result of natural selection.
Neither the bat betacoronaviruses nor the pangolin betacoronaviruses sampled thus far have polybasic cleavage sites. Although no animal coronavirus has been identified that is sufficiently similar to have served as the direct progenitor of SARS-CoV-2, the diversity of coronaviruses in bats and other species is massively undersampled. Mutations, insertions and deletions can occur near the S1''S2 junction of coronaviruses22, which shows that the polybasic cleavage site can arise by a natural evolutionary process. For a precursor virus to acquire both the polybasic cleavage site and mutations in the spike protein suitable for binding to human ACE2, an animal host would probably have to have a high population density (to allow natural selection to proceed efficiently) and an ACE2-encoding gene that is similar to the human ortholog.
2. Natural selection in humans following zoonotic transferIt is possible that a progenitor of SARS-CoV-2 jumped into humans, acquiring the genomic features described above through adaptation during undetected human-to-human transmission. Once acquired, these adaptations would enable the pandemic to take off and produce a sufficiently large cluster of cases to trigger the surveillance system that detected it1,2.
All SARS-CoV-2 genomes sequenced so far have the genomic features described above and are thus derived from a common ancestor that had them too. The presence in pangolins of an RBD very similar to that of SARS-CoV-2 means that we can infer this was also probably in the virus that jumped to humans. This leaves the insertion of polybasic cleavage site to occur during human-to-human transmission.
Estimates of the timing of the most recent common ancestor of SARS-CoV-2 made with current sequence data point to emergence of the virus in late November 2019 to early December 201923, compatible with the earliest retrospectively confirmed cases24. Hence, this scenario presumes a period of unrecognized transmission in humans between the initial zoonotic event and the acquisition of the polybasic cleavage site. Sufficient opportunity could have arisen if there had been many prior zoonotic events that produced short chains of human-to-human transmission over an extended period. This is essentially the situation for MERS-CoV, for which all human cases are the result of repeated jumps of the virus from dromedary camels, producing single infections or short transmission chains that eventually resolve, with no adaptation to sustained transmission25.
Studies of banked human samples could provide information on whether such cryptic spread has occurred. Retrospective serological studies could also be informative, and a few such studies have been conducted showing low-level exposures to SARS-CoV-like coronaviruses in certain areas of China26. Critically, however, these studies could not have distinguished whether exposures were due to prior infections with SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 or other SARS-CoV-like coronaviruses. Further serological studies should be conducted to determine the extent of prior human exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
3. Selection during passageBasic research involving passage of bat SARS-CoV-like coronaviruses in cell culture and/or animal models has been ongoing for many years in biosafety level 2 laboratories across the world27, and there are documented instances of laboratory escapes of SARS-CoV28. We must therefore examine the possibility of an inadvertent laboratory release of SARS-CoV-2.
In theory, it is possible that SARS-CoV-2 acquired RBD mutations (Fig. 1a) during adaptation to passage in cell culture, as has been observed in studies of SARS-CoV11. The finding of SARS-CoV-like coronaviruses from pangolins with nearly identical RBDs, however, provides a much stronger and more parsimonious explanation of how SARS-CoV-2 acquired these via recombination or mutation19.
The acquisition of both the polybasic cleavage site and predicted O-linked glycans also argues against culture-based scenarios. New polybasic cleavage sites have been observed only after prolonged passage of low-pathogenicity avian influenza virus in vitro or in vivo17. Furthermore, a hypothetical generation of SARS-CoV-2 by cell culture or animal passage would have required prior isolation of a progenitor virus with very high genetic similarity, which has not been described. Subsequent generation of a polybasic cleavage site would have then required repeated passage in cell culture or animals with ACE2 receptors similar to those of humans, but such work has also not previously been described. Finally, the generation of the predicted O-linked glycans is also unlikely to have occurred due to cell-culture passage, as such features suggest the involvement of an immune system18.
ConclusionsIn the midst of the global COVID-19 public-health emergency, it is reasonable to wonder why the origins of the pandemic matter. Detailed understanding of how an animal virus jumped species boundaries to infect humans so productively will help in the prevention of future zoonotic events. For example, if SARS-CoV-2 pre-adapted in another animal species, then there is the risk of future re-emergence events. In contrast, if the adaptive process occurred in humans, then even if repeated zoonotic transfers occur, they are unlikely to take off without the same series of mutations. In addition, identifying the closest viral relatives of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in animals will greatly assist studies of viral function. Indeed, the availability of the RaTG13 bat sequence helped reveal key RBD mutations and the polybasic cleavage site.
The genomic features described here may explain in part the infectiousness and transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 in humans. Although the evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 is not a purposefully manipulated virus, it is currently impossible to prove or disprove the other theories of its origin described here. However, since we observed all notable SARS-CoV-2 features, including the optimized RBD and polybasic cleavage site, in related coronaviruses in nature, we do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible.
More scientific data could swing the balance of evidence to favor one hypothesis over another. Obtaining related viral sequences from animal sources would be the most definitive way of revealing viral origins. For example, a future observation of an intermediate or fully formed polybasic cleavage site in a SARS-CoV-2-like virus from animals would lend even further support to the natural-selection hypotheses. It would also be helpful to obtain more genetic and functional data about SARS-CoV-2, including animal studies. The identification of a potential intermediate host of SARS-CoV-2, as well as sequencing of the virus from very early cases, would similarly be highly informative. Irrespective of the exact mechanisms by which SARS-CoV-2 originated via natural selection, the ongoing surveillance of pneumonia in humans and other animals is clearly of utmost importance.
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AcknowledgementsWe thank all those who have contributed sequences to the GISAID database (https://www.gisaid.org/) and analyses to Virological.org (http://virological.org/). We thank M. Farzan for discussions, and the Wellcome Trust for support. K.G.A. is a Pew Biomedical Scholar and is supported by NIH grant U19AI135995. A.R. is supported by the Wellcome Trust (Collaborators Award 206298/Z/17/Z'•ARTIC network) and the European Research Council (grant agreement no. 725422'•ReservoirDOCS). E.C.H. is supported by an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship (FL170100022). R.F.G. is supported by NIH grants U19AI135995, U54 HG007480 and U19AI142790.
Author informationAffiliations Department of Immunology and Microbiology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA Kristian G. Andersen Scripps Research Translational Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA Kristian G. Andersen Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK Andrew Rambaut Center for Infection and Immunity, Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University, New York, NY, USA W. Ian Lipkin Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, School of Life and Environmental Sciences and School of Medical Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia Edward C. Holmes Tulane University, School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, New Orleans, LA, USA Robert F. Garry Zalgen Labs, Germantown, MD, USA Robert F. Garry Authors Kristian G. Andersen You can also search for this author in Andrew Rambaut You can also search for this author in W. Ian Lipkin You can also search for this author in Edward C. Holmes You can also search for this author in Robert F. Garry You can also search for this author in Corresponding authorCorrespondence to Kristian G. Andersen.
Ethics declarations Competing interestsR.F.G. is co-founder of Zalgen Labs, a biotechnology company that develops countermeasures to emerging viruses.
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Escape from the Mueller miasma | Power Line
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 15:15
We have closely followed Team Mueller's prosecution of Concord Management and Consulting. The prosecution seemed to have been brought for the purpose of the news that would be generated by the indictment. When Concord appeared in court through sophisticated defense counsel with a wry sense of humor and a delight in tormenting Team Mueller '-- Eric Dubelier '-- Team Mueller sought to escape with the least possible embarrassment. They (embarrassingly) claimed they hadn't properly served Concord.
That gambit failed, but the time has come today. The government moved yesterday to dismiss its case against Concord. The Wall Street Journal reports that Judge Friedrich dismissed the case last night.
The Journal gives Dubelier the last word: ''A lawyer for Concord said the case had 'fundamental problems' and said prosecutors wouldn't have been able to prove at trial that the defendants knew they were violating U.S. laws. 'The purpose of this indictment was to make a political statement regarding the outcome of the 2016 election that was grossly overstated[.]''
In its motion the government argued that Concord conducted itself in bad faith. I don't doubt it, yet the prosecutors have no appetite to litigate that point either. Techno Fog highlights a quotable quote from the government's motion (tweet below). I add one of my own and have embedded a copy of the government's 9-page motion below it.
Quotable quote: ''In light of the defendant's conduct,'...its ephemeral presence and immunity to just punishment, the risk of exposure of law enforcement's tools and techniques, and the post-indictment change in the proof available at trial, the balance of equities has shifted. It is no longer in the best interests of justice or the country's national security to continue this prosecution.''
Wow.
The DOJ moves to dismiss the charges against the Russian Company (Concord) who conducted the alleged "information warfare against the US"
The troll case will be dismissed w/ prejudice.
How embarrassing for Team Mueller. pic.twitter.com/wfZ78EWgKc
'-- Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) March 16, 2020
200316 Concord Motion to Dismiss by Scott Johnson on Scribd
Location data gathered by Facebook, Google, other tech companies could be used to battle coronavirus spread - The Washington Post
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 15:05
Public-health experts are interested in the possibility that private-sector companies could compile the data in anonymous, aggregated form, which they could then use to map the spread of the infection, according to three people familiar with the effort, who requested anonymity because the project is in its early stages.
Analyzing trends in smartphone owners' whereabouts could prove to be a powerful tool for health authorities looking to track coronavirus, which has infected more than 180,000 people globally. But it's also an approach that could leave some Americans uncomfortable, depending on how it's implemented, given the sensitivity when it comes to details of their daily whereabouts. Multiple sources stressed that -'-- if they proceed '-- they are not building a government database.
In recent interviews, Facebook executives said the U.S. government is particularly interested in understanding patterns of people's movements, which can be derived through data the company collects from users who allow it. The tech giant in the past has provided this information to researchers in the form of statistics, which in the case of coronavirus, could help officials predict the next hotspot or decide where to allocate overstretched health resources.
''We're encouraged by American technology companies looking to leverage aggregated, anonymized data to glean key insights for COVID-19 modeling efforts,'' said an official with the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, who spoke only on condition of anonymity.
The official said those insights might ''help public health officials, researchers, and scientists improve their understanding of the spread of COVID19 and transmission of the disease.''
Live updates: Coronavirus quarantines, lockdowns and closures upend life across the globe
A task force created by tech executives, entrepreneurs and investors presented a range of ideas around disease mapping and telehealth to the White House during a private meeting Sunday. The discussions included representatives from tech giants; investors led by the New York-based firm Hangar and well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalist Ron Conway; public-health leaders from Harvard University; and smaller telehealth startups like Ro, two sources said.
''We are still in the process of collecting ideas, recommendations, and proposed actions from task-force members, which we intend to present to the White House in the coming days,'' said Josh Mendelsohn, the managing partner at Hangar, who helped organize the effort.
Many of those involved either did not respond or declined to comment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not respond to a request for comment.
The early, unprecedented collaboration between Washington and Silicon Valley reflects the urgent, nationwide scramble to stop a deadly malady that has shuttered businesses, skewered the stock market, sent students home from school and now threatens to overwhelm the U.S. medical system with patients in need of critical care.
Over the past week, White House officials led by Michael Kratsios, the country's chief technology officer, have convened a series of meetings to leverage the tech expertise of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, IBM and other technology leaders. The government has encouraged social-media sites to take a more aggressive approach to thwart coronavirus conspiracy theories, The Post has reported, responding to concerns that foreign misinformation might be stoking panic about the outbreak. And the Trump administration has explored partnering with the tech industry to improve telework and telehealth offerings for millions of Americans.
White House asks Silicon Valley for help to combat coronavirus, track its spread and stop misinformation
The relationship hasn't been without its hiccups: On Friday, President Trump announced Google would be developing a website so Americans could learn how to get tested for coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19. That differed from the initial statements from Google's parent company, Alphabet, which had indicated it planned a more limited offering targeting residents of California. Ultimately, though, Google said soon after it would unveil a website to provide information for U.S. patients nationwide.
On Monday, White House leaders, tech experts and health officials struck a more unified note, unveiling a portal for roughly 29,000 research papers on coronavirus. The portal allows the tech industry's artificial-intelligence tools '-- which can scan and analyze data en masse '-- to process the papers rapidly to uncover new insights about the global malady.
''Decisive action from America's science and technology enterprise is critical to prevent, detect, treat, and develop solutions to COVID-19,'' Kratsios said in a statement.
'It shouldn't take a pandemic': Coronavirus exposes Internet inequality among U.S. students as schools close their doors
The new efforts by Washington and Silicon Valley arrived the same week that dozens of engineers, executives and epidemiologists issued an open letter, calling on companies to take a greater stand against coronavirus. Specifically, they encouraged Apple and Google to adopt ''privacy preserving'' features that might enable authorities to help doctors determine people who were in contact with a patient that later tested positive for coronavirus.
''Technology companies have taken important steps already, such as closing offices in affected areas or showing custom search results in place of user generated content. But we believe there is a lot more that Silicon Valley can do to assist with large scale mitigation,'' they wrote.
Smartphones regularly transmit their locations to wireless carriers and often to major tech companies as well, including Google and Facebook, in order to make some of their services work. The makers of apps that deliver weather reports, hail rides or help people find a coffee shop also frequently collect location information, and some sell it to firms that mine the data for business insights and opportunities.
Privacy advocates typically look skeptically on such commercial uses of location data, calling for stricter laws governing its use. Recent news about Israel's plans to use location data to help track the coronavirus similarly sparked intense discussions about the legal and ethical implications of deploying such data to thwart the spread of disease and get medical help to infected people.
''The balance between privacy and pandemic policy is a delicate one,'' tweeted Al Gidari, director of privacy at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society, last week. ''The problem here is that this is not a law school exam. Technology can save lives, but if the implementation unreasonably threatens privacy, more lives may be at risk.''
The issues are all the more sensitive for Silicon Valley because the companies faced a severe backlash in 2013, following disclosures about the role of tech company data in surveillance by the National Security Agency, made public by agency contractor Edward Snowden. Relations between tech companies and government officials were severely strained for years after and have improved only gradually.
''Privacy is the first to go when there are national security issues,'' said Ashkan Soltani, a former Federal Trade Commission chief technologist and also a journalist who covered the Snowden revelations.
In seeking to battle coronavirus, the U.S. government is not seeking to collect and maintain a database of Americans' whereabouts, sources cautioned. Rather, U.S. officials have asked whether companies' vast stores of geolocation data might help epidemiologists spot trends, including vulnerable populations, or identify areas at risk, such as hospitals under strain, two people said.
State Department blames 'swarms of online, false personas' from Russia for wave of coronavirus misinformation online
Facebook is already working with health researchers and nonprofits in several countries to provide anonymized and aggregated statistics about people's movements through a project called disease-prevention maps.
Facebook populates its maps with the aid of its users, who have given the company permission to collect their location '-- harnessed via their smartphones '-- while its app runs in the background. Those locations are then aggregated and anonymized by Facebook engineers, who can calculate the likelihood people in one city or town are likely to visit another area, potentially spreading the outbreak there.
The most granular data Facebook provides to outsiders can locate a person to within about a third of a mile, Facebook officials say. The tech giant does not provide any data about individuals' movement, aggregated or otherwise, to governments for disease tracking, the company says.
''You're trying to predict the probability that a group of people in Prince George's County might interact with a group of people from D.C.,'' said Laura McGorman, who leads the project, referring to a a Maryland county in suburban Washington. Such a prediction could offer clues for how infections might travel.
McGorman said government officials, including those in California, are also interested in seeing whether people are practicing social distancing and whether it is an effective strategy. She said engineers had labored over the past 48 hours to help authorities with their requests.
She said the project is in the early phases because it is challenging to map real-time location streaming in from smartphones against analog information coming in from hospitals and cities. ''It is very humbling because we have one piece of the puzzle that we can offer but there are so many other inputs in understanding how disease will spread.''
Drew Harwell contributed to this story.
Illinois News Station Mistakenly Airs Election Results Day Before Primary Showing Joe Biden Victory
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 14:27
The local Illinois news station WCIA mistakenly aired Election Day results on Monday, showing former Vice President Joe Biden (D) winning, the day before the state's Tuesday primary election.
A video went viral on Monday, showing WCIA airing Tuesday's election results during a Monday showing of The Price is Right. The results showed Biden defeating Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) by just over 93,000 votes.
''While watching The Price is Right our station accidentally runs tomorrow's election results '... its [sic] Monday our election in Illinois is tomorrow,'' the woman, Sherry Daughtery, wrote alongside a video:
She updated her post with a statement from Mark Maxwell, the station's Capitol Bureau Chief, who said it was nothing more than a ''routine test'' rehearsal. Airing the dry run, he said, was an error. He stressed that the numbers were not based on any actual polling returns and added that the station ''never intended to give the wrong information or wrong impression'':
We do routine test rehearsals before every election to make sure the graphics work properly and to give directors some practice. The error was in putting the dry run on air. That shouldn't have happened and we're looking into it. Obviously, we never intended to give the wrong information or wrong impression. None of those numbers were based on any real polling returns. Since your post is being widely shared, I'd appreciate it if you would consider updating the original post so people don't get the wrong idea.
Breitbart News reached out to Maxwell, who verified that he did, in fact, make a ''truthful'' statement.
Officials in Illinois have not canceled the state's primary election, despite Gov. J.B. Pritzker taking drastic measures by announcing the closure of restaurants and bars across the state as fears over the coronavirus continue to mount.
Pritzker remained confident in holding the election as scheduled, telling NBC's Meet the Press that officials have been ''extra-careful at all of our polling places.''
''Everybody is practicing good hygiene. And we're making sure that it's safe for people to come and vote,'' he said on Sunday. ''The schools are closed, so many people will be voting in schools. And there won't be big crowds.''
expert reaction to study looking at whether there are two strains of the novel coronavirus | Science Media Centre
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 13:58
March 4, 2020Research, published in National Science Review, reports on whether there are two strains of the novel coronavirus.
Dr Michael Skinner, Reader in Virology, Imperial College London, said:
''The study looks at evolution of SARS-COV-2 from Bat Nov TG13 (its closest ancestor) by looking at distribution primarily of mutations that don't affect the protein going sequence (they're ''synonymous'') so don't really affect how it behaves. They show that SARS-COV-2 and TG13 are surprisingly distant, suggesting that they're separated not only by the acquisition of ACE-2 receptor binding sequences in S1 (as previously noted by others) but by subsequent mutation and selection (i.e. evolution) over several decades.
''Sequencing of 100 SARS-COV-2 genomes from China and beyond, they identified two subtypes, differentiated by nucleotide substitutions at 8,782 (orf1ab: T8517C, synonymous) and 28,144 (ORF8: C251T, non-synonymous '' S84L). They label these S & L representing the amino acid encoded at ORF8 amino acid 84.
''They show that S is ancestral, being the form found in the closely related viruses like TG13. They also show that L became the most prevalent, especially in Wuhan, less so in the rest of China.
''The authors reasonably construct some tentative hypotheses which can now usefully be tested as we gather more sequences elsewhere.
''They speculate that the L form might be more ''aggressive'' but that is not an adjective we normally apply to viruses, where we talk about transmissibility, fitness, virulence.
''Viruses have to be able to replicate in each sequential host and transmit serially between them. It is quite possible for one form of the virus to be better at replication, another at transmission.
''There can be selection of a particular form due solely to a ''founder effect'' '' caused by infection with a single particle representing just one type of several possible.
''Molecular epidemiologists will be keen to see whether there has been preferential seeding of either form in the various affected countries outside of China, and whether either form predominates in the subsequent ongoing spread from the early foci of infection.
''It is, however, too early to speculate on any practical consequences of the interesting observation '' though at the moment there's no sign that it will affect vaccination strategies, as (unless I'm mistaken) the mutations don't seem to have affected the sequence of the S1 spike protein which is the antigen most people are targeting for vaccine production.''
Dr Stephen Griffin, Associate Professor Section of Infection & Immunity, University of Leeds, said:
''What they seem to be saying is that after SARS-CoV2 first crossed into humans, the ancestral strain (S) subsequently evolved into another lineage (L). Both of these are now apparently circulating. The newer lineage was initially more prevalent, but is now reducing '' the authors speculate that this lineage was more affected by human intervention as a result of it being better at spreading/more pathogenic. The older (S) lineage appear less affected by preventative measures, due, say the authors to it being less virulent and so producing a lower level of more stable infections.
''It's difficult to confirm studies like this without a direct side by side comparison of pathogenicity/spread in, ideally, an animal model, or at least a greatly extended epidemiological study. The authors themselves admit that their sequencing data regarding the rise/fall of the second lineage is relatively scarce and recommend further investigations.
''It is usually the case that when RNA viruses first cross species barriers into humans they aren't particularly well adapted to their new host (us!). Thus, they usually undergo some changes allowing them to adapt and become better able to replicate within, and spread from human to human. However, as this study hasn't tested the relative ''fitness'' of these viruses when they replicate in human cells or an animal model, it isn't really possible to say whether this is what's happened to SARS-CoV2. It is also difficult to say how/why human interference may have impacted upon one strain relative to the other for similar reasons.
''As such, I'm not sure that you can reasonably say yet whether this variability is linked to viral decline, or could be used to tell whether someone is likely to succumb to the virus '' this second question is almost certainly due to a balance between the virulence of the virus, host genetics, age, underlying conditions, immune status and environmental factors.''
'On the origin and continuing evolution of SARS-CoV-2' by Xiaolu Tang et al. was published in National Science Review: https://academic.oup.com/nsr/advance-article/doi/10.1093/nsr/nwaa036/5775463
All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:
http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/tag/covid-19
The SMC also produced a Factsheet on COVID-19 which is available here:
https://www.sciencemediacentre.org/smc-novel-coronavirus-factsheet/
Declared interests
None received.
On the origin and continuing evolution of SARS-CoV-2 | National Science Review | Oxford Academic
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 13:49
Accepted manuscript
State Key Laboratory of Protein and Plant Gene Research, Center for Bioinformatics, School of Life Sciences, Peking University
, Beijing, 100871,
China
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Xiaolu Tang , State Key Laboratory of Protein and Plant Gene Research, Center for Bioinformatics, School of Life Sciences, Peking University
, Beijing, 100871,
China
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Changcheng Wu , CAS Key Laboratory of Molecular Virology & Immunology, Institut Pasteur of Shanghai, Chinese Academy of Sciences
,
China
Center for Biosafety Mega-Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences
,
China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
,
China
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Xiang Li , CAS Key Laboratory of Molecular Virology & Immunology, Institut Pasteur of Shanghai, Chinese Academy of Sciences
,
China
School of Life Sciences, Shanghai University
,
China
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Yuhe Song , State Key Laboratory of Protein and Plant Gene Research, Center for Bioinformatics, School of Life Sciences, Peking University
, Beijing, 100871,
China
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Xinmin Yao , State Key Laboratory of Protein and Plant Gene Research, Center for Bioinformatics, School of Life Sciences, Peking University
, Beijing, 100871,
China
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Xinkai Wu , State Key Laboratory of Protein and Plant Gene Research, Center for Bioinformatics, School of Life Sciences, Peking University
, Beijing, 100871,
China
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Yuange Duan , State Key Laboratory of Protein and Plant Gene Research, Center for Bioinformatics, School of Life Sciences, Peking University
, Beijing, 100871,
China
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Hong Zhang , State Key Laboratory of Protein and Plant Gene Research, Center for Bioinformatics, School of Life Sciences, Peking University
, Beijing, 100871,
China
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Yirong Wang , NHC Key Laboratory of Systems Biology of Pathogens, Institute of Pathogen Biology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College
, Beijing
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Zhaohui Qian , ... Show more CAS Key Laboratory of Molecular Virology & Immunology, Institut Pasteur of Shanghai, Chinese Academy of Sciences
,
China
Center for Biosafety Mega-Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences
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China
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Jie Cui , State Key Laboratory of Protein and Plant Gene Research, Center for Bioinformatics, School of Life Sciences, Peking University
, Beijing, 100871,
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Jian Lu These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author Notes PDF Split View Article contents Figures & tables Video Audio Supplementary Data Cite CiteXiaolu Tang, Changcheng Wu, Xiang Li, Yuhe Song, Xinmin Yao, Xinkai Wu, Yuange Duan, Hong Zhang, Yirong Wang, Zhaohui Qian, Jie Cui, Jian Lu, On the origin and continuing evolution of SARS-CoV-2, National Science Review, , nwaa036, https://doi.org/10.1093/nsr/nwaa036
Close Navbar Search Filter Mobile Microsite Search Term Search ABSTRACTThe SARS-CoV-2 epidemic started in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and has since impacted a large portion of China and raised major global concern. Herein, we investigated the extent of molecular divergence between SARS-CoV-2 and other related coronaviruses. Although we found only 4% variability in genomic nucleotides between SARS-CoV-2 and a bat SARS-related coronavirus (SARSr-CoV; RaTG13), the difference at neutral sites was 17%, suggesting the divergence between the two viruses is much larger than previously estimated. Our results suggest that the development of new variations in functional sites in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike seen in SARS-CoV-2 and viruses from pangolin SARSr-CoVs are likely caused by mutations and natural selection besides recombination. Population genetic analyses of 103 SARS-CoV-2 genomes indicated that these viruses evolved into two major types (designated L and S), that are well defined by two different SNPs that show nearly complete linkage across the viral strains sequenced to date. Although the L type ('¼70%) is more prevalent than the S type ('¼30%), the S type was found to be the ancestral version. Whereas the L type was more prevalent in the early stages of the outbreak in Wuhan, the frequency of the L type decreased after early January 2020. Human intervention may have placed more severe selective pressure on the L type, which might be more aggressive and spread more quickly. On the other hand, the S type, which is evolutionarily older and less aggressive, might have increased in relative frequency due to relatively weaker selective pressure. These findings strongly support an urgent need for further immediate, comprehensive studies that combine genomic data, epidemiological data, and chart records of the clinical symptoms of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
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Author notesThese authors contributed equally to this work.
(C) The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of China Science Publishing & Media Ltd.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
More Lies From the New York Times | Power Line
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 12:41
The Democrats are desperate to blame President Trump for the Wuhan coronavirus, and to criticize any measures his administration may take. They are shameless, too; at first, his response''an early ban on travel from China, which undoubtedly saved lives''was racist and xenophobic, while now anything he does is too little. Meanwhile, one country after another, Germany and Canada most recently, is closing down its borders. I guess there are xenophobes everywhere.
The New York Times bashes the president daily, usually by peddling fake news. The latest example comes from Editorial Board member Mara Gay, the same one who said on MSNBC that 500 is one million times 327. Here, she simply misquoted the president. Dan Bongino has the story.
First, Gay's tweet with its alleged Trump quote:
Trump told governors this morning they are on their own: ''Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment '-- try getting it yourselves,'' Mr. Trump told the governors during the conference call, a recording of which was shared with The New York Times. https://t.co/K0sont7MBc
'-- Mara Gay (@MaraGay) March 16, 2020
Bongino's response, which has been echoed by many:
Do you EVER tell the truth? Let us help you with the rest 👇ðŸ>>''We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.''
'-- Dan Bongino (@dbongino) March 16, 2020
RedState explains at the link:
Trump made similar points this afternoon during a White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing, correctly noting there is less red tape at the local and state levels than at the federal level. The point? Get the supplies however you can and as soon as you can, and don't wait on us because the federal bureaucracy will slow progress.
I actually don't think the Times does much damage anymore, because pretty much everyone understands how viciously partisan and unreliable it is. One question that millions have asked is, if Donald Trump does so many terrible things, why do leftists constantly have to make up things he didn't actually do?
Admiral Brett Giroir - Wikipedia
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 11:18
Brett P. Giroir (born November 4, 1960) is an American pediatrician and a four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, who currently serves as the Assistant Secretary for Health under the Trump administration. He concurrently serves as the Secretary's principal public health and science adviser, senior adviser for HRSA, CDC, and SAMHSA and chief opioid policy adviser. As of March 2020, he concurrently serves as the director of the U.S. coronavirus diagnostic testing.[2] He also served as the Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs in November and December 2019, while Stephen Hahn's nomination was pending in the Senate.[3]
Giroir has led major initiatives for academic institutions, global corporations, and the U.S. Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs. He served as president and CEO of ViraCyte, LLC, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing cellular immunotherapies for severe infections and as senior fellow at the Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute and strategic advisor for the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute (TMCx). He was a member of the Texas Task Force for Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response (charted initially by the governor to respond to Texas Ebola cases), adjunct professor of pediatrics, tropical medicine, and medical ethics and health policy at the Baylor College of Medicine.
Giroir chaired the independent Blue Ribbon Panel for the Veterans Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, whose comprehensive assessment and recommendations to reform the Veterans Administration Health System were delivered to Congress and Secretary Robert McDonald on September 1, 2015. He subsequently testified to the full House Committee on Veterans Affairs on October 7, 2015, and communicated priorities for VA reform in the New England Journal of Medicine.[4]
Giroir served as the deputy director, and then a director, of DARPA's Defense Science Office from 2004 to 2008, vice chancellor for the Texas A&M University System from 2008 to 2013, and as the chief executive officer of the Texas A&M Health Science Center from 2013 to 2015. He is widely known for leading novel biomedical initiatives within Texas culminating in the 2012 announcement of a public private partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service Biomedical Research and Development Authority to accelerate development and manufacturing of vaccines and therapeutics for pandemic influenza and emerging infectious diseases. This partnership had a $3 billion contract value over 25 years, with an estimated $41 billion in economic impact to Texas.
Education and career Edit Education Edit Giroir received his A.B. degree in biology from Harvard University, magna cum laude, in 1982. He was the first college graduate in his family. Giroir later earned his M.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 1986, Alpha Omega Alpha, and conducted his residency (1986''1989), chief residency (1989''1990) and fellowship (1990''1991) in pediatrics at the medical center, specifically at Children's Medical Center (Dallas) and Parkland Memorial Hospital. Giroir received his post-doctoral training at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Bruce Beutler, 2011 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine.
UT Southwestern Medical Center Edit Following his fellowship, Giroir served on the faculty at UT Southwestern (1993''2004), earning the rank of tenured professor. He was the inaugural holder of the Associates First Capital Corporation Distinguished Chair in Pediatrics, and the Kathryne and Gene Bishop Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Care. His administrative positions included director of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, and director of the pediatric intensive care units at Children's Medical Center and Parkland Memorial Hospital. In 2000, Giroir was named the associate dean for Clinical Affairs at UT Southwestern, while taking on the role as the inaugural chief medical officer at Children's Medical Center (Dallas). Giroir led a medical staff of over 750 physicians, and expanded the services of the hospital to better serve the region's burgeoning pediatric population. His research focused on severe life-threatening infectious diseases, including meningococcal disease ("the college meningitis"). Giroir's research was featured on a PBS NOVA entitled "Killer Disease on Campus"[5] which originally aired in 2002. Giroir has published over 85 academic articles, chapters and books on a variety of topics including host-pathogen interactions and novel therapies for life-threatening infectious diseases.
Governmental appointments Edit Defense Sciences Research Council Edit Due to his work on life-threatening infectious diseases, and while continuing to serve full-time at UT Southwestern, Giroir accepted membership on the Defense Sciences Research Council (DSRC, 1999''2004), an agile academic and technical assessment council charged with assisting DARPA (The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) in developing novel, world-changing R&D initiatives. Giroir co-chaired or participated in studies related to biological weapons decontamination and universal medial countermeasures to biological threats during his appointment with the DSRC.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Edit In 2004, Giroir accepted a full-time position at DARPA as deputy director of the Defense Sciences Offices (DSO), and then as its director from 2007 to 2008. Among the most noted programs begun during this time were a comprehensive biodefense thrust known as Accelerating Critical Therapeutics and numerous programs in fundamental mathematics, engineering, and human performance. During Giroir's tenure, the Defense Sciences Office developed the following biodefense programs and other programs related to biosecurity with the goal of developing new technologies and approaches to be transitioned for translation by other agencies:
Unconventional pathogen countermeasures to develop new approaches to vaccines and treatments for emerging diseases and agents of bioterrorismRapid vaccine assessment to develop an artificial immune system to rapidly test vaccines and avoid lengthy, poorly predictive preclinical trialsPredicting health and disease to develop pre-symptomatic diagnostics for infectious diseasesRadiation biodosimetry to immediately determine radiation exposurePeak soldier performance to explore natural and nutritional mechanisms to maintain warfighter performance, including improving resistance to infectious diseaseSurviving blood loss to extend the "golden hour" of trauma to the "golden six hours" through the creation of new therapies that can temporarily reduce oxygen demandRevolutionizing prosthetics to develop the first neurally controlled fully functional human arm and handDefense Sciences Study Group Edit Giroir was also selected as a member of the Defense Sciences Study Group,[6] a two-year intensive program to develop emerging leaders in science and technology. He was a member of the external advisory board, NASA National Center for Space Biological Technologies (2003''2007), and as the chair on the Chemical and Biological Defense Panel (2009''2010) for the Threat Reduction Advisory Committee (TRAC).
Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Edit On October 6, 2014, Governor Rick Perry announced the creation of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response to assess and enhance the state's existing capabilities to prepare for and respond to pandemic disease such as the Ebola virus. The Governor named Giroir as director of the task force to lead a team of experts in epidemiology and infectious disease.[7]
Assistant Secretary for Health Edit Giroir received his commission and appointment to the rank of admiral, in the regular corps, when he assumed office as assistant secretary on February 15, 2018. He was appointed by the Secretary to the additional role as mental health senior adviser on March 29, 2018.[8]
On November 15, 2018, President Donald Trump nominated Giroir for appointment to serve the additional role as Representative of the United States on the executive board of the World Health Organization.[9][10] The nomination was returned to the President on January 3, 2020 without action.[10]
Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs Edit On November 1, 2019, HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced that Giroir would serve as Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs until Stephen Hahn, whose nomination for the same position was announced on the same day, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate.[11][12][13]
Other appointments Edit Giroir was appointed by USD-ATL to serve on the Threat Reduction Advisory Committee (TRAC) Chemical and Biological Defense Panel from 2008 to 2010, and was member of the Department of Defense Chief Scientist Panel for Biodefense from 2004 to 2008.
He appeared before the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities hearing on Biodefense: Worldwide Threats and Countermeasure Efforts for the Department of Defense in October 2013.[14][15]
Texas A&M University System Edit Giroir served as vice chancellor for Research (2008''2011), and vice chancellor for strategic initiatives (2011''2013) and executive vice president and CEO of the Texas A&M Health Science Center (2013''2015). He held professor appointments in the Texas A&M College of Medicine and the Dwight Look College of Engineering, and an adjunct professor appointment at The Bush School of Government and Public Service. Giroir's major focus was leading the development of the biotechnology initiatives within the Texas A&M University System and the Biocorridor in Brazos County.[16] In this regard, Giroir was the lead investigator and program director for the design, development, and implementation of the National Center for Therapeutics Manufacturing (NCTM), a biopharmaceutical research and development program at Texas A&M University.[17] Giroir was also the Co-Investigator on a Department of Defense sponsored project within the Blue Angel Program to develop and successfully implement the world's most capable[buzzword ] plant-made vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing program.[citation needed ]
In March 2013, GlaxoSmithKline and The Texas A&M University System announced U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approval of the establishment of an influenza-vaccine manufacturing facility as the anchor of the Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM) in Bryan-College Station, Texas. The announcement was hosted by Governor Rick Perry where he announced that the projected economic impact of this award to the State of Texas was estimated at $41 billion and included nearly 7,000 long term jobs.[18][19]
Giroir led the transition of this center to the Texas A&M Health Science Center upon his appointment as executive vice president and CEO of the Health Science Center, and recruited Gerald Parker (then Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Defense) as the new principal investigator for the center.[citation needed ]
During Giroir's two years at the Health Science Center, research funding increased by 25% and federal funding by 65%. He led the development of a new strategic plan, formed a long-term partnership with Houston Methodist Hospital, and outlined new expansion plans at the Texas Medical Center.[citation needed ]
Health Science and Biosecurity Partners, LLC Edit After resigning from Texas A&M, Giroir founded Health Science and Biosecurity Partners, a consulting firm focused on life science innovation, strategy and investments. The firm serves a diverse portfolio of clients including academia, global corporations, the Federal Government, and life science ventures.
