Art for episode 1228

1228: Stunning

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 5m
March 26th, 2020
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Executive Producers: Jason D Howard, Derrick Winke, Sir Cole of lower Locksview, Sir Goodfellow of the Rockies, Fred Rege, Howard Morgan, Sir Otaku, Duke of North East Texas and the Red River Valley

Associate Executive Producers: Remy Kueter

Cover Artist: Comic Strip Blogger

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TODAY
Working from home tips
SBA Loans scheme explained:
So basically, you just estimate your payroll for the next 3
months, apply for that much from the SBA, then payback anything you didn't use
on July 1. 3 months of tax free payroll.
This is going to be huge. CPA firms all over the
country are going to be applying for these loans on behalf of their clients
like mad. It's a free money bonanza.
Over payment of wage workers in bill is pre-conditioning for UBI?
Respiratory ventilator operators needed
Respirators 1 technician to 10 devices. It’s a real profession.
Tiger King is the Corona TV Hit show
Dexter uk update
The fight now is about when to ease and release
Why no media stories in success or failure of Trump Cure?
Senate speeches are a practice session for presidential mode
Tv news cannot help themselves to keeping the ratings high
Social media blowback for people having fun. Celebrities goofing around while people can’t pay rent
Ham Reddit. This is what we have trained our entire lives for
Austin Homeless exempt from lockdown
According to my military intelligence contact, who is currently being treated at home for covid-19, German politicians are now being administered Chloroquine
MSNBC and CNN stopped carrying briefing Trump went to Fox
If we can send our 18 year old kids to war in the sand, we can do our part this time and take some risks
WF 150 people distances entry line
WF celebrity Rogan mention
If this is a war, then we have to take risks to save the motherland
STORIES
Electric scooter-sharing grinds to a halt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic - The Verge
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 08:06
Electric scooters are vanishing from more cities as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to roil shared mobility services across the world. Lime, the largest e-scooter-sharing company in the world, said it would be suspending service in nearly two dozen countries. Bird said it would halt operations in six US cities as well as all of its European markets. And Spin, which is owned by Ford, has had to pause service in ''very few'' cities and universities.
The decisions to suspend service reflect the rapidly changing environment in the US and around the world in response to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Just three days ago, Lime was the only scooter company to halt operations in two US states and three European countries.
Lime, with roughly 120,000 scooters in 30 countries, is making the most drastic cuts
Now, with ''shelter-in-place'' orders, social distancing, and most people simply staying at home, scooter companies are likely seeing a steep drop in demand. The timing of the pandemic is also posing a challenge for the money-losing scooter business, that sees its business slow down in the winter and pick back up again when the weather turns warm.
Lime, with roughly 120,000 scooters in 30 countries, is making the most drastic cuts. The company said it was ''winding down or pausing'' service in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.
The company's scooters remain available in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Brisbane, Australia; Busan, South Korea; Christchurch, New Zealand; Dunedin, New Zealand; Hamilton, New Zealand; Selwyn District, New Zealand; Seoul, South Korea; and Sydney, Australia.
Bird said it is pausing service in San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, Portland, Miami, and Coral Gables. The company has also pulled its scooters from all of its European markets, which includes Annecy, Antwerp, Barcelona, Berlin, Bordeaux, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Krakow, Lisbon, Lyon, Madrid, Marseille, Munich, Paris, Rimini, Sevilla, Stockholm, Torino, Verona, and Vienna.
''The COVID-19 pandemic is undeniably affecting countless lives on a global scale.''
''The COVID-19 pandemic is undeniably affecting countless lives on a global scale. Given our deep understanding of and empathy towards the cities, communities and people we serve, we are temporarily pausing our service in a variety of cities,'' a spokesperson said. ''This is very fluid as the response to COVID-19 evolves and is in line with voluntary, as well as mandatory measures set by local governments for businesses.''
In contrast, Spin says it has been asked to ''step up'' by some cities to help ''fill transportation gaps after the public bus system was shut down.'' The Ford-owned company says it was designated as an ''essential service'' during the city's shelter-in-place order ''and encouraged to continue operations as a healthy mobility option.'' Still, Spin said it has also paused operations ''in very few markets,'' either because a city requested it or because a university campus has been shut down. (A spokesperson didn't specify which cities it had paused service.)
For the remaining scooters still available to rent, all of the companies say they have stepped up their sanitizing efforts and instituted new workplace protocols for employees to ensure social distancing in the warehouses that are still opened.
Lyft is still offering scooters to rent in San Francisco, but it halted operations in Miami at the request of the city. Jump, which is owned by Uber, didn't respond to requests for comment. According to Streetsblog, Jump has only paused scooter operations in Sacramento, California. Last month, Lyft said in a regulatory filing that the outbreak in China has led to production delays of certain automotive parts and components of bikes and scooters.
Scooter-sharing isn't the only mobility service to suffer due to the pandemic
Scooter-sharing isn't the only mobility service to suffer due to the pandemic. Public transportation ridership has cratered and fare revenue has practically dried up. Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are also seeing precipitous drops in gross bookings in cities hit hard by the disease. Three weeks of social distancing and warnings to stay at home have taken a huge bite out of the total number of trips taken with all modes of transportation.
But as people avoid transit and shared modes of travel, the silver lining seems to be the number of personal mobility trips that are rising. In New York City, for instance, cycling traffic on the East River bridges is up over 50 percent and Citi Bike ridership is up almost 70 percent compared to this time last year. But city officials aren't doing enough to protect those riders who are switching to bikes; cyclist injuries were up 43 percent between March 9th and March 15th, according to NYPD statistics obtained by Streetsblog.
Cities have a unique opportunity during the pandemic to remake their streets to better prioritize these low-carbon forms of transportation. ''While staying at home and following government recommendations for social distancing is the first order of priorities, if you have to take a trip and do not want to ride public transport, or if public transport has reduced service, the bicycle can be a good alternative,'' Virginia Tech transportation expert Ralph Buehler said in an email.
Governments are using cellphone location data to manage the coronavirus - The Verge
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 07:49
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread around the world, more governments are relying on mobile carrier data to track everything from patients who should be isolated to how well people are following limited-movement edicts.
Mobile carriers in the European Union are sharing data with health authorities in Italy, Germany, and Austria to help monitor whether people are following instructions to maintain social distances and stay close to home during the outbreak, Reuters reports.
The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, limits how companies can share and manage customers' personal data. The location data currently being shared by cellphone providers is anonymous and aggregated, per the GDPR rules. In Italy's Lombardy region, the first major swath of the country to be placed under lockdown, the mobile data is reportedly helping authorities get a clearer picture of how well people are observing the rules, according to Reuters, showing movement is down by about 60 percent in the past month.
On March 16th, Israel authorized the use of cellphone location data to track the virus. The country's internal security agency, the Shin Bet, has collected data from mobile carriers since about 2002. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized the Shin Bet to track the movements of patients who have tested positive and to determine who should be under quarantine.
An Israeli security official told The New York Times that the data was going to be used in a ''focused, time-limited and limited activity.''
South Korea used location data to make a public map of coronavirus patients
Other countries are using location data from cellphones to track the pandemic in different ways, from an app called AC 19 in Iran to China's tracking system that sends information to law enforcement officials, to Taiwan's ''electronic fence'' that alerts authorities when a quarantined person moves too far away from their home. As of Monday, Taiwan had 195 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, one of the lowest tallies of any country.
Perhaps the most aggressive use of cellphone location tracking is happening in South Korea where the government has created a publicly available map from cellphone data that people can use to determine if they have come into contact with someone who has been infected with the novel coronavirus. South Korea is viewed as something of a success story in its efforts to beat back the spread of the virus; the BBC reports that the country recorded 64 new cases in the past 24 hours, down from its peak of 909 cases reported on February 29th.
South Korea's health authorities have been sending detailed text messages that range from reminders about handwashing to specific information about people who have tested positive and where they are, The Guardian reports. An example text message read ''A woman in her 60s has just tested positive. Click on the link for the places she visited before she was hospitalized.'' The link directs to a list of locations the person visited before she tested positive, according to The Guardian.
Of course, tracking the movements of patients who have been infected with the novel coronavirus and people who haven't has raised myriad privacy concerns, and how effective the methods are may never be totally known. If a person doesn't want to be tracked, they can disable location settings on their device or turn their phone off altogether.
Whether the US would track user data in a similar way remains unclear, but the federal government is reportedly in ''active talks'' with Facebook, Google, and other tech companies, according to The Washington Post.
These maps use phone data to track social distancing - The Washington Post
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 07:49
If you have a smartphone, you're probably contributing to a massive coronavirus surveillance system.
And it's revealing where Americans have '-- and haven't '-- been practicing social distancing.
On Tuesday, a company called Unacast that collects and analyzes phone GPS location data launched a ''Social Distancing Scoreboard'' that grades, county by county, which residents are changing behavior at the urging of health officials. It uses the reduction in the total distance we travel as a rough index for whether we're staying put at home.
Comparing the nation's mass movements from March 20 to an average Friday, Washington, D.C., gets an A, while Wyoming as a whole earns an F.
How do they know that? Efforts to track public health during the coronavirus pandemic are a reminder of the many ways phones reveal our personal lives, both as individuals and in the aggregate. Unacast's location data comes from games, shopping and utility apps that tens of millions of Americans have installed on their phones '-- information the company normally analyzes for retailers, real estate firms and marketers. It's part of a shadowy world of location tracking that consumers often have little idea is going on.
It's not alone. Google also collects and shares where we go. Long before the coronavirus, the Google Maps app has included a live read of how busy popular destinations are, based on location data. Facebook's Instagram, too, lets you see other people who've recently shared updates from places. Both tools are useful for anyone who wants to practice social distancing and avoid spaces that are busy for a jog or fresh air during shelter-in-place orders.
Sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter to track the outbreak. All stories linked in the newsletter are free to access.
There's no evidence that the U.S. government is using phones to enforce stay-at-home orders or track patients. But privacy is often the first civil right on the chopping block when public health and national security are at risk. Getting the balance right is hard. South Korea has used an app to track tens of thousands of quarantined people whose phone would alert authorities if they left home.
The Washington Post reported last week that the U.S. government is in talks with Facebook, Google and other tech companies about using anonymous location data to combat the coronavirus, including tracking whether people are keeping at safe distances from one another. The data wouldn't be held in some federal database; it would be managed by industry and health officials, who could query it for research.
Social distancing in the Washington, D.C., area by county on March 20, according Unacast. Blue means staying closer to home. (Unacast)Unacast, a smaller start-up, assigns letter grades to counties and states based on how much residents have changed their movements on a specific date compared to what's typical on that day of the week. If many people in an area used to commute daily to work but now are leaving the house only for visits to the grocery store, the data would show a big reduction in travel distance.
The Unacast maps are searchable and will be updated daily. On Monday, the New York Times posted GPS data from a firm called Descartes Labs for March 11 through 20.
Unacast assigned an A grade to places that show at least a 40 percent decrease in average distance traveled. On March 20, the first day in its database, the states as a whole that earned an A included Alaska, Massachusetts, Nevada and Vermont. Big reductions in movement are also visible in areas hit hard by the virus, such as New York City (a 57 percent change) and California's Santa Clara county (a 54 percent change).
Unacast deemed anything less than a 10 percent change an F. Only Wyoming earned that grade.
It's the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?
Overall, Unacast gives the United States a B, for a 32 percent decline in average distance traveled.
Unacast's scores, which haven't been vetted by public health authorities or epidemiologists, don't pick up on whether people are staying at least six feet apart, a central tenet of social distancing. But the company says it is exploring adding layers to its view, including a change in the number of locations visited.
Unacast chief executive Thomas Walle said he hopes the maps might help track compliance with stay-at-home orders and measure whether they're effective.
''We can start to see and learn what states are getting this right,'' he said. ''Over weeks now, we can identify what are the states and counties that are putting measures in place, and see if the number of cases stabilizes or drops.''
On Monday, a different group of researchers used data from half a million public Instagram stories to identify the places around Italy where people are breaking quarantine orders. The researchers from a group called Ghost Data and a firm called Logo Grab used location data and image analyses. About 40 percent of Italians not following the stay-at-home rules were in the city, and 26 percent were spotted at the beach.
Social distancing by county in the Chicago area on March 20, according to Unacast. Blue means staying closer to home.All of these surveillance studies raise a question: Do people realize they're sharing data about their whereabouts for these purposes?
Privacy advocates worry data firms like Unacast can be dodgy because they're gathering locations without real consent from people.
Walle said all of the apps that Unacast acquires location data from must let users know. But he declined to name any of the apps. And we know few people read the privacy policies on apps '-- the fine print where they disclose the many ways they use your location, such as selling it on to data firms.
''Everything here is on the aggregated level,'' Walle said. ''We can't tell or disclose if any individual is staying at home or not.''
Doctors urge patients to replace in-person visits with apps
Following health experts' guidance to ''flatten the curve'' by limiting contact with others keeps everyone safer. But if you don't want your phone's location showing up on a social distancing map '-- or in the hands of marketers '-- carefully vet the apps you have installed or just turn off the phone's location services.
Unacast's county-by-county grades for social distancing in Texas on March 20. The blue color indicates more staying put.
Queensland Entry Pass | Queensland Government
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 07:48
Queensland residents are not required to apply for an Entry PassHowever, if you are required to travel frequently interstate by road, you can apply for a vehicle pass to display in your vehicle which may assist you when re-entering Queensland.
Read more on self-quarantine information from Queensland Health.
Chicago scores an 'A' in social distancing, according to GPS project - Chicago Tribune
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 07:46
Chicago Tribune |
Mar 24, 2020 | 8:36 PM
Two people walk past each other in the 5300 block of North Clark Street on March 24, 2020, in Chicago. Social distancing is strongly encouraged as a preventive measure against COVID-19, or the coronavirus.(John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune)
Chicagoans were ordered to stay at home starting last weekend and, according to a company grading social distancing, the city's getting an A.
Both Cook County and the state of Illinois have high marks as of Tuesday on the ''
Social Distancing Scoreboard,'' an interactive project based on GPS location data collected by the company Unacast that roughly measures whether or not people are heeding the advice of officials to ''flatten the curve'' of the spread of the coronavirus.
The scores were determined by the change in average distance traveled compared with before the coronavirus outbreak. If residents are staying put aside from the occasional trip to the grocery store or pharmacy, the dip in travel would be apparent in the data.
A more than 40% decrease leads to an A, with grades dropping from there. Anything less than a 10% decrease '-- or an increase '-- ends in an F.
Wyoming, with a 0% change in travel, got an F.
Illinois had a 40% decrease by March 21, according to Unacast's board. Cook County saw a 44% decrease.
The counties doing the best in the state include: Edwards, Crawford, Macon, Pope and Menard. And the worst: Washington, Fayette, Johnson, Massac and Cumberland.
The entire country has a B, overall.
As for the data, the company says the tools don't identify individuals or devices, but scores are calculated by combining ''tens of millions of anonymous mobile phones and their interactions with each other each day'' and then extrapolating the results.
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''We created the Social Distancing Scoreboard as the first of many tools to help organizations and businesses better understand public behavior in a post COVID-19 world," said Thomas Walle, CEO and co-founder at Unacast, in a news release. "We'll be updating the Scorecard and enhancing this COVID-19 Toolkit to provide the most timely and accurate information possible, with the hope of ultimately saving lives.''
Unacast says it plans to continue to improve its social distancing models.
''Travel distance is one aspect, but of course people can travel far without meeting a soul or travel 50 feet and end up in a crowd '-- so we know that the real world picture can be quite complex,'' the company's website says.
The scoreboard, the first tool the company has developed as part of its ''COVID-19 Toolkit,'' will be updated daily. Change in the number of encounters for an area and change in the number of locations are a couple of layers the company is considering adding to the scores, according to its website.
On Tuesday, four more deaths related to COVID-19 in Illinois were announced, bringing the state's total to 16 deaths. There are now 1,535 confirmed cases in Illinois, with more than 1,000 of them in Cook County.
Morgan Greene is a metro reporter for the Chicago Tribune who covers human interest stories, breaking news, the park district and everything in between. A Cleveland native, she graduated from the Theatre School at DePaul University, joined the Tribune in 2015 as an editorial assistant and still enjoys seeing a good show on a night off.
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Why The WHO Faked A Pandemic
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 07:46
The World Health Organization has suddenly gone from crying "The sky is falling!" like a cackling Chicken Little to squealing like a stuck pig. The reason: charges that the agency deliberately fomented swine flu hysteria. "The world is going through a real pandemic. The description of it as a fake is wrong and irresponsible," the agency claims on its Web site. A WHO spokesman declined to specify who or what gave this "description," but the primary accuser is hard to ignore.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), a human rights watchdog, is publicly investigating the WHO's motives in declaring a pandemic. Indeed, the chairman of its influential health committee, epidemiologist Wolfgang Wodarg, has declared that the "false pandemic" is "one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century."
Even within the agency, the director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Epidemiology in Munster, Germany, Dr. Ulrich Kiel, has essentially labeled the pandemic a hoax. "We are witnessing a gigantic misallocation of resources [$18 billion so far] in terms of public health," he said.
They're right. This wasn't merely overcautiousness or simple misjudgment. The pandemic declaration and all the Klaxon-ringing since reflect sheer dishonesty motivated not by medical concerns but political ones.
Unquestionably, swine flu has proved to be vastly milder than ordinary seasonal flu. It kills at a third to a tenth the rate, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates. Data from other countries like France and Japan indicate it's far tamer than that.
Indeed, judging by what we've seen in New Zealand and Australia (where the epidemics have ended), and by what we're seeing elsewhere in the world, we'll have considerably fewer flu deaths this season than normal. That's because swine flu muscles aside seasonal flu, acting as a sort of inoculation against the far deadlier strain.
Did the WHO have any indicators of this mildness when it declared the pandemic in June?
Absolutely, as I wrote at the time. We were then fully 11 weeks into the outbreak and swine flu had only killed 144 people worldwide--the same number who die of seasonal flu worldwide every few hours. (An estimated 250,000 to 500,000 per year by the WHO's own numbers.) The mildest pandemics of the 20th century killed at least a million people.
But how could the organization declare a pandemic when its own official definition required "simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness." Severity--that is, the number of deaths--is crucial, because every year flu causes "a global spread of disease."
Easy. In May, in what it admitted was a direct response to the outbreak of swine flu the month before, WHO promulgated a new definition matched to swine flu that simply eliminated severity as a factor. You could now have a pandemic with zero deaths.
Under fire, the organization is boldly lying about the change, to which anybody with an Internet connection can attest. In a mid-January virtual conference WHO swine flu chief Keiji Fukuda stated: "Did WHO change its definition of a pandemic? The answer is no: WHO did not change its definition." Two weeks later at a PACE conference he insisted: "Having severe deaths has never been part of the WHO definition."
They did it; but why?
In part, it was CYA for the WHO. The agency was losing credibility over the refusal of avian flu H5N1 to go pandemic and kill as many as 150 million people worldwide, as its "flu czar" had predicted in 2005.
Around the world nations heeded the warnings and spent vast sums developing vaccines and making other preparations. So when swine flu conveniently trotted in, the WHO essentially crossed out "avian," inserted "swine," and WHO Director-General Margaret Chan arrogantly boasted, "The world can now reap the benefits of investments over the last five years in pandemic preparedness."
But there's more than bureaucratic self-interest at work here. Bizarrely enough, the WHO has also exploited its phony pandemic to push a hard left political agenda.
In a September speech WHO Director-General Chan said "ministers of health" should take advantage of the "devastating impact" swine flu will have on poorer nations to get out the message that "changes in the functioning of the global economy" are needed to "distribute wealth on the basis of" values "like community, solidarity, equity and social justice." She further declared it should be used as a weapon against "international policies and systems that govern financial markets, economies, commerce, trade and foreign affairs."
Chan's dream now lies in tatters. All the WHO has done, says PACE's Wodart, is to destroy "much of the credibility that they should have, which is invaluable to us if there's a future scare that might turn out to be a killer on a large scale."
Michael Fumento is director of the nonprofit Independent Journalism Project, where he specializes in health and science issues. He may be reached at fumento@pobox.com.
Read more Forbes Opinions here.
Coronavirus Has Led to Drastic Improvements in U.S. Air Quality
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 07:35
The coronavirus has been difficult for nearly everyone. Many people are out of work, being asked to stay inside and not risk any contamination. While this has affected everyone around the world, it has also affected the environment, positively. Coronavirus has incidentally made U.S. air cleaner.
Cities across the U.S. have seen air pollution rates drop drastically since people have been homebound. Satellite images that detect automobile emissions show huge declines, especially over large cities. Images from March 2019 compared to images in March 2020 show cities such as New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, and Los Angeles with major differences.
As the number of coronavirus cases increases in the U.S., the number of cities seeing lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease has led to the improvements in overall air quality.
No2 Emissions from NYC 2019 on the left and 2020 on the right. Image: Sentinel-5P satellite data processed by Descartes LabsNew YorkNew York has been the area hardest hit by the coronavirus and is the new epicenter for COVID-19.
The BBC reported, Columbia University researchers said that New York's carbon monoxide levels have dropped nearly 50% from last year. Dangerous carbon dioxide (CO2) have levels have fallen by 5-10% and they've also registered a drop in methane.
Columbia Professor R"is­n Commane said:
New York has had exceptionally high carbon monoxide numbers for the last year and a half. And, this is the cleanest I have ever seen it. It's is less than half of what we normally see in March.
No2 Emissions from Seattle 2019 on the left and 2020 on the right. Image: Sentinel-5P satellite data processed by Descartes LabsSeattleSeattle was one of the first cities hit by the coronavirus in the U.S. and because of this, they were one of the first to see a drop off in traffic.
Fine particle matter, PM2.5 which is very dangerous for our breathing, was measured at a 32% decrease in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area according to NBCNews.
No2 Emissions from Los Angeles 2019 on the left and 2020 on the right. Image: Sentinel-5P satellite data processed by Descartes LabsLos AngelesNormally one of the highest smog cities, LA has been home to blue skies due to far less people traveling. Before the statewide lockdown, the daily traffic jams had all but ended with traffic flowing smoothly through the city.
European Space Agency's Sentinel-5P satellite show that atmospheric levels of nitrogen dioxide had dropped significantly from the same time last year. They estimated traffic had decreased by at least 40 percent, leading to the clear skies.
Satellite images released by NASA and the European Space Agency both show dramatic reductions in nitrogen dioxide emissions in China. As a result of the better air quality, this could have saved 50,000-75,000 people from premature death, according to Marshall Burke, an assistant professor from Stanford University's Department of System Science.
NASA air quality researcher Fei Liu from the Goddard Space Flight Center said:
This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event. I am not surprised because many cities nationwide have taken measures to minimize the spread of the virus.
Researchers are cautious to point out that this is most likely short-lived, once the coronavirus is containable and people begin traveling for work and leisure again, the air pollution will increase.
They are correct, air pollution will rise once the virus is over. But, if we can learn anything from the way the environment is reacting, it should give us hope. Hope that the planet can bounce back from the pollution caused by fossil fuels, but we will need governments to be proactive and implement changes on a global level.
Because, who wants to go right back to breathing in dirty air, when we have the ability to make changes.
Hell is Coming: Here is the Mathematical Proof
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 07:34
Executive Summary
Right now 2 million Americans are infected with the coronavirus. The total U.S. death toll by April 15th will be more than 20,000. We estimate that 80 thousand of the 2 million infected Americans will be hospitalized over the next 2 weeks. That's why we are short-term bullish on hospital stocks.
Thesis:
Everything I said about the Coronavirus COVID-19 in February happened, Now I'm telling you this:
Since my last few newsletters to you, I have updated our models, done more research and we now have better estimates.
Three parameter estimates are needed to predict the number of infections and number of deaths over the next 3 weeks: infection fatality rate, infection growth rate, and the number of days between initial infection and resolution (either death or recovery) of the infection.
1. We now estimate that the coronavirus's fatality rate is ~0.8%. This means 1 out of every 125 infected people will die. We know that almost all countries had problems with testing and identifying all infected people. There are two exceptions to this: South Korea and Japan's Princess Diamond cruise ship.
South Korea tested more than 320,000 people and identified 8652 infections. The total number of deaths was 94. This means South Korea's case fatality rate is 1.09%. We believe there are still a considerable number of South Koreans who were asymptomatic and weren't tested. So, we estimate that the actual fatality rate is anywhere from 0.5% and 1%.
In early February the Princess Diamond cruise ship was quarantined in Japan after one of the passengers tested positive. This was a bad idea for passengers as a total of 712 passengers were eventually infected and 7 of these people died. As far as I know all 3000+ passengers of this cruise ship were tested, so we have a reliable dataset with pretty accurate number of infections and number of deaths. The case fatality rate on Princess Diamond is 0.983%. We know that the fatality rate is higher among older people. Assuming that the median age of passengers on Princess Diamond is greater than America's, which is 39, we can estimate that the new coronavirus' fatality rate will be around 0.8% in America (maybe a little lower, but this is a nice round number).
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2. This paper estimates that an infection takes around 23-24 days to resolve. The first 5-6 days the patient doesn't show any symptoms. It takes an average of 5 days between the onset of symptoms and hospitalization. Finally it takes about 2 weeks between hospitalization and death (about 10 days in ICU).
3. There is no accurate direct way of calculating the infection growth rate because there is a huge variation in the number of people we are testing. [We were testing only a few people a couple of weeks ago, so we identified only a small number of infections. In recent days we started testing a large number of people (especially in New York) and now our case count is growing at alarming rates.] However, we can assume that the death rate is constant and we use the change in deaths to estimate the infection growth rate. There is a 23-24 day lag between an infection and the resolution of that infection. This means the growth rate in the number of deaths today is a very good estimate of the infection growth rate 23-24 days ago.
On March 19th, the U.S. reported a total of 205 deaths. That figure was 85 on March 16th and 47 on March 13th. This means the number of deaths doubles about every 3 days. This also means that the number of infections were doubling every 3 days on February 25th (the people who are dying today were infected on February 25th).
So, here is my simple mathematical model.
For the sake of argument, I am going to assume that all 205 American deaths occurred on March 19th and all of these people were infected on February 25th (this assumption simplifies calculations, we don't need a complex model to have a thorough understanding of what is going on).
Our estimate for the fatality rate is 0.8%; this means for every death we have 125 infections. Since we have 205 total deaths, there must have been 205 times 125 total infections on February 25th. That's 25,625 infected people. If you understand this part of the calculation, the rest of our analysis is pretty straightforward.
The number of infected people doubles every 3 days. So, on February 28th the number of infected people doubled to 51,250 (let's round it down to 50,000). Three days later, on March 2nd, the number of infected people doubled again to 100,000.
Do you see start to see the gravity of the situation? There were 100K infected people on March 2nd in America. We know that 0.8% of these people will die by March 26th. That means our death toll will be 800 on March 26th [you can verify the accuracy of our model on March 26th by comparing the actual death toll to our estimate].
Our model tells us that the number of infections doubled again on March 5th, reaching 200,000.
Our model also tells us that the number of infected people was 400,000 on March 8th, 800,000 on March 11th, and 1.6 million on March 14th.
These calculations imply that the American death toll will be 12,800 on April 7th. To put that in perspective, yesterday, the total death toll in Italy was 3400 and 3000 in China.
I know that these are just estimates, but even if my estimates are off by 50%, we will have still twice as many coronavirus deaths as China 2.5 weeks from now.
Enter social distancing. On March 14th, various municipalities and agencies started introducing social distancing. The practice eventually began to be suggested or required in the hardest hit parts of the nation.
The good news is that we started cancelling schools and closing down restaurants around March 14th. So, the number of total US infections isn't doubling every 3 days anymore. Unfortunately, the horse is already out of the barn. As of March 14th, one out of every 200 Americans is already infected.
Italy put the entire country under lockdown 12 days ago, yet its death toll is still increasing exponentially. That's because there is a 24 day lag between an infection and its resolution. We haven't put our country under a lockdown yet.
Except a few educated people, no one has any idea that there are already around 2 million infected people in America today and the American death toll will exceed 15,000 in just 24 days. If we don't take strict measures, we will be reporting 1000 deaths per day in just 3 weeks.
The attacks on 9/11 killed around 3000 people. We will be reporting a 9/11 every three days. That's why we say ''hell is coming''.
This is a mathematical certainty. It is inevitable.
China taught us how to contain the coronavirus outbreak. We have to put the entire country under a strict lockdown.
We don't think Donald Trump can postpone this decision beyond the middle of April. I am certain the entire country will be under quarantine in the next four weeks, and hopefully much sooner than that.
In terms of the stock market, we don't think stock prices are currently reflective of the possibility of a daily death toll of over 1,000 and a national lockdown for a period of a couple of months.
Assuming that we were able to put an end to the coronavirus outbreak after a 2 month lockdown, we will still have to implement strict quarantine measures towards international travelers. Tourism accounts for 2.9% of our GDP. We will have to deal with high unemployment figures, bankruptcies, and ballooning budget deficits for some time to come.
Donald Trump is already trying to shift the blame to China. The virus was a surprise for the Chinese, yet they managed to limit its death toll to 3000. Donald Trump knew about the virus in early January. He had weeks to prepare for it, yet he failed to protect us.
Biden doesn't have to be a marketing genius to blame Donald Trump for the death of 20,000+ Americans. He could very well label the recession as the ''Trump Recession''. That's why I believe Trump will lose the election and the stock market will start pricing the possibility of corporate tax rate increases pretty soon.
The bad news is that almost every country in the world will experience a recession. China was able to contain the virus, but its economy will probably experience a recession as well. Even if China bounces back quickly from being shut down for a number if weeks, its economy works in collaboration with the world economy. When individual countries falter economically, the world's largest economy in China will also fall. In February, retail sales in China declined more than 20%, industrial production fell 13.5%, and fixed investments plunged 24.5%. Now, the U.S., Europe, India, Russia, Mexico, Canada, and Brazil will go through the same process.
In an average recession the S&P 500 Index declines by 32%.
Do you think this is going to be an average recession?
Another obvious but not yet utilized way of hedging your portfolio is hospital stocks. We estimate that 80 thousand of the 2 million infected Americans will be hospitalized over the next 2 weeks (a hospitalization rate of 4%). There are 46,825 medical-surgical intensive care beds in the U.S. according to American Hospital Association. This means we are going to hit the ICU bed capacity especially in the counties that already account for most of the cases in the U.S.
Hospital stocks will financially benefit from near 100% utilization rates because usually their utilization rates hover around 50%. AHA already started lobbying the Congress for a $100 billion spending package to help hospitals with fighting the coronavirus outbreak. That's why we are short-term bullish on hospital stocks like Tenet Healthcare (NYSE:THC), HCA Healthcare Inc (NYSE:HCA), and Universal Health Services, Inc. (NYSE:UHS). If you don't want to expose your portfolio to individual stock risk, then the simplest way of hedging is a short position in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE:SPY) or Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ).
Update 1 (March 21, 2020): The number of deaths on the Princess Diamond cruise ship increased to 8. The case fatality rate for this group is 1.12%. This doesn't change any of our parameters or estimates. We still expect to see around 800 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. by the end of March 26th.
Disclosure: Long THC and net short SPY through put options. This article is first published at Insider Monkey.
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Donald Trump Has 4.3 Percent Chance of Dying From Coronavirus (Updated)
Greta Thunberg says she may have had covid-19 and has self-isolated | New Scientist
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 07:28
By Adam Vaughan
Greta Thunberg has been self-isolatingKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images
Greta Thunberg says she and her father, Swedish actor Svante Thunberg, appear to have been infected by the coronavirus.
In an interview with New Scientist, the climate change campaigner said they had both experienced some symptoms of covid-19 after a recent train tour of Europe together. The pair were travelling before restrictions were imposed in several countries.
However, she stressed that neither of them have been tested for the virus, as Sweden is only testing people with the most severe symptoms and those in at-risk groups.
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''I came home from central Europe and then I isolated myself from the beginning, because I thought I might as well, as I've been on trains and so I don't want to put anyone else at risk,'' she said. ''But I started feeling some symptoms after a few days. At the same time, my father was feeling much more intense symptoms.''
The 17-year-old said she wants to tell people how easy it is to transmit the disease without knowing you have it. Researchers have found that many cases globally have been asymptomatic.
''The important thing is, I didn't basically feel that I was ill. It could be that I was feeling unusually tired, I was coughing a bit,'' she said. ''That also is very dangerous because you don't know you have it. If I wouldn't have been for my father getting it at the same time and much more intense than me, I might not even have noticed it, that I was sick.''
She said it is a reminder of why it is important for people to follow the social-distancing measures imposed by governments. ''That is something I want to communicate, that many people don't feel symptoms at all, or very mild symptoms, but it can still be contagious. So you have to really practice social distancing whether you feel ill or not,'' she says.
While neither she nor her father have been tested because of Sweden's approach, Thunberg said it would be surprising if it isn't covid-19. ''So of course I'm not 100 per cent sure I have got it. But it would have been very strange if it would have been something else, because it just fits very [well]. Especially my father's reaction, it's exactly fitting with the symptoms.''
Thunberg, who started her school strike outside the Swedish parliament in August 2018 to demand far more ambitious action on climate change from the country's government, took part in her 83rd strike last week. The movement behind the walkouts, Fridays for Future, has told strikers to conduct protests virtually due to the pandemic, which Thunberg said was a collective decision taken at an emergency remote meeting.
Thunberg is pleased with how strikers responded to the call to stay off the streets. ''I think people have been very good at that within the movement, respecting each other and people in risk groups. Even though we are young and are not primarily the ones targeted by this virus, we still stand in solidarity with those in risk groups, and I think that is a very beautiful thing.''
Thunberg said the pandemic and climate emergency shouldn't be compared, because both of them need to handled together. ''One does not outrule the other,'' she said.
However, she added: ''The corona[virus] crisis really shows that our current societies are unsustainable. If one virus can wipe out the entire economy in a matter of weeks and shut down societies, then that is a proof that our societies are not very resilient. It also shows that once we are in an emergency, we can act and we can change our behaviour quickly. And as long as we have solidarity and common sense, we will get through any crisis.''
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coronavirus
Study: Coronavirus Lockdown Likely Saved 77,000 Lives In China Just By Reducing Pollution
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 07:20
WUHAN, CHINA: A masked woman walks in the empty street due to the lockdown to curb the COVID ... [+] epidemic in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. Photo by Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images.
Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesChina's coronavirus lockdown likely saved tens of thousands of lives by slashing air pollution from factories and vehicles, according to a new analysis by a Stanford University scientist.
Earth Systems Professor Marshall Burke used data from U.S. government sensors in four Chinese cities to measure levels of PM2.5, the tiny particulate matter considered the primary cause of death from air pollution. He averaged the drop in pollution levels and calculated the subsequent effect on mortality nationwide.
Two months of pollution reduction ''likely has saved the lives of 4,000 kids under 5 and 73,000 adults over 70 in China,'' he writes on G-Feed, a blog maintained by seven scientists working on Global Food, Environment and Economic Dynamics.
To keep his calculations conservative, Burke assumed no additional deaths for people between the ages of 5 and 70. Burke tested his prediction with a more conservative mortality calculation and still emerged with 1,400 kids saved and 51,700 elderly.
''Even under these more conservative assumptions, the lives saved due to the pollution reductions are roughly 20x the number of lives that have been directly lost to the virus,'' Burke writes, using statistics current on March 8.
These NASA satellite images compare levels of NO2, a noxious gas, over Wuhan China in 2019 (above) ... [+] and during coronavirus lockdown in 2020 (below).
NASAUpdated with later data, showing the pollution rebound:
New Satellite Video Shows China Pollution Vanishing During COVID-19 Lockdown-Then Coming Back Forbes Jeff McMahon Burke cautions that his calculation is a prediction of mortality impacts, not a measurement. And his numbers do not include other negative consequences of the lockdown.
''But the calculation is perhaps a useful reminder of the often-hidden health consequences of the status quo,'' he writes, that is'--''the substantial costs that our current way of doing things exacts on our health and livelihoods.''
COVID-19 might help us see those costs more clearly, he says.
''More broadly, the fact that disruption of this magnitude could actually lead to some large (partial) benefits suggests that our normal way of doing things might need disrupting.''
The effects were most dramatic in southern Chinese cities like Shanghai and Wuhan, he said, where wintertime pollution comes mainly from cars and small industry.
They will likely be repeated across the globe as more countries enforce lockdowns. The European Space Agency captured vanishing nitrogen dioxide pollution over Northern Italy as that country entered lockdown:
''The decline in nitrogen dioxide emissions over the Po Valley in northern Italy is particularly evident,'' said Claus Zehner, ESA's mission manager for the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite. ''Although there could be slight variations in the data due to cloud cover and changing weather, we are very confident that the reduction in emissions that we can see coincides with the lockdown in Italy causing less traffic and industrial activities.''
Nitrogen dioxide levels in the air above Italy's Po Valley decline as the country enters coronavirus ... [+] lockdown.
@CREACleanAirDeaths from air pollution should likewise decline globally, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.
''These reductions in pollution just over one month could mean tens of thousands of deaths avoided from air pollution,'' the Centre tweeted.
''That is NOT to say that the pandemic is some kind of a blessing in disguise, with all the suffering it has imposed on people. At the most, it shows it's easy to overlook chronic, long term health threats such as air pollution, and thus, harder to muster an adequate response.''
(The Centre's lead analyst, Lauri Myllyvirta, earlier reported that the lockdown wiped out 25 percent of China's carbon emissions in its first month, the equivalent of 200 megatonnes of CO2, by reducing coal consumption, oil refining, airline traffic and other sources.)
Meanwhile, the satellite has begun to record pollution levels rising again in China as the government eases its lockdown:
Nitrogen dioxide levels disappear over China during the coronavirus lockdown and then begin to ... [+] reappear as the Chinese economy resumes last week. Note that the lockdown began earlier in Wuhan, depicted in the graphic at the top of this page, than in this nationwide image, dominated by emissions near Beijing.
@CREACleanAir Coronavirus Lockdown May Save More Lives By Preventing Pollution Than By Preventing Infection Forbes Jeff McMahon
Robert Steele: Open Letter to Jeff Bezos on Censorship
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 07:02
Dear Mr. Bezos,
Your organization is censoring Kindles and CreateSpace publications that seek to communicate truthful information about the COVID-19 virus and the complex motivations behind that virus.
In censoring my proposed print publication on Ascension Christianity, I received the following explanation:
''Ascension Christianity'' (ID: PRI-AMRETJYSB9D)
We've reviewed your book again and are upholding our previous decision to not offer your book for sale on Amazon .
Due to the rapidly changing nature of information around the COVID-19 virus, we are referring customers to official sources for health information about the virus. Please consider removing references to COVID-19 for this book.
Your platform, your rules, never mind the 1st Amendment, Title 7, or the public interest.
I would like however, to point out four things:
01 From a practical business standpoint, you are losing money by failing to publish materials '-- whether 100% accurate or not '-- that are of very high interest to a public willing to pay (and being in lock-down, having the time to read). Under the Communications Decency Act, you are indemnified for any content issues. What part of that are your managers not getting?
Ron Paul02 The ''official sources'' are all wrong. From Dr. Ron Paul to Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai to Martin Armstrong to hundreds of others, we have irrefutably established that the official sources are wrong.
Ron Paul: The Coronavirus Hoax
Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, MIT PhD on Fake Pandemic #coronavirus #falseflag @POTUS
Amazon Page03 If you really believe that your organization should publish only information that is consistent with ''official source'' narratives, then you need to go into your databae and scrub just about every book on WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Viet-Nam War, and every false flag event from the USS Liberty to 9/11 and beyond. Then you can start on all the books that challenge official domestic narratives, such as Matt Taibbi's Griftophia and Sidney Powell's Licensed to Lie.
Amazon Kindle04 Your implementation of this new policy of compliance with official lies is spotty. While you blocked the print version of Ascension Christianity, the Kindle version was published, shot to #22 in Process Theology, and is today #2 in Process Theology. I challenge you to either take down the Kindle, or publish the hard copy. I recommend you stop your people from being stupid on this '-- you are in the business of publishing, not the propaganda business, and your current policies are hurting your bottom line as well as your social standing. As your favorite President, President Barack Obama once said ''Don't do stupid shit.''
I was the capstone speaker to the Amazon Developer Conference in 2007. You were inspired by my ideas, to the point of filing patents in 2008 that can be directly traced to the first half of my presentation on processing. I make no complaint and no claim. Sadly, you completely missed the second half of my presentation which is the half that really mattered. I invite you to watch the movie again, and would be glad if you felt moved to re-consider those ideas. Anytime you want to build and then monetize the World Brain at the micro-cash for micro-citation level, I am available to help you.
2007 Steele @Amazon '-- Robert Speaks, Amazon Files Patents'.... Movie, Graphics, Script
BANNED By AmazonYour approvals system has other problems '-- my best-seller on the China Wuhan crisis was taken down three times, restored twice, because of trolls. You should not remove materials that meet your guidelines, long after the fact of their being approved and best-sellers particularly. Your system also causes every change to the detail page to trigger a completely new review that consumes your resources. I wonder if you have become too big to scale without losing quality control?
You are probably aware that PayPal and others are sneaking up on you with the intent of terminating your ability to extort manufacturers and offering the equivalent of one click shopping with no additional data entry across all vendor platforms, making your integrated system a dinosaur. You may be aware that there is a huge new localization movement that is going to change how people build and buy.
Letter to POTUS + Amazon PageYou may or may not be aware that at the end of the day, as my friend Alvin Toffler used to say, information is the only thing you can sell over and over and over again and still have the original. Have someone print out a copy for you of my book on Reinventing Intelligence '-- you are not going to win the JEDI lawsuit in a substantive way '' Microsoft sucks but they integrated existing client servers and you did not '-- but if you really want to go to the next level, I can help.
I will make you a deal: unblock the three or four things I have with you now (out of over 70 publications) and give me an hour of your time in Seattl,e and I will come '-- at my expense '-- and give you a master class in the domain where I am the top mind on the planet. There are things we can do together. But you have to be willing to listen.
With best wishes,Robert David Steelehttps://robertdavidsteele.com
DOC (3 Pages): Open Letter to Jeff Bezos on Censorship
EconomicPolicyJournal.com: The Real Reason There is a Low Supply of Surgical Masks
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 06:53
A Twitter thread by @PMatzkoWondered why it's been so hard to ramp up production of surgical masks and respirators? Why haven't private companies flooded into the market to meet peak demand?Because they are regulated medical devices & new versions require FDA approval which can take months to obtain. 1/·Take a look at this FDA regulation, intended to ease (!) the application process for "premarket notification." That means you have to do all of this--and get FDA sign off--before your new surgical mask gets anywhere near shelves. 2/ Surgical Masks - Premarket Notification [510(k)] SubmissionsFDA has developed this guidance document to assist industry in preparing premarket notification submissions for surgical masks and other masks.fda.govLet's say that you're a garment manufacturer in NYC, but, of course, retail sales are down, so you're looking for another revenue stream. Why not make surgical masks, keeping your doors open, employees employed, and saving lives? It's a win-win-win! 3/But how long do you think it would take you to jump through these hurdles, and do you think someone without an army of regulatory compliance officers would be reasonably able to do so at all? 4/To start, you must:- do a compositional side-by-side analysis of your mask vs all other masks currently sold. Hire a few materials scientists, okay.- measure "tensile strength" & "impact resistance." Hire the Mythbusters and have them whack it with a hammer.- perform detailed "risk analysis," for fluid/bacteria resistance and "flammability." Hmmm, better open a branch office for all those extra materials scientists and medical researchers. This is multiple major studies (though a Boring Company flamethrower might work in a pinch.)- but wait, don't forget that masks touch skin! What if it gives you a rash!!! Okay, fine, we'll fill out the "standard ISO-10993," yeah, you know, the one for “Biological Evaluation of Medical Devices Part 1: Evaluation and Testing." Sprinkle in a couple more clinicians.I could go on and on. There is no world in which any company not already deeply invested in manufacturing surgical masks could jump through these hurdles in time to mitigate the desperate shortage of PPE for medical professionals on the COVID-19 front lines. None.And we could have a discussion over whether these steps are necessary in ordinary times. But we aren't living in ordinary times.Just as the FDA waived its COVID-19 testing regs (after weeks of delay), it should waive its surgical mask/respirator regulations for the duration.But since it hasn't, the supply of officially-approved masks has remained artificially constricted. New entrants are effectively barred from selling unapproved masks.If willing to expose themselves to immense legal liability, new manufacturers could give masks away, but you're not going to get meaningful quantities that way. It's merely fodder for pleasant 5 o'clock news stories about making a few 1000s for donation to the local clinic.But because most people are unaware that masks/respirators are considered medical devices and just how onerous the applicable rules are, it leaves people thinking that the PPE crisis is a market failure, when it is anything but.That leads folks to consider towards heavy-handed measures, like the government seizing the means of mask production. This is problematic for a bunch of reasons (& likely less effective), but it's also completely unnecessary if the FDA would just DROP THE DAMN RULES.-RW (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
How China Built a Twitter Propaganda Machine Then Let It Loose on Coronavirus '-- ProPublica
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 06:42
ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they're published.
Kalen Keegan, a college student at the University of Nebraska Omaha, immediately noticed when her Twitter account unleashed a torrent of posts in Chinese. ''My other account got hacked👍🏽,'' the soccer player posted on a replacement account. The new author tweeting as @Kalenkayyy had strong views on geopolitics '-- all aligned with the Chinese Communist Party. It was obsessed with the protests in Hong Kong, offered uncritical praise of the Hong Kong police and accused demonstrators of fomenting a ''color revolution'' backed by an ''anti-Chinese American conspiracy.''
As the coronavirus outbreak led to a lockdown of Wuhan and its surrounding cities in late January, the Hong Kong posts were suddenly deleted. The account continued to post relentlessly in Chinese, but it now focused on the burgeoning epidemic. About a month later, her Twitter profile began to change in other ways. The reference to her college disappeared and her headshot was replaced by a generic photo of two people kissing. By the end of the week, her Twitter transformation was complete. @Kalenkayyy was now a Chinese propaganda-posting zombie account belonging to someone purportedly named Kalun Tang.
Her new tagline? ''When women arm themselves with softness, they are the strongest.''
Later, the account deleted more of its tweets and unfollowed all of its former friends. It is currently temporarily restricted by Twitter for unusual activity.
Kalen Keegan's Twitter account was hacked and transformed into a propaganda-posting zombie account. Screenshots of her Twitter profile dated Jan. 21, 2020 and March 22, 2020.Since August 2019, ProPublica has tracked more than 10,000 suspected fake Twitter accounts involved in a coordinated influence campaign with ties to the Chinese government. Among those are the hacked accounts of users from around the world that now post propaganda and disinformation about the coronavirus outbreak, the Hong Kong protests and other topics of state interest. They included a professor in North Carolina; a graphic artist and a mother in Massachusetts; a web designer in the U.K.; and a business analyst in Australia. (It is unclear whether the current fake account holders hacked the accounts themselves or purchased them from elsewhere.) Suspected Chinese operatives have stepped up their efforts in recent days, according to private messages shared with ProPublica, offering influential Chinese-speaking Twitter users cash for favorable posts.
These efforts appear to be aimed at disparate audiences outside the country. Most of the posts we found are in Chinese and appear aimed at influencing the millions of ethnic Chinese who live outside of China's borders. Others are in English. The tweets are seen by few people living in China; the Great Firewall blocks Twitter from the Chinese internet, though tech-savvy domestic users find workarounds.
Twitter is well aware of China's influence operations. In August and September, the platform announced that it had suspended more than 5,000 suspected Chinese state-controlled accounts and released data about them. Twitter also banned around 200,000 related accounts that had been created but were not yet very active.
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An analysis by ProPublica shows that the Chinese government's covert attempts to wield influence on Twitter have persisted. Our examination of an interlocking group of accounts within our data linked the effort to OneSight (Beijing) Technology Ltd., a Beijing-based internet marketing company. OneSight, records show, held a contract to boost the Twitter following of China News Service, the country's second-largest state-owned news agency. The news service operates under the United Front Work Department, an arm of the Chinese Communist Party long responsible for influence operations in foreign countries. OneSight declined to comment and China News Service did not respond to our inquiries.
We asked Twitter whether it was aware of this continuing activity from Chinese-backed influence accounts. We identified some of the fake accounts, and sent a list of questions about the campaign. A spokesperson declined to respond specifically, instead providing the following statement: ''Using technology and human review in concert, we proactively monitor Twitter to identify attempts at platform manipulation and mitigate them. If we identify further information campaigns on our service that we can reliably attribute to state-backed activity either domestic or foreign-led, we will disclose them.''
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ProPublica's research tracked how the government-linked influence accounts that had targeted political dissidents and the Hong Kong protests turned their focus to the coronavirus outbreak. During the height of the epidemic in China, many of them became cheerleaders for the government, calling on citizens to unite in support of efforts to fight the epidemic and urging them to ''dispel online rumors.''
With the epidemic spreading across the world, these accounts have sought to promote the Chinese government's image abroad and shore up its support at home. One typical recent tweet in Chinese proclaimed: ''We were not scared during the outbreak because our country was our rearguard. Many disease-fighting warriors were thrust to the front lines. Even more volunteers helped in seemingly trivial yet important ways.''
Recent coronavirus propaganda posts made by Chinese government-linked fake Twitter accounts.Another post in English trumpeted aid the Chinese government recently provided to Italy. It came from the Twitter handle @RNA_Chinese, an account that appears to have been an attempt to fool the casual reader into believing it was coming from the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia (@RFA_Chinese).
Radio Free Asia's Twitter profile (@RFA_Chinese) compared with that of the Chinese government-linked impersonator (@RNA_Chinese).Others accounts we found have taken a darker turn in response to the pandemic, using it as a vehicle for disinformation and attacks on Beijing's usual political opponents.
''We will completely wipe out the belligerent rioters, just like the coronavirus!'' declared a user who called herself Melinda Butler. Her post slammed Joshua Wong, a leader of the Hong Kong protests who spoke out in support of a medical workers' strike in early February. Another post by Butler called on the Hong Kong Hospital Authority to ''clean out'' the striking ''black medical workers,'' alongside a graphic accusing protestors of wanting a ''color revolution'' in Hong Kong.
Yet another Butler tweet featured a graphic accusing foreign politicians of interfering in Chinese domestic affairs, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and a number of other U.S. legislators. Also included in the lineup was a State Department employee scapegoated by disinformation campaigns by Chinese state media during the Hong Kong protests. ''Hong Kong belongs to China,'' the graphic read in bold characters, ''Resist meddling by foreign powers!'' A logo for the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee, was displayed prominently below.
Now-suspended Twitter user Melinda Butler posted about the coronavirus and the Hong Kong protesters, sometimes in a mix of traditional and simplified Chinese characters. Shown in the People's Daily graphic: Dominic Raab, Marco Rubio, State Department employee Julie Eadeh, Nancy Pelosi, Mitt Romney, Mike Pompeo, Eliot Engel and Tom Cotton.Butler's account showed all the signs of being a low-quality fake. The account was new, created in January 2020, and it offered no personal or biographical details. It followed no one else on Twitter and had a single follower for its obsessive posts about the coronavirus outbreak and the Hong Kong protests. The account has since been suspended by Twitter.
Butler's posts were written to sound like a Hong Konger '-- in vernacular Cantonese with the traditional Chinese characters widely used in Hong Kong. But whoever was writing the posts occasionally slipped and included some of the simplified Chinese characters used in mainland China. And though the account was ostensibly created by a person named Melinda Butler, the profile photo showed a middle-aged Chinese woman wearing a beige baseball cap.
That photo can be seen all over the internet '-- ProPublica found it used on nearly a dozen user accounts under a variety of monikers on various social media platforms. One account spammed horoscopes and product promotions on the social networking site Weibo. On a Chinese adult e-commerce site, another account bearing that photo left a positive review for a male enhancement spray called Blisswater: ''After using this item the effect was especially clear. Our bedroom became much more harmonious, and I'm very satisfied. Thumbs up.''
Melinda Butler's purported profile photo was found all over the social web. A: ''Look down on No. 661'' spammed horoscopes and internet promotions on the social networking site Weibo. B: ''Ai Qilan'' posted about celebrities on Kuaibao and QQ Video. C: ''Min jie'' posted videos on YouTube. D: ''Ming'' commented on Chinese folk dance videos on tiaoba360. E: ''Jian pengkun'' posted on jzshequ.com. F: Another user left a positive review on xttcc.com for a male enhancement spray.Many of the fake Twitter accounts that ProPublica identified, such as Butler's, appeared to have been automatically generated using a bank of fake profile photos and usernames. But others, like Keegan's, belonged to real Twitter users at some point, indicating that the accounts had likely been hijacked. ProPublica wrote computer programs to document millions of interactions between the 10,000 suspected fake accounts and trace an interrelated network of more than 2,000. The true scale of the influence campaign is likely much bigger; our tracking suggests that the accounts we identified comprise only a portion of the operation.
We found a pattern of coordinated activity among the fake accounts that appeared to be aimed at building momentum for particular storylines. Central accounts with more legitimate-looking histories such as Keegan's would make eye-catching posts; for example, a political message accompanied by a bold graphic or a meme, or a provocative video. An army of obvious fake accounts would then engage the posts with likes, reposts and positive comments, presumably to boost their visibility in Twitter's algorithms.
Posts also used hashtags about trending topics such as the coronavirus outbreak or the Hong Kong protests to gain visibility for an account that had few followers. Other posts would use hashtags unique to the influence network, presumably to try to make them trend on Twitter. Remarkably, some of the fake accounts accumulated hundreds, and, in a few cases, thousands of followers (It's not clear whether the fakes were being followed by real people or other fake accounts.)
Those accounts' content and behavior closely mirrored the tactics of the Chinese government influence campaigns publicly unmasked by Twitter in August and September 2019. Elise Thomas, a researcher at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, co-authored a report that discovered content and tactics that we found in the activities of the more recent influence network. In both instances, posts criticized the Hong Kong protests and government opponents such as Guo Wengui and were primarily made during working hours in Beijing. In addition, accounts with established histories suddenly began posting propaganda and disinformation in a different language. Thomas' analysis found covert Twitter campaigns by the Chinese government going back at least two years: ''These actors appear to have been active for much longer than we previously realized,'' she said.
ProPublica uncovered additional evidence that these accounts operated as part of a Chinese government influence campaign. Posts in the network were often accompanied by a chorus of approving comments from obviously fake accounts. The same comments were used over and over to create false engagement. Comment texts were often lifted word-for-word from state editorials, which have long served as political lodestars for government agencies and party officials.
Moiz Syed/ProPublicaWhile some hijacked accounts deleted old posts and laundered evidence from their profile, hints of their origins sometimes remained. One such example is @HKguardian, a Hong Kong account that claims to be a Twitter handle for a citizens' league protecting the city from the protesters.
The Chinese-language account was created in 2009 but did not appear to make any posts until September 2019. We found several posts in Portugese from July 2009 when the account was first created. @HKguardian now has more than 4,000 followers and the appearance of a legitimate account. It is currently temporarily restricted by Twitter for unusual activity.
Some of the people banned by Twitter have popped up under new handles. Consider Amanda Chen, a widely followed account claiming to belong to the wife of a Hong Kong policeman. Its Twitter posts attracted attention from pro-Beijing media during the 2019 protests. The persona has tweeted under at least two other handles (@HKvigilance and @AmandaChen202) previously suspended by Twitter. Whoever she is, she now posts with the handle @Nuca12345, an account that was created a decade ago but had no activity before October 2019. @Nuca12345 has amassed more than 4,000 followers in its brief posting history. We have found no independent evidence that the real Amanda Chen exists.
Read More While we cannot measure the exact reach and effectiveness of the campaign, it has attracted notice from its target audience. Skeptical internet users reported to Twitter suspected fake accounts that we had also identified. Many fake accounts within the network we identified were suspended, but it is unclear which of these suspensions resulted from users' reports, and which from Twitter's automated systems for detecting coordinated inauthentic behavior.
The evidence linking the influence network to OneSight, the Beijing-based internet marketing company connected to the Chinese government, is circumstantial. In 2019, a handful of fake boosting accounts within the network we identified promoted OneSight's own social media marketing posts with likes. The data released by Twitter in September 2019 also included a number of posts connected to OneSight's Twitter account. Our review of the data we collected found no other similar company benefiting from similar boosting.
Outside social media contractors have long been suspected of pushing Chinese government messaging abroad. Last year, ProPublica obtained a copy of a 1,244,880 renminbi (around $175,000) contract won by OneSight to increase the Twitter following of China News Service. We also found the influence network boosting the Twitter account of China News Service, as well as other Chinese state media Twitter accounts, including Xinhua and People's Daily.
The activities of the influence network were consistent with the timing of the government's handling of the epidemic and the themes it was publicly pushing. Discussions of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan began swirling on Chinese social media in early January, but the network made no mention of it, continuing to criticize the Hong Kong protests and attack political dissidents. On Jan. 29, six days after the Chinese central government imposed a lockdown on Wuhan, the influence network suddenly shifted its focus to the coronavirus epidemic. That same day, OneSight announced a new app that tracked virus-related information. The announcement was accompanied by a graphic declaring that OneSight would ''transmit the correct voice of China'' to the world.
OneSight's app announcement on the day the influence network shifted its focus to the coronavirus epidemic: ''Using data to fight the virus; global dynamics of the novel coronavirus; deliver to the world the correct voice of China!''OneSight bills itself as the top overseas social marketing company in China. It contracts with domestic companies and government agencies to help them market their brands or goods on social media seen outside of China. Its website names prominent Chinese companies such as Huawei, Alibaba and Baidu as clients. Besides China News Service, its state media clients include China Daily, the English-language newspaper, and CGTN, China's foreign language TV news channel, both of which are run by the propaganda department of the Chinese Communist Party. The state-owned news service Xinhua News Agency is also a client.
CEO Li Lei, who founded the company in October 2017 (about two years before the Australian report), is a social media entrepreneur who, according to media interviews, previously worked at the Beijing city foreign propaganda department. In China, government propaganda departments exist at various levels of government and are responsible for a wide range of activities, including public information and public relations, as well as censorship and propaganda, both online and offline.
OneSight provides its clients social media marketing services and a social media monitoring and management tool. ProPublica's review of a free version of the tool found that it can be used to post messages en masse across a number of accounts on overseas social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook. The tool is used by China Daily's official Twitter account. However, we did not find evidence of it being used within the influence network.
OneSight's product tutorials show a familiarity with coordinated campaigns and government entity clients. One post tells clients how to regain access to Facebook if an account is suspended for behavior violating the terms of service. Another analyzed Huawei's Facebook followers, implying that OneSight could make its social media fans look more natural and healthy. It also posted an analysis of how to make the social media followings of local governments appear more realistic.
Read More The Chinese government's information operations are not monolithic. Lotus Ruan, a researcher at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto and an expert on Chinese social media, explained that domestic censorship is ''decentralized and fragmented, and the burden of information control is downloaded to private companies.'' Government agencies rely on private companies for social media work outside of the Great Firewall as well. During 2019, as OneSight won its contract with China News Service, China's Cyberspace Administration and Foreign Affairs Ministry also put out similar tenders. This follows a global trend of internet marketing companies being hired for political influence campaigns online.
The Chinese government has also made an official push onto social media in recent years. Its diplomats are logging onto Twitter to help fight its PR battles, developing a combative, Trump-like approach to defending the regime online. On Twitter, government spokespeople have unapologetically spread disinformation about the coronavirus, even promoting the conspiracy theory that Americans brought it to Wuhan. In official social media, China typically seeks to project an image of a well-governed state and a responsible international actor, according to Matthew Schrader, China analyst at the U.S.-based think tank Alliance for Securing Democracy. However, Schrader said, ''the party has been dipping its toe into outright disinformation when it has sought to deflect blame for its own policy missteps.''
Schrader says that government influence campaigns on the Chinese internet, leaning on the crutch of censorship, have largely been successful. But outside of its borders, without compliant platforms and coercive state power, similar covert propaganda campaigns, presumably by various departments and their contractors, appear to have trouble achieving the same success.
Despite that, the Chinese government's efforts persist and evolve as the coronavirus spreads across the globe. Over the past few weeks, ProPublica obtained records of propositions to several prominent Chinese Twitter users from what appear to be fake accounts. One private message offered a user with more than 10,000 followers a payment to promote a video of Wuhan's battle against the coronavirus ''for the public benefit.''
Messages soliciting prominent Chinese Twitter users to post propaganda for a payment. One proposal from a ''cultural promotion media marketing agency'' account bearing a photo of Japanese actress Kasumi Arimura asked the user to post text, accompanied by a photo or a video (all provided by the agency) for 400 to 2500 renminbi (about $60 to $360) per post.Another account calling itself an ''international cultural exchange'' company offered 1,700 renminbi (around $240) per post to the Chinese Australian artist Badiucao. The political dissident has nearly 70,000 followers on Twitter. After a day of feigned negotiations with the company, he obtained and shared with ProPublica a sample of what he would be asked to post '-- a 15-second propaganda clip. The video sought to show that the government defeated the coronavirus and everything is back on track. ''This is what Chinese propagandists call a 'positive energy wave,''' he said. He didn't get the name of the company. It ultimately declined to provide a contract, replying: ''Upon client review, your posting style does not fit this promotional topic.''
A 15-second ''marketing sample'' video shared with ProPublica. Chinese Australian artist Badiucao was offered 1,700 renminbi (around $240) per post to tweet videos like this to his nearly 70,000 Twitter followers.Badiucao is confident, based on their interactions, that the company he was communicating with was working for the Chinese government. When asked why they would contact such an outspoken opponent of the regime, he speculated that the company used social media monitoring tools to identify their targets (evidence shows they reached out to Chinese-speaking Twitter users having more than 10,000 followers). But the company seemed unfamiliar with the diaspora community on Twitter, he said: ''They're marketing pros, but they don't have a nuanced political understanding.''
Recently exposed to the coronavirus himself, Badiucao spoke to ProPublica from self-isolation in Melbourne. ''I resettled in Australia because I wanted a free and safe environment. I believed in the democratic system here,'' he reflected, ''but with the virus, we're not even safe if we move away. And just like the coronavirus, values can be contagious as well.''
Daniel Huang and Lexi Campbell contributed research.
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Trump is giving people false hope of coronavirus cures. It's all snake oil. - The Washington Post
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 06:32
From the start of the covid-19 pandemic, President Trump has taken the Pollyannaish view that the crisis would end quickly. In February, he suggested that the coronavirus might ''miraculously'' disappear with springtime's higher temperatures, and he promised that the approximately 15 identified cases would soon be ''down to close to zero.'' More recently, as covid-19 has spread to all 50 states and led to more than 50,000 confirmed cases and 600 deaths, Trump has promoted hydroxychloroquine (a medication used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus) as a potentially successful treatment.
Optimism about this drug has been based largely on anecdotal reports and a small study of its efficacy. On top of this scant evidence, Trump has added the simple assertion: ''I feel good about it. That's all it is, just a feeling.'' In his response, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made it clear that claims about hydroxychloroquine's efficacy could not be made with any certainty, for lack of clinical trials.