Other appointments Edit Giroir served on the scientific advisory boards of the Cancer Moonshots Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center, the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute at the University of Michigan, the Institute for Patient Safety at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, and was a member of the board of directors of Esperance Pharmaceuticals and BioHouston. He served on the board of managers for Kalon Biotherapeutics and NASA's National Space Biomedical Research Institute, the scientific advisory board of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University and was a member of the Texas Medical Center strategic planning steering committee.[citation needed ]
He has appeared in the media, including CNBC, CNN, Reuters, The New York Times, USA Today and BBC World Service Radio.[citation needed ]
Awards Edit Texas A&M University System Award for InnovationAlpha Omega Alpha, University of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterAmerican Heart Association, Lyndon Baines Johnson Research AwardSociety for Pediatric ResearchDallas Business Journal, Health Care Hero AwardSociety of Critical Care Medicine, "SCCM Annual Scientific Award"Society of Critical Care Medicine, "Presidential Citation"Child Magazine, "Ten pediatricians who make a difference"National High School Debate ChampionReferences Edit ^ ADM Brett P. Giroir, M.D. ^ Trump administration rolls out new coronavirus push, names HHS testing czar ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts". The White House. April 21, 2017 . Retrieved 23 January 2018 . ^ Reforming the Veterans Health Administration '-- Beyond Palliation of Symptoms, Brett P. Giroir, M.D., and Gail R. Wilensky, Ph.D. N Engl J Med 2015; 373:1693''1695 October 29, 201 5DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1511438) ^ NOVA Killer Disease on Campus ^ Defense Sciences Study Group Archived 2012-07-16 at the Wayback Machine ^ "Gov. Perry Names Dr. Brett Giroir to Lead Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response". Archived from the original on 2014-11-14 . Retrieved 2014-11-08 . ^ Secretary Azar Announces Appointments to Advance Department Priorities ^ Ten Nominations and One Withdraw Sent to the Senate ^ a b PN125 '-- Brett P. Giroir '-- Department of State ^ Burton, Thomas M.; Restuccia, Andrew (November 1, 2019). "Trump Will Tap Texas Doctor to Lead FDA". The Wall Street Journal . Retrieved November 4, 2019 . ^ McGinley, Laurie (November 1, 2019). "Trump announces plan to nominate Texas cancer doctor to run FDA". The Washington Post . Retrieved November 4, 2019 . ^ Thomas, Katie (November 1, 2019). "Trump to Nominate Stephen Hahn, Cancer Researcher, to Head F.D.A." The New York Times . Retrieved November 4, 2019 . ^ "House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities hearing on Biodefense: Worldwide Threats and Countermeasure Efforts for the Department of Defense" ^ Willman, David, "Federal vaccine development sites ill-suited to counter covid-19 epidemic", Washington Post, March 15, 2020. Retrieved 03-15-2020. ^ "Biotechnology is new breed of business at Texas A&M". Archived from the original on 2012-09-12 . Retrieved 2012-02-02 . ^ National Academy of Engineering: 21st Century Manufacturing and Design Forum ^ dead link Office of Governor '' Gov. Perry Announces Major Biopharmaceutical Partnership Archived 2013-06-15 at the Wayback Machine ^ Houston Chronicle, Community Report, Tuesday, March 26, 2013 "Governor announces biopharmaceutical partnership with GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines" External links Edit Biography at U.S. Department of Health & Human ServicesViraCyte LLCTexas Medical CenterTexas A&M University SystemTexas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing
FACT CHECK: No, Trump Did Not 'Fire' Pandemic Specialist or 'Defund' CDC
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 10:48
CLAIM: President Trump ''fired'' the government's pandemic specialist, and ''defunded'' the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
VERDICT: Mostly false. The specialist was not fired; he quit. Some CDC cuts were proposed, but not implemented.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg claimed at the Democrat debate in Charleston, South Carolina, on Tuesday night that President Donald Trump had ''fired'' the government's pandemic expert and ''defunded'' the Centers for Disease Control:
One of the great problems today, you read about the virus, what's really happening here is the president fired the pandemic specialist in this country two years ago, so there'e nobody here to figure out what the hell we should be doing. [Applause] And he's defunded Centers for Disease Control, CDC so we don't have the organization we need.
In reality, the pandemic expert '-- Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer '-- left the National Security Council (NSC) voluntarily after then-National Security Advisor John Bolton was appointed.
Bolton disbanded the unit that Ziemer was supervising as part of an effort to downsize the bloated NSC staff. The purpose of the unit, which had overseen the global fight against Ebola, had largely been fulfilled.
It is true that Ziemer and his unit have not yet been replaced.
The Trump administration has indeed proposed cuts to the CDC, but they have not been passed by Congress.
Trump has not ''defunded'' the agency, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar has said that the new proposed budget would, in fact, prioritize the fight against coronavirus.
Recently, the administration reversed course, asking for $2.5 billion in emergency funding for managing the coronavirus.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
Judge on FBI 'Losing' Michael Flynn Documents, 'Things Happen'
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 10:42
FILE '' In this Dec. 1, 2017, file photo, former President Donald Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves federal court in Washington. Robert Mueller charged former campaign chairman Paul Manafort with failing to register as a foreign agent despite being paid millions from a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party, and court papers show Flynn did undisclosed work directed in part by Turkish government officials. A federal case against a Pakistani man is putting Washington lobbyists on notice. The prosecution reflects what officials say is a more aggressive enforcement strategy against unregistered foreign agents that began before Robert Mueller's investigation laid bare a shadowy world of international influence peddling. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Earlier today, RedState reported on President Trump possibly pardoning Michael Flynn after the FBI claimed they lost the 302s that could possibly exonerate him. Those documents have been at the epicenter of Flynn's newest legal defense, with the evidence pointing to them being altered months after he was originally interviewed.
Now, we are getting reaction from the judge and it's pretty unbelievable.
READ: Defense still seeks original 2017 FBI summary @GenFlynn interview about his Russia contacts. FBI record is called a ''302'' @SidneyPowell1 questions GOV claim original not ''in their possession,'' suggesting it does exist. Judge: ''things happen'' ''documents are lost''@CBSNews pic.twitter.com/KjWA0z9xsm
'-- Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) March 16, 2020
So the DOJ tells the judge that the documents are no longer ''in their possession,'' which is an admission they exist, and the judge's response is ''things happen.'' Imagine having your life on the line, your livelihood threatened (a federal record matters), and having fought so diligently to clear your name and then having the judge say ''meh, crap happens bro.''
There is now ample evidence that 1) Flynn did not intend to mislead during his FBI interview and 2) that the FBI themselves have documentation to support that. This is not how our justice system is supposed to work. Yes, Flynn pleaded guilty, but he did so under unimaginable pressure, including threats toward his son. Most anyone in his position would have done the same, especially after being driven to the brink of bankruptcy.
It's well past time for Trump to just pardon Flynn. This farce has gone on long enough and the judge should have been removed from this case after his last outburst. Handwaving away exculpatory evidence shows gross bias on his part. Pull the trigger and pardon Flynn now.
Front-page contributor for RedState. Visit my archives for more of my latest articles and help out by following me on Twitter
@bonchieredstate.
Feds Tighten Lab Security After Anthrax, Bird Flu Blunders : Shots - Health News : NPR
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 09:52
In the course of trying to understand a laboratory accident involving anthrax, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stumbled upon another major blunder '-- involving a deadly flu virus.
The flu incident apparently posed no health risk, but it went unreported to top brass for six weeks. Those officials now recognize a pattern of problems in their world-class laboratory. And these incidents are raising broader questions about the safety of high-security germ labs.
The flu incident started earlier this year, when scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture asked the CDC for samples of an ordinary flu virus for some experiments. But the USDA scientists noticed the virus wasn't behaving as they expected. On close inspection they determined that it actually contained a deadly flu strain called H5N1.
[P]rior research [by the CDC] has shown that around the country in high-containment laboratories there are errors on almost a weekly basis.
Marc Lipsitch, epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health
"Everything we know today suggests there was no human exposure '-- the materials are all either destroyed or contained," says Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC. But he found the incident "distressing." The CDC's flu lab has a sterling reputation, and "to me the fact that something like this could happen in such a superb laboratory is unsettling."
It suggests deeper safety problems at the CDC.
Frieden also said he was disturbed that he didn't learn about the incident until this week '-- even though the error came to light six weeks ago.
"It's very important to have a culture of safety that says, if you've got a problem, talk about it," he said at a news conference.
As Frieden dug deeper into this incident '-- and into a similar recent case in which anthrax was mishandled '-- he reviewed six lab errors over the years that stemmed from failures in CDC safety procedures. He says each time, people fixed the smaller problem at hand, without realizing that there was a deeper problem in the systems designed to reduce the risk of laboratory errors.
Dr. Thomas Frieden has directed the CDC since June 2009. David Goldman/AP hide caption
toggle caption David Goldman/AP Dr. Thomas Frieden has directed the CDC since June 2009.
David Goldman/AP Frieden today announced a series of actions to address the bigger problem, including a moratorium on moving material out of the CDC's highest-security labs and a safety review that includes outside experts.
One bit of more positive news is that an accident in an anthrax lab last month apparently did not end up exposing anyone to this deadly germ. Scientists who discovered the problem were concerned that some anthrax spores might have survived a chemical treatment designed to kill it '-- but subsequent tests suggest it's unlikely any did.
Even so, dozens of workers at the CDC had been put at risk, and some took a potent antibiotic to protect themselves, just in case. That stressful accident "is something that I feel terrible about and I wish had not happened," Frieden said.
"It's fortunate that these have not posed a real safety risk to either laboratory workers or the general public, but they could have," says Ron Atlas, who is with the American Society for Microbiology and is a professor at the University of Louisville.
He says it's a stark reminder to lab workers everywhere that you can get lulled into a sense of complacency, even when working with dangerous materials.
Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, takes that concern one step further.
"I don't think this is a CDC problem '-- I think the CDC is being open about what has happened in several instances there," Lipsitch says. "But their own prior research has shown that around the country in high-containment laboratories there are errors on almost a weekly basis."
Those apparently haven't ended up causing big problems, he says, in part because most of the microbes in question don't spread very easily.
"The problem is that now people are starting do experiments with much more contagious pathogens, particularly making novel contagious strains of flu, and the human error factor can't be reduced," Lipsitch says.
As a result, he and other scientists are calling for this type of research to be reined in.
How A Tilt Toward Safety Stopped A Scientist's Virus Research : Shots - Health News : NPR
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 09:50
Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome virus particles cling to the surface of an infected cell. NIAID/Flickr hide caption
toggle caption NIAID/Flickr Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome virus particles cling to the surface of an infected cell.
NIAID/Flickr As cases of a worrisome respiratory virus continue to pop up in the Middle East, scientists who study it in the U.S. are struggling to understand how they'll be affected by a government moratorium on certain kinds of experiments.
One of those researchers is Ralph Baric, a virologist at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. "Any virus that has pandemic potential, and that's any respiratory virus that emerges from animals, is a major public health concern," Baric says.
And Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, fits that description perfectly. Camels seem to carry it, and it has sickened more than 900 people so far. Over a third died.
If this virus mutates so that it spreads easily through the air, millions could die. "It would go around the globe quickly, and this would result in high morbidity and mortality, disruption of the economy, and, in some cases, the collapse of governments," says Baric.
That's why researchers want to learn as much as they can about MERS. It's a type of virus called a coronavirus, which is the special focus of Baric's lab.
Usually coronaviruses only give people a case of the common cold. But MERS is the second deadly coronavirus that has jumped from animals to humans. The first was SARS, about a decade ago.
"Ralph is probably the foremost coronavirus biologist in the United States and one of the best in the world," says Matthew Frieman, a virologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who used to work in Baric's lab.
He says Baric's group has produced essential research tools '-- animal models, antibodies and mutant strains '-- that are used in coronavirus labs around the country. Almost anyone working on coronaviruses would admit that Baric is "the big cheese," Frieman says.
And Baric gets a lot of funding from the government.
So he really felt the effects in October, when the White House did something unusual. Officials said they were halting certain government-funded experiments on three viruses '-- influenza, SARS and MERS.
The Obama administration was concerned about any research that could make the viruses more dangerous, so they wanted to stop and review studies to see if they could make these germs capable of causing more disease or spreading easily through the air.
Officials with the National Institutes of Health say that about 18 grants, contracts and planned research projects fall under the new ban. They say waivers can be obtained for research that's critical for public health, though it's not clear exactly how long that will take.
Virologist Ralph Baric in one of his labs at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Linda Kastleman/University of North Carolina Chapel Hill hide caption
toggle caption Linda Kastleman/University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Virologist Ralph Baric in one of his labs at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Linda Kastleman/University of North Carolina Chapel Hill At first Baric was blissfully unaware that anything had happened. Word of the moratorium came out on a Friday afternoon when Baric was out of the office. He has four kids, and a daughter was getting married.
"I had a fantastic weekend. It was a beautiful wedding. It was one of the best times of my life. She was so happy," says Baric.
He recalls that when he came back to work that Monday, he opened his email and was stunned to learn about the moratorium. He thought of all his lab's research projects. "It took me 10 seconds to realize that most of them were going to be affected," he says.
The government's move came in the wake of some high-profile lab mishaps at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plus some extremely controversial flu experiments.
Those flu studies made a deadly bird flu virus called H5N1 more contagious between ferrets, the lab stand-in for people. The goal of that work was to see whether this bird flu virus might mutate in the wild and start a pandemic in people. Critics were aghast. What if this lab-made superflu escaped?
"I don't think it's wise or appropriate for us to create large risks that don't already exist," says David Relman, a microbiologist at Stanford University.
He thinks the government was right to include SARS and MERS in this moratorium, because they are so close to being pandemic viruses.
"I'm quite delighted that great scientists like Ralph Baric are working on SARS and doing the work they are doing," says Relman. "But there still are specific experiments that I think should cause everyone pause and potentially cause concern if conducted."
For SARS and MERS, he says, "the one thing that I would feel most concerned about doing is to give them that one missing trait, their means of transmitting easily between humans."
Baric says that kind of experiment is not happening in his lab. He's not trying to change the way SARS or MERS gets transmitted. In fact, he doesn't know of any lab trying to do that.
Still, his group has recently been tweaking the genes of the MERS virus. So is he making it more dangerous? "If you're a mouse, the answer is probably yes, or at least I was trying to," says Baric.
Scientists study viruses in mice, so they can test vaccines and drugs. MERS doesn't make mice ill. Baric wants to alter the MERS virus so that it can make mice as sick as it makes people.
The trouble is, the government ban applies to all experiments that might make these viruses more dangerous in any mammal.
In response to questions from NPR, an NIH spokesperson sent this explanation:
"These three agents that are subject to the pause share the characteristics of not only being human health threats '-- causing in some instances significant morbidity and mortality, as you know '-- but furthermore having the potential to be the agents of a pandemic because they are transmitted easily by respiratory droplets. So experiments that would make them even more pathogenic in mammals (and hence potentially in people) were concerning enough to warrant placing those experiments under the pause until their risks and benefits could be better characterized."
But Baric says, when it comes to SARS and MERS, there are key differences between people and mice.
"No. 1, mice don't sneeze," says Baric, so they don't transmit these diseases through the air. And he says the process of adapting these viruses to mice actually makes the germs less able to infect human cells.
"They're safer," says Baric.
Still, he's doing what the government wants. "The NIH has asked me to stop those experiments," says Baric, "and so we have stopped those experiments."
He's hoping federal officials will soon grant him waivers that will let that work continue. He's been told that other studies can go on for now but will need to be reviewed later.
Asked if his lab is creating any new forms of these viruses that would be more dangerous for people, Baric replied: "Absolutely not. And we do more genetics in coronaviruses than probably anyone else in the world."
He was surprised that SARS and MERS were included in the moratorium. But he understands that controversial flu experiments did raise real concerns for scientists and the public.
"And as stewards of that public trust, I think we have to have open dialogue about that, I think we have to have transparency," says Baric.
He says he may not ultimately agree with whatever guidelines are put in place, but "if that's what it takes to continue the research, then that's what we'll do. Ultimately we are responsive to the public."
It's clear that Baric really, really likes viruses. They've fascinated him ever since a swimming scholarship took him to college and he got a job in a virology lab as an undergraduate. His life's work began there at a sink, where he earned a couple of bucks an hour to clean the flasks and glassware. "I started as a dishwasher," he recalls. "I'm pretty good at it. I can still do that."
He later learned that he was also good at working with viruses in the high-containment biology lab, a specialized skill that not everyone can master. One of his co-workers, Lisa Gralinski, recalls that she always knew when Ralph was in that lab, because she'd hear disco. "You can see on the sign-in sheet who's in there, but sometimes you can tell in advance based on the music," she says. "If it was the Bee Gees, I knew it was Ralph."
Baric says viruses can be dangerous, but they're also elegant. They're a form of life that's so simple, he says, you actually have a shot at understanding how it all works.
"And so viruses provide beautiful, intricate probes that allow you to study that," he says. "There's a certain beauty in them."
Doing Diligence to Assess the Risks and Benefits of Life Sciences Gain-of-Function Research | whitehouse.gov
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 09:50
Following recent biosafety incidents at Federal research facilities, the U.S. Government has taken a number of steps to promote and enhance the Nation's biosafety and biosecurity, including immediate and longer term measures to review activities specifically related to the storage and handling of infectious agents.
As part of this review, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Department of Health and Human Services today announced that the U.S. Government is launching a deliberative process to assess the potential risks and benefits associated with a subset of life sciences research known as ''gain-of-function'' studies. With an ultimate goal of better understanding disease pathways, gain-of-function studies aim to increase the ability of infectious agents to cause disease by enhancing its pathogenicity or by increasing its transmissibility.
Because the deliberative process launching today will aim to address key questions about the risks and benefits of gain-of-function studies, during the period of deliberation, the U.S. Government will institute a pause on funding for any new studies that include certain gain-of-function experiments involving influenza, SARS, and MERS viruses. Specifically, the funding pause will apply to gain-of-function research projects that may be reasonably anticipated to confer attributes to influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses such that the virus would have enhanced pathogenicity and/or transmissibility in mammals via the respiratory route.
During this pause, the U.S. Government will not fund any new projects involving these experiments and encourages those currently conducting this type of work '' whether federally funded or not '' to voluntarily pause their research while risks and benefits are being reassessed. The funding pause will not apply to the characterization or testing of naturally occurring influenza, MERS, and SARS viruses unless there is a reasonable expectation that these tests would increase transmissibility or pathogenicity.
The deliberative process will involve two distinct but complementary entities: the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) and the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies.
The NSABB will serve as the official Federal advisory body for providing advice on oversight of this area of dual-use research, in keeping with Federal rules and regulations. The NSABB will meet on October 22, 2014, to debate the issues and begin the process of developing recommendations.
Early-on in the deliberative process, the NRC will be asked to convene a scientific symposium focused on the issues associated with gain-of-function research. The NRC will also hold a second symposium later in the deliberative process, which will include a discussion of the NSABB's draft recommendations regarding gain-of-function research.
The NSABB, informed by discussion at the NRC public consultations, will provide recommendations to the heads of all federal entities that conduct, support, or have an interest in life sciences research. The final NSABB recommendations as well as the outcomes of the NRC conferences will inform the development and adoption of a new U.S. Government policy regarding gain-of-function research.
The broader life-sciences community will be encouraged to provide input through both the NRC and NSABB deliberative processes. The funding pause will end when the U.S. government has adopted a Federal policy regarding gain-of-function studies on the basis of the deliberative process described above, which is expected to occur 2015.
Read a statement by Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) here.For additional information on the funding pause and the deliberative process, please see the U.S. Government is launching a deliberative process;For additional information on dual use research and gain of function studies, please visit: http://www.phe.gov/s3/dualuse.
Justice Dept. Moves to Drop Charges Against Russian Firms Filed by Mueller - The New York Times
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 09:25
Updated March 16, 2020
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California moving homeless to hotels, in scramble to prevent coronavirus explosion on the streets | Fox News
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 09:05
Public health officials are warning Americans to stay home, avoid any unnecessary travel, and limit contact with others as ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
But what happens when you don't have a home? How do you practice social distancing when, at best, the only barrier between you and your neighbor is a nylon tent wall?
That's the question facing the more than 151,000 homeless individuals in California, and one that is vexing lawmakers and public health workers as they try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among a particularly vulnerable segment of the state's population.
''This is a serious public health issue and I'm concerned that it is going to have a very devastating effect on the homeless,'' Jeffrey Norris, the medical director at Father Joe's Villages, a homeless outreach organization in San Diego, told Fox News.
PHOTOS: EMPTY STREETS AMID CORONAVIRUS FEARS IN US CITIES
Norris added: ''Many have medical comorbidities '' diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease '' that put them at a higher risk. Many elderly folks experience homelessness. Whether they live on the streets or in dense shelters, they have a high prevalence in risk factors.''
The stress and physical toll of living on the streets paired with the poor sanitary conditions faced by the homeless make them particularly susceptible to diseases and viruses. Adding the fact that many homeless people deal with mental health and substance abuse issues and are generally wary of local authorities means that many are hesitant to seek help when they do get sick.
California is home to half of the country's street homeless population -- and more than one-fifth of the reported cases of coronavirus nationwide so far '' and state and local lawmakers have already thrown billions of dollars trying to tackle the mounting issue of homelessness. The coronavirus pandemic adds another '' possibly deadly '' angle to the issue, but one the state has dealt with before.
Outbreaks of disease and viruses are common among the homeless population. San Diego recently battled a two-year-long hepatitis A outbreak that started in a homeless encampment and killed 20 people, sickening almost 600 others. In 2019, a typhus outbreak hit Los Angeles' notorious Skid Row, while the homeless living in Santa Monica dealt with a scourge of trench fever, contracted from body lice.
''What we learned before is applicable, but we're dealing with an outbreak now on a much larger scale,'' Norris said.
Given the close quarters that many homeless individuals live in on the streets, in encampments and especially in tightly packed shelters, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced during a news conference on Sunday that the state would be prioritizing them as a vulnerable population. While Newsom did not go into details, he did say that state and local authorities would be working to move homeless individuals into hotels and motels purchased by the state in recent days and into 450 state-owned trailers that will be dispatched across the state.
CLICK FOR COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
In Los Angeles '' home to just under 59,000 homeless people in the city alone '' Mayor Eric Garcetti said that officials were setting up 250 handwashing stations in homeless encampments, making more public toilets available, working to open 14 more homeless shelters by July. City outreach workers have also been told to practice social distancing from their clients in an effort to stay the spread of infection.
Garcetti also put a moratorium on evictions to ensure that no more people become homeless during the pandemic. A number of other cities across the state and country '' from Santa Monica and San Jose to New York and Seattle '' have issued similar moratoriums.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed recently issued an emergency declaration that allowed the city to rent 30 recreational vehicles to house any homeless individuals who have tested positive for the coronavirus. The city is also working hotels to find empty hotel rooms where individuals can quarantine and self-isolate.
Breed also issued an order requiring that residents remain in place, with the only exception being for essential needs, although homeless people are not subject to the order.
Officials in San Diego are also setting up hand-washing stations in encampments and passing out hygiene kits, which include hand sanitizer, info on symptoms, water, soap, tissues, and hand wipes. Mayor Kevin Faulconer has also deployed public health nurses to the city's bridge shelters to monitor for any residents with symptoms of COVID-19.
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Along with the homeless initaitve, Newsom on Sunday called for all bars, wineries, nightclubs and brewpubs to close in the nation's most populous state. The Democrat said the new orders are guidelines that ''we have the capacity to enforce if necessary."
The announcement was quickly followed by an executive order by Garcetti to close bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues and gyms until at least March 31. Restaurants will be closed to the public but Garcetti will allow them to do takeout and delivery. Grocery stores will remain open.
''Everything we do right now will determine the outcome of this crisis, and we can save lives if we stay calm, care for one another, and take forceful steps to protect our communities,'' Garcetti said Sunday in a statement. ''That's why we must follow the guidelines laid out by Gov. Newsom, build on them for local needs, and put the health and safety of the most vulnerable above all else.''
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
The Fed Fires 'The Big One'
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 09:02
3,676 views | Mar 16, 2020, 12:38pm EST
Bob Haber Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. I identify the pure investment merit of assets with a macro lens.
(PHoto by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)
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The Federal Reserve just did enough to rate a ''very happy'' by consistent critic President Trump. That alone tells you they fired a big gun. Here are the highlights of the move:
· Major launch of QE5? The Fed will buy at least $700 billion of Treasuries and mortgages. They will continue to do massive amounts of repo (short-term liquidity arrangements) and let's not forget all Treasury and Mortgage coupons will buy additional bonds and there will be no runoff of holdings.
· Interest rates to zero. Party like it is 2011 ZIRP. It took the Fed just two weeks to use up their entire rate cushion that took almost five years to establish.
· Coordinated swap lines with foreign banks. A technical way to introduce more dollar liquidity globally.
· Reserve requirements cut to zero. THIS IS THE BOMB!
Going back in all of history, banks have been required to hold reserves against their assets '' which are loans and securities. It's simple '' banks set aside a percentage of their assets as reserve and kept it in gold (for most of recorded history) or as cash at the Federal Reserve. This is a fundamental pillar of fractional reserve banking. Conceptually, the reserve gives depositors confidence that when they show up to take their money back, there will be cash to give them. It hasn't always been nearly enough and if depositors get wary, they ''run'' to the bank to withdraw their money. Please re-watch ''It's a wonderful Life' to see what happens during a bank run. It's not pretty. It hasn't just happened in black and white either. There were runs in 2007 and 2008 as depositors feared for their funds at several banks.
During the over 100+ years of Fed history, they have mandated the bank reserve ratio. Manipulation of the reserve requirement ratio has been one of their most powerful tools. That ratio was north of 20% through most of the first fifty years of the Fed (including the great depression). It had made its way down to 10% '' that was before today. Until further clarification or notice, banks need not hold any reserve against their assets. This means that banks could theoretically continue making loans to infinity.
Why put this weapon in the payload now? I believe it is a way for the Federal Reserve to deregulate unilaterally without intervention. The Federal Reserve, the FDIC, and other global regulators typically are very specific about the reserve requirements for each risk level of assets. Almost no reserves are required on government bond holdings compared to a much higher level on loans to levered companies. By calling the reserve requirement zero, the regulations become moot. It releases the banks to lend to whomever they want and in any size. This could be incredibly helpful now as levered companies may not have access to the public markets that are wary of the economy. Let's see if the banks take the actions the Fed is promoting.
What do these actions mean to investors? The actions should satisfy the markets about the Fed's intentions on liquidity '' nearly unlimited. That, in turn, should firm up the government bond markets which were showing signs of malfunctioning late last week. As for the stock market, it is still a dual edged sword. The lower rates are always welcome, but the Fed has shot its biggest weapon and the Fed's fear may be interpreted as justification of the worst-case scenario. The stock market is too volatile to gauge now; we may have seen peak volatility but what will the reaction be to an unprecedented number of earnings reductions for Q2? Hold your powder for a more observable bottom. The upside of unlimited bank lending will still be there like never before.
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LinkedIn. Check out my website. I am the Founder, Partner and CIO of Proficio Capital Partners, a manager of both liquid and illiquid financial assets operating under the direct oversight of family'... Read More
I am the Founder, Partner and CIO of Proficio Capital Partners, a manager of both liquid and illiquid financial assets operating under the direct oversight of family trustees and administrators.Most recently I was a visiting Professor at Tufts University teaching Federal Reserve history and policy, and the CEO/CIO of Haber Trilix Advisors. During my 25 years at Fidelity I was CIO (Fidelity Canada), Head of Equities (Institutional), and Director of Equity Research. I have also been a portfolio manager of several equity and balanced strategies.I believe family portfolios need significant diversification and their managers need to understand the correlation, both mathematically and economically, among and between the pieces. Finding value in each separate piece completes the portfolio.I am proud to have been appointed by the Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker, to the Board of the Mass Clean Energy Center and I'm a Board member of the Boston Celtics. Read Less
Coronavirus may have been in Italy for weeks before it was detected | World news | The Guardian
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 08:25
The new coronavirus may have circulated in northern Italy for weeks before it was detected, seriously complicating efforts to track and control its rapid spread across Europe.
What is Covid-19 - the illness that started in Wuhan?
It is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before. Like other coronaviruses, it has come from animals.
What are the symptoms this coronavirus causes?
The virus can cause pneumonia. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases there can be organ failure. As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The antiviral drugs we have against flu will not work. Recovery depends on the strength of the immune system. Many of those who have died were already in poor health.
Should I go to the doctor if I have a cough?
In the UK you and your household should stay at home for 14 days if you have either:
a high temperaturea new continuous coughThis will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you're staying at home.
People who are self-isolating with mild symptoms will not be tested.
Is the virus being transmitted from one person to another?
China's national health commission confirmed human-to-human transmission in January, and there have been such transmissions elsewhere.
How many people have been affected?
As of 17 March, more than 180,000 people have been infected in more than 80 countries, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
There have been over 7,150 deaths globally. Just over 3,000 of those deaths have occurred in mainland China. 79,000 people have recovered from the coronavirus.
Why is this worse than normal influenza, and how worried are the experts?
We don't yet know how dangerous the new coronavirus is, and we won't know until more data comes in. Seasonal flu typically has a mortality rate below 1% and is thought to cause about 400,000 deaths each year globally. Sars had a death rate of more than 10%.
Another key unknown is how contagious the coronavirus is. A crucial difference is that unlike flu, there is no vaccine for the new coronavirus, which means it is more difficult for vulnerable members of the population '' elderly people or those with existing respiratory or immune problems '' to protect themselves. Hand-washing and avoiding other people if you feel unwell are important. One sensible step is to get the flu vaccine, which will reduce the burden on health services if the outbreak turns into a wider epidemic.
Have there been other coronaviruses?
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers) are both caused by coronaviruses that came from animals. In 2002, Sars spread virtually unchecked to 37 countries, causing global panic, infecting more than 8,000 people and killing more than 750. Mers appears to be less easily passed from human to human, but has greater lethality, killing 35% of about 2,500 people who have been infected.
Sarah Boseley, Hannah Devlin and Martin Belam
The claim follows laboratory tests that isolated a strain of the virus from an Italian patient, which showed genetic differences compared with the original strain isolated in China and two Chinese tourists who became sick in Rome.
Massimo Galli, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Milan and director of infectious diseases at the Luigi Sacco hospital in Milan, said preliminary evidence suggested the virus could have been spreading below the radar in the quarantined areas.
''I can't absolutely confirm any safe estimate of the time of the circulation of the virus in Italy, but '... some first evidence suggest that the circulation of the virus is not so recent in Italy,'' he said, amid suggestions the virus may have been present since mid-January.
The beginnings of the outbreak, which has now infected more than 821 people in the country and has spread from Italy across Europe, were probably seeded at least two or three weeks before the first detection and possibly before flights between Italy and China were suspended at the end of January, say experts.
The findings will be deeply concerning for health officials across Europe who have so far concentrated their containment efforts on identifying individuals returning from high risk areas for the virus, including Italy, and people with symptoms as well as those who have come in contact with them.
The new claim emerged as the World Health Organization warned that the outbreak was getting bigger and could soon appear in almost every country. The impact risk was now very high at a global level, it said.
''The scenario of the coronavirus reaching multiple countries, if not all countries around the world, is something we have been looking at and warning against since quite a while,'' a spokesman said.
The World Health Organization is recommending that people take simple precautions to reduce exposure to and transmission of the coronavirus, for which there is no specific cure or vaccine.
The UN agency advises people to:
Frequently wash their hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or warm water and soapCover their mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when sneezing or coughingAvoid close contact with anyone who has a fever or coughSeek early medical help if they have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share their travel history with healthcare providersAvoid direct, unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals when visiting live markets in affected areasAvoid eating raw or undercooked animal products and exercise care when handling raw meat, milk or animal organs to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods.Despite a surge in sales of face masks in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, experts are divided over whether they can prevent transmission and infection. There is some evidence to suggest that masks can help prevent hand-to-mouth transmissions, given the large number of times people touch their faces. The consensus appears to be that wearing a mask can limit '' but not eliminate '' the risks, provided it is used correctly.
Many countries are now enforcing or recommending curfews or lockdowns. In the UK any household where a person develops a fever or a new continuous cough are recommended to self-isolate for 14 days.
Justin McCurry
A viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 83,000 people globally, with almost 3,000 deaths. As the list of countries hit by the illness edged towards 60, with Mexico, Belarus, Lithuania, New Zealand, Nigeria, Azerbaijan and the Netherlands reporting their first cases, the threats to livelihoods were increasingly eyed as warily as the threats to lives.
While there were some tentative indications the outbreak may be slowing in China, South Korea's tally of infections exceeded 2,300, while cases in France and Germany continued to rise.
With new cases being reported across Europe, and the first case confirmed in sub-Saharan Africa '' in an Italian man who recently returned to work in Nigeria '' governments were increasingly moving towards proposing ever more stringent measures to control the global outbreak
Coronavirus graphicAs $5tn (£3.9tn) has been wiped off global stock markets amid fears over the impact of the virus, Switzerland moved to ban all gatherings of more than 1,000 people until 15 March, announcing the postponement of the Geneva Motor Show.
The British budget airline easyJet announced it would axe 500 flights to Italy, alongside plans for freezes on hiring and pay, as other airlines announced similar measures.
In Iran, where there has been one of the most serious outbreaks outside of China, with 34 people known to have died and 388 infected, the government announced on state television on Friday that all schools would be closing for three days from Saturday.
''Based on assessments, it was felt that there was a need for closing all the schools in the country and for this reason all the schools in the country will be closed for three days starting from tomorrow,'' the country's health minister, Saeed Namaki, said.
Similar measures were under way in Japan, prompting angry reactions from parents and teachers, who on Friday were told by the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, that all schools would close for a month.
In another drastic move, the northern island of Hokkaido, where there has been the largest number of cases in Japan, on Friday declared a state of emergency. Its population of about 5 million people were told to refrain from venturing outside their homes over the weekend.
Meanwhile authorities in Moscow announced they were deporting 88 people who they said had violated the country's quarantine measures.
The Nigerian case is just the third to be confirmed in Africa'' a fact that has puzzled health specialists given the continent's close ties to China '' and was not picked up for 48 hours, part of a familiar pattern in the spread of the disease from California to Germany.
According to Nigerian officials, the Italian man affected by Covid-19 stayed in a hotel near the airport on the evening of 24 February, then continued to his place of work in neighbouring Ogun state.
He was treated on 26 February at his company's medical facility before health practitioners called government biosecurity officers, who transferred him on 27 February to a containment facility in Yaba, Lagos.
Coronavirus: WHO holds briefing on Covid-19 outbreak '' as it happenedThis World Health Organization warned that porous borders, a continuing flow of travellers and poorly resourced healthcare systems meant the risk of an outbreak across Africa was ''very, very high'' and raised significant concerns about the ability of ''fragile health systems'' to cope.
Experts, meanwhile, said the scale of the task involved in tracing suspected cases would put strain on developed countries.
''The worry is that there may be other countries that are less prepared, and that the virus may become more widespread worldwide,'' said Martin Hibberd, professor of emerging infectious disease at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
''If that were to happen, even [developed] systems would possibly struggle to be able to check every possible suspect.''
In other developments, Mexico's assistant health secretary announced that the country now had two confirmed cases of coronavirus.
And at least 23 guests left H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife on Friday, four days into a 14-day imposed quarantine, after the Canary Islands regional government on Thursday cleared 130 holidaymakers to leave the hotel. About 700 holidaymakers remained quarantined in the compound.