Yet Fauci, who has served as one of the nation's leading infectious disease experts through six administrations, has also defended the president '-- or at least tried to diminish the gap between their two views. He characterized their respective positions as, ''It's the hope that it will work, versus proving that it will work.'' The next day, he added: ''The president is talking about hope for people. And it's not an unreasonable thing to hope for people.''
Fauci is correct: Hope for a cure '-- whether for AIDS, cancer or covid-19 '-- is not unreasonable. It's even beneficial. Hope can help patients to continue with medical treatment in the face of a grim prognosis; it also has been found to have therapeutic value, making it more likely that people take steps to bring about their hoped-for result, by, for example, regularly taking their medications. And when political leaders express hope, it can create the vision of an ideal outcome for the public to strive toward.
But this is not the kind of hope that Trump is offering. The hope he has expressed for the effects of warm weather, travel bans (''The virus will not have a chance against us,'' he vowed), and now, hydroxychloroquine, is best-described as unsubstantiated ''false hope.'' Quackishly touting an unproven covid-19 treatment continues Trump's long-standing record of salesmanship without substance. Even more perniciously, this particular hydro oil builds '-- and then exploits '-- the public's hope for a quick end to the pandemic.
Of course, outsize confidence has always been one of Trump's trademark personality traits. It's typical for his remarks to be blustery and error-prone. But the pandemic has caused it to take a new shape: that of affected medical authority. After failing to respond to the outbreak in its earlier stages, Trump is now attempting to appear in control of the crisis by affecting medical authority. Earlier this month, he wondered aloud if ''a solid flu vaccine'' might ''have an impact'' on the coronavirus's spread. Undeterred by pharmaceutical executives' briefings, he repeatedly promised that a vaccine would be available ''soon'' '-- including at a North Carolina campaign rally.
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I have lupus. Stop hoarding the drug I need to survive.
As the crisis has deepened, he is now fixating on the idea that the disease may have some readily available cure, and has fashioned himself into an early proponent of a promising treatment despite the naysayers. Since his first describing hydroxychloroquine as a ''game changer'' on March 19, Trump has hyped its potential on a daily basis. The next day he called its results ''impressive'' and stated that he was a ''probably more of a fan of [hydroxychloroquine] than '-- maybe than anybody.'' On March 21 he noted that he felt ''very confident'' about it as a covid-19 treatment, followed the next day by a statement that if the drug works as he thinks it will (''based on very strong evidence''), then ''much of what we're talking about with ships and hospitals and all of the things that we're doing and all of these masks and everything that we're ordering '-- ventilators'' won't be necessary. Most recently, Trump described a story about a man claiming hydroxychloroquine had saved him from covid-19 as a ''great early result,'' despite there being no evidence that it saved the man's life.
Already, this misinformation has had immediate, harmful consequences, diverting limited supplies of hydroxychloroquine from people with conditions for which it's proven to be effective to people who are self-administering or even hoarding this medication. The overexcited run on the medication has also already led to poisonings and deaths in Arizona and Nigeria.
Encouraging the fantasy of a quick medical fix also has further-reaching ripple effects. It detracts from the effort to persuade Americans to make the dramatic changes in their everyday lives that are necessary to slow the pandemic's spread. The economic and social costs of these actions '-- escalating beyond requests for voluntary physical distancing, to government-mandated shutdowns of nonessential businesses and crowded public spaces '-- are enormous. But instead of preparing the public for a period of extended difficulty, Trump is now signaling his wish to put an early end to these measures, tweeting that, ''WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.''
This is hardly the first time that the president, rather than take the time to learn about complex policy issues, has simply laid claim to results for which he was not responsible or that simply don't exist. In the arena of health care, he regularly claims credit for the Veterans Choice health-care program (passed and signed into law in 2014) and maintains, without evidence, that the Right to Try law that he signed has saved large numbers of lives. Such boasts buff up his image as outsider and miracle worker '-- as the only one who can Make American Great Again, restoring the country's life and vitality.
The president's promises of a cure are not a case of ''trying to bring hope to the people,'' but of exploiting the hope of the people. Lies and misinformation should be condemned, in themselves. But so too should taking advantage of the public's fear and vulnerability in order paint a picture of a happy future in which covid-19 is eradicated, and warnings about inadequate supplies of personal protective equipment and the need to physically distance from one another were baseless. The end of this pandemic will come, and we should hope that it will come soon, with as few lives lost as possible. But the president's self-servingly sunny optimism makes this less likely.
Read more:
How can Trump fight the pandemic when he's chasing experts out of government?
The virus shows the danger of a president who cares only about the stock market
Slowing a pandemic: How summer temperatures could impact coronavirus
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 06:24
Some officials are claiming that as the seasons change, warmer temperatures will help contain the spread of Coronavirus.
''The flu cannot really propagate in the summertime,'' Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX) said. ''So you're going to see the cases, hopefully, going way down in the summer.''
But does the science support that claim?
Infectious disease experts say there is no way to be sure that this will happen, since they do not yet know how this new coronavirus will behave.
But when it comes to other viruses such as the common cold or influenza, there is a weather-related reason they often thrive during the colder months, then retreat in the summer. And it is not just because people are cooped up in close proximity in the winter.
According to the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at Pennsylvania State University, in warm, humid weather, viruses have a harder time spreading. The droplets that carry viruses do not stay suspended in the air as long in humid conditions, and warmer temperatures degrade the virus more rapidly.
As for whether or not this potential benefit of warmer weather may counter the otherwise rapid spread of the virus, only time will tell.
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Why Central Texas weather could start to affect the spread of the coronavirus | KXAN.com
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 06:23
Digital generated image of macro view of the corona virus. (Getty Images)
(Note: Do not change ANY safety procedures based on this information''it is preliminary data, and does NOT suggest the virus will disappear.)
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- It's not guaranteed, and will not be immediate, but there is reason to believe March 27 could be a significant date in Austin when it comes to the contagiousness of the coronavirus.
Why Friday? Data from MIT researchers indicate the new coronavirus may not be spreading as efficiently in warmer, more humid regions of the world.
RELATED: Slowing a pandemic: How summer temperatures could impact coronavirusPreliminary data indicate only 6% of global cases have occurred in countries with an average temperature warmer than 64.4°. Austin's average daily temperature reaches 65° on March 27. From there, it continues to climb, peaking at 86° during the period July 23rd-August 23rd.
It appears high humidity may be especially important, and Central Texas has an abundance of that. While the studies being done on the new coronavirus are still in progress, some scientists are optimistic that it will behave somewhat like the flu virus in our climate.
FULL COVERAGE: The latest on coronavirus Moisture in the air essentially weighs down viruses, which when exhaled, are covered by a microscopic layer of moisture. That droplet does not evaporate easily in high humidity, allowing gravity to work its magic and get it out of the air.
Infectious disease specialists warn us to not expect the virus to disappear during the coming months, but say there is some reason for optimism that the spread may slow in climates like ours.
This isn't something often heard around here, but '... come on summer!
Lockdown lifted, but exodus from Chinese city hindered by new coronavirus test rule | Article [AMP] | Reuters
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 06:21
Thu Mar 26, 2020 / 2:25 AM EDT
XIANNING, China XIANNING, China (Reuters) - Residents of China's Xianning city eager to travel after a two-month lockdown faced an unexpected hurdle only hours after the borders were opened -- they needed to pass a new rapid detection test to show they didn't have the coronavirus.
Dozens rushed to the city's largest hospital but were told the hospital was no longer doing the nucleic acid tests and were advised to try hospitals in nearby villages or towns.
The test uses genetic material from throat swabs and normally takes a few hours for a result.
"If we can't get the nucleic acid test how can we leave? I can't get on the train, I've bought my ticket but I can't leave," Shen Jianning, 51, said on Thursday morning.
Shen, who wants to return to his job on a metro construction project in Shanghai, rushed to Xianning Central Hospital at around 4 a.m. on Thursday in hopes of getting a nucleic acid test, but was told by doctors there that they no longer were doing the tests and he had to find an alternative.
Signs pasted on glass doors of the hospital, the city's largest, said people should go to village or town hospitals to get the tests done.
Xianning announced the test requirement on its official WeChat account on Wednesday, the day Hubei province, epicenter of China's coronavirus outbreak and home to 60 million people, removed much of its lockdown transport measures.
The lifting of the Hubei lockdown is a major milestone in the fight against the coronavirus in China. More than 80% of COVID-19 cases and 96% of deaths in mainland China have been in Hubei.
The provincial capital Wuhan, where the virus first appeared late last year and which has had 54% of cases, remains under lockdown until April 8.
The order to use the rapid-detection test came after news that a man who had traveled from the city last week had later tested positive when he returned to work in Guangdong province.
The lifting of the lockdown has been accompanied by both relief and worry, with several people in Xianning telling Reuters they were unnerved by the case of the man who had traveled to Guangdong.
"My Shanghai boss has called me a few times asking me to get out as soon as possible. He even prepared the proof of work resumption for me. He told me what processes you need to do we will help you, just think of a way to get out," Shen said.
Shen, from the eastern province of Jiangsu, had been trapped in Xianning after traveling to the city to see a house he had bought there.
STUCK, INSIDE OR OUT
Millions of people were caught in Hubei or stuck outside it as China imposed draconian measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, an approach that has proven effective, with reported new domestically transmitted cases falling to zero on most recent days, even as imported cases persist.
On Thursday morning, about 30 people queued outside Xianning Central Hospital, all of them required to complete a form declaring whether they had recently come back from overseas or been in any high risk areas.
Some in the queue said they were lining up for a nucleic test, but were unclear where they could get it done. A number were trying to get back to Guangdong province to work.
"I saw on Douyin that a few hundred people came here yesterday, there were lots of people," said He Ting, referring to the Chinese version of TikTok.
She has been stuck in Xianning since Lunar New Year in January and was trying to get back to her job in the southwestern city of Chengdu, in Sichuan province, and was also unable to get the test at the hospital
"I'm trying to figure out another way," she said.
At the Xianning Yongan Health Service Centre, a community health center, more than a hundred people milled in and outside its gates. A long queue snaked with people clutching paper slips with numbers on them. Some said they were told that results would take a day or two.
"I came here to queue but they told me I needed to register and then wait for a call on when it's my turn," said a man as he got on his electric scooter to leave.
"I need to get back to my job in Dongguan. But now I don't know when I can leave."
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Writing by Tony Munroe; Editing by Michael Perry)
POLITICO Playbook: Pelosi's 880-page birthday present - POLITICO
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 06:20
TODAY IS SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI'S 80TH birthday, and the emergency coronavirus bill -- all 880 pages of the behemoth -- has landed on the House's doorstep after a late-night, unanimous vote, 96-0. NYT A1, for the history books
FOUR REPUBLICAN SENATORS -- Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mitt Romney and Mike Lee of Utah and John Thune of South Dakota -- did not vote. Thune, the second-ranking Senate Republican, was sick and went back to South Dakota ''out of an abundance of caution'' on a charter flight with a member of his police detail, his spokesman said. He wore a mask on the flight.
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THE BILL WAS DELAYED AT THE LAST MINUTE because Senate Minority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER wanted the terms of all loans made to businesses made public every seven days, according to aides in both parties.
POLITICO TALKS TO THE MAIN PLAYERS '... SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL: ''It's a proud moment for the Senate. We responded to the way the American people are acting among themselves by helping each other and putting whatever past grievances they have behind and trying to work together to get this behind us.''
SCHUMER: ''It's one of the most major pieces of legislation we've done. I guess there are only a few other moments, I suppose. Obamacare. But otherwise you can't think of something so major since the Great Society, Lyndon Johnson '...''
THE TICK TOCK: JOHN BRESNAHAN, MARIANNE LEVINE and ANDREW DESIDERIO: ''Inside the 10 days to rescue the economy''
NYT'S ERIC LIPTON and KEN VOGEL: ''Fine Print of Stimulus Bill Contains Special Deals for Industries'': ''Restaurants and retailers will get a tweak to federal tax law they have been seeking for more than a year that could save them $15 billion. Community banks are being granted their long-held wish of being freed to reduce the amount of capital they have to hold in reserve. And for-profit colleges will be able to keep federal loan money from students who drop out because of the coronavirus.''
WAPO'S ERICA WERNER, MIKE DEBONIS and PAUL KANE: ''The bill also contains a grab bag of provisions that in some cases seem to range far afield from the coronavirus pandemic, including $13 million for Howard University, $25 million for Washington's Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and $75 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities. Senate aides said those allocations and others were justified to help the institutions prepare for and respond to the coronavirus outbreak.''
CROSS ONE OFF THE PHASE FOUR LIST '... THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE -- which is going broke -- got $10 billion in this bill.
THE SENATE'S next scheduled vote is April 20, but MCCONNELL noted from the floor Wednesday night that the chamber had to be ''nimble'' if it needs to come back into session before then. He said he would give senators 24 hours' notice.
NOW, THE HOUSE '... Majority Leader STENY HOYER announced that the House will consider this bill FRIDAY MORNING at 9 a.m.: ''In order to protect the safety of Members and staff and prevent further spread of COVID-19 through Members' travel, the Republican Leader and I expect that the House vote on final passage will be done by voice vote. Members who want to come to the House Floor to debate this bill will be able to do so.''
PELOSI gaggled Wednesday afternoon, and laid out how she saw the process going once she got the bill (these gaggles are now pooled because of social distancing). PELOSI said she would like to see ''a good debate on the floor'' about this bill.
-- PELOSI spoke about the voice vote procedure -- where lawmakers shout ''aye'' or ''nay'' on the floor. Any one lawmaker could then ask for a recorded vote, which would force the chamber back into session. But if that happens, the leadership will likely move to change the rules to allow for ''proxy voting,'' a system in which a small group of lawmakers votes on behalf of a much larger group on the floor.
HERE'S WHAT PELOSI told PAUL KANE about that in the pooled gaggle: ''If somebody calls for a recorded vote, and once they know we have options [to pass the bill], they probably won't call for it.''
EARLY MARKET REACTION '... WSJ: ''Global Stocks Retreat After Back-to-Back Gains in Dow,'' by Anna Hirtenstein and Chong Koh Ping
ANALYSIS '... WAPO'S HEATHER LONG: ''The $2 trillion relief bill is massive but it won't prevent a recession'': ''The good news is the majority of the money is going to laid-off workers, small business owners, hospitals and state and local governments. The bad news is it won't be enough to stop a recession. And it's an open question whether the nation can avoid an economic depression, the likes of which haven't been seen since the 1930s.''
MILESTONE '... AP/NEW YORK: ''U.S. coronavirus deaths top 1,000''
AMERICA, 2020 -- ''13 Deaths in a Day: An 'Apocalyptic' Coronavirus Surge at an N.Y.C. Hospital,'' by NYT's Michael Rothfeld, Somini Sengupta, Joseph Goldstein and Brian Rosenthal: ''Elmhurst, a 545-bed public hospital in Queens, has begun transferring patients not suffering from coronavirus to other hospitals as it moves toward becoming dedicated entirely to the outbreak. Doctors and nurses have struggled to make do with a few dozen ventilators. Calls over a loudspeaker of 'Team 700,' the code for when a patient is on the verge of death, come several times a shift. Some have died inside the emergency room while waiting for a bed.
''A refrigerated truck has been stationed outside to hold the bodies of the dead. Over the past 24 hours, New York City's public hospital system said in a statement, 13 people at Elmhurst had died.'' NYT '... Video from inside the hospital
Good Thursday morning.
FED CHAIRMAN JAY POWELL will be on the ''Today'' show on NBC at 7 a.m. SAVANNAH GUTHRIE will interview him.
SHADOWBOXING '... ALEX ISENSTADT: ''Infighting erupts in Trumpworld as coronavirus attacks mount'': ''Donald Trump is getting hammered by millions of dollars in Democratic campaign ads depicting his response to the coronavirus as negligent and inept. But the main super PAC backing his reelection has been silent in response '-- and Trump's political advisers are not happy about it.
''In interviews, more than a half-dozen White House aides, campaign officials and other Trump allies said they felt deserted by the group, America First Action, openly questioning why it's leaving Trump exposed on the airwaves at the most vulnerable moment of his presidency.
'''There is a major vacuum on the political front right now, with the White House focused on coronavirus response and the campaign, rightly so, echoing the White House,' said Chris LaCivita, who as chief strategist of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth orchestrated the 2004 John Kerry takedown. 'With attacks coming from all over, the simple question is: Where the hell is the president's air cover?''' POLITICO
SCOOP '... DAN DIAMOND and NAHAL TOOSI: ''Trump team failed to follow NSC's pandemic playbook'': ''The Trump administration, state officials and even individual hospital workers are now racing against each other to get the necessary masks, gloves and other safety equipment to fight coronavirus '-- a scramble that hospitals and doctors say has come too late and left them at risk. But according to a previously unrevealed White House playbook, the government should've begun a federal-wide effort to procure that personal protective equipment at least two months ago.
'''Is there sufficient personal protective equipment for healthcare workers who are providing medical care?' the playbook instructs its readers, as one early decision that officials should address when facing a potential pandemic. 'If YES: What are the triggers to signal exhaustion of supplies? Are additional supplies available? If NO: Should the Strategic National Stockpile release PPE to states?'
''The strategies are among hundreds of tactics and key policy decisions laid out in a 69-page National Security Council playbook on fighting pandemics, which POLITICO is detailing for the first time. Other recommendations include that the government move swiftly to fully detect potential outbreaks, secure supplemental funding and consider invoking the Defense Production Act '-- all steps in which the Trump administration lagged behind the timeline laid out in the playbook.'' POLITICO
L.A. TIMES: ''1 million Californians file for unemployment; homeowners hurt by coronavirus will get a break,'' by Phil Willon and Liam Dillon: ''Several major banks and other financial institutions have agreed to delay foreclosures and provide mortgage relief to California homeowners who are struggling to make their monthly payments due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday. '...
''Eligible homeowners would be able to defer mortgage payments for at least three months and perhaps longer if they suffer hardship due to the pandemic. Any late payments would not be reported to credit agencies. Newsom said the mortgage relief package was negotiated with four of the nation's largest banks -- Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, CitiBank and J.P. Morgan Chase -- as well as 200 state-chartered banks and credit unions.''
-- REMINDER: U.S. JOBLESS numbers will be out at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.
BERNIE WANTS TO STICK IT OUT -- '''He is still in': Bernie could remain in race through June,'' by Holly Otterbein and David Siders: ''Since his staff announced last week that he is reassessing his campaign, Bernie Sanders has not yet definitively said whether he is still running. But he's given every indication he's pressing forward '-- and perhaps remaining in the presidential race for months to come.
''Despite Joe Biden's nearly insurmountable delegate lead, the Sanders campaign said he plans to participate in an April debate, if one happens. His team has held volunteer organizing calls in the past week in New York and Pennsylvania, which are planning to hold their primaries perhaps as late as June. And his campaign is also touting that it is ramping up staff in New York, which a senior aide said is 'a sign that he is still in.'
''Sanders, who hasn't aired ads or fundraised since losing badly in the March 17 primaries, could still very well call things off. But one thing is certain: He's not acting like a candidate who's finished with the primary.'' POLITICO
-- ''Sanders Is Ready to Debate Again. Biden Says 'We've Had Enough Debates,''' by NYT's Katie Glueck and Tom Kaplan
BIDEN TAKES ON DESANTIS -- ''Biden blindsides Trump's Florida ally,'' by Marc Caputo and Matt Dixon in Miami
TRUMP'S THURSDAY -- The president will participate in a G-20 leaders' video teleconference at 8 a.m. in the Situation Room.
-- THE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE will hold a briefing at 5 p.m.
JOHN HARRIS column: ''Trump Is An Authoritarian Weakman''
JOHNNY MAC STRIKES AGAIN -- ''White House abruptly transfers DHS official amid loyalty purge,'' by Daniel Lippman: ''The White House removed a top public affairs official at the Department of Homeland Security in a move that shocked many in the department as it takes a lead role in handling the coronavirus pandemic '... Heather Swift, who was DHS's deputy assistant secretary of public affairs, was abruptly pushed out of her position on Friday after the Presidential Personnel Office raised questions about her loyalty to President Donald Trump '...
''The personnel office may have discovered some old social media postings that officials there did not like '... though POLITICO was unable to find any examples of posts the Trump administration might find objectionable. Swift, who has not yet left the department, is moving to a top communications job at the National Endowment for the Arts.'' POLITICO
-- WHITE HOUSE DEPARTURE LOUNGE: Justin Bis is leaving the White House, where he was special assistant to the president and associate director of presidential personnel, according to two administration officials familiar with the matter. He did not respond to a request for comment on his next step.
DIPLOMACY IN ACTION -- ''U.S. insisting that the U.N. call out Chinese origins of coronavirus,'' by NBC's Josh Lederman: ''The Trump administration is pushing the U.N. Security Council to call attention to the Chinese origins of the coronavirus, four diplomats posted to the United Nations told NBC News, triggering a stalemate as the global body seeks to cobble together a response to the pandemic.
''Talks among U.N. Security Council nations over a joint declaration or resolution on the coronavirus have stalled over U.S. insistence that it explicitly state that the virus originated in Wuhan, China, as well as exactly when it started there. China's diplomats are enraged according to the diplomats, even as they seek to put their own language into the statement praising China's efforts to contain the virus.'' NBC
-- EARLIER: ''Pompeo, G-7 foreign ministers spar over 'Wuhan virus'''
BACKSTORY '... AP'S JILL COLVIN and ELANA SCHOR: ''President Donald Trump's 'beautiful' idea to reopen the U.S. economy by Easter Sunday and pack church pews that day was dreamed up during a conference call among business leaders desperate to get the country back up and running. '...
''Though it's unclear exactly when the idea made its way to Trump or whether others in his orbit had pegged the date as well '-- one official said they had heard the idea mentioned multiple times around the Oval Office '-- by late Sunday, Trump was publicly siding with such thinking, tweeting: 'WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.' On Monday, he said he was considering easing his administration's recommendations that Americans largely stay home within weeks, not months. And on Tuesday, he formally endorsed the idea of an Easter goalpost during a Fox News Channel virtual town hall.'' AP
N.Y. MAG'S GABE DEBENEDETTI: ''Joe Biden Is Spending His Time in the Coronavirus Bunker Thinking a Lot About His VP'': ''[N]ot one of the top Biden associates I spoke with in the last week had much doubt where he would ultimately focus a lot of his eventual vetting: his former rivals Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar. Realistically, a congressman close to the Biden inner circle predicted, no matter what happens, 'the final five will include those three.'
''Keeping in mind his own experience and his age, the former veep, 77, has always insisted to friends that his running mate must be ready to be president. But people close to him say he has recently become increasingly explicit that he may be choosing his own replacement, and that the candidates' competence is now likely to be front and center in his considerations.'' New York
MEANWHILE, IN MISSISSIPPI -- ''Governor Orders Limited Gatherings, Declares Most Businesses 'Essential,' Supersedes Local Safety Efforts,'' by the Jackson Free Press' Nick Judin: ''Gov. Tate Reeves signed an executive order early this evening superseding a patchwork of local bans on public gatherings in Mississippi and other heightened restrictions that several municipalities across the state have ordered or considered in the wake of COVID-19's spread inside Mississippi. The state reached 320 official cases today, up 300 percent since 80 known cases on Friday.
''The order seems to declare that most types of businesses in Mississippi are 'essential' and thus exempt from social-distancing requirements suggested in the order.'' Jackson Free Press
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at [email protected] .
IN MEMORIAM -- ''Richard Reeves, Columnist and Author on Presidents, Dies at 83,'' by NYT's David Stout: ''Mr. Reeves, who was a lecturer at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, wrote more than a dozen books and, from 1979 to 2014, a syndicated column that appeared in more than 100 newspapers. He was also a familiar face on public affairs programs on PBS.
''As an author, Mr. Reeves was in particular an insightful and unsparing student of the American presidency, producing well-received portraits of John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.'' NYT
TRANSITIONS -- Josh Lipsky is now director of programs and policy at the Atlantic Council's Global Business and Economics Program. He previously was senior comms adviser at the IMF and speechwriter to Christine Lagarde, and is an Obama White House and State Department alum. '... Janet Montesi is now deputy press secretary at FEMA. She previously was special assistant to former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. '...
'... Jimmy Walsh is now deputy government relations director at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. He most recently was a professional staff member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and adviser to ranking member Michael McCaul (R-Texas). '... Bob Martin is joining Chris Christie's Christie 55 Solutions as a managing director. He previously was Christie's commissioner of environmental protection in New Jersey.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD -- Rayna V. Farrell, VP of comms at the Business Roundtable, and Adam Farrell, a project manager for the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, on Sunday welcomed Jay Joseph Farrell. He came in at 7 lbs, 15 oz. Pic
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Vivian Yee, NYT Middle East correspondent. A trend she thinks doesn't get enough attention: ''This gets plenty of attention in Middle East circles, but seems worth giving a boost: American policy has favored sanctions over military intervention in Syria -- which, by the way, is experiencing its worst humanitarian catastrophe of the war as the Syrian government and Russia retake Idlib Province chunk by chunk -- but there are many questions about whether there's anything to be gained from further broad sanctions on the Syrian government, which has never changed its behavior, or if they're just making life even harder for Syrians who have already been through nine years of war and economic collapse.'' Playbook Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Speaker Nancy Pelosi is 8-0 '... acting OMB Director Russ Vought is 44 (h/t wife Mary) '... Bob Woodward, WaPo associate editor, is 77 '... former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is 9-0 '... Jon Huntsman, who's running for Utah governor again, is 6-0 '... Margaret Brennan, moderator of CBS' ''Face the Nation'' and CBS News senior foreign affairs correspondent '... Matt Lira '... Larry Page is 47 '... former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is 67 '... Kelli Ritter '... former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is 53 '... James Gelfand '... Letty Burgin '... Doug Deason is 58 '... Jenny Kaplan '... FP1 Strategies' Chandler Hudson Bair '... Caroline Darmody '... Joe Sangirardi '... Dan Caldwell of Concerned Veterans for America and Stand Together '... Sarah Iyere '... Katie (Hughes) Janov '... Kate Lee '...
'... Michael Waxman, CEO of Waxman Strategies '... Amanda House, director of video at Breitbart ... Miriam Warren, VP at DCI Group '... Caren Street ... William Hague is 59 '... CBS' Kira Kleaveland '... Kevin Zeithaml is 27 '... Chris Rovzar, editorial director of Bloomberg Pursuits ... Nancy Snyderman ... Pamela Pulkownik ... Michael Kirby, managing editor at FedNet '... FDIC's Edward Garnett III '... Nelson Reyneri '... Carlos Mark Vera, founder of Pay Our Interns, is 26 (h/t Nihal Krishan) ... Melanie Roussell Newman, SVP of comms and culture at Planned Parenthood ... Lori D'Orazio '... Phil Chui is 3-0 ... Stacy Rastauskas ... Twitter's Lexi Neaman ... Rachel Milkovich '... Melissa Toufanian ... Patricia Weems Gaston ... Bill Lucey '... Bob McDevitt ... Michael Sean Comerford ... Lisa Quigley
Anna Palmer @apalmerdcJake Sherman @JakeShermanView all our political and policy newsletters
MyPillow shifting 75% of production to make face masks for hospitals | KTVU FOX 2
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 05:55
articleMyPillow is shifting production to create cotton face masks for health care workers. ( MyPillow )
CHASKA, Minn. (FOX 9) - Minnesota-based company MyPillow is joining the effort to supply health care workers with the protective gear they need amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
CEO Mike Lindell says about 75% of MyPillow's production will now be making cotton face masks for health care workers. He says about 90% of the company's sewers will be working on the masks.
MyPillow CEO discusses shifting production to create face masks for hospitalsMinnesota-based company MyPillow is joining the effort to supply health care workers with the protective gear they need amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have capacity to make a lot of things at big rates and we're going to be going hopefully from 10,000 units a day to 50,000 units a day in a very short period of time," said Lindell.
Lindell says it took about three weeks to shift production as it was difficult at first to get a supply of elastics needed to create the masks. At this time, he says components are not available to make other types of masks, so his company focused on making the 100% cotton masks. He says MyPillow worked with a coalition from President Donald Trump's administration to get the proper design.
''Something is better than nothing to get [health care workers] through,'' he said.
The masks will be going to hospitals in Minnesota and throughout the country.
''This has been a great unifier of everybody private sector, government, everybody getting involving and uniting as a country and as a people and we show what we can do when the chips are down,'' said Lindell.
Masks will not be available to public to purchase.
FBI Agents Kill Domestic Terror Suspect Who Was Planning Mass Casualty Attack Due To COVID-19 - Breaking911
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 23:28
BELTON, Mo. '-- The FBI says one of their agents fatally shot a domestic terror suspect Tuesday in 100th block of Wilbur Parish Circle in Belton.
Officials say the suspect, 36-year-old Timothy Wilson, was angry with the government's social distancing measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Wilson reportedly planned to bomb a hospital in response.
FBI investigators say Wilson was motivated by racial, religious and anti-government views.
Wilson ''decided to accelerate his plan to use a vehicle-born improvised explosive device in an attempt to cause severe harm and mass casualties,'' a press release said.
Wilson allegedly decided on an unnamed hospital as a target and began to pursue bomb making materials.
Agents attempted to arrest Wilson when he tried to pick up what he thought was a truck bomb. That's when the shooting occurred. He was later pronounced dead.
No other civilians or law officers were injured.
BREAKING: In a statement tonight, FBI says a Missouri man they tried to arrest yesterday who was planning to car bomb a health care facility amid the COVID-19 crisis has died after injuries inflicted during the arrest. Target of long-running domestic terror investigation. pic.twitter.com/VZhiUgDWgN
'-- Alex Mallin (@alex_mallin) March 25, 2020
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Wed, 25 Mar 2020 23:12
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Gilead Sciences Backs Off Monopoly Claim for Promising Coronavirus Drug
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 19:30
Gilead Sciences on Wednesday announced that it has submitted a request to the Food and Drug Administration to rescind the exclusive marketing rights it had secured for remdesivir, an antiviral drug that shows promise in treating Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. As The Intercept reported on Monday, the FDA had awarded Gilead seven years of exclusive marketing rights to the drug through the Orphan Drug Act, even though the statute was designed to induce pharmaceutical companies to make treatments for rare diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States.
Although the new coronavirus will almost certainly infect that many people, Gilead had exploited a loophole that grants orphan drug status if a company files for it before the official number of cases hits 200,000. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were more than 438,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with more than 59,000 in the United States.
After a public outcry, Gilead issued a press release stating:
Gilead has submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to rescind the orphan drug designation it was granted for the investigational antiviral remdesivir for the treatment of Covid-19 and is waiving all benefits that accompany the designation. Gilead is confident that it can maintain an expedited timeline in seeking regulatory review of remdesivir, without the orphan drug designation. Recent engagement with regulatory agencies has demonstrated that submissions and review relating to remdesivir for the treatment of Covid-19 are being expedited.
Still, public health experts remain concerned about the potential for Gilead and other pharmaceutical companies to engage in price gouging during the global pandemic. And while pharmaceutical companies are testing dozens of drugs as potential vaccines and treatments for the new coronavirus, some legal scholars have pointed to an obscure statute to help ensure that companies won't price critical drugs out of reach.
The law, known as Section 1498, gives the government the right to override a patent at any time as long as the company receives ''reasonable compensation.'' Essentially functioning as a kind of eminent domain for patented products, the provision breaks the monopoly and permits low-cost competition. And if drugs such as Gilead's antiviral remdesivir and other potential treatments and vaccines for the coronavirus are priced out of reach, it could give the government critical leverage to negotiate lower prices. Through the Defense Production Act, the government could even start producing lifesaving treatments itself.
''The government should use every tool that it has to make sure that any coronavirus treatment or vaccine is affordable, including taking away monopolies through 1498,'' said Zain Rizvi, a drug-pricing expert at Public Citizen.
In a statement, Public Citizen said that ''Gilead must do more than make vague promises of reasonable pricing. It should commit right now to license the right and needed know-how to manufacture remdesivir to all qualified producers, in exchange for a modest royalty.''
The federal government regularly used Section 1498 in the 1960s and 1970s to purchase generic drugs when the patented versions were far more expensive. But pharmaceutical companies railed against the provision and while it has been used for other inventions it has rarely been used for drugs since. In 2001, during the anthrax scare, just the threat of using 1498 proved effective when the government was trying to secure access to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin, which could be used to treat people who were exposed to anthrax. After then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson raised the possibility of using the provision, Bayer cut the price of ciprofloxacin in half.
In 2017, a group of academics at Yale Law School made the case for the government's use of Section 1498 to procure a lifesaving treatment for hepatitis C called Sofosbuvir, also manufactured by Gilead, which is too expensive for many people who need it. Sofosbuvir costs $48,000 for a 24-week course, or about $1,000 a pill. Because of the exorbitant price, insurers have refused to cover it for all of the roughly 5 million people infected with hepatitis C, instead making the drug available to only the sickest patients.
Gilead, which is valued at more than $100 billion, has repeatedly come under fire for its pricing. Although its preventative HIV drug Truvada costs only $6 to manufacture, it costs almost $2,000 a month in the U.S '-- out of reach for many people who could use it to avoid infection.
''Gilead is notorious for price gouging,'' said Rizvi. ''Gilead holds the key to bringing down and ending both HIV and hep C epidemics, and in both cases, prices have played a real factor in our inability to stop both epidemics. And that's terrifying.''
Joseph Grogan, who has led the Trump administration's efforts on drug pricing in addition to serving on the White House coronavirus task force, served as head of federal affairs for Gilead from 2011 to 2017, while it was setting prices for both drugs.
When asked about price gouging, Gilead provided The Intercept with the following statement:
Gilead is acutely aware of the urgent medical needs of people and communities around the world in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are working around the clock to study the safety and efficacy of remdesivir as a potential Covid-19 treatment and to responsibly provide emergency access to remdesivir while these studies are ongoing, to respond to this public health crisis. If remdesivir is proven to be safe and effective to treat Covid-19, we are committed to making remdesivir both accessible and affordable to governments and patients around the world.
The penchant for putting profits over public health and individuals' lives is particularly terrifying as Covid-19 infections soar. When private companies have exclusive rights to these drugs, they not only have complete discretion over the price, but they also have a monopoly over supply.
''It makes no sense for one company to have the power to dictate who gets what, when, where,'' said Rizvi. ''There's going to be unprecedented global demand if it proves to be effective.''
Here's what's in the $2T stimulus package '-- and what's next
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 19:23
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin leaves the Capitol after negotiations on the stimulus package. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
The biggest economic stimulus in American history is hurtling toward passage, but Washington's colossal intervention to save the economy still chooses winners and losers among businesses and American workers.
The measure includes expanded worker protections Democrats demanded along with the $500 billion rescue fund Republicans pushed for to help beleaguered U.S. industries. Many Americans will get checks of $1,200 for individuals, $2,400 for married couples.
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The hospital industry is getting what it asked for '-- $100 billion in rescue funds. But the oil industry is getting nothing '-- and neither are the Postal Service and cruise companies.
This gargantuan bill won't make it to President Donald Trump's desk without some last minute political angst: Sen. Bernie Sanders is threatening the bill because it doesn't have enough restrictions on the business bailout and Republicans think the unemployment aid is too generous.
Here's a look at who's getting what, and why that matters:
BEEFED-UP UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITSWhat they got: People who are unemployed would get an extra $600 per week for up to four months, on top of state unemployment benefits to make up for 100 percent of lost wages. The final agreement provides an extra month of unemployment benefits than what Senate Republicans had originally sought.
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Why it matters: A group of GOP senators threatened Wednesday to block a fast-tracked vote on the measure, arguing that some workers would actually get a raise over their actual pay. "We have incentivized people not to go back to work," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said. Unemployment claims are also climbing by the tens of thousands every day in states across the country, and congressional negotiators acknowledge that benefits may need yet another boost through additional relief packages.
LOANS TO INDUSTRIES: $500 BILLIONWhat they got: The Treasury Department would divvy up a $500 billion pot of loans to struggling industries like airlines, and even cities and states.
Why it matters: Rules added to the bill will order an inspector general and accountability committee to oversee how the money is spent, rather than giving Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin broad power to cut the loan checks. Veterans of the 2008 bank bailout say, however, that the effectiveness of that oversight will only be as strong as the chosen watchdogs and how much power they really have.
CHECKS ON THE WAYWhat they got: All U.S. residents with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples) would get a $1,200 ($2,400 for couples) ''rebate'' payment. They are also eligible for an additional $500 per child. The payments would start phasing out for earners above those income thresholds and would not go to single filers earning more than $99,000; head-of-household filers with one child, more than $146,500; and more than $198,000 for joint filers with no children.
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Why it matters: People who don't pay taxes, such as those with very low incomes, may be hard to reach the way the program is designed.
HOSPITALS GET THEIR WISH: $100 BILLIONWhat they got: Health care providers would secure $100 billion in grants to help fight the coronavirus and make up for dollars they have lost by delaying elective surgeries and other procedures to focus on the outbreak. They would also get a 20 percent bump in Medicare payments for treating patients with the virus.
Why it matters: This figure is exactly what three powerful groups representing physicians, hospitals and nurses had demanded, though for-profit hospitals were lobbying for much more. But there are still questions about whether there will be significant guardrails on how the money will be split up. The coronavirus will hit rural hospitals especially hard, since they already operate on thin margins and have limited staffing capacity. So some lawmakers have been working to ensure enough money goes to those sites.
AID TO AIRLINES: $58 BILLIONWhat they got: Airlines would receive $29 billion in grants, and $29 billion in loans and loan guarantees, as well as a reprieve from paying three of their major excise taxes on the price of a ticket, the fuel tax and a cargo tax. That funding comes with strings, though '-- no stock buybacks, and limits on executive compensation, to start. Half the funds would go toward ''the continuation of payment of employee wages, salaries, and benefits'' while the other half would go to loans and loan guarantees for passenger airlines, repair stations and ticket agents '-- subject to conditions.
Why it matters: This is the amount that the industry sought. The bill doesn't include some conditions that Democrats wanted, like commitments to cutting emissions. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA cheered the bill, saying the grants in particular would ''save hundreds of thousands of jobs.''
PRIZE FOR RETAINING PAYROLLWhat they got: Businesses would get a tax credit for keeping idled workers on their payrolls during the coronavirus pandemic, so long as the businesses meet certain criteria. They would get a refund for half of what they spend on wages, up to $5,000 per worker.
Why it matters: To qualify, businesses have to prove they took a 50 percent loss compared to the same quarter in years past. And to keep companies from double-dipping on aid under the bill, employers won't be able to get special SBA loans if they opt for the tax credit.
STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: $150 BILLIONWhat they got: The agreement would provide $150 billion for state and local governments, with $8 billion set aside for local governments, which are bleeding tax revenue as only essential businesses remain open and unemployment claims climb by the tens of thousands every day.
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Why it matters: Congressional negotiators are already talking about a fourth legislative relief package that could include more money for state and local governments. Governors warned this week that their states are running out of funding to fulfill the skyrocketing number of unemployment claims, and could face multibillion-dollar budget shortfalls in the weeks and months to come. The funding the stimulus provides is only a ''drop in the bucket'' compared to the need, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
PENTAGON PLUS-UP: $10.5 BILLIONWhat they got: The Defense Department would field an infusion of $10.5 billion, including $1.5 billion for the National Guard to deploy up to 20,000 on-call soldiers to help state response teams fight the coronavirus over the next six months. The bill would also spend $415 million on research and development work at the Pentagon, aimed at developing vaccines and antiviral medicine.
Why it matters: The bipartisan rescue package gives the DoD well above the $8.3 billion the Trump administration requested and what House Democrats wanted.
MINIMAL AID FOR INSURERSWhat they got: Insurers wanted an emergency fund to offset big losses stemming from the pandemic, as well as premium subsidies to help fund temporary "COBRA" coverage for laid-off workers. They got none of that, although the legislation aims to protect them from price-gouging on coronavirus tests.
Why it matters: Officials in the health care industry don't really know how much money plans will lose during the crisis. While insurers are probably saving money from mass cancelations of expensive elective procedures, they are still bracing for unprecedented numbers of hospitalizations. Insurers also already got a $16 billion gift when Congress repealed Obamacare's health insurance fee in December.
EMPLOYERS AND SELF-EMPLOYED INDIVIDUALSWhat they got: They would get to defer the 6.2 percent tax they pay on wages that is used to fund Social Security.
Why it matters: The deferred tax would have to be paid over the following two years: half by Dec. 31, 2021, and the other half by Dec. 31, 2022.
NO CASH FOR THE OIL STASHWhat they got: The bill does not include the $3 billion Trump sought to fulfill his promise this month of filling the country's oil stockpile "right up to the top" as a way to aid U.S. drillers amid a price decline. Democrats also failed to clinch language extending tax breaks for renewable energy industries.
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Why it matters: This fight isn't over. Congress has made plenty of deals in the past that combine something for clean energy companies with something for the oil industry '-- most recently in 2015 when lawmakers agreed to end a ban on oil exports and extend several tax breaks for renewable energy.
TELEMEDICINE INVESTMENT: $200 MILLIONWhat they got: The Trump administration would get $200 million for boosting Skype-style health checkups by investing in services and devices that help health care providers connect remotely with patients.
Why it matters: The FCC helps run a rural health care program devoted to subsidizing the connectivity for health care providers, which gives it some stake in telehealth. The total jives with what FCC Chairman Ajit Pai requested earlier this month. This represents just the FCC's stake in telemedicine, not other parts of the government.
NO HELP FOR THE 'HOMEWORK GAP'What they got: The deal is likely to omit funding that both lawmakers and the Trump administration sought to close the "homework gap," the term used for the difference between families with internet connections and equipment and those without. Democrats had wanted at least $2 billion to go directly to an FCC subsidy program that helps schools and libraries connect to the internet, while FCC Chairman Ajit Pai requested $50 million for a pilot program geared specifically toward helping schools.
Why it matters: Millions of students are now stuck at home during the pandemic without a way to continue their studies online. Advocates will continue pushing for assistance.
CRUISE INDUSTRY RELIEFWhat they got: The deal does not appear to include any direct funding for the ailing cruise ship industry, which has been devastated by the pandemic.
Why it matters: Trump has called the cruise industry a ''prime candidate'' for federal assistance and a ''great and important industry,'' so look for further efforts from the administration to support the struggling sector.
RETAIL TAX FIXWhat they got: Retailers, restaurateurs and hotels will be able to immediately deduct from their taxes what they spend on property improvements. They were supposed to get the write-off in the 2017 tax overhaul, but a glitch actually made them worse off.
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Why it matters: While the fix will help by letting businesses file amended refunds from prior years, it isn't enough on its own to dig out those industries, which are among the hardest hit by mandatory shutdowns and social distancing directives.
NO SAVIOR FOR THE POSTAL SERVICEWhat they got: The already-underwater U.S. Postal Service won't receive any assistance under the measure, despite House Democrats proposing $25 billion to keep the federal carrier going amid the pandemic, plus language to wipe out its $11 billion debt.
Why it matters: Democrats have warned that fallout from the virus could decimate the U.S. Postal Service by June, absent action from Congress. The independent agency will likely need some financial relief in future legislative packages to stay afloat.
FOOD STAMPS AND CHILD NUTRITION: $25 BILLIONWhat they got: The stimulus includes nearly $25 billion for food assistance, including nearly $16 billion for SNAP and nearly $9 billion for child nutrition.
Why it matters: Senate Democrats were unable to secure a 15 percent increase to households' SNAP benefits. Congressional leaders acknowledge that they may need to provide additional rounds of food assistance in future legislative relief packages.
RELIEF FOR FARMERS, RANCHERS: $24 BILLIONWhat they got: Nearly $24 billion, including $14 billion for an obscure Depression-era financial institution that USDA has wide discretion to use to stabilize the farm economy. Another $9.5 billion would be set aside for emergency aid for the agriculture sector, including cattle ranchers and fresh fruit and vegetable growers.
Why it matters: More aid might be on the way. Republican senators from major cattle producing states, like Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), initially sought to replenish the Depression-era program with $20 billion, as well as increase USDA's borrowing authority from the institution to $50 billion.
EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FOR SCHOOLS: $30 BILLIONWhat they got: The final package provides more than $30 billion in emergency education funding for colleges and universities, states and school districts.
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Why it matters: House Democrats initially called for double that amount and certain education groups have asked for significantly more help, urging the government to contribute far more toward special education costs, for example.
DISTILLERIESWhat they got: Distilleries received a temporary exemption from an excise tax for alcohol they use to make hand sanitizer that's produced and distributed within Food and Drug Administration guidelines.
Why it matters: While Americans are drinking more at home with their local watering holes closed, the liquor supply may come up short.
Swift Senate action on a mammoth $2 trillion rescue package hit a speed bump Wednesday amid opposition from a small group of GOP lawmakers.
Confirmed U.S. Cases: 65,778 | U.S. Deaths: 942
Rachel Roubein, Susannah Luthi, Rebecca Rainey, Megan Cassella, John Hendel, Ian Kullgren, Nick Juliano, Zachary Warmbrodt, Catherine Boudreau, Toby Eckert, Juan Perez Jr., Aaron Lorenzo, Brianna Gurciullo, Anthony Adragna and Connor O'Brien contributed to this report.
Coronavirus exposes the problems and pitfalls of modelling | Medical research | The Guardian
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 19:04
Show caption Models need robust data, little of which is available on Covid-19. Photograph: Carlos Barroso/EPA
Medical research The lessons to be learned from the coronavirus pandemic will keep scholars and university lecturers busy for decades to come. Chief among them is the value of modelling, and the fact that an uncritical reliance on their findings can lead you badly astray.
Take a recent model from Oxford University. It assessed how well different outbreak scenarios fitted the rise in coronavirus deaths in the UK and Italy. The most extreme UK scenario assumed that only a tiny fraction of people were at risk of serious illness. It also estimated that, as of last week, 68% of the population had been exposed to the virus. The study, which has not been published or peer-reviewed, unleashed a flurry of headlines declaring that coronavirus may have infected half of the people in Britain. That is 34 million people.
Coronavirus UK: how many confirmed cases are in your area? But as infectious disease modellers and public health experts, including the Oxford team themselves, have pointed out, the model used assumptions because there was no hard data.
No one knows what fraction of the public is at risk of serious illness. The study merely demonstrates how wildly different scenarios can produce the same tragic pattern of deaths, and emphasises that we urgently need serological testing for antibodies against the virus, to discover which world we are in.
Paul Klenerman, one of the Oxford researchers, called the 68% figure the most extreme result and explained that ''there is another extreme which is that only a tiny proportion have been exposed''. The true figure, which is unknown, was likely somewhere in between, he said.
In other words, the number of people infected in Britain is either very large, very small, or middling. This may sound unhelpful, but that is precisely the point. ''We need much more data about who has been exposed to inform policy,'' Klenerman said.
The Oxford model was useful in emphasising the need for serological testing, but not for grasping the scale of the pandemic in the UK. As Prof James Wood, a researcher in infection dynamics at Cambridge University, put it: ''The paper does substantially over-speculate and is open to gross over-interpretation by others.''
Devi Sridhar, a professor of global public health at Edinburgh University, said the Oxford study set out a hypothesis and nothing more. ''It's like me sitting here and putting into very fancy equations what would change if we had a vaccine tomorrow. I could model how a vaccine would save lives and you would see headlines reading 'New vaccine is going to save lives.' But we don't have a vaccine.''
The modelling from Imperial College that underpinned the government's belief that the nation could ride out the epidemic by letting the infection sweep through, creating ''herd immunity'' on the way, was more troubling.
The model, based on 13-year-old code for a long-feared influenza pandemic, assumed that the demand for intensive care units would be the same for both infections. Data from China soon showed this to be dangerously wrong, but the model was only updated when more data poured out of Italy, where intensive care was swiftly overwhelmed and deaths shot up.
Nor was that the only shortcoming of the Imperial model. It did not consider the impact of widespread rapid testing, contact tracing and isolation, which can be used in the early stages of an epidemic or in lockdown conditions to keep infections down to such an extent that when restrictions are lifted the virus should not rebound.
It is not a question of whether models are flawed but in which ways are they flawed, and models can still be enormously valuable if their shortcomings are appreciated. As with other sources of information, however, they should never be used alone.
''Models are a useful input among many when you are doing public policy, but you have to use triangulation. You have to look across different sources of information and not just rely on one. It's more messy and complex than just saying 'OK here's a number', but you get to a more accurate answer for our world,'' Sridhar said.
Never have the words of the British statistician George Box rung truer than in this pandemic: ''All models are wrong, but some are useful.''
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Private Train to Las Vegas Moves Closer to Bond Approval
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 19:01
(Bloomberg) -- California may allocate a portion of its limited tax-exempt financing allotment to a proposed private train to Las Vegas even as it grapples with the expanding fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
Virgin Trains USA's plan to bankroll the construction of the high-speed railroad may receive approval from a California committee on April 14. State Treasurer Fiona Ma is putting the project up for consideration after the U.S. Department of Transportation sent the company a letter saying it can sell federally-authorized private activity bonds, her spokesman, Mark DeSio, said Wednesday.
Ma, who supports the train, said in February that she wanted to see confirmation that the federal government will let the project proceed before putting it up for a vote to give the firm the ability to issue up to $3.2 billion of unrated municipal bonds through a California agency.
The project, backed by Fortress Investment Group private equity funds, wants about 15% of California's annual share of private activity bonds, which state officials sell for publicly desirable ventures. Only a certain amount of such debt can be granted in each state under population-based limits.
Even before the coronavirus struck, affordable-housing advocates had unsuccessfully argued that California's allotment this year should go entirely toward easing the state's homeless and housing crises.
''Triple Winner''
The decision to move forward comes as California Governor Gavin Newsom warned that the state's 40 million residents may need to stay sheltered indoors because of the spreading virus for eight to 12 weeks and that departments and agencies shouldn't expect funding for new programs in next year's budget. Proponents of the train say it will lift up the economies of the communities by the Mojave Desert, where it will start.
''For starters, it's a job generator,'' Ma said via text message Wednesday. ''These are the kinds of jobs (construction and engineering) that can't be exported out of California or the United States, for example.''
She called the project ''a triple winner: Housing + Jobs + environment benefits.''
The project's financing will depend on the appetite of municipal-bond investors who buy the riskiest of securities. Last week, high-yield municipal funds lost a record $5.3 billion amid market turmoil over the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. California, which has its highest credit ratings in about 20 years, last week said it will hold off on scheduled debt sales because of the volatility.
It's unclear if Virgin Trains received any affirmation that the federal government wouldn't require additional environmental review.
Line Suspended
The day the company went before the California committee in January, the Federal Railroad Administration said in a letter that it's ''continuing to analyze whether the current project modifications trigger the need for additional environmental review.'' That uncertainty led the committee to postpone its vote.
Ben Porritt, a spokesman for Virgin Trains, didn't respond to questions about the review status. Representatives of the Federal Railroad Administration didn't immediately provide a response.
Virgin Trains runs a railroad in Florida, which on Wednesday temporarily suspended service because of the coronavirus. It didn't set a resumption date.
The train to Las Vegas is slated to start in 2023, running from a station in Apple Valley, 90 miles (145 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles. The tax-exempt financing plans total $4.2 billion for the $4.8 billion project. Virgin Trains would be on the hook for debt payments, not the government agencies selling the bonds.
Nevada, which would also sell bonds for the venture, hasn't yet scheduled a meeting for approval as it deals with the pandemic, said Terry Reynolds, director of the state's department of business and industry. ''It's on the back burner.''
(Updates with Florida train in third to last paragraph)
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Beelden tonen betere luchtkwaliteit boven gebieden in lockdown | NU - Het laatste nieuws het eerst op NU.nl
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 16:14
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Deborah Birx has a style that is always in fashion: Competent and reassuring - The Washington Post
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 15:54
The diplomatic doctor was missing from the weekend coronavirus task force briefings. Deborah Birx, the task force coordinator, was not in her usual position, behind the lectern and to President Trump's left. She was not there with her calm expression and her talk of the need to get granular and her explanation that the seeds for everything happening now were planted fourteen days ago and we won't see any fruits of social distancing for another week or so. She was not there with her soothing directness, reassuring competence and a style of dress that distinguishes her from all the suits and the bureaucrats who usually stand alongside her.
Birx had had a low-grade fever, she explained on Monday evening when she returned to the stage. So she'd stayed away. She had taken one of those elusive coronavirus tests and it came back negative. As she explained this to the small group of assembled journalists, the president stepped away from her with a wry smile at the mention of a fever. She shrugged off his move with an eye roll and a wave, the way a patient parent might deal with a rambunctious child.
Birx is part of the president's ecosystem but projects independence. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)Birx isn't the only medical professional regularly in front of the television cameras. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is typically there, too. The diminutive immunologist with the gray hair and the wire-rimmed glasses usually stands next to Birx. The medical community has had a rocky relationship with the prickly president who often attempts to create his own reality rather than deal with the fact-based one. Fauci delivers the facts raw and keeps faith that they can rise above politics. Birx at least acknowledges that sometimes her audience needs a little hand-holding to choke down the truth.
Fauci has been the more public of the two doctors. He's known for speaking the language of science, not hunches. He can be politically diplomatic '-- except in recent interviews when his words have suggested exasperation. He is sober but not paralyzingly grim.
In contrast, Birx comes across as more nimble at navigating the complex web of human emotions. She does so with an encouraging nod and an outstretched hand. If there is a subtext to her gestures, it's this: ''Come on now. You can do it. I have faith in you.''
Birx does not wear the typical Washington power uniform. (Michael Reynolds/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)Her tone is gentle but firm. From her background as a diplomat, she is skilled in soft force '-- the art of getting people to do what you want them to do but having them think it was their brilliant idea all along. She stands out on what was a distressingly crowded stage until it recently thinned out: Women are in the minority during these public expositions. But she's also distinctive because of her attire.
Sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter to track the outbreak. All stories linked in the newsletter are free to access.
Why won't Trump practice social distancing at his daily briefings?!
Birx doesn't dress like a lady politician in jewel-tone suits and statement jewelry. She doesn't wear power dresses, those sleek sheaths that are a critical part of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's professional wardrobe. She doesn't turn up in a white coat as if she's there to take the nation's collective temperature. Birx's style can be called classically feminine when she wears her shirtwaist dresses and knots silk scarves around her shoulders. She exudes academic wonkiness with her earth tones and tunics and mufflers double-wrapped around her neck. She never looks bland or nondescript. She doesn't look like an automaton or someone who has lost herself in the data and computer models. And in doing so, she offers a subtle but important reminder to people that while this crisis is serious and meeting it is hard, we are still human. Do not lose yourself. Be kind to yourself.
Birx usually wears a scarf at her neck or around her shoulders instead of the typical power-broker jewelry. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)Her style could go anywhere. It's a multitasking aesthetic, modest but sophisticated. Contemporary but not trendy. It telegraphs competence and dependability. Her style is not a statement of power. It's more likely to call to mind the image of a school nurse than a superhero. Studious determination is going to get us out of this, not swaggering braggadocio. The heroes wear wire-rimmed glasses and silk kerchiefs.
That's not to say that Birx doesn't have a tremendous amount of clout. She simply doesn't display it for all the world to see. Revealing it would, in fact, dilute it.
Our clothes tell our story. What happens when the narrative is just pajamas and sweats?
Birx's style speaks to her emotional intelligence. While the regular briefings are filled with folks in suits and uniforms '-- clipboard types who are very good at going through the motions of competence '-- Birx makes one feel like she'd be the one willing to put a cool compress to a fevered brow while everyone else was backing out of the room. (And then she'd wash her hands and duly self-quarantine.)
Birx is a walking reminder not to lose ourselves in this crisis. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)Birx stands at the lectern as part of the president's team, but her style sets her apart. She sometimes refers to him, but judiciously. She keeps a distance. She's part of Trump's ecosystem but she remains a unique organism. When she speaks, it's not the president this or the president that. It's all about the data, the data, the data. No one spends more time telling the public about the president's leadership than Vice President Pence. When he steps to the microphone during briefings, he begins almost every sentence by noting that whatever action was taken, it was done ''at the president's direction.'' I woke up this morning, at the president's direction. I'm breathing in and out, at the president's direction.
As briefings often meander past the one-hour mark and the president's message muddles off course, one's eyes are drawn to Birx. She's standing there utterly composed. The only hint of uneasiness is her rapidly blinking eyes as she looks straight ahead.
She is a perfectly calibrated vision of comfort and intelligence. A consoling meditation of personable style, facts and figures.
Coronavirus was declassified as a High Consequence Infectious Disease on March 19th in the UK |
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 15:04
Coronavirus was declassified as a High Consequence Infectious Disease on March 19th in the UK Tue 5:08 pm +00:00, 24 Mar 2020 2 posted by Tapestry
This needs to go viral:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/high-consequence-infectious-diseases-hcid#status-of-covid-19
''Status of COVID-19 '--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--
As of 19 March 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious diseases (HCID) in the UK.
The 4 nations public health HCID group made an interim recommendation in January 2020 to classify COVID-19 as an HCID. This was based on consideration of the UK HCID criteria about the virus and the disease with information available during the early stages of the outbreak. Now that more is known about COVID-19, the public health bodies in the UK have reviewed the most up to date information about COVID-19 against the UK HCID criteria. They have determined that several features have now changed; in particular, more information is available about mortality rates (low overall), and there is now greater clinical awareness and a specific and sensitive laboratory test, the availability of which continues to increase.
The Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ACDP) is also of the opinion that COVID-19 should no longer be classified as an HCID.''
Covid 19 = March 19 + Marshal Law
They knew all along and are desperate to bring in martial law and lethal vaccines.
Prometheus
Governments could track COVID-19 lockdowns through social media posts - CNET
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 12:43
The Italian government is enforcing a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus.
Stefano Mazzola/Awakening/Getty Images For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the
WHO website.
Your posts on social media have been harvested for advertising. They've been taken to build up a massive facial recognition database. Now that same data could be used by companies and governments to help maintain quarantines during the coronavirus outbreak.
Ghost Data, a research group in Italy and the US, collected more than half a million Instagram posts in March, targeting regions in Italy where residents were supposed to be on lockdown. It provided those images and videos to LogoGrab, an image recognition company that can automatically identify people and places. The company found at least 33,120 people violated Italy's quarantine orders.
Andrea Stroppa, the founder of Ghost Data, said his group has offered its research to the Italian government. Stroppa doesn't consider the social media scraping to be a privacy concern because researchers anonymized the data by removing profile and specific location data before analyzing it. He also has public health on his mind.
"In our view, privacy is very important. It's a fundamental human right," Stroppa said. "However, it's important to give our support to help the government and the authorities. Hundreds of people are dying every day."
Italy has been an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, so far reporting more than 6,000 deaths from the pandemic and over 63,000 confirmed cases. To help reduce the number of cases, the Italian government issued lockdown orders that close nonessential businesses and ban movement inside the country.
Tech companies have also joined the effort there, with mobile providers like Vodafone offering heat maps of location data.
Government actions that would be considered privacy concerns in normal circumstances are becoming acceptable during the pandemic. Privacy commissioners around the world have said they are lifting restrictions on data protection standards, citing emergency circumstances and saving lives as a priority.
Keep track of the coronavirus pandemic.
The World Health Organization has called for ramping up technology to track the spread of COVID-19. Countries including Singapore and China have shown that surveillance tools such as tracking people by their phones are effective methods.
Still, privacy advocates question how far the governments will go bending the rules on data protection. Will these surveillance tactics be phased out, they wonder, when the pandemic is contained?
"The use of high-quality data can support the vital work of scientists, researchers, and public health authorities in tracking and understanding current pandemic," European Digital Rights, an association of civil and human rights organizations, said in a statement. "However, some of the actions taken by governments and businesses under exceptional circumstances today, can have significant repercussions on freedom of expression, privacy and other human rights both today and tomorrow."
The study's findings The data collected by scraping Instagram Stories showed that many quarantine violations were happening across Italy.
Logo Grab / Ghost Data Ghost Data's researchers have mined social media for past projects, including studies about ISIS supporters using Instagram Stories to recruit new members and about Russian disinformation efforts on Instagram.
In March, its researchers decided to turn their efforts to tracking Italians who were violating the country's quarantine. Stroppa doesn't believe they're as malevolent as terrorists or propaganda campaigns, but he thinks monitoring social media activity as a collective group has benefits for combating COVID-19's spread.
"What we want to do is not to give the names of people or the streets where police should be, but give trends that we've seen," Stroppa said. "The policymakers can use this information to change their lockdown rules."
The research project scraped data from 552,000 Instagram profiles in Italy and gathered 504,592 Stories posted to these accounts between the dates of March 11 and March 18. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte issued the national quarantine on March 9.
The researchers said permission to collect the data wasn't necessary because the posts are public. Users weren't asked to give their consent.
Facebook, which owns Instagram, is looking into the practice.
"Scraping people's data violates our policies and we are investigating," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "Facebook has a number of initiatives to help combat the spread of the disease in privacy-protective ways."
Ghost Data's researchers stripped the posts of names, profile information, and blurred faces in photos and videos. They gave general regional data as opposed to specific locations. The data was stored in an encrypted database that LogoGrab had access to.
"There's always going to be a problem when you're taking people's private lives and using it at scale to police their action."Liz O'Sullivan, technology director, Surveillance Technology Oversight Project
LogoGrab is an image recognition company based in Italy that uses artificial intelligence to spot when its clients' brand images are being used without permission online or in counterfeit products.
The company turned its AI on the more than half a million pictures and videos that had been gathered. The AI was tasked with detecting people walking in groups and in areas such as the beach, the mall and popular city locations during lockdown orders.
The AI could determine what people were doing, like shopping, sunbathing or driving, as well as how many people were engaged in the activity. The findings called for more enforcement in urban areas, specifically near parks and beaches.
LogoGrab and Ghost Data's report showed posts on Instagram Stories with blurred-out faces roaming around Italy's streets. Stroppa said Ghost Data has no intention of providing the names of people violating the quarantine to the government. LogoGrab said this was up for the government to decide.
"There are circumstances, such as tracking down infected individuals, that do override individual privacy rights, for the common good, such as public health," a LogoGrab spokeswoman said. "But those actions should only ever be sanctioned and carried out by official government agencies."
Now playing: Watch this: Coronavirus lockdown: Why social distancing saves lives
5:41
Advocates expressed concerns about the use of Instagram posts in designing policy, though they acknowledged the data could be beneficial during the public health crisis. For instance, people could be uploading older photos and videos from before the pandemic that could suggest they were violating the curfew when they weren't, said Liz O'Sullivan, technology director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project.
"There's always going to be a problem when you're taking people's private lives and using it at scale to police their action," O'Sullivan said. "The worry is that they'll hand this information over to the government and there will be some automated consequences linked to their behavior."
On March 20, the Italian government issued a public call for researchers and tech companies to provide resources to help monitor and contain the coronavirus outbreak. Stroppa said he applied but hasn't heard back yet.
If the company gets accepted, the Ghost Data founder said he would still maintain the privacy standards his company had during the study.