Lame Cherry: St. Paddy Days Coronavirus Death Model for the United States
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 08:24
Sure and begorrah, the green beer will cure that Chinaman Corona!!! As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.33 days ago a computer projection stated that in 12 days, 2.5 billion people would be infected and 53 million would die. That is not going to happen. Thus begins another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter to teach you something.AI Predicts Coronavirus Could Infect 2.5 Billion And Kill ... https://www.forbes.com /sites/johnkoetsier/2020/02/05/ai-predicts-coronavirus-could-infect-25b-and-kill-53m-doctors-say-thats-not-credible-and-heres-why/ Feb 5, 2020 An AI-powered simulation run by a technology executive says that Coronavirus could infect as many as 2.5 billion people within 45 days and kill as many as 52.9 million of them.This blog first revealed that there were 2 viruses in China, which were deliberately released by "accident". Those were mirror viruses liberated from American arsenal, to stop a Chinese first strike against the United States, India and Japan.This blog has informed all of you that there are different strains of this virus, created deliberately and released. It is difficult at times to find the proof in online media, but in this Italian story out of the UK, the Lame Cherry is proven right again, that the Italian strain is not the Chinese strain.China had the L or lethal strain, distributed by oral means, and an S strain, which is airborne. The S strain is the inoculation.In reading the UK story, the facts are specified in the Italian strain is different from the Chinese strain. It is also defined that the Italian strain was released and in circulation long before the strain blamed on two Chinese tourists.That is important as rumors have circulated that Corona was in the United States long before it was noted. This is important, because the lethal strain was blamed on a Pakistan food delivery person, as a cover, but now we have a hint that before Italy was infected with the lethal strain, the inoculation was already introduced as a firewall.Yes Coronavirus thinks and it does a great deal of thinking.The claim follows laboratory tests that isolated a strain of the virus from an Italian patient, which showed genetic differences compared with the original strain isolated in China and two Chinese tourists who became sick in Rome.Massimo Galli, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Milan and director of infectious diseases at the Luigi Sacco hospital in Milan, said preliminary evidence suggested the virus could have been spreading below the radar in the quarantined areas.“I can’t absolutely confirm any safe estimate of the time of the circulation of the virus in Italy, but … some first evidence suggest that the circulation of the virus is not so recent in Italy,” he said, amid suggestions the virus may have been present since mid-January.There has been a great deal of hysteria in stating that over 2 million would be dead by July 4th, a patriotic day. We have been promised that America would mirror the Italians, mainly we are told the United States is 14 days behind Italy in the bloom.There is a great deal of precise information coming out of the Trump experts who have replaced the Obama holdovers who brought Coronavirus into the United States and started this pandemic deliberately via the CDC, State Department and the Pentagon.This blog has noted it was prescient that the experts moved President Trump to shut down travel to Europe and to the day of the order being carried out, the European bloom erupted in Spain and other areas. The experts are good, but they are not that good in a live fire drama, as there are too many variables to delay spread from rain to phases of the moon.Coronavirus is thinking, and like a military war game it is working on a schedule to the exact day.Coronavirus projection model death counts from March 6th ... revolutionradio.org /2020/03/06/coronavirus-projection-model-death-counts-from-march-6th-through-april-4th-how-we-get-from-13-to-580-aggregate-deaths-in-america/ by: Mike Adams NaturalNews.com Friday, March 06, 2020. Yesterday we released Revision 1 of our Pandemic Projection Model that shows 2.1 million coronavirus deaths in America by July 4th if nothing is done to stop the spread.. For those who don't usually think in terms of exponential progressions, the numbers seem impossible.If one listens, one hears the next two weeks are critical. The reason you are not informed on the "Italian Model" is that the United States has a number of carriers, numbers which came in from Europe before the travel ban. They shed for 5.1 days and are active carriers. The 5.1 days is the infection incubation, until one becomes a shedder. So for 2 weeks, the attempt is to limit these active shedders infecting.....what is being banned? Bars, Cafes, Sports, Concerts.....venues where White People congregate. This is the White Plume which this blog has informed you of. The first wave of this is Caucasian, and it will move in the Italian strain of the Latin peoples, who predominate in congregating in their clusters in their language groups. This cluster should appear weeks after the White Plume.So when the President was told that the virus would be mostly over in a few weeks, he was informed correctly. Corona is a fire burn of specific human genetics. There were several versions of this virus created, and each one will be spread, and appear in waves. The United States is attempting the Plateau effect of spiking to a reduced level, and then as the minority populations are infected............Experts: Coronavirus could hit Africa hardestMarch 16, 12:31 pm (ET)CNN's David McKenzie reports from the settlements of Tembisa, South Africa, where following basic precautions to fight the novel coronavirus can be ... Each wave will bring the results. When the President states it may be end of July and early August before this pandemic burns out, that is the wave projection proved what this blog predicted. Trying to predict though in computer generation what scurrying vermin as Mexicans do and how long to contain something which can not be contained is not an exact science, as the Mexicans will flow south as they die in the west first, and the virus moves north and the flood into Texas and then into Mexico. That is the logical projection of this as the rats return to their holes.Trump Says Coronavirus Measures Could Last Until August  ∞ thepoliticalinsider It is a reality that the Coronavirus is thinking, and making logical moves, like a computer simulator in a war game, and the experts the President has, are all clairvoyants speaking the thoughts of this most intelligent virus.Every time I begin to have doubts and worries about his biological weapon virus, there are comforting disclosures hidden in obscure stories of Corona was circulating in Italy, unknown since January. The reason it was unknown as in the United States, is because it was an S strain type, which was not making not making many people deathly sick. These were firewall spreaders.The fact is, China had almost a 4 month spread problem of the L strain before it became a real problem, and in those weeks as it became an international story, that is when S strain appeared. China has not contained this epidemic. Vitamin C IV's are not stopping it. It is the S strain inoculation which stopped the L strain which stopped being introduced into China for the moment, and is still going to have to infect 500 million more Chinese before it is really contained there.This virus caused monumental problems in North Korea, as South Korea would not have had much problem at all if the Carrier 31 woman had not infected half the people. Japan appears contained as does the rest of Indochina.It is now burning through southern Europe, England and the problem areas of the Mideast.The United States will have to deal with a longer plateau of the Latin strain, IR/ Italian Strain, because America poured in so many Beaners who in logical progression should begin contracting this in numbers around April 15th. The time line the President provided from his clairvoyants points to a  crash date end of May for Mexicans and mop up operations on the Indian Reservations before the all clear of August.I dislike always going out on the matrix limb on this, but due to the measures President Donald Trump has put into place, the matrix trends that around 500 people will die of this pandemic. The big numbers will be Mexicans and Indians. I did not ask ........yeah I did, but I am not publishing that.Now do not be stupid, do not go off being whores in sinning again because you think you are safe. Pray your prayers to Jesus and those who can afford it, make the donations to the blog as the things published here by God's Grace are proven right, thank God.Just hermit up, as that is what they are telling you to do. This appears to be all part of the End Times and the beast order out of the chaos, as Corona is thinking. That should comfort you, because if this virus stops thinking, then there is a real problem.Once again, another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.Nuff SaidagtG
Techno Fog on Twitter: "Wow. The DOJ moves to dismiss the charges against the Russian Company (Concord) who conducted the alleged "information warfare against the US" The troll case will be dismissed w/ prejudice. How embarrassing for Team Mueller. https:
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 08:13
Log in Sign up Techno Fog @ Techno_Fog Wow.The DOJ moves to dismiss the charges against the Russian Company (Concord) who conducted the alleged "information warfare against the US"The troll case will be dismissed w/ prejudice.How embarrassing for Team Mueller.
pic.twitter.com/wfZ78EWgKc 3:56 PM - 16 Mar 2020 Twitter by: Techno Fog @Techno_Fog Techno Fog @ Techno_Fog
14h Replying to
@Techno_Fog You can read the full Motion here:
scribd.com/document/45195'...This case has been quite entertaining. Concord attorney Eric Dubelier has, at time, run circles around Special Counsel and DOJ lawyers. Starting with his claim that the DOJ "indicted the proverbial ham sandwich."
pic.twitter.com/9zh5t8L29M View conversation · Techno Fog @ Techno_Fog
14h Replying to
@Techno_Fog Because it's quarantine time, here are Dubelier's greatest hits in the Concord case.In which Dubelier calls Special Counsel Jeannie Rhee a liar.
pic.twitter.com/dJbkBmFw8c View conversation · Techno Fog @ Techno_Fog
14h Replying to
@Techno_Fog Concord lawyer Dubelier returns the Concord summons to Special Counsel Rhee because it doesn't comply with the Federal Rules.Dubelier: I find it disturbing that "you are already behaving in a manner that is inconsistent with the practices of the DOJ"
pic.twitter.com/4xHALDpqya View conversation · Techno Fog @ Techno_Fog
14h Replying to
@Techno_Fog Sidebar: the Concord case was EXCEEDINGLY dangerous because the DOJ twisted the law to fit these defendants.The alleged illegal activities: Concord interfered with the FEC's ability to determine whether "statutes were violated."
pic.twitter.com/WXcrj0TlYU View conversation · Techno Fog @ Techno_Fog
14h Replying to
@Techno_Fog Anyway, what was some of the illegal activity?Bad memes posted by fake Facebook user "Bertha Malone"
pic.twitter.com/jieTPxXWgQ View conversation · Techno Fog @ Techno_Fog
14h Replying to
@Techno_Fog Concord lawyer Dubelier never let up.From a 10/2018 hearing: "The real Department of Justice" never would have brought this case.
pic.twitter.com/UePpZcv0Lu View conversation · Techno Fog @ Techno_Fog
14h Replying to
@Techno_Fog Mocking Mueller's legal theories (partially via Tweetie Bird):"'Give a man enough rope and he will hang himself,' the Special Counsel just did so."
pic.twitter.com/l8nZfvh7NJ View conversation · Rosie memos @ almostjingo
14h Replying to
@Techno_Fog @JohnWHuber Who's going to break the news to Empty? You or
@JohnWHuber?
pic.twitter.com/i5UWVAv427 View conversation · ðŸ¤ðŸŒŽ @ IAMTHEDAWG1
14h Replying to
@Techno_Fog I would think it would be an embarrassment just to be on Team Mueller.
View conversation · '¸Brandon Beckham, Esq. @ BrandonBeckham_
10h Replying to
@Techno_Fog @realDonaldTrump 🇺🇸 Thank you President
@realDonaldTrump for emphasizing the importance of prayer and of seeking God as we face the
#CoronavirusOutbreakYou've been consistent in recognizing that, as a Nation, we need to Seek God'¤µ¸
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Did China Panic the World and Steal Our Wealth with a Common Cold? - American Thinker
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 00:32
March 16, 2020
If COVID-19 (scientifically known as SARS-CoV-2) had started in Singapore or Taiwan, it would have traveled the world, infected billions of people, killed millions, and there wouldn't have been a single peep about it. "But it kills people," you cry. That is what cold and flu do, especially to the elderly and those lacking basic medicines. The world is panicking over a virus that causes mild colds in the vast majority of cases. Amid the panic, China is profiting as it buys up stocks at bargain-basement prices. Instead of engineering a pandemic, did China engineer pandemonium?
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Before pandemonium, science. Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is characterized by the sudden (within a day or two) development of severe viral pneumonia with a thick mucus that is difficult to treat. SARS is strongly associated with two strains of coronavirus (SARS-CoV and now SARS-CoV-2). The pathogenesis of SARS is supposed to go something like this: Day 1: infection with SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2. Day 2: coughing and wheezing for breath. Day 3: hospitalization on a ventilator. Day 4: death. Over 99% of COVID-19 cases have experienced nothing even remotely similar to SARS. Is SARS-CoV-2 a bunch of hooey?
Medicine has a penchant for gaining fame by discovering new diseases by reclassifying old diseases. When infected with a cold-causing virus, you might get a fever, might have a runny nose, might cough, might have muscle aches, might have a sore throat, and you might get viral pneumonia. "SARS" is a name for a severe case of viral pneumonia caused by two specific cold viruses, but any cold virus could lead to a SARS-like viral pneumonia. Don't scoff at colds.
There are over 200 viruses that cause the common cold. Among those are several strains of coronavirus, with a new strain discovered every few years. Discovery occurs when a lab technician sequences a virus (a rather rare event) and submits to GenBank a previously unpublished sequence. The newly discovered virus could have been endemic for millennia. Science makes mistakes, and a lot of scientists can make a lot of mistakes, especially when rushing. Assuming that the multitude of partial genetic sequences for COVID-19 are genetic sequences for COVID-19, and assuming that the multitude of rapidly developed (and poorly validated) tests for COVID-19 are specific for COVID-19, then COVID-19 rarely leads to SARS. COVID-19 is a newly identified strain of coronavirus that causes the common cold, and although newly discovered, it could have been endemic for centuries.
'); googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1567099776462-0'); }); } We fill nursing homes with elderly on their last legs, where they are tended to by orderlies, until one of those orderlies comes to work with a little bit of a runny nose. "Would you like us to make them comfortable?" is a code phrase for "Would you like us to continue fluffing their pillows while they choke to death from pneumonia and their minds melt from fever?" Medicine is withheld as they die a natural death from pneumonia indistinguishable from SARS. Even the young and healthy can die from a cold. Absent medicines, such as aspirin, decongestants, and expectorants, death from fever, secondary infections, diarrhea, and viral pneumonia is a real possibility. The common cold would be 100 times more deadly without medicine, just as in the past.
This brings us to China, where an advanced socialized medical system is much like the nursing home: no medicine at all. People reported to hospitals because their common colds were a little more severe than usual. Perhaps their fevers were unresponsive to the medicines they obtained at the local drugstore, which may not have contained any medicine (1,2,3,4,5). With so much manufactured in China, you might have paid $300 for a bottle of cornstarch pressed into pills; [insert big-name pharma company here] thanks you. At the hospital, many patients in Wuhan were carefully evaluated for their worth to society and then led to benches in the halls upon which they could sit while their fevers and coughs got worse and they were otherwise ignored.
Meanwhile, the Chinese are profiting immensely from the fire sale, as though they were prepared for it (6,7,8,9,10). Also consider that China owns large portions of our media companies, and China virtually controls the World Health Organization (WHO). When this thing started, Trump offered aid to China in the form of virology experts and medicines, but China refused that aid, insisting that everything be done through the WHO. The WHO assisted in the hype by calling something that looked like a common cold, once it got out of China, a "pandemic."
Were the people of Wuhan suffering from a new SARS, the ravages of a common cold exacerbated by socialist medicine, or nothing at all? COVID-19 rarely causes SARS outside China, so it must be the last one.
Did the Chinese government attempt to cover up the embarrassment of its socialized medicine or fabricate a deadly outbreak to panic the world? Has our scientific arrogance erroneously blamed this on an innocuous common cold, possibly endemic in much of the world, or have we been maliciously misled by the Chinese-controlled WHO? Was it to cover the embarrassment or advance the fabrication? Did China orchestrate the media hype, or was it the normal Trump-hate of fake news? Did the Chinese start a fire sale, or were they well positioned by happenstance?
Never attribute to maliciousness that which you can to incompetence, and never attribute to incompetence that which you can to socialism.
As COVID-19 turns into an expensive exercise in tracking the progression of a common cold, the Chinese are grinning, but will they smile for long? The China Model was already collapsing, and the companies and wealth they gained through trickery and deceit have been declining from poor management. The world is waking up: China was a deal too good to be true, and we need to get out of it before the ineptness and malice of socialism take us all down.
If COVID-19 (scientifically known as SARS-CoV-2) had started in Singapore or Taiwan, it would have traveled the world, infected billions of people, killed millions, and there wouldn't have been a single peep about it. "But it kills people," you cry. That is what cold and flu do, especially to the elderly and those lacking basic medicines. The world is panicking over a virus that causes mild colds in the vast majority of cases. Amid the panic, China is profiting as it buys up stocks at bargain-basement prices. Instead of engineering a pandemic, did China engineer pandemonium?
Before pandemonium, science. Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is characterized by the sudden (within a day or two) development of severe viral pneumonia with a thick mucus that is difficult to treat. SARS is strongly associated with two strains of coronavirus (SARS-CoV and now SARS-CoV-2). The pathogenesis of SARS is supposed to go something like this: Day 1: infection with SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2. Day 2: coughing and wheezing for breath. Day 3: hospitalization on a ventilator. Day 4: death. Over 99% of COVID-19 cases have experienced nothing even remotely similar to SARS. Is SARS-CoV-2 a bunch of hooey?
Medicine has a penchant for gaining fame by discovering new diseases by reclassifying old diseases. When infected with a cold-causing virus, you might get a fever, might have a runny nose, might cough, might have muscle aches, might have a sore throat, and you might get viral pneumonia. "SARS" is a name for a severe case of viral pneumonia caused by two specific cold viruses, but any cold virus could lead to a SARS-like viral pneumonia. Don't scoff at colds.
There are over 200 viruses that cause the common cold. Among those are several strains of coronavirus, with a new strain discovered every few years. Discovery occurs when a lab technician sequences a virus (a rather rare event) and submits to GenBank a previously unpublished sequence. The newly discovered virus could have been endemic for millennia. Science makes mistakes, and a lot of scientists can make a lot of mistakes, especially when rushing. Assuming that the multitude of partial genetic sequences for COVID-19 are genetic sequences for COVID-19, and assuming that the multitude of rapidly developed (and poorly validated) tests for COVID-19 are specific for COVID-19, then COVID-19 rarely leads to SARS. COVID-19 is a newly identified strain of coronavirus that causes the common cold, and although newly discovered, it could have been endemic for centuries.
We fill nursing homes with elderly on their last legs, where they are tended to by orderlies, until one of those orderlies comes to work with a little bit of a runny nose. "Would you like us to make them comfortable?" is a code phrase for "Would you like us to continue fluffing their pillows while they choke to death from pneumonia and their minds melt from fever?" Medicine is withheld as they die a natural death from pneumonia indistinguishable from SARS. Even the young and healthy can die from a cold. Absent medicines, such as aspirin, decongestants, and expectorants, death from fever, secondary infections, diarrhea, and viral pneumonia is a real possibility. The common cold would be 100 times more deadly without medicine, just as in the past.
This brings us to China, where an advanced socialized medical system is much like the nursing home: no medicine at all. People reported to hospitals because their common colds were a little more severe than usual. Perhaps their fevers were unresponsive to the medicines they obtained at the local drugstore, which may not have contained any medicine (1,2,3,4,5). With so much manufactured in China, you might have paid $300 for a bottle of cornstarch pressed into pills; [insert big-name pharma company here] thanks you. At the hospital, many patients in Wuhan were carefully evaluated for their worth to society and then led to benches in the halls upon which they could sit while their fevers and coughs got worse and they were otherwise ignored.
Meanwhile, the Chinese are profiting immensely from the fire sale, as though they were prepared for it (6,7,8,9,10). Also consider that China owns large portions of our media companies, and China virtually controls the World Health Organization (WHO). When this thing started, Trump offered aid to China in the form of virology experts and medicines, but China refused that aid, insisting that everything be done through the WHO. The WHO assisted in the hype by calling something that looked like a common cold, once it got out of China, a "pandemic."
Were the people of Wuhan suffering from a new SARS, the ravages of a common cold exacerbated by socialist medicine, or nothing at all? COVID-19 rarely causes SARS outside China, so it must be the last one.
Did the Chinese government attempt to cover up the embarrassment of its socialized medicine or fabricate a deadly outbreak to panic the world? Has our scientific arrogance erroneously blamed this on an innocuous common cold, possibly endemic in much of the world, or have we been maliciously misled by the Chinese-controlled WHO? Was it to cover the embarrassment or advance the fabrication? Did China orchestrate the media hype, or was it the normal Trump-hate of fake news? Did the Chinese start a fire sale, or were they well positioned by happenstance?
Never attribute to maliciousness that which you can to incompetence, and never attribute to incompetence that which you can to socialism.
As COVID-19 turns into an expensive exercise in tracking the progression of a common cold, the Chinese are grinning, but will they smile for long? The China Model was already collapsing, and the companies and wealth they gained through trickery and deceit have been declining from poor management. The world is waking up: China was a deal too good to be true, and we need to get out of it before the ineptness and malice of socialism take us all down.
Covid 19 Corona virus will cull the human herd sadly
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 00:19
The world is in various forms of lockdown to avoid the inevitable'--a trimming of the human herd.It's disconcerting toreach the age and time of life where you are the one the wolves would choose totrim out of the herd, but that's life'--and death.
It's Mother Nature'sway and I respect it'--even though I heard from a reliable source that Covid-19might have had a little help from the P-4 lab on the outskirts of Wuhan.
My beloved Warsaw is inlock-down to prevent the spread of this killer disease. Sure, it's over-hyped, but on the otherhand'--it seems to be working. Only a few deaths today and the spread is rapidlygrinding to a halt.
The weak and old aredying. The young and healthy arerecovering.
Once we reach a 60%level of infection/exposure, Mother Nature kicks in with an incredibledefensive mechanism yet to be understood'--herd immunity.
She'll take care of us like she always has, like the creator intended when he put her in chargeThat's right. Once 60% of us are exposed to this virulentform of flu, our human herd develops its own defense mechanism. How?
They haven't a clue,but it happened with Covid 1-18, and it will happen again on #19, with orwithout a vaccine.
So as soldiers areclosing and barricading the roads in and out of my ancient city, I've beenthinking.
By Monday morning, onlyfood and necessary deliveries will be allowed'--which at first seems a littlescary'--but I've realised that it's not all bad.
You see our borders arealso closing for the first time since The Schengen Agreement was signed on June14, 1985'--but yesterday when guards starting dragging truckloads of combat-agedMuslims out of trucks and containers at the new border checks (15 Afghansoldiers in just one lorry)'--it occurred to me that there are some upsides toall of this pain.
And it's not juststopping the endless flood of young Muslim men invading Europe. It's much more'--and it's all for the better.
Borders. Boundaries. An end to theterrible Globalists. A return toNational Sovereignty. Hmmm
We're going to lose alot from our herd to this Chinese disease'--yes, that's where it came from andthey deserve the credit, so I'll continue calling it that.
But think of it. Thiskiller has done something that a very few of our weak-sister politricksterswould on their own'--it has forced them to act like leaders of nations again.
They must focus now ontaking care of those they were meant to serve instead of being the head whoresof open-door flop houses for the rest of the world.
So, let's look on the bright side of Wuhan FeverNot only are bordersand boundaries springing up again'--entire restructuring of our supply chains isoccurring as well'--and it's all happening quite literally overnight.
''Chinese pharmaceuticalcompanies have supplied more than 90 percent of U.S. antibiotics,'' according tothe New York Times'--and a Chinese official hinted this week that those might bewithheld as a threat to the U.S. as leverage on trade issues'--and if they do, itwould be good thing in my opinion.
Yes, some of us willdie for lack of medicine, but it will force my home nation and everyone else'sto wake up to the dangers of allowing a Communist totalitarian gang bent onworld control to hold us hostage for basic needs.
The last penicillinproducer in America, as example, was shuttered in 2004, largely due to unfairtrade practices by China and weak U.S. leadership allowing it'--but one willspring up within days now, just like two surgical mask businesses did lastweek.
Surgical mask and latexglove manufacturing moved to China decades ago, but they're rolling off theassembly line in Texas by the thousands as I write'--and were up and running within weeks'--thanks to privateentrepreneurs and the elimination of thousands of regulations under PresidentTrump'--more of which were ditched yesterday as part of his declaration of aNational Emergency.
In fact, there-location of the supply chains just from the Hubei Province will leave Chinaweakened for decades, and all of our nations will be strengthened in the process.
Jobs'--real manufacturingjobs'--are already flooding back to America, for example. Even in the midst of this crisis, 273,000 newjobs sprung up just last month and unemployment dropped to a record low of3.5%.
There are only twolosers in all of this'--the Chinese Communist Party and the Soros OneWorlders. They're both done by the endof this pandemic.
It won't happen overnight,but it will happen. The world has seenthe dangers of totalitarianism and the Chinese people will demand a change'--inorder to survive now that China's weakness has been exposed (they're $40trillion in debt and entering a steep recession).
The other form oftotalitarianism'--Globalism'--the one that brought on this pandemic'--will be theother loser.
And I look forward towriting both of their obituaries.
Totalitarianism and globalism Here they lie in this twin grave
Because like humans they could not behave.
One stole our wealth and one stole our soul,
Which is why they ended up in this damn hole. May they never rest in peace
Howell Woltz
The InternationalCentre for Justice
Warsaw, Poland
Coronavirus leads world's elite to luxury disaster bunkers - Al Arabiya English
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 16:41
The world's elite are preparing for the worst-case scenario from the coronavirus pandemic by snapping up ''survival'' real estate in the US, including underground bunkers complete with swimming pools and years of food supplies.
In a secret location in the state of Kansas, a 15-story luxury underground condominium complex has been built for secure ''off-grid living in the event of a major disaster or emergency.'' That includes coronavirus, technically called COVID-19.
Known as the ''Survival Condo'' project, its Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) air filtration can filter out pathogens like COVID-19.
''We can and do offer an environment where you are less likely to come in contact with the virus,'' says Survival Condo on its website. ''However, we cannot guarantee that you will not pick up the virus from direct or indirect contact with an infected person or object either before or after you arrive at our facility.''
The development includes a medical facility, pool, spa, movie theater, gym, rock climbing wall, and a dog park. It claims to be ''one of the strongest manmade structures ever created'' and is designed to withstand a nuclear blast.
''The same quality of condo in New York would have cost me the same, if not more per square foot and you get peace of mind with this,'' a Survival Condo client said according to a company press release.
This ''peace of mind'' costs $3 million for a full-floor unit and $1.5 million for a half-floor unit. Both units come with a three-year per person food supply.
The complex was previously a missile silo, set up by the American government during the Cold War.
Project developer Larry Hall told American magazine Vanity Fair he has seen a ''spike'' in inquiries amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Build your own private bunkerThose who can afford it also have the option of constructing their own private underground shelter.
US company Vivos, which builds private underground shelters, has seen a surge in inquiries and sales since the coronavirus outbreak.
''As a result of the current Coronavirus threat and the ripple of subsequent consequences, the demand for Vivos has exponentially grown,'' the company's media director told Al Arabiya English, adding that sales have recently gone up over 400 percent and the clientele ''is shifting from middle class to upper class.''
The construction of a new bunker complex can take anywhere between three months to a year depending on the scale, location, and availability of materials and labor.
The company also offers space in a ''lifesaving shelter'' named Vivos xPoint, located in the state of South Dakota.
Formerly an US Army base, Vivos xPoint is now used to host 575 private bunkers that can accommodate more than 5,000 ''like-minded survivalists.''
''Vivos xPoint is strategically and centrally located in one of the safest areas of North America,'' according to the company's website.
A private bunker is priced at $35,000 and comes unfurnished. To outfit the bunker, what the company calls ''Bunker Glamping,'' the price can range anywhere between an extra $25,000 to $75,000.
According to Vivos, each underground shelter complex is capable of caring for the long-term physical and psychological wellbeing of its residents ''as they may need to ride out the extreme events that will be happening on the surface above.''
While the spread of the coronavirus has caused many Americans to stay at home, it has motivated the uber wealthy to seek new homes '' ones they think will protect them against coronavirus and potential future disasters.
SHOW MORELast Update: Monday, 16 March 2020 KSA 19:19 - GMT 16:19
White House Talks Coronavirus with Tech Giants - Multichannel
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 14:07
The White House hosted a meeting with tech companies Wednesday to talk about tech-related response efforts to the coronavirus (COVID-19), including getting online platforms to work together to "root out misinformation" about the virus, though it was not clear how that was being defined.
The President has accused the media of misreporting the virus threat to make him look bad and help his Democratic foes.
At the meeting, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios previewed a database of coronavirus-related scholarly literature that will be released in the next few days, and, according to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which convened the meeting, "challenged the tech community to leverage technology tools, such as artificial intelligence, to help medical researchers glean scientific insights from this collection of articles."
Getting that challenge in person were representatives from Amazon, Apple, Cisco, the Consumer Technology Association, Facebook, Google, IBM, the Information Technology Industry Council, Microsoft, the Software & Information Industry Association, TechNet, and Twitter.
''The White House's top priority is ensuring the safety and health of the American people amid the COVID-19 outbreak," said Kratsios following the meeting. "Cutting edge technology companies and major online platforms will play a critical role in this all-hands-on-deck effort." He said the conversation with the tech companies would continue.
That conversation went beyond massaging literature to improving information sharing between federal agencies and tech companies, increased coordination among online platforms to "to identify best practices to root out COVID-19 misinformation," and the use of tech tools like AI "to make it easier for medical researchers to review Coronavirus-related research publications for scientific insights."
They also discussed tech's role in telework, online education and telehealth all of which will need ramp-ups if the virus results in widespread quarantines and school closings.
"They Blew It. They Used Up All Their Ammunition": A Stunned Wall Street Responds To The Failed Fed Intervention
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 11:27
Was that if for the US Federal Reserve? After 107 years of Fed history, was Sunday, March 15th the date the Fed lost its last shred of credibility as it fired its last round of ammo... and sent futures crashing limit down?
To be sure, the Fed still has a few more tricks up its sleeve - getting Congressional approval to buy stocks, coordinating with the Treasury to launch helicopter money - but all but the dumbest and most inexperienced people on Wall Street - read Millennial traders who have no idea what is going on - realize that the launch of these measures means the monetary endgame has arrived, and the time to shift away from financial assets into "hard" assets has arrived.
For a confirmation that we may have indeed entered the endgame, here are hot takes of several Wall Street pros, who have seen more than just one buyback-funded market cycle, courtesy of Bloomberg:
Michael O'Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading:
''They blew it. The Fed panicked and the market is spooked. The S&P 500 registered all time highs less than a month ago and the Fed has expended all its conventional and unconventional tools. The key takeaway will be that they have truly expended all of their ammunition and this is the action of a central bank that is scared.''
James McCormick, global head of desk strategy at NatWest Markets:
''The fact is global equities are still getting slammed. It shows markets worried more about infection rates and growth and need to see a large fiscal response. Monetary policy will not have the same potency for financial markets -- it is not enough on its own and there isn't much ammunition left. The theme has been clearly on display in markets since the Fed's first rate cut two weeks back. But this is not the end of monetary policy, not by a long shot. Fiscal policy announcements will now be watched more closely and discounted more quickly by financial markets.''
Roberto Perli, partner at Cornerstone Macro LLC:
''Overall, I believe the package is robust, but it also left something to be desired in some areas, like the unclear forward guidance and the reliance on the heavily stigmatized discount window. Nonetheless, Powell was clear that the Fed reserves the right to use other tools if appropriate.''
Peter Mallouk, president of Creative Planning, which manages about $45 billion:
''It's largely inconsequential. The bottom line is this is a health issue. People are going to be surprised how little the economic incentives and plans are going to help until we start to see a change in the infection and death rate and I would take a 5% improvement in the war against the coronavirus over a 100% move in terms of economic incentives and initiatives.''
Mark Haefele, CIO, UBS Global Wealth Management:
''Broad fiscal spending and rate cuts are blunt instruments for dealing with the short-term economic impact of the virus, but should provide investors with some confidence that growth can be strong once the recovery gets underway. We expect the market to end the year at much higher levels than today, with China's economy leading the way to recovery and the U.S. and European economies rebounding in the third quarter.''
Jeff Mills, chief investment officer of Bryn Mawr Trust:
''They had no choice, but it won't be enough in the grand scheme of things. We need large fiscal programs, which based on the recent communication from the Treasury secretary it seems clear we will be getting. If we get the fiscal stimulus side of the equation, the eventual recovery will likely be more robust than it would be otherwise.''
Alicia Levine, chief strategist, BNY Mellon Investment Management:
''The Fed is leading global central banks. The mixture of policy action exceeds market expectations and, importantly, will help corporate credit markets as it unleashes a flood of liquidity. The disquieting message from last week's market moves in the credit and Treasury markets was the contraction of liquidity and this action should help calm that dislocation. Expect the Treasury yield curve to steepen on this action.''
Joachim Fels, global economic adviser at Pacific Investment Management Co.:
''A global recession in response to a combination of a supply disruptions and a sudden stop of demand for (mostly) services appears to be a foregone conclusion. The Fed's actions will help to restore an orderly functioning of the very core of the U.S. financial markets: the Treasury market and the U.S. mortgage market. All said, policy makers including the Fed are in the process of pulling all the stops to mitigate the severe economic and financial disruptions caused by the most severe global health crisis in more than a century. More will be needed and will likely be forthcoming over the next few weeks and months.''
Ian Lyngen, head of U.S. Rates strategy at BMO Capital Markets:
''The coordinated action between the Fed/BoE/BoJ/ECB/SNB/Bank of Canada to lower the price on the central bank swap lines should help ease overseas funding stress by both reducing the cost of dollars for foreign banks, but also by adding the 84-day maturity option -- in addition to the 1-week currently. This should help reduce the probability of global funding squeeze -- whether it will be enough will be determined in the coming days.''
Krishna Guha, head of central bank strategy at Evercore ISI:
''Equity market futures continued to tumble following the announcement as he spoke. This troubling reaction likely reflects some combination of buy the rumor/sell the news from Friday, concern that the Fed has fired its bazooka and fiscal needs to step up too if this is to work, and missing elements on the liquidity/credit front. The Fed cannot do a lot about the first two but it can and should address the third. In our view the absence of TAF cash auctions and emergency 13(3) lending programs to shore up the credit markets starting with a CPFF backstop for commercial paper leaves the powerful package incomplete.''
Jason Daw, a strategist at Societe Generale:
''In normal circumstances, a large policy response like this would put a floor under risk assets and support a recovery. However, the size of the growth shock is becoming exponential and markets are rightfully questioning what else monetary policy can do and discounting its effectiveness in mitigating coronavirus-induced downside risks.''
Source: Bloomberg
Popular iPhone and iPad Apps Snooping on the Pasteboard | Mysk
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 11:25
By Talal Haj Bakry and Tommy Mysk
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Two apps; one snoops on the clipboard, the other doesn't
Method to view pasteboard events using Xcode
Summary
This article provides an investigation of some popular apps that frequently access the pasteboard without user consent. These apps range from popular games and social networking apps, to news apps of major news organizations. We found that many apps quietly read any text found in the pasteboard every time the app is opened. Text left in the pasteboard could be as simple as a shopping list, or could be something more sensitive: passwords, account numbers, etc.
Introduction
Apps on iOS and iPadOS have unrestricted access to the system-wide general pasteboard, also referred to as the clipboard. The potential security risks of this vulnerability have been thoroughly discussed in a previous article: Precise Location Information Leaking Through System Pasteboard. We have explored popular and top apps available on the App Store and observed their behaviour using the standard Apple development tools. The results show that many apps frequently access the pasteboard and read its content without user consent, albeit only text-based data.
The apps we chose in this investigation belong to various App Store categories, e.g. games, social networking, and news. As we described in our pervious article, the severity of the pasteboard vulnerability is greatest when popular and frequently-used apps exploit it. Thus, we targeted a variety of popular apps we found on the top lists of the App Store.
Methodology
Apple provides Xcode and Xcode Command Line tools for developers to build apps for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. We used these official tools to monitor and analyze the behavior of apps installed on our iOS and iPadOS devices. The method is simple: Once we connect and pair the devices with Xcode, we can read the system log of the device. Fortunately, all pasteboard events are clearly logged. Figure 1 shows an example of the system log output when the Fox News app is opened. The following explains the key information in the log output:
The logs output all events, and is filtered by the keyword ''pasteboard''The highlighted event in Figure 1 shows when the Fox News app requested access to the pasteboard with ID com.apple.UIKit.pboard.general. This is the ID of the system-wide pasteboardBundleID com.foxnews.foxnews is the ID that uniquely identifies the Fox News app on the App StoreThe event message that starts with ''Loading item '...'' in Figure 2, indicates that the app has read the content of the pasteboard.The type public.utf8-plain-text indicates that the content that the app has read is text.This method can be performed by any iOS or Mac developer.
Figure 1Figure 2Criteria
We include any app that requests and reads the content of the system-wide pasteboard every time it's opened, and consider it to be highly suspicious. There are games and apps that do not provide any UI that deals with text, yet they read the text content of the pasteboard every time they're opened.
Every app that is popular or on a top list according to the App Store rankings qualifies to be part of this investigation. However, we picked a diverse collection of apps to provide proof that such a suspicious practice of snooping on the pasteboard exists in many apps.
There is a considerable number of apps that only read the content of the pasteboard on launch. That is, the app reads the pasteboard only when it is opened for the first time. The next time it reads the pasteboard again is when the app is quit and relaunched. Although such a behavior is also suspicious, we decided to exclude such apps and focus on the ones that access the pasteboard more frequently.
As noted in our previous article, an app that accesses the pasteboard can also read what has been copied on a Mac if Universal Clipboard is enabled.
Findings
While unrestricted access to the pasteboard allow apps to read any data type, all the apps we investigated for this article have only requested access to text data. In other words, they are only interested in reading text and ignore other data types that may have been copied to the pasteboard, such as photos and PDF documents. Surprisingly, none of the widgets that were tested accessed the pasteboard.
Our findings only documented apps that read the pasteboard every time the app is opened. However, apps can delay snooping on the pasteboard until some time or event takes places (e.g. signing up), hence are not included in our findings.
List of Apps
This section summarizes the list of apps that snoop on the pasteboard every time the app is opened. The apps are listed alphabetically in the following format:
App Name '-- BundleIDNews
ABC News '-- com.abcnews.ABCNewsAl Jazeera English '-- ajenglishiphoneCBC News '-- ca.cbc.CBCNewsCBS News '-- com.H443NM7F8H.CBSNewsCNBC '-- com.nbcuni.cnbc.cnbcrtipadFox News '-- com.foxnews.foxnewsNews Break '-- com.particlenews.newsbreakNew York Times '-- com.nytimes.NYTimesNPR '-- org.npr.nprnewsntv Nachrichten '-- de.n-tv.n-tvmobilReuters '-- com.thomsonreuters.ReutersRussia Today '-- com.rt.RTNewsEnglishStern Nachrichten '-- de.grunerundjahr.sternneuThe Economist '-- com.economist.lamarrThe Huffington Post '-- com.huffingtonpost.HuffingtonPostThe Wall Street Journal '-- com.dowjones.WSJ.ipadVice News '-- com.vice.news.VICE-NewsGames
8 Ball Pool' '-- com.miniclip.8ballpoolmultAMAZE!!! '-- com.amaze.gameBejeweled '-- com.ea.ios.bejeweledskiesBlock Puzzle '-- Game.BlockPuzzleClassic Bejeweled '-- com.popcap.ios.Bej3Classic Bejeweled HD '-- com.popcap.ios.Bej3HDFlipTheGun '-- com.playgendary.flipgunFruit Ninja '-- com.halfbrick.FruitNinjaLiteGolfmasters '-- com.playgendary.sportmasterstwoLetter Soup '-- com.candywriter.apollo7Love Nikki '-- com.elex.nikkiMy Emma '-- com.crazylabs.myemmaPlants vs. Zombies' Heroes '-- com.ea.ios.pvzheroes Pooking '' Billiards City '-- com.pool.club.billiards.cityPUBG Mobile '-- com.tencent.igTomb of the Mask '-- com.happymagenta.fromcoreTomb of the Mask: Color '-- com.happymagenta.totm2Total Party Kill '-- com.adventureislands.totalpartykillWatermarbling '-- com.hydro.dippingSocial Networking
TikTok '-- com.zhiliaoapp.musicallyToTalk '-- totalk.gofeiyu.comTok '-- com.SimpleDate.TokTruecaller '-- com.truesoftware.TrueCallerOtherViber '-- com.viberWeibo '-- com.sina.weiboZoosk '-- com.zoosk.ZooskOther
10% Happier: Meditation '--com.changecollective.tenpercenthappier5-0 Radio Police Scanner '-- com.smartestapple.50radiofreeAccuweather '-- com.yourcompany.TestWithCustomTabsAliExpress Shopping App '-- com.alibaba.iAliexpressBed Bath & Beyond '-- com.digby.bedbathbeyondDazn '-- com.dazn.theAppHotels.com '-- com.hotels.HotelsNearMeHotel Tonight '-- com.hoteltonight.prodOverstock '-- com.overstock.appPigment '' Adult Coloring Book '-- com.pixite.pigmentRecolor Coloring Book to Color '-- com.sumoing.ReColorSky Ticket '-- de.sky.skyonlineThe Weather Network '-- com.theweathernetwork.weathereyeiphoneConclusion
Access to the pasteboard in iOS and iPadOS requires no app permission as of iOS 13.3. While the pasteboard provides the ease of sharing data between various apps, it poses a risk of exposing private and personal data to suspicious apps. We have investigated many popular apps in the App Store and found that they frequently access the pasteboard without the user being aware. Our investigation confirms that many popular apps read the text content of the pasteboard. However, it is not clear what the apps do with the data. To prevent apps from exploiting the pasteboard, Apple must act.
Stock market rollercoaster: Why high-frequency trading isn't to blame
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 11:21
Faster and more powerful computers mean that stock trading can happen at rapid speeds. Credit: ShutterstockFinancial forecasting involves predicting an organization's financial future. It typically considers a history of prices, trading volumes or other predictors such as financial statements, interest rates and commodity prices to predict what is called the target variable. Accurate forecasting can help companies to plan their supplies to meet customers' demands, avoid losses and take on profitable investments.
When looking at predictors and target variables together, they are referred to as a time series, a sequence of data points collected over time. This data may be collected by companies, financial markets or government agencies on a regular basis ranging from daily, monthly, annually or, more frequently, on a one-minute or one-tenth-of-a-second basis. The speed at which the data is gathered is called sampling frequency.
Time series analysis is similar to weather forecasting'--historical data is averaged to understand the past mechanisms of a certain phenomenon and to potentially predict its future behaviour.
Time series analysis is of enormous importance for investors, as financial success depends the ability to predict stock prices accurately.
Trading in financial markets
When stock prices are to a certain degree predictable, financial markets are inefficient in the sense that active portfolio investment is more profitable than passive investing in stock market indices such as the S&P 500 Index. However, the efficient market hypothesis argues that all available information is already reflected in market prices and so it is impossible to predict the future and beat the market by active investing.
Yet a large body of evidence suggests that financial markets are often inefficient and predictable.
Private information about a firm's future (that other investors may not have) could be used for improved forecasting. But unlike in the movie Wall Street, not all private information is illegal, because it may arise from having superior forecasting technology or trading faster.
Oliver Stone directed the 1987 movie Wall Street, starring Michael Douglas, which looked at insider trading.Automating trading
Advances in computing processing speeds and technology has given rise to high-frequency trading, an investing or trading activity with durations measured in fractions of a second. As the technology becomes more available and accessible, algorithmic trading is replacing floor trading by people. These days, 80 percent of stock market transactions is performed by machines.
Technological superiority
Although some evidence suggests that high-frequency trading improves market efficiency and the speed of how fast everybody can execute large orders, it's possible that rapid advances in technology benefit only those who become high-frequency traders.
High-frequency traders use their technological superiority to take advantage of the slower traders who do not have access to the technology needed to trade as quickly as they would like to. Such a critical view on high-frequency trading is prevalent in financial journalist Michael Lewis's 2014 book Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.
The technological advantages are also evident in the foreign exchange market. In a notable case of backlash, Electronic Broking Services (EBS), a major foreign exchange electronic trading platform, was forced to limit the influence of high-frequency (currency) traders.
Initially, in March 2011, EBS decided increase the trading speed and to adopt a fifth decimal place to the exchange rate quotes on their platform. In most cases, the exchange rate is quoted to four decimal places, for example USD/CAD $1.3289. Quoting exchange rates to five decimal places'--for example USD/CAD 1.32891'--allows them to change at smaller amounts, increasing the sampling frequency and attracting high-frequency traders.
This caused the average daily cash volume on the platform to drop by 49 percent from August 2011 to August 2012. This decline in trading activity was likely caused by the departure of traders and banks that used slower technology. The accelerated decline in the market share for EBS resulted in the policy being scrapped in September 2012.
Illustration for a jump in the VIX index at around 18:40 GMT, when the U.S. House of Representatives voted against the bailout of Lehman Brothers on September 29, 2008 (five-minute intervals). Credit: D. Erdemlioglu, Author providedJump risks
In our paper, we explored the interactions between large price movements called jumps. Jumps can happen when there are large sudden discrepancies between market supply and demand, and the price needs to swiftly adjust to regain balance. Maintaining the optimal balance between demand and supply in a market is crucial for liquidity and price stability.
We found evidence that jumps generated by low-frequency traders have no influence on high-frequency traders. Similarly, when we focus on high-frequency traders, we reveal that the jump risk originating from them has a limited impact on low-frequency traders.
Dangerous jumps
We also compared the two directions of volatility jump propagation for the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX). The VIX is an index providing theoretical 30-day market expectations based on the S&P 500 Index. Higher values of VIX indicate the risk that the market will make a large swing. Jumps in the VIX can be considered as extremely dangerous for the market participants' investment positions.
In contrast to our previous findings, we found that extreme jumps made by low-frequency traders could be very dangerous to high-frequency traders, but the impacts of high-frequency traders on low-frequency traders are limited. Intuitively, low-frequency traders trade less often and over longer periods, and they order large trades that may create substantial shocks for high-frequency traders upon their execution.
These findings contribute to the ongoing debate on the role of high-frequency traders in financial markets, who are often criticized for their predatory behavior. However, we show that the trading activity of high-frequency traders in relation to extreme price movements is not harmful.
The policy implication of our work is that regulators should not exclusively view high-frequency traders as market destabilizers in their attempts to level the playing field for all investors.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Citation: Stock market rollercoaster: Why high-frequency trading isn't to blame (2020, March 16) retrieved 16 March 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-03-stock-rollercoaster-high-frequency-isnt-blame.html
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Germany Introduces Border Controls
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 11:19
The spread of the deadly coronavirus epidemic has forced Germany to introduce travel restrictions and enhance control over people's movements. But economic concerns are still high for Berlin.
On Monday morning, Germany imposed checks and suspended visa-free travel on its land borders with five nations: France, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark and Luxembourg. Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic have not been affected by the new restrictions so far.
From now on, foreigners crossing the border from any of the five nations in question must have ''a valid reason to travel'' or they will be denied entry to Germany, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said as he announced the new measures.
''The spread of coronavirus is progressing very rapidly and aggressively,'' he added, justifying the restrictions. ''We have to assume that the peak of this development has not yet been reached.''
The control measures are not as draconian as they might seem at first glance. The restrictions mostly affect foreign tourists and holidaymakers travelling by road, since there is no information about any changes concerning international flights or railway services.
Germans can still come back regardless. ''Of course, the German citizens have the right to return to their home country,'' Seehofer noted. The same applies to foreigners with a residence permit in Germany.
Commuters and truck drivers trafficking goods through the border also enjoy a free pass, as long as they have valid documents issued by their employers.
''We are not prohibiting work,'' the interior minister said, while Economy Minister Peter Altmaier assured concerned citizens that ''we try to keep restrictions as limited as possible,'' citing the need to avoid unreasonable hurdles in the movement of goods and economic activities.
EU Commission head and Germany's former Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen also seemed to be more concerned about the economy than healthcare. She warned about ''thousands'' of truck drivers stranded at the border because of new controls and said they could lead to replenishment problems for certain supermarkets.
''At the moment of crisis, it is of utmost importance to keep our common'... market going,'' she added.
The new measures are to remain in place ''indefinitely'' until the threat of coronavirus has passed, the German authorities said. Border closures are apparently still out of the question, however.
''We don't close borders; North Korea does,'' German Police President Dieter Romann, said, adding that his agency has enough staff to enforce effective border checks without resorting to any drastic measures.
Still, he admitted that the officers are also exposed to coronavirus infections, adding that there are four confirmed cases among police personnel, with a further 240 officers quarantined as a precaution.
Meanwhile, some of Germany's neighbors have introduced much more stringent restrictions.
Denmark has closed all its borders, allowing only Danish nationals to enter.
Tourists are now stopped from entering the country.
The Czech Republic's borders have been closed not only to all Germans, but also the Italians, Austrians and French.
Poland has closed its borders to foreigners for 10 days and suspended international flights and rail services for two weeks. However, it is still allowing entry to commuters, people with residence permits and goods traffickers.
Alex Jones reveals how the coronavirus outbreak is the perfect crisis for the globalists to use in order to create a totalitarian prison planet in a very short amount of time.
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"Just Close The Whole Thing Up": CNBC Anchors Melt Down, Beg For Market Closures On Twitter | Zero Hedge
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 11:08
Few are dealing with the economic and market turmoil with more chaos and less class and resolve than the expert "buy and hold" class over at CNBC, who shockingly never said one word of warning to their retail viewers when the market was doing nothing but going straight up for more than a decade, and instead were dragging mom and pop investors into massively overvalued stocks urging them to buy at all time highs, and who are now melting down before our eyes at the first sight of a substantial market pullback.
Their solution: own the shorts by shutting down the market entirely. Because if one can't BTFD, is it even a market?
As recently as Friday, when the Dow Jones posted a 2000 point gain on the back of a short squeeze that nearly doubled the indexes gains in the last 15 minutes of the day, there was no talk about markets being defective or needing to close. That was, of course, until the Fed's $700 billion "quarantative easing" bazooka bailout of markets fizzled spectacularly on Sunday nights and futures promptly went limit down. When it appeared that this plan was failing, some of the industry's finest began to panic visibly.
Prior to the Fed news, Halftime Report's Scott Wapner had already called for blanket censorship of Twitter...
Then, after the Fed bazooka failed to calm markets, it sent the popular talking heads into a typing panic, as Wapner started tweeting wildly, criticizing NFL players for signing contracts, prodding the NYSE to "close the floor" and then begging for them to "close the whole thing up" so the market could "start again later". Perhaps because when things don't go your way, you can always beg for a reset in some imaginary world where the Fed still runs everything.
The chorus of CNBC anchors who never mentioned that investing includes risk in addition to return during the last 11 years continued, with David Faber joining his co-worker and also suggesting that markets should go on a "two week holiday":
Meanwhile, Wapner had already shifted stages of grief from anger to bargaining, trying to project the image of markets slowly ramping back up, despite the fact that we were still nearly 13 hours away from the next cash open and likely haven't come anywhere near feeling the full effect of the pain of the Fed's panicked decision making:
But then it was clear the reality of the situation was finally starting to hit Wapner for the first time in weeks:
And at one point, Wapner finally appeared to just give up and literally tweeted "Help":
Forget the idea that closing the markets when they don't go your way is nothing but a temporary measure to pause price discovery that will eventually happen anyway, one way or another, but the anchors obviously never seemed to consider what the idea of closing the markets could project in term of further panic upon participants.
Participants will find a way to hedge and trade in other markets. The logistical nightmare of expiring options and those needed to liquidate to deleverage as the market falls could cause serious unrest.
In other words, the thin skin of CNBC's supposed "financial experts" is (yet again) exacerbating the problem instead of quelling it, as one Twitter user responded to Faber:
And other well known names in the Financial Twittersphere rung in, too. Short seller Marc Cohodes told Wapner to "grow up" after Wapner pressed for a market shut down:
Former CNBC anchor Jeff Macke implored regulators not to suspend the markets:
In response to Wapner's meltdown about the nation being in "Uncharted Waters", one Twitter user responded:
In response to Faber's comment that "events" can change decisions, Stanphyl Capital's Mark Spiegel cleared it up for him:
One Twitter user asked Wapner why he would want to close the markets now, with so many buying opportunities abound:
Finally, this blogger seemed to nail the overall essence of the situation:
To Track Coronavirus, Israel Moves to Tap Secret Trove of Cellphone Data - The New York Times
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 10:20
The information, intended for use in counterterrorism, would help identify people who have crossed paths with known patients.
A market in Tel Aviv on Sunday. The Israeli government is escalating efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. Credit... Corinna Kern/Reuters March 16, 2020Updated 8:32 a.m. ET
JERUSALEM '-- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has authorized the country's internal security agency to tap into a vast and previously undisclosed trove of cellphone data to retrace the movements of people who have contracted the coronavirus and identify others who should be quarantined because their paths crossed, officials said.
The unprecedented move to use data secretly gathered to combat terrorism for public health efforts was authorized on Sunday by Mr. Netanyahu's holdover cabinet. But it must still be approved by Parliament's Secret Services Subcommittee before its existence lapses at 4 p.m. Monday, upon the swearing-in of a new legislature. That is by no means assured.
The existence of the data trove and the legislative framework under which it is amassed and used have not previously been reported. The plan to apply it to fighting the virus, alluded to only vaguely by Mr. Netanyahu, has not yet been debated by lawmakers or revealed to the public.
The idea is to sift through geolocation data routinely collected from Israeli cellphone providers about millions of their customers in Israel and the West Bank, find people who came into close contact with known virus carriers, and send them text messages directing them to isolate themselves immediately.
Disclosure of the plan is certain to raise alarms among privacy advocates and among critics of Mr. Netanyahu, who is simultaneously battling to retain power after those seeking his ouster won a majority in elections March 2, and imposing increasingly authoritarian measures in response to the crisis. His justice minister on Sunday severely curtailed the courts, a move that was followed hours later by the postponement of Mr. Netanyahu's criminal trial on bribery and corruption charges, which had been scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
In addition to the location-tracking effort, Mr. Netanyahu's caretaker government on Sunday authorized prison sentences of up to six months for anyone breaching isolation orders; barring visitors, including lawyers, from prison and detention facilities and allowing the police to break up gatherings '-- as of now, more than 10 people '-- by means including ''the use of reasonable force.''
It is the existence of the cellphone metadata trove and its use to track coronavirus patients and carriers that privacy advocates say poses the greatest test of Israeli democracy at an extraordinarily fragile moment.
Malkiel Blass, who was a deputy attorney general from 2004 to 2012, said that because of the dissolution of Parliament in December, Mr. Netanyahu's cabinet had been operating without legislative oversight for too long.
''Even in crises of this nature, the core of civil rights in a democracy must be preserved,'' Mr. Blass said in an interview. ''I understand that infection and contagion and the spread of the virus must be prevented, but it is inconceivable that because of the panic, civil rights should be trampled without restraint, at levels that are totally disproportionate to the threat and the problem.''
Anticipating such criticism, officials insisted that the use of cellphone data by the Internal Security Agency '-- known by its Hebrew acronym, Shin Bet '-- would be scrupulously circumscribed.
''The use of advanced Shin Bet technologies is intended for one purpose only: saving lives,'' said a senior security official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss such a sensitive matter. ''In this way, the spread of the virus in Israel can be narrowed, quickly and efficiently. This is a focused, time-limited and limited activity that is monitored by the government, the attorney general and the Knesset's regulatory mechanisms.''
The Shin Bet has been quietly but routinely collecting cellphone metadata since at least 2002, officials confirmed. It has never disclosed details about what information it collects, how that data is safeguarded, whether or when any of it is destroyed or deleted, who has access to it and under what conditions, or how it is used.
Two laws and a number of secret regulations and administrative orders govern the data-collection effort and its use by the Shin Bet, officials said.
The Telecommunications Law, amended in 1995 with the advent of widespread cellular networks, gives the prime minister broad powers to order carriers to allow access to their facilities and databases ''as necessary to perform the functions of the security forces or to exercise their powers.''
Article 11 of the Israeli Security Agency Law, enacted in 2002, lets the prime minister determine what sort of information about cellphone subscribers ''is required by the service to fulfill its purpose,'' and declares that the companies must ''transfer information of these types'' to the Shin Bet.
A former senior Shin Bet official who was involved in pushing for the 2002 legislation said that the agency had not pushed for Article 11 because officials believed lawmakers would ''never allow such a draconian clause to pass.'' But lawmakers ''didn't understand what it was about and nobody said anything,'' added the former official, who insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence issues.
The former official added that after Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency employee, leaked details about the United States government's bulk collection of data on American citizens, igniting a furor, ''we all laughed, that what the American intelligence community was trying to hide, and what caused such an uproar among the American public, is so clearly written in Israeli law.''
Under that law, it is up to the head of the Shin Bet to determine how cellphone data is used. While the law authorizes its use for only six months, the Shin Bet director may reauthorize it. The director is required to report to the attorney general every three months and to the Knesset's Secret Services Subcommittee yearly.
Since 2002, a former senior Justice Ministry official said, prime ministers have required cellphone companies to transfer to the agency a vast range of metadata about their subscribers. The official refused to say what categories of data were being provided or withheld, but metadata includes the identity of each subscriber, recipients or initiators of each call, payments made on the account, as well as geolocation information collected when phones communicate with cellular transmission towers.
Using cellphone data to combat the coronavirus requires government approval because the Security Agency Law limits the Shin Bet's role to protecting Israel ''against threats of terror, sabotage, subversion, espionage and exposure of state secrets.'' It is permitted to act in other ways ''vital to national security'' but only with the approval of the cabinet and the Secret Services Subcommittee.
Ami Ayalon, Shin Bet's chief from 1995 to 2000 and a former Labor party lawmaker, called the clause allowing the agency's mission to be expanded ''very problematic.''
''The question of whether it is justified is a dilemma that falls exactly in that crack between democracy and national security,'' Mr. Ayalon said.
Still, he said, ''Liberal democracy is violated by all sorts of battles.''
Contrary to some Israeli reports, there is no plan to hack into Israeli citizens' cellphones. But experts said that was simply unnecessary because the government already receives, as a matter of course, enough data from cellphone carriers to monitor the whereabouts of nearly anyone.
Lior Akerman, a former Shin Bet officer, said the agency was well practiced in distinguishing between appropriate targets '-- those suspected of harming national security '-- and innocent civilians.
''In this case,'' Mr. Akerman said, ''it is not about tracking innocent people or invading their privacy, but using existing technologies to identify and locate sick people and carriers who could infect thousands.''
But Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler, a senior researcher at the Israel Democracy Institute, argued that deploying the Shin Bet, which already has the necessary data in hand, was ''easy but dangerous.''
''The problem is it's a very slippery slope,'' she said, arguing that it would be safer to put the police in charge.
''I don't want to sound like a dissident, but if your right to privacy is important for you, you ought to be worried,'' Ms. Altshuler said, adding: ''This is not war or an intifada. It's a civilian event and should be treated like one.''
Updated March 16, 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 167,400 in at least 136 countries and more than 6,300 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.
Balthazar '' Text processing in the shell
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 10:11
This article is part of a self-published book project by Balthazar Rouberol and Etienne Brodu, ex-roommates, friends and colleagues, aiming at empowering the up and coming generation of developers. We currently are hard at work on it!
If you are interested in the project, we invite you to join the mailing list!
Table of ContentscatheadtailwcgrepcutpastesortuniqawktrfoldsedReal-life examplesGoing further: for loops and xargsSummaryGoing furtherOne of the things that makes the shell an invaluable tool is the amountof available text processing commands, and the ability to easily pipethem into each other to build complex text processing workflows. Thesecommands can make it trivial to perform text and data analysis, convertdata between different formats, filter lines, etc.
When working with text data, the philosophy is to break any complexproblem you have into a set of smaller ones, and to solve each of themwith a specialized tool.
Make each program do one thing well.1
The examples in that chapter might seem a little contrived at first, butthis is also by design. Each of these tools were designed to solve onesmall problem. They however become extremely powerful when combined.
We will go over some of the most common and useful text processingcommands the shell has to offer, and will demonstrate real-lifeworkflows piping them together. I suggest you take a look at the manof these commands to see the full breadth of options at your disposal.
The example CSV (comma-separated values) file is available online.2Feel free to download it yourself to test these commands.
catAs seen in the previous chapter, cat is used to concatenate a list ofone or more files and displays their content on screen.
Many Austin Restaurants Are Adding Takeout Options Due to Coronavirus Measures
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 10:01
In order to stay open while also curbing the spread of COVID-19, these restaurants now offer new to-go and curbside pickup options
A to-go package from Bento Picnic Casey Woods/Bento Picnic/Facebook Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and concerns over ways to support Austin businesses while implementing social distancing in order to help lower the spread of the disease, Austin restaurants are adjusting their operations in order to serve customers who don't want to dine out in crowds.
To that effect, many Austin restaurants are adding takeout options to their lineup:
North Loop restaurant Foreign & Domestic added online pickup orders, which include dinner items (Parisian gnocchi, burgers, bavette), bottles of wine, and Sunday brunch dishes (pancakes, cardamom cinnamon rolls), as well as baked goods (pies, cookies, breads) though with a five-day waiting period. (306 East 53rd Street, North Loop)Holly restaurant Launderette is offering takeout orders for lunch, brunch, and dinner via phone calls. (2115 Holly Street, Holly)East Sixth Mexican restaurant Suerte is allowing guests to order its full menu as takeout via phone call or stopping by the business. (1800 East Sixth Street, East Austin)Mueller Italian restaurant L'Oca d'Oro added a to-go menu to its lineup, featuring pastas, entrees, meatballs, vegetables, and tiramisu via phone calls. (1900 Simond Avenue, Mueller)Cherrywood restaurant and butcher shop Dai Due implemented a takeout window off Manor Road, featuring its full menu. (2406 Manor Road, Cherrywood)Central East Austin taco restaurant Nixta Taqueria added curbside takeout (tacos, beer, wine) to its lineup via phone call. (2512 East 12th Street, Central East Austin)Hyde Park store Antonelli's Cheese Shop is serving takeout orders via phone and its website, plus it's offering curbside pickups. (4220 Duval Street, Hyde Park)East Seventh restaurant and butcher shop Salt & Time is now offering takeout dinner via phone and is working on an online ordering system. The restaurant already offered takeout during lunch hours. (1912 East 7th Street, East Austin)Both Jacoby's and Grizzelda's are offering to-go orders via phone calls while also nixing takeout service fees. (3235 East Cesar Chavez Street, Govalle; 105 Tillery Street, Govalle)Bento Picnic is offering contactless delivery '-- where the driver will leave orders at doors '-- now. (2600 East Cesar Chavez Street, East Austin)Bouldin Creek restaurant Thai Fresh added curbside pickups for online orders during this time. Guests place orders online and then text the restaurant once they're in the parking lot for delivery. (909 West Mary Street, Bouldin Creek)Rainey Street New American restaurant Emmer & Rye added a to-go menu via phone ordering, which includes bread, the iconic cacio e pepe, and cakes. (51 Rainey Street, Downtown)Rainey Street sausage restaurant Banger's is offering its full food menu via curbside pickup through phone ordering. The caveat: it isn't available during Rainey Street closures on Thursday through Saturday from 9 p.m. to midnight. (79 Rainey Street, Downtown)North Austin brewery and restaurant Brewtorium is also offering both food and beer crowler curbside pickups via phone calls. (6015 Dillard Circle, Highland)Veracruz All Natural's brick-and-mortars in Round Rock and North Burnet will only serve to-go items.MLK kolache and beer spot Batch is going to-go only starting on Monday, March 16. Carpenter Hotel restaurant Carpenters Hall added a takeout menu for lunch and dinner starting tomorrow, Monday, March 16. (400 Josephine Street, Zilker)Quarry restaurant Provision is offering almost its entire menu (minus the mussel pot) for curbside pickup via phone call starting tomorrow on Monday, March 16. (4200 West Braker Lane, Far North)South Lamar Mexican restaurant El Naranjo is serving its dinner and brunch menus, as well as selling wine bottles for pickup service via phone call. Every order that is over $50 will include two complimentary cheese empanadas. (2717 South Lamar Boulevard, South Austin)Both locations of casual cafe Cenote is offering free no-contact delivery within 5 miles of each restaurant from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and then from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. (1010 East Cesar Chavez Street, East Austin; 6214 Cameron Road, Windsor Park)North Loop Japanese restaurant Kome will begin to serve its rolls via takeout on Monday, March 16. Eventually, its other dishes (minus sashimi and nigiri) will be added too. The restaurant will also offer curbside pickups. (5301 Airport Boulevard, North Loop)Italian cafe Uncle Nicky's is adding curbside pickup to its takeout service. (4222 Duval Street, Hyde Park)Chinese-American restaurant Old Thousand is offering free delivery within a five mile radius of the East 11th Street business starting tomorrow, Monday, March 16. (1000 East 11th Street, Central East Austin)Israeli food stand TLV is adding a curbside pickup option to its takeout ordering system. (111 Congress Avenue, Downtown)While both locations of frozen sweets shop Dolce Gelato offers gelato in to-go cups already, it will also offer curbside pickups. (1713 South First Street, Bouldin Creek; 1109 East Fifth Street, East Austin)New taco truck Bronco Taco added phone call pickups to its lineup. (3220 Manor Road, MLK)Miniature pie bakery Tiny Pies is adding curbside pickups for its little pies, which will be individually wrapped as well. (2032 South Lamar Boulevard, Zilker; 5035 Burnet Road, Brentwood)Downtown New American restaurant Swift's Attic is offering to-go food for lunch, dinner, and brunch, which includes squid ''fries,'' Korean barbecue flank steak, and desserts. (315 Congress Avenue, Downtown)Popcorn fans can order pickup and curbside pickup popcorn from Austin Gourmet Popcorn via phone calls. (13343 Highway 183 North, Anderson Mill; 2127 Lohman's Crossing Road, Lakeway; 1713 Farm-to-Market 685, Pflugerville)Know of any other Austin restaurants now offering new takeout/curbside/delivery options due to concerns over novel coronavirus? Let Eater know through the tipline or via austin@eater.com
Two Austin Restaurants Switch to To-Go Orders Only During Coronavirus Outbreak [EATX]All Coronavirus Coverage [E] Sign up for the newsletter Eater Austin Sign up for our newsletter.
President Trump and VP Pence Hold Conference Call With U.S. Grocers and Suppliers'... | The Last Refuge
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 09:59
Earlier this afternoon President Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence held a teleconference with a who's-who of executives within the U.S. grocery supply chain.
[Per the White House] ''Today, President Donald J. Trump held a telephone call with more than two dozen grocery store and supply chain executives from across the country. The President thanked them for the work they have already done to meet the needs of the public and for their continued commitment to the communities they serve.''
''All of the executives are working hand-in-hand with the Federal Government, as well as State and local leaders, to ensure food and essentials are constantly available. The President reminded the participants that this is an all-of-America approach and each of their stores and the stores they support can help Americans feel calm and safe when shelves are stocked with the items they need.''
''Supply chains in the United States are strong, and it is unnecessary for the American public to hoard daily essentials. The President thanked the executives for their close partnership and pledged to stay in close communication.'' (read more)
Trump Administration: President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Department of the Treasury; Secretary Sonny Perdue, Department of Agriculture; Larry Kudlow, Assistant to the President and Director of the National Economic Council; Tim Pataki, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Liaison
External Participants:'... Dave Clark, Senior Vice President, World Wide Operations, Whole Foods Market
'... Mark Clouse, CEO, Campbell Soup Company
'... Brian Cornell, CEO, Target
'... Mike Duffy, CEO, C & S Wholesale Grocers
'... Randy Edeker, Chairman, CEO, and President, Hy-Vee
'... Geoff Freeman, President and CEO, Consumer Brands Association
'... Greg Ferrara, President and CEO, National Grocers Association
'... Grant Haag, President and CEO, Winco Food
'... Jeff Harmening, CEO, General Mills, Inc.
'... Jason Hart, CEO, Aldi USA
'... Kevin Holt, CEO, Ahold-Delhaize USA
'... Kevin Hourican, President and CEO, Sysco
'... Anthony Hucker, President and CEO, Southeastern Grocers
'... Craig Jelinek, CEO, Costco
'... Todd Jones, CEO, Publix Super Markets
'... Laura Karet, President and CEO, Giant Eagle, Inc.
'... Rick Keyes, CEO, Meijer
'... Donnie King, Group President and Chief Admin Officer, Tyson Food
'... David MacLennan, Chairman and CEO, Cargill, Inc.
'... Rodney McMullen, CEO and Chairman of the Board, The Kroger Co.
'... Doug McMillon, CEO, Walmart
'... Miguel Patricio, CEO, The Kraft Heinz Company
'... Gregg Roden, Senior Vice President, PepsiCo North America Supply Chain
'... Vivek Sankaran, President and CEO, Albertson's
'... Leslie Sarasin, President and CEO, Food Industry Association
'... Steven Spinner, Chairman and CEO, United Natural Foods, Inc.
'... Peter Van Helden, CEO, Stater Bros. Markets
'... Todd Vassos, CEO, Dollar General Corporation
'... Rob Vitale, President and CEO, Post Holdings, Inc.
'... Colleen Wegman, CEO, Wegmans
Amazon Glitch Stymies Whole Foods, Fresh Grocery Deliveries
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 08:55
(C) Bloomberg A shopping cart sits in front of chips and salsas on display for sale during the grand opening of a Whole Foods Market Inc. location in Burbank, California, U.S., on Wednesday, June 20, 2018. Customer traffic was up 2.4 percent at Whole Foods stores during the first five months of 2018, a sign that Amazon has managed to draw in new shoppers with ballyhooed price cuts on a handful of items. (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. suffered a technical glitch on Sunday affecting online grocery orders through its Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh delivery services, which have become lifelines for household essentials for people looking to avoid stores due to the coronavirus outbreak.
''As COVID-19 has spread, we've seen a significant increase in people shopping online for groceries,'' an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement. ''Today this resulted in a systems impact affecting our ability to deliver Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market orders tonight. We're contacting customers, issuing concessions, and are working around the clock to quickly to resolve the issue.''
The disruption also affected Prime Now orders, according to an internal Amazon memo reviewed by Bloomberg.
Panic buying that has left store shelves empty is also straining Amazon's delivery capacity. Around the country, Amazon staff reported long lines to enter delivery stations and delays getting items they were supposed to deliver. Amazon notified delivery drivers Sunday evening about a ''technical issue that is causing a delay to Prime Now, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Markets orders being assigned to delivery partners,'' according to the company memo.
Jordan Insley, a resident of Woodinville, Washington, who pays $120 a year for Amazon Prime fast-delivery service, said he is considering canceling his membership since he hasn't been able to rely on the online retailer for essentials like laundry detergent, garbage bags and bottled water since shortly after the outbreak began in the Seattle region. Amazon warned shoppers on March 2 that surging demand was overwhelming its delivery capacity.
''If you're paying for Prime, you're paying for a service that doesn't exist,'' he said.
Some shoppers took to social media to vent about grocery shortages using the hashtags #panicbuying and #coronapocalypse.
Andrew Gillum Enters Rehab Before Footage of Meth Orgy Is Released
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 08:46
by Jacob Engels March 16, 2020
Less than 48 hours after reports surfaced about the existence of policy bodycam footage depicting a meth fueled sex orgy that failed 2018 Florida Democrat gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum was a participant in, the rising star and darling of the the far-left has announced that he is checking into a rehab facility.
Citing depression and alcoholism as the reasons, Gillum said that the meth orgy with a gay escort was a ''wake-up'' call.
''This has been a wake-up call for me,'' the former Tallahassee mayor said in a written statement Sunday. ''Since my race for governor ended, I fell into a depression that has led to alcohol abuse. I witnessed my father suffer from alcoholism and I know the damaging effects it can have when untreated. I also know that alcoholism is often a symptom of deeper struggles.''
''I will be stepping down from all public facing roles for the foreseeable future,'' he wrote.
Gillum said he would enter a rehabilitation facility. He apologized and asked for privacy.
It's not a shocking next step for Gillum, who seems to be following the same path that Democrats usually do when caught red-handed, or in his case, drunk and possibly drugged out in a Miami hotel room late at night with a prolific male escort. Like his forerunners, he is refusing to accept blame and is pulling the ''I have a problem and need rehab'' card instead of submitting to a drug test. He is only doing so to avert criticism and start the path back to power.
The Miami Beach Police Department and local State's Attorney have declined to press charges.
During his campaign for Governor of Florida, Gillum railed against ''privilege'' and stoked racial divisions across the Sunshine State. Now, it seems he is benefiting from Democrat privilege, like his high-profile admirers Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Update: Police 'Not Pursuing Criminal Charges' Against Andrew Gillum After He Was Found in Miami Hotel Room with Bags of Crystal Meth
As people await the release of the body cam footage and photographs that allegedly document a hotel room riddled with piles of vomit, fecal and blood stained linens, Floridians are worried that the footage will be erased or never see the light of day. We wrote about how to demand the release of that footage the other day, which is legally required under Florida law.
Bodycam Footage Exists of Andrew Gillum Meth Orgy
The choice to check into rehab and retreat from the public space, Gillum is in the first stage of becoming a major candidate for the Democrats once again, with some speculating that he could run for United States Senate in 2022, with seasoned Democrat party operatives and political players already claiming that he has a ''bright future,'' despite what has transpired over the past few days.
The Chinese Workers Who Assemble Designer Bags in Tuscany | The New Yorker
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 08:27
The first significant wave of Chinese immigrants arrived in the industrial zone around Prato, a city fifteen miles northwest of Florence, in the nineteen-nineties. Nearly all of them came from Wenzhou, a port city south of Shanghai. For the Chinese, the culture shock was more modest than one might have expected. ''The Italians were friendly,'' one early arrival remembered. ''Like the Chinese, they called one another Uncle. They liked family.'' In Tuscany, business life revolved around small, interconnected firms, just as it did in Wenzhou, a city so resolutely entrepreneurial that it had resisted Mao's collectivization campaign. The Prato area was a hub for mills and workshops, some of which made clothes and leather goods for the great fashion houses. If you were willing to be paid off the books, and by the piece, Prato offered plenty of opportunities. Many Wenzhouans found jobs there. ''The Italians, being canny, would subcontract out their work to the Chinese,'' Don Giovanni Momigli, a priest whose parish, near Prato, included an early influx of Chinese, told me. ''Then they were surprised when the Chinese began to do the work on their own.''
By the mid-nineties, Wenzhouans were setting up textile businesses in small garages, where they often also lived. Soon, they began renting empty workshops, paying with cash. The authorities didn't ask too many questions. Prato's business model was falling apart under the pressures of globalization. As it became harder for Italians to make a living in manufacturing, some of them welcomed the money that the Chinese workers brought into the local economy. If you could no longer be an artisan, you could still be a landlord.
Throughout the aughts, Chinese continued to show up in Tuscany. A non-stop flight was established between Wenzhou and Rome. Some migrants came with tourist visas and stayed on. Others paid smugglers huge fees, which they then had to work off, a form of indentured servitude that was enforced by the threat of violence. The long hours that the Chinese worked astonished many Italians, who were used to several weeks of paid vacation a year and five months of maternity leave. In 1989, the newspaper Corriere della Sera, using racist language still common among some Italians, published an article about a Chinese worker under the headline ''YELLOW STAKHANOVITE ON THE ARNO.''
While Florence was celebrated for its premium leatherwork, Prato was best known for the production of textiles. The Wenzhou workers tacked in a third direction. They imported cheap cloth from China and turned it into what is now called pronto moda, or ''fast fashion'': polyester shirts, plasticky pants, insignia jackets. These items sold briskly to low-end retailers and in open-air markets throughout the world.
The Chinese firms gradually expanded their niche, making clothes for middle-tier brands, like Guess and American Eagle Outfitters. And in the past decade they have become manufacturers for Gucci, Prada, and other luxury-fashion houses, which use often inexpensive Chinese-immigrant labor to create accessories and expensive handbags that bear the coveted ''Made in Italy'' label. Many of them are then sold to prosperous consumers in Shanghai and Beijing. It's not just Italian brands that have profited from this cross-cultural arrangement: a Chinese leather-goods entrepreneur I recently met with just outside Prato was wearing a forty-thousand-dollar Bulgari watch.
More than ten per cent of Prato's two hundred thousand legal residents are Chinese. According to Francesco Nannucci, the head of the police's investigative unit in Prato, the city is also home to some ten thousand Chinese people who are there illegally. Prato is believed to have the second-largest Chinese population of any European city, after Paris, and it has the highest proportion of immigrants in Italy, including a large North African population.
Many locals who worked in the textile and leather industries resented the Chinese immigrants, complaining that they cared only about costs and speed, not about aesthetics, and would have had no idea how to make fine clothes and accessories if not for the local craftsmen who taught them. Simona Innocenti, a leather artisan, told me that her husband was forced out of bag-making by cheaper Chinese competitors. She said of the newcomers, ''They copy, they imitate. They don't do anything original. They're like monkeys.''
''I hate to spoil your porridge, but your son has a blonde in his room.'' Although it could be argued that the Chinese have revived Prato's manufacturing industry, there has been a backlash against them. Native residents have accused Chinese immigrants of bringing crime, gang warfare, and garbage to the city. Chinese mill owners, they complain, ignore health laws and evade taxes; they use the schools and the hospitals without contributing money for them. In the early nineties, a group of Italians who worked in areas with a high concentration of immigrants sent an open letter to the Chinese government, sarcastically demanding citizenship: ''We are six hundred honest workers who feel as if we were already citizens of your great country.''
The strangest accusation was that the Chinese in Tuscany weren't dying'--or, at least, that they weren't leaving any bodies behind. In 1991, the regional government began an investigation into why, during the previous twelve months, not a single Chinese death had been officially recorded in Prato or in two nearby towns. In 2005, the government was still mystified'--that year, more than a thousand Chinese arrivals were registered, and only three deaths. Locals suspected that Chinese mobsters were disposing of corpses in exchange for passports, which they then sold to new arrivals, a scheme that took advantage of the native population's apparent inability to tell any one Chinese person from another.
There was a note of jealousy to the Pratans' complaints, as well as a reluctant respect for people who had beaten them at their own game. Elizabeth Krause, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has written about the changes in Prato. She told me, ''While I was there, people would say to me, 'Eravamo noi i cinesi' '''--''We were the Chinese.''
Even as many Italians maintained a suspicion of Chinese immigrants, they still criticized them for not contributing fully to the wider economy. Innocenti, the leather artisan, claimed that ''the Chinese don't even go to the store here. They have a van that goes from factory to factory, selling Band-Aids, tampons, and chicken. And in the back of the van they have a steamer with rice.'' The under-the-table cash economy of Prato's Chinese factories has facilitated tax evasion. Last year, as the result of an investigation by the Italian finance ministry into five billion dollars' worth of questionable money transfers, the Bank of China, whose Milan branch had reportedly been used for half of them, paid a settlement of more than twenty million dollars. Many of the transfers, the authorities said, represented undeclared income from Chinese-run businesses, or money generated by the counterfeiting of Italian fashion goods.
In Italy, these sorts of investigations are often more show than substance, and many Chinese residents see themselves as convenient targets. ''We didn't invent this way of doing business,'' one mill owner pointed out to me. ''If you go south from Rome, you'll find people who are a lot worse than the Chinese.'' He speculated that some Italians disliked the Chinese for working harder than they did, and for succeeding. In the Prato area, some six thousand businesses are registered to Chinese citizens. Francesco Xia, a real-estate agent who heads a social organization for young Chinese-Italians, said, ''The Chinese feel like the Jews of the thirties. Prato is a city that had a big economic crisis, and now there's a nouveau-riche class of Chinese driving fancy cars, spending money in restaurants, and dressing in the latest fashions. It's a very dangerous situation.''
At a time when Europe is filled with anti-immigrant rhetoric, political extremists have pointed to the demographic shifts in Prato as proof that Italy is under siege. In February, Patrizio La Pietra, a right-wing senator, told a Prato newspaper that the city needed to confront ''Chinese economic illegality,'' and that the underground economy had ''brought the district to its knees, eliminated thousands of jobs, and exposed countless families to hunger.'' Such assertions have been effective: in Italy's recent national elections, Tuscany, which since the end of the Second World War had consistently supported leftist parties, gave twice as many votes to right-wing and populist parties as it did to those on the left. Giovanni Donzelli, a member of the quasi-Fascist Fratelli d'Italia party, who last month was elected a national representative, told me, ''The Chinese have their own restaurants and their own banks'--even their own police force. You damage the economy twice. Once, because you compete unfairly with the other businesses in the area, and the second time because the money doesn't go back into the Tuscan economic fabric.'' He added that he had once tried to talk with some Chinese parents at his children's school. ''They had been here six or seven years, and they still didn't speak Italian,'' he scoffed. ''Because they didn't need to!''