"We will never offer something to track individuals," Stroppa said. "We will offer our capabilities, but only for trends, and only for anonymized and aggregated data."
Social media scraping Governments leveraging data gathered from scraping social media is a controversial subject, but it isn't a new idea. Clearview AI, a facial recognition company first uncovered by The New York Times, boasts a database of more than 3 billion photos collected from social networks without people's permission.
Like LogoGrab and Ghost Data, the company said it's simply taking public posts that people willingly upload for the world to see. Clearview AI works with hundreds of law enforcement agencies around the world and has also been in talks to develop tracking for COVID-19.
Police have used Geofeedia, a social media analytics firm, to gather posts about protests to identify people to law enforcement.
Instagram said both Clearview AI and Geofeedia violated its data policies.
"We will never offer something to track individuals. We will offer our capabilities, but only for trends, and only for anonymized and aggregated data."Andrea Stroppa, founder, Ghost Data
Stroppa said the data mining his researchers are doing is different from Clearview AI's and Geofeedia's practices. He noted that Ghost Data is a research organization and doesn't seek to be an arm of law enforcement.
For instance, while other social media scraping efforts retain names and photos tied to the data, Ghost Data's collection removes that information before it's analyzed. He hopes the aggregated and anonymized data collected from Instagram will help Italian officials decide where to dedicate their resources.
"The police and other forces, even the army, are working to spot people who are in the street without a clear and effective reason," Stroppa said. "If you see our data, there are no names, there are no locations, there are just trends. This is the balance we found between privacy and effectiveness."
Balancing privacy and public healthIt's a tricky thing to find that balance between using technology to curb the coronavirus outbreak and protecting privacy.
Sen. Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, raised concerns about data tracking efforts during the pandemic, warning there need to be safeguards in place on how location data is used.
When people post on social media, even when the content is public, they don't post with the intent or awareness that the images and location data could be used by government agencies and private companies.
That's why social media scraping leveraged by government agencies and private companies can often come as a surprise, and in some cases, violate Facebook's data policy.
"Perhaps the posts are public, but people don't understand that beyond the one-on-one level, these massive collection schemes are happening constantly to give corporations better understanding and ability to control people at scale," O'Sullivan said. "How would you feel if your insurance policy was able to charge you more money because they saw on your Instagram that you were outside at the beach during the pandemic?"
The coronavirus pandemic has changed how privacy is being protected, but data protection commissioners see it as a necessary step to save lives. So do the researchers gathering this data.
"When we worked on our research, we read the GDPR," Stroppa said, referring to the General Data Protection Regulation, the European Union's sweeping privacy law. "There is a section on the GDPR dedicated to epidemic cases and so on. It has very good thinking about this kind of situation."
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.
Doctors monitor vaping as possible connection to young COVID-19 patients, UCSF professor says | KRON4
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 10:46
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) '-- Doctors are reportedly watching vaping as a possible connection to young people infected with COVID-19, that's according to a professor of medicine at UCSF.
A link between vaping and COVID-19 has not been confirmed, but health experts say people who do may be vulnerable.
People who smoke or vape may be at increased risk when it comes to coronavirus. This indication comes from Dr. Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at UCSF.
''Vaping, like smoking, depresses immune function in your lungs and your lungs in addition to moving air in and out of your body, to get oxygen to your cells and to get rid of carbon dioxide have an important immune function because when you're breathing you breathe in a lot of bacteria and viruses,'' Glantz said.
Dr. Glantz explains e-cigarettes and smoking makes it harder for your body to fight off a viral infection.
Doctors say COVID-19 directly attacks the lungs.
Vaping has skyrocketed particularly in young people.
The CDC reports that young adults from ages 20 to 44 make up a big part of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the United States.
There's been little to no research but Glantz questions whether the virus is tied to vaping.
''A couple of colleagues here who are actually taking care of patients have noticed younger people who came in noticed that they were vaping,'' Glantz said.
''What we need to start doing is keep track of whether these people are smoking or vaping because that might be contributing to what's going on,'' Glantz said.
The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse also flagged the concern in a blog post published last week citing drug concerns in addition to vaping and smoking.
According to the post, opioids slow down breathing and have already been shown to increase mortality in people with respiratory diseases.
''I think one common sense thing to do is stop insulting your lungs as one of my pulmonary friends tells me,'' Glantz said. ''Lungs are designed to breathe in air, not an aerosol ultrafying particles and chemicals that you get from e-cigarettes.''
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Denmark's Message for America: 'Do More'--Fast.' - The Atlantic
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 09:02
Denmark, which is basically freezing its economy, has a message for America.
March 24, 2020 Staff writer at The Atlantic
Peter Cziborra / Action Images / ReutersAround the world, countries are seeking to lock down their populations to halt the spread of the coronavirus, ''freeze'' their economies in place, and help people survive the ice age by any means necessary.
Denmark's version of ice-age economics goes like this: To discourage mass layoffs, the government will pay employers up to 90 percent of the salaries of workers who go home and don't work. The plan could require the government to spend as much as 13 percent of its GDP in three months'--roughly the equivalent of a $2.5 trillion stimulus in the United States spread out over just 13 weeks.
Derek Thompson: Denmark's idea could help the world avoid a Great Depression
In the 48 hours since I first wrote about this plan, I have heard from politicians and policy makers around the world, including Spain, the UK, and Australia. To go deeper on this radical idea, I spoke on Monday with Peter Hummelgaard, the Employment Minister of Denmark. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Derek Thompson: You're the employment minister for a country adopting one of the most radical economic plans in the world. Before we get to the specifics of what you're doing, give me your outlook on this crisis.
Peter Hummelgaard: What we're trying to do is to freeze the economy. This is very different from 12 years ago when, as you might say in American terms, we bailed out Wall Street and forgot about Main Street. This time around, it's about preserving Main Street as much as we can.
After the lockdown, we knew that people would get fired in vast numbers. We wanted to avoid most firings, entirely. The best idea we came up with was for governments to pay businesses to keep employees.
It's a radical plan. But radical times need radical responses. You could say it puts the old Ronald Reagan quote on its head: We are the government, and we are here to help.
Thompson: Tell me exactly how this plan works, because it's unlike anything I've ever heard. Let's say I'm a restaurant owner in Copenhagen who has to shut down my business for the next few months. I have 10 employees and, without income, I might have to lay off all of them in a week. I ask you for help. What happens now?
Hummelgaard: First, all of your employees would be eligible to receive income compensation as long as you keep them on contract. That means they are sent home, and the government pays you, the restaurant owner, up to 90 percent of their salaries'--up to about $4,000 a month'--which you would pay to the workers you still have on contract.
Second, the government would compensate you for fixed costs, like rent. For example, the government will pay a portion of your rent depending how much your revenue declines.
Third, if any of your employees get sick from the coronavirus, the government will pay their sick leave from day one. Generally, in Denmark, the employers are responsible for the first 30 days of paid sick leave.
Finally, we decided to postpone the deadlines of taxes like the value-added tax, and we've encouraged banks to extend credit to companies like yours.
Read: The economic devastation is going to be worse than you think
Thompson: This is such a generous program. Couldn't I just defraud you? Couldn't I pretend to send my workers home but secretly ask them to come into the restaurant and help with a secret delivery business? How do you prevent rampant, massive fraud?
Hummelgaard: We're not naive. Of course there will be companies that try to take unfair advantage of this. But in Danish society, there has been broad support for these initiatives, and these programs have been rolled out with a large degree of trust.
While at first there won't be thorough control mechanisms, since these programs are being implemented very fast, we have a few ways to find fraud. Employers have to have an authorized accountant sign for their compensation applications. Also Denmark is a thoroughly digitized country. The government can see'--via tax records and mobile-payment applications'--if some businesses are still operating as normal. And if we do find cases of fraud, we are going to ask for the money back with a fee on top, or even charge employers with a crime.
Thompson: Am I right to say that this is like a big unemployment benefit program'--except the benefits are paid through employers, to ensure that workers keep their jobs?
Hummelgaard: The traditional thing in a recession would be to expand unemployment programs, so that the people being laid off would have a strong safety net'--which, in Denmark, they already do. This is the first time, at least in Danish history, that the government has paid private businesses to not fire their employees, even when their employees can't work. It is an extraordinary scheme. But this is an extraordinary health crisis.
Thompson: In the United States, the two parties in Congress have struggled to agree on a relief package. In Denmark, you reached a tripartite agreement between three different groups'--unions, employers, and the government'--and within government, you have as many as 10 parties. How did Denmark move so quickly, with so many factions, to pass something so big?
Derek Thompson: The coronavirus will be a catastrophe for the poor
Hummelgaard: In Denmark, we have a long tradition of strong unions that aren't as ideological or as radicalized as they can be in other countries. They are used to direct negotiations with employers associations.
Over the past four decades, we have built on that tradition by having government help to solve big challenges. A couple of days after we announced the lockdown, we had an agreement by late Saturday night. And we made it public on Sunday morning. It sent a signal of trust through society '-- workers standing alongside businesses and government saying we would do whatever it takes, whatever is possible, to ensure a soft landing for the economy. I'm not sure you could copy this everywhere, either because unions are too weak, or because trust between unions and employers is nonexistent.
Thompson: I want to know how you'd respond to three possible critiques of this plan. First, the price tag. Denmark is prepared to spend almost 13 percent of its GDP in the next three months. Are you concerned about inflation or public debt?
Hummelgaard: If this current predicament becomes a structural problem, with mass unemployment and reduced aggregate demand, the cost to our economy and to our deficit will be much more expensive than investing in these programs upfront. That is our pure logic. That's the economic side of it. It is more expensive to do less. Then there's a social side of it: Unemployment creates a host of problems not only for society, but also for individuals.
Thompson: Here's another criticism some might have: By paying people to not work'--and compensating them exclusively if they avoid working'--are you making it harder for workers to transition to parts of the economy that need more people, like medical-device manufacturing, or groceries, or online delivery?
Hummelgaard: No. Because we're still seeing layoffs. This program is merely preventing more layoffs, mass layoffs. You have to remember that these compensation schemes are temporary. They are due to end in June.
Thompson: In fact, that's the biggest concern about your plan: It's set to end in June. If you succeed in slowing the spread of the virus, there may still be lots of infections in the early summer. How will the economy transition to normal if there are still people carrying the virus in early summer?
Hummelgaard: The important thing to remember is that our health system must be able to treat those who need treatment. If the virus spreads in Denmark as fast as it has in some regions in Italy and Spain, our health system will have no capacity. But by [slowing] the spread of the virus, our health system will have the capacity to treat those with the disease. That's the health strategy. It's not on my table, but it's part of the overall strategy of government.
If we need to keep the lockdown for a longer period of time, we may rethink our plan and come up with new initiatives. But it's important to say that we will do more.
Thompson: Last question: In the U.S., we still don't have an emergency relief deal. What's your message to American lawmakers?
Hummelgaard: Do more'--fast. Don't wait. The main focus should be to bridge partisan divides and to make sure that the rescue package for the economy is a rescue for Main Street, not just for Wall Street. Preserve the income and jobs for ordinary working people, and also preserve small businesses. The jury is still out on our initiatives, but I'm confident in our approach.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.
Derek Thompson is a staff writer at
The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, technology, and the media. He is the author of
Hit Makers and the host of the podcast
Crazy/Genius.
Leaders of Nine EU Nations Call for Common Debt Instrument to Tackle Coronavirus - Reports
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 08:41
Europe11:21 GMT 25.03.2020(updated 11:58 GMT 25.03.2020) Get short URL
Europe has currently become the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic forcing the majority of the nations to shut their borders and restrict every day life activities. The International Monetary Fund earlier said it is ready to provide an additional $1 trillion to support its members during the coronavirus crisis.
Leaders of nine European Union states, including France, Spain and Italy have called in a letter for a common debt instrument to combat COVID-19, Reuters reported.
"We need to work on a common debt instrument issued by a European institution to raise funds on the market," said the letter, addressed to European Council President Charles Michel. "This common debt instrument should have sufficient size and long maturity to be fully efficient and avoid roll-over risks now as in the future".The letter, also signed by the leaders of Portugal, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Belgium and Greece, urged the EU to "explore other tools like a specific funding for corona-related spending in the EU budget" for 2020 and 2021.
The Italian Economy Minister said yesterday that the eurozone's bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, should be used to help economies survive the coronavirus crisis.
He also called for the creation of a common debt instrument, which so far has been rejected by the wealthiest nations of the bloc.
The International Monetary Fund previously warned that the novel coronavirus pandemic would cause a global recession in 2020 that will be as bad as 2008 financial crisis.
Europe is currently the worst-affected continent by the new coronavirus. Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Switzerland are the most badly-hit nations with the highest number of cases. Italy and Spain, in particular, have the highest mortality rates from COVID-19 in the world.
Governors balk at Trump's call to reopen economy during coronavirus - The Washington Post
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 08:16
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) caused a stir Monday night by going on Fox News and suggesting older people like him needed to ''take a chance'' with their lives in the name of reopening the economy during the coronavirus outbreak.
The man actually in charge of making that decision in Texas, though, has a very different take. As he confronts imposing even-stricter measures for the Lone Star State, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) responded Tuesday to a question about Patrick's comments.
''I will base my decision as governor of the state of Texas on what physicians say,'' Abbott said. ''If the goal is to get the economy going, the best thing we can do to get the economy going is to get covid-19 behind us.''
President Trump has leaned hard into the idea of reopening the economy in recent days, but as has been noted, he only has so much power to do so. It's the governors who issue stay-at-home orders and decide what opens and what doesn't in their states.
Why Trump won't have the final say on whether people to go back to work
Few of them are echoing Trump right now, which suggests even if Trump decides he wants to reopen things '-- on Tuesday, he set a target date of Easter, April 12 '-- he won't be able to do it in any large measure.
Another Republican governor, Maryland's Larry Hogan, had some choice words for Trump's idea on Tuesday, referring to an ''imaginary clock.''
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''We don't think that we're going to be in any way ready to be out of this in five or six days, or whenever this 15 days is up from the time that they started this imaginary clock,'' Hogan said on CNN. ''Most people think that we're weeks away from the peak, if not months.''
South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R), whose state matches the description of less-affected areas that Trump has suggested could see reopenings in relatively short order, also indicated she's looking at a longer time frame.
''This situation is not going to be over in a week,'' said Noem, whose state has just more than two dozen cases. '' '... We have another eight weeks until we see our peak infection rate.''
She added: ''Any changes we make for how we conduct our daily lives have to be sustained.''
Democrats had even more choice words for Trump's proposal, with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker saying Trump was ''not taking into account the true damage that this will do to our country if we see truly millions of people die.'' Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Trump's ''off-the-cuff statements are really going to undermine our ability to protect people.'' California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he and Trump are ''clearly operating under a different set of assumptions.''
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said, ''If you ask the American people to choose between public health and the economy, then it's no contest. No American is going to say accelerate the economy at the cost of human life. Job one has to be save lives. That has to be the priority.''
But plenty of Republicans also made their differences rather clear.
''The truth is that protecting people and protecting the economy is not mutually exclusive,'' said Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R). ''In fact, one depends upon the other. The fact is we save our economy by first saving lives, and we have to do it in that order.''
DeWine added: ''When people are dying, when people don't feel safe, this economy is not coming back.''
DeWine, though, maintained he was generally ''aligned'' with Trump on coronavirus, and he wasn't the only one declining to completely distance himself from the president. Democratic Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said she felt she understood Trump's inclination.
''I am not interested in unnecessarily closing down businesses and taking jobs if we don't need to do that,'' said Brown, who issued tough restrictions on Monday. ''The goal of my executive order was to balance those competing demands. '... While I don't agree with what the president said and how he said it, I think that's what he was trying to say.''
Brown added, ''When I was on the phone with him earlier this week, he clearly said that these difficult decisions are in the hands of governors. So I would expect that it stay that way.''
That's the key takeaway. However much Trump wants to reopen the country, he'll need governors to cooperate with that. The governors listed above represent five of the seven biggest states and more than 40 percent of the United States population, and they're just the ones who have weighed in so far. Most of the other biggest states are also run by Democrats, who wouldn't be as inclined to align themselves with Trump on a controversial proposal.
As president, Trump can change the federal guidance, but it's just that: guidance. Experts say he doesn't have many legal tools to override the precautions taken by state and local officials.
These governors also have to deal with problems on a more micro level and are more directly held responsible for what happens in their states. Any of them who would begin opening things up would put themselves in line for whatever criticism might follow from the fallout, and it would be much easier to readily quantify the effects of those decisions in their states '-- particularly if they can be compared to other states that took tougher stances.
If Trump truly wants to set the ball in motion on this, he's got about 50 people he should be talking to about it. Right now, they seem pretty skeptical.
Supreme Court Comcast decision: A grim warning for the future of civil rights - Vox
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 08:01
Like most of the country, the Supreme Court is in coronavirus lockdown, closing its building to the public and postponing oral arguments until some future date.
Yet even as the justices seek shelter from a pandemic, they still managed to hand down five opinions on Monday. One of them, in the case Comcast Corp. v. National Association of African American Media, is a blow for the civil rights community '-- and a potential harbinger for civil rights cases to come.
The case involves a dispute between the cable TV company Comcast and a business that alleged the telecommunications conglomerate refused to carry its channels because it disfavored ''100% African American-owned media companies.'' (Comcast Corporation, the defendant in this lawsuit, is an investor in Vox Media.)
The Comcast decision, according to NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, ''is a huge step backward in our march toward achieving equal opportunity for all.'' He warned that the Court's decision will ''significantly restrict the ability of discrimination victims to prove their claims under one of our nation's premier civil rights laws.''
Viewed through a narrow lens, Comcast is only an incremental loss for the civil rights community. It extends two prior decisions that made it harder for some plaintiffs to prevail in federal court. But the decision is significant not so much because of the particular holding handed down by the Court, but because of the widespread support for this result among the justices.
The decision was unanimous, which suggests that the Court's liberal minority has given up on an important fight that was hotly contested just a few years ago. More broadly, the Court's consensus in Comcast signals that the liberal justices may have shifted into triage mode, accepting that some incursions on civil rights are no longer worth resisting in a Court that's lurched hard to the right.
The case arose out of a Reconstruction-era law providing that everyone in the United States shall have the same right ''to make and enforce contracts ... as is enjoyed by white citizens.''
In Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins (1989), the Supreme Court held that victims of employment discrimination could sometimes prevail in a lawsuit against their employer if they showed that the employer acted with ''mixed motives'' '-- that is, if the employer took action against the plaintiffs for a combination of reasons, only some of which were unlawful. Price Waterhouse involved Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on ''race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.''
But the Court's taken a sharp right turn since Price Waterhouse. And it's twice refused to apply this mixed-motive rule beyond Title VII's ban on employment discrimination. Both of those more recent decisions, however, were 5-4 votes decided along familiar ideological lines.
Comcast is now the third case to rule against mixed-motive suits '-- that is, the Court held that plaintiffs alleging contract discrimination may not bring a mixed-motive lawsuit. The outcome is not particularly surprising, given the Court's conservative majority.
What is surprising is that the Court's decision in Comcast is unanimous (although Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a separate opinion warning that the Court should not make further incursions on the ban on contract discrimination). Comcast, in other words, appears to be a sign that the Court's liberal minority has decided that their best response to a hardline conservative majority is to throw in the towel on some fights, in order to preserve their ability to raise the alarm in other ones.
Mixed-motive lawsuits, explainedThe thrust of Justice Neil Gorsuch's opinion in Comcast is that discrimination plaintiffs typically have the burden of proving that they would not have experienced adverse consequences if the defendant were not motivated by racism or some other impermissible motive. Indeed, Gorsuch goes even further than that, arguing that all plaintiffs typically must ''establish causation'' in order to prevail. As a general rule, ''a plaintiff must first plead and then prove that its injury would not have occurred 'but for' the defendant's unlawful conduct.''
But discrimination suits are not like most lawsuits '-- they turn upon subjective motives that are often only known to the defendant. It is perfectly lawful to fire a black employee because the employer thinks they are a bad worker, because it finds them obnoxious, or even because it does not like the employee's haircut. Firing an African American worker is illegal only if the worker was fired because of their race.
For this reason, discrimination suits often place the plaintiff in an impossible position. The plaintiff may have a hunch that they are a victim of unlawful discrimination, but unless they can read minds '-- or, more often, unless the employer is foolish enough to declare in writing that they acted with racist motives '-- the plaintiff has no way to prove the defendant's actions were driven by improper means.
Mixed-motive suits are an effort to fix this imbalance by shifting some of the burden of proof toward defendants. Under Price Waterhouse, if a plaintiff can show that unlawful discrimination was one of several factors that motivated their employer's decision to act against them, the burden shifts to the employer to show that they would have taken the same action even if this unlawful motive were not in play.
Think of it this way. Imagine that a company's human resources department decides to fire an African American employee based on the recommendation of two supervisors. The first supervisor is simply racist and wants the worker fired because he is black. The second supervisor believes the employee is frequently tardy, and he does not harbor any racist motives.
Under a mixed-motive framework, once the worker demonstrated that the first supervisor was motivated by racism, the company could still prevail. But it would have the burden of proving it would have fired this worker based solely on the recommendation of the second supervisor.
A couple of years after Price Waterhouse, Congress enacted a law that explicitly provides for mixed-motive suits for Title VII plaintiffs '-- indeed, this law is more favorable to such plaintiffs than the standard announced in Price Waterhouse. Because Congress explicitly wrote mixed-motive suits into the law banning race discrimination in the workplace, the Supreme Court has allowed these suits to move forward.
But, as the Supreme Court drifted right in the years since Price Waterhouse, it grew increasingly hostile toward mixed-motive suits in other contexts. Thus, in Gross v. FBL Financial Services (2009), the Court's conservative majority did not simply hold that victims of age discrimination may not bring such suits. It also stated openly that ''it is far from clear that the Court would have'' decided Price Waterhouse in the same way ''were it to consider the question today in the first instance.''
A few years later, in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar (2013), the Court held that plaintiffs who allege they faced retaliation for asserting their rights under Title VII also may not bring mixed-motive suits.
Notably, Justice Ginsburg wrote a dissent on behalf of all four members of the Court's liberal minority in Nassar. She explained that, even if a strict ''but-for'' test is ''appropriate in some tort contexts,'' this test is not appropriate when a court is asked to determine ''the mind-related characterizations that constitute motive.''
So why did the liberals throw in the towel in Comcast?Ginsburg wrote a four-page separate opinion in Comcast, primarily arguing that the Court should not further undercut the ban on contract discrimination by allowing race discrimination in the process leading up to contract formation. She warns of a potential future where, for example, a lender might require ''prospective borrowers to provide one reference letter if they are white and five if they are black.''
No other justice joined Ginsburg's opinion, and her only explanation for why she joined Gorsuch's majority opinion comes in a brief footnote. ''I have previously explained that a strict but-for causation standard is ill suited to discrimination cases and inconsistent with tort principles,'' she writes, citing her Nassar dissent. ''I recognize, however, that our precedent now establishes this form of causation as a 'default rul[e]' in the present context.''
Ginsburg, in other words, appears to have decided to join the majority in Comcast out of respect for stare decisis '-- the principle that judges should typically follow past precedent, even if they believe those precedents were wrongly decided.
It's not uncommon, however, for justices to continue to dissent in cases that rely on a relatively new legal rule that they staunchly oppose. Ginsburg, after all, dissented in Nassar, even though the Court's decision in that case largely follows from its previous decision in Gross.
Moreover, while the principle of stare decisis is important '-- both for ensuring predictability in the law and for preventing the Supreme Court from becoming a partisan prize that rewrites the law in bulk every time a different political party gains control of it '-- it's also not an ironclad rule. The Court's desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), after all, effectively overruled past decisions establishing the doctrine of separate-but-equal. Virtually all judges acknowledge that past precedents should sometimes be abandoned.
What's different about the current Supreme Court is that it is especially likely to overrule past decisions '-- and in narrow partisan votes '-- for ideological reasons. According to Washington University political scientist James Spriggs, ''about 71% of overulings are 5-4 under [Chief Justice John] Roberts, compared with about 31% under [Chief Justice William] Rehnquist,'' Roberts's predecessor. The trend is likely to accelerate now that the relatively moderate conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy's been replaced by the staunchly conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The Court's liberal minority, in other words, frequently finds itself shouting into a void that the principle of stare decisis is not being respected. They have good reason to fear that the Court is abandoning its traditions to serve ideological goals.
But the liberal justices risk undercutting themselves if they appear to be hypocrites. And sometimes, that means accepting that stare decisis cuts against liberal arguments as well.
So why are the liberal justices no longer standing up for mixed-motive plaintiffs? The most likely explanation is that they fear their conservative colleagues plan to overrule many seminal decisions in the future, and that they believe it's important for the dissenters to hew to the same principles in a case like Comcast that they will assert when the Court tries to overrule Roe v. Wade or dismantle much of America's voting rights law.
Comcast is only an incremental ruling against civil rights. But it is also a portent of what is to come '-- and that future bodes ill for anyone who cares about victims of discrimination.
Brussel wil miljoenen mensen gaan volgen via telecomdata tegen corona
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 07:46
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'THIS IS RIDICULOUS': AOC's Ex-Top Aide Torches Pelosi For Coronavirus Stimulus Games | The Daily Wire
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 07:38
Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D-NY) former chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti torched Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for playing games with the multi-trillion dollar coronavirus stimulus bill.
''Well I do think that there is a whole concern in our country that if we're giving tens of billions of dollars to the airlines that we could at least have a shared value about what happens to the environment, but that is an excuse, not a reason, uh, for Senator McConnell to go forward,'' Pelosi said in a video clip posted on Twitter. ''Some of the other issues, like not fully extending family medical leave, not funding food stamps, I hope that will all change in the next few hours, but they're issues that are central to the well being of America's families.''
Chakrabarti responded on Twitter by writing, ''I helped write the #GreenNewDeal and I think this is ridiculous. The tiny little emissions standard increase doesn't even do anything meaningful to stave off climate change and gives the @GOP leverage to get rid of real help for working people. Solve the problem at hand.''
I helped write the #GreenNewDeal and I think this is ridiculous.
The tiny little emissions standard increase doesn't even do anything meaningful to stave off climate change and gives the @GOP leverage to get rid of real help for working people.
Solve the problem at hand. https://t.co/KemaYkV7gn
'-- Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) March 25, 2020
Pelosi had reportedly ruined Senate talks between the Republicans and Democrats on Sunday, which postponed getting a bill done to protect American families and the economy for several days.
White House and Senate leaders reached a deal on a $2 trillion stimulus spending bill during the early morning hours on Wednesday.
The Washington Post reported (formatting adjusted):
The agreement capped five straight days of intensive negotiations that occasionally descended into partisan warfare as the nation's economy reeled from the deadly pandemic, with schools and businesses closed, mass layoffs slamming the workforce and tens of thousands falling ill.
The legislation, unprecedented in its size and scope, aims to flood the economy with capital by sending $1,200 checks to many Americans, creating a $367 billion loan program for small businesses and setting up a $500 billion fund for industries, cities and states. Other provisions include a massive boost to unemployment insurance, $150 billion for state and local stimulus funds and $130 billion for hospitals. '...
The Senate bill would direct payments of $1,200 to most American adults and $500 to most children, create a $500 billion lending program for companies, states and cities, and extend an additional $367 billion to help small companies deal with payroll problems. It would bolster the unemployment insurance system and pump $150 billion into U.S. hospitals. The bill more than doubled in size in just a few days.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said during a press conference on Tuesday that the multi-phase stimulus spending packages would total a staggering $6 trillion and would be the largest spending bill in history.
''This package will be the single largest main street assistance program in the history of the United States,'' Kudlow said. ''The single largest main street assistance program in the history of the United States.''
''This legislation is urgently needed to bolster the economy, provide cash injections and liquidity and stabilize financial markets to get us through a difficult period, a difficult and challenging period in the economy facing us right now but also to position us for what I think can be an economic rebound later this year,'' Kudlow continued. ''Phase two delivered the sick leave for individuals, hourly workers, families and so forth. Phase three, a significant package for small businesses, loan guarantees will be included. We're going to take out expenses and lost revenues.''
''The total package here comes to roughly $6 trillion: $2 trillion direct assistance, roughly $4 trillion in federal reserve lending power,'' Kudlow added. ''Again, it will be the largest main street financial package in the history of the United States.''
Monday, March 23 Scoreboard: Fox News Averaged More Than 1 Million Adults 25-54 During Trump's Evening Press Briefing | TVNewser
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 23:10
By A.J. Katz on Mar. 24, 2020 - 5:17 PM Comment
25-54 demographic (Live+SD x 1,000)
Total Day: FNC: 738 | CNN: 656 | MSNBC: 372Prime: FNC: 995 | CNN: 810 | MSNBC: 538
FNC:CNN:MSNBC:4PMCavuto:693Tapper:759Wallace:4265PMFive:1.025Blitzer:799Cont.:'--6PMBaier: 1.464Cont.:'--Mlbr/PrsCnf:438/5037PMMacCallum:1.444Cont.:'--Cont./News:'--/4818PMCarlson:1.199Cooper:798Hayes:4399PMHannity:985Cuomo:817Maddow:66810PMIngraham:802Lemon:811 O'Donnell: 50811PMBream:617Lemon:579Williams:456Total Viewers (Live+SD x 1,000)
Total Day: FNC: 3.325 | CNN: 1.987 | MSNBC: 2.013Prime: FNC: 4.845 | CNN: 2.358 | MSNBC: 3.015
FNCCNNMSNBC:4PMCavuto:3.205Tapper:2.561Wallace:2.7025PMFive:5.041Blitzer:2.711Cont.:'---6PMBaier: 6.418cont.:'---Mlbr/PrsCnf:2.606/2.6637PMMacCallum:6.053cont.:'---Cont./News:'---/2.6268PMCarlson:5.402Cooper:2.480Hayes:2.4559PMHannity:5.108Cuomo:2.375Maddow:3.76110PMIngraham:4.010Lemon:2.213O'Donnell:2.83011PMBream:2.355Lemon:1.450Williams:2.272Comments
Stunning Satellite Images Show What It Looks Like When The World Stops
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 23:00
The virus shock that has struck the global economy has been far faster and more severe than the 2008 financial crisis, Dot Com bust, and even the Great Depression.
In one fell swoop (several months), the global economy has ground to a halt; stock markets have crashed 30-50%, credit markets have frozen, commodities tanked, bankruptcies and bailouts seen, massive unemployment and worldwide GDP cratered.
Strict social distancing measures, mass quarantines, and travel bans across the world to combat the fast-spreading COVID-19 outbreak has been the reason why the global economy has crashed. At this very moment, more than a billion people are confined to their homes, some of the largest factory hubs are shuttered, and education systems are closed indefinitely.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. describes this moment as "the day the earth stood still." Wall Street anxieties are growing by the day as a protracted shutdown of the global economy could trigger a depression.
To give you a worldly view, one from outer space, Bloomberg shares images from satellite company Planet Labs Inc.'s SkySat imaging orbiters that shows certain regions across the world that have ground to a halt:
Wuhan's Yingwuzhou Yangtze River Bridge (before and after shutdown):
The first image of Wuhan's Yingwuzhou Yangtze River Bridge was taken Jan. 12, one day after Covid-19 took its first known life in China. By the time the second photo was taken, Wuhan was quarantined, China had seen 17 more deaths, and Asian neighbors and the U.S. counted their first cases. The disease had already escaped. '' Bloomberg
Wuhan's Yingwuzhou Yangtze River BridgeGreat Mosque of Mecca, Islam's holiest site (before and after shutdown):
At the heart of the Great Mosque of Mecca, Islam's holiest site, sits the Kaaba, the cubic structure that orients Muslims' daily prayers around the world. At the peak of the pilgrimage called the Hajj in late-July and early August, some 2 million people from around the world make their way to the site at once. On Feb. 27, Saudi Arabia closed its borders to international pilgrims. The nation took further steps to limit access to the shrine over the next three weeks until it temporarily suspended all entrance and prayers on March 20, leaving the site empty. '' Bloomberg
Great Mosque of MeccaGrand Canal channel in Venice, Italy (before and after shutdown):
Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte snapped Europe to attention on March 8 when he ordered a lockdown of the country's northern region, which includes Venice. A day later, he extended the lockdown nationwide. Within days of the closure, Venetians were startled to see that their canals and perimeter waterways becalmed. Without the usual human tumult churning the waters, the canals were suddenly still and clear. '' Bloomberg
Grand Canal channel in Venice, ItalyEpcot Center in Bay Lake, Florida (before and after shutdown):
Epcot Center in Bay Lake, Florida was meant to be the realization of Walt Disney's fundamentally optimistic vision of a technology-driven global future. On March 18, two days after The Walt Disney Co. temporarily suspended theme-park operations and with many nations restricting overseas travel, its vast parking lots were empty of visitors' cars. ''Bloomberg
Epcot Center in Bay Lake, FloridaVolkswagen's Tianjin, China factory (before and after shutdown):
Within days of Volkswagen AG's March 17 decision to halt production for up to three-weeks, CEO Herbert Diess said it might not be long enough given the necessary "drastic measures to protect liquidity." After Germany asked its largest carmakers to help make masks and ventilators to treat Covid-19 victims, Volkswagen began building up production capacity in China. The company's Tianjin, China, plant is pictured here. ''Bloomberg
Volkswagen's Tianjin, China factoryMiami Beach (before and after shutdown):
Few places have struggled as vividly with coronavirus-related precautions as Miami Beach, where the disease arrived just as college students descended for spring break. With the state reluctant to demand sweeping closures, local officials in towns and cities began to shut down their most prized money-makers. The City of Miami Beach issued a nighttime curfew on beaches and required non-essential businesses to close daily by 10 pm on the 15th. By the 18th, all beaches were closed in the city and Miami-Date County. On the 20th, the city closed hotels and other lodging services. '' Bloomberg
Even if the pandemic and economic fallout were brought under control in the months ahead, there are still tail risk events that could trigger financial Armageddon.
Afterall, Guggenheim's Scott Minerd declared on Bloomberg TV:
"...this is possibly the worst thing I have seen in my career... it's hard to imagine a scenario in which you can contain the virus threat," adding that "Europe and China are probably already in recession and US GDP will take a 1.5-2.0% hit."
Guggenheim's Scott Minerd says the coronavirus crisis is possibly the worst thing he's ever seen in his career: "This has the potential to reel into something extremely serious" pic.twitter.com/xLhhNm3u7t
'-- Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) February 27, 2020
China's Xi to take part in G20 videoconference on Thursday: state TV
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 22:58
FILE PHOTO: China's President Xi Jinping speaks with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (not pictured) during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, December 23, 2019. Noel Celis/Pool via REUTERS
BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping will take part in a videoconference of leaders from the Group of 20 major economies on Thursday, Chinese state telelvision reported on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman will chair the meeting to advance a global coordinated response to the coronavirus outbreak, a statement said earlier on Wednesday.
Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Se Young Lee; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan
Ghani: Afghan Govt Prepared for $1 Billion US Aid Cut
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 22:58
The US decision to cut $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan, threats to cut another $1 billion in 2021, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declaring Ghani and Abdullah's power struggle as harmful to US interests are a big change, and seemingly represent a break in US-Afghan ties. President Ghani was quick to reject this idea in his comments on Tuesday, saying the government was already prepared to cope with the cut, and will find alternative resources. He added that he will continue negotiations to try to resolve the power struggle, in which he and Abdullah both claimed the election win and were both inaugurated as president. The Afghan election's inconclusive result was materially identical to the last vote, in which the same two candidates claimed victory, only for the US to quickly come forward with a negotiation. This time, the US was late to the show for talks, and clearly the Afghans inability to sort it out didn't sit well with the US. The US seems to be of multiple voices on this topic though, as while the State Department warns them, Gen. Scott Miller reiterated coalition support for Afghan security forces. The general downplayed the political situation in Afghanistan, and said the military will accomplish its goals. This assurance of support from at least part of the US venture in Afghanistan would be more substantial were the US military not one foot out the door from Afghanistan and in the process of a peace deal. Indeed, anger at Ghani is primary that his power struggle threatens this peace.
Coronavirus a 'public health disaster' for struggling rideshare drivers and gig economy, organizer says - ABC News
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 22:53
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Finally, Sanity! 'All Businesses Are Essential,' Texas County's Stay-at-Home Order Won't Close Businesses
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 22:27
Skip to contentJudge says all workers, jobs essential to local economyCollin County joined other North Texas counties on Tuesday morning by issuing a stay-at-home order, but the declaration includes one large exemption: Businesses, even those that may be considered non-essential in other counties, can stay open.
In Tarrant and Dallas counties, non-essential businesses such as shopping malls, movie theaters and bars have been ordered to close down in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus. But Collin County's stay-at-home order that went into effect Tuesday morning, which was signed by Judge Chris Hill, notes that ''all businesses, jobs and workers are essential to the financial health and well-being of our local economy.''
Businesses and employers do have to follow protocols, per the order, including increasing social distancing and providing a safe and healthy work environment. Social distancing is generally understood to mean staying at least 6 feet away from other people, avoiding large gatherings and working at home if possible, according to the order.
Read more
Alex Jones presents footage from the Rose Garden of the White House where President Trump discusses ending the coronavirus lockdown sooner than later.
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Pelosi Suffers Massive Political Hit '' Abandons House Scheme '' Announces Acceptance of Senate Bill'... | The Last Refuge
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 22:23
You can tell when Speaker Pelosi recognizes a political backlash for her manipulative schemes because it's the only time she blitzes the media. After suffering a very large political hit, beyond the capability of the media to defend, Pelosi said today the House will take up the Senate coronavirus bill.
The writing was on the wall late yesterday as people started digging into the 1,400 page House proposal and exposing all of the far-left ideological efforts within it. Billions were earmarked for nonsense progressive projects and the House scheme was fraught with social engineering that had nothing to do with assisting workers and businesses.
Even Pelosi's own party started telling leadership they had gone way too far with the assembled list of nonsense legislation. The speaker recognized if she did not quickly make a tactical retreat her party would be crushed by exposure of the brazen politics they were attempting. The reach was so extreme, the media could not protect her.
In an effort to save a horrid face, the speaker was forced to blitz the media alone while all other house members watched to see how she could recover. Whenever Pelosi stands alone, that's the ''tell'' for the size of the political miscalculation. Pelosi announced she was abandoning plans for the 1,400 page House scheme. Now the senate work continues'...
WASHINGTON DC '' Congressional negotiators signaled Tuesday they are likely hours away from clinching a bipartisan agreement on a nearly $2 trillion emergency stimulus package '-- capping five days of frenetic talks over a response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are expected to announce an agreement later Tuesday, under immense pressure from President Donald Trump, a dire economic outlook and the growing number of Americans losing their livelihoods amid the crisis.
The Senate's lead negotiators '-- Mnuchin, Schumer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland '-- have spent most of Tuesday huddling behind closed doors as they finalized policy details and legislative text. If those last-minute talks are successful, lawmakers say they could vote within hours.
''The timeline is as soon as possible,'' Ueland said leaving a more than hourlong meeting with McConnell, Mnuchin and a half-dozen GOP senators who have been heavily involved in the rescue package.
''We're trying to finalize all the documents, going through a lot of complicated issues, and we're making a lot of progress,'' Mnuchin said, flanked by Rep. Mark Meadows, who was recently tapped as Trump's next chief of staff.
Schumer took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to declare that senators were ''on the 2-yard line'' and said there were no remaining disagreements that couldn't be resolved over the next few hours. (read more)
LA Superior Court on Twitter: "Superior Court of Los Angeles County orders release of County Jail inmates awaiting trial after Justice Partners reach agreement. https://t.co/nhlDIZ5wC7" / Twitter
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 22:05
Log in Sign up LA Superior Court @ LASuperiorCourt Superior Court of Los Angeles County orders release of County Jail inmates awaiting trial after Justice Partners reach agreement.
bit.ly/2Je1P9O 5:52 PM - 24 Mar 2020 Public Health Safety Awareness @ PublicAwarness
2h Replying to
@LASuperiorCourt so did this take care or paragrah 9 of the new order of 03/23/20? 9. Bail review hearings under Penal Code section 1275 for any and all misdemeanor or felony pretrial detainees will be deemed a priority matter on the court's calendar for the next 60 days; or is this unrelated?
View conversation · yoink yoink @ yoinkyoink
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@LASuperiorCourt This tweet is misleading.
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Celine D. Ryan on Twitter: "Over a month ago my dad shared a white paper on hydroxychloroquine with me. It was in a google doc. Went to look at it today and it was blocked because it ''violates google's terms of service.'' Have you ever seen that happ
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 22:04
Log in Sign up Celine D. Ryan @ celinedryan Over a month ago my dad shared a white paper on hydroxychloroquine with me. It was in a google doc. Went to look at it today and it was blocked because it ''violates google's terms of service.''Have you ever seen that happen with a google doc before? Can you ''report'' a gdoc?
7:19 PM - 24 Mar 2020 Celine D. Ryan @ celinedryan
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@celinedryan pic.twitter.com/7DwOgGFoHt View conversation · John Walker @ JohnWal27241905
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@celinedryan Google is not America's friend.
View conversation · Kyanite @ _CivilPunk_
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@JohnWal27241905 @celinedryan They chose the CCP years ago
View conversation · Duke Canuck 🍁 @ duke_canuck
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@celinedryan @RiganoESQ Wow.Look
@RiganoESQ wwwcovidtrial (dot) ioBeing blocked by Twitter too.Can't share link.
pic.twitter.com/dH4bE0t87q View conversation · Gregory Rigano @ RiganoESQ
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@duke_canuck @celinedryan ...[censored]...
View conversation · Randy Rodriguez @ Lachean
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@celinedryan If my docs can be locked by algorithm then I had better download my whole Google Drive as a back up. That is scary. I may have become too reliant on the cloud.
View conversation · Jihadi 5 is Alive! @ doombadroid
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@Lachean @celinedryan @Nextclouders They absolutely can, I recommend investing in a home server and setting up
@Nextclouders that was one of my smarter investments
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@celinedryan That is totally messed up
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@celinedryan Unbelievable everything has an agenda..
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Sisolak bars malaria drugs for coronavirus patients - Las Vegas Sun News
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 22:00
Steve Marcus
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a news conference at the Sawyer State Building in Las Vegas,Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Sisolak ordered a monthlong closure of casinos and other non-essential businesses in order to stem the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).
By Michelle L. Price, Associated Press
Published Tue, Mar 24, 2020 (4 p.m.)
Updated 2 hours, 22 minutes ago
Nevada's governor has signed an emergency order barring the use of anti-malaria drugs for someone who has the coronavirus.
Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak's order Tuesday restricting chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine comes after President Donald Trump touted the medication as a treatment for the virus.
Trump last week falsely stated that the Food and Drug Administration had just approved the use of chloroquine to treat patients infected with coronavirus. After the FDA's chief said the drug still needs to be tested for that use, Trump overstated the drug's potential benefits in containing the virus.
Sisolak said in a statement that there's no consensus among experts or Nevada doctors that the drugs can treat people with COVID-19. His order also limits a prescription to a 30-day supply to ensure it's available for ''legitimate medical purposes" and so that people cannot find a way to stockpile the drug.
The governor's rule comes a day after a Phoenix-area man died and his wife was in critical condition from taking an additive used to clean fish tanks known as chloroquine phosphate, similar to the drug used to treat malaria.
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These maps use phone data to track social distancing - The Washington Post
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 19:15
If you have a smartphone, you're probably contributing to a massive coronavirus surveillance system.
And it's revealing where Americans have '-- and haven't '-- been practicing social distancing.
On Tuesday, a company called Unacast that collects and analyzes phone GPS location data launched a ''Social Distancing Scoreboard'' that grades, county by county, which residents are changing behavior at the urging of health officials. It uses the reduction in the total distance we travel as a rough index for whether we're staying put at home.
Comparing the nation's mass movements from March 20 to an average Friday, Washington, D.C., gets an A, while Wyoming as a whole earns an F.
How do they know that? Efforts to track public health during the coronavirus pandemic are a reminder of the many ways phones reveal our personal lives, both as individuals and in the aggregate. Unacast's location data comes from games, shopping and utility apps that tens of millions of Americans have installed on their phones '-- information the company normally analyzes for retailers, real estate firms and marketers. It's part of a shadowy world of location tracking that consumers often have little idea is going on.
It's not alone. Google also collects and shares where we go. Long before the coronavirus, the Google Maps app has included a live read of how busy popular destinations are, based on location data. Facebook's Instagram, too, lets you see other people who've recently shared updates from places. Both tools are useful for anyone who wants to practice social distancing and avoid spaces that are busy for a jog or fresh air during shelter-in-place orders.
Sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter to track the outbreak. All stories linked in the newsletter are free to access.
There's no evidence that the U.S. government is using phones to enforce stay-at-home orders or track patients. But privacy is often the first civil right on the chopping block when public health and national security are at risk. Getting the balance right is hard. South Korea has used an app to track tens of thousands of quarantined people whose phone would alert authorities if they left home.
The Washington Post reported last week that the U.S. government is in talks with Facebook, Google and other tech companies about using anonymous location data to combat the coronavirus, including tracking whether people are keeping at safe distances from one another. The data wouldn't be held in some federal database; it would be managed by industry and health officials, who could query it for research.
Social distancing in the Washington, D.C., area by county on March 20, according Unacast. Blue means staying closer to home. (Unacast)Unacast, a smaller start-up, assigns letter grades to counties and states based on how much residents have changed their movements on a specific date compared to what's typical on that day of the week. If many people in an area used to commute daily to work but now are leaving the house only for visits to the grocery store, the data would show a big reduction in travel distance.
The Unacast maps are searchable and will be updated daily. On Monday, the New York Times posted GPS data from a firm called Descartes Labs for March 11 through 20.
Unacast assigned an A grade to places that show at least a 40 percent decrease in average distance traveled. On March 20, the first day in its database, the states as a whole that earned an A included Alaska, Massachusetts, Nevada and Vermont. Big reductions in movement are also visible in areas hit hard by the virus, such as New York City (a 57 percent change) and California's Santa Clara county (a 54 percent change).
Unacast deemed anything less than a 10 percent change an F. Only Wyoming earned that grade.
It's the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to?
Overall, Unacast gives the United States a B, for a 32 percent decline in average distance traveled.
Unacast's scores, which haven't been vetted by public health authorities or epidemiologists, don't pick up on whether people are staying at least six feet apart, a central tenet of social distancing. But the company says it is exploring adding layers to its view, including a change in the number of locations visited.
Unacast chief executive Thomas Walle said he hopes the maps might help track compliance with stay-at-home orders and measure whether they're effective.
''We can start to see and learn what states are getting this right,'' he said. ''Over weeks now, we can identify what are the states and counties that are putting measures in place, and see if the number of cases stabilizes or drops.''
On Monday, a different group of researchers used data from half a million public Instagram stories to identify the places around Italy where people are breaking quarantine orders. The researchers from a group called Ghost Data and a firm called Logo Grab used location data and image analyses. About 40 percent of Italians not following the stay-at-home rules were in the city, and 26 percent were spotted at the beach.
Social distancing by county in the Chicago area on March 20, according to Unacast. Blue means staying closer to home.All of these surveillance studies raise a question: Do people realize they're sharing data about their whereabouts for these purposes?
Privacy advocates worry data firms like Unacast can be dodgy because they're gathering locations without real consent from people.
Walle said all of the apps that Unacast acquires location data from must let users know. But he declined to name any of the apps. And we know few people read the privacy policies on apps '-- the fine print where they disclose the many ways they use your location, such as selling it on to data firms.
''Everything here is on the aggregated level,'' Walle said. ''We can't tell or disclose if any individual is staying at home or not.''
How we survive the surveillance apocalypse
Following health experts' guidance to ''flatten the curve'' by limiting contact with others keeps everyone safer. But if you don't want your phone's location showing up on a social distancing map '-- or in the hands of marketers '-- carefully vet the apps you have installed or just turn off the phone's location services.
Unacast's county-by-county grades for social distancing in Texas on March 20. The blue color indicates more staying put.
Apple plans to reopen some Apple Store locations in the first half of April
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 17:27
By Mike Peterson Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 12:38 pm PT (03:38 pm ET)
Apple expects to reopen its brick-and-mortar retail outlets in the first half of April, retail and people chief Deirdre O'Brien told staffers on Tuesday.
Apple may begin reopening retail locations in April, though it won't reopen them all at once. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple shuttered all of its Apple Store locations outside of China. Though originally slated to reopen March 27, Apple updated that timeline to "until further notice."
Now, it appears that notice is being given. According to an internal memo sent Apple Store employees and seen by VentureBeat, the Cupertino tech giant is expecting to reopen its Apple locations in early April.
In the U.S. specifically, Apple appears to be planning on reopening retail locations on a staggered basis instead of all at once.
The new retail plans come on the same day that President Donald Trump said he hopes to reopen the country's business operations by Easter, which takes place on April 12 this year, The Wall Street Journal reported.
While Apple also began urging its Apple Park to work from home in early March, it eventually implemented flexible and remote work arrangements to all of its offices outside of Greater China.
In the internal memo, O'Brien said that Apple will extend its work-from-home policies until April 5 at the earliest, and will re-evaluate those arrangements on a weekly basis depending on a staffer's location. Along with heading Apple's retail operations, O'Brien is also the company's chief of people, so it's likely that the guidance refers to office employees as well.
Of course, the San Francisco Bay Area, where Apple Park is located, and the entire state of California are still under government shelter-in-place and stay-at-home mandates. Aside from essential IT and infrastructure personnel, those mandates will override Apple's own policies in affected areas.
That timeline is much quicker than many public health experts are recommending. And while the COVID-19 pandemic is an extremely fluid situation, it's likely that the outbreak will be ongoing through April. Because of that, Apple is likely to maintain its deep cleaning and anti-spread measures at its retail locations.
Gold Reserve Act - Wikipedia
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 16:25
Gold Reserve ActOther short titlesGold Reserve Act of 1934Long titleAn Act to protect the currency system of the United States, to provide for the better use of the monetary gold stock of the United States, and for other purposes.Acronyms (colloquial) GRANicknamesGold Reserve Act (Devaluation)Enacted bythe 73rd United States CongressEffectiveJanuary 30, 1934CitationsPublic law73-87 Statutes at Large 48 Stat. 337Legislative historyIntroduced in the House as H.R. 6976Passed the House on January 20, 1934 (373-41)Passed the Senate on January 27, 1934 (69-25)Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 30 January 1934The United States Gold Reserve Act of January 30, 1934 required that all gold and gold certificates held by the Federal Reserve be surrendered and vested in the sole title of the United States Department of the Treasury. It also prohibited the Treasury and financial institutions from redeeming dollars for gold, established the Exchange Stabilization Fund under control of the Treasury to control the dollar's value without the assistance (or approval) of the Federal Reserve, and authorized the president to establish the gold value of the dollar by proclamation.[1][2]
Immediately following passage of the Act, the President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the statutory price of gold from $20.67 per troy ounce to $35. This price change incentivized gold miners globally to expand production and foreigners to export their gold to the United States, while simultaneously by devaluing the U.S. dollar it reduced deflation. The increase in gold reserves due to the price change resulted in a large accumulation of gold in the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury, much of which was stored in the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox and other locations. The increase in gold reserves increased the money supply, lowering real interest rates which in turn increased investment in durable goods.
A year earlier, in 1933, Executive Order 6102 had made it a criminal offense for U.S. citizens to own or trade gold anywhere in the world, with exceptions for some jewelry and collector's coins. These prohibitions were relaxed starting in 1964 '' gold certificates were again allowed for private investors on April 24, 1964, although the obligation to pay the certificate holder on demand in gold specie would not be honored. By 1975 Americans could again freely own and trade gold.
U.S. economic historical narrative [ edit ] The United States was still suffering the negative effects of the 1929 stock market crash in 1934 when the Gold Reserve Act was enacted. President Roosevelt was challenged to decrease unemployment, raise wages and increase the money supply, but was restricted in doing so by the United States' strict adherence to the gold standard.[3] The Gold Reserve Act, which banned the export of gold, restricted the ownership of gold and halted the convertibility of gold into paper money helped him overcome this obstacle.[3] This act ratified the previous Executive Order 6102 which required almost all gold to be exchanged for paper currency.
Immediately following passage of the Act, the President revalued the price of gold to $35 per troy ounce. This devaluation of the dollar drastically increased the growth rate of the Gross National Product (GNP) from 1933 to 1941. Between 1933 and 1937 the GNP in the United States grew at an average rate of over 8 percent.[4] This growth in real output is due primarily to a growth in the money supply M1, which grew at an average rate of 10 percent per year between 1933 and 1937.[4] Traditional beliefs about the recovery from the Great Depression hold that the growth was due to fiscal policy and the United States' participation in World War II. Friedman and Schwartz claimed that the "rapid rate [of growth of the money stock] in three successive years from June 1933 to June 1936 ... was a consequence of the gold inflow produced by the revaluation of gold plus the flight of capital to the United States".[4] Treasury holdings of gold in the US tripled from 6,358 in 1930 to 8,998 in 1935 (after the Act) then to 19,543 metric tonnes of fine gold by 1940.[3]
The revaluation of gold referenced was an active policy decision made by the Roosevelt administration in order to devalue the dollar.[4] The largest inflow of gold during this period was in direct response to the revaluation of gold.[4] An increase in M1, which is a result of an inflow of gold, would also lower real interest rates, thus stimulating the purchases of durable consumer goods by reducing the opportunity cost of spending.[4] If the Gold Reserve Act had not been enacted, and money supply had followed its historical trend, then real GNP would have been approximately 25 percent lower in 1937 and 50 percent lower in 1942.[4]
International economic historical narrative [ edit ] The international community during the depression began to shift much of its gold reserves to the United States. Foreign investors clamored over the $15 increase in value from $20.67 to $35 per troy ounce, and exported their gold to the United States in record amounts causing U.S. treasury holdings to increase. This data shows two important aspects that involved gold in the early 20th century. The first was the massive expansion of gold as a currency across the globe. This data also demonstrates the rapid increase of gold reserves to the US. Even in 1900 the U.S. only held 602 tonnes of gold in reserve. This was 61 tonnes less than Russia and only 57 tonnes more than France.[3]
Over the next 20 years the countries' reserves grew as the amount of gold in the market increased and as normal trading occurred. However, in the 1930s there was a sudden shift up in reserves in the U.S. From 1930 to 1940, treasury holdings had tripled, mostly due to foreign investing. Another reason behind the shift of reserves to the US was the suspension of the gold standard in Britain on September 21, 1931. Gold reserves in the Bank of England also grew over ten times from 1930 to 1940, but it was still less than the amount the U.S. had. The Bank of France also saw over 200 tonnes of gold get transferred to New York following the raising of prices in America.[3]
Roles of the FRS and Treasury [ edit ] Gove Griffith Johnson, an economist and author said: "One may be skeptical of the wisdom with which monetary instruments will be used, but the possibility of abuse extends throughout the whole sphere of governmental activity and is a risk which must be assumed under a democratic or any other form of government."[5]
Prior to Gold Reserve Act 1934, the Federal Reserve System was in trouble as the Great Depression had swept over the country and people looked to the Fed for solutions. Some people[who? ] claim that "market failure" was not the cause of this trouble. Instead, they place the blame for the years of the Great Contraction (from 1929 to 1933) on the mismanagement of the monetary policy by the central bank. That explains why Congress handed over the Federal Reserve's powers to the Treasury. Johnson explains that the Treasury's gold policy "was an essential instrument for producing desired political aims".[5] In other words, the Federal Reserve System had served more as a "technical instrument for effecting the Treasury's policies", according to Johnson.
Roosevelt justified Gold Reserve Act 1934 by saying that "Since there was not enough gold to pay all holders of gold obligations, ... the Government should in the interest of justice allow none to be paid in gold."[5]
Since the Central Banking Act of 1935, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has authorized the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to purchase and/or sell U.S. government securities in the open market in order to determine the stock of money in the U.S. The Fed Board also gained its power over member bank reserve requirements as a result. Since the FOMC was determining the quantity of money in circulation, the quantity of gold in the system did not affect the stock of money in the U.S. economy. Due to the Banking Act, the secretary of the Treasury was no longer the Fed's Board of Governors. However, being a chairman gave the secretary enough power to influence the Fed.[5]
Treasury managers wished to halt monetary expansion in 1936 by stagnating gold and increasing reserve requirements. For all intents and purposes, this led to a freeze of the monetary system and U.S. economy. The Treasury began its own gold sterilization policy in order to stop inflation from potentially increasing due to an increase in inflow of gold into the U.S. soon after the Fed enacted the same policy. Gold holdings more than doubled in the period of 1935 to 1940.[3] This lasted for 16 months from 1936 to 1938. In more efforts, as of the end of 1936, the Treasury noted its gold purchases as part of "inactive" account. In other words, the Treasury met the price of gold through sales of government securities in financial markets in order to keep the pile of gold high but they would not be converted into currency in the Treasury.[5]
Effect on inflation/deflation [ edit ] After the act of 1934, deflation, which would sometimes be a great as ''10.5% in the bust of 1921 (which was preceded by over 14% inflation for 4 consecutive years immediately prior to 1921), would never again drop below ''2.1%. Before 1934, from 1914 to 1934, inflation was a (geometric) average of 1.37% per year. After 1934, from 1934 until 2013, inflation was a (geometric) average of 3.67% per year. Inflation was more stabilized, but still higher than the previous period. This may be due to leaving the gold standard, over time.[6]
Litigation arising from GRA [ edit ] The passage of the Gold Reserve Act of 1934 signified that the American people could no longer hold gold, with the exception of jewelry and collectors' coins. After the passage of the Gold Reserve Act several people were indicted for violating the clauses that restricted gold ownership and trade. Frederick Barber Campbell (who was actually convicted under the Gold Reserve Act's predecessor, Executive Order 6102), was convicted of hoarding gold when he tried to withdraw 5,000 troy ounces of gold he had at Chase National Bank. Gus Farber, a diamond and jewelry merchant was arrested with his father and 12 others for illegally selling $20 gold coins without a license. The Baraban family was arrested for operating a gold scrap business under a false license. Foreign companies even had their gold confiscated. The Uebersee Finanz-Korporation, a Swiss banking company, had $1,250,000 in gold coins that were being held in the United States.
In the Consolidated Gold Clause Cases (independently known as Perry v. U.S., U.S. v. Bankers Trust Co., Norman v. Baltimore & Ohio R. Co., Nortz v. U.S.), the Gold Reserve Act was subject to scrutiny by the United States Supreme Court, which narrowly upheld Roosevelt's gold confiscation policy.
Recent events [ edit ] The 2008 decision 216 Jamaica Avenue, LLC vs S&R Playhouse Realty Co.[7] established that a gold clause in contracts signed before 1933 was only suspended, not erased, and under certain limited circumstances might be reactivated.
See also [ edit ] Executive Order 6102Gold standardNew DealReferences [ edit ] Further reading [ edit ] Allen, Larry (2009). The Encyclopedia of Money (2nd ed.). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. pp. 175''177. ISBN 978-1598842517. External links [ edit ] "Public Law 73-87, 73d Congress, H. R. 6976: Gold Reserve Act of 1934". Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research (FRASER). "Gold Reserve Act of 1934: Hearings before the Committee on Coinage Weights and Measures House of Representatives Seventy-Third Congress Second Session on H.R. 6976". Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research (FRASER). January 15, 1934.
What postponing the Summer Olympics means for NBC - CNN
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 15:51
By Frank Pallotta, CNN Business
Updated 3:25 PM EDT, Tue March 24, 2020
New York(CNN Business) Japan's Prime Minister and the International Olympic Committee agreed to postpone the Summer Olympics until 2021 because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The decision, announced Tuesday, has wide-ranging ramifications for the sports world as well as for NBC, the network that has become synonymous with the event.
The Olympics, which were scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo, are both a global athletic competition and a major television event in which NBC and its parent company, Comcast ( CMCSA ) , are heavily invested.
NBC has aired every summer Olympics since 1988. Postponing this year's games disrupts multiple parts of NBC, from its ad revenue business to the promotion of Peacock, the network's new streaming service.
"This is significant to NBC because they've built their brand around it. They're the network of the Olympics," said Jay Rosenstein, a former vice president of programming at CBS Sports. "The peacock is intertwined with the Olympic rings."
Rosenstein added that nearly every part of NBC is involved with putting together the games, including its sports, news and cable divisions.
"This is much more than just a two week operation for them. They have to prepare for it for years. Pausing and restarting it is a big challenge," Rosenstein told CNN Business. "It's also an additional challenge because the Beijing Winter Games in 2022 would likely only be six months later now."
Patrick Crakes, a media consultant and former Fox Sports executive, said that the Olympics are a "top five investment for Comcast."
"Every two years the whole company goes all in to present one of the world's unifying premiere events," Crakes told CNN Business. "It's the equivalency of turning around an aircraft carrier to do this all again next year."
The games are a huge advertising and ratings driver. NBC's viewership for the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics were sluggish from previous games, but the games still brought in a big viewership and profits. NBC Sports announced earlier this month that it exceeded $1.2 billion in ad sales for the upcomng Olympics '-- a new record for the games.
"I'd guess that many of these major sponsors, who have been Olympic sponsors for years, can switch to next year," Crakes said. "It's not easy, but not impossible either."
He added that "postponing is better than canceling." However, from a technical and capital investment perspective, putting on the games next year is an "enormous amount of work."
"You have have to rebook all the hotel rooms, you have re-schedule everything," he said. "It's a lot of little things that begin to add up in a big way."
Brian Roberts, Comcast's CEO, said earlier this month that he was "optimistic" that the Olympics would take place as scheduled, but added that the company is insured if the games are interrupted or canceled by the outbreak.
"Should there be some disruption, as others have said, we anticipate these kind of things," Roberts said, adding that that the company also has "insurance for any of the expenses we make."
NBC Sports said on Tuesday that it fully understands the decision to postpone the games.
"We have no doubt that the IOC and Tokyo Organizing Committee will put on an exceptional games next year and the Olympic flame will once again unite the world and provide a light at the end of this tunnel," an NBC Sports spokesperson said in a statement.
Apart from the revenue from the games, NBC also will lose a giant promotional tool for its new streaming service, Peacock.
Peacock is set to debut nationally on July 15, a week before the games were set to begin. The Olympics were to be a big presence on the service, which was going to broadcast the opening and closing ceremonies as well as three daily highlight shows.
"NBC would have loved to use the games to launch the service, but it'll be set up next year and will likely be more than ready to take on the 2021 games," Crakes said.
Another silver lining for NBC is that there may be a pent up demand for the games when they finally do occur, according to Rosenstein.
"I don't have a crystal ball, but after all of this audiences may be looking forward to the world coming together next year," he said.
Groen licht voor onderhandelingen toetreding Noord-Macedoni en Albani tot EU
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 15:37
De Noord-Macedonische minister-president Zoran Saev wil graag zijn land laten toetreden tot de EU. Beeld EPA De Europese Commissie, verantwoordelijk voor de uitbreidingsonderhandelingen, adviseerde twee jaar op rij om formeel met de twee Balkanstaten in gesprek te gaan. Beide landen zijn een hervormingsproces begonnen dat volgens waarnemers ingrijpender is dan de programma's die Centraal-Europese landen moesten invoeren voordat ze konden toetreden.