Prato's centro storico is a picturesque maze of streets paved with flagstones and bordered by walls that date to the early Renaissance. One Sunday in February, when I visited, many locals were doing what Italians call le vasche (''laps''), walking from one end of the district to the other, occasionally pausing to look in shopwindows. Some were on their way to family lunches, carrying plates of biscotti wrapped in shiny paper stamped with the names of the city's best bakeries. The Duomo has superb frescoes by Fra Filippo Lippi'--''The most excellent of all his works,'' according to Vasari'--and a gold-and-glass reliquary that holds what is claimed to be the sacred girdle of Mary. In a sense, it is Prato's original textile.
Just outside the city walls, in Prato's Chinatown, well-to-do Chinese families were carrying their own wrapped parcels of sweets: mashed-taro buns, red-bean cakes. Suburbanites, coming into town to see relatives, drove BMWs, Audis, and Mercedeses. (In a telling remark, more than one Italian insisted to me that no Chinese person would be caught in a Fiat Panda, one of the Italian company's most modest cars.) According to a 2015 study by a regional economic agency, Chinese residents contribute more than seven hundred million euros to Prato's provincial economy, about eleven per cent of its total.
Chinatown, though, looked dishevelled. In the alleyways, I saw that many of the windows were covered with blankets. A few days later, I accompanied authorities on several raids and learned that there were sweatshops behind some of those windows. In rooms without heat, the newest and poorest arrivals, many of them undocumented, sat bent over sewing machines, tacking collars onto shirts or affixing brightly colored stripes to jogging pants. Such pants might sell to retailers for about eight euros'--a fifth of what they would cost if they were made legally by Italians.
The clothing-manufacturing operations in Chinatown tend to be small scale. After visiting the centro storico, I drove through the areas around Prato. I passed block after block of businesses with Chinese characters next to English phrases: Normcore, Feel Good, Miss & Yes. Giant, low-slung buildings combined manufacturing areas with showrooms where buyers could examine samples and place orders. Jessica Moloney, a London-born brand consultant and agent for importers, explained to me, ''If you've got three to six months to wait and you need five hundred to a thousand pieces, you go to China. But if you have only two weeks and need a hundred pieces, you come to Prato.'' She noted, ''TJ Maxx is everywhere here. I don't know anyone who isn't working with them.''
The word prato means ''meadow,'' and even here, amid structures that evoked the sprawl outside an airport, there were green spaces. In June of 2016, in one of the grassy squares bordered by cluster pines, Chinese locals held a violent protest, after two and a half years of mounting tensions. In 2013, an electrical short had caused a fire that destroyed a workshop called Teresa Moda, killing seven Chinese workers. The victims had both worked and slept in the buildings. One had died while trying to squeeze through a barred window. ''I could hear the cries of the Chinese inside,'' an off-duty carabiniere who battled the fire told Corriere della Sera.
After the fire, the Prato authorities, with no small amount of condescension, said they'd made up their minds that they could no longer neglect the strangers living among them. They would offer Chinese immigrants the blessings of workplace protections, legal wages, and sanitary standards. Italian officials did a sweep of the Prato area, and discovered a great many unregistered mills. Between 2014 and 2017, they conducted inspections of more than eight thousand Chinese-run businesses. They knocked on the doors of mills at night and without warning, before owners could clean up, or close, or reopen down the street under a new name. Officially, the raids, part of a program called Lavoro Sicuro (''Safe Workplace''), were not focussed on any ethnicity. But everyone called them ''the Chinese raids,'' including one of the architects of the plan, Renzo Berti, the director of the disease-prevention unit at the central-Tuscany department of health. Berti told me that the effort had improved the working conditions in the Chinese-owned mills. When the raids started, he said, ninety-three per cent of the inspected businesses were committing violations, from illegal dormitories to exposed wiring. Now the rate was thirty-five per cent. ''This has been like a steamroller,'' he said. ''We are having our effect.''
The Italians have also cracked down on crime in the Chinese community. In January, the police arrested Zhang Naizhong, the alleged kingpin of the Chinese-Italian mafia, which, they said, had a large presence in Prato. Francesco Nannucci, of the Prato investigative unit, told me that Zhang was the padrino'--the godfather. He added, with a laugh, ''They learned their structure from the Italians.'' (The Italian Mob is also active in Prato, but Nannucci said that the two groups don't interact.) Nannucci estimates that eighty per cent of the city's Chinese mills paid protection money to Zhang's organization, which was also involved in drugs, prostitution, and gambling. (A recent pretrial tribunal cast doubt on the evidence, though Zhang remains under house arrest.) Before arresting Zhang, Nannucci said, police had followed him from Rome to Prato. He changed cars eight times along the way, to thwart efforts to track him; visited a restaurant, where local Chinese businessmen lined up at his table and bowed; and was eventually arrested at a hotel in Prato. Nannucci was pleased with the operation, but disappointed that he'd received little help from the Chinese Pratans. ''There's a lot of omert ,'' he said.
The Chinese see the raids and Zhang's arrest primarily as harassment. One Chinese mill owner even pulled out a gun when police officers came to inspect his building. (The gun turned out to be fake.) Armando Chang, who owns a travel agency in the Prato area, told me, ''When the Italians do an investigation, the ugly thing, in my opinion, is that they first develop a theory, then try to find the facts that go with it.'' He claimed that he'd never even heard of a local Chinese mafia. ''I learned about them from Bruce Lee movies,'' he said. ''But I've never seen them here.'' A group of Chinese professionals told me it wasn't a coincidence that the number of raids had increased during the run-up to the national elections.
During a raid in June of 2016, an elderly Chinese man got into an altercation with a carabiniere while trying to leave the mill where he worked. The man, who was carrying an infant, was reportedly jostled, and the baby fell and was injured. Word spread on social media, and several hundred Chinese soon gathered in the square, shouting and throwing rocks and bottles. Police put down the protest, and the regional government promised more raids. At that point, the Chinese foreign ministry stepped in and gently warned the Italians not to pick on its citizens. (Nearly all Chinese-born Pratans remain citizens of China.) The two sides promised to work together, but tensions remain high. Luca Zhou, the head of the Italian branch of Ramunion, a Chinese charity, said, ''They rent us the factories, but they don't want to communicate with us. We need more friendship. We should be like brothers.''
On the same Sunday, I walked across the square where the protest had taken place, and arrived at a huge industrial building whose fa§ade still bore the words ''BP Studio,'' the name of the well-known Florentine fashion house that had once occupied the space. Laundry was drying on a line. The employees standing at the entrance looked less than thrilled to see me, but they allowed me to go inside. The building, whose interior was almost the size of a soccer field, had an open floor plan; rows of Chinese women, and a few men, sewed and worked leather under fluorescent lights, even though it was Sunday. The work did not seem hard so much as unending: some people were napping, their heads resting on the sewing tables. Children played in corners or watched TV. Blouses, bright-red fake-leather bags, and key chains were stacked in neat piles, ready to be shipped. This was a quintessential pronto moda factory, able to produce clothes and accessories quickly in an era in which the fashion seasons have given way to a series of frantic commissions prompted by viral Instagram posts. A large window in the workshop looked out onto hilly pastures. Along a ridge, a shepherd was guiding a flock of sheep.
While I was in Tuscany, a Chinese mill owner I'll call Enrico'--most Chinese immigrants adopt Italian first names'--permitted me to visit his operation. He had requested anonymity because the fashion companies require venders to sign confidentiality agreements. In 1988, when Enrico was thirteen, he emigrated from Wenzhou with his mother. The locals were friendly at first, he said, but then, as more Wenzhouans came, the warm feelings faded. But he never seriously considered leaving. ''We Chinese have a culture of adapting to the moment,'' he said. He told me that, as an entrepreneur, he did everything by the book'--he even had a pension program for employees. But he acknowledged that not all Chinese factory owners worked this way. ''If you play too closely by the rules, you'll never get started,'' he said. He clarified: ''A Chinese person who uses a shortcut always does the hard work, too. Using the same shortcut, an Italian will work seven to eight hours. A Chinese person, if there's a goal, will work twelve.''
Enrico's operation, which focussed on leather goods, had a much more refined atmosphere than factories that I had visited while accompanying police on raids. It was not unusual for a mill manager to claim that he lived alone in the adjacent bedrooms; in response, the Italian officials would point to long rows of slippers. Then the police would search the premises for undocumented workers, and a finance inspector would look for evidence of cash payments. (During one raid, I saw a health inspector peer into a rice cooker in a hallway and ask a colleague, ''What the fuck are they eating here?'' ''Some sort of soup,'' the colleague answered, with a shrug.) In the end, the authorities would tabulate a fine, which usually came to several hundred euros. (''They treat us like an A.T.M.,'' Francesco Xia complained to me.) Undocumented immigrants were taken to police stations, where they had little to fear. Extended detention was rare, and Italy couldn't expel them to China without proof of their Chinese citizenship.
In contrast to those more humble workshops, Enrico's factory reminded me of a well-run electronics factory. The workers ate in a proper lunchroom and wore crisp uniforms. The ductwork was professional, and the wiring was encased in a dropped ceiling. The labor was divided up into stations: bending the leather into a bag shape, sewing it, installing an inner lining, and attaching buckles and straps. Leather sections waiting to be stitched into bags were neatly laid out on rolling carts, like slabs of tuna at a sushi counter. ''I run a sort of special operation,'' Enrico said with pride. ''Famous brands send us the material, and we make the finished product.''
Italy's luxury-fashion industry has long struggled to lower costs without compromising on quality. In the seventies and eighties, the Pratan system of interconnected workshops ran smoothly, but in the nineties, as trade barriers fell around the world, fashion houses saw an opportunity too good to resist. Why not manufacture ''Made in Italy'' products in Eastern Europe and in China? They would still be designed in Milan or Florence, so the label wouldn't be a complete lie. Reports of the practice leaked out, and the brands found themselves under pressure to market their products more honestly. In 2010, Santo Versace'--a politician who is also the chairman of the Versace fashion house'--championed a law that contained a very Italian compromise: if two of the steps in the manufacturing process took place in Italy, the item could bear the valuable label. But the famous fashion companies continued to look for ways to make the ''Made in Italy'' tag mean what it was supposed to mean without forgoing profits.
As I was walking around Enrico's shop, I turned a corner and discovered dozens of nylon Prada briefcases hanging on hooks. I'd just seen the same bags for sale in Florence, for about two thousand dollars each. Around another corner were leather Dolce & Gabbana shoulder bags, with the brand's distinctive ''DG'' rhinestone buckles. There was an area dedicated to an (C)lite French company's bags, which also retailed at around two thousand dollars each. On one table was a cardboard prototype. Enrico showed me the storeroom where these riches were locked up at night.
I thought of a recent visit that I had made to Scandicci, the iconic Italian leatherwork village, just outside Florence. I'd met an artisan named Andrea Calistri, whose workshop was filled with mementos from three generations of leatherworkers. He told me that he had done jobs for Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and Prada, but that he objected to their use of mills that violated labor laws. He had helped found an association, called ''100% Made in Italy,'' that focussed on insuring proper labor practices, but his rhetoric was unmistakably nativist. '' 'Made in Italy' means made by Italians! '' he told me. He was surrounded by shelves filled with maroon leather handbags. They were supple and gorgeous. Then again, so were the bags that Enrico's employees were making.
Another Chinese entrepreneur in Prato, whom I'll call Arturo, met me in his office; two elegant Gucci bags sat on a table in front of him. The big fashion brands, he said, all have some factories of their own. (In Scandicci, I saw a new factory emblazoned with a giant ''PRADA'' on the fa§ade.) But, Arturo went on, ''think about it'--they sell ten thousand bags a month. How are they going to produce that many? They cut the leather and make the prototypes, but that's it.'' He added that he had turned down work from Prada because the company didn't pay enough. (In a statement, Prada said that it ''stands out for its strong ties with the artisanal craft experience typical of the Italian tradition.'')
A third Chinese proprietor, whom I'll call Luigi, estimated that more than a hundred Chinese-owned workshops in Tuscany were assembling bags for the famous fashion houses. Each of these workshops, in turn, used five to ten subcontractors for tasks like stitching straps and finishing hardware. All the proprietors I met with spoke adequate Italian, but Luigi's was truly fluent. He said that his operation had filled orders from Chlo(C), Burberry, Fendi, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, and Chanel. ''On the level of craftsmanship, Chanel is the top,'' he said, using the English word. ''They're the fussiest about the quality.'' Working for a company like Fendi wasn't easy for a Chinese person, he went on. You had to ''acquire an Italian mentality'' and ''conceive of the bag as an Italian would.'' He explained, ''A Chinese person thinks only that he has to get so many bags done, but behind every bag there's a precise study of what it's about. I think the Italians are the greatest artisans in the world.''
Arturo's factory was clean and organized. When the workers used sprays to dye leather, they put on masks. Representatives from the fashion brands, I was told, came to inspect the first round of bags; the rest of the order was then made to their specifications. Gucci is known for giving extensive instructions, with precise demands about the number and the length of stitches. Hiring highly skilled workers was therefore essential.
Arturo took me through the economics of doing work for luxury-fashion brands. He was paid a set fee for an order, no matter how long it took to complete. He generally lost money on the first bags he finished, but his workers got much faster with repetition, and the later iterations were profitable. When he was fulfilling Gucci contracts, he said, the company paid him an average of nineteen euros an hour. He showed me a bag that featured the company's insignia fabric, with its interlocking ''G''s, and said, ''This fabric would cost fifteen euros a metre. But they make millions and millions of metres, so they don't pay fifteen. Maybe ten. The leather here costs maybe fifteen to twenty euros. It's two euros for the zipper, plus the money they pay us'--that's the cost. And they put it on the market at between ten and fifteen times that cost.'' The most skilled workers at higher-end Chinese factories make as much as two thousand euros a month'--a middle-class living in Italy.
Luigi told me that, in recent years, the big fashion houses had grown more careful about their outsourcing, and had begun conducting their own private inspections of contractors' facilities. ''I undergo seven audits a year for seven brands!'' he said. ''Conditions of work, contract terms, safety'--they put your company under a microscope.'' The Chinese proprietors I spoke with all said that it was useful to have an Italian business partner. Luigi had one, and also several Italians working on the factory floor. He explained that having Italian employees made it ''easier to get work, because the big houses feel more trusting.'' He said that it also meant no fashion house would dare ask him to accept less money than what it would pay an Italian.
In 2014, an Italian artisan spoke to the investigative television journalist Sabrina Giannini. Gucci had given him a big contract, he said, but the pay was so low'--twenty-four euros a bag'--that he had subcontracted the work to a Chinese mill, where employees worked fourteen-hour days and were paid half what he made. When the bags made it to stores, they were priced at between eight hundred and two thousand dollars. An inspector for Gucci told Giannini that he saw no reason to ask employees about their working conditions. (Gucci denounced the television report as ''false'' and ''not evidence of our reality.'' The company says that, in the past few years, it has increased scrutiny of its supply chain, including subcontractors, and has ''blacklisted'' around seventy manufacturers.)
''Notice that, once the twentysomething men enter the environment, the chameleon instantly develops an opinion on David Foster Wallace.'' Recently, many Chinese mill owners have started hiring workers from countries including Syria, Pakistan, and Senegal. Several weeks before I arrived in the Prato area, a small protest was held outside a local workshop that regularly received subcontracts from a nearby firm that produces metalwork for well-known fashion brands. The workshop's Chinese proprietor had abruptly closed the operation, locking out his employees, who were mostly Senegalese, and stiffing them of their wages. They found him around the corner, in another mill that he owned, and he agreed to pay them if they met him back at the workshop. When they returned to the factory, he greeted them at the front door, and asked them to wait a minute for their money. He then walked out the back door and got into a waiting car.
Following this Keystone Cops farce, a national labor union encouraged the employees to stage several public protests. One of the employees who protested later told me that he had been paid only twelve hundred euros a month, with no benefits, to work in a freezing-cold room. He remembered working on products for companies including Ferragamo, Prada, and Dior. The crew chief, he said, ''would scream at us to work faster, to get more pieces done.'' (The employees were officially paid a higher salary, to comply with the law, but, according to a union representative, managers required them to withdraw their ''extra'' wages and give that money to the owner.)
The workshop has now gone out of business'--the employees were never paid what they were owed. But an enterprise run by the same owners, in the same location, continues to operate. In February, it received an order, from the same subcontracting firm, to finish seven hundred and eighty-five Chanel buckles.
After Italy became a unified nation, in 1861, Massimo d'Azeglio, a Piedmontese statesman and novelist, is said to have commented, ''Now that there is an Italy, it will be necessary to make the Italians.'' But, until recently, few people had thought about how to make a hyphenated Italian. During one of the raids, I asked an Italian official who was there to translate Mandarin why there weren't more Chinese Pratan translators. If there were, I suggested, the mill workers might be more responsive to questions, and would not be able to talk to one another privately by switching to the Wenzhou dialect, which not even Mandarin speakers understand. She answered, brightly, ''Because we're Italians! ''
Tuscans may fantasize about walling themselves off from the forces of globalism, but, as the Chinese-Italian economic relationship grows ever more complex, the illusion is getting harder to maintain. The per-capita income in Wenzhou is now more than a hundred times what it was when the migration to Prato began. As a result, wage expectations in the Chinese factories in Prato are increasing. Meanwhile, the travel agent Armando Chang told me, the Chinese ''are no longer coming in the same numbers.'' Some are even returning to Wenzhou from Prato. ''You can make more money back home,'' Enrico said. He told me that, partly because of rising salaries in Wenzhou, he paid his Chinese manager more than he would pay an Italian.
The Chinese community in Prato is evolving rapidly. Many of the immigrants' children, having lived in Italy since birth, are looking beyond the garment and leather-goods industries. ''Our kids don't want to make bags,'' Arturo complained. A friend of his agreed, telling me, ''They all want to go to the Bocconi now!'' (The Bocconi is an (C)lite private university in Milan.) I met one such girl, an eighteen-year-old named Luisa, at a pleasant Chinese bistro called Ravioli di Cristina. (The Italians call dumplings ''Chinese ravioli.'') Her father sold coffee-vending machines to the Chinese mills. Chinese Pratans, she complained, thought only about money, so she had mostly Italian friends. When the young Chinese Pratan waiter, who was flirting with her, urged her to listen to a Korean pop song, she countered by recommending a song by the American d.j. duo the Chainsmokers. Her public school, Buzzi, on the eastern edge of Prato, has few Chinese students, and that'--along with its specialization in engineering'--was why she'd chosen it. ''In the beginning, the other students ignore you,'' she said. But she had gradually formed friendships. ''They still sometimes say racist things'--they call me Yellow Face'--but I joke back at them,'' she said.
Deborah Sarmento, a Pratan who started a tutoring organization for Chinese children whose parents work long hours, views Chinese immigration more philosophically than many of her neighbors: what the Pratans had to do, she said, was embrace what was special in their tradition while also learning from the Chinese. ''We've been occupied over and over since we were Borgo al Cornio,'' she said. ''First the Etruscans, then the Longobards, then the Florentines and the Spanish. And we were always able to overcome by looking at our roots. It gives you a chance to really understand what it means to be from Prato.''
Sara Lin, a thirty-eight-year-old fashion designer with a blond streak in her short black hair, is another sign of change. Her parents had brought her with them to Italy when she was seven; her father worked in textiles near Milan, and her mother had a dressmaking company in Tuscany. At first, Lin felt disoriented. ''All the Italians looked the same,'' she recalled. ''It was hard to tell one face from another.'' But she soon settled in and began to excel at school, in part because she was good at math. In her early teens, she returned to China for two years to improve her Chinese and learn about the culture. She didn't fit in. ''That was a more racist society than the one here!'' she said.
After finishing high school, she entered the fashion industry. Later, she and her husband worked on bags for Valentino and Gucci. Eventually, she realized that she wanted more'--she wanted to design. In 2008, she acquired the rights to a once famous Florentine handbag brand, Desmo. ''At first, I encountered a lot of resistance and defiance from the Florentine inner crowd,'' she recalled. But Lin, along with an Italian business partner, successfully revived Desmo, creating a line of leather bags that sell for a few hundred dollars each. (The company's Web site notes that all Desmo bags are ''Made in Tuscany'' and ''crafted by the skillful hands of experts.'') Lin then had a more ambitious idea: to make a ''deconstructable'' purse. She showed me what she called a Pop Bag. You took bright, playful component pieces'--a back, a front, adjustable straps, and so on'--and clipped them together to build your own bag. You could slot in different colored panels, depending on your preferences. Yes, it was silly, but it was also a modern and witty gloss on what many other Chinese were doing around Prato: assembling bags.
Lin felt that she had both the grit of the Chinese'--''When I was pregnant, nineteen years ago, I was in the workshop at noon and giving birth at three'''--and the flexibility of the Italians. China gave her discipline; Italy gave her possibilities. She argued that, ''in China, what a man can do with one word takes a woman five. A woman in China needs grinding determination and force. But here in Italy it's the reverse. A woman, one word. A man, five.'' In 2016, Lin opened her first Pop Bag store, full of glistening fixtures and backlit shelving, on Via Calimala, in Florence. And, a few weeks ago, she opened a kiosk at the Time Warner Center, in New York City. She had initially imagined something as splashy as her Florentine boutique, but Manhattan is a long way from Prato, and she is a careful entrepreneur. Her Pop Bags are also sold in China. When I asked her if Chinese sales were helped by the fact that she was born there, she was unsure how to respond. ''I don't know,'' she said. ''We haven't done a study on it.'' '...
This New Electric Jet Concept Uses Air Friction to Generate Power '' Robb Report
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 08:27
While the most current trend in business aviation is all about creating the next generation of electric and hybrid-powered aircraft, a new kind of space race could emerge if the physics actually support the theory behind Eather One.
Designer Michal Bonikowski's concept is probably four or five generations ahead of the current mode of thinking, but Bonikowski told Robb Report that he was inspired by the recent Maveric concept by Airbus. ''That aircraft's unique design helps reduce drag while providing more cabin space,'' he said. ''I have been thinking a lot about this lately, and wondered what could happen if a big company would like to create an electric plane.''
What the Warsaw-based designer came up with is potentially revolutionary. Eather One uses friction between the air and high speeds of the jet as its primary source of renewable, on-demand energy.
Eather One does not have fuel tanks or large engines because its power is generated from air friction at high speeds. Courtesy of Michal Bonikowski
While it looks like a jet from the future, the primary difference between Eather One and contemporary hybrid aircraft are the triboelectric nanogenerators in the wings. The nanogenerators convert mechanical energy directly into electrical energy. The aircraft does not need fuel tanks or large battery banks, since it will generate electricity from air molecules in the troposphere and stratosphere.
As Eather One travels at high speeds, Bonikowski's idea is to harness the friction generated from vibrations in the airframe and bend of the wings. The converted energy will power the electric motors and recharge batteries. This readymade source of power means that Eather One will require smaller battery packs than aircraft relying on stored battery power.
Eather One was inspired by the recent Maveric concept by Airbus, which calls for a more efficient aircraft with more interior space. Courtesy of Michal Bonikowski
Bonikowski concedes that his aircraft will need some battery packs during frictionless points during takeoff and landing.
This concept may never fly out of the realm of sci-fi, but it demonstrates the same out-of-the-box thinking that powered the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk. ''I enjoy all attempts to revolutionize flying,'' says Bonikowski, who also designed a new kind of rotorcraft called the Fusion Copter.
Paul Saer on Twitter: "@BigAl_Six @adamcurry We had a bug with the supposed covid19 symptoms for people without underlying health conditions in UK in November and December 2019. My son,who had asthma as a child, couldn't shake the cough for 4 weeks." /
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 00:55
Big Al Six @ BigAl_Six
4h @adamcurry December 20, 2019 my 11 year old son was very ill with a high temp and difficulty breathing. Took him to 3 different doctors that said he obviously had a virus, but tested negative for everything. They gave him steroids for his lungs (asthma) and send him home.
View details · @ Paulsinhis30s Replying to @BigAl_Six @adamcurry We had a bug with the supposed covid19 symptoms for people without underlying health conditions in UK in November and December 2019. My son,who had asthma as a child, couldn't shake the cough for 4 weeks.
Protect our Speech and Security Online: Reject the Graham-Blumenthal Bill | EFF Action Center
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 21:29
Members of Congress have mounted a major threat to your freedom of speech and security online. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) recently introduced a bill that would undermine key protections for Internet speech in U.S. law. It would also expose providers of the private messaging services we all rely on to serious legal risk, potentially forcing them to undermine their tools' security.
The so-called EARN IT Act (S. 3398) is anti-speech, anti-security, anti-innovation, and unnecessary. Let's tell Congress to reject it.
The bill purports to deal with the very serious issue of child exploitation online, but it offers no meaningful solutions. It doesn't help organizations that support victims. It doesn't equip law enforcement agencies with resources to investigate claims of child exploitation or training in how to use online platforms to catch perpetrators. Rather, the bill's authors have used defending children as the shrewd pretense for an attack on our free speech and security online.
The EARN IT Act would create a ''National Commission on Online Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention'' tasked with developing ''best practices'' for owners of Internet platforms to ''prevent, reduce, and respond'' to child exploitation. But far from mere recommendations, those ''best practices'' would be approved by Congress as legal requirements: if a platform failed to adhere to them, it would lose essential legal protections for free speech.
It's easy to predict how Attorney General William Barr would use that power: to break encryption. He's said over and over that he thinks the ''best practice'' is to force encrypted messaging systems to give law enforcement access to our private conversations. The Graham-Blumenthal bill would finally give Barr the power to demand that tech companies obey him or face serious repercussions, including both civil and criminal liability. Such a demand would put encryption providers like WhatsApp and Signal in an awful conundrum: either face the possibility of losing everything in a single lawsuit or knowingly undermine their users' security, making all of us more vulnerable to online criminals.
Ozark Voluntarist on Twitter: "@adamcurry My GF @girlygirlgurl told me that her hotel had a bunch of Chinese in the hotel in December and the ''flu'' ravaged the staff at the hotel. You're spot on. Must be a dark op." / Twitter
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 20:48
@adamcurry My GF
@girlygirlgurl told me that her hotel had a bunch of Chinese in the hotel in December and the ''flu'' ravaged the staff at the hotel. You're spot on. Must be a dark op.
Big Al Six on Twitter: "@adamcurry December 20, 2019 my 11 year old son was very ill with a high temp and difficulty breathing. Took him to 3 different doctors that said he obviously had a virus, but tested negative for everything. They gave him steroids
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 20:48
@ BigAl_Six @adamcurry December 20, 2019 my 11 year old son was very ill with a high temp and difficulty breathing. Took him to 3 different doctors that said he obviously had a virus, but tested negative for everything. They gave him steroids for his lungs (asthma) and send him home.
Big Al Six @ BigAl_Six
19m Lasted 10 days, then we all got it at home to a lesser extent. Those same doctors said at the time that it was a virus that was going around and they were swamped with asthmatic kids and senior citizens. It was a sad Xmas but we made it.
View conversation ·
Top official who claimed more than 100,000 coronavirus cases in Ohio now admits she was just 'guesstimating'
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 20:07
Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton grabbed headlines on Thursday when she claimed there could possibly be more than 100,000 active coronavirus cases in The Buckeye State.
"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."
However, the top Ohio health official now admits her claim was not based in science.
"I am not saying there are absolutely for certain 100,000 people. I'm saying I'm guesstimating. If I'm guesstimating community spread, that's my best number," she said Friday, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported.
Dr. Trevor Bedford, a scientist who specializes in vaccines and infectious diseases, pushed back against Acton's claim.
Bedford wrote in a Twitter response that he doubts Ohio has more than 100,000 coronavirus cases because the state has not seen a significant number of critical hospitalizations or deaths, whereas Wuhan '-- the epicenter of the disease outbreak '-- did when it reached an estimated 100,000 infections.
Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly clear that officials have no idea how many active coronavirus cases there are in the U.S.
However, it is difficult to know the exact number of infections given community spread, asymptomatic carriers, and inefficient testing.
As of Saturday morning, there are more than 2,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. with more than 40 deaths.
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Compared to what? by Heather Mac Donald | The New Criterion
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 20:00
Compared to what? That should be the question that every fear-mongering news story on the coronavirus has to start with. So far, the United States has seen forty-one deaths from the infection. Twenty-two of those deaths occurred in one poorly run nursing home outside of Seattle, the Life Care Center. Another nine deaths occurred in the rest of Washington state, leaving ten deaths (four in California, two in Florida, and one in each of Georgia, Kansas, New Jersey, and South Dakota) spread throughout the rest of the approximately 329 million residents of the United States. This represents roughly .000012 percent of the U.S. population.
Much has been made of the ''exponential'' rate of infection in European and Asian countries'--as if the spread of all transmittable diseases did not develop along geometric, as opposed to arithmetic, growth patterns. What actually matters is whether or not the growing ''pandemic'' overwhelms our ability to ensure the well-being of U.S. residents with efficiency and precision. But fear of the disease, and not the disease itself, has already spoiled that for us. Even if my odds of dying from coronavirus should suddenly jump ten-thousand-fold, from the current rate of .000012 percent across the U.S. population all the way up to .12 percent, I'd happily take those odds over the destruction being wrought on the U.S. and global economy from this unbridled panic.
By comparison, there were 38,800 traffic fatalities in the United States in 2019, the National Safety Council estimates. That represents an average of over one hundred traffic deaths every day; if the press catalogued these in as much painstaking detail as they have deaths from coronavirus, highways nationwide would be as empty as New York subways are now. Even assuming that coronavirus deaths in the United States increase by a factor of one thousand over the year, the resulting deaths would only outnumber annual traffic deaths by 2,200. Shutting down highways would have a much more positive effect on the U.S. mortality rate than shutting down the U.S. economy to try to prevent the spread of the virus.
There have been 5,123 deaths worldwide so far'--also a fraction of traffic deaths worldwide. And unlike coronavirus, driving kills indiscriminately, mowing down the young and the old, the sick and the healthy. The coronavirus, by comparison, is targeted in its lethality, overwhelmingly striking the elderly or the already severely sick. As of Monday, approximately 89 percent of Italy's coronavirus deaths had been over the age of seventy, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sad to say, those victims were already nearing the end of their lifespans. They might have soon died from another illness. No child under the age of nine has died from the illness worldwide. In China, only one individual in the ten-to-nineteen age group has succumbed.
Comparing the relative value of lives makes for grisly calculus, but one is forced to ask: are we missing the forest for the trees? If the measures we undertake to protect a vulnerable few end up exposing them, along with the rest of society, to even more damaging risks'--was it worth the cost?
An example: there were 34,200 deaths in the United States during the 2018''19 influenza season, estimates the cdc . We did not shut down public events and institutions to try to slow the spread of the flu. Yet we have already destroyed $5 trillion in stock market wealth over the last few weeks in the growing coronavirus panic, reports The New York Times, wiping out retirement savings for many.
The number of cases in most afflicted countries is paltry. As of today, 127 countries had reported some cases, but forty-eight of those countries had fewer than ten cases, according to Worldometer. At this point, more people have recovered from the virus than are still sick. But the damage to people's livelihoods through the resulting economic contraction is real and widespread. Its health consequences will be more severe than those of the coronavirus, as Steve Malanga shows in City Journal. The people who can least afford to lose jobs will be the hardest hit by the assault on tourism. Small entrepreneurs, whether in manufacturing or the service sector, will struggle to stay afloat. Such unjustified, unpredicted economic havoc undermines government legitimacy.
President Trump has been criticized for not being apocalyptic enough in his press conferences. In fact, he should be even more skeptical of the panic than he has been. He should relentlessly put the coronavirus risk into context with opioid deaths, homicide deaths'--about sixteen thousand a year in the United States'--flu deaths, and traffic deaths. One might have thought New York governor Andrew Cuomo a voice of reason when, a few days ago, he tried to tamp down the hysteria in a press conference, saying: ''This is not Ebola, this is not sars , this is not some science fiction movie come to life. The hysteria here is way out of line with the actuality and the facts.'' And yet since then he called a state of emergency in New York, and he and Mayor Bill de Blasio have all but shut down the New York City economy. They, like most all U.S. politicians nowadays, have shown an overwhelming impulse to be irrationally risk-averse.
Rather than indiscriminately shutting down public events and travel, we should target prevention where it is most needed: in nursing homes and hospitals.
It is hard to imagine that the panicked leaders and populace of today would have been able to triumph in the last century's World Wars. America's colleges sent off thousands of their young men to fight and die in those wars; those students went off with conviction and courage. Currently, colleges and universities are shutting down with no hint of the virus in their vicinity. Would today's panicked leaders and populace be able to triumph in the face of a World War, or some other legitimately comparable threat? Let's hope that we do not have to find out.
Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of The Diversity Delusion (St. Martin's Press) and The War on Cops (Encounter).
No, Authoritarian Governments Do Not Outperform "Open Societies" in a Crisis | Mises Institute
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 19:24
No, Authoritarian Governments Do Not Outperform "Open Societies" in a CrisisThere are some very disturbing calls for quick-fix "solutions" following the reporting of how countries have and have not handled COVID19. It is not about how contagious or dangerous the virus actually is, which is not my expertise, but the typical and dangerous misunderstanding of the...
There are some very disturbing calls for quick-fix "solutions" following the reporting of how countries have and have not handled COVID19. It is not about how contagious or dangerous the virus actually is, which is not my expertise, but the typical and dangerous misunderstanding of the supposed efficiency of hierarchy and, therefore, the effectiveness of control societies, authoritarian rule, and dictatorial regimes.
To put it simply, the claim is that China "handled it right," was able to do something by acting fast and forcefully, and, by implication, that open societies are impotent to threats and fundamentally fragile. But this is exactly wrong. This misconception arises out of a common but fundamental misunderstanding of social organizing (such as society, markets, etc). And, interestingly, it is put forth by people who should definitely know better, including influential investors and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.
There is some limited truth to the argument that a centralized power can act faster and more forcefully (that is, brutally and without respect for individual or groups of people), but it is based on embarrassingly ignorant assumptions. To be true, it requires that the regime, those in power, have the correct information and act in the best interest of society. Those are not simply exaggerated assumptions, but are in fact never true.
I won't speculate about whether this comes from the myth of the King is an enlightened despot, even appointed by a god, that we've been told for centuries by those who benefit from such a lie. What matters is that while hierarchy can indeed act swiftly, it always acts on the wrong information. And, from the point of view of society at large, it acts with the wrong objectives, placing the will of the leadership before that of people in general. In a control hierarchy like that in China, accurate information does not flow freely and certainly not upwards to the decision-makers.
The same thing is true, albeit with lesser such pressures, in any government (and corporate) bureaucracy.
The bits and pieces of local information is also not put together and condensed properly. Nobody in such hierarchies have an incentive to do "the right thing," especially for common people. The incentive is to watch their own backs. As in all bureaucracies, especially political, the number one priority is to avoid getting caught with responsibility for something that turns out bad. Keep your head down and follow the rules; make sure the higher-ups are satisfied, on whatever ground, and keep your subjects in check. If you don't play it safe, you'll be sacrificed at the stake if something goes wrong.
Those calling for swift action, and pointing to China's quarantining multi-million cities as a "success recipe," to stop the contagion must believe either that the hierarchy properly transmits the right information and filters out irrelevant such (which is simply impossible) or that information does not matter (the horrific "we must do something" view, which should be deadlier than the virus).
It is true, as Danielle Pletka argues, that dictatorships only make pandemics worse. Swift, forceful action on the *wrong* information, or without respect for human life and liberties, is and can be nothing but disastrous. History is littered with examples of such regimes, and their track record is without exception abhorrent.
It may seem counterintuitive, but the truth is that decentralized decision-making and market-style systems always beat centralization and power '-- because they aggregate and condense information much more appropriately and because they allow for actions more appropriate to local conditions. I understand that fear, fueled by alarmism, can lead to panic and poor judgment. But the call for authoritarianism as a solution, regardless of the threat, is much worse than poor judgment.
It is not only ignorant of how hierarchies work, but a type of ignorance that historically always ended with mass murder. If it sounds like a quick fix, stay away. It may be quick, but not a fix. It is incumbent upon us to not listen to the false prophets and to resist the temptation to believe impossible promises.
Centralization is one such promise, which has always been offered as a solution but has never delivered. Unless you're the one seeking and are granted the power. Like the kings of old. And their common denominator was not to altruistically serve common folks. As in any time of crisis, the best course of action is to keep a cool head and not panic.
The call for authoritarianism, ignorantly presented as a quick fix, is at best irresponsible. But it could turn out to be much, much worse.
Formatted from Twitter: @PerBylund The Impotence of Monetary Policy Exposed yet AgainAs I write this, the DJIA has just closed down over 2,300 points or 9.99 percent and the S&P 500 is down 9.51 percent. This is the market's largest daily decline since the crash of October 22, 1987. And this is despite the fact that the Fed announced a ''liquidity'' injection of over $1.2...
As I write this, the DJIA has just closed down over 2,300 points or 9.99 percent and the S&P 500 is down 9.51 percent. This is the market's largest daily decline since the crash of October 22, 1987. And this is despite the fact that the Fed announced a ''liquidity'' injection of over $1.2 trillion into credit markets via term repurchase operations starting immediately. The market briefly pared its losses in the wake of the announcement and then spit and continued on its downward spiral. This should, but probably won't, give pause for reflection to those who extol the creation of money as the panacea for every economic ailment.