Niettemin stuitte de Commissie twee jaar achtereen op bezwaren van landen waar verdere EU-uitbreiding niet populair is: Frankrijk, Nederland en Denemarken.
Dat Nederland aarzelt bij Europese projecten verbaast steeds minder EU-partners. Maar Frankrijk kreeg scherpe kritiek nadat het land afgelopen najaar volhardde in een 'non' '' tegen de zin in van de Commissie en de overgrote meerderheid van lidstaten.
Hoe viel dit te verenigen met de door Macron bepleite 'strategische autonomie' van de EU, wilden de andere landen weten. En hoe verhield zich dit tot de wens om Chinese en Russische invloeden te beperken op de Balkan?
HervormdMaar Macron hield vol en betoogde dat het mechanisme voor uitbreiding van de Unie moest veranderen. Dit is nu gebeurd, met als belangrijkste vernieuwing dat het uitbreidingsproces nu omkeerbaar is.
Deze vernieuwing, gekoppeld aan een waslijst eisen aan de twee landen, bood de nee-zeggers voldoende om hun blokkade op te geven: tegen de sceptici in eigen land kunnen ze nu zeggen dat definitieve besluiten over uitbreiding nog vele jaren van ons af liggen en dat de EU nu instrumenten heeft om op een later tijdstip alsnog aan de rem te trekken. De EU-ministers van Buitenlandse Zaken besluiten dinsdag dat de onderhandelingen door mogen gaan.
Ook het groene licht deze week betekent niet de formele aftrap voor uitbreidingsonderhandelingen. Die komt pas tijdens een Intergouvernementele Conferentie (IGC) en deze kan inzake Albani wat Nederland betreft pas plaatsvinden 'als het kabinet heeft vastgesteld dat er voldoende verdere vooruitgang is geboekt' bij de eerder vastgestelde criteria.
Ja, mitsAdia Sakiqi, de Albanese ambassadeur in Nederland, stelt verheugd vast dat Nederland de afgelopen maanden zijn standpunt heeft gewijzigd van een 'nee' naar het Duitse 'ja, mits'. 'En al die voorwaarden vinden we niet erg, omdat we dat proces van diepgaande hervormingen al zijn begonnen.' Ze wijst erop dat vooral Duitsland en de Verenigde Staten daarbij grote hulp bieden, ook en vooral op justitiegebied. Zo worden jonge aanklagers onder meer getraind in Amerika.
Ook na de formele aftrap in een IGC wacht beide landen een jarenlang durend proces van onderhandelingen. Tien jaar behoort daarbij tot de conservatieve schattingen, in realiteit kan het zo vijftien worden.
Majda Ruge, een expert van de Amerikaanse denktank Council on Foreign Relations, wijst er in Financial Times op dat EU-landen nu wel plechtig beloven om vooruitgang te laten afhangen van de resultaten in aspirant-lidstaten. 'Dat betekent dat je landen die grote stappen hebben gezet om hervormingen door te voeren en conflicten op te lossen, echt moet belonen.'
Ruge wijst op het contrast tussen Albani (met zijn rigoureuze hervormingsproces) en Noord-Macedoni (dat de pijnlijke naamskwestie met Griekenland oploste) en Servi '' ook aspirant-lidstaat, evenals Montenegro.
' De weg naar Europa was al niet gemakkelijk, en is nog moeilijker geworden', concludeert Sakiqi. Toch is het een enorme opsteker voor het land dat in november door een verwoestende aardbeving werd getroffen. 'We zitten nu in onze comfort zone: onze geschiedenis is immers altijd moeilijk geweest. Maar die hervormingen, die doen we voor onszelf.'
De lange weg naar EU-lidmaatschap Nederland blijft aarzelen over de toekomst van Albani in de EU.
Adviesraad: conflict tussen VS en China dwingt Europa om meer autonomie na te streven.
DOD to extend maximum telework to contractors -- FCW
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 15:34
Defense
DOD to extend maximum telework to contractors By Lauren C. WilliamsMar 24, 2020 The Defense Department wants contractors to maximize telework opportunities in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.
Kim Herrington, the acting director for Defense Pricing and Contracting in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, issued a memo March 20 instructing defense companies to "consider unprecedented flexibilities" during the COVID-19 pandemic and allow workers to do their jobs remotely "without mission degradation."
"We are asking that the same maximum telework flexibilities extended to DOD service members and civilians also be made available to contractors when contract services can be delivered, without mission degradation, while off-site," Herrington wrote.
"This flexibility should be allowed and encouraged, where appropriate, and done so without need for further consideration during this national emergency."
Despite the intentions to support telework, much of DOD's work, including contract work, was deemed critical and required to continue onsite.
Ellen Lord, DOD's head of acquisition, cited the Department of Homeland Security's definition of critical infrastructure in a separate March 20 memo that declared companies and their subcontractors that support the development, production, testing, fielding or sustainment of weapons and software systems as well as those who work in aerospace, as software engineers or IT support, among other national security areas, as essential.
That memo also delineated which functions were not essential, namely landscaping, recreation support and providing office supplies -- many of which cannot be supplied remotely. Lord also made it clear that any essential workforce was "expected to maintain their normal work schedules."
Herrington called the telework move a "reasonable step" so contracting officers and program managers can create the right environment, and requirements owners can work together while supporting public health efforts.
DOD has been working to issue guidance, such as daily briefings with industry, maximizing telework opportunities for all of its personnel and employing social distancing practices, even when it comes to media briefings, to ensure national security missions continue uninterrupted. But industry organizations have concerns about cash flow and the health of workers, especially those who are required to work in classified or security sensitive locations.
The Intelligence and National Security Alliance directed a letter March 21 to defense acquisition and intelligence agency heads, saying the government must "do all that is possible to bolster the health of government's industry partners in the national security sector, which face dire financial straits as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak" and could face default in some cases.
About the Author
Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.
Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.
Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at [email protected] , or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.
Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.
Workforce
OMB urges 'maximum telework flexibilities' for DC-area feds A Sunday evening memo ahead of a potentially chaotic commute urges agency heads to pivot to telework as much as possible.
Acquisition
Spinning up telework presents procurement challenges As concerns over the coronavirus outbreak drives more agencies towards expanding employee telework, federal acquisition contracts can help ease some of the pain.
Netflix, Facebook to cut data traffic in India to ease network congestion
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 15:32
FILE PHOTO: The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
BENGALURU/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Streaming service Netflix Inc (NFLX.O ) and social media giant Facebook Inc (FB.O ) said on Tuesday they would reduce the amount of data their services use to ease congested telecoms networks in India, where millions are using home internet amid a lockdown to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Netflix will reduce traffic over Indian telecom networks by 25% over the next 30 days, the company said in a statement, following similar moves in Europe to help internet service providers experiencing a surge in usage.
The producer of original shows such as ''The Crown'' and ''Sex Education'', Netflix has over 16 million paying users in the Asia-Pacific region, but it does not disclose subscriber figures for India.
Facebook said it will temporarily reduce bit rates, or cut picture quality, for videos on Facebook and Instagram in India, the company's biggest market by number of users.
India has enforced lockdowns across several cities, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announcing a nationwide shutdown from midnight for 21 days to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Mobile networks are likely to come under increased pressure as people increasingly use home internet to work and stream online content.
Earlier this week, Amazon.com Inc's (AMZN.O ) Prime Video service said it had begun reducing streaming bit rates in India while Walt Disney Co (DIS.N )-controlled local rival Hotstar said it was prepared to reduce the bit rate for its high definition streams if the need arose.
Amazon and Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O ) YouTube have also cut picture quality in Europe to prevent overload.
(This story has been refiled to fix typo in first paragraph.)
Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru and Sankalp Phartiyal in New Delhi, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Angus MacSwan
Canada's Trudeau wants parliament to approve more spending powers amid outbreak
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 15:31
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday he wanted flexibility to enact future spending measures as the House of Commons convened to pass a C$27-billion ($18.6 billion) emergency cash injection to soften the financial blow of the coronavirus outbreak.
FILE PHOTO: Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference as efforts continue to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Blair Gable
To maintain social distancing, only about three dozen of the 338 members of the House met to debate and then vote on the legislation just hours before Ontario, the most populous of Canada's 10 provinces, shuts all non-essential businesses.
The number of people in Canada diagnosed with the novel coronavirus is almost 2,200, and the death toll on Tuesday was 25, one more than the day before.
The official opposition Conservative Party threatened to block the legislation after it said Trudeau's Liberal government wanted to give itself the power to spend without parliamentary approval until the end of 2021.
''The government should not attempt to eliminate parliamentary oversight during a crisis,'' Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said on Tuesday.
Liberal House leader Pablo Rodriguez said debate had been delayed as he scrambled to come up with a new draft bill. Trudeau's minority government requires opposition support to pass legislation.
The gravity of the coronavirus crisis ''requires extreme flexibility and rapidity of response by governments,'' Trudeau told reporters outside his home, where he has been in quarantine since his wife tested positive for the disease almost two weeks ago.
''We've been in close discussion with the opposition parties to find a way to both get that flexibility to be able to get measures out the door, and keep in place our democratic institutions and the values that are important to us all,'' Trudeau said. The prime minister gave no further details.
The package of measures will only become law once the Senate, or upper chamber, adopts it on Wednesday.
Trudeau last week pledged C$27 billion ($18.6 billion) in direct support to families and businesses struggling because of the coronavirus outbreak, and said he was ready to do more. The government will provide C$55 billion ($38 billion) in additional aid to businesses and households through tax deferrals.
Together with maturing bonds and refinancing of T-bills, emergency measures could lift Canadian dollar borrowing to about C$375 billion for the upcoming fiscal year, up nearly 40% from an estimated C$270 billion for 2019-20, according to Reuters calculations. Canada's fiscal year ends March 31.
($1 = 1.4491 Canadian dollars)
Reporting by Steve Scherer; additional reporting by David Ljunggren and Kelsey Johnson; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Richard Chang
NJ orders up to 1,000 inmates released to lessen coronavirus while left-wing governor threatens 'action' against residents who violate stay-at-home order
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 15:29
Up to 1,000 New Jersey inmates are being temporarily released by the state to stem the coronavirus tide, Politico reported, citing the American Civil Liberties Union, which campaigned for the move along with the state Office of the Public Defender.
"Unprecedented times call for rethinking the normal way of doing things, and in this case it means releasing people who pose little risk to their communities for the sake of public health and the dignity of people who are incarcerated," ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Singha said in a statement, the outlet noted.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and the County Prosecutors Association of the State of New Jersey also backed the move, Politico reported.
"It is inevitable that the virus will spread into the county jails and, when that happens, the health and well-being of inmates and jail staff members will be at tremendous risk," public defender Joseph Krakora wrote, the outlet added. "It is therefore incumbent upon the criminal justice system to reduce our county jail populations to the extent possible without compromising public safety."
What are the details?Chief Justice Stuart Rabner ordered two classes of inmates released by 6 a.m. Tuesday, the outlet said '-- those behind bars as a condition of probation and those serving time from municipal court convictions. Inmates for probation violations and low-level crimes '-- fourth-degree, disorderly persons, or petty disorderly persons offenses '-- will be released Thursday, Politico added.
The order lets county prosecutors challenge inmate releases, the outlet said, adding that it also suspends sentences until the coronavirus crisis passes as opposed to commuting them. Judges also have the option of ordering inmates back to jail later or give them credit for time served, Politico reported.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy '-- known for his left-wing politics '-- on Tuesday praised the action:
And yet...The move to release prisoners in New Jersey comes as Murphy has imposed a stay-at-home order for all residents '-- and the governor got angry Sunday that some weren't obeying it.
"We are really damned unhappy" about disobedient residents "and we're going to take action," he said, according to the Atlantic City Press.
Murphy also said there are "too many people not paying attention to this" and "we've about had it," the paper added.
Police arrested a New Jersey homeowner Friday for hosting a wedding at his home with more than 50 people in attendance, the number of which violates Murphy's order.
What was the reaction?Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, and others aren't down with releasing prisoners while demanding residents stay at home. One Twitter user reacted to Fitton's tweet about the situation, saying the move smacks of "Democrat totalitarianism":
(H/T: Townhall)
'This is about protecting lives' - IOC chief says costs of Tokyo 2020 delay not discussed
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 15:29
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach says the organisation remains "fully committed" to Tokyo 2020The cost of postponing Tokyo 2020 was not discussed with Japan's Prime Minister, says International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.
The IOC and Games organisers announced on Tuesday the Olympics and Paralympics would be delayed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, following a phone call between Bach and Shinzo Abe.
"This is about protecting lives," the German said when asked about cost.
Preparations for the Games have already cost at least £10bn.
'Tokyo Olympics will be a carnival unleashed that no-one will take for granted ever again''Heartbreaking' but a 'relief' - how athletes reacted to Olympic delayGB Paralympians praise decision to delay Tokyo GamesHow coronavirus has impacted sporting events around the worldThe latest news on the coronavirus crisisEarlier in March, Bach said postponing would "come at a cost".
Toshiro Muto, the chief executive of Tokyo 2020, said he was unsure about what losses would be incurred as a result of the delay.
"The basic policy of postponement was decided today," he said.
"How exactly are we going to achieve the postponement? That will be discussed among the IOC, us and Tokyo. I am sure it will be very difficult."
The IOC's former head of commercial has suggested the body should not suffer major losses.
''Provided the event takes place, the broadcast partners get their three weeks of programming,'' said Michael Payne.
''You may be dealing with a little bit of re-engineering on the margin, but nothing of substance."
'Words have meanings': CNBC reporter directly quotes Donald Trump on the economy and *still* manages to lie about what he said
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 15:25
This afternoon, Donald Trump set a goal for the U.S. economy to get back up and running:
President @realDonaldTrump ''I'd love to have it opened up by Easter!'' Talking about the US economy. And adding throughout the discussion -we'll protect the vulnerable but get back to work. #foxtownhall
'-- Bret Baier (@BretBaier) March 24, 2020
Bear in mind "I'd love to have'..." is not an actual commitment.
I already see lots of people acting like POTUS just set a date. He didn't. https://t.co/da9WTFcLAc
'-- Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) March 24, 2020
One of those people is CNBC Washington correspondent Kayla Tausche:
BREAKING: Trump sets deadline for US economy to reopen.
"I would love to have the country opened up and raring to go by Easter."
Easter is April 12.
'-- Kayla Tausche (@kaylatausche) March 24, 2020
Trump indeed said he'd ''love to have the country opened up and raring to go by Easter,' and Easter is indeed April 12. But Tausche somehow still managed to misinform her Twitter followers.
Doesn't sound like a deadline. https://t.co/IaQwWok7Tv
'-- Ramesh Ponnuru (@RameshPonnuru) March 24, 2020
That isn't a deadline.
'-- Kaitain 🇺🇸 (@Kaitain_FL) March 24, 2020
That doesn't sound like a deadline, I don't think you know what deadline means Kayla'...
'-- Vaiv (@Vaiv71738794) March 24, 2020
"I would love to have'..." is not setting a deadline. https://t.co/UDuh0l9sJR
'-- Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) March 24, 2020
It's really not, Kayla. As an alleged journalist, you should know that.
That doesn't sound like your title in the tweet but you'd rather have clicks than accuracy.
'-- Pouncing Coder Brad (@bradcundiff) March 24, 2020
That's not a deadline. That's him saying he'd LIKE to see it open by then. Do you understand what an actual deadline is?
'-- Kimberly Morin (@Conservativeind) March 24, 2020
That's a deadline? Why the need to sensationalize every sentence into?
He said ''would love to''. I have news for you;
BREAKING: so would millions of other ppl love to see that!
'-- Jeffinance (@Jeffinance) March 24, 2020
"I would love to'..." does not equal a deadline, it equals a goal. Words have meanings. If you don't know what one means, look it up before you use it. https://t.co/B9ai42tRgU
'-- Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) March 24, 2020
GP Trump didn't set a deadline. He used precatory language, language expressing his wishes or desires.
Can we please report fact? You even quoted the damned language directly and still managed to eff it all up. https://t.co/IQ7Ronpk9x
'-- The Gormogons (@Gormogons) March 24, 2020
Because of course.
#journalism https://t.co/gZ6k3AKfB5
'-- Dodd (@Amuk3) March 24, 2020
Keep it up, MSM. You're doing great so far.
'Oh for Pete's SAKE!' Brit Hume drops NBC News' Heidi Przybyla for milking ridiculous fish tank cleaner story to drag Trump
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 15:23
Guess the lesson here kids is if the instructions on the label say NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION it's not for human consumption.
We have covered a lot of dumb stories over the years (job security!) but this claim that Trump somehow compelled these people to drink fish tank cleaner is impressively ridiculous. Yeah yeah, the media has proven they will go to great lengths to make Trump look worse than Hitler but this was ridiculous.
Even for them.
And this pearl-clutching from NBC News' Heidi Przybyla is REALLY milking it.
👉Her husband is dead & she's in the ICU after ingesting chloroquine:
"We saw Trump on TV '-- every channel '-- & all of his buddies and that this was safe," she said."Trump kept saying it was basically pretty much a cure."
She implored @VaughnHillyard: "Educate the people" https://t.co/Vl94tIZcdw
'-- Heidi Przybyla (@HeidiNBC) March 23, 2020
You know that face you make when you can't remember what day of the week it is because you've been at home so long you've lost count of the days of the week? Yup, just made that face.
We're going to bet Brit Hume made a similar face:
Oh for Pete's sake, they drank fish tank cleaner. https://t.co/8UvPGsnliy
'-- Brit Hume (@brithume) March 24, 2020
Brit, we so agree '... this is ridiculous.
How did they live to be 60?
'-- t moore#FBTS (@tmoore98101507) March 24, 2020
Brit '' the media would rather increase the noise on Fish Cleaner dangers '... than hear success stories like the gentleman in Florida who recovered using hydroxychloroquine.
'-- WestCoastConservative 🇺🇸 (@WC_Conservative) March 24, 2020
Or about the people who are getting better, or the businesses finding ways to get through this crisis.
It's almost as if the media do not want things to be ok.
Gotta get Orange man at all cost pic.twitter.com/cWHeh0mUbs
'-- Sweater Yams (@Sweater_Yams_) March 24, 2020
Prepare for the block, Brit. That seems to be her only defense for this
'-- Dave Gray (@docgray81) March 24, 2020
Proof that it's not just millenials who are ingesting Tide Pods and licking toilet seats.
'-- Chris Clinkinbeard (@Clinkin53) March 24, 2020
That's irrelevant to them. Only fear sells news and gets viewers
'-- Reality Beaker (@RealityBeaker) March 24, 2020
And they REALLY love the anti-Trump fear.
You betcha.
You'd think that drinking fish tank cleaner for any reason is never a good idea. As far as stupidity goes, it's right up there with eating Tide Pods.
'-- Joe Freymuth (@Joe_Freymuth) March 24, 2020
Did they not read on the fish tank cleaner it says "NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. " I have saltwater and fresh water fish. Every chemical I put in the tanks has NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.
'-- Melissa🇺🇸'­'­'­ Gen. Flynn🇺🇸 (@Melissa82225794) March 24, 2020
@HeidiNBC is currently leading in the Main Stream Medias"Race to the Bottom of Journalistic Integrity"Overtaking Jim @JimAcostass, @DanRather and @BrianStetler she jumped to the lead. While the race isn't over and it's anyone's to win, this currently puts her far in front!
'-- RAC (@ACBuster63) March 24, 2020
WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE FISH?!
Oh, wait, wrong outrage.
Our bad, it gets confusing after a while.
***
Related:
'Democrats HATE America': Even Lefties are pissed about House Dems' plan for rebates/checks in Coronavirus Relief Bill
Lefties DRAG fellow Lefty Amanda Marcotte like we've NEVER seen a Lefty dragged before over her 'disturbing' coronavirus thread
SUUURE: Journo who blamed Trump for couple eating fish tank cleaner claims she used tablet pic because of 'photo licensing'
'OMFG, Nancy '... WHYYYY?!' Hilariously INFURIATING thread breaks down Nancy Pelosi's coronavirus bill bit-by-pork-filled bit
Delete-apolooza! Axios and The Hill attempt to memory-hole blaming Trump on the fish-cleaner poisoning, but we have the screenshots
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 15:23
It has been a borderline disastrous night-and-day for the media. As many have heard, there have been attempts in the press since last night to attach blame to President Trump for a couple getting gravely ill when they thought they had found some anti-coronavirus chemicals. ''Found'' being the operative word.
After trying to sell us on the idea this pair had become ill due to misunderstanding medication instructions delivered by Trump, we learned they had actually poisoned themselves by ingesting a fish aquarium parasitic cleanser they stumbled upon in their home. The husband died from the chemicals.
As the day is evolving and the truth has eventually tugged on its trousers there are a number of media outlets looking embarrassed by the hysterical headlines they pumped out. Steps are being taken to correct their messaging, and they manage to make the outlets look worse.
At Axios they have acknowledged their ''error'' and took down their initial tweet.
So much wrong. For one, the human drug is hydroxychloroquine. Chloroquine phosphate is the agent in the aquarium cleanser the couple chose to consume, and it is not found in pill form, as pictured in their tweet here. It also is not the anti-malarial medication.
But after all of this, even the corrected article the site runs is problematic. Despite a disclaimer at the end, there remains this passage.
Why it matters: People who attempt to self-medicate risk serious side effects or death, and it's why any messaging about chloroquine and the related hydroxychloroquine should emphasize that these drugs have not been approved to prevent or treat the new coronavirus.
What this couple ingested was not a drug. The wife, surviving now in ICU, commented that she came across this product when she was in her kitchen pantry. It was not a drug, it was not a medication they mistakenly took. It was a cleaning solvent left over from a time when she had a koi fish pond. The packaging of this product usually carries the disclaimer on it that it is not meant for human consumption
What makes all of this fumbling and excuse-making by Axios inexcusable is that none of these details they now site are newly revealed. All of this information was available when this story was initially breaking yesterday. Either they were in a mad rush to get a slanderous story out about the president, or they intentionally slanted the story for an initial public reveal, expecting the ''correction'' to get far less traction. Neither is the better look for a news outlet.
Worse still is The Hill. While they too had all of these same story details available they also elected to run with the salacious headline of Trump being culpable. Here is the tweet pushed out by The Hill, just prior to them deleting it from its timeline.
At the site, the article now bears a starkly different headline '-- ''Man dies after taking chloroquine phosphate in effort to prevent coronavirus''.
The article repeatedly misidentifies the difference between the chemical in the cleaning agent and the element in the medication for humans. This despite including tweets from the president which do correctly mention HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE as the medication.
In the article, there is no mention whatsoever of corrections being made to the headline, nor any of the content. All we find is the notice that the story was ''Updated'' this morning. So it was a case of slanderously accusing the president of being responsible for the death of this man, then going the route of stealth-editing and trying to memory-hole the tweets carrying the accusation.
We captured things, just for the record.
WikiLeaks - Hillary Clinton Email Archive
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 14:52
REMARKS OF SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON AT "A WORLD IN TRANSITION: CHARTING A NEW PATH IN GLOBAL HEALTH" UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05790780 Date: 12/31/2015 RELEASE IN PART B6 From: Mills, Cheryl D <MillsCD@state.gov>Sent: Saturday, June 2, 2012 5:31 PMTo: Subject: Fw: Remarks of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton At "A World in Transition: Charting a New Path in Global Health" From: Fauci, Anthony (NIH/NIAID) [E] [mailto:AFAUCI@niaid.nih.gov] Saturday, June 02, 2012 05:28 PMSent:To: Mills, Cheryl D; Quam, Lois ESubject: Remarks of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton At "A World in Transition: Charting a New Path in GlobalHealth" Cheryl/Lois: Wow! Very rarely does a speech bring me to tears, but this one did it. Talk about telling it like it is. This was a bases-loaded home run. Please tell the Secretary that I love her more than ever you guys too, of course.Best regards,TonyAnthony S. Fauci, MDDirectorNational Institute of Allergy and Infectious DiseasesBuilding 31, Room 7A-0331 Center Drive, MSC 2520National Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892-2520Phone: (301) 496-2263FAX: (301) 496-4409E-mail: afauci The information in this e-mail and any of its attachments is confidential and may contain sensitive information. It should not be used by anyone who is not the original intended recipient. If you have received this e-mail in error please inform the sender and delete it from your mailbox or any other storage devices. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) shall not accept liability for any statements made that are the sender's own and not expressly made on behalf of the NIAID by one of its representatives. For Immediate Release June 1, 2012 2012/873 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesperson REMARKS Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05790780 Date: 12/31/2015 At "A World in Transition: Charting a New Path in Global Health"June 1, 2012Oslo, NorwaySECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that is quite a compliment. And whatever it takes to accept, I do. Your Majesty, Your RoyalHighness, Mayor, my dear friend and colleague, your excellent foreign minister, also let me recognize .Ingrid Schulerud,wife of the prime minister who, along with her husband, just hosted me and my delegation for a wonderful luncheon,and to everyone who has organized this extraordinary conference, which I think does come at a historical turning point.It's no surprise that we would be meeting here in Norway, one of the most generous nations on earth when it comes notonly to global health but so much more, and that we would have gathered here the panel and others who bring suchbroad and deep experience, and also have the opportunity to elevate an issue that is connected to so much else.I often think about issues like maternal health from a personal perspective because I am privileged to have known whatit meant to me to have had the great good fortune and gift of my daughter. And I think about what it would have beenlike that cold February day in 1980 if I didn't know that the facility was available. Or were it available, I didn't reallyknow for sure if it would be open. And I couldn't count on a doctor or a midwife or a nurse being present. Or if theywere, if something went wrong, that they would have the equipment and the expertise to handle whatever theemergency might be. But indeed, as we have just heard described by the minister from Sierra Leone, that is theexperience of many millions of women every single day throughout the world.So I greatly appreciated the invitation by the foreign minister to increase and accelerate our mutual efforts as to howtogether we, and hopefully bringing others with us, can do more to save the lives of mpthers during labor anddelivery. Now, maternal health has a value in and of itself, I think we would all agree with that, but it is deeplyconnected to a broader purpose. And our panelists have all very persuasively discussed that.How do we achieve health systems that will help every country improve life for more of their people? And the keyquestion comes down to, if you really want to know how strongly a country's health system is, look at the well-being ofits mothers. Because when a woman inlabor experiences complications, it takes a strong system to keep her alive. It not only takes skilled doctors, midwives,and nurses, it takes reliable transportation, well-equipped clinics and hospitals that are open 24 hours a day. Wherethese elements are in place, more often than not women will survive childbirth. When they aren't, more often than notthey die or suffer life- changing, traumatic injuries.When China, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia upgraded and expanded their health systems, their maternal mortality ratesdropped dramatically. When Zimbabwe's system began to crumble, its maternal mortality rates shot updramatically. That is a powerful, inescapable correlation. And it is why improving maternal health is a priority for theUnited States.Through our development agency USAID, we are supporting more skilled midwives and cell phone technology to spreadhealth information. We're involved in the International Alliance for Reproductive, Maternal, and Newborn Health, afive-year effort to improve donor coordination. We are partnering with Norway and others to support innovativeinterventions that improve outcomes for pregnant women and newborns. And we are working to ensure access tofamily planning so that women can choose the spacing and size of their families. Reproductive health services can anddo save women's lives, strengthen their overall health, and improve families' and communities' well-being.And of course, women's health means more than just maternal health and therefore we must look to improve women'shealth more generally, because it is an unfortunate reality that women often face great health disparities. And UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05790780 Date: 12/31/2015 improving women's health has dividends for entire societies, from driving down child mortality rates to sparkingeconomic growth. And Norway, as Jonasjust pointed out, has been a leader in not only doing that, but recognizing it.And the comment he made at the end about the difference between Norway's GDP with oil and gas and with women'sempowerment and involvement is very striking because a recent study that Norway has just completed demonstratedthat Norway's GDP actually do more to the empowerment of women than the discovery of natural resources and theirexploitation.Norway has been a leader in also pointing out the direct links between gender-based violence and health. So for ourpart, the United States is integrating services throughout our health programs so women and their families have accessto the range of care they need. And we are linking our health programs to others that address the legal, social andcultural barriers that inhibit women's access to care, such as gender-based violence, lack of education, and the lowsocial status of women and girls.But you can't impose a health system, and you can't change some of these attitudes from the outside. We understandthat. There has to be encouragement for it to grow from within, the kind of leadership that the minister is discussingabout what is happening in Sierra Leone.That is the principle of what we call country ownership. And I think it's important to stress the connection betweenmaternal mortality, strong health systems, and country ownership. Because while the global health community hasrecognized that we have to rigorously think about what works and what doesn't work, and that we endorsed countryownership at the high-level forum inParis in 2005 and reaffirmed it in Accra and Busan, it is enshrined in numerous global health agreements.But few of us have honestly forced ourselves to examine what country ownership means for the day-to-day work ofsaving lives. Now, for many people, that phrase is freighted with unstated meaning. Some worry that it means donorsare supposed to keep money flowing indefinitely while recipients decide how to spend it. Others, particularly in partnercountries, are concerned that country ownership means countries are on their own. (Laughter.) Still others fear thatcountry-owned really means government-run, freezing out civil society groups or faith-based organizations that in someplaces operate as many as 70 percent of all health facilities.And this is not just a matter of semantics, because if we are not clear about what country ownership means, we cannotknow whether we are making progress toward achieving it. And we certainly can't identify what works and whatdoesn't. And what's more, we will achieve real gains in maternal health and global health more generally only witheffective countryownership. Now, one or two programs in isolation are not enough. It takes an integrated, country-owned approach. Solet me share with you what our latest thinking about what that means is.To us, country ownership in health is the end state where a nation's efforts are led, implemented, and eventually paidfor by its government, communities, civil society and private sector. To get there, a country's political leaders must setpriorities and develop national plans to accomplish them in concert with their citizens, which means including women aswell as men in the planning process. And these plans must be effectively carried out primarily by the country's owninstitutions, and then these groups must be able to hold each other accountable as the women did in front of theparliament in Sierra Leone.So while nations must ultimately be able to fund more of their own needs, country ownership is about far more thanfunding. It is principally about building capacity to set priorities, manage resources, develop plans, and carry themout. We are well aware that moving to full country ownership will take considerable time, patience, investment, andpersistence. But I think there are grounds for optimism.Economic growth is making it possible for many developing nations to meet more of their UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05790780 Date: 12/31/2015 people's own needs. In 2010, the GDPs of Mozambique, Botswana, and Ethiopia grew morethan 8 percent. Nations across sub-Saharan Africa are seeing similar growth. And what we want to be sure of is thatcountries don't substitute donor funding for their own, because unfortunately, there are examples '-- Zimbabwe beingone '-- where an existing health system that was providing basic services to many was allowed to deteriorate while thegovernment chose to put funding elsewhere. We have seen ministries of health lose funding to ministries of defense orministries of transportation. And so what had been possible only a decade before becomes very difficult going forward.So what we are trying to do is to help put in place the essential pieces of strong health systems. That means we arehelping to build clinics and labs, to train staff, improve supply chains, make blood supplies safer, set up record-keepingsystems; in short, creating platforms upon whichpartners can eventually launch their own efforts. Now, with this momentum, the question before us is not: Can weachieve country ownership? We think we are in a very good position to begin that process. Instead, we have to askourselves: "Are we achieving it? And if we are not, what must each of us do better?"Well, some countries are. And earlier we heard about Sierra Leone. And I am very excited by what the minister hasdone to enlist 1,700-plus women as health monitors, responsible for checking up on their local clinics, reportingproblems to the health ministry. That's a wonderful way for ownership to migrate down from the national level to thelocal level and then come back up as a reporting mechanism.Or consider Botswana, where the government manages, operates, and pays for HIV treatment programs. With PEPFAR'ssupport, it is also working with American universities to build a national medical school that will train the nation's nextgeneration of healthcare workers. And perhaps we can then stop the brain drain, because so many countries trainexcellent doctors, midwives, and nurses who then leave that country. My birth was assisted by a nurse midwife fromGhana '-- the birth of my daughter, and I know how wonderful and skilled she was. Now she's back in Ghana, becauseshe thinks she has opportunities to do her best work in her home country.If you look at what India has achieved '-- and I appreciate the minister being here '-- six years ago, when the governmentlaunched its National AIDS Control Program, half the budget came from outside donors. Today, less than one fifth does,and the Indian Government covers the rest. But these are the exceptions, not yet the rule.In too many countries, if you take a snapshot of all the health efforts, you see donors '-- that's all of us '-- failing tocoordinate our work, leaving some diseases underfunded, burying our partners in paperwork that I am convinced hardlyanyone ever reads once it's filled out, paying too little attention to improving systems. You see partner countriescommitting too few of their ownresources and avoiding accountability for delivering results. And you see patients encountering a maze of obstacles thatblock them from the services they need. So therefore it is up to us '-- donor and country alike.There is an old proverb that says: "When a man repeats a promise again and again, he means to fail you." At the turn ofthis century, we made a collective promise to cut the maternal mortality ratio by three quarters and achieve universalaccess to reproductive health services. And yes, we have repeated that promise again and again. And although we do not mean to fail, we risk failing all the same, if we don't change course.So what do we need to do? Let me offer a few suggestions. Beginning with donors, governments, foundations, multilateral organizations '-- and I see a number of familiar faces. First, we do need to move from rhetoric to the realityof making it a priority to strengthen country-led health systems. That means meeting our commitments even in tougheconomic times. Part of this assistance should include an assessment of country systems, led by the countries themselves, with common international benchmarks so we can compare results across borders. And those are not only national borders but donor borders. UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05790780 Date: 12/31/2015 We need, for example, to follow closely the National Heath Accounts supported by USAID that give us an excellent viewof the state of a health system's financing '-- not to point fingers or cast blame, but to identify gaps and then developplans to fill them.Second, we donors have to recognize that supporting country ownership in health requires hard choices. It is ofteneasier to start a new program than to phase out an existing one, even when the existing one is not producingresults. But if we are serious about helping our partners plan, implement, and ultimately pay for their own efforts, wehave to be willing to make the tough calls.Third, donors must embrace transparency, even when it brings bad news. For example, when Zambia uncoveredcorruption in its Global Fund program, some donors responded by punishing them for the corruption, rather thanapplauding them for uncovering it. Now, we should never turn a blind eye to corruption or throw good money afterbad, but it is counterproductive to punish our partners when they root out problems like that. It sends exactly thewrong message: We want you to fight corruption, but if you find any, we might freeze your funding. Instead, we shouldsay find the corruption so that we can help you fix the problems.And fourth, donors need to solve the coordination curse. Donor coordination has been a theme at health anddevelopment conferences for so long, it is a clich(C). But there's a reason it keeps coming up, and that's because it iscritically important and notoriously hard to get right.When President Obama took office, we recognized that the United States Government needed to do a much better jobof coordinating with ourselves to start with, as well as our partners and other donors.For years, health teams within the U.S. Government operated independently. HIV/AIDS teams under PEPFAR wouldwork with a country to develop one plan; USAID, which was the implementing partner for HIV/AIDS, might very welldevelop another plan; in would come our malaria team, they would develop a third plan, so on and so on. It was enoughto make anybody just dizzy.So we are trying to integrate our programs. And under our Global Health Initiative, each of our country teams nowassess how they fit within a comprehensive vision and program, based upon a health plan established by the countrywhere we are operating. And we have worked with partners to develop these health plans in more than 40 countries.For donors, tackling all these problems will be essential if we want to get more partners back on the path to helpingbuild sustainable, country-owned systems. And this goes for the emerging economies that recently were recipients ofassistance but now are net donors. These countries are playing an increasingly important role, and some have sharedtechnical advice and lessons with their developing nation partners. We want to see that expand. But at the same time, we look to all emerging powers to recognize that with this growing power comes growingresponsibility, and they should consider working whenever possible throughexisting multilateral channels and ensure that the ultimate aim of their efforts is to put more countries on the path to meeting their own needs, not to '--figuratively and literally '-- pave the way for extracting countries' natural resources. Now, partner countries have challenges to meet as well. First, I challenge our partner countries to invest more in the health of their own people. If you went to Abuja and agreed to put 15 percent of your national budget into health, we need you to deliver on that commitment. That should be a priority '-- not just for health ministers, but for all political leaders, starting with presidents and prime ministers to finance and defense ministers. Meeting this commitment will pay off many times over, making it possible to expand services to underserved areas and people, develop your workforce, and even expand economic growth. And there's a special opportunity here for those nations that have recently discovered new sources of wealth in oil, gas, and other extractive industries. I urge you to follow the examples of two countries that are not often mentioned together in the same sentence: Norway and Botswana. Both discovered large stores of natural resources. Both UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05790780 Date: 12/31/2015 dedicated a portion of the income to health and education. And in both cases, their investments coming from their ownground, their own natural resources, are saving lives and lifting up communities. And bothNorway and Botswana are very generous in being willing to offer advice and technical assistance about how to do this.Second, partner countries must take on the flip side of donor coordination. While it's absolutely true we donors need todo a better job of working together, only one player has the authority to speak about a nation's needs and orchestrateall the different groups working in a county, namely the national government of that country. So we need you to helpidentify the needs that aren't being met and to convene the partners to determine who will fill which gaps. I applaudRwanda and Ethiopia for their exemplary progress along these lines. Now, I know it is very difficult for many countries,but in the end only you have the power. No one else can do it for you.Third, partner countries must begin bringing down the political barriers to improving health. That means makingregulatory changes that allow faster approval of new drugs, procurement reform to ensure that drugs get to clinics ontime, setting and delivering a living wage for health workers.And it also does mean taking on corruption at every level. We've had the very sad experience of negotiating to provideantiretroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS in some countries, and it's very clear that the leadership of the country wants to makesure that they get their hand in the money for those drugs before it is delivered to the people who need it. And we havebeen very clear you have to take on corruption '-- local, regional, national '-- ensuring that drugs don't get diverted to theblack market.It means repealing laws that stop progress, like the unfortunate treatment of women in so many places, ending gender-based violence and discrimination, creating true health equality for women and men. In some countries, women andgirls are considered inherently less valuable than men and boys and are treated that way by custom and law. In manycountries, members of the LGBT community are considered very much outside the mainstream and are treated thatway, oftentherefore not being able to access health services that will benefit them and benefit the larger community. A systemwith built-in bias against any part of the population is not only unjust, but is unstable and unsustainable.Now, my own country's views about this global health work is shaped by what we have learned.As I said earlier, we are very proud that PEPFAR helped create platforms that countries can useto tackle a wide range of health problems. But as many observers have pointed out, PEPFAR did not initially set out tostrengthen country systems. Instead, it began by creating a parallelnetwork of clinics that were separately managed and paid for.That's a fair point. But let's remember that in 2003, when the world faced an epidemic unlike any we had seen,HIV/AIDS demanded an emergency response, and the United States had the resources to answer the call. And today,we've made phenomenal progress with more than 4 million people receiving lifesaving treatment, 600,000 babieshaving been born HIV-free, and just last year 40 million receiving HIV counseling and testing.But we know now it is time to shift from that emergency response to a country-owned model built to last. Last year,when I spoke about the goal of an AIDS-free generation, I made it clear that it could only happen by embracing countryownership. And PEPFAR provides us the framework, because there are five-year plans we have made with nearly twodozen countries to identify their most critical needs, to make joint commitments to meet those needs, and outline stepsfor transitioning responsibility for their HIV/AIDS programs. Our partners are no longer just recipients. They are nowmanagers of their own response to the epidemic. And what we're doing extends beyond HIV/AIDS. In Nepal, we have aUSAID partnership to drive the expansion of family planning, maternal health, and children's health. Nepal is now ontrack to achieve Millennium Development Goal five, as are Bangladesh, Egypt, and other countries.So I am very pleased that the United States will be a part of the Saving Mothers, Giving Life partnership, along with Merck for Mothers, Every Mother Counts, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. We're notfocusing on a single intervention, but on strengthening health systems. We are beginning with projects in parts of UNCLASSIFIED U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439 Doc No. C05790780 Date: 12/31/2015 Uganda and Zambia, learning what works and how we then can spread it. And I want to thank Norway for yourextraordinary commitment, and I am pleased to announce the United States is committing $75 million to thispartnership.There are so many forums where matters of global health are discussed. I think every one of us have been to dozens,probably. But we have to do things differently. We have to be open about the obstacles that we confront. We have tobe willing to admit what doesn't work. We have to be ready to applaud those who point out mistakes orcorruption. That kind of dialogue can be difficult. There will be times when we don't see eye to eye. But it is fitting thatwe meet here in Oslo City Hall, where the world comes together each year to honor historic accomplishmentsthat further the cause of peace, and think about the men and women who have stood here in this city hall beinghonored '-- the organizations like the International Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders.Norway has long understood that the stability of any nation is tied up in the well-being of its people. And every life wesave is a step toward that more peaceful, prosperous planet we seek. I think back to that day when I had my daughterand how fortunate I was. But surviving childbirth and growing up healthy should not be a matter of luck or where youlive or how much moneyyou have. It should be a fact for every woman everywhere. And I think we can make this happen, and by doing so, bringthe world closer to recognizing that working together we not only can save lives, we can help improve them, bringgreater peace, prosperity to all.Thank you very much. (Applause.)# # #
Virus creates world's longest passenger flight | CNN Travel
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 14:42
(CNN) '-- The aviation industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with travelers across the world dealing with canceled flights and travel bans as they scramble to get home.
But one unlikely aviation side effect is the creation of a new world aviation record.
On March 14, French airline Air Tahiti Nui flew the longest ever scheduled passenger flight by distance -- transiting 9,765 miles across the world from Papeete, in Tahiti, French Polynesia, to Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport.
This one off milestone was a direct consequence of the coronavirus-induced US travel restrictions.
This route usually involves a scheduled stopover at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). But when an airplane stops over in the US, all passengers must alight the aircraft and proceed through US Customs and Border Protection before they're allowed to advance on with the next leg of their journey.
Current restrictions rendered this part of the journey untenable, so instead, flight TN064 just carried straight on, departing at 3 a.m. local time from Papeete airport and arriving in Paris at 6:30 a.m. local time on March 15.
Exceptional situation
The Air Tahiti Nui flight was operated by a Boeing 787-9, like this one, which was photographed at the International Paris Air Show on June 17, 2019 at Le Bourget Airport, near Paris.
ERIC PIERMONT/AFP via Getty Images
"This flight was operated on an exceptional basis and within the constraints imposed by the American authorities in the face of the Covid-19 epidemic," an Air Tahiti Nui spokesperson told CNN Travel in a statement. The flight, which was airborne for just under 16 hours, became the world's longest commercial flight in terms of distance traveled.
The flight overtook the previous record held by Singapore Airlines, which offers a scheduled passenger service between Singapore and Newark covering a distance of 9,534 miles.
Australian carrier Qantas set a different record for the longest flight late in 2019. It's experimental Project Sunrise test flight clocked up about 11,060 miles and 19 hours and 19 minutes nonstop between London and Sydney. But since there were no fare-paying passengers aboard, it doesn't count as a properly scheduled service. TN064 is also the world's longest scheduled domestic flight, because it traveled between French Polynesia and mainland France.
Air Tahiti Nui tells CNN Travel the aircraft flew with a "reinforced crew" of four pilots, and was operated by a "next generation aircraft" a Boeing 787-9, twin-engine Dreamliner.
The aircraft was reportedly nowhere near full, which meant it was able to proceed the full stretch without refueling.
One-off record holder
Air Tahiti Nui's CEO Michel Monvoisin and the captain of TN064, Vetea Sanford.
Courtesy Air Tahiti Nui
Air Tahiti Nui says it was an "exceptional flight, operated in a special context", and adds it demonstrates the airline's commitment to keeping up transit links between France and the overseas territory.
"But is not destined to be perpetuated," adds the spokesperson.
That's right, it's a one off.
Since the weekend, the airline's been substituting its usual stopover in Los Angeles with touchdowns in Vancouver, Canada or Pointe a Pitre, in Grande-Terre, Guadeloupe -- although the Canadian option's now been ruled out as the north American country introduced a travel ban on March 16.
Ford To Begin Making Respirators Using F-150 Truck Parts
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 14:16
News Jeff Kowalsky / AFP via Getty Images An employee works on the F-150 assembly line at the Ford Motor Co.'s Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan, on Sept. 27, 2018. (Jeff Kowalsky / AFP via Getty Images)
Ford is joining the private sector's fight against the coronavirus by working with mask and ventilator manufacturers to begin producing personal protective equipment for health care workers.
The auto company announced Tuesday it would begin a collaboration with 3M to produce a powered air-purifying respirator mask for health workers and others who are at risk of coming into contact with the virus.
The new PAPR mask will be fabricated using parts from both Ford and 3M. Air will be drawn in through a tube connected to a pump with a filter and circulated by fans that are used in the ventilated seats of F-150 pickups.
Ford also will use its vast production potential to help 3M increase production of its N95 masks, CNN reported.
The automaker will also work with GE Healthcare to help ramp up production of ventilators, but the company did not announce in what capacity it would work with GE.
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''Working with 3M and GE, we have empowered our teams of engineers and designers to be scrappy and creative to quickly help scale up production of this vital equipment,'' Ford CEO Jim Hackett said.
''We've been in regular dialogue with federal, state and local officials to understand the areas of greatest needs,'' Hackett added.
Ford executive chairman Bill Ford told Fox News on Tuesday, ''We are going like hell, yes we are.''
''We're testing face shields this week in Detroit-area hospitals to make sure they work and then we can ramp up pretty quickly,'' he said.
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CNN reported Ford will be using its 3-D printers to fabricate disposable masks for respirators once it gains approval to do so.
The company could initially produce 1,000 of the disposable masks per month with plans to increase production over time.
Ford is not the only automaker joining the effort to help combat COVID-19.
President Donald Trump announced Sunday that General Motors and Tesla had been approved to produce ventilators.
''Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST!'' he tweeted.
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''Go for it auto execs, lets see how good you are?'' Trump added.
Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST! @fema Go for it auto execs, lets see how good you are? @RepMarkMeadows @GOPLeader @senatemajldr
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 22, 2020
General Motors announced it would help ventilator manufacturer Ventec increase its production by allowing the company to use its manufacturing and logistics expertise and infrastructure.
''GM and Ventec Life Systems, in cooperation with StopTheSpread.org, the nation's coordinated private sector response to the COVID-19, are collaborating to enable Ventec to increase production of its respiratory care products to support the growing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,'' GM said in a statement.
''Ventec will leverage GM's logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise to build more of their critically important ventilators. To support these efforts, StopTheSpread.org will continue to unite business leaders across the country to collect resources to complement and support government efforts,'' the company added.
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.
Gilead's potential coronavirus treatment gets FDA's orphan drug label
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 12:57
Published Tue, Mar 24 2020 5:34 AM EDT
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Gilead Sciences' experimental drug remdesivir, seen as one of the more promising potential treatments for the coronavirus, on Monday received the orphan drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.Remdesivir is seen as one of the more promising potential treatments for the coronavirus.The orphan drug status provides a seven-year market exclusivity period, as well as tax and other incentives for drug companies developing treatments for rare diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people.A Gilead Sciences office is shown in Foster City, California, U.S. May 1, 2018.
Stephen Lam | Reuters
Gilead Sciences' experimental drug remdesivir, seen as one of the more promising potential treatments for the coronavirus, on Monday received the orphan drug designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The announcement comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump called on the FDA to streamline its approval process for treatments such as remdesivir, which is currently being tested in clinical trials, with results expected as early as next month.
The orphan drug status provides a seven-year market exclusivity period, as well as tax and other incentives for drug companies developing treatments for rare diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people.
Gilead on Sunday said it was temporarily putting new emergency access to remdesivir on hold due to an exponential increase in so-called compassionate-use requests for the drug.
There are currently no approved treatments or preventive vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Most patients currently receive only supportive care such as breathing assistance.
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21 Million Fewer Cellphone Users in China May Suggest a High CCP Virus Death Toll
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 12:53
The number of Chinese cellphone users dropped by 21 million in the past three months, Beijing authorities announced on March 19. Deaths due to the CCP virus may have contributed to the high number of account closings.
Cellphones are an indispensable part of life in China.
''The digitization level is very high in China. People can't survive without a cellphone,'' Tang Jingyuan, a U.S.-based China affairs commentator, told The Epoch Times on March 21. ''Dealing with the government for pensions and social security, buying train tickets, shopping '... no matter what people want to do, they are required to use cellphones.
''The Chinese regime requires all Chinese to use their cellphones to generate a health code. Only with a green health code are Chinese allowed to move in China now. It's impossible for a person to cancel his cellphone.''
China introduced mandatory facial scans on Dec. 1, 2019, to confirm the identity of the person who registered the phone. As early as Sept. 1, 2010, China required all cellphone users to register phones with their real identification, by which the state can control people's speech via its large-scale monitoring system.
Furthermore, Chinese people's bank accounts and social security accounts are bundled with their cellphone plans; apps on Chinese phones check SIM cards against the state's database to make sure the number belongs to the user.
Beijing first launched cellphone-based health codes on March 10. All people in China must install a cellphone app and register their personal health information. Then the app can generate a QR code, which appears in three colors, to classify the user's health level. Red means the person has an infectious disease, yellow means the person might have one, and green means the person doesn't.
Beijing claimed that the health codes are intended to prevent the spread of the CCP virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
A woman is checking her cellphone in Shanghai, China on March 17, 2020. (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)21 Million Cellphone UsersChina's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced on March 19 the number of phone users in each province in February. Compared with the previous announcement, which was released on Dec. 18, 2019, for November 2019 data, both cellphone and landline users dropped dramatically. In the same period the year before, the number of users increased.
The number of cellphone users decreased from 1.600957 billion to 1.579927 billion, a drop of 21.03 million. The number of landline users decreased from 190.83 million to 189.99 million, a drop of 840,000.
In the previous February, the number increased. According to MIIT, the number of cellphone users increased in February 2019 from 1.5591 billion to 1.5835 billion, which is 24.37 million more. The number of landline users increased from 183.477 million to 190.118 million, which is 6.641 million more.
According to China's National Bureau of Statistics, the country's population at the end of 2019 was 4.67 million larger than in 2018, reaching 1.40005 billion.
The 2020 decrease in landline users may be due to the nationwide quarantine in February, during which small businesses were shut down. But the decrease in cellphone users can't be explained in this way.
According to the operation data of all three Chinese cellphone carriers, cellphone accounts increased in December 2019 but dropped steeply in 2020.
China Mobile is the largest carrier, holding about 60 percent of the Chinese cellphone market. It reported that it gained 3.732 million more accounts in December 2019, but lost 0.862 million in January 2020 and 7.254 million in February 2020.
China Mobile's performance in the same months in 2019 was markedly different; it gained 2.411 million more accounts in January 2019 and 1.091 million more in February 2019.
China Telecom is the second-largest carrier, holding about 21 percent of the market. It gained 1.18 million users in December 2019, but lost 0.43 million users in January 2020 and 5.6 million users in February 2020.
In 2019, it gained 4.26 million in January and 2.96 million in February.
China Unicom, which hasn't yet published the data for February, shares the same experience as the other two telecoms in January 2020 and in early 2019. The company lost 1.186 million users in January 2020, but gained 1.962 million users in February 2019 and 2.763 million users in January 2019.
China allows each adult to apply for at most five cellphone numbers. Since Feb. 10, the majority of Chinese students have taken online classes with a cellphone number due to their schools being ordered to stay closed. These students' accounts are under their parents' names, which means some parents needed to open a new cellphone account in February.
A vendor uses her cellphone as she waits for customers in Jiujiang, China, on March 6, 2020. (NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)Analyzing the NumbersThe big question is whether the dramatic drop in cellphone accounts reflects the account closings of those who have died due to the CCP virus.
''It's possible that some migrant workers had two cellphone numbers before. One is from their hometown, and the other is from the city they work in. In February, they might close the number in the city they work in because they couldn't go there,'' Tang said. Typically, migrant workers would have gone to their home city for the Chinese New Year in January, and then travel restrictions would have prevented them from returning to the city where they held a job.
However, because there is a basic monthly fee to hold a cellphone account in China, the majority of migrant workers'--the lowest income group'--are likely to only have one cellphone account.
China had 288.36 million migrant workers as of April 2019, according to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics.
On March 17, Meng Wei, spokesman of China's National Development and Reform Commission, said at a monthly press conference in Beijing that except for Hubei, all provinces reported that more than 90 percent of their businesses resumed operations. In Zhejiang, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Shandong, Guangxi, and Chongqing, almost all businesses resumed production.
If both the number of migrant workers and the level of employment are accurate, more than 90 percent of migrant workers have gone back to work.
The economic dislocation caused by shutdowns in China may have also led some people who have an extra cellphone to cancel it. With business poor or stopped, they may not want to carry the extra expense.
''At present, we don't know the details of the data. If only 10 percent of the cellphone accounts were closed because the users died because of the CCP virus, the death toll would be 2 million,'' Tang said.
The reported death toll in China doesn't line up with what can otherwise be determined about the situation there.
A comparison with the situation in Italy also suggests the Chinese death toll is significantly underreported. Italy adopted similar measures to those used by the Chinese regime. The CCP virus death toll in Italy of 4,825 translates to a death rate of 9 percent. In China, where a much larger population was exposed to the virus, the reported death toll of 3,265 translated to a death rate of only 4 percent, less than half that reported in Italy.
Activities in the outbreak epicenter of Hubei Province seem to contradict the reported death toll in China. The seven funeral homes in the city of Wuhan were reported to be burning bodies 24 hours a day, seven days a week in late January. Hubei Province has used 40 mobile cremators, each capable of burning five tons of medical waste and bodies a day, since Feb. 16.
Lacking data, the real death toll in China is a mystery. The cancellation of 21 million cellphones provides a data point that suggests the real number may be far higher than the official number.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party's coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
LIVE: Stay home, stay safe: Austin mayor issues stay-at-home order through April 13 | KXAN.com
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 12:22
by: Kate Winkle
Posted:
Mar 23, 2020 / 03:22 PM CDT / Updated:
Mar 24, 2020 / 11:59 AM CDTAUSTIN (KXAN) '-- Austin Mayor Steve Adler has issued a stay-at-home order for the city of Austin, effective 11:59 p.m. Tuesday through April 13.
The order says non-essential businesses are to close, and both public and private gatherings of any number outside a single household are prohibited.
The order also restricts travel of any kind to ''essential'' travel only, like going to work at an essential business or going to the grocery store as examples.
READ the full City of Austin order hereEssential activities are defined in the order involving:
Health and safetyNecessary supplies and servicesOutdoor activityCertain types of workTo take care of othersThe health and safety exception simply means if you have to leave your home to get medicine or anything directly involving the health and safety of anyone in your household (pets included), you can.
Necessary supplies and services means you can go to the grocery store for food, get supplies to work from home, household consumer products and ''products to maintain the safety, sanitation and operation of a residence.''
You can go outdoors for exercise if you practice social distancing and stay at least six feet apart from everyone.
If your job is deemed essential, you can carry on work-related activities.
You can also leave your home to take care of a family member, or pet, at another residence.
The order is enforceable, it says, by peace officers, code enforcement inspectors and the fire marshal's office. Violations will result in misdemeanor crimes with fines up to $1,000 and six months in jail.
''I think everyone's trigger with this virus is recognizing that while it's going to pass through and lots of people are going to get it, to try and not have everyone get it all at once so the hospital systems are not overtaxed,'' Adler said.
Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said Williamson County will join the city and Travis County in signing the order.
''We have a very short window to really effect COVID-19 expansion through our community,'' Eckhardt said. ''The longer we wait, the more acute the spike will be. So we need to act fast to decrease the circulation of people in Travis County and surrounding areas.''
Dallas County issued a similar order Tuesday and the city of Waco, city of Lampasas and several counties throughout the state followed suit Monday.
FULL COVERAGE: The latest on the coronavirusOn Sunday, Gov. Greg Abbott made it clear that it would be up to local officials to enact strict policies about sheltering in place.
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Aangescherpte maatregelen om het coronavirus onder controle te krijgen | Nieuwsbericht | Rijksoverheid.nl
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:59
Nieuwsbericht | 23-03-2020 | 19:23
Maandag 23 maart heeft het kabinet aanvullende maatregelen genomen in de aanpak van het coronavirus. Minister-president Rutte en de ministers De Jonge, Grapperhaus en Van Rijn lichtten de maatregelen (gebaseerd op advies van het RIVM) maandag 23 maart 2020 toe tijdens een persbijeenkomst.
De aangescherpte en nieuwe maatregelen zijn:
Blijf zoveel mogelijk thuis. Ga alleen naar buiten voor werk wanneer u niet thuis kunt werken, voor boodschappen, of om voor anderen te zorgen. Een frisse neus halen kan, maar doe dit niet in een groep. Houd altijd afstand van anderen (minimaal 1,5 meter) en vermijd sociale activiteiten en groepen mensen. Ook thuis: maximaal drie mensen op bezoek en hou ook dan afstand tot elkaar. Als u kucht, hoest en/of verkouden bent, gold al: blijf thuis. Krijgt u daar ook koorts bij, dan moet vanaf nu iedereen in het huishouden thuisblijven. Mensen in cruciale beroepen en vitale processen zijn hiervan uitgezonderd, tenzij zij zelf ziek worden. Alle bijeenkomsten worden verboden tot 1 juni (in plaats van 6 april), ook met minder dan 100 mensen. Voor begrafenissen en kerkelijke bruiloften geldt een uitzondering, waarover later meer informatie komt. Winkels en het openbaar vervoer worden verplicht om maatregelen te nemen om ervoor te zorgen dat mensen afstand houden, bijvoorbeeld via een deurbeleid. Voor kappers, schoonheidsspecialisten en andere in zogenoemde contactberoepen op het gebied van uiterlijke verzorging geldt tot 6 april dat zij helaas hun vak niet meer mogen uitoefenen. Voor bijvoorbeeld fysiotherapeuten geldt: werk zoveel mogelijk via beeldbellen. Casino's vallen vanaf nu onder dezelfde maatregel als eet- en drinkgelegenheden en sluiten per 24 maart 2020. Op locaties zoals vakantieparken gaat gelden dat men maatregelen moet treffen om mensen 1,5 meter afstand te laten houden. Als men hiertoe niet in staat is dan mogen gemeenten deze locaties sluiten. Burgemeesters kunnen gebieden aanwijzen waar groepsvorming verboden is. Het kan gaan om parken, stranden of wijken. Bij groepen van 3 of meer die geen anderhalve meter afstand houden, wordt gehandhaafd. Personen in hetzelfde huishouden, zoals gezinnen, en kinderen zijn hiervan uitgezonderd. Markten zijn hiervan uitgesloten omdat deze op sommige plekken in het land een essentieel onderdeel van de voedselketen zijn. Wel moeten gemeenten en marktmeesters kijken hoe ze ervoor kunnen zorgen dat voldoende afstand gewaarborgd is. De bestaande maatregelen wil de overheid ook beter kunnen handhaven. Daarom krijgen burgemeesters de mogelijkheid om via een noodverordening makkelijker en sneller op te kunnen treden. Burgemeesters kunnen specifieke locaties sluiten, zoals parken, stranden en campings. Er kunnen ook boetes worden opgelegd.Eerder afgekondigde maatregelen blijven van kracht. Kijk op de pagina met meer informatie over de aanpak van het coronavirus voor meer informatie.
De maatregelen passen in de Nederlandse aanpak van het coronavirus, dat erop gericht is om de zorgcapaciteit niet te overbelasten en de mensen te kunnen helpen die het meest kwetsbaar zijn. De aanpak en de maatregelen zijn gebaseerd op adviezen van de experts, die samenkomen in het Outbreak Management Team onder voorzitterschap van Jaap van Dissel, de directeur van het Centrum Infectieziektebestrijding van het RIVM.
Visual aangescherpte maatregelen
Toronto is gathering cellphone location data from telecoms to find out where people are still congregating amid coronavirus shutdown | National Post
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:54
This article is a preview of The Logic's exclusive journalism.
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The City of Toronto is obtaining cellphone data from wireless carriers to help it identify where people have assembled in groups, part of its attempts to slow the spread of COVID-19, Mayor John Tory said on Monday. But city staff said Tuesday morning the city doesn't plan to collect such data.
''We had '... the cellphone companies give us all the data on the pinging off their network on the weekend so we could see, 'Where were people still congregating?''' Tory said during an online video-conferencing event Monday evening hosted by TechTO, a local meetup organization. ''Because the biggest enemy of fighting this thing is people congregating close together.''
Tory said the data will be used to generate a heat map. He did not name the companies that had provided the city with data.
''The Mayor was referencing an offer to share totally anonymous cellphone location information with the City to help explain where people were congregating together in large groups over the weekend to help Toronto Public Health as it works to further encourage social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19,'' said Don Peat, Tory's executive director of communications. ''The Mayor passed along the offer of anonymous data this morning to Toronto Public Health and the Emergency Operations Centre to see if it could help in our efforts to confront the pandemic and save lives.''
During the TechTO event, Tory described the data collection as ''something we're doing now,'' adding that he wasn't sure whether the data would make a significant difference, ''but I asked for it, and I'm getting it.''
Peat directed a question about whether the city had already received any data to City of Toronto staff.
The city ''is not in possession of such data, nor will it acquire such data,'' said Brad Ross, chief communications officer for the City of Toronto, via email on Tuesday morning. Asked to explain Tory's remarks at TechTO on Monday night, he directed The Logic to Peat. ''We have nothing further to say beyond the City's statement,'' Peat said in an email on Tuesday morning.
Peat did not directly reply to The Logic's questions about which telecoms were involved or whether the city consulted the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario before making the request.
''We have not been contacted by the City of Toronto,'' said Richard Gilhooley, a Telus spokesperson.
On Tuesday morning, Rogers said it was not one of the companies to whom Tory was referring. Bell and Shaw, which owns Freedom Mobile, did not respond by deadline to The Logic's requests for comment.
Tory is ''asking companies potentially to breach their contracts and break the law,'' said Michael Bryant, executive director of the Canadian Centre for Civil Liberties. ''That's not what's supposed to happen ever, and actually, especially during an emergency, unless there is explicit legal authority to do this.''
Bryant said if the collection happened over the weekend, as Tory described it during the TechTO event, ''it's not legal, it's not authorized.'' The initiative ''hasn't passed the necessity test and, obviously, it's completely disproportionate,'' he said, noting that under provincial privacy laws, the city is required to identify an information gap, create a plan to get necessary data, obtain legal authority to do so and then gather it in a ''proportionate way which minimizes the violation of privacy as much as possible'' while notifying those involved.
Tory was responding to a question about what the thousands of attendees of the virtual event could do to help with efforts to combat the pandemic. ''You all probably have ideas of similar data that your app '... can produce for us,'' he said. ''You may not think it's useful, but let us figure that out, because we just need more and more data about people's habits, and about things and other applications you may think of that relate to everything from the shortage of personal protective equipment we have, through to compliance '... with the orders that we've got to shut down and a host of other things.''