In an article published in the Wall Street Journal three days ago, John Greenwood and Steve Hanke properly criticized the Fed for ''fetishizing'' and manipulating interest rates. But then they went on to implore the Fed to supply liquidity ''to deal with the [coronavirus] panic'--whether by quantitative-easing purchases of long bonds, by Treasury bill purchases, by repos or, most important, by increasing the amounts of U.S. dollar swaps available to the central banks of Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.'' And this is despite their recognition that their preferred broad money supply measure, Divisia M4, is growing at an annual rate of 6.9 percent, providing ''ample monetary support for continued [economic] growth.''
Well, the Fed'--at least partly'--followed their advice yesterday to no avail. Trying to direct dollars into foreign supply chains by increasing dollar swaps with foreign banks would not work either. Dollar swaps are an attempt to assist foreign central banks in maintaining an overvalued currency in defiance of economic reality. In fact, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the central bank of India, just yesterday announced that it will undertake $2 billion worth of US dollar-rupee sell/buy swaps on March 16 in response to external outflows of dollars from local equity and debt markets.
The bottom line is that any economic contraction caused by the coronavirus pandemic would originate as a ''supply-side shock'' caused by real factors such as factory closings, supply chain interruptions, the impaired efficiency of service sector employees forced to work from home, etc. Printing up paper money and giving it or lending it to domestic businesses or to India will not bring about a miraculous replacement of the lost goods and services or repair broken supply chains. However, the ''pandemic shock'' may, and probably will, have repercussions on the demand side of the economy, likely precipitating a financial crisis. But this is due to the designed fragility of a financial system based on fractional reserve banking and propped up by governmental policies such as deposit insurance and the too-big-to-fail doctrine. And we saw just how well money creation via quantitative easing and financial bailouts worked during the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008.
Coronacrisis and LeviathanIn his magisterial Crisis and Leviathan, Robert Higgs shows that the growth of government in the twentieth century can largely be explained by patterns of crisis and response. These crises can be real (World Wars I and II, the Great Depression, stagflation) or imagined (inequality, the various...
In his magisterial Crisis and Leviathan, Robert Higgs shows that the growth of government in the twentieth century can largely be explained by patterns of crisis and response. These crises can be real (World Wars I and II, the Great Depression, stagflation) or imagined (inequality, the various isms). In either case new government programs, agencies, and policies are established, purportedly as temporary responses to the perceived emergency. But, as Higgs shows with rich historical detail, most of the temporary measures become permanent'--either explicitly or in a revised form based on the original.
As I summarized Higgs's thesis in an earlier paper:
Higgs (1987) noted that the expanded role taken on by the state during the New Deal period remained largely in place once the crisis passed, leading to a ''ratchet effect'' in which government agencies expand to exploit perceived short-term opportunities, but fail to retreat once circumstances change. Higgs (1987) suggests that government officials (regulators, courts, and elected officials), as well as private agents (such as business executives, farmers, and labor unions) developed capabilities in economic and social planning during crisis periods and that, due to indivisibilities and high transaction costs, tend to possess excess capacity in periods between crises. To leverage this capacity, they looked for ways to keep these ''temporary'' measures in place. Indeed, many New Deal agencies were thinly disguised versions of World War I agencies that had remained dormant throughout the 1920s'--the War Industries Board became the National Recovery Administration, the War Finance Corporation became the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the War Labor Board became the National Labor Relations Board, and so on. In many cases the charters for the New Deal agencies were mostly copied verbatim from World War I predecessors. Higgs' (1987) ratchet effect illustrates that excess capacity in organizational capabilities isn't necessary leveraged as soon as it is created, leading to smooth, continuous organizational growth, but may remain dormant until the right economic, legal, or political circumstances arise, leading to sudden, discontinuous jumps in organizational size or scope.
How will leviathan expand'--temporarily and then permanently via the ratchet effect'--in response to COVID-19? It's too early to make any definite predictions, but we can make educated guesses based on experience and our knowledge of how governments work.
First, we can expect that government controls on travel and assembly will tighten. Whether via legislative approval, unilateral executive action, or judicial decree, the principle that governments must control movement and gatherings of people to prevent the spread of disease has been clearly established (or reestablished). As we know from Higgs's work, the additional capabilities in this area acquired by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other agencies will likely be retained and put to use long after the crisis has abated. And further government intervention in the biomedical and healthcare sectors is virtually guaranteed.
The second likely long-term effect is ideological. Already we're seeing the meme that the crisis has been caused (or at least exacerbated) by ''neoliberalism'''--that thanks to pervasive (?) libertarian ideology public health agencies were ''hollowed out'' and thus unable to respond in force:
Libertarians: Government sucks, let's hollow out the civil service*Pandemic comes, hollowed-out civil service is unable to respond effectively*
Libertarians: See, told you government sucks
'-- Avoid groups of people, wash your hands :rabbit2: (@Noahpinion) March 8, 2020Of course, we know that in the US the CDC initially prevented private labs from testing or developing new tests without FDA approval. More generally, public (and private) health in the US, as in most countries, operates within a tangled web of federal, state, and local regulations, subsidies, restrictions, and other controls.
It is impossible to know how a free market medical system would handle something like corona. But we will be told that there are no free market enthusiasts during a pandemic (and that, at best, those of us who favor property rights, markets, and prices should embrace ''state capacity libertarianism''). The case for markets will have to be made, as Mises would say, ever more boldly.
The Fed Can't Save UsBeltway libertarian economists are today hailing the Fed's efforts to cure the economic crisis or are even suggesting they intervene to a greater extent to quell fears in markets. That is like saying we need to spread the coronavirus to more people to stop the pandemic.
The Fed...
Beltway libertarian economists are today hailing the Fed's efforts to cure the economic crisis or are even suggesting they intervene to a greater extent to quell fears in markets. That is like saying we need to spread the coronavirus to more people to stop the pandemic.
The Fed created the economic crisis with its more than a decade''long campaign of ultralow interest rates and quantitative easing policy that injected massive liquidity into financial markets. This unprecedented monetary policy caused companies to become more leveraged and to embark upon capital spending programs on a massive scale.
This made an economic crisis inevitable. The coronavirus is simply the match that lit the fuse. It's just a trigger of the crisis. Just before the event, the stock market was at all-time highs and unemployment was at all-time lows. Things were literally too good to be true!
Then the Fed announced an emergency rate cut on March 3, and it is widely expected to reduce its rate to zero in the near future. Most people, even economists, were left shaking their heads. Why cut rates when the economy is doing so great? How can rate cuts do anything about a medical problem or a supply chain disruption?
The truth is that ''monetary policy,'' that is, inflation, cannot solve such problems. The truth is that the Fed is trying to doctor the stock and bond markets. So far it has not worked and could even be said to be backfiring.
It is the Fed money supply inflation and ultralow interest rates that caused the inevitable crisis in the first place. It also has helped enable trillion-dollar deficits and an exploding national debt. It has encouraged companies to issue more bonds, and a big chunk of marginal investment grade bonds (BBB) will soon be headed for junk bond status. It has also encouraged individual investors not to save or invest in safe assets and to put their money into riskier stocks because they cannot earn interest from banks or dividends from safe companies. Any economist should see all these effects as bad for the economy.
The Fed is the cause of the crisis, not the cure.
As Government Authorities Urge Panic Over Coronavirus One Doctor Breaks RankEverywhere one looks there seems to be panic about the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Prevention, the World Health Organization, and now the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases almost seems to be encouraging a frenzied response with their statements on the...
Everywhere one looks there seems to be panic about the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Prevention, the World Health Organization, and now the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases almost seems to be encouraging a frenzied response with their statements on the illness. Luckily Dr. Jeremy Samuel Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an instructor at Harvard Medical School, has recently offered a more measured take on the trajectory of the virus:
There are many compelling reasons to conclude that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is not nearly as deadly as is currently feared. But COVID-19 panic has set in nonetheless. You can't find hand sanitizer in stores, and N95 face masks are being sold online for exorbitant prices, never mind that neither is the best way to protect against the virus (yes, just wash your hands). The public is behaving as if this epidemic is the next Spanish flu, which is frankly understandable given that initial reports have staked COVID-19 mortality at about 2''3 percent, quite similar to the 1918 pandemic that killed tens of millions of people.
Allow me to be the bearer of good news. These frightening numbers are unlikely to hold. The true case fatality rate, known as CFR, of this virus is likely to be far lower than current reports suggest. Even some lower estimates, such as the 1 percent death rate recently mentioned by the directors of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, likely substantially overstate the case.
We shouldn't be surprised that the numbers are inflated. In past epidemics, initial CFRs were floridly exaggerated. For example, in the 2009 H1N1 pandemic some early estimates were 10 times greater than the eventual CFR, of 1.28 percent. Epidemiologists think and quibble in terms of numerators and denominators'--which patients were included when fractional estimates were calculated, which weren't, were those decisions valid'--and the results change a lot as a result. We are already seeing this. In the early days of the crisis in Wuhan, China, the CFR was more than 4 percent. As the virus spread to other parts of Hubei, the number fell to 2 percent. As it spread through China, the reported CFR dropped further, to 0.2 to 0.4 percent. As testing begins to include more asymptomatic and mild cases, more realistic numbers are starting to surface.
Another levelheaded take on the illness has been offered by Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Preventive Medicine in the Department of Health Policy as well as Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Watch his video here.
The disparity between these doctors' response and the hysteria being fueled by governments and health organizations across the globe should make us wonder about the latter's intentions and the truth of their statements.
Adapted from targetliberty.com.
The Fed Announces Another Flood of Easy MoneyThe Federal Reserve announced today that it will aggressively begin injecting liquidity into the market again. From the New York Fed's website:
Beginning Thursday, March 12, 2020 and continuing through Monday, April 13, 2020, the Desk will offer at least $175 billion in daily overnight...
The Federal Reserve announced today that it will aggressively begin injecting liquidity into the market again. From the New York Fed's website:
Beginning Thursday, March 12, 2020 and continuing through Monday, April 13, 2020, the Desk will offer at least $175 billion in daily overnight repo operations and at least $45 billion in two-week term repo operations twice per week over this period. In addition, the Desk will also offer three one-month term repo operations, with the first operation occurring on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The amount offered for each of these three operations will be at least $50 billion.
Consistent with the FOMC directive to the Desk, these operations are intended to ensure that the supply of reserves remains ample and to mitigate the risk of money market pressures that could adversely affect policy implementation. They should help support smooth functioning of funding markets as market participants implement business resiliency plans in response to the coronavirus. The Desk will continue to adjust repo operations as needed to foster efficient and effective policy implementation consistent with the FOMC directive.
As Danielle DiMartino Booth put it, this is the money "bazooka reloaded."
This new surge in pumping puts the Fed back on track to reach new highs in its total portfolio.
In other words, the Fed is now back in the business'--although, in truth, it never really stopped'--of buying up assets with newly created money to "stabilize" markets.
Following its days of aggressive QE, Fed assets reached over $4.5 trillion. But then the Fed started scaling back assets ever so slowly, pulling about $740 billion from that $4.5 trillion total. That all stopped late last year, though, as the Fed started injecting money into the repo market. (For more, see here.)
Since then, the Fed has readded $481 billion to its assets. And now the Fed tells us it will add "at least $175 billion in daily overnight repo operations and at least $45 billion in two-week term repo operations twice per week over this period."
So, the Fed will soon be back to peak asset levels.
But what difference does it make? The Fed has been sitting on these assets for years, and so far so good, right?
Well, those with long memories will remember that the Fed said for years that it would "unwind" all its asset purchases and remove all that money it created from the real economy. But now it's pretty clear that's not going to happen for a few reasons:
1. These assets'--such as old mortgage-based assets and other garbage from the last housing bubble'--never recovered enough value to be sold off by the Fed.
2. Because those old assets never recovered, the Fed doesn't want to sell them and thus put pressure on organizations'--like banks'--that still hold similar assets. In other words, if the Fed were to let those assets go, they'd likely pop various bubbles.
3. It's basically policy now that the Fed exists to bailout banks and the financial sector forever, no matter how much it costs other sectors of the economy.
4. This has massively inflated asset prices such as stocks and real estate. That's bad for affordability for regular people. But it's great for billionaires.
So, this is just the latest continuation of that policy. It's more bailing out of banks and hedge funds at the expense of those who hold dollars or compete for resources with the bailout firms and industries. By constantly favoring and bailing out bankers and other parts of the financial sector, the Fed has put all other sectors and industries at a disadvantage. As a nonfinancial enterprise, it's hard to compete for investors and capital when the Fed has guaranteed that the financial sector will be bailed out no matter what.
This is monetary policy that was built by bankers and exists for the benefit of bankers. Every solution involves helping bankers. The Fed has no other ideas.
Central Banking Is SocialismLast week, the Federal Reserve responded to Wall Street's coronavirus panic with an ''emergency'' interest rate cut. This emergency cut failed to revive the stock market, leading to predictions that the Fed will again cut rates later this month.
More rate cuts would drive...
Last week, the Federal Reserve responded to Wall Street's coronavirus panic with an ''emergency'' interest rate cut. This emergency cut failed to revive the stock market, leading to predictions that the Fed will again cut rates later this month.
More rate cuts would drive interest rates to near, or even below, zero. Lowering interest rates punishes people for saving, thus encouraging consumers and businesses to spend every penny they make. This may give the economy a short-term boost, but it inhibits long-term economic growth by depleting the savings necessary for investments in businesses and jobs. The result of this policy will be more pressure on the Fed to indefinitely maintain low interest rates and on the Congress and president to create another explosion of government ''stimulus'' spending.
Boston Federal Reserve president Eric Rosengren has suggested that Congress allow the Federal Reserve to add assets of private companies to the Fed's already large balance sheet. Allowing the central bank to buy assets of, and thus assume a partial ownership interest in, private companies would give the Federal Reserve even greater influence over the economy. It could also allow the Fed to advance a political agenda by, for example, favoring investment in ''green energy'' companies over other companies or refusing to purchase assets of retailers who sell firearms or tobacco products.
Mr. Rosengren's proposal to allow the central bank to ''invest,'' in private companies seems like something one would hear from democratic socialists like Senator Bernie Sanders. This is not surprising, since the entire Federal Reserve system is a textbook example of socialism.
The essence of socialist economics is government allocation of resources either by seizing direct control of the ''means of production'' or by setting the prices business can charge. Federal Reserve manipulation of interest rates is an attempt to set the price of money. Federal Reserve attempts to set interest rates distort the signals sent by the rates to investors and business. This results in a Fed-created boom, which is inevitably followed by a Fed-created bust.
Economic elites benefit when the Federal Reserve pumps new money into the economy, because they have access to the money created before there are widespread price increases. Artificially low interest rates also facilitate the growth of the welfare-warfare state.
The Federal Reserve's inflationary policies harm the average American by eroding the dollar's purchasing power. This forces consumers to rely on credit cards and other forms of debt to maintain their standard of living. Many Americans are unable to afford their own homes because they are saddled with student loan debt that can even exceed their income.
Since the bailouts of 2008, there has been a growing understanding that the current system is rigged in favor of the elites and against the average American. Unfortunately, popular confusion of our system of Keynesian neoliberalism with a free market economy, combined with a widespread entitlement mentality, has led many Americans to support increasing government control of our economy.
The key to beating back the rising support for socialism on both the left and right is helping more people understand that big government and central banking are the cause of their problems and that free markets in all areas'--and especially in money'--are the solution. It is important that the liberty movement put pressure on Congress to cut spending and rein in or, better yet, end the Fed.
Reprinted with permission.
John Kenneth Galbraith Was Wrong About AdvertisingMany anticapitalist ideologies have long relied on the idea that capitalist oppressors use advertising to force/compel/trick people into purchasing goods and services "they don't need." Advertising, the theory goes, is a tool employed by the capitalists to exercise power against the workers....
Many anticapitalist ideologies have long relied on the idea that capitalist oppressors use advertising to force/compel/trick people into purchasing goods and services "they don't need." Advertising, the theory goes, is a tool employed by the capitalists to exercise power against the workers. Left to their own devices, workers would save more money and only buy things they truly need. Workers would then use this savings to gain greater financial independence from the capitalists.
The anticapitalists assure us that this doesn't happen however, because advertising exists as a means to control workers and force them to spend virtually all their surplus on useless trinkets and status symbols.
For more, see this analysis of "consumerism."
But, as I've noted both here and here, advertising'--as noted by Ludwig von Mises'--does not actually compel people (synonyms include "force" and "coerce") to buy anything.
Mises used the example of how modern advertisers can't convince people to purchase technologically obsolete goods. He noted that all the ads in the world are unlikely to get people to stop buying lightbulbs and light their houses with candles instead.
A notable popularizer of the anticapitalist position on this, however, was John Kenneth Galbraith. Galbraith took the opposite position of the Austrians. While Austrians maintain that producers produce in order to meet consumer demand, Galbraith claimed that producers made things and then relied on advertising to get people to buy new things. In other words, in the Austrian view, producers follow the consumers. In the Galbraithian view, consumers follow the producers.
It's a pretty big difference with major implications that I won't cover here at the moment. But a central mechanism at the core of this idea is the notion that producers basically tell consumers what to to buy. And the producers do this by using advertisements.
But, as Mises suggested with this example of lightbulbs, there are ample examples disproving Galbraith's theory.
Three examples were discussed in my article last week:
1. Mike Bloomberg's failed $500 million ad campaign.
2. The demise of the waterbed industry.
3. The decline of expensive funerals.
But recently one reader, Richard Wilcke, a former business professor, noted a very important example: the Ford Edsel. He writes in an email:
The assumptions of "nudgers" that posters, PSAs, even horrific cancer warnings on cigarette packs as in the UK, have major effects on public opinion is not evident, a topic on which I have lectured often in the past.What I wanted to share is an interesting coincidence. Precisely as Galbraith's book contending that corporations have great power'--expressly through advertising'--to sell anything they choose to American consumers was being published, Ford Motor Company was in the midst of the largest advertising campaign in history to sell the Edsel as "the most exciting and advanced new car ever." Ford's marketing execs loved that many thousands of consumers were lined up at dealers to see the vehicle as it was unveiled. They expanded the budget on the grounds that selling merely 200,000 Edsels would be a grand success.
But in spite of their advertising, they sold barely 70,000 in 18 months and the company pulled the plug. Most glowing reviews of Galbraith's book did not get it; namely, that a real-world experiment'--a test of the idea'--had been going on at that same time. I believe it dramatically disproved Galbraith's thesis.
Ford was highly motivated to get buyers for the Edsel, to say the least. And yet they failed. So, if ad wizards couldn't get people to buy the Edsel, why should we assume Galbraith and his fellow travelers have been right about advertising?
In this vein, we could also note Robert Batemarco's 2014 article, which observes two cases that also suggest advertising is not at all a reliable tool for "making" people do anything.
One is military enlistment. If ads works so well, why not just run a bunch of advertisements about how military service is wonderful? If this actually worked, then there would be no military draft. And even when there is no draft, if ads worked, the US government would never have to increase wages for military personnel. Why raise wages, when they could just run an ad campaign telling workers to be content with one dollar per hour, on-base housing, and some canned slop at the commissary? Yet, as it is, recruiters have to make all sorts of promises to convince people to sign up.
And then there's the problem of people not buying health insurance. As we've often been told in the context of Obamacare, there are too many uninsured Americans, because many simply don't buy health insurance. This is especially true of young and healthy people who need few medical services. The "solution" to this is assumed to be laws that force people to buy health insurance. But why pass laws when the feds could just run a bunch of ads commanding people to buy health insurance? If ads are so powerful in getting consumers to buy things, Obamacare mandates would have never been "necessary."
Michael Bloomberg's Failed Ad Blitz Reminds Us Advertisers Don't Force People to Do Anything Michael Bloomberg dropped out of the Democratic Party's primary this week, but not before he spent more than $500 on political advertisements. According to Bloomberg (the news service, not the man),
Through Friday [Feb 21], he's spent $505.8 million on broadcast, cable, radio...
Michael Bloomberg dropped out of the Democratic Party's primary this week, but not before he spent more than $500 on political advertisements. According to Bloomberg (the news service, not the man),
Through Friday [Feb 21], he's spent $505.8 million on broadcast, cable, radio and digital ads, according to Advertising Analytics. That's an average of $5.5 million a day since he officially became a candidate.
It's also $190 million more than all of his active Democratic rivals combined, including billionaire hedge-fund founder Tom Steyer, have spent on political ads.
This all netted Michael Bloomberg a whopping twenty-seven delegates. That's more than $18 million per delegate. This means Bloomberg didn't even succeed in becoming a spoiler or a kingmaker at the Democratic convention this summer.
In short, the failed Bloomberg ad blitz serves as a helpful reminder that advertising doesn't actually make people do anything. Ads on YouTube and TV'--even when they are released in a veritable torrent as Bloomberg's ads were'--are not enough in themselves to convince people to vote for someone.
We saw a similar issue during the 2016 election, when Hillary Clinton outspent Trump 2 to 1. Indeed, among so-called outside groups (such as super PACs), "Pro-Clinton ads outnumbered pro-Trump ads 3 to 1'--a mind-numbing 383,512 ads for Clinton compared to 125,617 supporting Trump."
This isn't to say that having $500 million lying around for advertising makes no difference. It may be that if Elizabeth Warren had had that sort of advertising budget, she might have been able to compete better with Bernie.
But the fact remains that if an advertisement asks a person to take some sort of action'--whether it's buying Acme zit cream or voting for Michael Bloomberg, that action has to be something that the person targeted by the ad is open to doing. That is, the person being asked to buy or vote must have been already "conditioned"/"brainwashed"/"socialized"/"educated" in such a way that the advertisement's request for action seems like a good thing.
[RELATED: "Advertisers Aren't as Powerful as We Think," by Ryan McMaken]
Often, ads simply stand no chance of succeeding because they're not addressing what the target audience is inclined to desire.
Ludwig von Mises realized this long ago and noted,
It is a widespread fallacy that skillful advertising can talk the consumers into buying everything that the advertiser wants them to buy. The consumer is, according to this legend, simply defenseless against "high-pressure" advertising. If this were true, success or failure in business would depend on the mode of advertising only. However, nobody believes that any kind of advertising would have succeeded in making the candle makers hold the field against the electric bulb, the horse drivers against the motorcars, the goose quill against the steel pen and later against the fountain pen.
Examples of this phenomenon abound. In recent years, for example, we've seen articles on how so-called Millennials are uninterested in buying what the funeral industry is selling. That is, expensive coffins and funerals are highly profitable for funeral homes, but fewer people under fifty are interested in buying. They want less-profitable cremations. So, the funeral industry has had to change the way it does business. But this raises a question: why should the funeral industry change anything? Why not just run a bunch of advertisements telling people to buy $20,000 coffins? Then surely everyone will buy them, right?
But that's obviously not how it works.
And then there's the story of the American waterbed industry. Many people over forty may still remember the time in the 1980s when all the cool kids had waterbeds. But then they fell out of favor and waterbed stores collapsed in a heap of irrelevance during the 1990s. But why did the waterbed merchants allow that to happen? Why didn't they just run a bunch of advertisements telling people to buy waterbeds?
People do what advertisers tell them to do, right?
After all, we're told that "Russian hackers" with some targeted online ads '-- many of which were little more than low-budget unsophisticated memes '-- "swayed" the 2016 election and somehow turned Hillary voters into Trump voters.
The next time a modern-day McCarthyite insists that the 2016 election was stolen by Russian memes, let's keep in mind that with $500 million, Bloomberg couldn't manage to convince more than a few voters to vote for him instead of for Joe Biden, who apparently thinks he's running for the US Senate.
So, let's just chalk up the failed Bloomberg campaign to yet another case of how all the ads in the world won't convince people to buy a product'--or vote for a candidate'--they don't like, don't want, and generally regard as useless.
Happy Birthday, Murray!Today would have been Murray Rothbard's ninety-fourth birthday. He was an unforgettable friend, whose immense knowledge of many different fields was unsurpassed in my experience. In a lecture on the Austrian theory of the business cycle, he mentioned the common objection that the...
Today would have been Murray Rothbard's ninety-fourth birthday. He was an unforgettable friend, whose immense knowledge of many different fields was unsurpassed in my experience. In a lecture on the Austrian theory of the business cycle, he mentioned the common objection that the expansion of bank credit might have no effect if investors anticipated trouble. After the lecture, I asked whether Mises had answered this point. He said, ''See his response to Lachmann in Economica 1943.'' I often went to used bookstores with him, in both Palo Alto and Manhattan, and listened to him as he commented on nearly every book on the shelves. When he was a student at Columbia, he admired the philosopher Ernest Nagel, who he said would always encourage students to do new work. Murray was like this himself. He constantly encouraged students to work on Austrian and libertarian topics. His support for me was never failing, and I owe him everything. If only he were still here now, to guide and instruct us!
Does the Coronavirus Make the Case for World Government?Sometimes terrible things happen without any human malfeasance, and the novel Wuhan coronavirus may in fact be one of those things. It is entirely plausible the virus emerged from "wet markets" in the Hubei Province of China rather than as a fumbled (or worse, intentionally...
Sometimes terrible things happen without any human malfeasance, and the novel Wuhan coronavirus may in fact be one of those things. It is entirely plausible the virus emerged from "wet markets" in the Hubei Province of China rather than as a fumbled (or worse, intentionally released) bioweapon cooked up by the Xi Jinping government.
We may never know, of course. But easy or readily apparent answers to the question of how this could have been avoided should be viewed with the skepticism appropriate to any state propaganda. Crises of all kinds, whether economic, political, military, or health, send ideologues scrambling to explain how such events fit neatly into their worldview. In fact, political partisans often attempt to paint any crisis as having occurred in the first place precisely because their policies and preferences have not been adopted.
The Wuhan coronavirus seems tailor-made for this. Alarmists who argue for (i) much more robust and comprehensive "public health" measures by national governments and (ii) greater supranational coordination inevitably point to infectious diseases as justification for increased state power over personal medical decisions. Scary and fast-spreading viruses are perfect fodder for their busybody argument that people cannot simply be left to their own devices.
Cross-border outbreaks of illnesses are particularly well suited to the preexisting bureaucratic desire for power over populations: they make the public much more willing to accept forced quarantines and arrests for noncompliance; forced immunizations; involuntary commitments to state facilities; curfews; restrictions on business operations and travel; and import controls. They also allow public health officials to commandeer and manage efforts to find "the cure," who then take credit when the virus eventually relents.
These are the sorts of things that authoritarian politicians want all the time. Crises simply provide an opportunity to ratchet up their power and also to accustom the public to being ordered around and taking cues from centralized government sources.
Antistate libertarians are not immune to this phenomenon of attempting to place square events into round holes. We tend to explain crises as the result of state (or central bank) interference, either created or made worse by the lack of market discipline, incentives, and property rights lacking due to state action or state regulation. Libertarians think the Food and Drug Administration, for example, kills more people than it saves by approving bad drugs and delaying regulatory approvals for promising treatments.
Moreover, an individualist libertarian perspective on bodily sovereignty poses an obvious challenge to public health. No individual should be forced to accept quarantine or immunization against his will, and in fact no individual should be forced to consider herd immunity or other collectivist notions when making medical decisions. Just as most libertarians don't think Doritos and Mountain Dew should be banned because their consumption imposes "public" healthcare costs in a statist/fascist system of mandatory insurance and tax-funded Medicaid, most don't think that individual health decisions should be overridden by politicians'--even in an "emergency" outbreak situation.
So how do we reconcile public health with individual rights? Should the latter be sacrificed to protect the former?
Three observations present themselves.
First, even the highly authoritarian Chinese national state has been unable to contain the virus, though it can cordon off whole cities by dictatorial fiat and impose wholesale house arrest over cities in a manner unthinkable in Western countries. Chinese state police literally drag people suspected of carrying the virus out of their cars, forcibly put them handcuffed in hazmat vehicles, and haul them off to what amount to prison hospitals. Chinese citizens who speak out publicly against the Xi government's handling of the crisis are arrested. So, if the Chinese government can't contain it, even with martial law and control over media, how in the world do Western countries expect to do so? Imagine trying to quarantine, say, Dallas and Fort Worth!
Second, poor countries (and China is quite poor per capita compared to the West, ranking around sixty-fifth internationally) almost invariably suffer from worse public health conditions. Sanitation, nutrition, and access to drugs, facilities, and competent doctors matter a great deal when it comes to incubating infectious diseases. Richer countries are healthier countries, and the West benefits when conditions improve and modernize in the Third World.
Third, we already have de facto supranational bodies such as World Health Organization tasked with preventing and lessening the spread of diseases like the coronavirus. The WHO has been around since 1948 and hasn't prevented a host of modern epidemics like SARS and Zika; excatly what new international agency or organization will do better?
If anything, pandemics call for decentralization of treatment. After all, the best approach is to isolate infected people rather than bringing them into large hospital populations in crowded city centers. What doctor or nurse wants to work in a hospital full of coronavirus cases?
We might wish for a utopian libertarian answer to public health crises like the coronovirus, along the lines of a Rothbardian externality argument for airborne pollution. But sometimes bad things simply happen. The best hope is market incentives, the rapid application of individual human ingenuity and self-interest to the situation. Liberty is better, not perfect. And governments, including the Chinese government, are clueless as always.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot proposes tripling ride-share tax on solo rides in or out of downtown Chicago - Chicago Tribune
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 18:50
Mayor Lori Lightfoot will seek to more than triple the tax charged on most solo ride-share patrons heading in and out of downtown Chicago as part of her plan to reduce congestion and raise much-needed money to shrink a massive estimated $838 million shortfall in the 2020 budget.
Lightfoot's plan to bring in new revenue and curb traffic congestion would hike the tax on solo riders using services like Uber and Lyft elsewhere in the city by 74%. That's despite the fact most outlying neighborhoods don't face nearly the heavy traffic problems seen in the downtown area.
The new mayor has said for months she would try to address Loop congestion with a new ride-share pricing structure.
Ride-share trips in Chicago currently are assessed a flat 72 cents per ride in taxes and fees. Under Lightfoot's plan, that would drop to 65 cents for shared trips and increase to $1.25 for single riders.
This is the area where the city is proposing an increased fee for ride-sharing.(City of Chicago)
Proposed ride-share feesDowntown zone charge would apply weekdays between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Current fee Proposed fee Difference Citywide single 72 cents $1.25 +53 cents Citywide shared 72 cents 65 cents -7 cents Downtown zone single 72 cents $3 +$2.28 Downtown zone shared 72 cents $1.25 +53 cents Airports, Navy Pier, McCormick Place $5 $5 Same Source: City of Chicago
But the largest increases would be in store for trips involving downtown during peak hours, where solo riders would pay a total of $3 in taxes and fees, while shared trips would pay $1.25 total, under the plan.
In 2018, Chicago raised $110 million in ride-share taxes. The administration hopes to make an extra $40 million under its proposal.
Over the past several months, Lightfoot repeatedly has talked about wanting to give people incentives to use ''car pool'' services offered by Uber, Lyft and Via because multiple passengers in a single vehicle create less traffic.
An extra $5 currently charged for trips at the airports and McCormick Place would remain unchanged, under the proposal.
The extra charge on downtown rides would be in effect from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., officials said.
Asked whether tripling the tax on single riders downtown is too steep, Business Affairs and Consumer Protection head Rosa Escareno said the mayor's plan is meant to incentivize shared trips, which happen often on the West and South sides. Downtown has a diverse range of transportation options, including the CTA and walking, she said.
''If you choose to take a single ride and essentially hire a chauffeur, that's a choice you make,'' Escareno said.
Lightfoot policy chief Dan Lurie said the vast majority of shared rides are on the South and West sides and the city doesn't want to penalize people who carpool.
The downtown area includes the central business district, Near North Side and West Loop, the mayor's office said.
Chicago ride-share use has grown by 271% in recent years, the mayor's office said.
Before Lightfoot released her new ride-share tax plan, Uber argued the mayor should not hike costs on rides in outlying neighborhoods, saying those parts of the city don't suffer from heavy congestion and residents there need the ride services to make up for a lack of public transportation options.
The ride share companies criticizied the proposed increase, saying it would hurt low-income areas.
Uber spokeswoman Kelley Quinn released a statement Thursday hitting Lightfoot for a proposal she said would ''take money out of the pockets of riders, who rely on apps to get around, and of drivers '-- half of whom live in the South and West sides of the city.''
''As a candidate, the mayor said she was committed to equity, yet she is proposing to hike taxes by nearly 80% on underserved communities who do not contribute to congestion and lack reliable access to transportation,'' Quinn said.
Lyft said that while it favored incentivizing shared rides, the increases were too high across the board. Nearly 40% of Lyft rides in Chicago start or end in low income areas, and increased costs can hurt those who need these rides, the company said.
''The Mayor's proposal shows a total misunderstanding of what causes congestion and how Chicagoans are moving around the city," said Lyft spokeswoman Campbell Matthews. Matthews said that by adding on to already-high fees, the mayor is ''clearly backtracking" on her campaign commitments to not increase fees that hurt low-income Chicagoans most.
Ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft entered the market on a promise to supplement public transit and help ease traffic congestion.
But data collected by the city and now made public shows almost half of Chicago's millions of monthly ride-share trips are taking place in just a few wealthy, crowded and already transit-rich areas, adding to concerns that ride-sharing was contributing to traffic in the busiest neighborhoods.
A Tribune analysis of ride-share trips that occurred in March shows that more than 4 of every 10 passenger pickups happened in five of the city's community areas '-- the Loop, the Near North Side, the Near West Side, Lakeview and West Town. Many of the drop-offs were concentrated in those areas too.
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Ride-share companies have countered that they want to help take private cars off the street. City data backs up their claims that they are serving low-income areas where, historically, cabs have been less likely to go.
In a statement, Lightfoot touted the proposed plan, which would go into effect Jan. 1.
''Our city, like many others across the nation, has experienced skyrocketing congestion growth due in part to the rapid growth of ride-hailing companies, making it increasingly difficult for those who rely upon Chicago's streets for commerce or transportation, and plaguing our downtown,'' Lightfoot said. ''Using an evidence-based approach to combat our congestion challenges, Chicago is taking these first steps to improve mobility and further our goals of ensuring sustainable, affordable and reliable access to transportation options in every neighborhood.''
Federal Reserve cuts rates to zero and launches massive $700 billion quantitative easing program
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 18:44
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell holds a news conference following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington, December 11, 2019.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
The Federal Reserve, saying "the coronavirus outbreak has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the United States," cut interest rates to essentially zero on Sunday and launched a massive $700 billion quantitative easing program to shelter the economy from the effects of the virus.
The new fed funds rate, used as a benchmark both for short-term lending for financial institutions and as a peg to many consumer rates, will now be targeted at 0% to 0.25% down from a previous target range of 1% to 1.25%.
Facing highly disrupted financial markets, the Fed also slashed the rate of emergency lending at the discount window for banks by 125 basis points to 0.25%, and lengthened the term of loans to 90 days.
Despite the aggressive move, the market's initial response was negative. Dow futures pointed to a decline of some 1,000 points at the Wall Street open Monday morning.
The discount window "plays an important role in supporting the liquidity and stability of the banking system and the effective implementation of monetary policy ... [and] supports the smooth flow of credit to households and businesses," a separate Fed note said.
The discount window is part of the Fed's function as the "lender of last resort" to the banking industry. Institutions can use the window for liquidity needs, though some are reluctant to do as it can indicate they are experiencing financial issues and thus sends a bad message.
Global coordinated actionThe Fed also cut reserve requirements for thousands of banks to zero. In addition, in a global coordinated move by centrals banks, the Fed said the Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, and the Swiss National Bank took action to enhance dollar liquidity around the world through existing dollar swap arrangements.
The banks lowered the rate on these swap line loans and extended the period for such loans. The actions by the Fed appeared to be the largest single day set of moves the bank had ever taken, mirroring in many ways its efforts during the financial crisis that were rolled out over several months. Sunday's move includes multiple programs, rate cuts and QE, but all in a single day.
At a press conference Sunday evening following the decision, Powell said the Fed would be patient before lifting rates again.
"We will maintain the rate at this level until we're confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve our maximum employment and price stability goals," Powell said.
"That's the test ... some things have to happen before we consider ... we're going to be watching, and willing to be patient, certainly," he added.
The quantitative easing will take the form of $500 billion of Treasurys and $200 billion of agency-backed mortgage securities. The Fed said the purchases will begin Monday with a $40 billion installment.
Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester was the lone no vote, preferring to set rates at 0.5% to 0.75%, which would have represented a 50 basis point, of half percentage point, reduction.
The Fed added in its statement that it "is prepared to use its full range of tools to support the flow of credit to households and businesses and thereby promote its maximum employment and price stability goals."
It appeared, though it was not entirely clear, that the meeting that took place will replace the regularly scheduled meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.
The move follows several actions by the Fed over the past two weeks in which it enacted a 50 basis point emergency rate cut and expanded the overnight credit offering, or repo, for the financial system up to $1.5 trillion.
'--CNBC's Jeff Cox contributed.
Who are the dead of Coronavirus in Italy, as of March 13 - Corriere.it
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 17:05
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Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to ''flatten the curve'' - Washington Post
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 15:10
After the first case of covid-19, the disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus, was announced in the United States, reports of further infections trickled in slowly. Two months later, that trickle has turned into a steady current.
Hover to explore the number of cases over time.
This so-called exponential curve has experts worried. If the number of cases were to continue to double every three days, there would be about a hundred million cases in the United States by May.
That is math, not prophecy. The spread can be slowed, public health professionals say, if people practice ''social distancing'' by avoiding public spaces and generally limiting their movement.
Still, without any measures to slow it down, covid-19 will continue to spread exponentially for months. To understand why, it is instructive to simulate the spread of a fake disease through a population.
We will call our fake disease simulitis. It spreads even more easily than covid-19: whenever a healthy person comes into contact with a sick person , the healthy person becomes sick, too.
In a population of just five people, it did not take long for everyone to catch simulitis.