Clearbanc co-founders Michele Romanow and Andrew D'Souza; Jamie McDonald, executive general manager of product, accounting and global services at Xero; and Brice Scheschuk, managing partner of Globalive Capital, also spoke at the event, which focused on sharing best practices for the local tech community ''during times of adversity.''
Other governments are using or seeking location data to inform measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa's deputy medical officer of health, said Monday the city was considering using ''aggregated data, potentially from electronic sources'' to see where residents were congregating, citing mobile devices as one option. Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized internal intelligence agency Shin Bet to use geolocation data it already collects from cellphone companies to identify and contact people who have had close contact with infected individuals.
On Monday, Tory declared a state of emergency in Toronto, allowing him to act without consulting city council for 30 days. He cited reporting about weekend gatherings of people as one factor in the decision. Tory has himself been in social isolation since March 13, when he returned from a trip to the U.K.
Earlier in his remarks, he urged the attendees to ''follow the rules'' on social distancing and isolation. ''I'll bet there's a few that aren't doing this,'' he said, encouraging viewers to convince their acquaintances to do so, as well. ''You probably have friends, each and every one of you, who have spent the weekend walking down a crowded sidewalk or in a crowded park.''
'--
Our reporting team is working tirelessly around the clock to deliver the very latest information on the COVID-19 crisis. If you like our journalism, please consider subscribing. You can get a subscription today for more than $100 off your first year.
'Digital Dollar' Stripped From Latest US Coronavirus Relief Bill - CoinDesk
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:35
Mar 24, 2020 at 14:15 UTC Updated Mar 24, 2020 at 15:16 UTC
U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi introduced the latest version of the relief bill on Monday. (Credit: Michael Candelori / Shutterstock)
'Digital Dollar' Stripped From Latest US Coronavirus Relief BillMentions of a "digital dollar" in a coronavirus-related relief bill before the U.S. House of Representatives have been scrubbed.
House Democrats' latest version of the "Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act," revealed late Monday, does not contain any language around a "digital dollar" in its section on direct stimulus payments.
The lawmakers introduced the bill last week, envisioning a digital payment system organized by the Federal Reserve and its member banks to directly send these funds to U.S. residents to assist them with expenses during the COVID-19 mitigation measures, which have already resulted in massive unemployment and a potentially severe recession.
In the latest 1,404-page draft, U.S. residents would receive $1,500 per person, though individuals with an income greater than $75,000 and couples with an income greater than $150,000 would have to repay the funds.
The section detailing the payments, which starts on page 1,090, appears to be less specific on how these payments would be sent to individuals than previous versions have been.
While the draft bill introduced by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday no longer includes any language around a digital dollar, a separate bill introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), titled the "Financial Protections and Assistance for America's Consumers, States, Businesses, and Vulnerable Populations Act," still mentions the digital dollar.
The language is expected to be removed from that bill as well, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Disclosure Read More The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.
Fauci: Media should stop 'pitting' me against Trump | TheHill
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:25
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that he wishes the media would stop "pitting" his advice about the coronavirus against that of President Trump Donald John TrumpMnuchin, Schumer brief Trump, expect coronavirus stimulus deal Tuesday US airlines drafting plans for potential shutdown: report White House hits CNN, MSNBC for cutting away from coronavirus briefing MORE , encouraging people to "look ahead at the challenge we have together."
During an interview with Fauci '-- a leader on the White House Coronavirus Task Force '-- the host of the Morning on The Mall Podcast, Vince Coglianese, asked if the doctor thinks the media is attempting to emphasize differences of opinions between himself and Trump.
"That is really unfortunate '-- I would wish that would stop because we have a much bigger problem here than trying to point out differences," Fauci said. "There really fundamentally at the core ... are not differences."
Fauci said that Trump does listen to his expertise and opinions of other officials on the task force.
"The president has listened to what I have said and what the other people on the task force have said. When I have made recommendations he has taken them," Fauci added. "The idea of just pitting one against the other is just not helpful."
Previously, Science Magazine had published an interview in which Fauci admitted some of Trump's remarks on the coronavirus pandemic were not true, leading some to suggest that disagreement among White House officials could be holding back the progress of the federal coronavirus response.
But Trump praised the director during Monday's White House briefing.
"He's a good man. I like Dr. Fauci a lot," Trump told reporters when asked why Fauci was not at Monday's briefing. "He'll be back up soon."
Trump has promoted advice from experts on the task force such as Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus task force coordinator who was in attendance during Monday's briefing.
However, the president suggested that he and Fauci do not agree on every point.
"If it was up to the doctors, they might say shut down the entire world," Trump said.
Trump suggested there may be some disagreement when asked if Fauci was on board with his belief that the economy needs to be reopened sooner rather than later.
"He doesn't not agree," Trump said. "He understands there's a tremendous cost to our country both in terms of lives and in terms of economics. ... He fully understands that."
Opinion | Thank God the Doctor Is In - The New York Times
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:14
Peeking out our windows, we see America shriveling.
March 21, 2020Dr. Anthony Fauci isn't comfortable with everything President Trump spouts at coronavirus briefings. Credit... Jonathan Ernst/Reuters WASHINGTON '-- It's not easy being a national treasure.
''I'm exhausted,'' confessed Tony Fauci when I reached him Thursday evening in the middle of another 18-hour workday.
''I have changed my tune a bit, probably thanks to my wife,'' said the 79-year-old director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. ''About a week ago, I was going about four or five days in a row on about three hours of sleep, which is completely crazy, 'cause then I'll be going on fumes. The last couple of nights, I've gotten five hours' sleep, so I feel much better.''
He said he misses the endorphins of power walking, and he is wracked when he gets home at midnight and it's too late to answer calls and emails.
''I gotta get rid of this guilt feeling,'' he murmured about that moment's 727 emails.
He said he has not been tested for the coronavirus but takes his temperature every day and usually has it taken another couple times before White House press conferences and meetings in the Oval.
When I spoke with him, he had been missing from the White House briefing for two days and Twitter blew a gasket, with everyone from Susan Rice to Laurence Tribe seeking an answer to the urgent query, ''Where is Dr. Fauci?''
Donald Trump, the ultimate ''me'' guy, is in a ''we'' crisis and it isn't pretty. The president is so consumed by his desire to get back his binky, a soaring stock market, that he continues to taffy-twist the facts, leaving us to look elsewhere '-- to Dr. Fauci and governors like Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom '-- for leadership during this grim odyssey.
Dr. Fauci chuckled at speculation that he was banished due to his habit of pushing back on Trump's hyperbolic and self-serving ad-libbing.
''That's kind of funny but understandable that people said, 'What the hell's the matter with Fauci?' because I had been walking a fine line; I've been telling the president things he doesn't want to hear,'' he said. ''I have publicly had to say something different with what he states.
''It's a risky business. But that's my style, Maureen. You know me for many years. I say it the way it is, and if he's gonna get pissed off, he's gonna get pissed off. Thankfully, he is not. Interestingly.''
The first time I talked to Dr. Fauci was during a panic in the mid-80s about stopping another virus, the cause of the heartbreaking AIDs crisis. Then, as now, he was honest, brave and innovative. He told me that he tries to be diplomatic when he has to contradict the president about what ''game-changer'' cures might be on the horizon and whether everyone who wants to be tested can get tested.
''I don't want to embarrass him,'' the immunologist says, in his gravelly Brooklyn accent. ''I don't want to act like a tough guy, like I stood up to the president. I just want to get the facts out. And instead of saying, 'You're wrong,' all you need to do is continually talk about what the data are and what the evidence is.
''And he gets that. He's a smart guy. He's not a dummy. So he doesn't take it '-- certainly up to now '-- he doesn't take it in a way that I'm confronting him in any way. He takes it in a good way.''
On Friday, a trigger-happy Trump was so quick to talk up the fabulous possibilities of an antimalarial drug in combating the virus that Dr. Fauci had to pump the brakes, taking the microphone to explain that we do not know yet because controlled testing is needed.
The president returned to the lectern to press his unscientific case and compliment himself: ''I'm a smart guy,'' he said. ''I feel good about it. And we're going to see. You're going to see soon enough.''
Probably thinking about all his government staffers working round-the-clock, Dr. Fauci could not help rubbing his forehead and cheek '-- going against his own advice to the public '-- when Trump cracked a joke about the ''Deep State Department.''
Though the scientist listens respectfully when the president and the vice president are talking, he somehow manages to emit an ''Oh my God, please don't say that'' vibe when the two men scamper over the line. When Mike Pence went into false-hope overdrive, saying, ''I just can't emphasize enough about the incredible progress that we have made on testing,'' Dr. Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, the administration's virus response coordinator, exchanged a whispered aside that sent the internet into a frenzy.
Dr. Fauci assured me that, despite their crosscurrents and an early overconfidence about how easy it would be to control the path of the virus, the president ''absolutely'' now gets the threat of ''the invisible enemy,'' as Trump calls the virus.
Still, Trump managed to have an hourlong press conference about public health guidance in which he relentlessly ran afoul of public health guidance.
He wants to think of himself as a wartime president, but he can't rise above his pettiness and defensiveness long enough to stop trashing White House reporters who are simply trying to do their job under perilous circumstances. He also can't move away from his old standby, xenophobia.
Trump has never understood anything about government, so he doesn't know what the C.D.C. versus the F.D.A. versus FEMA should do. His improvisational leadership style was vividly '-- and disturbingly '-- on display Friday during a call with Chuck Schumer, who urged him to invoke the Defense Production Act to get ventilators and masks to desperate states '-- despite the president's cavalier remark a day earlier that the federal government is ''not a shipping clerk'' for the states. ''Then POTUS yelled to someone in his office to do it now,'' a Schumer spokesman reported.
Trump is just a petrified salesman who believes in perception over reality. He thinks if he can create the perception that this is going to be a quick fix and there's a little pill coming, then the stock market will roar back, along with his 2020 momentum.
With F.D.R. and the Great Depression, the only thing to fear was fear itself. With Trump and our new abyss, we have to fear not only fear but also the ignorance and misdirection of the White House and the profiteering of senators. Not to mention the virus.
The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We'd like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here's our email: letters@nytimes.com.
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'I'm going to keep pushing.' Anthony Fauci tries to make the White House listen to facts of the pandemic | Science | AAAS
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:14
Anthony Fauci (far right) attends a recent White House press briefing on the pandemic.
Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images By Jon CohenMar. 22, 2020 , 7:35 PM
Anthony Fauci, who to many watching the now-regular White House press briefings on the pandemic has become the scientific voice of reason about how to respond to the new coronavirus, runs from place to place in normal times and works long hours. Now, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has even less time to sleep and travels at warp speed, typically racing daily from his office north of Washington, D.C., to his home in the capital, and then to the White House to gather with the Coronavirus Task Force in the Situation Room. He then usually flanks President Donald Trump addressing the media'--and when he isn't there, concerned tweets begin immediately. Shortly before he planned to head to the White House for a task force meeting today, he phoned ScienceInsider for a speedy chat. This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Q: The first question everyone has is how are you?
A: Well, I'm sort of exhausted. But other than that, I'm good. I mean, I'm not, to my knowledge, coronavirus infected. To my knowledge, I haven't been fired [laughs].
Q: How are you managing to not get fired?
A: Well, that's pretty interesting because to [Trump's] credit, even though we disagree on some things, he listens. He goes his own way. He has his own style. But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say.
Q: You've been in press conferences where things are happening that you disagree with, is that fair to say?
A: Well, I don't disagree in the substance. It is expressed in a way that I would not express it, because it could lead to some misunderstanding about what the facts are about a given subject.
Q: You stood nearby while President Trump was in the Rose Garden shaking hands with people. You're a doctor. You must have had a reaction like, ''Sir, please don't do that.''
A: Yes, I say that to the task force. I say that to the staff. We should not be doing that. Not only that'--we should be physically separating a bit more on those press conferences. To his credit, the vice president [Mike Pence] is really pushing for physical separation of the task force [during meetings]. He keeps people out of the room'--as soon as the room gets like more than 10 people or so, it's, ''Out, everybody else out, go to a different room.'' So with regard to the task force, the vice president is really a bear in making sure that we don't crowd 30 people into the Situation Room, which is always crowded. So, he's definitely adhering to that. The situation on stage [for the press briefings] is a bit more problematic. I keep saying, ''Is there any way we can get a virtual press conference?'' Thus far, no. But when you're dealing with the White House, sometimes you have to say things one, two, three, four times, and then it happens. So, I'm going to keep pushing.
Q: You're standing there saying nobody should gather with more than 10 people and there are almost 10 people with you on the stage. And there are certainly more than 10 journalists there asking questions.
A: I know that. I'm trying my best. I cannot do the impossible.
Q: What about the travel restrictions? Trump keeps saying that the travel ban for China, which began 2 February, had a big impact on slowing the spread of the virus to the United States and that he wishes China would have told us 3 to 4 months earlier and that they were ''very secretive.'' (China did not immediately reveal the discovery of a new coronavirus in late December 2019, but by 10 January, Chinese researchers made the sequence of the virus public.) It just doesn't comport with facts.
A: I know, but what do you want me to do? I mean, seriously Jon, let's get real, what do you want me to do?
Q: Most everyone thinks that you're doing a remarkable job, but you're standing there as the representative of truth and facts, and things are being said that aren't true and aren't factual.
A: The way it happened is that after he made that statement [suggesting China could have revealed the discovery of a new coronavirus 3 to 4 months earlier], I told the appropriate people, it doesn't comport, because 2 or 3 months earlier would have been September. The next time they sit down with him and talk about what he's going to say, they will say, ''By the way, Mr. President, be careful about this and don't say that.'' But I can't jump in front of the microphone and push him down. OK, he said it. Let's try and get it corrected for the next time.
Q: You have not said China virus. (Trump frequently calls the cause of the spreading illness known as coronavirus disease 2019 a ''China virus'' or a ''Chinese virus.'')
A: Ever.
Q: And you never will, will you?
A: No.
Q: I'm curious about some things that aren't happening on a national scale. One is, why are shelter in place orders happening state by state? Why are we doing this sequentially? Is that a mistake?
A: No, I don't think we could say it's a mistake or not a mistake. There is a discussion and a delicate balance about what's the overall impact of shutting everything down completely for an indefinite period of time. So, there's a compromise. If you knock down the economy completely and disrupt infrastructure, you may be causing health issues, unintended consequences, for people who need to be able to get to places and can't. You do the best you can. I've emphasized very emphatically at every press conference, that everybody in the country, at a minimum, should be following the fundamental guidelines. Elderly, stay out of society in self isolation. Don't go to work if you don't have to. Yada, yada, yada. No bars, no restaurants, no nothing. Only essential services. When you get a place like New York or Washington or California, you have got to ratchet it up. But it is felt'--and it isn't me only speaking, it's a bunch of people who make the decisions'--that if you lock down everything now, you're going to crash the whole society. So, you do what you can do, as best as you can. Do as much physical separation as you can and ratchet it up at the places you know are at highest risk.
Q: But I heard a guy say, if you think you're doing too much, you're probably doing the right amount.
A: That's me.
Q: I know it's you. The ''15 Days to Slow the Spread'' campaign doesn't mention religious gatherings. I know Pence mentioned them yesterday. But why aren't they on the 15 days recommendations? All these other places are mentioned.
A: It was implied in no crowds of more than 10 people. But you're right, crowds in church are important and every time I get a chance to say it, I mention it. I can't really criticize them strongly for that at all. When you say less than 10, it makes common sense that it involves the church. I say it publicly and even the vice president has said it publicly.
Q: What happens before each press conference? What do you do as a group?
A: We're in the task force. We sit down for an hour and a half, go over all the issues on the agenda. And then we proceed from there to an anteroom right in front of the Oval Office to talk about what are going to be the messages, what are the kind of things we're going to want to emphasize? Then we go in to see the president, we present [our consensus] to him and somebody writes a speech. Then he gets up and ad libs on his speech. And then we're up there to try and answer questions.
Q: At Friday's press conference, you put your hands over your face when Trump referred to the ''deep State Department'' (a popular conspiracy theory). It's even become an internet meme. Have you been criticized for what you did?
A: No comment.
Q: We've seen creative ideas about how to respond in other countries that we aren't adopting. China uses thermometers at supermarkets before letting people in. Should we be considering that?
A: Yes, of course. I think the logistics of that have to be worked out. That was discussed. All these things are discussed. Not all of them are implemented. This is something that should be considered. I will bring it up at the next task force meeting and see whether there's some sort of a logistical, bureaucratic reason why it can't be done. The rationale for doing it is at least worth serious consideration.
Q: Big picture: We've had all this pandemic preparedness. Why did this fail? What went wrong?
A: I think we'll have to wait until it is over and we look back before we can answer that. It's almost like the fog of war. After the war is over, you then look back and say, ''Wow, this plan, as great as it was, didn't quite work once they started throwing hand grenades at us.'' It really is similar to that. Obviously, testing [for the new coronavirus] is one clear issue that needs to be relooked at. Why were we not able to mobilize on a broader scale? But I don't think we can do that right now. I think it's premature. We really need to look forward.
Q: Right now, why do we have a travel ban on visitors from China when there are few cases in China other than imported cases? What's the logic?
A: I'm sorry. I was just looking at two text messages, one from a governor and one from the White House. I gotta get off.
Related
The Daily 202: As Trump tires of Fauci, Birx skillfully plays the inside game in coordinating the coronavirus response - The Washington Post
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:11
With Mariana Alfaro
If Debbie Birx is more diplomatic than Tony Fauci, maybe it's because she's literally a diplomat. Vice President Pence brought her from the State Department to the White House last month to coordinate the day-to-day operations of the coronavirus task force he leads.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, has maintained a much larger public profile. But he was absent from the daily briefing at the White House on Monday evening after giving startlingly candid interviews to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd and Science magazine's Jon Cohen over the weekend. In the latter, he lamented that he couldn't stop President Trump from making false statements during the televised sessions. ''I can't jump in front of the microphone and push him down,'' Fauci said. That left Birx as the most senior medical expert on the dais.
Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, and Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listen as President Trump speaks in the White House briefing room on Friday. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
Trump's patience with Fauci, 79, has started to wear thin, Maggie Haberman reports in the Times: ''So has the patience of some White House advisers, who see Dr. Fauci as taking shots at the president in some of his interviews with print reporters while offering extensive praise for Mr. Trump in television interviews with conservative hosts. Mr. Trump knows that Dr. Fauci, who has advised every president since Ronald Reagan, is seen as credible with a large section of the public and with journalists, and so he has given the doctor more leeway to contradict him than he has other officials '...
''Officials asked him about the viral moment in the White House briefing room, when he put his hand to his face and appeared to suppress a chuckle after Mr. Trump referred to the State Department as the 'Deep State Department.' Dr. Fauci had a benign explanation: He had a scratchy throat and a lozenge he had in his mouth had gotten stuck in his throat, which he tried to mask from reporters.''
Trump appeared to accidentally retweet a picture capturing the awkward moment this morning (he quickly deleted it):
How much longer does Fauci last on the team? pic.twitter.com/igEvJ2tf70
'-- Ben Terris (@bterris) March 24, 2020 While Birx has given fewer interviews, she has proven adept at navigating the byways of the federal medical establishment over the last 35 years. The 63-year-old is widely admired in her field for pioneering research on HIV/AIDS treatments, including leading a vaccine trial. She retired from the Army as a colonel after 20 years of service as an immunologist (she went to medical school at Penn State). Then Birx spent about a decade at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before President Barack Obama appointed her as the U.S. government's Global AIDS Coordinator in 2014. This gave her the rank of ambassador and put her at Foggy Bottom, where she can go back after covid-19 is contained.
Trump clearly feels comfortable around her. Monday night's nearly two-hour briefing demonstrated that she's successfully developed a rapport with a president famous for his short attention span. The president appeared surprised to hear her disclose that she had a low-grade fever over the weekend. He playfully took a few steps away from her and laughed when she revealed that she hadn't come into the White House because she didn't want to accidentally infect him. Birx revealed that she took a test for the coronavirus that came back negative. Then she stayed home an extra day to be safe. ''That's how we protect one another,'' she said. Birx noted that she has not seen her own grandchildren in three weeks before asking Americans to make personal sacrifices for the common good. She also said to assume everyone you come into contact with is infected with the contagion.
With the dexterity of a diplomat, Birx repeatedly ducked and dodged questions from reporters that might have put her crosswise with the president. Trump himself asked Birx multiple questions in front of the assembled press corps, including whether reporters will ever again be allowed to fill all the seats in the briefing room. She avoided directly answering, and the president appeared satisfied. Asked about a new dictate from the British government limiting public gatherings, which is at odds with Trump's desire to loosen such guidelines as soon as possible, she passed. ''I can't really comment on how they got to that decision there or [a similar decision] in Germany,'' she said. ''I will never speculate on data. I always need to see data.'' And so it went.
On NBC's ''Today'' show this morning, Birx continued to avoid contradicting the president even as she pleaded with people to follow the restrictions currently in place. ''This is my plea to every American: Please continue to follow the presidential guidelines,'' she said.
Trump denied that Fauci is being sidelined. Asked why he wasn't at the briefing, the president said they had just spent a long time together privately. ''He's not here because we weren't discussing what he's best at,'' said Trump. (In fact, they were.) Asked if Fauci agrees with him about reopening the country sooner than later (our reporting makes clear that he does not), Trump answered with a double negative: ''He doesn't not agree with me.''
''We had a long talk. He understands,'' the president continued. ''He's a good man. I like Dr. Fauci a lot, just so you understand. '... He'll be back up very soon.''
Fauci is clearly playing more of an outside game, aimed at persuading the public, while Birx appears to be focused much more on maximizing her influence internally. These diverging approaches are worth exploring as Trump faces one of the most pivotal decisions of his presidency in the coming days, with the lives and livelihoods of countless Americans at stake. There are at least 610 reported deaths and 46,332 confirmed cases of the coronavirus on U.S. soil, with the numbers still expected to grow exponentially. To flatten the curve, more than 100 million Americans '-- nearly one in three '-- are under orders from their governors to stay at home.
But, but, but: ''As he watches stock prices plummet and braces for an expected surge in unemployment, Trump has received urgent pleas from rattled business leaders, Republican lawmakers and conservative economists imploring him to remove some of the stringent social distancing guidelines that he put in place for a 15-day period ending March 30,'' Phil Rucker, Jeff Stein, Josh Dawsey and Ashley Parker report. ''Inside the White House, tensions are growing over how quickly people can return to work. '... Trump is fixated on the economy '-- alarmed by the effects of the coronavirus so far and concerned about the impact of long-term contraction and surging unemployment on his reelection chances in November '...
''There is a growing fear inside the administration that an effective freeze on an array of major sectors of the economy for an indefinite period could be economically unsustainable no matter what stimulus package Congress passes or what monetary levers the Federal Reserve pulls. '... Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow and officials from the Office of Management and Budget are seen internally as conduits for the business community and have been pushing to get the economy back on track as quickly as possible '... One option under consideration is a gradual scaling back of current restrictions, where people younger than 40 who are healthy go back to work on a certain date, followed by people ages 40 to 50.''
The best public health experts uniformly agree that this is a bad idea, which could lead to a surge in cases and hospitals being overwhelmed. Trump acknowledged that the medical professionals don't want him to loosen guidelines, even as the business world does. ''If it were up to the doctors, they'd say let's keep it shut down, let's shut down the entire world '... and let's keep it shut for a couple of years,'' Trump told reporters. ''We can't do that.'' Trump's mantra was that ''we can't have the cure be worse than the problem,'' and he promised that ''America will again, and soon, be open for business '-- very soon.''
The White House winds up feeling like a prison for every president, but that feeling is especially pronounced for Trump '' who loves to hold stadium-size rallies '' amid this pandemic. ''Unable to travel and unsure of what to do, he's been crashing West Wing meetings, often forcing staffers to hurriedly adjust agendas as the president frequently gets in the way of health professionals trying to chart a course of action,'' the AP reports. ''While some around him have suggested that he should only appear when there is big news to announce, Trump has been missing the spotlight and has told people that he knows the nation is watching the briefings and doesn't want to give up the stage. On Sunday, he asked the briefing, originally slated for 4:30 p.m. to be pushed back later into the evening, when more people would be watching '-- including those tuning in for '60 Minutes,' the president's favorite broadcast news magazine.''
Another factor motivating Trump's antsiness to relax restrictions is his private business. The Trump Organization has shut down six of its top seven revenue-producing clubs and hotels to slow the spread, depriving the president's company of millions of dollars in revenue. Trump and his sons will not rule out taking millions in federal bailout money. ''In his unprecedented dual role as president and owner of a sprawling business, Trump is facing dual crises caused by the coronavirus,'' David Fahrenthold, Joshua Partlow and Jonathan O'Connell report. ''So far, the Trump Organization has closed hotels in Las Vegas; Doral, Fla.; Ireland; and Turnberry, Scotland '-- as well as the Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida and a golf club in Bedminster, N.J. Many of the clubs closed because they had to, under local orders. '... Those [six properties bring] in about $174 million total per year, according to Trump's most recent financial disclosures. That works out to $478,000 per day '...
''Another of Trump's golf clubs, in Aberdeen, Scotland, appeared likely to shut down soon, after an order from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that 'nonessential' shops should close '... Even the Trump properties that remain open have been sharply affected: In Chicago, New York and Washington, the restaurants have closed, cutting off a key source of revenue. '... 160 people have been laid off at Trump's D.C. hotel, at least 51 laid off at Trump's New York hotel and an unknown number laid off at Trump's Las Vegas hotel '... Three of Trump's hotels '-- in Doral, Chicago and Washington '-- have outstanding loans from Deutsche Bank that originally totaled more than $300 million. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, all three reported lagging behind their peers in occupancy and revenue.''
All these factors make it especially important for there to be public health experts inside the West Wing who have the president's ear and trust. Not only is he temperamentally and financially inclined to relax restrictions, Trump has much closer relationships with his economic advisers than the scientists and doctors in his orbit. Birx's efforts to ingratiate herself with the president could help her persuade him to continue restrictions that might be in the public's best interests. Even as she declined to allow any distance to emerge between her and the president, she left little doubt about where she stands substantively on the key questions.
''What the president has asked us to do is to assemble all the data and give him our best medical recommendation based on all the data, and so that's what we'll be doing this week,'' Birx said at the news conference. ''This is consistent with our mandate to really use every piece of information that we can in order to give the president our opinion that's backed up by data.''
A reporter asked Trump whether he'll relax guidance for people to stay home even if Fauci objects. The president was noncommittal. ''He's very important to me, and we'll be listening to him,'' he said. ''I'll be listening to Deborah, who you just spoke to. I'll be listening to other experts. We have a lot of people that are very good at this. And, ultimately, it's a balancing act. '... I'm a student. I've learned a lot from Deborah. I've learned a lot from Tony. '... I've learned a lot.''
As the president continued holding court in the briefing room, he told Birx that she could leave and didn't have to wait around. ''We want her to go back to work,'' Trump said.
Welcome to The Daily 202, PowerPost's essential briefing for decision makers.
The latest on the federal response A stimulus deal appears to be near.''The White House has agreed to allow enhanced scrutiny over a massive loan program that is a centerpiece of the Senate's $2 trillion coronavirus economic package, '... taking steps to address a major Democratic concern and potentially pave the way for a vote by Tuesday night,'' Erica Werner, Mike DeBonis, Paul Kane and Jeff Stein report. ''The stock market rose sharply in anticipation of the deal, with the Dow Jones industrial average up more than 1,200 points, or nearly 7 percent, at the open. The Senate bill would allow the Treasury Department to extend $500 billion in loans and loan guarantees to try and blunt the virus's economic impact. '... Trump has already said where he wants some of the money to go, promising assistance to cruise ship companies, for example, that have operations in Miami. And when he was asked Monday evening who would perform oversight of the program, Trump responded 'I'll be the oversight.'
''But during closed-door negotiations on Capitol Hill, White House officials have agreed to allow an independent inspector general and an oversight board to scrutinize the lending decisions '... The precise oversight structure for the new lending program could not be determined, and it was also unclear whether the oversight structure would be as robust as what was created during TARP. By Monday evening, a number of Republicans were on board with making changes to win Democratic support. The concession came as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) negotiated until nearly midnight on Monday at the Capitol, updating President Trump frequently and sounding more optimistic than they have through days of rocky talks.''
Trump expressed support this morning for the package:
Congress must approve the deal, without all of the nonsense, today. The longer it takes, the harder it will be to start up our economy. Our workers will be hurt!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2020 Sen. Rand Paul kept working for six days as he waited for his coronavirus test results. ''The Kentucky Republican took no steps to self-quarantine '-- continuing to cast votes on the Senate floor, delivering a speech lambasting a coronavirus aid bill, and meeting with other GOP senators in strategy sessions that defied federal advisories warning against gatherings of more than 10 people. Paul even squeezed in a round of golf at a private club," Seung Min Kim, Michael Scherer and Paul Kane report. ''On Monday, Paul was defiant that he did nothing wrong, despite bipartisan criticism for his behavior and even sharper private furor among senators and aides because he had potentially exposed them.'' In those six days, Paul also worked out at the Senate gym. A notice distributed to Senate staffers said all health and fitness facilities have finally closed, but two officials said the senators-only gym can still be accessed with a keypad.
Civil libertarians are freaking out over the Justice Department's coronavirus contingencies.''Justice Department officials have gamed out scenarios in which they would seek to extend statutes of limitation for investigations stalled by the coronavirus epidemic or ask to hold inmates longer than normal because of delayed court hearings,'' Matt Zapotosky reports. ''The Justice Department's thinking was revealed in proposals made to Congress in recent weeks that seek to confer a new power on the chief justice of the United States and give other top judges across the country wider latitude to postpone hearings in the districts they oversee."
The National Guard is trying to tamp down conspiracy theories that martial law is coming. ''Senior U.S. officials have addressed the issue in briefings, a Pentagon official rebutted speculative online posts and the government has created a new website titled 'Coronavirus Rumor Control,''' Dan Lamothe reports. ''More than 8,000 National Guardsmen were on duty as of Monday to respond to the spread of the virus, with tasks ranging from delivering needed supplies to disinfecting public areas. '... [Defense Secretary Mark Esper said] 'this is not a move toward martial law, as some have erroneously claimed.'"
Testing and treatment The coronavirus isn't alive, and that's why it's so hard to kill.It's ''little more than a packet of genetic material surrounded by a spiky protein shell one-thousandth the width of an eyelash, and leads such a zombielike existence that it's barely considered a living organism. But as soon as it gets into a human airway, the virus hijacks our cells to create millions more versions of itself,'' Sarah Kaplan, William Wan and Joel Achenbach report. ''It dwells in the upper respiratory tract, where it is easily sneezed or coughed onto its next victim. But in some patients, it can lodge itself deep within the lungs, where the disease can kill. '... Another insidious characteristic of this virus: By giving up that bit of lethality, its symptoms emerge less readily than SARS, which means people often pass it to others before they even know they have it. '... Outside a host, viruses are dormant. They have none of the traditional trappings of life: metabolism, motion, the ability to reproduce.''
Researchers hope visualizing the virus's architecture will offer a map of how to defeat it. ''Sugars dot the outside of the spike, just like sugars dot the outside of regular human cells, said David Veesler, a structural virologist at the University of Washington who led a team that visualized the SARS-CoV-2 spike '... This carbohydrate camouflage makes the virus more difficult for the human immune system to recognize,'' Bonnie Berkowitz, Aaron Steckelberg and John Muyskens report. ''Each spike is made of three identical proteins twisted together, Veesler said. His team captured images of the ends of these proteins opening in the spike's cap-like apex before and during the attempt to bind to a receptor. '... Experts say a vaccine is at least a year away, but they're coming up with strategies now. One may be able to trigger antibodies that strike areas of the protein that are exposed when it opens, said virologist Vineet Menachery, who specializes in the study of coronaviruses at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.''
Warm, humid weather could slow the coronavirus. Laboratory studies are underway to see how temperature and humidity affect covid-19. ''Multiple early studies provide evidence of statistical ties between temperature and humidity ranges and the geographic regions where this virus has thrived. While none of these studies has been peer-reviewed, they all point to the same general possibility: The pandemic could ease in parts of North America and Europe during the summer months, though it could then come roaring back in the fall,'' Andrew Freedman and Simon Denyer report.
Huge discrepancies across states are muddling the meaning of test results. ''Some states are keeping negative tests secret while others aren't. Some track state lab results, while ignoring test results from private companies. Some restrict the availability of tests, while others test widely,'' Steven Mufson, Andrew Ba Tran and Brady Dennis report. '''We have no systematic strategy to do the kind of surveillance necessary to understand the chain of transmission,' said Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist at Yale School of Medicine and an expert on analyzing the outcomes of a broad range of medical treatments. 'We're basically flying blind because we have so little idea about its penetration into our society and the number of people affected.'''
An Arizona man died after trying to self-medicate. The man and his wife took a drug meant for aquarium cleaning that contains chloroquine phosphate, a drug Trump recently touted as a possible coronavirus treatment in spite of a lack of study by health officials. The woman is under critical care. ''The toxic ingredient they consumed was not the medication form of chloroquine, used to treat malaria in humans. Instead, it was an ingredient listed on a parasite treatment for fish," NBC News reports. ''The man's wife [said] she'd watched televised briefings during which Trump talked about the potential benefits of chloroquine. '... The couple '-- both in their 60s and potentially at higher risk for complications of the virus '-- decided to mix a small amount of the substance with a liquid and drink it as a way to prevent the coronavirus. '... Within 20 minutes, both became extremely ill, at first feeling 'dizzy and hot.' '... Shortly after he arrived at the hospital, her husband died. '... The Arizona woman now warns others to listen to medical professionals for the best coronavirus advice."
Supplies have evaporated for patients who need the drugs Trump touted as unproven treatments. ''The U.S. has all but exhausted its supplies of two anti-malarial drugs that are being used by some doctors in the U.S. and China to treat the coronavirus,'' Chris Rowland reports. ''The sudden shortages of the two drugs could come at a serious cost for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis patients who depend on them to alleviate symptoms of inflammation, including preventing organ damage in lupus patients.''
Folks already at risk face grave danger. ''The struggle is particularly acute for those whose existing ailments can be fatally exacerbated by the disease '-- people whose lungs have been compromised by pulmonary disorders, whose immune systems have been suppressed by chemotherapy or whose blood sugar spikes dangerously as their bodies fight even common colds,'' Cleve Wootson reports. ''They have become the most stringent of the social distancers, filling refrigerators and medicine cabinets and hoping that supplies last until the worst is over. Wary of hospital waiting rooms filled with coughing people, when they get sick, they are turning to self-diagnosis and, at times, simply guessing.''
Lenny Bernstein, Rowland and Tom Hamburger: ''Dialysis patients are at high risk during covid-19 outbreak.'' Cardiologist Haider Warraich: ''Coronavirus is especially threatening for people with heart disease.'' The cascading domestic fallout Many local leaders are imposing stricter restrictions on freedom of movement. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) ordered all passengers on flights that originated in New York or New Jersey to self-quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in his state. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) ordered a similar quarantine for any person flying into her state. Michigan, Oregon, Indiana and West Virginia became the latest states to announce stay-at-home orders. Wisconsin's governor plans to follow suit today. The governors of Maryland and Massachusetts ordered nonessential businesses to close. (Dennis) New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said the city's intensive care units saw a spike in cases, as supplies grow scarce. (Shayna Jacobs and Lenny Bernstein) The virus is spreading faster in Louisiana than in any other part of the world, with New Orleans ER workers saying their hospitals are on the verge of collapse. Louisiana is one of the poorest states in the nation. (Vice) A 1,000-bed U.S. Navy hospital ship is heading to Los Angeles with a full blood bank and 80 intensive-care beds. (Paul Sonne) Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said schools would remain closed for the rest of the academic year. (Hannah Natanson) D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said she will not order residents to stay home. The city's homeland security director said officials are working with hospitals to use unlicensed spaces such as hallways. Local officials are scouting locations to reconfigure, such as unused hotels, to prepare for a surge of victims. Maryland announced 44 new confirmed cases on Monday while Virginia announced 35 and the District reported 21. A 1-year-old tested positive for the virus in D.C. (Rachel Weiner and Dana Hedgpeth) Denver issued a stay-at-home ordinance, but marijuana dispensaries are allowed to stay open as essential businesses. (Denver Post) Major airlines are drafting plans for a potential voluntary shutdown of virtually all passenger flights across the U.S., as government agencies also consider ordering such a move. (Wall Street Journal) Boeing shut down all Puget Sound operations in Washington state for two weeks after an employee died of the virus. (Aaron Gregg and Christian Davenport) Facebook sent home thousands of human moderators, leaving algorithms in charge of policing misinformation. (Elizabeth Dwoskin and Nitasha Tiku) CVS will hire 50,000 new workers and pay out bonuses, as the pandemic boosts demand. (Jacob Bogage) A House panel warned that the virus could destroy the Postal Service by June. (Politico) The rich are investing in bunkers to ward off the virus. Inquiries and sales are skyrocketing for hideout shelters across the country. (Los Angeles Times) Cruise ships are petri dishes of contagion.The number of passengers on the Grand Princess who actually have the coronavirus will remain a mystery. ''Hundreds of the nearly 2,000 Americans transported from the ship to bases have declined to be tested while quarantined, officials say. More than three dozen people who agreed to be tested after arriving on the bases received positive results, nearly double the number confirmed on board,'' Mark Berman and Faiz Siddiqui report. ''These numbers indicate that the coronavirus spread more widely among those who had traveled on the ship than was previously known, and they raise questions about whether potentially infected people could be returning to their communities when they are scheduled to begin leaving the bases this week.''
A growing number of U.S. passengers who were flown home after being stranded on a European cruise ship are showing flu-like symptoms. ''Their experience is a sign that, even as many parts of the nation have entered near total shutdowns in an attempt to slow the outbreak, different standards about how to handle those at risk of being contagious may be allowing the virus to spread,'' Rosalind Helderman reports. ''The Department of Health and Human Services said Monday that the first Costa Luminosa passengers who tested positive for covid-19 '... showed no symptoms of illness when they boarded the charter flight back to the United States.''
Investigators say the nursing home that became a hotspot failed to notify authorities. ''The Life Care Center home in Kirkland, [Wash.], which has so far been associated with 37 deaths from covid-19 '... also failed to 'rapidly identify and manage ill residents' and had no backup plan when its primary clinician became ill, according to the inspectors,'' Jon Swaine reports. ''The Life Care Center home in Kirkland is owned by Life Care Centers of America, the country's biggest privately held nursing home company, which says that it has more than 200 facilities across 28 states.''
A March 5 soir(C)e in Connecticut became a ''super spreader.'' ''The Westport soir(C)e '-- Party Zero in southwestern Connecticut and beyond '-- is a story of how, in the Gilded Age of money, social connectedness and air travel, a pandemic has spread at lightning speed. The [50 or so] partygoers '-- more than half of whom are now infected '-- left that evening for Johannesburg, New York City and other parts of Connecticut and the United States, all seeding infections on the way,'' the Times reports in a good story on how easily the virus can spread. ''Westport, a town of 28,000 on the Long Island Sound, did not have a single known case of the coronavirus on the day of the party. It had 85 on Monday, up more than 40-fold in 11 days.''
The outbreak has made funerals dangerous. ''Mourners and funeral directors are making difficult decisions, weighing whether to postpone services, hold them with strictly limited access, broadcast them online or record them to replay later,'' Arelis Hernndez and Mark Berman report.
Joe Biden addressed the nation about the crisis from a new studio.Speaking from behind a lectern in the study of his Delaware home, the presumptive Democratic nominee said Trump should've done more when the threat was emerging in China. ''My point is not simply that the president was wrong,'' Biden said. ''My point is that the mindset that was slow to recognize the problem in the first place to treat with the seriousness it deserves is still too much a part of how the president is addressing the problem.'' In related news, Annie Linskey scooped that the powerful AFSCME union will endorse Biden. (Matt Viser)
The growing global fallout Northern Italy is struggling to cope with the number of deaths from the coronavirus. (Flavio Lo Scalzo/Reuters)
The Tokyo Olympic Games have been postponed.''Facing heavy global pressure and rising athlete dissent, the International Olympic Committee sharply reversed course Tuesday and agreed with Japanese officials that the Olympics and Paralympics will not take place this summer in Tokyo in the wake of the growing novel coronavirus pandemic. Organizers say they now hope to stage the Games by the summer of 2021,'' Adam Kilgore, Rick Maese and Simon Denyer report. ''Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday proposed a one-year postponement '... The IOC quickly agreed that the Games would be held about one year after the previously scheduled start date, July 24. '... The modern Olympics, which date from 1896, have been canceled three times (1916, 1940 and 1944) because of world wars.''
Italy's staggering death toll may be a preview more than an anomaly.At 6,077 and counting, the country has lost more people to the coronavirus than any other. ''The disaster in Italy does not stem from gross government negligence. Rather, analysts say it is partly a consequence of the weeks between the emergence of the outbreak and the government decision to absolutely lock down the population. And though many in Italy now argue that their government waited too long, democracies across the West have been mulling the same decisions,'' Chico Harlan, Stefano Pitrelli and Claudia Cavaliere report. ''Italy has fewer acute-care beds relative to its population than South Korea or Germany, but more than Britain or the United States."
A World Health Organization official said that ''we are now seeing a very large acceleration'' in U.S. infections, adding that America has the potential to become the new epicenter of the crisis. Meanwhile, elite hackers are targeting the WHO as the agency sees more than a two-fold increase in cyberattacks, Reuters reports.
In Spain, as soldiers help disinfect retirement homes hit by the virus, they have made some particularly gruesome discoveries: the abandoned dead '-- or dying '-- bodies of elderly residents. In Madrid, the city's funeral service temporarily stopped accepting the corpses of those infected, and an ice rink has been turned into a makeshift morgue. (Teo Armus)
The State Department said 13,500 Americans stranded abroad have asked for help. ''The effort to repatriate Americans has become the main focus of the State Department as it has suspended all routine visa operations and reassigned personnel to the often-complex task of getting people out of countries as borders and airports close,'' Carol Morello reports.
Tehran and Washington traded blame for the virus's spread in Iran. ''Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said in a tweet that the United States is 'impeding' the global fight to contain the spreading covid-19 disease by sustaining its sanctions, the latest salvo in a feud that escalated Sunday with comments by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei suggesting America had created the coronavirus. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo countered on Monday by saying that the 'fabrications' by Khamenei about what Pompeo referred to as the 'Wuhan Virus' put Iranians and people worldwide at risk,'' Liz Sly reports. ''Khamenei's televised comments on Sunday were made in response to U.S. offers to send aid to Iran as Tehran struggles to contain the highest coronavirus infection rate in the Middle East. Khamenei said the United States could not be trusted to help because it 'may' have created the coronavirus now sweeping the world.''
Japan's social distancing is shrinking as fears ease. It might be too soon.''Two months into the pandemic here, and the parks last weekend were full in Tokyo with people gathering to view cherry blossoms. The temples were packed with those seeking blessings for the spring and the bars and restaurants were filled,'' Simon Denyer reports. ''Japan added 38 new cases on Monday, bringing the number of confirmed infections to 1,140, with 42 deaths, not including cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. '... The sense here is that Japan has dodged a bullet, either by luck or judgment, but experts warn the country is not invincible."
The Philippine legislature granted President Rodrigo Duterte ''special powers'' to tackle the virus, including the authority to take over private hospitals. Thailand declared a state of emergency as cases increased 14-fold in a month. Beijing ordered all overseas arrivals to self-quarantine as Hubei '' the former outbreak epicenter '' drew down travel restrictions. Australia asked people to defer signing up for unemployment after lines at welfare offices got so long they violated social distancing rules. A German man was arrested after he posted a video showing him licking an escalator handrail and a subway ticket machine last week. He reportedly wanted to spread the virus, local media said. (Our correspondents here and around the world have more on these and other developments on our live blog.)
Hong Kong also appeared to have the virus under control. Then it let its guard down. ''The number of confirmed cases has almost doubled in the past week, with many imported from overseas, as Hong Kong residents who had left -- either to work or study abroad, or to seek safety when the city seemed destined for a major outbreak earlier this year -- return, bringing the virus back with them,'' CNN reports. ''On Monday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that all non-residents would be barred from the territory as of Wednesday, the latest addition to a raft of new measures."
Londoners are fleeing to the countryside. Locals are begging them to stay away. ''Jittery urbanites drove their camper vans up to the Scottish Highlands, and the worried well searched for holiday cottages to self-isolate in Cornwall. With international jet travel nearly shut down, schools closed and London the germy epicenter of infection in Britain, the people were hitting the highways and boarding trains to the boonies,'' William Booth reports. ''But out in the countryside, locals warned outsiders, essentially, 'You're going to kill us.' Some of the prettiest places in England, Wales and Scotland are also the least populated and the most underserved by the National Health Service. On Monday night, frustrated with the public's refusal to abide by calls to practice strict social distancing measures, Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued new edicts: People were ordered to stay at home, except to go shopping or visit the doctor or pharmacist. They will be permitted a bit of daily exercise. They were told not to travel '-- except to go to work, to do jobs they cannot do from home.''
Quote of the day ''It's a little bit like, when you discover sex can be dangerous, you don't come out and say, there should be no more sex. You should give people guidance on how to have sex less dangerously," said former Council of Economic Advisers chief economist Casey Mulligan. (NYT)
Social media speed readA Catholic priest died after donating his respirator:
Fr. Giuseppe Berardelli, a 72-year-old priest who gave a respirator (that his parishioners had purchased for him), to a younger patient (whom he did not know), has died from #coronavirus."Greater love has no person..." (Jn 15:13) https://t.co/qXQ6knoE6n via @Araberara pic.twitter.com/uKxRNghire
'-- James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) March 24, 2020 Minnesota's lieutenant governor lost her brother to the virus:
View this post on Instagram
Almost exactly two months after we buried our dad, my brother Ron passed away on Saturday. To many, he'll be a statistic: Tennessee's second COVID-related death. But to me, I'll remember a loving, older brother, uncle, father, and husband. Ron was a tough-as-nails Marine who was a big teddy bear on the inside. He never left my dad's side during his final weeks and took care of everyone else in the way only he could. His politics didn't match mine AT ALL (and we joked about it constantly) but Ron was a very good man who had an amazing capacity to love. I miss him dearly. Several weeks ago, Ron was diagnosed with cancer. His immune system was compromised and he contracted COVID-19. He was put in a medically induced coma and placed on a ventilator. He fought it as hard as he could but it was simply too much for his body. THIS is why we must #StayHome If you feel fine, that's great. But please consider the possibility that you're carrying the virus and don't know it, and then you walk past the next Ron, my big brother, in public. COVID-19 now has a personal connection to me. Please do all you can to prevent one for you. #StayHomeMN
A post shared by Peggy Flanagan (@peggyflanagan) on Mar 22, 2020 at 7:43pm PDT
Trump's former top homeland security adviser on the National Security Council had this warning:
Sadly, the numbers now suggest the U.S. is poised to take the lead in #coronavirus cases. It's reasonable to plan for the US to top the list of countries with the most cases in approximately 1 week. This does NOT make social intervention futile. It makes it imperative!
'-- Thomas P. Bossert (@TomBossert) March 23, 2020 Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is taking the side of the scientists over others in Trump's orbit who want to send people back to work next week:
There is no functioning economy unless we control the virus.
'-- Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) March 23, 2020 Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) lashed out against Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) for not resigning after getting caught dumping stock as the coronavirus spread:
.@KatieHill4CA gets run out of Congress for screwing a campaign staffer absent any complaint.@SenatorBurr stays as Intelligence Chairman after screwing all Americans by falsely reassuring us w opeds on #COVID while he dumped his stock portfolio early.This is not fair.
'-- Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) March 23, 2020 Coronavirus cases have grown at a faster rate in the United States than anywhere else, according to this Financial Times chart that has gone viral (pardon the pun):
The U.S. now has more cases at this point in the crisis than China did at the same point. Or any other country in the world. pic.twitter.com/CJqoGbtL25
'-- Ian Sams (@IanSams) March 23, 2020 And this clip of Texas's lieutenant governor on Fox News is making the rounds:
Tx Lt Gov Dan Patrick says grandparents would be willing to die to save the economy for their grandchildren pic.twitter.com/wC3Ngvtsbj
'-- Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) March 24, 2020 Videos of the dayLate-night hosts, forced to deliver their shows from home, are getting creative. Stephen Colbert fixed a bike for everyone to see:
Seth Meyers delivered his monologue from his home's hallway:
And Jimmy Kimmel video-called Julia Louis-Dreyfus:
In praise of S3, the greatest cloud service of all time
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:10
25,000 #CloudMadness voters can't be wrong: Amazon S3 is the greatest cloud service of all time.
Really, you never know how a popularity contest like that is going to go. In this case though, I think the voters made the right call. And I have reasons!
S3 is the OG cloud serviceDepending on how you define it, the Simple Storage Service may not have been the first AWS offering - SQS technically launched first, but wasn't available in production until later. Either way, a managed message queue alone was never going to convince most businesses to consider public cloud. A distributed storage solution that could scale as wide as your data with zero ops effort absolutely was.
As AWS's Mike Deck put it on Twitter during the heat of voting: ''I don't think you're appreciating what a revolution it was back in the late '00s to have virtually infinite, highly durable, pay-as-you-go storage that didn't require you to manage any hardware.''
Remember when you had to cycle your backup drives every seven days, or drive a wagonload of tape to the offsite DR location? A generation that grew up with S3 doesn't.
But S3 has become so much more than just a storage repository. As a static web server, S3 dishes up content for hundreds of thousands of websites including Netflix, Wikipedia, and the New York Times. In fact, the world has ''standardized'' on S3 APIs to such an extent that Google's competing service just supports them out of the box.
That's why, on the rare-ish occasions when S3 has an availability blip in one region or another, what seems like half the internet goes down. It's hard to envision another cloud service -- except maybe a CDN such as the closely-related CloudFront -- having quite such an impact. S3 is fundamental internet infrastructure at this point, and it's here to stay, because...
S3 is an engineering marvelDistributed storage remains one of the hardest problems in computer science, especially at scale. History is littered with managed services that fell by the wayside because they couldn't maintain integrity of customer data, their most precious resource.
With that in mind, S3's durability guarantees -- eleven nines, are you kidding me? -- represent a jaw-dropping engineering feat. To put it in perspective, you're more likely to personally get hit by a meteor than to lose just one of a million S3 objects'... 400 times more likely. Check out this rather astonishing re:Invent keynote from S3 VP Mai-Lan Tomsen Bukovec, and try not to glaze over at the numbers: exabytes of data, tens of trillions of objects, more than 235 microservices distributing that data across who even knows how many physical facilities.
She's talking about formal proof-of-correctness algorithms, checksums across loosely-coupled systems, complex actuarial models that anticipate when drives will fail. AWS has automated ''durability auditors'' that repeatedly crawl every byte of S3 data to verify that when you retrieve your stuff, it will be correct. And they constantly update these tools based on what they've learned from almost 15 years of running at unimaginable scale.
All that for the random code artifact I uploaded seven years ago by typing ''s3 sync'' at my command prompt. Makes me feel a bit unworthy, to be honest.
Sure, S3 has added tons of features over the years, some more specialized than others (S3 Access Points, anyone?). But the core value prop hasn't changed: you drop in as many objects as you want, store them as long as you want, and they will never die. Drives fail, data centers go offline, but S3 remains. That's why we developers take it for granted, an axiom you can build entire architectures around: like the sun rising, S3 will be there in the morning, barring a planetary extinction event. And that's what makes it literally, unquestionably great.
You can't spell s3rverless without S3When most of us hear the word ''serverless'', of course, our minds jump to a different service -- AWS Lambda, the original FaaS that launched a generation of stateless apps and HackerNews arguments. (It's no accident that Lambda finished a close second in #CloudMadness polling.)
And yet Ben Kehoe, who's been building serverless apps at iRobot for years, advocated hard for S3 in the polls. ''S3 is the epitome of serverless,'' he told me. ''It's solving an incredibly hard problem that everybody needs solved, with a (relatively) straightforward API, scaling to whatever traffic you can throw at it, but costing you just what you're using. And its performance constantly gets better without any action needed from the user.''
Tim Allen Wagner, who invented Lambda, says Lambda ''actually got started as an off-shoot of S3, not EC2. So there's another revolutionary thing that S3 gave the world!''
That's right: the whole serverless revolution started as a way to build triggers for S3 events. Wagner remembers one of his career's ''scariest moments'' as integrating Lambda with S3: ''Back in those days it was like pointing a firehose at a dixie cup. Fortunately, S3 has an amazing architecture and team and Lambda grew into some (very big) shoes to join them at scale.''
''While S3 may be the greatest cloud service of all time,'' Kehoe adds, ''Lambda deserves credit for shifting the conversation from 'these managed services are useful in and among my servers' to 'whoa, I can do *all* of this with services'. It was an evolutionary step in managed compute, but it revolutionized people's thinking.''
And that's really the bottom line, isn't it? S3, along with a few other foundational AWS services like EC2 and Elastic Load Balancer, established the primitives that allowed a Cambrian explosion of high-level innovation over the last ten years. While S3 may not be the shiny new thing anymore, it's worth our time to step back and appreciate just what AWS has given us all these years with a storage service that, under the hood, is anything but simple.
To see above the clouds, after all, it helps to stand on the shoulders of giants. And S3 is a giant.
Forrest Brazeal is an AWS Serverless Hero and enterprise architect who has led cloud adoption initiatives for companies ranging from startups to the Fortune 50.
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Italian Professor of Virology Says Fear of Appearing 'Racist' Made His Country's Coronavirus Outbreak Far Worse
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:05
Italian Professor of Virology Says Fear of Appearing 'Racist' Made His Country's Coronavirus Outbreak Far Worse by Cassandra Fairbanks March 24, 2020 Italy is now considered the epicenter of the coronavirus and a professor of virology there believes that a fear of being perceived as ''racist'' contributed heavily to the massive outbreak.Giorgio Pal¹ is a professor of virology and microbiology of the University of Padova in Italy and the former head of the European and Italian Society for Virology. He firmly believes that the delayed response in combating the virus was due to political correctness.
Speaking to CNN, Pal¹ asserted that the lockdown should have been wider and stricter earlier '-- and that the government lagged on taking action because of politics.
It was ''lazy in the beginning'... too much politics in Italy,'' Pal¹ said. ''There was a proposal to isolate people coming from the epicenter, coming from China, then it became seen as racist, but they were people coming from the outbreak.''
Italian politicians were so set on not appearing racist, even if it kills their constituents, that the mayor of Florence even launched a ''Hug a Chinese'' Day campaign after Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced travel restrictions on China.
#coronavirus: seguiamo le indicazioni delle autorit sanitarie e usiamo cautela, ma nessun terrorismo psicologico e soprattutto basta con i soliti sciacalli che non vedevano l'ora di usare questa scusa per odiare e insultare. Uniti in questa battaglia comune! #AbbracciaUnCinese pic.twitter.com/pUdqEl0piW
'-- Dario Nardella (@DarioNardella) February 1, 2020
The ''Hug a Chinese Day'' effort was promoted by Chinese Communist Party propaganda outlets CGTN and Global Times, The Blaze noted.
As of Tuesday morning, there have been 63,927 cases of coronavirus in Italy '-- and 6,077 deaths.
The Post-Pandemic Future Hollywood Doesn't Want to Imagine - The Atlantic
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:04
Though Universal's Trolls release is a business decision spurred by highly unusual circumstances, it's nonetheless prompting a furious response from theater owners who recognize a looming existential threat. The National Organization of Theatre Owners, a group representing more than 33,000 screens around the country, insists that Universal's move will be an exception, not the rule. ''To avoid catastrophic losses to the studios, these titles must have the fullest possible theatrical release around the world,'' NATO said. ''While one or two releases may forgo theatrical release, it is our understanding from discussions with distributors that the vast majority of deferred releases will be rescheduled for theatrical release as life returns to normal.''
The messaging is clear: It makes no financial sense for movies that cost hundreds of millions to be released online-only. But NATO's announcement assumes that the theater industry can return to normal when the pandemic abates. For a sense of what the U.S. might face once the outbreak begins to slow, look to China: The country is only just beginning to re-open some theaters after shuttering them in January. Even as new cases have rapidly declined and the government has begun to ease social-distancing rules, citizens have been reluctant to go back to theaters so far. The 507 theaters (about 5 percent of the country's cinemas) open on Saturday made only $4,355 according to Deadline. That's just a few dollars per theater.
The Chinese film industry's hope is to re-open all theaters by May 1, though staggered seating (spacing people apart) will be part of that adjustment. The other issue will be a relative lack of new movies to show, since all major releases have been frozen. To lure people back, the Chinese industry is re-releasing some homegrown hits of recent years, box-office smashes such as The Wandering Earth, Wolf Warrior 2, and Monster Hunt. Reportedly, Hollywood favorites like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone will also be rolled out at some point.
It's a nice idea'--using nostalgic hits to remind audiences what they liked about going to the movies in the first place. But the coming weeks in China will demonstrate to what extent people's desire to return to cinemas outweighs their fear of catching or potentially spreading COVID-19. A situation in which theaters were empty for the entire summer would be Hollywood's worst nightmare, given the amount of major movies on deck that will either have to be delayed or suffer depressed box-office returns.
The biggest spring blockbusters have already been postponed: Fast & Furious 9 was bumped to April 2021, No Time to Die moved to November, and Disney's Mulan and Black Widow are indefinitely delayed. Paramount sold its comedy The Lovebirds to Netflix, effectively punting on any kind of theatrical release (a move the studio has resorted to before). The next mega-blockbuster still on deck is Wonder Woman 1984 from Warner Bros., due out on June 5, which the studio has insisted will not receive an online release. That's an early sign that what NATO is arguing is true'--that even though people are sheltering at home in search of interesting things to watch, studios have little incentive to release an expensive superhero movie to home viewers first.
Jeff Bezos Just Posted a 4-Page Letter to Amazon Employees on Instagram. It Announces a Drastic Change for the Company | Inc.com
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 10:20
On Saturday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos posted a letter to Amazon employees on Instagram, detailing part of his company's strategy for the coming months in response to the novel coronavirus.
My colleague Bill Murphy Jr. recently broke down the entire email, along with tons of lessons for business leaders, which I highly recommend you read.
But there was one line that stuck out to me more than all the rest:
My own time and thinking is now wholly focused on COVID-19 and on how Amazon can best play its role.
Take a moment to let that sink in.
Time and again, Bezos has emphasized that Amazon's strategy is a long-term one, much more concerned with continuing to evolve and diversify than with short-term goals and profit, something that investors have not always understood or appreciated. That strategy has helped transform Amazon into one of the most valuable companies on the planet.
But now, Bezos has made clear that he is entirely focused on adapting his business to a disease that no one even knew about a few months ago.
Interestingly, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently indicated a similar sentiment. Asked if he was thinking about layoffs or slowing down new investments, Nadella told Axios that's not where he's putting his energy.
Rather, said Nadella, he is focused on what he called "new demand" for services that support the sudden influx of employees who work from home.
By redirecting their focus on the consequences of Covid-19, both Bezos and Nadella are teaching an invaluable lesson to business leaders everywhere:
The time for wishful thinking is over. The sooner you figure out a way to adapt to the effects of the coronavirus, the better the chance your business has to survive.
How your business can survive the coronavirus
As Covid-19 continues to spread, experts are predicting that Americans will need to stay home at least several more weeks. The effects on American businesses could last much longer than that--several months, or even years.
It's true that both Amazon and Microsoft are companies that are better equipped than most to weather the storm of Covid-19. But every business can benefit from a redirection of focus, whether you're a local restaurant or a solopreneur.
It begins by asking yourself the following questions:
How can I change my business model to fit current circumstances?If I sell products, can I deliver?How can I improve my company's website and online presence?Can I allow my employees to work from home? How can I assist them to do so?Have I already invested in virtual meeting/video conference software?What preparations can I begin making today?These aren't easy questions to answer. But it's important to start developing your strategy immediately. Ask your employees to help you brainstorm ideas. And as Bezos and Nadella have, focus as much time and energy as possible to figuring out your role in a post-Covid-19 world, and how you can best fill it.
Because if you haven't already started trying to answer these questions, you're already too late.
Published on: Mar 23, 2020
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Support the Portland Oregon USA Rent & Mortgage Strike! - socialism
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 10:05
It's obvious this person isn't just posting online telling people to stop paying their rent like you seem to be suggesting. On this very post they are encouraging people to contribute to a fundraiser to support the strike, and are knocking on doors to get people organized personally. I get where you're coming from, I've organized tenants in Texas and rule #1 was never tell anyone to stop paying their rent for any reason because Texas has no real renter protections at all, regardless of how shit your landlord is. but if you could unite an entire apartment complex, or at least a significant majority of it, behind the idea of not paying back rent on payments they missed due to the outbreak that's not an unrealistic or ''ill conceived'' idea, as most landlords would be hard pressed to evict an entire complex after missing out on rent payments for who knows how many months. My guess would be that they would be desperate enough to get some income flowing that if enough people got on board they might just cave. When this sort of thing gets dangerous is, like what was said above, when only a small number of tenants in a complex decide to try something like this, because then it's easy for a landlord to evict them and move on with their life. I'd also like to point out a serious flaw in your logic that I've seen from a lot of well meaning leftists. You criticize OP for being the kind of person that is supposedly well-off enough that they can risk being evicted, and through their organizing are putting low-income people that can't afford to shoulder the repercussions of taking part this kind of strike at risk, just to satisfy their own vanity or sense of idealism. But what you've failed to consider are the repercussions of not organizing. In apartment complexes and rented housing throughout the country, and the world, right now their are people who have lost their jobs and, while the hold on evictions is keeping them in place for now, will simply not be able to pay the back rent and will be evicted when the time does come to pay up. Those are the people this is for. For these people standing up to their landlords isn't a risk that they are foolish are wealthy enough to take, its their only chance to have a roof over their heads in a month or two. The entire point of left-wing political organizing is that we aren't just going to watch that sort of thing happen and just throw our hands up in the air and say ''well it sucks that your homeless but doing something about it would have been too risky''. The point is that we are going to do this, organize these people, and their neighbors because none of us represent enough power to accomplish change on our own, to take direct action to hit the powers that being where it hurts, their wallets, to force them to do what's best for us instead of what's best for their bottom line. And their are safe and intelligent ways to do this. The most important is to ensure that no one is taking a leap of faith here. Just because this group is organizing doesn't mean every complex is actually going to participate. If help people get their fingers on the pulse of their communities they'll know if they have to support to actually pull something like this off, or if they won't have enough of their neighbors' support to keep themselves safe. It's also worth noting that while we should always be practicing mutual aid directed at those without housing, a campaign like this especially should not be planning to just leave people high and dry if something goes wrong, because that would be irresponsible. Their needs to be some consideration in regards to the strike fundraising and planning as to what will be done to support people displaced by the wave of evictions sure to come after the end of the eviction hold, especially considering that possibility that some of those evictions may include people standing in solidarity with neighbors as part of this action. What I'm saying is that you are right in thinking that a rent strike like this is a drastic action that comes with serious risks that need to be accounted for. But the correct response is to act while ensuring that we are accounting for these risks as best we can, rather than just allowing our neighbors to lose their homes because we didn't think their well-being was worth the risk of fighting for it. Now I don't know if this particular campaign is bring accounting for those risks, although their seems to be some for of higher organization beyond what you've assumed about it, and I absolutely will be scrutinizing this and any other similarly drastic action to ensure that it meets my personal standards of necessity and organizational rigor. I would encourage you to do the same, instead of just dismissing any tenant organizing off hand, simply because you may never have experienced a situation in which standing up to your landlord was your only option.
Edit: TL;DR To say that doing this is bad because of the people who may lose their housing because we did something is ignoring the people who may lose their housing because we did nothing. Both kinds of people matter and should have their needs taken into consideration before deciding one group is more important than the other.
We're not going back to normal - MIT Technology Review
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 09:57
To stop coronavirus we will need to radically change almost everything we do: how we work, exercise, socialize, shop, manage our health, educate our kids, take care of family members.
We all want things to go back to normal quickly. But what most of us have probably not yet realized'--yet will soon'--is that things won't go back to normal after a few weeks, or even a few months. Some things never will.
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It's now widely agreed (even by Britain, finally) that every country needs to ''flatten the curve'': impose social distancing to slow the spread of the virus so that the number of people sick at once doesn't cause the health-care system to collapse, as it is threatening to do in Italy right now. That means the pandemic needs to last, at a low level, until either enough people have had Covid-19 to leave most immune (assuming immunity lasts for years, which we don't know) or there's a vaccine.
How long would that take, and how draconian do social restrictions need to be? Yesterday President Donald Trump, announcing new guidelines such as a 10-person limit on gatherings, said that ''with several weeks of focused action, we can turn the corner and turn it quickly.'' In China, six weeks of lockdown are beginning to ease now that new cases have fallen to a trickle.
But it won't end there. As long as someone in the world has the virus, breakouts can and will keep recurring without stringent controls to contain them. In a report yesterday (pdf), researchers at Imperial College London proposed a way of doing this: impose more extreme social distancing measures every time admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) start to spike, and relax them each time admissions fall. Here's how that looks in a graph.
Periodic bouts of social distancing keep the pandemic in check.Imperial College Covid-19 Response Team.
The orange line is ICU admissions. Each time they rise above a threshold'--say, 100 per week'--the country would close all schools and most universities and adopt social distancing. When they drop below 50, those measures would be lifted, but people with symptoms or whose family members have symptoms would still be confined at home.
What counts as ''social distancing''? The researchers define it as ''All households reduce contact outside household, school or workplace by 75%.'' That doesn't mean you get to go out with your friends once a week instead of four times. It means everyone does everything they can to minimize social contact, and overall, the number of contacts falls by 75%.
Under this model, the researchers conclude, social distancing and school closures would need to be in force some two-thirds of the time'--roughly two months on and one month off'--until a vaccine is available, which will take at least 18 months (if it works at all). They note that the results are ''qualitatively similar for the US.''
Eighteen months!? Surely there must be other solutions. Why not just build more ICUs and treat more people at once, for example?
Well, in the researchers' model, that didn't solve the problem. Without social distancing of the whole population, they found, even the best mitigation strategy'--which means isolation or quarantine of the sick, the old, and those who have been exposed, plus school closures'--would still lead to a surge of critically ill people eight times bigger than the US or UK system can cope with. (That's the lowest, blue curve in the graph below; the flat red line is the current number of ICU beds.) Even if you set factories to churn out beds and ventilators and all the other facilities and supplies, you'd still need far more nurses and doctors to take care of everyone.
In all scenarios without widespread social distancing, the number of Covid cases overwhelms the healthcare system.Imperial College Covid-19 Response Team
How about imposing restrictions for just one batch of five months or so? No good'--once measures are lifted, the pandemic breaks out all over again, only this time it's in winter, the worst time for overstretched health-care systems.
If full social distancing and other measures are imposed for five months, then lifted, the pandemic comes back.Imperial College Covid-19 Response Team.
And what if we decided to be brutal: set the threshold number of ICU admissions for triggering social distancing much higher, accepting that many more patients would die? Turns out it makes little difference. Even in the least restrictive of the Imperial College scenarios, we're shut in more than half the time.
This isn't a temporary disruption. It's the start of a completely different way of life.
Living in a state of pandemic
In the short term, this will be hugely damaging to businesses that rely on people coming together in large numbers: restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, gyms, hotels, theaters, cinemas, art galleries, shopping malls, craft fairs, museums, musicians and other performers, sporting venues (and sports teams), conference venues (and conference producers), cruise lines, airlines, public transportation, private schools, day-care centers. That's to say nothing of the stresses on parents thrust into home-schooling their kids, people trying to care for elderly relatives without exposing them to the virus, people trapped in abusive relationships, and anyone without a financial cushion to deal with swings in income.
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There'll be some adaptation, of course: gyms could start selling home equipment and online training sessions, for example. We'll see an explosion of new services in what's already been dubbed the ''shut-in economy.'' One can also wax hopeful about the way some habits might change'--less carbon-burning travel, more local supply chains, more walking and biking.
But the disruption to many, many businesses and livelihoods will be impossible to manage. And the shut-in lifestyle just isn't sustainable for such long periods.
So how can we live in this new world? Part of the answer'--hopefully'--will be better health-care systems, with pandemic response units that can move quickly to identify and contain outbreaks before they start to spread, and the ability to quickly ramp up production of medical equipment, testing kits, and drugs. Those will be too late to stop Covid-19, but they'll help with future pandemics.
In the near term, we'll probably find awkward compromises that allow us to retain some semblance of a social life. Maybe movie theaters will take out half their seats, meetings will be held in larger rooms with spaced-out chairs, and gyms will require you to book workouts ahead of time so they don't get crowded.
Ultimately, however, I predict that we'll restore the ability to socialize safely by developing more sophisticated ways to identify who is a disease risk and who isn't, and discriminating'--legally'--against those who are.
We can see harbingers of this in the measures some countries are taking today. Israel is going to use the cell-phone location data with which its intelligence services track terrorists to trace people who've been in touch with known carriers of the virus. Singapore does exhaustive contact tracing and publishes detailed data on each known case, all but identifying people by name.
I'm stunned by the depth of #coronavirus information being released in #Singapore. On this website you can see every known infection case, where the person lives and works, which hospital they got admitted to, and the network topology of carriers, all laid out on a time-series pic.twitter.com/wckG8KpPDE
'-- ðŸ'Ž ® ¥ ¨ ' ¥ ® ¸ (@RyutaroUchiyama) March 2, 2020 We don't know exactly what this new future looks like, of course. But one can imagine a world in which, to get on a flight, perhaps you'll have to be signed up to a service that tracks your movements via your phone. The airline wouldn't be able to see where you'd gone, but it would get an alert if you'd been close to known infected people or disease hot spots. There'd be similar requirements at the entrance to large venues, government buildings, or public transport hubs. There would be temperature scanners everywhere, and your workplace might demand you wear a monitor that tracks your temperature or other vital signs. Where nightclubs ask for proof of age, in future they might ask for proof of immunity'--an identity card or some kind of digital verification via your phone, showing you've already recovered from or been vaccinated against the latest virus strains.
We'll adapt to and accept such measures, much as we've adapted to increasingly stringent airport security screenings in the wake of terrorist attacks. The intrusive surveillance will be considered a small price to pay for the basic freedom to be with other people.
As usual, however, the true cost will be borne by the poorest and weakest. People with less access to health care, or who live in more disease-prone areas, will now also be more frequently shut out of places and opportunities open to everyone else. Gig workers'--from drivers to plumbers to freelance yoga instructors'--will see their jobs become even more precarious. Immigrants, refugees, the undocumented, and ex-convicts will face yet another obstacle to gaining a foothold in society.
Moreover, unless there are strict rules on how someone's risk for disease is assessed, governments or companies could choose any criteria'--you're high-risk if you earn less than $50,000 a year, are in a family of more than six people, and live in certain parts of the country, for example. That creates scope for algorithmic bias and hidden discrimination, as happened last year with an algorithm used by US health insurers that turned out to inadvertently favor white people.
The world has changed many times, and it is changing again. All of us will have to adapt to a new way of living, working, and forging relationships. But as with all change, there will be some who lose more than most, and they will be the ones who have lost far too much already. The best we can hope for is that the depth of this crisis will finally force countries'--the US, in particular'--to fix the yawning social inequities that make large swaths of their populations so intensely vulnerable.
We Are Q on Twitter: "@piersmorgan I dare you to watch this. https://t.co/LwAnZPcdc3" / Twitter
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 09:55
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New Coronavirus Stimulus Bill In Congress Creates U.S. Digital Dollar
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 09:39
1,192,351 views | Mar 23, 2020, 08:23pm EDT
Jason Brett Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. I write about blockchain regulation and policy.
As the markets continue to drop and the U.S. looks to Congress for agreement on a massive stimulus package to save the economy from impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the newest offer by House Democrats includes a very forward-looking kind of stimulus: the creation of a 'digital dollar' and the establishment of 'digital dollar wallets.' In what will send shock waves through the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry, particularly for those following central bank digital currencies around the world, this signals the U.S. is serious in establishing infrastructure for a central bank digital currency.
Both Speaker Pelosi's 'Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act' and the 'Financial Protections and Assistance for America's Consumers, States, Businesses, and Vulnerable Populations Act (H.R. 6321),' introduced by Chairwoman Maxine Waters of Financial Services Committee, introduced these concepts today as a way of delivering the economic stimulus payments to U.S. citizens.
California, speaks outside of her office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, March 23, 2020. Pelosi said House Democrats will introduce their version of the stimulus package to respond to the coronavirus, offering an alternative to the bill currently under discussion in the Senate. Photographer: Andrew Harnik/AP Photo/Bloomberg
(C) 2020 Bloomberg Finance LP
The bill establishes a digital dollar, which it defines a s 'a balance expressed as a dollar value consisting of digital ledger entries that are recorded as liabilities in the accounts of any Federal Reserve Bank or '... an electronic unit of value, redeemable by an eligible financial institution (as determined by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System).' Additionally, a digital dollar wallet is identified as 'a digital wallet or account, maintained by a Federal reserve bank on behalf of any person, that represents holdings in an electronic device or service that is used to store digital dollars that may be tied to a digital or physical identity.'
A mandate also requires all 'member banks' establish a 'pass-through digital dollar wallet' to all customers eligible for the stimulus. Member banks include those banks that are 'members' of the Federal Reserve and regulated by the Fed. Additionally, 'Non-Member' state banks '' those that not members of the Federal Reserve and regulated by the FDIC '' could opt-in to offer pass-through digital dollar wallets as well.
The Federal Reserve banks themselves would also make available a digital dollar wallet to any U.S. person eligible for the payments as well. Additionally, the U.S. Postal Service would aim to help unbanked individuals and/or those without proper ID to establish their identity be provided a digital dollar account, and would set up ATMs for customers to access their funds.
Public Interest Groups Weigh In
Daniel Gorfine, founder of fintech advisory firm Gattaca Horizons and former chief innovation officer at CFTC, as well as a founding director of the Digital Dollar Project, stated to Forbes, 'It is worth exploring, testing, and piloting a true USD CBDC and broader digital infrastructure in order to improve our future capabilities and resiliency, but it is also important that this effort not delay the government from deploying critical emergency funds using existing channels during this crisis. While the crisis underscores the importance of upgrading our financial infrastructure, broadly implementing a CBDC will require time and thoughtful coordination between the government and private sector stakeholders.'
Carmelle Cadet, Founder and CEO of EMTECH, a modern central bank technology and services company, is a technology provider in the world's first live retail CBDC with the Central Bank of Bahamas called the Sand Dollar. She has recently started a new initiative in the U.S. called 'Project New Dawn' to ensure the unbanked and underbanked receive economic stimulus payments. Pointing to a FDIC report in 2017 that identified 63 million people that are unbanked and underbanked in the U.S., she notes, 'If checks are the form of payment, the stimulus is not going to reach many of them. That would be approximately $100B underutilized of stimulus for lower income householders.'
Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act
Document Viewer : NPR Npr Financial Protections and Assistance for America's Consumers, States, Businesses, and Vulnerable Populations Act (H.R. 6321)
I am a former U.S. Regulator with the FDIC, compliance examiner for the Making Home Affordable Program (HARP) with the Treasury, and have been active in bitcoin and
'... Read More I am a former U.S. Regulator with the FDIC, compliance examiner for the Making Home Affordable Program (HARP) with the Treasury, and have been active in bitcoin and blockchain since 2016. I served in in the FDIC's Capital Markets and Finance Divisions during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-2009 working on qualitative, quantitative issues covering IndyMac Bank, Washington Mutual, Wachovia, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America. I supported the FDIC's Board at IndyMac bank with deposit run analysis, researched and explained synthetic collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps, compiled the exposure of net notional derivatives in the financial system, and analyzed new programs by the Federal Reserve Board to stabilize the economy. I became interested in the importance of trust in the financial system and how the U.S. government manages the concept of trust. With the introduction of bitcoin and blockchain technology by a colleague in 2016, I entered into the blockchain industry, first with the Chamber of Digital Commerce as Director of Operations for Policy and then as the Policy Ambassador for ConsenSys. I am currently the founding CEO and President of a new non-profit called the Value Technology Foundation, with the purpose to conduct exclusively educational and charitable activities with regard to digital assets, blockchain, distributed ledger technologies and other relevant ''value'' technologies for the public welfare and economic benefits of the citizens of the United States. I hold a degree from Cornell University in Government (BA, 1997) and the Kogod School of Business (MBA, 2009).
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Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts: Are Your Remote Work Apps Spying on You?
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 09:34
It's time to double-check your settings
In response to Covid-19, many organizations have allowed or even required employees to work remotely. This means workers can practice social distancing without falling behind on work and while still collecting a paycheck.
It's no secret that connecting with co-workers and management through tools like Slack, Zoom, and Google Hangouts is just not the same as going into the office. But technical glitches aren't the only area of concern as meetings are relegated to bits and bytes. User privacy is, as well.
''As we move more of our everyday lives onto these platforms, we're going to be looking at new and different and maybe even greater privacy risks in terms of corporate surveillance and employer surveillance,'' said Gennie Gebhart, associate director of research for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leading nonprofit digital rights group. (Disclosure: I've previously written for the EFF, most recently in early 2019.)
Transitioning to being on these tools the entire day while employees work from home may give some employers a new opportunity to see what workers are doing. You should be aware that, depending on the software your company uses and the policies it has in place, there may be some privacy concerns.
Many people have used Slack at work already, but if everyone's working from home, it's only natural to move watercooler conversations that would've happened in person to the platform instead. That isn't always a good idea.
''What many workers in a company Slack may not know is that your DMs (direct messages) to another user, while seemingly private, may be just as visible to your boss and human resources department as anything you post in a channel to other users,'' said Tarah Wheeler, a cybersecurity policy fellow at New America, a think tank focused on technology and media.
''Corporate export for all messages'' is only available for organizations that have a paid Plus or Enterprise Grid account, rather than the Free or Standard accounts, and Slack states that workspace owners need to have appropriate employment agreements and corporate policies in place to use the feature. Companies also must follow any applicable laws. Even so, direct messages only offer a veneer of privacy.
''If you wouldn't want something read out loud during an all-hands meeting, don't put it on Slack'--not even in a direct message,'' Gebhart advises.
You can review team settings for your Slack groups at https://slack.com/account/workspace-settings to figure out who the administrators are, what retention policies and export settings are implemented for your group (including whether message exporting is switched on) as well as the retention settings for your public and private channels, direct messages, and files.
While you might expect a presenter to notice if you looked down for a minute during an in-person meeting, you might not expect the same when video chatting from the comfort of your own home. Turns out that Zoom has an attention-tracking feature that can alert hosts if you look away.
If enabled by an account administrator, ''attention tracking'' allows (or can even require) meeting hosts who are sharing their screen to see if the participant's Zoom app is out of focus (not open and active on their screen) for 30 seconds. There is no notification feature for attendees.
''It's important to note the feature only tracks if the Zoom video window is open. It does not track any aspects of the audio or video content. The feature also does not track any other applications on your window,'' a Zoom spokesperson said in an email.
Services like Zoom, Google, and Slack all have acceptable use or reasonable use policies. That's to make sure you're following rules about the sharing of copyrighted materials, nudity and sexual activity, and so forth. But it also means that '-- unless you're using Zoom's encrypted video chat feature '-- these companies have the ability to know what you're doing on their platforms.
''At any moment, anybody who runs these services'... could just dial into a room or look through the stored video of these feeds,'' said Sean O'Brien, a lecturer at Yale Law School and founder of Yale Privacy Lab. Organizations say they're doing so to provide technical and operational support and to improve their services, but their ability to eavesdrop still gives people pause. ''There's a creepiness factor there, and as we've seen in the past [with other companies that have similar capabilities], there's a lot of employee misconduct,'' O'Brien said. For example, in 2018, a Facebook engineer stalked women using data he had privileged access to. And in 2019, Snapchat employees spied on users with an internal tool called SnapLion.
Free Slack workspaces do not allow workspace owners to set data retention limits. They also limit visibility to just 10,000 messages, requiring a paid plan for users to see messages past that limit. But just because you can't access your previous messages doesn't mean they're gone forever.
''What I think a lot of people might not understand immediately is that Slack does still have all those old messages,'' said Gebhart. ''You don't have the ability to delete them or edit them, but they're still hanging around on Slack servers.''
That content that's inaccessible to you is accessible to Slack, to law enforcement requests, and susceptible to hacks or leaks. ''People using a free account have no control over data retention. You're very much at Slack's mercy,'' she said.
Email notifications are turned on by default in Slack, meaning that messages and @ replies can find their way into your inbox unless you make changes to your notification settings.
''That might be an unpleasant surprise for some people, especially if they signed up with a personal email address,'' said Gebhart. In effect, this means that even if messages are scrubbed from Slack, they could remain accessible via your inbox.
And Google Hangouts requires the use of a Google account (whether you use a Gmail address specifically or link another email address to your account). This can lead people to initiate chats using their personal Gmail addresses, rather than their work accounts. Giving out a personal email address to co-workers can reveal information you'd prefer to keep private.
Beyond that, different accounts online with the same phone number or email address can get strung together in unexpected ways, linking different aspects of your activities into a single identity. ''You can imagine union organizing activities, different kinds of activism, sex work, all of that could be accidentally exposed by linking accounts in unexpected ways,'' Gebhart said.
A Google spokesperson pointed out that the Hangouts support page provides details about how information is stored on the service, and how to change those settings. Keep in mind that your G Suite admin controls these settings for your workplace.
Trump Has Given Unusual Leeway to Fauci, but Aides Say He's Losing His Patience - The New York Times
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 08:58
The president has become increasingly concerned as Dr. Anthony S. Fauci has grown bolder in correcting his falsehoods about the spread of the coronavirus.
President Trump knows that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is seen as credible with a large portion of the public and with journalists, officials said. Credit... Al Drago for The New York Times Published March 23, 2020Updated March 24, 2020, 12:09 a.m. ET
President Trump has praised Dr. Anthony S. Fauci as a ''major television star.'' He has tried to demonstrate that the administration is giving him free rein to speak. And he has deferred to Dr. Fauci's opinion several times at the coronavirus task force's televised briefings.
But Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, has grown bolder in correcting the president's falsehoods and overly rosy statements about the spread of the coronavirus in the past two weeks '-- and he has become a hero to the president's critics because of it. And now, Mr. Trump's patience has started to wear thin.
So has the patience of some White House advisers, who see Dr. Fauci as taking shots at the president in some of his interviews with print reporters while offering extensive praise for Mr. Trump in television interviews with conservative hosts.
Mr. Trump knows that Dr. Fauci, who has advised every president since Ronald Reagan, is seen as credible with a large section of the public and with journalists, and so he has given the doctor more leeway to contradict him than he has other officials, according to multiple advisers to the president.
When Mr. Trump knows that he has more to gain than to lose by keeping an adviser, he has resisted impulses to fight back against apparent criticism, sometimes for monthslong interludes. One example was when he wanted to fire the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, in 2017 and early 2018. Another was Jeff Sessions, the former attorney general. Mr. Trump eventually fired both when he felt the danger in doing so had passed.
So far, the president appears to be making the same calculation with Dr. Fauci, who was not on the briefing room podium on Monday evening. When asked why, Mr. Trump said he had just been with Dr. Fauci for ''a long time'' at a task force meeting. Officials, asked about the doctor's absence, repeated that they were rotating officials who appear at the briefings.
''He's a good man,'' Mr. Trump said. Dr. Fauci was scheduled to be on Fox News with Sean Hannity a short time later.
Still, the president has resisted portraying the virus as the kind of threat described by Dr. Fauci and other public health experts. In his effort to create a positive vision of a future where the virus is less of a danger, critics have accused Mr. Trump of giving false hope.
Dr. Fauci and the president have publicly disagreed on how long it will take for a coronavirus vaccine to become available and whether an anti-malaria drug, chloroquine, could help those with an acute form of the virus. Dr. Fauci has made clear that he does not think the drug necessarily holds the potential that Mr. Trump says it does.
In an interview with Science Magazine, Dr. Fauci responded to a question about how he had managed to not get fired by saying that, to Mr. Trump's ''credit, even though we disagree on some things, he listens. He goes his own way. He has his own style. But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say.''
But Dr. Fauci also said there was a limit to what he could do when Mr. Trump made false statements, as he often does during the briefings.
''I can't jump in front of the microphone and push him down,'' Dr. Fauci said. ''OK, he said it. Let's try and get it corrected for the next time.''
In an interview with CBS's ''Face the Nation'' on Sunday, Dr. Fauci played down the idea that there was a divide between him and the president. ''There isn't fundamentally a difference there,'' he said.
''The president has heard, as we all have heard, what are what I call anecdotal reports that certain drugs work. So what he was trying to do and express was the hope that if they might work, let's try and push their usage,'' Dr. Fauci said. ''I, on the other side, have said I'm not disagreeing with the fact anecdotally they might work, but my job is to prove definitively from a scientific standpoint that they do work. So I was taking a purely medical, scientific standpoint, and the president was trying to bring hope to the people.''
A White House spokesman and Dr. Fauci did not respond to requests for comment.
Dr. Fauci came to his current role as the AIDS epidemic was exploding and President Reagan was paying it little attention. He and C. Everett Koop, the surgeon general, were widely credited with spurring the Reagan administration to action against AIDS, a fact that underscores Dr. Fauci's ability to negotiate difficult politics.
He has recognized Mr. Trump's need for praise; in the president's presence and with audiences that are friendly to him, Dr. Fauci has been complimentary. He told the radio host Mark Levin on Fox News of the administration's response to the virus: ''I can't imagine that under any circumstances that anybody could be doing more.''
And Dr. Fauci is savvy not just about the inner workings of the government but about the news media that covers it.
When Vice President Mike Pence took over as the lead of the coronavirus task force, his advisers wanted to put a 24-hour pause on interviews that administration officials were giving as they assessed where the administration was after a chaotic few weeks. They were initially fine with Dr. Fauci's appearances, meeting with him before interviews to get a sense of what he planned to say.
But in the past two weeks, as Dr. Fauci's interviews have increased in frequency, White House officials have become more concerned that he is criticizing the president.
Officials asked him about the viral moment in the White House briefing room, when he put his hand to his face and appeared to suppress a chuckle after Mr. Trump referred to the State Department as the ''Deep State Department.'' Dr. Fauci had a benign explanation: He had a scratchy throat and a lozenge he had in his mouth had gotten stuck in his throat, which he tried to mask from reporters.
Some officials have not questioned that Dr. Fauci is giving interviews, but they have wondered how he has so much time for so many requests from the news media.
Dr. Fauci, for his part, has been dismissive of some questions about whether he was at odds with the president, treating it as a news media obsession.
''I think there's this issue of trying to separate the two of us,'' he said on CBS.
Overheden en centrale banken vangen crisis op - en dit zijn de risico's | De Volkskrant
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 01:40
De EU-lidstaten mogen hun begrotingstekorten praktisch onbeperkt op laten lopen en de Europese Centrale Bank koopt op grote schaal staatsschulden op '-- alles om de financile crisis op te vangen. Wat zijn de risico's?
Peter de Waard 23 maart 2020 , 16:07 Kunnen overheden en centrale banken blanco cheques uitschrijven?Ja, dat kunnen ze. En dat doen ze nu ook. Ze beloven bijna iedereen te compenseren voor de financile schade die de economische lockdown als gevolg van corona zal veroorzaken. Er is geen limiet aan wat ze zullen doen, zei de ECB al bij monde van Christine Lagarde, nadat een nieuw opkoopprogramma van 750 miljard euro werd aangekondigd. De Fed, de koepel van Amerikaanse centrale banken, schreef maandag een blanco cheque uit. De regeringen van de EU-lidstaten lijken hun tekorten onbeperkt te mogen laten oplopen. De regels uit het stabiliteitspact dat een tekort niet meer dan 3 procent van het bbp mag zijn en de staatsschuld niet meer dan 60 procent van datzelfde bbp, zijn op de lange baan geschoven. Alle geldkranen worden opengezet. Hiermee proberen de centrale banken en de overheden te voorkomen dat er een vertrouwenscrisis ontstaat en mensen uit angst voor de toekomst geen geld meer durven uit te geven. Het is het bekende Keynesiaanse recept dat de economie moet worden gestimuleerd in tijden van recessie.
Wat kunnen de gevolgen zijn?Dat is in de nevelen van de toekomst gehuld. Maar er worden grote risico's genomen. Het probleem is dat volgens de regels van Keynes '' het anticyclische begrotingsbeleid '' bij zonneschijn het dak moet worden gerepareerd, zodat bij regen iedereen beschutting heeft. De EU heeft een van de langste periodes van groei achter de rug, maar van dakreparatie is met uitzondering van Nederland en Duitsland nauwelijks sprake geweest. De 19 landen van de eurozone hadden eind vorig jaar samen een staatsschuld van ruim 10 biljoen euro: 10 duizend miljard. Dat is 86,7 procent van het bbp. De nieuwe schulden komen bovenop de oude schulden van de kredietcrisis. Een land als Itali dat al een 'onhoudbare' schuld van 134 procent (2,5 biljoen) heeft, zal die schuld nog veel verder zien oplopen tot misschien wel 150 tot 160 procent van het bbp
Hoe kunnen de schulden toch 'houdbaar' worden?Niet meer via hervormingen en bezuinigingen. De Europese Centrale Bank (ECB) koopt een groot deel van de staatsschulden op in ruil voor 'bijgedrukt geld'. Sinds 2014 is al voor 2,6 biljoen euro aan obligaties opgekocht. Dat is ongeveer een kwart van de hele schuld. Deze aankopen waren tot nu toe evenredig over de lidstaten van de eurozone verdeeld, afhankelijk van hun aandeel in het ECB-kapitaal. Daarnaast mocht de ECB per emissie niet meer dan 33 procent opkopen. Nu komt daar nog eens (C)(C)n biljoen euro bij, waarvan de ECB 750 miljard euro vooral wil richten op de obligaties van de zwakke landen Itali en Spanje . Al die obligaties van de ECB komen als een vordering op de balans. Van de Nederlandse schuld van 400 miljard euro is 115 miljard in handen van de ECB. Het wordt steeds twijfelachtiger of die obligaties ooit nog weer op de markt worden geplaatst en het bijgedrukte geld wordt ingenomen.
Christine Lagarde, president van de Europese Centrale Bank, heeft al gezegd dat er geen limiet is aan wat de bank zal doen om de crisis op te vangen. Beeld REUTERS Is dat opkopen niet eindig?Nee, de ECB kan ook doorgaan tot 5 of 10 biljoen. Het is een zeepbel, maar zo lang beleggers geloven dat de schulden ooit worden afbetaald, zal het niet fataal hoeven te zijn. Als ze op enig moment daaraan gaan twijfelen, dan stort het hele bouwwerk in. Dan ontstaan hyperinflatie met rentes van duizenden procenten, zoals in Zuid-Amerikaanse bananenrepublieken. 'Vaak wordt geroepen dat de aankopen van de ECB tot nu toe helemaal niet tot inflatie hebben geleid. Dat is niet waar. Er is zeker wel sprake van inflatie: alleen niet van een zogenoemde loon- en prijsspiraal maar wel van activa-inflatie - de gexplodeerde prijzen van aandelen, obligaties en vastgoed', zegt hoogleraar bankwezen en financiering Benink. Als de eurozone ooit ploft, zullen de zwakke landen de schulden niet kunnen aflossen.'Mogelijk zullen ze zelfs de grenzen sluiten voor goederen uit Duitsland en Nederland, waardoor met het einde van de eurozone ook de EU uit elkaar valt', zegt Benink.
Hoe erg is dat?Politiek zal het een tijdbom kunnen zijn. Financieel zal een geldsanering plaatsvinden, waarbij de noordelijke landen een nieuwe dure munt krijgen en de vorderingen op zuidelijke landen waardeloos worden. De Koepel Gepensioneerden sloot zich maandag aan bij de eindeloze rij gedupeerden voor de staatsruif die crisiscompensatie willen. Maar als het zo misgaat, zullen de pensioenfondsen enorme bedragen moeten afboeken. Dat zou tot massale armoede leiden. Benink vindt dat de EU om de schulden van Itali niet verder op te laten lopen voor gezamenlijk risico obligaties zou moeten plaatsen (coronabonds) in plaats van dat landen dat individueel doen, zoals nu gebeurt. 'Maar daar moet wel de politieke wil voor zijn.' Mocht de schuld wel houdbaar zijn, dan zullen toekomstige generaties ervoor moeten opdraaien.
Maar in de VS zijn de begrotingstekorten en schulden nog veel hoger?De VS leven nog meer op de pof dan de Europeanen. De staatsschuld zit daar dik boven de 100 procent van het bbp. Het begrotingstekort zal dit jaar boven de 1 biljoen dollar bedragen '' 5 procent van het bbp. Maar de VS hebben twee grote voordelen. Ten eerste is er (C)(C)n federale overheid en (C)(C)n centrale bank. En daarnaast geniet de dollar bijzondere privileges, omdat het de wereldvaluta is. Wie gaat twijfelen aan het vertrouwen in de yankee-dollar, snijdt zichzelf in de vingers.
In dit dossier leest u de laatste ontwikkelingen en alles wat u verder moet weten over het coronavirus.
Meer over de economische maatregelen in NederlandMet een niet eerder vertoond pakket aan rigoureuze steunmaatregelen hoopt het kabinet de nationale economie in elk geval drie maanden lang door de coronacrisis te slepen.
De maatregelen treffen vooral een groep die het toch al moeilijk had: de flexwerkers. Waar het werk stilvalt, dreigen zij als eerste hun baan te verliezen.
Caf(C)s en restaurants zijn dicht, middenstanders vrezen grote problemen nu klanten massaal thuisblijven. Is de overheidssteun wel genoeg om massaal faillissement te voorkomen?
De kredietcrisis had een les moeten zijn. Maar opnieuw vallen overheden en centrale banken terug op het medicijn van geldinjecties. Een middel dat uiteindelijk erger is dan de kwaal.
Nederlandse Covid-19 patinten doen mee aan grootschalig onderzoek | Binnenland | Telegraaf.nl
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 01:29
Premium Het beste van De Telegraaf
'Oud' middel onder de loep
Door Arianne Mantel en Silvan Schoonhoven
Updated 14 min geleden
1 uur geleden in BINNENLAND
Wereldwijd wordt gewerkt aan een middel tegen Covid-19, zoals hier in Kopenhagen.
''¸ AFP
Naast de zoektocht naar een vaccin tegen het coronavirus wordt er ook gekeken naar bestaande medicijnen. Groot onderzoek in de Nederlandse ziekenhuizen en op de intensive cares moet aantonen welke medicijnen mogelijk helpen tegen corona. Naar verwachting 600 Nederlandse Covid-19 patinten doen daaraan mee in het kader van een Europees onderzoek.
Wereldwijd wordt gewerkt aan een middel tegen Covid-19, zoals hier in Kopenhagen.
''¸ AFP
HET BESTE VAN DE TELEGRAAF
Here's what Gov. Inslee's new 'stay-at-home' order does and doesn't restrict '' The Seattle Times
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 01:26
March 23, 2020 at 10:36 pm | Updated March 23, 2020 at 10:52 pm
By
Seattle Times staff reporter
Gov. Jay Inslee issued a temporary ''stay-at-home'' order Monday evening, directing Washingtonians not to leave their homes '-- unless for crucial activities '-- in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The new rule will go into effect Monday evening and last through April 6. Non-essential businesses that are still open will have 48 hours to close, and won't be able to reopen until at least April 8.
Here's what is and isn't allowed, according to his new order.
What is allowed:
Grocery shopping and ordering take-out food from restaurants (food deliveries are also permitted)Attending medical appointments and going to pharmaciesTaking a walk, running, biking and gardening (considered essential activities for everyone's physical and mental health, Inslee noted.) You can also go to parks, as long as you're practicing social distancing measures.Going to gas stations, food banks, convenience stores, banks and laundromatsContinuing to work if you're a part of any ''essential businesses'' '-- more on that below.If you engage in any of these activities, just remember to keep 6 feet away from other people.
What isn't allowed:
Participating in any in-person leisure, hobby or social clubsAttending or playing in sports games and practicesGoing to weddings or funeralsAttending religious servicesVisiting museums, theaters, art galleries or fundraisersGoing to concerts, festivals or paradesWorking out at a gym or fitness centerGoing to nail salons, barbers or tattoo parlorsGoing out to bars or eating at restaurants (Both are closed for those activities anyway.)Basically, Inslee said, the order restricts any social, spiritual or recreational gatherings. This means no sleepovers or big parties '-- and, to many tourists' dismay, the University of Washington is asking people not to visit their famous cherry blossoms this year.
''We expect everyone out there to comply with this order voluntarily. Because everyone knows all of our loved ones are at risk here,'' he said in the Monday press conference. ''But make no mistake, this order is enforceable by law.''
What are essential businesses?
The list of essential businesses still allowed to operate is lengthy, comprising hundreds of types of roles in emergency and law enforcement, health care, manufacturing, child care, food and agriculture, transportation, finance, defense, media and critical local government, such as courts.
Inslee listed the types of work deemed essential in the document below.
Washington Essential Critical Infrastructure by Diana Samuels on Scribd
How is this outbreak affecting you, if at all?Are you changing your routine or going about your business as usual? Have you canceled or postponed any plans? What kinds of discussions are you having with family members and friends? Are you a healthcare worker who's on the front lines of the response? Whoever you are, we want to hear from you so our news coverage is as complete, accurate and useful as possible.
If you're using a mobile device and can't see the form on this page, click here.Do you have questions about the novel coronavirus?Ask your question in the form below and we'll dig for answers. If you're using a mobile device and can't see the form on this page,
ask your question here.You can see questions we've already answered
on this FAQ.If you have specific medical questions, please contact your doctor.
Treasury proposal: Deliver $500B to Americans starting April
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 01:25
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- By a sweeping bipartisan tally, the Senate on Wednesday approved a $100 billion-plus bill to boost testing for the coronavirus and guarantee paid sick leave for millions of workers hit by it '-- and President Donald Trump quickly signed it. But lawmakers and the White House had already turned their focus to the administration's far bigger $1 trillion plan to stabilize the economy as the pandemic threatens financial ruin for individuals and businesses.
Details on Trump's economic rescue plan remain sparse '-- and it's sure to grow with lawmaker add-ons '-- but its centerpiece is to dedicate $500 billion to start issuing direct payments to Americans by early next month. It would also funnel cash to businesses to help keep workers on payroll as widespread sectors of the $21 trillion U.S. economy all but shut down.
In a memorandum, the Treasury Department proposed two $250 billion cash infusions to individuals: a first set of checks issued starting April 6, with a second wave in mid-May. The amounts would depend on income and family size.
The Treasury plan, which requires approval by Congress, also recommends $50 billion to stabilize the airlines, $150 billion to issue loan guarantees to other struggling sectors, and $300 billion for small businesses. The plan appears to anticipate that many of the loans would not be repaid.
Taken together, the administration plan promises half of the $1 trillion to families and individuals, with the other half used to prop up businesses and keep employees on payroll.
Direct payments would go to U.S. citizens only, and would be ''tiered based on income level and family size.'' The two payments would be identical, with the second wave starting by May 18.
The Treasury outline provides a basis for lawmakers to work from in an unprecedented government response and is likely to be broadened to include additional emergency funding for federal agencies.
The price tag for the upcoming economic package alone promises to exceed Treasury's $1 trillion request, a rescue plan not seen since the Great Recession. Trump is urging Congress to pass the eye-popping stimulus package in a matter of days.
The Senate plans to remain in session until the third coronavirus bill passes, with weekend sessions possible. The process ahead is uncertain, but pressure is enormous on lawmakers to act fast and not allow gamesmanship to get in the way of results.
Economists say the country is probably already in recession and the stock market continued its free fall Wednesday. The panic has many lawmakers shedding their ideological baggage to grapple with an enormous undertaking for a crisis that exceeds the scope of the 2008 financial panic '-- a virtual weeks-long shutdown of many businesses and unemployment that could spike to 20% by some estimates.
At the Capitol on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell prepared his colleagues for unprecedented steps to deal with the epidemic's assault on the economy.
''I will not adjourn the Senate until we pass a far bolder package,'' McConnell said. ''We aren't leaving until we deliver.''
But first, the Senate approved a $100 billion-plus House-passed package of sick pay, emergency food aid, free testing and more money for Medicaid, despite Republican objections over the potential impact on small businesses saddled with a new mandate to pay sick leave. The government would reimburse businesses, but business advocacy groups say the plan isn't workable for many small firms. Still, only eight Republicans voted no.
''This legislation is not perfect, but we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good,'' said GOP Sen. Todd Young of Indiana.
Trump, whose support of the package swayed most Republicans, quickly signed it Wednesday night.
McConnell is trying to take control of the third coronavirus effort, putting GOP chairmen in charge and promising to consult with Senate Democrats later. Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York blasted McConnell's approach, saying it's ''too cumbersome, too partisan and will take far too long, given the urgency and need for cooperation.''
Schumer's office says he has spoken several times already with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, however, and retains considerable influence as the Senate plans to work into the weekend to try to pass the measure. Pelosi and McConnell have talked as well
Pelosi issued a statement late Wednesday saying her priorities for the bill include expanding eligibility for unemployment insurance and aid to small businesses that ensures workers will be paid. Democrats are also sure to seek aid to states whose budgets are falling out of balance.
Wednesday's Treasury plan includes $300 billion in ''small business interruption loans'' that would be 100% guaranteed by the federal government to cover six weeks of payroll during the crisis. These loans would be made through private banks '-- and forgiven in many instances.
''Every penny that they borrow and use for purposes of keeping people employed, they will not have to pay back,'' said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., chief author of a detailed Senate plan.
The plan would also establish a $50 billion lending program dedicated to imperiled airlines, which would be required to keep flying as a condition of securing loans. Another $150 billion would underwrite loans to other business sectors. Details on the loan programs were fuzzy, but terms are sure to be heavily subsidized.
Fresh from primary campaigning, Sen. Bernie Sanders floated his own ideas '-- having the federal government keep paying employees' paychecks and Medicare cover unmet healthcare needs stemming from the outbreak.
''The fastest way to deal with the economic crisis is for the federal government to guarantee that all employers will be able to meet their payroll and keep their workers on the payroll,'' Sanders told reporters. ''It is an expensive proposal, but I think that is the fastest and best way to make sure that working people in this country continue to have a paycheck.''
Overnight, the White House sent lawmakers a separate $46 billion emergency funding request to boost medical care for military service members and veterans, fund production of vaccines and medicines, build 13 quarantine centers at the southern border for migrants, make federal buildings safer, and reimburse Amtrak for $500 million in anticipated revenue losses, among other purposes.
The Trump request also reverses cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health that Trump proposed in his February budget for next year and would create a $3 billion fund for unanticipated needs.
Economists doubted that the massive economic rescue package being drafted would enough to stop millions of jobs losses, even if in the short term. It's aimed at helping Americans without paychecks avoid foreclosure and other financial hardships and preventing businesses from sliding into bankruptcy.
The Treasury plan is on par with the $700 billion 2008 bank bailout or the nearly $800 billion 2009 recovery act. The White House proposal aims to provide a massive tax cut for wage-earners, $50 billion for the airline industry and $250 billion for small businesses. But nothing is set in concrete, and all the pressure is for the package to keep growing.
The amount that would be sent out in checks Americans is not yet decided. The White House said it liked GOP Sen. Mitt Romney's idea for $1,000 checks, though not necessarily at that sum and not for wealthier people.
Senate Democrats produced their own $750 billion proposal, which includes $400 billion to shore up hospitals and other emergency operations in response to the global pandemic and $350 billion to bolster the safety net with unemployment checks and other aid to Americans.
In the House, Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and Ben McAdams, D-Utah, released statements saying they had tested positive for COVID-19 '-- the first two known cases in Congress. Several other lawmakers have cycled in and out of self-isolation after exposure to individuals who had later tested positive for the virus.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
___
Associated Press writers Matthew Daly, Lisa Mascaro and Mary Clare Jalonick in Washington contributed to this report.
___
The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Coronavirus disease 2019: the harms of exaggerated information and non'evidence'based measures - Ioannidis - - European Journal of Clinical Investigation - Wiley Online Library
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 16:53
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Details emerge of Pelosi's power grab in her 2 trillion dollar Covid-19 bill
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 16:36
The Covi-19 bill is 1,119 pages long and it is supposed to target the effects of the illness. Thanks to Rachel Bovard's summary on Twitter, we don't have to go through the bill in depth. Included here are some of Nancy Pelosi's demands in the emergency rescue package. The hand of the socialist Green New Deal and corrupt voting are in these demands. It's a power grab.
''Conducting risk-limiting audits of results of elections''Bail out the postal service.Establish woke rules:
4. Require early voting.
5. Same day voter registration.
6. Does collective bargaining belong in a virus relief bill? Democrats think so.
7. Require airlines to fully offset their carbon emissions. It is not going to save the airlines.
Publicly report greenhouse gas emissions from flights.9. Set up every community with a retirement enhancement act. Don't they need jobs first as opposed to a big government retirement on top of SS?
MITCH MCCONNELL BLASTED THEM.@senatemajldr:
''Democrats won't let us fund hospitals or save small businesses unless they get to dust off the green New Deal.'' pic.twitter.com/TGuhsjAmfc
'-- Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) March 23, 2020
Intel agencies warned Trump, lawmakers about the virus in January, February
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 16:34
The Washington Post reports that the intelligence agencies warned the President and lawmakers in January and February about a possible pandemic. The intel officials believed that China was lying about the Chinese Virus after they studied the spread of the illness throughout various countries, although they didn't offer suggestions or know when the virus would hit U.S. shores.
The Washington Post is fake news media.
LAWMAKERS KNEW AND ATTACKED ANYWAY?WaPo's sources were critical of the President downplaying the virus and both the President and lawmakers for allegedly ignoring the virus. It states that the lawmakers, in particular, only became engaged this month.
WHO declared coronavirus a public health emergency on January 30th.
The warning did, in fact, lead President Trump to declare a public health emergency and announce travel restrictions to China on January 31st.
NPR called the measures drastic and NBC News called the President a racist. At the same time, he was on trial.
President Trump took action under tremendous pressure. The impeachment was December 18th and the Senate trial was in January and February.
When President Trump announced the travel ban, Joe Biden called him a xenophobe on the same day and still insists the travel ban is xenophobic. Biden said he would never have done it.
Biden claimed President Trump was ''fearmongering:''Listen to this inspiring leadership as Joe Biden bashes @realDonaldTrump's correct decision to limit travel from China.
That was a call POTUS made early on and medical professionals say it helped the U.S. get ahead of the curve on coronavirus.
Biden said it was ''xenophobia.'' https://t.co/NLYav9g6cf
'-- Tim Murtaugh '' Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TimMurtaugh) March 12, 2020
LIES, LIES, AND MORE LIESAt the same time, China's President Xi Jinping was not providing Trump with trustworthy information about the coronavirus.
At the end of February, Trump implemented restrictions on travel to and from Iran. Trump announced a European travel ban earlier in March and followed up on that by declaring a national emergency as well.
In addition, China was covering it all up.
The Washington Examiner reported, ''there is well-documented evidence that China tried to cover up the existence and spread of the coronavirus, silenced doctors and whistleblowers, misled the World Health Organization, and attempted to keep independent health experts from investigating in Wuhan. One study indicated that if the Chinese government acted more quickly, the coronavirus's spread around the world would have been greatly reduced [by 95%].''
The World Health Organization, which is heavily influenced by China, and the U.S. media, helped spread Communist China's propaganda when the President properly called the virus, the Chinese Virus.
The Democrat politicians in this country joined the assault of the administration. They're relentless.
The President explained that the communists were placing blame for the spread of the disease on the U.S. military and he was making it clear that the oppressive Chinese regime is to blame.
Which lawmakers knew and were they the same lawmakers condemning his actions to slow the virus?
Democrat lawmakers were also warned but all they cared about was impeaching the President. Was Joe Biden warned and still called the President a racist? We need some more information to fill out this report.
Shouldn't we be joining together against our enemy Communist, oppressive China, if anyone?
Anthony S. Fauci Inventions, Patents and Patent Applications - Justia Patents Search
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 15:46
Patents by Inventor Anthony S. Fauci
Anthony S. Fauci has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Patent number: 9896509
Abstract: Methods are provided for the treatment of a HIV infection. The methods can include administering to a subject with an HIV infection a therapeutically effective amount of an agent that interferes with the interaction of gp120 and ?4 integrin, such as a ?4?1 or ?4?7 integrin antagonist, thereby treating the HIV infection. In several examples, the ?4 integrin antagonist is a monoclonal antibody that specifically binds to a ?4, ?1 or ?7 integrin subunit or a cyclic hexapeptide with the amino acid sequence of CWLDVC. Methods are also provided to reduce HIV replication or infection. The methods include contacting a cell with an effective amount of an agent that interferes with the interaction of gp120 and ?4 integrin, such as a ?4?1 or ?4?7 integrin antagonist. Moreover, methods are provided for determining if an agent is useful to treat HIV.
Type: Grant
Filed: August 3, 2016
Date of Patent: February 20, 2018
Assignee: The United States of America, as Represented by the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services
Inventors: James Arthos, Diana Goode, Claudia Cicala, Anthony S. Fauci
Publication number: 20160333097
Abstract: Methods are provided for the treatment of a HIV infection. The methods can include administering to a subject with an HIV infection a therapeutically effective amount of an agent that interferes with the interaction of gp120 and ?4 integrin, such as a ?4?1 or ?4?7 integrin antagonist, thereby treating the HIV infection. In several examples, the ?4 integrin antagonist is a monoclonal antibody that specifically binds to a ?4, ?1 or ?7 integrin subunit or a cyclic hexapeptide with the amino acid sequence of CWLDVC. Methods are also provided to reduce HIV replication or infection. The methods include contacting a cell with an effective amount of an agent that interferes with the interaction of gp120 and ?4 integrin, such as a ?4?1 or ?4?7 integrin antagonist. Moreover, methods are provided for determining if an agent is useful to treat HIV.
Type: Application
Filed: August 3, 2016
Publication date: November 17, 2016
Applicant: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, as represented by the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Serv
Inventors: James Arthos, Diana Goode, Claudia Cicala, Anthony S. Fauci
Patent number: 9441041
Abstract: Methods are provided for the treatment of a HIV infection. The methods can include administering to a subject with an HIV infection a therapeutically effective amount of an agent that interferes with the interaction of gp120 and ?4 integrin, such as a ?4?1 or ?4?7 integrin antagonist, thereby treating the HIV infection. In several examples, the ?4 integrin antagonist is a monoclonal antibody that specifically binds to a ?4, ?1 or ?7 integrin subunit or a cyclic hexapeptide with the amino acid sequence of CWLDVC. Methods are also provided to reduce HIV replication or infection. The methods include contacting a cell with an effective amount of an agent that interferes with the interaction of gp120 and ?4 integrin, such as a ?4?1 or ?4?7 integrin antagonist. Moreover, methods are provided for determining if an agent is useful to treat HIV.
Type: Grant
Filed: September 21, 2015
Date of Patent: September 13, 2016
Assignee: The United States of America, as Represented by the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services
Inventors: James Arthos, Diana Goode, Claudia Cicala, Anthony S. Fauci
Publication number: 20160075786
Abstract: Methods are provided for the treatment of a HIV infection. The methods can include administering to a subject with an HIV infection a therapeutically effective amount of an agent that interferes with the interaction of gp120 and ?4 integrin, such as a ?4?1 or ?4?7 integrin antagonist, thereby treating the HIV infection. In several examples, the ?4 integrin antagonist is a monoclonal antibody that specifically binds to a ?4, ?1 or ?7 integrin subunit or a cyclic hexapeptide with the amino acid sequence of CWLDVC. Methods are also provided to reduce HIV replication or infection. The methods include contacting a cell with an effective amount of an agent that interferes with the interaction of gp120 and ?4 integrin, such as a ?4?1 or ?4?7 integrin antagonist. Moreover, methods are provided for determining if an agent is useful to treat HIV.
Type: Application
Filed: September 21, 2015
Publication date: March 17, 2016
Applicant: The United States of America, as Represented by the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Serv
Inventors: James Arthos, Diana Goode, Claudia Cicala, Anthony S. Fauci
Publication number: 20090285815
Abstract: Nucleic acids encoding recombinant CD4-fusion proteins are disclosed herein that include a CD4 polypeptide ligated at its C-terminus with a portion of an immunoglobulin comprising a hinge region and a constant domain of a mammalian immunoglobulin heavy chain. The portion of the IgG is fused at its C-terminus with a polypeptide comprising a tailpiece from the C terminus of the heavy chain of an IgA antibody or a tailpiece from a C terminus of the heavy chain of an IgM antibody. Also disclosed herein are methods for using these CD4-fusion proteins.
Type: Application
Filed: March 21, 2008
Publication date: November 19, 2009
Inventors: James Arthos, Claudia Cicala, Anthony S. Fauci
Patent number: 7368114
Abstract: Novel recombinant polypeptides are disclosed herein that include a CD4 polypeptide ligated at its C-terminus with a portion of an immunoglobulin comprising a hinge region and a constant domain of a mammalian immunoglobulin heavy chain. The portion or the IgG is fused at its C-terminus with a polypeptide comprising a tailpiece from the C-terminus of the heavy chain of an IgA antibody ara tailpiece from a C-terminus of the heavy chain of an IgM antibody. Also disclosed herein are methods for using these CD4 fusion proteins.
Type: Grant
Filed: October 24, 2002
Date of Patent: May 6, 2008
Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services
Inventors: James Arthos, Claudia Cicala, Anthony S. Fauci
Patent number: 6911527
Abstract: This invention is the discovery of novel specific epitopes and antibodies associated with long term survival of HIV-1 infections. These epitopes and antibodies have use in preparing vaccines for preventing HIV-1 infection or for controlling progression to AIDS.
Type: Grant
Filed: January 7, 2000
Date of Patent: June 28, 2005
Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services
Inventors: Giuseppe Scala, Xueni Chen, Oren J. Cohen, Anthony S. Fauci
Publication number: 20040265306
Abstract: Novel recombinant polypeptides are disclosed herein that include a CD4 polypeptide ligated at its C-terminus with a portion of an immunoglobulin comprising a hinge region and a constant domain of a mammalian immunoglobulin heavy chain. The portion of the IgG is fused at its C-terminus with a polypeptide comprising a tailpiece from the C-terminus of the heavy chain of an IgA antibody or a tailpiece from a C-terminus of the heavy chain of an IgM antibody. Also disclosed herein are methods for using these CD4-fusion proteins.
Type: Application
Filed: July 27, 2004
Publication date: December 30, 2004
Inventors: James Arthos, Claudia Cicala, Anthony S. Fauci
Publication number: 20030180254
Abstract: A method for activating a mammalian immune system entails a series of IL-2 administrations that are effected intermittently over an extended period. Each administration of IL-2 is sufficient to allow spontaneous DNA synthesis in peripheral blood or lymph node cells of the patient to increase and peak, and each subsequent administration follows the preceding administration in the series by a period of time that is sufficient to allow IL-2 receptor expression in peripheral or lymph node blood of the patient to increase, peak and then decrease to 50% of peak value. This intermittent IL-2 therapy can be combined with another therapy which targets a specific disease state, such as an anti-retroviral therapy comprising, for example, the administration of AZT, ddI or interferon alpha. In addition, IL-2 administration can be employed to facilitate in situ transduction of T cells in the context of gene therapy.
Type: Application
Filed: January 23, 2003
Publication date: September 25, 2003
Applicant: The Govt. of the USA as represented by the Secretary of the Dept. of Health & Human Services
Inventors: H. Clifford Lane, Joseph A. Kovacs, Anthony S. Fauci
Patent number: 6548055
Abstract: A method for activating a mammalian immune system entails a series of IL-2 administrations that are effected intermittently over an extended period. Each administration of IL-2 is sufficient to allow spontaneous DNA synthesis in peripheral blood or lymph node cells of the patient to increase and peak, and each subsequent administration follows the preceding administration in the series by a period of time that is sufficient to allow IL-2 receptor expression in peripheral or lymph node blood of the patient to increase, peak and then decrease to 50% of peak value. This intermittent IL-2 therapy can be combined with another therapy which targets a specific disease state, such as an anti-retroviral therapy comprising, for example, the administration of AZT, ddI or interferon alpha. In addition, IL-2 administration can be employed to facilitate in situ transduction of T cells in the context of gene therapy.
Type: Grant
Filed: August 9, 2000
Date of Patent: April 15, 2003
Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Departmentof Health and Human Services
Inventors: H. Clifford Lane, Joseph A. Kovacs, Anthony S. Fauci
Patent number: 6190656
Abstract: A method for activating a mammalian immune system entails a series of IL-2 administrations that are effected intermittently over an extended period. Each administration of IL-2 is sufficient to allow spontaneous DNA synthesis in peripheral blood or lymph node cells of the patient to increase and peak, and each subsequent administration follows the preceding administration in the series by a period of time that is sufficient to allow IL-2 receptor expression in peripheral or lymph node blood of the patient to increase, peak and then decrease to 50% of peak value. This intermittent IL-2 therapy can be combined with another therapy which targets a specific disease state, such as an anti-retroviral therapy comprising, for example, the administration of AZT, ddI or interferon alpha. In addition, IL-2 administration can be employed to facilitate in situ transduction of T cells in the context of gene therapy.
Type: Grant
Filed: September 2, 1997
Date of Patent: February 20, 2001
Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Departmentof Health and Human Services
Inventors: H. Clifford Lane, Joseph A. Kovacs, Anthony S. Fauci
Patent number: 5696079
Abstract: A method for activating a mammalian immune system entails a series of IL-2 administrations that are effected intermittently over an extended period. Each administration of IL-2 is sufficient to allow spontaneous DNA synthesis in peripheral blood or lymph node cells of the patient to increase and peak, and each subsequent administration follows the preceding administration in the series by a period of time that is sufficient to allow IL-2 receptor expression in peripheral or lymph node blood of the patient to increase, peak and then decrease to 50% of peak value. This intermittent IL-2 therapy can be combined with another therapy which targets a specific disease state, such as an anti-retroviral therapy comprising, for example, the administration of AZT, ddI or interferon alpha. In addition, IL-2 administration can be employed to facilitate in situ transduction of T cells in the context of gene therapy.
Type: Grant
Filed: May 26, 1995
Date of Patent: December 9, 1997
Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services
Inventors: H. Clifford Lane, Joseph A. Kovacs, Anthony S. Fauci
Coronavirus: Can Banknotes Spread Diseases? How To Prevent Transmission
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 13:33
KEY POINTSChina announced sterilizing its banknotes to prevent COVID-19 spreadPrevious studies have shown that money can carry hundreds of microbes and diseasesProper hygiene is still the best means to prevent catching diseases from surfacesIn an effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, the Chinese government announced Saturday, Feb/ 15, that banks will have to disinfect all cash before issuing them out. In fact, banknotes from high-risk areas such as banks, buses, and wet markets have also been ordered to be destroyed.
So far, the current understanding about COVID-19 transmission is based on what is already known about other coronaviruses in that the virus can be spread through person-to-person transmission as well as via contact with infected surfaces and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes.
With cash being one of the most frequently passed items in the world, China is clearly targeting a potential transmission source, especially considering that there is so far no information on how long the virus can survive on surfaces.
Dirty Money
In recent years, many studies have described how filthy cash really is. For instance, in 2013, researchers found that bacteria such as E.coli, Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) and Staphylococcus can survive in banknotes from different countries, with bacteria survival rates being the highest in the Romanian Leu.
In 2017, the researchers of another study swabbed $1 bills from a bank in New York City and found hundreds of species of microorganisms on them including viruses, DNA from pets, organisms that can cause acne and, even vaginal bacteria.
In the United States, bills tend to circulate for about our to 15 years while the coins can circulate for up to 25 years. And, despite studies about how dirty cash can be, these banknotes do not get sterilized.
Most currencies are actually excellent environments for microbes to settle on because of their porous surfaces but, it is also the porous nature of money that could keep the germs on the currency instead of transferring to human hands. Further, the temperature and moisture on money are not really conducive for microbe growth and, the human skin also has good protection from bacteria.
It doesn't mean, however, that people can be lax when it comes to handling money. Although, as mentioned, they do not easily pass diseases to people, it does not mean that they absolutely cannot.
Preventing Diseases From Cash
Such studies and many others show that money definitely can be carriers of diseases and, factors such as people's behavior, antimicrobial resistance, and community hygiene contribute to the number of microbes on the notes and coins as well as the chances of disease transmission.
So what can people do to prevent catching the diseases from money? People never really know who has touched the money they're receiving even if they look brand new.
As always, practicing good hygiene is the best means to protect oneself, whether or not there is a global outbreak. This means that proper hand-washing, using alcohol-based sanitizers and avoiding touching the eyes, mouth, and nose are logical approaches to preventing infection.
''Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing,'' the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. ''If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.''
The public health risk also calls to mind the argument for considering a cashless society. Apart from the idea that a cashless society can prevent crime and promote economic policy, it appears that it may also have benefits in terms of public health.
In China, for instance, upon announcing the plans to sterilize cash, authorities also noted the country's advanced electronic payment system, which allows people to buy what they need without having to exchange cash or even go out.
Whether other countries will follow China's cash sterilizing or cashless payment footsteps is yet to be seen but, people everywhere have to do what they can to avoid catching diseases from the things that are used every day, whether it is money, smartphones or tablets.
China announced sterilizing its banknotes to prevent COVID-19 spreadPrevious studies have shown that money can carry hundreds of microbes and diseasesProper hygiene is still the best means to prevent catching diseases from surfaces
Trump Says Coronavirus Cure Cannot 'Be Worse Than the Problem Itself' - The New York Times
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 13:00
The president, who has watched the economy plunge amid social distancing measures, says restrictions will be reassessed.
President Trump speaking Sunday at a coronavirus task force news conference in Washington. Credit... Al Drago for The New York Times March 23, 2020Updated 12:49 p.m. ET
President Trump on Sunday night said that the government would reassess the recommended period for keeping businesses shut and millions of workers at home after this week, amid millions of job losses caused by the efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
''WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,'' Mr. Trump tweeted in all capital letters shortly before midnight. ''AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!''
Officials have said that the initial 15-day period for social distancing '-- limiting close contact between people by banning gatherings, closing schools and offices, encouraging remote work and urging people to maintain a six-foot distance from one another '-- is vital to slowing the spread of the virus, for which more than 30,000 people in the United States have tested positive. The 15-day period would end Monday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, an infectious diseases expert and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, has said in interviews that he believed that it would take several more weeks until people can start going about their lives in a more normal fashion. Other infectious disease experts suggest even harsher measures than social distancing are required to truly beat back the outbreaks in the United States.
But at the White House, in recent days, there has been a growing sentiment that medical experts were allowed to set policy that has hurt the economy, and there has been a push to find ways to let people start returning to work. Some Republican lawmakers have also pleaded with the White House to find ways to restart the economy, as financial markets continue to slide and job losses for April could be in the millions.
Vice President Mike Pence indicated on Sunday at a White House briefing about the virus that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would issue new guidelines on Monday, allowing some people who have been exposed to the coronavirus to resume working outside their homes if they wear masks.
The move could set the stage for states with relatively low numbers of cases to begin to unfreeze their economies, while large states like California and New York '-- where there are more cases and where state officials have ordered nonessential businesses to close for the time being '-- could continue remaining in a holding pattern.
While some business owners are eager to end the more draconian measures that have been put in place, others would rather endure the pain at once rather than face repeated, disruptive orders to stop activities.
Mr. Trump's tweet cast doubt on his confidence in the path to fighting the virus that he so reluctantly approved. For two months he largely dismissed the warnings that the virus would reach American shores, for fear of causing economic disruption, predicting that cases would go down from a handful to ''zero'' in a few days.
Only when the disruption came anyway, in the form of a historic stock market sell-off, was he convinced to act.
But there could be consequences to ending the measures too quickly. The recent rise of cases in Hong Kong, after there had been an easing of the spread of the virus, is something of an object lesson about how ending strict measures too soon can have dangerous consequences.
In a tweet on Monday morning, Thomas Bossert, the former homeland security adviser who for weeks has been vocal about the need for the U.S. government to take stricter measures, said, ''Sadly, the numbers now suggest the U.S. is poised to take the lead in #coronavirus cases. It's reasonable to plan for the US to top the list of countries with the most cases in approximately 1 week. This does NOT make social intervention futile. It makes it imperative!''
Whatever the president chooses to do, there will be businesses still fearful to reopen '-- and employees fearful of going to work '-- as new cases of people infected with the virus are still being diagnosed by the thousands each day.
And the president is facing potential pushback from the public health experts in his administration.
After being slow to publicly react to the spread of the virus, the Trump administration swung in the other direction at the end of February, entrusting the health experts whose counsel had not been heeded in the preceding weeks and letting them help set the policies that hundreds of millions of people would be urged to follow.
But Mr. Trump has become frustrated with Dr. Fauci's blunt approach at the briefing lectern, which often contradicts things the president has just said, according to two people familiar with the dynamic.
Mr. Trump knows that Dr. Fauci is seen as credible with a large swath of the public and with journalists, and so he has given him more leeway to contradict him than he has other officials. But the president has also resisted portraying the virus as an existential threat in a way that the public health experts have.
In an interview with Science Magazine that was posted online on Sunday evening, Dr. Fauci responded to a question about how he had managed not to get fired by saying that, to Mr. Trump's ''credit, even though we disagree on some things, he listens.''
''He goes his own way,'' Dr. Fauci continued. ''He has his own style. But on substantive issues, he does listen to what I say.''
But he also said there was a limit to what he could do when Mr. Trump said things that were not true during those briefings.