In real life, of course, people eventually recover. A recovered person can neither transmit simulitis to a healthy person nor become sick again after coming in contact with a sick person.
Let's see what happens when simulitis spreads in a town of 200 people. We will start everyone in town at a random position, moving at a random angle, and we will make one person sick .
Notice how the slope of the red curve, which represents the number of sick people, rises rapidly as the disease spreads and then tapers off as people recover.
Our simulation town is small '-- about the size of Whittier, Alaska '-- so simulitis was able to spread quickly across the entire population. In a country like the United States, with its 330 million people, the curve could steepen for a long time before it started to slow.
When it comes to the real covid-19, we would prefer to slow the spread of the virus before it infects a large portion of the U.S. population. To slow simulitis, let's try to create a forced quarantine , such as the one the Chinese government imposed on Hubei province, covid-19's ground zero.
Whoops! As health experts would expect, it proved impossible to completely seal off the sick population from the healthy.
Leana Wen, the former health commissioner for the city of Baltimore, explained the impracticalities of forced quarantines to The Washington Post in January. ''Many people work in the city and live in neighboring counties, and vice versa,'' Wen said. ''Would people be separated from their families? How would every road be blocked? How would supplies reach residents?''
As Lawrence O. Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, put it: ''The truth is those kinds of lockdowns are very rare and never effective.''
Fortunately, there are other ways to slow an outbreak. Above all, health officials have encouraged people to avoid public gatherings, to stay home more often and to keep their distance from others. If people are less mobile and interact with each other less, the virus has fewer opportunities to spread.
Some people will still go out. Maybe they cannot stay home because of their work or other obligations, or maybe they simply refuse to heed public health warnings. Those people are not only more likely to get sick themselves, they are more likely to spread simulitis, too.
Let's see what happens when a quarter of our population continues to move around while the other three quarters adopt a strategy of what health experts call ''social distancing.''
More social distancing keeps even more people healthy, and people can be nudged away from public places by removing their allure.
''We control the desire to be in public spaces by closing down public spaces. Italy is closing all of its restaurants. China is closing everything, and we are closing things now, too,'' said Drew Harris, a population health researcher and assistant professor at The Thomas Jefferson University College of Public Health. ''Reducing the opportunities for gathering helps folks social distance.''
To simulate more social distancing, instead of allowing a quarter of the population to move, we will see what happens when we let just one of every eight people move.
The four simulations you just watched '-- a free-for-all, an attempted quarantine, moderate social distancing and extensive social distancing '-- were random. That means the results of each one were unique to your reading of this article; if you scroll up and rerun the simulations, or if you revisit this page later, your results will change.
Even with different results, moderate social distancing will usually outperform the attempted quarantine, and extensive social distancing usually works best of all. Below is a comparison of your results.
Simulitis is not covid-19, and these simulations vastly oversimplify the complexity of real life. Yet just as simulitis spread through the networks of bouncing balls on your screen, covid-19 is spreading through our human networks '-- through our countries, our towns, our workplaces, our families. And, like a ball bouncing across the screen, a single person's behavior can cause ripple effects that touch faraway people.
In one crucial respect, though, these simulations are nothing like reality: Unlike simulitis, covid-19 can kill. Though the fatality rate is not precisely known, it is clear that the elderly members of our community are most at risk of dying from covid-19.
''If you want this to be more realistic,'' Harris said after seeing a preview of this story, ''some of the dots should disappear.''
Harry StevensHarry Stevens joined The Washington Post as a graphics reporter in 2019.
About this story
The data for the chart at the top of this story showing the number of reported cases in the United States was collected by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering and is available for download on GitHub. The likely number of actual cases in the U.S. is likely far higher because of problems with the coronavirus test and because many cases are so mild that those infected do not visit a doctor or hospital.
COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US - Global Research
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 15:09
It would be useful to read this prior article for background:
China's Coronavirus: A Shocking Update. Did The Virus Originate in the US?
By Larry Romanoff , March 04, 2020
***
As readers will recall from the earlier article (above), Japanese and Taiwanese epidemiologists and pharmacologists have determined that the new coronavirus could have originated in the US since that country is the only one known to have all five types '' from which all others must have descended. Wuhan in China has only one of those types, rendering it in analogy as a kind of ''branch'' which cannot exist by itself but must have grown from a ''tree''.
The Taiwanese physician noted that in August of 2019 the US had a flurry of lung pneumonias or similar, which the Americans blamed on 'vaping' from e-cigarettes, but which, according to the scientist, the symptoms and conditions could not be explained by e-cigarettes. He said he wrote to the US officials telling them he suspected those deaths were likely due to the coronavirus. He claims his warnings were ignored.
Immediately prior to that, the CDC totally shut down the US Military's main bio-lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, due to an absence of safeguards against pathogen leakages, issuing a complete ''cease and desist'' order to the military. It was immediately after this event that the 'e-cigarette' epidemic arose.
Screenshot from The New York Times August 08, 2019
We also had the Japanese citizens infected in September of 2019, in Hawaii, people who had never been to China, these infections occurring on US soil long before the outbreak in Wuhan but only shortly after the locking down of Fort Detrick.
Then, on Chinese social media, another article appeared, aware of the above but presenting further details. It stated in part that five ''foreign'' athletes or other personnel visiting Wuhan for the World Military Games (October 18-27, 2019) were hospitalised in Wuhan for an undetermined infection.
The article explains more clearly that the Wuhan version of the virus could have come only from the US because it is what they call a ''branch'' which could not have been created first because it would have no 'seed'. It would have to have been a new variety spun off the original 'trunk', and that trunk exists only in the US. (1)
There has been much public speculation that the coronavirus had been deliberately transmitted to China but, according to the Chinese article, a less sinister alternative is possible.
If some members of the US team at the World Military Games (18-27 October) had become infected by the virus from an accidental outbreak at Fort Detrick it is possible that, with a long initial incubation period, their symptoms might have been minor, and those individuals could easily have 'toured' the city of Wuhan during their stay, infecting potentially thousands of local residents in various locations, many of whom would later travel to the seafood market from which the virus would spread like wildfire (as it did).
That would account also for the practical impossibility of locating the legendary ''patient zero'' '' which in this case has never been found since there would have been many of them.
Next, Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease expert at Georgetown University in Washington, said in an article in Science magazine that the first human infection has been confirmed as occurring in November 2019, (not in Wuhan), suggesting the virus originated elsewhere and then spread to the seafood markets. ''One group put the origin of the outbreak as early as 18 September 2019.'' (2) (3)
Wuhan seafood market may not be source of novel virus spreading globally.
Description of earliest cases suggests the outbreak began elsewhere.
The article states:
''As confirmed cases of a novel virus surge around the world with worrisome speed, all eyes have so far focused on a seafood market in Wuhan, China, as the origin of the outbreak. But a description of the first clinical cases published in The Lancet on Friday challenges that hypothesis.'' (4) (5)
The paper, written by a group of Chinese researchers from several institutions, offers details about the first 41 hospitalized patients who had confirmed infections with what has been dubbed 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
In the earliest case, the patient became ill on 1 December 2019 and had no reported link to the seafood market, the authors report. ''No epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases'', they state. Their data also show that, in total, 13 of the 41 cases had no link to the marketplace. ''That's a big number, 13, with no link'', says Daniel Lucey . . . (6)
Earlier reports from Chinese health authorities and the World Health Organization had said the first patient had onset of symptoms on 8 December 2019 '' and those reports simply said ''most'' cases had links to the seafood market, which was closed on 1 January. (7)
''Lucey says if the new data are accurate, the first human infections must have occurred in November 2019 '' if not earlier '' because there is an incubation time between infection and symptoms surfacing. If so, the virus possibly spread silently between people in Wuhan '' and perhaps elsewhere '' before the cluster of cases from the city's now-infamous Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was discovered in late December. ''The virus came into that marketplace before it came out of that marketplace'', Lucey asserts.
''China must have realized the epidemic did not originate in that Wuhan Huanan seafood market'', Lucey told Science Insider. (8)
Kristian Andersen is an evolutionary biologist at the Scripps Research Institute who has analyzed sequences of 2019-nCoV to try to clarify its origin. He said the scenario was ''entirely plausible'' of infected persons bringing the virus into the seafood market from somewhere outside. According to the Science article,
''Andersen posted his analysis of 27 available genomes of 2019-nCoV on 25 January on a virology research website. It suggests they had a ''most recent common ancestor'' '' meaning a common source '' as early as 1 October 2019.'' (9)
It was interesting that Lucey also noted that MERS was originally believed to have come from a patient in Saudi Arabia in June of 2012, but later and more thorough studies traced it back to an earlier hospital outbreak of unexplained pneumonia in Jordan in April of that year. Lucey said that from stored samples from people who died in Jordan, medical authorities confirmed they had been infected with the MERS virus. (10)
This would provide impetus for caution among the public in accepting the ''official standard narrative'' that the Western media are always so eager to provide '' as they did with SARS, MERS, and ZIKA, all of which 'official narratives' were later proven to have been wrong.
In this case, the Western media flooded their pages for months about the COVID-19 virus originating in the Wuhan seafood market, caused by people eating bats and wild animals. All of this has been proven wrong.
Not only did the virus not originate at the seafood market, it did not originate in Wuhan at all, and it has now been proven that it did not originate in China but was brought to China from another country. Part of the proof of this assertion is that the genome varieties of the virus in Iran and Italy have been sequenced and declared to have no part of the variety that infected China and must, by definition, have originated elsewhere.
It would seem the only possibility for origination would be the US because only that country has the ''tree trunk'' of all the varieties. And it may therefore be true that the original source of the COVID-19 virus was the US military bio-warfare lab at Fort Detrick. This would not be a surprise, given that the CDC completely shut down Fort Detrick, but also because, as I related in an earlier article, between 2005 and 2012 the US had experienced 1,059 events where pathogens had been either stolen or escaped from American bio-labs during the prior ten years.
*
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Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai's Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He can be contacted at: 2186604556@qq.com. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Notes
(1) https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/CjGWaaDSKTyjWRMyQyGXUA
(2) https://science.sciencemag.org/content/367/6477/492.full
(3) Science; Jon Cohen; Jan. 26, 2020 https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/01/wuhan-seafood-market-may-not-be-source-novel-virus-spreading-globally
(4) https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30183-5/fulltext
(5) https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30183-5/fulltext
(6) http://wjw.wuhan.gov.cn/front/web/showDetail/2020011109036
(7) http://wjw.wuhan.gov.cn/front/web/showDetail/2020011509040
(8) https://sciencespeaksblog.org/2020/01/25/wuhan-coronavirus-2019-ncov-qa-6-an-evidence-based-hypothesis/
(9) http://virological.org/t/clock-and-tmrca-based-on-27-genomes/347
(10) http://applications.emro.who.int/emhj/v19/Supp1/EMHJ_2013_19_Supp1_S12_S18.pdf
Featured image is from Health.mil
Coronavirus spreads to more African countries
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 15:03
Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Guinea announced their first confirmed cases of coronavirus on Friday as the disease has now spread to at least 18 countries in Africa.
Other African countries that reported cases of the disease are Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Gabon and Ghana. Most of the countries' totals are still in single figures.
More:Kenya bans public events after first case of coronavirusCoronavirus: Which countries have confirmed cases?Coronavirus: All you need to know about symptoms and risksKenya is the richest economy in East Africa and a hub for global firms and the United Nations. Ethiopia is Africa's second-most populous nation, with 109 million citizens.
Cases rise in Africa Africa had so far largely been spared the rapid spread of COVID-19, which has infected at least 132,000 and killed nearly 5,000 worldwide.
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.
In the Kenyan capital Nairobi, authorities banned all major public events and said they would restrict foreign travel.
The mayor of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa urged citizens to avoid close personal contact but the health minister said there were no plans to cancel flights.
Most of Africa's reported cases were foreigners or people who had travelled abroad.
Kenyan Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe on Friday said their first case, a 27-year-old Kenyan, was diagnosed on Thursday after she travelled 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.
The Ethiopian case was a 48-year old Japanese national who arrived in the country 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 capital Khartoum, the country's health ministry said. He had visited the United Arab Emirates in the first week of March.
Only five people have succumbed to coronavirus so far - all in North Africa - with the Sub-Saharan region recording no deaths and very low numbers of confirmed cases.
Kenyan health workers screen passengers after they arrive from China, at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi [Daniel Irungu/EPA]
Safety measuresThe island nation of Mauritius, whose economy depends on tourism and financial services, said it was seeking to mitigate the effects of the virus by offering liquidity to banks to support struggling firms and cutting the cash reserve requirements for banks.
Mauritius has not yet reported any cases of COVID-19 so far.
In Rwanda, which shares a border with the DRC, which has confirmed cases, washbasins with soap and sanitiser have been placed on streets for commuters to use before boarding buses.
Authorities in Kigali, the capital, have also banned concerts, rallies and trade fairs - although church services have been proceeding and bars, restaurants and entertainment precincts remain open.
Neighbouring Burundi, meanwhile, has quarantined 34 people in a hotel in Bujumbura as a precaution.
Uganda has ordered that visitors from a number of affected countries self-quarantine for 14 days, or consider simply not visiting at all.
South Sudan's health ministry said it was "temporarily suspending direct flights between South Sudan and all affected countries".
Federal Reserve to Return to its Original Design | Armstrong Economics
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 15:01
The Federal Reserve will return to its origin and it will do what it was originally designed to do. They will lend now on commercial paper rather than just government. As everyone knows, this has been my strongest recommendation and criticism of Quantitative Easing. The Fed was originally designed to create Elastic Money buying corporate paper to prevent a recession and job losses. World War I saw government interfere and directed the Fed should be buying government debt.
Injecting cash into the banks FAILED because the banks lacked the confidence to lend money. Lowering rates FAILED because people will not borrow if they lack confidence in the future, Hence, Europe and Japan have destroyed their government bond markets and now they talk about nationalizing companies and eliminating paper money while seizing cryptocurrencies. They have no monetary power left in the central bank. All they can do now is turn draconian and seal the fate of their economic future.
The Fed will take a different path and lend directly to corporations because the bankers will hoard the cash and NEVER help the economy. This has been my #1 recommendation to save the economy and the central bank.
This is the REAL Crisis '' not the coronavirus which has been at best the catalyst to set everything in motion for the monetary crisis and the Mother of All Financial Crises.
UPDATE: Germany to reintroduce border controls with five countries due to coronavirus crisis - The Local
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 14:59
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VIDEO - Coronavirus Task Force Briefing | C-SPAN.org
Thu, 19 Mar 2020 07:41
March 17, 2020 2020-03-17T20:00:48-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/8c6/20200317114650001_hd.jpg President Trump, along with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, held a press briefing on the latest response efforts. The president said testing is now available in all 50 states. He also discussed his conversation with executives from different industry sectors and how the government would work with those sectors. He lauded good working relationships with Republican and Democratic lawmakers as well as with the nation's governors. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin outlined various economic actions including a White House economic stimulus package for American workers.President Trump, along with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, held a press briefing on the latest response efforts. The'... read more
President Trump, along with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, held a press briefing on the latest response efforts. The president said testing is now available in all 50 states. He also discussed his conversation with executives from different industry sectors and how the government would work with those sectors. He lauded good working relationships with Republican and Democratic lawmakers as well as with the nation's governors. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin outlined various economic actions including a White House economic stimulus package for American workers. close
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VIDEO-Melissa A. on Twitter: "@realDonaldTrump Here is video montage of the fake media calling the Virus the ''Chinese Wuhan Virus'' right before calling the President a racist xenophobe for rightfully doing the same. These people are corrupt to the cor
Thu, 19 Mar 2020 06:38
Log in Sign up Donald J. Trump @ realDonaldTrump
Mar 16 The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!
View details · Melissa A. @ TheRightMelissa Replying to @realDonaldTrump Here is video montage of the fake media calling the Virus the ''Chinese Wuhan Virus'' right before calling the President a racist xenophobe for rightfully doing the same. These people are corrupt to the core
pic.twitter.com/O9lXMEoziW 6:40 PM - 16 Mar 2020 Twitter by: Melissa A. @TheRightMelissa Melissa A. @ TheRightMelissa
Mar 16 Replying to
@realDonaldTrump Global pandemics are usually named after the place, city or country it originated.. so the notion that Pres. Trump is 'racist' becoz he is calling it the Chinese virus is another example of the primitive nature of the minds of pple who subscribe to the SJW far left dogma
pic.twitter.com/5lJxDQFHr0 View conversation · ianna @ iannaobligar
Mar 17 Replying to
@TheRightMelissa @realDonaldTrump stockhOLM SYNDROME
pic.twitter.com/DPg7btgG4M View conversation · Susan Schaffer @ susanlschaffer1
6h Replying to
@TheRightMelissa @realDonaldTrump Media can not even keep their own hate straight.
View conversation · vlorraine @ vlorraine1
6h Replying to
@susanlschaffer1 @TheRightMelissa @realDonaldTrump EXACTLY
View conversation · Shelly Lemons @ ShellyLemons4
4h Replying to
@TheRightMelissa @realDonaldTrump That's exactly what I just told that guy. He is so uninformed.
View conversation · SDane @ SDane8
8h Replying to
@TheRightMelissa @realDonaldTrump Did you do that? You did a wonderful job! I've been plastering it everywhere. LOL. '¥¸
View conversation · Mikl @ TechnoTheMikl
Mar 16 Replying to
@RColdcuts @TheRightMelissa @realDonaldTrump All of these clips(I think) were from when Covid19 was almost exclusively in China, or more specifically, Wuhan. And when they were reporting it, it didn't have an official name so the phrase "China coronavirus" or "Wuhan coronavirus" was good enough.
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VIDEO-Batman on Twitter: "''¤ Gal Gadot inspires other actors to sing John Lennon's "Imagine." https://t.co/Np9fRv3X9T" / Twitter
Thu, 19 Mar 2020 06:31
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VIDEO-Charlie Kirk on Twitter: "BREAKING: A peer-reviewed study shows that 100% of patients, after 6 days of taking a Malaria drug were "virologically" cured This is, reportedly, the 2nd 100% cure to a virus that has ever existed RT If President @realDona
Thu, 19 Mar 2020 06:15
Replying to
@charliekirk11 @realDonaldTrump The rumored cure for Covid-19, with apparently a 100% success rate are a combination of Chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug previously used to treat the mosquito-borne virus, and HIV-suppressing combination lopinavir/ritonavir, commonly sold under the brand name "KALETRA".Faith!
VIDEO-DAVID ICKE - THE TRUTH BEHIND THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC: COVID-19 LOCKDOWN & THE ECONOMIC CRASH - YouTube
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 22:39
VIDEO-San Miguel County issues 'shelter-in-place' order amid COVID-19 pandemic
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 22:08
A "shelter in place" order went into effect in San Miguel County, Colo., at the start of March 18, and it will last through at least April 3, according to a release that was posted to the county's website on Wednesday.
This is just part of what the county is calling a new strategic plan to mitigate the catastrophic consequences of COVID-19, the release said. The other part involves free county-wide blood testing for the novel coronavirus, which will be done through a private-public partnership with United Biomedical, a company that makes vaccines.
The San Miguel County Department of Public Health and Environment, which made the announcement during an emergency meeting of the Board of County Commissioners, will administer testing. San Miguel said it is the first county in the United States to implement a plan like this.
"Testing, in combination with strategic 'shelter-in-place' public health orders, will provide the best chance to mitigate losses, including loss of life," the release said.
The testing details and information are still being determined.
"In recent days, our county has seen several critically ill residents requiring intensive hospitalization. In the last 48 hours there have been multiple cases in children under 4 years of age in regional Emergency Departments with serious symptoms concerning for COVID-19," the release said.
The public health order listed these guidelines:
Shelter-in-place, which the county defined as "limiting gatherings of people as necessary to protect public health."Prohibition of all events more than 10 people. Prohibition of all events at daycare centers, child care centers, home child care centers, private schools and day schools, community recreational centers, ice rinks, and libraries.Prohibition of all events at food establishments except for the provision of takeout and delivery of food.Cease all activities at business facilities in the county except for minimum basic operations and essential services.Cease operations and reservations to short-term lodging. All public transportation is considered an event.Visitors to San Miguel County are directed to return home immediately. All non-resident homeowners are strongly encouraged to leave the county and return to their primary place of residence.SUGGESTED VIDEOS | Coronavirus
VIDEO-Watch the TODAY anchors make a TikTok video
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 22:03
Millions of teens and tweens use the app TikTok to post and watch all kinds of creative videos, but it's not just for young people. Watch one of TikTok's young influencers, Brent Rivera, show Carson Daly, Hoda Kotb, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Craig Melvin how to make their own TikTok video, including a clothing swap and a dance challenge. Feb. 6, 2020
VIDEO 32mins35seconds GLOBALIST- Making Sense with Sam Harris #192 - MARCH 16, 2020 (with Paul Bloom) - YouTube
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 21:41
VIDEO - How the Climate Crisis Is Making the Spread of Infectious Diseases Like Coronavirus More Common - YouTube
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 21:40
VIDEO - The Real Threat: Will Coronavirus Confinement Fight Climate Change? - YouTube
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 21:38
VIDEO - President Trump and Coronavirus Task Force Brief Reporters | C-SPAN.org
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 21:16
March 18, 2020 2020-03-18T12:06:38-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/6ff/20200318120820001_hd.jpg President Trump, Vice President Pence, and members of the Coronavirus Task Force briefed reporters at the White House on the latest developments in the pandemic and the administration's response. The president said that he had invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act, which authorizes him to require production and orders from certain industries in support of the government. He also announced other measures to help those impacted financially by the virus, including that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is suspending foreclosures and evictions until the end of April. Other topics discussed included new recommendations for health care providers to delay elective procedures on patients, testing capacity and availability, and veteran testing and access to care.President Trump, Vice President Pence, and members of the Coronavirus Task Force briefed reporters at the White House on the latest developments'... read more
President Trump, Vice President Pence, and members of the Coronavirus Task Force briefed reporters at the White House on the latest developments in the pandemic and the administration's response. The president said that he had invoked the 1950 Defense Production Act, which authorizes him to require production and orders from certain industries in support of the government. He also announced other measures to help those impacted financially by the virus, including that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is suspending foreclosures and evictions until the end of April. Other topics discussed included new recommendations for health care providers to delay elective procedures on patients, testing capacity and availability, and veteran testing and access to care. close
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VIDEO-Da°i Freyr - Think About Things (Da°i og Gagnamagni°) - YouTube
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 20:49
VIDEO - Liveleak.com - Why New Diseases Keep Appearing In China
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 20:40
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Location: USA
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VIDEO - Coronavirus Latest | Baltimore Mayor Begs Residents To Stop Shooting Each Other So Hospital Beds Can Be Use For COVID-19 Patients '' CBS Baltimore
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 20:32
March 18, 2020 at 7:51 pmBALTIMORE (WJZ) '-- Baltimore Mayor Jack Young urged residents to put down their guns and
heed orders to stay home after multiple people were shot Tuesday night amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Young said hospital beds are needed to treat positive COVID-19 patients and not for senseless violence. Seven people were shot Tuesday night in the Madison Park neighborhood, as Baltimore reported its fifth positive coronavirus case Wednesday.
''I want to reiterate how completely unacceptable the level of violence is that we have seen recently,'' Young said. ''We will not stand for mass shootings and an increase in crime.''
Coronavirus In Maryland: At Least 85 Positive CasesCoronavirus In Maryland: What We KnowFULL LIST: Closings and Cancellations Around MarylandGov. Larry Hogan Postpones Maryland April 28 Primary, Special Election Will Still Be Held By Mailing VoteCoronavirus Latest: Baltimore Mayor Reports 5 COVID-19 Cases''For those of you who want to continue to shoot and kill people of this city, we're not going to tolerate it,'' Young implored. ''We're going to come after you and we're going to get you.''
He urged people to put down their guns because ''we cannot clog up our hospitals and their beds with people that are being shot senselessly because we're going to need those beds for people infected with the coronavirus. And it could be your mother, your grandmother or one of your relatives. So take that into consideration.''
Commissioner Michael Harrison said the city has seen an uptick in violent crimes since Friday, including a mass shooting Tuesday night '-- where seven people were shot. Five people were transported to area hospitals via medics and two took private cars to the hospitals for treatment. All seven are in serious but stable condition.
Harrison said they are looking for a Silver Honda that was seen in the area.
A city officer who was on patrol in that microzone did engage with a person who's believed to be a suspect in the shooting as the man was fleeing the scene.
The officer was not armed with the level of ''deadly firepower'' that the suspect had. The officer did fire his weapon, but Harrison said police don't know if the officer struck the suspect.
The officer sustained some minor injuries in the incident and was treated.
The police department is increasing staffing in the areas where crime has increased.
''This incident remains open and under investigation,'' Harrison said.
Police ask anyone with information in the case to call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-Lockup or call the city homicide unit at 410-316-2100.
For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.
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VIDEO - 'Extreme action' needed from residents: de Villa | CP24.com
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 20:15
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VIDEO EOS Shelley's Daughter - COVID Staycation - YouTube
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 20:09
VIDEO-Open Care Insurance Services TV Commercial, 'At Peace' - iSpot.tv
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 14:46
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VIDEO-Stunning insights into the Corona-panic by Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg. - YouTube
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 14:28
VIDEO-Ryan Fournier on Twitter: "I've never seen anything like this. CNN's Dana Bash just said that President Trump ''is being the kind of leader that people need.'' She's right. https://t.co/5wxm8ppF1I" / Twitter
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 10:54
Replying to
@travelgirlann2 @RyanAFournier As much as I don't like Cuomo, I agree with you 100%. His tone, words, actions and behavior today was downright normal and showed common sense. Not liking someone or not being a Dem myself doesn't mean I 'automatically' hate or disagree with 'all' they say or do.
VIDEO-Biggest DMB Fan on Twitter: "@THErealDVORAK @adamcurry https://t.co/VfFXxaqMFq" / Twitter
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 10:49
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VIDEO-TODAY on Twitter: "''Do you think people are sensing the urgency?'' @savannahguthrie asks @Surgeon_General https://t.co/8qU5Fl5NWv" / Twitter
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 06:18
Log in Sign up TODAY @ TODAYshow ''Do you think people are sensing the urgency?''
@savannahguthrie asks
@Surgeon_General pic.twitter.com/8qU5Fl5NWv 4:14 AM - 18 Mar 2020 Twitter by: TODAY @TODAYshow CB @ CindersCB
2m Replying to
@TODAYshow @SavannahGuthrie @Surgeon_General OMG
@SavannahGuthrie let this man talk! ðŸ¶
View conversation · Zack_Attack @ zack_attack_2
1m Replying to
@TODAYshow @SavannahGuthrie @Surgeon_General I know a lady in her mid-60s whose boss refuses to close his retail business and is making her work. What can she do?
View conversation · Nancy Lowell @ NancyLowell
1m Replying to
@TODAYshow @SavannahGuthrie @Surgeon_General Not really answering the questions...But showing that flyer.
View conversation · Chica Pisani @ chicapisani
12s Replying to
@TODAYshow @SavannahGuthrie @Surgeon_General No they are not. They don't want people to completely panic, which is why they are asking for 15 days to slow the spread. Should really be 45 days but how realistic is that ðŸ'
View conversation · Disciples of Poker @ DisciplesPoker
3m Replying to
@TODAYshow @SavannahGuthrie @Surgeon_General She is rude...again
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VIDEO-U.S. tech firms work together to combat virus misinformation - Reuters
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 06:09
(Reuters) - U.S. technology companies, including Microsoft Corp, Facebook, Alphabet's Google, and Twitter, are working together to quell misinformation about the coronavirus on their platforms, the companies said in a joint statement on Monday.
The companies, which also include LinkedIn, Reddit, and YouTube, said they were working in coordination with government healthcare agencies around the world to share critical updates about the virus.
The United States has seen a sharp increase in virus cases with more than 3,500 infected, and at least 74 people dead, according to Johns Hopkins University and public health agencies.
Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni
VIDEO-Sky News on Twitter: ""The app defines where you can go." China has launched an app identifying whether people are at risk of catching #coronavirus, tracking where residents have been and who they have been in contact with. The latest on #COVID19 he
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 05:39
Log in Sign up Sky News @ SkyNews "The app defines where you can go."China has launched an app identifying whether people are at risk of catching
#coronavirus, tracking where residents have been and who they have been in contact with. The latest on
#COVID19 here:
trib.al/ymYy6Uw pic.twitter.com/PJbJG6e9SR 3:10 AM - 18 Mar 2020 Twitter by: Sky News @SkyNews Ralph CBE (WFH) @ imcousinralph
25m Replying to
@SkyNews Download a Chinese tracking app?No thanks.
View conversation · MobileDeveloper.net @ MobileDeveloper
25m Replying to
@SkyNews How Apps are proving helpful for Coronavirus Tracking
twitter.com/MobileDevelope'... View conversation · COVID-NNNNNN19 @ yidoyidoyido1
25m Replying to
@SkyNews #ChinaLiedPeopleDied View conversation · CJJ @ cjbb3474
23m Replying to
@SkyNews How about designing an app that teaches them about food contamination
View conversation · Jono @ Jonosafc
28m Replying to
@SkyNews Streaks ahead
View conversation · Oscar Pinal @ OscarPinal
27m Replying to
@SkyNews Same as South Korea.
View conversation · Gerry Lynas @ gerlynas
24m Replying to
@SkyNews Ah... the old 'resident tracker ploy'. Big Brother disguised as a Kind and Helpful Uncle.
View conversation · George G @ Georgeg56795777
22m Replying to
@SkyNews Those who are isolating should put up a sign in there window letting people know not to approach this property. PROPERTY IN ISOLATING MODE...
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VIDEO-DC Basement >> '•¸ðŸ¥ƒ on Twitter: "@MoeFactz @adamcurry clip, Donna Brazile https://t.co/kICZTKiiI8" / Twitter
Wed, 18 Mar 2020 01:01
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VIDEO-Ismail Kerim on Twitter: "@adamcurry @THErealDVORAK A nice Freudian slip... https://t.co/pcIAO4eqr6" / Twitter
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 19:16
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VIDEO-NTD News on Twitter: "ðŸ--´WATCH HERE https://t.co/LSc83LJTHC @KenPaxtonTX, Texas AG on the #antitrust investigations into #bigtech "[Google], they completely dominate advertising on the internet. There's very little competition. So they usually repr
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VIDEO-Wuhan Coronavirus IS an Offensive Biological Warfare Weapon Dr Francis Boyle - YouTube
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 10:19
VIDEO-U.S. federal response to coronavirus a 'fiasco,' says global health expert - YouTube
Tue, 17 Mar 2020 07:52
VIDEO - WaPo's Jennifer Rubin: There Will Be 'Less Democrat' Coronavirus Deaths
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 09:46
Sunday on MSNBC's ''AM Joy,'' Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin argued there would be fewer Democrat coronavirus deaths because they are adhering to suggestions offered by experts and the media.
In contrast, she argued Republicans are skeptical and more susceptible to death from the coronavirus. ''[T]here is a particular cruelty, irony that it is their core viewers, the Republican older viewers, who are the most at risk,'' she said. ''And when you think about it, which party immediately canceled all of their rallies? Which party immediately started having their political figures really portray and use their lives as an example? It was the Democrats. So typically, there will be less Democrat deaths because there will be less mass gatherings. There will be less opportunities for people to congregate and share this horrible disease. So it is really a very short-sided strategy. But I think now the name of the game is how do they get back on planet earth. And part of the way that I think that they are doing it is down the memory hole. He jumped right on this right away because of all this planning that we're doing so well, which is head-spinning for the rest of us who watched him for weeks say this is a hoax. But this is how they do it at Fox News.
''And so they will contort themselves to get in line and get in sync. And, you know, we're always saying but, but, but, pointing to the past. And they don't. They simply move with the flow. Every day is a new day. Every day is a new storyline, and they will stick with it. I think the problem will be what happens unfortunately if we start to follow that Italian model where we have mass casualties, and our lives are not disrupted for a week or two, but we're talking months. And that is going to be some serious stuff. And I don't know if their brainwashing is so strong as to carry on and make excuses for Trump during that. But this will be some serious stuff.''
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor
VIDEO - Reporter: White House Knew Of Coronavirus' 'Major Threat,' But Response Fell Short : NPR
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 09:30
Politico reporter Dan Diamond says infighting at the Department of Health and Human Services and the need to flatter Trump impeded the response to the coronavirus.
TERRY GROSS, HOST:
This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.
We're going to talk about how President Trump and some members of his administration have mismanaged the coronavirus outbreak, helping fuel the crisis. My guest Dan Diamond is a reporter for Politico who investigates health care policy and politics, including the Trump administration's coronavirus response. He's written about dysfunction and infighting within the administration and how that's slowed the response to the spread of the virus and led to some counterproductive decisions. The virus has spread to the point where, yesterday, the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic, which is defined as the worldwide spread of a new disease.
Dan Diamond, welcome back to FRESH AIR. Tell us your main takeaways from the president's speech last night.
DAN DIAMOND: Well, Terry, I guess we can start with the good, such as it was. On Wednesday night, nearly two months after the first U.S. case of novel coronavirus was detected, President Trump finally treated this outbreak with the seriousness it deserves. He's given press conferences where he said the cases would effectively go away. He has posted tweets, even on Monday where he compared this to the flu. This is not the flu. The flu does not lead the National Basketball Association, the NBA, to suspend its season.
I think it's a positive that the president seems to finally realize the severity of the problem. Unfortunately, his short remarks contained a lot of mistakes and misinformation. The president said that travel from Europe would be suspended for 30 days. That wasn't completely correct. The White House had to immediately walk that back. U.S. citizens and their families and legal permanent residents can still come back. The president said that cargo would be banned from Europe. That would have been a huge blow to the economy, especially given that some crucial medical supplies come from the EU. But it turned out that Trump misspoke again; cargo will still be allowed.
The president said that health insurers had waived the cost of treatment for coronavirus. That's no small thing. Patients who are afflicted can end up in the hospital for weeks. That could have been a multibillion-dollar decision. But as my Politico colleague Sarah Owermohle first reported, insurers had only waived the cost of testing, and that had already been established in White House meetings.
And then the broader moves and the president's language confounded and concerned public health experts. The president repeatedly leaned into phrases like, this is a foreign virus, that Europe is now a source of America's problems. On one level, he's right; the virus came out of China, and that country's leadership has a lot to answer for in how they initially screwed up the response. I think the Trump administration did have good reason to shut down China travel in late January, given the uncertainty about the new outbreak.
But at this point, the virus is here. It's silently spreading. And locking down more borders may not help us very much and only alienate allies that we need to fight a global war on disease. As I was walking into the studio, Terry, I saw the European Union had put out a statement slamming the U.S. for taking this step without even informing them.
GROSS: What are some of the things you wish he had addressed in the speech that he didn't?
DIAMOND: Well, in his remarks, the president didn't address the biggest problem - that our domestic health infrastructure is not ready for this, partly because of his administration. We're still wildly behind on testing that was botched by the Centers for Disease Control. We don't have enough supplies, like respirators. Our hospitals and doctors are almost certainly going to face real challenges as demand spikes. And I think listeners should be clear-eyed that what's happening in Italy, in Spain, with their hospitals and ICUs totally slammed, that could happen here, too, in the next two weeks.
GROSS: We seem to be entering, like, a new phase of the epidemic. Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic. The NBA suspended the season. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have been diagnosed with the virus. So have we reached a new stage? And what does that mean?
DIAMOND: Well, in many ways, the World Health Organization was just confirming what public health experts have said now for days or even weeks. This virus is here. It is around the world. It is spreading. It is putting many people at risk.
But I do think, Terry, we will look back on Wednesday and, in the span of about an hour and a half, remember that moment as the moment when the United States really began to grapple with this virus - between the president's sober remarks; immediately followed by Tom Hanks, famous actor, announcing that he had this virus; the National Basketball Association suspending its season; here in D.C., a senator's office announcing that an aide had tested positive for coronavirus. A lot happened in a short amount of time to bring the virus home to many different people in many different parts of the United States.
At the same time, there's still a number of folks and perhaps even listeners who will hear this, who will have heard the president's remarks and still shrug it off, and part of that is because of the president himself playing it down and convincing some percentage of Americans, some of his followers, that this was not a big deal until he said so last night.
GROSS: Among the things the president didn't address last night is giving advice to states and cities about, you know, protocols for gatherings, advice to hospitals about how to handle protocol, like, what the protocol should be. Do you know if there are any federal protocols coming out of the administration to states and cities, to hospitals and health care workers, any set of standards that they're advising, you know, states, cities, hospitals, churches, synagogues, public places to follow? Or is it every city, every state is making these decisions on their own?
DIAMOND: At this point, there is guidance coming from the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, to help hospitals, help health care workers figure out who to diagnose, who to treat, who should be tested. Those guidances (ph) have been a work in progress and consistently behind where they probably need to be - running behind.
Cities, states, localities in the United States do have a fair amount of control and sway over what they choose to do. And some in California have been extremely aggressive in moving to ban public gatherings, to lock down certain events. California Governor Gavin Newsom, late last night, said that all events in the state, he recommended, should be canceled for over 250 people. So if you're having a convention, if there's a sporting event, a concert, anything 250 people and up should be put off for the rest of the month because those can be vectors to lead to significant infections among a lot of people if one person is spreading the virus.
But at this point, we do not have, from the White House, any clear directive on what the country should do. And with his bully pulpit, with that national address, that could have been an opportunity for the president to deliver a stark but probably necessary message on what local leaders should do; he didn't do it.
GROSS: You know, you've written that the biggest mistake so far the Trump administration has made with the coronavirus is not having test kits and testing sooner. What went wrong?
DIAMOND: As one official has said, Terry, the question might not be what went wrong; it's what went right? The Trump administration and health officials knew back in January that this coronavirus was going to be a major threat. They knew that tests needed to be distributed across the country to understand where there might be outbreaks. But across the month of February, as my colleague David Lim at Politico first reported, the tests that they sent out to labs across the country simply did not work. They were coming back with errors.
The CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, recognized that and promised that new tests would be distributed soon. But one day turned into two days turned into three days turned into several weeks, and in the meantime, we know now coronavirus was silently spreading in different communities, like Seattle. By the time that the Trump administration made a decision to allow new tests to be developed by hospitals by clinical laboratories, it was a step that was seen as multiple weeks late. And now as we talk in March, there are concerns that maybe there aren't enough materials to keep producing tests down the line - so a series of planning failures and missed opportunities to really get ahead of a problem.
GROSS: And it might be hard for the labs that actually conduct the tests to keep up with the need.
DIAMOND: The Trump administration has argued that there's a surplus of tests, that anyone who wants a test can get one. And there is some truth to that. Now tests have been churned out. But the sheer number of people who can run these tests, the number of labs that can perform them, right now it's still fairly limited. And even if there is raw supply for now, there are only so many labs that can do the tests and deliver results.
GROSS: Why didn't the U.S. use the World Health Organization's test?
DIAMOND: If you or your listeners know the answer to that, I would love...
(LAUGHTER)
DIAMOND: ...To have someone tip me off because that is a question that I've been trying to solve and my colleagues have been looking to solve, too. The World Health Organization did have a working test. Someone somewhere made the decision that the U.S. was going to go its own way, and that started a chain reaction of not having a working test and then having these delays for weeks - so certainly a failure, not necessarily the worst failure but the one that started us down this path.
GROSS: It's almost embarrassing, nationally, that the United States is so far behind other countries in terms of its ability to conduct tests for the virus.
DIAMOND: I think at this point, Terry, South Korea, in the past 24 hours, has probably done more tests for coronavirus than the United States has done in the past two months. South Korea can do 10,000 tests per day. At last count, we have done somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 tests.
GROSS: What do you think the impact is of the lost time?
DIAMOND: I think it's been a shame for public health writ large, and I think it's been horribly concerning for local leaders. We are flying blind, as the coronavirus threatens the United States. If there is an outbreak, if hundreds of people are infected in a certain city, it's been nearly impossible until recent days for officials to get a handle on that, and that means it's hard to make decisions about whether schools should be canceled or classes pushed off at a local college or conferences delayed.
Some of the measures being taken are smart, preventive efforts to keep people from catching this virus, but some are simply aggressive measures because, in the absence of not knowing, it's always safer to do more rather than less. And if we don't know how far coronavirus has spread, there are only so many public health staff who can deploy to fight this problem, and their efforts are being spread very thin because they don't know where to target.
GROSS: Well, let's take a short break here, and then we'll talk some more. If you're just joining us, my guest is Dan Diamond, a reporter for Politico who investigates health care policy and politics, including the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus. We'll be right back. This is FRESH AIR.
(SOUNDBITE OF JOAN JEANRENAUD'S "DERVISH")
GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. And if you're just joining us, my guest is Dan Diamond, a reporter for Politico who investigates health care policy and politics, including the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus. So what is your assessment - since you cover the health agencies, what's your assessments of how much - that has gone wrong as a result of, like, bad political decisions, incompetence, just bad luck?
DIAMOND: I don't use this word lightly, Terry, but I'd say that this testing failure and the broader response to the coronavirus has been a catastrophe. The reasons it is a catastrophe, some are on the Trump administration itself; some are simply bureaucratic breakdowns. And if I'm apportioning blame - in the middle of a crisis, it's hard to tell at all times who made what decision when, but certainly, the Trump administration failed to plan for this moment. There were leadership failures, like failing to think through the implications of not having a testing strategy in place. There were leadership failures in allowing feuds to fester for months and months that - in the middle of a crisis, those cracks have widened and caused delays in making simple decisions.
At the same time, there are also low-level bureaucratic failures that are enough to make a person cry. There was a New York Times story this week about the team in Seattle of flu researchers who wanted to use their research to help uncover where coronavirus might be spreading, but because of complicated regulations, they were not technically supposed to use their data that had been collected for the flu to also search for coronavirus. And they tried for weeks to get permission from local leaders, from national leaders, especially, and just couldn't get it. They were being passed from bureaucrat to bureaucrat. Finally, they went ahead and helped uncover the Seattle coronavirus outbreak but then were told to knock it off.
And I look at these decisions and, in the moment, can somewhat understand why a mid-level official might say we have to follow policy and procedure. But in the middle of a crisis, turning to bureaucratic rulebooks is not the way to address this, and that has left the U.S. just a step behind at every step of the way.
GROSS: Trump has made it clear he wants low numbers. He didn't want people who tested positive from a cruise ship to be evacuated and then quarantined because the numbers would go up, and he didn't want those numbers to go up. It would look bad; it would make him look bad. So what do you think the most consequential decisions he's made so far are in terms of the virus, decisions for better or worse?
DIAMOND: When President Trump went on air and did a press conference talking about his concern over the, quote, "numbers" and didn't want a cruise ship with infected Americans to necessarily dock and have the passengers evacuated because he was worried about the numbers, it was a remarkable statement for a president to say. The president has been obsessed with the numbers, obsessed with the optics of how this looks, which is not what you want the U.S. president to be focused on. The president's decisions on coronavirus, Terry, are, I think, an outgrowth of how he has approached government the past three years. There were so many ticking time bombs that never actually exploded, crises that were averted because either the economy was sailing along, the president's tweets were papered over. But now we are in a crisis moment where these decisions matter.
And when I look back on what the president did or did not do, one major piece of behavior is his attack on what some might call the steady state, the career civil servants across the government who work for multiple presidents and bring expertise. The president has driven a lot of those people away. That has weakened the response across government. It has made it harder to coordinate some of these efforts. And in this current moment, there were teams that were either cut or turned away or minimized that could have been useful to fighting a pandemic.
GROSS: Are there cuts the Trump administration made to the public health infrastructure that have left us more undefended? For example, wasn't there a National Security Council health task force that was disbanded under Trump?
DIAMOND: That's right. The president famously axed a team in the White House about two years ago that was focused specifically on pandemic preparedness. He cut funding for a program that predicted when viruses could jump from animals to humans basically around the same time that this new coronavirus appears to have jumped from animals to humans in China. And there are big parts of the bureaucracy that he has either tried to cut or otherwise alienated and driven people away. I do think, Terry, it's possible that some of these moves have been overly emphasized. Several officials pointed out to me that the White House pandemic preparedness team was made up of just three or four people. And if that's the dividing line between a pandemic or not, the United States is perhaps more vulnerable than we realize. And we still have career scientists like Tony Fauci, who's clearly a star, working to fight this outbreak. But it does come back to the president bigger picture. He's chased off experts when we need them most, and he's claimed that he can get scientists back when he needs them, which is just not true.
GROSS: Something I found very interesting - and I'd love to hear your take on this - is that Tucker Carlson, who, of course, has a show weekday nights on Fox News - he has been one of Trump's strongest advocates. And Trump seems to listen, you know, to watch Tucker Carlson's show. So I don't know if he said this on the air, but I was on the Fox News website, and he had something in print on the website that was headlined, "The Coronavirus Will Get Worse. Our Leaders Need To Stop Lying About That." And that was Tuesday of this week. And by our leaders, I will assume he means people in the Trump administration and perhaps the president himself. What do you make of that?
DIAMOND: Well, I haven't seen Tucker Carlson's piece, but I will say that the president has made a number of false claims, spread misinformation and frankly has hindered the overall government response, whether that was the president claiming that the number of cases would go from 15 - which was a number that he fixated on based on the number of Americans who were initially detected in the early weeks to have come back from China or perhaps had a close relationship to someone who had returned from China where the infection had originally spread - the president maintaining that number of infected Americans would quickly go to near zero, which - every official I talked to said was not the case. Officials have been preparing for two months for this to sweep across the United States, and the president misled the American people by suggesting that this was under control when, by all accounts, it was never going to be.
The president also has taken multiple opportunities at press conferences to riff on things that frankly have no relevance to the coronavirus fight. The press conference he gave about a week ago at the Centers for Disease Control was so rambling and wide-ranging that Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Ed Markey are asking Mike Pence to explain what the president was even talking about when the president, at one point, appeared to compare CDC's response to the coronavirus outbreak to how the media and Democrats treated his impeachment, a comparison that doesn't make a lot of sense both in reflection and also in the moment. He has also created an environment where his aides have been afraid to tell him bad news, and that has skewed what the Trump administration ends up pursuing. If the president is only willing to look at the most optimistic scenario, it makes it very hard to do worst-case planning.
GROSS: My guest is Dan Diamond, a reporter for Politico who has been investigating the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus. After a break, we'll talk about the members of the administration who are in charge of managing the crisis and what their backgrounds are and what their track records have been. I'm Terry Gross, and this is FRESH AIR.
(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN WOJCIECHOWSKI'S "TWIRL")
GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Let's get back to my interview with Dan Diamond, a political reporter who has been investigating the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus. Diamond has been covering health care policy and politics for about 10 years. He's been writing about how President Trump and some members of his administration have mismanaged the coronavirus outbreak, helping fuel the crisis.
So how America responds to the coronavirus is in the hands of people most Americans don't know much about. So let's take a look at who are some of our health policy leaders right now, what their backgrounds are and what they're doing. Let's start with Alex Azar, who's the head of Health and Human Services. He took over after Tom Price was forced out, and he was forced out in large part because of an investigative article that you did showing that he'd used government funds for a private jet.
DIAMOND: The Tom Price exit at the health department really was the inciting incident for so many feuds that continue today. And, yes, Politico did a series of investigative stories that led to his ouster about 10 days after our first story. And I say our because I was teamed up with my wonderful colleague Rachana Pradhan. Alex Azar has been like the Forrest Gump of Republican politics, where, if you were making a clip reel of the past 25 years, Azar would pop up in so many notable moments. He clerked for conservative Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. He worked on the Whitewater investigation of President Bill Clinton. And then he was a lawyer working on the Florida recount in 2000, Bush v. Gore. Because Bush won, Alex Azar was rewarded with senior jobs in the Bush administration, ending up as the No. 2 official at the health department before he then went and worked in the private sector at Eli Lilly, a major pharmaceutical company.
What's also interesting about Alex Azar isn't just the jobs he had. It's the people he met along the way. When President Trump chose Brett Kavanaugh to be on the Supreme Court a few years ago, Alex Azar was at the celebration for Kavanaugh. The two of them are very, very close. On the Whitewater investigation, both of them - Azar and Kavanaugh - worked with another man named Rod Rosenstein, who ended up helping lead investigations into President Trump in the past few years. And Azar are also became friends with young conservatives in the 1990s and 2000s, like Laura Ingraham, who is now the Fox News host who, when Alex Azar and the health department are criticized, has been a force pushing back and inviting the secretary on her show to help him get his side of the story out. Overall, Secretary Azar has brought order to a health department that was very dysfunctional when he arrived, but his management style has similarly alienated people like Seema Verma, the surgeon general and many others too.
GROSS: What is it about his management style that's so alienating?
DIAMOND: Well, it depends who you talk to because some would say he's the manager that the health department needs, that he has put difficult performers in line and managed out the biggest problems. But his critics would say that Alex Azar doesn't brook (ph) folks who might be ambitious and have ideas different from him and cuts them out entirely.
GROSS: My impression is that he is anti-abortion. He has described HHS as the department of life. He described the Trump administration as the most pro-life administration in the country's history. He said that in a very admiring way. How has that affected him as the leader of HHS? And was he appointed in part because of his anti-abortion position?
DIAMOND: Secretary Azar has had private views of being anti-abortion for years and years. I've talked to friends and colleagues who say what he has said recently in public is what he has thought in private for decades. What I think is notable, Terry, is that Alex Azar has leaned into his anti-abortion thoughts and bona fides at a moment when his job was most at risk. Secretary Azar has led the health department for two years. The most significant statements he's made about the health department being the department of life, giving very effusive interviews where he praises the president's crackdown on abortion funding, for instance, that's happened a lot in the past few months because his own job was so at risk, I've been told, that he was appealing to a core group of supporters for President Trump and, in doing these interviews, really trying to shore up support for his position.
What that has meant for Azar is he's gotten a boost within the administration and within this core group of Trump supporters. But at the same time, he's further alienated a health department where most career health professionals don't share these views. They don't think that the Trump administration should be cracking down on funding for abortion clinics and also broader reproductive health strategies around the country. But it seems like Secretary Azar has made the calculation that it's better to appeal to the anti-abortion constituency at present even if that means turning off some of the people who work directly for him.
GROSS: So you've reported that both Alex Azar, the head of Health and Human Services, and Seema Verma, the head of Medicare and Medicaid, both really go out of their way to try to please Trump. They are also - Verma and Azar - kind of at war with each other.
DIAMOND: Oh, not kind of; they're absolutely fighting it out.
GROSS: OK. Thank you for the (laughter) clarification. So how does their desire to please Trump feed into both how they're handling the epidemic and feed into the feud that they're having with each other? And that feud is very distracting from the real job at hand, which is dealing with the epidemic.
DIAMOND: President Trump has made it clear through his actions, through his tweets, that an official's place in his administration can be decided in a moment. And I think that has leaders like Alex Azar and Seema Verma constantly aware that they need to be reinforcing their relationship with the president, whether that means going on TV, as Alex Azar has done for months and months, and immediately praising the president as the bravest leader on hospital price transparency or the most courageous leader in fighting the drug industry. Seema Verma has also been effusive of about the president and looking to praise him at every turn in a way that we would not have seen during the Obama administration or even during the George W. Bush administration.
More recently, the two of them have owned different parts of President Trump's healthcare agenda. Seema Verma was tasked with coming up with the replacement to Obamacare. That's a job that she really wanted. It got her a lot of face time with President Trump - so far has not been able to deliver on that. And her team would say, her allies would say that Secretary Azar has undermined her in that effort by taking potshots at the plan and doing other things to slow down her efforts to come up with a replacement. To be fair, Republicans have tried and failed to replace Obamacare for years. This is not just a Seema Verma issue.
Meanwhile, Alex Azar has been the point person on President Trump's goal of lowering drug prices. Azar has pitched himself as the fixer. He worked in the drug industry at Eli Lilly, and now he knows all the secrets and is going to close all the loopholes. But so far, a lot of the plans that the Trump administration has put forward have either fallen apart, been blocked in the courts, have yet to take effect. So Alex Azar also hasn't been able to deliver. And that means both of them are conscious, Azar and Verma, of the need to show Trump that they are delivering. And they have competed at times for taking credit on other priorities, like hospital price transparency.
When the coronavirus task force was being assembled and Alex Azar became the leader, my understanding is he did box out Seema Verma. He didn't push to have her on the team, even though she oversees these programs, like Medicare, like Medicaid, where many millions of Americans who are covered by those programs now will want to go test - be tested for coronavirus. And their feud dates back to a simple workplace fight, I think, which is - Alex Azar is technically Seema Verma's boss, but Seema Verma has done a lot of things to go around her boss, and Azar simply does not abide that.
GROSS: Well, let's take a short break here, and then we'll talk some more. If you're just joining us, my guest is Dan Diamond. He's a reporter for Politico who investigates health care policy and politics, including the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus. We'll be right back after a break. This is FRESH AIR.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. And if you're just joining us, my guest is Dan Diamond, a reporter for Politico who investigates health care policy and politics, and he's been covering the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus.
So you've reported that Alex Azar of Health and Human Services and Seema Verma of Medicare and Medicaid both want to please President Trump. How have they gone about trying to please him during this period of the epidemic? And is that leading them to say or do things that they otherwise wouldn't do? In other words, are they doing things that shouldn't be done or needn't be done or are unnecessarily time-consuming just because they want to stay in Trump's good graces?
DIAMOND: I think they are both trying to show that they're incredibly active and aggressive in public, but some of the decisions behind the scenes haven't always reflected the best judgment of career professionals. In the case of Alex Azar, he did go to the president in January. He did push past resistance from the president's political aides to warn the president the new coronavirus could be a major problem. There were aides around Trump - Kellyanne Conway had some skepticism at times that this was something that needed to be a presidential priority.
But at the same time, Secretary Azar has not always given the president the worst-case scenario of what could happen. My understanding is he did not push to do aggressive additional testing in recent weeks, and that's partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak, and the president had made clear - the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential reelection this fall.
Meanwhile, Seema Verma, since being added to the team, has announced all kinds of actions that could be seen as cracking down on the problem - dispatching a team of investigators to Washington state, where there has been a major outbreak of corona virus, predominantly in local nursing homes. But I've talked to officials who say that Seema Verma, in an effort to show that she's cracking down, may actually be creating more problems by having her investigators demanding paperwork, demanding answers at a moment when these nursing home officials are just trying to provide basic patient care to people who have been infected by coronavirus.
GROSS: Well, let's take a look at Robert Redfield, who's the head of the Centers for Disease Control. And he was a well-known AIDS researcher, and you say he was a favorite of Christian conservatives when Trump appointed him in 2018. He helped fight HIV-AIDS in Africa, but his approach was to emphasize abstinence and to recommend condoms only as a last resort. Can you tell us more about that?
DIAMOND: Dr. Redfield emerged in the 1980s and 1990s during the AIDS epidemic, and he was seen in some corners as a very important figure in fighting the AIDS epidemic for his willingness to attack this problem as a scientist at a moment when some conservatives were turning away. But he did highlight abstinence as the best preventive measure, saying that the best way to avoid AIDS was holding off on sex until marriage. He wrote the introduction to a book about 30 years ago called "Christians In The Age Of Aids," where he conflated the public health problem of spreading AIDS and HIV with living in a biblical way and the need to, I quote, "reject false prophets" who were suggesting that Americans should use condoms and free needles.
Those views, Redfield has said more recently, are things that he has broadened from. He has walked away from some of those earlier, stricter positions. But Redfield is still seen in some corners as a suboptimal leader of our public health agency, and it's not just because of these views; it's because of his lack of high-end management experience. If you're looking at some of the breakdowns in fighting the coronavirus outbreak, they may not be because Dr. Redfield had these views 30 years ago; they may be more likely that he is not in position to make big, sweeping and aggressive decisions in the middle of an outbreak, which is tough for anyone but certainly a career scientist who may not have been in a management role like this one.
GROSS: So is there a decision, for better or worse, that Redfield was largely responsible for that has changed the course of the epidemic in the U.S. for better or worse?
DIAMOND: It's hard to know in the middle of the crisis. But I do think, Terry, we've seen a pattern of behavior from CDC that's been troubling. The failure to roll out lab tests as promised - that's a CDC problem. The failure to plan ahead for shortfalls in the materials needed to work on tests in the future - that's something that CDC director Redfield admitted this week. And at some level, that goes to the leader. These are management decisions, whether the organization is being proactive and running smoothly or whether it's in chaos at a moment when we really need to count on the CDC to protect us.
GROSS: Vice President Pence not only is now leading the task force against the coronavirus, he also has close ties to several people in key health positions right now. Seema Verma, who is the head of Medicare and Medicaid, was his health care consultant when he was the governor of Indiana. Jerome Adams, who is the surgeon general, was in the Pence administration. When Alex Azar was in Indiana as a senior executive at the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, he became connected to Mike Pence.
So it seems like Mike Pence has been very influential on several levels in dealing with the coronavirus and in working with the people and maybe even helping appoint the people connected with fighting the virus now. Let's look at Pence's own health care policy in terms of epidemiology when he was the governor of Indiana. So tell us a few key things about Pence in Indiana.
DIAMOND: When Mike Pence was governor in Indiana, there was a major outbreak of HIV, an outbreak that public health officials said was largely preventable. One step that Pence could have taken was allowing for needle exchange so people who were infected with HIV and injecting drugs wouldn't necessarily infect others. But as governor, Pence held off on that. That was seen as a policy by lots of conservatives as something that was essentially rewarding drug users and not a position that Pence wanted to get behind. The local Planned Parenthood clinic had been closed because of state cuts that Pence supported. Planned Parenthood does more than provide abortions; it can help in a public health crisis by providing low-cost or free services like HIV testing.
While Pence eventually pushed the right measures, the fact that it took him weeks to do so was really concerning at the time. And when he was named to lead the coronavirus task force, a lot of people rightly seized on that episode as an example of an epidemic, an outbreak that he did too little to stop.
But I think, Terry, there's also a counterargument. Pence learned from that outbreak that the measures that he had in place were wrong and that there needed to be a more aggressive response. He worked with Jerome Adams, at the time his health commissioner, to take those right measures. Now Jerome Adams is on the task force. And I think if there's a silver lining, it's that that experience six years ago in Indiana could be a way for Mike Pence to see a path forward on the need for aggressive action on coronavirus.
GROSS: If you're just joining us, my guest is Dan Diamond. He's a reporter for Politico who investigates health care policy and politics, including the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus. We'll be right back after a short break. This is FRESH AIR.
(SOUNDBITE OF AARON PARKS' "SMALL PLANET")
GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. If you're just joining us, my guest is Dan Diamond, a reporter for Politico. He investigates health care policy and politics, including the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus.
In your work covering the coronavirus epidemic, you've been covering the official government response, trying to find out what's happening behind the scenes, and you've also written about certain feuds within the department, like, you know, within the Trump administration and how those feuds are contributing to how the Trump administration is handling the epidemic. And just this week, one of the stories that you broke was about this email breakdown in Medicare and Medicaid. And there wasn't enough communication about the email breakdown, so Medicare and Medicaid missed a certain number of emails. They were out of the loop for a while. I mean, that just contributed to the general chaos. So what's the larger significance of stories like that?
DIAMOND: HHS, the health department, was in the middle of navigating the emergency funding package that they were going to ask Congress to supply to fight coronavirus. This was about two weeks ago. And the day that they were hammering this out, officials realized their emails weren't working; their emails had crashed - not just for 20 minutes or two hours, but in some cases up to 11 hours.
And the reason those emails crashed was because Seema Verma's part of the department had run this massive email test at the exact same time without telling anyone, and it took down the system. This was the latest in a series of different IT decisions that Seema Verma and her team had made. It led to frustration in the moment and some bad feelings to the point that the career IT division of the health department - so these are not Trump appointees; these are people who have worked in the government for years - made the call to just take away email responsibility from Seema Verma and assign it to a different part of HHS.
That story in and of itself might not be a big deal except for what it says about what is happening inside the health department, where different parts of the team are not talking to each other. And it also reveals what the priorities are. After I started reporting the story, I was told that Seema Verma got really upset not just about my report but that she had lost control of her emails and, in the middle of this crisis, was negotiating with the White House, trying to get the White House to intervene on giving her her email back. I'm not sure that these are the things that we want our senior health officials to spend time on as they're trying to fight coronavirus. And that's one of several examples I could give you from the past few weeks.
GROSS: What's another?
DIAMOND: About two weeks ago, my colleague Nancy Cook and I reported that the White House had soured on Alex Azar leading the coronavirus response. He was asked about it in congressional testimony because we broke the story while he was on Capitol Hill, waved it away by saying, you know, didn't trust anonymous sources in Politico. But by the end of the day, Mike Pence had replaced him. And by the next morning, there was a new coordinator brought in, Debbie Birx, to help run the response, too. That's what people saw in public.
Behind the scenes, Azar and his team did know that he was at risk of being replaced, spent a fair amount of time just trying to shore up his standing, calling officials at the White House, on Capitol Hill, just trying to make sure that he didn't lose the job of running the coronavirus response. At that point, we were several weeks into fighting this thing. And in a working, functional administration, the amount of effort just to keep a job, just to fend off these internal fights, I don't know if that would be happening. Since Day 1, there were people trying to get him replaced as the leader of this effort. And Alex Azar also had to spend a lot of political capital fighting to keep this job at a time when we probably would want his efforts focused elsewhere.
GROSS: Like on fighting the virus, not on fighting for his job (laughter).
DIAMOND: Yes, on fighting the threat to the American people, not fighting who has which title.
GROSS: Is the information you're getting saying, basically, that it's too late to prevent a wide outbreak in the U.S.?
DIAMOND: The information that I have is the outbreak is almost certainly coming at some level, but what health officials can still do is slow the outbreak, mitigate the outbreak, for a bunch of very good reasons. One reason is because there's only so much capacity in the system if everyone gets sick or significant amounts of people get sick at the same time.
In a previous life, I worked for a hospital consulting firm, and hospitals used to have many more beds than they do now. They very aggressively have cut back on their capacity because they didn't want to have a lot of empty wards that they weren't using. That may make sense at normal times, but in a crisis moment, it means there's only so many beds to go around. Health officials don't want a crunch of people rushing to the hospital at the same time. It's bad for coronavirus patients, and it's just as bad for everyone else if doctors are spread thin and worn down.
The efforts that are now at play are figuring out where the outbreaks are, imposing quarantines in some cases to try and stop spread or slow it and, simultaneously, work on vaccines or treatments. But those might be months and months away. So in the interim, because the population does not have immunity, it's thought that the coronavirus will spread either by people already in the United States, people coming from different countries - given that the outbreaks are all around the world now. There's very little we can do other than all quarantine ourselves in our homes, and that's no way to live.
GROSS: All right, well, thank you so much for your reporting, and thank you for being on our show. Dan Diamond, I really appreciate it.
DIAMOND: Terry, thanks for having me. I just wish it was for a happier topic.
GROSS: Dan Diamond investigates health care policy and politics for Politico. If you'd like to catch up on FRESH AIR interviews you missed - like this week's interview with writer James McBride, who has a new novel called "Deacon King Kong," or RuPaul, whose show "RuPaul's Drag Race" is now in its 12th season, or New York Times Lebanon bureau chief Ben Hubbard, author of a new book about Saudi Arabia's young, enigmatic leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - check out our podcast. You'll find lots of FRESH AIR interviews.
(SOUNDBITE OF BRAD MEHLDAU'S "BLACKBIRD")
GROSS: FRESH AIR's executive producer is Danny Miller. Our interviews and reviews are produced and edited by Amy Salit, Phyllis Myers, Sam Briger, Lauren Krenzel, Heidi Saman, Mooj Zadie, Seth Kelley and Thea Chaloner. Therese Madden directed today's show. I'm Terry Gross.
(SOUNDBITE OF BRAD MEHLDAU'S "BLACKBIRD")
Copyright (C) 2020 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.
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VIDEO-COULD SHE LIE STRAIGHT IN BED?
Mon, 16 Mar 2020 01:08
On CNN, where an apple is always a banana, and vice versa, Hillary Clinton falsely claimed credit for defeating the SARS outbreak.
''The SARS epidemic, which happened at the very beginning of the Obama administration, because I was secretary of state at the time, really was a full-court press by the administration to be sure that at every level, not only national, state, and local, but globally, the United States was part of the response,'' Hillary Clinton falsely told CNN.
The SARS epidemic took place between 2002 and 2004. Not only wasn't Hillary Clinton serving as Secretary of State, but the Bush administration was actually responding to the SARS epidemic.
This false claim was one of a series made by Hillary Clinton, who had previously falsely claimed that she tried to join the Marines and NASA, that she had come under fire at an airport in the former Yugoslavia, and that she had been instrumental in negotiating peace in Northern Ireland.
VIDEO-Debate: Joe Biden refers to SARS crisis, later Sanders refers to EBOLA crisis - YouTube
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 21:30
VIDEO-Sidney Powell | How to Fix Justice - YouTube
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 20:09
VIDEO-David Sirota on Twitter: "Joe Biden is not telling the truth at the #DemocraticDebate. Here's the video '-- please retweet right now: https://t.co/BJ2xh7Ron0" / Twitter
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 19:49
Joe DiNoto @ mathteacher1729
1m Replying to
@davidsirota Joe Biden advocated for cutting social security. Here is the video. If you are on the fence, you need to know this.
View conversation · Quantum Politics @ BoWarren6
1m Replying to
@davidsirota thankyou
View conversation · al haythem @ alhaythem965
1m Replying to
@davidsirota Get em! Real time
View conversation · lostlight @ lostlight11
1m Replying to
@davidsirota You "went to the youtube."
View conversation · 🇺🇸 🇨ðŸ‡... @ pcessig
1m Replying to
@davidsirota Joe wins this debate. Again.
View conversation · M 🌹 @ MHAbbas
1m Replying to
@davidsirota Yes Sirota!
View conversation · [[[JD Redding]]] @ JDRedding
1m Replying to
@davidsirota Tell the truth, Joe
View conversation · Michael Brandow @ michaelbrandow
1m Replying to
@davidsirota Maybe Joe Biden just doesn't remember.
View conversation · Dylan Keeling @ ddkeeling3
1m Replying to
@davidsirota @JoeBiden @JoeBiden Lmaoooooooooo
View conversation · ðŸ...‡ðŸ•·¸ðŸŒ¹Jake🌹🕷¸ðŸ...‡ (Noobie Doom-God) @ jake0149
1m Replying to
@davidsirota Thank You!
View conversation ·
VIDEO-Sarah Reese Jones on Twitter: "Biden talks about results and not a revolution and applies it to the coronavirus economic fallout. #DemDebate https://t.co/zneU2zKaf6" / Twitter
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 19:31
Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
VIDEO-NO AGENDA SHOP on Twitter: "For much needed context, left out by media... Dr Drew compares #H1N1 response to #coronavirus response at 3:10 minutes ðŸ'ºðŸ‘‰ðŸ‘‰ https://t.co/gAlFWuxNSw ... #CoronaVirusUpdates #COVID19 #Covid_19 #tech #science #health
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 18:32
Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
VIDEO-Lijian Zhao èµµç‹å'š on Twitter: "1/2 CDC Director Robert Redfield admitted some Americans who seemingly died from influenza were tested positive for novel #coronavirus in the posthumous diagnosis, during the House Oversight Committee Wednesday. #C
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 17:14
Kev371 @ Kev371A
Mar 12 1/2 The CDC did not want tests done, did not have enough test kits. In fact it ordered one scientist in Washington state to stop testing - she had found a teenager infected that had never been outside the state.
View conversation · Signal31 @ Section_131
Mar 12 Most of us in the US know that the people blaming China for Coronavirus, are only doing so to avoid blame they themselves deserve.We appreciate what the Chinese people have done to slow the spread of the virus, and apologize for our racist, dishonorable leadership.
View conversation · gabyhunk @ gabyhunk
Mar 12 It was originally a new type of coronavirus made in the United States. It came out of the US Army laboratory and was brought to China to be transmitted to the Chinese people. People all over the world would know this fact.
View conversation ·
VIDEO - FULL INTERVIEW: Mayor Adler on coronavirus in Austin and his advice to Austinites | KXAN.com
Sun, 15 Mar 2020 14:45
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- Austin Mayor Steve Adler addressed the city's response to the coronavirus pandemic and what happens next during an interview with KXAN early Sunday morning.
KXAN has published the Mayor'slatest comments in their entirety, including his advice for Austinites going forward.
KXAN: Have you been briefed about the British Airways flight that landed at Austin-Bergstrom last night? Are you concerned about travelers making the situation in our city worse this week?
MAYOR ADLER: ''I've heard just a little bit. I've asked a lot of questions and expect to get some answers back this morning.
''This is a virus that is coming to our city. The containment strategies that you have, you do as long as you can.
''Right now in our community we need to be focused on stopping the virus from spreading. So what I am most concerned about is whether or not everybody in our community is washing their hands frequently, whether they're avoiding shaking hands. I'm most concerned about whether or not people that aren't feeling well, are they not going to work, because that's incredibly important. And we don't want people in big groups.
''Things change, we move into different stages '' a week ago I was on a video urging people to go out to restaurants and clubs. I'm not advocating that now. People should stay in small groups, especially people that are older.''
KXAN: Is there any specific information you're able to give right now about the flight that came in last night?
MA: ''Not a lot of information on that. I've asked a lot of questions about that and I should have some answers back this morning.''
KXAN: Are city staffers being encouraged to work from home? How many are actually able to do that?
MA: ''The City Manager has been meeting this weekend with the human relations department in the city, they are meeting all day today. I expect him to be issuing some notices to City employees, probably some time late today.''
KXAN: Are we able to get some clarification on the mass gatherings of 250+? We've had questions about how that will affect businesses that employ more than 250 people, restaurants that can serve more than 250 people.
MA: ''At this point in the city we have outlawed, or ordered, that people not gather in groups of 250 or more. The reason for that is because when you get that many people together, if there is going to be a spread of the virus it hits so many people so quickly, that you have a real geometric spread.
''So yes, we are by order saying we should not have those kind of events. Quite frankly, we have recommended that people don't end up in groups of people of 125, 150 or more.
''And when you're out, try to increase your social separation. If you're going to be at a restaurant, try to see if you can be six feet away from the table that's next to you.''
KXAN: So are you still encouraging Austinites to go to restaurants? Or are you encouraging Austinites to stay at home and not go out to eat or to a bar?
MA: ''I'm recognizing that this could be something that we are doing for an indefinite period of time. Whatever we do has to be something that we can sustain over time.
''We are not telling people you can't leave your homes, but to the degree that you don't have to be out probably a better thing. We are not saying you shouldn't go to restaurants, but we certainly don't want any restaurants with more than 250 people, we have ordered that. If you are in a restaurant, try not to be on top of other people, increase the social distancing, social separation.''
KXAN: Regarding the new guidelines the city put out for contacts of patients yesterday '' how are you getting that message out, aside from traditional media?
MA: ''We are posting it, we're getting those kind of things out to the medical community in the city.''
KXAN: What are some of the things Austinites are doing that are encouraging to you during this time? Any creative solutions that you have seen so far?
MA: ''I love watching what is happening in our community as people pull together. Austin Community Foundation and the entrepreneur's foundation started something called Stand With Austin. People should go on to the website to look at that, it's at austincf.org because there's a way we can all pitch in to help the artists and the service folks that are really hurting right now as we've closed down events and as fewer people are going out to restaurants and bars.''
KXAN: Do you have a general message that you would like to speak to the Austin community? What is it that you want them to hear right now?
MA: ''More than anything else, I just want to remind Austin that we've been through crises before and we are going to get through this one too.
''But in this crisis, we actually have the ability to decide, through our individual and our collective actions, we get to decide how fast this virus hits our city. If we can manage to keep it so that it's minimized, where it doesn't hit that geometric climb, then we are going to be absolutely fine.
''But we have control, which is why we want everybody to be conscious, we want everybody to do the personal hygiene, wash your hands, don't go out if you're sick, and if we all do this together, we are going to get through this fine.''

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All Clips

60Miutes OZ on Corona.mp3
ABC GMC pnadering combo native ad.mp3
cannot trust a hippy ISO.mp3
Cenk House ad promoting a weird future.mp3
china never good ISO.mp3
Corona comes from bats.mp3
DEBATE Best exchange bickering ONE.mp3
DEBATES Bernie lost it here.mp3
enforcing quarantine in Alameda county BS.mp3
Hiking rule stupidity KPIX.mp3
House cat flu simpsons.mp3
Mike Wallace on 1976 Swine flu THREE.mp3
Mike Wallace on 1976 Swine flu TWO.mp3
Mike Wallace on 1976 Swine flu.mp3
No gatherings in california.mp3
Pence close the canadian border wtf.mp3
Pence on Fema WTF clip.mp3
sact cities report PBS.mp3
sact cities report PBSTWO.mp3
Toilet paper report KPIX.mp3
Trump on faster victory over virus.mp3
Trump on vaccine.mp3
Trump self swab test.mp3
Trump suspending foreclosures.mp3
^0Minutes intro to leung.mp3
60 mins interview epidemic expert.mp3
Announcement of EuroVision Song Contest cancellation.mp3
Fareed Zakaria with Hillary Clinton on SARS which she did not handle.mp3
Sam Harris Podcast has GLOBALIST CLIMATE CHANGE answers to corona virus.mp3
DN - How the Climate Crisis Is Making the Spread of Infectious Diseases Like Coronavirus More Common Sonia Shah - journo.mp3
F24 - Will Coronavirus Confinement Fight Climate Change.mp3
Dr Birx shits on the models of 2 million dead.mp3
U.S. tech firms work together to combat virus misinformation - Reuters.mp3
China has launched a corona virus tracking app.mp3
Today Show asks Surgeon General Jerome Adams about marketing of this - KEVIN DURANT.mp3
Today Show hosts Feb 6th promoting TikTok.mp3
Trump responds to question over TARRIFF suspension.mp3
WaPo's Jennifer Rubin - There Will Be Less Democrat Coronavirus Deaths.mp3
Dr Birx speaks to the millennials.mp3
Local NBC on access letters MEDIA IS ESSENTIAL HEROES.mp3
Open Care Insurance Services TV Commercial, 'At Peace'.mp3
PBS reporter TRUTH COMES OUT faking the world response.mp3
Yamich Elcandor asks Trump about Kung Flu term.mp3
China forces CNN to stop saying WuHan.mp3
Weird Tucker native ad from chloroquine is effective in treating corona virus.mp3
Corona Virus L and S strains research.pdf
Dr Birx explains how the testing works and BEWARE of the short term CURVE.mp3
Trump responds to celebrities getting tested earlier and explains TESTING NOT SET UP FOR THIS.mp3
Adm Brett Giroir HHS on the WHO test that was NOT offered.mp3
County in Colorado goes on lockdown for BLOOD tests and possible therputic TEST.mp3
Stafford_June_2019_508.pdf
Dana Bash CNN actually COMPLIMENTS Trup.mp3
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    Adam curry
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    no agenda in the morning everybody
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    I'm Adam curry Danford northern Silicon
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    Valley where the whole state is under
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    house arrest apparently someone posted
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    all Joe the one person admits they voted
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    everybody how thankful we are but also
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    how important it is that we are an
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    independent unaffiliated media property
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    we don't use any of the Silicon Valley
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    infrastructure we have our own
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    infrastructure we have our own networks
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    servers and why is that important today
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    this report from Reuters is self
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    explanatory some of the tech world's
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    biggest names announced they are joining
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    their platforms in a joint statement
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    Google and Twitter
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    the tech giant said they will work
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    addition other tech companies including