''I can't jump in front of the microphone and push him down,'' Mr. Fauci said of Mr. Trump's erroneous statements. ''OK, he said it. Let's try and get it corrected for the next time.''
In an interview with Fox Business Network, the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, stressed that the U.S. economy was still functioning.
''I've seen a bunch of fake news over the last couple of days about a complete shut down of the economy,'' he said. ''The president has not made that decision.''
But the president's interest in potentially easing some of the social behavior guidelines met with pushback from one of his close allies, Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina.
''President Trump's best decision was stopping travel from China early on,'' Mr. Graham tweeted on Monday. ''I hope we will not undercut that decision by suggesting we back off aggressive containment policies within the United States.''
David McIntosh, the president of the anti-tax Club for Growth, suggested Friday that the damage to the economy was severe.
''We need to act to contain the virus, but at the same time more people would be hurt and have terrible health and life consequences if they don't reopen the economy,'' Mr. McIntosh said. ''They have to put an end to the social distancing some time in the near future to restore economic activity.''
Carl Hulse contributed reporting.
How Surveillance Could Save Lives Amid a Public Health Crisis | WIRED
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 12:06
For each new transmission of coronavirus, imagine the ''tick tick tick'' of a stopwatch. At least 2 million adults in the US could require hospitalization over the course of the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates; that's more than double the nation's supply of hospital beds. Curfews and social distancing will hopefully help mete out the number of infections slowly'--because 2 million patients over 18 months will be more manageable than 2 million over six months. Yet all such predictions are essentially guesswork at this point.
Leaders are looking for guidance on when to close schools or order residents to shelter in place, and whether the measures they've already taken are working. Early research on coronavirus suggests that isolating people soon after they become symptomatic plays the ''largest role in determining whether an outbreak [is] controllable.''
Officials have a powerful potential surveillance tool unavailable in past epidemics: smartphones.
Government officials are anxious to tap the information from phones to help monitor and blunt the pandemic. White House officials are asking tech companies for more insight into our social networks and travel patterns. Facebook created a disease mapping tool that tracks the spread of disease by aggregating user travel patterns.
Such efforts clash with people's expectations of privacy. Now, there's a compelling reason to collect and share the data; surveillance may save lives. But it will be difficult to draw boundaries around what data is collected, who gets to use it, and how long the collection will continue.
Read all of our coronavirus coverage here.
One concern: Data collected for one purpose can later be used for another. Privacy experts say transparency is crucial if typically private information is harnessed for public health. Data used to fight Covid-19 could be reused for something else down the road.
''What's really important is for the government to be really clear in articulating what specific public health goals it's seeking to accomplish,'' said Kelsey Finch, senior counsel at the Future of Privacy Forum, an industry-backed group focused on tech policy. ''And how it's limiting the collection of personal data to what's necessary to achieve those very specific goals, and then making sure that there are appropriate privacy safeguards put in place before data starts to change hands.''
Even anonymized, aggregate data can inform health efforts. Consider a scenario where city officials close bars and restaurants for a weekend, hoping to reduce the number of new coronavirus infections. But instead, infections increase. Some may be the result of exposures days earlier, but tracking where people went over the weekend could reveal new transmission hot spots.
Some lawyers and academics have suggested that public health officials tap the geofencing capability of phones, to learn who may have been near people infected with the virus. Police have relied on geofencing in investigations, using broad warrants to request information on every smartphone near a crime scene.
Last May, police requested location data from every ''Google account that is associated with a device'' within 150 meters of a bank robbery. In theory, Google could notify users whose phones were recently near an infected person. Google didn't respond to a request for comment.
There's already legal debate over whether such actions would overstep the Fourth Amendment's restrictions on the government's ability to search private property. Evan Selinger, a privacy expert and philosophy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, says partnerships between tech companies and government agencies could create a "Covid-19 response infrastructure" that incentivizes companies to "find creative ways to benefit from mission creep.''
Some privacy scholars question whether enhanced surveillance in the name of fighting disease can be dialed back once the danger has passed.
''I'm not sure that we should be making longer-term judgments, in an emergency situation, about what the right balance is right now,'' said Jennifer Daskal, faculty director of the Tech, Law, and Security program at American University and a former national security official in the Department of Justice. ''That often doesn't work out so well.''
Pointing back to 9/11, when Congress granted immense surveillance powers to the federal government, Daskal said decisions made during emergency situations tend to lead to overreach. Another thing to remember: There were no iPhones on 9/11. Technology has progressed rapidly since then, and in some cases, has outpaced the laws meant to govern it. ''One of the lessons I hope we learned from 9/11 is that new powers in an emergency situation'' should come with preset expirations, she added.
The rapid spread of the disease has prompted even some traditional defenders of personal privacy to acknowledge the potential benefits of digital tracking. ''Public policy must reflect a balance between collective good and civil liberties in order to protect the health and safety of our society from communicable disease outbreaks,'' the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote in a blog post earlier this month. But, the group continued, any data collection ''must be scientifically justified and '... proportionate to the need.''
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.
Balancing privacy and the need to quickly isolate patients is only becoming more complex as companies which individually target and identify individuals are also volunteering their technology. The controversial facial recognition startup Clearview AI says it is in talks with public officials to use its software to identify anyone in contact with people who are infected. The weapons detection company Athena Security claims its AI-enabled cameras can detect the coronavirus by spotting fevers.
One potentially powerful tool for public health officials is contact tracing'--identifying the people that an infected person has been around. This reveals potential outbreak hot spots, offers some idea of where the virus may spread next, and importantly, warns officials who to contact next and potentially isolate if they become symptomatic. Earlier this month, the CDC issued a temporary rule requiring airlines to share data on passengers traveling from overseas on request, including addresses, phone numbers, and email.
''Contact tracing is giving you an idea about how many people are being infected, along with a control strategy to stop those people that you've tracked from infecting'' others, said Cameron Browne, a mathematical biologist at the University of Louisiana studying the virus's spread in China. ''You need to know where these clusters of cases are coming from and how strong the transmission is going forward. So it is both a control and a surveillance.''
In epidemiology, a ''control'' is a means of intervention used to stop the spread of a disease. It also, necessarily, involves controlling people. Investigators in China and Singapore, for example, interviewed patients, then reviewed their credit card receipts, personal diaries, and calendars to trace where they'd traveled and with whom they had contact.
In the US, however, that prospect unsettles some. ''I'd love to give the federal government all the latitude that they deserve, but the reality is that [we've seen] abuse after abuse after abuse,'' said Jake Williams, a cybersecurity expert and former member of the NSA's hacking unit. ''When you start adding in identifiers and email addresses, [physical] addresses, [and] other flights you've been on, you start to see patterns of behavior. Now, suddenly we're in a little bit different territory.''
Police databases generally include only those suspected or convicted of a crime. But a disease surveillance database could include lots of people who did nothing other than sit next to an infected person on a flight. It's deeply troubling, but could become a necessity in urgent times.
''The problem is, I don't actually believe that that's where the use of the data ends,'' Williams said. ''I would challenge you to find any government surveillance program, for that matter, that hasn't suffered a large number of abuses.''
At a certain point, however, contact tracing becomes unviable. There can be too many contacts to follow and the path from one infected person to another becomes too muddled. More than 18,000 people in the US have tested positive. Officials in Los Angeles instructed doctors on Friday not to test symptomatic patients if the results wouldn't change the treatment.
WIRED is providing unlimited free access to stories about the coronavirus pandemic. Sign up for our Coronavirus Update to get the latest in your inbox.
More From WIRED on Covid-19
Gear and tips to help you get through a pandemicThe doctor who helped defeat smallpox explains what's comingEverything you need to know about coronavirus testingDon't go down a coronavirus anxiety spiralHow is the virus spread? (And other Covid-19 FAQs, answered)Read all of our coronavirus coverage here
Supreme Court sides with Comcast in Byron Allen's racial discrimination lawsuit
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 12:03
The U.S. Supreme Court sided with Comcast in a high-stakes civil rights case Monday, ruling that media mogul Byron Allen must show race was the determining reason that the company refused to carry his channels in order for his discrimination case to survive.
In a unanimous decision, the high court ruled that a lower court used the wrong legal standard in allowing Allen's $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit to proceed. The Supreme Court sent the case back to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in California for reconsideration.
Allen, an African American entertainment executive, says the Philadelphia cable giant racially discriminated against him when it refused to carry his cable-TV channels on its systems. Comcast says race had nothing to do with rejecting Allen's channels, noting that they had low ratings.
The high court did not weigh the merits of Allen's allegations. At issue was whether a person filing a racial-discrimination lawsuit must allege that race was the determining reason a contract decision was made, or if a person can merely allege that race was one ''motivating factor'' for a case to proceed.
''To prevail, a plaintiff must initially plead and ultimately prove that, but for race, it would not have suffered the loss of a legally protected right,'' Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote on behalf of the court, in an opinion released Monday morning.
''We are pleased the Supreme Court unanimously restored certainty on the standard to bring and prove civil rights claims," Comcast said in a statement. ''The well-established framework that has protected civil rights for decades continues. The nation's civil rights laws have not changed with this ruling; they remain the same as before the case was filed.''
Allen did not immediately return a request for comment.
He filed his $20 billion suit under Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, a Reconstruction-era law that prohibits discrimination against African Americans in business contracts. Specifically, the law ensures that everyone in the United States have the ''same right'' to make and enforce contracts.
Legal experts said a Comcast victory could make it harder to bring racial discrimination cases by establishing a high bar for such cases to proceed.
Comcast petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case after the Ninth Circuit ruled that Allen's suit had sufficient claims to proceed to discovery and depositions.
The cable giant said the Ninth Circuit's decision loosened standards on discrimination cases. Comcast was joined by pro-business groups that filed supporting briefs arguing that looser standards could lead to costly litigation and settlements. The Trump administration's solicitor general is also supporting Comcast in the case. More than two dozen civil rights groups, including the NAACP, backed Allen.
Allen is a successful comedian who worked with Jay Leno and David Letterman and now controls the largest African American-owned entertainment company in Hollywood. In February 2015, when he sued Comcast in federal court for not carrying his channels, the Philadelphia cable giant was seeking to acquire Time Warner Cable, which would later be acquired by Charter Communications.
A federal judge initially dismissed the suit, brought by Allen's Entertainment Studios Networks and the National Association of African American-Owned Media, concluding there could be legitimate business reasons for Comcast to act as it did. Allen then appealed.
Among other things, Allen alleges that a Comcast executive told someone at Entertainment Studios Networks that ''we're not trying to create any more Bob Johnsons.'' Johnson is an African American TV executive who created Black Entertainment Television, or BET, and sold it to Viacom for $3 billion almost two decades ago. Court documents do not say who at Comcast allegedly made that comment or when.
NYT Quietly Edits Headline On Failed Coronavirus Deal To Protect Democrats '-- Twice
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 11:34
Love the evolving storyline here,@nytimes. pic.twitter.com/KJhwHW7ZHr
'-- Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) March 23, 2020
The call went out.
Via Daily Caller:
The New York Times quietly edited a headline on the coronavirus relief package that stalled in Congress Sunday, twice making adjustments that were more favorable to Democrats.
The original headline read ''Democrats Block Action on $1.8 Trillion Stimulus.''
The second version still pointed to Democrats as the reason for the stall, but added their justification. ''Democrats Block Action on Stimulus Plan, Seeking Worker Protections.''
Keep reading'...
Dear Vice President Pence: Please Use the 25th Amendment to Remove Trump and Save Us From the Coronavirus
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 11:20
Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on March 21, 2020.
Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP
Dear Mr. Vice President,
It's time. We can't wait any longer. You need to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
You know what it says: ''Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.''
The truth of the matter is that President Donald Trump does not have the mental capability to ''discharge the powers and duties of his office.'' Amid an unprecedented political, economic, and public health crisis, the commander-in-chief is unwell '-- and unfit.
You know this. On Friday, you were standing next to the president in the White House briefing room when NBC correspondent Peter Alexander asked him what he had to say to Americans who ''are scared right now'' because of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump responded with inexplicable rage, denouncing Alexander as a ''terrible reporter'' for asking a ''nasty'' question, and then mocking the owners of NBC '-- telecom giant Comcast '-- as ''Con-cast.''
It was an insane response to the simplest of simple questions, but don't take my word for it. ''These are psychiatric symptoms, not simply boorish behaviors,'' tweeted John Talmadge, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. ''Trump is mentally ill, cognitively compromised, brain impaired. He can't even recognize a softball tossed his way.''
But you can, Mr. Vice President. You later went up to the podium and answered Alexander's question: ''I would say, 'Do not be afraid to be vigilant.''' You seem to be able to do the job of president that Trump is manifestly unable to do. You have won praise for your handling of the crisis from senior Democrats like Washington Gov. Jay Inslee '-- in stark contrast to your boss, who lashed out at Inslee and called him a ''snake.'' As the New York Times has also reported, some of your former critics at the state level ''have changed their mind about Mr. Pence, who has given near-daily briefings and, they said, has become a reassuring presence even as Mr. Trump has intermittently tried to retake the stage.''
Don't get me wrong: I'm no fan of you or your far-right politics. I am well aware of your long history of challenging the science on everything from climate change to evolution to cancer. But, this time round, you recognize the scale of the problem, the scope of the crisis, the severity of the threat posed by Covid-19.
The president, bizarrely, inexcusably, outrageously, does not. He is off in his own demented, fact-free, navel-gazing, alternative universe. Again, don't take my word for it. Listen to Bandy X. Lee, clinical professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. Trump ''dangerously lacks mental capacity,'' she told me, ''which he exhibits through his inability to take in information and advice, to process critical information, or to consider consequences before making impulsive, unstable, and irrational decisions that are not based in reality but fight reality.'' At press conferences, she added, he pushes ''delusional-level distortion and misinformation'' because he is ''disconnected from reality.'' His leadership, she concluded, is ''more harmful than if we had no president.''
This is a president who rambles, rants, and raves; who spent weeks downplaying the spread of the novel coronavirus and ignoring warnings from his own intelligence agencies; who claimed to be unaware that Americans who need tests are unable to get them; who uses press briefings not to inform the public but to regularly attack the press; who went golfing while health professionals begged for resources and equipment; who has repeatedly contradicted his own top scientists by pushing unproven drugs as a treatment for Covid-19; who tried to buy a vaccine from Germany but only for ''exclusive'' use in the United States; who took a break from crisis management to go on Twitter and complain about Hillary Clinton's emails and Benghazi.
How is this behavior not utterly unhinged? How does it not justify you invoking the 25th Amendment on behalf of the American people, who are being infected by Covid-19 in rapidly increasing numbers?
Look, I get it. You're a sycophant. You're a coward. You're afraid of standing up to a vicious boss and his cultish supporters. But ask yourself this: Are you more afraid of Trump and his MAGA base, or for your own life and the lives of those you love and cherish? This past weekend, you and your wife had to get tested for Covid-19. It is only a matter of time until someone you care about tests positive or '-- God forbid '-- dies from the disease. In years to come, do you really want to look back on this historic moment and regret not having stepped in, with the clear authority granted to you under the Constitution, to do a better, saner, more stable job of fighting the pandemic than the current occupant of the Oval Office?
Perhaps you think the supermajority required in both chambers of Congress for you to stay in office if the president resists his removal and formally declares in writing ''that no inability exists,'' makes it impossible for you to successfully invoke the 25th Amendment.
But events are moving fast. Nothing is predictable anymore. And, as Adam Gustafson pointed out in the Yale Law & Policy Review in 2008, under the Section 4 process, ''the Acting President can enjoy at least four days of presidential power '-- four days to advance his own policy goals, to prove himself a capable executive, and to acclimate Congress and the public to his presence in the Oval Office. By the time Congress is allowed to vote, the deck may already be stacked against the President.''
It is also worth noting that in 2016, when Trump picked you as his running mate, the New York Times reported that it was because of your ''unimpeachable conservative credentials, warm relationships in Washington and a vast reservoir of good will with the Christian right.'' If anyone can persuade Republicans in Congress that Trump has to go, that he is mentally unable to perform his presidential duties during this historic crisis, it's you.
Remember: The framers of the 25th Amendment deliberately decided against providing a definition of the ''unable to discharge'' phrase. However, the late Birch Bayh, the senator from your state of Indiana who sponsored the 25th Amendment, made it clear that it related to mental, as well as physical, inability. ''It is conceivable,'' Bayh said, ''that a President might be able to walk, for example, and thus, by the definition of some people, might be physically able, but at the same time he might not possess the mental capacity to make a decision and perform the powers and duties of his office.''
Do you really believe that Trump has the ''mental capacity'' to protect millions of Americans from this pandemic? A president who tried to prevent dozens of infected Americans on a cruise ship from returning to the United States because, he admitted, ''I like the numbers being where they are''?
Remember also: This is a decision for you to make, based on your own insights and experiences, with or without the assistance of medical professionals. ''What the framers of the 25th Amendment had in mind was a judgment call by the vice president and by the cabinet,'' John D. Feerick, Fordham School of Law's former dean, told me. Feerick, who assisted in the drafting of the amendment in 1965, pointed out that the framers picked the vice president and ''principal officers of the executive departments'' for this task because, as a result of their proximity to the president, they would have the greatest insight into the president's mental health and stability. As high-level political appointees of the president, they would also have the greatest credibility in the eyes of Congress and the public, and could not be automatically dismissed as political opponents or partisans.
You must act now. Extreme times call for extreme measures. Yes, Section 4 of the 25th Amendment has never before been invoked by a vice president. But, then again, as you yourself probably realized long ago, no vice president has ever before had to deal with a president like Trump.
Last October, after your boss glibly suggested he might ''destroy and obliterate'' the Turkish economy, Daniel Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard University, suggested that the president should be detained and examined. ''Am I the only psychologist who finds this claim and this threat truly alarming? Wouldn't these normally trigger a mental health hold? Right and Left must set aside politics and agree that there is a serious problem here,'' Gilbert tweeted.
A ''serious problem'' is an understatement. Millions of American lives are at stake. Yet the American president is out of control, out of touch with reality. You know it. I know it. Anyone with eyes and ears knows it.
Sincerely,Mehdi Hasan
Rig Market Feels the Heat: Westwood
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 11:16
Natural Gas News Mar 23, 2020 1:40:pm
Summary Some $1.6bn of revenues relating to contract extensions are at stake.
by: Joseph Murphy Posted in: Natural Gas & LNG News, World, Premium, Corporate, Exploration & Production, Investments, Contracts and tenders
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Drug Trials In New York
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 11:15
From Trump's lips to Cuomo's ears:
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that his state is set to begin clinical trials this week for a malaria drug that President Donald Trump has touted as a possible treatment for coronavirus.
''The president is optimistic about these drugs, and we are all optimistic that it could work,'' Cuomo said at a daily press conference in Albany.
This therapy delivers results (or doesn't) pretty quickly. The normal course of treatment is ten days [eg, French mini-trial] but if we don't hear rumors of success or failure before then we need to revisit HIPPA.
CoV discussion thread | Climate Etc.
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 11:15
by Judith Curry
Some articles I've flagged, plus emails I've received.
Here are some articles I've flagged for discussion; I am not personally endorsing anything here:
Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance
NYT: Harsh Steps Are Needed to Stop the Coronavirus
New Yorker: The Coronavirus and better strategy for fighting pandemics
N95 Mask shortage is horrible manifestation of America's crazy defense priorities
Victor Davis Hanson: Some Coronavirus Humility
Coronavirus will change the world permanently. Here's How
How the coronavirus became a national catastrophe.
Flattening the curve: The South Korean Approach to CoV
Dangerous Curves '' American Greatness
Twitter thread from Nicholas Christakis
Friedman: A plan to get America back to work
Greg Goodman's Italy analysis
The number of cases of COVID-19 reported in Italy is still rising exponentially as is the total number of cases. There is no obviously visible change since ten northern regions were put under restricted movement regulations on 8th March and this was extended to all italian territory between 8th and 11th March 2020.
However, studying the logarithm of the number of new cases reported each day does reveal and change.
On a logarithmic scale an exponential rise becomes a straight line. The slope represents the constant term which describes the form of the exponential.
The linear regression of the logarithm shows the slope reduced by more than a factor of two after the measures were introduced.
This will mean that ( all other conditions remaining the same ) the outbreak will take twice as long to reach its peak but the rise in daily new cases will make it more manageable for the local health services. This strategy is often referred to as ''flattening the curve''. Over the limited period since these measures were put in place this appears to have had a detectable effect, though it remains limited in magnitude.
On the 21st March 2020, a limited military deployment was established in the northern region of Lombardy, the centre of the epidemic, to more effectively enforce the existing measures.
The lengthening of the doubling time for new cases will allow more time for already swamped emergency services to adapt to increasing case load but it remains an exponential growth.
So far there is no indication of a peak in cases or an end to the exponential phase of the epidemic in Italy.
For details of the analysis method, see Greg's post at climategrog
This is really the kind of graph we need to be looking at to detectchange during early exponential phase.
Here is a similar log graph including China and France, which looks likeit is flattening out as clampdown has had time to pass throughincubation period.
USA is still in very aggressive growth which is faster than any EUcountries even in early phase.
Only S. Korea was faster, they rose fast, peaked early and contained theepidemic faster than China. ( Probably having gained from beingpre-warned ).
Emailed from Oregon '' unintended consequences:
Today my wife and I talked to a gas station attendant who looked to be 30 or so about the situation in town due to this response. He first just mentioned what was happening to business in the vicinity of the gas station.. After a moment, though, he told us how this was affecting him directly. He said he has stomach cancer and fortunately he was diagnosed in Stage 1. The prognosis was very good when he was diagnosed because it was caught so early. But he was supposed to get an evaluation at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland (about 90 miles north of Corvallis) on March 24th as the best course of aggressive treatment to give him the best chance of cure. It's been cancelled without being rescheduled so OHSU can prepare for the COVID-19 epidemic we are told is coming soon, even though SARS-CoV-2 with an R0 of 3, a doubling time of 3-4 days, and a CFR of perhaps 3% may have been circulating in the US since late December 2019. He's now on a maintenance protocol under the direction of a doctor here for the foreseeable future that makes him immuno-compromised and is not care that has the best chance of stopping his cancer from progressing His entire care plan has been disrupted, possibly at risk to his life. His actual care is being de-prioritized relative to potential care for severe COVID-19 patients projected by a model built on unreliable data.
CDC to implement ICD-10-CM code for vaping-related disorder | AHA News
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 10:33
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will implement a new ICD-10-CM diagnosis code for reporting vaping-related disorders starting April 1. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has updated the software it uses to classify inpatient prospective payment system claims into Medicare-Severity Diagnosis-Related Groups for payment to accommodate the new ICD-10-CM code.
CDC and the Food and Drug Administration last year began investigating an outbreak of vaping-associated lung injuries. To date, more than 2,700 patients have been hospitalized for the condition in the states, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands, including 60 deaths.
YouTube Joins Netflix in Cutting Euro Video Quality to Standard Def - Multichannel
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 10:16
YouTube has joined Netflix in a move to downgrade streaming video quality in Europe, creating more room for telecommuting and overall increased network usage amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
''We are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default,'' the company said in a statement. (YouTube's decision was first reported by Reuters.)
The announcement follows Netflix's decision to reduce its video quality to standard def in Europe over the next 30 days'--a move it says will reduce its traffic on Euro networks by 25%.
Visit Next TV to read more stories like this one.
Both decisions follow outreach by European Union commissioner Thierry Breton, who said he spoke to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, as well as Sundar Pichai, CEO of YouTube's parent company, Alphabet. Breton also said he talked to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, trying to get ahead of what he believed is a real threat under mass quarantine/social distancing measures'--that is, the strain on European broadband networks.
Also read: Netflix and Other OTT Companies Asked by European Union to Turn It Down to Standard Def
Globally, Netflix and YouTube represent the two biggest traffic drivers on the internet. But the major lobbying firms of both the European and U.S. telecom industries have gone on record in recent days as saying their constituencies's respective broadband infrastructures are more than up to the task.
''At this stage, new traffic patterns are being effectively handled by engineers as per standard network operations," Lise Fuhr, director general of the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association, said in a statement. "We support the European Commission's effort to ensure that national governments and national regulators have all the tools they need to keep networks strong across the continent.''
Italy: Virologist says fears of racism slowed Italy's coronavirus response; Florence Mayor urged Italians to "hug a Chinese" - Voice of Europe
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 08:30
An Italian virologist has said that fears of being accused of racism slowed the Italian government's initial response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic.
Dr. Giorgio Pal¹ is a Professor of Virology and Microbiology at the University of Padova, and he was formerly the President of the European and Italian Society for Virology. In an interview with CNN, he said that the reason the disease has struck Italy so fiercely is because the government delayed imposing travel restrictions on people coming from China until it was too late. He said the country's response was ''lazy in the beginning'' because of ''too much politics.''
''There was a proposal to isolate people coming from the epicenter, coming from China,'' Pal¹ told CNN. ''Then it became seen as racist, but they were people coming from the outbreak.''
Since then, Italy has become the hardest-hit country in the world after China, and has had the most victims in Europe by far. The first confirmed cases of the infection in Italy were found in two Chinese tourists in January. As of now there have been nearly 36,000 confirmed cases, and nearly 4,000 people have died from the disease.
The shortsightedness of Italy's government regarding the virus as a result of political correctness has not been limited to the national government. Dario Nardella, the Mayor of Florence, who is from the Left-wing Democratic Party, was urging Italians to ''hug a Chinese'' in early February out of concerns that coronavirus fears were leading to racism against the Chinese. Nardella even tweeted a video of himself hugging a Chinese man.
#coronavirus: seguiamo le indicazioni delle autorit sanitarie e usiamo cautela, ma nessun terrorismo psicologico e soprattutto basta con i soliti sciacalli che non vedevano l'ora di usare questa scusa per odiare e insultare. Uniti in questa battaglia comune! #AbbracciaUnCinese pic.twitter.com/pUdqEl0piW
'-- Dario Nardella (@DarioNardella) February 1, 2020
Other videos from February show Chinese people getting hugs from Italian passersby.
Northern Italy has now become the epicenter of the outbreak in Italy. The Governor of Lombardy has recently warned citizens that they must follow the curfew strictly as the hospitals will soon be overwhelmed with patients, as reported by La Repubblica, and after that it may no longer be possible to treat all of the victims.
Hungary has not hesitated to point out the link between immigration and the coronavirus epidemic. ''We have seen that it was mostly foreigners who brought in the disease, and that it is mostly spreading among foreigners,'' Hungary's Prime Minister, Viktor Orbn, said on Friday, as previously reported by Voice of Europe. ''We are fighting a two-front war. One front is called migration, and the other one belongs to the coronavirus.''
Facial Recognition Companies See the Coronavirus as a Business Opportunity
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 00:29
Facial recognition companies are pitching the technology as a sanitary alternative to fingerprint scanners
Photo: Cai Zixin/China News Service/Getty Images T he Covid-19 crisis enveloping millions of people around the world is also presenting an unlikely business opportunity for one sector of tech: facial recognition technology. Companies including DERMALOG in Germany and Telpo in China are pitching the technology as a method for identifying individuals without the risk of close contact.
Fingerprint scanners, for instance, require that many people touch the same surface, which could potentially spread infection if someone with Covid-19 were to use an unclean scanner. Businesses in India are being directed by police to ditch fingerprint authentication in lieu of facial recognition or ID cards, and the NYPD is pausing its fingerprint entry amid coronavirus concerns.
Companies eager to make facial recognition the default form of identification are rushing to fill the void.
''In the face of this outbreak, we have developed a solution for noncontact body temperature measurement plus face recognition.''
DERMALOG, a biometrics company that makes fingerprint, iris, and facial recognition hardware, has adapted its technology to determine temperature and is pitching the update as a safety feature. It's already in use by the Thai government for border control. Telpo is launching temperature-sensing terminals with facial recognition, which allegedly work even if a person is wearing a face mask.
''In the face of this outbreak, we have developed a solution for noncontact body temperature measurement plus face recognition in order to meet the rapid need to diagnose the patient and isolate and control the virus in time,'' Crystal Chu, a platform marketing specialist at Telpo, wrote to OneZero in an email.
And the company is touting the benefits of facial recognition beyond the coronavirus pandemic.
''This technology can not only reduce the risk of cross infection but also improve traffic efficiency by more than 10 times, which will save time and reduce congestion. It is suitable for government, customs, airports, railway stations, enterprises, schools, communities, and other crowded public places,'' the company wrote separately in a press release.
Another Chinese company, Wisesoft, is also bundling facial recognition and temperature-sensing technology.
Meanwhile, manufacturers of fingerprint scanners are pushing back.
''People like facial recognition or iris companies are saying, 'Well you don't want to use fingerprint scanners anymore, they're bad for you because of this virus. I think that's a little ridiculous,'' says David Gerulski, executive vice president of Integrated Biometrics, a firm that specializes in lightweight and mobile fingerprint scanners.
The company has been communicating with customers for weeks about how to properly clean the devices, and advising that those who use the scanner should use hand sanitizer afterwards.
Gerulski points out that he's heard recommendations that people should use the iris scanners on Clear's biometric machines at airports rather than its fingerprint function, but that requires holding your face close to a shared surface.
''The main thing is we want to make sure there aren't terrorists who take advantage of this time period when everybody's worried about viruses and then something bad happens,'' Gerulski said.
Automated fingerprint analysis has been the most common form of biometrics since its invention and adoption in the 1980s.
NEC, the Japanese technology company, was the first to build and market automated fingerprint analysis for forensic use by police and federal investigators. The company has now morphed into one of the biggest companies selling biometric technology across the world, and it pitches facial recognition as the most cutting edge of its offerings.
Covid-19 has also spurred technology companies to market facial recognition algorithms that work even when someone is wearing a mask. Companies like China's Hanvon and Spain's Herta have announced their facial recognition is works with or without wearing a mask as well.
Facial recognition is also being used amid the pandemic to determine if people are following local regulations. Baidu's facial recognition can look for people who aren't wearing masks in China, since masks have been deemed mandatory in many parts of the country.
Russia is using facial recognition to track those who are leaving their quarantine. One Moscow resident was visited by police after violating his quarantine by taking out the trash, according to the Moscow Times.
In Shanghai, communities are installing facial recognition in residential buildings to reduce contact with shared physical surfaces.
Other residents in China, where facial recognition partnered with temperature sensing has become commonplace, wonder whether this level of surveillance will subside after the virus has been contained, according to The Guardian.
''This epidemic undoubtedly provides more reason for the government to surveil the public. I don't think authorities will rule out keeping this up after the outbreak,'' activist Wang Aizhong told The Guardian.
American Woman Rescued in Secretive Military Op, Trump Says
Sun, 22 Mar 2020 23:58
President Donald Trump said Sunday that an unspecified military operation had been conducted in a "certain area" overseas to rescue a female U.S. citizen who was being "horribly treated."
Details on the operation and where it was conducted were initially being kept "somewhat private," Trump said, but he added that "we got her out and she's OK, and she's back with her parents."
At the beginning of a White House news conference on the coronavirus, the president spoke to efforts to bring U.S. citizens home from overseas during the pandemic, and cited cooperation from the governments of Peru and Honduras.
"We were able to get a young woman released from a certain area who was being horribly accosted, horribly treated," he then added.
Related: US Defense Department Announces 1st Coronavirus Death
Trump said he consulted with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, who "took care of it. We went in and we got her out, but that was rough stuff."
He thanked Milley "and all the people involved and people who went in to get her."
In a question-and-answer session at the news conference, Trump was asked for details, but said only that "bad things were happening to her in a certain country," adding that "Gen. Milley does not play games."
There was no immediate response from the Pentagon to questions on the operation.
This story will be updated.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.
Read more: Bringing Back the Draft: 5 Possibilities for the Future of Military Conscription
Top WHO Official Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Won Election With China's Help. Now He's Running Interference For China On Coronavirus | The Daily Caller
Sun, 22 Mar 2020 23:30
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus won his 2017 election with China's backing. Tedros is now providing cover for China's propaganda campaign denying responsibility for the outbreak. Tedros praised China's ''transparency'' and said China's response to the virus was a model for other nations, though China tried to cover up the virus's outbreak and silenced whistleblowers. Tedros is the first-ever WHO chief not to be a medical doctor and was accused of covering up three different cholera epidemics as Ethiopia's health minister. World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus won his post after China backed him in the May 2017 election.
Now, Tedros is leading the WHO, an arm of the United Nations, in providing cover for China's oppressive regime as it attempts to shirk responsibility for the global coronavirus pandemic.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, Chinese authorities are weaving a false counternarrative in which China was actually the victim of a foreign virus that it quickly moved to contain. And the WHO is helping them do it.
Tedros has praised China's ''transparency'' and held up the country as a model response '-- even though the communist regime covered and then concealed the severity of the outbreak.
Chinese authorities forced scientists who discovered the virus in December to destroy proof of the virus, U.K. newspaper The Sunday Times reported. The Chinese regime also punished doctors who tried to warn the public in the outbreak's early stages and suppressed information about the virus online. A Chinese real estate mogul who criticized his government's response has since gone missing.
Approximately seven million people left Wuhan in January, spreading the virus all over China and all over the world, before China restricted travel to Wuhan on Jan. 22, The New York Times reported Sunday.
One study found that ''if interventions in [China] could have been conducted one week, two weeks, or three weeks earlier, cases could have been reduced by 66 percent, 86 percent and 95 percent respectively '' significantly limiting the geographical spread of the disease.''
The WHO echoed China's false talking points about the potential for human-to-human infection during the early stages of the outbreak. ''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,'' the WHO tweeted on Jan. 14.
The very next day, America's first documented coronavirus patient arrived back in the U.S. after traveling to Wuhan, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's timeline.
Tedros praised China's disastrous handling of the pandemic as an example for the rest of the world to follow. ''China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response,'' he said on Jan. 30, shortly after returning from a trip to Beijing.
Tedros shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping (NAOHIKO HATTA/AFP via Getty Images)
''Tedros apparently turned a blind eye to what happened in Wuhan and the rest of China and, after meeting with Xi in January, has helped China to play down the severity, prevalence and scope of the COVID-19 outbreak,'' University of Texas-San Antonio professor Henry Thayer and Citizens Power Initiatives for China vice president Lianchao Han wrote in a March 17 op-ed published in The Hill.
The pair called on Tedros to resign, adding: ''From the outset, Tedros has defended China despite its gross mismanagement of the highly contagious disease. As the number of cases and the death toll soared, the WHO took months to declare the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic, even though it had met the criteria of transmission between people, high fatality rates and worldwide spread.''
The WHO is now touting China's claims to have reduced the number of new infections in Wuhan to zero. But Chinese officials are, once again, fudging the numbers for propaganda purposes, a Wuhan doctor told Japanese media company Kyodo News.
Tedros's close relationship with China isn't new.
He worked closely with China during his time as Ethiopia's health minister, and China backed Tedros's 2017 bid for WHO director-general, media outlets noted at the time.
Tedros won the election despite widely covered accusations that he covered up three different cholera epidemics as health minister in Ethiopia. Though he goes by ''Dr. Tedros,'' the WHO chief isn't a medical doctor but has a PhD in public health.
Just months after taking over at the WHO, Tedros tapped former Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe, a notorious human rights violator, to be a UN Goodwill ambassador and only backed down after an international outcry.
''Diplomats said [Mugabe's] appointment was a political payoff from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus '-- the WHO's first African director-general '-- to China, a long-time ally of Mugabe, and the 50 or so African states that helped to secure Tedros's election earlier this year,'' Sunday Times columnist Rebecca Myers wrote in October 2017.
''Chinese diplomats had campaigned hard for the Ethiopian, using Beijing's financial clout and opaque aid budget to build support for him among developing countries,'' she added.
Washington Post columnist Frida Ghitis similarly noted at the time that China ''worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help Tedros defeat the United Kingdom candidate for the WHO job, David Nabarro. Tedros's victory was also a victory for Beijing, whose leader Xi Jinping has made public his goal of flexing China's muscle in the world.''
''There need to be consequences here,'' Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley wrote on Twitter in response to this article. '' WHO has sided [with] #China Communist Party against the world in this pandemic.''
There need to be consequences here. WHO has sided w/ #China Communist Party against the world in this pandemic https://t.co/iTvuZxO9bI
'-- Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) March 23, 2020
The WHO and China's Embassy to the U.S. didn't respond to repeated requests for comment for this article.
While Tedros has covered for the Chinese regime throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, he hasn't hesitated to criticize the U.S. and other China adversaries for their coronavirus response, as Michael Collins, a research associate for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, noted in a Feb. 27 blog post.
On Feb. 3, Tedros rebuked the U.S. and other countries that had closed off their borders to China when it became clear that the communist nation wasn't containing the virus's spread.
''There is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade. We call on all countries to implement decisions that are evidence-based and consistent,'' he said.
The day after President Donald Trump referred to the coronavirus as a ''foreign virus,'' the WHO implicitly rebuked him.
''Kind quick reminder: viruses have no nationality,'' the WHO wrote in a March 17 tweet that was quickly amplified by Chinese state media outlet Xinhua News.
A WHO official later rebuked Trump again on Wednesday. (RELATED: Elite American Institutions Keep Bowing To Communist China'... Over And Over Again)
''Viruses know no borders and they don't care about your ethnicity, the color of your skin or how much money you have in the bank,'' said Mike Ryan, the executive director of WHO's Emergencies Program.
Ryan added, ''This is a time for solidarity, this is a time for facts, this is a time to move forward together, to fight this virus together. There is no blame in this.''
His comments aligned nicely with China's aggressive propaganda campaign.
This article was updated to include Sen. Hawley's comment.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.
Why Trump is at odds with his medical experts over Covid-19 drugs - STAT
Sun, 22 Mar 2020 23:28
O ne of the most wrenching questions in medicine has been playing out to garish effect in White House press conferences.
The question is this: In an emergency, like the exploding pandemic of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, how much data should doctors require before they use a medicine? President Donald Trump has made clear that he thinks two old malaria drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, should be deployed quickly against the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. But his own lieutenants, the heads of the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have been hesitant.
There's no question the need for effective treatments is urgent. Cases of Covid-19 are exploding, with more than 24,000 reported nationally and more than 10,000 in New York State alone. Actual numbers may be far higher. Reports say that New York hospitals are full with patients on ventilators who need treatment now.
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Hope has emerged around two anti-malaria drugs: chloroquine, discovered in 1934, and a derivative of it called hydroxychloroquine that is thought to have less severe side effects. Both have shown promise in preventing SARS-CoV-2 from infecting cells in the laboratory. And a small and preliminary clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine in France circulated widely and stirred excitement on social media (including from the president) '-- though its findings were hardly definitive about whether the drug would benefit coronavirus patients. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Sunday that a study of the drug will start Tuesday.
The fact that these drugs have already been cleared by the FDA for use against other diseases '-- they're prescribed by doctors not just for malaria but also rheumatoid arthritis and lupus '-- has added momentum to the argument they should be quickly made available for Covid-19; their side effects, which include heart and nerve damage and suicidal thoughts, are well-understood and, given the current circumstances, manageable, supporters argue. Doctors can already prescribe them off-label.
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At a Thursday news briefing, Trump trumpeted that chloroquine had shown ''very, very encouraging early results'' and said ''we're going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately.'' Minutes later, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, an oncologist, clarified that the drug would be available ''in the setting of a clinical trial '-- a large, pragmatic clinical trial '-- to actually gather that information and answer the question that needs to be answered and '-- asked and answered.''
Friday, the President said, ''It may work, it may not work. I feel good about it. That's all it is. Just a feeling.'' At the same press conference, Anthony Fauci, a physician who heads the NIAID and a veteran of outbreaks going back to HIV, emphasized the need for a methodical clinical trial.
''We're trying to strike a balance,'' Fauci said, ''between making something with a potential of an effect to the American people available, at the same time that we do it under the auspices of a protocol that would give us information to determine if it's truly safe and truly effective.''
Saturday morning, Trump tweeted: ''HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE & AZITHROMYCIN, taken together, have a real chance to be one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine,'' referencing a scientific journal article about the small clinical trial of 36 patients in France. Several other small studies of other antiviral drugs have also shown glimmers of hope. So what should doctors do?
How likely is it that the possible benefits shown in a small study will turn out to be a mirage? One way of understanding this is to look at what happens with medicines in clinical trials. Experimental drugs are usually studied in three stages of progressively larger studies. The first, called Phase 1 trials, are small studies used to get an early read on efficacy and rule out obvious safety issues. These are then refined in larger ''Phase 2'' studies and then in the large ''Phase 3'' studies used by the FDA to decide whether to approve a drug.
The study referenced by Trump, and other studies done so far of potential treatments for Covid-19, are small and hastily designed even by the standards of Phase 1 studies. So how often do infectious-disease drugs that enter Phase 2 studies reach the market? An analysis by the Biotechnology Industry Organization says they worked out only 27.5% of the time between 2009 and 2015. That means that three-quarters of the time, medicines against infectious disease that looked promising in small studies either were ineffective or had side effects that made them unusable. Even for medicines that reached Phase 3 trials, just 63% succeeded.
But the issues with these studies go beyond their small size or the fact that early promises, in research, often don't pan out. It goes to one of the big truths about how doctors, eager to see a new drug succeed, can subconsciously lie to themselves with clinical studies: To be trustworthy, these studies often need to be randomized. This means that not only are some patients assigned to a control group that doesn't get the promising medicine, but that who gets what treatment is decided, essentially, by a coin flip. (The most rigorous of these randomized trials are also ''blinded,'' meaning the doctors running the studies don't know which patients are in which group.)
The use of randomization as the standard way to design a medical study goes back to another deadly infectious disease: tuberculosis. In the early part of the 20th century, it was a scourge, and many doctors turned to gold-based treatments, to try and control it. They turned out to be toxic and ineffective. In 1946, researchers in the United Kingdom's Medical Research Council decided to conduct a randomized trial of another treatment, the antibiotic streptomycin, in 107 patients. The results were clear: 7% of those who received streptomycin died, compared to 27% of those in the control group.
That study, published in the British Medical Journal in 1948, became the basis for most modern medical research. The sacrifice made by the 52 people in the control group meant that there was no doubt the streptomycin worked _ and that a situation like gold treatment, where many patients get a therapy that harms, instead of helping, wouldn't repeat itself.
The study Trump and others have touted was anything but randomized. Instead, Covid-19 patients were treated with either hydroxychloroquine or the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, an antibiotic also known as Zithromax, at a hospital in Marseille, France. They were compared to coronavirus patients at hospitals in Marseille, Nice, Avignon, and Brian§on who didn't receive these drugs.
The study doesn't show that patients lived longer or were more likely to recover, but instead shows that the amount of virus in the blood was reduced much faster in the patients who took hydroxychloroquine and even faster in the six patients who took the combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.
That result is encouraging, but for patients who are not gravely ill, it doesn't tell how to weigh the side effects of hydroxychloroquine against the potential benefits. That's the reason for a clinical study like the one starting in New York.
But for doctors on the front lines, particularly in New York City, where hospitals are becoming overwhelmed and where there are many patients on ventilators, the drugs could be an immediate option. As Cuomo put it in a press conference Friday, ''where a person is in dire circumstance, [you] try what you can.''
Reports about the potential of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for Covid-19 have been circulating among New York City emergency physicians for more than a week, and some patients are reportedly getting the hydroxychloroquine/azithromycin combination. (Perhaps as a result, there are shortages cropping up for patients with lupus and other diseases who need the drug.) The University of California, San Francisco, and the University of Washington both recommend hydroxycholoroquine for very sick Covid-19 patients.
The qualms about the French study extend to two other studies of antiviral drugs as potential Covid-19 treatments. A study of 80 patients given the Japanese flu drug favipriavir, which is not approved in the U.S., was not randomized; it found a shorter clearance time for the drug. A small randomized trial of HIV medicines, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found no overall benefit, but hints that it helped some subgroups of coronavirus patients.
Taken together, some stock analysts have forecast that these results could improve the odds that another antiviral drug, Gilead's remdesivir, could prove effective in two Phase 3 studies in China that are expected to read out in April.
For drug development, getting results so soon is blindingly fast. For doctors on the ground and patients who are struggling to breathe, it is agonizingly slow.
Virus Scare Briefly Closes New York ARTCC, Other Facilities - AVweb
Sun, 22 Mar 2020 23:20
At least 11 air traffic control facilities have been temporarily closed over the last few days because of coronavirus cases. In addition to well-publicized disruptions at Las Vegas, Chicago Midway and Indianapolis there was an hourlong groundstop for flights headed to airports served by the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center, also known as ZNY, Saturday. The pause was ended in the early afternoon after the center was reportedly evacuated for a COVID-19-related incident. Towers at Leesburg, Virginia, Peoria, Illinois and Wilmington, Delaware were also affected.
Details on the ZNY closure were sketchy but it was reported by some publications that someone in the center, located in Ronkonkoma, New York, tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The FAA attributed the brief closure to ''staffing issues.'' It's also not clear what led to the facility being restored, although JFK arrivals via the CAMRN Arrival were not immediately released. ZNY handles traffic headed to airports throughout New York and also to Philadelphia.
Coronavirus and the Gates Foundation
Sun, 22 Mar 2020 20:32
Coronavirus and the Gates Foundation By F. William Engdahl18 March 2020 Image Credit: Adbar - Front building of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle. License: Some Rights Reserved. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license with conditions https://bit.ly/2J25gQw
Arguably, no one has been more active in promoting and funding research on vaccines aimed at dealing with coronavirus than Bill Gates and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. From sponsoring a simulation of a coronavirus global pandemic, just weeks before the Wuhan outbreak was announced, to funding numerous corporate efforts to come up with a novel vaccine for the apparently novel virus, the Gates presence is there. What does it actually entail?
We must admit that at the very least Bill Gates is prophetic. He has claimed for years that a global killer pandemic will come and that we are not prepared for it. On March 18, 2015 Gates gave a TED talk on epidemics in Vancouver. That day he wrote on his blog, ''I just gave a brief talk on a subject that I've been learning a lot about lately'--epidemics. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a tragedy'--as I write this, more than 10,000 people have died.'' Gates then added, ''As awful as this epidemic has been, the next one could be much worse. The world is simply not prepared to deal with a disease'--an especially virulent flu, for example'--that infects large numbers of people very quickly. Of all the things that could kill 10 million people or more, by far the most likely is an epidemic.''
That same year, 2015, Bill Gates wrote an article for the New England Journal of Medicine titled, ''The Next Epidemic: Lessons from Ebola.'' There he spoke of a special class of drugs that ''involves giving patients a set of particular RNA-based constructs that enables them to produce specific proteins(including antibodies).Although this is a very new area, it is promising because it is possible that a safe therapy could be designed and put into large-scale manufacture fairly rapidly. More basic research as well as the progress of companies like Moderna and CureVac could eventually make this approach a key tool for stopping epidemics.'' Moderna and CureVac both today receive funds from the Gates Foundation and are leading the race to develop an approved COVID-19 vaccine based on mRNA.
2017 and Founding of CEPI
A global flu-like pandemic in fact is something that Gates and his well-endowed foundation have spent years preparing for. In 2017 during the Davos World Economic Forum, Gates initiated something called CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, together with the governments of Norway, India, Japan, and Germany, along with the Wellcome Trust of the UK. Its stated purpose is to ''accelerate the development of vaccines we'll need to contain outbreaks'' of future epidemics. He noted at the time that ''One promising area of vaccine development research is using advances in genomics to map the DNA and RNA of pathogens and make vaccines.'' We will return to that.
Event 201
By 2019 Bill Gates and the foundation were going full-tilt boogie with their pandemic scenarios. He made a Netflix video which made an eerie imaginary scenario. The video, part of the ''Explained'' series, imagined a wet market in China where live and dead animals are stacked and a highly deadly virus erupts that spreads globally. Gates appears as an expert in the video to warn, ''If you think of anything that could come along that would kill millions of people, a pandemic is our greatest risk.'' He said if nothing was done to better prepare for pandemics, the time would come when the world would look back and wish it had invested more into potential vaccines. That was weeks before the world heard about bats and a live wet market in Wuhan China.
In October, 2019 the Gates Foundation teamed up with the World Economic Forum and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security to enact what they called a ''fictional'' scenario simulation involving some of the world's leading figures in public health. It was titled Event 201.
As their website describes it, Event 201 simulated an ''outbreak of a novel zoonotic coronavirus transmitted from bats to pigs to people that eventually becomes efficiently transmissible from person to person, leading to a severe pandemic. The pathogen and the disease it causes are modeled largely on SARS, but it is more transmissible in the community setting by people with mild symptoms.''
In the Event 201 scenario the disease originates at a pig farm in Brazil, spreading through low-income regions and ultimately explodes into an epidemic. The disease is carried by air travel to Portugal, the USA and China and beyond to the point no country can control it. The scenario posits no possible vaccine being available in the first year. ''Since the whole human population is susceptible, during the initial months of the pandemic, the cumulative number of cases increases exponentially, doubling every week.''
The scenario then ends after 18 months when the fictional coronavirus has caused 65 million deaths. ''The pandemic is beginning to slow due to the decreasing number of susceptible people. The pandemic will continue at some rate until there is an effective vaccine or until 80-90 % of the global population has been exposed.''
Event 201 Players
As interesting as the prescient Gates-Johns Hopkins Event 201 fictional scenario of October, 2019 may be, the list of panelists who were invited to participate in the imaginary global response is equally interesting.
Among the selected ''players'' as they were called, was George Fu Gao. Notably, Prof. Gao is director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention since 2017. His specialization includes research on ''influenza virus interspecies transmission (host jump)'... He is also interested in virus ecology, especially the relationship between influenza virus and migratory birds or live poultry markets and the bat-derived virus ecology and molecular biology.'' Bat-derived virus ecology'...
Prof. Gao was joined among others at the panel by the former Deputy Director of the CIA during the Obama term, Avril Haines. She also served as Obama's Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy National Security Advisor. Another of the players at the Gates event was Rear Admiral Stephen C. Redd, Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The same CDC is at the center of a huge scandal for not having adequate functioning tests available for testing cases of COVID-19 in the USA. Their preparedness was anything but laudable.
Rounding out the group was Adrian Thomas, the Vice President of scandal-ridden Johnson & Johnson, the giant medical and pharmaceutical company. Thomas is responsible for pandemic preparedness at J&J including developing vaccines for Ebola, Dengue Fever, HIV. And there was Martin Knuchel, Head of Crisis, Emergency & Business Continuity Management, for Lufthansa Group Airlines. Lufthansa has been one of the major airlines dramatically cutting flights during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
All this shows that Bill Gates has had a remarkable preoccupation with the possibility of a global pandemic outbreak he said could be even larger than the alleged deaths from the mysterious 1918 Spanish Flu, and has been warning for at least the past five years or more. What the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also has been involved in is funding development of new vaccines using bleeding-edge CRISPR gene-editing and other technologies.
The Coronavirus Vaccines
Gates Foundation money is backing vaccine development on every front. Inovio Pharmaceuticals of Pennsylvania received $9 million from the Gates-backed CEPI, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, to develop a vaccine, INO-4800, which is about to test on humans in April, a suspiciously rapid time frame. In addition Gates Foundation just gave the company an added $5 million to develop a proprietary smart device for intradermal delivery of the new vaccine.
In addition Gates Foundation monies via CEPI are financing development of a radical new vaccine method known as messengerRNA or mRNA.
They are co-funding the Cambridge, Massachusetts biotech company, Moderna Inc., to develop a vaccine against the Wuhan novel coronavirus, now called SARS-CoV-2. Moderna's other partner is the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Head of NIAID is Dr Anthony Fauci, the person at the center of the Trump Administration virus emergency response. Notable about the Fauci-Gates Moderna coronavirus vaccine, mRNA-1273, is that it has been rolled out in a matter of weeks, not years, and on February 24 went directly to Fauci's NIH for tests on human guinea pigs, not on mice as normal. Moderna's chief medical adviser, Tal Zaks, argued, ''I don't think proving this in an animal model is on the critical path to getting this to a clinical trial.''
Another notable admission by Moderna on its website is the legal disclaimer, ''Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: '...These risks, uncertainties, and other factors include, among others: '... the fact that there has never been a commercial product utilizing mRNA technology approved for use.'' In other words, completely unproven for human health and safety.
Another biotech company working with unproven mRNA technology to develop a vaccine for the COVID-19 is a German company, CureVac. Since 2015 CureVac has received money from the Gates Foundation to develop its own mRNA technology. In January the Gates-backed CEPI granted more than $8 million to develop a mRNA vaccine for the novel coronavirus.
Add to this the fact that the Gates Foundation and related entities such as CEPI constitute the largest funders of the public-private entity known as WHO, and that its current director, Tedros Adhanom, the first WHO director in history not a medical doctor, worked for years on HIV with the Gates Foundation when Tedros was a government minister in Ethiopia, and we see that there is practically no area of the current coronavirus pandemic where the footprints of the omnipresent Gates are not to be found. If that is to the good of mankind or grounds to be worried, time will tell.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine''New Eastern Outlook''
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Russia Moves In On European Gas Markets As Oil Prices Crash | OilPrice.com
Sun, 22 Mar 2020 20:31
Russia sees a silver lining in the oil price collapse'--it now believes that the oil price war will help it win the war for natural gas market share in Europe. Russia's gas giant Gazprom, the single largest supplier of natural gas to Europe, has watched with apprehension the growing volumes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States that have arrived on European shores over the past two years.
However, the coronavirus pandemic and the crash in oil prices '--while negative for all gas sellers around the world'--are likely to hit LNG exporters more than it would hurt Gazprom, Russian energy analyst Alexander Sobko argues in an article in Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti .
The ''oil price collapse will not drag Russian gas down'', Sobko argues, saying that the majority of long-term LNG contracts, especially older ones, are indexed to oil prices, compared to 32 percent of Gazprom's long-term contracts that are tied to oil prices.
Crashing oil prices are set to lower the revenues and profits of LNG exporters whose contracts are indexed to the price of oil. The LNG glut amid depressed demand and economic slowdown (and outright recession in many mature markets) is likely to keep spot LNG prices lower for longer, eating into LNG producers' profits and potentially forcing them to defer final investment decisions on new LNG liquefaction and export projects.
At the same time, low natural gas prices in Europe are hurting Gazprom's sales revenues, too, and the pain could become worse in the coming months as European demand will likely fall off a cliff with major economies under lockdown and industrial activity significantly down.
The U.S.-Russia Gas War In Europe
The U.S. strongly encouraged ''molecules of U.S. freedom to be exported to the world,'' with U.S. LNG exporters selling growing volumes of the super-chilled fuel to a growing number of buyers in Europe who are willing to reduce their dependence on Russian pipeline gas.
Russia was the biggest supplier of natural gas to the European Union (EU), both in 2018 and in the first half of 2019, ahead of Norway, EU data show .
But the share of suppliers other than Russia, Norway, Algeria, Qatar, and Nigeria, rose from 4.8 percent in 2018 to 8.8 percent in H1 2019, at the expense of the market shares of Norway and Russia, as per Eurostat estimates.
Elena Burmistrova, Director General at Gazprom Export, said at Gazprom's investor day last month that the company's share in the gas consumption of Europe and Turkey was 35.6 percent in 2019.
At the European Gas Conference in Vienna in January, Burmistrova admitted that Gazprom's export volumes to Europe dropped in 2019 compared to 2018, but downplayed the ''less than 1.5 percent decrease from record 2018 volumes.'' She argued that LNG had one main drawback, and this was its inability to quickly meet demand in peak periods of consumption. Gazprom's pipeline gas ensures stability and reliability in supplies to Europe, the Russian giant argues.
Some European customers, however, are looking to free themselves from the Russian stability and reliability, which often come with a political price attached.
This is the key sales pitch of U.S. LNG sales to Europe'--''freedom gas'' can help European countries to diversify their gas imports.
And Then The Black Swan Muddled The Market
A perfect storm of milder winter weather and new LNG supply from the U.S. and Australia led to a global LNG glut and crashing LNG spot prices at the end of last year. In March 2020, European gas storage is fuller than normal for this time of the year, and Europe will likely be unable to absorb the LNG volumes that Asia won't pick up as its demand growth is slowing.
As if this situation wasn't bad enough for LNG sellers and LNG projects slated for approval, the coronavirus pandemic spread another contagion on the gas markets'--demand in China significantly slowed down and demand in Europe is taking a hit, too.
Italy, the country worst hit by the pandemic apart from China, has seen its power demand drop after it went into lockdown last week, Peter Osbaldstone, Research Director, Europe Power and Renewables at Wood Mackenzie, said on Thursday. Power generation dropped by 8.8 percent in the first week of the nationwide quarantine compared to the previous week, with gas-fired production'--which accounts for over 40 percent of overall supply in the market '' down by 5 percent, according to WoodMac.
''Further demand reductions are expected across Europe as lockdowns become more widespread. Industrial and commercial demand is set to be particularly weak as economic activity slows,'' Osbaldstone said.
Winners and Losers
LNG imports into Europe may be hit hard, but Gazprom may not be as insulated from the current situation on the oil and gas markets as Russia wants to imply.
Gazprom's revenues from gas exports in January 2020 crumbled by 41.1 percent compared to January 2019 due to warmer weather and high inventories that countries had amassed in case Russia and Ukraine had failed to strike a transit deal at end-2019, Russian business daily Vedomosti reported last week, citing data from the Federal Customs Service of Russia. In January and February, Gazprom's exports are expected to have fallen by 20-25 percent, Sergei Kapitonov, natural gas analyst at Skolkovo Energy Center in Moscow, told Vedomosti.
With gas prices in Europe now below $3 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) before winter's end, the question is who will blink first, Mike Fulwood wrote in an Oxford Institute for Energy Studies comment this month. With prices so low, something has to give'--it could be prices dropping further into the low $2s per MMBtu, or Norway cutting production in the summer, or Russia holding back exports especially if Gazprom's netback per MMBtu is lower than the one for its domestic sales, or LNG capacity could be shut in in significant quantities, Fulwood says.
There won't be a clear winner in this war for gas market share in Europe '' LNG imports to Europe will drop, but Gazprom's exports and revenues will too, and so will the revenues for the Russian state.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Rethinking the Coronavirus Shutdown - WSJ
Sun, 22 Mar 2020 20:29
Financial markets paused their slide Thursday, but no one should think this rolling economic calamity is over. If this government-ordered shutdown continues for much more than another week or two, the human cost of job losses and bankruptcies will exceed what most Americans imagine. This won't be popular to read in some quarters, but federal and state officials need to start adjusting their anti-virus strategy now to avoid an economic recession that will dwarf the harm from 2008-2009.
The vast social-distancing project of the last 10 days or so has been necessary and has done much good. Warnings about large gatherings of more than 10 people and limiting access to nursing homes will save lives. The public has received a crucial education in hygiene and disease prevention, and even young people may get the message. With any luck, this behavior change will reduce the coronavirus spread enough that our hospitals won't be overwhelmed with patients. Anthony Fauci, Scott Gottlieb and other disease experts are buying crucial time for government and private industry to marshal resources against the virus.
***Yet the costs of this national shutdown are growing by the hour, and we don't mean federal spending. We mean a tsunami of economic destruction that will cause tens of millions to lose their jobs as commerce and production simply cease. Many large companies can withstand a few weeks without revenue but that isn't true of millions of small and mid-sized firms.
Even cash-rich businesses operate on a thin margin and can bleed through reserves in a month. First they will lay off employees and then out of necessity they will shut down. Another month like this week and the layoffs will be measured in millions of people.
The deadweight loss in production will be profound and take years to rebuild. In a normal recession the U.S. loses about 5% of national output over the course of a year or so. In this case we may lose that much, or twice as much, in a month.
Our friend Ed Hyman, the Wall Street economist, on Thursday adjusted his estimate for the second quarter to an annual rate loss in GDP of minus-20%. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's assertion on Fox Business Thursday that the economy will power through all this is happy talk if this continues for much longer.
If GDP seems abstract, consider the human cost. Think about the entrepreneur who has invested his life in his Memphis ribs joint only to see his customers vanish in a week. Or the retail chain of 30 stores that employs hundreds but sees no sales and must shut its doors.
Or the recent graduate with $20,000 in student-loan debt'--taken on with the encouragement of politicians'--who finds herself laid off from her first job. Perhaps she can return home and live with her parents, but what if they're laid off too? How do you measure the human cost of these crushed dreams, lives upended, or mental-health damage that result from the orders of federal and state governments?
Some in the media who don't understand American business say that China managed a comparable shock to its economy and is now beginning to emerge on the other side. Why can't the U.S. do it too? This ignores that the Chinese state owns an enormous stake in that economy and chose to absorb the losses. In the U.S. those losses will be borne by private owners and workers who rely on a functioning private economy. They have no state balance sheet to fall back on.
The politicians in Washington are telling Americans, as they always do, that they are riding to the rescue by writing checks to individuals and offering loans to business. But there is no amount of money that can make up for losses of the magnitude we are facing if this extends for several more weeks. After the first $1 trillion this month, will we have to spend another $1 trillion in April, and another in June?
By the time Treasury's small-business lending program runs through the bureaucratic hoops'--complete with ordering owners that they can't lay off anyone as a price for getting the loan'--millions of businesses will be bankrupt and tens of millions will be jobless.
***Perhaps we will be lucky, and the human and capitalist genius for innovation will produce a vaccine faster than expected'--or at least treatments that reduce Covid-19 symptoms. But barring that, our leaders and our society will very soon need to shift their virus-fighting strategy to something that is sustainable.
Dr. Fauci has explained this severe lockdown policy as lasting 14 days in its initial term. The national guidance would then be reconsidered depending on the spread of the disease. That should be the moment, if not sooner, to offer new guidance on what might be called phase two of the coronavirus pandemic campaign.
That will surely include strict measures to isolate and protect the most vulnerable'--our elderly and those with underlying medical problems. This should not become a debate over how many lives to sacrifice against how many lost jobs we can tolerate. Substantial social distancing and other measures will have to continue for some time in some form, depending on how our knowledge of the virus and its effects evolves.
But no society can safeguard public health for long at the cost of its overall economic health. Even America's resources to fight a viral plague aren't limitless'--and they will become more limited by the day as individuals lose jobs, businesses close, and American prosperity gives way to poverty. America urgently needs a pandemic strategy that is more economically and socially sustainable than the current national lockdown.
Saudi Arabia's Oil Price War Is Backfiring
Sun, 22 Mar 2020 20:20
Saudi Arabia and Russia must have anticipated an oil price crash when they broke up their three-year-long bromance to push up oil prices.
Two weeks later and nearly 4 million bpd of total promised additional oil supply to the market next month, and Riyadh and Moscow are now counting the cost and trying to adjust government spending. The friends-turned-foes expect sharp drops in oil revenues in the near term, not only because Brent Crude is barely managing to cling to the $30 mark these days, but also because the coronavirus pandemic is leading to huge demand destruction.
Saudi Arabia announced this week that it is reducing government expenditures by US$133 billion (50 billion Saudi riyals), or nearly 5 percent of its budget spending for 2020 after the government approved ''a partial reduction in some items with the least social and economic impact.''
These measures were approved ''in light of the noticeable development in the public finance management, and the existence of the appropriate flexibility to take measures in the face of emergency shocks with a high level of efficiency,'' says Saudi Minister of Finance and Acting Minister of Economy and Planning, Mohammad Al-Jadaan, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
The Kingdom ''has taken measures to reduce the impact of low prices of oil, and additional measures will be taken to deal with the expected drop in prices,'' Saudi Arabia says, nothing that additional expenditures could be re-evaluated and potentially cut.
Related: The Reason Why Russia Refused To Cut Oil Production
Even before the collapse of the OPEC+ talks, Saudi Arabia's finance ministry had asked government agencies to propose a 20-30 percent cut in their budgets due to the oil price slide, Reuters reported last week, citing four sources with knowledge of the plans.
It looks like Saudi Arabia bets on tapping cash from its sovereign wealth fund to patch up government finances with oil prices three times lower than their break-even oil price.
According to Fitch Ratings, Saudi Arabia needs oil prices at $91 a barrel in 2020 to balance its budget, all else being equal.
''For countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), we estimate that a change of USD10 in the price per barrel of oil tends to affect government revenues by 2%-4% of GDP,'' Fitch said last week. The rating agency's statement came a day after oil prices crashed by 25 percent as Saudi Arabia '' a GCC member, OPEC's top producer, and the world's top oil exporter '' vowed to significantly boost supply and slashed the price for its oil in a dramatic shift in its oil price-fixing policies of the past three years.
The Kingdom is signaling that it can adapt to today's lower oil prices, but analysts are not buying this claim.
At $30 a Brent barrel, the Saudi wealth fund will deplete fast and reduced government spending will stall projects, and the already suffering private non-oil sector will suffer further. That's the near-term damage.
The longer-term damage is the lack of funds for the ambitious Vision 2030 plan of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, which was already going downhill even before the oil price collapse as the promised multibillion foreign investment and Saudi investment in ''diversifying away from oil'' weren't exactly flowing to the Kingdom.
''I think we are beginning to see that the vision 2030 is not going well,'' Jean-Fran§ois Seznec, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at Atlantic Council, said on an Atlantic Council press call last week.
There is a growing amount of tension among the population, even among the crown prince's main supporters, Seznec said.
''But he needs to make a big impact. Now, his big impact is to force the Russians to give up and agree to the cuts, and if at the same time it destroys the U.S. shale industry so much the better,'' Seznec noted.
Related: Big Oil Prepares To Suffer In 2020
The Russians are also bracing for an oil price war, promising up to a 500,000 bpd production increase and assuring the market they have enough resources to cover budget shortfalls at $25-30 oil for six to ten years.
The coronavirus pandemic and the lower economic activity, coupled with oil prices half the level before Russia and Saudi Arabia broke up the OPEC+ pact, will weigh on Russia's revenues and budget, too.
Russia's revenues from oil and gas will be US$39.5 billion (3 trillion rubles) lower than planned, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said this week, adding that Moscow now expects a budget deficit.
Analysts argue that Russia is in a better fiscal, financial, and political leadership position than Saudi Arabia to win the oil price war.
Yet, there will undoubtedly be economic pain for both sides in this war, which is already claiming the first collateral victims'--U.S. shale, Canada's oil industry, and the UK's offshore oil and gas sector.
It's now a game between Saudi Arabia and Russia of who will blink first, and in this game, the Saudis seem to have overestimated their fiscal buffers and underestimated the coronavirus-hit enormous demand destruction.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Read this article on OilPrice.com
Video Transcript
Not Even Higher Oil Prices Can Save U.S. Shale | OilPrice.com
Sun, 22 Mar 2020 20:12
The U.S. shale industry is burning through cash so fast that even the state of Texas is looking at government rationed production targets. Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton laid out his idea in an article for Bloomberg Opinion , proposing the commission institute a 10 percent production cut. It would mark the first time since the 1970s that the Railroad Commission regulated production.
Sitton twisted himself into knots in an attempt to characterize OPEC abandoning production cuts as ''anti-market'' while describing his proposal to require cuts as a return to free market principles. Orwellian as it may seem, some Texas shale drillers welcomed government intervention, including Parsley Energy and Pioneer Natural Resources.
Although production curtailments would boost oil prices, it could also destroy whatever shred of interest remains in the sector for investors. It remains to be seen if such an idea moves forward.
The fact that the shale industry finds itself in such a massive bind, facing an existential crisis and pleading with the state to impose regulation, is a perfect capstone to a decade of unprofitable drilling. A new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) offers an indictment of the industry's financial performance.
A cross-section of 34 shale companies identified by IEEFA finds that they spent a combined $189 billion more than they earned over the past decade. That includes $2.1 billion in negative cash flow last year.
Over the past ten years, the shale industry has dramatically ramped up oil production, allowing the U.S. to become the world's largest oil producer. ''Yet in financial terms, this production boom has been an unrelenting financial bust,'' IEEFA analysts wrote.
Notably, the 34 companies included in the analysis '' which included large names such as Hess, Marathon, Pioneer Natural Resources, among others '' posted negative cash flow in every single year over the past decade, IEEFA found.
While it might be understandable that drillers burned through cash during the 2014-2016 downturn, only six of the 34 companies surveyed by the institute reported positive cumulative cash flow between 2017 and 2019. That is a rather grim statistic for an industry that has hyped various mantras '' low breakevens, technological innovation, big data and digitalization, downspacing and most recently, capital discipline '' to justify why the next round of drilling might be different.
The energy sector was ''far and away the worst performer of the S&P 500 over the past decade,'' IEEFA notes, ''placing dead-last among all sectors for stock price returns in both 2018 and 2019.''
That was all before the global pandemic and the collapse of the OPEC+ deal. With WTI in the mid-$20s, the shale industry is in a much more profound crisis . Prices may even go lower in the weeks ahead.
Sector-wide spending cuts and mass layoffs are in the works. Bankruptcies are set to multiply.
Mandatory production cuts from Texas regulators, which still seems unlikely, would do very little to erase the worldwide glut. The ''supply cuts would however remain much too small to offset the current 8 mb/d hit on demand from the coronavirus'...and wouldn't prevent an unprecedented inventory build over the next months which could still saturate local logistical capacity and push prices to cash-costs,'' Goldman Sachs wrote in a note.
The blistering growth rate of U.S. shale was already running on fumes at the start of the year, before the coronavirus spread around the world. Drillers were struggling at $50 WTI. With prices so far below that level at this point, the wheels are coming off of the shale complex.
''When and if global oil markets stabilize, investors should remain deeply skeptical of a shale-sector turnaround, given the industry's financially feeble performance over the past decade,'' IEEFA analysts concluded in their report. ''Cautious investors would be wise to view shale-focused companies as high-risk enterprises characterized by disappointing performance, weak financial fundamentals, and an essentially speculative business model.''
By Nick Cunningham, Oilprice.com
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Gilead Stops Accepting Emergency Applications for Covid-19 Drug Remdesivir | Nasdaq
Sun, 22 Mar 2020 20:00
Published
Mar 22, 2020 6:29PM EDT T he biotech company Gilead Sciences says it has received ''overwhelming demand'' for its experimental Covid-19 drug remdesivir in recent days would stop accepting emergency applications for it.
The biotech company says it received ''overwhelming demand'' for the drug in the past few days.
Gilead Sciences is no longer accepting requests for emergency access to the antiviral drug remdesivir, the experimental drug currently being tested as a treatment for patients suffering from Covid-19, the company said on Sunday.
In its statement, Gilead (ticker: GILD) said it had faced an ''exponential increase'' in so-called compassionate use requests for emergency access to the drug in recent weeks, and ''overwhelming demand'' in the past few days.
The company said that the emergency access system had been ''flooded.'' It said it would no longer accept new compassionate use requests, though it would make exceptions for pregnant women and children with ''severe manifestations'' of Covid-19.
It said it was setting up new expanded access programs to replace the emergency-use request system. Gilead said that the ''primary way to access remdesivir'' is through enrollment in clinical trials, but it understands that there are patients who cannot enroll in the trials.
''We recognize the urgent need and are working to implement the expanded access programs as quickly as possible, with the continued support and collaboration of regulatory agencies,'' the company said.
Gilead has so far given emergency access to the drug to ''several hundred patients'' in the U.S., Europe, and Japan, the company said.
The company said it would process previously approved requests. It said that the new expanded access program would begin ''in a similar expected time frame that any new requests for compassionate use would have been processed.''
The announcement was first reported by STAT, the health news website.
Shares of Gilead are up 20.9% so far this year. The S&P 500 is down 28.7% so far.
Write to Josh Nathan-Kazis at josh.nathan-kazis@barrons.com
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.
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21 Million Fewer Cellphone Users in China May Suggest a High CCP Virus Death Toll
Sun, 22 Mar 2020 18:56
The number of Chinese cellphone users dropped by 21 million in the past three months, Beijing authorities announced on March 19. Deaths due to the CCP virus may have contributed to the high number of account closings.
Cellphones are an indispensable part of life in China.
''The digitization level is very high in China. People can't survive without a cellphone,'' Tang Jingyuan, a U.S.-based China affairs commentator, told The Epoch Times on March 21. ''Dealing with the government for pensions and social security, buying train tickets, shopping '... no matter what people want to do, they are required to use cellphones.
Protect yourself against fake news. Get real news directly to your phone. Download The Epoch Times app here.
''The Chinese regime requires all Chinese to use their cellphones to generate a health code. Only with a green health code are Chinese allowed to move in China now. It's impossible for a person to cancel his cellphone.''
China introduced mandatory facial scans on Dec. 1, 2019, to confirm the identity of the person who registered the phone. As early as Sept. 1, 2010, China required all cellphone users to register phones with their real identification, by which the state can control people's speech via its large-scale monitoring system.
Furthermore, Chinese people's bank accounts and social security accounts are bundled with their cellphone plans; apps on Chinese phones check SIM cards against the state's database to make sure the number belongs to the user.
Beijing first launched cellphone-based health codes on March 10. All people in China must install a cellphone app and register their personal health information. Then the app can generate a QR code, which appears in three colors, to classify the user's health level. Red means the person has an infectious disease, yellow means the person might have one, and green means the person doesn't.
Beijing claimed that the health codes are intended to prevent the spread of the CCP virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
A woman is checking her cellphone in Shanghai, China on March 17, 2020. (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)
21 Million Cellphone UsersChina's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced on March 19 the number of phone users in each province in February. Compared with the previous announcement, which was released on Dec. 18, 2019, for November 2019 data, both cellphone and landline users dropped dramatically. In the same period the year before, the number of users increased.
The number of cellphone users decreased from 1.600957 billion to 1.579927 billion, a drop of 21.03 million. The number of landline users decreased from 190.83 million to 189.99 million, a drop of 840,000.
In the previous February, the number increased. According to MIIT, the number of cellphone users increased in February 2019 from 1.5591 billion to 1.5835 billion, which is 24.37 million more. The number of landline users increased from 183.477 million to 190.118 million, which is 6.641 million more.
According to China's National Bureau of Statistics, the country's population at the end of 2019 was 4.67 million larger than in 2018, reaching 1.40005 billion.
The 2020 decrease in landline users may be due to the nationwide quarantine in February, during which small businesses were shut down. But the decrease in cellphone users can't be explained in this way.
According to the operation data of all three Chinese cellphone carriers, cellphone accounts increased in December 2019 but dropped steeply in 2020.
China Mobile is the largest carrier, holding about 60 percent of the Chinese cellphone market. It reported that it gained 3.732 million more accounts in December 2019, but lost 0.862 million in January 2020 and 7.254 million in February 2020.
China Mobile's performance in the same months in 2019 was markedly different; it gained 2.411 million more accounts in January 2019 and 1.091 million more in February 2019.
China Telecom is the second-largest carrier, holding about 21 percent of the market. It gained 1.18 million users in December 2019, but lost 0.43 million users in January 2020 and 5.6 million users in February 2020.
In 2019, it gained 4.26 million in January and 2.96 million in February.
China Unicom, which hasn't yet published the data for February, shares the same experience as the other two telecoms in January 2020 and in early 2019. The company lost 1.186 million users in January 2020, but gained 1.962 million users in February 2019 and 2.763 million users in January 2019.
China allows each adult to apply for at most five cellphone numbers. Since Feb. 10, the majority of Chinese students have taken online classes with a cellphone number due to their schools being ordered to stay closed. These students' accounts are under their parents' names, which means some patients needed to open a new cellphone account in February.
A vendor uses her cellphone as she waits for customers in Jiujiang, China, on March 6, 2020. (NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Analyzing the NumbersThe big question is whether the dramatic drop in cellphone accounts reflects the account closings of those who have died due to the CCP virus.
''It's possible that some migrant workers had two cellphone numbers before. One is from their hometown, and the other is from the city they work in. In February, they might close the number in the city they work in because they couldn't go there,'' Tang said. Typically, migrant workers would have gone to their home city for the Chinese New Year in January, and then travel restrictions would have prevented them from returning to the city where they held a job.
However, because there is a basic monthly fee to hold a cellphone account in China, the majority of migrant workers'--the lowest income group'--are likely to only have one cellphone account.
China had 288.36 million migrant workers as of April 2019, according to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics.
On March 17, Meng Wei, spokesman of China's National Development and Reform Commission, said at a monthly press conference in Beijing that except for Hubei, all provinces reported that more than 90 percent of their businesses resumed operations. In Zhejiang, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Shandong, Guangxi, and Chongqing, almost all businesses resumed production.
If both the number of migrant workers and the level of employment are accurate, more than 90 percent of migrant workers have gone back to work.
The economic dislocation caused by shutdowns in China may have also led some people who have an extra cellphone to cancel it. With business poor or stopped, they may not want to carry the extra expense.
''At present, we don't know the details of the data. If only 10 percent of the cellphone accounts were closed because the users died because of the CCP virus, the death toll would be 2 million,'' Tang said.
The reported death toll in China doesn't line up with what can otherwise be determined about the situation there.
A comparison with the situation in Italy also suggests the Chinese death toll is significantly underreported. Italy adopted similar measures to those used by the Chinese regime. The CCP virus death toll in Italy of 4,825 translates to a death rate of 9 percent. In China, where a much larger population was exposed to the virus, the reported death toll of 3,265 translated to a death rate of only 4 percent, less than half that reported in Italy.
Activities in the outbreak epicenter of Hubei Province seem to contradict the reported death toll in China. The seven funeral homes in the city of Wuhan were reported to be burning bodies 24 hours a day, seven days a week in late January. Hubei Province has used 40 mobile cremators, each capable of burning five tons of medical waste and bodies a day, since Feb. 16.
Lacking data, the real death toll in China is a mystery. The cancellation of 21 million cellphones provides a data point that suggests the real number may be far higher than the official number.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party's coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
Experience the best way to read The Epoch Times online. Download our free app.
Fauci Love Letters to Hillary Clinton Surface'.... '' The Last Refuge
Sun, 22 Mar 2020 18:54
Hat Tip GKJoe
I knew there was something sketchy about Dr. Anthony Fauci. Within the WikiLeaks HRC email files there are letters from Fauci to Hillary Clinton through her aid/lawyer Cheryl Mills: ''rarely does a speech bring me to tears''?'... ''please tell her I love her more than ever''?'... ''please tell her that we all love her'''... ''Please tell her that we all love her and are very proud to know her.'' LOOK :
(LINK)
A few months later:
(LINK)
Now, pause for a moment '' reread that again '' don't skip past it. Think about what type of mindset would send such a letter and communication. Apply common sense. Trust your instincts'...
Would a person of reasonable disposition send such a letter or email to anyone in their professional network? Would you ever consider writing a letter to your employer, or the family of your employer, declaring your undying love and devotion toward them?
''rarely does a speech bring me to tears''?'... ''please tell her I love her more than ever''?.. ''please tell her that we all love her'''... etc.Seriously'.... think about it. If you have ever engaged in a large system, large business, or large network of professionals, how would you react to a person inside that organization who was sending such non-professional communication? What exactly does that say about the emotional stability of such a person?
And this person, right now, with this inherent sensibility, has the most consequential and direct influence over the decision-making for the worlds most powerful nation. Stunning.
Coronavirus outbreak may be over sooner than you think - Los Angeles Times
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 09:32
Michael Levitt, a Nobel laureate and Stanford biophysicist, began analyzing the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide in January and correctly calculated that China would get through the worst of its coronavirus outbreak long before many health experts had predicted.
Now he foresees a similar outcome in the United States and the rest of the world.
While many epidemiologists are warning of months, or even years, of massive social disruption and millions of deaths, Levitt says the data simply don't support such a dire scenario '-- especially in areas where reasonable social distancing measures are in place.
''What we need is to control the panic,'' he said. In the grand scheme, ''we're going to be fine.''
Here's what Levitt noticed in China: On Jan. 31, the country had 46 new deaths due to the novel coronavirus, compared with 42 new deaths the day before.
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Although the number of daily deaths had increased, the rate of that increase had begun to ease off. In his view, the fact that new cases were being identified at a slower rate was more telling than the number of new cases itself. It was an early sign that the trajectory of the outbreak had shifted.
Think of the outbreak as a car racing down an open highway, he said. Although the car is still gaining speed, it's not accelerating as rapidly as before.
''This suggests that the rate of increase in the number of deaths will slow down even more over the next week,'' Levitt wrote in a report he sent to friends Feb. 1 that was widely shared on Chinese social media. And soon, he predicted, the number of deaths would be decreasing every day.
Hospital equipment is disinfected.
(Getty Images)
Three weeks later, Levitt told the China Daily News that the virus' rate of growth had peaked. He predicted that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in China would end up around 80,000, with about 3,250 deaths.
This forecast turned out to be remarkably accurate: As of March 16, China had counted a total of 80,298 cases and 3,245 deaths '-- in a nation of nearly 1.4 billion people where roughly 10 million die every year. The number of newly diagnosed patients has dropped to around 25 a day, with no cases of community spread reported since Wednesday.
Now Levitt, who received the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing complex models of chemical systems, is seeing similar turning points in other nations, even those that did not instill the draconian isolation measures that China did.
He analyzed data from 78 countries that reported more than 50 newcases of COVID-19 every day and sees ''signs of recovery'' in many of them. He's not focusing on the total number ofcases in a country, but on the number of new cases identified every day '-- and, especially, on the change in that number from one day to the next.
''Numbers are still noisy, but there are clear signs of slowed growth.''
In South Korea, for example, newly confirmed cases are being added to the country's total each day, but the daily tally has dropped in recent weeks, remaining below 200. That suggests the outbreak there may be winding down.
In Iran, the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases per day remained relatively flat last week, going from 1,053 last Monday to 1,028 on Sunday. Although that's still a lot of new cases, Levitt said, the pattern suggests the outbreak there ''is past the halfway mark.''
Italy, on the other hand, looks like it's still on the upswing. In that country, the number of newly confirmed cases increased on most days this past week.
In places that have managed to recover from an initial outbreak, officials must still contend with the fact that the coronavirus may return. China is now fighting to stop new waves of infection coming in from places where the virus is spreading out of control. Other countries are bound to face the same problem.
Levitt acknowledges that his figures are messy and that the official case counts in many areas are too low because testing is spotty. But even with incomplete data, ''a consistent decline means there's some factor at work that is not just noise in the numbers,'' he said.
In other words, as long as the reasons for the inaccurate case counts remain the same, it's still useful to compare them from one day to the next.
The trajectory of deaths backs up his findings, he said, since it follows the same basic trends as the new confirmed cases. So do data from outbreaks in confined environments, such as the one on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Out of 3,711 people on board, 712 were infected, and eight died.
This unintended experiment in coronavirus spread will help researchers estimate the number of fatalities that would occur in a fully infected population, Levitt said. For instance, the Diamond Princess data allowed him to estimate that being exposed to the new coronavirus doubles a person's risk of dying in the next two months. Most people have an extremely low risk of death in a two-month period, so that risk remains extremely low even when doubled.
Nicholas Reich, a biostatistician at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said the analysis was thought-provoking, if nothing else.
''Time will tell if Levitt's predictions are correct,'' Reich said. ''I do think that having a wide diversity of experts bringing their perspectives to the table will help decision-makers navigate the very tricky decisions they will be facing in the upcoming weeks and months.''
Levitt said he's in sync with those calling for strong measures to fight the outbreak. The social-distancing mandates are critical '-- particularly the ban on large gatherings '-- because the virus is so new that the population has no immunity to it, and a vaccine is still many months away. ''This is not the time to go out drinking with your buddies,'' he said.
Getting vaccinated against the flu is important, too, because a coronavirus outbreak that strikes in the middle of a flu epidemic is much more likely to overwhelm hospitals and increases the odds that the coronavirus goes undetected. This was probably a factor in Italy, a country with a strong anti-vaccine movement, he said.
But he also blames the media for causing unnecessary panic by focusing on the relentless increase in the cumulative number of cases and spotlighting celebrities who contract the virus. By contrast, the flu has sickened 36 million Americans since September and killed an estimated 22,000, according to the CDC, but those deaths are largely unreported.
Levitt fears the public health measures that have shut down large swaths of the economy could cause their own health catastrophe, as lost jobs lead to poverty and hopelessness. Time and again, researchers have seen that suicide rates go up when the economy spirals down.
The virus can grow exponentially only when it is undetected and no one is acting to control it, Levitt said. That's what happened in South Korea last month, when it ripped through a closed-off cult that refused to report the illness.
''People need to be considered heroes for announcing they have this virus,'' he said.
A guard holds a thermal gun to check the body temperature of visitors at the entrance of a restaurant area in China.
(Hector Retamal / AFP-Getty Images)
The goal needs to be better early detection '-- not just through testing but perhaps with body-temperature surveillance, which China is implementing '-- and immediate social isolation.
While the COVID-19 fatality rate appears to be significantly higher than that of the flu, Levitt says it is, quite simply put, ''not the end of the world.''
''The real situation is not as nearly as terrible as they make it out to be,'' he said.
Dr. Loren Miller, a physician and infectious diseases researcher at the Lundquist Institute for Biomedical Innovation at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said it's premature to draw any conclusions '-- either rosy or bleak '-- about the course the pandemic will take.
''There's a lot of uncertainty right now,'' he said. ''In China they nipped it in the bud in the nick of time. In the U.S. we might have, or we might not have. We just don't know.''
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Thu, 26 Mar 2020 07:05
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Media caption Watch Ralph McTell perform the new verse to his hit 70s song Streets of LondonIt began with a conversation between a foreign correspondent who loves ballads, and his neighbour, a legend of the British folk music scene.
The result was Ralph McTell agreeing to write a new verse of his legendary hit Streets of London - something he'd always previously refused to do.
First recorded in 1969, the song at one point sold 90,000 copies a day and has been covered by more than 200 artists. It also won Ralph an Ivor Novello award for best song and continues to feature in folk music's "best of" playlists.
'This is no dress rehearsal'Ralph is a neighbour and also one of the kindest men I know. Since I was a teenager I have loved his bittersweet songs of the heart and acute social observation.
Like most of the population, Ralph, aged 75, is observing the lockdown in his London home. As an avid follower of news he watched, appalled, as the Covid-19 crisis swept the world.
"This is of biblical proportions, this catastrophe," he told me. "And each day that goes by there is the realisation that this is no dress rehearsal, this is actually going on right now and there is nothing we can do about it, except try and follow the basic rules."
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Streets of London went to number two in the UK chart in 1972 Born into a working class family in Croydon, south London, at the end of World War Two, Ralph left home and joined the army aged 15. His social conscience was forged in a post-war world circumscribed by poverty. It is not a pose.
With its focus on the homeless and imagery of lonely figures moving through an uncaring world, Streets of London resonates powerfully now as thousands of rough sleepers across Britain are seeking a place of safety.
Homeless fearsChatting on the phone, I told Ralph I had been filming with homeless people in London and of how they were searching for a safe place to self isolate.
I spoke of a young woman called Blue, aged 29, who I'd met living under a railway bridge and how fearful she was that she would be arrested and put into isolation.
"What would you write now if there was to be another verse to the song?" I asked.
Changing the song was something he'd always resisted, he said. It was written when he was 22 and belonged to a particular time. But this was an extraordinary moment in history. "Give me a chance to think and try and write something."
This new verse was the moving result:
In shop doorways, under bridges, in all our towns and cities
You can glimpse the makeshift bedding from the corner of your eye
Remember what you're seeing barely hides a human being
We're all in this together, brother, sister, you and I.
Ralph is an optimist. In recent daily encounters he has detected a new mood of community.
In his area of west London, it has manifested itself in warmer greetings and observing the rules of social distancing. He is aware of the paradox that what pushes us physically apart might bring us closer.
"I've got a little dog and took her for a walk yesterday. And I noticed people as they're getting closer to each other they just sort of smile and move apart and I thought, 'Ah the message is going in at last. Yes I think we're all going to be different after this.'"
Like his musical colleagues, Ralph is unable to perform in front of crowds for as long as Covid-19 remains a major public health hazard.
But his great song - with its new verse - is a powerful appeal to our better natures in these fearful times.
VIDEO-zo on Twitter: "Bernie fucking flaming everyone on the senate floor just now https://t.co/1pxJKbtaMY" / Twitter
Thu, 26 Mar 2020 06:45
Replying to
@Jethawk5 @handleyzo @Tav_assoli I don't understand how anyone can behind another candidate and sleep well at night. In mind, spirit, and gumption... Bern is to Goku as Biden is to Krillin.
VIDEO-Shaun King on Twitter: "Hear the full story of Tara Reade, former Senate Aide to @JoeBiden, in her own voice, as she painfully describes being sexually assaulted by him in his office. She told this story to her trusted friends & relatives when i
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 23:35
maria @ MariaMariley
6h Replying to
@shaunking @JoeBiden and
3 others I dare someone other than a Bernie supporter to talk about this! Where's
@Alyssa_Milano @RoArquette @PattyArquette View conversation · #StayHome #GeneralStrike ðŸŒðŸ‰ðŸŒ>>🛠@ labrysister
5h Replying to
@MariaMariley @shaunking and
4 others I've also felt a lot of pain seeing people smear Tara for speaking up. It is shameful to see other women participate in the silencing of survivors. We should stand together! I hear you. I see you.
View conversation · Dave Fecak @ fecak
6h Replying to
@shaunking @JoeBiden I'm sure your MAGA hat is in the mail Shaun.
View conversation · Rodney Latstetter 🌹 @ proviewsusa
2h Replying to
@fecak @shaunking @JoeBiden centrists always turn a blind eye to things that destroy their hero's credibility
pic.twitter.com/1OhWDJ1tVm View conversation · Mr. ITC3 🌊🌊🌊 @ MrITC3
6h Replying to
@shaunking @JoeBiden Wow....this is what you are doing now SK.
View conversation · Joel🌹 @ Holyscapegoat
6h Replying to
@MrITC3 @shaunking @JoeBiden Telling the truth? Oh, the horror.
#IBelieveTara #NeverBiden View conversation · Kim Jones @ buddhajones8
6h Replying to
@shaunking @JoeBiden and
6 others What the hell is this
@JoeBiden ? How can the women that support him not demand he answer this? Where is the media
@maddow @CNN @MSNBC @NicolleDWallace @nytimes @RonanFarrow View conversation · Valery-Giscard N @ Vgiscard
5h Replying to
@buddhajones8 @shaunking and
7 others The media's job is to smear any candidate that actually wants to help the working class, and protect the candidates chosen by the political and financial establishments
View conversation · Sandro Bistro @ sandrobistro
6h Replying to
@shaunking @JoeBiden Thank you for posting this.
#IBelieveTara View conversation · #IBelieveTara @ ISDTedu
4h Replying to
@sandrobistro @shaunking @JoeBiden Same here.
#IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara #IBelieveTara View conversation ·
VIDEO-Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter: "Here we go again. I know you've only been in government for 50 years Joe but by now even you should have the basics down pat. Joe Biden struggled with the Declaration of Independence AGAIN. "We hold these truths etcet
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 23:33
Log in Sign up Donald Trump Jr. @ DonaldJTrumpJr Here we go again. I know you've only been in government for 50 years Joe but by now even you should have the basics down pat. Joe Biden struggled with the Declaration of Independence AGAIN."We hold these truths etcetera"
pic.twitter.com/eyLkJPip8T 5:41 PM - 25 Mar 2020 Twitter by: Steve Guest @SteveGuest Chris D. Jackson @ ChrisDJackson
4h Replying to
@DonaldJTrumpJr I'd love to hear your dad recite the preamble.
View conversation · Gina Votes and More @ CiaoGina99
4h Replying to
@ChrisDJackson @DonaldJTrumpJr I'd love to hear him pronounce preamble
View conversation · David Weissman @ davidmweissman
4h Replying to
@DonaldJTrumpJr Plenty of videos showing your father struggling with the National anthem.
View conversation · 🥁VACCINES CAUSE ADULTS🥁 @ gottaspeakgirl
4h Replying to
@davidmweissman @DonaldJTrumpJr And English
View conversation · ᑕᕼᑌᑎK @ chunkled
4h Replying to
@DonaldJTrumpJr look, look.
pic.twitter.com/2DFq2Z2Hac View conversation · luwith6 @ Luwith6
4h Replying to
@chunkled @DonaldJTrumpJr This President is awesome. Enough said
View conversation · Heather @ hrenee80
4h Replying to
@DonaldJTrumpJr Why in the hell does he keep attempting this ffs....ðŸ¤...ðŸ>>''¸
View conversation · jen pal @ jennyrachelpal
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@DonaldJTrumpJr Your dad will never love you.
View conversation · DG @ 1dgrn
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@jennyrachelpal @DonaldJTrumpJr Never. He's too busy drooling into his spray tan and fantastizing about your sister
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VIDEO-Nicolle Wallace Is Stunned by That | SUPERcuts! #753 - YouTube
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 19:29
VIDEO - Andrea Mitchell Fears 'Skyrocketing' Approval for Trump Amid Pandemic
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 15:09
During her 12:00 p.m. ET hour show on Wednesday, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell revealed her greatest fear amid the coronavirus pandemic '' Donald Trump's approval ratings going up. She fretted over likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden ''having difficulty'' getting his message out during the crisis and support for the President ''skyrocketing.''
Turning to former Obama administration official Jim Messina, Mitchell anxiously noted: ''There is politics involved. We've heard very little from, for instance, the more likely, most likely nominee of the Democratic Party, Joe Biden. He's having difficulty getting '' projecting through this crisis as the campaign goes totally on hold.''
As if that wasn't bad enough, the MSNBC host referenced positive poll numbers for Trump:
We're also seeing some polls indicating the President's approval ratings among Democrats and independents skyrocketing to their highest levels yet. Some 60% approval ratings for the way he's handling this crisis as he continues to hold these briefings. The briefings are working for the President.
In frustration, she added: ''No matter what he says, people seem to be seeing him as a leader, at least more people do.''
Messina desperately tried to reassure his fellow Democrat:
Yeah, as you know, Andrea, you and I share a healthy skepticism on public polling. And I think, you know, what polling shows right now is not going to be what happens, right? The problem President Trump has is he's made a bunch of promises that have turned out to be wrong on this virus. And going forward, once we get really deep into this in the next couple of weeks, the American public's gonna look back and say, ''What did you say was happen and what actually happened?''
The Obama hack concluded: ''I would reject all of the polls that you see back and forth....President Trump's comments are someday going to be on a television ad and it's going to be really difficult for him rebut in the fall of this year.''
Here is a transcript of the March 25 exchange:
12:27 PM ET
(...)
ANDREA MITCHELL: I wanted to bring in Jim Messina. There is politics involved. We've heard very little from, for instance, the more likely, most likely nominee of the Democratic Party, Joe Biden. He's having difficulty getting '' projecting through this crisis as the campaign goes totally on hold. We're also seeing some polls indicating the President's approval ratings among Democrats and independents skyrocketing to their highest levels yet. Some 60% approval ratings for the way he's handling this crisis as he continues to hold these briefings. The briefings are working for the President. No matter what he says, people seem to be seeing him as a leader, at least more people do.
JIM MESSINA: Yeah, as you know, Andrea, you and I share a healthy skepticism on public polling. And I think, you know, what polling shows right now is not going to be what happens, right? The problem President Trump has is he's made a bunch of promises that have turned out to be wrong on this virus. And going forward, once we get really deep into this in the next couple of weeks, the American public's gonna look back and say, ''What did you say was happen and what actually happened?''
The second political challenge he has is the economy, right? These numbers right in the middle of his re-election campaign, the unemployment numbers skyrocketing in the states. And this is gonna present a real problem for him.
For Vice President Biden has the opposite problem, which is he now has to kind of sit there and watch all of this. He can't go out and raise money, he can't kind of consolidate his lead. We had to move some of the primaries back. So it's a challenge for him too.
But you know, right now President Trump, I would reject all of the polls that you see back and forth and just know that in a month from now, people are going to kind of look back and say what happened and who is responsible? And President Trump's comments are someday going to be on a television ad and it's going to be really difficult for him rebut in the fall of this year.
(...)
VIDEO-Millions of locusts cover streets in Oman with footage showing 'ground moving' - Daily Star
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 12:59
Swarms of locusts have descended on Oman with footage showing what seems to be the floor moving after millions started crawling across the streets.
The spooky video taken by Dominic Abu Hanna shows a road covered in the small insects.
They all seem to be moving in the same direction which gives the impression that the floor is moving.
He claimed in his video '' seen more than 4.5million times since it was posted on March 15 '' that the insects were ants.
But journalist Hassan Hassan has since tweeted: ''Omani authorities have responded to videos about a massive swarm of 'ants' circulated online, saying those are actually 'small-size' locusts.''
Millions of locusts have descended on the streets of Oman (Image: TWITTER/@DOMINICABUHANNA) Read MoreRelated ArticlesLocust swarms adapting to weather as video shows insects in 'military formation'Read MoreRelated ArticlesApocalyptic moment plague of a 'billion' locusts land in crisis-hit South SudanLocust swarms as big as 60km long have ravaged east Africa and the Middle East in recent weeks, destroying crops in areas already severely affected by food shortages.
The latest footage was enough to freak out hundreds of viewers.
''Holy crap, I guess I am glad to be inside,'' one viewer wrote.
Another commented: ''Wait a minute I think end of the world coming soon.''
And a third added: ''Well then, that makes it less, wait what?''
Videos have circulated online since the plague was spotted showing just how big it is.
One video from February saw a motorist getting swarmed by millions of the bugs as he drove down a road in Kenya.
And an equally creepy clip emerged earlier this month showing how the locusts seem to have adapted to weather conditions.
The ground looked like it was 'moving' in the video (Image: TWITTER/@DOMINICABUHANNA) Read MoreRelated Articles'Worst fears realised' as locusts seen hatching in Africa with new wave set to hitRead MoreRelated ArticlesGreen zombie fungus 'holds key' to fighting apocalyptic African locust plagueThe locusts have now been seen in 10 countries, leading forecasters to say they pose a threat to millions.
Warm weather conditions have created one of the biggest plagues in history.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has requested £120million to help fight the threat.
To make matters worse, the coronavirus pandemic is hampering the response with the delivery of pesticides and equipment being delayed.
VIDEO - Al Sharpton: 'To My Surprise,' Trump Called Me To Discuss Compassionate Treatment of Homeless And Incarcerated In Light of Coronavirus | Weasel Zippers
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 10:28
So he's not a monster?
10 Shares
ZIP |March 23, 2020 9:30 am
VIDEO - US Attorney's Office arrested, charged a Harvard professor for aiding Chinese economic espionage, re - YouTube
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 10:17
VIDEO - Sen Tom Cotton Shoots Down Dems Relief Aid Junk! - YouTube
Wed, 25 Mar 2020 09:47
VIDEO-Biden: 'We Have To Take Care Of The Cure' For COVID-19. 'That Will Make The Problem Worse' | Weasel Zippers
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 23:02
"Are you at all concerned, as President Trump said, we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself?"
"We have to take care of the cure that will make the problem worse no matter what"
Um, what? pic.twitter.com/VylTvzO3Tw
'-- Elizabeth Harrington (@LizRNC) March 24, 2020
Um, what?
Via Daily Caller:
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden delivered a confusing answer Tuesday when asked whether he was concerned that the coronavirus ''cure'' could be worse than the disease.
Journalist Sara Haines, referring to the increasing danger of a financial meltdown as a result of job losses, asked Biden on ABC's ''The View,'' ''Are you at all concerned, as [President Donald] Trump said, that we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself?''
Keep reading'...
VIDEO-Free Market Maximalist on Twitter: "@realmaxkeiser Like @adamcurry says, this is just sad. Elder abuse." / Twitter
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 17:30
Like
@adamcurry says, this is just sad. Elder abuse.
VIDEO-Ryan James Girdusky on Twitter: "When asked if the cure was worse than the problem Biden responded, ''We have to take care of the cure, that will make the problem worse no matter what'' Totally coherent https://t.co/ugTbxSLbUV" / Twitter
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 17:28
Log in Sign up Ryan James Girdusky @ RyanGirdusky When asked if the cure was worse than the problem Biden responded,''We have to take care of the cure, that will make the problem worse no matter what''Totally coherent
pic.twitter.com/ugTbxSLbUV 8:35 AM - 24 Mar 2020 Twitter by: Elizabeth Harrington @LizRNC Christopher Tanis CPA @ cjtrapp
7h Replying to
@RyanGirdusky @benshapiro And did the reporter press him on his incoherent response? That's the real problem...
View conversation · Rafael Gonzalez @ RafaelXofGod
5h Replying to
@cjtrapp @RyanGirdusky @benshapiro That's bc logic is not a strong characteristic of the libs.
View conversation · Liberty Is Metal @ nocleanvocals
7h Replying to
@RyanGirdusky Thank god for him he's got the whole of the media to help him through the debates, otherwise he'd be absolutely eaten alive
View conversation · Kansas Bradbury @ StrCrsd
6h Replying to
@nocleanvocals @RyanGirdusky @realDonaldTrump I can't wait till he gets on a stage w/
@realDonaldTrump.It's gonna be fn' embarrassing for Biden.
View conversation · James Stockhausen @ jlstock_james
7h Replying to
@RyanGirdusky @benshapiro Think how much he could decline in another 2 or 3 years
View conversation · Genghis ðŸ'¯ðŸ‡¬ðŸ‡§ðŸ´ó §ó ó "ó £ó ´ó ðŸ‡®ðŸ‡± @ Genghis02940246
7h Replying to
@jlstock_james @RyanGirdusky @benshapiro I think you mean days...
View conversation · thestevemeister @ wigginator77
7h Replying to
@RyanGirdusky @benshapiro He can't think straight when all he's thinking about is sniffing her.
View conversation · SleepyDog @ Phild2400
7h Replying to
@RyanGirdusky @benshapiro What is happening here? We all see this- Right!? Why is the DNC backing this guy - Hillary is going to be the VP and sleepy Joe will be declared unfit and she is in the race without a single debate or primary - What else could it be?
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VIDEO - How the Coronavirus is changing the future of work | Covid-19 Special - YouTube
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 14:47
VIDEO - OPEN BY EASTER: President Trump CALLS FOR AMERICA TO BE BACK - YouTube
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 14:39
VIDEO-Jimmy Kimmel: 'In our darkest hours the president still finds time to be catty' | Culture | The Guardian
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 14:18
Jimmy Kimmel''I hope you and your loved ones are safe and being smart, because not everyone is,'' said Jimmy Kimmel from his couch in Los Angeles, in reference to a picture of a crowded beach in Florida despite health guidance mandating social distancing. ''These stupid people do not seem to understand how sick I am of playing Candy Land with my children.''
Meanwhile, Donald Trump ''spent his weekend bragging about the imagined success he's had fighting what he still insists on calling the 'Chinese virus', even though the result of that is an army of imbeciles blaming people of Chinese descent for the virus'', said Kimmel. On Monday, the president attempted to half-address the situation, tweeting that it's ''very important to protect our Asian American community in the United States'' since ''they are working closely with us to get rid of [coronavirus]''.
''They are working closely with us? They are us '' it's right there in the name, Asian American, it's the second word,'' said a shocked Kimmel. ''He somehow manages to be racist while telling other people not to be racist.''
Finally, Kimmel chastised Rand Paul of Kentucky, the first US senator to test positive for coronavirus, for not self-isolating as he waited for test results. Paul attended meetings, worked out in the Senate gym and swam in the Senate pool. ''By the way, he's a doctor '' not a good one, apparently, but Rand Paul is a medical doctor,'' said Kimmel. ''So now, hopefully he's in quarantine, or maybe he's going around to every supermarket in Kentucky licking all of the shopping carts.''
Because of Paul, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah is also in self-quarantine, which Trump sarcastically called ''too bad'' '' evidence that ''even in our darkest hours'', said Kimmel, ''the president still finds time to be a catty little bitch''.
Trevor Noah The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow)Trump's pettiness might be the only thing that survives this pandemic.Full coronavirus update: https://t.co/eJ9U4eWOFq pic.twitter.com/BWSeLViA4p
March 24, 2020On the Daily Social Distancing Show, Trevor Noah offered some good news from his apartment in New York: there's an online toiler paper calculator to figure out how long your supply will last ''so that you can stop hoarding, because right now, some people have bought so much toilet paper they can probably pass it down in their will'', he said, mimicking an old person 50 years from now: ''And to my grandchildren, I bequeath my fine collection of Charmin Ultra Soft that I bought during the corona crisis of 2020.''
The bad news is that ''the coronavirus world tour is still in full swing'', Noah continued '' Japan confirmed on Tuesday that the summer Olympics will be postponed until 2021. ''I think they should just turn social distancing into an Olympic sport,'' said Noah. ''Have you watched people these days? When they're walking down the street going to the grocery store, every time someone gets within 6ft of them, they're basically doing Olympic moves.''
As for Trump's gloating reaction to Romney's self-quarantine, Noah had only one word: ''Goddamn.
''You know, even if we all get wiped out, I feel like Trump's pettiness is going to be the only thing that survives this pandemic,'' he continued. ''There's no good time for a president to be a dick, but what he did there was a little '... I mean, it was shitty, right? Mitt Romney's in danger after being exposed to the virus, and Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, has MS so she's at a higher risk for complications. And I bet Trump didn't even think of this when he spoke, you know, because he can't imagine a husband and wife getting close enough to expose one another.''
Seth Meyers''Late Night is in quarantine but we're still processing the public health crisis, the economic crisis, crisis of leadership at the federal level,'' said Seth Meyers in his return to an ad hoc version of Late Night's Closer Look segment, filmed in his hallway.
Meyers addressed the critical coronavirus situation in New York, which prompted the state's governor, Andrew Cuomo, to personally promise to order young people disobeying social distancing protocols home. ''I would watch an entire after-school special with an undercover Andrew Cuomo posing as a teen skateboarder, trying to bust kids for hanging out at the park,'' said Meyers. ''Also, I love that one of the slides in his presentation says: 'Young people '... you are wrong.' That is serious big dad energy.''
As for Paul's coronavirus diagnosis, ''thankfully his office said he's feeling fine, and that's great news'', said Meyers. ''Now, we could point out the fact that Paul was the only senator to vote against the bipartisan coronavirus aid package, or the fact that he stood by an incompetent president who botched the response to this crisis and called criticism of his response a hoax,'' but Meyers wanted to focus on the senator's social activities after he took a coronavirus test. ''So Rand Paul thought he might have coronavirus, and he went to the gym and the pool,'' said Meyers. ''What else did he do '' lick every desk in the Senate chamber and shake hands with the Lincoln memorial?''
Some senators, however, are taking self-isolation seriously, such as Romney, though the president's sarcastic reaction to his caution demonstrates how Trump ''never passes up an opportunity to remind us that he is an awful person'', said Meyers.
''Even in the midst of a global pandemic. It's almost like he's afraid we'll forget '' like he's worried that if he's too focused on solving the crisis, people won't remember he's also the same asshole who once tweeted: 'I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke.'''
VIDEO-MUST WATCH '' Tom Cotton Outlines Nancy Pelosi Emergency Relief Scheme'... | The Last Refuge
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 14:14
This gentleman has a lot of screen shots of the most egregious pages on his twitter feed.The Kennedy Center , 1 school getting 7m, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Howard University gets a $23,000,000 handout, $300,000,000 for the Corporation for public broadcasting, $500,000,000 for the Insitute of Museum and Library Services, $1,000,000 for the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper of the Senate, $300,000,000 for ''Migration and Refugee Assistance, MINORITY BANKS , hot spots & ipads, The Feds are gonna buy $300,000,000 worth of food and then redistribute it., NOAA gonna do about coronavirus? $33,200,000 for new facilities, $100,000,000 for NASA and $100,000,000 for ''Construction and Environmental Compliance'', corporate board diversity, contains provisions for ''conducting risk-limiting audits of results of elections'' so yeah it's really very focused on the crisis at hand., funding for community journalism.Hopefully this will give you a start.
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VIDEO-Watch CNBC's full interview with House speaker Nancy Pelosi on coronavirus stimulus bill - YouTube
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 13:51
VIDEO-WMAL Interview - DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, M.D. - 03.24.20 - Mornings on the Mall - Omny.fm
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:25
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VIDEO-CNN's Cuomo: 'Telling the truth about Trump' more dangerous for Fauci than coronavirus | TheHill
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:06
Chris Cuomo Christopher (Chris) Charles CuomoCuomo brothers rib each other during CNN interview: 'There's always a time to call mom' Trump touts cooperation with states on coronavirus after criticizing Democratic governors CNN's Acosta: Trump referring to coronavirus as 'foreign virus' in Oval Office address 'smacked of xenophobia' MORE said Monday night that "telling the truth about [President] Trump" was more dangerous for Dr. Anthony Fauci than coronavirus, with the CNN host noting that the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases was not present at a White House task force briefing earlier in the day.
''Do you know what's more dangerous than COVID?'' Cuomo asked. ''Telling the truth about Trump as a member of the executive branch. No one survives that. Why put Fauci in a position of having to admit that Trump is wrong or lying when we already know that to be the case?''
Fauci told Science magazine on Sunday that he is working with the task force to help ensure Trump's remarks about COVID-19 are accurate. He did admit, however, that there are challenges.
"I can't jump in front of the microphone and push him down," Fauci said when being asked about Trump's repeated assertions that China could have disclosed the discovery of the coronavirus up to four months ago. The disease first appeared in the central city of Wuhan in December.
Fauci told the magazine that he's told the "appropriate people" that the suggestion does not comport with the facts, hoping that the president would be more careful about his remarks.
A Monday New York Times report then alleged that Trump was starting "to lose patience" with Fauci.
Fauci was asked on Tuesday morning if the media was attempting to create a wedge or sow division between the president and him during a radio interview on Washington D.C.-based "Mornings on the Mall" on WMAL.
"That is really unfortunate. I would wish that that would stop," Fauci told hosts Vince Coglianese and Mary Walter. "Because we have a much bigger problem here than trying to point out differences. At the core, there are not differences."
"The president has listened to what I have said and others on the task force," he continued. "He's never countered or overridden me. The idea of just pitting one against the other is just not helpful.
"I wish that would stop," Fauci reiterated. "I wish we would look ahead to the challenge have to get over this thing."
The White House said his absence from the task force briefing on Monday was not out of the ordinary since different members were being rotated in on a daily basis.
VIDEO-38m40-Ep. 112 Commentary on the Politics and Economics of the Coronavirus Response - Bob Murphy Show
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 11:01
Bob comments on various aspects of the response to the coronavirus. Although many libertarians are accusing the authorities of exaggerating the threat, it would also be a ''libertarian take'' to accuse them of downplaying the threat early on, misleading the public on how to stay safe. Bob also tries to clarify thinking about the Fed's repo bailouts and the outrage over hand sanitizer price gouging.
Mentioned in the Episode and Other Links of Interest:
U. of Minnesota's Michael Osterholm (head of Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy) on CNBCs ''Squawk Box'' on Mar. 17, explaining what Americans should expect.Osterholm's Mar. 10 appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience.Bob on the Tom Woods Show on Mar. 5, talking about a free society's response to coronavirus (second half). Bob's article from 2007 on how a free market would handle quarantine. Bob's 2017 article on the economics of price gouging.Carlos Lara and Bob Murphy on ''How to Weather the Coming Financial Storms,'' a video from September 2016.David Stockman's The Great Deformation (which explains why your ATM wasn't about to stop working in the fall of 2008). Bob Higgs' Crisis and Leviathan, which explains the ratchet effect of government power. Stephen King's The Stand. #CommissionsEarned (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)Help support the Bob Murphy Show.The audio production for this episode was provided by Podsworth Media.
About the author, RobertChristian and economist, Research Assistant Professor with the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech, Senior Fellow with the Mises Institute, and co-host with Tom Woods of the podcast "Contra Krugman."
VIDEO - WATCH NOW!!! Wuhan World Military World Games / UN + Belt & Road = New World [w/audio] - YouTube
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 09:46
VIDEO - China to Lift Lockdown Over Virus Epicenter Wuhan on April 8
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 09:35
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VIDEO-Cliff Maloney on Twitter: "Truer words have never been spoken. https://t.co/Qovrz5abPN" / Twitter
Tue, 24 Mar 2020 01:18
Log in Sign up Cliff Maloney @ LibertyCliff Truer words have never been spoken.
pic.twitter.com/Qovrz5abPN 11:39 AM - 23 Mar 2020 Twitter by: Cliff Maloney @LibertyCliff Cathy @ cappymar
11h Replying to
@LibertyCliff and many of us know it!!!!
View conversation · RampartRambler @ legend034
10h Replying to
@cappymar @LibertyCliff No argument here...
View conversation · Michael Friday @ CroonerFriday
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@LibertyCliff @SpotsyHoya He is correct.
View conversation · Clarence @ clarence049980
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@LibertyCliff @CroonerFriday pic.twitter.com/uP2XSVM6wN View conversation · 🇺🇸NanaKat'­¸'­¸'­¸ @ katflyoverstate
12h Replying to
@LibertyCliff @SamuelWhittemo3 Got to believe that he speaks for all Americans right now
View conversation · The Great Makhno @ M92020597
8h Replying to
@LibertyCliff True, but it's not exactly news.
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VIDEO-Austin-Travis County to issue shelter-in-place order on Tuesday, report says | kvue.com
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 16:19
CORONAVIRUS Exceptions to the order include medical care, trips to the grocery store, outdoor exercise and any other event that contributed to the health of the public.
AUSTIN, Texas '-- Austin Mayor Steve Adler said a shelter-in-place order for Austin and Travis County will be issued Tuesday, according to our partners at the Austin American-Statesman.
Earlier in the day, a Statesman reporter confirmed that shelter-in-place orders were being prepared for Austin-Travis County to slow the spread of coronavirus, also knows as COVID-19.
A shelter-in-place means that all residents must stay at home and all non-essential businesses must close in-person operations. Businesses that are considered essential include hospitals, television, gas stations, grocery stores and daycares.
According to Statesman reporter Phil Jankowski, Mayor Steve Adler wanted to be prepared and was waiting for a recommendation from Dr. Mark Escott to put it in place.
Exceptions to the order include medical care, trips to the grocery store, outdoor exercise and any other event that contributed to the health or safety of the people '-- all while maintaining social distancing.
During a press conference on Sunday, March 22, Gov. Greg Abbott said at the time he was not planning on issuing a shelter-in-place across the state of Texas, but he added that local officials had the authority to do so in their respective areas.
As of Monday morning, there were at least 79 COVID-19 cases in the Austin area. KVUE is keeping track of the number of cases in Central Texas. To find out how many people have been diagnosed in your county, go here.
Waco, Texas, and Dallas County have also issued a shelter-in-place.
WATCH: Flatten the curve: Slowing the spread of coronavirus
VIDEO-Coronavirus: Strict new curbs on life in UK announced by PM - BBC News
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 16:16
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Boris Johnson: "You must stay at home"Strict new curbs on life in the UK to tackle the spread of coronavirus have been announced by the prime minister.
From this evening people must stay at home except for shopping for basic necessities, daily exercise, any medical need and travelling to and from essential work.
Shops selling non-essential goods are being told to shut and gatherings in public of more than two people who do not live together are to be prohibited.
The UK death toll has reached 335.
If people do not follow the rules police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings, Boris Johnson said in a televised statement from Downing Street.
Other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship must also close immediately.
Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.
The government is also stopping all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies - but funerals will be allowed.
Mr Johnson said the restrictions would be kept under constant review.
"We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to," he added.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the new restrictions "amount to a lockdown" and are "not done lightly".
"I am not going to sugarcoat it in any way," she said. "Coronavirus is the biggest challenge of our lifetime."
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption What is social distancing?The prime minister said the measures were necessary to tackle "the biggest threat this country has faced for decades".
"Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won't be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses," he said.
"And as we have seen elsewhere, in other countries that also have fantastic health care systems, that is the moment of real danger.
"To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it - meaning more people are likely to die, not just from coronavirus but from other illnesses as well."
The UK has been under growing pressure to follow other countries by ordering the closure of more shops, and enforcing rules on social distancing, amid concerns people have been ignoring government advice.
The prime minister said he knew the "damage" the restrictions were causing to people's lives, businesses and jobs but at present there were "no easy options".
"The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost," he said.
However, Mr Johnson said there was "a clear way through", by strengthening the NHS with former clinicians returning to work, accelerating the search for treatments and a vaccine and buying millions of testing kits.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Clapham Common in London was among the parks across the UK busy over the weekend A further 46 people have died in England since Sunday - aged between 47 and 105 and all with underlying health conditions - while there were four deaths in Scotland and four in Wales.
There have been 83,945 tests to date, with 6,650 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.
Meanwhile, people in the most at-risk groups have begun receiving an NHS text urging them to stay at home for 12 weeks.
VIDEO-Paul Blair on Twitter: "On the @TODAYshow, @JeromeAdamsMD is pushing baseless propaganda regarding youth prevalence of #COVID19 and its relationship to vaping. "There are theories that it could be because we know we have a higher proportion of peopl
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 15:40
Paul Blair @ gopaulblair
5h Replying to
@JeromeAdamsMD @Clive_Bates You can watch the clip of
@JeromeAdamsMD's reckless use of baseless "theories" on vaping and
#COVID19 here:
app.criticalmention.com/app/#clip/view'... And here's the brief exchange in transcript form (h/t
@Clive_Bates):
pic.twitter.com/i9V9uvB48E View conversation · Paul Blair @ gopaulblair
5h Replying to
@JeromeAdamsMD Perhaps instead of giving Kylie Jenner shoutouts on TV while pushing baseless claims about vaping,
@JeromeAdamsMD should look back through his failure to acknowledge the seriousness of
#COVID19 and focus on the facts, and the facts alone.
View conversation · Paul Blair @ gopaulblair
5h Replying to
@JeromeAdamsMD @Surgeon_General @ProfGlantz Reminder: here's what
@JeromeAdamsMD (the
@Surgeon_General) had to say about
#COVID19 on March 6th: "I'm not that worried about
#COVID19." Leave the baseless anti-vaping theories to discredited academics like
@ProfGlantz and focus on what we know and need to know instead?
pic.twitter.com/SPC8wmH4Ws View conversation · Paul Blair @ gopaulblair
4h Replying to
@gopaulblair Apologies. He said ''I'm not worried about
#COVID19,'' which is worse.
View conversation · Paul Blair @ gopaulblair
4h Replying to
@gopaulblair FYI, there are also ''theories'' out there that vaccines cause Autism. Is that what we do nowadays, just throw it all on the table and say, ''we just want you to know, and you decide''? Reprehensible.
View conversation · Fig Ramsey @ figramsey
4h Replying to
@gopaulblair @TODAYshow and
3 others Can
@POTUS please take away his gmail account?
@Surgeon_General relies far too heavily on Google News Alerts for his research. Psst...
@JeromeAdamsMD // please stop with running with headlines as truth, with our nations health.
#FireTheSG #TopSpinDoc View conversation · Fig Ramsey @ figramsey
4h Replying to
@gopaulblair @TODAYshow and
3 others .
@JeromeAdamsMD, along with maligning yourself with the wishes of big tobacco, on your quest to quash flavored vapor products, your sharing found_on_google_retracted_ studies as fact, leads heavily into why people distrust you. Koop would be ashamed of today's
@Surgeon_General pic.twitter.com/QB5cTIpDtc View conversation · Space Force Admiral-'''¸'­¸'­¸'­¸ @ GLoves247
5h Replying to
@gopaulblair @TODAYshow @JeromeAdamsMD What is wrong with this guy? Is he going to recommend leeches as a cure next?His obsession with vaping is disqualifying at this point. Keeping people on cigs is deadly Jerome!
View conversation · Iron Vapin @ IronVapin
5h Replying to
@GLoves247 @gopaulblair and
2 others Guess it's a wonderful thing convenience stores are still open, and still selling millions of packs of cigarettes to the public. What a public health BOON!
View conversation · Lollylulubes 🌹ðŸŒ"ðŸŒ'¸ðŸŒ'­¸ @ Lollylulubes
4h Replying to
@gopaulblair @TODAYshow @JeromeAdamsMD The Surgeon General is not professional using his unwarranted, early 20th century type antivaping bias to spread unfounded rumours. He shouldn't be gleaning his 'health' info from the media lies pushed by his antivaper pals. He should be reading scientific studies as vapers do.
View conversation ·
VIDEO-WATCH LIVE: Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer gives coronavirus update -- March 23, 2020 - YouTube
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 11:45
VIDEO-Joe Biden (Text Join to 30330) on Twitter: "President Trump and Mitch McConnell are trying to put a corporate bailout ahead of families. It's simply wrong. We need to be focused on helping hardworking Americans, communities, and small businesses '--
Mon, 23 Mar 2020 10:38
President Trump and Mitch McConnell are trying to put a corporate bailout ahead of families. It's simply wrong. We need to be focused on helping hardworking Americans, communities, and small businesses '-- not handing big corporations a blank check.
pic.twitter.com/tMBZm26h3y
VIDEO-Gov. DeWine announces stay-at-home order for Ohio until April 6 | WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio | Columbus News, Weather & Sports
Sun, 22 Mar 2020 23:57
COLUMBUS, Ohio '' Gov. Mike DeWine'‹ has announced Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton has signed a stay-at-home order for Ohio.
DeWine said the stay-at-home order will start to be enforced Tuesday by local health departments and local law enforcement, and last for at least two weeks.
"There is nothing in the order that we haven't already been talking about. There is nothing in this that I haven't been asking you to do for the last few weeks," DeWine said.
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People may only leave their homes for reasons related to health and safety, to obtain necessary services or supplies, for outdoor activity, to take care of others or to perform a job deemed essential.
Leaving home for an ineligible reason is punishable by a second-degree misdemeanor.
"You can leave home to take care of others. You can take care of your neighbor, your family, your friend," he said.
MORE: Where can I go? Is my job essential? What Ohio's 'stay at home' order means for you
The second part of the order talks about essential workers and businesses using Homeland Security guidelines. These are the accepted businesses that are essential for us to continue to live.
"Each business that stays open must follow good protocol in regard to health," DeWine said.
Essential sectors designated by DeWine were broad.
They include working in health care and government functions, including emergency management, law enforcement and human services. Grocery stores, hotels, funeral homes, laundromats, gas stations, pharmacies, hardware stores and banks are to remain open.
Jobs in transportation, utilities, municipal services construction and building and maintenance are also deemed essential.
However, businesses deemed essential must undertake measures that include social distancing, providing hand sanitizer and having separate opening hours for elderly and vulnerable customers.
The order will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Monday and stay in effect until April 6.
You can read the full stay-at-home order issued by Dr. Amy Acton here.
You can watch their press conference in the player below.
Below is a look at how the coronavirus situation has rapidly evolved in Ohio and the actions ordered by Gov. DeWine:
MARCH 10, 2020DeWine recommends Ohio's colleges and universities begin online learning. He also suggests no spectators for indoor sporting events.
MARCH 12, 2020DeWine orders all K-12 schools in Ohio to close for three weeks starting at the end of classes March 16 through April 3.DeWine issues ban on "mass gatherings" of more than 100 people.
MARCH 15, 2020DeWine orders all restaurants and bars to be closed indefinitely. Carryout and delivery orders are still permitted.'‹DeWine makes adjustments to Ohio's unemployment requirements, allowing those impacted to file without the one-week waiting period prior to receiving benefits.
MARCH 16, 2020DeWine ordered the closure of all fitness centers, gyms, bowling alleys, public recreation centers, movie theaters, indoor water parks, trampolines, etc.As part of the CDC's adjusted guidelines, no gatherings of more than 50 people will be permitted in the state of Ohio.
MARCH 17, 2020DeWine ordered elective surgeries be postponed as a preemptive measure to ensure that Ohio has as many resources available as coronavirus cases increase.
MARCH 18, 2020DeWine ordered all barbershops, hair and nail salons and tattoo parlors to close.
MARCH 20, 2020DeWine announced he will be issuing an executive order to close all facilities providing older adult day care and senior centers.
MARCH 21, 2020DeWine orders closure of adult day services for those with developmental disabilities.
(C)2020 by 10TV.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
VIDEO-á--მÆ...ð'--áƒ"ðŸ'¤ on Twitter: "FREUDIAN SLIP OF THE CENTURY https://t.co/2GLEEcQhN4" / Twitter
Sun, 22 Mar 2020 18:59
Log in Sign up á--მÆ...ð'--áƒ"ðŸ'¤ @ mooncult FREUDIAN SLIP OF THE CENTURY
pic.twitter.com/2GLEEcQhN4 3:30 PM - 22 Mar 2020 Twitter by: á--მÆ...ð'--áƒ"ðŸ'¤ @mooncult á--მÆ...ð'--áƒ"ðŸ'¤ @ mooncult
37m Replying to
@mooncult FEMA: we swear to god this is NOT martial law you guys
pic.twitter.com/RDqxFmLJGl View conversation · Nathaniel Mellor @ MellorNathaniel
1h Replying to
@mooncult @ggreenwald lol, the full plan of the US government laid out!
View conversation · á--მÆ...ð'--áƒ"ðŸ'¤ @ mooncult
1h Replying to
@MellorNathaniel @ggreenwald he's even wearing a FEMA pullover fleece
View conversation · b0rf @ lordb0rf
1h Replying to
@mooncult @JustinWhang Not as bad as this:
pic.twitter.com/tGJqcZoiF0 View conversation · á--მÆ...ð'--áƒ"ðŸ'¤ @ mooncult
22m Replying to
@lordb0rf @JustinWhang twitter.com/mooncult/statu'... View conversation · WR_Hart @ William_R_Hart
1h Replying to
@mooncult @ggreenwald I'm still giving it to Bloomberg when he said he bought congress, this is a close second though.
View conversation · 1618033240 @ 3F8Fusp8EXURLdV
1h Replying to
@mooncult @ggreenwald I laughed. But I dont think this is funny.
View conversation · Moving Pictures @ MovingP73543198
1h Replying to
@mooncult I heard it live and that's exactly what I said!
View conversation · krish @ krishkhubchand
1h Replying to
@mooncult lmao
m.youtube.com/watch?v=Sy05zj'... View conversation · ammar_416 @ ammar2001_ammar
1h Replying to
@mooncult LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
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